Life as a Brainwash Victim
Written by: Stephanie Littlebird Fogel
Your mind and unique identity are like software programs, a series of codes that have been compiled over the course of your life through experience, dictating your every action.
These psychological programs are infinite in variation and differ from city to city and from home to home. Each person is born as a blank slate. As we grow, ideological applications become installed in our psyche and influence our identity. These programming changes occur through parental, social, and cultural interaction.
Why is this important? What does it mean for you personally? It is important to note that our specific cultural/geographical location dictates our beliefs and our unique identity. One could say, our identities are really like masks obscuring the true self.
Religions are like computers, do you own a Mac or a PC? It just depends on your ideology.
What is ideology? This refers to a set of beliefs, about anything really. Ideology includes religion but also nationalism, racism, and homophobia.
When a person declares anything as “infallible” or “perfect” or “righteous” one must be suspect. This includes religion, but also science, for there is mounting evidence to suggest that empirical research is often disregarded if it conflicts with corporate interests. (See climate change, fossil fuels and fracking, recent DAPL protests, GMO food labeling… etc…etc…)
In fact, everything you believe about yourself, the world and politics are dictated by those who raised you, your nation of origin, and the media. We know ourselves through the world around us, we are a reflection of our environment.
Take for example, the nation’s divided views on LGBTQ rights. For those who identify with this group, perception of self is often defined by outside forces. If the violence and hostility that LGBTQ teens experienced suddenly disappeared, so too would their alarming rates of suicide. Self-hatred and depression develop as a result of hostile surroundings, and negative cultural stereotypes.
Remember that old adage about walking a mile in someone’s shoes?
For a minute, imagine you were born somewhere else. Let’s say, you were born on an alien planet, where the inhabitants worship the soil and believe insects are gods. As an outsider, that last sentence probably sounded crazy. But as an insider, your mindset would be different. You would know nothing other than insects and soil as your masters.
Unfortunately, one cannot simply “uninstall” their ideologies like an app on a phone. As evidenced by the struggle for civil rights and equal rights for women; the oppressive regimes that give rise to these causes are hard to root out of society.
We were all born on an alien planet. We were born as outsiders, holding no former ties to religion, politics, or hatred. History dictates our position in the world. Depending on your luck of the draw at birth, some spend the rest of their lives fighting stereotypes and oppression.
As humans grow, each individual is fed ideas about themselves, and the world around them. In public schools we are taught to believe that capitalism and democracy are the zenith of social evolution. Through the total denial of human error or social failure (see the genocide of Native Americans) We are taught that the American dream is the golden path to freedom. That is why most Americans passively accept wars on non-democratic states, because ultimately we are taught to believe the democratic way is the “right” way.
We only believe democracy is the “right way” because it’s what we know. Certainly one could point to China or Russia and expel a million bullet points about the dangers of Communism, however, this is not about exchanging one massive system for another. It’s about recognizing that the entire system is a construction. That its validity rests on our “belief” in it. If we did not BELIEVE in capitalism, it would not exist.
It’s time to stop believing in the myth of freedom through capitalism, it should be crystal clear by now that capitalism does not equate to more freedom, but does result in globalized impoverishment, wars, and corruption.