“Brainwashing” is repetitive indoctrination.
Repetitive indoctrination is more effective on persons who have relinquished, or never learned, critical thinking (the capacity and proclivity to doubt and analyze) and intellectual sovereignty (the right to choose, the determination to defend that right).
Most people in western civilization today do not seem to value critical thinking and intellectual sovereignty as much as they do conformity and collectivism (the “right” of the collective to decide what’s best). It appears to me that most individuals do not learn these virtues anymore. Perhaps this is a result of intentional culture manipulation.
Strategic communication is the science of communicating via mass media in such a way as to produce a desired outcome.
It can also be called “propaganda”.
It includes advertising.
It is massively funded.
I believe the agenda is not only commercial, but also cultural and political.
Western universities in general are no longer bastions of free thought or diversity of ideas. Instead, they have become pushers of thought conformity.
The professional licensing and legal systems would benefit the people if they were operated with that intention. But are they operated that way? Or in such a way as to advance an agenda of conformity and control, rewarding only those students and professionals who conform to collectivist thought?
Therein lies the potential for going astray.
What happens when the collectivist thought these systems are based upon is profoundly manipulated and corrupted—or even just mistaken?
I would say most of us in western civilization have been brainwashed completely, though a few are recently beginning to awaken. To me, awakening means reclaiming our minds from our culture of birth and beginning to think for ourselves rather than letting our culture do our thinking for us.
As of 2021, I would estimate that possibly 10% have awakened, 35% are awakening, and the other 55% are desperately resisting the thought that the institutions they trusted all their lives are profoundly untrustworthy. Perhaps they drag their heels due to fear, which is encouraged by TV “news”. (So let us not reinforce their fear.)
I have a client that survived a cult experience, and actively pursued his recovery, hoping eventually for complete freedom of mind—only to find with dismay that a similar phenomenon exists outside the cult. Mass media (combined with academic and professional pressures) create a less intense but more widespread, and more insidious, form of mind control. He said there were so many similarities to the cult in the outside "regular" world....
Mass media mind control is now just as intense as cult mind control, and affects 4 times as many people, so is now a much more serious threat.
This should not be surprising considering the centralized control now being exerted over mass media, the academic establishment, the professional orthodoxies, and society in general.
We have failed to heed the warnings of George Orwell in his classic "1984"
Totalitarianism is totalitarianism, whether practiced in a small religious organization or a whole society. The West is not yet totalitarian, but it is already authoritarian, half way there.
*Centralization of power beckons corruption. *
Freedom requires decentralization of power and diversity of thought. Freedom and safety are always a trade-off; yet freedom is more important than safety, for a free people can choose their relative degree of safety; but a tightly-controlled but “safe” people cannot choose their degree of freedom.
Some of us are awakening as individuals. However, how far the human species progresses in its recovery from brainwashing depends upon all of us.