Wednesday, September 9, 2015

How is Brainwashing Changing Your Mind?

According to Cambridge dictionary brainwashing is a method of altering your way of thinking. Is it good? I am beginning to think it is...sometimes. 

Portland, Oregon has joined The Joy Team sign company and is putting up billboards with a positive and, according to the news, effective way to influence people's state of mind. One sign here in PDX is located on Sandy Boulevard. It says, "You are freaking awesome!"  I love that one so much.

The Joy Team uses this one on their website.
Seeing this sign every morning on a commute to work would have to make you smile and feel good about yourself, even if you didn't know why.

I took this picture of a cigarette display as I was walking through the airport in Denmark this spring. It stopped me in my tracks. EVERY package across that country has a warning like this. The user is prevented from seeing a different massage no matter where they go. That my friends is the definition of a brainwash. In this case, I think it is a good use of the practice.
Incidentally I took this photo in Denmark airport this last spring.
I liked that their warning was bigger than the logo on the package. Not only do cigarettes kill, they damage your sperm, ruin your skin and kill the people around you. If you were a smoker, those warning have to make an impression.

Are there bad or even evil uses for brainwashing? You can bet your life. News networks get inside our heads. We need to be very careful to watch all the viewpoints. The advertising industry has figured it out I think. But sometimes I need to say "yes" to a campaign or sign. How about you?

Have a wonderful day.



  1. I tend to think of brainwashing as having an agrressively invasive edge to it; it's unmercifully repetitive and appears everywhere.
    I think your positive message examples are still uncommon, and usually gentler in tone. But it's an interesting question, especially when I consider the power of the advertising industry's subtlety.

    1. You might ask "Are you afraid of brainwashing?" Yes I am. I think that the news channels are a prime example of the same news item telling a different story. When I saw a conservative pole saying that 90% of the people approve of public gun wearing I was dismayed. I don't think any statistical report could get 90% in favor of anything. I would be just a suspicious of the a pole that reveal the opposite. But, if brainwashing of a type is being used for viewers that ONLY see that new station, it is entirely possible.

  2. Excellent closing question, "But sometimes I need to say "yes" to a campaign or sign. How about you?"
    I especially like campaigns that remind people that each human is exceptional. That is not brainwashing, nor is it a movement in the manipulative sense. I do appreciate the good that comes from campaigns and the policy changes they make in government by discussion but, too often, campaigns accelerate movements and all movements go too far. I've seen movements employ brainwashing to achieve their ill-imagined quotas. It is heartbreaking.

  3. I like the "brainwashing" happening above, but I can't believe the definition of brainwashing is that simple! I agree with others that brainwashing seems more invasive and aggressive. Good stuff to think about.

    1. You are very right...this is a simplification to be sure. But you can squint your eyes and see the connection. :)


Leave your thoughts...I am interested.

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