What is the best way to control a society?
What is the most effective way to get large groups to follow?
A police force? Government? Religion? Institutionalization? Chemicals/ drugs? Ask them? Mind control? Music? What do you think is the most effective form of mass control?
The number one method used today is PSYCHOLOGY.
I studied cognitive psych at UPenn. All the studies were cataloged and reported as means to prevent in the future that which was studied.
Most of these studies were funded by the government. Studies on group psychology, motivation, and responses to authority in immoral directives were funded, or at least paralleled by the government of the military. The Stanley Milgram experiments, for example, are reported as an experiment to learn more about why a Nazi guard would obey completely immoral orders to kill, and to tolerate circumstances leading to death of innocents.
The APA (American Psychological Assoc.) issued a statement during Obama's campaigning acknowledging that Obama used psychological manipulations in his campaigning and speaking. Basically, he manipulated people to mentally associate power to him, and closely pair Obama to well-favored national historic figures.
I agree with Modesto in part - it's knowing group behavior and being liked by the group. I would argue sociology/anthropology over psychology.
Manipulation is part of human behavior - it is a learned behavior. I would argue, however, that since the concept of power is not universal, I, once again, would not corner this into the realm of psychology. Power is associated archetypes across groups and cultures - there would not be a "universal" way to have a majority of people mentally associate power to an individual.
Knowing with drives groups, such as social status, money, religion, security, basic fundamental needs (such as the hierarchy of needs), and understanding physical attraction would be the central points that I would argue are the way to control a society.
Control ? Why do you want to control somebody ? Control has negative connotation and it will have resistance.
On the other hand "Mindshare" is the positive way of looking at it. You capture the "mindshare" of the people with your deeds - action, talk or writing - you sure are bound to have lot of followers ....
Charisma and fear. Manson, Hitler, Stalin, Bush and Obama all made it work for them. You have to be able to make people think they can trust you. More importantly, they must feel that only you can save them. Then, you have to instill fear of an outside depersonalized enemy to band everyone together for a common cause. Terrorism, terror, Al Queda, Taliban, insurgents, communists, etc. Works every time. How many rights have we given away in the past decade? This is how Hitler came to power legally in the most liberal European country of its time. This is also how they implemented an income tax in WW2. Then, you start picking random citizens out of the pool and labelling them "domestic terrorists" or "enemies of the state." Pretty soon, you can quell dissent because no one wants to speak up for fear of being apprehended, tortured, and ultimately set free. You don't have to charge or convict them. Just shake them up bad enough and publicize their story. Everyone else will follow suit.
In a free democratic society like the US, you have to control people's minds through marketing, public relations, and propaganda in the media outlets.
Well, according to Aldous Huxley, in his famous book, Brave New World, which was published way back in 1936 - control right from the fetus stage. Everybody given only so much nourishment according to the numbers (percentages) of intellectuals, trades people, and plebs the central authority wanted. These really were 'test tube' babies. No normal births were allowed. Sexual intercourse was fine, not frowned upon at all. But definitely no natural pregnancies.
The adults were kept in place by a daily ration of some sort of drug which was highly addictive and which they craved. As long as they got it, they were content.
I wouldn't say it was the BEST way, but in the story it seemed to work pretty well.
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