The Danger of Information Control
Steven Hassan, an American mental health counselor, describes information control as the following:
A deceptive means of minimizing or discouraging access to outside information. The compartmentalization of information into "insider" and "outsider" doctrines, and the encouraging of insiders to spy on each other to monitor the possible intrusion of outside information. Extensive use of insider-generated information and propaganda is also very common.
Information control is a deceptive action used all around us. Families shelter their kids from "harmful" information, religions forbid access to non-religious doctrine, and biased new outlets create an "insider vs outsider" mentality and discourage viewers from understanding the other side.
This is incredibly dangerous, because it prevents us from learning and growing. It allows manipulative people to control what we can and cannot accept as truth, and these same manipulative people will use personal information against you as well as gaslighting to make you doubt your own memory.
It is through information control that we create ignorance, and it is ignorance that makes us codependent and unable to mature and grow. Like thought control, the motive for information control is power, because the more information that is controlled, the easier it is to control the thoughts and actions of the followers.
The Power of Information Control
In most cases of information control, there is someone or a group that decides what information is good and what information is bad. The good information becomes the "inside" information, and the bad information becomes "outside" information. Not only is everyone given access to the inside information, but they are constantly encouraged to study or even memorize this information and apply is directly to their everyday life. Outside information is not just seen as bad, but it is absolutely prohibited from entering the inside realm.
In some families, parents go to extreme measures to "protect" their children by denying them access to valuable information. Parents will lie to block information, and they will justify these lies because the end is greater than the means. When children begin asking difficult questions, parents will learn to distort information to steer clear from going a certain direction. Unfortunately, the children are unaware of the deception, because their only real source of morality is their parents.
When children are young, their brains are like sponges constantly absorbing information. Sadly, through these types of actions, children learn how to be deceptive themselves and begin using similar methods with their friends, because if mommy and daddy are doing it, then it must be okay.
In many religions, information control is vital for sustainability. The use of a holy book, especially, is the cornerstone, and all good information comes directly from that source. Anything outside of that holy book is deemed evil or heretical, so it is obvious that clear insider and outsider lines are drawn.
In the three major monotheistic religions, Judaism, Christianity, and Islam, members are discouraged to explore religious information outside of their own. Accountability systems are put in place to keep eyes on each other to make sure no one is stepping outside of the acceptable box. When someone "falls", they are immediately brought in for a reminder of how the information saves them and that they need to learn how to trust in it more and more.
In smaller cults, information control can be much more intricate and deceptive. Members are not allowed access to information outside the cult at all, and communicating with ex-members is extremely prohibited. In these smaller groups, pairing up with another member for minuscule activities is encouraged. The fear is that any alone time might create an opportunity to access outside information, so pairing up is used to protect each other from this evil and help each other to stay focused on the good information.
News outlets frequently lie or twist their words to pander to very particular groups. In media, Fox News feeds a very particular narrative for conservatives, and they distort information in order to keep their followers fearful. Those very followers then spread this deceitful information all over social media. MSNBC, similarly, feeds a very specific narrative for liberals, and they twist news stories to fit their agenda and feed their followers this information. When information control is used in the news, the same story can be reported two completely different ways, feed two completely different crowds, and be used to spread two completely different messages.
It is also quite interesting how often the news uses religious information to manipulate stories. Jesus is often quoted on all sides of the political isle, and each news outlet is cherry picking Bible verses to support their narrative and feed information to their audience.
The Dangers of Information Control
At the core, information control prevents us from truly learning. We are intelligent beings with the capability of absorbing so much information, and with the internet constantly at our fingertips, access to information has never been easier.
However, truth is as tough of a topic as we can tackle. There is the idea of absolute truth and relativism. There is also personal truth and objective truth.
The problem with information control is that it preys on all of these ideas and uses each of them to manipulate, gaslight, and deceive. There is just so much information out there, so it is important for us to discuss this information in a healthy way and develop our minds intelligently. Doing this together will encourage us to open our minds, absorb more information, and learn when to be aware of when information control is happening.
If your family is lying to you and not being honest about certain things happening around you, it is okay to walk away from them. Family is blood, but that does not mean they are always right. It especially does not mean that the information they are teaching or prohibiting is correct.
If your religion seems like they are constantly trying to indoctrinate you and preventing you from exploring outside of that religion, do not stress about leaving. Religion and its information does not define you.
If the news you read or watch manipulates you with distorted information to incite fear, it is more than okay to find a new source for news. Do not feel obligated to stay committed to one network. Remember, you have loads of information at the tips of your fingers, so expand your horizons and absorb more information about the world around you.
Because, again, at the core, these entities do not want us to experience all information. They do not want us to be intelligent. They do not want us to be open minded.
They want to close our minds.
Information control comes at a price, and they are willing to sacrifice their integrity to keep that control.
Recognizing Information Control
We are able to fact check information immediately, but there are many times in our lives that we do not allow ourselves the luxury of fact checking things that control the information we receive.
Remember, a lot of people did not believe that police brutality was a thing until someone recorded Rodney King being beaten by police. Before this time, the real information was withheld and your average American just could not understand why police would even do this. However, when those recordings came forward, many eyes were open and a major discussion about racism and police brutality began.
We must recognize when information control is being used and not fall prey to its manipulative tactics. We need to begin learning the differences between absolute truth, relativism, subjective truth, and objective truth, and it is important to know when information control disguises itself as any of these. Here are a few ways to recognize information control when it is happening;
- It deliberately withholds and distorts information.
- It forbids you from speaking with ex-members or critics.
- It discourages access to non-insider sources of information.
- It divides information into "insider" and "outsider" doctrine.
- It generates and uses propaganda extensively.
- It uses information gained in confession sessions against you.
- It gaslights to make you doubt your own memory.
- It requires you to report thoughts, feelings, and activities to superiors.
- It encourages you to spy and report on others' "misconduct".
Educating ourselves and obtaining more information is important in the combat against information control. As the great Kofi Annan once said;
"Knowledge is power. Information is liberating. Education is the premise of progress, in every society, in every family."
Let us hold this close to our hearts and continue to grow in our knowledge of the world around us, because there are people out there that do not want us to gain such knowledge. They are afraid of that power, and they are even more afraid of that power within you.
What are you going to do about it?