Saturday, October 26, 2013

The basic essentials of brainwashing

It’s something we all think about in negative terms, something we all insist will never happen to us, something we may think involves a long process, yet I see it happening more and more these days. People just seem to be brainwashed in so many ways and the ease at which it is done is actually something to be really scared about.

So I decided to do my own little analysis about this problem and I bring you what I term, The Basic Essentials of Brainwashing”.

1.   Have the desire to sell something, whether it’s an object, a lifestyle even an idea, it doesn’t matter what it is at this point, the focus is to sell this to as many people as possible.

2.   Give the thing you want to sell an image. This would involve a considerable amount of manipulation, but that’s not a problem, because that can easily be achieved in the next step.

3.   This step involves one of the biggest tools of manipulation. It’s called ADVERTISING. So this is where you portray your product, idea, lifestyle etc to others in a way that they would actually begin to like it, long for it and eventually do anything to get it. This is where you turn your otherwise ordinary thing into a brand.

4.   This step is linked closely to the one above, here, you’d need your brand (product, lifestyle, idea etc) to be associated with someone who is rich, famous or good looking. Either one of these criteria can be used, it doesn’t really matter as long as the person or people associated with your brand has the ability to make it seem like the world cannot revolve without it.

5.   Okay, so once you have decided what you want to sell, you’ve given your thing and image, advertised it, in association with a particular type of person/s then it’s time to start the actual full scale brainwashing. Now this is where you already have people hooked and in this step, you start sending out your messages. Any message you’d like to send out will be accepted at this point. It doesn’t even matter if your messages are negative, harmful or even plain down nonsense. Why? Because your brand has the status of an “in thing”, everybody is talking about it, and naturally everybody wants to have it, or live it, or think it.

6.   So all that’s left is to continue the brainwashing process, over and over, until eventually the initial steps are not even necessary any more. At this point, you can introduce new things to sell and it won’t even be questioned at all.

This sounds a bit crazy doesn’t it?

Yet, I see the effects of this very process, so blatant and it’s just getting worse and worse. This is why people can so easily see a particular thing or lifestyle on a popular TV show and suddenly wish to become like the people they see, long to own the things that these people have and even wish to have the type of relationships that these people have. And they don’t stop to consider, not once, that in fact they have been brainwashed into believing that what they see is wonderful, even though it opposes their values, and their beliefs like the cold opposes the heat.

And then, people’s standard becomes what they have been manipulated into believing is perfect and when they get what’s real instead of the imagined fantasy, they are not happy and they become miserable, depressed, despondent and so on.

The worst part however is that when anyone decides to point out that in fact this is systematic brainwashing, they get shut down so quickly they are probably left wondering how that happened. And the people who are able to see through the brainwashing of course are the ones who are boring, old-fashioned, clueless and who knows what else.

So here’s my challenge to you:

 Take a look at your life, a proper look, one of those deep, life-changing, analytical kind of looks, and ask yourself, how much of the things in your life is actually who you are?

How many of your ideas and opinions are your own?

How many of your desires are free from the brainwashing that’s so rampant in our societies?

Be honest with yourself and where you have to, admit that you have been brainwashed! Admittance is the first step to change after all.

And after reading what I’ve written here, I urge you-
Don’t just blindly accept what I’m saying- please, think about this for yourself and come up with your own opinion, because like I said, it’s so very easy to be brainwashed in today’s world!  

And one more thing, please don’t be afraid to be the only one who thinks differently, society achieves nothing if all the people think the same.

May Allah Almighty save us all Inshaa-Allah!

Image from here

Wednesday, October 9, 2013

The death of respect

I don’t know how many times I have to ask “What is going on in this world?”
Everywhere you look, with so many things it just seems that people are losing their minds, and I can’t help but long for the good old days, even though it makes me sound like an old person who can’t ‘get with the times’.

This time the crazy, shocking events has to do with respect for teachers. A short while ago a video about a school boy assaulting his own teacher and forcing him to leave the classroom, while his fellow classmates laughed and cheered on, went viral, shortly thereafter another schoolboy punched his teacher… How many more of these incidents are we going to hear about?

It’s shocking for me because I come from a time when children were so scared to even speak to their teachers because we never knew what would be perceived as rudeness and if you were rude, there’d be consequences. Now I’m not saying that teachers should be given freedom to beat children up the way they want to. I clearly remember a teacher of mine who had a broken belt, which he even named, and he used it to hit children if they did something wrong. One time he hit a girl in my class so badly that she was bruised. So yeah, I’m all for stopping teachers beating pupils to the extent that it causes harm, but what has happened is that we’ve moved from one extreme to another, which is never a good thing. Now children’s rights are emphasized to the extent that teachers’ rights are trampled on, and this state of imbalance is obviously having its repercussions.

At the same time, I also don’t believe that respect is earned through intimidation, you know what they say, ‘respect demands respect’. So the thing is that both teachers and pupils should be treated with respect, if we lived in an ideal world, perhaps this would be common practice. A beautiful teaching of Prophet Muhammad (pbuh) comes to mind. He (pbuh) taught us to respect our elders and to look at those younger than us with kindness. So there’s the answer, a state of balance, respect and kindness, everyone’s rights are fulfilled, and roles are clearly defined. If only people of today could follow the advices of the past.

It all goes back to the loss of values. There was a time when children were taught to respect adults, and to respect their teachers more than any ordinary adult. There was a time when adults didn't abuse the rights of children, sure there were a few cases of ‘misdemeanour’ but it wasn't the general rule as it seems to be today. Then everything went crazy, and now it seems like the world is spinning so fast and so madly that everything’s becoming jumbled and instead of having a clear picture of things, the crayons have melted and the colours have merged causing not a pretty picture, but a merged up mess.

As politicians are scrambling to try and get people to vote for them, and ordinary citizens feel despondent and hopeless because change seems to only be a word in the dictionary, which conveniently gets used only at election time, I can’t help but be the ‘conspiracy theorist’, reminding people that all the Prophecies about the end of time are indeed coming true. All the things we thought were so far away, are now a part of our reality, and all that’s left for us to do is face the facts and hold on to our values, very, very tightly.

I don’t know how much worse things are going to get, I think it has to get really bad before it can get better, that’s the way of things it seems, the swing of the pendulum. And what do we do in the meantime, we certainly cannot sit back and become a product of the messed up societies in which we live, we cannot accept the norms as if it cannot be changed. We must fight back against the moral deterioration which is so widespread. How do we do this? It’s simple- we hold on to teachings of goodness like our lives depend on it! We stick to the sunnah way of Prophet Muhammad (pbuh), we stick to the teachings of the Blessed Quraan, we stick to religion and ethics, we stick to the values our parents have instilled in us so fervently, we remember to look for goodness in everyone and to make excuses for other people’s faults, because when it comes to it, the truth is that;

We can create new norms if we really try hard enough!

Things like respect, values, and honour can be resurrected even though we may believe that it is dead.