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Are most of us born to act like sheep or are we being brainwashed?


mikehit e2
5 7.1k 11 United Kingdom
15 Apr 2013 8:37AM

Quote:But as usual, the title of your thread and the actual point of the thread don't quite match TongueAm I missing something here? I haven't a clue what you're saying.
The point of my thread is to debate if people are mostly born to act like sheep or if they have been conditioned to think like sheep by our rulers through propaganda.
I'm talking about propaganda and surely you can see the connection between that and people acting like sheep.



I had tongue in cheek when I posted that, but if that was the intention of your post, I was wondering why you did not state that in your OP. Your second post was far more expansive.

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gcarth e2
10 2.3k 1 United Kingdom
15 Apr 2013 8:44AM
My own opinion, for what it's worth, is that I think probably most people are not born like sheep - but a rather large minority are.
So I feel that the organised and systematic propaganda that we are faced with every day tilts the balance of public opinion in favour of what the ruling elite want us to think.
In other words, many of us vote for policies and people that we wouldn't have voted for if we hadn't been filled with disinformation or given a narrow and controlled menu of options.
mikehit e2
5 7.1k 11 United Kingdom
15 Apr 2013 9:10AM

Quote:In other words, many of us vote for policies and people that we wouldn't have voted for if we hadn't been filled with disinformation or given a narrow and controlled menu of options.


That's why I questioned the difference between the OP (being born sheep) and your actual concern (the level of propaganda): even if a person is not born as a sheep, blitzing them with high levels of propaganda will still control them. ON the opposite side, someone born as a sheep can have a free voice if given a wide variety of views and asked to make a choice under the correct circumstances. The two are only tenuously linked. So what I am picking up is that your concern is not sheep v no sheep, but propaganda vs free choice.
brian1208 e2
11 10.6k 12 United Kingdom
15 Apr 2013 9:45AM
Thinking about this it struck me that another title for this thread could be:

"Why do people think and behave differently from me?" Wink

Just because we see the world differently and vote for different parties doesn't make us "Brainwashed Sheep"

Does it?
gcarth e2
10 2.3k 1 United Kingdom
15 Apr 2013 9:48AM
Thanks for you full and well-argued answer.

Quote:But being brainwashed (like it or not) requires some level of complicity
I only agree partly on that one. I accept complicity is often required - maybe most times - but surely very often we are completely unaware of being brainwashed - that's the nature of real brainwashing: We've all heard of subliminal messages...

Quote:...to link back into one of your previous threads, you can claim that we are brainwashed by the high proportion of 'right of centre' press but the fact is people choose to buy the right of centre press in preference to left of centre press.
I accept, in theory, your common-sense logic would suggest that: However, my feeling is very much that people's choice of media is also hugely influenced by the narrow choice of views we are channelled into by the mainstream media. As I pointed out in my previous topic (which seems to have mysteriously disappeared) I find that the media is dominated by roughly five times as many right-leaning as left-leaning papers, in terms of circulation figures and that must have some dominant effect on forming our opinions - to the right.
Of course, at the same time, I agree with you that people also tend to choose a paper that they most identify with - a paper that feeds their prejudices and not necessarily their education.
I'm personally absolutely happy with the idea of having all views, left, right and centre published/broadcast in our media...but on something like a 'level playing field'.
I think, more worrying though, is the gross narrowing and control of choice of what can and what cannot be debated.

Quote:Unfortunately it is increasingly clear that the internet is making things worse not better: people are far more able to find and limit themselves to content that matches their own limited world view and totally avoid anything that contradicts it.
I disagree that the internet is making things worse - though I could be proved wrong over time! Of course, I'm sure you're right about "people finding and limiting themselves to content that matches their own limited world view..." on the internet. However, perhaps, like me they often make this choice because they know they can't rely on the mainstream media.
There are very positive elements about the alternative media on the internet - the exposing of government and big business cover-ups by Wikileaks; Democracy Now; Media Lens; etc.
gcarth e2
10 2.3k 1 United Kingdom
15 Apr 2013 10:09AM

Quote:Thinking about this it struck me that another title for this thread could be:

"Why do people think and behave differently from me?" Wink

Just because we see the world differently and vote for different parties doesn't make us "Brainwashed Sheep"

Does it?

I'm sorry but I think you are taking an overly simplistic view on this - and are you sure you are voting for different parties?
I don't see any real difference between any of the three parties - and that is my point about narrow and controlled presentation of options for debate.
It's not just a question of what is right or wrong but a question of not having all the facts made available...and that is what is happening so often.
However, my motivation behind this topic was, I suppose two-fold - to open up the debate about brainwashing and to also ponder the thought that we may be all hard-wired to be sheeple in varying degrees, anyway (I think we've already had some great comments from 'Mikehit' regarding the last point).
mikehit e2
5 7.1k 11 United Kingdom
15 Apr 2013 10:09AM

Quote:As I pointed out in my previous topic (which seems to have mysteriously disappeared)

http://www.ephotozine.com/forums/topic/just-how-free-is-the--free-press----102832


Quote:Of course, at the same time, I agree with you that people also tend to choose a paper that they most identify with - a paper that feeds their prejudices and not necessarily their education.
I'm personally absolutely happy with the idea of having all views, left, right and centre published/broadcast in our media...but on something like a 'level playing field'.
I think, more worrying though, is the gross narrowing and control of choice of what can and what cannot be debated.



Without purchase to support the media of your preference, this means they can only be supported by the State or by 'vested interests' - and I can guess your reaction to that one! Wink



Quote:There are very positive elements about the alternative media on the internet - the exposing of government and big business cover-ups by Wikileaks; Democracy Now; Media Lens; etc.

I agree. But those are often read by people who have already made their minds up that there is something to rail against (rightly or wrongly).


Quote:However, perhaps, like me they often make this choice because they know they can't rely on the mainstream media.

So you are limiting yourself to those publications whose voice you already believe in. This sounds to me like you are actually opening yourself to very specific brainwashing because you do not tend to read opposite views. How do you know when your 'chosen' website is wrong and when the 'biased' mainstream media is correct? It isn't only the mainstream who can brainwash you.
The more this develops, the more Brian's last post rings true
brian1208 e2
11 10.6k 12 United Kingdom
15 Apr 2013 10:26AM
From the moment we are born we are being directed in our view of the world by the environment we live in and the people who nurture us, so there can be no such thing as an "unbiased mind"

Look at the different perceptions of a child born into a Taliban family, the Royal family, an Amish family or a Jewish family (just to pick some wide ranging examples at random, could just as easily be any other ethnic, religious or social grouping)

They each will live in and perceive the world to be a completetly different place from the other

Is this "Brainwashing" or simply a natural process?

How we are then educated will also modify our perceptions and, I would argue, by the time we reach adulthood our perceptual framework by which we assess and judge the world is more or less a fixed quantity

If we experience enough different inputs from a range of situations this framework may change but for the bulk of world's inhabitants I suspect this will not be the case

So, back to my first comment - Brainwashed Sheep, no - human beings living in the real world, yes
gcarth e2
10 2.3k 1 United Kingdom
15 Apr 2013 10:31AM

Quote:So you are limiting yourself to those publications whose voice you already believe in. This sounds to me like you are actually opening yourself to very specific brainwashing because you do not tend to read opposite views.
How do you know I don't read opposite views? I read much of the stuff I don't like - Daily Mail, Sun, etc. so that I can see what everyone is supposed to be thinking. I have no agenda except perhaps an obsessive preoccupation with finding out what I think is true and just (probably an impossibility!).
We all have to give our best shot at what we think is reality - everything is like a framework of virtual reality within which we have to work: I simply feel that internet sites like those I've mentioned are probably going to be more reliable than mainstream media because they are not run by the super-rich for profit. That doesn't mean that we should passively take on board everything that is said on these sites.

Quote:From the moment we are born we are being directed in our view of the world by the environment we live in and the people who nurture us, so there can be no such thing as an "unbiased mind"

Look at the different perceptions of a child born into a Taliban family, the Royal family, an Amish family or a Jewish family (just to pick some wide ranging examples at random, could just as easily be any other ethnic, religious or social grouping)

They each will live in and perceive the world to be a completetly different place from the other

Is this "Brainwashing" or simply a natural process?

How we are then educated will also modify our perceptions and, I would argue, by the time we reach adulthood our perceptual framework by which we assess and judge the world is more or less a fixed quantity

If we experience enough different inputs from a range of situations this framework may change but for the bulk of world's inhabitants I suspect this will not be the case

So, back to my first comment - Brainwashed Sheep, no - human beings living in the real world, yes

Thanks for that great comment. Difficult to disagree with that...
gcarth e2
10 2.3k 1 United Kingdom
15 Apr 2013 2:48PM
My hunch is that, people, generally, in so-called democratic countries like the UK and US would make fairly sensible choices about our politics, economics and society in if we were not fed so much one-sided propaganda and had all the true choices before us - whether they are left, right or centre options: The choices made with a more representative political choice may or may not suit people like me but at least they it would be as truly democratic as you can get.
That is clearly not happening: we are not a true democracy - which is what we should be aiming at that - or is that my prejudice...
Over the centuries, in the UK, we've had Kings and Queens who ruled by 'Divine Right': Well thank goodness that's gone: The trouble is that we now have instead, the Free Marketeers ruling us by 'Divine Right' and controlling our politics as well as our habits as consumers.
Carabosse e2
11 39.7k 269 England
15 Apr 2013 2:55PM
Most people find politics an utter bore and feel they have better things to do with their time. Wink
brian1208 e2
11 10.6k 12 United Kingdom
15 Apr 2013 3:15PM

Quote:we are not a true democracy


First define what is meant by this:

here is one go at it


Quote:
a system of government by the whole population or all the eligible members of a state, typically through elected representatives:a system of parliamentary democracy


[count noun] a state governed under a system of democracy:a multiparty democracy


control of an organization or group by the majority of its members:the intended extension of industrial democracy


the practice or principles of social equality / demands for greater democracy



Origin:

late 16th century: from French démocratie, via late Latin from Greek dēmokratia, from dēmos 'the people' + -kratia 'power, rule'



but I suspect its a bit different from
Quote:Azerbaijan Democratic Republic


or


Quote:A democratic republic is a country which is both a republic and a democracy, however in practice countries which describe themselves as democratic republics do not always hold free or fair elections, an example of which was the German Democratic Republic, a communist dictatorship commonly known as East Germany


It does seem to come back bit to "People not seeing it my way", what we have is not perfect (but neither are the people the system is supposed to represent) but any system that pisses off both the extreme left, extreme right and single issue action groups is doing OK for me Grin

I don't happen to believe that this country is dominated by a right-wing, capitialistic propaganda machine, there is too much BS from all spectrums of opinion flooding the media for that (just look at the current Love / Hate Thatcher fiasco at the moment)

What I do think we suffer from is an under-educated, delayed adolescence and self-indulgent mass who have never learnt to think for themselves and are too easily swayed by fairy-tales about how good life will be with "Party 1" and how awfully they are being treated by "Party 2" and that they don't need to take personal responsibility for themselves - that's the job of whichever party is fighting for re-election

But - I'm a well know old cynic who loathes all party politics, in my view, career politicians have been the ruin of this country, since the only thing they care about is being in power and keeping a seat long enough to get their gold-plated pensions. They will lie, cheat, promise the unachievable - anything that's needed to achieve this

(my favourite theoretical form of government when I was younger was "self-interested anarchy", you can do what the hell you like, so long as you bear the consequences, then, just maybe, we will all start taking care of the other person so that they will reciprocate and take care of us! Grin)
mikehit e2
5 7.1k 11 United Kingdom
15 Apr 2013 3:24PM

Quote:My hunch is that, people, generally, in so-called democratic countries like the UK and US would make fairly sensible choices about our politics, economics and society in if we ...had all the true choices before us

But we do, in newspapers TV and internet. As Brian points out, the biggest threat to your ideal of 'free voting' is the vast majority of the population who live in areas where voting habits are passed down parent to child: how many times do you hear news reports where parents will 'never vote Tory' or 'never vote Labour'. Without that pressure people would grow up with the idea of finding out for themselves and we probably would be closer to your ideal electorate.

Beyond that people vote on issues that affect their daily lives and two examples spring to mind. First was the huge shock to Labour and the Unions when Thatcher managed to get a massive swing among the general Union membership on a ticket of shackling those same Unions, but that was a result of the direct effect the unions were having on their daily lives with strikes and attacks on anyone who disagreed with them; secondly was the people in Oldham voting for BNP, not so much because they like the BNP but because they were the only party willing to talk about immigration which they saw as a major local issue at that time.


Quote:we are not a true democracy

Is this the call of someone who doesn't like the results of an election? Smile
In a country of many millions, the 'true democracy' is unattainable - so we have developed a system where we allocate people to act on our behalf: to paraphrase Churchill "it is not perfect but its the best damned thing we've got". You can find someone who will disagree with any version of democracy you care to put forward so it is a case of run with it and do the best you can. Maybe technology offers an alternative but after Blair's pathetic attempts to 'modernise' elections I think that has been blown for another generation at least.
gcarth e2
10 2.3k 1 United Kingdom
15 Apr 2013 4:27PM

Quote:Most people find politics an utter bore and feel they have better things to do with their time. Wink
Yes, I also find politics utterly boring but that's only because very few politicians seem to represent our views adequately.Sad


Quote:Is this the call of someone who doesn't like the results of an election? Smile
It's the call of someone who doesn't like the spin that prevents people from making an informed choice.


Quote:I don't happen to believe that this country is dominated by a right-wing, capitialistic propaganda machine, there is too much BS from all spectrums of opinion flooding the media for that (just look at the current Love / Hate Thatcher fiasco at the moment)

I agree with nearly everything you say but then you spoil it! Wink I think we most certainly are not dominated by the right-wing propaganda machine - the fact that you don't think so shows how well their propaganda works! They are smart - they allow a token degree of dissent by a few well-known radical voices to give credence, ostensibly, to their 'fair-mindedness'. I'm not saying everyone of the rich ruling elite are consciously planning to control the rest of us - many are unaware of their bias, but some would certainly seem to be.
I'm frankly utterly gob-smacked to be honest that you can say that the right-wing doesn't control us with its propaganda! If let's say the left-wing factions controlled most of the media, wouldn't you say that was a bit undemocratic and bad for democracy? I would. You see what I mean by understanding and being aware of our prejudices...
How many media proprietors and their journalists are left-wing i.e. for working people as well as the better off?
As soon as people start protesting, even peacefully, they are arrested by the police under the dubious guise of being a terrorist security threat.
This has all accelerated since Thatcher and then Blair - who is of course, right wing whatever he pretends to be.
brian1208 e2
11 10.6k 12 United Kingdom
15 Apr 2013 4:37PM

Quote:It's the call of someone who doesn't like the spin that prevents people from making an informed choice.


If you and I are able to see through / ignore the "Spin" and "Propaganda" why suppose that many others cant? (I still hold with my view about the ill-educated, un-motivated who can't be bothered or don't wish to take personal responsibilty for informing themselves however)

I'm afraid that to me this
Quote:but then you spoil it! I think we most certainly are not dominated by the right-wing propaganda machine - the fact that you don't think so shows how well their propaganda works
just comes across as arrogant nonsense of the "I'm clever enough to see it but, if you disagree with me, you aren't" kind

How ever you present it, we do not live in a country dominated by propaganda, just one where its necessary and possible to dig a bit to get balanced input

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