Mind Damage Through Excessive Control
Shaun Kerry, M.D.
Diplomate, American Board of Psychiatry and Neurology
Given the extremely high prevalence of mental illness, family dysfunction, and chronic stress in our society, we must examine the root causes of such incidents.
Please read this article on coercive mind control tactics, and note that some of these methods are used in today's 'tough-standards' approach to education.
The following elements impair mindfulness by interfering with whole brain integration, heightening suggestibility, and suppressing
|critical thinking. The impact of these methods will vary widely depending on the overall educational program and the personality of the student.
Cults and 'tough-standards' education have the following in common:
- Extended drills, excessive and exact repetition of routine activities
- Sleep restriction
- Establish control over the person's social environment and manage his time by using a system of excessive rewards and punishments.
- Create a sense of powerlessness by subjecting the person to frequent actions and situations, which undermine his confidence in himself and his judgment.
- Create strong aversive emotional arousals in the subject by use of nonphysical punishments such as humiliation, loss of privilege, change of social status, intense guilt, anxiety, or manipulation.
It is difficult for former students - especially those who have spent many additional years in college or pursuing advanced degrees - to admit that they have been thoroughly deceived, and speak out about the evils of our present educational system. Their problems, shortcomings, and anxieties; they blame themselves for all of these things, and hold modern education responsible for nothing. 'The group' is never at fault.
To admit that they had been fooled or brainwashed would suggest that the major decisions made in their lives were arrived at unwisely or naively, and not completely self-legislated. They deny that they have been hurt by the system because it is too hard for them to face the pain.
To mistrust one's own major decisions and perceptions of reality is frighteningly close to that ultimate terror: insanity. This level of denial of past reality is difficult to overcome.
The formal academic world is often similar to a cult. Although teachers are among the most likeable and dedicated people in our society, and often attempt to teach students to 'think for themselves', our general population still suffers from an underlying delusion regarding our educational system: We believe that the formal academic world is conducive to healthy mental development.
|There are Latin and algebra teachers who whole-heartedly believe that their subject matter is completely relevant to the real world. Graduates who have taken these subjects often hold rigidly to these same beliefs.
There are also Scientologists who believe that people are composed of clusters of spirits of dead
|space aliens which they call "thetans;" aliens who were brought to earth 75 million years ago by an evil intergalactic tyrant named Xenu. They also hold rigidly to their beliefs. It is the same mentality, given that the latter is far more bizarre but equally destructive.
It is pointless to teach students 'critical thinking', when they have been controlled by a coercive educational system for years. Some gifted people manage to get through this system unscathed. Most students, however, do not. Their critical minds have been put out of commission.
In the film Born on the Fourth of July, we see this process magnified many times. The main character starts out as a beautifully idealistic young man who goes through our competitive school system, and later joins the marines to fight in Vietnam. When he returns home, he suffers from a severe case of post-traumatic stress disorder with major personality impairment. Although he later becomes an activist, his efforts lack effectiveness because they do not address the root causes of defects in our systems of education and government. The film illustrates how his school experience shaped his early character development and set the stage for his future decisions.
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