Blog #7
Pavlovian conditioning: 56

Written by
Lory Kaufman

Ivan Pavlov was a Russian psychologist working in the late 19th and early 20th century. He is mostly remembered as the person who taught dogs to associate food with the sound of a ringing bell. The experiment had a dog being fed at the same time as a bell was rung. This was repeated a number of times. Then, when the bell was rung, but no food was forthcoming, the dog salivated to show he or she was thinking of food. This was called conditioning and relates to so many things all throughout nature. There’s a dark side of this 19th and early 20th century phycology. There is actual early film footage where Pavlov took a peasant boy, surgically opened a hole in his cheek, and repeated the experiment on him, filming proof that he could make a human’s salivary glands respond in the same way.

As a modern and less gruesome example, some years ago I was at a Green Party convention in the United States. I was taking a break out in the hotel lobby and standing in line for a coffee, when a fellow not from the convention noticed my Green Party badge, which showed I was from Canada.

“You got that socialist president there, and socialist healthcare,” he said with half a smile.

“Prime Minister,” I corrected, smiling back. “And he’s a Liberal.” He stopped smiling.

“Liberal?” he said with a growl.

“That’s the name of the political party,” I added quickly, realizing I had touched a hot button. “They’re kinda like your Democrats,” I added, quickly realizing this only agrivated the situation. “Oh, and yes, we do have socialized healthcare,” once again trying to calm the situation, only to realize I uttered another politically incorrect word, “socialized.” His eyes went wide. “That… that means it’s paid with taxes… like roads,” I said, still failing to explain the situation better. “But they have death panels for old people. To see who lives and dies,” he stated, a lie the US healthcare industry and the politicians who support them were spreading at the time.

Unfortunately, the discussion continued to devolve. After me trying to describe the Canadian Healthcare system, he brought up his other grievances against Canada, like gun control and our government not supporting the US against Iraq unless they showed proof of weapons of mass destruction. He got more agitated and noticeably louder whenever I would repeat words like liberal or socialized, or if I tried to say gun control wasn’t about responsible users, but simply the correlation between the number of guns in a society to gun deaths unless there was a long and formal process to gain gun ownership. Even the word statistics seemed to raise his blood pressure. Another Green approached me and I excused myself.

“I can make this fellow bark like a dog,”
I whispered to my associate.

“Really?” he asked. I turned back to my new friend.

“Socialized gun control,” I said softly.

“WHAT!” he barked very loudly. “GET THE…”

Yes, it was mean of me to push his buttons like that, but I tell the story to demonstrate how this fellow was most probably a product of all the things I mentioned above; his experiences with his family, at school, the media he chose to get his news from, all reinforced by friends and neighbors who grew up with the same indoctrination. And I believe indoctrination is the correct way to describe it.

What I find most amazing about the programming of these masses of people is how those running the media and controlling government agendas were able to convince whole swaths of population to support political and business practices that were clearly against their own self-interest. Things like accepting sub-par healthcare while insisting it was the best on the planet, a lack of gun control that made the cities they lived in unsafe for their families, an educational system which I’ve heard described by many Americans as “Educate the best and forget the rest,” and more.

Here’s a simple self-test for you to see if you’ve been a victim of such social engineering. Ask yourself, have you ever had a visceral reaction to other people’s point of view on a political subject, a reaction that causes your blood to boil and makes you want to shout down the other side without listening to them? If so, you are a victim of early-childhood conditioning.

Blog postscript:

I just asked myself if I have ever reacted viscerally to other’s points of view, and I must admit I have.

I try to watch a broad range of news programs from around the world, to get a balanced viewpoint, but I find it almost impossible to watch a few minutes of FOX opinion programing (as opposed to news). I’m told a large percentage of FOX viewers have the station on in their house the whole time people are up. It’s like in Aldous Huxley’s novel, 1984, where government propaganda runs constantly in people’s homes. When I said this to a friend who was dating a FOX devotee, and got the reply that the liberal media was just as bad, I countered by saying that in the past all news in the USA had to be balanced because of the 1949 legislation the Fairness Doctrine. But in 1987 new lobbyists successfully had the law repealed. 

But in 1987 new lobbyists successfully had
the law repealed.

This was when media outlets could put out one-sided opinions and straight out lies. Over a few decade it polarized populations and, like me, people found it hard to watch the other side’s news. The population didn’t have both sides of an argument offered to them. The liberal media then had to respond to the right wing claims, much of what I saw as Orwellian double speak, so yes, they have ended up playing the same polarized game. Solutions anyone?

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