The Manchurian Citizen

The mind is a terrible thing when one feels it cannot be trusted.  And yet so many of us believe the sanctity of reality as we know it is unbreakable by any but the most advanced science.  And yet just as we can affect our minds for the better, experiments throughout modern psychology have demonstrated repeatedly that our minds can suddenly go rogue as well.  Such is the case demonstrated in the film “The Manchurian Candidate.”  But what about the average citizen?  Could we too be hijacked by the right stimulus?

When looking at perpetrators of this heinous hijacking of the human consciousness, there certainly doesn’t seem to be any shortage.  Agents from foreign nations, alien captors, ghosts, demonic entities, and even our own governments seem to be interested in our minds according to the modern narrative.  And yet as we look into the mind, it seems like a commonplace conspiracy is operating out in the open in an attempt to use our minds to give away power all the time through the most often observed of mediums – television.

Television is one of the most commonly induced hypnotic states – causing the viewer to lose track of their environment and maintain hyper-focused attention on a screen with brightly moving and glowing images even while it emits a plethora of sound too fast for the brain to process fully.  It’s not nearly as insidious as the Manchurian Candidate’s plot, and yet in some ways it could be used for so much more.  And some say it is.  When we see television advertisements we don’t immediately run out and buy the products we see during the commercials.  Those thoughts are planted in our subconscious, often rejected by the conscious mind as entirely useless.  And yet the subject matter of those advertisements can be recalled when we see the logos of these products.  While knowledge and enhancing our minds does assist us in the rejection of this process, some have suggested further messages could alter peoples’ political opinions, and even cause them to engage in automatic behaviors we may be entirely unaware of.

And that’s not all that’s turning us into mindless walking zombies.  Everything we do is influenced by something, even if it’s just within our own bodies.  But many of these things are initiated by those attempting to guide our behavior toward their own goals.  Advertising is a practical use of the technology that serves to sell products which stimulates the economy and does indeed often improve our own lives, but what if you suddenly found yourself acting in ways that were very much not your own?

Perhaps the most disturbing notion here is that it would not necessarily have to infect everyone.  Imagine for a moment a purely hypothetical situation.  If a hacker were to somehow find a process by which everyone was constantly being reminded of a subtle subconscious message telling them to fall asleep at the sight of a specific series of words, the entire population of a city might fall asleep during the morning news.  And what if it wasn’t one person, but a whole nation of people far more advanced than one hacker?  Could the effects of such a coded message be so profound that they immobilized everyone in the world?

It may be pure fantasy at this point, but as researchers around the world become increasingly advanced at helping people, there will always be those who want to use the same technology for war.