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Post Instilling Values vs Brainwashing, and the Jesuits
Created by John Eipper on 11/14/17 5:28 AM

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Instilling Values vs Brainwashing, and the Jesuits (John Heelan, UK, 11/14/17 5:28 am)

Commenting on Istvan Simon's interesting post of 13 November, JE reflected that Istvan drew a "clear line between instilling values and brainwashing. Some might see the distinction in fuzzier terms."

Me for one. I suggest the objective of brainwashing is to instill the values required by the ruling hegemony (outstandingly reported by George Zhibin Gu about life as a child in Maoist China-see George's post of 13 November). Gramsci taught us that "by Hegemony the ruling class can manipulate the value system and mores of a society, so that their view becomes the world view (Weltanschauung): in Terry Eagleton's words, "Gramsci normally uses the word hegemony to mean the ways in which a governing power wins consent to its rule from those it subjugates." In contrast to authoritarian rule, cultural hegemony "is hegemonic only if those affected by it also consent to and struggle over its common sense."

As a cradle Roman Catholic, I was indoctrinated (in the literal sense of the word) from the age of seven (taught by nuns), schooled (taught by priests), regular communicant (desired values reinforced on a weekly basis by parish priests) until I reached my mid-thirties, when I started to question things and became agnostic. That said, the brainwashed values persist, reminding me of the Jesuit boast, "Give me the child for his first seven years, and I'll give you the man." There is truth in that boast. I often contemplate whether I will have enough self-confidence to resist taking Pascal's Wager when the time comes. One wonders how many Muslims dying with "Allahu Akbar" on their lips are disappointed with the outcome.

JE comments: Yes, there are no atheists in foxholes. I've pointed this out before, but one brilliant move by US hegemons was the ERISA (Employee Retirement Income Security Act) act of 1974. By privatizing the retirement accounts of most of the nation, it forced virtually everyone into cheering for the capitalist, bourgeois order.  Skin in the game.

Today is Weltanschauung Day on WAIS (see José Manuel de Prada, and now John Heelan).  Wunderbar!

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  • Brainwashing vs Persuasion (Istvan Simon, USA 11/17/17 10:11 AM)
    John Heelan (November 14) may be right about being brainwashed by his Catholic upbringing, but I don't see why he says that he sees the line between brainwashing and persuasion in fuzzier terms than I did.

    I don't see any contradiction or distinction between his "fuzzy line" or the sharp line that (according to JE) I drew. To my mind they are the same line. The line is simple and not at all fuzzy. Brainwashing is whatever method is used that relies on authority or one-sided arguments instead of persuasion by reason alone. Persuasion invites reasoning, logic and challenge so it is not brainwashing. Anything else is.

    JE comments: Is it the scientific vs humanist perspective?  Or am I just a fuzzy guy?  The best and most effective brainwashing cloaks itself in the mantle of persuasion based on logic.  This is the whole notion of "cultural hegemony"--you're brainwashed without knowing it.

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