Whether for war or to gain an interpersonal advantage, people have long been captivated by the prospect of controlling the minds of others. Mind control has been depicted in fiction and fantasy, but it’s more than a dream.
Governments around the world have long worked to build systems of mind control such that their power can remain unchallenged. However, if you’re like most people, you’re not up to speed on their efforts, and you may wonder: what is mind control?
In this article, we’ll walk you through the issue of mind control so that you’ll know what methods have been developed, which means you’re likely being subjected to at this very second, and how to identify attempts at mind control so that you can defend yourself.
Why Is Mind Control Useful?
Assuming that mind control would allow someone to control the thoughts and actions of another person, its utility would be hard to deny. Mind-controlled people could enable the controller to exert tremendous power over all sorts of events.
Colloquially, mind control isn’t necessarily all about the mind of the person being controlled, however. Managing the body of another person would also be extremely useful, even if their thoughts cannot be controlled.
If you’re still not sold on the utility of controlling someone with mind control, consider the plot of the film The Manchurian Candidate, in which a government operative is brainwashed into assassinating the president of the US, so that his manipulators can gain power.
Because of how invasive mind control is considered to be, however, it’s safe to say that 100% of mind control techniques are unethical. This is true for the methods which are purely hypothetical as well as those which are actually employed.
Thus, while mind control might be highly useful, it’s not something that could be used as a force for good, especially if it was done without the consent of the person being controlled.
What Are The Types of Mind Control?
Theoretically speaking, there are several different types of mind control. The kinds of mind control include:
- Occult mind control
- Chemical mind control
- Hypnotic mind control
- Psychological mind control
- Propaganda-based mind control
We’ll go over each of these types of mind control in detail. For now, start to think about the idea that not all types of mind control are equally plausible, nor are they equally effective at their theoretical strongest iteration.
Likewise, realize that while all of the following types of mind control have been heavily investigated over the years, there isn’t any compelling evidence that suggests that anyone has been successful in developing actual mind control.
Finally, consider that it might be possible to combine multiple modalities of mind control to achieve complete control than what might be possible with only one method.
Keep in mind that for mind control to be the most effective, it needs to be scalable to multiple people, however. While some governments may be interested in controlling the minds of individuals, the real power of mind control would be when it could be directed at entire societies.
What is Mind Control Via The Occult?
Mind control via the occult refers to a handful of mystic rituals that supposedly result in the target of the ritual being placed under the power of the person who performed the ceremony.
However, if someone were to try to mind control someone else using occult techniques, there’s no single playbook to follow.
The religious or occult traditions that provision for mind control techniques have little in common, and methods range in complexity from simple prayers and mantras to extensive rituals involving sacrifices and other components.
Given that there’s no such thing as magic and that no single occult ritual has been even tenuously proven to provide any measure of control over anyone, you probably don’t need to worry about someone casting a mind-control spell on you.
If you’re especially superstitious, however, you may want to recognize that mind control via the occult is more likely to rely on the placebo effect than any genuine paranormal activity.
If you can convince yourself or someone else that their mind is under the control of a third party as a result of an occult ritual, it may seem very real.
Nonetheless, it’s important to remember that occult mumbo jumbo isn’t a common form of mind control, nor is it one that most people worry about.
Psychoactive chemicals can have a plethora of different effects, some of which may be beneficial to those who desire to manipulate a victim.
Chemical Mind Control Is Partially Real
Unlike mind control via the occult, changing people’s behaviors by having them ingest chemicals is a real phenomenon.
While the control provided by chemical mind control methods may not be as granular as in science fiction, it’s entirely possible for someone to be given a chemical that makes them behave differently or that makes them more malleable to control by others.
Chemical mind control has been investigated by many entities, including by the US government. Because of the value that a chemical mind control agent would have for intelligence agencies, many of the details surrounding the official efforts are not available to the public.
However, we know that the US government invested a lot of money into developing chemical mind control agents and that the government’s official story is that none of the chemical mind control agents it investigated were worthwhile for further development.
Between research into LSD, marijuana, and other common psychoactive chemicals, the government encountered many dead ends.
While many chemicals are capable of altering someone’s perceptions, there are few that make them more willing to do things that they wouldn’t usually be willing to do.
For the few chemicals which fit that description, there are typically a myriad number of problems that preclude their practical use as mind-control agents.
Nonetheless, chemical mind control agents exist to a limited extent in the form of interrogation aids. These chemicals, while far from being capable of delivering a fully compliant subject, were used by the CIA to try to get more information from detainees.
While it appears that the CIA never managed to make an effective truth serum out of their failed mind control agent candidates, there have been a few chemicals that continue to be used outside of government work.
These chemicals include scopolamine, which allegedly makes the recipient pliable and amnesic so long as they are under its effects. However, scopolamine is not a true mind control agent, as it also causes the victim to experience extreme confusion and drowsiness.
This means that if someone is poisoned with scopolamine in an attempt to mind control them, they may genuinely become open to the suggestions of others — or at least the suggestions of others as the addled mind of the victim interprets them.
Importantly, there isn’t much evidence that supports the idea that scopolamine is in widespread use for any purposes other than those which are legitimate and unrelated to mind control.
Thus, you probably don’t need to worry about someone ambushing you with scopolamine and forcing you to do their bidding in the fashion that many urban legends claim is common.
Other Potential Chemical Mind Control Agents
While scopolamine may be the most popular candidate for a mind-control chemical at the moment, a plethora of other substances may fit the bill of being useful for mind control.
Specifically, benzodiazepine drugs and other depressants have been investigated for their utility in making people more willing to do as they are told.
Benzodiazepines may be effective for this purpose because they tend to reduce the executive functions of the victim while also making them less prone to care about anything at all.
Thus, while a person might resist divulging sensitive information or doing something they don’t want to do under normal circumstances, benzodiazepines might make them more likely to slip up.
Someone who has a lot of discipline regarding how they communicate with others will most likely be massively disrupted by taking or being given benzodiazepines.
In other words, benzodiazepines aren’t a magic mind control chemical, but they are chemicals that may make someone more likely to do something that they wouldn’t otherwise be willing to do.
What About Hypnotic Mind Control?
Hypnosis is often proposed as a genuine form of mind control in which the autonomy of the person being hypnotized is surrendered to the hypnotist. As a result of the hypnotized person being in the hypnotist’s thrall, their mind and actions are pliable.
While hypnotism makes for a potentially frightening story regarding mind control, there’s a substantial amount of evidence that suggests that hypnosis isn’t everything it’s cracked up to be.
In fact, while hypnotists may be able to help people who want to be hypnotized to address their problematic habits via a hypnotic suggestion, it appears to be impossible to hypnotize someone who doesn’t want to be hypnotized or who doesn’t realize that someone is trying to hypnotize them.
Much like with their investigation into chemical mind control methods, the US government heavily investigated hypnotism as an adjunct to interrogation. Similarly, the efforts came up empty-handed, at least to the extent they are willing to tell the public.
Thus, hypnotism doesn’t meet the criteria for effective mind control. At best, hypnotism is an adjunct to therapy in which a person seeks outside help to change certain aspects of themselves.
At its worst, however, hypnotism is little more than normal human psychology operating in heavily contrived circumstances at the behest of the hypnotist. In other words, claims of a Manchurian candidate are probably unfounded.
How Do Stage Hypnotists Appear To Mind Control Their Subjects?
If you’ve ever seen a stage hypnotist hypnotize someone for the pleasure of a crowd at an event, you may be questioning the idea that hypnotism is not an effective method of mind control.
However, it’s essential to dissect the social and psychological forces at play to understand why stage hypnotism is not the same as mind control.
In short, stage hypnotism is an elaborate act that relies on peer pressure and the desire to please the crowd to make the person being hypnotized to act in a way that they normally wouldn’t.
It’s also critical to note tat the people who volunteer to be hypnotized by a stage hypnotist may be interested in surrendering their control to someone else for the purpose of entertainment.
Thus, while they might consider it to be similar to getting mind-controlled, the entire situation is at their discretion.
It’s highly unlikely that the stage hypnotist would ask them to do something which would harm them or someone else, so the participants can be more confident in playing along. Subsequently, people can play up their desire to conform by doing what the hypnotist says.
You Should Be Wary of Psychological Mind Control
Psychological mind control refers to the control which your desires, habits, emotions, and thoughts exert over you. Because these elements can be influenced by outside actors, you are vulnerable to at least partial mind control through your psyche.
How might psychological mind control work, though? In short, psychological mind control requires you to be the warden of your mind’s prison.
By convincing yourself that your actions will be fruitless or that they will have inevitable unbearable consequences, psychological mind control will ensure that you do not act out against the interests of the manipulators.
For example, if your boss has convinced you that you are incapable of getting another job, and whenever you consider quitting, you remember that you may not be able to hop into another form of employment easily; you have been psychologically mind-controlled.
In most cases, psychological mind control is an element of abuse. Likewise, psychological mind control is often empowered by trauma that is experienced by the person being controlled.
To guard against psychological mind control, it’s critical to trust your perception of reality and to distrust the perceptions which have been provided to you by the person who is trying to control your thoughts or actions.
In other words, it’s hard to psychologically manipulate someone who understands when someone else is trying to manipulate them and takes aggressive action to counter their influence.
Fear Is The Mind Killer
Mind control via psychological manipulation typically relies on the victim’s feelings of fear to ensure that the victim remains trapped in the cycle of control and abuse.
It’s extremely difficult to face your fears and acknowledge that they may be grounded in reality. It’s even more challenging to accept that someone has been trying to manipulate you in order to gain power over you and your mind.
It’s acceptable to question your instincts when it comes to being afraid of those who are controlling you via psychological manipulation. What isn’t fair is for you to continue being manipulated once you have identified the problem and the perpetrators.
Anger is a sufficient solution to fear if you can channel it productively, however. If you’re so angry that you can’t control yourself, it’s unlikely that the people trying to control you will be able to muster much influence, especially if your anger is directed at them.
Likewise, it’s often better to burn a bridge than it is to remain trapped in a situation where you are being exploited. Don’t be afraid to refute your victimizer’s expectations of you or your own expectations for yourself.
The walls that are built in your mind by being victimized are the first thing that must come down before you can break free.
Is Propaganda Mind Control?
While chemicals, hypnosis, occult rituals, and psychological manipulation may seem more frightening than fake news or World War 1 era military recruitment posters, there’s a critical difference between these other modalities of mind control and propaganda.
You’ve probably never been the target of all of the other mind control methods to the point where it affected your life. On the other hand, you’re exposed to propaganda every single day, as is everyone else you’ve ever met — and it works.
Propaganda typically refers to information that is not entirely accurate but which is valid at changing people’s opinions and, therefore, their actions as a result of appeals to emotion and framing things in deceptive ways.
The most effective mind control technique which is currently in use is propaganda bar none.
Via the mainstream media and social media, propaganda campaigns shape the opinions of the masses while ensuring that the affected people become evangelists for the propaganda message.
If you’ve ever viewed an advertisement or watched a TV show, you’ve been subjected to propaganda. For propaganda to count as a mind-control technique, however, it would need to motivate people to behave in a certain way without realizing they were being affected.
Propaganda accomplishes exactly this goal by framing choices and discussions in ways that guarantee the recapitulation of the desired range of behaviors as specified by the propagandist.
What’s more, propagandists need not realize their role in controlling people’s perceptions. Because everyone lives within society and participates in it, it is entirely feasible for someone to be both a creator and a victim of propaganda.
Eating Bacon and Eggs For Breakfast Proves That You’ve Already Been Mind Controlled By Propaganda
Think about the typical American breakfast for a moment. You’re probably picturing a dish of food that features bacon, eggs, and toast. However, you probably also realize that not all of the countries in the world eat bacon and eggs for breakfast.
Similarly, you can probably also realize that bacon and eggs aren’t some endless combinations of foods that humanity consumed together going back thousands of years.
While industrialized food production might not be necessary for at least a few people to eat bacon and eggs, it’s clear that the dawn of the factory farm was around the time when it became viable for people to routinely eat the two food products together at the scale of a nation.
Now, ask yourself how it came to be the case that you believe the standard American breakfast contains bacon and eggs, knowing that bacon and eggs are not a typical combination of breakfast foods worldwide.
If you’re not sure why bacon and eggs are the idealized American breakfast, you’re not alone. Propaganda campaigns are rarely understood when they are going on, but years after the fact, it can be all but impossible to untangle the impacts of a propaganda campaign.
That’s right: before a propaganda campaign dedicated to cultivating the idea that bacon and eggs are the ideal companions in a wholesome American breakfast, Americans didn’t eat them in the morning.
The author of this propaganda campaign, Edward Bernays, was a public relations professional who had been hired by the pig farming lobby to increase sales of bacon, which during the 1920s was considered to be a subpar-quality cut of meat.
Later, Bernays would author several definitive books on the use of propaganda for manipulation of the public.
You Are Not Immune To Propaganda
As shown by the anecdote regarding the rise of bacon and eggs, you’re carrying around the product of a handful of different propaganda campaigns at all times by virtue of being a member of society.
These propaganda campaigns have shaped you so that you take the actions which are desirable for the propagandist, whether it be purchasing bacon and eggs at a diner or purchasing a new iPhone because you think it’s essential to have the latest piece of hardware.
Propaganda is capable of affecting you in more ways than your purchasing habits alone, however. Political propaganda is especially odious and also especially dangerous to the health of a nation.
Importantly, unlike other mind control techniques, propaganda works at large scale. Chemical mind control agents might affect one person or perhaps a small population of people with poor efficiency.
On the other hand, propaganda can affect entire countries or even entire segments of the world population. The power of the mass media means that it can be difficult to escape the reach of propaganda.
In the 2016 election in the United States, a handful of different propaganda campaigns ensured that many voters were working with incorrect information when they made their decision regarding who to vote for.
In some cases, propaganda led to voters being discouraged from approaching the polling stations whatsoever. While this may not describe your voting behavior or lack thereof, it’s critical to remember that propaganda is designed to erode your ability to exercise free choice.
Likewise, while political propaganda frequently exhorts its targets to take certain actions, it can just as easily prompt them to take no action. Do not forget: choosing not to take any action is still a choice.
Fighting Back Against Propaganda
Unlike psychological manipulation and similar forms of mind control, it does little good to get angry at a propaganda campaign or a propagandist for attempting to control your mind.
Instead, if you want to resist being propagandized, you need to consider everything that enters your mind as something which may have an agenda. Every advertisement, TV show, and news segment has a purpose. Many of these purposes are not aligned with your best interests.
Thus, the single most effective trick to fight against mind control via propaganda is to start thinking critically about all of the information you are exposed to each day. Don’t take things at their face value.
Don’t accept the official story, and don’t believe claims made by advertisers or by entertainment media. Remember that you are a walking dollar sign to propagandists because of how easily they can convince you to purchase products.
Likewise, don’t forget that your vote and your contribution to the national conversation is valuable and that there are many people who would prefer that you discuss things in specific frames which are favorable to them.
You aren’t obligated to discuss political events in the frame provided to you by the media or by the people you know.
If you think that there is a substantial amount of propaganda which is encouraging people to act in a way which isn’t beneficial for the country, it’s your job to speak out.
Does True Mind Control Even Exist?
In a nutshell, there probably isn’t any single mind control technique that could genuinely mind control a person who didn’t want to be controlled.
On the other hand, there are certainly several techniques which can influence people or change the way that they behave, even if they do not want to be controlled.
Propaganda is the strongest of these techniques, though it can be resisted with an appropriately critical mental frame. Cultivate the habit of asking who benefits from you having a particular belief, and you’ll be on your way to resisting being mind-controlled by propaganda.
Thus, while the science fiction notion of mind control is a distant fantasy, you should still be on your guard regarding attempts to influence your behavior, especially when those attempts are in support of consumerism or political action.