Manipulation of consciousness. Why is it so simple?

Sometimes this is a complete surprise and even shocking - the way people close in worldview, close in age, education, environment, films that they watched, books they read, can interpret the same events in different ways. Based on the same sources of information, having good IQs, an open mind, they come to exactly the opposite conclusions.

Obviously, at least someone in this situation is in a state of illusion.
How is it that neither a good education, nor the availability of information, nor the developed ability to think logically protect us from conceptual errors in perception and interpretation, how is it that we do not recognize manipulation and falsehood? Controversy, observation, and reflection eventually led me to the way of thinking outlined in this article.

Here are 14 common manipulations. Analyzing my life, I can say that I felt at different times the effects of each of them, and some methods of brainwashing in relation to me were really effective. I think this is a familiar attack to everyone. I put them in a list and tried to describe the mechanisms and reasons why they, despite the triviality, are quite effective.

I do not consider elementary influences such as bribery, blackmail and intimidation. In this article, I am only interested in attacks that make us live in illusion.

At the end of the article, I will also try to answer the question of why a lie can easily deceive our intellect and, moreover, use it for our own good, why our education and the availability of information do not help us.

This is not an article on psychology or an article on philosophy, if only because this article will not contain any links.


Because I’m trying to understand how these manipulations work, I had to introduce some concepts and consider some patterns.

AAVD = A Absolutely A Dec. B Perception of Reality
This is a hypothetical state, which is an endless approximation of adequacy. The concept is introduced for clarity of some patterns and relationships. A sufficient condition for AAVD is an absolute IML.
AAVD is error resistant. So, if you remove, distort or add a certain amount of facts, then AAD allows you to detect errors and restore the true picture of the world. Because all facts and events - this is what happened in the past, then we can say that the AAD allows

  • restore the picture of the past

If we talk about the future, it is obvious that AADD allows

  • predict the future

Indeed, if you accurately understand all the relationships, you understand in which direction the situation is developing, then you can predict the future.

It is not clear how accurately you can predict the future even with AAVD. So, if we assume that there is still freedom of choice, then we cannot accurately predict events. The question of whether we can at the same time (if there is freedom of choice) to accurately predict the probability of possible events also has no answer, because the probabilistic characteristics of "freedom of choice" have not been studied. But still it seems obvious that the closer the perception of reality is to AAVD, the more accurately you can predict the future.

Absolute IML ( ILL = And information, Mysleptic abilities, Logic)
Assuming hypothetically that someone possesses

  • complete and accurate information (infinite amount of information)
  • infinite thinking abilities (in computer terminology - infinite computing power)
  • has flawless logic (in computer terminology - to have the correct calculation algorithm without errors)

then this subject (with the capabilities of God) has complete and accurate information on all the facts and their interconnections, that is, his picture of the world accurately describes reality, and he has AAVD.

We will call this triad an absolute IML.

AED = A Dec.In Valuation of Validity
Adequacy is a relative concept. It is impossible to precisely establish the border and say that up to this border you have an adequate perception, and after that - no. But more or less we can say that this picture of the world is more adequate, and this one is less. Two criteria can be used to compare the degree of adequacy:

  • how much the facts of the past fit into the picture of the individual’s world
  • how well can he predict the course of events


In fact, it is often impossible to mathematically accurately compare the adequacy of two pictures of the world. For example, if one picture of the world predicts events A, B, and another picture of the world predicts C, D, but in reality A, C, then what picture of the world is more adequate? It would be mathematically correct to rely on the amount of information contained in the predictions A, B, C, D, which is associated with the probability of these events, but the problem is that in real life it is often impossible to find the exact value of these probabilities. But still, sometimes it’s pretty obvious. Let us compare, for example, the perception of the child and the parents. Parents predict events much better.

The picture of the world is our interpretation of reality.
Due to the strong limitations of IML, when we talk about the “picture of the world” of an ordinary person, it is obvious that in this picture there can be a lot of inaccurate, secondary information, opinions of other people, crude generalizations, erroneous logical constructions, and all this is abundantly intertwined with emotions . A person cannot capture everything with a single glance, his perception and his picture of the world is fragmentary.

The question may arise, but does it make sense to talk about adequacy at all? Perhaps in all situations everyone is always mistaken, but each in his own way?

Yes, it is obvious that a person cannot understand the situation in detail. But with all the limitations, it can be argued that a person is able to understand the essence. Based on this understanding, he can make correct predictions and correctly filter out false information.

A small regeneration cycle is a cycle that allows, on the one hand, to build a correct picture of the world from true facts, and on the other hand, a correct picture of the world allows you to filter out false ones, correct errors and add missing facts. Thus, self-tuning to the truth occurs.
The ability to restore the true picture of the past gives rise to the possibility of "self-adjustment to the truth." We will call this the "small regeneration cycle." The bottom line is that a certain amount of false information can be filtered out due to the fact that this information is not consistent with other facts.


Small cycle means that this is an “internal” work.
The word regeneration means that this work is aimed at reproducing a picture of the world.

It reflects the fact that, on the one hand, the true picture of the world is supported by a sufficient amount of true data, but on the other hand, the picture of the world allows us to correct errors in the data.

A large regeneration cycle (a cycle of experience) is a cycle that allows, on the one hand, to predict the development of events on the basis of the true picture of the world and to take actions on the basis of this, and on the other hand, analyzing the result of these actions, to correct the picture of the world. Thus, self-tuning to the truth occurs.
The ability to predict also leads to "self-alignment with the truth." We will call this the “experience cycle” or the “large regeneration cycle”.


A large cycle means that this is an `` external '' activity, consisting in the relationship of the individual and reality.

The bottom line is that, based on his picture of the world, the individual makes a prediction of the development of events and acts in accordance with this prediction. If for some reason a mistake crept into his worldview, then the situation may begin to develop not as he expected. By analyzing this, the individual realizes that his picture of the world is false and corrects his vision.

In principle, it is not necessary to act on your own, it is enough to make predictions and observe.

It also speaks of error tolerance. A person as a result of his activity receives additional facts, and these facts allow him to adjust the picture of the world.

False small regeneration cycle - in the case of a weak IML, a false picture of the world may begin to incorrectly filter out facts, leaving or adding false and ignoring the true ones, while this set of facts (along with erroneous data) will support this false picture of the world. In this way, the illusion is maintained.
This can be represented by the following chain.

  • Distorted facts create a distorted picture of the world. This process is aggravated by logical errors and insufficient mental abilities.
  • Distorted perception “completes” the missing facts in accordance with a false picture of the world.
  • Thus, we get a self-sustaining process of "tuning" to a false picture of the world.

False large regeneration cycle (false cycle of experience) - in the case of a weak IML based on a false picture of the world, an individual makes incorrect predictions and performs appropriate actions, while the result of these actions (not positive) is interpreted incorrectly (as positive), which supports this false picture of the world . In this way, the illusion is maintained.
Also, in the process of a false cycle of experience, the individual will change reality so that it matches his picture of the world. For example, he will gravitate toward an environment that supports his false picture of the world and avoid an environment with a disharmonious worldview.

Compensation mechanisms
The main mechanisms that give adequacy to the picture of the world and provide "self-cleaning" from errors are large and small cycles of regeneration. But a person, including because of the weakness of the IML, is forced to use certain compensatory techniques that impose a limitation on the effectiveness of these cycles. Four such mechanisms can be distinguished: generalization, emotional charge, the opinion of people around and meaning. Each of them has a “cementing” property, depriving flexibility and “preserving” our worldview.

Suppose you know someone well. You have a certain idea about this person. What is this, this presentation?

Due to the very limited human mental abilities (processing power), you cannot constantly operate with all this huge amount of facts related to this person. When you think about this person, and, for example, you try to understand whether the new information that you learned about it (a small regeneration cycle) is true or false, you are not really trying to remember, you are operating with some generalizations and abstractions that you associate with this person.

For example, you may have a general feeling that this person is good, honest, decent or, conversely, that he is not worthy of trust, that he can deceive, that he is cunning and selfish ... This is a generalized speculative perception (expressed in abstractions of good / bad, honest / deceitful ...) is a kind of integral perception based on your experience of communicating with him and the information that you have.

In principle, without emotional support, generalizations by themselves do not have a strong “cementing” property, but still, even logically, I can assume that they nevertheless contribute to fixing the picture of the world (making your perception less flexible). I can give you 2 reasons:

  • generalizations (and emotions, about which a little later) are rather discrete. Therefore, it is even purely logically clear that such a discrete averaging is stable
  • we use generalizations in order not to think about the details, so something significant must happen so that we pay attention to it and revise our previous conclusions

But nevertheless, just a generalization is a rather rational action and therefore I do not think that it strongly “cementes” the perception. But if emotion is “attached” to this generalization, then it can really “cement” the picture of the world.

Emotional charge

I do not understand where the exact line between feelings and emotions goes, and whether there is one. Therefore, despite the fact that in this article I’m not talking about feelings anywhere, I admit that somewhere the terminology is not entirely correct and we should talk more about feelings.

We are often prone to a good / bad type of dichotomy (“one step from love to hate”).

This creates a strong level of discreteness in our emotional perceptions. And in this case, as in the case of generalization, it is mathematically clear that the averaged (and emotion is also averaged, as it is a kind of integral perception of a person) discrete value becomes weakly sensitive to individual facts.

Perhaps there are other reasons associated with the fact that, nevertheless, emotions are largely in the realm of the unconscious, and reasonable arguments do not always have the proper effect.

But, I think it is obvious that in the case of our example, if you, for example, have a strong negative (or positive) attitude towards a person, then this attitude (this picture of the world) is quite stable and difficult to change by individual facts. Even if you are wrong and think badly (or well) about a person undeservedly, a false small regeneration cycle will discard facts that do not correspond to your “fixed” picture of the world.

The opinion of people around
Using the knowledge and conclusions of other people is certainly also a compensation for weak IML. We do not possess all the facts, and we cannot verify everything ourselves. We have to trust other people and rely on information from them, their calculations and conclusions.

An important factor is not only quantity, but also the degree of trust. So, if the information comes from a person whom you trust, then the degree of trust in this information increases. If this person is an authority for you, then you would rather believe his picture of the world than your observations and conclusions.

The “cementing” factor here is that if the people around you who are pretty to you share your point of view, then this gives a strong stability to this picture of the world. You perceive the opinions of people around you as facts (in case of sympathy for them - with great weight).

Remark 1

In the case of authoritarian regimes, this factor is used together with emotion, usually fear. A typical situation is that people try to `` think like everyone else. ''

Remark 2

In the modern world, the world of social networks and the ability to shape your environment in accordance with our idea of ​​life, the strength of this factor is increasing. We can have different points of view and choose an environment with a similar worldview. This generates, for example, such strange phenomena as a society of followers of the theory of flat land.

If the previous 3 "cementing" elements acted on a small regeneration cycle, then the meaning is associated with a large regeneration cycle.

The meaning is used as a parameter by which we could measure how adequate our picture of the world is in the cycle of experience.

In fact, in specific situations it is often more reasonable to talk not about meaning, but about the goal, but the goal, if it is set consciously, should be meaningful.
Remark 1

An imposed target is not always false. For example, the whole process of teaching young children is usually an imposed goal. The task of parents and teachers to understand what is really important and interesting (makes sense) for the child.

A false imposed target is always associated with a myth. In this case, by myth, I mean a false picture of the world, which they try to explain the imposed goal.

If you are forced to do something with brute force, without any explanation (without myth), and in the end you become forced to somehow live with it and “accept” this picture of the world (put up with), then you yourself will create a myth why it have to do. An example is the Stockholm Syndrome.

The emotional perception of the situation is determined by this factor. You are annoyed by what prevents you from achieving your goals, and what helps you is sympathetic. This seems to be the most powerful “cementing” factor. Therefore, in the modern world, the battle is fought primarily for the minds.

This diagram displays the concepts introduced above in their relationship:

Now we have enough tools for analysis.

Reasons for Inadequate Perception

The reason for the decrease in the degree of adequacy is the weakness of the IML, namely:

All this is a field for attacks on our attitude to reality with the aim of manipulating consciousness. Let's look at each of these aspects.

Insufficient, distorted or false information

This is the most obvious reason for distortion in perception. She is quite natural. It is clear that if you do not have enough information, then it is difficult for you to get an idea of ​​the situation.

It is also one of the most common methods of manipulation. In fact, when we talk about distortion or false information, we are talking about fraud. In the case of simple deception, the picture of the world can be easily restored by providing true facts. But modern realities show that with some types of manipulation, a false picture of the world has amazing stability, and “truthful data”, even when available, often can not win in the competition for the status of truth with outright lies and fakes. This effect can be called brainwashing, and all our examples will deal with just such situations.

Manipulation 1. Othello

This is a manipulation aimed at a specific person, taking into account the specifics of his character and perception in order to discredit another person or in order to influence his attitude to a particular situation.

Let's look at the famous history of the relationship between Othello and Desdemona in terms of introduced new concepts and described patterns.
Then, using the dry language of analysis, the attitude of Othello to Desdemona was changed with the help of false information. This information was presented in such a way as to give Othello a definite view of the situation. The jealous nature gave this new picture of the world a strong negative emotional charge, which created a kind of potential minimum for such an interpretation and deprived Othello (strong negative emotion) of the ability to think logically. When a false picture of the world was formed, a false small regeneration cycle began to work, which supplanted the true facts, ceasing to take them into account. A cycle of false experience has also begun. A false goal appeared - revenge, which led his actions.

Manipulation 2. Fake news

An interesting (and unexpectedly effective) technique is the creation of a fake news cycle. Each such news, being in the wake of a certain (false) point of view, fits into the small cycle of false regeneration and “feeds” the negative emotion associated with this suggested picture of the world. And despite the fact that this news is refuted after a while, it acts as a fuel for this emotion, which in turn "cementes" the false picture. This leads to the fact that even realizing that this news was false, a person who fell under the influence of this manipulation continues to maintain this false picture of the world. Also, as already mentioned, negative emotion hits the second and third elements of the IML, narrowing the analytical ability of the individual.

Manipulation 3. Blackening

The next common simple but very effective technique is blackening.
Essentially similar to the previous two. A (false) negative image of a person is created. Information may contain a large percentage of lies. It doesn’t matter that after a while it turns out that this is a lie. The main thing is that emotion will be “glued” to this person. Further, one can “work” on this image, work through this “reality” with a sequence of fake news, which will be the “fuel” for this emotion. The difference from the Othello example is that here, along with emotion, the `` opinion of people around '' is used to give stability to the false picture of the world. For this, the media are involved.

Manipulation 4. On the blue eye

'' Lying on the blue eye '' means that the person is knowingly lying, but at the same time skillfully creates the feeling that he is telling the truth. The essence of this manipulation is that the attacker tries to win over him by his behavior and thus increase the degree of confidence in this information. In the case of using the media with good artistic skills or training, this attack on the minds is most likely successful, at least for a certain target group, which can then quickly “unite” through social networks, thereby creating a “fixation” of the world’s image in accordance with factor “opinion of people around”.

Manipulation 5. Propaganda

This is an aggressive, persistent and prolonged distortion of the picture of the world. This is a direct, massive attack on the minds. The more power is used, the more efficient it is.

In fact, a certain myth is created, and this myth is inspired by others. The emotion of fear is often used. For this, it is demonstrated that if someone actively disagrees with this picture of the world, then this person will have problems - from inconvenience to a real danger to life (intimidation). This is a favorite technique of totalitarian regimes, but it can also be a less bloodthirsty situation, for example, in the case of sects, or some companies (which sometimes resemble sects) or some groups. This attack, using fear, first hits the second and third elements of the IML of the target group (respectively, for which this is a weak link). Further, as this group grows, the factor “the opinion of people around” becomes more and more important.

In the case of sectarianism and some ideologies, this may not be fear, but “bright feelings” associated with a sense of brotherhood, meaningful existence, or it may be the result of various psychophysical techniques elevated to the category of cult. But still the dichotomy of good / evil underlying these myths always has fear as the reverse side of the coin.

Manipulation 6. The Godfather

This attack is based on a dichotomy - cruel / kind, evil towards enemies, but kind towards friends. It looks like the previous attack. Fear and myth are also used (see the next chapter) in the form of a peculiar idea of ​​good and evil (which can even be framed in the form of an ethical code). In this case, unlike the previous attack, the media are not used, and the action is limited to a narrow circle of “friends”. In principle, in many ways this is similar to the previous two cases (up to the elements of sectarianism).

Limited mental ability

All four compensatory mechanisms described earlier are the result of, among other things, the weak second element of IML, which means that any brainwashing using cementing is an attack based on the limitation of mental abilities as well. It is easy to see that all the previous examples fall into this category.

But we can distinguish a group of special manipulations, sharpened to attack this particular element.

Manipulation 7. Insult

In fact, it is a primitive form of blackening.

This is a very common type of manipulation. An insult or a name-calling is a kind of generalization, it is some kind of casket in which a certain set of negative characteristics (and, accordingly, emotions) are carefully enclosed in advance. But not only this, the instruction on what to expect from this person, about how he will behave is also enclosed. This is such a way to “erase” a personality by classifying it. Further on, you can no longer pay attention to it. If we compare the insult with the usual classification, then the difference lies in the presence of negative emotion. The stronger this emotion, the more “perception” is “cemented”.

Manipulation 8. Corruption

The essence of this manipulation is that a person is made a beneficiary of a false cycle of experience based on a false picture of the world (myth). There are two possible options.

We are considering the second option. In this case, the fact that a person is a beneficiary “cements” a false picture of the world. For example, in caste societies, higher castes sincerely consider themselves to be an elite, despise ordinary people and believe that they have a well-deserved right to violence and exploitation. They are certainly the beneficiaries of this system of relations, and their false small regeneration cycle carefully protects them from all doubts.

It is interesting to observe, and I think everyone knows about such examples as some people change their views to the exact opposite, becoming beneficiaries of a myth that was fought some time ago.

Manipulation 9. Creating a myth

We have already discussed the meaning of myth in the chapter “The Picture of the World and Its Sustainability”. Using the media, playing on already-formed emotions (for example, resentment, hatred), using authorities, can really make a myth a powerful weapon. In fact, this is a direct introduction of a false picture of the world into consciousness.

The danger lies also in the fact that these myths are often imposed in childhood and young adulthood, when we are almost defenseless against such attacks. In the future, the myth may "die", or you can independently realize the falsity of this worldview. But this worldview is not erased without a trace, its fragments, like fragments of a broken mirror, continue to live in us. Some of them harmoniously fit into the new myth that carefully selects them, some are stored in an inactive state, thus creating a “backdoor” in our consciousness.

Manipulation 10. Emphasis

The essence of this manipulation is that you emphasize events confirming the myth, attaching great importance to them and downplaying or trying not to mention, reducing weight to zero, other events that do not fit into the proposed picture of the world of the world.

Thus, even without explicitly deceiving, this attack allows you to introduce and maintain a false small regeneration cycle.

Usually, reality contains a range of events. For example, a person can sometimes be kind, sometimes aggressive, sometimes depressed. In some situations, he can look up to par, in others he can feel dumb ... This applies to almost everything. There is always a spectrum. And if the weight of the phenomena in this spectrum is incorrect, then this forms a false picture of perception.

So, for example, when it comes to discrediting a person, the public's attention is focused on those situations when a person did not look the best. This, for example, may not be the best deeds in his life or simply unsightly photographs obtained by the paparazzi.

Logical errors

To begin with, the lower the person’s IQ, the easier it is for such manipulations. A nearby person is easy to confuse. But, what was a discovery for me, people with well-developed logic and IQ are significantly above average, they are still blamed on these errors and use these manipulations themselves during disputes. Such is the strength of desire to defend its "picture of the world", such is the strength of small and large cycles of regeneration.

Manipulation 11. Direct attack

The most primitive and yet one of the most effective attacks is direct insults or even a physical attack on an opponent. This leads out of emotional balance and disrupts the process of logical thinking, which requires a certain degree of calm and comfort.

Manipulation 12. Trolling

A variation of the previous attack is trolling. This is a more sophisticated attack. Direct insults may not be. It is rather a form of bullying, but the essence and purpose remains the same - to unbalance.

The effectiveness of this attack can be enhanced by creating a group of trolls.

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13. -

Very common manipulation. It looks like a manipulation of "emphasis." The bottom line is that in the chain of cause and effect relationships, a certain moment is taken that is beneficial for the attacker and further it is considered as the original cause. All previous chain is ignored. The technique is often used in the criminal world, when the victim’s natural reaction to provocation, in an attempt to protect themselves and their dignity, is presented as the cause of the conflict, thus demoralizing the victim and suggesting to her that she is guilty and should “answer for ...”

Manipulation 14. Associative thinking

- Why did you call Marya Ivanovna?
- And Vasya did that too.
After this the question usually arises:
- And if Vasya jumped out the window, would you jump too?
This question should explain to the child that you need to be responsible for your actions yourself and not follow the herd reflex.

I can understand why this is the answer of a child with immature thinking, but why do I constantly come across similar arguments in adults, smart people?

They probably want to say something more. I can even assume that they just cut their logical chain. But please expand it. Explain to me, what does all these examples and comparisons have to do with it? The question was why you did it, and not Vasya (or why this happens HERE, and not THERE).

In reality, this is again a manipulation. Moreover, our weak points related to our past can be exploited (for example, fragments of old myths that we were sick of).

Typical misconceptions

Now let's look at a few non-trivial (such as low IQ, exposure) typical misconceptions


An unshakable self-righteousness is likely to indicate the fixation of the picture of the world and the false small and large regeneration cycles. The bottom line is that our IML is very limited. We cannot say which information is true and which is not and whether it is complete. Our logic is not perfect, and we are subject to various influences. Our emotions can deceive us. Our friends and everyone who thinks like us also have all these shortcomings. How can we be sure that we are right? It seems reasonable to always keep in mind the option that it is not your opponent who is mistaken, but you.

Highlighting information

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We live in an ocean of information with a huge amount of false and false information. Many topics are highly charged emotionally. If your picture of the world is false and has strong “cementation”, then it is very difficult for you to distinguish true information from false.

Emotional underdevelopment

We have already discussed that the more discrete our emotional perception (in the limit is black and white), the more our “picture of the world” is subject to “cementing”, which in turn makes us vulnerable to manipulation. Therefore, a developed emotional perception is an important condition for your adequacy.

Underdeveloped sense of harmony

If you like abstract painting, then you must understand how important this feeling is when you are dealing with chaos, which consists in an infinite number of options for shapes and colors. Due to the weakness of our IML, we cannot take into account all the facts, factors, dependencies, and we are actually in the same situation of chaos and we need to choose the most “harmonious” interpretation.


So why so simple? Why neither good education, nor the availability of information, nor the ability to think well logically usually give us serious advantages in protecting against manipulation?

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