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People have various motives for studying psychology. Some want to understand themselves better. Others are curious. Students may just want credits toward graduation. The scientifically minded may make psychology or psychiatry a profession and endeavor to learn enough to be able to help others maintain or restore mental balance and control.
But that is not all. There are some who want psychological knowledge in order to gain power over the minds of other people, using them to accomplish the goals of the power seeker. The power motive for seeking psychological knowledge ought to be called invasive psychology or psychological vandalism because the goal is to invade minds in order to kill self control. Invasive psychology is war on the mind. Its object is to make subjects vulnerable to whatever physical, emotional, social, or environmental influences can be contrived to direct their activities. The object is to make others respond and react without taking thought, anticipating consequences, or making moral judgments. Psychological vandalism is the conscious effort to treat other people like nothing more than obedient pleasure-seeking, pain-avoiding biological robots. Psychological vandals call this science.
Robotic-type behavior can become almost totally manageable and predictable. While everyone seeks pleasure and tries to avoid pain, invasive psychology assumes this is the total explanation for all human behavior. If we respond like nothing more than biological robots these are the obvious ways to control us: 1} Give pleasure and 2} Cause pain. With these two methods psychological vandals train people as you would train a dog, a horse, a mouse running through a maze or a slave. Harvard's late B. F. Skinner, one of the best known invasive psychologists wrote:
We are concerned, then, with the causes of human behavior. We want to know why men behave as they do. Any condition or event which can be shown to have an effect upon behavior must be taken into account. By discovering and analyzing these causes we can predict behavior; to the extent that we can manipulate them, we can control behavior. Science and Human Behavior, B. F. Skinner, Free Press Paperback Edition, 1965. P. 23
Skinner and many other psychological vandals share a larger goal. In addition to controlling individual behavior, they hope to establish a system to alter and control entire societies. In 1923 Charles A. Ellwood wrote in Christianity and Social Science:
If it were possible to control the learning of all individuals, in the way both of ideas and of emotional attitudes, as they come on to the stage of life, it would be possible to modify the whole complex of our social life, or our civilization, within the comparatively short space of one or two generations. P. 19
Notice that Ellwood sought control of learning from the beginning of life. This is because some parents, teachers, ministers or priests might begin teaching small children about right and wrong. One who knows the difference between right and wrong and lives according to this knowledge has what is called self control. Psychological vandals do not acknowledge the existence of self control. They expect all of us, but especially lawmakers, judges, teachers, and preachers to respond to praise and blame. System approved or "positive" behavior is reinforced by praise or rewards. System disapproved or "negative" behavior is extinguished by punishment or blame. Right is what gains system approval. Wrong is what the system rejects.
Learning the Ten Commandments and the Golden Rule allows individuals to assess their own behavior. It gives them independence from the ever-changing, frequently destructive "values" of invasive psychology. Before the system can claim them, the minds of those who have a knowledge of right and wrong have to be invaded and changed. Joseph S. Roucek explained this in his 1947 book, Social Control:
If the behavior to be controlled lies in the field of institutional morality, the objective must be to remove it to the field of unthinking habit, or to the doubtful field. As long as the person to be controlled knows that what he is doing is right, there is little chance that he will change. P. 5.
In 1929 Sociologist Ross L. Finney wrote in A Sociological Philosophy of Education:
The young mind is as absorbent as blotting paper. The ideas of other people exert an insistent pressure even upon adults unless we are already possessed of ideas with which they seem to conflict. As a young child's mind is so meagerly equipped as yet with knowledge, it can offer no such resistance. Accordingly it absorbs whatever cognitive material happens to be extant in its social environment. P. 61.
Perhaps no organization has done more to keep children's minds meagerly equipped, ignorant, and suggestible than the Ford Foundation which financed many programs of invasive psychology in the schools. In its publication, A FOUNDATION GOES TO SCHOOL - 1960-1970 we read what also has been stated by many other mind vandalizers:
Perhaps the greatest single shortcoming of our school system is its tendency to concern itself almost exclusively with the dissemination of information. P. 7.
Harvard University, where many of the ideas for world management and psychological war originated, has been active in promoting invasive psychology for most of the past century. The minds of both adults and children have been undernourished and vandalized through its programs and its influence on other institutions.
For example, an article in FORTUNE magazine, February, 1949, described how businessmen have had their emotions reeducated through human relations training at Harvard. It said that since 1943 more than 1000 top executives had spent 13 weeks at Harvard to study management practices. The course was so successful, FORTUNE said, that the businessmen frequently emerged with their attitudes so different that they seemed changed men.
Attitudes may have been changed, but to claim that emotions were reeducated is untrue. Emotions are not intelligent. They cannot be taught. Emotions never learn. The emotions of the world's greatest genius are no more intelligent than those of a third grade child. The genius as well as the child can be frightened, angered, depressed, or elevated by situations known to be contrived or fictional.
Human relations training involves emotional stimulation intended to by-pass the will and intellect of the persons trained. The intent is to suspend the critical screening so suggestions can be made directly to the emotions. Critical screening and moral judgment are by-passed. Action, therefore, can be emotionally directed rather than having to be subject to restraint by either the intellect or conscience.
In the late 1970's a parent invited me to accompany her to her daughter's third grade classroom to observe human relations training. The counselor was a delightful, charming, warm, friendly, intelligent and attractive Puerto Rican woman, probably in her late thirties. She wore a soft print dress and high heeled shoes. She spoke in a captivating Puerto Rican accent. The children loved her.
Besides my friend and I, the principal of the school, the counselor's supervisor, and the classroom teacher sat in on the session. In spite of all the observers the counselor appeared to be relaxed and unperturbed.
The classroom was integrated with children of black, white, and Oriental ancestry. They were well behaved and seemed eager to learn, which was probably a credit to their regular teacher. The counselor had been there the previous week so the children knew and responded to her immediately.
She began by talking about similarities and differences between people, and also the fact that each individual is unique. There was a discussion about the qualities that make a person unique: Some are boys. Some girls. Some are old, some young, etc., etc.
She had brought two packages with her. One was wrapped in newspaper and was very unattractive. The other was gift wrapped in gold foil paper with a large white ribbon. The packages were compared to the exterior qualities of people, and it was emphasized that we cannot tell what is inside the package by looking at the outside. Nor can we tell what is inside people by looking at their packaging or their outward appearance.
To prove this, the counselor (after looking at her notes) said to one little boy, "I'm looking at you and one thing I can tell from looking at you is that you don't like ice cream."
Immediately the little boy protested and insisted that he did like ice cream. The counselor said that the mistake proved that one can't judge what is insid e by looking at the outside. Looking at him she said she had been sure that he did not like ice cream. There was more discussion with the counselor referring occasionally to her notes. Then she said to one little girl, "You and I are alike because we both like ice cream." The little girl nodded.
After further discussion about packaging the children were asked to raise their hands to decide which of the packages they wanted to keep. Nine raised their hands for the pretty package--fourteen for the ugly package. The counselor opened the pretty package. It contained an old torn glove. She opened the ugly package, and it contained little packages wrapped in silver foil. Each child was given one as a gift. Inside were magic markers. The children were reminded again that it is impossible to judge what is on the inside by looking at the outside. The counselor bade farewell, and promised to be back the next week.
1. One reason the children responded well
to the counselor was because she was a "pretty package." 2. The
counselor lied to the children. She did not really think the little boy
did not like ice cream. It was just what her notes told her to say.
Most people assume human relations training is meant to help people get along with each other. Wrong. Human relations training is used to teach people to get along with the system.
Another Harvard invasive technique, this one credited to Professor Lawrence Kohlberg, was called moral reasoning. It would have been more appropriate to call it moral vandalism. According to moral reasoning theory the highest stage of moral development is a self-developed moral code. According to this theory Charles Manson reached the highest stage of moral development. He did what was right to him. His little puppet, Susan Adkins, who said, "I have no remorse for doing what was right to me. I have no guilt in me." was also at the highest stage of moral development.
Teacher training in moral reasoning was made possible through federal grants and grants the W. Clement and Jessie V. Stone Foundation, the Danforth Foundation and the Joseph P. Kennedy Foundation. Summer courses were offered at Carnegie Mellon University. The April 1976 issue of SOCIAL EDUCATION was devoted almost exclusively to promoting this Carnegie Mellon social studies curriculum. Schools all over the country adopted the curriculum in robotic harmony.
In this Twenty-first Century psychological vandalism endures. In the schools it is frequently called problem solving and decision making. That sounds important, and it gets support from state legislatures and school boards who seldom investigate further. Social studies teachers, if they seek approval of the system, are given no choice. They teach problem solving and decision making the same way they learned it. Most choose to submit and become psychological vandals. Like the legislators who vote for the program and the governors who sign the bills, they are manageable and predictable biological organisms.
© 2003 Erica Carle - All Rights Reserved
Erica Carle is an independent researcher and writer. She has a B.S. degree from the University of Wisconsin. She has been involved in radio and television writing and production, and has also taught math and composition at the private school her children attended in Brookfield, Wisconsin. For ten years she wrote a weekly column, "Truth In Education" for WISCONSIN REPORT, and served as Education Editor for that publication.
Her books are GIVE US THE YOUNG--$5 Plus $2.00 P&H WHY THINGS ARE THE WAY THEY ARE--$16 PLUS $4.00 P&H BOTH BOOKS -- $25 Total. A loose leaf collection of quotes titled, SIX GENERATIONS TO SERFDOM is also available--$15 Plus $2.00 P&H. Mailing address: Erica Carle; PO Box 261; Elm Grove, WI 53122.
"Robotic-type behavior can become almost totally manageable and predictable. While everyone seeks pleasure and tries to avoid pain, invasive psychology assumes this is the total explanation for all human behavior."