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Education vs. brainwashing

phantom
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4/11/2011 11:56:57 PM
Posted: 5 years ago
It depends theirs different kinds of brain washing.
Brain washing is like a forced education.
Some prisoners in Germany, I heard were brain washed into thinking Hitler was good basically by torturing them and playing over and over to them recordings of phrases praising Hitler and saying that he was good and blalabla.
You might say the Germans were brain washed into believing he was good by the lies that were told about him, without being told the other side.
So brain washing is forcing ideas on people.

Heres word IQ's definition of it http://www.wordiq.com...
"Music is a zen-like ecstatic state where you become the new man of the future, the Nietzschean merger of Apollo and Dionysus." Ray Manzarek (The Doors)
phantom
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4/12/2011 12:01:37 AM
Posted: 5 years ago
Education is teaching knowledge, while brain washing is forcing ideas.
"Music is a zen-like ecstatic state where you become the new man of the future, the Nietzschean merger of Apollo and Dionysus." Ray Manzarek (The Doors)
Rob1_Billion
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4/12/2011 12:15:55 AM
Posted: 5 years ago
At 4/11/2011 10:42:41 PM, sal wrote:
What is the difference?

Is teaching moral values to children brainwashing or educating?

Educating. Instead of getting into some complex psychological discussion, just look at who's doing the informational uploading and why.

For instance, a cut and dried example of a parent teaching a child mathematics is not brainwashing. However, telling your children a lie because you expect them to disobey you if you tell them the truth is probably stepping over that line. Assuming, that is, you are using a very loose definition of the word.

What is brainwashing?

"a forcible indoctrination to induce someone to give up basic political, social, or religious beliefs and attitudes and to accept contrasting regimented ideas"

"Make (someone) adopt radically different beliefs by using systematic and often forcible pressure"

"... especially through the use of torture, drugs, or psychological-stress techniques"

If you are using the term as loosely as I believe you are, then you wish to find the distinction between where advice turns into rhetoric. There is no fine distinction; all one can do is examine the motives of the advisor. If the motives are directly for the benefit of the advisee, then there likely will not be a conflict of interests.
kfc
Hiu
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12/21/2016 4:13:30 PM
Posted: 3 months ago
Good question...

One could argue that teaching could indirectly be brainwashing through the personal interpretations of the teacher.
Quadrunner
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12/21/2016 7:51:57 PM
Posted: 3 months ago
At 4/11/2011 10:42:41 PM, sal wrote:
What is the difference?

Is teaching moral values to children brainwashing or educating?
What is brainwashing?

Brainwashing has a negative connotation to it. I think if you want to say, the students learning anything that would not naturally arise through their own thought process could be called brainwashing.

An educator presents things in a way that people will think about them and get that click, the ahah that comes from rationalization through your necessary thought process that they follow in their presentation to increase the efficiency of your learning. Opinion is presented as such.

A brainwasher would present things in such a way that leads to an unnatural construct, such as leaving out facts and confirming an answer you would not choose otherwise...or indoctrination through repetition in the absence of understanding. The younger you are, the less you can understand and the higher likelihood that you aren't actually learning, but having information reinforced as trustworthy by whatever means.
Ultimate Authority

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Hiu
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12/21/2016 11:21:40 PM
Posted: 3 months ago
At 12/21/2016 7:51:57 PM, Quadrunner wrote:
At 4/11/2011 10:42:41 PM, sal wrote:
What is the difference?

Is teaching moral values to children brainwashing or educating?
What is brainwashing?

Brainwashing has a negative connotation to it. I think if you want to say, the students learning anything that would not naturally arise through their own thought process could be called brainwashing.

An educator presents things in a way that people will think about them and get that click, the ahah that comes from rationalization through your necessary thought process that they follow in their presentation to increase the efficiency of your learning. Opinion is presented as such.

A brainwasher would present things in such a way that leads to an unnatural construct, such as leaving out facts and confirming an answer you would not choose otherwise...or indoctrination through repetition in the absence of understanding. The younger you are, the less you can understand and the higher likelihood that you aren't actually learning, but having information reinforced as trustworthy by whatever means.

At 12/21/2016 4:13:30 PM, Hiu wrote:
Good question...

One could argue that teaching could indirectly be brainwashing through the personal interpretations of the teacher.
Fernyx
Posts: 592
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12/22/2016 10:58:49 PM
Posted: 3 months ago
At 4/11/2011 10:42:41 PM, sal wrote:
What is the difference?

Is teaching moral values to children brainwashing or educating?
What is brainwashing?

Education is teaching from a purely factual basis. Brainwashing is teaching bias as an undoubtable fact.
Thoguth
Posts: 18
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12/23/2016 5:05:34 AM
Posted: 3 months ago
I think that it's more nuanced than it seems at first.

At first, it seems that there's a huge difference. Brainwashing is thought control. It typically comes not by torture as many mistakenly see, but by complete, total monopolistic control over a person's every activity. When you control when a person eats, sleeps or uses the bathroom, you have access to some very powerful motivators, and strong tools to tap into ... well it's really the same line of "reasoning" that Upton Sinclair recognizes in The Jungle when he says that it's difficult to get a man to understand that which his livelihood depends on him not understanding.

To a brainwash-ee, his livelihood depends on him getting along with his brainwash-er. If that means depending on developing a mentality of "not understanding" certain challenging views, that means that his mentality will change. The views that challenge the brainwashing power, will become difficult to understand.

Brainwashing is different from education in that good education seeks to stimulate thought. An educated person is not simply one who "knows the facts". A complete education, of the sort that a free person should never be satisfied to have anything less, is a training in knowing the historical facts but also knowing the way facts interact. The ways to test for truth, and the ways that liars will try to convince you otherwise. The best of educations, will include some training on exactly how and why brainwashing works, to help us to better guard against it and any other method of thought suppression or thought-control.

And that's what brainwashing is, be it for political power or simply as an element of a cult. It is not just the rigid "encouragement" to think a certain way, it is a combination of conditioning and implantation of notions to stand as defenses against thinking any other way.

Typical of brainwashing are "thought stopping clich"s" ... little rote phrases that are intended to stop an argument before it gets thought about too much. A really common one is just "geez, not this crapola again". It doesn't take an intellectual position on why we shouldn't be discussing something. Instead it appeals to physical sensation and emotion. This stuff makes me tired. It's antisocial to bring it up. Better not talk about it, or people won't like you. If others keep on bringing it up, they are not your true friends.

Another type of clich" that stops thinking, is an allegation of monstrosity. "My political opponent is [a Satan-worshipper, a traitor, a racist, a rapist] ... doesn't matter exactly what, just something really scary. Then, "are you trying to say that's not bad?" Again it's an appeal to social pressure to stifle the conversation. Why is this not settled for you? You must be, too!

Such a mental contagion can spread to supporters of a politician or idea, with the right propaganda... that's another technique that brainwashing uses to control thoughts: The induced phobia.

See, we know that phobias are "persistent, irrational fear" ... it's not based on reason, it's just scary. And it doesn't go away when the thing is out of sight. Doesn't matter if we haven't seen a clown in days, it's still on our mind to be scared of it.

It's really hard to persuade someone to not think about something. If I say "Don't think about an elephant" you are going to think of an elephant almost immediately. But what about something really scary? Nobody has told you explicitly not to (or to) think about spiders or creepy clowns. (or something else you're afraid of) and you do still think of them... but when your mind begins to think of something you're phobic of, you shudder, and freeze, and ... you want desperately to change the subject.

Think about that process from a classical conditioning perspective. Pavlov got his dogs to work in an almost machine-like manner by associating a stimulus with a response. But when an induced phobia has been put into place ... it does it's own automatic classical conditioning.

Consider the strategic advantage of a political party convincing the populace, not just that the opposition was terrifying and worthy of hate, but that the opposition's sympathizers were frightening as well. For people who successfully had such a phobia implanted, there would be no chance of them considering the opposition view. Anyone sympathizing with the opposition--they're terrifying! In such a crowd, to even hint that one might be sympathetic or understanding of the opposing view, could be grave cause for anguish. By implanting the phobia, a mind-controller has set in motion a self-reinforcing mental state that gives very high levels of protection against freedom of thought.

Now we should contrast this with education again, but be wise in doing so, because honestly and very uncomfortably... not every educator gets this. Some educators see their goal not as developing free-thinking, effective new generations, but rather of developing compliant, predictable new generations. In such an educational environment, the lines may indeed be blurred between education and brainwashing. If an educator is using thought-control to train compliance and dependence, rather than facts and reason to train independence and self-actualization--it's very possible that they are brainwashing or at least mildly hinting at it, rather than genuinely promoting real education.

There's something else though, too... what about our children's moral upbringing? There are some things that we understand morally, that we just ... we know that's how they are. Humans are important. Kindness is preferable. We can use huge philosophical chains of reasoning to try to deduce these from nothing--it's worth thinking about, really--but for a kid, they just cannot. Their ethical brain and the background info on rhetoric and epistemology required to fully parse that--it ain't there. What they have instead, is a child's brain, that understands rules.

Indoctrinate those rugrats into the rules of living right with humanity. Done right, it's not brainwashing; though it might not be claimed to be a free-thinker's education either. But kids are good at learning rules, and they like learning them. The young mind (really many fully-grown minds too) is more at ease when some decisions are handled simply by heuristics that they don't have to think about--and in that way, some moral tropes that we commonly use, like "judge not lest ye be judged" or "do undo others as you would have them do unto you" are very closely akin to our good old thought-stopping clich"s. We don't have to think for most cases ... we just know, "hey, look out that you're judging him worse than you'd be judged". Clich" though it is, it teaches something important that can help us keep from becoming hypocrites, right?

Well this was a longer thought than I had planned when I started. Hope it finds you well. Thanks everybody who is already discussing this for the stimulation and inspiration.
Dialogue is the air that clear thinking breathes.
GrimlyF
Posts: 667
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12/23/2016 10:07:24 AM
Posted: 3 months ago
At 12/23/2016 5:05:34 AM, Thoguth wrote:
I think that it's more nuanced than it seems at first.

At first, it seems that there's a huge difference. Brainwashing is thought control. It typically comes not by torture as many mistakenly see, but by complete, total monopolistic control over a person's every activity. When you control when a person eats, sleeps or uses the bathroom, you have access to some very powerful motivators, and strong tools to tap into ... well it's really the same line of "reasoning" that Upton Sinclair recognizes in The Jungle when he says that it's difficult to get a man to understand that which his livelihood depends on him not understanding.

To a brainwash-ee, his livelihood depends on him getting along with his brainwash-er. If that means depending on developing a mentality of "not understanding" certain challenging views, that means that his mentality will change. The views that challenge the brainwashing power, will become difficult to understand.

Brainwashing is different from education in that good education seeks to stimulate thought. An educated person is not simply one who "knows the facts". A complete education, of the sort that a free person should never be satisfied to have anything less, is a training in knowing the historical facts but also knowing the way facts interact. The ways to test for truth, and the ways that liars will try to convince you otherwise. The best of educations, will include some training on exactly how and why brainwashing works, to help us to better guard against it and any other method of thought suppression or thought-control.

And that's what brainwashing is, be it for political power or simply as an element of a cult. It is not just the rigid "encouragement" to think a certain way, it is a combination of conditioning and implantation of notions to stand as defenses against thinking any other way.

Typical of brainwashing are "thought stopping clich"s" ... little rote phrases that are intended to stop an argument before it gets thought about too much. A really common one is just "geez, not this crapola again". It doesn't take an intellectual position on why we shouldn't be discussing something. Instead it appeals to physical sensation and emotion. This stuff makes me tired. It's antisocial to bring it up. Better not talk about it, or people won't like you. If others keep on bringing it up, they are not your true friends.

Another type of clich" that stops thinking, is an allegation of monstrosity. "My political opponent is [a Satan-worshipper, a traitor, a racist, a rapist] ... doesn't matter exactly what, just something really scary. Then, "are you trying to say that's not bad?" Again it's an appeal to social pressure to stifle the conversation. Why is this not settled for you? You must be, too!

Such a mental contagion can spread to supporters of a politician or idea, with the right propaganda... that's another technique that brainwashing uses to control thoughts: The induced phobia.

See, we know that phobias are "persistent, irrational fear" ... it's not based on reason, it's just scary. And it doesn't go away when the thing is out of sight. Doesn't matter if we haven't seen a clown in days, it's still on our mind to be scared of it.

It's really hard to persuade someone to not think about something. If I say "Don't think about an elephant" you are going to think of an elephant almost immediately. But what about something really scary? Nobody has told you explicitly not to (or to) think about spiders or creepy clowns. (or something else you're afraid of) and you do still think of them... but when your mind begins to think of something you're phobic of, you shudder, and freeze, and ... you want desperately to change the subject.

Think about that process from a classical conditioning perspective. Pavlov got his dogs to work in an almost machine-like manner by associating a stimulus with a response. But when an induced phobia has been put into place ... it does it's own automatic classical conditioning.

Consider the strategic advantage of a political party convincing the populace, not just that the opposition was terrifying and worthy of hate, but that the opposition's sympathizers were frightening as well. For people who successfully had such a phobia implanted, there would be no chance of them considering the opposition view. Anyone sympathizing with the opposition--they're terrifying! In such a crowd, to even hint that one might be sympathetic or understanding of the opposing view, could be grave cause for anguish. By implanting the phobia, a mind-controller has set in motion a self-reinforcing mental state that gives very high levels of protection against freedom of thought.

Now we should contrast this with education again, but be wise in doing so, because honestly and very uncomfortably... not every educator gets this. Some educators see their goal not as developing free-thinking, effective new generations, but rather of developing compliant, predictable new generations. In such an educational environment, the lines may indeed be blurred between education and brainwashing. If an educator is using thought-control to train compliance and dependence, rather than facts and reason to train independence and self-actualization--it's very possible that they are brainwashing or at least mildly hinting at it, rather than genuinely promoting real education.

There's something else though, too... what about our children's moral upbringing? There are some things that we understand morally, that we just ... we know that's how they are. Humans are important. Kindness is preferable. We can use huge philosophical chains of reasoning to try to deduce these from nothing--it's worth thinking about, really--but for a kid, they just cannot. Their ethical brain and the background info on rhetoric and epistemology required to fully parse that--it ain't there. What they have instead, is a child's brain, that understands rules.

Indoctrinate those rugrats into the rules of living right with humanity. Done right, it's not brainwashing; though it might not be claimed to be a free-thinker's education either. But kids are good at learning rules, and they like learning them. The young mind (really many fully-grown minds too) is more at ease when some decisions are handled simply by heuristics that they don't have to think about--and in that way, some moral tropes that we commonly use, like "judge not lest ye be judged" or "do undo others as you would have them do unto you" are very closely akin to our good old thought-stopping clich"s. We don't have to think for most cases ... we just know, "hey, look out that you're judging him worse than you'd be judged". Clich" though it is, it teaches something important that can help us keep from becoming hypocrites, right?

Well this was a longer thought than I had planned when I started. Hope it finds you well. Thanks everybody who is already discussing this for the stimulation and inspiration.

"Indoctrinate those rugrats"?. "Children like learning"?. Are you aware of the Islamic system of education?.
You take a child of 4yrs old, sit him in a class with other boys and teach him the basics. He is also required/forced to commit the entire Koran and the Hadiths to memory by the age of 7.
While reading the Holy books out loud they are made to rock backwards and forwards in a quick steady rhythm.
They are constantly tested and beaten if they fail.
Education or brainwashing?.
HEALTH WARNING!. Contact with WYLTED can damage your brain.
Welfare-Worker
Posts: 1,618
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12/25/2016 12:04:53 AM
Posted: 3 months ago
It seems to me brainwashing requires a polar change of beliefs.
Black is white, rich is poor, that sort of thing.
When it is consistent with what is believe otherwise, it is simply indoctrination.
The techniques could be the same. It is the outcome that says one or the other.

Your church is best, your family is best, your nationality is best, just indoctrination, education.
Leave your parents, leave church church, leave community, brainwashing.

If you are wealthy, and convinced to become poor, brainwashing.
If you are poor, and poor is good, indoctrination.

Indoctrination is a form of education, just a little lop sided.
Brain washing is education too, just meant to flip the mind around.
keithprosser
Posts: 3,118
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12/25/2016 2:43:35 PM
Posted: 3 months ago
At 4/11/2011 10:42:41 PM, sal wrote:
a) What is the difference?

b) Is teaching moral values to children brainwashing or educating?
c) What is brainwashing?

The difference, surely, is that the aim of education is to 'broaden' the mind, the aim of brainwashing is to narrow it.

At least that is the 'short form', but its not quite the whole story because even good educution may involve some narrowing in the removal of false notions - it is probably not brainwashing to teach kids the world is round rather than flat. Rather it is that education equips people with a reliable and effective means of discriminating true things from false things independently. Brainwashing aims to remove that independence and fix something as true (or something as false) in a persons mind in such as way they do not (ideally can not) question it.

I think it follows that the teaching of moral values to children can be done in a way that is 'education' or 'brainwashing'.
Welfare-Worker
Posts: 1,618
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12/25/2016 11:27:02 PM
Posted: 3 months ago
At 12/25/2016 2:43:35 PM, keithprosser wrote:
At 4/11/2011 10:42:41 PM, sal wrote:
a) What is the difference?

b) Is teaching moral values to children brainwashing or educating?
c) What is brainwashing?

The difference, surely, is that the aim of education is to 'broaden' the mind, the aim of brainwashing is to narrow it.

Education can be broad.
Education can be narrow, but deep.
I have known some very educated individuals, who were very narrow minded.
They knew what they knew, in great detail, and they had no interest in other possibilities.
What they knew after being educated, was the same nature they knew before being educated, they just knew it in greater detail.

It may be that brainwashing narrows the, mind, universally.
I am not convinced this is true, but it may be.
I am not convinced this in itself is a bad thing. I would think motives and outcomes would be critical, to determine if it is a bad thing, or not.

At least that is the 'short form', but its not quite the whole story because even good educution may involve some narrowing in the removal of false notions - it is probably not brainwashing to teach kids the world is round rather than flat. Rather it is that education equips people with a reliable and effective means of discriminating true things from false things independently.

This sounds like critical thinking.
I have found critical thinking has very low priority in formal education, and is not necessarily required, even at the university level. Certainly not before.

Brainwashing aims to remove that independence and fix something as true (or something as false) in a persons mind in such as way they do not (ideally can not) question it.

Well, should we expect that all members of this board question the value of the institution of Science, or that they accept its premises without question.
At some point, individuals can no longer question certain things. They believe them implicitly, without questioning. Have they all been brainwashed?


I think it follows that the teaching of moral values to children can be done in a way that is 'education' or 'brainwashing'.
keithprosser
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12/26/2016 1:41:26 AM
Posted: 3 months ago
At 12/25/2016 11:27:02 PM, Welfare-Worker wrote:
At some point, individuals can no longer question certain things. They believe them implicitly, without questioning. Have they all been brainwashed?

I doubt that everyone has the same level of innate ability for 'critical thinking'. I'm sure its possible to try to educate someone but they end up narrow-minded and that some people will resist brainwashing and still have an open, questioning mind.

That is why I was careful to define the terms 'education' and 'brainwashing' in terms of the intent (ie aim of) of the educator/brainwasher, not the result.

I am sure that in practice some so-called 'education' does tend towards brainwashing - for example in a school setting the object is exam passes and exams are passed by giving the examiner the answer expected, not by demonstrating lateral thinking. Getting through a syllabus is impossible if every detail has to be subjected to detailed crtical scrutiny, however desirable 'critical thinking' is believed to be.

But that has no bearing on what I understand the words 'education' and 'brainwashing' refer to. There is another sense of brainwashing, tho'. Education that would result in questioning somebody's underlying assumption might well be described as 'brainwashing' by that person as rhetorical device. Thus a creationist might well say teaching Darwinian evolution is 'brainwashing', but I don't think definting 'brainwashing' as 'education you don't agree with' is a good defintion!
Welfare-Worker
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12/26/2016 11:21:26 AM
Posted: 3 months ago
At 12/26/2016 1:41:26 AM, keithprosser wrote:
At 12/25/2016 11:27:02 PM, Welfare-Worker wrote:
At some point, individuals can no longer question certain things. They believe them implicitly, without questioning. Have they all been brainwashed?

I doubt that everyone has the same level of innate ability for 'critical thinking'. I'm sure its possible to try to educate someone but they end up narrow-minded and that some people will resist brainwashing and still have an open, questioning mind.

It seems to me that brainwashing is single purposed, or limited purpose.
The mind has been convinced of certain things, but on most issues, no convincing.
It also seems to me that like education, brainwashing is not always successful, not because it is not possible, but because the instruction was resisted, and stopped before completion.
All minds can be educated, although not about every subject equally, all minds can be brain washed, more universally than education, but still with some limits. Brainwashing techniques can be brutal, therefore more effective.
So some instructors are incompetent, whether as a brainwasher, or an educator.
And all Individuals are open minded about some things before and after education or brainwashing.

That is why I was careful to define the terms 'education' and 'brainwashing' in terms of the intent (ie aim of) of the educator/brainwasher, not the result.

You refer only to the aim of the technique.
I refer to the aim of the content.
Quite a difference, I would think.

I am sure that in practice some so-called 'education' does tend towards brainwashing - for example in a school setting the object is exam passes and exams are passed by giving the examiner the answer expected, not by demonstrating lateral thinking. Getting through a syllabus is impossible if every detail has to be subjected to detailed crtical scrutiny, however desirable 'critical thinking' is believed to be.


But that has no bearing on what I understand the words 'education' and 'brainwashing' refer to. There is another sense of brainwashing, tho'. Education that would result in questioning somebody's underlying assumption might well be described as 'brainwashing' by that person as rhetorical device. Thus a creationist might well say teaching Darwinian evolution is 'brainwashing', but I don't think definting 'brainwashing' as 'education you don't agree with' is a good defintion!

I see no need to discuss what is not meant to be brian washing, but may be called that.
Whether red herring or wasted bandwidth, all the same.