How The Covid Emergency Has Been Sold To Us Like A New Brand of Toothpaste!
This is an investigation into the way the Covid-19 story took hold of peoples' minds so quickly. We must begin by looking into the world of advertising. The essential feature of advertising is manipulation, not the expression of a cogent line of reasoning. How did the ad guru Edward Bernays get women smoking after WWI? First he suggested to the press that women suffragists would light up “torches of freedom” during the Easter Day Parade in New York to show they were equal to men. Then he got a car load of socialites to ride in a car smoking cigarettes, no doubt with photographers handy to record the event. Is that a logical argument? No, its appeal lies elsewhere.
THE UK MINDSPACE MANUAL OF MANIPULATION
There is more to the "sale" of the Covid Emergency than the usual tricks of advertisers. Back in 2010 the UK government produced a manual on how to manipulate the citizens of the UK. They bragged it could be done in such a way that people would not even realise their attitudes, beliefs and behaviour were being changed. The document is called Mindspace, and it outlines how the UK government has been manipulating people up until today.(1) In the Appendix I have presented some of the central ideas from the Mindspace document, and I would encourage people to read them. However to make this shorter, I will simply introduce the basic ideas and explain each technique one by one. I will then show how they have been used in what is most probably the most extensive exercise in mind control ever experienced by a human society. This sort of mind manipulation has been used for at least 100 years to sell us anything that can be sold. Everyone has experienced these techniques all their lives, so the sales campaign for the Covid Emergency followed a well-worn path. People respond to advertising in the media every day. The Covid Emergency is just another new product.
BASICS OF MINDSPACE PSYCHOLOGY
The document begins by making a distinction between the the rational, cognitive, or reflective model of thinking and the thinking of the unconscious, automatic mind. The automatic model of thinking "recognises that people are sometimes seemingly irrational and inconsistent in their choices, often because they are influenced by surrounding factors." Rational, reflective thinking is controlled, effortful, slow and self-aware. They also say rational thinking is "deductive", but this just shows how little they actually understand about what they call reflective thinking. Non-deductive reasoning (thinking) is by far the most common kind, and it may also be unconscious. The automatic thinking is uncontrolled, effortless, emotional, fast and unconscious.
The significance of the distinction for the authors of the Mindspace manual is that previously governments have unsuccessfully tried to influence people using rational methods. Their new approach, and the reason for the document, is to promote the use the automatic processes of thinking instead of the appeal to rational thought when the UK public service wants to promote changes in thinking and behaviour. Just as a quick note, this method is “new” only to UK public servants. Bernays, born in 1891, was the first to theorise that people could be made to want things they don’t need by appealing to unconscious desires.
I believe that ALL of use use, and must use, both of these ways of thinking in our lives. The 8 influences on our thinking and behaviour discussed in the next section are not irrational. They are non-rational, different from rational. I should add that the document uses a very simplistic account of our thinking or knowing. Aside from ignoring non-deductive reasoning, they completely omit observation. Much of what we believe and use to guide action is based on our own observations. These don't fit into either of their two categories: rational thinking or automatic thinking.
I consider the deliberate use of the automatic thinking processes in a social or political context manipulation. Why? Because the people who use it are knowingly and deliberately avoiding the rational thinking process in people. They must have clearly recognised that there is no way to tell the truth about Covid Emergency in order to get people to buy the fear story and accept the injection of an unknown and untested substance. The only way to get these results is by lies and manipulation using the Mindspace manual. So let's see how it has been done.
HOW HAS THE MINDSPACE METHOD OF MANIPULATION BEEN USED TO DELIVER THE COVID-19 STORY?
In the second chapter of Mindspace we find a diagram showing eight
"robust influences on human behaviour and change. These principles are underpinned by considerable research from the fields of social psychology and behavioural economics."(2)
1. Trusted Sources: "We are heavily influenced by who communicates information."
People generally do not believe what someone says to them because of evidence they have been given. To ask: "How do you know that?" would be a rude response to someone telling you it was going to rain today. Usually we believe what people say because of WHO THEY ARE. We must learn to recognise Trusted Sources in our personal lives. Over time we learn to trust what some people say and quietly question what others say. There will always be people in your life who tell you things just to get you to do something they want, not because they have your best interest in mind. This is common in sexual and financial relations.
In the standard news scenario the Trusted Sources effect is central. We usually watch the same news with the same presenters. Because they are familiar, we know them and most people simply accept what they say as true. This has always been used in advertising. People admire David Beckham and Posh, so when they "recommend" a product this (non-rationally) induces some people to buy the product. If it didn't work, companies would not pay the big fees they do for such endorsements. Have you notice all the famous actors, singers, personalities, etc. appearing on TV to encourage us to get the jab? Promoting the jab is no different from selling tooth paste.
2. Incentives: "Our responses to incentives are shaped by predictable mental shortcuts such as strongly avoiding losses."
Remember the World Health Organisation, government Ministers, scientists, medical experts and even your own GP present Covid-19 as a deadly virus and the Covid-19 jabs as our only salvation. In this situation most of us would be reluctant to disagree publicly with the political and medical establishment for fear of taking a "loss" when challenged by others because of our different view. Most people would naturally doubt any of us could know as much as these educated and well-informed people and dismiss our opinions without a second thought.
3. Social Norms: "We are strongly influenced by what others do."
Because most people now watch/read the news in the mainstream mass media, individuals who have picked up the fear message will be reinforced in their belief by the fact that almost everybody else they know thinks the same. In this situation they fit into the social norm, they "belong" because they think the same as everyone else. Everyone needs to belong and there are few people who can stand out with different beliefs from those who they consider to be their friends. That's why the anti-jab marches are so important: people who reject the Covid Narrative also need to feel that they belong as well.
4. Habits: We "go with the flow‟ of pre-set options, ours and other people's.
If we are in a social setting with our friends or neighbours talking about the soccer results or the best outdoor gas BBQ, it is not going to "go with the flow" when we speak up during a silence with: "You know, the Covid virus isn't really that dangerous." If nobody else is talking or thinking about it, going along with the flow means this question is just not going to be discussed.
5. Relevance: "Our attention is drawn to what is novel and seems relevant to us."
Certainly the issues raised in the Covid-19 Story are novel and are directly relevant to our heath and our lives. It is not called the "novel coronavirus" for nothing. While it is actually just another coronavirus like many before, one key point in the Covid Story is to emphasise that is is NEW, novel, different from anything else, and perhaps even created in a lab somewher. This opens the way for "New virus kills thousands of people." The old coronaviruses did as well but they didn't get 24/7 media attention for months on end.
6. Sub-conscious awareness: "Our acts are often influenced by sub-conscious cues."
Can we call the "Corona Virus Reports" which counted the deaths and the "cases" appearing time and time again each day in the media "sub-conscious cues"? They were in our conscious minds but I believe they have a serious sub-conscious effect as well. The constant repetition of discussions of death and illness occurring in your country and all around the world is not going to induce a happy, carefree approach to life. There are many factors contributing increased suicides, but the overwhelming emphasis on death and illness must surely be one of them. Is this why those of us why don't buy the story often cannot watch the TV or read the papers?
7. Emotions: "Our emotional associations can powerfully shape our actions."
This is certainly true of the emotion of fear, and both governments and the mainstream media have been consciously trying to invoke fear in as many people as possible. Furthermore many people in the UK have relied on the NHS to deal with their health problems for their whole lives. They would associate the NHS with assistance, not mortal danger. "Protect the NHS" would sound like basic common sense. The same would be true of doctors and nurses. However in the Covid Emergency this normal association blinds people to the possibility that these formerly benign institutions, and the people who work in them, will inject them with a dangerous substance that cannot improve their health and could make it much worse.
8. Ego: "We act in ways that make us feel better about ourselves."
We can see this at work in the minds of the people who wear masks, social distance, etc. and delight in criticising people who don't. They are also the ones who quietly rat on their neighbours or local shopkeepers for any breach of the Covid Regulations. They will do this because it makes them feel better about themselves, and better than the people who are "breaking the law".
ONE MORE FUNDAMENTAL PRINCIPLE OF MANIPULATION
In 2017 Marc Van Ranst gave a talk to a small gathering at Chatham House in London.(3) He played a pivotal role in organising the propaganda for the Swine Flu epidemic in Holland. With hindsight it is easy to imagine why he was giving a talk on how to successfully implement a bogus fear campaign for the pharmaceutical industry. Along with many helpful tips, he noted one very important principle:
ONE VOICE, ONE MESSAGE!
This is an important logical rule for propagandists. If you want to develop a completely fictional narrative for the widest popular exposure, you must make sure that everybody says the same thing. Why is this important? One way that people can begin to question a global narrative like the Covid Story is when they notice different people are saying different things, or when the same people keep changing the details of the story. In logical terms, this principle means that manipulators cannot allow inconsistencies to appear between their statements. One of the most powerful signals which shouts out: “Something is not right here!” is such inconsistency. Propagandists hope that people don't notice these inconsistencies or differences but some do, and the more they do the shakier the story becomes.
This is why one often sees on Twitter references to: “Three weeks to flatten the curve.” Nobody mentions the curve any more, but the restrictions are still in place. Also people in the UK might not hear any more about the R number which was used to set or release restrictions. The R number is a way of rating coronavirus's ability to spread. If it is greater than 1, it means the number of cases is increasing.(4) If, as seems to be the case, the number is cases in the UK is not increasing, then the R number will not be greater than 1, so what is the need for the restrictions?
HOW CAN WE RESPOND TO PEOPLE WITH MANIPULATED BELIEFS?
Others may have different ideas, but I think the best way to discuss the Covid Story with believers – if they will even listen – is to politely present facts which do not fit into the story or draw attention to the many inconsistencies and changes in policy. The Covid-19 manipulators may have started out with a cogent story, but it started to fall apart within weeks, and now this is in tatters. This is one reason they are desperate ignore the growing number of deaths and injuries from the “safe” jabs. They must hide the facts from us as much as they can.
Many examples of inconvenient facts can be found on twitter, so keep on with this. One new angle I have seen from UKColumn is an investigation by Nick Milner. He is investigating the numbers of deaths and cremations in different local areas.(5) If there really has been a pandemic, where are all the dead bodies buried? (6)
APPENDIX: A Selection of Passages from Mindspace
This is from the Introduction:
“In broad terms, there are two ways of thinking about changing behaviour. The first is based on influencing what people consciously think about. We might call this the “rational‟ or “cognitive‟ model. Most traditional interventions in public policy take this route, and it is the standard model in economics. The presumption is that citizens and consumers will analyse the various pieces of information from politicians, governments and markets, the numerous incentives offered to us and act in ways that reflect their best interests (however they define their best interests, or - more paternalistically - however policymakers define them).
“The contrasting model of behaviour change focuses on the more automatic processes of judgment and influence – what Robert Cialdini calls „click, whirr‟ processes of mind. This shifts the focus of attention away from facts and information, and towards altering the context within which people act. We might call this the „context‟ model of behaviour change. The context model recognises that people are sometimes seemingly irrational and inconsistent in their choices, often because they are influenced by surrounding factors. Therefore, it focuses more on “changing behaviour without changing minds‟. This route has received rather less attention from researchers and policymakers.
“These two approaches are founded on two different ways of thinking.
"Psychologists have recently converged on the understanding that there are two distinct “systems‟ operating in the brain:"
“The two systems have different capabilities: the reflective mind has limited capacity, but offers more systematic and “deeper‟ analysis. The automatic mind processes many things separately, simultaneously, and often unconsciously, but is more “superficial‟: it takes short-cuts and has ingrained biases. As one academic source explains, “once triggered by environmental features, [these] preconscious automatic processes run to completion without any conscious monitoring‟. In practice, this distinction is not so clear-cut: a mix of both reflective and automatic processes govern behaviour."
From Chapter 2:
“We outline nine robust influences on human behaviour and change. These principles are underpinned by considerable research from the fields of social psychology and behavioural economics. They are therefore presented as the most robust effects that policy-makers should understand and, if appropriate, use. The following sections briefly explain these effects, which we have arranged according to the acronym: MINDSPACE.”
1. MINDSPACE: Influencing behaviour through public policy https://www.instituteforgovernment.org.uk/sites/default/files/publications/MINDSPACE.pdf
2. In the original document each topic was given somewhat arbitrary names so they could together spell out M I N D S P A C E. I have changes some of the names for what seems to me more clarity. Furthermore I have omitted this one:
Commitments:"We seek to be consistent with our public promises, and reciprocate acts."
I find this to be the most questionable of the non-rational motives for belief and action. This is nowhere near as automatic as emotional associations. At the same time I cannot see how it has been used against people other than banking on their expectation that politicians will act in accord with their public promises.
3. His talk can be found at 39 minutes on the excellent video “Monopoly – Follow the Money”.
4. Coronavirus: What is the R number and how is it calculated?