mind control

All posts tagged mind control

I will be presenting my research for the conference presentation on Friday, titled “Corporations, the Media, and Propaganda: A Modern Day Dystopia?” I will be discussing the influence and power of corporations, the media, and propaganda in today’s world and how they reflect a modern day dystopia. I will use my independent reading novel Champion by Marie Lu (as well as the other books in her series) and The Hunger Games to provide examples and support to my claims.

This presentation is one that you won’t want to miss, because I will be discussing real problems that are going on in our world. These are the sorts of problems that you read about in dystopias, but that most people do not realize are actually happening in real life! For example, did you know that in the past, big fossil fuel companies paid the US Chamber of Commerce to block energy reforms?! Big corporations and the government have become so heavily intertwined that we often don’t realize it!

In my presentation, I will continue to discuss how big corporations have gained so much power in our world, and how they control many aspects of our society. These points will be exemplified by the fictional corporations in Champion and The Hunger Games and how they had a lot of power. I will show the reflection of power in the real world by presenting what I have found about big corporations today.

For my other point I will be discussing the media and propaganda, how they go hand-in-hand, and how they hold great influence over our society as well. Once again this will be exemplified by the media and propaganda in Champion and The Hunger Games. Then I will discuss how the media has taken over our own lives with propaganda that we don’t always recognize.

We need to be fully aware of what is going on in our world, and how we have tip-toed into becoming a dystopia. My presentation touches on this issue, and therefore it is one you will not want to miss!


Image result for subliminal messages meme simpsons


For my independent reading, I explored the dystopian novel Candor which takes place in present day Florida. The entire essence of the novel is that in the town of Candor, music is always playing wherever you go, and the music contains subliminal messages that cause the citizens of Candor to obey the laws and conform to a perfect society. However, Oscar Banks (the son of the founder of Candor) knows of the town’s secret, and he smuggles new children out of the town. The novel begins with a new girl in town Nia meeting Oscar, but the two don’t get off to a good start. Oscar tries to convince Nia that the town sends subliminal messages to the citizens, but she doesn’t believe him. However, the character of Nia is very intriguing because she is seen going days in Candor without conforming to the subliminal messages as she even says “I only  do what I want” (Bachorz 86). Even though Nia has been exposed to the messages she remains in her own control until she is locked in the listening room where she spends days listening to the messages. Thus, I plan to study the effects of being exposed to subliminal messages on the human mind. Topics that I plan to look into for my research will be whether or not subliminal messages can actually change human behavior. If I discover that they can affect the behavior, I plan to look into how they actually work and whether using subliminal messages to change behavior is ethical. On the other hand, if I conclude that subliminal messages do not change behavior, then I plan into looking at possible explanations that can cause the citizens of Candor to have their behavior change. All in all, I plan to use psychological studies on behavioral changes to discover the truth about subliminal messages, and whether Candor could possibly be a reality.

A universal characteristic of dystopian societies is a ruling government that will do anything to be sure that oppression and fear are instilled within its society. In other words, it is the means by which a government is able to control its people. In The Hunger Games, the Capitol utilizes myriad forms of propaganda to prove to the citizens of Panem that the games are necessary and exciting.

One example of this is the method of scoring each of the tributes following their training sessions. This is a source of entertainment for the Capitol, acting like a betting system. The citizens of each district see the number that is matched with their tributes and are swayed to be either hopeful or distraught regarding the outcome. However, common sense would tell us that they should feel some sort of sadness no matter what, seeing as children are about to fight to the death. Additionally, tributes that achieve higher scores have more people who ‘like’ them and thus more sponsors. Ultimately, the idea of Panem being swayed to root for the tribute who receives the highest score from the Capitol is a usage of propaganda.

Another example is the streaming of the games on public TV. It compares the game to a sporting event, which shies away from its gruesome reality. The game updates are televised in the same style as a news update. Claudius projects the faces of fallen tributes, shoots off a cannon to signify their deaths, and announces the rule changes in the same style a sports commentator would. Just as it is the public’s civic duty to keep up with their own news, it is Panem’s citizens’ responsibility to listen to the Capitol’s updates.

A final example of the Capitol’s propaganda is that the games are presented in such a glorified way. When being broadcasted, for example, the games are projected in an exciting way with triumphant music. Additionally, the parade of each district’s tributes builds the games up even more. Dressing the tributes up in fancy, unique attire in an attempt to intrigue Panem is yet another way that the Capitol is using propaganda.

The controlling governments of dystopian societies use propaganda to influence their citizens to think in the same way that they do. Therefore, within the society, the propaganda functions as a reinforcement to the government’s power and an aid in its regime.

Works Cited:

Propaganda is a powerful tool that can be used to control the populace and disseminate information. Legend (by Marie Lu) is set in the Republic, a future America that is at war with its neighbor, the Colonies. JumboTrons are a medium through which propaganda is fed to the minds of citizens. They are “scattered throughout downtown Los Angeles” and display commercials, anti-Colonies ideologies, broadcasts, and news (Lu 1).

June and Day – the two protagonists – are affected by the Republic’s dispersal of propaganda in different ways. Day is a high-profile criminal who has eluded capture for many years. One of the Republic’s top priorities is to track him down. Day is in trouble for disrupting the war effort and for exhausting the Republic’s military supplies. Although Day is “not the most dangerous criminal in the country”, he is – without question – “the most wanted” (Lu 2). For this reason, his criminal report is constantly displayed on the JumboTrons.

Day’s criminal report delivers a strong message to the people of the Republic. It is a reminder, a warning, that any act perceived to be a threat to the Republic is punishable by death. Day is living proof of what might happen to someone who rebels. Day, who is always on the run, must live in secrecy and be extra careful to hide his tracks.

Captured criminals are typically sentenced to death by firing squad. The entire execution takes place in Batalla Hall (a military stronghold) and is broadcasted live on the JumboTrons. Such broadcasts to the public are a form of mind control. They promote the belief that the aims of the Republic should align with the aims of the common people. Any dissent is immediately silenced. In this manner, individuality is lost, and perceptions of what is right and wrong are distorted.

While propaganda was used against Day, to incite action and turn the people against him, June – the heroine – is an example of a citizen who has been brainwashed by the propaganda itself. Having achieved full marks on her exams and been accepted to Drake University (an elite school) at a young age, June was indoctrinated from Day 1 that nothing is more important than national pride and winning the war.

Prior to meeting Day, June was someone who believed in the optimistic images on the JumboTrons, those that displayed “smiling children standing under a bright blue sky” and “tourists posing before the Golden Gate ruins” (Lu 1). Raised under the wing of the Republic, she was taught to support the anti-Colonies cause without ever questioning why. That is, June had been just another puppet of the Republic – but all that started to change when she began seeing through the propaganda she once believed in.

Works Cited:

Lu, Marie. Legend. Penguin Books, 2011.

Media is perhaps the easiest way in controlling people into doing what is desired of them. Although very applicable in the real world, any dystopian novels show the severe effects of this weapon on unsuspecting citizens. It is an indirect form of control targeted at what the most elusive area: their minds. Mind control has always been an obsession for totalitarian governments: it plays with their fear and hints at the limits of their power. It is simple to monitor the everyday actions of a prisoner but can we really get into his head? Media seems to be the answer for this glitch.

A specific example of media slowly insinuating itself parasitically into people’s minds can be seen through the emails in the novel After by Francine Prose. The book takes place after a massacre of a nearby school, prompting the one the main protagonist (Tom) is attending, to implement a new authoritative figure charged with the safety of the students. The school sends out a series of emails to the parents with counsels of how to ‘help’ their children. However, the real malevolent nature of these emails starts to emerge when the school turns into a totalitarian society. Instead of standing up for their children, the adults passively watch the whole thing unfold, their minds under the influence of these mind-controlling emails. At first, the changes are subtle, but eventually they end up acting like robots, quoting and obeying the orders sent to them.

Media in this example is very effective in many ways: it strips away the sense of security the student have, alienate them from their parents, and indirectly insinuate itself into the homes of its subjects. By using the emails, the school is using the students to control the parents and but the other way around works as well. Media in dystopian societies functions to blind the citizens from the truth of their situation and filter into their everyday life. The parents become brainwashed and are thus are easier to manipulate. This gradual dehumanization is the perfect result. The citizens cannot think for themselves but can only obey and be used as tools in which to control others.

See my vlog at https://youtu.be/s64hrqGRY6Q

Picture Sources:

“Capitol TV.” Digital image. Fandom. Wikia, n.d. Web.
http://thehungergames.wikia.com/wiki/Capitol_TV. Accessed: 30 Jan. 2017.

Ross, Gary, Stanley Tucci, Wes Bentley, Elizabeth Banks, Jennifer Lawrence, Liam Hemsworth,
and Suzanne Collins. The Hunger Games. United States: Alliance Film, 2012.

“The Capitol.” Digital image. Fandom. Wikia, n.d. Web.
http://thehungergames.wikia.com/wiki/The_Capitol. Accessed: 30 Jan. 2017.