>Is thought control always a bad thing? Posted on September 4, 2010 by thebigqs 6 comments > Share this:TwitterFacebookLike this:Like Loading... Related Ethics Human Rights Law Philosophy
>could you be more specific and say when thought control might be a good thing ?
>This is exactly the point. For a clear answer the question does indeed need to be clearer. What is thought control? When we say it do we mean literally controlling someone's brainwaves with a machine? Do we mean use of propaganda? Do we mean subliminal advertising? Or would we accept that everything we learn alters the way we think? If we think the latter then we must accept that some form of thought control is good. Parents and teachers certainly try to control the way children think. Indeed the entire concept of culture and society suggests that some form of thought control is present, guiding all people within those groupings towards certain commonalities. In fact even business try to control the way we think, both as employees and as consumers.So in other words how would you define thought control? And if you think it's a rather grey area then where would you draw the line? Is it possible to draw such a line? Or must we treat each case individually?
>Yeah i agree that there is a lot of undue influence upon individual thought from institutions, companies, and teachers, etc,.However thought control as i see it is when your thoughts are 'controlled', i.e. unable to think outside of the box/regiment you have been railroaded into.In this case i think it is getting harder for people's thoughts to be controlled, although there may be more incidences to influence.With multiple contenders seeking to influence one's thoughts in the modern world, and some of them being opposable mantra's, i think this dichotomy at the very least, registers in a persons mind. And as such it allows for questions/doubts to pop up.Therefore, i don't think that thought control is ever a good thing. in fact it becomes an ironic oxymoron once it occurs. if thought is controlled, then it is not thought, it is response.Ergo, the more independant thought we practice the less like machines we become and possible the more human.
>You have a point about it being a bit oxymoronic. And you also have a point about it becoming harder to truly control the way someone thinks. However just because that control is becoming more subtle does not mean it's on its way to dissapearing all together. After all you yourself mentioned that there are now more incidences to influence. We think of totalitarian propaganda when we think of thought control. Yet with the average time spent watching television at around 25 hours per week we may in fact be subject to more advertisements now than then.Are adverts a form of thought control? Yes. If someone says you're fat or stupid a certain number of times you start to believe it. That's because simple repetition of messages is a form of thought control, just as adverts are. Now are adverts a bad thing? That's a more difficult question. I'd say no, because they're not as intensive as was propaganda. However this reasoning is exactly why people argue that adverts specifically aimed at children should be banned, for children are more susceptible to such thought control.
>I would still shy away from using the phrase 'thought control' for anything other than totalitarian style thought control. Basically, it is when you are not allowed to have thoughts other than those prescribed.On the subject of tele and adverts and the messages that are repeated, i ould definately agree that they influence us enough to form a warped perception of values etc,.the rise in consumer culture can probably be attributed primarily to the influence of the tv and those adverts. The pursuit of certain looks and modes of behaviours are also attributable to its influence.I do wonder though why children aren't allowed to view ads for candy or toys during their viewing hours. Sure, they are easily manipulated into wanting those goods, but i think its the parents desire to not have a demanding child at the supermarket checkout rather than their desire to have a child free of thought control which plays a big part in that.
>I know what you mean. The history of the phrase has given it a certain definition that's difficult to shake. Perhaps we should refer to control of thought rather than thought control. What I'm getting at is that no matter how explicit this control is, and no matter whether you're given options to think other things or not, things that control the way you think are difficult to get away from.Indeed I would argue that the most succesful methods of controlling thought are to give you options to choose from but encourage you to pick the 'right' one. For example take the austerity-stimulus debate, or even a theological debate; there are arguments on both sides, and neither argument is easy to prove or dis-prove. But people still vehemently believe in one over the other, precisely because they already know of the others' existence, but have been predominantly influenced by one rather than the other.Why aren't children allowed to view ads for things deemed bad for them? I agree that it's largely due to parental decisions. However the logic used in the legal realm is that such advertisements are a form of thought control. It's proven that children are easily manipulated and brain-washed. And after all repeatedly watching and listening to something is a form of indoctrination or brainwashing yourself. Do you really think children don't know about Haribos or McDonalds already? So why do they whine and shout about them both so much more after watching a few adverts?