Full text of psychologist Owen Fitzpatrick’s talk on Mind Control: How to Win the War in Your Head at TEDxTallaght conference.
Notable quote from this talk:
“When you’re depressed you don’t think negatively. When you’re depressed you believe negatively.”
Listen to the MP3 Audio here: Mind Control – How to win the war in your head by Owen Fitzpatrick
I’ll start to explain it. I’ll try chronologically. My heart was in pain; the abuse psychological.
The story I’m told is that I’m just the worst, I’m 14 years old. It’s subtle at first. Things just seem so dire, you know. The bully he’s scaring me. I can’t trust him that liar. I’m fully aware that he says I’m a reject and I know that it’s true. Says I can’t be accepted whatever I do; I’ll suffer lost and alone till the day that I die.
“And at what cost,” he says, “Owen! Maybe you should try to write a suicide note — say ‘Goodbye’ and just go!” My mind tells me I want to but I just don’t know!
24 years later he’s still around. Plenty more tears later and he still makes a sound.
So this is my theory of what happens in our heads. ‘Inner propaganda’ determines how we’re led. We influence ourselves in the very same way as we’re influenced by others every single day. If we can stop propaganda from being able to work, we can also stop listening to this inner jerk.
Now I studied Behavioral Economics, NLP, Psychology, Bob Makee’s storynomics and well, even neurology. I traveled to North Korea, Rwanda and the US. I even studied Irish History — searching for the best examples of propaganda that I could find to explore how it’s used to manipulate the mind.
Now I believe the propaganda is basically a war of voices that controls our mind and dictates our choices. The weapons of this war are the power of words. They’re made up of stories, made with nouns, with verbs.
Now the consequences are really quite chilling. Because behind every bomb and every mass killing are the voices that cause us to create hell. We got voices in our head that do that as well. They do what they can to attack it, you see, because they know we don’t often think rationally.
But how come, I mean, with all the information that we have at our disposal, how are some still convinced of any crazy proposal?
Well this is how it works. The media put out the lies. Social media comes along that we polarize. We find ourselves stuck still to our positions like we’re the convicts of our own convictions. And the voices that we hear are loud, certain and clear. They’re emotional or down or full of fear.
They often dominate our internal chatter like we’re lost inside some inner rap battle. We feel what we feel. Then the beat kicks in… and that’s when the talk war starts to begin.
“Let me introduce you – He’s the narrator
I’m the good voice, to my right is the hater
Who are you talking about got a problem with me!
You know you got a big mouth
But it’s obviously because you’re the odd one out
You’re completely alone
Maybe’s name’s Owen
Cuz he’s all on his own!
Sorry you’re me too, have you really forgotten
Pardon me that’s true and I feel really rotten
Know why your relationships ain’t being very healthy
Only time the girls like is when they think that you’re wealthy
You’ve nothing but a joke, Bart – of your life
You got no friends, not rich, not even a wife
But look at all the things that I have done
Six books, ninety countries I’ve had quite a run!
Sad you want a medal cuz you could book a flight
Or put words together on a computer right!
But how many people have left you over the years
Girlfriends who left you; Friends who leave you in tears.
You know you aren’t really hearing coz you cannot accept
That after all of these years you’re just still a reject!”
I’m not just having a midlife crisis on stage. I do have an important point that I believe needs to be made. You see, you convince yourself of what you think is true via this inner battle that happens inside of you.
Now he compares you to others and he makes you feel bad. He makes you guilty or angry or fearful or sad. He lies about what to do, finds ways to affect you.
BUT WHY IS THIS TRUE? HOW DOES HE MISDIRECT YOU?
Well, let me explain how we make mistakes.
Our brains are efficient. There are no second takes. We create shortcuts in how we process our lives. We jump to conclusions and we generalize.
Now confirmation bias – that means we just want to be right. Contradicting items – we delete them at a site and we only hold on to what we think is true. Information from the world then becomes skewed.
Now biases affect us like our feelings do and they bias and direct what we’re seeing to. For example, if you’re in a terrible mood it’s easy to be depressed, anxious or rude.
Now we rely on certainty in being right. We survived because we knew when to run, hide and fight. Our fears, the negative emotions – they keep us alive. They make us better and stronger and they help us to thrive.
So we believe all is bad because our feelings dictate it and we’re trapped in these feelings even though we hate it. We sell ideas to ourselves, repeat speeches internally. We tell ourselves stories that are reaching us verbally. All this happens inside our head whenever we think; reality is building as fast as we blink.
When you’re depressed you don’t think negatively. When you’re depressed you believe negatively.
Now propaganda determines who lives or who dies. We’re tricked into believing it’s dangerous lies. How it persuades? Well it’s no longer a mystery. I mean we’re all mental slaves on the wrong side of history. But at its worst they’re horrible examples of propaganda.