Thursday, 4 November 2010

Barriers to Brainwashing

In her book "Brainwashing: The science of thought control", Kathleen Taylor describes 5 (FACET) factors that can help to prevent totalist and dogmatic thinking:

  1. Freedom (of speech etc.)

  2. Agency (freedom of action)

  3. Complexity (the varied mix of human opinion, values and decisions; avoiding cliched thinking)

  4. Ends-not-means (individuals, not cogs within a larger machine)

  5. Thinking

It seems to me that Interactive Democracy reinforces and encourages these factors. Maybe that's a small thing given that Parliamentary Democracy also requires these elements (to a lesser degree) but history shows us that dogmatic beliefs, whether religious or political, have a tendency to emerge and re-emerge, often with detrimental effect, so any extra antidote could be good.

(For more on fundamentalism please see Robert Lifton's Eight Criteria for Thought Reform. It may provide some insight into the social psychology of terrorism.)

No comments: