Cognitive Warfare in the 21st Century
Early on in his January 6th speech commemorating the supposed “insurrection” in the US capitol, President Joe Biden made the following remarks:
“The Bible tells us that we shall know the truth and the truth shall make us free. We shall know the truth. Close your eyes. Go back to that day. What do you see? Rioters rampaging, waving for the first time inside this Capitol, the confederate flag that symbolized the cause to destroy America, to rip us apart. Even during the Civil War, that never, ever happened. But it happened here in 2021.”
President Joe Biden—January 6th, 2022
Despite the appearance of a seemingly simple set of vague but violent platitudes, in the few brief sentences above and those that follow we can identify the use of various subtle but very targeted behavioral science and Neuro Linguistic Programming (NLP) techniques. These include “re-framing,” hypnotic “trance-formations,” “priming,” “anchors,” and “visualizations.” However, this example is no exception.
As has been extensively demonstrated and documented, under the auspices of their COVID-19 pandemic response, governments and senior public policy makers across the “Five Eyes” have been making aggressive use of NLP, hypnosis, and “behavioral nudging” in all their public messaging. Using the latest insights from the fields of social psychology and behavioural science, governments and policy makers over the last two have run a series of public messaging campaigns designed to drastically change the thoughts and behaviors of citizens without their conscious knowledge or consent. This was done through the targeting of what behavioral scientists and social engineers call “automatic motivations” i.e. the unconscious mind.
From “priming” the population into incrementally sacrificing bodily-autonomy, the subtle calibration of NLP “timelines” as a means of emotionally locking people into indefinite commitments (two weeks became two years), to targeting people’s empathy and innate desire to “protect loved ones,” to predicating employment and one’s livelihood on the condition citizens submit to experimental medical treatments, what made these radical policies not only thinkable but achievable was the covert use of “behavioral nudging” and careful framing of an official COVID-19 story through public messaging “incantations.”
Since previous articles have already detailed how these techniques were applied throughout the pandemic and how they continue to be used to frame the climate crisis narrative, let us consider the January 6th speech as a new crystalized display of the vast array of techniques now systematically used against populations across the Five Eyes web. Let us examine these techniques with an eye to finally breaking the spell.
In his January 6th speech, President Joe Biden made the following remarks:
“The Bible tells us that we shall know the truth and the truth shall make us free. We shall know the truth. Close your eyes. Go back to that day. What do you see?
Rioters rampaging, waving for the first time inside this Capitol, the confederate flag that symbolized the cause to destroy America, to rip us apart. Even during the Civil War, that never, ever happened. But it happened here in 2021.
What else do you see? A mob, breaking windows, kicking in doors, breaching the Capitol, American flags on poles being used as weapons as spears, fire extinguishers being thrown at the heads of police officers. A crowd that professes their love for law enforcement assaulted those police officers, dragged them, sprayed them, stomped on them.”
President Joe Biden—January 6th, 2022
Before instructing viewers to “close your eyes,” the preceding sentences made use of the words “the Bible” and “truth.” The word “truth” was repeated three times. Doing so ensured “the Bible” and “truth” were prominently placed in the listener’s psyche right before the incantation began. Listeners were then instructed to “Close your eyes. What do you see?” The instructions were followed by a guided visualization in which people were asked to imagine “rioters rampaging,” “the confederate flag” a “Civil War,” and America ripping itself apart.
The questions “What do you see?” and “what else do you see?” also served as what hypnotists call “embedded commands” (written in bold). “What else do you see” also functioned as a “bind.” For, the images of insurrection are never called into question, only how many. This creates the “illusion of choice”—a common tactic used throughout the MSM narrative matrix.
The guided visualization included a good deal of “frames” and suggestive imagery, including mobs breaking windows, “American flags on poles being used as weapons,” fire extinguishers being thrown at the heads of police officers, and ostensible Trump supporters stomping on the heads of the very law enforcement officials they supposedly supported.
Thus, listeners were “primed” with the word “truth” and then invited to engage in a “visualization” where they would be “anchored” to a set of violent images. In essence, the statement attempted to instill “false memories” into the minds of the audience such that going forward the suggestion of similar “insurrections” might serve as an automatic trigger or “cue.” Not surprisingly, the same language was used to frame recent Canadian trucker protests as another “insurrection.”
These various techniques and modern forms of hypnotic language can be traced back to the work of hypnotist and NLP pioneer Richard Bandler and his study of Milton Erickson, among others. Notably, Bandler describes Ericksonian hypnotic language as “artfully vague, but systemically so.” For, language that is “artfully vague” allows one to use ambiguity, the gaps in descriptions, and the overall power of hypnotic suggestion to create the appearance that listeners are freely providing their own meaning and naturally filling in the gaps—the “illusion of choice.” All this has the effect of solidifying beliefs into the “deep structures” of the psyche. Sensitivity and suggestibility to these elements can then be heightened by simply increasing the level of fear, anger, or confusion.
Going back to Joe Biden’s speech, regardless of whether the president’s descriptions of events on January 6th were true, priming listeners with words like “the Bible” and “truth,” instructing them to close their eyes, giving various suggestions and asking them to visualize a set of emotionally-charged images in their imagination with the purpose of creating an “altered-state” or “trance,” and then finally suggesting the statements as true has the effect of “anchoring” the images in the mind.
As a general example of anchoring, a hypnotherapist or NLP practitioner may assist a patient in overcoming a phobia by first instructing them to close their eyes and imagine a previous time in which they found themselves in a state of complete calm, ease, and safety i.e. an “altered state.” The practitioner can then have their client describe the scene, its sights, sounds, and the many sensations associated with that particular memory. For example, imagine a warm beach with the sea-salted breeze gently blowing around you while you relax under an umbrella; now, you can hear the clear and gentle waves crashing on the shore, with the sound of happy children playing and giggling in the background.
Since memories have a physical component, including muscle memory, by invoking a particular memory or image and having them visualize a scene, clients can be made to feel the sensations felt in the original experience. Once the scene and those memories appear in the body, an “altered-state” or “trance-formation” begins. The hypnotherapist or NLP practitioner can then proceed to guide a client towards phobia-triggering images or traumatic events, with the safe, warm, and happy anchored images functioning as a “resource.” Clients can then be guided into visualizing themselves experiencing the traumatic event, phobia, and acting out the scene in a new and more adaptive way on the stage of their imaginations. Having played out the new scene to completion, the real-world experience of the same phobia-triggering events or trauma is supposed to lose its emotional charge.
In this respect, we might consider how “going back to normal” was presented in the context of COVID-19 restrictions. For many, “going back to normal” likely served as an effective anchor. People could imagine those easier times when they could freely travel wherever they wanted whenever they wanted, leave their homes as they pleased, or see loved ones at any time.
Using the idea of “going back to normal,” many may have felt a sense of freedom, the weight lifting off our shoulders, but then had those recalled memories followed by the subsequent announcement of new restrictions, or new crises. Regardless, suggestions of “going back to normal” and regaining one’s freedom were framed as a question of mass compliance with government “guidance.” Messages were consistently designed such that images, feelings and suggestions of “freedom” were quickly tied to compliance, with the “sequence” of commands and images being key. For, the right sequence of thoughts and images can drastically impact how someone receives a given set of messages or information, and whether they successfully enter an altered state such that the messenger or hypnotist can influence how subsequent instructions, commands, and/or information are internalized, and consequently, how someone behaves.
Not coincidentally, all of the techniques described above appeared in the recent January 6th speech. Many of these techniques can be found in their most modern form in the work of hypnotist and NLP co-creator, Richard Bandler. Bandler himself was a student and collaborator of none other than linguist/anthropologist of MK-Ultra LSD and mind-control notoriety, Gregory Bateson. Notably, in the 1970s Bateson was the director of research at the Veterans Hospital in Palo Alto, California. There, he oversaw many MK-Ultra experiments using mind-altering drugs and hypnosis. As Bandler himself describes in various places throughout his works, Bateson regularly followed Bandler’s work and insights, which now feature prominently in the framing of most big “news” stories in the West, its mainstream media, and in the speeches of many World Economic Forum (WEF) technocrats.
Bateson, along with Aldous Huxley and others took great interest in the use of hypnosis and drug use to induce “altered states,” whether in individuals, large groups, or even “the masses.” British wartime psychiatrist and psychological warfare expert Dr. William Sargant also took great interest in hypnotic phenomenon and the control of “altered states,” which he wrote about in two well-known works, The Battle for the Mind: How Evangelists, Psychiatrists, Politicians, and Medicine Men Can Change Your Beliefs and Behavior and The Mind Possessed: A Physiology of Possession, Mysticism and Faith Healing.
Take some of Dr. William Sargant’s reflections from his latter 1973 work, The Mind Possessed:
“The origin of this book dates back to the Second World War and the treatment of battle neuroses—psychological disorders stemming from horrifying and mentally overwhelming experiences of war. Soldiers who had broken down, in combat or afterwards, sometimes became totally preoccupied by their memories of what had happened to them. In other cases, these memories had been repressed into the subconscious mind but were causing feelings of depression, fatigue, irritability, irrational fears or nightmares.” (Id., p. 3)
Commenting on the direct use of hypnosis, Sargant wrote:
“A state of heightened suggestibility, intense sensitivity to one’s surroundings and a readiness to obey commands even when they go against the grain, is one of the most striking characteristics of hypnotized behaviour, and hypnosis has given its name to the ‘hypnoid’ phase of brain activity. […] this phase can be caused by stress and creates a state of greatly increased suggestibility in which a human being uncritically adopts ideas to which they would not normally be open. Breuer was interested in this phenomenon at the end of the last century and his findings, reported in a masterly chapter which he contributed to a joint book with Freud, were repeatedly confirmed in our experience with drug abreactions during the war. Breuer begins by quoting Moebius as saying, in 1890: ‘The necessary condition for the (pathogenic) operation of ideas is, on the one hand, an innate—that is, hysterical—disposition and, on the other, a special frame of mind… It must resemble a state of hypnosis: it must correspond to some kind of consciousness in which an emerging idea meets with no resistance from any other—in which, so to speak, the field is clear for the first comer. We know that a state of this kind can be brought about not only by hypnotism but by emotional shock (fight, anger, etc.) and by exhausting factors (sleeplessness, hunger, and so on).’” (Id., p. 32)
In another revealing passage from his book, in chapter six Sargant writes:
“An actor, who had what he himself described as a “histrionic” temperament, told me after the last war how, as a prisoner of the Japanese, he had to go each day to receive orders from the local Japanese camp commandment. He never knew whether he was going to be beaten up or praised or just ignored. When he was beaten up, which happened frequently, he found that if he could succeed in fixing his thoughts on a certain mountain in Wales, and keep his mind completely concentrated on it, he could often inhibit much of the physical pain of the beating. Pain and other strong sensory impressions can sometimes be completely inhibited in a moment of great crisis, with its heightened state of nervous excitement, and also in states of hypnosis. With the mind entirely focussed on some present danger, it is possible to remain unaware that you have been seriously hurt at the time; you only realize it afterwards.” (Id., p. 72-73)
Countless variations on these techniques exist, but they can be easily found adapted in MSM narratives simply by paying attention to the composition of narratives and the attempt to shrink reality down to a single point. Despite the seemingly mysterious and magical quality of hypnotic phenomenon, once these techniques are named and consciously identified by the populace, with the basic triggers recognized (fear, danger, confusion, and empathy-targeting messages), much of the “magic” disappears.
Whether it be the WEF’s “Young Global Leaders” gesticulating as they offer up their series of empty platitudes or any number of other technocratic Borgs from the WEF Liberal Borg Cube, all essentially follow the same pattern of empty platitudes, hand gestures, and doublespeak inspired by years of research into how to manage and mold what they believe should be an increasingly submissive and suggestible population.
To call the use of these NLP and trance-formation techniques by top government officials subversive is an understatement. However, while some of these techniques may serve as powerful “anchors” and tools for “behavior change,” their “magic” lies in their subtlety. For, one of the key insights from hypnosis is the power of suggestion. Through the use of artfully vague narratives, a target or patient can have the impression of naturally arriving at their conclusions when they are in fact carefully and pre-meditatively framed in order specifically target unconscious processes. The use of hypnotic sequences, embedded commands, and “illusions of choice” can be very effective, especially when populations are whipped up into emotional frenzies of outrage, fear, or anger.
Doing so gives speakers the ability to disarm the unconscious minds of their listeners and significantly increase their suggestibility. Moreover, with the right use of “anchors,” “cues,” “priming,” and other devices, it even becomes possible to steer the unconscious processes of a population in real-time. For example, while studies have shown that from the standpoint of medical science masks were virtually ineffective in preventing the spread of COVID-19, from the standpoint of behavioral science and social psychology masks served as very powerful “cues” to enforce “norms,” or what behavioural scientists call “social proof.” Were masking policies to have been jettisoned due to their ineffectiveness as medical interventions, their true effectiveness as behavioural “cues” would have become all the more pronounced by virtue of how quickly adherence to public safety measures would have waned.
However, when people become consciously aware that such techniques are being used, they are likely to become increasingly resistant to any suggestions. On the other hand, if individuals aren’t aware that speakers are attempting to induce trance and place new thoughts into their minds, such techniques can have very powerful effects on even intelligent or educated individuals.
The last two years offer many striking examples of how carefully framed public messaging “incantations” can radically alter the thoughts and behaviors of an unknowing populace. Unfortunately, these techniques are not only being used to “re-frame” the events of January 6th or shape the COVID-19 narrative, they saturate virtually all spheres of public messaging, from healthcare, the environment, “climate change,” and even international banking.
Unfortunately, none of this is new. These are only the latest chapters in a much longer story. Going back to the early twentieth century, just around the time Freud published his Mass Psychology, Walter Lippman was writing about the control of what he termed “Public Opinion.” Lippman defined Public Opinion as “The pictures inside the heads of human beings, the pictures of themselves, of others, of their needs and purposes, and relationship, are their public opinions. Those pictures which are acted upon by groups of people, or by individuals acting in the name of groups, are Public Opinion, with capital letters.”
In his 1922 book, Public Opinion, Lippman was very candid about what determines this “opinion,” writing that it was largely controlled by a:
“Powerful, socially superior, successful, rich urban social set [which] is fundamentally international throughout the Western Hemisphere and in many ways, London is its center. It counts among its membership the most influential people in the world, containing as it does the diplomatic sets, high finance, the upper circles of the army and navy, some princes of the church, the great newspaper proprietors, their wives, mothers, and daughters who wield the scepter of invitation. It is at once a great circle of talk and a real social set.”
Hypnosis, the power of suggestion, and the manipulation of altered states on a mass scale through the use of drugs and heightened sensitivity became key fields of exploration for achieving new levels of precision in what has remained the same essential goal: the control of Public Opinion and “the pictures inside the heads of human beings.”
As discussed, despite the elusive nature of today’s modern “trance warfare” and constant psy-ops, once these techniques are named and consciously identified by the populace, today’s ruling “social set” may find themselves in very much the same position Goethe’s famously hapless “Sorcerer’s Apprentice” found himself in.
It’s time to lift the veil and break the spell.
David B. Gosselin is a writer, researcher, and poet based in Montreal. He is the founder of The Chained Muse and New Lyre. His latest poetry collection is entitled Modern Dreams. Stay tuned for new episodes of Escaping the Brave New World.
Bandler, Richard. Richard Bandler’s Guide to Trance-formation: How to Harness the Power of Hypnosis to Ignite Effortless and Lasting Change. Health Communications, Inc. 2008.
Sargant, William. The Mind Possessed: A Physiology of Possession, Mysticism and Faith Healing. Viking Press. 1973.
Lippman, Walter. Public Opinion. The Project Gutenberg EBook of Public Opinion, by Walter Lippmann, 3 Mar. 2022.
 In his book, Richard Bandler’s Guide to Trance-formation: How to Harness the Power of Hypnosis to Ignite Effortless and Lasting Change, Bandler dedicates an entire chapter to what he terms “false memories.” See chapter 18: “Repatterning the Past: The Magic of False Memories.”
 Richard Bandler’s Guide to Trance-formation: How to Harness the Power of Hypnosis to Ignite Effortless and Lasting Change pp. 20, 39, 122-24
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