Review of Rebecca Lemov, World as Laboratory, New York: Hill and Wang, 2005.
Around 1915 the public came to believe in Freud’s concept of the subconscious mind and a need for self-analysis. This false belief led to a search for a control mechanism to mediate the flood of subconscious impulses (unconscious sex and aggression drives) that many believed were constantly motivating human behavior. But the idea of a deeper unconscious self conflicted with the behaviorist idea of the self as nothing more than conditioned stimulus-response habits. This difference in mental models split psychology into two competing camps.
In 1927 Harold Lasswell performed psychoanalysis upon a patient whose physiological responses were monitored by electrodes hooked up to measuring machines. From his experiments developed the polygraph and various scientific torture devices. Lasswell’s research was banned as both the psychotherapists and the behaviorists hated the linking of the two schools of psychology. However, a later group of psychologists that included Neal Miller, Hobart Mowrer, Robert Sears, Lenard Doob, and John Dollard attempted to isolate and control mental function at Yale University.
In 1936 at Yale Mowrer and Hull began to test the hypothesis that frustration leads to aggression, and this opened the way for experimental tests of Freudian hypotheses. However, this literature was criticized for distorting Freud and for formulating vague hypotheses. By the 1970s over a thousand studies of lab experiments in frustration had been published. Out of this research came the idea that the environment is the controlling variable in response to stimulus. Lemov seems satisfied that this idea is “obviously true” rather than an outcome of flawed studies set up to prove the assumptions of the psychologists.
This orientation to a “deterministic environment” linked psychology to Marxism. Both psychology and Marxism are invalidated by their reliance on the concept of a determining environment and their desire to form that determining environment.
Later mind-control research led to the conclusion that no one could resist an all-out assault on the mind under controlled conditions, and this conclusion reinforced the idea of the all-powerful environment. However, people do break habits using nothing more than will power, so mental conditioning is not necessarily once-and-for-all. But the behaviorists focused on how to set the conditioning rather than how to break the conditioning, so all of their studies ended up aiding the controllers.
Beginning in 1928, anthropologists at Yale began to build a file on all cultural knowledge. George Peter Murdock led this project. The idea was to record anthropological data in a file that could be accessed without reading the literature. By 1938 the social scientists had entered data on 40 cultures. By 1966, they had entered data on 285 cultures. From a filing cabinet full of 5 x 8 cards, the file expanded to over 68 million cards. Over time the name of this file changed, from the Outline of Cultural Materials to the Human Relations Area Files. As the data bank grew, anthropologists were faced with the question of the variability of culture versus a mean or average of cultural practices.
The file was used during and after World War II as a guide to American military commanders coming in contact with foreign peoples. The government funded research into these files and compiled reports to guide military commanders regarding local customs. Leading anthropologists of the wartime period wrote books about how to accustom foreign people to U.S. standards of normalcy.
However, this was not a naïve endorsement of U.S. standards as normal. Instead, a cross-cultural survey was made using dimensions such as toilet training, sex education, and childhood dependence vs. independence. The judges used a quantitative scale, and in this way the study of culture was made “scientific.” The head of the project was George Peter Murdock at Yale. He received funding from the Rockefeller foundation to compile and analyze the data.
The data were first used as America took over the Japanese Empire at the end of World War II. The policies were formulated at the School of Military Government and Administration at the University of Virginia, Charlottesville, and at Columbia University. These bureaucracies developed operational handbooks specific to areas and peoples. Murdock then joined the Pacific fleet under Admiral Nimitz and distributed the knowledge base and the policies to commanders in the field.
This effort marked the shift from a British Empire method of governing to an American Empire method of governing. In the Pacific, residents of islands were usually put in a camp. Sociological studies of Japanese interred in camps were used as models for behavioral change for all of the Pacific peoples under U.S. military control.
After the war the anthropologists applied the analysis to American society and decided to try to change its sexual and childrearing practices more toward a “worldwide mean” of cultural practices. This campaign eventually aided the Cultural Marxist sexual revolution, permissive childrearing, feminism, the attack on the authority of the father, and world population control campaigns under the name of “family planning.” Ashley Montegue, Margaret Meade, B.F Skinner, Benjamin Spock, Alfred Kinsey, and other popularizers incorporated these techniques in their pseudo-sciences and became authorities in “scientific culture” (Marxist culture) for a wide public.
A second line of mind-control research developed through the CIA after World War II. Lemov provides a light overview of this history, but there are better sources for learning about this research.
CIA director Allen Dulles sponsored a variety of experiments to program individuals and populations. These experiments included radiology, electroshock, psychiatry, graphology, harassment, and drugs. A chief director of these experiments was Louis West, head of UCLA’s Neuropsychiatric Institute, along with Harold George Wolff and D. Ewen Cameron.
Project Artichoke was established in 1952 to hone interrogation techniques. In 1953 MK-ULTRA projects began to study drugs, hypnosis, mind control machines, mass brainwashing, electroshock, and lobotomy to control the mind. West studied LSD, and other LSD studies were carried out at Boston Psychopathology, Mount Sinai Hospital and Columbia University, University of Illinois Medical School, the Addiction Research Center at Lexington, University of Rochester, and at Oklahoma and UCLA.
The CIA then set up the Human Ecology Society to conduct experiments combining medicine, psychiatry, and anthropology on human guinea pigs. Out of this research came the book The Manipulation of Human Behavior by Albert Biderman and Herbert Zimmer, Erving Goffman’s The Presentation of Self in Everyday Life, and conferences with Margaret Mead and Jean Piaget. Jay Shulman, Edward T. Hall, Carl Rogers, and other Leftists managed to get CIA grants to test their theories. These included experiments in lobotomy, psychosurgery, hypnosis, drugs, and the controlled environment. Ewen Cameron of McGill University in Montreal conducted many such experiments. McGill became president of the Canadian, American, and World Psychiatric Associations. Rockefeller grants set up Cameron’s institute, the Allan Institute, in Canada.
Cameron took the brainwashing model as far to its extreme as he could take it. The idea was to break to person to point zero, where the personality could be destroyed completely. Then, he built up the personality again through conditioning. Cameron’s method involved playing a tape of a phrase the person had uttered during therapy. He called this “psychic driving.” After about a half an hour of this, the person was reoriented to the subconscious mind. Cameron then combined this technique with various drugs, sensory deprivation, and a rigidly controlled environment. After ten to twenty hours of psychic driving for ten to fifteen days, the person became a nonresistant vegetable.
Cameron then received large grants from Human Ecology and took his experiments further, using electroshock, LSD, and various psychotropic drugs. When the patients entered coma, he introduced the psychic driving technique. After this treatment, patients had to learn to walk, eat, or speak. The point was, all memories had been erased. The new conditioning then produced a new persona. Many patients had no memories of their “therapy” and were actually grateful that they had been “cured.”
However, many had traumatic memories and experienced emotional problems later in life. Many of these human guinea pigs brought lawsuits against Cameron, and his methods were exposed. By 1961 Cameron’s funding was terminated, and he destroyed most of his files. He died in 1967, exposed and disgraced. The Canadian/BBC program Behind Closed Doors (1998) exposed Cameron’s methods. As a result of this exposure, new laws and policies protecting human subjects from psychological experimentation changed the orientation of the field.
If you do research into the details of these experiments you will come face to face with organized, funded, anti-human evil. This is the chief characteristic of the modern age, the scientific search for techniques to control human behavior in the service of the New World Order slave society.
The Pavlovian conditioning school operated under the assumption that the normal middle-class person was brainwashed by socialization, which is nothing more than stimulus-response conditioning. The Pavlovians considered socialization to be hit-or-miss or arbitrary rather than culturally defining and historically tested. Operating out of reductionist assumptions, they felt free to “scientifically” experiment on humans to discover and replace conditioned associations from culture or natural instincts with their own preferred conditioning. Many of these psychologists were themselves plagued by obsessions or other mental problems that became the focus of their reconditioning values.
The conditioning techniques were then passed to radical university students, who experimented with these techniques in a variety of ways, such as interview techniques, videotaping public events, teach-ins, happenings, experimental or postmodern art, etc. The Left adopted these new conditioning techniques in combination with Cultural Marxist theory and Surrealist art theory for subversive purposes. The main idea was to degrade Americans to the status of confused morons so that they would accept Communist propaganda without realizing it was Communist propaganda. The strategy of forced retardation worked perfectly once the Communists took over the teachers’ unions and controlled the educational curriculum from the federal Department of Education.
By the 1950s, the major advertising agencies got ahold of handbooks of stimulus-response conditioning techniques and subliminal persuasion techniques and used these methods to stimulate sales.
It is now understood that these “scientific experiments” were designed to establish experimental results that would always reinforce the assumptions of the Pavlovian psychologists. The unexpected result was how easily the lab experience of psychological control can be transferred into media, education, political campaigns, and control over public spaces.
This work resulted in the poll, the SAT test, a battery of psychological tests measuring human preferences, demographically-oriented propaganda campaigns, anthropology databanks and culture-change projects, therapists as social authorities, coercive interrogation techniques, long-distance spying, and various radical movements. At first located in the university and then in the military, the techniques have been widely taught and now are in the hands of a variety of occupations devoted to influencing attitudes and behavior.
(Lemov doesn’t spell this out, but we will: All secular institutions are now controlled by experts in conditioning. The American experiment has turned into a psychological control experiment. The American dream of a free citizenry living free lives and electing representatives to carry out the will of the majority has now been entirely corrupted by evil psychologists and the commanding elites who have learned their control methods. You have to escape from this corrupt system of secular institutions to find any human value or human dignity, and you have to cleanse your identity to remedy your own conditioning or you will waste your life in their system carrying out their goals.)
Much of the destruction of authenticity in the culture can be traced to the development of these behavioral sciences. Movies are now rated by focus groups rather than carrying out the artistic vision of the director. Products are designed to appeal to the widest and lowest spectrum of users. Reporting of opinion polls, government statistics, and legislation are designed to mislead. The overall result has been to discourage reflection or thinking and to substitute a desired response as the key to manipulating people — programmed conformity, the dull mass society, Nietzsche’s “last man.”
This is how culture became modern pseudo-culture and society became the mass Marxist pseudo-society.
The corporate public relations industry is as much a front organization designed to deceive as Communist subversives infiltrating American institutions were in the Roosevelt era. The difference is, Pravda’s analysis of international affairs was so obviously false that everyone recognized the lies and laughed at them. In the media age, advertisers show nice images rather than obvious lies. It works.
Both political parties use these persuasion techniques to establish policy priorities and run election campaigns. Once in office, they simply take the measure of how much they can get away with and do what they want.
Imagining that the powerful institutions that are cooperating to build up the New World Order are “solving problems” and “acting in the interest of humanity” is simply naive. All of the leading institutions are using behaviorist mind-control techniques finessed by public relations departments to control their employees and the public.
Despite the idealistic rhetoric from the Left, there hasn’t been any liberation, transcendence, good socialism, or idealistic outcome from their programs, and there is no intention that there will be. Lemov wonders why they believed they might find it by experimenting with conditioning on prisoners, drug addicts, babies, pigeons, rats, neurotics, housewives, or students. But Lemov is just a young naive feminist who was given access to the Yale archives and was able to write a book. She can name the names and track the money, but she remains naive about the New World Order and the motives of the behaviorist researchers. Her book jacket indicates she is interested in Eastern religions. Hasn’t anyone told her that feminism destroys Eastern religions? The two worldviews are utterly incompatible.
The fact that a “feminist scholar” got access to the Yale archives and wrote up these experiments is a sad commentary on the state of academic research today. Lemov spins the story as if these researchers were misguided and neurotic. They were not misguided, they knew what they were doing and they were evil.
The success of the social engineering model also had the effect of making the scientists feel superior to everybody else. They are more privileged thanks to the massive government funding of science and thanks to the propaganda that science produces progress, but they can only become more free if they resist the mass conditioning propaganda. Being themselves products of the liberal education system, one wonders how many scientists and social scientists are really able to operate outside the reductionist materialist paradigm, reject the fallacies of Marxism, evolutionary theory, and deterministic anthropology, and operate according to positive human values. Not many, we think.
As long as the politicians and the advertisers proclaim freedom, choice, will of the people, etc. as dominant values, the public remains ignorant of the fact that they are nothing more than lab rats conditioned by evil social scientists.
But one of the greatest ironies of this line of research is how many dumb liberals want to “experiment” with the drugs, the bio/electrical technologies, the small-group therapy model, the mind/machine interfaces, the community organizing model, Neo-freudian self-confession, and other control mechanisms in a search for liberation or therapy.
It doesn’t get any dumber than that.