Friday, 1 May 2009

Programming fear for profit

"People are being kept in a state of fear and consumption" - Marilyn Manson

There is always a buck to be made out of fear. Whether it is the sensationalist newspaper articles about how much danger your children are in or the insidious little comments about personal hygiene or social status of the cosmetics industry.... We are constantly manipulated by our fears. Those who wish to be voted into power or make money from us (or both) know this well enough.

Why do we hate being afraid? Quite simply, it is how we have survived. Fear is our instinct for survival. It is the natural impetus that drives us away from pain and suffering.

Every marketer knows that to completely move our desires towards a product, it is not enough to tell us how much of a benefit it will be. They must also make sure we are moving away from pain - either real or imaginary. Take this is a quote from a recent deodorant advertisement. I desensitised it to avoid lawsuits.

"If you worry about personal hygiene, [product name] with it's unique formula [description of formula and how it works]...... [product name]... reach out with confidence all day long."

Words written in Red are designed to instigate fear. Words in Blue instigate positive attachment to the product. Usually these controlling words are said with emphasis, within a larger sentence that softens the message. These language patterns are cleverly placed to control feelings and desires.

Language patterns are common knowledge among neuro-linguistic programming (NLP) practitioners and the advertising industry, but the general public are unaware that it is happening most of the time. Another person who uses language patterns is Barrack Obama. His speeches are literally full of very carefully placed leading statements, interweaved into sentences to soften or completely disguise their meaning.

So how do you avoid your emotions and survival instincts from being manipulated? Television is the primary delivery device of NLP. Reduce your consumption of this insidious media. You will find yourself becoming more calm and relaxed as a result. The less exposure you have to NLP, the more aware you become when it does happen.

How do you know you are being manipulated? As marketing is about "raising the stakes" around the purchase of a product, it gives you extra stress. Do you ever feel undue stress and worry when in a supermarket? You are being made to think that all those rows of product on the shelves are far more IMPORTANT than they actually are. You have been programmed. There's no use castigating yourself about it. Marketing is inevitable in our modern society. But you can do something:

1. Switch off the television.
2. Switch off the radio.
3. Be careful what you read. Become aware of political and commercial influences in everything.
4. Meditate.

Why is meditation so important? It allows you to rediscover yourself. To find yourself again after being repeatedly told what you "need" is this product and that product... you owe it to yourself to cut out all the NLP and find out what you truly want.

1 comment:

craigtaylor said...

very thought provoking post Richard. it is scary how the world runs on and reacts to fear. i agree that meditation can bring one back to a state of balance. BRAVO!!