The following is Part Three of an expanded transcript of a detailed and in-depth interview Patrick Wanis PhD Human Behavior Expert gave to Michele Morrisette with www.PurQi.com about gurus, cults and brainwashing. Here Patrick Wanis reveals the ways that advertisers brainwash consumers by convincing them that there is something wrong with them – and he explains how that also relates to being brainwashed or led into a cult – or even being swindled financially. Click here for previous part of the interview, Part Two:
Patrick Wanis: So just summarizing those key human emotional needs – after survival – food, water, shelter: Love & Connection, Security, Challenge, Significance, Contribution (Meaning & Purpose) and Growth. If any of those needs are not being met and someone comes along and he happens to either be well-marketed or happens to be charismatic and says, “Look, I have the answer for you. I can solve your problem,” we then turn to this person. We can easily give away our power. We can easily put them on a pedestal and then we start to hand them our money.
It is particularly easy to occur if we are emotional needs are connected to a crisis and we are especially vulnerable and weak in the moment.
Once we start handing them our money, we become emotionally and financially invested in this person, and so therefore, we start to depend more on them and we start to give them greater significance, greater importance and greater control over us.
I also want to mention something else here, Michele, which is I think truly relevant: brainwashing doesn’t just occur by people who promote themselves as, wise – gurus and healers and leaders and teachers; brainwashing occurs every day especially by the media.
It starts with advertising.
Every commercial does one thing.
It says there’s something wrong with you or there’s something missing and here is the answer.
And it primarily does it to women.
It says ladies, you got to look younger. Ladies, you got to look skinnier. Ladies you got to do something about your hair. You got to get rid of those wrinkles. You got to tighten up your bottom. You got to tighten up this. You got to do this. You got to do that and then to guys, it’s you got to have this car. You have to be this way and that way.
Look at the ads that targeted women going back to the 1940s – vintage ads loudly and blatantly proclaimed: “Every woman has a figure problem!” i.e. every woman needs to do something about her body because it is not perfect, it is not up to par, it is not good enough! And, it must be – up to par, perfect and good enough; it must receive the approval of the public and other critics.
So for me, there’s always brainwashing – everyday – by saying you have a need: there’s something wrong, there’s something missing, and; here is the answer.
If you connect that to the key human emotional needs, advertising says there is something wrong with you which drives deficits in the emotions of security (creating insecurity and self-doubt) and significance (making one feel less than, not good enough) and love & connection (making one feel that they cannot be loved unless they change and but this product, and that they won’t be accepted or be able to belong to the community/society unless they change and buy this product for approval and acceptance.)
And that’s why people end up going and buying stuff that they don’t really need and you will even hear terms like – particularly when they are selling prescription medication. It will be like, “Do you toss and turn at night? You might be suffering from restless leg syndrome. Here, take this pill.” Now what they’re basically saying to you again is look, if you’re not sleeping well at night, there’s something wrong with you.
In fact, it’s not just that you’ve got some stress in your life. It’s not just maybe your boyfriend or girlfriend is arguing with you or your husband or wife or your kids are driving you nuts or you’ve got other challenges and stress in your life. No. You have a more serious problem because it’s not within your control. It’s a physical problem and it might even be a cognitive problem, a mental problem and we call it Restless Leg Syndrome and if you give us this amount of money, we will solve the problem for you.
Now, my point here Michele is, that’s no different to what all these other gurus, healers and teachers do.
The Secret sold quite simply by saying, “What is your need? We can solve your need. It’s solved through Law of Attraction.”
However, The Secret primarily focused on one thing. Even though it did talk about eradicating disease, it primarily focused on one thing, materialism.
So it tapped into another part of this human drive, unfortunately which, is greed, instant gratification; and that’s one of the negative aspects of our psyche where we can easily give into greed and the desire for instant gratification.
So The Secret talked about making money, becoming rich, having lots of stuff. The Vision Board was more about stuff than it was about contribution – put up on the vision board a picture of how you’re going to impact the world and how you’re going to make a difference and how you’re going to help people and be of service to others?
No, it was about cars and houses.
The Secret was tapping into and appealing to our primary drives for greed, lust and instant gratification – our desires over our needs!
“We must shift America from a needs [culture] to a desires-culture. People must be trained to desire, to want new things, even before the old have been entirely consumed. We must shape a new mentality in America. Man’s desires must overshadow his needs.”
– Paul Mazur, a leading Wall Street banker working for Lehman Brothers, 1927, Harvard Business Review.
Click here for Part 4 of the expanded transcript of the in-depth interview by Patrick Wanis PhD, Human Behavior Expert about gurus, cults and brainwashing, where Patrick Wanis reveals that the easiest way to brainwash someone or take advantage of that person is when he/she is highly vulnerable and experiencing an emotional crisis: https://patrickwanis.com/blog/vulnerability-emotional-crises-brainwashing/