The Power of Suggestion
by Berit Kjos
"The critical point of behavior control, in effect, is sneaking up on mankind without his self-conscious realization that a crisis is at hand. Man will... never self-consciously know that it has happened." (See the NEA)
By age ten, Jacqui K. was fascinated with anything supernatural. Since her parents set no limits, she read every fiction and fantasy book she could find on the magical world she craved. In her imagination, she met wizards and witches, power and excitement.
"I continued reading Harry Potter-type books through grade school, high school and into college," she says. "Three to five a week! The older I got, the easier they were to find. The whole time I considered myself a Christian! If someone had pointed out to me what I was doing, I would have laughed. I was a normal teenager and a leader in my church group."
The mystical characters in her fantasy world filled her thoughts during the day and her dreams at night. But when some of them began talking to her, she recognized the power she had pursued:
"I cried out to God to help me, and He did. The voices stopped. I was no Bible scholar, but I recognized that they were from Satan. Some people said that I became delusional because I couldn't separate fantasy from reality. They were wrong. The problem was that I COULD, and had no idea that reading fiction could put me in contact with REAL evil.
"Thirty years ago, I had to search for those kinds of books, but now they're everywhere. The fantasies I craved then were extreme, but now the child who stays away from occult books is the exception. I fear that what happened to me is happening to more and more Christian children. I can speak with authority on the dangers of straying into territory that God forbids."
Jacqui discovered what most teenagers deny: Popular fiction communicates images and suggestions that take root in the reader's mind and imagination. The more gifted the author, the more seductive the suggestions. J. K. Rowling, a master at her craft, inspires children to read her books again and again. Each mental immersion into Harry's exciting world strengthens the reader's identification with its characters. To many, this imagined world of occult empowerment soon feels as familiar as the real world -- yet far more thrilling.
"But it's just imagination," argue Harry's fans. "We know the difference between reality and fantasy."
It doesn't matter. Adults and children alike absorb values through the subtle suggestions hidden in entertainment. Our minds are more receptive than we think. And the more we like it, the more it affects us. Popular fantasy, with its boundless thrills and stirring images, can manipulate feelings and perceptions far more effectively than can ordinary reality. As Harvard Professor Chris Dede, a global leader the development of education technology programs, writes, "Sensory immersion helps learners grasp reality through illusion."
The enticing illusion, designed to match "felt needs," brings subtle suggestions that take root in today's "open" minds and fertile imagination with little conscious resistance. Adults --especially when minds are not grounded in truth and fact -- are vulnerable as well. This process helps explain why political "spin control" and repetitive slogans find amazing public acceptance. With each repetition, the deception becomes more believable.
We have all experienced the power of suggestion. We hear a familiar melody and a special relationship comes to mind. We see a cross and thank our Lord. We see a hamburger ad and our mouth waters.
This same power feeds the multi-billion-dollar pornography business. Tempting suggestions entice susceptible customers through uninvited emails. Few of those who succumb to the increasingly addictive suggestions would deny the link between pornographic images and their own physical and emotional responses.
This power clarifies false memories. Years ago, Roseanne Barr Arnold told a shocked world that she "remembered" being sexually abused by her parents as a child. The article, Childhood Memories? Or the Power of Suggestion? explains that "seemingly long-buried memories can be pure fantasy or distortions.... False memories can, and often are, planted through mere tone of voice or the phrasing of a question. ...there is much evidence to suggest that 'memories' are false ones, implanted by therapists through the power of suggestion and then uncritically accepted by them as evidence of truth."
Aldous Huxley understood this power over seventy years ago. Brave New World summarized his plan for mental manipulation and behavioral control:
"The love of servitude cannot be established except as the result of a deep, personal revolution in human minds and bodies. To bring about that revolution we require, among others... a greatly improved technique of suggestion through infant conditioning...."
"...Till at last the child's mind is these suggestions, and the sum of the suggestions is the child's mind. And not the child's mind only. The adult's mind too--all his life long. The mind that judges and desires and decides--made up of these suggestions. But all these suggestions are our suggestions!"
Ms Rowling's message fits Huxley's vision and today's global agenda. It mocks traditional values and idealizes paganism. No wonder Scholastic, a major publisher of classroom fiction promoting pagan empowerment, won the right to publish the series in America. Nor is it any wonder Warner owns the movie rights. Rowling's storytelling fuels their race toward a post-Christian, neo-pagan world.
Rowling's books, whether she realizes it or not, embody some well-used steps to social change. Like Huxley's conditioning exercises which linked the cloned babies' delight in colorful books to terrifying electric shocks, her steps link positive images to an idealized form of paganism and negative images to traditional values. Her suggestions include:
1. A vision of a better world: link main characters to pagan practices.
2. Rebellion against Biblical authorities: link traditional authority figures to intolerant "muggles."
3. An idealized view of paganism: link occult images to "good" wizards.
4. A pagan alternative to Christian values: link courage and loyalty to a common quest for occult empowerment.
5. Mystical experiences that excite the emotions: link "good" spells to victory in the timeless battle between good and evil.
God's Word shows us how to guard against deception. First, avoid occult suggestions when possible. "Have no fellowship with the unfruitful works of darkness...." (Eph. 5:11)
Second, be alert to every deception. "Beware lest anyone cheat you through philosophy and empty deceit, according to the tradition of men, according to the basic principles of the world...." (Col 2:8)
Third, resist deception by remembering and affirming God's Word. As He showed Jacqui, we are fighting against "REAL evil" forces, "not flesh and blood." (Eph 6:12) "Yet in all these things we are more than conquerors through Him who loved us," when we trust and follow Him.
For more information, read
Movie Magic and Unconscious Learning
Twelve reasons not to see Harry Potter movies
Establishing a Global Spirituality | Comments by visitors
1. Raymond Houghton, To Nurture Humaneness, ASCD (curriculum arm of the NEA), 1970.
2. From Jacqui's personal testimony sent to us.
3. See Clinton's Governor's School
4. Chris Dede, "The Transformation of Distance Education to Distributed Learning. While this and other papers by Professor Chris Dede focuses on education technology, it emphasizes the value of sensory immersion into synthetic environments as a tool to mold minds by instilling a programmed perception of "reality." http://www.gsu.edu/~wwwitr/docs/distlearn/index.html
5. Edgar A. Fouche, CEO FMA, "Behavior Modification While Using Computer." Mr. Fouche defines "Evocation" as "Evoking behavior changes through the power of the memory or imagination stimulated by the repetition of numerous subliminal affirmations." On 28 January 2000, this article was posted at <http://www.educationnews.org>.
6. Childhood Memories? Or the Power of Suggestion?
7. Aldous Huxley, Brave New World (New York: HarperCollins, 1932), page xvi, 28.
8. To better understand the issue, see Brave New World of 2001 and NYU neuroscientist examines how brain responds to fears that are imagined and anticipated, and The Evolution of Learning Devices. The latter shows today's quest for sophisticated tools for using "simulation" and "synthetic" or "artificial realities" to produce new ways of thinking and understanding reality. It states that "visualization tools can expand human perceptions so that we recognize underlying relationships." In the hands of education "change agents," these manipulative tactics are already being used to mold young minds that conform to their vision of global solidarity.
9. Romans 8:37. Luke 4:1-13 shows how Jesus used the Word to overcome tempting suggestions.