It’s sure feels like it has been a Snowden summer.
I for one am thankful.
That he was willing to put everything on the line.
To let the rest of us know.
The sheer SCALE of the monitoring and tracking that is going on.
While I’ve been involved with NLP for 14 years.
I’ve been involved with computers and security for longer.
Back in the late 90’s I was a walking ‘computer geek’.
I still remember the first time I came across the
idea of hacking.
I was at my girlfriends house watching the cult
classic movie ‘Hackers’, starring a very young
Do you remember it?
The crazy over the top graphics. Pumping music and
It was a fun movie.
Back then in 1995 just 17 million people were online.
Today there are over 2.4 Billion of us online.
Anyhow, after the movie ended a friend turned to
me and said:
“Can you do that?”
And for the first time in computers.. I had no
How to ‘hack’ computer hardware or software.
I had up until that point, simply been a
Becoming aware that there is much more going on,
started me on a search.
How to secure yourself from unwanted access and
breaches of your rights.
And to do that I needed to learn more about how
hacking really works.
I became fascinated with it.
And experienced many fun experiences along the way.
Along the journey I came across something called…
What is this?
Is it possible that people’s minds can be
This lead me to the question, well if that is
Who is doing the programming?
For what intent?
The answer is…
It is possible for the masses to be manipulated.
To be ‘programmed’.
For someone else to “login” and influence your mind.
Turn on the TV and the news programming is ready.
To influence you.
So it means you need to be mindful of which sources:
What “fires together, wires together” as
neuro scientists say.
But it’s not like people are machines or computers.
That’s a metaphor.
The vast majority of people cannot do a one click
‘install’ of some dirty sneaky secret into your
Although one time learning is normal.
The word ‘installation’ in terms of NLP is at
best a metaphor.
If you want to guard against being manipulated it
means you need to learn a bit about how others
And how you influence others.
That’s partly what got me interested in learning NLP.
Because forces are influencing all of us… every
If you don’t know how the ‘magic’ works, you can’t
see it when it is being used against you.
Controlling the ‘FRAME’ has long been the business
of ‘public relations’ advisors, politicians and
Take Snowden for example.
Is he a true selfless ‘Whistleblower’ or ‘Traitor’?
Or do you?
Perhaps it’s decided for you.
The best ‘spin’ doctors are closer to Leonardo
DiCaprio character in the movie Inception.
They are experts at putting ideas in.
Using sources you least expect.
If they are REALLY good they can place ideas
inside your mind without you…
* ever realising they were there
* or that the idea you so strongly hold
* was never your idea at all.
It was someone else’s.
Setup to make it look AND feel like yours.
So new options are formed
And mass behaviours changed.
Don’ believe me.
nephew, Edward Bernays.
Watch this fascinating video about Sigmund Freud’s
nephew, Edward Bernays.
Bernays practically invented the field of Public
Relations or as he called it propaganda.
Back in the 1920s Propaganda as a term didn’t have
a negative connotation that we associate with it
Bernays was so successful as manipulating the
masses, Presidents and Big Tabacco called on him.
He become known as “The Father of Public Relations (PR)”.
And he was a master of it.
Working past 100 years of age, advising clients.
As a student of communication and influence,
Bernays is a person worth studying.
He used manipulation on a grand scale.
To quote the NY Times:
“He considered himself a professional opinion
maker who, by following precise principles,
could produce desired changes in attitudes.”
And he was really good at it.
Classic example is how he changed the smoking
habits of millions of Women, using insights he
learned from Freud’s work.
Back then Big Tabacco came to him with a problem.
They wanted to get more women smoking. Increase
the market of smokers.
One big problem.
Most women didn’t smoke because it was a social
Men didn’t like it.
The 1920’s house wife complied.
Bernays psychoanalyst told him that “cigarettes
represented the penis.”
So if you want to get women smoking…
“You need to give them their own penises.”
And he did.
It’s a stroke of brilliance.
And alarming for that time.
Today the methods he created are the norm. And
they have become more effective.
Misinformation travels faster.
Truth becomes lies.
Lies become (unchallenged) truth.
So next time you turn on the TV and hear about
Snowden or any number of issues.
Maybe you are being manipulated.
Update: Thanks to everyone who emailed me on this post.
You may be interested to know that 562 authors, including 5 Nobel Prize laureates, from over 80 countries have joined together to launch an appeal in defense of civil liberties against surveillance by corporations and governments. They have started a petition here. It’s worth checking out and signing.