A Verbal Analogy - Mind : Body :: Illusion : Reality *

by Philip Greenspan

April 8, 2002


In our journey through life we comprehend our world through both our minds and our bodies. While the body continuously encounters the real world, the mind, through its ability to imagine, creates an illusory world.

To illustrate this dichotomy of perception, consider the con man. He creates an imaginary situation so convincingly that it is accepted by the mind of the victim. When the victim, through the five senses of his body, discovers the truth he realizes he has been fleeced.

Better yet, consider the situation of a gullible young child who sees a movie of Superman flying through the air. An adult whom he respects convinces him that by wearing a special blue cape he could also fly. He dons that cape and leaps off a diving board confident that he will soar a great distance. The illusion created in his mind cannot overcome the actuality of gravity and SPLAT, he plops into the water.

By controlling the mind you control the body as well. This is so elementary that even young parents instinctively take advantage of this truism. "If you don't listen to mommy and daddy, God will punish you. You'll get hurt and you'll cry." Of course the prediction is not legitimate. But it's an initial attempt to control an individual by creating an illusion of a possible future occurrence.

Illusion is an extremely powerful weapon. By properly instilling certain thoughts, people can be made to do the most astonishing things. Men give up their normal lives, leave their jobs and their families to kill or be killed in war because their minds have been focused on illusions. Illusions so persuasive that young men are willing to sacrifice their arms, legs, eyes, all body parts, and their very life. (1)

All nations and the elites that dominate those nations exploit this phenomenon. The subject populations, from young children to the elderly, are continually but subtly exposed to a cultural environment that will forge a loyalty to their country, its government, and its institutions.

To socialize a child, the home, the school, the church -- the entire social environment -- molds that child to the established order. Mom and pop, the teacher and the clergyman are alumnae of this socialization process and, if they have been constantly accepting the established wisdom, the child will be properly indoctrinated.

During the past several years, movies, television and video games have inculcated a war mentality on children. Their natural abhorrence of brutality is desensitized and killing an enemy becomes an acceptable way to resolve disputes. Violence on behalf of the state is approved, glorified and sanctified. (2)

Loyalty is generated by various means throughout the life of an individual.

Schoolchildren in the United States (and similarly in other countries) are taught by rote from early age the Pledge of Allegiance and the national anthem, and for the rest of their lives will frequently recite and sing them at athletic events, at public meetings, etc., and whoa to the person who does not stand up or join in. In addition, there are communal celebrations on national holidays. Parades with plenty of flags, floats, uniforms, patriotic posters, and big brass bands blaring music (that as Irving Berlin put it "makes you want to go to war"). (3)

A modified history of the country is created by presenting a picture of a most benevolent government; detrimental facts are eliminated, favorable ones are highlighted, and distortions are employed for maximum effect. The image of a compassionate government is continually reinforced as the daily news reveals all of its ongoing munificent accomplishments.

The United States is quite fortunate for it probably has the best advertising and public relations industries in the world. As members of the ruling establishment, they are natural allies of the government and are experts at indoctrinating the public for whomever their clients may be. It is through their capable hands that such effective mind control has been established. (4)

An important cog of the establishment is the media, which has forged a very beneficial symbiotic relationship. Government assists the industry with loads of 'goodies' (legislation (5) and access to government news channels) and receives in turn a most favorable coverage of news, supportive of the administration's positions and activities. (6)

Mind control is effective because it seems so natural. Yet it is pursued with such intensity that it has overcome innate qualities that clash with state policies. The very human abhorrence to kill another human being was discovered to be a major obstacle in the conduct of war. It was discovered that in all wars through World War II only 15 to 20 percent of the soldiers in individual encounters would fire their rifles! (7) With more effective training the army was able to shrink this inherent trait so that 90 to 95 percent were now firing their weapons. (8)

Despite these successes the CIA was not satisfied and embarked on mind control experiments known as MKULTRA. Descriptions of some of their activities belong in Hollywood movies with mad scientists, suspected murder plots, etc. Hard to believe, but the government is obviously desperate to control minds. (9)

Because each country creates its own illusory world, what its citizens believe varies from both the real world and what citizens in other countries believe. How much of each country's illusory worlds are believed? The answer would seem to depend on how effective the mind control process is.

The US has probably done the most effective job. That constitutional rights have been diminished; that employee, consumer and investor protections have been trashed; that grossly inequitable tax laws have been passed; that no reasonable health care legislation has been enacted; that environmental protections have been ignored; that the infrastructure has deteriorated; that elections have been stolen; that the military commits war crimes; that its foreign policy supports and finances abusive governments, with so little public opposition, is an indication of how effective it is.

But in spite of its apparent success to control the minds of its citizens there are a few "flies in the ointment."

There exists an alternate media that presents a world view that varies from and frequently condemns the official line. While it might be considered a threat and sometimes is, for the most part it is so insignificant that it serves the elite as proof that freedom exists.

If and when an alternate becomes a potential threat the state responds to silence that threat. The more ominous that threat appears the harsher the response. Opposition movements since the time of Vietnam have been deemed by the government to be extremely troublesome. Accordingly, the old friendly cop on the beat was converted to a member of a paramilitary police force. (10)

Prisons are now a growth industry. Young blacks and Hispanics are imprisoned for long stretches for minor infractions. (11) Why? The policies of our government have so alienated the underclass, of which these two groups are prominent, that apparently the black panthers and other dissident movements were too threatening for big brother. So they found a way to put them away. Drugs! (12)

While the crackdown on the underclass is a recent example of state suppression of dissent, it is not hard to find numerous instances where peaceful movements have been targeted. Just a few of the well known historical examples are convictions of anti-war protesters during wartime, (13) the Palmer raids, (14) McCarthyism, (15) and COINTELPRO. (16)

Another fly is foreign influence. The foreign media distort their own news items but even if allied to Washington give a view of US policies and activities closer to reality. As a result a great deal of public opinion around the world, even from allied countries, has become anti-American. So much so that the White House hired a top advertising executive as undersecretary of state for public diplomacy and public affairs and the Pentagon hired a PR a firm. (4)

Still another fly arises from the unintended consequence, what might presently be termed 'Blowback,' of the military training that has overcome soldiers' hostility to killing an enemy. With the success of that program an inordinate number of veterans have suffered mental disorders, have reversed their original 'gung ho' fighting spirit, have become anti-war and have formed the Vietnam Veterans Against the War (VVAW). A group quite different from the other major veterans' organizations (American Legion and Veterans of Foreign Wars) that are supportive of the military. (17)

In spite of these problems the indoctrination has been successful. Why else would an overwhelming number of decent American citizens agree to an unlimited war against a numerous list of countries that will last for many years and permit the erosion of their constitutional liberties and numerous civilian benefits?

George Bernard Shaw might provide a clue. "He argued that if a person was intelligent and a Nazi, he was not decent. If he was decent and a Nazi, he was not intelligent. And if he was decent and intelligent, he was not a Nazi." (18) If a patriotic flag-waving supporter of the government is substituted for the Nazi, he would still be decent if he were not intelligent, and with the suppression and distortion of the news as controlled by the government, (19) how could he be intelligent!

If the patriotic flag-waver possesses an open mind (although not an inquiring mind or he would not already be a patriotic flag-waver) he would search for the truth, he would examine the foreign press, he would rethink his position, and might agree with Shaw's formula.

But it is more than likely he would keep his mind tightly shut, or if he read the foreign press, deny anything in conflict with US reports. He would then pronounce his own formula, 'The Patriot's Principle' -- a verbal analogy -- Good : bad :: us : them.



*  A verbal analogy has been used on many verbal intelligence tests and college entrance examinations. A pair of words that form a relationship are compared to another pair that have a similar relationship. On the tests the first three words are given and the student must select a fourth word from a given group. An example might be-eye : sight :: ear : fill in your choice. A) noise B) sound C) music D) loud. The right answer of course is B) sound. A more complete explanation and additional examples may be found at: http://www.phschool.com/science/biosurf/superread/unit8/8strategy2.html  (back)

1.  Herman Goering made the following statement at the Nuremberg trials: "Why of course the people don't want war. But after all it is the leaders of the country who determine the policy, and it is always a simple matter to drag the people along, whether it is a democracy, or a fascist dictatorship, or a parliament, or a communist dictatorship. Voice or no voice, the people can always be brought to the bidding of the leaders. That is easy. All you have to do is tell them they are being attacked, and denounce the pacifists for lack of patriotism and exposing the country to danger." For a meaningful explanation of what is sacrificed see Chapter X of Dalton Trumbo's brilliant novel Johnny Got His Gun; Publisher: Carol Publishing Group Citadel Press New York, 1994: 309 pgs -- and read the excerpt on Swans.  (back)

2.  On Killing, Lt. Col. Dave Grossman; Publisher: Little, Brown and Company, 1995: 367 pgs. Section VIII Killing in America: What Are We Doing to Our Children? pages 297-332  (back)

3.  Irving Berlin (words and music), Alexander's Ragtime Band, 1911  (back)

4.  Two recent news stories are examples of the hiring by the administration and Pentagon of advertising and public relations expertise. America is not a hamburger, Naomi Klein, Guardian Unlimited, March 14, 2002, http://media.guardian.co.uk/marketingandpr/comment/0,7494,667086,00.html ; "When the White House decided it was time to address the rising tides of anti-Americanism....it hired one of Madison Avenue's top brand managers....Charlotte Beers....she had held the top job at both the J Walter Thompson and Ogilvy & Mather ad agencies, and built brands for everything from dog food to power drills." Pentagon Hires Inage Firm to Explain Air Strikes to World, Warren P. Strobel and Jonathan S. Landay, San Jose Mercury News, October 19, 2001, "The Pentagon has hired a well-known Washington public-relations firm to help it explain U.S. military strikes. The firm, the Rendon Group, has worked in the past for U.S. government agencies, including the CIA..." http://www.commondreams.org/headlines01/1019-05.htm  (back)

5.  The Telecommunications Act of 1996
The Great Digital Giveaway, Editorial, Published in the Multinational Monitor, May 1997 Volume 18 Number 5, http://multinationalmonitor.org/hyper/mm0597.02.html "IN ONE OF THE SINGLE BIGGEST GIVEAWAYS in U.S. corporate welfare history, the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) on April 7 donated broadcast licenses for digital television to existing broadcasters. . . . The size of the broadcasters' take is staggering. The broadcasters will pay nothing for the exclusive right to use the public airwaves, even though the FCC itself estimated the value of the digital licenses to be worth $20 billion to $70 billion. Others believe the value is even higher."
TAKE BACK OUR TV, by Mark Huisman, Published in People for Better TV http://www.bettertv.org/takeback.html "In the Telecommunications Act of 1996, Congress gave the broadcasters a second channel on which to broadcast DTV, absolutely free of charge. Some experts believe the value of this spectrum give-away to be as much as $70 billion. Even Bob Dole, running against President Clinton, called it the biggest case of corporate welfare in history."  (back)

6.  A Compliant Press Is Preparing the Ground for an All Out Attack on Iraq, John Pilger, Pilger in Print, March 21, 2002. "How do you do it?" asked a Pravda editor, touring the US with other Soviet journalists at the height of the cold war. Having read all the papers and watched the TV, they were astonished to find that all the foreign news and opinions were more or less the same. "In our country, we put people in prison, we tear out their fingernails to achieve this result? What's your secret?' The secret is the acceptance, often unconscious, of an imperial legacy: the unspoken rule of reporting whole societies in terms of their usefulness to western 'interests' and of minimising and obfuscating the culpability of 'our' crimes." http://pilger.carlton.com/print/100275  (back)

7.  On Killing, Section I, Killing and the Existence of Resistance: A World of Virgins Studying Sex pages 1-39 "During World War II U.S. Army Brigadier General S. L. A. Marshall asked these average soldiers what it was that they did in battle. His singularly unexpected discovery was that, of every hundred men along the line of fire during the period of an encounter, an average of only 15 to 20 'would take any part with their weapons'. . ." Page 3  (back)

8.  Ibid. "training techniques were further perfected, and in Vietnam the firing rate appears to have been around 90 to 95 percent. The triad of methods used to achieve this remarkable increase in killing are desensitization, conditioning, and denial defense mechanisms." with explanations following; pgs 251-259  (back)

9.  The Olson File. A Secret That Could Destroy the CIA, by Kevin Dowling and Phillip Knightley; Published in Night and Day magazine, the Sunday supplement to The London Mail on Aug 23, 1998, http://www.frankolsonproject.org/Contents.html ; The Paul Robeson Files, by Paul Robeson Jr. The Nation, December 20, 1999  (back)

10.  Lockdown America, Christian Parenti; Publisher: Verso London New York 1999: 290 pgs. "'Police used to be more passive. Officers rode around waiting to answer 911 calls' explains William Bratton. Since the early 1990s Bratton has presided over the rise of 'zero tolerance' (ZT) or 'quality of life' (QT) policing, which preaches vigorous enforcement of even the most trifling municipal codes in the theory that preventing disorder will prevent violence." Page 70  (back)

11.  Ibid. ". . . it was not until the early eighties that imprisonment and prison construction surged. For most of the century the nation's incarceration rate hovered between 100 and 120 per 100,000 citizens... Today the nation's prisons and jails brim with 1.8 million people." Pages 163-167 "It is estimated that giant Wall Street firms such as Goldman Sachs, and Merrill Lynch write between $2 to 3 billion in prison construction bonds every year." Page 219  (back)

12.  Ibid ". . . how could Nixon contain the growing threat of organized political rebellion and the culture of disobedience and disrespect that fed it? The mean young squares at the White House soon found a strategy. Narcotics would be the Trojan horse for deeper federal involvement in policing." Page 9  (back)

13.  A People's History of the United States 1492-Present, Howard Zinn; Publisher: Harper Perennial A Division of HarperCollins Publishers New York 1995: 675 pgs. Pages 355-364. Political Repression in Modern America from 1870 to the Present, Robert Justin Goldstein; Publisher: Schenkman Publishing Company Cambridge, Mass c1978: 682 pgs. Pages 107-121  (back)

14.  A People's History of the United States 1492-Present: Page 366. Political Repression in Modern America from 1870 to the Present: Pages 144-158  (back)

15.  Red Scare, Griffin Fariello; Publisher: W.W. Norton & Company New York c1995: 575 pgs. "By 1954, the Emergency Civil Liberties Committee warned that 'the threat to civil liberties in the United States today is the most serious in the history of our country.' It was indeed a desperate time. Following the lead of the federal government, thirty-nine states had made it a criminal offense to advocate violent governmental change, or to join any organization so advocating. The determination of which organization was advocating what was left to the discretion of prosecutors. More than three hundred federal, state, and local laws had been passed prohibiting 'subversive activities.' In Texas, membership in the Communist Party was worth twenty years in prison. In Michigan, the act of 'writing or speaking subversive words' was good for life imprisonment. Tennessee punished 'unlawful advocacy' with the death penalty. Virginia also proposed execution for any caught 'lurking with intent to spy.'" Pages 40-41  (back)

16.  FBI Secrets An Agent's Expose, M. Wesley Swearingen; Publisher: South End Press Boston, MA c1995: 192 pgs. Pages 105-129. Political Repression in Modern America from 1870 to the Present, Pages 470-472  (back)

17.  Home to War A History of the Vietnam Veterans' Movement, Gerald Nicosia; Publisher: Crown Publishers New York c2001: 689 pgs. "In the words of Vietnam veteran historian and activist Brian Willson: 'Vietnam produced opposition by soldiers and veterans on a scale and fervor never seen before. Levels of prosecutions for resistance activities dramatically increased during the Vietnam war.' . . .in 1971 alone, Congress received 250,000 complaints about the treatment of U.S. servicemen by the military-'an unheard of number'-and that in 1972 there were more conscientious objectors than draftees. . . . the desertion rate increased nearly 400 percent between 1966 and 1971, and that the Army's prison population tripled during the course of the war . . ." Page 47. "By throwing onto the steps of Congress the medals with which they were rewarded for murder in a war they had come to abhor, the veterans symbolically shed some of their guilt. In addition to their dramatic political impact, these demonstrations have profound therapeutic meaning. Instead of acting under orders, the vets originated actions on their own behalf to regain control over events -- over their lives -- that was wrested from them in Vietnam." Pages 171-172. "Vietnam vet Frank McAdams. [a] former Marine lieutenant....lambasted Reagan for the 'bloody hypocrisy' of posturing as a 'gung-ho patriot,' and suggested that many of the peace movement people 'have shown more sympathy, understanding and support for Vietnam veterans' than the majority of politicians and generals, whose sons 'received special draft-board consideration' while 'the peace people' were being clubbed by police in Chicago' trying to end the war. McAdams said he was sick of hearing well-off, middle-class Americans, including American Legion members of Reagan's generation, asking" 'What do you Vietnam people want?,' McAdams replied with his own question: 'What is the matter with the U.S. government that it is so reluctant to help a group to people -- Vietnam veterans -- who fought the most unpopular and longest war in our history?'" Page 419  (back)

18.  Killing Hope U.S. Military Interventions Since World War II, William Blum; Publisher: Common Courage Press Monroe Maine 1995: 457 pgs. Page 2.  (back)

19.  You Have a Right to Know, by Richard Reeves, Published in the Boulder Daily Camera, on March 26,2002, http:www.commondreams.org/views02/0326-04.htm "The U.S. government, through Solicitor General Theodore Olson, officially announced last week that when the government chooses to lie, the public's business is none of the public's business. . . A couple of days before that, there was another of the regular meetings between Pentagon officials and Washington news bureau chiefs about covering the war in Afghanistan. Basically, the military chiefs said they would continue to do that coverage themselves and the press should get out of the way-and that has been enforced by officers threatening to shoot reporters."  (back)


Philip Greenspan's bio is concise and right to the point: 76 years old, married 50 years, 2 children, 3 grandchildren. Veteran World War II Army of the U.S. Graduate Brooklyn Law School, member of the NY bar. Private law practice, followed by employments in the motion picture industry -- distribution and exhibition, and data processing industry -- retailing and stock market; retired 6 years.

Please, DO NOT steal, scavenge or repost this work without the expressed written authorization of Swans, which will seek permission from the author. This material is copyrighted, © Philip Greenspan 2002. All rights reserved.


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Published April 8, 2002
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