Do You Know Who You Really Are (a Writing on Subliminal Persuasion)

Watch this and tell me you aren’t amazed by it

I got this video from my friend, Pijo, whose brain I wanted to steal so bad, days ago.

The video is all about Derren Brown, an English magician (a sceptic one), illusionist, and mentalist who uses hypnosis and a combination of magic, suggestion, psychology, and mind-reading stuffs in his performances. Using his knowledge and skill, he appears to be able to predict and influence people’s thoughts with subtle suggestion, to manipulate their decision making process and read the very subtle physical signs or maybe body language that indicate what the person is thinking. I just found out about this person and, as a psychology-majored student speaking, I am stunned by his skill.

I mean, I’ve been learning about all of those things, like your mind is actually playing tricks on you; or that we’re facing a massive stream of illusion(s), bias(es), prejudice(s), (pre)judgmental-decision(s), which all could ended up with quarrel(s) between people, just because each of us having this mis- perception(s) and differences in how we perceive things; or that there are numbers of subtle gestures that we need to observe and pay attention, so that we can conclude maybe a little about a person intention(s) to act (although, still, we have to do some tests on it before really conclude anything about any person); or anything like that, for almost 4 bloody years. Yet I’ve never seen any of these could be used as a show, a magic show. Well, I watched a lot about hypnosis, and maybe Deddy Cobuzier tricks, and a lot of those mystics, but I’ve never watched a magician doing tricks based on scientific explanation(s). Which is why Derren Brown is awesome.

In the video, he asked two members of an advertising agency to come up by his ‘office’ to get some advertising related job done. From this video he showed us that advertising agencies really are the master(s) of persuasion. They do this by weaving images and slogans in our daily lives knowing that we’d register so much of it unconsciously. And the next thing happen is that we walk in to a supermarket and feel the sense of familiarity with some products we think we’ve never heard of, and because of those familiarities, we eventually fall for the products, and yes, buy them.

This phenomenon occurs not only on some products that sell, yet it’s also (unconsciously) affected on how we generally act toward things in our daily lives. From the video you’ll see that even those 2 members of the advertising agency had affected with those images and slogans they saw (once again, unconsciously) during their trip along to the illusionist ‘office’, so that when they were told to make some advertisement about a store, they began to put those images, logos, slogans they saw before, right onto the advertisement (with some little modifications).

This is the effect of subliminal persuasion, people.

Stunning, isn’t it? Or not? (well, it’s up to you though)

This got me and Pijo thinking that this effect is not only happening on advertising world, like what I’ve said before, it’s actually happening in every aspect of our lives. Let’s see it this way, let’s say that you never heard any band called The Trees and The Wild, then you know that one of your friend likes the band so much, he/she told you about the name. One day you started to listen to them and learn that they actually play a good music. And voila! You started to listen to them all the way, you started to like them, they become one of your favorite band. You, someone who never know a thing about that band, then becoming one of the fans. Then, you’ve changed. Or the fact that you secretly like the songs the band ST12 sung just because you hear their songs everyday on the radio, on the televison, even on the bus you ride in (the street-singers sing it), although you’ve said to your self over many times that you hate ST12, but in the end you have to admit that you sing their song when you have karaoke session with your friends (ok,  this is admittedly my casehahaha)

Hence, if we get to think all of the people we’ve met through this years we live, no matter if it’s our family members, relatives, friends, significant others, even the insignificant ones, we might realize that all of them, all of the events that included them in our lives, actually affected on how we act now, it affected our personalities in every way. Big or small.

Just like what I wrote in my previous post, is that no matter how small, we must have learned things (whether it’s consciously or unconsciously) from people in our lives. We learn what things to eat, what things to like, what to dislike, how to act, how to cope, we’ve learned to build ourselves from our interaction with everybody else in so many ways. Whether we like the lessons we’ve gained or not, whether we like the people who have gave us those lessons or not;  those are the lessons  that make us changed, the lessons that make us, ourselves.

The lessons that construct our identity.

And then I did this blog-walking and I jumped into one of my friend’s friend, Svetlana Anggita’s post, which talked a bit about Nietzsche’s “concept of ‘I’”.  The concept of which tells us that we are the cause of our actions, and this cause must hold over time, retaining its identity, so that rewards and punishments are accepted as consequences for actions deemed beneficial or detrimental to others. Or, simply said, “I” is a social construction and moral illusion. Well, honestly, I couldn’t remember anything about Nietzche saying those things. But I do remember that Nietzsche is one of philosophers who, related to this issue, encourages individuals to define themselves and find their own place in the world, by using their reasoning to formulate their own self-guiding principles and draw their own journeys through life. Since, he thinks that concept of the individual, had been derived primarily from the moral teachings and the ethics of Christianity (or maybe some other religions-act), this view will lead us to his views about the dead of God and nihilism, but we won’t talk about that in here now. So, when society and all its subsidiaries have been alleviated, all that’s left behind is repellent, brazen logic (this very last sentence didn’t come from me, there is no way I could find those kind of words, It came from the book, definitely).
I know Nietzsche himself is a philosopher who brings a lot of controversies, even up till now. Yet his point of view wouldn’t have still been discussed by now if they didn’t make any sense at all, did they?

Well, I guess Nietzsche made his point, just like Pavlov, Skinner, and other behaviorists who tell us that human behavior (moreover, human personality and identity) is actually something which was constructed through reward and punishment that has been gained with it,  it was constructed from what people consent about, and that our behavior could actually be predict and controlled in some points, whether it’s consciously or not.  Just like exactly what Derren Brown did in this video.

This, makes me somewhat scared, but it gets me relieved in the same time.

Scared, because it keeps me wonder, could that be, we, human beings, really don’t have anything that comes from within our very selves? And could that be, nurture is really over nature to take place of? (this is actually has been a never ending discussion  in psychology, whether human personality is based on nature more or nurture);

yet relieved, since like I’ve told you in the previous post, about I’ve never really sure about who I am. Yet, considering all this things I wrote, well, don’t we all?

As a closing, with all of this talks we have  here, the question being revealed is, do you know who you really are?

Are you really sure about it?

– D! –


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