What is the consistency principle? and how has it been used to influence and brain wash people.
What is the consistency principle?
The consistency principle is when thoughts, thinking and ideas fall in line with repeated actions or words. It can be used as a powerful form of influence and considered the first steps in brain washing.
If you say you are a very honest person, yet constantly lie. This would mean your words are not consistent with your actions or reality. This is breaking the rules of the consistency principle. The rule states that what you say or do will influence our minds, our identities. What we do and think will fall in line and become consistent with each other.
Saying one thing and doing something different is a quick way to lose the trust and the respect of others. People will not take anything you say in the future seriously, or they may even completely ignore you. You may get labelled as a liar and be seen as untrustworthy. This is one of the reasons why Politicians are so widely mistrusted and disliked.
Influenced by groups and society
Many people’s identities are effectively set by group and societal standards. Society sets the standard for how we are labelled and judged. If we believe that label and accept those standards as the law of the universe, then our identities fall in line with that judgment. We can become brainwashed by society.
Consistency principle (brain washing) example
During World War 2 the Chinese used the consistency principle on American prisoners of war and turned many POW’s into collaborators.
The Chinese would gradually influence the American prisoners by getting them to admit faults and flaws in the American government. At the same time get them to see and admit the positives in communism and the Chinese in general. Over a period of several months they would continue to slowly feed them propaganda. They would also get the prisoners to write down anti American and pro Chinese statements, and to say them out loud, repeatedly.
Eventually over a period of several months, some of the American POW’s would start to believe in what they were saying and writing down. The American prisoners, actions and words would begin to affect their beliefs. Their identities would start to fall in line with their actions. They became collaborators against their own country, they were brain washed.
Have you ever signed a petition for a cause that you didn’t really care that much about? However after you signed the petition you became more dedicated to the cause. This is the consistency principle at work.
If you sign a petition you’re supporting that cause. At first you may of only signed the petition to get rid of them. However now you have signed it and acted to support the cause, it may actually start to influence your thinking, so you become a stronger supporter of the cause. Your belief can start to fall in line with the action of signing the petition. This is sometimes purposely done.