Lesser Expectations

Derren Brown – “How to Convert an Atheist”.

Start at 30:45, “Experiment 5,” and end watching at 36:00. That’s all you’ll need for this post. This segment has nothing obvious to do with religion, merely pattern-matching and how belief affects it.

This phenomenon is a portion of what contributes to the “organized stalking” phenomena. While this is not to say that there never was the “intervention” of covert operations in a target’s life–Brown himself used actors to set up the suggestion in the clip–you can see that it doesn’t take much to have an effect. In Brown’s example, he suggests that people will help the woman, and that is what she winds up seeing even though he hasn’t done a thing beyond the first meeting.

Reverse the intent to the negative, and add the possibility of having been drugged or simply harassed to the point that a natural imbalance of dopamine and/or seratonin is the result, and it becomes obvious that those who carry these forms of harassment out know what they are doing and understand what it is that they are trying to achieve: To turn a person’s own mind against herself or himself. It becomes a form of extra-legal punishment employed against a target that hasn’t actually broken any laws and when the government or other powerful entity behind it neither wants public acknowledgment of their involvement nor for anyone other than the target to believe there is anything involved beyond bad luck and mental illness. Witnesses, journalists, and whistleblowers can sometimes find themselves in this situation.

Again, see the Summary of Main problems from the Church/Tower hearings on FBI’s COINTELPRO and the very first item on CIA’s wish list for MKULTRA. In the former case you’ll see the destruction of personal and work relationships without the knowledge of the parties as to the true root cause, and the appearance of mental illness on the part of the target in the latter.

I’ll have more to say about the show as a whole in a future post and what it means to me, having been through a bit of that myself albeit via different means. What is amazing is that Brown repeats some old hypnosis experiments {there were several, conversions in both directions IIRC} without actually inducing a hypnotic state. In the meantime, you might want to duckduckgo Dr. Tali Sharot and Optimism Bias.


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