Do you notice when you are being manipulated?

And if so, do you know how to let the conditioning go?

For example, the video below, a rendition of the Star Spangled Banner. Frankly, it scares me. Especially because it’s presented on the “Good News Network” as a “bad-ass version” with “patriotic images” that will “lift your spirits”! Huh?

Yep, it’s true! This rendition of the anthem meant to inspire “patriotism” is jingoism so beautifully and thrillingly presented that my body starts to thrum in response, longs to chuck everything I know and join the lemmings on the march to the sea . . .

The same thing happened to me — to my body, that is — when I heard the thrilling tones of the Hitler Youth Song, as presented in the show “Cabaret.” — WHAT?!? HOW COULD THAT BE? I noticed the strange disconnect right away. Or, and this one is more subtle: the same thing happened to me — my body, that is — at the very start of the long anticipated first Iraq War in 1991.

Each time, I experience a total disconnect between my mind/spirit and my body/emotions. Though I know better, my body wants to just do its thing, based on the emotions aroused by skillfully presented sensory data. In the case of the Iraq War, the skillful presentation had to do with the drumbeat to war that finally climaxed in the actual “attack,” giving a momentary sense of relief. The relief was what my body craved. The relief was the reward. The deed was done, the long wait over.

Get it, how we can be manipulated? How we need to be continuously on guard for the forces that would condition us? It’s not just advertising, not just peer pressure, not just the way news stories are framed, or the kinds of entertainment we are drawn into, it’s everywhere and always, this need of ours to continuously check ourselves: does this experience accord with my values? Or am I being manipulated.

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