Learned Helplessness Drives Hopeless Behavior
By LUIS MIRANDA | THE REAL AGENDA | JULY 3, 2012
People are broken people. They have been intentionally transformed into manageable human resources that consciously and otherwise have stopped fighting for what is theirs; they have stopped fighting oppression and injustice. There is a system that has been established to inflict pain and desperation, fear if you will, which seems so paramount, that makes people lower their arms and give up. Daily, we can see clear examples of this behavior. The most recent one is the installation of body scanners in airports and courthouses around the globe under the pretext of terrorism. What is people’s answer to this invasion of privacy? Compliance. (1)
Before the scanners — which capture a digital picture of a person’s naked body — (2) we had other examples of how the system continuously corrals us and we do not seem to know what to do. For example, the financial meltdown that began several years ago turned into a bailout of powerful banking interests. (3) The same banks and same financial system that created and perpetuated the collapse, gave themselves a pat on the back and carried out the most gigantic transfer of wealth in history, leaving the ordinary citizen in shambles, jobless, in debt and homeless. (4) What was the reaction given this illegal wealth transfer? Compliance.
Previous to the financial collapse, citizens were indoctrinated into believing that humans were responsible for the warming of the planet, and that only a global carbon tax would be the solution to save ourselves from doom. (5) Fortunately, a series of leaked e-mails and documents from the University of East Anglia, revealed not only that Anthropogenic Global Warming was a hoax,(6) but that it was part of a greater plan to further consolidate power and the resources of the planet into the a few hands. Although the climate alarmists’ agenda was debunked beyond doubt, (7) there are people out there who still have not looked at the science and continue to claim that the warming is occurring and that it is due to human activity. More compliance.
Going back even further in history, we find another very clear example of how people became hopeless and easily manipulated. Common wisdom dictates that it is correct to count on synthetic pharmaceuticals in order to prevent, treat or cure disease. People could not and cannot figure out that health freedom and a healthy state of being could not be further away from such industrially manufactured products. Due to lack of information or a way to check false statements from manufacturers and doctors, the citizenry simply trusted the “experts” and their magic pills in their blind pursue of health and fall into learned helplessness.
A state of learned helplessness is “a psychological condition in which people have learned to believe they are helpless in a particular situation. They believe they have no control over their situation and that whatever they do is futile. As a result, they will stay passive in the face of an unpleasant, harmful or damaging situation, even when they actually do have the power to change their circumstances.”For example, in politics, when there is a two-party dictatorship in a country and people can only vote for one or the other — a false sense of choice — and things do not change or continue to get worse because the same corporate interests continue to maintain control. The automatic psychological response is a sense of hopelessness. Another valid example is when a person is in a relationship where he or she is physically, mentally or sexually abused. The victim knows the truth, but is unable to liberate himself or herself due to fear, guilt or any other feeling of despair. The same happens in a society, where the citizen is no longer called a citizen or a human being, but a consumer or a human resource. In a society filled with broken people, the truth no longer sets them free. Different from say, colonial times, when most members of a society still adopted the fighting spirit, today most citizens are conformists, laid-back or apathetic.(8)
What all these people who have learned to be helpless have in common is that pain, in any shape or form, simply makes them weaker, more prone to abuse, and more easily swindled. This takes us to another form of learned helplessness. When people feel depressed, lonely and mentally drained the immediate answer by common wisdom is to look for a psychiatrist or a psychologist to deal with their problems. “What they do not know,” says Dr. Bruce E. Levine, “is that most of the psychologist and psychiatrists out there are only looking to make money out of helpless people.” They are also instruments of the plan the establishment has to maintain control of society.
In today’s society there are three main pillars that support the learned helplessness and cognitive dissidence filled environment: School, Television and the Mental Health Profession. According to doctor Levine, television makes people more passive and docile due to the effect it has in brain waves. It is one of the most effective tools for pacifying the population,” he adds. (9) “Schools and schooling are increasingly irrelevant for the important enterprises of the planet,” says professor John Taylor Gatto, author of books such as the Underground History of American Education and Weapons of Mass Instruction. Professor Gatto was named New York’s teacher of the year. “School is not the place where most people get any kind of education. In fact it is a place used to subdue the population, ” agrees Levine. (10) Are scientists trained in science classes, or politicians trained in politics classes? The only thing schools are good for is to teach people to obey orders. This is a conclusion that people who have any critical thinking skills learn very easily and very fast. Of course, school has also been used to eliminate critical thinking and creativity in the population. (11) From very young we are taught to worship and depend on the government for every single aspect of our lives. A clear example is that a majority of the most relevant citizens in any country were and are people who did not attend school. They can even become presidents! A couple of things people who attend the traditional educational system have in common are that they end jobless in many cases and with a pile of outstanding debt. The traditional educational system has turned into a tool for the creation of an assured state of servitude.
Mental health professionals and psychologists are along with teachers, two of the most compliant groups in society. Health professionals are also one of the groups with the highest suicidal rates. (12) What happens when psychiatrists find resistance to compliance? They become anxious and tend to pathologize. So, almost every person who disagrees with the establishment or with authority is automatically diagnosed as mentally ill. Ernest Hemingway was himself a victim of this system. He was drugged and punished with electric shocks after being diagnosed as mentally imbalanced because he thought he was being followed and watched. It later turned out he was indeed being harassed by intelligence agencies. So, does it make sense to obtain advice from professionals who cannot even control their own personalities? Can we trust people who are indoctrinated to maintain the status quo?
Imagine society as a victim of kidnapping who then suffers from Stockholm Syndrome during and after a kidnapping. The incapacity to react to a kidnapping is such that they begin to make excuses as to why it was normal not to run away when given the opportunity or the chance. Society as a whole, just as kidnapping victims do, even get to a point where they defend their kidnappers. Most people shield themselves from reality by being apathetic, or ignoring what is staring at them as a mechanism of defense against their impossibility to react to such reality due to a feeling of fear and helplessness. In other cases, people choose to spend their lives worrying about football games, reality shows, fashion, gossip and so on.
Another very common problem in today’s society is cognitive dissidence. This happens when people are incapable of being in a state of tension, so they choose to make up a series of excuses to escape such situations. The most common reaction is to tell themselves they are not in such tense situation, which serves them to ignore the humiliating state of affairs they are in. So, even though society seems to be turning into an abusive place, where all of our rights are disrespected or taken away, citizens still conform by saying things like “it is not good, but we still live in the best country in the world”. This kind of statements reflect people’s lack of power to face the truth that they live in a repressive tyrannical city or country.
An example of a society where all hope and reason has been lost is the United States. In 2000, one president was elected but the losing candidate was who took power. Short of the circus created by the main stream media, no one else manifested the slightest interest in resolving the election through democratic means. In a clear example of how weak democracies, or pseudo-democracies work, the Supreme Court of the country was the one that decided who would govern the nation. In other countries often called Banana Republics, such as Iran or Mexico, the decision reached by the Court would have resulted in many manifestations on the streets and perhaps a real recount of the votes or a second round. How is it that 50 or 60 million people simply let their votes be stolen away without any interest to make it count? In Iran, 3 million people would have turned to the streets to protest a few tens of thousands would have certainly manifested in Mexico. (13)
Madison avenue found out a long time ago that it was possible to make people feel inadequate, that it was possible to tell people what kind of person they should be and that everything that was not so would be socially unacceptable. (14) With that it also realized that it would be easier for the industry to commercialize its crap among insecure people. That is how most women use Botox or surgery to manipulated their bodies to look like the model from the magazine cover. That is why men inject themselves with human growth hormone to look as strong as the baseball player who also takes drugs to improve his performance. This insecurity spurred the sale of make up and slave-made goods such as sports shoes, apparel and handbags. So the image makers tell the people that not fitting a specific pattern or mold will render them worthless; and people believe it. This of course makes people who are financially incapable of providing themselves with Madison Avenue products victims of their own ignorance, and those who can afford it become petty victims of their power trips. People were taught to hate their humanity and that of others.
Equally insidious is the abuse perpetrated by “professionals” who mostly take advantage of weak-minded people. “There is a lot of money to make out in my profession,” says Dr. Levine. The amount of money people spend in pharmaceuticals and visits to their psychologist or psychiatrist — that in turn supports the very same system that benefits from people’s weakness — is uncountable. “Is it not easier to control a population whose self-esteem is low or non-existent? It is in the total interest of the corporate authoritarian society we live in,” adds Levine. That is why it is common to hear professional psychiatric associations call for the identification of new mental disorders. The recognition of such disorders will not only ensure that more people can be subjected to their management model, but also that society will continue to operate business as usual. Recently, the American Psychiatric Association revised its “bible” with the purpose of creating and including new mental diseases. (15)
The “bible” now contains things like “Oppositional Defiant Disorder” (ODD), which includes anyone who disagrees with authority. People who are antisocial are suddenly considered as victims of “Antisocial Personality Disorder” and require pharmacological treatment. Children are no longer unhappy or throwing a temper tantrum, they are suffering from “Temper Dysregulation Disorder with Dysphoria.” The so called “bible” even adopts other made-up disorders such as Repetitive Dysmorphic Nose Picking Disorder With Itching (RDNPDWI), Oppositional Disorganized Speaking Disorder With Indigestion (ODSDWI) and so on. (16)
Is there a solution for Learned Hopelessness and Cognitive Dissidence? Sure. Does it work for everyone? Unfortunately not. So many people are so deep into depression or a state of helplessness that it may be impossible to let them out. The level of indoctrination is such, that losing their homes, families, jobs, liberties and self-respect may not be enough to wake them up. For the lucky ones, it seems that the start of a solution is called Individual Self-respect and/or Collective Self-confidence. In other words, what can I do on a daily basis to restore confidence, faith and respect in myself and people around me? All democratic movements or nations had these two ingredients. What can I do to help myself and others? People who follow these paths are those who identify what is bothering them, but instead of handing those issues to the government — which in turn will make them captives — they give themselves the opportunity to use their problems and solutions to connect with other people. They themselves form their own support groups where everyone shares their solutions to their own problems and those of others. It is what not too long ago used to be called communities.
Another way to pick oneself up is to take on intelligent safe risks. There are projects or goals that everyone has which would exponentially raise his or her confidence and self-esteem. It is precisely pursuing those goals and projects — especially those that include a certain degree of healthy risk — and conquering them, what exalts people out of their sorry empty lives. This risk-taking sometimes includes a decision to get away from people who always drag you down or who simply do not help. A decision needs to be made as to whether this person needs to be left behind in order to achieve that which will help you become what you want. So, the advice is to let the backbiters and backstabbers behind and get on with your life by surrounding yourself with those who support you and wish you well.
(10) The New Dumbness
This article was first published on May 1, 2010.
Luis Miranda is the Founder and Editor-in-Chief at The Real Agenda. His career spans over 17 years and almost every form of news media. He attended Montclair State University's School of Broadcasting and also obtained a Bachelor's Degree in Journalism from Universidad Latina de Costa Rica. Luis speaks English, Spanish Portuguese and Italian.