Dismiss Notice
Join Physics Forums Today!
The friendliest, high quality science and math community on the planet! Everyone who loves science is here!

News War Is Defunct. Psychology rules.

  1. Mar 19, 2003 #1
    There is so much psychological warfare these days... long before there is any real fighting. Often that's all that's needed to tip the scale in favor of an aggressor or liberator. Their intended target gives in to the reasoning of the perpetrator. The actual war may never happen.

    The leaflets are dropped. The troops build and build outside of the intended target. The cell phones are intercepted and used to reason with enemy commanders. The email is flooded with ideas and rewards for defection. There are often thousands of enemy troops deserting their commanders, as was apparent during the Gulf War of the 1990s.

    Of course, the aggressor or liberator's preparedness and readiness are a large part of the psychological build up, affecting the military institutions of a weaker force. This adds immediacy to the psychological babble dropping from planes, on the cells and in the emails.

    What if there was a war and no one showed up? These words take on a larger meaning when looking at the psychological aspects of war. It could be called a dry war. No blood. A bloodless coup. Few lives lost.

    Is this the evolution of war?

    We've seen an example of it in the use of nuclear deterent. No one dared fire off a nuclear device knowing that they would be obliterated... with all of their culture... as an after-thought.

    I see acts of war and the perptrators of war slowly evolving a new method of securing rogue nations or military institutions. The method is starting to look like a physical deterent coupled with the psychological approach. A kind of way of changing the mind of the target. Sort of like the way a child might see the larger, experienced parent as unchallengable yet is also shown that they are approachable and have much to offer.

    What do you think?!
  2. jcsd
  3. Mar 20, 2003 #2

    Another God

    User Avatar
    Staff Emeritus
    Gold Member

    I like it. It does seem like the information revolution (or whatever) has really allowed everyone to become much more aware of each other, and much more available to being informed/educated/manipulated by other peoples opinions and cultures.

    Propaganda has always had an important part of war. These days that propaganda is jsut much more instant, further reaching, and influential.

    If this 'evolution' occurs though, you do realise it will not be some idealised 'bloodless war' tranformation as it sounds like you think it will be. A much more realistic picture of this evolution, would be the loss of individuality of cultures, as everyone in the world is brain washed into a huge monculture of complete agreement.

    it won't happen over night...but it will happen :wink:
  4. Mar 20, 2003 #3

    Another God

    User Avatar
    Staff Emeritus
    Gold Member

    Oh...der..as if I wouldn't make this connection straight away.

    No longer will war be a matter of physical combat, it will become a matter of mental combat.

    In the days of prehistory, it was one human organism fighting it out with another human organism (or group vs group if need be). The best Gene vehicle would win.

    In the modern era, it has been a case of one human soceity vs another human society. The society with the best gene vehicle, and the best memes won.

    In the future, warfare will be completely memetic. If you can make the other side adopt your memeplex, then they are no longer an 'Other'. They become one of 'us'. Who needs to fight an enemy, if every enemy is just a potential friend? All we need to do is turn them into a friend!
  5. Mar 20, 2003 #4
    Very interesting viewpoint, carl.
  6. Mar 20, 2003 #5
    Oh yeah... but, it gets complex from where I left off.

    Lets say the Nazis were outragiously good a convincing people their cause was a good cause... without threatening to kill their children or pilage their Nissan etc...

    Lets say they really had a good way to talk about eliminating all the sub-species of humans on earth except for whities and keeping some semi-whities for slaves.

    The only way their docturn would win over the world would be if the world was illiterate, stupid, inexperienced in morality or had similar racist tendencies.

    How likely is that.... well... thankfully, not very likely.

    So, when the USA, who have some very deep seated moral convictions about freedom of speech, freedom of religious practice, opportunity for every individual, freedom of cultural identity (as long as it does not involve infringment)... when the "dawn's early light" of America shines in favour of the underdog... the oppressed and the down-trodden... it makes it a littel easier to convince some hard line commanders to lay down the weapons and try a little southern comfort!!!

    So, I think the "psychological warfare" has to have truth behind it to work. There can't be any of this "do as I say, not as I do" **** happening. There has to be the logic of efficiency that reflects how the entire universe works. Not the lies and the coersion of a bunch of inbred totalitarianist or megalamaniacs who have hidden agendas falling out of their sleeves every time they make a speech.
  7. Mar 20, 2003 #6
    When psychological uncertainty is high (like with impending weapons of mass destruction or equally matched conflict), psychology can more readily initiate or manipulate a population toward war, or turn the tide of war. When certain victory is imminent or threats seemingly subside, the outcome has served its psychological purpose to sustain the morale of the TV citizenry. The uncertainty for the "loser" is greatest, however, when the war is certainly lost, when the battle no longer sustains them, and they are most vulnerable.

    Any devastating attack on the United States would mean a hit to all the world's civilizations, and a reign of anarchy.
  8. Mar 20, 2003 #7
    Or a reign of China.

    Today there is news of "secret negotiations of surrender" in the Gulf.

    This must be with the commanders down the line from the top... a group at the top that has never served in a military unit. Never served... period.
    Who, in their right mind, would sustain loyalty to a tumour like that anyway?
  9. Mar 21, 2003 #8
    Yes, so, it would look like a further evolution of the fake tanks and ships the allies set up to deek out the Nazis just before D Day.

    Or simlar to a type of camoflage seen in nature when the back end of an insect appears to be the front end of a much larger insect... with big bulging eyes.

    It would seem that hollywood and holigraphs and Speilberg and the Industrial Light and Magic people will not be unemployed for some time to come!

    Simlarily, an on-slaught of war movies helps bolster the cause of an invading nation as well.

    Some day war may be just that... a movie.

    EDIT... rather than a "Theatre of War".

    I just hope those very real bombs doing Bagdhad are missing the population and the incredibly important and ancient remaining ruins of the Babylonians.
    Not likely.
    Last edited: Mar 21, 2003
  10. Mar 21, 2003 #9


    User Avatar

    But I think it is pretty much a fact of war that such psychological operations are only successful if there is an actual military offensive and successes to back this up. For this, we can look at the failure of such black ops during the korean conflict and in the hands of the nazis (propaganda failed when they began to lose), in comparison to its successes in the last gulf war etc.
    I would see psy ops as becoming more of an accompaniment to physical war, not a replacement.
  11. Mar 22, 2003 #10
    Hi FZ+.

    I actually said that in my opening remarks here. However, now that you bring it up again I am able to take another point of view on the sentiment and the seemingly logicical order that your thought contains.

    Lets get an example of an opposite condition. Like the Soviet Union of yesteryear.

    The Soviet Union was a mighty power with many thousands of troops and many thousands of pieces of armoured machinery. How effective was their actual, physical might in backing their retoric? Not too effective (thanks to the United State's and China's). In fact, the union slipped back into the Republic of Russia in a matter of months with few if not zero deaths or conflicts.

    What is left is what shows us the reason for this. No common goal of efficiency or support among its political, business, socal, educational and medical leaders. No common philosophy that continues the work we see inherent in the order of the universe.

    It could be compared to an orchestra of, say, 120 people attempting to dazzle an audience of 3 billion people via concert, radio and TV. If these concertists are not properly conducted and trained, via a conviction toward efficiency and a "good" product... the audience loses interest within the first 12 minutes of the show.

    Whereas; one solo pianist or even 4 well coordinated rock musicians are able to hold the interest of half the population for a minimum of 4 hours given they have developed that "special something" that strikes a "quantum" chord in each and every member of their audience.

    Another example would be if the Industrial Light and Magic people were able to simulate the thunderous, sub-sonic foot steps of Godzilla... marching into Tokyo (assuming Tokyo was being bad) and Godzilla was a Holograph of tremedous hyperrealism... complete with smooth motion... etc... there would be wide spread confusion and an opportunity to "change the regime". So that, in this event, only a few thousand special troops would be required during the panic and... perhaps only a few technicians running the super-sub-woofers and the light show.

    Now... this is all salesman-ship. Sort of like what we see out of Britian, here, in Canada.

    We bought something like 4 submarines from you...... lovely people.... and they all leak... they all go off course and so on... what a bargain!!!

    In fact one of the Crewmen became instrumental in getting one of the British subs back to its new base in Halifax, Nova Scotia.

    For some reason the crewman had his hockey stick on board with him for the voyage back home. When it was discovered the Rudder on the Sub was malfunctioning the only thing that saved that Sub several trips through the Artic in an attempt to get to Halifax was the Crewman jamming his hockey stick in the ^^==### rudder in such a manner that the sub was navigated into base.
    (please note: I don't hold you thoroughly responsible for your government!!! even if you are the one who pays them!)

    All smoke and mirrors, eh!
    Last edited: Mar 22, 2003
  12. Mar 25, 2003 #11
    For more info related to this topic check out the "Tavistock institute" and associated psy-op think tanks . These groups specialize in covert social control , mass psychology and stratagems of corporate and political persuasion. Most of these corporations have ties to intelligence agencies , Wall Street and international banking through their offices in London ( J.P.Morgan Company, Brown Brothers Harriman, Warburg, Kuhn Loeb, N.M.Rothschild and J.Henry Schroder. )


    "Man can be seduced from purposeful functioning in such a way that he is unable to become aware of his deficit."- Eric Trist

    "The conscious and intelligent manipulation of organized habits and opinions of the masses is an important element in a democratic society. Those who manipulate this unseen mechanism of society constitute an invisible government which is the true ruling power in this country."

    "We are governed, our minds are moulded, our tastes formed, our ideas suggested, largely by men we have never heard of. What ever attitude one chooses to take toward this condition, it remains a fact that in almost every act of our daily lives, whether in the sphere of politics or business, our social conduct or our ethical thinking, we are dominated by a relatively small number of persons, a trifling fraction of our hundred and twenty million, who understand the mental processes and social patterns of the masses. It is they who pull the wires which control the public mind, and who harness old social forces and contrive new ways to bind and guide the world"
    - Edward Bernays
  13. Mar 25, 2003 #12
    Well, Abnaki, that's what they'd like you to believe.
  14. Mar 26, 2003 #13
    Carl , I've only spent several weeks reading some of the available info ...some have spent decades researching this . Considering the magnitude of the subject matter and the people and organizations involved , it is not surprising that there is alot of mis/disinformation . If you have a differing opinion , I welcome it . Do you disagree that governments use covert means to manipulate public opinion ? Here's a Tavistock connected entity ( anyone you recognize ? )

    http://www.rand.org/nsrd/cmepp/advisory.html [Broken]
    Last edited by a moderator: May 1, 2017
  15. Mar 26, 2003 #14
    Actually, Abnaki, when I say that's what "they" want you to believe
    I am saying... you would not have read a thing about any of this if "they" didn't want you to.

    Secrets are no longer secrets when you read or hear about them.

    This is part of the idea of psi-ops.

    You know as well as I do that people are people. They have egos and hormones and so on and so on.

    Any person or group attempting to control mass quantities of humans has a group ego that is heavy with gravity that woobles the group around like a flying uncooked round of pizza dough. Very unstable.

    This group is no more in control than a new born infant. But they'd like you to think they are.

    And its no governmental institution... its corporate... its political and its a remnant of a so-called government but its private. All governments are as much of a target for this group as you and Aunt Mae.

    Of course there are techniques recommended by certain think tanks. And institutions are employed in utilizing these techniques. However, let me point one blatent truth out for you:

    "The best laid plans of mice and men often go completely stupid."

    Thank you for another example of the use of psychology as an alternative to the use of force.

    Although, certain forms of psychology are rather forcefull in nature. Like the bombardment of the western population with prono. I suppose someone thought that would help to boost the testosterone levels of the population and facilitate a good fighting core. It might even boost the population as well.

    I have a feeling that is backfiring as we speak.
    Last edited by a moderator: May 1, 2017
  16. Mar 27, 2003 #15
    Thanks Carl , for the response . This is an interesting subject . I would disagree on your generalization , that only secrets that they want known are deliberately released . The dispersal of bacterial agents in the NY subway system by the US Army during the 1960's to test effectiveness of delivery methods and crowd reactions became known because of outrage at governmental / corporate arrogance . The Pentagon papers is also an example . While not psy-ops per say ...they were initially a production by the Rand group . Also time is a factor as more and more people become aware of the modus operandi utilized by these groups .

    Psy-ops might seem to be a viable alternative to physical force ... I contend that both can be coercive , because the desired result is to elicit a reaction from victims by utilizing pain ( extortion ) ...and that self defence to couteract or eliminate the threat is appropriate under some circumstances .
  17. Mar 27, 2003 #16
    Time will tell, Abnaki. In some cases things that are done in the name of covert manipulation usually come to light a decade or two after the fact. 20/20 hindsight is only as good as the person using it to calculate present and future moves. And these covert motives can be altered deceptively and accordingly. I believe the American revolutionists who have no fear of doing what seems right for Aunt Mae and baby Huey are working on it. There are very large corporations that still hold that spirit within their intention.

    Beyond the best laid plans of mice and men there is the nature of the universe and its tendency to support only that which, in turn, supports its efforts toward harmony and efficiency in all its components. That is the big gun on the side of what decent people define as good. In my opinion... of course.
  18. Mar 28, 2003 #17
    Carl , if I read you correctly ... you have an affection for these large corporations and the governments that employ them , that seek to alter society through psychological means . An end justifies the means mentallity is not something our Founding Fathers would approve of ...even if you erroneously label these corporate / government entities - " american revolutionaries "

    Mk-ultra and related psy-op torture programs , the Pheonix Program , injecting black and hispanic children with provocational chemicals for "research" , eugenics and Dr. Ewen Cameron style corporate camarillas are in the realm of reprehensible behavior .

    "Fascism should more appropriately be called Corporatism " - Benito Mussolini ( what ever happened to this guy ? )
  19. Mar 28, 2003 #18
    I'd say you either don't know how to read... or you read me incorrectly. Excluding both of these options... I'd say you're looking for an argument. Ta Ta.
  20. Mar 28, 2003 #19


    User Avatar
    Staff Emeritus
    Science Advisor
    Gold Member

    "*" Time to move this thread to Politics and World affairs "*"
  21. Mar 29, 2003 #20
    Carl, I may have indeed misunderstood what you wrote...that's why I prefaced my last post with " ...if I read you correctly " . Parts of your previous posts were somewhat ambiguous (to me) .

    I feel very strongly about this subject . Many Psy-ops afficionados are despicable power hungry manipulators on par with rapists and in some cases their tactics resemble aggravated assault . Their methodology often involves psychological torture and fabrications to obtain power and profit. A predominate style that is used , is Paternalistic metaphors . "Sort of like the way a child might see the larger, experienced parent as unchallengable.."
    Your application was to military adversaries . I have no problem fighting our enemies with available weapons...but recognize that many of these same corporations and academia have been turning their efforts towards the general citizenry .
    After re-reading your posts ...I may have been incorrect about the discussion you wanted to pursue .
Share this great discussion with others via Reddit, Google+, Twitter, or Facebook