Problem

Indoctrination by repetition

Other Names:
Misuse of memory
Indoctrination by slogans
Persuasion by misleading propaganda
Nature:

It is a truism that if anything is repeated frequently enough, it will be believed. This technique is used by those wishing to sway public opinion – even outright lies, which are immediately disproved, if repeated often enough, become part of the individual's consciousness and are believed without him or her being aware of it.

Incidence:

This technique is consistently used by those wishing to destabilize society; for example in the miners' strike in the UK in 1984, deliberate lies were told in interviews on radio and television, immediately disproved by the interviewer, but by their very repetition came to be believed. Repetition is also used as a marshalling call by orators wishing to convince by propaganda what cannot be demonstrated by logical argument – the defamation of the Jews in Hitler's Germany is a potent example.

The technique is also used by advertisers wishing to encourage the public to buy their goods. Such simple expressions as "drinka pinta milka day", when printed on hoardings, recited on television and accepted by the public become so much part of the psyche that they are treated as absolute truth whether or not there is any foundation at all for such belief.

Interestingly enough, just at a time when political and commercial forces seem to be conspiring to programme individuals through the rote-learning process, this technique is being abandoned by educationalists and religious leaders. Children are no longer encouraged to learn good literature or mathematical formulae "by heart", are no longer taught the catechism. Religious worship has become very free, with very limited use of familiar repetition. The result is a decline in educational standards and morality, since the individual fights a losing battle to distinguish, in all the repetitive "junk mail" the brain receives, the rare spark of absolute truth or real human value.

Broader Problems:
Propaganda
Rote learning
Problem Type:
D: Detailed problems
Related UN Sustainable Development Goals:
GOAL 16: Peace and Justice Strong Institutions
Date of last update
17.06.2019 – 15:22 CEST