Every college student should get acquainted with the chart below. In fact, all thoughtful citizens watching the spectacle of the zombification of college students – as they protest against what they don’t understand and shout trendy slogans to promote what they don’t understand – should be familiar with the chart.
Margaret Thaler Singer, the 20th century’s preeminent expert on cults, put together this excellent table called the “Continuum of Influence and Persuasion.” It shows how various forms of persuasion stack up against one another. She lists five forms of influence, starting with the most open, true education, and ending with the most tyrannical, “thought reform” (also known as brainwashing or coercive persuasion. You can also find this chart in Singer’s excellent book “Cults in Our Midst: The Continuing Fight Against Their Hidden Menace.”) Take a look:
As you can see, Singer identifies five major methods by which people can be influenced. The most open and honest of them all is true education. Education exposes us to many bodies of knowledge and allows for civil discourse in which students feel free to ask questions openly. They are therefore able to develop their ability to think clearly and independently. In an environment of real education, students are respected as individuals with minds of their own. The aim is to transfer knowledge about our common reality. There is no deception in true education.
by Stella Morabito