We're Being Played

The explosion of emotions triggered by the recent presidential election caught many off guard. Across the country, friendships have been lost, family members estranged, and hostility has boiled over in many communities.

In our consumer culture we’re sold lots of things. Two weeks ago it might have been jeans and a TV, but last week it was fear. And Loathing. People were sold fear and loathing, and now it is ruining friendships, making people miserable, and driving the country apart.

I’m not going to spend a lot of time on the “why” of this story. The “why” is a mix of competing interests including simple commerce (fear sells), political gain, and creating divisiveness within the population for other purposes.

So, what’s going on?

Sadly, in many cases, I think people have simply been manipulated in traumatic fashion and we’re now dealing with the emotional and social repercussions.

What do I mean by that?

In response to another comment on this site from a teacher whose students were expressing severe emotional distress over the Trump win, contributor Dave Fairtex offered these insights (emphasis mine):

(…) His students' reaction is NOT about losing an election. It's because these people watch media, and the (Clinton-controlled) media spent the last four months working overtime to program everyone in the country that Trump is a soulless monster come to eat them and their families, roasting their babies on a spit while laughing, and so on.

This emotional programming has been extremely effective. That's why people are rioting now. Not because they aren't good losers, but because they've been successfully emotionally programmed by the Clinton Campaign's media arm (CNN, CNBC, and millions of scary social media posts), who are very good at what they do.


Emotional programming… This is something that we need to discuss because it is very real. It is happening right now and will continue to bombard us. And humans are highly susceptible to it.

Not because they’re weak; but because they’re unaware of it. If you aren’t aware of the tricks and devices used to persuade, lead, and sometime mislead your emotions and actions, then you cannot protect yourself from these efforts.

The Peak Prosperity Value Proposition

Before we dive into the topic of persuasion, subliminal nudging, and emotional manipulation I want to review the value proposition here at PeakProsperity.com.

Why do so many people read our articles? Why do a number of them subscribe to premium content and Insider reports? Because they find value in them. We’ve heard it said, many times, that our readers value our work Because it makes them feel smarter.

Of course, we don’t think we’re actually making these folks any more intelligent than they already are. However, we do strive to engage their minds in ways that challenge and expand their perspective.

What we do is provide additional context that will (1) help you see the world in a new and expanded way that will (2) lead you to make different decisions in the future. After all, “smarter” is no good if it doesn’t lead you to be more connected to and alive within the world.

The more context you have, the more intelligent you become.

Knowledge is a bunch of facts. Someone who can list every national capitol through all of history has a lot of knowledge. But possessing a lot of knowledge is not the same thing as being intelligent.

Intelligence comes from connecting ideas and having the context, or framework, into which one can plug one’s accumulated knowledge.

A favorite Leonardo Da Vinci quote of mine is:

“Learn how to see. Realize that everything connects to everything else”

With this view ‘intelligent’ is not something you are; it is something you become.

Let me also say, right up front, that I’m not going to try to convince you of anything. I will lay out a series of dots that I hope might sway your thinking, because they swayed mine. If you don’t agree with me, that’s fine. But you should have a solid argument for why.

Your mental landscape is certainly different from mine. Quite possibly so entirely different that what persuades me has zero impact on you, or even may solidify an entirely opposite view you hold. We can be intelligent in entirely different ways, which means that diversity of thinking and experience is what really matters.

This distinction is pretty much lost on a lot of people at present. And that’s creating a lot of resentment in our society right now.

The Persuasion Continuum

There’s nothing inherently bad with being persuasive. In fact, it’s a great talent to have.

While it’s too much to go into here, the art of persuasion that we preach involves being calm, centered and collected. Have your facts at the ready, be free of any emotional charges (such as anger or depression), and approach your audience gently, always ready to back away if you see signs that they’re not emotionally ready to listen to you now. Plant seeds in these cases. Be patient.

Pressing or cajoling doesn’t change someone’s opinion. Nobody has ever been persuaded by being bullied. Or insulted. Or belittled. Or shamed. Or shouted down. They may retreat from the argument, but they’re not swayed.

People will listen to hear a new line of thinking when they’re ready, and not a moment sooner. Well, as long as you’re playing fair and coming through the front door, that is. People can also be forced to accept a new position (before they are ready) if you play unfair.

This can be done by using the back doors to the human psyche, which such techniques as Neurolinguistic Programming (NLP), hypnosis, mirroring, and subliminal advertising make use of.

Furthermore, when humans are traumatized, their front and their back doors are ripped open. In this state, people are open to all kinds of manipulation and implanted suggestions. Trauma programming gives us the Stockholm Syndrome – where a kidnapping or hostage victim develops feelings of trust or affection towards their captor(s) – as well as buys years, decades and sometimes a lifetime of silence from sexual assault victims.

Here’s a straightforward diagram for the visually minded folks (like me) out there:

Before we get to harder material around the sort of propaganda and emotional manipulation that has accompanied this election cycle, let’s spend some time on the relatively safe and agreed-upon territory of manipulation in traditional sales and marketing campaigns.

Manipulative Marketing & Subliminal Advertising

If you haven’t noticed, performing a Google search for something like ‘best kiddie swim pools’ will usually cause you to later notice that ads for kids' swim wear begin showing up on your favorite news sites.

This is old news, and creepy as it is, it’s quite effective. If it didn’t work, it wouldn’t be used. It’s used because it works great, and it’s getting more sophisticated all the time as the algorithms become better and better at figuring out how to understand someone well enough to divine their shopping preferences.

But all of that is pretty straightforward and overt, at for those paying even mild attention. Most of us know by now that the ads that show up on the internet sites we visit are anything but random. They’re meant for us based on our recent on-line searches and behavior.

Subliminal advertising is far more covert than simple ad placement as it is designed to operate sub-liminally meaning ‘beneath your conscious awareness’. This is different from operating on the un-conscious level because, generally speaking, you cannot access your unconscious mind. But you can elevate a subliminal message into your conscious frame.

Subliminal things are often right there in front of you, but they’re not really noticed unless your attention is drawn to them for other reasons.

There’s a whole subculture of people who like to discover and expose the subliminal messages that are used every day to try and influence people’s purchasing habits. Most often subliminal messages revolve around sex.

Why? Because evoking a connection to sex has proven to be extremely effective at motivating people to action, specifically towards buying your product. Again: it’s used because it works.

If you want to amuse yourself, Google “subliminal advertising” and scroll through the image results.

Here are a few examples to give you an idea of the trove of examples that your search will find:

And so on. Some of the examples I dared not reproduce for fear of offending folks, as they were so sexually graphic. But for those interested, there’s a big world of subliminal advertising to explore...

The point of subliminal advertising is to link a mass product to consumer’s unconscious desires. While used extensively by corporations to move their products, the initial logic that underlies subliminal advertising, and even advertising more generally, was based on the works of Sigmund Freud and developed into a workable framework for social control and programming by his nephew Edward Bernays.

Here’s a fascinating documentary on how all this came to be (~ 1 hour): https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=DnPmg0R1M04

Which brings us to propaganda.


When I write “propaganda” many people will reflexively think of the crude cartoons of WW II that depicted various fascist leaders of enemy countries as evil caricatures.

But such propaganda is alive and well today as I recently outlined in a piece on the propaganda efforts currently in use against Putin by the western media.

Once one knows what to look for, the efforts are really not at all difficult to spot. And once elevated to the conscious mind, they lose nearly all of their effectiveness.

What’s important to realize is that the science of propaganda was born a long time ago, and it has not remained fossilized ever since. It’s been evolving along with our increasingly sophisticated understanding of the brain and its functions and wiring.

Here’s what the grandfather of propaganda, Freud’s nephew Edward Bernays, wrote in chapter 1 of his book Propaganda back in 1928:


The true ruling powers of any country are those who most successfully manipulate the “organized habits and opinions of the masses” as Bernays says. Once you understand the rules for rulers, you know that they can do nothing without keeping those who hold the keys to power on their side. And they in turn can do nothing without the consent and agreement of those below them. And propaganda plays a critical role in securing and maintaining that loyalty and consent.

While generally not talked about in polite company, the art and science of social control has been faithfully advanced and deployed to sell you a lot more than shoes and soda.

The science of social control, especially what the crowds are thinking and doing, while still imperfect, has come a very long way over the past 90 years.

Here’s an example picked up very recently by member mememonkey that I thought fascinating:


While playing a video feed of Ronald Reagan being shot by Hinkley, CNN was displaying text below that reads “TRUMP FACES BACKLASH…” Blunt. Crude. Effective.

Now, by this time it hopefully does not take a genius to see what sort of message is being sold here. What exactly the Reagan assassination attempt has to do with Trump ditching reporters is entirely unclear from the image and text placement. Heck, it’s not even clear once they try and explain it. But the inference is crystal clear: assassination might just be ‘fair game’ as a form of backlash?

A traumatic event is being used to reinforce a message. That’s a covert-traumatic ploy that’s a proven winner. If it didn’t work, then it wouldn’t be used. But here it is, and you need to be aware that such scripts are running nearly all the time in the marketplace not just of products, but of ideas.

Now this isn’t some tin-foil hat wearing theory. It’s the very essence of advertising and propaganda. Once you notice it, you’ll see it everywhere and if you are like me, it will annoy you with its brazen obviousness. “How can this work?” you will wonder.

As greater advances have been made in the fields of social control, cognitive processing, and neurology the ‘tools of the trade’ have become ever more sophisticated.

You need to be aware of the idea that not only are these subtle influences bombarding us all the time, but they are increasingly effective. If you are not aware, then you run the risk of having your ideas, thoughts, beliefs, and emotions essentially provided for you by someone else.

In Part 2: How To Protect Yourself From Persuasion & Propaganda, we explain how once you become aware of the constant ‘programming’ efforts that are being aimed at you on a daily basis, you have the chance to become mindful of these efforts and prevent them from swaying your emotions and decisions (at least, not more than you allow them to).

Click here to read Part 2 of this report (free executive summary, enrollment required for full access)

This is a companion discussion topic for the original entry at https://peakprosperity.com/were-being-played/

Thank you for bringing this subject to light.
It has been my experience that whoever has the power to censor free speech on the comments section of blogs and newsfeeds, takes upon themselves unearned privilege. 

Who died and made ye arbiter of good taste? (Note the plural, ye. The dropping of the plural pronoun for you had been a great generator of confusion.  I blame Loki.)

Awesome Chris.  You hit this way out of the park for a grand slam!

With manipulation, it helps to know your mark well and have identified his handles.  The places where his psyche can be grasped and pulled or pushed or twisted.  There are so many.  As an example, one used on young men to make armies is the love of country.

  • Old man:  Do you love your country?
  • Young man:  Yes, sir!
  • Old man:  Then you must shoot that Vietnamese man over there.
  • Young man:  What?  I don't want to shoot anyone.
  • Old man:  But you must!  You said you loved your country and now you must prove it.  Shoot him.
If the young man is wise, he doesn't offer his love of country as a handle.  He might say something like:  "Yes I love my country.  But I alone will choose who I shoot or don't shoot.  So back off."

Our values, fears, needs and dreams are all potential handles.

If you value your gay friend's freedom you must come to LA with me tonight to demonstrate.

If you believe in democracy then you won't let those hippie dippy liberals walk down the middle of OUR street.


great video, t2h, thanks for posting!

love derrick broze, brilliant fellow, didn't know he had a youtube channel, subbed now

if anyone is interested in the freedom cells he mentioned in this video, he talked about it on the corbett report last month:


and website for freedom cells is here:



I've posted this before, but I figured I'd add it in once more since we're on the topic of emotional programming.
While being very medical-researchy, this study (Best Study Ever!) shows that advertising successfully programs us emotionally, and that only a specific kind of brain damage confers relative immunity to the effects.

Executive Summary: in blind taste tests, more people prefer Pepsi 60/40.  When the brand is shown, more people select Coke 60/40.  They even manufacture reasons why - presumably to reduce the cognitive dissonance.  Only people with brain damage to the ventromedial prefrontal cortex (VMPC) were shown to be immune to this effect.


The findings from this study relate to a large body of psychological research demonstrating that subjective judgments are often not the product of accurate introspection about the actual underlying influences (reviewed in Nisbett and Wilson, 1977). For example, in this study, some of the comparison subjects who had a Blind preference for Pepsi would offer unsolicited justifications of their Semi-blind preference for Coke, such as ‘Coke just has a better fizz,’ or ‘Coke goes better with pizza,’ even though their Blind test data indicate a preference for the taste of Pepsi. These results are in line with Nisbett and Wilson's conclusion that subjective judgments may be based largely on non-conscious biases…

We can be 100% certain that the gang in charge is well aware of how this all works.  If they can do it successfully to sell sugar water that most people don't even like as much, they can certainly do it for HRC, or against Russia, or whomever.

Thanks Dave, but I think that this needs to fleshed out a bit.

The ventral medial prefrontal is located in the frontal lobe at the bottom of the cerebral hemispheres and is implicated in the processing of risk and fear. It also plays a role in the inhibition of emotional responses, and in the process of decision making.
(Mine seems to have the Fear mode flashed on.)

For the visuals amongst us.


Here Andrew Breitbart names your enemies and describes his tactics.
He is instructed to forgo reason and evidence and to attack you directly. Do not attempt to reason with them.


Finding Truth is a challenge these days. I find myself looking at everything… at every statement, at every video, at every sound-bite, with the hope that this will be the "silver bullet" …this will be the answer…this will be the explanation that will tie together all the loose ends and finally give me the "Truth". I look at the postings by Chris and Adam with the hope that final answers are revealed. I want Dave to finally pin down the markets where it makes sense and I can say "yes" I nailed it (through his analysis) and I can finally rest easy that my money is safe.
Is my desire for final answers, for easy answers, the reason I am so susceptible brainwashing? I see postings on Facebook and want to believe them because they simplify things…some of the uncomfortable complexity is removed. But…I have trained myself not to trust…I check Snopes on the issue and then I check out Snopes itself. 

Where does the search for Truth stop? Who to believe? I go to church and I believe in a Creator, because in my opinion,  there is no way that Man could have created this amazing machine called life. But in spiritual circles I find myself questioning…Is the person behind the pulpit really privy to any wisdom?  Is he or she trying to tell me the Truth or get the collections up to meet the budget.

Searching for kernels of Truth during this campaign was nearly impossible. The sound-bite driven rhetoric offered few pathways to Truth.

So maybe the Truth is ultimately embedded in complexity …and the more simplistic the answer the farther we have to travel…   But travel we must! …Keep searching my friends.


I'll just drop this here with the usual advice to see past the party and/or venue and level any critiques you might have at the content vs the context (party affiliation, belief systems, religion, etc).

Trey's message of how to be persuasive mirrors a lot of the advice I give, and I am heartened to see more people openly stating that the path to reconciliation and negotiation cannot include insulting the other party.

What you say, how you say it, and when you say it are all essential.

At any rate, a good speech, well delivered.  


I find that the biggest obstacle to communication is egos.
People half listen, and fill in the blanks with their egos.

For instance, I claim that it is a obvious absurdity to say that all people are equal. (No, not even of equal value. Some people are just plain rotten.) And I know my statement is doomed because everyone hears me say that I am "better" (whatever that means) than everyone else. So I proactively play whack-a-mole with their egos, hoping that they have enough insight understand what I just did.

Well, that is counter productive. Bruised egos are nasty things. But it is even more repugnant to me to lie by omission. The inability to accept Reality is lethal. 

Should I stroke their fragile egos? I have no inclination to do so. There is something icky about stroking another man's ego. I'll leave that to the girls. 

There are a couple of things that come to mind:
1-      Both sides are being “played.” It might be useful to remind ourselves that they are “agitating” or “playing” both sides. Otherwise, it could be very easy for an article like this to be used to dismiss the concerns of the other side (i.e. they’re just being “programmed” to say or feel that, so I don’t have to take it seriously.)

2-      The reason we are being “played” is to distract us from the real issue. Divide and conquer is not a new concept. It has been use for centuries to keep people confused about who the “enemy” really is so that the people cannot come together and rise up to overthrow the system. Perhaps the technology employed is far more advanced than it used to be, but the concept is still the same.

3-      The essential context is that the system is crushing everyone. Whether or not the system is agitating this group against that group, this still continues to be the case. We are less susceptible to manipulation when we have a clear understanding of how the system works. (And this site, above all others, does the best job of holding out the biggest picture of how that actually works!)

4-      The situation and interests of the vast majority of the population far more aligned than most of us realize.  What was once the territory of the Middle Class, is now entirely occupied by the top 20%, and the Middle Class is now lumped into what was once the territory of the Working Class and Poor. Yet this study shows how off our perceptions are in terms of understanding how skewed things are. I repeat, the better we understand how the system works, the less susceptible we are to manipulation.


5-     Our core fear and pain make us vulnerable to manipulation. It has been my experience that most often the fear and pain are connected to something old, that happened when we were young. As individuals we carry immense amounts of hurt from earlier experiences we have had, or our families have had, that are similar in some way to what is happening right now. As the pain accumulates over a lifetime, and when it remains there, it is available to be used to manipulate us in the first place.

6-     We don't realize we can move the pain because we have been heavily conditioned not to. More often we are encouraged to numb the pain (drugs of all kinds- prescription, psychiatric, recreational, etc…) or to distract ourselves from it (facebook, work, gardening, etc…) But most of us don't even realize it's an option to actually release the pain and get it out of our way, because most of us have been conditioned very heavily not to use the body’s simple and natural ways of getting the pain out.  The really deep pain is not usually something we can simply think through; it must be felt to be released. Once it is, our minds can think more clearly. The more we can do to release the pain, the less vulnerable we are to manipulation.  

7-      The fear and pain are real. Whether or not the deep state is tapping into it, the feelings people are having right now, on all sides, are real! For example, the people of color I know are terrified about mass deportations and violence. And poor white rural people I know are terrified about their own survival in a collapsing system. The Jews I know are completely terrified that the holocaust is happening all over again. Queer people I know are terrified about what will happen to their families and loved ones. Women I know are terrified what will happen to their bodies. It is part of the oppression of these groups to dismiss the feelings they are having as somehow not being valid or to think that we know better how they should feel. The fear is real even if the deep state is playing on it for political gain.

8-      It’s easier to release the fear and pain when someone is with us, although it can be done on our own. But most of us were left alone with the hurt when we were young, and therefore, had to figure it out on our own. Having someone with us when we work on the pain, now, makes it easier to remember that the same thing isn’t happening again. Having someone with us also helps us not get lost in the feelings.

9-      We are born knowing how to release the pain. If you watch an infant, they already know how to laugh, cry, shake, sweat, and yawn. All of these things release pain. Until infants are conditioned not to do these things, they do them freely and completely. And when they are done, they are done. Lightness and joy returns. It works the same way for adults, in so far as we can overcome the conditioning not to show our feelings in these ways.

10-      We are all starving for someone to listen to us. On all sides. We are all in pain. When was the last time that someone listened to you with their full attention, without judgment, interruption, interpretation, or advice? It can make a huge difference to have space to think your thoughts and share your feelings without any kind of interference. You might also be able to release some pain! And when you do, your own mind is completely capable of coming to a new understanding of what happened and finding a fresh perspective on it. Find a friend and ask them to listen in this way to you for 5 min or 10 min, or more. Then offer to do the same for them. You might be surprised how effective it is for clearing one’s mind. And what happens in listening time stays in listening time. That’s a big part of how to make it safe.

11-  Security comes from connection, not from privilege. As far as I can tell, (we) white people in the US are attempting to cling to something that is already gone and isn't coming back: the sense that privilege = security. The loss of this illusion needs to be faced and grieved, so we can look at the reality that security can no longer come from isolation, or from having a lot of money in the bank, or living in a gated community, or from blaming another oppressed group for our problems; it can only come from deep and meaningful connections across our common social, political, economic, and cultural divides. If we want to build "the More Beautiful World Our Hearts Know Is Possible," as Charles Eisenstein likes to put it, and if we want to actually create an economy that actually meets human and planetary needs, then it is my understanding that it will only possible to forge such connections if we are all working on moving our fear and pain out of the way.

Trey Gowdy seems like an honest man. Doesn't fit in the mould of all the swamp dwellers from DC. Would like to see a cabinet post for him or some high position in the Trump Government. My hope and prayer is that Trump can be influenced by decent people like Gowdy. Watch the clip posted by Chris and stay to the end for a very moving and inspirational story.

Yes, gentlemen she's dreaming about that "Sweet Kentucky Ham", got it?
Hillarious! Hey where's Bill? where ever he can find some "sweet Kentucky ham"


Do I hear an Amen brothers and sisters?!

Sweet Kentucky Ham


A new edition of "Mary's Mosaic" just came out. It unpacks some more of the disinformation that's out there on the JFK assignation from back then and in the textbooks. Fact check, fact check?  Where do you look for a real fact?

My stability comes from a hug and kiss from the wife many times a day, from the smiles of the kids and the grandkids, of a song well sung, of a bright sunrise, a good rain, a walk on a brisk afternoon and a beautiful sunset. Those are facts! 
For the rest of life I'm relying on my resilience to get through, cause UP may be DOWN or vice versa.

Take it with a grain of salt, unless you're having sweet Kentucky ham for Thanksgiving, None is needed then.