Change Agents and Perception Management
By Not Sure
5 March 2023
Yesterday, I received an email from a woman in England who mentioned that she had a friend who lived in London near the Tavistock Institute. Her friend was new to the idea that our reality is tightly controlled in service of an agenda but was slowly dipping a toe into the dark waters of how cultures are shaped and guided. “Kurt Lewin,” her friend inquired, “I keep hearing a lot about him being bad, yet when I look into him, I can only find good things.” This woman inquired where on Alan Watt’s websites she be able to find out information about Kurt Lewin to pass along to her friend?
That wasn’t something I could easily find if I had time to search for it. I knew that Lewin was a psychologist and associated with the Frankfurt School out of Social Research Institute in Germany, which had originated by a group of mostly Jewish Marxists, many of whom ended up in the United States after Hitler’s rise to power. Beyond that, I didn’t know much so I looked up Lewin’s Wiki page.
This is a part of my email response:
1) Studied Institute of Social Research --- Frankfurt School. Then MIT.
2) Gestalt, field theory etc. Horkheimer, etc. Authoritarian Personality.
3) The above is totally key to how destructive the "applied research" was to cultures.
4) Sensitivity Training -- His baby. [The psychologist] Carl Rogers called this the most significant contribution to social change in the 20th century and Rogers famously used this with the nun experiment in which most of the nuns left the convent and/or became lesbian.
If I had even an hour on his Wiki for a few different rabbit holes I could make quite a compelling case for the destructive quality of his "work."
Then I returned to all the other things I needed to accomplish, one of which was to write something about something, but what?
This Redux is intended to be different, to take a beat and remember Alan Watt in a more reflective way. Included in the Redux audio is an excerpt from a blurb Alan delivered on August 30, 2007 entitled “Synchronicities, Psychotronics and Behaviour Modification - By Environmental Stimuli.” The short excerpt was rich with directions for the writing to go: the effects of chemspray on cognitive responses, behaviorism, voice-to-skull technology and other more advanced ways to alter a subject’s moods or supply them with thoughts they think are “theirs.” Alan talked about how perception and behavior can be changed by altering the immediate environment of a person.
My mind returned again to Kurt Lewin and the tiny crumbs I’d had time to digest off his Wiki-platter. A psychologist who was profoundly influenced by him was Eric Trist who engaged in a study with Lewin on soldiers returning from World War II and how they could be mentally rehabilitated and incorporated into society. Trist would also meet B.F. Skinner and have his thinking shaped by Skinner’s work in behaviourism. Trist’s political interests were awakened when he read Karl Marx. Trist was also one of the founders in 1946 of the Tavistock Institute for Social Research, largely funded by the Rockefeller Foundation. If you are interested in psychological warfare, social engineering and mass manipulation, you can’t find a better rabbit hole than Tavistock.
Kurt Lewin started out in behavioural psychology, the domain of Skinner and Pavlov-of-the-dogs, but he moved into the world of Gestalt psychology. The word Gestalt is German for “form” and is interpreted as “pattern” or “configuration.” It is a theory of perception. A leading Gestalt psychologist was Max Horkheimer who was a key figure in the Frankfurt School, which also included Theodore Adorno.
Horkheimer and Adorno wrote a book entitled The Dialectic of Enlightenment. One of the chapters in the book is The Culture Industry. Here a few key things from that chapter:
Every single film, magazine, radio show and popular song is exactly the same as every other one (p.1). They are all just rearrangements of meaningless clichés – “the details are interchangeable” (p.3), they are “the stone of stereotype” (p.15). The apparent differences between them are illusionary marketing techniques to which we all slavishly conform (p.3).
People think films show real life as it genuinely is (p.4). This is used to brainwash people by showing them the futility of resistance and the value of conformity (p.10). All the characters are the same in order to make movies easy to understand. All plots in all movies show that there is no real chance of improving one’s lot in society and that one should accept one’s place, that only blind chance offers any possibility of improvement (p.11).
The introduction of sound into movies has destroyed people’s ability to resist this brainwashing because sound in a movie overwhelms the audience and prevents them from thinking or reflecting on what they are watching (p.4, p.14). Furthermore, people have been pre-programmed to react in certain ways and so could never react genuinely anyway (p.4).
Getting it from the horse’s mouth why a mental firewall is so important, why extreme caution is needed when taking in anything from “the culture industry” and this includes music, theatre, television, film, dance, cartoons, the internet, novels, et cetera.
Kurt Lewin developed the theory of force-field analysis, a framework for looking at the forces or factors that influence societal situations. The life space, “the totality of the environment of an individual” derives from their perception of their reality, not an objective viewpoint. This approach of Lewin’s underpins fields of study including social science, organizational development, process management and change management.
Lewin had developed a reputation for his ideas about the process of change and he was asked by the Connecticut State Inter Racial Commission to find a way to combat religious and racial prejudices. He set up a workshop to conduct a "change" experiment. This became know as “sensitivity training,” a technique that Carl Rogers would later use on a group of nuns, resulting in three hundred of them petitioning the Vatican to be released from their vows. Within the two groups (those who ceased to be nuns and those who remained at the convent) remained freshly minted lesbians and radical feminists.
There were two more articles of interest that I found while researching this short article. The first was about Sociotechnical Systems (STS), a theory developed by Eric Trist at the Tavistock Institute and used by Kurt Lewin. This undated piece was published on the Lewis University “Experts” blog and discussed how the theory of STS and “change management” could be used to create and implement frameworks for changed working environments due to more people working from home due to Covid.
The second article was about how in 1940, the U.S. Department of Defense asked the National Research Council (NRC) to assemble a team of the country’s leading social scientists to create the Committee on Food Habits, in the face of a looming meat shortage. There are a few interesting things in this fluffy little article, if you pay attention. The campaign was to encourage the American people to give up the steaks and pork chops that they loved and embrace the idea of eating organ meats, because it was feared that the young soldiers would not eat organ meat, (tripe (stomach,) kidneys, tongue, brains, heart, liver.) There would be a shortage of good cuts for most Americans because those preferred cuts would go to the soldiers. First interesting thing: the U.S. did not enter the war until December of 1941 yet this committee to change the perceptions of the American public about organ meats was formed in 1940.
To head the committee, the NRC recruited anthropologist Margaret Mead (whose fraudulent Samoan “studies” were instrumental in the sexual revolution of the 1960s and who was a founder of the Macy conferences on cybernetics which ran from 1941 to 1960 – busy lady) and the psychologist Kurt Lewin.
Mead, Lewin and the other “social scientists” were tasked with the identical challenge given to George Orwell in England when he worked at the BBC. Other campaigns such as Victory Gardens centered on ideas of patriotism and “we’re all in it together,” but Mead and Lewis believed that only a fundamental change in the way people perceived organ meats would have a lasting effect. Their studies showed them that most Americans were unfamiliar with these meats and had no idea how to prepare them. Rather than force it upon them, they chose to encourage the public to put a little “variety” into their diets, and thus the term “variety meats” was born. Variety meats: They are good, abundant, highly nutritious. Change Agents doing Perception Management.
© Not Sure
Sociotechnical Systems: Change Management in a Pandemic
The World War II Campaign to Bring Organ Meats to the Dinner Table