Propaganda is not Brainwashing
a car is not a car accident and a piece of information is not extremism
Neurolinguistic Programming: using language in certain ways to programme human minds subtly and slowly over time, deployed in social media content to elicit state changes below the level of conscious awareness in the individual being groomed.
Anchoring + Future Casting + Association-Dissociation
Radicalisation describes the process by which an individual comes to adopt increasingly extreme oppositional views in response to a political, social, or religious forces.
I think anyone over the age of 30 can agree that what happened October 7th in Southern Israel signalled a need for change such as we have not experienced and witnessed since September 11, 2001. We can all agree that a bunch of stuff needs to change. We can all agree that the status quo cannot continue indefinitely. We disagree on the causative factors and we disagree on the way forward. I think we can all agree that continually restating the problem in all its horrific detail helps no one. I think we can all agree that designating scapegoats amounts to ego masturbation, i.e Freudian projection. I thought I would take a few steps back and lift the hood and see what lurks beneath the acting out behaviour of collective human society.
How do we get from a piece of information about an idea or belief system to a human being who goes on a killing spree and then stops to grab a snack from the fridge in between killing and then rapes several young women so severely he inflicts enough force to break the human pelvis, and then inflicts gun shot wounds execution style or in other even more barbaric fashion? What happens to that idea to transform it into a concrete desire and extreme commitment inside someone’s mind to murder and rape and desecrate human bodies?
Fun Fact: It takes the impact force equivalent to that wielded by a small car such as a Honda Civic to generate 4000 Newtons of energy, the force required to fracture a human pelvis. Imagine a male human applying that much force during the act of sexual intercourse. Envision that scenario — stop and envision that scenario.
“Human pelvis is an extremely stable structure and is only damaged or injured if it is impacted by a great amount of force. It connects the upper part of the human body with the lower extremities and transfers the main load to the body.” (Wang 2018)
Not all who read the Quran become blood lusting killers. Not all who follow Islam want to destroy the world and LARP Himmler and an Islamic version of Jack the Ripper. Not all those who call themselves Palestinians cheer Hamas and want to destroy Israel. Counter-narratives are your friends and confirmation biases are not. Ego defence mechanisms hinder solutions-based thinking, you best resist them. Everyone loves a good orgasm, and we all find it particularly challenging to say no to a good ego orgasm. I get it because I, too, have an asshole inside my head that wants to take over and sh1t on everything.
Remember the whole world does not exist to serve as a screen for your ego projections. Remember that collective human suffering did not happen to serve as your private collection of snuff videos, resist the urge to make everyone else’s pain into your porn. Porn, short form of pornography, refers to content created for the sole purpose of sexual stimulation.
Let me explain what I mean.
North Americans in particular have a penchant for leeching onto a humanitarian cause and creating an entire genre of social and political porn which we can wank over tribally and then use as wedge issues in our local political arenas. Trade unions and public sector unions and human rights influencers have for decades used the Palestinian cause as a tool to fight their own political battles. Using an historically marginalised people in a distant and impoverished region of the world to further a labour relations cause in North America defines socialist narcissism. Using a marginalised people and an ongoing complex multilayered rivalry in a distant impoverished part of the world in order to further a discussion about decolonisation in the industrialised world, whilst employing anti-semitic tropes, defines colonialism.1
Arab nations and the Iranian Regime and Türkiye have all used the Palestinian people as a tool of statecraft in their ongoing hundred year feud with the west. Like Hajj Amin al Husayni, the mullah-terrorist who founded the Palestinian political identity brand, Palestinian leaders have cannibalised the Palestinian people in order to gain political notoriety. When it comes to the Muslim collective the Palestinian brand has become a Trojan horse for antisemitism and it has become a vehicle that carries them away from responsibility. Arab and Islamic fuelled hatred of Jews and Israelis hinders the Palestinian cause and it drives hatred of both Jews and Muslims outside of the MENA region and Islamic world.
So let’s return to my question because it’s an important one. How do we get from a piece of information about an idea or belief system to a human being who goes on a murderous rape + pillage spree or to a human who can excuse anyone who does? How does an idea become a desire to kill embedded into a human’s neural network? How does an idea corrupt a human’s neural network such that empathy becomes infarcted? How does a terrible idea come to dominate the human collective hive mind? How does an expression of thought become the worst massacre of Jews in 8 decades? How does the human collective mind witness such atrocities and remain unmoved and even celebratory about the mass suffering of others?
Let’s imagine we have a network of computers we want to programme for a task. Because human neural networks in a society resemble a digital LAN. Out of the box, the machines do nothing. Someone sets up the network and programmes the individual machines. Who coded these neural networks and how did they prime them for sadistic bloodlust? I discovered the work of Robyn Torok on radicalisation strategies. Dr. Torok studied social media posts and delineated the strategies deployed by the content creators to radicalise followers. She identified key techniques and stratregies in the radicalisation process.
Three Neurolinguistic Programming techniques used in the radicalisation process include Anchoring + Future Casting + Association-Dissociation. They help draw in recruits to a group or a cause or a movement. New convert Muslims often receive offers for coaching, under the guise of a welcome into the faith community or learning the deen. It reminds me of the Catholic learning the catechism grift I sometimes witnessed as a child— teaching people what to think rather than how to think. Admittedly, any offer of total acceptance into a familial setting initially feels good and quite tempting.
The Muslim world of influencers has an over abundance of coaches, all with varying degrees of training that focusses on how to persuade humans to change their behaviour. How much does this thing called Muslim Revert Coaching offer vulnerable individuals a path to radicalisation? Perhaps that’s a topic for me to explore in a future investigative piece, dear readers? In comparison to the Christian faith community, where leadership does promote values + the golden rule— following the example of Jesus—the Muslim faith community felt more ego driven, a place dominated by manipulation and coercion and entitlement pretending to be humility + piety, as opposed to values and agape and the golden rule. It’s an anathema to the example of Jesus.
No one in my new “faith community” cared about my issues, they expected me to stop caring about my things and throw myself into theirs, without question. It felt like when raising my kids and I had to give in to their needs because that’s what parents do — only Muslims are grown adults and they collectively behave with this entitled immaturity. I could not do it—I could not abandon the fight to save women’s rights from the gender cult so that I could join the free in hijab cult of idiocy that rose up in response to Bill 21 and laïcité. It became clear to me that Muslims don’t care about women’s rights, when I saw how they deliberately ignored Bill C-16 and then lost their sh1t over Bill 21. It made zero sense to me from a rational standpoint and I understood tribalism in that awful moment of clarity.
Let’s get back to those three Neurolinguistic Programming techniques used in the radicalisation process.
Anchoring links a state or mind to a feeling or physiologic trigger or sensory experience. Common anchors include biased social videos, emotionally evocative social media posts which amplify or enhance a strong feeling of betrayal or injustice or latent rage. Hostile, firebrand grievance-based sermons given by Imams populate the inter webs and they provide great anchor points for radicalisation. A sermon or any kind of Dawah2 provides an opportunity for a Neurolinguistic project, a fresh neural network to reformat and programme with another OS. Imagine a religion for a human is like the OS for your hard drive or mobile device. In the realm of the internet world, TikTok, Facebook, Telegram, and Instagram have proved powerful tools of radicalisation because these platforms have built themselves around video content. Video provides a unique means to engage someone thru the creation of a sensory experience that can produce a physiologic reaction.
Future Casting takes the mind into a future state + uses language to promote desire + endorsement of the state. Popular examples of future casting include the slogan from the River to the Sea Palestine will be free, or simply Palestine will be free. Palestinian and Muslim leadership repeatedly telling their faithful followers the Joos did it and repeatedly preaching about the evil Zionists then sets up the hive mind for dangerous apathy, to see extermination of Jews as the solution or at the very least deserving. The Supreme Ayatollah of Iran deploys future casting in a lot of his Telegram social media messages. He frequently posts emotionally provocative rants that reiterate the assertion that the Zionist Regime will fall. In this case combining the future casting with a powerful emotionally driven antisemitic trope proves a powerful means to groom a group of followers into extreme thinking and encourage the cultivation of a dehumanisation mindset.
Association-Dissociation simultaneously creates an association with a new mental framework and a dissociation with an existing one. A great example of this radicalisation technique involving the progressive socialist campaign to cast of Jews as European and therefore white, thereby positioning Israel as colonial because all Europeans have oppressor status because Europe had empires. Replacing the current framework in which Jew “describes an ethno-religion that exists in both the Middle East and Europe” with the framework that Jew “describes a European religion whose people had to escape Europe and then seek refuge to settle in the Middle East” has created the mental environment ripe for sewing the seeds of hatred and dehumanisation of Jews.
This NLP framework makes sense to me because I can apply it to other forms of radicalisation such as gender radicalisation and CRT/DEI radicalisation. It also explains the powerful response process that I observed in myself in the immediate reaction to the October 7th Massacre. Let me describe to you my own immediate response to the Simchat Torah Massacre.
I watched the lengthy video Ben Shapiro made when he emerged from Shabbat and found out about the Massacre and saw the initial footage. I went immediately to seek out the footage myself and I fell into an entire Telegram world of OSINT and terrorists hiding in plain corporate sight. I cannot convey to you how powerful an anchor Ben’s own commentary proved to me in navigating the reality of what happened. I watched every snuff video Hamas posted and I followed the Israeli channels were recovery workers posted images and video.
The suggestion to destroy Hamas future casted itself repeatedly + constantly from multiple sources and then the unfortunate collective scapegoating of Palestinian people happened as I took in the footage of Gazans celebrating the massacre and then associated an entire nation of peoples with the extreme behaviour of the few I observed. Words such as human animals and level Gaza floated around in the very early days after the Massacre.
The observation of a mob of Palestinians cheering the carnage that Ben spoke about and that I witnessed myself in the Hamas snuff videos created an association + dissociation that caused my brain to place all Palestinian humans in the Hamas category. The thirst for vengeance hung in the air sometimes.
And yet my brain pushed back, knowing falseness of the statement all Palestinians are Hamas. Stuck between a delicate place of complexity inside my mind that says Palestinians are happy about the massacre and that makes them bad people and also that not all Palestinians are happy about the massacre and that asks did they know what they were cheering about?
When I saw far right Jewish Telegram express dehumanising tropes such as human animals to describe Palestinians, I felt like I was inside David Livingstone Smith’s laboratory of dehumanisation, if such a thing existed. In a recent lecture David spent some time describing in nuanced detail the difference between dehumanisation and derogation, to emphasise dehumanisation as a particular way of seeing a human, reflected in a psychological process. A psychological response to political forces. A contagious one. Observing the contagion move through myself proved instructional.
The human mind has a breathtaking capacity and power for connectivity and neuroplasticity — our strength comes with built-in vulnerability though. Video-based social media function as an effective force multiplier of cognitive distortions because the design enables the creation of content that has maximum neurophysiologic impact. I don’t know that any solid approach to deprogramming human minds exists, and I think the more we strive to understand the process of radicalisation, the more success we will have figuring out how to deradicalise and rehabilitate and assimilate.
Adventures of Bad Hijabi is a reader-supported publication. I conduct behaviour analysis on social trends + track extremism and its online proliferation and its connection to dehumanisation. Currently I am tracking pro Palestinian NGO terror proxies in Canada. To support my work please consider a paid subscription.
A duplicitous British empire, to hasten the collapse of its rival, the Ottoman empire, stoked the dregs of Arab resentment and lit the fire for Arab nationalism and then carved out the Ottoman lands vis a vis the Sykes Picot Agreement. Much of the resentment that exists today in its current form we can trace back to the back room deals and politicking that happened in the early 1900s and post WW1 era. Many operators benefit from manipulating and revising history in order to cast Jewish self determination as evil colonialism. That’s classic gaslighting by the way. The entire disingenuous and biased handling of this history of Arabs during the formation of Israel smacks of the NLP mind manipulation that’s the topic of this essay.
Dawah is the Muslim version of evangelical proselytization. Literally it means invitation.