Storytelling And The Art Of Brainwashing

Storytelling And The Art Of Brainwashing

The power of stories over the human mind.
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A good story has a way of getting inside our heads. Every time we pick up a book or go to a movie, we're volunteering to be manipulated.

We don't like feeling manipulated in our everyday lives, and yet we're inclined to judge stories by how effectively they control our thoughts and feelings. Propaganda is known for attempting to brainwash its audience, but nearly every story engages in brainwashing, though often with more subtlety. By causing the audience to adopt a specific perspective, a story can become far more compelling.

After a second viewing of last year's sci-fi drama Arrival, I noticed this type of brainwashing in action (yes, spoilers are coming). The film follows Louise Banks, a linguist who is recruited to communicate with aliens. The film repeatedly cuts to scenes of Louise and her young daughter, leading the audience to believe she is experiencing flashbacks of her past. However, it eventually becomes clear that, as she learns the alien language, she gains the ability to perceive time as they do. The "flashbacks" are not moments that she is recalling, but rather moments from the future that she is experiencing in the present.

Arrival lends itself to second viewings. That is not to say that it cannot be understood with only one viewing, but rather that a second viewing increases one's appreciation of the twist, rather than diminishing it. Films may not have narration start-to-finish, as novels do, but Arrival is essentially told from Louise's perspective. The film is edited in an almost stream-of-consciousness manner, presenting scenes in the order Louise experiences them, rather than the order in which they occur according to linear time.

Everything we see is from her point of view, but we don't understand her perspective until toward the end of the film. In a second viewing, the viewer has already been taught her perspective. In fact, I couldn't even identify a moment in which the twist is revealed on my second viewing, because it seems obvious from the first scene once you have learned her perspective. Just as the aliens gift her with their understanding of time, the film bestows her perspective upon the audience.

The film's use of manipulation is innocent, perhaps even benevolent, but it shows just how powerful art can be in reshaping perspectives. Art cannot force us to accept ideas we disagree with, but it can certainly manipulate our perspective. This power is undeniable, but what responsibilities it places on storytellers and audiences is harder to determine.

Cover Image Credit: Paramount Pictures

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I'm A Woman And You Can't Convince Me Breastfeeding In Public Is OK In 2019

Sorry, not sorry.

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Lately, I have seen so many people going off on social media about how people shouldn't be upset with mothers breastfeeding in public. You know what? I disagree.

There's a huge difference between being modest while breastfeeding and just being straight up careless, trashy and disrespectful to those around you. Why don't you try popping out a boob without a baby attached to it and see how long it takes for you to get arrested for public indecency? Strange how that works, right?

So many people talking about it bring up the point of how we shouldn't "sexualize" breastfeeding and seeing a woman's breasts while doing so. Actually, all of these people are missing the point. It's not sexual, it's just purely immodest and disrespectful.

If you see a girl in a shirt cut too low, you call her a slut. If you see a celebrity post a nude photo, you call them immodest and a terrible role model. What makes you think that pulling out a breast in the middle of public is different, regardless of what you're doing with it?

If I'm eating in a restaurant, I would be disgusted if the person at the table next to me had their bare feet out while they were eating. It's just not appropriate. Neither is pulling out your breast for the entire general public to see.

Nobody asked you to put a blanket over your kid's head to feed them. Nobody asked you to go feed them in a dirty bathroom. But you don't need to basically be topless to feed your kid. Growing up, I watched my mom feed my younger siblings in public. She never shied away from it, but the way she did it was always tasteful and never drew attention. She would cover herself up while doing it. She would make sure that nothing inappropriate could be seen. She was lowkey about it.

Mindblowing, right? Wait, you can actually breastfeed in public and not have to show everyone what you're doing? What a revolutionary idea!

There is nothing wrong with feeding your baby. It's something you need to do, it's a part of life. But there is definitely something wrong with thinking it's fine to expose yourself to the entire world while doing it. Nobody wants to see it. Nobody cares if you're feeding your kid. Nobody cares if you're trying to make some sort of weird "feminist" statement by showing them your boobs.

Cover up. Be modest. Be mindful. Be respectful. Don't want to see my boobs? Good, I don't want to see yours either. Hard to believe, I know.

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13 Quotes For All Of Us Empowered Female-Identifying People Out There

For the days when you need to be reminded that you are really doing the dang thing and doing it well.

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For the days when you need to be reminded that you are really doing the dang thing and doing it well.

1. Do you really need someone else's permission, acceptance, wink, or nod, or are you ready to give these to yourself? -The Universe

I get notes from the Universe everyday and all of them are so amazing and inspiring. There might be a few of them on this list. You can sign up for your own notes from the universe here.

2. The princess saves herself in this one. -Amanda Lovelace

The quote is based off a book called The Princess Saves Herself In This One, which is a collection of poetry about resilience, you can get the book here.

3. I'm made of more than you think. -Snow White, Mirror, Mirror

4. Other people's perception of you ain't none of your business. -Lisa Nichols

CLAPPING HANDS EMOJI.

5. Do you realize how many events and choices that had to occur since the birth of the universe leading to the making of just exactly the way you are? -Mrs. Which, A Wrinkle In Time

I love this because it really hits home how so many right and wrong decisions led to the creation of you and how you should appreciate the good and the bad because without either of them you wouldn't be exactly who you were supposed to be.

6. You can't stop what's done to you. You can only survive it. -Rachel, Georgia Rule 

This brings up an important theme of my life that I'm still trying to figure out. The only thing you can control in your life is how you react to what happens to you.

7. Don't let anyone ever make you feel like you don't deserve what you want. -Patrick Verona, 10 Things I Hate About You

8. No one can make you feel inferior without your consent. -Queen Clarisse, The Princess Diaries

9. No trifling of the past, no matter how great, can tarnish the brilliance of eternity. -The Universe

10. People who are insignificant to your future shouldn't have an impact on your present.

Someone once told me this, and although I can't remember the person, this quote has always stuck with me.

11. Talented, brilliant, incredible, amazing, show stopping, spectacular, never the same, totally unique, completely not ever been done before. -Lady Gaga

You know what... I think she was talking about you.

12. Tell yourself it's easy. Tell yourself often. Make it an affirmation. Eat, sleep, breathe it, and you life shall be transformed. -The Universe

13. Twenty years from now you will be more disappointed by the things you didn't do than by the ones you did do. -Mark Twain 

Go on then, be empowered and trust your instincts, you've got big things coming... I can tell.

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