In the previous post about intelligence, I briefly mentioned the term ‘brain squashing’. As far as I can tell, I am the one who came up with this phrase, so in this post I want to delve into it a bit deeper and explain how it’s different than the good old-fashioned brainwashing.
The way to tell if someone went through brainwashing or brain-squashing is quite simple. All you have to do is to challenge them a little and ask how they had reached their conclusion or ask them for specific examples that support their claim.
A brain-washed person will have no trouble doing that, because they were trained to think in a certain way or believe a certain thing. Someone took the trouble of exposing them to a stream of information and facts in a variety of shapes and sizes – articles, images, books, media clips, quotes and possibly even academic papers that lead to a certain conclusion or corroborate a specific narrative.
All those facts and information may have been true, and they may have been one-sided, biased, or even totally false and made up. But it doesn’t matter even one bit – When confronted about their opinions and beliefs, or when asked why they think what they think, a brain-washed person will have a good answer ready and backed with arguments and examples. You might even be able to have a reasonable discussion with a brainwashed person, if they are intellectually honest individuals engaging with you in good faith.
With a brain-squashed person it’s a completely different story. That’s because they are trained not to think but rather accept any claim, as long as it is made by certain people. A person which has been properly brain-squashed has no need or use for facts, arguments and examples. Instead, they simply need to be informed what opinion they should currently hold (preferably infused with a pseudo-moralistic conviction of some kind), and they are good to go.
Brain squashing is actually very similar to brainwashing but instead of being conditioned for what to believe, the conditioning focuses on who to believe. The mind is not rebuilt – it is demolished to make room for someone else’s mind. The way to do that is to take away words, which are the building blocks of the mind, and replace them with a manufactured set of highly constrictive terms, which in turn will make no one will wonder off the reservation. Or, if we go back to the garden metaphor – exterminating the plants of unwanted concepts and incepting the ground with only permitted engineered seeds instead.
If you want a good example of brain squashed people, here are a couple of clips for you. The first one is from a talk about immigration Michael Knowles gave a couple of years ago at Cal State. At minute 2:30 they start to argue about the definition of violence and at 3:39 someone in the crowd says: “have you asked them if they felt as though some violence has been committed on them?”. This moment perfectly captures the mindset of “any claim must be accepted when it is made by the right people” and Michael Knowles response to that is as swift as it is brilliant.
The second clip is a quick demonstration of the inevitable result of getting people to accept any claim at face value and incorporate it into their opinion without questions. When they’re asked what they are basing their opinion on, their mind draws blank. The first segment is just priceless:
I honestly couldn’t have asked for a better demonstration of brain squashing, nor could I come up with a better clip myself, even if I had all the resources to write, cast and direct it myself.
More brainwashing and brain squashing examples
If you are looking for more real-life examples of brain-squashed people, I wholeheartedly recommend the Campus Reform YouTube Channel. You can start with this clip of students think Trump should be impeached but don’t know why, or with the clip in which they interview students who are against toxic masculinity but can’t really define it. You can’t go wrong with either one, just click on the one more appealing to you and go from there.
It’s really important and useful to be able to tell whether the person you are debating went through brainwashing or brain-squashing because I can save you a lot of time and energy. With brain-washed people you can still have a productive argument, and possibly even change their mind to a certain degree. With brain-squashed people you shouldn’t even bother.
Brainwashing is reversable, but brain-Squashing – not so much…