There’s a very famous psychological test that was done shortly after World War II. They wanted to find out why an entire country had gone crazy and done such crazy things.
They organized this test with three people. The Authority figure, The Teacher and The Learner. The Authority figure told the Teacher that it was some type of memory test. That the Teacher would give the Learner a question and if the Learner got the question wrong, the Teacher would give the Learner an electric shock.
In reality, the Learner was part of the experiment. The electric shocks were fake. The real test was to see how many people would give an electric shock to a stranger only on the word of an authority figure.
A similar test was done to see what impact one’s social reference group has on one’s decision-making ability. This test was set up with one guy in a room and they would show this one guy two pieces of paper. On one of the pieces of paper was a single line. On the other piece of paper were three lines and the only task was to choose from among the three lines the line that was the same length as the line that was on the single piece of paper with a single line.
Of course this was very easy. But then they brought in other people into the room and these other people were pretending to participate in the test but they were actually secret people within the test and their job was to purposely choose the wrong line. To see what impact this would have on the actual test subject who thought that they were choosing honestly.
One of the more interesting characters from Roman history is Marcus Aurelius. There is a very interesting story about his upbringing. He was a Roman Emperor, one of the last five great Roman emperors, he is also one of the most famous, most persuasive orators of all time, but as the story goes when he was very young he had a speech impediment and he decided to overcome his speech impediment.
Shout At The Ocean
The way he overcame his speech impediment was he went down to the beach, he filled his mouth with rocks and he shouted at the ocean. That’s how he developed both his speaking skills and his presence behind his famous speeches before the Roman Senate.
Socrates was famous for realizing that he didn’t know anything. He was also famous for proving that nobody else knew anything. He had a very powerful skill of getting into a conversation with somebody and proving that all of their ideas were false.
He started to teach this technique to other people and this made the rulers very angry. Any time you have a group of men a small group of men that rule a large group of men they need to have some type of reason why they are justified in having power over other people.
Why You In Charge?
Any group of people that have power need to have a reason to justify their power and somebody like Socrates is very dangerous because if he can teach other people this idea that nothing is true and people start to believe that the ideas are leaders give us for their having power over us is false then that might be very dangerous to them.
This may be the reason why they had Socrates killed. Technically he killed himself because he could have escaped and he accepted his death. He drank the hemlock willingly, but he was put in that situation because the rulers, the superhero architects of democracy, didn’t like his ability that he could disprove any idea that anybody had.
One of the things that Marcus Aurelius did that is very beneficial is not only was he a very advanced thinker, not only was he a very skilled orator, but he was a very prolific writer. He wrote a lot of his ideas down so we can study his ideas today.
Writings Of Aurelius
Unlike Socrates, who didn’t write anything down, everything we know about Socrates comes from the writings of Plato, but Marcus Aurelius wrote down many things including a book called meditations, which you can get on the Internet.
One of the most important ideas in his book called meditations is that everything is opinion. So Marcus Aurelius, the great Emperor of Rome, came to the same conclusion that Socrates had. Every idea that we have is merely an opinion and not a provable fact.
What they found in that Asch conformity test was that when they put a bunch of other people in the room who purposely chose the wrong answer, the actual test subject chose the wrong answer. Which means a test subject, when he was in a room with other people and other people were choosing the wrong line length on purpose, that it was obviously wrong, 70% of test subjects went along with the social group.
Powerful Social Proof
Meaning even though they could look at these two pieces of paper, even though they could tell easily whether which line on the paper on the left matched the single line on the paper on the right, because the social group around them was choosing the wrong line, they themselves chose the wrong line and they knew they were choosing the wrong line but they made the decision that it was better to go along with the group than to choose the correct answer.
The Milgram experiment was equally shocking because up to 70% of people give a shock to another human simply because the authority figure told them to. The Learner, who was pretending to receive the shocks, he pretended he was in a great deal of pain, he even pretended to have a heart attack a couple of times and begged the teacher to stop.
But simply because the guy in a lab coat a guy pretending to be an authority told the Teacher to give shocks the Teacher gave shocks. So it seems that our thinking is not only incorrect, as Socrates and Marcus Aurelius pointed out, all the ideas in our brains are just opinions that cannot be proved.
All Our Ideas Are Wrong
It seems that the ideas in our head that lead to our actions are extremely dependent upon both our social group and the authority figures we respect. So what does that say about our human intellect and our free will?
Mind Persuasion has plenty of books and courses to teach you how to speak hypnotically and persuasively.