~ Joseph Heller, Catch 22
Hate to break this to you, but you are brainwashed; or, at the very least, have been subjected to brainwashing all your life. It’s unfortunate, and you can deny it all you want, but you have. So have your parents, your grand-parents, and their parents, and their parents before that. So have your wife and your children. So will your children’s children and their children too. Your entire family and everyone you know have been subjected to brainwashing; some have been consumed by it; some will never get over it. It is most unfortunate that there’s not a thing you can do or say that will make things any different. The people who will get the most angry and defensive about this; the people who will argue with this the most incessantly are the most brainwashed of all.
From the day a child gets old enough to understand, the brainwashing commences. Believe it or not, I’d even have to say that the brainwashing begins from the day a baby can recognize colors and objects; from the day a baby can start to understand the relationship between signs, gestures, and their meanings, is the day the brainwashing begins. And it doesn’t matter when or whether that child was born and raised in the Soviet Union, China, Japan, Nazi Germany, or the United States; if the home and area they are raised in has any sort of government or even one iota of jingoism or patriotism, you can bet that that child will grow up with a biased view on the world. You can be sure that the brainwashing has distorted that child’s thinking. You can also be sure that the child probably will grow up with an unwavering belief that his country is the best — and will get angry or defensive if challenged about it; you can bet that child will grow up being considered a dumb-bird and ill-educated by the very few who aren’t brainwashed; and you can bet your bottom dollar that that child will grow up being a believer that his country could do no wrong, no matter what the circumstances or the facts say.
It is most unfortunate that many Americans, for the most part, will get all riled up and huffy about what I have written here but, from what I’ve seen, Americans are probably the most brainwashed basketcases in the world today. It’s really a shame that a people who believe that they are the number one and the world’s only superpower, are in fact probably the most brainwashed people on the face of the earth today.
The few who realize that what I have written here is fact, will not dispute this for a moment — they are the ones who have seen the enemy. The really smart ones or the lucky few will try to save themselves, or their kids, by getting an education outside of their country. If they do this, then they have a fighting chance to save themselves. They’ll most likely also have to learn and deeply understand a foreign language and culture before they can recognize the brainwashing. The wisest among us become wise due to years of consideration, contemplation and experience; those are the people who will see immediately that what is written here is as plain as day.
I’ve met and corresponded with people whom, I reckon, will never figure it out. They are, regrettably, the dumbest birds of them all.
"The only one to argue with a fool is a bigger fool."
~ Confucius (551 BC—479 BC) — The Analects of Confucius
Luckily for me, I figured this brainwashing business out by accident on January 29 of 1986 at about 7 a.m. Japan time (and I mean that literally). It was like a light going on in my head. You may think I jest, but I do not. It took two tragic accidents happening to make me see what years of American public school indoctrination — as well as years of American TV — had done to me. And whether you realize it or not, this brainwashing is happening to you — and your children — right now.
Here’s how I found out about it:
On December 8 of 1985, I had been living in Japan for more than a year. I was a typical proud American. Like any recent ex-pat I thought, "The United States is not perfect but it is the best the world has to offer!" (This kind of idea seems pretty typical for many Americans — especially those who have never been overseas or learned a different language or culture. A bit ridiculous when you stop to think about it.) I had finished work and come home early at about 8:30 p.m. and found my daughter sleeping and my wife uncontrollably sobbing in front of the TV set. She was very upset. I was afraid that someone had died in the family that day.
When I asked her what was wrong, she told me about a Japan Airlines 747 jet crash in Gumma Prefecture in Japan that had killed about 540 people earlier that day. It was the worst aviation accident in history and my wife was crushed. I came in, hugged her and while wiping her tears, I told her everything would be alright. At that time, I still thought that someone from her immediate family must have been on that airplane for her to be so upset, but there weren’t any family members on that plane. Just some Japanese people. I thought.
Japanese people who I didn’t know; I didn’t know them, they were not my people; I didn’t care. I couldn’t understand why my wife was so broken up about this accident. Air crashes happen all the time. Who cares? I thought. I said to my wife, "It’ll be alright, honey. You’ll see."
Oh, how cold, callous, and stupid I was. What a pitiful brainwashed American fool!
~ George Bernard Shaw (1856—1950) — The Devil’s Disciple (1901), act II
Then, not seven short weeks later, I was up early in the morning showering and shaving to get ready to go to my office job. Since those were the days before the Internet, I used to always turn on the TV — with the volume off so as to not wake my wife and baby daughter — when I was watching the news in the morning. As I brushed my teeth, I kept poking my head around the wall, to watch the day’s news.
I saw the news reports about the United States sending up a rocket. No big deal. When are they going to get to the sports? I thought. I continued brushing. When I stuck my head around the corner, expecting to see a report on something else, they were still on the rocket launch. This went on for quite a while. That’s odd! Then I put on my glasses and saw something strange. Is it supposed to look like that? I wondered. The rocket exploded in air and pieces flew off in different directions. Then it dawned on me that I was watching the news of a shuttle accident. I stopped what I was doing and got close to the TV and turned up the volume so I could hear. It was an accident. The space shuttle Challenger had exploded on take off. It was January 28, 1986 in the United States, but in Japan, it was already January 29th.
The rocket blew into pieces. I had a lump in my throat. I realized the full implications of what I was seeing on TV. I began to cry. My wife heard my crying and woke up. She ran to me and hugged me in her nightgown. She wiped back my tears and asked what was wrong. I told her about the shuttle accident. She held my head and ran her hands through my hair. She said, "It’ll be alright, honey. You’ll see."
Later as I slowly walked to the train station — the weight of the world seemingly on my shoulders as I was the only American around — it came to me:
Why did I not cry when 540 humans died in an airplane crash, yet when seven others get killed, it broke me into tears? Why did my wife cry for the 540 and not be so upset about the seven? Was she kinder to human suffering than I was? Perhaps in this case, yes. But the actual truth of the matter is that she was raised in Japan; I was raised in The United States. I was indoctrinated by US government propaganda that taught me to believe that American lives are more important or valuable than the lives of people from other countries.
Why do Americans care when two of their soldiers are killed in a foreign country — in a foreign country? But when tens of thousands of innocents — in their own homes — in their own country — are bombed and murdered by us, it is not even reported in American news? Why do the brainwashed cry when one or two soldiers are killed fighting in a country — a country that they had no business being in the first place — but don’t care for the innocent children murdered by those soldiers at the same time? Why do people care about someone whose only relationship to them actually is a government issued passport? Why don’t people shed a tear for 10,000 dead in an earthquake in that foreign land? Could it really be because of a passport? Is it really just because of brainwashing and indoctrination we have all received since the day we were born?
What a pitifully painful and disgusting excuse for a human-being I was; I had allowed myself to be brainwashed and it took me 27 years to fully realize it. But I know it now, and I will remain vigilant that it never happens to me again. Sadly, these days, I meet or talk to very few of my American brothers and sisters who seem to have come to realize the extent of this brainwashing that they’ve been subjected to. Even worse, I meet or talk to even fewer who seem like they’ll ever have the smarts to understand.
“The American people need to find the truth and stop this decline of our country.”
~ Nancy Mullendore
Mike (in Tokyo) Rogers [send him mail] was born and raised in the USA and moved to Japan in 1984. He has the distinction of being fired from every FM radio station in Tokyo — one of them three times. His first book, Schizophrenic in Japan, is now on sale.