Sunday, June 20, 2004

Please do not ignore the people behind the curtains...

My job is to know things. Lots of things. There are a lot of groups that are completely off the radar of the average American, but which play important roles in public policy.

Think tanks date back to WWII and were the military-based descendants of the 'brain trusts' used by Presidents to advise on policy matters. Most folks have heard of The RAND corporation, which started life in 1948 as a corporation with a 3 million dollar a year budget, but there are many more think tanks today and they have a rich history which anyone, who wants to peek behind the curtain of the world's power brokers, should start to become aware.

In 1951 The Army created the Human Resources Research Office (HUMRRO). They were involved in psychological warfare. In those days they called it "psychotechnology" and it covered issues of troop morale, motivation and psychological warfare. They became a private, nonprofit corporation back in 1969 and are based out of Alexandria, Virginia. HUMRRO still exists today (awful acronym and all), some 53 years later, and judging by their website you'd never guess they were one of the nation's premiere military research groups, filled to the brim and overflowing with psychologists. They have had some fascinating projects over the decades. From studying what causes a soldier to go AWOL or studying the use of music to influence the mind in communist propaganda (amusingly named project TREBLE), HUMRRO has had a long run and was largely responsible for implementing many different training methods and military practices of which many are still in use now.

People are sheep. This is not intended as an insult, but rather is an astute assessment of the predictable, and pliable human mind. In the 1940's they already discovered that a red and yellow color contrast attracts the human eye faster than any other dual color wave length combination. Corporations which marketed to consumers bought this knowledge and early on applied it to signs and billboards. How many fast food signs and logos still use this human trait to attract customers?

A good number learned this human attribute and use it liberally. They expect you to follow blindly and go with the flow of the masses.

The next time you see a red and yellow sign, which you are almost guaranteed to do before the day is over, please do me a favor and remember this blog entry. You will now be aware of the some of these things which go on behind the curtains and which are used to control your mind and decision making process.

How many companies like HUMRRO are in the business of "human quality control" or "human engineering?" More than anyone really knows. In fact, as I write this, new and old think tanks are writing the President advisory memos, postulating the US responses to a Shiite theocracy takeover in Iraq, counting the casualties of an atomic strike on North Korea and inventing new weapons and technologies the like of which you can't even begin to comprehend. One study is currently working on quantum thought identification, another how humanity would survive an output increase of radiation from the sun. The work behind the curtain is occurring at a frenzied pace and has for over half a century. While some of it is detrimental to society, other efforts have saved countless lives and made for a better world.

On this blog - I will try to throw up the curtain from time to time so you can get a better perspective of the world in which you live. Ignoring the folks behind the curtain may lead you to the shearer.

1 comment:

  1. Anonymous4:56 AM

    Good column and nice blog. Hope you get more traffic and posts.


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