Persuasion, one of man’s most powerful tools. Persuasion can be easily related with cyber-security or as it is better known, social engineering. In CyberPatriot and many other groups, careers, etc that deal with information technology have education programs about social engineering, where an attacker will attempt to exploit your weaknesses, lie, and coerce you into providing him/her with the information they require. Huxley was on point with his understanding in this skills malicious capabilities. That isn’t to say that you should ignore the advice of all as an attempt to avoid being persuaded into doing something wrong, but you should think logically before making an action.
Huxley writes about the pedantic advertisers that aim to appeal to specific human emotions as a way to increase sales. This had me seriously wondering at just how powerful are these advertisers? A great majority of people easily fall into the traps of these ads and purchase their products, not for what they do, but for what they hope it will do. I feel as if the repeated and continuing historical tragedies, such as genocide and dictatorships will persist if ignorance continues to flourish within the people. We cannot learn from our past mistakes if this mode of thinking remains implanted within every human. However, these ignorant people are necessary for certain corporations to thrive, for unjust power to be asserted, for the development of a hierarchical system, etc.
I don’t know exactly why, but I felt the desire to research pepsodent toothpaste once Huxley mentioned it and irium, which was something I have never heard of. I soon discovered irium was not a real chemical, but instead another name for sodium lauryl phosphate, an ionic surfactant. They purposely changed the name to fool consumer and even abbreviated other chemicals to make it appear more friendly. British kids adopted the slogan “You will wonder where the yellow went when you brush with pepsodent.” and morphed it into “You will wonder where your teeth have gone when you brush with an atom bomb.” I thought this was pretty interesting.
I agree with many of Huxley’s points, however he provides no evidence showing just how much more gullible children are then adults. Although it may seem like common knowledge, we need statistics to show the effects of advertisements on children. Huxley may be suffering from a case of juvenoia, where his generation is smarter than the one before it and wiser than the one after it.
Taking a step back to analyze the ads of today (which I rarely see due to getting most of my media on the internet and having an ad blocker) I see many ads aiming at the weaknesses of people, some even stressing out people about certain conditions which their products is designed to treat or improve. However, there are a large variety of ads and while some are blatant attempts at manipulation many are geared to pique the interest of consumers. Most companies of today would likely not put most of their strength into obtaining an audience, but on keeping the people they have locked-in through contracts and whatnot. This would also ensure growth of customers as current users would be utilized as business assets to attract more users, making their product necessary to communicate with users locked in agreements with the company.
Chapter eight of Huxley’s Big New World Revisited seemed a little peculiar to me. The idea that the government would utilize drugs to subdue the masses seems plausible and there are documents of drugs being tested for manipulation in people. However, the brain is a very complex organ and we still have very little understanding in how it operated on a day-to-day basis. Heck, we still don’t understand how anesthesia entirely works, we just know it does. Now that I think about it, it may not be all too difficult for a powerful entity such as a corrupt government to lace food with drugs that may have desired effects on people. The drugs, scopolamine, which Huxley briefly mentions has accumulated a significant deal of notoriety in Columbia where criminal organizations are known to carry it in powder form and blow it into the faces of people. It is a very potent drug and easily subdues a person. It is known for its hypnotic effects on the human brain, however it can easily be misused with a slightly larger does being able to wreak havoc on the human nervous system and cause death. There is a form of scopolamine, which is less concentrated, that is used for medicine but adverse is put in class C where adverse effects may occur.