Never underestimate the power of social influence – positive and negative peer pressure, controlling someone’s mind, instilling fear and obedience into a person and even brainwashing. These are all techniques that ISIS uses to not only recruit its members but to “encourage” them to stay and actively participate in ways unrecognizable to people who intimately know them. This is where the terror begins.
The extremism of ISIS can be seen daily in newspapers, online, in magazines, on blogs and social media. As a world, we have responded to this terrorism crisis by actively talking about it, engaging with each other, hoping there’s some way to put an end to it. Yet, ISIS not only brutally murders with weapons, it murders people’s lives by stealing people’s true realities. ISIS leaders literally create a new reality for recruited members, one of obedience to the group in the name of entire world dominance and to annihilate the infidels.
But, how? Any logical person would be able to see what a potential ISIS recruiter is doing, right? After all, killing is wrong. Well, not necessarily. ISIS recruiters are masters at mind control, “a process that involves a set of basic social psychological principles,” according to the American Psychological Association. Mind control consists of numerous steps including isolating people, interrupting their information flow, doing information overload, throwing off their balance or creating mystical experiences to control someone’s behavior, information, thoughts and emotions. Perhaps even more terrifying is the illusion that you have control over your life.
The trap of mind control is real, although outsiders tend to blame the victim, attaching descriptions like “weak” or “defective,” especially with readily available videos of people being lined up and brutally executed by ISIS members. Social psychology teaches that we are very social beings who want to conform to whatever we perceive our social group to be. The key word here is “perceive;” remember how mind control changes people’s perceptions of reality? I’ll admit, though, it’s almost impossible to see ISIS murderers as the victims.
We also have to realize that there is a huge difference between those who are born into ISIS and those who are recruited and join. For the ones born into ISIS, it’s the only life they know, but for those coming into ISIS, they are leaving a previous life behind and must be “retaught” what defines their current reality.
Let the mind games begin!