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How to Break the Human Spirit in 10 Easy Steps (and Who Would Want to do That)

Updated: Dec 21, 2022




Joost Meerloo was a psychiatrist and a member of the Dutch resistance during World War II. He was captured and tortured by the Nazi’s but released. He spent his years after the war helping survivor’s and documenting the experiences of those held in concentration camps and POW’s during WWII and the Korean War as well as those living under Stalin’s communist Soviet Union. He was interested in the systematic process of thought control, menticide, and brainwashing. These ten steps are based on his work as found in his book The Rape of the Mind.


Before exploring the ten steps it is important to hold an image of who would want to break the human spirit. Societal structures cycle just as our personal patterns and themes do. We like to talk about learning from history, but the evidence shows that we haven’t up to this point in time. Maybe that can change.


There are people – personality types and qualities – to consider and then there are the societal systems.

1. People

Think of narcissists, megalomaniacs, pedophiles, predators, sociopaths, and psychopaths.


2. Systems

Think of totalitarian and authoritarian regimes, dictatorships, communism, socialism, fascism, and a stratocracy (military ran governments).


Now you know who let’s explore how totalitarian and authoritarian regimes break the human spirit.


Step #1 - Create a Sense of Chaos and Confusion


The human mind likes certainty and security. Chaos and confusion create uncertainty and insecurity. It is essential to make it difficult for people to distinguish truth from lies. It most definitely helps to call good bad and make bad good.



Step #2 - Shift the Goalposts


To build on the chaos and confusion it is vital to create orchestrated mental shocks. The more the people don’t know what will happen next the more confusing and chaotic life becomes the weaker their spirit. The human mind needs stability to feel safe.



"The rape of the mind and stealthy mental coercion are among the oldest crimes of mankind." – Joost Meerloo

Step #3 - Be Illogical


Illogical explanations or rules that change from one idea to its opposite create more confusion and chaos. The more trapped in trying to make sense of things the more easily the individual can be broken because there is no logic to illogical actions. This approach creates psychological shock. The human needs for honesty and order are sent into the spiral of chaos and confusion that traps us into the lair of an authoritarian leader.



Step #4 - Create Fear and Blame


Not only does the fear need to be uncontrollable in the eyes of the people it must be invisible. We cannot know when the object we are fearing will get us. This adds to the perceived chaos and confusion. Then it becomes crucial to blame specific groups of people be that children, the unvaccinated, people of specific race, colour, or religion, as the cause of the problem. There must always be a face to the crisis to channel people’s rage towards. The human need for safety and to be safe is used against them.



Step #5 - Isolate People


The concept of ‘strength in numbers’ must be destroyed. When people gather, meet, socialise, and share ideas and opinions they can gain strength and resilience from each other. The goal of the authoritarian leader is to separate and isolate people from each other. The more alone we are the more vulnerable and insecure we feel. The human need for connection sustains our spirit.



Step #6 - Paralyse Opposition


It is of paramount importance that the authoritarian regime declares what their truth is and then demand that they are the only source of truth. By default, everything else is false and any opposition to their truth is an attack on science, on truth, and on the very foundations of society. The human need to be right, to be seen as right, fails us as we want to be aligned with the dominant ideas of the time.



Step #7 - Engage the Mass Media to Spread the Narrative


Meerloo says, ‘He who masters the press and radio is master of the mind.’ The fastest way to convert people to the desired narrative is to use the mass media and social media influencers to spread the word. Propaganda is sold using basic advertising methods – keep the message simple and repeatable, make it catchy if you can. Ready-made opinions can be distributed day by day. This is the simple formula for political conditioning of the masses. The human need to be perfect makes us susceptible to this print, visual, audial, and social media manipulation.



Step #8 - Define Conformity


The goal at this stage of the process is to set the parameters of what is acceptable, who is acceptable, and what you must do to be acceptable. Then using all the steps above people willingly conform to the definition of acceptability. The human need to belong is in our top five most important needs. To not belong to our tribe threatens our survival.



Step #9 - Create Fear of the Human Reality


The human reality isn’t easy. No one seems to have all the answers, but we keep looking for and hoping someone will. Throw in some threat, chaos, and confusion and people will seek anyone who sounds like they know best. In those moments we fear change, we fear risk, we fear freedom, and we fear death. As a result, when an authority figure says, ‘Let me take care of you,’ people jump at the opportunity. The human need to be loved and nurtured through the human reality is now found in the arms the maleficent leader.



Step #10 - Provide Access to Addictive Substances


Whether is it to weaken the human resolve or support escapism no systematic plan to break the human spirit can be complete without providing easy access to addictive substances. Chemical dependency on legal or illegal drugs and alcohol weakens our stamina and make us submissive to suggestion, and compliant to authority. Fear and uncertainty create a need to escape. Democracy and freedom end where dependency and submission to drugs and alcohol begin. When the human need to be whole and complete cannot be achieved through family, community, work, or religion people tend to substitute legal and illegal drugs or food to fill the gap.



Human Nature seeks to thrive...


The totalitarian regime will cycle through these ten steps until it implodes in on itself. There comes a time in every country where the controls become too extreme and the irrational justifications simply unacceptable. If we can learn anything from history maybe it is to recognise the signs earlier and decide that things are unacceptable before they get to the point of destruction for much of our society.



Authorised by H. Leine 8/220 Colins street Melbourne 3000

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1 comentario


Craig Sharman
Craig Sharman
21 dic 2022

Sadly true on all 10 points. To quote German philosopher Georg Hegel, history was a rational process of development and that it could be understood and made intelligible for anyone willing to look at it rationally, which means looking at history holistically and as in a purposeful manner the world could learn from it. Sadly it's an esoteric process learned by the few. He also said, the only thing we learn from history is we learn nothing from history.

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