Quite some time ago I came across an article written by Russian psychologist who currently lives in Russia assessing events from within the country.
The article was about correct ways of communicating with your relatives in Russia if you are living abroad. Communicating on most painful topic – Ukraine. Why correct way is required – because you tend to literally start loosing people and people literally start loosing it if by any chance you, as a Russian, disagree with current political course or even if you just have an open mind, considering different points of view.
And from my personal experience, it is absolutely justified requirement. When I visited Russia some time back, when situation didn’t even reach close to a point of sanctions, it was then when I already noticed first warning signs. I got into a fight with one of my closest relatives simply because I asked her to at least consider possibility of alternate points of view other than highlighted on all Russian news channels.
Not getting into any political details, what was for me a highlight of the article is how most Russians use the word “nazi” while referring to someone they consider destructive and evil. And image of Adolf Hitler is a subconscious trigger bringing a wave of negative emotions to us even without any direct situation reference.
That is a result of neuro-linguistic programming, which I have been long aware of due to its vast usage in media. Yet as it usually goes I was missing some obvious signs of upcoming storm in my own harbor.
You would think how is my generation even related to Adolf sir and why would we get emotional – it was life for our grandparents but it was already stories for our parents – how can we relate…We can and we do.
Every war leaves a scar across generations, especially such massive one. But not every scar comes in form of strong linguistic and visual associations…unless you force it to. Constant reminders in form of comparison in media, from leaders and movies, continuous rubbing on the scar will eventually make it pain.
Being fed for over 50 years that word nazi equals pain, Hitler equals Satan and both these words are only brought up to describe something emotionally devastating or harmful, we stopped needing any reason behind this connections and embroidered it deeply within.
The main idea of neuro-linguistic programming is that our brain can be programmed not less than any computer. And it works by same system – you give meaning to a particular code and when you enter the code, computer executes the command.
Only with brain meaning has to have strong emotional foundation or at least this foundation needs to be generated.
So, I believe you are getting to where I’m taking you by now…a strong associations with image/word can be created in us, so that whenever we hear the word/see the image, we feel the emotion which we were meant to feel by whoever created this association for us.
You tend to think that by being well-aware and alert of such facts, one can avoid being affected. Yet, my recent example proves you still can’t immediately let go of emotion that follows such programmed association.
There’s a place in Mumbai – Facing East, Chinese cuisine, which was added on my “to go” list instantly after appearing but didn’t go till date. I couldn’t help but start feeling after some time a strong negative associations with this place, though I HAVEN’T BEEN THERE yet. When finally noticed, confused how is it possible, I tried to recollect everything I have read and seen about “Facing East” recently…and guess what =>
Yes, that’s right. It’s a promotional poster of restaurant featuring Mr Adolf Hitler on it. There was my moment of insight and hope yours too. Though, unlike Jewish communities in India I was not actively protesting about poster, I was quite sure I didn’t pay much importance to it when I saw it, subconsciously my emotions linked to the image were so strong that it completely drawn away my desire to visit the place. You can say “no wonder, it’s offensive and understood” – and I would have agreed..if I would have gotten offended the moment I saw it. But I did not which means my conscious was not affected, that part of the brain which manages things and takes logical decisions was not affected. Illogical, unexplored, emotion driven, dangerous part of my brain was… And that’s quite scary isn’t it?