We are inclined to believe those we do not know, because they have never deceived us.
--Samuel Johnson (1709-1784)
As Plato observed, persuasion is the key to power. The topic of persuasion
often brings to mind the tactics of Madison Avenue to induce consumption
and the fears associated with Huxley's Brave New World, with its
social programmers and the state's creation of social norms of work, entertainment,
drugs and sex. On the other hand, the very possibility of social order is
dependent on some having greater influence than others.
In his Rhetoric, Aristotle distinguished three factors influencing communication:
Perhaps at least one other dimension needs to be taken into account based on lessons learned from 20th century refinements of the arts of "deprogramming," "brainwashing," and advertising: altering the minds of those to be persuaded. Check out Dick Sutphen's The Battle For Your Mind: Persuasion & Brainwashing Techniques Being Used on the Public Today.
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