Did you ever thought that the school can be used to brainwash children’s minds? That the Government provided an educational system just  to manipulate people in the way that will be beneficial for rulers?  I personally still think about it! Just think about it, all your childhood you heard so much about Democracy, Liberty, Freedom of Speech etc. Endless history classes made you believe that all of those things are good and that the things you should like and support. But isn’t it brainwashing?

When I was in High School we learned so much about Slavery and how African people fought for their freedom, how white people are bad and offensive. We focused on these so much that I don’t even remember other topics that we were studying. I believe that school goal was to change our minds,  make us believe in what the teacher or the Government thinks is correct and right. However, everybody have a freedom of speech and all students have a right to express their own opinion to other students and a teacher( that is a way to void brainwashing).

In the article : “At Columbia, the Classics’ Olympian Reign Is Challenged” author Mervyn Rothstein mentions a well known Greek  philosopher-  Plato and his work “Republic” to argue either Plato used brainwashing in his texts. “Plato,” he told students, “believed that justice and model behavior could be taught, that you could change human nature through education. But the Platonic attitude also dominates in totalitarian systems. Lenin found in the Platonic way that through education you could shape the way people think. The Nazis did the same thing. It was brainwashing.” He paused. “This course is constantly being attacked as a brainwashing course,” he said. “A brainwashing course for American democracy. Do you think this course is brainwashing?” So the question here  is how “republic” is brainwashing but a republic here now it is our country – USA.
Plato in his first book discussed a theme of justice. Character named Thrasymachus argues that justice is a interest of the stronger.Thrasymachus here trying to say that the person who controls society define what justice is, and they will inevitably define it to further their own interests. Justice is just a social construct that society brainwashes its members into believing.

And then Plato starting to argue with him to prove that he is not correct: “Now, I said, you are on more substantial and almost unanswerable ground; for if the injustice which you were maintaining to be profitable had been admitted by you as by others to be vice and deformity, an answer might have been given to you on received principles; but now I perceive that you will call injustice honourable and strong, and to the unjust you will attribute all the qualities which were attributed by us before to the just, seeing that you do not hesitate to rank injustice with wisdom and virtue. “

Thus. in both texts: article by Mervyn Rothstein and Plato’s “Republic”, we can see that Plato want the audience to believe in what he believes. He is giving a sort of  definition of  justice that in his opinion is a correct one. But in addition, I will say that you will be brainwashed if you will allow people to do so.

Rothstein, Mervyn. “At Columbia, the Classics’ Olympian Reign Is Challenged.” New York Times, 10 Oct. 1992. New York State Newspapers,  Accessed 18 Sept. 2017.


-Yuliya Kmit

2 thoughts on “Brainwashing

  1. I would’ve never made the connection between Plato’s principles and the leadership qualities within totalitarian systems- that being said, its really interesting to see how impacting human nature through education can be used in such a way to take advantage of or influence the way one thinks. 🙂 Nice blog post!!!


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