Please enjoy – to the extent you can – my Foreword to ‘The Indoctrinated Brain’, by Dr Michael Nehls. The book, which explains the neuroscience of propaganda, will chill your soul, but may explain a great deal.
‘The fact that the brain is plastic—modifiable—has become much better understood by the public in the past few decades.
General readers understand by now that the human brain can be altered; and that experiences can modify its reactions and processes. We understand now for example that PTSD leaves lasting changes in brain functioning. It’s been established that motherhood changes the brain and that bonding itself is a chemical process modified by the brain.
We also understand, as general readers, that propaganda is real. Some of us have studied propaganda in the past. We have a working knowledge of Joseph Goebbels, and of the artistry and craft that underlay his manufacturing of National Socialist consent. The work of Edward Bernays, one of the earliest practitioners of what became the field of public relations, has been widely read in English. Decades-old bestsellers such as Subliminal Seduction by Wilson Bryan Key exposed the fact that advertisers use every tool at their disposal to alter our reactions to their products—down to the level of the subconscious mind.
Modern general audiences also understand that governments use “messaging”—and often, heavy-handed propaganda—to lead us to take actions that can be against our interests or our better conscious judgments; to create prejudices and divisions that may not otherwise exist; to heighten fears and to trigger a sense of vulnerability in us, so that we can be better manipulated and guided to goals that are not our own.
But Dr. Michael Nehls’s thesis in this book is revolutionary because it brings together all of these fields of inquiry and proposes a set of questions so radical that they make the mysteries of the past three years fall into place. This is the indispensable book. In The Indoctrinated Brain, Dr. Nehls brings these areas of study together in a way that has never been done before. By applying neuroscience to the otherwise bizarre
events of the recent past, he explains what has happened to humanity.
Many of us have noted that our loved ones and colleagues have changed. Post- mRNA injection rollout, we notice that people who were highly educated critical thinkers, have become unable to think outside of two simple binaries. We watch in astonishment as formerly sophisticated loved ones and friends regurgitate talking points with no self-awareness. We wonder why there is a sense of something inchoately missing when we sit with a vaccinated or COVID-fearful friend. We cannot fathom what has caused this sea change.
Dr. Nehls’s hypothesis can explain it. “The Indoctrinated Brain introduces a largely unknown, powerful neurobiological mechanism whose externally induced dysfunction underlies these catastrophic developments,” as the publisher notes.
Dr. Nehls argues that the spike protein, along with other COVID measures, represents an intentional attack on the human hippocampus—where autobiographical memory and individuality itself originate—and that “fear porn” keeps us from holding on to the autobiographical memories that encompass our former selves. As a result, humans have become deindividualized, more suggestible, more forgetful, more compliant, and less able to engage in critical thinking and creative reasoning. This argument utterly accords with what many of us are seeing, to our horror, every day. Dr. Nehls’s The Indoctrinated Brain is an indispensable book because it applies neuroscience to politics and especially to the politics of fascism. The need for that has existed for as long as modern fascism has existed.
Neuroscience should be applied to politics and to social change, but it is rare indeed when those fields of analysis meet. By bringing these fields of knowledge together and mapping neurological science against propaganda, and vice versa, Dr. Nehls brings vast new insights to the reader that would not have been attainable previously.
Brain, you will think: Of course. Of course, the propaganda of the past few years must have been predicated upon intensive study of the brain and its reactions. Of course, the hundreds of millions of dollars that were recently spent and are currently being spent by the US and other governments on behavioral science and behavior modification would result in insights that would be applied by the US and other governments to making populations more tractable, less able to reason, less creative and more compliant. Why else would they so heavily have invested in such studies? Of course, the constant messaging, especially about fear, over the past three years, would have an effect that is not just about public health or perhaps not at all about public health—but that it is rather about making humans in free societies more tractable—with public health as the excuse, the proxy, for this deployment of life-altering and consciousness-altering fear. It is not the fear porn about the specific scary thing that matters, Dr. Nehls persuasively argues here: the fear itself is deliverable. The fear itself changes and indeed damages the brain.
I’ve long been interested in the psychiatric effects and, as I guessed, intentionalities behind “lockdowns” and “pandemic” messaging. But I did not have the neuroscientific background to understand exactly what was being done to people via “lockdowns” and the “fear porn” of the pandemic years related to the virus—to other human beings.
Through my study of the psychiatric effects of torture and isolation, that I took on for a book about closing democracies, I realized that isolation causes profound and sometimes permanent changes in the brain. I knew intuitively in the post-9/11, “Global War on Terror” years, that constant fear would wear down faculties needed for critical thinking. And I applied those insights to the isolation and fear messaging of 2020–22. But I did not have the complete picture.
This book provides it. It is the “aha” hypothetical for our time.