By Will Rhame, Literacy & Education Author and Expert Out Loud
We are all addicted to emotions, and the best way I know how to explain this phenomenon is to start with the understanding of the contribution of Sigmund Freud’s nephew Edward Bernays. Bernays is considered the “Father of Public Relations.” He took Sigmund Freud’s theories regarding human emotional states and used this discovery to create Public Relations. Sigmund argued that the human mind is more complex when making decisions and that we appeal more to emotional triggers than simple facts. This discovery allowed Bernays to exploit both politics and big businesses when selling an idea, product or service. If we watch virtually any television advertisement, it is easy to see the emotional triggers throughout the advertisement used to get the masses to purchase that product or service. It has become the fundamental basis by which politicians and big businesses control the buying or voting habits of the masses. It has turned out to be a deadly influence on the American public, and is the foundation for the current economic and political structure.
If we look at the rudimentary human emotional state, it is also easy to see the different emotional feelings we as a species are addicted to. Some people are more addicted to certain emotions than others; such as, hate, prejudice, sex, love, depression, anxiety, stress, and so on. Our minds are very complex and formation of emotional feelings start at birth. The concept is easily understood, but can be incredibly difficult to change after the addition has taken hold.
How do we control or stop certain emotional addictions? The first step is awareness. Understanding emotional habits, where they originate and what they cause us to do is the start of being able to become aware of our personal emotions as they are triggered. The second step is the willingness to try and change. This essential component may also be the hardest to control. Simple examples are monks that spend their life-time meditating to find enlightenment. Controlling emotional habits takes a great deal more of understanding and work, than just the what, where, and why. And Bernays knew that, and used it to control the America public.
All of us have the ability to change. We can stop purchasing things that harm us and our environment. We can vote on people and things based on logic. We can internally stop prejudice, and hate. But, it takes education and the willingness to change for the better. People typically are afraid of change, even though change is inevitable. We become stuck in an emotional pattern that affects every part of our lives.
Emotional addictions are duplicitous because they are so easily accepted by the individual and provide false feedback. To regulate personal emotional addictions takes courage, self-control and dedication, which proposes a question: Which is easier, to change or not to change? Are we lazy or are we driven?
Since there is no easy method to change personal emotional addictions, there is an easy way to control the emotionally triggered campaigns of big businesses. If the products or services are harmful, then don’t buy it! That is where the real power of the people exists. Emotional purchasing can be controlled, and we can all benefit from it.
Will D. Rhame
Author and Founder
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