By George A. Boyd ©2023
Q: I’ve noticed that there are political leaders who repeat misinformation to make people believe untruths. How does this work? How does repetition of a lie make people believe it?
A: Repetition is a regular activity of the mind. We find several examples of repetition in your subjective life and the society around you:
In Subjective Life
- Repetition of behavior develops habits.
- Repetition of behavior with an aim to enact moral standards builds character.
- Repetition of exposure to information with the intention to remember it promotes rote learning.
- Repetition of misinformation underpins propaganda and conspiracy theories.
- Repetition of suggestion to counter negative beliefs in the unconscious mind operates in affirmation.
- Repetition of a question to the unconscious mind with acknowledgement of the response is an integral part of process meditation.
- Repetition of a mantra to focus the attention on an object of meditation or to generate transformation of a spiritual essence plays a key role in many schools of meditation
- Repetition of meditation as a daily practice (sadhana) leads to steady spiritual progress.
- Repetition of melodic phrases and lyrics can be found in music.
- Repetition of holidays in the calendar is shared by secular and religious organizations to give some days off for the employee
- Repetition of a regular schedule in transportation creates order for the daily commute.
- Repetition of a weekly work schedule brings stability to businesses and allows employees to plan their lives around their career.
- Repetition of payment on specific days enables employees to organize their finances and governments to manage their income and expenditures to remain within their budgets.
We note that repetition of (4) misinformation appears to be the corruption of (3) rote learning. In misinformation, there is an intention to deceive those receiving the communication. Misinformation can be found in perverted religious doctrine, propaganda, conspiracy theories, and lying commercial and political messages.
Misinformation spreads its distorted ideas in different ways:
- Intentional lies and exaggeration of the truth
- Outright denial of the truth
- Blaming others and not taking responsibility for speech and behavior
- Citing spurious sources of evidence to support lies
- Distracting inquiry into the truth through changing the subject
- Rationalizing unethical and criminal behavior
- Hiding sinful or illegal behavior and keeping secrets from others
Aspirants and disciples can begin to weed out these mistruths that have been disseminated to them from media, clergy, and political figures through using the Truth Process to uncover their Soul’s innate sense of truth and integrity, which we call Dharma. [We teach the Truth Process in our intermediate meditation classes, the in-person Mudrashram® Master Course in Meditation and the by-mail and online Accelerated Meditation Program. We also train you in the skills of repetition types five through seven in these classes.]
It will also be beneficial to contemplate the virtue of truthfulness, and how to implement it in your own life. You may ask questions like to explore this more deeply:
- What do I know is genuinely true?
- How am I lying and otherwise covering up the truth in my own life?
- What do I need to change to be more truthful?
- What are the consequences of lying to and deceiving others?
- What are the consequences of being truthful and honest with others?
- How does being truthful impact my relationships with others?
It is important that you gain discernment and learn to recognize attempts to disseminate lies and misinformation. In business, politics, and religion, there are many attempts to lie to you to make you believe untruths and do what the propagator of these messages wants you to do. As you gain discernment, you will be less susceptible to misinformation persuading and misleading you.