Wednesday, 26 December 2012

When Imagination Invades the Reality

Internet has created a parallel world around us. May be, we are physically present in this real world but our virtual ‘avatars’ in the form of different social networking accounts, live in other worlds and actively maintain our representation there. We are not alone, everyone else we know or we don’t, is present there to mimic a more realistic situation. Our imagination gives existence to a complete ‘pseudo society’ best suited to our emotional requirements and we are too lost in it to identify the reality. 

How we affirm the pseudo society exists? 
Everything is ideal under a typical internet social environment; maybe it is situation, people, character, behaviour, our expectation or the outcome. We exactly get what we want, when we share our thoughts (how  absurd or worthless  it may be), we get 100s of likes, shares and retweets, simple reason being, there exists many more worthless and workless people wasting their time over some idiot boxes elsewhere, like we do! But our mind gives us an impression that, oh! I must have posted something outstanding and that’s why people are appreciating so much. 

Appreciation is like a double edged sword, it’s manipulative, and it may be intensifying, encouraging and constructive but destructive otherwise. Earlier Royal courts use to have advisors whose main task was, praising their kings and appreciate each and every decision they undertook and keep them happy. The overdose of this fake self pride and overconfidence fuelled through such appreciation channels gave rise to the concept “King can do no wrong” and thereby, drove the entire world into state of wars just for boosting some king’s self pride and to prove his superiority.

Earlier the luxury of praising followers was only available to elite, today the existence of internet society has made it accessible and within the reach of everyone’s pocket. What you just need is to get an internet connection, open accounts on facebook, twitter etc. and start off.

Today, we can directly interact with Policy makers, government bodies, top journalists, film stars, and all other class of celebrities. We follow their ideas, appreciate them, criticise them, drool over them and even abuse sometimes, just to boost our self esteem. Compare it to the real world situations, where it is almost impossible to even get their close view unless otherwise election time or some other public event.

In a real life unwanted things and people chase us from all the directions while under the ideal internet society we can block, unfriend or customise our settings to avoid them all. In real life one may starve for a single girlfriend/boyfriend while under internet environment we can do some playboy with five chat windows simultaneously open and we skilfully handling everyone else. People might not be able to touch even a pistol in their whole lives but, can be seen carrying out air-raids and nuking Pak-Chinese territories on Defence (discussion) Forums.  We are generally ashamed to show a poor mark sheet or report card to our parents and friends in real life while posting the scanned copy of the same mark sheet online attracts comments like: “Oh 49 in English!! I have only 39 ”, “Great job buddy you have made us proud :D :D ”, “Party!!!!!!!”, “student of the year :P”, “Future of the nation” etc. 

Doesn’t this world look too perfect? It’s a hundred percent superficial thing, just another creation of our imagination and we are all just trying to use internet for the fulfilment of our suppressed wishes. This Internet life has added another dimension to our lives. This Social networking thing is exactly like a dream we are living in, with both of our conscious and subconscious minds active at the same time. It’s a live example of some kind of “Inception (movie)” thing, where we create an ideal world for us, and merge it with the ideal worlds of others and find an optimized solution for mutual coexistent. As we increase our intensities over social networking we gradually start decreasing our appearances in the real world. Our virtual acts start influencing our real life acts and the vice-versa. 

Some Marketing Gyan

Bill Gates once said “if you can’t make things better, make them attractive” and we all know the results, Windows has been a synonym for the Operating Software for last two and half decades despite minimal time bound change in overall system but a better evolved graphics and the look. Today it’s not product but the presentation which sells and that’s the reason for the existence of this multi billion dollar industry. 

Just like the immunity system of out body which after encountering some diseases/infection, identifies the agents responsible for it and starts developing countermeasures and prepares the body to resist it in case of future attacks (the science of vaccination and immunization), our minds have similar mechanism in place to learn from mistakes and avoid its repeat (one can call it a psychological immune system), one cannot be fooled several times following the same pattern. 

Our psychology has adapted to the conventional marketing warfare i.e., advertisements up to great extent. Today it’s really difficult to woo people through simple advertisements and celebrity endorsements. They are gradually losing their charm and eventually someday, will be completely out of their jobs due to changing social trends. People are becoming smarter and more aware day by day, thanks to the evolving education system, technology and increasing materialism in the society. So, the new marketing world belongs to use of complete set of new and non-conventional tactics like Public Relations and Social Media Marketing. 

PR and Social media marketing asks for a wider scope for information manipulation at the source itself as to evade the psychological audit of human brain. If the basic information we receive is itself manipulated the rationality of our mind will be at stake and will completely lose its grounds and finally surrender. 

Taking people for a ride. 

If you have watched the movie “Inception” (strongly recommended if not), you can recall the theme of the story that the Lead actor Leonardo D iCaprio (Dom Cobb in movie ) is assigned with a task to “put some idea into the mind of a billionaire boy Cillian Murphy(Robert Michael Fischer in movie)” through a process of Lucid dreaming and he successfully plants that idea in Fischer’s Mind after going into the depth of three layers of sub-consciousness, and finally when Fischer awakes he decides to act according to the implanted idea. 

The main concept of the movie was to make somebody subconsciously learn something and when he returns to consciousness he simply follows the teachings, because he can’t identify that particular idea he is following now has been learnt during a period of sub-consciousness. Believe it or not, the same is possible in the present Pseudo internet social world. Even the most brilliant and smart people can be persuaded to follow some ideology or the other through a slow but steady manipulation process and knowingly or unknowingly people are doing so and are changing our perceptions in day to day life.  

Body Metabolism at night:

As most of the social networking and active internet surfing activities starts from evening and lasts late night it is essential to understand our biological metabolism of body during night times. 
Nights are naturally meant for relaxing physically and mentally 
Nights are to reproduce, yes it is (Several species both plants and animals mate and reproduce only during night times)
The subconscious part of brain is more active
Reduction of awareness of environment and situation
Loss of sleep causes reduction of decision making power, poor memory, reduced alertness, poor judgment, shortened attention span and increased likelihood of mentally ‘stalling’ or fixation of one thought. 

“A long period of sleeplessness (24 hr. or more) can even lead to a poor eye to hand coordination and a situation similar to having a blood alcohol content of 0.1”

Therefore night is an ideal time to convey something to someone with maximum probability of success. Nights behave like alcohol, the more you stay awake more the mood raises, and it is not for nothing that we enjoy melody music during night times so much or feel more romantic during this period. Our senses are at lowest levels, decision making power weak, and emotion levels extraordinarily high and most importantly we are ready for a “subconscious learning”. Therefore at this juncture our brain is most venerable towards a psychological attack.  

So, perfect time to hit the virtual social community is night time which comes at a heavy price. The price you pay is spoiling your health completely in the quest to make a midnight rant.


Layering: As we have to hit unanimously and without getting into the knowledge of our target, things have to be hidden deep inside layers of texts, images and multimedia. Changing perception is not an easy task; human mind is generally determined to its self made ideologies and will fight hard if its belief system is targeted. So, things should be properly hidden before taking it into the targets’ brain.
E.g. If there is some communal person, he will be target- specific when he expresses himself.

If we start a paragraph with the line “Communalism is the greatest challenge for our country and secularism is the only solution for different sections of our society to peacefully coexist and prosper”, 
This would be a direct attack over the belief system of the communal person and his mind will be in a combat ready mode for defying the reasoning and purpose of the article to avoid manipulation, he may go violent or abusive while responding to such author. 

While, if we start as “The Bhagavad Gita chapter xyz… and Shloka xyz… or Quran-e- Sharif page no. xyz. And line no... xyz… gives an insight of the teaching of the God, who declares the purpose of life to serve the cause of mankind and to lower the sufferings of people, consider everyone in the world alike as all are the creations of a common father i.e., God” 

The author will subconsciously get access to the target’s mind as he has not hurtled the belief system of the person and his mind is under a state of either acceptance or a confusion i.e., where his ideas are conflicting and can neither accept nor deny. But in latter case his senses will get on high alert and try to interpret the biasness out of further reading, as long as he don’t find one, he will keep on subconsciously learning but as he gets one, his mind will unlearn everything he has read. 


Things like caste or religion are not factors everywhere. The Political and Commercial beliefs can be easily inserted in target’s mind through the use of fun specially Cartoons, jokes and satire writing etc. Loving Fun is a 2nd most common emotional factor among all human beings (first being sex) so, wrapping the biased information in the foil of fun is best way to take it inside the target’s mind. You can’t avoid laughing even on jokes which are directly meant upon you, it’s not your fault but it’s a natural process and you can’t do much in this regard. 

So, undermining cartoonists may prove greatest blunder for some political party or an individual. Cartoons carry terabytes of sugar-coated biased information, which the reader irrespective of his orientation can’t avoid to gasp. A continuous bombardment of jokes, cartoons, and satire write-ups can do both, Glow or blow a person’s image thoroughly. 

The social media is an ideal place for idea-breeding, even a simple attempt starts a chain reaction e.g., the concept of Hash tag (#) trends on twitter, continuous political cartooning on facebook pages with thousands of sharing. Top 10 Google searches, top 10 news trends etc. are some other examples to count. 

Somebody just starts a single small trend with couple of retweets and the whole ‘junta’ follows back. The belief system gets a complete setback, in case of funny trends. Several times, I have noticed that both the hardcore political party supporters are promoting trends which have negative bearings for their respective cadres but the subconscious madness overcomes both, the rationality and the reality. 


Rumours have great impact upon us, if we come to know about some rumour which matches our belief systems, before the public authentication we make our judgements to trust them, e.g., the recent incident in Bangalore, where the North-Eastern people were rumoured to leave the city, the wavelengths of ‘fear’ in the minds of north-eastern people due to Assam violence, matched with the wavelength of ‘rumours’ and therefore the chaos! 

Other emotions and faiths like sympathy, Patriotism, fear, Love, Hate, trust, perceptions etc. can be easily directionally leveraged to alter the thoughts of the people and is capable enough for changing the complete and overall public opinion. 

Social trends 
Public behaviour move in trends and follow patterns, similar facts were established to make money from the stock markets through pattern studies known as “Technical Analysis” where the traders and researchers tried to interpret the present and future market behaviour through price chart studies (demand and supply factors get influenced by overall public perception and alikeness in thinking of majority of traders/investors create price to follow patterns) and several successful pattern readers made millions and billions of dollars. The same is true for the social human behaviour. 

Majority of people think alike and their views and opinions also change together. Reason may be the existence of common factors for setting up the ground or sharing and exchange of ideas and beliefs through talks, discussions etc. We can feel this thing especially during Elections times; there are generally strong incumbency or anti-incumbency waves and quite predictable public opinion. News channels use statistical methods like random sampling and surveys etc. to predict the results through Exit Polls, which most of the time (unless not created artificially to affect public opinion) proves to be correct and in consistence with the election outcomes.  

Role of social media: 

If we review the success and failure story of Anna Hazare or the Kejriwal Movement, we’ll have to acknowledge the power of social media. It was a classical example of manipulation of public psychology by hitting hard the ‘patriotism’ factor. The movement was escalated up to a great height and then had a freefall. The Government was presented as some villain and a prime factor responsible for all the tragedies. Social media marketing was the primary weapon. Some initial trends and waves were created, supporting the movement and then the ‘junta followed’. The movement went viral through the internet media channels. Electronic and print media earlier supported for TRP and afterwards out of allegations of paid news (allegations might be correct or fake). The Lokpal was presented as an institution with mighty supernatural powers, who would heal all the problems and sufferings of the people, if brought into existence. 

This movement failed (because organisers lost unity, credibility and failed to keep the trend alive, for whatever reasons) but was powerful enough to create strong anti-incumbency waves throughout the country. This venerability was then identified and capitalised by some forces (this time a financially sound and professionally managed  one) which didn’t allowed the fire to completely extinguish, added more fuel and tried to change its direction. They tried to fill the vacuum created by the movement with a better and powerful political alternative and are trying hard to project someone as the only hope and future for this country. Again the interests of the people are not on the agenda but the TRP's of news channels and social media ratings are a definite cause for concern for these so called redeemers of politics.

The subconscious learning on internet and all other virtual and imaginative acts may be of any kind or nature but influences our day to day lives. It is upon us, how we use it, for a constructive purpose or in a destructive way. Whatever may be the environment or whosoever the agent of change, we need to learn tactics and ways to defend our true opinions and rationality from adulterations and manipulations, for the best of ourselves and the country as a whole.

The virtual world is at the end of the day a social medium nothing more, nothing less. We must not allow this world of the imaginary to invade our reality because it has the potential to wreck lives after a while. 


@918abhi on Twitter

The Author is an Economics graduate, a Reader/Writer on Economic, Political, Social, strategic, international and other contemporary issues. 


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