Suggestion and Its Impression upon our Beliefs
Each time a suggestion is repeated, the impression record on the subconscious mind is made deeper. Repeated suggestion tends to break down the instinctive powers of resistance in a person, unless the person realizes that it is a suggestion and actively resists the impression. There is once a politician of national renown who said “Proof? We don’t need proof! Tell the public a thing solemnly, and authoritatively, and repeat it sufficiently often, and you will never need to prove anything!”
Let some person posing as an authority, or occupying a position of command, calmly state a fallacy, without any “ifs” or “buts,” and many otherwise careful people will accept the suggestion without question unless they analyze it by the light of reason. The confidence man imposes himself upon the public with an air of authority or what is know as “putting up a good front.” Some men are all “front,” and have nothing behind their authoritative air, but that authoritative air provides them with a living.
Whenever you are about to utter something astonishingly false, being with “It is an acknowledged fact”, or “I assert without fear of contradiction”, or “It is generally recognized by the best authorities”, or “The best sources of information agree.” Often there is this variation “As you probably know.” But in many cases, there is not even this kind of preface as the statement is made with a “Thus saith the Lord” manner and is accepted because of the tone and manner accompanying it.
We hold certain fixed ideas not because of any special truth or merit in them, but simply because we once accepted some suggestion about it and have adopted it as our own, and now “swear by it” as if we had thought it out carefully and intelligently, when it isn’t so. In fact the ideas that we fight the hardest for are very likely those that we have accepted by suggestion rather than by having thought it out carefully. That is why we should always reason out every idea that we believe in so that it is really ours.
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