The applications for such a device, referred to as “the sound of silence,” for education are evident. One could conceivably download to one’s brain information that otherwise would have to be delivered via a classroom lecture or by reading a textbook.
However, far more ominous applications come to mind, especially if the process bypasses the usual critical filters many of us use to judge the credibility of information being imparted.
An ad agency might use such technology to convince people that Rot Gut Beer is ambrosia that will taste great, is less filling, and make you attractive to potential mates. A political campaign might be able to convince voters that their hack candidate is the second coming of Abraham Lincoln. A government could induce support for policies that people might otherwise look askance at.
CIA and Mind Control
The United States government has shown interest in mind control. The CIA used various chemical inducements, including LSD, under the MKUltra program (2), in an ostensible effort to break down resistance to interrogation.
The CIA was also interested in programming assassins, a concept popularized in the book and film “The Manchurian Candidate” (3). But has the government used electromagnetic means to try to change moods and control minds?
A site called Silence Opens Doors (4), citing an ITV report, claims that an American military psy-ops unit used something like the Lowery device to broadcast negative emotions from a facility in Riyad, Saudi Arabia, during the first Gulf War. The War is Crime site (5) noted that, at the same time, thousands of Iraqi troops surrendered en masse to coalition forces as they advanced into Kuwait and Iraq. Was there a connection?
At the time, analysts wondered why troops, battle hardened by ten years of war with Iran, would be so quick to surrender. At the time, the conclusion was that far from being battle hardened, the Iraqi Army was battle weary. Rather than face the full fury of modern combat, they took the better part of valor.
One argument against the United States military having such a morale-busting device is that it doesn’t seem to have been used since. Such technology would certainly be useful against such groups as the Taliban, Al Qaeda, and ISIS, motivated by a religious zeal to fight and die for Allah.
That doesn’t mean that various parts of the government have not done research into mind control. A site called Artificial Telepathy (6) lists a number of attempts to master mind control, both by electromagnetic and chemical means. These experiments date back to Nazi Germany and Imperial Japan and then were taken up by the United States military and the CIA. The Soviets also indulged in such research.
Some of the projects, such as the use of implants by a scientist named Jose Delgado (7), were justified as a means to treat mental illness.
Sometimes such experiments can go horribly wrong. A post on the Above Top Secret blog (8) alleges that the United States Army conducted a test that subjected a group of soldiers in an enclosed barracks to sound waves of various frequencies. According to the account, on day 34 of the experiment, the experimental test subjects went berserk, attacking each other with an unprecedented ferocity with anything at hand that could be used as a weapon. It took a force of 50 armed men to subdue the survivors.
The story should be taken with a grain of salt, as an extensive Google search did not independently confirm that such an experiment took place, though considering what is known about mind control research, it does seem to be at least plausible.
The idea of a mind control experiment going so wrong was the basis of a science fiction film entitled “Serenity” (9), in which an entire planet was subjected to such an experiment with the result that most of the population became so passive that they died in place, with the exception of a small percentage who became uncontrollably violent. Thus, the dangers of such research were illustrated in no uncertain terms.
References & Image Credits:
(2) Wikipedia: MKUltra
(4) Silence Opens Doors
(5) War Is Crime
(6) Artificial Telepathy
(7) TSW: The Brain Control Experiments of Jose Delgado and His Stimoceiver
(8) Above Top Secret