February 3, 2021-
Stories are surfacing, of people wanting to “deprogram” others. The whole premise seems to be to bring the other people to their senses; in other words, to get them to drop what are seen as fanciful attitudes and opinions, which the “deprogrammer” wants to replace with attitudes and opinions that a) are not threatening to him/her and b) are more in tune with the mainstream.
There are several varieties of deprogramming. Perhaps the best known is “conversion therapy”, the aim of which is to convince a Gay or Lesbian person to change their orientation, to heterosexuality. There is considerable risk, in such an effort- as the primary mode seems to be psychological and fairly short tem in focus. The flip side of this is, of course, the relatively rare attempts by Gay or Lesbian people to introduce heterosexuals to a homosexual orientation. Neither is going to work, to any great degree, as there are aspects of sexual orientation that go far beyond physical attraction, or even psychological programming.
There is Stockholm Syndrome, in which the victim of a crime comes to identify with the perpetrator(s) and adopts their attitudes, behaviours and mindsets- often engaging in similar behaviour to an even greater degree than the original criminals. This phenomenon far predates the incident for which it was named-as witness the Roman slaves who, once freed, became masters of other slaves. Human nature does as it will.
Getting back to the present-the whole programming, deprogramming, reprogramming thing is, as far as I can see, more about the person trying to effect the change than about the person whom he/she is trying to change. It is, arguably, doomed to failure. The only path to disabusing a person of thoughts and behaviours which are clearly harmful is surrounding them with unconditional love, a course of action which takes considerable time, energy and patience-and which avoids guilt, shame and the projection that one is in any way superior to the other person.
The only real change is that which is effected from within.