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October 20, 1957 - Image 12

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Michigan Daily, 1957-10-20
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Page Six


-Sunday, October 2), 1957

Sundav. October 20. :1957


S IBrainwashing
Battle for the Mind' Tells How It's Done

,Jul luuyf







William Sargant. Garden
City, New York: Doubleday
& Company, Inc., 1957. 263
pp. $4.50.
IT HAS BEEN over four years
since the end of the Korean'
war, and the memory of it is fad-
ing fast for most Americans. Occa-
sionally one of the GI "turncoats"
returns to the United States, and
this temporarily raises one of the
leading controversIes to have come,
out of this war-brainwashing.
Most Americans fail to realize
that the successful conversion of
supposedly loyal and intelligent
American soldiers by the Chinese
Communists represents one of the
great potential dangers to the
West in its current Cold War with.
the Soviet sphere. Little but mis-
information has been published of
exactly how this amazing feat was
accomplished, and even less of a
satisfactory nature has been done
about it.
Public condemnation of these
unfortunate figures is vehement
and widespread, yet there have
been few concrete findings on
which to base these cries of right-
eous indignation. The Army policy
of castigation through court mar-
tial seemed inadequate as a solu-
tion to the problem at the time,
but now it appears downright ri-
diculous in the light of some very
unusual theories presented by a.,
British psychiatrist.
Dr. William Sargant, in his lat-
est book, Battle for the Mind, con-
tends that the more intelligent,
"normal," and loyal an individual
is, the greater chance he has of
being converted or brainwashed
to accept ideas which are often
diametrically opposed to the ones
he fervently held before with great

how relative1y uncomplicated
physiological and mechanistic
methods - rather than intellec-
tual persuasion - can be used to
force the human mind to reject
old beliefs and behavior and sud-
denly grasp new ones which it
had previously thought to be false
and pernicious. This can occur
in religious conversions, police
confessions, and psychiatric treat-
ment, as well as political brain-
The author cites case after case
to show that any nervous system,
when put under enough strain and
fatigue, will eventually crack, and
the brain will pass into a state of
increased suggestibility.
Dr. Sargant's theory of stress,
b r e a k d o w n, suggestibility, and
conveision-occurring even when
the individual fights desperately
to retain his serenity and integrity
-is based on the experiments with
dogs conducted by the famous
Russian scientist Pavlov.
APPARENTLY canine behavior
bears a greater and more dis-
turbing similarity to human be-
havior than most of us care to

animals. Yet the author counters,
and apparently correctly so, that a
large part of the world's popula-
tjon is not only being reindoc-
trinated but has had its whole
medical system reoriented along
Pavlovian lines - partly because
the mechanistic and psysiological
approach to what is more com-
monly regarded in the West as the
province of philosophy and reli-
gion has achieved such politically
convenient results.
Dr. Sargant condemns Western
psychologists, psychiatrists, a n d
physicians for having too long
underestimated the physiological
aspect of the human brain and
nervous system and for having
dallied for centuries with irrele-
vant philosophical and metaphysi-
cal considerations which have re-
sulted in shamefully little progress
in our struggle to know the human
mind and cure its ailments. If
medicine had refused to compare
human and canine glandular and
digestive systems, he says, it would
still be in the same backward state
as modern psychiatry.

J4e Quarr Jnc.
v I

(Continued from Page 14)
can literature. The list of auth-
ors was fantastic in its scope :
Jack London, Theodore Dreiser,
and 0. Henry. To this one girl
added, "and Rob Roy, too."
WE WERE given a rather elab-
orate, yet revealing tour of
their economic institute. At the
library the only magazines on the
display table happened to be back
copies of the U.S.I.S. publication
America; I found Russian peri-
odicals on the shelves.
The dormitory was completely
co-educational - men's and wo-
men's rooms being adjacent to
each other. The exterior, its en-
trance littered with garbage, was
uninviting, but the room which we
were shown was attractive. Luck-
ily there were just enough chairs
for all seven of us. While the radio
played soft mood music (it was on
when we entered), we were pre-
sented with gifts - because "the
Russian government, R u s s i a n
people, and Russian students
want peace. We are your friends."
When the little ceremony was
over, I am sure that our hosts
felt they had been successful in
impressing us with a true pic-
ture of life at the institute. Every-
thing had been arranged perfect-
A visit to a "House of Culture"
provided another interesting view
of Soviet life. Notwithstanding
any implications the name may
have carried, we found a place
where young people came to
dance. The small combo played
traditional Russian music as well
as such pieces as "Lullaby of
Birdland." The place was ex-
tremely crowded but everyone was
having a good time.
Apparently the Houses of Cul-
ture give the girls an opportunity
to show off their best clothes. To
a Westerner, the results were
amusing. Somehow it reminded
me of little girls smudging on lip-
stick and getting all dressed up in
one of grandmother's dresses.
Clothing . - -
DURING our stay in Moscow
several of us were approached
and asked to sell articles of cloth-
ing. This is strictly illegal and it
is interesting that even some of
our Komsomol acquaintances
wanted to buy things. I was of-
fered 100 rubles for a dacron
shirt. An inexpensive American-
made summer suit could bring
about 1500 rubles. This was a
phenomenal price at the current
tourist exchange rate of ten rubles
to one dollar. An enterprising
businessman could make a good
profit by picking up pink shirts
See RUSSIA, Page 18

(Continued from Page 3)
Josef Blatt was brought to campus
to build an operatic school, and
since that time Michigan students
have participated in or seen four-
teen complete operatic produc-
tions, as well as numerous pro-
grams of scenes from opera. Last
year for the first time the opera
class. went on a tour of the Upper
Peninsula, and a similar tour is
planned for this spring.
These operatic efforts have re-
quired the multiplicity of talents
and skills which a university can
provide so well. The productions
have been as much the work of
the speech department as the
music school, and the physical
education department has often
trained- needed dancers. The Uni-
versity Symphony Orchestra pro-
vides players for the O p e r a
Orchestra, which is an integral
part of the complete productions.
Many students gain entrance to
this activity through the Opera
Chorus, of which the membership
is by no means restricted to stu-
dents in the School of Music.
OF COURSE one cannot help
speculating about the future,
and many questions arise. The
principal question is whether or
not this renewed operatic activity
in the academic community will
cause a renaissance of professional
opera, thus providing a native out-
let for the skill of those trained
in our colleges and universities.
All present indications seem to
point toward such events. In the
last few years opera has found
its way into an increasing number
of civic and professional affairs;
some companies have expanded
their seasons to a number of weeks
and several productions per year.
It may well be that in time we
shall see the opening of profes-
sional opera houses comparable
with the Metropolitan in many
other cities throughout the coun-
But whatever the future may
hold, it is not likely that the
importance of the academic com-
munity to opera will be lessened.
A university, which is by defini-
tion a seat of learning where the
various disciplines enrich and
complement each other, can pro-
vide in abundance all the neces-
sary elements to make up an
operatic production, together with
all the philosophical and historical
background to make it a really
meaningful experience to the par-
ticipating student. And since our
colleges and universities are spread
throughout the length and
breadth of the country, they can
in this area, hope to make an in-
creasingly valuable contribution to
the life of the nation.


How the Academic World Has Helj

ALICE DUTCHER (The Witch), Mary Mattfeld (Hansel) and Svea
from "Hansel and Gretel," performed at the Univer

o 6
o 6
IiIA\l lI RS
717 NoKTH UNmESrFrY West of Hill Auditorium

CAMERAS ROLL on a kinescope of "Aida." The scene is Act IV, t
(Amnneris) and Al Crowfoot (Rhadames). Kinescopes like this one, pa
dents, are distributed to television stations around the country.
Van Boven
Sport Jackets
Woven on the hand looms
of the Shetland Islands
and tailored without padding
in the classic and
conservative Van Boven lines.
from $50
Pan IOevw

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