What Is Menticide (Brainwashing)?

The dictionary definition of a menticide is to destroy or undermine the independence of one’s mind to change one’s beliefs. The contemporary words brainwashing, mind control, and menticide are meant to give some indication of actual methods through which human integrity may be harmed. The modern techniques of brainwashing and menticide–these distortions of psychology–can render virtually every human being submissive and capitulating.

Many of the victims of mind control, brainwashing, and menticide we have been talking about are strong men, their minds and wills broken and tainted. The practical knowledge of methods used in brainwashing and menticide demonstrates that it is possible to do all this.


In an important book by Dr. Joost Abraham Maurits Meerloo, different concepts of mind coercion are discussed in context of the dangers of totalitarianism and the dominance of the individual. In a significant book, the authors try to shed light on various ways that individuals may be forced into imposing mentality and psychology.

There is a lot of misunderstanding and wishful thinking around brainwashing, or as Dr. Joost Abraham Maurit Meerloo has aptly termed it, menticide. In an appendix, Dutch psychiatrist Joost Meerloos notes that the word brainwashing is used in newly repressive countries, especially to refer to techniques that are used to keep individuals loyal to a new regime.

Meerloos goes further than Edward Hunts notion of brainwashing by making explicit connections between mind-killing and Pavlovian conditioning. Dutch psychiatrist Joost Meerloos claims not only are all of us in danger of being brainwashed (Hunter certainly said as much), we are all, in our hearts, also attracted to become brainwashers, manipulating other peoples minds.


In an autobiography that he wrote in the early 70s, Meerloos devoted most pages to his exploits during and just after the Second World War, but near the end, he included a translated version of his 1951 paper about mind-killing. In The Rape of the Mind, Dr. Joost A.M. Meerloo goes well beyond the immediate military implications of psychological torture, describing how our own culture is quietly showing symptoms of suffocating the minds of individuals. As Dutch psychiatrist Joost Meerloos explained in The Menticide Offence, once a victims resistance is broken, the second stage in individual menticide is to get them to accept their confessions as their own-much like how an animal is conditioned to do tricks.

Maarten Derksen has revealed the history of the word menticide, which emerged as an alternative way to conceptualize brainwashing, becoming popularized by Dutch psychiatrist Joost Meerloos 1956 book The Rape of the Mind. In any case, Dutch psychiatrist Joost Meerloos was an early exponent of the brainwashing propaganda, although his term for it–menticide–did not actually catch on. This book discusses brainwashing, menticide (a term the author coined), getting forged confessions, and a wide range of tactics of mind-submission – be they active or passive, and be they directed at individuals or entire societies.

It is also here that Meerloo offers an analysis of which traits tend to make a person more susceptible to brainwashing and other totalitarian tactics, and why. The authors discuss how false confessions are coerced using techniques from classical Pavlovian conditioning, drugs, and manipulative doctors in order to play upon a subjects guilt. Tracing accounts and theories on individual subjugation, forced confessions, psychological coercion, and prisoners psychological conditions; the reader is introduced to elements of menticide–techniques used in breaking victims minds and wills.


At the time interval of 500 years, a century of menticide, and explaining the colonization of mind which has brought us to a grim condition, in which one may come closest to release–close enough to touch and smell–and then turn and go the other way. For not all are deceived by the manipulations of the ruling elite, and those individuals who see through propaganda may be able to help liberate others from a menticidal attack. While fear prepares the populace to commit menticide, using propaganda to disseminate false information and foster confusion about the sources of threat, as well as the nature of the crisis, helps break the minds of the masses. Real, imagined, or manufactured threats may be used to instill fear, but one especially effective technique is to exploit waves of terror.

Brainwashing (also known as mind control, mind murder, coercive persuasion, mind control, mind reform, and reeducation) is the notion that human minds can be altered or controlled through the use of specific psychological techniques. Brainwashing is said to decrease the capacity of its subjects to think critically or independently, allow the introduction of new, undesirable thoughts and ideas into their minds, as well as to alter their attitudes, values, and beliefs. The term brainwashing was first used in English by Edward Hunt in 1950, describing the way Chinese governments seem to coerce individuals into cooperating with them. .

Robert Jay Lifton has also pointed out that, in its efforts to combat terrorism, Western governments are using certain purported techniques to mind-control as well. The totalitarian psychological ideal, by contrast, is the domestication of men, making them willing tools in their leaders hands. While totalitarians employ their knowledge of reason to evil, unprincipled purposes, our democratic societies can, and should, employ their knowledge to aid men to growth, to protect their liberty, and to understand themselves.

This post was proofread with Grammarly.

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