Great Throughts Treasury

A database of quotes

Joost Meerloo. fully Joost Abraham Maurits Meerlo

Dutch Doctor of Medicine and Psychoanalyst

"In Totalitaria, jails and concentration camps by the score are built in order to provoke fear and awe among the population… In these centers of fear, nobody is really corrected; he is, as it were, expelled from humanity, wasted, killed – but too quickly, lest the terrorizing influence be diminished. The truth of the matter is that these jails are built not for real criminals, but rather for their terrorizing effect on the bystanders, the citizens of Totalitaria."

"Ready made opinions can be distributed day by day through the press, radio, and so on, again and again, till they reach the nerve cell and implant a fixed pattern in the brain. Consequently, guided public opinion is the result, according to Pavlovian theoreticians, of good propaganda technique, and the polls [are] a verification of the temporary successful action of the Pavlovian machinations on the mind."

"He who dictates and formulates the words and phrases we use, he who is master of the press and radio, is master of the mind. Repeat mechanically your assumptions and suggestions, diminish the opportunity for communicating dissent and opposition. This is the formula for political conditioning of the masses."

"The continual intrusion into our minds of the hammering noises of arguments and propaganda can lead to two kinds of reactions. It may lead to apathy and indifference, the I-don't-care reaction, or to a more intensified desire to study and to understand. Unfortunately, the first reaction is the more popular one."

"Well publicized facts are always the bane to the mind controllers."

"The flight from study and awareness is much too common in a world that throws too many confusing pictures to the individual. For the sake of our democracy, based on freedom and individualism, we have to bring ourselves back to study again and again. Otherwise, we can become easy victims of a well-planned verbal attack on our minds and our consciences."

"Between two beings there is always the barrier of words. Man has so many ears and speaks so many languages. Should it nevertheless be possible to understand one another? Is real communication possible if word and language betray us every time? Shall, in the end, only the language of tanks and guns prevail and not human reason and understanding?"

"It's among the intelligentsia that we often find the glib compulsion to explain everything and to understand nothing."

"If men can be made to understand that society, with its rigid codes and stratifications, is in its confused infancy rather than in the apex of its development; if they can be made to understand that the conflicts and contradictions of society can only be resolved by scientific long-range planning-then we will succeed in maintaining what civilization we have and drive onward to greater culture."