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Of Empires and Brain Squeegees

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/waves sheepishly


'Lo, everyone. I've been looking into Garlean lore, searching for more information on their... aggressive conscription methods, and I'm coming up blank. I've got a few ideas stewing that involve the topic in one form or another, and I'd like some more concrete info before I start digging myself a hole. That being said my question to you, denizens of the RPC, is this:


How exactly does the Empire brainwash people?


Is it magic? Magitek? Subliminal bombardment? Beating people upside the head with a herring? Or, deadliest of all, the mystic handwave?


Alternatively: In the event that the lore just doesn't exist (which is not outside the realm of possibility), what method do you think would most likely be employed? I'm inclined to believe it's either magic or some kind of technology, as effectively mass-brainwashing a traumatized populace a la the Ala Mhigans doesn't seem practical without some sort of supernatural assistance.

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I have no idea if the lore specifies it, but it's something very old-fashioned: picking the kids at a certain age and shipping them to military camps for training, ideological propaganda... You know, 'normal' stuff.


As far as I know, this 'brainwashing' seems to be only used on Ala Mhigo and other conquered regions. They probably don't need the brainwashing on their original territories.

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How exactly does the Empire brainwash people?


Is it magic? Magitek? Subliminal bombardment? Beating people upside the head with a herring? Or, deadliest of all, the mystic handwave?


Hey AFriendOfAFriend,


So we know some of the methods the Garleans use through some cutscene interactions with the Garleans in the 1.0 storyline. Their preferred method is brainwashing the children of their conquered territories. These children grow up believing the Empire is a force for good, seeking to purge the world of lesser races and evil Eikons that wish to corrupt the hearts of men. These children are then shipped off to somewhere in Ilsabard and trained to become soldiers or engineers or whatever the Empire has need of. 


We also know that Garlean soldiers are forced to be practiced killers. Each soldier is forced to take at least one life a day so that killing is a natural thing and something they, in time, crave. So Garlean soldiers are violent, brutal, and mindless.


In the Twin Adder quest "Appetite For Destruction" we get to see the effects of the Garlean's brutal tactics when we must rescue a soldier who has been a spy for Eorzea behind enemy lines.

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Canonically, the empire conscripts a large portion of it's soldiers from conquered countries. Or, as the Imperials might put it, liberated countries.


While the term brainwashing is thrown around a lot, and it is mentioned by Eorzeans, I'd liken it more to simple conditioning. Garlean soldiers are conditioned to have complete faith in the empire and it's duties. They're likely crammed with propaganda, as the Garleans even attempted to use that strategy to get some Eorzeans to defect and/or surrender to the empire by literally dropping linkpearls directly into the city-states. They don't see themselves as evil, they see themselves as liberators - saving Hydaelyn from the corruption that is the primals. At least, that's the motive we've seen, and honestly there might be some truth behind it.


Now, the manner in which they go about handling said liberation isn't exactly the greatest, but from the eyes of it's soldiers, they're likely rooted in the idea that what they're doing is for the greater good of all the world. They see those that resist (such as Eorzea) as a threat to the safety of the world as a whole because of what they've been told, and what they've grown up with. Thus, they must be stopped.


To the empire, we're essentially the bad guys in the story. We're stopping them from vanquishing the primal threat.


Now, the empire does have other means of "brainwashing", some of which are more sinister than others. For example, Imperial soldiers are actually forced to kill on a daily basis. It's part of their training regimen to slaughter something at least once a day, so that A. they build up a tolerance to killing, and B. it becomes a second nature to them. So they can kill without second guessing themselves. It makes them incredibly ruthless, and incredibly effective.


I could go on, and on, and on about the empire, but I'll stop myself here, barring any further questions.

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From the sound of it, the Garlean Empire applies something similar to the BITE model. The BITE model is a "brainwashing" technique used by many different cults and high control groups. BITE stands for the different kinds of control those groups put over its members. These are:


  • Behavioral Control
  • Information Control
  • Thought Control
  • Emotional Control

This is a video by Stephen Hassan, the person who created the BITE model, talking about it:






Much of what has been discussed in this thread already are perfect examples of these types of control. For example, being forced to kill something once a day is a "thought stopping" activity. A repetitive ritual that must be done that requires no thought beyond the actual process of doing it. As all members are required to do it, it forms bonds with those made to do it. The bonds created act as a kind of emotional control. To even think of betraying the cause is to think of betraying your brothers. I could go on about this kind of control for quite a bit, but there's another video that explains it much better than I can.




Sorry for the wonky formatting, Vimeo won't just let me copy and paste the damn Url without thinking I'm trying to embed it.

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