Not sure when it started but it had to start in the schools at a young age. A grown person with a well-developed sense of right and wrong, an ability to formulate original thought, and at least a semblance of self-assurance, would never fall for such manipulation. But sadly, many do. So, it had to start in the schools that have twisted the education system from a world of academics to an arena of indoctrination teaching the new bigotry.
Gaslighting – covert attempts of psychological manipulation by a person or group to plant doubt in a targeted individual or group. The ultimate goal is to persuade the person or group to question their own memory, perception, judgment, or personal beliefs. There are always ulterior motives; a facilitation of change with dubious intent, a destabilization of a person’s self-esteem, or a desire to focus your attention elsewhere so misguided assertions go unnoticed. Tools used to “gaslight” an individual or group include but are not limited to repeated denials, misdirection, contradiction, disinformation, and outright lies. It is unfortunate that attempts to “gaslight” a person or group of people no longer needs a clandestine approach. If you call out an individual for gaslighting you are automatically labeled a racist (the new bigotry), mentally unstable, or intolerant. If you call out someone for gaslighting you will most probably fall victim to cancel culture.
Cancel Culture – is a modern form of ancient Athenian law, referred to as “ostracism” which allowed for expulsion from the city of Athens for ten years. Current practice calls for individuals who, prior to some perceived offense, were held in high regard, to be viciously thrown out of social or professional circles. There is no room for forgiveness nor will an acceptable explanation suffice; asking for forgiveness and offering an acceptable narrative will only compound the hurling of stones by the cancel culture. You have offended society, you must pay. Whether the “offense” was perpetrated intentionally or by mistake, your “casting out” will be complete, very public, and exceedingly emotional. The intent is not to correct, the intent is to inflict pain and embarrassment. A word, deed, or intent, considered acceptable when said or done, can cause a massive backlash years later should someone ferret out your past comment or deed. In truth, factual data is not required to be found guilty of an offense, a faulty perception is all that is required. A 40-year-old is “cancelled” because of something said 23 years before. Clearly, after a cursory glance, it is evident the ousted individual is guilty of some other offense that has nothing to do with the offense paraded under the spotlights. This is easily proven when the same offense, or one much more egregious, is ignored by the same crowd who are holding the signs in the parade or operating the lights glaring down on you. Cancel Culture will roll like raging prairie fire consuming everything in its path. I should mention here, the ones who are the loudest proponents of and ostracism as proper punishment are those who are recently woke.
Woke Culture – is a term that refers to a newfound abundance of arrogant awareness of social justice or social justice issues. I could write paragraphs about how “social justice” has been hijacked and manipulated to enhance gaslighting and cancel culture, but that’s a different blog. The term “woke” is not new, it can be traced to Abraham Lincoln’s Republican Party movement opposed to slavery known as Wide Awake and was made up predominantly of young people of all races. Being aware of events and injustices is not a bad thing, but when the manipulation by gaslighting and cancel culture are used as tools to motivate the Woke Culture then their “awareness” cannot help but be misconstrued and misguided; it will never end well.
There are some who see the use of any of these efforts as having great potential to serve a need, to serve the common good, but they are either delusional or intent on ill-conceived manipulation. The current use of today’s “acceptable” tactics is to gain power and control by tearing others down. Like the bully who will relish in the fear and humiliation of those tormented, so fearful people will see the bully is the real coward, so fearful people will see the bully is incapable of standing on their own, so fearful that people will someday see behind the bully’s façade. Individuals and groups who use this type manipulation for personal gain are not hard to identify. Unfortunately, regardless of the factual documentation in hand, when you shine the light on them, and show in exquisite detail their intent, the gaslighted will energize the woke who will in turn cancel you in quick order.
Gaslighting, Cancel Culture, and Woke Culture feed off of each other; one fuels the other. We’re being played by the puppet master.