Treating People Like Dogs
The US military has totally embraced Seligman's controversial theories, twisting them to suit their deadly purposes, basing their computer-modeled psyops plans, plans for homeland security, even their recruitment strategies, upon his theories of "learned helplessness," looking for ways to bring-about its most debilitating form, learned hopelessness. Every one of these programs is geared towards finding and exploiting the human breaking point.
Seligman's core observation is that people and animals tend to basically just give-up, when besieged by inescapable pain and cruel, relentless uncertaintyto quote another controversial work, "Silent Weapons for a Quiet War," they reached a point of "capitulation." (for those who categorically dismiss this "conspiracy theory" document, because of its iffy history, it nevertheless remains the defining explanation of the theory of econometric warfare and the accompanying psychological concept of "capitulation.")
Investigative journalist Jane Mayer (author of The Dark Side) has revealed that Seligman's work also inspired the CIA's controversial torture/interrogation program. Mayer has traced the lineage of the ideas behind the "water-boarding" mentality (specifically, the electro-shocking of prisoners and treating them like dogs), proving that they were reverse-engineered from Seligman's work.
In Six Questions for Jane Mayer, Author of The Dark Side, Scott Horton's interview with Jane Mayer:
"You have patiently traced the torture techniques used by the CIA back to two psychologists, James Mitchell and John Bruce Jessenyou describe them as "good looking, clean-cut, polite Mormons"who reverse-engineered their techniques out of the SERE (survival, evasion, resistance, escape) program used to train U.S. pilots in self-defense. In Dark Side, you identify an approach called "Learned Helplessness" as the model they used, and you note that its author, Prof. Martin Seligman, made a visit to the SERE school
Seligman and colleagues at the University of Pennsylvania pioneered work on a theory he called "Learned Helplessness." He did experiments with dogs in which he used electric shocks to destroy their will to escape
He and colleagues conducted experiments on caged dogs, in which they used electric charges to shock them randomly. He discovered that the random mistreatment destroyed the dogs emotionally to the point where they no longer had the will to escape, even when offered a way out.
Seligman's theories were cited admiringly soon after by James Mitchell, the psychologist whom the CIA put on contract to advise on its secret interrogation protocol. Eyewitnesses describe Mitchell as quoting Seligman's theories of "Learned Helplessness" as useful in showing how to break the resistance of detainees' to interrogation. One source recounts Mitchell specifically touting the experiments done on dogs in the context of how to treat detainees the detainees have described other ways in which they were treated like dogsthe use of dog cages and of a collar and leash."
Now the Army has begun a traumatic shock and stress-related treatment program for all servicemen, based on Seligman's treatment for "learned helplessness," which basically amounts to a system for teaching auto-suggestion to the troops. It is teaching the opposite of helplessness, teaching the troops and their families to unlearn human nature and the exhaustion brought-on by the siege.