I was listening to the translated speech of Iranian President Ahmadinejad at the U.N. and was struck by how much he sounded like Gandhi, or Jesus, or Martin Luther King Jr. His words were all about peace and love and respect and humanity and blah, blah, blah.
In today’s post we won’t discuss whether he meant any of those things or he’s really Hitler in a leisure suit. What fascinates me is the psychology of the situation. Researchers know that when someone commits to a position publicly, and argues it in his own words, even if he is lying, it causes his brain to rewire until he starts believing his lies. In other words, if Ahmadinejad was 100% lying about his desire for world peace at the beginning of his speech, the science says he was maybe only 99% lying by the end of it, with the remaining 1% thinking that this peace concept is a good thing.
Whether you believe he was lying about peace or meant it, the one thing you can know for sure is that the more he TALKS about peace, the more rewired his brain will be to support it. In his case, he doesn’t control the military, so it probably doesn’t make as much difference as it would with a supreme leader of some sort. But it got me thinking.
My idea is that the U.N. should invite the leaders of all the angry nations (you know who you are) to some sort of Peace Summit every year and ask them to give speeches on the value of peace. If any leader declines the invitation, we need to keep your eyes on that one. But if a leader shows up and gives a speech about peace, he’s effectively hypnotizing himself into believing it.
Maybe that’s how society can control its leaders for a change.