It’s been 10 years since stories of the D.C. sniper disgraced the headlines. I read this story again after recently writing about troubled teens and I couldn’t believe how accurately this case manifested the power and possible dangers of suggestibility. I urge you to read this article:
Pay particular attention to the line where Malvo says, ” It got to a point where I’d get in a zone.” This “zoning out” feeling is a time when we are most suggestible. Whatever we’re suggesting to ourselves at the time is accepted as reality.
Malvo is now 27 years old, his frontal lobe area has developed more and now he sounds like a college educated individual. This of course does not excuse or undo the damage that he caused to so many lives, but it does show how vulnerable we all are to suggestion. We may not go on murderous rampages as a result but we do follow suggestion just as easily.
The language that we speak, the clothes that we wear have all been suggested to us as what’s right and we follow. Suggestibility is so powerful that you’ll make decisions based on it and think that it was your decision.
There is a way to at least reduce the amount of tragic stories we hear of our youth and that is through understanding. We keep trying to solve this riddle from the middle; we need to go to the beginning and identify the issue (suggestion) and then solve for x. Another way of saying this is, cure the cold and the runny nose goes away.