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Analysis of Falun Dafa information materials Версия для печати Отправить на e-mail
29.10.2010

Main aim of this research is to identify whether informational materials of “Falun Dafa” social organization correspond to criteria of informational safety. The research is also aimed at determining the influence of materials on readers’ psychological health.

The object of the research is informational materials distributed by member of “System of Falun Dafa” social organization: printed editions “Falun Dafa in the World”, art exhibition “Truth Kindness Patience”.

The following methods were used while research: method of psychological analyses of goods of art (pictures and annotations of art exhibition; method of text content-analyses.

Besides, such peculiarities of printed additions as general theme of informational source, dominant themes, and presence of criteria of manipulative texts were taken into account. At first, general amount of articles was fixed; then number of articles devoted to key themes of the issue was fixed. Analysis of the text was made for articles which refer to “key” themes.

The following definition was taken as a criterion of informational-psychological safety: informational-psychological safety of a person is state of person’s psychic protection from negative influence, which appears by means of introduction of destructive information in consciousness and/or sub-consciousness that can lead to inadequate perception of reality.

In wide sense informational-psychological safety means:

-       proper level of theoretical and practical grounding of person which gives protection and realization of vital interests and proper development apart from informational threats;

-       ability of state to create conditions for harmonic development in information apart from informational threats;

-       guarantee, development and use of information for personality;

-       protection from different kinds of informational dangers.

Thus, this research will define the criteria of materials’ informational safety for human psychological health.

The following peculiarities of informational materials were revealed while the research:

1. Analysis of the printed editions.

Three issues of the “Falun Dafa in the World” news-paper were analyzed (issues №16, №18, №21). The newspaper is distributed in centre of Dnepropetrovsk by the representatives of the Falun Dafa organization.

There are two main themes used in the researched newspaper; they are materials which describe advantages of the Falun Dafa physical exercises and materials dedicated to the People’s Republic of China. No other themes were revealed in the newspaper.

 

of issue

Quantity of articles

Falun Dafa popularization

China

Other themes

16(2008)

12

3

9

0

18(2008)

8

4

4

0

21(2010)

13

7

8

0

 

The articles dedicated to popularization of Falun Dafa differ only by the level of stereotypes; there are three main types of them.

Type №1. Description of physical exercises does not have any peculiarities apart from the fact that it is impossible to control “the healing power of exercises”; that is because they are directed at “normalizing of energy flows”, “unblocking energy channels”, etc. Exercises are not difficult to do; they are monotonous. The only requirement is absence of any thoughts. The instruction has no difference from those printed in any other issues. The description of exercises is the only neutral information in the issue.

Type №2. This type consists in describing of “Falun Dafa positive sites by different experts”. Three of four “specialists’ opinions” refer to medical aspect; one is a religious expertise of Religion Department of Philosophy Institute of Ukrainian National Academy of Sciences made by Philipovich L.A. All “expert materials” have number of peculiarities.

First, while detailed perception of information it becomes obvious that persons, who give estimation to this or that aspect, do this out of their professional field of activity. In the only expertise made by Ukrainian department of religion there is only one abstract about religion; it is mentioned that system Falun Dafa is not religion, there is no mention about God, about relation of person with transcendent world, about belief in supernatural. (At the same time, other articles, which tell about followers, and materials and annotations to art exhibition, are full of mentions about “universal energy”, “heaven wheel Falun”, “karma”; the founder of the organization is painted as Buddha. Both in descriptions to exercises and in medical comments there are mentioning about the fact that while exercising “body is cleared by means of Universal energy”, i.e. the teaching is mystical and esoteric.) Author also mentions that “modern competent researchers think that Buddhism, Daoism, Hinduism are not religions, but teachings.” Christianity is also a teaching, but it is obviously religion. References to “competent sources”, anonymous authority are just an attempt to manipulate readers’ consciousness.

Besides, the abovementioned expertise describes psycho-therapeutic, social and remedial value of the teaching and Falun Dafa activity; but it is not for researchers to make such conclusions.

The rest three expertises made by medicals also lead onto some questions. First, they are done by an “Institute of study of connection between body and sole and center of brain-wave therapy” (USA). It does not worth to be considered as reliable academic source because it is hard to check the data; besides there are no references for scientific researches. This material is given so that readers believe in what is written (scientists’ opinion is taken as competent; such method is widely used in advertising.) It is a classical example of manipulation by means of informational material. Target audience for this very newspaper is people who do not criticize the received information due to their educational or intellectual level, or they trust to competent sources without any hesitation.

Type №3. This type is directed at creation of positive image of Falun Dafa organization; it is made with the help of “practitioners’ evidences”. In fact, all these evidences are written in one and the same scheme: person’s life before coming to Falun Dafa; their life was unhappy and onerous. Teller had health problems which prevented them from normal life. The stories are monotonous and readers start to share their pain; readers become a part of the story. Then teller gets acquainted with Falun Dafa system, and it helps them to solve their problems. Such script is typical for fairy-tales (in less degree) and for advertising. Moreover, all stories are of the same kind; it seems like they are written by one and the same person, because there is classical way of script in all stories; there are no any digressions. Manipulation is done by means of feelings infection with coming identification with teller.

Articles about People’s Republic of China are more heterogeneous; they are given as publicistic materials or as documentary of different remedial organizations. There are almost no “participants’” stories (one article from 21 is dedicated to this theme). The main idea of these articles is that Falun Dafa followers are subjected to persecutions from government. But no reasons for persecution are mentioned both for mass repressions and for “official report of remedial organizations”. Style of stories is quite specific. On one hand information is given as official documents; on the other hand, articles are full of emotional epithets and terms, such as “terror, slaughter, shocking, perverted, bloody, and terrifying”. Such words are not typical for official documents. Authors of articles reach a number of advantages which allow influencing readers. The form of official report cause trust and respect towards the teller and his status (advocate, representative of international organization, etc; both status and information is hard to check). Position of “neutral part” and combination of saturated emotional content allows perceiving information as objective, because neutral part will not embellish and twist facts.

Articles which dedicated to conflict between Falun Dafa followers and government of China are not remarkable for logic. Most of arguments seem to be absurd and doubtful after understanding of material. These articles say that Chinese government persecutes only Falun Dafa followers (just because of its personal depravity, cruelty, etc.), taunts them, tortures them, makes them work for free in prison and strip them for organs, which are then delivered to foreigners. This statement is very doubtful. Texts about China also have all signs of manipulation; they distort logic of facts, appeal to third sources which are impossible or hard to check.

Articles, which are devoted to relations between Falun Dafa followers and Communists Party of China, are full of descriptions of acts of violence against the follower. Each article tells about murders and tortures. Such negative information can badly influence on psychological and emotional state of the readers.

The following words are used in articles to describe main objects (pair of antagonists, i.e. People’s Republic of China and Falun Dafa):

 

Words used for “Falun Dafa” category

Words used for “China” category

Adjectives: healing, creative, kind, humane, simple, clear, beautiful, fluent, happy, precious, excellent, best.

Nouns: honesty, sincerity, care, not indifference, optimism, answer, enlightening, self-perfection, depuration, energy, health, vivacity, joy, miracle, firmness, balance, honesty, development, peace, openness, attentiveness, respect, truth, kindness, patience, harmony, freedom.

Verbs: believe, live, know, raise, reinforce, improve, normalize, rejoice.

Adjectives: totalitarian, unnatural, impossible, criminal, prisoner, violent, shocking, bloody, cruel, oppressive.

Nouns: control, totalitarianism, immorality, unbelief, horror, depravity, persecution, torture, murder, arrest, genocide, crime, worsening, pressure, indignation, fabrication, misinformation, injustice, slaughter.

Verbs: be absent (freedom), irritate, discriminate, force, shock, make renounce, expose, blame, limit.

 

According to information given in newspapers, author shows Falun Dafa followers as happy, honest, patient people; they long to self-perfection and have many advantages apart from those, who do not practice Falun Dafa. But they are unprotected; they are unable to withstand authoritarian figure (Chinese government) and they are looking for help from other “competent organs” (international organizations). Such behavior is a sign of psychological immaturity and infantilism.

Chinese government (Communists party) is described as cruel, authoritarian, oppressive, non-democratic, totalitarian, horrible and bloody. Representatives of Communists party are represented as immoral and unjust; they are ready to do everything just to reach their aims, which they do not know. They defend their status by cruel methods; they press on those who disagree with them and have sadistic tendencies. The image of Chinese Communists party is represented as artistic, hypertrophied and even comic image of an “enemy as a whole”. Apart from this the image of Falun Dafa followers looks very discrepant but integral. Such description is a common thing for propaganda and political advertising.

2. Analysis of the “Truth Kindness Patience” art exhibition

25 paintings done in some odd technique are represented at the exhibition. People on these paintings are surrounded by phantasmagoric details; bodies are surrounded by some light (aura?). Characters are surrounded by phantasmagoric personages (angels, demons, Buddha, flying spheres with Falun Dafa symbols). All these details are painted very realistic; they look like a photo.

According to arrangement of the painting the following correlation of themes can be seen. Some mystic Chinese characters are painted on first three pictures. It seems that they were drawn from one and the same prototype (a man of Asian type). On the very first picture this man brings “universe”, which is depicted as concentric circles of sun light specter colors. A picture of a man surrounded by halo of rainbow or light is typical for esoteric sources; and it is not typical for traditional Chinese culture. The note to the picture says that it shows a Teacher Li, who must be the ideologist of the movement. The note also says that the world has reached its critical point of moral collapse and it can result in destroying of the whole world. Only Falun Dafa followers can prevent apocalypses. In order not to allow the world to die, members of this organization also have to inform people that they are oppressed in China. Such note is not common for exhibition which was declared as art one (author’s name and technique of painting is usually indicated). The content of the note more looks like pre-election agitation (we are good, our competitors are bad) than like piece of art, which can be a part of international exhibition. It is not appropriate for such action.

On the second picture the same (obviously) man is painted as angel in luminous white clothes. The picture is done in white-blue colors, which are traditionally referred to holiness. The person lights darkness below by means of flying spheres with Falun Dafa symbols. The note to the picture also says about positive sites of Falun Dafa.

The third work shows Master’s Li evolution to Buddha and bodhisattva. There are their terrestrial incarnations down in the picture; they evolve by means of teaching. Positive image of the organization members is supported with help of this. Besides, the composition of picture helps everyone to feel themselves a god and understand that one should just join Falun Dafa to become god. These paintings are done in bright colors; colors combinations of the pictures are similar to those used by Roerich. Such combination influences the emotional state of the viewer. In this very case, such method was used in order to create a positive attitude towards Falun Dafa.

Next four paintings show Falun Dafa followers. They read books, give lotus flowers to people, embroider; in other words they act as ordinary people. If there were no notes to the pictures and Falun Dafa symbols on them, no one could tell they are members of the organization. Such epithets as “gentle, calm, satisfied, quite” are used in notes. They all “want to help people to know the truth”. So, viewers see them as positive, but unprotected. It should be mentioned that characters of these pictures are women and children. They have more positive releasers and make people want to help and protect them.

Next eight paintings show those people, from whom Falun Dafa followers should be protected. People are subjected to violence from people in uniform; they are beaten, robbed, their organs are taken. The note says that people in uniform are Chinese police and representatives of Communists party. Only three of eight painting are done in realistic manner. It is operation on taking organs without any anesthesia. But its reality is very conditional as while such manipulations (extraction of heart, liver and cornea) a person would have pain and person would not feel any pain at all. But faces are distorted with pain. Pictures of a girl with box (according to note there is her parents’ ashes) and of father with his dead son are also very realistic. The note says these people suffered from Chinese Communistic regime. If the picture does not show the real enemy, the note will definitely tell it. There are no any emotions on peoples’ faces, even if we take into account difference in mimic and static character of painting. Girl’s look is not “full of suffering”; it is heavy and hard. There appears no wish to console such person, because you are not sure in your own safety. Despite of good technique, the author could not manage to paint emotions which were declared. Such discrepancy can be caused by cross-cultural differences of perception, low level of emotional intellect and inability to define and deliver emotional background of character. Or it can be caused by difference in positioning people like “good, kind, sincere, tolerant” and real state of affairs. It is obvious that representatives of European culture will not percept this exhibition.

Almost all paintings show Falun Dafa followers as passive victims, who are not interested in their future and in future of their surrounding. A picture which shows “invasion in house” is very striking. Mother, who is like to be arrested, indifferently looks at a child, who passes by between policemen. He holds Falun Dafa book in his hands. Two things are strange. First, why does child ignores his mother (according to note these are mother and son); why he does not pay any attention to her. Even more strange is indifference of mother to her child. According to note, mother is sure that her child will be protected by some higher powers. It seems, child understands it and he does not hope to get any help from his mother. But it is unusual and des-adaptive for such age. Authors of painting approve mother’s behavior, but it is not normal. Care about descendants is one of vital instincts; and absence of it is definitely deviation and not norm. This picture and several others show that “it is necessary to believe, and it will be”. Such behavior can not be adaptive in present day society.

The next set of pictures show how Falun Dafa followers sow good, reasonable and eternal. Pictures show people who stand with posters of “victims of persecution”, tortures and other methods which attract attention. Those who do not want to inspire followers’ grief are named enemies. This looks like children playing in sand-box and crying “he abused me, punish him”.

It is harder with kindness and patience. Inability to solve one’s problems by themselves is des-adaptive, though it is common thing. Intercultural differences do not influence here, because foolishness, idleness, unwillingness to protect own life and hope that some one will help does not have any measures. A position of “martyr” is defined from the very beginning. Pictures show them standing with posters in rain and snow; they waste their time to influence on people surrounding them. They believe that some one will bring happiness to them and will punish their offenders. It can be clearly seen from the last three paintings done in the same mystic manner as first three. They show that some higher power which punish Falun Dafa enemies and ennobles followers.

Conclusions.

Both text of newspaper articles and paintings of art exhibition contain scenes of unhidden violence. It can badly influence on those people who read and watch them. It can cause feeling of anxiety, decrease of emotional level, dysphoria, and frustration. Those people who are of sensitive or psychostanic type, or who suffer from obsessive-phobia disorders, these reactions will last longer; they can lead to depression, fears, uncertainty in self-safety and safety of the surrounding. People who are disposed to dysphonic reactions and aggression, and those who have unstable psychic or pathological personality formation (different kinds of psychopathic) can behave aggressively. Description of aggressive, antihuman behavior, which no one can withstand, can cause doubts in life value and human safety as a whole; doubts can also appear on permissibility of such behavior. And this is a direct threat to person’s psychological safety. Perception of this information by people who already have psychic or neurotic disorders can cause worsening of their state. Immature people also must not percept such information, because it popularizes passive, martyr position, unwillingness to be responsible for own deeds; they cultivate subordinate, dependent behavior. It can further lead to violation of adaptation.

It is important, that Falun Dafa members present their materials and do not warn about their content (as it is made on television or on audio and video). It does no let person to decide whether he is ready to come across information which is harmful for his psychological state.

Besides, information contained in Falun Dafa newspapers and exhibitions are discriminative for a number of groups, i.e. adherents of Communistic ideology, people who confess other religions, and those who do not want to join Falun Dafa. It can cause additional psychological reactions and contradicts to human rights (which Falun Dafa followers “protect”). Great percentage of materials (more than 50%) is devoted to critics of Chinese Communists party and government. One can suppose that one of hidden aims of this organization is creation of negative image of People’s Republic of China. First of all, it is violation of human rights (kindling of enmity on national sign). Secondly, it can spoil good relations between Ukraine and China.

Vera Tymchenko, psychologist

(o 29102010)

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