As Dr. Stephen Hein stepped up to the microphone in front of the large gathering he was reminded of his first speech he had ever given. He remembered the leg numbing fear he experienced. He remembered how he powered through it to great acclaim and he told himself this time was no different. He knew this to be a lie but over the years he found lying to himself worked.
This time though he was stepping before Congress and he was certainly aware of the tension rising in his throat. He swallowed it down and proceeded to lay out what he and many of his colleagues in private agreed to be a legitimate concern.
Dr. Hein began by quoting Eleanor Roosevelt, ''On my first visit to Russia I had watched the training of small babies. On my second trip, I studied the older children, their conditioning... the education system seems to be based on the work of Ivan Pavlov.''
He started to explain that his hypothesis likewise was based on the work of Ivan Pavlov. As he looked along the attentive panel he felt a significant hope that those in attendance would consider his findings important enough for future funding.
He continued, ''I believe the Russians have developed a way of weaponizing Ivan Pavlov's research in 'classical conditioning' and have turned it against the American people, being facilitated as it is thru social media. In a sense the Russians had the basic idea worked out in the 60's, but they lacked the means to deliver it. With the internet and societies increasing dependance on social media, they no longer lack the means. One way we understand it to be used is to influence our electoral process by agitating one group against another, as has already been confirmed and thoroughly described by the FBI.''
Dr. Hein began to revisit the work of Dr. Pavlov. Briefly reminding everyone of his familiar work with dogs and how this led to the his theory of classical conditioning. He feared the inevitable threat of the congressmen's eyes glazing over at this point as he pushed into lesser known aspects of the theory such as trans-marginal inhibition as it relates to behavior modification but this aspect was essential to his presentation. He added for the benefit of the reporters in the room, ''Basically in a sense the Russians ring the bell and the American voter barks.'' This was met with an uneasy foot shuffling by many of the senators.
He needed to move quickly and he knew it, so he started to relate these ideas to the problems of violence we were all witnessing overwhelm the United States. He explained how observable conversion occurred in soldiers suffering from PTSD resulting from things such as environment, physical fatigue, mental fatigue, tension or uncertainty. As well as the use of super-stimulation, crisis and euphoria to elicit predictable response. This conditioning could assume many forms from minutely subtle to significant. In the latter the effects being more observable to the general population. For instance American Doctors have known about this observable phenomenon in soldiers traumatized by their service since the Civil War.
Relating these ideas to the broader population was where it got tricky. The subtle changes in society as a whole were far less obvious and he knew there was more than a single billion dollar lobby group supporting the status quo. So as he relayed his findings on what he termed as 'Weaponized Over-stimulation'', he started to see the glaze forming.
He continued, ''In another more alarming aspect I believe there is enough evidence to indicate the Russians are also directing this agitation at our youth influencing some of what Pavlov termed 'highly sensitive people' to exibit signs of anti- social behavior and in some cases extreme acts of violence such as school shootings.''
He felt the attention of the panel slipping as he described this manifestation of unusual behavior in society and our young in particular. How the many divisive factors in American history exacerbated by Russian interference in our already volatile political climate of the last few elections contributed to this unique American experience of gun violence.
He tried to explain how relating this quickly was not only part of the problem but was also part of the symptoms of this condition. As the eyes further glazed he decided to cut out the jargon and do his best to explain the issue facing America.
''The problem in my opinion as well as many of my colleagues, is that the American public suffer from something akin to a form of mass hysteria in varying degrees, brought on in many cases by a concerted Russian effort to condition our youth and produce anti social behavior. Its not the result of one thing, its the result of many aspects of social media influenced by Russian intelligence services. We have encouraged the advent of social media which provides a facilitated avenue to influence our young and impressionable youth. American society is willingly ingesting a 24hr stream of Russian sponsored information designed to condition a predictable response from us. Far from hating American democracy the Russians love it. They have a better understanding of how to use it then we do. This is our Achilles weakness.''
''Not to belabor the fact, the Russians have discovered that in the millions of subjects in this American experiment one can locate these 'Highly Sensitive Persons' that Pavlov described. When these persons are exposed to this Russian campaign in our social media for decades as the current generation has, in many cases it produces this antisocial behavior. Pavlov's research suggests that over-stimulation leads many of these 'highly sensitive persons' to exhibit signs of increased aggression which explains the unreasonable and inexplicable violent outbursts we experience today. Something possibly along the lines of a real life Manchurian Candidate.''
''These Russian attempts at mind control are far from unique. The CIA has its own dark history of mind control research. The CIA's MK Ultra experiment is but one of many that has come to light since the freedom of information act. The big difference between Russian and American efforts in mind control are that Russians based their experiments on well established scientific research while the American gov't went the route of drugs such as LSD. Whereas the American efforts ceased in the 60's the Russian efforts continue and are as of late bearing fruit, I believe''
Just then Dr. Hein was interrupted by a loud gesticulation from the congressman from West Virginia, ''Dr., are we to understand that the very underpinning of our free society is the very cause of our problems with violence?'' As Dr. Hein started to answer he was interrupted by the congressman. ''Dr. I have a hard time believing that the love of freedom is a problem. And I for one would like to think that my mental faculties are a little superior than a damned dog!'' Which was met with a titter of laughter from the others. This is when Dr. Hein felt the glaze forming over his own eyes.