The literal meaning of highjacking involves stealing by stopping a vehicle or aircraft. To highjack someone’s ideas is to steal them and promote them as your own. In this entry, we will expand the concept of highjacking to include individuals, groups or businesses supporting someone else’s ideas or opinions with the ulterior motive of achieving a gain and exerting power or control.
In short, our vantage point of highjacking is the attempt to achieve power or a type of gain, by disguising actions as helping gestures. One illustration of this is the manufacturers of protective masks who are producing stylish masks that don’t meet the safety requirements for coronavirus. People are buying the stylish masks in droves! Such manufacturers have highjacked the purpose of “safe”protective face gear for their monetary gains.
Another example is when a tragedy occurs such as a hurricane. Seemingly “charitable resources” pop-up everywhere offering convenient options for people to make financial donations. It is later revealed, in some situations, that the money collected never reached the people affected by the disaster.
Highjacking can also include intangible items, such as influencing others with false or inaccurate information. Certain news channels are guilty of not only reporting events, but also swaying viewers’ opinions about those events. Figuratively it is stealing viewers freedom to formulate their own opinion when reporters include commentaries that go beyond stating just the facts.
We want our readers to learn to listen to the unspoken as well as the spoken and be able to discern truth from manipulation.
Advertisers are well-known highjackers! The freedom of choice is taken away from the consumer when the advertiser uses nonessential appeal to sell an item. This approach can take the focus off the quality of the product. A celebrity using a new soap makes a consumer want to look like the actor promoting it and they will buy it solely for that reason. The purchaser is ignoring the important unspoken information about the product, such as ingredients…which could contain allergens. The advertiser wants to project image not facts for the purpose of increasing sales and profits.
In terms of power, an example of highjacking can be seen in politics. When one politician describes their opponent through their own lens rather than an impartial one, the objective is to gain voters and win an election. The power is seeking to influence others’ actions by coloring their view of the situation. This sounds much like the example that describes advertisers. So in short, politicians advertise.
Whether we realize it or not, we live in a society of advertising that has conditioned people to make selections without accurate information. Highjacking our opinions, choices, thoughts and money has become so entrenched in our daily lives that we don’t recognize that we are being manipulated.
To protect our minds from the highjacking, we must first acquire the knowledge that we are being manipulated, followed by the will to take control of our decisions. It takes work to seek out the reality of the situation in order to make a wise decision. It is so much easier to let someone else do our thinking, but it’s the most insidious way to lose our power to choose.