Bending an Idea

The tactics of bending an idea first involve confirming a pre-existing belief or suspicion. Take for example the ketogenic diet. It was originally designed to treat seizures in children and has been found effective for it, but in recent years marketers have tried to present the ketogenic diet as a way to lose weight.

They first confirm the belief that the diet was created by doctors as a medical treatment. They never elaborate that it was not designed for weight loss. They then present the diet as a safe way to lose weight, it was after all developed by doctors. This is where the idea is bent to fit the needs of the marketer. The number of people who want to lose weight vastly outnumber those with seizures. They wanted to tap the bigger market, but first they needed to bend the idea.


At the Council of Nicaea in 325, Christian leaders decided that usury, loan interest higher than 1%, was a sin. It is only in recent years that it has changed. Jews never held this religious belief and were thus motivated to open banks, as they could profit from interest without guilt.

In early anti-Semite campaigns the owning of banks was the confirming belief that was bent to allow for expanding prejudice. If Jews owned banks, they were sinners and the sin was greed. Thus, the prejudice began, not because of what Jews did, but because the new religion of Christianity believed it was wrong. The sin of loan interest was later removed from basic Christian teachings, but the prejudice and stereotype remains; Jews are greedy.

Notes on the heading:


I remember reading The Merchant of Venice in high school and the Jew, Shylock, being hated for charging usury. My teacher explained this was interest on a loan. I was baffled as I knew banks did that all the time, so did credit cards, that’s how they make money. I was further confused as she explained the beliefs at the time. Without interest it seemed there was no motivation for anyone to provide a loan, or lend money, and that is a big driver of economy. I also wondered when the Christian changed.

It was the protestant break that took place with Martin Luther that began the easing of the usury as a sin. While Luther himself still strongly condemned usury, many other protestant leaders didn’t.

Usury has a very clear definition in Christian teachings, anything over 1% a month. So they are allowed to charge interest, but it has very specific limits.

As to Bending the idea through first confirming, I see this most in supplement marketing. A company will cite studies that are real scientific studies but only partially related to their products. One company I read about promoted a lemon oil based on a study on a chemical called PA35. The original study was done with wild oranges, but the company noticed that PA35 was also present in lemons, and lemons were easier and cheaper to come by then wild oranges. They didn’t do any studies to see if the chemical properties remained the same by using a different plant, or using different extraction methods.