The word "brain-washing", translated from Chinese communist jargon, is a very strong metaphor, first popularized by Robert Jay Lifto n. It vividly describes one person interfering with the personality make-up of another, removing the other's ideology and replacing it, and similarly tampering with the other's tastes, pool of information to rely upon and whatever else goes into the make-up of the other's personality. Clearly, in some sense or another everyone interferes with the personality of people with whom they interact; yet what is meant here is something much more drastic than friends influencing one another's tastes or opinions; it is something more dramatic and more large scale.
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