This action might not be possible to undo. Are you sure you want to continue?
The term "brainwashing" came into common language through the work of American journalist Edward Hunter who was an expert of Oriental issues; the very word being the direct translation of Chinese "hsi-nao". By "hsi-nao" the Chinese meant certain techniques in dealing with adversaries and/or training of officials. To the Western usage the term "brainwashing" spread in the 1950s through several publications depicting the treatment of American soldiers at Chinese prison camp during the Korean War 1950-1953. Below is a list of the usual brainwashing/mind control techniques used in schools, hospitals, army, religious cults, totalitarian states; with political prisoners and dissidents, mentally insane, some versions of psychoterapy, etc., etc. "Indoctrination" is a more slight and more subliminal form of brainwashing (e.g. commercials). However, these concepts are nothing short of controversial and open to various interpretations, which should be kept in mind while perusing the Web sources below. Judging by the extremely diverse material on the subject found from the Net, the funny thing about the term "brainwashing" itself is that it can be handily appropriated by just anyone -- whether they were right-wing or left-wing, religious people or anti-cultists -to support their claims of their opponents (supposedly using these "brainwashing" techniques) being miserable, no-good wretches (see: propaganda). I became not a little bit cynical after wallowing through tons of Web pages by religious bigots, downright wackos (most usual was the claim of government having secret mind control experiments with microwaves) and so-called (American right-wing fascist/racist) patriots, but tried to put here those that I found useful or at least interesting myself. (In other words, after browsing an otherwise decent and respectable-looking page for a while you might start smelling a rat.) I can't guarantee the information found from some of these pages is totally unprejudiced or scientifically verifiable under skeptical observation. So, it's up to you to decide whether to believe them or not. 1) HYPNOSIS - Inducing a high state of suggestibility, often thinly disguised as relaxation or meditation. a. Repetitive Music (most likely with a beat close to the human heart 45 to 72 beats per minute). Most likely used during "study sessions" as the teacher will say the music helps you relax and concentrate better! b. Voice Roll -- A "voice roll" is a patterned, paced style used by hypnotists when inducing a trance. It is also used by many lawyers, several of whom are highly trained hypnotists, when they desire to entrench a point firmly in the minds of the jurors. A voice roll can sound as if the speaker were talking to the beat of a metronome or it may sound as though he were emphasizing every word in a monotonous, patterned style. The words will usually be delivered at the rate of 45 to 60 beats per minute, maximizing the hypnotic effect. c. Room "Feel" - The way a room feels is essential to hypnotizing unknowing subjects. It needs special lighting, florescent lights are best because they aren't too dim, but aren't too harsh. Also, Room Temp helps a bit, usually a little cooler than normal room temperature. You need to have the unknowing subjects very relaxed, perhaps even close to falling asleep.
2) PEER GROUP PRESSURE - Suppressing doubt and resistance to new ideas by exploiting the need to belong. 3) "LOVE BOMBING" - Creating a sense of family through physical touch, thought & feeling sharing and emotional bonding. 4) REJECTION OF OLD VALUES - Accelerating acceptance of new lifestyle by constantly denouncing former beliefs and values. 5) CONFUSING DOCTRINE - Encouraging blind acceptance and rejection of logic through complex lectures on an incomprehensible doctrine. 6) METACOMMUNICATION - Implanting subliminal messages by stressing certain key words or phrases in long, confusing lectures. 7) REMOVAL OF PRIVACY - Achieving loss of ability to evaluate logically by preventing private contemplation. 8) DISINHIBITION - Encouraging child-like obedience by orchestrating child-like behaviour 9) UNCOMPROMISING RULES - Inducing regression and disorientation by soliciting agreement to seemingly simple rules which regulate mealtimes, bathroom breaks and use of medications. 10) VERBAL ABUSE - Desensitizing through bombardment with foul and abusive language. (Physical abuse, such as torture, is the more extreme form of this.) 11) SLEEP DEPRIVATION AND FATIGUE - Creating disorientation and vulnerability by prolonging mental an physical activity and withholding adequate rest and sleep. 12) DRESS CODES - Removing individuality by demanding conformity to the group dress code. 13) CHANTING OR SINGING - Eliminating non-cult ideas through group repetition of mind-narrowing chants or phrases. 14) CONFESSION - Encouraging the destruction of individual ego through confession of personal weaknesses and innermost feelings of doubt. 15) FINANCIAL COMMITMENT - Achieving increased dependence on the group by 'burning bridges' to the past, through the donation of assets. 16) FINGER POINTING - Creating a false sense of righteousness by pointing to the shortcomings of the outside world. 17) ISOLATION - Inducing loss of reality by physical separation from family, friends, society and rational references. 18) CONTROLLED APPROVAL - Maintaining vulnerability and confusion by alternately rewarding and punishing similar actions. 19) CHANGE OF DIET - Creating disorientation and increased susceptibility to emotional arousal by depriving the nervous system of necessary nutrients through the use of special diets and/or fasting. Also applying drugs for these purposes fall in this category.
20) GAMES - Inducing dependence on the group by introducing games with obscure rules. 21) NO QUESTIONS - Accomplishing automatic acceptance of beliefs by discouraging questions. 22) GUILT - Reinforcing the need for 'salvation' by exaggerating the sins of the former lifestyles. 23) FEAR - Maintaining loyalty and obedience to the group by threatening soul, life or limb for the slightest 'negative' thought, word or deed.
Three Principles of Re-Education
1) REPETITION - Going through the same subject over and over again until it is known by heart. 2) ACTIVITY PEDAGOGICS - The subjects are never left alone nor give any private time of their own, they are always in activity. 3) CRITICISM AND SELF-CRITICISM - The subjects are supposed to feel uncertain; under the constant threat of being humiliated and despised. In the Korean War the "criticism and self-criticism" sessions held for the American prisoners of war by the Chinese clearly had deeper effects than the POWs could initially comprehend, and when they found out, it was too late. In the beginning many prisoners found this whole procedure just childish, and were inclined to take it merely as something of a joke, but without them being able to realize it, the situation of being subjected constantly to the criticism of one's comrades became humiliating. That a grown-up person should publicly discuss one's habits or inclinations -- some of them of very private nature -- confess one's faults, receive strong criticism for insignificant misdemeanours, will not be indeed in the course of time anything to be considered childish or playful: it simply will be experienced as insulting. This continuing feeling of humiliation became crucial in the gradual psychological break-up of the prisoners' personalities. Furthermore, this ongoing process of "criticism and self-criticism" was bound to cause mistrust for one's own comrades: it was the tactics of "divide and conquer" as the ancient Romans would have called it. ("Criticism and self-criticism" were also widely applied during China's "Cultural Revolution" starting in 1966, as a method of "re-education".) Links: (pHinnWeb can't guarantee the continuing validity of all these) http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Brainwashing http://hometown.aol.com/shawdan/dark-side.htm http://www.lincoln.ac.nz/hals/phil303/skeptic/mindcont.htm http://www.religioustolerance.org/brain_wa.htm http://web.pagans.net/paganpages/library/archive/brainwash.methods.txt http://www.geocities.com/TimesSquare/Castle/7727/brain.html http://www.geocities.com/TimesSquare/Castle/7727/brain2.html http://cti.itc.virginia.edu/~jkh8x/soc257/lectures/influence/ http://www.4degreez.com/free_thought/brainwash.html
http://cultawarenessnetwork.org/ http://wis.i8.com/ http://www.geocities.com/Athens/Olympus/8393/Answer_liar.htm http://rickross.com/mind_control.html http://www.pattyhearst.com/ http://www.icehouse.net/zodiac/hearst/ http://home.swbell.net/kkmartin/ciabwash.htm http://users.snip.net/~drsteve/Articles/Building_Resistance.htm http://www.disinfo.com/disinfo?p=folder&title=Mind+Control http://www.mk.net/~mcf/ http://www.mindspring.com/~txporter/ http://www.netti.fi/~makako/mind/ http://www.freespeech.org/karma/library.htm#brainwash http://www.uia.org/uiademo/hum/h0865.htm http://www.csj.org/ http://www.freedomofmind.com/ http://www.icon.fi/usk-uhri/aivopesu.html http://www.icdc.com/~paulwolf/cointel.htm http://www.phinnweb.org/neuro/propaganda/ http://www.phinnweb.org/neuro/mkultra.html Bibliography
Spiritual Responsibility: Avoiding Abuses and Pitfalls Along the Path
Copyright © 1995 All Rights Reserved
practices and religious traditions. Secondly. in order to help my clients see how destructive cult leaders and their groups were deviating from core values. Sometimes. I asked my friend. I am a member of an independent Jewish congregation in Brookline. my focus is on helping the person to think for themselvesto validate each person's right to be an individual. with talents and abilities intended to be used by us to help the greater community. share and are very involved with doing service to the community. mind and strength and love your neighbor as yourself. In a desire to be clear about my own spiritual orientation (with no interest in trying to convert anyone). dance. This was never the case. My intention was always to add perspectives from respected people from all the major world religions into the introduction. some people looked at Surya's introduction and jumped to a false conclusion that I had abandoned my Judaism and become a buddhist. I always try my best to address my client's interests and needs. chant. not my own. study. feelings and freedom of choice. (S)He would have made us incapable of disobedience.tbzbrookline. It is my belief that if God wanted us to be mind-controlled slaves. The rabbi is Moshe Waldoks and the orientation is one of Jewish renewal.org )." At the congregation. I have been a member there since 1999 and I can truly say that I have felt I have found my spiritual "home. Massachusetts called Temple Beth Zion (www. grow and participate at their own speed. If asked. I cannot be all things to all people. The rabbis are non-dogmatic and encourage questions and demonstrate responsibility and accountability. at the end of each Friday night Shabbat service. and he graciously wrote an introduction for me from a Buddhist perspective. My counseling approach is custom tailored to each client's background and current needs. we pray. it is a necessity for me to understand a good deal about many religious traditions. mind control . There is joy. sing. and hopefully this will be done in the coming months. meditate. and my belief that Judaism. However. to get in touch with their own thoughts. We are interested in inclusivity and not being exclusive. in my role as a professional counselor. the first officially ordained western Tibetan buddhist lama to give his perspective.by Steven Hassan and Lama Surya Das Preface This article offers some vital "consumer" guidelines and specific questions that should be asked when considering any involvement with a spiritual group. we recite a prayer of peace from one of the other world religious traditions before reciting the Jewish prayer for peace. I tell my client that I believe that God want us to have free will and to have the freedom to choose to follow God. For example. I disclose my belief in God. Christianity and Islam (as well as other wisdom traditions) are all based on two fundamental commandments: Love God with all your heart. being an expert on cults. Unfortunately. Also. I tell my client that I believe we were intended to each be unique individuals. lama Surya Das. although in my spiritual journey I have tried to learn about other traditions. You might wonder what my orientation might be when I am counseling someone from a destructive religious cult? First and foremost. There is humor. There is a sense of a vibrant spiritual community. The focus in on encouraging each member to learn.
The focus is on offering a grounded. I have devoted over twenty five years of my life in spiritual practice. whenever I am called on to counsel an individual from a Christian Bible cult like Kip McKean's International Churches of Christ (ICC)not to be confused with the mainstream Church of Christ or the United Church of Christ. Again. The key is empowering people to think for themselves. I can call on my friend. I think it is very important for the ex-member to speak with Catholic representatives to help neutralize the indoctrination. it will take many weeks or months before they feel ready to investigate anything spiritual. 2002 Introductions by Lama Surya Das and Steven Hassan Lama Surya Das As a Westerner who has become a fully ordained Tibetan Buddhist lama. and very meaningful for me. Rev. For example. healthy recovery includes actively participating in a spiritual practice and community. if a person was raised Catholic and was recruited into the ICC. For example. gratifying. but to do what they want to do. so that we may help as many people as possible. with their heavy anti-Catholic bias. Bob Pardon) to assist me in addressing theological and Biblical issues. One of stated biases as a counselor is to encourage the individual to understand their own spiritual rootsas a necessary part of regaining a solid footing. This goes for Jewish cult ministries too. I am very interested in receiving suggestions and feedback about this article and this website. I usually ask former cult members to assist me as well as other experts. the focus must be for the individual to reevaluate what the he or she has been indoctrinated to believe.as well as a licensed counselor is not enough. Tom Ferrick. To promote and encourage reality-testing. I will only accept cases in which the families agrees that I am not being hired to "get the person back to their religion". Helping to bring a rich religious tradition to the West has been exciting. the healthy choice is to not believeand choose humanism or agnosticism. Likewise. orthodox theological perspective. I have grave concerns about any cult counselors who use their own religious orientation to "save" cult members into their one "true" church or religious institution. not to proselytize. and teaching others how to further their own practice. I ask an orthodox Christian (often my minister friend. establishing meditation centers and monasteries. I think the focus must begin on dealing with the cult mind control issues. enabling the person to think for themselves. For others. in an effort to continue to make it improve. For still others. To this end. However. For more information about my approach please read the Frequently Asked Questions about the Strategic Interaction Approach. the individual is encouraged to continue on (if they want to) their spiritual journey. For many. For this reason. after the counseling succeeds in achieving this purpose. So. when a religion . Humanist chaplain at Harvard. Steven Hassan January 29.
depending too much on leaders and authority figures. Yet. resisting the wish of leave-takers to depart. Awareness of these issues can become extremely significant. of conforming. He added. messiahs. As a leader. All groups exhibit certain characteristic problems.makes a transition from one culture to another. dark forces in our psyche drive us . Newsweek was entitled "The Search for the Sacred: America's Quest for Spiritual Meaning. and mind-controlling groups." It seems safe to say that most people are seeking something. therapists. Yet are we as aware of the more subtle. The less conscious we are." Motivation and intention are determining factors in the result of our actions. there is fertile ground for all sorts of new developments. Each decision you make ought to be motivated by compassion. and aggressive proselytizing can easily turn into fanaticism. . The cover article in the Nov. exploitative teachers. and why. and even fascism. of the security and comfort of belonging. so we become. where. I wish to be aware of my own responsibility in helping people to find themselves and experience that which is wholesome. these characteristics are genuine cause for concern. the more the unacknowledged and unknown. dependence. prophets. "Be creative. feeling superior and even self-righteous. Great good has been brought forth by new religious groups in recent decades. Sectarianism. The emergence of new groups and intentional communities has doubtless accomplished far more good than harm. If and when they become destructive and damaging. When I first began teaching Buddhism six years ago. both positive and negative. In fact. Buddha said. Along with the flourishing spiritual marketplace come abusive gurus. 1994. "As we think. etc." The magazine reported: "Fifty-eight percent of Americans polled feel the need to experience spiritual growth." Lord Acton wrote. the freer and more consciously aware we can be regarding what we do in life. authoritarianism.often driving us where we might not wish to go. "Power tends to corrupt and absolute power corrupts absolutely. extraordinarily important. seeking totalistic solutions to existential problems. I am disturbed by certain patterns of abuses that routinely occur along the spiritual path. not to convert others. Seek to contribute to others. and beneficial. But how. of joining. of feeling part of things? The more deeply we experience and realize our own inalienable connectedness and integral place in the universe. insularity. useful. almost addictive joys of believing. and whom we choose to associate with. as ever." We are all aware of the dangers of placing anyone or anything upon a pedestal and the disillusionment that almost inevitably ensues. and the misuse of power. and with whom we explore our spiritual and personal growth remains. and the toooften attendant sorrows and disappointments? Are we aware of the seductions of surrendering ourselves to something seemingly greater than us. most of us routinely participate in some form or other of cultic behavior: repressing dissent. Few today are ignorant of the dangers and corrupting influence of dogma. the Dalai Lama himself told me not to be afraid to make mistakes. 28th. but to continue to learn from them. devaluing outsiders. which is why I am writing this article and researching this subject. We have been through an intense era of social change that has given rise to alternatives and new forms of all kinds. while sidestepping the rest. for how long.
endorse basic human rights.rather than focusing on their purported beliefs . and harmonious future to be possible. but on experience. For a sane. if they behave ethically and provide choice without undue. very different from what he wanted to believe it was. hypnosis) techniques. uses the term cultic when describing the behavior of certain early followers of the Buddha. In the sixth century BC. Rely not on theory. Most human beings uphold blatant irrational beliefs. Herbert Guenther. Do not believe in traditions because they have been handed down for many generations. He is now a licensed mental health counselor in Boston and has worked for nearly two decades to help educate the public about the dangers of destructive mind control cults. and experience of immense interest. who mistakenly worshipped the man rather than the truth of his message and the enlightenment he embodied and taught. Many scholars and researchers in this field. This sort of diagnostic mental health approach to the actions of groups and individuals . being someone who values the spirit and regularly practices meditation and prayer. His work also involves helping individuals and their families heal from abusive involvements. coercive influence. I have become aware of Steven Hassan. for better or for worse. He is also no stranger to spirituality and to alternatives to mainstream religion. He made the decision to leave the organization and expose its illegal and unethical activities. to objectively evaluate a belief system from within it. It is difficult. like ourselves. he came to realize that the Moon organization was. I personally have found Steve's perspective. As a full time member of a religious order. Dr. Yet it can often seem unfair to judge belief systems from the point of view of an outside observer.seems quite relevant in understanding what is happening in society and in our own minds today regarding various new movements. Rely not on the words of the teaching. and support individuals and groups following their own way. I think that we must be very honest with ourselves and each other. In my endeavor to learn more about the mostly unexamined dark side of the spiritual marketplace. After a serious car accident and numerous days of counseling. They need not feel that way. but on the spirit of the words. Do not believe in anything simply because you have heard it. . being both fascinating and beneficial. Steve was deceptively recruited into a front group of the Moon organization in the early 1970s and spent more than two years in the cult as one of its American leaders. work. Better that we scrutinize ourselves and our own groups regarding our own weaknesses and learn from them rather than have them blow up in our faces later. respect religious beliefs and religious systems and can appreciate diversity. and engender leadership (not merely followership) in others. The historical Buddha himself forbade his followers from making images of him. if not impossible. Some groups may feel threatened by scientific research on cultic behavior and mind control (thought-reform. in reality. the foremost contemporary Buddhist scholar. but on the teaching. bringing out the best in each and all of us. healthy. brainwashing. the historical Buddha said: Rely not on the teacher/person.We must learn from the past if we do not want to keep repeating our mistakes. author of the well-known book Combatting Cult Mind Control.
I also want to caution you not to become blinded by the truth and power of words either. I offer the following thoughts. While seeking truth. I am aware of at least one non-Buddhist destructive group which uses this same quote from Buddha and uses it to recruit people into a state of blind obedience and servitude. and human rights today. and even a decent life. and to communicate how things actually are . as exemplified by Jim Jones. Do not believe in anything because it is written in your religious books. But after observation and analysis. Concepts are not reality. As a person who has spent almost two decades researching and considering this topic.if we are to live a sane. In the other direction. and create virtual slaves. Since mind control techniques are not inherently good or evil. These techniques can also be used to destroy individuality. then accept it and live up to it. I think that if we can enjoy authentic public discourse and free inquiry into the matters that concern us. Steven Hassan Whenever the subject of mind control comes up. they can be used ethically and practically to enhance our lives. but a mere shadow of it . an almost inevitable discussion ensues about family systems. democracy.the map is not the territory. The Buddha exhorts us "to be a lamp unto ourselves. righteous. promoting understanding and choice while respecting an individual's integrity. that one's innate purity of heart is the sole refuge. Do not believe in anything merely on the authority of your teachers and elders. expand choices. Then even stumbling blocks can become stepping stones along the way. David Koresh. mind control is regarded as destructive and constricts understanding and choice while undermining personal integrity. to think. advertising. let us not overlook the simple virtues of honesty and ethical behavior. All influence processes can be visualized as falling somewhere along a continuum. to know for ourselves. . when you find that anything agrees with reason and is conducive to the good and the benefit of one and all. we must endeavor in our discussions to explore. we must remember that the words we use each have different associations for each of us. They exist to serve totalistic dictators." Overgeneralizations like this obscure important distinctions. People can be deceptively manipulated and indoctrinated to distrust their ability to feel. and the even the Catholic Church. and to cultivate our creativity and individuality. not to serve the people. Kalama Sutra (ancient Buddhist text) Lest we misunderstand each other. I have heard people say time and time again that "everything is mind control. and to make mature decisions. salespeople. A great confusion currently exists concerning how to make meaningful distinctions. and Adolf Hitler. In order for Buddha's words to have real meaning. In one direction of the continuum." I hope that the following pages will elucidate some of the spiritual issues that are part of an ongoing discussion about freedom. the military. stunt personal growth. Destructive cults want to control people to enable them to expand their temporal power and raise money. mind control techniques can be regarded as positive and constructive. they must be applied behaviorally on a daily basis.Do not believe anything because it is spoken and rumored by many.
I believe they can be very useful and liberating in terms of unfreezing one's own habitual conditioning. Behaviorally. They have spent large amounts of money in public relations campaigns and have even funded publications and conferences to support their positions. I have had to do some very intense personal reflection. I have personally been subjected to incredible harassment. I am put down by some people who dislike the fact that I believe in and publicly defend spiritual practices such as prayer and meditation. it seems. The right to believe whatever you want should be upheld. I refuse to be silent. I can say without a doubt that a good deal of my personal spiritual experience was valid and had a beneficial impact on my development. They have also expended great effort to do propaganda campaigns to attack former members and critics in an effort to neutralize the dissemination of factual information. Charismatic leaders often stray into temptation to exploit their power over others in dangerous ways. not with the power of love. However. sleep deprivation. intuitive ways of knowing. It appears that they are afraid to trust anything that can't be analyzed and proven "scientifically. I have had to sort out the good experiences from the bad while a member of the Moon cult. I had some basic beliefs to return to as a kind of stable base. The position that religious groups should not be scrutinized is most vigorously promoted by organizations that have notoriously bad histories of abuse. systematic attempts to character assassinate me. While I have been subjected to nuisance law suits. True spirituality demands personal awareness and responsibility. and trust in non-analytic. my core spirituality preceded my Moonie indoctrination. On another extreme. defensive and even paranoid. I have had to really examine myself thoroughly and consciously evaluate my beliefs and actions." Their capacity to fully develop. linear model for understanding. In retrospect. solitude. and so when I left that group. Some people angrily tell me that all religion is bad and all religious leaders are dishonest." It is lamentable that so many people have had such bad experiences. not with some external authority figure. silence. I suppose that I should feel good that destructive cults attack me so blatantly as proof that I am being effective. Those people. I feel sorry for people who have adopted a rigid posture toward life which will only validate an analytic. Due to my own cult experience. wonder. Fortunately. have "thrown the baby out with the bath water. and I offer proof for what I say. . I choose to exercise my First Amendment right to speak freely. all relationships and involvements can be evaluated by objective criteria such as the United Nations Universal Declaration of Human Rights (available at any library or through Amnesty International). I believe that love is stronger than fear and that truth is stronger than lies. and other techniques have long been used by different religious traditions. The locus of control for the use of mind control techniques should lie within our selves. They become unethical and destructive when they are used in combination with deception and a diminution of personal choice and integrity. behaviors must be scrutinized in order to protect human liberty. and efforts to intimidate me to stop my criticisms. I know that fasting. in my opinion. and grow are seriously diminished. with extraordinary lies manufactured about me that I kidnap and even torture people to renounce their religious beliefs. Without imagination. have had some really bad experiences and. take risks. As a result. people can become cynical.They desire to rule through power. For example.
Lacking an objective. rather than a hostile universe. compassion.000 years doesn't make it so. if I had a magic wand and I could be doing now what I really would like to do." Ask yourself: When I started doing "x" what were my goals? What were my expectations? Where did I think I would be in one year? Five years. and respect. An atmosphere where questions and skepticism are accepted and even encouraged is a good sign of a healthy group. I believe that it is up to each person to take responsibility for his or her own life. I also strongly recommend that periodically . I have: y y y y Helped to compile some basic assessment questions that can help people to "reality-test. I believe that there are many legitimate paths to developing one's spirituality. . What I mean by this is acknowledging and accepting feelings.a "vacation" be taken to step out of your environment and "reality test. These were taken from Chapter 22 of his seminal book Thought Reform and the Psychology of Totalism. Also. for me. I am very liberal and open minded about new religions. Of course. I believe that true spiritual growth demands awareness and responsibility and not just blind submission to another human being or to the dogma of some unseen deity. People must learn to be more discerning and to not merely accept passively. he or she will be honest and forthright in all communications and actions. However. thoughts. Likewise. Ten years? If I knew then (at the beginning of "x") what I know now. not fragmentation.My own spiritual path has shown me the importance of balance and the necessity of being in touch with your thoughts and feelings. absolute reference point for "truth. why not? What would you do differently? If I hadn't done "x. Summarized Robert Jay Lifton's eight themes of thought reform based on his research of the Communist "re-education" programs of Mao Tse-tung." I prefer to believe in the goodness of life because it feels "right" and because the alternative would be too bleak. the more caution I recommend before becoming involved. I have come to the conclusion that. the more extreme the claim is by the leader and the doctrine.1961). what would that be? In the following pages. what makes sense is wholeness." what would I have likely done? Also. I believe if an individual is legitimate. For me. mediums. Therefore. For example. rather than fostering a split of mind/body brings more satisfying results. just because it is new doesn't make it healthy or bone fide. contrary to the disinformation put out against me by destructive cults." Summarized the four basic components of mind control from my book Combatting Cult Mind Control to help provide a basis for evaluation. I have been impressed by Western spiritual leaders like Lama Surya Das and Jack Kornfield who demonstrate through their actions that their quest for enlightened living and healthy group process is achievable today. and channelers today who are making claims of special wisdom and spiritual knowledge. and needs rather than denying them or pretending that they do not exist. there will be no heavy pressure for quick and full commitments. There are so many psychics. just because a person claims to be the most spiritually advanced being on earth in the past 25. Summarized the three stages of mind control by Kurt Lewin as described by Edgar Schein in Coercive Persuasion (Norton. spiritual traditions that focus on healing the mind/body relationship and on the inseparable relationship between the sacred and the profane. A spiritual leader will exemplify those qualities that show love.at least once or twice each year . would I still do "x"? If not. I choose to believe in a basically friendly universe. Love rather than fear and guilt should be the prime motivator.
A legitimate question or concern demands a respectful response. but with an appreciation for the present and a clear vision for our future on the spaceship Earth we cohabit. you might want to read a copy of the United Nations Universal Declaration of Human Rights. We must become sensitive to the tactic that illigitimate leaders use by turning our questions or comments around and using them blame or shame us into obedience. they will remain like skeletons in our psyches until the day they are dealt with and resolved. gentleness. master. We must use wisdom. hypnosis. not just an ideal. and courage to guide us in upholding our integrity.I hope that reading and thinking about these perspectives will help to shed light on the behaviors of individuals and organizations. Who is the leader? What are his/her background and qualifications? Have you relied solely on trust that all of the information you were given is true or have you done independent investigation? Do you feel pressure to accept and not question at all? Is it possible that there are misrepresentations or falsehoods? Is there external corroboration for extraordinary claims of accomplishment or are they simply his/her say-so? If "miracles" have been performed. (Additionally. swami. prophet. these virtues must be consistently demonstrated. praying." such as magic tricks. We must also not look at the past and traditions blindly. self inquiry. Unselfishness. gentleness. are you afraid to trust your ability to discern the truthfulness of what you learn? . We must not allow our desires to know "Absolute Truth" to blind us from observing obvious discrepancies in our teacher's behaviors.? If there is a former leader or member. kindness. They will never go away permanently. have you sought him or her out to hear for yourself critical information? If not. and other spiritual practices. affirmations. Questions to Help the Assessment Process 1. When individuals claim to be spiritually more developed.) Unless we all acknowledge our questions now. and compassion should be a basic living principle. even if we do years of chanting. not evasion or coersion. etc. and put themselves in the role of guru. can they be replicated under open observation or even under scientific conditions? Are there other explanations for the "miracles.
ask yourself if you knew this information before you became involved. It is never appropriate for teachers. Anyone should be able to say "no. this is an extreme violation of integrity. If they do not prove themselves. make sure that your desire "to believe" doesn't simply activate the common psychological defense mechanisms: denial. the burden of proof is on the leader to demonstrate his or her superiority. Is total submission and obedience required? Any relationship that demands giving up one's personal integrity and conscience is dangerous and leads to totalitarianism. therapists. even television or shopping? Does the leader have emotional outbursts? Does the leader physically abuse followers? Does the leader drive expensive cars and wear expensive clothes while extolling the virtues of renunciation? Does the leader financially exploit followers by expecting them to live in poverty while he or she indulges in luxury? . they are probably not worthy of your commitment and devotion. not on members to disprove it. alcohol. minds." Is he or she a "trust bandit. Are there exclusive claims made to wisdom." stealing hearts. Be wary of those who advocate "the ends justify the means. Also. and wishful thinking. 4. compassion. A person who uses fear and phobia indoctrination to control followers demonstrates insecurity and lack of spiritual maturity. Does the leader demonstrate psychological problems and awareness of their existence? Does the leader have addictions to power.If you find yourself saying that you don't care if there are major deceptions. and truth? If so. 3. Many followers are incredibly vulnerable to this and unable to resist sexual intimacy. and pocketbooks for his or her own ends? 5. drugs. a legacy of allegations against him/her or a history of misconduct? If there are allegations of misconduct against the leader. bodies. Any person who claims to be "superior" but does not practice what they preach is of questionable character. This is especially true in the area of sexuality. If a leader claims to be celibate and allegations are made that the leader engaged in inappropriate sex. sex. love. A truly "developed" spiritual being exudes love. and humility. they will stand up to the scrutiny of objective evaluation. knowledge. rationalization. or spiritual masters to take advantage of a power differential over followers. There is never incongruency between words and deeds. If a doctrine is true or a person is truly spiritually advanced. justification. It is grossly unethical to engage in sexual relations with someone who has placed their trust in as a teacher/advisor/master. Does he/ she have a criminal record. souls. It must be investigated vigorously. would you have even bothered to make a commitment of time and money? 2." especially when it clearly serves their own selfinterest. the responsible follower must seek out the negative information and the sources of that information to evaluate the truth.
1989) 6. In this way. not proactive. and test the dogma and the environment they are being asked to accept. discriminate. does it actually provide access? The only way to know is to ask to see the records. it is a clear sign of information control. If you are afraid to ask. Are questions and doubts permitted within the organization? A healthy spiritual environment must engage individual followers at their level of experience and should encourage them to feel and think and therefore question their beliefs and exercise good decision-making. between what his or her personal issues are and what might be an unhealthy environment. expectations of perfection and suppression of human needs. What structural checks and balances exist within the organization to prevent abuse of power? Are there divisive sectarian biases. the follower can investigate. Harper/Hazelden. lack of clear boundaries. Beyond Codependency. tunnel visioned. what does this say about the atmosphere of the group? 8. (Beattie. Codependency includes: obsessively trying to control others. Controlling information is one of the most essential components of mind control. Is the organization open or closed? Are there organizational secrets? Are there "in" groups and "out" groups? Are there restricted teachings for initiates only? Are there secret texts and publications "for your eyes only"? Is there real financial accountability? If a group says that you can look at its accounting records.Is the group or leader's driveway habitually filled with luxury cars while ordinary people find him or her inaccessible and unreachable? Does the leader ever encourage deception or use deception as a "technique" to trick followers into so-called correct thinking and understanding? Codependent behavior by a spiritual teacher should be a warning sign of danger. being reactive. obsessive worrying and denial. If intense pressure is used to dissuade people who wish to talk with former members or critics. allowing people to hurt and use them. 7. even in the name of interdenominational ecumenicism and universality? Is there an independent "ethics"committee to challenge and change policies of the group? .
Where. Need to report thoughts. what structure exists to correct them? Can anyone legitimately question the actions of the leader without threat of emotional withdraw or fear of expulsion to "hell"? Do the rich and powerful get preferential treatment? Are "indulgences" (spiritual pardons) sold? Is there a "code of silence" against unethical behavior of leaders? I. Major time commitment required for indoctrination sessions and group rituals 3. How much sleep the person is able to have e. entertainment. feelings and activities to superiors 5. Distorting information to make it acceptable c. Rigid rules and regulations 8. colors. 6. Outright lying . Information Control 1.If there are abuses or injustices. What clothes. vacations 2. Rewards and punishments (behavior modification techniques. hairstyles the person wears c.positive and negative). Deliberately holding back information b. Need to ask permission for major decisions 4. how and with whom the member lives and associates with b. What food the person eats. Individualism discouraged. Behavior Control 1. Financial dependence f. drinks. Regulation of individual's physical reality a. Little or no time spent on leisure. group think prevails 7. Use of deception a. Need for obedience and dependency II. and rejects d. adopts.
journals. them (inside vs. Information varies at different levels and missions within pyramid c. Thought Control 1. feelings. Map = Reality b. Extensive use of cult generated information and propaganda a. Reporting deviant thoughts. b. They function to reduce complexities of experience into trite. Spying on other members is encouraged a. Only "good" and "proper" thoughts are encouraged. Leadership decides who "needs to know" what 4. These "special" words constrict rather than expand understanding. Information about "sins" used to abolish identity boundaries b. magazines. Newsletters. radio b. Misquotations. platitudinous "buzz words". rejection of rational analysis. statements taken out of context from non-cult sources 6. Keep members so busy they don't have time to think 3. Us vs. Adopt "loaded" language (characterized by "thought-terminating clichés"). Words are the tools we use to think with. articles. 4. critical thinking. no forgiveness or absolution III. Information is not freely accessible b. Need to internalize the group's doctrine as "Truth" a. audio tapes. Black and White thinking c. magazines. Good vs. videotapes. Critical information c. evil d. etc. Unethical use of confession a. TV. 3. outside) 2. Former members d. newspapers. constructive criticism.2. Compartmentalization of information. Outsider vs. Books. Pairing up with "buddy" system to monitor and control b. Access to non-cult sources of information minimized or discouraged a. Thought-stopping techniques (to shut down "reality testing" by stopping "negative" thoughts and allowing only "good" thoughts). . and actions to leadership 5. Insider doctrines a. Past "sins" used to manipulate and control.
doctrine. 2. . Fear of the "outside" world c. No critical questions about leader. Fear of losing one's "salvation" e. Your family 3. Social guilt c. actions b. Praying e. Your affiliations 5. never the leader's or the group's. No alternative belief systems viewed as legitimate. rationalization. feelings. wishful thinking b. 3. 7. Emotional Control 1. Identity guilt 1. Singing or humming 5. or policy seen as legitimate 6. Excessive use of fear a. Who you are (not living up to your potential) 2. Fear of enemies d. Extremes of emotional highs and lows. Make the person feel like if there are ever any problems it is always their fault. Meditating d. Excessive use of guilt a. Speaking in "tongues" f. Ritual and often public confession of "sins". Phobia indoctrination : programming of irrational fears of ever leaving the group or even questioning the leader's authority. justification.a. fulfilled future without being in the group. Fear of disapproval 5. Fear of thinking independently b. 6. or useful IV. Fear of leaving the group or being shunned by group f. Chanting c. Your past 4. Your thoughts. Historical guilt 4. The person under mind control cannot visualize a positive. Manipulate and narrow the range of a person's feelings. Denial. good.
Informally by members. rock and roll. Sensory deprivation and/or sensory overload c. books. Physiological manipulation 1. Meditation. praying. Never a legitimate reason to leave. Fear of being rejected by friends. "10. and family. people who leave are: "weak". Formally within indoctrination sessions 2. Linguistic double binds. peers. Terrible consequences will take place if you leave: "hell". "unspiritual". Sleep deprivation 2. "brainwashed by family. "incurable diseases".000 reincarnations". "demon possession". "insanity". Age regression 2. . Shunning of leave takers. Hypnosis 1.a. Redefine individual's past (implant false memories. Creation and imposition of new "identity" done step by step 1. Use of Behavior Modification techniques (Norton. "undisciplined". From the group's perspective. use of suggestion 5. Unfreezing a. sex. "worldly". singing e. Privacy deprivation 3. etc. seduced by money. chanting. "suicide". tapes. "accidents". Get person to question self identity f. No happiness or fulfillment "outside"of the group b. forget positive memories of the past) 2. c. counselors". b. The Three Stages of Gaining Control of the Mind [Adapted from Kurt Lewin's three-stage model as described in Coercive Persuasion 1961) by Edgar Schein] 1. Story-telling and metaphors 4. etc. Visualizations 3. d. Changing a. Change of diet d. Disorientation / confusion b.
Rewards and punishments 2. Give up meaningful possessions and donate assets 3. new clothing. Lifton's work was the outgrowth of his studies for military intelligence of Mao Tse-Tung's "thought-reform programs" commonly known as "brainwashing. New identity reinforced. Not just communication between people but communication within people's minds to themselves. Lifton wrote that any group has some aspects of these points. fundraise. seminars. Lifton's Thought Reform Model Adapted from Robert Jay Lifton's Thought Reform and the Psychology of Totalism (Norton. new language. monotony. move in with members b. Start doing cult activities: recruit. decrease contact or cut off friends and family 2. However. Refreezing a. Use of confession and testimonials 3. New name. Milieu Control Environment control and the control of human communication. rhythm 2. 1961: reprinted 1989 by the University of North Carolina Press) Dr. visualizations e. retreats. group activities Remember. but rather creates a new one to suppress the old identity (John-John and John-cult). praying. Indoctrination continues: Workshops. Excessive chanting. decreeing. Pairing up with new role models. Separate from the past. Repetition. . 1. old identity surrendered 1. Use of thought-stopping techniques 3." In Chapter 22. then there is unhealthy thought reform taking place. new hairstyle.1. if an environment has all eight of these points and implements them in the extreme. Lifton outlines eight criteria for when any environment can be understood as exercising "thought-reform" or mind control.cult mind control does not erase the person's old identity. new "family" c. Mystical manipulation d. Use of hypnosis and other mind-altering techniques 1. Control of environment c. individual studies. buddy system d.
The Demand for Purity The creation of a guilt and shame milieu by holding up standards of perfection that no human being can accomplish." Experiences are engineered to appear to be spontaneous. in fact. this summary will motivate you to read the entire Chapter 22. that now there are 3rd. A totalist group uses totalist language to make reality compressed into black or white-"thought-terminating clichés. 7. 3. The words constrict rather than expand human understanding. People are punished and learn to punish themselves for not living up to the group's ideals. . The Cult of Confession The environment demands that personal boundaries are destroyed and that every thought. and 5th generation mind-control groups and the patterns have evolved and become more refined and sophisticated. It is considered to be one of the most important descriptions of political mind-control programs. Hopefully. 4. Loading the Language Controlling words help to control people's thoughts. in fact. 4th. 5. or action that does not conform with the group's rules be confessed. little or no privacy. No questions of the dogma are permitted. People misattribute their experiences to spiritual causes when. No alternative viewpoint is allowed. The Sacred Science The group's belief is that their dogma is absolutely scientific and morally true." Nonmembers cannot simply understand what believers are talking about. In political regimes. Group belief supersedes conscience and integrity. Doctrine Over Person No matter what a person experiences. There is no other legitimate alternative to the group. this permits state executions. The Dispensing of Existence The group decides who has a right to exist and does not. it is the belief of the dogma which is important. feeling. 8. 6.2. when. It is also important to note. if not the entire book. Mystical Manipulation Everyone is manipulating everyone. they are contrived to have a deliberate effect. under the belief that it advances the "ultimate purpose. they are concocted by human beings.
Depression 7. Survivor guilt Taken from: How to Survive Trauma by Benjamin Colodziin .T. controlling behavior 5. Aggressive. Episodes of rage 9. asthma. Problems with decision-making.S. backaches.) 1. Vigilance and scanning 2. Retarded psychological development. Sleep disorders/ nightmares 12.This booklet was prepared by Steven Hassan with Lama Surya Das. Extreme identity confusion 2. Fear 11. Dissociative "flashback"experiences 12.personal & work 15. or seminars. skin problems) 7. Substance abuse 10.D. MA 02145 Common Psychological Problems of Victims of Cult Mind Control 1. Psychosomatic symptoms (headaches. Interruption of memory and concentration 6. Dissociative states .S. Guilt 10. Grieving loss of friends.) 6. Depression 5. Spiritual "rape" of the soul Symptoms of Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (P.loss of psychological power 9. Elevated startle response 3. Blunted affect or psychic numbing 4. Eating disorders 13. Lack of trust/ fear of intimacy and commitment. Insomnia 13. Intrusive recall 11. Sexual problems / Sexuality Issues 14. workshops.dependency 8."floating" (getting triggered back into cult mode) 3. If you wish to contact us regarding counseling. Suicidal ideation 14. Harassment and threats from group 16. Generalized anxiety 8. family 17.D. Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (P. Panic and anxiety attacks 4. please do so at: PO Box 45223 Somerville.T.
to standing bound with a rope around the neck such that falling would result in strangulation. with its escalating nuclear capability. Description The prisoners in Korea first suffered severe physical and psychological stress. Isolation from others. Interrogations that lasted for weeks. for any form of desired cooperation. with leaders separated from troops. with rewards for initially small collaborations. Demands were carefully paced. when American prisoners of war who had been incarcerated by the Chinese returned to America espousing communist ideals. religious expression banned and mail withheld and most other forms of cognitive stimulation removed. Small rewards. and the thought of Americans being converted to communism against their will was terrifying for many.Brainwashing Techniques > Conversion > Brainwashing Description | Discussion | See also Brainwashing as a term and modern concept originated in the Korean War. ranging from starvation to being incarcerated in tiny boxes for days and even months at a time. was causing 'red under the bed' paranoia. They also took care to show prisoners that all decisions they made were their own choice. where the interrogator lived with the prisoner and was often very friendly. including: y y y y y Daily lectures that lasted for hours about the perils of Capitalism and the benefits of Communism with enforced participation. in particular having letters from home withheld and being told that their families did not care about them. Sleep was also regularly disturbed. . such as food. followed by escalating requests. Humiliation and enforced public confessions. Their social structure was also broken up. clothing and improvements in living conditions. including self-criticism over breaking of trivial rules. This was particularly frightening at the time as the specter of the communist Russian USSR. Meanwhile constant attempts were made to recruit them to the Communist cause.
Likewise.it was the combined effect of many methods over a period of time that led to the conversion of the prisoners to belief in Communism. a small morsel of food would seem like a feast. This is attributed to several factors. if an officer died. to a starving person. When you are drowning in deep dread. Wearing off . Overall. Other studies have shown that those who most feared capitulation were actually those who were in least danger. Subsequent studies concluded that there was no single method that led to brainwashing . Critical factors Critical factors that increased the chance of people being 'brainwashed' included a negative or confused sense of identity and self doubt.Discussion The overall approach had three main strands. such people would most easily fall into the traps being laid for them. for example isolation and removal of stimuli that led people to seek any intellectual input. but notable. it was difficult to blame what became significant acts on what now seemed like small rewards that were given. even Communist. by the consistency principle. yet none of these succumbed to the brainwashing attempts. small carrot' approach. Secondly. such as a devolving chain of command where. They also learned methods from each other of psychologically detaching themselves from the situation and viewing it all objectively and dispassionately. even if it was a private soldier. would lead to the prisoners to change their beliefs to support their apparent support of Communism. Coupled with a strong sense of guilt and a tendency towards black-and-white thinking. This was particularly true of those with well-integrated and stable personalities. It seems their realization of the dangers gave them sufficient cognitive efforts to resist. fact is that there were also many Turkish prisoners of war. they would then remain faithful to the new ideology for longest. then the man below immediately took charge. this was effectively a 'big stick. When you are in total darkness. you will seek and be grateful for any rescue. First physical and emotional treatment that led to exhaustion. Thirdly. learned helplessness and hence a reduced ability to reason and resist. subtle temptation. This included an unbalanced diet that led further to brain dysfunction. although if these people did convert. a small light will grab your attention. Avoiding brainwashing A less-known. you will grasp at any small straw of hope. When reflecting later about their behavior. When you are hurt. small rewards that encouraged the attribution of cooperation to free will and hence.
he identified the following processes used on them: Assault on identity Aspects of self-identity are systematically attacked. however. Losing the self also leads to weakening of beliefs and values. This has a serious destabilizing effect as people lose a sense of who they are. which are then easier to change. He called the method used thought reform. This is another piece of the jigsaw puzzle of breakdown. From an analysis of two French priests who had been subjected to brainwashing. Guilt Constant arguments that cast the person as guilty of any kind of wrong-doing leads them to eventually feel shame about most things and even feel that they deserve punishment. guilt and self-betrayal eventually leads to them breaking down. Breaking point The constant assault on identity. the effects of brainwashing gradually tend to wear off. building the ground for a new personality to be built. as original values and beliefs that may not have been fully eradicated (and in effect had gone into hiding) start to reassert themselves. much as the manner of the 'nervous breakdown' that people experience for other reasons. They . Without treatment. This helps to separates them from their past.It has also been found that conversion seldom continues forever. the general psychological effects of the trauma caused by the conversion methods can have longer-lasting effects. Away from the controlled environment. Self-betrayal When the person is forced to denounce friends and family. For example the priests were told that they were not real Fathers. Lifton's Brainwashing Processes Techniques > Conversion > Lifton's Brainwashing Processes Assault on identity | Guilt | Self-betrayal | Breaking point | Leniency | The compulsion to confess | The channeling of guilt | Reeducation and logical dishonoring | Progress and harmony | Final confession and rebirth | See also Robert Jay Lifton was one of the early psychologists to study brainwashing and mind control. it both destroys their sense of identity and reinforces feelings of guilt.
By mentally throwing away these acts (in the act of confession) they also are now completing the act of rejecting the whole ideology. If they were taught wrongly. they are then faced with the contrast of the hurt of potential further identity assault against the rescue of leniency. a cigarette or a drink. There also may be exposed to them the opportunity to assuage themselves of their guilt through confession. As the antithesis of the old ideology. even though it is their torturer who is offering the 'kindness'. and just feel the heavy burden of being wrong. Progress and harmony The rejection of the old ideology leaves a vacuum into which the new ideology can be introduced. The captors thus contrast in visible and visceral ways how wonderful the new ideology is as compared to the sins and the pain of the old ideology. Leniency Just at the point when the person is fearing annihilation of the self. it forms a perfect attraction point as the person flees the old in search of a contrasting replacement. Collegiality and calm replaces pain and punishment. The compulsion to confess Having being pulled back from the edge of breakdown. they may effectively be losing a sense of who they are and hence fearing total annihilation of the self. .may cry inconsolably. They may also feel the obligation of exchange in a need to repay the kindness of leniency. then it is their teachers and the ideology that is more at fault. albeit extreme. In those moments of light amongst the darkness. that the person will lose the sense of what. specifically. have convulsive fits and fall into deep depression. This is another form of Hurt and Rescue. This confusion allows the captors to redirect the guilt towards what ever they please. which will typically be having lived a life of wrong and bad action due to living under an ideology which itself is wrong and bad. Reeducation: logical dishonoring The notion that the root cause of their guilt is an externally imposed ideology is a straw at which the confused and exhausted person grasps. further confession about all acts under the ideology are brought out. they are offered a small kindness. they are guilty of. Psychologically. they may well feel a deep sense of gratitude. Thus to assuage their guilt. a brief respite from the assault on their identity. The channeling of guilt The overwhelming sense of guilty and shame that the person is feeling will be so confused by the multiple accusations and assaults on their identity. This progress is accelerated as the new ideology is portrayed as harmonious and ideally suited to the person's needs.
kissing other artefacts and other symbolic acts. Norton & Co. isolation from the ideas. which is the ideology that is being inculcated in them. examples and distractions of the outside world turns the individuals attention to the only remaining form of stimulation. . This often feels.W. Contrast principle.. Lifton's Thought Reform Hurt and Rescue principle. either being strictly filtered or completely cut off. all solemnly performed. 1963. and takes on the full mantle of the new ideology. the person sheds any the final allegiance to the old ideology. The rituals will typically include strong statements made by the person about accepting the new ideology fully and completely. Thought Reform and the Psychology of Totalism. swearing allegiance to its leaders.Final confession and rebirth Faced with the stark contrast of the pain of the past with the rosy glow of the future that the new ideology presents. Confusion principle Lifton's Thought Reform Techniques > Conversion > Lifton's Thought Reform Milieu control | Mystical manipulation | Confession | Self-sanctification through purity | Aura of sacred science | Loaded language | Doctrine over person | Dispensed existence | See also Robert Jay Lifton was one of the early psychologists to study brainwashing and mind control. all anchor them firmly in the new ground. Milieu control All communication with outside world is limited. Saluting flags. See also Robert Jay Lifton.. and offered the following eight methods that are used to change people's minds. and has been described by many. Confession. W. confessing any remaining deep secrets. Inc. He called the method used thought reform. Whether it is a monastery or a behind-closed-doors cult. It may be accompanied by rites of passage as the person is accepted and cemented into the new order. as a form of rebirth.
This creates a tension between the person's actions and their stated belief that the action is bad. Coincidences (which actually may be deliberately engineered) are portrayed as symbolic events. etc. This may be rewarded with promotion within the group to higher levels. and individuals are discouraged from thinking incorrect thoughts. such as saving the world or helping people in need. Attention is given to the problems of out-group people and attributed to their not being in the group. This may be altruistic.) or by giving them new authority within the group. This association of events is used as evidence that the group truly is special and exclusive. Confession Individuals are encouraged to confess past 'sins' (as defined by the group). making them more open to suggestion. as well as confessing sins is exposing vulnerabilities and requires the person to place trust in the group and hence bond with them. This effect may be exaggerated with intense sessions where deep thoughts and feelings are regularly surfaced. master. It may also be selfish. selfish. for example by giving them a new status name (acolyte. When we bond with others. who are taught that such atonement and self-flagellation is a valuable method of reaching higher levels of perfection. they become our friends. and we will tend to adopt their beliefs more easily. which may be meted out by the higher members of the group or even by the person themselves. All things are then attributed and linked to this higher purpose. for example that group members will be saved when others outside the group will perish. Mystical manipulation A part of the teaching is that the group has a higher purpose than others outside the group. Discussion of inner fears and anxieties. The unattainability of the ultimate perfection is used to induce guilt and show the person to be sinful and hence sustain the requirement for confession and obedience to those higher than them in the groups order of perfection. traveller. . immoral and so on. This also has the effect of exhausting people. Not being perfect may be seen as deserving of punishment. Revelations are attributed to spiritual causes. which may be termed evil.This even works at the intrapersonal level. The consistency principle thus leads the person to fully adopt the belief that the sin is bad and to distance themselves from repeating it. particularly if the statement is made publicly. Self-sanctification through purity Individuals are encouraged to constantly push towards an ultimate and unattainable perfection.
where people who are being elevated within the order are given the power of understanding this new language. Insiders are to be saved and elevated. This is particularly effective due to the way we think a lot though language. and any transgression is a sin and hence requires atonement or other forms of punishment. beliefs and values can all thus be cast as being invalid if they conflict with group rules. the beliefs. The dogma of the group is presented as scientifically correct or otherwise unquestionable. Likewise. Existing words are also hijacked and given new and different meaning. whilst those who do right (as defined by the group) are perfect and marvellous. values and words of those outside the group are equally invalid. giving a sense of exclusivity. Rather than being ignored or hidden. weak. The consequence of this is that the person who controls the meaning of words also controls how people think. lost or otherwise to be despised or pitied.Aura of sacred science The beliefs and regulations of the group are framed as perfect. as does consideration of any alternative viewpoints. absolute and non-negotiable. People who leave the group are singled out as particularly evil. The meaning of words are kept hidden both from the outside world. Doctrine over person The importance of the group is elevated over the importance of the individual in all ways. any person within the group may be damned at any time. Rules and processes are therefore to be followed without question. Thus. . black-and-white thinking is embedded in the language. Past experiences. such that wrong-doers are framed as terrible and evil. Dispensed existence There is a very sharp line between the group and the outside world. for the leader. Loaded language New words and language are created to explain the new and profound meanings that have been discovered. In this way. whilst outsiders are doomed to failure and loss (which may be eternal). In fact this conflict can be used as a reason for confession of sins. Along with this comes the importance of the the group's ideas and rules over personal beliefs and values. they are used as examples of how anyone who leaves will be looked down upon and publicly denigrated. Who is an outsider or insider is chosen by the group. The meaning of special words may also be revealed in careful illuminatory rituals. There are no rights of membership except. perhaps.
Any and all aspects of existence within the group is subject to scrutiny and control. Dispensation also goes into all aspects of living within the group. There is no privacy and. Evidence is particularly powerful for disconfirmation and destroying beliefs. If I find out about my partner cheating on me. Such a change can cause a significant emotional response. no free will. and must judge it independently. all faith and trust are instantly destroyed. and consequently work hard to be accepted and not be ejected from the group.People thus have a constant fear of being cast out. Uncertainty .. ultimately. we often disagree and know that they will try to persuade us. Evidence. however. effectively saying that you are either mistaken or a liar. Outsiders who try to persuade the person to leave are doubly feared.. which means we cannot attribute it to their person. comes from outside the other person. If you tell me something.W. W. 1963 Evidence principle Principles > Evidence principle Principle | How it works | So what? Principle I cannot deny what I see with my own eyes. See also Robert Jay Lifton. Norton & Co. I can easily deny it. Inc. Thought Reform and the Psychology of Totalism. How it works In our interactions with others.
In these situations we go into an 'evidence-seeking' mode.Evidence is particularly important when we are uncertain. are of secondary importance. and opinions. even more than legislation. This is used in social situations when we do not know what to do we often look at other people to see what they are doing. Modeling If I want you to behave in some way. Seek objective evidence that cannot be denied. So what? Gather evidence both for your argument and against other arguments. Scientific evidence Science. It is played out in a court where hard evidence is the major player. Strength y y y y y y y y y y y Evidence can be weak or strong and its credibility may depend on its source and medium. I am providing you with social evidence. Disconfirmation is critical and one strong piece evidence can swing an entire case. then if I act that way. This is used by leaders. If the evidence can be doubted or ignored then it will have less strength. where everything is questioned. Increasing evidence that aliens have landed might thus be: A person asserting they have seen them A newspaper report on the landing Photos in the newspaper A national radio broadcast A broadcast by an acknowledged expert TV footage of spacecraft TV footage of the aliens TV interviews with the aliens Meeting the aliens Going with then back to Alpha Centauri Legal evidence The legal system makes great use of evidence. testing each item and determining if there is a good case. Look for things that will shake the other person's beliefs. even of experts. from wartime ministers displaying faith and courage to business leaders who embody new values and working practices. . is based on objective and measurable evidence. A hypothesis is put forward to explain a phenomenon and then both confirming and disconfirming evidence is sought in a wide range of situations (thus showing where the theory does and does not work).
Schema: mental structure to organize and interpret the world. Meaning is context-dependent. Specific theories about inferring meaning y y y y y y y Attention: How we pay attention to things around us. Symbolic Interaction Theory: we derive meaning around symbols. wearing them down with doubt and systematic destruction of their arguments. Personal Construct Theory: constructs that represent understanding. Just-world phenomenon: Good and bad will be rewarded and punished.Deploy the evidence carefully and to a planned strategy. Belief: What and how we believe. . you can use a full-frontal assault. Understanding others: How we make sense of other people. Speech Act Theory: Speaking is acting. General theories of understanding y y y y y y y y y y y y Attribution Theory: we need to attribute cause. Clustering Illusion: Seeing patterns where there are none. Constructivism: we use constructs as perceptual categories. inferring meaning. Discomfort: How we handle discomfort. that supports our ego. Social Representation Theory: special meaning of words to communicate in a group.. Understanding ourselves: How we perceive ourselves. Focusing effect: We pay more attention to some things than others. Theories about meaning. Framing: mental combinations that affect perception. battering them into submission with a powerful stream of incontrovertible evidence. Story Model: We piece together complex situations into stories to build understanding. See also Understanding principle. Attribution: How we attribute cause. For example. You may also plan a longer campaign of attrition. Objectification: we simplify complex things into concrete images. Using evidence Theories about meaning Explanations > Theories > Theories about meaning Here are academic theories about how we make sense of the world.
. and the strength of the emotion is what makes that even significant in our memories. it is about seducing you through things which are similar. Emotional association Emotions are very often associated with events. Phobias happen this way.think 'refreshing world drink'. Instead of highlighting something by showing you something else which is different. I am terrified.See also Association principle Principles > Association principle Principle | How it works | So what? Principle I mentally connect things together. whenever I even hear the word 'spider'. I feel fear. Brands take advantage of this. How it works The connected brain One of the fundamental ways in which our minds work is to link things together. charging off on a butterfly series of associations. This association of emotion with words and events is accentuated if others feel emotion at the same time. and then automatically follow the links I have made. Emotional memories come to mind more easily and so continue to occupy our attention. 'fool'. then the phobia will only be made stronger. I see a spider as a child. The trick of this is to follow the natural tendencies of the mind. I can lead you in any direction I choose. Hmm. leading you along the rutted paths that already groove your thinking. Now. If. 'clown'. 'king' and so on. I can control how you associate. If I say 'elephant' your mind will immediately start thinking 'what's that like?'. See Coca Cola -. to some extent at least. however. If my mother was also scared of the spider (or maybe was the first to feel fear). the opposite of the contrast principle (or perhaps a contrast is an automatic association). for example leaping to 'circus'. Short-cuts Association provides handy short-cuts for thinking. or related in some way. Association is.
we have to obey the social rules. So what? So connect things. we feel a reflected glory. Connect what is already accepted with what you want to be accepted. You can connect emotionally. You can connect in time. They will then follow you. and following immediately with things of which you want to persuade them. If they are famous or powerful. Connect what you want with what they want. One of the most powerful things you can do is to connect personally -. If they are socially undesirable. It also leads to non-stop competition within the pecking order as we seek a mate. . for example making yourself look powerful and attractive. we have found it advantageous to live in groups where we can share the tasks of living. esteem and social power. Even when we stand next to someone we do not know. However.from them to you. we feel tainted and will ignore them or move away. Connect people with their needs and wants. starting with things with which they cannot disagree.A connected society As a species. getting them into a buying frame of mind before presenting what you have to sell. this comes at a price: to be accepted. You can get them to connect visually. we feel connected in some way.
We have family.'Blood is thicker than water' is a common saying. with connected identities. In such a situation. and vice versa.See also Bonding principle Principles > Bonding principle Principle | How it works | So what? Principle I will do what my friends ask of me. whereby we feel an emotional connection with the other person. I am also doing it for the other person. Variable bonds Emotional bonds vary. And a part of friendship is helping one another without having to negotiate an exchange at every turn. It can also happen with family substitutes including employers and other organizations and institutions that we join. the exchange and social capital will balance itself out. Emotional bonding One of the effects of becoming friends is a very human process of bonding. such that our identities are connected together. we build friendships with other people. Bonding also happens with parents and siblings . Primitive bonding In psychoanalytic theory is the principle of the neonatal phase in which an infant . partly because we know that over time. and the degree to which we will help them varies accordingly. if I do something for myself. we have close friends and we have general acquaintances. How it works As social animals.
they will feel as if they are doing it for themselves. but it does mean creating a tension that they want to resolve. Build emotional bonds. Attachment Theory Out with the boys Hurt and Rescue principle Principles > Hurt and Rescue principle Principle | How it works | So what? Principle 'A drowning person will clutch at a straw'. whether it is connecting with God or achieving Nirvana or enlightenment. Hurt Hurting the other person does not mean physical harm and it may not even mean making them feel bad. Thus when you ask them to do something for you. How it works 'Hurt and Rescue' is the underlying principle beneath many different persuasion methods. So what? Make friends with the other person. See also Exchange principle. so push them in the water. Find things in common. Bonding with others helps create some sense of this as we introject their good objects. . Trust principle Identity. then throw them a rope. Theories about friendship. Harmony principle. Seeking one-ness is also found in many religions. Life thereafter is a dilemma of wanting both a separate identity and also returning to that early one-ness.is literally 'at one' with the world and before their separate identity is formed through the mirror phase.
Active and passive hurt Actively hurting someone means taking deliberate action. rather than having rescue thrust upon the person. This helps to ensure they appreciate and own the solution. It's not just about reeling in the fish. You can then be suitably impressed and congratulate them. means making the other person want something. making them want to get away from something. Grasping hopefully at straws Rescue may start with hope. If they feel you pulling. . causing them pain by what you do. saving themselves from their pains. setting them up. A key benefit of self-rescue is that they fully own the solution hence are likely to adopt it more fully. This can be arranged. then they may pull back and you end up either with a tug of way or a broken line and a fish disappearing into the distance. the solution is available and the person rescues themself without your intervention. Passive hurt may mean deliberately allowing a person to be hurt when you could rescue them earlier (perhaps to have a greater effect later). Thus they will grasp at straws in the desperate hope of rescue. seeing what is good. Requested rescue It helps a great deal if. It creates closure and relief. Positive hurt. they ask for it first. Rescue Rescuing a person means removing their hurt. for example. creating desire. as people envisage and predict the relief of being rescued. pointing out what is wrong.Negative and positive hurt Negative hurting means making them feel pain of some kind. Self-rescue In the ideal rescue. on the other hand. by putting it in their path and helping them to 'find' it. Rescuing can be a bit like fishing.
they may not realize they are hurt and may strongly resist your rescue attempts. for example when they are in imminent danger. by the way. you may get some objections and resistance which you must handle. In such cases. you may effect the rescue without their permission. Enforced rescue Finally. When doing this. See also Confusion principle Principles > Confusion principle Principle | How it works | So what? Principle A drowning person will clutch at a straw. it is often necessary for you to offer rescue. When patterns are are disrupted.Offered rescue In practice. but do not be fooled by the wording. How it works Breaking patterns Repeating patterns of events help us predict and feel a good sense of control about the world. such as when they cannot see a solution even when it is in front of them. So push them under water then offer a straw. So what? 'Hurt and Rescue' seems pretty negative. Hurt and rescue methods can range from the classic 'Good cop--bad cop' routine to the most principled of therapeutic technique. it can be used for good or bad. Losing control . As with most methods. then we become uncertain.
we are surprised and confused and have to stop to figure out what is going on. Overload is multiplied when what is being communicated is complex or difficult to understand. the assumption that an answer must exist sends you on an ever-deepening spiral. used by hypnotists as a method of hypnotic induction. we feel confused and scared and seek a way of getting out of the cognitive deep water in which we find ourselves. Confusion is a method that is. Just keep giving them things until they crack. People expect you to follow those rules. It is especially effective if what you are saying is of interested and makes them think and want to respond. perhaps unsurprisingly. . This effectively shortens the time to the point where the other person becomes overloaded and needs to stop and process the information given to them. they will quickly become confused. There are many written and unwritten rules of conversation and interpersonal communication. Confusion can send you so far inside and so deep that it puts you into a trance. If you break them. Herbert Simon called this 'Satisficing'. When we cannot make sense of our experiences. we set up expectation. where a A major goal is to find enlightenment. making you think so hard about what they mean that you forget yourself. If we understand. Sends you inside What is the sound of one hand clapping? What is the sound of a tree falling in the forest when nobody is there? What is the point of such meaningless Zen sayings? The clue is in the deeper intent of Zen. then we can predict what will happen and hence control our environment and stay safe. so also will a confused person grab at any idea you offer them in the hope that it will help them crawl out the sea of confusion in which they are wallowing. When the expectation does not meet what was predicted. Clutching at straws Increasing stress leads to a point when we go from seeking the best solution to the problem at hand to seeking a solution just to reduce the stress. Just as a drowning man will clutch at a straw. Confusion is used in many persuasion techniques as a way of destabilizing the other person. As you struggle to find a meaning where none exists. Unexpected surprise When we predict. So what? The most common way of confusing someone is simply to overload them. and consequently find nirvana. The confusing koans are designed specifically to send you inside.One of the deep needs we have is to be able to understand the world around us.
we compare best when we have only two things from which to select.these are sure signs of contrastive words). we don't make absolute judgments. not absolute measures. Pair-wise comparison Although we can select from a group of things. The way we judge pretty much anything is in comparison with something else. When faced with many candidates for a job or many possible suits to purchase. A stale smell will seem worse after a sweet smell. Perceptual contrast Put your left hand in a bowl of cold water and your right in hot water. This is the principle of Perceptual Contrast by which our senses work. How it works When we make judgments. (Note the '-er' at the end of the adjective and the 'more' -. we will rapidly simplify the decision by breaking things down to a very short shortlist. In fact one of the reasons that we do reduce choices to a shortlist is that we . Put light next to dark and it seems lighter. When we say someone is smart or talkative.See also Contrast principle Principles > Contrast principle Principle | How it works | So what Principle We notice difference between things. Shortlists We are not good at selecting from a large group as there are too many contrasts to make. The same effect also applies to more our complex cognitive constructions. we actually mean they are smarter or more talkative than other people. Surprise! The left feels hot whilst the right will feel cold. Leave them there for a while. then plunge both together into a bowl of lukewarm water. evaluating how good a dress or person is.
Thus given an unattractive person and an average-looking person. We may strive for success. Sales tricks Sales people will often use the contrast effect by showing you a poor quality product alongside the one that they want you to buy. but if we change our comparators along the way. Comparing against other people When evaluating ourselves. Comparing with what is available If two women are standing side by side. we can leverage this by paying attention to these comparisons. Thus our prototype house might have our cousin's kitchen. we will break things down further. Even then.have less pairs to compare. So what Contrast is an important principle by which we make decisions. as the other woman is more immediately available than a recalled prototype. a man will evaluate one against the other. Women. People for whom being intelligent is important will compare themselves with other clever folks. of course. we will not seem to have achieved that much. the main comparator is other people. are often made up of all the best bits from a wide range of experiences. In particular we tend to look to peers and people who are 'like us' to compare ourselves against. In fact we all will tend to use whatever comparators are most available to us at the time of judgment. beautiful and so on we are by comparing ourselves with others. a friend's bathroom and so on. like Frankenstein's monster. . Thus rich people compare against other rich people (and often feel quite poor as a result!). Sometime the standard against which we judge other things is a prototype that we have constructed. clever and so on is no predictor of happiness. So to persuade something. we will judge the average person to be more attractive than if we saw them alone. Prototypes. we are more likely to use the comparator that is easiest to access than one which may be more appropriate. powerful. a large kitchen and so on. In our usual lazy mental manner. Comparing with prototypes and stereotypes A prototype is an idealized stereotypes. comparing the top two or three. We decide how happy. A result of this is that being rich. Thus when house-hunting we will compare each residence against a non-existent prototype which has four bedrooms. will do the same. one again another.
They will also sell you add-ons. identify the comparator that they may use and then work to replace it with your comparator. you will chose higher up the scale than you might otherwise have done. You can stretch their envelope by making it better or worse than expected. Then when you look at a range of products. See also Perceptual Contrast Effect. you are then likely to re-evaluate it upwards. Control the comparator The overall trick is in controlling the comparator. for example getting them to compare first quality instead of cost. Once you have identified the decisions that you want them to make. You can make it more available. Social Comparison Theory . When you compare your ideal purchase with this.They might also show you a wonderful product that is way beyond your reach. the optional extras seem very cheap in comparison. You can also change the priorities. For example when you buy an expensive car.
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