Hi. What's the frontier between true spirituality and brainwashing or
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Data: 04/02/2004 14:41
Subject: A technical overview of mind control tactics
Mind: How does mind control work?: A technical overview of mind
Posted by: souljah on Jan 20, 2003 - 01:07 AM
How does mind control work?: A technical overview of mind control
Terminology note: Today Mind control or brainwashing in academia is
commonly referred to as coercive persuasion, coercive psychological
systems or coercive influence. The short description below comes from
Dr. Margaret Singer professor emeritus at the University of
California at Berkeley the acknowledged leading authority in the
world on mind control and cults. This document, in substance, was
presented to the U.S. Supreme Court as an educational Appendix on
coercive psychological systems in the case Wollersheim v. Church of
Scientology 89-1367 and 89-1361. The Wollersheim case was being
considered related to issues involving abuse in this area.
Coercion is defined as, "to restrain or constrain by force..."
Legally it often implies the use of PHYSICAL FORCE or physical or
legal threat. This traditional concept of coercion is far better
understood than the technological concepts of "coercive persuasion"
which are effective restraining, impairing, or compelling through the
gradual application of PSYCHOLOGICAL FORCES.
A coercive persuasion program is a behavioral change technology
applied to cause the "learning" and "adoption" of a set of behaviors
or an ideology under certain conditions. It is distinguished from
other forms of benign social learning or peaceful persuasion by the
conditions under which it is conducted and by the techniques of
environmental and interpersonal manipulation employed to suppress
particular behaviors and to train others. Over time, coercive
persuasion, a psychological force akin in some ways to our legal
concepts of undue influence, can be even MORE effective than pain,
torture, drugs, and use of physical force and legal threats.
The Korean War "Manchurian Candidate" misconception of the need for
suggestibility-increasing drugs, and physical pain and torture, to
effect thought reform, is generally associated with the old concepts
and models of brainwashing. Today, they are not necessary for a
coercive persuasion program to be effective. With drugs, physical
pain, torture, or even a physically coercive threat, you can often
temporarily make someone do something against their will. You can
even make them do something they hate or they really did not like or
want to do at the time. They do it, but their attitude is not changed.
This is much different and far less devastating than that which you
are able to achieve with the improvements of coercive persuasion.
With coercive persuasion you can change people's attitudes without
their knowledge and
volition. You can create new "attitudes" where they will do things
willingly which they formerly may have detested, things which
previously only torture, physical pain, or drugs could have coerced
them to do.
The advances in the extreme anxiety and emotional stress production
technologies found in coercive persuasion supersede old style
coercion that focuses on pain, torture, drugs, or threat in that
these older systems do not change attitude so that subjects follow
orders "willingly." Coercive persuasion changes both attitude AND
behavior, not JUST behavior.
THE PURPOSES AND TACTICS OF COERCIVE PERSUASION
Coercive persuasion or thought reform as it is sometimes known, is
best understood as a coordinated system of graduated coercive
influence and behavior control designed to deceptively and
surreptitiously manipulate and
influence individuals, usually in a group setting, in order for the
originators of the program to profit in some way, normally
financially or politically.
The essential strategy used by those operating such programs is to
systematically select, sequence and coordinate numerous coercive
persuasion tactics over CONTINUOUS PERIODS OF TIME. There are seven
main tactic types
found in various combinations in a coercive persuasion program. A
coercive persuasion program can still be quite effective without the
presence of ALL seven of these tactic types.
TACTIC 1. The individual is prepared for thought reform through
increased suggestibility and/or "softening up," specifically through
hypnotic or other suggestibility-increasing techniques such as: A.
Extended audio, visual, verbal, or tactile fixation drills; B.
Excessive exact repetition of routine activities; C. Decreased sleep;
D. Nutritional restriction.
TACTIC 2. Using rewards and punishments, efforts are made to
establish considerable control over a person's social environment,
time, and sources of social support. Social isolation is promoted.
Contact with family and friends is abridged, as is contact with
persons who do not share group-approved attitudes. Economic and other
dependence on the group is fostered. (In the forerunner to coercive
persuasion, brainwashing, this was rather easy to achieve through
TACTIC 3. Disconfirming information and nonsupporting opinions are
prohibited in group communication. Rules exist about permissible
topics to discuss with outsiders. Communication is highly controlled.
An "in-group" language is usually constructed.
TACTIC 4. Frequent and intense attempts are made to cause a person to
re-evaluate the most central aspects of his or her experience of self
and prior conduct in negative ways. Efforts are designed to
destabilize and undermine the subject's basic consciousness, reality
awareness, world view, emotional control, and defense mechanisms as
well as getting them to reinterpret their life's history, and adopt a
new version of causality.
TACTIC 5. Intense and frequent attempts are made to undermine a
person's confidence in himself and his judgment, creating a sense of
TACTIC 6. Nonphysical punishments are used such as intense
humiliation, loss of privilege, social isolation, social status
changes, intense guilt, anxiety, manipulation and other techniques
for creating strong aversive emotional arousals, etc.
TACTIC 7. Certain secular psychological threats [force] are used or
are present: That failure to adopt the approved attitude, belief, or
consequent behavior will lead to severe punishment or dire
consequence, (e.g. physical or mental illness, the reappearance of a
prior physical illness, drug dependence, economic collapse, social
failure, divorce, disintegration, failure to find a mate, etc.).
Another set of criteria has to do with defining other common elements
mind control systems. If most of Robert Jay Lifton's eight point
model of thought reform is being used in a cultic organization, it is
most likely a dangerous and destructive cult. These eight points
Robert Jay Lifton's Eight Point Model of Thought Reform
1. ENVIRONMENT CONTROL. Limitation of many/all forms of communication
with those outside the group. Books, magazines, letters and visits
with friends and family are taboo. "Come out and be separate!"
2. MYSTICAL MANIPULATION. The potential convert to the group becomes
convinced of the higher purpose and special calling of the group
through a profound encounter / experience, for example, through an
alleged miracle or prophetic word of those in the group.
3. DEMAND FOR PURITY. An explicit goal of the group is to bring about
some kind of change, whether it be on a global, social, or personal
level. "Perfection is possible if one stays with the group and is
4. CULT OF CONFESSION. The unhealthy practice of self disclosure to
members in the group. Often in the context of a public gathering in
the group, admitting past sins and imperfections, even doubts about
the group and
critical thoughts about the integrity of the leaders.
5. SACRED SCIENCE. The group's perspective is absolutely true and
completely adequate to explain EVERYTHING. The doctrine is not
subject to amendments or question. ABSOLUTE conformity to the
doctrine is required.
6. LOADED LANGUAGE. A new vocabulary emerges within the context of
the group. Group members "think" within the very abstract and narrow
parameters of the group's doctrine. The terminology sufficiently
stops members from thinking critically by reinforcing a "black and
white" mentality. Loaded terms and clichés prejudice thinking.
7. DOCTRINE OVER PERSON. Pre-group experience and group experience
are narrowly and decisively interpreted through the absolute
doctrine, even when experience contradicts the doctrine.
8. DISPENSING OF EXISTENCE. Salvation is possible only in the group.
Those who leave the group are doomed.
COERCIVE PERSUASION IS NOT PEACEFUL PERSUASION
Programs identified with the above-listed seven tactics have in
common the elements of attempting to greatly modify a person's self-
concept, perceptions of reality, and interpersonal relations. When
successful in inducing these changes, coercive thought reform
programs also, among other things, create the potential forces
necessary for exercising undue influence over a person's independent
decision-making ability, and even for turning the individual into a
deployable agent for the organization's benefit without the
individual's meaningful knowledge or consent.
Coercive persuasion programs are effective because individuals
experiencing the deliberately planned severe stresses they generate
can only reduce the pressures by accepting the system or adopting the
behaviors being promulgated by the purveyors of the coercion program.
The relationship between the person and the coercive persuasion
tactics are DYNAMIC in that while the force of the pressures,
rewards, and punishments brought to bear on the person are
considerable, they do not lead to a stable, meaningfully SELF-CHOSEN
reorganization of beliefs or attitudes. Rather, they lead to a sort
of coerced compliance and a situationally required elaborate
rationalization, for the new conduct.
Once again, in order to maintain the new attitudes or "decisions,"
sustain the rationalization, and continue to unduly influence a
person's behavior over time, coercive tactics must be more or less
CONTINUOUSLY applied. A fiery, "hell and damnation" guilt-ridden
sermon from the pulpit or several hours with a high-pressure salesman
or other single instances of the so-called peaceful persuasions do
not constitute the "necessary chords and orchestration" of a
SEQUENCED, continuous, COORDINATED, and carefully selected PROGRAM of
surreptitious coercion, as found in a comprehensive program
of "coercive persuasion."
Truly peaceful religious persuasion practices would never attempt to
force, compel and dominate the free wills or minds of its members
through coercive behavioral techniques or covert hypnotism. They
would have no difficulty coexisting peacefully with U.S. laws meant
to protect the public from such practices.
Looking like peaceful persuasion is precisely what makes coercive
persuasion less likely to attract attention or to mobilize
opposition. It is also part of what makes it such a devastating
control technology. Victims of coercive persuasion have: no signs of
physical abuse, convincing rationalizations for the radical or abrupt
changes in their behavior, a convincing "sincerity, and they have
been changed so gradually that they don't oppose it because
they usually aren't even aware of it.
Deciding if coercive persuasion was used requires case-by-case
careful analysis of all the influence techniques used and how they
were applied. By focusing on the medium of delivery and process used,
not the message, and on the critical differences, not the
coincidental similarities, which system was used becomes clear. The
Influence Continuum helps make the difference between peaceful
persuasion and coercive persuasion easier to distinguish.
Not all tactics used in a coercive persuasion type environment will
always be coercive. Some tactics of an innocuous or cloaking nature
will be mixed in.
Not all individuals exposed to coercive persuasion or thought reform
programs are effectively coerced into becoming participants.
How individual suggestibility, psychological and physiological
strengths, weakness, and differences react with the degree of
severity, continuity, and comprehensiveness in which the various
tactics and content of a coercive persuasion program are applied,
determine the program's effectiveness and/or the degree of severity
of damage caused to its victims.
For example, in United States v. Lee 455 U.S. 252, 257-258 (1982),
the California Supreme Court found that
"when a person is subjected to coercive persuasion without his
knowledge or consent... [he may] develop serious and sometimes
irreversible physical and psychiatric disorders, up to and including
schizophrenia, self-mutilation, and suicide."
WHAT ARE THE CRITERIA OF A COERCIVE PERSUASION PROGRAM?
A). Determine if the subject individual held enough knowledge and
volitional capacity to make the decision to change his or her ideas
B). Determine whether that individual did, in fact, adopt, affirm, or
reject those ideas or beliefs on his own.
C). Then, if necessary, all that should be examined is the behavioral
processes used, not ideological content. One needs to examine only
the behavioral processes used in their "conversion." Each alleged
coercive persuasion situation should be reviewed on a case-by-case
basis. The characteristics of coercive persuasion programs are
severe, well-understood, and they are not accidental.
COERCIVE PERSUASION IS NOT VOLUNTARY, PEACEFUL, RELIGIOUS PRACTICE OR
CENTRAL TO ANY BONA FIDE RELIGION.
Coercive persuasion is not a religious practice, it is a control
technology. It is not a belief or ideology, it is a technological
As a PROCESS, it can be examined by experts on its technology
COMPLETELY SEPARATE from any idea or belief content, similar to
examining the technical process of hypnotic induction distinct from
the meaning or value of the
Examining PROCESSES in this manner can not violate First Amendment
Coercive persuasion is antithetical to the First Amendment. It is the
unfair manipulation of other's biological and psychological
weaknesses and susceptibilities. It is a psychological FORCE
technology, not of a free society, but of a criminal or totalitarian
society. It is certainly not a spiritual or religious technology.
Any organization using coercive persuasion on its members as a
CENTRAL practice that also claims to be a religion is turning the
SANCTUARY of the First Amendment into a fortress for psychological
assault. It is a contradiction of terms and should
Coercive persuasion is a subtle, compelling psychological force which
attacks an even more fundamental and important freedom than
our "freedom of religion." ITS REPREHENSIBILITY AND DANGER IS THAT IT
ATTACKS OUR SELF-DETERMINISM AND FREE WILL, OUR MOST FUNDAMENTAL
We Strongly recommend that you read the CODE OF ETHICS FOR SPIRITUAL