Brainwashing? Or, BS
Posted by: rrmoderator ()
Date: August 15, 2002 05:04AM

Do you think "brainwashing" is real or just imagined? Can someone be brainwashed or this used as an excuse to explain away mistakes and bad decisions? What is the difference between legitimate religious conversion and "cult brainwashing"? Where is the line between religious indoctrination or instruction and "brainwashing"?

Brainwashing? Or, BS
Posted by: Former_SGI ()
Date: September 09, 2002 07:47AM

I believe that brainwashing is real and is
being used in different "strengths" by various
spiritual organizations.

I think that psychological studies have created
powerful techniques that, while not widely known,
are available to those unscrupulous enough to use
them for their gain or organization's gain.

Brainwashing? Or, BS
Posted by: Hope ()
Date: September 13, 2002 09:23PM

I think brainwashing is real and is not only being used in spiritual organizations but in alternative medicine. I fell for it and after 8 months of therapy post Landmark Forum AND care by a naturopath, I am still afraid to go to a medical doctor for what is necessary pharmaceutical treatment. I still think I can get better by changing my thoughts. I have to keep referring to my written list of things that obvious went wrong. I nearly died while on a "natural" supplement yet the doctor convinced me that it was not the supplement but the fact that somewhere deep inside, I hated myself so much that I did not want to get better. I've had a terrible life with a lot violence and abuse. This doctor sounded like he understood, quoted science, scripture, philosophers, psychologists, but still watched me deteriorate and did nothing (it was my choice to deteriorate). When I tried suicide, he said I would only have to come back and "learn these lessons again", but at the same time, using the above quote, implied that death is not that bad, life goes on. A couple more months and I would have been drinking Kool-Aid.

For someone like me and many others, with no background in science, and lacking a spiritual and religious life, alt. med. uses seems like it has all the answers, especially when patients have chronic problems that standard medicine is not good at alleviating. My ND recorded a lecture on quantum physics, thought, health, and social ailments last year. I was reading about Jim Jones and found a transcript of a lecture he gave in 1977. They are nearly identical.


Brainwashing? Or, BS
Posted by: mavin ()
Date: November 30, 2002 09:52AM

Brainwashing? Or, BS
Do you think "brainwashing" is real or just imagined? Can someone be brainwashed or this used as an excuse to explain away mistakes and bad decisions? What is the difference between legitimate religious conversion and "cult brainwashing"? Where is the line between religious indoctrination or instruction and "brainwashing"? response below

Brainwashing is done by someone the person knows to be an enemy, such as the boys in war times. They know who the enemy is and when they move over to that side, if they get away they are more able to move to where they began from in the first place. The are more able to recognize where they are is not where they began and see why and how they moved their world view. They can see what happened and why. They tend to recover better than those put under mind control.

People that are under mind control are put under it by people that they trust. Therein is the difference in those terms. Some people also use the term thought reform. I believe the only real difference is that the person put under mind control doe not know who the enemy is, doesn't know that "they or he or she" is the enemy and when what would ordinarily wake the person up happens, such as exposure, the party will instead of saying "ahah I was "brainwashed" as the soldier would, goes into denial because no enemy is apparent and they think that their new world view is really thier own, which it is not. (Like the fella that got into trouble of late and has been put into prison for 20 he didn't recognize the enemy til too late)

This is what I think. Been there a bit.....Mavin

Brainwashing? Or, BS
Posted by: mavin ()
Date: December 01, 2002 09:26AM

Hope, what I have found is that often the cults use the exact (almost) same words and same techniques. Unbelievable and scary cus there are so darned many cults and so darned many kinds of them.....Mavin

Brainwashing? Or, BS
Posted by: Hope ()
Date: December 02, 2002 09:58AM


Thanks for pointing out the distinction between brainwashing and mind control. Perhaps the term brainwashing is just overused. My therapist said I had been brainwashed, but when she started giving me homework on reframing my thoughts (from negative to positive), I saw how it was possible that the naturopath had also tried successfully to get me to reframe many things also - however, it was to get me to work for him and build his lecture schedule.

Landmark did the same. Thinking there was nothing else medically that could be done for me, I went to Landmark hoping I could find out why I kept having all these ups and downs. THey basically confirmed what my ND had been telling me, that I was running a racket by having medical problems. This was both depressing (shame, guilt and embarassing) and frustrating (why can't I see the underlying cause?? Is it too painful to uncover? Is it so repressed??).

The only thing that really saved me is my insurance company does not require referrals to go to specialists, so I went to a nutritionist. My "racket" was a malabsorption disorder (protein). She fixed it in about 2 weeks and it's amazing how clear-headed I feel.

Landmark deprives people of physical comforts and the supplement my ND had me on causes anorexia. I don't think he gave that to me with the intent of changing my thinking, but when I suggested it might be the cause of the anorexia, it turns out he invented and cited studies that said this was impossible. I believe he was getting his jollies somehow by having an audience for his interest in consciousness and half-based Taoism.

The mind control was part desperation and hope, a lot of biochemical imbalances, and a need to find relief from the grief of several tragedies that happened close together.

Brainwashing? Or, BS
Posted by: diggingdeeper ()
Date: October 11, 2004 03:16PM

I do feel that this is a fundamental question. While there may not be a definitive answer, it certainly is one that should be discussed in the light of how people are effected and to what extent.

I had a debate about this with a friend the other day. First he was telling me that people were" brainwashed" and then he was telling me that people always make their own choices in life.

I found the 2 statements to be contradictory.

I asked him for his definition of "brainwashing". he dodged and weaved. I think that is part of the problem, to define it. He ended up giving me an example of a woman who straps a bomb on herself and blows herself up with her children in a terrorist attack.

Of course this is one of the most heinous things imaginable.

I asked him, Do you think if you put this woman just prior to the attack on a desert island with plenty of food, shelter along with her family for 5 years, when she came off the island do you think she would still complete the terrorist attack.

He pondered this and said probably not.

Then I asked, and if she did commit the attack after 5 years what then.

He said "she would have been brainwashed"

I told him that I felt that even if she didn't commit the act after the 5 years that I would considered her to have been brainwashed for the sake of our discussion. I also said that if she had completed the task after getting off the island she would have been brainwashed and bleached!

I did this to illustrate to him that the process of altering ones thinking always exists on a continuum. Words like brainwashing are such hot button words, even mind control or thought reform.

This is not to say that these are not honest efforts at defining what is going on. It is just that I have found that it can often times lead to preconceived ideas which make it difficult to discuss with those who are unfamiliar with the issue.

Now I understand that many of you (myself included) have experienced one form or the other of this. I am fairly certain that none of us would want to see anyone else subjected to these sorts of processes.

I have in my years of discussing this with members of a variety of differing groups put it in other terms which I have found useful and perhaps less threatening.

I label it Concealed Control of Choice [CCC] and put it on a continuum.

The CCC is only the first part, because it only allows the one operating it to lead the person into their agendas world-view by restricting their choices the same way one would restrict the waterflow on a tap. Once in their world view their is a rebuilding of controlled choices [RCC] as the tap gets turned on again.

The methods used to do this exist in every form of society but to certain extents.

The methods used to achieve this are not limited to but include, influence, persuasion, misdirection, deception, selective truth telling, hypnosis, production of altered states of consciousness to varying degrees, manipulation of the environment to name a few.

The degree and speed of which someone's choices can be effected is a mix of the persons personality, mindset, emotional state, and the amount of the above mention items the person is subjected to.

I use a speedometer analogy, once one can gauge some of the items in question or begin to, they will get a more accurate measure of where they are on the speedometer gauge. at what speed they are traveling, and what are the speed limits for that individual.

This does not make a nice easy packet that draws a perfect picture. However, I have found that it can be one way of exploring the depth of ones experience. Please understand that this is only a concept that I have found useful and am not saying that this should be the only way to view or define the discussion.

I would like to hear from others what your opinions on this and the original question are.

thank you.

Brainwashing? Or, BS
Posted by: corboy ()
Date: October 11, 2004 11:32PM

'Concealed Control of Choice' resembles what Professor Janja Lalich has called 'Bounded Choice'---in certain high-demand groups, members continue to think quite rationally, but they are unaware that they're exercising what they 'experience' as free choice within a menu of options that progressively shrinks without their realizing it, until (in certain tragic cases) they're trapped in a no-exit situation.

All this and much more is desribed in Lalich's new book, [i:f51650c2b9]'Bounded Choice: True Believers and Charismatic Cults' [/i:f51650c2b9] University of California Press

Brainwashing? Or, BS
Posted by: diggingdeeper ()
Date: October 12, 2004 02:06AM

Thank you Corboy,
I have read her book co-authored with Madeline Tobias, but have not read her New book . I will check it out.

Brainwashing? Or, BS
Posted by: dogma ()
Date: December 13, 2004 08:56AM

On, the rejection of the 1986 report of the APA Task Force on Deceptive and Indirect Methods of Persuasion and Control is linked to the apologist's page, under Gordon Melton. I am not certain what the implications are of this, and am hoping someone could make the connection more explicit.

Were the people who rejected the task force report affiliated in some way with any particular cults? and/or were they otherwise generally considered to be apologists? If Gordon Melton was one of the rejectors, do we know who else was one of the "two internal and two external" reviewer's?

--The November 2002 APA Monitor includes two mentions reporting a new call at the national APA convention for a task force to investigate cults and mind control: one in the president's column, by our boy Zimbardo, and another by Dittman. I found no other mention of a new task force. A year later, in the November 2003 APA Monitor, Dittman wrote a piece outlining Zimbardo's unpublished (as of November 2003) comparisons of Jim Jones's methods and those in Orwell's 1984, but makes no mention of a new task force. Does anyone know if this call for a new task force has received any more attention? and/or, does anyone know of any apologists in the APA that are impeding the process?


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