Re: Brainwashing? Or, BS
Posted by: Resolute ()
Date: September 22, 2008 06:13PM

have just read a newspaper article about a book on mass hysteria in history and it was fascinating. I wanted to share it but wasn't sure of which forum to put it on. The article refers to a book called A Time to Dance, A Time to Die. The Extraordinary Story of the Dancing Plague of 1518 by John Waller (published by Icon Books.)

The article calls the hysterical group outbursts ‘psychic contagion’ This strikes me as exactly what goes on in a cult group. When the writer says that ‘ the sufferers were victims of heightened suggestibility….’ I read sufferers as cult victims. Then, most interestingly it says that:

‘As is typical of episodes of mass hysteria, those afflicted were suffering acute physical and mental distress….’
In this case the sufferers were victims of a devastating flood. Other victims have been schoolchildren under pressure from parents and a very strict exam system in a school.

Women apparently used to faint, like in Victorian times, not because they were ‘ the fairer or weaker sex’ but because this was their way out of an unacceptable patriarchal hierarchical system: Their bodies had a defence mechanism that ‘ got them out’ of an unbearable situation. They had ‘ time out’ for a short while!

These descriptions of behaviour seem to me to match so well to me the situation a cult member finds himself or herself in: The strange behaviour is induced because the mind and body is under acute stress The stress of a cult member is I think a result of things like sleep deprivation, and other sensory deprivations, strict diet, psychological boundaries taken down, maybe sexual norms and rules broken, roots of family disturbed, shaken, past memories induced and negative emotions jprovoked, maybe in a state of trance/ hypnotism, visualisations engendered, long confusing lectures and paradoxes made to seem normal. The emotional burden of all this must be immense and have to have an outlet.
The article goes on to say that Outbreaks of hysteria closely track real threats and involve credible sets of symptoms. I believe that in a cult, these symptoms are explained as having spiritual significance. The symptoms are interpreted by the cult leader who obviously does not say.’ Oh, I have been putting you under a lot of stress, that’s why you are feeling like this’
Cult members seem to undergo a systematic melt down that is orchestrated by the guru leader. As the manipulation that goes on behind closed doors becomes public, the cults will get weaker.

Re: Brainwashing? Or, BS
Posted by: mysticjaw ()
Date: October 26, 2008 08:15PM

Brainwashing is quite real and alive. It is a form of hypnosis. Slowly and deliberately, your natural ego defenses are brought down, critical thinking is stoped (or supressed if it has not developed) emotions are placed on high and your perceptions are slightly altered. The experience can be done in sequecial steps (over a period of classes) disguised as meditation techniques, but in fact you are being primed for indoctrination. The thing about brainwashing, is that you have to temporarily suspend the analytical processes of ones mind, then you can plant things in one subconcious very easily. However, if not done properly, it will not fully take root in your mind. Additionally, if steps are altered or changed the whole process is derailed and serious dammage can be done to ones psyche. Scientology knows what it is doing, so did L Ron Hubbard. However, I did not do Scientology, I was involved with an offshoot of it created by a former top Auditor in Scientology named Lewis S Bostwick. Mr Bostwick created the church of divine man/ Berkeley Psychic Institute. Everything in the institute was based fully on Scientology. He fought to keep the basic classes the same and never alter them. He also did this for the clairvoyant program, the indoctrination time as I call it. It thoroughly implanted in my mind a series of delusional beliefs based on the Scientology mythos (Xenu, etc) but slightly altered in content if not context. Oh yes, I was convinced that past lives, auras, chakras and all that other new age mumbo jumbo actually was real! Now I am a hard core skeptic and I have been able to completely clear my mind of the constructs, conditionings and beliefs of this cult church.

Brainwashing is reinforced by utilizing mind altering techniques which support the ideology such as specific guided visualizations, certain mantras and other meditative techniques. The more ones does these things, the more ones mind rebuilds and supports the delusional belief systems.

I have been brainwashed and I know how it was done, so I am quite knowledgeable to the techniques used.

On a minor level, brainwashing takes place in abusive relationships which is what keeps the victim stuck in the relationship.

Re: Brainwashing? Or, BS
Posted by: dp198 ()
Date: October 20, 2009 10:02PM

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"?

1st question, It's real. 2. Yes, you can be brainwashed. In my opinion and experience you can make mistakes and bad decisions without realizing that there could be repercussions for them. 3. Freewill, and the ability to be able to leave when you want without repercussions. Being allowed to think for yourself and make your own decisions. 4. The ability to say no to whatever you don't want to believe and have that respected and not have anything else forced on you.

Re: Brainwashing? Or, BS
Posted by: Confused7609 ()
Date: March 19, 2010 08:23AM

I think that brainwashing is a word that can be a applied to cult abuse of the most severe type, however I feel that the terms thought reform and mind control are most relective of the insidious way that the mind is altered through cult abuse. I definitley believe that it is a contiuum as diggingdeeper said. I personally agree with what mavin said also, brainwashing is done by a clear enemy. The tactics can be much more obvious. While thought reform and mind control are calculated and can be quite subtle. That is why cult abuse can be such a slow insidious process.

Re: Brainwashing? Or, BS
Posted by: shao085 ()
Date: June 06, 2010 05:36PM

I think the difference between real religious instruction and brainwashing is: real religious instructions are related about the main principles, such as "fear the Lord" or "trust in God" etc,I hold the idea that real religion will not offer you any specific suggestions; while Brainwashing takes the measure of repeating some idea or message to someone to weaken his reason or basic logic thinking ability,

And you shall know the truth, and the truth shall make you free. --John 8:32

Methods of influence
Posted by: corboy ()
Date: April 17, 2014 10:16AM

Re: Methods of influence
Posted by: C.A. Mann, PhD ()
Date: March 21, 2015 10:37PM

I think many people fear hypnosis or grant it special powers that it does not have. I do not support hypnosis at all, and I think it should not be used in legitimate counseling or anything else for that matter. There are absolutely no outcome studies that show it works for smoking cessation or weight loss, except as the placebo effect. The evidence we have is that hypnosis is falsely marketed with no proof of efficacy.

In terms of its use is cults, it's too heavily emphasized. You can put yourself in a trance watching TV in much the same way as hypnosis purports to work.

My experience with many practitioners of hypnosis (including those affiliated with the American Psychological Association Division on Hypnosis) is that they are awfully impressed with the power given to hypnosis, and by default, to them. After asking some of these practitioners many times, I have not yet heard a good reason for using it.
Cathleen Mann, PhD

Edited 1 time(s). Last edit at 03/21/2015 10:38PM by C.A. Mann, PhD.

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