Friends, those interested in the themes discussed in the charisma article would learn a lot by getting and reading an old but good book, Prophetic Charisma
by Len Oakes.
Oakes interviewed 20 charismatic leaders, many of whom led what could be identified as cults.
He identified most of the themes we are discussing here.
What is especially valuable is how Oakes elicited information about the leaders' life histories, their family backgrounds, thier personal struggles, occupations they gravitated to before figuring out their message. Oakes tells us in detail exactly what these leaders did to seek out and learn methods of social manipulation.
Advice to journalists and interested citizens:
Read Len Oakes' book Prophetic Charisma
. Its on Google books. If you are a journalist or in another profession where you are likely to deal with various leaders of sects, purchasing a copy would be a worthy investment.
If it is not on Kindle, you can do a price comparison on book finder dot com.
Bookfinder.com listings for Prophetic Charisma.
(Refresh page to keep search results current)
When discussing an Australian cult leader named Serge Benhayon (who has recently been the subject of a television expose, and who lost a lawsuit he filed to intimidate a critic), someone wrote this about Serge:
One of the correspondents here wrote:
You have to hand it Serge, he is masterful at turning the topic away from himself, even avoiding the question about Leonardo da Vinci by turning it into something potentially about the interviewer and getting a laugh. Same technique as used with students.
Oakes uses the term "metacommunication
By using the term, 'metacommunication', Dr. Oakes means commenting about the questioner's manner
of saying something, rather than responding to what
the questioner is asking.
Because, if you a journalist, medical investigator or attorney are sidetracked by someone using this strategy, sidetracked from a valid line of questioning into a discussion of meaning, or a discussion of your own mannerisms (and you may not have evinced any mannerisms--the operator may merely pretend this so as to create an opening to wind you up) once this sidetracking is allowed, the operator has **stuck the knife into the Vegemite jar your personal insecurities**--and then can spread you on toast or a biscuit then and eat you for a snack--metaphorically speaking.
All your excellent questions have been disarmed.
Oakes describes how charismatic leaders learned specific ways to throw people off balance if put in tight corners--turning attention away from themselves and onto the person daring to question then.
on page 90 of Prophetic Charisma
Dr Oakes describes a situation:
A stunning example occurred during this study when Free-Love Farley (Oakes' pseudonym for one such leader) demolished a building inspector who had visited unexpectedly and demanded to examine some recent construction.
It was clear that Farley did not know the various fine points of the regulations that governed such inspections, and also that he had something to hide, but by drawing the inspector out and by focusing on (the inspectors) paralinguistic performances, he soon had the man on the defensive.
Eventually Farley persuaded the official to return to his office to re-check some detail, assuring him that when this had been done, the inspection could proceed. Presumably by then the issue in question would have been taken care of. (Oakes, Prophetic Charisma 1997 , page 90
Earlier, Oakes describes the method used.
`A common manipulative strategy used by the leaders in this study was an argumentative style that was calculated to subtly shift the ground of any discussion from whatever matter was being talked about toward some area of an opponent's (or prospective Landmark recruit's--my parenthesis) personal insecurity.
In this technique, the leader observed the process of an opponent's conversation and identified some point of hesitency or uncertainty.
(Corboy--anyone who is a nice person, and not a psychopath is going to have areas of hesitation and uncertaintly)
This was not always a flaw of logic or an error of fact; the conversation may have been on some topic about which the leader (knew little and would ahve been unable to detect such a mistake.
" Rather, it was more likely to be some personal unsureness on the part of the opponent that the leaders/recruiter's exquisite social perception targeted. In some way, often by metacommenting, the meaning of whatever insecurity involved was exposed."
Typically what was said was an observation that the opponent seemed "a bit steamed up about this" or was "finding it hard to say what all this is about."
In this way, the opponent was invited, sympathetically and seducatively to expand upon the very point of weakness. Or the leader(recruiter) claimed not to understand what was meant at a particular point, perhaps even saying the opponent was not making sense. This usually led to a further exposure (confessional of personal weakness or perplexity-my note) until the opponent stumbled over his words and began to look uncomfortable. At this point, a well timed, dismissive glance from the leader was all that was needed to intimidate...'
(Or turning to the audience and raising a laugh-
(Oakes, Ibid pp 89-90
This slippery metacommunicational strategy puts the attention onto the questioner and scuttles the entire questioning process.
This is analogous to a martial arts move designed to throw an opponent off balance.
This method of massaging somene's insecurities,throwing them off balance as a way to evade unpleasantly acute questioning is not
proof of intelligence. It is merely a *skill* but a quite powerful skill that that can be learned by anyone.
The grim temptation is to use this in an exploitative manner. And that is where honor and kindness become paramount.
If one knows how to do this, one has the grave responsibility of not using it to gain unjust advantage over others. (This too is similar to that of a martial artist. Its no license to be a bully. The greater one's skill at throwing opponents, the greater the responsibility to use that skill only according to clear rules and in a contest--such as a tournament or in a courtroom setting--NO WHERE ELSE)
If someone is well trained and can match how confrontational the operator is the only remedy is to look the person straight on and say, This conversation is not about my mannerisms. This conversation is about your belief system. (Or the that the building wiring doesnt have a perimit)
(Corboy note on selection of names
If I wanted to tailor this example to the needs of a UK audience, I'd refer to Marmite.
If addressing American readers, I'd refer to peanut butter.
Vegemite is the snack and fortifier of Australia.
This, friends, is how metaphor is used to accelerate a sense of rapport with an audience.
Unlike advertising experts, or charismatic leaders, we here on Rick Ross's forum want to show how the mechanisms of these techniques work--so you, the readers can walk away informed and empowered.)
Edited 2 time(s). Last edit at 03/17/2019 11:12PM by corboy.