More here -
Hitch - other than the pyramid-building (Cousin Rufus's version of a pyramid scheme?), chanting, marching, taiko drums and other musical interludes . . . all can have a strong, hypnotic rhythmic beat. Even jumping rope has a rhythm, hence all the jump-roping chants! All can take you into the zone . . .
"Prolonged Trance States
In the office of the professional hypnotist, hypnosis occurs within a time-limited, place-limited context. In cults, the exact opposite may be true. The environment is controlled and often seems to have been engineered expressly for the purpose of maintaining and prolonging trance. The cultist is often subjected to sleep and nutrient deprivation, and he or she is taught methods of trance self-maintenance. These methods may include near-continuous praying and chanting, speaking in tongues (glossolalia), prolonged meditation, repetitious scriptural readings or recitations, and other monotonous, repetitive activities. Most published accounts of cult life indicate that cultists are admonished to continuously concentrate on the words, teachings or actual physical experience of the cult leader. Failure to maintain trance is often followed by considerable guilt and self- or cult-inflicted punishment. Cultists are usually taught that any doubt or deviation from the cult's rigid doctrine is evil or Satanic, or in some other way catastrophe-invoking. Similarly, any prolonged interest in people, activities or subject (e.g.. Music, art science) that does not involve a strong concurrent focus on the cult is belittled and/or strongly discouraged; thus the cultist's attention is always divided, and trances become reinforced and automatic, like a habit."
[Hitch's comment: the above sounds a lot like the N$A-$GI CULT Org. I grew up in.]
"Trance is characterized first and foremost by heightened suggestibility followed closely by diminished critical thinking or reality testing--what Shor (l969) refers to as receding of the "generalized reality orientation." Repeated induction often result in still greater degrees of suggestibility and deeper hypnotic states (Arons, 1981). By prolonging trance states, and with the use of repeated inductions, the cultist may become more and more pliable, less critical, more dissociated from him/herself and more apt to accept spurious and even preposterous notions as "facts.""
"Prolonged over a long enough period of time, trances tend to persist and return involuntarily even after the subject is removed from the hypnotic situation. There is a well-documented tendency for former cultists to spontaneously re-enter a trance-like state, especially when faced with a situation that would have been met with chanting praying or some other form of self-hypnosis while in the cult. This phenomenon. called "floating" can occur in almost any situation that the cult considers evil or threatening: examples include situations that call for independent decision-making, critical reasoning or the handling of everyday stresses and impulses such as anger or sexual desire. In clinical practice, former cultists have been known to enter into a trance (float) when faced with making relatively uncomplicated decisions or when faced with a need to assert themselves in everyday situations. Clark is convinced that prolonged trance states can sometimes result in long-lasting or even permanent impairment of thinking abilities, critical judgment, and/or emotional responsiveness and range."
[Hitch's comment: the above accurately describes the daily, morning & evening prayers, chanting, marathon daimoku sessions, gakkai cult endless "campaigns" of one type or another, tozan-kai of yesterday / FNCC of today . . .]
"To some degree the American public has become so enamored with quickly finding "the answer" and achieving "the goal" that the search for personal meaning has become devalued. Thus, in asking for instant awareness, we to some degree relinquish our ability to give informed consent. It does not seem possible to gain "instant awareness" or "instant spiritual experience" without being manipulated. Moreover, there seems to be a positive correlation between the amount of manipulation and covert hypnosis and the degree of perceived "satisfaction;" the more some people are pressured and influenced the "deeper" their insight or the more "intense" their spiritual experience."
"The validity of spiritual experience is even more difficult to judge than the validity of psychological insights. Spiritual experiences can be secularly produced rather than divinely inspired. especially with the aid of a willing subject and a reasonably facile natural or trained "hypnotist." Former charismatic fundamentalist preacher, Marjoe Gortner demonstrated this fact quite well; he "saved" thousands using calculated and decidedly secular manipulative tactics (Kernochan & Smith, 1972). There are several well-documented instances of "UFO visits" that have been proven to be the products of hypnotically-enhanced imaginations (Klass, 1981). There is now a heated debate within experimental/forensic hypnosis as to whether or not hypnosis produces enhanced fantasizing and firmly believed but possibly distorted memories (Hilgard, 1981) Sensations, visions, memories, insights, and emotions experienced in hypnosis are typically more vivid and detailed than when experienced or thought about in the waking state and hence they are often felt by the subject to be especially valid -- independent of whether or not these experiences are indeed valid. True spiritual experiences may occur. However, since spiritual experiences cannot usually be objectively validated (we cannot ask God for His written opinion). they're especially prone to "emotional" validation (i.e. "it's true if it feels true" ). It is just this sense -- the feeling that an experience is "true" -- that can be so easily manipulated in the state of heightened suggestibility known as hypnosis. Manipulated pseudo spiritual experiences may be the rule in cults."
[Hitch's comment: the above illustrates, perfectly, the goings-on at every gakkai cult meeting I've ever attended; the bigger the venue, the more intense and the more powerful the kool-aid after-effects.]
"Hypnosis is a powerful tool. In thought reform it seems to be most effective when used in disguised and/or nontraditional forms.
Many cults appear to systematically and unethically employ consciousness-altering techniques and rituals in their efforts to manufacture spiritual experiences, increase suggestibility, maintain long-term dissociative states and reinforce mystical thinking. In cults, "trance can become a conditioned [behavior/personality] pattern ... a way of calming disturbing thoughts and censoring the mind ... trance cuts off the input of sensory information." (Appel, 1983. p. 133) Clark (1979) summarizes the power of prolonged use of cult-induced hypnosis and self-hypnosis: "It becomes an independent structure ... [the] basic controls of the central nervous system seem to have been altered (p. 210).
Any organized attempt to influence human behavior and experience should follow basic guidelines designed to protect the worth and dignity of the individual; the needs wishes and interests of the client should always be the primary focus of these relationships. These concepts are central to ethics codes in the social services and sciences (cf. American Psychological Association, 1983; American Association for Counseling and Development, 1982). Hypnotists are also reminded that "the desires of the subject shall always be respected" and that suggestions should only be employed to meet the needs of subjects and maintain their right to make their own decisions (Association to Advance Ethical Hypnosis, 1978). The question, of course, is who defines what is in an individuals interest or "welfare." When a person is bleeding profusely from a deep cut, it is easy to see what is in the person's best interest; it becomes considerably more difficult to decide such matters when dealing with something as nebulous as person's "soul" or "spirituality." When someone other than a client him/herself makes that judgment, that person should be very hesitant to act on that judgment, especially without obtaining informed consent. This caution should be taken even more seriously when considering the use of very powerful techniques for altering awareness. We need to remember who pays the price when judgments, no matter how well-intentioned turn out to be wrong. Physicians, psychotherapists and hypnotists are or should be held responsible when they misuse hypnosis. One wonders if cult and mass therapies should be any less accountable."
[Hitch's comment: I think they should indeed be held responsible, for taking people into that "zone."
(Original article, [www.carolgiambalvo.com
]).Definitely, lots of legitimate food for thought.
PS - The pyramid building (endless & countless practices / meetings / adrenaline pumping sessions all leading up to it) is all part of the milieu control that ultimately leads to the manipulation and eventually, group trance-like states (or heightened susceptibility to emotions, tenderizing the brain to be more receptive to the gakkai cult mindset / worldview filters). It's all definitely interrelated.