"brainwashing", "Hypnotism", myths, facts, and how it relates to Scientology

Discussion in 'Evaluating and Criticising Scientology' started by Consensus, Nov 28, 2008.

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  1. Consensus

    Consensus Patron with Honors

    A thread popped up on whyweprotest today that reminded me of a thread I composed a long time ago. It's strictly theoretical, based on my knowledge of social psychology, but I never got the feedback I was looking for. I've never been a member of Scientology, so I was hoping someone could confirm or refute my assumptions about how people are 'lured in', and tell me whether this information resonated with them.

    Here's the link. I understand it's a bit long ('tl;dr'), and that some of it is fairly dense, but I've tried to write in a way that's accessible to everyone. I am looking for serious feedback, as firsthand accounts may help me sharpen this into a coherent essay that may help to innoculate the public at large and liberate members of Scientology from the psychological stranglehold.
  2. programmer_guy

    programmer_guy True Ex-Scientologist

    Not necessarily. I think that Bob Penny made some good points in his essay on this subject. Please read this.

    I agree with this.

    I don't know about that BUT I think that this is usually a case of being young and naive.
    The rest of the post is far to academic in terminology to be real and down-to-earth.
  3. Consensus

    Consensus Patron with Honors

    I can't say I can support that claim. I will say, LRH takes advantage of well-meaning people. If you're a cynic, and believe there are truly evil people out there, you're unlikely to fall for Scientology. But if you're a happy-go-lucky person that believes 'everyone is basically good', his argument that man is basically good will resonate with you (It's worth mentioning that he is definitely not the first to propose the idea, and hundreds of famous philosophers throughout history argue for that point, where LRH claims to be the first). Furthermore, once you buy into it, you will be hard-pressed to question Scientology, because to accept that you've been lied to all along is to accept that some people really ARE assholes. 'Cause if you're in, that's the facts of the matter - either LRH is right, or he's an outright fucking asshole. And if you don't believe in outright fucking assholes, he's 100% infallible!
  4. programmer_guy

    programmer_guy True Ex-Scientologist

    Okay, what's your take on Bob Penny's essay?
  5. Consensus

    Consensus Patron with Honors

    Sorry, I'm drunk. I'll read it tomorrow and comment.
  6. Björkist

    Björkist Silver Meritorious Patron

    If you are familiar with Timothy Leary's "Eight Circuit Model of Consciousness" and/or Robert Anton Wilson's refinement of it (which I prefer), it should make sense...

    IMO, the de-imprinting/re-imprinting process is one that should be, more or less, a solo endeavor.

    But then, we are all where we are for a reason and learning from it, so...
  7. Leon

    Leon Gold Meritorious Patron

    So guys stand up at graduation and talk about "wins" they've had which they never really had. They just persuade themeslves that they did.

    Is that the extent of the hypnotism in Scio you're talking about or is there more?
  8. Veda

    Veda Sponsor

    Scientology's responses to the accusation that Scientology is brainwashing have had some moderate successes.

    One approach has been to select one piece of Scientology, or one piece of its "tech," and demonstrate that that piece (presented as being representative of the whole) is not brainwashing. Any number of benign common-sense ideas or actions, adopted by Scientology, can be presented as Scientology, thus "disproving" the accusation that Scientology is [fill in any negative accusation to be "disproved"].

    Another approach is to make the subject of brainwashing about the word "brainwashing," and enter into a seemingly unresolvable debate about the meaning of the word. Since there are multiple definitions for the word "brainwashing" (as there are with the word "hypnosis"), an examination of the actions involved in what might be classified as brainwashing is avoided.

    Origin of the word, "brainwashing":


    One way to side step the Scientological ploy of having a tiny piece of Scientology, or its "tech," presented as reflective of the totality of the subject or its "tech," or the ploy of making an attempted examination of the action of brainwashing, not about actions, but about the word "brainwashing," is to go directly to a 64 page booklet that L. Ron Hubbard, himself, called the 'Brainwashing Manual'.

    Suddenly, the discussion becomes about something definite, at which point one can watch the Scientologists squirm, if one if so inclined, but beware, Scientology's #1 tactic is trickery (angles, ploys, gimmicks, capers, etc., used consciously or unconsciously), and an attempt will likely be made to shift the discussion back to demonstrating one thing as representing the whole, or shift the discussion back to the meaning of the word, with the meaning usually being either "almost everything is brainwashing," or "brainwashing? That occurs with pain and drugs, Mr. Hubbard wrote about that, it's 'Pain-Drug-Hypnosis', and in Scientology, drugs are not used," etc.

    It's best to be familiar with the (secretly authored Hubbard booklet) 'Brainwashing', as a tiny fraction of the text mentions (in no detail, but with great bombast) "PDH," and also shock treatment and lobotomy. And, typically, if a Scientologist has any response at all, it will be that the 'Brainwashing Manual' is about "PDH," etc., at which point it becomes necessary to remind the Scientologist that less than a page is concerned with such matters, leaving the bulk of the manual describing other things - Other things that, if one can keep the Scientologist from placing his fingers in his ears and shouting, "nanananana!" or simply running away, can be - point by point - shown to be part of the subject and practice of Scientology, with the seemingly benign parts of Scientology functioning as both a deceptive lead-in, and as a reassuring medium though which that "brainwashing" can occur.


  9. uniquemand

    uniquemand Unbeliever

    I'm quite familiar with Leary and Wilson, and I agree that they are fascinating, but I disagree with the idea that de-imprinting should be done solo, although, in a pinch, if you must, well, go for it.

    Similar to the old phrase:

    "He who has himself for a lawyer has a fool for a lawyer", change out lawyer with auditor, and you are pretty much in the same boat. However, sometimes any auditing is better than none. If even a fool could do it, then go for it. If they couldn't, steer clear.

    As for re-imprinting, that should be avoided altogether.
  10. Veda

    Veda Sponsor

    Leary, Wilson, de Ropp, and others have some interesting observations re. de-imprinting/re-imprinting, etc. When used in a discussion of Scientology and "brainwashing," bringing up these theories is an excellent example of the "almost everything is brainwashing" response. See how it safely navigates around the issue of Scientology and "brainwashing"? And it's quite interesting, in itself, also.
  11. uniquemand

    uniquemand Unbeliever

    Imprinting is brainwashing. It's not a deflection. Sorry you see it that way. The Church uses the Purif as a method of breaking down imprints and leaving you in a state to receive new ones. You are made extremely vulnerable, your diet is controlled, and you are "on the purif" for an arbitrary period, until such time as the C/S ("Daddy") says you are done, which is a complete mystery to most people on the purif. I'm sure most people are quite relieved when their purif is complete.
  12. Veda

    Veda Sponsor

    You're quite right.

    Responding to the issue of "Scientology and brainwashing?" with Tim Leary's "Eight Circuit Model of Consciousness," etc. would be deflection. Responding to that deflection is merely being briefly distracted, and it can be brought around to a discussion of the actual topic again, as you've just done. Thank you.

    Incidentally, in the chapter, 'Souls Turned Inside Out', in the book 'Messiah or Madman?', there's a description of the "removing of old programs" and "inserting of new programs," as it might occur in Scientology. However, there's also a separate chapter titled, 'The Brainwashing Manual'. Both are relevant, IMO.
  13. Björkist

    Björkist Silver Meritorious Patron

    Responding to the issue of "Scientology and brainwashing?" with Tim Leary's "Eight Circuit Model of Consciousness," was to bring a concept into the discussion which others may not be familiar with and that may lead to understanding what is possibly (not concretely) going on with Scientology auditing (among many other processes which address similar things).

    But a paranoid mind who sees nasty and sinister motives would easily miss the point and thus see and claim something else was being done.


    De-imprinting should be done solo. As well as re-imprinting (should one see it as necessary).

    Re-imprinting can be brainwashing (in the sinister term) if it is done both forcefully/against one's will and without one knowing/agreeing, etc. (i.e. Linda MacDonald at the hands of Dr. Ewen Cameron [restraint, massive doses of ECT, LSD and other things])

    I don't consider the self-determined removal of old, other-determined and enforced ideas and the subsequent creating of one's own ideas and "world view" brainwashing.
    Last edited: Dec 1, 2008
  14. I am completely unfamiliar with this "until the C/S says you are done". Every case I've seen, not to mention my own, it's when the person knows he's done that he's done. When people don't realize that, there can be problems... people being on it for two months, for example, getting increasingly annoyed because they're well beyond the point where it's doing anything for them, was the only recurring problem I noticed, and that wasn't common.

    As for diet being controlled... naw, just get some vegetables in you, and follow this plan of increasing dosages of various supplements. Other than that, you are most certainly not supposed to change your diet.

    As for extremely vulnerable... wha? You're vulnerable... because you have to exercise for 20-30 minutes? For taking some supplements? For agreeing to spend hours lounging around in a sauna, taking frequent showers, and drinking water? Oh, the agony! Mommy, make the bad man stop making me relax in the sauna!
  15. crm1978

    crm1978 Patron with Honors

    It all depends on how you define your words something Hubbard was good at .Change the meaning of words and you can reframe concepts to mean something new .Brainwashing or Hypnosis is something those evil psychs do not what Scientology does thus LRH distracted you from what is in fact going on and created an external enemy all at the same time .My definition of hypnoses is focusing the mind in a way that lowers awareness and makes that mind open to external influence without the person being aware of that influence.Brainwashing would be changing a current belief system into a new system that is "better" according to the person doing the washing .It works best if the person is not aware that it has been done .Punishment and abuse is one way as in RPF Hubbard prefered the sneaky less forcefull way .One can make a good case that that is exactly and wholly what the Bridge To Total freedom is
  16. crm1978

    crm1978 Patron with Honors

    Hypnoses or brain washing is not all ways an all or nothing process mild forms of it go on all the time in advertising public relations etc I have read that Hubbard was a skilled hypnotist before he started Cof S it is logical that he would use that to his advantage .He also was a very clever writer who was very good at creating a wonderfull and appealing vision that has taken in a lot of well meaning people .Sadly that vision is an illusion that many people don'nt see "As Is" until too late .Hubbard also had a good grasp of how to keep people in by social isolation from "wogs" and by hope for the gains that are on the grade chart but which never really happen .
  17. Smilla

    Smilla Ordinary Human

    This isn't strictly speaking brainwashing, but it's related.

    "Milieu control involves the control of communication within a group environment, that also may (or may not) result in a significant degree of isolation from surrounding society. When non-group members, or outsiders, are considered or potentially labeled as less valuable without basis for stated group-supported and group-reinforced prejudice, group members may have a tendency to then consider themselves as intellectually superior, which can limit alternate points of view, thus becoming a self-fulfilling prophecy in which group members automatically begin to devalue others and the intellect of others that are separate from their group, without logical rationale for doing so."

  18. GreyLensman

    GreyLensman Silver Meritorious Patron

    Bob Penny's take on TRs - I never had that imposed success story - that I would realize I should now serve the group - nor was it ever asked for. If anything further participation slightly negated the gains I actually had from TR's. It was the first failure to consult my own gut feeling that "there be dragons."

    There is much in Scientology that is coercive and intentionally misleading. There are also gems of workability there likely by accident and there because a huge number of people of good will helped start this thing that became Scientology. Some of that original intention persists despite the true evil intended by source and Miscavige.

    Much of the destructive cult structure surrounds and buries the workable parts.
  19. Ogsonofgroo

    Ogsonofgroo Crusader

    Giving this old thread some thread-love with a gentle bump, especially considering all the newbies of late.
    The spectrum of folks this can be of benefit to is huge, from ins, outs, curious, freshly left, reporters, critics, the disaffected/disinfected fence-sitters, and more, I especially liked this 'Cole's Notes' version of the fine WWP thread by Consensus (kudos man, it was even worth a re-read) ~ http://dialogueireland.wordpress.com/2010/02/05/how-can-groups-make-good-people-do-bad-things/

    The points explained are timelessly poignant :heartflower: :cheers:
  20. themadhair

    themadhair Patron Meritorious

    Something that I find fascinating is in how some Scientology definitions are almost as if they were designed to exploit the principles illustrated in the psychological experiences.

    For example, the Scientology definition of the ‘Objective environment’, as taken from the Advanced Procedures and Axioms 2007 version editor’s glossary, reads “The objective environment is what everyone agrees is there.” Other definitions in Scientology, most notably that of ‘reality’ being ‘agreement’, fall into the same category, but the definition I have given here is even more clear cut to see. If you had to try and invent a definition based on the Asch principle it would be difficult to better this one.

    Other examples are 8C and learning how to be controlled, which ties in with the principle explored in the Milgram experiment.

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