Levers and Lifeblood

Discussion in 'Life After Scientology' started by mockingbird, Jun 8, 2018.

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  1. mockingbird

    mockingbird Silver Meritorious Patron

    Levers and Lifeblood

    In leaving cults some things have been successful and some unsuccessful. And in persisting as a cult critic some things have helped critics while others crush them.

    Jon Atack has helped several hundred people to leave Scientology. Margaret Singer has interviewed over four thousand cult members. Steven Hassan has probably helped hundreds regarding cults as well.

    I could list probably a few dozen other of the most successful exit counseling experts and point out a common practice they have that leads to helping people to recognize manipulation and withdraw from harmful groups and relationships.

    They often use a model of influence based on the eight criteria for thought reform by Robert Jay Lifton or one very similar like that of Margaret Singer from her book Cults In Our Midst or the BITE model by Steven Hassan. A key component in all these models is addressing what Lifton called mystical manipulation- making something normal appear magical, miraculous, wondrous, profound.

    To natives in far off jungles and remote islands planes can inspire awe. Similarly hypnotic practices used covertly can seem awesome to people unaware that a practice hundreds or thousands of years old and used by millions of people who never learn the secrets of life is being used to manipulate their minds with their own imagination and psychological nature. No magic required.

    I was aware of negative behavior by Scientologists and failures of the organization for decades and even unfair treatment to a degree but needed the key component of realizing the pleasant worry free states I experienced in Scientology were not in fact proof of enlightenment and transcendence over human nature but were a kind of induced euphoria and it is created by attention fixation, contradictions aka paradox or confusion, mimicry, repetition, guided vivid imagery, sublime writing and other techniques over and over in different settings by different people from different groups and cultures with different beliefs.

    I like thousands of people before me benefited from learning the basic techniques and concepts used in hypnosis and the phenomena that accompany them accurately described much of my own experience in Scientology. Hypnosis is not a perfect practice without flaws as a subject or good enough to be called a science, but the metaphors for mental processes it contains have been used thousands and thousands of times to help people realize the seemingly miraculous and supernatural and sublime wonders they thought they experienced in many situations were in fact misrepresented manipulation and nothing more. No miracles or deep truths required.

    The reframing of my euphoric feeling from the definition Scientology cult founder Ronald Hubbard gave it as proof of his technology to just another con, based on the psychological vulnerabilities people through trial and error discovered methods we call hypnosis to exploit, was the lever I needed to break free from his lies. Until I achieved that I kept coming back to Scientology, thinking it had results nothing else did.

    Jon Atack delivered the lever fortunately by feeding bits of information out in tiny doses in his Scientology Mythbusting articles at The Underground Bunker and his essential articles regarding Scientology manipulation Never Believe a Hypnotist and Hubbard and the Occult (All available free online).

    He delivered both the most barebones description of hypnosis and influence so I could comprehend and digest it and a collection of Hubbard quotes outlining his contradictions and concepts regarding hypnosis. Hubbard in equal turns emphasized Dianetics AND Scientology were based on hypnosis and denied it, claimed it was always occurring in auditing and indoctrination in Scientology and denied it and above all described idea and idea from the subject of hypnosis in vivid detail, despite claiming it was not in Scientology.

    One thing is certain regarding anything a person says. They have to have information to say it. Hubbard described ideas from hypnosis, probably hundreds of very specific ideas, in extreme detail over and over. He must have KNOWN the ideas in order to be able to say them ! Given that, he must have known about the fact that hundreds of his practices had origins or counterparts in the subject of hypnosis !

    I have recently discovered that certain activities get little support by society and particularly financial support and prestige. Many people help hundreds of people to leave cults and recover and get little or no pay. Almost all who do this work have other jobs or are academics or therapists.

    I personally have written over three hundred posts at Mockingbird's Nest and thousands of comments and many thousands of Facebook posts and not yet received a dime for any of this. I fortunately work a full time job and am able to do this. Not everyone has this luxury.

    I have been sustained by the benefit from getting my ideas out and having to more fully form them to write them for others and get feedback regarding what isn't clear or gaps in reasoning or evidence or what is left out, which I wouldn't see by just thinking about things without sharing them. That's a huge benefit. But not everything .

    I recall recently seeing a comedian getting interviewed who described struggling for years. He didn't make a lot of money or get really famous for many years. He told a story about getting a minor compliment from an established comedian , something like you have talent or your stuff is good, that he said sustained him for a year.

    Think about that. Imagine you are doing open mic nights and not getting paid and bombing maybe fifty to eighty percent of the time as you learn your craft and one night a Steven Wright or Lewis Black says you have talent or good material, and you never see them again and that moment is your boost of positive interaction you live off for a year to keep going and then perhaps you get another from Sarah Silverman or Chris Rock or you get a spot on a late night T.V. show or a comedy special or a college tour that pays several thousand dollars. The point is all the work seems worth it for just a bit of positive encouragement, especially from the right sources.
    In writing about cults you get encouragement in different ways from different people. I started out posting at ESMB the ex Scientologist message board about four years ago.

    I got a lot of encouragement and around three or four hundred thousand views of threads I started there. Within a few months it was virtually a full time job for me. I read books on cults and psychology and hypnosis and threw posts up like wild. Sometimes several a day.

    I was initially untangling from Scientology and working out my ideas in my posts. They were rough and almost stream of consciousness style, think it, write it, think the thought and write it simultaneously with no editing. Rough stuff.

    I benefited from getting the ideas out and the feedback from the audience served as the editing process, if that makes sense. Through about a year that worked quite well for me.

    There of course came diminishing returns on exiting Scientology. After throwing off literally hundreds of terms and ideas from Scientology and reframing much of life a kind of settling into a new identity and mindset occurred. I wasn't the same personality as before but I was not entirely unsure who I was anymore either. Thousands of Scientology beliefs were replaced with new and different ones, and I was getting accustomed to both the recovery process and the changes. I was getting used to having my own ideas and not Hubbard's.

    I still put in a lot of work to understand cults and the larger subjects of influence and psychology but was not a wildly changing work in progress anymore. I get changes now but they are less extreme and dramatic.

    I realized that at some point what has been sustaining me after the initial year or two of exiting the cult and fiercely fighting to discover and throw off the effects of Scientology has been several things. I have gotten encouragement and positive acknowledgement from others. Jon Atack in an email called me a serious student. Now if Jon Atack is anything he is precise. He doesn't use hyperbole or false compliments. In fact he frequently corrects minor errors in conversation or interviews. He is a stickler for accuracy and his habits as a student are astounding. He really does a top notch job in studying a variety of subjects and is the top expert on Scientology in the world.

    So when he calls someone a serious student it is a meaningful statement.

    Positive encouragement like that can sustain a person for months or years. I have also been fortunate enough to get positive encouragement from others who have accomplished a lot regarding Scientology or cults in general like Hana Whitfield and Steven Hassan and Rick Alan Ross and Tory Christman and Chris Shelton and Daniel Shaw. To people that seriously follow Scientology or literature regarding cults these people are well known and to people who don't they are strangers, but trust me they all have put significant time and effort into their work. They are dedicated and accomplished in their own specialties.

    But now probably the best encouragement I get is from individual people one at a time. People who usually are only known to their family and friends without any celebrity whatsoever. People who have a family member that lives and dies in Scientology as one example then tell me that my blog helped them to understand the feelings and thoughts their spouse had while in Scientology.

    Or people that left Scientology and had lingering unresolved issues regarding not understanding what happened to them in the Scientology course room while doing the Scientology indoctrination techniques and how they actually were harming them. Having someone tell you they are on the fence about going back in the course room then having them read a few posts and decide they will never go back is extremely rewarding. As is having someone who was out for decades say they read everything they could but didn't get details on what happened to them until they read a post.

    And sometimes I must confess a post that I think is great and will get lots of feedback gets nothing and one I am not thrilled by gets enormous positive results. Sometimes it is something I just put out to answer a question or complete a thought I started somewhere else and didn't feel particularly enthused about but felt obligated to write.

    You never know what will help who or how many. I know some of the people who read these posts think about starting blogs or YouTube channels or podcasts or doing interviews with people who already have those things. If you feel it is right for you I strongly encourage it. You don't know how much you could help other people. Sometimes Scientologists attack blogs or Facebook pages and I just post links to my blog and ask them to read it. For some that results in them no longer attacking. I hope some actually read my posts, verify the information I post as in quotes from Hubbard I use and ideas from various subjects I refer to and actually leave Scientology.

    That would be one of the absolute best things possible for a communication to a Scientologist to achieve. Being the lever someone uses to change course with their own freely made decision can be the lifeblood that sustains you. I know it often is for me.

    Here's a collection of posts that describes the relevant ideas and subjects I reference in Levers and Lifeblood.
    Insidious Enslavement: Study Technology
    Basic Introduction To Hypnosis In Scientology
    Pissed It's Not Your Fault !
    The Critical Factor
    The Secret Of Scientology part 1 Control Via Contradiction
    Burning Down Hell - How Commands Are Hidden, Varied And Repeated To Control You As Hypnotic Implants
    Humbling Simplicity
    Propaganda By Reversal Of Meaning
    Scientology's Parallel In Nature - Malignant Narcissism
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  2. wogwog

    wogwog Patron

    Having written a lot of material for other fields, I know your frustration! It drives one crazy to put in tremendous amounts of thought and effort into an article for it to get no replies, then just making an off hand throwaway post that blows up 100 times bigger than anything else you've done. The internet is weird about what takes off and what does not, and it's hard to know which way a post will go. Sometimes, later you'll talk to someone who tells you they really appreciated a piece you thought was ignored, but they didn't feel the need to comment on it. Writers write so other will read, and it is draining to not get that confirmation that you are being read. So I'll say thanks for your writings, and I'm going through all of them!
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  3. mockingbird

    mockingbird Silver Meritorious Patron

    Thank you.

    You may or may not already know I have been writing about Scientology since I left over four years ago. I have posted almost everything at Mockingbird's Nest and have over three hundred posts there.

    If there's anything in particular you are interested in I may have posts on it. You can always ask me about a topic.
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  4. strativarius

    strativarius Inveterate gnashnab & snoutband

    Don't you mean 'Leavers' in your thread title? Yes, I know I'm a bloody annoying grammar nazi, but half of your audience will take one look at your bad spelling and decide your piece isn't for them. (Like I just did.)

    PS, there's still time to edit it I think.
  5. mockingbird

    mockingbird Silver Meritorious Patron

    I meant lever as in the word for something used to pry or move something. Leaver is a British word with a different meaning.
  6. strativarius

    strativarius Inveterate gnashnab & snoutband

    Oh, please accept my apologies. The second word in your first paragraph is 'leaving' and the ninth word in your second paragraph is 'leave' and therefore I thought that leaving (scientology) was what the post was about.

  7. mockingbird

    mockingbird Silver Meritorious Patron

    No problem. It's easy to see that interpretation.