Author Topic: Cults and Conspiracies  (Read 4499 times)

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Offline cleveland

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Cults and Conspiracies
« on: December 03, 2004, 10:40:00 AM »
There's a lot of information about cults and conspiracy that gets tossed around on this site, and I must confess, it's confusing and i think distracts from the truth of our experience. So I did a little web search and found some interesting information under Mind Control in the Skeptic's Dictionaly (www.skepdic.com). Here it is:

"To change a person's basic personality and character, to get them to behave in contradictory ways to lifelong patterns of behavior, to get them to alter their basic beliefs and values, would not necessarily count as mind control. It depends on how actively a person participates in their own transformation. You and I might think that a person is out of his mind for joining Scientology, Jehova's Witnesses, or Jim Roberts' The Brethren, but their "crazy beliefs and behaviors" are no wilder than the ones that millions of mainstream religious believers have chosen to accept and engage in.

Some recruits into non-mainstream religions seem to be brainwashed and controlled to the point that they will do great evil to themselves or others at the behest of their leader, including murder and suicide. Some of these recruits are in a state of extreme vulnerability when they are recruited and their recruiter takes advantage of that vulnerability. Such recruits may be confused or rootless due to ordinary transition difficulties (such as new college students), difficult life circumstances (such as failing in college or at a new job), or even tragic personal events (such as death to close friends or loved ones) or world events (such as war or terrorism). Some may be mentally ill or emotionally disturbed, greatly depressed, traumatized by self-abuse with drugs or abuse at the hands of others, etc. But it would not be to the advantage of the cult to actively recruit the emotionally disturbed. As one cult recruiter told me

Cults have complicated ideologies and practices that mentally or emotionally upset people have difficulty grasping. These structures are what allow the cult to control the person. Cults do not want people who are difficult to control.

Thus, while some recruits might be very vulnerable to those who would like to control their thoughts and actions, recruiters look for people they can make vulnerable. The recruiter quoted above also said

Cults seek out strong, intelligent, idealistic people. They also seek out the rich, no matter what their mental status is.

The goal is make the recruits vulnerable, to get them to give up whatever control over their thoughts and actions they might have. The goal is to make the cult members feel like passengers on a rudderless ship on a stormy sea. The recruiter or cult leader has a rudder and only he can guide the ship to safety.

The techniques available to manipulate the vulnerable are legion. One technique is to give them the love they feel they do not get elsewhere. Convince them that through you and your community they can find what they're looking for, even if they haven't got a clue that they're looking for anything. Convince them that they need faith in you and that you have faith in them. Convince them that their friends and family outside the group are hindrances to their salvation. Isolate them. Only you can give them what they need. You love them. You alone love them. You would die for them. So why wouldn't they die for you?  But, love alone can only get you so far in winning them over. Fear is a great motivator. Fear that if they leave they'll be destroyed. Fear that if they don't cooperate they'll be condemned. Fear that they can't make it in this miserable world alone. The manipulator must make the recruit paranoid.

Love and fear may not be enough, however; so guilt must be used, too. Fill them with so much guilt that they will want to police their own thoughts. Remind them that they are nothing alone, but with you and God (or some Power or Technique) they are Everything. Fill them with contempt for themselves, so that they will want to be egoless, selfless, One with You and Yours. You not only strip them of any sense of self, you convince them that the ideal is be without a self. Keep up the pressure. Be relentless. Humiliate them from time to time. Soon they will consider it their duty to humiliate themselves. Control what they read, hear, see. Repeat the messages for eyes and ears. Gradually get them to make commitments, small ones at first, then work your way up until you own their property, their bodies, their souls. And don't forget to give them drugs, starve them, or have them meditate or dance or chant for hours at a time until they think they've had some sort of mystical experience. Make them think, "It was you, Lord, who made me feel so good." They won't want to give it up. They have never felt so good. Though they look as if they are in Hell to those of us on the outside, from the inside it looks like Heaven.

What religion doesn't use guilt and fear to get people to police their own thoughts? Even some therapists use similar methods to control their patients. They prey on the vulnerable. They demand total loyalty and trust as a price for hope and healing. They often isolate their prey from loved ones and friends. They try to own and control their clients. The methods of recruiters are not much different. Are the recruits, the converts to the faith, and the patients willing victims? How would we tell the difference between a willing victim and an unwilling victim? If we cannot do that, then we can't distinguish any true cases of mind control.

Recruiters and other manipulators are not using mind control unless they are depriving their victims of their free will. A person can be said to be deprived of his free will by another only if that other has introduced a causal agent which is irresistible. How could we ever demonstrate that a person's behavior is the result of irresistible commands given by a religious, spiritual, or personal growth leader? It is not enough to say that irrational behavior proves a person's free will has been taken from them. It may be irrational to give away all one's property, or to devote all one's time and powers to satisfying the desires of one's divine leader, or to commit suicide or plant poison bombs in subways because ordered to do so, but how can we justify claiming such irrational acts are the acts of mindless robots? For all we know, the most bizarre, inhumane, and irrational acts done by the recruits are done freely, knowingly and joyfully. Perhaps they are done by brain damaged or insane people. In either case, such people would not be victims of mind control.

Finally, it is widely believed that the Chinese were successful in brainwashing American prisoners of war during the Korean War. The evidence that their tactics of torture, isolation, sensory deprivation, etc., were successfully used to control the minds of their captives is non-existent. Very few (22 of 4,500 or 0.5%) of those captured by the Chinese went over to the other side (Sutherland 1979, 114). The myth of success by the Chinese is primarily due to the work of Edward Hunter, whose Brainwashing in Red China: the Calculated Destruction of Men's Minds (New York: Vanguard Press, 1951) is still referred to by those who see mind control tactics as a major menace today. The CIA provided most of Hunter?s fodder in their effort to inspire hatred of the North Koreans and communism, to explain why some American soldiers didn?t hate the enemy, and ?to aggrandize their own role by arguing that they themselves must investigate brainwashing techniques in order to keep up with the enemy? (Sutherland 1979, 114).

It seems then, that if we define mind control as the successful control of the thoughts and actions of another without his or her  consent, mind control exists only in fantasy. Unfortunately, that does not mean that it will always be thus."

So, in my view, The Seed used techniques to alter the behavior and thoughts of it's clients. Some of them today on this site struggle with how much of their participation was voluntary or not; the answer is not an easy one and I hope the quote above helps people come to terms with what they went through - before, during and after their experiences at the Seed.
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ally Gator

Offline Anonymous

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« Reply #1 on: December 03, 2004, 11:13:00 AM »
Hey Wally,

Thanks for the time and effort you put into this. I will post back after I reread your post and think about it some more....
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Offline GregFL

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« Reply #2 on: December 05, 2004, 02:41:00 PM »
Your right cleveland that "mind control" is a myth.

cultic brainwashing isn't. When you force someone by coercion to BEHAVE, Speak and act a certain way or face severe consequences, especially consequences that relate to freedom and humiliation,  the mind does change. Many of us tried to "con" our program and ended up falling into it for a while, me included. However in the end, just like the pows subjected to similar techniques, the mind of most individuals prevail. This doesn't mean that residual effects don't remain.

This is a complicated subject matter that many find hard to deal with. Those that have been thru cultic mind control have different issues with the subject than those that never have and therefore don't understand.
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Offline cleveland

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« Reply #3 on: December 06, 2004, 10:37:00 AM »
Greg, thanks for your thoughtful consideration of this. It is a very gray area, but I think it's useful to keep this discussion grounded in our experience, which falls somewhere in the middle - neither the zombie-like submission of highly coercive cult nor the full free-will acceptance of a completely functional adult. I think we were young, vulnerable and lonely, and the Seed capitalized on this with promises of love, an idealistic future, and offering us fearful visions of 'death, insanity or jail.'

We also had the experience of isolation, intensive supervision, and loss of self. However, this was not extreme enough in my case to be abusive, just unpleasant. In the end, I chose the path the Seed offered. In some sense, I just gave up out of self-disgust, and as the Seed said, 'did you do it better on your own?'

However, once the Seed had me it didn't quite know what to do with me. It was very good at making me stop using drugs and alcohol, at encouraging me to be self-disciplined and give to others selflessly. But it had no idea how to help me make adult choices, to integrate with my family and the world, and to explore my potential as a person. No, it only offered a simple, 'us and them' philosophy and an imaginary 'Camelot' of Art Barker, the inner circle and the rest of us.

Since drug and alcohol abuse is such a difficult problem, is it ever justified to use the techniques the Seed and to some extent, AA use? I don't know. Someone who is actively abusing is not a fully functional person, they are self-deluded and addicted. Getting them to face up to reality and take responsiblity is a challenge. I think we, as a society, as families and individuals, are still coming to grips with this. We would love a simple solution, but I don't think there is one for us. We have a lot of pain, a lot of denial, and a lot of need. Drugs, religious devotion, sexual promiscuity and all the rest can be used to fill the void our materialist society opens in our souls. Charletans will always find away to exploit 'helping' us as we look for others to make it better. The Seed was better than most, worse than others, but still faulty at its base.

The worship of Art, and fear of engaging with the 'outside' world, its 'black and white' thinking, doomed it.

_________________
Wally Gator[ This Message was edited by: cleveland on 2004-12-06 07:45 ]
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ally Gator

Offline Anonymous

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« Reply #4 on: December 06, 2004, 10:50:00 AM »
http://orange-papers.org/orange-addmonst.html

This was incredibly helpful to me.  What people don't seem to realize is that the success rate of AA or any 12 Step program is, are you ready for this......the same as it is for doing nothing[/b].  Spontaneous remission.  That basically means that no one is going to quit unless and until they WANT to quit.  Once they've decided that there IS healthy help out there.

http://www.smartrecovery.org/
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Offline Somejoker

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« Reply #5 on: December 06, 2004, 04:50:00 PM »
Cleveland...how do you define abuse?

There is a good question for you.

Of course it is abusive to hit someone, but

How about imprisoning them against their will..even if you feel it is for their own good? Is that abusive?

What about padLocking them up at night and making them ask permission for everything from defecating to eating or drinking a glass of water? Is that abusive?

How about purposely restricting their right to urinate as a control method?  Abusive?  

How about severly limiting their sleep and caloric intake? Abusive?

How about forcing them to sit up straight in a wooden chair for twelve hours and having them poked in the back sharply when they slip out of consciousness or fail to comply?  Abusive?

Not allowing them to think or for their eyes to wander, all the while and at all times forcing the person to Smile and motivate his desire to speak to the group at the same time having said person fearfull of being personally verbally torn to shreds for little or nothing?  Abusive?

There is more,,,much more.


To me a comment that the seed wasn't abusive is just so missing the mark. The outward physical abuse endured by some in the seed is greatly overshadowed by the day to day CULTURE OF ABUSE the seed was immersed in.

The entire modality in fact fosters abuse and cultic worship, and this is seen from the seed right down to the present day copycat programs.

The seed was extremely abusive, and much like an abused housewife, many people that endured said abuse say it was because they deserved or needed it, or that it really wasn't that bad.  It was.



The Seed wasn't just unpleasant Cleveland. In fact, many of the techniques, if done by the average person, would result in felony convictions of assault and false inprisonment.
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Offline Stripe

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« Reply #6 on: December 06, 2004, 05:16:00 PM »
Why is is that people who don't think they were brain washed, abused or otherwise mistreated, sing the praises of these kinds of programs ? :eek:
That's my observation on this so far.  

Once a person actually considers the very real possiblity that these things occurred and that as Seedlings we were subjected to some very awuful things - suddenly, the Seed doesn't look so wholesome any more.  Maybe my old high school friends weren't so far off base when they referred to me as a zombie.

It's never easy to see our lives for what they really are, ever.  That's the beauty of denial: it's not just about drugs, or booze or sex or food. Maybe that's why I never thought to tell all those therapists I've been to over the past 20 years years that I was a produce of the The Seed .... Anyway, it's good to be out in the open and consider all the possibilites.
Thanks.
« Last Edit: December 31, 1969, 07:00:00 PM by Guest »
The person who stands up and says, ``This is stupid,\'\' either is asked to `behave\' or, worse, is greeted with a cheerful ``Yes, we know! Isn\'t it terrific ?\'\' -- Frank Zappa

Offline Stripe

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« Reply #7 on: December 06, 2004, 05:17:00 PM »
"A produce" very telling.  what I meant was a product.
« Last Edit: December 31, 1969, 07:00:00 PM by Guest »
The person who stands up and says, ``This is stupid,\'\' either is asked to `behave\' or, worse, is greeted with a cheerful ``Yes, we know! Isn\'t it terrific ?\'\' -- Frank Zappa

Offline cleveland

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« Reply #8 on: December 07, 2004, 09:28:00 AM »
Don't get me wrong. I'm not defending the Seed. I just think it's important, for me, that I characterize the experience as accurately as possible. I'm trying to remove the loaded language and emotional content, even though it was a very emotional experience for me.

But to be accurate, for me, again...I signed up because I wanted to be there, because I was desparately unhappy, and I stayed because I believed it was the best thing I could do. I left when I realized this wasn't true for me, but it took years.

I was not hit, abused or maltreated when I was at the Seed. It's true, we sat for hours on hard chairs, ate crappy hot dogs and Kool Aid for lunch, and kept the bathroom door open. And for me this was unpleasant. I will reserve the term for stronger stuff.

For me the abuse was that my power over my life was removed, and that I was led to believe that I would fail without the Seed. THAT was abuse; THAT'S where the Seed overstepped it's boundaries; the other stuff just sucked.
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Offline GregFL

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« Reply #9 on: December 07, 2004, 09:46:00 AM »
Sometimes I forget that there were acutally people there voluntarily. That seemed such a surreal concept for me while I was there because I felt like a POW the whole time.

Also, Sometimes I forget that the seed had morphed from the 1973 seed into something a bit different later.

Still, the whole thing was laden with a CULTURE OF ABUSE. That is my point. It was more than unpleasant, it was abusive.
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Offline Stripe

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« Reply #10 on: December 07, 2004, 09:50:00 AM »
Wally,

That's it - that's a very sharp observation.    Having the power over my life removed - that's the abuse, among other things.
The reason it's so abusive is because when the power over the control of one's life is taken, so is the power to perceive that stripping away.
« Last Edit: December 31, 1969, 07:00:00 PM by Guest »
The person who stands up and says, ``This is stupid,\'\' either is asked to `behave\' or, worse, is greeted with a cheerful ``Yes, we know! Isn\'t it terrific ?\'\' -- Frank Zappa

Offline Anonymous

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« Reply #11 on: December 07, 2004, 09:54:00 AM »
mind control... is real and present, dudes. check  http://educate-yourself.org/mc/index.shtml#thanksbook and see for yourself. also consider yourself lucky if you are are around to read this. you can also find low-tech solutions to intrusions into your life. did i mention implants yet?
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Offline cleveland

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« Reply #12 on: December 07, 2004, 10:06:00 AM »
Greg, depending upon what day it is I feel differently about this, because there's no hard and fast standard here, at least for me.

I think the point is to maintain the dialog, and learn.

I think, more than a culture of abuse, it was a culture of repression. Sexuality, freedom, the outside world, were all suspect, likely to lead to trouble.

Which is true - in the adult world, people get hurt, relationships go sour, drugs get abused. But the Seed just enforced this 'all or nothing' mentality and didn't deal with the fine points. It was very narrow and constrictive, which made it 'safe,' but not good in the long term.
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Offline Anonymous

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« Reply #13 on: December 07, 2004, 11:01:00 AM »
Stripe I agree with the Gator-

But I was just thinking about attending Cathloic School from Kindergarten through 9th grade - I had Nuns Priests and Brothers. There was a certain strictness that I also experienced there and at the Seed.  The nuns were very controlling and you were definatly limited to certain bathroom times.  I recall having to sit up straight looking foward with my hands properly folded on top of the desks.  We would march in straight lines 2 even rows boys & girls seperated to and from morning Mass and the same for lunch.   Boys and girls played seperatly organized.  We had to raise our hands if we had a question.  At the water fountain the moniter would count to five and the water fountain time was up.  We all even dressed alike.  Yes I think this was very controlled but it was for disapline and organization.  We were also instructed in the 7th or 9th grade not to masterbate or play with ourselves. I do not think this was a cult.  

At the Seed there was alot of discipline and rules and organization.  I needed this.  No I did not need abuse or belittling.  I must admit I was on a couple of occasions treated harshly.  Should I call this abuse?  I was even yelled at one day for missing a catch at baseball and I was apoligized to the next day for it. I was also loved more & felt it more than anywhere else I had ever been.  I needed it desperatly.  

I think everyone in a lifetime yells at there spouse kid or even pet and feels guilty about over doing it and yes as human beings no one is perfect.  I just think I got a hell of alot out of the whole experience.

I was never in the military but I kind of have an idea of what it was like.  I also know about the comradery I felt at the Seed as well.
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Offline cleveland

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« Reply #14 on: December 07, 2004, 11:56:00 AM »
Yes, I think this type of rigid discipline - in Catholic Schools, families, and the military - can be both good and bad. Did anyone see the Magdalen Sisters? A movie about Catholic homes for unwed mothers in Ireland - now that's abuse! On the other hand, I know a lot of people who think (now) fondly of their basic training for the military.

I don't know. We are a very individually-oriented society, and I think that's good thing. On the other hand, we seem to need to join together for a common purpose, and sometimes sacrifice our individuality to the group. But that's where cults come from - but also religion, the family, and clubs. So help!

Such a fine line...
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