This is a thought paper on a concept I’ve calling Perfected Mind Control or PMC for short.
With PMC I want to develop a system of mind control that does all or most of the end results of traditional mind control but is absent of all the coercive elements that are described in Robert Jay Lifton ‘s Eight Point Model of Thought Reform.
So, you see, I’m walking a fine line here but see something that could have some promise.
Terminology note: Today Mind control or brainwashing in academia is commonly referred to as coercive persuasion, coercive psychological systems or coercive influence. The short description below comes from Dr. Margaret Singer , professor emeritus at the University of California at Berkeley the acknowledged leading authority in the world on mind control and cults. This document, in substance, was presented to the U.S. Supreme Court as an educational Appendix on coercive psychological systems in the case Wollersheim v. Church of Scientology 89-1367 and 89-1361. The Wollersheim case was being considered related to issues involving abuse in this area.
The Goal of Perfected Mind Control (PMC) is to completely minimize or eliminate any perception of coercion while expanding the subjects ability to choose. Is it mind control? Yes. It is designed so that the subject gains greater control of their mind and a higher degree of flexibility in their responses. Is PMC coercive? You be the judge.
Coercion is defined as, “to restrain or constrain by force…” Legally it often implies the use of PHYSICAL FORCE or physical or legal threat. This traditional concept of coercion is far better understood than the technological concepts of “coercive persuasion” which are effective restraining, impairing, or compelling through the gradual application of PSYCHOLOGICAL FORCES.
A coercive persuasion program is a behavioral change technology applied to cause the “learning” and “adoption” of a set of behaviors or an ideology under certain conditions. It is distinguished from other forms of benign social learning or peaceful persuasion by the conditions under which it is conducted and by the techniques of environmental and interpersonal manipulation employed to suppress particular behaviors and to train others. Over time, coercive persuasion, a psychological force akin in some ways to our legal concepts of undue influence, can be even MORE effective than pain, torture, drugs, and use of physical force and legal threats.
The Korean War “Manchurian Candidate” misconception of the need for suggestibility-increasing drugs, and physical pain and torture, to effect thought reform, is generally associated with the old concepts and models of brainwashing. Today, they are not necessary for a coercive persuasion program to be effective. With drugs, physical pain, torture, or even a physically coercive threat, you can often temporarily make someone do something against their will. You can even make them do something they hate or they really did not like or want to do at the time. They do it, but their attitude is not changed.
The phrase against their will implies that an individual has a clear preset intention. The truth is that very very few people have thought out their intentions to the degree that something else cannot be suggested. As a central understanding of Perfected Mind Control this concept allows for only the rare few who actually have a will to be excluded from any influence.
This is much different and far less devastating than that which you are able to achieve with the improvements of coercive persuasion. With coercive persuasion you can change people’s attitudes without their knowledge and volition. You can create new “attitudes” where they will do things willingly which they formerly may have detested, things which previously only torture, physical pain, or drugs could have coerced them to do.
The key to PMC is to present all new concepts in terms of learning and all form of rejection in terms of judgment and prejudice
The advances in the extreme anxiety and emotional stress production technologies found in coercive persuasion supersede old style coercion that focuses on pain, torture, drugs, or threat in that these older systems do not change attitude so that subjects follow orders “willingly.” Coercive persuasion changes both attitude AND behavior, not JUST behavior.
THE PURPOSES AND TACTICS OF COERCIVE PERSUASION
Coercive persuasion or thought reform as it is sometimes known, is best understood as a coordinated system of graduated coercive influence and behavior control designed to deceptively and surreptitiously manipulate and influence individuals, usually in a group setting, in order for the originators of the program to profit in some way, normally financially or politically.
The essential strategy used by those operating such programs is to systematically select, sequence and coordinate numerous coercive persuasion tactics over CONTINUOUS PERIODS OF TIME. There are seven main tactic types found in various combinations in a coercive persuasion program. A coercive persuasion program can still be quite effective without the presence of ALL seven of these tactic types.
PURPOSE AND TACTICS OF ‘PERFECTED MIND CONTROL
The purpose of PMC is to liberate the mind from automatic and unconscious responses that are painful. The tactics are designed to have a minimum of judgment and moralization to them so to cause minimal discomfort. The tactics emphasize choice and self-awareness with a constant invitation to leave and rejoin in the learning.
TACTIC 1. The individual is prepared for thought reform through increased suggestibility and/or “softening up,” specifically through hypnotic or other suggestibility-increasing techniques such as: A. Extended audio, visual, verbal, or tactile fixation drills; B. Excessive exact repetition of routine activities; C. Decreased sleep; D. Nutritional restriction.
In order for anyone to accept a new concept, yes, they must be softened up . However with PMC this is done by simply pointing out the ways in which a persons responses and choices are automatic and how the automatic response limits their ability to choose.
TACTIC 2. Using rewards and punishments, efforts are made to establish considerable control over a person’s social environment, time, and sources of social support. Social isolation is promoted. Contact with family and friends is abridged, as is contact with persons who do not share group-approved attitudes. Economic and other dependence on the group is fostered. (In the forerunner to coercive persuasion, brainwashing, this was rather easy to achieve through simple imprisonment.)
More subtle punishments have greater power. Stunned glaring silence for example or merely looking at the floor with shaking the head have a strong impact on the internal feelings of the subject. Also, simply asking in a Dr. Phil type tone How has that been working for you? will allow the subject to compare their automatic behavior with their ideal response.
TACTIC 3. Disconfirming information and nonsupporting opinions are prohibited in group communication. Rules exist about permissible topics to discuss with outsiders. Communication is highly controlled. An “in-group” language is usually constructed.
Keeping the discussion on topic is important to PMC. That does allow for debate and to a point debate should be encouraged. The central point of PMC is on freedom and flexibility of choice. If debate turns the topic away from that the subject should be acknowledged for contributing and asked to return to the topic. If the distraction continues the subject should be compassionately told that they aren’t yet ready to learn and that it’s not their fault and asked to return at another time or simply remain silent and listen.
TACTIC 4. Frequent and intense attempts are made to cause a person to re-evaluate the most central aspects of his or her experience of self and prior conduct in negative ways. Efforts are designed to destabilize and undermine the subject’s basic consciousness, reality awareness, world view, emotional control, and defense mechanisms as well as getting them to reinterpret their life’s history, and adopt a new version of causality.
Perfected Mind Control instead focuses first on the subject to re-evaluate any aspect of their life in any new way. The degree of success is measured by how the subject responds positively to this new (but perhaps even minor) insight. Thus making a paved path ready for any further insights.
TACTIC 5. Intense and frequent attempts are made to undermine a person’s confidence in himself and his judgment, creating a sense of powerlessness.
As in pointing out times when their behaviors did not match up to their stated values. While this does have some limited value the emphasis of PMC is on the reward that comes from greater choices and increased flexibility.
TACTIC 6. Nonphysical punishments are used such as intense humiliation, loss of privilege, social isolation, social status changes, intense guilt, anxiety, manipulation and other techniques for creating strong aversive emotional arousals, etc.
In Perfected Mind Control this is completely avoided by making the only punishment silence or shaking the head slightly while looking at the ground. Silence without judgment so that the judgment can only be inferred.
TACTIC 7. Certain secular psychological threats [force] are used or are present: That failure to adopt the approved attitude, belief, or consequent behavior will lead to severe punishment or dire consequence, (e.g. physical or mental illness, the reappearance of a prior physical illness, drug dependence, economic collapse, social failure, divorce, disintegration, failure to find a mate, etc.).
In Perfected Mind Control the only psychological threat is not being one of us . This puts the subject into one of two other catagories them and undecided . Old Mind control methods made it only us/them while the the undecided allows the subject more ease to return to us . For the people employing Perfected Mind Control this system has a bigger picture. It creates a dichotomy for the us to rally against. And those who are undecided can still be in the loop of communication.
In Perfected Mind Control people will be asked and encouraged to leave the group to find out what more is out there . Their choice to return or not is always respected. Those who return will do so with more commitment and those who leave will still be in the loop of communication.
Another set of criteria has to do with defining other common elements of mind control systems. If most of Robert Jay Lifton’s eight point model of thought reform is being used in a cultic organization, it is most likely a dangerous and destructive cult. These eight points follow:
Robert Jay Lifton’s Eight Point Model of Thought Reform
1.ENVIRONMENT CONTROL. Limitation of many/all forms of communication with those outside the group. Books, magazines, letters and visits with friends and family are taboo. “Come out and be separate!”
Perfected Mind Control discourage limitations such as move in with our commune by making it hard to do unless under the right circumstances or with only proper preparation. By doing this only the most committed will attempt to do so while others are given a model to aspire. Perfected Mind Control also encourages exposure to outside information within the context of …comparing it to what you now know with us . By doing this the illusion of choice is always present.
2. MYSTICAL MANIPULATION. The potential convert to the group becomes convinced of the higher purpose and special calling of the group through a profound encounter / experience, for example, through an alleged miracle or prophetic word of those in the group.
Perfected Mind Control will emphasize that the only higher purpose is understanding that sense of right and wrong unconsciously filters what they are able to learn. Therefore morality is a hindrance to learning. And learning is the key to ultimate freedom and the flexibility to enjoy and deal with anything that life gives you.
3. DEMAND FOR PURITY. An explicit goal of the group is to bring about some kind of change, whether it be on a global, social, or personal level. “Perfection is possible if one stays with the group and is committed.”
In Perfected Mind Control (PMC) the demand for purity is replaced by the demand to truly learn. To Truly learn can only be done by testing and putting aside judgment.
4. CULT OF CONFESSION. The unhealthy practice of self disclosure to members in the group. Often in the context of a public gathering in the group, admitting past sins and imperfections, even doubts about the group and critical thoughts about the integrity of the leaders.
The PMC model replaces confession of wrongs with exploration of wants, needs and desires. This dynamic will automatically reveal what the subject thinks they are doing wrong or want to improve without the overt sense of guilt or shame. Guilt and shame fall into the category of Bad Thing .
5. SACRED SCIENCE. The group’s perspective is absolutely true and completely adequate to explain EVERYTHING. The doctrine is not subject to amendments or question. ABSOLUTE conformity to the doctrine is required.
For Perfected Mind Control the only truth that adequately explains everything is that We experience the world only by perception. Therefore if we can gain control of our perception we gain control of our world.
6. LOADED LANGUAGE. A new vocabulary emerges within the context of the group. Group members “think” within the very abstract and narrow parameters of the group’s doctrine. The terminology sufficiently stops members from thinking critically by reinforcing a “black and white” mentality. Loaded terms and clich s prejudice thinking.
New vocabulary will emerge in any field of personal exploration and should be expected. PMC is no different.
7. DOCTRINE OVER PERSON. Pre-group experience and group experience are narrowly and decisively interpreted through the absolute doctrine, even when experience contradicts the doctrine.
PMCs only doctrine is the commitment to self-exploration. All other fields of study are permissible. This allows the subject to define their own doctrine and discard it when needed to reform a new one.
8. DISPENSING OF EXISTENCE. Salvation is possible only in the group. Those who leave the group are doomed.
Instead of only two categories of saved and doomed PMC allows for a minimum of three catagories Those who get it. Those who don’t want it. and Those who don’t know about it. this allows those who leave the group to fall only into the category of Those who don’t know about it. and thus permits them to return. The Those who don’t want it. category is only used as a reference point or for those people who advocate the opposite of freedom and flexibility.