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The Brainwashing Myth

Study of Mind Development Groups, Sects and Cults in Ontario

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PREFACE
INTRODUCTION
HISTORY
DEFINITIONS
THE PHENOMENON
DEPROGRAMMING
THE DEBATE
qnote.gif (173 bytes) The Case Against the Groups
qnote.gif (173 bytes) The Case Against Critics

     grsqrsm.gif (85 bytes) Fear Breeds Intolerance
     grsqrsm.gif (85 bytes) The Brainwashing Myth
     grsqrsm.gif (85 bytes) Deny Hypnotism and Brainwashing
     grsqrsm.gif (85 bytes) Practices of Older Religions
     grsqrsm.gif (85 bytes) Myth of the Evil Eye
     grsqrsm.gif (85 bytes) True Conversions
     grsqrsm.gif (85 bytes) The Myth of Unhealthy Heresies
     grsqrsm.gif (85 bytes) The Myth of Deception
     grsqrsm.gif (85 bytes) The Myth of Subversion
     grsqrsm.gif (85 bytes) The Movements as Victims
     grsqrsm.gif (85 bytes) Social Benefactors
ONTARIO
RECOMMENDATIONS
CONCLUSIONS

A person can no more wash another's brain with coercion or conversation than he can make him bleed with a cutting remark.

With that cutting remark, Dr Thomas Szasz, an outspoken U.S. "anti-psychiatrist," has carved his way into the ranks of authorities frequently quoted in the case against anti-cultists charges of mental coercion. But this statement does not answer the claim that the movements' conversions amount to brainwashing. It does summarize the contempt held by the groups and many others -- not all of them pro-movement partisans -- involving allegations that recruits are brainwashed, hypnotized or sapped of free will in any manner. Those who reject claims of mind control say that short of a technique employing physical restraint and coercion, no method of persuasion can totally numb one's capacity to exercise free will. Like others who hold this view, Dr. Fred Glaser, head of psychiatry at the clinical institute of Ontario's Addiction Research Foundation, found suggestions to the contrary "completely unacceptable." Dr. Glaser has contended that even under the pressure of inadequate sleep, diet change, prolonged chanting, and other practices attributed to the movements, "there is always that core of saneness and reason you can ally yourself with."

And he described as ridiculous claims that recruits are hypnotically coerced into what, for them, are radically uncharacteristic forms of behaviour. He added that since the recruits are willing to accept these changes in social situations they have chosen, they therefore imply with demands. As he explained it:

I studied with one of the guys who testified in the Patty Hearst case and he taught me that the trance stage was nothing more than a social demand situation in which people were more likely to do what they were asked to do. I did a number of very interesting experiments which suggested that hypnosis was not a state but an interpersonal situation in which behaviour, because of the social characteristics of the situation, became more malleable. There was no such thing as trance state; that was a misnomer. And in that circumstance, one doesn't have to use a trance state to explain why those people do what they do.

 

 

Short of a technique employing physical restraint and coercion, no method of persuasion can totally numb one's capacity to exercise free will.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

one doesn't have to use a trance state to explain why those people do what they do.

 

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