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Diane Richardson on Mind-Control

Mind-Control or Brainwashing


 

In a parallel discussion I had with Monica, I argued that the separation she makes between brainwashing (involving physical coercion) and mind-control (using deception but no physical restrain) is not being made in the general anticult literature:


 

 

Message-ID: <3231b599.39255117@news.ping.be> 

Monica: 
With brainwashing the person knows they are in the presence of the enemy  and a prisoner. With mind control the person believes they are in the  presence of friends who want only the best for them and thus, will  cooperate.  

Bernie:  Agreed: brainwashing involves physical coercion while mind-control  only uses subtle or not so subtle influence. But what I think is the  main point of contention is ~choice~. If physical coercion is used, I  have no choice, I can't walk away and do what I like if I disagree. In  the case of mind-control we face two major interpretations: 

1) To use the term, as you do, with a connotation that the cult member  as ~no~ choice, and therefore is not responsible. In this sense, even  if you make the distinction between brainwashing and mind-control in  terms of the means used, you don't actually do it in terms of the  results achieved. So, you could use interchangeably mind-control or  brainwashing, which is what is often done in the anti-cult circles. 

2) To use the term in the sense of "strong influence" but in which the  cult member always remains with the ~choice~ to say "no" and to walk  away. In this sense, the cult member or ex-cult member is ~not~  relieved of his responsibilities, nor should he be deprived of the  rights enjoyed by "normal" citizens.

 

 

 

Message-ID: <32331d42.42769603@news.ping.be>

Monica:
>A person who is under mind control really has less choice than the person being brainwashed who at least knows he/she is a prisoner. 

Bernie: 
So, a person who is physically restrained have more choice than a  person who is not physically restrained? This is absurd. If I am  physically restrained, I have ~no~ choice, I can't walk outand do  what I want whenever I disagree. If I am not physically restrained, of  course I can be influenced and convinced, but at any time I have the  ~basic~ freedom to say "no" and do what I want. This is so basic and  simple that I am really baffled that you can't see it.  

Of course if I am a prisoner I know that what I am being told can be  false whereas if someone is cheating me I may not know this. But in  the later case, the ~basic~ decision still remains mine. What you are  saying is that the cult member or ex-cult member is deprived of this  freedom, and therefore deprived of responsibilities and rights,  because of some undefined, unknown, spurious and mystical  "mind-control". This is the point I object to. Not that there aren't   ~elements~ of mind-control present, but that, in the absence of   physical restrain, it cancels the responsibilities, rights or identity of the individual.  

>Nope. I said that the results are different between the two. With mind control the person INTERNALIZES the programming to a much greater extent than under mind control. They are not interchangeable.  

This is just a difference in the ~mode~ of programming. In both case,   you, as do the anti-cult clique, equate brainwashing and mind-control   with the same ~end~ result: that the person has ~no~ choice, and bears   no responsibilities in the fact of being involved in the cult. Because   you give such an absolute power to the term "mind-control", they can   be used interchangeably, which is actually what ~is~ being done in the   anti-cult literature.  

I can only agree with the term "mind-control" if it is meant to be a   strong and spurious influence but in which the person is still,   basically, responsible of the decisions he takes. I do not agree with   the term "mind-control" used with a connotation of a mystical zombie   state of mind in which the person is deprived of his free will,   responsibilities and rights.  

>Sounds like a nice idea that we would all like to believe, that we really were in control, but that just wasn't the case. The cult member did not always have the choice to say no.  

The cult member ~has~ always the choice to say no if no physical   restrain is used. Whether or not he is using this freedom or not is   another question. Maybe he is influenced and pressured in such a way   that it is very difficult for him to do say no, but in the absence of   restrain, he ~does~ have this possibility. This makes ~all~ the   difference. 

The fact that the distinction between brainwashing and mind-control is not being made in the anticult literature further shows, IMO, that the theory is based on hardly anything else than prejudice and suggestion of some mysterious and inescapable process, in other word, a pure superstition. Monica however, insist that the distinction is being made and while non-scholars may use it interchangeably, it is not the case, for example, for Singer and Hassan. At this point, I quote Singer through the only reference I had at hand, showing that Singer does not make such a distinction at all: 

 

 

Message-ID: <32372e6e.15728707@news.ping.be> 

Monica: 
> The people writing their literature are not always the scholars and so some of their usage got sloppy and the terms mind control and brainwashing get used interchangeably (and I believe incorrectly), but not by the people such as Singer and Hassan. 

Bernie: 
I quote Margaret Singer Ph.D.: 

"Well, it is a very well shaped social and psychological  manipulation of the people coming into the organization without them  being aware they are being manipulated, and that is why what the Moon  organisation does as their induction process fits the definition of  brainwashing ... Brainwashing is a term that refers to a behavioural change  technology applied to induce the learning of any new information and  behaviour under certain conditions" (Transcript of the official tape recording of evidence given  in the High Court of Justice, Queen's Bench Division, before Mr  Justice Comyn in the case of Orme v. Associated Newspapers Group Ltd,  Royal Courts of Justice, 9 March 1981, p. 15) 

Monica now tries to dismiss my reference on the basis that it is old and that Singer didn't make such a distinction back then. Diane, however, use the book Singer wrote just the preceding year to show that she still is not making the distinction at all. The terms are indeed used intercheably, in an overall effort to create a suggestion, an emotional and frightening picture that aims to justify the heavy hand or discriminative methods anticult proponents are proposing. 

referen@neont.com (Diane Richardson) 

Sun, 15 Sep 1996 01:39:14 GMT

Newsgroups: alt.religion.scientology 
Subject: Re: Kim Baker: MY STORY CONTINUES: THE BEAST (Part 2 of 3) 
Message-ID: <51fn5s$58l@clark.zippo.com> 

>Bernie: 
>>I quote Margaret Singer Ph.D.:

>>"Well, it is a very well shaped social and psychological manipulation of the people coming into the organization without them being aware they are being manipulated, and that is why what the Moon organisation does as their induction process fits the definition of brainwashing ... Brainwashing is a term that refers to a behavioural change technology applied to induce the learning of any new information and behaviour under certain conditions" (Transcript of the official tape recording of evidence given in the High Court of Justice, Queen's Bench Division, before Mr Justice Comyn in the case of Orme v. Associated Newspapers Group Ltd, Royal Courts of Justice, 9 March 1981, p. 15) 

>Monica: 
She wrote this in 1981. I don't think the distinction was being made then. 

Diane:  You must have missed my earlier message in which I refer you to  Margaret Singer's book "Cults in Our Midst." Dr. Singer continues to  use the term "brainwashing" to describe what you call "mind control." 

Dr. Singer's book was published just last year. 

Diane Richardson
referen@neont.com 

 

referen@neont.com (Diane Richardson)

Wed, 11 Sep 1996 06:30:14 GMT

Newsgroups: alt.religion.scientology 
Subject: Re: Kim Baker: MY STORY CONTINUES: THE BEAST (Part 2 of 3) 
Message-ID: <515mlh$puc@clark.zippo.com> 

>Diane: 
[massive snip] 

>Bernie: 
>>This is just a difference in the ~mode~ of programming. In both case, you, as do the anti-cult clique, equate brainwashing and mind-control with the same ~end~ result: that the person has ~no~ choice, and bears no responsibilities in the fact of being involved in the cult. Because you give such an absolute power to the term "mind-control", they can be used interchangeably, which is actually what ~is~ being done in the anti-cult literature. 

Monica: 
>Okay, I'll ignore the name calling (anti-cult clique) and address your point. You are saying that because two concepts or words have the same result that they can be used interchangeably? I have to challenge you on that one.  

Well, Monica, you might wish to start with Chapter 3 of Margaret  Singer's book, _Cults In Our Midst_. The chapter is titled "The  Process of Brainwashing, Psychological Coercion, and Thought Reform." 

Dr. Singer does not use the term "mind control"; rather she uses  "thought reform" and "psychological coercion" as substitutes. If you  read the chapter, you will see that she consistently interchanges all  three of those terms in her discussion -- all dealing with the  activities of cults, NOT involving physical coercion. 

>To give you an analogy, there are many of modes of transportation that can get a person from NYC to Boston. You can fly, take a train or bicycle. All three modes of transportation get you the same result -- you end up in Boston. Therefore, according to your line of reasoning, the terms "Bicycle", "Train" and "Plane" can be used interchangeably. I don't think so. 

>What literature are the terms being used interchangeably in? Certainly they are not in Steve Hassan's book. If they are used interchangeably then the person who is doing so is being sloppy, although some cults do use brainwashing and mind control. People in the CofS have reported having been held against their role, although I'll agree with Joe that these cases are the exception rather than the rule. 

Dr. Singer uses the terms interchangeably in her book, and she does  not make any distinction when she uses "brainwashing," "thought  reform," or "psychological coercion."  

>And furthermore, if you read what I posted you will see that I made distinctions between the results of brainwashing and mind control. 

Perhaps you are more scrupulous in your use of terminology than Dr.  Singer. I think Bernie makes a very valid point. 

[snip] 

Diane Richardson
 referen@neont.com 

 



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