--- In FairfieldLife@yahoogroups.com, "curtisdeltablues" <[EMAIL PROTECTED]> wrote: > > Thanks for the reply. Lifton and Singer established 8 > principles from their work with Korean war vets. I > don't know Lifton but did know the late Margret Singer. > She was fascinated by how some modern groups had refined > the techniques to become less obvious and more subtle.
Note that the Korean war vets in question had been prisoners of war in Korea and China; that's Lifton's and Singer's model, which they then (especially Singer) extrapolated to new religious groups (or "cults"). (Curtis believes, incidentally, or did back in 1997 when he was posting to alt.m.t, that the same methods used on the Korean war vets to alter their thinking about communism were used on him in the context of the TMO--in their "more subtle form," of course. He was quoted as claiming in the Washington, DC, City Paper, 7/13/90, that the TM "thought reform" techniques are "the most sophisticated techniques for mind control that have ever been used.") Not surprisingly, Singer found the "techniques" used by the Koreans and Chinese to brainwash prisoners of war had been "refined" to "become less obvious and more subtle" in the new religious groups. The problem is that if you posit a sufficient degree of "subtlety," you can make all *kinds* of things fit these principles, and you can find them, in their "less obvious, more subtle" form, in any number of groups and organizations that nobody would consider cults. The problem with anticults (especially lay ones like Curtis) is that they never draw the necessary lines. At what point does the "subtlety" of these "techniques" mean that they aren't "techniques" at all but simply the normal, accepted way of doing things in a particular context, with no sinister motivations, and perhaps even a well-founded practical basis? If the range of "subtlety" of these "techniques" can be extended indefinitely, it becomes possible to pick virtually any group and find enough of its procedures in their "subtle" forms among Lifton's and Singer's list of "thought-reform techniques." But if these "techniques" can be found in virtually any group by the simple expedient of claiming they are used in such a highly "refined" form that they aren't obvious (or even evident), it no longer becomes possible to make valid distinctions between groups that are cults and groups that are not on the basis of the "techniques" criterion. Instead, what happens is that groups are placed under suspicion of being cults on other grounds, which typically boil down to the fact that they have beliefs one does not oneself hold, or that one does not care for the personality of the leader, or other irrelevancies (including that one has left a particular group and needs to find justification for doing so). Only then are the "technique" criteria applied, and lo and behold, these suspect groups are all found to utilize very "subtle" forms of these "techniques." >From court testimony in a Hare Krishna case by cult expert G. Gordon Melton: More recently, several people have espoused the idea of brainwashing (also termed thought control, coercive persuasion, or mind control). Proponents suggested that cults had discovered a new psychological technology, a technology which has somehow escaped the rest of the psychological world. With this technology it "brainwashed" young recruits and held them with such force that they are unable to break the spell of attachment to the group. These ideas which seemed to actually have a body of evidence behind them, provoked a heated debate among social scientists in the early 1980s. In the mid 1980s, the whole brainwashing perspective was thoroughly evaluated by the American Psychological Association. After looking at a detailed report prepared by the major advocates of this perspective [including Singer--JS], the American Psychological Association concluded that the idea of brainwashing and mind control as popularly applied to the new religious movements was scientifically unacceptable. It had been arrived at through a sloppy metholology and poor scientific work. Subsequently the American Sociological Association and the Society for the Scientific Study of Religion reached a similar conclusion. As a result, testimony concerning brainwashing and mind control have properly been banished from consideration by American courts as an idea lacking any scientific credibility. To subscribe, send a message to: [EMAIL PROTECTED] Or go to: http://groups.yahoo.com/group/FairfieldLife/ and click 'Join This Group!' Yahoo! Groups Links <*> To visit your group on the web, go to: http://groups.yahoo.com/group/FairfieldLife/ <*> To unsubscribe from this group, send an email to: [EMAIL PROTECTED] <*> Your use of Yahoo! Groups is subject to: http://docs.yahoo.com/info/terms/