Terror, Love and Brainwashing

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Wieber
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Terror, Love and Brainwashing

Post by Wieber » Tue Mar 06, 2018 12:42 am

I recently came across Terror, Love and Brainwashing by Alexandra Stein. Alexandra Stein spent time in a political cult. She is now a social psychologist with a PhD. I obtained a copy of this book and I find that Alexandra Stein has some, to me, new insights on cults. Though I haven't progressed far into the book, I think it's a worthwhile read.

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“Think wrongly if you please, but in all cases think for yourself.”
Doris Lessing

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Re: Terror, Love and Brainwashing

Post by Wieber » Wed Mar 07, 2018 8:10 pm

Alexandra Stein applies attachment theory, which she thoroughly explains, to the effect that cults have on their followers. As I'm reading this I'm going over what happened with me while I was involved in Scientology. Today I discovered there must be something to this.

This picture of L. Ron Hubbard appeared in Tony Ortega's Underground Bunker.

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Until now, pictures like this of Hubbard have had an effect on me that I'm trying to shuck. Today, this picture didn't have that effect. It seems to be gone. I just see him as a decrepit old man with bad teeth here.

By the way, the pose looks like the one adopted by David Miscavige when he's at his little podium. Coincidence?
“Think wrongly if you please, but in all cases think for yourself.”
Doris Lessing

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Re: Terror, Love and Brainwashing

Post by Wieber » Sun Mar 11, 2018 12:42 am

I have edited the following excerpt to remove references to the accompanying former cult member story and to other sections of the book.
In 'Terror, Love & Brainwashing,' Alexandra Stein wrote:
Many "personal growth" groups encourage sharing of prior (and generally intimate) life trauma in front of a large audience. This escalates the narrator's remembered fear as well as arousing feelings of fear in the audience. Thus, feelings of fear aroused and manipulated by the group, will not be attributed to the group's actions, but to events in the narrator's past (and sometimes present). Rather the group will position itself as the comforter, the protector, the safe haven: the supposedly "safe" space in which those feelings can be felt and aired. Of course legitimate therapy groups can be safe spaces — the twist lies in the motivations of the group and its control over the situation. Fear may, of course, also be aroused in many other ways, from fears of the apocalypse, to physical beatings, to fears of loss of the group itself.

In the first phase of a person's reaction to threat, their alarm response is activated, with increased heart rate, blood pressure and other signs of distress. But if there is no useful action that can be taken using the physiological arousal that is now in play — if the struggle to escape the fear is unsuccessful — then eventually the body shuts down in order to conserve resources. Thus, if neither fight nor flight is effective, the only option is to freeze.

The second phase of a trauma response is dissociation: "detachment from an unbearable situation." In this state, both physiological states of hyperarousal and dissociation are activated: internal energy-consuming resources are simultaneously on full alert as the person is dissociating to try to shut down and conserve these resources. Imagine the toll on the body that this two-fold unresolvable process must take. Eventually dissociation — freezing and giving up the failed effort to escape — comes to dominate. Along with giving up the struggle to fight against the group and the fear it has generated, the dissociated follower comes to accept the group as the safe haven and thus forms a trauma bond. This moment of submission, of giving up the struggle, can be experienced as a moment of great relief, and even happiness, or a spiritual awakening.
“Think wrongly if you please, but in all cases think for yourself.”
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Re: Terror, Love and Brainwashing

Post by Wieber » Sun Apr 01, 2018 9:54 pm

In 'Terror, Love & Brainwashing,' Alexandra Stein wrote:
The totalist system creates a dissociated follower with a disorganized attachment to the group, their attachment needs stimulated but not satisfied by the group. The result is a deployable follower whose skills, resources and time can be used to suit the purposes of the leader. The rigid boundaries of the engulfing group maintain the isolation of the follower. The total or absolute ideology supports and justifies the position of the leader and the closed nature of the structure of the group. The ideology provides explanation for the follower's distress and reason to act on the group's orders. Processes of brainwashing rest on the creation of stress or threat with no escape other than to the apparent (un)safe haven of the group. This results in a state of terror that causes a dissociative state resulting from a disorganized bond to the leader, or group as proxy. The hyperobedient and hypercredulous deployable follower existing in this airless world gripped by an iron band of terror can be asked to engage in acts they would not have previously done, nor, once out of the group, would they do in the future.
Summary of Chapter 4, Totalist Indoctrination
“Think wrongly if you please, but in all cases think for yourself.”
Doris Lessing

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Re: Terror, Love and Brainwashing

Post by Wieber » Sun Apr 08, 2018 1:05 am

From reading part of Chapter 5, Family and Friends in Terror, Love & Brainwashing it appears that forced abortions are a generic cult attribute, though not all cults practice it.
In 'Terror, Love & Brainwashing,' Alexandra Stein wrote:
Reproduction and Children

The totalist system controls the bond between parents and their children in multiple ways: through control of conception and pregnancy, discouraging the parent-child bond, control of time spent with the child, actual or threatened removal of the child from the parents, monitoring and judging the parent/child relationship, and generally directing child-rearing practices. The control often starts well before pregnancy by controlling the parents' relationship through an arranged marriage as described above. Once the child arrives: "parents in essence turn over the custody of their children to a third party, so that the leader of the group becomes the actual custodian of the children." (Singer, M. T. and J. Lalich, 1995, Cults In Our Midst: The Hidden Menace In Our Everyday Lives, San Francisco: Jossey Bass, p. 261.)

There is much evidence that the choice to have or not to have children is highly controlled in cults and totalitarian systems. As Molly Kronberg explains it from her experience in the Lyndon LaRouche political cult:

Another phenomenon created and institutionalized by LaRouche's Beyond Psychoanalysis was that of forced abortions — forced, if not physically, at least psychologically, on almost every woman in the organization who became pregnant. To have a child was to be ostracized, shunned, driven out.

Why? Because those who had children then had a higher loyalty and a higher responsibility than their loyalty to LaRouche. When Ken and I had our son in 1984 — two National Committee members having a baby! — it was seen as a tremendous act of betrayal of LaRouche.
“Think wrongly if you please, but in all cases think for yourself.”
Doris Lessing

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Re: Terror, Love and Brainwashing

Post by Wieber » Sun Apr 22, 2018 5:56 pm

Alexandra Stein makes many referenced to Hanna Arendt's The Origins of Totalitarianism. I bought the book and it's on my growing stack. I haven't decided whether or not to add it to my cult resource list.
https://www.worldcat.org/profiles/Wieber/lists/563909
I have removed the books specific to Scientology from that list as I have them on their own list.
https://www.worldcat.org/profiles/Wieber/lists/1768991
(Over the Edge: A Pawn in the Scientology Money Machine by Kay Rowe and Scientology ... The Destruction of a Family by Karen Carson are not yet in a library associated with WorldCat.org so are not yet on the list.)

I concluded some time ago that cults were totalitarian organizations and vice versa. Alexandra Stein confirms that in her book, Terror, Love & Brainwashing. Cults range in size from what is called 'the cult of one,' (abusive relationships where the cult leader has one follower) to nation states. In my opinion, every one of them is bad news.
“Think wrongly if you please, but in all cases think for yourself.”
Doris Lessing

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Re: Terror, Love and Brainwashing

Post by Wieber » Sun Apr 29, 2018 5:50 pm

Scientology has this term as part of Hubbard's loaded language. It's 'PR.' It's ostensibly short for 'public relations.' In the Hubbard Communications Office Policy Letters (HCOPLs) there is an entire collection, enough to fill a large Organization Executive Course (OEC) volume, called 'The PR Series.'

After I left Scientology and engaged in my ongoing deprogramming (reading Alexandra Stein's book is part of this) I finally determined what I think is a better interpretation for Scientology's term 'PR.' It's not 'public relations.' It's 'propaganda.' I think 'propaganda,' more accurately describes the actions and objectives related to what Hubbard called 'PR.'

Beyond pointing this out, I'm not going to explain it here. Alexandra Stein, in Terror, Love and Brainwashing, does a much better job of that than I ever could. So get your hands on that book and read it and see what you think. Make up your own mind.
“Think wrongly if you please, but in all cases think for yourself.”
Doris Lessing

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Re: Terror, Love and Brainwashing

Post by Wieber » Wed May 09, 2018 6:14 pm

In Terror, Love and Brainwashing, Alexandra Stein wrote:
Total Ideology Demands Total Transformation

In order to further subordinate followers to the leader, totalist ideologies insist on a "permanent revolution" of the self. Total transformation is needed. This achieves several things: to imply that the follower is flawed and must change; that the required change shall be directed by the group's ideological pronouncements and by following orders; that only the leader is truly transformed; that therefore everyone has to emulate the leader and yet — in a clever bit of trickery — while all shall aspire to be transformed, like the leader, none, clearly, can ever attain this perfection.

In accepting that personal transformation is required, one's own person, one's self then becomes, by definition, unacceptable, wrong, and without value. The old self must be shed and the new group-self continually monitored, improved, striven for. . . .

. . . all followers must strive for transformation. This demand puts the entire onus on the individual; anything that goes wrong must be your fault — lack of purity, prayer, work, struggle or commitment. Of course this feeds well into the cult of confession and gives the context for group members to criticize each other, since to be tranformed one must expose one's failings. The push for transformation keeps the individual in constant motion in the service of attaining this unattainable goal, thus being another justification for the lack of free time, sleep and space to think.
“Think wrongly if you please, but in all cases think for yourself.”
Doris Lessing

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Re: Terror, Love and Brainwashing

Post by Wieber » Fri May 18, 2018 3:35 am

Apparently, freedom of mind starts with disagreement.
“Think wrongly if you please, but in all cases think for yourself.”
Doris Lessing

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