Mind control Quotes

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  • An estimated 5,000 economic, political, and religious groups operate in the United States alone at any given time, with 2.5 million members. Over the last ten years, cults have used tactics of coercive mind control to negatively impact an estimated 20 million victims in the last ten years. Worldwide figures are even greater.
    o Dr. Margaret Singer, Cults in Our Midst

  • ACLU opposes the use of mental incompetency proceedings, temporary conservatorship, or denial of government protection as a method of depriving people of the free exercise of religion, at least with respect to people who have reached the age of majority. Mode of religious proselytizing or persuasion for a continued adherence that do not employ physical coercion or threat of same are protected by the free exercise of religion clause of the First Amendment against action of state laws or by state officials. The claim of free exercise may not be overcome by the contention that ‘brainwashing’ or ‘mind control’ has been used, in the absence of evidence that the above standards have been violated.
    o The American Civil Liberties Union, (1977)

  • …the brainwashing notion implied that somehow these diverse and unconnected [religious] movements had simultaneously discovered and implemented highly intrusive behavioral modification techniques. Such serendipity and coordination was implausible given the diverse backgrounds of the groups at issue. Furthermore, the inability of highly trained professionals responsible for implementing a variety of modalities for effecting individual change, ranging from therapy to incarceration, belie claims that such rapid transformation can routinely be accomplished by neophytes against an individual’s will.
    o Bromley, D.B. , Shupe, A.D. , Strange Gods: The Great American Cult Scare, Beacon Press, Boston, (1981)

  • Given the problematic nature of scientific support for brainwashing based theories as they are applied to participants in new religions, it is reasonable to ask why such evidence was ever admitted [into court testimony], and why it is sometimes still admitted. The most plausible answer has to do with the operation of biases, prejudices, and misinformation in these cases that involve controversial parties and issues or, as Kassin and Wrightsman (1988) say: cases involving emotional topics over which public opinion is polarized.
    o James T. Richardson and Gerald Ginsburg

  • This association considers that there is insufficient research to permit informed, responsible scholars to reach consensus on the nature and effects of nonphysical coercion and control. It further asserts that one should not automatically equate the techniques involved in the process of physical coercion and control with those of nonphysical coercion and control. In addition to critical review of existing knowledge, further appropriately designed research is necessary to enable scholarly consensus about this issue.
    o Society for the Scientific Study of Religion

  • Brainwashing is a system of befogging the brain so a person can be seduced into acceptance of what otherwise would be abhorrent to him. He loses touch with reality. Facts and fancy whirl round and change places … However, in order to prevent people from recognizing the inherent evils in brainwashing, the Reds pretend that it is only another name for something already very familiar and of unquestioned respect, such as education or reform.
    o Edward Hunter, Brainwashing (New York: Pyramid Books, 1956, pages 185-186)

  • Behind this web of semantic…confusion [regarding the definition of thought reform] lies an image of “brainwashing” as an all-powerful, irresistible, unfathomable, and magical method of achieving total control over the human mind. It is of course none of these things, and this loose usage makes the word a rallying point for fear, resentment, urges toward submission, justification for failure, irresponsible accusation, and for a wide gamut of emotional extremism.
    o Lifton (1961)

  • The systematic, scientific[,] and coercive elimination of the individuality of the mind of another.
    o Scheflin and Opton (1978)

  • …[t]he methodology of Drs. [Margaret] Singer and Benson has been repudiated by the scientific community”,and are “little more than uninformed speculation, based on skewed data” and that “[t]he coercive persuasion theory … is not a meaningful scientific concept.”
    o APA (11 February 1987) – before the DIMPAC report had appeared

  • The Board of Directors now believes it was premature, for organizational reasons, to endorse the positions taken in the amicus brief prior to completion of the task force study.
    o APA (March 27, 1987)

  • BSERP thanks the Task Force on Deceptive and Indirect Methods of Persuasion and Control [DIMPAC] for its service but Is unable to accept the report of the Task Force. In general, the report lacks the scientific rigor and evenhanded critical approach necessary for APA Imprimatur.[…]Finally, after much consideration, BSERP does not believe that we have sufficient information available to guide us in taking a position on this issue. [brainwashing theories espoused by DIMPAC in their report].
    o Board of Social and Ethical Responsibility for Psychology , APA (May 11, 1987)

  • The persuasive techniques used by totalist cults to bind and exploit the members, while not magical or infallible, are sufficiently powerful and effective to assure the recruitment of a significant percentage of those approached, and the retention of a significant percentage of those enlisted.
    o West (1989)

  • Brainwashing: (a.k.a. thought control, mind control, coercive persuasion). A non-violent method that uses mind control techniques to convince a person to abandon some of their basic beliefs and adopt the beliefs of the indoctrinator.
    o Robinson (1996)

  • I am convinced, based on more than three decades of studying NRMs through participant-observation and through interviews with both members and ex-members, that these movements have unleashed social and psychological forces of truly awesome power. These forces have wreaked havoc in many lives – in both adults and in children. It is these social and psychological influence processes that the social scientist has both the right and the duty to try to understand, regardless of whether such understanding will ultimately prove helpful or harmful to the cause of religious liberty. … the real sociological issue ought not to be whether brainwashing ever occurs but rather whether it occurs frequently enough to be considered an important social problem.
    o Zablocki (1997)

  • Social scientists need not alter their definition of brainwashing, but should simply acknowledge that at least one contemporary ideological organization utilizes brainwashing in an attempt to retain its members. While this study cannot answer crucial questions about the long term implications for people who have been through this particular brainwashing program (compare Schein, 1961: 284), no doubt exists that Scientology’s founder gave considerable thought to brainwashing techniques and imposed them on those of his followers whom he believed were harbouring thoughts or performing actions against him or the organization. The “brainwashing” term, therefore, has validity within some social science discourse.
    o Kent (1997)

  • The American Psychological Association had rejected the brainwashing/mind control theories in 1987 insofar as they applied to religious movements, on the basis that they were not scientific is, therefore, perfectly accurate. It is, in fact, almost identical to [Margaret} Singer’s own statement that the rejection of the DIMPAC report was “described by the APA as a rejection of the scientific validity of the theory of coercive persuasion.
    o Introvigne (1998)

  • Brainwashing is defined as an observable set of transactions between a charismatically-structured collectivity and an isolated agent of the collectivity with the goal of transforming the agent into a deployable agent. Brainwashing is thus a process of ideological resocialization carried out within a structure of charismatic authority.
    o Zablocki (2002)

  • Mind control is the process by which individual or collective freedom of choice and action is compromised by agents or agencies that modify or distort perception, motivation, affect, cognition and/or behavioral outcomes. It is neither magical nor mystical, but a process that involves a set of basic social psychological principles. … It seems to me that at the very heart of the controversy over the existence of mind control is a bias toward believing in the power of people to resist the power of situational forces, a belief in individual will power and faith to overcome all evil adversity. It is Jesus modeling resistance against the temptations of Satan, and not the vulnerability of Adam and Eve to deception. More recently, examples abound that challenge this person-power misattribution.
    o Zimbardo (2002)

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