Re: Scientology

From: Dace (
Date: Wed Jan 16 2002 - 06:29:44 GMT

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    Subject: Re: Scientology
    Date: Tue, 15 Jan 2002 22:29:44 -0800
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    I'm responding to this part of your post on the memetics list.

    > >Do you believe Scientology employs "mind control," and if so, how does
    > >work?
    > Yes. From the abstract of an article I am working on.
    > "There are two evolved psychological mechanisms hijacked by cult
    > memes. One is capture-bonding, also known as the Stockholm
    > Syndrome. Capture-bonding evolved as a survival mechanism for individuals
    > captured between tribes. It lies behind social phenomena as diverse as
    > army basic training and spouse abuse. Cults evoke capture-bonding
    > responses for both obtaining and retaining members. (Examples, Moonies
    > isolation recruitment, Scientology RPF.)

    I don't doubt that victims of kidnapping are liable to bond with their
    kidnapper. (Of course, this effect would have benefitted "deprogrammers"
    back when anti-cult activists were kidnapping cult members.) I don't know
    about Moonies, but at least in the case of Scientologists, only a few are
    ever subjected to anything like imprisonment, and only after they've
    demonstrated a lack of properly fervent belief. Even then it's not what you
    would ordinarily call capture. They go about in their gray T-shirts doing
    menial labor, jogging more than walking, socializing only with each other,
    and it's nothing at all like the trauma of being kidnapped. (I see them all
    the time in the neighborhood where I live in LA). Not only is
    capture-bonding irrelevant to the recruitment of new members, but the
    Rehabilitation Project Force doesn't seem to provide any kind of basis for
    this phenomenon.

    > "The other and more important psychological mechanism is attention
    > rewards. Cult (memes) take advantage of this reproductive success related
    > reward pathway by focusing attention on members (love bombing, auditing
    > attention intensive "training routines.") Attention is used by social
    > primates to measure social status, an matter of major importance
    > for males in determining reproductive success. Attention activates the
    > reward pathway by causing the release of endorphins and dopamine. This is
    > the same reward pathway hijacked by addictive drugs."

    I fail to see how bestowing attention on someone constitutes mind control.
    Yes, certain vulnerable people will respond very positively to attention, no
    matter where it comes from, but this doesn't mean they've lost all control
    over their own beliefs. Does a wife-beater exert "mind-control" over his
    wife when he apologizes and showers her with attention and affection?
    There's a difference between exerting charm and brainwashing.

    The idea of mind control is rendered superfluous by memetics. You don't
    need to wield power over people's thoughts when your memes are colonizing
    their minds. You don't have to be consciously trying to enslave them.
    Rather than the recruiter controlling the mind of the victim, both are under
    the sway of pathological memes.


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