What Is Mind Control?
"Mind Control" is a rather loosely-used term. It conjures up images of enslaving other people's thoughts, making mindless puppets or bio-robots out of them, like in some cheap sci-fi or horror flick, or perhaps a Nazi experiment. This doesn't occur outside of fiction and imagination.
The nearest thing to mind control in real life can be found in the practices of certain high-demand religions, such as ultra-orthodoxies and cults as well as ideological organizations. They sometimes use practices such as:
- sleep deprivation,
- mind-altering drugs,
- 'love bombing' (relentlessly hyper-positive feedback toward the inquirer),
- the 'big lie' (an all-encompassing idea/ideal that is based on exaggeration and fraud),
- constant repetition and chant, with chant and repetition, and repetitive chant...
- subliminal visual images (subconsciously noticed within images you consciously notice),
- the use of "yes sets" (designed to repeatedly prompt the response 'yes'),
- taking advantage of source amnesia (the human tendency to remember attention-grabbing words/phrases while forgetting the source and/or context)
- gaslighting (making changes in the environment, then denying that the changes are happening. This causes the person to doubt their own memory, mind, or judgement and to trust the group's/leader's instead)
- doublespeak (confidently using words in a way that they don't mean what they seem to, in order to prevent any coherent thinking),
- interrupting any off-message comments, cutting off any chance of reply, and reasserting the party line in a firm, sure-sounding voice. (This is done to 'command the field' of ideas.)
- thought-confusion techniques (so no thought outside of the group's can assemble enough sense, which stops an opposing thought from fully developing),
- sexual stimulation (sending a current loyal member to show a growing affection for the inquirer),
- the teaching of insider secrets, sometimes through a series of special classes, in which the methods of the group are taken to be totally true,
- group-think (using the whole group to draw each person into its mindset),
- enemy creation (us vs. them) in an atmosphere of fear (including the use of ridicule and the creation of a siege mentality),
- distortion of the consciousness of time,
- detailed control of both the surroundings and the flow of information.
Each term emphasizes a different aspect of the methods, and each causes a strong set of images in peoples' minds. By themselves, each technique has little effect, because they lack the power to directly impose on a person's thoughts. Each technique may help plant an idea or two that might catch on if something else in that person is also working for that idea; nothing more. People encounter (and sometimes use) less-intensive forms of manipulation and enticement every day. Yet, when taken together, mind control techniques create a strong (but not total) influence over personal thought-patterns and behaviors. These techniques taken as a 'suite' are also called 'brainwashing' (or its Chinese equivalent 'xǐ năo'), 'menticide', 'coercive persuasion', 'mind manipulation', 'enhanced manipulation', or 'thought reform'. The idea is to get the prospective member to think and act as the group or leader wants.
Does Mind Control Work?
These methods are used by high-control groups (a polite way of saying 'cult') to get the inquirer to want what that group or its leader wants them to want. Some leading experts on these high-control groups are saying they are not doing such things, that it's mere propaganda from their enemies. Yet, if the government were using the same methods the same way or with the same intensity on the general public or any group within it, these same experts would scream ruddy murder. And they'd be right. Which means they are very, very wrong in defending these high-control groups. A few anti-cult groups do "deprogramming", which uses techniques that include many of those in the mind control suite, in hopes of undoing what the cult did. Deprogramming often fails, and usually adds more damage to what the high-control group's techniques have already wrought.
How The Techniques Really Work
Even so, those experts are right about one thing: mind control methods work only as long as the group gives that member what they most seek, and has a way to make them fear disobedience. That is, there is a positive and a negative enforcement, a carrot and a stick. When one or the other fails, the member leaves. And, statistically, that is what happens to most people who join groups that use mind control techniques - they eventually leave. Thus, the mind still really belongs to the member, and the techniques are mostly ways of getting the member to control themselves the group's way. The leader or group works to fool or 'game' the member by minimize the number and breadth of choices, and limit the acceptability of alternatives other than the group's. That does not at all excuse the use of mind control methods, but it explains how the methods work.
Spy Agencies and the Damage They Cause
There have also been mind control experiments by various intelligence agencies all over the world, usually involving pressure-creation techniques and the use of drugs. These have notably failed at controlling behavior outside of the setting where the brainwashing occurs. Intelligence agencies claim to have sometimes been able to get leaks of useful information from using mind control techniques, so they believe they have a vested interest in further experiments. However, the few "converts" gained this way become mentally unstable, largely due to the loss of trust in reality which makes some of the methods work. Once they return to the outside world, most will eventually drift back toward earlier ways. The brainwashed un-wash their brains with renewed old habits and new loves. There are no 'Manchurian Candidates' that are programmed into taking an action upon either a command or when triggered by an event. Such programming either quickly fades or is overridden by conscious awareness. The drugs these agencies have used often cause bipolar disorders and schizophrenia in the test subjects, sometimes turning them delusional or suicidal, killing them or causing them to take violent actions against others. (This proves both the danger of the brainwashing techniques and the danger of the mind-altering drugs themselves.)
Subtler Users of Enhanced Influence
Advertisers use several of these methods (repetitions, subliminal messages, sexual stimulation, and insider information) to sell products. Those who sell ideas and imagery (such as some movements and membership organizations) sometimes use a less-total form of love-bombing and hyper-positivism.
Believers in magic sometimes claim that they can control, or at least redirect, minds through use of spells. If by 'spell', they mean some set of words which establish supernatural power over a person's mind, it's been shown time and again that it doesn't work. However, if 'spell' is taken in its more basic and original meaning, that of words spoken or chanted with intent to create a desired effect on something or someone, then isn't that what doublespeak, the big lie, and repetition really are? Aren't the words that arouse a crowd into a group-think mob action a sort of 'spell'? Again, no set of words by themselves is enough to command a mind, but a strong form of influence can be achieved when the words are used with a suite of coercive persuasion methods. Truth and reality are what eventually breaks that kind of 'spell'.
The idea of mind control by way of direct infusion of thoughts from another mind is the subject of another page on this site.
The Holy Spirit and Mind Control
Christian beliefs go against the use of coercive persuasion methods, even if used in an effort to reverse the effects of someone else's mind manipulations. Some church bodies have used some of the methods in lower-intensity ways to get unearned sway over people (most notably in Middle Ages Europe, and with some of today's counter-cult activists), but when they do so they are spitting in the face of the Holy Spirit, who chooses to work in people only as far as they allow the Spirit to work in themselves, in a way suited for that person. They aim to achieve the kind of power Christ told His followers to renounce. You are made in the image of God, and the Spirit builds up this image that's already in you, rather than imposing it on you. The Spirit isn't brainwashing anyone. If the Spirit's methods respect personal freedom that much, so must the methods of any follower of Christ. And after time itself has ended, those who trust God enter a realm where we are still ourselves, with free minds and souls, as part of God's family. Power and command are Satan's bag, not the crucified and risen Lord's.
More, on mental hacking.
A note of warning
I get more emails about mind control than about any other page on the site. They break down into two categories:
- Those who believe that someone is trying to control their minds;
- Those who are trying to find out ways to control other people.
I know of no way to comfort those in the first group. Some may be in, or on the edges of, a cultic group or a manipulative boss or lover. The action those people should take is to break all contact with the person/people involved, even moving far away if you must, and fully embracing the opportunity to explore and adapt to your new setting. (This would help you clear it from your system.) The rest of this category would best be aided by accredited counselors who will help them recognize the sources within themselves that cause them to think they're being controlled.
The second group is much more serious a concern. If you are thinking that way, you are giving in to one of the most evil impulses of all. If that's you, understand that you have no right under any circumstance to have or even want such control. It is the impulse of a rapist, but worse because it aims to have all-inclusive power, to control the whole being, to truly rob them of their freedom on a continual basis. Whether you want this power in order to feel safer, or to maintain sexual supply, or just to feel the thrill of power over someone else, the very fact that you are seriously exploring these possibilities makes you more of a problem than 'they' could ever be. It puts you on the side of every ideological fanatic, every dictator, in every part of history; every assimilative space being, every evil empire, in all the stories you've ever read. This way of thinking makes you think of people as slaves, toys, or programmed servant-machines, instead of people. Christians worship a God who became a person, and then gave up even that for the purpose of freeing us from our own devise. This loving God would become captive, and even dead, for the sake of our freedom to live. But you would learn mind control methods in hopes of taking away that freedom for your own purposes? I write about those methods rather generally as a warning, so you know when it's happening to you or your people, in a way that's not really detailed enough to be used as an effective action manual. If you're reading to learn such power, recognize that you are more than merely wrong, you are desiring to do deep evil, and the only worthwhile thing you can do now is to go through the full process of confession, repentance, and reconciliation. Do it now; renounce your hopes of being in control, and start to choose to serve. Then breathe in the fresh air of God's grace.