Spiritual Resources > the Paranormal > Mind Control and Coercive Persuasion.
"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. They sometimes use practices such as:
These techniques taken as a group or a 'suite' are sometimes called 'brainwashing', 'mind control', 'coercive persuasion', 'mind manipulation', enhanced manipulation, or 'thought reform'. Each term emphasizes a different aspect of the methods. (Most serious investigators now call it coercive persuasion, but that has not yet caught on in the popular imagination.) By themselves, each technique has little effect, but when taken together, they create a strong influence over personal thought-patterns and behaviors.
These methods are used by high-control groups 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 that the groups (a polite way of saying 'cult') are not doing such things, that it's only propaganda from their enemies. Yet, if the government were using the same methods the same way 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. Deprogramming often fails, and sometimes adds more damage to what the cult's techniques have already wrought.
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 high-control groups - they eventually leave. Thus, control still really belongs to the member, and the techniques are mostly ways of getting the member to control themselves the group's way. The group works to minimize the amount of choices and the acceptability of alternatives other than the group's. That still does not excuse the use of mind control methods, but it explains how the methods really work.
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 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. 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 effort. The drugs these agencies use 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.)
Advertisers use several of these methods (repetitions, subliminal messages, sexual stimulation, and insider information) to sell products. Those selling ideas and imagery (such as some movements and membership organizations) may 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 control 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 situation a sort of 'spell'? Again, no set of words by themselves is enough to control a mind, but a strong form of influence can be achieved when the words are used with a suite of coercive persuasion methods. Truth is 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.
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. Control and power are Satan's bag, not the crucified and risen Lord's.
More, on mental hacking.
An email exchange:
> I know a
> woman who met a man recently, and she seems to be controlled by him,
> perhaps in this way [by hypnosis]?
It sounds like she's either sexually overwhelmed (that will wear off) or she's psychologically dependent on him. Sometimes it gets so bad that they walk around with that dazed look as if he had sucked out her brain in one of those horror b-movies.
Hypnosis by itself is a poor device for mind control, mainly because it lacks the power to impose anything, for more than the moment at hand. It may help plant an idea or two that might catch on if something else in the person is also working for that idea; nothing more. Manipulation (in the form of praise, anger, and well-worded lies), enticement (in the form of his sexual prowess), and fear (of either physical abuse or the collapse of the framework of her life) are much more effective because they get her to choose to act eagerly in the desired manner. They are the devil's tools which a Christian stays away from if they're following Christ right.
In cases like this, though, over time she'll come to.
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|ver.: 09 June 2012|
Mind Control. Copyright © 1998-2012 by Robert Longman.