Thursday, July 19, 2007

Influencing hearts and minds

Thanks to Timo for pointing to a very interesting article about how groups and individuals influence minds and make converts.
It is written by a hypnotist who is giving away the secrets of powerful speakers.
A quote:
"Over the years, I've conducted professional seminars to teach people to be hypnotists, trainers, and counsellors. I've had many of those who conduct trainings and rallies come to me and say, "I'm here because I know that what I'm doing works, but I don't know why." After showing them how and why, many have gotten out of the business or have decided to approach it differently or in a much more loving and supportive manner.
Many of these trainers have become personal friends, and it scares us all to have experienced the power of one person with a microphone and a room full of people. Add a little charisma and you can count on a high percentage of conversions. The sad truth is that a high percentage of people want to give-away their power--they are true "believers"!"


Final Identity said...

That jerk. He's talking about my Saviour ...


Just kidding. :^o Good article. A bit poorly HTML-ized but ... ya know ...

I heard once somewhere that the person most likely to succumb to cult indoctrination is ... anyone. There has yet to be any verified study that pinpoints any given risk factors. Intelligence, socialization, economic and class background, height, weight, race, gender, wealth, health, skepticism, optimisim, pessimisim, boredom, happiness, excitement, education, beauty, number of friends, quality of family life, age, etc. ... none of it matters. All humans have roughly exactly the same likelihood of falling prey.

Of course, that could just be an internet myth. I can't find the reference.

I lived near Clearwater, Florida, for quite some time. The world headquarters of Scientology decided to move there and ruin the city, so we all got educated about cults as best we could.

Pascal said...

Awright, I finally managed to read the article. Effing electricity!

I'd say patriotism is quite evidently a noble attitude. I'd also say that even the most noble of attitudes/beliefs can lead to mindless indoctrination and fanatism. That applies similarly to every single religion on Earth, even atheism.

"True Believers who have seen the Light"... (shudders) Perhaps the scariest monsters in horror stories and movies. Because they're so realistic. We all kniddly-diddly-know some.

I've seen psychotics. Several. Sure, they can be dangerous on occasions, especially if undiagnosed and untreated and when they're delirious. But the classic Hitchcockian link between psychosis and crime is most of the times a myth. 98% of psychotics are much more of a danger to themselves. Except in the notorious "kills his whole family then himself" bit, but it's still very rare.
(N.B.: that would be a case of maelancholia, a.k.a. psychotic depression. They feel that ending the pain of life is an act of mercy.)

But the "True Believer" can be everywhere, including in Marvel comics conventions. :-/
In a country such as mine, they are people involved in politics &/or religion. And they are many. And they are touchy. And they are typically indoctrinated since infancy. And you get the picture.

I'm beginning to see a logic to Lebanon's persisting problems.

Ah well, thanks a million for the link, I'll share it as much as I can.

Oh, and Final? I can't give you any specific reference, but what you say is no myth. Being ignorant makes one more vulnerable to elaborated lies, but I also read from several reliable sources that apart from that there is no known statistic clues. It's mere human variability, period.
Otherwise phrased, we are each responsible for our own decisions, or refusal of.

I'm amazed this hugely interesting thread isn't already a few dozen comments long!

Final Identity said...

I keep posting replies about how to avoid cult indoctrination but the replies keep getting deleted!

No, just kidding, I didn't do that ... yet. But it is a bit odd we aren't going on and on about cults. Having lived in Jackson, Mississippi, USA, for almost three years, I feel I can say categorically that many participants in traditional protestant quasi-fundamentalist "mainstream" or "suburban" giant churches are members of something QUITE similar to a cult. There's actually one on the interstate highway (the biggest fastest roads in the USA, equivalent to the Autobahn) which posts its daily monetary intake on a scoreboard to be seen by thousands of passing motorists.

I am serious. These are the people supposedly teaching us to eschew the worldly ...

eolake said...

"These are the people supposedly teaching us to eschew the worldly..."

No, no, that's what we *think*.
I was shocked to find out that most Christian sects don't even believe in spirit, they believe that the resurrection is of the *flesh* and that heaven will be on Earth.

Final Identity said...

The Mormons are particularly wedded to the worldly. The closer you get to their wonky theology with all the Mephibosheths and Azraels, the more you see that it's essentially a plan for quite literal reincarnation.

Pascal said...

People in Europe have a hard time understanding the tolerance (laxism?) towards cults in the U.S. Because they don't realize how much OFFICIAL religion there is similar. Criticizing cults would be like the guy who lived in a glass church... I mean HOUSE!

"most Christian sects don't even believe in spirit, they believe that the resurrection is of the *flesh* and that heaven will be on Earth."

And how, pray tell, is that basically different from the cloning aroung of Raelians promising people physical immortality? (And lots of free sex to ease the wait...)
BTW, will this resurrection of the flesh happen before, or after the Rapture? Will we all be reborn naked, or will God remember to make us fully clothed this time? (I'd be satisfied if He gave me a nice natural feline fur, then I'd look great and wouldn't need to cover my body with fabric. No more getting to work late because the laundry wasn't done! Oh, and please, feathers for the wings, so angelic me can fly in the pure blue sky and sit on the clouds.)