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Mind Control

Nov 23, 1997 08:35 AM
by Mark A. Foster

Bart Lidofsky wrote:

>It further made it clear that what we call "hypnotism" today 
>is far closer to what she called "mesmerism", while what 
>she called "hypnotism" is more akin to what we call 
>"mind-control" (such as is practiced by many cult leaders).

Regarding mind-control (also popularly called "brain-washing"), this
subject has been studied by social scientists and by psychologists over the
years. The original idea came from Thomas Lifton and a few others, who
based their idea of brainwashing (or "thought reform") on the supposed
indoctrination practices in North Korean POW camps.

It is now clear, for a variety of reasons, that this research was
apparently flawed. For one thing, it was not longitudinal. That is to say,
it did not consider how this supposed brainwashing affected former POWs
over the long term.

When a person converts to a respectable religion, it is called conversion,
and behavior changes, which are generally in harmony with society's norms
and civil religion, are regarded by most people as positive. However, when
a person joins an alternative religious movement and changes her or his
behavior, sometimes not in accordance with social norms, it is called

Religious oppression and abuse, however, has been known to take place in
both alternative and mainline religions. For instance, the People's Temple
of Jim Jones was, if I remember correctly, a local congregation of the
Disciples of Christ/Christian Church.
Mark A. Foster, Ph.D., Prof. of Sociology * (page me) * (913)469-8500, x3376 or (my 3 sites) (Divine Philosophy Society's 5 email lists)

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