(Illustrative photo: Flickr/Manuel)
Radicalization is something that has come to be viewed as an excuse for joining extremist groups and following orders to committing all sorts of horrific acts. But except in the case of children, extremism is always a choice. Read why.
Terrorists use sophisticated tactics to lure recruits into their movement. They prey on psychological weaknesses, making the target feel special, powerful and marked out for a glorious destiny. The mind-control techniques they use are highly advanced and will work on many people.
None of that takes away from the moral culpability that anyone who becomes a terrorist holds for their actions.
There is a long standing principle in hypnosis that all hypnosis is really self-hypnosis. That is, you cant hypnotize someone to do something that isnt somewhere in their subconscious or something they want to do on some level.
All you can do is bring people into a relaxed state of mind where they are more susceptible to suggestion.
You cant, for example, use mind control techniques to make gay people straight, despite the millions of dollars invested by Christian organizations to try and develop an effective method of doing so.
Extremists convince people to act in what the tell people are their best interests. They offer incentives so that doing what the movement wants gives the recruit some kind of payoff.
This becomes much easier when the extremist group can provide benefits to the target, for example, social camaraderie, a clear structure for how to live and a well defined mission to devote yourself to are all benefits of joining an extremist movement.
But the brainwashing cant do more than heavily influence a person.
When a person gives in to mind control in a cult, they make a decision to abdicate responsibility for making choices and turn it over to the cult leader or organizers.
When a person stops thinking for himself or herself and takes on the attitudes of the cult, even under pressure, he or she is making a choice.
True, that choice may be heavily influenced. Humans are highly adaptable creatures who long to fit in and be successful within the context of a group.
Extremists use many tactics to induce a sense of identification with the group and a shift in core beliefs. This may include extremely coercive tactics like isolation, sleep deprivation, pushing drugs on the recruit or even encouraging them to commit crimes to bind themselves to the new group.
Sleep deprivation and strict dietary control, in particular, can sap a persons energy and make it extremely difficult for them to think clearly about what is going on.
But unless the person is being physically held against their will, they still have a choice to resist brainwashing techniques and remove themselves from the situation.
This is what makes education so critical. If people are taught to recognize the techniques and tactics which groups use in brainwashing, they can learn to walk away from those sorts of situations.
Steve Hassans Bite Model is a good resource for the main methods cults use to indoctrinate people.
Ive come to view what happened to me is a viral, memetic infection, ex-Moonie Diane Benscoter said in a TED Talk. For those of you who arent familiar with memetics, a meme has been defined as an idea that replicates in the human brain and moves from brain to brain like a virus, much like a virus. The way a virus works is it can infect and do the most damage to someone who has a compromised immune system.
In other words, an extremist group can take over your mind when your resistance is low.
However, if a person commits crimes while a member of an extremist group, it is important to note that courts do not accept claims of mind control as a defense.
In a classic case, in 1976 Patty Hearst, heiress to the Hearst media fortune, shocked America by joining the Symbionese Liberation Army after they kidnapped, tortured and brainwashed her. She participated in the groups activities including bank robbing. Such was her commitment at the time that she did not run away from the group despite later having the opportunity to escape.
When she was finally caught, her lawyer attempted to argue she had been the victim of brainwashing. The jury did not accept it, and she was sentenced to 35 years imprisonment, later reduced to seven.
President Carter later commuted her sentence to two years.
More recently Smallville Actress Allison Mack pleaded guilty to helping NXIM cult leader Keith Raniere induct women into his sex cult. Among the allegations are that women were trafficked and branded.
Despite the brainwashing these women were subjected to, their crimes were still considered crimes and were treated as such by the courts.
A Dr. Phil episode featured a father who was a member of a cult who turned his 13-year old daughter over to the cult leader to rape as a bride within the church. Dr. Phil unpacks the situation and explains that there is no amount of brainwashing which could override his duty as father.
It is worth watching the clip:
The Surprising (and Successful) Use ofLoveby Extremists
WhyExtremismIsnt About Economics
How Generation Wealth Is a Boon for IslamistExtremists
Read the rest here:
- How to Build Narrative Power and Co-Create a Just Future - Resilience - January 30th, 2021
- Understanding Memetics - SCP Foundation - July 27th, 2020
- Memetics - Dr Susan Blackmore - July 27th, 2020
- Meme - Wikipedia - July 12th, 2020
- Memetics | Psychology Wiki | Fandom - July 12th, 2020
- Working at AM LLC: Employee Reviews | Indeed.com - May 19th, 2020
- Army Of Contact-Tracing Workers Being Recruited To Help Combat Coronavirus Pandemic - CBS San Francisco - May 19th, 2020
- Italy under the coronavirus attack: the return of the Plague Spreaders - Resilience - February 24th, 2020
- Looking forward to being with my great friends in India: US President Donald Trump - Deccan Herald - February 24th, 2020
- Snow Crash TV Series Adaptation is Coming to HBO Max - Epicstream - December 21st, 2019
- 'Snow Crash' TV Series in the Works at HBO Max - /FILM - December 21st, 2019
- Book That Inspired Facebooks Chief VR Researcher And Coined Metaverse To Get HBO Series - UploadVR - December 21st, 2019
- The Hi-Tech Traditionalist: From Samizdat To Memetics What Is Similar And What Is Different Between Soviet And American Dissidents - Tsarizm - November 14th, 2019
- Internal Memes: Parasites and Predators of the Mind - Psychology Today - October 1st, 2019
- Dual inheritance theory - Wikipedia - February 14th, 2019
- Viral marketing - Wikipedia - January 28th, 2019
- Disinfect Your Mind: Defend Yourself with Memetics Against ... - January 20th, 2019
- MeMetics - Your Trusted Online News and How-to Site - December 23rd, 2018
- Applied Memetics LLC Employee Reviews - Indeed.com - December 23rd, 2018
- How Ford Ensures Drive comfort in the 2018 ... - memetics.com - December 23rd, 2018
- Best Search Engines To Use | MeMetics - August 7th, 2018
- Memetics and Infohazards Division Orientation - SCP Foundation - July 3rd, 2018
- Philosophy of Religion Religion and Memetics - July 3rd, 2018
- Indicators Of Sight Loss | MeMetics - May 1st, 2018
- What is a Meme? | The Daily Meme - March 24th, 2018
- What is Net-Centric Warfare? | Daniel K. Buntovnik - February 13th, 2018
- Memes, memes everywhere | SunStar - Sun.Star - August 25th, 2017
- The matter with memes - The GUIDON - August 25th, 2017
- Best price on combivent inhaler - Proventil and combivent - Filipino Express - August 21st, 2017
- Cialis super active plus canada - Cialis super active plus online - Filipino Express - August 21st, 2017
- Skin care specialist school - Does cialis require a prescription in usa - Bournville Village - August 16th, 2017
- On Memetics - August 14th, 2017
- Alt-Right? No, the Far Right. - Patheos (blog) - August 13th, 2017
- Female viagra pills name - Buy female viagra online cheap - Bournville Village - August 9th, 2017
- Red viagra - Viagra and red bull safe - Bournville Village - August 6th, 2017
- The Most Influential Memes on the Internet - Fox Weekly - July 29th, 2017
- The Pro-Trump Media Is Full Of Offensive Memes And Trolls, But Is It A Hate Group? - BuzzFeed News - July 26th, 2017
- Is cipro a form of penicillin - Cipro company registration form - The Village Reporter and the Hometown Huddle - July 16th, 2017
- Female viagra lotion - What is female viagra called - The Village Reporter and the Hometown Huddle - July 15th, 2017
- The Meme-ing of life - MessAge Media: Our Columnists - Aitkin Independent Age - July 15th, 2017
- Internet Memes Are Changing The Way We Communicate IRL - HuffPost UK - July 14th, 2017
- The Meme-ing of Life - Aitkin Independent Age - July 6th, 2017
- Memefacturing dissent! Breaking down the 'science' of memes in India - Mid-Day - July 1st, 2017
- Homemade cures for erectile dysfunction - Queens Tribune - June 26th, 2017
- Meme-Gene Coevolution - Susan Blackmore - June 7th, 2017
- Editorial: Circumspect, respect - Sun.Star - June 6th, 2017
- Memes could be the key to predicting the future - Digit - April 8th, 2017
- On Memetics and the Transfer of Cultural Information - Paste Magazine - March 3rd, 2017
- Memetics | Prometheism.net - Part 3 - March 2nd, 2017
- Memetics | Prometheism.net - Part 2 - March 2nd, 2017
- Do Daniel C. Dennett's memes deserve to survive? - Spectator.co.uk - March 2nd, 2017
- The Meme Culture of America is Taking Over - TrendinTech - February 28th, 2017
- Memetics | Psychology Wiki | Fandom powered by Wikia - February 25th, 2017
- Row erupts as East London gallery accused of showing 'alt-right' and 'racist' art - Art Newspaper - February 23rd, 2017
- Is America Prepared for Meme Warfare? - Motherboard - February 7th, 2017
- The scientific controversy behind memes - Varsity Online - February 7th, 2017
- Cognitive science: Dennett rides again - Nature.com - February 7th, 2017
- Thagomizer and Four Other Invented Words - Big Shiny Robot! - February 7th, 2017
- Meme RationalWiki - December 8th, 2016
- Mem Wikipedia - December 8th, 2016