Saying things without saying things, a case study

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  • #7328

    So after a long day and drive home from work, something from college occurred to me (hey I did get something out of it!).  Anyone familiar with the Stanford Prison Experiment?

    In the SPE, the first "prisoner" to be released suffers, basically, a nervous breakdown.  Prior to the overall breakdown, this prisoner goes to Zimbardo to complain of his suffering, anxiety, etc. and get released from the experiment (although very quickly both guards and prisoners stop calling it an "experiment", because it became a real prison to them). Anyway, Zimbardo (who also quickly took on a group role and became enmeshed in the group process as well), cleverly uses his words to convince the prisoner to stay, yet doesn't techinically lie to the prisoner…Zimbardo gives the impression that the prisoner may not simply leave so easily; yet, all the while, the prisoner has committed to an experiment and actually had the absolute right to leave.  Zimbardo wins the moment and the prisoner returns to his cell, thinking he can't leave.

    Here's the good part.  This prisoner tells the other prisoners that "no one can leave" "we can't get out of here".

    Zimbardo never said that, yet it made its way quickly through the group and became a "known fact" – albeit a cleverly manufactured "fact".

    Any thoughts?

    So, many groups use "pray on it", and I hear this one does too.  Or, referring to a Bible verse and leaving the decision up to the member (as if they really have a choice in the matter, facing certain disdain, criticism, or possible ostracism).  It seems to be a form of "plausible deniability".  So clever.  I'm really looking forward to comments on this one because the effects are so dynamic in the group setting.

  • #58230


    Simon wrote:

    The teachings are good if you apply them as Biblical principles rather than as a list from a Mother God

    I beg to differ on this, but to be fair it does depend upon the framing of the issue.  The cleverness of Satan has been brought up.  I find embedded alternate messages that are consistent with the control mechanisms across so-called high control groups:

    #4, I see "submit".  Submission of self to the group and to lose one's individualism is a core tenet of controlling groups.

    #5, I see "serve the leader".  The leader must always be the focus and be first and foremost and exclusively served.

    #6,7, I see "don't complain".  No complaining is ever allowed in any control group.  Members are demanded to report up, thus this includes "gossip".  The goal is to eliminate discussion of anything that may threaten the group – most specifically collaborating stories and feelings.  This reinforces group doctrine by eventually eliminating the self and its feelings.  And, of course, conform to the group because everyone else is doing it, and oh by the way I may be ostracized – indirect threats, fears of loss of companionship.  Of course, when other members aren't behaving correctly, they will likely be told on to the leader and "have a talkin' to" by the leader about how "things aren't done that way – YOU come to ME (leader/superior) with issues".  "Spying" begins; more loss of individualism – almost always in a counterintuitive way – the teachings will be done about how this builds up individuals, but in reality it is outweighed greatly by the enmeshment into the group, which reinforces group over person.

    #8 I see "only praise".  Makes sense from a non-thinking point of view.  In a totalistic environment in which new behaviors are reinforced, members come to see a new worldview and will praise innapropriate behavior, but at the same time find bad behavior to be completely appropriate in their new worldview and framing.

    #9, I see "cover up".  See, Hear, and Say no evil.

    #10, I see "emulate the leader".  This can lead to more focus on leader and less focus on what is actually in the Bible.  Over time, a new doctrine is in place.  Book of Mormon, New World Translation (JWs), Divine Principle (Moonies), notes on the margins of the Bible as taught by leader the "real meaning", lessons and so on by various controlling groups.  After all, the leader gave us this, and great sacrifice too…

    #11, I see "sacrifice".  Do fundraisers and charity work; members won't see it as keeping them busy, they'll see it as works of God.  In this group, one only see the videos of the charity work, followed by various testimonies thanking Mother for her "great sacrifice".  I wonder if they can explain exactly what these sacrifices truly are?  Most likely the sacrifices are simply stories and legends passed down to them from superiors.  These testimonials are quite powerful and guilt inducing, I suspect, when hearing outside information.

    #12, I see goal orientation.  JWs, the end is near; Moonies, Hassan mentioned that '77 was the end times in his Ron video; political cults the time is near for revolution; Heaven's Gate the spaceships will be here soon to pick us up, and so on and so on.  The focus of time is distorted in favor of the group.

    This is all culminated by "Obey", the main goal of any controlling group.

    I'm not meaning to put Simon on the spot.  his post of how crafty Satan is is quite relevant.

    These tenets of control are seen over and over in abusive situations.  Of course, it is blasphemy to speak against it…or is it internalized guilt and association with goals and learned adoration of the leader?  After all, the loss of the leader is loss of eternal life, galaxies, etc. and that's no minor thing to lose (future) as well as certain ostracism from dear friends (the present).

    Quite powerful, don't you think?



    Except you are applying them in the context of the group I was taking them from how the original biblical principle would apply in their apparent meaning. so yeah its both biblically sound and satanic in a weird way lol


    Love'n Honey

    Yea, you can take any good thing from the bible and make it bad. Like pray continually. The church uses this so you contiue to use Ash's name. The more you repeat the more you believe. But you can't deny that the bible encourages us to pray continually. The teaching is good. The application of the WMSCOG is not.



    Fair enough.

    As long as sufficient critical thought goes into it…fair enough S & RP, point taken.


    Love'n Honey

    YAY!! My handle finally gets an abreviation, too! I have official been dubbed a member of the Examining Committee!! Drinks all around on Harry. =)


    Love'n Honey

    YAY!! My handle finally gets an abreviation, too! I have official been dubbed a member of the Examining Committee!! Drinks all around on Harry. =)



    Found this about the No-Name Fellowship of Champagne-Urbana Illinois:

    (Former member Pam says), "Also, many of the rules and regulations were never actually spoken or articulated as a command.  One simply knew from experience that something was a rule, and, if not adhered to, discipline resulted."

    I believe this falls under "saying things without saying things" as well.  Comments, experiences?

    Former members of this group state that when they were members they found being called brainwashed a compliment, for  they "were blessed to have a clean mind."

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