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Margaret Singer

December 12, 2012 Comments off

“not me myth” – “…Just as most soldiers believe bullets will hit only others, not themselves, most citizens like to think that their own minds and thought processes are invulnerable. ” Other people can be manipulated, but not me,” they declare. People like to think that their opinions, values and ideas are inviolate and totally self-regulated. They may admit grudgingly that they are influenced slightly by advertising. Beyond that, they want to preserve a myth in which other persons are weak-minded and easily influenced, but they are strong-minded. People cherish a fantasy that manipulators confront, browbeat and argue people into doing their bidding. They envision Big Brother coming in storm-trooper boots, holding guns to heads and forcing persons to change their beliefs, alter their personalities, and accept new ideologies. Orwell drew on the wisdom of the ages — most manipulation is subtle and covert. Orwell envisioned the evolution of an insidious, but successful mind and opinion manipulator. He would appear as a smiling, seemingly beneficent Big Brother. But instead of one Big Brother, we see hordes of Big Brothers in the world today…These extremes of social and psychological manipulations of thought and conduct are often disregarded by Americans because the events occurred for away and could be dismissed as merely foreign propaganda, and political acts. The reasoning was based on the “not me myth” — not in our land could such happen. Then we had to begin looking at certain events that were occurring the California and see that extremes of influence and manipulation were possible here…” (The “Not Me” Myth: Orwell and the Mind)

“unscrewed up” – “…I might look like a little old grandma, but I’m no pushover,” she told a reporter last year, just before tossing back another shot of Bushmills Irish whiskey, her libation of choice. “My mom spent her whole life assisting other people — victims, parents or lawyers — and often for free,” said Sam Singer, a San Francisco publicist. “Nothing gave her greater joy than helping to get someone unscrewed up.” She was occasionally threatened by cult leaders and their followers, and she never backed down. Professor Singer liked to tell how, at the age of 80, she frightened off a stalker who had been leaving menacing notes in her mailbox. “I’ve got a 12-gauge shotgun up here, sonny, and you’d better get off my porch, or you’ll be sorry!” she hollered out the window. “And tell your handlers not to send you back!…” (Margaret Singer — expert on brainwashing)

“coercive persuasion” – “…Looking like peaceful persuasion is precisely what makes coercive persuasion less likely to attract attention or to mobilize opposition. It is also part of what makes it such a devastating control technology. Victims of coercive persuasion have: no signs of physical abuse, convincing rationalizations for the radical or abrupt changes in their behavior, a convincing “sincerity, and they have been changed so gradually that they don’t oppose it because they usually aren’t even aware of it. Deciding if coercive persuasion was used requires case-by-case careful analysis of all the influence techniques used and how they were applied. By focusing on the medium of delivery and process used, not the message, and on the critical differences, not the coincidental similarities, which system was used becomes clear. The Influence Continuum helps make the difference between peaceful persuasion and coercive persuasion easier to distinguish…Coercive persuasion is antithetical to the First Amendment. It is the unfair manipulation of other’s biological and psychological weaknesses and susceptibilities. It is a psychological FORCE technology, not of a free society, but of a criminal or totalitarian society. It is certainly not a spiritual or religious technology. Any organization using coercive persuasion on its members as a CENTRAL practice that also claims to be a religion is turning the SANCTUARY of the First Amendment into a fortress for psychological assault. It is a contradiction of terms and should be “disestablished.” Coercive persuasion is a subtle, compelling psychological force which attacks an even more fundamental and important freedom than our “freedom of religion…” (How does Mind Control Work?)

“orchestrated process of exploitative psychological manipulation” – “…Contrary to popular misconceptions (some intentional on the part of naysayers), a thought reform program does not require physical confinement and does not produce robots. Nor does it permanently capture the allegiance of all those exposed to it. In fact, some persons do not respond at all to the programs, while others retain the contents for varied periods of time. In sum, thought reform should be regarded as “situationally adaptive belief change that is not subtle and is environment-dependent”…Finally, to promulgate the myth that though reform has been rejected by the scientific community, cult apologists doggedly stick to faulty understanding of the process contrary to findings in the literature, they —- that physical coercion and debilitation are necessary for thought reform to occur, and that the effects of thought reform must be instant, massive, uniform, universally responded to, and enduring. The recent upholding of thought reform in DSM-IV is but one more piece of evidence that this orchestrated process of exploitative psychological manipulation is real and recognized within the professional psychiatric field. To say then that the concept of thought reform is rejected by the scientific community is false and irresponsible. The phenomenon has been studied and discussed since 1951, and continuing studies by social psychologists and other behavioral scientists have solidified our understandings of its components and overall impact…” (Mind Control/Brainwashing/Thought Reform Exists)

Dr. Margaret Thaler Singer, (1921–2003) was a clinical psychologist and a part-time Adjunct Professor in the Department of Psychology at the University of California, Berkeley, U.S. Singer’s main areas of research included schizophrenia, family therapy, brainwashing and coercive persuasion. Singer performed research at the University of Colorado’s School of Medicine, Walter Reed Army Medical Center Institute of Research, the National Institute of Mental Health, the United States Air Force and the Massachusetts Institute of Technology. She received many awards for her work, including the Leo J. Ryan Memorial Award, the Research Scientist Award from the National Institute of Mental Health, and both the Hofheimer Prize and the Stanley R. Dean Award from the American College of Psychiatrists. In the 1960s she began to study the nature of cults and mind control and served on the board of the American Family Foundation. She is the author of the book Cults in Our Midst. She gave expert testimony in several cult-related trials, including the 1976 trial of Patty Hearst, who had previously been kidnapped by the Symbionese Liberation Army, and the 1977 hearing for five members of the Rev. Sun Myung Moon’s Unification Church. In 1987, as head of the APA taskforce on Deceptive and Indirect Techniques of Persuasion and Control for the American Psychological Association, Singer oversaw the production of a report that was later rejected by the APA’s Board of Social and Ethical Responsibility for Psychology. Thereafter, Singer’s expert testimony in four subsequent cases was not accepted. In 1992 she sued the APA for “defamation, frauds, aiding and abetting and conspiracy”, but in 1994 she lost. Articles in The New York Times and The Los Angeles Times reported complaints by Singer and her family that she had been enduring harassment and death threats due to her “battles” with the cults. An obituary in The New York Times described harassment, death threats against Singer, and dead animals found on her doorstep, due to her “battles” involving cults and brainwashing. A biography of Singer published by Thomson Gale states that her “enemies among cults” were responsible for harassing her. Another obituary that appeared in The Los Angeles Times claims that cult “operatives” went through Singer’s trash and mail, picketed her lectures, hacked into her computer and released live rats in her house. Statements made by her family to the San Francisco Chronicle, include allegations that one “cultist” worked her way into Singer’s office, stole students’ term papers and sent notes to Singer’s students, and that groups harassed her family as well. A Time Magazine article described Singer as an outspoken Scientology critic who traveled under an assumed name to avoid harassment. Margaret Singer died of pneumonia on November 23, 2003 in Berkeley, California, at the Alta Bates Medical Center. She was 82. Singer was survived by her husband, two children, and five grandchildren (Wikepedia).

RELATED READING:
Fight Against Coercive Tactics Network
Cults in Our Midst
Recovery from Cults
Documents on Brainwashing Controversies and the APA
Margaret Singer, Mother of Anti-Cult Brainwashing Theory, Dies in Berkeley
Margaret Singer — expert on brainwashing
Who was Margaret Bridget Singer?(Video)
Conditions for Mind Control
An interview with Margaret Singer on Undue Influence
Dr. Margaret T. Singer’s 6 Conditions for Thought Reform
Coming Out of the Cults
Margaret Singer, 82; Expert on Brainwashing, Cults Testified at 1976 Trial of Patricia Hearst
Dr. Margaret Singer: An Evaluation of Her work
A call for religious communities to re-think Social Justice stalking and help end it.
Margaret Singer Recovery from Cults 1991 (Video)

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