Captive Minds: Cults and Hypnosis

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ex-l

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Captive Minds: Cults and Hypnosis

Post22 Sep 2011

From a post from Maria in Transitioning from a Cult Back into Society and mentioned by Madelein Tobias. This is a 1983 documentary called "Captive Minds: Hypnosis and Beyond".

There is a pretty amazing example of the power of hypnosis ... and believe it, it is powerful ... by an academic in front of a class.

I am starting to wonder if the reason I did not fall for the Brahma Kumaris is that I am not very susceptible to hypnosis and that that might be a commonality amongst ex-BKs and folks that jut don't get sucked into it at all.

That then therefore suggests that hypnotic susceptibility IS a common trait amongst those that get sucked in and cannot leave. I certainly think hypnotic ability (the ability to hypnotise others even if untrained), is a VERY key element in what makes a good Brahma Kumari teacher, and I am thinking of someone like Jayanti Kirpalani in this context.

I don't think it is a simple question of "Is Brahma Kumarism hypnosis, or not?". Brahma Kumarism is not just hypnosis. Personally, I think it is more of an 'AND' question. Brahma Kumarism is what it is AND it also includes many hypnotic elements.

tomas

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Re: Captive Minds: Cults and Hypnosis

Post28 Sep 2011

Hypnosis is only as powerful as you allow it to be; after all, it is impossible to hypnotize someone against their will, as stated by the narrator, saying, "the stage hypnotist rejects those who don't instantly show that desire (to be hypnotized)". It is unquestionable that hypnosis, the techniques and body of knowledge that encompasses the hypnotic phenomenon, can be very powerful when accompanied with a suficient amount of reinforcement and conditioning, but hypnosis itself is not a magical, mysterious thing that a hypnotist, or whatever, does to a subject; the subject must cooperate for the altered state to be reached.

It would be interesting to see the entire interaction between the hypnotist, in front of the class, and the subject, as oppose to just the snippets the editors decided to keep; I wager the whole interaction would seem more mundane and unimpressive. By the way, I am not a hypnotist, but I did complete the course to become a NGH Certified Hypnotist and have researched the topic for some time (someone in this forum, a while ago, either Joel or Mr. Green, Suggested reading Self-Mastery Through Conscious Autosuggestion by Emile Coue, which is a good intro to E. Coue's method of Hypnosis). Nevertheless, very interesting subject!
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ex-l

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Re: Captive Minds: Cults and Hypnosis

Post28 Sep 2011

Don't we "show a desire to be hypnotized", or at least "meditatized", just by entering into a Brahma Kumari center or going back to make ourselves do the course? That would rather suggest to me that individual who do are self-filtering.

Where do you think the dividing line between hypnosis and meditation is?

I don't know but I don't agree with the sceptical opinion that "it is all in the mind" either. However, my answer to that would be that much of the new agey BK commentaries are at a low level of hypnosis rather than being meditational.

I also think the hypnotic community, those who practise it, have their own level of defensive PR and marketing and statements such as "hypnosis is only as powerful as you allow it to be" and "it is impossible to hypnotize someone against their will". That is what they say, I don't know if I believe it. I find it hard watching some of the hypnosis videos to believe, as the skeptics would have us believe, that it is just play acting.

It took me a long time to accept that there might be a hypnotic element to Brahma Kumarism, or the similarities between the two, and it is something I find fascinating.

a) Do they have a scientific explanation for how it works yet?
b) If we can fall under the hypnotic influence of Brahma Kumarism, how much of it might be left residual in individuals who left, and how to get rid of it?
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Mr Green

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Re: Captive Minds: Cults and Hypnosis

Post28 Sep 2011

nice collar

tomas

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Re: Captive Minds: Cults and Hypnosis

Post28 Sep 2011

ex-l wrote:Where do you think the dividing line between hypnosis and meditation is?

That's an excellent point! In fact, if you compare some of the hypnosis tapes out in the market (e.g. stress management, quit smoking and so forth) and some of the BK's guided meditations, you'll notice that they are indistinguishable; unless the BK's meditation is structure to take you to the Subtle Region or Paramdham and such, then the difference is the added BKism.

Additionally, consider this, can you experience Paramdham if you did not believe in the concept of it? No hypnotist, regardless of their skill level, nor BK, for that matter, regardless of their proclaimed spiritual powers, can hypnotize or meditate you into Paramdham, if the concept doesn't mean anything in your mind.

I share your fascination with the subject, and also agree that professional hypnotists use PR and marketing, but I think they use it to exaggerate what they can accomplish with hypnosis, to get more business and hype up their practice.
a) Do they have a scientific explanation for how it works yet?

I don't think there is a concise, fool proof, scientific theory. Social Psychologists have their theory of it, psychiatrists have theirs and so on, yet its usefulness is undeniable, considering that hypnosis has been successfully used during surgery as an alternative to anaesthesia. What cannot be claimed is that hypnotist can put a random person into a trance and send them to an ER for a surgery. It doesn't work that way. The process is more elaborate than that (a lot of the time the people who perform this procedure are anaesthesiologists and dentists), and the hypnotist and subject have to work together.
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Mr Green

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Re: Captive Minds: Cults and Hypnosis

Post29 Sep 2011

I always thought it was self induced and guided hypnosis, and I do believe it is still latent inside us to a certain degree

the hypnosis they use seems to centre around peoples self esteem and self image
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ex-l

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Re: Captive Minds: Cults and Hypnosis

Post01 Oct 2011

I read about surgery now being performed under hypnosis but, personally, what amazes me the most are the hypno-orgasm videos. Boy, did I waste my youth learning BK meditation ... I could have been doing something fun in my life and serving womanity instead of "saving humanity".
tomas wrote:Additionally, consider this, can you experience Paramdham if you did not believe in the concept of it? No hypnotist, regardless of their skill level, nor BK, for that matter, regardless of their proclaimed spiritual powers, can hypnotize or meditate you into Paramdham, if the concept doesn't mean anything in your mind.

I don't know, I cannot answer. It seems a little hypothetical ... funnily enough, I was speaking to someone that had a 'near death experience' yesterday and they reported phenomenon very like what the BK teach. They became a Christian afterwards and knows nothing of the BKs, what they saw was a "orange world" not red as the BKs say, with light in it and knew they themselves and the lights were individuals. Strangely, they reported it as a "bumping" environment, as if it was fluid, bubbling up and down. They also mentioned a "Subtle Region" white light type experience. Not quite the same as BK but I could imagine a BK trying to jump on it and make it into their concepts and encourage her to join their religion.

The point I am leading is that rather than the BKs starting a new revelation of truth, perhaps all they are just re-interpreting some universal experiences all humans are able to have and branding it as theirs as religion has always done. Obviously, I cannot say whether near death experiences are real of not, as in there really are these other realms, nor dispute the skeptic view that they are just neurological phenomenon as the brain shuts down but I learn toward accepting the supernatural view.

Utterly irresponsibly, as we were encourage to be, I did once teach a kid to meditate when I was a BK and he "came back" wide eyed because he had a pure "Paramdham experience", as BKs call it. Saw a world of golden red light etc. Funnily enough, many of my "meditation students" had stronger experiences than I had, a fact that made me realise that "I" was not in control of the situation or doing it to them ... that something else I did not know or understand was involved and, hence, the situation was out of control. I find that very irresponsible now.

I mention that because the kid surely did not have a concept of Paramdham but seemingly had an experience of it from my prompting and that goes against your theory. Or else it take very, very light suggestion to induce.
Mr Green wrote:I always thought it was self induced and guided hypnosis, and I do believe it is still latent inside us to a certain degree. The hypnosis they use seems to centre around peoples self esteem and self image

I agree with you too, but my view is that a large part of it IS hypnosis ... to get your mind into the correct passive, suggestible state ... but that once it is in that state, it is in a state that is then open to other "psychic influences".

By "other psychic influences", I am not necessarily suggesting 'spooks' and 'spirits' but any unseen or not yet understood psychological influences, such as what the TIbetan Buddhists and others call "transmission" and is common in yogic traditions. I think it is hypnotic AND MORE, and it is the "and more" that we should look at. In symbolic terms, it is the "and more" factor where the real hooks and re-preogramming is injected into our mental computing systems, whilst our conscious filtering systems are down.

I also agree with what you write regarding all the fairly lame and basic meditations they use to hook people in BEFORE they teach them the real deal. BKism has superficially changed since I was involved to include layers and layers of watered down stuff that would have been dismissed as Maya in the old days.

tomas

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Re: Captive Minds: Cults and Hypnosis

Post02 Oct 2011

ex-l wrote:Boy, did I waste my youth learning BK meditation ... I could have been doing something fun in my life and serving womanity instead of "saving humanity".

LOL What ever rocks your boat, man! I am pretty sure there are some nice ladies out there who would appreciate, or maybe be even willing to pay for a good hypno-orgarm.
Obviously, I cannot say whether near death experiences are real of not, as in there really are these other realms, nor dispute the skeptic view that they are just neurological phenomenon as the brain shuts down but I learn toward accepting the supernatural view.

Fair enough, though I disagree with the notion of the supernatural, which in my opinion is the main reason people join organizations such as the BKs and company, I respect whatever belief you may have of what's reality. Who am I to say your paradigm of reality is incorrect; even if it is, maybe it works perfectly fine in your life. Nevertheless, I don't find any use in believing in any supernatural beings or phenomenon find it even harmful.
I mention that because the kid surely did not have a concept of Paramdham but seemingly had an experience of it from my prompting and that goes against your theory. Or else it take very, very light suggestion to induce.

You seem to be a fairly smart person, and I don't have any reason to believe you are dishonest, maybe the kid went to Paramdham and experienced all those wonderful things and what not; however, I have to question the preposition that a kid's experience or claim of an experience, while meditating, being a new experience to him, is reasonable proof that he experienced Paramdham, despite never having heard of it. Maybe you are right, but I don't see how that's any more believable than "oh ... Dadi says The Cycle repeats itself, identically, every 5000 years"; after all, you are using the same standard of proof. I got to give you this, though; you have a very interesting way of looking at things.

tomas

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Re: Captive Minds: Cults and Hypnosis

Post02 Oct 2011

Mr Green wrote:. . . I do believe it is still latent inside us to a certain degree.

Considering how many years it took for the BK ideas to disapear from my mind, I have to agree with you, Mr. Green. I feel a great amount of reverence for all those that stayed with the BKs for 5, 10, and even 20 years, and lived to learn to own their lives again.

I stayed with them for less than two years, and it took me almost three times as long to unBK myself. Hats off to all the true survivors out there!
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ex-l

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Re: Captive Minds: Cults and Hypnosis

Post03 Oct 2011

tomas wrote:maybe the kid went to Paramdham and experienced all those wonderful things and what not; however, I have to question the preposition that a kid's experience or claim of an experience, while meditating, being a new experience to him, is reasonable proof that he experienced Paramdham

No, I did not mean to suggest it "proved" Paramdham. I roughly meant that the experience the BKs label as Paramdham etc are nothing more than interpretations of universal experiences, and even rooted in our physiology rather than a 'soul'. Or easy to trigger. Like some BK see sparks of light and interpret them to be a soul ... then doctors explain they are just neural activities and that the experiences of Near Death are just the brain shutting down and nothing more.

I think one of the difficult things to deny are that many people have very impressive meditation experiences when they first come to the BKs. Again, this may or may not be "supernatural", it may just be what happens when one connects to a group spirit, or collective conscious, like the BKs. I accept they do, I saw it with my own eyes. I just don't accept they have the same meaning the BKs give them or any great purpose.

The obvious thing to point here though is that many, many, many other people have other "supernatural" spiritual experiences that DO NOT match Brahma Kumari spiritual or cosmological theory. Those are just instantly dismissed.

Specifically to this topic, if on one hand one accepts the influence of hypnotic suggestion - which again I do - and on the other the power of advertising etc, the BKWSU is definitely pumping both hard into the minds of their followers to enslave them. They always say innocently, "no one is keeping you here, you can leave any time you want", which is true on a physical level ... but on a mental level I think they have huge hooks into adherents minds and form them so they are unable to think and leave.

Part of this is done simply by just withholding complete and actual information from BK adherents. Most of it is done via hypnotic suggestion. I am not an expert but these videos also seem to be saying the mental impregnation does not just happen during the meditation but also in the period right after the meditation. And what do the BKs do? It is always 'meditation - class - meditation' ... 'meditation - class - meditation'.

Once one is forced to jettison the idea that any of what they teach is real, you could also see the grabbing of their adherents' minds first thing in the morning as another example of this.

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