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Useful words, concepts and terminology to help understanding

PostPosted: 01 Jun 2008
by ex-l
I imagine a topic similar to Books, movies and websites where we can share specific 'Words, concepts and terminology'. Put simply, the names for things we might feel or intuit but not have the language to communicate.

Two came up for me recently when dealing with the BKWSU in general and the Tao of the Traveller topic specifically.

Word :

From Christianity but prevalent in most or all religions. A sin that consists in "buying and selling what is spiritual in return for what is temporal" or the spiritual crime of paying for offices or positions in the hierarchy of a religion. It also extends to other forms of trafficking money and "spiritual things". In simony, the people involved equate material things such as money with spiritual things such as divinity and treat the latter as though some human being had full ownership of what really belongs to God.

The term "simony" originated with the biblical account of Simon Magus, who sought to purchase from St. Peter the spiritual power derived from the laying of hands and the invocation of the Holy Spirit (Acts 8:18). "Simony" includes both agreements that are illicit by divine law and those which the law of the Church forbids as greater protection and reverence for spiritual goods. Thus to promise prayers only in exchange for a certain sum of money is simony forbidden by divine (natural) law.

To obtain some position of authority within a Church in return for money, or its equivalent, is simony and forbidden by ecclesiastical law. When simony is against the divine law, it is always a grave sin. Its gravity in other cases depends on the serious nature of what is bought or sold, and on the degree of scandal given.

Terminology :

Passive-aggressive behavior refers to passive or obstructive resistance or 'attacking' others through passive means where the aggressive intent is cloaked by the passive, e.g. subtle and indirect means. Om Shanti.

It can manifest itself as resentment, procrastination, refusal of communicate ("the silent treatment") or repeated failure to do something. It is a defense mechanism often rooted in childhood. One way of handling passive-aggressive behavior is to state very clearly what you want from the individual and then ask them directly (and repeatedly as necessary) whether they agree to do this (and by when). Another approach is to 'name the game', pointing out to them what you are seeing in their behavior (do not accuse them -- just describe what you are seeing).

Here is how I laid this out;
Code: Select all
Word :
[list]• [b]The word[/b] - [url=]from where[/url][/list]

The definition goes here with your blurb and a Wikipedia link, for example.

False confidence syndrome

PostPosted: 01 Jun 2008
by ex-l
Concept :

A recent study by Ohio State University suggests that hypnosis doesn't actually help people recall events more accurately - but it does tend to make people more confident of their inaccurate memories. Research into speed reading techniques by NASA also came up with similar results. It is not that these practises change or improve individual's abilities, they just make them "falsely confident" of their abilities in a positive manner.

I was attempting to analyse what makes certain New Age, group therapies or even multi-level marketing (including totalist religions) "work" or feeling like they are "working" to individuals. We all know that high we experience whilst at a big service event or rally that makes us feel free, uninhibited or invincible. Although there may be other answers, one term for this state of mind is "false confidence".

False confidence is grounded in a kind of ego/arrogance and wishful thinking. An unreal state that certain practises encourage us into. To me, it sounds similar to a manic (high) psychological state and typical of manic depressives and other mental illnesses. The falsely confident person believes, or are led to believe, that they are right and must be right. Despite all the evidence being against them, and all of society attempting to argue sense ... but these would only affirms their position to them.

Some say their “false confidence” comes from a desperate need to appear in control in which reality is edited to conform to the individual's need, clinging to distorted and convoluted explanations and rationalizations. One hallmark of 'false confidence' is rigidity in which the individual maintains a pose of confidence and omnipotence, experiencing criticism as destructive in the fear that their house of cards may tumble down if they acknowledge any weakness. That sounds like your average BK challenged over certain elements of Gyan to me ...

In this state, criticism always seems destructive and therefore must be warded it off at all cost. A person trapped in a cycle of false confidence may well have be shamed about any limitations or imperfections in the past and believe that others, or even God, are harshly critical and waiting to judge them or humiliate them. Sounds familiar ... a sister in charge confronted by reform initiatives?

The Big Lie

PostPosted: 05 Jun 2008
by ex-l

From Plato's The Republic. A myth used for uniting and guiding the common people. The Noble Lie is a fiction deliberately shaped to encourage people through its power to love and desire a good which they themselves can never hope to reach. The only way possible being through a fully educated intelligence. Different lies being required for different classes of individuals, e.g. for the ruling caste, he said
Plato wrote:The noble lie will inform them that they are better than those they serve and it is, therefore, their responsibility to guard and protect those lesser than themselves. We will instill in them a distaste for power or privilege, they will rule because they believe it right, not because they desire it ...

In essence, the 'hagiographic' stories, such as biographies of Lekhraj Kirpalani and Janki Kripalani etc presenting by the Brahma Kumaris, are just such example. Yes, there is some truth to them. No, they are definitely NOT all true, as we have exhibited. So what is going on? "Noble lies" at best, leading to financial exploitation of others vulnerable needs at worst. See also;

    Pious Fraud
a fraud done to accomplish some good end, on the theory that the end justifies the means.


A corruption of Plato's idea perhaps ... a lie so "colossal" that no one would believe that someone "could have the impudence to distort the truth so infamously". A view that those of us who are naive are more easy to fall victim to a big lie than to a little one, since they themselves lie in little things but would be ashamed of lies that were too big.

Being stunned by such a great falsehood, we are not able to believe in the possibility of such monstrous effrontery or misrepresentation in others. Even when enlightened on the subject, we doubt, waver and continue to accept at least part of it as true. Therefore, it is said, something of even the most insolent lie will always remain and stick as a fact which all the "big" liars in this world, and the next, know only too well and make use of.
If you tell a lie big enough and keep repeating it, people will eventually come to believe it.

The lie can be maintained only for such time as the State can shield the people from the political, economic and/or military consequences of the lie. It thus becomes vitally important for the State to use all of its powers to repress dissent, for the truth is the mortal enemy of the lie, and thus by extension, the truth is the greatest enemy of the State.
The most brilliant propagandist technique will yield no success unless one fundamental principle is borne in mind constantly -

    it must confine itself to a few points and repeat them over and over.

Both quotes from Nazi propagandist Joseph Goebbels but common lessons in the Art of Statesmanship and practise widely to this day. A concept generally credited to Adolf Hitler but he credited it as having been learned from the Jews and their racial/religious superiority claim. Its a cheap argument to relate anyone to anything Nazi thereby making it "bad" and so I do not wish to attempt to do that. But, putting aside the unproven essence of 5,000 Year Cycle or the re-written Murlis and confining myself to a few points and repeating them over and over, I give you;

    "the most stable mind in the world"
    "One of the 8"
    "God has never given a specific date for Destruction"
    "Lekhraj Kirpalani was 60 when Shiva Baba possessed him"
    "Started in 1936"
    "Shivoham, Shivoham ..."
    "... wah-wah-wah United Nations" etc (whew!)

Superiority complex

PostPosted: 26 Jul 2008
by ex-l
Psychological terminology:

    • Superiority complex
* Superiority complex refers to a sub-conscious neurotic mechanism of compensation developed by the individual as a result of feelings of inferiority. The feelings of inferiority in this specific complex are often brought on by real or perceived social rejection, possibly as a result of appearance, lower intelligence as compared to others etc or are due to a background where one has to fulfill high expectations. The term was coined by Alfred Adler as part of his School of Individual psychology.

In psychology it is considered that the attitude is actually a way to hide or compensate for feelings of inferiority. Those exhibiting a superiority complex commonly project their feelings of inferiority onto others they perceive as beneath them, e.g. viewing others as "ugly" or "stupid" and beneath beneath them.

Behaviors related to this mechanism may include an exaggeratedly positive opinion of one’s worth and abilities, unrealistically high expectations in goals and achievements for oneself and others, the persistent attempt to correct others regardless of whether they are factually correct or not, vanity, unusual style in dressing (with intent of drawing attention), excessive need for competition, pride, sentimentalism and affected exaltation, snobbishness, a tendency to discredit other’s opinions, forcefulness aimed at dominating those considered as weaker or less important, credulity, and others.

Social aloofness, daydreaming and isolation could also be associated with the Superiority Complex, as a way for one to evade the fear of failure related to the feelings of inadequacy to face the real world.

Communal reinforcement

PostPosted: 11 Aug 2008
by ex-l
Social construction:

    Communal reinforcement
Communal reinforcement is the process by which a claim becomes a strong belief through repeated assertion by members of a community. The process is independent of whether the claim has been properly researched or is supported by empirical data significant enough to warrant belief by reasonable people. Often, the mass media contribute to the process by uncritically supporting the claims. More often, however, the mass media provide tacit support for untested and unsupported claims by saying nothing skeptical about even the most outlandish of claims.

Communal reinforcement explains how entire nations can pass on ineffable gibberish from generation to generation. It also explains how testimonials reinforced by other testimonials within the community of therapists, sociologists, psychologists, theologians, politicians, talk show hosts, etc., can supplant and be more powerful than scientific studies or accurate gathering of data by disinterested parties.

Communal reinforcement explains, in part, why about half of all American adults deny evolution occurred and believe that God created the universe in six days,* made the first man and woman out of clay, and a snake talked the woman into disobeying an order from God thereby causing all our problems. It also explains how otherwise rational and intelligent people can be persuaded to accept such stories as true when they are provided by a comforting community in a time of great emotional need. Every cult leader knows the value of communal reinforcement combined with isolating cult members from contrary ideas.

From Skeptics dictionary. See also; confirmation bias, selective thinking, testimonials, and wishful thinking.


PostPosted: 24 Aug 2008
by ex-l

    Folie - (psychiatry) a psychological disorder of thought or emotion; a more neutral term than "mental illness".
'Folie à deux' is literally, "a madness shared by two". A psychiatric syndrome in which a symptom of psychosis (particularly a paranoid or delusional belief) is transmitted from one individual to another.

'Folie à famille' or even 'folie à plusieurs' (madness of many) is the same syndrome but a shared psychotic disorder, a continuation of the dysfunction passed on within families or groups. This syndrome is most commonly diagnosed when the two or more individuals concerned live in proximity and may be socially or physically isolated and have little interaction with other people.

'Folie imposée' - where a dominant person (known as the 'primary', 'inducer' or 'principal') initially forms a delusional belief during a psychotic episode and imposes it on another person or persons (known as the 'secondary', 'acceptor' or 'associate') with the assumption that the secondary person might not have become deluded if left to their own devices.

'Folie de grandeur' - a delusion of one's own self-importance or grandeur; megalomania.

No individual or society is free from some degree of mental disorder. Least of all someone who thinks they are god or gods. For many it is a great taboo to look at, examine and address. Many families reinforce their 'folie' within their children as part of their identity. I am not suggesting that the "Brahma Kumaris are mad" but I am thinking of the environment at the start of the movement when Lekhraj Kirpalani started to have his "incidents" ... events we are led to believe his family most certainly thought to be the onset of madness.

Looking at 'folie à plusieurs' or 'folie imposée', it is very easy to draw parallels with the Om Mandli days. Lekhraj Kirpalani as the primary inducer, the "family" as the acceptors. Especially now as we are starting to have a far better picture of the reality of the 20 years of 'Prajapati God Brahma, the Gita Inventor' stage which, most frankly, was an illness amongst the lot of them.

Where were the checking mechanism even a traditional guru lineage would have had ... where are they now? The BKWSU still appears to approach any critical review of its core beliefs and lifestyle psychotically with defensive aggression (see the recent legal actions) creating walls between it and the rest of reality similar to the walls it literally lived behind before. Even those BK amongst them who are intelligent or skilled in medicine and psychiatry, appear impotent against the main carriers of the psychoses, the main Seniors, and seem to be using their profession to supporting or defend the multiple folies rather question and reform them.

Milieu control

PostPosted: 25 Aug 2008
by ex-l
Psychology and sociology:

    Milieu control
Milieu control is a term for the control of environment and human communication through the use of social pressure and group language that may include dogma, protocols and special language which enables group members to identify other members, or to promote personality changes in individuals.

Milieu control involves the control of communication within a group environment that results in a high degree of isolation from surrounding society. When non-group members are labeled as inferior, group members have a tendency to then consider themselves as intellectually superior. Limiting alternate points of view, and thus becoming a self-fulfilling prophecy, group members automatically begin to devalue others that are separate from their group without logical rationale for doing so. It uses other techniques to restrict members' contact with the outside world and to be able to make critical, rational, judgments about information.

Group solidarity and preference compared to "outsiders" unifies a subculture into a community. Critics claim that this isolates people from their society and family, and that engaging in shared cult-like behaviors and actions within a group can have a tendency to limit human cognition amongst those group members. Individuals who actively engage in milieu controlling behaviors begin to habituate distinctly abnormal behaviors as normative, which then become ingrained into their behavior patterns through the use of frequent repetition.


PostPosted: 26 Sep 2008
by ex-l

Conrad Kottak in 'Window on Humanity' wrote:Enculturation is the process where the culture that is currently established teaches an individual the accepted norms and values of the culture or society in which the individual lives. The individual can become an accepted member and fulfill the needed functions and roles of the group.

Most importantly the individual knows and establishes a context of boundaries and accepted behavior that dictates what is acceptable and not acceptable within the framework of that society. It teaches the individual their role within society as well as what is accepted behavior within that society and lifestyle". Enculturation can be conscious or unconscious ... There are three ways a person learns a culture.

    Direct teaching of a culture is done, this is what happens when you don't pay attention, mostly by the parents, when a person is told to do something because it is right and to not do something because it is bad.

    The second conscious way a person learns a culture is to watch others around them and to emulate their behavior. An example would be using different slang with different cliques in school.

    Enculturation also happens unconsciously, through events and behaviors that prevail in their culture.
All three kinds of culturation happen simultaneously and all the time.

Enculturation helps mold a person into an acceptable member of society. Culture influences everything that a person does, whether they are aware of it or not. Enculturation is a lifelong process that helps unify people. Even as a culture changes, core beliefs, values, worldviews, and child-rearing practices stay the same. How many times has a parent said "If all your friends jumped off a bridge, would you?" when their child wanted to fit in with the crowd? Both are playing roles in the enculturation. The child wants to be included in the subculture of their peers, and the parent wants to instill individualism in the child, through direct teaching. Not only does one become encultured, but also makes someone else encultured.


PostPosted: 19 Oct 2008
by ex-l

Shibboleth, is a practice, usually the use of a word or pronunciation, which is indicative of one's social or regional origin or identifies its speaker as being a member or not a member of a particular group. I was thinking, "Om Shanti" and others were being used by BKs in this manner. (Try calling up a BK center, saying Om Shanti at the start and seeing what a different reaction you get).

The term originates from the Hebrew word, which literally means the part of a plant containing grains, such as an ear of corn or a stalk of grain. It derives from an account in the Bible, in which pronunciation of this word was used to distinguish members of a group from another and, as usual for that religious tribe, involved a lot of stealing and killing. Forty-two thousand Ephraimites died because they could not say it right.

Shibboleths" are used in initiation ceremonies, as well as any "in-crowd" word or phrase that are used to distinguish members of a group from outsiders. It can also be a custom or practice, such as male circumcision or, I dare say, the wearing of white saris and Lakshmi and Narayan badges.

In-jokes can be a similar type of shared-experience shibboleth.

A considerable part of our time, in seeking acceptance and conforming as a BK, was spent learning these cultic patterns but, in truth, they have little real value apart from conferring authority to the "accomplished disseminators" and separating us, as followers, from the rest of humanity.


PostPosted: 10 Nov 2008
by ex-l

A compulsion to embroider the truth, engage in exaggeration, or tell lies.

Mythomania (also known as mitomania, pseudologia phantastica, or pathological lying) is a condition involving compulsive lying by a person with no obvious source of motivation. The affected person might believe their lies to be truth, and may have to create elaborate myths to reconcile them with other facts.

Re: Useful words, concepts and terminology to help understanding

PostPosted: 03 Dec 2008
by ex-l

A constantly shifting complex succession of things seen or imagined b: a scene that constantly changes. A bizarre or fantastic combination, collection, or assemblage.

Re: Useful words, concepts and terminology to help understanding

PostPosted: 08 Dec 2008
by jann

    Apocalyptic Dreams.
The essential ingredients of the apocalyptic dream are first a total destruction of the world as we know it, with all its present evils, and then a brrth of a “new heaven and a new earth” for the elect, who are only a remnant of humanity.

These ideas appear both in schizophrenic or borderline individuals, and in many religious scriptures and doctrines.

Affinity fraud

PostPosted: 27 Dec 2008
by ex-l

    Affinity fraud.
Affinity frauds are frauds that preys upon members of identifiable groups, such as religious or ethnic communities, the elderly, or professional groups. The fraudsters who promote affinity scams frequently are - or pretend to be - members of the group.

They often enlist respected community or religious leaders from within the group to spread the word about the scheme, by convincing those people that their activity is legitimate and worthwhile. Many times, those leaders become unwitting victims of the fraudster's ruse.

These scams exploit the trust and friendship that exist in groups of people who have something in common. Because of the tight-knit structure of many groups, it can be difficult for regulators or law enforcement officials to detect an affinity scam. Victims often fail to notify authorities or pursue their legal remedies, and instead try to work things out within the group.

This is particularly true where the fraudsters have used respected community or religious leaders to convince others to join the investment.

I question whether the Brahma Kumaris pretense at being Hindus and use of interfaith and other VIPs is a kind of affinity scam?

Re: Useful words, concepts and terminology to help understanding

PostPosted: 22 May 2009
by ex-l

    • Antinomianism
From the Greek ἀντί, (against) and νόμος, (law), "lawlessness" in theology.

The idea that members of a particular religious group are under no obligation to obey laws, laws of ethics or morality, and that salvation is to be found in faith alone, e.g. "remember Baba" and you will incur no karma".

"Antinomianism" is the polar opposite of "legalism", the notion that obedience to a code of religious law is necessary for salvation.

Few groups or sects explicitly call themselves "antinomian", but the charge is often leveled at certain denominations by competing denominations.