Margaret Singer Quotes
6 Sourced Quotes
Thought reform is accomplished through the use of psychological and environmental control processes that do not depend on physical coercion. Today's thought reform programs are sophisticated, subtle, and insidious, creating a psychological bond that in many ways is far more powerful than gun-at-the-head methods of influence. The effects generally lose their potency when the control processes are lifted or neutralized in some way. That is why most Korean War POWs gave up the content of their prison camp indoctrination programs when they came home, and why many cultists leave their groups if they spend a substantial amount of time away from the group or have an opportunity to discuss their doubts with an intimate.
I started hearing from families who had missing members, many of them young kids on our campus, and they all would describe the same sorts of things. A sudden change of personality, a new way of talking... and then they would disappear. And bingo, it was the same sort of thing as with the Korean War prisoners, the same sort of thought-reform and social controls. You find it again and again, any time people feel vulnerable. There are always sharpies around who want to hornswoggle people.
Hundreds of other cult leaders have gathered far more followers than Jones by promising new psychological and spiritual utopias. They have succeeded by combining various ages-old psychological and social persuasion techniques in an atmosphere os Madison Avenue soft-sell approaches. Because most of the followers have been youthful or poor, little attention and credence has been given to reports from ex-members, families and friends who report the effects of the techniques of manipulation used by the groups.
An estimated 5,000 economic, political, and religious groups operate in the United States alone at any given time, with 2.5 million members. Over the last ten years, cults have used tactics of coercive mind control to negatively impact an estimated 20 million victims in the last ten years. Worldwide figures are even greater.