Hello , I am an ex Scientologist , this blog is primarily about that but I may address other topics as the mood hits me to . I was in Scientology for 25 years and spent about 10,000 hours using the indoctrination and thought reform method "study tech " . I also spent time on staff and met hundreds of Scientologists and did hundreds of the cult practices . Many were the "ethics cycles and OW writeups " that really are an attempt to suppress or remove a person's identity and replace it with a mental pseudo clone of Ron Hubbard . To make a fanatical slave for the cult .

I looked outside the cult for answers in about January 2014 and left the cult in about March of 2014 . While in about 99% of members have no idea of the truth .

We are told we are in a mental therapy or spiritual enhancement or religion or science for helping people unlock potential . Or any of several other fronts that all pretend kind and humanitarian goals .

The truth is Scientology is a terrorist mind control cult and this blog is my attempt to understand and expose that . And try to state as clearly as possible the tools that I have found helpful in dealing with this .

Monday, September 21, 2015

Pulling Back The Curtain Part 4 Ethos And Obedience

 Image result for ethos rhetoricImage result for ethos rhetoric

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Ron Hubbard studied rhetoric in college. In classic rhetoric several methods of influence are described. Ethos is attempts to persuade by claiming to be an authority. Whether the claim is true or exaggerated or completely false. Ethos is a method of persuasion, not the morality of doing it with or without honesty.

It is accompanied by pathos, attempts to persuade with  emotional appeals or to have emotions drive thought and behavior in the ways you desire. Often this means to have emotions replace judgment and reduce critical thinking to persuade without encountering counterarguing. Or to form associations with simple ideas and symbols or phrases and to have the emotions associated with these ideas replace examination of situations and information.

And additionally rhetoric has logos, attempts to appeal to logic and appear rational , logical or scientific. It can be genuine logic or false or just an effort to persuade with no regard for truth. Appealing to the mind's admiration for logic is the heart of logos.

Hubbard used all three methods and tried to link all three in virtually all of his works. In the language from hypnotism he loved ethos is called altitude. Hubbard acknowledged it as prestige , which is what Gustave Le Bon called it in his 1895 book,  The Crowd.

It was studied by hypnotists like Hubbard in the course of their work. He is said to have studied it in books from the twenties and thirties on hypnosis. He recommended Hypnotism Comes of Age which certainly covers it.

How authority affects influence has been studied in social psychology experiments with interesting results. The subject of conformity is relevant and the desire to conform and the desire, perhaps instinct, to obey authority is extraordinarily powerful. Each separately is strong enough but together they can seem unstoppable. And Hubbard via ethos and his cult combined both.

As with the other posts in the Pulling Back The Curtain series , I will highlight quotes from the book Age Of Propaganda. 

Most of us have a strong desire to be correct-to have "the right" opinions and to perform reasonable actions. When someone disagrees with us, it makes us feel uncomfortable because it suggests our opinions or actions may be wrong or based on misinformation. The greater the disagreement, the greater our discomfort. ( page 189 )

How can we reduce this discomfort ? One way is by simply changing our opinions and actions. The greater the disagreement the greater our opinion change would have to be. ( page 189 )

Now for the scientific part of this: Experiments by Philip Zimbardo suggested great disagreement encouraged a great change in opinion to reconcile this. In 1960 they were covered in the Journal of Abnormal and Social Psychology, 60  86-94.

But, here is where psychology exceeds philosophy - other experiments were conducted by Carl Hovland, O.J.Harvey, and Muzafer Sherifhmmconducted an experiment and found too extreme a disagreement caused the opinion change to be small or even fail. This was in 1957 in the Journal of Abnormal and Social Psychology, 55,  244 - 252.

They concluded the greatest opinion changes occurred when there was a moderate difference of opinion between a message and the audiences opinion.

Now this is where the difference between social psychology and philosophy really shows . Even hypnotism gets exposed as far less scientific. When huge contradictions in findings occur psychologists go over the experiments with a fine toothed comb to see why or how. To see if they made a mistake or failed to see a relevant factor.

Several psychologists did just that and tried to form a hypothesis and then develop an experiment to test that hypothesis. The authors of Age Of Propaganda, Anthony Pratkanis and Elliot Aronson considered several ideas they described.

There are at least four ways in which members of an audience can reduce their discomfort: (1) They can change their opinion; (2) they can induce the communicator to change his or her opinion; (3) they can seek support for their views, in spite of what the communicator says; or (4) they can derogate the communicator-convince themselves the communicator is stupid or immoral-and thereby invalidate that person's position. ( page 192 )

They found inducing communicators to often be impossible if through many media and if the communication is received without opportunity for discussion to support their opinions. So that left derogating the communicator or changing their opinion as options.

They considered how messages are received and from whom. They speculated on who would be hard to derogate. Perhaps a respected friend or respected authority would be hard to derogate. And someone with low credibility would be easy to derogate.

Most people seek or naturally have a balance between humility and pride. Part of humility is knowing you could be wrong or have more to learn. Part of pride is knowing you may be right and not need to change your views.

We may tend to bend for others we see as friends or respected authorities, while we may be defensive and counterargue more readily for those we don't like or know and definitely for those we find disgusting and dishonest and dishonorable. Those people we don't know may get our "benefit of the doubt" assumption they are right, merely by claiming to be authorities. We may trust their claim if it seems authentic and no contradictory information is present.

People will consider an extremely discrepant communication to be outside their latitude of acceptance-but only if the communicator is not highly credible. ( page 193 )

The authors then along with two students-Judith Turner and J. Merrill Carlsmith- looked at experiments and focused on how the communicator was seen regarding credibility. They felt that strongly affected the degree of opinion change in the audience and how severe a change could be brought on. They constructed an experiment to test this idea. The experiment focused on the credibility of the source and the discrepancy of the information, in other words how much the communicator was trusted and admired and how big a change in opinion the message was from the audience members. This was in 1963 Journal of Abnormal and Social Psychology, 67,  31-36.

The conflicting results are accounted for: When a communicator has high credibility, the greater the discrepancy between the view he or she advocates and the view of the audience, the more the audience will be persuaded; on the other hand, when a communicator's credibility is doubtful or slim, he or she will produce maximum opinion change at moderate discrepancies. ( page 194 )

This information is particularly important for Scientologists. Hubbard starts very often with doctrine that seems acceptable, like The Way To Happiness or Scientology front groups pretending to do social betterment. Or basic books that don't seem as outlandish as later doctrine. Hubbard was building trust and the opinion that he is an authority on the mind and life before expressing his more extreme ideas. This is quite often the way the introductory routes into Scientology are designed.

This is a fundamental part of the intentional design of the cult. You are if recruited as an adult encouraged to do something that sounds like it may take a small change, perhaps read a book or take a short inexpensive seminar. Consider that a self help class, positive attitude or mild therapy could help people. Not too big a change.

You get told you can believe any religion and participate, seems easy to try. Then very gradually, over small increments you are told more extreme ideas and asked, then demanded to give more time and money to the cult. Finally for most Scientologists all or nearly all of  your decision making is required to be under the cult's control.

Hubbard understood from hypnotism the value of authority. He knew attaining and building it was crucial for influencing his followers. He knew a bait and switch of small requests that seem reasonable could become a totalitarian organization and abusive relationship if he built the prestige of an infallible uniquely qualified genius in the minds of his victims. He could by drawing people in with sweet sounding words, gain the opportunity to become indispensable and even sacred to people. Then , and only then, he could entirely enslave them as no counterarguing would be seen as rational.

He gave people the impression of being a humanitarian with authority over a multitude of subjects. Then built the illusion of benefit from his indoctrination and therapy via hypnosis. The euphoria of hypnosis was relabeled as mental and spiritual improvements. This bolstered his claims. Loaded language also reinforces this.

He then achieves even more reinforcement as most cult members are immersed in the cult environment and have peer pressure help to use the bandwagon effect to act as social proof Scientology is correct. And people who counterargue in the cult are ruthlessly oppressed and censored, even shunned. People outside the cult who are friends or family and counterargue are silenced or disconnected from and declared suppressive persons, effectively acting as character assassination.

To overcome Hubbard's influence the willingness to counterargue within the individual cult member must be reactivated. Obviously the longer they are in and the more committed the more forbidden this will feel. But it can and does happen.

Hubbard's perceived authority, the fraudulent results he "proves", and the desires to be consistent, accepted, and obedient to a recognized expert all are the bars and walls in the prison of belief. I hope this information helps to tear them down, and to see them as well. I want people to be helped in their recovery, but also to have compassion for Scientologists.

 They are people with blind faith, but cult expert Rick Ross has said "Who blinded them ?".  Any of us can be lied to and deceived. It doesn't make us stupid or evil, just human. After twenty five years in Scientology I may have some authority on this. Not to influence you too much with it.

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