Introuduction

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 .

Sunday, October 18, 2015

Scientology Building The Prison Of The Mind Part 3 Dissonance And Decisions

 Image result for a theory of cognitive dissonanceImage result for a theory of cognitive dissonance leaon festinger

 Image result for a theory of cognitive dissonance leaon festingerImage result for overcoming cognitive dissonanceImage result for overcoming cognitive dissonance


Like the first two posts in this series this one is an examination of the book A Theory On Cognitive Dissonance by Leon Festinger. I will use quoted excerpts and contrast the ideas against my twenty five years in Scientology, which I left in January 2014.

I will also bring the information I have found outside Scientology regarding hypnotism and subjects like social psychology. There is a wealth of information to help ex cult members recover.

I am going to quote two summaries of chapters at this point. There are a tremendous number of experiments described in the book to examine the hypothesis, but I am not going to present all of that. I strongly suggest reading the book and others on cognitive dissonance theory if you want that.

Dissonance has been shown to be an inevitable consequence of a decision. The magnitude of the postdecision dissonance has been hypothesized to depend upon the following factors:
1. The importance of the decision.
2.The relative attractiveness of the unchosen alternative to the chosen one.
3. The degree of overlap of cognitive elements corresponding to the alternatives.
Once dissonance exists following a decision, the pressure to reduce it will manifest itself in attempts to decrease the relative attractiveness of the unchosen alternative, to establish cognitive overlap, or possibly to revoke the decision psychologically. (Page 47)

Okay, this summary has a bunch of important ideas. Dissonance results from decisions, there is no way around it. The size of dissonance is quite important and varies greatly. Important decisions make more dissonance than unimportant ones. That's easy to get.

Also if you reject an unappealing choice it is easy and produces little dissonance. We don't worry over things we don't desire at all. Now cognitive overlap means the degree that choices are similar. It is a fancy way of analyzing the details associated with choices. The cognitions as described before in cognitive dissonance theory are ideas, behaviors, opinions, taken one at a time. Overlap means having similar or identical parts.

So that translates as decisions that are very similar to each other in the alternatives produce little dissonance while decisions with higher degrees of differences can be more dissonant.

Alternatives that seem to hold little freedom actually are easier to pick from. If the differences are slight and irrelevant you sort of can't make big mistakes.

Okay, now I will provide one more summary, then describe it and try to fit the Scientology experience into this information.

1. Following a decision there is active seeking out of information which produces cognition consonant with the action taken.
2. Following a decision there is an increase in the confidence in the decision or an increase in the discrepancy in attractiveness between the alternatives involved in the choice, or both. Each reflects successful reduction of dissonance.
3. The successful reduction of postdecision dissonance is further shown in the difficulty of reversing a decision once it is made and in the implication which changed cognition has for future relevant action.
4. The effects listed above vary directly with the magnitude of dissonance created by the decision. (Page 83)

Now regarding importance, Hubbard was successful at making his gradients, or gradual, approach. As a Scientologist you make small commitments, minute changes, buy a small book, do an introductory seminar over a weekend or an introductory course that costs very little. At first the ideas are not too radical. Things like the possibility of a mental therapy or spiritual aspect to life. Not too radical or absurd. This is intentional.

The immense commitment Scientology requires is hidden until much, much later. For staff it is often a minimum of forty hours a week working without pay and often up to a hundred hours a week with an income often of zero to a couple thousand dollars a year, but the total control of their decision making trumps these sacrifices. At the Sea Org level actual mental slavery is the best way to describe the experience of such near absolute control.

But the road to the Sea Org is usually a very long one. Most Sea Org members usually come through one of two routes traditionally. Long time Scientologists join after years of change within the cult. Or they are second generation Scientologists raised in the cult who join often as teenagers.


Also worth noting is that the importance of the decisions made regarding Scientology escalates usually. You are going from deciding to take a short course or read a book to spending more time and money, then often joining staff for years or donating thousands and thousands of dollars as a public.

 But the acceptance of greater changing in thinking through Study Technology indoctrination limits thoughts to create  a greater change. Many phenomena associated with critical and independent thinking are relabeled as being caused by a lack of understanding, so accepting Hubbard's infallible authority becomes automatic. This actually changes how decisions are made. The signs of cognitive dissonance are actually used to trigger submission to Scientology.

In Scientology confusion, reelingness, overwhelm, mental blankness, anxiety and stomach reactions ALL are defined in Study Technology as being due to fictional barriers to study.  By labeling these signs that warn of dissonance as being due to words or images needing understanding by the student Hubbard conditions students to turn off their intuition by misinterpreting the warning signs associated with dissonance. By making the contradictions in Scientology which in other subjects inspire investigation, questioning, critical and independent thinking and doubt become instead triggers to go looking for the red herrings of misunderstood words, skipped gradients and lacked mass.

This complex detail packed methodology controls the attention of the Scientology student and takes advantage of dissonance to bypass the positive effects dissonance can bring such as considering why the dissonance is there and how can true consistent doctrine contain contradictions.
It often leads to zeroing in on what causes it normally.

In Scientology Hubbard by relabeling the phenomena instead gets the student to have their attention absorbed in his methods in a manner of complete acceptance to his authority with blind faith and their critical and independent thinking reduced or shut down, essentially a hypnotic relationship. It functions as self hypnosis covertly.

Regarding the dissonance associated with choosing to follow Scientology usually the cognitive overlap escalates over time. Since Scientology requires more extreme behaviors and ideas. Additionally the unchosen alternatives are repeatedly degraded and condemned by Hubbard, so the Scientologist uses this condemnation to bolster his confidence his decisions are correct.

The dissonance inflicted by Scientology is high due to the importance of devoting your life to a group that has unconventional practices and requires disconnection from family usually. You stake your eternity on Hubbard's promises and it doesn't get more important than that.

Of tremendous relevance is the implication which changed cognition has, with cognition meaning behavior or belief. It requires an immense willingness to give up your association with the group, even often including your family, quite often your employment and housing, additionally it involves admitting you were wrong to join Scientology, wrong to spend time and money on Scientology, and wrong to use Scientology on others.

Think about admitting that all your religious, political, moral and philosophical beliefs are wrong. By making Scientology an all or nothing belief system Hubbard put all his eggs in one basket - you completely buy in or completely reject it usually. So unlike most subjects there is no room to adopt parts while rejecting others. That coupled with Scientology's rejection of doubt and confusion within the ethics system makes even seeing the need to reexamine your decision to practice Scientology or believe in Hubbard's authority unthinkable. So if you even catch yourself coming near questioning Scientology you nip it in the bud, and avoid anything or anyone that encourages questioning anything from the cult.

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