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, November 1, 2015

Scientology Building The Prison Of The Mind Part 8 Reducing Dissonance Socially

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In this post like all others in the Building the Prison of the Mind series I will consult and quote Leon Festinger's book A Theory Of Cognitive Dissonance against my twenty five years in Scientology.

This post focuses on Festinger's ideas regarding reducing cognitive dissonance generated by social interactions, meaning specifically for a person from discovering others hold conflicting ideas, thoughts, opinions, emotions and behaviors.

Festinger wrote:
The larger the number of people that one knows already agree with a given opinion which he holds, the less will be the magnitude of dissonance introduced by some other person's expression of disagreement. (Page 179)

This is in psychology called social proof and in logic the bandwagon fallacy. It means we unfortunately as humans tend to feel validated by large numbers of people believing in what we believe in and behave as we do. It is ultimately irrational and fundamentally flawed. Popularity is not truth. But it is a good enough substitute that it serves to reduce dissonance. You are quite likely to feel comfortable having one person disagree with you if you know millions or billions of others agree with you. A lone voice can be easily dismissed, millions or billions are far more difficult.

As always the importance of the elements, meaning ideas, thoughts, opinions and behaviors in question determine the magnitude of dissonance. Very important elements inspire strong dissonance, moderate ones inspire moderate dissonance and unimportant elements produce little or no dissonance.

In Scientology the illusion of tens of millions of Scientologists agreeing helps to bolster agreement with Scientology, if held, but direct observations and evidence contradicts these false claims. There are tens of thousands of Scientologists, not tens of millions. And evidence leaks through despite the cult's best efforts.

So social proof is a flimsy tool in that it relies on weak lies that are contradicted by truth, particularly if one stays in Scientology for decades.

Regarding the importance as always Hubbard cleverly fools Scientologists with misdirection. He has Scientologists accept many thousands of ideas that establish an entirely new belief and behavior system but without worrying about very small and seemingly unimportant changes over time. They result in extraordinarily extreme changes, that are defended as being highly important when formed.

So becoming a Scientologist over a long time has many steps that produce small dissonance and small resistance but when these changes are  completed are firmly set and inspire tremendous dissonance and resistance to disagreement.

Other factors are the relevance of the group disagreeing. For Scientologists virtually any non Scientologists are mainly irrelevant regarding Scientology as they are seen as unenlightened and far beneath even understanding truth.
Also the degree of disagreement effects the degree of dissonance.  With Scientology's black and white thinking there is only room to agree and anything more than virtually unnoticeable disagreement is intolerable.

Festinger describes three methods for reducing dissonance in social situations. First one can reduce or possibly eliminate it by changing his or her own mind. You could change it to what others with conflicting views hold.

Hubbard safeguarded against this by having his infallible authority be the most consistent and strongest basic belief underlying all of Dianetics and Scientology. Completely turning against that is extraordinarily difficult for Scientologists. That cannot be overstated.

But obviously, as people like myself eventually do entirely reject Scientology and Hubbard it does occur, often with extreme difficulty. So after dissonance grows to tremendous, explosive levels some people respond by reconsidering and ultimately rejecting their old beliefs and behaviors.

Second, a person may gain agreement from others by persuasion. You can get them to change their minds toward agreeing with you. That seems to prove your ideas are correct. To be a bit more rational and honest that only proves you can persuade people, not that you or they are actually right. A very important difference.

And third a person can try to make another not comparable in some way. This is also incorrect from a logical or truth seeking perspective. But accepted routinely. The genetic fallacy is judging a claim based on its source. That is very poor reason as anyone can make a true or false claim. The message is not the messenger.

By deciding another or others are unqualified or inferior or evil and rejecting their claims without examination one can evade dissonance. So by  substituting emotional reactions and flawed excuses for rational thinking one can feel more comfortable, additionally by being for example disgusted by those who disagree ( Which Jon Atack explained in particular for me) one evades examining their claims while feeling justified in having negative emotions at the dame time.

In Scientology this takes the form of Hubbard's loaded language with twisting terms that include any critic of Scientology and makes all such persons equal as suppressive persons. All are entirely discredited in Scientology and loathed instinctively by Scientologists, so through the genetic fallacy and ad hominem the critics are seen as beneath deserving being heard or even tolerated, while conforming Scientologists are seen as peers worth hearing, but any dissenting voices are transferred to the other category. Additionally Hubbard placed himself as so far above everyone and everything else in his victims' minds that maintaining these relative values of ideas is of primary importance to Scientologists.

So getting Scientologists to see that a blind unwillingness to examine claims based on sources is an unwillingness to examine information that is so restrictive that it functions as a prison of the mind in itself.

 The three values of first hatefully degrading critics while failing to objectively, carefully examine claims from them and secondly listening to Scientologists only to the degree they conform exactly with authority in the form of Hubbard, or his proxy Miscavige, and rejecting them to the degree they disagree and finally to hold Hubbard and his doctrine as so far, far above criticism or doubt that going against him is unendurable together function as a very effective prison of the mind.

Somehow if you want to free a Scientologist you may need to demonstrate that the three values and really behaviors described above effectively close their mind and make objective, critical and independent thinking virtually impossible. They need to open their own minds.

Now this isn't hopeless. Most Scientologists leave and eventually reject Scientology, despite Hubbard's best efforts to permanently enslave his victims.

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