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 .

Saturday, November 25, 2017

Alternatives To Scientology 10 Subliminal 9

The Alternatives To Scientology series Subliminal is based on the chapters in the book Subliminal by Leonard Mlodinow and should definitely be read in order from number 2 to number 11. If read out of order they definitely won't make sense.

In chapter 9 of his book Subliminal Leonard Mlodinow takes on Feelings.

He started with the case of a twenty five year old woman in the 1950s who displayed convincing evidence she had different identities with different names and distinct personalities. She was found to have one personality that was passive, weak, and bad in her own opinion. She had another with a different name who saw herself as active, strong and good. She reportedly took eighteen years of therapy to be cured.

Mlodinow described how we all have many identities. We are different at fifty than thirty and even change throughout the day. We have been shown to behave differently when in a good mood from a bad one, Mlodinow described how studies have shown people make different decisions after seeing a happy film. Women behave differently when ovulating and men behave differently around women when they are ovulating.

Mlodinow wrote, "Our character is not indelibly stamped on us but is dynamic and changing."
(Page 177)

Mlodinow pointed out how implicit bias tests strongly support the hypothesis that we can hold unconscious racial and religious and gender bias while consciously abhoring prejudice. It's the humbling truth.

Mlodinow pointed out that no matter how introspective we are we can't directly access the information in the physical structures of our brains and nervous systems and related systems in our bodies and interview them for answers as to what they do and how they do it. They aren't talking.

Mlodinow described how we need to understand the reasons for our decisions and actions and more fundamentally our feelings and where they come from.

A simple feeling to examine is pain. It's easy to understand when you are in pain and when you aren't. We know Tylenol (acetaminophen) and a placebo will provide relief to some people in some circumstances equally well. Not all, but a significant and consistent number of people.

A more extreme example is available than a headache. In the 1950s doctors tried to treat chest pain pain from angina pectoris, which causes severe pain in your heart, by tying off arteries to cause new arteries to grow. They discovered the surgery reportedly relieved pain, but upon examining the patients after death the doctors realized no new arteries grew. But how were patients relieved with no improvement to their hearts ?

Several patients had an operation and five were unknowingly experimental subjects. They had two groups, people who actually received the surgery and five who were cut open and sewed shut with no operation at all, but told they had received the operation.

76% of the people that received the genuine operation reported less pain and all five patients with the bogus operation claimed relief. They had a suggestion of relief and apparently that was enough to prompt a lessening or removal of excruciating pain. Wow.

William James came up with many aspects of the view of emotions that we embrace today. Mlodinow spoke of neuroscientists and psychologists and people like myself who read lots of books on the current and past theories of the mind tend to see these ideas and hypotheses as plausible and likely true.

William James was born in New York city in 1842 and completed a medical degree in 1869 at twenty seven years old from Harvard. By 1872 he ended up teaching at Harvard. In 1884 his crucial ideas for understanding emotions where presented in the article "What Is an Emotion ?"

Mlodinow explained James' perspective, "we don't tremble because we're angry or cry because we feel sad; rather, we are aware of feeling angry because we tremble, and we feel sad because we cry. James was proposing a physiological basis for emotion, an idea that has gained currency today-thanks in part to the brain-imaging technology that allows us to watch the physical processes involved in emotion as they are actually occurring in the brain.
    Emotions, in today's neo-Jamesian view, are like perceptions and memories-they are reconstructed from the data at hand. Much of that data comes from your unconscious mind, as it processes environmental stimuli picked up by your senses and creates a physiological response. The brain also employs other data, such as your preexisting beliefs and expectations, and information about the current circumstances. All of that information is processed, and a conscious feeling of emotion is produced. " (Page 182)

James wrote the Principles of Psychology which became a classic and is considered one of the most influential books in the history of psychology.

But I can't overstate the importance of Mlodinow's description, that is why I recreated the long quote in full.

Our emotions and even physical experiences are shaped by our internal world. Our beliefs and expectations contribute to our feelings and perception. That's stunning.

In Scientology the implications are incredible. Scientology is packed with suggestions from Hubbard that he expressed with repetition and variation to load the minds, including the unconscious mind with preexisting beliefs and expectations. So, they were ready to interpret the experience of life as consistent with Scientology doctrine. And to feel the emotions they saw as consistent with Scientology as well.

James himself wasn't thrilled with his book nor were many of his contemporaries who focused on experiments with measurable components. Since James didn't share their focus in that way his ideas faced obstacles. His ideas got some consideration but eventually fell out of style and other ideas were popular.

In the 1960s James' ideas found new life. A famous experiment by Stanley Schachter and Jerome Singer explored an intriguing idea. If we create memory and perception from limited information and fill in the blanks and smooth over rough edges as an active internal process of the unconscious that is usually completely hidden then perhaps we create emotions in a similar way.

 Mlodinow described that perhaps the mind fills the gaps in information and sometimes gets emotions wrong, just as we mistakenly remember details as incorrect memories and interviews of witnesses who sincerely believe they are being honest supports this. Numerous experiments support the idea that we construct our perceptions from a combination of sensory information and internal contributions by the unconscious. We sometimes mistake seeing or hearing one thing for another, so "emotional illusions" can be created as well.

Schachter and Singer created an experiment to see if emotional illusions could be induced. They wanted to see if people could be tricked into experiencing emotions. They dreamed up an experiment for using physiological phenomena and suggestions to influence people.

They told experimental subjects they were using an injection of a vitamin called "Suproxin" which may affect their visual skills. They used adrenaline and it produces increased heart rate and blood pressure, flushing, and accelerated breathing which all accompany emotional arousal.

They had three groups, one was the informed who were told the actual effects of the injection. The second, the ignorant, were told nothing and given the adrenaline. The third, a control group, was given an inert saline solution which did nothing and they were told nothing.

The experiment, like many psychology experiments used deception. The research subject was given an injection, the researcher left the subject with another researcher posing as another test subject. In a happy condition the covert researcher acted euphoric and happy. They used an anger condition in which the covert researcher when left with some people acted angry.

The researchers supposed people that knew why the other person was angry or happy would observe that but not feel that way themselves and that the ignorant subjects would interpret their reactions as the same as the emotions that the person before them displayed. They were watched by hidden observers to judge emotions and answered questions about their emotions after the experiment.

The predicted results occurred, informed and control subjects observed the emotions in the other person but didn't display or report them in themselves and in the ignorant group who received adrenaline and felt the effects similar to emotional arousal while watching another person they thought was undergoing the same treatment. When the covert researcher faked anger the subjects thought they were angry while the ones who saw happiness thought they became happy. An "emotional illusion" was successfully created of either anger or happiness. Many other experiments have used gentler methods to create physiological phenomena and see if people would mistake them for emotional or even sexual arousal. Mlodinow wrote on a few and it's well established that we can react to emotional illusions or arousal priming and be completely unaware.

We like to think of ourselves as consistent in temperament and as above bias and variation in mood based on hidden or unrelated influences. But sadly it's just not true. I might be angry at a coworker or family member because of an emotional leftover from a different person or experience or overly impatient because I am tired or hungry or just feel poorly. It's important to consider when you look at professions with power that need to make sound and just decisions like police officers, judges and political leaders.

Mlodinow wrote, "The examples I've talked about so far imply that we often don't understand our feelings. Despite that, we usually think that we do. Moreover, when asked to explain why we feel a certain way, most of us, after giving it some thought, have no trouble supplying reasons. Where do we find those reasons, for feelings that may not even be what we think they are? We make them up." (Page 188)

Numerous experiments and patients with memory issues have demonstrated that people will create explanations for situations and emotions with no evidence. Mlodinow described several examples and I will include one.

Oliver Sacks had a patient named Mr Thompson who had Korsakoff's syndrome which created a kind of amnesia in which generating new memories is knocked out. The poor patients forget what is said and done in seconds or minutes.

They however make up explanations for the experiences they have. Mr Thompson would see Oliver Sacks and not remember him, no matter how many times they met. He would see a white apron and say Sacks was a grocer or forget that a few minutes later and remember him a few minutes later as a butcher or later as a customer he knew. He made up the information he lacked.

Mlodinow wrote, "The term "confabulation" often signifies the replacement of a gap in one's memory by a falsification that one believes to be true. But we also confabulate to fill in gaps in our knowledge about our feelings. We all have these tendencies." (Page 190)

Mlodinow went on, "When you come up with an explanation for your feelings and behavior, your brain performs an action that would probably surprise you: it searches your mental database of cultural norms and picks something plausible"  (Page 191)

And, "That might sound like the lazy way, but studies suggest we take it: when asked how we felt, or will feel, we tend to reply with descriptions or predictions that conform to a set of standard reasons, expectations and cultural and societal explanations for a given feeling." (Page 191)

This has amazing implications regarding cults. In a cult like Scientology your cultural norms are set by Scientology doctrine. You rapidly are given explanations for hundreds of behaviors and feelings in Scientology. As someone entering Scientology as an adult student  you are routinely in the initial indoctrination for example informed about Hubbard's study technology in which being exasperated, confused, feeling blank, doping off, wanting to leave Scientology or stop studying Scientology or feeling bored are ALL explained as being due to barriers to study which of course are all handled by Scientology and never stopping or leaving. It's the cultural norm in Scientology indoctrination. Similarly in Scientology auditing the norm is to see doping off as being caused by running off past hypnosis and recovering, despite it being caused on course by barriers to study in the form of misunderstood words. And wanting to leave auditing is described as being caused by hidden acts that weren't revealed. And wanting to leave staff is seen as being caused by hidden evil acts too.

So the norm in Scientology is to see the same phenomena or behavior as being magically caused by different reasons depending on if you are on course or in auditing or on staff (as if walking from one room to another changes the nature of your mind) ...but the cultural norm is accepted, because it is enforced as the only plausible explanation in Scientology culture.

The explanation being illogical and to people outside Scientology unscientific and ludicrous and frankly possibly insane is irrelevant. When you have adopted the culture of Scientology the explanations in Scientology from Hubbard's doctrine are your explanations.

This is sadly not limited to Scientology or even cults. Often people simply support actions and people because they feel it's normal for members of their group to do it or condemn people and actions because they see the condemnation as normal in their group. The power of obedience to authority and conformity to group norms is astounding.

It's enough to give one pause and carefully consider the effects of our decisions. Mlodinow listed very plausible evidence from other experiments that strongly supports the idea that we act for reasons we are unaware of and confidently believe the explanations we dream up for our behavior. We don't say "I do what someone in my culture would usually do in my situation as much as I can, and don't deviate from that much." It's counterintuitive but true for me and you.

But this pinpoints how you get the radical transformation in cults. The cult recruit is uncertain and slowly learns the cultural norms of the group. They learn that Scientologists believe Dianetics is a legitimate science of the mind and has helped millions of people to be saner and happier because it's a valid subject. They learn that in Scientology Hubbard's ideas are seen as uniquely brilliant and validated by millions of people getting life changing results. They learn all disagreements and confusion or emotional upsets regarding Scientology materials are seen as never due to flaws in Scientology or Hubbard's ideas, but always, always, always due to misunderstood words in the student or other barriers to study or deficiencies in the student.

That's reinforced literally thousands and thousands of times in even a short period in Scientology. Within months a Scientologist experiences this personally and witnesses it done routinely to others. It's absolutely the cultural norm in Scientology. It's a defining characteristic of being a Scientologist.

So, as a Scientologist learns the cultural norms of both behavior and explanations of behavior in Scientology they face a dilemma - either be an outsider or heretic in Scientology or leave or be an orthodox Scientologist and step into obedience to Hubbard's authority and conform to the group norms. Unfortunately those norms are a hidden trap and forge a prison of the mind rapidly and effectively for many people, especially the people that are indoctrinated for hundreds of hours and stay for many years or decades. I hope this chapter has illuminated some of the human tendencies that make being persuaded by Scientology or other lies possible. Our minds evolved to help us survive as Mlodinow pointed out. They aren't supposed to be perfect truth finders and couldn't be, we need to process far too much information far too rapidly and to somehow store enough information to make sense but not overwhelm our minds. It's an imperfect compromise but nature doesn't make perfect products. It makes what survives until it doesn't survive anymore. I have to accept that my feelings and behavior get influenced and my explanation for it is often wrong. I also have to accept that everyone else has these biases and obstacles. We are all imperfect and get a lot of things wrong. It's unavoidable.

I hope to have a bit more patience and empathy for other people. They truly bear burdens I will never see, they often won't see them either.




 

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