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Powerful Persuasion Strategies
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There are seven main techniques categories that are layered, interwoven, and overlapped into a coercive persuasion [C. P.] program. The presence of every technique is not always required for the program to be effective.
1. Increase mental confusion and increase the individual's suggestibility:
This is done through hypnotic or other suggestibility increasing techniques. Repetitive audio, visual, tactile, or verbal fixation exercises or stimuli also may be employed.
Within this technique mental confusion is employed to break or intrude upon the subject's normal concentration. Concentration is distracted or decreased to inhibit the subject's ability to think through or verify the claims or story they are being given. One way this can be done is by using a constant verbal or sensory barrage of pro system information.
2. Apply strong non-physical punishments:
Techniques such as humiliation, loss of privilege, social isolation, abrupt social status changes, anxiety and guilt manipulation, and other techniques for creating intense negative emotional reactions are used.
Rewards paradoxically play an integral role in this technique. Manipulatory leverage is usually maximized by alternating harshness with leniency or lavish rewards. Love, admiration, approval and other supportive rewards are used as weapons.
3. Promote social isolation:
Contact with family, friends, or associates who do not share the group approved attitudes or ideology is abridged. Economic and other dependence on the new group is fostered.
By manipulation of rewards, group pressure, and non-physical punishments the program operators establish considerable control over a person's time, social environment, and sources of social support. The subjects are manipulated in such a way to put psychological distance between observable behavior that reflects the values, routines, and life organization that the individual displayed before contact with the group. This is sometimes done by symbolic and actual acts of betrayal, renunciation of self, or attacking past associations, or previously held values.
A person continually exposed to a C. P. program in lectures, events or experiences will gradually cut himself off from his past. They may begin to stop calling or writing family and old friends. Work, school, or other important previous activities may be dropped or relegated to such a low priority that eventually it is not possible for them to keep up. The group applying C. P. now occupies all their time.
4. Attack one's self concepts and world view:
This is the most effective facilitator for coercing change of all C. P. techniques.
Using coerced confessions, detailed personal histories, or other discovery methods, frequent and intense attempts are made to cause the subject to reevaluate in unfavorable ways the most central aspects of his experience of "self," and his prior conduct. These efforts are deliberately designed to destabilize, degrade, or diminish the subject's self concept, world view, emotional control, awareness and interpretation of reality, and defense mechanisms. Such psychological assaults force the individual into reinterpreting their life history and adopting a new version of causality.
Regardless of previous fact, the individual is gradually convinced that his past, his beliefs, or his family, were bad; or at least considerably worse than they were. He is then manipulated into believing, to "survive," he must now commit himself to the group using C. P. and the superior knowledge, talent or mission they espouse.
5. Make intense and frequent attempts to undermine a person's confidence in himself and his judgment to create a sense of powerlessness:
Criticism or complaints are handled by showing the subject that he or she is somehow flawed, not the group or the ideology being advanced. The subject is taught the system is always right and they are always wrong. Contrary to what might be professed, they soon learn through experience the system is the only true authority for decisions.
6. Manipulate information and language:
Conflicting, upsetting, or non-supporting information is censored or prohibited whenever possible in group communication and indoctrination. Direct deception or the clever mixing of truth and lies in confidence game strategies also may be employed to manipulate information or inhibit discovery of falsehood in stated claims.
Rules exist about permissible topics to discuss with outsiders. Communication is highly controlled. An "in group" language is usually constructed.
To reinforce the belief system, commonly used words often are redefined and new words created. Language is loaded, often dividing the world into "good, aware, wonderful us" and "evil, unaware, ignorant them."
Information is controlled is such a way to offer "no choice choices." All alternatives given to the subject to choose from are void of any valid options that run counter to the goals of the operators of the C. P. program.
This technique also helps to prevent independent thinking, discovery of deception, or rebellion by maintaining a closed system of logic and an uninformed state in the victim. One main theme in Orwell's 1984 was, without the capacity to express or use certain words, people lose access to the thoughts and actions that those words represent. Since words represent thoughts and thoughts motivate actions, if words can be controlled, thought and eventually action can be controlled.
7. Use or have present psychological threat of a secular nature:
Those failing to adopt the approved attitude, belief, or consequent behavior are directly threatened, or are led to sincerely believe that severe punishment or dire consequences will befall them. Physical or mental illness, drug dependence, economic collapse, social failure, divorce, failure to find a mate are a few examples of these secular threats.
These seven techniques of C. P. combine the most effective, age old psychological and sociological coercive influence and deception techniques with the most powerful advances in behavioral modification, and other technologies. This synthesis is sometimes wrapped in a slick Madison avenue, public relations, or soft sell veneer.
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