[extropy-chat] Islamic morons win yet again
hkhenson at rogers.com
Fri Sep 29 23:16:31 UTC 2006
At 03:16 PM 9/29/2006 -0400, Robert Bradbury wrote:
>I'll cite an example I am familiar with, namely the EST training during
>the 1970s. It required two weekends in a fairly controlled environment
>where people are encouraged to come face to face with their "belief systems".
I presume you are aware that EST (Landmark/Forum, Lifespring(?) etc) is a
offshoot from scientology just like scientology was an offshoot of OTO.
Erhard was a former scientologist and scientology considered the EST
"technology" stolen. They spent millions trying to ruin Erhard and (as I
remember) did force him to leave the US.
>I suspect a fraction of the people may have felt offended (insulted?) by
>some of the presentation and/or questions but since the format is such
>that more frequently one is allowed to see oneself in others (avoiding a
>positional "debate" framework) "horrible insults" may not be a requirement
>for dislodging belief systems in everyone. I am reasonably sure however
>some people are so "addicted" to their belief systems  that changing
>them may require rather severe educational methods.
I.e., treatment in the general category of brainwashing, or a mild
activation of the capture bonding mechanism also known as Stockholm
syndrome. See the Wikipedia page on Capture-bonding.
>It is interesting (at least to me) that belief system alteration may
>require hard changes in the neural network  -- which implies that there
>are time limits on how rapidly, perhaps even how completely, one can
>change belief systems.
The Arab armies of the expansion period had it down pat. "Convert or die,
>I would be interested in whether anyone knows if there are branches of
>psychology or sociology (or books) which deal explicitly with belief
Evolutionary psychology. This happens to be the fundamental level tying
psychology into the rest of biology.
>1. I suspect there is a strong genetic basis for this -- that there will
>be individuals with polymorphisms in neuron gene structure and function
>that it is easy for them to become strongly addicted to drugs, behaviors,
I think you are right on these points and said so some years ago.
Sex, Drugs, and Cults. An evolutionary psychology perspective on why and
how cult memes get a drug-like hold on people, and what might be done to
mitigate the effects
By H. Keith Henson
In the aggregate, memes constitute human culture. Most are useful. But a
whole class of memes (cults, ideologies, etc.) have no obvious replication
drivers. Why are some humans highly susceptible to such memes? Evolutionary
psychology is required to answer this question. Two major evolved
psychological mechanisms emerge from the past to make us susceptible to
cults. Capture-bonding exemplified by Patty Hearst and the Stockholm
Syndrome is one. Attention-reward is the other. Attention is the way social
primates measure status. Attention indicates status and is highly rewarding
because it causes the release of brain chemicals such as dopamine and
endorphins. Actions lead to Attention that releases Rewarding brain
chemicals. Drugs shortcut attention in the Action-Attention-Reward (AAR)
brain system and lead to the repeated behaviour we call addiction. Gambling
also causes misfiring of the AAR pathway. Memes that manifest as cults
hijack this brain reward system by inducing high levels of attention
behaviour between cult members. People may become irresponsible on either
cults or drugs sometimes resulting in severe damage to reproductive
potential. Evolutionary psychology thus answers the question of why humans
are susceptible to memes that do them and/or their potential for
reproductive success damage. We evolved the psychological traits of
capture-bonding and attention-reward that make us vulnerable for other
maladaptive functions. We should be concerned about predator and pathogen
memes and the mechanisms that make us vulnerable. The possibility of
modeling important social factors contributing to the spread of dangerous
cult memes is discussed. The history of the author's experiences that led
to understanding the connection between drugs and cults is related.
Keywords: evolutionary psychology, memetics, Stockholm syndrome,
capture-bonding, reproductive success, dopamine, endorphins, cults, drugs
and attention rewards, brainwashing, mind control, deprogramming, scientology.
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