Cults use mind control techniques to keep their members from leaving the group and reinforce adherence to the common cause. Damanhur is no exception to this.
If someone unwittingly becomes member of a cult then it is obvious that psychological coercion has been employed in some form. The mind control techniques used by cults are many and varied but a basic list of 26 is shown below: I have added my comments in Italics to the original Ce.S.A.P forum post to illustrate how these techniques manifest in Damanhur.
What is Mind Control?
Mind Control techniques include:
Inducing a state of high suggestibility by hypnosis, often thinly disguised as relaxation or meditation. - Meditation School courses and ‘Serata’ with Falco.
Peer Group Pressure
Suppressing doubt and resistance to new ideas by exploiting the need to belong. – Belonging to the Spiritual and Magic People of Damanhur – a spiritual elite that will save the planet.
Creating a sense of family and belonging through hugging, kissing, touching and flattery. – Emotional bonding within Meditation School groups – promoting group loyalty and a love of Damanhur.
Rejection of Old Values
Accelerating acceptance of new life style by constantly denouncing former values and beliefs. – The outside world is full of ignorance, the Catholic Church is our Enemy, the outside world does not and cannot understand Damanhur.
Encouraging blind acceptance and rejection of logic through complex lectures on an incomprehensible doctrine. – Meditation School courses, Falco’s courses and the study of Esoteric Physics and attendant yearly MCD exams.
Implanting subliminal messages by stressing certain key words or phrases in long, confusing lectures. – Obligatory Serata with Falco on Wednesday and Thursday evenings.
Removal of Privacy
Achieving loss of ability to evaluate logically by preventing private contemplation. – Overcrowded residential spaces, the sharing of rooms, lack of personal time because of endless meetings ‘voluntary’ work and community commitments.
Time Sense Deprivation
Destroying ability to evaluate information, personal reactions, and body functions in relation to passage of time by removing all clocks and watches. – Removal of watches/banning of telephones during Meditation School sessions and Falco’s courses.
Encouraging child-like obedience by orchestrating child-like behavior. – The ‘Game of Life’ initiatives.
Inducing regression and disorientation by soliciting agreement to seemingly simple rules which regulate mealtimes, bathroom breaks and use of medications. – The School of Meditation disciplines, preparations for rituals and the practices of certain of the ‘Spiritual Ways.’
Desensitizing through bombardment with foul and abusive language. – Not known.
Sleep Deprivation and Fatigue
Creating disorientation and vulnerability by prolonging mental and physical activity and withholding adequate rest and sleep. – Keeping people ‘busy’ obligatory unpaid hours of work ‘Terrazzatura’, work for the Nucleo, Nucleo turns, Nucleo meetings, ritual observances, prayers, spheres, local political commitments, attending conferences, meetings of the Spiritual Ways, ‘volunteer’ construction work in the Temple etc ,etc
Removing individuality by demanding conformity to the group dress code. – Wearing of Meditation School ritual robes, encouragement to observe the color of the day in personal dress
Chanting and Singing
Eliminating non-cult ideas through group repetition of mind-narrowing chants or phrases. – Group prayers, ritual prayers, Meditation School practices.
Encouraging the destruction of individual ego through confession of personal weaknesses and innermost feelings of doubt. – Tecnarcato group work, the Tecnarcato Diary, fortnightly and monthly personal reports, personal letters at the full and dark moon, interviews with heads of Spiritual Ways and Tecnarcato leaders.
Achieving increased dependence on the group by ‘burning bridges’ to the past, through the donation of assets. – Donation of all personal and inherited wealth to the Community on becoming a citizen A.
Creating a false sense of righteousness by pointing to the shortcomings of the outside world and other cults. – The outside world is ignorant. Damanhurians represent humanity on this planet. No other community can match Damanhur‘s achievements.
Promoting acceptance of cult authority by promising advancement, power and salvation. – Damanhurians are destined to become Gods in their lifetime. Damanhurians are saving the planet. If you leave Damanhur you will lose your soul. Falco is the reincarnation of Horus.
Inducing loss of reality by physical separation from family, friends, society and rational references. – Becoming a citizen A and working inside the Community means there is no time for outside pursuits, old friends or family connections. Visiting family members outside is frowned upon during public holidays. Obligatory rituals and Meditation school meetings are always organized at holiday times to keep people on the territory.
Maintaining vulnerability and confusion by alternately rewarding and punishing similar actions. – Meditation School disciplinary procedures without right of appeal. Esoteric grades and Game of Life bracelets.
Change of Diet
Creating disorientation and increased susceptibility to emotional arousal by depriving the nervous system of necessary nutrients through the use of special diets and/or fasting. – Meditation School disciplines, ritual fasting, the disciplines of the Way of the Monks.
Inducing dependence on the group by introducing games with obscure rules. – Battles in the Woods, Horusian Games, Meditation School courses, Magic Journeys in the Woods. Falco’s courses.
Accomplishing automatic acceptance of beliefs by discouraging questions. – Meditation School groups and courses.
Reinforcing the need for ‘salvation’ by exaggerating the sins of the former lifestyles. – Before Damanhur your life had no direction or meaning. The outside world is doomed to extinction, only Damanhurians will be saved.
Maintaining loyalty and obedience to the group by threatening soul, life or limb for the slightest ‘negative’ thought, word or deed. – Meditation School disciplines, humiliating apologies before the entire school. Warnings from the Damanhurian Department of Security, disciplinary procedures by the School of Meditation, the College of Justice, and the King Guides with no right of defense.
Replacement of Relationships
Destroying pre-cult families by arranging cult marriages and ‘families’. – The Nucleo is your ‘real’ family. Outside relatives are less important as they are not members of the Damanhurian spiritual elite. In the early years of Damanhur Falco arranged the marriages of citizens.
First posted 2008/04/11 21:49 to the Damanhur Forum of www.cesap.net under the title’ LE MIE RIFLESSIONI’.
The only aspect of this list which is not true of Damanhur is that of ‘Verbal abuse’.
Here is an extract from the UK, Cult Information Centre site on the dangers of mental manipulation
‘The average cult uses a combination of the majority of the above described techniques, which result in a potential recruit being broken down physically and mentally and made highly vulnerable to suggestion. This pressure usually continues to a breaking point referred to as ‘snapping’ by Conway and Siegelman (Conway & Siegelman, Snapping. New York: Delta Books, l979). After snapping, the subject is left in a state of hyper suggestibility where critical ability is severely impaired. Simultaneously there is usually a sudden personality change, a change for the worse. It is this change of personality and the relative inability of the subject to critically evaluate, that provokes family and friends of the average victim to react. Unless they are given some guidance on how to cope, the cult member will rapidly become more and more alienated from them.
With cults representing such a threat to the individual, the family and society, how can we cope?
There are many things that can be done as follows:
1. Society needs to become aware of how everyone is vulnerable to manipulation.
2. People need to be educated about mind control techniques, so they can recognize and leave an environment where psychological coercion exists, before becoming a victim.
3. Society needs to become aware that there is a lot of good material on cults to be found in the media. It is useful for updating one’s information.
4. People need to learn to question, be discerning and feel it is OK to say NO!
5. More mental health professionals need to be trained to help cult victims.
Hopefully some of the popular misconceptions have been overcome in this article. They are as follows:
Exploding The Myths
1. People don’t join cults. They are recruited.
2. People are recruited by a method not a message.
3. People do not stay in cults because they have nothing better to do with their lives, but because psychological coercion holds them there.
4. Cults intend to retain a hold on people for life, or for as long as they are valuable to the cult. It is not a fad or a phase.
5. Normal people from normal families are recruited into cults.
6. Cult leaders should be blamed for the problems caused, not the individual members, ex-members or their families. (Blame the victim syndrome). It can happen to anyone.
7. Cult members are sincere. (Sincere victims, but sincere.)
8. Cult members are victims and need to be treated with love. They are people who need help, not hostility.
9. Cults recruit people of all ages, not just young people.
10. Cult recruiters are rarely visually identifiable. They usually look like quite normal people who appear to be very friendly.
11. Anyone can become a victim of cult techniques of psychological coercion. The safest people seem to be the seriously mentally ill, or those that know how to recognize a cult.
12. Accurate information on cults is not best obtained by trying to infiltrate a cult. This is far too dangerous.’
General Secretary, Cult Information Centre
Check out these two pages on the ‘Spirit Watch’ site for a description of how mind control works in groups like Damanhur.