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Discussion » Questions » Human Behavior » Cults do it; ads & con-men do it; some politicians & legit businesses do it. - Do you fall for it, call them on it or walk the other way?

Cults do it; ads & con-men do it; some politicians & legit businesses do it. - Do you fall for it, call them on it or walk the other way?

To "mind****" means to systematically lie with intent to profit, often involving creating the impression that the deceived one will gain some good from it.
The deception is not discovered till its way too late. Some people even die having never realised the lie (eg the Red Barn cult.)

The process of recovery from a mind**** may require professional help, and typically involves intense and disturbing emotion, such as shock, confusion, or fear.
Researchers now say that any ordinary person can be conned in this way; one does not have to be especially gullible or naive because the perpetrators are highly skilled at what they do.

Have you ever had an experience like this? If so, how did you recover?

If you have avoided one or more - how did you recognise the signs?

Did you tell the person (or group) what you honestly thought?

Did you blow the whistle?

Posted - October 20, 2018


  • I think it's so prevalent that we have become immune to a certain degree of mind****. We have gotten used to a certain degree of expected dishonesty and only jerk when it becomes too blatant and overtly manipulative. This post was edited by my2cents at October 21, 2018 2:10 AM MDT
      October 20, 2018 6:42 PM MDT

  • 4134
    I agree.
    Maybe this kind of immunity is a good dose of scepticism and a knack for recognising lies.
    We need a clear eye on reality to survive and thrive.
      October 20, 2018 6:54 PM MDT

  • I read the other do you pluck a chicken wothout it fighting back too much? You pluck out only one feather a day. 
    Its kinda like that. I remember the first time I saw an add on YOUTUBE. I was like what is this *****! This is unacceptable and I won't stand for it!!!
    Now I just click on Skip Add and keep going. Its like that. This post was edited by my2cents at October 21, 2018 2:11 AM MDT
      October 20, 2018 7:01 PM MDT

  • 4134
    Hmm. Apropos the chicken, sounds like a while before the plucker gets to eat his roast. ;)

    Yeah - I feel the same with U-tube ads - an aboslute nuisance.

    I remember back in school days, one of the exercises in an English class was to analyse how ads construct overt and unconscious influences and how they most often lie by not stating the (often serious) drawbacks of their products.
    It seems like a no-brainer that the salesman won't reveal the flaws of something.
    But then when one goes back to "How to Win Friends and Influence People", Carnegie's main argument was that honesty and integrity build trust and success in business.
    Seems like much of the world has forgotten this simple and obvious thing.

    This post was edited by inky at October 21, 2018 2:12 AM MDT
      October 20, 2018 7:11 PM MDT

  • Reference to having to wait to eat the chicken...ahhh my friend ...but that's the trick ...they have time..they can wait ... They know eventually well go back to YOUTUBE ads an all. Becausec . .well. . because that's what we choice is an illusion we serve to ourselves to make us feel better.
    Anyway.. Tberes a real good Ted Talk on some of this stuff if you're ever interested. This post was edited by Benedict Arnold at October 21, 2018 2:12 AM MDT
      October 20, 2018 7:25 PM MDT

  • 4134
    There are several brilliant TED talks on how to pick the tells of liars.

    The ad people don't get me. They are hopeless at reading my needs, preferences and values.
      October 20, 2018 7:37 PM MDT

  • You never know man. They are smart and crafty and insidious. Hell, you can't even tell if that girl in the bus who gave you that big smile was an add for dentine! 
      October 20, 2018 7:41 PM MDT

  • 4134
    Smart, crafty and insidious - I agree.
    If someone gives me a big smile in the bus, I think either they're in love and thinking about their belovéd, or they might be about to offer me a seat in deference to my age.
    I expect lies the moment anyone tries to sell me something.
      October 20, 2018 7:50 PM MDT

  • Sure sure .
    But they know you do. :)
      October 20, 2018 7:52 PM MDT

  • 4134
    Now that raises an interesting question.
    If they know I expect them to lie, why do they still bother trying?
    Maybe it's one of those "you can fool some of the people" things - they know some people expect them to lie, but they can't tell which ones, so they just try it on everyone anyway - like fishing, certain to strike lucky if they keep at it long enough.

    This post was edited by inky at October 21, 2018 10:32 PM MDT
      October 21, 2018 10:30 PM MDT

  • Sure sure. I'm sure throwing a wide net is a big part of it. But think about it. When we watch a commercial we are not really believing that nine out of ten doctors recommend SALEM Cigarettes, we know it's probably not true. But we have become accostumrd to this kind of thing. So it's ok. Its accepted. Expected. To the point where it someone said...this brand is ok for the money but not the best, wed probably be suspicious. 
      October 22, 2018 9:03 AM MDT

  • 5489
    I’m waiting for this one to get deleted, Nom.
    As a hardened skeptic, I’ve always been wary of (shall I say) ”such activity”, and steered clear of the really obvious stuff, like cults and religions, and I often speak against them.
    That said, I suspect some covert gov’t MF’s have victimized us all, regardless of our knowledge. 

      October 20, 2018 7:32 PM MDT

  • 4134
    Waiting for this question to get deleted?
    That could imply mind-control or cultish agendas on this site! Or have I misunderstood?
    Or it could imply that some (perhaps govt) organisation monitors these conversations in order to eliminate seditious thoughts - for instance, the way China has been found to monitor its citizens for correct attitudes and behaviours.
    We are creeping very close to this in some ways. The technical ability exists.
    But I think there's a big difference between monitoring for destructive behaviours,
    and monitoring to mould thinking into only one acceptable mode. 
    On second thoughts, hmm, maybe we are all far more influenced by the social and media zeitgeists than we realise.
      October 20, 2018 7:46 PM MDT

  • 5489
    I’m glad you caught my drift there. It seemed an ironic point to raise. It was meant in jest, but not entirely...

    I agree with your points, and I think we each could point to some examples. 

      October 20, 2018 8:15 PM MDT

  • 5914
    When we have no options (or think we do not) then we are forced to play a particular game.  Which is what bothers me about people who say that proper education is the answer to everything.  The idea that if everyone gets the right information than everyone will believe the same things and act the same way is a totalitarian one.  We must be ourselves yet we must learn to respect one another at the same time which is what the great religions are about. 
      October 21, 2018 5:51 AM MDT

  • 4134
    I spent twenty years as a part-time art teacher. I worked in primary and high schools, with special ed. for the disabled and for the gifted and talented, in adult evening colleges, and taught undergraduates at university.

    There are two different Latin roots of the English word "education." They are "educare," which means to train or to mould, and "educere," meaning to lead out. While the two meanings are quite different, they are both represented in the word "education."

    I doubt if there has ever been any culture in which the adults and elders did not seek to mold their children according to the society's norms, values and needs. Today's state education syllabi seek to mould "good citizens" - at the very least, individuals who can manage the three R's, understand and sign a tax form or a legal document (dubious that this is routinely achieved) and have decent work and social ethics.

    One of the recent debates in education has centred around the teaching of a religious versus a secular set of values. I doubt that this will ever be easy to resolve since not all religions agree on teachings. Within Christianity, some sects embrace science and evolution, while the Creationists reject it. In addition, there are numerous non-Christian faiths which have an equal legal right to their beliefs.

    Personally, I favor a predominantly secular school system which teaches respect and tolerance for different faiths.

    I think it falls to the duty of religious parents to send their kids to private religious schools, or to send their kids to the equivalents of Sunday Schools for their religious education. That then raises the issue of costs for poor families - but it seems to me that wealthier families, in the spirit of charity and kindness for their brethren, could be expected to pay fees for the poor for the sake of charity.

    This post was edited by inky at October 22, 2018 7:17 AM MDT
      October 21, 2018 10:18 PM MDT

  • 5914
    Yes I agree with most of your comment. But in my early life we had Christian prayer in the schools at the start of daily classes. If I am correct this was objected to by Jewish parents as were school celebrations of Christmas holiday which were both discontinued early 1970s. 

    Charity is voluntary, taxation is not charity.  A government is not a person so cannot feel compassion. 
      October 22, 2018 7:22 AM MDT

  • 4134
    Yep. I meant charity, not taxation, i.e., the wealthier parents at religious schools should literally pay for the poor kids' education at the same school via direct charity - and do it from free choice and compliance with the commandments. Moses, Jesus and Mohammed all emphasise on the value of charity, so not to assist would be hypocritical. Islam requires a specified percentage of charity as its fifth pillar. Buddhism and Hinduism also put great emphasis on compassion, kindness and the good karma of giving.

    In my area, a couple of the religious schools accept kids from all faith. They get around the differences of faith by celebrating all the holidays of each faith. It means many days off, but they make up for it with one extra hour of school per day.

      October 22, 2018 7:35 PM MDT

  • 9860
    I think it is in perception. 
    The power you are willing to give others and gadgets
    The power you choose to keep for yourself.
    What you need
    and what you desire or are told you need
    are entirely different things. 
      October 21, 2018 2:17 AM MDT

  • 5914
    Very good observations!
      October 21, 2018 5:42 AM MDT

  • 4134
    Hmm. Agreed! :)
    You have the essence of it - that in "brainwashing", people unwittingly give away their personal power, the power to think and choose for themselves.
    Some of us tend to be more resistant to it - others seem to almost need it, especially when young and vulnerable, seeking for a sense of belonging, approval and identity - and the cults (or their equivalents) consciously play upon this need.
      October 21, 2018 10:24 PM MDT

  • 5914
    Have you just discovered now that people can be selfish and that everyone has his/her own agenda?  I don't understand your asterisks but I think this is called life.  What one person or organization sees as "good" will not be seen so by others.  Sort of a big game - the more people you can convince to play your gave the more fun you will have and the more you will benefit. Theoretically.  We cannot expect that everyone is going to choose to play our game but it is our choice whether or not we decide to play theirs.  Professional help?  OK if some people choose to play the "professional help" game then that is their choice as well!  We are responsible for making our own lives for ourselves but we can learn from others - both positive and negative experiences. 

    Asking if we had "an experience like this" is the same as asking if we interact with others.  Of course we do because that is our only option!  To go around "blowing the whistle" would be to isolate ourselves from all others simply because they are not us.  Which amounts to selfishness itself. Don't know about you but I can't see that as an option. 

    Look at it this way - life is "buyer beware" and we get to make our own choices and what we make we must learn to live with.  But the choices are ours and that is the main thing.  Many different people's games we can choose to play if we wish and many of us really are glad we have so many options!  Or we can make up and play  our own games.  We are all "perpetrators" because we are all individuals.  Which to me is all to the good. 

      October 21, 2018 5:42 AM MDT

  • 4134
    The asterisks were placed there by MyTwoCents.
    I had forgotten the TIS and used vulgar slang, so she (rightly) edited my post. A less vulgar term for mind**** is brainwash.
    Hmm. I agree with your points about each particular group's "game" and their desire to grow larger for more influence and power - although I'm certain they are in earnest and not playing.

    On the issue of professional help - first one has to have some idea of what some cults do.

    Many cults are harmless, even fun; one could say they are social circles of rebellious eccentrics, worshippers of pagan goddesses and the like.

    Many are benevolent. They encourage practices which help to increase people’s self-awareness, empathy, sanity, honesty, responsibility, compassion and active kindness.

    But a few have been systematically and deliberately destructive.

    All have an in-group/out-group mentality - encouraging the belief that the believers or devotees are above all others. 

    The destructive ones start slowly, with flattery, and once they have the target hooked, slowly increase the demands. Sleep deprivation, malnutrition and overwork are used to decrease the person’s ability to think. Once inculcated, the practices of destructive cults often include sexual and financial exploitation.

    Some groups practice corporal punishment and murder as “proper” for in-group members who disobey, in some cases murder for specific outsiders, and in the case of some apocalyptic groups, mass suicide.

    Adi Da Sam Raj was sued by several former devotees for fraud, intentional cruelty, false imprisonment, assault and battery. He settled out of court for huge sums which severely drained the cult’s coffers. I know of one of the former members. I saw the rapacious financial manipulations. (She was "in love" and blind to it - had been there since she was a runaway at 16.) I watched her process over 11 years until I saw the moment when the right words could help her break away. It was the moment when I whistled - gave her the information with the proof. Prior to that, she would not have been open to hearing and seeing it. Three years later, she is still recovering.

    There was Jim Jones’ Peoples Temple Agricultural Project, or "Jonestown". Over 900 died from what looked like cyanide.

    The Klu Klux Klan practises the torture, immolation, and murder of non-whites and particularly Black Americans. It goes through phases of suppression and re-emergence.

    I cherry-picked those as examples but there are many others; some of the worst are Al-Qaida, the Aum Shinrikyo, the Manson Family, Raëlism, Scientology, the Order of the Solar Temple, Heaven’s Gate, the Branch Davidians, and Sun Myung Moon’s Unification Church.

    I would ask you to try to imagine what it is like for people who, once sucked in, suddenly come to a realisation that the place is dangerous - and if they succeed in getting out - discover that they are emotionally damaged by the experience. Those who have sought help from psychologists are large enough in number that many studies have now been done. These studies have found common elements in the cults’ methods of indoctrination, in the effects on the participants, and in the difficulties in recovery experienced by those who leave. Typically, it can take three to seven years to recover, and those who are born into destructive cults can experience life-long difficulties.

    If you knew that your neighbors were committing heinous crimes in the name of God because they were members of a destructive cult, would you tell the police?
    That is one way of blowing the whistle. 
    I certainly don't mean telling tales about some group who merely believe something outside the variables of social norms. That would be, I believe, extremely arrogant.

    You and I probably vary on how we see the reality of an individual's freedom.
    That's a very long discussion in its own right.
    I think you see freedom of choice as each person's God-given birthright.

    I think only a sane and mature person can be free to choose.
    I think those with brain damage, with genetically-based or drug-related psychoses, and those with severe personality disorders, children, and the intellectually disabled are not free to choose. I think they are compelled by the physical or conditioned malfunctioning of their brains - or, in the case of children or the very dim, are compelled by their elders or carers. 
    But there are also many who are young, emotionally needy, lonely, vulnerable, and usually not very bright who easily fall prey to cults.


    This post was edited by inky at October 22, 2018 6:28 AM MDT
      October 22, 2018 12:09 AM MDT

  • 5914
    I was recently asterisked for "cursing" here! Actually I was just citing the words of another poster.  Funny but on the old answerbag we were allowed to post such words.  Not that I did very often. 

    Your message is quite lengthy and obviously considered and unfortunately not time right now for me to comment on everything. My main point was that we all have our own "games" we try to enroll others in and its up to us what we choose to get involved with, be it a "cult" or "professional help" which may be both harmful or helpful variously depending on how we use it.  Sometimes our choices can help us, sometimes they can hurt us but we are to learn from them.  We must never expect that everything in life is necessarily going to go our way. 
      October 22, 2018 5:44 AM MDT