Skip to main content


The Golden Verses Of The Stoic

Seneca and Epictetus refer to the Golden Verses of Pythagoras , which happens to provide a good framework for developing a daily routine, bookended by morning and evening contemplative practices. Zeno of Citium , who founded Stoicism in 301 BC, expressed his doctrines in notoriously terse arguments and concise maxims.  However, Chrysippus, the third head of the Stoic school, wrote over 700 books fleshing these ideas out and adding complex arguments to support them. 

A look at Aggressive Persuasion on the Internet

The Condition is well known and implicit.The Indoctrinated will fight to defend their conditioning -- Jane Robbins on Using Social Engineering on the Internet to Maintain Party Loyalty, Jan 24th 2013

She's right of course. It is a fool's errand to fight against those who have accepted a conditioning -- expecting to win. And, I want to be upfront on this -- the conditioning, it is not a sign of weakness, any more than having a bleeding hole in your chest is a sign of weakness after you've been shot.

The human brain, in evolutionary terms, is still fairly young -- with the frontal lobes and upper hemispheres being even younger than that. Language is also more powerful than we give it credit.

I was first introduced to indoctrinated minds when I was 20. I took the position as the personal security of a man named Ted Patrick.
Thirty years ago, the awareness of Cult indoctrination was fairly well known -- at least the subject was recognizable to most of the country's population. The media found the sensationalism value to be high enough that it warranted running stories to keep it fresh.  Also there were still a large number of minors being indoctrinated at that time. The stories held the population's attention.

There were several cults... perhaps hundreds at the time, e.g. the Unification Church (Mooneyism), Children of God (now calling themselves Family International -- seriously messed up people there), Heaven's Gate - maybe you'l recall  Marshall Applewhite easier.

Anyway, Ted Patrick was a Deprogrammer, by trade. His involvement wasn't based on religious ideology -- though he was a Baptist. He viewed these cults as a threat to minors -- and I had to agree with him. There is still a debate on the validity of and/or differences between exit-counseling and coercive deprogrammingDIMPAC was still new and lots of controversy in the academic world with the ideas of brainwashing and coercive persuasion.

Today it is a very strange area to find yourself in -- research wise. You have those who have been studying the concepts and effects for years, and are fairly mellow about it all. These academics normally fall into two camps which are light-years away from each other. The one are normally researchers who have been involved much longer, however they often classify the aspects and symptoms under the labels of religion and religious effects. I've never seen it as having anything to do with religion, (there are many similarities to methods of propaganda and aggressive persuasion but I've never equated the activity as part of the doctrine of the religion itself).

It has only been in the last 15 years that cross field research, and applying data from corresponding areas of research, that a useful look at the means and consequences of aggressive  persuasion has truly been possible. Those who studied it directly and openly, were often entrenched into their religious ideologies and their studies biased and seeping doctrine -- almost as if they were victims of the methods they attempted to explain. Sociologists came very close many times but lacked some of the foundation information -- hovering around the results and the symptoms without truly getting into the causes.

There were lists of "techniques" but over half where just  hardcore marketing, and not true propaganda and nothing close to the aggressive persuasion campaigns developed and deployed today.

But why learn them? -- Mostly, so you understand who you are talking to, and what they are really saying.

Online speech is changing in radical ways. The field is huge and those who deploy these kinds of tactics do not care that they cannot be focused, controlled to a particular population or that they will last considerably longer than the Military Propagandist of old ever dreamed effects and messages could propagate -- or when they will suddenly pop up again. For example, on this little blog I wrote a piece on the Founding Fathers and the Constitution. I wrote this nearly a year ago, and yesterday it suddenly took 500+ views. Out of the blue. The control is non-existent if you are putting the message out into pseudo-news sites.

It is likely that you, just like everyone else, have figured out the News is not really the News any longer -- but it goes beyond that point. I've documented several brazen propaganda campaigns, which span over a set of shows, each building the goal idea up, and then passing it on to the next show. Awareness of what is going on is becoming a necessity. You probably jumped to the idea that these were politically motivated campaigns. This isn't the case. Most of them I come across are corporation interests backing an agenda, which benefits them in the short term. The news is becoming an aggressive subversive info-mercial.

Until we can get the FTC and the State governments to recognize that News is a product, and like any other product has reasonable expectations inherent in the claim -- we are going to be under-fire.

That is just one side of the story however...

Online Freedom of Speech under Siege even in “Democracies”

By Jillian York | (Electronic Frontier Foundation)

In the midst of the global surveillance debate, talk of online censorship has often taken a backseat. Yet, all around the world, the inalienable right to freedom of expression is violated on a regular basis. While in 2014, issues such as terrorism and online harassment generated new discussions of speech rights, censorship of political and religious speech—as well as “obscenity” and content deemed a risk to “national security”—remains all too common.

A recent Guardian editorial declared online freedom to be “under attack” all around the world. Citing examples from serial offenders China and Russia, the authors state that “repressive techniques are being mimicked from one country to the next” and “repressive regimes have seized upon [surveillance by the US and UK] to introduce more online repression that increasingly leads to detentions.”

Indeed, repression of speech is on the rise in a number of countries.

Censorship: Not Just for Repressive Regimes

Online repression isn't limited to those typically thought of as “repressive regimes,” however. Along with Russia, democratic Turkey was recently deemed by Freedom House to have had the greatest increase in web censorship over the past year. In September, the country’s parliament passed a resolution allowing the High Council for Telecommunications to temporarily block websites without a court order. The parliament had already passed laws in February allowing authorities to block without a court order any content that “violates privacy” or is “discriminatory or insulting”.

In the UK, the country recently cracked down on certain types of pornography, which critics have said unfairly targets sex acts that focus on female pleasure.

A French anti-terror law passed this autumn provides harsher penalties for extremist speech posted online (as opposed to offline), raising concerns from civil liberties advocates in the country. And in Japan, lawmakers recently passed the controversial State Secrecy Act, effectively preventing government officials from blowing the whistle. The country is also under pressure from the United Nations to enact laws preventing “hate speech”.