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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. 

So, like Bullshit, OK?

Paul Siegel is a man I've been learning quite a bit about and in doing so I've been distracted into far reaching areas of examination probing references from his fantastic book on the First Amendment of the Constitution and Communication in the US. These are points of interest for me right now, with everything I'm doing with the FTC, and my Law proposal, as well as my book on aggressive persuasion. 

This next bit isn't actually in the book, but he writes on his website that it probably should have been.  And this excerpt is from one of his pages on his web site on the acceptance of a policy which made it mandatory to teach Creationism in public schools. 

"Magicians Penn and Teller have a half-hour TV series on Showtime called "Bullshit," in which they see themselves as debunking conventional wisdom or holding up to ridicule political viewpoints they see as deserving the show’s titular epithet. In an episode on "Creationism" from 2003, the magicians examined the testimony placed before the Cobb County, Georgia school board, which approved a motion to require that "intelligent design" be taught alongside Darwin’s evolutionary theories.

"Russ Brock, one of the local residents who testified at a school board meeting and who was interviewed by the "Bullshit" producers, brought a multifaceted lawsuit in federal court, the main thrust of which was defamation. In granting the TV producers’ motion to dismiss the suit, Judge Charles Pannell, Jr. held that, under the Hepps standard (see pp. 142-3 of the text), the plaintiff would have to establish the falsity of any allegedly defamatory statements attributed to him. This Brock could not do, in that only his own words were used in his clips (no allegations were made of doctoring or "creative editing"). Although Penn himself had some caustic comments about the opinions expressed by Brock and other creationists, those comments were merely his opinions, wholly protected by the First Amendment. Brock v. Viacom International, Inc., 2005 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 12217 (N.D. Ga. 2005)."

I have often wondered why this is such and issue for the majority of Baptists. Some other sects also have this issue but the Baptists are so amazingly strung out on pressing this issue, and debunking Evolution. What I don't understand is where is the benefit? Also, what is the driving need? 

Evolution is a theory which as a theory (a working model) has been very useful. It help to solve, and develop the problems of diseases caused by viruses, by suggesting that since living organism evolve that perhaps the two viruses were were looking at in the lab, were actually the same virus. This proved to be useful and whether it is actually true (fact) or not, it help to create a cure. What benefit does dropping the Evolutionary Theory give us? Again, true or biblically correct or not, it is a valuable tool, and there should be value added benefit if we are going to agree to drop it from our resources. 
The formal scientific definition of "theory" is quite different from the everyday meaning of the word. It refers to a comprehensive explanation of some aspect of nature that is supported by a vast body of evidence. Many scientific theories are so well established that no new evidence is likely to alter them substantially. For example, no new evidence will demonstrate that the Earth does not orbit around the sun (heliocentric theory), or that living things are not made of cells (cell theory), that matter is not composed of atoms, or that the surface of the Earth is not divided into solid plates that have moved over geological timescales (the theory of plate tectonics)...One of the most useful properties of scientific theories is that they can be used to make predictions about natural events or phenomena that have not yet been observed.
The second Item I don't get at all -- is that since the 50s, the Popes and the Vatican have had no issue with Evolution Theory at all, and have stated very clearly that in no way is the theory incompatible with biblical teaching.

So, the way I'm reading this and the understanding I get from what is in Mr. Siegel's book here, which is already on my Favorite's List, is that If you are saying it --  I can't be held liable for telling people what you are telling me. So, if you want me to stop showing people how full of bullshit you are, then Stop Saying Bullshit!

As a foot note, looking up this School Board I find that they are likely to be the best educated School Board I've ever seen -- I may not have seen yours yet so don't go into a tizzy, alright?

And -- by the way, that decision was ruled to be unconstitutional almost instantly. But, I bet you someone, very soon, will try to do it again.

Why? Basic theory of indoctrination my friends. They can't help it. We can tell them, and tell them, and explain to them in great detail -- show them with graphs and charts how much we DO NOT WANT IT in our schools, but... they have no choice in the matter.

No, I'm not kidding here or poking fun at all. People at this level of aggressive indoctrination, simply have no choice or any personal desire to stop themselves from propagating the message they were indoctrinated with. 

This returns me to another topic, which is cornerstoned on the question "How did the leaders of cults come up with these aggressive indoctrination techniques?"

Most cults are not like the Family(Children of God), or the Moonies, or Heaven's Gate. Many are similar to those, which Max Weber (1864–1920) found them to be. His writings indicate that cults based on charismatic leadership often follow the routinization of charisma. If you are wondering if he made "routinization of charisma" he did. In fact he had quite a few types of charisma in his writings. 

Sociologist Roy Wallis (1945–1990) argued that a cult is characterized by "epistemological individualism" meaning that "the cult has no clear locus of final authority beyond the individual member." Cults, according to Wallis, are generally described as "oriented towards the problems of individuals, loosely structured, tolerant [and are] non-exclusive", making "few demands on members", without possessing a "clear distinction between members and non-members", having "a rapid turnover of membership", and as being transient collectives with vague boundaries and fluctuating belief systems. Wallis asserts that cults emerge from the "cultic milieu"
The term cultic milieu was coined by Colin Campbell to refer to a society's deviant belief systems and practices and their associated collectivities, institutions, individuals, and media of communication. He described it as including "the worlds of the occult and the magical, of spiritualism and psychic phenomena, of mysticism and new thought, of alien intelligences and lost civilizations, of faith healing and nature cure" (Campbell 1972:122), and it can be seen, more generally, to be the point at which deviant science meets deviant religion.

And as I have pointed out earlier we quickly become mired into the religious aspects, which taint further investigation in this direction. It is not that the investigations are necessarily flawed, they simply get bogged down by the "wrongness" the authors feel. In some cases it is difficult to read passages of their work without feeling the revulsion seeping through the words, and they keep coming back to it, pressing at that aspect and going no further with others, such as a definition or description of the transformation, or possibly a source of these methods.

I'm very familiar with the methods themselves. I've watched them first hand, enduring them over several days at a time, as the methods were directed at me.  I watched first hands as the effects of the methods took hold of other indoctrinates. I have experienced them from three different groups, with multiple encounters for each group, so I have a fairly clear idea of methods, with some ideas of what happened, and the possible effect the actions were intended to cause.

As the years passed I learned new information, and my understanding is now deeper, but the puzzles are still missing pieces tht  having academic citations to help fill to my satisfaction is required. As I write this book, once again I'm searching for for studies in this area, hoping to uncover enough that I can add it into this book.

I have discovered several doctoral level researchers who have taken this topic seriously. One, who I was very hopeful of, was Dr. Betty.

Dr. Elizabeth "Betty" Tylden, a Forensic psychiatrist, worked extensively with those who suffered from cult memberships, was often called to be an expert witness in British courts, for what Lawyers termed "undue influence"  -- describing the membership's use of mind-control techniques.

During WWII she worked with soldiers who were suffering from what was then called "battle exhaustion" and with people affected by The Blitz. The symptoms of people who were former members of the Children of God and the International Church of Christ were distressingly similar when she came in contact with them, and uncovered their origins. Dr. Tylden, after several years of study described the techniques of these Cults as "methods which sought totalitarian control over the members, leading to mental illness, which sometimes involved delusions and hallucinations that frequently led to a misdiagnosis of schizophrenia." She would argue that these patients were not psychotic, but were engaged in normal "survival reactions" to trauma.

Psychologists now call "survival reactions" responses complex post-traumatic stress disorder (C-PTSD). Tylden argued that psychoanalysis and conventional psychotherapy, which seek causes in childhood, were inappropriate as treatment in such cases, and that relaxation therapy or hypnotic regression might return the patients to the mental state they were in as members of the cult, with its group singing, meditation, or other "group thought-reform patterns of behaviour,"

Normally she came in contact with them after the cults abandoned them and forced  them out into the world. Without the "group thought" to stabilize and the membership to give radical, and violent delusions both meaning and justification, their mental states would quickly get them arrested, or at least picked up. then they would spend much of the rest of their lives being taken care of by family members who had no idea what to do with them, or in institutions. Dr. Betty writes many times that they often suffer from the hallucinations of "burning in hell fires."

After reading almost everything Dr. Betty wrote on the subject I've often wondered if that was the fate of those we recovered from the cults.  Those who take the diagnosis described  and published by Dr. Betty seriously, are relatively few.

Again, the trouble is the religious connection. I would be nice if the doctors and psychologists could come up with a way of simply ignoring that aspect and focus on C-PTSD. The hell with admitting or charting the cause down as suffering from intense mental manipulation and simply write, "cause unknown, but clearly C-PTSD"

Dr. Betty passed away in 2009, and though she was a prolific writer, she never extended into musings on the source or origins of these techniques. Ted Patrick and I both ruled out drugs. The methods actually require a clear thinking subject to take effect. Being drunk or stoned diminishes the capacity of observing and responding to details. Amphetamines, which is what I used when going inside,  put me into a hyper-awareness state, but also a hyper-analytical state -- and diminished greatly the effects of the two day sleep deprivation period most of the methods utilized. They also increased my aggressiveness, which likely destroyed whatever effect the chanting and singing was suppose to be doing to me.

As I mentioned though, over the years I have come across areas of study which I recognized as part of the aggressive indoctrinations. One that I'm fairly certain of, is known as Cognitive Dissonance, and the other is a set of reflexive actions known as "Automatic Responses"

“Cognitive dissonance” occurs when a person is faced with two contradictory and incompatible thoughts (Tavris & Aronson, 2007). This state generates emotional tension and anxiety, and can lead to paralysis and inaction because the decision mechanism cannot resolve the conflict and decide upon any proper course to take. Clearly, this is a very dangerous state to be in, and human beings must avoid getting locked into a state of indecision (analogous to a computer program freezing up). Situations where this conflict arises are usually social ones, when others hold a
contrary opinion. If one has to decide alone, there is usually less conflict among irreconcilable ideas. Biological/social co-evolution propagates the mechanism for groupthink. Apparently, nature predisposes us to accept a decision conforming to what the majority of a group believes (Richerson & Boyd, 2005).

The Automatic Responses are too large of a set to get into right now. I'm working on a whole section dedicated to the individual reflexive responses that I'm aware which I'll include at another time.

I did have one other thought today, while I was meditating on some of these points. I mentioned before that my first real encounter with Aggressive Persuasion was in dealing with the cults, and their members back in the late 80s. But that really isn't true I realized. My first introduction to Aggressive Persuasion was in a book, I read when I was 11 years old, titled, Charlotte's Web.

The story really is a perfect caricature of the methods and functionality of propaganda.

To save the pig, Charlotte procures various "power words" which are obtained by the rate, who seeks out words he doesn't' understand but knows they are powerful because of the marketing graphics used to portray them on soap boxes and the like. Charlotte then puts these words into her web. The public discovers the words and "believes" them. At first the reaction is not what was being campaigned for, but Charlotte continues her efforts going from one power word to the next, repeating over and over the Big Lie. And, eventually, as anyone educated in propaganda could tell you, her campaign succeeds by altering the perceptions and standard values of the farmer and his family and the entire town, so that the loss of the investment they had in the pig, was willingly given up so that Wilbur could live, and not become bacon.