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Thought Control and Restriction

The following equation applies:

Thought Control/Restriction = Authoritarianism + Projection of the Shadow

Intermediate zone gurus live in a delusion of their own making. They think they are enlightened, liberated, perfect, etc, when they are not. Or they even if they acknowledge their imprefection they still see themselves as superior to everyone else. But they are living a lie, because they are still a slave to their ego and lower desires. In many ways they are even less enlightene dthan their devotees, who at least have the sincerity to offer themselves to something greater (it's just a shame that they choos ethe wrong thing to offer to)

Because Intermediate zone gurus, and self-deluded ignoirant gurus lacking even Intermediate zone awakening, are living a lie, they need to get those people around them - their devoteees and followers and students and disciples - to believe that lie. It is easier for someone to believe a lie if all those around you also believe the lie. To be confronted with the truth is hugely threatening to these people, and results in rabif shadow-projection, range and anger. So they have to convince others, in order to convince themselves.

This corresponds to what in Steven Hassan's external link BITE Model of Cult interpretation (see Link to Amazon com Releasing the Bonds: Empowering People to Think for Themselves) is called Thought Control. An alkternative term might be "Thought Restriction", because what this is about is the restricting of thoughts, with only certain thoughts allowed, or "Intellectual Authoritarianism". Cnetral to this is projection of the shadow. It is all about getting people to believe something, because you believe it. Not even or only ambigious and abusive gurus use it, but even more so the followers of those false gurus, when they have internalised all the ugliness of their master. It is exactly the same with antagonism too. It is because of a sort of contagion that works in thgis and other matters of group and authority figures. The follwers, if weak and lacking central focus, will use the guru or authority figure as a focus via ego-projection. And all those little revolyts and negative aspects of the follower's personalty thus find a justification, because, hey look, the guru who ius an avatar or whatevre is doing it too, so it must be good, and anyone who thinks otherwise must be misguided or evil. Hence the antagonistic or slanderous devotee

The following is exerpted from chapter two of the above book, and although it is used in the context of understanding and breaking free of cults, it perfectly describeds shadow projection and the behaviour not just of ambigious and abusive gurus but just as much if not more so their devotees as well. I've added a few commenst where appropriate:

1. Need to internalize the group's doctrine as "Truth"
a. Map = Reality
b. Black and White thinking c. Good vs. evil d. Us vs. them (inside vs. outside)

MAK: Ironically, this is all about projection of the shadow. It doesn't have to apply to conventional "cults"; one find sit exenophobia, the Cold War, the current Western "War on Terror" and Islamofascist "Jihad", and organisiations like Wilber's Integral Institute as a result of Wilber's reeaction to criticism

2. Adopt "loaded" language (characterized by "thought-terminating clichés"). Words are the tools we use to think with. These "special" words constrict rather than expand understanding. They function to reduce complexities of experience into trite, platitudinous "buzz words". 3. Only "good" and "proper" thoughts are encouraged. 4. Thought-stopping techniques (to shut down "reality testing" by stopping "negative" thoughts and allowing only "good" thoughts); rejection of rational analysis, critical thinking, constructive criticism.
a. Denial, rationalization, justification, wishful thinking
b. Chanting c. Meditating d. Praying e. Speaking in "tongues" f. Singing or humming

MAK: Here is where the cult critic fails. Note the muddle that confuses genuine techniques with dysfunctional ones? Just because some abusive guru cults may encourage meditation doesn't make meditation bad, just as the fact that the same abusive guru may encourage vegetarianism and celibacy (while often himself continuing to eat meat and have sex), doesn't make vegetarianism or celibacy bad. These gurus will tecahg what is in their culture, and oif it si something good, like meditation and vegetarianism, they abuse that by making it serve a negative cause. Just as sincere prayer and devotion to God can be uplifting in a genuine contemplative Christian or other theistic environment, but negative when used in the service of an avbusive cult leader with delusions of Christ-hood

5. No critical questions about leader, doctrine, or policy seen as legitimate

6. No alternative belief systems viewed as legitimate, good, or useful

Levels of Thought Control

The following refers to suggested levels of thought control and intellectual authoritarianism.


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page by M.Alan Kazlev, quoted material © 2000 by Steven Hassan
page uploaded 18 December 2006