What's the mechanism?

by Half banana 18 Replies latest watchtower beliefs

  • Half banana
    Half banana

    I am perpetually challenged by the fact that most JWs are completely duped by the propaganda pumped out relentlessly by the Borg. Even intelligent ones; they unwittingly grovel to the GB decisions and follow the party line. They do this for a number of reasons.

    Firstly because usually being uneducated, they think that this is a good life-choice move with the prospect of paradise. (skip the hard work I'll just take the prize!) Secondly, there is a large pool of ready made friends who appear to be decent welcoming human beans who will accept all-comers as long as they conform and believe the cult dogma.

    There is a lot more to it but I am interested in the mechanism which turns ordinary sensible people into implacable Watchtower zombies where the religion takes over their life. If we can understand how this “mechanism” works would it help us extricate our families from the delusion?

    I relate the process to fundamentalist radicalisation, do you think this is this the case?

  • OneEyedJoe

    Humans are social apes, and social pressure is quite powerful if applied correctly.

    Cult indoctrination is usually a matter of finding someone who's in a sufficient level of mental/emotional turmoil for one reason or another. Typically it seems that these take the form of recent loss, fish out of water (immigrants, new college students or those recently leaving home, etc), or boredom/lack of friends. Once you find someone who's susceptible, you get two (so they're out numbered) people to offer them all the answers, and show them a prepackaged group of new family/friends. Once they start making sacrifices to get approval of the group, it's all over.

    Since the chances are low that someone out door-knocking is going to catch someone in a sufficiently weakened state to be susceptible to cult indoctrination, most times this only happens when someone is exposed to a cultist on a regular basis (some friend or family member). Once life happens and they reach a susceptible state they can fall victim to the cult if they've not 'inoculated' themselves by doing research on the cult before.

  • Finkelstein

    What's the mechanism ?

    Fuel ignorance with fear and emotions and that is how the JW religion sustains itself .

    If one were to analytically look what the WTS proclaimed and taught it becomes obvious that its teachings were directly connected and influenced to sell literature, so therefore the JWS was inherently developed from the commercialization of literature.

    Capitalism mixed with religious freedom in other words .

  • sir82

    It's a lot more than just JWs who fall for this.

    As I've often stated, JWs do not own the monopoly on ensnaring the gullible & foolish. They fill a niche in the market.

    There always have been, and likely always will be, "X%" of the population who are willing to be bullied, ordered about, directed, micromanaged, abused, as a price to be paid for a feeling of security, belonging, and purpose.

    If the JWs just closed up shop tomorrow, most of their adherents would glom onto some other high-control religion or group within a few weeks or months.

  • galaxie

    Possibly we'll have to wait for neuroscience to come up with the evidential answer, it's all to do with our brains. There is somehow a need to rely on something out with our own workings to take the burden of what's perceived to be the unknown. Many many people succumb to their own idea of a comfort zone , and because they are so convinced will seek to convince others, and so it goes on and on. This process seems to allow for delusion to the point where very intelligent people can be so ingrained that the utterly ridiculous and craziest of notions will be believed as truth to keep them in their comfort zone.

    The frustration is, that if you are fortunate enough to escape the madness trying to understand why others don't see it is utterly perplexing.

  • Vidiot

    Half banana - "What's the mechanism?"

    Part of the answer is in the first sentence of your own opening post:

    Half banana - "...the propaganda pumped out relentlessly..."

    Why else do you think they have so much in the way of meetings, "study", and peer indoctrination/reinforcement?

    It needs to be pumped out relentlessly for it to stay sunk in; otherwise, doubt, rational thinking, and plain simple common sense cannot help but inevitably erode it away (they have even, in fact, tacitly admitted this).

    That fact in and of itself is often what leads to a significant number of JWs to wake up, completely independent of the WTS' dirty laundry, flawed theology, or dishonest business practices.

  • a watcher
    a watcher

    Banana, LOL! ...human beans.

    My laugh for the day. Thanks.

  • Phizzy

    Giordano posted this quote, on another Thread, from Eric Hoffer's 1950 book "The True Believer":

    " An active mass movement rejects the present and centers it's interest on the future. It is from this attitude that it derives it's strength, for it can proceed recklessly with the present- with the health, wealth and lives of it's followers. But it must act as if it has already read the book of the future to the last word. Its doctrine is proclaimed as a key to that book.".

    I believe this is the Mechanism.

  • Half banana
    Half banana

    Some very good points but Vidiot isn’t the propaganda the thing which sustains the Watchtower illusion after conversion (along with the social conformity which self regulates the behaviour)... rather than it being the cause? I suppose listening to the propaganda either drives you crazy or you give up and join!

    @Finklestein, isn’t the business pattern of the organisation simply the historical reality, I can’t see the link for captivating minds? But the fear and threats you mention must be an inducement to change a person’s mind, imagining they will die if they don’t join...

    @Sir 82, yes the WT vision is targeted at susceptible individuals; those whose earlier vision of the world has been shattered by disappointment or grave loss or those who cannot keep up with what life asks of them. The victim notes and marks the possibility of joining which is further cemented by friendships formed in the congo.

    @Galaxy, you said

    There is somehow a need to rely on something out with our own workings to take the burden of what's perceived to be the unknown".

    A belief that here is something which has resolved for us the cosmic eternities perhaps? You make a case for ” succumbing” to the org on the basis of being shown a ”comfort zone” environment into which the potential newbie could fit. I agree they must think both that they could cope with the ‘deal’ which means giving up ambition, money worldly happiness etc, and at the same time cope with trusting the beliefs (not knowledge) of others.

    @Phizzy, your quote by Giordano, referencing the true believer book, is highly instructive because it sets out the very frame in which a true believer, whether JW or any cultist, can forgo their regular human life with its joys and troubles for an imagined future world of bliss.

    That perfectly describes the world of religious certainty espoused by the WTBTS. It explains beautifully why the concerns of the present are played down to the point of irresponsibility (a trait which the early Christ cult introduced to the annoyance of the Romans) but even that does not quite describe the psychological drive or mechanism or 'switch' which makes for conversion to it (who's being picky then!)

    I find this big irrational and emotional decision has a parallel with falling in love...what do you think?

  • Phizzy

    I agree that Hoffer's words show more about the mechanism that keeps people in the religion, and similar institutions, than it does about what happens at the point of conversion.

    At the point of conversion, it could well be like the time one becomes infatuated with someone. We see them, not as others see them, but with the eyes of "love". The person can appear to us to have great beauty, when in fact they do not.

    But I think Hoffer's words are important if we wish to free loved ones. If they have been in for a while, the period of Infatuation is over, they may see their "loved one", (the religion), a little more clearly now.

    We have the task of getting them to live in the here and now, the real world, instead of their looking for a never to come Paradise in the future.

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