The Christians may have been the first to successfully formulate brainwashing, but we have to look to Pavlov, the Russian scientist, for a technical explanation. In the early 1900s, his work with animals opened the door to further investigations with humans. After the revolution in Russia, Lenin was quick to see the potential of applying Pavlov’s research to his own ends.
Three distinct and progressive states of transmarginal inhibition were identified by Pavlov. The first is the Equivalent phase, in which the brain gives the same response to both strong and weak stimuli. Second is the Paradoxical phase, in which the brain responds more actively to weak stimuli than to strong. Third is the Ultra-Paradoxical phase, in which conditioned responses and behavior patterns turn from positive to negative or from negative to positive.
With the progressions through each phase, the degree of conversion becomes more effective and complete. The ways to achieve conversion are many and varied, but the usual first step in religious or political brainwashing is to work on the emotions of an individual or group until they reach an abnormal level of anger, fear, excitement or nervous tension.
The progressive result of this mental condition is to impair judgment and increase suggestibility. The more this condition can be maintained or intensified, the more it compounds. Once catharsis or the first brain phase is reached, the complete mental takeover becomes easier. Existing mental programming can be replaced with new patterns of thinking and behavior.
Other often-used physiological weapons to modify normal brain functions are fasting, radical or high sugar diets, physical discomforts, regulation of breathing, mantra chanting in meditation, the disclosure of awesome mysteries, special lighting and sound effects, programmed response to incense, or intoxicating drugs.
The same results can be obtained in contemporary psychiatric treatment by electric shock treatments and even by purposely lowering a patient’s blood sugar level with insulin injections.
Before I talk about exactly how some of the techniques are applied, I want to point out that hypnosis and conversion tactics are two distinctly different things ? and that conversion techniques are far more powerful. However, the two are often mixed … with powerful results.
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