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Vulnerability, emotional crises and brainwashing

Vulnerability, emotional crises and brainwashing
Vulnerability, emotional crises and brainwashing
Vulnerability, emotional crises and brainwashing

Trust and the corruption of power

The following is Part Four of an expanded transcript of a detailed and in-depth interview Patrick Wanis PhD Human Behavior Expert gave to Michele Morrisette with  about gurus, cults and brainwashing. Here Patrick Wanis reveals that the easiest way to brainwash someone or take advantage of that person is when he/she is highly vulnerable and experiencing an emotional crisis. Click here for previous part of the interview, Part Three:

Patrick Wanis: The Secret was tapping into and appealing to our primary drives for greed, lust and instant gratification – our desires over our needs!

“We must shift America from a needs [culture] to a desires-culture. People must be trained to desire, to want new things, even before the old have been entirely consumed. We must shape a new mentality in America. Man’s desires must overshadow his needs.” – Paul Mazur, a leading Wall Street banker working for Lehman Brothers, 1927, Harvard Business Review.

So John Assaraf’s story in The Secret was about a house. One of the teachers is talking about teaching his 13-year-old kid to visualize a bicycle.

Is that what a parent, a man, a father should be teaching his 13-year-old child instead of teaching him how to become a man and how to contribute to the world and how to maneuver his way through life? Oh, visualize a bicycle and everything will be great.

So, The Secret was targeting basic urges of greed, lust and power.

But also marketing and brainwashing simply occurs via the identification of something in you that you feel is missing and then offering you the solution. If you happen to be in a really vulnerable state in your life because you have maybe more than one of these needs not being met and someone charismatic comes along, it’s easy for you to fall into the trap.

I call it a trap because once you’re in it, it’s hard to get out of it. You literally feel trapped.

Let’s go back to the James Ray case to give you just a classic example. The people, Michele, that attended the James Ray retreat were not dummies. They were not weak-minded people. They were doctors and successful businesspeople and one was an orthodontist. These were educated, intelligent people. One was actually a psychologist. You have to say to yourself, “Well, how did they get brainwashed?”

And what did they actually do that might even be defined as being brainwashed?

They entered this retreat and in the testimony given during the trial, witnesses said that they were afraid of James Ray: that they were seeking his approval, that if they did something he didn’t like, he would mock them. He set himself up as a God and he pushed them to say basically ignore the physical signs of distress when you’re in the sweat lodge. Ignore your body telling you that you’re going to die.

Now of course in trial, he says, “No, no, I didn’t say that,” and he’s defensive. No, no, we said people could leave at any time. But the testimony was very different and these people trusted James Ray – and here comes the next element of brainwashing.

When we hand over our power to someone, we are trusting them.

These people trusted their physical safety to James Ray.

So brainwashing is an easy thing that can occur to all of us. We can easily get duped into buying something we don’t want to buy, becoming part of a program that we don’t really want to become part of, or attending a seminar or retreat that maybe we don’t really need.

The other element here is what I call the interactive dynamic between the followers and the teacher, leader, guru or cult leader and that means that someone sets out and says, “Look, I have something that you need,” and maybe that’s just knowledge. Maybe that’s just some wisdom. So that person might be a teacher or he might say something even stronger “I have the secret: or he might say “you have to attend these camps. You have to attend this retreat. You have to buy my product.” The people now who are feeling emotionally vulnerable start to give away their power and they say, “OK, here’s my money. Here’s my power. I trust you. I will listen to you. I will be obedient. I will do as you say.”

And when that happens, Michele, the person that is receiving the power starts to become corrupted. In other words, the obedience, the trust, the handing over of power and control to one person, to a leader, eventually corrupts the person in power.

In 1887, Lord Acton said, “All power tends to corrupt and absolute power corrupts absolutely.”

So this is the same thing with Arnold Schwarzenegger or Jesse James and Anthony Weiner. All these people have been cited for betrayal and cheating, and lying to their wives, to their partner, and even in some cases, situations that involve money and politics.

When a person gets into a situation of becoming powerful, they then fall into delusions of grandeur and denial.

That means they start to feel invincible and entitled.

Now that “I’m so powerful” – and this is documented – research has shown and even more so with men than women that once people get into positions of power, they start to think that the rules no longer apply to them. “I can do whatever I want. I can get away with it. No one can touch me. I’m invincible and I’m entitled. I can have whatever I want.” And this is what has happened with James Ray and has happened with a lot of other leaders. It even happened to golfer, Tiger Woods.

At a press conference Woods confessed: look, I became narcissistic.  I became selfish.  I became entitled.  I thought the world owes me.  I thought because I’m rich and powerful and famous and I’ve worked hard.  He did use those words:  That I can do whatever I want, that I can have it, and then he did add that money and power and fame made it easier for him to get it.

So it’s about identifying the dynamic of people giving their power to someone and someone becomes corrupted because of the power and then they just exact and demand more power from the people and so the people become like sheep; they become controlled by that person and I just want to share this with you, Michele, that this statement by Lord Acton in 1887 was actually not about politics.

Click here for Part 5 of the expanded transcript of the in-depth interview by Patrick Wanis PhD, Human Behavior Expert about gurus, cults and brainwashing; Patrick Wanis reveals that the quote that absolute power corrupts absolutely was not about politics but rather, it was about religion. Patrick also reveals the primary way Charles Manson recruited people to his Family and cult: 

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