The pervasiveness of attempts at mind control is so everywhere present in today’s world that we almost take it for granted. It has become a part of who we are as human beings to convince others to believe as we do, to buy into our opinions, and to spend money for the products that we want to sell, whether or not it is for our own well being.
While researching my next story about cults for the God’s Child series of novels, I have become immersed in studying the topic of mass movements, fundamentalism, the so-called cosmic war, zealotry (fanaticism to the point of self-sacrifice), and the reasons that anyone would fall prey to these mind-altering and even mind-stealing groups. I have had personal experience with cults and mass movements in the past giving me more than just a theoretical framework to approach this study. Only in the past few years do I believe that I rid myself of the last vestiges of allowing anyone to influence my thinking to the point where I am in danger of losing my own healthy skepticism. It hasn’t been an easy journey.
The Bibliography: I won’t claim to be an expert, but I hope to share the information that I am gleaning in my reading, and sharing some of the insights of the many who have gone before me in their own concern about the ease with which our minds can fall prey to those who would manipulate them for their own agendas. In my current study, these are the books that I have read so far:
Snapping, (1978) by Flo Conway and Jim Seigelman. This amazing book has been updated to a 1995 edition, so it is still a bit dated, but it is yet the most clear explanation of what happens inside the mind of a person who undergoes sudden personality change and falls prey to mind control.
American Theocracy, the Peril and Politics of Radical Religion, Oil, and Borrowed Money in the 21st Century , (2006) by Kevin Phillips. Of special note is Phillips’ history of how the fundamentalist way of thinking began in the United States and how it spread and grew to what it has become today.
The True Believer, (1951) by Eric Hoffer. This brilliant and self-educated author brings profound observations and insights into the minds of fanatics and how people become zealots (fanatics).
Understanding Mysticism, (1980) edited by Richard Woods. This book is out of print and available only through used-book sellers. I read it a long time ago and remember being fascinated by it. However, I suspect that much of the thinking in these essays is outdated because scientific techniques for studying processes in the brain are growing more sophisticated all the time. I mention it only as a historical reference of how people tried to understand the once mysterious mysticism.
Zealot, The Life and Times of Jesus of Nazareth, (2013) by Reza Aslan. A book that should be read by anyone interested in the historical origin and growth of Christianity. It is not what you think. If you are a “true believer,” read it at your peril. It may open your mind.
Kingdom Coming, The Rise of Christian Nationalism, (2007) by Michelle Goldberg. An indispensable guide to what is happening in America today. Goldberg names names, not only of people, but of organizations and how they are conspiring to change the the face of American culture and politics. Example: The most effective technique of influencing the United States government is to get elected at the local level and move on up to national office.
“. . .Dominion theology. . . asserts that, in preparation for the second coming of Christ, godly men have the responsibility to take over every aspect of society.” If you read nothing else in this bibliography, read Goldberg’s book. It explains a great deal of what is happening in in our government and why members of congress may not be working together for the good of this country any time soon. People who live in different realities are not able to communicate with one another.
Deadly Spin, An Insurance Company Insider Speaks Out on how Corporate PR is Killing Health Care and Deceiving Americans, (2012) by Wendell Potter. The story of the relentless propaganda that is crippling American health care and weakening the attempt to reform the health care industry. How can ordinary people decipher truth from expertly delivered spin?
Highly Recommended, Harnessing the Power of WORD OF MOUTH and SOCIAL MEDIA to build Your Brand and Your Business, (2014) by Paul M. Rand. This is one of literally thousands of books purporting to show to show you how to influence people to your way of thinking, to bring customers to your business, to sell them your product. We don’t need to be accosted on the street anymore by someone in a weird costume asking for money to fall prey to someone trying to influence your mind. It’s all around us.
Another one which I have not read yet is Platform, Get Noticed in a Noisy World, (2012) by Michael Hyatt. Yet another is Forces for Good, The Six Practices of High-Impact Nonprofits, (2008) by Leslie R. Crutchfield and Heather McLeod Grant. There appears to be a thin line between the techniques of the manipulators who are attempting to draw you into a mass movement or a cult and those who are trying to get you to jump on board a way of thinking that enhances their bottom line or promotes their goal.
Why is war so prevalent? Because unless mass movement manipulators
can develop a credible enemy, they cannot rally followers to their ‘holy’ cause. This has been seen time and again throughout history. More than ever before in history, we are developing weapons that can destroy whole populations. It is imperative that all of us understand what is at stake, how we can end war as a tool to conquer self-created enemies, and that prevention of war, any war, is possible.