Freitag, 13. Juli 2012

'Some of the mind control techniques Orwell described in "1984" that parallel methods Jones used include:

"Big brother is watching you." Jones used this idea to gain the loyalty of his followers. He required followers to spy on one another and blasted messages from loudspeakers so that his voice was always present while they worked, slept and ate, Zimbardo says.

Self-incrimination. Jones instructed followers to give him written statements about their fears and mistakes and then, if they disobeyed him, he used that information to humiliate them or subject them to their worst fears during public meetings. In "1984," the main character's resistance is broken when he is subjected to his worst fear of being covered in rats.

Suicide drills. Orwell's main character said that "the proper thing was to kill yourself before they get you" in a threat of war. Jones had his followers do practice suicide drills right up to the actual mass suicide event.

Distorting people's perceptions. Jones blurred the relationship between words and reality, for example, by requiring his followers to give him daily thanks for good food and work--yet the people were starving and working six and a half days a week, Zimbardo says. Similarly, Orwell described such a technique, which he called "newspeak."

By mastering such mind control techniques, Jones was able to gain followers' obedience and loyalty, Zimbardo says. "Jim Jones is probably the most charismatic cult leader in modern times in terms of his personal appeal, oratory, his sexual appeal, his just sheer dynamism and his total participation in the control of every member of his group," he explains.

Mindless compliance

These mind control techniques--coupled with the creation of a new social environment--provided Jones with a powerful influence over his followers, Zimbardo says.

Quite arguably, Jones, through his natural understanding of social psychology, knew the way to obtain a strong influence over his followers was to move them from their urban American environment to a remote South American jungle, generating uncertainty in their new surroundings, Cialdini says. And when people are uncertain, they look to others for cues on what to do, research has shown. Zimbardo notes that people are particularly vulnerable when they are in new surroundings, feel lonely or disconnected.'