NJS&S: How can someone let their mind be overtaken?
SH: The mind, despite all its strength and ability, has weaknesses, too. It is dependent on a stream of coherent information to function properly. Put a person in a sensory deprivation chamber, and within minutes he will start to hallucinate and become incredibly suggestible. Likewise, put a person into a situation where his senses are overloaded with non-coherent information, and the mind will go “numb” as a protective mechanism. It gets confused and overwhelmed, and critical faculties no longer work properly. It is in this weakened state that people become very open to suggestion.
NJS&S: What are some of the other techniques used to maintain control?
SH: Another key aspect of thought control involves training members to block out any information that is critical of the controlling group. Normal defense mechanisms often become so twisted that individuals defend their new cult identity against their old, former self.
Perhaps the most widely used, and most effective, technique for controlling thoughts is thought-stopping. Victims are taught to use thought-stopping on themselves to halt the “negativity” of any criticism and center themselves, thus shutting out anything that threatens or challenges the controller’s version of reality.