On one of the recent Fair Game Podcast, Chris Shelton recommended Robert Jay Lifton’s book Thought Reform and the Psychology of Totalism .
Then Mockingbird posted a comment concerning this and I thought it important to include it as a post, as he summarizes the eight criteria for Thought Reform isolated by the author. I should note, there are many excellent articles at Mockingbird’s Nest blog.
Here is his comment in full. I have highlighted the 8 criteria.
Mike Rinder recently pointed out something that most people miss, even experts.
He pointed out that the E meter is used to convince members that the auditor knows what they are thinking, and that the meter is ALWAYS right! That is a powerful suggestion!
If the auditor says something must be true, you believe them!
This adds power to the already hypnotic techniques used in Scientology. These techniques include mimicry, repetition, repetition-with-variation, paradox (aka contradiction aka confusion), vivid imagery, inspiring awe, attention fixation, leading questions, overwhelm, authority indoctrination and more.
I think that future podcasts with Chris Shelton and Jon Atack discussing this would be great.
The technique Mike Rinder described in my mind is best broken down by cult expert Robert Jay Lifton in his eight criteria for thought reform. The eight criteria have helped literally thousands, probably tens of thousands, of people to realize how their group manipulated them via covert persuasion.
The almost magical power of these words is in the fact that they reframe the insidious influence of the cult techniques and explain how these methods fool and affect people.
I recommend everyone study them and if you want to understand cults, including Scientology learn them until you know them cold. Learn them until you can explain them to a ten year old with no references.
I am going to include an abridged version and a link to the longer version.
I am also going to post links to some posts on the techniques used in Scientology.
I think that one of the things that inhibits recovery from Scientology the most is the extensive indoctrination that is jam packed with contradictions. You have confusion increased by the never ending mountain of contradictions in Scientology. That is intentional. Hubbard wanted the confusion to overwhelm you, so the only thing you know is that he has the answers and you don’t. This is intended to increase suggestibility and dependence in you and authority and power for Hubbard.
Dr. Robert Jay Lifton’s Eight Criteria for Thought Reform
Milieu Control. This involves the control of information and communication both within the environment and, ultimately, within the individual, resulting in a significant degree of isolation from society at large.
Mystical Manipulation. There is manipulation of experiences that appear spontaneous but in fact were planned and orchestrated by the group or its leaders in order to demonstrate divine authority or spiritual advancement or some special gift or talent that will then allow the leader to reinterpret events, scripture, and experiences as he or she wishes.
Demand for Purity. The world is viewed as black and white and the members are constantly exhorted to conform to the ideology of the group and strive for perfection. The induction of guilt and/or shame is a powerful control device used here.
Confession. Sins, as defined by the group, are to be confessed either to a personal monitor or publicly to the group. There is no confidentiality; members’ “sins,” “attitudes,” and “faults” are discussed and exploited by the leaders.
Sacred Science. The group’s doctrine or ideology is considered to be the ultimate Truth, beyond all questioning or dispute. Truth is not to be found outside the group. The leader, as the spokesperson for God or for all humanity, is likewise above criticism.
Loading the Language. The group interprets or uses words and phrases in new ways so that often the outside world does not understand. This jargon consists of thought-terminating cliches, which serve to alter members’ thought processes to conform to the group’s way of thinking.
Doctrine Over Person. Member’s personal experiences are subordinated to the sacred science and any contrary experiences must be denied or reinterpreted to fit the ideology of the group.
Dispensing of Existence. The group has the prerogative to decide who has the right to exist and who does not. This is usually not literal but means that those in the outside world are not saved, unenlightened, unconscious and they must be converted to the group’s ideology. If they do not join the group or are critical of the group, then they must be rejected by the members. Thus, the outside world loses all credibility. In conjunction, should any member leave the group, he or she must be rejected also. (Lifton, 1989)
Anyone familiar with scientology will recognize most of these criteria to present. Anyone who has been immersed in scientology, will recognize them ALL.
Though he set out to study Chinese brainwashing, Lifton isolated factors that had much broader application.
Of course, within scientology, Dr. Lifton is dismissed as a crackpot psych, intent on destroying mankind. And as part of the “Sacred Science” of scientology, his conclusions are to be rejected as these were not things laid out as truth by L. Ron Hubbard (at least not publicly, and I say this because Hubbard’s Brainwashing Manual that he circulated supposedly written by Beria includes a lot of the same concepts). As part of the Dispensing of Existence no psych has any right to exist, in fact they are all to be annihilated, obliterated and destroyed for the good of mankind.
It is fascinating how accurately Lifton describes scientology.
Hana L. Whitfield says
Dr. Lifton’s eight points of mind control and thought reform are the foundation of my husband’s and my work helping families retrieve their loved ones from Scientology since 1989. We created a non-coercive education protocol that respects all attendees, encourages free communication, and includes licensed mental health professionals as required. It includes educating families beforehand on the issues involved, theirs and those of their loved ones, without which resolution of conflicts can be harder to achieve. We have done our work since 1989.
Lifton’s list also applies to U.S. politics, obviously more so today than when he wrote it in 1989, 32 years ago.
I concur. Whilst reading these points I compared them to the religious and political milieu in which I was raised. Ironically, these practices bear little resemblance to The Church in which I was raised, which thankfully was not Scientology. But it certainly looks like certain movements which now exist in each political party in the U.S. and these characteristics can also be seen in the U.S education industry – which is most disturbing.
The following post is more Off Topic and is intended for anyone who is interested in following the case against Danny “Rapist” Masterson. In case you don’t know there has been some news about people in Danny’s camp attacking Leah Remini. They claim that Leah told some of the Plaintiffs in this case that unless they did what she told them, she would remove their appearances on Mike and Leah’s TV Show: Scamology and the Aftermath.
Tony Ortega explains this on his website and also explains that it is ridiculous and stupid to believe that Leah would have ever done such a thing.
Anyone who may be interested can find the explanation on Tony Ortega’s web site. Here is the link:
Personally, I really enjoyed Tony explaining why it was just so much nonsense to believe that Leah would have extorted these three ladies in the way it was alleged.
But I think anyone interested should read about this directly from Tony. He explains it about a million times better than I ever could and I hope you all will enjoy this read.
Mike Rinder says
You can also read it directly from me here as I was part of this. It’s complete made up bs. And indicative of how far he is reaching to deflect from the facts of what he did.
Loosing my Religion says
Without pretending to add anything else, I want to give an example that perhaps can help.
As kids we sometimes pranked new ones who joined the group. It simply consisted of having the newcomer close by and telling one of my friends “Come on, he’s new forgive him, he didn’t know.”
The new guy fell into it almost immediately asking if it was him and what he had done. Before we denied it was about him but always trying to be unconvincing. He would keep asking for it and then we were saying to him “Come on, you’re new, you didn’t know”. The guy became more and more obsessed and sometimes he even apologized and remained worried.
NOTE: Even after we told him it was a joke and we all had a good laugh, he still came back to ask what he had done!
It is noteworthy that we have always been vague about what he did and didn’t and we created a sense of guilt. Well this was a form of light hypnosis that generated a whole series of behaviors and predispositions and was ready to receive any other suggestion only if we continued. If we wanted we could have kept it going for much longer adding new suggestions that would have put roots. But we never did it. It usually took 2 days for him to stop asking us what he did after repeating that it was a joke. Yes, we were a bunch of idiots.
Thank you to Mike Rinder for sharing my comment as a post.
I want to emphasize that the eight criteria for thought reform is a relatively brief reference that is a very effective educational tool. It has helped people from all types of abusive and controlling groups, including cults or totalitarian regimes, to recognize the covert persuasion techniques that were used on them.
I strongly encourage you to check out the chapter of his book that elaborates on this and it is available free online.
I also want to share a link to my blog and say that the sections on hypnosis and covert persuasion and thought reform/influence dig deep into the evidence that Hubbard knowingly used these methods to intentionally covertly make slaves of men and to explain how these techniques work in Scientology as well.
I think it’s also key that the e-meter works to elicit or even coerce confessions because the subject (“PC”) comes to believe it can read their mind – whether or not it really does (I think there’s good evidence that a GSR meter, particuarly in the hands of skilled operator, is at least marginally effective, though not of course say to the standards necessary to provide evidence in court, or to reliably catch pathological liars).
That builds on other factors to create a high control environment, and enable thought reform.
Marie guerin says
I read this book shortly after finding out about what was going on at Gold on the internet . It was intensely difficult to read and realize that everything I had been objecting to from the viewpoint of a mere public was actually shit coming down from the top and spreading to everybody in a very real and horrible way.
Thank you for posting this , it is vital information , to be able to recognize the method and avoid the pitfalls.
My bullshit radar is very strong because I recognized early on the importance of educating myself and understanding how I could have put up with such madness for so long.
If one searches on Youtube for North Korean “something” you will eventually find some interviews where escapees from North Korea explains what this book talks about in detail and how it works very well. Always educational to hear straight from the “horses mouth”.
Ammo Alamo said that Annie Archer asked, “Do I look brainwashed to you?” How can anyone look at someone and see a condition of the mind?
That is like asking someone, “Do I look like I have blood type A?” That is just nuts! It is of course impossible to look at someone and tell what their blood type is only by looking at them.
“Do I look like I have two sisters?”
“Do I look like my grandfather was born in Scotland?”
“Do I look like I had Raisin Bran for breakfast?”
Who would ask such stupid questions? The only people I can think of are those who are under mind control and who have been commanded to ask this stupid shit!
Monique Yingling's BT says
Speaking of Thought Reform – please contact Monique Yingling with your Scientology horror stories – she wants to hear from you. If you have experienced financial ruin, lost homes due to Scientology pressure manipulation and deceitful regging, gone broke, had your family shattered, had someone you cared about commit suicide due to Scientology, or you lost years of your life working for nothing as a slave for Scientology – let Monique Yingling know.
She is getting paid with blood money.
She was voted #2 in the World of those enabling Scientology today.
Let her know that you know she received this prestigious award.
Something Can Be Done About It!
Please write to Monique Yingling and send her your story.
Her email is: email@example.com
Peggy L says
The kindest thing I can say about Yingling is that she’s a human parasite. She doesn’t care if she’s defending child molesters – She just gives me the creeps. She is just as responsible for the crimes of the cult as DM, another human parasite. Just my personal opinion of course.
Monique “Blinky Yingling “ the sleazy lawyer, a real Ding-a-ling, won the Scientology “Freedom from Reality” award for her uncanny ability to stick her head in the sand while she takes in all that blood money from the World’s most evil cult; SCIENTOLOGY, as it shatters lives daily.
Her stats are Straight Up and Vertical for number of blinks given in the blink of an eye.
# of Blinks = # of lies told.
Hip Hip Hooray for Monique Yingling the ding-a-ling!
You spent your life Keeping Scientology Working
May the power of karma kick your blinking cock roach lawyer arse.
Rip Van Winkle says
I was just playing around with your “categories” drop down menu
Mike, you have so many valuable tools now on your blog. I was wondering where this one would fit. I didn’t see where I might be able to find it later.
I was wondering if it would be too onerous to create a tab of “references and tools”.
You have the Important Articles, but that doesn’t cover all the gold you have here.
Maybe going back and tagging all them to fit would be troublesome. But it could start here…
in the meantime, I’ll bookmark it for myself. 🙂
Totally agree Mike. Totally.
Rip Van Winkle says
This is so valuable.
Ammo Alamo says
“Do I look brainwashed to you?” asks Anne Archer of John Sweeney. When he stands silent with no reply, she gets all huffy.
Too bad Sweeney didn’t have a copy of Lifton’s ‘eight criteria for thought reform’ to hand her. He could have turned the question around and asked “Have you been subjected to any of this?”
But I doubt he would have received a different response. She would have made another huffy head shake, another flight from any confrontation with her real self. She was, of course, fully indoctrinated in the prison of belief called Scientology, and could only do and think what the teachings of Hubbard allowed her to do and think.
Clearly Not Clear says
Mockingbird has taken the time to write a wonderful and simple post. I very much appreciate this. Jay Lifton really nails what malign influence is. A great read.
TT Greco says
Just to be fair here, I’ve got to express my disagreement with the hypnosis being part of any level of Hubbard’s processing steps. I’ve trained all the way to the top, delivered over 25000 hours of auditing in over 20 years of dedicated service and I’ve NEVER EVER hypnotised anyone, neither been hypnotised by any of my auditors. I’ve seen hypnotists at work both live or on TV and people really hypnotized. Auditing and hypnosis have nothing in common.
Mike Rinder says
I think you don’t understand what hypnosis is. It’s not a parlor trick or what you see on TV. It is far more subtle and complex.
TT Greco says
Explain it to this guy what hypnosis is. He seems to have it taped!
Traumatized by Scientology says
I quit smoking using hypnosis. I also got trapped in Scientology for many years, went financially broke and lost my family, thanks to master Hypnotist L Ron Hubbard.
Hypnosis works when the founder of Scientology and Dianetics knows how to use it and L Ron Hubbard was a MASTER. Hubbard knew how to use Rhetorical Writing to appeal to the various parts of man: the ego, emotions and logic etc. Hubbard was a clever Charlatan Con Man.
Study up on that subject. Fascinating none of us knew this – we were not educated. Shame on the US Government to allow Scientology to bully themselves into tax exempt status while calling themselves a religion so they can get away with daily crimes with no accountability as they rape the members financially, spiritually, emotionally and sometimes physically.
By the way, with regards to propaganda, repetition is one of the ways L Ron Hubbard gets control of your mind.
“Go Clear”! “Move up in Status”! “Do your Bridge”! “The Psychs are coming! The Psych’s are coming!”.
Loaded langauge gets into your subconscious mind and is implanted there to be used against you when the cult wants to control you.
Beware of Scientology. You are playing Russian Roulette with your mind and you will pay for it too.
Rip Van Winkle says
almost 50 years ago, as a very young person in my teens,
I walked into a scientology organization, sat down, and spent 8 hours a day staring at another person in front of me trying to learn how to do it comfortably without moving or blinking.
rigid hours of sitting still, learning to not react, to speak and answer in acceptable tones and cadences, choices of words and phrases.
Approval for agreement, disapproval or concern for disagreement.
Soon, I was walking back and forth between a book and a bottle… for hours.
theft of decades.
There’s a reason TRs come first.
Loosing my Religion says
TT Greco. I fully understand your objection. Here it is the link where you can find what Mike meant about hypnosis and how this is applied in scn.
jim rowles says
I think you and I are in the minority regarding TRs and hypnosis. When I got started the TRs became for me not only fun but a continuation of meditation and the desire to expand my awareness. I always took the opportunity to do TRs when hanging loose at the old LA Org. It’s still fun.
When ‘hard TRs’ became mandatory is when I saw first saw glassy eyed auditors with zero attention outward. THEY HAD SELF HYPNOTIZED!! The recognition shocked me but I had no handle on what was going on at the time. Robots are not going to have feelings/empathy for a PC, nor are they going to follow the PCs mind and mental condition because such an auditor is ‘not there’. So much for PC gains.
Have we been down this road before?
TT Greco says
Thanks for your message. I’ve no subjective reality of troubles doing TRs or else except
when lacking proper rest. This doesn’t include the RPF program as it had nothing to do with my wellbeing
@TTGreco and few others: I am in this camp as well. I found drilling the “Training Routines” (TRs) to be helpful and stabilizing, drills to make me more “woke.” Many times, in regular life and work, people would compliment and thank me for my ability to remain composed when some type of storm kicked in. I found the TR 0 drilling to be calming and centering. If I was ever asked in the course room to please drill TRs with someone else, I always said “Yes.” I think there have been some discussions that the TR 0 drill can be traced to a Hindu practice and it may be experienced as a helpful type of meditation.
I also never had anything but good experiences with auditors and auditing. I am trained, so I considered I had a handle on what was going on. I had only good sessions, good happy wins. I do not consider that I was ever “making things up.” Then again, I never had an experience in an auditing session where anything was forced or enforced to make me think, “Well, I better just make something up to get out of this.” When the auditor and I excavated something that was reading on the meter and we pulled it all the way out to view, to me, it was exquisitely detailed, captivating, and definitely helpful to “discharge.”
I consider I got relief and useful self-understanding. That’s enough for me. Grateful I did not have an encounter with a super-enforced unwanted and wrong auditing action. And I believe it, how these can be put there in a heavy controlled Scientology environment like an Advanced Org, the Freewinds, or in the Sea Org where the Scientology authorities have got you—you are not only doing services, you are LIVING THERE, so it’s near impossible to “get out of it” whatever program or process they have you on.
Where I depart grandly = with the practices of Church of Scientology discussed often: the penalizing, compassion-less, brutal, money extraction, bullying culture. Also, as Mike points out in a blog this month, the sad and profound realization: the org does “zilch” for its environment. Nothing. It is a 1.1 (covertly hostile) operation that puts out puffery. I was stunned to discover (because he told me) a top Div 6 staff member’s judge-y attitude and extreme poor regard for community leaders in our area. To him, even as he aimed to interact with them from time to time, they were just pitiful “wogs” and “incompetents.” The willingness to DISCARD human beings, oddly, I ran into again and again with staff and Sea Org members. Cognitive dissonance, for sure.
That Div 6 person is an example of a Scientologist who was groomed into becoming a worst sort of narcissistic snob. So sad. Myself, I used to feel bad that I kept myself “Scientology light.” Never joined staff or even ever got active on the OT Committee. The OTC looked like all sorts of dreadful paperwork, either Central files or shoving unwanted promo into people’s hands on the street.
After leaving and now, being part of this blog community, I can see I had a good instinct to not be deeply in. However, for me, I also do not “throw out the baby with the bath water.” I am glad I got auditor trained, got good products with my preclears, and gained useful concepts and understanding myself from auditing – without becoming a narcissistic snob. When I began to see more and more of that, it inspired me to peer behind the curtain, “get woke” in a new way, and LEAVE.
@TTGreco I really appreciate your comments here. I think it’s good to have some balance!
I am also in this minority.
After doing TRs I did not feel hypnotized. I felt more awake.
I started doing much better at my job.
I have heard a lot 0f nonsense about how Bull Baiting grooms one to accept and dish out abuse. Unless someone is an absolute moron, they will realize that this is only a drill.
The only time I ever received verbal abuse was in the days of the Finance Police.
I was thankful for all the hours of Bull Baiting I had done because it allowed me to decide how to react rather than being at effect. This did not mean I thought everything was OK. I hugely resented this treatment and it contributed greatly to my decision not to renew my staff contract when it expired.
The Finance Police heavily producted me to dish out the same treatment to others.
I non-complied since the order was illegal and diametrically opposed to any reason I had for getting into Scientology in the first place.
Cavalier, senses of increased awareness and focus can actually be effects of hypnosis. It’s a complex phenomenon – have you read MB’s and Jon Atack’s writings about how it is at work in Dianetics and Scientology?
And did you ever have “past life” recollections, especially “space opera” ones that fit with Hubbard’s cosmology? If so you were subject to suggestion through hypnotic techniques, if not hypnosis itself. That is, by the way, in Scientology’s case a cunning part of the thought reform process in which subjects are lead to create a false personal narrative, and then to act on it.
According to your definition tens if not hundreds of thousands of people in Scientology have been “absolute moron[s]” for accepting, if not also dishing out, abuse. What’s your view of how those people should be treated – should any consideration be given to those you imagine as weaker, weak minded or weak willed compared to yourself, or do they just deserve what they get (and to have things taken from them)?
Ha! I was expecting some kickback on this and am surprised that yours was the only one. That’s fine. It is a polite and well-reasoned response.
Now firstly, my statement about absolute morons referred to the TR Bull baiting drill only. The purpose of this drill is not:
“To teach the coach how to interact with others in real life.”
I am sure that there are a few congenital bullies and dim-witted people who did take it this way though. In my experience, most people were the same as me and just took the drill as intended, as a way of flattening buttons. No, I am not stronger willed, I am pretty much the norm. I personally did not see anyone turn into a monster after a bit of bullbaiting but I did talk to many people who were very enthusiastic about the gains.
The Finance Police naturally attracted people with Fascistic inclinations in my observations and these fall into the category of congenital bullies. The abusers were always a small minority.
I am a firm believer in Occam’s Razor. i.e. You make as few assumptions as possible and prefer a simple hypothesis over a convoluted one. The TRs state what the purpose of each drill is . For me, I got the expected results. and did better in life. I did not turn into a mindless zombie. I do not feel the need to take this any further as the3re is nothing further to say about it really.
I have been out of Scientology for many years now and I would never return. Back in the day I got a lot of gains though and I don’t see any point in denying this or claiming that every single thing was bad.
For Goodness Sake, just tell everything honestly.
Thank you for your comment.
I would like to address your statement.
Do you believe auditing functions as Hubbard described?
Do you believe that hypnosis exists?
What is your assessment of the basic techniques of hypnotic induction?
Do you recognize any of these techniques in the methods used in Dianetics and Scientology?
What do you believe are the signs of a hypnotised state in a subject? Do Dianetics and Scientology auditing or indoctrination methods induce any of these signs?
What is your opinion on the statements Hubbard made regarding Scientology being based on hypnosis and in Dianetics that you are laying in suggestions whether you want to or not? His statement that you can use confusion to overwhelm and confuse then control people? His statement that the only way to control people is to lie? His statement that you can use altitude instruction to lay in information on a hypnotic level?
His statement that you can pretend to be an authority and make a subject overly complex to use altitude instruction?
His affirmations (private self hypnosis commands) in which he told himself that his psychology hypnotizes others?
His affirmations overall?
Thank you for your answers, if you choose to provide any.
jim rowles says
I am happy to respond. ‘Do you believe auditing functions as Hubbard described?’
Given that the man used talk therapy extensively and mixed occult practices into it from 1952-198? makes it difficult to answer in any way other than; Yes, no, and everything in between. Beneficial results have always been hit-or-miss with talk therapies. And that is what I heard from old timers of the 1950s and 1960s. But, IMO, when Hubbard standardized auditing he made it impossible to work. When the auditor and the PC had to conform to the rote set of questions it no longer was a talk therapy but a drill in conformity (hypnosis). KSW was the final nail.
I still use the concepts I learned in auditor training in my life and feel the better for it.
Loosing my Religion says
I will send the link of this post to one person.
Just today a friend of mine let me know that she is starting the Solo auditor course to go on the OT levels with the Independents.
This was after she’d been away from it for a while and after just talking to a field auditor who had made her understand certain things.
I gave her my honest point of view on scn. But she told me that she was convinced she wanted to do it.
So I told her to do as she pleased if that was what she wanted to experience and that I’d be here anyway if she needed it.
Perhaps this post will give her an idea of how this ‘urge’ has returned.
Rip Van Winkle says
this is such a valuable tool.
I keep reading it, envisioning how a few specific might react.
For me, reading it feels like therapy.
fingers crossed for your efforts. <3
Loosing my Religion says
Rip. Thanks. Yes it is a such eyes opening and it makes totally sense.
Re: my friend. She is trying to solve a “problem” where she wants be more causative in life. But it doesn’t require ending on the indie OT levels. The auditor give her some “lrh stable data” and got her in for a free session. Now she sees to have a ‘solution’ . The indie guy, in my opinion, sees to have money on the way. I need to be a bit more “hardsell” with her. Lol!
Rip Van Winkle says
give her a feather.
if she feels she needs to clutch a feather to fly, give her a beautiful one. (Craft stores sell nice ones)
or maybe a pair of feather earrings.
the tek on achieving her goal affirms my Dumbo theory.
To be more causative in life, “one first assumes the beingness”
It’s always BE first on the Be Do Have.
Feathers or Red Dorothy Shoes, she’s always had the ability to go home.
THAT is what she is paying for
and THAT is what she will get.
exactly what she has now.
There are a lot of thoughtful comments here. Thank you.
I wanted to respond to this one in particular because you are describing the feeling a lot of ex cult members experience when we read the eight criteria and see examples in books and videos on cults in which members of other cults describe how the eight techniques are used in their cult, and we are suddenly aware of how they were used in our cult. In my case, Scientology.
This is a tool that changes lives, sometimes lives that have been stuck for decades!
Some things are essential in a certain endeavor and for many people these eight criteria are the key to recovery and indispensable.
I hope they help you and many others to do better and understand better. For some people who have worked at recovery they encapsulate the essence of what being in a cult is.
Hana L. Whitfield says
I agree. Understanding how abusive cults grab hold of peoples’ minds and change their identities in the process is key to helping them leave those cults and remain resilient to dangerous cult influences in the future. Doing anything less, leaves innocent victims floating, indecisive, anxious, or confused – all indicators of unresolved abuse.
Mary Kahn says
An ex-scientologist might think that Lifton referred to the “Technology” of Scientology, picked out the methods of brainwashing, and Voila! he had a book! Whether it’s from China or Hubbard’s own demented mind, these are methods of brainwashing and this ex-scientologist recognizes them all.
I think personally that Hubbard plagiarized his techniques from many sources including hypnosis and materials he could find on efforts at covert persuasion (including brainwashing) available in his day.