The Program is a novel by author Gregg Hurwitz. Although it's fiction, The Program provides some great insight into abusive groups and destructive movements, as well as ways to social hack a Large Group Awareness Training.
In this case, social hack is used to refer to a method to literally disrupt and ideally completely destabilize the Large Group Awareness Training, from the inside out.
10 key ways to social hack a Large Group Awareness Training:
1) Act authoritatively.
Destructive groups and abusive movements often model their staff and
train their leadership after the one influential leader and founder of
the group. They will not expect you yourself to also act in this manner.
They often act authoritarian and totalitarian, as this is how these staff members are taught, to emulate and act like their leader and founder.
2) Bring a mental health professional as part of your social hacking group. Ideally this would be someone with a PhD in psychology or an M.D. with a specialty in psychiatry.
This person would educate and brief the members of the social hacking
team about tactics and methods of the group, and the dangers of getting
in too deep into its thought patterns.
3) Bring an ex-member
of the group in question. This ex-member should be someone intimately
aware of the ways the group functions, and yet out for enough time to
have fully gone through a period of cognitive dissonance and awakened back to a pattern to appropriately interact with society again.
4) Bring law enforcement
or someone familiar with the law. This person will help brief the rest
of the members of the social hacking team on their rights should staff
from the destructive group or abusive movement falsely make claims about
their actions during the seminar. This person would also be quite
useful to conduct research into the possible criminal activities of the
group and its founder and leader. This person should instruct all
members of the social hacking team on ways to have fun disrupting and
destabilizing the Large Group Awareness Training seminar, without doing anything illegal.
5) Don't follow group mentality.
Refuse to stand when everyone else stands. Don't clap when everyone
else claps. This will help you maintain your sense of self and
independence throughout the attempts by the abusive group or destructive
movement at influence and manipulation. If you are asked to explain
yourself by a staff member of the abusive group, sample language from
the book includes: "From what I've seen, I'm not sure if I like The
Program yet. If I decide that I don't like what's going on here, I'm
leaving. Thank you for having me here today." (Obviously replace "The
Program" with the name of whatever destructive group or abusive
movement's seminar you are attending.)
6) Politely interrupt the seminar
with inquisitive questions. Make sure to be polite about this. Again,
maintain a positive and happy attitude when doing this. Most likely
other members of the seminar in the room full of 200 or so people will
echo some of your concerns.
7) Assertively affirm your positive outlook on life.
Wording suggested in the book by the fictional psychologist, character
Dr. Glen Bederman is: "My Program is: I participate in activities that
give me self-esteem, and I have the courage to decline to participate in
those activities that do not." This frames your reason for attending in
a positive way that simultaneously retains your own sense of self,
independence, assertiveness, and self worth. It also signals to
potential shills, dupes, and marks in the audience that they can
similarly adopt your positive yet independent attitude and modus
operandi while being in the seminar.
8) Maintain a positive and happy attitude.
You are there to have a fun time. Act like it. Potential shills and
suckers and marks will respond positively to you if you question the
methods and tactics of the abusive group or destructive movement, while
at the same time showing you are a happy and fulfilled person.
9) Bring a digital thermometer.
Destructive groups and abusive movements will sometimes wildly alter
the ambient temperature in the room where the seminar is conducted, in
order to put attendees off balance. If you notice this pattern, politely
but loudly question the staff on this, in front of the rest of the
seminar participants so they can all hear your concerns.
10) Ask the staff loudly and politely if they are licensed to practice hypnosis.
In the book, the fictional psychologist Dr. Glen Bederman asks: "Are
you licensed to administer hypnosis in the state of California?" When
the abusive group's leader "TD" responds: "We're not practicing hypnosis
here. We're simply meditating.", Dr. Bederman loudly points out in
earshot of the entire seminar: "Guided meditation is a form of hypnosis.
Everyone in this room should know that."
But wait, there's more: There are plenty other helpful pointers to social hack a Large Group Awareness Training in this section of the book, and it's all there on pages 323-337.
Other educational takeaways from the book:
256-263: Exit counseling with psychologist Dr. Glen Bederman; this
fictional character created by the author Gregg Hurwitz is likely an
amalgam of non-fiction psychologists and psychiatrists who have studied
victims of abusive groups and destructive movements.
270-272: The investigator meets with postal inspector Owen B.
Rutherford; the author Gregg Hurwitz in the book's Acknowledgements
section credits postal inspector Mike McCarthy for his research in this
area. What's most interesting about this part of the book is the postal
inspector character's statements about the crime of tampering with U.S.
mail. The section of the book deals with an abusive group and
destructive movement that takes away mail from its members that live on
its controlled compound, a crime which is: "Most obviously a Title 18,
Section 1708 -- theft or receipt of stolen mail matter, generally. But
between theft, obstruction, and destruction, we could have over two
hundred federal, criminal, and civil statutes."
character postal inspector Owen B. Rutherford: "Do you know what a
thirty-seven-cent stamp buys you? ... Not just delivery service. Oh, no.
The thirty-seven cents buys you a fiduciary relationship with the
United States Postal Service. We are custodians of private property.
Namely: the mail. That private property belongs to the sender until it comes into the hands of the intended recipient.
These jelly-spined bliss ninnies can't grant the right for their leader
to destroy incoming mail before it comes into their actual possession
-- it isn't their mail to relinquish. First-class mail must be
delivered, forwarded, returned to sender, or sent to the mail-recovery
center. Any other act is a violation of the rights of the sender. A violation further of the sanctity of the mail and -- make no mistake -- it is as such a felony in its own right."
This is all from The Program a novel by author Gregg Hurwitz. Check it out!
Thursday, January 31, 2013
Friday, January 25, 2013
Self-Help debunked and exposed in five fun articles :
1) New book by author Brian Haigh
2) New York Magazine at http://www.nymag.com
3) io9 at http://www.io9.com
4) The Advocate of Hampstead & Manchester at http://www.carrollcountytimes.com
5) Blouin Art Info at http://www.artinfo.com
Sunday, January 20, 2013
Two pop culture LGAT updates:
This looks to be a fascinating play inspired by a young girl who was subjected to a form of large group awareness training at the age of nine years old.
Dr. Berman compares a former leader of a large group awareness training organization to: “Ayn Rand warmed over”. It’s a most interesting and fascinating commentary on the resultant psyche of those who have participated in forms of large group awareness training.
Sunday, December 02, 2012
Best 9 ways to check if your group is led by a dangerous charismatic leader
Is your Large Group Awareness Training being led by (or founded by) a dangerous charismatic leader? Here are the best 9 ways to find out, with some additional resources below:
1) Is your charismatic leader manipulative, does he act like a con artist?
2) Does your charismatic leader maintain a grandiose sense of self? Does she feel everything is owed to her as a right?
3) Is your charismatic leader a pathological liar? Does he lie even when it is obvious or even in small situations when it is unnecessary?
4) Does your charismatic leader have a lack of remorse? Does she not show any guilt or signs of shame for dangerous or even possibly criminal behavior she may have performed in the past?
5) Is your charismatic leader a thrill seeker? Does he have a need for stimulation? Does he partake in dangerous thrill seeking behavior in his spare time?
6) Does your charismatic leader have a lack of empathy? Is she callous? Does she ridicule others in public or in front of large groups of people?
7) Is your charismatic leader impulsive or have poor behavior control mechanisms? Is he prone to making large purchases of extravagant gifts for himself? Is he prone to fits of rage or abuse? Does he command others to perform abuse on his behalf?
8) Did your charismatic have early onset of behavior problems? Was she a juvenile delinquent? Was she cruel to others as a youngster? Did she have early failed relationships?
9) Is your charismatic leader unfaithful to his sexual partners? Is he promiscuous? Does he have a disturbing pattern of serial adultery or infidelity? Were there reports of child abuse, child sexual abuse, or rape committed or allegedly committed by the charismatic leader?
Skeptictank.org. "Profile of Cult Leaders".
Dannyhaszard.com. "Psychopathy and Characteristics of a Cult Leader".
Truthonthenet.com. "Profile of a Cult Leader".
Anandainfo.com. "Cult Leaders: The Master Manipulator".
Tobias, Madeline Landau; Janja Lalich. Captive Hearts, Captive Minds. (1994). Chapter 5: "Characteristics of a Cult Leader". pp. 67-79.
Note: Captive Hearts, Captive Minds is an excellent resource for further info, many of the questions above were drawn from warning signs about charismatic leaders in this section of the text.