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Blind obedience


Techniques Conversion > Blind obedience

Everything is provided | Rites of passage | Every detail of livingSee also


One way groups retain their members is by stripping of the ability to make decisions for themselves.

Everything is provided

When first joining the group, it can be a great relief to find that everything is provided for you. After the weight of responsibility of life outside, where you are constantly faced with difficult choices, it can be marvelous to find that you don't have to do everything for yourself.

All that is required in exchange for this kindness is that you follow some very sensible rules that are designed just to help everyone live and work together, and to show respect for one another. And especially for the leader, of course.

Rites of passage

A classic method that groups and gangs use is a rite of passage where initiates have to perform embarrassing, difficult or painful tasks, that can range from body mutilation to fasting to suffering ritualized abuse. The usual reason is to 'tradition' or to demonstrate their commitment to the group. In practice, it is really to prove that they will obey even the most ridiculous or demeaning command.

The consistency principle also applies here. If I obey strange commands in practice, then I will change may beliefs about myself to be a person who always obeys such commands.

Every detail of living

The more the person gets into the group, the more even the smallest decisions may be removed from them. It may include:

  • Clothing, length of hair, make-up and jewelry
  • Who you may talk with and call a friend
  • What you do and where you go
  • What, when and how you eat
  • What you do, every minute of the day and night

The penalties for not obeying are socially significant and sometimes physically, too, so the group member finds it much easier to go along with requests than to object. Steadily, they have to ask permission for smaller and smaller actions. And before long, they are unable to make any decisions for themselves.

See also

Authority principle, Consistency principle


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