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← Ultra-Orthodox Jews Rally to Discuss Risks of Internet

Zeuglodon's Avatar Jump to comment 12 by Zeuglodon

Comment 10 by Cook@Tahiti

The first law of any cult is to limit or strictly control engagement with the outside world. It doesn't matter if it's Scientology or North Korea.

Kathleen Turner in Brainwashing: The Science of Thought Control outlined a list of features that make mental control over a person possible, and restricting engagement with contradictory ideas was on the list. She referenced several case studies, notably the Mao communist state and its methods of dealing with dissent. Interestingly, it was from a Chinese phrase that we get the word "brainwashing", which in the original Chinese language was meant to invoke disease and cleanliness and thus imply that people were "sick in the mind" and needed their brains washed and cleaned.

It's not hard to see why controlling people's engagement with the outside world would be on the list: what you've never encountered you don't know. What you don't know can't challenge what you already think. It's one barrier among many used to protect dogma.

What I find puzzling is why this Jewish community is so keen to demonize something that some of its members admit to using every day. What possible harm do they predict will come of it? Will it lead people to kill others or hurt others? Does it reliably deteriorate the life satisfaction of all those who come into contact with it? And what does that say about their opinion of the rest of us "outsiders", who do use the Internet?

Wed, 23 May 2012 00:22:56 UTC | #943015