FINAL REPORT OF THE ENQUETE COMMISSION ON "SO-CALLED SECTS AND PSYCHOGROUPS"
5 Analysis of specific priority issues
In the following chapter, the Enquete Commission states its views on the question of psychological manipulation. In particular, the Commission seeks to answer the following questions:
There is a major gap between scientific descriptions of the factors seen as likely to cause the above-mentioned processes and everyday experience. This is particularly true of the many reports of individual experiences, as contrasted with scientific pronouncements on the subject. The spectrum ranges from the view that all interactions between the individual and groups perceived as offensive are determined by conscious and deliberate methods of manipulation by the community, to the view that the causes of these interactions and their results are largely a matter of individual discretion and that the group's attempt at influence have no effect. This in turn gives rise to very different views as to the ethics of these kinds of interaction. Roughly speaking, in the public debate on these matters, interaction theories tend on the whole to be contrasted with seduction theories. This is an emotional subject, one that is freighted with value judgements, and people's predilections tend to govern their selection of data; positions are taken that are hard to defend in scientific terms. In scientific circles, there is only minority support for seduction theories. 127 ) In part these theories are based on the assumption that manipulative methods of persuasion can also give rise to abnormal and dependent brain states that are susceptible to physiological diagnosis. More plausible, and supported by a majority of scholars concerned with the problem, is the assumption that it is not methods or techniques, but basic knowledge and the values, ideas and images of human beings and the world it implies and transmits, that matter most, even as concerns the impact of individual "techniques". Moreover, they see manipulative intentions as depending not only on systems of ideas and values, but on the "dose" that is administered and the accompanying socio-psychological processes, irrespective of the content that is administered. 128 )
The processes of acculturation in new religious and ideological communities and psychogroups are comparable with socialisation in other social groups and with educational processes. The difference lies mainly in the massive nature of the influence exerted on the individual, and the deliberate attempt to monopolise his attention.
Any legal judgement of such interactions can only be based on social actions which initiate heterosocialisation and autosocialisation processes for the purpose of generating or perpetuating inner states of mind: Teaching, therapy, training and other measures. Since religious group behaviour is learnt and maintained through the same mechanisms, there is no need for a special theory on sect socialisation. Belief in the efficacy of particular social techniques, procedures or methods presumably plays a larger role in the spiritual sphere, but even in what regards itself as the secular world this phenomenon is not unknown. 129 )
So-called ecstatic experiences that occur in connection with meditation can be especially convincing and plausible -- experiences of peace, calm, wholeness, or ecstatic experiences in which boundaries are dissolved, "cosmic consciousness", seeing light, and so forth. Such experiences can occur spontaneously or be methodically induced by certain techniques. Experiences of this kind can be fulfilling and liberating ("peak experiences"), but may also be regressive or destructive, depending on the methods, the individual's disposition, and the skills of those applying the methods. Although experiences of this kind, while under the influence of a group or doctrine, may develop a momentum of their own and a kind of persuasiveness and plausibility, and although in the event of abusive or improper application, forms of dependency are possible, it is questionable whether the manipulative use of such methods and techniques can indeed lead to socialisation in certain groups (by analogy with the assumptions about "brain washing").
The potential dangers of social techniques can only be assessed to the
extent that we can identify the associated human images, value systems
5.1.3 Levels of psychological dependency
This view also suggests comparison with political and family forms of dependency, which are based on the exercise of power, actual or potential.
The usefulness of this term is examined below, and a working definition will be proposed.
Psychological dependency and addiction
Psychological dependency is often compared with the phenomenon of addiction. Addiction consists in a powerful inner need -- not amenable to control by the will -- regularly to engage in a particular form of behaviour, or to have a particular experience, which is sought or performed in stereotypical fashion.
If this behaviour is inhibited, the result is stress, anxiety states, disorientation and possibly hyperactivity or depressive states (i.e. withdrawal symptoms). The readiness to engage in addictive behaviour arises less as a reaction to circumstances than as an inwardly-motivated retreat from the possibilities of self-regulation.
Similarities to psychological dependency in the sense presented here may be seen in the apparently compulsive nature of the behaviour. On closer examination, however, this compulsiveness (e.g. the stereotyped parroting of the group's slogans) turns out to be situation-specific, i.e. it is a way of dealing with people who are perceived as critical or hostile. However, it is less any intrapsychological causes that are crucial here than ways of relating to the outside world that are adopted when joining the group, including their emotional elements. In other words, this behaviour is an integral part of the "group culture", and almost always disappears in the event of deconversion.
Even so, there are numerous examples of particular experiences (auditing in Scientology, ecstatic experiences, meditative contemplation, etc.) which do give rise to quasi-addictive behaviour in certain individuals. Such experiences may be compulsively sought even after withdrawal from the group, although in that case outside the group. It may nevertheless be asked whether this dependence on experiences is an essential part of dependence on persons or the community, or whether it is not rather an individual symptom. In many individual cases, though, there undoubtedly is a resemblance to drug addiction.
For these reasons, the comparison between addiction and commitment to an extremist community can be seen as having only limited validity, and is seen to be clearly dependent on what view is taken of the particular group culture.
In the special case where commitment to the group is maintained not through positive gratification but through fear (of loss of orientation or relationship), it is possible to draw an analogy with addiction. 130 )
Psychological dependency and the exercise of power
Rather more plausible than the analogy with addiction is the comparison with other strong and exclusive social bonds. From research on the psychology of groups and from various experiments, we know about the general susceptibility to seduction by a given "group culture". "Group" is taken to mean a community in which belonging or not belonging is definable. This is what distinguishes them from masses or aggregations, i.e. a fortuitous collection of people. By definition, the group consists of an "in-group" and an "out-group", of "us" and "them". Groups are defined not only by the group boundary, but also by the relations among the "insiders", which are mostly structured by means of particular roles. Every group needs a certain period of time to build up the "in-group feeling", and to develop positions and roles. The internal and external relationships of a group are based on the community's definition of itself. It arises therefore from the group identity, which determines the nature of the members' relations among themselves and vis-ą- vis the outside world.
Normally, a group does not represent an individual's entire social environment, since he or she will belong to a number of groups which have different functions and are of varying importance. This means that the influence on the individual of any one group is kept within bounds, just as that influence is augmented if the group's claim on the individual is exclusive and purports to explain the meaning of life.
This must also be borne in mind when evaluating the behaviour of members of extremist groups, before any attempt is made to explain individual behaviour.
The internal and external relationships of groups are based on the structures of their self-definition and on the group's identity as it has taken shape historically in interaction with its surroundings.
Some well-researched properties of groups are important for an understanding of the behaviour of members of extremist communities:
Interpretations of the causes of psychological dependency range from the prevention of emotional maturation or emotional trauma earlier in life, to dependency on the basis of complex emotional, social and financial commitments. The common basis of all these interpretations seems to be the individual's inability to distance himself from the community and its overweening self-concept because of powerful unconscious anxieties.
The contribution of conversion research
The formation of a powerful commitment to a group, and the negative consequences this can entail, usually goes along with acts of conversion, which in these groups is often firmly institutionalised or at least socially expected, and in which the convert assents to and adopts the particular structures that embody the group's claim to plausibility.
Scientific literature identifies four sets of factors that contribute to conversion:
As already mentioned, the relative weight to be attached to these factors is hotly disputed, and opinion is sharply divided between those who place the emphasis on personality characteristics and those who believe that dependency is induced by manipulative techniques. The former see the (positive or negative) coping with conflicts made possible by the intense relationship with a group, the latter regard the relationship itself as the expression of a psychosocial disorder.
However, the question whether converts willingly embrace dependency or are made dependent cannot be clearly answered one way or the other. There is obviously an interaction here between individual personality and the influence of outside factors: Only this explains the establishment of these intense relationships.
The findings as regards personality factors are not clear-cut, and the following points are under discussion:
It is interesting that most studies have found idealistic or religious motives to be of rather small importance. By and large it is motives fed by difficulties of intra-psychological and interpersonal existence that predominate. The studies also agree that, despite this, we are not here dealing with a particularly disturbed group of persons, rather that the problems they encounter largely reflect average experiences. The conclusion remains that people's willingness to forge an intense inner bond with extremist, closed communities often has to do with efforts on the part of converts to cope with emotional instability and/or precarious social situations.
The fourth set of factors conducive to conversion, those having to do with the behaviours and properties of groups, only come into play in the situation of the actual encounter.
The important factors are:
The question whether it is possible to induce an intense commitment to a group through manipulative recruitment -- relatively independently of individual predisposition -- is answered affirmatively in some theories. In fact, however, most of the control methods identified in this connection are those that are found in any group or community. Measures that are manipulative in the specific sense of setting out to weaken physical and mental resistance and to reduce the critical faculty are found in widely differing degrees in different groups, and in some extremist groups are not found at all.
As concerns the actual process of conversion, most authors agree that it
consists of three phases. The first involves a concerted effort to
destabilise and disorientate the subject. In the second, the person is
presented with a new attractor, i.e. a new system of ideas. In a third
phase this new mind-set is stabilised. The existence of these three
phases can easily be demonstrated experimentally by studying the
attribution of meaning to perceptions and the way this attribution of
meaning changes. The process that operates here is a perfectly natural
and frequently recurring one. The necessary destabilisation, for
instance, can be induced by giving people the idea they are not fully
developed, that they are disturbed, that they must do something about
themselves. In the second phase they learn what the new system of ideas
means, with its own special language, while in the stabilisation phase
they are isolated from the social environment the moment they become
unsure or start to be critical. This three-step process crops up again
Manifestations of psychological dependency
Generalising on the basis of the published experience reports, we may identify the following components of the concept "psychological dependency":
As a working concept, "psychological dependency" is proposed for the state of affairs where an individual has formed an unusually strong and unusually exclusive bond, notably or even predominantly driven by anxiety, with a community which on grounds of religion or ideology exerts an extensive or even exclusive influence on the general orientation and everyday life of its members.
The difference between this and other asymmetrical power relationships -- which in principle are to be found everywhere -- lies in the fact that psychological dependency on an extremist group is characterised by a powerful fear of loss and the longer-term mental and behavioural consequences of this fear.
It should be noted that there is an implicit cultural judgement in the identification of dependency in these terms, i.e. the notion that the observed bond is inappropriately strong, that it is harmful for the persons concerned, and that it can be misused for immoral purposes.
The Enquete Commission awarded a contract for an expert report to answer the question "What are the characteristic features of religious dependency?"
The resulting report presented by Burkhard Gladigow (assisted by Alexandra Gieser) asks the question -- irrespective of the general, psychological, sociopsychological or group-dynamic discussion of new religious groups -- to what extent and in what way specifically religious forms of dependency can be addressed. The report comes to the following conclusions: Although the history of religion since Schleiermacher has defined religion in terms of a devout feeling of dependency, systematic comparative religion has dealt with specific forms of religious dependency only in a fragmentary manner. Descriptive terms like dependency, submission, obedience, bondage, surrender and their evaluation as a rule depend on whether the respective religious frame of reference is approved and accepted, or not. The religious history of blind obedience shows the extent to which -- outside the current "problem of sects" -- absolute submission to the command of others can become a religious maxim. On closer examination, however, there is no single criterion which can reliably differentiate religious dependency from other kinds of dependency.
The author which comes closest to a specific treatment of the subject is Eileen Barker, a sociologist of religion. 133 ) She takes a clear stand against so-called sect criticism, arguing that dependency is induced in the same way and to the same degree in other areas of society. Although she adopts a broad definition of dependency, in so doing she denies the existence of a specifically religious dependency. Admittedly, she lumps together patterns and motives which lead on to structures and modes of dependency: Motives for and expectations of conversion, the ratio of new entrants to drop-outs, claims about interpretation, "heavenly deception", techniques of suggestion, guilt and shame, group jargon, economic and social dependency.
The most direct treatment of the problem of religious dependency is that of Leo Booth. He establishes a parallel with known forms of addiction, and draws up a catalogue of the symptoms of religious dependency. Case studies of these symptoms show, however, how closely modelled they are on the conditions of the Christian denominations and their theologies. His purpose is to define religious dependency as a sickness, and to help liberate the sufferer from an abusive, obsessive use of religion, a process that is seen as leading to a new friendship with God as the expression of a healthy spirituality. This definition of religious dependency in terms of the addiction paradigm reduces a highly complex orientation deficit to a physiologically defined withdrawal model. However, more satisfactory concepts that would be broadly applicable are not currently to be found in literature.
As far as the genesis of so-called dependency is concerned, the relevant conversion models are primarily those which, beside the steps from initial approach to full involvement, also take account of the progressive establishment of religious bonds and their structures. Compared with older models of conversion, since the seventies it has come to be accepted that there is a conscious involvement and active influence on the part of the person seeking to convert. Research based on these more open-ended models looks in the broadest sense at the meanings people attach to their behaviour. This has introduced a new dynamic which allows for a subtle shift of perspective on the part of the convert towards the interaction between predisposition and the actual situation. In the dialectics between chance situation and recruitment strategy, there is a dilemma between the "force" of the particular doctrine and the likelihood of achieving conversions. The report concludes that in order to resolve this dilemma, potential members are made "dependent" gradually, in a process of cautious introduction. So much for the findings of the expert report.
It should of course be borne in mind here that there obviously are people who seek situations and relationships which, seen from outside, would have to be characterised as conducive to psychological dependency. In such cases the religious tenets of the group correspond to people's individual needs.
The manipulation of individuals by groups is amply documented. However, such manipulation seems less to cause the interactions as such (first contact, conversion, acculturation, etc.) than to influence the interactions along the lines of the group objectives and group rules. A distinction may be made here between:
These last two forms of influence are a general part of reorientation and acculturation processes, or the phenomenon of day-to-day social control.
In using the concept of social control, however, it must be noted that all paradigms regard it as an instrument for producing social order, not as a reaction to deviance. Moreover, there is no theory that interprets "social control" as a mechanism of compulsion against which there are no alternative actions. 134 ) On the other hand, it must not be forgotten that there are psychological techniques which make harsh social control possible and in regard to which there are few alternative actions possible. 135 ) Thus, the milieu control identified by Hassan 136 ), consisting of behavioural control, mental control, emotional control and information control cannot, in every case and as a matter of principle, be characterised as "manipulative". Control of these areas of action is an inevitable component of social interactions in a group or community. The social control that is always associated with intense commitment to a group must therefore be clearly distinguished from the exertion of intentional, methodical influence for the express purpose of manipulation.
How the results of social control are judged in psychological and moral terms depends on what view is taken of the "group culture" from which it arises and whose active perpetuation it seeks. If for instance an exaggerated claim to authority by the leadership produces a situation where questions and criticism are generally not possible, the group's "social control" of the convert means that the latter sees himself confronted with a ban on thought and speech, which may be compensated for by excessive commitment. However, this is not an intentional method of manipulation; instead, it is an attempt to draw the individual into the group culture. Hence, any criticism must first and foremost be directed at the group culture.
On the other hand, planned and purposeful methods of manipulation in the narrower sense do at least tend to run counter to the basic values of our social order, in that they seek to push "milieu control" to the point where the individual's freedom is substantially curtailed or even destroyed.
However, in this area too it is not possible (except in extreme cases) to identify cause-effect relationships independently of the biography, the personality and the social situation of the candidate.
All reprehensible methods such as excessive meditation, deprivation of sleep and food, endless indoctrination within the group, "love bombing", etc. depend for their effect mainly on the personal characteristics of the individual concerned. Beyond this, the effect is substantially determined by the intention of the persons or groups exerting the influence. For instance, do they mean to use the suggestible state induced by sleep deprivation to bypass reasonable objections, or not?
These intentions, again, depend on the group's system of ideas and values, not on its methods. Besides, their effect is more strongly dependent on the "dose" than on the agent, as is often assumed. With increasing integration into a group and dependence on a leader figure, there may be a sort of progressive undertow which can further amplify the individual's existing predisposition towards compulsive repetition and an increase in the dose ("more effect").
In summary, the element of danger is to be seen mainly in (a) a complex combination of aggressively invasive methods and techniques, (b) their unprofessional application, 137 ) (c) precarious elements in the particular group culture or group organisation, and (d) individual predisposition.
In view of the situation, whose complex interplay of factors has so far made it opaque and difficult to grasp, there is need for research, especially as concerns the epidemiological aspects. General judgements in this area have as a rule been based on conspicuous individual cases. How often psychologically effective knowledge or mind- altering techniques or measures are actually applied is something for which there is no epidemiologically useful knowledge that would make it possible to substantiate or refute the general validity or inappropriateness of existing judgements.
Further questions to be followed up in this connection would be to what extent which parts of the population take part in what psychologically effective functions apart from the health service and the counselling dispensed by public or Church bodies, or apply these in a self-taught manner, what motives there are for this, what positive and negative experiences people have, how wide is the specific area of religious and ideological communities and psychogroups, what are the side-effects of psychologically effective techniques, what (typical) disorders and crises may arise, and what help is appropriate in such cases.
It is only on the basis of interdisciplinary research involving sociology, psychology, psychiatry and possibly other areas that rational guidelines for dealing with this subject can be formulated, the potential dangers delineated, and possibly also legal constraints placed on potential abuse.
The outwardly perceived modes of behaviour and thought which are described as "psychological dependency" on an extremist religious or ideological community may be academically defined as the consequence of an unusually intense commitment by the individual to a community which, through its exclusive self-definition as the authority presiding over meaning and values and through the hierarchical power structures that express this self-image, exercises a high degree of social control, generates a high degree of antagonism towards the outside world, and demands heavy investment of time, money and services to the group and its leadership.
A series of scientific studies already available or commissioned by the German Bundestag suggest that there is a close connection between the life orientation or personality of individuals and the offers made to them, and the demands made on them, by the communities to which they turn. It is also clear that intrapsychological and/or social instability is an important factor in all acts of biographical reorientation. That is why the interactions between individual and community appear as part of a search and adaptation behaviour that can be neither induced nor replaced by psychological manipulation on the part of the group, but which may well be controlled by it. The readiness to undergo reorientation and to tailor one's personality to fit the group are not the result of group influence alone, but also of biographical and social factors.
Conversely, however, it is not true to say that certain personality characteristics necessarily lead to interaction with a given group, or that because of this the individual's life takes the best possible course. It is rather the case that, for most of those concerned, there are numerous ways in which they could change the direction of their lives, many of which from a psychological and educational perspective would open up better development possibilities and more effectively avoid dangers than commitment to a radical community that is likely to be a source of conflict.
In present circumstances and given the available data, it is not possible to establish a clear distinction between immoral, illegal methods and justifiable, lawful methods by drawing up a list of types or procedures. Extreme forms are already covered by criminal law (coercion, unlawful detention, bodily injury, usury, etc.).
The concept of psychological dependency as a so-called inner fact cannot as a rule be used as a criterion for justifying action by the authorities. In a democratic state the point of reference is social actions. Only those acts that systematically seek to induce certain internal states may become the subject of action by the authorities: teaching, therapy, training, etc. Any concomitant personality changes, whether intended or unintended, are very much a matter of value judgement, and do not lend themselves to definite classification from some "Archimedean point". Just as certain therapies regard deliberate destabilisation as a prerequisite for change, so in the practice of meditation spiritual crises are seen as necessary for personal growth.
There would need to be a consensus among professionals for any assessment of the associated socialisation processes, or therapy ethics that would place limits on intentionally induced personality change. All one can do here is to rank the methods of influence in order of increasing risk, depending on how likely they are -- by analogy with psychotherapeutic or medical procedures -- to change an individual's personality structure, identity, behaviour patterns, emotions, etc. From the standpoint of the authorities, the assumption must be that as the risks inherent in the practitioners' "manipulative" methods increase, so does their responsibility for the consequences. This responsibility is again to be judged by analogy with the precautionary measures held to be necessary in medicine and psychotherapy.
At the Enquete Commision's public meeting on the subject of "Psychotechniques" held on 14 April 1997, reference was made to such a responsibility in the form of an obligation to warn of "side-effects". This became part of the proposals for legislation on life-counselling services, which is dealt with in a separate chapter, which is simply mentioned here in passing.
Reference was also made at the hearing to the possibility of "protecting individuals against their own weaknesses". This too was taken into account and incorporated, in the form of the individual's right of withdrawal. In closed groups, thought might be given to the establishment of novitiates such as those in use in monastic communities. It has to be ensured that everyone is free to withdraw from such a community on fair terms. 139 )
The demand for licensing of psychotherapists' activities has already taken shape, in the form of the new Act governing the activities of therapists. The extension of the scope of application of this Act to include life-counselling and personality development services, which was also called for at the hearing, has also in part been implemented in the draft legislation on life-counselling services already mentioned.
Establishing a clear distinction between these concerns and the areas of education and training, a problem also touched upon at the hearing, could prove to be a tricky undertaking inasmuch as measures containing elements of personality development are more and more frequently found even within the traditional further education sector and are also being explicitly requested as such. 140 ) But it is not only the demands for therapeutic methods for "normal" people, 141 ) put forward primarily with executive personnel in mind, but also the notions of "life-long learning" as a necessity for all employees -- not just on the level of technical qualifications, but also behavioural control -- that in part help to convey the readiness for life-long auto- and heterosocialisation.
Against the background of a possibly large grey area between training and personality change, and the -- in principle -- social and economic desirability of a far-reaching readiness for psychological mobility as well, establishing such a line of demarcation promises to be rather difficult.
A metatheoretical critique of interventions in an individual's development which employ (quasi-) therapeutic as well as "spiritual" elements has to recognise that the assessment of such "treatments" according to the criteria "healthy" or "unhealthy" depends mainly on the social recognition of the therapeutic methods used or of those who practise them. Judgements as to the usefulness of "spiritual" elements in therapeutic practice cannot be made by the government. Given that there is in general no consensus as to the usefulness or harmfulness of therapies, there is a dispute here that cannot be resolved by the government alone. Beyond a purely "moral" appeal to the parties at issue, the government can recommend the development of self-imposed rules concerning the application of certain sorts of knowledge. But where therapeutic procedures may present a danger to health, the government is called upon to take preventive action.
The development and promotion of a general ethics of therapy as a common point of reference for the dispute between proponents of the main conflicting views, as well as for the parties to particular conflicts, falls into the category of institutional recommendations.
Recommendations addressed to the societal institutions concerned, as already proposed in the decision setting up the Enquete Commission, 142 ) and to others yet to be created, could -- in addition to the measures already mentioned -- envisage a (more) regulated approach to dealing with ideological disputes, or they could also be aimed at achieving (out of court) settlements of concrete conflicts.
Already existing proposals speak of "mediation institutions" which might be set up in view of a possible increase in religiously motivated conflicts. Membership or non- membership could also be developed into a stamp of quality as to whether the members are abiding by certain social rules of the game or not.
On the basis of particular disputes, a pre-trial meeting of the parties might also be considered, with a view to material and ideological arbitration.
Both in the form of the Arbeitsgemeinschaft christlicher Kirchen (Association of Christian Churches), and in the mediation increasingly practised in divorce cases and in the so-called "perpetrator-victim compensation" in criminal law, there are already working institutions and procedures available which might possibly be made use of for the further development of these proposals. Since these ideas will be included in the draft the establishment of a foundation, we do no more than make reference to them here (see Chapters 22.214.171.124 and 126.96.36.199).
The same applies to promoting the development of a general ethics of therapy.
In the field of education and further education, research in appropriate institutions should be specifically promoted, since certain trends like the pressure for "life-long learning" favour a proliferation of the services, some of them disreputable, being offered in the field of personality development and personality modification. In addition, companies increasingly organise further education courses for their employees; this will also lead to a redistribution of the power to define the content available in this particular field of education.
Since in both relative and absolute terms most further education measures fall into the category of further vocational education, a complete abstention by government from exercising its power to set standards would also have an impact on society which would go far beyond the bounds of corporate organisations. 143 )
Since people in positions of executive authority are a particular target group for the sale of social techniques 144 ), quantitative and qualitative knowledge about the effects on corporate culture, and the way power is exercised and maintained within a company in the aftermath of personality and management training would also be desirable.
Further research in this area should go beyond the impressionistic and anecdotal, and establish whether the corporate context is deliberately sought out by certain groups or service providers, exploiting its special conditions for their recruitment strategies. 145 )
127 ) Cf. Saliba, J. A.: Psychiatry and the Cults. An Annotated Bibliography, New York, London 1987 and loc. cit.: Social Science and the Cults. An Annotated Bibliography, New York, London 1990 and the contributions in the public hearing on the subject of "Psychotechniques" on 14 April 1997 in the Enquete Commission's interim report on "So-called Sects and Psychogroups", German Bundestag, 13th legislative period: Doc. 13/8170 of 7 July 1997, pp. 28 -- 31.
128 ) Cf. Interim Report of the Enquete Commission, loc. cit., p. 29.
129 ) Cf. Barker, E.: Authority and Dependence in New Religious Movements, p. 237, in Wilson, B. (ed.): Religion: Contemporary Issues, London 1992, pp. 237 -- 255.
130 ) Such an analogy is drawn, for instance, by Leo Booth, in "When God becomes a Drug. Breaking the Chain of Religious Addiction and Abuse", Los Angeles 1991. His phase model and the pattern of addiction on which it is based does not amount to a radical critique of religion, but rather criticises "bad use" of religion which leads to loss of self-esteem and of a healthy relationship with the world.
131 ) Cf. the remarks by Prof. Stadler in the Enquete Commission's public hearing on "The situation of children and adolescents in so-called sects and psychogroups") on 13 March 1997, Interim Report of the Enquete Commission on "So-called Sects and Psychogroups", German Bundestag, 13 th legislative period: Bundestag Doc. 13/8170 of 7 July 1997, p. 19f
132 ) Barker, E.: loc. cit., p. 237.
133 ) Loc. cit.
134 ) Cf. Hahn, K.: Soziale Kontrolle als soziologischer Grundbegriff. Klassische und neuere Theorien revisited, p. 273. In: Kriminologisches Journal 28 (4, 1996), pp. 261 -- 280.
135 ) In the context of so-called total institutions such as penal colonies, the ways in which individuals express themselves can be more comprehensively controlled by a totalitarian organisation so as forcibly to re-educate them to a different personality, one that suits the organisation's purpose. Manipulative social control, misusing psychological knowledge of human reactions, can push people to the point of psychophysical breakdown. Such abuse of methods for modifying behaviour, in flagrant breach of human rights, has been the subject of research in human sciences under the concepts "torture psychology" and "brainwashing", or -- in milder forms -- the concept of "mobbing" ("harassment"). The repertoire of hard manipulative control measures includes the generation of physical and mental stress through harassment, overstimulation, or the complete withdrawal of stimuli ("sensory deprivation").
Prolonged sensory deprivation alone can produce acute psychological disorders (hallucinations) and make the victim receptive to indoctrination ("brainwashing"). Working people to their physical limits, sleep deprivation and food deprivation are other means of wearing down the natural resistance to indoctrination. According to studies by the Canadian sociologist St. A. Kent, who described his work to the Enquete commission, the Scientology Organisation uses control techniques of this kind in its corrective institutions known as "Rehabilitation Project Force" (RPF) in order to socialise recalcitrant members of the so-called Sea Org ("Brainwashing in ScientologyĀ s Rehabilitation Project Force (RPF), 1997", Internet address: http://www.lermanet.com/brainwashing.htmc). The Scientology Organisation's former top executive in the USA, L. Wollersheim, was awarded damages of US$ 2.5 million for damage to health sustained in the RPF (Court of Appeal of the State of California, decision of 18 July 1989, ref. B O 23193/ASC (No. C 382827). A former member of the so-called Sea Org gave the Enquete Commission a credible account of his degrading treatment in a European RPF.
criminologist Chr. Schwarzenegger describes how the Japanese
organisation Aum Shinrikyō forced its members to meditate 16 to 20 hours
a day for several days in succession, during which they suffered food
and sleep deprivation (ibid.: Über das Verhältnis von Religion, Sekten
und Kriminalität. Eine Analyse der kriminologischen und strafrechtlichen
Aspekte am Beispiel der japanischen Aum-Shinrikiyō-Sekte, in: Sekten und
Okkultismus -- Kriminologische Aspekte, ed. by Bauhofer, St./ Bolle,
P.-H./ Dittmann, V. (Schweizerische Arbeitsgruppe für Kriminologie),
Chur, Zurich 1996, pp. 211 -- 276). On the application of hard
136 ) Hassan, St.: Ausbruch aus dem Bann der Sekten, Reinbek 1993, (English: Combatting Cult Mind Control, Rochester 1988).
137 ) Cf. the remarks by Prof. Klosinski on the particular need for prudence when using such techniques with children, in the public hearing of experts on the "Situation of children and adolescents in so-called sects and psychogroups" on 13 March 1997, Enquete Commission's Interim Report on "So-called sects and psychogroups", German Bundestag, 13th legislative period: Doc. 13/8170 of 7 July 1997, p. 23.
138 ) See also Chapter 3.5.3.b.
139 ) Cf. the Convention for the Protection of Human Rights and Fundamental Freedoms of 4 November 1950, BGBl (Federal Law Gazette) 1952 II, pp. 685, 953, as amended by Protocol No. 8 of 19 March 1985, BGBl 1989 II, p. 546.
140 ) Cf. Neuburger-Brosch, M.: Die soziale Konstruktion des "neuen Managers". Eine wissens-soziologische Untersuchung der Managementdebatte in den achtziger Jahren, Tübingen 1996, p. 222.
141 ) Ibid.
142 ) Cf. German Bundestag, 13th legislative period: Bundestag Doc. 13/4477 of 26 April 1996, p. 3.