Download Battle for the Mind A Physiology of Conversion and by William Sargant, Charles Swencionis PDF

By William Sargant, Charles Swencionis

It is a publication at the body structure of non secular and ideological conversion in line with mental theories of Ivan Pavolov.

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Extra resources for Battle for the Mind A Physiology of Conversion and Brainwashing

Example text

My eye was caught by Wesley s detailed reports of the occurrence, two hundred years before, of almost identical states of emotional excitement, often leading to temporary emotional collapse, which he induced by a particular sort of preaching. These phenomena usually appeared when he had persuaded his hearers that they must make an immediate choice between certain damnation and the acceptance of his own soul-saving religious views. The fear of burning in hell, induced by his graphic preaching, could be compared to the suggestion we might force on a returned soldier, during treatment, that he was in danger of being burned alive in his tank and must fight his way out The two techniques seemed startlingly similar.

Patients would be admitted with trembling hands and blank, exhausted, or "bomb-happy" faces. Yet they might then presently come to the doctor and demand their discharge to return to their civilian or military duties. Usually the doctor would suppose that the patient was "shooting a line," and tell him to stop being foolish and to go back to his ward. But it was plain to the doctor who had studied Pavlov's experiments that such requests could be prompted by a temporary fixation on the idea of having to get out of hospital and back to duty at all costs; and that it had caused a reflex inhibition of all thoughts about his deplorable physical and nervous state — which would certainly prevent himfromundertaking any work whatsoever.

This worried him, but what he found worse, he said, was that he could lower them if he stopped trying to do so, or thought about something else; he might, for instance, automatically lower them to feel in his pocket for a matchbox. In fact, the strong stimulus directed to making him do something which he wanted produced no response, yet a smaller undirected stimulus remained effective. In a short time this condition, to his great relief, passed off. We also had many patients suffering from severe fright-paralysis of the limbs; the harder the man tried to move them, the more paralyzed they became.

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