Loading Language

Before launching into this post, I want to say hi to Michael. How’s the cult? Are you “monitoring”? Just stopping by for some lite reading? Or … having doubts? Perhaps we “evil” bloggers, we band of “disgruntled ex students”, are on to something? Perhaps some aspect of this will ring true to you …

Now, about loaded language …

In the hallowed halls, the word overwhelmed was to be immediately dismissed. Bobert told us that there was no such thing — a false construction by lower beings–sleep walking, soul-less slobs, who didn’t have the privilege of being “schooled”. He scrutinized anyone who had the gall to say “I’m feeling overwhelmed“, especially if a cog’s overwhelm interfered with an enlightened “school” project — say, “making new friends”, and/or bringing “new friends” to “presentations”, or lying to local merchants to secure free Christmas trees for the “school” holiday party.

He also said, “confidence is a myth – it doesn’t exist.” We were not to use the word “just”. Essence Friends blared a shameful spotlight on “school” cogs who allowed the word “just” to slip in to a plebeian sentence.  A more “awake” cog would interrupt the poor dear with a pointed “JUST???”

It was ridiculous, even funny, those linguistic infractions. But, trust me, when you are constantly monitoring your spoken language to screen out inferior words, you induce a special, cult-sponsored, type of enlightened naval-gazing — it’s an effective & insidious tool for inducing neurosis and self doubt.

Recently a fellow “disgruntled” and I were “breaking school rules” by talking on the phone without “school” monitoring (God forbid!!!). I admitted to feeling … no, don’t say it … OVERWHELMED. She called it “the O word.” We laughed, realizing that, even 5-years “school”-free, I still hesitate to utter the dreaded “O word”.  I also still actively screen my vocabulary for the word “just” – filtering it out of conversation when I spot it.

These are examples of “school”-loaded language. I have spent five years, writing about, talking about, reading about my cult experience and digging into cultic studies. When I see those verbal viruses still worming around my psychology, I realize how impressionable & mold-able our psyches can be — we’re vulnerable by nature; the lower your esteem and confidence (oh, yea, confidence doesn’t exist … oops) the more vulnerable you are. Remnants o’ cult-hood within, like loaded vocabulary, prove tricky devils; they know how to hide in the shadows.

In his seminal book, Thought Reform and Psychology of Totalism, Robert J Lifton includes loaded language as integral to what he calls ideological totalism — “an extremist meeting ground between people and ideas.”

He wrote: ” The language of the totalist environment is characterized by the thought-terminating cliche. The most far-reaching, and complex of human problems are compressed into brief, highly reductive, definitive sounding phrases, easily memorized and easily expressed …”

Remember … those are only life things “you are in internal considering” “what’s your aim?” “ask for help!” “are you remembering yourself?” “you are in self will” “breaking ‘school rules'” and my personal favorite, “the non-expression of negative emotions … etc.etc.etc.blah.blah.blah.

I’m sure you, dear reader, can contribute your own examples. “School” cogs don’t really know what these phrases mean, cuz the “teachers” can’t really explain them, but they are accepted as psyche-scrubbing and spirit-refining enlightened vocabulary.

Lifton wrote: ” … the effect of the language of ideological totalism can be summed up in one word: constriction. He is, so to speak, linguistically deprived; and since language is so central to all human experience, his capacities for thinking and feeling are immensely narrowed.”

Imagine those who’ve spent decades in “school” and worked their way into what is often called the inner circle — those who are “school” married and “school” employed; those for whom even the personal choice to have children, or not, or keep the child she had, was and continues to be dictated by the enlightened leadership (cough). This hijacking of person hood is a practice I call soul murder; even after one departs the ranks, it lurks insidiously, loaded language infecting thoughts, perceptions and impressions.

I believe the only way to purge and heal from this psychic virus, the way to reclaim and own your psyche, thus your life, is to share your story in some way, with other humans, if it’s only one other human, it will help. Problem is that, cults, like cancer, are not things we are inclined to discuss openly. Who among us would volunteer our cult days? Can you imagine saying to a friend, a cousin, a sibling, a parent, “Hey did I ever tell you about the cult that recruited me?” Most are too ashamed — how could I have been so naive? So trusting? So easily duped? With victim blame so prevalent and accepted in society, better to sweep it under the rug.

But not really; there’s nothing more empowering than reclaiming your own experience, by voicing your own thoughts, and generating an inner understanding of how your particular cult used, misused and twisted language, worming into and infecting your thought process, psychological makeup and inner emotional world. It is really key to recovery — because loaded language is at the heart of mind control. And secrecy only lodges it deeply into the darkest recesses, while protecting predatory groups like “school”.

Thus, I strongly encourage you to “break the rules” — take back your birthright and speak out!





7 thoughts on “Loading Language

  1. Open Eyes says:

    I don’t have a “school” example, but I can tell you for well over 20 years ago I developed a habit of monitoring my language and self-censoring that originates from my time bouncing in and out of inpatient psych. There are certain hyperbolic phrases and euphemisms that people NORMALLY use that are conveniently twisted in ways in which they were never intended. Such as “My mom is gonna kill me!” (I am in BIG trouble now!), “I just wanted to die!” (I was so embarrassed!), and “OMG I’m going to kill Joe!” (Joe really fucked this one up!). These are usual expressions I grew with that everyone used and people still use them (especially angsty teens). There’s no question about what they mean when taken in context. No one saying them in the proper context and tone is actually thinking literally of killing and dying. It’s hyperbole, nothing more, but people will play stupid when it serves their own interests, and maybe because they have lost the ability to think. In any case, I learned the hard way to censor myself, and since I spent years around people in authority who would take anything said out of context and twist it into “This proves you are bat shit crazy”, it became ingrained into my own language, because it was integral to my survival.

    I haven’t had to do it for more than 20 years, but it’s so ingrained and my experiences were so scary and traumatic (and confusing!), that I still censor. I still feel quietly uncomfortable when I hear any kind of phrase that could be twisted against a person in a way it was never meant.

    All that is to say, I get this, and it’s horrible. I feel like that sounds like an exaggeration, but it really is horrible. It turns an innocent word or a phrase into a weapon or an tool used to control people. It’s horrible.

  2. Open Eyes says:

    And thinking about that reminded me of so many other things growing up. My mother (and other adults with any kind of authority over me) regularly told me what not to say and what I should say instead so that people would not find out some of that totally forked up things that were going on. “If anyone asks you…tell them…” It felt like I was being robbed of my truth and my self, like someone was binding my soul in duct tape so it could not be heard, and maybe if I would just agree to use their lies, I would eventually believe them.

    The cult’s control of language is no different. Feed people a line of BS. Require them to change the way they communicate so that they must either deny their own experience or are left without the means to communicate it, and you control them on a very powerful level.

    • The Gentle Souls Revolution says:

      It’s true – there’s no difference. Abuse is abuse. Lies are lies. Secrecy is secrecy and requiring it of others for personal gain is control on a very essential level.

  3. Leviathan says:

    So glad you are bringing this up. It’s incredibly important as it’s a seminal technique for really converting people into ‘true believers’ without their knowing it. The Lifton book is a must read, or at least a summary of his tenets of mind control, for people in recovery. As you note, it takes a long time to ‘just’ weed out those language-thought implants, and with them the false ideas, associations, and emotional triggers. Note how ‘loaded language’ works with ‘milieu control’ and creating a special mission (only we know that the word ‘aim’ is special!). I remember working on a cult play and having an audience comprised of students (secretly, of course – all very mysterious) who all laughed at bizarre and inappropriate places that only “Work” people would think were jokes or elbow nudging double entendres. Also another way to keep one constantly exhausted, watching every little thing you say (btw, ‘only’ was like just in my group). One of the things S said was that “Whim is higher that Wish”. We were all puzzled, but I think she just found that it came first in the dictionary. Honestly, she does make this stuff up and get it from watching talk shows. I always hated when she introduced some new word as a concept and everyone went around saying “I was working on whim and I had this amazing experience about how I could climb the Brooklyn Bridge on a whim and jump off, but I never would have if I had wished to do it.” Or some Bullcrappy nonsense to curry favor with the new word of the month.

  4. The Gentle Souls Revolution says:

    “I remember working on a cult play and having an audience comprised of students (secretly, of course – all very mysterious) who all laughed at bizarre and inappropriate places that only “Work” people would think were jokes or elbow nudging double entendres. Also another way to keep one constantly exhausted, watching every little thing you say (btw, ‘only’ was like just in my group).”

    Really???? This might rate it’s own post … if you’re willing to tell the story. Lemme know!

  5. Haven't Decided Today says:

    >> Remember … “those are only life things“<<

    Like getting hit by a truck? 🙂

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