I hope that you’re having a good weekend. I’m posting to, again, sing the praises of Snapping.
This book continues to be my favorite. Published in 1977, the authors researched something prominent in our culture today: the weaponization of information, the communication of disinformation, so prominent in today’s social media, that Russian Trolls, attacked and took control of our presidential election. Now Trump Trolls across the country parrot Russian propaganda. It’s astounding.
Back in ’77, decades before the World Wide Web, Conway and Siegleman wrote the following about the elements of Snapping (slightly tweaked for blog): “… the intense physical experiences of religious ritual … dancing, drumming, chanting, prayer and meditation, along with physiological stresses … exhaustion, poor diet, isolation … not even all of these components in concert set off the moment of snapping… the sudden drastic alteration of an individual’s entire personality requires an altogether different kind of information.”
“It consists of the potent rhetorical ploys, individual & group techniques, mass-marketing strategies that make up America’s technology of experience; everything from fervid lecturing and earnest personal confrontation to slickly packaged appeals, from casual conversation to active role playing and guided fantasy.”
“This set of instruments may be systematically orchestrated to engage the individual’s communication capacities … This all encompassing verbal and nonverbal assault, charged with challenging new beliefs, suggestions and commands, may build up profound and often conflicting feelings … which prompt the person to seek release from a troubled past or immediate problems.”
“Then, often in a a sensuous, seductive, or totally foreign environment, or surrounded by an atmosphere of love, warmth, acceptance, openness, honesty and community the person might yield to some call … to surrender, to let go, to stop questioning, to relinquish all will.”
“It is this act of capitulation that sets off the explosion we call snapping. In that moment, something quite remarkable may happen. With that flick of a switch, that change of heart and mind, an individuals personality may come apart. From our perspective, this phenomenon can now be identified as an overpowering holographic crisis in the brain.”
I admit that this except loses something without the context supplied in the previous chapters, but perhaps there’s enough in it that will compel anyone who needs to understand a cultic experience to pick up a copy and read the entire thing. Have I told you that I recommend it?
Okay, off to do laundry.