Saturday, April 19, 2008

So Who is it that is Brainwashed?

416 children have been taken by police from a Mormon sect in Texas, amid claims that under-aged girls are being forced into marriage.

The case is now in court, and ‘one expert on children in cults told the court that the girls may have believed that marrying much older men was their free choice because they had been raised in that belief. "Obedience is a very important part of their belief system," said Bruce Perry.

Although many of the adults and children at the YFZ ranch seemed emotionally healthy, the sect's belief system was "abusive", he added. "The culture is very authoritarian."

I can’t in principle see the difference between this and the way children are raised in the wider culture. Both involve brainwashing. Look at the pressure kids are under at school to perform from an increasingly young age. Their teenage years, a formative time when they often no longer know who they are, are devoted to cramming information into their heads in order to pass exams.

Their ability to do this is taken as a measure of their intelligence, and has a long-term effect on their lives. It determines whether or not they become ‘winners’ or ‘losers’: they are brainwashed into believing that when they grow up they must ‘succeed’ in certain very narrow ways, and adults who cannot play this game usually find it very hard not to have a low opinion of themselves.

So when the cult expert told the court that the girls didn’t in fact have free choice about marrying older men because they had been raised in that belief, he was opening a huge cultural can of worms, as well as a very tricky question. As usual, the wider culture is wanting to project its own problems onto a deviant minority, unaware that it suffers from exactly what it is (rightly) accusing the Mormons of.

The question is tricky, because what people consider to be their free choice as adults often involves elements of brainwashing from when they were kids; in fact this brainwashing easily comes to determine the whole course of their lives. At the same time, adults need to be free to act from their brainwashing if they so wish. Just let’s not be under any illusions that this is often all that ‘freedom’ is.

All societies have brainwashing, there is nothing unique about ours. Look at Christianity in medieval Europe, and the very rigid world-view that people had to adhere to. But when you are in it, it does not seem like brainwashing, it just seems to be how things actually are.

This is a good Pluto in Capricorn subject, because Capricorn deals with conformity, and Pluto with the power used to get that conformity. So while the next 16 years will probably produce a lot of pressure to think and act like our neighbours and like the government wants us to – and entering into uncertain times, these pressures always increase – they may also bring more awareness of this particular shadow (Pluto) that is raised by Capricorn.

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Anonymous said...

very astute and interesting post, as usual, DR. I hadn't before thought of Pluto as the power to GET the Capricorn conformity. I was neptune-ily hoping that Pluto will kick the conformity right in the knees and bring it down, blaze through the Capricorn structures and dogma, demolishing the status quo and freeing all the slaves from their bondage to the dictatorial slave master. Am I completely off the mark with these hopes and interpretations? Signed, A Fan

luney mooney said...

This is indeed a very interesting post, and I love how you explained your concept of "brainwashing" and likened it to the example. My own thoughts as I was reading about the zoo of this case, and how upset many of the women are (at having their children taken and their lives disrupted), were akin to "so if they're happy being stupid, why don't we just LET them?!?" As a mother myself, this whole thing makes me uncomfortable--we aren't talking children kept tied up in closets, starved, beaten and raped for fun and video profit; rather, these are simply people who are weird and anti-social (on a regional/national level) but really just living their own little odd lives. Obviously, not everyone in their clan is happy about their lifestyle--the whole thing started because one of the girls called in a complaint--and so it is probably *not* a bad thing to give option and legal refuge to those who do NOT wish to continue to be there...but for the Gov to just step in and smush up the whole hive while the bees fly madly around trying to grasp what just happened? Not too cool.

And definitely, you can connect this to energies reflecting Pluto in Capricorn. But not, I think, in that the recent merging of the two are STARTING this trend--rather, it seems to me that Pluto is now encouraging a conscious *recognition* at what has existed all along (like you said, "...bring more awareness of this particular shadow...") and is NOT getting any better. In fact, in the city where I live, it was recently announced that there is to be a focussed crackdown on jaywalking, and that people who persist in breaking that law can now expect it will be enforced and tickets issued. Yes, really--you can no longer even CROSS THE STREET unless you do it where and when and how our local government has designated, or else you will be punished! And by golly, they are getting serious about it! (Meanwhile, when the reporter asked the public-at-large about it, many of the respondents thought that this was OK and maybe even a good thing, so that jaywalkers would quit interrupting traffic and risking getting injured. I noticed, tho', that no one mentioned that there should also be a crackdown on drivers not yielding right-of-way to pedestrians at traffic lights, which is a chronic problem around here. Or that it might be a more productive use of enforcement resources to crackdown on vandalism, panhandling, and car break-ins instead. *Sigh*)

So, brainwashing. Got ya. Er, got any soap I can borrow? With a 16 year transit ahead, I might as well get prepared... ;P

Kenna J said...

Oh, i do HOPE that Pluto in Capricorn transforms the culture of brainwash-ment. What a wonderful suggestion, Dharmaruci!

Regarding the women who were married as girls or are still girls or something like that:

The concepts of statutory rape and child sexual abuse have their basis in the idea that A CHILD IS NOT IN A POSITION TO BE MAKING DECISIONS ABOUT HAVING SEX WITH ADULTS. That's it. It's like having sex with someone who's severely mentally retarded: yes, she may enjoy it, but she's really not in a position to be making that social decision. She is not in charge of her life.

You are so right, Dharmaruci, that children live in an environment of brainwashing. They have to be because they are not in charge of themselves. Adults are in charge. That's why it's not okay for adults to have sex with children.

Of course, it isn't like you reach age 18 and suddenly think entirely for yourself! [For example, does anyone else think we might do well to raise the age at which people are legally allowed to pose for pornography?] But, once you are 18, you are allowed to start making your own mistakes.

I'm wondering what happens to the boys of the culture-- which doesn't even get talked about. If the girls are expected to marry much older men, and many women to one man, then what do these older men do to all their younger competition? I don't imagine things are all great for the boys in this scenario, either.

Kenna J said...

Another Pluto in Capricorn question is the method by which we create social change. Capricorn (the government) came in and Pluto-fied these people's lives on a very personal level, in an effort to make a change on a grand scale. Is this okay?

A friend of mine here in Albuquerque, New Mexico, USA, was evicted by the city from the house he owned and had lived in for over 20 years-- because it didn't have hot water or what the city considered an adequate heating system. A city spokesperson said, "Some people are a danger to themselves, whether they know it or not." Okay, i'll buy that. But, is he safer sleeping on the street? He was evicted in the middle of winter!

So, yes the Texas culture in question is abusive to children, but is taking children away from their homes a good solution? I don't think so.

Anonymous said...

What's happening in Texas where the state is destroying families in order to save them parellels what Congress did to American men who seek out foreign women for wives. A 2006 law criminalizes internet communication between Americans and foreigners if romance is involved.

Sounds bizarre but it is true and you can read about it at my site,

Anonymous said...

As I understand it, the parents refused to identify their own children which is why the DNA tests have been ordered. Perhaps it would have ended differently if the mothers had claimed their own children.

However, the thought of the state declaring what beliefs are brainwashing or not brainswashing is amusing and frightening. It really does represent Pluto (power) and Capricorn (government). I completely agree with your thoughts on the subject.

The state's attitude of throwing the kids into the hell that is the foster care system where they could, and probably will, be beaten or raped so some lowlifes can collect a monthly check, rather than let them return to weirdo ranch is, IMO, an indicator of the state's real motive; power over everyone under the guise of "saving the children."

Anonymous said...

I didn't take this post as being a defense of the separatist group. Merely pointing out that if we are going to talk about the abuses happening THERE, we should talk about the abuses happening HERE, too.

What happens to the boys? someone asked. They got kicked out of the compound, that's what. The group deliberately started their compound where they did because it was one of the few places where a girl could legally get married at 14 (the state has since raised it to 16). A group of old men and young girls where they 'decide' they have no use for young men the girls' own age? Sorry, that's suspicious as hell.

I have no problem with the state intervening. Although I'm sure they will do it in a thoughtless way.

I agree with Dharmaruci, though. Once we're through investigating them, we should compare ourselves. The comparison would be a lot more unfavorable than we assume. This analysis has to start somewhere, and that compound is as good a place as any.

Sonia said...

Great post again, I've been enjoying your recent posts.

The culture you are brainwashed in when you are young determines what you think is right and wrong when you are older. As the Jesuits (catholic stormtroopers) say: "Give me the boy of 8 yrs old and I will give you the man." I'm sure the Hitler Youth had the same idea.

The worst thing is that most people don't know that what they take for granted as the 'truth' is just an expression of their learned culture.. nothing to do with the truth or right or wrong at all.. it's what makes it so easy to start wars