From the Archives: Mind Control U.S.A. (1979)

Mind Control
High Times Magazine, August 1979

The marquee remains: PEOPLE’S TEMPLE, REV. JIM JONES PASTOR. The huge, cavernous building in the heart of San Francisco’s black ghetto is boarded up now; its furniture and fixtures were auctioned off to pay the cost of sorting out, embalming, shipping and burying over 900 men, women and children who followed Jim Jones to death.

First there were the photographs of brightly clad bodies, arms clasped around each other, beside a vat of poisoned purple Flavor Aide. Later, the tapes of the Reverend Mr. Jones exhorting his followers to drink the potion and “die with dignity” and eerie reports of the Big Brother tactics—amplified propaganda recordings, drugs, physical and sexual coercion—that he used to shepherd his flock to doom.

Jonestown was a horrible mess in many ways, but in the end, it was the specter of mind control that really chilled the hearts of Americans, probing a lurking fear of vampires and zombies, armies of the living dead held in thrall in the hypnotic gaze of the master operator. It is a specter that has surfaced repeatedly in the last 30 years, in the thousand-mile stares and exuberant, empty grins of returning Korean War POWs, the secret behavior-modification experiments conducted by the CIA, the helter-skelter killing spree of the Manson family, the transformation of Patty Hearst into Tanya, and now in the cult of cults.

Scientists now conclude that the brain processes information not in one way but in several concurrent streams. Neurophysiologists, unlocking the biological codes of the mind, have confirmed what Freud predicted nearly a century ago and what LSD had turned millions on to—that the conscious “self” is only a small part of a much more complex operation and that below the surface is always the “other” and another after that, a series of alternate realities. Meanwhile, across the ages the steely eyes of voodoo practitioners and medicine men watch the synthesis of their ancient arts into behavioral sciences, Madison Avenue mass marketing, brainwashing, mind control, deprogramming.

Shamans and witch doctors have been tapping into the hidden “other” for countless centuries. Still extant are the Australian aboriginals called “the people of the Dream Time.” At puberty, the young male of the tribe is separated from his mother and isolated in the wilderness for several days without food or water. He is kept awake and in constant fear by the sound of the bullroarers, long narrow pieces of wood that when whirled in the air make a moaning roar. When he is at the point of collapse, the tribal elders, wearing animal masks and emitting piercing shrieks, emerge from the bushes and circumcise him. The young native returns in a zomboid state, a willing slave to tribal authority and taboos. He lives in the Dream Time, between fantasy and reality, haunted by the presence of animal demons but otherwise happy and sedate.

Brainwashing, or mind control, as most people understand the term, is something akin to the aboriginals’ rite of passage updated by the scientific revolution. It is a coercive indoctrination process used to tip people over into the Dream Time, obedient to tribal taboos or modern ideologies.

The word brainwashing dates to the Cold War, when it was exemplified by George Orwell’s Big Brother in 1984 and by the Chinese “reeducation” methods employed with near-perfect efficiency on American prisoners during the Korean War. The Chinese did not advance far from the basic aboriginal concept. Isolation, coercion and indoctrination comprise the crude but effective formula that they modernized by substituting Pavlovian behavior-modification techniques for animal masks. In America, where the interest was not only focused on enforcing an ideology but on creating monsters, too, mind manipulators would be more creative.

The CIA vs. the Mind

And it seems to me perfectly in the cards that there will be within the next generation or so a pharmacological method of making people love their servitude, and producing … a kind of painless concentration camp for entire societies, so that people in fact will have their liberties taken away from them but will rather enjoy it, because they will be distracted from any desire to rebel by propaganda, brainwashing, or brainwashing enhanced by pharmacological methods.

—Aldous Huxley, 1959

American contributions to the “science” of mind control began with a few “truth drug” experiments—mostly involving tincture of marijuana—under Office of Strategic Services auspices during World War II. Convinced that Hitler was a closet case, researchers explored ways to putsch der Führer over the gender line. In the Pacific theater, staff anthropologists reported that the Japanese considered nothing so shameful as bowel movements, so government chemists compounded a formula that duplicated the smell of diarrhea and packed it in aerosol cans under the code name “Who Me?” It was distributed to children in occupied Chinese cities who would sneak up behind a Japanese officer and spray the seat of his pants with the liquid. The object was to cost the Japanese “face.”

Sophomoric frat-house pranks like the above sufficed until 1949, when CIA officials were both horrified and intrigued by the glazed eyes and mechanical confessions of Josef Cardinal Mindszenty at his treason trial in Budapest. A memo was circulated speculating “some unknown force” was controlling him, and work was begun in earnest on a number of projects aimed at “controlling an individual to the point where he will do our bidding against his will and even against such fundamental laws of nature as self-preservation.’’

The public first heard about “brainwashing” in 1950, when CIA propaganda operative Edward Hunter coined the term in a widely read article for the Miami News headlined BRAINWASHING TACTICS FORCE CHINESE INTO RANKS OF COMMUNIST PARTY. In it, Hunter alleged that the Chinese possessed techniques “to put a man’s mind into a fog so that he will mistake what is true for what is untrue, what is right for what is wrong, and come to believe that what did not happen actually happened, until he ultimately becomes a robot for the Communist manipulator.”

Two years later, such allegations seemed to be substantiated when Americans saw the first film clips of downed U.S. pilots calmly confessing to war crimes. The result: further escalation of CIA behaviorcontrol research.

Recently, material released through the Freedom of Information Act and compiled in John Mark’s book The Search for the Manchurian Candidate details the CIA’s secret war on the mind. In all, the agency sponsored 149 projects between 1950 and 1973 focusing on drugs, hypnosis and electroshock. In one experiment—the “A”-forArtichoke treatment—a suspected Soviet agent was injected with enough sodium pentothal to knock him out and then 20 minutes later was shocked back to consciousness with a shot of Benzedrine. This procedure, agents reported, induced a Dream Time effect in which they could make the subject “believe any fantasy”—that he was talking to his wife, mother or commander—with 70-percent efficiency.

Another mind-control project, the “depatterning” technique developed for the CIA by Dr. D. Ewen Cameron at the Allan Memorial Institute in Toronto, combined prolonged sleep with electroshock. The process, which one agent described as “the creation of a vegetable,” could completely obliterate a subject’s emotions and memory in 15 to 30 days.

In the 100 years since Freud, psychology had made great strides toward healing the troubled mind and unraveling its secrets. Now it appeared that the science could be used with devastating force as a weapon to imprison people. The discoveries of Pavlov and later Skinner suggested that new behaviors could be shaped simply by pressing the right buttons, but the CIA was dissatisfied. The Skinnerian behaviorists, who dominated university psychology departments in the late ’50s, were too rigidly scientific to accomplish the far-reaching goals the CIA envisioned. Instead, money was funneled through the CIA’s conduit, the Human Ecology Foundation, to unwitting researchers whose more imaginative discoveries contributed to the expanded effectiveness of the CIA’s mind-control techniques and spread to be incorporated by radical therapists in the ’60s and cult leaders in the ’70s.

The bulk of the research, however, was devoted to LSD, which the CIA thought could be used to squeeze information from enemy agents and discredit them by disturbing their memories or changing their sex drives.

Operation Midnight Climax operatives equipped an apartment on Bedford Street in New York’s Greenwich Village with red lights, Toulouse-Lautrec posters, photos of women in chains and black stockings, and a two-way mirror. Using the services of local hookers, they tested to see if a john, after a surreptitious dose of acid, was more likely to reveal secrets before, during or after sex.

Under code name MKULTRA, the agency sponsored scores of additional LSD experiments. The researchers in this program tried the drug first on themselves and their CIA colleagues. In Pink Panther style, agents were encouraged to dose each other clandestinely (leading to the notorious case of Dr. Frank Olson, whose suicide after a bad trip was hushed up). Despite such mishaps, MKULTRA was expanded to include university research. Ken Kesey turned on in one such test. From the laboratories, LSD leaked off campus, and by the time Drs. Timothy Leary and Richard Alpert (Baba Ram Dass) got in on the act, the CIA’s miracle mind-control drug was well on the way to igniting the psychedelic revolution.

William Burroughs once said, “A paranoid is a person who knows all the facts,” and a few people claim that the leak was not entirely unintentional, that while tripping out on Sandoz acid, MKULTRA boss Sidney Gottlieb conceived the grandiose scheme of using the drug to disorient and repattern a large “normal” population—just to see if it could be done.


If the doors of perception were cleansed, every thing would appear to man as it is, infinite.

—William Blake

Whatever their plan, in the following years the astronauts of inner space left the MKULTRA boys stranded in a cloud of dream dust. During the ’60s, mind control meant higher consciousness; brainwashing reverted to its Chinese root word, hsinao, “to cleanse the mind.” People escaped to the Dream Time on drugs or, like Allen Ginsberg and Jack Kerouac, through Zen practices as a way out of socially ingrown repressions, hang-ups and the paranoid rigidity of the previous decade.

Others turned on to mass-marketed group therapies like Silva Mind Control and T.M. While some of these opened out to the farthest reaches of higher perfect wisdom, a countercurrent of back-toreality proponents spliced the journey to higher consciousness with cruder Dream Time—evoking techniques to make devotees feel high with both feet on the ground.

On the way to “getting it” (EST language for a crystalline glimpse of ultimate reality), John Dean, John Denver, Cher and 100,000 Erhard Seminar Training graduates were called assholes and turkeys, blitzed with a combination of encounter, psychodrama, Zen and Dale Carnegie, pushed to the breaking point in marathon sessions in which they were forbidden to eat, smoke, talk or pee (EST bathroom breaks, originally scheduled every 12 hours, now come more often, due to frequent accidents); and finally, they were indoctrinated with the gospel according to Erhard—“What is, is. What isn’t, isn’t. You alone are responsible for everything that happens to you.” Graduates attribute incredible life-renewing benefits to the EST catharsis—of course, so did many American GIs after Chinese brainwashing, a technique that EST closely resembles, according to some experts.

The ’60s ended, the ’70s were born. Sounds of sloshing in rebirthing tanks, and a chorus of primal screams.

The Coming of the Cults

The office of those who seek new worlds is to stumble upon those they never expected to find.


Then, in the wake of the consciousness revolution, there came the God Squad—clean-cut, smiling young missionaries touting drugless, sexless highs and spouting hellfire, denouncing parents and society as instruments of Satan while hawking flowers, incense, books and vacuum cleaners. For the many who had been overwhelmed by the lack of social control in the late ’60s, the cults provided muchsought-after structured mind space.

By the mid 1970s, there were at least 3,000 cults in America, attracting some ten million members. Of course, there is nothing new about cults. They have existed through the ages. Some 2,000 years ago, Christianity was a cult. Centuries later, pioneer America was a breeding ground for utopian communes and weird religious sects, some of which, like the Mormons, found their way into the mainstream. A cult in one simple sense is a minority, outside the culture, whose beliefs and practices differ markedly from those of the majority. Once a cult is accepted by the culture, it is no longer a cult. Others define a cult by the degree to which it exerts control over its members, but the implication that there are acceptable and unacceptable levels of mind control has led only to confusion.

In addition to the larger groups—Sun Myung Moon’s Unification Church, the International Society for Krishna Consciousness and the Church of Scientology—there proliferated a slew of minicults such as the Assembly, the Body, the Children of God, the Druids and so on even unto the Zoroastrians, all with practices as varied as their names.

The Hare Krishnas chanted. Members of the Way International communicated via glossolalia (“speaking in tongues”). The Druids, a small Bible-astrology sect, meditated on “Mother” Laura Copeland (nee Gerrie Leah Garcia), their high priestess. Moonies concentrated on Divine Principle (Moon’s book of revelation) in moments of stress or doubt, and they eschewed sex, drinking, drugging and sleeping.

To become “clear,” the Scientologists practiced a series of “auditing” drills on the “E-meter,” a crude but effective lie detector, with which trainees went through past painful experiences until there was no charge (“uptightness”) left. In the higher levels of Scientology, “Operating Thetans” used the E-meter to produce increasingly realistic hallucinations of time travel and out-of-body experiences. The simple object of all these practices: obliteration of “self” in pursuit of some powerful kicks.

These cults promised bliss, ecstasy, life-changing experiences, personal encounters with God. And they delivered. Members saw visions, heard voices, reported blinding flashes of light in which all was revealed, experiences comparable to the most powerful hallucinogens.

Robert Kaufman, in Inside Scientology, describes one auditing session:

“I was in a prison cell. A noose was being placed around my neck. I got down on the floor . . . and started choking. My head jerked in spasms until I thought it would rip itself off my neck.”

In their book Snapping: America’s Epidemic of Sudden Personality Change, communications experts Flo Conway and Jim Siegelman have compiled a number of similar incidents from members of other cults:

“I felt my body going numb, going away, and I had many sensations all at once, like I was physically dying but spiritually being pulled out of my body. At the same instant, this thing was opening up before me. I could see a light and feel something coming toward me to get me or help me. Then I heard this heavenly singing, all different kinds of pitches, like Ahhhh!

“I began fantasizing. It was beautiful. I was out of touch with reality; it was as though I could see in a different dimension. I experienced an intense joy the whole time. I reached a point where the fantasies became real. It was poetical. I was speaking in biblical languages. At times I couldn’t open my mouth, but when I did it came out in verse.”

It was not, however, visions, numbers or beliefs that, long before Jonestown, sparked mounting concern; it was the suspicion that some cult practitioners were dispensing these highs, like the mind manipulators of the ’50s using LSD, to disorient and control. If the MKULTRA boys did have a secret plan to repattern a large “normal” population, what actually happened went far beyond their wildest dreams. A large percentage of the population was definitely “other.”

While Jonestown is the best documented example of cult mind control, the heavy-handed tactics used there seem old-fashioned compared with the possibilities raised by critics for this sort of drugless programming. “A person becomes critically vulnerable in the aftermath of this shattering break,” write Conway and Siegelman. “The brain’s information-processing capacities may literally become disorganized, not simply leaving the mind open to new ideas and information, but in fact rendering it receptive to a whole new plan of organization.”

One of the unforgettable images of the ’60s is that of the smiling, white-robed guru sitting in lotus position on a flower-covered dais. In the presence of whichever guru you’d care to imagine, people would feel high, claim to see glowing auras of white light, feel a sublime sense of happiness and inner peace. The room would invariably glow with good vibrations. To the degree that the mind-control secrets of these Eastern masters can be explained by Western science, those good vibes were real indeed. Researchers have demonstrated that an atmosphere can be suffused with mood-altering alpha and beta waves, the brain’s own peace-and-love frequency, stimulated by meditative practices. But an alpha-generating state is also a highly suggestible state.

The set remained the same in many of the ’70s cult practices. Followers received heavy doses of peace, love and brain waves. Then, in an insidious twist, they were indoctrinated. At least, this is how Moon did it. Isolated amid those good vibrations, devotees were instructed to believe that the cult leader is the divine authority, the supreme operator. “I am your brain, my will must be your will,” says Reverend Moon.

Siegelman, Conway and others (including many ex-cultists) maintain that as an alternate reality is conjured by these practices, it is shaped to the needs of the group through indoctrination. The formula for cult mind control as they see it is:

Turn on convert to alternate reality through cult practices.

Shape this new reality to the needs of the cult through group reinforcement and indoctrination.

Purge convert’s conscious “self” and keep it on hold through exercises that stop thought—i.e., chanting, various forms of meditation, marathon ideology lessons—until, in the words of one ex-cultist, thoughts become “like distant telephone signals.”

Prior to Jonestown, warnings about cults were given some credence by scattered reports of cult weirdness and violence. In 1972, two followers of Love Israel’s Church of Armageddon died during a “faith testing” ritual in which they inhaled toluene, an industrial solvent used for breaking down rubber. “Love Israel did nothing,” a former follower told the press. “He just told us to pray over them and they would rise in three days. We were so brainwashed we believed him.”

A few years later, David Brandt Berg, the reclusive founder of the Children of God, was said to be extolling robotized women disciples to be “fishers of men,” to frequent discos and singles bars and “flirty fish”—exchange sexual favors for church donations. To date, however, law-enforcement agencies have maintained a hands-off policy on the cults-mind-control issue, fearing entanglement with First Amendment guarantees of religious freedom.

To the Rescue?

“What is happening to you now is what should happen to any normal healthy organism …. You are being made sane, you are being made healthy.”

“That I will not have,” I said, “nor can understand at all. What you’ve been doing is make me feel very ill.”

—Anthony Burgess, A Clockwork Orange

Enter the deprogrammers, mind-control hit men who promoted their no-holds-barred, emotionally charged and extralegal methods as the only way to defreak Jesus freaks and other cultists. With their help, desperate parents began to kidnap their children (even “children” well past legal majority) and secret them in motel rooms and camps, where the deprogrammers perform their modern-day exorcism rites. The procedure is not unprecedented. According to legend, Thomas Aquinas’s parents locked him in a room with a whore to dissuade him from joining the Dominican order. Unlike St. Thomas, though, cult children started suing their parents and filing kidnapping and assault charges against deprogrammers. In this manner mind control received its first test as a legal issue.

At the center of the storm is Ted Patrick, 48, a short stocky black man with a rocket metabolism that has earned him the nickname “Black Lightning.” Opponents, calling him a “criminal lunatic” among other things, have lodged $60 million in lawsuits against him, but for many parents who have lost children to the cults Black Lightning is a superhero. Patrick works with a team that includes parents, successful “deprogrammees” or “reprogrammees” and a security force of musclemen to assist in the initial abduction. Deprogramming sessions last from two days to two weeks and resemble, ironically, the high-pressure, instant-transformation therapies of the late 1960s from which many of the cults have borrowed heavily. Others bluntly compare deprogramming methods to Chinese reeducation processes.

The active principle in deprogramming consists of bombarding the subject with opposite information designed to “break” false religious views. Patrick aims first to enrage his subjects. To do so he will threaten to put them “out of action,” to prolong detention indefinitely; he rails against their beliefs, confiscates their Bibles and wipes his ass on photographs of cult leaders. “Once they begin to argue, we’re home free,” he claims. “Once they start to communicate I know I can win.” Hopscotching across America, Ted Patrick claims to have performed 1,500 deprogrammings involving Children of God, Moonies, Hare Krishnas, Scientologists and members of the Way International. On one occasion he even zealously deprogrammed a woman he claimed had been brainwashed by a labor organization, the National Caucus of Labor Committees.

Patrick began his deprogramming raids eight years ago, after his own son was briefly enchanted with the Children of God. His activities quickly attracted press coverage. Jerry Sharpe of the Pittsburgh Press reported, “Patrick is an amazing guy. The girl was clutching the Bible, staring ahead and repeating ‘Praise the Lord’ all the time. Patrick walked over and ripped the Bible out of her hands so hard he almost threw her against the wall. He said, ‘You don’t serve God, you serve the Devil.’ ” Of course, not everybody thought he was that “amazing.”

By 1973, the cults—supported by the ACLU—had begun to fight back, and Patrick found himself in court. That January, Dan Voll, a junior at Yale and a member of the New Missionary Fellowship—a small, respectable evangelical Christian youth group promoting short hair and long skirts—was grabbed by Patrick on 119th Street in Manhattan. His shouts attracted police, he was released and filed assault charges. To the surprise of many, the case against Patrick was dismissed. Judge “Turn ’em Loose” Bruce Wright cited New York State law permitting a violation of law to prevent a “greater injury,” the same legal principle cited by John Erlichman in defending Nixon. Mind control, Judge Wright suggested, was such a “greater injury.” Patrick termed the decision a “great victory” for the nation.

But Patrick’s victory was short-lived. A few months later, in a similar case, he was condemned for “vigilante tactics” and sent to the slammer. Since then he has served time in New York, Pennsylvania and Colorado. Yet the controversy surrounding the legal status of deprogramming and mind control remains unresolved. In 1978, for example, a Rhode Island court ruled that deprogramming itself (apart from the initial abduction) was not illegal, by interpreting the First Amendment to mean that the individual is protected from government interference in religion, not from individual interference. “Deprogramming,” this ruling suggested, was “persuasion.”

Today, the deprogrammers are as proliferate and varied as the cults. Following Patrick’s lead, a host of competitors selling their own brands of deprogramming, debriefing, stress interviewing and reality therapy have entered this new and lucrative field. While Patrick charges a flat fee of $10,000 for his services, the fees of his imitators range as high as $50,000. Of these rival services, the most successful has been the Freedom of Thought Foundation. Hidden away on five acres of land in Arizona’s Tucson mountains, FTF features “the finest deprogramming group put together in the whole world,” according to founder Michael Trauscht, who hopes to “make Tucson the anticult capital of the world.”

The “reality therapy” of the Trauscht group is based largely on Patrick’s methods, but instead of abducting converts they have made use of existing laws—in an alarming way—to legally kidnap members of cults. Under California’s “conservatorship” laws, a temporary guardian can be appointed in cases of “incompetency” for 15 to 30 days, “with or without notice to subject.” The law, designed to apply to the senile, unbalanced or critically injured, was stretched by several sympathetic judges to apply to cultists. Translation: cult consciousness is a form of insanity.

Trauscht presented parents with an affidavit prepared for their signatures and containing allegations that their son or daughter appeared to be the victim of mind control, that his or her personality had changed abruptly or that assets belonging to the child had been transferred to cult leaders. The charges could be false, since the whole business was conducted without the knowledge of the subject, and there would be no hearing, no notification and no representation for the cult member.

Trauscht and company were able to obtain similar orders in ten states, apart from California, before the first test came in San Francisco in a case in which five Moonies were allowed representation at a conservatorship hearing. Another surprising decision: Judge S. Lee Vavuris ruled in favor of deprogramming, declaring, “The parent-child relationship is never ending. The child is the child even though a parent may be 90 and the child 60.”

Not so surprisingly, the California State Court of Appeals overturned his decision.

That ruling stalled Trauscht briefly, but since then, in response to Jonestown hysteria, Vermont and a number of other states are considering guardianship laws, not for the insane and feeble, but specifically to facilitate deprogramming. The implications of such action are astounding—visions of writers, artists, punks, unpopular religionists, High Times readers, me, you, everybody rounded up and sent to deprogramming centers. Still, the chance that such laws will be written are, at this time, slim.

Mind Control on Trial

If both the past and the external world exist only in the mind, and the mind itself is controllable—what then?

—George Orwell, 1984

On Capitol Hill, since the assassination of Representative Leo J. Ryan and the debacle in Guyana, the cult wars have heated up. While the White House has been noncommittal on the issue (Ruth Carter Stapleton is a “memory healer”), the Congress has initiated two new investigations into cult activities. So far, these have amounted to little more than sound and fury, an attempt to ease the troubled minds of the folks back home.

I attended one such hearing on February 5, 1979, an “unofficial” investigation into cult phenomena organized by Senator Robert Dole. The Moonies were out in force. A ragtag oompah band was playing “The Battle Hymn of the Republic” and a less familiar tune—“Shining Fatherland,” the anthem of the Unification Church—on the steps of the Senate Office Building. About 500 had gathered to protest the hearing.

Blue and red polka-dot badges proclaimed SENATOR DOLE—THIS IS A WITCH HUNT as Moonies sang, clapped, leafleted and “love-bombed” visitors, telling everyone to “have a nice day.” Peanut butter sandwiches were passed around. White, yellow and black faces smiled in subzero winds.

Inside, Moonies—along with Hare Krishnas, Scientologists and followers of the Way—jammed the gallery of the Senate Caucus Room (site of Joe McCarthy’s list-waving anticommie histrionics) elbow-to-elbow with politicians, reporters, psychologists and concerned parents, all under a phalanx of television cameras. Several feet away sat Neil Salonen, president of the Unification Church and Moon’s chief Yankee spokesman, 34, heavyset and perspiring slightly. At the witness table, Ted Patrick was haranguing the panel: “Cults like the Moonies destroy a person’s free will, make it impossible for him to think for the rest of his life.” The chamber erupted in shouts of “Liar! Absolute liar!”

There were charges and countercharges, but no hard evidence; and definitions of what constituted a cult as opposed to a legitimate religion had the committee hung up, embarrassed and confused. Struggling to come up with a legal definition of “free will,” one hapless congressman became so disoriented that he began to mumble a hypothetical defense of the Salem witch trials, and the panel was relieved to adjourn for lunch with Senator Dole’s recommendation that they “get together and talk some more.”

As we slouch toward Bethlehem and lurch toward 1984, such bafflement is typical. Even though programming is a consistent factor in any culture where people share a common language and, hence, to some degree, the same way of thinking, the fact is often overlooked in the emotional debate surrounding cult programming. The controversy is not about a programmed versus an unprogrammed, “free,” anarchic existence; it concerns programs that run counter to socially accepted programs. It is important to keep in mind that similar but less extreme mind control methods are employed daily in school, business, “legitimate” religions, advertising and television. The implication that there are acceptable levels of mind control has contributed immeasurably to public confusion.

The modern phenomenon of mind control, rising out of the secret CIA laboratories or out of the culture itself to be perfected by the cults and amended by the deprogrammers, suggests that human beings are much more malleable than some who cling to a myth of the individual as self-contained unit would like to believe. On the other hand, the discoveries in this area hint at powers of communication and control long hidden from the “conscious” human being. The expanded-consciousness movement in the 1960s went far in advancing this view.

Ideally, mind control is not indoctrination or deprogramming. Neither is it a kind of property to be sold to an elite corps of paying believers. Unfortunately, today it is all three.

It can be a weapon; it can be a boon. Science can be useful in explaining these phenomena; it can also exploit them. The Dream Time, our ancient heritage, can be used to obliterate personality in the interest of organizations and ideologies or to escape personality in the interests of enlightenment. But until such conflicts are resolved, mind control is out of control.

High Times Magazine, August 1979

Read the rest of this issue here.

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