Its controversial stance on psychology has drawn widespread skepticism, but other critics say the group’s supposed use of “confusion tactics” makes the religion all the more pervasive throughout many communities.
Arizona psychiatrist Milton Erickson, who said confusion was a standard in almost all of his techniques, introduced the confusion technique into mainstream hypnotic theory.
Milton wrote that this technique would induce deep trances and was best employed with highly intelligent subjects – regardless of whether they were willing or unwilling to enter hypnosis.
To make it through the stages of Scientology’s path to “enlightenment”, it’s going to cost you in more ways than one.
The Process of Confusion and Hypnosis
It starts with a reading of L. Ron Hubbard’s best seller “Dianetics”, and before you know it, you’ve thrown down some serious cash for audio lessons and books - all part of scientology’s “purification programs.”
Scientology today denies the use of hypnosis or the confusion technique on its supporters, and there is really no proof to show that religious leaders actually do attempt to hypnotize members.
However, critics point to L. Ron Hubbard’s own apparent use of authoritative hypnosis, which is basically the same tactic as using confusion, involving redefining common words as well as inventing new words.
Redefining Words in Ambiguous Ways
Critics say Hubbard used the confusion technique by using terms such as “left and right” in ambiguous ways. Using the confusion technique, subjects would grasp for the term “center,” which Hubbard called “the boss.”
Hubbard would then reportedly use the “center” as his basis to induce his suggestions, as the center became the only option available to escape the confusing and ambiguous notions introduced along the way.
The allegations of hypnosis continue today, and opponents of Scientology claim the group still regularly practices the confusion technique, although the evidence of this seems to be hobbled together in various papers and as part of Scientology's vaious interrogation techniques.
Whether you believe Scientology is indeed hypnotizing its members or not, it is important to continue questioning any religious institution with so much power, and often also at the receiving end of extensive cash flow and tax breaks.