Please enable Javascript to use Top Secret Writers to it's fullest. Without it, you will find much of the modern internet doesn't work. I would add a little button hide this message, but that kind of functionality requires Javascript ;)

The Tragedy of the Chiapas Human Rights Case Previous Article
A Day of Remembrance for 9-11 Victims and Their FamiliesNext Article

The Confusion Technique in Scientology

Line Spacing+- AFont Size+- Print This Article
The Confusion Technique in Scientology

Scientology is one of the most criticized and mysterious religions of our time.

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.

ron hubbard

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.

Originally published on TopSecretWriters.com

  • Anonymous

    As a longtime Scientologist who has read extensively through Hubbard’s earliest books to his last–ditto for recorded lectures–I  assure readers that I’ve read nothing, nada, zippo even slightly resembling what Ben Norris is alleging about Scientology in his disconnected blurb above. I’ve read Erickson, and I’ve surely read Hubbard. 

    If there is a confusion technique in play, it’s Norris’s attempt to befuddle readers with this rambling allegation pulled straight off of an obsessed anti-Scientology hate site. 

    If I come back to this site, I surely hope for more-honest journalism. 

  • Yodel

    You are an OSAbot, you scan the internet and insult and harrass critics via cut and paste comments that have little truth or substance.  Your number is shrinking every day, don’t be the last to blow!

  • Anonymous

    See Strunk & White, section on run-on sentences. 

  • Anonymous

    Hai. Can you be more specific and address, point by point, which of the allegations Ben discusses thst you’ve never heard about?

  • Miles Biondo

    I’m wondering, KOL, is it possible that — like every bit of PR that comes out of your cult — you are completely full of excrement?

  • Jeffpat123

    1) Confusion Tactics: What specifically? I’ve been in Scn. for over 30 years, I’m not confused. If I don’t understand something I look it up in the dictionary–what’s so “tactic” about that?
    2) Mainstream Hypnosis: We don’t use hypnosis. Hey Milton, haven’t you read Dianetics Modern Science of Mental Health and try and understand it if you have? Or, is that a too hard read for you?
    3) Purification Rundown. You go into a sauna–geez you could have looked that up on Google.
    4)Left, right, center, boss–never heard those terms connected to Scientology.
    5) Dianectics Modern Science of Mental health is roughly $20 bucks and has helped more people become happier in their lives then psychiatry has. So, friends….Scientology is a lot cheaper then going to shrinks and it works a whole lot better. You don’t believe me, say I’ve been brain washed? Well read Dianetics Modern Science of Mental Health; do the processing in the back of the book and find out for yourself. Yea, I recruit every chance I get–so what? I like to make people happier in their lives, do you?
    6) Oh, and Ben, it’s called research–look it up and use it next time.

  • Dan

    Magaret Thaler Stinger lays out precisely this argument in her book Cults in our Midst. She calls it natural trance induction and it is caused by making irrational statements which short circuit a persons critical thought processes, thus making subconscious suggestion possible. If Hubbard was anything, he was irrational. He was a gifted writer and mentally ill… The perfect combination to create irrational text with unsupported claims that end up as hypnotic suggestion to the reader.

  • Comic Book Fan

    You know, upon reflection, I would say that “Scientology WAS one of the most criticized and mysterious religion of ITS time”. It doesn’t seem so mysterious these days. It seems like every day there are a half dozen new articles demystifying it. Every couple of months there is a new book telling the story from a non-Scientology perspective. The mystery is gone. What is left is a buffoon science-fiction writer who started a science-fiction cult, got rich, got in trouble with the law and died. His cult teetered on the brink in the hands of a small man who was shored up by a couple of Hollywood movie stars. We shall see if and when it goes over the edge.

  • Comic Book Fan

    You know, upon reflection, I would say that “Scientology WAS one of the most criticized and mysterious religion of ITS time”. It doesn’t seem so mysterious these days. It seems like every day there are a half dozen new articles demystifying it. Every couple of months there is a new book telling the story from a non-Scientology perspective. The mystery is gone. What is left is a buffoon science-fiction writer who started a science-fiction cult, got rich, got in trouble with the law and died. His cult teetered on the brink in the hands of a small man who was shored up by a couple of Hollywood movie stars. We shall see if and when it goes over the edge.

  • Comic Book Fan

    Jeffpat123, I think you have proven Ben’s thesis.

  • Comic Book Fan

    Jeffpat123, I think you have proven Ben’s thesis.

  • JustCallMeMary

    As a former longtime scientologist, I can tell you that this is a very good and accurate article. Thank you, Ben.

  • Anonymous

    Alright, here’s a chance for you to clear up some confusion, how many times was L Ron Hubbard married? Two of his wives divorced him, can you tell us what for?

  • Anonymous

    Great article.  I agree with Comic Book Fan that there isn’t much mysterious about Scientology in 2011, thank Xenu.  Hubbard’s lifetime of lies regarding his military and academic records, his quack “science”, David Miscavige’s brutal and sadistic “leadership”, the fact that at most there are 40,000 Scientologists worldwide.  Governments around the world have woken up to the truth about this crime syndicate posing as a “religion”.  Ex members speaking out like never before about the horrors they witnessed while in the cult. The bullies, thugs and goons that make up what’s left of the organization are getting what they have so richly deserved for so many years: exposure and, hopefully, prison time.

  • Anonymous

    All signs point to “yes”.

  • Informate

    Inside $cientology lying a a virtue. Scientology has many different euphemisms for the word lie. They call their lies “acceptable truths”, “shore stories”, “communicating at the proper ‘reality level'” and other such things. When a Scientologist speaks to an outsider they will always communicate to that outsider on what they call the proper reality level. Meaning they believe you’re not ready to hear the “truth”, so they tell you what they want you to believe instead.

  • Old OT7

    Liar…

  • Anonymous

    Ben Norris falls into the same emotional trap into which 90
    percent of small-media coverage drops out of sight. He falls for hate-sites’
    allegations of what Scientologists believe without citation of any Scientology
    source literature. So Norris errs professionally by relaying unexamined
    falsehoods and hate-speech. That he thus erred is the charitable view. The
    harsher view is that he deliberately purveyed that uneducated drivel. Indeed, a
    professional writer should note lack of source citations in his work and DEL
    the piece before hitting Send.

     

     * There are no
    “confusion tactics” anywhere in L. Ron Hubbard’s work.

    * There is nothing remotely akin to hypnotism; Scientology
    and Dianetics in fact de-hypnotize people of the subconscious suggestions that
    authorities, parents and others worked so hard to pound into you.* Far from confusing, Scientology readings take apart common ideas, analyze them. One ends up far less confused. 

    * Norris hasn’t done the slightest honest research on the
    “Purification” programs as his description of them is totally non sequitur. There is only one, it is a detox program that has nothing to do with books
    or audio tapes, as it consists of vitamins, exercise and sauna.

    * This entirely physical detox regimen has been published in a book, so anyone can
    do it without coming near a Scientology organization. 

    * “Authoritative hypnosis” is….what exactly?  Not anything used in Scientology. 

    * Any Scientologist knows the huge difference between the
    technical use of a word (say “Dynamic”) as it’s used in Scientology, compared
    to its use in, say physics. Hardly a redefinition of words, in fact  we work hard to ensure absolute clarification
    of meanings. Norris’s belief in that hate-speech about redefinition of words is
    just more hate-speech put into print to sow distrust and scorn.

    * “Left, Right, Center, Boss”? Utter rubbish. Never used,
    except as part of everyone’s normal conversation. Its inclusion in any article
    about Scientology is pure hate-speech copied, pasted, bought, absorbed, and
    irresponsibly or maliciously relayed.

    * And the use of “center” in that goofy “confusion” way
    is—must I say it yetagainagain—nowhere to be found in Scientology.

     

    So Mr. Norris is now challenged to find anything remotely
    like his allegations in Hubbard’s writings and to present it here.

    If you aren’t malicious, prove it, Ben.  

  • http://www.TopSecretWriters.com Ryan Dube

    KeepOnLearning, You are being disingenuous. Ben made it very clear that the definition of the techniques as “confusion tactics” are from outside experts that recognize the techniques as such. Obviously Hubbard would not call those techniques by that name, because like so many other terms in the English language, he chose to redefine it into something else.

    It is what it is – just because you call the technique by another name does not make it anything other than what it really is.

    Now, stop ignoring the important questions and points other commentors have brought up – those are serious issues, and could hardly be defined as “hate speech”. Truth isn’t hate, however painful it may be for you to accept.

  • http://www.TopSecretWriters.com Ryan Dube

    KeepOnLearning, You are being disingenuous. Ben made it very clear that the definition of the techniques as “confusion tactics” are from outside experts that recognize the techniques as such. Obviously Hubbard would not call those techniques by that name, because like so many other terms in the English language, he chose to redefine it into something else.

    It is what it is – just because you call the technique by another name does not make it anything other than what it really is.

    Now, stop ignoring the important questions and points other commentors have brought up – those are serious issues, and could hardly be defined as “hate speech”. Truth isn’t hate, however painful it may be for you to accept.

  • http://www.TopSecretWriters.com Ryan Dube

    Thank you Mary.

  • http://www.TopSecretWriters.com Ryan Dube

    Thank you Mary.

  • KeepOnLearning

    It must be
    very comfortable for you mentally to find some way to niggle your way out of
    confronting crystal-clear words and unmistakably stated meanings.

    Allow me to
    now triply, redundantly, tiresomely, clarify this for the conceptially
    blindered:

    * No such
    words…

    * No such
    concepts…

    * No such
    practices…

    * No such activities or verbalizations…
    * No such
    A-N-Y-T-H-I-N-G  L-I-K-E  T-H-A-T  N-O-N-S-E-N-S-E  exists within the Church of
    Scientology, its practices, policies, ceremonies, auditing, confessionals,
    technologies, policies, or activities.

    Again, if
    and when you or Norris have any supporting documentation from Scientology source materials to the
    contrary, I’d be glad to see it posted here.

    Since you
    and Ben cannot provide or produce such, the column above remains undocumented
    and below professional-standards.

    Sadly, those who defend slovenly journalism about Scientology are even less honest than the columnists. When one is eager to
    hate and spread hate to others’ minds, one sees truth as a necessary casualty of their war on Scientology.

  • billy bob

    Why do
    your comments contain abrupt line breaks like
    this?

    Clearly a sign of copy/paste, which is how we can tell that you are an OSAbot. 
    KSS – Keep Scientology Sinking!

  • Anonymous

    You’re wrong and illogical.

    You would have to be an irrational being whose hatred and desire to harm others’ good works, and who has cut himself off from common sense, to think for a second that obviously ad hoc, bespoke comments such as mine are cut and pasted from anywhere.

    Except–now think hard on this concept–from my Microsoft Word program, which I use for spell- and typo check!

    You comfort yourselves with your “OSAbot” concept, but everything I’ve experienced in Scientology frees me up from the sheep mentality and Pavlovian responses I see in the “Let’s make the world hate Scientology” crowd. 

  • Anonymous

    Yes, the CRs are annoying. Sorry, no “Edit” button currently displaying for this post.

  • Arnaldolerma

    ponder upon this

    WISHFULL THINKINGNESS

  • Khalil_patwa

    never gonna give up on the old dialectic shuffle!)

  • Khalil_patwa

    never gonna give up on the old dialectic shuffle!)

  • http://www.facebook.com/cris.bessette Cris Bessette

    Too vague. 
    The article is titled “The confusion technique in Scientology” but only the vaguest definition of this “technique” is given, and no info how simply redefining words would “hypnotize” someone.

    Most people can tell the difference between left (direction) left (political classification) left (not brought) -or-
    right (direction) right (political classification) right (correct) right (what one is allowed to do)
    There are many words that have multiple definitions, and people don’t forget one definition when introduced to another.

    At least the article does state that the “evidence (for confusion technique) seems cobbled together…”

  • Rich Roth

    This is a great read, I like the left right, center, I will add that to my tool box, it looks like it will be pretty effective


"The essence of the independent mind lies not in what it thinks, but in how it thinks."
― Christopher Hitchens

Top Secret Editors

Ryan is the founder of Top Secret Writers. He is an IT analyst, blogger, journalist, and a researcher for the truth behind strange stories.
 
Lori is TSW's editor. Freelance writer and editor for over 17 years, she loves to read and loves fringe science and conspiracy theory.
 
Dennis Dufrene is resident historian and tech writer. He brings insight and accuracy to the unusual stories published here at TSW.

Top Secret Writers

Gabrielle is a journalist who finds strange stories the media misses, and enlightens readers about news they never knew existed.
 
Sally is TSW's health/environmental expert. As a blogger/organic gardener, she's investigates critical environmental issues.
 
Seamus Coogan from New Zealand has been writing for over a decade, and his focus is contemporary conspiracy theory.
 
Mark Dorr grew up the son of a treasure hunter. His experiences led to working internationally in some surprising situations!
 
WC is an American citizen living and working in China. He brings readers a wealth of knowledge in international affairs, culture and business.
 
Allen Taylor is an award-winning journalist, an Iraq War veteran, and a keen observer of humanity's dark side.
 
Jenny is a fantasy and paranormal writer from the UK with a passion for the strangeness of humans and the world.
 
Mark R. Whittington, from Houston, Texas, frequently writes on space, science, political commentary and political culture.
 
Octavia Drughi is a traveler, rock climber and freelance writer who always keeps her backpack close and ready for her next adventure.

Join Other Conspiracy Theory Researchers on Facebook!

Get a Top Secret Bumper Sticker!

Comment on Breaking Stories

Powered by Disqus