How we change what others think, feel, believe and do
Ten Stages to Conversion
These are ten stages identified by Melia and Ryder that lead to conversion.
We take many behavioral cues from our environment, so if control of this can be applied then much behavior can also be managed and directed.
Institutions such as prisons, monasteries and college campuses use this, as well as restrictive cults.
When the body is exhausted, the person will be less resistant to suggestion and will more easily break down.
Physical fatigue can be caused by such as excessive exercise, lack of sleep, inadequate nutrition and
Physical fatigue leads to mental fatigue, which is the main goal of making the person suggestible.
Mental fatigue can be created by engagement and tasks such as having to learn long tracts of text, having to solve difficult problems, having to listen to and understand complex sermons, challenging conversations.
Uncertainty leads to tension, which leads in turn to further mental fatigue. Uncertainty can also be used to challenge existing beliefs, making that which once was assumed to be always true into something that is shaky and open to change.
Tension may be caused by reframing old beliefs, threatening punishment, removing control, judging and other threats.
Stimulation is necessary for our normal functioning, but if we overload on it, we may be transitioned into overwhelming altered states and euphoria in which we may be persuaded to other ways.
Superstimulation is triggered through such as heavy rhythm, including chanting, marching, drumming, dancing and flashing lights. It can also be enhanced with both legal and illegal drugs, from tobacco to narcotics.
Crises, which can be caused by any of the previous stages can be a trigger to emotional breakdowns and consequent deep change.
Crises may be deliberately provoked by such as breaking sessions, financial problems, interpersonal conflicts, and so on.
Euphoria is an altered state that can be achieved through forms of entrancement or sudden realization and learning. In particular that which once was unclear now becomes clear and important. This is often a moment of breakthrough and change to the new way of thinking.
Now converted, the person becomes an evangelical zealot and ready to convince others, sure of the higher purpose of what they are doing.
If any doubt remains, then this action seals the knot of belief, strengthening the new pattern of thinking and acting.
Once converted, the commitment must be deepened and assured. This may be enacted by repetition of previous stages, casting out of any remaining previous behaviors and beliefs and hammering home the new.
Melia, T and Ryder, N. (1983). Lucifer State: A Novel Approach to Rhetoric, Kendall/Hunt Publishing
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