By A. Orange (revised by Jeremiah K)
1.Recognize that programming is everywhere, and it isn’t all bad.
Your programming started with your parents teaching you things, and both consciously and
unconsciously programming you with all of their beliefs and attitudes. That is not necessarily
bad — it is usually good. You are better off for having had parents who cared about you and
wanted to teach you. But unfortunately, you also inherited all of their misinformation,
superstitions, mistakes, and irrational and untrue beliefs.
And you also inherited your “culture”, which includes all of the false, irrational, and wrong
beliefs of your entire society. And you are left with the job of figuring out which of those beliefs
are good and true, and which are stupid and crazy.
And you are always vulnerable to pressure from your peer group, which will always try to make
you conform to their beliefs, standards, and behavior, even if your friends are not even really
aware of the fact that they are doing it.
2.Recognize that programming and deprogramming are constant, on-going processes.
Even while you are trying to deprogram and clear your mind, television commercials will be
trying to program you into believing that you really should buy their product; you will be so
happy if you do, and you’ll be beautiful and get laid too. And the politicians will always be
trying to make you believe that they are wise and right about everything, and if you are patriotic
you will never criticize them.
3.Want to know the truth.
This is essential. This is the whole ball game. If you don’t want to learn the truth, then you
Love the truth, even if it is sometimes inconvenient or unpleasant. Respect the truth, cherish the
truth, seek the truth above all.
People stay trapped in cults, or trapped in illusions, because they don’t really want to know the
- Sometimes they are afraid to know the truth
They fear that their world will fall apart if they stop believing certain things, or
admit the truth of other things. That is one of the beliefs with which they got
programmed — the idea that if they don’t believe the right things, something really
bad will happen to them. One of the things that cults do is implant phobias about
leaving the cult, or learning the truth about the cult.
They are afraid of losing their status or membership in the group — they are
afraid that they will be shunned and ostracized if they don’t believe the same
things as the other people around them. And they are just plain afraid of being
They fear that they will have to leave the cult if they stop believing in it, and they
will stop believing in it if they learn a bunch of negative things about it. (“Then
what will I do with my life?!”) So they plug their ears and close their eyes, and
play “Hear no evil, see no evil…”
- Some people just don’t want to see that they were fooled.
“I refuse to believe that I spent twelve years of my life in a cult. It isn’t a cult. It
can’t be a cult. It’s a wonderful movement.”
As they say in A.A., “Denial isn’t just a river in Egypt.”
- Some people just don’t want to give it up.
“If I leave the group, I will be lonely because I won’t have any friends. So shut
up and quit telling me disturbing things about it.”
“I have lots of time invested here. I’m a respected elder. If I quit the organization,
I’ll be a nobody.”
4.Don’t condemn yourself.
Self condemnation and self-criticism are part of the brainwashing and indoctrination process,
and they are counter-productive when it comes to deprogramming. If you find that you have been
programmed to believe some goofy idea, then just recognize that it is an irrational, illogical,
goofy idea, and reject it, but do not condemn yourself for having believed it for a while.
It’s just like, if, while exploring the Wild West, you find that you have an arrow stuck in your
back, pull it out
- Don’t wallow in self-contempt and guilt, condemning yourself for having stupidly been stuck with an arrow in your back.
- Don’t imagine that you are somehow all messed up for having been stuck with an arrow.
- Don’t imagine that finding and arrow stuck in your back proves that you are somehow inferior.
Just pull the arrow out and then get on with your life.
Now that doesn’t mean that you shouldn’t examine your behavior, and change it if you are doing
something wrong. But be wary of excessive fault-finding and self-criticism. Cults will teach you
to do that, and will even try to convince you that you will make yourself more holy by constantly
condemning yourself and putting yourself down and feeling guilty about everything. All that
really accomplishes is messing up your mind, destroying your self-confidence and self-respect,
and making you unable to think clearly or act decisively.
5.Watch out for other people condemning you.
People who want to control you will try to make you feel stupid, inferior, flawed, and mentally
incompetent for disagreeing with them.
As mentioned above, self condemnation and self-criticism are a major part of the brainwashing
and indoctrination process, so those who would like to control you would also like to get you
criticizing yourself and being down on yourself. And Margaret Thaler Singer added that
inducing feelings of powerlessness, covert fear, guilt, and dependency in the victims was also a
part of the brainwashing process.
So don’t let them make you believe that you are flawed and inferior. When someone is reading
your beads and listing your faults, it almost always means that they want to control you — to
change your behavior to something that they want.