The Program is a novel by author Gregg Hurwitz. Although it’s fiction, The Program provides some great insight into abusive groups and destructive movements, as well as ways to social hack a Large Group Awareness Training.
In this case, social hack is used to refer to a method to literally disrupt and ideally completely destabilize the Large Group Awareness Training, from the inside out.
10 key ways to social hack a Large Group Awareness Training:
1) Act authoritatively. Destructive groups and abusive movements often model their staff and train their leadership after the one influential leader and founder of the group. They will not expect you yourself to also act in this manner. They often act authoritarian and totalitarian, as this is how these staff members are taught, to emulate and act like their leader and founder.
2) Bring a mental health professional as part of your social hacking group. Ideally this would be someone with a PhD in psychology or an M.D. with a specialty in psychiatry. This person would educate and brief the members of the social hacking team about tactics and methods of the group, and the dangers of getting in too deep into its thought patterns.
3) Bring an ex-member of the group in question. This ex-member should be someone intimately aware of the ways the group functions, and yet out for enough time to have fully gone through a period of cognitive dissonance and awakened back to a pattern to appropriately interact with society again.
4) Bring law enforcement or someone familiar with the law. This person will help brief the rest of the members of the social hacking team on their rights should staff from the destructive group or abusive movement falsely make claims about their actions during the seminar. This person would also be quite useful to conduct research into the possible criminal activities of the group and its founder and leader. This person should instruct all members of the social hacking team on ways to have fun disrupting and destabilizing the Large Group Awareness Training seminar, without doing anything illegal.
5) Don’t follow group mentality. Refuse to stand when everyone else stands. Don’t clap when everyone else claps. This will help you maintain your sense of self and independence throughout the attempts by the abusive group or destructive movement at influence and manipulation. If you are asked to explain yourself by a staff member of the abusive group, sample language from the book includes: “From what I’ve seen, I’m not sure if I like The Program yet. If I decide that I don’t like what’s going on here, I’m leaving. Thank you for having me here today.” (Obviously replace “The Program” with the name of whatever destructive group or abusive movement’s seminar you are attending.)
6) Politely interrupt the seminar with inquisitive questions. Make sure to be polite about this. Again, maintain a positive and happy attitude when doing this. Most likely other members of the seminar in the room full of 200 or so people will echo some of your concerns.
7) Assertively affirm your positive outlook on life. Wording suggested in the book by the fictional psychologist, character Dr. Glen Bederman is: “My Program is: I participate in activities that give me self-esteem, and I have the courage to decline to participate in those activities that do not.” This frames your reason for attending in a positive way that simultaneously retains your own sense of self, independence, assertiveness, and self worth. It also signals to potential shills, dupes, and marks in the audience that they can similarly adopt your positive yet independent attitude and modus operandi while being in the seminar.
8) Maintain a positive and happy attitude. You are there to have a fun time. Act like it. Potential shills and suckers and marks will respond positively to you if you question the methods and tactics of the abusive group or destructive movement, while at the same time showing you are a happy and fulfilled person.
9) Bring a digital thermometer. Destructive groups and abusive movements will sometimes wildly alter the ambient temperature in the room where the seminar is conducted, in order to put attendees off balance. If you notice this pattern, politely but loudly question the staff on this, in front of the rest of the seminar participants so they can all hear your concerns.
10) Ask the staff loudly and politely if they are licensed to practice hypnosis. In the book, the fictional psychologist Dr. Glen Bederman asks: “Are you licensed to administer hypnosis in the state of California?” When the abusive group’s leader “TD” responds: “We’re not practicing hypnosis here. We’re simply meditating.”, Dr. Bederman loudly points out in earshot of the entire seminar: “Guided meditation is a form of hypnosis. Everyone in this room should know that.”
But wait, there’s more: There are plenty other helpful pointers to social hack a Large Group Awareness Training in this section of the book, and it’s all there on pages 323-337.
Other educational takeaways from the book:
pages 256-263: Exit counseling with psychologist Dr. Glen Bederman; this fictional character created by the author Gregg Hurwitz is likely an amalgam of non-fiction psychologists and psychiatrists who have studied victims of abusive groups and destructive movements.
pages 270-272: The investigator meets with postal inspector Owen B. Rutherford; the author Gregg Hurwitz in the book’s Acknowledgements section credits postal inspector Mike McCarthy for his research in this area. What’s most interesting about this part of the book is the postal inspector character’s statements about the crime of tampering with U.S. mail. The section of the book deals with an abusive group and destructive movement that takes away mail from its members that live on its controlled compound, a crime which is: “Most obviously a Title 18, Section 1708 — theft or receipt of stolen mail matter, generally. But between theft, obstruction, and destruction, we could have over two hundred federal, criminal, and civil statutes.”
Says the character postal inspector Owen B. Rutherford: “Do you know what a thirty-seven-cent stamp buys you? … Not just delivery service. Oh, no. The thirty-seven cents buys you a fiduciary relationship with the United States Postal Service. We are custodians of private property. Namely: the mail. That private property belongs to the sender until it comes into the hands of the intended recipient. These jelly-spined bliss ninnies can’t grant the right for their leader to destroy incoming mail before it comes into their actual possession — it isn’t their mail to relinquish. First-class mail must be delivered, forwarded, returned to sender, or sent to the mail-recovery center. Any other act is a violation of the rights of the sender. A violation further of the sanctity of the mail and — make no mistake — it is as such a felony in its own right.”
This is all from The Program a novel by author Gregg Hurwitz. Check it out!
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