The following is one of TheraminTrees' most thorough-going pieces, wherein he looks at the process and techniques whereby a "religious" organization (which will sound VERY familiar to most of us, once introductions are made!) takes a person who thinks s/he cannot be manipulated and does their number all over that person.  It's rather reminiscent of the old business about a frog and hot water.  Mr. Ribbit will jump out of the hot water, but if the temp is raised S-L-O-W-L-Y, he'll stay put ... to his detriment.  This process is what TT spells out in thoughtful detail.

Please enjoy.

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What a perfect icon to sum up the economics and power relations of religion. Thanks, Joan.

Someone pointed out that shepherds don't take care of their sheep just because they like them; "they'll fleece them, fuck them, or eat them."

and sell them

Grinning Cat, the image of a sheepherder as you and Chris describe him appears vividly in my mind. 

Even if the sheepherder were unhumanly, perfectly benevolent, I'll echo Timothy Leary (?) :

"The Lord Is My Shepherd. What does that make us? Sheep. Baaaaaa!"

"... in a docile manner"?!?  In other words, swallow it whole and don't look at it or attempt to understand or analyze it.  Pardon my French, but:


That says it, Grinning Cat! Baaaaaaaaa! Images of herders with sheep tell the story of human as sheep.

Grinning cat funny. What isn't funny is that with this type of manipulation we can all be MADE into sheep. Subconscious psychology is a very powerful tool for manipulation. For example a poor but valid example could be Hillary and Trump fatigue.  After hearing how terrible they are for so long we just get to the point of ignoring new horror stories about them and just want to accept that it's ALL hogwash and look for the good in them. I am not suggesting there is not good in them but we just eventually don't want to hear it anymore.   This in its self is a type of manipulation.

As a corrections officer I used to tell new officers "if you think you cant be conned you will be". Even with that great but of wisdom I often was. Sometimes I found out about it afterwards. The good thing is it helped me to avoid "Big con's" such as bringing disallowed items into the prison.  The most important part of any con is that it is presented without risk or any reason to doubt it as a good, valid idea. A conman is never untrustworthy by appearance. This would destroy his ability to manipulate you. He in fact is your best friend whom cares about you. Another saying I had was "You are never conned by anyone you don't trust" not exactly true as it would violate my first saying, but it does convey the idea that trust is essential to manipulation.  Clergy, and "good theist" are almost by default psychologically packaged by us as humans into the "trust" group. Thus we are mentally, and socially programmed to trust them.     Thank you for the post.

Compelledunbeliever, I was a teacher in a prison and you tell it like it is. 

I agree. I shall explain my theory of Sunday clothes. On Sunday Christians put on their Sunday clothes and do everything to appear Christianee. At the end of the day they take them off an no longer pretend to be Christianee. One day a group of inmates were waiting to go church at a gate at I had a microphone on. On offender was telling the group a story about how he and his friends gang-banged some b@$+h. I laughed at the realisation they had no Sunday clothes. Atheist to me appear to lack any false persona also. There is simply no "Sunday clothes" to put on.

Not a good follower! Never have been and have the record to prove it. On the other hand,I know I can be manipulated by the right manipulator, just as that manipulator can be manipulated. Perhaps, by me, but if you ask me, I would say I can't be manipulated.




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