I’m always fascinated by the Church of Scientology’s obsession with “external influences.” At the Int Base, any “bad attitude,” doubt or criticism was always blamed on some “eternal influence,” whether a family member, friend, news story or whatever. One had to be constantly on guard against these insidious, evil external influences.
In a broad, non-Scientology sense, an “external influence” would be anything outside of yourself that could influence your opinions or attitudes. Family, friends, TV programs, newspapers, internet sites, political or social groups and, yes, religious groups, could all be considered to act as “external influences” on a person.
So what the Church is really saying is “we want to be your only external influence.” “We want to be the only ones who influence your opinions or viewpoints.”
In other words, they want to isolate you. In fact, one of the definitions of “isolate” in the American Heritage dictionary is “to render free of external influence.”
As Eric Hoffer points out in his book, The True Believer, “All active mass movements strive…to interpose a fact-proof screen between the faithful and the realities of the world. They do this by claiming that the ultimate and absolute truth is already embodied in their doctrine and that there is no truth or certitude outside it. The facts on which the true believer bases his conclusions must not be derived from his experience or observation but from holy writ…To rely on the evidence of the senses and of reason is heresy and treason.”
Steven Hassan says in Combatting Cult Mind Control:
“Information is the fuel we use to keep our minds working properly, Deny a person the information he requires to make sound judgments, and he will be incapable of doing so. People are trapped in destructive cults because they are not only denied access to critical information but also lack the properly functioning internal mechanisms to process it.”
He adds: “Most importantly, people are told to avoid contact with ex-members or critics. Those who could provide the most information are the ones to be especially shunned.”
Two things to remember:
1. If someone is trying to isolate you from certain sources of information, they are trying to control your information.
2. Information control is mind control.