An Article of Brainwashing

A new year is upon us again, and apparently to be one of the last if our truthsayers Stanford and Chiappalone are to be believed. In the spirit of giving, should any readers be interested in being brainwashed, and regrettably that may include some, a sheet of affirmations written by Stanford and Chiappalone is available below, thoughtfully emailed by a reader with connections to their compound during the 80’s and 90’s in Far North Queensland, Annwn as it was known.

Affirmations recited by members of Stanford and Chiappalone's 'Annwn' in Far North Queensland, Australia.
Affirmations recited by members of Stanford and Chiappalone’s ‘Annwn’ in Far North Queensland, Australia.

There would be nothing necessarily wrong with trying to impress a certain mindset through a technique such as this, the use of affirmations, phrases which are repeated over and over again. It’s used in sport psychology probably, as well too in military training, in religion generally, and even in media and advertising in a sense – conditioning the mind. But what is the nature of the conditioning these affirmations are intended to bring about and what do they reveal? Bearing in mind these would have been recited by the members of the compound regularly.

One of the concerning elements is the apparently innocent, repeated devotion and commitment required of followers of Stanford and Chiappalone, to the divine being of purity. It is no secret that the duo sees themselves effectively as messiahs, as the expressions of the power to whom commitment is made, and thus to them as people. The

totally committed”, “total confidence”, “belief”, “will”, “surrender totally” and “service”

are in effect towards Stanford and Chiappalone themselves. Followers are reinforcing submission of themselves to their leaders. This kind of phenomenon is apparently not uncommon in cults, the situation of course to which this points.

Following immediately from the above,

“the family of light is united and harmonious”.

Could the family of light, at least most directly, the core of the family, be those at the compound at Annwn itself. It’s a difficult task to create an artificial and highly controlled environment absent of reason and often income in which people from various walks of life live together on the same property, as numerous accounts of other cults would attest, their downfall usually resulting from growing disharmony. This would explain the emphasis on “harmony”.

It’s interesting to note that it’s not “my will” is the will of the divine being of purity, but “our will“, which points to the purpose being to replace individual will with shared will of the family. The sort of condition that might occur in military boot camp. But this is a camp of a different sort, though not too different sharing in common a preoccupation with “enemies“. Also note the use of “family“, which is also used in military training  (and “mother” elsewhere). The family of cult replaces that of natural biological kin, a sure sign of the makings of a cult.

An almost socialist theme comes across in

“joyous, strong and happy in service”.

This relates to keeping the harmony, and feeling good about being put to work as selfless surfs in an agricultural environment on the Atherton Tablelands. Given human nature, it’s likely this ideal vision would not have been fully realised, with at least some resentment common among followers.

The most fundamental reality even for a group on a mission from god, is being able to support itself, given that living requires resources and resources cost money. And cutting to chase in the final clauses, not far from “clear cut victory is ours”, a common sentiment particularly in the context of battle, is

“all our needs are provided”.

A quest does not exist unless they are. Presumably as with most cults, followers contributed their life savings, and this would be easily managed by those in control given the first point, that followers were in complete submission – everything even their will given over in ‘service’. A financial service in this case.

The phrases

“protected from all evil”, and “nothing will penetrate our aura”,

with words protect and penetrate, suggests an imagined barrier between the pure individuals of the group and, evil. Recognition of evil isn’t necessarily too great a problem. But Stanford and Chiapplaone believe just about everything in the world is evil, including most people. It could be that this reflects a strong sense within the group, that there must be this barrier between them and the outside world. Which creates presumably for the character of some such groups of an alienation from everyone else.

This difference is further stressed with

“overcome all programming pollution and indoctrination”.

In other words, however society has shaped you to be, as a functioning member of the world, this needs to be undone. Deprogrammed if you will, so that the programming, or brainwashing, can start afresh with a clean slate. Whatever ideas, reason or doubts that might have an individual object to beliefs and practices of the group, would here be effectively neutralised, as part of total surrender. This is something of a scary concept, to surrender one’s will totally if one thinks about it. To people, not actually gods but people, Stanford and Chiappalone, who provide no evidence at all that there is any veracity to their philosophy and its outlandish and destructive claims.

Beyond the demand for belief and total surrender, and the obvious indications of culthood, members living together on a compound with harmony and unity, in pursuit of a spiritual quest, barriered from the outside evil world and attempting to remove any traces of connection to it, there is a surprising attention to their enemies and wishing them a very nasty fate. This is evident in

“all evil is exposed and destroyed“,

“the evil beings..are fully exposed and punished“,

“appropriate ones are jailed“,

attacks “automatically and instantly become a curse for our enemies”,

and yet again, “evil beings are cursed by their own evilness”.

This almost sounds like the work of a witch chanting curses as the hand stirs a bubbling brew of bats wings and lizard tails. But it also would seem to reflect the very human emotion of hatred or revenge, such is the apparent obsession of ill feeling towards the ‘evil’ individuals. In the context of a philosophy like Buddhism this would be unusual. But as a dualistic philosophy, and taking the dual literally as a spiritual fight in which they see themselves as pivotal players, and very intensely, the likeness with military operation having been made, it is perhaps not so much. They’re in a war with anything that doesn’t fit what they believe to be divine, probably with an unhealthy dose of neuroticism. It is rather a low point it would seem however in human behaviour, to be wishing curses and destructive things on people, just because there isn’t a match with their own beliefs or a concordance with their spiritual ‘work’. This starts to get into the territory of the crusades and running swords through any deemed impure. Ironically the violent and destructive act of killing itself not being seen as such, but such is the nature of religion. Or its evilness as Chiappalone said himself, also ironically, apparently not noticing the striking similarities between he and Stanford’s spiritual throng – cult as it would appear – and lesser aspects of religion.

In all, this affirmations sheet of Stanford and Chiappalone’s, recited by followers at their compound in Far North Queensland, would suggest a none too thinly veiled attempt at brainwashing followers as part of a spiritual operation that well fits what would be described as a cult.

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