The Hunger Games Prequel–The Ballad of Songbirds and Snakes–Release Date: May 19, 2020

The Ballad of Songbirds and Snakes – screenshot of Scholastic Press product page

PREPARING THE WAY FOR A HUNGER GAMES PREQUEL!

It’s been 10 years since the release of Mockingjay completed The Hunger Games series. As a student of malignant leaders and toxic organizations, I was engrossed by the insightful ways author Suzanne Collins wove truths about social control and trauma throughout the narratives.

Her series gives us a rich source to mine on abuse, resistance, and resilience. I posted an analysis of how those features fit with Robert Jay Lifton’s eight criteria for identifying a “cult” of “totalist psychology” control. This series includes discussion questions for abuse survivors, people in their support network, and organizational developers. My hope is these questions will help build bridges among these audiences.

I also developed a Hunger Games reference fansite for the book and film series. Check it out for links to sources for the books, audiobooks, movies, games, and related materials for study. What have been social impacts of the series? Do you think some fan items may have contributed to over-the-top Capitol-type consumerism?

And now, a prequel novel will be released on Tuesday, May 19th. We can at last return to the nation of Panem, this time to the roots of Districts’ rebellion and The Hunger Games, and the origin story of Panem’s eventual president, Coriolanus Snow. What The Hunger Games did for us in exploring the range of social control tactics, perhaps the prequel(s) will do for us in displaying the route someone takes to complete the searing of their conscience in choosing the pathology of power. Continue reading

Five Kinds of Social Control Cultures: Compliance, Chaos, Charisma, Competition, and Cruelty

SOURCE: Twitter thread from February 11, 2020.

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5 TYPES OF CONTROL CULTURES. My original framework for key ways malignant leaders established social control had just 3 types: compliance, chaos, or charisma. Via more studies of history, I realized I needed to add a 4th: control through competition. Recently, a 5th: cruelty. /1

Here are three “Essentials” slides that overview the initial 4 social control cultures. Eventually I will update this with the 5th.

I tentatively plan to post an article on the characteristics of social control in each system. But what I find intriguing right now is that I see all 5 forms at work as I’ve been watching *The Hunger Games* series for the kazillionth time. Will include details in the article. /2

As an FYI, Suzanne Collins’ Hunger Games prequel novel — The Ballad of Songbirds and Snakes — is due out May 19, 2020. It’s set during the 10th annual Hunger Games. Guess who’s the main character? I was hoping for Mags … but turns out it’s the 18-year-old Coriolanus Snow! /3

The way I’ve been reanalyzing the movie series the past few days, seems to me President Snow uses all 5 methods of social control, emphasis particular ones or combinations, depending on whether he’s working to squelch freedom in the Capitol, Districts, or Arena. Stay tuned … /4

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Thoughts on the New Apostolic Reformation

The Wartburg Watch (TWW) recently posted the article What is the New Apostolic Reformation? (NAR) as part of a series exploring where it appears Mark Driscoll may land for “ministering” in his post-Mars Hill Church career. I contributed several comments to this thread, since I had done some in-depth studies of the NAR as part of my case studies on involvement of the NAR Council of Apostles and Prophets with Todd Bentley and the Lakeland Outpouring, and with its incubating the Strategic Level Prayer and Spiritual Warfare movements. Continue reading

Lessons from The Hunger Games 5C – Identifying Cults: Ultimate Vision, Reductionist Language, Ideological Conformity, and Social Ostracism

5. How Do We Discern Dystopian Dynamics and Totalitarian Tactics? POST SUMMARY: This post introduces and overviews Robert Jay Lifton’s eight criteria for totalitarian thought reform (“brainwashing”) systems. It also gives some learning exercises for two groups: survivors of spiritual abuse and their personal network, and organizational designers/leaders who want to develop healthy and sustainable ministries. Note: I have split this material into three parts so readers can receive the best benefit from it.

Part 5A prepares our thinking with a review of previous points in the series for discerning an abusive/dystopian system, thoughts on totalitarian tactics from The Hunger Games trilogy, and the “before” part of the learning exercise.

Part 5B summarizes Dr. Lifton’s system for identifying “cults” and how the various elements work together. It then explores the first four of his eight criteria, dealing with: communications, motivations, absolutism, and confession.

Part 5C explores the final four of Dr. Lifton’s eight criteria: ultimate vision, language, ideological conformity, and ostracism. It also gives the “after” part of the learning exercise, and draws out three key issues for putting “brainwashing” into perspective.

Continue reading

Lessons from The Hunger Games 5B – Identifying Cults: Authoritarian Communications, Motivations, Restrictions, and Confessions

5. How Do We Discern Dystopian Dynamics and Totalitarian Tactics? POST SUMMARY: This post introduces and overviews Robert Jay Lifton’s eight criteria for totalitarian thought reform (“brainwashing”) systems. It also gives some learning exercises for two groups: survivors of spiritual abuse and their personal network, and organizational designers/leaders who want to develop healthy and sustainable ministries. Note: I have split this material into three parts so readers can receive the best benefit from it.

Part 5A prepares our thinking with a review of previous points in the series for discerning an abusive/dystopian system, thoughts on totalitarian tactics from The Hunger Games trilogy, and the “before” part of the learning exercise.

Part 5B summarizes Dr. Lifton’s system for identifying “cults” and how the various elements work together. It then explores the first four of his eight criteria, dealing with: communications, motivations, absolutism, and confession.

Part 5C explores the final four of Dr. Lifton’s eight criteria: ultimate vision, language, ideological conformity, and ostracism. It also gives the “after” part of the learning exercise, and draws out three key issues for putting “brainwashing” into perspective.

Continue reading

Lessons from The Hunger Games 5A – Dystopian Dynamics, Totalitarian Tactics, and Lifton’s Criteria for Identifying “Cults”

5. How Do We Discern Dystopian Dynamics and Totalitarian Tactics? POST SUMMARY: This post introduces and overviews Robert Jay Lifton’s eight criteria for totalitarian thought reform (“brainwashing”) systems. It also gives some learning exercises for two groups: survivors of spiritual abuse and their personal network, and organizational designers/leaders who want to develop healthy and sustainable ministries. Note: I have split this material into three parts so readers can receive the best benefit from it.

Part 5A prepares our thinking with a review of previous points in the series for discerning an abusive/dystopian system, thoughts on totalitarian tactics from The Hunger Games trilogy, and the “before” part of the learning exercise.

Part 5B summarizes Dr. Lifton’s system for identifying “cults” and how the various elements work together. It then explores the first four of his eight criteria, dealing with: communications, motivations, absolutism, and confession.

Part 5C explores the final four of Dr. Lifton’s eight criteria: ultimate vision, language, ideological conformity, and ostracism. It also gives the “after” part of the learning exercise, and draws out three key issues for putting “brainwashing” into perspective.

Continue reading