A Japanese reporter said Shoko Asahara’s conduct was impulsive and that the Aum cult leader seemed to disregard “the consequences of his actions,” reports The Japan Times.

But this should come as no great revelation.

Destructive cult leaders most often appear to fit the profile of a sociopath, devoid of conscience. And mental health experts have also frequently found such leaders are “psychopaths.”

The “brainwashing” of Aum members was also described.

This process included sleep deprivation and apparent trance induction through “acetic training.” At times hallucinogenic drugs were used.

According to the reporter, “If [Aum members] felt their actions were wrong, they would automatically shake off such misgivings, thinking: ‘This is training to rid me of doubt. The order cannot be wrong, because only Asahara sees the whole picture.’ ”

The net result was essentially total obedience achieved through an organized process of specific training to suppress critical thinking.

Moreover, after giving up their former lives and property, most Aum members had little to go back to if they seriously considered the possibility of leaving.

Many destructive cults around the world use virtually the same process of isolation, intensive training and indoctrination to make their members submissive and easy to manipulate.

Despite the fact that many Aum devotees were highly educated and from good families, they were still vulnerable to such techniques of coercive persuasion.


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