Wednesday, June 27, 2012

About violence in ruling

To many controlling people threats feel justified method and for extra effect they may be willing to harm or kill people just to show they can be cruel. Threats and violence can also cause increasingly aggressive resistance but some seem to think that with fast or wide enough killing they could live as a respected leader or just live longer.

False flag operations have been common in many areas. Even in USA at 1962 chief of staff Lyman Lemnitzer (commander of US army in far-east  including Vietnam) approved Operation Northwoods which would have sunked ships, hijacked/blown up airplanes, exploded plastic bombs in Florida/Washington and shoot people in American streets which would be followed by widespread media attention and accusations that Castro is responsible by faking radio messages supposedly from Castro which in turn should lead to USA declaring war on Cuba. In same year he did lose his old job but he was made into Supreme Allied Commander of NATO having power over US army in Europe and he had that job for 6 years. In 1975 he was made responsible to check if CIA had broken any laws. President Kennedy who refused this plan got shot next year but Lyam lived another 27 years. With standards and scandals it is understandable when people suspect US government involvement whenever terror tactics are used before starting new wars.

Warlords have often used their small armed group to grow until they run the territory. In poorer countries they are still common power holders although in richer areas like western Europe such warlords become rare by start of 20th century although Hitler and other fascist states were run by somewhat similarly to warlords.
Through history warlords have used death penalty to force people into killing each other in the name of nice ideals and less publicly to make warlord rich and influential.
Most countries seem to pass similar phases of stability. Least developed areas may have consistent civil wars (like central Africa nowadays) where warlords risk their lives to at best win short victories while staying in hiding. After some industrial development society may become a dictatorship where 1 warlord uses army to control entire country but often with armed resistance similar to civil war. Later on when people become richer and starving becomes less likely then human rights improve and country may become peaceful democracy but almost entirely by natives winning those rights one by one not by foreign invasion to install these rights. If outsiders use armies they may create severe hostility towards anything resembling their ideas.
With military intervention some may say that some nation doesn't care about these values or rights if foreign armies have to import those values.
Most stable freedoms are won when locals themselves win the rights. Different countries have fought for bit different rights. Like much of politics personal rights change slowly but they also usually go away slowly with lots of resistance. Every area has to win every single right it wants to have (even villages and small towns in rich stable countries could be run by violent gangs where locals may have lost hope about change).

Murderous dictators may create chain of command where anyone disloyal enough may get killed along with close relatives. Many so called brain washing stories could be explained by knowing that locals may be killed for disloyalty although some dangerously naive people may presume that citizens in dictatorship believe official propaganda without question and it would be just better to kill all those supposed fanatics.
In warlord ruled areas violence has predictable course. Rules made by warlords probably exclude them from legal punishments for anything they ever did to people even if they mess with people from same nationality. Warlord without legal (not by warlords own rules) and nonviolent income probably feels they'll die if they can't pay for their security then they start robbing people to stay alive and in civil war zones where warlords compete are usually very poor.
They sometimes kidnap people to join their army by threats of torture and death to get some recruits but they could defect and take their weapons to possibly have revenge on old warlord.

Systems using violence may start using it as best known choice for also other problems. During early soviet times any sign of disloyalty including being late for work could result in imprisonment or death.
In case of poverty dictator could just kill those who point it out or doesn't praise country enough.
If government or leader lacks money they could use their army to rob locals until they have enough money. Less supporting people may be first victims.
If dictator wants to hear that his system is perfect then they can kill those who disagree so they could tell media elsewhere that their country is a great place.

As warlords use army often they probably talk about nationalism to keep soldiers feeling like they fight for defending their country but when they get ordered to kill people from their own country for resisting autocrat then this illusion won't last long. Rulers may use lies about all critics being brainwashed or paid workers for foreign imperialist etc. like people in all countries within soviet union were told when protests or riots became public.
Double-standards for elite can anger people if they have to praise one person while dehumanizing all others knowing that if common citizens behaved like autocrat then they'd get in trouble.

In brutal dictatorship it can become necessary to play dumb to avoid suspicion and if  everybody has to play dumb then they know criticizing others or pointing out weaknesses is harmful to others as they may be just playing naive.
In this way violence and fear create system where helping each other publicly can become much less probable. In early free societies it may cause depressed introverted behavior where people have not learned to help each other out of habit or are scared of police state that ended years or decades ago. National stereotypes may make some think that maybe people in their country are always going to be this way and not interfere but these stereotypes change with the work of notable persons.
Also people in dictatorship have to pretend outrage over the enemies of central ideology. Majority probably become numb to these shows and know to not interfere because they know they themselves have also been forced to pretend outrage or risk getting arrested/killed for disloyalty/espionage. 
In all societies such behavior is disturbing and depressing but in free country people can talk a end to disturbing political shows that serve small groups. 

Of course threats may work but living creatures get used to almost anything and if they are unhappy enough they may not care about dying while attacking oppressor.
People who see injustice happening long enough may be willing to risk their lives to stop this suffering so they could see world without some of the suffering or at least have the inner peace that goes away when they see innocent people suffer. This desire to see safe surrounding may be one motivation to resistance fighters.

Also most violent rulers are often from some ethnic minority or foreigners. For example Stalin was Georgian and in a system where many politicians tried to kill it`s way to top legally also allowed foreigners to reach that position. Before Stalin a jewish Trostky and partly jewish Lenin created some similar destructive rules like mass executions and deportations and jews had previously often been killed in russian pogroms. At first mass arrests and murders were committed by Cheka which had polish Felix Dzerzhinsky who probably also knew about Russian wars against Poland and who got to commit many murders on russians. After russian Nikita Khrushchev and later native rules got to power Soviet Union quickly became much less violent. As one still persistent problem media in outside areas like in western europe and USA keep repeating that Russia was best off if it was violently ruled by outsiders like they wanted to harass russians longer through making them reintroduce destructive dictatorship. US movies and documentary channels are not known to be ruled mostly by russians but many of their documentaries keep repeating that Stalin's rulership was good while calling peace after getting stabler democracy as some sort of loss they should not feel peace over as it is supposedly collapsed in some way like starving during Stalins rule was less of a economic and societal collapse. This endless discontent spreading from outside countries may make some locals feel that they could be happier if they let some dictator/strongman rule them. Although having russians suffer longer may be tempting to those who suffered because of russians this system also started to torture and terrorize all its neighboring countries from Finland to China to Korea. Military expansions to these countries mostly ended after Stalin died (Korean war ended few months after Stalins death). Also still persisting communist systems may preserve longer if documentaries made outside countries keep making shows about how great things were during autocrats personality cult as local powerful politicians may fear that reforms may cause losing respect from world and cause some vague collapse that outside media keeps parroting about.

Soviet system had ambitions to take over entire planet it allowed many nationalities to participate in this murderous political system. In 9th march 1956 many Georgian students got killed because they opposed new anti-Stalin politics and they praised Stalin partly for ruling Russia plus there were also predictable requests to get independence. Possible that Stalin remembered war crimes by Russia against Georgians and that these motivated him to be crueler against Russians.

Brutality creates desire to end risk of getting this punishment even if resister risks with torture or death. It also applies to people in powerful positions. Texan politician Charlie Wilson was in committee that decided funding for secret projects. One activist for afghan side was Joanne Herring who advised Charlie to visit refugee camps and after that visit he started to support Afghan resistance during Soviet invasion. Another member of committee that decided funding was Doc Long who didn't like this idea but after also visiting refugees he changed his mind. At the start of war this funding was 5 million dollars but in few years it rose to several billion dollars. This secretive project was called Operation Cyclone (many countries participated) and it gave afghans over 4 billion dollars in aid but almost entirely in the form of weapons and training to use these weapons.
As example of plan backfiring after soviets left Afghanistan these weapons continued to be used by afghan warlords and small groups trying to kill other locals to spread their own power and later on NATO forces.

Militaristic people may talk about eye for eye but usually it goes way more demanding. Some US military personnel still say that 9/11 attacks justified those killings (they could mention that Taliban was unpopular much earlier) but they make some leaps of logic that kids could notice. About 3000 people died in 9/11 attacks but so far war in Afghanistan has killed about 12000-14000 civilians that goes much further from eye to eye. If every casualty justifies 4-5 times more murders to opposing sides then it would be fair that Afghans could kill 60 000 people in US and talk at same time that they are bringing justice, peace and stability to North-America while denying that the inevitable protests these arrogant murders cause are sign of reduced stability.  

Example of violent system ending was the end of soviet union. Over 100 million people got out of russian rule without starting civil wars. People didn't need to use deadly weapons and government had also become friendlier. Stalin and others who caused most death in first 50 years of soviet system had died by 1980s and in early 1980s soviet rules chose 3 very old and ill men as leaders. This choice of old men may have added courage to those who wanted freedom. These 3 seemed to like giving themselves many medals and awards that probably made them look narcissistic in addition to being old, slow and weak. After they 3 died a much younger Mikhail Gorbachev got this position. His grandfather had been tortured and imprisoned long time which might have given him desire to end many terrible things this old system had (those who gave him that position could have thought about it when they chose someone who had unpleasant memories about what soviet system does). Soon he made press more free, allowed criticism and also legalized smaller private businesses. Soon afterwards many countries could become democratic without bombings or wars. People peacefully asked for freedom and politicians could agree because many could keep their jobs and people usually didn't demand death to rules letting them live on after changing system.

Sunday, June 17, 2012


Psychological manipulations and deceptions published to mess with people always have visible parts that can also be used to predict what someone wants to achieve with this. It applies to any government or organization or single person that tries to influence wide audience. Even if they hire secret agents that deny any co-operation it will still be noticeable that certain rumor starters say lies that may serve one side very consistently. In case of hiring people that supposedly help opposite side it can become obvious in first minutes that they try to make one side look idiotic and corrupt at the same time.

That's also one weakness all secret political conspiracies have when they reach news. For example defenders of totalitarian systems may talk about loyalty and enthusiasm but it is public knowledge that in such places as soviet union and all socialist states around it have/had death penalty for disobedience. And like in North Korea also extended family could die or get imprisoned for even acts like ruining a photo of dictator. Dictators probably wouldn't use such brutal rules if they could feel safe without them and wouldn't have to worry about unhappy rioters ending their rule.
To hide dissent rulers may ban any work that may create desire for different rule saying that they banned because it would not make enough money or too insignificant etc. and again people in at least free countries can see that these banned works have messages that may be considered risky for dictator.

Emotions are hard to hide by anyone but during lying unwanted emotions could immediately be blamed on something else.
For example if someone, like lawyer to murderer, knows they are lying to hide a disgusting murderer then they could say that they show disgust because witness was lying to ruin the life of a good person.

Stupid stubborn behavior is more tolerated than self aware lying. That's probably why most more famous liars tend to add some stuff that would make them look insane and protect them as insanity defense. Hired frauds may play dumb but pretended or paid stupidity can last unnaturally long in face of evidence.

Some frauds may say that they won't humiliate themselves by showing evidence that they are right. Of course it's humiliating if they know that evidence is against them and they could still deceive people to admire or pay them.

Illusion of control over universe may be given by showing brave optimist who succeeded and convincing people that sending out wish to universe made it happen and not real useful self improvements that frauds don't know about. Pseudo-scientific texts involving words from quantum physics often say that thoughts can control universe.

Illusion of divine trance can also be given with music and for example music for pleasure is discouraged for Mormons although they are permitted to enjoy religious music so they may be fooled to think their religious music has special powers or divine aspect.

Frauds may lie that their teachings can make someone immune to bad emotions or give them complete self control but it won't be realistic. Similarly to drug use emotions have limits on how much and long you can feel them before withdrawal like opposite feeling start to disturb. Religions and cults that supposedly can fix bad emotions may hide their inadequacies by creating enemies that predictably happen to be these who don't believe their lies and self promotions. Religious sermon may start about getting humble and loving but it may slowly drift to stories about nonbelievers causing all the problems religion hasn't fixed and these different people cause deaths indirectly hinting that killing them may solve believers problems.

Derren Brown (clip) used indirect thought planting to make people draw concentric circles or Stonehenge by letting people think about seeing parts of British Isles from different distances (moving further from start point with new areas covering all previously mentioned areas). Also while telling that he asked people to supposedly send thoughts in psychic way although it probably helped that during that time they were told to look TV screen where camera had zoomed very close to eyes which also have concentric circles and kept showing closeup of eyes while people drew what they chose.

Several tricks done by Derren may have been done by admitting quietly to random person that they are making a show and would like if they'd play along.

Maybe his paying with paper used type of this trickery. Salespeople mostly seemed to accept white paper instead of money even if Derren bought a 4500 dollar item. He could easily have text on these papers saying that they are doing a show and would pay them soon. For extra trust these papers could mention that brightly dressed person standing on other side of road was their cameramen. Jewelry thieves may also use this trick by saying they are doing a show. If thief sees innocent bystander who stood too long near shop then they may describe bystanders dressing on paper and quickly try to defraud the salespeople by telling bystander was a camera operator. 

Tuesday, June 12, 2012

Possible anatomy of aggressive cults

Little educational movie about what to expect in some organizations although fraudulent businesses  or places ran by dictator wannabes may be similar. They probably promise to fix world by asking lots of money or free labor while blaming lack of results on businesses and government institutions that may harm the cult. Many cults seem to be small businesses without much to lose and nothing actually beneficial to offer and that may get dangerously desperate and/or selfish.

Questionnaire to test new recruits

Testing would help to find out who might be hating that organization, who might believe anything without evidence and what motivates or disturbs recruits. 

Considering how much overlapping there is in cults they were likely to be ruled with similar tactics and member preferences. Even if cult started in a illiterate village it would still probably look predictable in their ways of finding money, power and new recruits. For example they may be similar to churches where preachers (surrounded by golden objects) preaching about how money and power corrupts or sends people to hell and later ask for the same money or political power that they themselves said would corrupt people holding it.  
Mostly i listed childish weaknesses people may have since birth and that could be abused by other people. These questions may be answered without asking by watching and listening to overall behavior of new recruit or their attitudes.

There could be many people doing the questioning with more pleasant member asking nicer questions and building friendly contact while some more hated member can ask the worse/suspicious sounding questions so cult could blame single bad members for suspicious activity.

1) How does recruit react if scientific terms are used randomly and in wrong places to promote some weird idea?
2) If threats are to be used later they could see how the recruit reacts if they get threatened to join and if they refuse to go along then questioner may say that was just a personal joke outside the rules of this organization.
3) Does it bother recruit if common words have completely new and often misleading meanings (like saying that criticism is murder or that death threats to critics actually mean no actual harm).
4) How much is person willing to attack others and if attacking critics is ok.
5) Is it ok if recruit has to learn many new words that are redefined old simple words.
6) How they react if they have to listen to stories with made-up nonsensical undefined words (do they pretend they know what is said or are they honest in not knowing what words mean).
7) Does nonsensical text sound believable if they say some smart authoritative people believe this? There are many ways to test some naked emperor like behavior where someone tries to look smart by pretending there is much good quality they realistically can't find from there.
8) Is it ok to say that world is ending etc by saying that cult literature maybe less than year old says so?
9) Can recruit notice that new hard words are actually describing some old simple knowledge? While they don't know cult behaves this way they may be fooled to give away lots of money or years worth of free labor time from their life in exchange of free teachings.
10) Does recruit believe that when organization lists good behaviors (don't kill, don't harm others etc) then people in it are above average good and those critical against the cult are also against list of good behaviors hinting that critics think murders or other attacks are ok so they should be treated similarly to murderers?
11) How childish does the recruit look or behave? Kids and teens tend to have wooden and clumsy body language without much diversity.
Someone less popular could say disturbing things and see how well can they argue back. Recruits may be asked to do something unpleasant for no pay with repetitive demands (repeating can wear people down fast if they aren't prepared for such behavior and kids are not good at long patient arguing) like "you have to do it", "it's inevitable you'll do it", "i don't think you actually want to leave all that" or they may just say something completely unrelated (like "kids are starving in poor countries and they suffer because the laziness people like you have") parroting that this unrelated thing was the reason to do it as this could give insecure naive people thoughts that they look like assholes in front of friendly smiling members for not caring about kids etc.
12) How easy is to make recruit doubt obvious things by confidently asking "is it really true", "are you sure", "could you give examples" (whenever topics are negative rumors about cult) and keeping it going until critic gets insecure about own beliefs or just due to thoughts like "are these cult members really so brainwashed"?
13) Can they silence someone by interrupting them with obvious simple questions or insults?
14) How weird are the friends recruit has or who he admires? New members could be divided into separate classes or kept only with supervisors so that members with conflicting world views wouldn't argue or leave cult due to public fighting.
15) Is recruit paranoid enough to see global conspiracy in any accident or event? With very paranoid people it may be easier to sell books and courses about end of world. If they don't trust media then they may trust rumors from friends or websites run by few people way more than channels run by thousands of people.
If person sees world as very brutal then they may be more likely to go along with brutal rules.
16) Does person think that they talk to god or spirits if they are imagining about being in contact with those beings? It's possible they don't have brain problems but believe that natural inner monologues are messages from divine sources (especially if they were from religious family where god supposedly talks back during prayers). These people could be seen as sort of canvas or test subjects to mental manipulators and experimenters that may try to see how to affect what that inner god/spirit says. 
17) Does recruit join with attitude that cult critics should be hated with similar tactics used maybe by military in the name of defending homeland?
18) Does recruit look socially awkward enough to buy or work for free for classes/books about communication or seduction or leadership etc.? Even if cult doesn't know much about communication it could probably still get praise by putting many people together in communication class so that they'd at least feel like they got some practice with communication.

Flirty beautiful members could be chosen to motivate lonely members to join or to keep them more energetic during work hours.

If questioner finds something they could use to extort recruit then this could also be recorded.

Inner rules and tactics for members

Cult starters probably don't care much what their recruit thinks as long they are willing to give money for some supposed help.

Workforce could be run with money they gave to cult or in case of poorer member by free work with early wakes to keep them too tired to think.

Bad reputation can isolate members from society making them more addicted to friends in cult. Also angry demands to members could be told during times where they were in front of many people they don't want to lose.

Rice with beans seems very common food in notorious cults. For example that was common in Jonestown and Heavens Gate.

One reasons cult members tend to have reputation of behaving like scary weirdos could come from cult management  that tries to isolate its members from outsiders and to scare people away from "crazy" people. To achieve this weird clothing, songs/chants and rituals could be used. Many are afraid of some "brainwashing" and they may be scared of talking members out of organizations if they keep grinning unnaturally and doing weird things.

Deliberate insults to nonmembers could be used to anger public to avoid cult members and further isolate members from outsiders with reputation of having terrible personality. Giving members disproportionate pride could also annoy outsiders away. One common way to give members high ego could be by listing bad behaviors and convincing members they are the few who care about improving the lives of others.

If cult started in very hostile country then it may be possible that leader also very dangerous. In some countries starvation is likely and hungry disappointed people can start robbing or even murdering to get good income. If robberies go well they may keep doing it as only highly paying income they can get to full-fill dreams about some rich lifestyle.
If violent organization has headquarters in country with civil wars or high risk of armed attacks then even if it has branches in stable countries they may be still governed through violence to hide secrets and not give away where they are in the dangerous country.

If cult is like a business then leaders may avoid giving their organization any consistent rules repeating that everyone can decide on their own what to believe. Also critics could add income if they are convinced to buy cult literature. This seems common that frauds who sell books insist that critics are always wrong (even if they were right) tend to tell critics to buy their books and read how things actually are.
Cult literature could be mix of magic, rules serving cult and common truthful knowledge. Common truths may be overpraised by saying "nobody" outside doesn't know about it and members are the few people who could actually inform people of these. After member reads book leaders could ask what parts they believed and then separate members according to their own world views so those who want spirituality in everything are away from members who don't believe in spirits or magic. After knowing world views leaders may make up or select some course that would help member a lot for the "low price" of over 100 dollars or several days of free labor. High prices may reduce likelihood that members start to share for free what they learned.

This separation could be used to separate violent fanatics into groups that are sent to attack critics without the knowledge of most members. If this small group injures or kills someone then other members could get stories about outsiders harming people to make the cult look bad.

Website owners can see from what page people visit their sites so if someone starts talking about a site then owners may go and start advertising their products by pretending to be a satisfied customer who got rid of serious health problem. If site stays critical they may use different user names to harass critics by humiliating, advising to commit suicide due to shame or threatening. Also they may play some terrible person who kinda agrees with critics but insist critics should also be pro-Nazi or murderous against people from other religions. Other cult members may be sent to constantly repeat that finding frauds is shameful and useless waste of time for no-lifers while people should be instead upset about government or some business that happens to compete with cults income.

If many members meet they could be divided into small groups with some supervisor added to any group. This may be explained as having old members entertain them with games etc. but they could easily keep track of potential problems to cult income. Talking about allowed things may be rewarded with comments like "wow", "you are so smart", "i didn't expect to see so smart people" and hugs or other human contact.

If someone strays too unwanted topics they may be silenced by pretended laughing, unexplained insults about intelligence, playing sad friend who tries to help others but can't help because of brainwashed critics or just threats with some pretend-fundamentalist member who insists those who are too different don't deserve to live or should commit suicide.

Pretending to be religious organization even without any publicly known holy scripture may be enough to get reduced taxes. Outsiders may think most members believe the known part of religious text and cause them further isolation (especially if religious text support violence against critics) while same time giving leader excuses to say that outsiders don't understand them and should be avoided.

Cult business can grow with direct marketing where products are directly offered to random people who get near salespeople. Like most pyramid schemes they may say that this product is very good and if they get more people to sell it then they'd get a reward for finding a new salesperson.

Obviously dishonest recruiting tactics could be excused by saving that situation is similar to saving drowning people who may get hurt while being pulled out of danger. Or that any doubt is criminal stupidity that has infected those who believe propaganda of big businesses or government.

Medical wisdom could be faked by finding members who don't believe medics know anything good and alcohol/water soaked random plant material cures serious problems. Leaders could make texts for them that say that doctors only care about money unlike they who charge maybe over 100 dollars for cheap plant material soaked in alcohol as preservative. If members are convinced to deny common diagnosis by relearning health problems with new names invented by leader then they may start to say that all these famous diseases in media don't exist and only serve doctors while maybe charging money to cure made up diseases. If members are chosen or convinced to deny psychiatry is fake then believers in cult may think nobody in cult or outside have these mental problems and widening influence of cult could solve many health problems. 

Ascetic lifestyle may be supported not only to justify poor living conditions in cult dormitories but also to make thinking harder and for creating militaristic members. If they are unhappy due to avoiding masturbation, sex, tasty foods, music, movies, hard labor, early wakes and long workdays then they may get very grumpy and hostile getting more vocal with demands to improve reality.

Cult may say that it can remove violent feelings but they can't selectively remove 1 emotion. Like with christian love all the loving caring members still feel anger but preachers divert anger towards nonbelievers. If members are made to feel miserable when critics are described by leaders then members may start to believe that existence of critics keeps them miserable and that can lead to self sacrificing fanaticism if they hope to fix the world by fighting critics even if they should lose life in the name of giving other humans better life free of unwanted moods.

Locations for cults tend to be in rural areas isolated from rest of society. Jonestown massacre went partly so far because they were in middle of jungle so they could kill almost thousand people before army reached the area about a day later although they knew this cult had murdered a politician. 

Critics and protesters could be repelled by sending out people with camera that would record critics and constantly grin like they were filming something very bad to critic.

Other choice would be to hire or send out critics that demonize critics by asking very paranoid questions like Glenn Beck if he's talking about Democratic party.

Cult leaders could isolate their victims from other people by telling them to do as weird things as possible. People may believe they are crazy as movies from kids movies to horror movies have told that people acting very different are insane.

End of world stories for business

Considering that people in need of money may be willing to murder others or give oral sex to strangers they may also be willing to scare people of their coming end so they'd make some money. Unlike murdering and prostitution, doomsday predictions and endless scare stories are usually not illegal.

List of predicted end of world stories through history from Wikipedia. On average every century from 0-1000 AD had one end of world prediction that is still known. Since 1500 AD to today it seems on average there was at least 1 end of world story with increasing frequency of stories closer to nowadays.
So for over 500 years every generation has had to live with stories that world ends during their lifetime.

Many seemed to have been spread by people in religious occupations (including popes) and this might have helped them make money from attention.

Often these predictions were made by saying that calender dates with many zeros (500, 1000 and 2000 AD) or special numbers would cause destruction.

Nowadays it's easier to see how much people benefit from scaring other people that they might die. Family radio workers predicted end of world for 1988 but kept adding years after it didn't happen for at least until 2011. By 2007 it had assets worth 122 mln USD and no mistake made them stop taking money.

Such predictors imply that material things will lose value soon and why not give it to places that could get them to heaven more likely. They may not even say they want money for themselves but if there is only 1 organization advertising end of world (like Family radio with 2011) then people who believe it may support the only place that came up with this story. If 1 place started doomsday predictions then those who believe it and want to warn others may spend their own time and money to advertise the 1 place that started the story because there is not much choice with source.

This profiting from doomsday stories may cause much suffering and further problems when people stop working or improving their lives. Also violent people may think that if things end soon anyway then maybe it would be good to kill those they disliked as they would not have to live in prison for long.


Jonestown was a isolated area in Guyanas run by Jim Jones. He convinced members that they would have to go there to save themselves from governments. 

In 1978 it got public attention due to 918 members dying. It was triggered when 5 people including Leo Ryan from US congress got shot to death. Jim Jones insisted that if Leo Ryan came it would cause huge suffering to people in Jonestown so it was better if they all killed themselves. Most members were made to drink cyanide but Jones overdosed with barbiturate that probably caused less suffering than cyanide and also got shot in head.

Jonestown took examples and rules from soviet style dictatorships including death penalty for escape attempts at some point although caught escapees got sedatives or anti-psychotics. People had to see propaganda movies and capitalism got blamed on world problems.  

People had to practice "revolutionary suicide" that prepared them to dying but also caused negative attention and visit by Leo Ryan.

Because they lived in hot area where tropical diseases were common and low soil fertility kept living standards low they were probably already very unhappy with life. Sometimes they experienced "white nights" where 50 armed guards waked everybody with sirens and stories that mercenaries were coming to kill them so they were supposedly given poison that would save them from death by torture.
White nights according to testimony by escapee:

32. During one "white night", we were informed that our situation had become hopeless and that the only course of action open to us was a mass suicide for the glory of socialism. We were told that we would be tortured by mercenaries if we were taken alive. Everyone, including the children, was told to line up. As we passed through the line, we were given a small glass of red liquid to drink. We were told that the liquid contained poison and that we would die within 45 minutes. We all did as we were told. When the time came when we should have dropped dead, Rev. Jones explained that the poison was not real and that we had just been through a loyalty test. He warned us that the time was not far off when it would become necessary for us to die by our own hands.
33. Life at Jonestown was so miserable and the physical pain of exhaustion was so great that this event was not traumatic for me. I had become indifferent as to whether I lived or died.

As one source of income leadership took pensions from older members.

One escapee gave testimony few months before mass dying and that led to investigation by US government and by Leo Ryan:
I, Deborah Layton Blakey, declare the following under penalty of perjury:
1. The purpose of this affidavit is to call to the attention of the United States government the existence of a situation which threatens the lives of United States citizens living in Jonestown, Guyana.
2. From August, 1971 until May 13, 1978, I was a member of the People’s Temple. For a substantial period of time prior to my departure for Guyana in December, 1977, I held the position of Financial Secretary of the People's Temple.
3. I was 18 years old when I joined the People’s Temple. I had grown up in affluent circumstances in the permissive atmosphere of Berkeley, California. By joining the People’s Temple, I hoped to help others and in the process to bring structure and self-discipline to my own life.
5. Any disagreement with his dictates came to be regarded as “treason”. The Rev. Jones labelled any person who left the organization a "traitor" and “fair game”. He steadfastly and convincingly maintained that the punishment for defection was death. The fact that severe corporal punishment was frequently administered to Temple members gave the threats a frightening air of reality.
6. The Rev. Jones saw himself as the center of a conspiracy. The identity of the conspirators changed from day to day along with his erratic world vision. He induced the fear in others that, through their contact with him, they had become targets of the conspiracy. He convinced black Temple members that if they did not follow him to Guyana, they would be put into concentration camps and killed. White members were instilled with the belief that their names appeared on a secret list of enemies of the state that was kept by the C.I.A. and that they would be tracked down, tortured, imprisoned, and subsequently killed if they did not flee to Guyana.
8. When I first joined the Temple, Rev. Jones seemed to make clear distinctions between fantasy and reality. I believed that most of the time when he said irrational things, he was aware that they were irrational, but that they served as a tool of his leadership. His theory was that the end justified the means. At other times, he appeared to be deluded by a paranoid vision of the world. He would not sleep for days at a time and talk compulsively about the conspiracies against him. However, as time went on, he appeared to become completely irrational.
9. Rev. Jones insisted that Temple members work long hours and completely give up all semblance of a personal life. Proof of loyalty to Jones was confirmed by actions showing that a member had given up everything, even basic necessities. The most loyal were in the worst physical condition. Dark circles under one's eyes or extreme loss of weight were considered signs of loyalty.
13. In September, 1977, an event which Rev. Jones viewed as a major crisis occurred. Through listening to coded radio broadcasts and conversations with other members of the Temple staff, I learned that an attorney for former Temple member Grace Stoen had arrived in Guyana, seeking the return of her son, John Victor Stoen.
14. Rev. Jones has expressed particular bitterness toward Grace Stoen. She had been Chief Counselor, a position of great responsibility within the Temple. Her personal qualities of generosity and compassion made her very popular with the membership. Her departure posed a threat to Rev. Jones’ absolute control. Rev. Jones delivered a number of public tirades against her. He said that her kindness was faked and that she was a C.I.A. agent. He swore that he would never return her son to her.
15. I am informed that Rev. Jones believed that he would be able to stop Timothy Stoen, husband of Grace Stoen and father of John Victor Stoen, from speaking against the Temple as long as the child was being held in Guyana. Timothy Stoen, a former Assistant District Attorney in Mendocino and San Francisco counties, had been one of Rev. Jones’ most trusted advisors. It was rumored that Stoen was critical of the use of physical force and other forms of intimidation against Temple members. I am further informed that Rev. Jones believed that a public statement by Timothy Stoen would increase the tarnish on his public image.
16. When the Temple lost track of Timothy Stoen, I was assigned to track him down and offer him a large sum of money in return for his silence. Initially, I was to offer him $5,000. I was authorized to pay him up to $10,000. I was not able to locate him and did not see him again until on or about October 6, 1977. On that date, the Temple received information that he would be joining Grace in a San Francisco Superior Court action to determine the custody of John. I was one of a group of Temple members assigned to meet him outside the court and attempt to intimidate him to prevent him from going inside.
17. The September, 1977 crisis concerning John Stoen reached major proportions. The radio messages from Guyana were frenzied and hysterical. One morning, Terry J. Buford, public relations advisor to Rev. Jones, and myself were instructed to place a telephone call to a high-ranking Guyanese official who was visiting the United States and deliver the following threat: unless the government of Guyana took immediate steps to stall the Guyanese court action regarding John Stoen's custody, the entire population of Jonestown would extinguish itself in a mass suicide by 3:30 p.m. that day. I was later informed that Temple members in Guyana placed similar calls to other Guyanese officials.
21. The vast majority of the Temple members were required to work in the fields from 7 a.m. to 6 p.m. six days per week and on Sunday from 7 a.m. to 2 p.m. We were allowed one hour for lunch. Most of this hour was spent walking back to lunch and standing in line for our food. Taking any other breaks during the workday was severely frowned upon.
22. The food was woefully inadequate. There was rice for breakfast, rice water soup for lunch, and rice and beans for dinner. On Sunday, we each received an egg and a cookie. Two or three times a week we had vegetables. Some very weak and elderly members received one egg per day. However, the food did improve markedly on the few occasions when there were outside visitors.
25. As the former financial secretary, I was aware that the Temple received over $65,000 in Social Security checks per month. It made me angry to see that only a fraction of the income of the senior citizens in the care of the Temple was being used for their benefit. Some of the money was being used to build a settlement that would earn Rev. Jones the place in history with which he was so obsessed. The balance was being held in "reserve". Although I felt terrible about what was happening, I was afraid to say anything because I knew that anyone with a differing opinion gained the wrath of Jones and other members.
26. Rev. Jones’ thoughts were made known to the population of Jonestown by means of broadcasts over the loudspeaker system. He broadcast an average of six hours per day. When the Reverend was particularly agitated, he would broadcast for hours on end. He would talk on and on while we worked in the fields or tried to sleep. In addition to the daily broadcasts, there were marathon meetings six nights per week.
27. The tenor of the broadcasts revealed that Rev. Jones’ paranoia had reached an all-time high. He was irate at the light in which he had been portrayed by the media. He felt that as a consequence of having been ridiculed and maligned, he would be denied a place in history. His obsession with his place in history was maniacal. When pondering the loss of what he considered his rightful place in history, he would grow despondent and say that all was lost.
28. Visitors were infrequently permitted access to Jonestown. The entire community was required to put on a performance when a visitor arrived. Before the visitor arrived, Rev. Jones would instruct us on the image we were to project. The workday would be shortened. The food would be better. Sometimes there would be music and dancing. Aside from these performances, there was little joy or hope in any of our lives. An air of despondency prevailed.
29. There was constant talk of death. In the early days of the People’s Temple, general rhetoric about dying for principles was sometimes heard. In Jonestown, the concept of mass suicide for socialism arose. Because our lives were so wretched anyway and because we were so afraid to contradict Rev. Jones, the concept was not challenged.
31. At least once a week, Rev. Jones would declare a "white night", or state of emergency. The entire population of Jonestown would be awakened by blaring sirens. Designated persons, approximately fifty in number, would arm themselves with rifles, move from cabin to cabin, and make certain that all members were responding. A mass meeting would ensue. Frequently during these crises, we would be told that the jungle was swarming with mercenaries and that death could be expected at any minute.
32. During one "white night", we were informed that our situation had become hopeless and that the only course of action open to us was a mass suicide for the glory of socialism. We were told that we would be tortured by mercenaries if we were taken alive. Everyone, including the children, was told to line up. As we passed through the line, we were given a small glass of red liquid to drink. We were told that the liquid contained poison and that we would die within 45 minutes. We all did as we were told. When the time came when we should have dropped dead, Rev. Jones explained that the poison was not real and that we had just been through a loyalty test. He warned us that the time was not far off when it would become necessary for us to die by our own hands.
33. Life at Jonestown was so miserable and the physical pain of exhaustion was so great that this event was not traumatic for me. I had become indifferent as to whether I lived or died.
36. I am most grateful to the United States government and Richard McCoy and Daniel Weber, in particular, for the assistance they gave me. However, the efforts made to investigate conditions at Jonestown are inadequate for the following reasons. The infrequent visits are always announced and arranged. Acting in fear for their lives, Temple members respond as they are told. The members appear to speak freely to American representatives, but in fact they are drilled thoroughly prior to each visit on what questions to expect and how to respond. Members are afraid of retaliation if they speak their true feelings in public.

Like she said many members went to this jungle settlement because Jones threatened by saying CIA had them in a list of people to torture to death so the only way out was to move into Jonestown.

Weekly suicide drills ("white nights") may have been used to numb members to this thought and also to maybe make them less stressed about real dying.

Life was knowingly made miserable and hard enough that people cared less about staying alive. Jim Jones did almost anything he wanted including taking wives from married couples and eating everything he wanted unlike others who got rice and bean. Others had to suffer way more but Jones seemed interested in making history by mass murder/suicide.

When Leo Ryan reached Jonestown he got the usual show of things being ok but some members gave him letters that begged to escape this place. Ryan agreed to take as many as his plane could take but before takeoff they were attacked with Leo, some escapees and journalist dying.

Around the time of attack on plane they started with mass suicide or murder depending on the willingness of victims. Much of it got recorded on 44 minute death tape. Many responded with applause to Jims comments about how good he was to his members. 

1. part of tape:
2:40 he said he didn't plan to shoot plane but it was going to happen, he never lied and it was better if kids died before things were over with the attack. 
Around 3:40 he said that it was better to kids and elderly to give the poison because "there was no way we would survive".
Around 8:00 Christine Miller tried to talk about escape and not dying but others yelled over such comments.
2. part:
at 1:20 Jones argues that he doesn't believe that Miller is afraid of dying.
By 5:00 others get angrier with Miller saying that she should be grateful for the life Jones gave them.
3. part:
People had started to take poison during that time. In first minutes he declares Leo Ryan has died. People keep yelling at Miller until she stops talking.
4. part:
kids and women start to cry due to having babies poisoned first.
5th part:
audience has started to thin down with kids screaming "no" at background. Jones says "death is million times better than 10 more days of life like that".

When someone tried to talk about escape or negotiation Jones usually used hopeless tone to say that he doesn't believe it was possible.

Sunday, June 10, 2012

Pleasure centers (septal nuclei, nucleus accumbens, subthalamic nuclei and preoptical hypothalamus)

In above images red shows nucleus accumbens (it's hard to find clear photos of septal nuclei) which are almost between brain hemispheres and it is one of the main known pleasure center. Other potential pleasure nuclei are the closest nuclei in few cm radius. There is a thin membrane (septum pellucidum) between brain hemispheres and septal nuclei are in front and below it.  Septal nuclei (sometimes called septal area) are right above n. accumbens and ejaculation/orgasm causing medial preoptical hypothalamus right below nucleus accumbens.
Subthalamic nuclei are about 1-2 cm towards back of head from nucleus accumbens. Also the side of upper brainstem that is closest to this red area has almost all brain dopamine with subthalamic nuclei in middle of them.  

Electric stimulation of subthalamic nuclei can make people laugh. All 4 areas seem to activate during sex and seem to activate whenever anything pleasant is experienced from happy thoughts, sweet taste to any pleasant drug. That entire area in brain seems as some pleasure center with nucleus accumbens (NA or ACC) at its center.

(image source)
Main pleasure inducing nerve bundle could be medial forebrain bundle (MFB) on upper image. It transports noradrenaline (from locus coeruleus  (LC)), serotonin from raphe nuclei (from middle of brainstem) and dopamine from substantia nigra (SN). MFB passes hypothalamus, thalamus and septal nuclei spreading it's contents diffusely all over the brain starting from pleasure areas and frontal lobe. Axons in this bundle usually release their contents little bit away from target neurons and these neurotransmitters spread to target areas.
Maybe that bundle is the reason why intense adrenaline rush feels good. Noradrenaline passes pleasure centers and even no problems are noted then it gives a relieved excited joy. In evolution it could add bravery by rewarding risking with stimulated pleasure areas (any time brain gets adrenaline or noradrenaline these substances first stimulate pleasure centers due to bundle going between them). 
This could also give some euphoria and anesthesia rush before sudden emotional death.

First areas reached by MFB are in brainstem and hypothalamus to septal nuclei may be more involved with inner feelings. Adrenaline and dopamine reach then attention/planning frontal cortex and lastly to more sensory back of the head. Maybe if the brain cortex areas don't notice anything to worry then only stimulated inner sensations remain.

If men went to fMRI scanner after mastrubating to orgasms then their septal area (along with amygdala and frontal lobe) showed increased activity. In septal area this increased blood use lasted for about 15 minutes.

Neurons in lateral septum have somewhat high amount of dopamine, noradrenaline, enkephalines, serotonin and neuropeptide P. Pain blocking PAG in midbrain gets signals from septal area. 

Septal nuclei are at least partly needed for memory because hippocampus need acetylcholine to remember stuff and it gets it through septal nuclei. Damaging septal area causes problems in remembering surrounding. Septal area is also only area i know that can keep reduces anger while it works. Searching "septal rage" gives many examples about animals getting emotional and aggressive after septal injury.

Lateral septal nuclei get most input to septal area and medial septal nuclei sent out most output of septal area.
Damaging medial septal nuclei in cats removed theta rhythm in their hippocampus but didn't cause spetal rage, insomnia nor other obvious changes in behavior or memory. Authors presumed that theta rhythm that is common to hippocampus isn't mandatory for memory.

Damaging lateral septal nuclei caused septal rage/syndrome (hyper-emotionality, hyperactivity, rage and increased eating), changes in sleep and also got problems with demonstrating learned behaviors (unless they didn't remember lessons).

Septal rage in male rats was not affected in symptoms or duration when they got adrenal glands or testicles removed (testicles don't seem to trigger aggression).

12 chronic pain patients out of 19 got "satisfactory" pain relief if they could stimulate septal area with electrodes. 

2 kinda famous human experiments with septal stimulation happened during 1960s and 1970s.

In 1960-1961 one 34 year old woman with epilepsy got some brain electrode and cannula (needle) in septal area for drug injections. Through that she got injected with acetylcholine 12 times and 4 times with noradrenaline. These injections caused mild euphoria, sexual arousal and usually caused several repeated orgasms. She didn't have known epilepsy during the 4 month test period.
When 24 year old man got septal electrodes 10 years later he could stimulate many areas in limbic system but he preferred to stimulate septal area. One time he stimulated himself 1500 times. Stimulation usually caused euphoria, goodwill, alertness and sexual arousal.   
In another case around 1971 with 24 year old homosexual patient with septal electrode it seemed to alter his sexuality.
Only pleasant stimulation location for him was in septal region and used electric current was 0,5-7,5 mA. Stimulation lasted 1 second.
He described the good feeling it gave as similar to amphetamines he had used. Patient got to see heterosexual porn movie that he didn't seem to like first time when there was no septal stimulation. Later with active septal electrode he masturbated to orgasm and seemed to like it more.
Finally as patient was interested in experimenting with heterosexuality he had sex with a prostitute while he had brain electrode wires attached. Electric activity was recorded during sex. With increased arousal electrodes started to pick up delta waves (~1-4 Hz) and shortly before orgasms electrodes started to pick up waves similar to epilepsy with slow waves and short spikes mixed with higher frequencies. Epileptic activity in septal nuclei lasted through orgasmic phase but other waves could be results of moving during sex.  
After that experience patient had a almost 10 month secret relationship with a married woman.

Cell architecture of pleasure nuclei has photos of brain slices that you could zoom to level where you could see separate neurons. This place have slice collections where different parts of cells got colored.
Cell density seems almost identical through all brain nuclei making cell density look unrelated to pleasure.

Nissl staining colors only cell nuclei and in all cell types. NA looks almost identical to other brain nuclei with this staining although it seems midly darker and dense. Other labeled areas below ACC all deal with smelling. If you want to photo without marked NA/ACC then check pictures where connection between putamen (Pu) and caudate nuclei (Ca) connect in the underside of brain because ACC connects these 2 larger nuclei.

ACC looks different with colored neurofilament H which is only in neurons and axons. This coloring selectively colors neurons. ACC seems to have dark colored sponge-like area near it but not much more is visible.  
On some slides (more towards back of head) ACC has very visible dark bundles under it that get thicker closer to the middle of brain hemispheres.

Saturday, June 9, 2012

Vagal nerve and vagal maneuvers

Vagal nerve is the main inhibitory nerve for heart and lungs in vertebrates. It reacts to stretching in internal organs (stomach and lungs) or blood vessels (during diving or high blood pressure). For example during deep inhalation vagal nerve causes slowed pulse. During diving this nerve shows it's more extreme ability to slow down heart rate, metabolism and oxygen use speed.
In diving seals reduction in pulse could be 80% and humans could reduce their heart rate up to ~50%. This effect is less obvious with longer breath holding because accumulating CO2 causes panicky feeling of suffocation with faster pulse.
Cutting vagal nerves remove this slowing effect from deep inhaling.
Vagal reflexes constrict upper airways causing coughing and breathing difficulties due to narrower throat and lung airways.

Vagal maneuver means almost any activity that activates vagal nerve (guidelines and warnings about their use for paramedics):
Medics may ask patients with too fast heart or too high blood pressure to inhale deeply, hold it in 5 seconds and slowly exhale through straw. In extreme cases it may cause fainting because in some people heart can stop for over 5 seconds with that sort of breathing. If that doesn't work they may try massaging carotid sinus on the side of neck but doctors often check for clogs because massaging blood vessels can release debris that can block blood vessels and possibly kill. Other safer ways to activate vagal reflexes is to but face in cold (below 21 C) water or add pressure to eyes.
Guidelines asked to immediately stop vagal maneuvers when pulse falls below 100 beats per minute.

Vagal nerve on above image is marked with X (vagal nerve is 10th cranial nerve). It exits brainstem in medulla and unlike other nerves it doesn't pass spine so spinal damage rarely damages vagal nerve. All internal organs along with upper airways are connected to vagal nerve.

Vagal nerve uses acetylcholine and if that is blocked then vagal maneuvers don't work. For example muscarinic acetylcholine antagonists like atropine or scopolamine can cause life threateningly fast heart rate because in sober people it usually works constantly to keep heart speed slowed.   

In case people get new heart they lose nerve connections with heart. That causes almost constantly fast heart rate and heart doesn't react to vagal maneuvers until vagal nerve grows back to heart but even then it's weaker than before surgery. Heart disease can also reduce connections between heart and vagal nerve causing increasingly faster pulse in people who have poor heart or possibly some local damage there.

In case you wondered how transplanted heart keeps beating- it doesn't need nervous system for that. Adrenaline and noradrenaline from adrenal glands reach heart through blood and activate its muscles. Healthy people have some stimulating nerve connections to heart so their pulse reacts within second to increased physical stress but in people with heart transplant (or with damaged heart) pulse may take a minute to react to new activity level.

Comparison of vagal maneuver effects in younger people. (table of results).
Largest pulse reduction (43%) happened when sitting people put their faces in cold water.
Deep inhaling and forced exhaling caused 25% drop in heart rate.
Neck massaging reduced pulse by 17%.
Pressure on eyes reduced pulse by ~11-19%.

Vagal maneuvers can cause short asystole (heart flatlining). 23 patients who were known to faint during vagal maneuvers got device that recorded how often and for how long their heart stopped. Measuring lasted 15+/-7 months with average age 64+/-12 years. 17 patients (74%) had at least 1 over 3 second asystole in that period. Asystoles lasting 3-6 seconds were measured in 14 patients and in total these events happened 1765 times causing fainting 12 times (0,7%). In 47 cases 11 different patients had asystoles lasting over 6 seconds and that caused fainting 20 times (43%).
Asystoles were mostly symptomless.  
Study on seal vagal reflex. When they dived on their own will then their pulse slowed by about 80% (from about 150 bpm to 30-50 bpm). Several drugs were tested on that reflex (graph). Blocking adrenaline receptors (alfa and beta blocker on graph) didn't seem to affect it much but when they blocked muscarinic acetylcholine receptors that vagal nerve uses for inhibition then vagal reflex almost disappeared (maybe 10% reduction in pulse during diving). Like in humans seals also experience reduction in pulse even if they just put only their face under cold water.
No matter what drugs were tested seals seemed to stay under water same amount of time.
Possible trigger for reduced pulse might have been blood pressure near skin because seals outside water had same reduction in pulse if they were injected with phenylephrine. Phenylephrine is alfa adrenaline receptor agonist that increases arterial blood pressure by constricting tiny vessels near skin. In seals injection of phenylephrine could lower their pulse from 150 beats per minute to less than 30 bpm but this effect was almost nonexistent if seals were given muscarinic acetylcholine antagonists so their vagal nerve wouldn't work.

Vagal nerve stimulation (VNS) is electric stimulation of vagal nerve to get some benefit (from activated vagal nerve). It was originally tried against epilepsy in hopes of getting rid over excess brain activity and later it was used more against depression although usefulness of this is not clear. Electric stimulation usually lasted 30 seconds at time every 5 minutes and battery could last 10 years. Because vagal nerve also controls muscles then many side effects of VNS happen near neck.
Common side effects are coughing, change in voice, difficulty swallowing, breathing difficulties (especially during physical activity), throat pain, neck pain and discomfort in area with implant. Often people switch them off (by putting magnet they get with implant on implanted area) to get some exercise.   

In one case VNS patient under general anesthesia got breathing difficulties every 5 minutes when his VNS implant started working but stronger air pressure was enough to overcome this problem.

VNS uses 20-30 Hz frequency and uses current of 1-2 milliamperes. Operation has ~1% risk of infection and sometimes damage to vagal nerve. Common side effects are pain in head, throat, jaw, teeth or neck. 
Authors checked how good it may be against depression and they didn't find clear benefits from VNS against depression.

By year 2000 over 6000 people had got VNS implant against epilepsy. It was discovered around 1950s that VNS stopped epilepsy in dogs and caused slow synchronous brain waves (common in sleepy or calm states) in frontal lobes and amygdala. About 30 years later it was tried on humans against epilepsy and it seems to be beneficial for that purpose.
In addition to brain inhibition during VNS researchers also noticed a weaker inhibitory phase that lasted ~4 times longer than vagal stimulation.
Brain inhibition may happen through NTS (nucleus tractus solitarius) that gets all sensory vagal signals. NTS controls reticular formation and LC (locus coeruleus) which both have stimulating roles. Damaging LC removed anti-epileptic effects of VNS. 
Sometimes right side is preferred for VNS because on left side it could influence heart too much but if implant is low enough then i may have no direct effect on heart because part of vagal nerve that slows heart branches out of main vagal nerve around neck area. 
In a study with 313 VNS patients VNS seemed to reduce epilepsy rate by 25-30% compared to placebo group.

Friday, June 8, 2012

Tips for learning

Just for remembering:
I think everyone has some kind of photographic memory. Even if we live through something once in our life it might stay in memory for rest of the lifetime. 

Minimum requirement for remembering something seems to be just repeating it once without mistakes. I noticed that clearly visualizing stuff and then avoiding thinking about it worked better than learning it and then partially reminding it occasionally. At first i hoped that several repeats are good but later in university i noticed i passed exams (poorly like usual but with way less effort) if i visualized the sentences i wanted to remember like on a picture only once and after that i avoided thinking about what i remembered because i feared that when i think about these things then i might remember them wrong. I avoided thinking about painting over the images in my head so i avoided them by trying to look elsewhere in my thoughts. Mentally i imagined walking or running away from learned stuff that tried to remind itself. If i painted it over or messed in some visual way then memory about something could be lost. 
Weird thing was that when i avoided thinking i started to feel like learned stuff was gaining some pressure and tried to remind itself. Usually i felt tired and like my head was too full for extra learning but after i tried to think only once about exam topics then i didn't feel nearly as tired but actually bit energized with overactive brain trying to show what it remembered from studying.

Sometimes it seemed to help if i added some changing voice to thoughts so they'd go higher and lower like some melody. Maybe if memory fragment also have sound info then you may notice when you remember them in wrong order.

Don't be tempted to spell words wrongly. You will remember that stupid false spelling for days or months. I have learned new words for years by spelling them right once but usually by cutting these words into few letter long pieces.

For knowing many different topics

I've noticed that i could study biology, physics, chemistry, electronics and mathematics by just learning the words that explain what something does. The faster i learn new words the faster i get what the explanations mean.

Learning for autopilot

Different kind of learning (especially when learning movements) happens to all living creatures without them knowing how it works. Almost anything learned gets automatic after some repetition. At first standing up was difficult but soon kids learn to walk and run with increasingly less effort and concentration. Similar things happen when kids learn to talk, read and improvise verbally.

Additional good side about this learning is that if you learn to speak automatically you may find it easier to say even with interference or cannabis confusion. I've noticed that if i'm too high to remember stuff over 5 seconds i could still say the same things i could do automatically when i'm sober. It's like when you are very confused on cannabis you can mostly do stuff you do automatically when sober (like walking and speeches about familiar topics). I think i rediscovered such learning when i tried to learn everything so clear that i could function normally with 5 second short term memory. As time passed i noticed i got way more skillful while high and that i started to discover new skill in myself that i had practiced in some confused state and yet i seemed to remember what i wanted although i usually didn't remember how/when/where i learned that. With many skills i just remembered that some months ago i thought it would be good to know how to do something new.
Also future plans don't look so difficult if you could do required things without thinking about them.

If i want to learn to do something automatically then i try to do with least amount of concentration.

Personal development speed depends on how fast can the person find disturbing limitations with their skills and new areas to understand. Most jobs require many skills and tasks that can change a lot in 1 year.
To speed up learning it would be good to start with learning from best because average people may have many bad habits or standards that keep them average.

Best learner and public psychologist i know is Derren Brown (almost all his series can be found in YouTube). He said that studying entire London map took him 4 months (clip).
He learned english dictionary in about 20 minutes (he called it photo-reading) and Derren managed to remember other books by saying what was on some random page and line (clip).

Personal experience from university

This part is mostly just about how mistakes of other people have to be considered to get through university.

I don't have negative things to say about university while getting bachelor's degree but classes in MD level showed many different problems. I did notice that self-teaching myself about physics, biology and chemistry kept getting easier but school classes stayed difficult and looked out of touch with reality. Major lesson was that getting through some class would mean learning the false understandings of lazy or stupid teacher. Often it reminded me of my 1 year in philosophy when we had to learn everything philosophers thought including their absurd ideas of biology that were common in ancient Greece but knowing those stupidities was what we needed to pass exams and some biology teachers seemed to demand similar mistakes about their own mistakes.
First year in MD level class i noticed i failed exam due to stupidity of teacher. According to his view neurons have hydrogen ions around them to counteract potassium ions inside them (both should be in 0,15 molar concentration) but that would mean neurons would have pH of less than 1 around them. I mentioned sodium-potassium antiporter as the protein that creates normal concentrations of sodium and potassium in and outside neurons (+ other cells). There was internet in reach and i told him to check but he refused like other 2 who also made major mistakes and refused to use internet which was reachable about 1 meter away. He kept repeating i don't know anything and in next attempt (retried that exam around 5-7 times in one semester) he demanded that i'd explain with atomic precision how this sodium-potassium anti-porter moves those ions. I said how can anyone know that so precisely and again he went with his response of "see you don't know anything" and said i failed. By that time i had mentioned that farce to dean but he just told to ask for new attempts. In last try he looked more depressed and just ask me difference between acids and alkali which i could easily say and passed. Maybe he chose it as leverage point to keep me from bringing this up but as someone who tries to improve research i thought bringing this up would help school improve itself and deal with some glaring embarrassments.  
I skipped checking why i failed in most other exams in MD studies although often i felt during exam i could get A-C but kept getting F's on most tries. In third year i became more active about checking why i failed. In one case i asked for meeting to see why i failed. Response was they found the didn't read one correct answer which got me an E. In one exam there were 3 people doing grading and 2 of them did similar messed up mistakes i saw 2 years before. One kept stating that most mutations are too harmful to stay through generations. I wanted her to check study among many that show people get about 1 mutation per 100 million nucleotide which makes at least ~30 new mutations for newborns. Her response was that grading me differently for that would be unfair to others (like failing students due to her stupidity was fair to begin with). She tried to blame it on me for not being in class to learn her understandings. Other teacher was correcting questions on how evolvability is affected but while internet and even wikipedia could show many example she only knew one situation which she found in one textbook and i had to almost copy it from book to get points for that question. Like in first case she preferred i passed by getting through with too easy way instead of admitting any problems on her part. None of them were willing to accept their mistakes and were willing to risk their careers by even worse behavior than plain stupidity from laziness. I doubt scandalous behavior has helped with covering such scandals. I asked about getting to PhD courses but everyone kept saying my average was too low and any outside school activity doesn't count as it would be unfair to others who had good grades (but didn't do anything productive outside school). Some said they are not even putting me on maybe list due to low grades. I doubt i'll get to PhD studies but in fairness i can expose my side of story about why i didn't qualify.

I believe such behavior could show up in any university around world so better to prepare for it and if exam gets failed for unknown reasons then it is better to check if lecturers are to blame. I regret i learned it so late that by that time i didn't have any new exams to improve average grade with.
Problem with school trying to look ideal is somewhat similar to armies that pretend they are near perfect as both are likely to do mistakes but long term ideal image is preserved with covering up scandals and as times goes on people in there probably become more opportunistic about their immunity which further corrodes quality and repels people with better integrity.