Memory and Guilty Verdicts

Submitted By: Mike Spindell, Guest Blogger

400px-Elizabeth_Loftus-TAM_9-July_2011I’d only planned to write one guest blog this weekend, but this morning on Huffington Post I saw a video from a TED lecture.  The lecture was from Psychologist Elizabeth Loftus  who has been studying false memories since the 1970’s. She links what she discovered with one of the failings of our Criminal Justice System, with the false memories reported in court. This is an 18 minute lecture but it is well worth your time and bears directly on the topics we discuss here on the Law Blog. I must note that in it she is critical of certain psychotherapy techniques and I am a psychotherapist. Despite my training and profession I believe her critiques are on point and illustrate one of the problems inherent in some psychotherapies. For any readers that are interested in our legal system and who care about its problems, viewing this will represent time well spent.  My technical skills are such that I don’t know how to properly make the video appear in WordPress but if you click on the following link you will be able to see it:     Mystery of Memory 

Submitted by: Mike Spindell, Guest Blogger

75 thoughts on “Memory and Guilty Verdicts”

  1. Mike, I take back my horseshit qualifier in the comment to Prairie Rose. The apology was sincere and say it again.

  2. In re Scientology, not every government or society let’s them hide their Ponzi scheme behind the freedom of religion. Take Germany for example. And that’s not an opinion. That’s a fact.

  3. “As Sheldon Kopp pointed out so eloquently years ago, when you take on a guru, you give up part of yourself.”


    Truer words are rarely spoken. The wisest men I’ve ever read or encountered never pretended to be gurus. You were privileged to meet Alan Watts, someone whose work I’ve admired for years.As you know what Fritz Perls trained was a method of how to look into yourself, observe your own behavior and from that adult perspective take charge (responsibility) for your own life.
    Cults and gurus ask you to surrender that personal responsibility to them. Gurdgieff, that irrepressible con man form the early 1900’s taught this kind of philosophy that the only true way to freedom was to cede it to him. Ouspensky followed him and built somewhat of an organization. I have no proof, other than reading and surmise, but I think Hubbard copied Gurdjieff’s book “Beezlebub’s Tales to His Grandchildren” as a template for the history of the Hubbard theory. Scientology certain adopted Ouspenksky’s methods of control.

    Cults paricularly incense me on a personal level. My first wife found herself in the clutches of an Ouspensky cult in Mexico when she went to visit her closest friend who had given up her life to the cult. It was a horrific experience. The first time I took LSD it was through my closest male friend whose girlfriend had gotten him involved in a group run by a Psychologist who believed in LSD Therapy. They pushed what started out as a beautiful trip into a near psychotic break for me with their confrontive behavior trying to break me down.

    I had the strength to fight it, but my friend was captured by their pseudo psychological mumbo jumbo. He gave up his job and his family to move to a large house owned by the guru/psychologist in Honolulu. They would take three acid trips per week under the control of this “Doctor” who meanwhile was having sex with all the women under the guise of helping them.
    My friend found himself flat broke and confused wandering Waikiki Beach where he was found by another cult the 3HO movement and they captured him. They were a Kundalini Yoga Cult. When his letter became more and more incoherent I sent him some money and met him in San Francisco to try to get him out of there. Spent five days with him a seemed to get him back to normal, but he said he’d return to Hawaii, pick up his belonging and return to NY. Needless to say he didn’t and when next I saw him, 8 years later, I found him insufferable in his eagerness to have me abandon my life and move to the hills of New Mexico, where his cult, now in survivalist mold was building a fortress to protect themselves what they saw was the imminent collapse of the world. He was for a time the closest male friend I’ve ever had as close as my own brother. He was destroyed psychologically.

    As we’ve discussed before Alan Watt’s books had a great influence on me and you are lucky to have met him. Baba Ram Dass also provided much insight. In the end though I’ve learned to trust my own vision of the world. One of the things that led me to give up being a psychotherapist was the realization of how many patients went into it not to change, but to find a maternal/paternal figure to help run their lives. That wasn’t what Fritz was purveying and while the money was good, my integrity was worth a lot more.

    A long winded way to get back to Traveling Limey and also what this thread is about. He may be very happy with Scientology, but in the end to me it is just another con that prey’s on people afraid to take responsibility for their own life.

  4. You guys are sick. You confuse religious belief with science, fiction with fact, workable nonprofit enterprise with scam. You are too stuck in your false viewpoints to see any new ones. The bulk of my earlier comment is not addressed to you but to others reading these blogs who can think for themselves. Take another look in fifty years if you are smart enough to pick up another body & we still have a viable planet.

    1. “You confuse religious belief with science, fiction with fact, workable nonprofit enterprise with scam. You are too stuck in your false viewpoints to see any new ones. The bulk of my earlier comment is not addressed to you but to others reading these blogs who can think for themselves.”


      I’m not doubting that you believe Scientology helps you and and not denying your right to be a member of that cult. When you say that you are addressing your message to those who could think, I would reply that those who could think would probably reject any cult, but you have a right here to make any case for your beliefs that you want.

  5. Mike,
    You and I both know this. So does Gene because of his studies in philosophy, especially the Eastern philosophers. As for most of the other regulars, they have not talked a great deal about personal belief systems and philosophy of life. As Sheldon Kopp pointed out so eloquently years ago, when you take on a guru, you give up part of yourself. If the Traveling Limey needs a now-dead science fiction writer and grifter to tell him what to feel and think, he has given up a significant part of himself.

    When Dr. Richard Alpert had those insights into himself as a result of his research on the psychological effects of LSD-25, he started his Eastern studies and became Ram Dass. In one of his later books, he wrote that he was miserable and couldn’t figure out why. Then he came to realize it was because he was leaning on his guru to tell him what he was feeling and in turn, that was keeping him from exploring deeper issues within himself.

    That, in a nutshell, is what I think a lot of people do when they depend on religion and religious “leaders” to tell them what to think. We are members of the Episcopal church, but if you tried to get Fr. Schaefer to tell you what to think or feel about anything, you would be SOL. He is more like Fritz Perls or Alan Watts than any of the bible thumpers you normally encounter around here. And unlike Scientologists and televangelists, he doesn’t try to get his hand into your wallet. That’s why I like him so much.

    Speaking of Alan Watts. I got to see him only a week before he died. He was one of the most intense men I ever met. When he was with you, he was only with you. It is almost disconcerting to carry on a conversation with someone who is so totally focused on you alone. Then, when he turns to someone else, he transferred that focus to them. I was devastated when I read that only a week or ten days later, he had died. Alan was one of those people who leave you wanting more.

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