Why do people get invovled in cults?

Discussion in 'News and Current Events' started by Anony_mouse, Mar 22, 2008.

  1. Anony_mouse Member

    Why do people get invovled in cults?

    I've spent a great deal of time thinking / meditating on why people get sucked into abusive cults.

    I look at myself and I see a guy who could have EASILY gotten drawn in. I actually think the tech can work (not always as claimed but certainly often when used correctly). I didn't join after having my personality profile done because the head of the local chapter of COS (in the early 90s) answered a couple of my questions poorly. When I called him on it, he got mad. When I saw his anger, I knew instinctively that this high ranking official wasn't all that "clear" of his reactions and I knew it wasn't for me.

    Since the late eighties (heck even when I was a kid) I've bumped into a myriad of "solve all your problems" (Feeling Great Inc!) groups and found a large number of people who flit from one group to the other looking for "salvation" but never finding it.

    I think I understand now how these people get drawn in. I've heard people bash people for getting drawn in. I've seen these unfortunate people called misguided, foolish, stupid and even worse, but I realized recently that its a simple quality of humanity. Its called many things but I like the word, "devotion." People like to be devoted. When people give their devotion to the wrong person or organization, chaos ensues.

    The scientists (often calling themselves atheists) want to eliminate devotion so people can't be abused. They see this cause as noble and wish to see the end of religion (as all religion at some level is a form of cult). But I don't think that's going to happen. All you have to do is see the devotion of scientists toward science and research. They are just as devoted to science as the pope is to Catholicism. What they have is devotion, clear and simple, because they think science and rational thought is going to solve all the world's problems.

    I think devotion is part of our nature. Anonymous individual members are devoted to Anonymous the collective. And the more outspoken among Anon are the most devoted. The only difference that I can see between Anon and other organizations is its not hindered by hierarchy, all ideas are welcome and when good ideas come along they are adopted by the bulk of the collective. I see anon on the whole as a large collective of individuals which care and wish to do something positive for the world via healthy means. That gives you guys and edge because you won't let any one individual make up your minds for you.

    The pitfalls of devotion are fairly obvious but let me list some for my own edification:

    1. Once we buy into something we feel a sense of ownership and we tend to try to protect that investment and the property we attach it to.
    2. People who are devoted have a tendency (due to 1.) to become blind to the issues that arise into the organization they are devoted to.
    3. Once the blinders are up we lose sight of our selves and become malleable. Our minds surrender to the concepts that are bombarding them and absorb the behaviors of the collective to insure the investment is not lost.
    4. The longer we devote ourselves, the more invested and the more righteously we defend our investment.
    5. We feel a strong need to sell copies of our beliefs to others to feel more right in our beliefs and as long as we can convince others, we can feel safe we made the right investment.
    6. If what we are doing goes against our own basic makeup (as is usually the case in "unhealthy" organizations), we become conflicted internally and to overcome this conflict we have to convince ourselves that we made the right choice thus we will do more 3, 4, and 5.

    I like to think about Hitler in Germany before he attacked Poland. I look at how he came to power, removed democracy and set himself up as dictator. People followed him because they needed something to believe in. They wanted to be devoted to something. Once the snowball started rolling down the alps, there was no way to stop it.

    This scenario repeats over and over in our history. A whole slew of tyrants have gained power by appearing to have answers and offering ideas for people to be devoted to. You can see it in the small scale by looking at David Coresh and Jim Jones, etc.

    Hell, its happening now with certain US politicians.

    I'm not going to argue the causes of this need to be devoted. That's very interesting but I'm more interested in others opinions about overcoming the need to be devoted or finding something to be devoted to that can't be made unhealthy. What are your experiences? Have you grown beyond the need to belong? If so, how did you grow beyond the need to belong? What is that magical process that allows us to stop needing to belong? Or have you found something worth being devoted to? How did you find it?

    Thanks for reading and I look forward to your responses,


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