Greetings to my readers!
We often suffer in solitude, even though we survive in civilizations. It is an absurd dichotomy, but one cannot deny that most of us crave a sense of belonging. A sense of belonging alleviates the suffering and sparks a metamorphosis of solitude into solidarity. This sense of belonging however natural and instinctive, it may seem leaves an individual vulnerable to the evil that plagues our societies. This blog encircles the enigmatic and horrifying world of cults. While in most cases, I tend to take a high road and provide a disclaimer but this month I’d be inclined to help people question themselves if they feel trapped in such circumstances.
Most of us have at least a rudimentary understanding of these shady organisations, but to properly paint this canvas, I suppose the definition is a must. Cults are collectives of individuals with a shared commitment to an extreme ideology often headed by a single leader. They are often associated with religion but are not limited to it, they can be fixated around political outlook, philosophy or essentially any subject which can conjure fanaticism. While one might be able to pinpoint the origin of one certain cult, it is virtually implausible to trace the inception point of this concept. At its core, cults are mere groups with certain characteristics tweaked to an extreme or groups with rotten fundamentals. Originally the word, “Cultists” was used to represent religious functionaries and people who maintained religious institutions. Over the years the meaning of this word has contorted and now it describes someone who is blindly devoted to unorthodox organisations. Most of the cults tend to portray themselves as shrouded into mystery but the reality is far from the truth, they have obvious red flags lined along their path of functioning. These features should make them conspicuous to even layman’s naked eye but they are seldom discovered or called out. Certain features that cults exhibit are as follows. Primarily cults look for excessive commitment, almost borderline exploitation. The commitment part is what fuels cults, the blind faith helps the upper management steer the simple minded lower members to any direction desired. Next, cults possess a rigid hierarchy, one that is almost too steep to climb. The hierarchy ensures that the charades and reality are at an equilibrium. Cults are almost at all times looking for potential recruits. A stunning majority of people who get inducted into these places are introduced via a certain acquaintance rather than a complete stranger. The next defining characteristic is that cults often claim to provide a coveted reward to its believers, either in the form of answers to life’s greatest questions or the assurance of a luxurious afterlife. Over the time they tend to influence their subject to such a degree that they showcase near inhuman obedience, almost no resistance to the ideology of the group however grotesque it maybe and a little tolerance for external scrutiny or internal disagreement. But quite literally the crown jewel of these defining features is that Cults are headed by one leader. There are some exceptions but it is a general trend in such organisations. For people who put their trust in such establishments of evil the gospel of truth must spout out of the mouth of this one particular mortal. These individuals who head these hydra like consortiums, one must never underestimate them. They tend to be possessors of undeniable charisma and vicious mean streaks at the same time. These narcissistic individuals can sway the mind of simpletons at the snap of fingers. Their domain is delusions and they can dabble in it pretty well. Once these persuasive people have housed their beliefs in the minds of hapless individuals they often hoard luxuries for themselves. Now these oligarchs, however high and mighty they may be, are in desperate need for followers and minions to pick the cheque for them. Just as the cults have visible characteristics so do their textbook recruitment systems exposit some tell tale signs.
The first step is to locate a suitable target, cults prey on people who have a weak sense of identity and have hit a rough spot in their life or are struggling. People who are ignorant,gullible, unassertive and lack self confidence ease the process of indoctrination. Second step is to establish agreement from the target for a non threatening event, this can range from attending a meeting, going out for a coffee to discuss their philosophy. The purpose of this is to establish common ground. Step three is to generate positive association with the group, this is accomplished by showering the target with gifts and compliments, akin to seducing them further into the grips of cult. Step four is to showcase the prize of joining, cults will help you discover your own personalised delusion so that you get tempted to join their ranks. Step five is to affirm that you covet the prize, here they will repeatedly put you into predicaments and observe if you fall into the spot where they want you to. Step six is, shutting down dissent by threatening to withhold the reward. The moment they sense even an iota of resistance, they will threaten to shut you out of the league. Step seven is solidifying guilt, the purpose of guilt is to lift the leader to godly levels. Once you are feeling guilty, you lose your ability to disagree with them. Step eight is reinforcing this behaviour, once the cult is certain that you’re perception is moulded in accordance to their agenda they tend to reward and punish you based on your involvement in their deeds, so as to solidify the authority. Step nine, the complete indoctrination, this step concludes targets assimilation into the cult by stripping them of any identity outside the cult. Lack of individuality and more than often times funds and confidence, leaves individuals scarred and perplexed.
Usually this cycle is broken when cults get busted by law enforcement agencies, which is an eventuality for such travesties, but it is entirely possible for members to vanquish the demons conjured by these cults and return back to sanity. But to vanquish these demons, one needs courage and warmth of some well wishers along with a clear vision. At the miracle moment, when the indoctrination is cleansed out, these hapless individuals are just common people capable and deserving of sympathy and another chance.
Note from Author
For more such articles on various topics, ranging from religion to philosophy visit my blog,” Makin’ Opinion”