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Thread: Cults page

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    Mr.Perfidy's Avatar
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    Cults

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    I don't want to derail the thread about the religiosity of being Primal, so I am going to start another discussion here.

    Does anyone else think that "cults" have a bad name?

    For me, I do not see how society is anything except many different inter-connected rings of different cults. Sports is a mega-cult, under which many smaller local cults practice as fan circles of respective teams. They have ritual clothing, a holy day, leaders, legends, superstititions and lucky behavior. The same is true of politics, or of celebrity, or of anything else that one could name that brings people together.
    "Ah, those endless forests, and their horror-haunted gloom! For what eternities have I wandered through them, a timid, hunted creature, starting at the least sound, frightened of my own shadow, keyed-up, ever alert and vigilant, ready on the instant to dash away in mad flight for my life. For I was the prey of all manner of fierce life that dwelt in the forest, and it was in ecstasies of fear that I fled before the hunting monsters."

    Jack london, "Before Adam"

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    When I think of cults, I think of overzealous control - of the mind and of behaviour, by the group, or face the risk of ostracism. Maybe we're hardwired to divide people into 'them and us' as a way of trying to manage our environment.

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    yeah, I think they have gotten a bad name because of all the incidents...

    I'm a pagan and with that I'm immediately place in the cults of witches and satan lovers by lots of people... now while I agree that at the moment paganism is still very much a small cult the image most people have is way off...
    I'm sure that counts for many cults...

    as long as people aren't forced, maintain their free will and don't enforce their opinion onto others cults are a good way to gain a social structure

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    I think that a certain group behaviour is a cult, if it is disapproved of by socially influential people. If they approve of it, it becomes obligatory, the way things are done round here, the official worldview.

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    Mr.Perfidy's Avatar
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    well what I am saying is, you can pick a mainstream group that is not considered creepy, where members are thought "normal" for participating in such a group, and the things that make it a group/culture are the same things that make something a cult.

    Ok maybe we should start by identifying cult characteristics? These are according to me, from a historical perspective.

    1) a center in space (Mecca, the Hollywood Walk of Fame, Yankee Stadium, the White House, the Duff Beer plant*, Silicon Valley, Amsterdam, Compton, Times Square, the Vatican, the World Tree, etc)

    2) recognizable group-identify fashion or fashion accessories (yarmulkas, baseball hats, neck-ties, Hollister shit, tunics, tie-dye, kabbala bracelet, etc)

    3) a founder or foundational people

    4) an inner doctrine understood by a minority within the cult but obscure to non-members and periphery members

    5) a set of rituals, etiquette, status-hierarchy, and other trappings of a social order
    "Ah, those endless forests, and their horror-haunted gloom! For what eternities have I wandered through them, a timid, hunted creature, starting at the least sound, frightened of my own shadow, keyed-up, ever alert and vigilant, ready on the instant to dash away in mad flight for my life. For I was the prey of all manner of fierce life that dwelt in the forest, and it was in ecstasies of fear that I fled before the hunting monsters."

    Jack london, "Before Adam"

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    I think once you get to a certain size, you generally cease to be a cult simply because you cannot control people anymore. Think Jim Jones's group versus say the mormons (*not trying to offend mormons). Scientologists? Or your example of sports groups.

    When you have a hundred, two hundred people in a commune following one guy who is making decisions on every minute bit of your life, you have a cult. In that case a dangerous one, because he went off the rails when he lost control (although there are some that are probably not dangerous - don't know if you watched the show Veronica Mars but they had an episode where a rich kid joined a commune and it was having a positive effect on him, and all the participants. I think you can have cults like that, potentially.)

    With a larger group, you have people voluntarily coming together in common cause. You might describe somethings as 'cultish' but they are probably not a cult of the kind that has such a bad reputation.

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    Do they have those properties? I think that's what makes a cult. You know that in the ancient world, there were cults of every god and local spirit, and also of different clans, right? I don't know why the word "cult" has come to mean, "people with no will obeying a single leader." I think it's because the corporations, who profit by selling all of us different cults that they can control, slander any opposing or emergent value systems and means of organizing societies.
    "Ah, those endless forests, and their horror-haunted gloom! For what eternities have I wandered through them, a timid, hunted creature, starting at the least sound, frightened of my own shadow, keyed-up, ever alert and vigilant, ready on the instant to dash away in mad flight for my life. For I was the prey of all manner of fierce life that dwelt in the forest, and it was in ecstasies of fear that I fled before the hunting monsters."

    Jack london, "Before Adam"

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    I think people call things cults to make it sound ominous. That list is pretty much true for Christianity, politics or science except as it becomes more widespread the acts involved seem much less mysterious.

    Imo, the difference between cult and culture is just obscure vs mainstream (as mentioned above).
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    A lot of labels and terms have been wrongly demonized by the media and state propaganda. Anarchist, for one, is associated with destructive punks and chaos; those are fake anarchists.
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    Quote Originally Posted by turquoisepassion View Post
    I think people call things cults to make it sound ominous. That list is pretty much true for Christianity, politics or science except as it becomes more widespread the acts involved seem much less mysterious.

    Imo, the difference between cult and culture is just obscure vs mainstream (as mentioned above).
    I think that the difference between cults and mainstream christianity or politics or science is the claim to exclusive access to the truth.

    For example, baptists aren't a cult because they recognise that anglicans, presbyterians etc are all genuine believers as well. Whereas a cult like scientology doesn't just claim exclusive access to the truth, they also try to cut their members off from alternate views and engage in mind control/brainwashing.
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