posted on Jan, 5 2010 @ 10:44 PM
In a true cult, basically what happens is brainwashing. Brainwashing can be be accomplished in a number of ways. The usual pattern involves a
combination of factors. Brainwashing can take place in both secular and religious contexts. When it happens in a religious context, it gives rise to
"cults." When it happens in a non-religious context it is called something else or maybe has no name, but the end result is the same.
There are healthy ways of being religious and unhealthy ways of being religious. There are healthy ways of being secular and unhealthy ways of being
secular. Anything that involves brainwashing in either field qualifies as "unhealthy."
So what is this "brainwashing" that takes place both secularly and religiously? Again, it involves a number of factors but let's lay out a few of
1) You are part of a circle, group, or organization (with or without a name) that considers itself somehow fundamentally different from and superior
to the rest of society
2) A charismatic leader is usually involved, or perhaps the central focus can be a god, idol, ideology, etc. rather than an actual human.
3) There is a hierarchy involved, with "levels." New members and lower-level members do not have any clue what goes on in the "inner circle." the
organization seems friendly and legit at first. Brainwashing takes place over time.
4) The "inner circle" manipulates the members in stages, gradually drawing them into higher and higher "secret truths." As people invest more
time, effort, and money in climbing whatever ladder they are on, they become reluctant to leave or give up since it invalidates all their previous
5) The conscious mind is gradually unmoored from the unconscious mind and unconsious ideas are allowed or corerced to float to the top. Gradually,
people begin to live in a state of light hypnotic trance, because they are abandoning the cortical central command functions of their brains and
operating from deeper levels...more thyroidal/lymbic activity, for example; less and less frontal-lobe reasoning.
6) To unmoor the higher-brain functions, members are increasingly forced to study by rote the "doctrine" of the cult, whether it's a unique
exigesis of a religious text or mandatory daily North Korean "Political Study Sesssions" for all Nort Korean citizens. Such "study" is often
lengthy and involves the mastery of an arcane jargon that is confusing and takes increasing brain-strength to master. It wears out critical thinking
capacity and also gradually seperates those "in the know" from "outsiders" by making their speech and thought patterns so controlled and arcane as
to almost be unintelligable.
6) Fear, humiliatation, physical and/or sexual abuse, etc. become a part of the process. Fear of committing some kind of "unpardonable sin" or even
a light infraction; fear of "the unsaved" or "the outside world." Meanwhile, increasingly harsh punishment for infractions is implemented: sleep
deprevation, chemical manipulation, physical torture, confinement, and other ugly stuff. This further wears down the mind and makes people constantly
preoccupied with "slipping up."
7) Punishment is often illogical or arbitrary...again, serving to stimulate lower-brain systems and de-emphasize higher-brain reasoning.
8) Finally when a constant state of light hypnosis is achieved, the members can be ordered to do almost anything, like robots, by those in the "inner
circle." The "inner circle" becomes drunk on its own unnatural power, and becomes increasingly decadent, secretive, and irrational. It begins to
abuse lower members in ways that are not acceptable by the rest of society, thus increasing its paranoia. This leads to a viscious circle of more
violence, more brainwashing, harsher punshiment, more paranoia, the need to seperate further from society, and so on.
9) In the end the cult implodes in any number of ways -- it runs afoul of society by doing something too big to be ignored; the leader dies and a
power-struggle in the inner circle ensues; paranoia leads to literal self-destruction (Jim Jones, Heaven's Gate), and so on.
That's my analysis, anyway.