27 December 2010

And who are you? Are you all slaves?

Soundtrack for this post: "Slave Trade", Sigue Sigue Sputnik

We mentioned before that being negative and mean is a way of getting some kind of "juice" into your life if you can't get the good stuff. Similarly, narcissism works well. Let's face it, what better way to pack your life full of lulz and drama than to go around acting like you are the Chosen One and all others exist to serve your whims, or are enemies that need wiping out? Sure you'll be ridiculed and hated, and virtually nothing will actually concretely go right in your life, but at least you'll have a nice narrative frame to package that in. Your life, while unpleasant and pointless, will make sense.

Even better, some gormless losers will believe you. And why will they do that? Why do people end up in cults? The easiest answer is - that narcisstic delusions are more fun than stupid reality. I don't have a reference, but at least one person who followed L. Ron Hubbard around on his nautical adventures in the 60s - looking for gold he buried in the Mediterranean in a previous life, I shit you not - said precisely that. That it didn't matter whether it was actually factually true or not, but living in Ron's private reality was far lulzier than anything else they could think to do with their lives. Dude could always spin a yarn.

Problem is that cults are necessarily self-destructive, because narcissism is an addictive drug, and the sufferer requires more and more narcissistic supply. O'Brien in Nineteen Eighty-Four pointed out that the Party had to torture people, because how else could you be sure that you were really imposing your will on them? For this reason, cult leaders have to increasingly ramp up the levels of control and abjection of their followers. If they're doing your will, then you have to make your will more mean and intensive to test how much they really love you. Eventually you get to purple Flavor-Aid with cyanide in it (Jim Jones) - or declaring the entire executive staff of your organisation to be traitors and locking them up (Joe Stalin and David Miscavige).

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This post is by way of being a bit of a purge and a confessional. I have a "cult leader's personality" - that is, I have suffered from a narcissist streak a mile wide. So I can tell you in plain fact that the belief that YOU ARE THE ONE, THE SON OF MAN, THE KING OF KINGS, THE SHEIKH OF ARABY etc., that you have a destiny and everyone else has to either serve you or get the hell out of your way is a good way to substitute for not actually having a life. I'm trying to get over that, though. To some degree, that disavowed belief sullied the early contributions to this blog. I really thought I was breaking through into a better reality and everything would be better if everyone would just listen to me. *sigh* For that reason, it's good for me to study people who got completely lost in that kind of no-ego ego-trip to remind myself of where that road leads.

But google "codex veritas neo" for an example of the syndrome in full flight (yes, I've mentioned this fellow before, but last time he came and whined at me so I'm not directly linking). For a similar cult based on fiction, check these guys (although I must admit that, unlike these guys, Neo has some very good insights in among the self-aggrandisation and paranoia... but then, the same could be said of Scientology). There's also a lady who goes by the name of Doctress Neutopia who you might be interested in.

Part of having a narcissistic tendency is being fascinated - and just about ready to fall for - other people who do as well. Because don't their private universes look exciting and fun? But examine the cult leaders well. Because none of them are happy. None of them are actually achieving their stated goals. Indeed, the unhappier they are the more delicious, creamy attention they get from their followers. We call this "the downward spiral".

5 comments:

  1. Mein Gott!

    I thought Doctress Neutopia was long departed. She was a fixture on certain usenet newsgroups in the early 90's but came to later "fame" as one of the only women to ever have a relationship with Richard "Free Software" Stallman. Wow.

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  2. Can't keep a good kook down. (I remember Monster Truck Neutopia, although I thought they were a bit mean.) I'm sorry I missed Libby running for president in '08.

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  3. Wow, I'd forgotten that until you mentioned it.

    It was a bit mean but, as someone who tried to once have a rational online exchange with her, I can sympathize as to why it happened.

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  4. Replies
    1. Hey, are you the real Kurt Draven? If so, will truthofthespoon.net be coming back up?

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