11 December 2011

How cults start

So anyway, first you have someone who sets themselves up as a "master" (leader, guide, activist, organiser) and establishes what you might call a "Freudian transference relationship" with their followers - i.e. the followers, feeling a great lack in themselves caused by alienation, oppress and exploitation, assume that the Great Man (and it is usually a man) can bring wholeness to them, like an idealised father figure. Let Hazrat-e-Pir Dr. Javad Nurbaksh take it from here: 
The mentally ill become the morids [disciples]  of this kind of 'master' and establish a transference relationship with him. Then, by claiming that miracles have taken place, which were, in fact the result of the strong emotions established by transference, and by acting as missionaries for their master, they make converts. The so-called master, in turn, unaware of his own egoism, benefits from people's ignorance. Hence, by calling himself a saint he establishes a parasitic livelihood for himself. Sometimes due to a miracle reported by a morid, he comes to think that all the while he has really been a man of God, but has not realized it. In short, this type of 'master' is pulled along by the crowd because of his need to make a living, and in turn he becomes more and more convinced of his own claims. This causes a vicious circle between the morid and the morĂ£d, both of them firm in their own egoism.
In every era this vicious circle stimulates a certain number of people to become 'masters', and then morids become enchanted with them and start telling extraordinary stories about them. ... In reality, people thus, create their own idols and then start worshipping them. This type of master is, in fact, subject to his own morids. As a matter of fact, a morid likes to have a certain man as his master, namely, a master who due to his defects and imperfections, always enjoys having a crowd of followers to support him.
Emphases added. It's a good living (or, if you can't do it professionally, a good source of ego boosting) to be Great Leader for a howsoever tiny group of people who are willing to let you run their minds. And then you start to believe your own publicity (like L. Ron Hubbard apparently did, or some say Joseph Smith did).

And the root of all this is hypocrisy - some half-baked yahoo, either sincerely or cynically, thinks that God or the Class Struggle speaks through them and mistakes their own ego gratification for the Good Work. Which is a lesson I should have learned ages ago. I count myself luckly that, even though most of the earlier ravings on this blog are egomaniacal and intolerant in the extreme, I always wanted collaborators rather than Zombies and therefore I never actually attracted any "followers", praised be the sweet name of Almighty Atheismo.