Is Humanity One Big Cult?
Posted by Barry Pittard on October 13, 2007
There is a fundamental mistake that defenders of those accused of serious abuse keep on making.
Accusations of substantive abuse do not have to be proved. They have to be investigated.
An organization that does not have genuine policies and practices of transparency and accountability is per se condemned.
Many Exposés of Cults Reveal Same Abuses and Rationalizations
Statements such as that an organization’s founder and his or her core leaders have never been brought before a court are crude and dishonest in the extreme. Repeatedly, across the various exposure of leaders, the patterns of denial, obfuscation and outright deceit are to be observed. Meetings between dissenters from various cults, who have left because they found profoundly betrayed the noble aims concerning which they joined, can tend to get off to a flying start, for participants are deeply struck by the many commonalities of experiences. I shall not say more of this aspect at present. For it is good that increasing contacts mature between those who have experienced spiritual betrayal around the world and the monumental cover-up of it can mature and prosper. And, indeed, that the perpetrators are left to wonder what alliances and resource-sharing and joint ventures might effect in educating greater publics of the great and insidious threats posed by cults of various kinds.
Cult defenders persistently employ a number of blunt tools: demeaning, name-calling, demonizing, slandering, stalking both on and off the Internet, intimidation, distortion and misinterpretation of what has been said. They muck-rack like McCarthyites, and attack individuals, quite commonly for faults they have not committed, instead of address issues. The use of ad hominem arguments and tu quoque retorts is very typical, and they confuse the difference between legitimately naming an individual and criticising their statements or role and illegitimate practice of slandering a person, and thus avoiding the central issues being presented. Their smokescreens choke horizons like a bad bushfire on a gusty day. Often, they appeal to popular prejudice. They get caught up in the narrowest interpretations of dissenters’ intentions or actions. Each individual who speaks up, they will assume the worst of, and defame – one after the other. They avoid the substantive questions and arguments, and accuse others of doing so. One is damned if one should respond to them, and damned if one does not. But then why should one bend to respond to those so antagonistic? It’s damned well good at least not to be down in the gutter.
There is no diving equipment adequate to diving into sewers. Those among the dissenters such as the hotheaded and bloody-mindedly quarrelsome who do respond end up in endless dogfights, which are far removed from the very reasons – which can be ideals most would agree to be noble, humane, spiritual and so forth – which led one to be a part of a self-enhancement group in the first instance. Many dissenters have, however, done years of hard self-development and of unstinting service to the poor and needy in their communities and other worthy causes. They may fight, but they will not dogfight.
Euphoria and Topic Avoidance
There is often in guru and cult defenders an appeal to popular prejudices – such as that media inevitably sensationalizes and misreports or that dissenters are people who did not get attention from the group’s guru, etc. The defensive tactics reveal the depth of problems of personality which a leader and cult, despite grand claims, has not, amidst the unreal euphoria and avoidance of topics where hard questions are raised, been able to heal or to solve. It is, of course, a problem that can as easily afflict dissenters, unless they have done some hard work on themselves.
Humanity – One Big Cult?
A far wider problem exists. One can point to cultic tendencies in this or that group. But then if we emphasize qualities of group-think and non-think in groups termed (accurately or not) ‘cults’, we will end up comforted, with our fingers pointed out, rather than considering our own capacities. Is there a grand unquestioning that is the tendency of a cult called Humanity? A cutting across all the ‘isms’ – except one: bias-ism. So normal that we feel normal. So huge that we don’t recognize it, just as we might tend to assume without thinking that the sun will rise in the east on the morrow or that the sky still coheres above us.
No need to click on ‘Register’ or ‘Join’. No need to pay annual subsriptions. Our forebears have already enrolled us.
If we are all afflicted, we had best find a better way of getting out of the millennially built-up sludge. But no use ‘fessing up unless we can find ways to do it without exploitation, shouting, clubbing, and reversion to division and the manning of battlements.
The Example of The Muslim Leaders
Perhaps the Muslim and Christian clerics, theologians and academics who are busily writing to each other right at this moment will find ways to express commonalities which lead to love and compassion, and still face the differentiations that tests the goodwill, and in a way that works beyond the lovey-dovey. I think there is a tendency, which the leaders will have to address, to assume that religions are what make the world go round, rather the cynical machinations of realpolitik. Never mind, any genuinely caring way might be the way out of the sludge – even if by happy accident, or some millennial crawl to a new paradigm.
We can all be members of the clubless club of the great unwashed, which has but one essential thought. That we are washed, even if others are not. And one essential risk: that we can, all too easily do bad dirt on good people – if there happen to be any around.
The Muslim leaders’ bold document is available in .pdf format, courtesy of the BBC, HERE