Co-opting the term cult and then de-activating it...or the domesticization of skepticism.
They add the cult word, and then use it like mental judo to lure in doubters and handle objections.
Its like taking a sharp sharp foreign object, such as a knife (eg the term cult as Robert J Lifton defined it)....then using the thought shaping to wraping layers of masking tape around the super sharp knife blade so that it grows blunt.
Or the way the human body, when healthy, secretes layers of calcium to surround TB
bacteria, forming calcium 'tubercules' to keep the the bacteria walled off, unablet to further invade the lungs and spreading throughout the body.
Other methods of mental judo to deal with the scary word 'cult'
. Make jokes about it, turn it into a silly joke and by extension make the person who brought the word up, seem foolish
. Dump on other gurus who have been abusive, but use this to deflect attention away from your group.
by saying all of society is cultic or claim (this is favorite) that the Armed Forces and Marines are cults. (This ignores that you KNOW, beforehand that you are enlisting in the service. And, though far, far from perfect and desperately in need of reform, the Armed Forces have something cults do not...a system of health care for injured veterans. Cults are use and dispose organizations and dont have their equivalent of the Veterans Administration or Congressional oversight. Reporters publish coverage of troubles at the VA without fear of being sued--another difference.
*Claim the existence of the 'anti cult cult'.
Make it seem that Rick Ross and those of us on the message board are the anti-cult cult. Complain that we are reactive and hate free speech on this message board when what has actually gone on is a near constant bombardment from trolls who have done more to harass discussions of BK than any other group.
Many of these groups have become so practiced that all they have had to do is say, 'Oh thats just the Rick Ross site' and it steers people away.
This is the cleverest mental judo of all.
To me the gold standard on how to test whether a group or relationship is nasty or nice is this:
Is your loyalty reciprocated throughout your involvement? Or are people kicked out when too old, too poor, and too stressed out to be of any further use?
Is there a double standard for compassion--endless compassion for the leader, and endless blame for the underling?
Is there any deceit about the history of the leader, the group, and what is to be done to you during its events?
Do they minimize power imbalance by claiming their are no victims?
Do they accuse you of projection, while never admitting that the leader remains just as capable of projecting his or her bullshit onto underlings? In real therapy, it is always recognized that the therapist has to remain aware, as powerholder and fiduciary, of his or her capacity to project unconsciouus agendas onto clients. That is why LICENSED THERAPISTS are given lengthy training in their own capacity for projection onto clients (countertransferance) and must take regular continuing education courses on the issues of boundaries, ethics, legal issues and counter transferance.
An LCSW buddy of mine did a 2 month long continuing ed class on therapist countertranseferance and she had done that course 3 to four years earlier. Because there was new understanding of the issue,t hat is why she repeated the course.
She said that in both cases, part of the course consisted of the therapists discussing real life situations--a way to remind themselves they were not perfect and ways to get help from colleagues so they would not repeat their mistakes.
An unlicensed guru is not required by law to take courses like this.