that is an interesting website. I'm not sure if anyone has shared this link before, but there is a good article from the same website about the concept of 'spiritual bypassing'
, which is a term that gets bandied abut quite a lot: [matthewremski.com
There is also an intelligent pod-cast about the author's experiences with cults that is worth listening to:
I have become increasingly fascinated by what it is that makes people susceptible to getting involved in a cult. It's been widely established that it tends to be people who are above average in intelligence, often from middle-class or upper middle class backgrounds... this much seems to be agreed upon.
The jury is still out weather or not it is people with a lot of emotional problems who are attracted to cults... one study that I read affirmed this point, while other studies do not.
(I would say that in the case of Mooji
that yes, absolutely, it is people with emotional problems who are getting involved- that is my anecdotal observation.)
I think it is also people who are idealistic
who are attracted to cults. (Please bare in mind that they do not know from the beginning that what they are getting involved in is a cult- to them it is just an 'organisation'.) Idealistic people want to believe in something greater than themselves. They want to serve a purpose and have a meaningful life. This goes against the current grain of society where most people are conditioned to be very materialistic and self-centered.
It's very important to note that the vast majority of people who get involved in cults actually emerge virtually unharmed. Let me qualify that statement.
In the case of Mooji, hundreds of thousands of people watch his videos online for free and for them it is 'no big deal'. As far as I can tell, these people are able to maintain employment, have a normal family life and socialize normally. They may be a little weird
and be attracted to other weird people and unusual ideas, but hey, who am I to judge?
These people would have no idea that they are involved in a cult
and would just laugh at you if you suggested it. They could not care less about Mooji seducing his impressionable devotees and would say 'so what?'.
Then there are the people who get more involved. They have time on their hands and so they pay a monthly subscription to join 'Sahaja Express
' and then possibly attend a silent retreat
. These people are quite devoted, yet they remain unharmed (*)
. They may begin to keep the company with other devotees, all of which are just harmless, but seriously weird people. They maintain employment and family ties. Their families think they are nuts, but love them anyway. Their families probably think, "Oh well, at least they aren't on drugs."
(It's interesting that cult involvement can have a kind of addictive quality- just like being on drugs!)
Statistically, while all these people are susceptible to the harm Moo does, it's very few people who stay for an extended time at the cult compound in Portugal and who suffer PSTD
from the experience. Some leave Portugal merely 'disillusioned'
and go on to find a different spiritual teacher. Others leave feeling betrayed
, because the experience was nothing like they though it would be, and to lose the hope and happiness they felt at the beginning is very disappointing. These people may be very angry.
And still others just never seem to leave!!! They lose contact with reality and with loved ones. If and when they do get out, they find it impossible to adjust to normal life and require professional help.
I guess this would explain why there are so many people (including some friends of mine) who are willing to defend Moo. The majority of people did not see any abuse take place, therefore they cannot believe it happened.(*)
When I say that these people remain 'unharmed', I actually believe that harm is being done
at this point. But I don't think the families and friends of these devotees would see it as such. This kind of insidious psychologically harmful conditioning would be hard to prove.