First, is there a hidden, esoteric doctrine in SG that even relatively high ranking members dont know about?
Or at the very least a mandate to instill self reproach and eradicate self confidence in all members, no matter well the members perform their assigned tasks?
That getting the task done isnt the goal, its breaking the member's confidence thats the actual goal, and the assigned task is merely a pretext, a set up for shame tripping the member/s?
I don't think we need to be able to point to some SG-specific "doctrine" to this effect, as it is ubiquitous among cults:
The group displays excessively zealous and unquestioning commitment to its leader and (whether he is alive or dead) regards his belief system, ideology, and practices as the Truth, as law.
- Questioning, doubt, and dissent are discouraged or even punished.
- Mind-altering practices (such as meditation, chanting, speaking in tongues, denunciation sessions, and debilitating work routines) are used in excess and serve to suppress doubts about the group and its leader(s).- The leadership dictates, sometimes in great detail, how members should think, act, and feel (for example, members must get permission to date, change jobs, marry—or leaders prescribe what types of clothes to wear, where to live, whether or not to have children, how to discipline children, and so forth).
- The group is elitist, claiming a special, exalted status for itself, its leader(s) and members (for example, the leader is considered the Messiah, a special being, an avatar—or the group and/or the leader is on a special mission to save humanity).
- The group has a polarized us-versus-them mentality, which may cause conflict with the wider society.
- The leader is not accountable to any authorities (unlike, for example, teachers, military commanders or ministers, priests, monks, and rabbis of mainstream religious denominations).- The group teaches or implies that its supposedly exalted ends justify whatever means it deems necessary. This may result in members' participating in behaviors or activities they would have considered reprehensible or unethical before joining the group (for example, lying to family or friends, or collecting money for bogus charities).- The leadership induces feelings of shame and/or guilt in order to influence and/or control members. Often, this is done through peer pressure and subtle forms of persuasion.
- Subservience to the leader or group requires members to cut ties with family and friends, and radically alter the personal goals and activities they had before joining the group.- The group is preoccupied with bringing in new members.
- The group is preoccupied with making money.- Members are expected to devote inordinate amounts of time to the group and group-related activities.
- Members are encouraged or required to live and/or socialize only with other group members.
- The most loyal members (the “true believers”) feel there can be no life outside the context of the group. They believe there is no other way to be, and often fear reprisals to themselves or others if they leave (or even consider leaving) the group. [www.csj.org
And from [www.enlightened-spirituality.org
Dr. Arthur Deikman, a spiritually minded psychiatrist and cult-expert in northern California, has identified...
"four basic behaviors found in extreme form in [destructive] cults: compliance with the group, dependence on a leader, devaluing the outsider, and avoiding dissent. These behaviors are not distinct and independent but interrelated. In my view, they arise in part from what I refer to as the dependency dream, the regressive wish for security that uses the family as a model, creating an authoritarian leadership structure (the parent) and a close-knit, exclusive group (the children).... A continuum of [cultic] behavior exists, from the People’s Temple... to rigid religious groups, corporate cultures, professional societies, [and certain political parties and nations!] and ordinary us/them categories."
Warning Signs of Dysfunctional Cults
* Excessive demands on the time and energy of the group members. Slave labor, overwork, or sleep/food deprivation demanded on behalf of the group as proof of loyalty. Obsessive scheduling, such that every moment of one’s waking life is controlled by the group.
* Craving for followers; seductive recruiting strategies or heavy-handed tactics of proselytizing or conversion (including “love bombing,” that is, showering prospective recruits with friendly, but strategic, attention).
* A hidden agenda that becomes known to a group member only after s/he is heavily invested in the cult membership. ("President Ikeda is the new JEEEEZIS!!!")
* Intimidating indoctrination procedures that psychologically break a person down (suppressing old behaviors, attitudes, and relationships) so that s/he can be rebuilt according to the group’s ideal of a docile, unquestioning, compliant member.
* Trapping or holding onto members. People should be able to leave the group at any time for any reason without fear of damnation, reprisal, scorn, or being pursued or shunned by cult members.
* Turning cult members into watched objects who have no privacy in their solitary behavior or relationships with others. Manipulative system of rewards and punishments. Totalitarian structure of permission and non-permission regarding basic behaviors including personal hygiene, interpersonal communication, etc. Orwellian system of informers who convey information to leaders about persons behind their back. Machiavellian techniques of setting members against each other or against outsiders.
* Ganging up on individual members to criticize or humiliate or coerce them; “working on them” to violate their own sense of conscience or autonomy. Brainwashing or mind-control techniques or high-pressure group dynamics coercing members to conform to a worldview, agenda, or code of conduct. Physical or psychological violence. Giving and withholding of love or praise as a manipulation technique. Frequent testing of members for loyalty, commitment, or obedience.
* Blind obedience to harmful or unwise directives from on high. Abusive, domineering top-dog leadership. In healthy groups, the leader(s) functions more as an advisor and inspirer rather than as “control freak” dictating how members should think and act. Members are never threatened or subordinated in ruthless, bullying manner. There may be a period of time where an authentic spiritual director/abbot/guru needs to test the disciple, but this is done within the overall context of genuine love, trust, and emotional safety, not as a power-trip by the leader. Any tests must be for the sole purpose of strengthening the student’s own skills and virtues,
not demanding obedience and loyalty.
* Suppression of dissent, doubt, critical thinking, sincere questions, discussion or independent judgment. Regarding of leader’s or sacred text’s teachings as infallible. Attachment to doctrinal certainty. Members should be free to follow their own informed reason and moral conscience in preference to the directives of the leader, group or text. Yet healthy spirituality also challenges one to develop the conscience to its utmost through ongoing learning and maturation.
* Irrational thinking or magical thinking. Among healthy, empowering groups, supra-rational thinking and use of paradox is fine, in accordance with the mature mystical traditions as found within circles of Christianity, Judaism (Hasidism), Islam (Sufism), Vedanta, Buddhism and Taoism. These authentic mystical traditions are based in rationality and proceed from that into the "trans-mental" realm. By contrast, in unhealthy groups, there appears to be very little rationality anywhere in their attitudes and behavior, and the group dynamics are rife with dysfunctional thinking.
* A “uni-level” obsession with health and wealth on the material plane (Richard Anthony).
* Crusading agenda to save the world or convert all souls to “the true way.”
* Chronic group feeling of righteous anger, revenge, turmoil, anxiety, shame, guilt, self-pity, fear, despair, mindless euphoria, ego-excitement, adrenaline rushes, self-inflated fervor or futuristic anticipation.
* Proud feeling of being the chosen people, of possessing the exclusive truth or means of salvation, or being superior to those outside the group. Heavily polarized “us-them,” adversarial thinking, projection of one’s own shadow qualities onto others, seeing outsiders as homogeneously negative, devoid of positive qualities (“they” are “bad” and “we” are “good”). Rigid boundaries and isolation between insiders and outsiders. Petty criticism, stereotyping or devaluing of outsiders.
* A chronic need to find and persistently maintain enemies inside or outside the group. Targeting or isolating of anyone inside or outside the group as a source of evil or contamination or “bad energy.” Negative thought-forms aimed at others. (The priesthood, anyone?? Danto members??)
* Expensive entry fees or initiations. In fact, the less the group has to do with money, the better. The greatest spiritual masters charge no money whatsoever for sharing their love and guidance. Their work is supported via voluntary donations from those who can easily afford it or are inspired to give without being asked. Beware groups that demand from members much or all of their assets. (Presently some 500 cults in the United States, most of them Christian, demand all assets from members.) A small tithe isn’t necessarily exploitative if all monies serve reasonable purposes and can be accounted for upon request.
* Cultivation in members any attitude of childish dependency upon exploitative, authoritarian leaders who require absolute, exclusive devotion.
* Intellectual parochialism or isolation from other worldviews; censorship or control of what people read; prevention of studying sacred texts from other traditions or visiting other genuine spiritual masters. A healthy spiritual group is open to spiritual truth from whatever source, and knows how to distinguish wise from unwise teachings.
* Orwellian double-speak (Deikman: “manipulating language to suggest a meaning and value opposite to the real situation”). Codewords or buzzwords. Excessive use of slogans to bypass critical thinking. Manipulative rhetoric based on cunning or emotionalism. Reinvention of language—e.g., excessive amount of jargon—to widen gulf between insiders and outsiders and exert mind-control. Adopting new names and titles for members can also be suspect, especially when it is done to create insider group-dynamics.
* Beware enforcement of conformity in apparel and external behavior.
* Legalistic obsession with myriad rules. Enslavement to authoritarian, military-style organization and procedure.
* Obsession with invisible or other-worldly entities or forces other than God.
*snork* I don't know why they need the "other than God" in there - that "God" concept seems to fit *perfectly* with the other things which are apparently *not* fit targets for obsession O_O
Edited 1 time(s). Last edit at 03/20/2013 08:06AM by TaitenAndProud.