This discussion relates to use of English.)
Corboy: Watch out if an absent authority figure is constantly referred to as " Doctor" "Guru", "Baba" "Teacher" "Master"
Using only "Guru" rather than "the Guru"
takes us back to babyhood when we refer to parents as "Mamma" "Dada"
and "Teacher" Self vs other is blurred.
In language, articles such as 'a', 'an' 'the' enable us to understand or indicate the reference made by the noun.
When little we are unable grasp the distinction between self versus other.
We learn nouns and then verbs first. We must become older before we can
begin to understand the existence and use of articles.
Being told or subtly socialized to speak of an absent authority figure as "Master" rather than "the Master" will regress
you and lead you toward a groupthink that is childishly submissive or risks becoming childishly submissive toward that person.
It is no accident that when humans seek to dominate/humiliate others, whether in play or in earnest, many times, the would be 'top' says, "Call me Mommy!"
or "Call me Daddy!"
Welcome to the scene.
The dungeon is built in our minds before the brick and mortar arrives.
The first stage is to mess with language.
This was written for business settings, but may apply here.
A person may have a crush on a therapist early in the relationship, but
this should not last too long; a good therapist will support that person's autonomy and take care to redirect that adoration back to the client's
A client should not begin to refer to the therapist as a venerated
authority in areas outside of a proper psychotherapy enviroment.
If a client who has dressed well, chosen his or her own wardrobe well and then begins dressing in quite a different style, or only in a limited range of colors and keeps saying "therapist x" likes/encourages this -- beware.
Client drops interests he or she formerly enjoyed and invokes the therapist as an authority. Client changes to the therapist's own religion -- big read flag.
What to do if you work in a 'personality cult' environment
A personality cult is a situation in which a leader controls an organization through force of personality and the control of the communication channels.
United States currency and global business
The problem with personality cults is that they come to rely overly-much on a single person. Instead of being as smart as the combination of a group, personality cults tend to be only as smart (or talented, or insightful, or clever) as the personality him/herself. Although this can work very well if the person is truly as brilliant as he/she thinks (for example, Steve Jobs), it can also unnecessarily limit the team's effectiveness (think about the leaders of a country immediately north of the 38th parallel north).
Sometimes it is great to be swept along with a leader's vision. Much of the time, however, living in a personality cult is difficult and even unpleasant.
Do you work in a world dominated by a single personality? Here is how to tell:
Is there a person referred to unambiguously by a single name? Think "Sting" or "Hillary" or "Barbie."
Is that person referenced ex cathedra to support or reject an action? "Michael wouldn't like that."
Does the person make decisions which appear arbitrary or inconsistent with decisions made in similar situations in the past?
Do people guess at what the person would want you to do, instead of asking the person? "What would <mononymous person> do?"
OK. You've concluded you work in a personality cult. Take a deep breath. Here is what you can do to combat the pernicious downside but keep the upside:
Don't wait to be told that you are wrong, engage early. Get feedback when it still can be incorporated into the plans.
Make good use of the personality's skills. If the person is a stickler for getting every word right in a publication, then give the person editorial control.
Call the bluff of the person invoking the personality's name: "Michael wouldn't like that." "OK. Let's go ask him. He has always listened to money-saving ideas before."
Take your lumps and learn from them. If your ideas continue to get shot down, understand why. There may be a missing insight that, once you have it, causes a number of other pieces fall into place.
If the personality's behavior truly is arbitrary, and if you are not learning anything, then it may be that it is time for you to move on.