When is a cult a cult?
Not that I want to join one or anything, just curious. Am I the only one that feels that the nonstop political epithets are just extreme in some instances? Leftist this, far right that, Marxist, fascist, antifa, militia, …cult?
Acting on this curiosity I found that the definition of a cult is surprisingly ambiguous and there are many types, religious and otherwise. Each being tied together with few similarities in definitions.
Merriam Webster offers several but this definition in particular caught my attention.
“Great devotion to a person, idea, object, movement.”
Using that definition as a backdrop, it would seem that I am surrounded by cults. The worship of all of these things is happening simultaneously. People, ideas, movements, and objects. I had to pause a moment to reflect on objects but yes, even objects; signs, garments, flags, etc.
These observations aren’t reserved for one party, or group, or person. It’s scary, but a lot of what is happening daily ticks several boxes on the cult characteristics checklist.
- Charismatic leader whom rules often doesn’t apply and displays narcissistic personality traits. Like disregarding the needs of others while having an excessive need for admiration.
- Polarized “us vs them” way of thinking.
- Isolation of and penalizing members whom think differently.
The list goes on, but one important similarity to consider is that historically cults have brought harm to themselves and others in the name of their beliefs. As a member of a larger body it becomes easier to behave in ways that aren’t typical to the individual. This is achieved by suppressing doubts and replacing them with replacement phrases to keep focus and control. You can probably think of several phrases that represent the chaos of 2020.
Since March we have seen many instances of weapon involved threats among many types of organized groups. Some old, some new. When sitting back and observing all parties involved it is not possible to say one is wholly right. Bias can make it difficult but in between two sides lies the truth.
People aren’t looking for the truth. People are looking to move the needle of their agenda and in their haste acting uncharacteristically. It’s important to pause and reconnect with personal values. What is important to you? Why? When did you create this value? Was it childhood indoctrination or a commitment that you grasped hold to in an emotionally charged moment? Are you comfortable where you were once had questions?
Right now is the time to question everything. To take the time to form your own opinion. To find space to share those ideas and make a positive impact on humanity. 2020 is already one for the history books, and in the words of Susan C. Young “You are the author of your own life story.” So make it a good one.
A native of Phoenix, Arizona Aundrea Sayrie is a firm believer in the power of words, faith and a strong spirit. Her greatest desire is to encourage those around her to discover and honor their truth, and to passionately live on purpose.
Any views or opinions expressed in “Living on Purpose” are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the views or opinions of the Watershed Voice staff or its board of directors.