I keep up on modern cults, conspiracies, and conspirituality. It’s fascinating to me, it’s a way to understand people, and it lets me know who would probably try to kill me and the people I know. It’s a depressing win-win.
Recently, following up on a specific modern cult (that I shall mention later) that had lost it’s leader, I was surprised to find it had two competing child leaders. I assumed that it was a case of people finding two manipulable figureheads to let them seize control of the cult. As I listened to the analysis, I found I was wrong or mostly wrong.
The cult members weree thrilled to have these young people spewing their doctrine back at them. They encouraged them, gave them nicknames, hung on their every word. They were elevating two poor kids that had walked into this mess into leaders, and the open desire of the cultists was painfully obvious. Whoever might be behind the scenes, the cultists were becoming sycophants pretty damn well on their own.
That’s when I realized these people were no different than the various sycophants, we see around techbros, hack authors, politicians, and “mainstream” “religious” leaders.
Some people want a leader so intensely they’ll construct one out of whatever and whoever happens to be around. Someone says what they want to hear, suddenly they’re all ears, boosting their new savior, and donating online. Throw in the social experience of believing with all the other needy people and you have a powerful trap of peer pressure and sunk cost.
Of course the would-be leaders usually play into this – mostly out of greed and delusion I’m sure, but probably too many out of sheer ignorance. A few posts and videos in the right spot and suddenly you’re a Thought Leader, a Spiritual Master, or Leader of a New Revolution. It has to be tempting even for decent people.
As for non-decent people, it has to be not only tempting but easy as hell. Say a few things and people will attribute near (or actual) godhood too you. Get some financial backing from rich lobbyists or delusional wealthy folks, and you can amplify your message more. Once the belief machine gets going, you just have to keep churning out platitudes – and of course directing people at new enemies.
Any child, literally or emotionally, could do it and judging by the state of the world many have.
So now third-generation billionaires with no idea how people’s lives work, drugged out techbros, and internet influencers with no other skills but video editing become leaders of thousands and millions. Sure they may have help, but plenty of people will help them become cult leaders because they want it so bad.
Child or manchild, there’s not much difference when people want to surrender to a leader so bad. It also helps us ask when we might surrender our free will easier than we’d think.
I avoided mentioning the podcast, but it was a look at a gematria cult done by the lead podcaster of PokerPolitics/Adventures in HellWqrld. https://www.patreon.com/posts/hellwqrld-48-88061916