Overview[ edit ] Definitions of complexity often depend on the concept of a confidential " system " — a set of parts or elements that have relationships among them differentiated from relationships with other elements outside the relational regime.
Notes Summary The intended purpose of this analysis, written by a former cult member, is to explain the nature of a cult, to warn others of the dangers of involvement with a cult group, and to support calls for society to be more proactive in protecting the rights of individuals targeted by cults.
Cults use so-called brainwashing or mind control techniques to indoctrinate their members. These are not magic techniques, they are ordinary techniques of marketing and persuasion, but applied more intensively within the peculiar context of a cult environment.
Essentially, a cult promotes its cultish belief system, and then believers control their own minds, as they attempt to train their minds and reform their personalities, in accordance with the tenets of their new belief system. Brainwashing or mind control does not directly overcome free will.
After brainwashing, free will itself remains intact, but its basis has changed. People make their choices and decisions, based on their beliefs, values, and attitudes. Effectively, a cult controls its followers indirectly, through the belief system which it promotes.
Cult belief systems differ from mainstream belief systems in a number of ways. This analysis tries to explain these differences, why they are significant, and to place them within a wider cultural and social context.
Brainwashing in this original sense involved physical coercion: This is not at all what happens in a cult. It is the belief system itself which is the catalyst in cult mind control.
The actual mind control is done by the person themselves, as they train and discipline their mind in accordance with the tenets of their new belief system. Cults actively promote and market their belief systems. Commercial companies use marketing and public relations techniques to promote an idealised image of their product or service to potential customers, and cults do much the same.
A belief system is an intangible thing, though it can be a powerful one. This intangibility means that cults are not subject to any kind of scientific appraisal, because the benefits or otherwise of involvement with a cult and its belief system are also intangible.
They are almost entirely a matter of personal opinion, and impossible to prove objectively. This also means that it is very difficult to define a cult satisfactorily, because any definition depends on personal opinion, rather than on objective criteria.
The best one can do is to describe a cult-type belief system, and look at some of the subjective processes which may be going on in the mind of a cult member.
Because of the intangible nature of what they promote, cults do not really operate in the public domain.
Personal free will is a cherished axiom of Western democracies, but free will itself is mysterious and hard to define. Indeed, some scientists and philosophers dispute whether free will as such really exists.
Everyone acts not only under external compulsion but also in accordance with inner necessity. Therefore, when first a man has an appetite or will to something, to which immediately before he had no appetite nor will; the cause of his will is not the will itself, but something else not in his own disposing.
So that, whereas it is out of controversy that, of voluntary actions the will is the necessary cause, and by this which is said, the will is also necessarily caused by other things, whereof it disposes not, it follows that voluntary actions have all of them necessary causes, and therefore are necessitated.
For the will, like all other things, needs a cause by which it may be determined to [existence and] action in a certain manner. It is possible to take the view that society at large embraces a variety of organisations and institutions which could be interpreted as being somewhat cult like in their nature.
It is often argued that there is a fine line between socialisation and indoctrination, or between persuasion and mind control. Nevertheless, society does attempt to make a distinction between acceptable and unacceptable behaviour:Best Practices of Private Sector Employers TABLE OF CONTENTS (Page numbers are retained for reference to the printed copy only) MEMBERS OF THE TASK FORCE 1.
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