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Every intense desire is perhaps a desire
to be different from what we are.
                  Eric Hoffer

Cults: Awareness vs. Paranoia

Let me start by saying that if you are obsessed with the idea of being attacked, involved in a fight, raped or are morbidly fascinated with violence, you have problems. These problems come in two basic flavors: real and imagined.

If you are in a situation where crime and violence are legitimate and daily threats (e.g., you live in or near a shithole area populated by dangerous people) you have a different set of problems than someone who is fixating on the idea of violence. In the former case, the problems are real, not imagined. There does exist a legitimate probability of attack. As such,  being concerned is just plain commonsense.

Unfortunately, no amount of training in a streetfighting system will ultimately save you. What looks like a logical strategy of learning how to win in such conflicts is a strategic error. One that will do nothing in the long term for reducing the danger. It will, in fact, increase it. The reason  is, despite focusing on "winning," you're still in the line of fire. Being in those situations puts you in a never ending river of violence and stupid behavior. For every bad guy you put down, there's another one coming up the ranks behind him.

While training might seem like a way to "win," there's a good chance of it actually increasing your danger!  Because training often results in you not getting out of the way when you should. Instead of beating feet, you attempt to stand and fight. This strategy proves itself to be flawed when you know this unalterable fact: Sooner or later, everyone goes down in the street, no matter how good you are. If it isn't the guy in front of you who takes you down, it's the guy sneaking up behind you. Winning against these overwhelming odds is like gambling in Vegas, eventually the odds catch up and the house wins. There are just too many criminals and violent people in those areas for you to always win. You have to be lucky or good every time; they only have to be lucky once. Sooner or later, everyone's luck runs out.

Fortunately, a more effective long term answer is simple: Move.

Get out and into a nicer neighborhood; a place where crime and violence are not the norm. Also change your lifestyle. Violence arises from violent people. Surround yourself with nonviolent people. Don't frequent places where violence is common. In short, don't just get out of the line of fire, get out of the shooting gallery! It's hard to get robbed, raped, shot, stabbed, assaulted or murdered if you aren't there!

Accomplishing this may not be that easy, but the answer itself is simple. How hard you work at accomplishing these goals really shows your priorities. Your foot is not nailed to the ground, nor is your condition fixed in concrete. You can change your circumstances. A determined mind will find a way to leave and ways to overcome the problems that arise from moving away from dangerous situations.

Whereas: Someone who has other priorities will always find excuses not to move or leave a dangerous situation. It's called the victim mindset. Not only is it a dangerous trap, but it is one of your own making.

Which brings us to the next point:  If you are not living or working in an area infested with gangs, drugs and nightly shootings and stabbings, then the fixation on violence is an imagined problem.

I don't care if you were beaten, raped or abused in the past -- if it isn't an immediate threat, then the danger is imagined. Your own head is doing it to you! You are not in physical danger nearly as much as you are in psychological peril. And that is not something that can be cured by learning the ultimate fighting style or becoming deeply involved in a franchised self-defense program that tells you what you want to hear! It requires professional psychological help and counseling -- not martial arts/self-defense training.

The same goes for building your self-esteem. Can learning a martial art system assist you to acquire life skills? Yes. In fact, many counselors recommend MA training for their patients to work in tandem with the counseling process. The key point here is that it is a dual process, therapy and a physical/spiritual discipline. Having said this: Just learning an aggressive fighting style or the ultimate martial art will only exacerbate your condition--NOT cure it.

The reason we say this is learning some kung-fu-killer-commando-street-fighting system feeds the paranoid illusion, it doesn't fix it!

Note: When we use the word paranoia, we are not using the definition that most people think it means. We instead us Dr. Albert Bernstein's explanation from  his book Emotional Vampires: To most people paranoid means delusions of persecution. The word really describes an exquisitely simple way of perceiving a complex world. Paranoids can't stand ambiguity. In their minds nothing is accidental or random; everything means something and everything is related to something else... Paranoid Personality Disorder.... Paranoia is easier to understand if you look at the patterns of thinking rather than the false beliefs themselves. Paranoids are blessed and cursed with the ability to perceive very tiny cues. Unlike Obsessive Compulsives, who become overwhelmed and confused by life's small details. Paranoids drive themselves crazy by trying to organize details into a coherent and unambiguous whole (pg 207/208).

Keep this definition in mind, because you will see the word paranoid used repeatedly in the external sources regarding both cult leaders and followers. The reason we use it here is because of the all-to-common belief that all one needs to combat one's fear and insecurity is to know the ultimate, street fighting, combative system and/or esoteric warrior tradition deadly martial art. That is entirely too simplistic. It is however a great way to fool yourself and avoid dealing with the real issues.

Such training, and the cultures surrounding it, reinforces both definitions of paranoia. They often encourage behaviors and beliefs that increase both your sense of danger. The farther you get into this stuff, the greater the hole inside you becomes and the more entrenched this fixation. It takes you further and further into the paranoid belief that IT is only about one thing. What's more is that often this kind of training creates an aggressive change in one's behavior. Talk about a self-reinforcing system! You fixate on danger while at the same time you find yourself in more conflicts because of your new behaviors. Getting deeply involved in MA/SD/RBSD/WSD cults to fix your fears and self-doubts is like trying to combat alcoholism by hanging out in a bar.

Well, guess what? Cults don't care about helping you overcome these problems. In fact, they encourage you to engage in this dysfunction. They encourage it is because they can get not only your money, but gain power over you--all the while claiming help you deal with "reality." Staying with the alcoholic in a bar analogy, these cults are like evil bartenders handing you a drink while saying, "Here, this will fix the problem."

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