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Far more crucial than what we know
or do not know is what we
do not want to know
Cult: Groundwork Thinking
Cults thrive by giving you what you want. But, like a kid who would eat nothing but candy and cake, a constant diet of only what-you-want isn't real healthy for you. Their specialty, however, is to hook you through aspects of yourself that you don't know are vulnerable. As human beings we all have our weaknesses. In many ways these organizations operate by exploiting these weaknesses while offering to cure something else. You may think you are there for one thing, but they'll get you addicted by giving you the medicine you want, but laced with something else. Your addiction will grow and you will return more and more to these dealers. And just like drug dealers their control over your life and money will become greater.
Involvement in a cult is usually voluntary. While there are some people who dive right into the power trips, fanaticism and money grubbing, with most people it's like slowly boiling a frog (The myth is if you drop a frog in hot water it will immediately jump out. But, if you ever-so-slowly increase the heat, the frog won't know to escape and will eventually die. Although physically unlikely, the "frog in boiling water" analogy is commonly used to explain the indoctrination/brainwashing process). The further someone gets into the organization and its agenda, the more bizarre behavior they accept as "normal." Through a long and constant barrage of little "lies" over time the person is prepared to accept bigger and more outrageous ones. It is not until you look at this behavior from an outside perspective that the alarm bells go off
The main reason I refuse to teach people those violent and dysfunctional ideas I mentioned at the beginning of this page is that I am interested in teaching the many requirements of self-defense. Those are not a sexy as the dreams of becoming warriors, bad-asses, masters of some deadly fighting style or the revenge the "Never Again" crowd wants. Unfortunately, a large market has cropped up to serve these kinds of people's desires. And each and every one of them claims that they will provide you with what you need to defend yourself. The bottom line is: When it comes to self-defense, what a lot of people think is "real" is in fact, fantasy. A fantasy that lends itself into being sucked into a cult.
There is a big difference between reality and fantasy. In case you hadn't noticed, reality tends to be complicated. The reason that it is complicated is that there are all kinds of factors that are involved. These extra factors are very much external and independent from one another. Even though they are independent from the subject, they strongly influence it. These factors exist all by themselves and outside the purview of your training. That is to say, they are fields of study/application unto themselves. You DON'T know them just because you study some fighting system. Believing that you do is an example of the simplistic, yet all-encompassing nature of paranoid thinking.
For example: Self-defense is a legally defined term. So is assault, malicious wounding, attempted murder, manslaughter and fighting. While the term self-defense is commonly bantered around in many MA/SD/RBSD/WSD schools the techniques that are being are not self-defense in nature. They are in fact, outright assaultive in nature. The more murderous techniques are often justified as being "combat" moves. Realistically how likely are you to find yourself in a war zone where you can kill without legal repercussions? (And even in war there are rules of engagement). That's combat. As such telling yourself that you are learning "combat" moves for "self-defense" is both paranoid AND delusional. The MA definition ignores the definition self-defense established, accepted and used by the community, police and the legal system. Such moves are simply too aggressive to stay within the legal parameters of self-defense. As such, you will be arrested and jailed if you ever use them on someone. And yet, these undeniable factors are routinely 1) outright ignored (i.e. pretending they do not exist), 2) dismissed (e.g. "I'd rather be judged by 12 than carried by six") or 3) deliberately twisted (i.e. "This *SNAP CRACKLE POP!* is self-defense") while claiming to teach/know the subject. All three are examples of minimizing significant factors about the use of force in order to maintain paranoid self-delusion.
These factors are complications you ignore at your own peril, because they are very much what make violence such a complex and dangerous issue. And if your goal is really self-defense, you have to not only take these factors into consideration, but plan your strategies around them. That's "reality."
Fantasy, however, tends to focus on removing these nasty little complications. Fantasy is about trying to make reality only about one thing. One thing that you can control. (Remember the other definition of paranoia?). When that happens you fixate only on one thing. Now this is not to say that fantasy cannot be complex. In fact, the best fantasies are sophisticated and involved. Where fantasy becomes a problem is when you get so focused on the details and the depths of your fixation, that you don't even realize that you are missing the bigger picture.
Both the paranoid and other kinds of mindset want reality to only be about one thing. One thing that they can master and control. That is when fixation crosses the line into obsession. Which brings us to the idea of cults. (And unfortunately, much of the behavior on internet forums). A cult offers someone the chance to not only believe, but to act out on the idea that reality is only about one thing. This obsession allows them them to organize all of their thoughts and behaviors on this goal, and by doing so exclude all those nasty complications of reality. All other considerations become secondary to their primary quest -- regardless how important those other considerations really are.
For example, in a cult based on so-called "ultimate fighting system," it is all about the system and how ferociously you apply it in what they call a "real fight." (Both a fantasy and misconception right there). Training for this mythical real fight allows them to focus on a very narrow set of parameters and issues. For example, how -- if they master this ultimate fighting system -- they will be able to "defeat any man." It's not only a paranoid fantasy, but reaching this goal can become almost a religious jihad. In seeking this unrealistic and juvenile goal, psychological/emotional dysfunctions are reinforced and the person's inability to function socially increases. Face it, most people outgrow the idea of fighting as a solution to social problems and the need to be a tough guy" in junior high school. Therefore, being constantly ready, willing and able to fight some imagined bad guy is NOT going to help you succeed in life, relationships or your career. In fact, as these fail from neglect, it is going to increase your angst and unease! But this obsessive emphasis on fighting is not only encouraged by their training program, but in time, they come to believe that their system is all they need to "win" in a real fight At the same time this obsessions allows them to ignore, dismiss and often degrade other issues. Issues that just so happen to make reality so complicated. This ignoring of complicating factors goes from little to big. Smaller picture issues like that fighting is illegal or that criminals use weapons and cunning tactics to ensure their success (tactics that have a proven and effective track record, unlike this ultimate fighting system). In a bigger picture however, it allows them to ignore that life is not just about training to fight the boogeyman of their imagination.
Cults operate along incredibly complex social/psychological dynamics. A very good analogy would be an iceberg. What is on the surface (i.e. their teachings/avowed intention/goals etc) is not they are actually about. Or how they operate. What is really fascinating is the apparent contradiction between this idea of complexity of a cult and the involvement of those who want it to only be about one thing.
This Catch-22 seems to be irreconcilable until you realize that the cult takes care of the "true believer. " It allows him to function within his limited view of reality, by controlling all these other issues of the true believer's life. The cult gives the true believer a framework to operate within, while the true believers make up the framework of the cult. The cult may be the building, but the members are the bricks. In short, the cult and the cult member have a symbiotic relationship in defining their exclusive reality.
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