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There is apparently some connection between
dissatisfaction with oneself and proneness to credulity.
The urge to escape our real self is also an urge to escape
the rational and the obvious. The refusal to see ourselves
as we are develops a distaste for facts and cold logic.
There is no hope for the frustrated in the actual and
the possible. Salvation can come to them only from
the miraculous, which seeps through a crack in the iron
wall of inexorable reality. They asked to be deceived.
Cults: True Believer Mindset
In the early 1950s -- when the scars of fanaticism of the Nazis and Communists were still brutally fresh in Western memory -- a man named Eric Hoffer wrote a small, simple book called The True Believer: Thoughts on the nature of mass movement. Unfortunately for them, Mr. Hoffer, in describing the nature of fanaticism of the Nazi and Communist movement, described many attributes of people who are seeking the Holy Grail of the Ultimate Fighting system.
Many of Hoffer's insights revealed the underlying emptiness and character flaws of the kind of people who join mass movements or become fanatics. Many of his comments seem to be directly aimed at some of the behaviors that one sees among the internet warriors and martial art cults, whose behaviors are so unsettling to people who stumble into their limited realm of influence. Read the following quotes and ask yourself how they might apply to someone who is seeking to cover a fear within themselves by desperately trying to become some kind of bona-fide bad assed kung fu killer.
When we believe ourselves in possession of the only truth, we are likely to be indifferent to common everyday truths. Eric Hoffer
A doctrine insulates the devout not only against the realities around them but also against their own selves. The fanatical believer is not conscious of his envy, malice, pettiness and dishonesty. There is a wall of words between his consciousness and his real self. Eric Hoffer
The frustrated follow a leader less because of their faith that he is leading them to a promised land than because of their immediate feeling that he is leading them away from their unwanted selves. Surrender to a leader is not a means to an end but a fulfillment. Whither they are led is of secondary importance. Eric Hoffer
When the weak want to give an impression of strength they hint menacingly at their capacity for evil. It is by its promise of a sense of power that evil often attracts the weak. Eric Hoffer
The truth seems to be that propaganda on its own cannot force its way into unwilling minds; neither can it inculcate something wholly new; nor can it keep people persuaded once they have ceased to believe. It penetrates into minds already open, and rather than instill opinion it articulates and justifies opinions already present in the minds of its recipients. Eric Hoffer
The untalented are more at ease in a society that gives them valid alibis for not achieving than in one where opportunities are abundant. In an affluent society, the alienated who clamor for power are largely untalented people who cannot make use of the unprecedented opportunities for self-realization, and cannot escape the confrontation with an ineffectual self. Eric Hoffer
Our greatest pretenses are built up not to hide the evil and the ugly in us, but our emptiness. The hardest thing to hide is something that is not there. Eric Hoffer
Rudeness is the weak man's imitation of strength. --Eric Hoffer
The uncompromising attitude is more indicative of an inner uncertainty than a deep conviction. The implacable stand is directed more against the doubt within than the assailant without. Eric Hoffer
What I want to point out with the quotes is that while it is possible to get sucked into a cult, such a person will never be more than fodder for the cult's coffers. Maybe such a person can work his or her way up to the exalted position of Scottish Knight. To truly get into a position of authority in the cult, a person has to actively work at it. Cults are a contact sport. People who have risen in them have gotten in and played hard at the poltics, backstabbing and scrambling to be next to the master. The reason I gave the above quotes is to show you that such people were not "sucked" into the cult they dove in. They weren't duped, they worked at getting in that deep-- and their behavior in that cult reflects this.
With this in mind, I would like to remind you of video tape of the meeting between Osama Bin Laden and the radical cleric discussing the 9/11 attack on the World Trade Center. It was extensively broadcast on CNN and other news stations. Not only was their conversation a discussion between two fanatical nutcases, but it was very much a case of two true believers trying to out do each other as to their piety. Their entire conversation revolved around them reinforcing their beliefs with praises and devotions to God to show their piety -- to each other (that's where the one upsmanship came in, because, although praising god is indeed a part of Islam, the Muslims that I spoke with admitted the two of them were laying it on rather thick). It was a of conversation between fanatics who were lost in their own separate and isolated reality. They were honestly convinced that America would fall to its knees in fear and collapse. They had no idea what terrible repercussions the World Trade Center attacks would bring down and instead sat there and chortled over how successful what they were doing would be. I would like to use this type of conversation to get a point across.
Before I begin let me state, I have far too much respect for
Islam to mock it. So instead of profaning the Muslim faith I will replace
it with Jabba (as in Jabba the Hut). You, however, can use the deity of choice
of the last religious nutcase you came across and still get the same result. In
fact, it works just as well with the catch phrases of Christian fanatics. With
that in mind, try the following experiment.
Not only for giggles, but to see the kind of fanaticism and fantasy I am talking about, try going to the forum of a group that you suspect might be leaning towards cult-status. Read the posts. As you do try saying "Praise be to Jabba" after every time someone uses the system's name. Whenever someone mentions a title/rank as though it were a part of a persons name (i.e. Master Who Flung Poo) or speaks in reverence of someone, add in "May Jabba favor him." And every time someone says how the grand, glorious and deadly a fighting system it is (or how undefeatable a move from it is) add "The infidels will tremble in fear" Count how many times that happens on a particular thread.
It's appalling how fast these forums begin to sound like the conversation between Bin Lauden and the terrorist encouraging cleric. And exactly how out of touch with the realities of violence these true beleivers are, especially with things like PTSD. Incidentally, feel free to do the same thing with my Web pages, then you tell me who sounds like Al-Qaeda fanatics.
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Turning Fear Into Power
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Warriors: On Living with Courage, Discipline and Honor
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Exploits of a MA Cult
Defeating the Victim's Consciousness
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