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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

Cult: Scottish Knights

Alister "The Beast" Crowley is quite possibly one of the slimiest human beings in history. He was very big among the metaphysical crowd in the early 20th century. His heroin addiction and sexual perversions, aside, another of his more charming traits was his tendency to swindle people through his cult. He created an organization for teaching metaphysics; a subject that relies on faith, not provability. He had his true believers within that organization, and they made up his inner circle. A very exclusive and elite inner circle who believed they were receiving the so-called true teachings.

 What he also had was a group he dubbed "Scottish Knights." These were usually rich people, who were taught what the inner circle considered to be garbage information and lies for a great deal of money. It was, in fact, considered joke among the inner circle to teach  false knowledge to these Scottish Knights. These people were basically looked upon as cash cows and were given the title of Scottish Knight as a way to flatter their egos and to continue milking them. Very impressed with their importance and involvement with The Order such people could be relied on as a financial wellspring for years. However, both inner circle members and Scottish Knights each were impressed how superior they were because THEY knew secret and special information. Information that's veracity was totally un-provable and yet still served as revenue generators.

Martial arts cults often operate in the same way, with Closed Door teachings, High belt" teachings and Bunkai (secret fighting moves hidden within the kata) are common tricks. What is interesting to observe in the most extremely developed cults is how the Open Door teaching (training available to the general public) is later dismissed as a false information!  It was a lie. An ineffective system that is to be dismissed. It's only purpose was to test the candidate to see if he was worthy of receiving the true teachings of the art! Having proven themselves worthy to receive the real art, they can disregard the lies they were taught before.  

While normal people would lose faith in this "Which lie is true?" paradox, instead of being outraged over being lied to, the true believer buys into this line! Because now, with this special offer he has a chance to become a member of the elite. He has passed the test and now will receive the really, really true information. This is literally the induction into the cult. What the inductee fails to notice is that after paying for five years of instruction, he's now just signed on for paying for five more years. His avarice over being someone special has lead him into a financial trap. A trap that will keep him in the subservient position of a acolyte for many more years.

However, modern martial arts cults have come up with a unique way to milk Scottish Knights. That is through franchises and endowing a title as representative of the organization. It doesn't matter how backwater a place is, it's someone's territory.

 I cannot tell you how many representatives of martial arts cults I have met in my travels. Yep, they were the official representative/franchise holder/liaison  for that system in Podunk, Iowa. Not all of Podunk mind you, just the Northeastern section. Some other fellas are doing those other areas of town. I'm sure there is even someone who claims to be the Antarctic representative of one of these groups. When asked about this exalted position they hold in the organization and what it takes to get there, after a few seconds you'll start thinking to yourself "Scottish Knight." 

Ask these guys to tell you  not only what is involved in this, but exactly how much they are paying for their own training -- their continuously ongoing training at that. This training does not come cheap and often requires the person to travel to the instructor's home school for this mandatory instruction. Quit often, these guys not only get soaked training in a program that never ends (as it is constantly being updated and new refinements added), but as an organization representative, they have to pay for teacher certification as well. That if there isn't specialized teacher training, over and above being ranked in the system. In business, if you were to tell a salesman that he had to pay for his own travel, training and certification, all so he could make you money while representing him -- you'd be laughed at.

 But not here, here it is an honor to be an organization's local representative.   That franchise holder will be constantly soaked for new videos, training in the depths of a system,  teaching procedures and re-certification. He's getting it from all sides. The stream of information he must buy to both 'advance' and stay instructor certified never ends. And all this so they can impress you with their connection to the grandmaster and his organization.

These people are also responsible (as the Master's representative in Podunk) to organize and sponsor workshops for the head guru to come to town. That means they work their tail off to put together and advertise workshops so the grand-poo-bah can blow into town, teach and then leave a pretty hefty fee and all expenses paid. It depends on the organization as to how much the Scottish Knight gets to pocket for sponsoring this workshop, but you can bet it is going to be considerably less than the cult leader.

In exchange though, the representative gets to put the Master's name on his window (if the representative even has a school) and teach the Master's system. The Master has promised to bestow his gift onto the representative and the representative goes forth and prepares the way for the Master's coming. Did I say Scottish Knight? Maybe I should have said "Renfield."

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