From cultic behaviors, to conspiracy theories, along with corporate and government intrigue, the world of human beings remains both fascinating and dangerous. While one person’s murderous terrorist is another person’s spiritual advisor, the depths of human depravity has few limitations. Of interest to this point is the number of professing “believers” in a particular religious belief system. Worldwide, one research foundation known for many studies across the human landscape, says more than 80% of the world’s population believes or affiliates with a particular form of religion.
From the investigative efforts of this analysis, the study involved more than 200 hundred countries around the globe in an extensive demographic study. If the data is close to somewhat accurate, about 84% believe in some form of supernatural ideology. At least 90% say they adhere to some form of religious experience, while roughly 6% ascribe to some aspect of non-traditional folk belief. As regards a system of “deity or spiritual” thinking process, a very small group, between 3-9%, depending on interpretation of the data, professes no “religious” inclination.
As such, it might be construed that if the majority adheres to thinking processes influenced by diverse faith in supernatural dogma, there will always be a high probability for some form of interpersonal conflict, disagreement, etc. Additionally, social clashes devolve to dangerous repercussions as to which group is right, as to whose god or goddesses is supreme. In furtherance of intellectual regression, and devaluation of scientific validation, mystical or magical perceptions bias investigative objectivity. Subsequently, evidentiary validity is adversely affected. \
In post-modern perspectives, much social discourse devolves to the babble of inconsistent perversities of strained fallacies of inference. Cultic inclinations favor the herded fearfulness of dysfunctional collusions. To carry out well-differentiated rational behavior requires extraordinary effort across the broad spectrum of thinking. To perpetuate the arrogance of ignorance is less demanding. Infantile worship of simplistic deification for mythic illusions, as in religious degradations, ensures the safe comfort of unevolving ideations. If a majority of the populace flirts with cult-like inclinations, in the magical realms of the occult, little species advancement can be made.
Yet, the arrogance of pseudoscience, from the myth, magic and mayhem of speculative self-interests, disseminates the nebulous notions of fictions over facts. While philosophy has great potency to promote reason and analysis, and build upon thinking skills, making such manifestations the “science of human behavior” defaults to more regressive tendencies of maladaptation. From boardroom to cloakroom, the challenge of substantial evidentiary artifacts remains elusive in the spheres of human intentions. Clever but deceptive metaphors masquerade as conclusions. Today, a murderer with a cultic inclination toward religion is said to have become “radicalized”. Give the pundits in the realms of superficial “infotainment” a few days, and “radicalization” becomes the mantra of snobbish “expertise” by those who relish the attention.
Into the modern context, the provocations of criminology, psychology, psychiatry as medicine seeks to make “psychology” scientific, along with sociology, have done little to advance the human species to more evolved states of enlightenment. Mythology of belief still influences the philosophical endeavors of most adherents to particular schools of thought. Ghosts, goblins and gremlins still haunt the primal nexus at the core of human motivations, purposes and intentions. Not much has changed since the advent of philosophical enterprise that transitioned from intellectual inquiry to “scientific validation”. No one knows precisely why a specific murder bomber kills a large number of people at a shopping mall. Except from abject selfishness, who knows?
With the preoccupation of people for invisible forces lurking in the shadows, UFO invasions, and “demonic possession”, any attempts at open mindedness, or evolving spheres of enlightenment become daunting and disappointing. As this might be called a form of “anti-thinking”, by which generally speaking, there is an avoidance of rational evidentiary scientific validation. Instead, more predilection is directed toward emotional reactivity, absent significant depth of reasoned analysis based on facts.
Devolving consequences adversely affect serious social issues, which become stifled by dysfunctional and regressive thinking process. In other words, stupidity plays a big role in the movement toward extinction of the species. Most likely, little meaningful dialogue can be achieved that is not tainted by emotion-laden appeals to mythology. For those inclined to pitiful self-promotion, needy validation and immediate gratification, mature transformation is a long and difficult process that may never occur.
Where 80% of the earth’s population accepts a “faithful” acquiescence to “mystical perceptions”, mythic illusions, and supernatural dogmatism, the fantasy “world” becomes all too influential over the real world. Reality suffers the onslaught of a sharp divide between fact and fiction. That ought to suggest that it should not come as a surprise that stupid, silly, foolish juvenile behaviors among adults occur daily. Horrendous fallacies of nebulous conjecture are repugnant to strenuous efforts to ensure evidentiary validation, as well as the application of scientific validation. Yet it happens often.
In this regard, as applied herein, “cult”, “cultic”, “cults” and so forth, are used in the broadest scheme of reference. Rather than a narrow purely academic word, or an exercise in political correctness, the term regards a spectrum of human behaviors. Where certain U.S. government agencies may simply define a “cult” as a movement that is outside mainstream culture, a likely normative deviation, the implication presently is taken to mean something in a broader sense of usage across an entire population. Additionally, the implication is expanded in a post-modern pre-dystopic context.
A broader scheme of application should be widely applied. Human devolution and eventual extinction should be anticipated. As contemporary society devolves, in which socio-economic and educational practices regress, deterioration of the communal structures will be expected to collapse. Conformist behaviors, whereby individual freedom and liberty are threatened, openly candid and honest discussions are discouraged, ought to be expected. Added to that, consider the adoration, worship or veneration of “false prophets”, like politicians, billionaires, movie stars, and professional athletes, signify cultic behaviors counterproductive to enlightened thinking.
The wealthy elite, a special club where rules are flexible and laws intentional vague, want the attention to impress others by their power, control and domination. Again, unquestioned loyalty to the rich, the famous, the political party, or the candidate of the party, is a type of “cultic” exclusiveness. By ignoring illicit, unlawful and dishonest behaviors of, willful devotees foster that which devolves to varied forms of cult-like expressiveness. Not to forget of course, the self-centered unethical and immoral neediness of the adherent perpetrates an intentional symbiotic relationship. Manifestations can be found in public and private sectors.
In one national publication for instance, a constellation of aspects was described as factors relative to cultic activity. One factor might be the emotional reactivity of oppositional thinking that takes up a defensive posture in opposition to critical analysis. For instance, one person might really be convinced that aliens are among us. Another might counter that the reality shows no real or actual evidence. Overall, so what? At the end of the workday, who cares? In an open society, with some appearance of free speech, everyone gets a chance to believe anything. Likewise, those of a contrary perspective have an opportunity to challenge opposing claims. But wait, not so fast.
For the age of political correctness, the entire herd is supposed to believe the same thing no matter what the evidence says. Stupidity of fallacies of inference intentional fuel the maladaptive trajectory of ignorance laden analogies. The idiocy of foolish conjecture is allowed to masquerade as knowledge. Magical thinking, that is, the metaphysical subservience to myth, magic and poorly contrived metaphor, gets to guess and pretend a lack of facts makes it right. Fantasy foments the misinterpretation of realty where emotions and feel good notions override the necessity of proof.
In one learned perspective on cultic behavior, a researcher points out the continual persistence to enforce or otherwise control human actions remains central to ensuring conformity. By clever efforts of manipulation, as in television and internet interactions, groups, programs and associations encouraged to obey to “mainstream” or “status quo” continuity. From kindergarten to college, “politically correct” behaviors in speech, dress and mannerisms are monitored to “safeguard” the feel good status of everyone. Anyone who disagrees or argues a counter perspective is quickly challenged.
By contrast, in certain sectors of the criminal justice field, some suggest cautionary notations regarding the “herd” mentality. Not unlike the “cultic” inclination, the “herded” proclivity includes a range of actions that do not require in-depth thought processes. From advertising and academia, to the boardroom and congressional “cloakrooms”, efforts are contrived to “manufacture consent”, and thereby encourage conformity. In a sense, much of society is expected by influential institutions to ensure, in some cases enforce, beliefs and behaviors that constrain to selected “norms”. Deviations are seen as detrimental to the “status quo”. Being different is not constructively and consistently advocated across a broad spectrum of society. Most people readily conform.
It is the exceptional individual, the accused rebel, the intellectual truth seeker, who battles the pressures of adherence to the modern day mantra of ensuring emotional safety. In short, it is the well-differentiated non-anxious personality that risks the rationality of evidentiary authenticity. Emotional reactivity, rather than rational evidence based interactivity, by which emotion is more important than facts, is part of contemporary social “cultism”. So called “political correctness” is part of that “mindset”. Anti-thinking, ignorance and alternative opinion animosity, works to resist individual achievement, imaginative creativity and efforts toward wiser ascendency.
Opinion, not reflective of bona fide evidence, confirmed through scientific rigors, is simply someone’s viewpoint. Mere opinion is arguable, driven by bias, observational prejudice, and rife with “psychological design” flaws. The measure of viability ought to be the variety of which is required in a court of law to prove an issue beyond a reasonable doubt where there is doubt, then anything is a probability and does not give rise to a credible certainty. Non-practitioners, those insulated from the real world, typically commit grievous in the specious rhetoric of simplistic speculation.
Maturity to higher levels of enlightenment is stifled by regressive entrenchment to primal modes of devolving behavior. It might be argued that a majority of society wants one simple easy to understand answer for everything. And, most people desire the results of any interaction to endorse their outlook or perspective. In the process, “hope springs eternal in the cognitive bias or prejudice that one “savior”, the all-knowing guru, will make them feel safe by being their “parent”. In a celebrity worship culture, as in the U.S., there is danger in accepting the effort freethinking of “famous” people.
Such illogical appeals to pretentious “authority” provokes a “fact free” environment stimulated by feelings instead of factual substantiation. Thus, with the slow regressive devolution of the human species, stumbling into extinction, an expanded conception of cultic behavior ought to encompass a broader spectrum. Many examples run throughout society. Into this caldron of emotional turmoil, whining, sniveling and entitled malcontented babbling, the criteria should address this primal yearning for safe tribal collective satiation. Herded mentality that regresses to less than profound evidence based critical analysis, devolves to malevolent realms of behavior. As hope springs eternal in myriad illusions, myth, and magical thinking, conspiracy theories abound.
According to some investigators, cultic, cults, cult-like behaviors are willful and intentional instigation to claim power, control, conformity and manipulation of others. Whether follower or tyrannical group leader, the collusion is mutual and satiates the primal urges in the psychodynamic assurances of self-gratification. Interactions can be observed in diverse arenas of economic, political and social interactivity. In academia for instance, with administrators, faculty and students, various groupings exhibit mutually symbiotic collectivity. Each reinforcing selfish needs in divergent spectrums.
Additionally, a brief survey of college textbooks, particularly in the areas of criminology, criminal justice and related allied fields, shows very little is mentioned about “cultic behaviors”. In terrorism courses, for instance, nothing is mentioned in one textbook about the nature and existence of “cult-like” activities. In spite of the face that a few cults, some with extreme religious ideologies, have been involved in heinous criminal activities. Not many courses in the academic arena address critical social issues related to cults, conspiracies or corporate-government collusions.
In the 21st century, the traditional “guru self-exiled commune” conception of cults should be radically altered to include a broad-spectrum group oriented extremist ideologies. These zombie-like groupings are found in academia, the corporate ladder, the halls of legislative bodies, and the status quo of Main Street. Whether by “band or tribe”, corporate or political affiliation, collective belief systems can be beneficial or dangerously disruptive to the social mainstream. Group cohesion in several instances today have demonstrated the use of violent means to promote an agenda.
As such, when identification with, or membership in, becomes the intentional exploitation of others, serious problem solving devolves. From a selfish orientation to advocate death and destruction over the interests of others, or otherwise attack or disrupt the duly constituted societal order, then an aspect of cultism is evident. It is such in today’s world that a wider conception is necessary. For some, the bare definitive expression in the term “cultism” suggests “religion” as its very basic descriptor. A “religious” ideology in turn connotes a belief in the supernatural, or that which is beyond the provability of science and evidentiary sufficiency. But, when that is associated with an appeal to pretentious authority, celebrity status, political “aristocracy”, or wealth driven oligarchy, a non-sectarian configuration unfolds in negative ways.
From academia, through an array of entertainment genre, to religious affiliations, politics and pundits of the news media, modern day collective interactivity coalesces around a variety of cultic orientations. By inclusion, sometimes it is heard that the worship of a particular person is referred to as the “cult of personality”. Historically, that reference suggests the “deification” of a head to state, particularly within a totalitarian regime. Certain alleged leaders are characterized by their pretentious charisma, supposed wisdom and political savvy. Flattery, praise and “guru” reverence surround them.
Yet, in post-modern times, there is a similarity by which groups and segments of society idealize certain politicians, moviemakers, celebrities and sports personalities. At any given moment, these “revered sages” can pontificate some bombastic nonsense with no basis in fact or proof and they will be believed. But, because they are so popular in some arena of entertainment, they are appealed to as “authority”. Take Hollywood actors for instance. Many in the fleeting rage of popularity, wealthy and well established in the make-believe of movies, offer titillating satiation in their shallow conjectures.
Adoration in celebrity worship and “cult personality” suggest a regression to the more divisive atmosphere of modern culture. The more people try to be different and on the fringe as if self-righteously rebellious, the more they sound and look the same. At the same time, their collusions hasten the eventual demise of the human species. As each generation loses the ability to reason on higher planes of differentiation, the greater the degradation of human society. Stupidity becomes commonplace and destructive.
Under the “Gonzo Theory”, stupidity is a reference to the acronym, S.T.U.P.I.D., or Selfish, temperamental, unevolving, pitiful, ignorant and deceptive. Of selfishness, self-centered or arrogantly egocentric come to mind. It relates to a spoiled sense of entitlement, whereby a person, with little or no serious conception of the real world, absent common sense application in view of the facts, expresses the neediness of self-validation. Such infantile narcissism embraces the juvenile delinquency of silly, foolish and unproductive behaviors disguised in a deceptive aura of social activism.
From the standpoint of stupidity, sputters the ill-advised utterances of lazy thinking, or as some would characterize, “magical thinking”. In so doing, whereas fantasy translates imagined fiction into factuality, temperamental inclinations invite immature sensitivity by way of “self-victimization”. An unevolving person does very little to change.
Similarly, a person finds affinity with those who “feel” and “think” along simplistic lines of superficiality. Likewise, commonality is found in shared fears of differences, inability to tolerate uniqueness and an incessant symbiosis for sameness. Regardless of the cover story, any efforts to transform is met with negativity and opposition. Not much changes, in fact, it gets worse. A current stream of social foment fuels 24/7 multimedia seduction to opinionated self-righteous claims of tolerance for some and not for others. As society regresses, fragmentation becomes “cultic” collusions.
In the post-modern and pop culture social context, a broader scope of “cultism”, as well as “cultic thinking”, ought to be applied. Whereas, previously an extreme religious sect might be considered a cult, with extremism mounting as to whose “life matters”, or which “jihad” someone is following, cultic criteria includes wider diversification. Following the guidance of a “charismatic leader”, whether living in a communal exclusivity, high rent “gated fortifications”, or social media instant messaging, a sense of solidarity in the age of high tech suggests an expanded view of cultism.
Cult-think is herd thinking, which can be referred to as magical thinking. It is the result of fallacies of inference that default to erroneous generalizations. Primarily, the basis for such potentially dangerous assumptions are mythical beliefs systems. Of such things, absent scientific proof in the sufficiency of credible evidence, fiction becomes more believable that facts. As a result, people act irresponsibly.
By the immaturity of personal bias, over three quarters of the population on the planet believes in some of mythic notion that replaces reality. Such mob mentality capitalizes on the inauthenticity by way of emotional reactivity. Subjective validation expresses a range of anti-social counterproductive behaviors. Where persuasive illusion of one or more in presumed authority gather an assembly of such “faithful adherents”, cultism follows in the path of crowded misunderstandings in religious, social and political ways.
As species extinction encroaches with alarming closeness, individuality of a creative and dynamic transformation diminishes. For some, the condescending admonition ascribes the regressive tendencies to that of a “sissy culture”. Such weak and herded thinking seems to clamor for the unity of unimaginative submissiveness. In primordial subservience, the many crave more gluttonous satiation in the safety of pitiful self-imposed victimization. A dying society relishes in its delusions.
Whereas once “cult” suggested the unconventional nature of a “religious” group, the narrow distinction changes in the post-modern era. With the devolution of the human species heading toward the certainty of extinction, primordial satiation plummets to a lesser ability to ensure wiser realms of intellectual ideation. Previously, earlier delineations suggested the ideological extremism of dissident groups. With broader applications, the fit of such is more reasonable with contemporary connections to excessive emotional reactivity. For pampered, fragile and “self-victimized” subsequent generations, with notable exceptions noted, a “cultic mentality” is easily associated.
Whether boardroom, classroom or political cloakroom, an illicit affinity for protective superficiality in “group think” looms broader. The scale of inclination ranges across a diverse spectrum of collusive interactivity, from large to small, depending on the context and affiliation. Emotional revisionist reactivity schemes a plethora of disingenuous fallacies of inference leading to erroneous generalities that provoke maladaptive exclusivity. A general example includes the recent national electoral processes.
In which unhappy “activists” could not celebrate the workings of a political system that functioned without widespread violence, or inhuman depravations. No, instead, many took to the streets, the news shows, social media, and other venues to unite the fakery of “their lives matter”. The vehemence displayed by intolerance and disguised as demands for tolerance, has defamed and degraded any semblance of liberation for transformative individuality. To create their own maladaptive antisocial behaviors, dysfunctional conformity ensures the devolving nature of the human species.
Previously, the idea of a cult suggested an unconventional religious configuration of some sort, outside the mainstream of conventional status quo conformity. Or, the usage may have alluded to a non-religious configuration which shared “religious cult” similarities. Today instead, the reference could drop the “religious” notion altogether, and apply the “cultic” inclinations to extremist ideologies involving a variety of individuals and groupings. Modern thinking errors reflected in the rhetoric, as well as subsequent disruptive actions, that demonstrate specious conjecture would be a good indicator. Included with that, are fallacies of inference in poorly constructed attempts at logical analysis, absent facts in evidence, which fabricate foolish and simplistic generalizations. With emotional reactivity, the efficacy of authenticity is seriously deficient.
In the broad spectrum of social engagement, interactivity is often characterized as emotion-laden conjecture, where faulty theoretical constructs are easily accepted as fact. Exaggerations of personal opinion perspective occurs regularly in the news media, in which political motivation is more obvious than valid scientific research. One extensive study by a federal law enforcement agency, assessing a particular “religious organization”, pointed out the counterproductive nature of ideological extremism in stifling rational inquiry and logical analysis based on evidentiary criteria.
Cultic inclinations can be observed in many societal, political and economic associations whereby thinking and behavioral expression encourages an “us versus them” believability. Additionally, with that comes the ideation that involves an element of narcissistic arrogance. It might stem from an academic orientation, or a political affinity for self-promotion of a particular ideological strain. A key fact is the refusal to accept or otherwise acknowledge competing or alternative philosophical variations. Such premeditation in malice-aforethought is well intentioned.
A typical expression is a reliance on an unevolved immaturity that provokes specious unsubstantiated arguments. Of such cultism, there is the probability of destructive anti-social behaviors that may result in disruption of communal gatherings, such as college debates, electoral processes, consumer marketing or political rallies. In particular, it is the “mean-spirited” intolerance of one group against another that expresses emotional reactivity that threatens reasonable socio-political interactivity. Atrocious fallacies of inference work against facts and evidence to the contrary, as the superficiality of fictional assertions take precedence over scientific validation. Valor, in the courage of well-thought convictions, devolves to the vanity of instant “selfie”.
In some studies by insightful practitioners, there is the mention of exceptional potentiality for terroristic acts of violence. By inclusion, from a classical perspective, the notion that someone becomes mysteriously “radicalized” is wishful thinking. People join forces with others because they find commonality in their maladaptive choices. For the stimulation, the power and control excitement, as well as inner satiation, people are capable of the most idiotic subjective assertions, and deadly treatment of others. Mostly bullies, at varying levels of psychodynamic and physical capability, the gamut of cultism has far ranging possibilities in the immaturity of infantile narcissism.
Terrorists, from one ideological extreme to another, can easily attach themselves to any cause including cover stories of worthwhile efforts. Sometimes, the fabrication comes with seemingly good intentions, such as protection of the environment, animal rights, historic preservation, or various political movements including those in the mainstream. Likewise, criminals who attach themselves to a cause, however noble, employ tactics that misguide and mask the real intentions. If held accountable, they then justify their criminal behavior by claiming that they were serving the cause. Yet, the criminality remains and the collusion justifies injustice.
Around the planet, one study suggested 8 in 10 people identified with a religious affiliation of some sort. In 230 countries studied by a particular research forum, 84% of the nearly 7 billion people believed some ideological doctrine. With an inclination toward a presumption of a “higher authority” on the part of a majority, one might wonder as to the gullibility of easy deception in fiction over facts. Whereas bias always influences the outcome of conclusions, the ideological perspective of the observer quickly taints that which is observed. Cognitive bias skews authenticity. As such, unless healthy skepticism is allowed unlimited reach of reason, coupled with logical analysis, the degradation of simplistic thinking becomes illicit conformity and oppressive collusion.
Of cults, conspiracies and corporate corruption in postmodern times, old definitions maybe in need of contemporary revision. As one researcher describes “cult characteristics”, an authoritarian rule over the group, absent the necessity of accountability, as well as tolerance for critical analysis of doctrine, mission, goals and organizational processes, could apply to many human associations. Insulation from scrutiny, operational secrecy, political deception, false advertising, little or no factual basis in provocative debates, suggest the broader context of cultic behaviors.
Perpetuation of the status quo in order to serve the interests of the privileged few, surrounded by faithful followers, and an inability to think beyond emotional needs, brings into view the cultism of modern regression. Faithfulness to ideologies favoring the supernatural or mystic insight of a few elites, as opposed to evidence based authenticity, degenerate eventually to the darkness of human nature. Cultism by way of social intolerance and anarchistic provocations preclude enlightened liberation. By which, civilization continues to deteriorate passed the point of no redemption.