In July of 2012, I went to my first International Cultic Studies Association conference in Washington, DC. After spending the weekend talking to ex-cult members from all over the world, I remember saying, “All of these groups are the same.”
Okay, so cults aren’t all exactly the same, but they ALL use the same underlying tactics to recruit and indoctrinate. I’m endlessly fascinated by Cult Common hallmarks because, for one, they say something about human nature but when you become cognizant of manipulation, those hallmarks point you to recovery – contradict the indoctrination. Break cult rules.
Living the Deeper YES reframes ideas that were abused by “school”. Tull offers them as inner guide posts – these tools turn the very vulnerabilities that can be exploited into empowerment. I found these four especially helpful:
- All cults claim to be the exclusive source of exclusive aspirational, or deep, knowledge or The Truth! that will change your life ….
Living the Deeper YES says that such truth, or aspirational knowing, or deeper knowledge is available to EVERYONE, all the time!
- Cults keep their minions busy and frazzled. It’s common practice to claim a frantic pace, in service to the group, is “doing what’s necessary” to achieve (maybe) some elusive higher state (if you do it right, or are successful).
Living the Deeper YES says that we access the essence level when we stop, listen in stillness & quiet the mind, so we can hear our truths. Truth comes through when we allow it time, attention and space. It speaks to us from the inside and is not dictated by external sources.
- Cults claim access to higher states of existence, or exclusive knowledge, or some allusive “truth” to foster dependence in members. Such groups encourage a feeding frenzy culture that attacks independent thought — members start to question personal perceptions, their beliefs, their emotions and opinions.
Living the Deeper YES encourages dialogue with the self. It is the New Millennium version of Glenda the Good Witch, telling readers, “Trust yourself! You had the answers all along.” The deeper yes, comes from the internal yes – you feel the rightness in your bones.
- Cults leverage hierarchy and judgment, taking advantage of our social needs for community and acceptance. Group members stew in indoctrination, an ideology of black and white thinking.
In stark contrast,Tull offers her vulnerabilities and darker years up for examination, essentially offering tools that she had to dredge up for herself in times of uncertainty and pain. She’s a human offering readers tools for humanity that come –not from some contrived superiority – but embracing vulnerability, allowing herself to be a fallible human and seeing moments of faltering as opportunities to grow, learn and heal.
This year, I’m gonna be at ICSA’s conference in Philly, which happens to fall on the week of July 4th. My first conference in DC also fell on July 4thand there was something very sweet about embracing my esoteric freedom on the DC Mall. SO this year, I’ll embrace it in Philly! If you’re there, come say hello.
Sam Harris on gurus- specifically cites Gurdjieff.
Brilliant and edifying.
Listening now. Yes, I agree!
Wow. Harris calls Gurdjieff – “The classic example of a gifted charlatan … ” Thanks, Sar, for making me aware of this video. I think it deserves blog prominence – i.e. it’s own post.