Cults, part deux

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Cults, part deux

Postby Luck » Wed Jul 06, 2011 4:14 am

Just happened to stumble across a paper on cults which is funny because I was trying to find out why youtube wasn't working for me. Not sure where the connection happened....

Any who, I just skimmed it and will need to read it more carefully, but these excerpts caught my eye:

Examples of cults using focused attention include "love bombing" in Rev. Moon's Unification Church and "training routines" and "auditing" in Scientology. (Scientology’s training routine 0 (TR-0) has people staring at a partner, in some cases without blinking, for extended times.) An explanation consistent with evolutionary psychology for the propagation of the hard-to-explain memes at the top of this article is that successful memes of this class induce focused attention between those infected with the memes.

That attention in turn results in the release of pleasure inducing chemicals into the reward system of the brain. This release of chemicals results in the reinforcement of behaviours that led to the attention--identical to the process we see in addicts. Thus, it should come as no surprise that the behaviour of people under the influence of cults is similar to that we observe in addicts. Typical behaviour for both includes draining bank accounts and education funds, selling or mortgaging property, neglecting children, destroying relations with family and friends and losing interest in anything except the drug or cult. (Not all people become this irresponsible on either cults or drugs, but many do.)


In the most extreme forms of cult meme “possession,” victims are so influenced by memes using the attention reward pathway that their own survival becomes inconsequential. I have used the term “memeoid” to describe people who fly airliners into skyscrapers, or strap explosives to their bodies and set them off in a crowd. On March 1, 2002 there was a news story on CNN about a Palestinian mother of two who was expounding for a TV crew how she was ready to strap on explosives. She was obviously revelling in the attention, but ambivalent about the reality of leaving her children orphans. Hopefully she will not carry through.


The article also discusses that there may be some factors involving evolutionary psychology characteristics that make us vulnerable to cults as well.

entire paper can be found here:
http://www.human-nature.com/nibbs/02/cults.html
I think the surest sign that there is intelligent life out there in the universe is that none of it has tried to contact us." (Calvin and Hobbes/Bill Waterson)
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