Ran across something yesterday mentioning “cult programming” – or literally, the methods used by cults to brain wash targets into adopting their agenda and becoming good cult members.
The overlap with propaganda is intriguing – through basic methods such as fear and guilt. The goal is brain wash the subject into conformity with the leaders’ ideals and for the subject to become unquestioning.
Some religious or pseudo-religious sects use cult techniques to instill adherence. But the techniques are not limited to sects – I have seen cult-like behavior in some work places, for example. The techniques are also apparent in activist organizations as well.
After reading this, can you think of contemporary examples of cult-like programming?
Manipulation through fear and guilt.
Fear and guilt are central to any thought reform/mind control program. A fearful person is one who cannot think critically and whose ability to make decisions is reduced. Cult tactics include inducing fears and phobias (strong, irrational fears) in group members to allow the leadership to maintain control. Members can believe that all sorts of horrible things may happen if they don’t follow the rules, if they don’t earn more money, if they leave the group or even think of leaving the group etc.
Guilt is introduced in many ways, too. Guilt because of their weaknesses, their mistakes, weak faith, inability to understand, evil spirits, in fact, anything the leadership decides!
I have done only minimal reading on cults. From the standpoint of how propaganda is used to get others to adopt someone else’s agenda, cults are another from of influence and mind control. Obviously, I need to study this much more.