I spent twenty-five years of my adult life in a cult, under the influence of a narcissistic sociopath. I recently published a book called The Followers: “Holy Hell” and the Disciples of Narcissistic Leaders — How My Years in a Notorious Cult Parallel Today’s Cultural Mania. I wrote this book because I sought to understand why I made the choices I made in my life, so I could better understand why others make their choices. The following article includes adapted excerpts from my book.
The Followers is not about policy or political ideology or even the guru or our political leaders, as much as it is about the followers from the viewpoint of a follower. Having spent several decades of my life, now viewed in retrospect, and two and a half years of extensive research on the subject of mind control and groupthink, I have gained a unique brand of authority regarding this phenomenon.
When I was asked to write this article, I found myself facing the very dilemma that the nature of this topic presents. If I use terms that are contrary to one’s “groupthink” — such as socialist vs fascist, Trumpster vs Libtard, or woke vs sheeple — I risk losing the opportunity to present my thesis to anyone who is offended by my examples, because the “wrong” word challenges the very foundation of their beliefs. Such terms have become so inflammatory, they may make the reader uncomfortable, and many will preemptively label me one of “them,” go to their corner, and very likely lose interest in reading further. Therein lies the rub.
As we go down this rabbit hole, I make the case that these words are deliberately designed and placed in the cultural lexicon to arouse our emotions, so I invite you to try not to react to examples that may provoke discomfort or disdain. I am not soliciting or subscribing to these illustrations one way or another. They are merely examples of the highly charged language we are all faced with in today’s divisive climate.
“Before the truth can set you free you need to recognize which false belief is holding you hostage!” — Anonymous
Groupthink is not necessarily based on facts. Facts are relative; truth is immutable. It was a fact two hundred years ago that humans could not fly, but is that true? Could we not fly, or had we not yet figured it out? With religion or philosophy, it’s difficult to recognize or to prove false belief. A search for a general understanding of values and reality based on speculation, rather than observation, yields abstract…