tbh nothing prepared me better for 2020 than the ~2 years I spent periodically evading psychological capture by various new age cults due to my proximity to another high-dollar target
HBO & Starz *both* have new series on the NXIVM cult, and I recommend watching either of them and periodically reminding yourself that this would've still been going on at a healthy clip if nobody had had the bright idea to start hot-iron branding women
A lot of the same themes and ideas recur in successful spiritual and philosophical cults, because they're generally useful concepts and they speak to confusing and aversive desires that a lot of people feel unable to explore on their own. That's not the problem
The problem is that people experiencing novel insights and breakthroughs are very vulnerable to becoming hooked on that fix, associating it with a single person or small hierarchy, and becoming rapidly uninterested in finding meaning or purpose elsewhere
I don't think this requires brilliant master-planning; it crops up organically amongst people who are living in a perpetual state of low-level panic and uncertainty, who lack achievable cultural milestones and are beholden to norms that make them feel bad about what they want
IMO, 2020 is the year that the *political* cult really metastasized as an organizing force in American life, though it was developing for years prior. All the same elements: gurufication of leadership, separation of friends and families, doctrine above discussion
To be clear, I never got super deep into any particular cult or cult-like org. At one point I began training to become a sort of psychological mapping coach for one lesser-known group, but I dropped off in the second week.
Most of the groups I was involved in were very small and to this day have no real name recognition outside of very niche Californian techie/burner circles. They varied widely wrt the degree to which I felt they were harmless (sometimes even beneficial) or actively manipulative
I don't think people really understand how many little groups like this exist or their mechanisms for growth. The leaders who are successful tend to target the moneyed-but-meaningless, B/C-list celebrities and "social butterfly" nodes in well-connected networks
One thing I want to highlight is that they *do* tend to give people some degree of self-empowerment, and they generally do let people self-select into high-commitment and potentially more manipulative roles. It's not the "brainwashing" a lot of people have come to expect.
People choose for themselves whether or not they will tie their own identity, sense of purpose and economic/romantic opportunities into an all-consuming hierarchy. It doesn't make sense to try to "force" any free individual into that; it makes sense to capture it when it arises.
The people who wind up most harmed by cults tend to be (1) the people whose commitments cause them to be complicit in perpetuating the harm, and (2) partners and children who must remain in good standing with the leadership in order to maintain their most important relationships
If there is any single belief that can act as a strong antibody to cult indoctrination, it's probably the belief that the people closest to you can be good — morally sound, wise and deeply loving — even if they fundamentally disagree with you about how the world works.
I say "the people closest to you" because these are the people you know. You have evidence about whether they're kind and thoughtful. You don't have to adopt a belief about the universal goodness of humanity, you just have to trust your own judgment and not delegate it away.

• • •

Missing some Tweet in this thread? You can try to force a refresh

Keep Current with Mason 🏃‍♂️✂️

Mason 🏃‍♂️✂️ Profile picture

Stay in touch and get notified when new unrolls are available from this author!

Read all threads

This Thread may be Removed Anytime!


Twitter may remove this content at anytime! Save it as PDF for later use!

Try unrolling a thread yourself!

how to unroll video
  1. Follow @ThreadReaderApp to mention us!

  2. From a Twitter thread mention us with a keyword "unroll"
@threadreaderapp unroll

Practice here first or read more on our help page!

More from @webdevMason

8 Nov
As we all know, doubt is curtailed by absolutely socially crushing the opposition into abject silence
Read 4 tweets
12 Oct
"The only time we believe a lockdown is justified is to buy you time to reorganise, regroup, rebalance your resources, protect your health workers who are exhausted, but by and large, we’d rather not do it."
"Lockdowns just have one consequence that you must never ever belittle, and that is making poor people an awful lot poorer."
"Look what’s happened to smallholder farmers all over the world. … Look what’s happening to poverty levels. It seems that we may well have a doubling of world poverty by next year. We may well have at least a doubling of child malnutrition."
Read 4 tweets
21 Sep
So many people are ignorant of the *many* programs already embedded in the criminal justice system. My understanding is that my own stalker evaded prior charges via CA's pretrial mental health diversion program, and did not fully fulfill his court-ordered treatment obligations.
I consider myself one of his most fortunate victims, because most of the women he threatened to rape, torture and murder had to get on with life *for years* knowing that he was out on the street in their city. This is the first time he's had to face serious criminal consequences.
I can't know for sure whether getting away with it for so long emboldened him to keep doing what he was doing and to target more women, but in this case that was the result. Treatment won't work for someone who isn't willing to genuinely submit themselves to it.
Read 5 tweets
21 Sep
Is the implication here that rape and domestic violence victims should not "involve the police"?
"Calling the police may lead to the brutalizing (or even killing) of the victims themselves."

Horribly irresponsible claim in the context of providing DV resources. A victim is far, FAR more likely to be seriously harmed by an abusive partner than by a police officer.
When I was being stalked last year by someone who had threatened to rape and kill several women, I called the police. They set up a sting and they caught him. Nobody was injured. He is in jail now and he is going to trial next month.
Read 8 tweets
20 Sep
I don't know enough about Amy Coney Barrett to have an opinion on her for the USSC, but the difference between the twitter impression and the Wikipedia impression is remarkable
Probably the biggest problem with her is that she's somewhat young and hasn't spent much time on the 7th circuit, which means there's less opinion to scrutinize and that she could be on the Supreme Court for decades
What people seem to love or hate about her is that she's a very devoted conservative Catholic in her personal life, but frankly she seems to have handled concerns about that just about as well as anyone could be expected to: en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Amy_Coney…
Read 5 tweets

Did Thread Reader help you today?

Support us! We are indie developers!

This site is made by just two indie developers on a laptop doing marketing, support and development! Read more about the story.

Become a Premium Member ($3/month or $30/year) and get exclusive features!

Become Premium

Too expensive? Make a small donation by buying us coffee ($5) or help with server cost ($10)

Donate via Paypal Become our Patreon

Thank you for your support!

Follow Us on Twitter!