Tuesday, January 15, 2013
What makes outfits like this truly dangerous is that they aren't entirely wrong. That is, their theory of how human beings tick (a jigger of Neuro-Linguistic Programing, a dash of cognitive behavior therapy, a few skooches of transactional analysis, and generally a substratum of Zen-by-any-other-name) actually works well enough that if you do the process you are in fact likely to clean up a bunch of the shit in your life. Even Scientology, the biggest and nastiest of the cult groups traveling as "therapy", teaches some useful things - Hubbard's model of the "reactive mind" is pretty shrewd psychology. [bold added]Although Raymond is far more generous than I am about what he includes in the "not wrong" column, he is correct that it is the "bait" by which souls are trapped. (He is also more optimistic than I about the amount of good it can do, even in the short term.) Here is what I said about a similar attempt, years ago, to induct me into a cult:
[The teachings are] an unholy mixture of food and poison, the food serving as bait and being offered from the hand of someone a potential customer trusts. The program, like some that advertise honestly, is a mixture of valid psychological techniques (I recognized some from cognitive psychology.) and some very loony and even dangerous ideas from Eastern, modern, and new-age philosophies.There is more to this kind of soul trap than appealing (for a few moments, anyway) to reason. As one might expect of any dishonest huckster with an intuitive grasp of psychology, there are other irrational methods of persuasion at work -- such as peer pressure -- in such settings.
Raymond understandably left after twenty minutes. I would have, too, for all the similar warning signs I saw. However, I sat through for longer, anyway, because the problem of this cult was much closer to home for me, and I needed -- or so I thought -- to collect the ammunition of factual information to untrap a few others I cared about. Interestingly, I didn't need even that. Just voicing the suspicion that what we were dealing with was a cult proved to be enough to overcome the problem posed by the fact that someone we trusted had introduced us to it.
Sometimes, even naming the obvious can help overcome an untruth.