Futurism versus Cults of the Past
NOTE: The Persian version at the following link includes more details about Iranian Communist cults.
نگری و کالت های بازمانده از گذشته
The wording cult has been used and misused to refer to different groupings, some actually being a religious or political cult, such as the Hari Krishna, and some actually not being a religious or political cult.
I believe it is important to understand what a cult is and how it can be recognized, and how anyone, who is entangled in it, can get out of it. For example, how can one answer the question regarding MKO and whether it is a cult?
FIRST CHARACTERISTIC OF A CULT:
The FIRST distinction between a religious cult and an open religion is that the belief system of a cult is not openly announced honestly and is not easily accessible to public for public scrutiny. Many times they even tell their members that only believers can see the light.
Nonetheless, the most common mistake in thinking of a group as a cult, is to think that a cult is a cult because of its belief system.
Well, cults are not defined by their *belief system*. For
example, the Jesus Freaks have the same belief system as an ordinary Christian
So the question is not what the beliefs are but rather
whether the beliefs are accessible openly or they are hidden in an esoteric
manner. This is also the first
distinction between a political cult and an open political organization. Many
political parties that were conspiracy groups were cults before coming to power
but afterwards they became ordinary parties. Many socialist parties in
SECOND CHARACTERISTIC OF A CULT:
The SECOND distinction between a cult member and an ordinary organization member is that the cult members are being mind-controlled.
MIND-CONTROL can be SCIENTIFICALLY shown as being possible
in a closed-environment. For example, a cult called EST in
Again, the same cults, after reaching a certain size and
after losing their charismatic leaders may turn into an ordinary religious or
political organization and the original cultish nature may be dropped. This is
true about most of the social-democratic parties in
In fact, the experience of Gorbachev showed that once
opening an organization like Communist Party to outside scrutiny, it evaporated
in a short-while and even those who tried to use old methods and make a
come-back coup lost. In fact, criticism
of Stalin by Khrushchev in 1956 opened a wedge in the mind-control of that
Stalinist cult, the Soviet Communist Party. It is
THIRD CHARACTERISTIC OF A CULT:
The THIRD characteristic of a cult is that it feeds on false non-verifiable information.
So once one studies records and shows the actions of a cult by scientific methods, the cults will start resisting. I tried it in a Shah-maghsoodi cult in US, where they talked as if they were scientists, but opening their doors to open discussion by nonbelievers on scientific grounds made them very resistant. Once shown that the scientific study of its tenets is possible, that a cult can no longer live on non-verifiable hocus-pocus. It is true that a religion may also have the same non-verifiable truths, but a religion does not make it the territory of a few who are in touch with higher consciousness to announce such truths. Prophecy is reserved for prophets who are dead long time ago. The best example is some psychotherapy or new age cults today which evaporate, the moment a major scientific evaluation is pointed at them. The case of Rajneesh cult was a vivid example, a decade ago.
So the above three characteristics are the main areas to study for determining if an organization is actually a cult.
1) FIRST if its ideology is something esoteric or something open and accessible. Its content can be the same as some open religions but it may have something for its believers as a secret and not readily accessible to the public. In other words just having a religious or political ideology does not make a group a cult.
2) SECONDLY, if the mind-control is existing, then you are dealing with a cult.
3) THIRDLY if the scientific scrutiny for verifiable facts are avoided and the non-verifiable prophesies are exclaimed every day that have not existed the day before. The established religions do not come up with new revelations every day but cults do.
CULTS are carriers of INFORMATION DISEASE. They are not a cult because of being religious or political.
For more information, please read SNAPPING by Flo Conway and Jim Sieglemann.
These same authors also had a very interesting article "Information Disease" a few years ago, and it was published on Jan 1982 in Science Digest.
I do not think SNAPPING has been translated to Farsi. I hope it gets translated to Farsi.
* The above article was first
posted on SCI (soc.culture.iranian) on
Cults and Iranians
One of the unfortunate results of the defeat of progressive movement in Iran has been the attraction of many educated Iranians to some cults to find an answer to this unfortunate dilemma of Iran and Iranians.
In the United States, in California, there has been attraction of some Iranians to cults such as EST, Forum, Dianetics, Scientology, and recently Shah-Maghsoodi. The last one actually has found a strong following inside Iran too.
Elsewhere, one sees other cult attractions among Iranians. For example, one of these cults is the cult of moonies. In fact the moonies, even have a Farsi webpage:
EST and many other psychological cults such as Dianetics try to start attacking one's parents and family first and once the victim feels bad about himself/herself, they start the mind control and brain wash. EST used to start by calling the new attendee an "asshole" and make one believe in it, in their first weeks of indoctrination.
The moonies use the parent and family approach a lot. Please see the following URL's called "True Parents Organization."
They try to seek their roots in esoteric traditions such as Swedenborg, which are not necessarily confirmation of their stand to legitimize themselves:
Actually Morris Berman, in his "Reenchantment of the World" has written a good presentation of Swedenborg himself:
Many cults such as the cult of Theosophy of Mdm Balavatsky, have also referred to older cults such as Swedenborgists. As I had noted in other articles in the past, Theosophy cult wanted to enlist Krishnamurti as their prophet, and Krishnamurti left them, as he never believed in any cult around himself, although he was a religious thinker, and did not care for any particular religion. His book "Think on These Things" and his collaborative works with David Bohm showed his educational teaching of independent thinking and repudiation of cults.
As far as Swedenborgists, "they follow Emanuel Swedenborg (1688-1772)'s theological writings as being divinely inspired. Swedenborg never intended to found a new religious denomination, but in 1787 his disciples in England were organized as a separate sect by the British printer Robert Hindmarsh. According to the latest available statistics, Swedenborgians in the United Kingdom number about 5000, divided among 75 societies. In the U.S., Swedenborgians are divided into two general organizations, known as the General Convention of the New Jerusalem and the General Church of the New Jerusalem. The former organization has about 2800 members in 47 societies and the latter about 2100 members in 33 societies."
Finally for good resources on dealing with cults, please visit the following resource center:
Personally I think the book "Snapping" by Flo Conway and Jim Siegelman is one of the best books written on the topic. They also had an excellent article, entitled "Information Disease", in Scientific American a few years ago. "Information Disease" is the term they use to describe the virus spread by cults.
A few years ago, I wrote the following article about Cults which may be of interest as well (attached below).
Hoping for a democratic and secular futurist republic in Iran,
Sept 11, 2001
* The above article was first
posted on Jebhe BB on
Dancing in the Air
رقص در آسمان
Problem is not Utopianism, it is Lack of Open Society
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State Economy as the Foundation of Despotism
اقتصاد دولتی ستون اصلی استبداد در ایران
Marxist Thought & Monism - Second Edition
اندیشه مارکسیستی و مونیسم -یکتاگرائی - ویرایش دوم
آیا سوسیالیسم عادلانه تر است؟
Is Socialism More Just
Social Justice & Computer Revolution
عدالت اجتماعی و انقلاب کامپیوتری
Wealth and Justice in Future Iran
ثروت و عدالت در ایران فردا
FUTURIST IRAN: Futurism vs Terrorism
ایران آینده نگر: آینده نگری در برابر تروریسم
Kurzweil, Harry Potter & Futurist Party, Second Edition
کرزوایل، هری پاتر، و حزب آینده نگر، ویرایش دوم
[Popper on Kantian Concept of War on War]
Karl Popper: Interview 1993
Futurism, Sandbox, and Political Potency
آینده نگری، جعبه شن بازی، و توانمندی سیاسی
A World Vision from City of Heretics
یک جهان بینی از سوی شهر مرتدان
The Problem Of Alternative Is The Left
About the Left: People with a mission to destroy capitalism
For a Secular Democratic & Futurist Republican Party in Iran