Heart of the Cult (Part I)

It is of interest to question the origin of “hate groups” or malicious organizations. This includes Nazism, fundamentalist religious groups, terrorists, gangs, college fraternities, Satanic and black magick groups, cults and so forth. Under what pretext do they exist? Power in numbers and fear. Of course, the fear originates not necessarily from the things they claim to hate; it is rather a fear of the powerlessness or insignificance of the self.

Outside of society’s norms and laws, the basic tenet of existence is: might makes right. For even the laws which seem to protect the weaker individual interests, are still just the power schemata imposed overhead by a dominant group. Of course, the maintenance of power and the seizure of power are very different modes of operation. Good historical examples include the Yuan Dynasty of ancient China. The Mongols were exceptionally skilled at melee combat, but were absolutely terrible at ruling a (foreign) country.

Unfortunately, the quest for power — particularly worldly power — is a futile quest. No matter how tough one can become, one is powerless against a gun. No matter how good one is with a firearm, one is powerless against a militia. No matter how well-trained a militia, it is powerless against a better-funded and organized army. No matter how powerful an army, it is powerless against a country it depends upon for resources, trade and sustenance. Eventually, obsessive power is balanced by the intervention of nature itself.

Basically, hate groups offer a promise of protection to its members. Members often join because they themselves have been the victims of abuse, or violent or hateful crimes. Since the group enforces local violence, it seems less likely that one will be the target of violence. This has a romantic notion too — a sense of power or pride in one’s community, that one is feared for one’s associations. On the other hand, if one does not join their ranks and their “protection” one is prey to their crosshairs.

This dynamic is something of an absurd irony — out fear of being prey, one supports the very ideas which prey upon others. This seems to pervade communities the world over — if you can’t beat ’em, join ’em. This is a manifestation of the heart of every cult (and isn’t everything a cult ultimately?), in which the individual becomes reshaped in the image of the cult. Another way of defining this is saying the individual becomes “possessed” by the gods or ideals of the cult. It works a bit like enculturation, but even further ingrained in the individual spirit.

Incidentally, cults and hate groups draw people in at their weakest. For some people this is in their youth and adolescence. While reading through The Encyclopedia of Witches and Witchcraft last month, I was struck by how many sorcerors and witches were initiated into their practices as children, by old men or women. Preying upon a child is a serious crime because a child is so easily manipulated and reshaped. The abuse enacted upon a child becomes the earliest tools used to relate to the world at large. As mentioned before in regards to gangs, victims of abuse or initiation often continue the cycle by in turn committing the same acts upon another.

This is similar to the way cults and hate groups coerce new members while they are in periods of self-doubt or serious emotional distress. People in the wake of tragedy, new emotions, loneliness or in need of guidance often are desperate for someone to rely upon.

I would say that the openly angry youth culture of the present comes largely from an extreme fear, an extreme insecurity and defensiveness against a world that is becoming ever more competitive and yet simultaneously devoid of imagination. Anger brings a very romantic association with it and is a very persuasive quality for those unprepared to fend it off. Anger desires submission to its whims, and like all romances, is very persuasive with its agenda. If one is afraid of possessing inferior strength, intelligence, wealth or power, then hate can seem like a viable means of warding off predators. Unfortunately it also makes one blind and forgetful, much like lust or greed.

Where does hate come from? The Christian world designates evil as some kind of in-born malice, but many people today recognize that negative actions can come from negative home, school and social environments. Environment as a root factor doesn’t explain everything, but it proves a point: a person’s character cannot be the result of any one single cause.

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2 Responses to “Heart of the Cult (Part I)”

  1. Have you ever read anything by Eric Hoffer? He wrote a lot of things along this these lines. He’s the one who coined the term “true believer”. Interesting stuff.

  2. No, I hadn’t actually, but a quick google search reveals him to be a pretty interesting character. Thanks for the heads up, I will be checking his stuff out…

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