Sat | Dec 4, 2021

Gordon Robinson | You might be a cult member

Published:Tuesday | October 26, 2021 | 12:05 AM

Since the horrendous human slaughter in a St James church, the general view is, the sick outcome was to be blamed on ‘cults’.

Commissioner Antony Anderson, on the scene, said, “We were concerned that some form of ritualised killing was going to take place, and so we did an entry.” Rituals as part of cult activities? You betcha!

Gleaner reported (October 17): “Head of the St James Police Division SSP Vernon Ellis reported that members of the group, said to be a cult, were meeting when some were stabbed by other members.”

Thusly the horrific four-letter-word was first used.

Soon the ‘it’s-a-cult’ bandwagon was, like western hospitals during COVID’s third wave, at over-capacity. One of the last to jump on was the Leader of the Opposition, who found a way to blame the Government for the butchery:

“I think cult practices are a symptom of stresses in society … . It’s a recognised fact that globally, the pandemic, in particular, has caused a fair amount of mental illness and other major stresses, depression, and so on. Some of these things can play out in people looking for solutions or strengths in their lives they’re unable to source from other normal activities.

“So I think a lot of it has to do with how the Government of the Day treats with people who are vulnerable.”

He called for a “more robust approach” to help people who are struggling.

Well, THAT particular comment shatters the ‘asinineometer’ and takes political claptrap to new heights. Or, as Brazos would say, “This takes the investigation into a whole new direction.”

Cult leaders do not target “vulnerable” or “struggling” people. They target weak-minded persons with assets, who can be scammed. The asset targeted is eventually money, but there are also intangible assets that lead to the money, which includes blind support.

Remember Goodman’s Law? Don’t ask if it’s about the money. It’s ALWAYS about the money!

Because dangers inherent to cults are so loudly broadcast (and because I agree that cults are extremely dangerous, especially to a society whose education system churns out easy marks), I decided to identify likely danger zones using independent linguistic sources.

WHAT’S A CULT?

So, what’s a cult? Oxford English Dictionary defines ‘cult’ as “a way of life, an attitude, an idea, etc that has become very popular” (‘cult’ is an abbreviated corruption of ‘culture’), and defines ‘personality cult’ as “a situation in which people are encouraged to show extreme enthusiasm and love for a famous person, especially a political leader.”

Oopsie.

Every lazy researcher’s backstop, Wikipedia: “a cult is a social group that’s defined by its unusual religious, spiritual, or philosophical beliefs, or by its common interest in a particular personality, object, or goal.”

Finally, every millennial’s favourite scientist, Dr Gaggle, advises, in response to “what is a cult?”:

1. A system of religious veneration and devotion directed towards a particular figure or object.

2. A person or thing that’s popular or fashionable among a particular group/section of society (e.g., ‘the series has become a bit of a cult in UK.’)

Got it? No?

Well, with apologies to Jeff Foxworthy, here’s how you’ll know that you might be a cult member:

• If you’re a member of a group committed to a common belief, ideology, philosophy or purpose;

• If your leader is self-appointed or selected by a minority cabal, without reference to you or other ‘ordinary’ members;

• If your leader addresses followers using collective appellations interchangeable as nouns and adjectives (like ‘Brethren’/’Sistren’) and commands unquestioned support of the group mission as articulated by the leader;

• If you’re subject to excommunication, expulsion or even death (by ritual or otherwise) for ‘sins’ of the mind, like publicly opposing the leader or ‘taking the Mark’;

• If you must follow the leader blindly, in accordance with pejorative slogans like ‘I’ll follow the leader ’til I die’;

You just might be a cult member!

Peace and love!

Gordon Robinson is an attorney-at-law. Email feedback to columns@gleanerjm.com.