A New Home for My Blog

I have moved my blogging activity to a new location, and I'm still blogging about False Prophet Ronald Weinland.
Click the link for an easy transfer.

This Blogspot remains as an archive covering the period of April, 2008 through early July, 2009.

Friday, April 3, 2009

Lifton on Cults

Thanks to Aggie on I Survived Armstrong for finding this video of Robert Lifton giving a lecture. Lifton wrote "Thought Reform and the Psychology of Totalism" in which he outlines Eight Criteria for Thought Reform.

I'm putting this up so those who are interested in False Prophet Ronald Weinland but don't read ISA have the opportunity to view this.

I've only had a chance to listen to a few minutes, and right now am headed out for the evening. (Despite Weinland's claims, I do indeed have a life.) So far Lifton is talking about Apocalyptic Violence in which cultists precipitate violence to bring about the end. I don't see Weinland as pursuing that path, but some of the characteristics Lifton mentioned do apply to the cult of Weinland and his followers.

Please give the video a watch and leave a comment with your thoughts.

Later: I've had a chance to watch the video. A couple of take-away quotes:
A guru tends to think he has discovered an ultimate human truth and must convey it to the world. A guru can be both convinced of his truth and also a con man at the same time. One doesn't eliminate the other. (About 18:25 into the video)

During the Q&A session he was asked how this could be:
The individual mind can contain opposites. That's what's so confusing. .... They can coexist in the same mind. And perhaps particularly in gurus because their claim to absolute virtue is so strong it can sustain in them very powerful patterns that I call charisma and at the same time their megalomania and paranoia can be bound up with all those destructive and murderous elements. They can coexist even though they're opposite in tendency. (About 55:15 into the video.)

Aggie asks if Weinland is drinking his own Flavor-Aid or just handing it out. According to Lifton, it could be both.


AggieAtheist said...

Thanks for the plug. Also note, about twenty minutes in, Lifton starts speaking of the apocalyptic mindset, and "forcing the end", i.e., how some groups adhere to the ideology that bringing Armageddon is actually a good thing (I'm put in mind of the joint fundamentalist Christian-Messianic Jewish efforts to rebuild a biblical temple in Jerusalem).

Lifton rightfully points out that, even in the 2nd century BC, Jewish and Christian leaders were denouncing this attitude as heretical.

(The Jewish leaders won. The Christian leaders lost, and we have the Roman church and its descendants to thank for continuing the stereotype of "Time is short! Life on Earth is worthless!" to this very day.)

The chat on Friday veered a little more off-topic than I perhaps should have kept control of, but I was just toooo tired.

AggieAtheist said...

Word to the wise, looks like PT's been hijacked. More news at ISA.

Steve said...

YEah, weinland definately is not the violent type as in other cults...he is a first class coward from many things he has said and done....and that is one reason i was uncomfortable with him....because cowards sell out their followers in a flash to save their own ass....much like the cowardly plan to leave followers behind by fleeing to his retreat in Switzerland "when things get bad"...