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Choose Your Cults Wisely
Hint: everything's a cult.
I was catching up with a friend the other day. He says,
“I bought a Jeep. I moved out of Austin, and I needed a truck. What I didn’t know… is that the Jeep comes with people. And these people, they’re not that engaged in politics. I mean they’re aware of it, but they’re not consumed by it. They are out there, minding their own business, enjoying the outdoors, living their lives. It’s like they live in their own universe.”
“Sounds like you accidentally joined a cult. Seems like a pretty good one,” I replied.
What do you think of when you hear the word cult?
If you’re conspiratorial, maybe it’s a form of mind control that they use to control and abuse people that are not allowed to leave. If you’re a complex systems thinker, perhaps cults are “flexible, adaptive, nuanced and intelligent 21st Century ‘self-organizing collective intelligences’ (SOCI) that can fully respond to meta-systemic dynamics.” The guru has been decentralized.
Jeeps. Teslas. Bitcoin. Wall Street. Democrats. Republicans. Burning Man. Silicon Valley. Yoga. Professional Sports. Veganism. Keto. BLM. MAGA. Antifa. QAnon. Texas. If I left someone out, I apologize for my lack of inclusion.
Really, these are all cognitive cultural movements, attempting to compress identity into a story, a narrative, a hashtag. These cults come complete with badges to display, masks to wear, flags to fly, and books to burn, in order to signal virtue, status, identity, and pride. Members can be fervent, or not. It seems that people need to find a framework for reality and their personal universes, and a collective intelligence narrative is the frame that is needed to hold onto their sanity, however incomplete it is. Because the world is confusing as fuck right now. Or maybe it always has been.
Today, it seems like a good time to increase personal sovereignty, cultivate authentic relationships, study philosophy, science and engineering, build resilient communities, and like the Jeep people, enjoy this beautiful world we live in. We are co-creating our consensus realities with the people we surround ourselves (physically and digitally) with. The cults we join, consciously or subconsciously, create the coherence and incoherence that we navigate life with.
So, choose your cults wisely.