The author notes: “Human beings are really bad at loneliness. We’re not built for it.” Hence the attraction to people and groups offering us a way to belong.
Cultish language lures members with “love-bombing,” words that make us feel appreciated and special. There may be acronyms and “insider” terms that make members feel like they have all the answers and everyone else is foolish and inferior.
- “Everything happens for a reason” and “It’s all God’s plan” (so don't feel disappointed or angry)
- “Boys will be boys” (and cannot be held accountable for inappropriate or hurtful behavior).
People stay in cults for the same reasons people stay in jobs they hate or relationships they’ve outgrown:
- fear of retribution or punishment
- lack of outside support
- fear of landing somewhere worse
- the hope that if you just stick it out a little longer things might improve
Also, according to basic math, if you recruit 10 people each month and they each recruit 10 people every month…in a year, you’d have a trillion people working under you, which is 142 times the entire human population of the planet! That’s some real money!
Cultish language and strong group dynamics can also be beneficial, such as 12-step groups helping addicts recover and fitness gurus encouraging members to exercise or adapt other healthy habits.
The book was a fascinating exploration of cults and cultish language, written in an entertaining and insightful style. Recommended.