FB post – 8/9

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     Sarah Musnicky 

    Without knowing me or my motivations, of course I will be judged for choosing to stay inside a cage. If that is how they choose to see me, so be it.

     Winston Smith 

    @wanda102 I could literally write for months on this, and still not say everything that needed to be said, which means that there’s a lot more that *isn’t* coming up here, and that some of this might be a little stream-of-consciousness, so bear with me.

    OK, so first, nobody thinks they’re in a cult, that’s something that happens to other people. It’s a pejorative word, so when you tell someone they’re in a cult, they don’t hear “I’m very concerned about this group you’re a part of, it seems that they engage in a variety of abusive and manipulative behaviors.” What they hear is “Your religion is stupid, therefore you are stupid because you chose it.” Cults are “evil things”. When you say to someone “You’re in a cult.” what they hear is “You are evil. You do evil things.” They don’t see criticism as being pointed at the group, or the idea, they see it as being pointed directly at themselves as individuals. You are attacking *THEM*, as far as they’re concerned. They don’t act as if they’re defending the group, they act as if they’re defending themselves. An attack on the group *is* an attack on them, as far as they’re concerned.

    If you ask these people if they’re free, they all say “Yes.” In Scientology, it’s called the “Bridge to Total Freedom”. “It’s right there in the name, of course I’m free!” In a certain strict, technical sense, they are. They do have the *ability* to get up and leave at any time. There are just a series of barriers put in front of them to make that extraordinarily difficult. That’s the cage. It doesn’t have bars, this cage is entirely in your mind. It’s not that they’re physically incapable of reading critical material. It’s that they’ve been conditioned to believe that doing so will harm them, and make them “less free”. They are their own gatekeepers.

    Imagine that for a moment. Imagine that someone put you in a prison without walls, guards, or fences. What’s keeping you there? If you escape, that’s fine. We’ll go after you, and try to convince you to come back, but we won’t actually arrest you, and force you to go back. If you want to leave, go for it. But, before you do, let me remind you that if you get more than 200 feet away from your assigned living space, that you’ll get cancer, and die. “Remember Bob? You know how he died of bowel cancer? Well, I didn’t want to tell you this, but Bob got cancer because he wasn’t fully dedicated to our cause.” So, you COULD leave, but you don’t want cancer, do you? Not only that, we’re all gonna go out for ice cream tonight, but you’re not gonna get any, because you’ll have broke the rules. In fact, we’re so concerned about this that we’re going to withhold our affection from you until you come around, and see things the way you should. How much of a mindfuck does it take to make you voluntarily stay in that prison where nothing is actually keeping you there?

    Do you have cats? Is your cat happy? Probably. Does it love you, and enjoy being with you? Probably. Is it free? No, it is not. Does it really matter whether it’s an indoor, or outdoor cat? Sure, it *CAN* leave, and go anywhere it wants, but it usually won’t. Why? Because it has been conditioned to understand that it’s prospects for survival are better if it comes home and lets you feed it every day. It can leave any time it wants, but it doesn’t, because it doesn’t *WANT* to. Why? Don’t cats want to be free? Of course they do. They don’t even understand that they’re not free. If it had wings, would it fly away? They’re not playing this game on the same level we are.

    Let’s say we’re all on an airplane that’s headed for Las Vegas, an appropriately lusty destination. There’s a lot of things we can find there, strippers, gambling, drugs, dancing, whatever it is that floats yer boat. We’re all seeking something different. You’re all sitting on that plane, and you start talking about where you want to go. Each and every one of you can get up, and walk anywhere you want to within the confines of that airplane, cockpit aside. You can walk in the direction of any destination you choose. Want to change your mind, and decide to go to Cleveland? It doesn’t matter how thoroughly convinced you are that your destination is Cleveland, you are going to Las Vegas.

    While you’re on that plane, do you feel like you’re not free? You’re actually quite confined. You can’t even decide when to go to the bathroom, if that little light doesn’t give you permission first. Nothing is actually preventing you from getting up when that light is on, but you know that there will be consequences if you do, so you don’t, because those consequences can potentially be even larger than the consequences of pissing your pants. Fear is what keeps you in your seat, not a sense of courtesy. Fear of what? Flight attendants? No, fear of “consequences.”

    Cults are kind of like that. Everyone is talking about all the great places they’re gonna go, and the wonderful things they’re gonna do when they get there, because they just got finished talking to the travel agent, who sold them a *WONDERFUL* package. They just don’t realize that’s not where they’re going. The travel agent lied to them. They’re not actually going on vacation, they’re being sold into human slavery. Oops.

    Here’s another example. You’re in the middle of the ocean, shark diving, because that sounds fucking rad. You’re in a cage, right? Do you see that cage as a prison, or do you see that cage as the thing that’s protecting you from a very dangerous world just beyond its borders?

    When you’re in a cult, you’re told that inside the cage, you’re going to be safe from that dangerous world outside. You believe it, because you’ve been shown a lot of scary, ugly things about the world, because it *is* a scary, ugly place. What you don’t understand at the time, is that there are monsters inside the cage with you too. In fact, they built the cage, and what you’re actually in is a farm. Maybe you’re being farmed for money, or maybe it’s free labor, but you are a product being farmed. A farmer might give his cows a beautiful pasture to enjoy, they might even want to treat their cows more “ethically” than the neighbor. Free range, and all that jazz. Some cows even get massaged with sake and beer. That sounds fucking great! In a sense, he wants his cows to be happy, but not because he actually cares about their happiness. It’s just that unhappy cows don’t taste as good, and unhealthy cows negatively affect his profitability. What’s more important to him, his family’s happiness, or the cows? Every moment of that cow’s life is built around the *illusion* of a “natural environment”. You’re free to roam anywhere you like, as long as you don’t leave that cage.

    When you’re leading a cow to the slaughterhouse, you don’t want it to know where it’s going. You want that cow to be oblivious to what’s going on, by distracting it with pleasant things. If it knows where it’s going, it gets scared, and the meat tastes bad. Does the farmer not scare the cows because it’s mean? Nah, he does it because it makes the meat taste better.

    To a cult, you are a cow. You’re not a person, you’re a resource being farmed.

    Dogs are man’s best friend, we can all agree that dogs are awesome. They’re a part of our lives in a way that NO other animal is. They know what we’re thinking, they understand our gaze, they know what pointing means, they know how to communicate with us. They CRAVE our attention, and affection. If they don’t get it, they suffer. Why? Because we’ve spent the last 20-30,000 years turning them into slaves that don’t even *know* they’re slaves. They think we’re fucking great. They love us. We love them too, but we also own them, and we never, ever forget that. That dog’s entire life is a cage of sorts. That doesn’t mean the dog is unhappy. It really does love you. But, is it free? That dog can’t even decide when it’s time to go to the bathroom without your permission. In fact, it’s been trained to wait for your permission. You might even say it’s waiting for that little bell to ding, and the seatbelt light to turn off.

    None of this is meant as a commentary on pets, or farming, sharks, or airplanes. It’s an illustration of the nature of the power relationship between a cult member, and the cult they’re a part of.

    Why do you clip a bird’s wings? So it can’t fly away. Why does it live in a cage? So it doesn’t shit on your floor.

     Lawrence Meyers 

    @winstonsmith It isn’t even restricted to cults. It’s any form of ideology. I don’t happen to buy into Christ as the Son of God, but I know those who do, some of them are theological scholars of the highest intellect. They are totally rational, and have cogent and rather convincing arguments.

    But I think this is also a callback to Plato’s Cave.

    One cannot complete one’s journey to consciousness if one does not even know what one does not know.

     Winston Smith 

    @larry Yeah, cults are not about religion. They’re about power, and control. Religion is just one of many effective mechanisms. It’s the greatest scam that’s ever existed. I convince you that you have to follow the rules in my special book, or else…you will suffer the consequence of eternal damnation. Your entire spiritual existence in this life, and any other is dependent on you following the rules laid out in MY special book. If you don’t follow the rules, you’re not just fucked in this life, you’re fucked FOR ETERNITY. You can do a LOT with that kind of power. Eternal suffering is one hell of a “consequence”, isn’t it?

    Reading that paragraph will make many people feel deeply uncomfortable, not because they disagree with any of it, but because they’re not sure if I’m talking about *their* special book, or someone else’s. If I’m talking about someone else’s special book, that’s ok. If I’m talking about theirs, that’s a whole different story.

    The best part is that you can promise eternal salvation in exchange for compliance, but you don’t actually have to deliver *anything*. I get your compliance, because you believe that your reward will be eternal salvation. What are you gonna do, come back from the dead, and sue me for not delivering the agreed upon afterlife? Tell everyone I’m a liar? You can’t, you’re too busy being dead. There is literally nobody alive who can refute my solemn, and totally true promise that you will receive life everlasting, if only you follow my rules.

    Is it a coincidence that the Word of God always comes from the mouth of a man? Who’s words are they really?

    The scariest thing I ever learned about cults, is that these behaviors aren’t about cults, or religion. They’re not about belief, or non-belief. They’re about power, and control, and they can be exercised in a dizzying variety of contexts, in every aspect of each and every one of our lives. Why are we brand loyal? Is Tide significantly different from Downy? Do you even know what the difference is? Could you articulate that in a way that didn’t just regurgitate what you heard in a commercial? Do you have a real, qualitative opinion about the merits of Tide vs. Downy? If not, who’s opinion do you have? Who’s opinion are you basing your purchases on? Do you think you’d be terribly disappointed if you switched? Probably not, but you don’t…because you fear the consequences of the thing you don’t know. It’s easier to stick with the thing that you do.

    You see it in politics, you see it in advertising, you see it in food, you see it in entertainment, you see it in religion, you see it in business, you see in personal relationships, you see it in friends, you see it in adversaries, you see it *EVERYWHERE*.

    We demonize each other for our political views every day. You want this world to be a better place. Whether you’re liberal, conservative, or unicorn, it doesn’t matter. You probably want the world to become a better place. What do the people on the “other side” want? Don’t they see that you’re just trying to make the world a better place? How could they be opposed to that? What the fuck is wrong with them? Why are they trying to stop you from making the world better? Most of the time, we don’t even remember WHY we believe what we do. We just know that it’s important to protect those beliefs against the heretics, and heathens.

    It doesn’t matter who you are, or what you believe. To someone, you’re nothing but a cow.

     Sarah Musnicky 

    Having spent a majority of my life being under someone’s power and control in some way, shape, or form and having been personally endangered by said elements, those experiences are what led me not to leave a couple of nights ago. Here is a stranger whom I have never met before, who has obviously engaged in some shenanigans and things of a questionable nature, and she is telling me I should leave the apartment. I’m tired. I’m exhausted. I’ve been working myself to the fucking bone for the past six months and I am now being told to leave because of some danger that may befall my person. Fuck that. I know she meant well and I hope to God that she is okay.

    However, the reality is I am not currently in danger with the Powers That Be/The System/whatever the fuck else they call themselves. Yes, I am so full of hubris right now. But why do I make such claims? Because danger to me is very real. It is what keeps me up at night. It is what makes me come up with all of the different scenarios in my head whenever something goes awry and I either have to fix it or get the hell out of dodge. I literally had to worry for my life in a completely different scenario a week after the iConfidant event because an unhinged person from a different life came out of the blue. That is real danger. That is real fear.

    Has The System facilitated such a reaction from me? No. Has the BOS facilitated such a reaction from me? No. I do not feel like I am in any danger so why would I leave my apartment? More specifically why would I leave my apartment when I have no place to go? Sure, I could go to any of your homes, but why would you house someone who is in “danger”? These are the things that I’ve thought about since whatever happened a couple nights ago happened. It’s full of rambling and hubris and fatigue…

     Robert Fuller 

    @mamatato Well, you clearly weren’t killed or harmed in any way by not leaving your apartment, so I think you made the right call.


    To me this reads more like… the visionaries and revolutionaries and those who have new ideas will always be judged and dismissed by those who have no exposure to them, or who have never had the chance to see the things they have. But there also may be some significance to the fact that it’s not that a bird in a cage WON’T fly… it can’t. Maybe not everyone can “fly” as it were.

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