ever been a part of a cult? not the weirdly dressed, distinctive, in-ur-face cults. the subtle, you'll-never-know-they-exist cults? i have. actually, i still am. for someone who has never confirmed to anything or anyone, it's a drastic realization. to be a part of a cult. to be so involved in it that i forget friends, family, even myself at times! and i have no explanations. not even to myself. i didn't realize when i got into this. and i cannot say when i'll move out. i thought i'd moved on... but then, as is wont with cults, you can't move out till the cult wants you out! *or maybe, till the head honcho wants you out/has nothing more to gain out of you*
as per wikipedia, Cult inexactly refers to a cohesive social group devoted to beliefs or practices that the surrounding culture considers outside the mainstream, with a notably positive or negative popular perception.
Cults are groups that often exploit members psychologically and/or financially, typically by making members comply with leadership's demands through certain types of psychological manipulation, popularly called mind control, and through the inculcation of deep-seated anxious dependency on the group and its leaders. the focus tends to be on the specific tactics of conversion, the negative impact on individual members, and the difficulty in leaving once indoctrination has occurred.
Studies of religious, political, and other cults have identified a number of key steps in this type of coercive persuasion:
a. People are put in physically or emotionally distressing situations;
b. their problems are reduced to one simple explanation, which is repeatedly emphasized;
c. they receive unconditional love, acceptance, and attention from the leader;
d. they get a new identity based on the group;
e. they are subject to entrapment and their access to information is severely controlled.
An important factor is coercive persuasion which suppresses the ability of people to reason, think critically, and make choices in their own best interest.
cults are not only negative, as perceived from these wikipedia definitions. they have a lot of positives as well. i have tried walking out of the cult. and have realized that i cannot be as happy outside it as inside it. even today, given better opportunities in life, i still "like" being a part of the cult. if asked by a third party outside of the cult, i cannot think of any negatives. NONE, whatsoever. no matter what wikipedia has to say. no matter what my head & heart say. no matter how logically you explain it to me. no matter how logically i try to think of it. whether i like it or not, i have achieved "cult status" in a way that may not be easy to explain. not to you, not to me.
p.s.: for detailed info on how/why i think i am part of a cult, pls visit: http://www.howcultswork.com/