Each section has to be followed in order. All the preparatory steps must be completed before the "philosophy" steps.
If you have any questions as to *why* a step exists, first check the FAQ then do some research. For example, "Why practice an art?" To keep the step-by-step guide brief, I don't go into explanations of each step. You can click on the "why" button after each paragraph for an explanation, some with references.
Learn to cook dozens of healthy and inexpensive dishes from scratch.
Develop an "escape route". You need a plan to "get away" from the town you live in and the life you're leading. Lots of people hate cult leaders and prophets of any kind, the more honest ones seem to get it the worst. If you have a family (many cult leaders did!), then the escape plan should include them too. Learn how to change your legal name, pick a place you want to live when you retire, etc. Write it all down. Don't worry about money, you'll have plenty when it's over... hopefully. Just don't skip this step... it's not optional or something you can do later.
Clean up your taxes as much as possible.
Write a will.
No matter how dark or crazy it may seem... you need to know your true philosophy... not some watered down version and not something someone told you or you read about. None of these beliefs or desires has to be strongly held! Even a "whim" can be added to a cult philosophy. But the important thing is that it has to be "true". Cult leaders are not, at least in the beginning, direct liars... people see through lies too easily. Write truth, say truth, live truth. It won't work any other way.
Some aspects of your philosophy or world-view will be too personal to talk about. Create symbols and metaphors for your darkest secrets, or for things that, perhaps, you wouldn't want to reveal to others about yourself or your motives. You can use the phrase "obligate transcendence" instead of "sex".... for example.
Use your art to express this philosophy. Rely heavily on metaphor & symbolism.
Begin to write down as much as you can about your philosophy or ideas. Remember to use the metaphors and symbols somewhat consistently. Self-reinforcement is important. This, like your art, is an ongoing project. Important: if your "art" is fiction writing, you've got twice as much writing to do. Philosophical writing is different than creative writing. Keep them separate.
Start holding weekly informal backyard potluck picnics. Invite single neighbors, preferably those without cats. Don't invite friends or acquanitences or people who knew you well "before" you started this path. The form and structure of the party should be one that makes *you* the happiest. Ask people to bring food *you* like. Importantly, don't cook any food yourself. Carefully ask each person to bring enough for themselves and a few others....like any other potluck. Assign someone to drinks. There should be enough for everyone, and no one needs to know you didn't cook. Again... don't cook or bring any food.
Never talk to people one on one. Always talk to people in groups of at least 5, meeting people in the eye as much as possible when doing so. You can, of course, address someone ... as in "please pass the salt". But only do that if there are at least 4 people watching you. If you really need to, you can do something to attract attention first (cough, wave your hand... whatever), then ask for the salt.
If you're talking about philosophy, don't ever climax or resolve what it is you say. You can build up to something... but then stop. Beat around the bush or refuse to talk ... whatever you feel like... but don't climax. Climax in a cult speech is like climax in sex... it pretty much ends it. You want to keep the "dialogue" open. This doesn't apply when asking to pass the salt... obviously.
At each gathering, ask people to "come together" when you begin speaking. Tell them some of your philosophy, but not too much. Just a few sentences. Some things you've been thinking about. Never read from a paper... never memorize.... just say what comes to mind in the moment. Don't get carried away ... just a few sentences! Remember, this isn't stuff you made up... it's real and it's personal.
Some people will identify with you, or will somehow be moved, or will want more. Some people won't.
Keep a list of people you invited. Grow the list. Remove anyone from the list who is disruptive or who attracts more attention than you. This part has to be pretty impersonal. People who don't want to hear your weird lectures won't come back, and they'll drop off fast... so keep inviting new people.
You must carefully observe your OWN reactions to the "gatherings". Don't worry so much bout how other people react... worry about how YOU react. Don't invite people who make you feel shy, or uncertain or too emotional in any way. As you gain experience, you'll find that fewer and fewer people intimidate you and you can accept more and more into the group.
After at least a dozen people are "following" you, it may start to feel meaningless. You may feel disgust for those who listen to you, this is natural. It will become apparent ... that's OK. But continue refining philosopbhy, etc. Deepen and obfuscate your metaphor.
Continue to practice your art.
Remember, there are no one-on-one encounters allowed of any kind. It will get harder. People may visit to talk, or call to go to a movie. Show your art or read from your writings, whatever you want, but NEVER do anything unless at least 3 or four people are watching yout.
Do you really want all these people who you have no respect for following you around? Walk away now. Stop asking people to come by. Focus on your job ... go back to hanging out with people you like. Whatever.
If the parts 1-4 were done right...it's too late. You'll actually be surprised how easy it was. This "retreat" will actually cause the cult to grow stronger.
When you stop having your meetings, your followers will ask why. Ask them to give you money to get invited to special meetings or for special research... whatever ... you need lots of it! At this point you should be half-hoping that they will go away or laugh at you... but they'll give it all and it will freak you out. You'll say absurd things at these meeting to scare people off and end it.... but it won't work.
This is a gradual, natural process with 3 parts. You allow yorself to become addicted to your growing power while slowly withdrawing from contact with others and increasing your fear and disgust of your followers. (Now's where the cooking comes into play... told you so!). Don't push one of these too far (too much power grab, too much fear, running away too soon, etc.). Let yor own emotions guide you. Try not to think too much about ong term consequences at this point.
Don't tell anyone about this document... they might get really upset. Cult followers have been known to kill their leaders. Don't play games at this point or try to say it was all a joke. If you've gotten this far, you know what I'm talking about.
Creepy people you don't know will start showing up wanting to talk to you. Frightened of what they might do, you'll no longer be able to admit it was all started as a lark. But again, never talk without at least a few people around. Now, it's as much for safety as anything else.
And besides...they pay you right? You've accumulated hundreds of thousands in donations at this point. The money's worth it. But the more they pay you, the more they expect, and the angrier they will be if you let them down.
Congratulations....you've started you're own cult! Did you remember that escape plan from section 2?
A cult is any group that others (non members) call a cult. Members of a cult don't consider themselves to be in a cult.
It's probably going to be more fun than watching TV and pissing away time on the internet reading web pages.
They can be hard to get out of. Leaders of cults often feel more "trapped" than followers, expressing through their writings and art this feeling of being "pulled" deeper into it. If you read histories of cults, most of their leaders were, in many ways, victims. Smart cult leaders have a pre-planned "exit strategy" if things go awry.
I am not an expert on cults, so I'd appreciate feedback on this article so I can improve it. Mostly I'm looking for questions to add to the FAQ and technique/advice. Remember, this is NOT an article about "how other cults work now", which there are enough of. This is how to *start* one. One things true... cults never start out as cults.
A simple answer is that most cult leaders did so before starting their cult. The complicated answer is that art is "ego-reinforcing". The practice of expressing oneself through art is a practice of getting to know one's "inner self" (I put that in quotes) and projecting that self via a medium. This is, essentially, cult training. What is a cult if not the projection of ego and inner philosophy onto unsuspecting others?
Popular cults and their followers always cook their own food. Special restrictions or traditions around food naturally arise in cults, and without training these will be lacking. (Many of these traditions merely refelct the personal tastes of the leader. That's OK.) Why not have a legion of people who cook food you like? Later, if you develop some characteristic paranoia, you probably won't trust food cooked by anyone but yourself anyway.
All people have insights that are meaningful to a certain percentage of others. Also, a huge percentage of people are kindof messed up psychologically and *want* to get attatched to someone else. Besides, they don't really care about what you think.
Being cloaked in art and metaphor, you are shielded from being crushed by other, more powerful egos. Also, some personal philosophies are pretty boring. Heavy use of metaphor makes them interesting and lets people draw their *own* conclusions about what you mean. Remember, people really don't want insight... they want their own insights confirmed.
You should be able to figure this one out on your own. Think about it.
Because you won't be able to think clearly. Really. You won't. You'll thank me for telling you to do this first... or you'll ignore it and curse me for not stressing it more. Also, having an escape plan is something that puts you in the right mindset. A lot of this work is ego-preparatory.
A large percentage of people who own cats are affected by a mild, clinically undetectable form of toxoplasmosis. This makes them poor cult followers or a variety of reasons. It also makes them keep cluttered houses. Plus, I'm allergic to cats.
Sure. Email me and I'll get you unstuck. I'm good at that.