Several years ago I wrote an essay and made a two-part video describing the family system as a cult. The idea for these came to me during my process of breaking away from my own family of origin, when it dawned on me that what I was going through bore an uncanny resemblance to stories I had heard from people leaving conventionally-defined cults. I have since heard similar stories from others who have broken away from their families of origin: stories of being defamed, belittled, manipulated, pathologized, scapegoated, and shunned.
Over the years I have thought more about my idea of the family system as a cult. In line with that, I wish to test the idea from a different angle, and a more critical one, by seeing if the family system fits the Cult Information Centre’s definition of a cult. Continue reading
Dear humans of the year 2100,
By the time you read this I will be long dead, probably forty or fifty years already. The things about which I write are obvious to you. To you it is obvious that we, your progenitors, failed. We failed to make the changes necessary to allow our species to live sustainably on this planet. We failed to use the technology at our disposal to live cleanly on Earth. We failed to use farming and waste disposal methods that did not poison the land and water and air. In our quest for lives of comfort we used our planet, and psychologically our children, as a sewer. Continue reading
Twenty years ago this month I graduated from Swarthmore College with a liberal arts degree in biology. I’d been well-trained to do everything and nothing: everything because four years of Swarthmore convinced me that I could learn most anything successfully, and nothing because past that I really hadn’t learned much of practical value. After leaving Swarthmore I entered the world with high confidence and major insecurity. I had some wonderful and very rough years ahead. Had Swarthmore prepared me for a balanced life as it so roundly promised or had it failed me? Reflecting on those formative years of two decades back, I wish to study my college experience, in good Swarthmore fashion, logically. Continue reading
[Written in 2009. Of note, as of 4/1/13: I wrote this essay while I was still a therapist; I ended my therapy practice in March, 2010. Also, when I wrote this essay I didn’t have a paypal “donations” button on my website. I just put that up a few days ago — so hopefully I can invest more time and energy into this website.]
I have been accused several times over the years of running a cult through this website, or at least of being cultish. So I decided to put this cult question to the test—according to the Cult Information Centre’s “5 Characteristics of a Cult” and “26 Mind Control Techniques.”
Of course, this is me “subjectively” putting my own website and point of view to the test, but at least it’s a try!
[Written around 2004.]
Alcoholics Anonymous has helped millions to stop drinking, which is a vital step for everyone on the spiritual path, but its inherent limits as a program prevent its members from becoming fully enlightened. AA allows alcoholics a fellowship of peers, but it philosophy denies the full truth – and thus cannot provide fully enlightened guidance. As such, if its members go too far in expressing their true selves, they will not be loved by the group. Continue reading
[Written around 2005.]
Cults are manifestations of the worst of the family system. They adhere to the same underlying dynamics of families but replace familial depression with an alluring, grandiose face, which is why so many underdeveloped souls seeking love swim in and get ensnared in their tentacles. And uncomfortable as it is to get swallowed by the beast, it’s an old and familiar tale – an adult recreation of the child’s dilemma of needing to fit into his family at all costs in order to survive. Continue reading