RE: Mind Viruses and Potential Hosts

From: Vincent Campbell (
Date: Fri 14 Feb 2003 - 13:05:30 GMT

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            <Atheists tend to be people who consider themselves relatively more
    > intellectual. People of faith tend to think of themselves as more
    > disciplined and moral. Accomplished businesspeople are more cunning and
    > industrious in their own eyes. People who become teachers were usually
    > good
    > students. In a sense, those are all cults.>
            I think that broadens the meaning of the term cult to a point where it becomes valueless. Cults, surely, involve the self-detrimental submission of individuals to the will of a collective (or perhaps more accurately the whims of the leader of the cult). Cults also involve extremes of dogma that mean people will do all sorts of things they wouldn't do in any other circumstances (most obviously suicide, but also other things like group sex). Indeed one could argue that membership of a cult is an indication of some psychological/emotional problem that the cult is being used, consciously or otherwise, to address.

            Several of the things you mention are not cults within this understanding- atheism, for example, has no dress code, no leader, no ritual practices or anything like that. I don't consider myself intellectually superior to anyone, not even true believers, as many of them recognise the patent absurdities of the plausibility of their beliefs (or rather the myths their beliefs are based upon), but are comforted by the delusions that may enable them to deal psychologically/emotionally with things that otherwise might be too difficult to deal with. Plenty of non-religious people engage in this kind of thing (e.g. curse of the bambino, Bostonians?), but there's a world of difference between the strategies of coping, and other little self-delusions that we all use at work, in the home, and in life in general, and categorising that as cult behaviour.

            Another comment that springs to mind- atheists don't hang around orphanages, prisons and the like looking to 'comfort' (i.e. convert) the vulnerable.


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