Monday, June 8, 2009

Is the LaRouchemovement a cult? Check out Dr. Robert J. Lifton's criterias for what a cult is.

(Chapel Hill, 1989)
CHAPTER 15 (New York 1987)

Any ideology -- that is, any set of emotionally-charged convictions
about men and his relationship to the natural or supernatural world
-- may be carried by its adherents in a totalistic direction. But
this is most likely to occur with those ideologies which are most
sweeping in their content and most ambitious or messianic in
their claim, whether a religious or political organization. And
where totalism exists, a religion, or a political movement becomes
little more than an exclusive cult.

Here you will find a set of criteria, eight psychological themes against
which any environment may be judged. In combination, they create an
atmosphere which may temporarily energize or exhilarate, but which at the
same time pose the gravest of human threats.



the most basic feature is the control of human communication within
and environment if the control is extremely intense, it becomes
internalized control -- an attempt to manage an individual's inner
communication control over all a person sees, hears, reads, writes
(information control)
creates conflicts in respect to individual autonomy
groups express this in several ways: Group process, isolation from
other people, psychological pressure, geographical distance or
unavailable transportation, sometimes physical pressure
often a sequence of events, such as seminars, lectures, group
encounters, which become increasingly intense and increasingly
isolated, making it extremely difficult-- both physically and
psychologically--for one to leave.
sets up a sense of antagonism with the outside world; it's us
against them
closely connected to the process of individual change (of personality)

2. MYSTICAL MANIPULATION (Planned spontaneity)

extensive personal manipulation
seeks to promote specific patterns of behavior and emotion in such
a way that it appears to have arisen spontaneously from within the
environment, while it actually has been orchestrated
totalist leaders claim to be agents chosen by God, history, or
some supernatural force, to carry out the mystical imperative
the "principles" (God-centered or otherwise) can be put forcibly and
claimed exclusively, so that the cult and its beliefs become the only
true path to salvation (or enlightenment)
the individual then develops the psychology of the pawn, and
participates actively in the manipulation of others
the leader who becomes the center of the mystical manipulation (or
the person in whose name it is done) can be sometimes more real than
an abstract god and therefore attractive to cult members
legitimizes the deception used to recruit new members and/or raise
funds, and the deception used on the "outside world"


the world becomes sharply divided into the pure and the impure, the
absolutely good (the group/ideology) and the absolutely evil
(everything outside the group)
one must continually change or conform to the group "norm"
tendencies towards guilt and shame are used as emotional levers for
the group's controlling and manipulative influences
once a person has experienced the totalist polarization of good/evil
(black/white thinking), he has great difficulty in regaining a more
balanced inner sensitivity to the complexities of human morality
the radical separation of pure/impure is both within the environment
(the group) and the individual
ties in with the process of confession -- one must confess when one
is not conforming


cultic confession is carried beyond its ordinary religious, legal
and therapeutic expressions to the point of becoming a cult in itself
sessions in which one confesses to one's sin are accompanied by
patterns of criticism and self-criticism, generally transpiring within
small groups with an active and dynamic thrust toward personal change
is an act of symbolic self-surrender
makes it virtually impossible to attain a reasonable balance between
worth and humility
a young person confessing to various sins of pre-cultic existence can
both believe in those sins and be covering over other ideas and
feelings that s/he is either unaware of or reluctant to discuss
often a person will confess to lesser sins while holding on to other
secrets (often criticisms/questions/doubts about the group/leaders
that may cause them not to advance to a leadership position)
"the more I accuse myself, the more I have a right to judge you"


the totalist milieu maintains an aura of sacredness around its basic
doctrine or ideology, holding it as an ultimate moral vision for the
ordering of human existence
questioning or criticizing those basic assumptions is prohibited
a reverence is demanded for the ideology/doctrine, the originators of
the ideology/doctrine, the present bearers of the ideology/doctrine
offers considerable security to young people because it greatly
simplifies the world and answers a contemporary need to combine a
sacred set of dogmatic principles with a claim to a science embodying
the truth about human behavior and human psychology


the language of the totalist environment is characterized by the
thought-terminating cliche (thought-stoppers)
repetitiously centered on all-encompassing jargon
"the language of non-thought"
words are given new meanings -- the outside world does not use the
words or phrases in the same way -- it becomes a "group" word or


every issue in one's life can be reduced to a single set of principles
that have an inner coherence to the point that one can claim the
experience of truth and feel it
the pattern of doctrine over person occurs when there is a conflict
between what one feels oneself experiencing and what the doctrine or
ideology says one should experience
if one questions the beliefs of the group or the leaders of the group,
one is made to feel that there is something inherently wrong with them
to even question -- it is always "turned around" on them and the
questioner/criticizer is questioned rather than the questions answered
the underlying assumption is that doctrine/ideology is ultimately more
valid, true and real than any aspect of actual human character or
human experience and one must subject one's experience to that "truth"
the experience of contradiction can be immediately associated with guilt
one is made to feel that doubts are reflections of one's own evil
when doubt arises, conflicts become intense


since the group has an absolute or totalist vision of truth, those who
are not in the group are bound up in evil, are not enlightened, are not
saved, and do not have the right to exist
"being verses nothingness"
impediments to legitimate being must be pushed away or destroyed
one outside the group may always receive their right of existence by
joining the group
fear manipulation -- if one leaves this group, one leaves God or loses
their transformation, for something bad will happen to them
the group is the "elite", outsiders are "of the world", "evil",
"unenlightened", etc.

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