Tuesday, September 13, 2005

Omega Obsession: Part 1

Note: Back when I was a very, very minor forensic consultant ( did I say very?) this piece was comissioned by the Catholic New Times. It was subsequently reprinted by The Mackenzie Institute (Mackenzie Newsletter # 29) and is still kicking around the net. The Radical Academy website for one, the last I looked. I thought I would reclaim it and since it is long for a blog I have broken it into parts.

As the Millenium approaches, we enter into one of our periodic Pentecostal time-frames when old visions and new dreams broadly influence society in alchemical fashion. Obsessed with omegas, yet a third set of members of the Order of the Solar Temple in St. Casimir, Quebec, and the Heaven's Gate cult in San Diego, California, recently transmuted the divine fire of revelation into the hell-fire of the damned.

The revelatory doomsday cycle is self-perpetuating. Some New Age prophets have already designated the year 2012 as a fall-back position in the eternal end-game contest of when the world is really, really, truly going to end.

Commentary on these recent cult suicides has been valuable and largely accurate. However, current analysis has leaned heavily on victimization, with the familiar refrain of societal culpability. The considerable and constant emphasis placed on the cult member as a lonely, rejected individual, as a kind of spiritual refugee, abused by and fleeing from a corrupt, sterile and materialistic culture is dismissively convenient, but does not complete the profile.

Please, let's broaden the perspective.

One of the motivating factors in cult dynamics is power, particularly in the psychopathic sense. An arrogant, even malignant elitism is at work here. This elitism habitually manifests itself in claims to be the single and exclusive keeper and guardian of the most ancient, hidden, esoteric and arcane knowledge and wisdom. With Ozymandian conceit, the cults declare they are the Few, the Elect, the Enlightened, the Illumined, the Chosen. Their leaders are the Avatar, the Messenger, the One, the Two ( or the Four for that matter) who are willing to reveal - by correspondence and a monthly cheque if one cannot attend in person to sit at the feet of the master - all the secrets of Isis and the number of devils in Christendom. The cult provides a celestial ego trip of stellar proportions.

Moreover, this doctrine of exclusivity is not the special domain of the cultist. Anti-cultists also sometimes exhibit a version of the hidden knowledge syndrome. We, the "experts," also sometimes claim exclusive ownership and understanding of this phenomena, and must be wary of becoming that which we pursue.

To be continued.

4 comments:

jason evans said...
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jason evans said...

You can insert these psychological currents into any religious thinking. A focus on the end of the world simply reveals a person or group of persons who are acutely dissatisfied with their current condition and look to another plane of existence (quite literally a plane in the case of the "mother plane" of the Nation of Islam) where they will be rewarded and their enemies punished.

Robyn said...

First, let me take this opportunity to ~~~squee!~~~ You were in forensics? How cool is that?

Maybe it's me, but it seems The Chosen very often work into the The Chosen to Let Their Wives and Daughters Sleep with the Emmissary While They Do All the Dirty Work.

Bernita said...

Jason, almost every religious movement has some form of eschatological theory, this references a couple of examples where the leaders choose to force the issue rather abruptly. There was murder done in the case(s) of the Solar Temple, not just aquiescent suicide.Sometimes megalomaniacs are decidedly dissatisfied with their current condition.
Robyn, that is sometimes the case, and a warning sign. Exacting control over mating issues is a standard control technique.