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Three Parts To Every Cult


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There have been a lot of weird end-of-the-world cults.

My favorite is a fictional one, from one of the Poltergeist movies.

The fist movie was in a house that was on top of a cemetery.

They'd moved the headstones, but not the bodies.

(greedy real estate company)

The second movie was something similar.

Apparently a preacher (1800's or so) had collected a bunch of kids.

Saying he was going to save them from the apocalypse.

So he gathered them in some cave.

Waiting for the end times.

The date and went, but nothing happened.

So the crazy old preacher kept the kids anyway.

They all died, and then a 100 years later poltergeist family was being haunted them their angry ghosts.

This sounds like a stretch, but good enough for a horror movie.

But this actually does happen quiet a bit.

(not the ghost part, the end of the world nutjob part)

One famous "cult" back in the early 1900's was CERTAIN the world was coming.

The closer it got, the more their members grew.

Many of them sold EVERYTHING.

Quit their jobs, gave all their money to the church.

Certain the end was coming.

But then the expected date of the end came and went, and nothing.

So what happened?

Did all the members feel like idiots?

After all, they'd pretty much RUINED their lives.

But something strange happened.

The "non-event" actually STRENGTHENED their beliefs?


Their thinking was that BECAUSE of their "great works," they actually PREVENTED the end from coming.

This made them MORE committed to their "religion."

Now, on one level, this sounds absolutely ABSURD.

It's like the old joke about keeping garlic around.

"Hey, why do you have so much garlic in your house?"

"To keep away the vampires!"

"Dude, that's lame. There's no such thing as vampires!"

"See! It's working!"

But on another level, it makes perfect sense.

Especially when you consider the massive amounts of human biases.

Once you have a belief in your mind, no matter WHAT happens, it will verify that belief.

Especially when you make a significant COMMITTMENT to your belief.

Once you make a commitment to ANY belief, it is MUCH HARDER to admit you're wrong.

This is why many CULTS and other religious groups hang on to the VERY END.

They have authority, the charismatic leader.

They have social proof, all the members who all believe the same stuff.

But when you add in massive public commitment, it's pretty much a lock.

In the above example, all the people quitting their jobs and giving away all their money was about a serious and public commitment as they could make.

Pretty much GUARANTEEING that no matter WHAT happened, it would VERIFY their belief.


It shows that the presence of authority, social proof and commitment and consistency is STRONGER than the validity of the belief.

Meaning once you get stuck with those three things, it's pretty hard to get out.

Trouble is, those three things are EVERYWHERE.

How do you know what's real, and what's not?

Learn How:


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