No one’s any good at starting a cult. It shouldn’t be that hard. The mistake everyone makes is going too bizarre too soon. That works only for rappers. And cats.
Most of us already have what it takes to join a cult. It’s just that we are already in one and from there, watching something new come up is like watching a birthing video to decide if you want to have a child. You can’t get that far ahead. This is a long game and the first step is to find out what people worship.
Because it’s something no one wants you to find out.
Deep worship is discomforting. The fanatical, almost self-sacrificing reverence has been normalized by religion. You know, cults with the most Twitter following. Most worship is about something else entirely. It’s about what has been passed down generations. Delusions that have solidified into beliefs. The idol for this worship is at the altar of our regrets. Your thinking has been sacrificed for a story. And as far as cults go, nothing beats your family.
Your initiation happens very young. And it determines what you believe for the rest of your life. While most familial traditions are sappy and harmless, the core of it turns the soft mass that is your brain into a lump of dung that will fortify every decision you make for the rest of your life. Cults miss out because by the time they reach you you already have your own set of batshit bizzaroos.
You’d think the core of all this has to do with God. It’s why God gets a bad rap. Terrible brand managers. The core of it has to do with safety. God enters the scene – I’d like to imagine to The Rock’s entrance music – only when you are in trouble. At the center is you. You worship yourself.
Only because it will look marginally (because I am a millennial) narcissistic to hang your pictures everywhere — you go with the common image. And the people who aren’t into images — they just haven’t suffered enough to lose their mind. But their worship isn’t any different.
While all our worship is covert, we can’t hide the tumors of our worship: wealth, power, intelligence, beauty. The real images. The anchor which keeps us tethered to our shitty ideals.
Our struggles are fodder for our worship. In their most benign form, they are respect and respectability. The two things cults overlook. Because they have to go extreme. They must offer you something of the beyond to get your attention. Why prey for petty shit when you can drink this special moose juice and attain immortality. Cults don’t take off because the recruitment strategy requires you to have lost all hope in the first place. Not to mention, equally terrible branding. Cults require you to have exhausted worship. To have given up safety. To have forgotten yourself.
The funny thing is that was the whole point of worship all along. To reach a brief moment of forgetfulness. How thinly we are separated from insanity.
Cults shock us because it’s the equivalent of having someone film your thoughts and make a documentary of it. It’s why we need to start our own cults. Unto ourselves. Because we need the shock to wake up to our individuality. To jolt ourselves into asking if all the shit passed down to us has any relevance anymore. And it might. No, it won’t. But this is the only option we have left to confront what we call, worship. A worship born neither of hope nor hopelessness. But of aloneness.
Someday you will smell what The Rock is cooking.