Disclaimer: Views expressed in this post are the author’s and are not intended to attack a particular society or group.
So we are getting closer and closer to the end of 2016. New year resolutions are already in the making and goals that were not achieved in 2016 are now in the bucket list for 2017. As we draw closer to the finish line that is this year, I decided to take a look at some of the Cultic tendencies that have over time invaded our society. Some, you will realize, have equally been evident in the past century so it’s nothing totally new, simply more pronounced in the current century and Kenyan society, to be more specific.
So what are these emerging cultic tendencies I want to address, I hear you ask?
Over time, religion has been the most misunderstood aspect in society. And while the intentions of religion have always been to provide a spiritual guidance to the masses in their daily living, scripture has often times been taken out of context therefore, paving the way for a misguided cultic way of handling religion. The fact that many more individuals are enduring sufferings of every manner and are in dire need of a miracle, cultic leaders have had a field day recruiting vulnerable members into their fold.
And while in the previous century, cults had distinct ways of living and dressing that separated them from the masses and made it easier to identify them, in this century, cults have taken up a different form where they are not easily identifiable. As a matter of fact, many more people are joining cults without even realizing that they are in cults. Religious cults have since morphed into movements that are appealing to the masses and are not overly direct in their approach of recruiting. Threats to members having a desire to leave a cult are no longer issued, since the cult leaders have perfected the art of ensnarement that often is psychological.
Logical reasoning is often shunned by members who are unlucky enough to unknowingly find themselves in religious cults. Other people not subscribing to their misguided doctrine are often associated with being of the devil or lost. Indeed, the daily cropping up of churches and religious leaders purporting to possess divine powers in our Kenyan society and a hunger for a religious miracle in the lives of the masses, does little to help with this emergence of religious cultic tendencies.
As a result of their emotional nature, women have been targetted by religious cults. Innocent lives have been lost at the hands of extremists who interpret religion differenty from the rest. Young jobless men have ended up recruited into extremist groups. In the 21st century, the most distinct hallmarks of religious cults has been extremist views,that are often detrimental to society at large not only the members.
NETWORK MARKETING COMPANIES
Our Kenyan society is currently bombarded by offers to make that extra income in Network Marketing Companies. Personally, I have been involved with a Network Marketing Company whose only purpose in my life was seemingly, to drain me off the little finances I had.
I will not say that Network Marketing Companies are scams since I have witnessed individuals who actually make money in those companies and ultimately improve their lives, never to need formal employment. Plus the company I was in was pretty solid. So it’s not all doom and gloom in Network Marketing at least for the 1% who succeed in it. According to statistics, 99% of the people who join Network Marketing Companies fail.
However, during my stay in a Network Marketing Company, I noticed a cultic tendency among a majority of the Network Marketers. The fact that I found myself having to talk about what I do from day break to night fall in a bid to make a sale or recruit members into this “amazing” opportunity did not quite sit well with me. I made friends with a guy who never seemed to want to talk about anything else except the Network Marketing Company we were in.
When it became clearly evident to me that I wasn’t making any money, I started poring over the good and ugly information on Network Marketing. I also subsequently realized that none of the Network Marketers looked at the other side of the coin. They will mostly dwell on the positives and never on the negatives which is great for knowledge and self improvement purposes, so I thought. Needless to say, it was hard for me to walk away from Network Marketing since the message being preached was that “employment was enslavement”.
But when I finally did, I knew I was never going back. Some of the cultic tendencies of Network Marketing Companies I identified, is the constant desire to talk about one’s achievement despite a majority, actually struggling in the business. Again, logic reasoning is shunned. Walking out of a Network Marketing company is often associated with failure on the person’s part. Formal employment is given this ugly face.
Nobody forces you to join a Network Marketing Company so the choice remains the individual’s and if you believe it can work for you.
Sometime this year, Beyonce was performing on stage and got a slight injury. I was appalled to read on the internet that several of her fans equally cut themselves in solidarity with the singer. Sometime back, Enrique Iglesias injured his fingers while on stage performing and he didn’t quite get the same reaction from fans of showing solidarity to that extent, save for the messages of goodwill. And by the way, I’m equally a fan of Enrique.
I guess it all depends on the kind of pull a certain celebrity has to his/her fans. Now I have nothing against any celebrity in particular but in the 21st century, we have witnessed more and more of a cult-like following of celebrities. Never mind that some are not very good role models to the people looking up to them.
I have personally watched on TV, individuals who decide to go under the surgeon’s knife just to get that Michael Jackson look or Marylyn Monroe look or Spiderman look. We follow up on the lives of these celebrities and try to emulate what they do so as to be more in tune with them, or so. In reality, these individuals are just like us. The only difference between us and them is the fact that they are in the public eye and adored by many.
Terms like Beyhive (Beyonce’s fans) or Beliebers (Justin Bieber fans) and the likes are not going to end soon seeing that most of these fans take it a little too seriously than expected. Reality shows presenting a near perfect life of celebrities are just another channel of promoting the cultic following of many celebrities by clueless, wannabe, normal people.