I’m Thinking of Staring a Cult. Wanna join? #19 #cong21


Leadership and the ability to influence can be abused when it lands in the wrong hands

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Key Takeaways:

  1. I’m thinking of setting up a Cult
  2. I’m thinking I won’t manage it
  3. I’m showing you how others have managed it
  4. There is a fine line between leading and manipulating

About Ailish Irvine:

Freelance Community Development workshop facilitator. Long time fan of Congregation. Wife, mammy long suffering Mayo GAA fan. Partial to gallivanting, all things Italian and Social Enterprise.

Contacting Ailish:

You can follow Ailish on Twitter or Instagram.

By Ailish Irvine

I have always had an unhealthy fascination with watching documentaries about Cults and Cult leaders. I’m extremely lucky that I met my husband 20 years ago as I know that opening line would make for a very poor Tinder bio.However I shall continue to regale you with tales of cults and cult leaders and the number of observations that I have made from my unhealthy study.

The first thing that I’ve observed is I would make a very poor leader. I have difficulty managing to convince people to join me on a Saturday evening for a tipple in our local pub.

I’ve watched all the documentaries as I said and I want to highlight a few great watches so you too can join my Cult, it’s  a cult for people who like researching cults?

Do you wanna be in my gang? ……No I didn’t think so.

I promise though by the end of this you may just put one of these on your must watch list over the Christmas.

First up is Wild Wild Country and it’s on Netflix. I binge watched this one Christmas. I pretended I was watching The Holiday and Downton Abbey just so I wouldn’t be locked up.This will give you multiple tips on how to give up all your worldly possessions, move to the other side of the world and devote yourself deeply to narcissistic people with personality disorders. You will however in all of these documentaries get great tips on convincing people to build you entire villages “for the greater good” for completely free labour. If there is a danger that you have a thought of your own, don’t hesitate, it will eventually disappear as others convince you that you’re a renegade, rebel, freethinking type.

Second up, Sanpa this one isn’t technically a cult. It’s a documentary about the start of a movement in Italy to help drug addicts overcome addiction by pretty controversial means. While initially the leader was hailed as a saviour type in Italy his grasp on power becomes slightly alarming. Though sadly what links most of the followers in all of these stories, is a sense of alienation, vulnerability and loneliness. The ability for people to pick up and prey upon broken people and convince them that they have found the way forward is unbelievable.You can make up your mind on this one if the end justifies the means.

I have always taken consolation in the fact that we were too cute in Ireland  to fall for such shenanigans…… until I discovered this next bit.

I was going on my holidays to Donegal. As I researched things to do I came across a video on youtube about a sect called The Screamers. The Irish Times also covered this story not too long ago. Una Mullally covers it wonderfully in this article. They were considered dropouts as they  ‘found society pathetically wanting and more than a little hypocritical and unreal,’

What flabbergasted me though is that when they moved out of their house a new gang not completely far removed from The Handmaids Tale moved in. You too are welcome to go down the youtube rabbit hole that is Maids of The Silver Sisterhood

There is a German movie called Die Welle which delves deeply into a social experiment carried out by a teacher. He examined how easy it would be to convince people to take part in behaviours, normally alien to them. He pitted students against one another and slowly manipulated them into alienating and ostracising other class members. Oprah Winfrey tried a similar experiment by treating guests on her show better or worse depending on their eye colour. People were very happy to be in “The cool gang” even if it meant others suffering as  a result.

It seems to me upons observing all of the shows that a narcissistic, power hungry leader convincing people that they are following a path that others have not been brave enough to take, is one common theme. People’s willingness to have someone else make all the decisions for them is startling. They are happy to take a back seat and abdicate responsibility from freedom of thought in order to be a part of something bigger and better. Generally dissenters are punished and beaten into submission. A charismatic leader who seems to be too good to be true is also a bit of a red flag. They rarely are that good and so I highly recommend paying attention the next time you hear the word charisma mentioned.

Now I better finish. I’m setting up a cult here in Mayo, if you want to join please send me all your money. We won’t be engaging in any kind of religious pursuits, self flagellation has been taken off the constitution. I’m thinking of worshipping hedonistic pursuits, eating, drinking, poetry, music, song and  meeting new people  staying up until the wee hours talking nonsense? Are ye in?  Get in touch with Eoin Kennedy for Congregation so.

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