From the page:
Cult belief systems are typically:
Independent and non-accountable - believers follow their own self-justifying moral codes: e.g. a Moonie may, in their own mind, justify deceptive recruiting as 'deceiving evil into goodness'.
Aspirational - they appeal to ambitious, idealistic people. The assumption that only weak, gullible people join cults is not necessarily true.
Personal and experiential - it is not possible to exercise informed free choice in advance, about whether the belief system is valid or not, or about the benefits of following the study and training opportunities offered by the group. The benefits, if any, of group involvement can only be evaluated after a suitable period of time spent with the group. How long a suitable period of time might be, depends on the individual, and cannot be determined in advance.
Hierarchical and dualistic - cult belief systems revolve around ideas about higher and lower levels of understanding. There is a hierarchy of awareness, and a path from lower to higher levels. Believers tend to divide the world into the saved and the fallen, the awakened and the deluded, etc.
Bi-polar - believers experience alternating episodes of faith and doubt, confidence and anxiety, self-righteousness and guilt, depending how well or how badly they feel they are progressing along the path.
Addictive - believers may become intoxicated with the ideals of the belief system, and feel a vicarious pride in being associated with these ideals. Cults tend to be cliquey and elitist, and believers can become dependent on the approval of the group's elite to maintain their own self-esteem. At an extreme, believers fear they will fall into hell if they leave the group.
Psychologically damaging - when established members leave or are expelled, they may develop a particular kind of cult-induced mental disorder, marked by anxiety and difficulty in making decisions. The disorder exhibits similarities to (but is not identical to) post-traumatic stress disorder, and certain types of adjustment disorders. [ICD 10, F60.6, F66.1, etc.]
Non-falsifiable - a cult belief system can never be shown to be invalid or wrong. This is partly why critics have low credibility, and why it can be difficult to warn people of the dangers of a cult.
My comment on Will's blog:
These attributes of a cult are probably perfect in how they are seeing the situation- and Im sure they can probably be attributed to any "ism" that we can think of, and still hold water
the thing they seem to be missing, is what Ive been calling the "mirror"- that is, the ability to self reflect, to look and see if the things that are being put forth are likewise applicable to the place where those attributes are being seen FROM-
for instance, this would be akin to going into a doctoral dissertation defense, and having your dissertation be ABOUT the Falsity of defending doctoral dissertations- this should be a perfectly valid experiment, but can the academic system allow such self examination while in the very process of producing what is being challenged BY what it produced? (ie, expertise)
Im saying the aspect of this mirror, the extreme willingness to self-examine WHILE in the process of putting forth self, is like watching a drop of pigment fall into a clear glass of water- there is no chance of taking the pigment back out by the same methods that got it there...
one must END all notions of "us" and "them"- and from there, a new learning comes into it... as long as we insist on using "us" and "them" language, no matter how pure the original seeing may have been, it will be tainted by a separation that is itself infused with the same energy that was seen as false in the first place...
this is what I call "carrying the insight"... an insight cannot be carried into the next moment, and made into knowledge- this is simply not the nature of insight... an insight is an opening, pure and simple- an opening into non-separation, that must stay put in the very moment that it is seen... the moment one attempts to "carry" this opening with one, into the next moment (to make "knowledge" out of it) it becomes as closed to the truth as that separation which gave it birth...
END the "us and them", the "-isms" and "-ists", the need for expertise of any kind, within one self... END them, and then compassion acts... compassion will act of its own accord- without our need to make it into something - into something "special" or "better"- the movement of making "special" or "better" is still of the same energy that created hierarchies in the first place- there is still underneath all of that, the "what about me" thought, that is itself infused with the same hierarchy...
It takes an act of great Love and curiosity to end the separation of "us and them"- to end it ALL, within oneself, before any thought of communicating an insight comes into play- a great faith in truth is necessary, and integral to that truth-faith is the knowing that we cannot ever know- a willingness to look inward, to the mirror, and see that everything that is measured is already there in oneself...
this act of Love that looks, cannot be born of hierarchy and separation- it is prior to all separation - prior to all measurements, it is the source of any insight- and it will not carry to the next moment- it must be brought to the meeting NEW, each time...
this is what will end war- by ending the conflict that is inherent in pointing outward from oneself- by risking it all, to find that which was never separated from its source, from the ground of all being- to find it HERE, and NOW, without any call to expertise, without any act of agreement or disagreement- just to look inwardly, and see the mirror of relationship- this is the ending of hierarchy- finding out where it cannot live- depriving it of its energy, completely, within oneself, BEFORE there is any requirement that the other do so... this is what will bring true peace