As a further thought, I have never been able to fathom how much my seemingly True-Believing family actually buys whole-heartedly into the cult belief systems and how much is purely fear-driven cowardice.
I have not been able to fathom that because although intelligent, my family members are scrupulous about not examining the issue, the denial is absolute. This is obviously a result of fear of the consequences should they allow the denial to crack.
Quote:Having suffered the consequences, I have some understanding of why they take this view. I also don't consider that I lack that fear-driven cowardice, it was purely a personal survival issue for me so there was no real choice--the danger of staying being greater to me than that of fleeing. I was subject to the same fears and cowardice as my family members but as my circumstances were different, was forced into coming to a different conclusion.
To whom it may concern:
The human mind really isn't that strong.
Rather than blaming cult victims by labeling them "gullible" or "cowardly" it's important to understand the manipulation, coercion and deception that is involved in cult recruitment and retention.
It is possible for people to simply be "brainwashed" and therefore unable to think critically or independently enough to break free.
Read these links:
I doubt that anybody makes a conscious choice about buying into the beliefs, there is a good analogy about boiling a frog---if you put it into a pot of hot water to boil it will jump straight out, if you put it into cold water and slowly heat the pot then it stays put and gets boiled. (not that I've ever boiled any frogs--its an illustration)
I think that the 'both sides of the coin' applies also to gullibility, we are impressionable which is what allows us to learn easily from birth and throughout life, it also makes us vulnerable to learning things inadvertently that we may not want to aquire.
Those posts have a lot of information and IMO are certainly worth looking over, which I will do, thank you. Even a brief overview of the links seems very interesting. The comparison between "Education, Advertising, Propaganda, Indoctrination, & Thought Reform" seem to be a very useful comparison, especially if I can find my Thesaurus,hehehehe.
And as far as labeling cult members to be gullible and cowardly goes, you are correct in that those labels can certainly further isolate and repress people who need help recovering from their cult experiences and for the record, if I ever unknowingly do so to a cult victim I hope somebody is around to slap me upside my head.
But as far as my own experience goes I have to recognize my own instincts as pertaining to "love and/or loyalty" and that fearful "get out from in front of that train" feeling as factors that I must take into account while processing my own experiences.
For me there was a conscious decision to sell out to the cult doctrine when it came to deciding where I would live and what I'd do, so maybe thinking about it like that is just reflecting the reality that for me there were decisions along those lines, more than once. But as time went on it became more and more clear to me that the idealized version of reality that I thought was happening was completely inadequate. And even though I knew my cult leader was blowing it bigtime I had no clear perception of the extent of his perverse and manipulative nature, otherwise I would have taken my wife and myself out of the pot, so-to-speak.
I still have some of the same idealism inside me I suppose, but still, most of my life has been thrown upon the shoals that were there because of lies, deceit, manipulation, and cruelty. So, in a nutshell I have to agree with you that such lessons are things I would prefer not to have learned, and since I know I still have some of that initial idealism I suppose in theory I am still prone to be snookered by another conman. But I think it's fair to say that I am not AS PRONE to be snookered again.
My list of lessons learned is enormous, and still has some way to grow. I find though, with time, that while I might have preferred not to learn some lessons in the particular ways I did, there are still benefits to the learning.
That might be a result of realising that I cannot undo anything from the past, so while it is entirely sensible to regret cult involvement, having to learn and apply some critical thinking has benefitted me beyond measure.
Good luck with the thesaurus (google is your friend, at least for definitions)