Cults are communities that fervently worship an object, person, or concept, more than anything else. While there is a possibility that in the wrong hands they can be deployed as manipulative organizations, they are essentially ways of organizing and transforming people's lives for the better. If you want to form a fanatical group around a particular idea, learn which ideas work well, how to organize a group, and how to grow it in healthy, productive ways.
Part 1 of 3: Choosing an obsession
Step 1. Choose a topic or activity that will improve your life
There are many things to cultivate around, but stick to generally positive activities, concepts, or ideas, which are worth devoting your time to, and of benefit to other people as well. You should choose something with the potential to change your life for the better.
- It is possible to form a cult around French cheese, Star Wars or string theory, if you really believe that the subject or idea has the potential to make a positive contribution to the world. It doesn't have to get weird or particularly complicated, and in fact it's probably better if it stays fairly normal.
- A cult does not have to be religious in nature, although this is often the case. Cult behavior includes a fervent devotion to a particular person, object, or idea. Groups can form around almost anything. You could form a canasta cult or a World of Warcraft cult, if you like. However, make sure it is positive, good and harmless.
Step 2. Choose a topic or activity that you are passionate about
You could say you love Chef Boyardee Ravioli, but is it really worth worshiping him in a cult-like way? Cults can only form around things that one can become very passionate about, things that one can become deeply devoted to, that have ties to different areas of one's life.
- When we talk about cult films, they are often very specific, quirky and present a unique worldview that touches a small group of people deeply, but confuses a lot of other people.
- Star Wars, Star Trek and many types of SF have compelling mythologies and highly fleshed out universes that you can completely immerse yourself in, which is why we often say they have a "cult-like" following and longer Wikipedia pages than some presidents. The Kardashians? Not nearly as much.
Step 3. Choose something that you think others will benefit from
Your first question if you're going to form a cult is: Would the world be a better or worse place if everyone were as excited about this cause as we are, or as I am? If the objective answer to this question is that the world would be a better place, that people would indeed lead a better life if they also worshiped Ard Schenk's skates, then you are on a positive and harmless path.
Cults are often manipulative psychological ventures organized by a charismatic individual. They are organized in such a way that it seems that the well-being of the group is the goal of the cult; in reality, all activities are designed so that the leader of such a cult can benefit. Jonestown, the Heaven's Gate and the Manson Family are all tragic examples of this
Step 4. Learn as much as you can about your obsession
If you're going to use the word "cult," make sure you know the topic you're trying to popularize among a group, so you don't come across as a fake guru, or a devious snake oil seller.
If you're going to form a cult around Star Trek, you'll need to know a lot more than the color of Spock's blood. You need to know in which episode he bleeds for the first time, what the meaning of that color is within the larger context of the color scheme in the series, and how that affects your interpretation of the utopian worldview in Star Trek. Read the fan blogs
Part 2 of 3: Forming a group
Step 1. Choose a leader
Most cults have a single leader, or are called a collective. If you are the one forming the cult, it is likely that you are also the leader. Just make sure you organize the cult for good purposes, not for your own economic gain, or to gain more power.
Cult leaders tend to be charismatic and manipulative, but if you're going to form a group with others, it's a good idea to choose someone who's good with the rest of the group. The person who wants to be the leader is the last person to choose
Step 2. Establish the rules of the cult
What rules, concepts and moral code does the cult use to organize itself? What is the ultimate goal of the cult? How do you use Star Trek to improve your lives, and perhaps the lives of many others? What is your message to the world?
- Focus especially on the issue of how you can use this to make your life better. The difference between a Star Trek cult and a Star Trek Fan Club isn't necessarily the fanaticism of your adoration for Star Trek, but how you use that fanaticism to positively change your life.
- It is helpful to elaborate on these documents, but it is probably best to omit the word 'cult'. You don't want it to give people the wrong idea.
Step 3. Write a pamphlet or statutes
All cults have administrative texts that are often pleasantly mysteriously vague, pseudo-profound and easily read by a broad audience. If you want your cult to grow and develop some legitimacy, it's a good idea to self-publish your own guidelines for life, or the teachings of the group.
Step 4. Find a place for worship
A word of warning: people will probably find the idea of a cult or cult over anything quite strange, and you could face a lot of hostility if you go public with your cult. It's good to have a quiet, private place where you can do the things you want to do, the way you want to do them.
- If you want to create a cult around Star Trek, you probably won't do much more than watch episodes, have in-depth conversations, and maybe recreate a scene or two, which is perfectly possible from someone's living room.
- If you're brave enough, you can organize gatherings in public parks and other places where you might get some attention, but it might not be the kind of attention you want.
Step 5. Come up with a slogan
All clubs, organizations and groups need good slogans, and so do cults. It's an easy way to summarize what you're doing, it groups around a binding principle and helps everyone stay focused on the topic. Slogans are supposed to be memorable, simple, and multi-part, so they're always a bit mysterious and vague.
'All things fly in space' could work for your Star Trek cult. Or maybe quotes from the episode: "I was born in Iowa, but I work in outer space." Make it memorable and tangible
Step 6. Slowly try to interest other people
When you meet other people, gradually bring out the ideas and obsessions around which you want to shape your life, to organize your group. Become an evangelist of whatever it is you want to worship.
Again, you may initially encounter hostility and a lot of resistance, so try to market the less extreme aspects of your ideas. The utopian fun of Star Trek? Good selling point. Your plans to build a spaceship in a warehouse in Amsterdam? You might want to save that for later
Part 3 of 3: Making it more of a cult
Step 1. Make sure the behavior displayed is aligned with the party's platform
Cults are singular. If you want to become a full member or even the leader of a Star Trek cult, you can't mess around watching other SF, or doing things that are not in line with the noble characters that make up Star Trek. populate the world. Make sure you and everyone in the group align everyone's priorities in accordance with the cult's singular concept.
Cults often live together. Consider moving to a particular place and giving it a name, such as, "The Enterprise." This allows everyone to grow and develop together within the common idea
Step 2. Consider your concept as the only true belief
One way to get people to join your cult wholeheartedly is to present your idea as the only way to answer the world's problems. You are no longer talking about your enthusiasm for Star Trek, but about your total dedication to the transcendent power of James Kirk and Co. That means presenting it as the one true path.
Often, this is the point where cults get a little manipulative. Try to have healthy discussions and debates, and just be good at presenting your ideas to the group. If other people think that Star Wars has equally good merits, then you must be well acquainted with the anarchy associated with a Star Wars-influenced worldview. Manage it and believe in it
Step 3. Live to your obsession
Keep doing what you do. How you choose to turn your idea into the good of your life and the lives of others will largely depend on your concept. At what point does the cult get more serious than watching Star Trek reruns and eating potato chips? When does the positive change start?
Perhaps you start writing politicians that they should take Star Trek followers more seriously, that resources and time should be freed up for science and exploration, taking gender, race, species, and class equality more seriously, and that even the ancient Earthly concept of "greed" is being abandoned
Step 4. Help people around you
Have your group make clear, local, and immediate changes that benefit society. Offer a free weekly breakfast with accompanying Star Trek episodes, or hold equality workshops and deliver speeches in full Starfleet uniform. Let people know what you stand for.
Step 5. Find ways to grow your group
What are your criteria and what procedure do you follow for hiring new members? How will your group be able to expand and grow, without losing its own identity and core values? What could new members add? What will more publicity do to the group? What are your ultimate goals for the group? It is important to come to some consensus and to take these ideas seriously.
Stay grounded in the real world and your core values. You have to make sure that groups like this don't transform into something that becomes ominous and destructive. Does all the group's behavior correspond to the original members of the organization? If not, how can you restore those principles?
- If you start small, you can become very popular.
- When performing rituals, make sure they do not involve illegal activities (e.g., violence, drug use, etc.).
- A religion is not the same as a gang; you can't but what to shoot around you, otherwise shall you are arrested.
- Don't do anything illegal. No sacrifices. No 'punishments'. Don't hurt anyone, not even yourself.