The Problem of Cults and a Probable Solution

Stock Photo of Spiritual Gathering.

June 09, 2020

A belief is an affirmation of one’s existence. It gives humanity a reason to suffer, a reason to do good, and a reason not to kill someone just because they accidentally stepped on your brand new blue suede shoes. But, how do we know when these beliefs, that we learn from others, are genuine or if they have hidden agendas? Religion is a major source of our beliefs in civilization; so much that we based our laws on governing bodies on the teachings of the Bible. Even our dollar bill has, “In God We Trust”. In this essay, I will be exploiting the issue‘s of organizations that exploit peoples beliefs for personal gain; in specific, a cult.


In the documentary Holy Hell, by Will Allen, it shares a true account of a “spiritual leader” who had devoted followers that gave everything to feel “closer to god”. Closer to god as in the freedom to feel safe with who one is, what one has, where they are in life, and who they associate with. This cult started in California in the 80’s, and was led by a man named Michel. Michel was an aspiring actor who had become certified in hypnotherapy. Hypnotherapy is a form of therapy that uses language to control the recipient during a relaxed state of mind. It is meant to bypass the critical thinking part of the brain and transmit directly to the minds processing system; short and long-term memory.


Michel used this as a tool to manipulate his follower by increasing the chemicals in the brain, such as dopamine, norepinephrine, serotonin, oxytocin, etc., with the use of language and attached those feelings to the experiences they shared with him. This in turn created an association of happiness with spending time with Michel. Tolhuizen’s specifies certain techniques for intensifying relationships that Michel took advantage of. Increased contact; Michel would have sexual relations with his followers during “counseling sessions”, verbal expressions of affection; the key theme was love for life, love for brethren, and love for Michel, and behavioral adaptation; Michel convinced his followers to donate a majority of their earnings from employment to supporting the cult (Guerrero et al., p. 121).


This support could be as small as buying groceries, to as big as paying for the construction of a theatre for live play’s. The best way to prevent this materialistic, psychological/emotional, and physical exploitation of a person is to understand the source. The source is the communication the Michel used to convince his followers that he was more than human. This intensifying of relationships through sexual relations; often in secret, and manipulation of beliefs; often through the use of hypnotherapy. In the Bible it states that there should be only one God that is true, and the mistake that these people made was believing in idols or other forms of worship; in this case it was Michel.


To prevent people from losing sense of self during these times is to be able to separate or avoid oneself physically from the source (Guerrero et al., p. 125). Michel, or the Master, made it a point to have his followers live every single moment with him. They moved in, and some even quit their jobs to spend more time with the Master. Another way to combat this from happening is to remember, or to be able to reflect on one’s past and apply it to the present. If someone feels like they need other’s to be normal it is a warning sign of dependence. Once we become dependent on others we give them power over us.


Therefore, in this essay I defined the issue of manipulation, and exploitation of beliefs. Relationships can be detrimental to one’s health and status when they become overdependent on others. In order to prevent this from happening it is necessary to avoid, and separate oneself from those they are attached to in order to be able to reflect on oneself. It is not selfish to care for oneself, but a necessity.

What I Learned about Digital Communications at Syracuse.

What I Learned about Digital Communications at Syracuse.

First, never trust emails regardless where they come from! I opened an email from my Syracuse University email address that I never use, and therefore assumed was a legit email, and after reading the email I learned it was a proposition for an at home job. Yada, yada, yada and a few weeks later I lost $250.00. It was an email scam! I fell for it, but after filing my police report I learned people fall for the same scam often, and have lost much worse.

I have yet to get my money back, and likely never will. Oh, and I now hate Citibank. As a communications major the inability to have good communication with a customer representative (Citibank that’s you!) makes it even more difficult to handle problems when they arise… And that’s what I learned at Syracuse.

(Microphone drop. Looks around, smiles awkwardly and picks up imaginary microphone).

Testing, testing, can you read me? Good. I learned that with internet comes great responsibility, and great risk. Always be aware no matter where you are getting your information. Even if you find the president talking on your favorite news channel about how the world is ending, check other sources, because it could be a deep fake. See Deep Fake Kind of Like Lean Cake; It Ain’t.

Information we can find online is endless, and that goes for everyone and everything in between. Data analytics is the gathering of information that is found online and when organized correctly can predict behaviors, and in some cases even prevent illness. See What is Psychometrics?

I recommend all my readers begin learning about these technologies, because they are tools that can protect you, and help you survive in the warfare that is the internet. Think of data analytics, deep fakes, internet scams, technology, etc. as nuclear weapons, and the only way to prevent others from using said nukes against you, you have to have even stronger nukes on the ready, for the counter-attack.

If any of you have a good source on how to learn data analytics, like data analytics for dummies book; do they have those? Then, comment below with the sources so I, and anyone else, can read/watch/listen to the information and learn. Knowledge is power, power is control, control is security, security is peace of mind, and peace of mind is happiness. Don’t you want to be happy? 😃

 

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Global Digital Divide.

Global Digital Divide.

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The Digital Divide can be defined as a disparity between those that have access to technology to those who don’t.

Of course it isn’t so black and white, and some may have access to technology, but choose to not use it. Or, some technology might not be in a language that one understands. I’m not talking about coding, but I am talking about symbols.

The symbols used in language.

Today, I will be delving into the Global Digital Divide, and will end the blog with a few ways we can minimize the distance. That is, if closing the gap in the digital divide is something we want.

I wonder what my life would be like without the aid of digital technology. I wouldn’t be writing this blog if I didn’t have access, or I wouldn’t be listening to Snarky Puppy to calm my focus on my iPad Pro.

Maybe, I’d be married with like 10 kids who are in the field right now picking blueberries, my wife in the balcony churning butter, and i’d be in the bath, also known as a bucket, reading the bible for the thousandth time.

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The first thing we need to do to close the digital divide is to bring awareness the types of barriers developing countries need to overcome:

Physical, Cultural, and Political.

Physical

The location of the developing countries requires a connection to the internet which can be an expensive infrastructure to create for a small tribe for example. A solution to this physical limitation could be Google’s hot balloon pop up wifi experiment. It inflates hot balloons with wifi tethering and gives access to those close enough to receive its signal, and its much more cost effective than other methods.

Cultural

By cultural I mean the divide in the amount of languages the internet can be translated in. If the developing country has a specific language that is not widely used, it will not be able to acquire and translate the information provided from the internet. Do they even want to know what is on the internet, or would they be better off living a simpler life?

The solution to this would be to deploy linguists to developing countries and have them implement a symbol system that coincides with the specialized language, and then teach them how to use it. After the people have learned how to identify their language to the symbols, and recreate it effortlessly, the linguist can certify the language into a national database and have it as possible translation in internet capable sites like Google.

Political

Certain countries, like China, feel the internet’s vast array of information is a liability, because the information shared cannot be controlled. Limiting citizens or straight out denying access to internet is something that occurs in countries, and it’s because of the need to control one’s people. I mean, I can be a control freak too sometimes, but.. Actually, never mind. No comment.

I had hippy parent’s so it’s easy for me to say, “Just let them have it,” and, “Don’t worry so much, take a chill pill.” So, that’s my solution to political limitations on digital technology. Nah! Gotcha. I think instead of trying to control people by limiting such a mass medium, we should control people by utilizing said medium. What do you guys think? Let me know in the comments below.

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Social Media Is an Action Word.

Social Media Is an Action Word.

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You have probably heard of at least one of the following social media platforms:

LinkedIn, Facebook, Instagram, TikTok, Bumble, Twitch, Tumblr, Snapchat, WordPress, Tinder, YouTube, Twitter.

I don’t know if you noticed, but they all have a word of action in the title:

Twitter is the sound a bird makes when talking to other birds,

Twitch is a short sudden jerk,

Snap is the act of capturing the moment,

Chat is the act of talking,

TikTok is the sound of a moving clock,

Insta is informal for instant, and

Gram is old school for you got mail.

They all have this in common, because socialization requires action. To communicate one’s interest a bird “tweets”, to share one’s interest a person “snaps” a moment they experienced, and shares it with the ones they love. Therefore, every one of these media platforms are told we use as social animals to connect with one another.

Twitch is a sudden movement, or jerk, that is required when playing games with other gamers, and is likely a reason why it is called that. The ability to have quick reaction times when playing games gives one an advantage against another.

TikTok, pronounced Tick Tock in English, is the sound of a clock and if you are familiar with the platform you know that the recording limit is a few seconds tops. Lastly, Instagram is the instantaneous transference of a message, and in this case the message is visual.

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I don’t really like Facebook, so I will not be talking about it, but feel free to add your take on it’s relevance in the comment section below.

These platforms are appealing, because they give us the ability to express our interests with other people, who’s opinions matter to us, in turn reaffirms our belief system and gives us validation increase the feel good chemicals in our brains; the one’s that give us pleasure.

Since these social media platforms give us pleasure we associate them with that feel good chemical, oxytocin, dopamine, norepinephrine, and we seek it often in attempt to retrieve the same feeling we had initially when we first used the platform. Unfortunately, with all addictions this is a craving that can never be completely fulfilled.

Therefore, social media platforms have grown tremendously as a source of revenue for companies, and as a source of connection between one another, giving us a collective conscious creating culture, order, and a sense of meaning to our sometimes chaotic existence.

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Digital Convergence Future is Now.

Digital Convergence Future is Now.

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Digital Convergence can be compared similarly to Charles Darwin’s theory of evolution, in how the best of two things combine to make a more resilient creation.

A strong man can be compared to a monopolized, capitalized, company. A company that has energy invested in it, and breathes life into materialism.

A beautiful woman can be compared to a sleek, masterfully crafted, technological device. A device that everyone wants, but only those that can afford it have.

Throw in the Apple[commerce] tree and the snake[desire] impulse, and you got a little baby Jesus[iPad Pro 11inch].

I like my iPad Pro 11 inch.  But, this isn’t specifically about the iPad. If you have an iPhone or an Android capable phone, then you can relate to what i’m saying. Also, if you’ve ever used the internet you can relate to what i’m saying; and if you’re reading this then duh, you can relate.

Convergence = Evolution.

Technology is evolving just like the human race. Look at me for example; I’m Filipino and Salvadoran. I haven’t done ancestry.com yet but I do know my Fathers Mom, my Grandma, is Chinese too. So, I’m Filipino, Salvadoran, Chinese, and Spaniard; since Spain conquered both the Philippines and El Salvador at one point.

But, I digress.

When you get a chance, and only if you’d like, watch this educational video on Charles Darwin:

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Now, I would like to thank a great contributor to humanity; Steve Jobs, Bill Gates, and Steve Wozniak. Steve Wozniak is just like me, because I bet a lot of people don’t know who he is since he is an introvert, and not like Jobs; an extrovert. However, other than being an introvert I am not as cool as Wozniak. All these people helped make the computer accessible to the everyday person, and after several iterations turned into the iPad Pro 11 inch. I’m not saying the iPad is the new computer, but it did evolve from it.

The iPad allows me to write this blog, watch youtube, listen to Bach, and tweet my thoughts, all at the same time. For real ðŸ§™ðŸ½â€â™‚️… This is some wizardry. If you look at my image, the mind map, then you can see what I mean:

iPad
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The arrows point to items that connect, and ultimately, it all connects to the one iPad device. At one point it took many devices to enjoy such luxuries. Devices of the past that led to this are the a-track, the cassette player, the Atari, the Nintendo, the Sega Genesis, the Super Nintendo, the Playstation, the cd player, the television, the boob tube, the flatscreen, the light emitting diode (LED), the organic light emitting diode (OLED), and even the lightbulb played a contributing role. I hope you get the idea.

I can play Minecraft, or I can write a research paper, or I can use Global Positioning Satellite (GPS) to drive to Taco Bell. I have the route memorized by now, but that’s not the point! The point is GPS was a military technology that used to require a separate clunk of device, but thanks to the freedom of information act some tech nerd got the patent info and incorporated it for every day use. Thanks tech nerd ðŸ¤“. Without GPS we’d be parked on the side of the road unfolding a massive map fighting with our significant other, friend, or family member about where we are exactly. We’d have to talk to strangers, and ask for directions ðŸ˜². Yikes!

Not too long ago a typewriter was what people used to write pertinent information on, and not long before that they used the printing press. Did you know that in the medieval times only priests of the church knew how to read and write, and hence were the only ones capable of writing anything. More often than not they chose to write and rewrite the bible. Every bible was written by hand… by hand!! I’m already starting to cramp up typing this blog.

TL;DR

Appreciate your history, and know that the future is now.

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