Today on Facebook I saw a post by a former cult member who freed herself a long time ago and now tries to free others, who posted a pice about gurus who exploit the underlings in their cults, and a critique by a commenter about how gurus like to be in the "moment," possibly so they never have to think about all the "moments" they have done rather unholy things to their followers. I was moved to comment on this myself.
"If we don't take on the responsibility of integrating ourselves and being our own "leader" we will always be trapped in a conceptual hierarchy/patriarchy and be vulnerable to exploitation because of that.I get it. I've dabbled but have never succumbed.(--------) pointed out that we are mammals. I'd like to take that a step further - we are primate mammals. Primates don't survive without a troop. And troops are usually dominated by some alpha. This is awfully hardwired into our brains, so much so that it is almost a default.Add to that the fact that our prefrontal cortices, the decision-making executive parts of our brains are not fully online until we are into our third decade! So we HAVE to rely on socio-cultural management until then. And by then we are in the habit of going along to get along, filled with yearnings to be "free." And we are sooooooo enculturated to put ourselves beneath others. That behaviour in and of itself perpetuates frickin' hierarchies.So, thus is a hierarchical frame of mind created and perpetuated.The good news is, once we learn to work our own brains we can reframe our perspectives and realize that we can live in a way that we almost never have to deal with hierarchy, by doing as (-------) suggested, adopting a scientific view on everything. What that means is, confronting and eliminating bias and other human foibles. We can do this because our brains are human (yay!) and we do NOT have to stay inside the mental cage we grew up in and were socialized to believe is reality. We really CAN "create our own reality" with just one member, our self, and one guru, our self. (Both of which are fictional categories by the way, but stick with me here for a second: that's what brains do - they like to make categories. At least the left hemisphere does.)The task is to integrate your own brain, both hemispheres. Put yourself first, but not ahead, and not behind, any other self out there roaming around on the planet.You have just as much right to breathe oxygen as any other living breathing mammal on the planet, as long as your life span lasts, until it's time for you to go back to being the way you were before you were born.Anyway, once you do that, you are free to see yourself as an independent interactor/operator in the world, and you won't be tempted to project helplessness on some father figure (usually a father figure, sometimes a mother figure). You will be "free" of being possessed by archetypes (ideas of humans planted in you by the culture you grew up in), "free" to see yourself rather as a node of human intelligence moving through life, trying to do no harm, trying to be a helpful individual, trying to get through life honestly and ethically, no better and certainly no worse than any other node. We are all just nodes, highly intelligent nodes, interacting, inside ourselves and outside ourselves. On the same level. Sometimes through roles. Sometimes we place others into roles that are special, and have names, like "president." And bear in mind it's the *role* that is special, not the person who occupies the role for awhile. The hierarchy of governance is supposed to be fluid with the persons who occupy the roles being interchangeable. Until an exploiter comes along. But if you have made yourself cognitively nimble you will also be politically nimble enough to see that possibility and avoid the consequences by choosing who you vote for.But I digress.If you decide to be your own guru, voila! internalized hierarchy vaporizes and you're no longer vulnerable to exploitation by anyone, including yourself."
I would add, this is our superpower, our secret weapon, our kryptonite against hierarchy - this power we all/each have to think for ourselves.
The commenter talked about how gurus like to talk about being in the "moment."
"Same old patriarchal spiritual bypassing nonsense we have been hearing and reading for centuries. The gurus love to fixate on the "moment", so they can never be held accountable for the things they did in previous "moments." They love to preach forgiveness so they don't have to apologize for their actions. They love to disparage gossip, so no one can ever talk about the things they do behind the scenes. They love to vilify anger, so that no one gets righteously angry at them for their abuses of power. They love to obsess over silence, so no one speaks their truth. They love to elevate stillness, so that no one ever moves into action against them. They love to deny the significance of the human "story", so that humans don't tell the story of what they did to them. They love to deny the truth of pain, so no one talks about how the guru wounded them. They love to bash the ego, so no one is egoically strong enough to stand against them. The guru game. The "avoida" movement. Stop wasting your time godjectifying these hustlers. Masters of self-avoidance masquerading as enlightened masters." Jeff Brown.This is sooooo much the current Republican party of Trump, worshiping their dear leader, taking pictures of the gold statue of him at their convention. This is sooooo much Trump exploiting the crowd. A crowd whose dopamine only flows when they listen to him, their guru. A crowd who gets off on a standing wave of dopamine bolstered in their midst by staring at him and calling back to him as though they were in a revival meeting. Call/response. I am concluding that "right and left" has no real meaning in political terms. Instead, it boils down to:
- Blinkered vs. unblinkered.
- Ethical vs. unethical.
- Obstructive vs. progressive.
- Hierarchical vs. non-hierarchical.