By Janja A. Lalich
Heaven's Gate, a secretive crew of celibate "monks" anticipating pickup via a unidentified flying object, captured excessive public recognition in 1997 while its participants devoted collective suicide. As a fashion of realizing such puzzling occasions, many have obvious those that sign up for cults as needy, misplaced souls, not able to imagine for themselves. This ebook, a compelling examine the cult phenomenon written for a large viewers, dispels such basic formulations via explaining how common, clever humans can provide up years in their lives--and occasionally their very lives--to teams and ideology that seem weird and wonderful and irrational. taking a look heavily at Heaven's Gate and on the Democratic staff celebration, an intensive political team of the Nineteen Seventies and Nineteen Eighties, Janja Lalich provides us a unprecedented insider's examine those cults and advances a brand new theoretical framework that might reshape our realizing of these who sign up for such teams. Lalich's attention-grabbing dialogue contains her in-depth interviews with cult devotees in addition to reflections won from her personal event as a high-ranking member of the Democratic staff get together. Incorporating classical sociological ideas equivalent to "charisma" and "commitment" with newer paintings at the social psychology of impression and regulate, she develops a brand new strategy for realizing how charismatic cult leaders may be able to dominate their devotees. She indicates how contributors are led right into a nation of "bounded choice," within which they make possible irrational judgements inside of a context that makes excellent feel to them and is, in reality, in step with their optimum aspirations. as well as illuminating the cult phenomenon within the usa and all over the world, this significant ebook additionally addresses our urgent want to know extra concerning the mentality of these actual believers who take severe or violent measures within the identify of a reason.
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Additional info for Bounded Choice: True Believers and Charismatic Cults
5 billion. The group is now known as Aleph. It still has a few thousand loyal members and is led by Aum’s former spokesman, the charismatic Fumihiro Joyu, who served a short sentence for his earlier activities. qxd 4/28/2004 12 3:08 PM Page 12 I N T RO D U CT I O N In late March 1997 Heaven’s Gate grabbed our attention. This cult had more or less disappeared from the spotlight, although it had a presence in various Internet chat rooms in the mid- to late 1990s. News coverage of this group goes back to 1975, but for the most part its members had kept to themselves, and their collective suicide in 1997 came as a shock to many.
This new perspective oVers the opportunity to understand the appeal of such groups, the changes witnessed in at least the core members, and the diYculties some people have leaving the group or rejecting cult thinking. Also, it may help seekers, future recruits, and prospective members and believers to evaluate both the potential beneWts and the potential risks of certain belief systems or group involvements. qxd 4/28/2004 8 3:08 PM Page 8 I N T RO D U CT I O N Cults in the Headlines In the United States and in other countries throughout the world, covert groups exist in the community, in the workplace, in urban centers, and in rural settings, and other groups are openly recruiting new members through a variety of avenues, including schools, spiritual centers, businesses, medical establishments, government agencies, the entertainment industry, and the military.
4 Soon segments from their two farewell videos were being shown before, during, or after television reports. Do spoke on one videotape; the followers, most often in pairs, spoke for a few minutes each on the second recording. The videos had been sent to select former followers and sympathizers with the request that they distribute them to the media after the bodies were discovered. Do and his followers wanted the videos to explain their actions and impart their beliefs. More of their beliefs could be found on their Web site.