I'm telling you: For cult-leader wear, white is de rigeur. Nothing else works.
Cults make me curious but I suppose they shouldn't. First, you want to know why people are so eager to give up their freedom and then you want to know how people get the idea of organizing people in such an odd way.
And who got the idea? Or is it simply a natural thing for people to collect around a figure or idea, create rituals and a way of life with something sacred at the center.
It's a blurry line between religions and cults--and perhaps both repeat family structures in some way and that's why they are so compelling.
But it's not just that. It's not only giving over your freedom to some leader. There is also the promise of (1) knowledge and (2) control.
All cults come along with theories of the world. Religions too purport to explain the randomness of the world, the universe's sheer indifference to us, the fickle finger of fate and so on. And, as in Hinduism, the explanation can be very similar to science in that it isn't an agent or person directing all the bad shit going down. The bad shit is just a karmic response to some bad shit that someone did. A bunch of cyclical shit.
There are rules. Sometimes the rules are simple. In the Iglesia Maradoniana, the cult formed around the Argentine soccer player, Diego Maradona, the rules are things like: "Love football over all things"
Simple! They even thought of a rule that says you have to obey all their rules. Which is wise, if a bit recursive.
I discussed religion in depth with a Hindu priest as part of a class I was teaching. He was, as far as I could tell, a fundmantalist. And his rap was amazingly similar to the rap of Christian preachers in that it took our human confusion and discontent and attempted to dissolve it in a warm fizz of comforting explanation. The universe is a reasonable place where all the utterly horrific things that happen are simply punishment for some prior karmic debt we don't remember.
But in addition to preventing us from freaking out at how completely bizarre and unpredictable actual reality might be, if viewed from a detached perspective, a good cult narrative will give someone something to do and sometimes even tell them how to live their lives at virtually any second. Even down to how many times to chew your food.
Thus, you have structure, explanation, an explanation for senselessness, etc. Then, you often have the comforting idea that you as an individual are significant to the universe and in the universe. Not as significant as the cult leader, by a long shot. But you do matter.
Now this is true of course...You do matter. Kind of. We all do. And we also kind of don't.
Then there is also the familial tie and the sense of belonging that cults give us. People to turn to.
But I am now remembering how I liked to start clubs when I was a kid. Cult-like clubs. So maybe I get it a bit more than I should. One of these cults--started in the 4th grade--was about the Greek gods. I got another kid to believe that we were descended from them and arranged a series of religious rituals worshiping. She was might pissed when she realized I kind of made it up. But my grip on reality has never been that strong.
I remember conducting elaborate funeral services for my friend's hamster, 'Hillary'...I was a budding cult leader. At least until 9th grade.
I've been trying to keep it light here. And it's hard to keep it light when writing about cults because the most fascinating cults are also the scary ones, like Jim Jones.
Supposedly there is a cult of the Disney mouse Gadget Hackwrench (picture above). But I'm not sure I believe it.