Returning to Where It All Began – Resolving a Cult Mindset
There I was, just starting the first leg of a 1700-mile road trip near twilight, heading away from the sunset into darkness. This wasn’t my ideal time to start rebuilding my life. But it was the cards I’d been dealt.
I had all my belongings packed into the back of a smallish rental truck. This was all that I had left or considered actually valuable from 20-plus year career of working for a syndicated self-help cult.
After all that time, their promises and ideals quit ringing true. They were as hollow as the Academy award statues that were set up every year just down the street in Hollywood. Or the tinsel signage that announced Christmas was here, in a town that probably never ever saw snow (except on distant mountains.)
It seemed ironic that the “International Management Headquarters” for this corporation was smack-dab downtown in a city that was built on the premise of inventing fiction, projecting their stories on huge screens while people sat in the dark, gorging themselves on popcorn, carbonated soft drinks, and sticky-sugary treats.
Why I had left was a good question.
It was a failure, both mine and the syndicate. It had finally become clear that this Syndicate was only there to make a rich lifestyle for the Founder and top execs. But that was never obvious to those of us who had invested our lives in forwarding their dogmas. “Save the Planet” was the mantra, and the unspoken subtitle caption was “as long as our Founder gets rich.”
(While you probably have guessed the name of this cult, we don’t need to go there, as the name itself leaves a taint wherever it’s used. And this book is here to help you, not upset you.)
Once that Founder died, the internal wars quickly started and quickly ended as one person forcibly assumed the mantle. Within a few years, you saw only his image on the screen at events we all had to attend. This new CEO was the new face of their Syndicate. But the “Old Man” was gone, and with him went most of the human PR touch that kept their system alive all those years.
What the new leader brought was fear, which soon translated down through the management ranks to everyone else.
Cut the core out of an apple and it starts rotting from the inside, while the outside still stays shiny. For awhile, at least.
I’d been in touch with the CEO and his top “lieutenants” on things that didn’t seem to be working like they used to. Unfortunately, what I got back as answers just confirmed the problem. Fear was now King. Policy was Dead.
Once that scene became obvious to me, I had to leave. This explained why it was getting harder to get things done, why more non-sense was being used to keep things patched together. The staff were operating more and more on fear. It had become impossible to fix anything, let alone understand them. All my efforts to understand were running into more and more roadblocks built of non-sensical explanations.
If I stayed, I’d have to accept a mindset as crazy as the world around it.
So I got a rental truck and started driving. Out onto unknown roads with only a road map to guide me. Darkness ahead, and darkness behind. But there was also a sense of freedom in this journey. An understanding that as the world turned, there was inevitable sunshine ahead.
It would be days before I reached my Midwestern destination. Plenty of time to think things through as I drove.