How To Start A Cult in 2022
When someone asks if GodXP is a cult, I take it as a complement.
Cult is the first part of culture. A cult is a density of a specific culture in society. To change culture, you need a strong cult.
Before we get to how-to, we have to address the why: Because the most infamous cults of America are definitely scary and weird, but the best cults are woven into the fabric of society, and we're all taking part without thinking twice.
Think Differently. The founder who started in his garage. Created a device that connects us all. Employees are called Geniuses. Insider language defines all their products and services. And their customers fanatically proselytize all non-users. Apple is one of the most successful cults in America.
Do you have a cult-worthy goal in life?
Don't you want to attract and help people who share that same goal?
Then you’re going to have to overcome these two primary fears:
Fear of success
You’ve got a magic wand, but you’re afraid to wave it.
Your greatest truth’s highest potential is scary. Life and death-scary. What will actually happen if you change the world? Life as you know it will end.
When you finally get up on that stage, everyone is gonna see you. You’ll have nowhere to hide if you embarrass yourself. You’ll be seen as an outsider. You'll be fired! Ostracized. Criticized! Excommunicated.
Fear of your shadow
Cults elevate the power of the leader, and you’ve been afraid to wield that power of leadership.
“The best lack all conviction, while the worst are full of passionate intensity.” WB Yeats, The Second Coming, 1919
Demagogic profiteers flash to your mind when you think of monetizing your beliefs: Televangelists, charismatic marketers, sex-scandaled yogis. It feels egomaniacal to commercialize trust: If their inner-angel was tempted into mass devilry, what's to say it won't happen to you?
I'm not here to persuade you into boots too big. These are rational fears. Changing a life is real responsibility. Leadership is real responsibility.
Cults gone wrong are a warning sign: All power corrupts, and narrow is the path. The cross of leadership is the heaviest weight to bear.
"A healthy man wants a thousand things. A sick man only wants one." - Confucius
For those who are ready to bear the eternal cross of changing people's lives, and in doing so finally transform your own life.
GodXP's 3 keys to starting your own cult:
Writing the origin story
Jesus was a performance artist: His death is the immaculate meme which spawned a global culture of victory over suffering that still spreads today.
His followers are culturally programmed for self-sacrifice. How do Christians spread? Personal testimony: They tell us the story of their death and rebirth, and how it is because of their master’s death and rebirth that such a thing is possible.
Revolutionary origin stories compress immense victory over suffering into a few verses.
How can you write the same kind of poetry with your own life story?
“Those who do not have power over the story that dominates their lives, the power to retell it, rethink it, deconstruct it, joke about it, and change it as times change, truly are powerless.” Salman Rushdie
Write out your life’s greatest struggles in high-fidelity with intent to derive the highest meaning from it. Publish it piece by piece for others. Over time the pieces of your hero’s journey weave together so that it speaks to others long after you leave this world.
2. Creating language
Break the culture by creating words that perfectly define your unique view.
In the 90’s, I watched the world adopt Staten Island ebonics through the rap music and interviews of the Wu-tang Clan. I was 7 or 8 at the time, but I realized then that culture could be infected by anyone brave enough to define it.
Shared language is how new groups of humans communicate what matters most to them. Synthesize and compress your greatest realizations to clarify your vision and future path. Then share it: Let your unique expertise be a lighthouse for others on a similar path.
The 15th century Catholic church would drag a guy like me over hot coals for talking like this. But I rake my philosophies over the coals of self-reflection and writing. Revolutions do not fear martyrdom. You have to overcome your fear of dying for your beliefs in order to share them to the world without fear.
3. Establishing the gathering place
What keeps you from starting an online community? It’s why I never have birthday parties: What if I invite everybody and only three people show up? The beginning is always ugly, and everybody wants to show up late.
But it’s the few who show up to the party early who really want to be there: One by one, adapt your culture to the ones who need it the most.
Love those who need your love the most.
Don’t be like the rookie singer who pines for the biggest crowd, while scorning the open mic; rather, be like the veteran artist who humbly performs with reverence for the intimate crowd.
“Systematically you get ahead, but not necessarily in fast spurts. Slug it out one inch at a time, day by day. If you live long enough – most people get what they deserve.” Charlie T. Munger
Start a community somewhere simple and be there consistently. Treat 3 people like 12, and treat 12 people like 100. That’s how GodXP started and I wouldn’t have it any other way.
Every worldchanger has an existential responsibility to start a cult of worldchangers.
Some people think it's impossible to wield the power and trust of a community. But if you’re destined to change the world, you have no other choice.
Read this full essay on my blog: anthonypolanco.com/how-to-start-a-cult
Your thoughts? What’d I miss? Comment to join in the conversation!
Special thanks to Cam Houser, Christin Chong, and Ken Rice for your help with this.
Cult meeting background playlist:
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