I’ll preface this post by saying that, in accordance with the clinical research, I do not believe there are strong correlations between prior life experience and the likelihood that a person will join or stay in a cult (or “totalist”, or “high-demand” group.) What follows is a speculation, based on memory and anecdote, on why people who are already inside such a group may be more prone to the kind of enabling and moral harm that Facebook friend Joseph Teskey has described to me as “I got mine-ism” (IGM).
IGM is a defensive strategy by which a member who has not (or believes they have not) directly experienced abuse or institutional betrayal within the group deflects stories of abuse within the group by immediately self-referring, saying things like: “I don’t know about other’s experience; I find/found the teacher/teachings to be profoundly helpful in my life.” The statement is usually couched within an unwillingness to act on behalf on victims or mitigate future harm. Continue reading “The Unbearable Smugness of “I Got Mine-ism” Amongst Cult and ex-Cult Members”
Whenever I publish a critique of a guru or the guru principle in modern yoga, either by referring to my personal experience (with Michael Roach and others) or by analyzing public events and documents (John Friend, Kausthub Desikachar, Joshu Roshi Sasaki) through the lens of my personal experience, I receive several – sometimes dozens – of emails from those who are invested in my target in some way. Continue reading “Writing about Gurus: Insiders vs. Outsiders, and Other Problems”