I have previously explained cultcraft here. It is a fairly abstract subject, and as such is normally accessible only through considerable study. Even though most people that read this article will not go on to become famous cult leaders, readers can still gain some insight into this important phenomenon.
As is often the case in spiritual teachings, the information is passed on through the generations in a compressed form (i.e.: zen koans). The abstractness of spiritual wisdom often causes it to fall on deaf ears. That’s why you need a teacher to unlock the information held within the short thread of wisdom our ancestors saw fit to dedicate an entire religion to. Because religion focuses on the disentangling of cause and effect and because fundamental causality is counterintuitive, most people can’t access these nuggets of wisdom until they are initiated (told how to think by a master). Cult initiation is long and arduous and always represents a lifelong (& longer) commitment to both personal excellence and submission to divine will.
The idea behind natural cultcraft and general social engineering is that you want the priest (elite) class to practice the purest and most fundamental truths but you also want those truths to spill over into the greater public in such a way that they can assimilate the higher truths when they are ready. You don’t want your state cult to become so insular that it cannot admit new members, which is the case when commoners do not practice the same religion as the elites (as is often the case in the modern day), because this nepotism breeds resentment and complacency. You also want to work to avoid hereditary prestige at all costs, because although the family’s vocation influences one’s choice of occupation, status must be earned. This is why heredity cannot be the sole factor in prestige and why there must exist a clear, fair and open path to priesthood (natural elite status). This is the society that will experience the least turmoil because it is truly meritocratic.
Learning Through Examples
Luke Ford, an ascending Youtube personality (& therefore cult leader), has a father who is a priest. Luke is also following in a priestly vocation (we have a different definition of priest that encompasses vocations like teacher, doctor and even propagandist, when the propagandist is serving in the capacity of elucidating truth), but he wouldn’t be much good if all he did was leech off his father’s accomplishments. This microcosm plainly exemplifies the hollowness of hereditary social class. Luke’s prestige would be far less if he had no duty other than to assume his father’s vocation. It is only through his difficult journey of self-discovery that he earned his right to be seen as priestly and why I confer upon him the respect commensurate with that role.
What is Cult Prestige?
Coming back to the original spirit of the article: cult prestige is a very succinct way of explaining how power is exerted through sociocults. In short, the more desirable qualities a cult (or cult leader) espouses, the more society at large will strive to ascend its hierarchy. Interest in a particular cult is always fuelled by the desire for outsiders to access the fruits of said cult (which can be anything from knowledge, to money, fame etc). The more people are trying to rise up through the ranks of a cult, the more power that cult has. Cults then vie for supreme power on progressively bigger stages.
Let’s have a look at some principles that drive cult prestige.
- For any system of human governance (which we will call cults), devotees imitate the values of the cult (or cult leader). People will generally try to elevate their status within whatever sociocult they identify most strongly. This is the principle of individual conformity.
- Cults at or around the same power level will vie for dominance amongst themselves. Cults will also avoid conflicts with rivals they consider to be at vastly different power levels. This is the principle of conformal power rivalry.
- There is no power greater than truth and as such, no greater cult prestige than that which emanates from possessing a monopoly on truth. This is the principle of truth conformity.
- Subjective ego bias always resists certain aspects of truth (because the human organ is primarily geared for successful reproduction, secondarily geared for truth detection and sometimes these processes get their wires crossed). The manipulation of people between these survival impulses is the subject of the occult (that which is hidden from view) and represents the deepest power one can hold over another (in short: the ability to form their self-image). This is the principle of occult manipulation.
- The most successful cult will be both meritocratic and engaging, striking the proper balance between stern stoicism and engaged learning. Such a system will have the maximum staying power as it will allow for progression at all levels. This is the principle of natural cultcraft.
You may be wondering why conformity comes up so much. The answer is simple: all cults cause society to conform to their values. Different cults differ only in values and enforcement mechanism. Thus we can understand and appreciate the inevitability of “infighting” if it is understood as an instantiation of conformal power rivalry. Just as it is natural for members of a species to duke it out until the alpha is decided but it is unnatural for members of different species to perform a similar ritual, meaningful cult rivalries are always conformal (at or near the same power level).
The third principle explains why so many people promote themselves as experts on truth: there is enormous power associated with truth conformity. Without the appearance of truth conformity, a cult loses legitimacy. When a state cult loses legitimacy, people no longer think according to its edicts. When the thoughts of society are less shaped by the extant state cult (and presumably shaped by some other cult), it loses prestige and its power subsequently wanes.
The Modern Cult Narrative
Instead of a power shift between rival cults, what we are actually experiencing in the modern day is a shift in cult systems. Faith has been lost in secular systems of governance and many are looking to theocracy as a potential replacement ideology. As such, numerous persona cults have emerged to fill the power vacuum left by the loss in credibility of the extant state cult (exemplified by the mainstream media’s loss of reach). The extant state cult operates by crypsis and so has few overt cult leaders, instead exerting control over what subjects propagandists are allowed to discuss (the so-called “overton window”). This crypto-theocracy is unstable because its power derives from secrecy and a loss in secrecy is inevitable in the long term. Natural cultcraft always involves overt dominance by meritorious theocrats, it cannot be avoided. People won’t be happy to submit to a faceless secular cult just because it’s taboo not to (political correctness), especially when said cult so clearly takes no interest in their personal safety and survival. There is simply no occult manipulation that can convince people to override their survival instincts. Imagine a limp-wristed intellectual trying to talk an apelike thug out of robbing him by stating his IQ and associated social prestige. I really doubt that strategy will work. But meritorious theocrats dominating people through their superior intellect and the associated culture that emanates from such practice will certainly provide the security we all long for.
I like to use Luke as an example because his cult prestige has been slowly building up over the course of his Youtube career, especially more recently, when he dipped his toes into the somewhat sketchy world of younger audiences feeding in from “Ironybro” soystreams. A recent video that started out as a respectful analysis of logical fallacies and branded as the “Art of Debate” quickly devolved into a shouting match between various hotheads that lasted over 7 hours. I found it quite comical at times if not intellectually stimulating. While it is easy to criticise people for engaging in “drama”, these sorts of exchanges are inevitable as one gains cult prestige. It is therefore good to turn less classy interactions into learning opportunities.
As we observe with the likes of Christopher Cantwell and Luke Ford, notoriety bestows a form of cult prestige. I enjoyed watching Cantwell make an appearance on Ford’s show last night as each of these individuals are devoted to the pursuit of truth. If you watch, you will see the amount of personal attacks on the “sperg chat” is unusually high. This is a good thing. Cult prestige invariably breeds notoriety and infamy and so an increase in personal attacks usually heralds the ascent of a new cult or cult leader.
It’s not unusual to understand society through cults. This is how society has been ordered since antiquity. The advent of democracy and secular statecraft may have obscured that fact temporarily, but the cult-like behaviour of serious devotees of leftism has proven once more that all systems of human governance are computationally equivalent to cults. Even though most leftists probably identify as “atheists”, they nevertheless exhibit behaviour that makes them indistinguishable from a cult.
Cult social control is really inevitable at the end of the day.
Ultimately, every cult seeks to model human behaviour and natural forces as a means of predicting the future & improving the present. Natural cultcraft seeks both to describe the optimised functioning of society as well as lay out a path towards personal realisation (the end goal of which is enlightenment). While the totality of cultcraft is too complex to fully explain here, we can nonetheless give some examples of how mystique and prestige yield cult power.
There is perhaps no story more compelling than a redemption arc. The idea of a fallen hero going on a dangerous journey who overcomes setbacks and ascends to his proper role in society strikes at the heart of what it means to be human. Cantwell, the sarcastic fringe shock jock libertarian turned hardcore activist is a story that has inspired many. Ford, the fame-seeking and spiritually disillusioned journalist finding his place in orthodox Judaism comforts people with similar life experience.
Devotees with less than desirable lives look on and think: “hey, he improved his life, maybe I can too”. Hope is a powerful motivator and a requisite condition for people to join a cult.
Nepotism: the opposite of meritocracy is like a crack in the facade of a building: it’s ugly, undermines the structural integrity of the building and lowers its overall value. This is why a cult without at least a veneer of meritocracy is doomed to fail (as the populace will have no faith that it can penetrate its ranks, and people are driven to ascend the ranks of cults to gain the associated prestige). A cult that is purely meritocratic will have the greatest staying power: everyone will seek and find the status they merit within it. If a righteous onlooker realistically feels that he can both join and ascend the ranks of a cult commensurate with his ability, he will surely feel drawn to it more so than an insular cult that practices nepotism and by association dual morality (favouritism). Thus the only people that will stand against the meritocratic state cult are those who wish to practice nepotism and/or would suffer a loss of prestige if a meritocratic cult took power.
A cult must have a clear set of steps (or algorithm) one can follow to attain the fruits they seek. IQ, income and political affiliation are all proxies of cult prestige (albeit flawed ones) and thus we can understand why people invoke them so often. But they do not give the prestige devotees truly seek, and so they ultimately fail.
The natural cult (the system of human governance that is maximally stable) will offer both an engaging social system as well as a clear path towards enlightenment (the cessation of the fluctuations of the subjective mind). Since most modern cults cannot aspire to either goal on a society-wide basis, they are doomed to fail. The only question is what will replace those values systems once they have irreparably lost the faith of the people that gave the state cult its power in the first place.
I think it’s clear that we are transitioning from a labels based prestige (muh IQ, muh ancap, muh communist utopia) to an era of personality cult prestige. Once that transition is complete, all territories will be governed by a sovereign (supreme cult leader) who best embodies the values of the dominant state cult. You can think of Rodrigo Duterte as an early adopter of such an archetype.
Let’s hope the right cult gets instituted by the state because we have nothing but evidence to substantiate what disastrous results are forthcoming from the wrong cult achieving state power.
P.S.: Looks like Varg is starting a cult now, I estimate that as many as 63 people are eligible to join.