Mind bugs. If you haven’t met them yet, I hope that you will soon. They are pesky sensory illusions that defy common sense and that is precisely why good people prefer not to think about them!
And a cult, even the word itself, is like the sound of nails running across a black board – Even really good people don’t want to think about cults.
In the next few paragraphs, we will look at a couple other things that good people prefer to not think about – but I sincerely hope that you will! In fact, I hope that you will want to think about mind bugs, cults and much more!
To begin: take a look at this picture of two tables and assure me that you see these two table tops are exactly the same size and shape. Agreed?? No? Well, what do you think is different?
If you think that these two table tops are different in size and shape, you are not alone and, umm… sorry to break it to you, you are also wrong. If you don’t believe me, take a thin piece of paper and trace one of the table tops and then place it over the other one and you will see. Go ahead and do it. You are not going to believe me otherwise and it’s important that we are on the same page before going on. Got it? Are you with me?
This, my dear friends, is a mind bug. Even after proving that they are the same size and shape, we can look at them and they still look like they are different! It takes real effort to change how you are looking at these two table tops and see the truth of their sameness - and that is why most people prefer not to think about it!
This mind bug illusion was created by a renowned psychologist Roger Shepard and has been used in college classrooms and elsewhere for many years. He calls it “Turning the Tables”
But what is really happening here? This is an issue of perspective.
I’m guessing that you have experienced this in other areas of your life. Perhaps you have had the experience of looking at a problem from one angle and it’s huge and completely overwhelming! And then, you shift your perspective and look at the same problem from another angle and … it’s tiny, suddenly inconsequential. What changed? Your perspective.
So, how does this mind bug perspective relate to cults?
Well, I can tell you because, as you know, I was in a cult for many years. In a cult, or any highly controlled group, you are trained to look at life from a very specific and limited perspective. Cult leaders are experts in creating mind bugs and using them to their advantage, and sadly, to the disadvantage of their members. In the cult, you are indoctrinated to see everything from the group leader’s point of view.
I am an educated, caring adult, and I witnessed countless times where Doug, the group leader, used a raised voice and dramatic gestures while interacting with my beloved CTL family members. In my mind, this was Doug showing his fierce love and deep insight into that person’s soul struggle. Now that I have left CTL, I see it for what it was: psychological and spiritual abuse. What has changed in me? My perspective.
In a cult or highly controlled group, life is at best, two dimensional.
To continue with the table analogy: in the cult, I could only see life through the lense that Doug crafted and obviously, the table tops are completely different sizes, shapes and even had different soul characteristics. But now, since I left CTL, my brain circuitry is opening and healing and re-wiring and I am able to move freely around in this wonderful, three dimensional world that we live in. As I circle around the tables and look at them from all different angles and perspectives, I can see what previously, I was completely blind to: that the two table tops are in fact, the same.
When we are able to take in the whole 360 degrees and see in 3 dimensions, we are much, much more likely to see the facts for the facts.
As good people, we may not want to look at coercion or psychological and spiritual abuse or cults or mind bugs or any other unpleasant matters. But I hope that after reading this, something in your own perspective has changed, even a little, and that you are now willing to really think about it. Because, quite simply, there is too much at stake for too many good people if we don’t.