Sunday, January 9, 2011
THE CULT OF FUGGER
There are few patterns to be found in human experience and there is no predestination. It’s fundamentally random. Nothing is meant to be and people are neither blessed nor doomed. However, humanity has an inbuilt ability to see patterns. We noticed the seasons and the tides and all the things that have routine in this world. This led to our mastery of cause and effect. We became fisher men, hunters, farmers, and inventors. To a certain extent, we began to control our destinies. BUT, not everything operates on the principle of cause and effect and not everything has a pattern. Seeing patterns where none exist is a common flaw in humanity. This flaw is called apophenia. Apophenia steps in at those frustrating and anxious moments when we realise we’re not in control of events. We panic and begin to construct patterns and causes where there are none to be found. This leads us up garden paths. It convinces us that our futures can be read in the movements of stars or that we can be saved by rituals. Sometimes, deep down, we might almost know what the future holds based upon past observation and sometimes when we have a problem we know what the solution is. Despite this knowledge, we often still seek refuge in apophenia. Instead of facing the future (which may be challenging) we seek succour in things like horoscopes. Likewise, addressing a problem sometimes requires great effort so instead we drop to our knees and say a novena because that’s easier. But remember, God only helps those who help themselves and Fugger is going to show you, my darling reader, how to help yourself by taking advantage of apophenia. And let me tell you, we are talking BIG CASH here.
What you need to do is start a cult. To do this you first need to construct a robust but entirely apophenic (is that a word? who cares, it is now) narrative. Then you go around acting as if you have exclusive insight and that you alone know the truth (a.k.a. your narrative). This narrative should tell people what they want to hear. That is key, you tell people what they want to hear, not what they need to hear. Psychologists do this all the time: ‘You can’t relate to your kids because your Dad laughed when you were seven and fell in a duck pond now give me €400 and get out of my office’. A decent narrative, no matter how irrelevant, will make people go ‘oh yeah’, particularly if it is one that gets them off the hook of taking responsibility for their own behaviour. It’s the same with horoscopes, ‘you’re a total no-hoper because Saturn was around when you were born but give me some cash and I’ll tell you how Jupiter is going to help you next June.’
OK, so to recap, what you need to do is create a narrative and link it to the cause and effect of people’s lives whilst making them believe that you are the oracle of said narrative and, therefore, indispensible to them. Got that? Good. Now let’s proceed. The next step is finding suckers. The Internet is great for this. You set up a site, leave posts everywhere and reel them in. Then you hold a conference (charge people in but not too much at first, you’re not in Deepak Chopra’s league yet). At this conference you will find yourself standing in front of a small selection of visibly desperate strangers, the type of people who sit next to you on the bus and stink of TCP. It’s not an ideal congregation but you have to start somewhere. Remember, if you get this part right, the Tom Cruises and Travoltas will come later. Anyway, to start things off, get the assembled up and dancing about. Liberate them of their inhibitions, release their endorphins and raise their goose-bumps with some good tunes (a bit like at a U2 gig, which is effectively an example of the kind of thing I’m talking about). Then, when they are feeling good about themselves, you lower the lighting, adopt a no nonsense demeanour, and introduce them to stage one of your narrative. The narrative should always come in stages so they have to keep coming back for more and buying the books, audios and DVDs that will be available from a stall in the lobby.
Before you know it, you’ll be attracting a better class of adherent and rolling in dough. Not to mention riding any member of the congregation that takes your fancy. ‘Come with me my dear and I will show you the enlightening art of the oven-ready position.’ It worked for David Koresh (or so they say but that might have just been a narrative the U.S. media constructed to justify burning the Branch Davidians to death, who knows, we’re all at it really when you think about it, it’s called lying or public relations).
Now, one other thing I should mention is to try and throw in a bit of shame. This is optional but shame really is great. If you can make people feel ashamed of themselves you’re on to a winner. People hate feeling ashamed so if you can incite shame in them you can set yourself up as the sole source of absolution from that shame. They’ll come to you on their hands and knees and beg forgiveness for the transgression of your choosing and you’ll be in a position to say ‘I forgive thee in exchange for sweet sweet cash, now go in peace jabroni’. Make sure that the shame they feel is caused by something unavoidable. Make the follower feel disproportionate shame for farting or something that they are bound to do occasionally. Make farting (or whatever you decide upon) seem like the very worst thing a person can do. ‘And lo’ he did fart and our lord Kangerok, Monarch of the Upper Realm, did weep and despair of mankind’. That kind of thing. Got it?
So, now you’re on the road. There are of course other incredibly important elements you will need to learn in order to put your cash-generating/cult-forming plans into action but to know about them you will need to purchase my audio-listenable CD and book sets from Daphne (a deliciously oven-ready 36-24-36) as you exit through the lobby. Thanks for listening and remember, you are the master of your own destiny . . .and the destiny of others.
(Below is a perfect example of how to start a cult conference)