True Believers & Mass Movements
Before ending this section on conversion, I want to talk about the
people who are most susceptible to it and about Mass Movements. I am
convinced that at least a third of the population is what Eric Hoffer
calls "true believers." They are joiners and followers ... people
who want to give away their power. They look for answers, meaning, and enlightenment outside themselves.
Hoffer, who wrote THE TRUE BELIEVER, a classic on mass movements,
says, "true believers are not intent on bolstering and advancing a
cherished self, but are those craving to be rid of unwanted self. They
are followers, not because of a desire for self-advancement, but because it can satisfy their passion for self-renunciation!" Hoffer also says that true believers "are eternally incomplete and eternally insecure"!
I know this from my own experience. In my years of communicating
concepts and conducting trainings, I have run into them again and again. All I can do is attempt to show them that the only thing to seek is the True Self within. Their personal answers are to be found there and there alone. I communicate that the basics of spirituality are
self-responsibility and self-actualization. But most of the true
believers just tell me that I'm not spiritual and go looking for someone who will give them the dogma and structure they desire.
Never underestimate the potential danger of these people. They can
easily be molded into fanatics who will gladly work and die for their
holy cause. It is a substitute for their lost faith in themselves and
offers them as a substitute for individual hope. The Moral Majority is made up of true believers. All cults are composed of true believers. You'll find them in politics, churches, businesses, and social cause groups. They are the fanatics in these organizations.
Mass Movements will usually have a charismatic leader. The
followers want to convert others to their way of living or impose a new
way of life--if necessary, by legislating laws forcing others to their
view, as evidenced by the activities of the Moral Majority. This means
enforcement by guns or punishment, for that is the bottom line in law
A common hatred, enemy, or devil is essential to the success of a
mass movement. The Born Again Christians have Satan himself, but that isn't enough - they've added the occult, the New Age thinkers and, lately, all those who oppose their integration of church and politics, as evidenced in their political reelection campaigns against those who
oppose their views. In revolutions, the devil is usually the ruling
power or aristocracy. Some human-potential movements are far too clever to ask their graduates to join anything, thus labeling themselves as a cult - but, if you look closely, you'll find that their devil is anyone and everyone who hasn't taken their training.
There are mass movements without devils but they seldom attain major
status. The True Believers are mentally unbalanced or insecure people,
or those without hope or friends. People don't look for allies when
they love, but they do when they hate or become obsessed with a cause.
And those who desire a new life and a new order feel the old ways must
be eliminated before the new order can be built.
Part 7 of The Battle for Your Mind