A Guide To Creating Mass Movements
Lessons to learn from cults and their members
Mass movements have struck an extraordinary impact on the world we live in. From the German’s Nazi regime to China and Russia’s communist regimes, they certainly were defining moments in the 20th Century.
While mass movements aren’t so obvious in the 21st Century now, there are lessons we can draw from them that can help us be aware of our own indoctrination now or in the future.
I’m not recommending that you go out there to produce your own mass movement, but to rather depict common qualities in them for the sake of learning.
But here’s how you can start a mass movement if you want to.
Ignite The Desire For Change
It’s no secret that mass movements feed off a desire for change. Revolutionary movements are tools for the individuals of mass movements to change their lives.
To ignite this desire is to use it to produce widespread enthusiasm and excitement. It doesn’t matter whether you are promising money, equality, life after death or other rewards — all mass movements require a promise of change.
Peter The Great, who who expanded the Tsardom of Russia through his leadership winning many successful wars attempted to turn Russia into a Western nation.
While he managed to replace some conservative and traditionalist social and political systems, he either didn’t know or didn’t deem necessary to produce widespread enthusiasm.
Ultimately, he failed in his primary goal — and Russia never turned into a Western nation.
You must use an individual’s desire to change to produce soul-stirring eagerness and devotion — a critical part of mass movements. Without it, your mass movement will fail.
You need to create a critical desire for faith for the frustrated who cannot bear their existence without this hope. When your doctrine is presented, it will produce enthusiasm and excitement amongst those who suffer from disillusioned misery.
Change is the law of life. And those who look only to the past or present are certain to miss the future.
— John F. Kennedy
Target the Frustrated, Not the Fulfilled
To form a successful mass movement, you must target people who are willing to be indoctrinated.
To find the type of people who will accept your regimes, first look for those who are frustrated. A lack of purpose and meaning in their life is a sure tell that they are susceptible to mass movements. Some feelings of rejection and loneliness don’t hurt either.
Even more important, you want to look for those who attribute their failures in life not to their own shortcomings, but to the state of society.
WARNING: Do not target those who are fulfilled. They believe that the world is good and would like to conserve it. Only those are frustrated favour radical change.
There must also be a slight hope for the future in their character. The utterly hopeless poor individuals are not susceptible to your indoctrination. They struggle to survive every day. They don’t have time, let alone hope for your promise of riches.
Hope is being able to see that there is light despite all of the darkness.
— Desmond Tutu
However, the freshly poor are frustrated by their memories of a better life. Not only that, they are instilled with hope — especially because they can imagine a better life. Instil these people with the hope of producing a new world — and you will surely succeed.
Another exceptional sign is to target those who lack creativity. They are most likely ceaselessly bored. Even in miserable financial situations, the creative are able to channel their energy into achieving flow states — which starves boredom.
There is no more promising indicator of a society’s capacity to host a mass movement than widespread boredom. Reports of mass movements illustrate that in the earliest stages of mass movements, the bored are more likely to be sympathisers of mass movements than the exploited or oppressed.
Target the bored and you will surely find followers.
Strip Your Followers of Their Individuality
A mass movement is largely defined by a group of individuals taking united action and ready to sacrifice their lives for the holy cause.
To prepare them for self-sacrifice, you must eradicate the individual’s identity and uniqueness. Your holy cause must be a priority over the individual’s life.
When you ask them who they are, they must identify with your cause first. They must declare that they are a German, a Feminist, a Christian — whatever your mass movement declares that they are called.
Destroy their purpose, worth and destiny from their individuality and replace it with the doctrines of the collective movement. Your cause must become the reason they are happy, the reason they are sad and the reason they wake up in the morning.
Their pride and confidence must come the accomplishments of the movement, not of their own abilities.
Identity in the form of continuity of personality is an extremely important characteristic of the individual
— Kenneth L. Pike
Turn your collective beliefs into the core continuity of their personality and you will find eager and loyal followers.
Use Hatred as a Unifying Agent
Hatred takes the focus of an individual off themselves and onto others. It frees the individual from his own sorrow, pain, jealousies and self-seeking.
To share a common hatred with another individual is to form a bond of commonality in this powerful emotional. Hitler’s anti-semitism not only united the Jews but also brought together the Jew-hating Poland, Rumania, Hungary and France.
It is essential to have a tangible enemy, not merely an abstract one .
— Adolf Hitler
The Holocaust was driven by this united pursuit of racial purity. This meant an intense hatred towards all races that were deemed unworthy, including the now famous reduction (and attempt of eradication) of Jews.
When we are grieving and feel wronged, it is in our natural instinct to find allies to retaliate against our enemy. And when we combat those we hate, we are adding gasoline to the fire of our hatred.
Hatred silences the individual’s guilt for hurting others. It convinces the individual that our enemies are disgusting, depraved humans who deserved the pain we inflicted on them.
Mass movements can rise and spread without belief in a God, but never without belief in a devil.
— Eric Hoffer
Use hatred to unite people. When there is a devil, we are motivated to destroy him. A collective hatred will produce a widespread enthusiasm to take out a common enemy.
A Magnificent Leader is Essential
Once the eagerness to follow and obey due to the unrelenting frustration with the current state of the lives of your followers, the leader should reveal their face.
The role of the leader is to transform the existing attitudes and schemas of the individuals into a collective whole — to personify the faith and to undermine the convictions of the status quo.
The leader must possess a charismatic will infused with a daring vision. They must produce a visionary so astonishing and exciting to justify the destruction of the believed-to-be stagnating present.
They don’t have to appear exceptionally intelligent nor to be morally just. After all, Donald Trump doesn’t present either of these qualities. What is more important is the capacity to defy the status quo.
They must be fanatical in nature and become indoctrinated by their own truth — to have unrelenting faith in the destiny of the regime.
A leader is one who knows the way, goes the way, and shows the way.
— John C. Maxwell
If you’re anything like me, you’re probably not going to go out there and start your own mass movement. But the analysis of them help us learn a lot about human nature. I hope the tactics I’ve presented today have shed some light on how people become indoctrinated by violent regimes.
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