From the International Cultic Studies Association (ICSA), is a checklist to determine whether or not an organisation is a cult. Below are just some of the points which the cult that is Societal Norms fulfill:
– The group displays excessively zealous and unquestioning commitment to its leader and (whether he is alive or dead) regards his belief system, ideology, and practices as the Truth, as law.
People unquestioningly commit to Societal Norms. Take a look around you – everybody is wearing Obey caps and t-shirts. Why? Because it is a Societal Norm.
– Questioning, doubt, and dissent are discouraged or even punished.
Want to go against Societal Norms? Fine, you’ll be ostracized and rejected. Nobody will talk to you.
– Members are expected to devote inordinate amounts of time to the group and group-related activities.
You must spend hours of the day conforming to Societal Norms to please fellow members. You have to take the time to search for Obey caps, to dye your hair, to buy geek specs.
- Members are encouraged or required to live and/or socialize only with other group members.
In any social situation, the person who socializes with the outcast becomes an outcast too.
– The most loyal members (the “true believers”) feel there can be no life outside the context of the group. They believe there is no other way to be, and often fear reprisals to themselves or others if they leave (or even consider leaving) the group.
These are the people who live in fear of being rejected by society. They want to conform to Societal Norms so much that they’ll spend thousands of dollars on the latest gadgets and starve themselves to be stick-thin. All to be accepted.