Cults and Hero Worship Part Deux / by Andrew Gelwick

Sooooo no joke I wrote my whole article, somehow got logged out with the window still open, refreshed and everything I wrote was deleted. Here we go again. 


Did you ever get into something a little too much? And now, looking back, you kinda cringe? Or did you look up to someone and now they're gross. I now find Joseph Campbell gross, but in high school he was my guy. The dude took all of the world's religions and reduced them to simple narrative structures and archetypes. One such structure is the "Hero" and one such archetype is "The Hero's Journey". This is the basic blockbuster narrative think a Star Wars or Transformers. Campbell was disciple of Jung and what's interesting is the utilitarian bent he applied through his analysis of religions; not only do these structures and archetypes exist but they directly affect their societies. Modern day fetishization of "THJ" since the invention of the blockbuster and the study of Campbell in countless film and literary schools I believe is subconsciously affecting our society. However in his macro-reduction some many subtleties are lost that I now find his macro analysis too derivative. Its almost as if Campbell stumbled upon powerful narrative structures that can directly influence the human subconscious ( or collective unconsciousness).



Have you heard of the Rajneeshpuram? They were a Indian cult that migrated to the U.S (after becoming a major tourist/"holy" site for American hippies) in the early 1970s and took over a small Oregon town named "Antelope". Their downfall started after they poisoned various salad bars in the 1980s with salmonella.This was a last ditch effort as authorities had  started to circle the movement. Their failure in murder was only out of pure ineptness but what I find interesting is their lack of prominence in the true crime field. This was the time for cults, starting with Manson but you have Jonestown, Waco, Heavens Gate, and so many others. I want to learn more about them and see if the cultural narrative differences found in Jonestown is also present with this group. The video below is a fantastic detailing of the events and I think its necessary when the imagry is so similar to what we see in late stage cults (like North Korea baybe).