From Scientology and Raëlism to Kashi Ashram and Hare Krishna, California has no shortage of cults to choose from.
Notoriously, it was in San Diego, in 1997, that 39 members of the Heaven’s Gate cult took their lives in order to reach an extraterrestrial spacecraft following the Hale–Bopp comet. (They’re still looking.)
Cults don’t have to be deadly to be damaging, however, and the cult-like characteristics of the Big Tech movement deserve close attention.
In all cases, the cult leaders, the CEOs demand unflinching loyalty and attract a disproportionate amount of media attention. While the CEOs of even major industrial corporations can pass through life in relative obscurity, not so the Jobs, Zuckerbergs, Pichais, Dorseys and Cooks of this world. The effect of their prophetesque status in the new Information Age is to give them tremendous authority within the companies and without. Their very utterances, however banal or malign, assume a mantra-like quality, breathlessly repeated across a dependent internet ‘community’ desperate for clicks and traffic. The cult of personality that surrounds these gurus is enormous.
Dissent cannot be tolerated. It doesn’t matter whether you are a conservative protesting viewpoint suppression or a campaigner for equal pay for women, dissent in any form must be punished, as James Damore discovered to his cost.
While normal cults must make do with fairly ineffective mind-altering practices, such as a chanting and meditation, Big Tech is able to use the latest artificial intelligence algorithms to manipulate the public consciousness and drive public opinion into conformity with its own illiberal worldview.
The pretensions of the Big Tech cults are enormous as well. Founder Steve Jobs’s disciple, Tim Cook recalls a lifechanging moment of awakening: “There were things I wanted to change about the world, but I figured that was what I had to do on my own time. Steve didn’t see it that way. He convinced me that if we made great products, we too could change the world.” Not content with billions under Alphabet surveillance, Pichai believes he sees a clear path to five billion “users” using Android. No one is to escape technology’s global domination: everyone must have “access to a computer and connectivity”.
One wouldn’t be much of a cult leader if one didn’t amass enormous wealth as well. In 2018, Telegraph India described the respective CEOs’ personal wealth thus: “Bezos’ net worth is $125.8 billion, Zuckerberg’s $63.6 billion, Page and Brin are worth $53 billion each and Dorsey’s more than $6.8 billion. Cook, Nadella and Pichai are executive CEOs drawing annual salaries ranging from $12.8 million to $200 million.”
A real Saviour, by contrast, says “The foxes have holes and the birds of the air have nests, but the Son of Man has nowhere to lay His head.” (Matthew 8.20)
No cult is complete without obsessive secrecy and insularity. In the Panmore Institute’s organisational analysis of Apple Inc., secrecy was identified as one of the give key factors contributing to the organisation’s success:
Through the corporate culture, employees are encouraged and expected to keep business information within the company. This cultural trait is reinforced through the company’s policies, rules, and employment contracts.
The cult leaders are able to act with a substantial degree of impunity. When Zuckerberg appeared before Congress, it was clear where the true power lay: were a bunch of ageing senators dependent on corporate campaign contributions really going to hold a 30-something billionaire with control over one of the world’s information superhighways to account? Fifty years from now, who will still wield power?
Groupthink within these companies is enormous.
By bringing “talent” from across the world to California, they separate cult members from their family, and the communities from which they hail.
These cults obsessively acquire new members, and assure them that they are the enlightened ones, the chosen few.
They have an all-devouring rapacity for earning money.
They consume cult members’ lives to a degree that “ordinary jobs” cannot do.
They encourage socialising within the group at the expense of outside connections.
And they can be brutal towards those that speak out.
One of the reasons that organisations adopt cult-like characteristics is because the philosophies and worldviews underlying them are morally and intellectually indefensible. They would not survive otherwise. Truth is revealed in the crucible of free discussion. Speech is suppressed by the powerful to shield their flawed worldviews from criticism.
Most corporations are morally neutral, doing good and evil, but not fundamentally good or evil per se. They exist to make money for their shareholders by providing goods and services. Increasingly, however corporations are positioning themselves as agents of change, and seeking to acquire a quasi-redemptive quality.
Unfortunately for the cults, what they are seeking to change – namely society – is not fundamentally amenable to change by human effort. Society is natural, organic: all the efforts of communism, socialism and progressivism to create a new and better society have failed, and will always fail, because they fail to take into account the fact that institutions of a well-functioning society are themselves the natural product of the created order and of fallen human nature. Like the Soviet Union which replaced Imperial Russia before it, by attempting to remake society in their own image, rather than to realise their proper place within it, corporations will invariably end up doing more harm than good.
In pursuit of this project, these corporations and their enablers are seeking global dominance and an inescapable control over our lives. They are seeking to generalise the slavish cultdom of their in-group to society at large. They demand your worship, your adulation and your subservience.
To demand worship is an antichristiological trait (Matthew 4.9, Revelation 13.15), and should always immediately raise a red flag.
If you resist, if you reject, by your actions, this tech-saturated conformity, expect to be ostracised, denied access to the marketplace, and ultimately suppressed.
As they work to ‘perfect’ us, the wealth and power that they are amassing corrupts the cult leaders and their apparatchiks. Cue more information control. Cue more dissent suppression. But cue also their ultimate downfall.
Like any cult, it holds a godlike power over some or many, for a while, and then its collapse comes suddenly. Cultdom is not a sustainable business model. It is deeply corrupting. It has, at its heart, the seeds of its own demise.
If you or a family member are involved in one of these cults, be assured that there is a better, freer life outside. Otherwise, start working from the inside towards the creation of a more normal, accountable corporate culture!
Article Licence: CC BY-ND 4.0.