With all the uncertainty and potential doom I face in my current job, I thought it might be a good idea for me to consider alternate careers. Today, I want to take a look at whether Cult Leader would be a good career choice for me.
I have a lot of the basic skills needed to be a successful Cult Leader already. I'm fairly charismatic, and I have better than average leadership skills. I'm quite articulate, and can speak extemporaneously. I'm energetic and a hard worker, which I think has to be very important for a Cult Leader.
One thing I lack is a cult. I could try to get in on an existing cult - the Rajneeshee business, Aum Shinrikyo, or maybe the Jesuits - but most of their leadership positions are filled. I could maybe bring back a defunct cult, like the People's Temple or the Branch Davidians, or even the Whigs, but I'm guessing the red tape would be nearly intractable. If I were to start my own cult, I'd obviously have a lot of up-front planning and initial investment, but it'd be fully customizable and I could pick the pajamas color and everything.
Generally, cults have sacred texts. Here I've got a few options as well. I could pick a book that's already out there. There are excellent choices, like Plato's Symposium or Larousse Gastronomique, or possibly, copyright clearance pending, the New User's Guide for iPod nano. I've long considered finally sitting down and writing The Book of Dave, based on the life, miracles, and prophecies of my pal Dave "Dave" Koukal. But it's also pretty tempting to write one from scratch.
[Note to self: remember to include a good flood story.]
Turns out the distinction between a cult and a religion is somewhat hazy and fairly subjective. Sociologists and other folks who study cults tend to associate high degrees of mind control, personality-reverence, and aggressive discipline and efforts to retain members. But the history of the Catholic Church is full of that kind of stuff, and several major world religions today continue these practices (Catholics gave up discipline ages ago; they're much more into heavy petting these days).
In any case, I need a flock of the faithful to really pull this off and get any return on it. So I need a marketing campaign. It's gotta be the toughest part of starting a cult, when you think about it. Plus, obviously, you need to target the lost, confused, left-out, and un-culted 18-25 year-old demographic to pick up hip, cool cachet.
True story: A girl I knew in high school wrote a note in my senior yearbook predicting that she'd hear about me, 20 years on, having moved to California [done!] and, maybe, started a cult or something. [Aha!]