Dangerous Cult Leaders – Psychology today

Dangerous Cult Leaders

There is an article by Joe Navarro, a former FBI Counterintelligence Agent, about “Dangerous Cult Leaders“.

Navarro is investigating the topic from the perspective of cult leader’s pathological patterns and from the point of view when he or she becomes a danger to others. For Navarro there is a “historical record of suffering and hurt caused by various cult leaders around the world.” Joe Navarro bases his article on his studies of cults and cult leaders during his time in the FBI.

In my opinion one of the pattern behind cult leaders is a personality disorder, usually I stress that it is good to get to know the signs of a Narcissistic personality disorder in order to understand cults and one’s own or others’ experiences in the context of so-called “cults”.

Navarro seems to come also to such a conclusion and he states that the individuals whose life, teachings, and behaviours he studied have “or had an over-abundant belief that they were special, that they and they alone had the answers to problems, and that they had to be revered. They demanded perfect loyalty from followers, they overvalued themselves and devalued those around them, they were intolerant of criticism, and above all they did not like being questioned or challenged. And yet, in spite of these less than charming traits, they had no trouble attracting those who were willing to overlook these features.”

Joe Navarro offers a list of 50 typical traits of a pathological cult leader and suggests that “you should watch for and which shout caution, get away, run, or avoid if possible”:

  1. He has a grandiose idea of who he is and what he can achieve.
  2. Is preoccupied with fantasies of unlimited success, power, or brilliance.
  3. Demands blind unquestioned obedience.
  4. Requires excessive admiration from followers and outsiders.
  5. Has a sense of entitlement – expecting to be treated special at all times.
  6. Is exploitative of others by asking for their money or that of relatives putting others at financial risk.
  7. Is arrogant and haughty in his behavior or attitude.
  8. Has an exaggerated sense of power (entitlement) that allows him to bend rules and break laws.
  9. Takes sexual advantage of members of his sect or cult.
  10. Sex is a requirement with adults and sub adults as part of a ritual or rite.
  11. Is hypersensitive to how he is seen or perceived by others.
  12. —> for more please read the article: Dangerous Cult Leaders, Published on August 25, 2012 by Joe Navarro, M.A. on Psychology today blog.

The Dalai Lama as a god king in the eyes of a psychologist who has no understanding of Tibet’s history, Tibetan Buddhism and the Dalai Lamas

Another article on Psychology today blog shows rather the opposite of a thoughtful investigation: Dr. Joachim Krueger’s “The Dalai Lama as a Brand – neither god nor king“. After Krueger portrays the image of the current Dalai Lama as “a unique phenomenon in today’s world. More than anyone else, he transcends ordinary social categories …” etc. he puts him high above human categories and claims he would be “the closest thing to a god-king we currently have.”

God king? No Tibetan, not the Dalai Lama, nor anybody else who has some understanding calls the Dalai Lama “a god king”. The term derives from Western projections as scientists like Michael von Brück made clear. The Dalai Lama stresses himself quite often – including in his books – that he is just a human being like everybody else. When the Dalai Lama was asked in 1960 that it is believed he were a “living Buddha” or “a god king”  he replied: “What a strange remark! I am just a blessed follower of the Buddha.”

However, Krueger has to ignore those things to be able to follow Goldner’s presentation of a Dalai Lama, an image that is based on an “Anti-religious”, “Anti-lamaistic” stance (Golzio). To make it short, though it is highly welcome to balance the overall present rather enthusiastic image of the Dalai Lama, Goldner’s work is just a skilfully distorted, one-sided portray of Tibet, monasticism, and the Dalai Lama which FAZ reviewd as “Excessive doom-saying in such an amount and in such disparaging, abusive lingo, it’s not every day.” Although there exist some positive reviews of Goldner’s book in some news outlets too (NR, FR), the journalists in those outlets clearly lack any knowledge about the history of Tibet, Tibetan Buddhism and the Dalai Lamas, and missed to contact Tibetologists, Historians, Indologists or Anthropologists to verify Goldner’s presentation. A trap in which Krueger stepped too.

When I hinted to Krueger that Colin Goldner is a highly questionable source and gave some brief background information in the comment section Krueger wrote immediately another post Comments on Dalai Lama Post. There he wrongly claimed that

“The commentator gets more specific with regard to the last charge by noting that Goldner lost a court case when suing a reviewer who accused him of racism. … A Viennese court apparently saw it differently. I ask the commentator to supply the entire text of the court’s decision so I can form an informed opinion.

What strikes me is what did not happen. The suit was brought by Goldner with respect to an issue of language and not of fact. I would be interested to learn if there are cases of successful suits against Goldner, showing that critical parts of the evidence presented in his book are false, made-up, or grossly distorted.”

My request to clarify and to change this he ignored.

However, the “Dalai Lama as a Brand” is still an interesting topic. But I think if one wants to really investigate it in a serious and thoughtful manner one needs also enough knowledge about Tibet, Tibetan Buddhism and the Dalai Lamas, and reliable sources. — Not only knowledge is required but one must be free from prejudices and ideological delusions, and one should understand the inner logic of phenomena too. “Schuster bleib bei Deinen Leisten” we would say in German: “Cobbler, stick to your last!”*

* A cobbler makes shoes and their last is the thing they fashion or repair the shoes on. The phrase means stick to what you’re good at, or more negatively, don’t get above yourself. (see http://ask.metafilter.com/27518/What-does-Cobbler-stick-to-thy-last-mean)

Update 04 April 2013

Update 20 April 2013

Update 13 Dec 2014