This one is good.
I think any cult starts off with someone an apparent appeal to emotion and reason together. While most people usually have personalities that tend more toward one or the other, the initiator does both powerfully to some given audience. A charismatic person is one who is both beautiful in some way and smart.
If a charismatic person is well rewarded without justification, that person tends can recognize he or she has power over others and can choose to use it for his or her benefit. If his or her ego is strengthened by the process they start by making subtle demands from their ‘fans’. They are ‘fans’ to him or her because they seem to like him or her for what may be superficial or seemingly insufficient to determine trust.
But if it boosts the charismatic person’s ego and sustain him or her, they will begin to perceive their fans as both valuable and necessarily stupid. Not all charismatic people who become like this turn into cult leaders. But I think that this is the start.
He or she begins to value their own philosophical views as being meaningful because others support him or her with certitude. It is usually due to something sensible or very logical and real at first. When more people come along and show their support, he or she is justified in their claims. And more of these people are willing to do frivolous things for him or her for free.
So why not go the next step and ask one of them to do something unusual just to see if they would do it for you? Surprise…they do it! Play the emotional card and reward them with lavish attention. If someone else seems jealous, challenge that person to do something for you even riskier. If they are willing to invest a little the first round, they notice, the new followers are willing to invest more later.
Next, have an exclusive party. Play “truth then dare”. Challenge others to open up and share their weaknesses to the group with some anecdote of their lives while providing resolution with a group exercise of some sort at the end. Make the exercise physical and weird. Then challenge one or some of them to do something they wouldn’t normally do in front of everyone else. Close the event by encouraging commitment to some idea or moral and to each other. If it’s a highly emotional event, then someone in the group will say, “let’s do this again!” You, the leader, suggest a definite regroup time.
How’s that for a start?