This is my metamorphosis reflection for my inquiry research on why people join cults.
a. What challenges did you overcome throughout this inquiry project? How did you go about overcoming these challenges?
The study of cults is one widely debated in the psychology communities, with many differing viewpoints on different issues and topics like whether or not brainwashing is something that cult members actually go through. The difference in opinions caused me to have to thoroughly research two sides of many arguments which lead to a lot more necessary work than I expected. Because of this, I had to organize my time better and instead of researching for and writing a post in the same day, I split it up into two: the first day for gathering all of my information, and the second for putting the post together. Furthermore, there were many disreputable websites that I had to sort through to find proper sources that were entirely opinion based or pulling from disproven theories about cults, which was frustrating and added onto my research time. Finally, probably the biggest challenge that I had was the cause behind the other challenges: nothing about cults is one hundred percent set in stone. All the research is theory-based or uses first-hand accounts as a basis which made it impossible for me to find any concrete answers for the questions I was asking. That is, I answered all my questions to the best of my ability from all the most common ideas, and theories that I came to agree with through my own research, but it’s all entirely debatable.
b. How did this inquiry change the way you think?
I believe that now I will be more skeptical of secretive organizations and closed-off communities, and also less likely to quickly agree with any new ideas or ideals offered to me. I also am now more questioning of organizations that I am a part of, and I wonder how many things that I know or participate in could constitute a cult.
c. How did this investigation impact your future decisions?
With my new-found skepticism, I will heavily research any institution, organization or company I come across before I even consider becoming a part of it. Moreover, if I am ever in a place where I must decide between cutting myself off from the world for my beliefs or returning to my family, I will decide to return as the other option is very likely for a cult-like situation. I will also act quickly if I realize that someone I know is likely being indoctrinated into a cult, and do my best to remove them from the situation.
d. What impact will this investigation have on others locally and/or globally?
This investigation will have no drastic impact on others, locally or globally, but I do hope that it could raise awareness. In reading my research, others can learn the warning signs for cults and how to avoid them, as well as how to tell if someone they know is in one and what may have lead to it. It could help young people, fresh away from their families at university, to avoid joining questionable organizations and accidentally dedicating their lives to a cult. On a more global scale, my investigation covers all the previously mentioned ideas but also works to prove that all over the world everyone has the same cult mindset and desire to belong to something, anything, on a deeper level, no matter where they’re from. Cults are not a western phenomenon; people of every culture crave a sense of purpose and can drop everything to follow a belief system that promises to give it to them.