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Danger signals

Page history last edited by PBworks 17 years, 9 months ago

Some Danger Signals to Watch for

Finding a magical group is one thing, but finding a group which is entirely suited to you is sometimes more difficult. If you are in the position of trying to decide whether or not you want to join a particular group or organization, bear the following points in mind:


1. Do most of the members strike you as weak, passive individuals who let one or two forceful people dominate the proceedings?


2. Does the group work entirely from one particular set of teachings or manual and not allow deviation from those principles or allow people to question them?


3. Does the group demand that you observe a number of strict rules, or attempt to interfere in your life outside the group (i.e. telling you to avoid certain people or not to read particular books)?


4. Do they insist that they are the best group to be in and that all others are second-rate?


5. Do they make it difficult for people to leave the group and, if people do leave, are they then demonized, i.e., made into enemies of the group?


6. Do they make all kinds of wild claims about how your life will be made better by being a member?


7. Is there a complex and rigid hierarchy, where high-ranking members have impressive titles and seem to be beyond criticism or censure by others?


8. Do they encourage members to demonstrate loyalty either by donating large amounts of cash to the group’s coffers or devoting a good deal of their spare time to unpaid work for the group?


9. Do they continually draw a distinction between themselves and the outside world, regarding themselves as superior initiates and depicting everyone else as ignorant?


10. Do they strongly discourage the voicing of dissident opinions in meetings, and label anyone who does speak out as immature, unbalanced or weak?


If you feel that the group in question displays two or three of the above points, then tread warily. If it seems to display four or more of these characteristics, then unless you think you are going to be happy in such a situation, it may be best to avoid it.


Phil Hine (1998), Approaching Groups, http://www.philhine.org.uk/writings/gp_appgrps.html


(The above is slightly more than 10% of the total length of the article, so just about conforms to copyright rules. It is such an excellent checklist that I feel it is worth quoting in full.)

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