Re: DSM: RE: Cult-school comparison

Robert Swanson (
Wed, 13 Dec 2000 01:09:42 -0800

Refer to my first posting. My use of the word "cult" is explicitly defined.
That is the definition I refer to here. It is intended as an expert
definition, not a common one. If you know a better expert, then I am
interested in furthering the definition. Maybe my point was not explicit --
it is that status quo does not approach the ideal. Ideals are considered
abnormal in our society, "cults" if you will.


on 12/12/00 6:24 AM, Joe Jackson at wrote:

> Robert sez:
>> A paradigm-cult for school--counseling:
>> A cult is people using beliefs and rituals that are not
>> mainstream.
> The word "cult" has a commonly understood meaning as well as a dictionary
> meaning. The meaning above is profoundly broader than the commonly
> understood or dictionary meanings.
> If we spontaneously adjust our understanding of a term like "cult" we
> instantly do two things:
> 1) We cast a pallor of the more specific, generally accepted meaning of the
> word over the subject matter, and
> 2) We elasticize the relation of the word to its meaning, resulting in a
> conversation where nobody knows what the speaker is talking about.
> Using the word "cult" is not useful, unless the user is trying to accomplish
> a goal other than earnest communication.
> -Joe

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