It has become relatively obvious that what goes by the term “Woke” refers to having been initiated into a cult. This observation presents a difficulty, however, because how can so many people be initiates into a cult without even knowing the cult is a cult? How can so many people uphold cult doctrine and praxis if they’ve never read the big theorists, like Marx, Marcuse, Freire, and Foucault? Doesn’t that suggest that something else entirely must be going on?
Cults always have a particular structure. They’re not homogeneous. In fact, they’re layered, sometimes more formally with an actual “leveling” system and sometimes less. In general, though, there are always three big-picture layers within any cult plus two categories of people outside the cult, making five types of people from the cult’s perspective.
Within the cult, the general organization can be split into three circles: initiates (“Outer School”), adepts (“Inner School”), and disciples and leaders (“Inner Circle”). Any of these three circles can be subdivided formally or informally, and something like initiation or promotion rites will typically mark passage from one level to the next, with those being more significant when crossing the boundaries between circles.
Importantly, the members of the Outer School (initiates) will typically know very little cult doctrine. They will be morally attuned to the cult and being made increasingly socially invested and committed to it. They do not have to have read any of the relevant cult doctrine or even have heard of the people who formulated it to act in ways consistent with the cult’s values, which they are learning to adopt and having reinforced for them socially. The initiate stage of cult induction is one of increasing psychological identification with the cult, its beliefs, and its practices. It’s also a period of learning the cult’s lingo and learning to speak like a cultist, which is, of course, a signal of fitting in. This awakening to cult identification in the Woke cult is called gaining “critical consciousness,” which is a belief that all of social reality is contoured by oppressive structural power dynamics that they have a duty to help overthrow by denouncing them with Woke criticism and Woke activism.
In contrast, the Inner School adepts will know the cult doctrine and will be growing in their knowledge and understanding of it. They will “do the work” or undertake the relevant “study” necessary to learn cult doctrine and theory, and they will, in turn, teach it to one another and to Outer School initiates, but only in comfortable, digestible ways. In this way, the practices, beliefs, morals, and values of the Outer School are shaped by doctrine that’s conveyed by the Inner School. “Doing the work” through “study” to become an Inner School adept mostly only proceeds after the moral, social, and psychological commitment to the cult is firmly established in an initiate (after they are critically conscious). That way, budding adepts are unlikely to reject and very likely to rationalize and accept the more distorted and grotesque features of the cult doctrine.
The Inner Circle is different and chosen from highly advanced Inner School members and, perhaps, opportunistically from among a population that doesn’t care that it’s leading a cult so long as it’s powerful and high-status there (that is, psychopaths). No amount of study, understanding, or development in cult doctrine will facilitate the transition from Inner School to Inner Circle or leadership. That’s done based on loyalty alone, often including guarantees of loyalty like blackmail obtained through the participation in an initiation rite to the highest levels. The Inner Circle may or may not be true believers in the cult, but they ultimately direct it, often in various ways for their own power and profit.
In this sense, all cults work like a Ponzi scheme of abuse, hazing, and victimization, with the abusers in the Inner Circle abusing the Inner School adepts and the adepts abusing themselves, each other, and the Outer School initiates, who are learning as they go to abuse themselves and others. One expression of this cult abuse formula was applied in Mao Zedong’s socialist cult in CCP-controlled China under Mao: “unity – criticism – unity.”
This democratic method of resolving contradictions among the people was epitomized in 1942 in the formula "unity – criticism - unity". To elaborate, that means starting from the desire for unity, resolving contradictions through criticism or struggle, and arriving at a new unity on a new basis. (Source)
Outside the cult, there are two essential categories: uninitiated or educable potential recruits (“masses”) and people who will never join, for various reasons and in varying levels of adversity to it (“enemies”). The cult grows by initiating the uninitiated, which requires separating them from and suppressing the enemies. There are also fake enemies (“controlled opposition” and “induced reaction,” for example), but those are a subject of another essay. Other than pointing out that the treatment of the masses can get quite manipulative and of enemies quite severe, this essay will set aside the question of the outgroups to examine cult structure itself.
That summarizes the basic structure of cults, and the application of this structure to the Woke cult is very easily understood. Most Woke people are in the Outer School. They are committed to Woke cult ideology morally and socially, and they’re increasingly coming to see themselves in Woke terms. They’re adopting a Woke identity. Only after that point will they begin to study Woke Theory in earnest, as they work their way into the Inner School. Virtually none of these people will ascend to the level of the Inner Circle that actually directs this cult and exploits them all. In this way, Woke can operate according to Theory through legions of people who are morally, socially, and psychologically committed to Theory without ever having read a word of it.
In a subsequent essay, I’ll elaborate on these themes considerably to add depth to how the Woke cult works within this structure and how people are induced into it in what amounts to a very decentralized way. For now, know that Woke is a cult and is organized as such. Theory is the doctrinal driver and is thus of central relevance to understanding the moral and social commitments and identity dysfunctions of initiated Woke cultists and is likely to be necessary to devising ways to deprogram people who are its victims by initiation.