We have the pleasure of going to a Saturday lunchtime party yesterday where the affable host was showing cartoons designed by his son. As time went on, he was a little bit more fulsome in his discussion of his 35-year-old son’s mental problems which had culminated in a stay in a psychiatric hospital for some months.
He had evidently been mixed up with a cult and I being ever alert and attentive enquired what the cult was, having been involved in a cult myself for considerably longer than I should. I discovered it was the Scientologists that the son became involved with at the tender and impressionable age of 19. He said how the whole thing started off gently enough but then the son became more addicted and dependent upon the Scientologists who continually asked him for money after the infamous E Meter test. He once tried to pay them off to try and get rid of them but they were simply stimulated into asking for more money. His parents lent him thousands of pounds which of course they will never see.
What is it I wonder about the human being that causes perfectly normal people to be suckered into a group that gives them nothing and takes everything. It is probably ignorance and fear and embarrassment. I believe that people who have been stalked only complain when this happened 20 times. Many people who have been financially scanned do not come forward for fear of embarrassment. The lesson I draw from this is that no matter how stupid you feel, you should go to someone and tell them. They will probably give you the best advice about how to stop being conned. This also applies to Internet fraud where otherwise intelligent people give away their bank details following an apparent call from their bank or their solicitors telling them that the bank has changed its account.
Returning to the example, the parents have incorporated in their will the fact that a big proportion of the estate which goes to the son, one of two Siblings, will go into trust with three people as executors so if the Scientologists ask him for more money (“they never give up”) he will not be able to give his money to them. He has agreed to this but then people with a weak will agree to anything.
All this sort of thing is more likely to happen in a society that is isolated. We need to learn to share the good and bad with each other. That’s what friends are for after all.