Under the neoliberal order which sucks the meaning out of everything and people are essentially taught to pursue vapid and empty values like "success" and their "career" which does not speak to anything fundamental in the human spirit.
People long for some kind of greater meaning and a feeling of purpose which is not on sale. Every society must have its myths which psychological orient and regulate it. Under neoliberalism, culture is replaced by business, and so there is no living, rooted culture, only a vaporous and sterile cosmopolitanism.
If this higher meaning and purpose is not provided for them, the masses will seek it wherever they can find it. The creative mind might, as per Nietzche seek to invent their own values to fill this horrible nihilistic void. Easier said than done, for to experience purpose it must be collective and social to feel bigger than oneself, which is the whole point. The average person lacks these intellectual and imaginative powers and cannot, like the philosopher, content themselves with doubt. Instead they must believe.
Qanon is clearly a sign of such cultism in the wake of collapsing neoliberal norms. The masses must have something to believe and if given nothing, they will conjure any sort of wild fantasy. This impulse is greatly heightened in times of unrest and anxiety, when the world seems to be shifting and old institutions falter. People recoil against the uncertain.
A cult is merely a form of incorporated fantasy, in which exploitative relations to the "means of believing" are erected by psuedo-capitalists. Take for instance scientology, which is an odd blend of the catholic church and multinational corporation. It is fast-food religion, religion as product. It is sleek and marketable, with celebrities representing it and all sorts of nonsense. Yet it is structured around the abuse of its underlings and a hierarchy of manipulation. Cults often emulate the transactional sorts of relations which are the norm of the wider neoliberal society, because while they must be different enough to feel familiar, they must also be familiar enough to feel different.
People long for a greater sense of meaningful connection, but are unable to find it in a society based purely on transactional relationships between atomized individuals. These are those who are susceptible to cPost too long. Click here to view the full text.