How to not come off as a cultist

–  Show that your project is part of a larger and much older tradition. There is almost no possibility that your ideology is completely new.

Ideas exhibit evolutionary patterns. We discovered ideas from others, that we combined and tweaked. And they also developed their ideas through discovery, combining, and tweaking.

When you point to that tradition, you are communicating: “I learned from these people, and maybe you will find value in them as well”. When you do not make clear reference to your tradition, then others may think you are pretending to have come up with it all yourself, or they may actually believe it.

–  Point people to other current authors and resources. Just as we are only the recombiners and tweakers of ideas, each of us are also not the penultimate specialist in all areas of our ideology. Other people today make valuable contributions to our ideology, and so it makes sense to lead others there as well.

–  Reaching your own ideology has involved a lot of learning and evaluating. People who haven’t arrived at your ideology will likely not have come across the same ideas as you have, nor had the time to evaluate it. It is also possible that they have had different life experiences that made it harder for them to accept your ideology. For both cases, it is important to keep the discrepancies in experiences in mind.

So when you are questioned on your ideas, that means you have an opportunity to tell them something they may have never heard before. If your ideas are good, then they must be able to be transferred in a manner that does not involve pressure or other forms of manipulation.

–  Different people understand the same words to mean different things; and that is the only place where meaning lives. This means another person cannot carry a wrong meaning of a word, considering there is no right meaning of a word, only interpretations. If you notice in a discussion that different interpretations of words exist, it can be helpful to explain what you mean by not using that word. This means you try to explain your idea in a way that you think they will be easier able to understand, without demanding that they start using different meanings of words.

–  If you claim in one way or the other that you are the bearer of truth, then you are claiming to be infallible. This means that you entirely stop being open to corrections in thinking and that any criticisms can be disregarded automatically. This is the height of cultism.

–  In order to demonstrate that you understand that the world of ideas is evolutionary and a collaborative effort, it is important to free-license your content (allowing others to copy and remix without restrictions). This means others can build on what they think you have done well as well as take what they think you have not done well and criticize it, without fear of being impeded by you in case you do not care for their remixes or critiques.

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