That means that researchers will no longer be able to study him directly. Not that they were naive enough to believe everything or anything he said. But, they did have access to observe his his facial expressions, body language, use of language, and overall affect.
But what we will never lose, at least if we are a wise society, is this lesson: How organizations can spot our vulnerabilities and then emotionally move in to control us.
Thanks to Mason, we began to question: Is X or Y a cult? How much of our autonomy are we trading off to belong to it? Mason's followers gave up a lot to become part of The Family.
Among the organizations which we increasingly apply that label to are 12-step programs, specifically Alcoholics Anonymous. In The Atlantic, Gabrielle Glaser introduces lots of questions we should be asking.
But, often, cults can take a more simple form: beliefs which can suck dry our souls. Careerism is one of them, at least along the Northeast Corridor. The irony about that is that if we buy in we could become less successful. That's because our focus is on winning big, not doing the actual strategic planning and implementation.
Therefore, Mason did serve a useful function. Unfortunately, there are many like him who also teach us dark lessons about how mankind tries for total control.
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