Cult-Studs: Good, Bad, Indifferent

SORRY for my major confusion: I was confused about “stud” thinking that it simply might mean intellectual hegemony. In my mind, Jacob Kline and Mortimer Adler and Leo Strauss were “studs” not in the mountain climbing sense but in the sense that they lead a group of followers (same thing with Ayn Rand or Marshall McLuhan or any number of other people) and those followers become obsessed and close-minded (even if the leader is someone who is open-minded) and they grasp hold of one paradigm of understanding and apply it to everything. Now I know that a stud is someone with physical prowess and cult-stud means cultural studies and not the leader of a cult.

Cult Stud thread: I am getting a lot out of Zizek thread which has a sub theme of “cult stud” (a new term to me but, I feel, a valid useful term.) I got curious today to seach and see how the term is used. I was surprised to find a site which speaks of Wikipedia as a cult with studs. I happen to value Wikipedia myself but I know there are people who hate it. Anyway, I am learning something new each day here and see valuable people with valuable views so I thought I would start a thread just for my own benefit on “cult stud” and tack on some links. I think cultism is a genuine phenomenon worth exploration.

I started this a a new thread but decided that DOC might be a better approach since it is editable. I am even wondering if ther is a “Cult-Stud for dummies site which would give some useful exploration.

When does a cult-stud group become a hate group because obviously they do, and there is a down side to that I mean it is good to critique Plato, Aristotle, Rand, Marshall McLuen, Derrida, but when does one cross the line, and what is bad about crossing the line?

On the other side of the fence, there is the issue of free speech and minority rights… and even someone like Rand MUST have had something going for her since there are admiring people, ESPECIALLY in developing places(e.g. India) where they see Rand philosophy as a tool for development. Did you know there is an organization in India who offers an annual prize for the best Ayn Rand essay? India is in a different predicament than America. There are shining modern metropolis urban centers like Mumbai and then a few hundred miles away there are villages living almost in the Stone Age (and I am not knocking the Stone Age or tribal and aboriginal life since it has its good points.)

I know what I am about to say is heresy at SJC, but I watched Leo Strauss and Mortimer Adler and Eva Brann lectures. I admired what they had to offer, but on some level they had their own cults arise and perhaps they were not pleased about that phenomenon. IS there a down side to that and it the phenomenon is worthy note or exploration?

Perhaps it may be said that when groups of people SURRENDER their minds and hearts to a cult phenomenon then it may be said that they do so out of weakness because the FORMULA of the cult doctrine seems to them to solve a lot of problems and FREES them from the personal responsibility of wrestling with such problems. I think the Tea-Party folks have legitimate complaints and challenges in the face of real problems in the world, but they also face the temptation to surrender to their own arising cults and stud leaders.

I am involved in an Ayn Rand discussion group formation right now NOT because I know very much about Ayn Rand but because one of my best friends from SJC has made Rand’s work the focus of his life. I created group for him and one other Rand fan from India who is not SJC but is important to my life.

People like Rand and Derrida and Marshall McLuen and Zizek arise and gain followings. I think the best think to come out of the valuable Zizek thread is that when someone like Socrates comes on the scene it is in part because there is some void or weakness in the society at the time and the rise of a Socrates or a Marx or a Hitler or a Stalin or a Jesus or a Buddha or even a Mohammed is a symptom of that void or need.

Now I know some people are going to scream and say HEY WAIT HERESY. You are mentioning the sacred with the profane. Socrates and Jesus and Buddha are obviously good guys for many and beyond reproach, while Hitler and Stalin and Derrida (the POMOS – Postmodernists – rhyming with Homo) are the bad guys in the eyes of many. There is the good, the bad, the indifferent. There is wheat, and chaff, and a winnowing fan if you will (or Plato-Klein warp and woof).

In Moses day, things (laws, tablets) were written in STONE. He got made over the golden calf, smashed the stone, and went back to get a re-write. We assume the second revision was an exact copy of the first. Point is, nowadays, nothing is written in stone. Even a constitution has amendments which are subject to repeal (Prohibition.) We learn from our mistakes and sometimes we forget some history and are doomed to repeat it as kind of a karmic punishment (e.g. derivatives: we learned some lessons from the Great Depression, put some checks and balances in place, and then apparently forgot something along the way are opened pandoras box to financial irresponsibility.) So the world of finance and politics and the world of ideas is a pendulum which swings. Sometimes swinging is good. The old song “Engaland (sic) swings like a pendulum do; bobbies on bicycles two by two.” Sometimes the pendulum means freedom and pursuit of happiness. Sometimes the freedom of the swinging pendulum spells trouble in the sense of instability, revolution, wars, rumors of war.

The ideals of the St. John’s College Great Books Program have more to do with the idea that self-governance, thinking for oneself, truly knowing oneself, and so on are the practices that grant us a sense of balance and freedom from slavishness (and note that cultism with its stud leader CAN be a form of slavishness). There are developments in philosophy that tend to fixate on the self as a kind of prisoner or an entity in natural opposition to the rest of the universe.

We humans, as a species, ALWAYS hover on the brink of conflict chaos and war… here and in the world. Look at all our experience on the Internet. We are ALWAYS one harsh word away from violence, ad hominem, hatred, insult, and I know that I am just as liable to this weakness as anyone else. But we all share in this frailty because it is a part of our humanity.

To Ayn Rand Group –
Welcome, Paul and Brian (if I may be so familiar.) Thanks Dhanlakshmi for the adds. As you can see from todays blog, I have been busy integrating my thoughts on Ayn Rand (which is a new experience for me) with discussions about Zizek in my closed St. Johns College Alumni group. The Internet frowns upon what they call cross-posting, so a WordPress blog with a link (or tinyurl) is a way to share ideas in different places or different groups. I just vowed the other day to use Twitter more (I have it on my Blackberry.) On Twitter I am readgreatbooks (not to be pretentious) but I am a product of St. John’s College Great Books Program and most of my life the things I blog about are partially from such a perspective. So, for example, here is the short link which WordPress provides for my blot so I shall TWEET that shortly . IF any of you like you may start an AnyRand Twitter and feed short links into it. We could have a contest on the best Twitter name like GrandAynRandFellowship something catchy which stresses that we prefer FANS, invite civil sincere discussion which questions, but we discourage hatred and ad hominem because life is short and so why hate. Better to ignore what you hate and concentrate upon what you admire.


I am amused with the thought that none of US could be cult-studs because all of us are always so open to considering opinions which differ from our own. I will watch the youtube link. I appreciate your help because I am clueless. Hmmm…. I am wondering how one might see Jesus as open to suggestions (You generation of vipers… I am the truth, the way…. light has no part with darkness… those who are not with us are against us) but that is an explosive topic that would not be suitable here. I think it is good for us to expose ourselves to new ideas in social networking… Cult Studs is my new word for the semester.

Source of my confusion: Is “cult-stud” an abbreviation for “cultural studies” or is the “stud” a macho leader founder of a “cult?”

Answer: ‎’Cult Stud’ is an abbreviation for ‘a person of a cultural studies persuasion’

2 Corinthians 6:14 – Do not be yoked together with unbelievers. For what do righteousness and wickedness have in common? Or what fellowship can light have with darkness?

Start with Bakhtin, and forget the rest.


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