Tuesday, October 28, 2014


For some reason, I had placed an unrealistic importance on commitment. "I've given my word and I can't go back on it." This idea had a very strong hold on my mind.

I wanted to believe that I had made "the right" choice for my life. I wanted my life to have purpose and meaning. So in times of doubt, I would look back to that initial commitment, to the initial purity I thought I had seen in the COG, and I would determine to continue to work to make the group as good as it could be, which for me was to provide a decent education to the children in my care.

This can partly be explained by the phenomenon of sunk cost. I had already invested my everything - my meager savings, personal possessions, emotional dependence, and many years - into the cult, how could I leave now? I'd paid such a high price, surely I should continue to give it my all.

In general, people become more convinced of a decision they make the harder it is to undo it. The greater the cost in embarrassment, money, time, whatever the case may be, the harder we cling, and the harder we strive for reasons to justify our decision as being right or the best thing.

I never actually considered leaving the group as an option. Aside from my mental state, the logistics were difficult. I had nowhere to go - in effect, no family to return "home" to. I was in a foreign country, far from what had been familiar to me in my youth. As the years passed, it would become harder and harder for me to support myself in mainstream society. I had nothing of worth to show on a resume.  

I stayed in the group, considering it my life's work. 

As the author of skeptic.com so succinctly put it:

"To continue to invest in a hopeless project is irrational. Such behavior may be a pathetic attempt to delay having to face the consequences of one's poor judgment. The irrationality is a way to save face, to appear to be knowledgeable, when in fact one is acting like an idiot." 

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