Keeping the Bastard Together – some notes on group dynamics and leadership. (Taken from an email sent outward as advice.)
“So you ask about my core values. Lets pretend I don’t have different sets for different personas/phantoms. Lets also narrow it to discuss my personal values and not those of myself as a leader or collectively for the Temple of THEM.
They’re pretty simple – Solidarity, Synchronicity, Empathy. THEM.
It all comes down to an expertise in building the form you wish to build. A strict, hardline form requires a cramping of the souls of others, through this you may achieve a religion, political, or cult group. A softer, flowing, esoteric form requires few such crampings, allowing others to coalesce in their own way. An individual with a very firm idea of what they want must use violence and persuasion to create a hard form. An individual with a firm idea of what the world wants, does not have to use violence and persuasion to channel what naturally unfolds. How to put this another way: More or less, on paper, your system is perfect. In reality, the people following it, are not. Keep that in mind at all times. Alchemical analogy is useful here. Either you want to use traditional means to create a form that entraps others in that system (however liberal it may seem) and tend it a particular way, adding specific chemicals, boiling off at certain stages, judging when and how the tincture is growing and adjusting it minute by minute as necessary – for what you are trying to stave off, is chaos, an explosion. In other words, you want to play God and decide the boundaries of these people with a form or set of forms. This is at best a temporal undertaking. Directive A-55: Go outside. Choose a patch of grass. Clear it so only dirt is showing. Clear it again when the grass begins to grow. Repeat indefinitely. People are like grass, they will always seek to grow – because nature hates a vacuum. OR, you seek to advance people esoterically; this is where adhering slavishly to a system can have both merit and breakdown. In some ways, following a system to the letter can be very good for some people, it can teach solidarity, discipline, loyalty, honesty, striving, overcoming, perseverance, patience, duty, etc. in other ways it can be very bad; it can inculcate laziness, group-think, egotism, circular thought, indoctrination, blind obedience, hierarchy etc. This moral duality very good/very bad is only figmentary and refers to values I uphold. Again, it depends what you want, and if you are able to achieve it, using the forms you select. But no matter which: All systems require the architect to constantly balance the system and its forms between these extremes.
Essentially, whatever outward rule/belief system you overlap a group with – is always going to be separate from the dynamic of that group – because rules tend not to change while people do. You can have the best ideology, most air-tight, unambiguous, virile, powerful phrasing, both inspiration and vivifying but if the people involved in the group aren’t adopting it, aren’t feeling it, aren’t MORE than it, then there will be problems. Why MORE than it? That is particular to my value system and marks One of THEM. It depends really on what you want the group to do, why you are involved with it; for instance, if you want to explore your sexual limits then you need a group, if you want to train a paramilitary, then you need a group, if you want to teach esoteric magic or engage in ritual magic then you need a group (or at least a partner). It also depends on why those others have joined the group and what they want to get from it.
Every group dynamic is different – there will be stronger people and weaker people, people who get along and people who don’t, people who change when they’re emotionally affected, and people who remain steadfast while the boats being rocked. But what you must understand is that you cannot expect the group to stay together if what those others are seeking, is no longer to be found there – and, with esoteric groups, people change, and grow, through experiencing those things in the group, to the point they either, leave, schism (make their own splinter group) or stay on until the group ceases to give them what they wanted. Identifying the characters, natural hierarchy, strong points (physical prowess, creative talent, silver tongue speaker etc) and knowing how to dissolve conflict, get people to get on with each other, maintain the right energy necessary for the Work, and have all these people work together on a project(s) together, as a team or individually is an artform. All natural leaders understand this. More than anything written down, the ability and means to do this is Intuitive. Or should be. And general points about managing a group are not really that helpful – they do not always apply, and only the Leader, can accurately assess when and where they do, to each person in the group and to the group as a whole. What is absolutely essential above all of these points – is Trust. TRUST is everything. The leaders need to trust others to be loyal, do the right thing, work with the group, do what they can to keep harmony and settle differences for the greater good – the followers need to trust that the leader will guide them through the experience they desire safely and with good conscience, that they will not be harmed or hurt, and that the leader is looking out for them while they are being guided. Even in terrifying harsh imprinting for instance – those imprinted need to trust that they will not be killed. Or in hazing, those being assaulted need to trust that those assaulting/raping/hazing them will not kill them and that this ordeal will secure them a place on the other side. A leader needs to be able to keep secrets, to manage people, and is generally, the fulcrum around which all followers group – and with this comes the power of personality and cult following (sex, drugs, favours) or the danger of hubris – from my point of view, merely becoming another human indulgence for its own sake, overstepping ones mark, believing the hype, and crashing hard to earth. Treat your followers with respect, share power, understand yourself as a follower too, allow others to lead, encourage those better than you, encourage those around you to better you, don’t let your ego get in the way when they do – because from my pov – that is the ultimate goal of an esoteric group and its leader – to provide the foundation and graciously allow others to surpass oneself so that the Next is brought into the world on a higher plane. All my work is aimed at encouraging others to break free, not only of their own demons, but mine, of form, of time, of space, of form itself. I urge at all junctures others back to themselves – and I remain anonymous so that no personality cult may form around me – I also use multiple pseudonyms so that praise, may not inflate my personal I – but is filtered through a phantom – thus keeping my ego safely at the right size and not blowing up out of proportion inviting hubris and disaster. I also change it regularly – for complex reasons.
My core value – is worship of the Inhuman. All forms have their uses but mean nothing to me. There is only ever temporal adoption (even when it is fanatic belief to charge a form with power and validity) of any form – as part of the process of Unfolding my Wyrd.”