© Charles Chandler
If the cult survives all of the above, they have one more chance to seal their fate. Fixation on conflict with society implies an event, and an event implies a date. We naturally arrange our thoughts around upcoming events, and impending mortal conflict would constitute a significant upcoming event that would occupy people's minds. If the leader still has some sanity left, he might deflect curiosity concerning when this was all going to happen. But if the leader has reason to believe that the gig will not last forever, he might decide to take the thing to the next level, by fixing the date of their destruction. This enables the most extreme behavior possible. We can all endure more pain if we know that it is temporary. If the end is in sight, it's OK. With the date of their demise penciled in on the calendar, little matters, and less hurts. All thoughts are on the higher good, and the leader has no limits. If he can successfully channel the fear of death into devotion to his gimmick, he can take the members to the highest level attainable — knowing that they are going to die, and when, and loving that feeling. And of course, letting the date pass uneventfully would constitute backing down from the summit. Few cults have achieved this level and survived.

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