A number of definitions for culture exist. One of them being:
noun - culture -- ((biology) the growing of microorganisms in a nutrient medium (such as gelatin or agar); "the culture of cells in a Petri dish")
For relations between cult and culture go here.
In an article by Paul Twitchell called: The Square Peg he wrote about something called a Cliff Hanger. He wrote (quote):
This zany character is called the the vanguard of a new religion, entitled "Eckankar" ... . (end quote).
In the same article - last paragraph - Paul wrote:
"The Cliff Hanger may be the favorite of the Gods, and it's certain he is the lonely hero of these times, but as I have said, it is a one man cult, with myself as founder, president and disciple."
This was probably one of the earliest public mentions of "Eckankar". I believe the year was 1963.
In all the time since then, What has grown from "Eckankar"?
Well, I have witnessed a corporation and religion where the founder was allegedly "poisoned" in 1970 and died about a year later without naming a successor. His successor (1971), Darwin Gross, named by Paul Twitchell's widow (who later - for a time - became his wife) was hard pressed to use trademarked Eckankar terms/words after "dismissal". When Darwin Gross died (2008) his works became part of a "Trust" and he didn't appear to name a successor either. However, one who claimed to be successor, he too was hard pressed to use trademarked terms/words by (I think it was) the Darwin Gross trust, whatever. By Eckankar, I believe there was something about the use of Paul Twitchell's picture. Dhunami wasn't allowed to use his picture on their website? (Having a book dictated by Paul Twitchell was OK, I guess. Don't use his picture was my impression.) Of course this is only a snippet about what has grown from "Eckankar" since its first public mention by Paul Twitchell.
Today I recognized something disturbing with regard to various groups and entities having "grown" from Eckankar. I recognized so many forms of "spinn-off cultures", so to speak, how their groups, organizations and corporations (including lawyers) speak to one another. Not all, but some of these, at least.
I have not mentioned what appears to be the most disturbing thing. What has to do with a long, long line of "religious cultures" growing out of, spinning off from one another and not always getting along.
Somebody - an intelligent person - might ask the question: "How can I research these cultures & isolate the historical truths about origins for each one?" The funny thing is, I have! With regard to Eckankar, at least.
A lot of times the greatest detraction on this path is labeled "The Mind". Either that, or Kal, the Devil, etc. The path of researching religious history, dogma, etc. and those who walk it are sometimes called something worse than Cliff Hanger, or Square Peg. Wars have been fought and suits filed over people seeking and then speaking the truth with regard to "religious culture" and its history. Why is this called a no-no when it really amounts to a know-know?
I wonder how much room is left for the truth in religious cultures anymore and how much will be allowed. Amid all the religious wars and persecutions (etc.) I read about in the newspapers daily, there does appear at least a fraction of people seeking answers and solutions. I wonder how much room will there be for individuals to speak the truth that will set them free? from the power of corporations afforded the "rights of individuals" too? Guess that depends on the definition of individual.
George Orwell's 1984 is the story of a future society where individualism has been eliminated, where propaganda is used to control the masses, and where perpetual war is being waged to maintain the "peace." It's a world where false is true and wrong is right, where history is constantly being rewritten to support whatever the regime is currently doing - and where Big Brother watches your every move. [....]