Peter Thiel says that successful new companies tend to turn into founder’s cults. It’s only natural. Building things is hard. Building institutions that build things is harder. You look around and see this successful thing, in a world of friction and entropy, and your heart is filled with respect. Respect is a form of love. It is akin to worship.

It’s not just companies. America is a founders’ cult. So was Rome.

So are the more successful religions. In principle, a set of beliefs about God doesn’t need a heroic founder to work. In practice, Moses, Mohammed, the Buddha. Or Christianity, which fundamentally ascribes only secondary importance to Jesus’ teachings. (In Mormonism, Joseph Smith and Brigham Young. One could even speculate that God permitted polygamy and racism, respectively, so that modern Mormons would have enough psychological distance to listen to the modern prophets.) (Progressivism has saints but no Founders, which is why it’s so mutable and immune to attack, but which is also why it will end in destruction.)

Even the Boy Scouts are a founder’s cult.

Even families are. One is tempted to say, especially families are.

At a certain place we learn that the prince of this world likes to wear symbols of his power and has tell people what they are. He likes visible expressions of his power: tyranny, sin.

There is another prince who can afford to countersignal. His power flows without compulsory means, not because he is powerless, but because he is great. Greatness can reach such a degree that followers and obedience naturally accrue to it. At the greatest reaches of power, power creates itself. It can reach such a degree that to enter its presence is to say, knees, fail me now. Tongue, confess.

It can reach such a degree that to experience his works is to worship.

Reality is a founder’s cult.


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