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The Dark Side of Humanity – Cults 101

On the 23rd of September, Blank 101, Manipal’s public speaking club organised their second talk of the semester, centering around the subject of famous cults. The event was held in a packed room at NLH 202 and made for a lively evening for the audience. The event featured 9 speakers — Adithya, Adelle, Anvita, Clement, Goutham, Rohini, Shantanu, Maureen and Mrigakshi.

The first speaker spoke about the Manson family, who were notorious for the murder of Hollywood actress of Sharon Tate. His narration of the troubled upbringing of the cult leader, Charles Manson, gave everyone a great insight into the making of such psychotic individuals.

Every speaker analysed a different cult, often focussing on understanding the charismatic leader at the centre of its formation. They carefully broke down the disturbing ways in which human beings were controlled, decieved and manipulated. Each speaker gave the audience a unique perspective on the issue of cults, and helped understand the dangers of this kind of mass-brainwashing. “Our main objective is to entertain. We do hope that our material is insightful in some way, but the main goal is to ensure that everyone has a good evening“, said organiser Shreyas Ramani.

The final speaker, Mrigakshi Sharma, spoke about the Branch Davidians, a religious cult from the US. She took the audience through an enthralling retelling of the infamous Waco siege, filled with suspense and humour. The event ended with a melancholic goodbye, as she announced that this would be her last talk with the club.

The talk raised a lot of interesting questions about the way human beings work, and how vulnerable we are under difficult circumstances. It was just as entertaining as it was informative, with a common element of humour bringing a sense of levity to the dark subject matter. The event was well-attended, with all the organisers being satisfied with the way it turned out.

Image credits: The Photography Club, Manipal