February 23, 2019,

Where does your values and view of the world emanate from?

Most would probably say family. Fair enough. But what are the origins of their views?

You can see how this list of ancestry values could keep going back in time and in many real ways it does.

Consider this line of reasoning.

The challenge of modernity is to live without illusions and without becoming disillusioned.

Antonio Gramsci expressed that.

Recently? It might seem so, but it is not.

Antonio Francesco Gramsci, born January 22, 1981, was an Italian Marxist philosopher and communist politician. He wrote on political theory, sociology and linguistics. He attempted to break from the economic determinism of traditional Marxist thought and so is considered a key neo-Marxist.

He was a founding member and one-time leader of the Communist Party of Italy and was imprisoned by Benito Mussolini‘s Fascist regime.

On the surface, the challenge of modernity, we think we understand what it means. Even if we don’t, it does sound profound and important enough to dissect.

What are some of the beliefs that you previously held in regards to family, institutions, relationships and the like, that over time have proven false to you?

“Young people all over the world are very frustrated. They are very disillusioned. Many of them are turning their backs on religion. They are walking away from the faith of their parents, and most of this is because religion has failed them.”…Myles Munroe

Feeling disillusioned is not unusual. In her March 28, 2015 article, Ms. F. Diane Barth, L.C.S.W. explains, “First of all, it’s important to know that idealization and disillusionment are normal. A sense of everything being special is how we get ourselves into new situations.”

Let’s start with family.

The disillusion with family is well-chronicled on film and so often the direction of the film leads the protagonist to a cult. Most likely another place where they will eventually be disillusioned again. The Hollywood and Indie film landscape is honorably littered with them.

Good films. Great movies. Many.

One thing they tend to have in common is that once the protagonist is inside the sect and becomes one of them, we on the outside, perhaps family members ourselves, risk great peril in trying to save them. Possibly with threat to life.

Sometimes the even greater threat will be an emotional one. The eventual showdown.

Even if we can persuade them to come back to society, the troubling question remains, why did they leave in the first place?

Often it has something to do with us. Our family. Our role in that family. Our part in influencing and possibly disillusioning our family member and, while not solely, but partially being the reason for why they left.

Or in their minds, escaped. Talk about dreading the truth.

One such film that pokes the bear effectively is Martha March May Marlene.

fciwomenswrestling.com femcompetitor.com article, Fox Searchlight Pictures photo credit

With that many names, we hope that is not describing one person but we get the eerie sense that it is.

The great reviewers at rogerebert.com clarify, “Martha” is her name. “Marcy May” is the name given to her by the leader of a cult group. “Marlene” is the name all the women in the group use to answer the telephone. The cult occupies a white frame farmhouse in rural New York State, where there are many more women than men, and all of them are under the control of the leader, Patrick. That this man is compelling and charismatic helps explain his power; softly, gently, maintaining tight eye contact, he coaxes agreement from his followers, who are all damaged or vulnerable in some way.”

Martha Marcy May Marlene is a 2011 American thriller drama film written and directed by Sean Durkin, and starring Elizabeth Olsen, John Hawkes, Sarah Paulson, and Hugh Dancy. The plot focuses on a young woman suffering from delusions and paranoia after returning to her family from an abusive cult in the Catskill Mountains.

Sean Durkin started writing the script of Martha Marcy May Marlene in 2007.

When researching his script, Mr. Durkin read about what he calls “the big ones” of cults: Jonestown, the Manson family, the Unification Church of the United States and David Koresh. He realized he wanted to make something more experiential than political and downplayed the ideology and goals of the cult.

If you watch the trailers, it’s pretty chilling. Most cult films are.


The usual suspects are there. The charismatic leader or leaders who seem to have all of the break through and right answers that no one since the dawn of man has come up with.

Influencing the female members to have sex with them.

Groovy man. Far out.


Because like all cults, and many feel that organized religion is a cult as well, just a much larger one; they are playing off an old script.

They start by building trust. They along with new family members show you love, which you didn’t seem to receive in the ways that counted to you from your original family, and then they finally begin to take your will.

We can speak from experience because as we have sprinkled inside of a few of our articles, we are former members of a large organized religion. For twenty years.

We never say who they are. Out of fear. There is a whole lot of them and very few of us.

The operative word is former.

Why did we leave?

Each person’s story varies but the one consistent theme is that at some point it began to feel like a cult. You are not living your life. Instead you begin to live the life they have very carefully outlined for you. This works on so many different levels for various people who never really had a life plan.

It didn’t work for us.

From our view, one of the most disturbing aspects to sects, cults and religions is that they do work profoundly well for many of their members who are contributing citizens of society. It at times raised the question, is the creator of all of this planet that we call earth and life, just a little involved?

It is a question that we could never answer.

Here is the question that was raised that we eventually did answer.

If the values of family, institutions and love relationships have not worked for you, what is the alternative solution?

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You have to form your own values.

Which brings us back to Mr. Antonio Francesco Gramsci. What theory that connects to our discussion made him so famous, and at least in the minds of the ruling class, so dangerous?

Mr. Gramsci is best known for his theory of cultural hegemony, which describes how the state and ruling capitalist class, the bourgeoisie, use cultural institutions to maintain power in capitalist societies.

The bourgeoisie, in Gramsci’s view, develops a hegemonic culture using ideology rather than violence, economic force, or coercion.

Hegemonic means ruling or dominant in a political or social context.

For example, in a society of over 325 million people, how can so many generically define themselves as only a Democrat or Republican? Were they born that way?

Mr. Gramsci felt Hegemonic culture propagates its own values and norms so that they become the “common sense” values of all and thus maintain the status quo. Hegemonic power is therefore used to maintain consent to the capitalist order, rather than coercive power using force to maintain order. This cultural hegemony is produced and reproduced by the dominant class through the institutions that form the superstructure.

The obvious challenge with influencing the masses on common sense values for all is that as human beings we are very complex and truly unique. What works for many will most likely not work for some.

Absolutely not for all.

If that is true, for those of us where the traditional did not work, we have to develop our own values and directions based upon a formula that is unique to our life experience. It is also married to what new direction we would like to take in life.

That approach is not always simple to take. We have found that it is worth the investment in time to find it out.

Here are some clues as to how you might get started. This is just simply based upon our experience and we’re just inviting you to take a sip.

First, find out what didn’t work for you in the past, even if worked tremendously well for others. This will help you avoid the trap of wondering if this is so great for other “normal” people, why didn’t it work for me?

First of all, define normal. In our minds, there is no such thing. Common? Majority? Pervasive? Yes. Normal? No.

So why didn’t it work for you? The caution is not to blame others though you probably will for some time. Ultimately there is an expiration date on blaming our parents, siblings, classmates and society.

When real change began for us was when we focused on our role in our decline or disillusionment. For us the most important question was not what was wrong with that organized religion but more important was, why were we attracted to that global group in the first place?

That was not about them. That was about us.

The second was, when did we begin to feel that it was not working for us? Typically that will speak to the new direction that you want your life to take.

Always remember, to some degree it was actually working for you before.


You began to evolve, you are changing and now it is no longer working for you as an individual. For repetition, it is important not to blame. It is possible that, in some cases, imperfect though they may be, they actually are a well-meaning and effective group.

It simply is no longer a good fit for you.

So what is the new direction you want your life to take based upon your own common sense values?

The common value that we hope all of us possess is the challenge to keep our standards and principles high in a new quest.

In your new pathway, based upon your past experiences, what was it that you really loved and would passionately want to spend much of your future participating in?

No matter how crazy it sounds, go with it.

For us it was sensual women’s wrestling. It doesn’t get much crazier than that. What you will find over time is that from that seed, if you keep your principals and standards high, other greater causes will evolve out of that because on your new pathway that is directed by you as opposed to institutions or a ruling class, you are now evolving as well in ways that you never could have in a group influenced setting.

For us that evolvement honed into a focus for making the world a better place for women in sports where they don’t have to take their clothes off to wrestle, get beat up in an MMA cage or turn into divas. We began to see female sports as a greater sorority that the female grapplers needed to be united with thus their attire had to change to reflect higher principles and standards.

Remember, great societies that we love to travel to and visit like the United States, Canada, France and Japan as examples, all started in the mud.

As an idea. That’s it. That’s all.

If you take responsibility for your role in your past disillusionment and begin to focus on your new pathway that you love, using higher principles and standards as a guide, you might possibly do something spectacular along the way coupled with changing your life for the better, and what is that?

Impact the world for the better too.

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Opening photo  pexels.com Ambar Simpang photo credit