Edwin Galegos’s insights into the dense, intricacy of ‘cult language,’ explain something that I haven't previously been able to put my finger on. Like the heavy, ornate jewelry popular in hip hop culture of the 90’s, the dense, intricate language of cults is a type of bling. No doubt, for most if not all of those wealthy young hip hoppers from impoverished backgrounds, spending large sums of money on dense, intricate ornamentation represented an effort (however 'clownish') to conceal and compensate for a sense of relative inner impoverishment.
Bling is intended to be the first and only thing we notice about a person. It is meant to ‘blin’d us with a dazzle that obscures both the deficiencies and the less flattering features of the bling-wearer, replacing what is missing or undesirable in the mind of the bling-wearer, with an illusion of something substantial and more complex. Sometimes, bling creates the illusion of a more structured and intricate sense of self in the absence of such a sense of self. Bling can also create illusions of nobility, savagery, courage, brutality or even superior intelligence – to name just a few of the ways bling supports psychological grandiosity while acting as the social currency of choice for many people.
Edwin Galegos’s comments also underscore the potential for use of credentials as bling to create the illusion of expertise. Whether bling appears in the form of the dense and intricate language of a cult, a dictator's chest full of medals, or professional credentials acquired for their own sake, bling is a clownish contrivance that supports an illusory sense of personal superiority that is coupled with personal ambition and striving for dominance over others.