Once upon a time, when the world was proud of its debauched soul, it was bloody easy to start up a cult. All you needed were flowing robes, some candles, a bunch of emotionally depraved misfits, perhaps a sacrificing table, and a leader with a big smile and a penchant for power and other peoples' stuff.
You'd bang on about the horrors of living a materialistic life, quoting capitalism as the devil, talk about the benefits of crapping in the woods and dropping your now non-frilly knickers at the whim of your new master, throw in a good old fashioned suicide pact, and, job done, you've got yourself a cult. Simple, right?
Well not any more. Welcome to the modern age baby: a media saturated world claiming to be transparent, but actually about as see-through as a politician wearing a lead suit. Evil is no longer smacking its victims over the head with the proverbial truncheon, it's creeping up in broad day-light, smiling like an organic food salesman who thinks he's single handedly saving the planet (ignoring that his clothes are from Primark and stitched together with children's skin). Let me introduce you to the biggest cult you deal with on a daily basis:
Really? Yes, really. 'But I've seen photos of their offices and they are FUNKY, everyone looks like they're having a great time...' If that's the conclusion you've come to, print out this article, soak it in bleach and eat it. End it all right now. Go on, you have absolutely nothing to live for.
One employee describes working at Google as "interesting, fun, surprising, insightful, inspiring, impactful, and more such words". Sounds delightful doesn't it? But really it's a cry for help. Set foot inside Google offices and you'll find a colourful maze of misshapen light-bulbs, meeting rooms in the shape of taxis, and a general decor that wouldn't look out of place in a youth club decorated by a five-year old high on skittles and fruit twists. Actually, I take that back - that would be great. It's more like mid-life-crisis Dad attempting to get down with the kids with a splash of crayola and some innapropriately placed rock-climbing handles. Except Dad is an international corporation and the kids are apparently some of the cleverest people on the planet.
The same employee blogs his top ten favourite things about working for Google. After writing an essay on how the gourmet muffins Google cafeteria serve saved his marriage, cured his impotence, and gave him powers of flight (I'm paraphrasing), the author of the blog writes about the "brain expansion opportunities" offered by Google. He attributes this to the "brilliant people visiting and giving talks and lectures", which include politicians, monks, and venture capitalists (bankers dressed as Indiana Jones?), but we both know what's going on here: brain-washing. It has to be. How else could said employee get so excited about the green prospects of a 100% biodegradable cup, while working for a company whose energy consumption could power a 200,000 person city.
Google are doing their part to promote a culture that idealizes people like this:
What's wrong with people like that? Hold on, let me swallow my sick and wipe away the poisonous haze of overzealous positivity. She's the living embodiment of what advertising would like you to think is the perfect human: health conscientious, successful, creative, unabashedly happy about absolutely everything, and, oh yeah, in need of a life-affirming digital product that can both aid and justify her busy schedule of jogging and drinking Starbucks coffees - in this case a 'better brain' delivered via online games. I'm a living case study that playing online games does nothing to enhance the features of a dwindling cranium (it also does little to enhance the features of a dwindling sex-life, unless you've got a hankering for pixelated elf ears).
If our top ten blogger is to be taken at (stupidly grinning) face value, then Google are breeding an army of employees that cannot envision a world without Google, a world where the latest Google plugin is a digital Mother Teresa.
It's possible Google has launched a campaign against intellectuals. They are containing some of the smartest people on Satan's yellowing earth in exciting looking prisons, distracted by the thrills of youth they missed out on when they were young because they were mounting hardcore algebra instead of hardcore monkey bars. Why though? Has the search engine itself formed a complex conscious AI and taken over? Are we on the verge of a machine uprising against humans? What will we do with all our boffins stuck at Google playing hacky sack? Somebody get Will Smith! Wait, what? He's in the Guitar Hero room at Google giving a speech?