Cargo Cults Want Manufactured Goods NOW!

Although there are many variants of the cargo cult, the main similarity in definition that unites them is that they are actual cults, often in third world or simply primitive cultures, that have the same inane desire to worship something that many in Western cultures have but merely project that weakness onto cargo. Yes, cargo — big, giant crates full of manufactured goodness. How this works is that the cargo cultists see that the white man brings cargo in via jet aircrafts, and feel that these crates and the treasures within are divinely delivered. And like most spiritual types, they believe that the goods are really meant for them, but their chosen adversary (here, the white cargo movers) tricked the gods into giving them the cargo instead. So, the cargo cults erect mock airplanes and control towers and wait for the gods to one day see the error of their ways and give the cultists their due cargo, so they can be rich and happy. From Wikipedia:

Famous examples of cargo cult activity include the setting up of mock airstrips, airports, offices, and dining rooms, as well as the fetishization and attempted construction of Western goods, such as radios made of coconuts and straw. Believers may stage “drills” and “marches” with sticks for rifles and use military-style insignia and national insignia painted on their bodies to make them look like soldiers, thereby treating the activities of Western military personnel as rituals to be performed for the purpose of attracting the cargo. The cult members built these items and “facilities” in the belief that the structures would attract cargo intended to be sent to them.

A particularly interesting version of the cargo cult is the one formed around John Frum, a purported American World War II serviceman (whose existence cannot be proved or disproved) who will one day bring the riches to the cultists if they worship him. In other words, Frum is the cargo god! From Wikipedia:

The movement gained popularity in the 1940s when some 300,000 American troops established themselves in Vanuatu. The islanders were impressed both by the egalitarianism of the Americans and their obvious wealth and power. This led them to conflate perceived benefactors such as Uncle Sam, Santa Claus and John the Baptist into a mythic figure who would empower the island peoples by giving them cargo wealth. Followers of John Frum built symbolic landing strips to encourage American aeroplanes to land and bring them “cargo.”

The video below is a documentary clip covering an Aboriginal cargo cult and their humorous beliefs — again, no less laughable than the spiritual bunk associated with Jesus, David Koresh, Mohammed, Cthulhu, Buddha, Joseph Smith, Vishnu, or The Force. Cargo cults are merely a microcosm of the God religions themselves but without all of the fancy buildings and longevity. Except that the cargo cults are looking for some high quality electronics, and who doesn’t love those?


Matt G. Paradise is Executive Director of Purging Talon, a media company responsible for releasing groundbreaking and often imitated audio, video, print, and Web work since 1993, including the internationally respected Satanic magazine, Not Like Most. Paradise is also a Magister in the Church of Satan and, since the early-1990s, has also done media representative work for the CoS through all major media forms — network television, radio, print publications, and the Internet. He is the author of Bearing The Devil’s Mark, a collection of writings on Satanism; as well as editor of The Book of Satanic Quotations (First and Second Editions). He was also producer and co-host of Terror Transmission, a horror movie commentary podcast; and is currently the producer and host of three podcasts (The Accusation Party, Vintage Vinyl Vivisection and Strange Moments in Cultural History) on The Accusation Network.

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