These systems have specific things they have in common.
- The message that the key problems in life are a singular key problem -- that of having (at a very young age) acquired the wrong perspective.
- That correct perspective will result in success and dramatic changes in life.
- Reliance on invoking a change in perspective by overwhelming the person's existing internal logic by use of a narrative to induce or create an "ah hah" moment where perspective changes (creating sudden enlightenment).
- Meditation programs or systems (they all seem to have one).
- Miscellaneous flavoring or trappings created by the narrative and context of the system.
They create as sense of control over life by being a part of the system.
Many of us have moments of sudden enlightenment. The systems are all about creating such moments and keeping them, using a very specific methodology (think of when President Jimmy Carter's sister converted the owner of Hustler into a born-again Christian pornographer -- that was the use of the tools of sudden enlightenment in action).
These systems contrast well with conventional religion or with twelve step programs, which are systems of gradual enlightenment. Life itself seems to be a cross between gradual enlightenment and punctuated equilibriums. More anon.