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Fellowship Of Friends Discussion – Part 83 September 25, 2009

Posted by fofblogmoderator in Uncategorized.
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Welcome to the newest page of the Fellowship of Friends Discussion.

For recent pages from the blog go here

For previous parts of the discussion please click on home and scroll down, or move to the Fellowship of Friends Discussion blog, or to AnimamRecro for the very beginning. For a more organized reading check out The Fellowship of Friends WikiSpace.

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To visit “Pathway To Presence”, the newly created web site for recruiting new members to the Fellowship; http://www.pathwaytopresence.org

For sites in Russian and Italian, click http://fofway.narod.ru/ and http://laliberastrada.blogspot.com/respectively.

To access the Online Petition: http://www.PetitionOnline.com/djindjin/petition.html

For more information check Rick Ross and Steven Hassan.

This is where you can find the website of the Fellowship of Friends.

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Participants require 1 moderated comment before they can start communicating in real-time. (ie. if you are new to the discussion, your comment will appear about 1 day after it has been posted, any subsequent comments will appear instantaneously).

To visit the site created by Unoanimo:http://fellowshipoffriends.wordpress.com/2008/01/20/res-ipsa-loquitur/

Comments

1. Ames Gilbert - September 25, 2009

Yes, 411, I seem to remember there was quite a lot about the ‘transformation’ of negative emotions (#82-295), but cannot recall that Burton and the Older Students had much practical information about how to do this. Lots of stuff, when you boiled it down, about suppressing negative emotions, but lacking details on the transformation part.

I guess you can’t see when someone is ‘transforming’ negative emotions, but you could certainly see when Burton expressed them. Quite the tantrum artist and vicious slanderer when he didn’t get his way. And one certainly learned in a hurry not to beat him at tennis or golf too often. But maybe he was ‘consciously acting’ and I didn’t have the being to see behind the acts. Still, I felt that he didn’t lead by example, and often when he did seem calm, it was with the help of pills.

Once I got over the ‘original sin’ paradigm, the idea that we are created deliberately flawed so we can spend the whole of our miserable existence in this vale of tears trying to put things right (and if not in this world, then the next), I guess I over-reacted and started seeing things as perfect the way they are. And that includes ‘negative’ emotions. I see them as useful and valid as ‘positive’ emotions, they all have a part to play. Perhaps we can try to be civilized as a kindness to those around us, and not lash out at our partners or our children, but the energy nevertheless provides useful information, and if it is suppressed, it suppurates. Personally, I like screaming into a pillow, and I’ve tried beating a tree with a foam bat, but I’ve give up trying to ‘transform’ them. Sometimes I can recognize the patterns and events leading up to some kinds of outbursts, and interrupt the flow early, but I’ve learned that denying the information itself is unhealthy or dangerous.

All this is not to say that real transformation of negative emotions is not possible. So, did anyone reading actually learn how to ‘transform’ negative emotions? I’d be very interested to know how you do it.

2. Kid Shelleen - September 25, 2009

Dennis,

I’m curious, and correct me if I’m mistaken, but are you stating that you supply professional marriage counseling services to couples and use the knowledge of body types as presented in the Fellowship of Friends as a legitimate diagnostic/therapeutic tool?

3. Susan Zannos - September 25, 2009

Related to Dennis’s account of using body type and center of gravity theory in counseling: I have found these ideas immensely useful in talking with anxious parents who show up at school to discuss their children’s progress or lack of same. Active types who want to know how to convince their progeny not to be a lunar, for example, seem comforted with the notion that the child is “sound of his type.”

4. nige - September 25, 2009

3 Susan Zannos

Yeah – and I am amazed how my instinctively-centred Martial student still cannot seem to put the tools back in the same place as she found them (after 1 1/2 years!) But she does like hammer marking!…..Nigel

5. another name - September 25, 2009

My 5 ct, Yes Body types can be helpful to understand…the mind can understand. The heart? For me limited use for the heart with the body types.
For example; When a martial yells or a lunar ignores me…both is painful, for my heart, even though, I understand. Then the culture overlay is another aspect. For example avoiding eyecontact can be considered rude in some cultures and in other cultures considered sign of respect……

I am glad when people use body types and it works for them. I get irritated when I hear people say “o, he has a vanity feature” and so discussion closed, label on the box. I hear this as an intellectual/ emotional unawareness, same for he is a dominant saturn, or martial or jovial…etc.

Curious to your response

My 5 cents

Are you the one for me from Barbara Da Angelis and therapy and healing from the fellowship did much more for me and still does.

6. nige - September 25, 2009

5 another name (and other posters)

I find use of body types/features/centres of gravity very useful when engaged in my teaching work – both in how I approach each student and also how I either encourage them to be ‘bold’ with their work, if they are passive types, or to ‘hold them back from jumping in’ with a technique, if they are active types and techniques have not been fully understood. It seems to me to give my own work as a teacher ‘compassion’ and to enrich the total experience for each student. I will not make the same mistake REB did, in taking advantage of my students, and making them work for me. I believe that I AM THERE FOR MY STUDENTS, AND NOT THEY FOR ME…..Nigel.

7. Dennis - September 26, 2009

The Fellowship lacked relativity, to put it mildly. The most important thing about type, center of gravity, and personal alchemy, is that there is no advantage of being one type, center, or level of refinement, over any other. They all have their strengths and their weaknesses. To the degree that we can verify this is the degree to which we can use this knowledge without harming ourselves and others, unlike RB.

8. nige - September 26, 2009

7 Dennis

And that, through having a ‘melange’ of type, centre of gravity, feature and alchemy, and working with these (not fighting them), one veers away from the comfort/torture of False Personality, through these aspects of One’s Essence, towards the Master, Self or Real ‘I’…..

“One God, eternal, unchanging…..”

Actually, I see very little point in anyone having followed, in the past, or wanting to follow now, REB’s ‘teachings’ on ‘essence’ with regard to classical music, classical art and fine dining/clothes/cars etc. etc. Each person should find where they are IN THE WORLD…..Nigel.

9. Ellen - September 26, 2009

Ames,
“So, did anyone reading actually learn how to ‘transform’ negative emotions? I’d be very interested to know how you do it.”

I remember pretty clearly an experience that might qualify.

A number of years ago I was working as the production manager at a small company in California. I had asked for a Friday off, but my employer had said “no”; it was impossible since we were in production for the catalog of our biggest client. It had to be all hands on deck, etc… OK, too bad, so I wouldn’t go to Reno, blah, blah…

A few days later, I found out that another employee who was in training to be a black belt (karate), was given the same Friday off that I had requested to go to some competition in L.A. Unfair! Favoritism! Injustice! In a moment, in the middle of the work day, internally I flew into a rage. I remember walking around the shop with my internal world suddenly vibrating at a much higher intensity. Thoughts exploded in my head like fireworks, but I tried to focus on the task at hand. I tried to push the energy of the anger into being present, taking in impressions, while my thoughts continued to bounce around.

Suddenly the doorbell rang and there was delivery boy with a package. I saw him and recognized him as an irritating little lunar man (I am Saturnine). He was innerconsidering for some reason. Ingratiating. But somehow that additional shock, of his entrance and my increased irritation, also put my internal world over the top. A split second/moment later and I recognized that I loved him, actually that everything was love. My anger melted, vaporized, and for a peroid of time, my whole experience entered into a different vibratory sphere: everything was love.

It is long enough ago now, that I would not try to describe it anymore than that. I know something happened, I know that something can happen. I also know that there is a big difference between the mere supression of and the non-expression of negative emotions, if internally a person learns how separate the energy from the “I’s” that fuel it. But I also know that it requires a great deal of understanding and will and even though such things are possible, it is masochistic to remain within a situation that continues to create negative emotions. (As I continued to do in other areas of my life for a long time afterwards.)

I think that there are long term Fellowship students who may have stumbled upon the transformation of negative emotions and are mosochistically remaining in the Fellowship as an environment that is guaranteed to continue to provide both the negative stimulus (Robert’s behaviour) and (they imagine) the tools to transform it. I think Girard is one such, possibly Abe, possibly Linda, possibly Rowena, possibly Edit, possibly others. It’s hard to say.

But at a certain point a person has to recognize that the tool of the non-expression of negative emotions and their possible transformation is being used in a criminal way both individually and collectively and that the Fellowship is actually about the perpetuation of unnecessary suffering. There is nothing noble in that. It is only a sick renunciate morality, that I only hope my friends will outgrow in time.

10. nige - September 26, 2009

9 ellen

Were you so elated with the mail-man, that you sang to him – “Moonlight becomes you; it goes with your ‘air'”?…..nige

11. another name - September 26, 2009

Dear friends,

Thanks for all the entrees of body types, features and alchemy.

I am sure you all benefit with what you use as this is a strategy to be able to meander in this world?

My question is with having this knowledge are we still checking with people if what we see is what is? Are we not assuming often when we add the blue print of bodytypes and features or alchemy?

Even when it is clear for you that the other comes from a specific body type is it not respectful to ask the person …Am I seeing this behavior and are you willing to tell me how this is for you? Have a sharing side ways communication instead of a top down, in the sense I know it all…and do not have to check with you what you think or feel?

This was exactly what stifled me in the fellowship….oo you are not transforming or the gods give you this .. or well you are king/ queen, solar etc. Hardly ever students would sit next to you and ask you more questions and join you in ponder and wonder without labeling…

This is part of the Burton teaching…….concluding without any respect for the other person’s input and together searching for what is?
Burton put himself above other people and we only personally see if we took this part with us or shake it off. I am still seeing traces in my inner psychology of oo he is a martial or merc or what so ever often very subconsciously. Yes baby, I am shaking it of….Give me a few more years…. please increase my awareness I pray.

How many years before I cleaned myself of the Burtonisme I wonder?

Good luck with being a human being.

12. Wouldnt You Like To Know - September 26, 2009

Concerning body types, here is a book that was especially of interest to the medically oriented in the Fellowship:
The Glands Regulating Personality: By Louis Berman. M.D., Associate in Biological Chemistry, Columbia University; Physician to the Special Health Clinic, Lennox Hill Hospital. (The Macmillan Company, New York, 1921, pp. 300. Full title: The glands regulating personality: a study of the glands of internal secretion in relation to the types of human nature.
Complete book on Google Books:
http://books.google.com/books?id=WswEAAAAYAAJ

13. Wouldnt You Like To Know - September 26, 2009

Psychoanalytic Electronic Publishing Website (PEP-Web) Abstract and/or review. From: (1923). International Journal of Psycho-Analysis: The Glands Regulating Personality: By Louis Berman. M.D., Associate in Biological Chemistry, Columbia University; Physician to the Special Health Clinic, Lennox Hill Hospital. (The Macmillan Company, New York, 1921, pp. 300.
http://www.pep-web.org/document.php?id=ijp.004.0215a

14. Wouldnt You Like To Know - September 26, 2009

The Glands Regulating Personality: By Louis Berman. M.D.
Buy it on Amazon:
http://www.amazon.com/Glands-Regulating-Personality-Louis-Berman/dp/0554325578/

15. Wouldnt You Like To Know - September 26, 2009

11. another name

What you suggest would be called ‘validation.’ That’s where a full circle, closed-loop, communication takes place (at least one time around) to determine that your observation(s) carry appropriate verification. That is why, when providing a ‘photograph’ of a characteristic, one can present it as a question, such as: ‘Do you feel that that could have been a typical xxxxx type behaviour for you?’ That way it automatically elicits feedback from another person about the manifestation. It changes the triad and places the photographer in a less dominant position – one of not necessarily knowing the answer. You can also do this with yourself, internally.

16. Crouching Tiger - September 26, 2009

Dennis, Susan et al.

I am glad to hear you feel you have been helped by Robert Burton’s teachings in regard to types, centre of gravity etc…

But I feel I should repeat that, although these topics are often discussed in 4th Way workbooks, the use or practice of them is far removed from what you describe.

To the best of my knowledge, Gurdjieff’s original aim was that all the intelligences within the body should be experienced as completely as possible. The idea was not to create new categories of understanding for the mind or to change attitudes at that level. The idea was and is, to have a more definite sensation of all the intelligences within the body so that they gradually expanded the feeling of ‘little me’.

When I’m driving down the motorway at 80 mph thinking about my holiday to Barbados, another intelligence greater than ‘me’ is driving the car. When I step out on a sunny Saturday morning on to a basketball court, and find that I can hit that 25 foot jumpshot with my eyes closes, another intelligence greater than ‘me’ is doing it. When I meet a woman casually for ten minutes and come away feeling that one day she’ll be my wife, another intelligence greater than ‘me’ is seeing it. All these intelligences, and many others besides, know better and do better than what I please to call ‘me’. If I want to have a more definite sensation of them, It does not help to say “That was the 8 of Spades that hit that jumpshot!”… That is a completely different process to what Gurdjieff described. It’s primarily intellectual, not organic.

The point is that the same terms can be approached from opposite ends of the scale, so the end result is quite different. What you are talking about is mind-refinement and clearer definitions of psychology. What Gurdjieff meant (as far as I understand it ) was acquiring a more definite sensation of these intelligences (emotional, intellectual, motor/instinctual) so that it eroded and expanded the sense of ‘me’. Another Names’ hunch is right….

17. Wouldnt You Like To Know - September 26, 2009

Ames,
“So, did anyone reading actually learn how to ‘transform’ negative emotions? I’d be very interested to know how you do it.”

Yes, it certainly can be done.

18. Dennis - September 26, 2009

2. Kid Shelleen – September 25, 2009

Dennis,

I’m curious, and correct me if I’m mistaken, but are you stating that you supply professional marriage counseling services to couples and use the knowledge of body types as presented in the Fellowship of Friends as a legitimate diagnostic/therapeutic tool?

Yes, I use type (no need to use the word body because it is also psychological), predominant center (no need to use center of gravity because that is a scientific term that is confusing to some),and level of refinement (because referring to metals makes it harder to realize that gold is not better than copper), as the main therapeutic modality for doing marriage, divorce, and relationship counseling. I’m just a Father Type (I don’t use the planets because that is unnecessarily confusing) who is trying to take care of all the children, as best I can. And exploring the characteristics of essence is the most powerful tool that I have found for helping relationships.
There is another therapeutic modality for personal painful experiences, that is also based on spiritual ideas from the Buddist tradition, called ACT (Acceptance, Commitment Therapy). The important idea here is that trying to change anything does not work well, it just reinforces it, and makes it more central. Using mindfulness techniques and other useful tools, one learns to accept the problem, explore what one really values for ones life, and then commits to getting on with one’s life.

19. Dennis - September 26, 2009

11. another name

“How many years before I cleaned myself of the Burtonisme I wonder?

Good luck with being a human being.”

We never get rid of anything. Once it is on our bus, it is on our bus. The only question is whether we let it drive the bus or not.

20. Jomo Piñata - September 26, 2009

19/Dennis

We never get rid of anything. Once it is on our bus, it is on our bus. The only question is whether we let it drive the bus or not.

I like this way of saying it.

Also perhaps of interest to you regarding type:

Brief excerpts from the 1938 book, Ain’t Love Gland, by Kate Townsend, Illustrated by Dorothea Parrot

http://www.archive.org/details/TheEsotericHistoryArchive_696

P.S.: I don’t know if you’re interested in, or find relevant, the comparisons to phrenology, but I do think they’re worth exploring. (To be clear, I’m not saying the body type schemata have no use or validity at all.) It’s clear from examining the literature of phrenological societies that phrenology was thriving as a social phenomenon, obviously significant and useful to its adherents, in 1895, some sixty days after its heyday.

21. Mikey - September 26, 2009

Just what is going on here? No FoF/Burton bashing?
Warning! Cheerfully accepting all life’s experiences has serious repercussions and no good deed goes unpunished.
Plus, a fakir will not be recognized unless.

22. We Were There - September 26, 2009

‘Just what is going on here?’

It seems to me that the blog has ‘passed through an interval.’

And speaking of ‘intervals,’ in past pages the ‘work language’ has generally taken a beating, and some have said they try never to use it.

I don’t use work language with friends or associates who would find it confusing. Still, for me, and it sounds like for Dennis, it is a valuable aid in communicating with others with whom I learned to use it (i.e., former members).

Isn’t using the language we learned together an obviously valid idea? Don’t we understand each other better when we have a common understanding of the terms we are using?

For example, two former Fellowship members are visiting this weekend.

I don’t know if they try to live their lives according to the Fourth Way or necessarily think in its terms any more, but our dinner conversation last night increasingly was sprinkled with ‘work language’ – simply because it enabled us to communicate with more precision.

I am grateful the blog has passed through its interval!

23. Silentpurr - September 26, 2009

OK Mikey IMO,Robert Burton does not appear to be a person with a well developed emotional center. He lacks empathy, appreciation, humility and depth of emotion that we ascribe to refined emotions.Then again it may just be his psychosis.

24. Nancy - September 26, 2009

19/Dennis

That is my experience also, Dennis, and thanks for putting this view forward.

Both before and after the FoF experience, I was involved in Gestalt, Primal, and other dynamic explorations of my emotional world. This has been invaluable to me, especially after twenty years of emotional constipation in the FoF. I would add to your view that bringing my demons (repressed experiences and emotions) from the dark into the light and bodily experiencing them fully did not cause them to go away, but it has lessened their destructive influence in my life and greatly expanded my understanding and capacity for compassion towards myself and others.

25. James Mclemore - September 26, 2009

I have no strong personal pros or cons about people’s use of Fourth Way or FoF terminology. Perhaps it has served them well.
However, for me the problems that can stem from using that ‘work language’ can come from a series of assumptions that can imply that we are, or have been, truly witnessing and understanding the dynamics of some phenomenon just because we have given it a label. When I was in the fof people frequently said they were ‘identified’ or they were ‘inner considering’. What is happening when someone says they are ‘identified’. Who was identified? Who was inner-considering? And just WHO is then making the statement of that after the so-called observation and that can appear to understand what has been seen? To me one of the weaknesses in what I remember from the fof is what passed (at least in me) for ‘self-observation’, and the endless circles and cycles of thought that were merely thoughts watching (or at least ‘thought’ they were) and having a running commentary on other thoughts. Passing fragments of possibly misunderstood phenomenon were labeled and could then give a person the false sense that they understood something just from giving this fragment of something a name. This sort of labeling can also cause what I would now call ‘reification’, in that we can sometimes give quite unsubstantial things a concreteness they do not deserve and never had. This can then appear to put them in some sort of oppositional position where we will then begin thinking it is something that a some-‘one’ must work against or diminish. You can start coming up with things like ‘Feminine Dominance’ and the “King of Clubs’ that can begin to seem like actual entities in themselves, and that are in opposition to another supposed entity who is supposedly a ‘good guy’ wearing a white hat, who is trying to triumph over these forces of evil.
To me, Burton took what was referred to as ‘fragments of an unknown teaching’ and then proceeded to fragment it even worse, almost into mush.

26. ton - September 26, 2009

thanks james, that’s deep… you really got to some of the underlying issues in the use of so-called ‘work language.’ personally i experience ambivalence about it… it may represent a way of communicating ideas, a ‘shared understanding’ of meaning is required for communication (disregarding for the moment the ever-present potential disconnect between message and interpretation)… those who went through the fof indoctrination ‘share’ an ‘understanding’ based on ideas expressed by ‘work language’ — the ideas in question provide a way of viewing things, the accuracy of the views expressed by the ideas may be called into question by some while others BELIEVE they’ve ‘verified’ the ‘truth’ contained therein. my feeling is that if someone makes this particular set of ideas ‘their own’ (there can be an issue of being used by ideas, rather than using them), and if a person can find some practical and/ or useful application for said ideas, well then as ‘they’ say in my country: ‘to each their own.’ although i understand ‘the work language’ and i can ‘appreciate’ the fact that ‘we’ in this small circle of friends are able to communicate sometimes using this language, personally i find the usefulness of said ideas to be outweighed by the restrictions and limitations of putting things and people into the categories and ‘pigeonholes’ the ideas represent (to me). my own personal point of view about the ‘work language’ is naturally colored/biased by the mind-control environment of my own indoctrination… with hindsight i can see it was a very restricted, narrow-minded place for me to be in, and as a result i tend to be skeptical and red flags go up when i hear or read a view/mentality that is heavily influenced by ‘work language’ — i can understand what is being said but i am on ‘alert’ in thinking it might be coming from a certain narrowness of perspective that often excludes other possible ways of viewing things… even if i don’t have all the facts, it’s not difficult to sense a the influence of dogmatic fundamentalism and it’s an obvious choice (given the choice) to avoid, or in some cases to actively resist the limits represented and imposed by certain types of ‘certitude.’ there is something to be said for keeping and cultivating an open mind… it is an active and ongoing process but to me it represents a type of freedom worth the effort. another issue regarding those who ‘believe’ they have ‘verified’ the ideas expressed by ‘the work language’ is the old bugaboo of the ‘circular argument’ or ‘subject-expectancy effect,’ various forms of ‘self-fulfilling prophecy,’ memetics and other such cognitive biases and unsuspected viruses. but hey, we all have our viruses and biases, whether we recognize them or not.

http://human-nature.com/nibbs/02/cults.html

27. ton - September 26, 2009

it occurs to me that (some) recent posts remind me (somewhat) of a research project i worked on in graduate school; this involved howard gardner’s theory of ‘multiple intelligences.’ this does not represent an endorsement, rather (only) another possible alternative for those who may be interested in looking through (yet) another (possible) lens involving categorization of the human being, (yet) another so-called cognitive ‘tool’ implemented as a (possible) way or means of describing and interpreting observed human ‘reality’ — for what it’s worth:

http://www.thomasarmstrong.com/multiple_intelligences.htm

28. Crouching Tiger - September 26, 2009

James.

“To me one of the weaknesses in what I remember from the fof is what passed (at least in me) for ’self-observation’, and the endless circles and cycles of thought that were merely thoughts watching (or at least ‘thought’ they were) and having a running commentary on other thoughts. Passing fragments of possibly misunderstood phenomenon were labeled and could then give a person the false sense that they understood something just from giving this fragment of something a name.”

Spot on!

29. nige - September 26, 2009

From A Distance
Bette Midler

From a distance the world looks blue and green,
And the snow-capped mountains white
From a distance the ocean meets the stream,
And the eagle takes to flight

From a distance, there is harmony,
And it echoes through the land
It’s the voice of hope, it’s the voice of peace,
It’s the voice of every man

From a distance we all have enough,
And no one is in need
And there are no guns, no bombs, and no disease,
No hungry mouths to feed

From a distance we are instruments
Marching in a common band
Playing songs of hope, playing songs of peace
They’re the songs of every man
God is watching us, God is watching us
God is watching us from a distance

From a distance you look like my friend,
Even though we are at war
From a distance I just cannot comprehend
what all this fighting is for

From a distance there is harmony,
And it echoes through the land
And it’s the hope of hopes, it’s the love of loves,
it’s the heart of every man

It’s the hope of hopes, it’s the love of loves
This is the song of every man
And God is watching us, God is watching us,
God is watching us from a distance
Oh, God is watching us, God is watching
God is watching us from a distance

30. ton - September 26, 2009

one more and i’m done…

31. Dr. Pangloss - September 26, 2009

22. We were there

It seems to me that the blog has ‘passed through an interval.’

It’s passed alright. It’s starting to smell like teen spirit.

I’m worse at what I do best
And for this gift I feel blessed
Our little group has always been
And always will until the end

32. another name - September 26, 2009

Dear Ames and others

Thanks for your incredible last entrees. So viewed from different angles and thought evoking.

Thanks for the question Ames and the opportunity
Yes I have learned to “transform negative emotions”.
1. At my job exposed to violence and uncontrolled behavior and or painful situations.
____I try to be silent do my work and internally say to myself I love you, you are part of my work and I forgive you. ( Ho’oponopono) And do breathing exercises and slow deep exhaling.

Or in worse case scenario I combine this with I love and accept myself to give myself empathy. Sometimes I use EFT to have more info on my part of the process and to give myself energy.

2.In very difficult personal circumstances, I try to say nothing and wait and give myself empathy, sometimes I write a letter later and boy have I learned a lot. Much more then in the fellowship of friends. This has helped me to survive after the cult experience and have more hope then when I was in the fellowship of friends.

Transformation happens especially in my work and sometimes at home though less frequent. It is often a simple change in energy due to an inner wish/ hope and balancing of energy. Often people relax, look in my eyes and are able to get out of their inner turmoil and something changes..we both can go more deeper and the process of being and healing has increased. Sometimes it just comes on its own…when I look up at the sky

Today I had turmoil with a teenager and just sticking to the above became an emotional win- win situation and not easy at all. Just breathing, holding on to my inner core (whatever that is) and holding on to something “deep, strong” inside myself. Yes, it often, is also a lonely place for a while and so worth as when the connection follows, it is “Joy” and rewarding in its own manifestation.

Pondering….I guess it is hard for me to feel the emotion of loneliness?

Look forward to your comments.

33. Renald - September 26, 2009

I would like to add my two cents to an idea here which I think is valuable when it comes to using work language. First the partial quote—-“ 24. James Mclemore – September 26, 2009
I have no strong personal pros or cons about people’s use of Fourth Way or FoF terminology. Perhaps it has served them well.
However, for me the problems that can stem from using that ‘work language’ can come from a series of assumptions that can imply that we are, or have been, truly witnessing and understanding the dynamics of some phenomenon just because we have given it a label. When I was in the fof people frequently said they were ‘identified’ or they were ‘inner considering’. What is happening when someone says they are ‘identified’. Who was identified? Who was inner-considering? And just WHO is then making the statement of that after the so-called observation and that can appear to understand what has been seen? To me one of the weaknesses in what I remember from the fof is what passed (at least in me) for ’self-observation’, and the endless circles and cycles of thought that were merely thoughts watching (or at least ‘thought’ they were) and having a running commentary on other thoughts. Passing fragments of possibly misunderstood phenomenon were labeled and could then give a person the false sense that they understood something just from giving this fragment of something a name. This sort of labeling can also cause what I would now call ‘reification’,“

Every “bit“ of information which was used in the past had its chance to be repeated as described above enough times to become habitual and to have neuronal connections established.

Every times those “bits“ are rementionned in thought they have the likelyhood of reinforcing the habit as well as ringing an emotional bell which at that time was positive.

In my opinion, if enough of these “positive-feel good“ flashes from the past enter the present, beware. If these individual “bits“ have been scrutinized and if the habit has been replaced with another which is more desirable in the present-future, then there is no problem. There may be for example some alcoholics who suffer no harm when talking about having a “drink“ or a beer. The others are in danger. Their focus has changed, the subject is as was said on center stage.

Next thing you know a bunch of those well intentioned casual visitors start having emotions friendly to the good old days. Next time Humpty Dumpty falls ……..? So yes I do have reservations as to its use because I see red flags there.

34. James Mclemore - September 26, 2009

26. ton

re: link to “multiple intelligences”

Thanks ton. Good stuff in there. I would especially recommend it to those with children. Besides the “multiple intelligences”, check out “the natural genius of kids”, and if you happen to have a child diagnosed with ADD, read what this gentleman has to say about the “Myth of ADD.

35. Silentpurr - September 27, 2009

Friends,Having left, It’s possible that we each carry a small post hypnotic suggestion given to us directly or indirectly by RB. And that is that we will fail miserably on our own. That we will loose EVERYTHING or toss it away…

36. nige - September 27, 2009

34 Silentpurr

Light – material of Pure Intelligence – goes on forever, and cannot be diminished. It can only be changed, descending into material through Dark and Malevolent thoughts and deeds, or used as a Sword of Light for Awakening others. If we are free from Falsehood and are truly Ourselves, we choose the latter…..Nigel.

P.S. 34 is the number for Lovelight, in my colour symbolism.

37. Crouching Tiger - September 27, 2009

Talking of multiple intelligences, I recall Tatyana’s story a while back, about watching a dvd of one of Robert Burton’s ‘teaching events’, first with the sound off, then on.

With the sound off, there was a recognition that his body language was lying. With sound on, she found herself being sucked in again by the words and the charisma.

Two different intelligences were at work, and both acquired information in different ways. The one that was reliable and trustworthy knew how to relate to body to words, but it was easily displaced as soon as the volume went up. Quite a symbolic story.

38. fofblogmoderator - September 27, 2009

24 is new

39. Ellen - September 27, 2009

Hi All,

About Fourth Way system language. I regard it as a kind of psychological shorthand, although that doesn’t mean that everyone is on the same wavelength in regards to understanding its intended psychological meaning and purpose.

My own understanding of its intended M & P has increased exponentially upon encountering 20th century Advaita Vedanta. But also 20th century Zen. Why did G. have to bury the bone so well??? Was he just a cantankerous, obfuscating, mustache twisting oriental? (For myself, it no longer matters, I no longer care. But I do marvel at how much misunderstanding he has generated for humanity.)

And in relation to studying Advaita Vedanta or Zen, I am not referring to the preselected sound bytes that can be found on the Fellowship daily cards or “Thoughts” quotations, rather I am referring to curious, intelligent, experientially informed personal research.

And finally, if I use the system langauge and discover it creates more misunderstanding than understanding, then it’s time to switch metaphors.

40. nige - September 27, 2009

From ‘Ulysses’ by Alfred, Lord Tennyson…..

“I am part of all that I have met;
Yet all experience is an arch, wherethro’
Gleams that untravell’d world, whose margin fades
For ever and for ever when I move.
How dull it is to pause, to make an end,
To rust unburnish’d, not to shine in use!
As tho’ to breathe were life. Life piled on life
Were all too little, and of one to me
Little remains: but every hour is saved
From that eternal silence something more,
A bringer of new things; and vile it were
For some three suns to store and hoard myself,
And this grey spirit yearning in desire
To follow knowledge like a sinking star,
Beyond the utmost bound of human thought.”

“Come, my friends,
‘Tis not too late to seek a newer world.
Push off, and sitting well in order smite
The sounding furrows; for my purpose holds
To sail beyond the sunset, and the baths
Of all the western stars, until I die.
It may be that the gulfs will wash us down:
It may be we shall touch the Happy Isles,
And see the great Achilles whom we knew.
Tho’ much is taken, much abides; and tho’
We are not now that strength which in old days
Moved earth and heaven; that which we are, we are;
One equal temper of heroic hearts,
Made weak by time and fate, but strong in will
To strive, to seek, to find, and not to yield.”

41. t - September 27, 2009

When I first left the FOF I read quite a bit about cults and de-programming. One of the things that is listed as an obstacle to overcome is using the ‘special’ language of the cult. I now find that when I hear people talking in the special language it is firstly annoying and secondly I see that the veil is still in place. To truly escape the cult it is important to see how limiting and hindering the language is.
Here is a little excerpt from Rick Ross’s site
Loaded Language
“Loading the language” is another common theme in a cultic setting. A special jargon that gives the members a feeling of exclusiveness and that they possess some esoteric knowledge. This “loaded language” helps build solidarity amongst an elite group that speak the same cultic verbiage/lingo. It also gives the newcomer yet an extra incentive to become more involved with the group–in order to learn this language and understand what everyone is saying. Loaded Language is characterized by “thought terminating” buzz words and phrases that constrict thinking and typically replace any meaningful and independent critical analysis. This can become overwhelming and dominate the member’s speech and conversation–while also binding the group together through their common language.

If you have the stomach for more see
http://www.rickross.com/reference/general/general431.html

Hope this helps.
t

42. nige - September 27, 2009

From the First Book of Horace, by Alexander Pope…..

“Not to admire, is all the art I know,
To make men happy, and to keep them so.”
(Plain truth, dear Murray, needs no flowers of speech,
So take it in the very words of Creech.)
This vault of air, this congregated bail
Self-centred sun, and stars that rise and fall,
There are, my friend! whose philosophic eyes
Look through, and trust the Ruler with his skies,
To him commit the hour, the day, the year,
And view this dreadful All without a fear.
Admire we then what earth’s low entrails hold,
Arabian shores, or Indian seas infold;
All the mad trade of fools and slaves for gold?
Or popularity? or stars and strings?
The mob’s applauses, or the gifts of kings?
Say with what eyes we ought at courts to gaze,
If weak the pleasure that from these can spring,
The fear to want them is as weak a thing:
Whether we dread, or whether we desire,
In either case, believe me, we admire;
Whether we joy or grieve, the same the curse,
Surprised at better, or surprised at worse.
Thus good or bad, to one extreme betray
The unbalanced mind, and snatch the man away;
For virtue’s self may too much zeal be had;
The worst of madmen is a saint run mad.
Go then, and if you can, admire the state
Of beaming diamonds, and reflected plate;
Procure a taste to double the surprise,
And gaze on Parian charms with learned eyes:
Be struck with bright brocade, or Tyrian dye,
Our birth-day nobles splendid livery.
To see their judgements hang upon thy voice;
From morn to night, at senate, rolls, and hall,
Plea much, read more, dine late, or not at all.
But wherefore all this labour, all this strife?
For fame, for riches, for a noble wife?
Shall one whom nature, learning, birth, conspired
To form, not to admire but be admired,
Sigh, while his Chloe blind to wit and worth
Weds the rich dullness of some son of earth?
Yet time ennobles, or degrades each line;
It brightened Cragg’s, and may darken thine:
And what is fame? the meanest have their day,
The greatest can but blaze, and pass away.
Graced as thou art, with all the power of words,
So known, so honoured, at the House of Lords:
Conspicuous scene! another yet is nigh,
(More silent far) where kings and poets lie;
Where Murray (long enough his country’s pride)
Shall be no more than Tully, or than Hyde!
Racked with sciatics, martyred with the stone,
Will any mortal let himself alone?
See Ward by battered beaux invited over,
And desperate misery lays hold on Dover.
The case is easier in the mind’s disease;
There all men may be cured, whene’er they please.
Would ye be blessed? despise low joys, low gains;
Disdain whatever Cornbury disdains:
Be virtuous, and be happy for your pains.

43. Yesri Baba - September 27, 2009

Ton 26,27

Thanx ton. cool articles.

44. Ames Gilbert - September 27, 2009

Thank you, Ellen (#83-9). That is a very powerful description. I’ve been fortunate enough to have a few similar experiences of ‘universal love’ in my life, but I have to say that these happened to me, or perhaps better, happened through me, and never through my ‘efforts to transform negative emotions’, or, actually, directly through any other efforts.
And thank you, Another Name, for your practical outlook.

In the FoF, I got the standard––and by no means useless––starting point, the example of tripping over a stone and blaming it. I can and still do see the value of not blaming the stone, of ‘stepping back’ and observing the whole sequence of wanting to blame something external, seeing the waste of energy doing that, seeing perhaps that one was careless or in a hurry, and taking responsibility for my manifestations and my state. And then more complex situations involving subtler emotions, interactions with other people. This is what I came to understand that others understood as ‘transformation’. Later, I came to believe that this was only one part of what was possible. For me, an emotion has two parts, energy and information. If one doesn’t deal with both parts, opportunities are lost, or maybe it would be better to say, not everything is resolved. My friend might ‘drive me over the edge’. I could lash out at him, or I can go to my room and scream into my pillow to vent frustration (dissipate the energy into less harmful channels), but still lose the information. But, if I gather my courage and try to see what is behind it, live in that emotion so I can see what information there is for me, then something valuable has occurred. Sure, the intellect can also later muse on triggering of feelings, observations of individual history, causes, patterns, and so on, but being present and as aware as possible while the emotional center is running the energy is key. Still, unless this is what is meant by ‘transforming’ negative emotions, then I don’t know what the next step is. Maybe anything further is grace, it is ‘done’ through us, I don’t know, but that was not implied in any explanations I was given.

Since the FoF, the most useful guidance and practical, clear directions about this subject I’ve encountered have come from Byron Katie.

James (#83-25), thanks for putting it so clearly. I think you have put your finger on a central difficulty of the human condition. Indeed we do so often label things, then substitute the label for the actual experience when in our next encounters with the object or experience!

45. fofblogmoderator - September 27, 2009

#41 is new

46. Dennis - September 28, 2009

I don’t want to beat a dead horse, but I would like to offer a couple more examples of the power of the knowledge we received in the Fellowship. I know some of you are saying that we have to be very careful about the limitations of such knowledge, and especially the residue of it’s abuse by RB. But the definition of “objective knowledge,” is that it can be verified, and verification can be a scientific process. I know we would have to be much more rigorous, with control groups, etc., to be fully scientific, but thousands of observations, over many years, can at least provide good theories.

The eight intelligences, in Ton’s #27 post, I think, could be more clearly described in terms of the four predominant centers. Brain imaging technology now allows scientists to find the exact locations of these centers.

There is evidence that addiction and out of-control-anger, are directly connected to the mid brain, fight or flight, the instinctive center. When stress hormones activate the mid brain it takes over control of all centers, “the mind behind the machine.” It pumps adrenaline and sugar into the blood and prepares the moving center for action. Because emotion and intellect could interfere with survival, the mid brain does the logical thing, it shuts down the frontal cortex, the thinking/feeling part of the brain. With brain imaging, that part of the brain actually goes dark when an addict is craving. This is part of the reason that addiction is such a powerful phenomenon and why anger can lead to terrible crimes-of-passion, the intellectual and emotional centers are mostly shut down. I find this very useful for helping addicts and people with out-of-control anger problems.

47. Jomo Piñata - September 28, 2009

But the definition of “objective knowledge,” is that it can be verified, and verification can be a scientific process.

Sorry, Dennis. I do not doubt that you help people using the knowledge you have, and that you have genuinely helped many people. But “objective knowledge”?

Using the term “objective knowledge” is just a value-laden way of characterizing some set of ideas that you have, and making them somehow exempt from critical examination. What’s the point of critical examination if the ideas are “objective knowledge”? In fact there’s no place for critical examination with so-called “objective knowledge”: one can only have verified it, or have not (yet) verified it. The possibility that it’s wrong is defined away by the very use of the term “objective knowledge.” It’s “right” — it’s “Teflon”–and the person using it is always subordinate. Don’t you see the problem?

48. arthur - September 28, 2009

Dennis,

Google “special language usage of the fourth way”. It might be useful to you or somebody else.

49. Dennis - September 28, 2009

OK, you win! I’ll stop using the words “objective knowledge.” I was using them to make the distinction between knowledge that can be verified and that which can not, usually called “belief.” And you are saying that the words “objective knowledge” indicate that it is not only verifiable, but that it is indisputable. So I will start using the term “verifiable knowledge,” indicating that it has the possibility of being verified, by scientific method. This seems like a valid improvement of the “work language,” and I appreciate it. I appreciate being able to think as clearly as possible.

50. voloneska - September 28, 2009

Examples of ‘verifiable knowledge’ or what you want to call ‘objective knowledge’ is:
Taurus people tend to be reliable
People born in year of monkey are good at solving problems
A good conscience makes a soft pillow
He who lives near the church, usually comes the last
Love is like war – easy to begin but hard to finish
etc, etc and so on.
It depends whether on your belief and what is familiar. 4th way is no more objective than jewish grandmother wisdom. Only to some people more attractive who like feeling to find objective knowledge. Again, it is amazing that all this phsychological understanding that esoteric club style objective wisdom brings cannot be used on self. You want to think as clear as possible – why?? For you to think clearly is to be right. Thinking clearly is putting ducks in a row so you feel you know and understand. Big blind spot, every mothers son and his dog is right.

51. James Mclemore - September 28, 2009

Voloneska asked, “You want to think as clear as possible – why??”

What a wonderful and almost outlandish question. I like the idea that it might be good to take a step or two further back in any of our inquiries. Who indeed wishes to think clearly, and why? It almost seems ‘a given’ that it would certainly be beneficial to think clearly, but those ‘who’ and ‘why’ parts are a couple of doozies. For myself it creates the question in me that wonders if I take my own desire to understand a bit too seriously (you know how us seekers can be). The mind thinks that it is the place where answers will be found. How sure am I of that, and what lead me to think it might be the case? When I put aside as many assumptions as I can and just look, I see I do not even know where my thoughts come from nor do I understand how they seem to form themselves into words that I can actually write or speak. I cannot even guess what thoughts are actually going to appear next. What does that say, if anything, about my ability to understand my existence?

I do not really like that old fof phrase that ‘confusion is a high state’, but a bit of bewilderment does seem to sometimes be conducive to moments of a bit more light that seems to come from parts unknown.

52. Dennis - September 28, 2009

50. voloneska

All of the examples that you give seem verifiable to me. Whether “Taurus people tend to be reliable,” could be tested with a well constructed scientific experiment.

You say, “4th way is no more objective than jewish grandmother wisdom.” I’m not using the word objective anymore, others here have taught me that lesson. And I’m sure that much Jewish grandmother wisdom has been, and can be verified, i.e. the millions of us who have sipped chicken soup for an illness and felt that it helped us recover. All that evidence would tend to support a hypothesis that chicken soup may have something in it that helps the immune system and/or gets rid of toxins. And, if it has not already been done, scientific studies could be done to further validate the hypothesis.. And I’m just saying that 4th Way knowledge, and even knowledge that came from RB, should be put to the same test as Jewish grandmother wisdom, can it be verified and tested. And I have just been trying to share some of the ways 4th Way knowledge has been useful for helping clients that I have worked with as a psychotherapist. I hate to see people missing out on what was useful from the Fellowship because they are angry with RB, just as someone might miss out on trying chicken soup because they do not like Jews.

53. voloneska - September 28, 2009

Not realistic treating all idea like equal in potential. Human life is not long enough. Ideas finding roots is from culture – if jewish more probabie to follow jewish religion etc. Also genetic – likey that charateristic fit in package, just like with herbivore – not useful to have sharp teeth, better have stomach, feet, mouth, brain etc all good for place it lives in nature. Advantage for hunter does not mean it is advantage for herbivore. So humans also have characteristics fit in package. Over very long time types recognisable because different chromosomes come together and not split so much. Genetic stimulator increses probability for different type in different situations – Hill people/tundra people/tropic beach people. Even nations become types this way. German/Inidan/Russian
All ‘systems’ come from people to make big picture from what observe. Then verify back big picture to what observe even if 1000 years later. Why make this like mystery –

Problem with ‘ I hate to see people missing out on what was useful from the Fellowship because they are angry with RB..” is you decide what was useful. You say are ‘father type’ ‘saturn’ etc. OK, so you like you are. Want to fit picture that can project out. Play definite role. Be sure of self by others being sure of you. All personal story stuff. All can be verified as personal story stuff. Maybe even not disputable objective personal story stuff?

54. nige - September 28, 2009

O.K. Everyone hold on the Dennis bashing! Almost everyone who speaks a language on planet Earth knows the meaning of ‘understanding’. I have always upheld that, for myself, to be ‘workable knowledge’ – that is, I can use it as a tool to navigate through life’s situations. For instance, today I am going to have coffee and apple crumble with the lady who cuts my hair – just to show her the layout of appointment and business cards I am doing for her, since I have a software package to help me do those sorts of things. Lisa reminds me of what I was like in California – fearful, yet good at her craft, and willing to do a decent job for everyone at a fair price. Type – who cares, when she is a warm and friendly person, and hospitable to invite me into her (beautifully kept, I may add!) home for some mid-morning sustenance and a chat. You see, even though one achieves the Self, Real ‘I’ or Master through Essence, it is beyond Essence. Maybe we have to see the Individuality in everyone…..Nigel.

55. Panoritsa - September 28, 2009

I think it is fair to say that everyone can believe whatever they want. If some ex-members consider all the ideas about types and centers and alchemy are valid and they find them helpful, why not use them?

In my case I always found them suffocating and used them because I thought I had to go along with it. Often felt uncomfortable when someone would just decide to go around the room, or the table and ask members what they thought of their “mechanics.” Very very incredibly subjective.

It was painful to see how some people would be put down as they were classified as “negative” types, or “instinctive”, or “jacks”, or “queens.” I felt it did not assist people to overcome their issues. An “emotional” type who could not deal with basic things in life (like parking their vehicle, or using a can opener… -seen both examples…) would smile and give up because they were not “moving centered.” The same with finding jobs and sustaining relationships…. People were just supporting each other in their weaknesses because “man cannot do!!!.”

I really find them inhuman and I see how they add in the long line of classifying human beings (gender, country of origin, race, age, religion, political views, neighbourhood, education,….). It does not help me… So, I am better off without them.

I am a Scorpio by the way… 🙂

56. nige - September 28, 2009

I go along with Panoritsa about ‘suffocating’. We all find ourselves in different situations in life, which require all of what we are. Burton would make us, and we would go along with it, fit our ‘mechanicalities’ into ‘roles’, attuned and tailored for those strengths/weaknesses. I tend to see myself now as having a certain sort of ‘flavouring’ that can add a definite spice and savour to life – with my family, my friends and my students. As I said to some passers-by, one time, when I was throwing my medication away in a litter-bin on the promenade in my dad’s seaside town…..

“I just can’t help being myself!…..”

57. Crouching Tiger - September 28, 2009

Dennis 46.

Interesting that your ‘scientific’ examples all have the efffect of reinforcing the fellowship doctrine of the culpability of the Instinctive centre! It is a matter of document that many serial killers are both very clever (intellectual) and socially well-adapted (emotional) people.

There’s been a lot of evidence in recent posts of how the intellectual framework of the fellowship was experienced as oppressive and suffocating. So the question is – how do your verifications of this framework differ now, compared to when you were in the fellowship? Do they differ at all in terms of process?

58. Dennis - September 28, 2009

I understand that all of the, what I now call verifiable knowledge, was used and abused by RB, but my point is that that has nothing to do with it’s truth value and its usefulness. What got us into trouble in the Fellowship was not the verifiable knowledge, but the unverifiable information, like that RB was a conscious being and that he had a special connection with C influence, that we did not have. And I know that many of you do not like this analogy, but it seems that you are unnecessarily throwing the baby, verifiable and therefore useful knowledge, out with the bath water, the unverifiable information.

59. Mikey - September 28, 2009

Dateline: Blogsville, Intergalectic Network
In a strange twist of events, the once-popular Blog has descended into civil discourse with limited use of the vulgar and an emphasis on so-called trying to understand the whole mess.
“It used to be more exciting, plus I didn’t have to think”, said one reader.
One objective source said it wouldn’t matter one way or another, that the Blog was obviously doomed; while another one diagnosed the problem with the verdict: “You’ve got to be out of your mind”.

60. rock that boat - September 28, 2009

……and now for something very beautiful
from the Ukraine

61. Dennis - September 28, 2009

57. Crouching Tiger

Let the cards fall where they may. If something can be verified by science about the role of the instinctive center in addiction and out-of-control anger, then so be it.

You say, “Interesting that your ’scientific’ examples all have the effect of reinforcing the fellowship doctrine of the culpability of the Instinctive center.”

That is an example of the misuse of this knowledge by RB and has nothing to do with the truth value of the knowledge.

I personally do not see the instinctive center as being culpable in any way. In the mid brain/instinctive center connection, I only see the amazingly beautiful functioning of an indescribably complex organism, that we all are. And if we can use the knowledge of that center to understand and reduce addiction and out-of-control anger, then that seems like a wonderful use of this knowledge.

The perspective that was missing in the Fellowship was that all of these essential, inborn, traits are necessary and useful, and that there is no advantage or disadvantage of any one of them over any other, they all have their place and their strengths and their weaknesses. (Yes, gold alchemy, king of hearts, Sautrn types all have weaknesses that put them on the same level as lead alchemy, jack of clubs, Lunar types, if we can look at them clearly.) Can you not drop the culpability of the instinctive center without dropping what you have verified about that center?

62. Voloneska - September 28, 2009

Dennis – You make verification look like is neutral. Idea of verification, like used in FOF is lie for control. Have big idea and then look in one way only for supporting data. Also happens in science some way to because no theory of gravity or relativity or evolution jumps out from data. Need human mind to create theory – but need other human mind to challenge. Normal process is that other scientists look for exception to theory, for where data cannot fit model. Verification is more negative when works properly – you say I have not found reason to doubt yet – but still I look. Until I find, I accept this theory describes what happens.
FOF verification.
Student; How do you verify influence C?
Teacher; When you see something so ofen that it cannot be chance, like number 44 on licence plate.

People called saturn type in FOF enjoyed verification a lot, I remember. You can say idea used as drug to control was found by Burton – by man with ‘saturn’ type.
Incredible how can believe and call this to veify. Good side is shows how other cult and religiion believe – they believe like FOF verify. So sure and find reasons to always be more sure. Even data with opposite suggestion reinforces verification. Verification becomes like faith or gnosis, it is how you can be sure.
Dennis. Objective not right and maybe vefification to toxic from FOF to use without much explaining. Choose new word please.

63. Crouching Tiger - September 28, 2009

Dennis.

I can see why it is perfectly legitimate for you to recycle the 4th Way/ fellowship fragments as you have done in your professional life as part of a mind-based therapy program. Changing mental attitudes can be a useful tool.

For myself, I found that I couldn’t comb out the useful from the unuseful so easily… The more deeply I entered into my experience in the fellowship, the better I understood that I couldn’t ‘keep’ anything I thought I’d learned there. Particularly my notion of Verification.

Many voices here have an almost allergic reaction to the kind of simple re-scaffolding of attitudes you’re talking about, and rightly so. They don’t believe in this kind of intellectual control as either an instrument, or a description of the changes that a real human being undergoes. Neither do I.

To be involved in a process of living change means to realize that there are stronger intelligences at work, that they are REALLY out of ‘our’ control – a mere change of attitudes does not even scratch the surface of these intelligences. The seeker is not the most important element in the search, just one of the characters.

Although your beliefs about the fellowship ideas have changed, I don’t get the feeling that your understanding of what verification actually means has changed. That is why new verifications can be added to the old ones so seamlessly.

64. nige - September 28, 2009

Hate to produce an enormous FAN for all the EXCRETIA flying around, but Dennis makes a living as a counsellor whilst using the body types/features/centres of gravity/alchemy information, which we can all observe ourselves indulging in if we let ourselves. Girard Haven and Benjamin Yudin have produced books (who knows how many sold?) based on ‘objective knowledge’ (?), intermingling ‘Work’ ideas with other, cross-cultural and cross-philosophical lines of thought. When are we going to understand that Essence (YES! – I use that word because it is in the dictionary and has the meaning – ‘core of being’) has NO THOUGHT FOR FIANCIAL GAIN or INFLUENCING THE THOUGHTS OF OTHERS or EVEN THEIR LIVES. It is what it is, and does what it does. Over to you, blogoloo!

65. Man Number Zero - September 28, 2009

In Post 49, Dennis wrote:

“So I will start using the term “verifiable knowledge,” indicating that it has the possibility of being verified, by scientific method.”

The idea of `verification’ has no place in science. General laws, like the law of gravity, or the `law’ that Taurus’s tend to be reliable, can never be verified, because a single contrary example is enough to refute them, and we can never examine all possible examples. The central idea in science is the idea of falsification — that we must abandon any proposed general law if a single contradictory instance is found. Thus, scientific laws can be classed either as `falsified’ or `not falsified yet’; there is no class of verified laws.

This view of science is due to Sir Karl Popper, author of “The Logic of Scientific Discovery.”

66. You-me-us-they - September 28, 2009

James Mc, Hello !

You wrote:
I do not really like that old fof phrase that ‘confusion is a high state’, but a bit of bewilderment does seem to sometimes be conducive to moments of a bit more light that seems to come from parts unknown.

Do you know this song which says:
“Peace is a state of confusion…”

67. Mikey - September 28, 2009

Q: Holy Science, Batman! Can everything be explained?
A: No, not by science anyway, Boy Wonder, you idiot. Though that fact doesn’t stop the intellect from trying.

68. Jomo Piñata - September 28, 2009

Dennis, you wrote:

OK, you win!

It’s not about my winning. My goal is not to get you to change your behavior by beating you in argument. My goal is to get you to examine what I am saying and apply it to what you are saying, which is to say, my goal is to engage you and to discover whether your perspective is flexible enough to respond to the criticisms I raise.

The central criticism I have is of the idea of “verification.” What you describe as “verification” is not a neutral process, it’s a process which contains all kinds of assumptions and distortions. People trying to “verify” “ideas” can be led to embrace all kinds of outlandish things.

I have no doubt that you regard “body types” as fact. My perspective is that any sufficiently complex model of human being comes to be taken as reality. The model may incorporate accurate descriptions of human behavior; it may have that going for it. However, regardless of its intrinsic accuracy, people under the influence of the model will allow it to influence their self-concepts, will conform their behavior to the model, and will seem to “verify” the model because it becomes a “self-fulfilling prophecy.”

And because of the “fundamental attribution error” (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Fundamental_attribution_error ), once the classification system based on the model becomes socially or cognitively ingrained, the scheme seems to its adherents to be fact, regardless of whether or not it’s accurate.

69. Jomo Piñata - September 28, 2009

65/Man Number Zero

Thanks for bringing up Karl Popper.

70. Susan Zannos - September 28, 2009

We do get all snarled up in language usage, don’t we? Time to get back to Korzybski’s basic semantics: The word is not the thing–whether the “thing” is a table or a theory of some sort. So the best we can do is stumble around and try to keep our language situational, taking our best shot according to where we are and who we’re with. With former students we can count on some shared definitions; with people who haven’t shared the terminology used in the Fellowship we may find it useful to trick out some of the ideas in the trappings of science (dominant glands, whatever) to make a point. Beyond that, language is not of much use in communications.

71. Tatyana - September 28, 2009

Talking about verifications, does a verification implies a proof?
How often did I hear the phrase: “I verified that Robert is a Conscious Being”!
Followed by the proof similar to – “every time I see him – he is always present”, “I never saw him being negative even under pressure”, “every time I am around him I am in the third state”, “synchronicities are often happening around him – a proof of C influence”. etc.

“And then I saw her face
Now I’m a believer
Not a trace
Of doubt in my mind
I’m in love
I’m a believer
I couldn’t leave her
If I tried”

72. Dennis - September 28, 2009

65. Man Number Zero

You wrote, “The idea of `verification’ has no place in science.”

I thought verification was what science was all about. The dictionary defines science as “the process of research, examination, etc., required to prove or establish authenticity or validity.” Is that not what we are talking about here?

Susan you point out that we all get snarled up in the semantics, the meanings of the words, which is of course useful for clarifying our thinking, but it has very little to do with what I am trying to report, that it is not necessary to discard the knowledge we received in the Fellowship, if we can see it functioning in us and around us, and if it is useful for understanding out inner world and for helping others do the same.

That is why I have been trying to use examples, because they go beyond the words. I am a father type with the intellectual part of the moving center predominant. I have been seeing it in myself since I was introduced to the idea over thirty-five years ago. The reason that I am a psychotherapist and am writing on this blog is because it is in my essence to try to help the children, which includes everyone in need. (Right now I am sitting at my desk after having led singing and drumming for the seventy retarded adults that I take care of each day.) Efficiency is one of the main characteristics of my predominant center and so I hate to see myself or anyone else missing out on useful knowledge because they are angry with RB. (Or perhaps we are more angry with ourselves for being so naively gullible.)
Elena L/Silentpurr and I are maximum attraction types, we are opposite in every way; father/child, active/passive, optimistic/pessimistic. We also have compatible predominant centers, being the intellectual parts of different centers. And we share a similar level of refinement. We have been seeing it functioning in our relationship since the day we met and we know that it is the reason that we are still together. I have endless observations of all the characteristics of essence manifesting in me and around me. Confirmation bias and self-fulfilling-prophesy aside, these pieces of evidence have to at least point to a somewhat probable hypothesis, that could be further tested scientifically.

73. Elena L - September 28, 2009

The wordless treasure I carried away with me when I departed the fellowship was buried very deeply and not even accessible to myself until I had the TIME and DISTANCE to understand.

74. Dr. Pangloss - September 28, 2009

72. Dennis
“…it is not necessary to discard the knowledge we received in the Fellowship, if we can see it functioning in us and around us, and if it is useful for understanding out inner world and for helping others do the same.”

The goal of any system of knowledge is to lead to an understanding that does not reside in the realm of words or thoughts. Once understanding is obtained, the system of knowledge has no real use to an individual unless they are intent on teaching or manipulating others. The knowledge remains, but is simply information stored in the brain like a map in the glove box of a car.

I guess supporting the system as taught by Burton is also a way to protect one’s 4th Way credentials. Maybe a response similar to finding out the college of your diploma is now rated the no. 1 party school in the country by Playboy Magazine.

75. voloneska - September 28, 2009

Usefull knowledge?
To know how to eat with chopstik useful if you live in China.
To know how car works useful if doing Paris – Dakar rally.
To know Spanish language useful if doing business in Mexico.

Knowledge can be about something false or unreal. You can know all about theory that earth is flat and it can be useful to you in trivia quiz.

If someone fills him/her self up with knowledge – can be about 4th way or Simpsons TV show, it will find a use. Anything you study will find a use, heraldry, politic science, celebrity sex gossip etc. Biggest use is for own self. All use knowledge to feel that they exist. Knowledge force for duality and so force for proof of self existence. I think you are good meaning man, Dennis. But am suspisious of idea of ‘usefull knowledge’ you have. I think you rely much on being right. Even when say all types same level, fact that you say this makes you right because you see and say it. The main reason you see and say is not the true, but the will to be right.
What is value of understanding type you are if you indulge in characature? Knowledge of essence from FOF is useful if want to indulge yourself and have magic cheese in a can answer. Members who know what type they are become more like the type, this then verifies truth of system and gives status/credit to work against personality/imitation.
Some of most scary zombie memories of FOF are members with good essense act. These people use knowledge of types etc (does not matter if true or lie to talk about it as knowledge – important point!) to become more like themselves. But they did not know what themself was untill this knowledge. Crazy but true.
Dennis – if you understand that all knowledge in FOF that survives is for control purpose, you will understand how it is useful.

76. Susan Zannos - September 28, 2009

Every now and then curiosity about people on the blog gets me by the throat: Voloneska, if I know you and you will confess who you are, please do so to zannoss at yahoo dot com. Sorry, lost control…

77. Tatyana - September 28, 2009

Recently I re-read the “In Search” and I found that it is harder for me to believe in the ideas I was so happily believing while in FOF.
For example, this whole “Fourth Way” idea. Never before I re-examined why did I buy it as an objective truth, that only these 3+1 ways exist and that they do exist the way Mr. G. described them. May be there are thousands of way and may be they do not include any crazy “Fakirs” who stand in the same posture for 20 years. Do you believe it is possible to stand in the same posture for 20 years???!

“At the next meeting G. began where he had left off the time before. “I said last time, ” he said, “that immortality is not a property with which man is born. But man can acquire immortality. All existing and generally known ways to immortality can be divided into three categories:
1. The way of the fakir
2. The way of the monk
3. The way of the yogi.
“The was of the fakir is the way of struggle with the physical body, the way of work on the first room. This is a long, difficult, and uncertain way. The fakir strives to develop physical will, power over the body. This is attained by means of terrible sufferings, by torturing the body. The whole way of the fakir consists of various incredibly difficult physical exercises. The fakir either stands motionless in the same position for hours, days, months, or years; or sits with outstretched arms on a bare stone in sun, rain, and snow; or tortures himself with fire, puts his legs into an ant-heap, and so on. If he does not fall ill and dies before what may be called physical will is developed in him, then he attains the fourth room or the possibility of forming the fourth body. But his other functions – emotional, intellectual, and so forth – remain underdeveloped. He has acquired will but he has nothing to which he can apply it, he cannot make use of it for gaining knowledge or for self-perfection. As a rule he is too old to begin new work.
But where there are schools of fakirs there are also schools of yogis. Yogis generally keep an eye on fakirs. If a fakir attains what he has aspired to before hs is too old, they take him into a yogi school, where first they heal him and restore his power of movement, and then begin to tach him. A fakir has to learn to walk and to speak like a baby. But he now possesses a will which has to overcome incredible difficulties on his way and his will may help him to overcome the difficulties on the second part of the way, the difficulties, namely, of developing the intellectual and emotional functions.
You cannot imagine what hardships fakirs undergo. I do not know whether you have seen real fakirs or not. I have seen many; for instance, I saw one in the inner court of a temple in India and I even slept near him. Day and night for twenty years he had been standing on the tips of his fingers and toes. He was no longer able to straighten himself. His pupils carried him from one place to another, too him to the river and washed him like some inanimate object. But this was not attained all at once. Think what he had to overcome, what tortures he must have suffered in order to get to that stage.
And a man becomes a fakir not because he understands the possibilities and the results of this way, and no because of religious feeling. In all Eastern countries where fakirs exist there is a custom among the common people of promising to give to fakirs a child born after some happy event. Besides this, fakirs often adopt orphans, or simply buy little children from poor parents. These children become their pupils and imitate them, or are made to imitate them, some only outwardly, but some afterwards become fakirs themselves.
In addition to these, other people become fakirs simply from being struck by some fakir they have seen. Near every fakir in the temples people can be seen who imitate him, who sit or stand in the same posture. Not for long of course, but still occasionally for several hours. And sometimes it happens that a man who went into the temple accidentally on a feast day, and began to imitate some fakir who particularly struck him, does not return home any more but joints the crowd of that fakir’s disciples and later, in the course of time, becomes a fakir himself. You must understand that I take the word ‘fakir’ in quotation marks, In Persia Fakir simply means a beggar; and in India a great many jugglers call themselves fakirs. And Europeans, particularly learned Europeans, very often give the name of fakir to yogis, as well as to monks of various wandering orders.
But in reality the way of the fakir, the way of the monk, and the way of the yogi are entirely different. So far I have spoken of fakirs. This is the First Way.”

78. James Mclemore - September 28, 2009

Dennis – I remember you from long, long ago. I admired you then and find that I still do. It sounds like you are doing some good things and most importantly attempting to help alleviate some of the suffering you see in others. There is probably not a better way to spend one’s time on this planet. I hope you know that what I write is in no way an attack on you or your approach and the tools you use. I like your voice and the compassion that is easily detectable from between your words. I think it is useful that this subject has been re-introduced. You seem to have found ways to use some of the theories we were exposed to, but I fear that for many others it only continues to be a type of baggage and hindrance, or worse.
>>>>>>>

If we take what is referred to as the scientific approach, which is also just an idea (see Batman and Robin with Mikey at 67), then before this thing called verification can take place there would need to be ‘observation’.
I think it was O (or his wife) who said “Observe, observe, observe”. What could be simpler or more straightforward than that? Or is it??

As Tatyana just reminded us –
“How often did I hear the phrase: “I verified that Robert is a Conscious Being”?

First there is the problem of ‘who’ is going to do this observing. There is that old ‘for now we see through a glass darkly’ thingy. If we are looking through a microscope that already has some unfortunate defects that are unknown to us, we will have some problems. But I think even if we put that aside and pretend for a moment that our looking mechanism was in order, there were still so, so many difficulties. It is my theory that real, unmediated, bare bones observation that theoretically might have lead to some sort of a clear seeing of at least a bit of the human condition, was shut down in many if not most people soon after entering the cult of the Fellowship of Friends. We were quickly given labels for things we had only barely begun to get a glimpse of. Many of us were already sort of ‘primed’ by reading Fourth Way material. We were essentially told what it is we would observe and what it is we would verify. Because of the way our minds and those questionable microscopes work, we observed and verified things pretty much in the manner it was given to us. Some of what was observed you could say had accuracy to it, but it was almost impossible for most of us to truly make it our own within the context that was already firmly in place. I think it became even more difficult to truly and independently move further inside with unlabeled observation or inquiry, as new followers are quickly bombarded with all of those peripheral and, at the time, wildly interesting ideas such as body type, center of gravity, alchemy, ladders and lifetimes, the King of Clubs, prophecies taken from license plates and mailboxes, the magically mysterious 44 angels that Burton’s own form of magical thinking turned the term C Influence into, and then there is of course a mind-numbing long list of, “Robert has asked ________”(fill in the blank). Quite quickly (and often without noticing it) what one joined no longer even remotely resembled a system in which nothing is to be believed and everything personally observed and verified. It became almost overnight a faith-based religion. What then passed for observation/ verification of the peripheral tools and theories already had a whole load of assumptions mixed in; while some of the more inner ideas such as ‘imagination’ and ‘identification’, often just became sort of like cats watching mice.
What became of real observation or inquiry? Observations still happened, but all of it within the structure of that which had been given, and what was seen was assigned to pre-determined categories. True investigation may have vanished and we did not even notice it.
I will have to paraphrase it, but I remember quite some time ago Skeptical Optimist once saying that when people asked him if he had perhaps thrown out the baby with the bathwater, he would ask if they might be interested in having a bathtub also. At the time I thought that was a bit extreme, but I am not so sure anymore.

79. Opus111 - September 28, 2009

Regarding the issue of scientific testing and psychological observations…

I do think it is unrealistic to hold the world of psychology or medicine to the standards of physical law (one exception invalidates such law).

Let’s take the example of the chicken soup. This is how its efficacy in the treatment of the common cold would be typically tested. A number of patients with common cold would be randomly assigned to receiving either chicken soup, or a placebo (looks and tastes like chicken soup but isn’t, and is devoid of known medicinal property). Patients and care providers would be “blind” to the treatment/placebo assignment. At the end of the study period, results (duration and severity of symptoms for example) would be systematically collected for each individual. Using statistical tool appropriate for the type of data collected, and a preset level of statistical significance, analysis would be completed.

Let us say for argument sake that chicken soup was shown to shorten the duration of common cold from 5 to 3.5 days and severity of symptoms by an average of 33% (p<0.04!). You might then be able to read in the NYT that chicken soup has been scientifically proven to help in the cure of common cold, and that you can now get a prescription for "boosted chicken soup" from your doctor ($125 per dehydrated dose, three times a day for seven days). It is obvious that such a study does not establish that chicken soup helps all people with cold, all the times. In fact, quite a few would be expected to experience no benefit and a few others to feel worse ("hate chicken soup"). This is true of the vast majority of scientifically established medical therapies.

Types and center of gravity theory is fun to study and consider. Not true all the time with all people. I also find it tends to "box-in" my perception of others and my own experiences, with little added value. The assumptions it makes steals from the "richness of naked discovery", at least for me.

80. nige - September 28, 2009

Just to put a proverbial spanner in the proverbial works…..

Monday evening classes are always a more or less riotous event at the Academy of Precious Metal Arts with Keilson, the mighty Viking Provocateur, Nigel, the Warrior-Jolly man teacher (referee, in this instance!) and the lady Lover Imps. You can probably guess the types and how things go…..

Sexual innuendoes and “I’m not listening to you if you say things like that – I’m listening to him because he’s a gentleman”…..and so the evening spiralled upward (or downward, according to which interpretation you impose)…..

Suddenly, the most delicate of the three ladies shouts out from the soldering hearth – “F**cking s**t!!!!!

Things happen out of sorts, when you least expect them…..Nigel.

81. Nancy - September 28, 2009

Regarding #74, Dr. Pangloss:

I get from your post that you think one’s understanding is a static thing and once we achieve this so-called understanding, then we can be done with processing it and should store the knowledge used to reach our understanding in the far back of the cabinet, unless we want to teach or manipulate others. This is not my experience of knowledge or of understanding. My understanding of most all areas in my life, both esoteric and exoteric, is evolving, changing and is much more fluid than your post implies. While it is true that some knowledge is on the back-burners while other knowledge is on the front burners, it is all part of my being and interacting with my daily experiences, thoughts, feelings and sensations to produce new thoughts, feelings and sensations, and eventually new or amended understanding. What is so marvelous about leaving the rigidity of the FoF and the 4th Way as promulgated there, is our seemingly firm sense of knowledge and understandings is thrown wide open for reconsideration and possible abandonment, at least temporarily.

When I left the FoF, I abandoned the system and RB’s caricature patterns for a spiritually evolving being, as much as possible for about 8 years, including using and actively thinking in work language, listening to classical music, giving up supposedly refined postures, dress, etc. I wanted to let the old FoF paradigm fall far into the background and hopefully allow new and different experiences, views and understandings to penetrate. I longed to go back to who I am in essence without all this phony spiritual paraphernalia I had adopted. It worked pretty well for me. Now I am in the process of re-evaluating the work ideas, as they are still here, in the background, and what I think and feel that I have pretty much ‘verified’ for myself still seems fairly accurate. I am very grateful to have lived without the constraints of the ‘4th Way system’ for these many years as it has allowed me to reach deeper and different understandings of myself and the art if living on this planet. I expect my understandings to continue to evolve as long as I am alive and functioning-thank heaven.

82. arthur - September 28, 2009

As a “Jack of Clubs”, “lead alchemy” negative Lunar type here is my two cents:

The blog started with the label, “The fellowship of friends–a cult for INTELLECTUALS”. The first response to this Label was on June 24, 2006.

To the Lurkers: Dennis stated that he was a Saturn King of Spades and his companion his maximum attraction a Lunar also INTELLECTUAL.

INTELLECTUAL has to do with WORDS. Wordsmithing. Some very adept.

INTELLECTUAL also has a connection to the TOWER of BABEL of the Bible where WORDS brought confusion and schisms.

As it was in the days of old so it is today.

83. Rick Ross Daily Quotes - September 28, 2009

The cult provides its people with a new “Loaded Language” to match their worldview. A cult’s philosophy typically provides simplistic and/or almost magical answers to all of life’s mysteries. And thus, cultists do not really “teach” their doctrines, rather they program the minds of individuals to accept such doctrines without question. During that programming process, cult recruiters subject new recruits to their dogma repetitively and often hypnotically (e.g. trance induction, meditation techniques)–so that the doctrine eventually overwhelms the person. Once the cult thus inculcates the mind with its ideas–the newcomer avoids personal dissonance by trying to remold his/her behaviors and emotions to match this new way of thinking.

84. Man Number Zero - September 29, 2009

In post 72, Dennis wrote:

“I thought verification was what science was all about. The dictionary defines science as “the process of research, examination, etc., required to prove or establish authenticity or validity.” Is that not what we are talking about here?”

The words you quote are from the website `dictionary.reference.com’, and are offered there as a definition of `verification’, not as a definition of `science’. Science is concerned with general laws, not with particular instances.

In post 71 Tatayana mentions people who thought they could verify claims like:

“Robert is a Conscious Being”

on the basis of observations such as:

“Robert appeared conscious to me when I saw him at breakfast, and on several other occasions.”

(`Conscious’ is being used here in the special Fourth Way sense, of course; for normal English speakers, a person is conscious if they’re not asleep or passed out.)

But in fact, to verify that Robert was a Conscious Being, i.e., always conscious, you would have to observe him at all times, which no-one has done. Thus, no-one has ever actually verified such a claim.

The same thing is true of all scientific laws: to verify Newton’s Law of Universal Gravitation, we would have to observe all matter at all moments in time and see that it obeyed this law, which we cannot do. However, observing a single instance of matter which did not obey this law would be sufficient to prove it false. Thus the most we can say of this law is that it is so far unfalsified.

Similarly, the claim “Robert is a Conscious Being” can be falsified by a single observation– perhaps some members of this blog have already made such an observation — but cannot be verified.

85. Tatyana - September 29, 2009

Dennis
“Elena L/Silentpurr and I are maximum attraction types, we are opposite in every way; father/child, active/passive, optimistic/pessimistic. We also have compatible predominant centers, being the intellectual parts of different centers. And we share a similar level of refinement. We have been seeing it functioning in our relationship since the day we met and we know that it is the reason that we are still together.”

I am sorry, but the theory of types does not proof me that you are still together because of the maximum attraction. There 6 bln people on Earth and only 7 types. How many partners there should be for each of us – just grab anyone who is maximum attraction and it should work? Don’t think so.

To me it makes more sense how astrology explains it. I depends on how my Venus is placed and which aspects it has with my partner’s planets. If I see the charts of you and your wife, I can tell you more reasons why you are still together.

86. Jomo Piñata - September 29, 2009

79/Opus 111

($125 per dehydrated dose, three times a day for seven days)

LOL!

87. Jomo Piñata - September 29, 2009

Excerpt No. I:

“There are seven major roles in essence. These are chosen at the time the entity is first born, or cast from the Tao, and are followed throughout. It is possible to experience all of life within the confines of these roles. They are Slave, Warrior, Artisan, Scholar, Sage, Priest, and King. . . .

There are three pairings of essence roles and one neutral role. The pairs are slave and priest, artisan and sage, warrior and king. The neutral role is scholar. . . .

The Priest is the Slave exalted. These roles express themselves in service to mankind: Humanitarian ideals. There is a sense of God-consciousness, otherworldliness. A physician can be in essence for either Slaves or Priests, as can social workers, nurses, or the clergy. The Priest will always seek a higher ideal or being to serve and the Slave will seek a person or institution to serve. The Priest sees the world as his congregation, the Slave sees the world as his honored guests.

The Sage is the Artisan exalted. These roles manifest through self-expression. Artisans bring to life freshness and originality; sages, innate wisdom and sagacity. The Sage will always search for the unique thing. The Artisan will always try to create it. The Sage views the world as his audience, the Artisan as his model. The Sage accumulates knowledge like a sea sponge. The Sage is normally an excellent extemporaneous orator and wishes to share all knowledge acquired with all those within hailing distance.

The King is the Warrior exalted. These roles express themselves through leadership and the ability to influence motivation. The King takes charge through knowledge and inherent power, the Warrior through an instinctive drive. The King will always seek to guide and rule, the Warrior to command and explore. The King sees the world as his realm, the Warrior as unconquered territory.

The Scholar is an intermediate role. He is an observer rather than a participant. All of life is vicarious rather than experiential, regardless of the cycle or gender chosen by the soul. No Scholar will ever be gushy, no matter how young a soul. Enthusiasm can be genuine, but will be subdued. All reactions are low key: grief, joy, pain, pleasure. The old scholar is detached, aloof, and often arrogantly intellectual. The Scholar always seeks new knowledge and sees the wold as an object of study.

There are more Slaves than any other role in essence. Then Artisans, Warriors, Scholars, Sages, Priests, and last and fewest, Kings. [There are only fifty-nine magnetic Kings–that is, sixth-level old–in the world today.] As you can see, it is an orderly progression. There is more need for Slaves and Artisans than for Priests and Kings, both in the cosmic sense and in the material sense. More King souls have been Slaves in the world than Slave souls have been Kings. This is partly because there are more collars than thrones available.”
. . .

Chelsea Quinn Yarbro, Messages from Michael (1979), at pp. 94-96.

88. Jomo Piñata - September 29, 2009

Excerpt No. II:

“It is an ancient doctrine, that the mind and body exercise a mutual influence upon each other. The bodily constitution called temperament, has long been and is still often considered sufficient to explain the great differences of the mental dispositions of man. A bilious constitution, for instance, is said to be the cause of irascibility and stubbornness, of sound judgment and mental penetration; whilst a sanguine temperament, as it is thought, produces memory, but less judgment, amiable feelings, and attachment to sensual pleasures.

The doctrine of the temperaments as producing determinate powers, may be easily refuted, since there is no regular and constant relation between the temperaments and mental functions. Every sort of talent, and every kind of feeling, may be observed along with every variety of temperament. In Phrenology, however, it is admitted that more or less activity in the digestive, circulatory, respiratory, secretory, and other systems, greatly modifies the whole constitution of the body in general, and that of the brain in particular, but it is denied that the special or primitive manifestations of the mind, result from the corporeal constitution. This only gives more or less activity and perfection to the fundamental faculties.

I admit four different temperaments, as four different degrees of activity in the powers. The first, styled lymphatic or phlegmatic is recognized by a pale thick skin, round form, repletion of the cellular tissue by fatness, softness of the muscular system, thick lips, fair hair and by languid vital actions, with tardiness and weakness in the whole of the vegetative, affective, and intellectual functions.

The second, or sanguine constitution, is distinguishable by moderate plumpness of person, and tolerable firmness of flesh, light hair inclining to chesnut, blue eyes, fair complexion, great activity of the blood-vessels, easy perspiration and an animated countenance.

The bilious temperament, combined with still greater energy, is proclaimed by the black hair, dark skin, moderate fulness and firmness of flesh, harshly expressed outline of the person, ad by the strong, marked, and decided countenance.

The nervous, and the most active temperament, is characterized by fine thin hair, delicate health, thin skin, emaciation of muscles, quickness in muscular motion, and vivacity of sensations. In my work on Characters, Pl. I. each of these four temperaments is exemplified by a portrait.

It must be added that these temperaments are seldom pure and distinct, but mostly mixed.”

Outlines of Phrenology by G. Spurzheim, M.D.
(3d edition; Boston, Marsh, Capen and Lyon, and Concord, N.H., 1834), at pp. 2-4.

89. Jomo Piñata - September 29, 2009

Wikipedia’s article on pseudoscience lists a number of characteristics that pseudosciences share. Of interest to me, and relevant to the discussion occurring here, is the characteristic described as “Over-reliance on confirmation rather than refutation”:

http://bit.ly/V6HYq

For those interested, this characteristic speaks directly to the “verification” vs. “falsification” issue.

90. Jomo Piñata - September 29, 2009

I recall numerous people from my years in FOF who didn’t fit neatly into a body type box. Anybody here know someone who everyone thought was either a martial or a lunar, but couldn’t figure out which? (Those people usually ended up being called lunar.)

91. fofblogmoderator - September 29, 2009

#83 is new

92. Dr. Pangloss - September 29, 2009

81. Nancy

I agree with you that understanding is not static. But, man, I have boxes of old FOF journals full of inane intellectual bantering about finer points of the emotional center versus instinctive center in a venusian type with power feature, etc. that, in my opinion, is soul-destroying “knowledge”. Understanding that one is indeed a stimulus response machine leads one direction, endlessly scrutinizing the operating manual takes you nowhere. I feel that with true understanding, knowledge is replaced by action and being which becomes part of ones natural life.

I pulled out my copy of the Rodney Collin book “The Theory of Celestial Influence” (first edition) and read the first paragraph of the introduction:
“In every age men have tried to assemble all the knowledge and experience of their day into a single whole which would explain their relation to the universe and their possibilities in it. In the ordinary way they could never succeed. For the unity of things is not realisable by the ordinary mind, in an ordinary state of consciousness. The ordinary mind, refracted by the countless and contradictory promptings of different sides of human nature, must reflect the world as manifold and confused as is man himself. A unity, a pattern, an all-embracing meaning – if it exists – could only be discerned or experienced by a different kind of mind, in a different state of consciousness. It would only be realisable by a mind which had itself become unified.”

Having not looked at this book in years, I find this to be a powerful statement that connects with understanding that is part of my being.
I have no need to re-read the next 376 pages of intellectual pseudoscientific chapters and appendices.

Next I open my slim copy of Tao Te Ching (Mitchell translation).
No. 47:
“Without opening your door,
you can open your heart to the world.
Without looking out your window,
you can see the essence of the Tao.

The more you know,
the less you understand.

The Master arrives without leaving,
sees the light without looking,
achieves without doing a thing.”

I choose the way of the Tao.

93. WhaleRider - September 29, 2009

crouching tiger:

Thank you for posting.

“When I’m driving down the motorway at 80 mph thinking about my holiday to Barbados, another intelligence greater than ‘me’ is driving the car. When I step out on a sunny Saturday morning on to a basketball court, and find that I can hit that 25 foot jumpshot with my eyes closes, another intelligence greater than ‘me’ is doing it. When I meet a woman casually for ten minutes and come away feeling that one day she’ll be my wife, another intelligence greater than ‘me’ is seeing it. All these intelligences, and many others besides, know better and do better than what I please to call ‘me’.

Ironically, people in “life” call the part of ourselves which house those intelligences the “unconscious” mind…which we all share, regardless of any “special” connection to so-called outside “higher forces” as we were indoctrinated to believe in the cult.

What you experience at 80 MPH on the motorway is also known as “highway hypnosis”. It’s the unconscious mind that drives the car and makes the jumpshot with eyes closed, but only after having done so countless times prior with your eyes fully open. Trust me, the Zen master archer doesn’t hit the mark blindfolded on the very first attempt.

What we normally call “me” is really a small island situated on a vast, deep, and sometimes turbulent ocean. What people often fail to see is that we are both the island and the unseen depths of this ocean. Some will even deny or minimize the ocean’s existence and believe their little island is the entire world…until the next tsunami hits.

Yes, I believe we have an intrinsic right to own the intelligences greater that the “little me”…that can actually function quite well independently of cult membership.

94. I know - September 29, 2009

Though I still have “inside contacts” and I am still curious about what is going on in the FoF, all these contacts have been kept virtually so far, and almost I never met anyone face to face since I left.

Last Saturday, for the first time, I met an ex-member with whom I once had 3 years relationship. She left many years ago. I was happy to meet her. She seemed to be happy & normal and she is doing well financially. I was glad to see that there is real life after the FoF.

Yet, still I was surprised that she said she is missing being the FoF, especially the attention and concentration as she described it. I told her that many things have changed; the teaching is very different in comparison to the 4th way teaching and the psychology.

I figured out (if I am not miscalculating) that there are perhaps 7-8 thousand living ex-members around the globe; I would guess that at least 5 thousand are recovered and have little or no leftovers.
Around one thousand is in the GF and maybe 2 hundreds are a kind of a hardcore that suffers more than others.

95. Wouldnt You Like To Know - September 29, 2009

Concerning the things learned in Fellowship of Friends (and elsewhere):

Do not mistake the finger pointing to the way for the way. The map to your supposed destination informs little about the nature of the destination, and landscape along the way, when you are experiencing it. Learn to distinguish the difference between the messenger and the message. Body type, chief feature, center-of-gravity and alchemy are mere curiosities when compared with self-remembering (or whatever you want to call it). (I wonder, who said that?) If they help you, or anyone else, to that place in one’s being, then use them. There are other perfectly valid tools and techniques that can accomplish similar results. Use what works. Discard what does not work. And, as they say in the financial world: ‘Past performance is no guarantee of future results.’ Perhaps, present performance may produce present results.

83/79. Opus111
Nice example of an experiment. However, it would be enhanced by adding a control group that received neither chicken soup nor placebo. This provides for detecting some unknown/outside variable should it creep in to the groups. (Say, H1N1, swine flu, starts circulating during experiment.) Also, it would be enhanced by repeating the same experiment with the groups reversed. This provides for detecting some unexpected particular sensitivities in either 2 groups. (If the results in the 2 runs are not identical, they will have to be explained. Could be someone is allergic to chicken soup or the placebo.) This is called a double-blind placebo-controlled cross-over controlled experiment.

83/84. Man Number Zero:
‘to verify that Robert was a Conscious Being, i.e., always conscious, you would have to observe him at all times, which no-one has done. Thus, no-one has ever actually verified such a claim.’

And:

‘Similarly, the claim “Robert is a Conscious Being” can be falsified by a single observation – perhaps some members of this blog have already made such an observation — but cannot be verified.’

It is far easier to NOT observe ‘the subject’ at all times and find example reason(s) that they are NOT a conscious being – in many more than a single observation. That should include observing ‘the subject’ at times when ‘the subject’ is not projecting, not putting on a show, to make it look like they are a conscious being. This ‘verification,’ if you will, can and has been done. That’s why most people who join Fellowship of Friends leave (90+%). The other approximate 10% either have not had their chance yet, they just don’t care, their self-image (and instinctive security – far too much already invested) depends upon their not comprehending what they experience, and/or have some other reason(s) for staying.

The supposed ‘conscious being’ does not lead by example – it’s ‘do as I say, not as I do,’ most of the time. Besides, if everyone did as the supposed ‘conscious being’ does, then chaos would likely reign supreme.

83/94. I know:
‘I figured out (if I am not miscalculating) that there are perhaps 7-8 thousand living ex-members around the globe. . .’

Sorry, but it is more like 15,000 former members and about 1500 current members. (Yes, some have died.) Apparently, you have not read the FoF blog 83 pages worth because this is mentioned many times and how the figures were derived. Where do you get your data, ‘I know’? And, besides, the number of former members keeps increasing while the current member numbers are mostly flat or declining in quantity.

96. I know - September 29, 2009

95. Wouldnt You Like To Know
“Some have died”? In 40 years?

15,000 – mostly living is extremely exaggerated.

All members who were over 40 during 1970-1980 are around & past 80 by now. Most of them have left the FoF and many of them already died.

~7500 living ex-members is a reasonable number.

The FoF is shrinking, yet the pace has significantly slowed down during 2009.
40-60 new members joined in 2009, most of them in the Middle & Far East and some in South America.

97. Ollie - September 29, 2009

96. I know

Maybe there are indeed new people joining Robert Burton’s dwindling cult, be that in the Middle East, Asia or South America. But never mind the sweet hugging and kissing, the deep and meaningful looks from eye to eye, never mind the pretty clothes and flowers, never mind the delicious glasses of wine to wash it all down, what everyone still has to read out and listen to during the weekly meetings are the continued outpourings of Robert Burton’s cultish mind. So anyone with an ear to listen and a heart to feel will soon get a sense that all is not well in Fofland. And if they don’t get it (yes, just like we didn’t for so long), well then… so be it.

Anyway, here are a few very recent pearls of wisdom straight from one of Mr. Burton meetings. It’s about fertility goddesses, big toes, lots of numbers and squares, the Absolute and his angels and what not.

“On Monday we took a pleasant trip to Carmel. From Ocean Avenue we went down to the beach. Normally I always walk on the left side of the beach, but D__n suggested that we walk on the right side, and Influence C had this woman resembling a prehistoric fertility goddess pass us, walking slightly faster. Of course, we were internalizing a lot more than she was. Essentially, we were the only ones there. Here [pointing to a photo on the big screen] I am following her footprints – the footprints of the prehistoric… The Egyptian Legends say, ‘Isis suckled the child in a solitary place, and none knew where this place was, and he grew in strength.’ The woman walked all the way to the end of the beach to a remote spot and then went behind a rock. To give birth to a sequence, she went far from the ten thousand ‘I’s. Afterwards we went to the restaurant Nepenthe in Big Sur for a sunset dinner. I formed my magnetic center at Big Sur. I was there by myself on Christmas Day when I was twenty-four. This time they put a little girl at the fireplace. She later crossed her legs and looked up. Now, of course, I speak from the higher emotional center, and you listen from the higher emotional center – card twenty-one. Quite surprisingly, here [pointing to another photo on the big screen] we see a license plate with the date of my birthday – May 12 – which is, in fact, the birth of our opportunity. It is a red Lexus, which means ‘protector of mankind’ – the third eye, the protector of the sequence. It also has an outer meaning should the Last Judgment occur. If it occurs, we will survive it.”

“A fresco by Michelangelo in the Sistine Chapel depicts Jonah and the Whale [pointing to another photo on the big screen]. Here we see Jonah making a square between his legs. His right foot is lifted, which may indicate the end of the sequence. At right, the big toe represents long BE, with the four other toes going outside of time. If that were not enough, the steward also makes an empty square with the fingers of his left hand. Diana K_y saw this license plate saying ‘SHK SPR’ – Shakespeare. The spear that the steward must shake is the thirty work ‘I’s. In the King James version of Psalm 46, which was translated when Shakespeare was forty-six years old, they placed the word ‘shake’ forty-six words from the beginning, and the word ‘spear’ forty-six words from the end of the psalm. You see how clever they are. The King James Bible is a conscious work. I think it has a few problems, but probably not many. It is the only time they used the words ‘shake’ and ‘spear.’”

“In 2015 we will celebrate the forty-fourth anniversary of Apollo. It is one hundred years after Ouspensky first met Gurdjieff in 2015. Shakespeare was fifty-two when he died, the number of weeks in a year. He died on the same date as the day he was born – short Be and long BE. Ouspensky died at sixty-seven. Gurdjieff died at approximately eighty-six. Rodney Collin died at forty-six.”

“The Absolute created the universe to love and be loved. I can only speak a little about what I think might have occurred. Apparently, before He created the galaxies, there was just darkness. It is possible that there was Himself, and then all kinds of magnetic fields appeared to oppose Him. Like our instinctive centers, these magnetic fields can never die. They can never be born, but they can also never die. Our magnetic field has been in other bodies, and after we die and ascend, it descends to the moon. However, it is possible that at one time there were no galaxies, and only darkness. Somehow He raised Himself into consciousness to create the universe. It is very orderly… Life has a theory about the creation of the universe called the Big Bang theory, but it is just an attempt to explain it. The universe is extremely well-ordered. The Absolute created conscious beings out of love for us, and then in return to be loved by us. It is quite chilling to think that once there was only darkness. Apparently, He has never had a beginning, nor will He ever have an end. A marvelous relief carving from Tell El-Amarna [pointing to another photo on the big screen] depicts the Adoration of Aten. A detail shows Akhenaten with the hand of God. He is an androgynous steward, with wide ‘fertility’ hips, and a slender waist for eating only lawful food. It is quite an unusual combination, but it is intended to convey the message. Coming around his back under his arm are four fingers making a square, signifying a sequence coming from presence.”

“First and foremost, the Absolute wants gentle and inconspicuous presence from his angels. The state we are in is exactly what He wants from His angels, so we are doing very well. This state validates us as a school. Here [pointing to another photo on the big screen] we are looking at the sunset in Napa Valley. A ceramic sculpture by Andrea della Robbia [pointing to another photo on the big screen] depicts the Virgin Mary, Christ, and Eight Angels. Mary – the white queen – is kneeling, showing four fingers on each hand, as does the infant Christ. The artist does something interesting: the Christ child makes an empty square between his legs. He has a finger in his mouth because he does not want any more sequential utterances.”

“Wordless presence is the ultimate sanity. Our meetings reaffirm this state. Only this state is sanity. Here [pointing to another photo on the big screen] is a photograph taken of a meeting during Journey Forth. This is how we look. It is lovely, is it not? We are so attentive.”

“I think that the idea of having nine lives does exist in schools. Plato spoke of ‘cloud nine’ – the control of the passions. In any case, it is obvious that we are ascending souls. If I had to wager, I would say that we have nine lives, and that the Absolute accepts a cycle of nine lives as sufficient payment for divine presence and immortality. If you encounter any information on this subject, please let us know.”

98. I know - September 29, 2009

97. Ollie – September 29, 2009

You (we) are preaching to the converted. To those who have left the FoF.

Almost everything that RB says can be tagged as ridiculous. Especially if one has an open account with him and the FoF.

I was reading the quotes you brought above and if I am honest with myself (and I am trying to be honest with myself), it is not all ridiculous for someone who’s aim is to work on developing consciousness. However it is indeed senseless for everyone else.

For example: “Wordless presence is the ultimate sanity.” It means nothing to anyone who is not interested (or not interested any more) in such ideas, yet it may mean a lot to those who seek consciousness in the FoF.

Even if we don’t like it, it is still a fact. There are sincere students in FoF and RB’s teaching is related to reaching presence. That is a fact, and that is why at least 500 members out of 1500 are truly clinging to RB ideas.

99. Jomo Piñata - September 29, 2009

Excerpt III:

———-Begin Quoted Material———-

The Personalities of Each Blood Types (November 23, 1997)

Type O

* Strongly purpose-oriented
* Straight desire
* Conscious of power relationship
* Know how to take chances
* Dislike to be subordinate
* Expressive

Type A

* Considerate about everything
* Prefer peaceful human relations
* Slow to trust people
* Observe social rules and customs
* Regard social order as important
* Restrain action and expression

Type B

* Dislike restrictions and one’s own way
* Non-stereotyped action
* Non-stereotyped thinking
* Self-conscious and not warped expressions
* Makes less distinction of things
* Not conscious of circumstances
* Don’t care social rules and customs

Type AB

* Rational thinking
* Good critic and analyst
* To participate and contribute to the society
* Good at adjusting human relations
* Hope to be in harmony with the society
* Feels distant from the society

———-End Quoted Material———-

Source of Quoted Material:

http://bit.ly/1EYoNS

100. Jomo Piñata - September 29, 2009

From “Phrenology: History of a Pseudoscience,” by Steven Novella, M.D. (March 2000)

———-Begin Quoted Material———-

The most recent defense of phrenology I could find is a website published on 5/1/1998 by Peter Van den Bossche called “The Loose Foundations of Criticism against Phrenology.” (Van den Bossche, 1998) In a section labeled “Why Criticism is Wrong, Van den Bossche states:

“It would be an absurdity to reject Phrenology as such, without first assessing the value of the science, as is unfortunately too often done today. Extensive experimental verification of the Phrenological localizations have proven their practical value. The Phrenological analysis of personality remains of incomparable value to assess the character.”

As this example shows, criticisms of phrenology are dismissed as a-priori and arguments from authority. The actual scientific criticisms of phrenology, as outlined in this article, are not addressed or even acknowledged. Further, the claim of “extensive experimental verification” is not referenced, and is therefore unsubstantiated hearsay. In fact, there are no double-blinded verifications of phrenological localizations. Phrenology was rejected after scientists failed to replicate Gall’s claims, and 200 years of subsequent neuroscience has shown phrenology to be false. Modern phrenologists, however, make no accounting of the advances in neuroscience.

———-End Quoted Material———-

Source of quoted material:

http://bit.ly/1m5KH4

101. surelyujest - September 29, 2009

In my experience, there has been only one way to judge the validity of the ideas like body type — to completely walk away from them for a long time. There is just no way to look at these ideas when you have a vested interest in them — as Jomo has stated, all the problems of bias enter in. I have been perfectly happy to throw it all away, except for what I will now call “mindfulness,” which is easily accessible from many sources, without any of the 4th Way overlay. The little grids and boxes of body types and centers I have found to be just pretty useless. You can invent any other “system” based on valid observations, and your mind will order your perceptions to conform to that knowledge.

Perfect example: the fictional effect of the full moon. It took me several years of not paying attention to the dates of the moon before I could “verify” that it is not actually affecting my moods. After a long time, I started checking again, and I found no correlation between what I used to consider a “moon state” and the actual moon phases. Half the time when I would feel like that, it would be in between a moon. Then I realized that in the past, I would notice that, but discard that observation because it didn’t fit. So many little boxes, almost all imaginary. They provide an illusion of control and understanding, but I’m much happier becoming comfortable with the idea of not knowing — because I really don’t.

Our senses are poor indicators of reality in a lot of ways. They make connections too quickly to causes that are not really linked to effects. Our senses tell us that the sun revolves around the earth.

It is impossible to understate the extent to which we project our preconceived ideas onto the things we observe. If you are looking to “verify” body types, that’s what you will see. In this way, our minds create something like an imaginary hologram of reality, and it often has little to do with reality.

I can’t convince anyone of this however. You have to abandon everything fully and honestly to be able to return to it later with anything approaching objectivity — which is still not objective in the bigger sense, but a little more so, I think.

Some of the 4th Way’s most ardent supporters will, on the one hand, claim that it must all be observed and verified, then in the next sentence make wild claims about creating a soul and immortality, and how Gurdjieff and Ouspensky are, as we speak, zipping around the galaxy in their astral bodies. If they were truly capable of being honest with themselves (which they often lambaste “life people” for being unable to do), they would see that they have developed a firm belief in fictional ideas. But that would undo their worldview, and that would be painful, because they occupy a pretty high place in that view (evolving Man Number 4). Why go back to being a small fish in a big pond, the way they were before they met The System? Too depressing for most.

102. WhaleRider - September 29, 2009

ollie:
Thank you so much for the burton quotes…displaying the “tightness” of his delusional system of magical thinking and ideas of reference…hallmarks of narcisisitc personality disorder.

I am now convinced that the experience of “wordless presence” is a receptive hyperalert “attentive” trance state with the critical mind bypassed wherein one could accept just about any suggestion that can be made to seem to serve one’s self interest. Such is the case with television advertising.

So I strongly disagree with the idea that “wordless presence” has any thing to do with the pursuit of consciousness….quite the opposite in fact.

I love the quote: “It is quite chilling to think that once there was only darkness.” Chilling for who to think? in other words, NO THINKING ALLOWED. IMO, this is the crack wall through which his inner reality reality can be seen. It is indicative of a man who has not come to terms with his own death and has created his own air-tight delusional system to cheat death at all costs. One day the darkness of his past will catch up with him.

103. Elena L - September 29, 2009

Ollie Thank you for posting. Reading Robert reminds me of when I was a little girl playing ‘pretend’ with my friends. I am not faulting Robert for playing ‘pretend’. It’s just that in Roberts world, he’s the ONLY one who gets to PLAY!

104. I know - September 29, 2009

101. WhaleRider – September 29, 2009

“So I strongly disagree with the idea that “wordless presence” has anything to do with the pursuit of consciousness….quite the opposite in fact.”

It does not matter if it is called wordless presence, enlightenment, unification with God, Nirvana or whatever… It is all pursuit of consciousness.

All such groups put pursuit of consciousness as their ultimate goal. The fact that you provide a rational, mental explanation to “wordless presence” does not change the fact that it is all about pursuit of consciousness. Ouspensky speaks exactly about the same ideas.

The attempt to attack the FoF on the basis of non-pursuit of consciousness is wrong and doing means losing credibility.
The only basis for criticism must be RB’s conduct and not his teaching. RB teaches more or less what other groups teach.

105. Dennis - September 29, 2009

I just had an important realization, from reading your posts and thinking about my own. I did not intentionally “do” my relationship to the 4th Way knowledge, it just happened to me. I studied the knowledge before the school and during the twelve years I was in. When I left, the main things that changed were that RB was no longer my teacher and I no longer believed, by faith, that he was conscious or had a connection with C influence. Because Elena and I had each other, and a new baby, we did not have much time or need to react against the school. (Also the school was not quite as crazy in those days, although RB’s mental illness was obviously fully developed even then.) We didn’t reject any of the knowledge or work language but continued to use it all the time. Because of my mechanical need for efficiency and to help others, I continued to refine the knowledge, especially because it was the most useful tool that I had for helping people with relationship problems. For this reason, I especially got into the compatibility of types. (When I say I continued to refine the knowledge, especially in relation to compatibility, you’ll have to judge that for yourself. I concluded that there are only six types, with the solar element being an addition to any type. Rather than using the enneagram, I found it more useful to use the color wheel, with the six types being around the outside. With only six types, this works out perfectly. The primary colors are the adult/optimistic types, and because they are similar, they are not compatible with each other. The secondary colors are the youthful/pessimistic types, and are also not compatible with each other. The primary colors are compatible with all the secondary colors and visa versa. The complimentary types, opposite on the color wheel, are the maximum attraction types, opposite in all ways, primary/secondary and warm/cool. The solar element adds white to any color to produce the pastel colors. And the warm colors are the active types and the cool colors are the passive types.) And what I now realize is that all of this happened to me because of my mechanical characteristics.
One additional thing that has been the most helpful for us, to neutralize the negativity we do have toward RB, is to realize that it could not have been any different than it was, either for us or for him, because we were who we were, with the level of being that we had then, and we now are who we are, with the level of being that we have now . (Forgive me for trying to help, it’s just totally mechanical for me.)

106. Nancy - September 29, 2009

I recalled a very clear example of ‘verification’ and how it occurred in the FoF, at various levels, on page # 42-195
https://fofdiscussion.wordpress.com/2008/07/26/fellowship-of-friends-discussion-part-42/#comment-2989
as part of the to-and-fro with Daily Cardiac.
Of course, there were many different ways that followers used and misused the idea, and this example is just one of many.

Hello, I Know (#83-98 or thereabouts),
I have to say that if I felt I was only preaching to the choir, I wouldn’t bother. But, I’ve had quite a bit of feedback about these efforts, enough to know that they are valuable to another audience, the people ‘on the fence’. Those who are still followers but with open minds, willing to face their doubts and look at the evidence. Folks who need to know that there are alternatives, that there is ‘life after the Fellowship of Friends’.

I look at Ollie’s quotes, and I have to laugh out loud. This is numerology and superstition run amok. The thoughts are not even original to Burton, they’ve been fed to him by an army of sycophants (‘researchers’) eager to reinforce the fantasy. I get your point about ‘wordless presence’, I get the point about the ‘sequence’ perhaps being a kind of mantra, but surely any value is drowned out by the plethora of accompanying baggage? All the justifications, all the ‘explanations’ are just mind activity, aren’t they? And just more stuff to disengage from if one is actually trying to learn to quieten one’s mind. And this all ties in with the conversation going on right now about verification. However one approaches the idea of verification, surely it is only an accident if a single proposition in Burton’s meanderings is verifiable! Burton, for sure, doesn’t take the idea seriously.

From Via Del Sol Journal, September 28, 1971 (Volume 1 Number 1),
Burton is ‘explaining’ the No Laughing Exercise and gives us this gem:
“Remember that Christ never laughed”.

The ‘explanation’? There is no record of Christ having laughed.

Or from the same journal, “Christ said that many would say they are He. I would be surprised if the spirit of Jesus Christ did not return around the year 2000. It is possible he was here before he took the role of Christ, maybe of Hermes. He said, “I am the vine and nobody will go to Heaven unless they go through me.”

By definition he is a serial liar. Burton lied from the start (and has never stopped)

107. Panoritsa - September 29, 2009

97. Ollie

Thanks for the update Ollie… I think he is mad…

108. Tatyana - September 29, 2009

Ollie.
“The King James Bible is a conscious work. I think it has a few problems, but probably not many. It is the only time they used the words ’shake’ and ’spear.’”

Poor guy. This is schizophrenia. Did he took time to count the words from the beginning and from the end? Jeez…
So sad.

I have seen a few schizophrenics in my life. Their ramblings and delusions can produce a state of love and a lot of times people take them for profits and “the chosen ones”.

This morning saw a program on TV about Heaven Gates. Very similar case!

109. Crouching Tiger - September 29, 2009

Thanks for the update Ollie.

“Reading Robert reminds me of when I was a little girl playing ‘pretend’ with my friends.” Elena’s perception is extremely accurate….

The predominant impression from reading Burton’s quotations and narratives now is of the sheer childishness of the mentality constructing them. Not childlike but childish. It is like putting coloured building bricks together in a prescribed order – from the 46 words from the start and end of the Psalm “Shake” “Spear”, to the following clumsy attempts at numerology and the seeing of ’empty squares’ in every piece of art he encounters. And yet these perceptions are supposed to be the product of an enlightened mind. Who could possibly be satisfied to find his journey end in such a place?

It is the sort of intelligence that wants pictures of things rather than their substance, a fairytale that no-one can touch: “Here [pointing to another photo on the big screen] is a photograph taken of a meeting during Journey Forth. This is how we look. It is lovely, is it not? We are so attentive.” Wordless presence, a state that the flow of life can never interfere with… Literally, it’s ‘cloud nine’!

I have also to say that it made me laugh when Dennis’ post appeared a little later, with his coloured relationship wheel. Although the intent is clearly benign where Burton’s is not, there is definitely a certain feeling common to both.

110. Jomo Piñata - September 29, 2009

“Shake,” “spear” and Psalm 46 — “The Cipher Theory” in Vol. 22 of The Cambrian (1902), at p. 247:

http://bit.ly/1fgUZV

111. Elena L - September 29, 2009

Regarding Robert’s interpretation of Egypt, To more fully appreciate his dried up sickness, read a bit from Edith Hamilton’s book “The Greek Way”, Chapter East West, pages 17-21. Chilling!

112. JustDiscussing - September 29, 2009

103/I Know

“The attempt to attack the FoF on the basis of non-pursuit of consciousness is wrong and doing means losing credibility.
The only basis for criticism must be RB’s conduct and not his teaching. RB teaches more or less what other groups teach.”

Of course the teaching can be criticized. Crouching Tiger has posted penetrating critiques of the FOF teaching. Robert’s conduct is intimately linked to the teaching that he provides.

“Wordless presence is the ultimate sanity.”
Let’s have a look at Robert’s wordless presence and ultimate sanity.
He goes to a beach and sees a woman, presumably overweight. To him the woman has been placed there by gods for the sole purpose of reminding him of a prehistoric image. She just goes for a walk and disappears behind a rock, but to him she is going to give birth to a sequence. A little girl isn’t primarily a little girl, she’s there to remind Robert that he used to be a seeker in Big Sur. A red Lexus might mean that Armageddon will occur.

This isn’t the ultimate sanity. It’s not exactly wordless either.

113. Dr. Pangloss - September 29, 2009

97. Ollie

I read the first few paragraphs of Burton’s “teaching” with amusement, but I could not finish the whole entry because it was all so useless and sad.
Burton has been making that little trip to Carmel (“the city of the dead” to quote Ken W-gal) and Nepenthe for decades, always coming up with his absurd allegories and fables between shoving food and dicks into his big mouth. He’s really like an old dog, walking the same tired route and pissing on all the same trees to mark his territory.

The man could sit in front of his students and drool and babble incoherently, and the devotees would believe he was teaching “presence”.

114. JustDiscussing - September 29, 2009

“Life has a theory about the creation of the universe called the Big Bang theory, but it is just an attempt to explain it. ”

I love that in light of his own explanation!

115. voloneska - September 29, 2009

Dennis – I like color wheel for types, works well, good adaptation.

Burton like boy playing pretend, yes. This is sickness behaviour for him. Everything has personal meaning/signify something. All about him. All art, all religion, all the gods do – it is all about him. World full of omens and prophecy material about him. Typical sociopath behavior
This irony as Burton does not see object or witness event without to find the meaning of it. This reinforced by circle of boys he can teach 24/7 – Yet center of teaching is presence enough on own.

If look at Ouspensky model how divided attention requiring 3rd thing (God) to be aware of – not just you and object of perception, can see how this 3rd thing is what flows back with attention back to you and fills you up with flavored attention. Difference is for O, that he adds 3rd thing to dividing attention. This simple change is revolutionary which coincide with priority of time, psychology, cosmology, marxism, new importantce to individual and new place in different universe with more spiritual style god.

Original religion way is First be aware of 3rd thing (God). This really First thing. Then be aware of you and then of object of perception. This is very old tradition of devotion in East and West. Can say also dynamic of belief/conviction behavior. (eg politics, celebrity, sport, race hate)

Under Burton Ouspensky personal consiousness divided attention changes back to standard religion divided attention. But no one notices.

Under Burton, because not intentional, happens. Students feel to get more from new tools because revert to religion form of reward from devotion and contemplating God. To be Present important but most important to do it in correct way, follow will of teacher – correct way is control way. History of FOF development is changes come as Burton (+ inner circle) reaction to fear of challenge. Self remembering does not stay the same either. Typical way to control religion is to empower preists. FOF member flock of relatively educated people has to be made powerless. New knowledge works for this use very well. It needs to be explained by henchmen, students must give up more will. Must submit, submit, submit. Good tool for Burton. All about control.

116. Tatyana - September 29, 2009

97 Ollie
“Wordless presence is the ultimate sanity. Our meetings reaffirm this state. Only this state is sanity. Here [pointing to another photo on the big screen] is a photograph taken of a meeting during Journey Forth. This is how we look. It is lovely, is it not? We are so attentive.”

101 WhaleRider
“I am now convinced that the experience of “wordless presence” is a receptive hyperalert “attentive” trance state with the critical mind bypassed wherein one could accept just about any suggestion that can be made to seem to serve one’s self interest. Such is the case with television advertising.

So I strongly disagree with the idea that “wordless presence” has any thing to do with the pursuit of consciousness….quite the opposite in fact.”

and

“103 I know
It does not matter if it is called wordless presence, enlightenment, unification with God, Nirvana or whatever… It is all pursuit of consciousness.”

So, what is the difference between insanity and the pursuit of consciousness???

117. brucelevy - September 29, 2009

103. I know

That’s pure horse shit. And so is YOUR credibility.

118. James Mclemore - September 29, 2009

How about a little Rumi while we contemplate the difference between insanity and the pursuit of consciousness, and horse shit.

119. WhaleRider - September 29, 2009

Tatyana:
There is no difference between insanity and the pursuit of consciousness.

To pursue something you already have is insane.

120. Dennis - September 29, 2009

115. Tatyana

You wrote, “So, what is the difference between insanity and the pursuit of consciousness???”

Some kinds of insanity can be connected with consciousness, but not the kind that RB has. Meher Baba was considered insane when he had his first awakening experiences. “Beginning in 1936, he initiated a campaign to gather together all of the mast-Allah (“God-intoxicated ones”) that he and his disciples could find. (According to Baba’s accounts, these individuals appear insane but are actually in such blissful states that they cannot relate to the everyday world in any meaningful way.” I personally have enjoyed working with schizophrenics and others with “mental illness,” that talked like people on this blog, and made very good sense. RB’s illness is called arrested development and Narcissistic Personality Disorder. Emotionally he has probably not developed past ten years old, if that.
The symptoms for NPD are:
1. Has a grandiose sense of self-importance
2. Is preoccupied with fantasies of unlimited success, power, brilliance, beauty or ideal love (megalomania)
3. Believes they are “special” and can only be understood by, or should associate with, people (or institutions) who are also “special” or of high status
4. Requires excessive admiration
5. Has a sense of entitlement
6. Is interpersonally exploitative
7. Lacks empathy
8. Is often envious of others or believes others are envious of him or her
9. Shows arrogant, haughty behaviors or attitudes

One has to have five of these symptoms to qualify for NPD and RB
has all nine.
We may not be able to know what consciousness is, but we can definitely know what it is not. And it is definitely not, lack of empathy, interpersonal exploitation, and envy.

I see the possibility that we took RB for our teacher the moment we thought he was conscious, and thought he could help us, and we relinquished him as our teacher, the moment we saw clearly that he lacked empathy, a trait that we intuitively knew had to be a characteristic of an awake person.

121. James Mclemore - September 29, 2009

Dennis said.

“and we relinquished him as our teacher, the moment we saw clearly that he lacked empathy, a trait that we intuitively knew had to be a characteristic of an awake person.”

I think that is exactly how it was for me, and I did not even know at the time the extreme degree to which he lacked that trait of empathy or compassion.

122. fofblogmoderator - September 29, 2009

#101 is new.

Jomo- interesting link (#110) regarding Psalm 46 and the Burton quote from Ollie (#97).

123. Yesri Baba - September 29, 2009

111JD, 112Dr. P, 116Bruce,118 WR

Thank you so much! I almost had to start cussing up a motherfucking storm ripping ‘I Know’ (don’t know shit) a new asshole. Thanks to you guy’s I don’t have to and can be good. I am trying so fucking hard to be nice.

124. Dr. Pangloss - September 29, 2009

120 Dennis

Lack of empathy and lack of conscience in Burton will become very clear to anyone who spends enough time around him. That is, if the other person has empathy and conscience. From my experience there was actually little difference between Burton’s relationship to his pet dogs and his relationship to his “close friends”. Behave and you get treats. Pee on the rug, you are punished. Some time back on the blog there was a link to a portrait painting of Burton standing holding one of his “art objects” with a little lap dog gazing adoringly at him. This pretty much sums up his relationship with his friends and students. No wonder he didn’t like cats.

125. Tatyana - September 29, 2009

Thank you, Dennis, for your answer.

Still I am not convinced that
“these individuals appear insane but are actually in such blissful states that they cannot relate to the everyday world in any meaningful way” and FOFers are very different.

Regarding RB’s lack of empathy, interpersonal exploitation, and envy. How can one see it if he only goes to the meetings and “Galleria events” where RB is sweet as a sugar and talks about love?

“The Absolute created conscious beings out of love for us, and then in return to be loved by us.”

“First and foremost, the Absolute wants gentle and inconspicuous presence from his angels. The state we are in is exactly what He wants from His angels, so we are doing very well. This state validates us as a school”

“This is how we look. It is lovely, is it not?”

“In any case, it is obvious that we are ascending souls”

126. Tatyana - September 29, 2009

Dennis:
“Emotionally he has probably not developed past ten years old, if that.”

How do people develop emotionally after ten years old? Get more negative?
OMG! What if I am not developed emotionally? Sometimes I feel like a 5 years old?

127. another name - September 29, 2009

Dear I know,

Numbers, numbers…what about stopping the abuse for the young men. They, if abused will abuse again their spouses and others…..what about stopping this abuse….?

Was this blog, not designed to stop the abuse??????????????

If Robert would have more power what would happen next…? More abuse? Please take a moment. Look at the Catholic church, look at the abuse of children and the recurrence in families (read cults). What can we do to at least inform people…..so at least they have more information to make an informed decision….to at least have choices?

Look forward to responses.

128. Tatyana - September 30, 2009

I am still trying to digest this pile of RBs mad rambling, which is hard to understand and hard to follow the logic.
It made a strong impression on me because it is out of normal lecture and style of presenting any material.

There is a definite under-layer of messages going on, which is not obvious at first glance. Such as a suggestion that there are “they” who put people and events in place for RB. “This time they put a little girl at the fireplace.”

One can also see how his reality looks like from the comments such as “we were the only ones there” “we were internalizing a lot more than she was”

In short, he lives in the reality where he calls his mental process “internalizing” and through this “technic” he came to realize that bodiless beings are sending him the following messages:
• he is a protector of mankind
• his birth is the opportunity for a mankind for immortality
• he is following the footsteps of the ancients

in addition “they” influence artists and writers of different epochs to encode secret messages to teach “esoteric knowledge” of sequence. (It is better than “The Da Vinci Code”)

These are the gems I found the most amusing:

“Now, of course, I speak from the higher emotional center, and you listen from the higher emotional center – card twenty-one.”

“In 2015 we will celebrate the forty-fourth anniversary of Apollo. It is one hundred years after Ouspensky first met Gurdjieff in 1915. Shakespeare was fifty-two when he died, the number of weeks in a year. He died on the same date as the day he was born – short Be and long BE. Ouspensky died at sixty-seven. Gurdjieff died at approximately eighty-six. Rodney Collin died at forty-six.”

“Like our instinctive centers, these magnetic fields can never die. They can never be born, but they can also never die. Our magnetic field has been in other bodies, and after we die and ascend, it descends to the moon.”

“If I had to wager, I would say that we have nine lives, and that the Absolute accepts a cycle of nine lives as sufficient payment for divine presence and immortality. If you encounter any information on this subject, please let us know.”

Shall we let him know some information on this subject?..

129. Opus 111 - September 30, 2009

Tatyana:

I am still trying to digest this pile of RBs mad rambling

I am not sure why you feel compelled to do that, unless you are still trying to convince yourself that Burton is not the man you once thought he was. Mad rambling it is.

How do people develop emotionally after ten years old?

Discrimination and empathy come to mind. Ability to stay within oneself, to enjoy solitude, to socialize, etc… In fact you can take many of the NPD features and see if you have problems with such tendencies.

130. Tatyana - September 30, 2009

Opus,

no, this is not the reason why I am trying to “digest”. There must be a simple and clear way of reasoning to un-do Burton’s “magic”. Because this is precisely what keeps people in the cult and prolongs abuses.

If FOFers understood the difference between madness and a higher state of consciousness, I am sure many will leave. Except those who prefer madness.

I am not a psychologist, but I am interested in psychological disorders and how do they manifest especially when in contact with normal ordinary people.

Recently I watched a movie The Soloist, a story based on a book by Los Angeles Times journalist Steve Lopez. About a schizophrenic homeless man he had encountered playing a violin with astonishing virtuosity. It is an interesting drama about how normal people can be drawn to the “poor souls” trying to help them and unable to…

Anyway, my English is not too good to explain what I am trying to do with this.

And no, I don’t have any of the NPD features, thank you very much. Try it yourself.

131. Jomo Piñata - September 30, 2009

130/Tatyana

There must be a simple and clear way of reasoning to un-do Burton’s “magic”.

No. You can almost never reason people out of a trance, in my opinion. It’s like a fever. But you can give them information that they may be able to use if the fever breaks on its own, or if they find themselves dislodged from the trance by reason of some set of inner or outer events. So I don’t think it’s futile to have dialogue with persons whose ability to reason has been compromised by thought reform. It seems futile, but if I thought it actually was futile, I wouldn’t waste my time.

132. James Mclemore - September 30, 2009

Tatyana asked,

re: ‘the nine lives’
“Shall we let him know some information on this subject?..”

Tatyana, I think I just had a channeling experience. We need to get this information to Burton as quickly as possible. It explains almost everything.
I am surprised he had not found it on his own.

” 9 Long Lives – One Low Price”

(this is the logo for Eveready Batteries)

One must be Ever Ready to pay the One Low Price for awakening. The price is merely submitting one’s will to the Goddess . One must be Ever Ready to make the sacrifices that the Gods require, and only Burton, acting in his role as “Flash of Light” (a flashlight powered by the 9 lives) can tell you exactly what those sacrifices must be. Now Eveready has only 8 letters but the ninth is actually there invisibly as the dropped second ‘r’ from Ever Ready. The missing ‘r’ is a powerful and ancient symbol. When written in the lower case (r), it is symbolic of an erect penis , but notice that in the upper case (R) a circular enclosure has now appeared which holds the wonder of the completed sequence, and the penis has softened and is now pointing downward. It is pointing toward the sacred Earth where seed should never be spent. It is most obvious that the wordless breaths have been taken and the correct sacrifice made. Burton in his wisdom and selflessness has sacrificed himself to make sure the seed did not touch the ground.

133. another name - September 30, 2009

Thanks Ton for this incredible article, if we could get this to students to add for some more “objective info”…

http://human-nature.com/nibbs/02/cults.html

Another tip on why we are in certain relationships a very practical book is “Are you the one for me” from Barbara de Angelis.

Took me some effort to get to the first 25 pages but then, I had several realisations why I am in my relationship and …..why I was in the cult called the fellowship of friends. Worth buying at it is kind of a workbook with test. Prefer this book over any counseling with or without body types. IMHO. H stand for humble.

Tatyana loved your, thanks try yourself. Made me laugh and laugh stimulates endomorphines and dopamine ( as does slow exhaling and it is free, no teaching payments.) Hahahaha.

O and human interactions and attention and love and kindness….all brings up your dopamine level….no need for cults, drugs and crappy sexs. Enjoy the article

http://human-nature.com/nibbs/02/cults.html

134. another name - September 30, 2009

” The great gift of human beings is that we have the power of empathy. ”

Meryl Streep

Also increases dopamine and endorphins….

135. Voloneska - September 30, 2009

James – Burton adds to role as ‘Flash of Light’ goddess role of sacrafice to stop seed from to touch ground as ‘FleshLight’. You must google this. It is Virgina on a stick.

God created woman, but fleshlight removes all that is unnecessary and leaves us with a Goddess.

136. X-ray - September 30, 2009

97. Ollie – September 29, 2009

This is madness.

104. I know – September 29, 2009

This is horseshit.

137. X-ray - September 30, 2009

132. James Mclemore – September 30, 2009

This is funny!

138. Panoritsa - September 30, 2009

from Ollie’s post:

… and Influence C had this woman resembling a prehistoric fertility goddess pass us, walking slightly faster. Of course, we were internalizing a lot more than she was. Essentially, we were the only ones there…

Needless to say the only women Burton wants to see popping around… walking slightly faster than himself… resemble prehistoric fertility goddesses. Was he in a Greek or Roman goddess’ body? They are far more “refined” than the Venus of Willendorf…

Imagine yourself walking your dog at the beach… coming across prehistoric women with large breasts…

And then feeling so lonely, because you are the only one who understands, the only one there… Man, what a suffering in this lifetime… So much on his plate…

139. Ellen - September 30, 2009

116, Tatyana,

“So, what is the difference between insanity and the pursuit of consciousness???”

Do you mean the pursuit of or do you mean the experience of – consciousness? Because pursuit can take on a myraid of mind-forms to uncover what we already naturally are. And that pursuit might seem insane because it leads to a territory beyond the borders of the rational mind. But that territory is neither strange nor unnatural (like it is in the Fellowship), rather it is our most intimate sense of being (being, knowing, and loving).

My take on a real experiential breakthrough moving in the direction of real enlightenment is that it is an “experience” of the surrender of the anxiety-limiting aspects of self-being. When a person experiences both deep anxiety and its release, they may (temporarily) feel insane, because their own mind created definitions of reality have (at least temporarily) fallen away, or become relatively true.

When it is insanity, the I-person doesn’t surrender, not really. They may manufacture illusions or delusions that do not correspond to a common reality and so may seem to be beyond “mind”, but if their fundamental sense of “me” remains undisturbed, it is insanity, particularly is they are harmful towards themselves and/or others.

When it is enlightenment, or moving in that direction, anxiety is absorbed and dissolved into a Greater Truth, which is experientially evident (to the individual, but not necessarily anyone else). As such it is the crucial factor determining whether it’s real insanity or real enlightenment, for the greater truth does not negate an intelligent response to the moment, nor compassion for fellow creatures and self, since intelligence, being and compassion are its very nature.

**********************************

Somewhere along the way Robert was able to convince people that the universe was neither good nor kind. He interpreted Gurdjieff’s already negatively charged ideas in a negative way; whereas real enlightenment leads to the discovery of joy and love (and of course consciousness) as our essential nature. Do a search on Facebook for any number of current members whose names you might know. (You will be able to see their thumbnail profile photo.) You will see how serious and joy-less 99.9% of them look. I find it kinda heartbreaking, but that’s just me.

140. Ill Never Tell - September 30, 2009

Here is how body type can work, by analogy (analogy: study of anals:-)))):
Here is a black and white picture taken of the surface of Mars*:

* 1998-04-02 Mars, Viking, Visual Imaging Subsystem – Camera A, Geologic ‘Face on Mars’ Formation, PIA01141.

Some people have postulated that there must have been some intelligent life that created this. They never stop to think that it is only a feature on Mars that, when viewed by a human being that has a face, does some significance get attributed to it. One caption for the image reads: ‘The face on Mars, actually just a series of craters and hills that, when viewed from a distance, look like the features of a human face, fueled speculation for years that the Red Planet housed some form of life and that Martians were trying to communicate with Earthlings.’

Continued, see subsequent post.

141. Ill Never Tell - September 30, 2009

Now, here is a color photo of the surface of Mars:

Different color, resolution, perspective, etc; seems there might be a face there.

Continued, see subsequent post.

142. Ill Never Tell - September 30, 2009

Now, here is another color photo of the surface of Mars:

Same spot with a detail blow up of the face for better facial recognition.

End of story.

143. fofblogmoderator - September 30, 2009

#133 is new

144. Wouldnt You Like To Know - September 30, 2009

83/97. Ollie:

Thank you for the window of opportunity into what’s been happening lately. Here is how I would characterize that meeting transfer of precious wisdom that never leads to the consciousness promised:

To-morrow, and to-morrow, and to-morrow,
Creeps in this petty pace from day to day,
To the last syllable of recorded time;
And all our yesterdays have lighted fools
The way to dusty death. Out, out, brief candle!
Life’s but a walking shadow, a poor player,
That struts and frets his hour upon the stage,
And then is heard no more. It is a tale
Told by an idiot, full of sound and fury,
Signifying nothing.
Macbeth Act 5, scene 5
William Shakespeare

~~~~~~

110. Jomo Piñata:

Nice work finding that.

Plagiarism is the sincerest form of flattery.

‘There are no limits to the expansion of the cipher theory.’
I like that.

Here is how I would characterize that meeting transfer of precious wisdom that never leads to the consciousness promised:

Why is my verse so barren of new pride?
So far from variation or quick change?
Why with the time do I not glance aside
To new-found methods and to compounds strange?
Why write I still all one, ever the same,
And keep invention in a noted weed,
That every word doth almost tell my name,
Showing their birth, and where they did proceed?
O, know, sweet love, I always write of you,
And you and love are still my argument;
So all my best is dressing old words new,
Spending again what is already spent:
For as the sun is daily new and old,
So is my love still telling what is told.

Sonnet 76
William Shakespeare

145. Mikey - September 30, 2009

So far, so very good. A couple of notes:

“Faqir – (fm. Arabic>Persian>Urdu): A poor or indigent man; a dervish; in the spiritual sense, a God-realized person who is devoid of all illusory bindings and attachments. In “Infinite Intelligence”, Faqir usually refers to a Perfect Master or Salik Sadguru, though sometimes it refers to any God-realized person, Salik or Majzub.”

Merwan S. Irani (1894 – 1969) was kissed on the forehead at age 19 and given the experience by Hazrat Babajan (circa 1790 – 1931), a muslim holy woman and spiritual personality. Nine years later Merwan left his Master, Upasni Maharaj (1870 – 1941), and began his work. He was named Meher Baba (Compassionate Father) by his disciples and publicly declared that he was the Avatar of the age (what he called “The Ancient One”), in 1954 or thereabouts.

I thought some of you would like to know.

146. Dennis - September 30, 2009

The main questions I have been pondering, over the past twenty-five years are: Why did I join, why did I stay so long, why did I leave, and why are others still joining and staying? I have found two contributing factors.

Because I had had glimpses of consciousness, something in me knew that it existed, and longed for that state. One theory is that we all experienced oneness as a baby and still remember that state. And I have had glimpses of oneness in psychedelic states, at a few highly emotional times, and also in simple moments of beauty. Because these experiences were glimpses, I longed for more, and was looking for a teacher to help with that process. I am assuming, in retrospect, that if I had had a more powerful and/or longer lasting experience of oneness, I would have immediately known that RB was not that, and would have left the school. (Whether this is a valid example of this or not; I am reminded of Donald Mcdonald, who was said to have had a strong awakening experience, early in the school years, and immediately left the school.) But what is clear to me now, is that I had had glimpses, but not strong enough verifications, to be able to see RB’s lack of being, clearly and directly.

Because consciousness is an experience, and cannot be described fully in words, and because I had not had that experience, at least not to the degree to be able to know directly, I had to try to figure it all out indirectly. The indirect method is trying to see what consciousness is not, and this indirect method takes time. Consciousness is clearly not a lack of empathy! In fact consciousness is probably synonymous with unconditional love. But since I was not experiencing that unconditional love directly, I had to try to verify that RB was not that. It took me twelve years to verify that his behavior was not coming from being awake, and having my, and other students, best interests in mind. I had to use words, and my limited experience, to verify that RB was not manifesting unconditional love.

I am assuming that new students are coming and staying, at least partly, for the same reasons. They have had glimpses of oneness that they are longing for, and have to verify that RB is not that.

The question then becomes, what can we do, from our hard earned perspective, to help them make the needed verifications more quickly than we did. Perhaps all that we can do is what we are doing, speak our own truth.

147. Tatyana - September 30, 2009

138. Panoritsa

“Imagine yourself walking your dog at the beach… coming across prehistoric women with large breasts…

And then feeling so lonely, because you are the only one who understands, the only one there… Man, what a suffering in this lifetime… So much on his plate…”

LOL!

Prehistoric woman with large breasts, who is passing you by to go behind the rock and give birth… to the sequence….

148. Dr. Pangloss - September 30, 2009

146. Dennis
“I am assuming that new students are coming and staying, at least partly, for the same reasons. They have had glimpses of oneness that they are longing for, and have to verify that RB is not that.”

This may not be the case. It appears the majority of new members are joining outside the USA and not from Western Europe. It’s possible new members are attracted to FOF for more selfish reasons, like getting into the USA and California or living the lifestyle touted by friends who have already joined. A little inconvenience like, having to sexually submit on some old pervert may not be contrary to their expectations.
This is not the FOF that you and I knew. The lies are out in the open now, so, basically new members have a good idea what they are joining. Maybe they actually get what they seek.

149. Mikey - September 30, 2009

PS. At the time of Meher Baba’s declaration he noted that there were 75 other persons claiming to be the Avatar. So you still have a choice. And it’s back to you.

150. WhaleRider - September 30, 2009

Jomo:
“You can almost never reason people out of a trance, in my opinion. It’s like a fever.”

Actually, you can easily break a trance, it happens when a cell phone rings in a movie theatre. What you are talking about is using reason to break down a belief system. Once the unconscious mind accepts a belief, it wil deny all evidence to the contrary. Strong beliefs can be like a fever. I recommend the book, “Vital Lies, Simple Truths” by Daniel Goldman for more information on the subject.

By simply repeating the same message over and over, it is possible to instill a belief in a person without their conscious awareness…as in the “weapons of mass destruction” litany that got us into Iraq…or the 44 dead guys hovering over the dinner table.

Ellen:
“When it is insanity, the I-person doesn’t surrender, not really. They may manufacture illusions or delusions that do not correspond to a common reality and so may seem to be beyond “mind”, but if their fundamental sense of “me” remains undisturbed, it is insanity, particularly is they are harmful towards themselves and/or others.”

In a personality disorder, yes, the sense of “me” may remain fixed in an unhealthy way, but in a thought disorder such as schizophrenia, the fundalmental sense of “me” is transient and quite disturbed. People suffering with either disorder can be a danger to themselves and others, in my personal experience.

Are you saying that “enlightenment” appears to be exclusive of anxiety? or depression? Isn’t that why FOFers take antidepressants and tranquilizers?

Dennis:
RE: the pursuit of special ‘Oneness’. Have you read “The Guru Papers” yet? It might be an enlightening experience for you.

151. Tatyana - September 30, 2009

132. James Mclemore
Good one! You have internalized this much more than anyone else!
I am still struggling to twist my brain like this, but it does not work. It must be my lower self trying to destroy me 🙂
May be I should go wash dishes in a neighborhood’s restaurant?

152. Mikey - September 30, 2009

RE: Dennis 146
Not to dispute you, Dennis, but I’m curious as to why you think that an infant would experience “oneness”? It doesn’t seem like a very useful theory.

153. Elena L - September 30, 2009

152 Mikey, Haven’t you ever been in the presence of a baby who how not yet learned to laugh?

154. James Mclemore - September 30, 2009

151. Tatyana – September 30, 2009

132. James Mclemore
“You have internalized this much more than anyone else!”

I lauged out loud when I read that. But then I stopped laughing and wondered, “Uh oh, that may not be a good thing.”

>>>>>>>>>>

” May be I should go wash dishes in a neighborhood’s restaurant?”

No. I have tried that before. It did not help at all. I think it only works if you can find a restaurant where they use only the finest china and crystal and the waiters and busboys all have that far-away look in their eyes that comes from having seceret knowledge.

155. nige - September 30, 2009

I have experienced and said my piece about states of consciousness, altered states of the same and have written extensively for anyone wishing to hear. Trouble is, apart from Elena, whom I know has experienced the same, in her turmoil/passion/rants, very few FOF Discussion bloggers I know are speaking about things they have experienced and are sounding oh-so professional about it. You need to be with someone, personally, to experience how their state operates in their environment. My point about not experiencing the true state of God-Consciousness is made clear by posters, usually, ignoring my posts (and Elena’s states have also had this happen and have led to her rants, which are perfectly justified) and posting directly opposite arguments. Folks – I have something and if you want it, it only needs your willingness to understand the method to ‘get there’ – no monetary payments and no huge efforts or suffering.

156. ton - September 30, 2009

gee nige, it sounds like you want to start a little cult of your own…

“Folks – I have something and if you want it, it only needs your willingness to understand the method to ‘get there’ – no monetary payments and no huge efforts or suffering.”

157. James Mclemore - September 30, 2009

155. nige

Nige – No disrespect or sarcasm intended, but how do you know when other posters are ignoring your posts? I cannot for the life of me tell what is going through other people’s minds nor whether they even read what I posted, unless they make a remark in reference to it.

158. Tatyana - September 30, 2009

132. James Mclemore
“But then I stopped laughing and wondered, “Uh oh, that may not be a good thing.”

It’s all good as long as you do not receive such messages:
• you are a protector of a mankind
• your birth is the opportunity for a mankind for immortality
• you are following the footsteps of the ancients

I’ve been trying to “enternalize” how the ancient woman gives a birth to a sequence. And then Jon, Kate & 8 came to mind. Someone has to inform Robert immediately, because it means something!

159. nige - September 30, 2009

156 ton

See – the thing is, I went straight for the jugular, as it were – when I was 19 and started my precious metals course. Gurdjieff said that True Work starts with Essence and that is what I started with. In 1989 and for 14 years after, I ‘wandered in the wilderness’ of depression, but in September 2003, I embarked upon teacher training for my craft. I was at war with life and myself until then but have found my peace. Basically I do not care a monkey’s testicle what anyone on the blog thinks for or against that. You could look up on Google – Academy of Precious Metal Arts – it is not a cult, but a creative arts educational establishment for adults; or you could Google – Nigel Harris Price – a Craft Council listing. That is my medium and my calling – the states have come as a result of working with my bipolar disorder. If you guys want to stay in argumentative-ordinariness, well – go ahead…..

“Steadfast, haughty, electrical, I and this mystery, here we stand”
(Walt Whitman)

160. nige - September 30, 2009

157 James Mclemore

Well, bless my top hat! At least you did not ignore. Actually, you are one of the balanced and, dare I say it, ‘impelling to right thought and action’ posters…..Nigel.

161. Tatyana - September 30, 2009

I just want to say thank you for an exciting discussion!

James Mclemore
Jomo Piñata
Crouching Tiger
Ames Gilbert
WhaleRider
Nancy
Panoritsa
Ollie
Dr. Pangloss
Opus111
Dennis
We Were There
Ellen
voloneska
Mikey
surelyujest
JustDiscussing
Man Number Zero
another name
Wouldnt You Like To Know
ton
Kid Shelleen
t
Yesri Baba
arthur
You-me-us-they
Susan Zannos
Elena L
Rick Ross Daily Quotes
I know
X-ray
Ill Never Tell
nige
fofblogmoderator

162. ton - September 30, 2009

hey nige, just prior to your ‘offer’ above you were going on about altered states, ‘god-consciousness’ elena, etc, with no mention of your metalsmithing expertise… so it wasn’t at all clear (to me) that you were talking about the teaching and ‘transmission’ of your art and craft…. having seen photos of your work there’s no doubt that you have something of value to teach the willing and able.

163. Walter Tanner - October 1, 2009

Dennis says:

“The question then becomes, what can we do, from our hard earned perspective, to help them make the needed verifications more quickly than we did. Perhaps all that we can do is what we are doing, speak our own truth.”

Thanks Dennis for all your recent contributions. The reason this blog has endured so long is because there are enough people inside the FoF who benefit from it — that is what I believe. Yes, it is a forum for ex-members to hash-out their new understandings, but I really believe in a spiritual purpose for this blog (bless the Shiek), and it is to allow members of the FoF to escape the prison of sleep and mechanicality. We are the life-saver, thrown to those who have ears to hear. I still mourn for my old friends who have not yet realized that they are the captains of their own souls — but I rejoice because so many, like you and I, have realized it, came ashore, and now we are called to serve. And blog once or twice a week. What a country.

Tanner

walter.tanner@gmail.com

164. Mikey - October 1, 2009

Elena L./153/Adventures in Babyland
I used to tickle babies to make them laugh, but that led to a variety of misunderstandings and legal hassels. So now the little rascals can just cry their hearts out for all I care. I do know a couple of baby jokes. I’m still on parole from my last alleged “offense”, so I’d better keep quiet.

165. I know - October 1, 2009

127. another name – September 29, 2009
I do not argue with that, though personally I have never been exposed to any sexual abuse, nor did any of my friends. And I have been there for many years and almost all the time in and around the property.

Still it is obvious RB used to have and probably is still having sex with his students. The only grounds of criticism I would chose to use is RB misconduct and not the teaching itself.

If we take for example Bruce Levi, he left in 1985, (according to what he wrote in the GF website). That is almost 25 years ago. I understand that his experiences have been a trauma for him and it still has its impact today, yet a great deal of how he expresses himself here comes simply from his character and maybe revenge is also part of the picture.

166. Kid Shelleen - October 1, 2009

I know wrote:

“The only grounds of criticism I would chose to use is RB misconduct and not the teaching itself.”

Problem is, the teaching itself is what leads people to believe Bobby’s (or any of the 4th way thugs) behavior is excusable.

167. surelyujest - October 1, 2009

One thing I discovered long ago was that it is very hard to see the cult thinking in oneself. It is easy to see it in people outside the cult, for example those idiots in OTHER cults, but when it comes to ones own beliefs, it is nearly impossible while still immersed.

Gurdjieff was a wily fellow, with a strong motive to be revered, housed, fed, paid, serviced, and so on. Most of what he taught was nonsense. Occasional bouts of conscience may have overcome him, and perhaps then he tried to show his sheep (followers) what they were doing. The story of the prostitute comes to mind, where he says the food is from outer space, and she says it tastes like cherries. Everybody chuckles at the poor sleeping machine, then seriously nod their heads as MISTER Gurdjieff talks about the moon eating souls and how their are different levels of “hydrogens.” Anybody see a connection there?

Why is it just dumb suggestibility to believe the food is from space, but serious evolution to talk about astral bodies? I think he was trying to teach them about how gullible this person was, so they would see how much BS they themselves were willing to swallow on the thinnest of observational and anecdotal evidence that is supposed to be some kind of scientific VERIFICATION.

It is clear that there are some unstable types who need to believe in the reality of the 4th Way, and it has become their religion, and i have no problem with that. It’s only when they start trying to impose their beliefs on others, or deceive others, that it’s a problem. (BTW I’m not talking about anybody on the blog.)

Anybody want to buy a nice used cameo?

168. Tatyana - October 1, 2009

Last night I had a dinner with my old FOF friends.
It was great, great meal, great discussion. My educated friend opened my mind to a lot of great information in a scientific field. We talked about all kinds of interesting things: anthropology, geology, pseudo-science, evolutionary psychology, multiple intelligences, critical thinking etc. I was so taken by our conversation that naively I asked my friend:
“Can you explain to me how you being so educated, intelligent person, applying a critical thinking, go to the Galleria meeting twice a week and listen to this immense bull shit? Do you put your critical mind into a drawer?”

“Ah!” said my friend, “This is where we are getting to! I think it’s late, we need to go home soon.”

Other friends accused me in a violent attack and challenging a person when it is none of my god damn business.

So, once again a reason was not allowed to the kingdom of insanity. 😦

169. Tatyana - October 1, 2009

167. surelyujest
“The story of the prostitute comes to mind, where he says the food is from outer space, and she says it tastes like cherries.”

I never heard this story. Where is it from?

170. surelyujest - October 1, 2009

169. Tatyana

I don’t remember where I came across that story — maybe in “The Harmonious Circle,” the book about Gurdjieff/Ouspensky/Collin. The story, as I remember it, is that Gurdjieff wanted to make a point to his students about how susceptible the average person was to believing nonsense. So he asked a prostitute (I don’t know, maybe it was his favorite one) to dinner, and then told her the food was from Mars or something like that. Then he asked her how it tasted, and she said it tasted like cherries (I don’t remember what she was eating, but it wasn’t cherries).

So the lesson is how gullible people are, and I nodded and felt superior when I read it. But look at the ridiculous stuff I believed! 44 gods, that I was being specially communicated with by these beings, that I was creating a soul, the “King of Clubs,” and so on. Maybe the prostitute was just hungry and was too embarrassed to call Gurdjieff out on his space food BS, so just said something to go along and not upset him.

For that matter, that happened a lot in the FOF. I thought I was “invisible” to sleeping life machines, but they were probably noticing whatever behavior it was all along, and didn’t want to embarrass me by pointing it out. People certainly say that about Robert — that he thinks he is being crafty, but the life people are laughing at him behind his back and taking advantage of him and his money.

How do you know when you have created a soul? It tastes just like cherries.

171. Tatyana - October 1, 2009

165. I know,
“The only grounds of criticism I would chose to use is RB misconduct and not the teaching itself.”

The teaching requires one to:
– pay monthly $500 (before you pay anything else – rent, food, gas, etc.)
– give up self-will (be at the mercy of the one who is now in charge of your actions – RB)
– give up “Life” – stop pursuing a career and A-influence (support children, relationship with non-members, biological family, etc.)
– do things one does not wish to do (say “yes” when you want to say “no”)
– serve influence C (by having sex with RB)
– make extra-efforts (pay more money and have more sex with RB)
– pay in advance and do not expect anything in return: Self-remembering is your reward (which is BS, because one can self-remember for free)
– give up comfort, laughing, joking, personal interests, TV and news, your dress style, etc.
– give up smoking or be charged $2000 if caught
– give up everything – ‘bet your bus ticket home’
– accept and appreciate suffering to awaken

You see nothing wrong with it?

172. James Mclemore - October 1, 2009

165. I know

“though personally I have never been exposed to any sexual abuse, nor did any of my friends. And I have been there for many years and almost all the time in and around the property.”

Your use of tense throws me off a bit. On the last page you said you had left the fof. Now you say “I have been there for many years”.

Also you say neither you nor any of your friends were ever exposed to any sexual abuse, and then you go on to say the abuse is obvious. Is that from reading the blog?

As Kid Shelleen pointed out, Burton and his apologists use parts of his made-up system to justify the abuse, yet you do not wish to have that system of ideas criticized.

You then use the term “I understand” in referring to someone else’s experience, which in your own words, neither you nor any of your friends ever had nor even knew about. How can you possibly presume to say you ‘understand’ someone else’s position?

How about you tell us why you have come to the blog. Is it to help in exposing a cult? Is it to help to protect innocent people from joining a cult where there is the possibility that they will be abused, not only sexually, but emotionally and financially as well? Is it to try to better understand your own experience in that cult?

About the only things I have been able to derive from your posts so far is that you do not think Burton’s system should be critcized and that Bruce’s choice of words offend you. Is there more?

173. brucelevy - October 1, 2009

For dear Elena

174. Elena L - October 1, 2009

Bruce, it certainly seems that these babies are enjoying the experience of oneness on SEVERAL LEVELS and we are drawn right into the deliciousness!

175. WhaleRider - October 1, 2009

Tatyana:
“Ah!” said my friend, “This is where we are getting to! I think it’s late, we need to go home soon.”

For your friend, it probably is too late. I admire your attempt, though.

Did you remember to look them straight between the eyes at the bridge of their nose as they are talking like I once suggested? If you can tense your lower eyelids muscles just slightly, that helps intensify the effect, too. Keep the rest of your face and body relaxed. Remember to feel your butt in the chair at the same time to keep yourself grounded.

This “instinctive” technique works to determine if a person is lying to you. If it makes them shift their gaze away, squirm in their chair, change the tone of their voice, or if their body stiffens, they are probably lying. The body cannot lie.

It can also make them aware they are lying, too. That is the start of awakening conscience….the experience of simple awareness of a lie of the mind…reasoning is down the road a bit. You are not going to change a belief system with reasoning, especially if the belief system is irrational. Learning is, for the most part, experiental.

Isn’t that what you are after, helping them so see how they are lying to themselves? Your technique of verbally confronting them with their conflicting beliefs generally won’t work to get past the thick defenses (buffers) of the ardent followers. You’ll need to be more subtle.

Go girl.

176. fofblogmoderator - October 1, 2009

#172- Thank you James for presenting a very neutral post to “I Know”. I think your points are valid and well-taken.

177. Elena L - October 1, 2009

Tatanya, I am wondering what the response would be from the fof friend if you laid out OUR little ‘student assessment list’ of #1,#2,#3. Ask him in which category he would place himself….Maybe RB has relaxed his grip, but it used to be a TASK to not associate with ex members.

178. Dennis - October 1, 2009

148. Dr. Pangloss

You wrote, “It’s possible new members are attracted to FOF for more selfish reasons, like getting into the USA and California or living the lifestyle touted by friends who have already joined. A little inconvenience like, having to sexually submit on some old pervert may not be contrary to their expectations.”

I’m sure it is a somewhat different set of factors that attract students to the FOF today, but I wonder if some of the same underlying factors are not manifesting now, but maybe to a lesser degree.

I just wanted to throw one such factor out for your consideration. Some of us were probably looking for the father, either because we did not have one or because ours was dysfunctional. And because we did not have a good model, we selected poorly. Many people have make similar mistakes with priests. And what could be more devastating than to be sexually molested my ones own father? This would seem like the worst kind of abuse.

179. Tatyana - October 1, 2009

177. Elena L

I am amazed that these days ex and current members mingle without consequences. I don’t think the rules have changed though, so it is kind of scary to think about it. Only recently one Russian friend of mine who was RB’s boy was given a choice between his wife who left and the “school”. He chose wife.
I can only hope that the iron gates won’t be shut again.

180. arthur - October 1, 2009

Elizabeth Smart stolen (kidnapped) at age 14 out of her own bed testified in federal Court:

Attorney: “What would he say to you about why he showed you pornography”?

Elizabeth Smart: He would say I have to be humbled below all things before rising above all things”.

Attorney: “Did he use religion to justify behavior”?

Elizabeth Smart: “Yes”.

Attorney: “How”?

Elizabeth Smart: “Anything I showed resistance or hesitance to , he would turn to me and say, ‘ the Lord has commanded you to do this, you have to experience the lowest form of humanity to experience the highest”.

Was Brian David Mitchell ever in the fellowship of Friends? Because his reasoning sounds very much like Robert Burton’s “C” influence commands you to experience me.

181. arthur - October 1, 2009

But he can’t beat Robert Burton’s 64 sex episodes. She testified that he raped her 3-4 times a day for 9-months.

182. Associated Press - October 1, 2009

Elizabeth Smart says she was raped daily
Oct 1, 2009
By JENNIFER DOBNER

SALT LAKE CITY (AP) – Elizabeth Smart testified Thursday she was raped repeatedly each day after she was abducted from her bedroom seven years ago and told she would be killed if she yelled or tried to escape. She described Brian David Mitchell, her alleged kidnapper, as “evil, wicked, manipulative, stinky, slimy, selfish, not spiritual, not religious, not close to God.”

Smart testified in U.S. District Court in Salt Lake City as part of a competency proceeding for the man charged in her 2002 kidnapping.

Mitchell has twice been found incompetent for trial in state court. Mitchell and his estranged wife were found with Smart nine months after she disappeared from her Salt Lake City home.

A judge ruled earlier this week that testimony from Smart, now 21, is relevant to the mental competency of Mitchell, who was removed from the courtroom before Smart arrived and taken to a holding cell where he could listen to the proceedings.

Smart was poised and composed while testifying for just under two hours.

She was 14 when she was abducted from her Salt Lake City home at knifepoint in the middle of the night. Shortly after her abduction, Smart said Mitchell took her to a mountain camp and performed a ceremony she said was intended to marry the two.

“After that, he proceeded to rape me,” Smart said.

She said he held her captive with a cable attached to her leg that had a 10-foot reach. That line was attached to another cable strung between two trees.

Smart said Mitchell plied her with alcohol and drugs to lower her resistance.

“He said that he would kill anybody that would come into the camp, or kill me if I ever tried to escape or yell out,” Smart testified.

Smart said Mitchell was motivated by sex and used religion to get what he wanted.

Mitchell’s defense attorneys had sought to limit Smart’s testimony to her experiences with Mitchell, without her opinions about his mental state.

The defense objected to the 39 so-called “lay witnesses” proposed by prosecutors, including Mitchell’s family, friends or workers at Utah State Hospital, because they lacked the expertise to evaluate competency.

In a ruling Monday, U.S. District Judge Dale Kimball rejected the argument as it relates to Smart, saying her testimony may help the court settle differences in the findings of experts who have evaluated Mitchell.

Experts have split opinions over Mitchell’s competency and have relied on statements from others – including Smart – and past evaluations to prepare reports for the court. Kimball’s ruling said Mitchell has been uncooperative with evaluators and refused to participate in diagnostic tests.

In the state court system, Mitchell was twice found incompetent to stand trial.

Smart was rescued nine months after her abduction when a motorist spotted her walking through a suburb with Mitchell and his estranged wife, Wanda Eileen Barzee.

Last year, Mitchell was indicted by a federal grand jury on charges of kidnapping and unlawful transportation of a minor.

Once an itinerant street preacher, Mitchell is said to have wanted Smart as a polygamous wife and may have taken her to fulfill a religious prophecy he laid out in a 27-page manifesto drafted in April 2002.

~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~

Does any portion of this crazy situation sound familiar?

Incompetency would make similar defense for REB. Consider all those years of meeting videos that could be submitted as evidence of insanity.

183. rock that boat - October 2, 2009

Then tumble back into the great big world, with all its pitfalls and craziness BUT experience the all and everything!

184. rock that boat - October 2, 2009

Cults isolate themselves from the rest of society and require that their members stay on a property of some sort, in order to live the good life without the temptation of the outside world.

Actually isolating members is a tool used to brainwash members. The members only get a diet of the teachings of their leader and have hardly any influence from the outside world and therefore no one to point out the dangers or to offer a different point of view.

People who join cults are people who are seeking the answers they have not found in everyday life. The cult life offers different answers, a simpler way of life, away from temptation’s way.

It becomes a life style! An addiction! However smart a person is, he/she cant kick the habit.
Fear of the real wold is so instilled in them, they think they could not function outside their safe little haven.
They have a huge emotional investment in believing their Teacher/School/Cult is the answer”

So they are stuck! Stuck in a small world, it takes a strong wish and desire to broaden ones horizon,
Then tumble back into the great big world, with all its pittfals and craziness BUT experience the all and everything!

185. Panoritsa - October 2, 2009

Tatyana,

of course you are in the area of the Cult headquarters and I am not, however, having left about a year ago, I see that the real hard core does not really mingle. And many current members who meet ex-members leave out the subject of doubt or criticism of the FOF. Like the example you offer with your friends and your commend…

If one looks at the weirdness of the FOF and communicates it, the gates do close. I know I cannot really generalize and I am sure there are current members who are open. The odd thing is that when one is open, one does not stay “in” that long any more. But, again, there are exceptions.

I dare say that many members have internalized Robert’s “guidance.” They do not need the teacher to tell them they should not meet ex-members. They now “know” for themselves that it would not work, it will not assist them with their “evolution”; their “evolution in the Cult environment.

So, you have the ones who have doubt “I’s” about the “school” and they will keep you in a distance, because they are terrified of the possibility of having someone out there reminding them of the most horrific idea: them leaving the Fellowship. There might be hope with some of them, because they are aware of the funny game in their own minds. Some others might dry up and get more and more depressed and divided.

And then you have that scary group that appears to be above everything. They appear to be beyond ex-members and “life.” They go ahead and pretend it is all right to meet some ex-members, almost to prove they are immune. To prove their work is strong.

Some others are determined to stay till they and Burton are the last ones… No comment here… As a friend of mine often reminds me: they have turned their backs to their families, the mothers have denied their children, they have nowhere to go, the Fellowship is their family…

And then I woke up this morning and listened to music I like, and read a few lines of a book I enjoy (and will go back to that book in a sec…) and I had the bitter sweet feeling of loss, loss of who I was for so many years in the cult… But I am back… My taste and heart are returning back… and I look at the absurdity of it all… and I look at the vast great world… and I am soooo glad I left that restricted environment… celebrate that open space and air…

186. Elena L - October 2, 2009

Some of those who stay in the FOF probably also have Personality Disorders. There are nine different disorders, depending on the main ways they manifest, so they can seem quite different but are basically the same, and equally dysfunctional.

187. X-ray - October 2, 2009

165. I know – October 1, 2009

‘If we take for example Bruce Levi, he left in 1985, (according to what he wrote in the GF website). That is almost 25 years ago. I understand that his experiences have been a trauma for him and it still has its impact today, yet a great deal of how he expresses himself here comes simply from his character and maybe revenge is also part of the picture.’

Well, at least he has a character, do you?
And what’s the problem with revenge? Is it a ‘non-expression’ program talks thru you?
You sound like a ‘Daily Cardiac and gangs’ to me.

188. X-ray - October 2, 2009

168. Tatyana – October 1, 2009

‘Last night I had a dinner with my old FOF friends.
It was great, great meal, great discussion. My educated friend opened my mind to a lot of great information in a scientific field. We talked about all kinds of interesting things: anthropology, geology, pseudo-science, evolutionary psychology, multiple intelligences, critical thinking etc. I was so taken by our conversation that naively I asked my friend:
“Can you explain to me how you being so educated, intelligent person, applying a critical thinking, go to the Galleria meeting twice a week and listen to this immense bull shit? Do you put your critical mind into a drawer?”’

What worth his knowledge of anthropology, geology, pseudo-science, evolutionary psychology, multiple intelligences, critical thinking etc., if he can’t see that his spiritual teacher is a crazy sex maniac and drug addict, who seeing only cocks and dollars everywhere he looks?

189. Dr. Pangloss - October 2, 2009

178. Dennis
“I just wanted to throw one such factor out for your consideration. Some of us were probably looking for the father, either because we did not have one or because ours was dysfunctional. And because we did not have a good model, we selected poorly. Many people have make similar mistakes with priests. And what could be more devastating than to be sexually molested my ones own father? This would seem like the worst kind of abuse.”

No doubt true for some. I knew nothing about the teacher when I joined. In fact, I was not looking for a teacher, I was looking for a system of truth.
But you are correct that Burton abused the trust that young people extend to father figures like priests and rabbis. Trusted spiritual guides and teachers are not expected to be sexual predators. Once, I got to know Burton and he pulled the “father” act on me, I always wondered how someone who swore they were a princess in a man’s body could claim to “be like a father” to anyone.
The truth is, Burton never measured up to my father in any way. And my father has plenty of flaws.

190. Ellen - October 2, 2009

#44, Ames,

Yes, Byron Katie’s four questions is great as a tool for emotional transformation. Genpo Roshi’s Big Mind/Big Heart process is similar. In both cases the tools can be used by others yet, the processes seem especially effective with either Katie or Genpo respectively guiding, just because fearless insight is another part of the equation.

#150, WhaleRider,

Surely you have more experience than I in dealing with mentally ill people. I was merely trying to create a distinction, which I think still holds. The “me” I was referring to is simply an individual and distincly separate sense of self – the basic subject-object distinction. It is a fundamental sense of separation which is created by the mind and thus not necessarily real. And yes, releasing that anxiety also means releasing the fundamental tension and anxiety of the “me”.

BTW, the Oneness argumentation of Kramer and Alstadt in the Guru Papers is a mind based dialectical construction where Oneness as a concept is constrasted to Multiplicity as a concept. On the level of mind and language constructions, the concept of Oneness then of course is refutable, but the point (from Shankara onwards) is that “Onness” is a fundamental being-experience, not a mind construction. That’s why the terminology of not twoness, or nonduality is used. It’s an attempt to point toward that fundamental level of being-experience where no separations are experienced. (but I think you understand that, too)

191. Ill Never Tell - October 2, 2009

This Brian David Mitchell case sounds like a Mormon run amok.

Running amok:
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Running_amok

Itinerant street preacher – wanted 14 year old as a polygamous wife and may have taken her to fulfill a religious prophecy he laid out in a 27-page manifesto drafted in April 2002.

That was a cult of 3 people.

Seeing how much damage can be done in a cult of 3 people, imagine how much damage can be done in a cult of 30, or 300, or 3000 people.

192. Ellen - October 2, 2009

#155, nige,
I don’t ignore you. I think you know that. But why single yourself out? I think most bloggers here read most posts, or at least give intelligence (like peace) a chance.

# 173, brucelevy,
Great video. The picture(s) speaks a thousand words, kinda like the Buddha in the metro video (thanks, ‘ton).

193. Kid Shelleen - October 2, 2009

Dennis wrote:

“I just wanted to throw one such factor out for your consideration. Some of us were probably looking for the father, either because we did not have one or because ours was dysfunctional. And because we did not have a good model, we selected poorly. Many people have make similar mistakes with priests. And what could be more devastating than to be sexually molested my ones own father? This would seem like the worst kind of abuse.”

While we may disagree on many things, I think your observation here is spot on. After leaving the FoF in ’99 and entering therapy, I started dealing with my own father issues for the first time. My dad was a high functioning alcoholic who was emotionally absent from our family. In the course of looking back on my fellowship experience through this particular lens, I recollected many stories told by fellow inmates regarding strange, absent and/or abusive Fathers. Funny, but it was within the fellowship that I established my first real, healthy relationship with a mentoring, older man. That friendship turned out to be real and true and out-lasted my FoF tenure. It was, however, one of the prime reasons I stayed as long as I did.

194. Voloneska - October 2, 2009

Burton is not so clever man but he learns the game from other people. For example, from Alex Horn. Also he learns from elementary school where he is teacher. FOF is arranged like school – it is called school, has Teacher and students. Also Burton learns how cute kids are in elementary and how vulnerable.
One of first things when join FOF is let down defences (false personality) and become vulnerable (be in essense). How do you be in essense (if this exists in reality??), you are stupid, trusting, cute. Burton system of abuse relies on students trying to be in essense. It is not way to higher centers it is way to felatio with un-happy ending.

195. rock that boat - October 2, 2009

Tatyana, this applies to your ‘clever’ friend and all the other FOFers

From Trungpa: Living in a Cocoon (FOF)

The way of cowardice is to embed ourselves in a cocoon,
in which we perpetuate our habitual patterns.
When we are constantly recreating our basic patterns
of behavior and thought, we never have to leap
into fresh air or onto fresh ground.

196. surelyujest - October 2, 2009

194. Voloneska

“How do you be in essense (if this exists in reality??), you are stupid, trusting, cute.”

This is an excellent observation, one that questions the very nature of the system so many of us swallowed hook line and sinker. I remember very clearly learning to associate negative feelings of shame and guilt with my behavior that got labeled false personality, so I adopted the FOF consensus reality of the “student” the so-called true personality. I have doubts that these divisions even exist anymore.

When I left, and l let the “true personality” go, I can remember the relief with which I greeted my old, natural self, for example when I shed the dresses and jewelry and went back to my old comfortable jeans. It felt like coming home, where I could, as Panoritsa stated so well, enjoy what I like. Many of the things that come naturally to me were labeled false personality in the cult. Yet I never felt so rigid and artificial as when I was a member.

There is a certain kind of poison in the Fellowship where one becomes cold and uncaring towards nonmembers, even family, viewing them like a bug pinned to a paper as a specimen of sleeping machine. It seems to be a symptom of certain 4th Way fanatics outside the Fellowship too, who found a justification for indulging their hatred and egotism, their feelings of superiority and specialness where everyone who doesn’t believe “just so” is screamed at (sometimes with polite and refined words, sometimes not) as a non believer.

Religious fanatics by any other name…for some, they have “bet their bus ticket home,” not just on the FOF, but on the System as a whole. To unwind the false assumptions underlying their beliefs would be too painful and time consuming, and a tacit acknowledgment that they had wasted years or decades making unnecessary and imaginary efforts. And the result is just to end up realizing they are just another slob who doesn’t know anything? It’s far more comfortable to keep believing, justifying one’s beliefs with thought-terminating words and phrases like, “it’s obviously true,” “undeniable,” and other terms that, if coming from a Christian talking about Jesus, they would just laugh at. Or labeling anyone who doesn’t continue to believe fervently as someone who never really got it anyway, or claiming that because one once believed, that means it’s forever true — it never occurs to them that somebody can believe in something stupid, and come to one’s senses.

“By their fruits ye shall know them” … if a person cannot even behave by ordinary standards of decency, what kind of advertisement is that for their system of belief? Robert is just the most flamboyant example of a 4th Way adherent justifying his awful behavior as “being beyond the machine,” “not inner considering,” “not being in mechanical goodness.” But if the behavior is below ordinary standards, isn’t the self serving nature of all that just very obvious? Rant over.

197. surelyujest - October 2, 2009

Mini rant on…

It was mentioned that Robert learned well from Alex Horn. But sadly, others have continued to pass on the cult knowledge, like the “Downward Spiral of Friends,” a FOF spin off, that featured the same depressing stories of abuse with a few original twists. I think the leader is still in jail at least (?).

198. another name - October 2, 2009

Dear I know and others.

Thanks I know, for your response. You say you do not know anybody who has been abused by Robert? Are you fooling yourself? I fooled myself for 15 years. That is what I thought for the longest time. 15 years…Then I heard details of his sex live. The consensual agreements between him and his sexual where not equal but power driven. Completely out of balance. Ask the people who are close to Robert and really ask, ask , ask your questions.
More then 50 sexual interaction on his birthday and valentines day. Men schedules each 10- 15 minutes?

I heard about his “advices” to his students. “His teaching” you say? His teachings are a way to get his students to fill his greed, his lust. Please do some deeper research before you make your self believe that his behavior and his teaching are separable.

Sorry to ask: could you be an enabler? A person who likes harmony and cover up issues?

You do not know anybody who is abused? Do you have friends? Ask them. Do you live on a different planet then me. They might not dare to talk with you about this subject. I have heard soooo many people who have been sexual abuse in their past in or out of the fellowship.
People are hinting that Robert is a pedophile and he could be.

Having a job as a teacher stopped in March of the school year because he is hugging kids too much?. If their would be no laws, regarding 18 years of age to have sex with youngsters would he do it? I am for prevention.” I buckle up when I am in a car” I try to stay away from possible dangers. That simple. Prevention is the best maintenance. I am sad that we are in a society who says well it is not “My problem” and the next one will be abused and we are pretending as if we do not know?
Russian new students, males are still arriving in OH? and sex might for them be a small price to pay to get out of Russia?

I guess I am from another planet. Wondering why I can not let go of the fact that in OH and in many other places children and young adults are taking for lust and damaged for (sometimes ) life and often continue the process of hurting youngsters again as they are in denial and have been unable to deal with their own hurts.

Dear I know, I wish you would know…

199. Crouching Tiger - October 2, 2009

On the recent discussion of Fatherhood and Family.

It was one of Burton’s ‘special contributions’ to the 4th Way that he advocated breaking family ties and dissolving relationships with ‘life people’, apparently in the interests of Non-identification and purifying the strain of consciousness.

In fact, this was the reverse of what Gurdjieff taught. In numerous instances he advised his students to form stronger, not weaker links with their families, especially their fathers and mothers, and see themselves not as isolated ‘evolving souls’, but part of a living blood-line continuum:

“As you sow, so will you reap. Not only people reap, but also families and nations. It often happens that that which happens on earth comes from from something that was done by a father or grandfather. The results converge on you – son or grandson – it is you who have to regulate them. This is not an injustice, it is a very great honour for you. If misfortunes come in your youth, it means someone brought them – for this you must reap. He is dead, it is another on earth who reaps. You must not look at yourself egoistically, you are a link in the chain of your blood. Be proud of it, it is an honour to be this link. The more you are obliged to repair the past, the more you will have remorse of conscience… You are not tail of a donkey. You have responsibilities, a family. All your family, past and future, depend on you. Your entire family depends on the way you repair the past. If you repair for everyone, it is good. If you do not repair for everyone, it is bad. You see your situation. Logically, do you see what Justice is?”

One thing that happened after I left the fellowship was that I returned to my partner and daughter – who I’d left while ‘in’ – and set about repairing broken bonds. My parents are now both around 90 years old, and my relationship with them has never been so vigorous and positive as it is now.

Just one example, showing how spectacularly the lens of Burton’s psychology distorted 4th Way ideas – in this case about non-identification – so that they appeared to be the very opposite of the original meaning. A sort of numbing process instead of an enlivened understanding of all existing relationships!

200. 411 - October 2, 2009

While I was a member of the FOF (1994-2007) I never broke my ties with my family. On the contrary, I spent lots of time with them and was even given permission to let my brother (life person) go on the “property” and attend one of the saturday markets at the old “court of the caravans”.

I do remember though, quite clearly how once while mentioning to N. Spaulding that I would be traveling to spend some time with my parents, he turned to me and said with a bit of disdain: “you know you seem to spend a lot of time with your family”. I remember being quite turned off by his comment.

201. Tatyana - October 2, 2009

Many of my friends (including myself) in and after FOF have poor social skills. A failure to learn adequate social skills can lead to feelings of isolation, loneliness, rejection, and poor self-esteem. It also can make a person unemployable. It seems to me a critical step that need to be taken in order to move away from the bubble of the FOF. But how to do it?

202. nige - October 2, 2009

Whist I was in California, my parents would visit almost every two years. I remember, when I was in Los Angeles, they came and stayed a night on the Queen Mary, now docked in Long Beach (they had met on that ship, whilst working on it). We toured Las Vegas, Lake Havasu, Grand Canyon and they even visited Renaissance (as it was then). When I was living in Palo Alto, we toured Oregon and the Northern West coast, as well as some of the California vineyards. Another time we went to the East Coast and, especially, New York, which I found a wonderful city. They saw my business set-up in Sausalito and actually ‘rescued’ me after I had made my suicide attempt (when most of the so-called students of the FOF wanted me to be ‘rescued’ by the FOF and ‘recover’ at Renaissance – probably so
REB could molest me!?). I owe a great deal to my family, not least to my mother, who supported my artistic endeavours from the age of 18 and whose father ‘handed down’ to me the love of literature. I have had to come to terms with my father, because of his banking prowess and my having not made a great living for myself until now opening the Academy of Precious Metal Arts. Ouspensky said that was literally nothing of heredity in essence but I do not believe him…..Nigel.

203. Mikey - October 2, 2009

Some social advice: Most people are more like you than you have been led to believe. It’s ok to like people for what they are (like you) and to be friendly.
Recommended reading: “How to Win Friends and Influence People” by Dale Carnegie. It’s actually about how to manipulate people to your advantage but without the sinister overtones that can be observed in the FoF.
One more thing: Try not to be selfish. After all when dealing with others, it’s not all about you, is it?.
Boy Scout Motto: Do a Good turn Daily.

204. nige - October 2, 2009

203 Mikey

“One more thing: Try not to be selfish. After all when dealing with others, it’s not all about you, is it?.
Boy Scout Motto: Do a Good turn Daily.”

This is sound advice for anyone coming out of the FOF. Even the term ‘self-remembering’ has the connotation of ‘here is me being aware of myself’ and can lead to introspective and selfish thinking. It has been a great boon for me to put my attention to the needs of others and brings great happiness. There are givers and takers in this life – the givers will always have friends and want for no moral sustenance, whereas takers only think of themselves and are left with a moral loneliness…..Nigel.

205. Elena L - October 2, 2009

411 That meme was started by Robert early on in the fellowship. When I ‘joined’ the as a young mother, I had no idea that Robert scorned children. When he flew with his early entourage to the fledgling Hawaii center and visited me at home on the north shore, he met my little girl, Jennifer. We were having an outdoor potluck and he drew me aside while watching her play. “Goodness( I had only met him twice), You will need to see that your daughter may be unnecessary suffering for others, but she the extra baggage you bring.” She was 3 years old.I think he could see that we were very bonded and he was jealous. I had no relativity at the time. An innocent……
When I look back, I realize how fortunate I am to have escaped from the shadowy NEVER CAN HAVE ENOUGH ATTENTION hole that is Robert’s ego.

206. Mikey - October 2, 2009

There’s an old Hollywood adage, Nige:
The most important thing is sincerity. Once you’ve learned to fake that, you’ve got it made.

207. James Mclemore - October 2, 2009

Re: social skills

Mikey said,
“Some social advice: Most people are more like you than you have been led to believe.”

Yes!!
I think one of the most insidious elements that Burton and the FoF perpetuate is in the theme and variations on the idea of “life people”.
Anyone outside of the organization is just a ‘machine’, only ‘food for the moon’, part of the ‘sleeping masses’. All of these concepts exacerbate and produce the extremely ugly inner feeling of ‘specialness’. It reflects, what appears to be, a complete lack of empathy on Burton’s part for everyone (which actually includes those within the cult, they just do not realize it yet).
It looks to me that one of the cornerstones of the egoic, separate sense of self is a sense of ‘specialness’ that was/is already there inside of all of us. The FoF, instead of reducing that issue, which is what you might think a spiritual institution would do with something which separates us from our fellow brothers and sisters on this planet, actually makes it even stronger and worse. I mean how ‘special’ is it to belong to an esoteric secret school, especially if it is the only one on the whole earth? This feeling of ‘specialness’ that he sells is where Burton can use the ideas of feminine dominance, and his take on morality to teach his followers that people outside of the school are inconsequential. Followers do not have to even think about these people’s feelings, or property, or finances, or time, or well being. It is quite o.k. to take advantage of them in any way one wishes to.
All of these things can make it difficult to relate to the other people we share this planet with. If you think you know something they do not know, if you think you are somehow ‘higher’ and more sensitive than the people you are living in the midst of, how can you relate to them? When we carry these sorts of ideas we will not be able to appreciate the vast variety of the beauty of the people we encounter. We might find it difficult to laugh with them.
To change these feelings of specialness and separation cannot be conceptual. I do not think it is ‘skill’ that can be learned and then utilized. I don’t think we can become compassionate and have empathy for others because we now see it to be the correct ‘spiritual’ stance. It appears that it can only come from beginning to see that we are truly all in the same boat.
>>>
ps – sorry some of my posts have been so long lately. I seem to have difficulty condensing.

208. another name - October 2, 2009

Mikey

Love this humor. Thanks.

There’s an old Hollywood adage, Nige:
The most important thing is sincerity. Once you’ve learned to fake that, you’ve got it made.

Dear Tatyana,

I have been thinking myself a lot about social skills and being self centered. After the FOF I have done a lot of work and still do trying to get back to the pre fof…..I still am doing lots of work and healing and might go on for a few years…

Thanks for your question. There is hope Tatayna and help.

Few helpful books;

Are you the one for me? Written by Barbara de Angelis. About relationship our upbringing and I can see a lot of connection with the fellowship of friends.

Nathalie Goldberg The great failure.

There are all sorts of groups for parents and communication groups around

Non violent communication from Marshall Rosenberg and other audion books and DvD’s
Tara Brach Radical acceptance
Following your Nortstar Martha Beck.
Being an Empathy Klara Mc KLaren audio books available from the librairy
Steven Levine about grief and mourning
This literature was like balm for my soul in the last 2 years. I needed to combine this info with seeing a support group and or friends/professional counselors. Contact with people is necessary to integrate the lefty and the right brain and to come to healing and acceptance. If ever…
Google Healing the blame another great article…

These are the best for me maybe others can add on?
O ….forgot saying 100 times a day I love and accept myself, EFT, and Honoponoo…..

Hope this is helpful.

209. Mikey - October 2, 2009

Correction: The Boy Scout Slogan is “Do A Good Turn Daily”;
The Boy Scout Motto is “Be Prepared”, which is good advice also.
Please contact me if you want to learn the secret handshake.

210. James Mclemore - October 2, 2009

209. Mikey

I am interested.
I will trade you for the secret DeMolay handshake I learned when I was 14.

211. Tatyana - October 2, 2009

Thank you for all good advices. I will search the books and will practice daily 🙂

One of the mind opening books for me was “The Ultimate Anti-Career Guide” by Rick Jarow.
It is a system for looking at one’s life from the perspective of chakras in search of one’s life’s work (as a opposed to doing whatever it takes to survive), by aligning the chakras. By opening the 4 chakra – the heart center – one can come to a realization of “we”, where one begins to consider and respect the other. He insists that by understanding what “my community” is one understands one’s place for contribution and ultimately of one’s vocation.
Since I read it I am thinking what is my community? Do I have my community? This blog is definitely my community, but it is mostly a virtual community.

One thing that worked for me is to find a local meetup group. There are thousands of different free groups-of-interest that meet sometimes once a week, sometimes once a month. Another way of socializing is to take a college class.

212. brucelevy - October 2, 2009

210. James Mclemore

I’ll raise you a Captain Midnight de-coder ring.

213. voloneska - October 2, 2009

Crouching Tiger. Very nice about family. Many things abuot Burton are explained by him trying to escape family – on surface he does, but still prisoner because no honor or justice understanding. Burton had bad child-hood, liviving with aunt and mother who had many man friends. I was told that he was dressed like girl when young and that mother said she wanted him to be girl not boy. Also I was told he was sexually abused in family. Women dominated his child-hood for sure. They also embarass him, he is butchers son from bad part of America with common family. Easy way is to leave all behind and this is answer for all others. Especialy others with better family who make Burton insecure – most students come from more educated family. Family big area for challenge. Some Burton tools come from what he does. He then sais this is what all must do. For many years Burton tells story again and again about mother dead, brother calls to tell – Burton says trick or treat as haloween, does not go to bury her etc. Very ordinary story, but Burton makes very big. His pseudo phsychological digestion happens when finds Gods behind everything and tells this to people and they believe him! Still many open wounds and much poison trapped in old closed ones. Many older women in FOF understand this and love Burton like father and son at equal time.
Again, Burton does not invent. He not a clever man. He only does more of what works for control reasons. Family attitude comes from Burton dis-honorable reaction to own family, then give this as way to be to students. Burton does not manifest from strong position. He is not well man and not happy man. Instead of to find help, he is human God with absolute power in esoteric school where members compete to do what he wants. Incredible but true.

214. Tatyana - October 2, 2009

Bad social skills I learned in FOF 🙂

– stare;
– do not smile;
– do not joke;
– do not talk about oneself;
– do not reply on jokes and wit;
– interrupt and point on a “nice impression”
– ignore peoples comments;
– support silent awkward moments;
– give a flirtatious look;
– acting unapproachable;
– talk only about “shocks” in a low voice;
– move in a rigid, robotic way;
– do not gesticulate;
– over dress for any occasion (wear white tides and cocktail dresses)
– wear clothes from 70s and a style appropriate for ladies 50-70 y.o.
– hug and kiss every one you meet you hardly know;
– walk out without explanation (work on feminine dominance)

215. James Mclemore - October 2, 2009

212. brucelevy

Shit!! I’ll probably just have to fold. I have nothing to compare to that. If my memory is correct my older brother had one of those. He would not even let me touch it.

216. WhaleRider - October 3, 2009

Ellen:
Thank you for your response. I hope you will continue to engage me.

you wrote: “Surely you have more experience than I in dealing with mentally ill people. I was merely trying to create a distinction, which I think still holds. The “me” I was referring to is simply an individual and distincly separate sense of self – the basic subject-object distinction. It is a fundamental sense of separation which is created by the mind and thus not necessarily real. And yes, releasing that anxiety also means releasing the fundamental tension and anxiety of the “me”.

BTW, the Oneness argumentation of Kramer and Alstadt in the Guru Papers is a mind based dialectical construction where Oneness as a concept is constrasted to Multiplicity as a concept. On the level of mind and language constructions, the concept of Oneness then of course is refutable, but the point (from Shankara onwards) is that “Onness” is a fundamental being-experience, not a mind construction. That’s why the terminology of not twoness, or nonduality is used. It’s an attempt to point toward that fundamental level of being-experience where no separations are experienced.”

Correct me if I am wrong, I heard you were saying that the distinction between insanity and the pursuit of consciousness was that an insane person cannot let go of his sense of “self” long enough to experience “pure” consciousness, that his concept of self was too fixed.

Yes, that may be true with a socipathic or psychopathic personality who thinks only of himself, yet on the surface, they do not seem legally insane in the sense that they can still take care of themselves but are a indeed threat to others. These are the criminally insane.

Most of what society considers insanity are people suffering from schizophrenia. In my experience, these unfortunate souls appear to have little or no sense of self. Their thoughts are disordered, they do not sense their own foul body odor, or care about their bodily functions, nor feel the cold and their minds are awash in sometimes quite florid hallucinations. They might even have a quite convincing hallucination-experience that they are totally one with the universe, which can also be quite anxiety producing later. They are unwilling victims of whatever their unconscious mind throws at them. There is no separation of self. Now that’s a level of being-experience where no separations are experienced that I’d want to stay away from, thank you.

So when you speak of “mind” in the sense of nonduality, you must include the unconscious mind, correct? We are both, yet we mostly identify with only the conscious mind…or our intellectual constructs…and separate ourselves from our unconscious mind for very good reasons.

IMO, the Kramer and Alstadt multiplicity vs. oneness argument also stems from the fundamental being-experience of being one of many. That is what I see and feel each day, and I can reasonably assume that’s what also my kind neighbor experiences each day, too. It has nothing to do with concepts, really. Life as we know it doesn’t exist without boundaries…i.e. either cell walls or cell membranes. I don’t have the pleasure of consciously remembering feeling one with the universe as a baby.

Yes, we can be grouped together socially, biologically, geographically, and politically; we also can be individuals and at the same time part of a greater whole…even life on the planet, if you will. It is certainly better for all of us if the people in power think and act that way, for the common good. They may say they are, but are they? Our planet is having a hard time keeping up with us. One could argue that the concept of individuality is more aligned with capitalism and the concept of oneness is more aligned with socialism, yet both ideologies have their upsides and downsides.

But IMO, the point Kramer and Alstadt make is the inherent paradox in the fundamental-being experience of oneness: how would you know you were even having the experience….? …other than “wow, here I am experiencing oneness now, it feels great!!!” You’d have to have some level of individual self awareness to process what was happening otherwise there would be no contrast to any other experience.

So IMO, for a guru to claim to have had experience(s) of total and complete oneness is veiled narcissism. It may have felt that way to them, but it was also experienced by their cells, which have boundaries. And here they are now talking about it on my dime.

IMO, if we experience oneness it is not as an exalted state of fifth dimensional time travel, but as an ordinary state of pleasant absorption when we are engaged in an activity that we enjoy doing, whether it is pounding corn, meditating, driving a truck, reading a book or making love, just like countless numbers of other people are at that very moment. That’s when we lose ourselves in a healthy way, in part because we have a self that we can return to a little while later. An insane person does not have that flexibility. It is unhealthy to be skewed too far one way or the other on that scale…the difference between psychosis and obsession.

But there are people out there…who like to pretend they are always in this or that exalted higher state of cosmic consciousness…far, far beyond the rest of us…and they have the exclusive keys to get there….the inside information just for the few chosen lucky ones who “get” it…while you pick up the dinner tab to hear them wax on well into the night drinking your wine and feeling you up under the table.

217. We Were There - October 3, 2009

83/202 Nige

‘… Ouspensky said that was literally nothing of heredity in essence…’

Nigel, do you remember where you read that?

218. nige - October 3, 2009

217 We Were There

In the ‘4th Way’, I believe…..Nigel.

219. nige - October 3, 2009

216 WhaleRider

“IMO, if we experience oneness it is not as an exalted state of fifth dimensional time travel, but as an ordinary state of pleasant absorption when we are engaged in an activity that we enjoy doing, whether it is pounding corn, meditating, driving a truck, reading a book or making love, just like countless numbers of other people are at that very moment. That’s when we lose ourselves in a healthy way, in part because we have a self that we can return to a little while later. An insane person does not have that flexibility. It is unhealthy to be skewed too far one way or the other on that scale…the difference between psychosis and obsession.”

This is so beautifully put (and I enjoyed reading your explanation of the schizophrenic mind – something I have had difficulty dealing with, when in the ‘loony bin’ – they seem so selfish!). You might like to read the definition of ‘Nirvana’ in any good dictionary…..Nigel.

220. Jomo Piñata - October 3, 2009

190/Ellen
216/WhaleRider

Hal Blacker met with Joel Kramer and Diana Alstad, and wrote an article about it:

http://bit.ly/sdm4n

“Kramer told me that he does not discount the idea of oneness, or the religious experience of it. “I’ve had oneness experiences,” he said. But he and Alstad argue that from the oneness experience, religions abstract philosophies of oneness, drawing conclusions about human nature and the nature of existence from the experience of oneness, and this is where the trouble begins. Kramer and Alstad call these philosophies “oneness ideologies.” In such ideologies, oneness and selflessness are given precedence over separateness and individuality, and thereby authoritarianism is born. Why is this? Because oneness is only one side of the picture, they say, and giving it higher priority than separateness makes human beings feel bad about themselves, and consequently susceptible to authoritarian manipulation.”

221. 411 - October 3, 2009

#213- Volenska

You have a way of wording things that gets right to the point, and as I used to say in the FOF; it really “resonates” with me.

Thank you for your contributions.

222. nige - October 3, 2009

216 WhaleRider

Just had an addendum question to my last post inasmuch as – yes – I have encountered many schizophrenics who were selfish – almost as though they were emotional ‘black holes’ wherever others were concerned. But there have been others who were quite willing to ‘combat their demons’ inasmuch as they would hear voices, but would live with this or, on the other hand, be willing to take appropriate medication to stop those voices. As you already know, my favourite ‘feel good’ movie is “Field of Dreams”, which is pretty much about harmless schizophrenia, although is a very fey story and almost a fantasy. The question is – how do you deal with these schizophrenics, when you come across them? Not all of them are socially dysfunctional and I am sure that some of them are able to hold down employment. I know how I can deal with other bipolar sufferers and that is to not ‘resonate’ with them – i.e. to not whip each other into a (humorous, usually) ‘high’, but to calmly talk about our common problems and how we are dealing with them. I have one rapid-cycling bipolar student, who is lovely for the two hours odd that she comes for class, but I know I could not live with her. If REB suffers from Narcissistic Personality Disorder (and I always found him ‘dark, negative and imposing’, not just his Saturn showing), how did we let ourselves be ‘tricked into believing’ that he had a special, positive something that we ourselves could achieve (access to higher centres)? Why are these people so charming and, with this charm, get away with being so self-centred? Lots of questions, I know (and maybe Dennis could also shed some light, as a mental-health professional) but I am sure there are other people than myself who would not like to make a similar mistake, as many of us have, in being duped by the ‘spiritual leader’ of the Fellowship of Friends…..Nigel.

223. arthur - October 3, 2009

NEWS FROM CALIFORNIA:

Los Angeles— A man has been charged in Los Angeles with posing as a fertility doctor so he could sexually molest people while pretending to give them physical examinations.

Police said Friday that Jeffery Graybill posed as a Dr. Richardson at a West Los Angeles clinic and used the Internet to solicit patrons. Thre Internet ads offered people up to $4,000 monthly for sperm donations in support of stem cell research.

This has all the characteristics of the Fellowship of Friends except in one small area. Nobody gets $4,000 monthly for sperm donations.

224. Mikey - October 3, 2009

Wow, a real decoder ring! You do realize that there are hidden messages on cereal boxes, don’t you? (Hint: cereal = serial = sequence). Captain Crunch, Coco Puffs or Fruit Loops?
Of course, the last time I gambled for salvation, I really got screwed.

225. WhaleRider - October 3, 2009

nige:
I think we gave away our power to Burton as our spiritual authority figure because we were under the illusion that he knew more about our personal evolution than we did, and we were convinced by his performance at the dinners that he had attained some form of spiritual bliss with a deeper understanding of the spiritual world which he gracefully shared with us. He also has or had a great deal of money at his disposal which he uses to impress people.

As David Mamet wrote, “Money talks and bullshit walks”…which in Burton’s case, he has transcended this duality.

Some people stay and allow themselves to be abused because of low self-esteem, “compensated” by the feeling of belonging to a group that has an important task or stature in the world. Others with higher self-esteem respond to the imbalance and leave.

Regarding schizophrenia, I would take it case by case. They are individuals, too. Yes, sometimes there is remission and manageable symptoms through medication, sometimes not. They do respond to limit setting…as in, “you know, when you yell like that it scares people”. In a perfect world, IMO each person dealing with schizophrenia ought to be assigned a counselor-buddy to be with them at all times, like a blind person uses a seeing eye dog. The black hole feeling you experience around them is probably akin to the hopelessness they experience, too.

Appearances can be deceiving.

I remember one case of a man with schizophrenia I knew in the half-way house where I once worked. He seemed like a sweet guy, tall, slight build, very shy, with round glasses. He even had what we would have called that child-like high pitched “essence” voice when he spoke. He also refused to take any medication. But he seemed to be doing well, did his chores, kept out of trouble, and had worked his way up through the program to have his own private room, although it was only big enough to hold a bed. But he had a dark secret.

One day one of the counselors was doing a room check after the “clients” had left the house for day treatment. He noticed the window was open, which lead onto a small metal platform which had stairs for the fire escape. When he went to close the window, he heard some scratching and screeching noises coming below the gutter under the eves of the roof. The house was an old Victorian with lots of architectural details. He traced the sounds to a part of the ornate molding that had decayed and looked as though it had been messed with. Upon removing a piece of wood covering an opening, he discovered several pigeons that had each of their wings wired with coat hangers so they couldn’t fly away. It seemed this client needed a captive audience, just like Burton. The only difference is that due to client’s illness, he didn’t possess the social skills necessary to use people as his narcissistic objects.

Luckily none of the pigeons were permanently damaged, and there after the guy was put in a shared room mandated to take medication or move out.

226. James Mclemore - October 3, 2009

220. Jomo Piñata

I could not get the link you posted to open all the way, but I did google and find the interview with Blacker. I assume there was only one interview.

To me, there is so much useful and healing information that relates to the topics of the blog in the majority of the writings in the Guru Papers that those writings can stand on their own. There is a strong feeling that many have used parts of it in very beneficial ways in extricating themselves from the influence of the FoF cult and its closed-loop thinking.

And while agreeing with much of what Kramer states about authoritarian manipulation etc., I would have to say that I left that interview with a lot of wondering, about what seemed to me to be, Mr. Kramer’s extremely rigid thinking. While I did not necessarily agree with many of the inferred views and the manner of phrasing questions that interviewer Blacker used, there was still something there that led me to feel that Kramer and Alstad are almost as closed off within their own personal belief system as any religious fundamentalist.

It seemed like yet another example of how the ‘thinking mind’ appears to be compelled, perhaps because of ‘control’ issues, to have an answer for everything; and does not wish for there to be any possibilities for things outside of the framework it has so laboriously constructed.

227. Jomo Piñata - October 4, 2009

226/James

I have a totally different take on the Hal Blacker piece. (I have conversed with Joel Kramer and Diana Alstad, and they did not strike me as rigid.)

I wasn’t there, so I don’t know what happened, but the account reads like a discussion between Hal, who is looking to establish a middle ground in which he can hold onto the way he sees the world–which he cherishes–and Joel (mostly), an advocate for a different view, someone who maturely holds to the conclusions he has reached even though it makes Hal both socially and intellectually uncomfortable. Remember, Hal states that he sought out Joel to interview him on behalf of a Buddhist publication, and Joel declined, before agreeing to have a conversation. I don’t think most magazine interviews run as many hours as Hal’s did. I suspect Hal’s advocacy of Buddhist views is underplayed in the piece, but I’m pretty sure it was there in the conversation.

I don’t know what Joel was thinking, but I read him to intend that his conversation partner, Hal, really have grapple with the implications of the views set forth in The Guru Papers. That intention may mean actually sticking to a point of view in a conversation so as to convey it in all its starkness, rather than softening it out of solicitude, and throwing the advocate for the other view back upon who he is, individually, and what he believes or understands. Where viewpoints clash, something is lost if the clash is glossed over with niceties–seems to me–especially if each conversant intends to influence the other.

So I read the article as presenting a mature clash of views, consciously undertaken by both parties.

Just my opinion.

228. James Mclemore - October 4, 2009

Hi Jomo – Thanks for your response. I have come to value your opinions, and you are one of those that always make me think. So I have to ask myself if I read things into it that may not have been there, or perhaps were there but had a more personal and immediate purpose to them.

I can agree that Mr. Blacker may have understated his own personal view points in the written and undoubtedly edited version. I actually thought he would have had a better interview if he had not kept searching for some ‘middle ground’ or synthesis. It did certainly appear that he was hoping to sell parts of his point of view, as opposed to just presenting it as something for Kramer to comment on. As I said before, I agree with a large percentage of what Kramer and Alstad say in the areas of authoritarian manipulation and with the ideologies that come after the experiences and that the concepts of ‘oneness’ can produce, – as you quoted Kramer earlier, “and this is where the trouble begins”.
Again, I think it was just that in the interview it appeared that he was not open to even hearing about any other manner in which to view the human drama. I think I get what you are saying about ‘solicitude’, but it just came off a bit as if he had closed all windows and doors to any other views. That always seems dangerous to me, but as you alluded to, perhaps Kramer may have said the things he said and seemed to dismiss almost any other possibilities in the manner in which he appeared to do so quite specifically because of/and for Mr. Blacker. It was nice to hear that you have talked with them and they did not appear to be rigid in their thinking.

The only thing that you wrote that I might question is where you stated that Mr. Blacker “cherished” his views, while Kramer “maturely holds” his. Somehow one of those just sounds a lot better than the other. They are both merely points of view are they not?

Anyway that’s the rest of my take on it, and I do appreciate that you brought to my attention the possibility that the interview may have been written and edited in a somewhat more biased manner than I had initially considered.

229. nige - October 4, 2009

228 James Mclemore

What’s all this ‘oneness’ thing? Could you elucidate, so that others can share their views…..Nigel.

230. nige - October 4, 2009

228 James Mclemore

Is this, somewhat, the implication of this ‘oneness’ theory?

“The self by its nature knows itself only. For lack of experience whatever it perceives it takes to be itself. Battered, it learns to look out and to live alone. When right behaviour becomes normal, a powerful inner urge makes it seek its source. The candle of the body is lighted and all becomes clear and bright.” – Nisargadatta

Thank you, Ellen.

I think Ellen was trying to imply, by offering this ‘snippet’ from Nisargadatta, that Burton is the complete opposite of what he pertains to be. He says he is the ‘greatest light in 2000 years’, but certainly cannot be because he does not pursue ‘right behaviour’ and any references he makes to the Self are pure charlatanistic fantasy. I was aware that the ‘candle of his body is not lighted’ every time I met him, since his energy was always ‘dark and oppressive’. I would assume that, the longer he lives and pursues his abnormal behaviour, the worse his energy will become…..Nigel.

231. James Mclemore - October 4, 2009

Wow Nige –

I am not any sort of spokesperson for anything other than my own investigations, and I have a lot of trouble even putting that into words. The term ‘oneness’ is just that, a term, a concept. It appears in a huge variety of settings. For the fun of it after reading your question, I googled it and saw that the Pentecostals even have a take on ‘oneness’. I have read things where the term seems to be used philosophically and thus just a belief system, and I have read things where the term appears to be used simply as a pointer towards, or a description of, a direct experience. The reference to it in my post came from the interview with Joel Kramer. You can find the link to the interview on Jomo’s post at 220.

ps – and yes Nisargadatta does seem to be one of those pointing to a direct experience

232. Ellen - October 4, 2009

Hi Guys & WR, too

I don’t have time at the moment to respond to any dialectical challenges or any other of the interesting topics being discussed here now. I hope to soon.

233. I know - October 4, 2009

172. James Mclemore – October 1, 2009

If you think that everyone must think exactly in the same way, you’re wrong. There are people here who are convinced that whoever writes in this blog must strongly condemn every single aspect that takes place in the FoF.

There are ex-members who left for various reasons and they I are not all in a revengeful state of mind. The criticism against RB sexual conduct is valid and meaningful, yet the truth is that I had some very good years there. I tried to ask myself, what would have happened if I took care of my finances during those years and the thoughts that came were that I would probably still be a student today. But that’s speculative since I do not have any intentions to go back there.

Some ex-members write here “facts” about the FoF that are quite imaginary. Like for example 171. Tatyana – October 1, 2009.
What she wrote is, in reality quite ridiculous and has a tempestuous flavor.

I am not defending the FoF and RB. I bring another point of view that, to my opinion, is more balanced. No one has to agree; still I think I have an “equal right” to say what I want here. As far as I know. there are no preconditions.

234. Jomo Piñata - October 4, 2009

228/James

Enjoying our exchange. Re: Blackmer piece, can you think of a more effective way of rebutting someone intent on exalting the insignificance of interpersonal boundaries than throwing that person back upon their existential separateness? Can you imagine yourself in the presence of a presumably benign Buddhist, making the argument that the implications of what he believes are quite dangerous, based on a line of argument that you and your wife thought up? Quite a position to be put in, n’est pas?

(I read somewhere in the last couple of weeks that a century from now, we won’t be fearing Islamic fundamentalists, but rather Buddhist physicists.)

235. James Mclemore - October 4, 2009

234. Jomo Piñata

Yes, point made Jomo. I can see that Kramer, having just written a book on the dangers of Buddhism may have wished to avoid a ‘good ol’ boy’ conversation and ‘give and take’ with a Buddhist.

Now you have me worried though. What are the ‘Buddhist Physicists’ planning? I picture them tying quantum theories to their bodies and hurling themselves at us in well populated areas. It sounds messy.

Anyway, I wish to continue to have your input on what we have been speaking about, and take it toward something that is perhaps a bit different, although perhaps not, in your view. So that we do not take up space here, and if it is ok with you, I will be sending you an email after I see if I can put down in words where my own investigations have taken me lately. I would be interested in your input, knowing full well that you may end up,
“throwing that person back upon their existential separateness”.

Have a good Sunday Jomo

236. Jomo Piñata - October 4, 2009

228/James, you wrote:

The only thing that you wrote that I might question is where you stated that Mr. Blacker “cherished” his views, while Kramer “maturely holds” his. Somehow one of those just sounds a lot better than the other. They are both merely points of view are they not?

I agree with you, they are merely points of view, and one sounds better than the other, the way I said it. Let me inquire, though:

Ideologies, sets of ideas all connected to one another and carrying with them a set of implied value judgments, come as a package. When I say Blacker “cherished” his worldview, I am envisioning someone in the honeymoon phase of his chosen “path to ecstasy,” who has adopted his views as part of a package. (In reality, have no idea if Blacker was “stinking of Zen.”)

I don’t get the idea that Kramer and Alstad adopted their views as a package. I gather they hammered them out over decades of study, reflection and argument. That’s why I don’t think they are “ideological.”

Wouldn’t you distinguish between the perspectives of someone “stinking of Zen” (ain’t that a loaded expression!) and someone who has thought his or her way through a variety of philosophical perspectives and can critique each of them on their merits? To my mind, these worldviews reflect different levels of maturity, even though, as you say, they are both merely points of view.

237. Jomo Piñata - October 4, 2009

“Today, we worry about Islamic terrorists. A hundred years from now, we’ll worry about Buddhist physicists.”

“Reason as memetic immune disorder” by Phil Goetz

http://bit.ly/WQhWp

238. James Mclemore - October 4, 2009

233. I know

“I think I have an “equal right” to say what I want here. As far as I know. there are no preconditions.”

That is correct as far as I know, as long as there are no personal attacks.
Just remember that some may respond to the content of what you write. And BTW, if someone calls what you write ‘horse shit’, that is not necessarily a personal attack, it is merely a person’s description of what they think of the content of your post.

239. James Mclemore - October 4, 2009

“stinking of Zen” ????????

Jomo – you are ruthless.

I am smiling as I write that and yet will have to admit to a certain amount of fear that if I am able to compose and send you the email I spoke of, it may emit at least a bit of an odor from your ‘in-box’, although hopefully not the terrible stench that might come from a ‘honeymoon phase’ of a ‘path to ecstasy’.
>>>>>>>>

In relation to Kramer and Alstad you said,

“I gather they hammered them out over decades of study, reflection and argument. That’s why I don’t think they are “ideological.”
And……………..
“someone who has thought his or her way through a variety of philosophical perspectives and can critique each of them on their merits”

I do not doubt their efforts, nor their good intentions. I do think it is at least possible that they may have commenced their studies with what the health insurance industry calls a ‘pre-existing condition’. By that I mean that they may have had some assumptions that they unknowingly carried with them from the start. The main assumption perhaps being that the thinking mind can explain everything, and that anything that it can’t explain is not worth investigating. I think that assumption can also sometimes be fed by an underlying fear (a control issue) that can cause the mind to throw out and dismiss with an easy wave of the hand, anything that some other mind may not feel includes or explains the whole story.
>>>>
ps – Thanks for the link to Phil Goetz. I have not read the whole thing yet, but I like his writing and he has a great sense of humor.

240. Crouching Tiger - October 4, 2009

Jomo.

“I don’t get the idea that Kramer and Alstad adopted their views as a package. I gather they hammered them out over decades of study, reflection and argument. That’s why I don’t think they are “ideological.”

Wouldn’t you distinguish between the perspectives of someone “stinking of Zen” (ain’t that a loaded expression!) and someone who has thought his or her way through a variety of philosophical perspectives and can critique each of them on their merits?”

This is not logical. What you are saying is that they accumulated a lot of material – that refers to volume not point-of-view.

And how do you ascertain that the person who is intellectually familiar with different perspectives can ‘critique them on their own merits’, without knowing their own subjective bias?

Are you sure you’re not honouring them with this ‘objectivity’ because they are views that correlate more with your own? It does appear that the subject is conveniently absent from all the information being filtered here. “Stinking of Academia”.

241. Ames Gilbert - October 4, 2009

Hello, I Know, here is a joke just for you…

Sherlock Holmes and Dr Watson go on a camping trip. After a good dinner and a bottle of wine, they retire for the night, and go to sleep. Some hours later, Holmes wakes up and nudges his faithful friend.
“Watson, look up at the sky and tell me what you see.”
“I see millions and millions of stars, Holmes” replies Watson.
“And what do you deduce from that?”
Watson ponders for a minute.
“Well, astronomically, it tells me that there are millions of galaxies and potentially billions of planets. Astrologically, I observe that Saturn is in Leo. Horologically, I deduce that the time is approximately a quarter past three. Meteorologically, I suspect that we will have a beautiful day tomorrow. Theologically, I can see that God is all powerful, and that we are a small and insignificant part of the universe. What does it tell you, Holmes?”

Holmes is silent for a moment.

“Watson, you idiot!” he says. “Someone has stolen our tent!”

242. Ames Gilbert - October 4, 2009

And here’s a joke for the rest of you…

A cabbie picks up a nun. She gets into the cab, and the cab driver won’t stop staring at her. She asks him why is he staring and he replies, “I have a question to ask you but I don’t want to offend you.” She answers, “My dear son, you cannot offend me. When you’re as old as I am and have been a nun as long as I have, you get a chance to see and hear just about everything. I’m sure that there’s nothing you could say or ask that I would find offensive.” “Well, I’ve always had a fantasy to have a nun kiss me.” She responds, “Well, let’s see what we can do about that: #1, you have to be single and #2 you must be Catholic.” The cab driver is very excited and says, “Yes, I am single and I’m Catholic too!” “OK” the nun says “Pull into the next alley” He does and the nun fulfills his fantasy with a kiss that would make a hooker blush. But when they get back on the road, the cab driver starts crying. “My dear child, said the nun, why are you crying?” “Forgive me sister, but I have sinned. I lied, I must confess, I’m married and I’m Jewish.” The nun says, “That’s OK, my name is Kevin and I’m on my way to a Halloween party.”

243. Jomo Piñata - October 5, 2009

240/Crouching

And how do you ascertain that the person who is intellectually familiar with different perspectives can ‘critique them on their own merits’, without knowing their own subjective bias?

Are you sure you’re not honouring them with this ‘objectivity’ because they are views that correlate more with your own?

I’m not sure why you think I “honor them with objectivity.” I’m not talking about “objectivity.” Nor am I talking about volume. Nor am I suggesting anything about bias or lack of bias. I can say that The Guru Papers is a work of critique, and it is plainly a work of critique based on familiarity with authoritarian doctrines and how they work within cults. Doesn’t sound academic to me.

And “stinking of Zen” is a term that arises within the Zen tradition. Google it. I didn’t make it up.

244. Dennis Larson - October 5, 2009

“The Fellowship of Friends” could probably be more accurately called “The Fellowship of Those Who Can Not Yet Be True Friends.”

Life may be the process of going from being totally self-absorbed as a baby, to being more other-directed. This could be called the process of becoming more loving. This process is either accelerated or slowed by our experiences in life, especially our relationships with our parents. What is called arrested development may be mainly the slowing down of emotional maturity and being less able to think about others, due to stressful life experiences. Robert Burton, with his Narcissistic Personality Disorder, is arrested in his ability to be empathetic, to love. You and I, and all Fellowship students, are also possibly somewhat arrested in this area, to have joined and stayed. Perhaps the friendships we had and the efforts we made, in the school, helped us move toward being more loving, surpassing the teacher in this area, and finally graduation. When we developed enough being to see RB clearly, we realized that he lacked empathy, and we left. Those of us who stayed for a long time, and those who are still there, probably had more traumatic life experiences and are therefore moving along this continuum, from being totally self-absorbed to being other-directed, at a slower pace. This would mean that all of us were probably somewhat dysfunctional, but evolving none the less.

245. X-ray - October 5, 2009

242. Ames Gilbert – October 4, 2009

———————————————————-
‘188. X-ray – October 2, 2009

168. Tatyana – October 1, 2009

‘Last night I had a dinner with my old FOF friends.
It was great, great meal, great discussion. My educated friend opened my mind to a lot of great information in a scientific field. We talked about all kinds of interesting things: anthropology, geology, pseudo-science, evolutionary psychology, multiple intelligences, critical thinking etc. I was so taken by our conversation that naively I asked my friend:
“Can you explain to me how you being so educated, intelligent person, applying a critical thinking, go to the Galleria meeting twice a week and listen to this immense bull shit? Do you put your critical mind into a drawer?”’

What worth his knowledge of anthropology, geology, pseudo-science, evolutionary psychology, multiple intelligences, critical thinking etc., if he can’t see that his spiritual teacher is a crazy sex maniac and drug addict, who seeing only cocks and dollars everywhere he looks?’
———————————————————

Those idiots just don’t see that ‘tent is stolen’.

246. fofblogmoderator - October 5, 2009

#244 is new

247. nige - October 5, 2009

244 Dennis Larson

I think most of us were socially dysfunctional, before we joined the FOF. I know I was! This being self-centred happened to most of us, during our formative years. I joined the FOF when I was 21 years old and had had problems making friends (especially girlfriends). I was still wary of people, when I entered the FOF, and was fiercely defensive of my ‘life’ (?) aim of becoming a master-metalsmith. I found it ridiculous that so many ‘students’ went on to train to be computer-programmers (what does that have to do with the growth of Essence?!) just to be able to afford to make the payments demanded and to ‘swan around’ the world, supporting centres. When I was forced to leave the FOF, my inability to make friends continued for a while, since I was guilty about not having spent enough time with ‘students’ and now trying to find my way in the big bad world, ‘gloomed with depression’. After 20 years ‘out’, I now have the ability to ‘give to people’, as you described, and am much happier than I ever was at any other point in my life…..Nigel.

248. Ellen - October 5, 2009

Whale Rider, #216

“Most of what society considers insanity are people suffering from schizophrenia. […] They might even have a quite convincing hallucination-experience that they are totally one with the universe, which can also be quite anxiety producing later.”

Later? When? When their sense of self reverts back to “me here” and “you there”? Sure, that’s very disconcerting. Particularly if they are told that feeling of oneness is not “right”.

“They are unwilling victims of whatever their unconscious mind throws at them. There is no separation of self.”

But you describe a duality where there may not actually be one? Who is the victim if they can fully, trustfully, surrender to their own terror? Their own deamons? From my own experience, that is exactly the point where everything, every contrast, every I-resistance, dissolves. And an underlying joyful being-acceptance emerges (because there is nothing left).

“Now that’s a level of being-experience where no separations are experienced that I’d want to stay away from, thank you.”

Of course, because you recognize that as dangerous territory. Psychologically, to the self, it is, because it means death. But I think that finally each one of us needs to confront our deepest fears in order to also realize their illusory nature. Dark night of the soul, Kali as destructive-deamon, etc… The unconscious mind contains angels and devils, that’s for sure. Check out Jung’s Red Book. Or take a journey with healing plants in the hands of a trustworthy shaman.

So it’s easy to understand why LSD became illegal. This is/these are dangerous waters, that are best not even embarked upon without the guidance of a trustworthy guide. But maybe the problem is that the schizophrenic was never given the choice?

“For a guru to claim to have had experience(s) of total and complete oneness is veiled narcissism. It may have felt that way to them, but it was also experienced by their cells, which have boundaries.”

Agreed. Anyone who feels the need to proclaim his or her enlightenment to the world has a 99.9% chance of being a sham. But there are people who have let their limitations drop and are able to act from a compassionate place towards the unnecessary suffering they see in the people around them in the world.

And about their cells, don’t confuse levels. The physical world exists as multiple differences, multiple forms, but it may not contain real separation, as a distinction of mind. Then, there is simply transparent co-operation.

About “mind” in general. The Sanskrit language has four different terms to describe aspects of what in the English language is usually referred to with only one: buddhi, chitta, manas, and ahamkara. So it’s a question of subtle distinctions, of awareness, of discrimination, of levels.

249. nige - October 5, 2009

248 Ellen

I have encountered daemons in my search for balance with my bipolar disorder and can empathise with what you have written in your post. Personally, I do not feel any greater sense of self than I had done whilst in the FOF or before it – it is just that there is a sort-of ‘discriminating strength’ that I encounter, which was not there before. Can you recommend any Buddhist/Hindu literature, since I am very interested in learning about the ‘different types of mind’ and other things. Reading about Nisargaddarta was a real boon!…..Nigel.

250. arthur - October 5, 2009

I met a few people ‘suffering from schizophrenia’. The ones I met didnt seem to be suffering and not being professionals we dealt with each other on the ‘street level’. Going with the flow, that is.

I became a room-mate with one. Most of the time he was either smiling or laughing. When I would ask why he was laughing he would usually say, ‘they’ are funny. I never asked about ‘they’.

One time and only once did I find him angry. He was facing a wall and cussing at “somebody”. In public he would burst out laughing once in a while. Usually he would sit with both arms crossed over his upper legs but when he was ‘talking’ to the ‘invisibles’ one finger would wag. A wordless expression for me.

His sister who had control over his affairs was a Jehovah’s Witness and must have influenced him in that ‘faith’. Shortly before he died at age 49 his brother-in-law told me the doctor mentioned to him about a blood transfusion (he had internal bleeding problems-drank a lot). He is said to have raised up from a prone position and said, “You’re not making a Frankenstein out of me”.

One time I was teasing him about “life” when he turned to me and said, “you’re crazy”. I dont know anything about masts as in India but maybe he was one of those.

I knew about four of these “suffering” types and all of our conversations were”normal”. Until the invisible world broke in then our relationships would go back and forth from abnormally normal to normally abnormal.

251. nige - October 5, 2009

250 arthur

I had a schizophrenic ‘friend’ (we are not friends now, since I had come to not be able to stand being with him) who would think he was hearing voices from the Israeli Secret Service and the President of Russia (usually when he had not been taking his meds). He would threaten his carer by saying he was about to kill his parents (he was still living at home at the age of 56 and had been since age 28) and then himself and (to me) he insisted that he was wholly responsible for my success in ‘climbing back on the vocation wagon’ (I do not know how long he had been unemployed). In the asylum, I met one sweet schizophrenic, called Becky, who wanted to ‘work’ with her voices and actually went to a series of lectures by a man who had learned to live with hearing voices. You can even see people on the street who are walking along and swearing at Mr Nobody in grumbling undertones. But, for the most part, I avoid schizophrenics…..Nigel.

252. Mikey - October 5, 2009

Opposites, the way of the world.
John Lennon said something like: “Jesus was alright, but his followers are thick and ordinary”. (Somehow this came back to haunt him).
Some folks admit that Robert Burton is a depraved pervert and at the same time maintain that his followers are extraordinary, advanced and discriminating.
It’s all starting to add up, but I still don’t believe that there are any Jewish cab drivers. The old con artist double blind test.

253. nige - October 5, 2009

252 Mikey

What about my old friend – Yushud Driveoff? Actually I don’t get the connection between being Jewish and not being a taxi driver – please enlighten me…..Nigel.

254. Dennis - October 5, 2009

247. nige

You wrote, “After 20 years ‘out’, I now have the ability to ‘give to people’, as you described, and am much happier than I ever was at any other point in my life…..Nigel.”

I see the possibility that our happiness is directly related to our ability to give to others, to love. There is a saying, “Like the sun, we only live in what we give out.” The sun can not take light back. Taking only produces darkness. If we are happier today than the day we joined the school, happier than we were a month ago, that is probably an indication that we are moving along the continuum from being self-absorbed toward being more other-directed. That gives me great hope for the future.

255. surelyujest - October 5, 2009

226 James Mclemore

“It seemed like yet another example of how the ‘thinking mind’ appears to be compelled, perhaps because of ‘control’ issues, to have an answer for everything; and does not wish for there to be any possibilities for things outside of the framework it has so laboriously constructed.”

This hits the nail on the head for me, about the primary defect of 4th Way thinking — an answer for everything, with no mystery left unexplained. One sees a person, and doesn’t see an individual, but sees a body type, center of gravity, feature, etc. Subtleties that don’t fit into these coarse-grained categories are dismissed. An answer, any answer, is valued over simply living the question.

At first, seeing things in new categories can feel liberating. But after a while, it is just another prison where one substitutes labels for real thinking and perceiving.

256. brucelevy - October 5, 2009

257. sallymcnally - October 5, 2009

Mahalo Dennis and Elena for speaking from your hearts. I remember how well you both were able to do that when I joined the FOF. It has only increased. Namaste

258. Tatyana - October 5, 2009

225
“the primary defect of 4th Way thinking — an answer for everything, with no mystery left unexplained”

In Gurdjieff Foundation they don’t give each other photographs about body type and chief feature. I did not see any “explaination” there either, but encouragement to observe. So, maybe it is not 4th way, but FOF?

259. Tatyana - October 5, 2009

sorry, it was for 255

260. another name - October 5, 2009

Thanks all for the jokes and the funny movies ..for giving.

“Like the sun, we only live in what we give out.” The sun can not take light back. Taking only produces darkness.

We all have the right to be loved, loved …Listen here

ttp://www.youtube.com/watch?v=LYhrYHmUPn0

Enjoy your day….

261. brucelevy - October 5, 2009

It works better with the “h”

thanks, good one.

262. nige - October 5, 2009

254 Dennis

“I see the possibility that our happiness is directly related to our ability to give to others, to love. There is a saying, “Like the sun, we only live in what we give out.” The sun can not take light back. Taking only produces darkness. If we are happier today than the day we joined the school, happier than we were a month ago, that is probably an indication that we are moving along the continuum from being self-absorbed toward being more other-directed. That gives me great hope for the future.”

How about living this question? (255 surelyujest)…..

If light, as we materially percieve it, giving, giving and always expanding, with atomic particles (carriers as angels?), is Divine Intelligence, what happens to all the Empty Darkness between? Is this where the souls of all the false gurus and ‘takers’ of the Universe eventually go…..as though ‘on the rack’ of trying to catch the light and yet imploding upon themselves as the light expands?…..

Expound and critique on this, but no easy answers, please…..Nigel.

263. another name - October 5, 2009

I know:If you think that everyone must think exactly in the same way, you’re wrong. There are people here who are convinced that whoever writes in this blog must strongly condemn every single aspect that takes place in the FoF.

Q. Dear I know….What do you mean, if you have read the 83 pages of this blog you can verify for your self that we all do not think alike. What is your need in trying to express: ” There are people…? Who are these people? Can you be more specific?

I know: There are ex-members who left for various reasons and they are not all in a revengeful state of mind. The criticism against RB sexual conduct is valid and meaningful, yet the truth is that I had some very good years there.

Q. What do you mean with; yet it is true that you had good years. good for you. I do not think that I/we want to take this away although what I though a year ago is different then what I think now. I do not always believe our rational mind and love to question the heart?

Some ex-members write here “facts” about the FoF that are quite imaginary. Like for example 171. Tatyana – October 1, 2009.
What she wrote is, in reality quite ridiculous and has a tempestuous flavor.

Q. What do you mean what Tatyana wrote? She wrote several point and some are true…maybe not for everybody but for several people they did….? Maybe you were in in a different era when certain rules did not apply. Would you be willing to check which fof issue you do not think that happened?

I know: I am not defending the FoF and RB. I bring another point of view that, to my opinion, is more balanced. No one has to agree; still I think I have an “equal right” to say what I want here. As far as I know. there are no preconditions.

Q. You might not think you are defending RB and give another point of view and yet your writing is pretty confusing to me and so far I have not have a direct respond from you. So here my invitation; are you willing to answer or think about my questions?

Q. Do not worry …we will not agree on this blog and we share many point of views from different source and from our perspectives. Though, I wonder if you see the fact that the tent is stolen? The school was/is no school?

Enjoy your day. And I am going to celebrate the fact that we are different, sharing those differences can help in creating win- win situations instead of or / or situation….Had those plenty in the fof.

264. James Mclemore - October 6, 2009

263. another name

” I am going to celebrate the fact that we are different”

Thanks ‘another name’. I like that.
Just a short time ago I was sitting out on the porch and having a few insightful moments watching some of the characters who seem to have taken up uninvited residence inside my mind.
Afterwards and just before reading your post I was seeing how I learn things sometimes from posting here. Jomo Pinata and I just had some exchanges and I find that what I am learning about myself was probably brought about by what felt like ‘differences’ in Jomo’s thinking and mine. It is not so much that I learned something from his thoughts directly and put them to use (although with Jomo I have had that experience also), but it was more in watching my responses to what he had written, form inside my mind. We are all SO interesting in the ways we respond to this mystery of who we are.

“I am going to celebrate the fact that we are different”

265. James Mclemore - October 6, 2009

And thank you Ames for that wonderful punch line that seems to have all sorts of applications.

“Watson, you idiot!” – “Someone has stolen our tent!”

266. Jomo Piñata - October 6, 2009

Just to be clear, James, I intended no gratuitous “dis” of Buddhism by use of the phrase “stinking of Zen.” It is a phrase that comes out of Zen tradition and is given various glosses by the commentators. I gather that Crouching Tiger’s not-so-veiled hostility to my post may have been motivated by the belief that I was somehow gratuitously insulting Zen Buddhism. But this was not the case.

267. James Mclemore - October 6, 2009

Hello Jomo

I assumed your use was intentional and probably critical, but not disrespectful. I thought I remembered the term from somewhere, and had taken it to mean when something simple is conceptualized and thus turned into a belief system.

I still however think you are ruthless, but in a good way.

268. Jomo Piñata - October 6, 2009

How Nonsense Sharpens the Intellect:

http://bit.ly/2kMwhg

269. James Mclemore - October 6, 2009

“How Nonsense Sharpens the Intellect”

I guess you have to first be shocked by the absurdity and recognize it as being nonsense for that to work. Otherwise all those fof followers listening to that stuff of Burton’s, like Ollie posted earlier, should be getting some very sharp intellects by now, but I have the feeling that may not be the case.

270. WhaleRider - October 6, 2009

ellen:

“Meditation, the brain researcher Francisco Varela told me before he died in 2001, confirms the Buddhist doctrine of anatta, which holds that the self is an illusion. Varela contended that anatta has also been corroborated by cognitive science, which has discovered that our perception of our minds as discrete, unified entities is an illusion foisted upon us by our clever brains. In fact, all that cognitive science has revealed is that the mind is an emergent phenomenon, which is difficult to explain or predict in terms of its parts; few scientists would equate the property of emergence with nonexistence, as anatta does.

Much more dubious is Buddhism’s claim that perceiving yourself as in some sense unreal will make you happier and more compassionate. Ideally, as the British psychologist and Zen practitioner Susan Blackmore writes in The Meme Machine, when you embrace your essential selflessness, “guilt, shame, embarrassment, self-doubt, and fear of failure ebb away and you become, contrary to expectation, a better neighbor.” But most people are distressed by sensations of unreality, which are quite common and can be induced by drugs, fatigue, trauma, and mental illness as well as by meditation.

Even if you achieve a blissful acceptance of the illusory nature of your self, this perspective may not transform you into a saintly bodhisattva, brimming with love and compassion for all other creatures. Far from it—and this is where the distance between certain humanistic values and Buddhism becomes most apparent. To someone who sees himself and others as unreal, human suffering and death may appear laughably trivial.”

From:
Buddhist Retreat: Why I gave up on finding my religion.
By John Horgan

I suppose I have focused more on cultivating humanistic values than on attaining enlightenment since I left the FOF.

271. nige - October 6, 2009

270 WhaleRider

So, the question remains – “What is there in us that can be trusted?”

Perhaps the terms ‘real’ and ‘unreal’ are too polarised to find some practical application. Walt Whitman used to talk of (something) “in and out of the game, and watching and wondering at it.” When I am in daily routine mode (i.e. hopefully a little in hypo-mania, which gives the creative edge) there is much inner dialogue (with mostly monologue – what I would like to be telling people) and, when I am teaching, there is much emotional energy being expended. But, during those times of the day, when I ‘give myself a break’ and, maybe, sit out in the courtyard, or lean on the farmyard fence and just ‘absorb the nature of trees’, the dialogue/monologue retreats and I am left with powerful presence.

“…..steadfast, haughty, electrical, I and this mystery, here we stand.”
(Walt Whtiman)

272. Crouching Tiger - October 6, 2009

Jomo – thanks for info on “Stinking of Zen”, I hadn’t come across the phrase before!

My point about your post was not really aimed at that though. On the blog, you have a razor-sharp ability to deconstruct the veiled attitudes of others and make them aware of their pre-suppositions. I felt that in your post, you didn’t apply the same rigour to Kramer and Alstad’s attitudes, with which you clearly sympathise.

In my own experience, the most valuable talent for someone with a ‘ruthless’ nose for the prejudices of others, is to be able to detect them in your own thinking. In that particular post, I didn’t feel that happening.

273. Ellen - October 6, 2009

Jomo, James, Crouching Tiger, et all,

I had some time to read up a bit on the Kramer/Alstadt thread here.
The interview with Blacker was interesting, but of course, I wasn’t there, and can only read his distillation. Buddhism as a form appears to be on the chopping block.

One of Blacker’s final repostes was:
“Couldn’t your understanding of oneness or selflessness be artificially limited?” I stammered. I was getting worn out. “Isn’t the very point of genuine oneness experience and understanding the resolution of the conceptual opposites of one and many, self and nonself, into a higher unity? And isn’t this where dialectics is supposed to ultimately lead?” It didn’t work. He said that there is no higher oneness; the one is always opposed to the many. And we were back in the same loop.”

Kramer’s response sounds like a pretty fixed idea to me, especially if he does not wish to recognize elements of his own directly personal experience which could convey such essential knowledge very precisely, if he cared to look. I dunno, I presume he’s not interested. If for him it doesn’t matter, then it doesn’t matter. Ideologies are just that – ideologies -which become isolated when they are not integrated with other aspects of direct personal experience.

My current guru is Cesar Millan, the Dog Whisperer. He has no problem with authority, and insists that dogs require it for smooth pack functioning. Problem arise when humans abuse that position and respond with insensitivity, either to stern or too lax. Mother nature teaches natural laws. But people have forgotten how to listen? (jada, jada, jada…)

274. Wouldnt You Like To Know - October 6, 2009

248. Ellen
270. WhaleRider
etc.
and others:

Could this be relevant to some recent discussions?:
[I copy more here than necessary to show the context from the book. The most important portion being in bold.]

THE THEORY OF CONSCIOUS HARMONY
FROM THE LETTERS of Rodney Collin
page 46 or 53 or ? (depending on which edition)

CONTRADICTIONS

JANUARY 5, 1953 When one realises the part fear plays in human life, one sees the true key to all misery and slavery. Each type* can live either dominated by fear or free from it. Each type has its own characteristic fears – the instinctive man fears illness, the ambitious man fears failure, the emotional man fears losing his relations and friends, etc. Studying the different kinds of fear is also a way of studying types – though not a very amusing way! [Doesn’t everyone fear the dissolution of the self? – possibly more than death itself?]

APRIL 2, 1955 Regarding free circulation as the condition of health – it is very clear that strong circulation brings health and new possibilities to all parts of an organism. Where there is constriction, disease strikes. I think that is true on all scales. It is obviously so in the body. But also in one’s lifetime, where memory is that which circulates. Those parts or incidents in our lives, which we do not want to remember, begin to fester, and their poison may spread even into the present in all kinds of fears and prejudices. On the other hand, by full memory of the past, what we now understand and hope for can flow back into it, cure it, change its nature.

One sees just the same in a group. When ideas and feelings flow freely and with confidence among all the people in it, there is health and life. [I guess that is the problem with FoF; freedom of circulation of ideas and feelings stifled.] Where an obstacle grows, and someone misunderstands another and won’t listen to them, again poisons develop, so the prejudice has to be melted out or the quarrel put right, before circulation and the group can be made well again.

When we remember wrong things we did, a kind of inflammation develops. There is a clash between what we actually did and what we have since come to feel to be right. Our present ideas, carried on the stream of memory, like white corpuscles in the blood, meet a poisoned place and try to heal it. Until they do so, the place may be very painful and inflamed. It is a sign that something is happening.

OCTOBER 22, 1955 While some people are enslaved by blaming others, some are equally enslaved by blaming themselves. It is the same thing. Freedom is when one sees oneself impartially as one does an interesting stranger, without praise or blame.

* TYPES:
The glands, in the order of their distance from the heart, obey the same laws as the planets in the order of their distance from the sun. Created from the same design, the one responds to the other.

We now have a basis for studying the possibility of planets ruling different organs, and by extension the types which these receptive organs dominate.

Man was believed to contain within him all affinities, and these separate affinities were established in different organs and parts . . . From this it followed that a man who had one organ or part highly developed, whose centre of gravity lay there, so to speak, enjoyed a special affinity or sensitiveness for the corresponding planet. He was of that type.
The Theory of Celestial Influence, pp. 142, 143

At the same time, it must be remembered that there are no such things as pure types, for in every man all the glands must function . . . Moreover, every gland affects and is affected by every other, so that in practice it is impossible to ‘isolate’ the effect of any.
. . . In a ‘perfect’ man the action of the glands would be exactly balanced, and the nearer a man approaches this balance, the less is it possible to classify him as a type.
Ibid, p. 147
. . .

275. Ellen - October 6, 2009

249, nige,

Well, I have a dog eared copy of I Am That by my bedside table. It has been my steady diet for a few years now. The later books of Nisargadatta (he continued actively teaching while he was dying of throat cancer) edited by Jeanne Dunn are also mind-melting in the most profound kind of way.

Much of the metaphysical background (also the context from which N. speaks) to Advaita Vedanta is grounded in Sankhya philosophy. A good, broad, intelligent and precise overview of Indian philosophy (including Buddhism, Sankhya and Advaita Vedanta) can be found in the “Introduction to Indian Philosophy” by Nagaraja Rao. The book however is out of print(!). “History of Vedanta” appears to be an updated equivalent, but I haven’t read it.
http://www.flipkart.com/schools-vedanta-nagaraja-rao-p/1406768480-0nx3fmvcbe

The four states of “mind” that I mentioned are an element of Sankhya. But to avoid getting too involved with philosophical ideas that have no practical application, I could suggest you pick up a copy of the Bhagavad Gita. The translation by Ecknath Eswaran is worth it (IMO) just for his introduction alone. It puts a different slant on many of the misunderstood ideas that K&A critiqued so well.

276. Ellen - October 6, 2009
277. Mikey - October 6, 2009

I guess ‘stinking of Zen’ derives from ‘Rocky Raccoon’, who came in ‘stinking of gin’ (or ‘sminking of gin’ in the Anthology 3 track).
It’s starting to look like infinity is a lot bigger than we first calculated, possibly more than can be imagined.

278. Jomo Piñata - October 6, 2009

One of Blacker’s final repostes was:
“Couldn’t your understanding of oneness or selflessness be artificially limited?” I stammered. I was getting worn out. “Isn’t the very point of genuine oneness experience and understanding the resolution of the conceptual opposites of one and many, self and nonself, into a higher unity? And isn’t this where dialectics is supposed to ultimately lead?” It didn’t work. He said that there is no higher oneness; the one is always opposed to the many. And we were back in the same loop.”

Kramer’s response sounds like a pretty fixed idea to me, especially if he does not wish to recognize elements of his own directly personal experience which could convey such essential knowledge very precisely, if he cared to look. I dunno, I presume he’s not interested. If for him it doesn’t matter, then it doesn’t matter. Ideologies are just that – ideologies -which become isolated when they are not integrated with other aspects of direct personal experience.

Interesting idea you have that ideologies ultimately “integrate[] with other aspects of direct personal experience.” Do you contend that if you somehow live intensively enough under the influence of an ideology that it “integrates” completely into your direct personal experience and then somehow ceases to exist?

I hear that Kramer’s position that “there is no higher oneness ” “sounds like a fixed idea” to you. If you mean, he doesn’t budge from it, then I can see why you would say that. In my experience, though, the term “fixed idea” conveys an idea that inhibits the thinker from considering other possibilities and cannot itself be examined. I doubt that this circumstance meets those criteria. What I gather is that Kramer has examined the possibilities, and concludes differently than you.

I think your presumption that he is “not interested” only hits the mark obliquely. There is one lack of interest born of general unawareness of possibility, and a different lack of interest born out of intense effort. I read your presumption to dismiss both of these with a wave of the same hand. But I think they are quite different. The Hollywood one has visited is a different city than the Hollywood one has not.

The dialectic of my own experience shows me that experiences of boundary-less ecstatic union and selflessness are neither sustained, nor sustainable, but are woven into a dance with the experience of self. I have no reason to believe that this dance is anything but integral to human reality.

279. Crouching Tiger - October 6, 2009

“To someone who sees himself and others as unreal, human suffering and death may appear laughably trivial.” – Horgan

“He said that there is no higher oneness; the one is always opposed to the many. And we were back in the same loop.” – Kramer

I think the communication problem here can best be illustrated with reference to these statements. In the Horgan statement, he is making a guess about how an experience – of the ‘self as unreal’ – would affect the individual’s attitude to the outside world and his/her fellow human beings. But does it actually affect the individual in that way? Probably not. It irrigates the ground of humanistic values.

Jomo rationalises Kramer’s statement as follows: “I hear that Kramer’s position that “there is no higher oneness ” “sounds like a fixed idea” to you. If you mean, he doesn’t budge from it, then I can see why you would say that. In my experience, though, the term “fixed idea” conveys an idea that inhibits the thinker from considering other possibilities and cannot itself be examined. I doubt that this circumstance meets those criteria. What I gather is that Kramer has examined the possibilities, and concludes differently than you.”

Jomo, why do you doubt that Kramer is inhibited from considering the possibility of ‘higher oneness’ by the fixed nature of his world-view? Are there any grounds for dismissing that possibility? What I gather is that Kramer has examined the possibilities in his own terms, and makes his own conclusion as a result. It stays comfortably within the boundaries of his ideology. You seem unwilling to acknowledge that Kramer’s boundaries are limited.

“There is one lack of interest born of general unawareness of possibility, and a different lack of interest born out of intense effort.” I feel Kramer’s attitude is the result of both. He clearly has made a hugely intense research effort, but as the deadlock of his conversation with Alstad shows, there is a point beyond which his understanding cannot pass. That’s probably why Alstad felt exhausted by the experience.

“The dialectic of my own experience shows me that experiences of boundary-less ecstatic union and selflessness are neither sustained, nor sustainable, but are woven into a dance with the experience of self. I have no reason to believe that this dance is anything but integral to human reality.”

Strangely enough, I feel that this is the correct conclusion! I would say that Zen or non-dualism or the 4th Way can produce better dancers. The idea of some kind of permanent ecstatic union sounds like a Fellowship antique to me. Useless.

280. Jomo Piñata - October 6, 2009

279/Crouching

Jomo rationalises Kramer’s statement

I don’t “rationalise” it, I interpret it. Don’t you see a difference?

why do you doubt that Kramer is inhibited from considering the possibility of ‘higher oneness’ by the fixed nature of his world-view?

Not sure why you think his worldview is “fixed.” Have you read The Guru Papers?

Are there any grounds for dismissing that possibility?

I have had many interactions with ideologues and I know what that’s like. That’s not the flavor of the interaction described, as I read it. In a debate, or an in-depth discussion of ideas, the fact that one can embrace every link in the argument of one’s partner in conversation doesn’t make the partner’s conclusions ineluctable.

What I gather is that Kramer has examined the possibilities in his own terms, and makes his own conclusion as a result. It stays comfortably within the boundaries of his ideology. You seem unwilling to acknowledge that Kramer’s boundaries are limited.

I suspect you and I each mean something different when we use the term “ideology.” Labeling something as an ideology–at least, the way I’m using the term–doesn’t make it one. I’d be interested to hear what you mean when you use the term. And when you say “Kramer’s boundaries are limited,” I don’t really follow you, unless you mean that at the end of the day, Kramer doesn’t change his mind because he’s not persuaded. What I get when I read the Blacker account is that two people have had a lengthy, in-depth discussion regarding human experience and Buddhist concepts, but that, in the end, neither changes the other’s mind. I’m not sure how one gets from there to the idea that Kramer has an “ideology” or “fixed ideas,” at least as I use those terms. But I’m open to hearing your view.

281. Jomo Piñata - October 6, 2009

“There is one lack of interest born of general unawareness of possibility, and a different lack of interest born out of intense effort.” I feel Kramer’s attitude is the result of both.

Seems like a legitimate conclusion. But I don’t share it, personally.

He clearly has made a hugely intense research effort, but as the deadlock of his conversation with Alstad shows, there is a point beyond which his understanding cannot pass.

You mean Blacker. Alstad is his wife. But when you say “there is a point beyond which his understanding cannot pass,” this seems conclusory to me or, rather, presumptuous, i.e., that the “correct” resolution is the one desired by Blacker.

To which I say, that’s your opinion, sir.

282. Crouching Tiger - October 6, 2009

Okay, I can see that you mean something a lot more specific than I do with ‘ideology’. We can use ‘world-view’ instead, to describe the limited number of thoughts an individual uses to organise his/her perceptions of the world. I feel all your arguments are attempts to suggest that Kramer somehow has a more open mind than Blacker in their debate. That somehow, he is simply examining evidence impartially – where Blacker is only reaffirming his ideological point-of-view. This sense ought to be resisted in my opinion.

The sadness of the situation is surely that the debate ends in exhaustion, and the feeling that “we were back in the same loop”. It’s a sign that there’s no point of contact established in the conversation ultimately, so it’s failed in its purpose – to link two understandings positively and create a new pathway between the two. At the end, it sounds to me like Kramer is the one with the closed mind. At least Blacker was still trying.

283. Jomo Piñata - October 6, 2009

I feel all your arguments are attempts to suggest that Kramer somehow has a more open mind than Blacker in their debate. That somehow, he is simply examining evidence impartially – where Blacker is only reaffirming his ideological point-of-view.

On the contrary, as I’ve said, “impartiality” or “objectivity” doesn’t come into it. I don’t think either conversant is impartial or that impartiality is possible, let alone desirable, in a conversation of that nature. What’s clear to me is that Blacker, a Buddhist, contacted Kramer, a writer of books regarding the power implications of authoritarian ideologies and renunciate moralities, and wanted to interview him for a Buddhist publication. The subtext I posit (I wasn’t there, I can’t be sure, but I’d bet on it) is that Blacker wanted to grill Kramer and get some concessions from him, and that Kramer took the time to meet with Blacker, answered his questions forthrightly, but refused to bend to Blacker’s desire.

I don’t conclude, as you do, that the situation was sad, or that Kramer wasn’t “trying.” Some choices really are binary, and people don’t have to agree or even find common ground. And who’s to say Blacker doesn’t sometimes find himself awake in the dead of night, psychically wrestling with some seed Kramer planted?

284. Kid Shelleen - October 6, 2009

Crouching Tiger wrote:

“The sadness of the situation is surely that the debate ends in exhaustion, and the feeling that “we were back in the same loop”. It’s a sign that there’s no point of contact established in the conversation ultimately, so it’s failed in its purpose – to link two understandings positively and create a new pathway between the two. At the end, it sounds to me like Kramer is the one with the closed mind. At least Blacker was still trying.”

Perhaps that was not the purpose of the dialogue. Some points of view are irreconcilable. Perhaps no pathway can exist between the two. We are all certainly familiar with that construct. Closed mind, opened mind, it doesn’t matter.

“They dont need me here, and I know you’re there
Where the world goes by like the humid air
And it sticks like a broken record
Everything sticks like a broken record
Everything sticks until it goes away
And the truth is, we dont know anything”

from “Ana Ng” by They Might Be Giants

285. Tatyana - October 6, 2009

“They won’t give up, ” he said. “Those who believe in it will continue to believe.”

Italian scientists group says Shroud of Turin is man-made
http://abcnews.go.com/International/wireStory?id=8755975

286. WhaleRider - October 6, 2009

In a universe of change where else did the concept of permanent enlightenment come from but the human mind…

287. James Mclemore - October 6, 2009

Thank you Kid Shelleen for –

“And the truth is, we dont know anything”

from “Ana Ng” by They Might Be Giants

>>>>>>>>>>>

Thank you WhaleRider for –

“In a universe of change where else did the concept of permanent enlightenment come from but the human mind…”

288. surelyujest - October 6, 2009

I have a sincere question. Has anyone verified anything about their soul? Girard wrote a book about “creating a soul,” and Gurdjieff talked about how one has to create a soul, because one is not born with one. So how do we verify that 1) we don’t have a soul and 2) that self-remembering creates one?

289. Crouching Tiger - October 6, 2009

“And who’s to say Blacker doesn’t sometimes find himself awake in the dead of night, psychically wrestling with some seed Kramer planted?”

Indeed. Or vice-versa.

290. James Mclemore - October 6, 2009

And thank you Nige, for

“the dialogue/monologue retreats and I am left with powerful presence.”

291. WhaleRider - October 6, 2009

surelyujest:
What we are lacking at birth (and for many years thereafter is): wisdom and experience.

I can’t think of a better scam that to convince a person to believe they lack a soul (in part becasue one cannot verify that the soul exists in the first place), and that they have to pay you to help teach them how to grow one.

In the right circumstances, you can convince a person to believe just about anything, just keep repeating the message…add some fear like…weapons of mass destruction….weapons of mass destruction…weapons of mass destruction….death panels….death panels….death panels…and bingo, a person will act against their own self interest to make the fear seemingly go away…while the hidden agenda is put in it’s place. “Once we’re in Iraq, we can’t just leave.”

Now wisdom and experience is something that a person can verify does exist and own.

Wisdom can also survive death.

292. Mikey - October 6, 2009

288/ surelyujest (Don’t call me Shirley)
I don’t believe either of them knew what they were talking about.
Smells at little like ‘horse shit’ to me.
I think there are better (more useful) questions to ask, like:
What is the soul?
Of course, the answer cannot be given, but you can find out if you first have the question.

293. another name - October 6, 2009

8 year old many years ago, in the back of the car.

Dad, I do not believe in creating a soul, you have one or you do not have one.

When I think of this book of Girad “Creating a soul I say, aaaah beautiful words. Easy to write, and what are your actions?

From Beelzebub tales

-Eldest of my grandsons! Listen and always remember my strict injunction to you: In life never do as others do.”

Of course never….is too extreem and yet, I would add, think twice before you “do.” What is the result of your action for the next 7 generations after you are gone from this earth.
Memes are “in” now which is derived from imitation…we are full of imitation. From past generations and from this meme induced culture with brainwashing adds and media.

Enjoy your day.
The bears are almost ready to go for hibernation, take well care of yourself.

294. another name - October 6, 2009

Mikey laughing for your answers…..great.

What is the soul…..aaaaaah words again.

Enjoy

295. dragon - October 6, 2009

ENLIGHTENMENT

as usual, a point of view!

296. nige - October 6, 2009

286 WhaleRider

Enlightenment comes and goes in waves, crashing upon the seashore of our maturing souls. I do believe that no-one can hold on to it as, when held, it quickly vanishes. The best we can do is remember how we understood things in that special state and be ‘warriors for the working day’ (Henry V)…..Nigel.

(“Be practical, expect a miracle” – Krishnamurti)

297. Jomo Piñata - October 7, 2009

I think anyone who has been following the discussion involving Ellen, Crouching Tiger, James McLemore, and myself, may find the following link relevant and interesting. It’s the 10-page introduction to Alstad and Kramer’s book The Passionate Mind Revisited:

“We (Joel and Diana) believe that to better use the faculty of thought, it’s essential to understand the nature and effects of one’s worldview—specifically, how morality and spirituality are embedded in it. To do this, spirituality needs to be “brought down to Earth” by collapsing the separation between the spiritual and the mundane created by predominant traditional spiritual worldviews. We believe that this age-old false and destructive split that separates spirit from the
world, and makes the world of lesser importance, is one reason why we are a species at risk. Since a worldview is a lens through which to view the world, if the lens negates or trivializes the world, this clouds one’s awareness of and action within the world. This can cause havoc in people’s lives as well as within the world at large.

We are social animals who have been socially retarded—in terms of treating each other “humanely”—ever since entering the power hierarchy stage that came with agriculture. This phase was conjoined with religious worldviews that reflected the imagination, magic and superstitions, beliefs, concerns, fears, power structures with their privileges and self-interests, and “knowledge” of those times. Because these old structures, many still in place, are a significant cause of our global problems and current social systems, we believe that our viability depends upon evolving socially. This for us does not mean becoming essentially different from what we are, but becoming better at being who we are—at being the caring, connecting social animals that our mammalian genetic heritage allows us to be. This means, above all, better at relationships—all our problems are relational at their core. This includes becoming better at caring and care-taking, at seeing the long-term implications of our actions, at constructing worldviews in touch with a fastmoving globalism, and supporting institutions that nurture human connectivity rather than an all-consuming and isolating consumerism.

This is an enormous challenge. It requires a shift in awareness that we
are capable of, but that has been conditioned and frightened out of us. This book examines who we are, how we got here, and what we can possibly do to continue our evolutionary journey. We pay particular attention to worldviews because each is a lens that takes in and integrates experience that affects one’s attitudes toward life and the future, bringing hope or hopelessness. They also lead to life stances that can become fixed, such as optimism, pessimism, skepticism, indifference, cynicism, and even nihilism. Throughout this book we weave in a worldview that we think is more viable and in touch with what is going on, and so offers the possibility of realistic hope for humanity’s well-being and future. Should you find it worthwhile to take the journey of these writings, our hope is that you will get enough of a feel of the lens we are looking through to see if it’s pertinent to you or if it can shed light on what concerns you. If not, we hope that it will, at the very least, leave you with vital questions to ponder.

Worldviews have either emphasized “being” or “becoming.” The
West, until the recent influx of Eastern thought, has been more involved in “becoming,” where the flow of subjective as well as chronological time is real; progress is real; separation and boundaries are real; egos are what people come with, and individuation is not only acknowledged but valued. The eighteenth-century “Age of Reason” (the West’s “Age of Enlightenment”) used reason to overcome religious authority, dogma, and superstition. Western “enlightenment” has come to mean using intelligence, thought, intuition, and emotions to understand human nature and the world more deeply. This process does not primarily occur through the isolation of inner contemplation, but through the accumulated
and shared experiences of humankind, where “truth” either withstands the tests of time or is modified with new information. Since
Freud, there has also been a focus on inner life and psychodynamics
that were structured and interpreted through very different worldviews and views of the mind than in Eastern frameworks.

In the East “being,” which is identified with “timeless” states that
are “outside of psychological time,” has been traditionally more valued. Since thought generates the subjective sense of time and creates the past and future, it is looked upon as a hindrance to being in what is called the “eternal now.” This worldview envisions the unity of existence as primary, with diversity being secondary at best, and the boundaries that create individual entities constituting a lesser order or even considered unreal. A flow of values has come from the unity worldview that look upon ego and self-centeredness, competition, and attachments to anything as not only blocking spiritual connection but as being the source of our earthly problems. Enlightenment for the East is a timeless unchanging state that is beyond thought, beyond attachments, and beyond the needs of a person or person’s ego for personal enhancements. Here fundamental truth is static, eternal, and unchanging.

We have found both the “being” and “becoming” worldview foundations to be in their own ways deeply enmeshed in either/or thinking. Either diversity is the basic reality or unity is; either you are attached or non-attached; either you’re competitive and feeding your illusory ego, or you are cooperative in the realization that you are connected to everything; either you are in thought, generating no-longer-existent pasts and non-existent futures, or your mind is quiet and experiencing the timeless ecstasy of “now.”

Worldviews are constructions of the human mind as people attempt
to glean some understanding of the situation and circumstances they
find themselves in. Many worldviews are generally not put together out of conscious intention, but rather are pieced together through personal experience and such cultural accretions as tradition, science, social climate, intuition, and desires about the way the world should be. In a less globalized village, people have tended to incorporate worldviews as a whole; local religions, and more recently the scientific mindset, are popular examples. But more and more people are eclectically combining their beliefs from the global marketplace of ideas. We contend that any construction of human thought (including of course our current one in this book and the one from thirty-five years ago) is potentially fallible and needs to be subject to revision through the feedback and changes that life brings. Worldviews that are fundamentally unchangeable, no matter what, are authoritarian and increasingly outmoded because they cannot cope with a rapidly changing and diversifying local and greater world.”

http://bit.ly/rZi26

298. Jomo Piñata - October 7, 2009

289/Crouching

Agreed. Truth is, I considered putting that sentence in, but left it out, knowing you would supply it.

299. James Mclemore - October 7, 2009

Jomo

It may just be my old computer, but the link would not open. I got a message saying ‘the file is damaged and could not be repaired’.

I suppose there is the chance that it was a secret message meant just for me and that was pointing out my own unfixable mental problems. I hate it when that happens.

300. fofblogmoderator - October 7, 2009

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