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Fellowship Of Friends/Living Presence/Pathway To Presence Discussion – Page 127 September 3, 2012

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Welcome to the newest page of the Fellowship of Friends/Pathway To Presence Discussion.

At the Moderator’s discretion, excessive abuse, personal attacks, taking up too much space, as well as deliberate attempts to unmask people taking part in the discussion will result in a warning followed by a ban or a leave of absence from the discussion.

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 official site of The  Fellowship Of Friends;

http://www.livingpresence.com/

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1. fofblogmoderator - September 3, 2012

INDEX TO THE BLOG

Animam Recro – Fellowship of Friends – a cult for intellectuals, and Fellowship of Friends Discussion
Part 1 through Part 10

http://animamrecro.wordpress.com/2006/04/16/fellowship-of-friends-a-cult-for-intellectuals/

The Fellowship of Friends Discussion – Free speech is a dirty business
Part 11 through Part 33

http://fellowshipoffriends.wordpress.com/

Fellowship Of Friends/Living Presence/Pathway To Presence Discussion
Part 34 through Part 124 (current page)

https://fofdiscussion.wordpress.com/

These links will allow you to access every page of this blog from its beginning in 2006.

Read with an open mind and you will find out the truth about Robert Burton and the Fellowship of Friends.

And if you are a member of the FOF you may find your path to freedom.

2. Life Person - September 3, 2012

Niko Navi

Let’s talk about “spiritual values” for a moment. What are they?

When I was in the Fellowship, what I experienced was a valuation for being present. I valued that before I joined, and have valued it in the 35 since I joined. My practice in that regard, and my valuation for it, is at least as strong as it ever was. The practice of being present has been taught in Buddhism, for example, for thousands of years, with far greater sophistication than anything I saw in the Fellowship. If you research dzogchen or mahamudra, you’ll find very precise teachings about being present in the Tibetan Buddhist tradition.

But there are tremendous differences between Burton’s version of spirituality and anything found in either Buddhism or any other tradition that transcend sophistication in the practice of being present. Burton took from Gurdjieff the notion of a sort of enlightened selfishness and made it into a centerpiece of his teaching. The Buddha taught that life is like living in a burning house; we must prioritize getting out before we burn. But in Burtonism, getting out oneself is all that matters; everyone else is a prop or an obstacle. If you step on a baby on your way to the exit, tell yourself that its screams are those of a soul destined for the moon anyway; separate from the “feminine dominance” or “king of spades” that is masquerading as conscience or morality, and head for the door. The more aware we are, the more we can help ourselves, but also, the more we can help others. Burtonism confines this to “other dues-paying members, for only as long as they remain such.” And even that is largely illusory. See, for example, the comment above that “I don’t care what Burton does.” This demonstrates that at least that member couldn’t care less whether other members are being persuaded to serve as masturbatory tools for Burton, getting STDs, etc., as long as he himself feels he’s approaching the exit door. Screw ‘em.

These are the “spiritual values” of the Fellowship. You’ll find nothing like this in any tradition outside the membership of the Fellowship, or other similar cults, of which there are many. Most of the people considered Conscious in the Fellowship would cringe at the thought of such wholesale callous disregard for others. All schools of Buddhism, for example, teach compassion for all as fundamental—as fundamental as being present. Jesus taught that the irreducible teachings are: love God and love your neighbor. Not love your teaching-payment-making neighbor, and screw all the rest. And yes, I’ve read plenty of Fourth Way interpretations of the Gospels. As for “serving the gods,” in practice this means no more in Burtonism than doing whatever Burton asks, usually giving him money or sex, since only Burton can know what “the gods” want.

Fundamentalist members will rush to their Bible—In Search of the Miraculous—and point to where Gurdjieff sneers, “They say we have no love.” But while it’s reasonable to accept initially that one’s notion of love is primitive and largely illusory, this idea is used as an excuse for simple selfishness even decades of membership. There is no progression beyond it.

3. Tim Campion - September 3, 2012

I feel the spirit of Greg Goodwin in the house again.

4. nigel - September 3, 2012

From “Robert Earl Burton, the Unauthorized Blogography”…..
“Friday, June 8, 2012″…..
“Is Robert Burton a Sociopath?”…..

How to spot a sociopath – 10 red flags that could save you from being swept under the influence of a charismatic nut job…..

Friday, June 08, 2012
by Mike Adams, the Health Ranger, Editor of NaturalNews.com

(NaturalNews) One of the more offensive duties of being an investigative journalist is taking out the trash — exposing liars, fraudsters, con artists and scammers for the people they truly are. Each time we investigate a sociopath, we find that they always have a little cult group following of spellbound worshippers who consider that particular sociopath to be a “guru” or “prophet.”

Sociopaths are masters at influence and deception. Very little of what they say actually checks out in terms of facts or reality, but they’re extremely skillful at making the things they say sound believable, even if they’re just making them up out of thin air. Here, I’m going to present quotes and videos of some legendary sociopaths who convinced everyday people to participate in mass suicides. And then I’m going to demonstrate how and why similar sociopaths are operating right now… today.

Why cover this subject? I’ve seen a lot of people get hoodwinked, scammed or even harmed by sociopaths, and it bewilders me that people are so easily sucked into their destructive influence. I want to share with NaturalNews readers the warning signs of sociopaths so that you can spot them, avoid them, and save yourself the trouble of being unduly influenced by them.

Much of this information is derived from the fascinating book, “The Sociopath Next Door”, which says that 4% of the population are sociopaths. The book is a fascinating read.

10 signs for spotting a sociopath

#1) Sociopaths are charming. Sociopaths have high charisma and tend to attract a following just because people want to be around them. They have a “glow” about them that attracts people who typically seek guidance or direction. They often appear to be sexy or have a strong sexual attraction. Not all sexy people are sociopaths, obviously, but watch out for over-the-top sexual appetites and weird fetishes.

#2) Sociopaths are more spontaneous and intense than other people. They tend to do bizarre, sometimes erratic things that most regular people wouldn’t do. They are unbound by normal social contracts. Their behavior often seems irrational or extremely risky.

#3) Sociopaths are incapable of feeling shame, guilt or remorse. Their brains simply lack the circuitry to process such emotions. This allows them to betray people, threaten people or harm people without giving it a second thought. They pursue any action that serves their own self interest even if it seriously harms others.

#4) Sociopaths invent outrageous lies about their experiences. They wildly exaggerate things to the point of absurdity, but when they describe it to you in a storytelling format, for some reason it sounds believable at the time.

#5) Sociopaths seek to dominate others and “win” at all costs. They hate to lose any argument or fight and will viciously defend their web of lies, even to the point of logical absurdity.

#6) Sociopaths tend to be highly intelligent, but they use their brainpower to deceive others rather than empower them. Their high IQs often makes them dangerous. This is why many of the best-known serial killers who successfully evaded law enforcement were sociopaths.

#7) Sociopaths are incapable of love and are entirely self-serving. They may feign love or compassion in order to get what they want, but they don’t actually FEEL love in the way that you or I do.

#8) Sociopaths speak poetically. They are master wordsmiths, able to deliver a running “stream of consciousness” monologue that is both intriguing and hypnotic. They are expert storytellers and even poets. As a great example of this in action, watch this interview of Charles Manson:

#9) Sociopaths never apologize. They are never wrong. They never feel guilt. They can never apologize. Even if shown proof that they were wrong, they will refuse to apologize and instead go on the attack.

#10) Sociopaths are delusional and literally believe that what they say becomes truth merely because they say it! Charles Manson, the sociopathic murderer, is famous for saying, “I’ve never killed anyone! I don’t need to kill anyone! I THINK it! I have it HERE! (Pointing to his temple.) I don’t need to live in this physical realm…”

(Make your own mind up about Burton…..Nigel.)

5. Shard_of_Oblivion - September 4, 2012

Here’s an interesting extract from the article written by Marie Seton who worked as Ouspensky’s secretary when he was in New York during the second world war.
Seton, Marie
The Case of P. D. Ouspensky. Quest (Calcutta), No. 34, July-Sept., 1962, pp. 36-44, 6000wds.

Soon after this, Ouspensky mentioned he had heard of an exceptionally good restaurant where he intended to go to dinner some time. Then an afternoon came when he instructed me to cancel the lecture set for that evening because he wanted to go to dinner at this restaurant which had very good food and wine. I cancelled the lecture and informed as many of the people as possible. Ouspensky then asked me to go out to dinner at this restaurant with him. It was a most excellent dinner, but during it I felt the time had come when I must ask him for an explanation as to how he could consider that this dinner justified the sudden cancellation of a lecture. Where did such action fit into the System, and where also did his violent temper towards some people fit in?
The thought went through my mind several times: Is it I who do not understand? Is it I who have lost all sense of proportion? Is it I who am being temperamental in feeling that I have a right to seek an explanation and not to take all this for granted as being in order?
When the coffee came, I asked: “Can you, or will you, explain how it is you could cancel a lecture at a few hours notice for the sake of this dinner? I don’t understand. And I am sorry to feel compelled to ask you; but do you lose your temper with people consciously, or because you have lost control of yourself? You do not lose your temper with me in this way…”
“They are such fools,” he said. “I’ve lost control of my temper.”
“But surely, if we are to try to control our negative emotions, we cannot learn from you, if you can’t control yours,” I said.
Ouspensky answered bluntly: “I took over the leadership to save the System. But I took it over before I had gained enough control over myself. I was not ready. I have lost control over myself. It is a long time since I could control my state of mind.”
“Will you not try to gain control over your temper for everybody thinks you are testing them when you fly at them,” I said, for it never entered my head that Peter Ouspensky was not speaking the truth.
“They are fools!” he said contemptuously.
“But I really feel I have learned something from the System,” I said.
“Then you are the only one who ever has!” said Ouspensky.
“I have really tried.” I said, “tried for myself.”
“The others are deluding themselves. They have never gained anything,” Ouspensky said.
For some strange reason I was not aghast at such revelations. I was not even shocked. I was sorry because I did not feel for a moment that Ouspensky wanted to be in this predicament of disillusion and realisation that he had tried to become a guru when he had not attained the resources in himself to keep control of himself.
“Why don’t you give up the lectures and try to gain control of yourself again?” I asked.
“The System has become a profession with me,” Ouspensky answered.
There could hardly have been a more honest exchange of question and answer and I respected P. D. Ouspensky for admitting his predicament. I did not feel he had defrauded me because I had not built the whole of my existence upon the System and I was not a devotee who would be lost in despair if my guru turned out to have feet of clay. I spoke to no one for I hoped that Peter Ouspensky would decide to bring his lectures to a halt and seek to gain control over himself.
As the days went on I thought of the predicament I was in with the young couple paying not only the rents and the bills for Mr. Ouspensky and Madam, but, that up to that moment, they had handed to me any amount of money that P. D. Ouspensky had told them to. And he had insisted that I take some of it for my own expenses.
“Will you not give up the lectures?” I asked later.
He did not say yes, or no. I waited a week and then another. We often went out and talked a great deal. It was often about the attitude of the people who stayed in the country house. He knew they were afraid to be on their own. He was never indignant or enraged at my questioning him. I feel that he would have liked to halt the situation. But the question was how?
One day he said something that was somehow more revealing than anything else as to the way a man becomes entangled in a role, or a vocation.
“In Russia,” said Ouspensky, “there used to be a thousand or two thousand people at my lectures. Here there are a hundred—too few.”
Was it that a thousand or two thousand ordinary people did not corrupt P. D. Ouspensky? But one hundred rich people ready to enshrine him as a Master of far greater development, as they supposed, than they could ever hope to attain had exerted the power to lead him to abandon his desire for control of himself? Or weakened his will to set about it?
One day he said: “I have become dependent on the comfort, the luxury. I can’t give it up.”
As I said earlier, no one was ever kinder to me in a human sense than P. D. Ouspensky. Fond he was of me, and honest with me, too; but he was prepared for me to continue doing what I had been doing, even though I knew he had lost his way. Evidently he could not feel at the time that he was wronging his followers by continuing his role of guru though convinced—if what he said was true—that no one was deriving any benefit from it.

6. Shard_of_Oblivion - September 4, 2012

So who’s this dodgy looking geezer in the camel hair coat?
Whoever’s holding the camera has a very shaky grip.

The “music” is provided by the grand wazoo himself.

7. Boogie Street - September 4, 2012

196.niko navi

“I stopped day dreaming and learned to practice intentional imagination.
I stopped expressing negative emotion and use the energy, otherwise
wasted, for creative ends.”

It may not be at all the same thing niko, but it certainly reminded me of the statement someone else once made, “I have succeeded in completely stopping thoughts”, never noticing that the statement itself was simply another thought.

8. Boogie Street - September 4, 2012

2. Life Person

great post –

“But there are tremendous differences between Burton’s version of spirituality and anything found in either Buddhism or any other tradition that transcend sophistication in the practice of being present.”

I would say that even with the “tremendous” thrown in, that this is an understatement.

Making ‘mind’ and ‘body’ the enemy –
Several assumptions seem to already be at work in the cosmology that laid the groundwork for how the FoF’s presentation of the Fourth Way makes a little bit of the mind itself the “enemy”, while making another little bit of the mind the “work”. The “work” or “observer” now has the duty of watching and guarding this “enemy” while swinging between the hope of getting rid of or neutralizing it, and the fear that it will be unable to do so. Once that dynamic is in place you can settle in for, what I suspect is, an endless battle. Cat watching mice. And not only watching but then having to divide them up into all kinds of categories of higher and lower and false personality and essence etc, ad nauseum. Then Burton gets even weirder as he adds the dreaded “King of Clubs” to the story, now making both ‘mind’ and the obviously innocent ‘body’ into, not only obstacles, but actual enemies. Poor cat doesn’t stand much of a chance. I can see in relation to Shard’s story how even Ouspensky felt overwhelmed.

9. Fee fi fo fum - September 4, 2012

5 Shard

Thanks for the extract. I felt it could just easily have described the FF and RB, such as her doubting herself rather than Ouspensky (second paragraph), which is typical of students who are unable to find fault with their teacher or guru and therefore rationalize everything that the teacher does. (Doesn’t this sound familiar?)

And of course, how familiar we are with being taken advantage of, financially, where she refers to “the young couple paying not only the rents and the bills for Mr. Ouspensky and Madam, but, that up to that moment, they had handed to me any amount of money that P. D. Ouspensky had told them to.”

One day he (Ouspensky) said: “I have become dependent on the comfort, the luxury. I can’t give it up.”

That says it all. At least he admitted it; not sure if RB ever would. In that kind of environment, the values are not about service and compassion and kindness. It’s about a comfortable, sybaritic existence at the expense of its members.

10. Life Person - September 4, 2012

8. Boogie Street

I meant to say King of Clubs rather than King of Spades in my post. Forgive a sleeping machine, it’s been long time. In fact, Burton didn’t invent the King of Clubs as The Evil Within until after I left. Back in the day, the King of Clubs was respected as the part of our mechanism that kept us alive, to be observed like all the other parts. Burton also hadn’t yet exalted the Nine of Hearts as the Uber Card. It was merely his own center of gravity. Perhaps a current member can let me know whether C Influence has informed Burton yet that greed is to be the guiding principle of the New Civilization? If not, it’s coming, just wait. And is Ayn Rand now considered a conscious being? Or is it still the case that only women who don’t have sex can work with the Fellowship?

11. I in the sky - September 4, 2012

126 – 157. Shard_of_Oblivion

I didn’t see this post until after I answered your last questions. I was tempted to accept your offer of full disclosure as to the verification of Influence C. Perhaps some of the last comments in #171 served as a partial answer. In the end I am reluctant to take you up on the offer as I can almost be sure you will be disappointed. For one thing I believe a person begins to verify Influence C over the course of their life, not just after they meet an organization like the FoF. And all those accumulated experiences would take a long time to articulate. But more than that, your disappointment would stem from another fact. Influence C reveals themselves to people in a most personal way. You could almost say that for each individual they have a special brand of communication that is specific to the person. This may be due in part because of a person’s make-up, temperament, upbringing, life experiences, and in no small part due to other reasons like body type, etc.

Most of the seminal experiences I could relate might sound very insignificant to you, or contrived. but most of all the main reason is what I wrote in #171 – the experiences exist outside of the bounds of language.

One powerful experience I can relate was right after I joined. The weight of my troubles, mostly financial issues but also emotional problems, were pressing down on me from all sides. It felt like everything was about to come crashing down. I took a walk and stopped and sat on a park bench. In the space of a few minutes all of my worries and cares were wiped away; it was as if someone had gone into my brain and literally extracted all my concerns. This was done without the aid of me thinking about anything. If fact I had no thoughts at all, nor was I aware of any “voice” “communicating” with me.

In those moments I am sure I experienced true bliss. It felt as if another entity had entered me and consoled me and without the use of words communicated this: “Don’t worry, we are going to be with you from now on. You just follow our lead and everything will work out.”

That advice has turned out to be true. As bleak as circumstances and events have seemed at times I’ve remembered that experience. Actually remembering it is incorrect. I rarely think of it anymore; it is just a part of me. That was the loneliest moment of my life and after the state I had on that park bench I’ve never felt I was alone again.

The urge has come, waves of loneliness have appeared but they do not afflict me, they do not overcome me. For me that “visit” was the start of the verification. Many communications followed over the years, But those are of the nature that would not mean much to you as they were a personal dialog, and you would have had to be with me throughout my life for them to take on any meaning. This may be all I can say on the subject for now.

12. Agent 45 - September 4, 2012

That’s really sweet, Cupcake.
“I was strolling through the park one day,
I was taken by surprise by a pair of lovely “I’s”
Maybe that’s all I can say.”
That’ll be the day, sweetheart. You failed to mention any connection with Burton & the Fellowship as the source or explain that whole kiss-up, kick down thing you seem to have been manifesting for the last 40 years. What up with that?

13. Golden Veil - September 4, 2012

12. Agent 45

“That’s really sweet, Cupcake.”

Careful, Agent 45… maybe “Cupcake” is really a “Stud Muffin!”

“I’ve noticed patterns in myself where I like to reminisce during moon phases. So, I’ll catch myself thinking about an old girlfriend, or find myself humming old rock and roll songs. How do you quantify that? Do I also do that at times when it’s not the moon? Yes. Do I do that on each moon? No. But there are clear patterns regarding those tendencies. Am I less patient around moons? Yes. Am I more impulsive? Yes? How much so? Enough to notice.”

[ I in the sky, Pager 126, post 172 ]

No matter… lady or no, she/he has described verification of influence C for themselves in post 11, above. It’s a very concise description and it really resonated with me ~ so similar to thoughts/feelings (but they’re not really thoughts/feelings) I have had myself ~ this sense that all will be all right. But, for me it seems to be the result of a spontaneous heightened awareness of what some have called “Unified Field Theory” or the concept “All is One.” I really do not believe in guardian angels, spirit guides, Influence C or other invisible support systems. But, there may be a compulsion, within many of us, I think, to bring these sorts of imaginary presences to bloom. And I think that this compulsion comes from fear or dread of solitude and helplessness. The moment described by I in the sky may have been the only way to survive a desperate time…

Having said that, my intent is not to trash the b.s. (belief systems) of others… my b.s. is that only… mine.

14. Shard_of_Oblivion - September 4, 2012

11 “I in the sky” Gives an account of an experience that is a part if their verification of C influence:

“One powerful experience I can relate was right after I joined. The weight of my troubles, mostly financial issues but also emotional problems, were pressing down on me from all sides. It felt like everything was about to come crashing down. I took a walk and stopped and sat on a park bench. In the space of a few minutes all of my worries and cares were wiped away; it was as if someone had gone into my brain and literally extracted all my concerns. This was done without the aid of me thinking about anything. If fact I had no thoughts at all, nor was I aware of any “voice” “communicating” with me.”

Thanks for sharing that. It comes across well, and I do believe you are simply relating a true experience here. I have not myself had a similar experience, and can’t be sure how it might have affected me if I had, but I can see it would provide considerable comfort to you to have had it, and after the fact to know you have had it.

I still think it is too much of a leap to go from that experience to concluding that a higher mind exists and takes an interest in your life, but I think you already knew that would be my angle on it.

I feel I owe you one personal revelation, you can cash it in whenever you want to.

15. Life Person - September 4, 2012

Is the question really whether a higher intelligence exists, such as what some call God, which may guide the course of creation, and even individuals? That’s something that’s kept people busy for quite a while. There are probably several billion people who believe in God, and some percentage of those that have had at least one profound experience that seemed to them to supply convincing proof. Personally, I have little doubt of it, based on my experiences. That seems a far cry from “Influence C” as the term is used in the Fellowship, where it’s used to mean disembodied spirits of particular people which guide the personal development of Fellowship members, and only Fellowship members. (Of course we can ignore the complete absence of any such usage in any Fourth Way material outside the Fellowship.) Burton once described them to me as sometimes appearing to him as similar to the shimmering heat waves above a hot stretch of highway. A profound sense of bliss and that one is being guided is a gift and nothing to be disparaged, but if that constitutes verifying Influence C, I suspect Influence C is working with millions of non-members, which we know just can’t be, because Burton says so.

16. Ames Gilbert - September 4, 2012

Eye in the sky (#127-11 or thereabouts),
thank you very much for sharing your experience. It resonated with me because I have had ‘similar-sounding’ experiences many times in my life—before, during, and after my stay in the Fellowship of Friends. The difficulty is, as you say, trying to describe them using our language. I would describe my experiences more along the lines of ‘feeling oneness with everything’ or a ‘knowingness that everything is all right’, and certainly the very opposite of feeling alone.

But . . . going by how people talked, to me, in the Fellowship, this was not what anyone ascribed to ‘C-Influence’. Isn’t that interesting? Until you made the association just now, I never considered these experiences ‘C-Influence’ communicating with me personally in any way. After I joined the FoF, I had always assumed that this ‘C-Influence’ would communicate something that tied in with Burton and the Fellowship and the ‘task of building a new civilization’ in some way. Something more specific than a general ‘knowingness that everything is all right’. After all, that is the way Burton always put it. I wasn’t expecting Leonardo himself to whisper in my ear like Burton claimed, but to have some general guidance that steered me one way or another personally, and guided me towards something useful to do with the task. There was none of that. And I always felt that powers that Burton claimed were managing things so that 7 billion people were going to perish in some awful cataclysm, had guided important events and people through history, could manage to communicate more clearly than through license plates, which required some fancy foot-shuffling and incredible stretches by Burton to ‘interpret’. Not to mention that Burton has always been wrong, so what does that say for the reliability of the method?

So, for me, my experiences in this line had nothing and have nothing whatsoever to do with the Fellowship, or Burton, or even the Fourth Way. You have associated yours strongly with joining the FoF, and appear to give much of the credit to Burton.
_______________________________
My experience is that, after the initial excitement and fresh energy (say, the first five years) I became more and more asleep in the Fellowship, and everyone I knew around me, the same. I joined the groupthink, and despite gaining lots of theoretical ‘brownie points’ as I collected an endless series of ‘high states, became disappointed and depressed. Nothing could be good enough, and although I felt I was making the maximum efforts in every regard, there was always the feeling that I could have done a little bit more, and that I was a failure. Despite the ‘high states’, I felt my efforts were futile and even pointless, and I was in despair. And there was always the question, “How could Robert have done it in only 18 months?” It took a long time to realize that I had indeed tried as hard as possible, that I had been led down a blind alley, that Burton was lying, by commission and omission, about practically everything. That I had to back out, that I knew what was best for myself (or at least I knew that I didn’t want to follow Burton into darkness), and had to be responsible for myself. I realized that whatever Burton claimed, I had to start looking for, recognize and rely on my conscience—a bedrock principle of the Fourth Way, and part of the guidance I expected to receive when I joined the FoF. Far from guiding his followers about how to go about this, Burton revealed himself fully as he really is when he said, “Conscience is just a collection of I’s. Anyone accumulating too much should leave the school”.
And then, for me, the circle became complete. When I was on my knees, in despair, begging for help, help came. Maybe one could call it ‘C-Influence’, but that, by definition, is reserved exclusively for members of the Fellowship of Friends who are up-to-date with their dues. So I’ll call it what I’ve always called it, Grace.
________________________________
This blog is a lively place. Thank you all for your contributions, I appreciate them and the energy it takes to produce them. But, I’m going to take a break and not come here for a couple of weeks at least, see how that feels, and refresh myself. Thanks again!

17. WhaleRider - September 4, 2012

I in the Sky:
“…faith based verification”

LOL! Wow, that’s a good one.

In other words…verifabrication.

“Science is interested in the world of matter, not the world of spirit.”

It seems to me that science is interested in the world of ideas, which are not matter either!!!

And since when has the science and practice of psychology been unconcerned with matters of the spirit?

“It likes to identify and classify into neat groups of yes or no.”

Hold on a minute! Science makes plenty of room for “maybe” and “probably not”. The whole science of quantum matter is based upon probabilities.

Science also has many more classifications of species of life than just “two neat groups”…(such as in member or non-member, perhaps?)

Several new species are being discovered right now as you read this.

You might just just benefit from reading a few of those Science magazines in the waiting room at the next dentist visit, if you can afford to go to the dentist, that is.

“Science has no use for faith….”

Science has no use for superstition, grasshopper.

Faith got Curiosity to Mars, for goodness sake!

Let me know when you receive live photos of Paradise from the afterlife, then maybe I’ll believe you.

Re: your verifabrication of c-influence as entering your body from outside.

I have to agree with Ames, that wasn’t my understanding of the concept either. IMO, that’s, well…spooky.

I was under the impression that moments of being in the moment as you describe were self-generated through my own efforts of self-remembering, employing “shocks” from life as the sly man’s pill….AKA, “How can I profit from this cluster fuck?”…or as my kids say, “turning lemons into lemonade”. C-influence came from the mouth of a conscious person. B-influence is what other people say and write about the conscious person.

But you have taken it to another level.

You are suggesting that only if one has verifabricated c-influence in this delusional way as entering your body as a gift of “presence” can one be a “true believer” such as yourself.

You are classifying the “shocks”…AKA ideas of reference…as proof that ghosts exist and are personally helping you to awaken.

Well, I’m here to say that moments of sustained presence are not dependent upon paying a sociopath membership dues to be raped!

A simple valuation for the mystery of life creates wonderful stress relieving moments of presence, too…just as easily as burton’s delusional system of license plate numerology.

Ah but, I now understand what you and burton have in common vis a vis the obsession with the present.

You both use it as a source of refuge from the stress of life…for not taking fucking responsibility for your actions…the people you have harmed and for your credit card debt.

The whole lunar delusion is a gateway meme, too…if you can suspend your disbelief long enough to believe that the moon pulling on our lymphatic fluid makes us express negative emotions, then it must be to feed itself, ’cause that’s just what moons and babies do and a moon is a baby planet…and burton doesn’t like babies. Babies have to be fed and that costs time and money.

It’s not my fault, that bad, sinister moon made me do it!

Ridiculous! And infantile thinking, too, so to speak.

You know, it is easier for a camel to walk through the eye of a needle than for the truth to enter the head of a delusional person.

It seems to me that Jesus was being a bit satirical in his version, too.

Probably those in power didn’t appreciate his satire either.

18. sanchoman - September 4, 2012

17. Whale Rider

“A simple valuation for the mystery of life creates wonderful stress relieving moments of presence, too…just as easily as burton’s delusional system of license plate numerology.”

True–and far more easily, in my experience.

“You both use it as a source of refuge from the stress of life…for not taking fucking responsibility for your actions.”

Good point.

But, Whale Rider, while you may believe that the idea that the moon influences human behavior is an infantile delusion, I don’t. I’ve observed correlations between full moons and my behavior and my dreams over the course of decades. Am I fully convinced that the connection exists? No. I’m not fully convinced of a lot of things, but I believe it may.

There are a multitude of good reasons to view the Fellowship as misguided and unhelpful, if not counterproductive; to view Burton as sociopathic and delusional and criminal; and members as self-absorbed and naive at best, but believing that the moon may influence human behavior isn’t a great example. People have believed it for millennia. They may be on to something, or they may not, but that’s little reason to reason to hold that up as evidence of the Fellowship being screwed up.

What’s screwed up is the idea that the belief in lunar influence is something special. Correct or not, it’s so widespread that what’s odd to me is why anyone in the Fellowship would offer it as evidence of anything. It’s like saying, “We’re the highest school on Earth because C Influence revealed to us that Vitamin C alleviates the symptoms of the common cold,” or “We know Burton is a Conscious Being because he teaches that Bach wrote beautiful music.”

So yes, I’m not too impressed by what I in the Sky has to offer, and I think one would have to be pretty easily impressed to start shoveling tons of money at a sex addict on the basis of it, but at the same time, why keep snarling at her? If she can lie on her deathbed with a clear conscience feeling that she’s lived a full and satisfying life, and not hang herself like one of her compatriots, good for her. If there are higher forces–which I believe there are–they aren’t as easily corrupted as Burton would have it appear.

19. Boogie Street - September 5, 2012

Ames and WhaleRider and Life Person – I really like the posts on “C Influence” and “verifabrication” and science, but don’t you think the story itself is kind of intriguing, just as a story? I think with some adaptation and screenplay writing we could turn it into a Sci-Fi thriller.

THE 44 or INFLUENCE C –

Thrown away, because of being ‘spiritually’ immature and just an old folktale myth and belonging to the very low end of “B Influence”, is the picture of God as an old white male way up in the sky, keeping records of peoples behavior so that He might later hand out rewards and punishments. Instead we are met with Bobbie’s “accelerated evolution” presentation of a rather equally bizarre picture of a bunch of mainly old white dead men that comprise a secret inner circle to humanity. Which I have to say, certainly sounds like a lot more fun than just some Old Guy in the sky. This group also gives out the required rewards and punishments. These 44 dead people have evidently come together to lovingly help people with their evolution, but only people belonging to a small group in the foothills of California which is run by the Divine Goddess, and then,…well,.. maybe not always so lovingly. “C Influence”, or the “44” as they are known, main job seems to be to write the “plays” of these followers lives and to create the inner and outer and much sought after “friction” which will help to grow the followers fledgling souls. The “44” then spend their leisure time planning for great catastrophies to befall any and all of mankind, for no other reason than to act as a “shock” for these very same followers. A “shock” which will again be of some help in the creation of their souls and also to let them know how special they are. It should be pointed out that the “C” have not really lived up to their potential in respect to creating those shocks and killing of innocent people in order that they mesh with the Divine Goddess’s prophecies. The Divine Goddess’s reaction when his prophecies did not come to pass, was never relief that innocent people did not have to die, but with humiliation that his secret friends did come through for him. There seems to be a communication problem. You see the “C” seem to have some trouble communicating openly to the “Divine Goddess” by the act of perhaps directly creating insights from within his own mind, and have had to rely on mail boxes, road signs, and most especially license plates. They have to do this because the secret knowledge they are trying to deliver has to be hidden in such a way that only the members of the group will see them. And even then the members must first be making efforts to ‘be’ in what they call the “present moment” before they can recognize the secret license plates or whatever form the secret knowledge comes in.
I picture some of the old white dead men not understanding this particular concept. I see Rumi and Walt Whitman looking especially astonished and saying,
“They are already in the present moment for Christ’s sake. Where in the fuck exactly do they think that they are?”
It is explained by their leader Leonardo that the followers don’t know that they are already in the present moment because the Divine Goddess has told them they aren’t, but if they work hard and pay the Divine Goddess enough money to keep him in silk underwear that they might be there someday, or possibly in a coming lifetime.
I can see Ben Franklin rolling his eyes and looking over at Da Vinci,
“Well be that as it may, but there’s got to be a better way to communicate with these folks, because you know Leo, I have pretty much run out of ideas for this damn license plate thing.”

20. Toby - September 5, 2012

Ames: ” This blog is a lively place. Thank you all for your contributions, I appreciate them and the energy it takes to produce them. ”

I second that. Thanks Ames for your booming voice, as well as Tim, WhaleRider, and Life Person, and many of the rest of you.

Some of the conversation about “verifying Influence C” seemed a bit off-topic to me at times, but I have to admit it exposes a way of thinking that otherwise might be left unsaid, and therefore unexposed to scrutiny. When cult leaders articulate their dogma, they are doing two things simultaneously:

1) They reveal part of what they are thinking.
2) They also hide a lot of what they are thinking. . . by omitting numerous hidden assumptions and false premises.

The more something is discussed openly, as it is here, the harder it is to hide those false premises. Relentless backpedaling and convoluted explanations just expose the thinking even more.

Fwiw, I’m happy for people who sense or perceive the existence of God or higher powers — especially if that perception inspires them to improve themselves, develop their talents, live healthy and happy lives, serve others, and have a positive affect on the earth.

In my opinion, here’s partly where things go awry:

– The belief that I have “verified” higher beings, while simultaneously believing that certain others could not possibly have done the same.
– The belief that I have “verified” that higher beings are affecting me personally, while simultaneously believing that certain others could not possibly have “verified” that higher beings are affecting them personally.
– The belief that there is no longer any mystery about God, gods, or the afterlife. I know someone who has figured it out, or I have figured it out, so there is no longer any real mystery about these things. Other theories or ideas or perceptions are irrelevant.
– The belief that I among the special few who can understand these things.
– The belief that this special connection can justify harmful, inhumane, abusive, or monstrous actions toward others.

21. brucelevy - September 5, 2012

11. I in the sky

I disagree, but I respect your right to be stupid.

22. I in the sky - September 5, 2012

Bruce Levy – 20

“I disagree, but I respect your right to be stupid.”

I take that to imply you are smart. Under the circumstances you leave me no choice but to take your words as a compliment.

23. fofblogmoderator - September 5, 2012

#18 is new

24. WhaleRider - September 5, 2012

Boogie Street:
“Well be that as it may, but there’s got to be a better way to communicate with these folks, because you know Leo, I have pretty much run out of ideas for this damn license plate thing.”

“The mailbox idea was great while it lasted,” said Socrates, “but that’s getting old, too.”

Whereupon Will Shakespeare adressed the group, “We are men of letters, not numbers!”

“Speak for yourself,” interjected Pythagoras.

Will continued. “Do you think they are finally ready for full sentences, yet?”

“Or complete thoughts?” added Voltaire.

“AND freedom?” pondered Ben Franklin out loud.

They all looked at each other and shook their not so heavy heads in silence.

“Naaah!!!” They all said in unison…except for Lao Tsu who never said anything.

“With my last dying breathe I tried to warn them!”, blurted Ouspensky as he threw back a shot of vodka from his vest pocket flask.

“Idiots”, grumbled Gurdjieff, who produced a bottle of Armagnac from under his thick coat and slammed on the ethereal table.

Lewis Carrol grinned. “”O Oysters,” said the Carpenter, “You’ve had a pleasant run! Shall we be trotting home again?’ But answer came there none–And this was scarcely odd, because
They’d eaten everyone.”

“Maybe I should start a blog?” said Pavel.

25. jomopinata - September 5, 2012

24/whalerider

Love it!

26. Shard_of_Oblivion - September 5, 2012

“Well the Gods reveal themselves to me
I do not er
It’s not my station
they reveal themselves by faith
they are forming an ark using me
they use a variety of means to communicate
they have somewhat of a physical metaphysical presence that they use to communicate
this is a relationship of man number 7 to higher school
my mother’s name was Shock
my mother’s maiden name was Thelma Shock
so it’s a very kind of brutal experience verifying influence C
they have a heavy hand
it’s so long as though they carry a wand in one hand and a club in the other
you are touched by both
it’s a very, it’s a real burden I’m carrying it
but it’s a dear burden and one I would never drop
Influence C pressures people into reality
you know they take people beyond allurement
and it’s no easy thing to bear them”

You quite literally couldn’t make it up!

27. Boogie Street - September 5, 2012

24. WhaleRider

Yes, that’s the spirit!!

28. WhaleRider - September 5, 2012

Sanchoman:
“I’ve observed correlations between full moons and my behavior and my dreams over the course of decades.”

Sure, light stimulates brain avtivity, which is why some people get better quality sleep in darkness than in light. But don’t take my word for it, try sleeping with the light on for a few nights, see if that has any effect on your dreams and behaviors.

IMHO, (and my experience living with women) the monthly waxing and waning of female hormones has a much greater effect on all human behavior (both male and female) than the moon.

Gee, what a coincidence, they are both in 28 day cycles…no wonder burton prefers to have his way with brain dead young men in the darknees of his wine cellar…unfettered by the pull of feminine dominance.

Oh, and then there is that other little issue of Mercury going retrograde…and my toaster oven going AWOL.

29. Fee fi fo fum - September 5, 2012

I wouldn’t dispute anyone their subjective experience of “having verified C Influence” or “knowing God is with me” or similar feeling of being in the company of the divine. How do you dispute such a personal, perceived relationship? I know someone who says he feels he can go upstairs and knock on God’s door; he doesn’t mean it literally, but he tells me that he really feels that level of intimacy with God. Good for him. My own relationship to that important, but nebulous, world is not so cozy and in-my-face.

The problem starts when someone starts claiming and acting the part of “C Influence’s” intermediary. Who gave RB this authority? If he claims he was anointed, and the beings in charge of him are conscious, and they’re all conveniently dead so can’t be consulted, then the only way we could have disputed that was to say, “I’m conscious, and I know you’re shittin’ me.” But we were told we weren’t conscious, so it was a Catch-22. And for some twisted reason, RB can’t seem to produce any “conscious beings” from within the FF’s own population. Maybe something’s wrong with his secret sauce.

I was at one of those meetings that Ames mentioned, where RB asked, “Who has verified C Influence?” You betcha there was peer pressure to raise your hand. And it’s true, you felt you should raise your hand, not even knowing exactly what you were supposed to have verified. I remember thinking, “If I raise my hand, then I’m lying. But if I don’t raise it, then I’m lacking.” If C Influence was, well, God or Allah or Other, and you weren’t a Christian or Muslim or Other, then what exactly did “verify C Influence” mean? Why didn’t some of us just say that sanitizing the language of all religious and spiritual associations didn’t help, even though there was talk of it being “esoteric Christianity”?

One irony is that, for all of the waffling going on over verifying C Influence or not, the FF seemed sure of what A and B Influences were. Maybe that’s because we could find rock solid examples of those categories. You could point to RB’s Gucci shoes or (former) Rolls Royce and say, A Influence. You could point to “magnetic center” books and say, B Influence. (And yet, isn’t the FF now embracing all sorts of B Influence? Tell me, is it just a bait and switch ploy to increase membership?)

Another irony is that if you had studied astrology seriously, you were told that that was B Influence and to drop it. But the FF talks about the moon phase affecting human behavior. And in the prospective student meetings, you were expected to view all of humanity as body types with the same planetary names. Forget about getting to know people as people: it was more important to “type” them: body type, center of gravity, chief feature, alchemy.

30. Life Person - September 5, 2012

17. WhaleRider
28. WhaleRider

So what’s your point, WhaleRider?

That anything the Fellowship supports must be incorrect by definition, and anyone who agrees with any such thing, no matter how tangential, deserves your snarky derision?

That you know better than anyone else whether their own observations of themselves have any validity, or are merely delusions?

That your anger at Burton justifies endless bitter sarcasm towards everyone?

How long you planning to ride that self-pity, old boy?

31. TARDIS - September 5, 2012

“towards everyone”? That sounds a lot like hyperbole, as well as the words “anything” and “anyone” and “endless” etc.

One of the noble concepts that I did learn in the FOF was the importance of being the words, even if the irony of it all was that few of us ever were, and particularly not Burton himself. Anyway, it’s a good thing to be concerned about a negative tone, as you seem to be above, but the words have a little more depth when a person tries to apply the same to themselves.

32. I in the sky - September 5, 2012

Ames – 16

Thank you for the comments. If you are still reading…

Ames: “But . . . going by how people talked, to me, in the Fellowship, this was not what anyone ascribed to ‘C-Influence’. Isn’t that interesting? Until you made the association just now, I never considered these experiences ‘C-Influence’ communicating with me personally in any way.”

I don’t know if it really matters but most of the people’s opinions who counseled you about Influence C in those early days are no longer in the FoF.

Ames: “I wasn’t expecting Leonardo himself to whisper in my ear like Burton claimed, but to have some general guidance that steered me one way or another personally, and guided me towards something useful to do with the task. There was none of that.”

My understanding is that it was and is possible to get those personal confirmations. All of us at some point tried too hard to get it, or imagined it had to be given in one way and not another way. Ultimately how it’s revealed is not at all as we believed it would be revealed.

Ames:”Burton revealed himself fully as he really is when he said, “Conscience is just a collection of I’s. Anyone accumulating too much should leave the school”.

You’ve quoted that comment several times. I’m guessing it was said many years ago. I haven’t heard anything like that or similar to that. I don’t know what prompted him to say it. I do know that if a person grows and cares about their spiritual development conscience also grows, or at least becomes more clearly defined and accessible.

Ames: “And then, for me, the circle became complete. When I was on my knees, in despair, begging for help, help came. Maybe one could call it ‘C-Influence’, but that, by definition, is reserved exclusively for members of the Fellowship of Friends who are up-to-date with their dues. So I’ll call it what I’ve always called it, Grace.”

Grace is Grace, in or out.

33. Life Person - September 5, 2012

31. TARDIS

Point taken, and I thank you for it.

Whether we’re talking about one person or many people, there must be an end to the bitterness, and to the making of excuses for it. I don’t exempt myself, or consider myself above it all. Obviously, I’m not. I see no useful purpose to be served by repeating and the same litany of grievances, however true, and bickering and nitpicking, and claiming we’re helping potential members, or cathartically unburdening ourselves. This is, for the most part, self-indulgent whining, unseemly as a 60 year-old complaining that his mommy was mean to him when he was four. You, me, or WhaleRider: forgiveness of others and for ourselves will demonstrate far more to the purported potential members and to current members, and be far more therapeutic, than carping about what Burton did or still does.

34. nigel - September 5, 2012

A little with regard to 33. Life Person, in so much as we have to take responsibility for our lives and not make excuses for ourselves, based on past experiences (I do not not do that with my mental health team and work towards the future)…..

Also, with regard to something Miles Barth once said at a meeting – “We have to do everything we can as though it were in our control, whilst realizing it is not” (Is this the correct attitude to C-Influence, the Gods, the Angelic Beings?)…..

“Invictus”

Out of the night that covers me,
Black as the Pit from pole to pole,
I thank whatever gods may be
For my unconquerable soul.

In the fell clutch of circumstance
I have not winced nor cried aloud.
Under the bludgeonings of chance
My head is bloody, but unbowed.

Beyond this place of wrath and tears
Looms but the Horror of the shade,
And yet the menace of the years
Finds, and shall find, me unafraid.

It matters not how strait the gate,
How charged with punishments the scroll.
I am the master of my fate:
I am the captain of my soul.

– William Ernest Henley –

35. nigel - September 5, 2012

“When we regard ourselves in the many situations life brings, we find
that from first breath to last we are conditioned by external factors. Yet is that highest freedom left to us – to perfect ourselves within, so as that we shall come into harmony with the moral world order and attain peace with ourselves, no matter what obstacles may emerge. This is easily said and written, yet it is no more than a goal before us, to the achievement of which we must thouroughly dedicate ourselves. Every day challenges us to do what is to be done and expect whatever is possible.”

– Goethe –

36. nigel - September 5, 2012

…..trying to take the somewhat ‘negative tinge’ out of recent posts and bringing back the ‘worthwhileness’ of life…..Nigel.

…..from “Does Fate Exist?”, by Evan Bailyn

“Once we acknowledge the existence of free will, it becomes apparent that our situations in life are largely built by us, with fate giving us only a starting point and some surprises along the way. Those who wait for fate to deliver their entire lives will achieve far less than they desire. If we allow fate to act alone, our todays would transition uneventfully into our tomorrows. We’d grow up in the house we were born in, then move to the next logical place based on outside influences; we’d keep the friends we met in elementary school and acquire few new ones along the way; and we’d go into careers that befit our earliest interests without much thought of what else we’d like to explore. Very few extraordinary things would occur.

And it is precisely those extraordinary things – those acts of free will that disrupt the normal, passive flow of life – that make our time on earth exciting. These things can be small or big. They can be forcing yourself to go out to a social event that you don’t feel like going to, or challenging a deep, longstanding fear.

When I picture all the places I could have grown up in, all the people I could have met, and all the career paths I could have been driven towards, I see the interplay of fate and free will at work. There were many different lives within the fate I was dealt: an American born into the suburbs who loves childhood and words and entrepreneurship. I could have been a psychologist, a painter, an actor, maybe even a religious teacher; but instead I became who I am. I like to think that I chose a worthwhile existence.”

37. Agent 45 - September 5, 2012

I think I get the point – detraction or affirmation, either way it brings the subject to mind. Meher Baba did not allow public rebuttals to public criticism. Jesus said ye reap what ye sow and got himself crucified. If you’re a little bit scientific you should expect that every action has an equal and opposite reaction.

38. Shard_of_Oblivion - September 5, 2012

32 “I in the sky” in their reply to Ames’s post:

““Conscience is just a collection of I’s. Anyone accumulating too much should leave the school”.

You’ve quoted that comment several times. I’m guessing it was said many years ago. I haven’t heard anything like that or similar to that. I don’t know what prompted him to say it.”

Maybe he is more likely to use it when he is talking to someone who he is trying to persuade to have sex with him?

just a thought

39. Agent 45 - September 5, 2012

Even God puts up with an infinite variety of twaddle, you’ll have to admit. In fact He created it.

40. TARDIS - September 5, 2012

Life Person,

Point taken as well. Definitely there’s a time for silence, and each person needs to figure out for themselves when that is. Sometimes others see that point before we do. But not always.

You suggest forgiveness.
The way i see it… There is a forgiveness that is not recocgnized, acknowledged, or accepted. Sometimes there is no praise for that forgiveness, and no patting on the back for a positive attitude. No hugs. No high fives… “Way to forgive man! You must be conscious!”

While the words “I forgive” are not thrown around, I see an enormous amount of forgiveness in people’s words here.

To a large degree, people are forgiving themselves, which by the way is the most important type of forgiveness. They are forgiving themselves in part for years of not talking, and for years of not listening. And they are also forgiving each other for the same.

For more than 40 years, the fellowship has been a festival of not talking, and even more so, of not listening. People, myself being one of them, made shutting their ears and shutting their mouths into a lifestyle. For someone to share their thoughts here and read someone else’s IS the act of moving on… moving past that FOF ingrained tendency to not speak, and to not listen.

It sounds a bit like you’re having trouble listening to all of this. I also do. But wasn’t that one of the key problems we had in the fellowship? We didn’t listen to people. We had all sorts of excuses for not listening, and for not talking. We called it whining, or negativity, or whatever. And when someone did talk, we sure did let them have it, because it threatened our little world.

Maybe that’s something we need to move on from as well.

41. I in the sky - September 5, 2012

Life Person – 15

“…I suspect Influence C is working with millions of non-members, which we know just can’t be, because Burton says so.”

I have heard him say on several occasions that Influence C was working with all of humanity. This makes the most sense to me. If Influence C is a reality they would surely be all wise and work with everyone in a way tailored to the person’s needs. If someone or some group was/is interested in being present they would also help those reach that goal.

42. Toby - September 5, 2012

41. “I have heard him say on several occasions that Influence C was working with all of humanity. This makes the most sense to me. If Influence C is a reality they would surely be all wise and work with everyone in a way tailored to the person’s needs. If someone or some group was/is interested in being present they would also help those reach that goal.”

Wow, that’s a nice pretty picture. I wish it were true.

Thinking of joining? I suggest you ignore the above. Robert Burton has never said anything so magnanimous.

Burton has stated repeatedly, and for decades, that “Influence C” (higher beings) are “working with” members of the Fellowship of Friends only. According to Burton, these higher beings do not provide any type of guidance to people outside of the group. Everything changes, according to Burton, when people join the Fellowship of Friends. Followers who leave the cult “lose Influence C” (Burton’s words on numerous occasions) and lose all possibilities.

In Burton’s world, the only way that “Influence C” guides humanity is toward its doom. All people on the earth are being used for the purposes of “Influence C” and then discarded — ultimately to become “food for the moon” after their deaths. Of course, Burton has returned to predicting worldwide catastrophes. He’s in that mode again for 2012 as he was in predicting catastrophes for 1984, 1998,. and 2006. He is suggesting again that the FOF will become an “ark” that carries on civilization after its demise. It’s the same “hook” that many cult leaders use in an attempt to make their followers feel special, and to keep them interested.

This is worth re-posting. All ten of these apply to Burton and the FOF:

39. apostate – August 29, 2012
Ten warning signs of a potentially unsafe group/leader.

1. Absolute authoritarianism without meaningful accountability.
2. No tolerance for questions or critical inquiry.
3. No meaningful financial disclosure regarding budget, expenses such as an independently audited financial statement.
4. Unreasonable fear about the outside world, such as impending catastrophe, evil conspiracies and persecutions.
5. There is no legitimate reason to leave, former followers are always wrong in leaving, negative or even evil.
6. Former members often relate the same stories of abuse and reflect a similar pattern of grievances.
7. There are records, books, news articles, or television programs that document the abuses of the group/leader.
8. Followers feel they can never be “good enough”.
9. The group/leader is always right.
10. The group/leader is the exclusive means of knowing “truth” or receiving validation, no other process of discovery is really acceptable or credible.

43. WhaleRider - September 5, 2012

I in the Sky:
“If Influence C is a reality they would surely be all wise and work with everyone in a way tailored to the person’s needs. If someone or some group was/is interested in being present they would also help those reach that goal.”

Those are pretty big ifs.

And if they are not a reality, then we are left to find help from within ourselves. Welcome to humanity!

It is uncanny how much misplaced trust an otherwise intelligent person such as I in the Sky can invest in something projected outside their self rather than in their self…employing wishful thinking that there must be an all wise father entity or entities out there to take care of them, because they cannot possibly have the wisdom, strength and self esteem to discover the answers to life problems for themselves. This is what burton exploits in his followers.

Everyone needs a little help some of of the time, that’s what communities are for…to help raise the barn, but not to manage your farm for you.

Help is usually at lot closer than you think.

At the same time, IMO, each person has within them the ability to receive help that is tailor made to their personal needs.

That’s what dreaming is all about.

Is it possible to employ ideas of reference to become more enlightened? Yes, only if we look for them in our dreams not in the world at large.

44. WhaleRider - September 5, 2012

Life Person:
“I see no useful purpose to be served by repeating and the same litany of grievances, however true, and bickering and nitpicking, and claiming we’re helping potential members, or cathartically unburdening ourselves.”

Thanks for the feedback about my snarkiness.
I’ll keep it in mind.

If the above quote is true, then probably this isn’t the blog for you, old boy.

45. Life Person - September 5, 2012

40. Tardis

I hear you, and might feel differently if this were the first year or two of the blog, when I contributed often, under various names. I find that now, years later, some of the same people are grinding the same axes, watching the blog for anything that’s not condemnation of thr FOF so it can immediately be ripped apart with sarcasm, and the offender attacked as a liar. I see little desire to move on in any sense, but rather a desire to allow in one’s anger and frustration. And I see it as well in myself, because the emotional tone of the blog can be contagious, fanning residual sparks of resentment into flames of indignation. Make no mistake, I know that the FOF is run by a sociopath who has done tremendous harm, and continues to do so. I’d love to see his career end-which it will. Contributing to that is a fine and worthwhile goal. But it won’t happen with seeing who can out-snark the other.

44. WhaleRider

Right you are.

46. Agent 45 - September 5, 2012

I hear ya SanchoPerson. Blog needs variety in its diet. All the bile & vitriol make Blog a dull dog. But hey, don’t let that stop anyone from being snarky.

47. Fee fi fo fum - September 5, 2012

41 I in the sky

“if Influence C is a reality they would surely be all wise and work with everyone in a way tailored to the person’s needs. If someone or some group was/is interested in being present they would also help those reach that goal .”

This is a comment, not a criticism, on how anthropomorphic we humans are in our attempts to grasp and understand “god”. Most of us on this blog have a kiddo-Christian background (exposure, not necessarily belief), so we’re used to a visual image of God in human form. This is not necessarily true with eastern spiritual traditions. What us the Tao? How does a Buddhist function without a deity to emulate and obey?

Why should God, in any form or concept, care about you or me or humankind, or fish or fowl or foliage? If God exists, or call it C influence if you must, why is earth so important? To wish or assume that he/she/it monitors our needs and activities us is a very human impulse. It is not to say this impulse is right or wrong or good or bad or noble or ignorant. But our anthropomorphic projections of a wise God seem to suit our spiritual needs, and any verification would perhaps reflect us, not It/it.

Why should God or higher forces “care” about groups of people who seek enlightenment? “Caring” is a human concept. When my friend says, during a very difficult medical procedure, “why did God pick on me to go through this?”, my thoughts are, “why be so human-centric?”. In some ways, thinking that “higher forces work with us” is rather egocentric.

48. Fee fi fo fum - September 5, 2012

Obvious typo above. Blame auto correct on these damned tiny keyboards that are too smart for their own good.

I meant to say “Judeo-Christian”. And the sentence should be , What is the Tao.

49. WhaleRider - September 5, 2012

Life Person:
“I see little desire to move on in any sense.”

Wow. Really? No movement here at all?…not one millimeter away from the general blah dee blah blah blah c-influence verifabrication of the beneficent father-god delusion hovering over the dinner table pulling all the strings…and toward the specific of what we can each discover, understand, benefit from, and most importantly, own about the realities of our psyche and our inner resources?

Move on to what, then? The great Void…out there…or better yet, in there…created when you abandon the system and burton as your personal savior, lord and master?

Gee, and you can’t seem to fathom the gist of why anyone might have to repeat themselves in a snark-like fashion.

Have you had any interesting dreams lately?

The spirit world awaits us each night when we climb in bed and close our eyes!

Nobody, not burton or anyone, can see spirits better than you can…once you know where to look; in fact, amazingly, you don’t even have to look very hard, they voluntarily present themselves to you nightly. For free.

Isn’t that beneficent enough?

The spirit world is handed to you on a silver platter, for goodness sake, or a gold, or a copper one, if you prefer, it doesn’t make one iota difference which.

And, IMHO, you really ought to be paying more attention and be more present to the ideas of reference in your nightly dreams and what they are tailored to symbolize for you…than to being distracted by numbers on license plates, street signs, and mailboxes everywhere you go all tailored by a spiritual rapist…if you really want to know yourself, that is.

50. Golden Veil - September 5, 2012

~ And then one day you read a book that says if

you meet a school but then later leave it, you’ll

be even worse off then ever before (thank you,

P.D. Ouspensky… I understand your motivations

better than ever now, having read what your own

secretary wrote in Quest (see post 5, above.)

~ Guidance, schmidence from a frou-frou guru…

who needs it? Wake up little Susie, wake up!

The Fellowship of Friends survives solely by the

magical thinking of its followers… that’s all it is.

Influence C… ha ha ha ha ha!!!!! You don’t need

to pay anyone ~ just use your own imagination as

described by so many here on this very useful blog.

51. Tim Campion - September 5, 2012

(In deference to Life Person, and to atone for my harsh attacks on “I in the sky”, I offer the following.)

NOTICE

The statements and opinions expressed by “I in the sky” do not in any way represent the official position of The Fellowship of Friends or its founder Robert Earl Burton. Any similarities to Fellowship of Friends founder Robert Earl Burton, former Fellowship of Friends President Linda Kaplan, Fellowship of Friends Discussion blog pseudonymous posters “Daily Cardiac” and “Howard Carter”, or to Fellowship of Friends officials past or present, are merely coincidental. “I in the sky’s” participation in the scandalous Fellowship of Friends – Living Presence Discussion blog is strictly a matter of personal choice and as such The Fellowship of Friends and its founder Robert Earl Burton are held harmless and shall remain free of all responsibility for the infiltration, obfuscation and obstruction of said scandalous blog and for the content of “I in the sky’s” posts. Additionally, all opinions, positions, verifications and generalizations expressed by “I in the sky” are strictly personal and subjective, supported by a rigorous (though inscrutable) verification process, while secretly guided by 44 Conscious Beings. “I in the sky” reserves the right to change subjects without notice.

52. Shard_of_Oblivion - September 6, 2012

51 The paranoia bout enters final phase!

Tim unleashes a flurry of rights and lefts deploying the old “any resemblance is coincidental” feint to try to penetrate “I in the sky” ‘s rigid defense.

But “I” has been steadily accumulating quiet points by honest disclosure of personal details, and may well survive this latest onslaught from Tim.

The crowd yawn with vague ennui

53. Agent 45 - September 6, 2012

RE; #44
Life Person:
“I see no useful purpose to be served by repeating and the same litany of grievances, however true, and bickering and nitpicking, and claiming we’re helping potential members, or cathartically unburdening ourselves.”
Thanks for the feedback about my snarkiness. I’ll keep it in mind.
If the above quote is true, then probably this isn’t the blog for you, old boy.

Whattsa matter U, Whalerider? Your anger seems to blind you to constructive criticism and to points of view different than your own. If you can’t take the heat maybe this blog isn’t for you either.

54. TARDIS - September 6, 2012

53.

Sounds like he’s taking it just fine to me. Are you reading the same blog?

Rebuttals allowed here. Or are we back in the cult? Keep quiet.
Stop criticizing. Silence. Let it go. Forgive. Move on. don’t argue. Dont persist. you’re identified. If you’re right so much the worse for you. Any others to help us reminisce?

55. TARDIS - September 6, 2012

52.

I don’t think Tim is playing the game you’re describing. But were he, he has my vote.

56. Agent 45 - September 6, 2012

54. You are cordially invited not to pay any attention to my posts, they’re the part of the blog that you’re reading but should not.

57. TARDIS - September 6, 2012

Ok, got it.

58. WhaleRider - September 6, 2012

Agent 45:
If someone like prospective student doesn’t have the band width to read through one long post, do you honestly expect a new inquisitive visitor to peruse oh, say the last 1, 2, or even 3 pages of 126 pages of over 175 posts each?

I seriously doubt it.

I’d wager the average person would read maybe the last 10 posts max of the most current page. The rest would seem like ancient history to them.

Therefore, bravo to those willing to continue raising conscoiusness in others and serving up fresh each day if needed, the litany of unadressed grievances and moral outrage about the continued suffering of those exposed to the harmful and insidious cult memes of the Fellowship of Friends.

Despite all the information about the dangers smoking cigarettes, why is it so hard to quit? Because just like cult members, smokers don’t feel the damage until it is almost too late.

What may seem like “nitpicking” here to you too, which in nature is a ususlly a sign of affection and caring for both parties, IMO is the process of deconstructing, decoding, and exposing the false assumptions and suppositions of underlying cult recruitment and indoctrination techniques.

Personally, I’m not here to win a smarmy popularity contest or chat about the weather.

From my perspective as a cult survivor with a conscience, that would be disingenuous.

This is…
““Just the place for a Snark!” the Bellman cried,
As he landed his crew with care;
Supporting each man on the top of the tide.
By a finger entwined in his hair.
“Just the place for a Snark!
I have said it twice:
That alone should encourage the crew.
Just the place for a Snark!
I have said it thrice:
What I tell you three times is true.”

59. I in the sky - September 6, 2012

WhaleRider – 43

“It is uncanny how much misplaced trust an otherwise intelligent person such as I in the Sky can invest in something projected outside their self rather than in their self…employing wishful thinking that there must be an all wise father entity or entities out there to take care of them, because they cannot possibly have the wisdom, strength and self esteem to discover the answers to life problems for themselves.”

You seem to be fixated on this within / without angle. Recently some others have pointed out your propensity to inform anyone who you disagree with what they can or cannot experience.

I’m fairly certain you are projecting your understandings, or mis-understandings, onto my words. Being Present is the most inward activity a human can experience. It is the only activity that I know whose proper functioning, benefits, and results are not dependent on anything happening outside of one.

Whereas blame and judgment, which you seem to hold dear, is the summit of investing in what is without.

60. I in the sky - September 6, 2012

After re-reading the above post I would correct the wording some: Being Present is more of a process than an activity, and even more than a process it is a “state of being.”

61. Joseph Nachumovitch - September 6, 2012

Being present is being out of imagination – I cannot deny what I have learnt, whoever I learned it from. I feel it more as a state of openness than a state of being.

62. Agent 45 - September 6, 2012

Peace to all but the last 2. Maybe I don’t take Blog seriously, maybe I should. Bob Dylan to the rescue –

My Back Pages
Crimson flames tied through my ears,
Rollin’ high and mighty traps,
Pounced with fire on flaming roads,
Using ideas as my maps.
“We’ll meet on edges soon, “ said I.
Proud ‘neath heated brow,
Ah, but I was so much older then,
I’m younger than that now.

Half-wracked prejudice leaped forth,
“Rip down all here,” I screamed,
Lies that life is black and white
Spoke from my skull I dreamed.
Romantic facts of musketeers,
Foundationed deep, somehow,
Ah, but I was so much older then,
I’m younger than that now.

Girl’s faces formed the forward path
From phony jealousy,
To memorizing politics
Of ancient history.
Flung down by corpse evangelist
Unthought of, though, somehow,
Ah, but I was so much older then,
I’m younger than that now.

A self-ordained professor’s tongue,
Too serious to fool,
Spouted out that liberty
Is just equality in school.
“Equality,” I spoke the word
As if a wedding vow,
Ah, but I was so much older then,
I’m younger than that now.

In a soldier’s stance I aimed my hand
At the mongrel dogs who teach,
Fearing not that I’d become my enemy
In the instant that I preach.
My pathway led by confusion boats,
Mutiny from stern to bow,
Ah, but I was so much older then,
I’m younger than that now.

Yes, my guards stood hard when abstract threats
Too noble to neglect
Deceived me into thinking
I had something to protect.
Good and bad, I define these terms
Quite clear, no doubt, somehow,
Ah, but I was so much older then,
I’m younger than that now.

63. Shard_of_Oblivion - September 6, 2012

32 “I in the sky” quotes Ames quoting Burton and then comments.

The topic is conscience.


Ames:”Burton revealed himself fully as he really is when he said, “Conscience is just a collection of I’s. Anyone accumulating too much should leave the school”.

You’ve quoted that comment several times. I’m guessing it was said many years ago. I haven’t heard anything like that or similar to that. I don’t know what prompted him to say it. I do know that if a person grows and cares about their spiritual development conscience also grows, or at least becomes more clearly defined and accessible.

But hang on a moment, when I related the specific story of Thomas’s suffering as one of Burton’s early sex victims, your replies showed an absence of conscience on your part. I had hoped that if you heard that story it would prick your conscience. Once that happened your only course of action would be to leave the school.

In 1985 Walter F was leading the London centre meeting the day after Miles Barth left the school – you remember Miles Barth don’t you – and Walter said he had phoned Miles because he was a personal friend, and that Miles had told him that he had to leave the school because his conscience would not allow him to remain. Walter in the meeting said he didn’t understand what Miles meant by that, he speculated it might relate to the extravagant old master oil painting purchases Burton had been making. And none of us in the meeting seemed to know that in fact Miles had been in conflict with Burton over his sexual activities for some time. Looking back now I am amazed how we all managed to shrug off the news that the most advanced of the FoF’s students had left citing his conscience, and that we didn’t get the hint that something must be very rotten in the heart of the Fellowship.

When I related the story to you, you said that you were not the absolute, and that you believed that all our lives are under the direct supervision of C influence, so however harsh it appears, ultimately the suffering was there to be transformed by Thomas into higher being for himself, and that the play is written. Now if you had an active and growing conscience, enhanced by your years of work on yourself, you would see that here was a case where a man who likes to have a certain sexual sensation, and who is self admittedly greedy, exploited another person for purely selfish reasons. The conscience is an organ of perception which would allow you to see that action as one person exploiting another, so I feel your statement above that conscience grows or at least becomes more clearly defined and accessible, is not born out by your reaction.

64. nigel - September 6, 2012

This is the ‘hingeing point’ of Burton being able to abuse and psychologically damage his students…..

“The Second Conscious Shock is summarized by Gurdjieff in the Holy Affirming Prayer or the Holy Equation that is given in Beelzebub’s Tales. It is based on the working of the two fundamental sacred cosmic laws called the sacred ‘Heptaparaparshinokh’ and the sacred ‘Triamazikamno;’ the Law of Seven and the Law of Three. The Second Conscious Shock follows a law conformable process and as such can be considered to be a formula or equation for transforming energy. We call this formula the Holy Equation. This may be what Gurdjieff was referring to when he mentioned the Sly Man’s Pill.

The Second Conscious Shock is one of the great ‘secrets’ of the Work and knowledge of its working is usually kept hidden behind the closed doors at the top of the heirarchies of some of the various Fourth Way schools. The nature of the Second Conscious Shock is deliberately kept obscure in the books written about the Work. Ouspensky says that it involves transforming Negative Emotions into Positive Emotions.”

– Paul Beiber – “Endless Search” website.

The problem that many current and ex- members of the FOF cult have experienced (myself included) was/is the ‘teeter-totter’ effect of having to put up with loads of ‘endless shit’ (especially financial and physical and, in some cases, sexual hardships) then being ‘appeased’ by exposure to higher impressions, fine dining and culture, which themselves are meant to be positive. I remember I would be away from Renaissance (as it was then) for many months due to being behind in teaching payments, then recovering from that and going into an ‘elated spin’ when I visited the Big R. Ames related that P-t-r B-s-op would put up with being painfully buggered by Burton by P-t-r’s stating that “the positives outweigh the negatives”. It actually takes the opposite of conscience – pathological slavery – to remain in the Fellowship of Friends…..Nigel.

65. nigel - September 6, 2012

64. Sorry – Paul Beidler is the author of Endless Search…..Nigel.

66. WhaleRider - September 6, 2012

I in the Sky:
“You seem to be fixated on this within / without angle. Recently some others have pointed out your propensity to inform anyone who you disagree with what they can or cannot experience.

I’m fairly certain you are projecting your understandings, or mis-understandings, onto my words. Being Present is the most inward activity a human can experience. It is the only activity that I know whose proper functioning, benefits, and results are not dependent on anything happening outside of one.

Whereas blame and judgment, which you seem to hold dear, is the summit of investing in what is without.”

After re-reading the above post I would correct the wording some: Being Present is more of a process than an activity, and even more than a process it is a “state of being.”

Thank you for your feedback.

Let’s see if I can decipher what you have written and re-written.

Firstly, I was under the impression, maybe I’m wrong, that followers are taught to employ external shocks such as seeing certain numbers to jolt themselves out of imagination and into “Being Present”, or shall I say, a state of hyper vigilance, and thus verifabricating “c-influence’s” help.

The theory being that a follower is unable to “do” this on their own and needs the help of external “higher forces” to manage their inner state. For that help, the follower must pay the cult or they lose that help. Correct me if I’m wrong.

Secondly, I don’t ever recall suggesting that moment to moment awareness is anything but an internal process, and yes, I agree that consciousness is a state of being, as opposed to a state of non-being which in mind happens upon death.

As I mentioned above, you (or your cult leader) has taken this meme to a new level, in that you claim to have incorporated “c-influence” into your psyche. I’ll reiterate that your claim appears to me as delusional.

So I understand your confusion about inward/outward. For you, it is all inward, or shall we say, self-centered, as delusions are.

Thirdly, I don’t recall suggesting that the results or benefits of being self-centered are anything but self-centered. The shocks are out there, but one has to internalize them to recieve any “benefits or results”.

Yes, results, such as personal growth are dependent upon one’s own efforts, yet IMO, if the results you seek are unattainable, then the pursuit of a permanent state of bliss seems both quixotic and narcissistic, with serious consequences to the individual, their family, and the community.

You might ask yourself, how does being self-centered all the time benefit your community?

As far as informing people what they can and cannot experience, please provide examples, for I do not recall ever dictating that to anyone; I leave that up to your cult leader. I think smiling fully and unrestricted laughter is healthy!

As far as blame and judgement, I suggest you expand your vocabulary a bit. My faculties of critical thought include assessment and discrimination which I do hold dear, for they are hard won. I am very careful not to judge people, even those with personality disorders, as either good or evil, the pinnacle of judgement as you say.

As far as blaming others, well, I am perfectly willing to share a limited amount of blame and responsibility for being finanically, emotionally, and sexually exploited by your cult and cult leader in order to free myself from feelings of victimization; however, people like burton are not willing to assume any responsibility whatsoever for their actions which is suspect to me.

I would be colluding with you and he if I remain silent.

This is why I feel people with sociopathic and psychopathic personality disorders, ie lacking in conscience, need to be removed from their pool of victims and contained in as humane and safe manner as possible to keep them from harming others.

Thanks agaIn for posting. You certainly have more at stake than I if and when the cult expires.

67. WhaleRider - September 6, 2012

I am also grateful for the experiences of parenthood and for working with the acute mentally ill-people who feel far less lucky than I-two experiences of which I probably would have been deprived had I stayed in the cult.

Both experiences helped me grow to become more compassionate toward others.

68. Golden Veil - September 6, 2012

One will be probably be as successful reasoning with an indoctrinated, mind-controlled cult member as with a person who is reeling drunk…

69. Joseph Nachumovitch - September 6, 2012

Will one really?

70. Pie in the Face - September 6, 2012

“One will be probably be as successful reasoning with an indoctrinated, mind-controlled cult member as with a person who is reeling drunk…”

If the goal of both parties is to obscure and ignore the facts, then you can have very reasonable conversations: You just need to avoid the uncomfortable topics, and recite the generally accepted party line to make sure there’s no disagreement. Harmony for all.

71. I in the sky - September 6, 2012

WhaleRider:

In a typical discussion one takes a person’s words at face value and responds to them as if they are describing their reality sincerely and with a semblance of accuracy, even if you already know you will disagree with them. You make your points, your refutations, your observations based on the face value of the comments presented to you.

If someone says “I went to such and such exhibit and this is what I saw…” Generally people in a forum would not challenge the person offering the comment by saying “I know for a fact you didn’t go to that exhibit because if you did you would never say those things…”or something to that effect.

Needless to say in any discussion there will still be areas of mis-understandings, mis-interpretations, because language is like that. Language is limiting, it breeds mis-understanding. People use the words at their disposal in a given moment. Some writers are more articulate than others, there are many causes for being mis-understood.

But you respond in a very different way and with different rules. No matter what someone says to you you’ll use it to come back to the same few responses that the FoF is a cult, Burton is a sociopath, a rapist, etc. And I understand where you are coming from. You have so much invested in all that being true that anything stated to the contrary is deemed very threatening to your equilibrium.

In order to maintain that equilibrium you’ve had to throw out the existence of a deity, an afterlife, the ability of people to make personal verifications on matters important to them, practically the entire Fourth Way system; I’ll never figure out why joining a cult would sour a person on ideas based on tenets and principles found in every major spiritual tradition.

But if this cult is espousing to the same principles, well that muddies up the waters quite a bit. That could add shades of grey to my black and white worldview.

Anyway, it’s all good. It all comes out in the end. When people answer a detractor they believe they are exposing the other person’s flaws of logic, or ill conceived belief systems, and that may be the case at times, but often, unbeknownst to them, they reveal much more of their own flaws of logic or ill conceived belief systems in the process.

72. Golden Veil - September 6, 2012

71. I in the sky – September 6, 2012

” I’ll never figure out why joining a cult would sour a person on ideas based on tenets and principles found in every major spiritual tradition.”

I think that the really significant thing is that these universal “tenets and principles found in every major spiritual tradition” have been distorted and used to psychologically maim, sexually abuse, and financially fleece members of the Fellowship of Friends.

Why continue the discussion here? The below post bears re-posting and answers that question quite well.

118. Tim Campion – July 23, 2011

“The price of freedom is eternal vigilance.” – Thomas Jefferson

It would certainly be easier to walk away from this forum and “forget about the Fellowship of Friends and Living Presence”, if the organization were not still marketing itself to “lost souls” within our community.

The Fellowship continues to obfuscate and mislead. It has, from what I can see in the record, engaged in monitoring and disruption of these blog discussions, used intimidation and threats of legal action to stifle debate and dissent, engaged in covert misinformation campaigns, it continues to market itself as a lawful “church” while violating compliance laws; it has in the past, and continues to violate immigration laws, and accusations of the abuse of “congregation” members persist.

That the Fellowship’s legal defenses have thus far been “successful” (only successful in burying the truth, it appears) is attributable less to the skill of its lawyers than to an indolent public. The reports of continuing abuse of the public trust within, and by, the Fellowship impel those who desire to expose these alleged crimes to maintain their campaign.

Through the grant of tax exemptions, insurance benefits for legal defense, provision of government services (welfare, medical, legal, protection, etc.), our community supports and subsidizes the Fellowship of Friends and enables the activities (including those illegal and immoral practices reported) that take place within its confines. And, in return, what value does the Fellowship bring to the community? A shining example of moral, spiritual and community leadership? Hardly.

Since its founding, by all indications, the wealth and benefits have (in violation of State law) accrued primarily to its leader, Robert Burton. Yet in its wake, the Fellowship has left a costly legacy of very real and demonstrable personal destruction. (In economics, this is referred to as an “externality” – a responsibility avoided, and a cost borne by the public.)

One reason for returning to this forum, is that I have indeed been part of both communities: the offending and the offended. And having supported the Fellowship and its leader for thirteen years, I am more familiar (than are members of the general public) with the questions and issues involved. For me this is a “local issue”, and unlike national politics, or saving the planet, this is an area where a single voice is more likely to have impact. (Witness Elena Haven’s story.)

It may be (choose your label) “identification”, “addiction”, “feminine dominance” or (banish the thought!) a sense of shared personal responsibility and accountability that causes people to contribute here. From one perspective, the particular mechanism and motive is not so important. Revealing the truth is. As Robert said (“and I generally avoid quoting such ignoble sources”,) the end justifies the means.

Whether there are three voices here, or a thousand, it is important that the continued marketing and public relations efforts of the Fellowship of Friends via their Living Presence website are balanced by an equally “living presence” (ugh) of countervailing voices.

According to the Living Presence website, the Fellowship currently has about 1,500 members worldwide, roughly the same membership it had nearly three decades ago, and far fewer than at its peak. The cult is clearly in decline. With the high cost of maintaining centers scattered across the globe, a less affluent base, rising legal defense and P.R. expenses, declining infrastructure at Apollo, escalating health costs for its aging members, Robert Burton is now receiving (pardon the expression) “less bang for his buck”.

Thus far, the Fellowship has been immune to the virtues of truth and honesty, and has been inadvertently protected by lax legal and community oversight; however it may ultimately be simple economics that undermine the kingdom. Though we’ll never know its full impact, this blog, by continuing to inform and to discourage would-be victims from entering Robert Burton’s sphere of influence, helps accelerate that demise.

Personally, this blog does not represent an obsession, as much as a sense of unfinished business – something I would like to see resolved and remedied before I pass on. If Robert Burton lives out his days in unperturbed bliss, so be it. In the company of many others, I will have tried to undo some of the damage I helped create.

73. Golden Veil - September 6, 2012

To read the following in its entirety, see:
http://animamrecro.wordpress.com/2006/04/16/fellowship-of-friends-a-cult-for-intellectuals/#comment-2281

==========
Former student ~ February 10, 2007 at 8:14 pm

I was a member of the Fellowship of Friends (FOF) for 12 years, though that was over 12 years ago. Yet it has only been in the last year or so that I now feel free to speak about my experience(s). I joined when I was a full blooded, testosterone active youth of 20 years old…

…It wasn’t long before I got my first invitation to dine at the honored top table and soon began to feed on the attention I was being given by the Teacher. As the omnipotent, all seeing, conscious being he claimed to be, I naturally assumed everyone was the beneficiary of such cosmic affection…

… The most memorable moment occurred after one of the Teacher’s so called Symposiums, this was the name of the all male dinners he was in the habit of hosting each weekend. Indeed true to their title they mainly amounted to little more than drinking parties, taking more of the form of a Bacchanalia without the accompanying Maenads – though I was soon to discover there a sting in the tail.

After dinner it was the custom of the Teacher to retire while the rest of the young men hung around and chatted. I think I was trying to recall how much Cognac I had consumed, when the Teacher’s man servant came and whispered in my ear that the Teacher would like to speak to me. So I slipped out of the room, making my way along the hall to his study, where I knocked on his door.

When I entered he looked a little surprised, but then invited me to sit down on the couch next to him. This was all very cozy I thought. I began to wonder what words of wisdom he might impart, as I definitely felt in the mood for something insightful. So you can imagine my surprise when he reached over and started to undo my trousers. In fact, I was so taken back that I must have slipped into a kind of reverie, for the next thing I was aware of was the Teacher’s head between my legs performing fellatio.

Strangely enough I did not resist, which would have been the obvious reaction, as I had always considered myself very straight, finding the whole gay scene somewhat distasteful – at least not up my particular street! However, probably the combination of the cognac, with the fact that this was my all-knowing Teacher, plus the no doubt subconscious curiosity of what it might be like to do it with another man, permitted me to submit and allow the whole process to reach it’s natural conclusion – or unnatural conclusion, depending on which way you view it.

Anyway, obviously delighted by my apparent willingness and after taking a drink of water, the Teacher then confessed that he had not expected me to come, but another boy by the same name. So it seemed I had jumped the queue – for queue it certainly was. With my subsequent entry into the inner sanctum, not only did the concept of a “Man Number Seven” take on a whole different meaning, but I was soon to discover that I had become the member of what can only be described as a rather exclusive male harem.

As I was ushered out into the night air and mind played over what had taken place, the stars above which had once offered so much promise appeared to pale a little…

~~~~

…Indeed, the flood gates were now open and I was given a good handling at regular intervals, often without breaks in between. This man had a voracious appetite. Not only that, I was expected to put in my whole quota of daily labor at the same time…

~~~~
Anyway, it wasn’t long before the silent and overbearing wrath of someone who I can only describe as verging on fully fledged egomania, was threatening me with portents of hell and damnation, or words from some passage you could quite easily find in the Old Testament.

But I stood my ground, besides at this point I had little left to loose. In fact I began to grow in confidence as the initial burden fell away and a sense of relief crept over me. I began to sense the shallowness and immaturity of his words – those of a selfish child, who has been deprived of a handful of sweets. And that was that!

The days leading up to my leaving the FOF where very painful – the stars had now well and truly gone out. I just knew I had to go, but it was still the equivalent of emotional amputation. I had come to realize that I had over the years grown to become two separate persons, my work persona had gone one way, while who I really was had remained true. It was the latter which provided the chink of light through which I could make my escape. However getting my two parts to re-unite once again and work in some kind of harmony would take another twelve years of rehabilitative effort. Before this would happen, I would have to plunge very deep.

I left the FOF with nothing, or so it seemed. All my physical attachments were severed – my so called “friends”, family, home were pulled from under one’s feet, like some perverse party trick. I only had my thoughts, my recollections – which were to haunt me for years. Then there was the fear of what would happen to my during my return to “life*”. After all I had now passed beneath hell’s arch, which bore the inscription: “All hope abandon ye who enter here”.

However, this is the subject of another episode: of rebuilding, reaffirmation and re-gaining confidence and self-esteem, all of which had been pretty much knocked out of me. What I can safely say is that you only know you are brainwashed if you are fortunate to emerge from out the other side. Until then it is like a drug that slowly permeates you mind, as you become part of a small world with it’s crooked and twisted ways and utterly blind and deaf to the faces and voices of sanity on the outside.

I therefore dedicate the above to those who find the will or the way – or simply the luck – to make it out and so have the possibility of knowing what it is to taste true freedom.

“Life” or “life people” is the name given to those outside the FOF and therefore effectively dead, or without possibilities. A wonderful piece of irony!

==========

74. Golden Veil - September 7, 2012

According to The Teacher, laughter is a “no-no!” around the dining table. Hopefully this exercise has been long put to rest. A blog post from 5 years ago:

Purchasing awakening ~ August 10, 2007 at 4:44 pm

About laughter:

“Buddha’s laughter is both an expression of, and a inspiration for, enlightenment.”

Now, from Robert:

****************************
Dear Friends,

The Teacher has requested that we work with an exercise of not laughing for one month, until November 23. The exercise applies only to the Apollo d’Oro area. Robert noticed that the seven of hearts is more prone to occupy space around food, and the aim of the exercise is to help us gain control over this part of our machine.

Linda T., Apollo

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

Dear Friends,

Robert wishes us to resume indefinitely the exercise of not laughing around the dining table, as the King of Clubs particularly uses this circumstance to lure us away from the present.
On his last journey, while dining with friends in Abu Simbel, Robert observed a neighboring table, whose diners were laughing loudly. Because Robert and his entourage had set the aim at the beginning of their travel not to engage in laughter around the table, observing this table of non-students was a useful lesson for them. Robert commented, “C Influence are great teachers. Observing this table laughing is an even more useful lesson than the ancient site we just visited.” Robert gave several angles about laughter, but towards the end, a new connection came to his mind. “I only now realize that the Chartres devil is laughing, showing that through laughter the king of clubs overthrows the nine of hearts.”

Linda T., Apollo

From Robert: Laughter is far from innocent.

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

Dear Friends around the world,

Robert sends us the following message, with his love.

Thank you for giving up artificial laughter for real presence. It is the key to success for our school; one of the few instances one gets something for nothing.

In friendship,
Linda T., Isis

***********************************
Dear friends,

Robert sends the following message to students around the world, with his love.

When you are at the table, please avoid sharing funny stories that are true, such as humorous incidents that have actually happened. In the guise of telling the truth, the lower self is trying to introduce laughter and open the door to the seven of hearts. Please reserve such stories for other occasions to avoid laughter around the table.

In presence,

Linda T, Isis
**************************************

Dear Friends,

The Teacher requests that when a picture is being taken of us, we should try to be moderate in our smile and not show our teeth. Robert points out that the instinctive center, being animal intelligence in human form, likes to display its teeth.

The poster below illustrates the point.

In friendship,

Linda T, Isis
******************************

Dear Friends,

Attached are two images that Robert related to his recent request that we not show our teeth when a picture is taken of us. In both cases, the devil’s teeth are showing.

With love, from Buenos Aires.

Linda T.

75. Golden Veil - September 7, 2012

The exercise to not show your teeth when smiling for a photograph ~ a real photograph, not one of the judgmental proclamations by a fellow student ~ and the exercise to maintain a serious composure during Fellowship talks could at times produce moments of unbridled hilarity…

Whoops!!!

Bass Ackwards ~ August 10, 2007 at 5:04 pm

Here is a story from this year, sometime around the beginning of April:

Wednesday we had our first meeting on the prehistorics. I hadn’t read the Thoughts yet, so everything was fresh. Long (but not tedious) angles. Interesting cave drawing images, connected to other images we have already seen, mainly from Egypt. Though the explainations were obviously stretching the point, it was enjoyable seeing and hearing all this out of patterns material. I was content to just be present and have no “I’s”. Then S. began his angle, and X. held up the image which was of a couple having sex, “dog style”. It looked like prehistoric graffiti. At first I thought it was two men, but then Robert began explaining the woman as the nine of hearts, and the man entering her as the steward. The absurdity mounted. I began to laugh, and tried to control myself, so that when it finally broke out into the room it was more of a snort(!). There were five other students there, faces turned to me while I struggled to control myself and S. continued reading. Then X. began to laugh, then Y., then Z. (a newer student), then S., and finally A.. The effort to try to control myself and the absurdity of it all caused tears to run down my cheeks, while S. tried to continue to read. The steward’s arms and legs were long be and short be etc… But then he would break up into uncontrollable laughter, too. Something about “intercourse” and “irrefutable evidence”. I was looking around and taking in impressions, mouth open for big gulps of air. It took a few minutes but we all made it through the angle and our collective fit. An amazing state. . .

76. I in the sky - September 7, 2012

Golden Veil – 72

“I think that the really significant thing is that these universal “tenets and principles found in every major spiritual tradition” have been distorted and used to psychologically maim, sexually abuse, and financially fleece members of the Fellowship of Friends.”

How have they been distorted by the FoF? The FoF “Work Books” for decades were the verbatim teachings of Gurdjieff, Ouspensky and Collin. Now expanded to include Sufism, Buddhism, Islam, the Bible and other traditions.

The other part of your quoted comment is your interpretation.
I certainly don’t feel that way. Are you taking a page from WhaleRider’s book, where your opinion supersedes all others?

75: Obviously had Bass remained she would not have done well with the no laughing exercise.

77. Agent 45 - September 7, 2012

Now you are just being obnoxious, Cupcake. Maybe this blog isn’t for you, old gal.

78. WhaleRider - September 7, 2012

I in the Sky:
“You have so much invested in all that being true that anything stated to the contrary is deemed very threatening to your equilibrium…you respond in a very different way and with different rules.”

Isn’t it interesting that you would reflect that back at me?

That’s exactly the way I have felt about you.

I’m not sure what you think I have invested in here other than exposing truth by confronting delusions, which seems to come naturally to me…compared to the investment of your time, energy, youth, and money in the cult. My job isn’t at stake here, however yours may very well be.

I am certainly not alone in my views expressed here either…and neither are you.

For me, each post has felt like a step toward more clarity. Language helps with that. The more you use it, the better your chances at understanding yourself and others, not less. Learning to remain silent isn’t going to necessarily create better communication between people.

And yes, we both play by our own rules, don’t we?

We must be onto something.

Let’s check in about that.

I’m not feeling particularily unstable as a result of our interactions, but rather, I feel more enlivened and stimulated by them.

How about you?

79. nigel - September 7, 2012

…..from – “A View on Buddhism – Buddhist Quotes and Sayings”

“Just as the highest and the lowest notes are equally inaudible, so perhaps, is the greatest sense and the greatest nonsense equally unintelligible.”

– Allan Watts –

80. Adab - September 7, 2012

76 I in the Sky

The workbooks are not the verbatim teachings of Gurdjieff and Ouspensky, whatever you choose to believe.

Having spent a number of years in both the Fellowship and the Gurdjieff Foundation, it’s very clear that their aims and results are opposed to one another.

The short-hand is that the Fellowship is really about exalting ‘states’, – exalting the mental-emotional above the instinctive-moving ‘brain’. As in GV’s recent quotes, the King of Clubs is pitched against the King of Hearts, animal intelligence against divine presence, or spirit against matter to use your own favourite divide…

There is absolutely no equivalent to this in the GF. What Burton calls the King of Clubs is actually the medium of the Work – whatever you learn must become concrete through your behaviour.

Isn’t this just common sense? Why would any teaching call itself ‘self-remembering’ if you were only encouraged to remember the parts you liked about yourself or which you deemed to be ‘higher’, and keep the supposedly devilish bits at arms length? All you end up doing is giving the devilish bits license to roam around and do as they please when ‘you’ are not around – the history of the FoF in a nutshell. It’s psychopathy to create some kind of forbidden underworld – saying one thing in public, and forgetting it all in your private actions.

All of us, without exception, know the sensation of saying or doing something that doesn’t agree with our real feeling – or we get news of afterwards, maybe in a vague feeling of unease, or via someone’s angry reaction. In my experience, what some posters here have referred to as ‘Conscience’ is a substance that reinforces the links between the functions – thinking, feeling and acting. It’s a kind of sensitivity, not a thought or a ‘work I’. I don’t believe the Fellowship is either interested in, or has the means to produce that substance in its members.

Instead we spent our time rationalizing why our ‘fine states’ could never be expressed as good character and cutting ourselves off from everything that mattered. We could never put the two together because the environment didn’t want it or allow it.

There is a good example of this in one of Gurdjieff’s meetings, when one of his students laments the fact that she can’t find remorse or compassion inside herself:

G. “This proves you do not know what you are looking for.You interest yourself in these questions without partaking of your instinct…. I understand why you do not advance. I know the secret of why you stamp on the spot, one-two, one-two. Up to now, your instinct was isolated, it never took part in your Work…. You have felt that your interior is never interested in these things for which we are working. Something in you remains apart; it looks. Another part in you does something else. You work without instinct. Everything works – head, feeling, except that which must. It has never done anything to change”.

Gurdjieff might as well be talking to Burton himself.

As one prominent Sufi put it, “Sufism is good character. Whoever is ahead of me in good character, is ahead of me in Sufism”.

81. nigel - September 7, 2012

Some ‘pithy sayings’ from Native American Indians…..Nigel

“Trouble no one about their religion; respect others in their view and demand that they respect yours. ”

~Chief Tecumseh~

“When the Earth is sick, the animals will begin to disappear, when that happens, The Warriors of the Rainbow will come to save them. ”

~Chief Seattle ~

“Brother, you say there is but one way to worship and serve the Great Spirit. If there is but one religion, why do you white people differ so much about it? Why not all agreed, as you can all read the Book? ”

~Sogoyewapha, “Red Jacket” – Senaca~

82. nigel - September 7, 2012

…..just something to think about, since Burton is claiming the ‘end of the world’ theory for himself and his followers…..Nigel.

“Some time in the future, the Indians said, the animals would begin to disappear. People would no longer see the wolf, or the bear, or the eagles. And, the story goes, the giant trees would also disappear. And people would fight with each other and not love each other. And, the story goes, the beautiful rainbow in the sky would fade away, and people would not see the rainbow anymore.

Well, children would come. And these children would love the animals, and they would bring back the animals. They would love trees, and they would bring back the giant trees. And these children would love other people and they would help people to live in peace with each other. And these children would love the rainbow, and they would bring back the beautiful rainbow in the sky. For this reason the Indians called these children the rainbow warriors.

Now let me ask you a question. Do you love animals or hate animals? (We love animals.) Do you love trees or hate trees? (We love trees.) Do you love people or hate people? (We love people.) Do you love the rainbow or hate the rainbow? (We love the rainbow.)

Well, if you love animals and trees, people and rainbows, then maybe you are the rainbow warriors …..”

83. apostate - September 7, 2012

“Brother, you say there is but one way to worship and serve the Great Spirit. If there is but one religion, why do you white people differ so much about it? Why not all agreed, as you can all read the Book? ”

~Sogoyewapha, “Red Jacket” – Senaca~

another point of view:

84. Agent 45 - September 7, 2012

My God’s better than your God,
My God’s better than yours.
My God’s bigger and stronger and faster.
My God’s better than yours, dum-dum.
Dum-de-da-dum-dum-dump-dum

85. Agent 45 - September 7, 2012

My God’s better than your God,
My God’s better than yours.
My God’s bigger and stronger and faster.
My God’s better than yours, dum-dum.
Dum-de-da-dum-dum-dump-dum,
The lucky stifs…….

86. Agent 45 - September 7, 2012

Sorry, I’m not sure how that happened.
That’s 3 dumb comments in a row.
Pay no attention.

87. WhaleRider - September 7, 2012

I in the Sky:
“…one takes a person’s words at face value and responds to them as if they are describing their reality sincerely and with a semblance of accuracy.”

I’m curious..how does one take at face value, “I am an eight million year old goddess in a man’s body”…or “I am the brightest light in 2000 years”..or “can you see my third eye”…or “if you leave the school you lose all possibilities of evolution”…or “c-influence wants you to let me suck your dick”?

Face value to me…this person is delusional.

And yes, I will certainly challenge them on that.

It’s a very different statement to say, “I feel Ike an eight million year old goddess in a man’s body.” Can you hear the difference?

To remain silent would feed their delusion, which is exactly the environment burton has created around himself, otherwise you are sent to Siberia.

Also, without adequate communication between two people imagination and projection is more likely to set in. And if the other person is from a different part of the world than you, has different colored skin than you, dresses differently, speaks a completely different language than you, well, history informs us war breaks out.

Language reveals a great deal about a person’s character.

You see, metaphorically speaking, I listen with my third ear.

88. nigel - September 7, 2012

…..from “Robert Earl Burton – An Unauthorized Blogography”…..

Friday, August 24, 2012
Damage Control, Part Deux

[ed. – Former Fellowship of Friends President Linda Kaplan, formerly Linda Tulisso, has allegedly made another foray into the Fellowship of Friends Discussion blog to face the forces of darkness. The disguise this time: “I in the sky”.

In 2009, “rock that boat” claimed Kaplan was posting on the Fellowship Discussion blog as “Daily Cardiac”. “Daily Cardiac” and “I in the sky” are assigned the same avatar, meaning they use the same e-mail account. When conversations involving these posters are compared, similarities in psychology, language usage, mannerisms, strategy, frames of reference and education are apparent. From the very earliest days, Fellowship members appear to have taken an active interest in controlling the message.

“I in the sky’s” first post on July 20th, “curiously” coincided with the breaking news of the Thomas Neuschatz scandal. The post below, likely written by Fellowship attorney Abraham Goldman, tells of past damage control efforts by Fellowship leaders, including Linda. Interestingly, paranoia appears to be one of “I in the sky’s” favorite topics.]

“Traveler” wrote on the Fellowship of Friends Discussion blog, March 7, 2007:

Who’s afraid of the big bad blog:

Dear Friends:

Thank you for the many supportive responses to our recent message about invasion of our rights of privacy.
At this time, when the most powerful teachings from Influence C are being revealed and shared, there are a number of anonymous people who use the Internet to harass the Teacher, the School and its members.

The people involved in these activities use false names, stolen identities, copyright violations, defamation, and tactics of negativity. Among other instances, Asaf’s name has been misappropriated and used for false e-mails containing vulgar profanities. Yesterday Linda Tulisso’s [Linda Kaplan] name and picture were falsely used to cast her and Fellowship Management in a negative, false light and to provide a link for unauthorized access to copyrighted materials on Propylaia. It is currently known that this has now gone beyond students with visible roles, such as Asaf and Linda. It now includes stealing names of other students for use in false cyber communications because of their national origin so as to falsely deceive friends in other countries into thinking that one of their fellow student countrymen, be it from Japan, Russia, etc., is actually sponsoring negative attacks against the Teacher and the School.

89. I in the sky - September 7, 2012

WhaleRider – 78/86

“I’m not feeling particularly unstable as a result of our interactions, but rather, I feel more enlivened and stimulated by them.
How about you?”

I’m fine with anything said by you or others. I’m not trying to change anyone’s mind; I’m just putting my own thoughts out for anyone who might find their way here so they can have a more balanced view of the FoF. Not that the ratio is balanced, but you get the idea.

WR: “I’m curious..how does one take at face value, “I am an eight million year old goddess in a man’s body”…”

I was referring to taking my comments at face value.

You are saying that no matter what someone like me says you will default back to the comments said to you 25 or more years ago by RB. I’m not being facetious but is that part of your healing process?

90. WhaleRider - September 7, 2012

I in the Sky:
“I’m not being facetious but is that part of your healing process?”

Are you familiar with the healing process?

91. jomopinata - September 7, 2012

88/I in the sky

“I’m not trying to change anyone’s mind. . . ”

Why on earth not? What relationship worth its salt does not involve some disagreements and attempts to persuade the other, especially disagreements about values, about what is worth valuing?

92. Tim Campion - September 7, 2012

Once again, “I in the sky” appeals to readers to accept their words “at face value”. Simply divorce the words from what you know about the writer, about the cult they represent, about the guru to whom they have devoted their entire adult life. Forget the facts, just read and respond to their words. “I in the sky” tells us that’s the only thing we should be doing here. Watch them spin words.

They personally have no difficulty divorcing Robert Earl Burton’s words from his actions and behaviors, so well documented throughout this blog. (As children we were likely familiar with the joke about our own parents’ behavior: “do as I say, not as I do!” Some things never change, do they “I”.) You are so blind you cannot see that Robert Burton’s actions are not indications of some transcendent being, but symptoms of a severely troubled human being.

Let’s be clear readers. There is exactly one person posting on this blog who is completely and utterly invested in The Fellowship of Friends. The cult is their livelihood, their community and their safety net. They are the only person here who has a vested interest in seeing the cult survive and attract new members. By all appearances, they are (and have been for the past few years) the sole Fellowship of Friends member authorized to participate in this forum. (And it is hardly surprising, since Burton’s followers have been directed to avoid this discussion.)

For this reason, as Robert Earl Burton’s “press secretary”, they are also the only voice dedicated to obfuscating and concealing the truth about the cult, deflecting criticism and, in short, attempting damage control. They call it introducing “balance”. Well, we know what it really is. And it’s transparent.

93. nigel - September 7, 2012

THE PROCESS OF GETTING WELL

By Lawrence Wilson, MD

© January 2010, The Center For Development

Healing Versus Symptom Removal.

“Healing is different from, and so much more than eliminating or suppressing symptoms. In fact, healing is a path that can be embraced. It is a process quite foreign to our medical system and to our culture. It is essentially a reversal of the process involved in becoming ill, and at the same time an awakening to one’s true nature and the meaning of life.

Western medical science has pursued a path of fragmentation, separating mind from body, thought from emotion, and organ from organ. This has produced many marvelous technologies for symptom removal. But it does not produce healing. Healing involves re-integrating or re-membering (bringing the members back together).”

SO GLAD WE HAVE ARRIVED AT THIS POINT IN THE BLOG. I AM NOT SURE HOW WHALE RIDER ARRIVED AT HIS RE-INTEGRATION WITH “LIFE”, BUT I HAD TO “GO DEEPER” THAN NORMAL LIFE TO ARRIVE AT WHERE I AM NOW. I “AGGRESSED” WITH MY FAMILY, MY MENTAL HEALTH PRACTITIONERS AND MY ATTITUDE TO THE FOF. SORRY “I IN THE SKY”, BUT YOU HAVE COME NOWHERE NEAR SELF-HOOD, AS EMPHASISED BY YOUR BLOGGING. AS JOHANN WOLFGANG VON GOETHE STATED –

“There are some things in life to which it is necessary to have a negative attitude – and even hate”. Could this be the FOF?…..Nigel.

94. nigel - September 7, 2012

91. Tim Campion

Kick ass, mate…..Nigel.

95. WhaleRider - September 7, 2012

I in the Sky;

Here’s a little lesson in listening with the third ear:…If somebody starts a sentence with, “I’m not being facetious, but…” chances are what follows is exactly that, facetious.

96. James Mclemore - September 7, 2012

76. I in the sky

You know I think you may be right about some of what you say. Burton himself didn’t distort some of the core ideas of the 4th Way, although he did add his own distortions for reasons that were self-serving, i.e. “Fem. dominance”, “King of Clubs”, “alchemy”, and most of all his colossal imaginative distortion, which others had some fun with on this page, on what “C Influence” might have originally meant. Then there were the ideas of “ladders” and what “lifetime one was on” to add a little “new age” to it all. No, I think the core distortions were already in play, and of course Alex Horn did not make matters any better, as he was as sick in his own way as is Burton. Probably what Burton learned from watching Horn was how he might start his own cult. But back to the point. In G’s own writings, the ideas as presented by O. were never clear to me, so I cannot say what G. intended, but I think distortions, if there was ever anything clear to begin with, began at least with Ouspensky. By admissions he made later in life where he told people to “abandons the system” and Shard’s story of his secretary, you could see his own confusion. As I see it now the system as it was presented was a mess of half-understood concepts and metaphors which began with a distorted view of consciousness itself, and went from there to sometimes seeming to point at non-duality and then with the very next breath proceeded to lay out methods for a some-‘one’ to make efforts on a gradual path to somewhere. It just turns in circles in the mind with labels on top of other labels which refer to still other labels. But all of this is a discussion for a different venue than this one.

The reason I post on the blog has nothing to do with the Fourth Way or Burton’s further distortion of ideas he could not understand. I came to the FoF in 1974 and left in 1979. All I knew when I left is that I didn’t trust him and that something was wrong, but I didn’t know what. I had no idea at the time what Burton was up to with the young men he surrounded himself with. So I left, and leaving was very difficult after investing 5 years.
It was not until about page 25 that I found this blog a few years back, and I first thought, “this is pretty neat”. Maybe I could find out and fill in some holes about that 5 years of my life long ago. I felt I had come in on page 25 in the middle of a conversation. So I went back to page one and began to read. Night after night I read. I was astounded. I cried a few times that week of reading through those pages of the blog. I cried about people I had never met. I cried for the way they were treated and the pain it caused. I realized this was much much more than a few ex-followers experiencing of sour grapes for something that didn’t turn out well for them personally. I realized for the first time that I was in a cult, and a very ugly one at that.

I began to realize that it was probably just dumb luck, but I was right not to have trusted Burton. He was a liar. He lied about his abstinence. He lied about Bonita and how he started the school. He lied to us and told us homosexuality meant something was wrong, when he himself was homosexual. He lied about Alex Horn and why he left him. But way beyond his dishonesty was what I read about the way he treated other human beings. Story after story of his manipulation and lying to the young innocent men and boys who had looked up to him in their innocence. I read of his misogyny and the poor women that paid the price for it. I read of the ugly childish behavior when he did not get what he wanted or thought somebody had crossed him. I read of the stories of people having a hard time physically or financially that had been with him for many years and how he turned his back on them and tossed them aside. I began to see Burton was in fact, a sociopath.
Part of the time I was in the FoF I participated at the giving of “prospective student meetings”. After I heard some stories and had private email with a few people, I realized that some of those whom I may have played a part and helped to bring into the FoF were later hurt badly by Burton’s direct actions. I wished I could apologize to every one I gave a “prospective meeting” to. I was sorry for ever giving an angle in one of those meetings. I was sorry for every cent that I gave to Burton and that organization.

Yet I have never posted here in anger. Sadness occasionally, but never anger. The anger that came from the reading of those first pages did what anger does and dissolved on its own. I just wanted to post here to put another point of view as a warning to others, partly a perhaps a payback for ever supporting Burton. I was also impressed with the diversity here and of a lot of fine minds who were not afraid to tell their story, and who quite often had also a fine and sharp sense of humor. I found out from the blog that I was in a ugly cult, but I was in a cult with some pretty good company in those who had escaped.

Some of your offhand remarks on the last few pages, especially when referring to some of these stories from the past, cause me to shake my head in disbelief, although I should be, as Tim reminded me just now, used to it. I don’t who you are, and don’t really care, but do feel sometimes sorry for anybody who has moved so far away from anything resembling sympathy or empathy or compassion. Those things are clearly missing in your voice, and it is a dangerous and sad place to live a life.

97. I in the sky - September 7, 2012

WhaleRider – 89

“Are you familiar with the healing process?”

Anyone who lives on this earth past middle age is more than likely familiar with the healing process. The second stage of that process produces emotions like rage, indignation, blame, impulses of revenge, etc.

Many “healing” processes do not get past the second stage but wallow there and calcify, so the person becomes embittered, disillusioned. The third stage consists of acceptance of the situation – not to be confused with acceptance of another individual’s actions – and often the emotions of forgiveness enter into it. My experiences with being hurt or abused by another is that I had to forgive not for the other’s sake but for my own sake as I was convinced I could not move on until that occurred, I could not be free of it, could not fully heal, until some combination of forgiveness/acceptance transpired.

This is not me defending RB, as many experts in this area do say the same. People who have had loved ones murdered often find it useful and even necessary to forgive the murderer to experience true healing. And as distasteful as you might think your sufferings under RB were they in no way amount to the hurt inflicted by the murder of a husband, wife, parent or child.

So, your appearance here to take up a daily cause against the FoF, is not without a price; and I don’t strictly mean the time it takes to participate in this forum. I’m talking about keeping the wounds open, picking the scabs as it were, through the daily reliving of the experiences with no apparent change in how you relate to them, and always with no fault of your own, no consensual participation but entirely as an innocent bystander in the wrong place at the wrong time, which only reinforces the second stage of the healing process. The healing process, for any hurt, does not take 25 years. If it appears to there is a good chance its another process at work.

98. Shard_of_Oblivion - September 8, 2012

89 96 WR and “I” discuss the healing process.

I suspect for psychological hurts dreams can be an important element of the healing process. When my mother died a few years ago, for many nights I dreamt that the world was being inundated. The dream would start in different places sometimes in buildings, sometimes in the countryside, but always the water would come, and I knew it was going to keep rising until everyone on earth had drowned, and there was nothing I could do about it. After some weeks it felt that the dreams themselves had helped me cry some of the tears that were in me.
When I left the Fellowship I had one very very vivid dream where I was in my own bathroom at home brushing my teeth in front of the mirror, when suddenly an alien snakelike phallic thing about 6 feet long and 6 inches wide came crashing through the bathroom wall, and in place of the glans of a penis there was the simpering grinning visage of Robert Burton. It was quite horrific. Thank goodness I woke up at that point.

I think dreams, just for what they are, are one of the universe’s sweetest existences. They are there, but they are not there.

99. Toby - September 8, 2012

Before the page diverges too far again, I suggest people do the following:

Have a close look at James Mclemore’s post 95.

James lays everything out in perfect clarity and with full force.

100. Toby - September 8, 2012

Golden Veil, 72/73. and Tim, 91 and Nigel (keep it up, mate):

Thanks also for bringing things back.

101. Tim Campion - September 8, 2012

Toby,

You’re right. James Mclemore’s post rings clear – with heart and with conscience. Thanks to both of you.

102. Fee fi fo fum - September 8, 2012

76 Part of I in the sky’s response to Golden Veil’s 72, “The FoF “Work Books” for decades were the verbatim teachings of Gurdjieff, Ouspensky and Collin. Now expanded to include Sufism, Buddhism, Islam, the Bible and other traditions.”

Hi, this is your local McDonalds’ previously unhealthy menu. Now expanded to include $1 “premium” coffee, salads and other “high quality” choices you don’t usually expect at McDonalds.

Yes, that’s what we like: honest advertising. Is it? You ever taste those salads?

Similarly, why would anyone be deceived by the seeming spirit of generosity in the FF’s current expansion to include the major religions and spiritual traditions of the world? For God’s sake, just call it Comparative Religion 101. At least in college, students pay a one-course fee, keep the textbook, and they don’t have to kiss anybody’s ass (or worse). Instead, the FF pretends to be eclectic – a little Gospels here, a little Rumi there, a few words like karma and yin-yang. Worldly? No, superficial. Why? Because RB is superficial. And just like his being a cultural dilettante, relying on his more “cultured” students in the past to show him the ropes, it’s now religious/spiritual dilettantism.

This attempt at looking all-embracing of the world’s major religious and spiritual traditions smacks of FF expediency. It coincides with the large drop in membership since this blog came into existence. On an early page of this blog, on or around Feb. 8, 2007, Angel 44 (C.T.) described in detail how he, his wife, and several students attended a meeting and then an “intensive” given by Adyashanti. Linda heard about this, evidently found out who attended, and an ultimatum was given. The post said something like, Adyashanti was accused of being “a B Influence virus”. Nice going. Does the FF get to pick and choose which Buddhist is a B Influence virus, and which is not a threat to its existence? The threat was probably not the Buddhist influence that Adyashanti presents. No, it was that he was a living person giving almost free satsangs. The key concept is that he is alive and teaching, and therefore a threat to the FF.

I myself am not too familiar with Adyashanti, but I understand he doesn’t give or ask for blow jobs from his male acolytes.

103. WhaleRider - September 8, 2012

James:
Thank you for your heartfelt post. It brought tears to my eyes.

104. I in the sky - September 8, 2012

Shard_ of_ Oblivion – 63

“But hang on a moment, when I related the specific story of Thomas’s suffering as one of Burton’s early sex victims, your replies showed an absence of conscience on your part. I had hoped that if you heard that story it would prick your conscience. Once that happened your only course of action would be to leave the school.”

You speak about conscience as if it’s a relatively straight forward process to get to it, or that what appears to be it is it or that what appears not to be it really is not it. Or that what goes against one conscience goes against all consciences. Or that as a person’s being grows his or her conscience will lead them in different directions.

Conscience leads a person to do what is right taking in many aspects of a situation. Conscience is not obliged to please everyone on the scene; those involved in a situation as a participant or simply as an onlooker.

There are many layers to a person’s psychology that would have to be pierced in order to reach conscience, including, upbringing, peer pressure, mores of a particular culture, personal biases.

We can only say with relative certainty that Miles could not abide by all that he saw or perceived he saw in the FoF. We can assume that because he told us that and because he followed through by leaving. Some followed him. Was it their conscience that was pricked by his, or did they leave through loyalty, or for entirely different reasons? Others stayed.

Are you saying that it was impossible to stay through an act of conscience? Are you saying that everyone that joins loses touch with their conscience the moment their first teaching payment check goes in the mail and cannot recover conscience until they decide to leave? The answer is conscience is not set to one program. It is not as highly formulated that someone can know for sure what is conscience in another. There are many factors that mask the ability to determine what another’s conscience should or should not tell that person.

“Looking back now I am amazed how we all managed to shrug off the news that the most advanced of the FoF’s students had left citing his conscience, and that we didn’t get the hint that something must be very rotten in the heart of the Fellowship.”

I don’t think anyone shrugged it off. It was a time of crisis It caused intense self reflection on the part of most students I would say. But it is not a given that Miles was correct in his actions or was motivated by the highest in him. Twenty eight years on only Miles knows the answer to that.

105. WhaleRider - September 8, 2012

I in the Sky:
“I’m talking about keeping the wounds open, picking the scabs as it were, through the daily reliving of the experiences with no apparent change in how you relate to them, and always with no fault of your own, no consensual participation but entirely as an innocent bystander in the wrong place at the wrong time, which only reinforces the second stage of the healing process. The healing process, for any hurt, does not take 25 years. If it appears to there is a good chance its another process at work.”

You are right, there is another process hard at work here with which you seem unaquianted.

You also seem to be confusing anger, which yes can be a stage in an ongoing grieving process, with moral outrage…at what continues in the FOF even to this day, as well as in the past, and to others whom I have never met.

I assure you those two emotions are not the same.

In my experience, moral outrage contains a greater degree of revulsion than the anger or sadness associated with grieving.

Setting a statute of limitations on the healing process or imposing an order on the stages also strikes me as overstating your experience in the healing process, quite frankly.

In my experience in the healing process with others, emotional wounds are more than just skin deep and can be buried for a lifetime.

“This is not me defending RB…”

LOL! You are so funny!

Didn’t I just alert you to what it means to say that? Of course you are defending burton! Why else would you have say this?

It’s like me saying bluntly, “I don’t mean to be blunt, BUT that’s called CYA.

You know, a cult leader will always reward and advance those willing to apologize for or rationalize his aberrant behavior to others with power, money or status in his cult. You’ve had a good run in the group, haven’t you?

Thus here you are, a natural extension of your ongoing compensatory role of providing a “balanced” view of burton’s crimes…a vector of harmful FOF cult memes.

Does that seem like I’m angry to you?…because right now I feel pretty calm.

106. nigel - September 8, 2012

This post was originally placed by “in2it”, many pages/years ago…..Nigel.

“- Appreciating relaxation, silence, and rest, but also recognizing when vocalism and action and dissent are welcomed by the universe, and finding the answer to that question in our conscience — however difficult that is to define or describe.”

107. Fee fi fo fum - September 8, 2012

Here is the link to the Feb. 8, 2007 9:50pm comment by Angel 44 (C.T.) that I mentioned in post #101 (or thereabouts) above:

http://animamrecro.wordpress.com/2006/04/16/fellowship-of-friends-a-cult-for-intellectuals/#comment-2263

108. nigel - September 8, 2012

…..something a little bit about consciousness and conscience…..Nigel.

And I have felt
A presence that disturbs me with a joy
Of elevated thoughts; a sense sublime
Of something far more deeply interfused,
Whose dwelling is the light of setting suns,
And the round ocean, and the living air,
And the blue sky, and in the mind of man,
A motion and a spirit, that impels
All thinking things, all objects of all thought,
And rolls through all things. Therefore am I still
A lover of the meadows and the woods,
And mountains: and of all that we behold
From this green earth: of all the mighty world
Of eye and ear, both what they half-create,
And what perceive; well pleased to recognize
In nature and the language of the sense,
The anchor of my purest thoughts, the nurse,
The guide, the guardian of my heart, and soul
Of all my moral being.

– William Wordsworth –

109. I in the sky - September 8, 2012

FFFF – 101

“This attempt at looking all-embracing of the world’s major religious and spiritual traditions smacks of FF expediency. It coincides with the large drop in membership since this blog came into existence. On an early page of this blog, on or around Feb. 8, 2007, Angel 44 (C.T.) described in detail how he, his wife, and several students attended a meeting and then an “intensive” given by Adyashanti. Linda heard about this, evidently found out who attended, and an ultimatum was given. The post said something like, Adyashanti was accused of being “a B Influence virus”. Nice going. Does the FF get to pick and choose which Buddhist is a B Influence virus, and which is not a threat to its existence? The threat was probably not the Buddhist influence that Adyashanti presents. No, it was that he was a living person giving almost free satsangs. The key concept is that he is alive and teaching, and therefore a threat to the FF.”

The FoF studies the teachings of Buddha, not the teaching of every Buddist. It studies the teachings of Christ, not the teachings of every Christian.

Regarding the large drop in attendance. This drop coincided with a change of focus away from the teachings of Gurdjieff and Ouspensky and the emergence of the Sequence as a main component of one’s work. It also happened to coincide with the inception of the blog. Had the blog been the main reason for the drop the membership would have continued to decline whereas the drop only lasted a year or so and its been holding steady since. Actually it’s up almost 200 from its low point.

110. Pie in the Face - September 8, 2012

Re-posting

95.James Mclemore – September 7, 2012

76. I in the sky

You know I think you may be right about some of what you say. Burton himself didn’t distort some of the core ideas of the 4th Way, although he did add his own distortions for reasons that were self-serving, i.e. “Fem. dominance”, “King of Clubs”, “alchemy”, and most of all his colossal imaginative distortion, which others had some fun with on this page, on what “C Influence” might have originally meant. Then there were the ideas of “ladders” and what “lifetime one was on” to add a little “new age” to it all. No, I think the core distortions were already in play, and of course Alex Horn did not make matters any better, as he was as sick in his own way as is Burton. Probably what Burton learned from watching Horn was how he might start his own cult. But back to the point. In G’s own writings, the ideas as presented by O. were never clear to me, so I cannot say what G. intended, but I think distortions, if there was ever anything clear to begin with, began at least with Ouspensky. By admissions he made later in life where he told people to “abandons the system” and Shard’s story of his secretary, you could see his own confusion. As I see it now the system as it was presented was a mess of half-understood concepts and metaphors which began with a distorted view of consciousness itself, and went from there to sometimes seeming to point at non-duality and then with the very next breath proceeded to lay out methods for a some-’one’ to make efforts on a gradual path to somewhere. It just turns in circles in the mind with labels on top of other labels which refer to still other labels. But all of this is a discussion for a different venue than this one.

The reason I post on the blog has nothing to do with the Fourth Way or Burton’s further distortion of ideas he could not understand. I came to the FoF in 1974 and left in 1979. All I knew when I left is that I didn’t trust him and that something was wrong, but I didn’t know what. I had no idea at the time what Burton was up to with the young men he surrounded himself with. So I left, and leaving was very difficult after investing 5 years.
It was not until about page 25 that I found this blog a few years back, and I first thought, “this is pretty neat”. Maybe I could find out and fill in some holes about that 5 years of my life long ago. I felt I had come in on page 25 in the middle of a conversation. So I went back to page one and began to read. Night after night I read. I was astounded. I cried a few times that week of reading through those pages of the blog. I cried about people I had never met. I cried for the way they were treated and the pain it caused. I realized this was much much more than a few ex-followers experiencing of sour grapes for something that didn’t turn out well for them personally. I realized for the first time that I was in a cult, and a very ugly one at that.

I began to realize that it was probably just dumb luck, but I was right not to have trusted Burton. He was a liar. He lied about his abstinence. He lied about Bonita and how he started the school. He lied to us and told us homosexuality meant something was wrong, when he himself was homosexual. He lied about Alex Horn and why he left him. But way beyond his dishonesty was what I read about the way he treated other human beings. Story after story of his manipulation and lying to the young innocent men and boys who had looked up to him in their innocence. I read of his misogyny and the poor women that paid the price for it. I read of the ugly childish behavior when he did not get what he wanted or thought somebody had crossed him. I read of the stories of people having a hard time physically or financially that had been with him for many years and how he turned his back on them and tossed them aside. I began to see Burton was in fact, a sociopath.
Part of the time I was in the FoF I participated at the giving of “prospective student meetings”. After I heard some stories and had private email with a few people, I realized that some of those whom I may have played a part and helped to bring into the FoF were later hurt badly by Burton’s direct actions. I wished I could apologize to every one I gave a “prospective meeting” to. I was sorry for ever giving an angle in one of those meetings. I was sorry for every cent that I gave to Burton and that organization.

Yet I have never posted here in anger. Sadness occasionally, but never anger. The anger that came from the reading of those first pages did what anger does and dissolved on its own. I just wanted to post here to put another point of view as a warning to others, partly a perhaps a payback for ever supporting Burton. I was also impressed with the diversity here and of a lot of fine minds who were not afraid to tell their story, and who quite often had also a fine and sharp sense of humor. I found out from the blog that I was in a ugly cult, but I was in a cult with some pretty good company in those who had escaped.

Some of your offhand remarks on the last few pages, especially when referring to some of these stories from the past, cause me to shake my head in disbelief, although I should be, as Tim reminded me just now, used to it. I don’t who you are, and don’t really care, but do feel sometimes sorry for anybody who has moved so far away from anything resembling sympathy or empathy or compassion. Those things are clearly missing in your voice, and it is a dangerous and sad place to live a life.

~ ~ ~

111. Tim Campion - September 8, 2012

So, “I in the sky”, you claim the Fellowship of Friends is growing? Knowing that “arithmetic” has never been your strong point, I think we need a fact-checker here. (Where’s Ollie when you need them?)

(By the way, I think the low point was “2”, January 1, 1970.)

112. I in the sky - September 8, 2012

WhaleRider – 104

‘“This is not me defending RB…”

LOL! You are so funny!

Didn’t I just alert you to what it means to say that? Of course you are defending burton! Why else would you have to say this?”

Sometimes a preface is just a preface. If only the world were as transparent as you imagine it to be. I am not defending anyone.

If you want to scrutinize something I’ve repeated a few times this cuts to the heart of the matter:

If the Fellowship of Friends is what it claims to be there is no need for me or anyone else to defend it. If it’s what you claim it is a 100 Abe Lincoln’s could not successfully defend it.

113. Shard_of_Oblivion - September 8, 2012

103 “I in the sky” on conscience, says:

“Are you saying that it was impossible to stay through an act of conscience? Are you saying that everyone that joins loses touch with their conscience the moment their first teaching payment check goes in the mail and cannot recover conscience until they decide to leave?”

No I am not saying that. I am saying that it was my conscience that reacted when I heard the story of Thomas, and that your reaction seemed to betoken a lack of conscience on your part.

In 1982 I visited Renaissance from an outlying foreign centre, and a fellow centre student who was also visiting Renaissance told me that the news had just broken that Burton was having sex with the young “solar” men who travelled with him, and that many people were upset, as they thought he should have said earlier, given that he had made it a task not to engage in homosexual sex in the school. She said that she had spoken to Miles (who was the senior student at the time) and recommended I had a word with him. I had a very useful half hour meeting with him in which he told me the following. He had first become concerned in the 70s and had confronted Burton, who had told Miles that he would cease his activities and remain celibate from then on. Miles said this seemed to be followed for a while, but that he had become aware that Burton was back to his old ways again, and had confronted him again. This time Burton had not undertaken to restrict his activities, but instead had told Miles that it was not sex – it was supersex. Miles said that he couldn’t verify that, and just left me with the information. One sentence that Miles spoke remains in my memory, he said “Imagine that you are the parent of an 18 year old boy, and you saw Burton eyeing him up, how would you feel?”
So I was left in 1982 with the picture that Burton engaged in supersex with a lucky few students. I am sure we have all wondered what supersex was like haven’t we? My idea was that it would be sex that emphasised “external consideration” and that it would be a cosmic blending of higher consciousness, where the bodily ecstacy was the mere conduit for a far deeper connection between conscious souls. What I heard from Thomas was very different. I feel that the part of me that could see how wrong the relationship was, was conscience.

I don’t think all FoF students have lost touch with their conscience, I like to think there is hope for all of them. But if the full horror of Burton’s bedroom activities are know to them, and they decide they can still support him, then their conscience is working in a very different way from mine.

114. WhaleRider - September 8, 2012

I in the Sky:
“If only the world were as transparent as you imagine it to be. I am not defending anyone.”

Oh, that’s right, you’re just here providing a fair and balanced viewpoint. Give me a break!

If you want to hide something from someone, place it on the end of their nose.

By the same token, what is hidden to a person is as plain as the nose on their face to others.

That’s why it takes a village…and peer review.

If only Robert Burton and the Fellowship of Friends bubble were as transparent as you imagine it to be…

115. Fee fi fo fum - September 8, 2012

108 I in the sky says, “The FoF studies the teachings of Buddha, not the teaching of every Buddist. It studies the teachings of Christ, not the teachings of every Christian.”

We knew that. That is not new information. The FF always had a couple of “other” books on its shelves, due to its talking incessantly about its list of 44. What’s disingenuous is the appearance of benevolent inclusion of various religions. It’s just a cover for the FF perpetuating its own existence, and allowing RB’s continuous exploitation of men for sex. It is not an innocent study group of the world’s major religions.

As for the doggie commands called the sequence, word has it that it was concocted by RB and one of his guys one week, to distract the FF masses from the defections going on. “Concocted” was exactly how it was described.

Below is the post mentioned above, where C.T., who I remember as having been a successful entrepreneur and made a lot of money (and therefore was much “appreciated” in the FF), was given an ultimatum, due to his and others’ discovery that they were making progress via Adyashanti’s meetings:

Post 57 from one of the early pages of the blog, February 8, 2007, Angel 44: “Yesterday Angela and I left the Fellowship. I received a call from
Linda Tulisso asking if we had been to see a Zen teacher in the Bay
Area. I said we had. She said that Robert considers this a
“B-influence virus” and that I had to make a choice between Robert and
the Zen teacher. I said that I chose the Zen teacher. And that was
that!

Why did I make that choice? Simply, because I want to wake up.

The background:
For the last few years I”ve felt I was getting nowhere in my efforts
to awaken. Initially the FoF was helpful in providing a framework for
learning more about “the machine”, achieving “higher states”, etc. But
Robert tells us that if we”re really lucky this might be our eighth
lifetime and we might wake up next lifetime – not a concept I find
very inspiring! So I started to look around outside the FoF, thinking
that if I did find something better that would be great and if I
didn”t I would resign myself to the pleasant life at Isis and to the
form of relative awakening that is prevalent here (being “in essence”
and sometimes having “higher states”).

Angela and I started to read books about Advaita Buddhism. It”s a
wonderful, simple, practical teaching. There are a number of Advaita
teachers in California who give every indication of being at a high
level of consciousness. About a month ago we went to Oakland to see
Adyashanti, one of the leading teachers. It was a total revelation.
Here was a young man, obviously at a very high level of consciousness,
explaining simply and clearly how to get there no complications or
strange additions, a clear and pure energy, lovely sense of humour,
completely open to any person asking any kind of question. The fee for
the two hour meeting was a suggested donation of $10. Last weekend we
went with a number of students to an “intensive”, spending the whole
weekend with Adyashanti. The effect was extraordinary so many
revelations for all of us.

The small group of friends who are undertaking this voyage are seeing
quick and wonderful results it really seems like it is possible to
wake up, in fact the process has already begun ..

One strand of what is happening is that old concepts are dropping
away. We”re asked to look into ourselves and see what we really are.
The answer is “nothing”. The awakened state is beyond all concepts.
This includes concepts like “being present”, “not expressing negative
emotions”, etc. One sees that in fact these concepts keep one asleep.
Efforts to awaken take one further away from awakening, because they
are made by the small self, which actually doesn”t exist. This
includes the steward. That”s why making efforts to be present produces
only temporary, impermanent states.

Robert”s teaching contains a number of fundamental errors, which is
why after 26 years of sincere efforts I haven”t really achieved much!
Nor has anyone else, at least as far as I can see!!

There are many descriptions in Indian spiritual literature about the
different possibilities for what can occur after an experience of
illumination. In many cases it takes a while for the machine to catch
up with the experience. There is a period of integration where the
machine”s habits become integrated and purified by the spiritual
experience. When this happens correctly a figure like Adyashanti
appears simple, clear, clean, pure, unafraid, non-grasping, humble.
But in some cases the lower parts of the machine win the battle. The
result is a person who has some residual spiritual energy but who is
increasingly consumed by greed, vanity and power, often in the form of
sexual obsession, financial greed, exaggerated claims (“I”m higher
than Jesus”), strange prophecies, etc. Sound familiar?

So it”s not surprising that Robert views Advaita Buddhism as a
“B-influence virus”. The emperor has no clothes. He probably realizes
that he is unable to do much to help people to awaken, but he wants to
retain his lifestyle with all its creature comforts and adulation, so
it”s very dangerous for him when someone sees through him. The virus
could easily spread, so those people have to be removed immediately.

It was odd going up to Apollo d”Oro recently and seeing how hypnotized
people are minds closed to any other possibilities than what Robert
tells them. I was in that situation myself for 26 years, which seems
extraordinary now that I can see the FoF more clearly. Perhaps the
FoF can still have beneficial results for its students despite Robert
being a bit of a fraud, at least at the beginning, but devoting one”s
whole life to it seems to me to be a mistake, assuming one wants to
awaken.

So, a new beginning for me. I hope our friendship can transcend the
mad FoF rule about ex-students!

love, Charles”

116. I in the sky - September 8, 2012

FFFF 114:

I would say Robert’s ultimatum to CT and others who were seeing Adyashanti showed foresight and compassion. Because as the old saying goes you can’t serve two masters, or stand between two stools for very long. Robert’s edict was third force for them to make an important choice. I use the word compassion because Robert doesn’t want people to stay without their hearts being in it. It’s not beneficial to them or the FoF.

As you mentioned CT was a successful businessman and it would have been easy for Robert to make some concessions to him to ensure his donations continued if money was tantamount.

He understood that they had already left before they understood that.

117. brucelevy - September 8, 2012

115. I in the sky

Unfuckingbelievable.

118. Fee fi fo fum - September 8, 2012

Yeah, Bruce. No matter what happens, it gets all twisted. That’s why George Orwell never made it to the FF’s required reading list. The FF is full of doublespeak and twisted interpretations.

Ironically, they did C.T. and others a huge favor by giving that ultimatum. It finally got their butts out of the FF’s clutches.

119. nigel - September 8, 2012

…..woke up at 4.30 am this morning, unable to sleep more. Something about Autumn’s (Fall’s) energy in a receding to oneself state. Burton said that “we are the pheonix rising from the ashes”. As far as I am concerned, each former student is the “pheonix rising from his/her own ashes”. Being has to do with what one can be – not just serving Burton’s “penchants”…..Nigel.

120. Golden Veil - September 8, 2012

76. I in the sky – September 7, 2012

Golden Veil – 72

“I think that the really significant thing is that these universal “tenets and principles found in every major spiritual tradition” have been distorted and used to psychologically maim, sexually abuse, and financially fleece members of the Fellowship of Friends.”

Your comment, I in the sky:

“How have they been distorted by the FoF? The FoF “Work Books” for decades were the verbatim teachings of Gurdjieff, Ouspensky and Collin. Now expanded to include Sufism, Buddhism, Islam, the Bible and other traditions.”

How distorted, I in the sky? Well, first of all the Teacher distorted the “Work Book” Influence C concept by his personification of it into the 44 dead great artists, philosophers, writers, Buddha, Jesus, etc. He also constructed the Deck of Cards” concept, expanding upon the ideas of Rodney Collin, the Eneagram, Centers of Gravity, and the tarot work of Ouspensky, etc.

As far as your assertion of “expanding”… the Bible has been quoted from for decades and Robert Burton started the writing of the “Keys to the Bible” compilation over a decade ago.

I in the sky, regarding your statement from the same post:

“The other part of your quoted comment is your interpretation.
I certainly don’t feel that way. Are you taking a page from WhaleRider’s book, where your opinion supersedes all others?”

No, I don’t think that my “opinion supersedes all others.” I’m sorry, but you misunderstood me. I see a missing quote mark in my re-post ~ everything below my statement,

“Why continue the discussion here? The below post bears re-posting and answers that question quite well.”

was written by Tim Campion, not myself or WhaleRider.

121. Shirley - September 8, 2012

95. James McLemore

Thank you for your terrific post.

122. apostate - September 8, 2012

right on james! thank you

123. Tim Campion - September 8, 2012

“I in the sky” wrote:

Regarding the large drop in attendance. This drop coincided with a change of focus away from the teachings of Gurdjieff and Ouspensky and the emergence of the Sequence as a main component of one’s work. It also happened to coincide with the inception of the blog. Had the blog been the main reason for the drop the membership would have continued to decline whereas the drop only lasted a year or so and its been holding steady since. Actually it’s up almost 200 from its low point.

“Attendance” is a curious word choice, “I”. The casual reader might think of it as something “optional”, like attending church on Sunday.

Of course, you know that FFFF was referring to dues-paying members. The Fellowship of Friends roster of June 15, 2012, showed 1,458 names, the lowest count since the exodus from the Fellowship began over six years ago, and down roughly a third from its all-time high. The decline did not just last “a year or so” as you’d like others to believe. Yet again, you are lying (or perhaps you prefer to call it “being intentionally insincere.”)

What data supports the statement you made above? (And, just to be clear, we don’t count camels and llamas.)

124. WhaleRider - September 9, 2012

I in the Sky:
“Robert’s edict was third force for them to make an important choice. I use the word compassion because Robert doesn’t want people to stay without their hearts being in it. It’s not beneficial to them or the FoF. As you mentioned CT was a successful businessman and it would have been easy for Robert to make some concessions to him to ensure his donations continued if money was tantamount. He understood that they had already left before they understood that.”

“I am not defending anyone.”

Both statements are on this same page!

Unfuckingbelieveable!

125. Wondering Who’s Watching - September 9, 2012

95. James Mclemore

Very well articulated. Thank you.

It is important to recognise that the sociopathy engendered in FoF, from the leader on down through the organisation, is institutionalisation and acceptance of this as a norm, where all are expected to imitate, to one degree or another. I in the Sky is a prime example of this. The best remedy for this type of ‘disease’ is to start over again.

126. apostate - September 9, 2012

re: this ‘pie in the sky” and etc…

because a critic can never disprove the cult hierachs’ claim to a special revelation, debate is futile… although deconstructing the brainwash may be useful.

it’s difficult to warn outsiders what the ‘inner life’ of the belief system is actually like, because critics can never actually prove ‘objectively’ that criticisms are valid and not just personal and subjective.

paraphrased /amended

127. apostate - September 9, 2012

…from the culture of cults:

“Of course, no-one is forced to join a cult. No-one is forced to adopt a new belief system, either as a whole or in part. Equally however, no-one, be they an independent academic investigator, a curious onlooker, or a potential new member, can understand a belief system, without trying it out first. Its not really a belief system, if you don’t believe in it. Without some ability to see a belief system through the eyes of a believer, and to experience the emotions of a believer, an investigator will always remain an outsider.”

an ex member literally knows the fof inside and out…
personally speaking, i feel i know the fof through and through and that explains why i’m through… the fellowship experience was a portal… certainly not an end in itself… unless of course you’re ‘pie in the sky’ or burton herself.

128. Fee fi fo fum - September 9, 2012

95 James McLemore

James, your #95 is so direct and honest. Your expressed thoughts also stand in direct contrast to I in the sky’s #115 FOF-Speak, where the FF positive spin is attempted again:

“I would say Robert’s ultimatum to CT and others who were seeing Adyashanti showed foresight and compassion. Because as the old saying goes you can’t serve two masters, or stand between two stools for very long. Robert’s edict was third force for them to make an important choice. I use the word compassion because Robert doesn’t want people to stay without their hearts being in it. It’s not beneficial to them or the FoF.”

Let’s not delude ourselves about Robert. “Compassion?” This was not about compassion. It was to force the seeds of rivalry and subversion out the door. Robert didn’t admire Machiavelli’s “The Prince” for nothing. (And I heard that from his close male companions.) RB probably recognized a wave of major questioning in the works. C.T. was articulate, well educated, had studied law, was also very witty and poked fun at anyone and everyone with funny skits. I’m sure he was respectful, but he was not shy and retiring.

But this isn’t about C.T. What happened was as political a move as ever happened in the FF. The 20th century had several totalitarian governments that gave similar examples of how the top dog squelched independent thought and incipient rebellion. Like I said, George Orwell’s books wasn’t required reading in the FF. I wonder why.

129. I in the sky - September 9, 2012

WhaleRider – 123:

Why would I be defending anyone or any organization?
If the Fellowship of Friends is what it claims to be there is no need for me or anyone else to defend it. If it’s what you claim it is a 100 Abe Lincoln’s could not successfully defend it. This really cuts to the chase doesn’t it?

130. I in the sky - September 9, 2012

Tim Campion – 122

“The Fellowship of Friends roster of June 15, 2012, showed 1,458 names, the lowest count since the exodus from the Fellowship began over six years ago…”

My understanding was that the low point from the exodus beginning in 2006 was around 1320 by 2007 or 08. I also heard recently the atten.., excuse me, the membership, was above 1500.

But the point I was making was not about exact figures; it was the fact that there were two major causes for upheaval in the FoF at the exact time the blog appeared. I’m sure the blog gave some of those disgruntled members a nudge out, but basically the membership has held steady for the last 3 or 4 years and is up around 60 since this year began, including 12 to 14 rejoins.

I remember right after the blog started some ex members were predicting the FoF would shut down within 6 months to a year.

131. Tim Campion - September 9, 2012

“I in the sky”, I guess that’s why Linda Kaplan called the blog (not the Sequence) the worst thing that ever happened to the Fellowship.

I do believe your figures are incorrect, and that there has been a consistent membership decline since 2006, at least until June 15th of this year (beyond which I don’t have data.)

As for predictions, it sounds like those ex-members fared no worse in their prophesying than your master, Robert Burton.

By the way “I”, how are the bunkers coming? We only have a little over 100 days until Armageddon. December 21, 2012, isn’t that what the guru has predicted? Are you ready?

132. Wouldnt You Like To Know - September 9, 2012

‘Robert’s edict was third force for them to make an important choice.’

That is certainly one way to look at it. However, based on the six processes, as presented by Rodney Collin (and others), if it was ‘third force,’ then it could be the process of regeneration or crime. More probable is that the action of REB was first force, active force (or, as REB used to say: ‘active farce’). That would make it the process of growth or elimination. You can have your own take on what it was. I vote for: 1) elimination, 2) crime, 3) regeneration, 4) growth; in that order, where 1. is most likely.

‘Let’s not delude ourselves about Robert. “Compassion?” This was not about compassion. It was to force the seeds of rivalry and subversion out the door.’ FFFF FoF Blog page 127#127
(Eliminate, before the ‘B Influence virus’ contaminated the entire flock. If that would happen, it would cost more than CT was worth to FoF. Do the math, $$$, darling.)

133. I in the sky - September 9, 2012

Tim Campion

“I do believe your figures are incorrect, and that there has been a consistent membership decline since 2006, at least until June 15th of this year (beyond which I don’t have data.)”

The exodus you referred to took the numbers from around 2000 to 1320 or so and that happened over the course of around 18 to 24 months. If there has been a consistent membership decline over the last 6 years the numbers would be much lower today than 1500 or even 1458.

As far as Armageddon 12-21-12, I don’t think you can put that one on RB, that’s the handiwork of the Mayans. But these catastrophic events usually don’t happen on the exact day or month or even year. If they did people would be beating down the doors to enter the FoF.

134. Just the Facts Ma'am - September 9, 2012

I in the sky:
‘If the Fellowship of Friends is what it claims to be there is no need for me or anyone else to defend it. If it’s what you claim it is a 100 Abe Lincoln’s could not successfully defend it.’

Maybe so. And, a good reasoning for eliminating the services of the Fellowship of Friends (FoF) member and its best lawyer, A.G. (after many years as dedicated counselor); voted off the FoF board of directors and prompting the David Spr!ngf!eld (also lawyer and board member) letter about FoF criminal activity. (The FoF prior lawyer and board member, C.M., quit and left the ‘church.’)

But, maybe, just maybe, A.G., the FoF one and only ‘Abe Lincoln’ (even had a portrait painting of Abe Lincoln that hung in his office at one time) got tired of defending Fellowship of Friends and Robert Earl Burton in both public, legally, and in his own mind and heart, to the degree he committed suicide? Ouch, Catch 44!

FoF will not shut down as long as there is one true believer, like you, I in the sky.

135. Tim Campion - September 9, 2012

“I in the sky” wrote:

Why would I be defending anyone or any organization?

If the Fellowship of Friends is what it claims to be there is no need for me or anyone else to defend it. If it’s what you claim it is a 100 Abe Lincoln’s could not successfully defend it.

Perhaps you could try answering your own question for a change. The statements that follow it, which you seem to enjoy repeating, are useless non sequiturs.

If we use your criteria, then anyone (excepting yourself, of course) will see that quite obviously The Fellowship of Friends is not what it claims to be, and that Robert Earl Burton is not what he claims to be, because it requires defending.

Over the course of thirty years, Abraham Goldman repeatedly engaged in defending The Fellowship of Friends and Robert Burton against these exact charges. The litany of accusations is well-documented.

Linda Kaplan (you may know her) once boasted to a reporter “The Fellowship itself never paid a penny in settlement.” Now I won’t call that lying. Maybe just a bit of “intentional insincerity.” (I actually prefer the term Sharon Gans uses “clever insincerity.”)

Robert Burton’s inability to control himself has cost the membership of The Fellowship of Friends millions of dollars in legal fees, settlements, fines, inflated insurance costs and other expenses, undermining their efforts and betraying their trust.

No need for a defense? It seems lawyers Goldman and Springfield weren’t so self-assured. For a reminder of the many concerns he was addressing when dismissed, read David’s letter to the Board of Directors.

At the heart of the matter, your “non-defense” above betrays a lack of personal responsibility that is typical of cult members who have jettisoned critical thinking in favor of blind devotion. In effect you admit “I am incapable of discerning right from wrong. I leave the matter to others who will decide for me.”

At the same time here you are, defending (while “not defending” of course) Robert Burton and The Fellowship of Friends, day after day, page after page, plainly contradicting your own words and confirming the notion that you’re not completely confident in that bold assertion above. I’m left to conclude that you continue to use the “tool” of intentional insincerity without compunction. Alternative conclusions would be less flattering.

136. Pie in the Face - September 9, 2012

“But these catastrophic events usually don’t happen on the exact day or month or even year.”

http://i0.kym-cdn.com/photos/images/original/000/001/582/picard-facepalm.jpg?1240934151

137. nigel - September 9, 2012

…..from the ‘Mayan End Age’ site…..

What’s what and what’s real here?????…..Nigel.

“An Apocalypse (Greek: “lifting of the veil” or “revelation”) is a disclosure of something hidden from the majority of mankind in an era dominated by falsehood and misconception, i.e. the veil to be lifted.” — Wikipedia

138. WhaleRider - September 9, 2012

I in the sky:

“Why would I be defending anyone or any organization? If the Fellowship of Friends is what it claims to be there is no need for me or anyone else to defend it. If it’s what you claim it is a 100 Abe Lincoln’s could not successfully defend it.”

There most certainly has been the need to defend burton in court, on more than one occasion…for fraud and for having sex with a minor!

I didn’t think you were being serious!

The answers seemed too obvious, as plain as the nose on your face.

Neither you nor 100 Abe Lincolns could successfully defend it or him….for three very important reasons:

A) “Crazy wisdom” is just that, crazy; it won’t stand up in court. In the eyes of the law, we are all equals.

That’s why the civil cases brought against Robert E Burton were all settled out of public court for undisclosed piles of cash and with a “gag” order that the parties not discuss the case with anyone.

In the Buzbee case, if it had been in burton’s home state of Arkansas, where it is considered 3rd degree rape for clergy to exploit their position to have sex with their followers even if they are not minors as Troy was at the time in question, then the outcome might have been much different. It would have been a criminal case, not civil; and since allegedly burton gave Troy herpes in addition to a few blowjobs, probably burton’s lawyers would have had to plea bargain with the DA instead of being able to buy his way out to settle the case, although the standards for proof are much higher in a criminal case than a civil one. Regardless of the outcome, the publicity for the cult would have been horrendous.

B) 100 Abe Lincolns do not exist.

C) You are not a lawyer.

139. Fee fi fo fum - September 9, 2012

131 Just the Facts Ma’am

“(Eliminate, before the ‘B Influence virus’ contaminated the entire flock. If that would happen, it would cost more than CT was worth to FoF. Do the math, $$$, darling.)”

Correct. The FF’s giving an ultimatum to C.T. and the other attendees of Adyashanti’s satsang & weekend “intensive” backfired, to the FF’s disfavor. Talk about pie in the face.

The irony is that what was a FF gamble to quickly stem a disaffection by only 10-20 students (which is how many FF students were involved, from what I was told), the net effect was a much-needed, sudden questioning of one’s allegiance to RB and the FF by many, many students up in the Oregon House area. The story of “Linda calling up those students” quickly spread “like wildfire”. So what might have been contained with true tolerance (a concept that does not exist in the FF), resulted in an out-of-control defection. The defection was not simply in Oregon House. People contacted their friends, who contacted their friends, and before you know it, a massive questioning process began.

The blog’s beginning in 2006 helped that exodus out of the FF. It was serendipity. If Adyashanti’s meetings had happened 20 years ago, before the prevalence of emails and the internet, the defection would probably still have happened, but not on the scale that it did.

For example, the original “play of crime” in the early 1970s that the early students were forbidden to talk about (so of course, they made matters worse by alluding to it in whispers, until you finally dragged the details out) was partially contained because the FF was small, and communication was face-to-face.

But in 2006, there was email and the internet. And blogs allowing pseudonyms was perfect to counter the atmosphere of repression and suppression in the FF. For the first time, FF students who were already unhappy with the dissipation and emptiness of the FF and RB, finally had a way of voicing their concerns, anger and feelings of betrayal.

140. Tim Campion - September 9, 2012

I in the sky wrote:

The exodus you referred to took the numbers from around 2000 to 1320 or so and that happened over the course of around 18 to 24 months. If there has been a consistent membership decline over the last 6 years the numbers would be much lower today than 1500 or even 1458.

Here’s the data I have:

Mid-2005: 2,200
February 2007: 2,085
April 2007: 2,035
May 21, 2007: 1,726
August 2007: 1,639
September 1, 2009: 1,578
October 29, 2009: 1,570
May 8, 2010: 1,540
January 1, 2011: 1,516
June 15, 2012: 1,458

The June 15, 2012 census is 34% lower than the 2,200 “high water mark” for The Fellowship of Friends.

In light of the trend since 2005, your narrative, that membership dropped to 1,320 in 2007 or 2008 and that it has since recovered by 200, appears highly unlikely. Not inconceivable (and you seem to be quite good at imagining the possibilities), just improbable.

You also neglected to mention that the oppressive Spring and Fall mandatory “donations” of 2007 were triggers that sent many members packing.

141. jomopinata - September 9, 2012

138/FeeFiFoFum

“For example, the original “play of crime” in the early 1970s that the early students were forbidden to talk about (so of course, they made matters worse by alluding to it in whispers, until you finally dragged the details out) was partially contained because the FF was small, and communication was face-to-face.”

To add to what you say, in 1972 Yorgos Savides mailed out invitations, printed on green paper, inviting recipients to join “The School of the New Dawn.” Even in a pre-internet age, one would think word would have spread pretty quickly of this opportunity in the small group.

142. jomopinata - September 9, 2012

I was not there, but I have been told by someone who was there that Yorgos made a public announcement at a meeting.

143. Fee fi fo fum - September 9, 2012

I wasn’t there either. However, when I joined in the 1970s, it was still a current enough event that the occasional reference to a “play of crime” was accompanied by an immediate atmosphere of, “but I can’t talk about it.” (Then why even mention that there had been a recent Play of Crime?)

Anyway, shortly after I joined the FF, I went to a ballet in the Bay Area with one of the venerated “older students.” We had tickets up in the balcony. As we were getting into our row, she suddenly looked a few seats over at a small cluster of people sitting one row up, and looked startled. The woman in that cluster looked at my companion, and said said to her, “Hi, ____.” My companion seemed slightly unsettled, but didn’t answer the woman, nor said anything to me. I didn’t think anything of it, because the ballet was starting. When we went home, the “older student” turned to me and explained that the woman who greeted her (but whom she did not greet back) was the wife of the man who was involved in the “play of crime.” It was like “pulling teeth” to get anything else out. I can’t remember if she said it was a task not to talk about it, but she conveyed the weight of holding in some big secret. it caused me to ask a few other older students what the heck this mystery was all about. When someone finally told me, it was in a matter of fact manner and it all sounded childish to me. What escaped me then, and for a long afterwards, was how possessive RB was, and how he stood for no competition at all.

144. Fee fi fo fum - September 9, 2012

I should add to my last 2 sentences that the reason it all sounded childish to me was because where I come from, “crime” means someone got killed or robbed. You know, like you read about in the tabloid newspapers.

To hear of Yorgos’ act as being a “crime” seemed a strange use of that word. Silly me. I had not been indoctrinated yet into the special infusion of ordinary words with special FF meanings.

145. Joseph Nachumovitch - September 9, 2012

If my calculations are correct, the 1970s were about 40 years ago.

146. Fee fi fo fum - September 9, 2012

No kidding.

147. Golden Veil - September 9, 2012

A “Fool’s School” from the very beginning…

148. I in the sky - September 9, 2012

Tim Campion – 139

I don’t have official figures, only what I remember. I doubt the ones you supplied are official either.

But we can check back in another 6 years and compare notes again.

149. Tim Campion - September 9, 2012

“I in the sky”,

I’ll take that as an admission that you just don’t know what you’re talking about.

150. Tempus Fugit - September 10, 2012

Let’s see. So it was a crime for Yorgos to abandon the phony FOF and take others with him, but now Burton is showing compassion when people leave because he wouldn’t want to interfere with their path?

I’m confused.

Let’s see. Burton claims the FOF is an ark of the best of human culture meant to survive and lead the new age after the coming apocalypse. But the end of the world keeps not happening and the date keeps being adjusted by Burton.

I’m confused.

Oh yeah, and “I in the Sky” says people would flock to the FOF if they actually thought the world was ending this December. Huh? Why wouldn’t they just go wherever they usually go when they need help and comfort – their friends, their family, their real church.

I’m confused.

Meanwhile growth of the FOF is flat like the stock market, Burton has had to admit all kinds of formerly banned influences to try to attract more members from a diminishing pool, and not one world leader is seeking Burton’s advice on anything.

Come to think of it maybe I’m not so confused.

The FOF is clearly a minor cult that few care about. The only thing large about the FOF is the amount of pain and suffering left in it’s wake.

151. Boogie Street - September 10, 2012

at 103 “I in the sky” said,

“Conscience leads a person to do what is right taking in many aspects of a situation.”

You are wrong. What you are speaking of is the mind and the minds concept of “conscience” as it readies itself to justify something. The mind first labels a situation and then looks at the “aspects” which are again only the labels it itself has created, and then brings forth justifications or judgments etc.
Conscience is immediate. It does need any thinking about “aspects”. It’s knowing is immediate. Compassion and empathy cannot be contrived, although the mind may attempt to do that. No ‘time’ seems to be involved at all as far as I can tell. ‘You’ don’t have to go anywhere to get “conscience”. You don’t have to do years of ‘spiritual work’ on a ‘self’ in order to have access to it. “Conscience” may certainly become temporarily but quite thoroughly obscured and hidden due to thought memes, brainwashing, social customs and conditioning but it still is right there, except in the case of a ‘sociopath’ where it appears to have strangely disappeared altogether.

“I in the sky” I think you might have better luck here if you confined yourself to speaking of more concrete things. Perhaps more like Joseph when he proclaimed that “the 1970s were about 40 years ago.”

152. brucelevy - September 10, 2012

149. Tempus Fugit

If I remember correctly the “Play of crime” also included stealing money from the FOF.

153. James Mclemore - September 10, 2012

Bruce –
There was a guy, I can’t remember a name, that moved to the Ranch from Santa Barbara about the same time I did, maybe early in 1975?. His “octave” was to go shopping for food etc in Sacramento. The story I was told was that he went shopping one day with a lot of cash, and just kept on going. He called and told them what he was doing and where they could find the vehicle he was driving. I think that also got the name “Play of crime”.

154. WhaleRider - September 10, 2012

I in the Sky and Joseph N.:

Oh, I get it now. Who cares about the past when you are sooo in the present!

The past is such a burden to carry! Lighten up, Zorba! What’s done is done! You can’t be present if you’re living in the past! You can’t change anything, the play is written! The past will suck the life out of you if you’re not vigilant!

Here’s where the meme about “attaining permanent presence” falls short for me.

How can you maintain an open mind or know yourself deeply if your awareness is constantly focused on the narrow slit of the present?

For me, that’s like looking at a film one frame at a time without ever “seeing” the whole picture. You lose track of where the plot is going and then all of a sudden…poof! your bulb burns out and you’re dead. Meanwhile, you’re the one whose had their pocket picked while you’ve been so captivated, and now there’s nothing left to pay the electric bill.

Of course, the present contains the past; we see the world through the filter of our past experiences.

To negate the past is to live with a divided self. And just like Alice’s Resturant, the interior space seems nice at first, but then the space starts filling up with crap anyway.

I’d rather my inner world be filled up with my own crap and not someone else’s like burton’s!

So, rather than store any more of burton’s crap in my inner world, I’m dumping it here for you to see; after all, you helped pay for it.

It’s a blog for christsakes!

Blogging helps me enjoy my present a whole lot better, frankly.

Have you ever had to hold back a really big shit? Like when you REALLY have to go? It ain’t healthly to do that! It hurts!

What a joy when you finally get to the bathroom! That’s what blogging here is like to me. It’s a big relief. Even though it is messy, it’s a NECESSARY process.

This blog really isn’t for you, it’s about you.

If you don’t like it, as Bruce says, feel free to start your own blog.

So if you’re showing up here with pachelbel’s canon playing in your head to whitewash the bathroom walls after I shit all over them…more power to you!

It’s a shitty job, but someone (hopefully not you, Someone) from your side of the counter has to do it…if you are intent of serving up more rhino poop!

Better that it’s someone who has been sucking on the Fellowship’s tit the longest, because you KNOW burton isn’t going to clean up his own mess. That’s the job of the hired help. Don’t bullshit us. That’s what he pays you to do.

When I look through my eyes into the present moment I’m looking through my entire life, not around it…all of it, like it was an art installation of my own making, not someone else’s. IMO, that’s what “being” is.

155. Tim Campion - September 10, 2012

WhaleRider,

Thanks for speaking in terms I can relate to!

James Mclemore,

That guy was John Ray, and I trained him! On June 29, 1976 he carried $6,800 (over $26,000 in today’s dollars) to purchase groceries for the big July 4th celebration at The Farm (Mt. Carmel, Renaissance, etc.) I retrieved the shopping truck in Sacramento, and never got a cut.

It was a relatively small “Play of Crime”, the third that I was aware of.

156. fofblogmoderator - September 10, 2012

#80 is new

157. Tempus Fugit - September 10, 2012

In reply to:

“152. brucelevy – September 10, 2012
149. Tempus Fugit
If I remember correctly the “Play of crime” also included stealing money from the FOF.”

Gee, it’s been a really long time, but I don’t recall Yorgos being accused of taking money, just students.

Another real crook was/is James Vincent Randazzo, remember him? Burton gave him the boot after he stole some money from the group, but I don’t recall the specifics. Maybe you’re thinking of him?

Randazzo went on to form his own cult, the “Spiral of Friends,” until he was arrested and sent to prison for the sexual abuse of a teenage boy.

Funny to think of it now, but I remember a couple of odd comments from Randazzo implying that Burton was a pretty sharp cookie. Went over my head at the time. Guess it takes one to know one.

If anyone wants more information on Randazzo, just Google his name or the name of his group. There are some references to him on our own blog too, see post 38 on this page, for example:

http://animamrecro.wordpress.com/2007/05/22/the-fellowship-of-friends-discussion-part-10/

I actually remember Yorgos as a pretty nice guy, but I didn’t know him too well. I’m glad he escaped and I hope he’s doing okay.

158. Golden Veil - September 10, 2012

80. Adab – September 7, 2012

“It’s psychopathy to create some kind of forbidden underworld – saying one thing in public, and forgetting it all in your private actions.”

You tell it like it is. That’s “The Teacher” of the Fellowship of Fools.

159. I in the sky - September 10, 2012

Tim Campion – 149

“I’ll take that as an admission that you just don’t know what you’re talking about.”

So be it. The number of current members in the FoF seems more important to you than to me.

My experiences as a member are just as fulfilling with 1458 friends as it was with 2000. There aren’t as many but you get to know the ones there a little better.

160. Ill Never Tell - September 10, 2012

147. Golden Veil:
‘A “Fool’s School” from the very beginning…’

Also: A “Ghoul’s School” from the very beginning…

‘A ghoul is a type of jinn that feeds on human corpses, abducts young children to eat, lures unwary people into abandoned places, often classified as undead. . .’ wikipedia

‘1: a legendary evil being that robs graves and feeds on corpses
2: one suggestive of a ghoul; especially: one who shows morbid interest in things considered shocking or repulsive’ Merriam-Webster

161. brucelevy - September 10, 2012

80. Adab

Very nice. Thanks.

162. brucelevy - September 10, 2012

153. James Mclemore

Thanks, that’s the thing I remember. I was in the Lodge when RB got the call. I remember RB’s face when he hung up. He considered sending a couple armed members after the guy.

163. Toby - September 10, 2012

“He considered sending a couple armed members after the guy.”

Incredible anecdote, and one of the stranger ones I’ve heard. The question is, what’s the plan once you meet the guy. Point your guns at him? Shoot him?

Regarding some of the discussion above membership numbers…

I know a lot of people are saying that anyone who writes here should be listened to with the assumption that they are being totally honest about what they think. That’s generally how I’m approaching it.

Still, I think that assumption is partly what gives a public relations spokesperson a considerable advantage in framing a discussion: People may not be aware they’re being disingenuous, or using misdirection. PR representatives know this, and they try to take advantage of it. This is their job.

When an organization’s PR rep (troll, shill, whatever) talks at length about membership numbers, and then states that they don’t really care about those numbers, you can run that through the BS translator and here’s what comes out: They are very concerned about the membership numbers.

164. WhaleRider - September 10, 2012

*****FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE*****

Time: The Sparkly Present

From: His Royal Highness
To: His Royal Followers

Re: School Pace Increase

As of this very instant, all faithful Followers and his Royal Highness will advance one lifetime!

For example, for those Followers whom math is unimportant and happen to be on their fourth lifetime through no willy nilly of their own, those lucky Followers will as of right now advance to their fifth lifetime, and so forth.

His Royal Highness informs us that the pace of his schooldom has accelerated once again, now clocked at approaching a withering speed of Mach 3. Steroids will soon be available for those who cannot keep it up.

Please be advised that this change is due to a recent upgrade in Paradise Savings Time, and even though some numbers have changed, certain other sacred special numbers, like 2, 3, 4, 7, 12, 30, and 44 will remain very important, and lucky Followers are encouraged to be extremely present to these special numbers always and everywhere they go in order to augment their good fortune.

Also, his Royal Highness has decided that the required lifetime to awaken has been upgraded from 9 to 10, although it is still a requirement that women must return as men in order to awaken using his Royal Highness’s patented oral techniques.

And for those recently joined really lucky young men who are ignorant of which number lifetime they are on, it is fine for them to present themselves with their coats brushed, their faces washed, and with their shoes clean and neat at the back door of his Royal Highness’s private residence at 9PM for a late night snack with him to find out which lifetime he’d like them to be on and which position he’d like them to take. Admission is free, and one can pay at the door.

Just as a reminder, his Royal Highness has requested that in order to be a supergood Follower and better one’s chances of staying around longer, one must refrain from discussing with anyone, not even one’s mother, father, nor best friend if you have one left, which lifetime his Royal Highness has randomly assigned to them, under what circumstances he did so, or how many it cost.

It is also recommended that although the number of Followers has been declining recently, this will allow Followers to get to know one another slightly better before they leave or are kicked out.

Just remember, his Royal Highness loves you and wouldn’t hurt a fly.

165. Tim Campion - September 10, 2012

Pretty cute, WhaleRider. Burton did call the Fellowship of Friends headquarters “the happiest place on earth”! (I just didn’t understand where his happiness was coming from.)

166. jomopinata - September 10, 2012

Yorgos Savides died in 2004.

167. nigel - September 10, 2012

154. Whale Rider
164. Whale Rider

The juxtaposition of these two posts by Whale Rider show a huge knowledge and understanding of how we must use both positive (self-enhancing) and negative (discriminating) aspects of ourselves in our individual fulfillment of our destinies…..Nigel.

I have used this excerpt from “Dibs – In Search of Self”, by Virginia M Axline, before but find it powerful still and well worth including here, at this point in the blog…..Nigel.

“Dibs had had his dark moments and had lived for a while in the shadows of life. But he had had the opportunity to move out of those dark moments and discover for himself that he could cope with the shadows and sunshine in his life.

Perhaps there is more beauty and understanding in life when the glaring sunlight is softened by the patterns of shadows. Perhaps there is more depth in a relationship that has weathered some storms. EXPERIENCE THAT NEVER DISAPPOINTS OR SADDENS OR STIRS UP FEELINGS IS A BLAND EXPERIENCE WITH LITTLE CHALLENGE OR VARIATION IN COLOUR. Perhaps when we experience confidence and faith and hope that we see materialize before our eyes this builds up within us a feeling of inner strength, courage and security.

We are all personalities that grow and develop AS A RESULT OF ALL OUR EXPERIENCES, RELATIONSHIPS, THOUGHTS, AND EMOTIONS. We are the sum total of all the parts that go into THE MAKING OF A LIFE.”

(This is the true story of a little boy named Dibs…..

He would not talk. He would not play. Judged mentally defective, he was oblivious both to other children and to his teacher; in reality he was a brilliant, lonely child trapped in a prison of fear and rage, a prison from which only he could release himself. And through psychotherapy and love, he did.)

168. Fee fi fo fum - September 11, 2012

We were talking on this page about the exodus of FF students leaving, especially in 2007. According to Tim’s figures on post 140, around 440 people left that year.

In post 130, I in the sky said that this year, there were 12 to 14 rejoins. If you compare the two figures (14 out of 440), despite their being different years, it’s .03%. It’s a rather hollow victory.

If the FF were that compelling of a spiritual organization, whose leader was awesome and inspiring, ex-members would be expressing our/their regrets for having left. You’d have that group of 440 back, and then some. Heck, you’d have all of us racing over to the nearest center, hand outstretched with a large check.

Many people spent their life savings, some spent down their inheritances, and certainly their monthly income, on the Fellowship’s bottomless pit of $$$ need. There was no sense of the FF curbing its greed and RB’s need to live it up at everyone’s expense. There was no sympathy for those who toiled “on salary” at the lower rungs of the salaried range. Those FF members who had the high-end salaries and traveled around the world, all expenses paid, can’t really claim to empathize for those who were in dire financial straights. And the majority of students who were not “on salary”, but worked regular jobs (usually more than 1 job, in order to make those large special donations), were often financially living paycheck to paycheck. Any money you saved was for some FF-oriented goal. If you complained, you were probably told you were in “tramp” and didn’t have correct valuation.

169. WhaleRider - September 11, 2012

FFFF:
“Any money you saved was for some FF-oriented goal. If you complained, you were probably told you were in “tramp” and didn’t have correct valuation.”

Sounds “pretty shitty” to me.

170. Fee fi fo fum - September 11, 2012

I should have said .03 not .03%, above.

171. Pie in the Face - September 11, 2012

FFFF and WR,
The fof suposedly values fine wine, fine food, fine art, education, travel around the globe, fine performances of ballet and theatre and music, all of which cost a considerable amount of money to enjoy. Ironically, many people who have escaped are enjoying these experiences for the first time now that they can afford them. Many others are enjoying them for the first time without going into serious credit card debt. Others are enjoying these experiences for the first time without wittingly or unwittingly supporting a sociopath. All of these people are a lot less “in tramp” than they were when they were squandering their money in the cult. They are a lot more “in good householder” after escaping.

172. Joseph Nachumovitch - September 11, 2012

How about all the people who are now enjoying those things because they learned in the School how to enjoy them? (not to mention how to be “in good householder”).

173. Pie in the Face - September 11, 2012

172. “… because they learned in the school how to enjoy them.”

People learn how to enjoy the arts and to be “in good householder” by being citizens of the world, where millions enjoy the arts and travel abroad daily (as they have for centuries), and where millions more use common sense to manage their finances responsibly. Former “members” certainly didn’t need to join a cult to learn about Beethoven or to appreciate the mysteries of Egypt, or the beauty of Italy. And whether they do or don’t study “the arts” as defined in a limited way by this cult leader, they have an incredibly rich world to explore, to learn from, and enjoy.

In the cult, they learned how to mindlessly give their money away to support a cult leader.

Whatever “good householder” is, it definitely isn’t that.

They learned how to not take care of themselves. They learned how not to serve their local communities or to become involved with volunteer work. They learned how to not fulfill their personal potential. Fortunately, it’s possible to unlearn all of this nonsense, too.

174. I in the sky - September 11, 2012

Shard_ of_ Oblivion – 14

”I feel I owe you one personal revelation, you can cash it in whenever you want to.”

I believe I’ve formulated a question for you if you are still open. You’ve stated the determining factor for your leaving the FoF was centered around your encounters with T. E. and after hearing his story you felt he was indeed a victim of sexual abuse. Therefore you felt you couldn’t support R. B., or the FoF, any longer.

So, like most if not all ex members who are posting on this blog, it was the belief that Robert was having inappropriate sex with his followers / students that caused you the most concern.

My question is this: If Robert would not have been involved sexually with students, if he had remained celibate or had one partner over the years, do you think you would have remained in the FoF? Assuming everything else, the form, the exercises, etc. remained the same.

175. Shard_of_Oblivion - September 11, 2012

174 “I in the sky” asks if I would have stayed in the school if I had not heard of Burton’s sexual exploitation of some of his students.

OK I will try to answer that. The other things that most troubled me were the aspects of the FoF dogma that were superstitious. But of course I had been aware of these right from the start of my time as a student. The way I had worked with those difficulties was this.

I reminded myself that my personal aim was to find a way to enjoy the benefits of exalted states of consciousness without recourse to the damaging effects of taking psychedelic drugs. I did not join in order to escape death, I have never believed in survival beyond the physical body’s death, and it seemed to me that membership of FoF did not require a change of that attitude. The ideas of reference that Burton exhibited I used simply as reminders to make more efforts to be present. I enjoyed the social side of the FoF greatly.

However I was beginning to get exhausted from the constant watching of myself, and there was a stiffness and closed up feeling that was growing as the years passed. So I doubt I would still be a member now even if there had been no improprieties of Burton in the picture. But that revelation helped me look at Burton not as an impossibly advanced being, but as a rather sad and pathetic creature, a slave to his genitals, and this led to my seeing that he was either mad or a very clever con artist, and not the messiah after all.

I joined the Open University studying maths and science around that time, and the contrast between the way academia approach the question of knowledge and how we can acquire it, and the way the 4th way approached the same topic was a very stark contrast, and led to me seeing that the 4th way was a made up system in the end.

I had always looked on it as a “spell” to change my conscious experience rather than as a world view, but the lack of clear progress after some 11 years of pretty assiduous efforts on my part, would probably had led to my leaving at some point.

I can clearly recall the moment when I fully stepped out of the mind set that believes that there are 44 spirits monitoring my life, who if they so wished would be able to cause me grief. It was when I was still in the school, but decided to accept the offer of a joint from a life friend. As I drew in the smoke I sort of left the school at that moment. I “knew” nothing and noone was watching me (also the first taste of hashish after 11 years abstinence was very pleasant indeed!)

I had forgotten about that vague fear that the “C influence as 44 beings theory” induces in sincere students. You are probably still subject to it “I”, which helps explain to me why the arguments put to you in this blog are having absolutely no effect on you.

176. ton2u - September 11, 2012

“So, like most if not all ex members who are posting on this blog, it was the belief that Robert was having inappropriate sex with his followers / students that caused you the most concern.”

by speaking in past tense (using “was”), and by casting the FACT of burton’s improprieties as merely a “belief,” pie in the sky attempts to diminish the FACTS regarding the sexual exploitation by burton of unwitting victims…. which is apparently not a thing of the past but continues to this day as a core feature of burton’s depraved, rapacious and exploitative lifestyle. direct experience of burton’s sexual predation means it’s a FACT for some here… and many more elsewhere. speaking from experience, for the victims of burton’s wanton ‘escapades’ the facts are not merely a belief.
you can change your beliefs but you cannot change facts.

177. Joseph Nachumovitch - September 11, 2012

The root of the problem we never tire of discussing is the Fourth Way itself. If it is based on Christianity, then it is Christianity drained of emotion and compassion, and refusing to acknowledge anything higher, which it does by dismissing it with the term ‘C Influence’. It’s hardly surprising that corruption exists in a school that teaches such a system.

178. Tim Campion - September 11, 2012

“If Robert would not have been…”

You have chutzpah “I in the sky,” yet you remind me of Sisyphus, pushing the boulder up the mountain. Step out of the way, and let go the burden (Burton). He is a weight upon your soul.

179. I in the sky - September 11, 2012

Toby – 163:

“When an organization’s PR rep (troll, shill, whatever) talks at length about membership numbers, and then states that they don’t really care about those numbers, you can run that through the BS translator and here’s what comes out: They are very concerned about the membership numbers.”

According to your logic when a group of people speak incessantly about the FoF being a cult and then claim they are not still obsessed with the organization, intrinsically bound to it, it really means they are still very obsessed with it and bound to it. And in all likelihood very concerned it just might not be a cult.

180. Toby - September 11, 2012

No, I didn’t write “a group of people.” I wrote, “PR rep (troll, shill, whatever).”

That’s what you are.

181. WhaleRider - September 11, 2012

I in the Sky:
“According to your logic when a group of people speak incessantly about the FoF being a cult and then claim they are not still obsessed with the organization, intrinsically bound to it, it really means they are still very obsessed with it and bound to it. And in all likelihood very concerned it just might not be a cult.”

You are suggesting we here are not really concerned about warning others…that we are actually each only concerned for ourselves that we might have made a big mistake by leaving the cult that we really haven’t left and need to convince ourselves otherwise.

Spoken like a true self-centered sociopath attempting to play upon the fears, insecurities and weakness of others with a hidden agenda of personal gain…since membership dues pays your salary.

Now where did you learn to do that so well?

So that’s why we need to obsessively repeat to ourselves over and over again…the same thoughts…day in and day out…in every spare waking moment…the same words…to convince ourselves of the truth that we believe is hidden from the rest of the masses…

Have you removed all the mirrors in your house or something?

Maybe concern is just concern.

182. WhaleRider - September 11, 2012

Personally, I wouldn’t advise anyone to take what a sociopath says at face value.

183. nigel - September 11, 2012

A little quote about where we seem to be on this blog…..Nigel.

“Out of clutter, find simplicity. From discord, find harmony. In the middle of difficulty lies opportunity.”

~ Albert Einstein ~

184. I in the sky - September 12, 2012

WhaleRider – 181:

“Spoken like a true self-centered sociopath attempting to play upon the fears, insecurities and weakness of others with a hidden agenda of personal gain…Have you removed all the mirrors in your house or something?”

Sometimes rage is not healing, it’s just rage.

I thought you were moving past the name calling stage. I’m just expressing my viewpoints, like you and others, why do you get so uptight?

You famously welcomed me and other FoF supporters and said “your voice is important, please keep posting.” Why do you say that; because you know it will create opportunities for you to vent?

If what I say holds no truth it should affect you all the less.

185. WhaleRider - September 12, 2012

I in the Sky:
Yes, you have been very good at avoiding harsh name calling or using profanity, I will credit you that. Good job! You are one smooth operator. Unflappable even.

The manner in which rage or anger is signified here by people who are being honest with their feelings is usually IN ALL CAPPS like that.

I have at least twice reported to you what I feel, but that emotion doesn’t appear to be in your emotional lexicon, which fits for a person without any morals, suffering from sociopathic personality disorder, or ‘sociopath’ for short, since once a person develops the pernicious disorder it is extremely difficult to separate the person from the disorder and vice versa.

Nothing personal, I use the term, ‘sociopath’, in a clinical, non-pejorative manner.

I might call someone driving dangerously on the freeway a name like, ‘ASSHOLE!!!’…but not usually, ‘SOCIOPATH’!!! Can you sense the difference?

I did call you ‘grasshopper’ a few times, but you didn’t seem offended by that. Maybe I’ll try that one on the freeway next time….despite all this rage you think I have, my blood pressure is normal, and I exercise five times a week.

As I said before you are welcome to express your viewpoint here; I encourage it. Your story must be told, but don’t expect to silence anyone here or to go unchallenged.

You’re not in Kansas anymore.

You have no leverage or power here, only the freedom to say whatever is on your mind.

That’s blogging. We’re equals here.

To be honest, I find your posts quite inspiring actually, just not in the way you intend.

You are the rock in my shoe…my necessary friction.

186. I in the sky - September 12, 2012

WhaleRider:

Who are your target audience? If you are writing for yourself and the other former members of the blog your sociopath gambit will make your day and theirs too I guess.

If you are writing for someone who has not ever been in the FoF and has found this site because they are considering becoming part of the FoF then they have no reason to see me as a sociopath but they may see you as an extremely biased individual who tries to bully those who have a different viewpoint from yours.

All you have to do is address the content with your own reason. If you dispute something just say why you dispute it. You spend entire posts calling me names in hopes no one will see that you have not really addressed anything.

WhaleRider: “You are the rock in my shoe…my necessary friction.”

Careful, that sounds so Fellowshipian.

187. Joseph Nachumovitch - September 12, 2012

Talk about a descending octave…

188. ton2u - September 12, 2012

whalerider 186:

“I in the Sky:
Yes, you have been very good at avoiding harsh name calling or using profanity, I will credit you that. Good job! You are one smooth operator. Unflappable even.”

her voice here reminds me of… a ‘perfect’ machine programmed by burtonism, seemingly incapable of error, certainly incapable of emotion, it just doesn’t compute…. yes, that’s what her voice reminds me of — “i in the sky” is HAL:

189. Adab - September 12, 2012

186 I in the Sky

Over in the UK all cigarette packets have to be marked SMOKING KILLS – a bit of an anachronism but nonetheless a legal requirement for all those who manufacture this addiction.

Unfortunately the same black-and-white situation doesn’t apply to self-help groups like the FoF, so it falls upon agencies like the Blog to provide the same public health warning.

Three fundamental items any prospective student needs to know about the FoF are

1. The teaching may or may not include the teacher’s sex requirements
2. You must reserve roughly 20-30% of your income for school needs
3. The teaching has no actual relationship to the Fourth Way (as I pointed out in post 80)

It’s a matter of transparency or plain honesty – just saying what membership means. On point 3, the Gurdjieff Foundation has considered taking action against the FoF because it describes itself so consistently as a Fourth Way school when it isn’t.

All this should be included on your websites and other forms of advertising so that people can get a truer picture of what they’re getting themselves into.

190. Joseph Nachumovitch - September 12, 2012

Nobody nowadays would join the fellowship without first researching it on the internet, and therefore finding out the worst, probably before even attending a prospective student meeting.

191. WhaleRider - September 12, 2012

I in the Sky:
I am content to let readers draw their own conclusions from our “biased” interactions, for it is what you don’t say that speaks volumes.

It is ironic that your voice seems so…robot-like and mechanical.

Joseph N:
“Talk about a descending octave…”

Whales don’t fly.

192. paul gregory - September 12, 2012

more of the same, long article:

http://issendai.livejournal.com/572510.html

Sick systems: How to keep someone with you forever

So you want to keep your lover or your employee close. Bound to you, even. You have a few options. You could be the best lover they’ve ever had, kind, charming, thoughtful, competent, witty, and a tiger in bed. You could be the best workplace they’ve ever had, with challenging work, rewards for talent, initiative, and professional development, an excellent work/life balance, and good pay. But both of those options demand a lot from you. Besides, your lover (or employee) will stay only as long as she wants to under those systems, and you want to keep her even when she doesn’t want to stay. How do you pin her to your side, irrevocably, permanently, and perfectly legally?

You create a sick system.

A sick system has four basic rules:

Rule 1: Keep them too busy to think. Thinking is dangerous. If people can stop and think about their situation logically, they might realize how crazy things are.

Rule 2: Keep them tired. Exhaustion is the perfect defense against any good thinking that might slip through. Fixing the system requires change, and change requires effort, and effort requires energy that just isn’t there. No energy, and your lover’s dangerous epiphany is converted into nothing but a couple of boring fights.

This is also a corollary to keeping them too busy to think. Of course you can’t turn off anyone’s thought processes completely—but you can keep them too tired to do any original thinking. The decision center in the brain tires out just like a muscle, and when it’s exhausted, people start making certain predictable types of logic mistakes. Found a system based on those mistakes, and you’re golden.

Rule 3: Keep them emotionally involved. Make them love you if you can, or if you’re a company, foster a company culture of extreme loyalty. Otherwise, tie their success to yours, so if you do well, they do well, and if you fail, they fail. If you’re working in an industry where failure isn’t a possibility (the government, utilities), establish a status system where workers do better or worse based on seniority. (This also works in bad relationships if you’re polyamorous.)

Also note that if you set up a system in which personal loyalty and devotion are proof of your lover’s worthiness as a person, you can make people love you. Or at least think they love you. In fact, any combination of intermittent rewards plus too much exhaustion to consider other alternatives will induce people to think they love you, even if they hate you as well.

Rule 4: Reward intermittently. Intermittent gratification is the most addictive kind there is. If you know the lever will always produce a pellet, you’ll push it only as often as you need a pellet. If you know it never produces a pellet, you’ll stop pushing. But if the lever sometimes produces a pellet and sometimes doesn’t, you’ll keep pushing forever, even if you have more than enough pellets (because what if there’s a dry run and you have no pellets at all?). It’s the motivation behind gambling, collectible cards, most video games, the Internet itself, and relationships with crazy people.

How do you do all this? It’s incredibly easy:

Keep the crises rolling. Incompetence is a great way to do this: If the office system routinely works badly or the controlling partner routinely makes major mistakes, you’re guaranteed ongoing crises. Poor money management works well, too. So does being in an industry where the clients are guaranteed to be volatile and flaky, or preferring friends who are themselves in perpetual crisis. You can also institutionalize regular crises: Workers in the Sea Org, the elite wing of Scientology, must exceed the previous week’s production every single week or face serious penalties. Because this is impossible, it guarantees regular crises as the deadline approaches.

Regular crises perform two functions: They keep people too busy to think, and they provide intermittent reinforcement. After all, sometimes you win—and when you’ve mostly lost, a taste of success is addictive.

But why wouldn’t people eventually realize that the crises are a permanent state of affairs? Because you’ve explained them away with an explanation that gives them hope.

Things will be better when… I get a new job. I’m mean to you now because I’m so stressed, but I’m sure that will go away when I’m not working at this awful place.

The production schedule is crazy because the client is nuts. We just need to get through this cycle, then we’ll have a new client, and they’ll be much better.

She has a bad temper because she just started with a new therapist. She’ll be better when she settles in.

Now, the first person isn’t actually looking for a job. (They’re too stressed to fill out applications.) The second industry always has another crazy client, because all the clients are crazy. (Or better yet, because the company is set up to destroy the workflow and make the client look crazy.) The third person has been with her “new” therapist for a year. (But not for three years! Or five!) But the explanation sounds plausible, and every now and then the person has a good day or a production cycle goes smoothly. Intermittent reinforcement + hope = “Someday it will always be like this.” Perpetual crises mean the person is too tired to notice that it has never been like this for long.

Keep real rewards distant. The rewards in “Things will be better when…” are usually nonrewards—things will go back to being what they should be when the magical thing happens. Real rewards—happiness, prosperity, career advancement, a new house, children—are far in the distance. They look like they’re on the schedule, but there’s nothing in the To Do column. For example, everything will be better when we move to our own house in the country… but there’s nothing in savings for the house, no plan to save, no house picked out, not even a region of the country settled upon. Or everything will be better when she gets a new job, but she’s not applying anywhere, she’s not checking the classifieds, she has no skills that would get her a new job, she has no concrete plans to learn skills, and she doesn’t know what type of new job she wants to take. Companies have a harder time holding out on rewards, but endlessly delayed raises and promotions, workplace upgrades that are talked about but never get enough budget, and training programs that are canceled for lack of money work well.

Establish one small semi-occasional success. This should be a daily task with a stake attached and a variable chance of success. For example, you need to take your meds at just the right time. Too early and you’re logy the next morning and late to work, too late and you’re insomniac and keep your partner up until you go to sleep, too anything and you develop nausea that interrupts your meal schedule and sets your precariously balanced blood sugar to swinging, sparking tantrums and weeping fits. It’s your partner’s job to get you to take your meds at just the right time. Each time she finds an ideal time, it becomes a point of contention—you’re always busy at that time, or you’re not at home, or you eat too early or too late so the ideal time shifts or vanishes entirely. But every so often you take your meds at just the right time and everything works perfectly, and then your partner gets a jolt of success and the hope that you’ve reached a turning point.

Chop up their time. Perpetually interrupt them with meetings, visits from supervisors, bells and whistles and time clocks and hourly deadlines. Or if you’re partners, be glued to them at the hip, demand their attention at short intervals throughout the day (and make it clear that they aren’t allowed to do the same with you), establish certain essential tasks that you won’t do and then demand that they do them for you, establish certain essential tasks that they aren’t allowed to do for themselves and demand that they rely on you to do it for them (and then do it slowly or badly or on your own schedule). Make sure they have barely enough time to manage both the crisis of the moment and the task of the moment; and if you can’t tire them out physically, drain them emotionally.

Enmesh your success with theirs. Company towns are great at this. Everything, from the workers’ personal social standing to the selection of groceries at the store, depends upon how well they do their jobs and how well the company as a whole is doing. Less enveloping companies try to tie their workers’ self-perceptions in with the public’s perception of their brand. People do it by entangling their successes and failures with their partners’, even when they shouldn’t be entangled. A full-grown adult should be able to take his meds without his partner’s help, and there’s only so much anyone can do to make someone eat at the right time and swallow their pills, but he still puts the responsibility for managing his meds squarely on her shoulders. The classic maneuver is to blame all your bad moods on your partner: If they weren’t so _______ or if they did ______ right, you wouldn’t be so stressed/angry/foul-tempered.

Keep everything on the edge. Make sure there’s never quite enough money, or time, or goods, or status, or anything else people might want. Insufficiency makes sick systems self-perpetuating, because if there’s never enough ______ to fix the system, and never enough time to think of a better solution, everyone has to work on all six cylinders just to keep the system from collapsing.

All of these things work together to make a bad workplace or a bad relationship addictive. You’re run off your feet putting out fires and keeping things going, your own world will collapse if you stop, and every so often you succeed for a moment and create something bigger than yourself. Things will get better soon. You can’t stop believing that. If you stop believing, you won’t be able to go on, and you can’t not go on because everything you have and everything you are is tied into making this thing work. You can’t see any way out because there are always all these things stopping you, and you could try this thing but that would take time and money, and you don’t have either, and you’ve been told that you’ll get both eventually when that other thing happens, and pushing won’t make that thing happen so it’s better to keep your head down and wait. After a while the stress and panic feel normal, so when you’re not riding the edge, you feel twitchy because you know that the lull doesn’t mean things are better, it means you’re not aware yet of what’s going wrong. And the system or the partner always, always obliges with a new crisis.

Eventually you’re so crazy that you can’t interact with anyone who isn’t equally crazy. Normal people have either fled, or told you once too often that you’re being stupid and you need to leave. So now you’ve lost all your reality checks. You’re surrounded by people who also live in the crazy and can’t see a way out. You spend your time telling one another that it’s too bad, but that’s how it is, there’s no fixing it, and everything will get better when ______ happens. If anyone does get a little better and says, “Hey, guys, this is crazy, we can all stop now,” they’ve become a stuck cog in the machine. They quickly realize that there’s nothing they can do, and they pull out, leaving you alone with your crazy friends.

Finally you think it’s ordinary.

You fantasize about being suicidal enough to kill yourself. But that’s not all that bad, because you don’t think that way all the time, and you’re not actually trying to kill yourself. You just wish something would come along and make you dead.

One day you hit rock bottom. Maybe you want so badly to die that stepping out of the sick system looks like a good way to commit suicide, or maybe you’re so depressed that you no longer care. Maybe you catch on before then, and realize, as you’re standing there with the pill in your hand and your partner too busy on WoW to swallow it, that this is crazier than crazy and it’s time to make it stop. Maybe the system makes a mistake, and you look at the pattern of people who got promotions and realize that you will never, never qualify for your promised promotion.

Or maybe a door opens, and something magical happens. The position you’ve dreamed of opens up. The school you want to go to offers a new scholarship for people just like you—and the person who runs the scholarship tells you confidentially that with your qualifications, you’re a shoo-in. Your granduncle dies and leaves you $100,000. You can have exactly what you want—if you walk away from the system you’re enmeshed in.

If you step away, two things happen, one after the other:

PANIC! HORROR! THE SKY IS FALLING! I’VE LOST EVERYTHING I EVER HAD AND I’LL NEVER GET IT BACK AGAIN! There’s not enough stress, something is wrong, something horrible is happening and I’m not there stopping it, oh god what is my ex-boyfriend doing and can I save him from a safe distance? I’m responsible! I have to call the office and make sure they’re okay! I have to make sure everything I left was okay, because it would all fall down without me and now I’m not there and it’s falling down and all those innocent people are being hurt and I have to stop it!

…I feel so much better now.

It’s all gone, like someone stopped pounding me in the head with a hammer. I didn’t even know the hammer was there. Why did I let someone pound me in a hammer all that time? What in hell was I thinking? Why did I think any of that made sense?

Once you’re out of the system, it makes no sense at all. None of the carrots they dangled before you mean anything, and you start to truly comprehend just how much stress you were under. You see things you never would have believed while you were in the system. And the relief is greater than you ever could have imagined while you were enmeshed.

~~~

But the “you” in these last several paragraphs isn’t the “you” from the beginning. To the “you” from the beginning, the lover or employer who needed to set up a sick system to keep other people close, I say: Don’t worry. It’s not the end of the world. It feels like that right now, when you’re all alone and your ex-lover is a hundred miles away; when you’re understaffed and your best employees have left you for the competition. But now that you know the secret of setting up a sick system, you know the truth:

Anyone can get caught in your sick system if you start slowly enough.

Anyone can fit into your sick system if your standards are low enough.

Any sick system can meet your needs if you keep your needs small enough.

You’ll have a new person fitted into the vacancy in your system in no time. Go out and find some fresh blood, and remember: Don’t fit the system to the person, fit the person to the system.

Repost

193. WhaleRider - September 12, 2012

Sex With Followers Good

Crazy House, CA (USA) – After almost 40 years of exhausting verifabricated research involving literally thousands of young male participants, a new church-funded study finds that clergy who have gay sex with their heterosexual flock may not be as bad for the clergy as previously thought.

Robert E. Burton, spiritual leader of the Church of Robert E Burton, a self-purported conscious being of the highest order on earth who claims to be a female goddess housed in a man’s body recently concluded, “I don’t feel harmed by the practice at all. In fact, I enjoy a little variety in my diet.”

Married and single participants were vigorously screened for any traces of homosexuality, self-esteem, and common sense; those displaying a complete lack of all three were then intentionally lead to believe Burton was an infallible angel with superhuman powers. Many naively succumbed to the ploy. Those who completed the “homosexual octave” as it was called, were rewarded with small token gifts.

194. Fee fi fo fum - September 12, 2012

WR, that was funny. How come I don’t see I in the sky laughing over there? Oh right, laughing is too instinctive. But wait, isn’t sex “instinctive”? Or do we pretend that RB has no instinctive center? And if we’re on a “descending octave” here with our slugfest, maybe that describes what RB does in bed when he descends on the young men?

195. Opus111 - September 12, 2012

I in the sky

…they [prospective members] have no reason to see me as a sociopath but they may see you as an extremely biased individual who tries to bully those who have a different viewpoint from yours.

You either accept the veracity and consistency of the stories told by many here, held up in the memories of scores of others, or you choose to deny them. If you accept them and yet do not feel empathy for the victims of Burton, outrage at Burton’s abuse of “his children’ trust, abuse of his position, and instead choose to continue supporting him and his organization, I would say the prospective members would have plenty of reasons to see you as a sociopath.

196. nigel - September 12, 2012

Ames Gilbert summarizes his purpose “Ames Gilbert” wrote on the Fellowship of Friends Discussion blog, August 25, 2012: IMHO [“in my humble opinion”], the posts by ‘I in the sky’, ‘Prospective Student’ and ‘Joseph Nachumovitch’ stand out for their intellectual poverty, emptiness and general lack of meaning. Here are individuals who come to a blog called, “The Fellowship of Friend Discussion” and have yet to directly address any topic about the Fellowship of Friends; at the same time they expect engagement on their terms. Truly pathetic. Back to my purpose for being here on the blog . . . Anyone landing on these pages should note that this blog provides a link to the actual FoF website at the top of every page, so that seekers can compare the respective claims for themselves, whereas the reverse is not the case. To those doing due diligence, I reiterate: Hundreds of members of the Fellowship of Friends are thankful that they are followers of Burton. They feel lucky—and special. And so they should. They believe they have been chosen by angels from nearly 7 billion doomed humans now alive to become ‘immortal’ (whatever that means), while the rest will be destroyed shortly (currently December 2012, following failed prophecies, outlined below) in some cataclysm. Now, that’s special! From these pages, I’ve selected Daily Cardiac as an excellent, hard-working representative of the Fellowship worldview, someone who actually took the time and trouble to answer some points raised here (while studiously avoiding others) by those who ask questions while still members, and of course those that have left. Other reasonably articulate defenders to look out for are those from ‘Fat Boy’, ‘Siddiq’ and ‘Vinnie the Fish’, among others. Thank you again, all of you, for laying out your belief system so directly. Anyone interested in or considering joining the Fellowship who does due diligence will appreciate your efforts, and hopefully see them as they are. Daily Cardiac’s posts, for example [blog page and post number:] #86–73 http://tinyurl.com/9x4k55u could hardly be clearer; they are a catalog of his articles of faith. Readers can follow DC’s many other justifications in the blog pages before and after that example, and decide for themselves. If anyone who has had no connection to the FoF, but is interested in that organization reads this, I’m writing this for you. And of course, this is just my opinion. If you want to join a group of people like DC, mostly sincere, nice, well–meaning folks, but whose entire ‘spiritual’ center of gravity is based on faith in the bona fides of their leader, know that in advance—and accept the consequences. Know that many of us (I dare say, probably most) who have ‘been through the mill’ have concluded that the leader, Robert Earl Burton, is a sexual predator, a wolf in sheep’s clothing, and that having sex with large numbers of the heterosexual young men who depend on him for spiritual guidance is his chief occupation, and has been for forty years. Know that if you are a young, even moderately good-looking young heterosexual male, you will most probably end up having sex with him. Know that your fellow followers will approve of this, encourage this, and the less than good-looking ones will envy you (though these are few, Burton’s tastes are very catholic). In other words, in their world–view, this is completely normal and expected. Know that he has no control in this matter, and has never demonstrated will or restraint; far from it, he is enslaved by his desires. Know that his followers excuse and even justify this unprotected ‘supersex’ (as Burton terms it) because he is a ‘conscious being’, and that he cannot possibly contract or pass on sexual diseases because ‘he is an angel in a man’s body’. Know also that Burton is a life–long misogynist. He has no use for women as women, unless they have money or influence or can provide access to young men. Moreover, he claims that they cannot ‘awaken’ as women in this lifetime. This means that if you are a woman, you will (according to Burton) definitely have to wait for a ‘role in a future lifetime as a man’ (with the sole exception of Elizabeth I, Queen of England, for some reason) to be able to ‘awaken’, whatever that is. If you happen to be here because you are interested in the Fourth Way, know that, apart from words freely borrowed from the Fourth Way, this cult has no connection with the Fourth Way whatsoever. The Fourth Way terms are bait, pure and simple. There has been no transmission of knowledge or energy from Alex Horn to Robert Burton. Nor was there a transmission from J.G. Bennett to Horn (whose entire experience of the Fourth Way in the direct line was as a three–week drop–in at the end of one of Bennett’s courses in England). Horn had no contact with Rodney Collin, whatever Burton claims or insinuates. The rest came from books or odd meetings with others interested in the Fourth Way. Whatever the level of Horn, Burton failed miserably to fulfill the task given to him, to cease his sexual pursuit of male fellow ‘students’. And, Burton himself is openly proud of the fact that he has never read any work of Gurdjieff. His quotes of Gurdjieff’s words come from his brief encounters with Ouspensky’s books and what he has picked up from his more organized or intellectual followers. He has yet to explain the vast gap between his claim of being a Man number 7.9, or whatever, and the next and only ‘conscious product’ of his organization, the infamous Girard Haven, official hagiographer, Man number 5 point something. Remember the Fourth Way idea that one has to help put someone in one’s place before one can ‘move on’? As a particular example, the meaning of the word ‘verification’ has been turned on its head. As you inevitably reorient yourself to the Fellowship groupthink (your new friends are so nice, so helpful, so knowledgeable, and you are so eager to learn, to please, to fit in…), you will be persuaded that ‘testing’ hypotheses according to reason and the scientific method is faulty thinking, emanating from your ‘lower self’. Instead the major part of your ‘work’ is to first accept given/revealed articles of faith as true and then strive to find evidence for them (for more, see http://tinyurl.com/bv2prbu). Failing that, you are to ‘observe and record’ and put any doubting thoughts ‘on the back burner’, or, as you become more ‘advanced’, dispense with them altogether because they are generated by your ‘lower self’. When the back burner is full, you will be kept so busy you won’t notice the older thoughts ‘to be worked with later’ permanently falling into oblivion. Know that the many general ‘exercises’ given out by Burton are a miraculous one–size fits all. Any individual attention that each follower may need is farmed out to one or other of the 44 angels, the discorporate remains of (mostly) white, male Europeans who have left a historical record. More than strange, huh? Almost all the personal spiritual exercises given by Dear Teacher are of the “C-Influence wishes you to internally consider me, give up your body for my pleasure’ type. Though, for variety, there are the never–ending requests for more money, gifts, favors of all kinds, or ‘You should marry this person or that’, or ‘Have an abortion’, or ‘Give up your children’. Know that Burton is probably the most superstitious person you will ever hear of or meet. This ‘conscious being’, having lost his own internal way, relies on external signs of every type, from chance license plate numbers (example at: http://tinyurl.com/cco5372, bottom of page) to a grotesque numerology and symbology, whose significance is supported and ‘researched’ by the members themselves, and as stated above, always seeking ‘proof’ to support the pre–conceptions. One example among literally thousands: Burton interprets the number of rhino poops in prehistoric cave drawings as messages the artists intentionally left for him across hundreds of centuries! Based on this rare sensitivity, Burton continually makes prophecies, whose record of complete failure (including highlights such as the drowning of California in 1998, nuclear Armageddon in 2006, the production of seven ‘conscious beings’, and so on) he petulantly explains in terms such as, “C–Influence has humiliated me”. At the same time, mirabile dictu, Burton claims that every jot and tittle of existence is preordained, a ‘play written by the angels’. In his universe, he supplies the ‘crazy’ while his followers infer the ‘wisdom’, so all in the narcissistic dance are happy. Oh, and you’ll be glad he has made improvements to the Fourth Way apart from inventing angels whose sole welfare is those who write checks to Burton, and who, according to his claim, are planning the complete destruction of the rest of humanity, while saving members of the Fellowship of Friends “to start a new civilization”. For example, unlike Gurdjieff, Ouspensky, Colin, Nicol, or Bennett in whose teachings conscience is as important as, and inseparable from, consciousness, Burton has little use for the former. In fact he claims: “Conscience is just a collection of I’s. Anyone accumulating too much should leave the school”. One less thing to worry about, huh? And as strong an indicator as any that he doesn’t have conscience—and hence, consciousness—himself. If you indeed value the Fourth Way, then before you consider joining the Fellowship of Friends, you owe it to yourself to find out everything you can about them. There is much more in these pages and elsewhere. I know, it is quite an effort to go through them. But the time you invest doing this is miniscule compared to the time you will waste and the harm that may befall you if you join the cult. I’m not claiming you will learn nothing if you join, just that you can achieve better results in far less time elsewhere, without paying the ludicrous price the greedy and literally insatiable Burton demands. So much for the Fourth Way. How about the Second Way? If you take a masochistic satisfaction in being told what to do in all areas of your life, have blind trust in authoritarian structures, have faith in revealed truths, and desperately need to cultivate obedience, you’ll certainly be interested in some form of the Second Way. But why join the Fellowship of Friends? Why not just join the Carthusians or some other group with a good record? For a start, they are much quicker and more efficient. You have the possibility of reaching salvation during or at the end of this lifetime. The leaders are subject to some system of accountability for their actions. Not so Burton’s religion. He claims you will need many lifetimes of unremitting toil and devotion to counter your built–in weaknesses and achieve immortality. Meanwhile, Mr. “Do as I say, not as I do” trusts not to the future, but lives the life of a spoiled potentate right now. He will use your money to live luxuriously. He may use your body for his sexual pleasure. He will travel widely at your expense. He will dress in the finest and most expensive clothing, silken underwear, drink wine worth hundreds of dollars at every meal, be driven in the best cars, travel first class everywhere, and give rich gifts to his lovers—while he favors them—all from your earnings. And he is completely unaccountable, the few protests are treated as crimes. His followers exist to hang on every word, gratify every whim, and worship him as he claims to be “the brightest light in 2,000 years”. Not so incidentally, he claims he is conveniently ‘beyond Judeo–Christian morality’ (though he has yet to formulate a successor). So, you are to abandon ethics and morality without having a replacement to guide you, other than his whim of the moment. And if you leave, you are supposedly doomed to something worse than hell, and you will be shunned by all your former friends. Typical childish cult behavior, but none the less powerful blackmail and devastatingly hurtful emotionally (one list of cult characteristics is at: http://tinyurl.com/622x9g) Why would you want to dive into the fantasy world of this twisted, lying madman, who seems to exist solely for the titillation of the nerve endings in his penis and anus—and for shopping (see post #4, above, or: http://tinyurl.com/8q5gay7)? Rather, go join an order of nuns or monks. If you are interested in experiencing the state popularly known as consciousness, study Zen or become a Buddhist. Otherwise, stick around back here with the rest of us and try to do the best you can for yourself and your fellow humans with love and integrity, living and enjoying life in all its juicy mess, ups and downs, accepting the need for risks, facing the unknown and unknowable with all the courage you can muster. P.S. If you happen to be here because you are interested in the teachings of Eckhart Tolle, know that, apart from words freely borrowed from his books, this cult has no connection with Eckhart Tolle whatsoever. The terms borrowed by the Fellowship of Friends are bait, pure and simple. Search keywords I have found that the Fellowship of Friends uses as bait in their advertising are: Self Remembering · Fourth Way · Eckhart Tolle · Spirituality · Meditation · Consciousness · Gurdjieff · Ouspensky · Nisargadatta Maharaj · Presence · Self Realization and Service to Humanity · Self Realization · Byron Katie · Adya · ET · Gangaji · Ruiz . There are probably many others. Beware!

197. fofblogmoderator - September 13, 2012

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