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Fellowship Of Friends/Living Presence/Pathway To Presence Discussion – Page 129 September 26, 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 26, 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. brucelevy - September 26, 2012
3. brucelevy - September 26, 2012

There are a few people who think there is a distinct difference, but far more agree with the above. Also…

http://www.wisegeek.com/what-is-the-difference-between-a-psychopath-and-a-sociopath.htm

4. brucelevy - September 26, 2012
5. Shard_of_Oblivion - September 26, 2012

A word or two of advice to anyone contemplating joining the Pathway to Presence esoteric school of awakening:

You will meet some wonderful people, and some may well become lifelong friends.

You may find you are encouraged to develop some talent or skill that you had previously neglected.

That’s about it for the good news though.

You will find that you are asked to make increasing payments over time, till you find yourself impoverished.

You will find that despite all your best efforts, the teacher will not acknowledge any real spiritual progress in you, and most chillingly you will be fine with this, as you will be a humble and modest student.

You will be scoped by older students to see if you have the sort of body that the teacher likes to have sex with. If you have, you will be invited to spend time with the teacher, if you haven’t you’ll not see very much of him at all.

You will learn that parts of yourself are fundamentally bad, and that you need to engage in a war of attrition to wear down these bad parts.

You will spend endless hours of your life trying to be in “good householder” and to encourage you if you slip, there will be gently delivered “photographs” from well meaning fellow students, who you must thank sincerely for pointing out your imperfections.

You will find that your conscience is under threat from the peer pressure to engage in “intentional insincerity”.

You will one day find that you consider yourself superior to people you will learn to call “life people”. (You will keep trying to call it being luckier, but really you will be flattered by the conceit)

You will find yourself paying much less attention to your family and previous friends, to their consternation. The emotional conflict this creates you will learn is “good for your evolution” as it is “friction” that you can transform into higher hydrogens inside you for your eternal soul.

You will, like all of us, eventually die, and you will NOT be reborn into some other role on the “way” to awakening, you will simply cease to exist.

6. Wouldnt You Like To Know - September 26, 2012

‘Q. Then the feeling we call conscience is wrong?

A. Not necessarily wrong, but it is not the same thing. It can be attached to quite trivial things which have no particular moral value. Morality is always relative, conscience is absolute. Conscience is a special positive emotion. In our present state we have a very small trace of this emotion, sufficient to have a general feeling that something may be right and something else may be wrong, but insufficient to say definitely what is right and what is wrong. This has to be developed. At present the state of conscience we can have does not distinguish the big from the small, but later conscience may become quite a different method of cognition, an instrument of discrimination.

Before conscience can be opened fully, we must have will, we must be able to ‘do’, to act according to the dictates of our conscience, otherwise, if conscience awoke fully in man in his present state he would be a most miserable being; he would not be able to forget, not able to adapt to things, and not able to change anything. Conscience destroys buffers, so that man finds himself defenceless against himself, and at the same time he has no will, so he cannot change, cannot do what he knows is right. So first he must develop will, otherwise he will find himself in a very unpleasant situation, beyond his control. When he acquires control, he may allow himself the luxury of conscience, but not before that.

. . .

This idea that we cannot ‘do’ is very important and we must always return to it. If this idea is not clear, or certain features of it are not clear, ask questions about it, because it is necessary to understand and remember it. Everything ‘happens’. People can ‘do’ nothing. From the time we are born to the time we die things happen, happen, happen, and we think we are doing. This is our normal state in life, and even the smallest possibility to do something comes only through the work, and first only in oneself, not externally. Even in oneself ‘doing’ very often begins by not doing. Before you can do something that you cannot do, you must not do many things which you did before. For instance, you cannot awake by just wanting to awake, but you can prevent yourself sleeping too much and too long.’
P. D. Ouspensky
The Fourth Way

So, if you have a conscience, exercise your will and begin *NOT* doing, as in:
* NOT believing most of the crap FoF/REB pumps out. (It ain’t the 4th Way; it’s a cult and mind control.)
* NOT going to all those meetings and other events you are expected to go to.
(Beware the event horizon.*
*’Event horizon: In general relativity, an event horizon is a boundary in spacetime beyond which events cannot affect an outside observer. In layman’s terms it is defined as “the point of no return” i.e. the point at which the gravitational pull becomes so great as to make escape impossible. The most common case of an event horizon is that surrounding a black hole. Light emitted from beyond the horizon can never reach the observer.’ From Wikipedia)
* NOT coughing up all that money, which are NOT teaching payments, to transfer your wealth to the 1%ers.
* NOT going on those far fetched globetrotting tours to explore the latest, so-called, ancient spiritual traditions that prove the Church of Robert Earl Burton is in the lineage of some continuous thread since prehistory. (Don’t need to see any rhino poop cave paintings, or the like.)
* NOT doing the things the FoF flying monkeys tell you to do. Controlling your life is an FoF form of A Influence – the more people you have influence over, the more important you are to the organization – no different than the more money you have. . .. Think/feel for your self.
* NOT going to Robert Burton’s badroom(s) where you’re going to have unwanted sex with him.
* NOT believing, but verifying, all and any work ideas for your self.
* NOT playing the catch-44 game that binds you into cognitive dissonance (circuitous thinking – no matter which way you look, the view folds back on itself and traps you from seeing anything differently – kind of like a hall of mirrors, where no matter where you look you see your reflection.) that paralyzes your ruling faculty.
* NOT going to yet another ballet performance at the Theatron, or whatever.
* NOT participating in the costly Journey Forth by Day mass gatherings.
Etc.

* * *

7. I in the sky - September 27, 2012

Associated press – 128/198:

“Could you, please, enumerate what that ‘changed my life for the better in countless ways’ was/is?”

I answered a similar question of yours in #166. Generally if someone asks something in a sincere way I try to answer.

There’s nothing wrong with the way you’re asking but these kind of questions are almost assured to disappoint. As I mentioned in the other answer to you – how do you describe “being” with words?

The main way my life has changed for the better is that before the FoF it was a life without presence and now it is a life with presence. And having lived both I would say anything done with presence is better.

8. Josiane - September 27, 2012

From the previous page.

Regarding Science and Spirituality as being two separate approaches to finding the Truth. Check out this nondualistic approach.
http://www.scienceandnonduality.com/?gclid=CKn_wonB1LICFYdxQgodzlwA8A

9. Shard_of_Oblivion - September 27, 2012

“I in the sky”

When you were asked to comment on Thomas E’s story, you said you would have liked to have helped him, but that you were not the absolute.

But you didn’t need to be the absolute to have helped him. Would it have been impossible that one day you were sitting in the Lincoln Lodge and noticed Thomas had a sad look in his eye, and gone over and asked him if everything was OK, that you would like to help if he needed a good friend. And he might have unburdened himself, and you might have decided it wasn’t right the things Burton had done, and you might have confronted Burton, and if you had not been the only one, maybe his behaviour could have been at least ameliorated or curtailed “for the good of the school”.

So it’s not true you would have needed to be the absolute to have helped Thomas, you just needed to be a much bigger and better person than you are. And you could still do that. You could still go to Burton’s current entourage and ask if any of them needed any help. They may all be happy, but who knows some may be trapped in the Thomas E situation and welcome your support. I dare you to do that. Tell us how it goes, tell us what they tell you. You have to do it properly, so they trust you, and don’t think you are trying to trick them and will go telling teacher on them.

I’d be very interested to hear how that went.

10. WhaleRider - September 27, 2012

Joseph N.:
“We lie only to ourselves. Lying to anyone else is irrelevant.”

If what you are saying here is that lying to others is irrelevant as long as one is telling the truth to oneself, then that is a lie you are telling yourself…and us.

Lying to others does matter a great deal, especially when raising with children.

The truth is never irrelevant, unless you are dead.

In my experience, the lies that people tell others is a good indication of the lies they are telling themselves.

Robert E Burton’s “being” is a living example of that.

How do you describe “being” with words? You don’t.

Actions speak louder, whether done with “presence” or without.

Just because a clergy member rapes a follower with “presence”…even in the name of God, it is still rape and harmful to the victim, and whether it is legal in that state or not.

BTW, don’t fool yourself, I don’t believe anyone “does” anything without some modicum of self-awareness, even when they are “hypnotized” or entranced in an activity.

If you are soooo present all the time, do yo remember what you “doing” exactly 10 years ago on this very day?

I can guarantee you, neither does burton, regardless of what he claims about himself.

11. Fee fi fo fum - September 27, 2012

To continue the last page 128’s discussion on whether it’s futile to engage directly with hardcore Fellowship members such as Daily Cardiac or I in the sky:

In the end, people will do what they want to do, anyway. I suspect Ames and Shard, etc., know they’re dialoging with someone who, at best, will pull a pathetic prefab line out of the FF repertoire, or at worst, will be manipulative and go to any length to show up ex-students as disaffected people who don’t know what they’re talking about. But we do: we’ve been there, done that, and it’s bad news.

When someone brings up Robert’s bizarre sexual and pill-popping behavior, we get the run-around, or we get the standard, “I don’t consider Robert’s personal life to be my business.” Sorry, but we’re not talking about a few isolated young men 25 years ago. It is ongoing and frequent and never-ending. If you turn your face the other way for 40 years at something like *that*, then what else are you turning your face away from?

And that’s just the sex. When people bring up money, there’s no reaction.

Daily Cardiac/I in the sky are in a position of power in the Fellowship, so it helps to remember that they exert influence over the lives of many students who naively follow orders from the upper ranks. Plus, they’ve probably been “on salary” for donkeys’ years, which means they have no real understanding of what it means to get and hold a job in “real life.”

12. Agent 45 - September 27, 2012

Well played, Ames. Obviously you have a lot of experience graciously accepting photographs and then going ahead and doing what you want to anyway.

13. nigel - September 27, 2012

…..perhaps a pertinent aside to Whale Rider…..

I was seeing my consultant psychiatrist this morning to determine how my mental state is doing. You may want to know that I have not been in the asylum for 2 and 1/2 years, due to the fact that I have been rigorously sticking with my medication regime. My shrink and I discussed side effects (such as weight-gain and tiredness) and it was decided that I would start to move over to a newer (within the past two years) a-typical anti-psychotic. To tell you the truth, mate, I am perfectly happy taking all this ‘anti-nutty’ medication (as well as stuff for diabetes, blood pressure and cholesterol) since I do not want to be sectioned under the Mental Health Act – I cannot take the financial and emotional disruption it causes. I need my pills as a commander needs his troops – Burton would do well to realize how much he needs his followers – but then he is a socio/psychopath and does not give a shit about anyone other than those who ‘suck up’ to him…..Nigel.

14. nigel - September 27, 2012

…..from Google-ing bipolar disorder and atypical medication…..

“The most recent medications typically prescribed for bipolar disorder include a class of drugs called “atypical antipsychotics.” Atypical means they work in a manner that is significantly different than the previous class of antipsychotic medications. “Antipsychotic” refers to the fact that these medications were initially thought only to help people with psychosis (a common symptom of schizophrenia). However, since their initial development, further research has demonstrated that this class of medications also can have helpful mood stabilizing properties. This means for someone with bipolar disorder, their moods swings will typically become less frequent and less intense.

There are seven commonly prescribed atypical antipsychotic medications for bipolar disorder:

•Abilify (aripiprazole)
•Risperdal (risperidone)
•Zyprexa (olanzapine)
•Seroquel (quetiapine)
•Geodon (ziprasidone)
•Cloazril (clozapine)
•Symbyax (olanzapine/fluoxetine)

Common side effects of these medications include weight gain and drowsiness. Weight gain can be a significant issue — most people taking an atypical antipsychotic can expect to gain weight. Because weight gain is also associated with an increased risk for Type II diabetes, individuals taking an atyptical antipsychotic should be carefully monitored by their physician. Exercise and a nutritional, balanced diet are also important.

It is a common misnomer that atypical antipsychotic medications have less side effects than other drugs. Atypical antipsychotic medications have significant side effects, it’s just that their side effect profile is different than that of most other drugs used to treat mental disorders. Your doctor cannot tell you whether a specific medication is going to help you or what side effects you will experience — only through a trial and error process will you find a medication that is effective for you with minimal side effects.”

15. Agent 45 - September 27, 2012

From Webster’s Dictionary:
psychopathic personality: an emotionally and behaviorally disordered state characterized by clear perception of reality except for the individual’s social and moral obligations and often by the pursuit of immediate personal gratification in criminal acts, drug addiction, or sexual perversion.
I rest my case, Bruce. The Fellowship is infested with psychopaths and sprinkled with sociopaths. The rest are dupes (one that is easily deceived or cheated: FOOL). See also: con.

16. nigel - September 27, 2012

Felt, when I experienced the blue and powder-pink sunset from my apartment window, autumn hailing weather-indicators, Walt Whitman ‘tugging at my sleeve’…..Nigel.

“They prepare for death, yet are they not the finish, but rather the outset,
They bring none to his or her terminus or to be content and full,
Whom they take they take into space to behold the birth of stars, to
learn one of the meanings,
To launch off with absolute faith, to sweep through the ceaseless
rings and never be quiet again.”

17. Joseph Nachumovitch - September 27, 2012

Very pretty.

18. fofblogmoderator - September 27, 2012

It seems that the “new page” link that I put at the end of each page is not working on some computers. Is anyone else having difficulty? I can be contacted at nogurus@yahoo.com

19. Shard_of_Oblivion - September 27, 2012

17 Joseph Nachumovitch comments on a Whitman quote with the words

“very pretty”

It is, I think, a testament to the glorious mystery of this blog’s pattern of communication, which I enjoy, that I have no idea what he really meant by that comment.

20. brucelevy - September 28, 2012

15. Agent 45

You’ll be sleeping on the floor, and there’s no room for your monster truck in my driveway anymore…smart ass.

21. brucelevy - September 28, 2012

17. Joseph Nachumovitch

Looking back on your posts I get the feeling that in the FOF you probably got the photograph that maybe, goodness, you might be the 2 of clubs, or somewhere down around there.

22. Joseph Nachumovitch - September 28, 2012

Yes. The instinctive half, actually.

23. Golden Veil - September 28, 2012

21. brucelevy – September 28, 2012

Reading this little post reminded me of the of the ways you could really be put down by a fellow student when I was in the Fellowship of Friends. I got those photographs from others… there was that day that someone said, “You know, I think you might actually “be centered” in “the Jack of Hearts.” It seems “the King of Hearts” would never have been so playful…

24. Shard_of_Oblivion - September 28, 2012

21 brucelevy – but would the two of clubs know that the seventies were forty years ago? Isn’t the two – breathe, pump blood, digest some of this food, defecate, swallow, breathe etc?

25. brucelevy - September 28, 2012

23. Golden Veil

See 22, and then bite me.

Thanks Joseph.

26. Shard_of_Oblivion - September 28, 2012

16 Nigel – you quote

“to learn one of the meanings”

What a beautiful thought that is. Yes I feel I might indeed learn one of the meanings, but it would be vainglorious to imagine I would ever learn all of the meanings, but to learn one – that would be good.

27. Joseph Nachumovitch - September 28, 2012

I haven’t verified that it’s possible to be centered in the 2 (or even the Jack at all) of Clubs. It’s not just mechanical but purely physical. A heart that is about to be transplanted, for example, when put into a bowl of blood, starts beating all by itself.

28. brucelevy - September 28, 2012

I’m not criticizing you Joseph. I had many close friends in the FOF that were instinctive. And I loved them. But there definitely is a flavor to instinctive “angles”. That’s why I mentioned it. It’s familiar. One of the ideas I never had problems with was center of gravity. It’s seems pretty obvious to me.

29. brucelevy - September 28, 2012

Also Joseph, knowing that’s where you’re coming from I can understand you a bit more.

30. Joseph Nachumovitch - September 28, 2012

Perhaps you are right after all. I admit that it takes a lack of intellect to even want to be here.

31. brucelevy - September 28, 2012

30. Joseph Nachumovitch

You know that’s not true. Don’t get pissey now.

32. brucelevy - September 28, 2012

I just tend to recognize modes of communication.

33. I in the sky - September 28, 2012

Shard_of_Oblivion – 9:

“When you were asked to comment on Thomas E’s story, you said you would have liked to have helped him, but that you were not the absolute.

But you didn’t need to be the absolute to have helped him. Would it have been impossible that one day you were sitting in the Lincoln Lodge and noticed Thomas had a sad look in his eye, and gone over and asked him if everything was OK…”

Invoking the Absolute was overkill on my part; Higher Forces is a more appropriate term.

I was not ever in the position that you described so on that count it is a moot point. But had I been in the position to offer any kind of comfort to TE I’d like to think I would have done so.

But I explained to you my feelings about Thomas’ circumstances. If, as I contend, his experiences were part of his fate then no one could have intervened to the point of altering what happened, because those experiences were expressly written for him. I believe everything that comes to a person has a reason and purpose. It’s human nature to try to avoid events we do not want, and we often do try to avoid them. But some events are unavoidable and those can be considered part of our fate. Conversely, there are events we want to happen and try as we might we cannot secure them, because they were not part of our fate.

Since I have a different understanding from yours about RB I would not have the impulse to approach his friends to warn them of dangers I do not perceive as dangers.

SoO: “So it’s not true you would have needed to be the absolute to have helped Thomas, you just needed to be a much bigger and better person than you are.”

You are entitled to your perspective.

I do not mind exchanging viewpoints with you. I do find it interesting that you and other former members find it extremely difficult to accept at some point in the discussion that I am not being stubborn or impudent. I’m simply following a path that I consider correct and truthful. What could be more just – I follow my way and you follow yours. If you don’t believe in an afterlife you will have lived out this life following your own compass.

I do believe in an afterlife and assuming that is a reality if I am wrong about RB I will be informed of my errors (and receive the consequences) when the time comes for that.

But back to your suggestion that I approach Robert’s friends to warn them; you could only say that if you are projecting your understandings onto me. I could not approach them in that way because I would be approaching them as you would, through your understandings, which I do not share.

34. Tim Campion - September 28, 2012

“What You Should Know About Robert Burton and the Fellowship of Friends”

It’s a doomsday cult.

The predicted doomsday never came.

Burton predicted major catastrophes for 1984 and 1998, and then nuclear war for 2006. For decades, he predicted the Fellowship of Friends would become the beginning of a new civilization in 2006.

Through cognitive dissonance, followers try to forget the above predictions, or downplay them.

Like other cults, followers are uncomfortable with labels such as “cult,” calling it a “pejorative” term, or insisting that it’s “misleading.” But there’s no better one-word description for this organization in the English language.

Burton has coerced and seduced several hundred young followers — and perhaps thousands — into having sex with him, using promises of spiritual salvation, expensive gifts, and vacations abroad. As a result, many former and current followers have suffered lasting psychological scars and emotional trauma, and a few have committed suicide. (Read the numerous personal accounts within this web log.)

Burton is a sociopath and malignant narcissist who shows no concern for the welfare of his followers unless they are useful to him in some way. When they cease to be useful to him, he discards them.

Burton’s “public” persona is one of a gentle guru who speaks with a soft voice. This personality helps him hypnotize his followers into believing they have found the one truth path to enlightenment, salvation, and heaven.

Burton tells his followers that 44 angels, or gods, guide the Fellowship of Friends — and that they guide only the Fellowship of Friends. Angels, he says, do not guide anyone else on earth.

Burton advances a world view that Hell exists, and that there’s only one way to avoid going to Hell when one dies: Join the Fellowship of Friends, and stay in the Fellowship of Friends until your death. All people on earth who do not join the Fellowship of Friends will go to Hell when they die. Likewise, followers are warned that they will go to Hell if they leave the cult.

Followers are discouraged or forbidden from communicating with former members. Those who leave the cult will lose contact with their closest friends within the cult.

Followers are forbidden to discuss any of the above. If they do discuss these facts with their friends, or question anyone about these facts, they will be expelled. This in turn fosters secrecy and lack of transparency within the cult.

within it are intimidated or threatened with legal retaliation, much like the Scientology cult.

Burton charges exorbitant membership fees – anywhere from 20% to 40% of income, depending on a person’s salary. The full amount of these fees is never discussed when representatives try to sell people on joining the cult.

The fees have helped pay for Burton’s extravagant lifestyle, which includes expensive clothing, frequent expensive vacations, and a lavish home at the cult’s compound in Oregon House, California (between Grass Valley and Yuba City).

Burton and the Fellowship of Friends have been sued by former members on multiple occasions. Most of these suits have been settled out of court, with insurance companies paying the settlement on behalf of the Fellowship of Friends.

Burton founded the cult in 1970. For more than three decades, he characterized the cult as a so-called “Fourth Way school.” In recent years, the cult has virtually abandoned any discussions about the Fourth Way.

Because the Fellowship of Friends (also referred to as Pathway to Presence) has been granted religious status, American taxpayers help pay for this cult.

In the last four years, several hundred followers have left the Fellowship of Friends, and many followers continue to leave. It’s believed that slightly over 1,000 members remain worldwide, but reliable statistics are not publicly available.

35. Tim Campion - September 28, 2012

One paragraph above was clipped:

People outside the cult who try to provide the above information to followers within it are intimidated or threatened with legal retaliation, much like the Scientology cult.

36. Adab - September 28, 2012

Only in California. If you do 10 minutes research into California cults, the FoF and Burton are garden variety, pretty much. There’s been a book written about them…

http://www.10zenmonkeys.com/2006/09/27/california-cults-2006/

Another interesting comparison is in the rise of the so-called ‘Super Apostles’ in Christian evangelical movements.

http://www.cultwatch.com/superapostles.html

Titheing [enforced giving], mind control and the twisting of Biblical texts to suit purpose are all familiar themes from the Fellowship.

The apologists here, of which IITS is the latest, have frequently talked of how Burton has somehow embraced all the old religious traditions such as Sufism and Ancient Egypt.

He hasn’t embraced them. The reality is a small group of researchers looking for ‘one-liners’ from sacred texts via wordsearch for his meetings. The process takes about half an hour, and the quote is then shaped to suit what Burton wants to say.

‘Shaped’ often means ‘turned on its head’. I remember one Sufi quote from Ibn Arabi “If you do not see Him, He sees you.”. It referred to Allah, or everlasting presence, a testament to the awareness that is always there. When it came out at a meeting, Burton said it referred to the King of Clubs, giving it an altogether more sinister slant.

The majority of material from these sources is ignored. Marcus Aurelius and Ibn Arabi were both in very prominent figures in their communities – MA was an Emperor of Rome! – so much of their message was primarily social in aim. Because ‘social’ means ‘contact with Life’ in the FoF, it is ignored.

The result is a lot of broken or unfinished understandings about the Fourth Way, Sufism, Buddhism, the Philokalia etc. They are quickly abandoned, just like the physical projects in the OH landscape, when something more attractive comes along.

37. Golden Veil - September 28, 2012

33. I in the sky – September 28, 2012

I in the sky, you misspoke. They are not Robert’s “friends.”
They are his “students.”

38. Joseph Nachumovitch - September 28, 2012

Perhaps we should question whether the Fellowship being a cult means that it is no more than a cult. For me, to write it off as a cult would be the ultimate self-deception.

39. Ames Gilbert - September 28, 2012

I was just over at http://www.bluelogic.us, a website operated by Gilbert Moore, a current member of the Fellowship of Friends. Amongst other things, using a particularly folksy style, he sells e-books authored by current members. The site is bit disorganized (!), but if you go to this page:
http://tinyurl.com/9lxh8sz
. . . you can take advantage of his offer to download portions of some of the books for free. I did so, and found that Girard Haven is still up to his old tricks, trying to make Burton’s rambling seem intellectually coherent. Now Haven has to justify stuff like the Sequence (as far as I can tell, a sort of mantra concocted by Burton and Asaf Braverman, heavily larded with superstition and numerology). To do so, he encourages readers to dump everything so far (!) and make the leap of faith onto Burton’s latest fantasy.
I quote from the Introduction:
“This change in the focus of the inner work was accompanied by changes in the outer form of the teaching. For one thing, the role the system and intellectual understanding decreased and that of emotional work in the king of hearts — and particularly, the nine of hearts — became uppermost; indeed, much of the previous thirty years work was simply summed up as imagination and the lower self. Although it was not apparent at the time, many students felt lost without the familiar grounding of the system, and this feeling underlay most of their other problems.” (my emphasis)

Oops, too bad, the last thirty years were all a big mistake, but on to new things! This is a test to weed out weaklings!

There are 40 pages in this sample alone ‘explaining’ the new paradigm, the new form of meetings, the new contortions that must be made, and ways to surmount ‘problems’ that result; read them if you must. After I had finished, I came to a fresh realization, that Girard Haven is actually even more dangerous than I’d given him credit for.

I didn’t have anything to do with Girard during my stay in the Fellowship until my last few days. I thought of him as a ponderous, dull, and uninteresting fellow, who made his reputation reformulating Ouspensky and justifying Burton, and was duly rewarded. This was and is true, but I have come to see, after reading these pages (dated 2010, so maybe written during the ten years before that?) that he has been much more important for the welfare of the organization than I’d realized. There are overtones of a desperate rearguard action in these pages, as Haven attempts to justify the new stuff like the Sequence by making connections with Ouspensky’s version of the Fourth Way (like Burton, Haven has short thrift for Gurdjieff). It would be hilarious if it were not so sad, and, unfortunately, from what I have heard, is effective enough to keep many on board. Although I’d bet that few followers have actually tried to keep up with Haven as he once again twists and turns to explain Burton’s new revelations and whimsies, I think it’s possible that many use the mere fact that an intellectual argument by Haven exists per se as a salve to reduce discomfort with the continual inner civil war demanded by Burton. Haven fully supports and justifies the necessity of Burton’s artificially contrived separation of one’s being into opposing camps, and IMHO, this ignorance can only lead to very bad outcomes for him and the fellow sheep who trust in him and Burton.

P.S. One of the downloadable excerpts is from Gilbert Moore’s own attempts at explaining the Sequence. The amazingly elastic mental stretch as he attempts to make the Sequence fit into the form of an octave is particularly entertaining. Nevertheless, he’s more fun than Girard.

40. Ames Gilbert - September 28, 2012

Josiane (#129-8 or thereabouts),
thanks for that. A beautiful quote on the site struck my fancy (confirmation bias at work, no doubt, IITS):
“A human being is a part of a whole, called by us “universe”, a part limited in time and space. He experiences himself, his thoughts and feelings as something separated from the rest… a kind of optical delusion of his consciousness. This delusion is a kind of prison for us, restricting us to our personal desires and to affection for a few persons nearest to us. Our task must be to free ourselves from this prison by widening our circle of compassion to embrace all living creatures and the whole of nature in its beauty.”
~ Albert Einstein

41. Ames Gilbert - September 28, 2012

Shard_of_Oblivion (#129-9 or thereabouts),
good advice, and if I in the Sky acts on it, she will be on the road to counteracting her learned helplessness:
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Learned_helplessness
However, if she is a long-time follower, she is fully invested in the Burton’s authoritarian power structure, so she will have an uphill battle earning their trust, even if she were so inclined, which I doubt. The leaders of the organization are the very epitome of untrustworthiness and dependence on Burton, and then there is that ‘intentional insincerity’ chasm to bridge. But, if she can manage to find ways to help even one of Burton’s ‘boys’, hooray, and she can start unlearning her dependence in many other areas of her life . . .
Also related to her post; ‘Somebody else’s problem’:
http://bit.ly/1afxvQ
(Thanks, Jomopinata)
____________________________

Here is an interesting essay by a person who escaped the NAW (New American Wing) cult.
Note: NAW (still in operation, run by Jim and Carolyn Kuzak) is an offshoot of ‘Spiral of Friends’ (apparently defunct since leader James Randazzo went to jail), itself an offshoot of the Fellowship of Friends.
http://www.fourthwaycult.net/wholeness.html

To quote the blogger who referred me to this essay, “The author of the essay explains how, in his opinion, the Gurdjieff-Ouspensky concepts/exercises/terminologies were used to contract (rather than expand) the consciousnesses of the “students”. I think his insights may be useful to members/ex-members of all kinds of cults, because it may be the case that similar “consciousness contraction” takes place in many (if not all) cults (and cultic environments) even though they may employ different concepts/exercises/terminologies.”

I’ve previously stated my opinion that the results of being long-time in the FoF were to make followers more asleep, not less. Note to I in the Sky: of course this is an example of my confirmation bias at work. I can see that, but that does not detract from the value of the essay itself.

42. Ames Gilbert - September 28, 2012

I in the Sky (#129-33 or thereabouts),
you appear to me to be using your fatalism as yet another buffer (cognitive dissonance at work), but then, as you say, I do not have a ringside seat in the circus of your mind.

I’m an EMT (Emergency Medical Technician) and a nurse, and have stopped to help people caught up in accidents many times, including two recent episodes in my gym. It’s not convenient, and it can be messy, and sometimes the bloodstains ruin my clothes, or I lose something I used as a support or tourniquet as it goes off with the victim in the ambulance. But, I provided comfort, and may have even saved people’s lives. If I were a fatalist like you, I could just have passed by and let the victims “experience their fate”. But you’re not a true fatalist, it’s just an excuse for inaction. If you had any compassion, you could act in the moment to alleviate suffering. And that too would have been written, wouldn’t it?

As I follow your line of thoughts in this blog, I’m becoming increasingly sure you are not acquainted with your conscience. Your master has none, in fact derides the concept, and you seem to be following his example. But that’s just my take, based on your words.

43. Golden Veil - September 28, 2012

Ames,

The quote you posted and your subsequent description of your activities are beautiful. According to Einstein, you’ve gotten it !

44. jomopinata - September 28, 2012

37/Joseph N. wrote:

> Perhaps we should question whether the Fellowship
> being a cult means that it is no more than a cult. For
> me, to write it off as a cult would be the ultimate
> self-deception.

You sound pretty certain. Interestingly, the more you learn about self-deception, the less certain you become, because you discover how easy it is to be wrong, and not know it.

45. Shard_of_Oblivion - September 28, 2012

33 “I in the sky” says:

“I do believe in an afterlife and assuming that is a reality if I am wrong about RB I will be informed of my errors (and receive the consequences) when the time comes for that.”

Um, what will happen is that you will be convinced you are correct, right up the moment you expire. There will not be a fraction of a second when you suddenly realise that I am right and you are wrong, and that death is the end for each of us.

You’ll never know.

46. nigel - September 28, 2012

Are You Content?

William Butler Yeats

“I call on those that call me son,
Grandson, or great-grandson,
On uncles, aunts, great-uncles or great-aunts,
To judge what I have done.
Have I, that put it into words,
Spoilt what old loins have sent?
Eyes spiritualised by death can judge,
I cannot, but I am not content.
He that in Sligo at Drumcliff
Set up the old stone Cross,
That red-headed rector in County Down,
A good man on a horse,
Sandymount Corbets, that notable man
Old William Pollexfen,
The smuggler Middleton, Butlers far back,
Half legendary men.
Infirm and aged I might stay
In some good company,
I who have always hated work,
Smiling at the sea,
Or demonstrate in my own life
What Robert Browning meant
By an old hunter talking with Gods;
But I am not content.”

47. Joseph Nachumovitch - September 28, 2012

It doesn’t even rhyme!

48. nigel - September 28, 2012

44. Joseph Nachumovitch

Yea! You definitely are instinctive…..Nigel.

49. fofblogmoderator - September 28, 2012

#36, 39 and 41 were hung in moderation

50. Shard_of_Oblivion - September 28, 2012

in 44 Joseph Nachumovitch quoth:

“It doesn’t even rhyme!”

I agree.

Neither does it scan, and it seems to be composed of nonsense notions about dead ancestors judging the writer. I am not surprised Yeats wasn’t content, if that was the quality of poetry he was producing that day.

“Song of the wandering aengus” also by Yeats, scans rhymes and makes sense, so this must have been a off day for the old guy.

51. Golden Veil - September 28, 2012

36. Adab ~ September 28, 2012

Thanks for posting the link to the 10 Zen Monkeys review of the book on California cults by Erik Davis, “The Visionary State: A Journey Through California’s Spiritual Landscape.” The books reviewer, RU Sirius, added this to the bottom of what he wrote about the book… I love it!

Addendum

As someone who socializes at times on the periphery of “new age” circles, it is my personal observation that most spiritual seekers stopped giving themselves up to charismatic leaders and gurus by the end of the 1980s. But it is clear that there are still enough lost souls out there to fulfill the financial needs and psychopathic fantasies of cult leaders for years to come. My advice: If you feel a need to be part of a group, join a bowling league.

52. Shard_of_Oblivion - September 28, 2012

51 nice quote from Golden Veil
My advice: If you feel a need to be part of a group, join a bowling league.

In a quasi cybernetical pseudo fictional way reading and writing on the blog makes us members of a group, which is fine and dandy. The teaching payments are non existent, and of course if there ARE any “awakened” beings walking this earth as a result of various and sundry FoF inspired efforts to be present etc, you can bet your bottom dollar they will be posting here, and not still a member of the FoF. Since you can imagine what someone does when they wake up to reality as a member of the FoF – that’s right – they leave.

Within the blog context I indulge myself in some frankly rather tenuous speculation. Can it be that it is possible to see “I in the sky” here on the blog. See in fact that she is still asleep. It almost feels like her every word is betraying it. Why would she expose herself like that? Can it really be she doesn’t notice that she is speaking to people who because they have left, have a greater variety of experience than she does. I clearly remember what it was like to think the same thoughts she is putting out there (sort of), but now I can see that viewpoint along with another one that has grown since I left.

53. WhaleRider - September 29, 2012

Nigel:
Congratulations on staying out of the hospital and for sticking with your meds. There is no aroma therapy for what you are dealing with. Despite the med side effects, in your case, florid psychosis is far more dangerous than tiredness or weight gain.

If I were in your shoes and faced with migrating, my first two choices would be a light dusting of either risperidone or olanzapine…along with minimizing the tobacco use to decrease your risk of heart disease if you are gaining weight. Why not switch to a brand you don’t like so much to enable yourself to discover a new source of pleasure. Clozapine would be my last choice, due to the increased risk of liver damage and the frequent blood draws. Stay away from the olanzapine/fluoxetine combo, since the prozac part might be a bit stimulating and precipitate a manic episode.

It’s also fine to stay with what is working for you too, as long as it does work for you and keeps you out of the tank.

You’ve got a good heart, Nigel, keep giving it plenty of exercise. Your dog will appreciate that, too. Mine certainly does.

Sorry about the unsolicited advice. What can I say? I’m a health professional. If it pisses you off, I recommend not blogging about your condition here and stick with ventilating your feelings about burton…something we can all share with you.

54. Ill Never Tell - September 29, 2012

33. I in the sky:
‘Thomas’ circumstances. If, as I contend, his experiences were part of his fate then no one could have intervened to the point of altering what happened, because those experiences were expressly written for him.’

‘God, grant me the courage to change the things I can change,
the serenity to accept the things I cannot change,
And the wisdom to know the difference.’

Change your fncking life and get the hell out of the cult asap! The (supposed) heart of the org is a satyriasis cult.

‘We must be the change we want to see in the world.’
Mahatma Gandhi

55. Fee fi fo fum - September 29, 2012

52 Shard of Oblivion

“Why would she expose herself like that? Can it really be she doesn’t notice that she is speaking to people who because they have left, have a greater variety of experience than she does.”

Anyone functioning as a FF spokesperson on this blog exposes themselves like that here because they think they are helping the FF. I in the sky probably takes it on as part of her role. She is not going to tire of it, because it is a cause for her to promote the FF. Her unwavering loyalty to and adoration of Robert brooks no uncertainty in her heart and mind. Thus, no matter how long and hard anyone engages with her on various issues, they won’t penetrate that ironclad mind. This is not a criticism of anyone who converses directly with her. I think it’s partly a matter of communication style, even when one knows that the responses are going to be filled with rationalizations of Robert’s behavior and the FF’s failings.

And no, I don’t think someone with her mindset – and there are plenty of current FF members with a similar, rigid mindset – will view you, me or anyone else who left the FF, as having ” a greater variety of experience than she does.” She, and many other FF members, aren’t interested in our experiences: she sins by omission, in that, when someone posts a very personal and moving revelation about their time in the FF, which usually means remorse and regret and maybe anger are expressed, we get no evidence of empathy or understanding. Instead, her first job is to adhere to her belief system, and interpret everything we say within that narrow framework.

She’s probably an example of an extreme loyalist. There are FF members who are not that way: they are conflicted, they know something’s wrong with Robert, they know there’s no real teaching going on, they know the outer trappings of Apollo are circus-like. But being in the FF for a long time and getting no where is a habit and a rut. They may feel trapped by the fact that they live in the Oregon House community and can’t afford to lose their livelihood if they’re dependent on other students. Some are afraid to lose the people they think are their friends, even though they know those friendships are conditional. The FF and Robert instill a lot of fear in members, and fear is a common way to control people.

56. nigel - September 29, 2012

53. Whale Rider

Thanks for your input…..

I think I say more than enough about my condition and have decided not to continue posting about it. However, I think that there is something that many bloggers dealing with their own little psychological world would find useful out of the mental health field…..

Cognitive Behavioural Therapy (CBT)…..

…..you probably know about it…..

You don’t have to be in a therapy group or be seeing a Mental Health Professional to do it – you apply it to yourself in quiet moments or amongst your friends ‘in life’. Basically, I put it this way…..

“How is/are my action(s) having an effect around me and on other people?”…..

It seems to have more power when translated into ‘everyday language’ rather than the convoluted ‘photographing’ we used to experience in the FOF (you know “I think you are in the King of Clubs” meant “You’re an overbearing piece of shit”)…..

What do other bloggers think of this theory?????…..Nigel.

57. I in the sky - September 29, 2012

Ames Gilbert: 39

Ames quoting Girard Haven: “indeed, much of the previous thirty years work was simply summed up as imagination and the lower self. Although it was not apparent at the time, many students felt lost without the familiar grounding of the system, and this feeling underlay most of their other problems.”

Ames goes on to say: “Oops, too bad, the last thirty years were all a big mistake, but on to new things! This is a test to weed out weaklings!”

I can’t speak for Girard other than to say his choice of words in the first sentence is somewhat misleading. In the context of the second sentence it does not seem as extreme as your summation however. As I experience the changes it is all a progression. All that came before was vital and is the foundation of what is being experienced now.

The fourth Way is every bit as alive in the FoF as it ever was. And what is called “The Sequence” in the FoF has been a major part of the form of many ancient traditions. The correlations are not that difficult to pinpoint, but I understand that if a principle can be labeled a “burtonism” it’s much easier to declare open season on it.

Ames Gilbert – 42:

“As I follow your line of thoughts in this blog, I’m becoming increasingly sure you are not acquainted with your conscience. Your master has none, in fact derides the concept, and you seem to be following his example. But that’s just my take, based on your words.”

if I may I’d like to refer you to Jomopinata – #44:

“Interestingly, the more you learn about self-deception, the less certain you become, because you discover how easy it is to be wrong, and not know it.”

At the end of your quote in #42 when you say “But that’s just my take, based on your words.”

My response would be – It’s your take based on your interpretation of my words.

58. Ill Never Tell - September 29, 2012

55. Fee fi fo fum:
‘But being in the FF for a long time and getting no where is a habit and a rut.’

Trouble is, FoF members read ‘no where’ as ‘now here’ and the meaning of ‘rut’ as identification with certain types of sexual activity, like satyriasis; which, when one is in a satyriasis cult must define what sexual orientation one is aligned with in practice and/or thought/feeling. So, it must be OK.

59. Joseph Nachumovitch - September 29, 2012

The ‘sequence’ is just new words to an old song. Counting every ten breaths in order to stay out of imagination is one of the most basic Buddhist exercises.

60. WhaleRider - September 29, 2012

I in the sky:
“And what is called “The Sequence” in the FoF has been a major part of the form of many ancient traditions.”

Would you care to elaborate on that statement?

The term, “ancient traditions” is a bit vague, to say the least. Ancient traditions of what?

Are you referring to the spiritual practice of chanting, as in “Hare Krishna, Hare Krishna, Hare Rama, Hare Rama”?

There are innumerable traditions that might be considered ancient, such as arranged marriages, but that does not mean they are necessarily healthy for a culture to endlessly repeat simply because, “that’s the way we’ve always done it around here.”

61. Agent 45 - September 29, 2012

I feel, based on personal experience and through talking with others, that it is entirely correct as Mr./Ms. Fum points out, that the underlying motive for every remaining member of the Fellowship is fear. Although they invent and imagine many other reasons, such as friendship and valuable esoteric information, if you look closely they are simply afraid to leave. It is better that a few people read and hear the stories of former cult members and be afraid to join in the first place. Choose your suffering wisely.

62. Adab - September 29, 2012

WR.

I can answer that question as I was still around when the sequence was introduced as the best thing since sliced bread…. esoterically speaking of course.

It’s not a chant, it goes :

“1. Be [invoke presence]
2. Hold [keep presence]
3. {topic} whatever you’re doing at the time, like ‘Hear’
4. Back [watch for imagination coming to get you]
5. {topic again}
6. Long BE [be very present]”

When it first came in, everyone in the ‘research octave’ was instructed to drop everything and find quotes from their own areas – mine was Sufism – that mentioned six steps of doing anything. Of course, six didn’t actually occur any more regularly than 3 or 4 or 7, but nonetheless every reference was eagerly seized upon and used as proof that RB and AB had discovered an ancient and foolproof method of invoking presence.

As Joseph points out, counting exercises are common in most traditions. In the real Fourth Way for example, you might try to count to 50, then back from 50 to 1 while you’re doing something physical like the washing up. It’s a simple way of getting your centres working with their own energy and creating a bit of attention.

The thing about the sequence is that Burton made such a song and dance about it as being some great esoteric trade secret, and it gave him a new lease of life doing what he loves doing most – reading signs into absolutely everything under the sun.

Basically he just took what is no more than a simple minor exercise and pumped it up into a ‘universal method’ by ransacking esoteric art and literature for support. A typically grotesque indulgence.

63. Shard_of_Oblivion - September 29, 2012

62 Adab says:

“Of course, six didn’t actually occur any more regularly than 3 or 4 or 7, but nonetheless every reference was eagerly seized upon and used as proof that RB and AB had discovered an ancient and foolproof method of invoking presence.”

Did they key this classic moment from the “ancient” rolling stones?

64. Fee fi fo fum - September 29, 2012

60 Whale Rider – That’s a good point, your shining a light on the use of the feel-good, fuzzy term, “ancient traditions”:

“The term, “ancient traditions” is a bit vague, to say the least. Ancient traditions of what?…

“There are innumerable traditions that might be considered ancient, such as arranged marriages, but that does not mean they are necessarily healthy for a culture to endlessly repeat simply because, “that’s the way we’ve always done it around here.””

Lapidation, or stoning someone to death, is also traditional in certain cultures, and is so old that we can consider it ancient. Does that make it right? It is still being carried out in some of the very countries where wonderful spiritual traditions originated in “ancient” times. And don’t forget, in stoning, one’s own “people” participate, which makes it particularly revolting.

That reminds me, when ex-students are ostracized and excommunicated, they are shunned by their own “people.” So much for friendship and feeling like “one big family.”

65. Fee fi fo fum - September 29, 2012

52 Shard

Perhaps your question, and my response in 55, about I in the sky’s inability to understand people who have left the FF, can be teased out by this question:

Is it just I in the sky as spokesperson for the FF who churns out her posts, or does she really, really think that way? Let’s be realistic: If she were part of the American presidential campaign process, no matter how much her candidate blundered on TV on issues like Medicare or Libya, it would still be her “job” to rationalize, to the public, why her presidential candidate said what he did. She’d put a positive spin on the blunder, hoping no one would notice.

However, in the blog’s recent pages, she’s been ostensibly displaying her real thoughts and beliefs, and they are stuck like dogma-glue to the spokesperson, as though they are one and the same.

An extreme loyalist is so permeated with their bonds of loyalty that it’s like a fence surrounding them. You can’t get past it, and sadly, they themselves can’t see past the fence and emerge beyond it. As I said, there are other FF members who are just as fiercely loyal to RB and the FF. Loyalty to someone or an institution or to a practice does not make that person, institution or practice right or good or acceptable.

66. Fee fi fo fum - September 29, 2012

62 Adab

When was the Sequence put together? Did its concoction coincide with an event, such as the prediction of 2006 not happening? Or was it a reaction to so many students becoming interested in, say, Advaita Buddhism and leaving the FF? And how did As_f B. become such an important figure in the FF?

67. Shard_of_Oblivion - September 29, 2012

I just had a thought! What if “I in the sky” is right and I am wrong and there IS an afterlife?

Obviously this will be no surprise to “I in the sky”, but I would be amazed. Expecting to dissolve into nothingness, suddenly I am aware of beings around me. They smile their wise smiles, open their arms in greeting and say “welcome Shard, we have all been waiting for you! Here is your mum and dad, they have been watching your adventures down there on earth. Your life down there was just a test of course, this is real life. And yes as you suspected Juliette Valduriez is an angel, not a physical being at all, so we have asked her to serenade your arrival, we understand how eternal life is a bit of a shock to your system! We are all very big on counting up to six up here by the way. You’ve plenty of time to master the technique now!”

68. brucelevy - September 29, 2012

67. Shard_of_Oblivion

I’ve always wanted to hear a Parker Fly. Funny because two nights ago while I was listening to a friend play I was wondering why one rarely see this ax being played… and here’s a clip. It’s a fucking miracle. C Influence must be working with me (snark).

Nice, thanks.

69. nigel - September 29, 2012

Desiderata – by Max Ehrmann

“Go placidly amid the noise and haste, and remember what peace there may be in silence.

As far as possible, without surrender, be on good terms with all persons. Speak your truth quietly and clearly; and listen to others, even to the dull and the ignorant, they too have their story. Avoid loud and aggressive persons, they are vexations to the spirit.

If you compare yourself with others, you may become vain and bitter; for always there will be greater and lesser persons than yourself. Enjoy your achievements as well as your plans. Keep interested in your own career, however humble; it is a real possession in the changing fortunes of time.

Exercise caution in your business affairs, for the world is full of trickery. But let this not blind you to what virtue there is; many persons strive for high ideals, and everywhere life is full of heroism. Be yourself. Especially, do not feign affection. Neither be cynical about love, for in the face of all aridity and disenchantment it is perennial as the grass.

Take kindly to the counsel of the years, gracefully surrendering the things of youth. Nurture strength of spirit to shield you in sudden misfortune. But do not distress yourself with imaginings. Many fears are born of fatigue and loneliness.

Beyond a wholesome discipline, be gentle with yourself. You are a child of the universe, no less than the trees and the stars; you have a right to be here. And whether or not it is clear to you, no doubt the universe is unfolding as it should.

Therefore be at peace with God, whatever you conceive Him to be, and whatever your labors and aspirations, in the noisy confusion of life, keep peace in your soul.

With all its sham, drudgery and broken dreams, it is still a beautiful world.

Be cheerful. Strive to be happy.”

70. Adab - September 29, 2012

66 FFFF

The sequence appeared around 2006-2007. Apparently it was invented jointly by Burton and As*f along with other senior students. Then they looked for justifications for it in ‘ancient texts’. At least it was reported that is happened that way round.

It coincided with the Adyashanti upheaval in OH and a new MO at meetings, whereby students could no longer give personal angles, but were confined to reading out RB/AB’s thoughts on big pictures of old works of art that were supposed to prove the sequence theory.

Gurdjieff and the Fourth Way was canned because “we had moved beyond them” and the rhino poop stuff started appearing. There was a strong atmosphere of control at meetings and events and people were discouraged from talking about the happenings in California. Bigwigs like Taylor, Brown, As*f and Dor**n were sent over to ensure everyone toed the party line. As*f and Dor**n started charging for leading meetings as members of the inner inner circle.

There was a lot of tension in meetings at the time. Nervous laughter when some of the sillier images appeared, with even sillier interpretations attached. The format of meetings was regularly challenged by a number of students [including me]. I remember one meeting where the Centre Director had a student chanting the sequence behind her chair at the top of the room all the way through the meeting! It was the ultimate ‘trance environment’….

As*f became RB’s ‘acceptable face’. He was young, affable and avoided confrontation, and he came from a rich Israeli family. He started by cueing in Burton’s interpretations at events and keeping things rolling along. After a while he began giving meetings/events at OH for which people were charged quite a lot of dosh. He seemed to all intents and purposes the ‘chosen one’ and the new man #5. Then allegedly he tried to marry a girl when he was already married to someone else and he was denied entry back into the U.S. So he began a ‘world tour’ supposedly on a research sabbatical… As far as I know he’s still in exile.

71. nigel - September 29, 2012

“For a’ That” by Robert Burns

“Is there for honest poverty,
That hangs his head, and a’ that!
The coward slave, we pass him by,
We dare be poor for a’ that!
For a’ that, and a’ that,
Our toils obscure, and a’ that;
The rank is but the guinea’s stamp,
The man’s the gowd for a’ that!
What though on hamely fare we dine,
Wear hoddin gray, and a’ that;
Gie fools their silks, and knaves their wine,
A man’s a man for a’ that!
For a’ that, and a’ that,
Their tinsel show, and a’ that;
The honest man, though e’er sae poor,
Is king o’ men for a’ that!
Ye see yon birkie ca’d a lord,
Wha struts, and stares, and a’ that;
Though hundreds worship at his word,
He’s but a coof for a’ that;
For a’ that, and a’ that,
His riband, star, and a’ that,
The man of independent mind,
He looks and laughs at a’ that.
A prince can make a belted knight,
A marquis, duke, and a’ that;
But an honest man’s aboon his might,
Guid faith he mauna fa’ that!
For a’ that, and a’ that,
Their dignities, and a’ that,
The pith o’ sense, and pride o’ worth,
Are higher rank than a’ that.
Then let us pray that come it may –
As come it will for a’ that –
That sense and worth, o’er a’ the earth,
May bear the gree, and a’ that.
For a’ that, and a’ that,
It’s coming yet, for a’ that,
That man to man, the world o’er,
Shall brothers be for a’ that!”

72. nigel - September 29, 2012

INVICTUS
By
W E Henley

“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 bludgeoning of chance
My head is bloody, but unbow’d.

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.”

73. Joseph Nachumovitch - September 29, 2012

That’s more like it.

74. nigel - September 29, 2012

73. Joseph Nachumovitch

Yes!!!!! More like ‘being content’…..expressing oneself after a fruitful day and offering ‘little snippets’ of poetry to fellow bloggers. I am pretty sure I have evolved ‘despite the FOF’ – not because of it. I have come back to my art-form at an age when my Solar essence is putting up with my Mars-Jovial body-type (how have I lasted so long?????) – commissioned by just ordinary people to make extraordinary things that delight them and bring them joy…..

All I wish is that every true seeker after truth (and I do not mean FOF-fing) finds themselves in this lifetime…..Nigel.

75. Ames Gilbert - September 29, 2012

I in the Sky (#129-57 or thereabouts),
you said, “The fourth Way is every bit as alive in the FoF as it ever was.”
Apart from when it wasn’t. You know perfectly well that Burton decreed that members of the Fellowship of Friends should abandon the Fourth Way, before he took it up again. But, easy come, easy go, huh?

But anyway, let’s have a look at the Fourth Way as practiced in the Fellowship of Friends.
• Instead of ‘verify, verify, verify’, there is the task of taking Burton’s pronouncements and looking around for evidence to support them.
• Instead of the temporarily lending of one’s will to a teacher, Burton demands perpetual obedience through many lifetimes.
• Instead of the teacher being a signpost, the ‘teacher’ has become the most important star in his followers’ firmament, the “brightest light in 2,000 years”.
• Instead of trying to find and develop higher emotional center (conscience) within oneself, a new completely fabricated ‘higher emotional center’, an impossible state of permanent presence, is demanded, and failure to achieve this is solely the responsibility of the follower.
• Instead of trying to develop higher intellectual center within oneself, a group consensus of permissible thoughts is substituted, and these thoughts must be pre-approved and pre-digested by Burton or a duly licensed high muckety-muck.
• Instead of breaking free from prison and individuating, one is condemned to groupthink based on selfishness and exceptionalism.
• Instead of freedom, there is no graduation, and no leaving the group nest or the control of Burton.
• Instead of unifying body and spirit, as Gurdjieff suggested comprised the basis of the Work, and gave practical exercises to enable, Burton orders that a civil war be declared within each of his followers.
• Not to mention there is not once any reference to the sprits of 44 supposedly conscious mostly dead white Western males, or anything like them, in the Fourth Way I studied.
• Not to mention that there is no reference to fucking and being fucked by thousands of unwilling male heterosexual followers.
• Not to mention there is no reference to women being of a ‘lower cosmos than men’.

And much, much more . . .
Sigh!

76. Fee fi fo fum - September 29, 2012

70 Adab

Thanks for your detailed explanation. I had a sneaking suspicion that the concoction of the Sequence was a ploy to distract the FF “masses” during a time of rebellion. Too many people were discovering that the FF wasn’t giving them what they were looking for, and they sought it elsewhere, such as at Adyashanti’s meetings. The 2006-07 period also coincides with this blog’s formation and its initial discovery by students, who needed just such a platform to voice their suspicions and grievances about the FF and Robert.

The alleged bigamy, if true, doesn’t surprise me. Back in the old days, there were marriages foisted upon students to enable foreign students to get a green card. One of the foreigners turned out to be married already, so they engaged in bigamy. I heard they had a nervous breakdown at the property (Renaissance/Apollo), and had to be nursed back to health, before returning back to their native home. They evidently came from a prominent family, who had to squelch the whole incident and keep it from damaging their reputation back home. What do you think the FF’s reaction was? Indifference and avoidance. It was never discussed openly, as though it was a dirty secret. The FF was also indifferent and irresponsible towards the domestic person, as they were towards most of the domestic individuals who were asked and pressured to cooperate. In the FF, one does not say “No” and get an easy “Okay, that’s fine” in return.

In a second instance, another person agreed to marry a foreigner, and the foreigner evidently professed to be in love with them. Afterwards, the foreigner (now possessed of their g.c.) told their friends that it had just been a marriage of convenience. That led to the domestic person having their own version of a nervous breakdown, because they actually did love the foreigner. They felt duped, and said so, repeatedly. It should not surprise anyone that they were “photographed for expressing negative emotions.” Nice way to shut someone up.

That’s what happens on this blog, when people discuss Robert’s sexual behavior. We get the run-around from FF loyalists, and are told it’s just an expression of negativity.

77. Joseph Nachumovitch - September 29, 2012

74. nigel

If you evolve despite something then you evolve through it.

78. Shard_of_Oblivion - September 29, 2012

68 Bruce mentions

“I’ve always wanted to hear a Parker Fly.”

Hey Bruce – I am impressed by your guitar recognition skills!

So – can you tell what the impossibly cool Juliette is playing in this clip?

79. brucelevy - September 29, 2012

Gibson SG. I have one.

80. Shard_of_oblivion - September 30, 2012

Ah!

81. Just the Facts Ma'am - September 30, 2012

62. Adab:
‘Basically he just took what is no more than a simple minor exercise and pumped it up into a ‘universal method’ by ransacking esoteric art and literature for support. A typically grotesque indulgence.’

Megalomaniacal is it not?

‘Megalomania is a psycho-pathological condition characterized by delusional fantasies of power, relevance, or omnipotence. ‘Megalomania is characterized by an inflated sense of self-esteem and overestimation by persons of their powers and beliefs’. Historically it was used as an old name for narcissistic personality disorder prior to the latter’s first use by Heinz Kohut in 1968, and is used these days as a non-clinical equivalent. It is not mentioned in the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders (DSM) or the International Statistical Classification of Diseases (ICD).’
From Wikipedia:
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Megalomania

. . .

75. Ames Gilbert:
‘You know perfectly well that Burton decreed that members of the Fellowship of Friends should abandon the Fourth Way. . .’

It should also be mentioned that FoF members were told to despose of all and any Work Books (books by any 4th Way tradition author) by whatever means necessary. Also, speaking about 4th Way, G., O., Collin, etc., was forbidden.

. . .

76. Fee fi fo fum:
‘The 2006-07 period also coincides with this blog’s formation and its initial discovery by students, who needed just such a platform to voice their suspicions and grievances about the FF and Robert.’

It should also be mentioned that FoF had an internal (email based) discussion list, that ran for some time, which was under close moderation by FoF Council member. When that was closed down for subject matter unbecoming of FoF members, like questioning the behaviour of Robert Earl Burton, for example, such dialog was sure to find expression somewhere.

More FoF History in posts that follow.

82. Shard_of_oblivion - September 30, 2012

68 BruceLevy observed:

“It’s a fucking miracle. C Influence must be working with me (snark)”

I think I heard that C influence sometimes help ex students “just for the fun of it”, even though they’re not really obliged to after we have stopped making payments towards the upkeep of the Burton “Institute for the investigation of into whether the NEXT orgasm is going to be the one that really really hits the spot”.

83. Just the Facts Ma'am - September 30, 2012

When 3 Prospective Student Meetings became 2 meetings:
From about Apr 7, 2006:
http://bit.ly/UAcWqF
(.doc file)

New Student Meetings

Meeting Number One: “The Divine Present”
“Make the divine present your destination.” (Al Ghazali)

Meeting Concept
Here we present the central idea and practice of our school, and of all schools: being present. The aim is to help the student understand that being present, self-remembering, and dividing attention all point to the same effort and the same reward. The only real activity on the earth, from the point of view of school, is the inner battle to focus oneself, deflect all distractions, and enter the present. Other schools may call this effort yoga, meditation, and so on. Although magnetic centers may take many forms, the desire behind all magnetic centers is ultimately the desire for presence.

The meeting might begin with introducing a specific aim, such as:
– Keep eye contact with the speaker while trying to be aware of oneself sitting on the chair.
– Be aware of the background behind the student who is speaking.

Brief Outline
I. The Search for School: Magnetic Center
“There can be no happiness without presence.”
(Robert Burton)

a. The Beginning of the Search
The Search is a process.
– Introduce the concept of A, B, and C influences. Discuss how magnetic center develops through B influence, and seeks C influence—outside help from Higher School.

b. The Experience of Magnetic Center:
We can ask the newer student: What experiences brought you to enter the School?
– Through this discussion we can see that magnetic centers take many different forms, leading us to desire something more. We did not choose to develop a magnetic center, however, it is a great gift. We sensed a higher level of existence. This is not common in normal life.

c. The Desire to be Present
At the basis of magnetic center is the wish to be present.
– All esoteric traditions describe the search for presence: the Sufis, the Philokalia, the Bible, the Bhagavad-Gita, etc. Give a few quotations that illustrate this, and introduce a few simple keys for presence (for example “love” and “the beloved” are keys for presence).

d. Magnetic Center as Denying Force.
The Search is over
– Magnetic center is intended to be a doorway, not a destination. When we meet a school, magnetic center has played its role, and it is time to begin practical work. Practical work means making efforts to verify the ideas and exercises that are given to us in school—through one’s own internal experience. What is presence? Why do I want to be present? Why is it difficult to be present? All these questions must be answered through one’s own internal experience.

II. The Three States of Consciousness
“You are now in a certain state of consciousness, and by trying to remember yourself you try to create an approach to the third state of consciousness.”
Peter Ouspensky

a. What is “being present”?
– Discuss the four states of consciousness, with emphasis on the third state. Being present is the effort to reach the third state of consciousness.

b. Personal examples of third-state experiences
– Show how the student can experience it right NOW, in the meeting. Ask the student about past experiences he/she might have had of third-state experiences.

c. Questions about states of consciousness.
– Ask the newer student if he or she has any questions about these states

III. The Process of Verification: Divided Attention
“Self-awareness is the greatest change possible, because in ordinary conditions of life nobody is aware of himself, and yet people do not realize this. The whole idea is to be aware of yourself in this place, at this moment.”
Peter Ouspensky

a. How does one begin to be present?
– Describe divided attention—the double arrow.

b. Practical examples of divided experience
– Give practical examples of how one divides attention. Introduce the looking and listening exercises.

c. Practical experience
– At this point, one could play a beautiful piece of music, and ask everyone to listen and divide attention by using the looking exercise for five or ten minutes. At the end of this exercise one could conclude the meeting.

POSSIBLE REFERENCES:
– P.D. Ouspensky: The Psychology of Man’s Possible Evolution (for the four states of consciousness)
– Girard Haven: Notes from a Conscious Teaching, Chapter: “The Moment”
– Girard Haven: Notes from a Conscious Teaching, Chapter: “Self-Remembering”
– Robert Burton: Self-Remembering, Chapter: “Divided Attention and Self-Remembering”

“Thoughts” issues:
– Ouspensky on Self-Remembering, Volume 3, No. 8
– Self-Remembering, Recognizing what is before you, Volume 2, No. 9
– The Illusion of the Second State, Volume 3, No. 35
– Attending to the Present, Volume 3, No. 7

KEYS:
You may wish to introduce a few simple keys that relate to the ideas presented in the meeting, illustrating them with quotations.

Example: Some keys for presence are Love, Beloved, and Sun.

“Presence is the one we call the Beloved.” [Rumi]
“One night I asked Love, say truly who are you? She replied, I am everlasting life.” [Rumi]
“How will I be awake and aware if the light of the Beloved is absent?” [Rumi]
“I am born in love now. / I am more than myself, for / I have been born twice.” [Rumi]
“When we have attained love, we have reached God and our journey is over.” [Philokalia, Monk Calistus]
“Draw the bow of meditation and aim at the target, the Lord of love.” [Upanishads]
“For the man who knows this secret doctrine the sun neither rises nor sets: it is always day for him.”
“Keep squeezing drops of the sun from your prayers.” [Hafiz]
“When the light of the Atman / Drives out our darkness / That light shines forth from us, / A sun in splendor.” [Bhagavad-Gita]
“The thousand shadows which surround you disappear in a single ray of the celestial sun.” [Fariduddin Attar]

SUGGESTED QUESTIONS TO EVOKE DISCUSSION:
– How do we experience the effort to be present?
– How is this effort as different from having an ‘I’ to make the effort?
– Who is present?
– Who makes the effort?
– How is the second state different from the third state?
– Why do we want the third state? What is wrong with the second state?
– How is an effort different in the Work than it is in life?
– How can we divide attention while carrying out our tasks in life?

. . .

New Student Meetings

Meeting Number Two:
“The Thirty Work I’s: An Invitation to Divide Attention”

Meeting Concept

In this second meeting, we present the central exercise of our school: the use of the thirty work ‘I’s to divide attention. The aim in this meeting is to underline the central battle of evolution: overcoming imagination by introducing and prolonging presence through divided attention. In particular, the student needs guidance in learning to observe the internal dialogue. The Thirty work ‘I’s are intelligently designed to help us bring presence to each simple moment, action, and event of our day.

The meeting might begin with handing out the list of the thirty work ‘I’s, and reading them aloud.

Brief Outline

I. The Need for Reminders

a. Question: How do we remember to divide attention?
– Introduce the 30 work ‘I’s: In the last meeting we spoke of reaching and prolonging presence and the central aim of this school and all schools, and we said that divided attention (or self-remembering, or “remembrance” as the Sufis say) was the method of doing this. Yet because we are asleep, in the second state, it is difficult to remember to divide attention. How do we keep introducing divided attention into the moment? By using the thirty work ‘I’s.

II. The Veil: Imagination

a. Question: Why it is so difficult to divide attention even when we remember it and try to do it?
– Explain the concept of imagination as the major obstacle to divided attention and being present.

b. Explore the concept of the internal dialog, its persistence, its associative, law-of-accident quality, the “many ‘I’s” that believe that they are real ‘I’. Introduce the key of “the ten thousand” as referring to imagination.

c. Ask students to give examples during the meeting of ‘I’s in imagination that they observe.

III. The Thirty Work ‘I’s

a. Question: How do the thirty work ‘I’s combat imagination?
– Explain concept of one-syllable—keeps us from going into imagination about the work.

b. Explain the concept of connecting a specific work ‘I’ to a specific action or obstacle, so that in any moment we have the right weapon to use against a specific group of ‘I’s.

c. Explain that one has to practice and learn to use the thirty work ‘I’s—it doesn’t happen automatically!

d. Explain the concept of using just six work ‘I’s to create presence. This allows one to practice using a manageable number of work ‘I’s, to keep starting afresh and to try again.

Introduce exercise regarding the use of the thirty work ‘I’s for the following week.

POSSIBLE REFERENCES:
– Girard Haven, Notes From a Conscious Teaching, Chapter: The Many I’s
– Robert Burton, Self-Remembering, Chapter: Imagination
– Peter Ouspensky, The Fourth Way, pp. 370-372

“Thoughts” issues:
– Cutting Off Imagination Early, Volume 5, No. 5
– The Third Work ‘I’ Turn, Volume 4, No. 40
– Best Thoughts on the Thirty Work I’s, Volume 4, No 36
– The Thirty Great Work I’s, Volume 4, No. 21

KEYS:
You may wish to introduce simple keys that relate to the ideas presented in the meeting, illustrating them with quotations.

Example: A key for imagination is veil. A key for the many ‘I’s is “ten thousand”.

“The veil is nothing but imagination.” (Khwaja Khurd)
“When I became silent I could see that my thoughts were the veil that separated me from god.” [Bayazid]
“Few see through the veil of illusion.” [Bhagavad-Gira]
“Nevertheless when it shall turn to the Lord, the veil shall be taken away.” [IICorinthians, 3:16]
“Let my seeing be without veil.” [Koran]
“Take your garment of light, take off your veil, which is upon you, and clothe yourself with the eye of Horus.” [Pyramid Texts]
“It is always a danger to the aspirant on the path when one begins to believe and act as if the ten thousand idiots who so long ruled and lived inside have all packed their bags and skipped town or died.” [Hafiz]
[The Lord sustained me] I will not be afraid of ten thousands of people, that have set themselves against me round about.
[Psalm 3:6]
“There exist ten thousand worlds, each one like this world, and all these are contained in man, without his being conscious of it.” [Darqawi]
“Empty yourself of everything. Let the mind rest at peace. The ten thousand things rise and fall, And the Self watches their return.” [Lao Tzu]

QUESTIONS TO USE TO EVOKE DISCUSSION:
– What is an ‘I’? How do I observe it?
– Isn’t imagination necessary and useful?
– What have we observed about particular areas of preferred imagination?
– Who gives us a Work ‘I’?
– Who listens to the Work ‘I’?
– Who does not believe the I’s?
– How do we experience the difference between being in imagination and observing imaginary I’s?
– How can we increase the third force to stimulate Work I’s?

84. Just the Facts Ma'am - September 30, 2012

From about Mar 8, 2006:
http://bit.ly/QddPWm
(.pdf file)

1. Be (Be present)
2. Hold (Prolong presence)
3. Pray (Use the thirty work ‘I’s)
4. Back (Beware of the King of Clubs)
5. Turn (From imagination to work ‘I’s to presence)
6. Peace [Pax] (Avoid the entire spectrum of negative emotions)
7. More (More effort)
8. Act (Engage Presence)
9. Leave (Avoid identification)
10. Kneel (Do not resent friction)
11. Drop (Do not judge or keep accounts)
12. Use (Use voluntary suffering)
13. Wit (Avoid wit)
14. Now (Think neither of the past nor of the future)
15. Look (Look with presence)
16. Hear (Listen with presence)
17. Touch (Feel with presence)
18. Taste (Taste with presence)
19. Smell (Smell with presence)
20. Move (Move with presence)
21. Talk (Speak with presence)
22. Think (Think with presence)
23. Read (Read with presence)
24. Write (Write with presence)
25. Child (Remain in essence; avoid false personality revolving around chief feature)
26. Serve (Do not inner consider, externally consider)
27. Scale (Use scale and relativity)
28. Aim (Keep aim and complete octaves; Be aware of third forces)
29. Time (Remember the brevity of life)
30. Be (Be present)

85. Just the Facts Ma'am - September 30, 2012

From about Mar 8, 2006:
http://bit.ly/QObaBp
(.pdf file)

Be
Hold
Pray
Back
Turn
Peace [Pax]
More
Act
Leave
Kneel
Drop
Use
Wit
Now
Look
Hear
Touch
Taste
Smell
Move
Talk
Think
Read
Write
Child
Serve
Scale
Aim
Time
Be

86. David - September 30, 2012

81 Just the facts Ma’am
Small correction. The email discussion was not always moderated by Council members, which was a good thing. I know this having done a stint at moderating it myself. I think the infamous St Petersberg meeting was the beginning of the end for the “propaganda free” email list.

87. David - September 30, 2012

Adab wrote:
“If I’m honest about the FoF as a group of people – of whom we were all once part – I saw them as sensitive and able to respond to finer energy flow, but their personalities remained basically the same. I didn’t meet anyone who developed in that respect.”
This is a very well stated summation of the state of people in the FF. There is “something” to them, but it is not the result of a special, conscious action or influence, it is just people on the sensitive side of normal. NONE of Burton’s predictions have come to pass, including those he has alluded to as having taken on the mantle of “Man number 5”. (See Girard and his online porn addiction…) So much for the 7 conscious beings the FF is supposed to produce. Not that one man’s Lust/Greed satisfying machine could ever produce such a being (or even a permanent “change of Being”). Unfortunately IITS has not yet come anywhere near being able to see this.
I in the sky, you speak about the afterlife. Are you looking forward to the time you are going to spend in an urn in Limbo?

88. brucelevy - September 30, 2012

“There is “something” to them, but it is not the result of a special, conscious action or influence, it is just people on the sensitive side of normal.”

When I was “in” we reprobates used to call it “the act of essence” and the “act of refinement”…in the game of “who can play it better.”

89. Shard_of_oblivion - September 30, 2012

I said earlier that I was very familiar all the FoF dogma that “I in the sky” rehearses, as when I was a student I believed it as well, and that is broadly true. But there have been some jaw dropping admissions of the way “I in the sky” views life that make me feel a chill. (A chill like in “Apocalypse Now” when Martin Sheen’s boat approaches Marlon Brando’s village, the stench of rotting corpses in the air, no bird song, a silent arrival at the heart of darkness).

It’s a kind of extreme fatalism, but also a finely nuanced and selective form of fatalism, that says that everything MUST be for the best, because C influence make it so. And they are in these matters all powerful. And we are not worthy to question in any particular case – like Thomas’s – that things in a fundamental sense should have been different, it was all for the best “a priori”

With this justification in your “anti conscience” psychological armory can’t you see – there is no limit to what becomes acceptable?

Here are the words that caused me that dread:

“But I explained to you my feelings about Thomas’ circumstances. If, as I contend, his experiences were part of his fate then no one could have intervened to the point of altering what happened, because those experiences were expressly written for him. I believe everything that comes to a person has a reason and purpose.”

I am the appalled Willard – You “I in the sky” are the American civilian photojournalist, and lets see, who fits for Colonel Kurtz?

90. Just the Facts Ma'am - September 30, 2012

Arkansas Bob’s Squeal Like a Pig Cult:
http://bit.ly/UZJjnx

November 1994

Dear friend,

In an attempt to prevent me from talking to others about my
experiences with him, Robert has forbidden me to come to Renaissance
(or Apollo). I write this letter for those who are interested.

When I came to Renaissance in the spring of 1986 I had been in the
school for one year. In the center I had been told numerous stories
by the center directors as to how a great, almost saintly person the
Teacher was. Having come to the Fellowship needy of emotional and
spiritual support I was willing to believe these reports at face
value.

After a few weeks of living at Renaissance, following a heavy
drinking ‘symposium’, Robert took me inside of one of the Academy
rooms and wanted to have sex with me.

When I told him that I did not want this because I had no homosexual
feelings, nor did I want to see myself assume those practices, Robert
dismissed my arguments by saying that I should externally consider
him as my teacher.

Partly out of fear for this ‘all powerful’ being, partly not to want
to feel guilty or judged, but largely because of the energy with
which Robert approached me, I was left with the feeling I had no
choice.

While Robert went about his business of trying to stimulate an orgasm
from me which he was going to receive orally I pointed out to him
that I was covering my face with my hands out of shame. Robert
retorted that this was a good opportunity for work for me.

This was the beginning of my functioning as a sexual servant which
lasted for several years.

In order to bear my plight I kept on telling myself that it was my
play to transform this kind of suffering and that learning selfless
servitude might eventually benefit my soul. I also tried to stimulate
in me the belief that since Robert was conscious, being in his
presence had to basically be a good thing.

Robert tried to assure me that what was going on between us was the
wish of C-Influence, and that the worst thing I could do was to
resist their plans. He also explained his attraction to men not as
homosexuality but as the result of his being an angel and a cosmos
above men, just like men’s attraction to women stemmed, he would add,
from men being in a cosmos above women.

It was when I eventually met a woman (soon to become my wife) who
cared enough to point out to me that it was up to me to take
responsibility for my life, that I found the third force needed to
let Robert know that I did not want to continue serving him in this
fashion.

He got very upset over this and from one day to the other what he had
called ‘love’ turned into hostility, resentment, and a total ignoring
of us as his students. It was here that it became really clear to me
that I had never been a ‘friend’ or a ‘student’ but had been used for
one sole purpose: Robert’s sexual gratification. There had been no
love, let alone conscious love.

In the five years that followed we have never been allowed to have
dinner with our ‘Teacher’, nor were we given consideration when we
asked for help during great medical expenses while working on salary
at Renaissance.

During this period Robert did, however, call me numerous times on the
phone asking me if I would again ‘come in his mouth’ (his words), for
which he would, among other things, offer to pay my voice lessons,
knowing that these were important to me and that I had a hard time
finding funding for them. Needless to say, at this point I never as
much responded to his requests or ‘offers’.

Much effort has been directed towards covering up information such as
which is disclosed in this letter. There has also been a collective
buffering among Fellowship members as regards Robert’s practices.

How can people who pride themselves in having evolved levels of being
tolerate this? I am convinced that many of the prevailing attitudes
in the Fellowship are based on religious faith, such as those
regarding unverifiable issues like Robert’s consciousness; the
Fellowship being an arc [sic] for a new civilization; the division of
humanity into ‘students’ and ‘life people’, and the alleged spiritual
superiority of Fellowship members over non-members.

I hope that you will have the courage to challenge your attitudes and
see them for what they are. For the sake of your evolution.

Your friend,

s/WP

* * *

October 1994:

Dear Friend,

I am writing to you and several others because I value your
friendship and regard you as someone with whom I can be honest and
open. I decided to write to you because there have been some stories
spreading through the school about myself and Robert, and I would
like to clarify the situation. Also, I’m afraid that what happened to
me is already being covered up and may soon disappear, like many
things that have happened to others before.

I was asked by Robert to buy a gun and become night guard at his
house. I accepted because I considered this to be an opportunity to
learn from him, and to protect him from harm. I went with complete
trust in Robert and a desire to serve. After accepting the position,
I was informed that one of the duties required of all guards was to
give Robert massages when he asked for them.

One morning, as I massaged Robert’s back, without saying a word he
sat me at the head of his bed on my knees. He then pulled down my
pants, began sucking my penis, and asked me to come in his mouth.
This was all done without my consent, very impersonally, without
concern for me as a human being (married with a family), and without
concern for me as a student wishing guidance to evolve. I felt
betrayed and used by the man who I thought was my spiritual father. I
quit the job and went off salary.

You might imagine that having sex with Robert is different from
having sex with other people, that Robert somehow uses sex for
teaching, or that it would make you more emotional, closer to the
miraculous. But it wasn’t emotional, and involved no teaching. While
Robert was using me for sex, I was nothing more than an object,
something to be used to satisfy his own sexual desires.

Afterward, when I began discussing this experience with some of my
closest friends, I discovered that many of them had been used by
Robert for sex in a similar way. However, the greatest shock came
from my son T***, who told me that Roert had been actively pursuing
him for sex from the time he entered the school–at age seventeen.
While he was growing up, I taught T*** that Robert was like a God,
someone he could trust fully in every regard. I thus unknowingly set
him up to be used by Robert for sex.

Robert had told T*** (and many others with whom I have subsequently
spoken), that C Influence wanted T*** to have sex with him. Robert
also offered money and privileges in exchange for sex. During sex,
Robert uses no protection against AIDS, herpes, or any other sexually
transmitted disease, despite the fact that he has sex with many
partners. On many of the nights I was a guard at his house, there was
a succession of male students coming and going from his room.
If Robert removes me from the Fellowship because I have distributed
this letter, I want you to know that I will still consider myself a member,
and will support the school in any way I can. This [is] our school-
-we have built it and paid for it. As a group, we have accumulated so
much being; some people have been working on themselves for twenty
years or more. To walk away from the school after learning about
Robert’s actions is to say that the school is his, and that we are
powerless. But this is not true. We just need to trust ourselves and
have the courage to come together and say no to actions that harm us.
We not only have the right to do this, we also have the
responsibility to bring the facts about Robert’s activities into the
open, where they can be fairly considered by all of his students.

Since this experience with Robert, I have been given several books by
other people who have had similar experiences with him, and who were
trying to understand the reasons for it. With this letter, I am
enclosing chapters from two books that speak directly to our
situation in the Fellowship. [Chapters not included here.]

Please feel free to share my letter and these chapters with other
students. I would be interested in receiving a note or letter from
you as to your thoughts and suggestions about what I’ve written here.
Perhaps a plan of action will evolve through our efforts together. I
sincerely hope this letter will encourage others to speak openly
about Robert, the school, and their experiences. If the school is
healthy, it should stand up under any honest inquiry.
In friendship,
RL
October 1994

* * *

Date: Sat, 15 Nov 1997 17:44:13
From: richard b
Subject: Greetings!!
Greetings All!!

Was pointed towards this list via Stella after reading the 10/12/97
S.F. Chronicle article and making a contact with her. I’ve been
sitting back for a few days, going though most of the posts, trying
to get a feel for what’s going on here. Quite a lively list!! I
quickly had to set up it’s own folder just to keep my inbox down to a
comprehensible size! Despite the commotion going down with the ‘hot
topic o’ the day’, I pick up an overall feeling of general cyber-
commeraderie and kindness—things most woefully lacking from many,
if not most, electronic gatherings of people I run across on daNet.

I’m getting a hoot out of seeing names and reading posts from people–
of which some have very clear faces–others are a little foggy–but
most I have no clue as to who they be!! Old dusty memories and a big
mixed bag of feelings have gotten rattled around inside here.
Amazing!! Really!!

Anyhoo, my FOF story, in a microscopic nutshell, be as follows:

1) Joined in Portland 4/74…

2) Moved to the Bay Area in 1976—To the Kensington House—does
anyone remember that nutty place??– where I shared a little bedroom
with four other men–sleeping on the floor–I think 17-18 people
lived in this house at a time!! I worked as a grunt for
Anthony ‘Somebody’s’ ‘Fourth Way Lawn and Garden Service’. I remember
customers would ask me what the other three ways of gardening
were!!!. I can’t remember exactly how I responded but can imagine
what a fairly new “good” student back then might say. Had to
be ‘intentionally insincere’ with those life people ya know. What I
wouldn’t give to roll that old film a little more clearly today!!
haha

3) Late ’76 ’til sometime in ’78 was sent out to Cincinnati where,
after meetings, we’d go to discos instead of coffee shops. Lotsa of
sex and partying coupled (pun most intended) with lotsa crazy stupid
guilt. Meanwhile, while I’m trying to reconcile my raging hormonal
youthful lust for life with FOF ideas and ‘suggestions’ re: sex and
relationships, the person that I had transferred my deepest trust on
to is raping young men back in Calif.. Huh?????!!!!

4) Moved back to Renaissance in ’78–or was it called Renaissance
yet??– worked at the lodge as ‘assistant maitre’d’ for a little
while. More memories bubbling up to the surface—-I remember the FOF
had bought out a Selix store’s surplus of used tuxedoes–which seems
like it was the general working uniform of the day back then–and all
these men crowded into the ‘barn’ getting fitted into these penguin
suits (I remember fighting with Bruce L over a pair of pants. We
were the same pip-squeak size and there was little for us to choose
from) which we had to buy for the amazingly low, low price of
{{{{$44.00}}} which was not so amazingly low- as I remember- I think
I was getting around $75./month on salary!!! Eventually ended up
working in the vineyard driving tractors. One day, while I playing
tractor jockey and mowing terraces, the mower hit a rock and started
a fire that burned down more than 10 acres!! Now there’s a gem I
haven’t thought about in a decade or so! Interesting process, typing
out this stuff.

5) Some time in ’79 , as I was courting Helen D. (who, BTW, is
alive & well; remarried and living in Sonoma Co.) Robert asked me to
move into the Blake cottage. Well, this was like hitting the big time
for me.

I felt as though I must be doing something right to be singled out
for this honor. Little did I know. I was absolutely and completely
clueless. I remember a day or so before I moved in Don B. said to
me “living in the Blake cottage is very different than what you might
think”—And I just let that one sail way over my head. Little did I
realize–Don Knew!! Anyway, two days after I moved in RB made his
move on me. **Recalling this particular episode in my life has the
flavor of a weird distorted acid-trip**

I remember that even when he told me to take off all my clothes no
alarm-bells went off. But when he touched me– every thing went off
like a nuclear explosion. Every alarm, every siren, every cautionary
sentinel of my being was set off shrieking and screaming. “Warning,
Will Robinson. Danger! Danger!!” I remember–now for the first time
since then—that I felt like I was going to pass out. Like I was
getting swallowed up by something way too monstrously big for me to
handle. All the trust and love that I had transferred onto this guy–
the person that was–to me, at the time—my ultimate caretaker, the
caretaker of my very soul—was blown completely and utterly away in
the fraction of the few moments it took me to comprehend what was
coming down.

Incredibly, somehow, I was able to say to him that I did not feel
comfortable with what he was doing. And just as incredibly, he did
not push the issue with me. He did not use his “C-influence wishes
this” bullshit line on me—but let me go back to my room to be alone
with my horror.

Two days later he called me into his room saying–and I will never
forget exactly what and how he said this–“Goodness, I think it would
be a good idea if you moved out of the Blake cottage”.

I had no great compulsion to argue the request—I ran!!!! The entire
length of my residency there = 5 days.

I remember a few days after I moved out a couple of high
profile ‘good’ squeaky clean students said things to me inferring
that I did not have the *Being* it takes to be around the Teacher on
such an intimate basis, as though it was some character flaw of mine
that got me thrown out!! In some ways they were very correct. I kept
my mouth shut. And if I continue to hold onto any regrets, its that I
didn’t say anything about my experience until several years later.

6) Come 1980 Helen and I married and I continued to work in the
vineyard but my whole inner landscape was changing rapidly. No big
surprize there,duh!

The outward form of the School began to have less and less meaning
for me and I began to seek out and really cherish other students who–
for lack of a better desciption–were out on the fringes of
acceptable FOF high society and tinged with not a small degree of
cynicalness. It was great!

I remember frequent bouts of heavy drinking get-togethers with other
vineyard ‘badboys’ where we’d sit around swearing and just generally
dissing the stinkiness of the hypocrisy so adhered to in the FOF
culture. “Fuck this” and “Fuck that” “What a big asshole so&so is”
and on and on…. Its exactly what I needed at the time and I’m
literally LOL as this stuff comes up on my screen.

I think, now, that this was the embryonic beginning of my recovery
and eventual healing!!! But, before any real tangible healing was to
occur, there were still some chasms in my being that I had to plummet.

I mentioned “heavy drinking” a few lines above. Well, for me it got
heavier and heavier. All the accumulated pain and loneliness of my
entire life seemed much nearer the surface after my ‘RB experience’
and I did not have the resources to handle them in awareness.
Instead, I drank.

I pretty much drank like a fish right up until 1987 when the drinking
began to cease to work as an effective buffer against my pain and I
began to have this vague unsettling inkling that if I truly wanted to
reconnect with Life I had to start living it from the inside out
instead of taking it from the outside in. It was not a sudden
revelation or abrupt giving up of anything but much more a process of
which I still feel very much in the middle of today——And it is
all right!!!

7) Seems like I skipped a few years there maybe. Oh well.

Meanwhile, back at the ranch, 😉 I continued to work in the vineyard
and invisibly come apart at my soul-seams. Its interesting sometimes
to play with what kept me from up and bolting from the FOF in 1980.
Different factors I think.

1: It was it was my life!! I had real friends!! I was married for
cyin’ out loud!!

2: I still clung to the line, in one form or another, that RB once
gave to another student (who did bolt soon after hearing it) ” It
would be better one were not born than leave the School” Scary
stuff!!!—but for different reasons today.

In 1984,when Sammy Saunder’s Revelations reached the general FOF
public, I began to prepare for my final departure.

I took some general science courses at Yuba College and then early
in ’85 moved back to the Bay Area and got a degree in Nursing finally
severing from the FOF sometime early in ’86.

8) I’m really getting tired of typing! Suffice it to say that the
last 11 years of my life—post-FOF—have been uneventfully very
eventful. The process we’re all on does not cease. No matter how much
I wish it would. No matter how much I whine & bitch about it———
it goes on.

So, sometimes I find I can take a breath in and out and
say “Perfectimoso!!!!!!!!!”

Thanks All for letting me catharse. I feel sooooooooooo
much better!!!! 😉 …

Wishing All Well————————-R

Oh yeah—a quote I wanted to throw in from Ram Dass that says a lot
to me re: RB …

When asked what he thought about Hitler, he replied using the concept
of Duality. And, in part, said….

“In the world of Two we try to stop Hitler. In the world of One we
realize we are Hitler.” seeya———–r

‘All that is necessary for the triumph of evil is that good men do nothing.’
spuriously attributed to Edmund Burke

91. Fee fi fo fum - September 30, 2012

86 David – What was the “infamous St Petersburg meeting”?

83, 84, 86, 90 Just the Facts Ma’am – Thanks for posting these. I remember Anthony-the-gardener. Didn’t they say that his 24/7 maitre d’ “octave” blew out his “accumulators”? By the way, I think he’s still in the FF.

92. I in the sky - September 30, 2012

Shard_of_Oblivion – 89

“With this justification in your “anti conscience” psychological armory can’t you see – there is no limit to what becomes acceptable?

Here are the words that caused me that dread:”

Quoting Iits: “But I explained to you my feelings about Thomas’ circumstances. If, as I contend, his experiences were part of his fate then no one could have intervened to the point of altering what happened, because those experiences were expressly written for him. I believe everything that comes to a person has a reason and purpose.”

Actually there are very definite limits as to what is acceptable. Conscience dictates those limits.

Regarding my above quote; what you are doing is “shooting the messenger.” You find the lack of intervention dreadful and seem to blame me for fate’s ways.

If you take the concept of fate on its own terms you will understand that if something is fated there can be no intervention; never mind whether it does a person good or ill in our eyes. If there can be an intervention then the event in question was not fated to happen but it’s the intervention that was fated.

The concept of fate may be what irks you more than my comments regarding T E.

93. Adab - September 30, 2012

91 FFFF

The St.Petersburg meeting was the one where RB got questioned very directly about his private life. He didn’t like it. It was a turning point after which the informal aspect of meetings was simply ‘switched off’…. But it sounds like David knows more about it than me, so I too will wait for his fuller explanation.

Nice to see IITS still desperately trying to press everyone’s buttons! I think his/her time has passed though.

As for the use of Fate to excuse inaction:

<>

If you can’t find any reason within yourself to become a ‘good neighbour’, whatever work you’re doing has fallen among thorns. Hopefully, for you it is only a phase that will pass.

94. Adab - September 30, 2012

91 FFFF

The St.Petersburg meeting was the one where RB got questioned very directly about his private life. He didn’t like it. It was a turning point after which the informal aspect of meetings was simply ‘switched off’…. But it sounds like David knows more about it than me, so I too will wait for his fuller explanation.

Nice to see IITS still desperately trying to press everyone’s buttons! I think his/her time has passed though.

As for the use of Fate to excuse inaction:

“Behold, a certain lawyer stood up and tested him, saying, “Teacher, what shall I do to inherit eternal life?”

He said to him, “What is written in the law? How do you read it?”

He answered, “You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart, with all your soul, with all your strength, and with all your mind [Deuteronomy 6:5]; and your neighbour as yourself [Leviticus 19:18].”

He said to him, “You have answered correctly. Do this, and you will live.”

But he, desiring to justify himself, asked Jesus, “Who is my neighbour?”

Jesus answered, “A certain man was going down from Jerusalem to Jericho, and he fell among robbers, who both stripped him and beat him, and departed, leaving him half dead. By chance a certain priest was going down that way. When he saw him, he passed by on the other side. In the same way a Levite also, when he came to the place, and saw him, passed by on the other side. But a certain Samaritan, as he traveled, came where he was. When he saw him, he was moved with compassion, came to him, and bound up his wounds, pouring on oil and wine. He set him on his own animal, and brought him to an inn, and took care of him. On the next day, when he departed, he took out two denarii, and gave them to the host, and said to him, ‘Take care of him. Whatever you spend beyond that, I will repay you when I return.’ Now which of these three do you think seemed to be a neighbour to him who fell among the robbers?”

He said, “He who showed mercy on him.”

Then Jesus said to him, “Go and do likewise.”

If you can’t find any reason within yourself to become a ‘good neighbour’, whatever work you’re doing has fallen among thorns. Hopefully, for you it is only a phase that will pass.

95. Ill Never Tell - September 30, 2012

Hey Skynet,

Time to shut down!

You meet your fate
on the path you take
that avoids your destiny.

‘No fate but what we make.’
Sarah Connor

Terminator 2: Judgment Day (1991)
[first lines]
Sarah Connor: [narrating] 3 billion human lives ended on August 29th, 1997. The survivors of the nuclear fire called the war Judgment Day. They lived only to face a new nightmare: the war against the machines. The computer which controlled the machines, Skynet, sent two Terminators back through time. Their mission: to destroy the leader of the human resistance, John Connor, my son. The first Terminator was programmed to strike at me in the year 1984, before John was born. It failed. The second was set to strike at John himself when he was still a child. As before, the resistance was able to send a lone warrior, a protector for John. It was just a question of which one of them would reach him first.
Terminator: No Fate But What We Make 2:51:

96. Ill Never Tell - September 30, 2012

No fate but what we make.
Terminator 2: Judgement Day –
Nightmare of the Future 2:41:

97. Ill Never Tell - September 30, 2012

No Fate But What We Make –
The Terminator 2:19:

‘The future has not been written. There is no fate but what we make for ourselves. I wish I could believe that. My name is John Connor, they tried to murder me before I was born, when I was 13 they tried again. Machines from the future. Terminators. All my life my mother told me the storm was coming, Judgment Day, the beginning of the war between man and machines.’

98. nigel - September 30, 2012

From “Chess – The Musical” by Rice/Andersson/Ulvaeus

[MOLOKOV]
The man is utterly mad — you’re playing a lunatic —

[THE RUSSIAN]
That’s the problem. He’s a brilliant lunatic and you can’t tell
which way
he’ll jump — like his game he’s impossible to analyse — you
can’t dissect
him, predict him — which of course means he’s not a lunatic at
all.

[MOLOKOV]
What we’ve just seen’s a pathetic display
From a man who’s beginning to crack
He’s afraid
He knows he isn’t the player he was
And he won’t get it back

[THE RUSSIAN]
Nonsense!
Why do my seconds
Always want to believe
Third-rate propaganda —

[MOLOKOV]
My friend, please relax
We’re all on your side
You know how you need us —

[THE RUSSIAN]
I don’t need my army of so-called ‘advisors’
And helpers to tell me
The man who’s revitalised chess single-handed
Is more or less out of his brain
When it’s very clear
He’s sane

[MOLOKOV]
Listen, we don’t underestimate anyone
We won’t get caught in that trap
After all, winning or losing reflects on us all —

[THE RUSSIAN]
Oh don’t give me that crap!
I win — no one else does
And I take the rap if I lose

[MOLOKOV]
It’s not quite that simple
The whole world’s tuned in
We’re all on display
We’re not merely sportsmen —

[THE RUSSIAN]
Oh please don’t start spouting that old party line
Yes I know it’s your job but
Just get out and get me a chess-playing second
In thirty-six hours we begin
That is if you want to win!

Who needs a dream?
Who needs ambition?
Who’d be the fool
In my position?
Once I had dreams
Now they’re obsessions
Hopes became needs
Lovers possessions

Then they move in
Oh so discreetly
Slowly at first
Smiling too sweetly
I opened doors
They walked right through them
Called me their friend
I hardly knew them

Now I’m where I want to be and who I want to be and doing what I
always said I would and yet I feel I haven’t won at all
Running for my life and never looking back in case there’s
someone
right behind to shoot me down and say he always knew I’d fall.

When the crazy wheel slows down
Where will I be? Back where I started.

Don’t get me wrong
I’m not complaining
Times have been good
Fast, entertaining
But what’s the point
If I’m concealing
Not only love
All other feeling.

Now I’m where I want to be and who I want to be and doing what I
always said I would and yet I feel I haven’t won at all
Running for my life and never looking back in case there’s
someone right behind to shoot me down and say he always knew I’d fall

When the crazy wheel slows down
Where will I be? Back where I started.

99. Ames Gilbert - September 30, 2012

I in the Sky (#129-57 or thereabouts),
there are lots of things that cry out to be added to my list of why the Fellowship of Friends is merely using the Fourth Way as bait ( #129-79, above), but a few in particular demand inclusion ‘right now’:
• There is no mention in the Fourth Way that women cannot awaken in this lifetime, as Burton claims.
• There is no mention of prophecy, and there is no place for numerology, superstition and non-falsifiable claims (all totally the opposite to true verification), which Burton utterly depends on to keep followers entranced.
• There is no place in the Fourth Way for using fear or infatuation as tools for control of followers by a teacher; instead, these are Burton’s main levers.
• In the real Fourth Way, in complete contrast to Burton’s organization, all questions are legitimate, and all avenues of inquiry into one’s true nature are encouraged, with the ultimate goal of individuation and graduation.

Diehard follower: “But Robert is conscious (I know, because he told me so, and look at all these palm trees and camels), he can make the necessary interpretations, corrections and improvements to update the System for these end times!”

100. WhaleRider - September 30, 2012

Shard_of_Oblivion:
Thanks for the clip from Apocalypse Now.

I went on to watch the creepy dialogue between Capt. Willard and Col. Kurtz.

The metaphoric parallels with the Fellowship cult and its leader are indeed chilling, once one gets past the graphic imagery of the film.

I, too, can empathize with Capt. Willard, having gone on my own inward journey up river, holding up the flickering lantern of my self-awareness, with a mission to unseat from my psyche an insane, psychopathic authority figure with a heart of darkness, whose methods have become…”unsound”.

Here’s a partial breakdown of the film’s entrancing “sequence”…

As Willard’s PT boat nears Kurtz’s camp, the perimeter of native canoes maneuver around it, closing in behind it as Willard’s vessel is encompassed by Kurtz’s ethereal world of no return.

Wiillard and his crew are immediately induced into a state of wide-eyed awe and wonder as their boat motors past all the silent followers and sacrificial corpses dangling from trees left as examples to both frighten enemies and to remind Kurtz’s followers of the fate of dissenters. The fear of apocalyptic death is palpable in the air.

Burton accomplishes this same effect, only with gardens and objects of art…and his predictions. But the corpses of his ex-followers are still there, dangling in the background as in the stories posted above.

Kurtz’s entranced followers silently watch, unsmiling and emotionless…everyone in an intense state of focused presence, their guns pointed at Willard.

The overly talkative and twitchy American Journalist’s word salad of philosophical drivel indicates he too has been driven insane by Kurtz’s spell.

He snaps Willard’s picture as they walk past more bodies and severed heads, but the lens cap is still on his camera. The Journalist claims he will be killed if he “photographs” Kurtz. It is apparent he has been rendered impotent in order to survive this long…

The Journalist then rationalizes to Willard that although Kurtz is a brilliant man, a poet-leader, sometimes Kurtz “goes a little too far”, much in the way I in the sky describes Burton’s behind the scenes activities.

After a time, the bloodied and weakened Willard is finally brought at gunpoint to Kurtz and made to “kneel” before him.

In Burton’s cult, the key for “being held at gunpoint” is the threat of ex-communication or being “released” from the cult if followers don’t conform to burton’s authority.

Kurtz starts out the first personal encounter with Willard using a simple method to deepen Willard’s trance, asking Willard to recount his past, a ploy to cause Willard to spontaneously regress into childhood memories.

Once Willard’s trance is deepened a bit, Kurtz puts a spin on Willard’s memories, providing him with a glimpse of heaven on earth with the image of a gardenia plantation along the stinky Ohio River, starkly contrasting the slice of hell stinking of death that Kurtz has created in which they were both immersed in the present.

As Kurtz continues to speak in hushed and gentle tones, he washes his hands and then his head, symbolically attempting to absolve his hands and mind of guilt.

He asks Willard not to judge him for his actions, but to strive to understand his “pure” motives.

I felt a chill when Kurtz told Willard that Willard was neither an assassin nor a soldier, but an “errand boy”, causing Willard to further regress and thus setting the stage for Willard to accept Kurtz as an authoritative, father-type image.

Then Kurtz tests Willard’s mental and moral integrity; he asks if Willard thinks he is insane and his methods are “unsound”.

Willard responds….”I see no methods, Sir”…just as there is no “love” in the method of the “sequence”, only submission to authority, in order to “serve” a heart of darkness…with presence.

It takes bravery and a strong sense of self and purpose for Willard to confront Kurtz’s delusions, resisting the trance inducing charms and warped philosophy of the psychopathic Kurtz.

In the final scenes as Kurtz is about to be “sacrificed” by Willard, Kurtz is recounting how bomber pilots are not allowed to write “fuck” on their planes because their squadron commanders considered the word obscene…despite the moral obscenity of bombing civilians…part of the cognitive dissonance that undoubtedly drove Kurtz over the edge.

With Kurtz’s last dying breath he instills the horrible truth to Willard, who cups his ears with his hands to shield himself, that given the right circumstances, Willard has become a murderer like him in the act of murdering Kurtz…without due process of law, trial nor jury.

Although a young woman in the final scenes kneels to Willard after he kills Kurtz, seemingly to pass the mantle of power to Willard, he does not assume leadership of Kurtz’s insane cult but returns to the land of sanity with a deeper sense of self-knowledge.

Apocalypse Now graphically illustrates why one must sacrifice the cult induced, so-called, “conscious steward” within, despite its lofty claims and intentions…given enough authority and power it eventually becomes corrupted by our shadow side, just as burton’s has.

101. Ames Gilbert - September 30, 2012

From the introduction to Leon Festinger’s book, “When Prophecy Fails”, mentioned above, written in 1956:

A man with a conviction is a hard man to change. Tell him you disagree and he turns away. Show him facts or figures and he questions your sources. Appeal to logic and he fails to see your point. We have all experienced the futility of trying to change a strong conviction, especially if the convinced person has some investment in his belief. We are familiar with the variety of ingenious defenses with which people protect their convictions, managing to keep them unscathed through the most devastating attacks.
But man’s resourcefulness goes beyond simply protecting a belief. Suppose an individual believes something with his whole heart; suppose further that he has a commitment to this belief, that he has taken irrevocable actions because of it; finally, suppose that he is presented with evidence, unequivocal and undeniable evidence, that his belief is wrong: what will happen? The individual will frequently emerge, not only unshaken, but even more convinced of the truth of his beliefs than ever before. Indeed, he may even show a new fervor about convincing and converting other people to his view.
How and why does such a response to contradictory evidence come about? This is the question on which this book focuses. We hope that, by the end of the volume, we will have provided an adequate answer to the question, an answer documented by data.

Let us begin by stating the conditions under which we would expect to observe increased fervor following the disconfirmation of a belief. There are five such conditions.

1. A belief must be held with deep conviction and it must have some relevance to action, that is, to what the believer does or how he behaves.

2. The person holding the belief must have committed himself to it; that is, for the sake of his belief, he must have taken some important action that is difficult to undo. In general, the more important such actions are, and the more difficult they are to undo, the greater is the individual’s commitment to the belief.

3. The belief must be sufficiently specific and sufficiently concerned with the real world so that events may unequivocally refute the belief.

4. Such undeniable disconfirmatory evidence must occur and must be recognized by the individual holding the belief.

The first two of these conditions specify the circumstances that will make the belief resistant to change. The third and fourth conditions together, on the other hand, point to factors that would exert powerful pressure on a believer to discard his
belief. It is, of course, possible that an individual, even though deeply convinced of a belief, may discard it in the face of unequivocal disconfirmation. We must, therefore, state a fifth condition specifying the circumstances under which the belief will be discarded and those under which it will be maintained with new fervor.

5. The individual believer must have social support. It is unlikely that one isolated believer could withstand the kind of disconfirming evidence we have specified. If, however, the believer is a member of a group of convinced persons who can support one another, we would expect the belief to be maintained and the believers to attempt to proselyte or to persuade nonmembers that the belief is correct.

102. ton2u - September 30, 2012

From 92
“If you take the concept of fate on its own terms you will understand that if something is fated there can be no intervention…”

very true, indeed “there can be no intervention” for those who have replaced their own freewill with fatalism. implanting, instilling, and fostering a deeply held belief in fatalism is another tool burtonism uses to control sheeple. burtonites are required to abdicate their own wlll to the supposed authority and will of their “teacher.” it’s sad really, all that human potential wasted on supporting the excesses of burton’s satyriasis. but some folks never grow up, they imagine it’s safer to be told what to do by a parental figure, they don’t take full responsibility for living their lives and so remain in a childish dream.

103. Shard_of_Oblivion - September 30, 2012

100 Whalerider keys Apocalypse Now with oracular precision

Let’s enjoy that scene

“They told me that you had gone totally insane and er that your methods were unsound”

104. Shard_of_Oblivion - September 30, 2012

In 1989 I left the fellowship. That year I took two separate trips on LSD whilst still a student. The first a tiny dose, loosened my fixed ideas, I picked an Ouspenksky book, and read the biog on the back page, and I realised he was just like me, ie mortal and with an incomplete picture of the Universe.

Emboldened by this promising experience I then took a large dose on a day I had elaborately arranged I would be alone in the house (students lived as lodgers). I had borrowed a Procul Harem tape from the local library, and the song “Shine on Brightly” just expressed perfectly my position, and confirmed that I was leaving the school for certain.

My Prussian-blue electric clock’s
Alarm bell rings, it will not stop
And I can see no end in sight
And search in vain by candlelight
For some long road that goes nowhere
For some signpost that is not there
And even my befuddled brain
Is shining brightly, quite insane

The chandelier is in full swing
As gifts for me the three kings bring
Of myrrh and frankincense, I’m told
And fat old Buddhas carved in gold
And though it seems they smile with glee
I know in truth they envy me
And watch as my befuddled brain
Shines on brightly quite insane

Above all else, confusion reigns
And though I ask, no one explains
My eunuch friend has been and gone
He said that I must soldier on
And though the ferris wheel spins ’round
My tongue it seems has run the ground
And croaks as my befuddled brain
Shines on brightly, quite insane

Shine on, hah, shine on, hah, shine on….

105. brucelevy - September 30, 2012

Wouldn’t play so here’s another link

106. Ames Gilbert - September 30, 2012

With reference to the ‘laws to live by’ made clear by Jesus in Adab’s post above (#129-94 or thereabouts),
it could not be clearer the difference between these golden principles and those expounded by ‘the brightest light in 2,000 years’, both by example and as understood by his disciples. I guess that makes Burton a true anti-Christ, doesn’t it? Take particular note of the actions of the priest and the Levite, both examples of the most rigid and orthodox religious thinking of the day. They weren’t included as examples by accident! The Samaritan, a member of a religious minority despised and reviled in the day, wasn’t accidentally chosen as an example either.

IMHO, there could not be a clearer teaching about the role of conscience than the parable of the Samaritan.
First, one has to look for conscience and separate it’s message from all the other ones that reflect local morality, the voices of parents and teachers incorporated into one’ worldview, cultural voices like patriotism and other tribal values, and so on. Then one has to act on that message. Conscience is useless without action, so while one is looking for conscience, one also has to develop the will to be able act when the time comes. Action makes further messages from conscience clearer, which in turn must be acted on, and so on. The priest and the Levi had the information, but not the being. I might speculate that the local morality counseled, “Mind your own business”, or they heard their dad’s warning in their minds, “Bad situation, son, the robbers might return if you stick around, get out while the going is good”, or some equivalent, I don’t know. But for sure the message is: they failed to recognize and act on their consciences.

How convenient for Burton and his followers that

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

How convenient it is for the followers that it is fated that they ‘pass by on the other side’. Saves a lot of trouble, doesn’t it? And their purported reward? Immortality.
Imagine, an eternity being the asshole you learned to be under Burton’s guidance, and that you crystallized as.

107. Adab - September 30, 2012

You could also add that the Samaritan crossed the road back into ‘Life’ to help his neighbour. He did not stay on the pretend-esoteric side of the road, mumbling the sequence to himself.

108. Shard_of_Oblivion - September 30, 2012

105 BruceLevy posts

“In Held ‘Twas In I”

!

I had absolutely no idea that track existed.

“My God it’s full of stars!”

(Did the “shine on” link not play because it was blocked in your area by the copyright holder? Maybe I can find a more open copy somewhere)

109. nigel - September 30, 2012

I feel that FATE determines that one cares MORE ABOUT ONE’S FELLOW HUMANS…..

In California, I was taken advantage of by employers and lawyers, the Fellowship of Friends and people who ‘funded’ my business (to their own financial benefit)…..

The main thing is, once one has ‘reached a certain level in one’s life’ is to not bear a grudge – the only reason for my posting here is so that others may not be taken advantage of by Burton’s cult – mestatized fingertips only give credence to what I am trying to imply…..Nigel.

110. nigel - September 30, 2012

Since the blog seems to be ‘pointing’ to the teachings of Jesus Christ, it might prove worthwhile to quote something else from the Messiah…..

“He who would be your master, must be your servant”

…..amazing that Burton has no intention of doing that – the delusional, self-aggrandizing, narcissistic, sociopathic, psychotic maniac needs to be ‘brought into rein’, before he destroys more lives…..Nigel.

111. Fee fi fo fum - September 30, 2012

93 Adab

“The St.Petersburg meeting was the one where RB got questioned very directly about his private life. He didn’t like it. It was a turning point after which the informal aspect of meetings was simply ‘switched off’…. ”

Thanks for explaining. It’s interesting that he changed the entire meeting format to avoid another possible embarrassing intrusion to his “private life.” Most people respect another person’s private life. We don’t usually ask people how much they make, what they pay in rent or mortgage, are they having sex and if so, how they’re doing it.

In RB’s case, we call his sexual activity his “private life” more as a euphemism than as a true measure of respect for what he does behind closed doors. Saying, “His private life is his own” is an avoidance mechanism in this case, because students are reluctant to discuss something so hard to reconcile. It’s amazing that he has remained unaccountable for such a long time. It’s not like his sexual prey come from random, anonymous encounters in parks and movie houses. The young men are his students, and they put their trust in him. And “to add insult to injury,” they’ve paid for the abuse by paying teaching payments to remain in the FF. It’s a set-up for massive psychological conflict.

For those male students (e.g., some of the Eastern European men) who supposedly knew they were being pimped and groomed for this, and who anticipated receiving the goodies and perks, it’s not about abused trust. It sounded more like “I scratch your back, you scratch mine.”

112. sallymcnally - September 30, 2012

forgiveness allows the journey to continue, otherwise one remains stuck in ones own stuckness, which is thick with dense goo.

113. Adab - September 30, 2012

FFFF

Another interesting fallacy is the standard defence that “the teacher’s private life is none of our concern”. Quite obviously, Burton made his private life our concern as members [either current or former] when he began using his position as teacher to further his private aims [more sex].

He really can’t complain if people prick up their ears and take an interest, when he was the first one to blur that divide.

114. brucelevy - September 30, 2012

108. Shard_of_Oblivion

Yes it’s blocked here. But isn’t my post the same as yours with a different address?

115. Shard_of_Oblivion - September 30, 2012

On chrome browser in UK #105 is the epic prog rock 10 minute thing (part one of it) track 7 of the album Shine on brightly whilst #104 is track 2 of the album shine on brightly which is the title track.

Here is a live version of shine on brightly recorded in the sixties, should play everywhere!

116. Fee fi fo fum - September 30, 2012

113 Adab

Right, he can’t have it both ways. When something is controversial, people will react. He can’t do something with a dubious ethical component and think that no one will question it.

The position that some FF apologists take that what transpired between RB and the men involved “consenting adults” is questionable. Is it informed consent when you’re told he’s a “goddess in a man’s body” and you have to go into suspended disbelief to agree to play house with him? That’s more like agreeing to something that was misrepresented to you.

Maybe the Eastern European men who were groomed and promised perks were the ones who understood better what they were consenting to. What they were used to might have prepared them with appropriate cynicism and pragmatism. They did not need suspended disbelief to see what was being offered.

Look, if you’re 21 and the man opposite you is 70, then it doesn’t matter if you’re a 21-year old man or woman. Think back to when you yourself were 21, and how you viewed “old people” your grandparents’ age. Why would you have had sex with someone that age? What did they dangle in front of you (no pun intended) to get you to act joyfully in bed with them?

117. Bares Reposting - September 30, 2012

6. Wouldnt You Like To Know:

‘Before conscience can be opened fully, we must have will, we must be able to ‘do’, to act according to the dictates of our conscience, otherwise, if conscience awoke fully in man in his present state he would be a most miserable being; he would not be able to forget, not able to adapt to things, and not able to change anything. Conscience destroys buffers, so that man finds himself defenceless against himself, and at the same time he has no will, so he cannot change, cannot do what he knows is right. So first he must develop will, otherwise he will find himself in a very unpleasant situation, beyond his control. When he acquires control, he may allow himself the luxury of conscience, but not before that.
P. D. Ouspensky
The Fourth Way’

So, you give up your will to The Teacher, a man without conscience. What does that do for your conscience and your ability, or lack thereof, to do, to act, according to conscience? It makes you ripe for capture by the cult, paralyzes you to keep you in the cult, and makes you ‘a most miserable being,’ caught in cognitive dissonance; catch-44 trap of FoF.

The good Samaritan story reminds me of another story:

This guy’s walking down the street when he falls in a hole. The walls are so steep he can’t get out. He is crying out for help when a doctor passes by and the guy shouts up, ‘Hey you. Can you help me out?’ The doctor writes a prescription, throws it down in the hole, says, ‘Make an appointment with my office,’ and moves on. The man is still down in the hole.

Then a priest comes along and the guy shouts up, ‘Father, I’m down in this hole and can’t get out, can you help me out?’ The priest writes out a prayer, throws it down in the hole, says, ‘Say your prayers and come to Confession,’ and moves on. The man is still down in the hole.

Then a friend walks by, ‘Hey, Joe, it’s me, I’m down in this hole and can’t get out, can you help me out?’ And the friend jumps in the hole with him. Our guy in the hole says, ‘Are you stupid? Now we’re both down here stuck in this hole.’ The friend says, ‘Yeah, but I’ve been down here before and I know the way out.’

That scenario, applied to a Fellowship friend jumping in a hole to rescue someone, is highly unlikely to happen. Remember the warning from REB about helping someone who is drowning(suicidal): Do not help them they might drown you in the process of your saving them.

‘Conscience is useless without action.’
106. Ames Gilbert

118. brucelevy - October 1, 2012

115. Shard_of_Oblivion

Great one, thanks. I love them.

119. I in the sky - October 1, 2012

WhaleRider – 60:

I in the sky:

“And what is called “The Sequence” in the FoF has been a major part of the form of many ancient traditions.”

WR: “Would you care to elaborate on that statement?

The term, “ancient traditions” is a bit vague, to say the least. Ancient traditions of what?”

Om Mani Padmi Hum – The revered Six Word Mantra from the Tibetan tradition.

From Sufism – The 99 names of God (the Holy, the Mighty, the Forgiver, etc) spoken as one fingers 99 prayer beads. When the 100th bead is reached, the name “Allah” is spoken.

Fathers of the Philokalia – the Jesus Prayer “Lord Jesus Christ, Son of God, have mercy on me, the sinner’. Also called The Prayer of The Heart.

The Rosary – The Sequence of prayers is The Lord’s Prayer, the Hail Mary 10 times and Glory Be to the Father. Each Sequence is known as a Decade. Five Decades are prayed. The praying of each decade is accompanied by meditation on one of the Mysteries of the Rosary, which recall the life of Christ.

From the Sanskrit tradition another set of beads called the Mala. Mala are used for keeping count while reciting, chanting, or mentally repeating a mantra on the name or names of a deity.

In their original form these similar means were used to prolong presence. Nowadays this purpose is lost and people recite them by rote, obviously without presence.

120. WhaleRider - October 1, 2012

I in the sky:
“Nowadays this purpose is lost and people recite them by rote, obviously without presence.”

That’s not so obvious to me. What makes you so sure? It’s not like the Fellowship has the patent on presence. Have you personally interviewed a nun lately?

Thanks for your response.

121. nigel - October 1, 2012

119. I in the Sky

…..and the mantra by Burton…..

Ooh, aah
Ooh, aah
Come in my mouth dear
Come in my mouth
That’s sooooo goooood!

122. nigel - October 1, 2012

Please allow me to ‘toot my own trumpet’ inasmuch as one having mastered presence (not only at the computer screen – as of right now) but as a visual artist, giving his skills to others…..

“Eternal Vigilance – the Way of the Warrior”

Celtic Tradition 1. Chieftain…..2. Bard…..3. Smith
(Google these terms…..Nigel)

“Nigel is a fully-trained craftsman in metalwork and qualified as an adult-education teacher 9 years ago. His ability to transfer his skills to his students, while allowing them to become designers in their own right, has brought about a thriving little group of people for whom crafting in precious metals is not necessarily their only profession, but meets the needs of their being able to immerse themselves in an art-form that is both emotionally and financially profitable.

Someone said once that craft brings us back to our primal roots and satisfies the needs of our innermost self. Within the craft of precious metal work it is possible to experience the fabricating of either simple or complex forms from sheet and wire (also possible are pieces originally formed in wax, then cast in the metal) and ‘follow the thrill’ of employing many techniques in the process.”

123. Adab - October 1, 2012

“In their original form these similar means were used to prolong presence. Nowadays this purpose is lost and people recite them by rote, obviously without presence.”

Once again, to use your own standard, you can’t possibly know someone’s state of mind when they recite a prayer or mantra. So there’s nothing obvious about it at all.

Every tradition has its own versions of prayer, chant or mantra. As your quote illustrates, there is nothing special about six steps. It could as easily be 5, 10, 99 or 100. Thank you for making this plain.

124. Golden Veil - October 1, 2012

119. I in the sky – October 1, 2012

Thank you for the list of ancient traditions that you believe are related to “The Sequence.”

Is the Fellowship of Friends Teacher’s insistence on Fellatio with heterosexual male students “been a major part of many ancient traditions” as well?

FYI: The below studies are sited in the Wikipedia article on Fellatio.

HPV and oral cancer link ~

In 2006, a research study at Malmö University’s Faculty of Odontology suggested that performing unprotected oral sex on a person infected with HPV might increase the risk of oral cancer.
The study found that 36 percent of the cancer patients had HPV compared to only 1 percent of the healthy control group.[33]
Another recent study suggests a correlation between oral sex and throat cancer. It is believed that this is due to the transmission of human papillomavirus (HPV). The study concludes that people who had one to five oral-sex partners in their lifetime had approximately a doubled risk of throat cancer compared with those who never engaged in this activity and those with more than five oral-sex partners had a 250 percent increased risk.[34]

125. Associated Press - October 1, 2012

119. I in the sky:
‘Nowadays this purpose is lost and people recite them by rote, obviously without presence.’

And you know this ‘without presence’ in other people exactly how?

126. Shard_of_Oblivion - October 1, 2012

119 “I in the sky” lets slip the following revealing thought

“Nowadays this purpose is lost and people recite them by rote, obviously without presence.”

This comforting nostrum of self flattery is so routine within the FoF that “I in the sky” had no idea how it would sound to non cult ears. It sums up in a throw away line all the empty hubris that pumps up members of the FoF, always reminding each other that they are the ONLY people who are able to count “with presence”. Those “life people” huh “I in the sky”, so asleep, so formatory, so mechanical.

127. Golden Veil - October 1, 2012

Maybe these monks and nuns just ARE present instead of thinking and talking about it. By the way, I have a friend that meditates 5 hours a day, something that seems very extreme to me. But, he is also markedly the biggest good Samaritan I know. Service to others in need is something that he just does. He has never heard of The Fellowship of Friends.

128. Joseph Nachumovitch - October 1, 2012

The Quakers, too, are good people who devote much of their time and energy to helping those in need.

129. David - October 1, 2012

Adab and Fee Fi
Sorry, the following is longish. Adab is correct that the way meetings were conducted were changed from this time on. Also, it caused quite a stir on the FOF Email Discussion list and I think led to it’s ultimate demise.

Here is the letter written about the St. Petersburg meeting that you mentioned. Please note it was originally posted on the fellowship discussion list. It is much longer even than this, but here are the pertinent sections.
“Dear friends, all who read this discussion list and those who have received their personal copy.
Immediately, a lot of the things about our School became clear and obvious. Some are helpful and cannot not to be easily found outside (that is, the students and their efforts) and others proved their nature today at the meeting led by Robert.
Many of Robert’s actions were earlier explained using the idea of the machine being separate from consciousness and therefore doing what it’s doing when one is simply observing it.
However, who said it? Ouspensky said that even the smallest change in one’s level of consciousness changes the machine a lot. Its functions work better, it’s usual I’s disappear and new ones appear. All the ancient teachers say that an awaken being can be recognized by his behavior. This behavior is based on complete non-attachment, desireless and absolutely equal attitude towards any object.
Today the meeting started with Robert’s words about Influence C.
Then, a question: “Robert, after watching recent videos I feel that our School direction becomes more and more religious, as you offer ideas which cannot be verified as clearly as others. So, it involves belief, which is opposite to the Fourth Way principles. For example, the idea of Influence C working directly with us. What can I do with it?”
It was asked in English and Robert made a mistake – he asked it not to be translated into Russian and then said that he didn’t like the question and wants to skip it.
We moved further and he expressed his I’s about having a little time and using our time wisely without asking “wrong” questions. After a few of his angles a new question was asked:
“Robert, you pointed out that immortal Gods are working with the School directly. Then, what is the
main reason that in these 30 years none of your students became a fully awaken?”
This time Robert lost.
His calmness completely disappeared and he repeated that the questions were wrong and not helpful. He was touched. After a few words he said that he was that one who was a fully awaken being. Then he added, that the meeting at Apollo was also somehow strange and he thoughts that it is a good idea to have a list of questions before the meeting so he could skip wrong questions.
Then we moved our usual way speaking about Plato and Influence C. There were mostly Robert’s words and one question about taking practical aims because awakening seems to be too far. Robert spoke about using the body for creating third state, developing Apollo etc. Then he said about being present to the beauty of the room and enjoying arts. Than he moved to the efforts to separate from the negative I’s and I gave an angle based on the teaching expressed: “If one is consistently trying to separate from I’s, keep the silence inside and separate from the objects which come through the senses, one can come to the realization of one’s true Self. And from here one sees that there is no “Me” and “You”, no world, but just an illusion, maya, and one is that very consciousness that perceives it”.
The angle is neutral and there is nothing to add or remove from it. It belongs not to mine, but to a higher level of being. Robert looked up, said “Yes…” and continued further: You, I, real school, angels in the room, sleeping machines and the other things that make this worldseem real and you as one of its objects.
Then, another question:
“Robert, why do you make your male students to have sex with you?”
Robert was digesting for a while, but he looked ready and gave a long thread starting with the idea of
people interested in other people’s sexual life and little by little moved to Plato, Leonardo and
Shakespeare having sex with males. Then he said about Sapho being a beautiful lesbian being. Then he said it was the most beautiful part of his life. And what can be more beautiful that being present to your lover?
Then he added that those males who were having sex him, had a sex with an angel in the human form. We are accustomed to the unconscious sex and he has conscious sex.
Few more angles, one from the jack of hearts, so everyone laughed and felt easy and then the angle that the meeting was for some reason very different and strange with too many wrong questions at it.
Than a poetic quote and the end.
It is 99.9% probable, that you will never see this meeting, even though it was recorded.
At this meeting Robert betrayed himself. All of my previous attitudes to Robert (which were sometimes not easy to create after working at the Academy and looking at him closely) are ruined.
The attitudes about the form of the School and not expecting it to be perfect either.
And after that Robert’s words that he was not sure if Gurjieff was a conscious being at all and that Ouspensky did a mistake on every page of the “Fourth Way” to escape formatory thinking and that many conscious beings were naïve saying different things because Influence C kept they away from the truth. Recently he said that he might become a man #8 depending on the hydrogen warfare.

Earlier, when he was giving his first meeting, he said: “It began in Russia, and it will end in Russia”.
When he was asked about the meaning, he replied that he didn’t know, but these words appeared in his head and he said them which gave him the creeps.
After today’s meeting it does seem to be true. I guess, it would be useful for all of us have this message printed in our Forum, but somehow this idea seems to be a very naïve one.
All these words are just I’s of this machine, but they reflect other.
With love and friendship from Saint-Petersburg”

130. nigel - October 1, 2012

PRESENCE…..

The amalgamation of Body, Soul and Universe…..

When one is conscious of experiences, one is not necessarily going cross-eyed on the pineal gland looking at a flower arrangement…..

FATE REQUIRES GETTING INTO FOCUS WITH ONESELF AND LEADS TO SERENDIPITY…..Nigel.

131. Fee fi fo fum - October 2, 2012

129 David – thank you.

It’s quite revealing to see what led to the meeting format changing, going forward. They became scripted charades. Why do people bother staying in the FF?

“Then he said it was the most beautiful part of his life. And what can be more beautiful that being present to your lover?
Then he added that those males who were having sex him, had a sex with an angel in the human form. We are accustomed to the unconscious sex and he has conscious sex.”

Of course, in the early years of the FF, RB pretended to not be having sex at all. What does that say about him? Then, it gets whispered about, and the rationales are very confusing. What he says (above) is basically the same lines that we heard many decades ago. But what I find interesting is that he says “it was the most beautiful part of his life,” but does he ask if the participants (aka his “lovers”) if sex with him is the most beautiful part of *their* lives? And do the men think of RB as their “lover”?

Probably not. It’s really “all about RB.” For women, this is nothing new. If RB were a heterosexual man and his prey were skittish, unwilling young female students, we might actually understand the dynamic better, because we’re more used to reading and hearing about it in other countries. Older men marrying unwilling young women is something that continues to happen in several countries and cultures. The girls often have no say in the matter. Those cultures are slow to change, and the perpetrators are often the parents, uncles, etc. It’s tragic.

What happens in the FF, though, is just as tragic, because it’s not even part of an existing culture. It started with one man, whose rationales are so permeated with unverifiable statements about angels and who is conscious (him) and who is not (you, of course), that it becomes a mind fuck, and you can’t trust your own common sense after awhile.

132. David - October 2, 2012

No worries FFFF.
Who knows why people stay anymore? Things seem to have degraded even further in the last 10 years.
Interestingly, the question raised above about why no one has woken up in the history of the FOF has become more pertinent since the introduction of the sequence, the supposed core teaching of esoteric knowledge for thousands of years. But such a “powerful tool” has done nothing to awaken “students”.
Instead, FOF “students” are like people who watch Fox news. They know less (in the FOF case) about spirituality than those who do/read nothing…

133. Fee fi fo fum - October 2, 2012

David,

Yes, it’s a lot of pleasant talk about “presence” and a vague hope that it will all amount to something. Your comparison to Fox news is funny. It’s like, the less they know, the louder they shout and proclaim.

Speaking of “the less they know”, #119 IITS’s comment above, “From the Sanskrit tradition another set of beads called the Mala…” Sanskrit is a language, not a tradition.

I feel like we’re reading about a Fellowship of Amateurs. Jack of all spiritual trades, master of none. There is nothing wrong with being an amateur. But why should you pay 20-30% of your income to learn a mish-mash of spiritual traditions?

134. James Mclemore - October 2, 2012

125. Associated Press – October 1, 2012
119. I in the sky:
‘Nowadays this purpose is lost and people recite them by rote, obviously without presence.’

And you know this ‘without presence’ in other people exactly how?

*****
126. Shard_of_Oblivion – October 1, 2012
119 “I in the sky” lets slip the following revealing thought

“Nowadays this purpose is lost and people recite them by rote, obviously without presence.”

This comforting nostrum of self flattery is so routine within the FoF that “I in the sky” had no idea how it would sound to non cult ears. It sums up in a throw away line all the empty hubris that pumps up members of the FoF, always reminding each other that they are the ONLY people who are able to count “with presence”. Those “life people” huh “I in the sky”, so asleep, so formatory, so mechanical.

135. I in the sky - October 2, 2012

Ames Gilbert – #75 and assorted other posts on this page:

I’m curious what percentage of your comments about the FoF do you consider to be intrinsically truthful?

For what it’s worth here are a few observations from my vantage point. The first element I encounter in your words is a pervasive bias that is quite palpable, which permeates throughout every comment you make regarding Robert Burton or the Fellowship of Friends. It’s common knowledge that biases lead to inconsistency in truth telling because the individual doing the reporting is not neutral, but has taken a definite stand either for something / someone / some group or against something / someone / some group. In other words they have a personal agenda which prevents their reporting from being even handed and slants it in favor of their stated position.

A person who has a pronounced bias cannot report without lying in some respect unless they abandon their bias. They must slant whatever is said in various ways to show their own position in a good light and their opponents position in an unfavorable light. One example of this is the single comment you have re-posted at least a dozen times regarding conscience –

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

This comment on face value most certainly promotes what you want people to think about RB or the FoF. But what are the finer points to its meaning? Was it the answer to a direct question being asked? Was there any other context that might shed light on the reason it was made? Does the context exist in written form like in a journal, or are you taking it from your memory? And obviously the date it was attributed means a lot. I’m guessing it’s upwards of 30 years old or more. If someone quoted you from 30 years ago would you be surprised if you had moved on from that particular comment? I’d like to believe I’ve moved on from any number of comments I made 30 years ago.

But in this case it’s your bias that won’t let this one comment go because as long as you can re-insert the comment into people’s minds it serves your position well, regardless of how relevant or irrelevant it is today. A biased individual’s first interest is in protecting their position and they will gladly sacrifice some aspect of the truth in the process.

The truth of the matter is that conscience develops along with consciousness. The more consciousness one develops the more conscience grows along with that.

The certainty in which you deliver your comments, down to the minutest details leads me to believe you are oblivious to the effect the bias has on your facts or understandings. You are convinced of their utmost accuracy, relevancy and timeliness because belief in them keeps the bias alive and worthwhile. And that’s how a bias works. The owner of the bias is held hostage in a state of self-delusion; if they own up to the fact of the bias they must relinquish or alter their position to some degree to become more aligned with a balanced truth. Otherwise they have to abandon truth to continue to support the bias. The issue was raised recently that someone could be biased and still be on the side of the truth, but that does not seem possible because the nature of a bias is such that the individual will always over state their position so as to not ever be aligned with truth.

Aside from a slanted truth throughout a majority of your reporting some of the bullet points in #75 are simply false:

“Instead of ‘verify, verify, verify’, there is the task of taking Burton’s pronouncements and looking around for evidence to support them.”

There has never been any task given or implied to support any of Robert’s statements. If the pronouncements were true and one was observing correctly one would find evidence to support them. If they were not true one would not find evidence to support them. Either way the process of verification remains the same. And either way no task has ever been in place. Robert is quite impervious to whether any individual supports his claims or not. He says them and he knows the option of leaving is always there for whoever does not connect with his teachings.

“Instead of the temporarily lending of one’s will to a teacher, Burton demands perpetual obedience through many lifetimes.”

What can we know for certain of other lifetimes? Obedience in this lifetime is a component of the student/teacher bond.

“Instead of freedom, there is no graduation, and no leaving the group nest or the control of Burton.”

Some of us see the school as a lifetime endeavor and there is no burden to “graduate.” Graduation comes when the work of a lifetime is complete.The school enhances one’s life so some derive a great deal of satisfaction from serving it. It’s not Robert’s school, it’s everyone’s school who values it.

“Not to mention there is not once any reference to the spirits of 44 supposedly conscious mostly dead white Western males, or anything like them, in the Fourth Way I studied.”

It stands to reason that any conscious teacher would be required to add to the system or tradition they inherited, to build on it. Gurdjieff added to what became known as the Fourth Way, and so did Ouspensky. The 44 is an aspect of the Fellowship of Friends, not necessarily to the Fourth Way system.

All the bullet points in #75 are your interpretation, along with your biases. They do not reflect my experiences of life in the Fellowship of Friends.

I am not implying that a person can’t be relatively neutral about the FoF and still not wish to be a part of it or remain a part of it. That is certainly possible and has been the case with many who left. It’s not for everyone.

136. Adab - October 2, 2012

“The truth of the matter is that conscience develops along with consciousness. The more consciousness one develops the more conscience grows along with that.”

I do not believe you have any idea what you’re talking about. In a school which constantly separates consciousness and functions, how can you know about the force that connects the two? If you do know, it will show up in your actions and your reliability as a person.

From my own experience in the Fellowship, I cannot remember anything approaching what Gurdjieff called ‘remorse of conscience’, in anyone.

[to a student] “…I see you mother here. But for her, you would never have come into the world. If you are glad to live, you must repay her. It is because of her that you have your pleasures and that you have possibilities of developing yourself… Begin then with this first aspect : Repay your Mother. Even if she is objectively bad, she is your mother. And how can you pay her? You should unify her life, not make it difficult. You have not fulfilled your obligations. If you have understood this, remorse of conscience can begin in you. Try to repair the past with your future in the present. It is a very difficult thing. But if you do not do it, you are both to blame for the past, and for not repairing it today.”

“The feeling of remorse can make reparation for all things – all the mistakes of our parents, our educators, our childhood companions. We must acquire this inner freedom. Remorse of Conscience must come to a point on one hand, where it becomes hatred of your past, of your parents, of the upbringing you had. On the other hand, as you curse your past, in the name of your future you give your word – against this curse – to help your parents as much as you can. You must reach the point where Conscience speaks mercilessly in you.”

I think most here will agree that this feeling is unknown to the FoF. I never experienced it there. It is more like ‘Forget the past, separate from your family and friends, just concentrate on your higher states and everything will be OK’. There is no urge to confront the past you grew out of, let alone repair it in the now. Has Robert Burton ever experienced or expressed remorse for any of his actions? It’s hard to say, but there is nor evidence of this principle at work in the group he built. The truth of remorse of Conscience is absent.

137. Golden Veil - October 2, 2012

RE: 135. I in the sky – October 2, 2012

sub·ter·fuge noun \ˈsəb-tər-ˌfyüj\

Definition of SUBTERFUGE

1: deception by artifice or strategem in order to conceal, escape, or evade

2: a deceptive device or stratagem

Example of SUBTERFUGE

They obtained the documents by subterfuge.

Origin of SUBTERFUGE

Late Latin subterfugium, from Latin subterfugere to escape, evade, from subter- secretly (from subter underneath; akin to Latin sub under) + fugere to flee — more at up, fugitive
First Known Use: 1573
Related to SUBTERFUGE

Synonyms: artifice, chicane, chicanery, gamesmanship, hanky-panky, jiggery-pokery, jugglery, legerdemain, skulduggery (or skullduggery), trickery, wile

Related Words: artfulness, caginess (also cageyness), craftiness, cunning, deviousness, foxiness, oiliness, shadiness, sharpness, shiftiness, shrewdness, slickness, slipperiness, slyness, sneakiness, treachery, underhandedness, wiliness; crookedness, crookery, cunning, deceit, deceitfulness, deception, deceptiveness, dishonesty, dissimulation, double-dealing, dupery, duplicity, guile, guilefulness, hypocrisy, insincerity; fakery, humbuggery, imposture, quackery; dirty pool, dirty tricks; design, plotting, scheming, secrecy, stealth

Near Antonyms: artlessness, forthrightness, guilelessness, ingenuousness, sincerity; candidness, candor, directness, openness, plainness, plainspokenness.

138. Shard_of_Oblivion - October 2, 2012

in #135 “I in the sky” spends a lot of words arguing that it is almost certain that someone who has a bias will distort the truth to strengthen their case.

All the way through I was thinking “But doesn’t “I in the sky” see she is describing herself?” But by the end I was left little option but to conclude that in fact she thinks Ames is biased and that she herself is neutral!

😉

139. Joseph Nachumovitch - October 2, 2012

Everybody is biased. How can a person not be biased?

140. Pie in the Face - October 2, 2012

A person can certainly work against bias by leaving an organization that fosters closed mindedness to the outside world, and that discourages and stifles all criticism.

141. I in the sky - October 2, 2012

120. WhaleRider:

I in the sky:
“Nowadays this purpose is lost and people recite them by rote, obviously without presence.”

“That’s not so obvious to me. What makes you so sure? It’s not like the Fellowship has the patent on presence.”

From one angle, if religious people know about it, like priests or rabbis, one would think they would make it known to their congregations.

But I agree, no one has the patent on presence. Part of my magnetic center was formed by watching people in church “praying” and having the distinct realization they were “not there” but were mouthing the words.

I’m not saying that everyone praying in a church or mosque is doing this; many are quite sincere, but sincerity and presence are different things.

But the main reason for making the comment is that I didn’t know of presence until I read about it in the Fourth Way and later met other people who were attempting to be it. No one I ever met before the FoF told me anything about being present or the need to be present and in retrospect only one or two people I met through out my life seemed to possess the energy of presence.

It’s a mystery but presence seems to be something that escapes us unless we are told of its existence and how to access the state.

David – 132:

“Interestingly, the question raised above about why no one has woken up in the history of the FOF has become more pertinent since the introduction of the sequence, the supposed core teaching of esoteric knowledge for thousands of years. But such a “powerful tool” has done nothing to awaken “students”.”

If a student of the FoF is fated to awaken or already has, what makes you think you or I or anyone else would know it? It would make sense that Robert would know it but not a given he would reveal it.

It’s the role of some enlightened beings to be revealed to their contemporaries but for others it’s possible they and influence C are the only ones in on it.

I wonder if Whitman’s landlady or Lincoln’s cabinet members knew they were conscious?

142. Shard_of_Oblivion - October 2, 2012

Mrs Fothergill, Whitman’s landlady says:

“O yes I remember Mr Whitman, very pleasant gentleman, always had a smile for everyone, nothing too much trouble for Mr Whitman. If he saw someone needing some help he was always there with a smile, and an encouraging word, a real gentleman he was. Wrote lovely poems too I’ve heard, though I can’t read ’em myself, he would use SUCH lovely words whenever I saw him.”

“Yes but Mrs Fothergill, was he conscious?”

“Now there you’ve got me with them long words, he made everyone feel good who met him if that’s any help”

143. 2012 - October 2, 2012

I in the sky has helped this blog immensely. Not only has the readership and participation apparently increased, but being able to see an FOF mind at work makes everything so clear. It’s so easy to see the self deception that current members immerse themselves in. For example, who has VERIFIED that whitman and Lincoln were/are “conscious”? I can’t believe the higher ups in FOF are not freaking out at how poorly this current member is representing the organization. Please keep posting IITS, you make our job that much easier. Trust me, if you go away this blog comes to a standstill.

144. Tim Campion - October 2, 2012

Daily I in the sky (aka The Fellowship of Friends),

If a student of the FoF is fated to awaken or already has, what makes you think you or I or anyone else would know it? It would make sense that Robert would know it but not a given he would reveal it.

It’s the role of some enlightened beings to be revealed to their contemporaries but for others it’s possible they and influence C are the only ones in on it.

Your words betray a fantasy life where all is possible. Good for you, I guess. (Unfortunately, your statements often undermine your very arguments.)

I can see why you enjoy coming here. In all your (40?) years in The Fellowship of Friends, you likely never experienced such a stimulating conversation with your teacher.

“Presence is always the right answer, goodness.” (End of conversation.)

And, you must admit, we’re generally a patient bunch, tolerant of your tortured logic.

However, I’d rather talk about what’s actually going on in the Fellowship these days. It seems we’re no longer receiving much news from the compound.

Do you think the Federal pot raids in Oregon House and environs will impact the Fellowship’s cash flow?

Why are agents asking pot growers if they’re connected to Robert Burton?

Has the Federal raid on Thomas Neuschatz’s home had any impact on Robert’s pharmaceutical supply?

Are other Fellowship doctors under investigation?

And why has the Department of Homeland Security taken an interest in the Robert Earl Burton blog?

So many questions, and so few answers!

145. Associated Press - October 2, 2012

119. I in the sky:
‘Nowadays this purpose is lost and people recite them by rote, obviously without presence.’

141. I in the sky:
‘If a student of the FoF is fated to awaken or already has, what makes you think you or I or anyone else would know it?’

IITS, can you possibly see that these two statements are contradictory? In the first case you would seem to know whether another person is in a state of ‘presence.’ In the second case you say it is not possible to know if another person is awakened. So, which is it?

146. James Mclemore - October 2, 2012

In post 135 “I in the sky” accuses Ames and several others of “bias”.
I do not think the blog has anything to do with “bias” on the part of the bloggers. “I in the sky” just wishes it did.
From one point of view the blog is a very simple “duck test” .

from Wikipedia –
“If it looks like a duck, swims like a duck, and quacks like a duck, then it probably is a duck.”

– The “duck test” is sometimes used to counter abstruse arguments that something is not what it appears to be. –
****
“I in the sky” is at a distinct disadvantage here in the blog. People here have been inside the Fellowship of Friends and are now outside of it, They have seen it from both sides. They have seen and heard the “duck” up close with their own eyes and ears. Different bloggers have seen and heard the “duck” in the seventies, the eighties, the nineties, after the turn of the century, and they have reported seeing the very same “duck”. “I in the sky” has spent almost her whole life only on the inside. The cognitive dissonance is now so strong that she either cannot see the “duck”, or turns her head to avoid it.
The only thought she is left with, as regards the people who post here, comes from an incredibly strange example of “magical thinking”. She is left with the thought that all of us have been somehow magically “released” by “C Influence”, and that it is we who can no longer “see”.

147. Barbara - October 2, 2012

Learned helplessness is a technical term that refers to the condition of a human or animal that has learned to behave helplessly, failing to respond even though there are opportunities for it to help itself by avoiding unpleasant circumstances or by gaining positive rewards.

Learned helplessness theory is the view that clinical depression and related mental illnesses may result from a perceived absence of control over the outcome of a situation. Organisms which have been ineffective and less sensitive in determining the consequences of their behavior are defined as having acquired learned helplessness…

http://www.fourthwaycult.net/wholeness.html

148. Ames Gilbert - October 2, 2012

I in the Sky (#129-135 or thereabouts),
you asked, “I’m curious what percentage of your comments about the FoF do you consider to be intrinsically truthful?”, and the answer is, 99.3%.
Though, you should bear in mind that 87.7% of all statistics are made up on the spot.

Putting aside for one moment that your entire post exhibits bias . . .
I have never once claimed that I had the whole truth, or that I generally lack bias. These are straw men on your part.
What I do claim is that I have seriously studied bias, both in myself and others. I have looked into how one acquires attitudes and biases and how one protects one’s worldview. I have paid particular attention to how resistant one is to change, internal and external, and have performed experiments to try to make the intellectual viewpoints gained in the study more practical and immediate for me. When I make such efforts and apply them to my experiences before, during and after the Fellowship, I feel I can truly claim I am less biased, since I have looked at all sides of the questions/issues I can find. I’m still looking, and that includes being open to any falsifiable arguments you present, so the process is hardly complete. Since most of your arguments are non-falsifiable, and I have tried to train myself to recognize such, I don’t spend much time on them, except to point out that they are such. BTW, I use the word bias in this sense:
2. a particular tendency or inclination, especially one that prevents unprejudiced consideration of a question; prejudice.
I think that any impartial observer would agree that having given Burton’s/Fellowship of Friends philosophy/directions and viewpoints a trial for sixteen years would constitute a strong base of practical knowledge and observation, and qualifies me to see one side of the argument. The process of leaving and subsequent study and experience qualifies me to see the other side of the argument.

In your reply, it seems to me that you confuse bias with neutrality. I could certainly agree that I’m not neutral. I can’t think of any reason of why I should be, nor do I consider neutrality to be a particular or universal virtue. In fact, the opposite, bringing a certain amount of passion to the debate infuses it with life and meaning.

Here’s the main question for me. Burton acts like a greedy self-serving sex-mad all-round-fucked-up control freak who harms many people. You and the average member of the Fellowship say that this is just an act, and that on some ‘higher level’ it could be intentional and actually beneficial to all concerned. In sum, it is possible that Burton is doing exactly what he is hired to do, at great expense. I and others say, what if it is not an act, what if he really is just a greedy self-serving sex-mad all-round-fucked-up control freak who harms many people? If that is true, then one would want to stop that happening, as far as is in one’s power, wouldn’t one—if one had a conscience?
So this particular argument comes down to, is there some higher and legitimate purpose (supported by invisible beings of unimaginable power), behind his acts or not? If there is, then all is well in your universe. If there is not . . .

I keep repeating the quote from Burton about conscience, because I feel it is central to the debate. The provenance of the phrase I attribute to Burton is explained in this link: http://tinyurl.com/8tktb22
The context of the phrase (that is, why did James Battaglia ask Burton about the role of conscience?) is here: http://tinyurl.com/6uhfhfa

Burton said these words in 1994, nineteen years ago. Of course, I have no idea what he thinks about the subject now, nor is it relevant to my argument. Why don’t you ask him yourself, if you dare, and report back? What matters is that Burton was a self-described (in my hearing) ‘Man Number Seven Point Three’ at the time he said it. I’m sure you will agree that it is unlikely that he has demoted himself since then? I mean, according to notes made at more recent meetings, he is actually mulling over whether he has reached the status of a ‘Man Number Eight’, thus ‘equal to Christ’. So, Burton is a person who, according to the Fourth Way and the words of your own post, must have developed consciousness and conscience equally, and to the most advanced level, and moreover, permanently. Yet, he does not have one fucking idea about conscience, its place or its importance! This is not a question of Burton moving on to new understandings over time, as you posit in your defense of him, this is an insight into his being at the time, which, by his own claim, was of the highest.
So, it matters a great deal that he dismissed conscience in such a cavalier way. It means that he is not ‘conscious’ in the way he claims, and never was. Period. Consequently, all his many other claims, on any subject, must be considered false until proven otherwise (I know that Joseph Nachumovitch ‘self-calms’ by saying lying to others does not matter, but I beg to disagree). So if Burton lied about that (remember, he was not only answering James’ question, he was also informing Peter Bishop, one of his right-hand men, a disciple and a true believer, and through him, the laity), then everything is suspect, every word, every motive, every claim is corrupted. That leaves any follower to whom this is a concern with the choice: try to sift through every utterance and example to find the things that are (accidentally) beautiful and true, a very difficult and IMO unnecessary task, or just leave the soul and money and sperm sucking situation and find one that is not contaminated. Guess which I’d recommend?

On ‘verification’. I used the word ‘task’ in the meaning of ‘job’, not as ‘an official exercise given out by Burton or a proxy’. Sorry to confuse you!
Burton himself is somewhat intellectually challenged, IMO, and most of what he says is a series of unconnected, non-falsifiable, random short thoughts. Luckily for him, Girard Haven, a person who, according to Burton, is a ‘Man Number Five’, and who self-reports himself as so, has appointed himself to supply the missing explanations and justifications for Burton’s incoherent ramblings. I quoted quite a lengthy excerpt that he wrote about verification on p. 73 of his book, “Creating a Soul” here:
http://tinyurl.com/8g484hc
Of course, this is only his own understanding, but many, many followers take his words seriously, and try to apply his advice, since he is a ‘Man Number Five’ and all, and rather more accessible and coherent than Burton to the majority of followers.

I in the Sky, please get this: I am not trying to ‘bring down the Fellowship of Friends’, though if it were to wither away, or Burton was to go to jail, I would applaud. Just like you, I am presenting my point of view. My wish is that everyone in the Fellowship and everyone who thinks of joining closely examine the issues with a fresh viewpoint. Because I know that moving to a fresh viewpoint on any subject is exceptionally hard, I spend some time passing on information I have gathered on how perhaps to do this, and on what prevents the average person from looking at things in a new way just by willing it. But it is merely a wish, not an expectation.

I am not attacking your beliefs or verifications as you see them. I shared many of them at one time, and empathize. But, through what I call Grace, I came to understand that many of my beliefs were based on false premises, and many of my verifications were magical thinking. I am grateful for the help I received in breaking through the walls of my conceptions, and want to pass that on to anyone who is interested. Admittedly, as part of the human condition, I found that beyond these walls were other walls, and hence I’m open to the possibility that there may be no end to them on this level. But that is no reason not to study them as I come across them, if I recognize them, and share any insights.

149. brucelevy - October 2, 2012

143. 2012

In my opinion most of use are failing to see asshole in the sky’s primary weakness…that being that she’s in love with her own mind and own words. It’s pretty clear to me who she may be looking back at all the excruciatingly long and vain “angles” we had to sit through while watching the uncomfortable self-preening that went with them. Do I remember correctly that there was a time and a task where that person was asked not to give angles at meetings for a period. I vaguely seem to remember that. It’s simply like pointless and shameless public masturbation. Along with extreme vanity goes the incapacity to see one’s self, even when the pathology is so blatant. She really loves herself.

150. I in the sky - October 2, 2012

Shard_of_Oblivion – 138:

“In #135 “I in the sky” spends a lot of words arguing that it is almost certain that someone who has a bias will distort the truth to strengthen their case. All the way through I was thinking “But doesn’t “I in the sky” see she is describing herself?” But by the end I was left little option but to conclude that in fact she thinks Ames is biased and that she herself is neutral!”

However you missed the point. When hearing an inconvenient truth people often do as you did and turn it around and say – “This really applies to you.” If I am guilty of this tendency it still does not exonerate Ames, or anyone to whom it does apply.

As Joseph pointed out, we’re all biased in a sense. A bias in its pure form is nothing more than an attraction towards something or someone or a repulsion away from someone or something. Some like rainy days while some like sunny days. Some like the mountains more while others like the sea more. The kind of bias I’m talking about is a biased attitude which is connected to a belief system. And to defend that belief system we will sacrifice truth because the truth contradicts the bias; proves the bias faulty.

Ames and others here in order to support their claims regarding the FoF will slant any fact or half-fact and distort it to an extreme if it shows the FoF or RB in a bad light. If I am distorting the facts to a like degree in the other direction then I am deluding myself the same as they are. That however does not change what I pointed out about them. If someone is not even aware of this tendency the chances are they are not doing anything to control or temper it.

If their aim is to be connected to the truth they will have to temper their words, be more moderate, not wantonly distort the facts. If their aim is to show the FoF in as bad a light as possible they need not change anything. They just can’t expect the truth to be on their side.

With the FoF it only works as a school if one is able to work from a level where higher truths are more apparent. If that’s not the case then it’s vulnerable to be called a cult.

151. Josiane - October 2, 2012

In the Sky, from Tim Campion 144

“If a student of the FoF is fated to awaken or already has, what makes you think you or I or anyone else would know it?”

And what makes you think you can know there are no awakened beings “out there in life”? I may have encountered some candidates.

152. Nevasayneva - October 3, 2012

# 150 I in the sky

” A bias in its pure form is nothing more than an attraction towards something or someone or a repulsion away from someone or something.”

No, most people would not think of bias in those terms. Lets agree on a definition of what a bias is. Making up definitions on the spot makes for a good paragraph but does not really lead to good communication. From Wikipedia:

“Bias is an inclination to present or hold a partial perspective at the expense of (possibly equally valid) alternatives. Anything biased generally is one-sided, and therefore lacks a neutral point of view. Bias can come in many forms and is often considered to be synonymous with prejudice or bigotry.”

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Bias

Bias has been hugely studied:
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_cognitive_biases

153. Shard_of_Oblivion - October 3, 2012

in #150 “I in the sky” indicates I’ve missed the point by asserting that she didn’t seem to acknowledge that she is also biased, in her long post encouraging us to remember that Ames is biased and therefore his testimony is not to be trusted.

But indeed in #150 we reach some common ground at the moment when she approves the observation by Joseph Nachomovich in #139 where he suggests with some truth “Everybody is biased. How can a person not be biased?”

So we are agreed that we are all biased. I’m biased, “I in the sky” is biased, Ames is biased, we are all biased. And seems we all are aware that we are biased. So thank goodness we are all agreed! phew!

Where you fall down “I in the sky” is that you believe there are people in touch with “objective knowledge” the product of what Ouspensky quaintly names “higher mind”. You see that is simply wrong, and once you buy into it as you appear to have done, you will be unable to see the truth of the matter – which is this. None of us can be sure about anything we think we know, we just make our best guess given our life experiences and hope for the best. It is simply infantile to believe someone “higher” than us has all the answers. Comforting nonsense (some of the truest words Ouspensky ever spoke in my opinion)

154. Fee fi fo fum - October 3, 2012

151 Josiane

The reasoning is, we wouldn’t know, because we’ve been told that we’re not “conscious.” But don’t take it personally. No one else apparently is “conscious.” And if someone *were* “conscious” (or enlightened or in a more awakened state or a genuinely compassionate being), only Robert is supposed to recognize that, since he says he’s “conscious.”

This is just a small example of how the FF doctrine keeps its members in a state of constant self-doubt, and exhorts them to believe in whatever Robert wants you to believe. We were told to *verify*, but in fact, we were expected to *believe.* Leaving the FF and ridding ourselves from the strong grip that it had on our minds is an enormously liberating step.

We’re now outside of the FF, and able to appraise and critique it with fresh eyes. And at the same time, we’ve gone out into the world and explored other paths and people (teachers, if you’d like to use that term).

For all of I in the sky’s ballyhooing about the FF now embracing “ancient traditions,” it would be impossible for FF students to really and truly experience the vestiges of those traditions, firsthand. FF students are not allowed to study directly and personally with any other teacher. Thus, the FF’s attempts at incorporating “ancient traditions” is primarily through reading available books, surfing the internet and looking at cultural and archeological sites and artifacts around the world. (And by the way, that has already been done before, with true scholarship and erudition.)

As James McLemore said in #146:

” I in the sky’ is at a distinct disadvantage here in the blog. People here have been inside the Fellowship of Friends and are now outside of it, They have seen it from both sides. They have seen and heard the “duck” up close with their own eyes and ears. Different bloggers have seen and heard the “duck” in the seventies, the eighties, the nineties, after the turn of the century, and they have reported seeing the very same “duck”. “I in the sky” has spent almost her whole life only on the inside. The cognitive dissonance is now so strong that she either cannot see the “duck”, or turns her head to avoid it.”

155. Agent 45 - October 3, 2012

A guy walks into a psychiatrist’s office with a duck on his head.
The Doctor asks “How can I help you?”
The duck says “How do I get this guy off my ass?”

156. David - October 3, 2012

IIts 141 You speak of individuals (whether or not they were conscious is beside the point). You say you are in a conscious school, one that purports to be the beginning of a new civilization after surviving the destruction of the world. The people you refer to were not. You guys need all the help you can get. If anyone in the FOF has “woken up”, they would be hard at work. There is no point for them to be kept “in reserve”. Remember, “By their fruit you shall know them”. Where is the fruit of the FOF or its members?
Robert has given up naming people as Men No. 5 because as I said before, all the previous ones he named have failed to become anything. Just like the prophecies have failed.
An important question you need to ask yourself is, since the Fall and Armageddon have failed to appear, what is the Aim of your School now? If you are not sure, call Robert and ask. If it has no Aim, it is no school.

157. Pie in the Face - October 3, 2012

Unfortunately, “the school” does have “an aim.” Many aims in fact.

The biggest aim is to discourage its followers from paying attention to the insanity of its leader.

158. I in the sky - October 3, 2012

AP – 145

“IITS, can you possibly see that these two statements are contradictory? In the first case you would seem to know whether another person is in a state of ‘presence.’ In the second case you say it is not possible to know if another person is awakened. So, which is it?”

My comments were more directed at David who assumes no one in the FoF has awakened.

Josiane – 151:

“And what makes you think you can know there are no awakened beings “out there in life”? I may have encountered some candidates.”

I don’t recall saying that. If you read the post you will see my point was that in general people don’t even know about presence, much less be practicing it. But there are exceptions to every rule.

159. fofblogmoderator - October 3, 2012

#152 is new

160. WhaleRider - October 3, 2012

Again, I in the sky, you really need to think out of your box more.

Prior to joining the cult, I was introduced to the idea of chanting with presence though empathizing a different word in each repetition of the following chant, OM Mani Padme Hum, followed by Om MANI, Padme Hum, then Om Mani PADME, Hum, and finally Om Mani, Padme, HUM. I agree, this chant was not ever meant to be chanted mindlessly.

After I left the cult, I went to university. In the particular subject I majored, I as surprised that there were indeed many instances in which not only the idea of being present was discussed, we were given exercises in order to practice it.

One such exercise was a called a “trust walk”. We were pared off, and each pair of students was given length of fabric. One student was blindfolded while the other guided them around campus to “encounter” various sensations in a more intense way…textures, temperatures, sounds, smells, etc. Then we switched roles.

A few months ago, I had the luxury of doing online traffic school. In a section on safe highway driving, there was a discussion of how to avoid “highway hypnosis”….the technique was to not let the eyes fixate on one spot ahead, but to keep the eyes moving every two seconds, darting from one spot to another.

Yesterday, I was traveling by crowded train to the airport. I was observing how people spontaneously go in and out of trance, as I usually do.

I watched as a person’s eyes became fixed as they were paying attention to inner mind activity. Others were reading books or paying attention to their smartphones…sending emails, texting or playing computer games…while some were looking out the windows at the scenery.

I noticed how another person’s lips were moving as they were seemingly rehearsing or recounting a conversation with someone in the past or in the future.

It all seemed pretty normal to me.

Then I had the following realization, if a person spends all their time attempting to be in the “present”, then wouldn’t that cut them off from input from their creative subconscious?

Wouldn’t that inhibit them from processing and gaining insight from the past or getting new ideas about how to deal with something in the future?

If am dealing with an ongoing or complex problem, I might go over and over the problem in my mind, examining the problem from every angle in a three dimensional way…which sometimes gives me better perspective or allows me to empathic with another person’s point of view…or if I cannot find an immediate solution I put the problem aside and focus on something else…and then voila!, my creative subconscious mind hands me a creative solution that I hadn’t expected.

This seems to me as a display of mental virtuosity…the ability to allow all parts of me to cooperate in a balanced way in order to better manage the complexity of life.

I happen to believe that the trance state is the healing state.

Isn’t that the purpose of meditation? Sure, one can learn to be present to one’s breath by counting from one to ten on each breath, noticing how the mind wanders and returns…wanders and returns…but you know what? It always comes back.

No matter how far off my mind may wander, it always comes back.

So what’s the big deal about the present? Do I want to be obsessively counting each breath every waking moment of my day or chanting the rosary over and over? No thanks. Even if I did it with all the presence I could muster, that would not make me a better person.

Paying attention to my inner spirit world (including my dreams) is equally important to me as taking care of business in the outer material world, if not more so.

I am at home with myself and I enjoy living my life, taking it as it comes, despite the hardships.

I am not lost in my head, and I don’t assume anyone else is either just because they may look that way for a few moments as I observe them from the outside.

Who am I to allow my ego function to judge others for how they manage and process their moods, feelings, and thoughts?

My point is this: attempting to multi-task “observing” my inner spirit world and at the same time “observing” the outer material world means I don’t do either very well.

Not only is multi-tasking the present and my ego cumbersome, I lose is the ability to empathize with others.

You may believe the part of you that “observes” is your “higher self” and not your ego, but there is another term for it, it’s called the “super ego”. It is still ego, though, and that is the part that judges you (and others) for not measuring up.

I’d wager that a person multi-tasking in the present, especially if they exhibit masochistic tendencies, would probably pay more attention to what is going on outside them than inside them…causing them to be more easily lead by the nose.

This is why your cult and your cult leader’s methods have become unsound.

AND, when dealing with socipathic/psychopathic personalities, you damn well better be biased…or you will get fucked over, time and time, again until you get biased.

161. Shard_of_Oblivion - October 3, 2012

#160 Whalerider questions the value of being present ALL the time.

I so agree with Whalerider on this. The FoF fetishizes the present. It has the virtue for them of simplicity, whatever the problem or question the answer is always “be present”, a concept that can be grasped by the kind of second rate mind possessed by Burton.

The present is OK in moderation, but far more fun in my opinion is identification (losing myself in one of the wonders of my life – music, sex, drugs, whatever) and imagination (zoning out for a while following my unfettered inclinations wherever they may lead). I pity those who end up feeling guilty whenever they find themselves in either of those blessed states, and always with feeling that they are somehow failing to “be present” often enough, deeply enough, long enough.

What a nightmare existence!

162. ton2u - October 3, 2012

shard:

“All the way through I was thinking “But doesn’t “I in the sky” see she is describing herself?” But by the end I was left little option but to conclude that in fact she thinks Ames is biased and that she herself is neutral!”

ya this fof shill is completely unaware of her own projections…. i think this condition is ‘part and parcel’ of the fof brainwash. in fact the worship of ‘blow-job bob’ burton relies and depends upon a type of projection which elevates this miscreant to a place of power and dominion over the fof sheep who do the projecting.

but it’s even worse than it seems… it’s not that this shill thinks she herself is “neutral, no, she imagines herself functioning on a higher level than anyone who would call the fof a cult… in her mind anyone calling her little playpen a ‘cult’ is simply not “evolved” enough to see the “higher truths” which she and her cohorts are in touch with… she says:

“With the FoF it only works as a school if one is able to work from a level where higher truths are more apparent. If that’s not the case then it’s vulnerable to be called a cult.”

it would be laughable were it not so tragic.

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

“That is what is involved in living with a projection and in withdrawing a projection. Being tormented by something that is really ours, but is horrible to look at. Bending over to embrace its broken face. Finally taking one’s life in one’s arms. Which brings us back to the story told by Jung with which we started. “In the olden days there were men who saw the face of God. Why don’t they any more?” “Because nowadays no one can stoop low enough.”

” All of life is a projection. The key to much of the hatred, prejudice, violence and abuse that goes on in this world lies in the phenomenon of projection – casting our own unconscious contents into the world around us. Likewise, the key to much of the potential, promise, creativity, and courage that is left unrealized in life may result from the same dynamic – it is projected upon others and never lived out. As strange and as paradoxical at it may sound, I think there is a correlation between ‘seeing the face of God’ and taking our lives into our own hands, including our projections. To do so offers both personal and collective rewards. And it will be easier to take our lives into our own hands if we are willing to bend, to stoop low enough.”

http://www.jungiananalyticpraxis.com/projection_lecture.htm

163. WhaleRider - October 3, 2012

I don’t believe when one is daydreaming, for instance, one is not present. One is just not as present to the material world. One is mostly present to one’s own spirit world.

The survival instinct is always functioning in the present however, even when we are asleep in bed or at the wheel, thank goodness.

Some of the most amazing scientific breakthroughs have occurred while “daydreaming” as Archimedes famously did in 250 B.C.E, discovering specific gravity while taking a bath.

From a psychological view, it is irrational and immature, IMHO, think that another person’s soul or self is “vacant” when they are daydreaming or somehow not aware or in touch with themselves when “lost in thought” or “in imagination”.

To believe that is true, there may be a primal unconscious fear driving that delusion, buried in our subconscious, and stemming from the infant mirroring stage of our early child development when we noticed our mothers doing so and thus not paying full attention to us during feeding, for example.

That is not to say that the personality style of some people may include a rich and sometimes intrusive fantasy world, which would be an imbalance of daydreaming, compromising social functioning or self care.
~.~..~.~..
As I was listening to NPR today while writing this there was a piece on about the presidential debate and the technique of “pivoting”, which when done smoothly, studies reveal the listener forgets the question. “It’s a piece of sincerely sounding evasion” that “happens about 70% of the time.”

Usually it’s employed with the difficult questions that the candidates don’t want to answer. They artfully switch the topic to a rehearsed talking point.

I will say that sometimes when hearing persuasive speakers with an agenda, you do have to be present enough to listen to what is not being said more that what is being said…with the third ear.

164. nigel - October 3, 2012

160. Whale Rider

“I am at home with myself and I enjoy living my life, taking it as it comes, despite the hardships.

I am not lost in my head, and I don’t assume anyone else is either just because they may look that way for a few moments as I observe them from the outside.

Who am I to allow my ego function to judge others for how they manage and process their moods, feelings, and thoughts? ”

Good God!!!!! If only more people thought like you!!!!!…..Nigel.

165. Ames Gilbert - October 3, 2012

David (#129-156 or thereabouts),
the Aim of the ‘school’ is that all followers enter and support Burton’s fantasy.

Dipping into P.D. Ouspensky’s writings for random tidbits to use as bait for prospective members and material for collective imagination to bind together those who joined, Burton found the principle of an ‘aim for the school’. He quickly invented one suitable for the times, when it seemed more possible that there might be a nuclear war. Hence his prophecy of Armageddon in 2006 and the task of forming a nucleus for a new civilization. Perhaps also inspired by the book, “A Canticle for Liebowitz”.

Anyway, it played well to many, including me, and was and is a central theme in the fantasy, more so as it inculcated the feeling of specialness so essential for the narcissistic dance, reflected back and forth between Burton and the sheep. There have been a few cracks in the fantasy, particularly when the prophecies did not pan out, but it is basically self-repairing, thanks to the efforts of the followers to maintain their world view at all costs.

So, to this day, the same basic aim, to support Burton’s fantasy.
Even the ostensible aim stays the same, just projected further and further into the future. No actual preparations (apart from buying lots of palm trees and a few camels and such) for the end of the world needed, just a vague idea that lots of presence and sending monthly checks to Burton will attract the help of the angels. Those spirits are the ones who will do the actual work of destroying civilization and saving the followers, in return for a lifetime of supporting Burton’s lifestyle.

166. James Mclemore - October 3, 2012

WhaleRider said
“I don’t believe when one is daydreaming, for instance, one is not present.”

While I don’t think this blog is the correct venue for an open discussion about this subject, I definitely agree. Our whole life is experienced in that “present”. We cannot, in fact, get out of IT even if our mind wanted to or ‘imagines’ it does. The idea that there is ‘someone who goes’ into imagination and thus out of the “present” is a misleading use of a metaphor at best. There is no entity that goes in and out of imagination, although it can certainly appear to be so. It now looks to me to be the other way around. The make-believe entity is “imagined”. The thought “I was in imagination” is just a story about that make-believe entity. It is the mind narrating and talking to itself and imagining that it went somewhere and came back.
And as Shard of Oblivion says,….. “and always with feeling that they are somehow failing to “be present” often enough, deeply enough, long enough.
What a nightmare existence!”

p.s. “I in the sky’s” probable take on this is in order to dismiss it, might be…..”it is just the second state that they are speaking about”.
She could not be more wrong. She is stuck in thinking of “consciousness” as a ‘thing’.

167. Wondering Who’s Watching - October 3, 2012

Yes, alas, we all have some amount of bias. I propose that the extent of a person’s bias is proportional to the degree they are identified with their imaginary picture of themselves.

For now we see through a glass, darkly; but then face to face: now I know in part; but then shall I know even as also I am known.
1 Corinthians 13:12 (KJV)
Corinthians 13

O, what a gift for God to gi’e us
To see ourselves as others see us!
Robert Burns (Paraphrased)

168. Nevasayneva - October 3, 2012

Of the many types of bias described on Wikipedia that affect how we see things, I like this one. Not that its a problem for anyone around here or anything….:-)

Naïve realism (psychology)
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Na%C3%AFve_realism_(psychology)

Naive realism is the theoretical basis for several social cognitive biases proposed by Lee Ross and Andrew Ward.[1] It has also been studied by Emily Pronin, Thomas Gilovich and Dale Griffin.

The three “tenets” of naive realism are:

1.That I see entities and events as they are in objective reality, and that my social attitudes, beliefs, preferences, priorities, and the like follow from a relatively dispassionate, unbiased and essentially ‘unmediated’ apprehension of the information or evidence at hand.
2.That other rational social perceivers generally will share my reactions, behaviour and opinions—provided they have had access to the same information that gave rise to my views, and provided that they too have processed that information in a reasonably thoughtful, and open-minded fashion.
3.That the failure of a given individual or group to share my views arises from one of three possible sources:
1.The individual or group in question may have been exposed to a different sample of information than I was (in which case, provided that the other party is reasonable and open-minded, the sharing or pooling of information should lead us to reach an agreement);
2.The individual or group in question may be lazy, irrational, or otherwise unable or unwilling to proceed in a normative fashion from objective evidence to reasonable conclusions; or
3.The individual or group in question may be biased (either in interpreting the evidence or in proceeding from evidence to conclusions) by ideology, self-interest, or some other distorting personal influence.[2]
Biases including the following have been argued to be caused at least partially by naive realism:

false consensus effect
bias blind spot
curse of knowledge
hindsight bias
biased assimilation
hostile media effect
attitude polarization
reactive devaluation
fundamental attribution error
empathy gaps
some forms of confirmation bias

169. Adab - October 4, 2012

166 James.

Non-dual teachings seem to have helped a lot of people escape from the FoF – including the ones in California who helped kick off the blog back in 2006 by going to Adyashanti’s meetings. They are a powerful cleansing agent.

Could you offer a little more about how they manifest in your everyday experience? It might help show IITS what a ‘real rolex’ may look like – insofar as there are rolexes!

170. nigel - October 4, 2012

…..anyone know to whom this may refer?????…..Nigel.

“The Pride Parade” by Don McLean…..

“It started out quite simply, as complex things can do;
A set of sad transparencies till no one could see through,
But least of all the one inside, behind the iron glass;
A prisoner of all your dreams that never come to pass.

Alone you stand, corrupted by the vision that you sought,
And blinded by your hunger, all your appetites are bought,
But in spite of what becomes of you, your image will remain;
A reminder of your constant loss, a symbol of your gain.

And your friends are together,
Where the people are all gathered,
All along the road you traveled all your days.

And soon, you have succumbed to what the others all believe,
And though the lie affects them still it’s you that they deceive,
And all at once you’re lost within the emptiness of you,
And there’s no one left who’s near enough to tell you what to do.

You’re left with nothing but your self-potential in the dark,
Like tinder resting on a rock, protected from the spark,
But your fire just consumes you, you alone can feel the pain,
And you stand in all your glory and you know you can’t complain.

But your friends are together,
Where the people are all gathered,
All along the road you traveled all your days.

But you are surely just as evil as the worst my tongue can tell,
For you’ll never face my heaven and I’ll not endure your hell.
You have lost the chance to mingle by your constant, quiet lies;
Deceptions hidden with your lips, but spoken with your eyes.

For I know you for what you are, not for that’s really all you are.
And your talents of a minor order seem to stretch too far.
And we both know that this masquerade can’t carry on too long.
You’re deep inside the Pride Parade, but where do you belong?

And your friends are together,
Where the people are all gathered,
All along the road you traveled all your days.”

171. James Mclemore - October 4, 2012

169. Adab

I had, what you might call, “second thoughts” before posting, and then had several more after I went back and re-read it. I realized that I started out by saying this is the wrong venue for a discussion, and then was presumptuous enough to go right ahead and start one anyway. I think it came from the post of WhalerRider from which I quoted one line which I thought pointed toward something large. And then the end of Shard’s post was especially powerful to me as I remembered how much the FoF 4th Way seems to punish and discipline at almost every turn. I guess I wanted to try and blow a hole in an idea, that in my opinion causes a part of the psychological suffering, that “nightmare existence”, which I perceived that Shard was talking about, and which I have experienced myself.

But I don’t have anything to offer to “I in the sky” or anybody else. Nothing for sale, no real Rolex unless it would be to take another and much closer look at the age-old “Who Am I” question, not philosophically but just a simple looking with no preconceived notions of what we will find, such as “we are asleep”. Probably not much different than what WhaleRider was doing in the train station, or Shard of Oblivion as he watched his mind “losing myself in one of the wonders of my life”. I feel like I am just at the bare beginning of an investigation.
But you are certainly correct in that what I posted did come partly from Advaita and what it seems to point to.

The reason for the advice (that I should have taken myself), that this is not good venue for discussing these ideas, is because it invites 50 different ways to “think” about “presence” and “consciousness” – from Buddhism to Jungian, to scientific materialism, to lots of other psychological approaches, to Advaita, to Sufi, to Christian, to other 4th Way interpretations etc, etc, “I in the sky” would love to see such a discussion take place.
I simply saw a place where my post might fit after Shard’s and WhaleRiders’s posts. I think it is can be useful to point out the distortions and mistakes of the 4th way that we were presented by the FoF, and you yourself have done an excellent job at that. However that is only a part of the blog’s warning about the FoF. There are things going on in the Fellowship of Friends that are lot worse than the preoccupation with some crappy ideas.

172. David - October 4, 2012

158 Iits said;
‘AP – 145

“IITS, can you possibly see that these two statements are contradictory? In the first case you would seem to know whether another person is in a state of ‘presence.’ In the second case you say it is not possible to know if another person is awakened. So, which is it?”
My comments were more directed at David who assumes no one in the FoF has awakened.’
Regardless of whom your comments were directed to, the point AP was trying to make remains valid.
While it doesn’t surprise me that you have said nothing about the Jar your soul is supposedly going to spend time in after you die, it does surprise me that you have nothing to say about Aim. That is one of those “Higher Truths”.
Pie and Ames have mentioned what the obvious Aims are to an observer not engaged in magical thinking. Surely you could enlighten prospective purveyors of Burtons Schachermasher workshop booth how things are inside the bubble?
I should also say that providing Burton a life of luxury and overindulgent sexual gratification is not an Aim for a conscious school. What do you think?

173. Golden Veil - October 4, 2012

142. Shard_of_Oblivion – October 2, 2012

“Mrs Fothergill, Whitman’s landlady says:

“O yes I remember Mr Whitman, very pleasant gentleman, always had a smile for everyone, nothing too much trouble for Mr Whitman. If he saw someone needing some help he was always there with a smile, and an encouraging word, a real gentleman he was. Wrote lovely poems too I’ve heard, though I can’t read ‘em myself, he would use SUCH lovely words whenever I saw him.”

“Yes but Mrs Fothergill, was he conscious?”

“Now there you’ve got me with them long words, he made everyone feel good who met him if that’s any help” ”

I love this, Shard of Oblivion !

And, I think that you’re right about this:

“The FoF fetishizes the present.”

174. I in the sky - October 5, 2012

Ames Gilbert – 148:

“I have never once claimed that I had the whole truth, or that I generally lack bias.”

The tone of your writings suggest otherwise; perhaps you are not fully aware of how sure you sound about all things FoF.

Ames: “When I make such efforts and apply them to my experiences before, during and after the Fellowship, I feel I can truly claim I am less biased, since I have looked at all sides of the questions/issues I can find.”

That may be true but what appears to have happened is that whatever biases you have removed from other areas you have placed into one area – the FoF.

Ames: “I think that any impartial observer would agree that having given Burton’s/Fellowship of Friends philosophy/directions and viewpoints a trial for sixteen years would constitute a strong base of practical knowledge and observation, and qualifies me to see one side of the argument. The process of leaving and subsequent study and experience qualifies me to see the other side of the argument.”

Sixteen years is not a trial, but more like a career. I’m not sure what the implication is, but I know what life without the FoF is from before I joined. Joining was actually a direct result of having known what life without a school consists of. Also, since schools exist in the midst of life one need not have to leave the FoF to have constant reminders of what life outside is like.

Ames: “In your reply, it seems to me that you confuse bias with neutrality. I could certainly agree that I’m not neutral. I can’t think of any reason of why I should be, nor do I consider neutrality to be a particular or universal virtue.”

Non neutrality is not the problem; the problem is that at the first opportunity people often form a prejudiced attitude because of the non-neutrality. It’s simply a logical conclusion for some people to segue into a prejudiced attitude from a preexisting non neutrality.

As an example; someone is a Christian so they are not neutral about religion, they favor Christianity. That fact alone does not make them a bigot. But if their favoritism of Christianity leads them to have a strong dislike for Muslims they have allowed a non neutral state to become a prejudiced state.

Ames: “Here’s the main question for me. Burton acts like a greedy self-serving sex-mad all-round-fucked-up control freak who harms many people. You and the average member of the Fellowship say that this is just an act, and that on some ‘higher level’ it could be intentional and actually beneficial to all concerned. In sum, it is possible that Burton is doing exactly what he is hired to do, at great expense. I and others say, what if it is not an act, what if he really is just a greedy self-serving sex-mad all-round-fucked-up control freak who harms many people? If that is true, then one would want to stop that happening, as far as is in one’s power, wouldn’t one—if one had a conscience?

We both entirely agree on something – this indeed is the “main question.”
And we cannot prove one way or another whose viewpoint (yours or mine) is true. I think where your error enters is in this central point: Ames: “If that is true, then one would want to stop that happening, as far as is in one’s power, wouldn’t one—if one had a conscience?”

Here you are assuming that there are droves of people “caught in a trap” Who deep down do not want to be in the FoF but some mysterious force or series of forces are holding them against their will. In short you are victimizing hundreds of people you do not even know and then going the extra mile of trying to “save” these nameless, numberless victims. This I know to be false.

There are no victims in the FoF. At any given time there are usually a handful of individuals who have one foot out the door and are biding their time until the other foot follows. The number usually corresponds to the number of new members arriving to take their place. Usually those people in the process of leaving are members in name only and are rarely seen or heard from. They can hardly be classified as victims. They usually find their way out one way or another, with or without the blog’s help.

Otherwise, I can say this for sure; in all my years in the FoF I have not felt it to be more harmonious as far as the people there wanting to be there. I’m around them on a daily basis, I work with them, socialize with them, go to their houses, live in their houses, take trips with them, meet them in foreign countries, listen to their stories, share in their sufferings. My understandings resonate with them and theirs resonate with me.

Perhaps the single biggest illusion former students on the blog have is the one which characterizes current students as victims, (this is most certainly the result of a biased attitude) especially those who are close to Robert. Those who have characterized themselves as victims (some posting here) have made their migration out over the years, not to mention the largest single exodus ever in 2006, 7 and 08, when what I would call the “new teachings” began in earnest.

Ames; “So this particular argument comes down to, is there some higher and legitimate purpose (supported by invisible beings of unimaginable power), behind his acts or not? If there is, then all is well in your universe. If there is not . . . ”

Exactly.

As far as your oft repeated quote regarding James B. I would only add that it is possible Robert’s wording, if reported accurately, may have been tailor made for James’ ears. I cannot say for sure but this would fit some of my experiences with him where he has offered to me what I needed to hear precisely in a way I needed to hear it. The same wording given to another may have been too harsh, or not harsh enough. I had never heard the comment before reading it here, so it is far from common knowledge or something promoted as a work angle, or work concept. I would surmise it was meant specifically for James.

Ames: “I am not attacking your beliefs or verifications as you see them. I shared many of them at one time, and empathize. But, through what I call Grace, I came to understand that many of my beliefs were based on false premises, and many of my verifications were magical thinking…”

You might want to reconsider this statement. As the one on the receiving end of you assertions it certainly seems like a personal attack. Your “proof” of my inability to access my conscience is entirely based on my support of the FoF.

You have your set of barometers which indicate without a doubt that the FoF is nothing more than a cult and RB a charlatan . One of the chief barometers is RB’s practice of engaging in sex with heterosexual male members. I have my own set of barometers which I think reveals where most who comment here are coming from, and it’s not where truth resides. There is a dis-ingenuousness behind much of the comments by former members.

While the vast majority of former students posting here will say that Robert’s sexual proclivities are the main reason for their determining he is not a real teacher, on closer examination these same folks have also stated that they do not believe in an afterlife, or deity, or that they do not believe there are real teachers, or real schools, that they do not believe that being “in imagination” or expressing “negative emotions” is harmful, or that they do not believer there is something like a “lower self” which one needs to struggle against, or they do not believe that “being present” moment by moment adds to the development of a soul, but they do believe that “presence” is always there in everyone and no special efforts are needed to engage it.

All or any of the above beliefs would eventually succeed in removing one from an organization that claims to be a school of awakening, but people insist it is Robert’s sex life that does the trick.

Another blog belief is that this miniscule organization called the Fellowship of Friends manages to attract people from over 40 countries, all who have psychopathic or sociopathic tendencies and who are drawn to the FoF like moths to a flame and who stay for an indeterminate period of time (from a few months to upwards of 30 years) but roughly 90 % eventually leave, only to miraculously see their psychopathic tendencies dissolve the moment of their disassociation with the FoF, thereby becoming fully conscionable individuals (a few of which participate here as life savers of all the phantom victims being held hostage because they refuse to stop making their teaching payments) while those who remain continue to display psychopathic behavioral patterns.

Here’s what I would say is the most unfortunate circumstance of yours and others position who post here: What I observe is that you are basing a significant amount of your well being / contentment on the negation of my stated existence / reality. Your well being, in part, is based not on any affirming principle in your own life but on a negation of the stated reality of a supporter of the FoF, whose identity you don’t even know.

And that circumstance cannot amount to anything wholesome for you as I see it. My well being does not in any way depend on what any ex member claims they experienced or didn’t experience as a member, and that doesn’t appear to be the case for you. A great deal of time and energy is spent by ex members in the sole pursuit of refuting a supporter’s description of their life in the FoF.

I started posting in July. At that time it routinely took a month or more for a page to turn; once I noted it took six weeks. Since I’ve started posting a page turns in less than a week, at least once in around 2 days. Six weeks versus 2 days? Why such a discrepancy inf activity? It’s because people come out in droves to negate what a supporter says. The blog’s passion revolves around negation, not of affirming anything of their own existence. And this is a telling sign. The appearance of an FoF supporter here is the equivalent of dumping a blood soaked hunk of raw meat in shark infested waters. A feeding frenzy of negation and refutation ensues.

175. Adab - October 5, 2012

Thanks for your reply James. I agree with you that there is no point in starting a discussion about yet another system of ideas. As I’m sure you know, the value does not reside there in any case. I suspect that IITS however, takes ex-members declining to discuss their post-FoF experiences as meaning they haven’t had any…

I went to a few meetings with a guy called Roger Linden after I left and found them very helpful. In particular I do feel it is a valuable exercise for anyone who’s left the Fellowship – or still inside it for that matter – to explore the sensation that ‘the Seeker’ is as much a fiction as anything or ‘anyone’ else who appears, asking to be called ‘I’….

Identification with the seeker’s story is one of the issues in the Fof. There are far too many people who know far too much for their own good.

And you’re right, the Fourth Way can easily subside into a pattern of punishment and correction when the balance is lost, in which case it’s just like any other religion.

Thank you.

IITS, in relation to your last para, I would have thought it’s clear that the ‘affirmation’ of the FoF has attracted this ‘denying force’ through the medium of the Blog. Both are necessary to find out the real truth behind Burton and his group. Everyone has to make up their own mind by referring to both, not just the one.

176. Shard_of_Oblivion - October 5, 2012

in #174 “I in the sky” puts forward the following:

“I know what life without the FoF is from before I joined. Joining was actually a direct result of having known what life without a school consists of. Also, since schools exist in the midst of life one need not have to leave the FoF to have constant reminders of what life outside is like.”

No there is a very big difference. Before I met the school I had not been through the experience of committing my life to the quest to actualise the teachings that I believed I had been lucky enough to have found in living form, with the miraculous benefit of a living breathing conscious being at its helm. The experience of joining the school was the most significant event in my life, and I was prepared to make whatever efforts and changes in my life that the teacher suggested.

What you have evidently not done is gone beyond that state. To emerge from out the other side of that experience is in no way equivalent to the experience of not yet having met the FoF. To overcome the layers of self deception that are involved, requires a certain kind of honesty that you may not be capable of, for that I pity you, though you yourself don’t in any way think you are pitiable.

You also seem to make the mistake of lumping together the writers on this blog as if they all held similar worldviews now, which is quite obviously not the case. If it were, the blog would be a dull place. For example, we have Nigel who still finds value in the 4th way though he is appalled by Burton’s behaviour, Joseph Nachumovich who says he values the FoF experience but has gone beyond it to higher and deeper things. We have heard non dualist views expressed, and also those who adopt a more scientific approach, but among those who take an evidence based approach there are a wide variety of views expressed.

What I do know, and this I can know by simply looking back, is that when I was in the FoF and still committed, I had a completely distorted view of what it would involve to leave, and the mind set that would result from leaving. And it seems to me to be quite likely that you are in that same position yourself at the moment.

177. Golden Veil - October 5, 2012

174. I in the sky – October 5, 2012

At first I thought, “No, I don’t think everyone in the Fellowship of Friends is a ‘victim.'” I think of the male students who are not gay that the Teacher seduces by saying that having sex with him is a method of activating Higher Centers, or that “the Gods want you to do this for me.”, etc. – as victims.

But, considering that any student that is invested in the Fellowship of Friends specifically to become “Present” as much as possible and sincerely believes that they are in a “Conscious School” and will be amongst the chosen few who will preserve the highest points of culture after an “Armageddon” of some kind in “The School,” whose purported role is an “Ark” of civilization… these students are indeed all victims. They are brainwashed members of a high control cult, that emotionally and mentally damages the vulnerable, naive, needy people who come upon it – a cult that has ruined many students financially by virtue of its exorbitant dues and fees.

Of course there are non-believers that are in the cult for many years. They know what the Teacher does and they may even pimp for him. But as stated here, some are without conscience whatsoever. They turn away from the darkness, the “negative emotions” that they must at some point become aware of – the sickness that is perpetuated around the Teacher, especially by those whose sexual favors he has temporarily bought – no one lasts for long.

Yes, it’s true that former students may not post much about their lives beyond the cult here. By reading these pages it appears that the focus of many is to shine a light – to create a light house for fence sitters, warn prospective students, and many on this forum write about personal experiences in the Fellowship of Friends as a therapy to initiate self-healing.

Leaving the cult is an emotionally complex action – like leaving a marriage or a job one bonded with and/or has had for many years. Former students find support here by writing to others that share a common experience, membership in a high control cult.

178. Shard_of_Oblivion - October 5, 2012

Goldfrapp:

Join our group and you will find
Harmony and peace of mind
Make you better
We’re here to welcome you

We’re all on a journey to
Finding the real inner you
Make you better (make you better)
(We’re here to welcome you)

Time stops still when
You’ve lost love

Happiness
How’d you get to be
Happiness
How’d you get to find
Love, real love
Love, love, love

Floating in the magic world
Donate all your money we’ll
Make it better (make it better)
(We’re here to welcome you)

We can see you troubled soul
Give us all your money we’ll
Make it better (make it better)
(We’re here to welcome you)

Time stops still when
You’ve lost love

Happiness
How’d you get to be
Happiness
How’d you get to find
Love, real love
Love, love, love

We’ll be swimming in the sea
Of wisdom and serenity
Make you better

Happiness
How’d you get to be
Happiness
How’d you get to find
Love, real love
Love, love, love

179. Agent 45 - October 5, 2012

Guess what? (Newsflash!)
“Awakening” is not a group endeavor. Never has been, never is, never will be. Good Luck.

180. Ames Gilbert - October 5, 2012

I in the Sky (#129-174 or thereabouts),
thanks for your reply. I do appreciate your time and the energy you take to defend your position, Burton, and the Fellowship of Friends.
Your posts in general and this last post in particular are perfect examples of what I try to point out to anyone who has an open mind about joining or leaving the Fellowship. You claim you are in a ‘real school’ and that Burton is a ‘real teacher’, and you provide what you consider is evidence for that. I claim you and your fellow followers are in a fantasy arranged by Burton, that your ‘school’ is a fantasy, your ‘teacher’ is a charlatan, and you are all, to one degree or another, deluding yourselves, and I provide what I consider is evidence for that. I make these claims based on my own direct experience, as you do yours. I certainly believe that you yourself are happy where you are. I’m happy to have exited what I consider to be the fantasy world of the Fellowship. Happiness all round! So, I hope that whoever comes across these pages and these arguments will consider your viewpoints and mine, and that these will be of real value in helping them decide for themselves.

Again, my sincere thanks for your efforts.

181. David - October 5, 2012

174….
Sitting here laughing in affirmation of your negation and refutation of all the negation and refutation…. Oh the frenzy!
The other 23 hours and 45min of my life seem so dull and empty compared to the moments that I can spend here basking in the reflected light of a student of the Fellowship!
You make altogether too much of trivia and trivialize that which is truly important. Good luck with that! 🙂

182. rich - October 5, 2012

My words regards this fof cult , to those who are thinking of joining ,
proceed with extreme caution .

183. Joseph Nachumovitch - October 5, 2012

For me, as an ex-member, it is a fact that the FoF is a real school and Robert is a real teacher, and I hope that I never persuade myself into thinking otherwise. Whatever Robert has done wrong does not make him someone who is not a teacher, and whatever is wrong with the Fellowship does does make it something that is not a school. Robert is the only living person who has taught me anything that is worth knowing, and he has done this through the School. As far as why people stay and why people leave is concerned, anyone who feels that they still need the School does still need it.

184. Joseph Nachumovitch - October 5, 2012

Whoops, I’ve just seen the typo!

185. WhaleRider - October 5, 2012

Joesph N.
“…whatever is wrong with the Fellowship does does make it something that is not a school.”

Despite how “conscious” you think you have become as a result of your so-called “schooling”, it appears your more powerful subconscious mind betrays you…and had to repeat itself to get your attention…as you attempt to persuade yourself to think otherwise.

Thank you for posting! Keep up the good work.

186. WhaleRider - October 5, 2012

I in the sky:
“Why such a discrepancy in activity? It’s because people come out in droves to negate what a supporter says.”

When a dangerous virus appears in the body, white blood cells come out in droves to negate its toxic effect.

What is occurring here seems pretty healthy to me.

I am quite certain that if a non-supportive ex-follower were posting to a Fellowship blog, the same process would play out in reverse.

But of course, ex-followers would not be allowed to express themselves so openly in a Fellowship forum…that’s how cults operate, in a closed system that eventually becomes polluted…which is not healthy.

It appears from Joesph’s Freudian slip above, that Fellowship supporters are quite capable of negating themselves…without our help.

187. Joseph Nachumovitch - October 5, 2012

The slip was not Freudian. I just write more spontaneously than most people here.

188. Joseph Nachumovitch - October 5, 2012

And your making the most of it shows how desperate you are.

189. ton2u - October 5, 2012

re: 174

a question for the whalerider: at what point does magical thinking become psychotic?

there’s a problem with self-perception when all the mirrors she looks into are are like those found in an amusement park fun-house… you know, the ones that distort perception. what she needs is to see statements like the following reflected back on her own situation… but of course she won’t she’ll deflect, or ignore, or distort everything reflected back to her in order to fit her confined and thought-controled perspective she writes: “whatever biases you have removed from other areas you have placed into one area – the FoF.” she is MOST certainly biased when it comes to that.

she says the following, apparently without considering how life inside the cult distorts, warps, influences and colors her perceptions of “what life outside is like” —

“Also, since schools exist in the midst of life one need not have to leave the FoF to have constant reminders of what life outside is like.”

and this:
“It’s simply a logical conclusion for some people to segue into a prejudiced attitude from a preexisting non neutrality.”

what she thinks of as “logical” is always suspect to me, but in this case she’s right… as the late, great howard zinn said: “you can’t be neutral on a moving train…” and for those of us fortunate enough to escape the cult, that train has left the station. some things DEMAND ‘non neutrality’ and a ‘prejudiced attitude’ — it’s called ‘common sense.’

“Here’s the main question for me. Burton acts like a greedy self-serving sex-mad all-round-fucked-up control freak who harms many people. You and the average member of the Fellowship say that this is just an act, and that on some ‘higher level’ it could be intentional and actually beneficial to all concerned. In sum, it is possible that Burton is doing exactly what he is hired to do, at great expense. I and others say, what if it is not an act, what if he really is just a greedy self-serving sex-mad all-round-fucked-up control freak who harms many people? If that is true, then one would want to stop that happening, as far as is in one’s power, wouldn’t one—if one had a conscience?”

the duck test: if it looks like a duck, walks like a duck, and quacks like a duck… guess what… it’s a fricken duck! the FoF sheep are brainwashed to disregard their own common sense, magical thinking replaces it and ascribes clothes to an emperor who has none.

“Otherwise, I can say this for sure; in all my years in the FoF I have not felt it to be more harmonious as far as the people there wanting to be there….”

yes, the sheep are sleeping very comfortably while burton continues to methodically do the fleecing.

“…I cannot say for sure but this would fit some of my experiences with him where he has offered to me what I needed to hear precisely in a way I needed to hear it….”

Selective hearing is a nice way of saying that someone only listens to what they want to hear, or, worse, masks everything they hear with what they expect the other person is really saying. Regardless of what the true expression of the other person is, the selective hearer only ever hears within their own frame of reference.

“…As the one on the receiving end of you assertions it certainly seems like a personal attack. Your “proof” of my inability to access my conscience is entirely based on my support of the FoF.”

support of the fof IS PROOF of: a) ignorance / ignoring of the facts and/or b) lack of conscience.

speaking of personal attack, she says:

“There is a dis-ingenuousness behind much of the comments by former members.”

i would like to know how this shill defines disingenuous ?

“While the vast majority of former students posting here will say that Robert’s sexual proclivities are the main reason for their determining he is not a real teacher, on closer examination these same folks have also stated that they do not believe in an afterlife, or deity…”

this is a false equivalence — the fact that one considers burton to be a fraud has nothing to do with their belief in an afterlife… or only insofar as the contrary is true, that is, in order to take burton as their teacher the sheep have to buy into burton’s notions of an afterlife, “the 44,” that he’s a surrogate ‘deity’ etc, etc. in short, more magical thinking replacing common sense and the hope for a grasp of reality.

“Another blog belief is that this miniscule organization called the Fellowship of Friends manages to attract people from over 40 countries, all who have psychopathic or sociopathic tendencies…”

imo, it starts with attracting those with narcissistic tendencies and we humans all have those — that’s why there’s always a pool to draw from — geography and “40 countries” has little to do with it. with narcissism it’s just a question of degree and whether or not one is able to develop beyond infantile vestiges. i would certainly agree that for those who stay and become true believers in burton and burtonism, it does require an element of sociopathic and perhaps even psychopathic behavior — if nothing else than by association.

“What I observe is that you are basing a significant amount of your well being / contentment on the negation of my stated existence / reality. Your well being, in part, is based not on any affirming principle in your own life but on a negation of the stated reality of a supporter of the FoF, whose identity you don’t even know.”

i know my well-being has nothing to do with this cult and the way it wastes human life…. i’m outside looking into the cult which i can say without a doubt does have something to do with my sense of well-being.

iinsky might call it an outlet for ‘negativity’ but i find a mild form of amusement in spending a few minutes nibbling at the dead carcass of Fof-think. i even derive a sense of pleasure in knowing that i may be helping to expose the fraudulent nature of burtonism… and… this little review of FoF-thinkhelps me recognize the error of my ways while under the spell of burtonism. iinthesky seems a willing illustration of the FoF brainwash… for all here to witness; for this i do sincerely thank you iinthesky.

yes, some things do need and even require negating… not everyone has the ‘intestinal fortitude’ to do so (the FOF sheeple for example). the ‘non expression of negative emotions’ implant is very insidious indeed, it in itself NEGATES a healthy development of the most basic of discriminating faculties. (i think we used to call it ‘negative halves of centers’ — adherence to burtonism of necessity NEGATES the proper functioning of the ‘negative halves of centers’).

‘by their words ye shall know them, by their fruit you will recognize them’ (there’s a pun). and of course ‘we’ know this shill and her cult from the inside out.

“The appearance of an FoF supporter here is the equivalent of dumping a blood soaked hunk of raw meat in shark infested waters. A feeding frenzy of negation and refutation ensues.”

what iinthesky does here has been accurately characterized as ‘bear-baiting.’ the reason she enjoys this is because she finds herself at the center of attention by so doing. the reason she craves being the center of attention is because she’s a narcissist (with evident masochistic tendencies). if not the reason for, then at least the effect of her continued support and defense of her cult is this: she’s a sociopath — at least through association. but based on what she’s written here, beginning with her first posting, i would say that she’s borderline psychotic…

190. WhaleRider - October 5, 2012

Joseph N:
“The slip was not Freudian.”

Of course not! No way! Absolutely not! How dare you say that to me! You should be ashamed of yourself! I am special. I am a spontaneous conscious being! Not like you. You are so desperate!

Sure, Joseph. Whatever.

191. Joseph Nachumovitch - October 5, 2012

Now you’re becoming hysterical.

192. rich - October 5, 2012

189 ton2u
What a wonderful piece of free writing .
Thumbs up ton2u .
I’ll check that comment again . Ace .

193. rich - October 5, 2012

Since this blog has free speech . I ‘m going to put on my Sherlock Holmes hat .
My view is that i i t sky is an alias for at least two or three people . It’s like the trojan horse
of this blog . There are distinct differences in syntaxes . One verges on the aggressive and fails
to see the duplicity of what he writes , as exposed by more than one person .
Another assumes a more passive role and she is an apologist for her leader as she explains how things
have changed over the years . A third persona under this alias is like the first only is deliberately lengthy.
They take it in turns . Their most common ploy is that of diversion .

194. Opus111 - October 5, 2012

Robert is the only living person who has taught me anything that is worth knowing…

If that is true, you do not know much. Love, Opus

PS: I would recommend that you end your daily little snippets with “Love, Joey”. It is more fellowshipian.

195. ton2u - October 5, 2012

mountain climbers beware of slippery slopes —
narcism > sociopathology > forms of psychopathology
and
magical thinking > delusional thinking > forms of psychopathology.

rich,
thanks for reading an overly long post, and thank you for your post… more later.

shard,
thank you for the “Happiness” and thanks for turning us (me) on to “the impossibly cool Juliette ” — this might be the anthem for the FOF sheeple — “i have become comfortably numb…”

196. Just the Facts Ma'am - October 6, 2012

IITS:
‘There are no victims in the FoF. At any given time there are usually a handful of individuals who have one foot out the door and are biding their time until the other foot follows. The number usually corresponds to the number of new members arriving to take their place. Usually those people in the process of leaving are members in name only and are rarely seen or heard from. They can hardly be classified as victims. They usually find their way out one way or another, with or without the blog’s help.’

That is mostly correct. There are very few or no victims in FoF because those victims of FoF have left FoF because they were victims. The number that have left are perhaps 15,000+ people. Many, if not all of them, are the FoF victim pool. I speak this as one who was victimized by Fellowship of Friends, Robert Earl Burton, Jihad Haven, P3t3r B!sh0p, L!nda Tnll!s0, As@f Br@v3rm@n, and others. FoF is an ABUSIVE CULT, plain and simple. It has the deceptive outer appearance of a kinder, gentler entity, but, is, at its heart, an institutionalized predatory physical, emotional and psychological ABU$E CULT.

IITS:
‘I work with them, socialize with them, go to their houses, live in their houses, take trips with them, meet them in foreign countries, listen to their stories, share in their sufferings. My understandings resonate with them and theirs resonate with me.’

Nothing joins people together better than sharing common suffering. That is what FoF members have in common. I hope it makes you feel good. (It joins us together here on the blog, too.) As for me, it certainly felt good, and it feels good now, when I stopped beating my head against the brick wall that was my experience of Fellowship of Friends, Robert Earl Burton, Jihad Haven, P3t3r B!sh0p, L!nda Tnll!s0, As@f Br@v3rm@n, and others – ABUSE.

Do remember, that posters here on this blog, post FoF, also have a common suffering.

IITS:
‘While the vast majority of former students posting here will say that Robert’s sexual proclivities are the main reason for their determining he is not a real teacher . . .’

Not so for me. My main reason for Robert Earl Burton not being conscious and not being ‘a real teacher’ is: Robert Earl Burton lacks conscience. I speak from years of personal experience of close personal interaction with Robert Earl Burton, as well as: Jihad Haven, P3t3r B!sh0p, L!nda Tnll!s0, As@f Br@v3rm@n, and others – who similarly, in emulation of Robert Earl Burton, lack(ed) conscience. It is readily apparent in their actions of themselves, towards me personally, and to others I have known very well for many years. FoF is a conscience-free zone, if you will. And, in that sense, it is an incubator for sociopaths.

Most of the rest of that paragraph of yours, likewise, does not apply to me. I ‘believe in an afterlife, or deity . . . believe there are real teachers, or real schools . . . believe that being “in imagination” or expressing “negative emotions” is harmful . . . believe that “being present” moment by moment adds to the development of a soul . . . Post FoF I have met many ‘real teachers’ and ‘real schools,’ and everything that happens teaches and schools me.

IITS:
‘Fellowship of Friends manages to attract people from over 40 countries, all who have psychopathic or sociopathic tendencies and who are drawn to the FoF like moths to a flame and who stay for an indeterminate period of time (from a few months to upwards of 30 years) but roughly 90 % eventually leave, only to miraculously see their psychopathic tendencies dissolve the moment of their disassociation with the FoF, thereby becoming fully conscionable individuals . . .’

Fellowship of Friends manages to attract people . . . all who have psychopathic or sociopathic tendencies and who are drawn to the FoF like moths to a flame . . . More accurate might be: FoF is an incubator for psychopaths and sociopaths. If you do not accept that schooling, you are certain to want to leave.

IITS:
‘My well being does not in any way depend on what any ex member claims they experienced or didn’t experience as a member . . .’

And that is why you have sociopathic tendencies.

For Whom The Bell Tolls

…all mankind is of one author,
and is one volume; when one man dies,
one chapter is not torn out of the book,
but translated into a better language;
and every chapter must be so translated;
God employs several translators;
some pieces are translated by age,
some by sickness,
some by war,
some by justice;
but God’s hand is in every translation,
and his hand shall bind up
all our scattered leaves
again for that library where every book
shall lie open to one another…

No man is an island, entire of itself;
every man is a piece of the continent,
a part of the main. If a clod be washed away
by the sea, Europe is the less, as well as
if a promontory were, as well as if a manor
of thy friend’s or of thine own were:
any man’s death diminishes me, because I am
involved in mankind, and therefore
never send to know for whom the bell tolls;
it tolls for thee.

Excerpted from:
Devotions upon Emergent Occasions, no. 17
(Meditation)
John Donne 1624 (published)

IITS, thanks for being part of the FoF discussion blog. The dialog is worthwhile. It would be good for FoF, and you, to take this blog, my posts, others’ posts, etc., as photographs of how others actually see FoF and you. Please remember:

“We need very strong ears to hear ourselves judged frankly, and because there are few who can endure frank criticism without being stung by it, those who venture to criticize us perform a remarkable act of friendship, for to undertake to wound or offend a man for his own good is to have a healthy love for him.”

Michel Montaigne

P. S.: BTW, I still have friends that are in FoF and we maintain regular interactive contact.

197. Just the Facts Ma'am - October 6, 2012

Sorry about a typo. L!nda Tnll!s0 should be: L!nda Tnl!$$0

198. silentpurr - October 6, 2012

Why yes, she does enjoy the finer things that life may bring….

199. WhaleRider - October 6, 2012

Ton2u:
“at what point does magical thinking become psychotic?”

Literally, IMO, when irrational, magical thinking or ideas of reference and the resultant delusions constellate an ongoing feeling of bizarreness, confusion or paranoia in the individual, then there may be a psychotic process in play, known as psychosis.

And just like someone on a bad LSD trip, they might desperately need a safe environment like a padded room full of pillows and maybe a guide or just someone to talk to or even some meds or some drumming or all of the above to help them safely pass through that process without hurting themselves or others.

Usually, IMO, we can successfully manage a few psychotic delusions in life (which share a fine line with superstitions); the feeling of bizarreness or confusion in a psychotic process is much more difficult for the individual to compensate…like if you suddenly became afraid of your own shadow and felt that it was following you and out to get you, then each day would become a bizarre intense struggle.

My ex has the delusional belief that kissing the palm of her hand and then placing her palm onto the car ceiling overhead whenever she drives her car through a yellow light will protect her. She isn’t quite debilitated by her superstitution, although she is taking one hand off the steering wheel…I found it to be just one of her psychotic charms.

I in the sky doesn’t seem in full blown psychosis to me judging from his or her writings either, just superstitious and infatuated with burton.

Although one might say the Fellowship is his or her lucky charm in a psychotic way, and they are really just defending their livelihood.

Certainly whatever came out of burton’s mouth and entered their ears at just that “right moment” wasn’t an original thought of burton’s, but canned and borrowed from somebody else, probably whom got to where they were in life without a cult.

I keep in mind, IMO, that somewhere along the line we all carry beliefs that are psychotic, known even as the mad parts of sane people…for example, like a deep seated, psychotic belief in a person which has no basis in fact, that the person is somehow flawed. If the belief goes unchallenged long enough, becoming toxic, and suddenly you find yourself hallucinating on TV that your local newscaster is personally calling you an idiot on the air, that’s psychosis.

Also if you take too much speed for long enough, going days without sleep and you start closing the blinds because you believe tall men in black coats are stalking you, that’s psychosis, too.

Of course, a person acting out a psychotic belief that all African Americans wearing hoodies are evil is a different story. That’s criminal. So is consciously defrauding people of money with a defective product.

LOL my mind too was going down the track of Howard Zinn today and how one can’t be neutral on a moving train.

You are so right. When was the Fellowship ever neutral about anything?

BTW, I in the sky, I never stated a belief that everyone in the Fellowship cult is a sociopath, just the people with their hand in the till who stay the longest.

The ones you mentioned, the others who come and go, those number of victims who roughly cancel each other out…they probably aren’t the sociopaths, IMHO. That’s why they join and then leave.

So how many sociopaths does it take to keep a psychopath in power over a total of about 1400 people?

I’d say count up the number of centre directors, homosexual octave leaders, and board members and you’d have about the right number, give or take a few.

200. I in the sky - October 6, 2012

WailRider, Oops, I meant WhaleRider:

“It appears from Joesph’s Freudian slip above, that Fellowship supporters are quite capable of negating themselves…without our help.”

Sometimes a typo is just a typo.

201. Ames Gilbert - October 6, 2012

Some may think that there is no harm done when Burton’s prophecies fail. But this is not correct. Take, for example, the “fall of California into the ocean”. In preparation for this, many sheep, following his dictums, gave up their jobs, their careers, moved, took out loans, or built houses they could not afford. And Burton had no compunction about using spiritual blackmail on some, on the lines of, “If you disobey me, you will lose the school, the angels will abandon you”. Some lost everything, at least one committed suicide.
The Fellowship of Friends organization itself arranged for all sorts of things to be delivered on credit in the expectation that the prophecy would come to pass. I myself saw a line of tractors, very expensive recreational vehicles, and such parked near the north gate. These all disappeared soon after the disaster failed to occur. I guess the typical thinking might have been something like, “If it happens, we’ll get these houses, this equipment, these loans, these goodies without having to pay for them”.

Welcome to a sample of the post Judeo-Christian morality, so often advertised by Burton.

I suppose that C-Influence was expected to do its part and materialize an oil well and refinery on the property to run the tractors and RVs?

I find it telling that when Burton is prophesying, it is all about him—the essential intermediary between the followers and the angels, who give him alone a unique view into the future. Then when the predictions predictably fail, it is still all about him—the 44 spirits have arranged all this “to humiliate him”, etc. The screwed-up lives of his followers never enter the equation, nor are there any apologies from him or them. And it doesn’t take long for his superstitions and his predilection for numerology to gain ascendency once more, and he’s back to reading T-shirts and license plates and making predictions again quite shamelessly. He is incapable of learning, is never held to account, and the sheep never question why these beings of unimaginable power can’t come up with better and more accurate means to communicate with him (or them, for that matter). But in his fantasy, he’s still the ‘brightest light in 2000 years’, and it is essential for his followers’ to agree with him to protect their self-images and their investment in the fantasy.
Could there be a better example of malignant narcissism and the necessary accompanying reflections back and forth (narcissistic supply) between Burton and his followers? Could it be clearer after forty plus years of this unrelenting, dangerous nonsense that the sole object of Burton’s affection is his reflection?

202. WhaleRider - October 6, 2012

I in the sky:
“WailRider, Oops, I meant WhaleRider…Sometimes a typo is just a typo.”

And sometimes a typo is something else…when it is intentional that is, done with a semblance of “presence” like yours…or when are you dsylexic like me. Oops!

What makes the typo Freudian is often determined by the person making the unconscious slip becoming defensive or embarassed about it.

BTW, your joke about my name here isn’t any funnier the second time, but I’m glad you still have some fledgling sense of humor…it’s more evidence you are most likely not in psychosis at the moment.

Any feelings of validation derived from making sure your car license plate or your post is a “certain number”…well that could eventually get you into trouble and lead you astray.

Let us know if you start hearing voices though, or if you see anything hovering over the dinner table that nobody else can see but you.

Thank you for posting!

203. Golden Veil - October 6, 2012

I’m struck by how ‘childish’ so much of the Fellowship of Friends ‘magical thinking’ belief systems and practices are, and especially
the many ridiculous directions given by the ‘Teacher.’

By following the inane directions of the Teacher, a Student in
the Fellowship of Friends is perpetually a ‘Child.’ Students
avoid ‘growing up’ by not taking responsibility of their own ‘Ship,’
by not letting go of ‘Father.’

One long time student wrote,

“We were looking for a father figure we could trust, projected that need onto RB and trusted him completely, like little children whose literal survival depended on being taken care of by the adult. It took us twelve years to realize that RB was not trustworthy because we did not have a model of a trustworthy father to compare him to.
The student we were with yesterday had a better relationship with
his father and he never fully trusted RB. He stayed in for five years partly because he admired and enjoyed other students.”

204. Golden Veil - October 6, 2012

205. nigel - October 6, 2012

202. Whale Rider

Because of my self-imposed ‘task’ to not write about my ‘condition’ on the blog, but needing some advice on new medication, I would be grateful if you could contact me with your email details, if you wish, on nhprice@gmail.com…..Nigel.

P.S. Obviously, if you wish to stay uncontacted by email, I will honour that wish…..n.

206. Tempus Fugit - October 6, 2012

I haven’t had much time to write recently, but I’ve tried to keep up with the many posts.

Thanks to everyone for an interesting and engaging discussion.

Today I just want to express my feeling of pity for Robert Burton, “I in the Sky,” and others trapped in this horrible, delusional cult. In my opinion those words sum up the FOF and Burton quite well – horrible and delusional.

I remember so well when I joined the FOF how exciting and full of promise the group and our future with it seemed.

Burton prophesized a great organization that would receive world acclaim and produce several “conscious beings.” The Fellowship was to become a great Ark of culture and it’s members the leaders of the New Age of mankind.

Instead, the FOF is a minor, insignificant group important only to a hard core center of “true believers” and a shifting ebb and flow of people seeking something better and then mostly leaving after not finding it.

No one else even notices and no one else cares. This sad truth is evident to any with just a little ability to step back and see it.

207. WhaleRider - October 7, 2012

I in the sky:
“…on closer examination these same folks have also stated that they do not believe in an afterlife, or deity, or that they do not believe there are real teachers, or real schools, that they do not believe that being “in imagination” or expressing “negative emotions” is harmful, or that they do not believer there is something like a “lower self” which one needs to struggle against, or they do not believe that “being present” moment by moment adds to the development of a soul, but they do believe that “presence” is always there in everyone and no special efforts are needed to engage it.

I can tell you what detracts from the soul’s development: lying, cheating, stealing, exploiting others, sexual abuse, emotional abuse, elder abuse, child neglect, suicide, alcoholism, drug addiction, workaholism, stress, estrangement, isolation, superstition, fear, sadism, masochism, immorality, obsession, greed, jealousy, domestic violence, untreated mental illness…just to name a few.

One of the bigger disconnects here is your imaginary views on what constitutes harmful negative emotions, as opposed to the harmful negative behaviors found in the cult.

Our struggle is the same.

208. Ames Gilbert - October 7, 2012

Joseph Nachumovitch (#129-183 or thereabouts),
glad you learned something worthwhile from Burton himself. Lucky you! Care to share?

Me, I wrote down everything he said to me personally, including remarks about the weather. Here are some of the most meaningful:
“You are on Christian’s (another ‘King of Spades’) ladder, but you are further along than him”
“You have beautiful hands”
“C-influence wants us to become friends” (at least fifteen times)
“It is significant that you are the only person in the school born in the Southern Hemisphere”
“You roll your eyes, I can see the whites of your eyes, you must have been raised amongst negroes”
(the last two after I told him I was born and raised in Tanzania)
“Negroes are a criminal octave”
“In the first years of the school, I did all the accounts myself, by hand”
“Those are ‘opposite I’s’ to your teacher. You are trying to defeat my will.”
“You are taking so long to complete this octave, are you trying to make a fool out of your teacher?”
“They are finishing the rooms downstairs at the Academy, dear, I would like you come and live with me when they are complete.”
“Dear, do you see an eye here, looking out at you?” (see: http://tinyurl.com/9gz52c7 for the rest of this conversation)
“Dear, we do not sit in the Egyptian chairs.”

His other words to me have less meaning . . .
. . . so I won’t share them.

And, he did give me one personal exercise: to get back to the weight I was when I was in high school, 150 lbs. My natural weight is 185 lbs, my ‘fighting weight’ is 200 lbs, so this was a considerable effort. A few months later, when I told him I had completed this task, he said nothing, just looked puzzled. I realized that he had forgotten about it, and it had meant nothing to him and nothing for me, it was just a whim he had at the time.
This was the extent of his personal instruction to me.
Of course, there were conversations about restoring antique objects, polishing silver and such, but they were concerned with practical jobs in the material world. And there were messages delivered through third parties, mostly responses to what tattle-tales had told him about me. His final message to me, delivered after he kicked me out via Peter Bishop, was, “Ames made the mistake of thinking that there is a community here at Apollo, and became identified with it”.

Joseph, I hope you got more for your money, effort and time than I did!

I’m not claiming I learned nothing during my stay in the Fellowship of Friends. The opposite, I learned a lot. I hope I would have learned a lot wherever my fate led me, it would have been beyond sad to have learned nothing in sixteen years. However, apart from the valuable material I list above, what I learned was through my own efforts and the goodwill and efforts of some others bound to me by the situation. I did learn from some of Burton’s generalized ‘exercises’, including their sometimes inappropriate application to a whole group. I also learned many things Burton would have preferred that I did not learn about, such as conscience, independent thought and the necessity for individuation. Not to mention narcissism, grandiosity*, the transmission of authority by dictators, the abdication of responsibility by followers, and structure and management of group fantasies. My point is, these were the results of my efforts, not anything to do with Burton, who actually, as it turned out, actively impeded my progress. The results of my efforts belong to me alone, and Burton has nothing to do with them. It is a notable feature of many participants in Burton’s fantasy that they have been trained to dedicate the fruits of their efforts to him. He specifically claims that the followers cannot progress without his intermediation, that he is essential to their spiritual progress. And it looks like Joseph Nachumovitch may have bought into this part of the fantasy, and so remains entangled in it.

* Example: part of Burton’s terminal grandiosity was the prediction that he have a gigantic collection of followers (‘school’); he predicted (in my hearing, in 1980) that there would be 10,000 by Armageddon, which his 44 buddies had arranged for 2006. Not to mention the oft-repeated claim to be the “brightest light in 2,000 years”, and on and on.

209. Joseph Nachumovitch - October 7, 2012

If I had not been in the School, I would now be living most of my life in the state of imagination, with wrong values, and without any real understanding of the Bible.

210. brucelevy - October 7, 2012

209. Joseph Nachumovitch

Oh Joseph, you poor fool.

211. Shard_of_Oblivion - October 8, 2012

“But there’s a side to you
That I never knew, never knew.
All the things you’d say
They were never true, never true,
And the games you play
You would always win, always win.”

212. fofblogmoderator - October 8, 2012

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