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Fellowship Of Friends/Fourth Way School/Living Presence Discussion – Page 146 March 7, 2015

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1. WhaleRider - March 7, 2015

2. Messages From Marconi - March 7, 2015

Remember the Enneagram of Personality Types? How lame was that? I heard the guy who invented it did so while on LSD. You really have to be mentally anemic to fall for that scam.

3. ton2u - March 7, 2015

i think there’s an echo in here…

pg. 145

271 messages

don’t throw baby out with the bathwater:


4. ton2u - March 7, 2015
5. WhaleRider - March 7, 2015

Anecdotes are not data.

6. ton2u - March 7, 2015
7. ton2u - March 7, 2015
8. Tempus Fugit - March 7, 2015


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


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


Fellowship Of Friends/Fourth Way School/Living Presence Discussion
Part 34 through the current page


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 Fellowship of Friends you may find your path to freedom.

9. leaf - March 7, 2015

8. Tempus Fugit
Thank you for sharing this.

One excerpt from those pages, by a thoughtful poster many years ago:

Luke Says:

January 4, 2007 at 4:22 am

I’d like to share a theme which has become prevalent in many recent conversations with members, though not always made explicit. This theme deals with one of the primary difficulties in leaving the group: the fear of isolation.

To give some background: in the fellowship, we have an ongoing exercise (or task) to cease contact with members that have left the group. The more fundamentlist members of our group have deep-seated negative beliefs about ex-members, and attendant fear and discomfort at even crossing paths with these individuals. At another end of a wide spectrum of beliefs are members that have little regard to the task,
albeit in most cases, maintaining their friendships with ex-members very privately. Members maintaining contact with ex-members are subject to warnings and are ultimately asked to leave the group if they are openly non compliant.

Regardless of a member’s position on this or other tasks, one underwrites the view, promoted by those in charge, that ex-members have lost the “most precious gift in the universe – the opportunity to awaken”. In general the outsider or non-member is devalued; in spiritual terms, he or she is considered only a possibility, whose true potential is dependent upon living in the fellowship. Fellowship rhetoric does, after all, frequently imply the group’s spiritual hegemony over all other groups in relation to the divine. The ex-member, then, is considered someone whose possibilities have ended. The ex-member is assigned the very particular status of being cursed. Again, it is important to mention that this is not representative of the deep-seated beliefs of all, but it is the view promoted by the leaders and is publicly accepted by many.

That said, many of us are at a turning point after 15, 23, or 30 years in the group. For a variety of reasons, the least of which may be the aforementioned dillema, we want to move on. Having arrived at this point, which may involve the undoing of financial or practical ties, we are left with one very large fear – that we will lose most of our friends.

Traditionally, long-time members leaving the group have moved away to some place where they could start a new life, especially if they have
hitherto lived in or close to the community. There are however, those ex-members that have remained in the area, and to a greater or lesser
extent, they exist with the stigma of being outsiders. It seems now that this is changing.

Now many members associate with the growing number of ex-members living nearby – these are after all, old friends that may have shared a good part of their lives. Beliefs are challenged by simple human facts; that members care for, and are inspired by their friends. In the recent words of one member, toward an ex-member and friend, “love and friendship are beyond all that”.

Some members have remade friendships after years of – at best – cordial hellos at the post office. Others are unable to revive lost
relationships. Emotional breakdown sometimes occurs in cases where, having seen through their divisive attitudes, members are unable to repair historic divisions within friendships, marriages or family.

Five years ago, my good friend left the group, and in his case, I have privately maintained contact. For five years I have watched him
flourish spiritually and emotionally, and this has subtly challenged my beliefs every step of the way. The belief that by following the task I protect my self and my ‘work’ from lower influences and deviations is melting down. An alternate view of the task is that of a device, that helps solidify the fellowship beliefs that are promulgated by the leaders. Moreover, the
fear that is a product of such beliefs might mitigate the unthinkable – that I may someday find it not only acceptable, but even desirable, to leave the group.

If we reach out, we find that the concepts of inside and outside are dualistic in nature, limit understanding, and in many of us, engender
fear. This serves the instinctive needs of the group while compromising the individual. To put a different spin on a oft-quoted fellowship
jingle: the King of Clubs is keeping us in the school.

For many years I privately held the view that only formatory mind was capable of alienating ex-students. While underwriting the central
beliefs of the group, I espoused a value system of my own. Now I am forced to consider a whole framework of school beliefs, which encompasses those aspects I still value, as well as those which I find reprehensible. I no longer enjoy the luxury of compartmentalizing concepts to make them fit inside my head. It is my good fortune that the remorse is not causing emotional breakdown, as I have seen in some
cases; After all, I shared a special language and mentors – to whom I would now refer as The Great Explainers – that gave me permission. We spun contradictions variously as ‘work on attitudes’ and ‘feeding the higher self, not the lower’ and when the buffer succeeded, we called it ‘separation’. Clearly the Work ideas have practical and useful applications in our group, especially when second line and first line are healthy. What cannot be ignored however, is the growing tendency to use ideas without reference to context in the present moment. Good ideas become degraded by misapplication and by self-serving use. Self-reinforcing logic becomes the only frame of reference for many members, effectively
disconnecting them from broader and deeper thought..

The so-called work in this paradigm is in many cases defined not only by superficial, but deeply psychological forms of exclusion and
exclusivity. When we realize this, we are forced to confront, and perhaps to reconcile the contradiction; well-learned dissociative behavior has become the seedbed for misconception.

One of the many outcomes of this illusory construct, which develops over many years, is the fear of isolation. The cornerstone of that
construct, to playfully misquote Gurdjieff, would read something like this: “Life is only real, then, when I am – in the fellowship – “.

If we are prepared and willing to bring more of what we can plainly see to bear on our psychology, a disquieting storm starts to gather, and what we thought was solid ground begins to fall away from under us.

In the words of Mark Twain: “It ain’t what you don’t know that gets you into trouble. It’s what you know for sure, that just ain’t so.”

10. nigel harris price - March 7, 2015

I am excited by the subject matter that bloggers have been covering recently…..

1) The continued determination of Robert Earl Burton ‘to hold intense sway’ over his pyrimidial constructed heirarchy in the Fellowship of Friends…..I believe his methods and areas of dominion may have changed so that the cult appears to always be ‘refreshing itself’ (along with fresh meat, dressed in luvverly zoots, shurts and pastel tyes…..REB will, undoubtedly, until his almost passing away, find ripe pickings there!), but in the end (forgive the pun!) it is always the facial orifice of Burton uttering forth any old BLAH, that is believed and filters down to the ‘minion base’, and everyone making sure ‘The Ark’ is set to float – God knows, only mud is left on which to sail.

2) Some of us have experienced ‘states that cannot otherwise be explained’ and I am sure REB never has – through hallucinogenic drugs, trauma or stress…..that was what we were supposed to be after, for God’s sake. Personally, it is only at times when I medically step ‘outside the norm’ – not taking my prescriptives and am involved with interesting, stimulating situations, that I have glances of symbolisms of other worlds through ‘leaps of faith’…..I do not suggest others with psychotic natures try this…..it is too disruptive for all concerned. My Reiki Master, Julie, has always stated that you should always consult your GP and Consultant on medical matters…..all the holistic therapy comes as ‘icing on the cake’ (however scintillating it be…..and there can be big ‘wows’ like being able to interpret architecture as you leave the therapy studio…..and seeing in humans either their ‘possibilities’ or whether they are dead inside.)

I would welcome thoughts from others on these two areas…..one, which keeps people ‘trapped in a cult of no possibilities’ and the ‘risk factor’ of seeing true possibilities…..Nigel.

11. robertschelly - March 7, 2015

“Drugs can open doors on one level and close them another.”

— Robert E. Burton

12. robertschelly - March 7, 2015

… ON another.”

13. shardofoblivion - March 8, 2015

#10 Nigel invites thoughts on why people stay in the cult and the risks of seeing true possibilities.
I think many people probably stay in the FoF because it has become their life, and change is always scary.
Regarding the risks of having glances of symbolisms of other worlds through ‘leaps of faith’, I think we all take the risks we have the stomach for. As I understand it a manic state bears some similarities to psychedelic drug intoxication, with the important difference that it can take months rather than hours to wear off, so the risks you take if you don’t take the prescriptions are high, higher probably than those without a mood disorder taking a strong psychedelic trip. As I get older I find less hunger to experience the riskier outlier territories of the mind, and would rather enjoy the simple things – food, walking the dog etc.

14. leaf - March 8, 2015

11. robertschelly – March 7, 2015
“Drugs can open doors on one level and close them [on] another.”

— Robert E. Burton

Burton made sense to me quite a lot—that’s one of the reasons why I stuck around, misguided though I was. At some point, I started looking at his words more closely, and in retrospect can see a lot of that Stephen Colbert “truthiness.”

“Truthiness is a quality characterizing a ‘truth’ that a person making an argument or assertion claims to know intuitively ‘from the gut’ or because it ‘feels right’ without regard to evidence, logic, intellectual examination, or facts.”

Of course, when you see that word, “facts,” it was always easy to remember the Ouspensky comment that “the facts lie,” etc., the attend that meeting at the Town Hall, ignore all of the negative ‘I’s, and feel grateful for all our good luck.

15. WhaleRider - March 8, 2015

re: visions, hallucinations, spirits, aliens and ghosts

I find it is pointless to argue with someone about whether or not what they saw or experienced in the psychic realm was “real”. And yet I don’t automatically write them off as crazy, either. I see it as a message from their inner guru.

The truth is, they believe they saw what they saw or felt what they felt, however it manifested, while asleep, awake or in a trance, whether in a dream, a vision, a drug or fear induced auditory, visual, or tactile hallucination, an alien abduction, a visit from a ghost, an out of body experience, or a psychotic episode.

(Any one of these experiences could be a game changer for a person or not, depending really on the person.)

Is it not the “fantasy forming” part of the brain in an individual, the dreaming part, that would create the psychedelic or hallucinated effect, however it was induced? I’ve certainly had non-drug induced psychedelic dreams before, even recently.

But no two people have the exact same acid trip or dream, right?

We may not all see the same exact religious vision, either, although there are apparent similarities among our extraordinary experiences from which we may learn something about ourselves and others.

Still, does it necessarily mean there is another world, a “separate reality” or another dimension existing beyond our five senses that we can visit or of which we can have glimpses by various means?

I believe yes and no. Yes, there is another unseen world, a fantasy world, an unconscious world (in which we nightly visit), but no, IMO, it may not actually exist independently beyond the physical boundaries of our minds, despite the intriguing fact that each of us may share certain “archetypical characters” who have populated our collective unconscious as a species for thousands of years.

Here’s my take on it.

Since our awareness is, for all intents and purposes, “contained” in our own hermetically sealed mind, so to speak, an amplification of the fantasy forming, dreaming part of the brain while one is conscious using entheogens or by any other means, IMO, would naturally begin to disinhibit and animate the spilt off and buried parts of a person’s greater self, the repressed parts they may not like, or of which they are afraid, including their own power, or parts they have difficulty controlling, etc., like in a dream, and the individual might begin to experience their inner world as externalized, projected as hallucinations, which a person might find captivating, entertaining…or might find very frightening and unpleasant, depending upon the circumstances, culture, and the person. This happens too when a person is subjected to long term isolation.

And yes, in some instances I believe entheogenic substances could have a therapeutic effect upon an individual, but only if the split off parts are eventually assimilated and integrated into the individual’s greater sense of self, (a self no longer split but containing both light and dark, seen and unseen)…and if the person’s ironclad ego is sufficiently “moved” by the mystical experience of union of opposites that it enables the person to have the ability to empathize with others…as in Scrooge’s fantastical overnight transformation.

That could be good for a person, especially a narcissist drug addict such as perhaps Mr Graham Hancock. In my experience, any intensely emotionalized experience can change a person, negative or positive, and no matter how it is produced, especially if the person is seeking change.

As individual vary, so do results, and I believe it would be unhealthy for an individual (and for others) as a result of their game changing experience, however it is manifested, to then commence projecting the now externalized split off nasty parts of themselves out into the world, as in going on witch hunts, dehumanizing others, and adopting the belief that evil spirits, demons, fantastical creatures, space aliens, ghosts, angels, or vampires are lurking in the night. (We have socipaths for that)…or equally unhealthy for the individual’s ego to become even more inflated having been shown the “keys to the universe” that they develop a Christ Complex and want to save the world by dosing everyone, including their poor unsuspecting cat.

IMO, as I am sure you will agree, what is most real, vital and valid is the symbolic meaning distilled from the game changing experience, not by what means or by what form it manifests, but by how the experience helps the person become the best version of themselves…which usually means not going about harming or exploiting others…or the planet! I don’t think the FOF cult is up to the task.

Just speaking for myself, ton2U, I have had many more inspirational and insightful dreams than acid trips, as I hope you have had also. IMO, dreams can be just as game changing as acid trips, if you truly believe in yourself and take yourself seriously.

I don’t think I ever mentioned my good friend from high school who got way into acid and ended up in a mental institution or another acquaintance of mine whose family owned a rock quarry and whose older brother blew himself up while supposedly on acid. There was a lot of crazy shit going down with drugs in the town where I grew up, which is why I wanted to leave and join a cult. Maybe the environment was not optimal or the dosage was off. But those sad stories somehow get sidelined in the glamorized story about LSD in the 70’s. I did my share and left, luckily without getting burned.

As it turns out I went from the frying pan right into the fire.

Speaking of visions and hallucinations…

Now when burton talked about angels hovering over the dinner table, did anyone think he actually saw angels, or did we just assume he could somehow “sense” them? Or was he pulling our leg? Did he ever feel Leonardo’s spirit tap him on the shoulder at times to keep him “awake”?

Did he ever actually hear the voices of 44 dead guys speaking to him or did he really need to draw from others to do all the thinking for him because his pinkish mind was preoccupied?

I don’t recall burton ever said that he literally heard voices, AKA auditory hallucinations, and it would be of course clever of him not to advertise too heavily if he did actually hear voices, otherwise he could find himself in trouble with some of his more educated followers, especially with all the other rhino poop that spews from his mouth.

I’ll bet he is sorely lacking in the game changing vision department these days, other than setting his sights on pants zippers.

I do remember burton speaking about his prophetic dreams, usually in apocalyptic terms, but I don’t recall if other cult followers were allowed to do the same.

And as you may have noticed he doesn’t speak in too much specific detail about his game changing “crystallization” experience, lest followers start having the same experience and claim they have evolved to his level, which he will not allow. His followers are required to depend upon him for all the answers. No drugs allowed, other than pharmaceuticals, viagra, and alcohol.

So, if a follower does take LSD or DMT or whatever, they might just open the door to their own power and close the door on him!

Given such a controlled and structured environment in the cult, it’s understandable why the newly sprung and current bored long term followers might be attracted to using entheogenic substances again (off the radar, of course) for their own independent, first hand experience of mystical union and ecstasy, since burton keeps such a tight anal grip on the spiritual portal.

But there are safer, more effective ways to expand a person’s consciousness rather than traveling to the Amazon and ingesting a substance.

Just walking the dog and enjoying the sunshine or rain is good, too!

Long story short:

“The fish trap exists because of the fish, once you catch a fish, you can forget the trap…” ~Chuang Tzu

16. nigel harris price - March 8, 2015

15 WhaleRider

I think it was Rodney Collin who said…..

“If Higher Centres/Miracles come, let them come.”

I think he was referring to the quality of the human being that is most important on which to be worked. It was “work on onself” that drew me to try to find a 4th Way School. I can see why so many “students” entered the Fellowship of Friends in the 70s and 80s and why so many (may I posit? – many who post and posted on this blog) left after negative revelations about REB – his sexual deviances, his wasting vast amounts of money on personal frippery…..

and now we see the Cosmically Bloated Figures of Asaf Braverman and Yanna Batt (sp.?), who have mastered artistic techniques and are out for financial or social gain…..

the excreta has well and truly hit the Expelair or Vent-Axia…..


17. ton2u - March 8, 2015


Thanks for another thought-filled post. IMO it’s good to explore and question notions of “reality” — although by now a cliche’, the image of an onion as a representation seems to fit…. there are layers to it and it’s not necessarily a question of “a separate” reality, thinking in terms of ‘separate reality’ might be part of the problem in general —
‘technocracy’ is rife with this type of myopia. layers of realities are co-existent, intertwined, interdependent… I can appreciate the ‘scientific method’ of breaking down the whole in examining the parts, AND this ‘partial’ view needs be reintegrated back into the larger picture…. ‘data’ will only take you (one) so far… not that it doesn’t have it’s place. Likewise with the ‘altered states’ you describe — not just drug induced — through the experience of a ‘separate reality’ in said states, divisions can and do occur– it is after all a ‘break’ from ordinary waking consciousness. Part of the problem comes from an inability (for whatever reason… there are many), to integrate the experience into other layers of the onion, e.g. within the psyche as in the case of “temporary psychosis” described here, or your friend in the mental ward, or the one who believed the voice in his head suggesting it was a good idea to cut off his hand, or the one who blew himself up with dynamite… etc I’m sorry you’ve had so many friends with such horrific experiences… it’s no wonder this informs some of your views here. I’m not trying to “glamorize” it, to sugarcoat, it’s not a road that everyone has traveled or needs travel, nor should they necessarily, it can be debilitating if not deadly… as indicated here. i’m not advocating but those who have said experiences can and probably should talk about it… it can be part of ‘processing’ of it. Walking this discussion back, it started after the post of the “narcissist drug addict” graham hancock ted talk called “the war on conscious” (thanks for that link nigel)… the Jeopoardy question would be “what is the war on drugs ?” The original point i took from listening was that the war on drugs is part of the war on consciousness… (and there are many parts of a war on consciousness… a small example is burton’s insular “system” — cult indoctrination and “canalizing” thought and emotion in this way, “Jihads” / crusades, government propaganda, advertising… etc, etc). Messages, BS, yourself and others may tend to marginalize and even vilify the ‘drug’ experience… i’m coming at it from another (‘baby / bath-water’) perspective… does the ‘evil’ outweigh the good that comes from it ? in some cases yes. I look at it as a possible tool… if one choses to use a table saw without instruction or in an otherwise unprepared ‘state’ and you cut your fingers off, should the saw be blamed ? A large part of the problem is the ignorance, hysteria, social stigma, etc, that surrounds the use… that’s what I’m trying to point out here… if the use of the tool is intended to effect a change in consciousness, an adult should at least have the choice to do so… waging the war, with all the propaganda, disinformation, laws, policies “social engineering” and behavior modification that comes of it, curtails and or eliminates choice in controlling one’s own consciousness… (change policy, redirect tax dollars to educating the populace on the subject rather than investing more and more in the “criminal justice system” and then allow for ‘rational’ choices to be made by the individual). A layer of the reality onion is “consensus reality” — almost everything connected to the manufacturing human being comes from “fantasy forming”, the raw materials for material culture come from nature… or now from “the lab” but the manipulation thereof starts with an idea… the imagination… (burton’s “system” wages war on imagination… but i guess that’s far enough afield for now, I’ll get off my soap-box).

18. ton2u - March 8, 2015


re: the ‘fish trap’ metaphor — i’ve heard said; “…when you get the message hang up the phone…” (The full quote is: “Psychedelic experience is only a glimpse of genuine mystical insight, but a glimpse which can be matured and deepened by the various ways of meditation in which drugs are no longer necessary or useful. If you get the message, hang up the phone. For psychedelic drugs are simply instruments, like microscopes, telescopes, and telephones. The biologist does not sit with eye permanently glued to the microscope, he goes away and works on what he has seen…”).

just in case more ‘anecdotal’ testimony is needed…


and yes enjoying a walk with dog, rain or shine IS good too… after all, weather and everything else begins with the sun here on terra plane.

19. nigel harris price - March 8, 2015

“That though the radiance which was once so bright be now forever taken from my sight. Though nothing can bring back the hour of splendor in the grass, glory in the flower. We will grieve not, rather find strength in what remains behind.”

William Wordsworth

Read more at http://www.brainyquote.com/quotes/authors/w/william_wordsworth.html#QHSecL2Ko8J86BGd.99

20. nigel harris price - March 8, 2015

21. Tim Campion - March 9, 2015

“There is no logical explanation other than faith.”

Going Clear on HBO, March 29th

The parallels with The Fellowship of Friends are unmistakable.

22. Golden Veil - March 10, 2015

21. Tim Campion – March 9, 2010

Thanks for the link. Yes, there are indeed parallels between the two cults, the Fellowship of Friends and Scientology. Both “churches” seek high monetary compensation from their members for (I think, made-up) teachings, and among other similarities, employ mind control techniques, slow brainwash, and have charismatic leaders.

I don’t get HBO myself but I found this really great interview on with Pulitzer Prize-winning author, Lawrence Wright whose 2013 book, “Going Clear: Scientology, Hollywood, and the Prison of Belief” was the documentary’s main source material.

Wright is a researcher and writer with a brilliant inquiring mind. He’s published many books on religions (cults) such as the Mormons and Amish, and also terrorists (cults), on the Al-Qeada. He interviewed over 200 current and former members of the Church of Scientology for his book and in the interview he goes into detail about the inner workings of the Church of Scientology, revealing extensive abuse of members and even inner circle leaders. Some abuse he describes is so outrageous that I find it hard to believe.

23. nigel harris price - March 10, 2015
24. shardofoblivion - March 10, 2015

#23 Didn’t Jean Baudrillard claim that the gulf war was a fiction? Not the sharpest knife in the philosophical drawer.

25. WhaleRider - March 11, 2015

The German chemist, Kekulé, and the discovery of the idea of the benzene ring:

“But it did not go well (the writing of his chemical text-book); my spirit was occupied by other things. I turned the chair to the fireplace and sank into half-sleep. The atoms flitted before my eyes. Long rows variously, closely unite; all in movement; wriggling and turning like snakes. And see, what was that? One of the snakes seized its own tail and the image whirled scornfully before my eyes. As though from a flash of lightning I awoke. I occupied the rest of the night in working out the consequences of the hypothesis…Let us learn to dream, gentlemen.”

~“The Art of Scientific Investigation”, W.L.W. Beveridge, p. 66.

26. WhaleRider - March 11, 2015

Ironically, I will add, the above passage can be found in the Appendices on page 350, section (b) of “The Theory of Celestial Influence”, despite the fact that Collins writes disparagingly of dreams in several instances as “imagination”, the kind of fruitless delusions that a follower of the fourth way seeks to avoid…yet through which an individual can discover symbolic keys to unlock unseen realities of matter and spirit.

As Jung says, most people mistake dreams to be prophecies of the future, when dreams actually inform us of the present.

Such is the value being present to dreams, visions, fantasies, trances, hallucinations, and sometimes even psychosis, IMHO, which when adequately assimilated into consciousness in a healthy manner, are far more self empowering than “ideas of reference” derived from numbers on license plates, or buzz words on random billboards and street signs.

27. Messages From Marconi - March 12, 2015


From a Gurdjieff fan on Facebook: “I met Mr. Gurdjieff three times, in three objective dreams. He wanted to communicate with me and used the old method of dreams coming from the higher being-body. In one of the dreams he appeared in the porch of my house, very old and in full fatigue and pleaded with me to help him spread his Living Teacher to humanity. That is what I do.”

28. Robert Stolzle - March 12, 2015

Re: Dreams and the Hereafter

It is axiomatic that humans are not aware of much going on around them. That is to say there are all manner of phenomena that we can only detect with sophisticated instruments and machines, e.g. radiation and all molecules and all galaxies. We have yet to detect ghosts, heaven, astral beings, space aliens or dreams…..and not for lack of trying, either.

But, “absence of proof is not proof of absence” and we all have our favorite sacred cows, whether they be God, consciousness, dreams, angels or Ouspensy & Gurdjieff themselves—–the list is endless and we humans seemingly have no limits to our abilities to believe in things. Actually, most all of history’s greatest thinkers held beliefs that have long since been discredited, e.g. “the ether”, penis envy, transmutation of gold, ad infinitum. These discredited beliefs did not necessarily interfere with the progress of science and mankinds’ long slog out of the swamp.

In my opinion where these unproven beliefs can and do interfere and become a hindrance for people, is when individuals’ beliefs start becoming their religion. (This leaves open the definition of religion for future discussion but, I think you know what I mean.) The practice of any religion may benefit the practitioner, but can also, depending on the individual, be a large handicap and we rarely can see ourselves very well.

For example, the belief in possession of humans by the ghosts of ancient aliens (Scientology) is apparently a way for people to understand their weaknesses and presumably deal with them, but it has many failings, too. Likewise, FoF wouldn’t exist without the adulation of RB, his charisma and some modest merit in some of the Fourth Way ideas that started the whole mess. Anything may be real for you, but, unless the unbelievers can verify that your unseen things exist or that you are “getting better”, it might be advisable to go searching for other angels and more beneficial belief systems……. and ………………..Oh! yes, try to avoid the FoF……. it is a dead end.

Been there, verified that,
Bob Stolzle

29. nigel harris price - March 12, 2015

28 Robert Stolzle

One thing you leave out of your argument(s) is what I would call the WORKABILITY FACTOR. Perhaps go back in your life and ask yourself – “How am I still alive despite this event or that happening?” I am not sure you would be able, nor deem it necessary, to convince others of the Miraculousness of Life, in which you do not need to go in search – like a blogger said, maybe you – the sheer joy of having a dog to take for a walk 3 times a day – in the woods, to the park or the local convenience store – you see, Ferdy, my little West Highland Terrier was gifted to me 4 1/2 years ago when a stud kennel owner developed terminal cancer and gave away all his dogs. He is one of the latest reasons why I have slogged through 8 admissions in the ‘funny farm’ in 18 months…..the thought of not being there to be responsible for him (now he has gone deaf) – “kept my psychological mast flying at full mast.”…..other things – my precious metalwork – kept me going through poverty and debt due to the greed of the FOF – teaching the craft subject I love and was trained in…..

For me it is being touched to the kernel/essence of one’s life and – yes, I do believe in ANGELS…..Nigel

30. WhaleRider - March 12, 2015

Marconi, thanks for your post.

Unfortunately, IMO, it is an example of how cults and grandiose gurus perpetuate themselves and their legacy, ad nauseam.

To do so, the guru/authority figure claims he is so advanced he will appear to his disciples after his death in either a dream or a vision. What a cruel trick!

Since his glassy eyed followers (which the guru refers to as his “children”) have incorporated him into their psyches as their “father” figure, he undoubtedly will appear as such in a dream.

The above anecdote sounds convincing, for we have been conditioned to believe “what I tell you three times is true”, but was that actually Gurdjieff’s disembodied spirit entering the dreamer’s head from the great beyond?

I don’t believe so, yet this experience for the dreamer did empower them (in a sense) to proselytize, but more than likely to feed their ego, their specialness, or recruit for their cult…at the expense of an increased consciousness of their own greater Self.

I guarantee you that the father figure or “wise old man” archetype has existed long before the guru was born, and in the case of this particular dreamer, their psyche chose a facsimile of Gurdjieff’s image or what they imagined him to look like to play that role.

“All the world is a stage”, including dreamland.

Retracting the projection of the guru back into the individual and owning it would be a huge step in the maturation process of this person, but alas their ego chose otherwise to “spread the word” or prophecy.

Dreams usually serve to humble the ego, not enhance it, (which is why narcissists have difficulty remembering their dreams and avoid self exploration) yet by projecting the contents of the dream outward, it appears that this particular dreamer’s ego would rather take up their cult’s cause rather than their own, and sadly, this self disempowerment/ego expansion is rampant in society.

IMO, what this particular reoccurring dream is informing this particular dreamer (three times, no less) is that their guru is within them, and they can dispense with their cult’s delusional system and start living their own life.

That is why, IMO, “when you see a buddha on the road, you kill them”.

31. WhaleRider - March 12, 2015

Nigel, in your case, your angel has four legs.

I have one too, his name is Sammy, short for Samsara. When I scratch his back, he shows me doggie bliss. 🙂

32. Messages From Marconi - March 12, 2015


Claudio Naranjo:

“He became Carlos Castaneda’s close friend and became part of Leo Zeff’s pioneering psychedelic therapy group (1965–66). These meetings resulted in Naranjo’s contribution of the use of harmaline, MDMA, and ibogaine.”

“The accidental death of his only son in 1970 marked a turning-point in his life. Naranjo set off on a six month pilgrimage under the guidance of Oscar Ichazo and a spiritual retreat in the desert near Arica, Chile, which he considers the true beginning of his spiritual experience, contemplative life and inner guidance.”

“In 1987, he began the reborn SAT Institute in Spain for personal and professional development, with its program that includes Gestalt therapy and its supervision, applications of the Enneagram of Personality…”

“Since the late 1980s, Naranjo has divided each year’s agenda between his activities abroad and his writing at home in Berkeley. Among his many publications, he has revised an early book on Gestalt therapy and published two new ones. He has published three books on the Enneagram of Personality…”

For what it is worth, I heard from a Facebook source who claimed to know Naranjo that the author’s insight into the “personality types” came out of LSD experiences.

33. Messages From Marconi - March 12, 2015
34. ton2u - March 12, 2015
35. ton2u - March 12, 2015

re: burden’s “systematic” war on imagination (i.e. a form of consciousness)… meanwhile he counts rhino turds and paints homoerotic murals on the walls. there are other perspectives on the importance of imagination as an “organ” of perception / creativity… and essential to human being, or being human:

Henry Corbin (1903-1978) His understanding of the Imagination as the fundamental creative principle in the world is urgently needed in our pluralistic and interconnected global society. Corbin taught in Paris and Tehran and lectured annually at the Eranos Conferences from 1949 to 1978. He was a friend and colleague of C.G. Jung and shared his view of the significance of the active imagination in human life…

“Prayer is the highest form, the supreme act of the Creative Imagination. … For prayer is not a request for something: it is the expression of a mode of being, a means of existing and of causing to exist, … The organ of Prayer is the heart, the psychospiritual organ, with its concentration of energy, its himma. … Prayer is a “creator” of vision, … .”

36. Robert Stolzle - March 13, 2015


My discourse in #28 was an attempt to argue against the institutionalization of religious belief. I certainly have no issue with anyone’s personal beliefs so long as they don’t try to impose them on me or insist that they are “God’s awful truth revealed”. Discussion of beliefs is fine, but zealotry is especially repulsive to me and, in my mind, puts the zealot in a special sack full of wacko’s I shall always avoid. Wouldn’t we all have been better off if we had just walked away from RB and the FoF after the first Prospective Student Meeting? (such exclusivity) Kind of like the Cypress Point Country Club–you have to be invited to join!

Marconi- #32

WTF is harmaline? Did you ever decide whether Castaneda was really
a “seeker of truth and wisdom” or just a writer who stumbled onto a wave of popular interest and rode it to the beach? I gave up part way through his third book and don’t even know how many he churned out.

Re: Henry Corbin
No argument, imagination is certainly a major factor, perhaps the most important factor, in mankind’s march away from nature; ’cause, if you don’t think of it first, it isn’t going to happen’. However, the quote about prayer being the highest form of Creative imagination doesn’t mesh with my experience of that practice—or what I’ve seen in others over the years, but hardly the ‘be all and end all” the quote implies.
And, the way it’s phrased here, it does have that “you’ve been doing it all wrong–do it this way” sound to it. Also, the heart is an autonomic muscle, nothing more. Any emotional/spiritual expression originates from between the ears. Actually, the entire quote makes no sense to me–can you explain what Corbin is saying? What is “himma”?

Bob Stolzle

37. Messages From Marconi - March 13, 2015


“In the early 1970s, some members of the Jesuit order came in contact with the Enneagram material and it began to be taught in Jesuit and other Roman Catholic institutions in North American. In 1974, as a Jesuit seminarian in Toronto, Canada, Riso first learned of the Jesuit teaching on the Enneagram which, he has said, “consisted of nine one-page impressionistic sketches of the personality types”[3] and fascinated him. In the following year, 1975, he left the order and began developing the brief type sketches to more detailed descriptions.

Riso developed a number of original ideas regarding understanding the Enneagram, such as nine “levels of development” from “redeemed” or “healthy” to “totally unhealthy” and the “harmonic groups”.

In 1987, Riso published his 12 years of Enneagram thinking in his first book, Personality Types: Using the Enneagram for Self-Discovery. Three years later he published Understanding the Enneagram.”

38. Messages From Marconi - March 13, 2015
39. Messages From Marconi - March 13, 2015


“Helen Palmer is the author of five international best-selling books in the literature of consciousness.”

40. ton2u - March 13, 2015

Bob @36

a link or a quote offered here doesn’t mean I’m in ‘lockstep’ with it… or that i agree with the way the idea is expressed… the intention is to represent another possible perspective. my point with the corbin quote is mainly that there are other modes of knowing, other modes of perception that are equally (if not in some cases more) valid — in this case if/when compared to the perspective ‘adopted’ by a ‘rational materialist.’

re: “…the heart is an autonomic muscle, nothing more.”
Zounds! “nothing more…” certainly thought-terminating… don’t we know: “…nothing either good or bad, but thinking makes it so.” and by thinking ‘so,’ it sounds like you’ve turned your living body into a machine! spoken like a true materialist.. and in this case a gurdjieffian as well.

re: “himma” if you think strictly in terms of the heart as an automatic pump… (that’s part of it’s function in circulation of blood, in concert with other organs like lungs, etc.)…but IF you haven’t (also) experienced the heart as an ‘organ of perception,’ IF you haven’t ‘felt’ your heart i can’t help you there… (wonder what your liver is ‘thinking’).

for the academically inclined:



“…These discredited beliefs did not necessarily interfere with the progress of science and mankinds’ long slog out of the swamp.”

does give pause to question the nature of “reality” — it seems to be a fluid situation… so what are we talking about “really” ? (reality as we perceive it is relative – even ideas promoted by “objective science” shift over time – implied in your previous post)… so what of “truth” / belief and how does that relate to “reality” ? belief contributes to creating “reality” and the beliefs of “history’s greatest thinkers were ‘true’ for a time, at least ‘true’ for those who believed… and therefore ‘real’ – ? “Reality” as we know it here on terra-plane is based on perception – perception “out there” in the world of ‘matter’ in-forms perception of the psycho/physico/emotional (“inner”) human being… and visa versa… it’s ‘reciprocal’ and “reality” as we know it, appears as a confluence of “objective” and subjective experience, and so it becomes a rivulet of “truth” for a while and then slips away downstream. I’m not sure mankind is out of the swamp yet… maybe just poking a collective hand out of the mud.

41. WhaleRider - March 13, 2015

Thanks again Marconi for the link detailing some of the lurid saga of the cultist Carlos Castenada…it puts his book, “The Art of Dreaming” into perspective…more verifabricated rhino shit leading his followers further away from themselves and over the edge into delusion.

For the record, I believe it was Fritz Perls who was the originator of Gestalt Therapy, a technique that I hold in high esteem.

I have found no better way of integrating the unconscious, split off parts of the greater Self into a cohesive whole than his technique.

In fact, one of my mentors post FOF is a pioneer in the technique of using Gestalt Therapy in combination with dream work.

The technique is basically to accept the notion that each element of the dream is a symbolic representation of the greater Self, and to role play between the parts. The result is very illuminating!

For example, once I had a dream about five years after leaving the cult about a back man chasing me up a long stairway into my apartment to steal my belongings. I awoke in terror.

Later, in working through the dream starting at the point at which I awoke, I used my creative imagination to turn, face my fear, and ask the black man why he wanted to kill me and steal my belongings.

Then I role played the black man (my shadow side). He told me he wanted to sell my possessions and go have some fun with his friends.

It was then I realized on a deeper level how attached my ego was to my material possessions, and how useless they would be to me at the point of death. I had been suppressing the need to have more fun, which at that point of my life was true. It was very empowering, and I remember the experience quite vividly.

I soon embarked on a long hike in the mountains with a friend, which although was quite arduous at times, I thoroughly enjoyed.

42. ton2u - March 13, 2015

there’s a tendency to disparage, marginalize and even ‘vilify’ sources of information in spite of connections and correspondences… in some cases it seems to me to be warranted and justified… that is, I can agree with it. but again, it can be a “baby / bathwater” situation…. i.e. casteneda writings about accessing ‘imaginal realms’ via dreams, descriptions of ‘lucid dreaming,’ utilizing ‘active imagination’ etc… it’s his ‘subjective’ take on it but in general what he writes doesn’t deviate far from accepted forms / norms of ‘dream work.’ apparently the way he’s expressing the information is the problem…? or is it the followers / the following (rabble) that attach to it ? yes… fritz perls has his ‘followers’ too… and of course ‘truth’ is what you make it… you choose your ‘delusion.’

43. ton2u - March 13, 2015

…but isn’t it refreshing to have a choice ? that’s something burden’s “system” actively attempts to restrict.

44. WhaleRider - March 13, 2015

Yes, choice is the difference between a a cult and a school of higher learning like an university.

I don’t believe the notion that one can learn to leave one’s body and travel into another person’s dreams is a healthy idea. It might make the “traveler” feel powerful, but I don’t think it serves to empower the recipient.

45. Messages From Marconi - March 13, 2015
46. ton2u - March 13, 2015

“…travel into another person’s dreams…” if taken as a metaphor or ‘poetic’ description it might be instructive… a question is what is the intention of entering another’s dreams ? we do in a sense enter into each other’s ‘waking dreams’ after all… but yes, taken literally there may be a problem… “unhealthy” as you put it. that’s the case with any form of ‘fundamentalist’ thinking — it tends to be overly ‘literal’ and therefore rigid, ‘written in stone’ etc… there are casteneda fundamentalists and that might be an issue (unhealthy), i agree….

re: the heart as an ‘organ of perception’ — i hope this bears repeating… it may or may not make sense, (you at least help create the context here) – ‘offerings’ may appear to be merely “primitive” to such as M2M et. al. but I suggest a way forward involves reflecting (on) the way back


47. ton2u - March 13, 2015
48. Wouldnt You Like To Know - March 14, 2015

page 139/176. Wouldnt You Like To Know – December 27, 2013

From Wikipedia:

‘The Sacred Mushroom and the Cross (subtitled: “A Study of the Nature and Origins of Christianity Within the Fertility Cults of the Ancient Near East“) is a 1970 book about the linguistics of early Christianity and fertility cults in the Ancient Near East. It was written by John Marco Allegro (1923–1988).

The book relates the development of language to the development of myths, religions, and cultic practices in world cultures. Allegro believed he could prove, through etymology, that the roots of Christianity, as of many other religions, lay in fertility cults, and that cult practices, such as ingesting visionary plants (or “psychedelics”) to perceive the mind of God, persisted into the early Christian era, and to some unspecified extent into the 13th century with reoccurrences in the 18th century and mid-20th century, as he interprets the Plaincourault chapel’s fresco to be an accurate depiction of the ritual ingestion of Amanita muscaria as the Eucharist. Allegro argued that Jesus never existed and was a mythological creation of early Christians under the influence of psychoactive mushroom extracts such as psilocybin.’

See Wikipedia for more.

Or, go here for pirated book as pdf:

Also see FoFblog P.133/76-82

49. Wouldnt You Like To Know - March 14, 2015


P.133/81. Wouldnt You Like To Know – November 22, 2012

Critical review of ‘Sacred Mushroom and the Cross’:
American Anthropologist
Volume 73, Issue 6
(December 1971; pages 1369–1370)
Article first published online: 28 OCT 2009

P.133/82. Wouldnt You Like To Know – November 22, 2012

Quote from that last citation:
“Briefly the argument is as follows. The
origin of religion is to be found in fertility
cults, which are a response to man’s dependence
on nature. Sexual intercourse is the
basis of creation, therefore God is the
“mighty penis in the sky” and rain is “more
abundant kind of spermatozoa.” Ritual is
the control of fertility, regulating the very
conditions of life. The control of the
creative act becomes the attempt to know
and gain the wisdom of God in the later
religions of the Near East. The accumulated
ritual knowledge is kept secret by cultists
since God can be reached by the initiate
through hallucinogenic drugs, in this case the
mushroom (Amanita Muscaria). The mushroom
is God and God is copulation. The
mushroom can stand for the male/female
genitals, copulation, sperm, and ejaculation.
It is the “son of God,” since everything
about the mushroom (its growth, appearance,
and properties) is “sexual.” Just as
God is the sexual act, so the mushroom is
the representative of God on earth. The
poison of the mushroom induces states in
which men momentarily reach and experience
the wisdom of God. Taking the mushroom
is being with God: the desire to
control the source of fertility becomes the
urge to know God in the more sophisticated

50. Robert Stolzle - March 14, 2015

At a time when I was very “anti-religious”, I read “The Sacred Mushroom and the Cross”. This was way before encountering the FoF and it is a slog of a book. That is, it beats the one idea to death over and over. It offers scant evidence other than a catchy idea, a few pictures and some cryptic writings….and Amanita muscara is very poisonous, even a small amount can kill or at least severely injure your innards. There are plenty of better “medicinal” plants.

I may well be that religious belief grew out of a growing understanding of fertility, sex and birth……but, IMO primitive man’s religion grew out of efforts to exercise some control over nature. Hunger is a powerful motivator. However, it must have been one of our greatest revelations ever that making whoopee led to birthin’ babies, doncha’ll know? Today, it seems well settled that man’s earliest religions and spiritual beliefs were animist and polytheistic.

Isn’t the first monotheistic belief generally credited to Judaism? Christianity is a direct descendant of Judaism—there’s a good reason the Old Testament is the first part of the Bible. But, there is scant evidence therein to suggest that anyone was munching hallucinogens of any sort. It probably wasn’t even necessary, starvation, dehydration and the occasional dose of ergot poisoning will produce all the visions anyone needs and there had to be some untreated schizophrenics around to interpret the signs properly.

The Jews of Christ’s era were a prudish bunch as compared to the Romans or other heathens and the early Christians built their identity around this notion of moral superiority over the hedonistic heathens. They might have enjoyed the occasional wedding bash or religious holiday, but there is little in the New Testament to suggest anyone was on a psychedelic high. The earliest “Christians” were also divided into several cultish groups with competing beliefs and practices. The “Holy Trinity” has its origins in the early attempts to reconcile these differences.

There is no shortage of Biblical scholarship out there but, only John Allegro discovered the Mushroom Key—–doesn’t that remind you of someone else we all know?

Bob Stolzle

51. Messages From Marconi - March 14, 2015


“Wagele is one of the best selling authors on the subject of the Enneagram and has written about the Myers-Briggs system, especially introversion.”

“In 1994, Baron and Wagele published a book on Enneagram personality typology geared toward the general reading public: The Enneagram Made Easy, which has been translated into 17 languages. The book was on the San Francisco Chronicle’s best sellers list for Quality Paperbacks in the Bay Area in 1994.”

52. Messages From Marconi - March 14, 2015


The ancient origin of the enneagram? G. I. Gurdjieff invented the enneagram in the early part of the 1900’s. There is no, zero, archeological or otherwise evidence of the enneagram symbol appearing at any date or place in history before the lunatic Gurdjieff invented it. Here are some the delusional claims he made about his intriguing little doodle:

“Speaking in general it must be understood that the enneagram is a universal symbol. All knowledge can be included in the enneagram and with the help of the enneagram it can be interpreted. And in this connection only what a man is able to put into the enneagram does he actually know, that is, understand. What he cannot put into the enneagram he does not understand. For the man who is able to make use of it, the enneagram makes books and libraries entirely unnecessary. Everything can be included and read in the enneagram. A man may be quite alone in the desert and he can trace the enneagram in the sand and in it read the eternal laws of the universe. And every time he can learn something new, something he did not know before.”

~G. I. Gurdjieff

Like many of Gurdjieff’s fantastic concoctions he insists with flamboyant hyperbole that this or that mystical item contains all the wonders of the world, if only the individual were wise enough to know how to operate the mystical item.

People read or hear about such fantasies and begin to insert their own fantasies into the slots provided and in no time there is a new fad sweeping through the lunatic fringe and generating a pile of money for the most energetic liars. What is it that feeds this unending cycle of revolt against the drudgery of commonsense is the eagerness of bored people to be gullible, hopeful and desperate for something impossibly wondrous.

The enneagram. Seriously, one does have to laugh at the insanity of it all.

53. WhaleRider - March 14, 2015
54. Messages From Marconi - March 14, 2015


I looked at that page earlier. There is nothing that resembles Gurdjieff’s enneagram previously to his invention of it.

55. Wouldnt You Like To Know - March 14, 2015

Reason for reposting about
Sacred Mushroom and the Cross is:
1) Recent discussion about entheogens,
and more importantly,
2) That given enough time, energy, resources, effort, imagination, belief and/or scholarship, almost anything can be proven.

This is not to say that what is postulated there is right or wrong.

56. nigel harris price - March 15, 2015

for WhaleRider…..

57. WhaleRider - March 15, 2015

IMO, it’s important to understand that any nine pointed star is considered an enneagram; the difference between them just has to do with how one connects the dots.

Gurdjieff’s version is not THE enneagram, it is one of several styles enneagrams, and an irregular one at that.

(In my travels to Turkey, I purchased a colorful decorative ceramic plate painted with a nine pointed star design, too, bearing one of the names of Allah in the star’s center.)

According to Gurdjieff: “Everything can be included and read in the enneagram. A man may be quite alone in the desert and he can trace the enneagram in the sand and in it read the eternal laws of the universe. And every time he can learn something new, something he did not know before.”

I believe the same could be said of a garden variety Tibetan mandala.

If a person were all alone in a mountain cave with a Tibetan mandala on the wall, it is very likely the longer the person stares at the mandala, the eyes would eventually defocus, and they would enter into a trance; the effect would be quite “trippy”.

And, IMO, if they were looking for meaning, the more meaning they would start to see…especially if they were told by an authority figure that the symbol represents all the knowledge in the universe. Hey, if His Holiness the Dali Lama himself said so, it must be so, and off they go…verifabricating.

I suspect that much in the same way, Gurdjieff probably was exposed to tranced-out Turkish Dervishes spinning in circles during his travels in Turkey, and, being the crafty and pragmatic Armenian he was, set about to do the antithesis of what he saw (since Armenians hate the Turks) by creating his own system of “spiritual” dance movements based on more intricate “conscious” movements set to his own music…well, he may have also been exposed in his travels to Persia to the Bahá í faith who use the exotic looking symbol, and created his own synthesized version of a nine pointed enneagram, connecting only six points together in part because there are only six planets visible with the naked eye, Moon, Mercury, Venus, Mars, Jupiter, and Saturn…and possibly associating the other three points of the superimposed equilateral triangle with the so-called, “Law of Three” which he borrowed from somewhere else…for after all, the six pointed star of David was already taken by Judaism…and using that in his cult during his era might have been very problematic indeed.

I am often reminded of his ability to con people in “Meetings With Remarkable Men” selling painted sparrows as “American canaries” to gullible tourists…apparently he was good at that…for it seems he didn’t have a steady job or profession…why not capitalize on the rise of Eastern Occultism in Western Europe and America…starting with duping scientifically minded and socially connected “seekers” like Ouspensky?

In his travels he probably saw how spiritual leaders are usually treated very well by their followers…(apparently Mr G also had seven known children from seven different women…one for each day of the week…along with a hankering for copious amounts of Armagnac and tailor made suits.)

I think the story of the cultist Carlos Castaneda linked above is a good example of how to borrow and adapt from other traditions like Gurdjieff probably did, and burton does, to take advantage of disenchanted people during times of great social upheaval…which is probably why the FOF has been so successful in recruiting recently emancipated Russians.

58. nigel harris price - March 15, 2015

A little Zen saying…..

If there is light in the soul,
There is beauty in the person,
If there is beauty in the person,
There will be harmony in the house,
If there is harmony in the house,
There will be order in the nation,
If there is order in the nation,
There will be peace in the world.

59. WhaleRider - March 15, 2015

Interesting posts, Nigel, thank you.

The trailer about the horror movie sent shivers down my spine the way it was edited together with the sound track! It illustrates for me how frightening dreams are for the ego, over which the ego has no control, and if it did have control, wouldn’t it be lovely if the ego could “travel” into another person’s dreams to control them too, as Castenada suggests?!

Some dreams are for “wish fulfillment”, like the parents in the trailer who are were able to “see” their dead child again, without having to face death in order to be with him in “heaven”.

I had to laugh when I saw the father trying to wake the kid up to prevent the nightmares from continuing.

Have you ever experienced a “sleep start”, that startle feeling one has just as one is “falling” asleep and is jolted back awake?

IMO, that is the ego afraid losing control, and that fear is played upon in the film; the narcissistic terror of going to sleep and being subjected to the dream state where the unconscious mind has all the power. Isn’t that why we say our prayers right before bedtime?

I may be wrong, but I was sensing from your second Zen post that you were wondering that if a person has “a light on in in their soul, and harmony in their house”, how could they have such terrible dreams?

If so, my answer is that harmony in the house is restored when the light of reason is used to understand and integrate the messages the soul provides us in our dreams…for, my precious, in your dreams, precious metal may not seem so precious…am I correct?

60. ton2u - March 15, 2015

yes, we do all have our biases here… there, everywhere — the trouble with ‘blind-spots’ is that ya can’t see em… or you might have an inkling out of the corner of your I but you ‘choose’ to ignore. burton’s “system” (fundamentalist mentality in general), depends upon this human trait / tendency…. widening perspective is part of lifelong learning… attempting to see from various points of view is part of developing empathy, a part of the ‘human project’ – being human. and country to popular belief, ignorance ain’t bliss…


61. ton2u - March 15, 2015

…that’s “contrary” – spellcheck has blindspots too… after all it’s a human invention.

get it?
get it…


62. Messages From Marconi - March 15, 2015

57. WhaleRider – March 15, 2015

IMO, it’s important to understand that any nine pointed star is considered an enneagram…


Yes, very important. Very weird too. A little bit obsessive as well?

Point: There was no nine pointed diagram exactly like the “Gurdjieff diagram” before Gurdjieff invented it. Gurdjieff called his invention “The Enneagram” (as if it were the enneagram to end all enneagrams) due to it having nine points on a circle. Note that the circle is an indispensable part of the mythology of the diagram, as well as how the dots are connected. The nine pointed star does not resemble the Gurdjieffian enneagram.

Gurdjieff invented “The Enneagram” that inspired the modern day mythology of the Enneagram of Personality Types. A nine pointed star, which was likely devised and named before the Gurdjieffian enneagram, had nothing to do with that particular issue. To see some kind of significance or connection there appears to be somewhat eccentric.

63. Tempus Fugit - March 15, 2015

Hi friends.
Currently some of you are having a lively and enjoyable conversation on issues of the FOF, cults, and metaphysics in general.

Such conversations are certainly appropriate, but I think our greatest purpose here is to counteract the ugly, dishonest propaganda of the FOF. I realize I haven’t been writing too often recently, and I appreciate all of you who are actively carrying the message of escape and recovery.

In post #9 on this page, “leaf” (in reference to my “Index to the Blog”) said:

“8. Tempus Fugit
Thank you for sharing this.
One excerpt from those pages, by a thoughtful poster many years ago:
Luke Says:
January 4, 2007 at 4:22 am

I’d like to share a theme which has become prevalent in many recent conversations with members, though not always made explicit. This theme deals with one of the primary difficulties in leaving the group: the fear of isolation….”

I feel very lucky that when I left the FOF I was able to connect with former members who knew the truth about Burton, but that didn’t happen right away.

When I first left I did feel completely isolated. Unlike some of the former members Luke discusses in his post, I never even tried to keep my FOF friends – I just assumed they would follow the “no contact” rule. (Later I found out some of them had missed me and would have been open to hearing from me. I think the transition for whomever leaves now is probably different in this respect.)

But when I left I simultaneously gave up all my friends. I felt like a complete loser and a failure. I was terrified that some inevitable divine punishment was about to overtake me. And on top of all that my mind had been so thoroughly twisted I couldn’t relate to real people or the real world.

I recall one incident, when I was just out, when a stranger said something to me about how the San Francisco Giants’ season was going. I was surprised he spoke to me, and in my head a voice said “That machine is talking to this person (meaning he was talking to me).” Now I’m shocked to understand how deeply the FOF robbed me of my personhood, and no doubt would have taken all of me if I hadn’t had a powerful survival instinct. Many of you were lucky not to be injured so deeply; but sadly, many good people were completely consumed.

Yes, consumed. Eaten by a monster.

For a while I drank heavily in a fruitless attempt to manage my anxiety. I desperately wanted to make new friends, find a girlfriend, have a normal life. For years I could never even talk about being in a cult to anyone. I had at least two important relationships where my girlfriend knew nothing about my time in the FOF. After all, who could love a man who had been so weak and stupid?

Truth is, I wasn’t weak and stupid. I was young and naive, and had the misfortune to walk into the web of a spider.

I think Robert Burton is a horrible, despicable person. In my opinion there are few crimes worse than taking advantage of a person’s spiritual aspirations to satisfy the crudest desires for money, power, and sex. Yes, I think Burton is mentally ill, but he is still responsible for his behavior.

And innocent people are still walking into the trap.

I think it is morally imperative for those who know to call out fraudulent cult leaders and protect others. This blog, and the Robert Earl Burton blog, offer powerful truth to counter FOF lies. If even one person looking for honest information, just one, is saved from abuse by reading our words, all the effort is justified.

I like to think the person reading here for the first time, or coming back in a moment of desperation, won’t have to read too far without realizing others found the courage to reclaim their freedom and their lives and so can they.

The door that seems closed is already open, and they just need to step through.

64. Messages From Marconi - March 15, 2015

Perpetually attempting to talk fanatics out of their fanaticism is fanatical and futile.

65. leaf - March 15, 2015

You got that right. I’m glad no one is trying to do that here.

66. Tim Campion - March 16, 2015

I would like to contact “Pavel,” (aka “the Esoteric Sheik of Inner Confusion”) who launched this discussion in April 2006, and who remained moderator until Steve Lang took over in August 2008.

I have written to Pavel using the e-mail address he provided (recroanima@gmail.com) but have received no response.

Aside from messages exchanged via this forum or the above e-mail address, has anyone here ever met or spoken with Pavel?

Does anyone know of another way to contact him?

67. nigel harris price - March 17, 2015

As was mentioned just above, some think we should be concentrating on ‘aiming the barrels of our intellectual guns’ at the goings-on in the FOF, especially the self-centred and pathological activities of Robert Earl Burton. But I think many of us are, at least, so geographically removed from ‘The Centre’ of FOFFERY, that our interractions here are a mixture of self healing and healing of others as well as sharing ‘hugely rewarding’ bytes of knowledge and examples of other ways of viewing our physical and metaphysical world. For myself, I am so grateful to have returned as ‘a regular’ at a time when my world is taking a huge turn from a violent, drink and drug sodden neighbourhood in Exeter, Devon, to the rural, farming town of Abergavenny in Monmouthshire, South Wales…..only 120 mile geographically, but light years in peaceful culture…..and, I have been told, they want me to teach jewellery at the Youth and Community Centre…..”They’ll be a welcome in the hillside” as Katherine Jenkins sings…..thank you all…..NIGEL.

68. Opus111 - March 17, 2015

Very happy for you Nigel. South Wales sounds bucolic and wonderful. Best wishes!

69. WhaleRider - March 18, 2015

To All Incredibly Lucky Members of the Fellowship of Friends:

Robert has begun a new exciting phase of his leeching as he nears the end of his roll on this Earthly plane of your subservience and prepares to extend his grip from the great beyond.

Members are now kindly requested to submit a mandatory donation fee of $1500 per visitation should he personally appear in any member’s dream, wet or dry.

All major credit cards accepted.

70. jomopinata - March 18, 2015

Leeching payments, I love it. Where did you meet the leeching? Have you had dinner with The Leecher? In order to learn more, you have to leech. Two men draw an enneagram in the sand, and within a short time it settles the question of who is the learner and who is the leecher.

We cannot “do.” But those who can’t do, leech!

71. jomopinata - March 18, 2015

Correction: “Two men draw an enneagram in the sand, and within a short time it settles the question of who is the earner and who is the leecher.”

72. Messages From Marconi - March 18, 2015
73. Wouldnt You Like To Know - March 18, 2015

69. WhaleRider:

‘end of his roll on this Earthly plane’

I believe ‘roll’ could be ‘rôle;’
but then, again, you may have meant
‘roll,’ as in ‘he is on a roll’ at
other people’s expense.

‘Let the paper remain on the desk unwritten,
and the book on the shelf unopen’d!
Let the tools remain in the workshop!
let the money remain unearn’d!
Let the school stand!
mind not the cry of the leecher!
Let the leecher leech in his pulpit!
let the lawyer plead in the court,
and the judge expound the law.’

Song of the Open Road
Walt Whitless

74. WhaleRider - March 18, 2015


75. Messages From Marconi - March 19, 2015
76. Barbara - March 19, 2015

66. Tim Campion – March 16, 2015

Yes Tim, this blog needs urgently some order and classification!

77. WhaleRider - March 19, 2015

Quid pro quo, Marconi.

Freud is no sacred cow to me as I suspect Gurdjieff is to you, and from what I have read of Freud, it seems he was as much a cultist as Gurdjieff was, or burton is.

I agree that Freud was more a product of his time than a genius, and borrowed many of his seminal ideas from others for which he took credit, most notably, the French Physician, Pierre Janet.

Freud was famously fond of cocaine at one point, and so addicted to nicotine, smoking something like 50 cigars per day, that he eventually died of cancer of the jaw. (Luckily for burton semen is not carcinogenic.)

Freud also founded his own pedagogical and hierarchical organization which he ran like a authoritarian dictator, vehemently excommunicating and shunning those who disagreed with him. One of his wife’s patients who, with her children, lived at the Freuds in England, and who Mrs Freud touted as her biggest success story tragically committed suicide at their house.

One could make the argument that psychoanalysts of Freud’s time were somewhat leech-like too, in that they derived their income by preying upon their patient’s weaknesses over long periods of time, without necessarily “curing” them, because, of course, for any therapy to work the person must actually want to get better. And it is obviously in the financial interest of the psychoanalyst that they don’t. By charging exorbitant fees, they attracted mostly wealthy upper class clientele, which made psychoanalysis very fashionable for those whom could afford it…thus creating a cult-like environment where a person might seek therapy without really wanting to benefit from it.

Luckily, we can learn from the mistakes of others by being open and honest…and no one holds the patent on the human spirit.

78. M.P.Taylor - March 19, 2015

Great conversation. I have been on the outskirts of the fellowship, and for a short time (1993-1996) was actually in the school. I live in Nevada City, which is 45 minutes away, and have seen many former fellowship members (not former students as FOF calls them) come and go over the 33 years since I first met Robert’s school.
Some of these folks have become successful folks, some of them have died homeless in their cars, or become high end prostitutes who carry big guns. In other words, like Mr. Burton, they fell sound asleep after attaining, what I would consider to be the Being of a man number 4.
We live our lives primarily in imagination and identification. Self-Remembering is one possible exercise you can use to escape this sleep that we all live in. Many teachers become lost on their journey, falling asleep in the imagination of themselves (happens to me constantly), and they start to replace their teaching with personal desires and attachments. Certainly Mr. Burton, despite himself and his insights, has misused his gifts and deceived many.
Personally, I did have several, non-drug induced, third state experiences while in the fellowship because if you sincerely follow The Fourth Way psychology it will yield results. And, to his credit, Mr. Burton has brought together a community in which this system is practiced. There are good folks who, despite Roberts nonsense, have managed to obtain a higher level of Being and have worked very hard to create an environment condusive to Mr. Gurdjieffs practice.
So, is it a blood sucking cult? It can be if you don’t follow the work. Many big players there never read Ouspensky’s Fourth Way. Robert uses them, and then shows them the back door.
You must do the work to survive in a real school. To become a victim of Robert, Ananda, or any spiritual “teacher” is to put yourself in that position in the first place. Keep your eyes open. There is something to be gained from The Fellowship, but you may want to wait a few more years before joining. After Robert has, like the rest of us, passed on to his next life, as a human being here on Earth.

79. Messages From Marconi - March 19, 2015

78. M.P.Taylor – March 19, 2015

“Self-Remembering is one possible exercise you can use to escape this sleep that we all live in.”

For those of us who don’t know, can you explain the self-remembering exercise?

80. WhaleRider - March 19, 2015

@M.P. Taylor:

“There are good folks who, despite Roberts nonsense, have managed to obtain a higher level of Being and have worked very hard to create an environment condusive to Mr. Gurdjieffs practice.”

Thank you for your post.

Just curious though, what kind of so-called “higher level of being” are you referring…the kind that condones, colludes and financially supports all the pain and suffering the Fellowship creates you spoke of in beginning of your post?

And is there really anything unhealthy with having a vivid imagination?

81. Golden Veil - March 19, 2015

M.P. Taylor – March 19, 2015

“There are good folks who, despite Roberts nonsense, have managed to obtain a higher level of Being and have worked very hard to create an environment condusive to Mr. Gurdjieffs practice.”

I understand that you want to support what you see as the positive aspects of the group, but I question anyone’s ability to gauge “Being” in others. You may be judging an act. Will these members with their refined act have something to give, once their teacher is gone?

The environment that exists within the Fellowship of Friends – the REB invented route to “Self-Remembering” – is colored by so many prescribed modes of strict behavior, great attention to clothing, jewelry, fine dining, and the cultivation of cultural arts. This rarified, gilded environment has nothing to do with Gurdjieff or his “practice”, as you call it. If the Fellowship of Friends members were seriously interested in Gurdjieff’s practice they’d be learning the Movements – and that is not available to them.

…and just think of the man at the helm of the Fellowship of Friends, what we have learned about his personal expression – of his own – “study of the body.”

82. shardofoblivion - March 19, 2015

#78 M.P.Taylor says “Many teachers become lost on their journey, falling asleep in the imagination of themselves (happens to me constantly), and they start to replace their teaching with personal desires and attachments.”
So M.P.Taylor you are able to see other teachers becoming lost, as they “fall asleep” on their journey. That sounds very like the falsely modest, self congratulatory tone Fellowship people adopt towards “life”. I think all who were members probably can remember a time when we felt that way about things, we the lucky ones who had stumbled across the truth, and trying our best not to waste the opportunity. But it is possible to step away from that mind set, and to see that we are in the same position as everybody else. Your use of work language like “higher level of Being” seemed mannered. And don’t forget the man you simperingly still call “Robert” is a manipulative psychopathic sexual predator, whose idea of fun is to force a heterosexual man to partake in homosexual acts.

83. leaf - March 20, 2015

Terrific responses to the M.P.Taylor commentary. I appreciate how the writers in this forum will sometimes challenge comments that have an apologetic tone toward this cult and its leader.

I’m trying to remember something about posters like M.P.: I want to see them as sincere, breathing individuals with hopes and dreams, with joys and sorrows, like all of us, and take their words at face value. They apparently believe what they’re saying, and have continued to believe it… in this case, for over 20 years. And maybe they haven’t quite processed it, or don’t want to process it, and this doesn’t make them a lesser human being in any way. They’re walking their paths, just as anyone is.

But whatever the thinking behind the words, the words themselves are evidence that indoctrination can last for years or decades. If no one at least gives a quick glance, old attitudes and ways of thinking can creep in. The same can be said about many wider issues concerning race, religion, politics, women’s issues, same-sex marriage, climate change, and so on.

If you’re in the cult right now and reading this…

Keep in mind that you’ll be asked to leave the moment you advance any topic that questions the cult. That alone is a very bad sign. For all the weirdness you see in climate-change denials, or in stone-age attitudes towards women, or in bizarre, convulted arguments against gay marriage, at least the world at large (for now) enables discussion, contention, dissent, disagreement. And the FOF is higher than “life”?

84. paul gregory - March 20, 2015

‘Results’ reminds me of something the comedian Harry Hill said about heroin: ‘It’s terribly moreish, I’ve heard’.
As the rest of the world is ‘asleep’, who will appreciate your ‘results?’ Who will ‘give a shit?’ If you don’t continue with the practice, the cult, what will happen to your ‘results?’ So you stay because you don’t want to lose your ‘results’. All the crap you’ve paid for, the references, the language, the ‘verifications’ are meaningless, even to other fourth way groups, from what I gather. Will your ‘results’ die? Only if you can’t find a successful way to market them. Or will the ‘results’ be carefully counted up before the pearly gates? ‘Ooooohhhh, look at you, what a lovely load of ‘results!’ Haven’t you done well?’ But that would only happen if you were ‘attached’ to your ‘results’, and that’s just a fools game. Transcend attachment to the ‘results’ game. Work the work in its pure workness in the nowness.
Bet everything on ‘results’ paying off – your ancestors, your children, who you really are, but better, because you paid for who you really are, and, at the same time, know your so much more than that. Transcend the cool-aid by not tasting the cool-aid, by being better than the cool-aid, one step ahead of it. And yet, mysteriously, as Rilke suggested, ‘Embrace the pervert transexual satanist.’ While the money lasts and you can still eat soup silently without causing undue attention to yourself. (That is, if your allowed to eat.)

85. nigel harris price - March 20, 2015

Just to centralize the REAL SUBJECT MATTER OF LIFE…..


86. Messages From Marconi - March 20, 2015

81. Golden Veil – March 19, 2015

“If the Fellowship of Friends members were seriously interested in Gurdjieff’s practice they’d be learning the Movements…”

(Clip of “Sherborne House”)


Ben Bennett (John Bennett’s son): “If you can get a copy of the first edition of ‘Witness’ you will find a detailed description of his [John Bennett’s] conversion to Catholicism,and the experiences leading to it. He cut most of the Subud passages from the final edition ten years later. If you can’t find a first edition, I’ll transcribe this paragraph and post it when I have the time, but briefly, Bennett had a pivotal vision of Christ while doing Latihan in Mexico in March 1959, and synchronously, became friends with two French Benedictine monks, who wanted to be opened in Subud. These two events seem to have pointed him towards Christian practice. Right after this time, he gave the lectures which are reproduced in ‘Christian Mysticism and Subud’, which is full of useful material.”

Of all the Gurdjieff characters produced by the disinformation of “teaching” John Bennett, the founder of “Sherborne House,” was undoubtedly the craziest flake of them all.

87. Parson Yorick - March 20, 2015

Some of us did join the Gurdjieff Foundation or other groups such as Annie Staveley’s group in Oregon or the Land House Group in Occidental and did do movements after leaving “the school.” I think that results varied. 🙂

88. Messages From Marconi - March 20, 2015

87. Parson Yorick – March 20, 2015

“Some of us did join the Gurdjieff Foundation or other groups such as Annie Staveley’s group in Oregon or the Land House Group in Occidental and did do movements after leaving ‘the school.’ I think that results varied.”

The “Gurdjieff Movements” perform the same psychological function in these cults as marching drills in the military produce in the psychology of troops. The result is psychological conditioning: automated physical brainwashing into a groupthink, lockstep mentality.

89. ton2u - March 20, 2015

re: mp taylor@ 78 “…Personally, I did have several, non-drug induced, third state experiences while in the fellowship because if you sincerely follow The Fourth Way psychology it will yield results. And, to his credit, Mr. Burton has brought together a community in which this system is practiced. There are good folks who, despite Roberts nonsense, have managed to obtain a higher level of Being and have worked very hard to create an environment condusive to Mr. Gurdjieffs practice.”

Please consider; if your goal was/ is “third state experiences” and toward that end you put your faith in a “system” promulgated by burton via the FOF, a “system” of thought/ emotion / behavior control which you imply (above), is a bastardization of a ‘purer’ system as practiced and espoused by “Mr’ Gurdjieff,” I suggest that the ‘system’ – whether ‘gurdjieff of burton or freud, or etc, is not the point. To think otherwise is simple dogmatism typical of the type of follower ideally suited for fleecing by the likes of a burton (or gurdjieff, or ananda, or bennett, or freud, etc). Focus on dogma and connecting it to purported ‘results’ tells me you’re only deluding yourself (and not fooling anyone here).

Know this, whatever “system” you may chose to adopt (or whatever ‘system’ choses you), it’s your own expectations and the working of your imagination in combination with belief and faith in a given system, which influences and determines this idea of “something to be gained” – i.e. the ‘results.’ You see, it’s all in your head… what are you going to do with your “higher state” anyway? what are your intentions? how do you imagine you’re going to use your acquired “powers” ?

I think the emphasis in your post on ‘results’ and ‘something to be gained’ through contact with the FOF is simply a dim reflection of the narcissist burton and the narcissistic tendencies of those who are attracted to his “system.”

results may vary…


90. ton2u - March 20, 2015
91. Parson Yorick - March 20, 2015

Marconi said: “The “Gurdjieff Movements” perform the same psychological function in these cults as marching drills in the military produce in the psychology of troops. The result is psychological conditioning: automated physical brainwashing into a groupthink, lockstep mentality.” SInce I’m a Vietnam era veteran I’ve done both. In my opinion they are not the same. The military drills were much easier.

92. Messages From Marconi - March 20, 2015

The Gurdjieff Movements effectively acclimates the participants into the generalized absurdity of the Beelzebub (translation: Lord of the Flies) cult. The G movements, the G music, the repetitive G book readings, the ludicrous G “exercises,” the G cosmology and the rest of the insanity creates a pretend reality for the cult followers who become entirely detached from commonsense and yet are convinced that they far wiser than everyone else. In the Gurdjieff Foundation and related organizations the science fiction reality invented by Gurdjieff convinces the denizens of the cult that they are actually experiencing a higher reality when in reality they are living in a hypnotic folktale. Incomprehensibly, they insist that their crackpot saint was the most practical man alive in spite of his insistence, for instance, that a completely accurate statue of a person can be reproduced from a small measurement of the individual’s nose using a special “nine point” formula discovered by Gurdjieff himself.

You’ve got to be a moldering idiot to take any of this seriously and yet thousands do. They believe they are more awake.

93. WhaleRider - March 20, 2015

I agree with Marconi, the difficulty of the G movements is not the issue here, for any repeated activity no matter how complex becomes trance inducing over time. Learning a complex activity might raise awareness in the beginning, yet using the accomplishment to feed one’s grandiosity and inflate the ego could just as easily become Self defeating.

IMO, the movements were probably an extension of G’s unconscious need to treat his followers as sub-human, narcissistic artifacts and objects with whom he can play and abuse like toys…while his followers entertain the fantasy that maybe they too, will be able to kill a yak at 200 yards with the power of their mind like G claimed he could do.

(I prefer to use the word fantasy, rather than demonize the word imagination.)

I don’t think it is a question of idiocy, though, IMO, it’s a question of having enough healthy self-esteem to not allow others to treat one like an object or thier plaything…and to be able to disginuish on a gut level the difference between megalomaniac delusion and reality.

94. ton2u - March 20, 2015

re: “megalomaniac delusion and reality.”

this begs the question again: “what is reality”


is it a state of mind? I would say this has to be factored in… along with whatever a strict materialist may have to say in this connection… cultural milieu, beliefs, and predispositions in general color and influence ‘reality’ for the individual… in this case, “reality” for the burtonite, i.e. a follower of burton – is based on megalo-manical delusions – unfortunately (imo) this is “reality” for them.

for your consideration:

95. WhaleRider - March 20, 2015

ton2u, as I was writing that last word in my post, “reality”, I had a strong intuition it would push your buttons, and your post made me smile from ear to ear…I can tell the word conjures up an ontological genie in your mind, but I decided to use it anyway to contrast the word, “delusion”…but also notice I added “gut feeling” as the calibrating instrument of perception.

For once the mind detaches from the body it can perceive infinite realities…or reality tunnels, if you will

But IMO, in Wilson’s analogy, it is only his ego that is at the end of the tunnel looking out…a small part of the Greater Self. Delusions usually place one in the center of the universe.

The master who makes the grass BLUE…is hidden unseen in his dreams.

96. ton2u - March 21, 2015

yes, that’s how ‘conversations’ work (sometimes)… where one “speaker” leaves off another picks up the thread… ok, so I’m predictable that way… you on the other hand surprised me, I thought you might go after Wilson as a narcissitic drug addicted ‘flake’ or some such… but leave the smearing to marconi this time.
as for conjuring up an ‘ontological genie’ I’m not sure about that… not sure i understand where you’re going with the “gut feeling as the calibrating instrument of perception” – that seems like a “given” in any case — whether ideation is delusional or “reality” based, or somewhere in between, ‘gut feelings’ are ‘defacto’ part of the perception…

barbara, tempus fugit, et al, apologies for my part in the chaos here… depending on how you look at it, maybe there’s yet a silver lining

97. Golden Veil - March 21, 2015

23. WhaleRider March 20, 2015

“… it’s a question of having enough healthy self-esteem to not allow others to treat one like an object or thier plaything…and to be able to disginuish on a gut level the difference between megalomaniac delusion and reality.”

It seems that the Fellowship of Friends draws mainly people who are seekers “In Search of the Miraculous”, or especially vulnerable people (low self esteem) that feel there’s something lacking in their lives, or they’re simply young, at loose ends, and seeking meaning or even a father figure. One long time member told me that the Fellowship of Friends gave him “something to belong to, something to “do”. Many of the students who (often inadvertently) come into contact with a charismatic authoritarian teacher like Robert Earl Burton find that they finally feel better, their hole is filled. Once they begin to pay dues and make a commitment to the Fellowship of Friends, they find, in the words of Devo, “Freedom from Choice.” In the Fellowship of Friends, its not repetitive, regimented movements or chants that beguiles its members, it’s human relationships between people bound by rules and strict self conduct, almost like a sado-masochistic relationship. As rough, lonely, and difficult it is, it’s healthy to break away from this kind of sick dependency.

98. shardofoblivion - March 21, 2015

#97 Golden Veil puts a finger on the reason behind so many of the communities and religions that humans belong to. And to some extent I sense it is something we all are subject to to a greater or lesser extent. Freedom from Choice is a seductive state, though we normally don’t like to put it that way when it applies to ourselves in the current life situation, we might call it following a teaching or having an aim or having precious friends. I guess the problem with the fellowship (and many other cults) is that the leader is rotten to the core. In the spirit of illustrating with a video, I offer this chilling tale of seduction and betrayal (and the repeated vocal can get inside your ears and stay there)

99. WhaleRider - March 21, 2015

Thank you for your post.

I agree that using the word “reality” is problematic and inevitably leads one to the ontological discussion of whether or not reality is a purely subjective tunnel and hence subject to confirmation bias based upon one’s beliefs…beliefs that may have been unconsciously installed by the cultural soup in which one swims.

It is certainly possible to rub that lamp, and alter the tunnel’s light source, through various means discussed prior, and a genie will appear who can magically alter what you view at the other end…and yes, that may indeed alter a person’s view of reality…but my point is that it is usually wish fulfillment of the ego, resulting in ego inflation…or as we see in burton…a megalomaniacal delusional system with himself squarely in the center.

Wilson’s premise (borrowed from Timothy Leary, no less) that we each have our own separate “reality tunnels” manufactured by whichever particular brain happens to be at one end, and therefore reality is “what you can get away with”, IMO, starts one down the narrow path of solipsism…and hence tunnel vision…since no two people have the same acid trip…and although we may pass a joint around, yeah of us having our own separate reality tunnel seems to negate the ability of people to share the same subjective reality or same tunnel…or in other words, empathize with each other.

He seems to address the idea of shared reality when he speaks of Londonderry vs Derry, as defined depending upon one’s religious denomination, but he doesn’t expand upon the idea (in the short video clip, that is) that we can share reality and thus feel connected to each other.

Philosophically speaking, since no two people are exactly the same, no two perceptions of “reality” are exactly the same…yet we do share emotions…like at a concert or sporting event…and we do share the commonality of the collective unconscious…which, IMHO, can become distorted by viewing it through the lens of the ego.

Unless you have already heard of this, I wanted to introduce the idea of “intersubjectivity” to you…the idea that people can share the same subjective experience, which leads to the healing experience of rapport.

I may be wrong, but I have never experienced rapport with others using entheogens in a group setting…it’s usually everyone having their own trip like ships passing the night. It doesn’t seem possible to me. Even the MDMA Rave experience usually wears off.

And I don’t believe gut feelings are always de facto part of perception, that instinctual perceiving part of our organism can be overridden, muted and subverted. We witnessed that in the FOF cult when we were taught not to trust that part of ourselves.

At that point thinking can become distorted and a person can do harm to themselves, as seen in mental illness.

Aside from the implausible, bizarre quality of psychosis which makes that kind of hallucination more apparent to my intellect, it is the ego-centeredness of most, if not all delusions that trigger a response I feel in my gut that inform me of their presence. If I allow myself to become hypnotized by another person’s symptoms or while listening to them explain/justify/defend their delusional system…i.e. their particular reality tunnel, I have noticed my mind starts to detach from my gut and I run the risk of unconsciously adopting their delusion.

You bring up a very important point though, regarding cult members.

How does one deal with a cult member’s delusional system (or any religious zealot’s, for that matter) which has become their “reality”?

It’s like describing the promised land to a fish, when all they know is water.

The reality tunnel of the FOF cult is really not that far removed from what is happening with ISIS/ISIL in Iraq/Syria…if you don’t believe in my “system” than death to you…you are an apostate life person…and off with your head….in the metaphorical sense.

100. nigel harris price - March 21, 2015

101. ton2u - March 21, 2015

thanks for the discussion whalerider and thanks for clarifying, this helps.

“…since no two people have the same acid trip…and although we may pass a joint around, yeah of us having our own separate reality tunnel seems to negate the ability of people to share the same subjective reality or same tunnel…or in other words, empathize with each other.”

i disagree with this somewhat lurid characterization and i don’t think that is the point — it’s not about the “psychedelic” experience anymore than it’s about the “system.” but i think in a round-about way you do get it despite objecting to wilson’s presentation – another baby/bathwater situation ? how an individual processes reality is based partly on a given subjective ‘tunnel’ – the shape / circumstance of the tunnel is based on many factors — but in realizing the subjective / perceptual nature of “reality” (imo) wilson points toward a ‘collective condition’ – (wilson, leary, watts, zen buddhism, etc, it’s all derivative, not in the pejorative sense… and in some cases it is about the message, not the messenger or the “system”).

Painting a picture of ‘reality’ with the metaphor of a ‘tunnel’ can be instructive, it points to your / mine / OUR subjectivity and everything else’s when it comes to perception / reality…. be it human, beast, insect or leaf… etc. IMO, this realization should increase empathy and understanding…. to interpret it a little differently. Agreed, obviously an ego maniac confuses the matter by becoming trapped in his narrowed perspective and if he’s “talented” is certain ways he’s able to manipulate others into his narrow tunnel…. a spider preying.

The ‘processing’ individual perception is part of shared reality, I don’t think wilson advocates staying in your individual tunnel… but maybe that’s just me. “Processing” of individual experience of “reality” (I think that’s what wilson is doing), is the collective field where the connections and ‘corrections’ are made – or not – this occurs in ordinary conversation… in the ‘gestalt’ of a ‘Perlsian’ therapy session… or in cult programming and the ‘shared beliefs’ of ‘consensus reality,’ etc.

re: “brainwashing” — i’ve always thought the term an oxymoron:


102. ton2u - March 21, 2015

@ 100 thank you again Nigel for the link.

apologies to Barbara, Tempus F., et. al. — if obliquely, I generally try to at least ‘sprinkle in’ references to the nefarious actions of blow-job-bob and his “systematic” manipulations, but i hope you see some connection to the same through (some of my) free associating along… or not:

103. ton2u - March 21, 2015

Barbara, Tempus, et. al. – all this ‘talk’ regarding “reality” and perception has to do with “consciousness’ – something on which burton and his minions like to think they hold a monopoly… ha ha, so sad.

104. nigel harris price - March 21, 2015

Having some days or weeks to wait until I can make my move to South Wales and receiving psychiatric letters with obtuse facts, whereby the writer is making one think one has been at fault, whereas I distinctly remember there were badly administered (i.e. wrong) drugs, to which I developed allergic and near-deadly (on my part) reactions, I find myself BALANCING MYSELF with this blog and the rich material it is producing and the often VAST AND RICH WORKS on YouTube.

There was this conclusive thought that comes to me…..

…..maybe “Why am I ?” is a conscious thought that can lead in labrynthine ways to other questions (similarly conscious) about the human predicament…..

105. shardofoblivion - March 22, 2015

#99 Whalerider says “I may be wrong, but I have never experienced rapport with others using entheogens in a group setting…it’s usually everyone having their own trip like ships passing the night. It doesn’t seem possible to me. Even the MDMA Rave experience usually wears off.”
I have seen both effects. Yes very often taking a drug isolates the individual within a masturbatory experience of pleasure, and sometimes that’s fine, but too much of that will lead to a danger of habituation and addiction. But I have also experienced very close rapport and something akin to mind reading when taking LSD with one other individual, where the aim of the trip was to experience each other.

106. WhaleRider - March 22, 2015

Shardofoblivion, if you wouldn’t mind, I would love to hear more details about your shared experience with your friend on LSD. Am I wrong? Did you both have the exact same or similar hallucination? Do you remember what it was?

And Parson Yorick, I’m curious dude, has there been any lasting effect on your psyche from performing the G movements other than a few brief moments of heightened self awareness? I believe G suggested the dances were designed to “strengthen the will”, was that your experience? Do you feel the effect was produced by performing the actual movements or by the group experience as Marconi suggests, or a little of both? Do you ever practice them by yourself? Are you happier? I mean, I do feel happier after going to the gym, and really proud, too, when my 15 year old son goes with me.

As ton2u reminds us, we are free to talk openly about subjects such as the nature of reality, consciousness, use of entheogens or dreams without fear of excommunication from a cult on which we depend for our identity.

Hmmm… And it seems our friend Mr Taylor of Nevada City has vanished without a trace, taking his delusions with him, leading me to wonder about his motives for presenting such a one-sided conversation…can you hear that? It’s the sound of one hand clapping.

This seems like the behavior of a cult member to me, practicing “intentional insincerity” (as the FOFers euphemistically call lying) with us apostate life people to bolster the FOF’s public image in cyberspace and trigger our ire. (Bruce must be on vacation.)

Or maybe once confronted on his apparent contradictions, he realized he had not attained the level of “non-identification” he thought he had after sooo many years in the work.

Brave soul! This the risk one takes when airing one’s delusions out in the open…you could be deprived of them!

107. Golden Veil - March 22, 2015

93. / 106. WhaleRider

93. “IMO, the movements were probably an extension of G’s unconscious need to treat his followers as sub-human, narcissistic artifacts and objects with whom he can play and abuse like toys…”

106. “I believe G suggested the dances were designed to “strengthen the will”, was that your experience?”

I have not done the movements but I have seen them performed. I could not say whether they are efficacious in any way regarding effecting any sort of hypnotic trance state, higher consciousness.

The movements were purported by Gurdjieff to convey esoteric knowledge; that the movements can be “read”. Gurdjieff said that he acquired the movements from the Sarmoung Brotherhood.

Not a lot is known about the brotherhood, but you can read an account by an englishman, Major Desmond R. Martin from Documents on Contemporary Dervish Communities: A Symposium, Collected, edited, and arranged by Roy Weaver Davidson (London: The Octagon Press, 1966), pp. 22–24, here:


108. shardofoblivion - March 22, 2015

#106 Sure WR I can give a few more details. I took it with the woman who is now my wife, we had known each other for about 2 years when we took the trip, which was in my home, safe. We took more than we had previously (5 microdots each – probably about 500 micrograms) After some hours of laughter and listening to music together I remember staring at her face, and as I watched, it changed into other faces from other times, other races, old, young, she was staring back at me, and when I told her what I was seeing she smiled, and we felt very very close. Then we moved closer and had a still silent cuddle, and my perception was that I was both bodies, I had 4 arms and 4 legs, and we were all tangled up together, she told me afterwards that it was the same for her (we didn’t speak at the time, there was a hush in the room that we didn’t want to disturb).

109. ton2u - March 22, 2015

‘archetypal’ themes depicted in myths and occurring in dreams recur throughout recorded history and across cultures – see j. campbell and c. jung. as a layer of ‘reality’ these ‘themes’ form part of the connective tissue of the human psyche… maybe whalerider could speculate on possible psychological antecedents which would contribute to burton confusing eros and agape… (not that one necessarily excludes the other), but burton is obviously confused… if not conflicted… this business of a ‘goddess’ in a man’s body !?!? a ‘healthier’ way of dealing with his own psyche may have been a ‘sex change operation’ – and all that implies….


110. ton2u - March 22, 2015
111. ton2u - March 22, 2015

@ 101

” but i think in a round-about way you do get it…”

whaleridr, i don’t mean this as condescending… hope it’s not ‘heard’ / interpreted that way… just to be clearer; by ‘extrapolation’ from an ‘opposing’ (or another) perspective, you come to the point.

“He seems to address the idea of shared reality when he speaks of Londonderry vs Derry, as defined depending upon one’s religious denomination, but he doesn’t expand upon the idea (in the short video clip, that is) that we can share reality and thus feel connected to each other.”

expanding as you do, (imo) is implied in the statement…. interpretation depends on the ‘receiver.’

“a thing is a thing, not what is said of that thing.”

112. nigel harris price - March 22, 2015

Tripped into a trip without triptic acid or lysergic fairey dust …..

…..have just experienced YouTube – Daniel Barenboim playing Beethoven’s “Waldstein” Piano Sonata – incredibly difficult to play as well as getting intonation into the music…..something happened – now I have never taken hallucinogens, so do not know what this was…..becoming melted into the facial shots and hands shots, with the clever camera angles that capture maximised moments…..and the sheer brilliance of Bareboim…..shooting the music around me and I emitting back…..and the whole encapsulated so there was no need to worry about any lapse in concentration for the whole 27 minutes…..

…..another thing about Barenboim, that makes him one of my heroes, up there with Mandela, is that he formed the Palestine-Israeli Divan Youth Orchestra…..music for peace – I like that concept…..

“Blessed are the peacemakers, for they shall be called the children of God.”

As for Burton, the sooner he disappears up his own cosmic orifice and leaves the universe, the better…..he might say – “Armageddon outa here.”

113. Golden Veil - March 23, 2015

109. ton2u March 22, 2015

“… burton is obviously confused… if not conflicted… this business of a ‘goddess’ in a man’s body !?!? a ‘healthier’ way of dealing with his own psyche may have been a ‘sex change operation’ – and all that implies….”


114. paul gregory - March 23, 2015

109. ton2u March 22, 2015
That could be done in photoshop, you know. I can imagine the Marilyn photo where she’s above some air-vent, bob’s photo on top.
He’d have to get it steamed, if he went the whole hog. Essence of rose petals and lilacs.

115. nigel harris price - March 23, 2015

…..from DARA Tibet site – Common Addictions and Symptoms – can be Googled …..

Types of Addiction

It seems that every year there are new forms of addiction mentioned in the media. Some of the most common types include addiction to:

* Illegal drugs
* Alcohol
* Inhalants
* Prescription drugs
* Overeating
* Cigarettes
* Membership of cults ***********!!!!!!!!!!!
* Caffeine
* Chocolate and sugar
* Internet and TV
* Exercise
* Sex and pornography
* Gambling
* Anorexia and bulimia
* Work

Addictive Personality and Behaviors

It is a widely held belief that addiction is more likely to occur with certain personality types. While it is not an exact science there does seem to be certain characteristics that addicts tend to share. The addictive personality includes such traits as:

* High degree of tolerance for criminal behavior
* Prone to act impulsively
* Periods of depression
* Antisocial behavior
* History of attention seeking
* Low self-esteem and confidence
* An admiration for rebellious behavior
* Feels like an outsider
* Insecurity in relationships
* Anxiety
* They find it hard to wait for rewards

Christ !!! … see it in ourselves and we may see it in others … Nigel.

116. WhaleRider - March 23, 2015

Thank you for providing details about your trip with your wife. It sounds interesting. It appears you and your wife bonded over the experience which is wonderful. I suppose if at the onset of your journey it was both your intention to have a bonding experience, and you are still together, then you achieved just that.

I wonder, though, if by informing her of what you were hallucinating at that moment while looking at her influenced what see was seeing while looking at you?

I’m curious, did she also feel her body delightfully merging with yours at the same time during your embrace?

Had you both at that time had equal amounts of prior experience with entheogens? Who procured the drug? Whose idea was it to take it together?

Golden Veil:
Thank you for your post. I have too have seen videos of the dances, and personally witnessed someone demonstrate a series of the movements.

I can understand where Marconi is coming from; seeing the group’s synchronized movements did remind me of columns of soldiers marching in lockstep, and yes, the movements appear much more complex than marching in rows, as Parson Yorick informs us.

Although when I was a young boy in the Jr Naval Cadets, I remember the various movements we had to learn with our mock rifles were somewhat complex and exacting, and my memory of the difficulty I had learning them persists, yet not much afterward.

I will say that watching the performers do the G movements with accompanying music, one can see their fixed gaze with attention focused inward, a strong indicator of trance.

Personally, I don’t believe in the Sarmoung Brotherhood myth. And if the guru authority figure says there is hidden meaning in the dances, then the eager followers will undoubtedly verifabricate it.

I suppose the same could be said when looking for personal meaning in dreams, which is why I feel it is important and more enlightening to use the Gestalt technique when interpreting the symbolism contained in dreams rather than deriving the meaning solely from what is written a book.

Thank for your post. Please don’t hesitate to comment upon my posts, for I need peer review just like anyone else. I admit that I have little exposure to Mr Wilson’s body of work.

The video clip you provided appears to me as a visual depiction of a sea of floating, separate “reality tunnels”, without anything in common, supportive of the notion that “reality is whatever you can get away with”, (a view also held by Fox News), an opinion of which I don’t necessarily agree. While watching a film in a theater, for instance, most of the audience might share a common reality tunnel, at least temporarily.

Is one reality tunnel more imperative than another? It depends. Sometimes, yes, sometimes, no. I think everyone ought to be allowed to pursue their version of happiness…as long as they are not hurting themselves or others.

Re: burton’s inner goddess.

I don’t believe burton is a transsexual, otherwise she would probably want to dress as a woman, change her name to roberta, starting taking female hormones, and might seek a sex reassignment operation. Under those circumstances, that would be appropriate.

IMO, burton’s “inner goddess” imago is more than likely an idealized mental image of himself, probably stemming from an empathy failure on the part of his mother.

If a female goddess archetype did appear in a dream, he appears to be using it to inflate his ego and feed his megalomaniacal delusion.

I have my own theory of why he spreads this propaganda among his followers, but does anyone know how he arrived at this idea?

From what I have read, it might be more accurate to view addiction as a character trait, rather than a personality trait, if you can understand the difference.

117. shardofoblivion - March 23, 2015

WR asks “I wonder, though, if by informing her of what you were hallucinating at that moment while looking at her influenced what see was seeing while looking at you?

– Almost certainly. At that dose taken simultaneously, we sort of knew that the other was in a similar state of hallucination. What I have found happens at that point is if you keep moving your head around and looking quickly at different things in the room, you can maintain an almost sober picture of the surroundings. If a normal wandering gaze is employed there are distortions of the objects – fireplaces always start “breathing” for me- disappearing for an instant and reappearing half an inch higher, but never actually rising up. If I stare for longer than 15 seconds at something it will almost certainly become a hallucinatory tunnel into which I willingly fall. I get geometric patterns then big cosmic mandala like landscapes. So we knew we were both at that stage, and she was staring back at me, and my words would have been a huge input for her at that moment.

I’m curious, did she also feel her body delightfully merging with yours at the same time during your embrace?

Yes she did. It is an extension of a common experience I have had – if I fall asleep on the couch with my dog lying over me, fitting together, as I drift off, if I sense myself I can also seem to sense his contentment and physical ease. So on the trip we both rested quietly and still in a simple embrace. As time passed the feeling of contact at the surface increased, as if we both had much more surface area than before, and all of it was very aware of the other, the smell and heat of another body. Then as we stayed still and didn’t move a muscle I felt her legs and arms become mine, and then the rest of her body. We did eventually murmur to each other, and she was feeling the same things – and I sort of knew that without asking.

Had you both at that time had equal amounts of prior experience with entheogens?

I had a little more experience with Acid but she had taken it years before we met, and had also tried mescaline. After our first trip together she did say she liked my set and setting approach, she had generally taken drugs at festivals or in nightclubs before.

Who procured the drug? I did

Whose idea was it to take it together? We both enjoyed tripping together. It was early 1990s and MDMA was a new thing for us both. We had previously enjoyed taking MDMA together on several occasions, which were huge long intimate conversion sessions really, with some sex at the end before going to sleep. So when some acid microdots became available we both wanted to take a really strong trip together.

118. WhaleRider - March 23, 2015

This link describes the false self that burton’s narcissism has created (and the repercussions to those around him)….the delusion that he is a spiritual “teacher”, a “goddess in a man’s body”, a lie he has repeated enough times that his followers believe him…


119. Bares Reposting - March 23, 2015

It’s deja vu all over again. Supposedly celibate guru is discovered to be sexually abusing dozens of women in his religious community. This time it’s a guy I knew for a few years in the 80s when I was a manager in the Siddha Yoga religious community. Once a smart funny guy from Brooklyn, Russel Kruckman stopped doing drugs once he started getting high on Eastern mysticism. He followed Swami Muktananda, my original ex-guru, no slouch in the sexual predator department himself, and became a Swami (monk), Swami Shankarananda. Caught seducing too many women in Muktananda’s and later Gurumayi’s ashram, he was kicked out. Unfazed, Shankarananda moved to Melbourne and started his own Ashram community, calling it Shiva Yoga.

Now about 40 women have come forward alleging charges of rape, and Shankarananda is the subject of a police investigation. In Australia, these guys tend not to get away with this stuff, unlike here.

I bring this to your attention not for the schadenfreude, but because one of the women he abused decided to speak publically about how it all happened. Of course she was immediately vilified by Shankarananda’s propaganda machine; but then many of the other women who were abused stepped forward, and the police stepped in to investigate. I thought her public declaration was courageous, and extremely important to help those who do not understand what this kind of narcissism, Shankarananda’s, is like, and how traumatizing and abusive it is. Here is her letter:

Dear Shiva Yoga community,

I have felt for a while that I have needed to share a public statement. Not out of hate but concern for everybody involved. I love everybody in the community very much and it was very painful for me to wake up to the reality of what has gone on at Shiva yoga. I was in a denial that allowed me to cope. I knew that if I ever “spoke” of what was happening to me that I would no longer be permitted to be a part of Shiva yoga.

There is no end to my disappointment in Devi Ma who I have loved dearly, as well as Vani, the Swamis and Centre leaders whom remain there. I feel that they are not only ignoring the facts but are also condoning sexual abuse. And all in a community where I was led to believe that love, compassion and truth were the practise and goal. I loved my job/dharma as a swami and it was heartbreaking to stop serving others. But I could not condone the abuse once I continued to hear of others. I know some women may not feel abused. Some believe and feel like it’s a sacred act and feel special, others confused and many are completely traumatised by it. I am not to judge on anyone’s position only I feel a responsibility to share some of my own experience.

I would like to express my apology for not speaking sooner as I may have been able to protect other victims. I feel a great regret over this. I am aware of the backlash and vilifying that has and most likely will occur from me speaking. Some people that have stood up have been attacked. I feel however that there is nothing for me to be afraid of. I speak only from my heart. Every day I worry about my sisters who I love dearly and who still remain there.

When I came to live at the ashram I was never informed of “Tantra” in the way of sex, sexual rituals or anything of the like. Had I known that, there is no way I would have stayed. Not only was I already a victim of rape, but I was just about to go through a second trial at the county courts in Melbourne. I came because my sister and father were trying to help me and I was looking for spiritual guidance. As another woman has said in her testimony, I also do not want to put every distressing detail here. I only wish to clarify some facts to help those who remain confused. As one of Swami Shankarananda’s ‘victims’ I have had to ask myself some difficult questions: Was I coerced? – Yes. Was I manipulated? – Yes. Was I scared? – Yes. Did I ask for the “tantric” relationship to stop? – Yes many times. Was I silenced? – Yes. Did Swamiji ever listen to what I wanted? – No. Did Swamiji care that I had a partner? – No. Did Swamiji ever allow me to speak to anyone when I felt I needed help about it and was having panic attacks? – No. (He told me that wanting to tell the truth was a wrong understanding spiritually and that I had to learn to lie.) Did Swamiji care that I was scared? – No (He got angry at me. Told me I was neurotic, weak, and that I would not attain spiritually speaking.) Did Swamiji give me a choice to stop? – Well when I begged him, he stopped temporarily, but started again quite quickly. He also made sure I felt condemned, guilty, and ostracised by saying things like “you’re dead to me”, “I don’t want to speak to you. There is no love between us anymore.” “This (tantric/physical relationship) is all I want from you”, and “you should obey the Guru”.

I trusted Swamiji at the time. I was extremely devoted and continued to ask him why there had to be a physical element to our relationship that I didn’t want; wasn’t my love enough? Yet he remained relentless, never taking no for an answer. Even then I believed he had my best interests at heart, that it was my fault, my shortcomings and that I just had to “put up” with this difficult situation, and that it was, as he had told me, “my sadhana” (spiritual path).

There is no denying that I wanted to be close to him. I was told that my relationship to him was my path to God. I wanted to feel close to God. But I never signed up, or asked him for a “tantric” sexual relationship. I completely understand the needs of other women who had shared in anonymity, as the unfortunate response from the Ashram is what has kept many silent, unable to heal. To talk has been what has helped me. I hope that anyone else suffering through this abuse is able to seek the help they need. The counselling services such as CASA, Nigels team at Integrative psychology has been a great help to me. Also reading ‘sex and the spiritual teacher’ helped me understand how and why these things happen. My love goes out to everyone in the Shiva yoga community both men and women, in and out.

Leila McCann, (formerly Swami Priyananda Saraswati)

Only when those who have been abused have the courage to speak out will predators be brought to justice. If you have been abused, are being abused, know of someone being abused – speak out.

See it here:

120. Bares Reposting - March 23, 2015

Only when those who have been abused have the courage to speak out will predators be brought to justice. If you have been abused, are being abused, know of someone being abused – speak out.

121. ton2u - March 24, 2015

re: “reality tunnels”
the ‘video clip’ was not necessarily intended as an endorsement of ‘mr. wilson’s body of work’ (i would imagine he’d rather be referred to as ‘bob’ or ‘robert’). the discussion here turned toward questions of “reality” and perception which reminded me of some of his musings on the subjective nature thereof… (many others have likewise mused).

much as it may rub the ‘materialistic rational scientist’ in you the wrong way, i think we can agree that there is validity to the notion of the subjective / perceptual nature of “reality” as we humans know it… that was my point in posting the link. as for the ‘video clip’ – i wouldn’t get too caught up in the presentation – equating this with fox news makes me think you miss the point of the cynics’ perspective and lack an ironic sense of humor (?) in any case there can be a problem with literalism.

i think i understand in part the tendency here to ‘attack’ the messenger, or at least to be skeptical, especially after being hoodwinked by burton and all that nonsense, it’s to be expected… and these types of ‘filters’ are not necessarily a ‘bad thing’ but sometimes a message can get lost or dismissed outright because of the presentation in combination with subjective ‘conditioning’ or rather one’s reaction to – i suggest this can sometimes be an impediment to understanding… the ‘baby / bathwater’ situation.

when it comes to RAW there’s plenty of fodder for dismissing him as a ‘crackpot,’ or a ‘kook’ or a ‘loon,’ or a ‘flake’ or a ‘narcissist’ or a ‘drug addict,’ etc etc… but that’s part of what i happen to like about him. when i read his illuminati trilogy back around 1978 i was still young and impressionable and it did make an impression… i believe that book contained the first reference to gurdjieff that i’d come across, i was intrigued and investigated the ‘matter’ further… the rest is as they say ‘history.’

for fodder and mutter:


122. Golden Veil - March 24, 2015

Nigel: An addiction is an addiction is an addiction is an addiction.

Bares Reposting: A shyster sexual opportunist guru is a shyster sexual opportunist guru is a shyster sexual opportunist guru.

A rose is a rose is a rose is a rose is a rose. Gertrude Stein

123. nigel harris price - March 24, 2015

118 WhaleRider

On this subject, if we were naieve, we were not our true selves; if we were fearful or non-existent, we were not our true selves; any amount of these features behind which we have hidden for years, UNTIL NOW, when the rich experiences of life WITHOUT THE FALSEHOOD OF ROBERT EARL BURTON AND OTHER SUCH (THE FOF WAS/IS NOT ALONE IN THE SEX, GREED AND DEPRAVITY DEPARTMENT) thrust us to the very promontory of existence, so that our life’s blood nourishes others. To you all hear I wish you thanks…..

To all who are still inkling the fof dinkling…..

“Pose if you like; go take a hike!!!!!”


124. nigel harris price - March 24, 2015

“Turner placed human beings in many of his paintings to indicate his affection for humanity on the one hand (note the frequent scenes of people drinking and merry-making or working in the foreground), but its vulnerability and vulgarity amid the ‘sublime’ nature of the world on the other. ‘Sublime’ here means awe-inspiring, savage grandeur, a natural world unmastered by man, evidence of the power of God – a theme that romanticist artists and poets were exploring in this period. To Turner, light was the emanation of God’s spirit and this was why he focused the subject matter of his later paintings by leaving out distractions such as solid objects and detail, concentrating on the play of light on water, the radiance of skies and fires. Although these late paintings appear to be ‘impressionistic’ and therefore a forerunner of the French school, Turner was striving for expression of spirituality in the world, rather than responding primarily to optical phenomena.”

from, Wikipedia, regarding the British Romanticist painter, J.M.W. Turner

125. WhaleRider - March 24, 2015

I don’t know of many “materialistic rational scientists” who pay that close attention to the symbolism in dreams as I do, since dreams are irrational, immaterial, and cannot be quantifiably measured in time and space…yet can be scaled in subjective emotional intensity and personal meaning.

I know what you mean about attacking the messenger…

BTW, I was assessing Mr Graham in my prior post as a reformed “narcissist drug addict” based upon his own self-report; I do applaud his successful recovery and wish him well.

I also have read of successful outcomes using LSD in a controlled setting to treat hard core chronic alcoholics when nothing else worked, due in part, IMO, to the difficulty a person with NPD has with self-exploration and introspection….for the world has the problem, not them.

As I mentioned, the drug induced psychedelic experience may indeed open a door to their inner world in a way that is meaningful, lasting, and put them on a spiritual path leading away from self destruction.

So rest assured, I like babies, but not at the expense of drowning them in dirty bath water. A nice sponge bath might also do the trick for most.

Funny you should bring up addiction; we have some synchronicity here. I’m currently reading a book about addiction with the provocative subtitle, “Narcissus in Wonderland”, which explores the role both fantasy and megalomania play in addiction, which does seem to fit the mindset of the cult leader and follower. The authors deem addicts as “fantasy addicts and control freaks”, which seems to describe burton fairly well.

126. ton2u - March 24, 2015

whalerider… “I don’t know of many “materialistic rational scientists” who pay that close attention to the symbolism in dreams as I do…”

didn’t mean to imply that the ‘rational scientific’ perspective is all there is to who you are… i know there’s more to it, more to you than that part which weighs ‘data’ against anecdote…. 😉

127. M.P.Taylor - March 25, 2015

Are there any Fourth Way students connected with this post? For those confused about the work and the abuse of it, I would suggest not throwing the baby out with the bath water. Those who don’t understand what Being is should probably stay out of any conversation regarding The Fourth Way until they do some work first learning about it then possibly trying to apply the methods to themselves to avoid confusing real results from some deranged anomaly.

128. ton2u - March 25, 2015

127 m.p. t. (empty)
seriously ?
if you’re joking, you’re not very funny…. if you’re serious, you’re very sad.

129. shardofoblivion - March 25, 2015

“some deranged anomaly”
has a definite ring to it
Being Grigory Sokolov

130. WhaleRider - March 25, 2015

Thanks Shardofoblivion for your post. I appreciate your openness and honesty.

One last question: as a result of your hallucinated experience of merging bodies with your wife in a non-sexual manner, in retrospect, do you feel you incorporated her as a separate individual into your being or would you say you incorporated your projection of her into your being?

I’d also be interested in hearing her interpretation of the experience.

131. jomopinata - March 25, 2015


Actually, I suggest jettisoning the entirety of the language and presumptions of the so-called “Fourth Way.” There is no baby there, only filthy bathwater. Freeing oneself from the prison of the Fourth Way is a gradual process; the tentacles of its particular mindfuck run very deep.

In “Notes on the Decision to Work,” Ouspensky cautioned, “Think very seriously: are you really ready and willing to obey, and do you fully understand the necessity for it? There is no going back. If you agree and then go back, you will lose everything that you have acquired up to that time, and you will lose more really, because all that you acquired will turn into something wrong in you.”

Despite Ouspenky’s owning up to having feet of clay and his later decision to scuttle “the system,” O.’s statement here captures a nugget of truth: That which binds us to discipleship in this ideological blueprint for authoritarian social organization is by its nature fundamentally rotten and should be discarded. The former Man #4 (also called “the mark” or “the manipuland”) may come to recognize that the presuppositions, ideas and practices of or associated with the Fourth Way are profoundly wrongheaded, that the Gurdjieff/Ouspensky/Collin/Nicoll-elaborated system maps territories which are purely imaginary, and that everything one thought one had “acquired” is worthless and must be discarded, or completely recontextualized and reformulated, in light of experience.

Ouspensky’s “Notes on the Decision to Work” may be regarded as a stone in the wall of superstitious avoidance of examination of your own experience. If you buy into O.’s authoritarian stern-talk premises, you can’t reevaluate or ever leave “The Work” “because all that you acquired will turn into something wrong in you.” (After all, Ouspensky said it, so I guess that settles it.) And as one begins to discover that “all that one acquired” in The Work has the utility of termite-infested balsa wood, and indeed amounts to “something wrong in you,” O’s words begin to feel prophetic.

But soldier on, O brave Former Student, O resolute ex-manipuland! If you do, you may realize that it was not “leaving the work” that turned it into “something wrong in you.” It was “something wrong” from the get-go, something that engaged you and deceived you at a moment when you were looking to inhabit the wholeness that belongs to you. That wholeness still belongs to you, even while the Fourth Way’s insidious mindfuck temporarily distracts and misleads you. Talk back to the Fourth Way and subject its flawed and rotten pronouncements to critical scrutiny. Take back your own power that this authoritarian system deceived you into relinquishing. No one can stop you once you start. Your wholeness awaits.

132. WhaleRider - March 25, 2015

Awesome post, jomopinata! You rock!

133. jomopinata - March 25, 2015

Many years ago I attended a talk by William Patrick Patterson, a true “Fourth Way” believer if I ever encountered one. In the midst of his talk he said, “I don’t take people who criticize The Work seriously.”

I stood up and walked out. His announcement that there could be no legitimate criticism of “The Work” was evidence that the particular mixture of blindness and shame avoidance called narcissism hobbled his perspective, and rendered him defensively invulnerable. It takes a certain fortitude and intelligent flexibility to be able to listen and respond thoughtfully to criticism, all the more so if the nub of the criticism touches a nerve. It was apparent he did not have those strengths at that time, and thus his derisory statement pre-empted potentially critical questioning. If you have something critical to say about the work, I won’t take you seriously, was the message.

Your loss, dude.

134. Tim Campion - March 25, 2015


Thanks for the brilliant and concise assessment of the “4th Way student” dilemma. I hope those followers in Mr. Braverman’s generation read this.

135. silentpurr - March 25, 2015

..remembering a comment RB made in my presence on the subject of “everything turning wrong in one”. He said that when someone leaves the FOF, all the wonderful appreciation for the classical arts turns sour and will be negatively associated.
Robert, if you are reading this…it didn’t happen that way for

136. jomopinata - March 25, 2015

“One day Ouspensky instructed me to chastise on his behalf one of the people who had come from England with him after many years in the System, someone who in England had been almost as close to the central core as I now was. I could not do it. I would not, because I felt I would be doing something wrong towards this person and no less wrong to myself. Maybe, the person was a fool, but I was not going to be the instrument for chastisement for some minor thing, so minor that I have even forgotten what it was.

This incident, plus the remark of the couple who assumed I must be highly developed, disturbed me because it seemed an invitation to begin exerting power over people. I did not want to believe that Ouspensky had lost insight, and yet I felt that he had, or he would realise that however good or agreeable to him my intelligence might
be in matters outside his System, I was not fit to be thought of as being in any way superior. I thought that the very last thing anyone should be encouraged in was arrogant action. I had that potential and I knew it.

Soon after this, Ouspensky mentioned he had heard of an exceptionally good restaurant where he intended to go to dinner some time. Then an afternoon came when he instructed me to cancel the lecture set for that evening because he wanted to go to dinner at this restaurant which had very good food and wine. I cancelled the lecture
and informed as many of the people as possible. Ouspensky then asked me to go out to dinner at this restaurant with him. It was a most excellent dinner, but during it I felt the time had come when I must ask him for an explanation as to how he could consider that this dinner justified the sudden cancellation of a lecture. Where did such action fit into the System, and where also did his violent temper towards some people fit in?

The thought went through my mind several times: Is it I who do not understand? Is it I who have lost all sense of proportion? Is it I who am being temperamental in feeling that I have a right to seek an explanation and not to take all this for granted as being in order?

When the coffee came, I asked: “Can you, or will you, explain how it is you could cancel a lecture at a few hours notice for the sake of this dinner? I don’t understand. And I am sorry to feel compelled to ask you; but do you lose your temper with people consciously, or because you have lost control of yourself? You do not lose your temper with me in this way…”

“They are such fools,” he said. “I’ve lost control of my temper.” “But surely, if we are to try to control our negative emotions, we cannot learn from you, if you can’t control yours,” I said. Ouspensky answered bluntly: “I took over the leadership to save the System.
But I took it over before I had gained enough control over myself. I was not ready. I have lost control over myself. It is a long time since I could control my state of mind.”

“Will you not try to gain control over your temper for everybody thinks you are testing them when you fly at them,” I said, for it never entered my head that Peter Ouspensky was not speaking the truth.

“They are fools!” he said contemptuously.

“But I really feel I have learned something from the System,” I said.

“Then you are the only one who ever has!” said Ouspensky.

“I have really tried.” I said, “tried for myself.”

“The others are deluding themselves. They have never gained anything,” Ouspensky said.”

The Case of P.D. Ouspensky, by Marie Seton, who served as O.’s secretary and translator during the 1940s.

137. Messages From Marconi - March 25, 2015

Reposting: In “Notes on the Decision to Work,” Ouspensky cautioned, “Think very seriously: are you really ready and willing to obey, and do you fully understand the necessity for it? There is no going back. If you agree and then go back, you will lose everything that you have acquired up to that time, and you will lose more really, because all that you acquired will turn into something wrong in you.”

At the time when Ouspensky said this he was in the same position to “self-remembering” as M. P. Taylor seems to be, that is, in a religiously deluded state of self-righteousness. Even so, what he said is true. Esoteric knowledge when rejected or forgotten does in a sense turn into something wrong within the psychology of the unfortunate person in question.

As one example, what happens in the psychology of an individual who once understood that people are planetary types but has forgotten that obvious fact of life? This is just one of many possible examples. There are dozens of such scientifically incomprehensible points of esoteric knowledge, Fourth Way knowledge, that can become obvious under certain conditions, but disappear from the understanding of people under different conditions. Imagine losing sight of the fact that people are planetary types, how incredibly absurd. Yet planetary types is just one detail contained in the overall knowledge of the Fourth Way.

138. ton2u - March 25, 2015

you can choose your delusion… you can choose your friends… but you can’t choose your friends’ delusion(s). it may be the other way around – a delusion chooses you.


139. Tempus Fugit - March 26, 2015

Thanks jomopinata, great post.

For myself, in order to fully recover from the profound harm caused by Robert Burton and the FOF I found it necessary to reject all so-called Fourth Way ideas and many other things strongly associated with the cult

Although I support people here who enjoy discussion of Fourth Way and related spiritual concepts, I sometimes wonder if such discussions are just subtle ways of trying to reduce cognitive dissonance. In other words, is it just a way of saying “Okay, so Burton and the group were corrupt, but we weren’t fooled by the ideas, they were good, right?”

I feel the same about attempts to say that aspects of FOF culture were valuable, as in “Well, certainly no one can object to the value of learning about great European art and culture of centuries past, can they?”

Well, I can and do. Why would you want to decorate your home or your mind with the tastes of a cult leader who has harmed you and so many good people? The Nazis used the skin of some of their murder victims to make lampshades. Would you have one in your home and say “But it gives such nice light!”

An extreme comparison? Maybe, but that’s how strongly I feel about it.

If you keep bathing in dirty water, can you ever get clean?

In my own recovery I found it important, in fact inevitable and commanding, to reject the FOF experience fully, and to reconnect with my spirit from the time of early adulthood just before I joined the FOF. That’s where I found my yearning and seeking younger Self waiting – waiting to reconnect with my now experienced older Self and resume our journey.

140. shardofoblivion - March 26, 2015

#137 “Imagine losing sight of the fact that people are planetary types, how incredibly absurd.”

Marconi – I have managed the unimaginable. Whilst during the 1980s I was body typing like a bird spotter, and enjoying the process. I noticed it began to feel uncomfortably close to the derided attitudes of sexism and racism. Categorising people – writing them off in an instant. So when I left the FoF in 1990 it was one of the first habits I tried to drop, and now I can honestly say that I don’t notice what type people are, and I feel better for it, more able to meet them.

141. jomopinata - March 26, 2015

Apollo Education Group in Talks to Buy Fellowship of Friends Retreat in Oregon House

OREGON HOUSE (YUBA COUNTY) March 25 (UPX) — Apollo Education Group, which owns the University of Phoenix, is in talks to purchase the Fellowship of Friends luxury retreat in Oregon House, California, also called “Apollo.” “We are hoping to leverage not only the name, in which we are already heavily invested, but also the business model,” reported Apollo Group CEO Greg Cappelli. “Burton’s business model is similar in some respects to ours, but his enterprise is, student for student, more profitable. The key difference is that our students can graduate, while Burton’s cannot. We can offer courses of dubious value over a period of several years, but eventually we have to confer a degree and our ability to extract tuition from a particular financial resource ends. Burton’s enterprise is not subject to such limitations. Our due diligence audits show some of Burton’s students are still paying monthly tuition after thirty years,” Cappelli said. “Now that’s brand loyalty!”

Fellowship of Friends spokesperson Ed Dematous was equally sanguine. “While the current generation of students makes teaching payments on a monthly basis (plus semiannual mandatory donations), Apollo Education Group gets large tuition payments from its students every semester financed by federally guaranteed student loans,” Dematous said. “We want in. The University of Phoenix’s experience shows the government is not really interested in educational legitimacy, and Apollo Education Group’s cash flow is much better than ours. Robert has indicated that wealth is an indispensible element of the quest for consciousness and immortality,” Dematous added, “and Apollo Education Group has shown it knows where the big money is.”

Cappelli and Dematous both expressed relief that the retreat has stopped using the name “Isis.” “The name ‘Isis’ is getting some pretty bad play in the press these days,” Cappelli said. “Its continued use would have been a deal-breaker.” Dematous indicated that the Fellowship had approached the Islamic State about licensing the name, but they were unwilling to recognize Robert as a Conscious Being, or even as a human being. “Besides,” added Dematous, “unlike the current purveyors of the Isis brand, our school has never decapitated anyone, let alone students current with their teaching payments. Castrating them figuratively has always been sufficient for our purposes.”

The buyout proposal will be outlined in detail at Apollo Education Group’s annual shareholder meeting on April 1.

142. Fee fi fo fum - March 26, 2015

141 jomopinata


143. MP Taylor - March 26, 2015

May peace be with you- M.T.

144. leaf - March 26, 2015

M.P.Taylor, you wrote earlier that posters here “should probably stay out of any conversation regarding The Fourth Way.”

Thanks for suggesting this…What followed were some of the most compelling criticisms of the fourth way that I’ve heard.

The fourth way hooked people, partly because the fiction included just enough truth to satisfy the delusion. The rest is thrown in to create fear, self-doubt, obedience, etc. It’s comparable to any good story or piece of fiction, including the countless strange and violent episodes in the Bible (usually overlooked or ignored by so-called Christians, Catholics, etc.), or the weird fiction believed by Scientologists.

Belief has its potential consequences when I believe something that isn’t true. However, belief has the potential for much greater consequences when I believe that my belief is not a belief at all.

145. jomopinata - March 26, 2015

Now, now, can’t be discussing The Work with someone who doesn’t do it. Pearls before swine, etc.

146. Messages From Marconi - March 26, 2015

145. jomopinata – March 26, 2015

“Now, now, can’t be discussing The Work with someone who doesn’t do it.”

What is far worse is people who think they are doing the Work discussing it among themselves and reinforcing a delusion.

One of the many problems with the external appearance of the Fourth Way is that the modern figurehead, Gurdjieff, was not only a manipulative egomaniac but also a pathological liar. There is much mixed in that has to be thrown out. One of the worse aspects is the tendency of the personality to grab the whole bag and declare to itself that it has the found the magic spell that will now make life meaningful by simply filling one’s head with the thousand bits of “sacred” nonsense Gurdjieff spit out in order psychologically enslave his troupe of believers.

Gurdjieff is often cited as having said: “If you have not by nature a critical mind then your stay here is useless.”

The problem with this is that Gurdjeff and most everyone who wrote books about him and his many ridiculous ideas did not have critical minds.

“Pearls before swine, etc.”

In the Fourth Way as it is currently seen in the world is full of swine and the pearls that make the actual Fourth Way valuable are either ignored or imagined to be readily accessible when they are not readily accessible.

Question: Is this state I’m in now actually conscious? Is there a higher consciousness possible?

If people stuck to this core question then there would not be so many enthusiastic Fourth Way followers, because the answer to the question actually eliminates any and all the enthusiastic believers.

147. jomopinata - March 26, 2015

An interesting somewhat recent Christian Science Monitor article about “embedded presuppositions” and “factive verbs” may be found here. The Fourth Way literature, so called, is swimming with them, as well as with value judgments in the guise of statements of fact.

When the internet is down, a fun game is to have one person read (say) The Psychology of Man’s Possible Evolution out loud, while the others shout “BINGO” every time they spot “embedded presuppositions” or fallacies of critical thinking, and then name the fallacy or other rhetorical device.

(Doesn’t sound fun to you? Fine. Sort your junk mail.)

148. M.P.Taylor - March 26, 2015

Wow, what r u folks afraid of? Why don’t you use your real names? Paranoid. I have not been in Roberts school since 1996, and yet I use The Work daily and my consciousness of myself and the world around me grows exponentially as promised. I don’t support crazy ex-teachers or stand on a soap box and suck people into my crazy belief system and yet this blogs bloggies just assume so. I have been getting very positive results from Mr. Gurdjieffs system for over 30 years now and continue to do so. I am not a joiner of groups or churches, but I did manage to learn a great deal during my short stint at the FOF. I was there, I did hear about the alleged abuse you folks wax on about, so I left. But personally I was treated with kindness and respect during the whole experience. My wife and kids were held in the highest esteem even though we were quite poor. The teaching payments were small for me, but I never agreed with Roberts policy on money and his obvious financial abuses. I tend to follow the teacher Ive always followed, Jesus Christ who serves as a guide. But The Work is a practical tool that does yield amazing results if you do the required reading and make the right efforts when needed.
Most critics of The Fourth Way I have met simply don’t really understand the words. You all seem like sincere folks, but who knows who u r. There’s no integrity here. Bye bye.

149. Messages From Marconi - March 26, 2015

148. M.P.Taylor – March 26, 2015

“I have been getting very positive results from Mr. Gurdjieffs system for over 30 years now and continue to do so.”

That’s what you think.

Ever come across the term “identified”?

Why do you need people on this blog and the various mute readers to know that your Fourth Way practices are making you so much better? Why do you need to toot your own horn?

Because, my friend, you missed one little point: you are still identified. Non-identification is one of the central aims, an indispensable condition. Why? Because this ego that needs to tell everyone how good life is to be you, doing what you do, is asleep.

You think you are doing the Fourth Way, but you’re not.

150. jomopinata - March 26, 2015


I don’t support crazy ex-teachers or stand on a soap box and suck people into my crazy belief system and yet this blogs bloggies just assume so.

Um, maybe I missed it, but where did you get the idea that we were talking about you?

151. Tim Campion - March 26, 2015

Marconi, that’s not a very convincing Edgar Bergen routine.

152. nigel harris price - March 26, 2015


…..or is it PMT ? …..Post Master-race Trauma…..!!!!!

153. ton2u - March 26, 2015

150 jomo,
actually i was talking about him at 128:

“m.t. (empty)

if you’re joking, you’re not very funny…. if you’re serious, it’s very sad.”

i can’t explain it to m.t. but i think others may understand implicitly why slavish devotion to a “system” or a cult of personality is indeed a sad situation.

154. jomopinata - March 26, 2015

‘ton, so you were.

I respect how hard it is for people to examine critically their own allegiances and ways of thinking. What repeatedly strikes me, though, is how suddenly the woundedness emerges from underneath the shield of perfect equanimity: the “attack-other” pole of the compass of shame. Even when ad hominem attacks are not primarily what’s going on. It’s as though adherents feel “The Work” as their own skin. Like a substitute identity.

155. shardofoblivion - March 27, 2015

#130 Whalerider asks “One last question: as a result of your hallucinated experience of merging bodies with your wife in a non-sexual manner, in retrospect, do you feel you incorporated her as a separate individual into your being or would you say you incorporated your projection of her into your being?” It didn’t feel like incorporating her, it felt more like it was no longer clear where I ended and she began, and it was also not clear who I was anymore. It felt like an entirely novel way of being I had never experienced before, but which felt very good. i think I see what you are hinting at with the projection idea. In everyday interactions it feels like I deal with whatever my projection or picture of the other person is, which then gets a shock when the actual person behaves in a way my projection of them didn’t anticipate. I didn’t think or feel that I could understand her mind, I was confronted with a set of unreal sensations, which I knew were caused by the drug at the time. Also the hallucinated faces that I saw on her face just prior to the embrace were almost certainly projections put together from all the women I had ever seen, in real life, films or imagined, but because I was also looking into her eyes I did feel at the time that she was “being” all those archetypical women, some interaction was certainly going on through the eye contact.

156. WhaleRider - March 27, 2015

“Question: Is this state I’m in now actually conscious? Is there a higher consciousness possible?”

IMO, here marconi has hit the nail on the proverbial head.

It is the internalization of this toxic meme that drives and perpetuates the fourth way delusional system.

By the same token, if a person can be convinced they are not young enough, nor rich enough, nor thin enough then that person can become obsessively trapped on the hamster wheel of their insecurity…which makes them a loyal and devoted consumer of compensatatory substitues, like in the sense of belonging derived by cult membership.

It is only the observing ego that could ask onself, “am I actually conscious?” and it is the ego’s quixotic quest for total control of the Self, that which it cannot possibly control which drives the delusional system.

Certainly it is healthy to some extent to have control over one’s aggression and anger (read: negativity) in order to avoid harming oneself or others, yet a person who is unable to get in touch with their anger due to their religious belief, for instance, could just as easily harm themselves or others through their passivity and inaction by avoiding feelings of anger or agression that might otherwise motivate them to take action…thus transforming them into willing sheep being lead to slaughter.

As much as the ego would like to believe it has conscious control, (or be indoctrinated to believe that it should have total control over all states of mind) the truth is we are in a constant state of oscillation between introverted awareness and extroverted awareness, over which the ego can have only limited control, and rightfully so, otherwise we cut ourselves off from huge swaths of the Greater Self; for it is the inflated ego that can become grandiose, sadistic and deluded.

And although our awareness seems somewhat dimished in an introverted state of absorption known as a trance state, when emotions are more accessible, prevalent, and able to be processed, by obsessively attempting to thwart naturally occurring trance states one ego inhibits one’s creativity and own emotional growth…fostering a state of internal stasis…hence one reason why a follower might remain mired in a cult for decades. For it is our imagination of what it might be like to be in another person’s shoes that allows us to empathize with others.

The ego would like to believe it is in control but the fact is it is not, and our dreams remind us of that fact each night when the ego is carried away on the saddle of a “nightmare”.

IMO, the essential problem with the fourth way is that it equates the term “consciousness” with awareness, separating and associating the term “being” with will.

Philosophically speaking consciousness is will, which can vary from person to person, yet, awareness is a given.

So is a person “actually” aware? Yes there is no question in my mind that they are in that moment, aware, and even later when they are absorbed in a trance state over which the ego may have dimished control, they also are being aware too, otherwise they would not remember. (A person can experience a dissociative “fugue” state, like a black out, and have total amnesia, which is a sign of mental illness, not a sign of “spiritual sleep”…and terrifying for the ego.)

Do people have varying degrees of Self awareness? Yes they do, depending upon their level of emotional maturity.

Are they ever not aware? No. Only at death does awareness cease, another terrifying prospect for the ego. A person may not seem aware when they are lost in thought with their eyes glazed over, but they are aware of themselves, just maybe not of you.

The more a person develops a sense of their Greater Self, containing both “good and bad” parts, the more mature they become, the less grandiose the ego without the need to project thier “bad” parts onto others, (i. e., splitting into us and them) and the greater their capacity for empathy.

Is it possible for a person have more will and hence more consciousness? Yes it is, especially when they do not give their will to others as fourth way gurus demand that they do.

So, ironically, IMO, when a person joins a cult, splits their world into members and non-members, and gives their will over to a cult leader like burton and his cronies, they actually become less conscious and less Self aware, not more!

The cult’s use of the word “sleep” also has a mystifying effect, leading the ardent follower to erroneously believe they should sleep less at night, thus cutting themselves off from their healthy and enlightening dream state, rendering the follower into a state of sleep deprivation which makes them vulnerable to manipulation by others.

157. Messages From Marconi - March 27, 2015

56. WhaleRider – March 27, 2015

“It is only the observing ego that could ask oneself, ‘am I actually conscious?’ and it is the ego’s quixotic quest for total control of the Self, that which it cannot possibly control which drives the delusional system.”

That Buddha character, with his six year quest for enlightenment, must have been some kind of messed up misfit, eh? Good thing we know what is good for us now in this modern world full of traffic jams and tranquilizers.

“So, ironically, IMO, when a person joins a cult, splits their world into members and non-members, and gives their will over to a cult leader like burton and his cronies, they actually become less conscious and less Self aware, not more!”

You’d be in far more of a position to know this first hand than I would, or likely most.

158. James Mclemore - March 27, 2015

Shardofoblivion –
I had an experience after taking LSD that was so very much like your own it almost gave me shivers as I remembered it again when I was reading your words. It was one of those experiences that I will never forget. It happened in the late 60’s with a young woman who also later become my wife, although we long ago parted ways. Laying together on a bed, it was very much as you described. I could not tell whose legs and arms belonged to who or even who was speaking when we communicated. Later, we sat up cross-legged facing each other and looked into one another’s eyes. I have absolutely no words to describe the series of experiences that came after that, although like yourself, I witnessed a whole lot of faces, sometimes they sort of fanned out to each side of her head and it seems as though I could see several faces simultaneously. I think it was all happening somewhere way, way past what is commonly called projection or for that matter hallucination, but maybe I am confused as to what constitutes a hallucination.

WhaleRider –
Just what is the definition of “hallucination” in the psychological circles you move about in? In my layman’s language, I always thought it was where you see/hear/feel something that is definitely not there. I took LSD probably over 200 times back in the late sixties and early seventies, and even when I look back now, I am not sure that I saw or felt anything that was not there. I did see and experience a lot of things we don’t “normally” see and experience in our usual waking state, but that does not necessarily mean those things weren’t there all the time, and possibly just hidden from what we call our “normal” view.

159. WhaleRider - March 27, 2015

I’m glad you asked that James, and thank you shard for responding to my question.

A hallucination can be visual, auditory olfactory, or tactile. A hallucination can also be positive, in other words, experiencing something that is not there, like a ghost. Or a hallucination can be negative, as in not experiencing something that is there, like not seeing your keys when they are lying right on the desk in front of you.

Hallucinations usually occur in a trance or hypnogogic state both of which exist between sleeping and waking, and can be caused for a variety of reasons: sleep deprivation, extreme stress, meditation, mental illness, hunger, high fever, or be induced by drugs.

It is quite common, for instance to experience auditory hallucinations while taking a shower, like hearing the phone ring or one’s name called, as one performs the repeated task of washing oneself and as the sounds of the shower flood the hearing.

The problem with hallucinations is that they can cause confusion and fear because they seem indistinguishable from reality due to blurred ego boundaries.

Dreams, however, are not hallucinations because they occur in sleep. When a person wakes from a dream, they are clear it was a dream because of the clear boundaries between being awake and being asleep.

This is why, IMO, it is easier to integrate and be empowered by the symbolism of a dream that occurs naturally during sleep as opposed to the symbolism of a hallucination that spontaneously occurs in a trance or in the hypngogic state, or when induced by drugs when boundaries are blurred.

Notice that when shard stares at something while on LSD, he hallucinates more because staring causes a trance state, yet when he keeps his eyes moving the hallucinations cease. I’ve noticed this too. Is he seeing a “reality” he normally can’t see because he just isn’t looking hard enough?

Notice how the merging hallucination reoccurs for shard in the hypnogogic state as he is falling asleep with his dog lying next to him. Is he getting in touch with his inner dog?

Notice the thinking that it is LSD that causes you, James, to think you “see” something that you have come to believe is there but you cannot “see” during the “normal” state. Are you just that unaware the rest of the time?

This, IMO, is a perception of a symbol that is not integrated and a delusion that the symbol exists outside your unconscious mind, along with the erroneous belief that it requiries a drug or some other extraneous method to be able to percieve it…not so empowering is it?

This is also how the meaning of unconscious symbols get lost because a person either dismisses them knowing they were drug induced or they were stressed out, or they project the symbol outside themselves in a superstitious manner because of a cultural bias…or their narcissism prevents them from deriving meaning from symbols that are produced by a process not under the “conscious” control of the inflated ego.

So, gentlemen, my question for you now is: what do you make of the symbolism behind your hallucinated experience of your male body merging with a female body in light of burton’s delusion he is goddess?…(since the shared experience of using entheogens with one’s partner isn’t necessarily a sure fire method to create a lasting bond, and didn’t work for me and my ex-wife either.)

I also want to ask others again, does anyone have any recollection of burton revealing how he arrived at his goddess delusion?

160. ton2u - March 27, 2015

“This, IMO, is a perception of a symbol that is not integrated and a delusion that the symbol exists outside your unconscious mind, along with the erroneous belief that it requiries a drug or some other extraneous method to be able to percieve it…not so empowering is it?”

you’re right it doesn’t require a drug, etc. i think ideally and in many cases the drug experience represents a proverbial ‘finger pointing at the moon.’ this is why the process of “withdrawing projections” is ’empowering’ and so important… “reality” on many levels is not “out there” – it (reality) is perceived by the individual and therefore it’s “in your head.”

re: the goddess delusion and what’s in the head of blow-job-bob – i really don’t have the stomach for it.


161. ton2u - March 27, 2015

terms like “hallucination” and “imagination” tend to be loaded with pejorative connotations… like the bard said: “nothing either good or bad, but thinking makes it so.”

an interesting read if you’re interested in the subjective realms of “reality”


162. ton2u - March 27, 2015

i may be repeating myself here, nevertheless, i think it bears repeating: terms like “hallucination” and “imagination” tend to be loaded with pejorative connotations and associations… like the bard said: “nothing either good or bad, but thinking makes it so.”

an interesting read if you’re interested in subjective dimensions of “reality”


163. James Mclemore - March 27, 2015

WhaleRider –
I was just sharing something that was experienced. I asked you for a the current scientific psychological definition of hallucination. I was only curious what the thinking was in the medical community these days, not that I would necessarily take it as the truth anyway.
Maybe if you wrote in full longhand “In my humble opinion” it would not sound so much like irrefutable truth that does not lend itself to question. I kind of like “not knowing” as a good place to start all my investigations from. I agree with you on much of what you write on this blog. But, I don’t think you notice how pontificating that your posts in some instances sometimes sound.

Somehow you arrived at the opinion that I might be having “a delusion that the symbol exists outside your unconscious mind, along with the erroneous belief that it requires a drug or some other extraneous method to be able to perceive it…not so empowering is it?”

It sounds as if you are trying to attack something that you think I believe or to defend something in your own beliefs, I cannot tell which of the two it is, but it is way beyond anything that I actually said.

It would take longer than I wish to spend going line by line in what you wrote. I think most of the trouble I am having with what you say about projections and hallucinations has to do with the “borders” that you “think” some “self” has. That “self” along with its supposed “borders” had disappeared long before these direct perceptual experiences took place. I don’t see this disappearance as a bad thing. These experiences were just as they were and they were direct and immediate. As regards “symbolism”, these experiences were also filled to the brim with symbolism. This symbolism did not have to be “thought about”. They needed no middleman in the thinking mind, as the symbols themselves were also direct and immediate.

ton2u – Thanks for your input as always. Your points of view and approach to these ideas is sometimes very similar to my own.

164. Messages From Marconi - March 27, 2015

163. James Mclemore – March 27, 2015

WhaleRider –

“I asked you for a the current scientific psychological definition of…”

Why doesn’t it occur to you that you are not actually conferring with any sort of expert on any of these issues?

165. brucelevy - March 27, 2015

I know you’re trying to hold back Greg, but you’re still coming off as an asshole.

166. WhaleRider - March 27, 2015

Thank you for your post and feedback.

I’m glad you’re back; it seems you’ve been on the sidelines for awhile. I always appreciate your candor primarily because you display emotional maturity in your responses. And I know I would probably benefit from your line by line analysis of my posts, if you were willing to take the time to do so.

I certainly do not claim to be an expert, nor perfect, nor better than anyone else, including marconi, AKA you know who.

I make every effort I can, more than most I believe, to use the acronym IMO, and would be happy to switch to IMHO, if that would help.

What I write about is indeed my opinion, which anyone here is free to disregard or not.

I can understand where you are coming from, and respect your stance about living with mystery, if that works for you. I, too, am comfortable with mystery in the world, which is why I direct my study upon myself instead of attempting to solve the unknowable mysteries of the universe…know thyself, to thine own self be true (not my words).

I don’t know how much you have been following the ongoing thread here about the use of entheogens for insight and personal growth versus other means, and that was where I was coming from; my post was not necesssrily directed solely at you, but I can see how it came across that way, and for that I appologize.

And as you astutely pointed out I do have an agenda. But that agenda does not involve promoting myself personally at another’s expense, it involves promoting only points of view, which, unlike yourself, is one reason why I post anonymously.

We have been very diligent here for many years now on the blog about exposing the corrupt and, IMHO, criminal behavoir of the rape factory called the Fellowship of Friends.

Hopefully anyone who might be exploring the decision of whether or not to join the cult and finds this blog will be able to make a more informed choice than I did.

I think we handle that very well, IMHO.

I also believe, IMHO, that we also have an opportunity to share our wisdom, experience and informed opinions about what alternatives there are for anyone whom might be having an identity crisis, (read: magnetic center) searching for personal meaning in their life, either before they join a cult or after they leave a cult, a journey which can be difficult to navigate, IMHO.

I wish to make it clear that, based on my personal experience, what I feel is most important and the healthiest choice a person can make when considering personal growth is to choose the path toward self empowerment.

A person will not find self empowerment in a cult, nor by relying on drugs, nor by remaining in ignorance about the inner workings of their own psyche, IMHO.

167. Messages From Marconi - March 27, 2015

165. brucelevy – March 27, 2015

“I know you’re trying to hold back Greg, but you’re still coming off as an asshole.”

This is one of the most stimulating issues in the world in my opinion. I’m not sure if anyone has ever noticed this but I am not really much concerned about “coming off as an asshole.”

1. Exactly what group of socialized judges have been appointed to determine who is “coming off as an asshole”?

2. What, exactly, are their qualifications for determining who is breaking the unwritten law of the land and making the social blunder of “coming off as an asshole”, and thus threatening the welfare of mankind?

3. Is there really a universally recognized social formula that when crossed sounds an alarm in the local village and alerts the Judges of Propriety that someone is breaking the social norm and “coming off as an asshole”?

4. Does a particular self-appointed social-minded judge speaking (in his own mind) for everyone else really know what “coming off as an asshole” consists of? Is his mind really so universally attuned that he understands the undesirable state of existence known as “asshole-ness” so well that he can condemn another for it? Has he himself ever been accused of such a transgression against the welfare of humanity? What is the general assessment of those surrounding that self-appointed judge of “asshole-ness” amount to on the tricky subject of that person’s own “asshole-ness”? Can an “asshole” call out another “asshole” as if his own “asshole-ness” was not an issue at all?

5. Is there really any penalty for “coming off as an asshole”? In my opinion the blogger doing most of the jabbering on this discussion group is the one who is “coming off as an asshole” the most and yet other than increasing my disdain for the fool there does not seem to be any penalty for “coming off as an asshole” at all.

6. What if, just supposing, the majority of those claiming that a particular blogger is “coming off as an asshole” are in fact (just suggesting hypothetically here) “coming off as bigger assholes” than the one annoying them, but they just happen to outnumber the one they accuse of “coming off as an asshole”?

7. Why are certain people so concerned about someone else “coming off as an asshole”, as if that failing were one of worst faux pas known to man? What is it that they see in that display that mirrors their own self-loathing horror?

168. WhaleRider - March 28, 2015

Re: subjective reality

“The mistaken and illusory belief in the part of an addict in possessing these powers of magical control is so enthralling and hypnotic that it ushers in an alteration in an addict’s subjective sense of that which is real and unreal. Instead, an addict escapes to a surreal world in which a fantasy of being a megalomaniacal self and as empowered with magical control is experienced unconsciously as a subjecyive

169. WhaleRider - March 28, 2015

“..subjective reality. An addict imagines that human nature and, more specifically, the very nature of psychic life, can be magically controlled by the mere use of a particular substance, for example, alcohol, drugs or food, or by simply engaging in a specific activity, for instance gambling or sex. In this regard, an addict is a Narcissus lost in a wonderland of megalomaniacal proportions…”

~R. Ulman and H. Paul, “The Self Psychology of Addiction and its Treatment”, 2006.

In my humble opinion, this is the direction Mr McKenna went in his “study” of entheogens, which he believed where given to humanity by aliens. Hence, IMHO, he projected the symbolic meaning of his hallucinations out into the world, and although his experiences where powerful, IMHO, I don’t believe he integrated his experiences in a way that was necessarily self empowering…he simply designed his own delusional system and made a career of promoting it, not unlike burton and Mr Castenada.

170. James Mclemore - March 28, 2015

164. Messages From Marconi

I think you are over-analyzing something very minute just in order to say something negative about Whalerider.
I simply wondered what some of the definitions were for “hallucination” in the way WhaleRider was using it. I wasn’t looking for any experts, I seldom do. Expert or not, like I stated, I would not necessarily take any definition as the whole truth of the matter anyway.

You asked in another post- “Is there really a universally recognized social formula that when crossed sounds an alarm in the local village and alerts the Judges of Propriety that someone is breaking the social norm and “coming off as an asshole”?

I don’t know about any formulas and Judges of Propriety but for some reason that question reminded me of listening to a radio talk-show a long, long time ago. The host asked people if they could change the ten commandments what would they change. Some people called in and wanted to add to the list. Some called and wanted leave out some of them and change some of other ones. There was a lot of calls on the subject. Finally a gentleman called in and said the whole thing could be thrown out and replaced by just one commandment. His commandment he said would take care of and include all the rest of them. He said the commandment was very simple…., just “DON’T BE A JERK.”

171. James Mclemore - March 28, 2015

WhaleRider –

Thanks for the post. You don’t really have to use the initial or the word “humble” in your posts. That was just something that came out of the top of my head and was probably unnecessary at best. Again, I agree wholeheartedly with a lot of what you post. My only questions were just in those areas I spoke about. I have followed along with the posts about entheogens as you and ton2u and Shard were discussing. It is a fascinating subject and some of those substances played a very large part in my life.

When I say it would take longer than I wish to spend going line by line with you it is not meant as any disrespect to you or what you write. When I say ‘longer than I wish to spend’ it was referring to the amount of time it takes for me to write a post of any length. A little over 3 years ago I had an Ischemic stroke. During an angioplasty a damn platelet turned into a heat seeking missile and landed in a place that shutoff part of the blood flow to the Broca’s Area of my brain. I could not speak at all or write for quite some time and there was a certain amount of other collateral damage. While I have recovered somewhat and relearned things I still have some degree of aphasia which presents itself as agrammatism when I speak or write. When I post almost anything of any size it takes a lot of editing just to make it somewhat coherent. I come up with some strange sounding sentences, although come to think of it I suspect I did that even before the stroke, but it is worse now. No big deal and nothing life threatening, just something I have to work around. It has given me a whole new insight and valuation on the awesome intelligence that both underlies and is the brain itself.

172. Associated Press - March 28, 2015

141. jomopinata – March 26, 2015:

‘Apollo Education Group in Talks to Buy Fellowship of Friends Retreat in Oregon House’

Apollo Education Group (APOL) Stock Is Down Today After Earnings Report
By Shawn Ingram
03/25/15 – 10:15 AM EDT

NEW YORK (TheStreet) — Shares of Apollo Education Group (APOL – Get Report) were falling 22.2% to $21.77 on heavy trading volume Wednesday after the for-profit school reported its fiscal second quarter results which were hurt by lower enrollment.

Apollo Education Group reported a loss of 10 cents a share for the fiscal second quarter, above analysts’ estimates of a loss of 16 cents a share. Revenue fell 14% year over year to $578.57 million for the quarter, below analysts’ estimates of $584.61 million.

The company said that new degreed fell 12.9% from the year-ago quarter to 28,300 in the fiscal second quarter. Total degreed enrollment at the University of Phoenix fell 14.6% year over year to 213,800 in the fiscal second quarter.

Apollo Education Group said it expects to report revenue of $690 million to $705 million for the fiscal third quarter, below analysts’ estimates of $740.86 million. The company expects revenue of $2.63 billion to $2.68 billion for fiscal year 2015, below analysts’ estimates of $2.73 billion for the fiscal year.

About 3.2 million shares of Apollo Education Group were traded by 10:11 a.m. Wednesday, about the average trading volume of about 1.2 million shares a day.

TheStreet Ratings team rates APOLLO EDUCATION GROUP INC as a Hold with a ratings score of C. TheStreet Ratings Team has this to say about their recommendation:

“We rate APOLLO EDUCATION GROUP INC (APOL) a HOLD. The primary factors that have impacted our rating are mixed — some indicating strength, some showing weaknesses, with little evidence to justify the expectation of either a positive or negative performance for this stock relative to most other stocks. The company’s strengths can be seen in multiple areas, such as its largely solid financial position with reasonable debt levels by most measures, reasonable valuation levels and expanding profit margins. However, as a counter to these strengths, we also find weaknesses including a generally disappointing performance in the stock itself, feeble growth in the company’s earnings per share and deteriorating net income.”

* * * * * *

Is Apollo Education Doomed?
By Chris Lange March 25, 2015 2:24 pm EDT
24/7 Wall St.

Over the course of the last few years, there has been a noticeable downward trend in for-profit education. Some may be self-inflicted, but some of the decline has been an outright attack on for-profit education by Washington DC. What is interesting is that online-only universities have been suffering, even as traditional universities are beginning to transfer their courses to an online classroom or at least offer many courses online. Apollo Education Group, Inc. (NASDAQ: APOL) is no exception to the pressure. After all, it is the industry’s biggest face due to its University of Phoenix.

The company reported its fiscal second quarter financial results as a $0.10 loss per share on $578.6 million in revenue compared to Thomson Reuters consensus estimates of a net loss per share of $0.16 on $584.61 million in revenue. In the same period last year, Apollo reported $0.28 in earnings per share on $679.06 million in revenue.

The online educator gave guidance on the fiscal third quarter as net revenue in the range of $690 million to $705 million (versus $740.8 million expected), and it expects around $85 million to $95 million in operating income.

For all of 2015, Apollo expects to bring in between $2.63 billion and $2.68 billion in revenue, as well as operating income in the range of $200 million to $230 million. Thomson Reuters has a consensus estimate of $2.73 billion.

Cash, cash equivalents and short-term marketable securities totaled $759.8 million currently, compared to $1.4 billion at the end of August 2014. The decrease was primarily attributable to $595.4 million of net payments on borrowings, $43.3 million for capital expenditures, and $38.7 million of share repurchases.

As far as its enrollment, its second quarter 2015 University of Phoenix New Degreed Enrollment was 28,300 and Degreed Enrollment was 213,800. Overall New Degreed enrollment dropped 12.9% compared to the same quarter in the previous year, and Degreed enrollment dropped 14.6% at the same time.

Greg Cappelli, CEO of Apollo, said:

‘While we faced challenges in the second quarter, we believe Apollo Education Group has the right long-term strategy in place. In a time of unprecedented change in the higher education industry, we are focused on enhancing outcomes through a deep understanding of student and employer needs. This includes differentiating University of Phoenix through its program-based colleges and diversifying our organization with the expansion of Apollo Global and other targeted growth initiatives. We are aligning education to careers, offering students tangible skills and helping employers develop a high-performance workforce.’

The challenges that Apollo is facing are dually difficult to overcome. There is an increasing number of universities that are offering online curriculum. Even colleges like MIT or Harvard are offering free online classes. The other side of the coin is the attacks from regulators and lawmakers, over recruiting tactics, student loans and job placement after degrees.

Apollo is generally considered to be the face of the online-only and for-profit education system. The company’s woes may not be different than the rest of the sector. Either way, it almost seems difficult to imagine that its will have $85 million to $95 million in operating income next quarter. The sector woes have been so negative for so long that questioning guidance seems fair — or even prudent.

Apparently, investors are also having some doubts about the overall situation. Shares of Apollo were down 27% at $20.40 in the mid-Wednesday trading session. The stock has a consensus analyst price target of $30.22 and a 52-week trading range of $20.28 to $35.23. Its 52-week low is new as of Wednesday.

This sector has been so battered and bruised for so long that it just comes naturally to question anything the companies say about their future. That being said, at some point the ultimate survivability seems fair to question as well. The only good news here is that this stock is still above the 10-year low that was put in under $17 in early 2013.

UPDATE: Herb Greenberg appeared on CNBC discussing low enrollment and the huge round trip this stock has seen. Greenberg also brought up that the one area of growth was in overseas, where there is less regulation.

* * * * * *

Stifel, Bank Of America Are Talking About Apollo Education
By Anthony Sanfilippo March 26, 2015 10:10 AM

On Thursday, Stifel issued a report on Apollo Education Group Inc (NASDAQ: APOL) as the stock’s volume has not recovered. Stifel lowered its target price from $35 to $25, but still rates Apollo Education as a Buy.

“Our Buy thesis which was based on the stock being cheap and the expectation that we were getting closer to a turn in core business has not played out as expected,” analysts wrote. “The disappointment will likely cause dislocation in the shareholder base and likely an “oversold” condition near term.”

“However…the stock is too cheap even on reduced expectations.”

Stifel believes that Apollo’s participation in digital education and training could make it an attractive candidate for a strategic buyer. Analysts consider the educational company’s cash flow to be attractive, especially for a financial buyer.

Bank Of America Talks Too
Bank of America also commented on Apollo this Thursday. The firm holds a Neutral rating on the stock with a $24 price target.

“We are reducing estimates on lower student start & retention assumptions,” their analysts wrote.

“While the trajectory of starts remains uncertain, we do expect improvements with the lap of the LMS rollout (mid 4Q15) and continued progress at Apollo Global (11% of FY14 revenue).”

One comment:
Apollo will survive for its global push. UOP [University of Phoenix] WILL fail for its greed and poor management, not to mention other factors. e.g., state schools offering the same programs at 2/3 less the cost, and much more rigor, a better economy, students questioning the ROI of higher education, not offering programs that give students real world job skills. UOP will have massive layoffs this year and next.

* * * * * *

Apollo Education Group, Inc. [NASDAQ: APOL]
closed Friday at: $19.195, just $0.015 above
its 52 week record close low of $19.18.

173. Associated Press - March 28, 2015
174. Associated Press - March 28, 2015

The Nation’s 10 Most Overpaid CEOs
Nine-figure salaries, tabloid scandals,
weak revenues, big layoffs—no problem.
—By Josh Harkinson, staff reporter at Mother Jones.
Thu Jul. 12, 2012 6:00 AM EDT

In 2010, people cheered when Congress gave shareholders the right to vote on the pay of corporate CEOs. Too bad those nonbinding votes haven’t embarrassed the greed out of the chief executives. In fact, CEO pay crept up another 5 percent last year, once again far outstripping wage gains for middle-class workers. . .

Gregory W. Cappelli, Apollo Group
Compensation: $25.1 million
[Placed 7/10, wgere first place went to:
Timothy D. Cook, Apple.
Compensation: $378 million]

“Cappelli’s pay shot up more than 1,400 percent last year, and it’s far from clear what he did to deserve $23.5 million in stock and stock options; shares in Apollo, which owns the for-profit University of Phoenix, were up just 10 percent last year, and Cappelli isn’t even the company’s sole CEO. (He splits the title with Charles B. Edelstein, who received an even bigger options grant in 2008.) Stock options are supposed to give CEOs an incentive to promote long-term growth, but that clearly hasn’t worked at Apollo. Since January 2008, it has underperformed the S&P 500 and most other education companies. In 2012, its stock is down 40 percent.”

175. ton2u - March 28, 2015

whalerider @ 168

so you read that mckenna book ? and you didn’t like it…? i read it many years ago but at the time I thought it was a good yarn and darn good STORY-TELLING — that is, I didn’t take it all LITERALLY… and so I found it entertaining if not instructive on some levels… but i can see that it wouldn’t be for for you. as for making a career by story-telling (writing books) and the self-promotion that goes with it, that’s not a ‘bad thing’ in and of itself (imo) – it may get into shady areas when naive folks take the stories too literally and when folks project their own issues onto the author in this case….

so you read Casteneda’s tome on ‘Dreaming’ ? I would have thought there might be some ‘simpatico’ or at least a healthy curiosity there since it’s a subject near and dear to you… (if you rely too much on reading blurbs by critics then you can’t formulate your own clear opinions).

this is not an endorsement of the cult that arises around an author, but s/he just might have something of interest to say… or not… but in general if you choose to ignore, then you’ll never know.

as for equating drug addiction and subjective reality… why are you stuck on drug addiction in this regard ? if you’re referring to entheogens, they are not ‘addictive’ — and comparing the lady burton with the other two authors is simply too facile, lazy even, and (imo) a misjudgement.

176. jomopinata - March 28, 2015

True Hallucinations was fucking brilliant. I loved it.

177. shardofoblivion - March 28, 2015

Whalerider, I think there is an important distinction between dreams and tripping.

When we dream, the people we meet are completely projected from our minds, though we often “forget” that (unless we are lucid) and take these phantom people to be what they appear to be in that state.

When tripping it is possible to interact with other beings, that are independently conscious, and therefore can surprise us in ways our dreams are unable to.

I would agree that two people on a trip together will be doing a lot of projecting, probably more than we do in our everyday sober state, but the fact that we know we are tripping while it is happening (usually), and that we are in the same space as another in a similar state, gives extraordinary possibilities for excitement and experience. It isn’t reliable, I have had trips where misunderstandings ruled the day, but contact can be made with another being, and that is amazing.

178. Ames Gilbert - March 28, 2015

I tried LSD alone in my youth, and it was terrifying. One aspect was feeling no pain; the usual feedback mechanism was turned off, and I harmed myself physically. I’ve tried ayahuasca a couple of times in the company of others, found it educational and uplifting–for me. I’ve tried ‘shrooms a few times in the company of others, found it useful and enlightening (especially visiting the ‘humor gate’)–for me. I’ve tried ‘ecstasy’ a couple of times in the company of another, found it useful for increasing empathy and another possible POV–for me. It seem obvious to me, that in the final analysis, I’m the sole judge of what is useful or not for me, whether hallucinogens or ‘work on myself’, including aspects of the so–called 4th Way, Buddhism or whatever. At the same time, I have to take responsibility for my actions and the consequences. However, I can cultivate gratitude to those who point out the limits of my POV, or faults in my reasoning as I explore various aspects of this incredible gift, the experience of this life.

Here’s another take on possible applications for ayahuasca. The gist of this article is that some folks are trying to increase the empathy quotient in groups of selected prisoners in Brazil by giving them care and attention–and in some cases, ayahuasca:

179. Messages From Marconi - March 28, 2015

Ever wish you were still simpleminded and could believe in all the spiritual fantasies that seem to inspire and comfort others? But you just can’t lie to yourself so convincingly anymore can you? Not even when unfortunate things happen and you really need to believe there is ultimate intelligence and meaning behind the things that happen in your life. “Everything happens for a reason.” “God does not give you what you cannot handle.” Well, yes, everything happens for a reason which does not necessarily include benevolent supernatural mediators helping out from another dimension and God, or life itself, does very often give people what they cannot handle. Innocent people get flown into the side of a mountain by a psychotic co-pilot having a bad day at work and they cannot handle it, they are torn to pieces. On the way down no one says, “Thank you God for this instructive and enlightening experience.” Instead they scream in terror.

To live in a fantasy world it is necessary to ignore a great deal about life and disregard aspects of the world which contradict the inexhaustibly positive condition of mind required to maintain an illusionary existence where long dead saints and benevolent rulers of the universe watch after your particular existence and make sure that everything is going in a “level up” direction. For those with an “opened mind” there are things their minds cannot be open to because a more complete picture of existence would begin to close down many things they need to pretend to be real which are not real. Absolutely, there are some people who are “blessed.” They were born in a wealthy land with many laws, with many policemen and lawyers protecting their safety and their rights. They were born to parents with means and the “blessed” also work hard to maintain themselves in their protected world. Such people have free time, excess money and a smorgasbord of frivolous recreational pursuits to choose from in order to “fulfill themselves.” The poverty and the brutality existing in the more unfortunate areas in the world do not impose in the least upon their freedom to spend their time in exotic recreational pursuits. Other than the imposition of disturbing and annoying news reports of bad things happening in places where the people just can’t seem to get organized and motivated, life for the “believers” is rather insulated within and limited to well-protected and fairly well-to-do locations. It is easy to fantasize when there are no hardships forcing themselves into the “open minds” of the spiritual hobbyists. Under more demanding conditions fantasizing is far more difficult and usually limited to those with actual mental illnesses. In mild conditions with plenty to eat, places to stay and a roving society looking for fun and thrills people can afford to impose mental illness upon themselves in the form of fantasy spiritualism.

In the self-inflicted mental illness of fantasy spiritualism the believers can wander the playground of delusion imagining all manner of powers and possibilities. One can pretend that, for instance, he or she is in contact with ancient deceased holy men who impart unimaginable wisdom straight from the heart of the Great Oneness of Eternity. The more enterprising might even charge a few bucks for such channeled wisdom. There will be many eager consumers living in a fantasy world willing to drop a few bucks for a test drive in a new spiritual fad. Many of us, however, simply will not be able to get excited about the possibilities inherent in yet another fantasy meme where it is advertised that self-indulged spiritual masters readily impart the many secrets of the cosmos to the self-selected few. We’ve seen too much. We know too much. We have become inexorably embedded in reality.

There are a few difficulties with reality. The most obvious problem is that an individual is forced to confront his failings directly, there is no longer any effective hocus-pocus available to dismiss the fact that a certain situation came about not because it was imposed by a cosmic instructor of human spiritual awakening but because of unwise reactions and a lack of foresight within oneself. In a state of reality a person is forced to look at himself for the underlying cause of many of the events in his existence. The fantasy that he or she is a voyager on a magic journey through a pretend world touched by miraculous interventions and thrilling coincidences is no longer an option. Self-imposed mental illness is no longer possible. Life becomes an adventure in, a lesson in, practicality.

180. ton2u - March 28, 2015

messages, part of – maybe the largest part of – ‘mental / emotional / spiritual / physical’ health, is finding your own way to ‘keep hope alive.’ cheer up man, life is what you make it…. i know you’re ‘not a hopeless case…’ etc.


181. jomopinata - March 28, 2015


Good one.

182. WhaleRider - March 28, 2015

I agree with you, McKenna is a good story teller, along with Gurdjieff and Castaneda, (who read more of when I was younger) and we can leave it at that.

Unfortunately, those authors seem to present their work as nonfiction, and IMHO, that is both disingenuous and can be dangerous for someone whom might take their work of fiction literally…and drive off a cliff to be with their guru.

I happen to be currently reading a book with some new thinking about addiction and found some interesting information about drug use and megalomania.

IMHO, a person doesn’t necessarily have to be using an addictive substance to become dependent upon it, an activity like gambling can function in the same regard, and my point is that McKenna seems to be relying or dependent upon entheogens rather than himself to further his thesis, and that appears, at least in my mind, as less than self empowering. And judging from his work, IMHO, he appears a bit skewed in the megalomaniac direction. It may be just me, but I just don’t get the same feeling from reading Carl Jung or Joseph Campbell.

I will also add the practice of Shamanism doesn’t necessarily require the use of entheogens, as in the aboriginal culture of Australia I mentioned prior where none are found growing in the environment. They rely solely upon naturally occurring dreams.

As far as Castenada’s ideas re: dreams, his POV is imbued, IMHO, with his own grandiosity and, IMHO, has little or no therapeutic value, if, as I do, one measures the result in terms of self empowerment, rather than obtaining “power” over others (especially women) as I believe is his agenda, which his life story bears out.

I am going to respectfully disagree with you, Shardofoblivion, on several points.

I don’t believe, IMHO, a person projects any more or less whether they are in the normal waking state or on psychedelic drugs, due to the degree of effort, emotional maturity, and awareness of the Greater Self it takes to retract one’s projections and contain them. IMHO, it takes almost one’s entire life to realize and understand the process of projection, and I am certainly not billing myself as having arrived at perfection.

Everyone, including myself, has an unconscious mind of which they are not fully or only dimly aware, and more often than not we need interaction others to help us be aware of it.

Please do not take this personally for I am only expressing my opinion based upon my understanding and experience…I strongly believe it is possible to interact with the symbolic characters whom naturally appear in dreams…it can occur either shortly after a person wakes up from a dream, or later with the help of a guide. That is the nature of Gestalt Therapy, and I have both experienced and witnessed the therapeutic and beneficial effects of doing so in myself and with others.

I do not believe the multidimensional creatures with whom you interact on your trip, be they mechanical elves, or mythical dragons, or earth spirits, or whatever exist independently of your mind. I’m not sure where you stand with that.

I will say that, personally speaking, I am always surprised by my dreams.

When a person is lucid dreaming, something I can only rarely do, IMHO, the ego is able to interact with elements of the person’s unconscious in a manner that is both intensified and, most importantly, memorable, and hence the insight is better able to be integrated into the personality. The same is true using gestalt,

Although, as you mentioned, the ego is present during a trip, there is also the greater risk that the ego is amplified along with everything else in the psyche due to the effect of the drug. With gestalt, the ego is held in check because the unconscious element is endowed and treated with equal power.

As you and I, and probably most of us know first hand, the LSD experience is very intense and concentrated, and lasts hours and hours, which makes it difficult, if not impossible to remember all of it…so a person would be thus inclined to repeat the process, and risk an undesirable and less than therapeutic outcome due to the conditional requirements of setting, dosage, purity, and mental status at the time.

IMHO, there just aren’t the same level of negative side effects from paying attention to dreams, which is easily attainable if a person is able to keep their narcissism at healthy levels. It’s like tripping every night, for goodness sake!

After all, entheogens have been around for a long time…and there is still much suffering the world. Is escape the answer? Is climbing back into the womb even an option?

I think we can all agree that joining a cult and giving up one’s power, one’s will, and hence one’s consciousness is not the answer to life’s problems either.

Sweet dreams everybody! And I mean that in a good way…to empower you.

183. shardofoblivion - March 29, 2015

Whalerider. To answer your query about where i stand on the reality of beings we meet while experiencing a hallucinogenic drug, I am very firmly of the opinion that they ONLY exist in the mind of the tripper. I feel that that knowledge protects me from feeling too afraid when they appear – I saw a beast about 9 feet long on the other side of my living room on my ayahuasca trip, its head was a bit like a rhino, and if I had “believed” in it, I would have been very frightened.

I do agree that dreaming is close to tripping every night, and I enjoy them a lot. From your questions and comments it sounds like you lean more towards viewing these things as agents of psychological growth – insight tools – whereas when I trip (which is very occasional) it is basically because I want to enjoy the experience itself, rather than understand myself or gain spiritual knowledge.

I am a bit unclear about what you are saying in this paragraph

“Please do not take this personally for I am only expressing my opinion based upon my understanding and experience…I strongly believe it is possible to interact with the symbolic characters whom naturally appear in dreams…it can occur either shortly after a person wakes up from a dream, or later with the help of a guide.”

Do you accord the symbolic characters whom naturally occur in dreams the ontological status you deny acid visions, ie that they exist independently of your mind? I would see no reason to treat symbolic dream characters differently to drug or in other ways induced visions. I guess it hinges on what you mean by “interact”. Do you hold that when dreaming we are in actual communication with an externally existing consciousness?

184. WhaleRider - March 29, 2015

Ah, thank you for your response then, for we are in accord. (Whew!) Like you, I too, believe that both the symbolic characters in dreams and those in drug induced visual hallucinations exist only in the mind, and either way, it is possible to interact with them.

The interesting and engaging aspect for me, and apparently the entertaining aspect for you, is how autonomous these symbolic beings seem. They seem to appear from nowhere…like from a separate reality or another dimension.

From what I have read, this is how the unconscious mind was first studied (around the time of Mr G and Mr O) by early psychologists, as a mysterious and autonomous (read: mechanical) part of human nature, with seemingly a mind of its own, often causing people to act in erratic and irrational ways.

For millennia, erratic and irrational behavior was blamed upon being possessed by demonic spirits which had to be appeased or removed through various rituals and incantations…and finally the chickens are coming home to roost; modern society is becoming more responsible and less superstitious through better education…except, IMHO, when people regress into cults and fundamentalist religions.

I see that we differ on how we relate to the manifestations of our unconscious.

One difference is this: in gestalt therapy one gets to role play the 10 foot beast with the head of a rhino, and reflect back the hidden aspects of one’s unconscious mind. In flip flopping back and forth between the observing ego and the symbolic beast a deal is usually struck or an insight is revealed and inner equilibrium is reached, which has a therapeutic and memorable effect, especially in dealing with common phobias.

In experiencing unconscious manifestations through entheogens, since there is no clear boundary as there is between sleeping and waking, there is the risk (albeit less for you, apparently) that a person could become confused about reality, since the hallucinations can seem so real to the ego…and this is where, IMHO, people like Mr McKenna go a bit off the rails, so to speak, and begin believing their hallucinations are real for everyone else, too. This is where, in my humble opinion, the megalomania sets in and a person becomes dependant upon a substance (even a non-addictive one) to exert magical control over their psyche. They become, as I have been reading, “fantasy junkies and control freaks”.

Now I suppose that some kind of gestalt is possible using a entheogen, but again, the problem is, for instance, in some people with weak egos, (which is certainly not the case for either of us, thanfully) the negative aspects of the unconscious (read: evil) might gain the upper hand and defeat the ego and cause harm, as in the example Ames gave, or worse, irreparable harm, as in the examples I gave of my acquaintances when I was younger, one of whom committed suicide.

The safe guard of using gestalt therapy as I mentioned above is that the symbolic character and the ego are given equal power and weight, thus either empowering one by strengthening the weak ego or by incorporating an unconscious projection and turning it into a strength.

A win-win situation either way.

And then again, I admit that I probably never laughed so hard in my life as I did on LSD; at low doses (100mcg) there wasn’t much in the way of bizarre hallucinations, just a lot of silliness that was fun and a bit tiring at the end..but for me, not much in the way of personal growth, IMHO. I guess I could stand to be more silly in my life, if that’s what my trip was telling me, but nowadays I usually watch comedies for that. And I have kids, so entheogens aren’t really a viable option for me at this stage of my life. I choose to have fun in other ways.

I suppose what I wanted to say with regard to your hallucination of merging bodies with your wife vis á vis burton’s delusion of being a goddess in a man’s body, is that the two experinces are not that far removed, symbolically speaking, and for what ever reason, your experience apparently did not lend itself to inflating your grandiosity, yet for burton it did. Good for you! Even so, burton’s idea of incorporating his female side is not as special as he makes it out to be, and I too, have experienced hermaphroditic dreams which are quite wonderful and empowering.

185. Parson Yorick - March 29, 2015

Whalerider 106. Sorry for the belated reply. I am not recommending the “movements” but rather just reporting that I did them after leaving the FOF. In retrospect, I think that the FOF thrust itself into my path when what I was looking for was really the G-Foundation (which was making itself hard to find). They (the movements) were difficult. I don’t have anything either positive or negative to report from having done some of them. I heard from one long-time member of the G-foundation that she had suffered a fall and some broken bones while doing movements. Maybe she was just accident prone. I don’t do them anymore, and I no longer feel much interest in Gurdjieff or his fourth way. I’ve moved on.

186. shardofoblivion - March 29, 2015

Whalerider – Good, no spooky entities in either of our cosmologies.

“The interesting and engaging aspect for me, and apparently the entertaining aspect for you, is how autonomous these symbolic beings seem. They seem to appear from nowhere…like from a separate reality or another dimension.”

Yes dreaming never seems arduous somehow, it all just flows.Similarly with tripping, I remember I did enjoy the shapes and colours of closed eye visuals on my first trip, and I also wondered where it all came from, effortlessly, and seemingly endlessly gushing out of the visual far field. 40 years later I came across a philosopher/neuroscientist Thomas Metsinger, who summarised recent research by saying we inhabit a reality ego tunnel. a phrase I stumbled over everytime he used it. His thesis is that our brains are machines that are setup to produce a very close simulation of a possible world, as suggested by the inputs of our senses. The discussion above touched on the same tunnel I believe. I almost got it when he put it this way – Imagine a very advanced flight simulation setup, highest definition, no lag, all senses synchronised. That is what our brains are doing all the time – ONLY THERE IS NO PILOT. The machinery becomes aware in and of itself, no endless set of inner people looking at the Cartesian theatre. Now he also introduced another key concept, which is that the workings of this world generator is TRANSPARENT. We are unable to see the thing that is producing the awareness – except as he said in some cases of mental illness or other states of non ordinary reality, when we might catch a glimpse of the machinery in action. And that can result in the strange situation where we no longer have one unified world, the senses come apart running their own reality generators in a fragmented state of mind. It now seems to me those endless flowing rivers of wonder on LSD are the subject catching a glimpse of the “Machine that produces the visual world”,

I found it helped me get the concept of Transparency by considering what happens with our eyes, we cannot directly see our eyes because we see through them, similarly we cannot see our own reality generator because we exist through it.

And of course dreams are Metsinger’s most obvious evidence that our brains are capable of generating a world without sensory input driving it.

” in gestalt therapy one gets to role play the 10 foot beast with the head of a rhino, and reflect back the hidden aspects of one’s unconscious mind. In flip flopping back and forth between the observing ego and the symbolic beast a deal is usually struck or an insight is revealed and inner equilibrium is reached,”

That is a great description, I’ll try that and see what it feels like.

187. WhaleRider - March 30, 2015

“People do not become addicted to drugs or mood altering activities as such, but rather to the satiation, arousal, or fantasy experience that can be achieved through them.”

~H. Milkman, “Craving for Ecstacy: The Consciousness and Chemistry of Escape”, 1987.

To say that a drug like LSD or marijuana is non-addictive doesn’t necessarily mean a person with an addictive character could not become addicted to the drug.

Also, the above quote speaks to the mood altering, antidepressant effect a cult member might seek (at the expense of their authentic self) from cult activities like meetings and concerts, which might serve to mitigate the fear of abandonment (ex-communication from the cult) and relieve the insecurity and perceived failures produced from pursuing an unsustainable state of hyper-vigilance, so-called, “enlightenment” and permanent womb-like bliss.

188. leaf - March 30, 2015

135. silentpurr – March 25, 2015
“..remembering a comment RB made in my presence on the subject of “everything turning wrong in one”. He said that when someone leaves the FOF, all the wonderful appreciation for the classical arts turns sour and will be negatively associated.
Robert, if you are reading this…it didn’t happen that way for

I’m with you on this, silentpurr. Burton loves to instill fear, whether it’s by making predictions of the end of the world, or in describing the sorry spiritual fate of those who dare to stop tolerating him and the fof. If someone buys it, it enables him to maintain control over that person. I’m sure he’s had similar things to say about those who criticize him.

Whatever, the classical arts have been doing quite well on their own, with or without “the school.” Before the school, during it, and after. The music is still beautiful, the literature is still thought provocative, the art still charms and silences a stream of strange thoughts. So delusional he is, that somehow it is all for him and for his little group of followers.

A friend (who has never joined a cult) recently sent me this ode by Horace, which maybe ties in with Marconi’s comments at 179…

Leucon, no one’s allowed to know his fate,
Not you, not me: don’t ask, don’t hunt for answers
In tea leaves or palms. Be patient with whatever comes.
This could be our last winter, it could be many
More, pounding the Tuscan Sea on these rocks:
Do what you must, be wise, cut your vines
And forget about hope. Time goes running, even
As we talk. Take the present, the future’s no one’s affair.


189. Messages From Marconi - March 30, 2015

Think of all the startlingly intelligent people there are in the world. There are many researchers, scientists and doctors doing serious work to advance the knowledge and technology of mankind. These are people with minds that are a level above the average in a certain kind of capacity who have dedicated their unusual intelligence to finding out about our universe and our existence in real terms, in scientific terms. They do not waste their day speculating about the spiritual nature of the astral plane, etc. These very smart, motivated and practical people dedicate their time on this world to finding answers that make a real difference in the no-nonsense world.

Some of us admire these people even as we recognize the fact that we do not have the mental capacity or the dedication to actually be one of them. There are people much smarter than I am doing far more significant work in their lives than I will ever do, even though I am supposedly developing a higher dimensional body of consciousness with which to survive into eternity after the death of my physical body. This is my only claim to fame: spiritual adept, recognizing the real meaning of life. And it is true, right? We “self-remembering men number four and above” are better off than mere smart people advancing the scientific work of mankind, aren’t we?

Because this is our focal point of self-worth, the cornerstone of what is called our ‘narcissistic supply’, that even though we are not as smart as most scientists or as dedicated as those advancing the scientific knowledge of mankind we are far wiser than they are because we have chosen to “work on ourselves” rather than the pedestrian task of working for mere material advancement. And this is the right choice, correct? My “evolution” is far more important and brilliant than any advancement in the “A influence world,” right? Even though I am not gifted enough to engage in both at the same time, science and self-evolution, I am still better off than mere scientists who are “identified” with molecules and such, yes? I can only “work on myself,” but that is superior to anything other uninformed people are doing in the world, better even than the genius scientists, because my “evolution” advances the unseen goodness of the whole universe, correct? So, as a significant spiritual being and even though I’m not smart enough or educated enough to advance the materialism of civilization I can still write a daily blog on Facebook and inspire other self-deceiving ego-inflated idiots into mistakenly believing that they are not wasting their lives indulging in “astral gymnastics” via Gurdjieffian mind games and exercises, true?

The pursuit of true, unassuming humility and self-sincerity as a means to develop higher consciousness is not only a viable substitute for not being intelligent enough and dedicated enough to be part of the scientific community, for not becoming one of those actually discovering the nature of reality, but it is even better than a substitute, it is a superior lifestyle even though the results are exclusively in my own self-evaluation. All these smart-machines will die a pointless death, but we who have wisely developed an “astral body,” a soul, a “higher being body” and “higher consciousness” will be alive to glow with saintly wisdom in the hereafter, isn’t that true? Isn’t it? In fact we glow with ultimate self-satisfaction right now in the “Eternal Here”, don’t we? Anyone? Please? Is it true? Isn’t all this self-witnessing really what “IT” is all about? Aren’t we superior? Aren’t we the wise? YES! This isn’t just the mediocre ego-sense of a comparatively dumb person lost in an imaginary life of mythology speaking overly optimistically, right?

There at least has to be a way of making money on this semi-popular astral-body immortality fad, right?

190. ton2u - March 30, 2015

whalerider @ 187

you can ‘conjure’ data and other evidence to support almost any point of view… who are you trying to convince? I suggest there’s some ‘fuzzy thinking’ going on when you lump things together as seems to be a habit with you… like authors previously mentioned and “drugs” — LSD & marijuana ?! who are you kidding, that’s just ignorance and straight propaganda from the government ‘schedule.’ Look, i understand your point of view, your conditioning around this issue, with all the tragedy you’ve experienced with regard to “drugs” it’s to be expected… that’s YOUR experience. I have a different set of experiences conditioning my perspective – i think we can leave it at that… if you need to convince yourself that’s fine… but consider that along with the ‘fuzzy thinking’ it seems to me you’re projecting a lot of ‘shadow stuff’ onto the specter of ‘drugs’ and the ‘evils’ thereof…. but it’s not a ‘black and white’ situation… consider for a moment another side… for example with regard to some of the ‘entheogens’ there is a lot of positive, practical work being done with these same drugs you would villainize… for example in treating addictions and end of life resolution… you could google it if you’re interested but i doubt you are… you should know this already being in the line of work you do but i’ll say it anyway — development of empathy means being able to actually experience from another’s perspective but putting yourself in another’s skin is easier said than done… understanding in this regard comes from a perspective not ‘your own’ — in spite of how convinced you are that you are ‘right.’

‘There at least has to be a way of making money on this semi-popular astral-body immortality fad, right?’

see blow-job-bob

191. leaf - March 30, 2015

192. WhaleRider - March 31, 2015

Thanks for your post. I appreciate you taking the time to respond.

Exceptions to the rule do not disprove it. And on the contrary, I am interested in the point of view you are presenting. In fact, my girlfriend just sent me a podcast on the subject of the therapeutic use of entheogens, to which I plan on listening with an open mind.

But for me there is no mystery nor glamor about using entheogens; they are a part of my past, and I have since moved on.

Unfortunately, as you know, entheogens are not always taken for therapeutic reasons nor in a therapeutic, controlled, and supervised environment. Not everyone can travel to the Amazon, and I bet many use ayahuasca with the belief they will have the same kind of experience they read about in a popular book, without the cultural background or Shaman to support them on their journey.

Hey, if one or two trips in a controlled and supportive enviromnent helps a person leave a cult, I’m all for it. But I don’t feel it should become their new religion.

As far as conjuring data, please understand that I am simply relaying researched information as I come across it in my reading and as it pertains to our common experience of joining a cult, which an argument could be made to which some people become hopelessly addicted like alcoholics.

I think it is a salient point that regardless of the substance or mood altering activity, research shows it is the experince the substance or activity provides for the individual that is addictive, based upon the make up of that individual’s character. That seems clear to me. I believe that model of thinking places the responsibility for the negative consequences addictive behavior causes squarely upon the individual, without having to demonize the drug.

Thus the government’s propaganda “war on drugs” is doomed to failure because the root cause of the matter is not being addressed. Experience shows that cutting off the supply of drugs dosen’t stop drug seeking behavior…in a drug seeking and material culture.

And, personally, I don’t believe substituting pharmaceuticals like Xanax or Paxil is the answer to chronic anxiety or depression, and in my experience, drug replacement therapy to treat addiction doesn’t work in the long run either. It just happens to be cheaper than various forms of other therapy, less time consuming, and a lot more impersonal.

But to present a point of view that a psychoactive drug is not addictive is, IMHO, false.

Aspirin is not addictive, because there is no experience aspirin produces by itself other than the relief of pain or the reduction of fever.

Both LSD and cannbis are psychoactive substances, and need to be regulated in some manner, but not necessarily made illegal. And if I had a choice, I would rather have my kids smoke pot than drink alcohol.

And as Pema Chodron reminds us, a person could become addicted to taking hot baths, but I seriously doubt they would have to create a fantastical, delusional system of space aliens to justify the behavior. It simply feels good to take a hot bath as a mood altering experience. Where’s the harm in that?

A person could feel the compulsion to wash their hands based upon obsessive thoughts that germs are going to kill them, but that is not, IMHO, an addiction.

I think it would be more enlightening for us to stick to the issues, fuzzy or not, rather than make assumptions about each other’s character or our ability to empathize. I am willing to go where ever the evidence leads me, all kidding aside, and even if the direction happens to be unpopular.

193. nigel harris price - March 31, 2015

….. just a little ‘admission’ of how I am, now we are on the subject of MOODS and STATES, DRUGS and ALTERATION ….. I ‘suffer’ from Type 1 (tendency to be ‘high’), rapid-cycling (elated to aggressive), events-related (things happening, not the cyclical kind) bipolar affective disorder. I mostly, apart from diabetes and high-blood-pressure drugs, have to take copious amounts of ‘downers’ each day, mostly to help me have a ‘nourishing night’s sleep’. Only four times have I ever felt suicidal (once attempted before ‘leaving’ the FOF) and derive immense pleasure from human interraction and approaching life’s difficulties with a sense that honesty and true beauty ‘wins the day’. I found this little statement whilst encumbent in the North Devon Mental Health Wing – Moorland View Ward…..

“It takes COURAGE to step enthusiastically into each new day.”

194. WhaleRider - March 31, 2015

Thank you for your post. I’m glad you are in our midst and have been in the back of mind during this whole thread on entheogens.

I’m going to take a leap here and make the assumption that you know yourself well enough by now to get that experimenting with drugs like LSD, DMT, psilocybin, or mescaline would be an unhealthy idea for someone like you suffering from rapid cycling bipolar affective disorder with psychotic features and a history of suicide attempts, right?

Despite all the popular notions of using a substance to connect with God or the Earth mother or alien beings from another dimension…and even though the so-called “traditional” practice has been around for thousands of years…even though munching on mushrooms may have given a few incredibly lucky members of our ape ancestors an edge on the evolutionary ladder…and even though a published and popular author with a great deal more money than you or I might have in our lifetimes might say publicly that it was really cool and hip…it would not be in your best interest to take psychedelic drugs, primarily because the depression that follows the high could prove fatal for you or those whom happen to be flying along with you.

I would like to qualify my statement above that the medicine(s) used to help you control and manage your mental issues is the answer, along with meaningful contact with others and a fulfilling vocation to keep you busy.

What you take may feel like “downers” to you, but are more than likely modern “mood regulators” than CNS tranquilizers. I am quite certian you are not a downer to your students of precious metallurgy and appreciate your courage and passion for your craft.

Of all the people on the planet, you have my deep respect for the day to day struggle you must endure simply to remain present and a contributing member of society.

I believe a healthy spiritual practice is one that includes everyone.


195. nigel harris price - March 31, 2015


…..to go tangential, this state of so-called reality, that the Asians call “Maya”, translated as “illusion (?)” is enough for me…..what is wrong with it ? ….. other than the murderous, evil minded and scamming bastards that we know operate our planet, of which we may encounter several in our life’s journey. It is enough to me that a sidewalk has slabs, that lintel and jamb help support a door…..I do not ask for mind-blowing “cosmic dude” experiences…..and, no…..I have never taken hallucinogenic substances…..I have no need to be far out…..I have been to the symbolic promontory in leaps of faith enough to know that when Julie, Katiuscia and Kelly say “Rein it in, feet on floor and take deep breaths”, they care for my well-being…..there is a bond of love shared between Master and Aspirant that is In The Present and Beyond into Eternity…..I am 58 years old and I know my body is mortal and the Angels will take my Transcendant Being when the time comes, so I value 1) my autonomy, which is in agreement with Freedom of Speech for All 2) the use of all my senses, at this present time, and 3) the support of local police officers, mainly women, whom I cherish for their sensibleness along with the co-operation of our council, who are soon to take on a “flushing” operation on the “Thugs with Drugs and Rock’n’Roll” who have found their way into our street and are on “last chancers” before being evicted.

I remember a beautiful man – my Head of Adult Teaching Studies at East Devon College – his name was Mike Higgins and he gave me the chance to LEARN TO TEACH MY CRAFT (take heed Burton, teachers are born, not made by fabricated ways and they never take advantage of their students!) – he died, alone in his home, aged 53, of lymphona cancer and I attended his funeral. This was read out as his eulogy…..

Death is nothing at all.
I have only slipped away to the next room.
I am I and you are you.
Whatever we were to each other,
That, we still are.

Call me by my old familiar name.
Speak to me in the easy way
which you always used.
Put no difference into your tone.
Wear no forced air of solemnity or sorrow.

Laugh as we always laughed
at the little jokes we enjoyed together.
Play, smile, think of me. Pray for me.
Let my name be ever the household word
that it always was.
Let it be spoken without effect.
Without the trace of a shadow on it.

Life means all that it ever meant.
It is the same that it ever was.
There is absolute unbroken continuity.
Why should I be out of mind
because I am out of sight?

I am but waiting for you.
For an interval.
Somewhere. Very near.
Just around the corner.

All is well.

What a fabulous way to approach one’s terminus…..Nigel.

196. Cathie L. - March 31, 2015

Huston Smith on cleansing the doors of perception:

‘What does this cleansed perception actually reveal? Not the infinite per se, says Smith, but rather the infinite within the things at hand – perhaps “an old pine tree gnarled by wind and weather, or a skein of geese traversing the autumn sky.”’


197. shardofoblivion - March 31, 2015

#196 Kudos to Huston Smith to be able to step out of the usual religious opinion that drugs can only provide a false and inauthentic mystical experience. I do not share his pessimism about the fact that modern opinion generally dismisses the existence of another reality beyond this one, I am encouraged by this realism, and the “magic” he senses being lost, I am sure is still there in the cosmos we inhabit, and within the inner space of our minds.

This was my favourite quote from the article:

After nirvana there’s the laundry


198. ton2u - March 31, 2015

thank you cathy, i’m a ‘fan’ of huston smith… had a chance to meet him many years ago after a talk in berkeley…

whalerider, i think we’re simply in different ‘camps’ when it comes to the war on drugs… and i feel we’re going around in circles here and find that i’m repeating myself… this topic got started on the last page when the war on drugs was equated with a war on consciousness. my original point was in agreement with a graham hancock video — that an individual’s consciousness should be up to the individual to ‘control’ and ‘alter’ as s/he sees fit and that the war on drugs opposes the basic right to individual freedom in this regard. apparently you don’t agree that the individual should have certain rights over their own consciousness ! that’s surprising.

I’m not trying to ‘glamorize’ drug use as you’ve implied again, and i’ve already said it’s not for everyone but the demonization of drugs that’s so rampant and which you’re reflecting here actually ‘mystifies’ and shrouds the issue with ignorance. (I would be interested to hear how you view the confluence of drugs and shadow projections). ‘Drugs’ are a fact of life, ideally they’re tools that can be used for various purposes… yes recreation may have a place and yes, tools can be abused… this is why education and providing context for their use is so important… ignorance is no solution and war is not the answer… if someone commits murder with a hammer, should hammers be outlawed ? anyone caught with a hammer goes to prison, ‘3 strikes’ and you’re in for life… etc.

I would disagree with you, exceptions do disprove ‘the rule.’ for someone used to analyzing abstract ‘data’ in order to determine an average, or a norm, or a ‘rule,’ i can see that it may not be as simple and easy to think in terms of individual differences and the many, many shades of gray… it’s not about ‘black or white’ right or wrong… everyone, everything is unique with it’s own situi and context to consider. the bureaucratic mentality so pervasive today finds it difficult to think in these terms… it takes more time, effort and in many cases a degree of empathic understanding to do so, and we certainly don’t have the time for all that ‘nonsense.’

speaking of empathy, i wasn’t necessarily impugning your ‘character’ by bringing that up in a previous post, developing empathy is something i personally have to work on everyday… i don’t expect that you consider yourself having completed your own development along these lines… i don’t think there is a terminus, only new opportunities…. and as for ‘fuzzy thinking’ i didn’t necessarily mean to impugn your ‘character’ — just to be a little clearer with my own fuzzy thinking, what i was referring to is the tendency to conflate… this is also a pervasive tendency which i don’t think you’re ‘immune’ to, your biases on the topic of drugs seems to indicate as much…

199. ton2u - March 31, 2015
200. Messages From Marconi - March 31, 2015

201. shardofoblivion - March 31, 2015

Nice one Marconi, but of course, in reality everyone knows THIS is your brain on drugs 🙂

202. WhaleRider - March 31, 2015

“…and i feel we’re going around in circles here.”

What do you mean “we”, white man?

Speaking for myself, the psychedelic train has left the station long ago, and I have since moved on, based upon my own informed choice and first hand experience.

For me, the use of entheogens at this point in my life would be like going in a big circle, not that I have a problem with geometry, but that’s why I joined a cult, to find a way to more self-knowledge and understanding without drugs, so by all means, if you insinuate I’m in a little box, well then, have fun in your little yurt!

I’m clear that you are not glamorizing entheogens; you are, however, pointing to those whom are.

C’mon, really? “War on consciousness”? That’s a bit like the “war on Christmas”, IMHO…over-dramatized, but it might sell a few books.

Now, to be fair, I’ve shared a great deal about what I have personally learned on my path away from relying on drugs and cults for inspiration. Are you willing and able to share what you have learned on your path, since last our paths intersected? Are we so different, you and I? Or is it…you do you…and we each go our separate paths?


203. ton2u - March 31, 2015

another ‘good’ example of shadow projection… the rich irony of a ‘black’ man representing the shadow side of the issue…

204. ton2u - March 31, 2015


not sure our paths ever did (intersect that is)… funny, i thought this was / is ‘sharing’ – and yes ‘we’ all go our separate paths after all.

205. Cathie L. - April 1, 2015

#201 shardofoblivion:

Thank you for posting that! Watching it now…the laundry can wait.

206. nigel harris price - April 1, 2015

…..ain’t having the ‘blues’ being depressed ? Type 2 bipolar ? ……

207. WhaleRider - April 1, 2015

Our paths did intersect while we were both on salary, mid 1980’s, but since then a lot of water has gone under the bridge.

As far as sharing, well, may I ask what you are currently reading instead of what you apparently were reading prior to joining the cult?

I’ve had three great dreams during our conversation I’d like to share.

1) I (my observing ego) was being lead down a dark hallway (my unconscious) by a male (my shadow side) to a doorway (window of perception) and since my female side (my soul) wasn’t around, I (my observing ego) had the feeling he (my shadow side) was going to take advantage of me and I (my observing ego) was scared. When the door opened, I observed a room (in my mind/body) that was a small movie theatre. As I stepped into the room, the male accompanying me (my shadow side) vanished. I (my observing ego) noticed the room seemed like a comfortable room and less frightening, and I woke up.

I had the realization upon waking up that by paying attention to my dreams (my unconscious processes) my observing ego was allowed to be taken by my shadow side to the place in my unconscious mind where my shadow side does all the unconscious projecting, which is a frightening process to my ego, because largely my ego has no control over what my shadow side projects, and I have come to understand how projections can damage my relationships with others and with myself. But by bringing my observing ego into the projecting room and noticing I can be comfortable there, meant that I could be comfortable owning this process and my shadow side could not as easily take advantage of my observing ego by projecting what my ego has no control over. Noticing my shadow side had vanished in a sense meant my shadow side had become the projecting room, or revealed its true identity.

This dream occurred after blogging about how, IMHO, entheogens cause one to project the unconscious mind outward and animate itself as fantastical hallucinations, possibly causing the observing ego in the intoxicated person to confuse them as “real”, or in other words, as existing independently from the observer, like mechanical elves or alien creatures that actually exist on another planet or in dimension. IMHO, I believe these processes do have an independent existence, but existing only in the subjective fantasy world of the inner dimension of the individual.

2) I (my observing ego) was in a room (my body/mind) with a timid male (my shadow side) who was about to steal my dog Sammy (my love object) and sell him (for emotional capital). I (my observing ego) confronted him (my shadow side) and sent him out of the room (my body/mind) and down a spiral staircase in the lobby of the apartment building (my body). I (my observing ego) followed him out into the hall and watched him (my shadow side) going down the stairs (my unconscious). I (my observing ego) shouted to him (my shadow side) that I wanted to hear the door slam behind him on the way out or I (my observing ego) was going to call the police (my consciousness). As is usually the case, when I (my observing ego) mentions the police (my consciousness) I wake up, which I did, but without ever hearing the door slam.

Upon waking up I realized how timid my shadow side is, how that part of me will never leave, and how, if I am not vigilant, it can steal my love for myself and sell it, in other words, give my power away for emotional capital, as in “short changing” my integrity and self esteem in order to be liked by others. The character in the dream looked like a person I had seen at a restaurant that day, whom I had seen before, whom appears shy and timid, and seems to drink a lot. Now again, my female side was missing from the dream, and that usually disturbs me, for usually her presence in my dreams is comforting or enlightening in some manner. I attribute her not being present to the fact that currently I am in France and have a hard time resisting French wine, and have allowed myself to drink, which I have not been doing at my home in the U.S. Thus, by simulating feelings of elation and euphoria with alcohol, or in a sense seeking my soul mate in a bottle, also disturbing my sleep patterns because of a wine headache, I find that consistently my female side is missing in my dreams, due to my pleasure seeking behavior. This usually keeps my alcohol consumption in check, because I much rather have the pleasurable and enlightening presence of my female side each night in my dreams instead of having disturbing dreams and a headache the next morning.

3) Last night, after the “little box” episode on the blog, I had the following dream:
I (my observing ego) was in a room (my body/mind) and there was a knock at the door (window of perception) and it was an irate woman (my soul) who was claiming I had somehow taken some money (emotional capital) from her (my soul). I was really upset and confused, because I (my observing ego) felt that was not true, and she (my soul) did not believe me. She (my soul) was unconvinced and inconsolable. I had to ask her (my soul) to leave, which was more upsetting because now I (my observing ego) felt inconsolable because she (my soul) was demanding more money (emotional capital) than I could give her. Then there was another knock at the door. This time it was a different woman (my soul) and a man (my shadow) whom I recognized as an old friend (wise man, inner guru). They starting giving me money (emotional capital) because they had heard that I was poor (depleted of power). I (my observing ego) started feeling wealthy (empowered). At that point I (my observing ego) decided it was time to call the police (my consciousness) because the first woman (my soul) was acting irrational and I woke up.

After awaking I realized the inner conflict I was having with drinking wine was taking its toll. We had dinner guests last night and a nice bottle of wine, but surprisingly, I woke up without a headache after having this dream. Also, the reoccurring motif appeared again of being falsely accused, which is a sensitive issue for me because of the narcissistic wound from my childhood of being falsely accused by my parents for something my brother had done. I was also struck by how my female side is transformed when I feel her feelings or own them, even though they seem crazy. I was also reassured by the reappearance of my inner guru, the old man archetype. I’m also feeling empowered to forgo the wine tonight. Both also provided me with emotional capital and empowement to stand my ground, (or remain grounded) regarding my viewpoint about the use of entheogens or drugs for inspiration or happiness despite the risk of being unpopular.

I believe each person is equipped with everything they need, without having to rely upon augmenting their consciousness.

Now that, IMHO, is sharing.

208. shardofoblivion - April 1, 2015

#207 , thanks for a big share Whalerider, it gives a real flavour of how you interpret your dreams. I like your translation of calling the police, as invoking consciousness, at first I thought “wouldn’t the police be the superego or censor?”, but then it seemed right as the pollce uncover things others are trying to hide. A little question for you, do you ever find when you call the police instead of waking up you become lucid? And if you become lucid, however it happens, do you find yourself interpreting the symbolic meanings as they play out in front of you? How do the characters react once they know you are taking them as archetypes?

209. WhaleRider - April 1, 2015

Usually in my dreams when I have to call the police, I wake up out of dream. I don’t recall the police actually ever showing up in my dreams, so I do become lucid, but the dream stops.

About a week ago a French woman appeared in my dream. She started making out with me, which was surprising and very enjoyable. The shock of the encounter began to wake me up. As I was becoming lucid, I became aware enough to do a gestalt with my female side, (my soul-mate), and ask her why she was kissing me. As the image of her was disappearing back into my unconscious, I could hear her voice telling what she liked about me. I was surprised by what she said. At that moment I felt “complete”.

When I was fully awake, I realized what a relief it was to be self-validating, without such a strong narcissistic need to seek validation from others, which has been an issue for me in the past.

I remember I woke up in a happy mood.

210. ton2u - April 1, 2015

to nigel, shard and all who share here thank you…. and special thanks to whalerider — no one here has shared as much:


211. ton2u - April 1, 2015

A previous post is apparently lost in ‘moderation’ but if, like the link to “True Hallucinations” appears again here – which wasn’t intended as a double endorsement (although I did enjoy the book – i know ‘there’s no accounting for taste’)…. nevertheless, if the sentiment below appears more than once, apologies for the repetition:

Sorry to hear of recent health problems but glad to hear you’re ‘on the mend’ – good to read your voice here again.

212. WhaleRider - April 2, 2015

Yes, thank you ton2u, I agree, it’s good to hear from James, and Ames, too, and welcome Carhie L.

James, the good news is that the brain has a huge amount of unused matter, that allows a person who suffers a stroke or even a traumatic brain injury to recover. A person with enough desire to heal can actually consciously will their brain to reroute around the damaged area and reclaim almost all their previous functioning. As Stephan Hawkins says, “where there’s life, there’s hope”.

After successfully resisting a fine Burgundy Aligote yesterday, here’s the dream I had last night.

I was in a desert, probably Iraq. A man from that region was going to be executed by firing squad in a walled village. A group of men of different ages from that region were hustling the condemned man who was tied up through the village. He looked scared. There was much commotion and excitement for I understood this man had been holding someone hostage whom had been rescued. The condemned man was placed facing a wall. My view was only of this man, not the firing squad. For a moment I became this man and had the thought that this wall was going to be the last image I would see. Then a moment later my view was of the man again as guns went off. The man was shot in the middle of the back, severing his spine, and he fell to the ground, lying on his back. He began to kick his legs and then bent his knees with his feet in the air like a baby.

I woke up from the dream and had to struggle to remember the images since they were so violent. I realized that such a violent dream would be frightening to most people and readily suppressed, for fear of the scene coming true in the future, but to me this speaks to the primal side of our nature and a part of myself I can accept, and represents what is happening in the present. (Often when I’m sick and my body is fighting a cold, I will dream about war.) And to the unconscious mind, to stand up for oneself often translates as a life or death struggle.

In working through the symbols, I made the connection that resisting the wine was like executing a part of my shadow side. The group of men I named the “jihadis”, for to me jihad symbolizes the struggle against anything that separates one from god or one’s higher power. In the group of jihadis were old men, symbolic of my inner guru, so I had to trust that even though what was about to happen was violent, it was OK, (which was difficult because I don’t believe violence solves anything and I’m a vegetarian). The jihadis were also composed of younger males, a new permutation of my shadow side who will always be with me and might enjoy the thrill of the kill. I (my observing ego) also became the condemned man for a moment, since I am also my shadow side, and felt the ego’s terror of facing death, like facing a wall beyond which the ego cannot see. (Usually with execution by firing squad the condemned are facing the squad). The spine of my shadow side, its main support, was severed by the bullets of my libido, and thus severing this permutation of my shadow’s pleasure seeking behavior. My shadow side writhed in a baby-like fashion, indicating the infantile nature of my shadow side, the unseen and buried elements of my psyche from my childhood…the part of my that undoubtedly sought pleasure from my mother’s breast, but was thwarted since I was bottle fed…

Instead of suppressing the memory of this dream, I now feel stronger in my SELF as a result of working through it.

213. nigel harris price - April 2, 2015

….yes, I believe ….. how else would I have made it through ? ….. and beyond ?

214. shardofoblivion - April 2, 2015

10 myths represented by 10 tiles, smashed by the foot of inevitability:

1. There is a purpose to everything
2. Consciouness can exist without a living brain
3. Burton is good
4. There are disembodied beings changing events
5. Suppressing the expression of negative emotions creates higher hydrogens
6. Imagination is bad
7. Efforts to be present will be rewarded with immortality
8. Burton is a Goddess
9. There is a good God, who has our best interests at heart
10. This existence is just preparatory to a real existence that is to come.

215. nigel harris price - April 2, 2015

214 shard

…..in part, you are being an ass hole ….. i know you feel nihilistic about our ‘going on’ , but YOU ARE AN ASSHOLE ABOUT THAT ! why else life, but continuance ? NIGEL

216. ton2u - April 2, 2015

@ 207

“….a sensitive issue for me because of the narcissistic wound from my childhood of being falsely accused by my parents for something my brother had done.”

re: narcissistic wounding and searching for ways to heal wounds which seem not to heal…


217. ton2u - April 2, 2015
218. James Mclemore - April 2, 2015

WhaleRider –

“James, the good news is that the brain has a huge amount of unused matter, that allows a person who suffers a stroke or even a traumatic brain injury to recover.”

I do not know anything about “unused matter”. That sounds like something you might have read somewhere. I hope you are not going by the old 10% myth, or if it is something new I have not heard about, then I will bet that it is just theory about something as yet undiscovered. Not much different than outer space before and after the Hubble telescope in that there was a lot more going on than previously thought.
You go on to say,

“A person with enough desire to heal can actually consciously will their brain to reroute around the damaged area and reclaim almost all their previous functioning.”

That sentence pretty much threw me for a loop. No hard feelings, and I certainly thank you for the good wishes your note was obviously sent with, but to me that sounds like a mixture of new age gibberish with a bit of pseudo-science thrown in for good measure. Now, there is most certainly some re-routing that is happening. You might even say I have first hand knowledge of that fact. However to say that there is a “personal self” with “enough desire” and some sort of free “will” that could enable this re-routing, well…, that statement sounds like it requires a number of assumption or belief systems. Now the thinking mind or the ego or whatever you wish to call it, which in itself may only be a very small part of that brain, may take credit for this re-routing after the fact. I think that is certainly possible. In my own case there has been a fairly sizable, although incremental, recovery process that has happened, but there was no “person” that brought any of that about. No “person” to “reclaim” anything. I guess you could say the recovery process “was witnessed”, but that is about all that can be said.

Nigel – What numbers in Shard’s list rubbed you in the wrong way? I saw nothing there that sounded particularly nihilistic. I would have to hear Shard’s definition of “consciousness” in number 2 before I could completely agree with it, but everything else was pretty much straightforward.

219. WhaleRider - April 2, 2015

Nigel, take it easy tiger. Let’s reel it in a bit. shard is our friend.

Awesome article! I can’t thank you enough! You nailed it for me.

Jung called it, “the Transcendent Function”. I call it, the Inner Guru.

As the article states, it is the part of us that spontaneously generates irrational images which act as a bridge between the split parts of the psyche. YES!!

It is my belief we all posess a Transcendent Function, an Inner Guru…the key to unlock one’s spiritual virtuosity and set one free from the need of a succubus cult leader like burton, who thinks enlightenment is about disempowering his followers and exploiting them to satisfy his insatiable greed and lust.

“…he [Jung] again employed the technique of observing and dialoguing with fantasy figures.”

This is the exact technique my mentor taught, using the Gestalt technique only dialoguing with the fantasy figures appearing in dreams, instead of somatic manifestations in the body, using what Jung called, “active imagination”…or shall we say, “conscious imagination”.

Brilliant! I find the technique very self-empowering and useful for strengthening the will, bringing the psyche into balance, and for creating a more overall pleasant feeling tone.

Has it worked for you?

James, I’m glad I threw you for a loop. The brain is in fact, “plastic”, in the sense that neurons in the brain have the ability to mould into new directions around damaged parts and to create associations on multiple levels, i.e. there’s a certain amount of redundancy to how the brain stores information and learning.

Once a part of the brain is damaged, it is my understanding that it doesn’t grow back, other parts of the brain take over.

Give me a sec, and I’ll research the Internet. And yes, healing the brain is a very, very slow process.

A great little documentary to watch is called, “Crash Reel”, the story of the snow boarder Kevin Pearce who suffered a very serious brain injury in a snowboarding accident. It will be inspiring for you. He wasn’t 100% better, but if you see what he came back from, I’m sure you will be impressed. There was no new age hocus pocus involved. That kid literally willed himself back on the slopes, he would not give up.

Otherwise, you tell me, how else could the brain possibly heal once sections have been traumatized either by stroke or serious injury?

220. WhaleRider - April 2, 2015

The techinical term is called, Neuroplasticity…AKA cortical remapping.


221. ton2u - April 2, 2015

@ 219

I don’t know about your “mentor’s” ‘technique’ which involves elimination of “somatic manifestations of the body” — after all, this too is part of the package / psyche.

For the consideration of all readers, here’s a link to the “roots’ of another approach / perspective… you can investigate further if you’re interested:


222. ton2u - April 2, 2015

another “good” example of CONFLATION @ 202:

“C’mon, really? “War on consciousness”? That’s a bit like the “war on Christmas”, IMHO…over-dramatized, but it might sell a few book…”

completely different issues… btw imo it would be a good idea to TURN OFF FOX NEWS.

The following link is for entertainment purposes only… is this not ‘sharing’ too ? i hope nobody here interprets this as “glamorizing” drug ab / use, (or the less likely possibility of “glamorizing” war). one interpretation of this ‘dream’ is that scenes here depict quite the opposite, in both respects, while at the same time providing a ‘symbol’ of hope in the image of the young boy.

imo the war on drugs IS a politically / racially motivated ‘war on consciousness.’ Even if one objects to the sloganeering involved, the phrase nevertheless descriptively encapsulates the situation. This particular war continues to reap much more carnage and ruination of lives than does the use or abuse of said substances… war is not the answer, nor is ignorance of the situation:


223. ton2u - April 2, 2015

@ 207

“I believe each person is equipped with everything they need, without having to rely upon augmenting their consciousness.”

I respect your belief, but I do object to is those in your camp who legislate, prosecute and generally persecute those who might have a different perspective in this regard.

sweet dreams…

224. ton2u - April 2, 2015

@ 222 re: “for entertainment purposes only” – it’s ok to dance, to move, to feel your body…. warning: this will involve “somatic manifestations” :


225. WhaleRider - April 2, 2015

Don’t know where you got the idea that Gestalt Therapy ‘eliminated’ somatic manefestations, certainly not from me, but rather, from what I understand, the technique simply utilizes somatic manefestations as a gateway for insight into the unconscious mind. We’re talking reading twitches and itches here…not moving and grooving. As I said, works great for phobias, too. And apparently Jung used it with his dreams before my mentor was even born. I can’t wait to tell him next time I see him. He wrote a book about it.

And BTW, the only time I ever watch Faux News is filtered through the Daily Show.

I love camping! Personally I believe you are welcome to use all the drugs you can get your hands on, cowboy!

I don’t believe LSD has been proven to improve one’s common sense, though, but quite the opposite, ask marconi.

I agree with you!! Making drugs illegal does more harm than good. As I said above, regulating them is all I would ever advocate, you know, to get the dosage and purity right. And having a nice place to go, like in Amsterdam, rather than a back alley or having to drive around in circles in fear and loathing…

But as the saying goes, you can’t get enough of what you really don’t want. You won’t find that lasting nirvanic, maternal bliss in a pill or bottle, IMHO. We had that chance when we were babies, and there’s no going back. But, hey man, you are welcome to die trying! Just keep it off the road, SVP. You stay in your little yurt, I’ll stay in my dream boat.

Thanks again for the article on Jung, that was sweet! He’s one of my heroes.

Reich, well, he had some interesting ideas in the beginning…but seems like the megalomania set in at the end. Was he on drugs or something?

226. paul gregory - April 2, 2015


Alcohol is a very very bad, dirty nasty drug. It causes people to puke, piss on the street and beat up their wives. You say you have a good time on it, but I can point you to a man who’s shat his pants and can’t find his doorkeys. How you could be so irresponsible, Whalerider, to share this filthy habit of getting high on alcohol is beyond me. It kills millions of people a year. Each time you taste the grape, you should bow your head in remembrance for every soul that’s died with Korsakoff’s and liver disease.

Drink, if you must, but drink responsibly. If you think it improves your lot, then who am I to judge? If you think the ‘high’ gives you a perspective on ‘things’, how can I interpret your perspective? Yes, drink, because everyone is right to drink, drinking is the western way, drinking is manly and normal and not queer like people ‘augmenting their reality’ or whatever that was. Nothing in ‘augmenting your reality’ to a cheeky little chablis? Erm, (with the greatest respect) you must be pissed, mate!

227. ton2u - April 3, 2015

@ 225

“Reich, well, he had some interesting ideas in the beginning…but seems like the megalomania set in at the end. Was he on drugs or something?”

and thank you, for another “good” example of shadow projection vis a vis “drugs.” but you see, you missed the point… there are other perspectives… maybe you can ‘enlighten’ readers here by saying more about your “mentor” and dismissing “somatic manifestations.”

sounds suspiciously like yet another “baby / bathwater” situation, but of course I could be wrong… could you?

228. Cathie L. - April 3, 2015

I also enjoyed the article on the “wound that will not heal.” Something that occurred to me, while reading about the interplay between Amfortas, Parsifal, the evil magician, and the seductive witch, was the idea of projection.

As I’m sure we’ve discussed here before, many of us projected a lot of things onto Robert Burton during and after our time in the Fellowship. (The Fellowship of the Ring just popped into my mind….hmmm. Another Wagnerian link, by way of Tolkein! *)

Anyway, if we allow that all of the characters in the Parsifal drama are aspects of ourselves, the question arises, to what extent did we project our own evil magician, seductive witch, wounded king, and holy fool, onto Mr Burton?

Jung is also one of my heroes, by the way.

* http://www.newyorker.com/magazine/2003/12/22/the-ring-and-the-rings

229. ton2u - April 3, 2015

wr @ 225

“Don’t know where you got the idea that Gestalt Therapy ‘eliminated’ somatic manefestations, certainly not from me…”

here’s where I got the idea, “certainly” – and only from you @ 219:

“This is the exact technique my mentor taught, using the Gestalt technique only dialoguing with the fantasy figures appearing in dreams, instead of somatic manifestations in the body…”

just saying… “cowboy” — whether you’re aware of it or not, “somatic manifestation” is a component of psyche… ignorance means you’re (one is), lost in the dream.

‘we’ can demonize burton, or, Reich, or Mckenna, or Casteneda, or Wilson, or Hancock, or “drugs,” or a glass of wine with dinner, or anyone and / or anything else ‘we’ care to here but imo you identify the key… it really is all about the projector.

230. Messages From Marconi - April 3, 2015
231. James Mclemore - April 3, 2015

230. Messages From Marconi

Thanks for the link. That sounds like a very interesting book.

232. WhaleRider - April 3, 2015

??? Wow, it seems I really hit a chord that is resonating something in you…you rugged iconic individualist, you.

Again, maybe if I said in “addition to” somatic manefestations you would not have taken my statement as “excluding” or “eliminating”? Cuz that’s what I meant. The body doesn’t lie; I love my body! And the female body, too!

Am I demonizing drugs? Maybe it would be more accurate to say that I am demonizing the drug abuse demon. It’s like the NRA says, “guns don’t kill people, people kill people.” OK, right, but I don’t believe guns should go unregulated and everyone should have free access to them.

Don’t know where you got the idea I was promoting alcohol. Maybe you are just being sarcastic? In fact, in my posts above I was sharing my disdain for alcohol because it gives me migraines and interferes with my sleep patterns, and hence my dreams. I have successfully eliminated alcohol from my life at my home in the U.S., but have been struggling with resisting the rampant social drinking that occurs in France, and as I stated above, if I had a choice I’d rather have my kids smoke pot than drink alcohol.

Yesterday we had lunch with our French accountant, and he ordered a bottle of French Rosé for the four of us, and when I declined, he cranked up the social pressure. “Ah, c’mon!”, he says with his French accent. I stayed strong and politely refused again, and he persisted. Luckily when I told him about my migraines, he backed down.

Yes, I agree with you, even though it is probably mankind’s oldest antidepressant and antianxiety drug of choice, IMHO, abuse of alcohol causes a person to regress into some fairly infantile behavior, crying, fighting, spitting, puking, pissing and shitting in your pants. I can do without it, and as you remember, in the FOF, drinking was the norm. Gee, I wonder why?

233. WhaleRider - April 3, 2015

PS. Probably as a result of resisting tbe rosé, last night I dreamt about running down and escalator that was going up to rescue a baby that was clinging to the handrail.

Marconi, nobody is perfect, and yes, I idealize Jung as you maybe once or still idealize Gurdjieff. In all fairness I’m going to order that book, to humanize him. According to the article ton2u, posted above, Jung was molested as a young person by a man who he trusted and I’m sure it will be interesting to read about his shadow side, which we all share. Thank you for the link.

234. nigel harris price - April 3, 2015

….. not sure to whom, but about ….. shardofoblivion …..

He more than mentioned, even went OTT, about THE FACT (?) that we come from nothing, are born (I would like him to explain THAT PROCESS !), sort of live our life according to appetite, social norms or doctrine. Would not immersing oneself in a deep spiritual path or way lead to studying life’s meaning WHICH GOES WAY DEEP INTO THE PURPOSE OF THE UNIVERSE ??? Then we die – poof ! …..it’s all over. OK, forget the NIHILISM bit, if it disgruntles folks on the blog. But, if shard is correct, what a pointless waste of ‘cosmic growing up’ ! How about E=mc2…..in other words, you can transmute energy, but you cannot destroy it. Is that reply to shard any good ? ….. Nigel.

235. shardofoblivion - April 3, 2015

#234 Nigel argues against the idea that when the body dies, that is the end for our spark of awareness as well.

In no way do I feel facing this fact means that the time we have here on earth is a pointless waste of ‘cosmic growing up’. Just the opposite, knowing this life is all we have, imbues it with a precious quality that immortality would remove in my opinion.

I have little doubt about our mortality. I would agree I am in no position to assert with any confidence that the Universe does not have a purpose. I cannot answer the question “Why is there anything at all, why not no time, no space, no consciousness, no matter, no energy”

If there is a coherent answer to that question, whatever it is could reasonably be called God, but I do reject the myths that humans have come up with, which place humans at the centre of the cosmos, whereas recent discoveries about the size and age of the observable universe show our position to be insignificant.

I value all life, and believe we can act as moral beings without having to relate our actions to the wishes of some deity, and to me the phrase ‘cosmic growing up’ would refer to facing our mortality, realising that everything we do and say can affect the lives of our companions here on earth, and that a grown up can look death in the eye without flinching.

236. ton2u - April 3, 2015

nigel @215

insulting shard for his beliefs is misplaced… some of the recent discussion here has to do with the subjective and ‘fluid’ nature of “reality” as ‘we’ (humans) perceive it… how burton and those of his ilk are able to manipulate others into ‘buying in’ to his “system” (his “reality”), has to do with the ‘idealizing’ projections of his followers…. ‘we’ were there, we bought in and that’s at least half of the equation… and the other end of the stick for those who leave a cult is that the situation is still fertile ground for shadow projections… imo ‘culpability’ is important in the process of recognizing and withdrawing projection… but i digress… bare with me a little longer for a speculative ‘thought experiment’ — given its fluid and subjective nature, to some extent ‘we’ are in the process of creating our reality by the way we perceive, think, behave and generally process experience… maybe the way we happen to shape our reality here on terra plane determines what comes next… if shard’s idea of ‘heaven,’ or ‘the afterlife’ is that there is nothing, then maybe that’s what it will be… if your heaven is populated with ‘angels’ maybe that’s what it will be… like the blind man says: “we’ll see.” but imo what we think and do here makes a difference, one way or another, whether there’s an ‘afterlife’ or not.

237. ton2u - April 3, 2015
238. paul gregory - April 3, 2015

I was being sarky, Whalerider, of course. Alcohol kills three million people worldwide a year, but it’s an accepted drug. illegal drugs like weed, psychedelics and ecstasy are safer than alcohol, and can also act as medicine. The medicinal value of alcohol is almost non-existent when compared to these banned substances. What makes drugs dangerous is the lack of information, harm-minimization and health advice. The alcohol industry is invested in anti-drug campaigns because it is a threat to them, as is ‘big pharma’.
Telling the truth about drugs/psychedelics/etheogens isn’t promoting drugs. It’s telling the truth.

239. Messages From Marconi - April 3, 2015

233. WhaleRider – April 3, 2015

“Marconi, nobody is perfect, and yes, I idealize Jung as you maybe once or still idealize Gurdjieff.”

I see, if you idealize a fraud then I must be as foolish as you are and idealize a fraud as well. No one is going to get away with one-upping you, are they? If you make a mistake then the messenger has to make a mistake too. Therefore the narcissistic injury is equalized.

Gurdjieff was a psychotic. This is a fact I’ve been advocating for years. Jung was also a psychotic, but like Gurdjieff he dabbled in the occult and became popular among the lunatic fringe. For some reason highly opinionated psychotics gather many fans in life. Evidence this obvious fact in the person of L. Ron Hubbard and Scientology. Jung was only slightly more credible than Hubbard and Gurdjieff.

240. Robert Stolzle - April 3, 2015

Catching up on this blog, I am reminded of kids on the playground: Bang, bang you’re dead–am not–you cheat–I quit! Does the cycle of attacking and defending opinions ever reach any consensus here—other than RB and FoF BAD! I reckon that is the intent; though I’d posit that it drives as many prospective FoF students away from the blog as it persuades to reconsider joining. Has anyone, who was considering joining the FoF ever made their presence known here? Do you know if you “saved” them?

Well, carry on—-and enjoy the Easter eggs on Sunday—they come from a very prolific bunny who represents a fertility goddess and the process of birth and the rebirth of Spring in the cycle of life. This of course was a Celtic fable co-opted by the Christians for their own devious purposes.

Enjoy the holiday in whatever way is meaningful to you,

Bob Stolzle

241. nigel harris price - April 3, 2015

shardof oblivion/ton2u

Both of you, in your ‘squash-Nigel’ posts, seemed you were pouring ‘plastic play bricks of words into a bucket ‘ and thinking that the sound they made was COHERENT, EFFECTIVE, and CONVINCING. I do not know if either, or both, of you are American (even Californian), but there is no IMPELLING USE OF LANGUAGE, SUCH THAT A MESSAGE MAY RESULT. Words for the sake of words and please be constructive, not USA Presidentary…..Nigel.

242. nigel harris price - April 3, 2015

The Donkey


When fishes flew and forests walked
And figs grew upon thorn,
Some moment when the moon was blood
Then surely I was born.

With monstrous head and sickening cry
And ears like errant wings,
The devil’s walking parody
On all four-footed things.

The tattered outlaw of the earth,
Of ancient crooked will;
Starve, scourge, deride me: I am dumb,
I keep my secret still.

Fools! For I also had my hour;
One far fierce hour and sweet:
There was a shout about my ears,
And palms before my feet.

243. Tim Campion - April 3, 2015

240. Robert Stolzle

…and later co-opted by the chocolate industry for their own devious purposes (which I fully support.)

244. Cathie L. - April 3, 2015

245. Tim Campion - April 3, 2015

Ha, ha, Cathie. Devious and inhumane!

246. Shelley Mitchell - April 3, 2015

I haven’t visited the blog in a long time either. It’s heartening to see a discussion about Jung and transcendence. Other worldly experiences mixed with a strong dose of fear and self-doubt were the primary reasons why I remained in the FOF for so long. -Robert Burton mixed with synchronicity is a potent cocktail.

One of the most painful post FOF side effects was the feeling of having been mocked with regard to the subject of faith. The first important book I read on the subject of transcendence was Talking with Angels by Gitta Mallasz, a true story about four close knit artists who had a transcendent experience during the Nazi occupation of Hungary. The counterpoint of angels and Nazis was haunting. The next book that helped was The Power of Silence by Carlos Castenadas, followed by The Road Less Traveled and Jean Shinoda Bolen’s the Tao of Psychology.

When I finally learned the word synchronicity I felt like Helen Keller must have done when she learned the word ‘water’.

In an effort to reconcile my post FOF life and return to my roots I adapted the book Talking with Angels into a solo performance piece that I’ve been doing at festivals and salon performances for over 10 years. A number of blog contributors have seen it and I hope share the same sense of wonder that the story gives me.

I will be performing it at the Edinburgh Fringe Festival this August so if any of you in the UK are in the area please come see it and say hello after. It is very special when I know that ex-FOF members are in the audience. http://igg.me/at/talkingwithangels/x/9180

Wishing you all a Good Friday-

“Greetings to the four of you!
The choir of angels brings a message;
it is your task to pass it on:




Sacred mystery.
We are Angels.
Our word is truth.
Our drink is light.
Our song is praise.

We serve together: we are One.


May peace descend over you.
But pass it on! It is not your own.
All that belongs to us is Ö; and we belong to Ö.
This is our message:


Talking with Angels by Gitta Mallasz
Good Friday, April 7, 1944

247. shardofoblivion - April 3, 2015

#241 – Nigel, you do you.

248. Robert Stolzle - April 4, 2015

I’d guess that the ex- FoF-membership here spans many years. Did any of you ever hear of any “student” being forcibly removed by cult rescue people against their will? Has any “life person”, at the behest of the law, ever investigated the goings-on at any of the “centers” for any reason? I realize that the church designation allows for a lot of bizarre behavior, but with all the negative commentary here, is there nothing aside from RB’s teenage pederasty that ever aroused suspicion in anyone with some authority?

Bob Stolzle

249. WhaleRider - April 4, 2015

“I see, if you idealize a fraud then I must be as foolish as you are and idealize a fraud as well.”

Yes, good work, Marconi, that’s exactly my point; you got the message.

Nobody is one up or down; IMHO, we are all on a level playing field here.

We all make mistakes. We all sometimes behave foolishly, myself included. It doesn’t mean we’re fools as long as we learn from our mistakes. We are only human. It does no good to either idealize or dehumanize others to defend or inflate our ego.

Even “psychotics” are human and are entitled to be treated with dignity.

Sometimes “psychotics” recover from their psychosis and go on to live meaningful lives, sometimes not.

Having personally known both, I feel strongly that one ought not to gamble with one’s sanity inducing psychosis with psychedelic drugs for recreation, as I think you agree, nor make a religion of it.

I knew a counselor once who claimed he had been psychotic in his youth, was lucky enough to receive help in time and was able to attend university, get a job and make a life for himself helping others less fortunate than him. His story is an inspiration for others.

Sometimes a person has to go a little mad to discover their individuality. Even healthy people contain psychotic parts of themselves. It doesn’t necessarily make them better or worse than anyone else.

It’s what you do with the hand you’ve been dealt that matters in life.

250. Barbara - April 4, 2015

251. ton2u - April 4, 2015


“No one is going to get away with one-upping you, are they?….Therefore the narcissistic injury is equalized.”

@ 249 whalerider ‘proves’ your point (again) by one-upping you…

my ‘gut feeling’ (to borrow a term), is that this one-upping has something to do with the ‘narcissistic wounding’ (see post 207) suffered in childhood centering on the competitive relationship between a brother vis a vis parents… and all that implies… (look at the attention whalerider is getting here — “you can’t get enough of what you really don’t want” ?). ‘Primal scenes’ (not just sexual) from childhood are projected to some degree in adult life – in this case it takes the form of a ‘subconscious’ need to be “right” all the time, or at least to rationalize a way to feel ‘right.’ Whalerider needs to have the ‘final word’ and so the one-upping and the ‘pissing contests’ ensue…. and as Bob Stolzle says, “I am reminded of kids on the playground…” projection runs much deeper than ‘conscious’ awareness…. and it seems nothing can heal the narcissistic wound except maybe recognizing one’s own projections and their source… there is much work to do in this regard.

Barbara, thanks for the link

Shelly Mitchell, Cathie L, Tim Campion, thank you all, your posts were like a fresh breeze blowing through.

252. nigel harris price - April 4, 2015


Aah, yes …..EUGENICS …..there we have the so-called THERAPIST GONE MAD (give me money and status and I will cure the freaks!) ….. and then the phrase …..”Evil can only prevail when good men stand by and do nothing.”

I was IN, trying financially to be IN, the FOF from 1978 to 1989 ….. but I was always feeling awkward ….. real FOFers are computer programmers, corporate recruiter/headhunters or in the medical/psychiatric professions. Yes, I had had elated periods and a few depressed periods before the FOF, but there was nothing as bad as my time in California ….. persistent depression at my almost always broke condition financially, relieved by playing classical, and other, music loud, in my workshop, lubricated by cheap Californian red wine, hoping that hard work and opportunism would see me through. It did not, and on 11 June 1989, I tried to take my life, in my workshop, surrounded by the tools of my trade and pictures/drawings of things I had made, seemingly which symbolized THAT I WAS RESPONSIBLE FOR ALL THE BAD THAT HAD HAPPENED AND WAS GOING TO, AFTER I HAD DIED. That is psychosis.

Most of the rest, until now, I have related to bloggers, at different times in the blog’s ongoing-unfolding.

There is a sociopathic/alcoholic/paranoid/pschizophrenic in our block, who is anti-law and anti-healing-therapy. He is boozing himself silly with the class A narcotic taking/alcoholic in the apartment above him. I am on the top floor and hear it all (sometimes see the results!). They are both on FINAL WARNING/POLICE CAUTION STATUS and I have been given ‘full sway’, by police and council, to report incidents and even crimes as they unfold. It is only fair to my fellow, law/peace abiding neighbours as I prepare to leave for South Wales on the 13th April. Also, the police deserve a mighty round of applause for helping me turn about from recurring Section 136’s (I believe in the USA, they are called Section 5150’s) through being a victim of personal physical assault to police communique.

In the Police Oath it is written “to uphold the personal rights, enjoyment of personal dwelling and the due course of The Law for the safety of the individual.”

Not a lot more to be said, really ….. Nigel

253. nigel harris price - April 4, 2015

251 ton2u

Maybe I will change my name from “Nutty Nige”, through “Naughty Nige”, to …..


At least Narcissus is a DAFFODIL ….. CYMRU AM BYTH !!!!!

254. ton2u - April 4, 2015
255. shardofoblivion - April 4, 2015

Let’s indulge in some gossipy tittle-tattle about well known names in the psych-shaman game. Way back in the early 1970s a TV station arranged a meeting at Esalen to try to settle the question of whether the spirit world was real or all in the mind. They asked among others Fritz Perls, Carlos Castaneda, Michael Harner, Claudio Naranjo and a Pomo Indian called Essie Parish.

In the end Fritz Perls used the Dr Johnson argument against idealism on Castaneda as he rambled on about Don Juan.


I also read that Perls shared a room with Castaneda, who was bemused by the succession of nubile young hippy girls the randy old goat Perls entertained in his bed.

256. Messages From Marconi - April 4, 2015

Your spiritual/psychological idol was a fraud. Suddenly that fact is inescapable because the evidence is clear. A piece of your belief system suddenly turns to dust. Can you just absorb that fact stoically or must you smear a little of the grime on others to appease your outraged ego? Can you be wrong without insisting that at least one other share some of the inescapably obvious imperfection you are now forced to acknowledge about yourself? What forces you to play the “If I’m dirty then you’re dirty too” game?

“If it is in fact the case that my hero was a fraud then don’t forget that your once upon a time hero was fraud too.” Does the “you screwed up too” finger really take any of the sting out of the disappointing reality? Does the impulse to spread the blame diminish the embarrassment?

257. ton2u - April 4, 2015

@ 225 good article shard.

“…to try to settle the question of whether the spirit world was real or all in the mind.”

the ‘whether / or’ comparison here implies that because it’s ‘all in the mind’ it’s not “real.” to use the onion metaphor, what’s ‘in the mind’ IS a ‘layer’ of reality, albeit (“merely”) subjective. A problem seems to arise at the ‘junction of subjective reality and the layer of consensus reality… here, disagreements about what “reality” is – or ‘should’ be, give rise to various forms of aggression… for example; jihads, witch-hunts, waging a war on “drugs”/ consciousness, or an asshole move by Perls with his “freudian” punch.

258. nigel harris price - April 4, 2015

….. dip my full moon bloodily ….. !!!!!

259. nigel harris price - April 4, 2015

254 ton2u

….. looks like it might be a ‘ruff-ruff-ruff’ day on the blog, eh, Fido ?

260. shardofoblivion - April 4, 2015

You OK there Nigel?

261. nigel harris price - April 4, 2015

Wisdom and spirit of the Universe!
Thou soul is the eternity of thought!
That giv’st to forms and images a breath
And everlasting motion! Not in vain
By day or star-light thus from by first dawn
Of childhood didst thou intertwine for me
The passions that build up our human soul,
Not with the mean and vulgar works of man,
But with high objects, with enduring things,
With life and nature, purifying thus
The elements of feeling and of thought,
And sanctifying, by such discipline
Both pain and fear, until we recognize
A grandeur in the beatings of the heart.

William Wordsworth
English poet (1770 – 1850)

I do not mind THE ABSTRACT MIND AND WORLD ….. it is both a strength and, occasionally, a weakness ….. Nigel.

262. nigel harris price - April 4, 2015

260 shardofoblivion

Actually, shard, I am taking ‘intervals’ between approaching my ‘housecleaning for the move’ on 13 April, in an ‘alchemical way’, as we used say, blogging and listening to Classic FM.

And, I would say, I am 7+1/2 on the 1-10 Psycho-Richter Scale (eyes smarting in hypo-mania, as they do). There is no need to call the emergency services, nor the Crisis Team – “Crisis sir ? What would you like ? An anxiety attack or a full-blown suicide attempt ?”

Sorry about the sarcasm – I think all of us hear need a bit of a stripping down in terms of self-importance – – – taking the rise sometimes helps ….. Nigel.

263. shardofoblivion - April 4, 2015

#257 I agree Ton2U that each consciousness creates its own world. ie for me the most amazing thing in the universe is the machinery that creates subjective worlds within the nervous systems of living creatures.

But would you not admit that there is a distinct matter of difference here, between those world pictures that ascribe mystical and visionary experiences to a metaphysical external world that exists independently of the person experiencing it, and the world view that places the causes firmly within the mind of the experiencer?

Perls in the meeting impressed Claudio Navanjo – who came to the meeting from a shamanic route, and became good friends with Castaneda during and following the meeting, but he acknowledged Perls as the most powerful shaman in the room, and became a Gestalt therapist and follower of Perls. Perls told the Indian spirit shaman that he could achieve everything that she could using his knowledge of the unconscious mind. So I wouldn’t equate the spirits being “all in the mind” as meaning they are in any way diminished, they are just as powerful for someone who knows they come from their own nervous system (possibly modified by spiritual practices, drugs or just asleep dreaming)

264. shardofoblivion - April 4, 2015

Nigel – great to hear you are fine, your post made me chuckle. Good luck with the move to the country 🙂

265. Cathie L. - April 4, 2015

#263 shard: “So I wouldn’t equate the spirits being “all in the mind” as meaning they are in any way diminished, they are just as powerful for someone who knows they come from their own nervous system (possibly modified by spiritual practices, drugs or just asleep dreaming)”

Yes. I thought Harner’s (reported) reaction was the harmonizing note that bridged the two opposing camps:

“Spirits? Unconscious? Who cares what you call it?” says Harner. “As long as it gets the job done.”

266. Tim Campion - April 4, 2015

248. Robert Stolzle,

Government and enforcement agencies (here and abroad) have conducted many investigations of Robert Burton, the Fellowship of Friends, and individual members, far too many to mention here. You might search the Robert Earl Burton blog LABELS list (left-hand column) for specific topics.

Anne Rodney’s was probably the most widely-reported deprogramming case.

267. ton2u - April 4, 2015

nigel, the move will do you good.

shard, i don’t know about “admitting” – i don’t think i claimed otherwise… i agree PROJECTING “mystical and visionary experience” gives rise to the idea that the experience is ‘external and independent.’ In some ways, having to do with the “machinery that creates subjective worlds,” ‘any and all sense’ of what’s ‘external and independent’ IS within the mind of the experiencer and “reality” as ‘we’ humans perceive it is a form of ‘projection’ so-called. is what’s out there, external and independent, ‘more real’ than perception and experience ? One way to look at it is that ‘we’ project ‘reality’ onto the screen of the world around us… those “world pictures” that ascribe ‘independent / external existence’ are in a sense “delusional” – or maybe a less loaded term would be “illusory.” This ‘illusory’ is not unique to ‘visionary and mystical’ experiences, it’s a pervasive human condition which comes at least partly from not recognizing / realizing the source of perception and ‘world picturing’… i.e. “the machinery” in action – nevertheless, in the course of daily living ‘we’ are projecting our “reality” onto the ‘screen’ of the world… i think in most cases ‘we’ have the ‘experience’ that “reality” is ‘independent and external’… (not to diminish the ‘independent / external’ layer, or level of “reality”)… it’s why i say somewhat ‘tongue in cheek’ – although you (one) may not be aware of it, you (one) choose your delusion. a question is how much ‘free will’ and actual choice is involved and how much simply “conditioning” etc.

those of burton’s ilk who apparently would ascribe external / independent (i.e. “objective”) existence to the “reality” of their “world pictures,” those of this ‘ilk’ are able (somehow) to persuade others to buy into his version of “reality” – literally buy in…. i think ‘success’ in this venture relies at least partly, if not mostly, on ‘something’ summed up in that famous phrase by cynic p.t. barnum….

268. Messages From Marconi - April 4, 2015

Human beings suffer from the believing disease. This is how people with substandard, warped intelligence explain to themselves the structure of their world and their significance in it, they believe in folklore. Folklore is a pretend reality that is haphazardly devised over the course of time by people with unmanageably hyperactive minds who succeed in influencing others by the apparent force of their irrational personal convictions. People suffering from delusions convince the weak minds of the relatively normal that they have seen visions and heard the plans of the greatest authority and have now come forward as the selected prophet of God.


Genesis 17:3 – 12

“And when Abram was ninety years old and nine, the Lord appeared to Abram, and said unto him, I am the Almighty God; walk before me, and be thou perfect. And I will make my covenant between me and thee, and will multiply thee exceedingly. And Abram fell on his face: and God talked with him, saying, As for me, behold, my covenant is with thee, and thou shalt be a father of many nations. Neither shall thy name any more be called Abram, but thy name shall be Abraham; for a father of many nations have I made thee. And I will make thee exceeding fruitful, and I will make nations of thee, and kings shall come out of thee. And I will establish my covenant between me and thee and thy seed after thee in their generations for an everlasting covenant, to be a God unto thee, and to thy seed after thee. And I will give unto thee, and to thy seed after thee, the land wherein thou art a stranger, all the land of Canaan, for an everlasting possession; and I will be their God. And God said unto Abraham, Thou shalt keep my covenant therefore, thou, and thy seed after thee in their generations. This is my covenant, which ye shall keep, between me and you and thy seed after thee; Every man child among you shall be circumcised. And ye shall circumcise the flesh of your foreskin; and it shall be a token of the covenant betwixt me and you. And he that is eight days old shall be circumcised among you, every man child in your generations, he that is born in the house, or bought with money of any stranger, which is not of thy seed.”

A lunatic tells his family this tale and convinces them to believe it: “God has chosen me to lead you to greatness! Now hurry, get a knife and let me start carving up your penises!”

Someone writes the folktale down and someone else declares it the “Word of God.” Forever after, knives are let loose on the penises of innocent children as a “Mark of the Covenant Canaan.”

“I hear your boy is 8 days old today? I brought my knife. Now, where is the innocent penis? There shall be blood!”

What folklore does is that it takes the latent potential for complete insanity that is always prevalent in the stock of humanity and gives it a direction in which to manifest horrific ignorance.

“God wants those penises clipped! It is the price for Canaan, where a stranger in a strange land distinguishes himself as the righteous king! Thanks be to Almighty God and his sacred and exclusive penis carving cult!”

Five thousand years later the result is a world where male children experience brutal trauma to their sexual organ as likely their first significant memory. No one thinks about it much because it is so commonplace, but this is a perfect example of what crazy people do within the confines of their self-devised crazy folklore world.


269. shardofoblivion - April 4, 2015

#266 Ton2u, Yes I agree with you, and your point is well made that it isn’t only hallucination’s that are created by us within the machinery, it is the sober daily world we see when awake. That is the bigger point, and I think it is lucky that we have the example of dreams to show us clearly that our brains are capable of creating an entire world with no sensory input. It gives a big clue as to where the magic happens, in the brain.

270. WhaleRider - April 4, 2015

That’s odd, ton2u, unless I’m mistaken, I tend to give more attention to the blog community than get attention, if you do the math, and I’m fine with that.

And as far as I can tell, the beauty of how this works is that nobody here gets to have the final word; it’s an ongoing conversation, which I find quite lively and informative.

Noboby here gets to be top dog when the ground keeps shifting, we’re all underdogs, IMHO. He’s my hero, too.

And quite frankly, your last post to me was just the pot calling the kettle black.

With two mirrors facing each other, it doesn’t matter in which direction you look, the projections go on infinitely.

I like to focus on what happens when I close my eyes.

I’ll let you know how my ego fares after I actually read the book about Jung. I look forward to it; I’m sure it will be quite enlightening. It’s in my reading cue right after Kohut’s “The Restoration of the Self”, which is on its way.

You know, for me, it’s quite a relief to know that we come from nothing and to nothing we will one day return. Like it or not, that’s a reality we all equally share. I’m Ok with that, too.

271. ton2u - April 4, 2015

shard, thanks for the discussion…

“…the example of dreams to show us clearly that our brains are capable of creating an entire world with no sensory input. It gives a big clue as to where the magic happens, in the brain.”

this point the the “reality” of the ‘astral-body’ and external vs internal ‘sensory input.’ Thinking is considered a function of ‘the brain’ – processing experience occurs at least partly, if not mostly through thinking… but i don’t agree with bob stozle that it’s all ‘between the ears’ – what about ‘gut feelings’ and other organs involved in the “machinery that creates subjective worlds” i.e. the entire nervous system… is this not ‘thinking’ too ? One way to look at it is that the whole body is “the brain.” For example, i would venture to say that some dreams are be influenced by ‘indigestion’ – another form of ‘sensory input’ – but better ask whalerider about it.

@ 189 marconi,

“There at least has to be a way of making money on this semi-popular astral-body immortality fad, right?”

maybe this will help you to ‘capitalize’ on your ‘business venture’:



“… your last post to me was just the pot calling the kettle black. With two mirrors facing each other, it doesn’t matter in which direction you look, the projections go on infinitely.”

i think reflecting “each other” can be a ‘good thing’ if/ when the ‘mirrors’ can recognize the reflection. thank you whalerider, i grew up with brothers (and sisters) too.

272. ton2u - April 4, 2015

re: 271

“this points to…” etc

sorry about ‘typos’


273. shardofoblivion - April 5, 2015

#271 Ton2u I have had my opinion changed on the location of consciousness recently as a result of reading Metsinger’s book The Ego Tunnel and listening to Greenfield’s talk about her neurological research on youtube.

What Metsinger argues is that our consciousness has a great ability to project itself out and “own” senses, we often feel as if we are in our eyes and behind our ears, and this extends beyond our bodies even. He cites some interesting experiments using virtual reality helmets and video, but the simpler example of driving a car shows the effect he is pointing to. He describes a phantom hand experiment we can all do at home. Our mind “becomes” the senses it is processing, and this process is transparent to us.

The example of dreams points to the relative independence of the brain from the rest of the body, which is temporarily paralysed during dreaming, and though sensory input can penetrate – only above a certain threshold, and usually doesn’t drive our dreams.

Greenfield’s approach is to make use of the latest imaging techniques to see what the difference is between a conscious brain and an unconscious brain. She has observed a ripple or wavelike pattern whenever we are alert, and it seems to connect far flung physical areas of the brain. She tentatively posits that these waves can quickly carry information throughout the extent of the brain. A new contribution she makes is to name a wavelike pattern a “neuronal assembly”, which she compares to a stone thrown into a puddle and producing a few waves then disappearing. The traces they observe vary in size and she has looked at correlates of small assemblies – dreaming, schizophrenia, drug states and others. (may be this talk that set off the internet meme “YakaWow” for describing small neuronal assembly consciousness)

These waves seem to be concentrated in the brain, though some could involve other close parts of the nervous system I guess.

274. nigel harris price - April 5, 2015

….. just ‘noticing’ what most all of us have been guilty of ….. rendering ‘dogmatic theory’ or ‘theoretical dogma’ in the face of other posters, like some stupid ‘Laurel and Hardy’ cream-pie fight.

I am most pleased when something refreshing is offered upon the nimble visage of the page ….. something positive ….. something constructive ….. Nigel.

275. ton2u - April 5, 2015

thanks shard,

another point of view:


276. ton2u - April 5, 2015
277. ton2u - April 5, 2015
278. Barbara - April 5, 2015

273 – The Neuroscience of Consciousness, entertaining and educative. And in the end…back to scratch, a god magnet.

279. Barbara - April 5, 2015

Medley, Abbey Road

280. Barbara - April 5, 2015

273 – 276 – 277
Is this another way of exploring of the idea of the “three brained beings”? What about the chakras systems?

281. nigel harris price - April 5, 2015

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=y7EpSirtf_E …..Pink Floyd ….. the ESSENTIAL PSYCHADELIC ROCK BAND …… the 70’s ….. please listen to all the words ….. you see, this can become US – in or out of the FOF ….. whether it is a Burton, or an Elena or the blog/posters who get barred, change their moniker and come back again to be barred …. we essential and vulnerable ones can TELL YOUR EMPTINESS …. YOU, LIKE TON2U, may try plucking snit-bits of science (or otherwise) …..

“I’m not the (ph)easant (pl)ucker; I’m the (ph)easant (pl)ucker’s son …..get the rhymery, mate

and try to organise the blog to you immental non-utility “spheroids”, madam ….. actually, an image of the heart, is not the actuality of the heart ….. abstract, or die

I’m off to flirt with Ms Williams on facebook ……Nigel

282. shardofoblivion - April 6, 2015

#276 Thanks for those links Ton2u.

Heartmath have a dubious reputation among scientists, and they do sound a bit “quantum woo”.


But of course Scientific American are a respected source of information, and the gut research is persuasive. I agree the whole body is probably involved in consciousness (though I still reckon a big proportion of the heavy lifting is done in the brain)

283. nigel harris price - April 6, 2015

[last lines]
Patience, Highlander. You have done well. But it’ll take time. You are generations being born and dying. You are at one with all living things. Each man’s thoughts and dreams are yours to know. You have power beyond imagination. Use it well, my friend.

(Call me hypo-manic – but by no means ordinary ….. Nigel)

284. ton2u - April 6, 2015

thanks nigel for the beautiful, elegiac ‘comfortably numb…’ here’s a nod, i can hear you… you ARE extra-ordinary.

“…The mind can proceed only so far upon what it knows and can prove. There comes a point where the mind takes a higher plane of knowledge, but can never prove how it got there. All great discoveries have involved such a leap.”

‘back to scratch…’


285. nigel harris price - April 6, 2015

and, thank you ton, for that post AND MAY I BOLDLY SAY – the link that ‘cracked open the rift’ of my misunderstanding of you ….. see, I am really a PEOPLE’S PERSON – I work with clients to produce beautiful ‘little things for little people’, I am going back, in South Wales, to my ultimate thrill – TEACHING MY SKILL – there is nothing I enjoy greater than seeing my students succeed – if they stay on a while or leave for their own business (you see, underneath it all – BURTON IS SHIT SCARED – fear underlies all great facades like his, hence the heed for ‘enablers’, ‘do-the-work-the rightway’ers’, the powerful lawyers, “to gild the lily, to paint with painted pomp” – as Shakespeare uttered in King John) ….. I do believe, if afterlife or re-incarnation is a fact, Burton goes back to amoeba or disappears down his personalised black hole ….. there is no place in this BEAUTIFUL, ULTRA-COLOURED AND GOOD-CARESSING UNIVERSE for people like him.

I fear the many churches in Abergavenny leading me into their flock, since I feel that, if any path exists in spirituality, the Buddhist Way shines.

We are back again to “Why follow a ‘guru’?” and why be duped?

286. fofblogmoderator - April 7, 2015

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