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Fellowship Of Friends/Fourth Way School/Living Presence Discussion – Page 147 April 7, 2015

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1. Tempus Fugit - April 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.

2. nigel harris price - April 7, 2015

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ypn9oKaO-3E …..

I remember those years, though a YOUNG MAN …..

Ellen posted from Nisargaddata …..

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

3. Cathie L. - April 7, 2015

“One of the best stories of the early Christian desert hermits goes like this: ‘Abbe Lot came to Abbe Joseph and said: Father, according as I am able, I keep my little rule, and my little fast, prayer, meditation and contemplative silence; and according as I am able I strive to cleanse my heart of thoughts: Now what more should I do? The elder rose up in reply and stretched out his hands to heaven, and his fingers became like ten lamps of fire. He said: Why not be totally changed into fire?’”

—from For the Time Being, Annie Dillard

4. nigel harris price - April 7, 2015


I only started reading this today, 04/07/2015, as using time waiting for my counsellor, who is an expert on how to avoid low-life, alcoholics, drug-users and the UberMenschen of society. I want to go to the people who operate the Wellcome Trust (Sir Henry Solomons Wellcome) and find a way to produce a piece of public art – using all the understanding from this blog, my history of mental instability and sectioning/institutionalizing, my art/craft background and the ‘new’ teachings I have come across in the past few years. I would love for this ‘sculpture’ to become part of the National Museum of Wales, Cardiff. You see the polarized possibilities ?????!!!!!

5. Ames Gilbert - April 7, 2015

Those interested in the thread about psychedelics on this blog may appreciate this:
Neurons to Nirvana: Understanding Psychedelic Medicines
Published both as a book and as a documentary, available on Amazon for streaming download (free if you are a Prime member).

Those interested in the thread about the Fellowship of Friends could do worse than googling “David Springfield Letter” and downloading that interesting document, written by their just-dismissed lawyer at the time. Written by someone ‘in the know’ trying to communicate reality as he saw it to inhabitants of the bubble, attempting to penetrate their exceptionalist and fantastical worldview—as well as, of course, covering his ass.

6. ton2u - April 7, 2015
7. ton2u - April 7, 2015
8. Parson Yorick - April 7, 2015

Re the Springfield letter: “Tortious” is defined as “constituting a tort” and “tort” is “a civil wrong for which a remedy may be obtained” according to Black’s law dictionary and as any first year law student will tell you. “Tortuous” appears to be a misspelling.

9. ton2u - April 7, 2015


or a “freudian slip” ?

10. Robert Stolzle - April 8, 2015

My youthful experience with psychedelic drugs and the FoF lead me to the understanding that, for me, the so called “magnetic center” or perhaps my unusual interest in “things spiritual” are a direct result of experimenting with those drugs. From my reading of the numerous previous postings on these drugs, I suspect many current and ex-FoFers have a similar history. Is this true? Would any of you ever have thought twice about joining the FoF if you hadn’t experimented with psychotropic substances? I remember reading years ago that Timothy Leary’s early research suggested that the LSD experience was very similar to a schizophrenic episode. Has this suggestion been verified?

Back in my day (’72-’76) when the FoF still pretended to be a Fourth Way school and RB hadn’t found his inner goddess, it may have been possible to imagine the experience as a step in a spiritual search. Then, it seemed to me that the differences between striving for higher consciousness and moving towards God or Nirvana or whatever the deity of choice might be was only a matter of semantics. The initial step of getting one’s psychological house in order seemed to make sense then, too. Most of us “were a mess”.

I doubt it occurred to any of us then, that this apparently idealistic undertaking could be so thoroughly twisted to suit the exalted leader’s perverse cravings. (We might have benefitted from a closer study of the rise of Hitler, though.) I have to believe there is a special circle of hell for the so-called “teachers” who pervert their subjects’ spiritual desires like RB—–sadly, there seems to be no shortage of false prophets. But we, the “starry eyed seekers of truth and light”, have now evolved into cynics of the first water—–but are still honest presenters of the unpleasant, unfortunate truth. There seem to be many spiritual paths going in the same direction, but there is no reason to experiment with the FoF, we’ve all been there, done that—–read up. The FoF path IS a dead end.

Bob Stolzle

11. WhaleRider - April 8, 2015

Robert Stolzle:
“Would any of you ever have thought twice about joining the FoF if you hadn’t experimented with psychotropic substances?”

Of course, psychotropic and psychedelic are two different effects.

Personally, I believe I would have thought twice had I not experimented with both…which by that reasoning means drugs lead to cults…the narcissistic pursuit of nirvana.

Had I been better educated, as I am now, I believe I would have been able to make a more informed choice to pursue self-empowerment instead of spiritual slavery, alcoholism, and sex addiction.

(Apparently many of the followers of ISIS are not only naive youth but also disenchanted drug addicts who wish to pursue a more “holy” life by joining that cult and projecting their shadow side upon all other non-believers.)

In the final analysis, in the FOF, I simply traded one psychotropic drug for another, without any lasting effect, other than a shift toward more dependency.

The theraputic use of MDMA to treat PTSD is interesting, although from my personal experience, the euphoric effect is only temporary, and remain skeptical about long term efficacy.

Certianly, the reliance upon psychotropic drugs like alcohol to manage PTSD symptoms can produce disastrous results in a person’s life, and healing commences only after a period of sustained sobriety, in my experience.

For me, the bottom line is this: I choose to seek non-drug induced feelings of happiness, which for me is a great deal more self-empowering and fulfilling than being dependent upon a psychotropic substance to produce happy-like sensations, as I have in the past.

Last night I had a wonderful dream about rock climbing with my shadow side and female side, which for me is an arduous, “hands on” endeavor to reach a “higher” state, as opposed to taking a glass “elevator” to temporarily gawk at the view.

12. Messages From Marconi - April 8, 2015

How to test if you are insane and thus entirely inconsequential to the operation of constructive reality: Your own thoughts enthuse, enchant and enlighten you while they fail to enthuse, enchant or enlighten anyone else.

13. James Mclemore - April 8, 2015

12. Messages From Marconi

That is a pretty good test.
I cannot tell if I failed or passed. I always just thought that other people probably did not yet realize how incredibly special my thinking is. I do have hope that they will eventually come around and then follow my instructions.

14. shardofoblivion - April 9, 2015

#12 I heard a simple definition of insanity on the radio yesterday. “madness is when your relatives are no longer able to cope with you”

15. Robert Stolzle - April 9, 2015

Isn’t the definition of insanity relative to the circumstances? However, I don’t have a grip on what “constructive reality” might be or how to operate it. Enlightenment is overrated and relative (the one eyed man, etc.), too.

Bob Stolzle

16. Cathie L. - April 9, 2015

#10 Robert Stoltze”
“Would any of you ever have thought twice about joining the FoF if you hadn’t experimented with psychotropic substances?”

I joined when I was 27, but my “magnetic center” or interest in things spiritual (wanting to know what was behind the veil of everyday reality, wanting to understand who I am, wanting to evolve, fulfill my human potential, etc. etc.) began long before that, and had nothing to do with drug experimentation. I did very little of that in college (none before that), only occasionally getting high when a joint was going around at parties, or hanging out with roommates after a day of classes and studying.

But the “magnetic center” was in me before all that. I remember clearly a childhood experience of being upset for some trivial reason, running to my room in tears, and sobbing into my pillow, when suddenly I was filled with a soft, glowing golden light, a presence clearly felt, a comforting feeling that I was loved and protected, and all would be well.

Whether this was something external that entered me, or something intrinsic to my own being, seems unimportant. It was there, I experienced it in a moment of spontaneous grace, and it has been with me ever since (not always so clearly!) I knew then that there was something unseen behind appearance of things, and I wanted to know more about it.

Another key turned in the lock when I was in high school, walking home one beautiful spring afternoon after hearing a talk given by an astrologer. (Heaven knows how this talk came to be presented at our straight-laced, conservative high school, but nevertheless….) As I walked down the street pondering the idea that the sun, moon and planets could affect us psychologically, it was as if a door opened up in my awareness. “Of course they can!” I realized. At that moment the sun seemed brighter, the air softer, the smell of the roses more sweet. Another spontaneous moment of expanded consciousness, having nothing to do with drugs.

So you see, I already wanted to learn more about these kinds of ideas and states. In college, I changed my major from English to Psychology. I read Freud, Jung, Adler, Perls, Ram Dass, Alan Watts, all the heavies. I joined an extracurricular “consciousness raising” discussion group. I was a seeker.

In 1978, I lived in a farmhouse in Santa Barbara with several roommates. One of them, with whom I shared an interest in astrology, mentioned casually that she was involved in a group that taught the ideas of Gurdjieff and Ouspensky, whom I had never heard of. I questioned her about the group and its ideas, and after several discussions, I was intrigued, and went to a prospective student meeting. Book titles like “The Psychology of Man’s Possible Evolution” and “In Search of the Miraculous” grabbed my interest right away. You know the rest. I didn’t have to think twice.

So this is why it seems such a crime for anyone to take advantage of these youthful, compelling, entirely human yearnings, and distort and pervert them to serve something else. It took me 7 years to “wake up,” but I did wake up.

And the process continues. All euphorias are temporary. No state is permanent. Enlightenment is overrated.

Here and now then, here and now.

17. Messages From Marconi - April 9, 2015

One of the advantages BJB had over the sadly sincere idealists that came wandering in from the glaringly harsh reality of life seeking the shade of psychic relief was that he understood early in his own initiation into psychological exploitation that “consciousness” is a hypnotic trigger word that near instantly puts idiots into a receptive trance state where they are easily exploited for the goods that are actually valuable in life: Money, compliant slavery, warped sex and zombie admiration. At least these are what are actually valuable to the denizens of the Sociopath Zone.

18. Parson Yorick - April 9, 2015

Are there any former fofers here who are fans of the “This Modern World” comic? They may get a chuckle from the current week’s comic, which depicts God as a character out of “Duck Dynasty.” The fourth frame in the comic is especially entertaining!

19. nigel harris price - April 11, 2015

….. just to say ….. I am closing down on 13 April in Exeter and being PUT BACK ON in Abergavenny on 21 April ….. Nigel

20. WhaleRider - April 13, 2015

I remember a story from my high school days, perhaps an urban myth, about a final term paper assignment given to college philosophy class.

The subject: “What is Reality?”

The students worked tirelessly on their term papers, in groups and alone, interviewing friends, parents and grandparents, researching in the library…some producing many pages in great detail discussing the nature of reality…subjective versus objective…is it constant, does it change over time, is it consensual, is it relative to intelligence…does it exist after death, and so forth.

The students turned in their assignments during finals week and were to receive their results on the last day of class, a highly anticipated event.

As the teacher began to pass out the graded term papers, the teacher announced that although there were many very, very good papers, only one outstanding paper had earned the top grade of A+.

Once all the student’s papers were returned, the teacher held up a manila folder containing, what the teacher believed was the best one.

Surprisingly, it was not the longest paper at all, but in fact was the shortest paper, only one page.

From the folder the teacher extracted a thin, flimsy piece of transparent cellophane.

21. Robert Stolzle - April 14, 2015

Whale brings up a good question on the nature of reality….and how the FoF enhanced or perverted it. IM(not so very)HO reality grows from a consensus of observations. We can all agree that the sky is blue, RB is crazy, how about you? Physics and math aside, everything is relative, especially in the human realm—-some people suffer from more demons than others.

Bob Stolzle

22. shardofoblivion - April 15, 2015

#20 and #21 “What is reality”

I feel there are two questions here. There is one that I feel I can answer, and that is the reality that my dog would agree on if he could speak. The place we run about in when awake, where we can find food that sustains us and meet other beings. When we lose touch with that reality, possibly through drugs or other circumstances, it is by checking with others we can re-establish our bearings.

But there is another sense to the question – which I fancy doesn’t worry my dog at all – which is: what lies behind the everything that we immediately experience through the senses. What is the universe made of, and why is it here at all? That is a puzzle.

Whalerider – depending on the era that story was originally told, I wonder if the cellophane was a covert reference to windowpane acid, as found on the streets in 1973 – probably not 🙂

23. Ames Gilbert - April 17, 2015

More on the beneficial uses of psychedelics:

“What if most of what you were told in the media about psychedelics was wrong?”

24. ton2u - April 17, 2015

“Our consciousness is what we are – to the extent that if we are not sovereign over our own consciousness then we cannot in any meaningful sense be sovereign over anything else either.”

25. Robert Stolzle - April 17, 2015

Re: #23

What if most of what you were told in the media about anything was wrong?

Bob Stolzle

P.S. I believe this to be true and mostly detrimental.

26. shardofoblivion - April 18, 2015

This slow spoken documentary has an elegiac mood with its rolling fields of wheat and solo Bach. It features the voices of most of the heavyweights of early psychedelic research, and by the end has built up a collage rather than a single picture of this extraordinary substance LSD:

27. Associated Press - April 18, 2015

‘Erowid is a one-of-a-kind resource:
We’re an educational non-profit dedicated to providing a balanced look at psychoactive drugs and drug use – to reduce harms, improve benefits, and support appropriate policies.’
About Erowid:
Physical Mailbox is POB in Grass Valley
but, likely, really in another dimension.

28. WhaleRider - April 18, 2015

Thanks Shard, I watched the documentary on LSD and had an interesting dream last night about being an old guy, revisiting an underground laboratory and going down a secret tunnel with dynamite to blow up a pile of obsolete carousel side projectors…

I think if I were to identify with any of the characters in the documentary, either the alcoholic in need of empathy for the family members he is harming to sober up, the Psychiatrist in need of empathy for schizophrenics, the American Indian living in the stark desert, the hippie at the concert (or rave) seeking communion, the protester wanting to change the world, the famous author in need of new sources of inspiration, the partner of the explorer, the disillusioned academic in search of spirituality, the populist megalomanic, or the stroke victim coming to terms with the aging process…having had what I feel for me was the optimal amount of psychedelic experiences…I could see myself being a guide for others using LSD in a therapeutic environment, but that’s about it.


I have friend, an Israeli, a MFT, and hiking buddy, who became involved with an organization that sponsored “vision quests” in a national forest, but without the use of entheogens. It was run by a psychologist I believe, with experience in native American rituals like sweat lodges, and the like. It was a well structured educational workshop with safety measures, a screening process, and a group debriefing afterward.

My friend had the following visionary experience, which he could articulate and remember in detail, precisely because there were no drugs involved…just isolation, fasting and sleep deprivation.

Soon after setting up his solo camp, he went for a hike and got lost. He had no compass, GPS device, nor map, just the clothes on his back. It became dark, I believe it was a moonless night, and he was forced to spend the night outside without any water.

He was frightened of getting hypothermia, a very real danger, and claimed that as a result of his dire circumstances and altered state, the trees and rocks became his friends and guides, which is how he found a safe place to stay put.

He survived the long night awake and alone in the wilderness, conversing with the rocks and trees, for if he feel asleep he might die and the next morning felt a great deal of gratitude to still be alive.

As the sun rose, he climbed a hill and spotted an encampment, but felt afraid at first to hike there because he thought it might be pot growers who might not be so welcoming. It turns out it was his own camp that he didn’t recognize, having become estranged from himself overnight.

He was very happy to be home.

On the other hand, how would a person typically feel about their former life after returning from an amazing, wonderful, beautiful, blissful psychedelic (or FOF cult) experience?

Are they incredibly happy to return home to flatland when the party is over?

How will other non-tripsters possibly understand their indescribable, autistic journey?

Why did some participants in the LSD therapy study feel abandoned when they had to leave the facility? Were they in danger of losing their “specialness” and needed to join a group? How self empowering is that?

Why the need to defend against the government’s “war on consciousness”?

Are psychedelics really that unavailable to anyone determined to use them?

29. ton2u - April 18, 2015

re: the need to defend ‘the war on consciousness’

A problem with zealotry – in all it’s permutations – is intolerance… trading one form for another changes nothing except maybe the name. You see, a ‘zealot’ is convinced his point of view is the only correct perspective, to the exclusion of all others, this is the root of intolerance and all the ugliness that implies.

For example: once upon a time, one may have been firmly and ‘righteously’ convinced of the ‘truth’ espoused by burton and his ‘4th way’ – one made these ‘truths’ one’s own based on this firm conviction… it was believed to be so… later, the beliefs which supported that particular point of view may have changed, but the ‘mentality’ – not so much… now it is entirely possible to take up a different ‘crusade’ while the underlying mentality remains the same.


30. Messages From Marconi - April 18, 2015

If by the time you are 30 you have not discovered enough of your Self to understand that taking recreational drugs is detrimental to the possibilities of higher consciousness then you are not developing the higher potential aspects of a human being. That includes pot.

31. shardofoblivion - April 18, 2015

#29 I’d not heard of Carrie Nation before. It’s kind of funny that she thought of herself as a dog defending Jesus Christ, when the bible relates that Jesus drank alcohol himself. 🙂

#28 Whalerider, a thoughtful response to the documentary. Yes, I noticed that the early LSD subjects felt abandoned, but that wasn’t so bad was it, as they had the gumption to organise themselves into groups to satisfy their need for a community. We do need each other I think, and your position that it is dis-empowering if one doesn’t have everything one needs inside oneself is a little strange. Regarding the re-entry problem, I find sex helps welcome me back to the everyday world.

#30 Marconi, when I was 30 I was a member of the FoF, and thought my LSD days were long past, but when I was 37 I took it again and it directly led to me leaving the school. Different strokes for different folks?

32. Robert Stolzle - April 20, 2015

Anyone posting here remember when RB declared that the FoF and Fourth Way study was “esoteric Christianity”? This was circa 1975, but I don’t know whether the notion lasted very long. I do recall that burden was much taken with Jesus’ “son of man” cryptic references (son = sun= higher centers—get it) and implied, of course, that meant him. Coming from Arkansas, one can safely assume that he had a ‘Bible thumper’ background. Nevertheless, in the early days, lots of students were slogging through the Old & New Testaments and trying to make 4th Way sense of those books. Jesus was said to be Man #7.

I gather from postings here that the FoF is no longer even a 4th Way school. When and how did that pronouncement come down? And with what result? Are any “religious” practices of any sort still allowed—meditation or ritual of any sort? I infer there is no longer any basis for questioning any of burden’s cockamamie pronouncements…..or his demands for “servicing”…..SO SAD! I guess the Devil made him do it!

Bob Stolzle

33. nevasayneva - April 20, 2015

Re 32: Robert Stolzle
Robert- do you still have an interest in what is “going on” in FOF?
I left three years ago. I can’t say too much what was “going on” then. Meetings were grim and rather strange, dinners with the teacher also rather strange and sometimes grim. One might think – what are these people doing or what is it they think they are doing? Surely there are better ways to spend ones time.Students – the regular ones – not the acolytes- were quite fun to be around – but ultimately that was not enough justification.
Anyway, after 3 years out, I notice that my interest in what is going on is fading. I suspect that what is going on now is similar to what has been going on for quite a while.

34. Associated Press - April 20, 2015

A crew of British military men were each given LSD-25 (Acid) while on the field. Here is what happened:

35. Associated Press - April 20, 2015

See also about the same:
The Army Gave Soldiers LSD For an Experiment. The Result Was Pretty Hilarious.

36. shardofoblivion - April 21, 2015

#34 :-O
Did you notice – they gave the solders a large dose of LSD.. THEN they give them rocket launchers!!!

37. Robert Stolzle - April 21, 2015


Yes, I am curious about how the FoF evolved, or perhaps better said, degenerated after I left in 1977. Really, it is surprising to me that it keeps rolling along and finding new victims regularly without ever getting to the Scientology level of craziness. Perhaps it is more a verification of the P.T. Barnum comment of there being a sucker born every minute than the calculated efforts of burden and his inner circle. I will say that the essay I read on the efforts of the Cairo center director is pretty chilling. I don’t believe there was such calculated cynicism, even among the certifiable criminals, when I joined…..but I was very gullible, even in my skepticism.

Thanks for the insight,
Bob Stolzle

38. WhaleRider - April 21, 2015

I came across this passage in my reading today in a section about mobilizing inner forces in order to pursue a difficult psychological task and the “transference of creativity”:

“In the course of an investigation (not yet published) of certain heroic figures-lone resisters of the Nazi regime-and of others who are facing extremely difficult and/or dangerous tasks, I found that prophetic dreams and even hallucinatory experiences during waking hours could occur in individuals who are clearly not psychotic. I concluded that the ability to create, in extreme situations, the fantasy of being supported by a godlike omnipotent figure should be evaluated as belonging to the assets of a healthy psychology.”

~Heinz Kohut, 1977, “The Restoration of the Self”, footnote, p46.

39. Robert Stolzle - April 21, 2015


Isn’t it true that psychological stress of almost any sort can produce prophetic dreams and/or hallucinatory experiences. I have personally experienced this in regard to marital, parenting and financial stress and have read that war and conflicts, sleep deprivation, fasting, and numerous other “stressors” can trigger such responses.

Without getting to the question of whether these experiences are possibly created by an external influence somehow attracted to the individual or a result of changes in brain chemistry, I believe it comes from the brain obsessively wrestling with a difficult problem that has no apparent solution, i.e. “let us be rid of RB”. I don’t remember many dreams (or try to) and my experience has been that my recall increases when there is some change in my status quo that generates greater emotional engagement on my part. I suspect that my sleep pattern changes.

This pattern of response to stress, which I believe is in the mind of the beholder, also seems to be true for people with various mental “imbalances”. People with autism seem to do better with a safe comfortable routine and it seems many other “disorders” can be triggered by stressors in the form of environmental changes.

My sense of these experiences is that the brain, dealing with a very difficult jigsaw puzzle, will, unbidden and in desperation, depart from a known, logical, “normal” approach and begin turning pieces upside down and borrowing from other puzzles in an attempt to “solve the problem”. I have to admit that I see human “free will” as grossly overrated and believe that Gurdjieff was largely correct in saying that humans are mostly “stimulus-response machines”…….and I see no evidence for a spirit world interacting with people on a personal, daily basis.

Bob Stolzle

40. WhaleRider - April 21, 2015

Some people believe dreams, delusions, and hallucinations are totally irrational and meaningless, no matter how they are produced.

Even though they don’t make sense to others, IMHO, they can have deep personal meaning for the individual, even for a person dealing with paranoid schizophrenia. Dismissing their delusions and hallucinations usually causes the person to further decompensate.

So, IMHO, Kohut was making the point, as you have experienced, that in dire circumstances, sometimes spontaneous hallucinations and dreams can actually prove to be useful but are not necessarily a sign of mental illness.

“Insanity”, IMHO, is when a person acts with the absolute conviction that their particular delusion applies to others…in my experience, “sane” people tend to wonder at times if they are going crazy, and “insane” people tend to believe everybody else is crazy and they are not.

(I suppose burton’s delusion is that he believes everyone else is asleep except for him…thus, he’s appointed himself mayor of crazy town.)

On the other hand, I don’t believe inducing hallucinations with entheogens on a regular basis for either recreation or religious purposes is a good practice for everyone, especially when the ego gets involved and megalomania sets in.

I’ve witnessed in others how over time the light switch gets a little loose.

It might be fine with a guide in the context of a private setting for personal exploration, or in the jungle or on the Indian reservation, but obviously not walking down the street of a big city by yourself.

I remember one year at Burning Man having to help a guy whose “trip” on mushrooms was lasting way longer than it took to burn the man effigy.

He got separated from his compadres, was disoriented and lost, his pupils dilated like two black saucers. We took him with us to our camp and hung out with him until he felt better. Luckily, he had context working in his favor.

41. Messages From Marconi - April 21, 2015

A person has become irretrievably crazy when he accepts and believes that his reasonable and logical mind can figure out, calculate and understand the real meaning of life and the true nature of existence based on his existence and his experiences within the artificial terrarium of modern life and while confined in the context of a modern city. It is as if a chimpanzee detained at the zoo came to the conclusion that he understood the true nature of existence from watching his captors bring him food and gawk at him from beyond the fence.

42. brucelevy - April 22, 2015


This is a real wank fest for you isn’t it Greg? You speak, you listen to yourself, you preen, you love yourself. It doesn’t get better then that does it? Do you think the lack of response to your bullshit is because we’re awed by your waving of your dick in our face? Just wondering.

43. Robert Stolzle - April 22, 2015


Do you really believe there is a reasonable and logical mind among us? The very nature of the world I experience every day argues against that. “Everyone is crazy except thee and me and sometime I wonder about thee.”

You really are a closet idealist if you believe there is a “real meaning of life and true nature of existence”. That understanding is for the truly delusional gurus like RB. We all “see through a glass, darkly”.

The modern city may leave a lot to be desired; I don’t live in one. But, there is no such thing as an artificial terrarium, only one large terrarium through which one is allowed to wander as far as his nerve and efforts will take him. Our physical limitations are pretty well self imposed, don’t you think? The mental limitations might be proscribed at birth, I don’t know.

The chimp in the zoo is an apt description of much of our existence, but the bars are mostly imaginary….and plenty far apart to slip through….(that’s what we thought we were doing when we joined the FoF, No?). And, we pretty much like our little cage, but no one knows where the bananas come from. The zoo keeper seems to be off on holiday. What are you still doing there, thumping your chest and acting all bad; trying to beat up on the macaques?

Bob Stolzle

44. Messages From Marconi - April 22, 2015

42. brucelevy – April 22, 2015

“…because we’re awed by your waving of your dick in our face?”

Try to concentrate. I know we are all getting old and the memories are getting blurred, but that wasn’t me who did that to you it was someone else.


45. WhaleRider - April 22, 2015

There are individuals among us, particularly narcissists and sociopaths, who have come to understand that most people who are honest with themselves have self doubt and a need to belong, including myself.

This arises from the fact that we have an autonomous unconscious nature that sometimes sabotages our logical mind as we attempt to conform to our ideals or to the rules of decorum.

Some individuals (or organizations) attempt to exploit this weakness in others by projecting extreme confidence, either about themselves and their convictions or the product or service they are selling. Confidence is what makes a good “con-man”.

First, this can be readily seen through advertising, which is designed to con a person into feeling inadequate or incomplete in order to buy something in compensation for a perceived deficit.

Second, one might be conned into a religious cult by a charismatic minister to compensate for perceived “original sin” or some other perceived inadequacy.

Third, a rich person might be conned into donating money by fraudulent “non-profit” scam to assuage their guilt.

And fourth, an individual may simply exploit and unconsciously prod at the weaknesses of others to “con” others into reacting, transferring the bad feelings to others in an fruitless attempt to compensate for the individual’s own feelings of inadequacy, helping the individual maintain a fleeting sense of emotional equilibrium so they don’t have to feel their own feelings of low self worth, usually as a result of a behavior pattern established in their youth by their parents.

Unconsciously, such individuals want to level the playing field, attacking anyone who exhibits even the slightest amount of self esteem, usually by retreating behind a mirror.

46. WhaleRider - April 22, 2015

Here’s what i’m riding on behind my mirror:

47. brucelevy - April 22, 2015

46. WhaleRider


48. Messages From Marconi - April 23, 2015

Sentimentality is the last refuge of scoundrels.

Fifth, an exhibitionist cons himself into believing that his insatiable need to constantly explain himself to the world is really for everyone else’s edification and benefit.

It is a mistake to feel sympathy toward the kind of self-esteem that near daily begs the world for another scrap of attention.

49. WhaleRider - April 23, 2015

So, Marconi, what’s behind your mirror?

What’s it like to be you?

I sense a hurt animal backed into a corner lashing out at anyone who comes near.

BTW, if it wasn’t for sentimentality, you and I wouldn’t be here.


50. Messages From Marconi - April 23, 2015

“What’s it like to be you?”

Imagine, if you can, a person who understands that no one else much cares what it’s like being me. Imagine, if you can, someone who knows his complicated little life is meaningless in the context of history and that when he dies no books will be written about him.

Imagine — I wonder if you can — someone who knows that he is insignificant except in the context of his own inner world.

51. WhaleRider - April 23, 2015

Marconi, that’s the most honest post you have ever done.

Thank you.

Despite what you think, I can imagine how you feel, deeply, it is very painful.

52. Messages From Marconi - April 23, 2015

51. WhaleRider – April 23, 2015

“Despite what you think, I can imagine how you feel, deeply, it is very painful.”

Reality is only painful because the abnormally inflated ego refuses to surrender to the facts of life.

53. WhaleRider - April 23, 2015

Yes, it’s true that it is painful for any sized ego to surrender to the fact of death.

Isn’t pain a fact of life?

54. Messages From Marconi - April 23, 2015

53. WhaleRider – April 23, 2015

“Isn’t pain a fact of life?”

Abnormally inflated ego disappointment is unnecessary and imaginary ersatz pain. It is self-inflicted delusional suffering resulting from the discrepancy between the imagined significance of the individual and the actual beneficial productivity and contribution of that individual within the social order. People who feel more important than they actually are suffer the pain of disappointment when circumstances make it clear that they are not what they imagine themselves to be. Their own delusions create the pain and unless they are mentally ill all they have to do to relinquish the pain is give up the delusion.

As an example, Arianna Huffington sold her popular Huffington Post blog for over three hundred of million dollars. That institution has a significant influence in the world. In contrast, it is unlikely that this blog could fetch ten bucks.

55. WhaleRider - April 23, 2015

Marconi, it seems sadistic to me if you know full well that attempting to pop another person’s inflated ego causes them pain and suffering, whether their beliefs are delusional or not.

Are you that numb to the pain you are causing others? It may seem like ersatz pain to you, but it is not imaginary pain to them, and you know that.

Usually, it has been my experience that people suffering from delusions have weak egos anyway, and attempting to deprive them of their delusions in a confrontational way doesn’t make them get better, it just shuts them down or causes them to defend their delusions stronger. So I don’t blame you if you feel what you are doing here has no value and is non-productive to the social order.

I’m curious why you keep posting if you feel this blog is so insignificant and meaningless?

Does it give your life meaning to inflict pain upon others whom appear weaker than you?

56. Messages From Marconi - April 23, 2015

55. WhaleRider – April 23, 2015

I read this a couple of times. Just wondering, who are “them,” “others,” “they” and “their?” “Them,” “others,” “they” and “their” sure are taking a beating at my hands, according to you.

57. ton2u - April 23, 2015

re: “unconsciously prod at the weaknesses of others…”

I call it goading… all too much of it goes on here – (isn’t that right whalerider?). One might consider one’s own part in it… (or, to put it more directly – ‘you might consider your part in it’). sometimes it’s subtle, even ‘unconscious’ – you don’t see yourself doing it…. at other times it’s seemingly more ‘intentional’ even blatant, and internally one rationalizes / justifies the behavior… examples of goading abound in the last few pages here and throughout the blog… seems to be part of the fabric.

Not the only way, but one possible way of looking at it in attempting to understand the situation:

“The Role of the Persecutor – We rarely see ourselves as persecutors…. The first and most fundamental characteristic of the persecutor role is self-righteousness. Persecutors know what is best, not only for themselves, but for others. Persecutorial actions are justified in their eyes and, therefore, are never abusive…. etc, etc.

….the Drama Triangle consists of three roles, persecutor, victim and rescuer. A protagonist or hero rescues someone who is being persecuted by some evil person or power, and that rescued person is, therefore, a victim. In the process, the rescuer becomes the victim of the powers of the persecutor as well, but in the end, the persecutor becomes the victim of the rescuer’s superior abilities. If this sounds familiar, it is because this is the plot of almost every cartoon and drama that you have ever read or seen. It also can be observed in almost every major historical event in the history of the world, from the life of Buddha, the life and death of Jesus, Julius Caesar, the rise of Islam, the Inquisition, the colonization of the West, etc, etc.”

for more context:


58. WhaleRider - April 23, 2015

Thanks for the link on dream interpretation, ton2u, although I’m not quite sure how the article would help me to feel less self-righteous if it confirms the viewpoint on the value of using dreams for personal growth I have been advancing here…though I readily admit it’s certianly not a viewpoint I invented, nor take sole credit.

I apologize if I goaded you or unconsciously prodded at your particular weakness as we debate here; that is unsatisfying to me, even though you don’t seem weak. You stand by your convictions, and I admire that in you.

What is satisfying to me is when we reach common ground.

But let me hazard a guess…does the weakness of your position on the use of entheogens for spiritual growth have anything to do with your inability or unwillingness to step outside of your comfort zone and share what you have personally gained from using entheogens, aside from maybe using them to not take yourself too seriously?

As Marconi would agree, I could certianly benefit from not taking myself too seriously, if you’d care to share your experiences. 🙂

I mean, we are not spiritual novices here, right?

What’s it like to be you?

59. paul gregory - April 23, 2015

34. Associated Press – April 20, 2015

I was thinking about how the psychedelic experience is rather like a ‘no-man’s land’, due to the ‘default control mechanism’ of the brain, taking a break in a rather unexpected way, and all the separate and hitherto un-introduced parties of it are suddenly making eye-contact across crowded rooms, exchanging telephone numbers and so on.

One of the characteristics of it, in my opinion, is that these guys have sort of been ‘told’. In that state of temporal blankness, the no-man’s land, they are finding that stuff’s been happening without them just fine, that the trees are all saying ‘Hi!’, and the grass, and the bees, in the most extraordinary way. They have stepped off the carousel, or found themselves at the centre of it, with a sense of ego-less continuity. (See Alan Watt’s: ‘The Joyous Cosmology’) They are having what the ‘West Coast Pop Art Experimental Band’ expressed as a ‘Transparent Day’.

They have clearly ‘fallen out’ and come undone. They’ve fallen into a new experience of life in which everything is so abundantly alive, their lives are added to by it’s proximity, a heartbeat, in which everything is connected by patterns and direct empathy without the mediation of pre-existing conditions of thought and expectations of behaviour, because they are not only ‘tripping’ but arriving at a place without boundaries or frontiers.

Perhaps they are laughing because they were told they were taking a ‘performance enhancing drug’?


Your – quite frankly – reckless destruction of these underground carousel projectors worry me, Whalerider. In an imaginative way I’ve taken to your bunker and now it haunts my dreams. Bunkers make people bunkers, that’s all I know. But that people who live in them have now developed a filmic culture celebrating, in some sense, the visual, and you destroyed it, this underground culture, well that’s positively ‘Savronella’. Did you at least make sure there was no one left inside? Perhaps a grubby-faced child with pupils the size of wine corks?

Who were you working for? Were you working for yourself or the Authority? 007? How can anyone be sure they’re not being Franco? I hope you managed to escape the horrid flames and back-draft of the destruction. Dreams are so short-lived and purposeful, but many are the bunkers of the imagination. Was it a ‘Happening?’ Did the transparencies contain immoral molecules or intentions to educate and inform? For all I know, they may of been holiday snapshots. You are not being clear on this.

To be viewed by: a race of underground mutants with a secret agenda? Like the guys in Planet of the Apes 2? With leatherette eye-patches? Particularly dangerous, deep-earth perverts?

Carousel slide projectors are wheel based. When I think of them I think of ‘Madmen’ and Art Shows. You dreamt you destroyed the wheel, the interminable conversation that has arisen between you and others about psychedelics, IMHO, although I’m no expert on these things. You expressed hostility to electrically illuminated visions, in a place of darkness, so that they’d never be witnessed again. I think it was an act of genius, but what, in your confidence to analyze your dreams, if you miss another analysis?!

60. paul gregory - April 23, 2015

61. Cathie L. - April 24, 2015

Of course only Whalerider can say what destroying the projectors meant to him; it was his dream after all, but what I first thought of when I read it was destroying the (old, outworn, distorted, dysfuntional?) projection mechanisms of the psyche? FWIW.

62. ton2u - April 24, 2015

58 Whalerider,
You do seem to think it’s all about you, but I was referring to the goading that occurs here in general – many posters do it habitually, or maybe only from time to time… like I said it seems to be part of the blog fabric – your back and forth with marconi being only the most recent example. In posting the link I’d hoped that considering some of the information there might at least give pause for a little self-reflection… but apparently you got nothing from the suggestion…. (maybe someone else will ?). From you there’s no apparent change of ‘demeanor’ — only disingenuous ‘apologies’ followed by a ‘backhanded compliment’ which is simply a set up for more goading. I suppose that’s to be expected here… and of course this only leads to more goading.

63. Cathie L. - April 24, 2015

62 ton2u
I got something from the IDL link, thanks. It would be lovely to go to Bimini and swim with the dolphins and do dream yoga with Joseph Dillard and his wife, Claudia Hahm.

“If she could, most of the time she´d probably be on board a sailing ship in the Caribbean, playing with dolphins, encouraging new friends to imitate the dolphins and grow into a collective human pod, supporting and accepting each other compassionately, enjoying how the presence of water and dolphins opens up new perspectives for everyone.”



64. WhaleRider - April 24, 2015

Paul Gregory:
Thank you for your awesome post! I can totally understand where you are coming from, and far be it from me to prevent anyone’s creative process. A lot of great music and art wouldn’t have come into being without drugs! Hey, a lot of children are conceived as a result of drug induced experiences, too! I don’t deny they were part of my past and useful for a period of time.

For the record, in my dream I didn’t succeed in destroying the carousel projectors. Rest assured! I woke up before the explosion. Sorry if I was unclear. I went down a secret tunnel that was part of the underground lab and only wired them to be destroyed. It felt like they were obsolete, “mechanical”, and I don’t believe they were in working order.

Let me share a little bit more of my personal process. For the past couple of months I have been removing all intoxicants from my life in order to have better dreams and to rediscover more feelings of joy and happiness instead of settling for happy-like sensations.

I have found that just about any amount of alcohol interrupts my sleep pattern at my age and prevents me from dreaming. Cannabis, although a great sleep aid, also prevents me from remembering my dreams. Coffee and chocolate give me migraines, which last all night and also have a negative impact on my dream state, too.

So far, it’s working. In fact, I have been having three sets of mostly vivid dreams almost each night, where before I might only remember one dream a week. The more I write about them, the more complex they become.

Cathie L:
Right on. Thank you for that.

“you might consider your part in it”
I am not sure where you are coming from dude??? I took your suggestion, owned my part in relation to you, and offered my apology, honestly.

I write about myself because I know myself best. Isn’t that the point, to know thyself? To thine own self be true?

I wanted to make it about you, asked for your personal experience, but then you turned your attention back on me. Is that a preemptive attack? Do you honestly feel I will attack you? Jeeze. If you are not ready to share yourself, just say so. Is that goading?

65. ton2u - April 24, 2015

apparently, at least in this context, you’re unable to see yourself as others do… frankly i’m tired of your brand of bullshit and i don’t have the time or inclination to sift through all the manipulations and defenses to help you to see… nothing gets through anyway, so good luck ‘dude.’


ah yes, if only we could be more like the dolphins, supporting and accepting each other…. thank you!

66. shardofoblivion - April 24, 2015

#64 Whalerider says about his dreams “The more I write about them, the more complex they become.” Yes I have noticed that effect as well. I thought it meant that there was something in my mind that registered that I was paying more attention to my dreams, and obligingly increased the complexity as a sort of game of hide and seek with oneself. At the time I had a belief that there was some “wisdom” to be gathered by listening to my subconscious, but now I am not so sure. It seems to me now that the content of dreams is most likely a largely random process, driven partly by some mysterious housekeeping that the brain needs to do at night (maybe clearing out old memories or somesuch), hopes and fears, and recent events. If that is the case, the dreams would be functioning much the way other fortune telling methods work. The throwing of sticks in I Ching for example. The random coming together of pointers makes the interpreter look at connections they might otherwise ignore, which can provide insight. But not because the sticks are guided by any mysterious force, or our dreams are directed by some intelligence within us, but because we are good at finding patterns in things.

On a different note, you mention detoxing as a way to increase the vividness of your dreams, and also vitamin B a little while back. Vitamin B is too subtle an effect for me to notice, but something called Galanthamine (or Red Spider Lily extract) increases the vividness, length and memorability of my dreams dramatically. More of a medicine than a vitamin, its other use is to reduce the severity of Alzheimer’s symptoms in the early stages.

67. WhaleRider - April 24, 2015

68. Robert Stolzle - April 24, 2015

Re: #66- Shard, I think you are right about the meaning of dreams. They may be an attempt by our subconscious brain to “make sense” of some problem, but mostly the interpretation seems to function like an ink blot test.

Re: #57, ton, Where do you draw the line between goading and a comment or question intended to stimulate discussion here? I am guilty, but have tried to avoid personal attacks. Getting any question answered here is like herding cats, though.

Re: #64 etc., Whale, the continued analysis and interpretation of your dreams IS, IM(not so very)HO getting tedious. Can we talk about something else; say the turning point in the FoF that led to someone leaving the cult. Or, perhaps, did anyone think the FoF was a cult when they joined? I certainly didn’t and absolutely denied it. How were we so blind?

Re: #63, Cathie, you seem much less cynical than most everyone else posting here. Your pan pipes are a welcome change from the incessant drum beating usually we usually hear. Didn’t the FoF knock the last bit of hope for Nirvana out of you?

Re: #59, Paul, et al, The discussion regarding drug use and the FoF would suggest that they are pretty closely linked, if not a stimulus and response. Does your–and by your, I mean everyone here– experience suggest that their “cosmic understanding” was just a result of the drug or did it have some real value that was hidden from the “normal” perceptions? In hindsight it is difficult to see the “magnetic centers” that got us into the FoF as anything really beneficial.

Bob Stolzle

69. Messages From Marconi - April 24, 2015

The vigor of youth, with its demand to remain on the go and operate in the world, hypnotizes the mind into forgetting, into disbelieving, that in the end even 80 years will be registered, remembered, as only a fleeting memory. The vigor of youth creates the illusion that there actually is something that can look forward, until that vigor comes suddenly to the end. The vigor of youth deceives the mind all through life into believing that something with a future actually exists, that is, until the actual end. Anything with a real future has to disregard the deceptive invigoration of a body and a mind that naturally need to push forward with the conviction that there is no end. There is an end and if all that exists at such an end is the mistaken conviction of natural invigoration then that will certainly be the end.

Earl Scheib (19.95)


70. WhaleRider - April 24, 2015

In my personal experience, the less I pay attention to my dreams, the less meaningful and significant they become.

In my reading today:

“Dreams are autobiographical microcosms, symbolizing the subjective life of the dreamer. They are representations, to ourselves, of all that we undergo and all that we feel. They express a need to come to terms with issues that are problematic in the waking life of the dreamer.

In my youth, I had the idea that the study of dreams and their meanings might disclose profound truths about human existence.

Here are my thoughts on this matter, after dwelling on the issue for a very long time.

It is human nature to dream, which means to create systems of symbols representing our ongoing subjective life. Our consciousness itself, in consequence, becomes immensely more complex than would be the case if we lived only in unsymbolized immediacy.

In our evolution, humanity came to itself when dreaming began. It is a foundational manifestation of the symbolic capacity, and it is this that distinctively defines human nature.

One may ask if dreams can somehow teach us the secret of human nature. The fact that dreams exist is human nature showing itself.

Dreams and language appeared together. They are coequal manifestations of the symbolic function. I place the capacity for creative symbolization at the center of human existence, and dreams are a cardinal expression of this capacity.

Dreams are quintessentially creative, which is one of the reasons I think they are central sources of culture itself.

Also, dreams are not just a matter of the play of images in discrete intervals during our hours of sleeping; we are continuously dreaming, daydreaming, fantasizing, playing, and symbolizations of subjective life are always crystallizing, interlacing, and interacting with one another.

Let us turn to a different question: What is the relationship between dreams and delusions? Are they the same thing? Is a delusion a dream from which one cannot awaken?

Engaging with these questions requires first of all a definition of the term ‘delusion.’ The conventional definition is that it is a false belief someone clings to in spite of all contrary rational argument and evidence. Drawing on the principles of phenomenological contextualism, I would say a delusion is a belief, any belief, about the validity of which there can be no discussion. The evaluation that the belief is false requires a comparison between what is real to the person and what is real according to some objective, external standard – a dilemma one can avoid by staying with the idea that there can be no discussion of the validity of the so-called delusional belief.

So what then can we conclude from a comparison of dreams and delusions?

A delusion is similar to a dream in that it is an enveloping experience with little or no reflective awareness.

One can compare and contrast the two with regard to the contexts involved. The context of dreaming, whether in sleep or in reverie, is one in which attention becomes unfocused, thought frees itself from the constraints of logic and reason, experiences are cast into concrete perceptual images, and everything becomes more-or-less interchangeable with everything else.

So-called delusions share certain features with dreams: they partake of the concretizations dreams show, their organization follows no logical or rational schema, and things become interchangeable with each other in all kinds of complex ways.

A delusion though is a generally stable structure, and in this respect is like a dream from which one does not awaken.

Another resemblance has to do with memory: delusions, when they recede, tend to be forgotten, almost as if they had never been there, like a dream that lingers for a while but then fades into oblivion.

Delusions form, generally speaking, in a context of very severe threats against a person’s sense of existing – they belong to the psychology of annihilation states. By casting the danger to a person’s sense of being in highly concrete, particular images, the delusion expresses an effort to resurrect oneself and be protected from the possibility of obliteration.

Someone in the midst of these struggles may have a dream that essentially does the same thing, and that dream may carry over into a relatively permanent structure, which we would then call a delusion.

So a delusion could be understood as a long-lasting dream, elaborated in the context of personal annihilation.”

~George Atwood, Ph.D., “The Abyss of Madness”, Routledge Press, 2011.

It would seem to follow that the delusions of grandeur inherent in the FOF cult are fed by the fear of self annihilation one faces upon leaving.

71. Messages From Marconi - April 24, 2015

Dreams are the sewage of the automatic thought machine. Those gazing intently upon the crap that flies out of the mind while the boundaries of reason are switch off at night are anal retentive and self-obsessed in yet another area of their lives.

72. Cathie L. - April 25, 2015

# 68 Bob Stoltze:

“…the turning point in the FoF that led to someone leaving the cult.”

This all happened so long ago for me…30 years! I’ve long since “processed” this stuff, so I’m not sure what purpose is served by reminiscing, but let’s pretend we’re gathered around a campfire sharing stories of days gone by. Here’s a bit of mine:

The turning point for me was when I worked in the law office in Marysville that was handling the FOF defense of the Sanders lawsuit. My job allowed me access to depositions that were taken in that case. Of course, these were and are protected by attorney/client privilege, so I can’t disclose anything I read (or possibly, even the fact that I read them), but suffice it to say it was an eye-opening experience. The little voice of conscience in my head spoke up and said, “Ahem. Leave.”

Somehow I never really believed the spiel about losing the school, being cast into spiritual darkness, losing all possibility of evolution, or being shunned by all my friends. A lot of people were leaving when I did (1985), so there were groups springing up that acted as transitional support for all the “disconnected” souls. Souls. Yes. I believe I do have a soul. Its existence does not depend on the Fellowship of Friends, or even The Work!

“Or, perhaps, did anyone think the FoF was a cult when they joined? I certainly didn’t and absolutely denied it. How were we so blind?”

I was naive and ignorant about cults. It never even crossed my mind. I was drawn in by the magic of it all, the specialness, the sense of being “chosen by C Influence.” The fact that I was raised in the Mormon Church might have made me more susceptible to the idea of being “chosen,” I’m not sure.

“Re: #63, Cathie, you seem much less cynical than most everyone else posting here. Your pan pipes are a welcome change from the incessant drum beating usually we usually hear.”

Thank you.

“Didn’t the FoF knock the last bit of hope for Nirvana out of you?”

On the contrary, I expanded my search! Not for Nirvana, perhaps, but for how to live and be in this world. To be joyous. To be peaceful. To live authentically. To still the mind and open the heart. I do struggle with cynicism, despair, bitterness and disappointment, growing older, and being confronted daily with my own failings, as well as the folly and cruelty of our species. I’m cynical about most of Western Civilization in the 21st century. But I try not to dwell on it. Life’s too short.

“Re: #59, Paul, et al, The discussion regarding drug use and the FoF would suggest that they are pretty closely linked, if not a stimulus and response. Does your–and by your, I mean everyone here– experience suggest that their “cosmic understanding” was just a result of the drug…”

I’m not saying I have “cosmic understanding” (whatever that might be!) but whatever experience I had, it wasn’t “just” a result of the drug, it was a result of the interaction of the drug, me, my past conditioning, my present conditions, the setting where I had the experience, and, uh…All That Is.

“…or did it have some real value that was hidden from the “normal” perceptions?”

Yes, for me. Expansion of perceptions, expansion of consciousness, dissolving of boundaries, etc. experienced under the influence of entheogens, had real value for me, and those understandings continue to underlie and inform my awareness to this day.

73. shardofoblivion - April 25, 2015

#70 Interesting thoughts from Atwood about dreams. But one idea seemed to me to be beyond evidence. He asserts that dreaming and language appeared togetther, (a speculative thought, difficult to know this) and it reminded me of an interesting idea in a book about early cave paintings called “The Mind in the Cave” Lewis-Williams is an archaeologist whose main idea is that the cave paintings are of hallucinations that early men had in ceremonial underground sessions (I don’t agree – they aren’t “trippy” enough for that). But he also mentioned something that had never occurred to me – that until we had language we couldn’t compare with each other about dreams. Lewis-Williams compares the Neanderthal, who we have no evidence of speech for, with Sapiens, and says that Neanderthals would be atheists since they wouldn’t be able to chat about what they dreamed. Whereas Sapiens could ask each other about what they experienced at night, which would likely lead to theories about another world that is visited in dreams, and eventually religion would arise.

74. ton2u - April 25, 2015

Thanks again Cathy, for a breath of fresh air here.

Now dear readers, better hold your breath while I clarify just a bit what I mean @ 65 by “your brand of bullshit.”

Re: @ 58, 62

“I apologize if I goaded you or unconsciously prodded at your particular weakness…”

“…does the weakness of your position on the use of entheogens for spiritual growth…”

The premise of my “weakness” is based partly on the simple fact that we disagree on the subject…. that’s not a “weakness,” it’s a difference in point of view…. calling it weakness is an attempt to reinforce a “superiority / inferiority” complex… I could get deeper here but it would get messy so I’ll leave it at that.

“….your inability or unwillingness to step outside of your comfort zone and share…”

Once again, the premise of an “inability” implies my “inferiority” and your “superiority” – I don’t need your invitation, or permission, or directions on what or how to “share” – if my participation and what I contribute doesn’t meet with your approval it’s not my problem, it’s yours – don’t attempt to portray it as otherwise.

Bob, thanks for commenting… re: goading, I think there’s a certain mentality behind it, in a sense it’s related to your previous image of kids on the playground… there is something childish about it…. it can be a type of “play” and maybe that’s what makes it alluring in a way…. a sort of return to childhood. I think on one level it has something to do with picking at perceived “weaknesses” in another and an attempt to “exploit’ the ‘weakness’ for reasons of ‘self-gratification.’ For example feeding a superiority complex or attempting to establish or maintain a dominance / submissive agenda – this is referred to above re: a manipulative and defensive ‘strategy.’ On some level this is simple darwinian barnyard behavior…. ever watch chickens creating a pecking order?


75. ton2u - April 25, 2015
76. Cathie L. - April 25, 2015

#75 ton2u

Thanks for that link, I enjoyed the talk.

77. jomopinata - April 25, 2015
78. WhaleRider - April 25, 2015

There is plenty of room here for all of us and our differing points of view.

I invite anyone who finds the following conversation tedious to simply hit the scroll down button, and let’s make this between I and Thou.

Thank you for taking the time to comment on my posts. It gives us the opportunity to clarify our communication rather than simply throw the baby out with the bath water, as you say.

I was rather taken aback at my process being called bullshit by you, which seemed uncharacteristic. I’m assuming you wish to find common ground, even if we disagree.

Let me begin by saying that I honestly believe we are a group of peers, with nobody holding a superior position, including myself. I don’t feel there is a pecking order here, but there certianly is a lot of pecking in the form of personal attacks from the multiple incarnations of Greg. Predictably, when he detected the consensus on dreams moving toward the viewpoint that they are random and meaningless, he attacked with characteristic vitrol hoping to displace his core feelings of personal insignificance.

For me, this is a forum where we can freely express our views in monologue form and/or we can debate them, with passion, if we choose, including Greg.

ton2u, would you be willing to see yourself as others see you? I think that’s what you might wish for me, and I truly appreciate what you have to offer. I’m familar with the Perls treatise on the “topdog/underdog” dynamic as it pertains to our inner world in which the underdog always wins, yet I don’t believe there can be a topdog in this particular forum, for if there was, he or she would have to silence others in order to have a sense of retaining the topdog position, and that is certianly not the case here. My posts are in a sense self serving, in that I write them without the expectation of validation, and I can see that makes me seem egotistical to others, over which I have no control. I am simply expressing my personal truth.

The dynamic of which you speak, I sense is something more akin to sibling rivalry. As you mentioned before; we both had siblings and siblings have to compete for attention from dad and mom (Cathy L, our breath of fresh air?). I think that dynamic was cultivated and reinforced in the FOF, as we all competed for burton’s attention since we gave our power to him to bestow the title of man number 5 to his successor.

So instead of the barnyard scenario could you see the debate, “game” aspect of the blog as a part of the male bonding process of bucking heads or wrestling in which we can consciously engage and enjoy? Nobody really wins here, it’s ongoing, and an opportunity to learn something.

I’d like to remind you that on the onset of our most recent exchange on this page you reacted to my post about how narcissists exploit or prod at the weakness of others as narcissistic objects to feed their narcissism. That was not directed at you personally, and in your post you suggested I look at my share in that process, which I assumed, maybe erroneously, that pertained to our dialogue about entheogens. Perhaps I needed to ask you first to clarify yourself, before making that assumption. My mistake.

The baby that I’d like to preserve here is to respectfully ask you to share what you have learned from your (ongoing?) use of entheogens for your personal growth. I notice you are evading my request. Are you willing to see that about yourself? If you would prefer not to share that about yourself, simply say so, and I will move on.

79. Messages From Marconi - April 25, 2015

78. WhaleRider – April 25, 2015

“I was rather taken aback at my process being called bullshit by you…”

The ultimate meaning of life: How many decades does it take any particular individual to get over himself and redirect all the usual infantile self-fixation into a productive direction that is selflessly beneficial to the rest of the world? How long does it take a human being to transition from an unrealistic fascination with himself to practical service to the rest of the community?

I would imagine that a true servant of humanity, such as an emergency room doctor willingly working in a non-affluent area of New York City or the like, would be fairly undisturbed by the occasional random accusation of having his “process” called bullshit. Such people live to help others and they are entirely immune to petty slights against their ego because their ego has been fundamentally sacrificed to the needs of others. Such people are truly decent people and their inevitable personal weaknesses which make them vulnerable to slights and insults are meaningless compared to their dedication to taking positions of responsibility in the world.

80. ton2u - April 25, 2015

I’m not sure why you are so compelled to attempt to compel me to write about my “personal growth” ? What you see is what you get in the limited context here… If you’re really so interested you can scroll back through the pages and piece together my story… but I don’t think you are so interested, and I’m not suggesting that you go through the tedium (I’ve been posting here for years now)… here’s a ‘grope’ – I think that your attempts to compel and direct my participation are all about control. Why not just relax and let come what may?

The point you don’t get with me with regard to the ‘entheogens’ is that it’s not about my “personal growth” – maybe I’m not as self-involved as you are, forgive me for that… for me it’s a social issue concerning public policy and the negative perception / demonization of these substances – a perception which you are promulgating.

I will try to clarify a few things (again), though this is becoming more and more tedious:

As far as the topic of ‘entheogens’ is concerned, I don’t know if it’s simply because you like to argue (“debate”) but it seems you don’t understand my position and actively attempt to marginalize my point of view (referring to it most recently as a position of “weakness”). On the surface this appears to be in the interest of continuing to beat the anti-drug drum…. but underneath I think it’s about dominance and submission. After all the prior “discussion” on the subject, you still don’t get my point – the only conclusion I can come to is it’s because you don’t care to understand – and that’s ok with me…. or maybe it’s because you simply like to “debate” – well I’m tired of that…. if I withdraw from the subject it’s not because my position is one of “weakness,” it’s because I’m bored with it and I know there’s no getting through to you. What you do seem to care most about is your own agenda and as for my ‘position,’ or offering another point of view on the topic, I don’t feel an urgent need to ‘discuss’ it any further since what I say in this regard seems to ‘fall on deaf ears.’

Nevertheless, I will say again, since you didn’t get it before, I did experiment many, many moons ago, but currently I don’t take ‘entheogens’ – so you may ask, what’s my stake in it ? (Hancock expresses it more eloquently than I and that’s originally how we got onto the subject a few pages back) — I object to those who like yourself, think they ‘know best’ and dictate to others, and who (unlike yourself, but of like mind), have power to legislate policies which would attempt to limit the sovereign freedom to control one’s own consciousness as one sees fit and in a way of one’s own choosing. Policies instituted by people in power to wage a war on drugs, at ‘best’ are simply implemented out of fear and ignorance – which does nothing more than generate more fear, ignorance, crime, and carnage. This approach doesn’t address – and even actively ignores the seeming human need to experience ‘altered states of consciousness.’ (see the article above @ 77 – thanks jomo). On one level the war on drugs is an attempt to repress and suppress the basic human ‘need’ to experience altered states of consciousness. There are various ways to alter consciousness, I know, you’ll go on about dreams in this connection and waking up in the morning “refreshed” – but IMO it should be up to the individual to choose a way to control their own consciousness, that is, without big brother’s persecution and interventions. The war on drugs at more nefarious levels is calculated to institute racist and classist agendas…. people who take your stance, who want to place themselves in the role of ‘big brother’ and think they always know what’s best for others, are in effect persecuting those who would like to have the freedom of choice to alter and control their own consciousness…. this is where the war on drugs becomes a war on consciousness – that’s what I object to… (even if you object to the “slogan”). But to each their own, ‘you do you’ – I can live with that as long as you and people like you don’t tell me how I should, or shouldn’t be doing me. We’ve been over this ground interminably (thanks Paul Gregory) and personally I’m bored to tears with it…. we’re in different camps on the issue, I can live with that. But I’ll emphasize, just because we disagree, this doesn’t support your premise of the “weakness” of my position….I think that’s a ”subconscious’ manipulation ‘designed’ to feel you’re in a ‘superior’ position. Because I’m bored of the argument, and I know there’s no common ground with you, I would end the “discussion” — that doesn’t imply a “weakness” of my position – your premise in this case is a manipulation so that again, you can feel you’re in a ‘superior’ position…. you seem to have this dominance / submission thing going…. you need to feel “right,” you have to feel justified and that’s where the defenses and manipulations enter in… this is the “bullshit” I referred to above. (I’ve alluded to it before and you mention it above but I’ll say it again, I think the ‘dynamic’ here has it’s roots in childhood interactions / relations with siblings / parents, etc).

You write: “My posts are in a sense self serving, in that I write them without the expectation of validation, and I can see that makes me seem egotistical to others, over which I have no control. I am simply expressing my personal truth.”

Re: self-involvement – I’ll ask you, how did this blog become your personal dream journal anyway ? I posted a link that explains the operation of the victim, persecutor, rescuer triad – something I think you and others here might in a general way benefit from by understanding thereof – not just in terms of interactions here in blogville but maybe more importantly in terms of relating the concepts to the FOF experience and resolving or working through any lingering issues on that account…. but all you seem to take from it is that your self-righteousness is justified because the site talks about working with dreams…. whalerider, I’m truly happy for you in that you’ve found something which gives your life meaning – but come on, really ?! you don’t have to act like you invented dream work or that you are the only one here who knows about it, it’s been around a long, long time by now…. show a little humility ‘dude.’ The ‘truth’ is, you write about yourself and put it on display because of vanity and a streak of egotistical narcissism…. and you CAN control that with a modicum of humility.

As far goading goes, don’t play dumb… you may not know WHY you’re doing it (compulsions are like that) but you do know WHEN you’re doing it… you “invite” me to “share myself” — and because I do so differently than you, you don’t recognize it… the arrogance to think you’re the arbiter here, the self-anointed king of the blog…. if I won’t bend a knee to you, that doesn’t make you “right” and it doesn’t mean that my position is one of “weakness” – although you ‘unconsciously’ attempt to create a context of “inferiority / superiority / dominance / submission,” it’s based on YOUR premises…. which from my perspective appears to be manipulations in order to bolster your own ‘unconscious’ defensiveness… i.e. bullshit.


81. Messages From Marconi - April 25, 2015

We see you.

What does that mean? It means some others out here in the world see through the illusions with which you regard yourself and we understand why you say the irrational things that you say even when you can’t see it, even when you can’t understand yourself or your own misguided motivations.

Can you see yourself through the perspective of this outside feedback? That depends on how delusional you’ve become, how in love you’ve become with this imaginary self-reflection in the imaginary pond.

82. WhaleRider - April 25, 2015

Thank you for taking the time and effort to clarify your position.

I’m more interested in your personal story than Hancock’s, which is more compelling to me since at one point we did share the common ground of the FOF. However, I certainly do not entertain the illusion that I could compel you to do anything you don’t want to do; I can only ask.

I, too, feel like I’m not being heard…and pigeonholed by you into the “anti-drug camp”, when, if you review my posts above, is not the case.

As I said before, in the right circumstances the drug experience can be useful, but it doesn’t appear to me as a healthy long term strategy to remain intoxicated as a spiritual practice, based upon my experience, a view which I can see we both share since we both experimented with them in our past and have since moved on…which was unclear to me at first by your posts and links.

If you or anyone else have learned or discovered something that you’d like to share from the use of entheogens post FOF, I am interested in learning about it.

But I’m also content to view entheogens as just a way to reduce boredom for some. Or if I had terminal cancer, sure, why not for the fun of it?

I don’t believe the Hancock piece you provided carries a warning about the dangers of psychedelic drug use, of which I am all too familiar, and there is certainly enough room in this forum for a counter view without taking it personally.

The “war on consciousness”, IMO, is a smokescreen to assuage guilt about receiving narcissistic pleasure from drugs, which is fine in moderation, and to rally others behind a cause that in the face of the AMA is destined to fail. But that’s not because I don’t see the value in the pleasurable altered state experience in the short run; I just like putting my money on the winning long horse, and I have kids for whom I am a role model.

I believe we have done a good job at exposing the FOF’s fraud and corruption, now what? Take drugs instead for enlightenment or are there other paths to explore?

I’m here, despite the personal attacks upon my integrity, to provide one alternative path to the dependency mindset that might lead a person to join a cult or remain in a cult…or get addicted to a substance.

Anyone is free to take what is useful in what I post and disregard the rest.

My viewpoint is based upon my personal, first-hand experience of self-empowerment though dreamwork, and not what I read in a book or saw on YouTube. So if I seem self absorbed, remember this forum is only a narrow view of my life, one in which I share my personal thoughts as an individual, not as someone who lives their life pleasing others as I did in the cult.

Dreams, as far as I could tell, were totally disregarded in the FOF, unless they were burton’s and conform to the party line. We were mystified by the cult’s use of the word “sleep” and anything associated with it.

That being said, I place a greater value on first-hand accounts than on hearsay, so I ask for your forgiveness if I pressed too hard for your personal account rather than settle for what you might have heard about second or third hand…for this is how the cult worked…so much of what we first heard about burton and his so-called enlightenment was filtered through his devotees.

I feel this blog can be anything anyone wants it to be…my dream journal, your platform, a debate, a reality test, a feedback loop, a healing place, a support network, a memoir, a campfire, or simply someone’s listening post. There’s room for all, so jump in, don’t make this all about me.

To Marconi I say this: if you don’t care about yourself, why should I listen to you?

83. shardofoblivion - April 26, 2015

#82 Whalerider asks “If you or anyone else have learned or discovered something that you’d like to share from the use of entheogens post FOF, I am interested in learning about it.”

OK I’m game. After ten years in the FoF, most of them fairly content, I began to feel something was wrong in myself. The long term use of the technique of “separating from negative emotions” had led to a state where I hardly felt anything at all, I believe it is sometimes called depersonalisation in psychological circles, and I started to question more whether this was the way for me. At my place of work I had become good friends with someone who was into psychedelic music and smoked dope regularly. He asked me if I was interested, and I loftily told him I had smoked a lot in the past but was no longer interested, but that I had experienced things on acid that impressed me. He told me he could get hold of something he called “double dipped purple aums” and I said “go on then get me some”. It was tricky to arrange to take it – my wife was in the cult and still a true believer – there was a no drugs task operating – there were other true believer students staying at my house. Anyway one day when my wife was going out for the evening I dropped a quarter of a blotter about an hour before she was due to go. Within 15 minutes I knew I was in trouble – I was supposed to be looking after our 2 young girls, and I knew I had made a big mistake. So I told my wife what I had done and she cancelled her meetup, and stayed with me. (that’s the rather long winded set and setting of the trip described)

What happened on the trip was that I saw through the lies I had been telling myself. I could no longer maintain the facade that was propping up my life in the school. I had a copy of an Ouspensky book in the room, and on the back cover there was a brief biographical summary, and I felt very sure of two things. One was that when he died he had ceased to exist, despite his belief to the contrary, and secondly that he was just a guy like all of us, trying to get through and make sense of things, and with no special ability to see further or know more than myself.

I am not sure if I would have left the school had I not had that experience – it took another 9 months before I stopped paying teaching payments. I paid a price for that action – I lost my wife, my house and daily contact with my 2 children, and most of my friends. I think something in me knew it would be tough, and was preventing me from seeing the bullshit to save me heartache.

Not relevant to the entheogen question, but to complete the story, the final straw for me was that Thomas Easly travelled through the London centre and told how years before he had been manipulated by Burton for sexual purposes. This was in the early days of the school, when no one else knew of Burton’s proclivities, and the telling image was when Thomas told me how he felt completely trapped knowing that no one would even believe him if he tried to tell people about the web he had got caught in.

84. WhaleRider - April 26, 2015

Thanks Shard for your heartfelt story. I appreciate it. As I said before, if LSD could help a person free themselves from the cult, I’m all for it. The part about losing your wife, house and access to your kids was particularly poignant. I was sorry to hear that and commend your bravery.

I’ve been thinking about what you said about language and dreams possibly not occurring at the same time in prehistoric man as Atwood suggested otherwise, and it made me wonder, given that animals dream, could it be said that they possess language?

85. Opus111 - April 26, 2015

Re: Bob’s question about what had changed when we left the FOF…

I once corresponded to an ex member, who left in the early 80’s and subsequently did “interviews” of ex-members who had left before him, to try and help himself better understand “when and where he went wrong” (I am paraphrasing).

He found an ex-member who left within a year or so of the FOF inception. What was interesting about that person is that he never contacted other ex members or tried to inquire about what had become of the FOF. When asked about his reasons for leaving, he then proceeded to describe everything he felt was wrong with Robert Burton and his gathering of people, in a way that would have sounded apt and contemporary to the newly skeptical members in the late 70s, mid 80s, 90s or those who left more recently. In other words, the FOF did not change, the psychopathic nature of its leader and the cultish characteristics of the group were always there; the rest was distraction. It took different people different amount of times to realize it.

86. shardofoblivion - April 26, 2015

#84 Whalerider muses “given that animals dream, could it be said that they possess language?”

I would say not. I agree some animals (eg dogs) dream, and they certainly communicate, but I don’t think they have language as it is usually construed. Dogs can understand our language to some extent, commands clearly get through, and they react to the emotions when we talk to them. My dog will bark once if he thinks there is a biscuit under the couch and wants me to move the couch so he can get at it. One might argue that his single bark says “I can smell a biscuit under the couch, I can’t move the couch, please move it so I can get at the biscuit” But somehow I sense it’s not as elaborate as that. Still it puzzles me how a dogs memory works, they can remember that there was something interesting that they were dragged away from earlier, and run over at the next opportunity. Now I would use words to encode that memory, but a dog doesn’t use words, so how does that feel. I don’t know, maybe they “picture” it in some way, but I don’t think they have language in the full sense. Language I take to be a system of symbols that can be used to define each other in the way that Saussure describes.


I just remembered John Lilley and his dolphins – wouldn’t rule out language for them completely, though it still seems unlikely somehow.

87. ton2u - April 26, 2015

Whalerider @ 82

I appreciate your measured response…. and I laud and support your intention to expose the seedy underbelly of the FOF – for what it’s worth, thanks for the efforts in that regard.

You write: “I’m here, despite the personal attacks upon my integrity, to provide one alternative path to the dependency mindset that might lead a person to join a cult or remain in a cult…or get addicted to a substance.”

Thinking about the FOF as the common ground here and what that was about – a malignant narcissist who, as a recruiting tool appealed to and fed the vanity and narcissism of neophytes…. fledgling narcissists themselves – to me it seems there’s a connection or a continuation with this sort of self-involvement and the project of “self-empowerment” and “personal growth” – imo this can all too easily become ego tripping…. no? could this be another, more subtle but no less insidious type of addiction?

To clarify some misinformation from your post – the substances in question are not addictive… this is a conflation leading to more misperception…. I know they aren’t addictive based on “personal, first hand experience” and I think you know it too.

Hancock doesn’t focus on the potential “dangers of psychedelic drug use” because part of the point of his talk is an attempt to counter the systematic demonization of these substances. If you listened, he does emphasize that these substances are not to be taken lightly, only with respect and with the proper preparation and guidance, proper set/ setting, a supportive, loving environment… etc. (Had the circumstances of your own experiences been different in this regard, no doubt you would have a different point of view and maybe, you might have a more respectful / reverent attitude about it and wouldn’t be so focused on the shadows cast).

As for ‘attacks upon my integrity’ and the old kettle/pot ‘debate,’ here’s another example of marginalizing the way I might choose to express a point: “…I ask for your forgiveness if I pressed too hard for your personal account rather than settle for what you might have heard about second or third hand…” i’ve left plenty of “personal accounts” in the back pages here, so your ‘apology’ sounds more than a little disingenuous…

Another second and third hand, ‘anecdotal’ take on issues larger than my “personal growth” or your “self-empowerment” or the FOF…


88. shardofoblivion - April 26, 2015

#60 Paul Gregory – thanks for that Transparent Day, here’s some ear and eye candy on a similar theme:

89. WhaleRider - April 26, 2015


90. Cathie L. - April 26, 2015

#88 Brian Eno montage

check the brew @ 3:42

91. Messages From Marconi - April 26, 2015

Experiencing reality is never a question of convincing the mind to organize itself suitably. Reality has nothing to do with an organized mind. Reality pours out of the organized awareness of running out of time.

92. shardofoblivion - April 26, 2015

#89 Thanks Whalerider that was great. I found myself remembering Wittgenstein’s thought “If a Lion could speak, we could not understand him,” Philosophical Investigations p 223
I tried to find out if there was evidence that killer whales dream, it was amusingly hard since most hits on google with the words dream and killer whales are people telling other people what it means if they dream about killer whales, but I did track down some evidence that REM have been observed:

#90 CL yep, a Banisteriopsis Caapi and Chacruna brew (tastes like old vomit)

#91 Are we running out of time? I like the fact that life is temporary, makes it more precious somehow.

93. Messages From Marconi - April 26, 2015

92. shardofoblivion – April 26, 2015

#91 “Are we running out of time?”

“We” makes it seem like a group field trip, a party where people hold hands and watch the sun go down. Time is a strictly personal thing in the end. Each one of us is running out of time and that fact will at some point likely become a physically unpleasant shock. That’s reality.

94. paul gregory - April 26, 2015

Thanks for the Brian Eno video, Shard. They played his music to volunteers on the recent psylosibin studies that were conducted last year by Dr David Nutt in league with The Beckley Foundation at Imperial College, London, the first time these substances have been studied in the UK for over fifty years. His music selections are also used in hospital wards, experimentally, to help speed up recovery times.
I would of liked to of posted

but transparency seemed to be the theme of the day. It’s pretty ‘cosmic’, in an acidy type of way.
I suppose, Bob, that seeing other sides to things, or other dimensions to experience, increases the context, which can be clarifying or confusing. Psychedelic, or Entheogen use has led to a lot of things, the ‘green movement’, I suspect, may of been stimulated by people suddenly or reflectively ‘getting’ nature.

Your recent posts remind me of a couple of things, Marconi alone, and gives me an opportunity to post more youtube clips. I tried to find a version of the song that went: ‘you (they, the other monkeys, someone else (not you, someone)) are never unaccompanied by the scintillating illusion of somebody giving a fuck about your/their pointless life’, but handholding sentiment wins the day for me, and the lyrics just scan better. I was reminded it of earlier, too, with all these conversations going on, for some reason.

95. WhaleRider - April 27, 2015

“…to me it seems there’s a connection or a continuation with this sort of self-involvement and the project of “self-empowerment” and “personal growth” – imo this can all too easily become ego tripping…. no? could this be another, more subtle but no less insidious type of addiction?”

Perhaps you are right, especially if such a “cultivated” FOF ex-follower under the guise of “personal growth” were to simply substitute one “exalted teacher” for another “exalted teacher” and thus extend their ego trip, then yes, all too easily their latent narcissism might go unchecked, theoretically speaking.

But in terms of ardent cult followers, the majority, IMHO, would more likely be pathological accommodators than full blown narcissists.

IMHO, the hardened narcissists would be more likely to leave once they figured out the game, as burton probably did from Horn, and Ouspensky probably did from Gurdjieff…and go start their own cult ad nauseam…or be kicked out if they were unable to toe the line and keep their narcissism in check when faced with having to accommodate the insatiable needs of the big daddy narcissist cult leader.

And I seriously doubt said second “exalted teacher'” would be capable of maintaining a group of followers whom were indeed self empowered for any great length of time, for what would be the point?

It seems to me, in my experience, narcissists do not look very deeply into themselves for empowerment, otherwise they would have to confront there own inner deficiencies; they look outside themselves for validation and/or seek to manipulate others in order to feel powerful in compensation for their deficiencies.

And dreams would be the last place a narcissist would look for ego compensation, since in dreams and nightmares the observing ego (to which the narcissist’s self is merged) is at a distinct disadvantage which would feel inimical to the controlling narcissist.

I would imagine that if burton had a string of bad dreams, he wouldn’t advertise it to his followers lest it tarnish his persona of an omnipotent man number 7.3.

IMHO, on the other hand, a narcissist might use his or her dream or another’s dream to seek power over his or her victim pool of narcissistic objects, as in the case of burton’s so-called prophetic apocalyptic dreams that he regales his followers, or in the case of Mr Castenada claiming he possessed the power to enter into his follower’s dreams, but this would only serve to feed their narcissism, not diminish it.

So since narcissism requires a captive audience…a “pool” of narcissistic objects in which to reflect back his or her grandiosity, IMHO, self empowerment, the kind I have in mind, is it’s exact opposite.

I suppose to speak further on the issue, we would both have to agree that there is such a condition as healthy narcissism vs. unhealthy narcissism…or as Ulman and Paul (2006) state, “archaic narcissism vs. mature narcissism”.

One final thought: What about the propaganda war against dreams???

Luckily, the AMA and DEA have no jurisdiction over our dreams. 🙂

96. ton2u - April 27, 2015

Maybe because I’m ‘old and jaded,’ it seems to me there’s an ever increasing trend in society toward selfishness in general, it’s all about “I, me, mine,” attitudes / behaviors, feeding egoism and vanity contribute to the culture of narcissism…. the “self-empowerment” / “personal growth” fads that have sprouted up in this culture with our generation, are (imo) all too often a glorified extension of narcissistic self-involvement – just another type of self-indulgence often in the guise of “spirituality” or “self-improvement.” In this environment / culture of egoism acted out on a ‘playing field’ tilted more and more toward narcissism, selfishness, vanity, etc, forming an idea of “healthy narcissism” (even by so-called experts) might be skewed in an “unhealthy” direction… you (one) can rationalize / justify almost anything… no?

“One final thought: What about the propaganda war against dreams???”

I know, there are other and much larger social / personal issues than the war on drugs, that just happens to be the topic we’ve been stuck on recently…. In past posts I’ve mentioned burton’s war on imagination, how crippling that is to individual sovereignty – it happens to be a key in his ‘system’ of mind control, etc… the world of imagination relates to and imo is contiguous with the world of dreams… (in this connection I find working with ‘active imagination’ in dream amplification to be very ‘useful’ – even ‘fun’ and enjoyable).

I’ve posted links related to this before, I’m repeating myself again:


“Luckily, the AMA and DEA have no jurisdiction over our dreams.”

Maybe not “technically” but in effect they do….

“The invention of print, however, made it easier to manipulate public opinion, and the film and the radio carried the process further. With the development of television, and the technical advance which made it possible to receive and transmit simultaneously on the same instrument, private life came to an end.”
George Orwell, 1984

97. ton2u - April 27, 2015

this may already be ‘self-evident’ but for what it’s worth (and to balance corbin’s focus on religious aspects of being human):

98. WhaleRider - April 27, 2015

“I found myself remembering Wittgenstein’s thought “If a Lion could speak, we could not understand him.”

If a caveman could speak could we understand him? 😉

99. Cathie L. - April 27, 2015

#97 Thanks! Steiner nails it. Funny how Edward G. Robinson (Dathan, the villain in the movie) is actually asking an excellent question of Moses in “The Ten Commandments.” Also, I had a good laugh: the ad that played at the end of that clip (for me anyway) was from single christian mingle dot com (“Good news! Find God’s match for you!”)

#98 Thanks! Fantastic movie. I need to watch it again. “It is as if the modern human soul awakened here.” – Werner Herzog

I was wondering about pathological narcissism, healthy narcissism (what would that look like?), Western culture and the rise of the individual, as opposed to a more collective consciousness, which those cave humans almost certainly had. If their art can speak to me across centuries, I must share some connection with those minds. Can I nourish and expand that connection?

I do think Terence McKenna was on the right track about the archaic revival, the boundary-dissolving attributes of the psychedelic experience, and the importance of art in the flowering of human consciousness.

100. WhaleRider - April 27, 2015

I bet you and I are not that far apart in age…I do agree with you about the younger generation seemingly becoming more self involved as evidenced by those strolling about immersed in their iBubbles…I wonder if our parents thought the same of us when we dropped out and turned on, shunning our patriotic duty to fight in the Viet Nam war and pursuing our search for individual nirvana and mystical union with the Absolute?

I agree with the Steiner piece you linked, thanks for that. And I agree that the war on consciousness or, to borrow a term from advertising, the battle for a “mind share” of our brains, is largely fought in the interest of consumerism…but I also believe that although advertising might influence our fantasies about ourselves and our imagined status in the world, I don’t recall ever having a dream about this or that “branded” product that might enhance my ego and compensate for my imagined deficiencies.

By the same token, in my experience, dreams do not usually reflect to us only what we want to see and like about ourselves, which at least in my mind seem like an unadulterated and uncorrupted, pure communication from the unconscious rather than a regurgitated form of random advertising.

101. Robert Stolzle - April 27, 2015

Cathie L. @ #72

Thank you for such a great answer to my inquiries. I completely agree with most all of your points and positions. I took my leave in 1977 and never got closer than the orbit of say…Jupiter. To my knowledge, the worst of the “crimes” at that time was Bonita Guido wanting an equity stake in the operation; the current heir apparent, Donald MacDonald leaving, and the crime of Jim Randazzo leaving to start his “Coke-head” group “Spiral of Friends” in Colorado. He is, or was in the pen, now and RB still flits around free…..go figure. At least Coke produced a predictable result.

Your question about “what question is served by reminiscing” got (a forbidden “word exercise” word, remember?) me thinking about why I find this blog to be interesting or entertaining. The “one-upsmanship” that is so common in the postings here reminds me of the local centers’ meetings where the “angles of thought” competed to be the most insightful. So, in that way, I am trying to recapture some of my lost youth. I’d prefer to believe, however, that the people posting her, having been through the same “training program” for roughly the same reasons might have some interesting or even useful, post FoF insights to share. That seems to rarely be the case, but obviously, I find it entertaining and apparently have nothing better to do. Oh, damn, I forgot that “We cannot do.”; that is only for the exalted leader!

I have to say that I’m impressed at the level of, post FoF, interest in psychological and spiritual matters evidenced here. Speaking as a former “student” who went back to scientific proof as the bedrock of “verification”, it is surprising to me how readily personal positions and experiences are presented as having merit for everyone……but that is the nature of human existence, isn’t it?…….and probably the best we can do for each other……..(long heartfelt sigh here). Personally, I choose to believe in God because I sincerely hope that humans aren’t the driving the bus and life is pretty miraculous. Not believing would leave me without hope in my old age……not good…..but, at least no one here claims to have found the “keys to the kingdom” yet, and that seems honest.

Bob Stolzle

102. Messages From Marconi - April 27, 2015

Remember when the communist revolution was going to improve the world by wiping the injustice of capitalist greed off the face of the earth? That cultural phenomenon demonstrated how readily naive idealism could convert itself into astonishingly murderous corruption. Now the only relic left of the altruistic “leftists” are the thousands of nuclear bombs.

103. leaf - April 27, 2015

101. Robert Stolzle

“Personally, I choose to believe in God because I sincerely hope that humans aren’t the driving the bus and life is pretty miraculous. Not believing would leave me without hope in my old age……not good…..”

I can relate. I’m not sure about God, and about gods, but if God or gods do exist, what form it would exist in.

What I do strongly believe is that anything that instills fear, shame, ignorance, discouragement, and hate, (cults and religions) is off the mark…. I also can’t say for sure what the mark is. I agree about life being miraculous. And I’ll add that it’s quite a mystery, too.

104. leaf - April 27, 2015


All, all for Immortality!
Love, like the light, silently wrapping all!
Nature’s amelioration blessing all!
The blossoms, fruits of ages—orchards divine and certain;
Forms, objects, growths, humanities, to spiritual Images ripening.

Give me, O God, to sing that thought!
Give me—give him or her I love, this quenchless faith
In Thy ensemble. Whatever else withheld, withhold not from us,
Belief in plan of Thee enclosed in Time and Space;
Health, peace, salvation universal.

Is it a dream?
Nay, but the lack of it the dream,
And, failing it, life’s lore and wealth a dream,
And all the world a dream.

-W. Whitman (from Song of the Universal)


The sun and stars that float in the open air,
The apple-shaped earth and we upon it, surely the drift of them
is something grand,
I do not know what it is except that it is grand, and that it is

-W. Whitman (from A Song for Occupations)


105. ton2u - April 27, 2015

ya I got a chuckle from that christian mingle ad… thought it could’ve been placed ironically, ‘tongue in cheek.’ (Anyone not familiar with Mckenna’s Archaic Revival should check it out).

Bob, Leaf… a few years back the great singer Joan Osborne put a kind of sappy song out with the refrain “what if god was one of us.” whenever I heard it I couldn’t help thinking – what if god IS ALL of us and everything else… all and everything, particle, mineral, plant, animal, light / dark, saints, sinners, angels, devils and everything in between, planets, stars, galaxies and the vastness of space/time between…. there is something called immanence… those inclined toward materialistic scientism will have to excuse the anecdotal nature of this, but based on “first hand, personal experience” I’ve had glimpses of this…. for lack of a better term I’ll call it “god consciousness” but only in moments or limited durations of grace as it were. It seems the “conditioned mind” is an obstacle to the possibility of living in a state of more continuous realization… the metaphor comes to mind of fishes in the sea unable to taste the salt, or Gurdjieff’s “best place to hide something from someone is on the end of their nose” – or words to that effect.


106. ton2u - April 27, 2015

107. shardofoblivion - April 28, 2015

#105 Ton2u. I am trying to understand the implications of your statement. As you listed the wondrous particulars that make up the universe, I thought to myself, “what is added by also calling it god?” But then I thought I caught your drift when you called it “god consciousness”. Are you saying that when you personally had that experience, one of the implications was that everything else (ie not just the brains of creatures) has the possibility of experiencing the same state that you experienced? That’s radical. There’s a philosophical position, panpsychism, that asserts that everything must be conscious, because it is inconceivable that matter in however complicated a system it is assembled, could produce consciousness. The difficulty was called “the hard problem” by David Chalmers. It is a point of view, and to rule it out I would need to have solved the hard problem, which as far as I can see remains unsolved. But I felt you may have been saying more, that when you had the glimpses there was something in those experiences that made you feel it wasn’t just your own brain having them, that you merged in some way, and in that merging gained something that couldn’t have been produced by a human brain. You have me genuinely intrigued, and eager to hear more about the topic.

108. ton2u - April 28, 2015

I’ll ask what’s subtracted by also calling all and everything “god?” It’s a word that’s sometimes used for an experience of the ineffable…. A question is how to describe the actuality of an experience “after the fact” ?

As for your “…something that couldn’t be produced by the human brain” – to think of experience in terms of the ‘hardware’ doesn’t really explain the actuality of direct experience ( your reference to “the hard problem”). I can say there was the immediate felt-sense, an awareness of (something akin to “merging” as you put it, or rather simply “merged with”), the experience of being a tiny part in the living body of “the absolute” (for lack of a better word) – doing a “mundane” chore at the time, (painting a wall), there was a felt-sense that I was carrying out my individual function much as a microscopic cell would in the unimaginable vastness of the physical body…. it was that sort of relative relationship (no this wasn’t a drug induced state)…. there have been other experiences of a similar sort, but words are not the experience, anything that I can say of the experience as an attempt to describe it would not give you the reader the experience…. it’s lost in translation…. words, metaphors, analogies are not the experience, were I a poet I might be able to draw a closer approximation using words, but I think that still wouldn’t give you the direct experience…. as I write william blake comes to mind:

“How do you know but every bird that cuts the airy way, is an immense world of delight, closed by your senses five?

Seest thou the little winged fly, smaller than a grain of sand?
It has a heart like thee, a brain open to heaven and hell,
Withinside wondrous and expansive; its gates are not closed;
I hope thine are not.”

The link @106 to the clip from “the tree of life” was posted as an visual / auditory attempt at representing something ‘ineffable’ – it comes closer than anything I can say about it, yet any translation of the experience is not the experience…. you’ll have to excuse the “second and third hand accounts” here, it’s all I have, I realize and admit my limitations.

ya I’m somewhat familiar with ‘philosophy of mind’ so called, and panpsychism…. recently listened to this talk by david chalmers… you might appreciate it:

109. ton2u - April 28, 2015

re: what’s subtracted by calling all and everything “god” ? – I understand that “god” is a heavily loaded term, I know many object to it’s use for a number of reasons, that the word is glibly thrown around and often used to manipulate, how it plays to a certain crowd. It can be used out of simple laziness or an inability to think through and explain… an easy way out, and maybe this is a bit of the case here, but I don’t throw the word around or use it lightly. In this case it’s because I have no better words to describe…. but I think “god consciousness” is maybe more to the point since this implies direct participation somehow in the mystery of the experience…. and this too is a loaded term… these are aspects of the ‘conditioned mind’ but I think there’s something else to it.

“…how it is that any thing so remarkable as a state of consciousness comes about as the result of irritating nervous tissue, is just as unaccountable as the appearance of the Djin when Aladdin rubbed his lamp.”

T.H. Huxley

marconi @102


110. shardofoblivion - April 28, 2015

Ton2U – thanks for that. Your simple words got through somehow, I was there with the paint brush for a moment, probably better that more flowery words might have in fact.

re “what’s subtracted by calling all and everything god?”. In one sense not much, especially as you are communicating an experience as much as a philosophical position. In the philosophical sense it introduces another element that is even harder to explain than the self evident mysteries that already stand before us. I was in accord with Steiner on the god and religion matter.

The low frequency sounds and slow swirling graphics from the Tree of Life were lovely.

111. Cathie L. - April 28, 2015

“Although I have tried to follow through on this quest, I cannot say that I have succeeded in any literal sense. There is however one central discovery that has occurred as a result of this journey: myself.

Amidst the shattered hearts, the broken minds, the annihilations, it is as if the pattern of my own life was somehow inscribed. Exploring the souls of my patients therefore has led me again and again to the depths and origins of my own lifeworld.” – Atwood

Reflections and echoes. The myth of Echo and Narcissus.

Healthy narcissism?

I think for nearly all psychological categories and definitions, there’s a continuum that goes between healthy and pathological.

112. Cathie L. - April 28, 2015

113. Robert Stolzle - April 28, 2015

Re: Consciousness and God

I suppose any human, being self-conscious, is entitled to their experiments and opinions in this regard and possibly–perhaps by accident–may get as close to some ultimate truth as any researcher. So, with that personal enfranchisement, my sense of God is that, if it is anything, it is the energy that animates all life. In this sense it is ultimately the Sun, but perhaps might be closer to the organizing principle that allows this coherent flux of energy with matter that we call life. There seem to be no evidence of this “life force” having any “consciousness” to it, but it certainly might. Is there anyone clever enough make that judgment? But, contrarily, I can’t really wrap my head around the idea that what we usually refer to as inanimate matter has any “consciousness” in it as suggested in Chalmer’s TED Talk.

I do see consciousness as existing in a spectrum from the simplest life to humans and, I hope, beyond. I do know that the animals I have lived with do “talk”, i.e. communicate with me and other animals within the framework of their world. I see all life as distinguishing between “me and not me”. Theirs may perhaps be a simpler world, but life and death are of ultimate importance to the individual organism experiencing it, and may be our only commonality,……and so far as we can tell today, once you’re gone, you’re gone.

This view begs the question of whether humans greater understanding and our sense of evolution that places us on the crown of creation is anything but the most recent step in a long evolutionary slog (to us at least) along a path toward some ultimate result or just another random event. I suppose this is why we humans are constantly searching for “meaning”. As posited by astrophysicists, the sun will expand to envelope the earth and, if we have managed to get off our little rock, “dark energy”, overcoming gravity, will cause the universe to expand until it ends in whimper. This is science’s current “best guess”. Is there some chance of any of our collective consciousness being around to witness this? I doubt it…………………but maybe.

Hope Springs Eternal-
Bob Stolzle

114. ton2u - April 28, 2015

Bob, reading your post reminded of Arthur Young…. before they departed the terra plane, I had the good fortune to meet he and his wife Ruth…. I attended some of the “salon” type presentations that were held at his home in Berkeley, always enlightening…. his ‘theory of process’ is presented in more detail in the book “The Reflexive Universe” — he takes the reader through a rigorous but understandable ‘scientific proof’ which describes the photon (i.e.light ‘particles’) as the ‘fundamental,’ basic unit of sentient action in the universe. May be of interest, or not…. nevertheless, ‘keep hope alive.’


115. James Mclemore - April 28, 2015

A few more thoughts about Consciousnesses –
First from a video link that Shard posted a while back.
The lady (Susan Greenfield) with the incredible long list of achievements, awards and degrees was a really good speaker. I appreciated the fact that in her introduction she was not going entertain the question of where did consciousness or the brain come from. I also greatly appreciated the fact she also made it plain that what her talk was going to, at least in general be about, and the discoveries she was going to talk about, was based on an assumption. The assumption was that that consciousness “is generated by, for, and of the brain”.

Sometimes the scientific mind in all us tends to look at things from the point of view of cause and consequence, but “consciousness” seems by its very nature to be beyond this kind of circular investigation.
Now I certainly do not know any more about consciousness or the brain than any body else here. This is just a sharing of some ideas, and I am not trying to sell anything or convince anybody else to see things like I do, but here are some reasons why I can’t quite make the same assumption or hold the belief that “consciousness is generated by, for, and of the brain”. Let me also say that I am not in any way opposed to the idea of scientific discovery. In fact I believe it to be one of the only ways we can truly investigate anything. I believe that scientific discovery, in its essence, is innocence and almost child-like in its investigation into things, at least when it puts aside all belief systems and cherished opinions, and just tries to see directly what is actually Here right Now.

The “brain” is, after all is just a concept and a label and description of something we don’t ever directly experience. Even neurosurgeons and coroners see only brains belonging to other people. Our own brain is something we will most probably never directly see, much in the same way as we never actually experience a “whole body”. The “body” is only another concept. We can’t even see our head or much of our backside without the aid of a mirror. What we notice and experience in the here and now, at least as far as the “body” is concerned, is the seeing of various parts of it along with the physical sensations that arise in consciousness. If we stick with what can be directly seen or experienced, using only the present evidence given to us in any moment, we will experience thoughts, feel emotions, and sense the physical sensations that arise in consciousness. All of these come and go in consciousness. Because of language being what it is, our mind, with even the best of intentions, talks about “consciousness” as being a “thing” that “we” experience, but even the experience of being a “we” is just something else that appears in consciousness. “Consciousness” may not be a “thing” at all. Where could the mind possibly stand in order to examine or study consciousness?

From parts of an essay I came across by David Lane where he is discussing Sam Harris….

“Sam Harris, the first of the four famous horsemen of atheism (his first book, The End of Faith, has been credited with sparking the nascent neo-atheist movement now sweeping throughout the USA and abroad), has in a recent two part article [“The Mystery of Consciousness”] strongly argued that consciousness is a mystery that resists an objective scientific explanation.”
As Harris writes,

“The problem, however, is that no evidence for consciousness exists in the physical world. Physical events are simply mute as to whether it is “like something” to be what they are. The only thing in this universe that attests to the existence of consciousness is consciousness itself; the only clue to subjectivity, as such, is subjectivity. Absolutely nothing about a brain, when surveyed as a physical system, suggests that it is a locus of experience. Were we not already brimming with consciousness ourselves, we would find no evidence of it in the physical universe—nor would we have any notion of the many experiential states that it gives rise to. The painfulness of pain, for instance, puts in an appearance only in consciousness. And no description of C-fibers or pain-avoiding behavior will bring the subjective reality into view.”

116. WhaleRider - April 29, 2015

117. shardofoblivion - April 29, 2015

I am also intrigued by the binding problem, but find the leap to idealism unconvincing. Greenfield suggests the mechanism that ensures a unified synchronised experience is a wave of electrical activity that encompasses the entire brain, it is as this wave recruits more and more neurons that we become aware of the information encoded in the physically distributed parts of the brain. There is a debate between her and another neural researcher Koch. Koch’s focus is to map out the individual parts of the brain responsible for different functions, but her research is more focused on the binding problem.

Click to access Koch&Greenfield%202007008.pdf

118. ton2u - April 29, 2015

not “scientific american” nevertheless the article here applies to the current thread – and even has warm ‘blood’ coursing through it:


119. Robert Stolzle - April 29, 2015

Because we don’t understand the workings of the brain very well and how, or if, brain functioning leads to consciousness and self awareness, there a very human tendency to fall back on metaphysical explanations and magic to explain the things that might seem to be incomprehensible. This is a mistake…….and we should be very wary of those expounding, with certainty, explanations of anything, let alone something as wobbly as consciousness.

Few of us will get a PhD. and work at pushing forward human understanding in any field, let alone brain research—-wherein is contained anyone’s entire universe. But this is how mankind has landed a robot on a comet, not by seeing and accepting it as an evil omen. IM(not so very)HO, the thinking that real science could be circumvented, in favor of a guru who had magic secrets to teach, is part of the thinking that misled many of us to join the FoF. It is true that “bureaucratic institutions” like universities can be wrong in many ways and scientific inquiry leads to many dead ends, much wrong understanding and some bad results; but, it is also true that E=M(C x C) did not originate from a magical, drug induced dream. The benzene ring dream (cited here earlier) occurred in a educated organic chemist who had been struggling with the problem for a long while, not some aboriginal seeking visions by not eating or drinking. Just because every solution to any problem comes as an “ah ha” moment does not make every crazy notion a solution. The “ah ha” moment is just how we’re wired.

“The fault, dear Brutus, lies not in our selves, but in our stars, that we are underlings.” (W.S.) Again, I see this as another of the more common reasons many (including me) joined the FoF—-because it (and the Fourth Way) promised to elevate us above the masses of “life people” and give us special understanding and thereby, special standing. This stroked my ego and vanity in a way that no honest assessment of my abilities ever could and my narcissism thereby led me to a large waste of time and effort……even though I must admit that I came away, sadder but wiser. There is great freedom in finding and accepting one’s place in the world, and it might take an LSD trip or two to get there; and we can’t all be national heroes. The corollary is that there is always someone worse off and louder, so there is no sympathy to be found, either. It seems the Buddhists got that much right.

Onward through the fog!

Bob Stolzle

P.S. To quash another scientific fairy tale: Marie Curie was not some French washer woman who discovered Radium by stirring a pot of Pitchblende. She was a Polish child genius who earned a PhD in Physics at a young age, knew what she was doing, and later died of lung cancer for her trouble.

120. James Mclemore - April 29, 2015

118. ton2u
Thanks so much for that link. I am only 1/2 way through it (I read much like I write these days, at a much slower rate than before), but I love the direction that I can already sense that the writer is going in.
Thanks again.

121. Cathie L. - April 29, 2015

#119 Robert Stoltze

I’m not sure putting a robot on a comet is any greater human achievement than the cave art at Chauvet.

I’m not sure that humans may not yet be done in by their technological inventions and “trouble”, as was the genius Marie Curie.

As Bob Dylan wrote, and this is profoundly true:

“Behind every beautiful thing
There’s been some kind of pain.”

(Even if it’s only the realization that every beautiful thing is impermanent.)

As a college student, I was walking home one afternoon from a Chemistry lecture. I don’t remember what the topic of the lecture was, but it must have fired my mind and got me thinking. Some brilliant theory, perhaps, some stunning explanation of the invisible processes underlying our ordinary perceptions. Science is pretty cool that way.

Anyway, strolling along under a fragrant stand of eucalyptus trees at the edge of the university campus, I was suddenly struck by the juxtaposition of scientific knowledge with the perception of beauty in nature. Do we know, I asked, what lies beneath the perception of beauty? Even if we can convincingly explain it in biochemical, neurological terms, have we really answered the question, “What makes the rainbow beautiful?”

Science doesn’t really have answers for the deeper mysteries, and that’s OK. I think we need the Mystery. I think maybe it’s at the heart of being human.

“The soul is here for its own joy.
Mysteries are not to be solved.
The eye goes blind when it only wants to see why.” – Rumi

122. Cathie L. - April 30, 2015

Robert, apologies for misspelling your last name.

123. Wouldnt You Like To Know - April 30, 2015

Cathie L.:
‘Do we know, I asked, what lies beneath the perception of beauty? Even if we can convincingly explain it in biochemical, neurological terms, have we really answered the question, “What makes the rainbow beautiful?”‘

Rest assured that if the sky was a rainbow, instead of mostly blue every day, and the blue sky was a rare freak occurrence, we might see what is beautiful differently.

Perhaps a better question might be: What makes beautiful beautiful?

BTW, I like the rainbow like theme you have on your google profile page, which your name on this blog links to:
It is beautiful. O!, G!, there is a ’44’ in the number part of your URL! That is beautiful, too! Is that a coincidence or synchronicity or what? Was it Influence C? ‘Wow!, what colors,’ I say to myself at some time/space under the influence of a psychoactive chemical; or not. Who said that, I wonder? 😉

Cathie L. - April 30, 2015


“Perhaps a better question might be: What makes beautiful beautiful?”

Yes, that’s it exactly. Thank you!

124. ton2u - April 30, 2015

James, good to have you back at it here…. your reference to sam harris above led me to this podcast – may be of some interest based on recent threads:


125. Messages From Marconi - April 30, 2015

Gurdjieff – Becoming Conscious: “Thanks Jür Hül, as mentioned somewhere else already, the “King of clubs” is very good in simulating 3th states.”


“in simulating 3th states”

What conscious Romanian hump-buddy has his soul endowed with this bit of esoteric lore?

Think about the poor unconscious bastard gagging on Burton’s “King of Hearts” right now. If you are an escapee from the renowned hump factory then thank the Gods you are not choking down those “higher hydrogens” ejaculating from that wondrous “inner circle.” The King of Wangers is very good at feigning the third state of consciousness, as has been much noted before.

126. James Mclemore - April 30, 2015

124. ton2u
Thanks for the welcome. Although I had already read the same essay a few moths ago that you posted, I found it enjoyable to read again. I like this guy.

127. Robert Stolzle - May 1, 2015

Cathie L. @#121

In my world view, science and art exist in two separate realms of human endeavor. There is certainly a synergy between the two fields and perhaps the best of mankind’s creations embody a nicely balanced mix of the two—–as in architecture and design. It also seems that the highest achievements in both science and art are made by driven, focussed people willing to devote their lives to their muse……..If you enjoy civilization, thank someone with obsessive-compulsive disorder…….without them, we’d still be chipping arrowheads and chewing hides.

I don’t see any real conflict between science and art. My earlier comments about science and mysticism were to argue that the continuing belief in magic—–e.g. the thinking that led us into the FoF——-is a dead end. I believe this to be true but, everyone is entitled to formulate a world view that is sensible to them and, hopefully, makes them happy. If a belief in angels makes you feel safe, that’s good. If one is afraid of devils, revisiting the belief system might be in order. It seems to me, that in larger groups, like institutions or countries, similar magical belief systems are a hindrance to mankind.

Firstly, there’s the dear old FoF which has negatively impacted thousands of former “students”, and not only by wasting their time, talent and tithes. Another deleterious result of magical belief can be found in the history of most churches. For example, the Catholic church used their beliefs to justify the Inquisition, the Crusades and the extermination of “heathens” over the globe, all in the name of God………….and now Allah is used to justify an ISIS sadist beheading infidels. RB justifying his homosexual antics as some sort of sacrament is similarly wrongheaded. (Yeah, that’s a pun.)

I don’t presume to overlook all the ills that science has delivered to mankind, though. The wonderful Nobel Prizes were instituted by the man who got wealthy from his discovery of high explosives. Blood letting and Thalidomide did not help anyone. We might be just as well off if we had never discovered nuclear energy and I am personally skeptical of the ongoing genetic manipulation. We probably do carry the seeds of our own destruction, but “letting the cat out of the bag is a whole lot easier than getting it back in”. For me, it is the meaning of the Pandora’s Box story; but, taken as a whole, I believe science has benefitted mankind in alleviating all manner of suffering and drudgery. I don’t believe the same can be said for religion. Science may ultimately be our undoing, but almost no one wants to go back to subsistence farming and having ten kids.

The phrase, “Beauty is in the eye of the beholder”, neatly summarizes the extremely subjective nature of human’s definitions of what is nice or pretty or emotionally engaging. It is probably why science can’t address art in any real way—too much subjectivity. It is difficult, if not impossible, to see beauty in a wild animal that has just just eaten Grandma or in weather that destroyed the crops for the year—even if there is a rainbow behind it. Nature is best “appreciated” at an arm’s length, not when it is threatening your survival. Yes, I agree that all our notions of beauty necessarily originate in an appreciation of the world we live in…..after all, we are just big brained monkeys and never going to escape our world or its influence on us. (Actually, I believe we are more like pond scum, but that’s a different discussion.)

On a more esoteric level, why some people like and prefer the art of Chauvet cave, or Egypt or Rembrandt or van Gogh (my favorite) or Pollock is a question I don’t understand. I really dislike Warhol….a subsidiary question. Is there something “universal” working there or is it just “personal” taste? For some years now, I have been trying to “create art” using ceramics and have come to appreciate how very difficult it is to create anything that might be considered to be art. Where ‘talent’ originates and how it is expressed in different people is a difficult subject to understand, too. Who or what is your muse?

No worries, everyone misspells and/or mispronounces the name-

Bob Stolzle

128. Messages From Marconi - May 1, 2015


These advertising spiritual groups and schools…if they already have higher consciousness, if they are in possession of all that matters (as they claim), then why do they go to such excessive lengths to convince outsiders that you need them? Why are they obviously so desperate for you to join them in their “enlightenment?”

Does enlightenment, higher consciousness, require an adoring and enthusiastic crowd in order to maintain itself? What do they really want?

129. Parson Yorick - May 1, 2015

I’ve been following this from the sidelines, mostly. The Tikkun article was good and the “Just turtles, all the way down” joke was priceless. For R. Stolzle, post 127, I’d go further w/r/t atomic fission: I think developing that technology was about the worst mistake mankind has ever made. It’s long-enduring downsides outweigh any benefits it may confer. GMO may turn out very badly, too. In general the modern scientific approach tends to overreach and fails to understand its own limitations. That’s my sermon for this week. It doesn’t really have anything to do with the FoF. I hope I didn’t offend too many here.

130. Tim Campion - May 1, 2015

Thanks, Marconi.

Asaf Braverman has quite a polished schtick. (Pun intended.)

Let us count down together: http://beperiod.com/

131. ton2u - May 1, 2015


re: the countdown – already I’m waiting with bated breath… but no mention of the cost, in either dollars or sense.

132. brucelevy - May 1, 2015

Holy shit.

Cathie L. - May 2, 2015

#127 Bob Stolzle

A well written, thought-provokng post that deserves a thoughtful response.

I’m in agreement on most of your points, so I’ll just respond briefly to a couple of them to expand and clarify my thoughts, or “story” as the Tikkun article calls this thing we humans do. (Maybe that’s at the heart of being human too. We tell each other stories, choose which stories to believe, and act on them.)

Has science relieved more suffering than religion? Hard to say. I agree that institutionalized religion and magical thinking are responsible for a great deal of suffering and exploitation, but there have been great teachers who have given mankind ideas and practices that can alleviate suffering. “Do unto others…” comes to mind. Most of Buddhism is about seeing the causes of suffering, and overcoming them.

“Perhaps the best of mankind’s creations embody a nicely balanced mix of the two [science and art]—–as in architecture and design. ”

Very true! By that measure, the Chauvet cave art would qualify, since the technique of making the paintings (the science part) exhibits a fair amount of sophistication. They didn’t just throw food at the walls.

Oops. Wait…I see my problem here. Beauty is subjective. You like Jackson Pollock’s art. Pollock threw paint at a canvas. I will have to get back to you on this!

“Who or what is your muse?”

It keeps changing. I’m not going to be one of those OCD achievers that advances the species, unfortunately! I’ve dabbled in ceramics, poetry, dollmaking, leathercraft, jewelry, and other handiwork. Nothing I’ve produced appears to be great art to me yet either, but who knows? Maybe some future archaeologist, unearthing one of our creations centuries hence, will find it beautiful.


133. WhaleRider - May 2, 2015

Maybe this is the “substance” of consciousness to which you have been alluding: perceptronium

I got to get me some.

View at Medium.com

134. WhaleRider - May 2, 2015

“We daydream involuntarily, but can we daydream by will? (Can you look at this screen right now and force yourself to daydream?)”

Yes, actually it’s quite easy. Just make the conscious choice to stare at one letter on this screen, let your eyes defocus, and in a matter of about a minute, you will enter a light trance state. In less than 5 minutes, your mind will wander and you will soon be in the midst of a daydream, that you voluntarily decided to enter.

“We become identified involuntarily, but can we be identified by will? (Can you become so fascinated with this screen right now, that you lose your sense of self?)”

Using the same practice stated above, i.e., consciously choosing to enter into a trance state, AKA, a state of dissociation in which one’s attention detaches from the environment, you may “lose your sense of self” in a daydream, but IMO, it depends upon what you define as the “Self”.

If your ego is merged with your sense of “Self”, as in narcissism (Schwartz-Salant, 1986), then, yes, it would feel like you have temporarily “lost” a sense of your “ego-self” in a dissociative trance state as you detach from your environment and drift into a daydream. This could even be a bit frightening for a person whose Self is merged with their ego, because they might suffer from the delusion that “they” have left their body.

If, however, you define your Self as containing both conscious and unconscious parts, and processes of equal value, then, no, a person can become accustomed to sensing that even in a dissociative trance state, even while daydreaming, they are still “themselves”, it’s just that their awareness has simply shifted to a different part of their “Self”, not on their ego.

“Once we realize that we cannot command sleep—that it happens mechanically—we verify the power of seeing.”

Not sure where Braverman is going with this, when in fact a person can indeed command a dissociative trance state at will, most any time they desire, or stop a dissociative trance state at any time they desire, assuming that’s what he means by using the mystifying word “sleep” in this context….dissociating and detaching from one’s environment. A trance can be entered voluntarily and can happen involuntarily. Sometimes trances cane quite restorative.

Unclear what he’s verifabricating here either about the sense of sight…seeing is just like any other process of the senses…hearing, smelling, tasting, or sensing. He really means deriving some kind of power from self-observation, but, IMO, is also using the term “seeing” in a mystifying manner.

“Many psychic processes can take place only in the dark,” said George Gurdjieff. “Even a feeble light of consciousness is enough to change completely the character of a process, while it makes many of them altogether impossible.”

Well, that’s certainly true, but that’s not saying much

Dreaming is a psychic process that takes place in the dark, too, and even a “feeble light of consciousness is enough to change completely the character” of that process, but IMO, that would be for the better.

And the bright light of consciousness often alters for the worse the psychic process of remembering something…like the harder one consciously tries to remember something, the more elusive the memory becomes, until one relaxes or distracts one’s attention, passively allowing the desired memory to appear.

So yes and no.

“If I see it, I cannot do it. To do it, I must not see it, which is why the second block laid above “realization” is called “observation.” We combat daydreaming, negativity, identification, haste, and inner considering with self-observation.”

Maybe it’s just me, but I don’t understand his logic here. Could be that he just doesn’t have enough command of the English language as one might expect from a person with such advanced being.

If I “do” something, well, in my view, that requires volition and will. I think he means, for instance, if he doesn’t pay attention, his mind wanders, his mind “does” that…involuntarily. If he pays attention, his mind doesn’t “do” that. “Doing” is usually not involuntary, though. But it’s like asking a kid who bites his nails, “why do you always do that?” The poor kid has no idea he’s doing that; it’s an unconscious habit. And so his little mind just accepts the suggestion wholesale that he “always does that” and off he goes, chomping away.

My question: when self-observing is he observing the “self” he thinks he is…or observing the “self” he thinks he is not?

Because just above he claims that when he “sees” himself daydreaming or identifying with something…that is when he “loses” sense of his “self”, which in the above case would be sense of losing his ego-self. So which self are we talking about combating here by “seeing” or observing?

Isn’t what he considers to BE his “real self” the part that is doing the observing in self-observation…isn’t that the so called, “steward”?

This is where the bifurcation of self happens…i.e. the higher self split off to observe the lower self. But which is really which?

I have a sense he “identifies” with his so-called, idealized, “higher self” and disidentifies with and devalues his so-called, “mechanical, lower self”, right? Higher and lower split. Upper and under.

But pray tell, whom is observing the part that is doing the observing?

The reason I ask, is because, according to what I have read and noticed in myself…the idealized part of the Self that is doing the all the hard work “observing” is just as subject to and can be easily hijacked by unconscious processes as the devalued “observed” habit part of the Self (Freud, 1933, Kohut 1977), for example, as one’s “higher self” in the FOF “observes” ideas of reference (numbers, license plates, street signs) occurring in the unconscious process of confirmation bias, AKA verifabrication.

In other words, IMHO, the FOF’s version of the so-called “higher self”, is not quite as “conscious” as they make it out to be and not all that different from the “lower self” in that both are just constructs of the mind, they have no specific location or place. It’s not like the higher self resides in the cortex and the lower self resides in the brain stem. The brain is much more complex than that. Which brings us to the issue of what is the nature of consciousness and of the Self…the mind vs. the brain?

<i."Self-observation, in itself, weakens the grip of most of these mechanical habits, while it makes some of them altogether impossible. It adds a new dimension to the moment: I see my mind daydreaming, I see my body in haste, I see my emotions inner considering—“I see,” therefore “I am.”'

“Self-observation, in itself”…really? What the fuck does that mean? The self observing the self in the self’s observation? He really has his head way up his own ass here.

Personally, I don’t ever feel in the “grip” of a daydream that I cannot control, but that’s not to say there are those whom might have difficulty staying out of daydreams more than others.

However, I might feel myself in the grip of a particular emotion, but usually I just patiently wait until it subsides, often by consciously turning my attention else where. If I focus more conscious attention on a particular emotion, especially a negative one, it usually amplifies it.

While it is true that the unconscious habit of daydreaming for instance worsens the less one pays attention to the habit, here he hasn’t elaborated which processes are “altogether impossible” either, for if they were impossible, the moment he saw or observed them, the habit would cease. So if that were the case, it would therefore be more appropriate to say, “I saw my mind daydreaming” or “I saw my body in haste”. How can he both see something and not see something? He just borrowed Gurdjieff’s quote and pasted it into his sentence, just as burton does, whether it makes sense or not.

“In other words, “to see or not to see” is the same question as “to be or not to be.”

Trite, but not what Shakespeare intended; for let us assume the bard had full use of the language and chose his words carefully.

In Hamlet’s case “To be” is to not only to see what is happening, but it means to rise to the occasion, to garner one’s courage, to overcome fear, to take ownership, and to take action in the face of resistance.

Here Braverman is implying that to “see”, to observe or to watch, is to cause something not to happen, to not imagine anything, good or bad, nor feel anything, seeing, by itself is enough, which is the opposite of Shakespeare’s meaning. Seeing and being are not the same, IMHO.

It is as though his hidden message is that all his followers have to “do” is to “see” what he is saying and something undesirable will not happen, they will feel nothing, imagine nothing…in other words, they remain in a state of ponderous, wide-eyed paralysis and just nod their heavy heads. Yes, assaf, whatever you say, assaf.

135. GoldenVeil - May 2, 2015

128. Messages From Marconi – May 1, 2015

“What do they want?”

Yes, indeed; what do they want?

The following quotations (What a bunch of mularkey. Crikey!) are excerpts from the About page of the aforementioned Asaf Braverman web site, http://www.gurdjieff.com: http://ggurdjieff.com/backstage/

“Robert Burton joins the Theatre of All Possibilities in 1967 in San Francisco. He dedicates himself to Alexander Horn’s work, in which he learns the principles of the Fourth Way as expressed by Horn, as well as reads the extensive literature left by Gurdjieff [sic], Ouspensky and Collin.”

“reads extensive literature left by Gurdjieff” ?!

“The work never belongs to anyone. The same esoteric knowledge belongs to all schools, which, in fact, are the same school.” – Robert Earl Burton

In actuality, doesn’t Robert E. Burton espouse that the Fellowship of Friends is the only ‘real’ school?!

“His work and organization (Robert E. Burton’s) grow to an international scale and attract more students, as well as criticism, mostly from former members of his organization.”

Necessarily said, no?

One would have to be very naive, ignorant even, to swallow what Asaf Braverman is serving on his slick sites.

Maybe this fluffy web site is just a knee jerk reaction to acquiring the domain, Gurdjieff.com

136. shardofoblivion - May 2, 2015

#133 Thanks for that article Whalerider, I enjoyed it a lot. Mention of Schrodinger was a nice personal shock as just yesterday I was rather bemused when reading Schrodinger’s little volume “What is Life” which includes an essay “Mind and Matter” to discover that Schrodinger himself was a tentative Idealist (The world is made of mind stuff). That may even be one of the instances of a physicist’s career being badly affected if they dared to use the world consciousness referred to at the beginning of the perceptrion article. It also somehow makes his paradoxical cat easier to accept, if it only exists in the mind of perceivers. But then as Neils Bohr said “Anyone who is not shocked by the quantum theory has not understood it”

#134 Asaf Braverman’s drivel smells like his own farts.

137. ton2u - May 2, 2015

re: braverman’s “polished schtick” – I listened to / looked at the video link – the bullshit gauge was pegging out, dissecting particular contradictions was impossible… (thanks whalerider).

“Oh what a tangled web we weave, When first we practice to deceive”

A more general concern is that he’s attempting to spread this disease… it starts in the video as a kind of verbal shell game which – I know from “personal first hand experience” – is intended to turn into a long con.

“In Confessions of a Confidence Man, Edward H. Smith lists the “six definite steps or stages of growth in every finely balanced and well-conceived confidence game.” “One follows the other with absolute precision. In some games one or more of these acts, to use a theatrical comparison, may be dropped out, but where that happens the game is not a model one. The reference to the stage is apt, for the fine con game has its introduction, development, climax, dénouement and close, just like any good play. And this is not the only analogy to the drama, for the scenes are often as carefully set; the background is always a vital factor. In the colorful and mirthful language of the bunko man, all these parts of the game have their special names. I give them with their definitions:

Foundation Work
The preparations, which are made before the scheme is put in motion, including the elaboration of the plan, the employment of assistants, and so forth.

The manner of getting in touch with the victim—often most elaborately and carefully prepared. (in my time it was a bookmarker in a book – the online “school” is a new and potentially more ‘effective’ vector).

Rousing and sustaining the interest of the victim, introducing the scheme to him, rousing his greed, showing him the chance of profit, and filling him with so much anticipation and cupidity that his judgment is warped and his caution thrown away.” etc.

(“greed” and “profit” in the case of the FOF might have to do with dangling a ‘promise’ of more ‘consciousness’ and the imagined benefits thereof – or it might have to do with seeing and desiring a piece of the ‘opulent’ lifestyle and ‘material amenities’ associated with a “conscious being,” the ring leader, who’s just another petty, malignant narcissist).



138. ton2u - May 2, 2015

136 re: “just another… malignant narcissist” and “a kind of verbal shell game” –

“Beneath all this he is shallow, ignorant, improvising, and fearful of being exposed as deceitful. The narcissist is a conjurer of verbosity, using sleight of mouth rather than sleight of hand.”


Cathie L. - May 2, 2015

#136 “Build-up
Rousing and sustaining the interest of the victim, introducing the scheme to him, rousing his greed, showing him the chance of profit, and filling him with so much anticipation and cupidity that his judgment is warped and his caution thrown away.” etc.

An excellent example:

139. Cathie L. - May 2, 2015

#134 Whalerider

Anyone who could read through Braverman’s spiel and try to make sense of it is a braver man than I. (Pun intended). Hats off to you!

“But pray tell, whom is observing the part that is doing the observing?”

I think it might be a case of “turtles all the way down.” 😉

I do wonder how much this blog, starting years ago in its Animam Recro incarnation, was responsible for propelling the FOF onto the Internet. They must have realized they were missing a huge promotional opportunity, and scrambled to catch up.

140. Messages From Marconi - May 2, 2015

The single most problematic element in Asaf Braverman’s plan to construct an online Fourth Way school is that the ultimate “proof” of all this compounded psychological theorizing is his implied line of “conscious transmission.” He claims his teaching comes from a line of more conscious human beings. He has authority figures depicted in heavy accented narration expressing quotes that are meant to be taken as irrefutable facts. This is what in his view makes all his calculated lecturing a living fact of reality. Two authority figures that Braverman relies on are Burton and Gurdjieff, though the subject of Burton is actually publicly avoided. What is problematic is that both Burton and Gurdjieff published statements that are such nonsense that it is necessary to actually be rather rationally inattentive, that is, “psychologically asleep,” in order to give the two characters any credibility.

Burton published that:

“A cataclysmic disaster may be imminent that could be a prelude to hydrogen warfare. If California fell, there would be no major population center near Renaissance and so the coast would be clear.” (Self-remembering, page 53)

To back up his prediction of a cataclysmic earthquake that would depopulate California Burton forced his followers living in California to leave their homes and quit their jobs (around 1998) and move to the Fellowship of Friends compound in the town of Oregon House, on pain of expulsion from the cult if his order was not complied with. Obviously the prediction did not occur, demonstrating what can only be characterized as Burton’s delusional state of mind. Can conscious sources of esoteric teaching also be delusional and living in a cocoon of imaginary, impossible non-reality?

It was published that Gurdjieff said:

“Not only can the nose be reconstructed from the face alone,
but also from the nose the entire face and body of a man
can be reconstructed inexorably and exactly.”

“This is more exact than mathematics, because here you do
not meet with probabilities, and it is achieved not by study of
mathematics but by a study of a far deeper and broader kind.
It is understanding which is needed.” (Views From the Real World)

Gurdjieff is further quoted as explaining that a nine pointed mathematical formula he was privy to could, from only a small measurement of a portion of the nose, be used to accurately reconstruct a statue of an entire person.

Neither quoted example is an isolated case by any means. The list of crazy talk could go on extensively. There are at least dozens of such irrational statements made by each of these characters that betray an underlying delusional state of mind in the psychological makeup of both “masters.” These are the people Braverman takes his marching order from in his new quest to awaken the lucky self-chosen applicants approaching him through the medium of the internet.

The whole enterprise is more than just a little harebrained.

141. ton2u - May 2, 2015

142. Cathie L. - May 2, 2015

““Not only can the nose be reconstructed from the face alone,
but also from the nose the entire face and body of a man
can be reconstructed inexorably and exactly.””

It has been attempted:

143. Ron aka Renald - May 3, 2015

Re. Whalerider, April 28- Absolutely ! The idea that we are mirrors for each other is pretty popular. There are all kinds of approaches to the understanding of this idea and many videos online dive into those waters.
What most find difficult to understand or even entertain is that like attracts like and that is because we often don´t realize that it is the subject which carries the signature. So a thief can very well attract another but by the same rule they also must attract those who have strong negative feelings or emotions about thieves. It does get more specific than that but this is the general idea. The memory of the subject can often be buried deep in the subconscious and that is where the mental health worker comes in. For example a child which has been severely punished from their personal perspective by parents for lying can just as easily become as a result a liar. If that so to speak liar becomes a psychiatrist he/she will be bound to meet up with patients with that hickup and both can benefit from it in their evolution toward unconditional love. The opportunity is there. The possibility is there and that possibility becomes more probable.

144. Ron aka Renald - May 3, 2015

Lyrics rarely get my attention. However I recently stumbled upon these and cannot get over how much they apply so directly to Robert and life at whateverthey are calling Apollo now. It likely has been posted here before but I am too lazy to check it out. No harm done anyhow. One connection I just made is the fact that our memories are eternal even if often we cannot easily access them.

Cheers !

145. Robert Stolzle - May 4, 2015

RE: Online Consciousness-

After reading some of the advertising for the Braverman Ark, I just wanted to slap someone. It is pretty well presented, for a foreigner, and has only a few typos, but the self reflexive, self referential style reminds me that it is just more of the same old B.S. So many important sounding words signifying nothing…..and they expect to make money off this?

I always attributed the modest success of the FoF to RB’s strange and awkward demeanor that keeps “students” emotionally off balance (and thereby in a “higher” state when they are around him. That and the reverence and acts of “self remembering” they are expected to exhibit.

Does Braverman have the same charisma? And, can this be channeled through the online webinar with enough verve to get people to part with cash for the pleasure of hearing him speak? Surely someone here needs to sign up and see what is going on–No? I doubt this will pull in enough cash to suit RB, but maybe he is losing his grip.

Bob Stolzle

146. Tim Campion - May 4, 2015


I encourage everyone to sign up.

147. shardofoblivion - May 4, 2015

#145 “Does Braverman have the same charisma? And, can this be channeled through the online webinar with enough verve to get people to part with cash for the pleasure of hearing him speak?”

Unfortunately I can see this working all too well. I remember how reading “In search …” without contact with a gurdjieff group fanned my appetite for contact with someone from the lineage, so that by the time I attended a prospective student meeting they had little persuading to do – I was keen.

In the same way I expect the web based instruction will hint that to really progress and get results, direct one to one teaching is required, and Braverman will be willing to introduce the most promising students (if you are young, pretty and male it will help :-)) of the web series to the “secret” teacher, and of course weirdo Bob will effortlessly take it from there.

Cathie L. - May 4, 2015

“I always attributed the modest success of the FoF to RB’s strange and awkward demeanor that keeps “students” emotionally off balance (and thereby in a “higher” state when they are around him.”

Great observation!

“I doubt this will pull in enough cash to suit RB, but maybe he is losing his grip.”

Likely, I hope.

Unfortunately, it appears Asaf is already stepping in and taking hold of the reins.

Kind of reminds me of those mafia dramas such as The Sopranos and The Godfather.

148. Cathie L. - May 4, 2015

Or how about:

149. Messages From Marconi - May 4, 2015

Does anyone know how Girard Haven died? I assume so because his Facebook page was deleted. Here is a picture of Girard in his Burton Youth Brigade uniform spying on pot smoking party goers on a Saturday night in the cult.

150. shardofoblivion - May 4, 2015

#148 and #149 – Those pictures are really scary Cathy. I can just imagine Burton explaining that in the first he is in Higher Emotional centre, and in the second Higher Intellectual centre.

#150 Girard was very fond of the phrase “Both can be true” as I recall. Maybe he is in the schrodinger cat state right now.

Here is a soothing video of some meat, bone and perceptronium in motion to help recover from the awful sight of a man number 8 in full-on “look into my eyes” mode.

151. Robert Stolzle - May 5, 2015

Tim, et al-

Surely there’s a hacker known to someone here…….they’re all over TV these days……and that’s all I know about that.

Sorry, but you’ll have to leave me out of the Ark……my stomach is too weak and my blood pressure is already too high…..and I don’t have that much time to waste. And, sad to say, I’ve come to the conclusion that, like a determined suicide, it is impossible to save someone from themselves. There will always be young fools and idiots among us—and misery and suffering. And, anyone selling snake oil to alleviate the pains of life will find suckers and cash everywhere. Really helping someone is a lot of work.

Everything I’ve read about or by Braverman suggests that he is more opportunist than believer. Never having met him, it seems, from my reading, that his movement to the inner sanctum of the FoF was rapid —–and, I infer, calculated. I assume RB’s folderol suited him too, though he is technically married, right? The price of being a cult leader is pretty stiff—-“Ah say that’s a pun, son!”

Maintaining the “CLIFF AHEAD” sign on this blog is well and good, but let’s be honest and admit that our warnings have a quantum of self gratification (we escaped!) along with the atonement. How or if anyone is being kept out of the FoF can’t be known unless they are willing to post here, right? As Girard Haven might have said, “Both are true”.

Bob Stolzle

152. Golden Veil - May 7, 2015

(Between 147. and 148. Cathy L.

“Kind of reminds me of those mafia dramas such as The Sopranos and The Godfather.”

Spot on!

149. Messages From Marconi

“Does anyone know how Girard Haven died?”

Off the mark – probably just a FaceBook cyber death!

153. nigel harris price - May 8, 2015

151 Robert Stolzle

Dear Robert

It was most uplifting to read that post – serious both for those who join and stay in the FOF and serious for those who, one way or another, chosen a way out or were kicked out. I find the various ways that people have chosen to ‘live their new lives’ enthralling – be it a spiritual path, an art form or being able to ‘have a family in normality’.

Robert was one who knew I needed ‘new ground/new air’, whilst I was expressing angst and sarcasm in Exeter. I have found it here in Mardy, Abergavenny, Monmouthshire, South Wales. I have already been called to the inaugral meeting of Men’Sheds locally and they see my role as Workshop Coordinator for the project – all us old duffers repairing and refining tools and chuffing about the good old days of our trade. Angela Price, of Monmouthshire Adult and Community Learning, thinks there is a place in the community (Youth and Community Centre) for one or two classes for teaching fine jewellery a week. Then Adam Harris, from the indoor market, has sent me application forms for weekly and occasional Craft Markets.

“Through the mish-mash splatter and crash, it has come to this” …..Nigel

154. nigel harris price - May 8, 2015

144 Ron aka Renald

I find that saying so true that it should echo through our lives…..
“Our memories are eternal…”

155. Cathie L. - May 8, 2015

Hope may spring eternal, but memories are ephemeral and unreliable, in my experience. On what eternal substrate are memories inscribed? Mind is a shifting palimpsest, a slippery magic carpet on which my sense of self dances with imperfect balance, surfing the waves of time.

“All that is visible must grow beyond itself, and extend into the realm of the invisible.”

I Ching, Hexagram 50

156. nigel harris price - May 9, 2015

155 Cathie L.

Anyone can be smart with the ‘zithiest’ language. Being true to one’s self includes mind and heart, acting out of conscience and REMEMBERING IN ORDER TO BETTER ACT.

157. ton2u - May 9, 2015

@ 155
“On what eternal substrate are memories inscribed?”

an interesting question… speculating, seems there’s a common root with imagination, dreams…. an area of research in considering the question might include jung’s ‘collective unconscious,’ the previously mentioned ‘mundus imaginalis,’ sheldrake’s ‘morphic fields,’ the idea of an ‘akashic record,’ etc.


158. ton2u - May 9, 2015

and of course there are those whose belief in scientism is such that if there’s no ‘measurable’ or ‘detectable’ or ‘calculable’ or established and ‘lawful’ evidence, then it’s simply dismissed out of hand.


159. Cathie L. - May 9, 2015

#157 ton2u

The nature of memory has been a question that’s interested me for a long time. It’s tangled up with a lot of other deep questions like the nature of time, the nature of the soul, and the nature of the time-body or “self.”

[“The further in you go, the bigger it gets.”
– John Crowley, “Little, Big”]

All the ideas you mentioned (collective unconscious, mundus imaginalis, morphic fields, akashic record), and Plato’s idea that all learning is remembering, seem to relate to this question.

The mystery of memories took on a personal dimension in my life when my mother began showing signs of dementia over a decade ago. Gradually her memories began to dissolve, first her short term memory, then the longer term ones, then finally her memory of her own family members….all gone.

Anyone can be emotional championing lovely notions about the eternal nature of memories, but when a loved one has suffered with Alzheimer’s Disease, the truth of those notions is open to question.

#156 nigel

Thanks for the photograph.

160. Messages From Marconi - May 9, 2015

Our memory is typically the selective refusal to recall all the details that certainly would contradict our intentionally prejudicial distortion of what actually happened. Occasionally genuine, complete memory floods into the awareness and momentarily destroys the carefully constructed lie that informs us of the deception each believes himself to be.

If we could remember everything without filtering out all the minor horrors we defensively block out about ourselves, if we could remember our blame, our indiscretions, as well as all the blame and indiscretions we remember concerning others, then that would be memory. But we can’t. The emotionally unpleasant shock of remembering and seeing our unedited actions in every little incident in life would destroy the necessary personality required to continue to pretend that life is normal.

161. ton2u - May 9, 2015

Cathy @ 159

Before he passed, my dad had something called ‘lewy body syndrome’ with dementia and alzheimer-like symptoms…. he was an engineer, a brilliant mind for mathematics, at the end he ‘communicated’ by making farting sounds with his mouth and scribbled drawings of cars that looked like they were drawn by a child. It was difficult to tell whether he remembered family, probably not, it was clear he lost his former cognitive abilities – but he was obviously ‘aware’ and experiencing something, how he was processing the experience, what his experience might have been is impossible for me to say beyond the simple fact of apparent awareness. What I witnessed, my perception was that he went through something – a ‘portal’ comes to mind now that I’m at some distance in time. Death and the difficult experiences that preceded were part of his life experience…. and after he passed I spent a lot of time pondering where it all goes, what happens to life/death experiences when the physical body wears out. With no ‘concrete’ answers, no evidence other than maybe a few ‘messages’ in dreams, I’m still wondering and filling in blank spaces with ‘lovely notions.’ We’ll all see what happens in the end.

Somewhat on the same subject but in a ‘lighter vein’:


162. shardofoblivion - May 10, 2015

#158 I had a look at the link ton2u posted about Scientism. It seems to be a term used by some people warning of the dangers of believing in science in the same way religious people believe in the dogma of their faith. I can see that is a problem, but one of the links in that article seemed to point to a possible remedy for this mistake. Karl Popper, (I by no means agree with all his expressed views BTW) expressed another way to view the way knowledge can be acquired thus:

“Also, in his collection Conjectures and Refutations: The Growth of Scientific Knowledge (Harper & Row, 1963), Popper writes, “Science must begin with myths, and with the criticism of myths; neither with the collection of observations, nor with the invention of experiments, but with the critical discussion of myths, and of magical techniques and practices. The scientific tradition is distinguished from the pre-scientific tradition in having two layers. Like the latter, it passes on its theories; but it also passes on a critical attitude towards them. The theories are passed on, not as dogmas, but rather with the challenge to discuss them and improve upon them.”

As far as I can see, there is a wide variety of different theories about how memory works, how it relates to consciousness itself, and how the different types of memory such as long term memory and short term memory are related. There is not yet a settled theory for those inclined to the attitude characterised as Scientism to take as dogma. Still the evidence of gradual erosion of memory in dementia mentioned by both ton2u and Cathy L, would seem to signal caution before adopting the idea asserted by Ron aka Renald in #144 “One connection I just made is the fact that our memories are eternal even if often we cannot easily access them.” Hotel California is a classic Eagles song, which uncannily fits the FoF cult, thanks for posting it.

I enjoy this version of Desparado, the young girl singing admitted she barely understood the words, but wanted to sing it when her teacher asked her to, because her elder brother had the record but wouldn’t let her play it 🙂

163. ton2u - May 10, 2015

@ 162 re: “Science must begin with myths and with criticism of myths…etc”

Obviously there’s validity (value) to the scientific method, can’t argue against that, but the quote by Popper (above) illustrates the problem with scientism – it steps into and tramples all over areas where it doesn’t belong. What a bleak and boring place this world would be without myths and legends, without fairy tales, stories, dreams, imagination – t’would be a very black / white world indeed.

A few of the problems with any form of fundamentalism (scientism included) are; taking its own worldview as absolute, an inability to see this absolute belief in a worldview as dogmatic, and taking things too literally – the latter appears to be the case in the Popper quote above.

Science has no business traipsing around in the garden of myths, myths have their place, they serve a function in the human psyche if allowed to. Myths are not “science” and looking at myths through the lens of scientism is a distortion and even an abuse of the scientific method. Myths are metaphors, they’re symbolic and shouldn’t be taken literally. Myths, stories, dreams, imagination are as “valid” and as “valuable” as science is to the project of being human… maybe more so – is there a truer expression of humanity than that found in the imagination ?

164. nigel harris price - May 10, 2015

“Out of the FOF, finally into the variations – what is truth?”

I think so many of us have gone beyond the ‘bitching at how the Fellowship treated us’, and are renewing however they like to call their inner or real selves, by calling on huge and intricate ways of working, studying and, basically, living to slowly guide themselves into the future and finally into death, with all it may or may not contain

Personally, Whalerider, I have learned to be optimistic, when my dreams are hopeless (both types of dreams) and Shard, that optimism projects into my hopes beyond death…..

“I scoff at what you call dissolution.” – Walt Whitman –

165. nigel harris price - May 10, 2015

Aggravated defiance, leading to ecstatic oblivion…..to approach and master/fall through death…..

166. Robert Stolzle - May 10, 2015

ton2u, et al.- Re: “Scientism”-

It seems to me that science and myth spring from the same human “need to understand” and, thereby, have some control of the world we live in. This need caused us to paint on the cave walls and to chip better arrowheads. We seem to be the only animal whose brain functions at this level, even though there is plenty of cognition and learning in the rest of the animal kingdom.

If there is no apparent, reproducible, cause and effect (science) tied to any question at hand, we will make up a story; call it a myth, call it a hypothesis, then we see if it fits the observations. More testing and observation may lead to the establishment of scientific fact—-“Yes, some snakes are poisonous and you kids need to be careful until you know them all”. Or, alternatively, “Snakes are magical beings who can kill you with one bite”, These lessons, right and wrong, are apparently best remembered in story form—i.e. a myth or teaching story.

The term “scientism” suggests a dogmatic belief that, in my experience, few scientists exhibit. To be any good at science it is necessary to be open minded, especially when interpreting experimental results and observations; there is no benefit to clinging to hypotheses that are proven false……and most are. But, so much of our universe is still so poorly understood that people choose to believe in angels and demons because no absence of evidence can ever be verified as evidence of absence and a myth is comforting and can cover our lack of understanding as well or better than any science. IT IS DOGMATIC BELIEF (not myth vs. science) THAT IS OUR COLLECTIVE UNDOING!

My failed attempts to preach science on this blog have had the intent of pointing out that much of the Fourth Way and most all of the FoF teaching was a waste of time. A better approach to satiating one’s interest in psychology would be to study it at a university; get a PhD., do research. To try and understand cosmology it would be better to study at a seminary or even join a real monastery than waste time with an antique pederast and his two-bit, start-up cult in the California foothills. Often, pedigrees do mean something.

RB is just a gay, indulgent, snake charming hillbilly (with no pedigree or PhD.) who found himself in the land of fruits and nuts at the right time and made the most of it. All of us here are guilty of supporting his self indulgent “cause”. I do agree that “myth” does describe a lot of truth and has much to teach us; but, it is for me, too similar to the FoF “knowledge” for me to endorse here over what we know to be true……that everyone would be better off staying away and not indulging the FoF myth…….unless perhaps starting up your own cult is your intent……see Asaf.

Robert Stolzle

167. Cathie L. - May 10, 2015

#164 nigel et al.

Funny, I was going to quote Whitman on death too.

“What do you think has become of the young and old men?
And what do you think has become of the women and children?

They are alive and well somewhere,
The smallest sprout shows there is really no death,
And if ever there was it led forward life, and does not wait at the
end to arrest it,
And ceas’d the moment life appear’d.

All goes onward and outward, nothing collapses,
And to die is different from what any one supposed, and luckier.”

I especially like that last line.

AT HEART I am aligned with Whitman’s pantheist, transcendentalist attitudes, Blake’s view of imagination as “the real and eternal world, of which this vegetable universe is but a faint shadow,” and Platonic ideals of Beauty and Truth (the ideals that each of us hold that allow us to identify the imperfect reflections of Beauty and Truth all around us.)

I also have a fair amount of the scientific world view and intellectual vanity, which often overshadows the above-mentioned heart. I did study psychology, biology, chemistry, genetics, pharmacology and physics in college. But that day, walking along under the eucalyptus trees, I felt that science would probably never provide all the answers I was seeking.

#63 ton2u

Well said! (about science having “no business traipsing around in the garden of myths.”)

A garden I personally love to traipse around in!

168. ton2u - May 10, 2015

Bob @ 166

You seem to think of “myth” in the pejorative sense it’s often used… “the FOF myth” as you put it, is not a myth, it’s a ‘barefaced’ lie that’s sold to fools… (contrary to the lie that’s been perpetuated for decades by burton and his minions, he does not posess a private monopoly on consciousness and his “school” does not contain any type of inherent salvation for the dupes and sycophants who follow him).

You write: “…a myth is comforting and can cover our lack of understanding…”

IMO you’re barking up the wrong tree if you ascribe a literalist interpretation to the function and meaning of myths… myths are not a replacement for science, they don’t explain things “scientifically” – that’s an error of interpretation… conversely, science isn’t a replacement for the myths… (although scientism in some cases attempts to do just that… the Popper quote above @ 162 for example).

When they are interpreted METAPHORICALLY, myths function as another aid in understanding who “we” are and what it means to be human….

“The words “myth” and “mythology” are often tossed around carelessly and pejoratively without ever being truly defined. When most people in the modern world use the word “myth,” they’re referring to an idea that they perceive to be demonstrably false, or to something like “stories that stupid, primitive people told to themselves to explain things for which the default modern worldview has conveniently provided us with the One True Explanation.” Both of these facile and unreflective uses of the word can only prevent us from understanding myth on its own terms.”

“google” mythology – you might find something of interest… or not.


169. WhaleRider - May 11, 2015

“What certain (neurotic) patients and non-patients describe, for example, as a kind of running commentary that accompanies them in their daily lives-‘now she’s going into the restaurant, now she’s smiling at the person behind the counter…’-can be understood on the basis of Lacan’s work on the mirror stage: insofar as the ego is essentially the self seen by “oneself” (as in a mirror reflection)-that is, viewed as if by another person, or seen from the outside by someone else-a running commentary may well be provided in a form of self-consciousness, or consciousness of one’s self doing things in the world.

Lacan clearly associates this ‘running commentary on one’s existence’ with the alter ego.

A philosopher may observe his or her thought processes as if they were those of another person; and one can observe oneself interacting with others as if that self were someone else.

The ‘mystery of self-consciousness’-thought by some to be a gift of evolution, dependent on the numerous interconnections in the human brain…is explained by the nature of the ego as an external view or image of the subject which is internalized or interjected.

The ego is thus an object, and consciousness may adopt it as an object to be observed like any other object.

In so far as the coming into being of the ego requires language, it is, not surprisingly, language that allows for the possibility of self-consciousness, not vice versa. Language is, after all, what allows us to talk about something as an object-to talk about talking, think about thinking, and so on.

Lacan likens self-consciousness to a camera taking pictures of a lake from morning till dark.”

~B. Fink, “A Clinical Introduction to Lacanian Psychoanalysis, Theory and Technique”, p.86, 1997.

170. nigel harris price - May 11, 2015


Castor-oil would also provoke a running commentary…..where did you find this stuff ?

171. shardofoblivion - May 11, 2015

ton2u, I had put a different interpretation on Popper’s words than the one you did. Rather than try to speak for Popper I will tell you why I found his words helpful. I agree with the idea that science has a very limited area of competence. The words of Walt Whitman, Rainer Maria Rilke and many others belong to a realm that is entirely untouched by science and its theories. These works, and I would include myths in with poetry in this, speak directly to our hearts.

The point that I wanted to point to by quoting Popper is that science does NOT provide certainty. It does NOT prove things to be the case. It is a process of guesswork, followed by criticism of those guesses, in the hope that better guesses will emerge from that messy process.

To take the current accepted theories of science as the truth is an error, and I am happy to have that error called Scientism. It may indeed be an error that people working in science sometimes fall into, but the community taken as a whole are less likely to.

I feel I can illustrate that by looking at the position that the work of Lacan holds in the scientific community. Lacan puts forward some interesting guesses – the mirror stage is one, that “the unconscious is structured like a language” is another – but Lacan himself doesn’t look for the weaknesses in his own theories. he looks for confirmation. I would characterise him as a philosopher rather than a scientist, which is a worthy calling, but he himself diminished himself in the eyes of the scientific community by claiming his ideas were scientific.


172. WhaleRider - May 11, 2015

Castor oil can be found at your local chemist, great for relieving constipation, an effect not too dissimilar to having a keyboard and Internet connection. I’m

I came across the quote in the book I cited, which is where we all came up with the fourth way theories, in books.

I posted the quote because it is an interesting perspective on what in the fourth way we termed, “self-observation” by the so-called “steward”, which in the cult was considered a necessary stage in the development “higher consciousness”.

From a psychoanalytical viewpoint, which I am not necessarily promoting here, the so-called “steward” could be seen merely as an “alter-ego” possessing an equal amount of flaws and vulnerabilities as the “ego”, despite what the FOF cult would like its followers to believe otherwise.

I also thought the terminology of viewing the “ego” with our consciousness as an “object” like any other object spoke to the depersonalization one might feel when one calls oneself a “machine”, even though that may not have been the intended meaning of the word “object”, thanks to Melanie Klein and the British School of Object Relations.

If one steps out of the FOF assigned reading list of cult sanctioned authors, one can find a host of other serious and dedicated people who have thought deeply on the matter of the human spirit.

Cathie L. - May 11, 2015

#172 Whalerider

“If one steps out of the FOF assigned reading list of cult sanctioned authors, one can find a host of other serious and dedicated
people who have thought deeply on the matter of the human spirit.”

It can be murky in those depths. Regarding Lacan, to quote the Wikipedia article mentioned above:

“Lacan’s writing is notoriously difficult, due in part to the repeated Hegelian/Kojèvean allusions, wide theoretical divergences from other psychoanalytic and philosophical theory, and an obscure prose style. For some, “the impenetrability of Lacan’s prose… [is] too often regarded as profundity precisely because it cannot be understood”.

“Lacan has similarly been seen as trapped in the very phallocentric mastery his language ostensibly sought to undermine. The result…was to make all thought depend upon himself, and thus to stifle the capacity for independent thought among all those around him.”

Sounds all too familiar, as does this:

“Their difficulties were only reinforced by what Didier Anzieu described as a kind of teasing lure in Lacan’s discourse; “fundamental truths to be revealed . . . but always at some further point.” This was perhaps an aspect of the sadistic narcissism that feminists especially detected in his nature.”

Please pass the castor oil!

173. WhaleRider - May 11, 2015

Cathie L:
Thank you for your sense of humor. Luckily, my vegetarian diet is fiber rich. 8)

Yes, I agree, reading Lacan is very difficult and smacks of sexism which is why I choose to read a book recommended by a female friend about Lacan’s theory and technique written by a contemporary author who puts Lacan’s theories into practice. I was quoting Bruce Fink, not Lacan.

And yes, one sometimes must plumb the murky depths to find a few pearls of truth.

As far as thought termination goes, fair enough, yes, we know what that is like from the cult, and yet it hasn’t stopped anyone here from reading thought terminating poetry, has it?

I think of it this way: to his credit Lacan attempts to speak about the unspeakable…based upon his clinical observations, not from disembodied spirits hovering over the dinner table…his writings do seem to have a poetic flavor…often vague and convoluted. And he adds his French personality to Freud’s theories, without simply parroting Freud. I’m not sure yet if his style is to force me to believe in his “crazy wisdom” (true because I said so) or if it is to intentionally force me, the reader, to read between the lines as poetry causes us to do. But Bruce Fink’s book is an easier read.

True, he attempts to convey a theory of the ethereal mind using an architecture of language borrowed heavily from Freud, who was a great pioneer, despite his shortcomings. Pioneers are always prone to getting lost in the vast uncharted wilderness! It’s a perspective, a theory, one of many, arising from a specific context, viewed through the lens of time.

Lacan may have had an agenda (he’s dead now, he can’t hurt me) as a cult leader does, you are right…but then again, I don’t intend to join his cult, giving me the freedom to synthesize his ideas, sans indoctrination.

(His claim to be a scientist may have had political undertones in terms of an agenda of securing funding from the conservative French government at the time, and he was criticized heavily for it.)

I happen to think the concept of “alter-ego” viewing the “ego” conveys a closer meaning to the truth of experience than describing the process as the exalted, infallible, and reified “steward” observing the self from the perch of consciousness which is inherent in the first place.

Personally, I think “alter-ego” viewing “ego” levels the playing field, even if the alter-ego is idealized. Seen from this perspective, I would not place complete faith in perceptions viewed through an alter-ego any more than I would completely trust my ego, which I don’t, which is why I defer to my dreams.

So my point is, IMO, an idealized alter-ego (call it “steward”, higher self”, or “true personality”) can fall prey to confirmation bias just as easily as an ego (“false personality”, “lower self”) can contrary to what FOF propaganda asserts. An idealized alter-ego is not immune from manipulation, in my experience, no matter what the label.

174. jomopinata - May 12, 2015

172/Cathie L.

Nice to see you’ve quoted Didier Anzieu here. I see references to his work The Skin Ego often in articles and books.

175. shardofoblivion - May 12, 2015

#174 Thanks Jomopinata, I’d never heard of Didier Anzieu, but I immediately like him. It sounds great in french “Le Moi-peau” literally “The Me-skin”. Concepts like the dream envelope and the breath envelope, and this phrase from his wikipedia entry is like weird poetry somehow – “Anzieu’s “interpretatively versatile” pan-pellicularism”

176. WhaleRider - May 12, 2015

I’d happily wager a fine meal in Paris that you would learn more about yourself from a person you immediately disliked…assuming that person had no intention to cause you harm. Haven’t you found that to be the case more often than not?

Such is the challenge for me with reading of Lacan, described by Fink as “wholly un-American in spirit”. It’s a very different perspective than the intellectual soup in which I am accustomed to swim.

177. shardofoblivion - May 12, 2015


178. ton2u - May 12, 2015

shard @171

Thanks for the clarification – cherry picking the Popper quote was to make the point re scientism. The general culture is built on faith in science and technology to the extent that it’s become the latest de facto religion… people seem to need to believe in something after all. Folks in laboratories are the new priesthood, the truth and validity of science is “unquestionable” – to question is blasphemous…. all the while the laymen “preach science” – thanks Bob. What does this permeation and conditioning imply ? I think we’re not aware of just how it effects us… take the notion of “objectivity” in science – this article of faith alone tends to exclude questioning.

re: Lacan, “scientific” studies in his chosen field attempt to “objectify” subjective experience – using statistical analysis as an attempt to “objectify” subjective (“merely” anecdotal) experience (?) well, ok, but to what degree that succeeds is questionable…. even “science” operates in a fog of probability. (I wrote a research paper in grad school on causes / effects of professional job ‘burnout’ – this was one of my sources… may be of interest, or not):

Click to access professional-burnout.pdf

Some interesting if overly “baroque” ideas come from Lacan – Chomsky’s opinion that Lacan was an “amusing self-conscious charlatan” and references made to the “cult of Lacan” — warning! caveat emptier! yet another cult has accreted around this character and his ideas about how things are… everybody is looking for something to believe in.

179. ton2u - May 12, 2015

@ 178 re: sources – link here to a different breakdown… the “master/slave dialectic” might apply to burton & and FOFers.

Click to access Burnout%20and%20intersubjectivity.pdf

180. WhaleRider - May 12, 2015

Thanks for the warning. I’ll be careful and pay attention to the level of photons in the room as I’m reading.

Luckily when you buy a book from Amazon, they remove any bookmarks placed there by ardent cult followers.

Yes, I agree that a teacher/student relationship is suspect when the teacher intentionally obscures his or her teaching in an effort to prevent the student from attaining the level of the teacher, which may very well be the case with Lacan.

Ironically, I had dinner the other night with the female friend of mine who recommended this book I’m reading, a psychologist with a PhD in Neurobiology. She has been seeing her Lacanian psychoanalyst for 15 years three times a week, which seems excessive to me.

Her analyst is in his 70’s now and has been in practice for 30 years. Recently, her analyst has been displaying symptoms of what my friend suspects is a manic episode; he has had to take a leave of absence, and for the first time ever, her analyst hugged her and told her that he loved her.

Apparently Lacanian psychoanalysts are anything but warm and fuzzy, and are notorious for ending sessions abruptly, much to the dismay of many an analysand.

It appears that my friend’s analyst’s humanity has finally broken through the oppressive restraints imposed upon his psyche from practicing Lacanian psychoanalysis. I suggested to my friend that maybe her analysis is complete and that she should end it now on a positive note…

Cathie L. - May 12, 2015

#174 jomo & #175 shard

The Skin Ego reminds me of Alan Watts’ famous phrase, “the skin-encapsulated ego.” I wonder if Anzieu borrowed it from him.

Anzieu’s concept of dream and breath “envelopes” reminds me of the Native American (and other traditions) concept of multiple “souls.” For example:

“Among the Sheepeater Shoshone, there are three kinds of souls. The first of these is the suap or “ego-soul” which is embodied in the breath. The second is the navushieip or “free-soul” that is able to leave the body during dreams, trances, and comas. It is the navushieip that encounters the guardian spirit that becomes one’s ally during life. Finally, there is mugua or “body-soul” which activates the body during the waking hours.”


#180 Whalerider

Great story about your friend’s 15-years-and-counting Lacanian analysis. Is such an “analysis” ever complete? Or does the relationship between therapist and patient become something else along the way, more of a deep friendship or marriage, wherein both gain something of value from it?

So too with the Fellowship. Is this why some never graduate? It’s hard to condemn that aspect of it. Of course there are other aspects of Burton’s cult that are depraved and deceptive (D-Influence!) that I have no problem judging as harmful.

The treasured healing relationships, the gatherings of friends, can be found elsewhere, and often, for free.

181. WhaleRider - May 12, 2015

From what I read, the termination of both Freudian and Lacanian long term psychoanalysis is usually “unwieldy and messy”, according to Fink, not unlike leaving a cult, which is probably why people stay so long in both, to avoid the inevitable pain of separation.

You have to graduate your SELF, usually as a result of a precipitating event, which for me was when Miles Barth left the FOF, and I became exposed to dissenting views of the cult from a modern psychological perspective.

Maybe the difficult termination process mirrors how we naturally have to rebel against our parents in order to successfully separate from them and establish our own ego boundaries…?

I certainly understand now that I unconsciously projected my unmet needs around my father onto my center director and burton. It is was only after I left the cult that I sought to improve the relationship with my dad, which was frowned upon in the cult.

I guess the difference is that after all is said and done, I wouldn’t expect to be friends with a cult leader nor a Lacanian psychoanalyst as I would my parents, as long as they were “good enough” parents.

From what I read, the trained Lacanian psychoanalyst, by constantly frustrating their analysand’s need for narcissistic objects instead of supplying them as a surrogate parent…maneuvers himself or herself into a position where the analysand projects their repressed affect about their unmet needs onto the psychoanalyst who doesn’t react in the same pathological manner to which the analysand is historically accustomed, analysizes the unconscious pattern for the analysand, and thus breaks the analysand’s unsatisfying cycle of unconscious repetition through raising consciousness.

The Lacanian psychoanalyst is trained to inhibit the analysand from identifying with any part him or her, and is discouraged from befriending the analysand…which in a way reminds me of the cult practice of “intentional insecurity”…and I now see as a form of narcissistic entitlement taught by the cult.

Narcissistic objects don’t ever heal the deep narcissistic wound, and the full blown narcissist will spend all their time pursuing an endless supply, no matter what the cost…which also happens to drive our U.S. Economy.

In Lacanian psychoanalysis, the belief is that the analysand must, as a necessary stage in the therapy, overcome the analyst’s “desire to continue the analysis”, which is where critics feel Lacan’s approach can become excessive.

Once the analysand rejects the psychoanalyst, is put in touch with their original desire to separate from their frustrating parent(s), the now emancipated analysand hopefully goes about getting their frustrated needs met elsewhere in a more conscious, healthy manner…through establishing empathetic, fulfilling, and healthier “non-theraputic” relationships, thus fulfilling the goal of psychotherapy…making the unconscious more conscious….minus a few thousand dollars and a great deal of time.

At least that’s how the theory and practice of classic psychoanalysis goes as opposed to other forms of therapy, from what I understand.

I agree with you, Cathie L, opting for an empathic, meaningful relationship instead of a frustrating one, whether in therapy or for free, seems to go a lot further in the healing process…for all involved.

182. jomopinata - May 12, 2015

> when Miles Barth left the FOF

Thirty years ago, plus some weeks.

183. nigel harris price - May 12, 2015

Coming across above posts with references to psychoanalysis and psychological construments, I thought about what I wanted to say about an area where I have been ‘up the spout’, ‘down the hole’, ‘tied in knots’ and not satisfied with the shrinks in the end…..

“I do not want to live a theoretical life”

I hope you are able to surf to…..

Abergavenny Community Centre (connecting with)
Mardy Park Resources Centre

They have enveloped me with their ethos and holistic/social warmth and I hope this town and these people will take of me all they need and allow my stage of life “The Dark Red Buddha” – “The Way Things Are”, by Lama Ole Ngadhl, to hold me until death…..Nigel

184. Ron aka Renald - May 12, 2015

All the best Nigel ! Sounds like you have graduated.
Still graduation is not retirement as in stagnation and you clearly are well on your way.
As for those who have the unverified belief that being well read is the same as knowing, shake that one off. The proof is in the pudding.
To taste it one must step beyond fear. The rest is easy.
Pontification 101, May 2015.

185. Ron aka Renald - May 12, 2015

Oops, clarification for the negative thinkers, no I did not mean that Nigel is well on his way to stagnation but well on his way up his correct path, his positive growth.
So since I have not disappeared yet from these saintly hallows I include yet another video. The first 15 mins or so have to do with prophecies and some reasons why they fail.

186. ton2u - May 12, 2015

@ 180 – in the rush to make an impression with the “witty quips” (photons and bookmarks), and having phds for dinner… (what was that about intellectual vanity?)…. it seems that the reference to “master slave dialectic” in relation to burton & FOFers was misinterpreted. Below is the pasted section referred to from the link above… (you can open the original link above for a better version with diagrams etc). I’m not a fan of Lacan, my impression is that he’s pessimistic to the point of nihilism, but that doesn’t preclude valuable insights from his experiences in the field and he is “brilliant” in his own way. This section may speak to the later thread of dynamics between “analyst / analysand,” “graduating” etc… and may it lead to deeper understanding instead of knee-jerking:

Master/slave dialectic
Lacan treats the master/slave relation as a paradigm for mapping the logic of intersubjectivity. Structurally, he distinguishes two types of relations: imaginary relations and symbolic relations. Furthermore, three stages in the development of relations may be identified (see Figure 1).

Throughout his work, Lacan begins from the premise that human beings do not have an inherent or ‘true’ identity. For Lacan, human subjectivity is characterized by an original and radical lack of identity. Nevertheless, we try to comprehend ourselves and to grasp who we are. Lacan talks about a typical human ‘want-to-be’ (Muller & Richardson, 1982: 22). Identification is a means of acquiring a greater subjective completion, but in order to acquire an identity, one must appeal to someone else; thus only by entering into a relation with another person is one able to claim an identity. Consequently, having an identity is not a natural condition, it is a social construction (see Lacan, 1979: 306, my translation: ‘people humanize in relation to their equals’ and Lacan, 1977: 80: ‘identity is realized as disjunctive of the subject . . . this is what leads me to object to any reference to totality in the individual’).

For Lacan, acquiring an identity involves a fundamental process of recognition which he elucidates through reference to the master/slave relation. According to Lacan, this relation is characterized in essence by mutual recognition: ‘it is the recognition of man by man that is involved’ (Lacan, 1977: 26). Although the master/slave relation in the present cultural context is associated in the first place with the unilateral exercise of power and repression, according to Lacan this relation is primordially based on a mutual symbolic recognition. An actual master/slave relation is only created when person x and person y implicitly agree to take up, respectively, the
1. 2. 3.
Primordial symbolic recognition Imaginary struggle for power Symbolic redefinition
Figure 1 Three intersubjectivity stages324

Human Relations 56(3)
position of ‘slave’ and ‘master’ – they enter, so to speak, into a symbolic pact that defines them as ‘slave’ and ‘master’. This recognition is crucial because it determines the identity of each and the nature of their relation. Because of their mutual recognition of each other in these positions, their interactions as master and slave can proceed.

According to Lacan, such symbolic recognition is the foundation of intersubjectivity. Only because they are recognized by other people can human beings acquire a place in a social network. Subjectivity is ‘something produced by the position taken up by the subject in the circuit of exchange’ (Frosh, 1997: 236–7). Lacan (1977: 58) adds to this that ‘man’s . . . first object of desire is to be recognised by the other’. Without intersubjective recognition human beings, socially speaking, do not amount to anything and have no identity of their own.

Crucial to this reasoning is the idea that the subjective position of a person is determined by the place he or she ascribes to the other. Human beings do not so much acquire an identity by assuming certain characteristics, but by ascribing characteristics to someone else and positioning themselves with regard to such characteristics. This can be illustrated by means of the master/slave relation. Such relation can take shape only if the slave (x) recog- nizes the other (y) as his master. After all, only by characterizing person y as ‘master’ can x implicitly assume the position of ‘slave’, as represented diagrammatically in Figure 2.

By recognizing the other in a certain way (y = master), one also deter- mines the position taken up by oneself (x = slave). According to this reason- ing, people determine their own identity by the way they define other people.

Diagram of the master/slave relation

Burnout and intersubjectivity

The glasses through which we see the world implicitly determine our own place in the world, independent of our conscious intentions. So the message ‘you are my master’ given by person x to person y makes it clear, conversely, that x is the slave of the other (see the returning arrow in Figure 2). Accord- ing to Lacan (1988b: 324) the subject receives his own message back from the other ‘in an inverted form’, with, as a final conclusion ‘I am your slave’. This inversion implies that ‘I’ and ‘your’ replace the pronouns ‘you’ and ‘mine’, and that the noun ‘master’ is replaced by its semantic opposite ‘slave’. By inversion, the sentence ‘You are my master’ becomes ‘I am your slave’.

Summarizing, we can say that a symbolic recognition takes place in the first stage of intersubjectivity, which assigns a position to people (‘slave’ and ‘master’) and results in a relation structure (‘slave–master’). In the next stage, this structure acquires meaning.

Lacan tells us that the master/slave relation is typified by a struggle for power. The slave who recognizes person y as his master challenges the latter’s superiority with this recognition (Lacan, 1988a). The master is regarded as an oppressor – as a frustrating authority who deprives his or her slave of freedom and is the cause of the slave’s discomfort. The slave rebels from the idea that the master unjustly takes advantage of the work done by the slave.

Whereas in the first stage of symbolic recognition positions were traced out (x = slave, y = master), in the second stage roles are taken up. Master and slave are opposed to one another as a couple with conflicting interests. On the basis of the original relation structure, an implicit scenario is generated in which they adopt roles as competitors or duelling protagonists. In this stage they identify with their positions of slave and master.

The struggle originates at the level of being: the slave no longer wants to be a slave nor does he or she want the master as master. Lacan calls this struggle imaginary, because it is based on an assumption: ‘the slave assumes that the master is a master, and that when he has something precious within his reach, he grabs it’ (Lacan, 1988b: 187). From this inferior position, the slave fantasizes about the master’s easy life and his or her exploitation of slavery, and becomes dissatisfied. Lacan describes how slaves ‘will consider themselves wretches, nobodies, and will think – how happy the master is in enjoying being master?’ (Lacan, 1988b: 72, emphasis in original).

In this stage of the relation, the creation of an image is central. The slave and the master each have an image of the other and depart from that image at the moment they enter into interaction. According to Lacan, such a formation is coupled with misjudgement because the relativity of their own assumption is not taken into consideration. The slave, for instance, is fixated on the belief that he or she is exploited by the master and that the master secretly enjoys this at his or her expense, ‘whereas, of course, he [the master] Human Relations will be completely frustrated’ (Lacan, 1988b: 72). However, because of this fixed idea about the master, the slave does not take the last possibility into consideration.

The slave’s impression of being wronged is based on the image he or she has of the master – the slave regards the master as a threatening body; as someone who unjustly takes advantage. This provokes a feeling of frustration and aggression toward the master whom the slave supposes to be deliberately frustrating him or her, and, as a result, they become rivals. ‘Aggressivity . . . becomes the beam of the balance on which will be centered the decomposition of the equilibrium of counterpart to counterpart in the Master–Slave relationship’ (Lacan, 1977: 308). In the master/slave relation, a hostile power struggle begins in which the competitors will fight to the death if necessary.

The slave does not realize that, by reasoning in terms of power and conflict, he or she only reconfirms this inferior position. From the slave’s perspective, there are two ways of reacting, both of which maintain his or her subordinate relation to the master. Whether submitting to the master or choosing to fight for freedom, in either case the slave finds himself or herself in a type of relation in which the master dominates. According to Lacan (1993), all protest based on the idea of emancipation is ineffective for truly realizing freedom. By fighting for and dreaming of freedom, the slave recon- firms once more that he or she is oppressed. Through this protest against the master, the slave maintains the existing balance of power from which, at a certain level, he or she wants to escape (Lacan, 2001). In this sense, it is the imaginary formation itself that is the actual master that keeps the slave imprisoned.

To summarize so far: in the first stage of intersubjectivity, positions are exclusively traced out. Person x is defined as a slave and person y as a master. In the second stage we shift to the dynamics of the relation, in which the primordial symbolic structure is filled in through roles. This relation has a self-sustaining meaning since the slave and the master act as rivals.

This meaning does not appear out of the blue. The historical and cultural background of persons x and y colours the master/slave relationship. As Long puts it (1991: 390) ‘cultural signifiers provide the context for the individual’. In this situation ‘a law is imposed upon the slave, that he should satisfy the desire and the pleasure [jouissance] of the other’ (Lacan, 1988a: 223). The surrounding discourse (Foucault, 1975) tells person x and person y how they should behave with regard to each other. If they actually enter into interaction according to the chalk lines of this agreement, they opt for routine (Miller, 1999), in which case, the slave becomes subordinate to the master.

A possible way out indicated by Lacan is by redefinition of the primordial symbolic positions. This brings us to a third stage of intersubjectivity which consists of a return to the relation structure and opens possibilities for testing other ways of relating with each other. After all, ‘the pact is every- where anterior to the violence before perpetuating it, and what I call the symbolic dominates the imaginary’ (Lacan, 1977: 308). For a slave to escape the ever-escalating conflict with the master, in other words, it is essential to return to the basic relation and to develop a meta-perspective on the relation structure. By understanding that it is the context that instructs x and y to interact as slave and master, x or y may conclude that his or her assigned role is relative and that it is possible to go beyond the contours of this role. In such cases, creative ways are opened to enable the subject to enter into a relation in another way and to develop another identity. Such a changeover is not, however, easy – by throwing himself or herself into the imaginary struggle with the master, the slave has, so to speak, gone blind as regards the structure by which their relation is determined. Lacan shows how another position is possible, but can only be reached by assigning another place to the other: the slave can shake off the yoke of slavery solely by no longer defining the master as master.

The step by which one chooses to leave the programmed agreement of the relation is not obvious. After all, if person x does choose to see the relation with person y through other glasses, something that was previously secure about his or her own identity disappears. The redefinition of the other’s identity implies a redefinition of oneself. In this case, the former routine no longer suffices to interpret the mutual relation, which will result in fear and uncertainty. But the gain from such a choice is found in the number of creative paths that will be opened, both in the field of relation and in the field of identity.

This symbolic reinvention of the relation stands or falls with the decision no longer to behave as a product or creature of the relation. As long as the slave regards himself or herself as someone dominated by the master – a situation which may be welcomed or regretted – he or she remains imprisoned in an imaginary sham fight (Lacan, 1966). Only by regarding oneself as the producer or creator of a relation can one realize something new.

187. jomopinata - May 13, 2015


I appreciate your posting about the Hegelian master-slave dialectic in the context of Lacan and writing on intersubjectivity. I have been reading different intersubjectivity theorists over the last few years and encountered some discussion of the master-slave dialectic about a week ago in reading a piece on intersubjectivity theorist Thomas Ogden by Bruce E. Reis called “Thomas Ogden’s Phenomenological Turn.”

I am not much of a fan of Lacan, I’m afraid; I found my first contact with some of his ideas years ago repellent. “We desire…. zat which we lack.” Of course it was the guy spouting Lacanian theory whom I found fake, evasive, repellent.

There is some great writing on intersubjectivity theory out there. We are not isolated monads or objects. Always and everywhere we exist only in context of relationship; it’s integral.

188. WhaleRider - May 13, 2015

Jomo piñata:
People are not objects in “object relations theory”, memories are objects.

The theory is that these “objects” in our memory color how we relate to others in the present based upon our relationships from the past.

We are monads in the sense that you are comprised of one individual set of memories who interacts with others whom are comprised of a completely different set of memories. That’s not to say we are isolated units bouncing off each other, though. We are comprised of relationships which define us, like walking Venn diagrams; objects are contained in the part that doesn’t overlap, IMO.

189. jomopinata - May 13, 2015


When I say, “we are not isolated monads or objects,” I am not referencing object relations theory, which has its own special conceptual problems. (Personally I find the idea of “selfobject” useful, an idea which owes something to object relations theory.) Instead, I am referencing Cartesianism and its legacy which regards human beings as thinking objects in a world of objects, regarding even “the mind” and “the body” as objects. Husserl’s attempt to make a science of consciousness was impaired by its Cartesianism, which presupposed that consciousness could be studied as a thing in the world. I have read that it is this presupposition that Heidegger, Husserl’s protege and university professorship successor, rejected in his formulation of “dasein.”

190. Messages From Marconi - May 13, 2015

Crazy Lies Gurdjieff Told Ouspensky:

“There are schools which make use of narcotics in the right way. People in these schools take them for self-study; in order to take a look ahead, to know their possibilities better, to see beforehand, ‘in advance,’ what can be attained later on as the result of prolonged work. When a man sees this and is convinced that what he has learned theoretically really exists, he then works consciously, he knows where he is going. Sometimes this is the easiest way of being convinced of the real existence of those possibilities which man often suspects in himself. There is a special chemistry relating to this. There are particular substances for each function. Each function can either be strengthened or weakened, awakened or put to sleep. But to do this a great knowledge of the human machine and of this special chemistry is necessary. In all those schools which make use of this method experiments are carried out only when they are really necessary and only under the direction of experienced and competent men who can foresee all results and adopt measures against possible undesirable consequences. The substances used in these schools are not merely ‘narcotics’ as you call them, although many of them are prepared from such drugs as opium, hashish, and so on. Besides schools in which such experiments are carried out, there are other schools which use these or similar substances, not for experiment or study but to attain definite desired results, if only for a short time. Through a skillful use of such substances a man can be made very clever or very strong, for a certain time. Afterwards, of course, he dies or goes mad, but this is not taken into consideration.”

“There are particular substances for each function. Each function can either be strengthened or weakened, awakened or put to sleep.”

How many “open minded” idiots believe there were scientific/esoteric schools in the old East that knew how to use special chemicals that only affected one specific center or another? If you believe this fantasy tale then you have an arrested development of even simple commonsense.

“…there are other schools which use these or similar substances, not for experiment or study but to attain definite desired results, if only for a short time. Through a skillful use of such substances a man can be made very clever or very strong, for a certain time.”

Any fools around who believe this ridiculous nonsense? Gurdjieff was busy making these lies up as he went along. There were no advanced “schools” in the days before modern science where they knew how to prepare special chemicals that could act on specific functions of the human organism and give people a preview of higher consciousness. There was no knowledge of chemicals that could make people very smart or strong for a limited or even an unlimited period of time.

All this was simply deranged fabrication issuing from the warped mind of a pathological liar.


Amir : “How would we know for sure when we’re not scientists or have any expertise of any kind?”

It almost never really turns out to be the case that ancient people had a technology, especially in pharmaceuticals, that was more advanced than modern western medicine. The popularity of the idea that ancients had secret advanced technology is an artifact of magical and mystical thinking. In some cases the Romans actually did have advanced building techniques and other technologies. However, modern science is far advanced of anything that ever existed before in history. There were no secret societies that had drugs that precisely worked strictly on limited functions of the body without affecting everything else. There were no drugs that produced higher consciousness for a peek into enlightenment. There were no drugs that made people stronger. There were no drugs that made people smarter. All this was pure fabrication. It is the kind of deceptive small talk all sociopathic con artists intuitively understand how to manufacture in order to manipulate the confidence of the intended “mark” or victim.

It is not necessary to be a scientist to have a modicum of commonsense and understand when what is being presented as fact is simply not possible, or is highly unlikely.

191. jomopinata - May 13, 2015

Descartes withdrew into the isolation of a huge oven to write his Meditations. In the meditations, he develops his notion of himself as a “res cogitans,” a thinking thing, and doubts the existence of his own body, “clearly and distinctly perceiving” his physical body as something separate from his mind.

It is written of him that he NAILED HIS WIFE’S DOG TO A BOARD AND WHILE THE ANIMAL SHRIEKED AND HOWLED HE CUT THE DOG’S CHEST OPEN AND STUCK HIS FINGERS INTO ITS BEATING HEART, secure in the belief that animals do not experience pain because they don’t have souls. What kind of emotionally isolated, impervious-to-the-pain-of-others fucked-up person would do this?


192. Cathie L. - May 13, 2015

One of the first admonitions I recall in the Fellowship indoctrination script was that we should not compare ideas. Of course this rule, if followed, effectively squashes critical thinking right at the get-go. Now, it’s become a practice for me to compare ideas.

For example, “intersubjectivity” is a notion that seems very similar to me to the Buddhist idea of dependent arising:

“pratītyasamutpāda, commonly translated as dependent origination or dependent arising, [which] states that all dharmas (“things”) arise in dependence upon other dharmas: “if this exist, that exist; if this ceases to exist, that also ceases to exist.” It is a pragmatic teaching, which is applied to dukkha [suffering] and the cessation of dukkha.” [http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Prat%C4%ABtyasamutp%C4%81da#CITEREFBowker1997]

193. jomopinata - May 13, 2015


Astute on both points.

194. Cathie L. - May 13, 2015

#190 Marconi

“It almost never really turns out to be the case that ancient people had a technology, especially in pharmaceuticals, that was more advanced than modern western medicine.”

Many drugs currently in use by modern western medicine, that are historically effective (I am not talking about the dizzying proliferation of drugs pharmaceutical companies are pushing these days, with questionable efficacy and alarming lists of potential “side effects”. Talk about charlatanism and lying!!!! Don’t get me started!) are based on ancient technologies involving medicinal and psychoactive plant medicines going back hundreds or thousands of years.

“Control of malaria has been based on herbal drugs – and more specifically on forest products – for centuries. Wormwood (Artemisia annua) infusions have been used in China for 2,000 years; bark of Cinchona ledgeriana was used long before its active ingredient, quinine, was isolated in 1820.” http://www.fao.org/docrep/009/a0789e/a0789e06.html

Even more ancient technologies are documented. Amanita muscaria use among Siberian shamans, opium poppies cultivated in Mesopotamia (3400 BCE), and coca use among Andean tribes in South America, come immediately to mind.

This is not to argue that Gudjieff didn’t make a lot of stuff up.

195. Cathie L. - May 13, 2015

Gurdjieff, I meant.

196. Messages From Marconi - May 13, 2015

194. Cathie L. – May 13, 2015

“Many drugs currently in use by modern western medicine…are based on ancient technologies involving medicinal and psychoactive plant medicines going back hundreds or thousands of years.”


“As of 2006, quinine is no longer recommended by the WHO (World Health Organization) as first-line treatment for malaria”

You said “many [ancient discovered] drugs” are used by modern western medicine, but only named one obsolete drug (obsolete due to adverse effects*). To qualify your claim in the mistaken and misguided effort to refute my opinion, please just name three. I’ll accept three as qualifying the questionable claim of “many.”

*”Quinine can, in therapeutic doses, cause cinchonism; in rare cases, it may even cause death”


“The popularity of the idea that ancients had secret advanced technology is an artifact of magical and mystical thinking.”

197. Messages From Marconi - May 13, 2015

194. Cathie L. – May 13, 2015

“Even more ancient technologies are documented. Amanita muscaria use among Siberian shamans, opium poppies cultivated in Mesopotamia (3400 BCE), and coca use among Andean tribes in South America, come immediately to mind.”

Opium: Modern medicine does not use raw opium, and to my point, it does not have the property of working exclusively on one function as Gurdjieff claimed. Opiates are typically avoided in modern medicine due to the detrimental effects of high addiction rates.

Amanita muscaria: Modern medicine does not use fly agaric (“A fatal dose has been calculated as 15 caps. Deaths from this fungus A. muscaria have been reported in historical journal articles and newspaper reports”).

Coca: Modern medicine does not use raw coca (“Today, cocaine has very limited medical use”).


“The popularity of the idea that ancients had secret advanced technology is an artifact of magical and mystical thinking.”

198. brucelevy - May 13, 2015

Willow and myrtle (aspirin), Foxglove (digitalus), Ergot (Claviceps purpurea, Cockspur Rye), ephedra,

As well as…http://www.rain-tree.com/plantdrugs.htm#.VVPGAEYrJE0

199. Messages From Marconi - May 13, 2015

198. brucelevy – May 13, 2015

Aspirin: Qualifies. #1

Digitalin: Qualifies. #2* “Despite its relatively recent approval by the Food and Drug Administration and the guideline recommendations, the therapeutic use of digoxin is declining in patients with heart failure—likely the result of several factors. Safety concerns regarding a proposed link between digoxin therapy and increased mortality in women may be contributing to the decline in therapeutic use of digoxin.” See: Wikipedia, Digitalis/Medicinal uses

Ergot: Does not qualify. There is no genuine modern medical use of Ergot or derivatives. “In the 1930s abortifacients drugs were marketed to women by various companies under various names such as Molex Pills and Cote Pills. Since birth control devices and abortifacients were illegal to market and sell at the time, they were offered to women who were “delayed”. The recommended dosage was seven grains of ergotin a day. According to the FTC[25] these pills contained ergotin, aloes, Black Hellebore, and other substances. The efficacy and safety of these pills are unknown. The FTC deemed them unsafe and ineffective and demanded that they cease and desist selling the product.” See: Wikipedia, Ergot, History

Ephedra: Does not qualify. There is currently no modern medical use of Ephedra. “In recent years, the safety of ephedra-containing dietary supplements has been questioned by the medical community as a result of reports of serious side effects and ephedra-related deaths. In response to accumulating evidence of adverse effects and deaths related to ephedra, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) banned the sale of ephedra-containing supplements in 2004.[9] The ban was challenged in court by ephedra manufacturers, but ultimately upheld in 2006 by the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Tenth Circuit.

As for the link: “As well as…http://www.rain-tree.com/plantdrugs.htm#.VVPGAEYrJE0”

Virtually all medicinal chemicals come originally from plants and natural sources, that does not prove that they were knowingly being used for specific purposes by ancient peoples.

You supplied 2 examples toward the claim that “many” modern drugs were traditionally known from antiquity. Though digitalin, example #2, is on its way out of usage because it is dangerous.

200. Cathie L. - May 13, 2015

#196 & 197 Marconi

(I see Bruce has already posted a response and Marconi has replied while I was composing mine.)

I’m not trying to refute your opinion about Gurdjieff, to which you are certainly entitled, and with which I mostly agree. But perhaps you’re right, I’m probably “misguided and mistaken” in trying to engage with you regarding one of the assertions in your somewhat choleric post.

Being a con artist and showman, yes, G exaggerated and made it sound like he had knowledge of some deep dark esoteric secrets, which he may have had, or not. But my point, which seems to have been missed or not made clearly enough, is that there is a grain of truth in his mystifying hyperbole. Ancient people with specialized knowledge and techniques were indeed capable of producing substances that had specific pharmacological effects, and drugs (I withdraw my ill-advised “many”) derived from those substances are still in medicinal use today.

“The popularity of the idea that ancients had secret advanced technology is an artifact of magical and mystical thinking.”

Yes, medicine has advanced since ancient times, I am not contesting that point. But it also seems reasonable to believe that modern medicine hasn’t yet rediscovered all the “secrets” known to the ancients that have been swept away by the tides of history, conquest, and the ongoing annihilation of indigenous peoples, cultures, language and traditions by people who believe unquestioningly in their own superiority.

Since you’ve already rejected my examples ancient pharmacological technologies involving fly agaric — (I wonder if this ingredient was what G had in mind here: “Afterwards, of course, he dies or goes mad, but this is not taken into consideration.”) — opium (mentioned by G) and coca, I propose these three examples (Wikipedia mostly):

Aspirin (salicylic acid). Plant extracts, including willow bark and spiraea, of which salicylic acid was the active ingredient, had been known to help alleviate headaches, pains, and fevers since antiquity. The father of modern medicine, Hippocrates (circa 460 – 377 BC) left historical records describing the use of powder made from the bark and leaves of the willow tree to help these symptoms.

Digitalis, used by the ancient Romans, and currently used for treatment of heart conditions.

Pilocarpine, used in the treatment of glaucoma, derived from a plant called Jaborandi. It made the transition from Amazonian indigenous tribal use (likely ancient), to folklore use, and then into modern medicine. This one was new to me, discovered in Googling to respond to your challenge.


“Virtually all medicinal chemicals come originally from plants and natural sources, that does not prove that they were knowingly being used for specific purposes by ancient peoples.”

Not disproven either. Probably we can’t know either way. They didn’t leave medical journals, YouTube videos, or Wikipedia entries on the subject. I suspect they knew a lot more than we give them credit for.

“You supplied 2 examples toward the claim that “many” modern drugs were traditionally known from antiquity. Though digitalin, example #2, is on its way out of usage because it is dangerous.”

This is called “moving the goalposts.” You reject quinine because it’s falling out of use (the organism that causes malaria has become resistant?) or opiates because they’re subject to abuse, or digitalis because it’s on its way out, too dangerous (what isn’t???)….all these qualifiers that weren’t present in your original challenge.

201. Messages From Marconi - May 13, 2015

200. Cathie L. – May 13, 2015

“This is called “moving the goalposts.” You reject quinine because it’s falling out of use (the organism that causes malaria has become resistant?) or opiates because they’re subject to abuse, or digitalis because it’s on its way out, too dangerous (what isn’t???)….all these qualifiers that weren’t present in your original challenge.”

I wrote this:

“There were no advanced “schools” in the days before modern science where they knew how to prepare special chemicals that could act on specific functions of the human organism and give people a preview of higher consciousness. There was no knowledge of chemicals that could make people very smart or strong for a limited or even an unlimited period of time.”

“It almost never really turns out to be the case that ancient people had a technology, especially in pharmaceuticals, that was more advanced than modern western medicine. The popularity of the idea that ancients had secret advanced technology is an artifact of magical and mystical thinking.”

In response you wrote this:

“Many drugs currently in use by modern western medicine…are based on ancient technologies involving medicinal and psychoactive plant medicines going back hundreds or thousands of years.”

The fact is there are not “many” drugs used by modern western medicine that are based on ancient technologies. If the record of their usage has been lost then medical science didn’t use such records to discover new medicines in existing plants, so that point is moot.

Quinine can kill people; modern western medicine no longer recommends it.

Opiates relieve pain, but they also cause severe addiction and modern western medicine recommends avoiding them.

Digitalis kills women patients, so modern western medicine recommends not using it.

“Modern western medicine” constantly updates what it understands about treating people. When a treatment has more risk-factors than benefits then the goalposts move. “Modern western medicine” and the current recommendations move the goalposts. Keep in mind that I have zero medical qualifications and simply snoop through Wikipedia for the facts I need to make the points I want to make. This is one such point: There are not “many” drugs used by modern western medicine that are based on ancient technologies. There may be a few exceptions.

Once upon a time (1930’s) you could walk into a shoe store and stick your foot into a “medical device” known as a fluoroscope or pedoscope. You instantly received a serious dose of radiation. The device was not banned until 1953. The medical goalposts moved and the benefit of seeing your shoe size in an x-ray machine became insignificant compared to radiation poisoning. The medical goalposts often move and the contention that folk remedies from ancient times are somehow prolific and magically beneficial and are widely borrowed by the modern western medical establishment is a counter-culture artifact that is archaic and a misnomer.


Also see: Wikipedia, Shoe-fitting_fluoroscope

I really did not mean to get off on the wrong foot with you.

202. ton2u - May 13, 2015

@ 191 jomo, re: Decartes ‘nailed his wife’s dog to a board…” I knew I hated that asshole, now I know why. (End vivisection).

Haven’t heard of Ogden, I’ll look into it, thanks!
Speaking of ‘dasein’ – you might enjoy Michael Gruber’s book, “An Unknown Destiny: Terror, Psychotherapy and Modern Initiation – Readings in Nietzsche, Heidegger, Steiner.” (‘Being there,’ or ‘being here’- presence – is a central theme). An interesting, relatively light read.


203. jomopinata - May 14, 2015


For me it’s not so much Ogden’s ideas by themselves that are of interest, but more the dialogue among the thinkers that are sorting out their perspectives on intersubjectivity theory. I have been trying to follow a written curriculum I found for an intersubjectivity theory course. The writers are writing for and to each other, and the pleasure is to be found in the tumult among them. The exchange I’m reading at the moment (which included some discussion of the master-slave dialectic) is expressed in four articles:

Thomas Ogden’s Phenomenological Turn. Bruce E. Reis, (1999) Psychoanalytic Dialogues 9(3): 371-393.

A Note on the Dialectic: Commentary on Paper by Bruce E. Reis. Jessica Benjamin (1999) Psychoanalytic Dialogues 9(3):395-399.

Toward Post-Cartesian Psychoanalytic Theory: Commentary on Paper by Bruce E. Reiss. Robert D. Stolorow, Donna M. Orange, George E. Atwood (1999) 9(3): 401-406.

Adventures of the Dialectic. Bruce E. Reis (1999) Psychoanalytic Dialogues 9(3): 407-414.

204. jomopinata - May 14, 2015

Gruber book looks interesting, esp. with S-S’s endorsement. Thank you.

205. Cathie L. - May 14, 2015

#201 Marconi

“I really did not mean to get off on the wrong foot with you.”

Good one.

206. Messages From Marconi - May 14, 2015

201: I meant misconception, ‘misnomer’ wouldn’t make any sense of course.

207. nevasayneva - May 14, 2015


“Many drugs currently in use by modern western medicine, that are historically effective (I am not talking about the dizzying proliferation of drugs pharmaceutical companies are pushing these days, with questionable efficacy and alarming lists of potential “side effects”. Talk about charlatanism and lying!!!! Don’t get me started!)”

There are so much misinformation out there about the modern pharmaceutical industry.

Things that are true:
-It is a for profit industry and deeply cares about the bottom line. We live in a capitalistic economic system. So they can hardly be blamed for that.

Things that are not true:

-# 194: “dizzying proliferation of drugs pharmaceutical companies are pushing these days, with questionable efficacy and alarming lists of potential “side effects””

May seem like a dizzying proliferation, but actually it is quite difficult to get a drug approved by the FDA and to get on the market, >10 years of safety testing and 2.6 billion investment.


Alarming list of side effects to be sure – why??- because they are required by law to test for that and required by law to let the consumer know. Herbal supplement industry etc- they are not required to let you know any of that. Which are you safer in taking- a pharmaceutical industry pill with 10 years of testing and documentation of all side effects or a herbal preparation where they might not even know what are the real amounts of the active ingredients? Read the label of herbal supplements etc- they can be quite vague about the levels of the active ingredient. Not so with pharmaceuticals- they are required by law to know pretty much within less than 1% the amount of the active ingredient in the pill.

I had a friend who worked in the herbal supplement industry preparing the pills (also a multi billion industry) with very little regulation, and then went on to work in preparing pills and formulations in the evil highly regulated pharma industry. He told me that in one case the machines making the pills were filthy and rarely cleaned, in the other they were required by FDA inspection to be cleaned and tested after each batch. I leave you to guess which one is which.

Another common myth is that the US pharma industry is interested only in western diseases – the so called lifestyle diseases of the ageing US baby boomer population and could not care less about for example malaria, dengue fever and a host of other maladies that afflict the poorer parts of the world. But actually f there is any advance in any therapeutic area – even a western lifestyle area- obesity, cancer, toe nail fungus- whatever- an advance has been made in science and in understanding something about how the body works. This is important, we have no idea what the ramifications of that discovery will be in the future….

If Alexander Fleming had not been allowed to mess around and do some stuff that seemed totally self serving and a waste of time, we would not have penicillin today….

208. nigel harris price - May 14, 2015

Totally ‘out of the blue’, but not out of my life …..

Rodney Collin talked of the concept of “the long body of the soul” (contained in the ever-renewing bloodstream) …..

Ouspensky postulated that there was “hardly anything genetic/heirarchical in the growth of essence.”

I leave it to you generous-natured folks to ponder, reflect and, maybe, comment on the above.

For me, I have landed in a special town, since late-April, of a land known for its mountains, lakes, mists and myths. South Wales has already ‘taken me to its heart’ – the fierce soul of individuality ready to contribute to the good of the whole, the strong sense of close community (which we NEVER HAD ANY OF IN THE FOF – come on guys, did we ever, really except in bonding with fellow enclavees ?).

As for that LOVELY SUBJECT of pharmaceuticals (see above) I have had enough of shrinks and underlings messing with my bloodstream and telling me I am responsible for the actions due to side-effects – that has come and gone and, though I adhere to my anti-psychotic and mood-stabilizer regime – with additional physical ‘weakness’ drugs ….. I believe it has been the strong team of psychiatric nurses in Exeter since 30 September 2014 (last out of hospital) and my team I have been handed over to in Abergavenny, with all the other associations and organizations I can call on. Soon I hope to make friends in the community (not just my immediate neighbours, who are not without their problems!) and “grapple them to me with hoops of steel”.

There is so much to go through in an aspirant’s life, that we cannot miss each necessary step of tender pain.

“As I walked out the door toward the gate that would lead to my freedom, I knew if I didn’t leave my bitterness and hatred behind, I’d still be in prison.”
― Nelson Mandela

“There is no passion to be found playing small – in settling for a life that is less than the one you are capable of living.”
― Nelson Mandela

Cathie L. - May 14, 2015

#207 nevasayneva

“Things that are true:
-It is a for profit industry and deeply cares about the bottom line. We live in a capitalistic economic system. So they can hardly be blamed for that.”

Isn’t it possible for these companies to behave ethically and compassionately, and still make a profit? Can’t they “deeply care” about healing the sick and maintaining health? Does the end (maximum profit) justify any means?

Biased studies, fudged or suppressed data, conflict of interest in funding studies, unethical marketing practices, undue influence over medical research and doctor training, disease-mongering (toenail fungus? osteopenia? menopause? and other conditions elevated by marketing hype into “diseases”), lack of corporate conscience, all done in the service of profit.

Sorry, but I do believe they should be held accountable.

I have not much to say in defense of the herbal supplement industry, either. More snake oil and hype! In fact, several of those “alternative” manufacturers are owned by Pfizer, Bayer and Proctor & Gamble.

209. nigel harris price - May 14, 2015

Let’s face it.,….psychiatry, combined with the pharmaceutical industry…..is about SOCIAL COFORMITY CONDITIONING.

Psychiatrists are paid at least £100,000 per annum plus commission from aforementioned industry. No wonder the norm is…..make money restraining people or bust.

210. nevasayneva - May 14, 2015

Pharma certainly has a lot of corruption and mispractices. Debatable if it has more or less than some other sectors-must be hard to outperform the financial sector in terms of dodgy practices! Corruption is a part of the capitalistic system. I am not saying that it should be accepted, but it is present everywhere.

All these things mentioned “Biased studies, fudged or suppressed data, conflict of interest in funding studies, unethical marketing practices, undue influence over medical research and doctor training” of course they are part of corruption. It does not mean that all studies are corrupt.

The objection to companies doing basic science on “disease mongering -” toenail fungus? osteopenia? menopause?” purely for money and seeing this as unethical is not logical. The companies may be in it for the buck of course, but innovation in any of these areas can have effects that we do not know of. All is service of fat pharma profit, but profit unintentionally may do good things.

Of course they need to be accountable.
However advances in one therapeutic area -no matter how trivial or self serving, profit motivated that may seem- can have downstream effects into other related conditions. For example fungal skin diseases are a disfiguring scourge in subsaharan Africa
If some first world company develops a multi million new type of antifungal for that pesky toenail which is so embarissing- – TV ads ad nauseum- eventually the drug will go off patent, eventually some company out of US will do a knockoff and find a version of that drug that can help other skin conditions as well. Who knows!

Another one of my peeves is all the to-do about GMO foods which are likely completely safe consumption wise- if you review how the human digestive system works, while there is v little mention of both the use of antibiotics in livestock rearing and modern farming practices both of which could be good incubators for new diseases.

211. ton2u - May 14, 2015

@ 204 jomo

“…esp. with S-S’s endorsement.”

in case others aren’t familiar…. worth looking into, imo:

Narcissism and Character Transformation,
and Borderline Personality: Vision and Healing

212. ton2u - May 14, 2015

Nigel, good to hear you’re doing well in the new surroundings, it’s sometimes amazing what a simple change of scene can do.

My 2$ re: big pharma…. I could go off on the myopia inflicted by ‘scientism’ in this connection – it’s right there at the foundation of the issue, but I’ll leave that for now… there is a basic moral question involved imo… curing toenail fungus and etc, is beside the point, just another example of a myriad of diversions which allows for “business as usual” to continue… capitalism and profit at any cost ? an ironic ‘ethos’ is it not ? but it’s so infused into the system that it seems to go unnoticed, mostly overlooked, ignored, unquestioned, implicitly accepted, it’s just part of the “game.” I suppose one “idealized” motive of the pharma industry could be said to be the alleviation of human suffering; my problem with the business as usual model in this case is a too narrow definition of “Self” we humans tend to adopt and apply…. self ? what about the Self? I think not many give pause to consider how much suffering is inflicted on other sentient creatures in the process of attempting to alleviate human suffering. (I’ve heard quipped: “it’s best not to think about where meat comes from” – it’s a similar sort of mindset when it comes to lab animals and their unwilling / unwitting “contribution” to the efforts involved in the alleviation of human suffering). More irony here – so the suffering of other creatures is justified in order to fix “our” suffering… we are after all the crown of creation and the most important species on the planet, if not the universe…. everything else in creation is put here for our use and disposal…. (and once upon a time it was believed as a matter of “observable, scientific fact” that the earth was the center of the universe…. everything turned around “us”). A moral question (imo) is raised in relation to the general suffering inflicted by the collective arrogance which appears to be inherent in the human species.

This may be dated but imo it’s still relevant:

213. WhaleRider - May 14, 2015


GMOs…bit of a tangent here…but you’ve come to the right place to express your peeves and get feedback!

IMO, the issue with GMOs is not so much of their safety in the food supply, that may be a “red herring” in the debate…the issue is are we to “surrender control over something so basic to human survival as seeds? Why have we bought into the biotech industry’s program, which pushes a few monoculture commodity crops, when history and science have proven that seed biodiversity is essential for growing crops capable of surviving severe climate conditions, such as drought and floods…or allowing companies to patent living organisms in the first place, and then use those patents to attempt to monopolize world seed and food production?”

BIG mention here of “The Trouble With Antibiotics”, Frontline PBS, Oct, 2014

(very sobering)


From what I read in Peter Breggin’s book, “Toxic Psychiatry”, thanks to Dan Quayle, Senator of Indiana at the time, PROZAC sailed through the FDA with only about 2 years of human trials…

214. nevasayneva - May 15, 2015

RE 213: whalerider

I agree with you- the health concerns of eating GMO foods is a complete red herring and does not help the anti-GMO debate since the health effects are most likely negligible. However the consequences of releasing genes into the environment and interbreeding of GMO and non GMO crops is another thing. But Humans have been playing with plant genes for a long time.The seed monopolizing aspect and gene patenting is sobering.

it is ridiculous to blame Monsanto or whoever for seed patenting. Monsanto is a corporation. What does it do? It behaves like a corporation- it operates for the profit of the shareholders. People expecting Monsanto to behave ethically or some big pharma company to behave ethically – its like me expecting me lecturing my dog not to chase and kill the squirrel, the dog may look up at me soulfully like it will never ever do such a thing, but next time a squirrel crosses his path- it better be a fast mover or he is dead meat.

It is also not logical to be in the least surprised at the many side effects and even deaths that may result from people taking FDA approved drugs. This has been known for a while.

Paracelsus: 1493 – 1541

The FDA are only making best possible guess based on available data on the dose that the company proposes. Safest medicine is to take nothing, but it is true that many people have health conditions that need remedy, and have to play this poisons game.

215. GoldenVeil - May 15, 2015

Most GMO crops ( corn, soy, canola, zucchini, yellow squash, papaya, sugar beets, cotton) were Frankensteined to withstand heavy doses pesticide and herbicide (like Round Up); some like tomatoes to have a longer shelf life. That is why these crops and products made from them like corn syrup, sugar, margarine (cotton) are dangerous. The amount of pesticide and herbicide sprayed on the is the biggest health issue – toxicity for the liver and carcinogens. Children are the most at risk because of their potential years ahead of eating the toxic food. I avoid those foods unless they are organic.

Dairy and meat products can be toxic if the animals were fed GMO soy, corn or alfalfa. Except for the states of Maine, Vermont, and Massachusetts, the US still doesn’t require GMO labeling but the lucky Europeans have them.


216. Shard of Oblivion - May 15, 2015

#215 Surely the labelling that is also required is to warn of dangerous levels of Round Up used to control the pests, in addition to whether they are the result of GMO. I have no problem with GMO itself, we have been modifying the gene pool of crops and farm animals for thousands of years, albeit more slowly. I am always in favour of more information to the consumer so the lack of labelling in the USA sounds bizarre.

217. Messages From Marconi - May 15, 2015

Crazy Lies Gurdjieff Told Ouspensky:

I came out with one of the young men. I felt myself very strange—a long reading which I very little understood, people who did not answer my questions, G. himself with his unusual manners and his influence on his people, which I all the time felt produced in me an unexpected desire to laugh, to shout, to sing, as though I had escaped from school or from some strange detention.


What Ouspensky does not yet realize is that his normal emotions are naturally celebrating being temporarily released from the oppressive atmosphere of a malignant narcissist sociopath and the cult of warped followers such people naturally collect in the same way that a dead carcass collects flies. Ouspensky’s need for answers to questions concerning the deep dissatisfaction he feels within himself will override the honest instincts of his emotions to escape from the vicinity of such a psychological crime scene, but eventually he will regain his bearings and dismiss the overbearing, manipulating and self-worshiping Gurdjieff in just three years time.


I wanted to tell my impressions to this young man, make some jokes about G. and about the rather tedious and pretentious story. I at once imagined myself telling all this to some of my friends. Happily I stopped myself in time. —”But he will go and telephone them at once. They are all friends.”

So I tried to keep myself in hand, and quite silently we came to the tram and rode towards the center of Moscow. After rather a long journey we arrived at Okhotny Nad, near which place I stayed, and silently said good-by to one another, and parted.


And so the self-suppression begins. Ouspensky’s honest and natural emotional impulse was to express his real feelings about what he just experienced to one of the cult members, but he understood without being told that any criticism or mockery toward the cult, regardless how obviously deserved, would be regarded as a betrayal of the groupthink mindset–an unforgivable crime against the general in-group attitude of infallible righteousness. Ouspensky and his cult companion rode together on a long train ride artificially silent, not “remembering themselves”, but rather ‘cult remembering’, that is, actively behaving in an unnatural fashion as a means to reinforce the delusion that they were part of a “conscious” secret society.

Each of the cult members gradually becomes a psychological threat to one another, a possible informant to the cult authority concerning any behavior unbecoming of a “conscious participant” of esoteric school work. Each member of the secret “conscious” society is covertly an aggressive, competitive evaluator and informant against every other member of the secret “conscious” society in the fierce contest to gain the approval and the loyalty of the authoritarian master Gurdjieff by way of informing on the missteps, misdeeds and weaknesses of everyone else. A dog-eat-dog psychological tension pervades the undercurrent of the group atmosphere which each new recruit (and as it turns out Ouspensky was actively recruited) soon learns is far from congenial or supportive, but instead highly critical and aggressively competitive as each prospective “evolving being” struggles to become regarded as “advanced” by the cult leader himself who actively plays one member off against another and encourages the followers to learn the hidden feelings of one another and report them. Mistrust, fear, deceit, betrayal and retribution are the pervading emotions operating within the cult, but all this is kept hidden behind forced smiles that outwardly insist: We are not identified!

This is how the Gurdjieff cult works.

218. Tempus Fugit - May 15, 2015

Friends, lots of good posts recently on the selective memory/entheogens/narcotics/history of pharmacology/scientific method/Descartes tortured dogs/Gurdjieff was a con man/glad Nigel is doing well (and I agree, Nigel) blog.

And sometimes the discussion even returns to the FOF…

I especially appreciate those of you who periodically bring the focus back to the dishonesty of Robert Burton. I believe interested people still look here and on the Robert Earl Burton blog for information other than official cult dogma, and, because of that, we may occasionally save a life.

“Messages from Marconi” is one poster who does that very well, but he is not alone. Thanks to all of you!

Speaking of MFM, I found his comment in Post 160 (copied below) especially interesting, because I’ve seen in my own life how my memory has been compromised when I haven’t been willing or able to look honestly at imperfection.

“160. Messages From Marconi – May 9, 2015
Our memory is typically the selective refusal to recall all the details that certainly would contradict our intentionally prejudicial distortion of what actually happened. Occasionally genuine, complete memory floods into the awareness and momentarily destroys the carefully constructed lie that informs us of the deception each believes himself to be.
If we could remember everything without filtering out all the minor horrors we defensively block out about ourselves, if we could remember our blame, our indiscretions, as well as all the blame and indiscretions we remember concerning others, then that would be memory. But we can’t. The emotionally unpleasant shock of remembering and seeing our unedited actions in every little incident in life would destroy the necessary personality required to continue to pretend that life is normal.”

For much of my life I actively embraced this distorted perspective. For me it came from being taught that perfection is the goal of living, and the consequences of imperfection are horrific and fatal. When I was young the teachers were my parents and traditional religion, who said I should strive to be free from sin (i.e. imperfection) on penalty of eternal damnation (i.e. roasting forever in the fires of hell). In addition, society in general emphasized looking good and hiding flaws (as if they don’t exist unless someone else finds them out).

This social-religious conditioning set me up to feel right at home with Burton and the FOF, who said I should feel desperate to escape from sleep (i.e. another imperfection). Of course since few people were going to escape in this lifetime the penalty was somewhat vague – going around a few more times until you got it right… Unless of course, a student left the teaching. In that case, as I heard Burton say myself, “It would be better one had never been born.” And to avoid that horror a student needed to do whatever Burton wanted, which was a horror in itself.

For you see, once met, Burton attaches himself to you like a leech…

Turned out Burton was not only dishonest, he was wrong. I left when the horror of being in the cult was stronger than the horror of leaving, and that’s when I got my life back.

At first I was terrified that “C-influence” would visit some terrible calamity on me, but as time passed and my healthy essence reasserted itself I realized that Burton’s threats were only designed to delude and control followers – the despicable lies of a con man.

So one way or the other fear of damnation kept me blind to life’s simple imperfect beauty for far too long. Happily I’ve reached a place where I can more easily accept imperfections in myself and others. And with that attitude I feel less need to block or revise painful memories or deny the ugly aspects my current behavior and experience.

Certainly I don’t see myself fully and perhaps never will, but I value seeing as much of the truth as I can and actively seek it out.

And ironically perhaps, the less I worry about being perfect the more I can actually relax and be present to my life. So my recommendation to one and all is to strive for improvement and celebrate imperfection.

Leonard Cohen wrote:

Ring the bell that still can ring
Forget your perfect offering
There is a hole in everything
That’s how the light gets in

219. Cathie L. - May 15, 2015

I was just listening to that song on my car stereo!

Synchronicity is so cool.

220. James Mclemore - May 16, 2015

212. ton2u

Thank you for the you-tube.

Imo Alan Watts is always relevant, no matter what the subject might be.

I would think it is especially relevant to the discussion on “inter-subjectivity”. Whether the mind follows some of the philosophical/psychological ideas surrounding “inter-subjectivity” or tries to follow what some of the the ideas that Advaita Vedanta seem to point toward, sooner or later the mind might have to admit, or at least admit that it is an idea worth investigating thoroughly, that there may not be anyone steering this ship called “myself”. Things seem to get a bit more interesting just from entertaining that particular idea for a while.

221. Golden Veil - May 16, 2015

Shard, I just read in the newspaper today that the United States Department of Agriculture is introducing a Non-GMO label – that growers and food companies would have to pay for – the label would mean that the food has not been genetically modified and the US government would perform audits, testing.


It’s a backwards way of labeling and puts the burden on the good guys.

222. Shard of Oblivion - May 16, 2015

#221 GV – good news. We in UK also have a label for organically grown, where you can know that little or no synthetic pesticides were used to grow the food, sounds like a similar branding exercise, which does at least allow consumers to affect the marketplace. There is a vigorous campaign against the dark practices of Monsanto, which I guess over time may alter their approach.

I want to see genetic modification of humans, but not in the hands of governments or big corporations (who would no doubt try to make better soldiers), but rather the control and risk placed in the hands of individual parents. Eventually I see humans being able to fly and “gland” like the members of the culture in Iain M Banks’s science fiction books. But that is way off in the future.

223. nigel harris price - May 16, 2015

Sorry folks…..I have a trouble with ‘-isms’ and ‘-icalities’. Not that recent subject matter may be interesting in itself, or as it may apply to groups, countries or the world…..but I think we each have to realize the boundaries or workabilities of what we are involved, not as it may agrandize us or further stuff our bank balance. I tend to like posts, or posters, where the individual has had to struggle, or is struggling with something that has to bear on their attitudes or a relationship to something or someone else.

In the FOF, I was labelled as an 8 of Hearts, Solar-Mars-Jovial and that has changed not one whit. Anyone who gives themselves to an aspect of the (true) teaching professions is liable to see their attitude to psychological development in students grow geometrically with the time and effort they put in. Two superb phrases that ‘jolt’ my memory are…..

“A teacher must apply critical analysis and reflective practice.”

“The purpose of teaching is that learning must take place.”

I could not go anywhere near Burton’s pile of excreta now without feeling violently sick…..

Burton, aged and plumed, still gesturing and hushing commands.

Enablers, so eager to ‘get their hands on the crown’.

Worker ants, passively posing and thinking they have depth and substance.

For me, wisdom and a willingness of good in society, has come late in life, but that hard-earned (through troughs of insanity – lows of despairing gutlessness and highs of flights of symbolic ecstasy) have been worth what was paid. Though I feel I have many years yet, I believe a final stage of stability has descended on me.

224. nigel harris price - May 16, 2015

The final episode in several that you can find…..Christopher Hitchens was an atheist and died of oesophagus cancer…..

225. Messages From Marconi - May 16, 2015

226. ton2u - May 16, 2015
227. Shard of Oblivion - May 16, 2015

#224 Just recently read “Hitch 22” This was a man’s full life:

Click to access x%20%20Hitchens%20%20Christopher%20%20%20Hitch%2022%20kindle%20books.pdf

“As for the word games, just bear with me if you would. Try, first, turning the word “House” into “Sock.”
OK: Bleak Sock, Heartbreak Sock, The Fall of the Sock of Usher, The Sock of Atreus, The Sock of the
Seven Gables, The Sock of the Rising Sun… This can take time, as can the substitution (a very common
English vulgarism) of the word “cunt,” for the word “man.” Thus: A Cunt for All Seasons, A Cunt’s a
Cunt for All That, He Was a Cunt: Take Him for All in All , The Cunt Who Shot Liberty Valance,
Batcunt, Supercunt (I know, I know but one must keep the pot boiling) and then, all right, a shift to the
only hardly less coarse word “prong,” as in The Prong with the Golden Gun, Our Prong in Havana,
Prongs without Women , Those Magnificent Prongs in Their Flying Machines, and so forth. These and
other similarly grueling routines had to be rolled around the palate and the tongue many a time before
Clive James suddenly exclaimed: “ ‘A Shropshire Cunt.’ By A.E. Sockprong.” This symbiosis seemed
somehow to make the long interludes of puerility worthwhile.”

228. Cathie L. - May 17, 2015

#224 nigel, thank you for that.

Hitchens’ closing remark has relevance for our little cyber-gathering of Burton/FOF survivors:

” In the meantime we have the same job we always had, to say, as thinking people and as humans, that there are no final solutions, there is no absolute truth, there is no supreme leader, there is no totalitarian solution that says that if you will just give up your freedom of inquiry, if you would just give up, if you will simply abandon your critical faculties, a world of idiotic bliss can be yours. We have to begin by repudiating all such claims – grand rabbis, chief ayatollahs, infallible popes, the peddlers of mutant quasi-political worship, the dear leader, great leader, we have no need of any of this. And looking at them and their record I realise it is they who are the grand imposters, and my own imposture this evening was mild by comparison.”

229. paul gregory - May 17, 2015

227. Shard of Oblivion – May 16, 2015

I highly recommend Charlie Brookers ‘TV Go Home’ book. I’ll have to find it. A whole tv listing that just says: ‘7:00am. Cunt.’ Like that, but better. Just a page of it. I’m poorer for not having it to hand, now.

The Braverman video is completely nuts as far as I can see. Now you have to have pyramids, not that people weren’t before, pyramids. Oh yes. But also arks. Arks within an ark studying arks. Possibly to disembark at a Pyramid, the archetypal ark? So I have in mind now a vision unprecedented in human art, completely uncelebrated, of an ark parked alongside a pyramid. Pyramids require slaves. Is it the QE2? Is the QE2 intersecting a pyramid, in the desert? Are there fish flapping in the foreground as the ocean recedes? Is this to be Braverman’s finest hour? (Married).
If the conscious school is an ark, but also a pyramid – Oh fuck – I forgot to tell you about the guy I saw on the tube with a copper looking pyramid on his head – well, like that, to a degree. The fight against time, who’s sister is chance, according to Braverman.
Digging around in the bowels of some old shit to prove your validity isn’t a kind of validity I value, personally.
Then you have this ark, which is studying these arks, so everyone within can be an ark, to withstand Chance, times mischievous sister. But each ark within the ark has all the safety of a barrel of rum, because when a big ark dies, or even sinks without a trace, surely it takes with it everything it contains? Within the ark, as far as I can tell, there are other mysteries. The mystery of ladders. You are on someone’s ladder, they are on yours.
Consider an ark connected by other arks by ladders contained within a Big Ark. How would they light the interior? Many ladders, people going back an forth between arks. But each ark is really a Soul in the Big Ark, and the Big Ark is like a chorus of souls singing “Hallelujah!’ for cash denominations, to designate a valuation on the abundance of riches that comes from people in uniforms sounding like tinkling cymbals and bells and bollocks, on the persuasive mystery that someone else knows but you know less, so you must enslave yourself to them and the concepts they preach, even to the extent of colluding in depravity and an unbearable taste for prescribed story-lines and pre-nazi aesthetics.
But if it sinks, what then? The ladders come crashing down, the arks crash and crack into one another, the waters rise and most are drowned, in a bubbling darkness of blood, wood and water. Or is that just wishful thinking?
What happens to all the pyramids? Does that ark actually fly above the pyramid – another astonishing image. As it’s an ‘otherworldly’ ark, then surely, it must do. So why not a UFO? Because ‘where there’s muck, there’s brass’, as the saying goes, antiquity and the past turned into a sort of side show, a ‘conscious’ spectacle run by a vampire, who’s sidekicks best act is to turn everything into a possible six, as fortold in an ancient animals feces, (the six faces of the Bison’s feces) sells better than the ludicrous myth of life on other planets who’d give a shit about all that Gucci-Rape crap.
If that’s not a dream, I don’t know what is. The fact is, the writing is so excruciating that it is difficult to consider, so I look at it as though it were a car-crash, through fingers and squints.
There is more truth and value in a Louise Bourgeois spider than in this crap, as far as I can see, more truth in a square centimetre of an Agnes Martin grid.

‘Slavery is work without any light from eternity, without poetry, without religion.
May the eternal light give, not a reason for living and working, but a sense of completeness which makes the search for any such reason unnecessary.
Failing that, the only incentives are fear and gain – fear, which implies the oppression of the people; gain, which implies the corruption of the people.’
Simone Weil, Gravity and Grace

230. ton2u - May 17, 2015

this notion of an “ark” as an article of faith in burtonism, is painted with a quasi-altruistic brush, but it’s really another fear-based control mechanism – underneath the adherents are interested in self-preservation. (thanks again paul gregory…. i enjoy your writing!)

a slow big ship:

231. ton2u - May 17, 2015

all the while FOFers wait for their ship(s) to come in… and wait, and wait, and wait…. (multiple arks, a great idea! more leg-room that way). as it turns out, burtonism utilizes this waiting game as another control mechanism based on anticipation of the fear-based ‘implants.’

232. ton2u - May 17, 2015

@ 231 re: FOFers waiting – wrong link meant to post this:

233. nigel harris price - May 17, 2015

Wikipedia – cognitive dissonance

“In psychology, cognitive dissonance is the mental stress or discomfort experienced by an individual who holds two or more contradictory beliefs, ideas, or values at the same time, or is confronted by new information that conflicts with existing beliefs, ideas, or values.”

It was not until I moved to this present “demi-paradise”, that the ‘thundering stupidity of cognitive dissonance in my former life’ became apparent…..

from childhood obedience due to the threat of alcohol enraged parents…..

school-day fears of punishment unless performance is optimized…..

the FOF, where financial and ‘alchemical’ show ‘ruled the day’, when, inwardly, there was a ‘cowering, waiting-to-leap-to-his REALITY, gentle in the heart’ GOOD MAN…..

I do believe that Exeter was as much RESPONSIBLE for my bipolar terrorizing self and others as the medical and psychiatric profession felt it knew EXACTLY WHAT WAS WRONG AND WHAT PILLS TO STUFF DOWN MY GULLET. Exeter was almost the ‘last-stager-of-hell (maybe I have earned the right to ‘skip’ Purgatorio?)

I am sorry if too much in my recent posts has been self-referential, but there is a HUGE GRATITUDE TO THE HAND OF FATE for bringing me to South Wales and this CULTURAL HAVEN.

“Your Dharma is your calling. It is the work that’s supported by your surroundings, circumstances, relationships and gifts.”
—- Deepak Chopra —-

One of the eighteen precepts for living offered for the Millenium by the Dalai Lama…..
”Share your knowledge with others. It is the way to immortality.”

(n.) the soul, creativity or love put into something; the essence of yourself that is put into your work.

234. ton2u - May 17, 2015

sounds like grace has come to you…


235. ton2u - May 17, 2015

this one’s for you whalerider, shard, Bob S, etc:

“…cultural overlay disguises rather than reveals archetypes…. we’re ruled by a myth but we’re unaware of the fact… science / technology is our current authority, our present myth, the myth is always the thing you’re in and don’t know it’s a myth.”

236. ton2u - May 17, 2015

@ 235 …for you whalerider, shard, Bob S, etc:

237. ton2u - May 17, 2015

“…cultural overlay disguises rather than reveals archetypes…. we’re ruled by a myth but we’re unaware of the fact… science / technology is our current authority, our present myth, the myth is always the thing you’re in and don’t know it’s a myth.”

more to the point:


238. nigel harris price - May 17, 2015

A combination of outer and inner forces – and timing !

239. nigel harris price - May 17, 2015

A sumptuous array of lethal attacks on totalitarian religion and its goings-on…..

240. Shard of Oblivion - May 17, 2015

#233 ““Your Dharma is your calling. It is the work that’s supported by your surroundings, circumstances, relationships and gifts.”
—- Deepak Chopra —-”

Deepak Chopra – notorious purveyor of woo:


241. Shard of Oblivion - May 17, 2015

woo is scientism’s silly younger brother.

242. jomopinata - May 18, 2015

Shard, I like the term “woo” and use it myself but recently discovered that it’s a Britishism. The American term [!] is “woo woo.” I also agree with you that woo and scientism go hand in hand; or, rather, they are siblings who refuse to talk to one another.

243. Robert Stolzle - May 18, 2015

ton, jomo, et al-

As a semi-literate ‘Merican, I can say that I never heard the word “woo” used in this context. I like it though; it’s a great term for the metaphysical silliness purveyed by “quasigurushrinks” to make a buck.
Ah, the Illuminati! Don’t you want to be like them—all knowing and above the fray of plain, boring, ordinary, blah people! Come join the fun! For only $29.95 you can learn all my secrets…….until I have to write another book, that is. God, I hate ’em!…..even more than the RB style of guru…at least he is “hands on”. (Ah say that’s a joke son!)

You are right, myth and science are not at odds, but sometimes do run into each other, e.g. the alchemists transmutation of base metaIs to gold and the birth of chemistry. I think of myth in the Joseph Campbell sense of being current and meaningful stories we tell. And, I also think of the Brothers Grimm and Greek and Arabic teaching stories as myth. I don’t usually consider that the running narrative of my life, the ego centric facet through which I view the world, as a sort of myth, too……That’s the truth, don’t you know!

I suppose, the discussion is whether a belief in science is really necessary for it to survive and, also, whether belief in science has a more negative effect on an individual or society than a belief in angels, demons or space aliens. Although it is a more complicated subject, the rise of the “terrorist” group ISIS and their behavior can be seen as a direct result of a fundamental religious belief. Religious belief is the basic excuse for a lot of warfare and, I would say the jury is still out on whether religion (and a concomitant belief in myth) is a boon or a bane to mankind.

As a geologist, I see no evidence to deny the THEORY of evolution. Yet, all the Bible thumping, Jesus first churches around here make no end of commentary about the concept being only a theory. A recent survey indicated that only 60% of the population “believed” in evolution. So, I have to dispute the comments regarding the ascent of “scientism”. Personally, I see more people today looking for stories and beliefs to fill in the short comings of science, especially since it isn’t going to grant immortality, than ever before. I also have to admit to some squinty eyed skepticism regarding corporate funded and run science as being in my or the publics’ best self interest. Profit driven science is pretty much an oxymoron……and not to be trusted ……..unless prayer isn’t working. Then whatcha goin’ to do?

Bob Stolzle

244. Shard of Oblivion - May 18, 2015

#242 and #243 I first came across the term on this blog a few months ago – I believe it is short for “Quantum Woo”


245. nigel harris price - May 19, 2015

As an adjunct tangential question (cor, that sounds posh and intelligent) ….. well, I will ask the question…..do you need to adhere to anything ? ….. you see what I am getting at ? ….. we are still so over-bowled by -isms, -istics and -atics, (mostly LUNATICS GOING ON HASNAMUSS) that we fail to – “Pick the gorgeous fruitful flowers, as we frolic, gracefully, through the fields of HOPE ….. I was going to say LIFE, but I know for some, life is permanently spoiled…..Nigel

246. nigel harris price - May 19, 2015

“Love poems of John Donne” spoken by Richard Burton …..

How rich to pump, thump oh heart! to core of Welsh-hood !!!!!

This is partly what I was trying to say above…..there is so much BITCHING on our blogsite, interspersed with a few brilliant far-thinking themes.

Goethe talked of “Individuals giving to the whole, creates HARMONY”

Think on this, my hearty-nourished friends and the word ……….

TRANSCENDENTALISM ….. rich in structure and in meaning.

247. Cathie L. - May 19, 2015

Straining the Gurdjieffian bathwater, to find, if not a baby, at least some usable soap and a rubber duck or two:


“I ask you to believe nothing that you cannot verify for yourself.”

The i’s Are Not Real.

“Man has no individual i. But there are, instead, hundreds and thousands of separate small “i”s, very often entirely unknown to one
another, never coming into contact, or, on the contrary, hostile to each other, mutually exclusive and incompatible. Each minute,
each moment, man is saying or thinking, “i”. And each time his i is different. just now it was a thought, now it is a desire, now a
sensation, now another thought, and so on, endlessly. Man is a plurality. Man’s name is legion.”

Personality and Essence:

“There is a growth of personality at the cost of essence, that is, a growth of the artificial, the unreal and what is foreign, at the cost
of the natural, the real and what is one’s own.”

Sincerity and Suffering:

“Sincerity is the key to self-knowledge and to be sincere with oneself brings great suffering.”


“You do not understand what it means to be sincere,” said G. “You are so used to lying both to yourselves and to others that you
can find neither words nor thoughts when you wish to speak the truth. To tell the complete truth about oneself is very difficult. But
before telling it one must know it. And you do not even know what the truth about yourselves consists of.”


“Practice love on animals first; they react better and more sensitively.”

One’s Being Attracts One’s Life:

“We attract forces according to our being.”

Formatory Thinking:

“Formatory apparatus resembles a hired typist who works for a firm and has a large number of stereotyped replies for external
impressions. She sends printed replies to other centres who are the ‘directors’ of the firm and who are strangers to each other.
Wrong replies are often sent, as the typist is asleep or lazy. ”

The following are generally observable:

Law of Octaves (intervals)

Law of Triads (active, passive and neutralizing forces)

Law of Accident

And this one, which might indeed be a baby we don’t want to throw out with George’s bathwater:

“He on whom your attention rests is your neighbor; he also will die. If you acquire data always to realize the inevitability of their
death and your own death, you will have a feeling of pity for others, and be just toward them.”

Or as Rumi put it:

“Inside the Great Mystery that is,
we don’t really own anything.
What is this competition we feel then,
before we go, one at a time, through the same gate?”

248. Robert Stolzle - May 19, 2015

nigel, Shard, and all-

I loved the wikipedia definition of ‘quantum woo’, thanks a lot. Really, there are time when I believe these book writing gurus, in persuading hundreds of thousands of their kooky and dysfunctional beliefs, do more damage than the RB types who preside over a few hundred or so. They also provide the “prep school” work for the FoF. In my old age I have lost all patience for those who pretend to have some secret to share—-all for a few bucks. From the wrinkle remover saleswomen to the Oprahs and Dr. Ozs of the world, there is charlatan on every corner and he is looking to get into your pocket. I think it is an evil spawned by capitalism and a democracy that doesn’t allow these hucksters to be put away.

“do you need to adhere to anything?” Huh? I can’t imagine the chaos of not having some “ordering principle” in your head to filter out the B.S. and pigeon hole the dreck. I take your admonition as a restatement of the Biblical and Gurdjieffian adapted notion of becoming “as little children” in our relationship to the world. The sense of wonder is nice but, you can’t stay there forever and it also allows an emotional opening that can be exploited by others. I see the “little children” sort of emotional vulnerability as one of the many openings the FoF used to weasel its way into your life.

I don’t think that we can benefit from our interactions in the world without some sort of ordering system that allows us to remember and thereby, learn. Is this arbitrary labeling? Well, yes, but it seems to me that having one’s own system is preferable to one taught to you in Middle School or by the Fourth Way. And, who gets to decide what system is or isn’t rational? RB?? Not everyone loves Meissen china and personally, for some reason, cherubs always struck me a icky and repulsive—-little human slugs or something like that. Give me a fuzzy kitten any day.

Bob Stolzle

249. nigel harris price - May 19, 2015

…..here goes something tricky – as could be used by a blogger – as could be used by the FOF…..but the book “Anam Cara” by John O’Donohue presupposes a Celtic heart is listening to the awkward/smudged phraseology that makes this book worth reading.

“The Meaning of Anam Cara (as taken off a web page)

Anam Cara means “Soul Friend.” Anam is the Gaelic word for soul and Cara is the word for friend. In Celtic tradition, an Anam Cara is a teacher, companion or spiritual guide. With the Anam Cara you can share your innermost self to reveal the hidden intimacies of your life, your mind and your heart. This friendship cuts across all convention to create an act of recognition and belonging that joins souls in an ancient and eternal way.

In everyone’s life, there is a great need for an Anam Cara, a soul friend. In this relationship, you are understood as you are, without mask or pretention. When you are understood, you are at home.

Love is the threshold where the divine and human ebb and flow, one into the other. Love is the most real and creative form of human presence. An expression of human consciousness, this love includes a depth of awareness and reverence for presence.

Where consciousness is dulled, distant or blind, the presence grows faint and vanishes. Therefore awareness which brings integration and healing, is one of the greatest gifts of this friendship. As a result, you look, and see, and understand differently. You refine your sensibility and transform your way of being in the world.

The Anam Cara is a loved one who awakens your life in order to free the wild possibilities within you.”

250. Shard of Oblivion - May 19, 2015

#247 I agree with you Cathie L that there may be some ideas we can use in the gurdjieffian system. Of those you quoted for example I have always liked the idea of practicing love on animals. But there were two that I find unhelpful.

The i’s Are Not Real.

This idea was used as a tool to enable separating from the machine. Personally I found years of practicing separating caused me to find myself in a bad place, where I could choose whether or not to react to anything. Which over time meant that my life became a kind of shadow existence, since I could choose not to feel negative, I could choose any reaction at all, which led to a state psychologists label “depersonalisation”. On of my post FoF remedies was to own my feelings again, to take the i’s to be real (as real as anything else at any rate). The phrase “The i’s are Not Real” implies of course a greater more real existence beckoning to us, attainable after many being efforts, and disciplines. Didn’t work like that for me, YMMV of course.

One’s Being Attracts One’s Life

In one sense of course this is trivially true. But in the gurdjieff system it implies some spooky fate/synchronicity effect that “being” of itself has on external events. A man or woman with “being” will happen to be in the right place at the right time for them to receive help in their development. And in the distorted Burton version of the 4th way, this includes that joining his setup suddenly means 44 disembodied spirits of worthy cultural figures, are beetling about in higher worlds writing our plays for us so they will teach us the lessons we need to learn. I have noticed it is generally a waste of time trying to convince someone who thinks they have “verified” this, that they are probably mistaken, but I think it is not true.

251. Messages From Marconi - May 19, 2015

Crazy Lies Gurdjieff Told Ouspensky:

In saying this I had in mind more particularly the “Tarot” and the literature on the “Tarot.”

“Yes,” said G. “A great deal can be found by reading. For instance, take yourself: you might already know a great deal if you knew how to read. I mean that, if you understood everything you have read in your life, you would already know what you are looking for now. If you understood everything you have written in your own book, what is it called?”—he made something altogether impossible out of the words “Tertium Organum”—”I should come and bow down to you and beg you to teach me. But you do not understand either what you read or what you write. You do not even understand what the word ‘understand’ means. Yet understanding is essential, and reading can be useful only if you understand what you read. But, of course, no book can give real preparation. So it is impossible to say which is better. What a man knows well” (he emphasized the word “well”)—”that is his preparation. If a man knows how to make coffee well or how to make boots well, then it is already possible to talk to him. The trouble is that nobody knows anything well. Everything is known just anyhow, superficially.”


“Everything is known just anyhow, superficially.”

One of the many things that Gurdjieff only understood “just anyhow, superficially” is that he was an unconscious psychologically sleeping machine who had been informed that people are sleeping machines. Gurdjieff made the mistake that many active egos make, that is, the mistake of assuming that simply because you have been informed of the truth that you actually understand the truth. Gurdjieff had been informed of the truth but, just as he lectured Ouspensky about his shortcomings, Gurdjieff himself did not fully ‘understand’ the truth. Even so, he imagined he did.

At one point someone told Gurdjieff that people are psychologically asleep and he lit up with voltage at such revelatory information. Gurdjieff did not wake up, he lit up with the idea that this unknown information gave him a tremendous advantage in ordinary life. Gurdjieff realized he could use this esoteric fact of existence to manipulate people. Such a motivation is far from waking up from psychological sleep. There is no conscience in such a motivation and without conscience there is no awakening. Gurdjieff used esoteric knowledge to get:

1. Recognition (Gurdjieff’s number one priority in life)

2. Easy Money (he extorted money out of his “pupils” in exchange for something he could not deliver–conscious teaching)

3. Sex (Gurdjieff had an appetite for young northern European fair skinned women, women he could not hope to bed without the spell cast by his ongoing “conscious teaching” scheme)

4. Power (Gurdjieff wanted and wielded power over people)

Nothing of such motivation has any degree of psychological awakening inspiring the actions of the guilty character. Gurdjieff’s “school” was then what is now typical of any cult scenario, a collection of weak and malformed egos who somehow find themselves huddled around an enormous central ego all hoping, usually futilely, that some of the irrationally indefatigable self-confidence of the head narcissistic sociopath will rub off on them. Weak-minded people are drawn to the psychotic self-assurance of people who are self-confident for no better reason than their particular craziness causes them to imagine that they are right about everything they do and say because in their delusional world they somehow imagine that the Great Universe smiles and approves of them in particular. A man who believes he has been particularly blessed in this world and outwardly behaves as if he can do no wrong, or say nothing that is not a revelation, subsequently mesmerizes weak-minded human cult cattle and draws them in like, well, flies. Indeed, the title of Gurdjieff’s book features the name Beelzebub, which literally means “Lord of the Flies.” Even with such warnings in place the culture’s losers, life’s cult followers, flock to the “Lord” to this very day.

“If you understood everything you have written in your own book, what is it called?”—he made something altogether impossible out of the words ‘Tertium Organum’—‘I should come and bow down to you and beg you to teach me.”

What Ouspensky was there to learn from Gurdjieff was how to become an inflated over-confident egomaniac who never doubted himself and that is all that Gurdjieff really understood. Gurdjieff never understood that his over-confidence in every move he made was exactly the non-understanding in the realm of higher consciousness and higher development that he accused Ouspensky of falling victim to in his writings. Gurdjieff had fallen victim to the illusionary power of knowledge. His hyper-confident ego instantly imagined when he was informed that the whole world slept that suddenly this information alone had awakened him, when in fact it simply awakened his vanity, his greed, his lust and his inherent need to gain power over people.

“The trouble is that nobody knows anything well.”

What Gurdjieff knew well was psychological manipulation of cult-trending malcontents and he utilized this “talent” his entire life to build a reputation as a false holy man, what the Tarot calls a magician. A “holy man” with no conscience (no realistic sense of self-knowledge), as Gurdjieff certainly was, is a charlatan.

252. ton2u - May 20, 2015

re: the relationship between ‘woo’ and ‘scientism’

It’s because of scientism ‘woo’ is used – either intentionally or ‘unconsciously’ – as a way for the likes of a Chopra to sell his wares. Chopra and his ilk attempt to take advantage (consciously or not) of the modern-day faith in science by clothing ideas with scientistic jargon, this is an attempt to ‘legitimize’ or to present as factual whatever it is they’re selling to the general public. A pervasive, overweening and mostly ‘unconcious’ faith in science creates fertile ground for ‘woo’ – which is scientistic jargon intended to add an air of ‘truthiness’ to whatever notions these people are trying to peddle.

Science and the scientific method is a way of knowing, it’s a way of getting at truth, but it’s not the only way of knowing, not the only way of understanding and getting at truth… (a problem arises when different ways of knowing overstep boundaries and get confused…. e.g. people like Chopra, attempting to express a truth in scientific terms which may be better expressed and more honestly expressed if the truth he’s trying to expressed were taken out of scientistic wrappings… then it’s not scientistic, but that doesn’t necessarily mean that it’s not true).

My general impression is that there are many folks who have faith and a firm conviction that science can explain all and everything, and what it can’t explain now, it someday will, when all the ‘facts’ are in, all the data collated, when the instruments are ‘perfected’ and refined enough and sensitive enough to detect… I’m not sure this is the case… but people want to believe in the unlimited capacities/ capabilities of science… imo this is another projection of human hubris. Science tends to take the approach that everything proceeds predictably, everything is governed by rational “laws” – this may be a comforting thought in a sometimes scary, chaotic and often unpredictable universe – what does belief in absolute predictability imply about free will?

253. Shard of Oblivion - May 20, 2015

#252 ton2u I completely agree with your analysis of the relationship between scientism and woo.

With regard to science itself there’s a curious thing going on. The more we know the longer the shoreline is between the known and the unknown. I like to picture a little island of knowledge in a vast sea of the unknown. As humans push back against the vast sea their little shoreline becomes longer, and the shells and detritus they can pick up on that shoreline become more interesting, even more perplexing and strange. Personally I see no end to this process, the ocean is vast, there will always be questions to which we have not yet found an answer.

Zappa nails all cult leaders with one simple song 🙂

254. Shard of Oblivion - May 20, 2015

This song has personal resonance, around the time I left the FoF:

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

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

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

255. nigel harris price - May 20, 2015

INDIVIDUALITY…..that was the aim of the Gurdjieff/Ouspensky/Collin/Burton ‘system’ – but how does a ‘system’ , and becoming more involved in that ‘system’, until there have passed, for some, 40 years in that ‘system’ ….. and should not an ‘individual’ become enlightened? – and I am not talking of psychedelic delights and hallucinations ….. just plain, shall we say to not be religious or cultist, have a ‘code of honour’ – a simpler, less contorted by impressing people – way of life. For some reason, my sentences have constructed themselves here and questioned me too. Hope at least a few can make use of them…..Nigel

256. Robert Stolzle - May 20, 2015

Ton, shard, Cathy, etc-

You are right that the “general publics” lack of scientific understanding allows charlatans like Chopra, Gurdjieff and Burton to assume a cloak of legitimacy by throwing out a lot of idiotic verbiage with a pedagogic attitude and seeing if anyone takes the bait. Even apparently intelligent souls like you and me and Ouspensky can be sucked in (though I suspect his intentional complicity, Marconi). IM(not so very)HO it is the uncaring, poorly educated and gullible general public who have the mistaken assumption that anything masquerading as science really is science that causes so much trouble, not a broad acceptance of “Science” as the new God. If, as you suggest, real science was preeminent, the herbal remedy, age defying, eat your way thin, ‘escape death by joining my cult’ quacks would be having a much more difficult time of it.

I think we all will necessarily have scars and maybe a few useful ideas that we picked up in the FoF. Just participating in this blog demonstrates the connection; your past is necessarily a part of your current being.

My mother grew up in Nazi Germany during WWII and, if he had quit in 1939, Hitler would have been remembered as Germany’s “Churchill”. The citizenry, manipulated or not, liked the “ordnung” and stability the National Socialist Party offered. In many ways, the Nazis saved Germany before destroying it. Broadly speaking, the Nazis, or the scientists and engineers working at their behest, developed organic chemistry to its current level; they developed synthetic gasoline, they invented the jet engine, discovered methedrine and used it for their “blitzkrieg”. Many former Nazis, like Werner von Braun were willing to work within the Nazi “system” to develop the V-2. Later, von Braun and his team, having intentionally surrendered to American forces, worked for the “good old USA” and succeeded in getting mankind off the planet. The list goes on, but you get the point.

Of course, the Nazis are rightly remembered only for the “holocaust”.

The FoF is only a pimple on the ass of humanity compared to the Nazis’ bullet to the brain, but I think the analogy is correct. We paid too high a price for the rubber duckies we salvaged from the wreckage. The same toys are available cheaper elsewhere, too.

Bob Stolzle

257. Cathie L. - May 20, 2015

#250 shard:

YMMV indeed! One person’s medicine is another’s poison. This is the weakness of any “system” of enlightenment, it seems to me.

#256 Bob:

” We paid too high a price for the rubber duckies we salvaged from the wreckage. The same toys are available cheaper elsewhere, too.”

I completely agree. I’ve made this observation in relation to many things in my life that I’ve paid too high a price for. It seems to be an aspect of my “being” or maybe essence….paying too much, later realizing it was available elsewhere for much less. My naivete and gullibility have been catalysts for many lessons. This tendency seems to go hand in hand with selling myself short, the other side of the coin.

But like Dorothy, I seem to finally be making my way home from Oz. (Or close enough, true enough. Still a work in process.)

258. nigel harris price - May 20, 2015

Notice that Hitchens wears a Palestinian Badge in his ‘blad phases’ of this YouTube – toward the end of his life – same colours as the flag of Wales……

259. nigel harris price - May 21, 2015


Dialectical materialism (sometimes abbreviated diamat) is a philosophy of science and nature, based on the writings of Karl Marx and Friedrich Engels, and developed largely in Russia and the Soviet Union.[1][2] It was inspired by dialectic and materialist philosophical traditions. The main idea of dialectical materialism lies in the concept of the evolution of the natural world and the emergence of new qualities of being at new stages of evolution. As Z. A. Jordan notes, “Engels made constant use of the metaphysical insight that the higher level of existence emerges from and has its roots in the lower; that the higher level constitutes a new order of being with its irreducible laws; and that this process of evolutionary advance is governed by laws of development which reflect basic properties of ‘matter in motion as a whole’.”[3]

The formulation of dialectical and historical materialism in the Soviet Union in the 1930s by Stalin and his associates (such as in Stalin’s book Dialectical and Historical Materialism) became the “official” interpretation of Marxism. It was codified and popularized in text books that were required reading in the Soviet Union as well as the Eastern European countries it occupied. It was exported to China as the “official” interpretation of Marxism but has since then been widely rejected in China in the Soviet formulation.

A Soviet philosophical encyclopedia of the 1960s speaks of the evolution of complexity in nature as follows: “This whole series of forms (mechanical, physical, chemical, biological and social) is distributed according to complexity from lower to higher. This seriation expresses their mutual bonds in terms of structure and in terms of history. The general laws of the lower forms of the motion of matter keep their validity for all the higher forms but they are subject to the higher laws and do not have a prominent role. They change their activity because of changed circumstances. Laws can be general or specific, depending on their range of applicability. The specific laws fall under the special sciences and the general laws are the province of diamat.”[4] Each level of matter exists as a type of organization, in which the elements that make up a whole, or system, are marked by a specific type of interconnection.

260. ton2u - May 21, 2015

I thought you were anti – “isms” (?)

261. nigel harris price - May 21, 2015

Yea!…..I just wanted to know what it means…..and if any -isms have any use (Christopher Hitchens referred to it) when it comes to each of we bloggers making transcendental progress in our lives. I like impelling thoughts and phrases but I do not see myself become a ‘spiritual groupie’ here in South Wales…..

262. nigel harris price - May 21, 2015

…..from ‘Wikipedia’
on – John O’Donohue

John O’Donohue (1 January 1956 – 4 January 2008) was an Irish poet, author, priest, and Hegelian philosopher. He was a native Irish speaker,[1] and as an author is best known for popularising Celtic spirituality.[2][3]

Contents [hide]
1 Early life and education
2 Career
3 Litigation regarding will
4 Quotations
5 Works
6 References
7 External links
Early life and education[edit]
Eldest of his three siblings, he was raised in west Ireland in the area of Connemara and County Clare, where his father Patrick O’Donohue was a stonemason, while his mother Josie O’Donohue was a housewife.[4]

O’Donohue became a novice at Maynooth, in north County Kildare, at age of 18, here he earned degrees in English, Philosophy, and Theology at St Patrick’s College in County Kildare. He was ordained as Catholic priest in 6 June 1979.[5][6] O’Donohue moved to Tübingen, Germany in 1986, and completed his dissertation in 1990 on German philosopher Georg Wilhelm Friedrich Hegel for his PhD in philosophical theology from Eberhard Karls University. In 1990, he returned to Ireland to continue his priestly duties, and began his post-doctoral work on the 13th century mystic, Meister Eckhart.[6]

O’Donohue’s first published work, Anam cara (1997), which means “soul friend” in the Irish language, was an international best-seller and catapulted him into a more public life as an author and much sought-after speaker and teacher, particularly in the United States. O’Donohue left the priesthood in 2000. O’Donohue also devoted his energies to environmental activism, and is credited with helping spearhead the Burren Action Group, which opposed government development plans and ultimately preserved the area of Mullaghmore and the Burren, a karst landscape in County Clare.[7] Just two days after his 52nd birthday and two months after the publication of his final complete work, Benedictus: A Book of Blessings, O’Donohue died suddenly in his sleep on 4 January 2008 while on holiday near Avignon, France. The exact cause of death has not been released by his family, leaving WONF to speculation regarding the cause of his untimely death. Articles and posts have listed an aneurysm, heart problem, and aspiration as possible causes.[8] He was survived by his partner Kristine Fleck; his mother Josephine (Josie) O’Donohue; his brothers, Patrick (Pat) and Peter (PJ) O’Donohue; and his sister, Mary O’Donohue.[5][9]

Posthumous publications include The Four Elements, a book of essays, in 2010[10] and Echoes of Memory (2011), an early work of poetry, originally collected in 1994.[11] In March 2015, a series of radio conversations he had recorded with close friend and former RTÉ broadcaster John Quinn was collated and published as Walking on the Pastures of Wonder.

Maybe an -ism, in himself, or is this book I am reading liable to spur on thoughts of worthwhile spiritual progression ?

263. Robert Stolzle - May 21, 2015

All of you all—

This blogging business is really quite strange—-at least for me. This is the only one I’ve ever written on or read. Without seeing a face, hearing a voice or sharing any personal history aside from the FoF, one comes to develop a (probably mistaken) understanding of the people sharing here. I’m not proposing a reunion or anything, but it would be interesting to see some of you in the flesh……..or perhaps not; be careful what you wish for.

Actually, I would like to propose a sort of ad hoc history of the spiral of degeneration of the FoF to be posted here. This is, for me, because my cult tenure ran from 1973 to 1976 and I left before all the truly criminal behavior came to light. I was never closer than the moons of Jupiter (orbiting Stella Wirk in Carmel) and “the Farm” had just been rechristened Mt. Carmel Monastery and had one or two permanent workers living there–that was around 1975, I think. The exposition need not be personal and wry or funny would be a good tone. I’d just like to better understand the process of the wheels coming off the FoF wagon.

I’d say that the Bonita Guido-Hightower history, posted on “the other blog” of the earliest days of the cult is as good a summation as can be made and there are certainly former “student-teachers” who had much better insight than I into the inner workings of the cult. RB started and ended his “silence task” ( a little less than 2 years, as I recall) during my time and I was sort of impressed at his pulling it off. If he cheated, I never heard about it…….and we did gossip—–a lot—-in spite of the prohibitions. The “word exercise” was mandatory in all member conversations. Not using “I”, “got”, any “contractions” and two other words I’ve forgotten now, led to some pretty unusual speech patterns……..and initially made one more aware of what they were saying. “Tramp features” were much discussed and included smoking pot and “uncommitted” sex.

The original home on the Farm started to be remodeled into what was, I think, later called “the Blake Cottage”. I recall being asked to work on the “septic tank octave” through the night so that festivities celebrating the completion of—was it Steven Canepa’s???—-fireplace. could proceed with running water the next day………I declined. It was a fine piece of masonry, though. Most everyone staying there lived in tents. RB’s declaration that the Digger Pines were a “degenerate species” immediately led to cutting them all down. I couldn’t make any sense of this decision—too identified, you know— and this was perhaps the first crack in RB’s Man #5 armor that resonated with me.

Smoking cigarettes almost seems to have been encouraged—-pity the poor waitress at the Sambo’s in Carmel where Stella and Harold Wirk held court. As per usual, the snobbery of the FoF led to a preference for the Dunhill and Sobranie imported brands. There were regular local center meetings every Tuesday evening and the big “all centers” conclave Saturday evening at the Summit Church in Berkeley unless “the Teacher” was at “the Monastery” and all bodies were expected to make that pilgrimage—–and lend a hand. Most “students” shared the rent in “teaching” houses—not a bad arrangement.

“Dues” were $40.00/month when I started and $60.00/month when I left and heading towards $100.00. Special assessments were $250-$400 at Christmas, of course and everyone paid the same rate. The giving and getting of “photographs” regarding student interactions and conversations was a common “exercise”; both useful and also abused. I remember Kimo Beech telling me I should remove a smashed, blackened thumbnail because it presented “a poor impression”. I said “Thank You”, but declined. Meissen china and air twist crystal were in high demand and I remember helping a couple “very self important” (well skilled in the art of self remembering) young female students with an expense account search through S. Lake Tahoe antique stores for same. Cost was not a consideration—caution sign #1. Higher, finer impressions being most important, doncha know.

By the time I left in 1976, rumors about expanding the cult outside CA were flying around and I seem to remember that the Phoenix center had just been started. I don’t even remember who was involved. There was also worried discussion of a “no smoking task” coming down the pike. I heard later this “task” came to be Stella’s undoing. Students were being encouraged to move to Mt. Carmel—I think they needed more slave labor to start the vineyard—what ever happened to the wine making “octave”?

As my hero Forest Gump says, “That’s all I have to say about that!”

Bob Stolzle

264. ton2u - May 21, 2015

I attended meetings in Detroit beginning in ’78, moved to the “monastery” in ’79 and left in ’83… that was sometime after Kimo flew the coop… I’ve given my account here in the back pages, so very briefly, when I left the FOF I found myself homeless on the mean streets of S.F., mostly surviving for a time in church shelters at night as a place to sleep and to get a warm meal… there on “skid row” I bumped into Kimo once… he’d been living hard on the streets since leaving, and it showed. I can remember standing in a circle with a small group of strangers, “skid row bums” you’d probably call them, and Kimo was there too… we passed a bottle of cheap liquor around the circle to chase away the cold, to forget about the circumstances. That was the last time I saw Kimo, I heard that he died sometime not too long afterward, not sure exactly when but it was a while ago by now. I also heard that his wife Cynthia passed away a number of years back…. I’ve also heard there’s a FOF cemetery on the back part of the property, the area we used to call ‘boy’s town’ or ‘boy’s camp’… now I know what you’re thinking…. no it had nothing to do with burton’s boy-love – I think the name comes from prior to FOF ownership when that part of the property was used as a camp for boys. (If he reads this, Tim might be able to clear up the fuzzy thinking).

There is an annual potluck reunion of ex-FOFers that’s been occurring relatively regularly. I think the last one was at Collins Lake (?) Anyway, there’s a fairly large community of ‘ex-pats’ living up in the foothills there, Marysville, Sacto, Nevada City / Grass Valley, the Bay Area, etc. You might try contacting Ames if you’re interested in the reunion, not sure it’s going to continue but I think he was part of the organizing team for a while.

265. ton2u - May 21, 2015

A podcast here from Krista Tippet and a radio program I listen to “religiously” – it’s on Sunday mornings here… she interviews many an interesting speaker imo. This may be of interest to you, or not… I find in listening, as opposed to reading, there’s a different quality to processing information, a different way of taking it in:


266. ton2u - May 21, 2015

Shard @ 254

The ideal, the lovable cause at the heart of science is the spirit of exploration and discovery – you point that out with such beautiful expression…. thank you.

‘Speaking’ generally, on one level of “actuality,” when that particular ideal gets tangled up and strained through politics / governments, capitalism and technology, problems can and do arise… how the spirit of exploration and discovery become used, manipulated and exploited, is a question with some dubious answers and outcomes…. (e.g. the recent thread here on monsanto & big pharma, “the bomb” and the invention of killing machines in general, etc).

Imo, in the current social context there’s too often a rush to find a way to ‘capitalize’ on discovery which can contribute to an unfortunate short-sightedness and unforeseen consequences — ethical questions and considerations may necessarily arise in hindsight…. I suppose better late than never, that is if “we” can learn, and then correct through the process.

(the procol harum brings me back, it’s good to be brought back, i like it).


267. Messages From Marconi - May 22, 2015


Hello Friends,
below is a link to website that contains an introductory video for a new online Fourth Way community called Beperiod. com . It is an experiment in taking an online discussion forum about the Fourth Way to a new level. We have a one year curriculum worked out. Each class is 10-15 minute video on a Fourth Way topic. Each topic will have a specific exercise. This will be followed by a week of online discussion followed by a planned and moderated group chat session of one hour. There is also planned a once per month Skype or video chat session. We are interested in getting feedback from people with experience in the Fourth Way to evaluate the video. We do plan to charge a minimal fee for the online “school”, so if this message is considered “advertising” I certainly will understand and please take it down. As I said, I welcome your observations. http:// ggurdjieff.com /

268. Shard of Oblivion - May 22, 2015

#267 Marconi – you are incorrigible 🙂

269. nigel harris price - May 22, 2015

To those wishing to remember FOF days…..I sometimes have contorted dreams/nightmares of ‘way-back’ – usually how I could ‘grovel’ more to Girard Haven. You see, I want to live on and forget those ‘chains…..

…..in regard, 265 ton2u, I find the Irish the warmest and welcoming of the British Celtic races…..O’Donohue’s “Anam Cara” is ‘rich pickings’ for a soul willing to ‘dig deep’ and recover…..P.S. We all need a ‘soul-friend’.

270. WhaleRider - May 22, 2015

Braverman’s FOF mind fuck:

“Do I persuade myself that I was awake?”

No, but I believe from the cult’s perspective, if he is in the present now, the past doesn’t matter, or does it? Apparently for Braverman, the past is a concern, as well as being honest with himself…I think.

“Do I gloss over my observation by saying “oops,” or by scratching a sudden itch on my head, or by relieving my discomfort with an endearing giggle?”

No, the cult says he should not gloss over his observation that in the past he was asleep and now he is awake…but wait, did he just admit he was asleep? But wait, there’s more…

What’s the opposite of gloss…coarse, irritating? What is the opposite of endearing…disgust?

The cult says he should not delight in the fact that now he is awake either; he should feel disgust, discomfort, and irritation in the present about the past…like just a few moments ago…when he was not awake and neither were you…right?

“Man in self-deceit,” observed Gurdjieff “considers even his most mechanical actions to be volitional and conscious and himself to be single and whole.”

Braver..man in self-deceit considers his most mechanical thoughts to be volitional and conscious and himself to be single and whole.

Actually he’s not single, he has two wives.

“Was I deliberately daydreaming, deliberately negative, deliberately identified? Or did I react by habit?”

I don’t believe the cult sanctions deliberate daydreaming, nor deliberate negativity, nor deliberate identification, unless he is deliberately daydreaming about paradise that doesn’t exist or the apocalypse that never came, being negative toward anyone who opposes him, or being identified with being a cult member.

Nobody mentions burton’s nasty habit of reacting defensively and kicking out anyone hwo opposes or confronts him.

“The moment I catch myself asleep, I have a choice: I can pretend that what I just observed was deliberate, or acknowledge that it was involuntary.”

In other words, the moment his awareness shifts from his ego to his FOF alter-ego (or from one false self to another false self), his FOF alter-ego can either lie and claim it really has control over his ego…or his FOF alter-ego can admit that it has no control over his ego and continue believe the lie that it can have control over his ego, even though time and time again it fails…either way he is lying to himself, since his ego and alter-ego are both cut from the same cloth…both manifestations of the false self.

“If I choose pretense, then I have wasted a genuine opportunity to awaken.”

If his FOF alter-ego pretends it has control over his ego, then his FOF alter-ego has revealed itself for what it is, a false self.

“If I acknowledge sleep, then I have welcomed a moment of self-awareness.”

If his FOF alter-ego admits it has no control over his ego, then he has welcomed a life of inner conflict known as fighting “sleep”…for he has tacitly introjected the false belief that his FOF alter-ego can have control over his ego (despite all evidence to the contrary) under the guise of “self-awareness”.

But the net result of FOF’s version of “self-awareness” is not wholeness, but perpetual inner conflict.

“Realization of sleep is a spark. Pretense dampens that spark. Acknowledgment fans it into a flame.”

Inner conflict creates the spark of inner tension, emotional distress…a sense of inferiority compared to the cult leader…

Identifying with inner conflict as a way of life…or as Jung says, being “content with inadequate or wrong answers to life” IMO, fans the flame of latent neurosis (we all have some)…i.e. causing increased “anxiety, sadness, anger, irritability, mental confusion, (a “higher state”) low sense of self-worth…behavioral symptoms such as phobic avoidance, vigilance, impulsive and compulsive acts, lethargy, etc,. cognitive problems such as unpleasant or disturbing thoughts, repetition of thoughts and obsession, habitual fantasizing, negativity and cynicism, etc. Interpersonally, neurosis involves dependency, aggressiveness, perfectionism, schizoid isolation, socio-culturally inappropriate behaviors, etc…” (~Wikipedia)

“Realizing my own mechanicality generates dissatisfaction. For once, my emotional center is not experiencing a negative emotion, but a genuine desire to change, to do better the next time around—to “Be.” The stronger my dissatisfaction, the more emotionally will I pursue my aim, and the more efforts will I dedicate towards it.”

Here’s the ultimate FOF mind fuck: dissatisfaction is a positive emotion.


His emotional center experiencing a genuine desire to change? What utter yak shit!! The main desire generated in a cult is the desire to be accepted, please and exalt the cult leader, otherwise you’re toast.

The more strongly this “positive” negative emotion of inner conflict, anxiety and chronic dissatisfaction a follower can generate in themselves and others, the more followers are driven to unproductive, obsessional behavior in the FOF hamster cage going nowhere, IMHO.

271. nigel harris price - May 22, 2015

270 WhaleRider

Wherever this (commented on) section of Asaf Braverman’s ‘writings’ was lifted from, I find much that can be ‘reflected back’ and shown that nothing has changed from, perhaps, our attitude to Burton way back and that of Braverman, albeit that HE has developed a loopy, contorted sub-system to The Fourth Way and all the mind trickeries.

Just to conclude (on an aside to the Wikipedia quote) I have been able to see my own ‘psychotic struggles’ (yes, still, and until I die, despite medication) as much to do with brain and body and nutritional balance as way excelling the fact that there may be delusions of grandeur or symbolic leaps of faith. For one, my psychiatrist in Exeter wrote to Dr Basu, in Abergavenny – “We believe this move to South Wales has been carefully considered by Mr Price.” – and – just this afternoon, while I was composing a Memorandum for Angela Price, soon to be my employer when I will be teaching jewellery in the Youth and Community Centre, the subject matter caused an emotional ‘nadir’ and I had to rush to my neighbour, Emma, who gave me some sweetened rice pudding (I am type 2 diabetic and have to keep my sugar level balanced by ‘body-feel’, not just down with Metformin). I do believe WhaleRider is one who has had to, and probably still continues with, self-healing in Body, Mind and Spirit (Holistic Science).

And I also believe that we bloggers who struggle on, towards what may, now, seem an absurd destiny, yet will meet clarity at some precious moment, are BRAVERMEN than all those FOFFERS who hide behind the airs and graces (and phantom faces) of an absurd lie.

272. Messages From Marconi - May 22, 2015

Nigel, 10 posts in three days. Feeling a little manic? At this rate you’ll be flipping back into full negative mode in no time.

273. nigel harris price - May 22, 2015

272 Messages From Marconi

Oh1 Dear! Here comes a one-man crisis team ! Actually, MFM, I am doing a great deal of work on my computer these days involving voluntary and paid employment in Wales. I find it useful to check…

Emails (and reply)
The Discussion Site (at an earlier point this month it had become stale – the stimulus has become, well, stimulated).

274. Robert Stolzle - May 22, 2015

Marconi, Whale, and all-

I just wasted most of an hour trolling around the ggurdjieff/Asaf Braverman website. A curse on you for posting it. It makes me nauseous to revisit some of those old come-ons and admit that I bought into the bullshit. Shame on me! There is no damned good that can come of this.

To be fair, the website is pretty well put together and obviously a lot of time and effort went into it. I particularly like when, occasionally breaking up Asaf’s pitch, Gurdjieff is quoted by some old coot with a foreign accent—-a nice touch, if a bit over the top. The esoteric B.S. is pretty forgettable.

In citing his personal pedigree, Braverman presents a very sanitized and largely trumped up lineage from Bennett to Horn, to RB. Interestingly, there must now be enough negative press on the FoF that AB feels compelled to mention the criticism……..the recognition was nice. He wraps up his bonafides by writing, “In 2007 I was forced to set out on a two year journey, which brought me in contact with the origin of the ancient wisdom I had been previously studying in theory.” He has made the pilgrimage!!!——to somewhere…….and is now ready To Teach! (Send Money!) One has to truly be in LaLaLand to believe that this is meaningful to anyone but himself. Really?? Seeing the carvings at Angor Wat–or somewhere– crystallized all the theories into objective reality? Gag me to death! A day spent in a face slapping contest would be more enjoyable than reading this loosely adapted crap.

Personally, I doubt that Braverman has the charisma (or perhaps it doesn’t come through the video) to birth a new offshoot of the FoF…….but, I’ve been wrong before. I wonder if he has to pay RB royalties? And, what do the existing cult members know or think of this attempt to widen the net? I suppose the end result is that any “truly serious students” roped in by the website will eventually wind up in Oregon House, CA.

To close, “Here there are…only those who pursue one aim—-to be able to be.” GIG. I am impressed at how easy it is to assume this to be a profound statement of unassailable fact with deep meaning when in fact it is trivial and meaningless. The ability of Gurdjieff or any other con to make silliness appear profound is perhaps their greatest gift.

Bob Stolzle

275. Messages From Marconi - May 22, 2015


Gurdjieff – Becoming Conscious: “Good to hear from you Dingo W, thank you for the offer, I admire your valuation. People who decide to join the online community will have “Third Line” opportunities (activities that they engage in that help the community meet its aims, while they make efforts to Self Remember) as part of their participation, not immediately, but after a few months or so.”

276. nigel harris price - May 22, 2015

274 Robert Stolzle

I did not even bother to visit the Braverman site…..I could foresee it as convoluted rehashing of a vaguely clever sales gimmick…..you are correct…..we fell for it…..others will fall for a pretty cloak of other hues…..face it…..from Burton down, the FOF wants human fodder with money to waste on facile living practices…..Nigel.

277. fofblogmoderator - May 23, 2015

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