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Fellowship Of Friends/Fourth Way School/Living Presence Discussion – Page 149 June 22, 2015

Posted by fofblogmoderator in Uncategorized.

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

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

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

To visit the official site of The  Fellowship Of Friends;



1. fofblogmoderator - June 22, 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. brucelevy - June 22, 2015
3. brucelevy - June 22, 2015
4. Messages From Marconi - June 22, 2015
5. brucelevy - June 22, 2015

Cute. I guess you showed me.

6. brucelevy - June 23, 2015
7. Cathie L. - June 23, 2015

From before the jump:

238. brucelevy

“As I mentioned before…you put up with this shit, you deserve it.”

So we should all just take our marbles and go home?

239. brucelevy

“No different then remaining in the FOF after you know what is going on.”

I see a difference. If a disruptive individual succeeds in dominating the discussion to the point that he makes everyone go away, he has won.

It seems to me such people thrive on attention, even negative attention. Is it possible to just ignore them? I’m going to try it.

8. leaf - June 23, 2015

The use of the expression, “… he has won,” is somewhat telling. With psychopaths, you can’t “win.” The first step is not to play the game at all. Otherwise, it’s a never-ending circle of nonsense and bullshit that wastes everyone’s time. Regarding the thought of “going away,” the behavior of a psychopath on these pages does compel people to “go away,” or simply not to engage with them. Trying to make something constructive out of it plays right into their hands. They just up their game a bit and accelerate the abuse. This is why this particular poster has been shown the door on numerous occasions.

I agree with Bruce. IMO tolerating such nonsense here is very similar to tolerating the same silliness in the FOF. It’s healthy to walk away and leave it behind. There have been several different psychopaths on these pages, all of them trying to disrupt things in their own ways. The message occasionally becomes a little too clear — the FOF becomes exposed, and a stray follower might notice something that rings a little too true. So blurring the message helps Burton rest a little easier.

These pages are only worth my time and attention to the extent there’s anything substantial being conveyed. While people may have different opinions about what’s “substantial,” I’m personally only here to process and understand the truth about the Fellowship of Friends, and by extension draw some healthy benefits from acknowledging and processing that truth.

Burton would be smart to hire someone to just fuck with everyone here. But he apparently doesn’t need to. A handful of people have done well at keeping the attention away from Burton for quite a while. I’m not referring to many of the side topics that are quite interesting and are part of the shared experience of so many of us here. I’m referring to the idiotic arguments and verbal shenanigans. I realize it’s not always an easy call, but at some point, maybe it’s not a bad idea for the moderator to step in?

9. brucelevy - June 23, 2015

7. Cathie L.

In no way did I mean to suggest people take their marbles and go home. My suggestion is if people just keep quiet and put up with it it will continue, and in Greg’s case escalate enormously, as it invariably has each time in the past, including not just insults and ravings but physical threats.

10. nigel harris price - June 23, 2015

9. brucelevy

If I may be honest, I find you one of the most astute, yet acerbic, of blog posters here. Some posters it is fairly easy to see ‘their drift’ – a story from way-back FOF or using URL/links to make a point that would ‘sway the direction’ of the topic in hand. You, however, as the Irish would have it are ‘beyond the Pale (a tall fence that once defended Dublin – Google it!)’. It takes me about 2 days coming back again to ‘decipher your swerve balls’. And yet – so worthwhile ! I do not know how long you have been posting on this site (for me, I would say, at least 7 years, on-and-off since both my professional time and WWHHUUURRR ! Mental State have stood in the way and I would not give sparse efforts – I would rather give none at all). Your posts (including those to me) hit the Solar Plexus, knocking the recipient to the proverbial ground. But I do believe you will not try to undermine the positive work that bloggers are doing, usually trying to reconstruct their lifeforce. However . . . .

Muttonheady is something way beyond what most people can bear. I enjoy sparring with him but I would far rather relate compassionately, empathetically and humbly to other bloggers.


11. Mick - June 24, 2015

Excerpt from The Nature of the Ego and Its Termination
Part I – The Ego as the Center of Conflict

“Human consciousness would be nothing more than a repository for the accumulated imprints of varied experiences if it did not also contain the principle of ego-centered integration, which express itself in the attempt to organize and understand experience.

The ego emerges as an explicit and unfailing accompaniment to all the happenings of mental life in order to fulfill a certain need. The part played by the ego in human life may be compared to the function of ballast in a ship. The ballast in a ship keeps it from oscillating too much. Without it the ship is likely to be too light and unsteady and is in danger of being overturned by the lawless winds and waves. Thus mental energy would be caught up endlessly in the multitudinous mazes of dual experience and would all be wasted and dissipated if there were no provisional nucleus. The ego takes stock of all acquired experience and binds together the active tendencies born of the relatively independent and loose instincts inherited from animal consciousness. The formation of the ego serves the purpose of giving a certain amount of stability to conscious processes and also secures a working equilibrium, which makes for a planned and organized life.”

– A.M.B. circa 1940

12. nigel harris price - June 24, 2015

“All beauty comes from beautiful blood and a beautiful brain. If the greatnesses are in conjunction in a man or woman it is enough…the fact will prevail through the universe…but the gaggery and gilt of a million years will not prevail. Who troubles himself about his ornaments or fluency is lost. This is what you shall so: Love the earth and sun and the animals, despise riches, give alms to every one that asks, stand up for the stupid and crazy, devote your income and labor to others, hate tyrants, argue not concerning God, have patience and indulgence toward the people, take off your hat to nothing known or unknown or to any man or number of men, go freely with powerful uneducated persons and with the young and with the mothers of families, read these leaves in the open air every season of every year of your life, re-examine all you have been told at school or church or in any book, dismiss whatever insults your own soul, and your very flesh shall be a great poem and have the richest fluency not only in its words but in the silent lines of its lips and face and between the lashes of your eyes and in every motion and joint of your body…”
― Walt Whitman, Leaves of Grass

13. ton2u - June 24, 2015

12 – thank you nigel, beautiful expression of the ideal implied by the word “humanity.”

a quote from another of the so-called ‘transcendentalists’ :

“To laugh often and much; To win the respect of intelligent people and the affection of children; To earn the appreciation of honest critics and endure the betrayal of false friends; To appreciate beauty, to find the best in others; To leave the world a bit better, whether by a healthy child, a garden patch, or a redeemed social condition; To know even one life has breathed easier because you have lived. This is to have succeeded.”

R. W. Emerson

14. Ron aka Renald - June 24, 2015

re P 148 comment 51 – Messages From Marconi

Quote ¨ The anti-FOF blog might end up delivering more recruits to Burton than Asaf Braverman.
Does every unconscious effort really end up becoming its opposite after all? ¨
I know nothing about Asaf Braverman but as a general principle anything pushed against hard enough has to become bigger or worse. That includes both positives and negatives. There are no doubt a few exceptions, just enough to prove the rule, as they say.
It also matters not whether that pushing is conscious or not.
In case it needs clarification pushing against is applying energy.

15. Ron aka Renald - June 24, 2015

re. P. 148 Jomo Pinata June 04, 2015

quote – ¨ I think that while this formulation captures something true, it also leaves out something equally important, because it boxes up the blame inside the recruit and leaves out the influence of social context.
People cannot reason seriously when………………..¨

Obviously when we put the magnifying glass to the details of such processes they become easily visible. Yet how much of our lives whether it is the family programing, politics or social manipulations would stand the test of such scrutiny? As a father I catch myself every day on the verge of if not after the fact of making such unwise or stupid moves in a mechanical manner.

Apologist? Hell no, that has to do with the past. I am not the same person this year that I was last year. History means little to me except as relates to specific experiences and how I was able to deal with them then as compared to how I can relate to them now. Even that data is of limited value.

We create or co-create our reality. Why do we ?
Change is a constant. Why is it?
What is boredom and why does it feel how it does?
Sometimes we get good cards and lose and sometimes we get shitty cards and win. That is poker. Next hand !

16. leaf - June 25, 2015

“Sometimes we get good cards and lose and sometimes we get shitty cards and win.”

Sometimes “we” aren’t playing the game at all.

Burton was particularly fond of the “winning” vs. “losing” metaphor. Obviously, his spin was that anyone who leaves is a “loser” because they “lost” Influence C, the school, and so on. “We are winning,” he used to say. “Let us toast to our good luck,” he would also say, as though people were playing cards, and if the gods favored them they would be dealt a good hand.

(Of course, quite often 90% of the people in the room would eventually be leaving his cult, so I guess he wasn’t referring to them.)

On another topic, there’s a 2015 documentary that relates:

Going Clear: Scientology and the Prison of Belief


17. paul gregory - June 25, 2015

My mind keeps returning to this experience I had a few years ago, as the subject was on God, and also ego, earlier. For two or three months it’s been turning around in my head. The interesting aspect of it was that for the people I was traveling with it was suggested that experiencing the Darbar of Moinuddin Chishti would be strange and unexpected from the sense of western spirituality, and possible also like a bit of an acid trip. Why? He is credited as the Father of Islamic Sufism, if one imagines it has a predecessor.
I’d already gone ‘Goddy’ prior to this, simply walking to the place was incredible, seeing again poverty and such injury to make me think again of intentional ‘hobbling’ and disfigurement for the purpose of begging. But that would of been one impression in a great load of them. There is a video of a similar thing by the same lot, the ‘Bead’s on One String’ foundation that organized the trip. ‘Allah’, you hear them chant, but that is the ‘Bead’s’ group. They chant something for 15 minutes and then meditate for 10 prior to their encounter, or incorporate this routine somehow into it. ‘Forgiveness’ is what it was suggested we focus on, though I didn’t quite get why. I had a go.
(The place itself is perfect peace.)
Not very long after I was in the queue for this Darbar. The sanctity of the guy holding the wavy thing was for me without question. Like palms or feathers or something. it was like being in ‘Indiana Jones’. Never in all my days had I thought I’d have guy’s making that motion to me, along with everyone else, which I’m sure means something auspicious and nice. He gave me a red string tie for my wrist which I kept for ages and sometimes wore on my neck. But it was a bit itchy. Such things are treasures. (What came to mind when I wrote this was Cathie’s post, the one about the train journey, not that it was itchy or red in anyway, but that it was a treasure of similar proportion.)
An aspect of it’s unsettling nature lies in the nature of entry to this Darbar. I can’t think now why it seems so strange, but it is urgent. In some ways I am reminded of the pictures of Christmas Sales. You get pushed and prodded by the urgency of those around you, yet around this small space there is perfect peace and calm.
I was told it is the third holiest pilgrimage site to Muslims, or maybe some of them, but it seemed that I was in, therefore, someone’s queue for God. I was aware too of the fact that in that enclosed space would be a multitude of stories bordering on the miraculous or mystical or whatever. Family histories going back generations, all sorts.
Inside the Darbar there is no discontinuation from the urgency expressed of devout spiritual energy and conversation and consummation. Words can’t describe the energy of it. Guy’s still have the wavy things, like palms or something, and requests for cash for blessings, behind the tomb and a wooden barrier around it. I looked for a relatively still place where I could take stock but the corner was taken by guys, and was shocked, for some reason, to see them in tears, some of them. I hadn’t expected it though I’ve seen and experienced it before. There was nowhere for them to hide and no need of it. They’d come home or were had found their way to their God. As I recall I managed to make it to the next corner, and there I found a space to turn away from the tomb simply to experience the space and everything else for a moment, As I looked away, I recall it, meaning no offense, but more like a shy child. I did so knowing and intrigued by the fact that everything around me was divine, and just wanted to catch my spiritual breath to live it again, as it’s suggested you make three circuits. I made one before I got a tap on the back and to leave by a companion. I would of liked to of spent longer there. Turning away from it wasn’t how I wanted to leave it. We had a tight schedule.
My friend went again at 6:00 am in the morning. The experience was identical, she said. The urgency to get into that space, the crowded intensity, just as it had been twelve hours earlier or more. The crowd, I think, had more women in it. ‘Because they do the work’, I think she said. I wasn’t there, I had to rest. ‘Crowd’ is a poor word to describe those people, though, simply in the fact that it can’t contain more than about thirty or forty people in a state of transformation. Maybe if the people were considered a ‘prayer’.
I remember now, it seemed like a great trick to me. God, or Moinuddin Chishti or some Angel or something, had found a way to get this prayer back to himself, and really, it was just God talking to God. But then it would have to be, in every language and tone of expression under the sun.
The Jain temple I visited after this was like the night and day contrast, in a way. It’s the last time I ever really considered the concept ‘Cosmic’, as I had once understood the term ‘Cosmic Consciousness’.

18. paul gregory - June 25, 2015

16. leaf – June 25, 2015

If you ‘lose’ influence ‘C’ through leaving the ‘school’, then fuck ’em. If you have to pay for your connection, then all those heavenly people are also prostitutes, pimped out to you by The Lucky Butcher’s Boy. What a gamble. What a load of utter nonsense. It’s like putting one’s faith in a pork chop because it resembles Jesus.

19. nigel harris price - June 25, 2015

The Cassiopaean Experiment (site)

“Imagine – if you can – not having a conscience, none at all, no feelings of guilt or remorse no matter what you do, no limiting sense of concern for the well-being of strangers, friends, or even family members. Imagine no struggles with shame, not a single one in your whole life, no matter what kind of selfish, lazy, harmful, or immoral action you had taken.
And pretend that the concept of responsibility is unknown to you, except as a burden others seem to accept without question, like gullible fools.
Now add to this strange fantasy the ability to conceal from other people that your psychological makeup is radically different from theirs. Since everyone simply assumes that conscience is universal among human beings, hiding the fact that you are conscience-free is nearly effortless.
You are not held back from any of your desires by guilt or shame, and you are never confronted by others for your cold-bloodedness. The ice water in your veins is so bizarre, so completely outside of their personal experience, that they seldom even guess at your condition.
In other words, you are completely free of internal restraints, and your unhampered liberty to do just as you please, with no pangs of conscience, is conveniently invisible to the world.
You can do anything at all, and still your strange advantage over the majority of people, who are kept in line by their consciences will most likely remain undiscovered.
How will you live your life?”

20. Shard of Oblivion - June 25, 2015

There has recently been some discussion of what the blog is for. The discussion itself has a recursive quality( i.e. one of the things the blog could be for, is discussing what the blog is for). The history is as Whalerider related, The Sheik of Confusion started a blog after attending a prospective student meeting run by Robert Taylor, which unleashed a torrent of personal stories which exposed the rotten core of Burton’s so called school. The original Sheik moved on, and the structure remains, for anyone to use.
Personally I see it as a fun place to share memories. In as much as I deplore the tactics Burton employs to entangle new recruits, I consider it a contribution to make fun of Burton (there was a complete absence of that within the FoF I recall, and it helped enthrall his minions), to unpick the irrational and mistaken nature of the metaphysical underpinnings of the FoF and to warn against the possible psychological problems that can follow from practicing one of the two main FoF techniques i.e. separation/non-identification, which I experienced as de-personalisation.

21. ton2u - June 25, 2015

RE: cult programming, “separating” and depersonalization / derealization.

I remember:

Toward the end of my FOF “tenure”, living at the funny-farm, drinking heavily, evening dinners occupied by back and forth forays to the wine table at the “Lincoln Lodge” – I liked suggesting to the server to “pour it with a loose elbow.”

In hindsight, this behavior was an attempt to suppress the sordid truth and reality of the situation; being trapped in a cult, in thrall to a perverted, greedy “hasnamus” and with no apparent way out.

I see now, this heavy drinking was not a “conscious” strategy at the time but I did “escape” temporarily by drinking to excess, sometimes until I blacked-out.

To leave wife and friends was hard enough but believing in the cult program of “eternal damnation” and condemned to life on the moon for anyone losing the school, meant for me that there was really no way out…. that is, until I gathered what courage I could and then just jumped into the unknown…. But I’ve already told that story.

I can remember coming home to the double wide trailer which my (then) wife and I shared with another FOF couple, I was worked up over something, don’t remember what but in a drunken rage… I remember walking past a mirror, seeing my reflection and screaming: “that’s not me!”

“Symptoms can be classified as either depersonalization or derealization. Depersonalization is described as feeling disconnected or estranged from one’s body, thoughts, or emotions. Individuals experiencing depersonalization may report feeling as if they are in a dream or are watching themselves in a movie. They may feel like an outside observer of their own thoughts or body, and often report feeling a loss of control over their thoughts or actions. In some cases, individuals may be unable to accept their reflection as their own…”


22. nigel harris price - June 25, 2015

We’re on psychistics, dizzodours and general phenomenologisms. It can lead you somewhere if you are careful where your ‘cosmic feet tread’. Gurdjieff (I know, charlatan par excellence!) stated – “The primary aim is to become normal. Then work on BECOMING IS POSSIBLE. Before we all go Mezagogs from Macaroni against my obviously INDEFENSIBLE MOOD DISORDER (kept in check – at least the racing thoughts and anger management – by bucketloads of psychotropic drugs – don’t worry I relate back and they are monitored), I have fought a battle MAINLY WITH MYSELF, but needing sympathetic and not textbook specialists.


23. nevasayneva - June 25, 2015

Re 20 Shard
I agree- its good place to share some memories, and shed some light on FOF for unsuspecting people who may be researching FOF.

I have a question – do people think that on’e likelihood of managing to exit FOF decrease the longer one is in it?

I was in for about 20 years. I would love to ascribe my exit to my strength of character and re-wakening of my critical faculties. Well maybe but many circumstances – financial, emotional and otherwise -came together and I stopped writing checks every month. Before I knew it I was out. Woo hoo! A curious thing because it was v simple- just stop writing the check, but also kind of difficult. But maybe because I was in too long. I lost all my friends when I left, and in a way I have really not made a single friend since i left about 5 years ago. My relationship with my family is much worse and more distant now, since I think a certain amount of evasion and intentional insincerity (aka lying) that was keeping that connection in place when I was in FOF is now gone. Having said that leaving FOF was the BEST thing I did for my emotional, physical and mental health that I did in at least 15 years.

I still have friends who have been in 20, 30 etc years. I see them maybe once or twice a year tops. I of course think its a good idea if they got out, but I never mention it to them. I sort of see it as quite unlikely that you would leave if you have been in >20 but a bit more possible if you are only in <10 or <5….
I suppose its obvious, your roots are deeper after 10-20 years in.

Do people think that is true?

24. Ames Gilbert - June 26, 2015

On the last page, MFM had a link to a Facebook page featuring folks who are interested in the 4th Way. I had a look around, and came across what I thought was a rather interesting video (thanks, MFM!):

Readers who are interested in exploring how hard it is to change habits, physical or mental, might gain insights viewing this video, which documents an interesting experiment about learning just one common skill (though actually very complex, made up of lots of assorted sub-routines, as you will see), then the difficulty of unlearning it.

After all, the majority of those who joined the FoF were persuaded that the best way forward, the Work, consisted of ‘re-programming oneself’, and worked very hard at it. How long did it take to learn to see the world in these recommended new ways? Did we learn just one skill, or many? Were these skills spread across many parts of our minds? How hard were we willing to study exactly what was happening, the process—while it was occurring? What were our chances of successfully reversing this after we left if we hadn’t studied how the original changes were made at the time, or had accurate memories from that time of the process? What were the chances we had ‘caught everything’ (covered every area of change) if we did try to ‘de-program’ ourselves? And does it matter, anyway?

Segueing right into the question that Nevasayneva posed about friendships:
I happen to be in London right now, looking after my brother, who is recovering from an operation to have a cancerous kidney and other bits and pieces removed. I left in 1979, and believe me, this city has changed a lot! One thing that occurred to me was to try to meet old friends, and a few days ago I met up with someone who joined the FoF with me in 1978, and who left after four years. It was an amazing and emotional experience, not the least because we basically were able to pick up where we left off all those years ago. Despite the wrinkles (of character and experience, of course!), we latched on to what was underneath, and part of that was the commonality of the FoF part of our lives. We even used the 4th Way language, and also some of the FoF “add–ons” (by that, I mean the peculiar interpretations and usage that helped in the ‘re–programming’ I wrote about above). We also admitted that, though we had new friends, they were few and far between, and even fewer with which one could have a conversation like we were having right then and at the level of what we felt we were communicating.

So, my experience mirrors Nevasayneva’s in some respects, but not in others. One big difference is that I had already shed the majority of my ‘friends’ in the FoF by the time I had left (I was a follower for 16 years). That was for a very basic reason: I had learned the hard way, one by one, that I simply couldn’t trust them. I could go so far in revealing my doubts about Burton or the FoF, for example, but this had to be couched in humorous or lightly sarcastic terms. There was an unspoken but experiential convention amongst us that established the limits. If I went further, then ‘somehow’ such a conversation got reported back to the authorities, and I got hauled in to explain myself or more usually to have some ‘task’ imposed on me. After a while, I became ‘dangerous’ to be around, and folks would learn to quickly change the subject if it veered in the ‘wrong direction’. Anyway, I got the message about the boundaries, and I also learned to be suspicious—not a good basis for enduring friendship.

Since the FoF, the fact is, ex–FoFers are my best friends. However, these are the friends I made as I was leaving, and some who left before me. At the same time, I find it difficult to be in groups of ex–followers, because the conversation inevitably turns to the FoF experience, and I find that dispiriting. I have made other friends, people I love and respect, but I seem to only be able to go so far and so deep before the communication, at least in words, fails. The great thing, though, there are other ways to communicate appreciation, and gratitude, and love.

Mixed in with these thoughts are many about family and upbringing. Of course, my brother is facing his mortality in a real and immediate sense. I ask myself, what is our connection, what are the bonds made of, why can we go so deep and not deeper despite the urgency. His situation has brought together we four brothers (aged from 59 to 72) from all over the world, briefly together for the first time since 1984! And we find ourselves virtual strangers in many ways, yet the commonality of our childhoods and upbringing is a very powerful glue. Is that glue just a bunch of habits and common indoctrination into the family and thence into the societal soup? Unlike Nevasayneva, my relations forgave me for my trespasses against them while I was in the FoF. It helped that I asked for forgiveness, told them everything, answered all questions, admitted that the FoF was a cult, and that I was wayward in disregarding their advice (which, from the first, was, “run, don’t walk!” from this organization).

25. WhaleRider - June 26, 2015

Thank you for your heartfelt and thoughtful post, it made me shed a few tears. You touched upon many issues for me, and I appreciate that you are still here.

The synchronicity inspired me to post. At the moment I am in Florida, visiting my mother and stepfather. My stepfather is 90 years old now and has Alzheimer’s. I came here with my kids to give my mother emotional support who is totally stressed out having to deal with a person whom she loves and who is losing control of his mind and bodily functions. She in turn is teaching me great compassion.

When I read Nevasayneva’s post I felt saddened about their lost relationships with their family. I wanted to reach out and suggest that that they do everything within their power to restore connections with their family members while their family members are still alive, which for me was crucial in healing damaged aspects of myself from the cult, although I was only in for six years. In doing so, I felt less alienated in the non-cult world, and that is the first place I started upon leaving the cult, besides going back to University to obtain a college degree. My strained relationship with my father is what I feel made me vulnerable to burton’s advances in the first place, and I feel fortunate that I was able to reconnect with my father before he died.

At the same time, I was feeling inhibited by MFM’s demand that we “shut up” about our personal lives, which, to be honest, is what I enjoy most about the blog, along with the informative links provided by ton2u.

Many thanks to Bruce for standing up to MFM.

It seems that MFM has either been quietly banned, or has retreated into the wings gathering more data in order to pounce again.

As much as I am irritated by MFM, I also understand what is going on with him. Imagine being stuck in a personality loop that requires you to see the weaknesses in others and attract only other people’s negativity toward you?

IMO, MFM’s self concept was so damaged during his life that he preemptively attacks other’s egos to elicit their ire, in order to unconsciously validate his own self loathing, and then attempts to turn their ire back at them to bolster and protect his own ego. This is how he attempts to manipulate others to feel his feelings for him, IMO, inherent in the Borderline Personality Disorder, which he disregards as ‘psycho-babble”.

I imagine he doesn’t have many friends and feels alienated, too, which is why he keeps coming back. I feel the same, yet for different reasons, and can empathize with him to a degree.

Attacking burton is one of the ways MFM can express himself here and experience his jouissance without having negativity directed back at him because burton cannot or chooses not to respond.

What MFM doesn’t want to see about himself is what it means to be so irritated by others when they talk about themselves. It is not because the “ego” is worthless, it’s because he feels worthless and wants to level the playing field if anyone here displays the least bit of self esteem. I’ve seen this happen in group therapy many times.

For the rest of us, posting about ourselves is a healthy form of self-validation, harming nobody, and severely lacking in a cult.

I think of MFM’s personality style as a clock that is frozen in time, yet seeks to exploit the fact that he is right twice a day. The above video that Ames posted from MFM’s Facebook page is case in point, and I recommend it.

Both Ames and MFM are right; it illustrates what it feels like to leave a cult and attempt to reintegrate into society. At first it feels awkward negotiating relationships with others that seem by cult standards to be so “shallow and meaningless”, but then it clicks. The part of the reintegration process that clicked for me was to consider everyone as my equal, even those whom might irritate me, and stop trying to evaluate other people’s “level of being” or depth of sleep. Everyone has issues, myself included! So what? Nobody is perfect.

I value those whom continue to post here, however they choose to do so. I am also thankful for the connection to a group of thoughtful and sincere individuals who aren’t here to exploit my weaknesses.

26. ton2u - June 26, 2015

page 148 – 235. Messages From Marconi – June 22, 2015

“Shut up about yourselves–no one but you cares at this point.
What’s the cult up to?”

The past shapes the present… directly and indirectly. So one answer to the question “what’s the cult up to” is reflected in what it WAS up to.

It’s not true that no one cares about personal stories at this point… thanks Ames, your post resonated with something in me, thanks to all posters for posting, and especially to recent posts by Bruce, leaf, SoO, nhp, nevasyneva, and whalerider (I am sorry for jumping on you a couple pages back when you were relating your dream work here – I think personal accounts are the heart and soul of this site – even if not directly related to the cult – apologies if my interaction stifled that process).

I ‘joined’ the cult at 22 and left 5 years later… it’s not a long time comparatively, but it is 5 years out of my life at a crucial (early) stage in adult development.

My stint in the cult should have been even shorter, you see I had already “lost the school” a couple of years prior to actually leaving but it took a while to physically remove myself. Leaving wife, friends and social support provided by the cult was made even more difficult due to living at the “ranch” for a number of years and ‘dutifully’ severing all ties with family and friends outside the cult – like a good little cultist should.

So I had nowhere to go, no way to support myself and no social support outside of the cult.

I ended up for a brief time in the emergency ward of a psychiatric hospital in SF, I told the doctors there my story and not knowing what else to do for someone in my predicament, with no support, they sent me to a halfway house for recovering alcoholics and drug addicts. During my entrance exam with the director of the halfway house, she left the office for a minute and I walked, no – I RAN out of there… I knew ‘instinctively’ it was not the right place to be and chose instead to live on the mean streets of SF. (I digress… this is another story already posted here on back pages).

One lesson in this… and there are many – severing ties to family and friends is part of the calculus of cult control.

While in the cult, I did stay briefly at “the blake cottage,” assuming that direct contact by living with “the teacher” would speed my imagined “evolution.” It makes me a little bit sick to think now about my own motives in this – there are of course the natural tendencies of naivete and foolishness in youth, that’s almost excusable – what makes me sick is to see the role my own vanity and narcissism played in all of this and how that fed into burton’s ‘system.’

After an inside, up-close, and personal look at what burton was up to in the “inner circle of humanity” – what a joke… more like the inner circle of depravity – I checked out of the blake cottage, and I checked out of the FOF emotionally. I might have stayed in the cult much longer if I hadn’t been hit over the head with that 2×4.

In spite of checking out emotionally, I went back to live with my (then) wife and remained in the FOF for a few more years.

After leaving I had frequent dreams about the FOF, one recurring theme had to do with trying to “infiltrate” the cult to see friends and ex-wife. There was always an overtone of danger in being recognized, being caught, a feeling of dread and the ‘dire’ consequences of an ex-member being caught by the cult. I think this has to do with cult programming and the stigma attached to leaving and being anathema. I still have the occasional dream of trying to get away from a lascivious image of blow-job-bobby burton.

After leaving it took a long time to even get back on my feet, much longer to begin moving forward. Over the years I did manage to reconcile the estrangement with parents (rest in peace dear souls)… but the relationship ever after was somewhat strained. Relationship with four siblings is still strained at best and mostly non-existent…. once ties are severed it seems it’s never the same, that part of personal history, perceived as a type of betrayal, is always present.

How now to judge or determine the ‘invisible’ emotional damage done by cult experience when it so obviously impacts lives, and not just the lives of cultists’ or ex-cultists’ but family and friends as well.

In many ways I haven’t unlearned the cult experience… in hindsight, I see that I went into the cult with a seeming innate trust of the universe – it might be called naivete’ – but there was an ‘openness’ there that’s gone.

Now I have an issue with trust and unfortunately that impacts how I relate myself to other people. What I have learned from my ‘mistakes’ in this regard involves trust, specifically not to trust – not to trust myself, not to trust other people. (There is of course a balance to strike as far as that goes, some folks are not to be trusted).

Once upon a time, long ago I did innately ‘trust the universe’ – and what happened ? A humiliating, debilitating kick in the crotch followed by a long rocky road to any semblance of recovery from the episode. In hindsight, and in a way of course the universe was ‘right’ – ‘it’ always is – I was shown my own vanity and narcissism in no uncertain terms…. but the lingering effects of cult immersion means that I have an issue with trust.

I think the rest of my time here on terra plane will involve re-balancing by unlearning a distrust that came of the FOF episode. The past shapes the present… and the future.

27. nigel harris price - June 26, 2015

These past few posts brought to mind my father, who is 90 this August. He, a lifelong financier and myself, a financially failing craftsman. As you can tell, much acrimony…..

Do not go gentle into that good night

Dylan Thomas, 1914 – 1953

Do not go gentle into that good night,
Old age should burn and rave at close of day;
Rage, rage against the dying of the light.

Though wise men at their end know dark is right,
Because their words had forked no lightning they
Do not go gentle into that good night.

Good men, the last wave by, crying how bright
Their frail deeds might have danced in a green bay,
Rage, rage against the dying of the light.

Wild men who caught and sang the sun in flight,
And learn, too late, they grieved it on its way,
Do not go gentle into that good night.

Grave men, near death, who see with blinding sight
Blind eyes could blaze like meteors and be gay,
Rage, rage against the dying of the light.

And you, my father, there on the sad height,
Curse, bless, me now with your fierce tears, I pray.
Do not go gentle into that good night.
Rage, rage against the dying of the light.

28. nigel harris price - June 26, 2015

Just “to apply scale and relativity”…..

29. nevasayneva - June 26, 2015

re 26 Whalerider.
thanks for the post. I feel quite a few people on here are doing what you say:
“For the rest of us, posting about ourselves is a healthy form of self-validation, harming nobody, and severely lacking in a cult.”

Re my family. I don’t feel at all sad about pretty much what is from my perception the uniform cold shoulder that i have got from my family in these last years since I left FOF. it is a little bit Karma coming around- all those years in FOF ~20, I was “doing my own thing” . I can hardly expect them to turn around and make a space for me.

The first few years out of FOF, I did make attempts to reconnect, visit them etc. And I still do. However i think at a certain point there is only so much reaching out you can do, and if the other party make it clear that they see the connection in the category of “Christmas card once a year”- that is what they want, and you have to respect that and get on with your own life, enjoy it as much as you can.
It is not emotionally healthy to sort of try and create an emotional connection which is not reciprocated. When i realized that, I sort of no longer felt in the least bit sad about it.

30. nigel harris price - June 26, 2015

Thought I would get away from it all, or have the bastards always been after me with that XTC drug ? …..

31. nigel harris price - June 26, 2015

“The key is to keep company only with people who uplift you, whose presence calls forth your best.”
― Epictetus

32. nigel harris price - June 26, 2015

“How long are you going to wait before you demand the best for yourself and in no instance bypass the discriminations of reason? You have been given the principles that you ought to endorse, and you have endorsed them. What kind of teacher, then, are you still waiting for in order to refer your self-improvement to him? You are no longer a boy, but a full-grown man. If you are careless and lazy now and keep putting things off and always deferring the day after which you will attend to yourself, you will not notice that you are making no progress, but you will live and die as someone quite ordinary.
From now on, then, resolve to live as a grown-up who is making progress, and make whatever you think best a law that you never set aside. And whenever you encounter anything that is difficult or pleasurable, or highly or lowly regarded, remember that the contest is now: you are at the Olympic Games, you cannot wait any longer, and that your progress is wrecked or preserved by a single day and a single event. That is how Socrates fulfilled himself by attending to nothing except reason in everything he encountered. And you, although you are not yet a Socrates, should live as someone who at least wants to be a Socrates.”
― Epictetus

33. Parson Yorick - June 26, 2015

Re: Ton #26. That really resonates. I joined at 31 and stayed for 4 1/2 years, more or less. I also stayed at the Blake Cottage until I was “uninvited.” I never moved to Rennaissance, but held on to my “day job,” so leaving, when it came time, was not so very difficult. I was friends with the late Susan W. and a few others, who never spoke to me afterward. (Fortunately, I managed to avoid all the psych wards in SF and elsewhere.) My dreams involving the FOF over the years have been of the same “infiltrating” sort, as you describe. A female student once intimated to me about Burton’s preferences, saying that REB tended to lose interest in men who dated women students. With the “gossip exercise” that was about as close as anyone dared to approach actually saying that REB was gay. I didn’t know for sure about that until in the mid 80s (after I’d left) newspaper articles about lawsuits started showing up in the SF Chronicle. Then I knew, and I knew that I SHOULD have known much sooner!

34. leaf - June 26, 2015

Nigel 12, 31, and 32 – awesome.

35. ton2u - June 27, 2015

Parson Yorick 33

Re: psych wards – and other misadventures… I wasn’t ‘committed’ or even admitted to the psych ward or anything like that. I was in the emergency room after what I called at the time a sort of “nervous breakdown” (which was more like and emotional breakdown). Directly after leaving the cult I wandered the streets of SF, I found a free newspaper called “Utopian Eyes” in “the Haight” published and circulated by these folks: http://www.kerista.com/index.php

I went to a few of their meetings which were very different than anything I’d experienced in the FOF… there was an open dialogue, a real democratic process, ‘gestalt’ techniques were in play, there was a sense of shared leadership and especially a sense of humor to the whole thing. So I fell in with the “Keristan Islanders” for a brief period, lived in one of their “pods” until this emotional meltdown caught up with me.

I was crying uncontrollably for no apparent reason…. I think it had to do with the whole situation, “the horror” of what I’d done, my part in my (then) wife’s coerced abortion, realizing the mind-fuck of the cult in general, my complicity in it, my stupidity, gullibility… I was confused with the difficulty of leaving wife and friends behind, the difficulty of the encounter with a very different sort of support group… all factors contributing to my emotional state.

Anyway, the folks in the house where I stayed didn’t know what to do when I melted down, they tried to help me process things but I wasn’t able to verbalize what was going on inside me at the time… it was all too much. So they dropped me at the emergency room and that was the end of my involvement with the Keristan Islanders.

After the psyche doctors looked me over and questioned me, I went to the halfway house referred to before… quickly fleeing that situation I had no recourse but to live on the streets, staying in homeless shelters for a period of time, that was ‘rock bottom’ – from there I had no where else to go but up.

36. nigel harris price - June 27, 2015

35 ton2u

…..reaching NADIR then LIFTING (or even as some find it BEING LIFTED) brings humility, leading to empathy and compassion. I do not know why it has to be for some people (myself as one) as others have ‘a cruise’ through life. Can you ‘feel’ how you were, how you are now and REALIZE ?

37. WhaleRider - June 27, 2015

Thanks for sharing your story. You have certainly made an amazing and hard won comeback from your psychospiritual crisis, my friend, and I know you are not alone.

I agree that our personal stories are the heart and soul of the blog…not subject to debate. And there is plenty of room for all.

I care more hearing about you than hearing what the cult is up to.

38. ton2u - June 27, 2015

36 Thanks Nige,

“Bootstrapping” aside… without uplifting support and loving kindness from a few ‘earth angels’ during that episode, I wouldn’t have made it.

39. nigel harris price - June 27, 2015

From Responsibilities

The Coming of Wisdom with Time

William Butler Yeats

Though leaves are many, the root is one;
Through all the lying days of my youth
I swayed my leaves and flowers in the sun;
Now I may wither into the truth.

40. nigel harris price - June 27, 2015


by James Blunt

She said to me, “Go steady on me.
Won’t you tell me what the Wise Men said?
When they came down from Heaven,
Smoked nine ’til seven,
All the shit that they could find,
But they couldn’t escape from you,
Couldn’t be free of you,
And now they know there’s no way out,
And they’re really sorry now for what they’ve done,
They were three Wise Men just trying to have some fun.”

Look who’s alone now,
It’s not me. It’s not me.
Those three Wise Men,
They’ve got a semi by the sea.
Got to ask yourself the question,
Where are you now?

Really sorry now,
They weren’t to know.
They got caught up in your talent show,
With you pernickety little bastards in your fancy dress,
Who just judge each other and try to impress,
But they couldn’t escape from you,
Couldn’t be free of you,
And now they know there’s no way out,
And they’re really sorry now for what they’ve done,
They were three Wise Men just trying to have some fun.

Look who’s alone now,
It’s not me. It’s not me.
Those three Wise Men,
They’ve got a semi by the sea.
Got to ask yourself the question,
Where are you now?

41. ton2u - June 27, 2015

37 Thanks WhaleRider. I know my “horror story” is mild in comparison with others… some didn’t made it out alive, Kimo B, Brian S… Anthony (?) come to mind – no doubt there are others.

The process of leaving was difficult, more difficult than I could have imagined before jumping the FOF ship. I almost gave up, it would have been easy simply swirl the drain and just let go of life. But obviously I didn’t completely give up or I wouldn’t be here to tell about it.

I managed to get work in SF painting houses, and I developed some friendships with coworkers… I remember relating recent history in the cult to one of these friends – Wayne. Not knowing how else to describe the experience I said that living at the “ranch” was a lot like a “concentration camp.”

I described the harsh daily work routines and conditions, laboring from dawn to dusk under the relentless, blistering california sun, almost no pay and no monetary resources for escape, working 7 days a week and working late into the evenings on various “octaves” at the “lincoln lodge” – and of course on the intellectual / mental level there was cult programming dictatating a focused concentration on “the work” and learning/practicing “the system” – which all good little students endeavored to do.

All this really was really about controlling the sheep. In hindsight, admittedly the fences that kept us in were not made of barbed wire, they were invisible self-reinforced barriers based on cult conditions and conditioning.

So describing it to Wayne as a “concentration camp” seemed like a somewhat apt description at the time…. being older and wiser and having traveled a rough road himself he brought a little ‘relativity’ to this perception saying: “Well… it wasn’t Auschwitz or Dachau… and at least you didn’t join the Marines.”

42. nigel harris price - June 27, 2015

41 ton2u

Dear Traveller of the Cosmos. There is really nothing wrong with ‘opening up’ and SHOWING VULNERABILITY. I told my lady friend Claire about my suicide attempt and that the surgeon who sewed up my wrists was named Dr Hand…..she has seen her daughter and old partner die, seen colleagues die in ‘the field of conflict…..she takes everything in her stride and her tough ex-Army exterior will, now and again, give way to a wistful smile and a certain ‘Truth About The World’. There is a beautiful mass crematorium in Spain called “Valle de los Callados” that is Valley of the Fallen and the Viking Paradise is “Valhalla” – Hall of the Slain.

The Bible has much crap contained in it, but one beautiful phrase goes…..

“The race is not to the swift, nor the battle to the strong”.

Thinking about your courage and wishing you angels’ guidance……


I know no one and nothing dies – life by its very nature is eternal.

43. Parson Yorick - June 27, 2015

When I left, first I moved out of the “Teaching House” where I was living, and then I stopped making “Teaching Payments.” I kept my job with Pacific Bell and moved into an apartment with a co-worker whose wife had recently left him. Soon the reason for her leaving him became pretty clear; this co-worker of mine was a gun buff and an alcoholic. Not a real good combo, but at least he had no connection with the FOF. A FOF “student” whom I respected and trusted arranged to meet me at a coffehouse in the Pruneyard shopping center and we discussed my intention to “leave the school.” That was about 4 1/2 years after I’d joined and it was my last official contact with the FOF. A few months later I was promoted at work and got a hefty (50%) raise. The new problem became what to do with all the extra time and money. For a while my solution was to spend more of both in various Los Gatos bars. I had a few interesting chance encounters with other former students and attended one “reunion” type gathering. Then I mostly ignored the FOF until a couple of years ago. I noticed that Abe Goldman (whom I’d known in the Chicago Centre) was listed as deceased on the State Bar website, so that aroused my curiosity. I also learned from a musicians’ website that Michael Godwin had died in an auto accident. I began looking around on the internet to find out what the hell was going on. That is when I found this and other blogs. I feel quite fortunate that I never went on staff at Renaissance. I don’t think I ever realized how bad conditions were for the people there.

44. Fee fi fo fum - June 28, 2015

41 ton2u

You mentioned Kimo and Brian S. There was also Kevin. I read about Kevin’s suicide on this blog, maybe through a post by Ames. Tragic tale. He complied with the directives of REB and the FF, and an indirect result was the closing off of viable avenues for him to make a living. That’s the impression I got.

There’s a lesson there somewhere, having to do with REB’s and the FF’s emphasis on obedience and the giving up of one’s own sense of right and wrong, one’s common sense, one’s values, one’s family and friends outside of the FF. The externally pleasant lifestyle with its gloss of refinement and pseudo-culture lulls FF students into the belief that they are somehow living a life that is superior to anyone else and that they think brings them closer to “essence”. The result is a dependency on the FF for almost everything that means anything in one’s life.

45. nigel harris price - June 28, 2015

Fellowship of Friends…..posing, mind-bending, unfeeling, country ladies and gentlemen…..may they GO DOWN IN HISTORY !

46. Robert Stolzle - June 28, 2015

Fee Fi–#44

How apt! I think you nailed the “modus operandi” of RB and the FoF. It seems most all cults fill an emotional void in their victims and then expand to control their lives completely—-and it’s very insidious.

I never severed ties with family or life friends. For me the FoF was sort of like being a Mason or something and when I left after “only” four years, it wasn’t anything like the trauma ton 2 u and others suffered. Your perseverance and determination are admirable. It is quite amazing to me how ideas can be bent and perverted to suit a psychopath’s needs…..it is like a sleight of hand magician making things (like parts of ones’ life) disappear.

Bob Stolzle

47. Ron Brisson, aka Renald - June 28, 2015

” Musk noted via Twitter that the rocket “experienced a problem shortly before first stage shutdown.” The company had hoped to land the first-stage booster on an ocean platform, off the north Florida coast, in a test of rocket reusability. Previous efforts had failed.
Launch spectators lining the beaches near Cape Canaveral were confused, at first, by the unexpected plumes in the sky.
“It looked fine until it was almost out of sight. And then, a poof of smoke,” said Whitney Jackson of Palm Beach, Florida, watching with her family. “Everyone was cheering and clapping. No one knew it meant failure.”
Sunday, by the way, was Musk’s 44th birthday. Synchronicity is a wonderful phenomenon. Get used to it. Much much more to come.
I have witnessed so much in just the last week that it could easily fill a book, lol.

48. ton2u - June 28, 2015

47 huh?

49. Parson Yorick - June 28, 2015

47: 44.

50. Fee fi fo fum - June 28, 2015

46 Bob

Some people bought into the FF “package” more than others. The longer one stays, the harder it may be to leave. There were plenty of FF students who were skeptical of REB’s predictions, but there was the scare tactic of looking like an unbeliever, and thus, being part of the “outer circle.”

Underneath the gloss of the FF’s “fine impressions” lifestyle (fine dining, language with no profanity, uniformity of no-sex-leaks dressing, a seeming commonality of values and language), there is the dynamic of a mind-controlling machinery that starts from the top. The dynamic is a subtle, and sometimes not so subtle, process of taking something away from the student, and putting something in its place. All sorts of freedoms are removed when one joins the FF and starts to trust the FF and REB.

Sometimes I think, how is it that a FF student allows themselves to believe such nonsense, such as REB’s predictions, or put up with meetings that aren’t even worthy of the name “meetings”, or the constant demand for large amounts of money when it’s obvious that it’s being wasted on, say, REB’s wardrobe or expensive wine for his satyr parties or yet another futile project on the property. You ask yourself how a student can accept that, month after month, year after year, until 10, 20, 30 or more years pass. It helps to realize that it’s not entirely about a student’s having the poor judgement to keep trusting REB and the FF. Rather, the mind-controlling dynamic has slowly crept in and governs the person, and the FF becomes a self-enforcing prison.

51. Cathie L. - June 29, 2015

How I Left the School and Got a Life

In 1984-85, I was working at a law office in Marysville. One of the attorneys there was working with the FOF on defending the suit that had been been filed by Sanders et al. I had access to privileged information, depositions, by which I learned what had “allegedly” been going on at the Blake Cottage/Galeria. I put “allegedly” in quotes because it was intuitively clear to me that these allegations were true.

I had lived in the Court of the Caravans in the late 1970s, before the Blake Cottage was torn down. I remember seeing young male students walking back and forth from the cottage on the road to the Lincoln Lodge, or outside my caravan window, cutting across the field in the small hours of the morning. At the time I thought nothing of it, but when I read the depositions, one of which was by a man I personally knew, it all started to fall into place. Prior to that, I had absolutely no idea what was going on. I remember thinking what a hypocrite Robert was, with all anti-infrasex exercises like “no sex before marriage” and “no relationships for one year after ending one.” I had thought he was celibate! Poor little fool, oh yeah, I was a fool, oh yeah.

I left in 1985, around the time MB left. I moved to the Bay Area where my parents had a home; I hadn’t severed all ties with them, fortunately. I got a job at a law firm in San Francisco, where another FOF student happened to work. Thank goodness for networking!

[Coincidentally with post #47 about the failed rocket launch today, I was working at this San Francisco law firm when the space shuttle Challenger exploded in January 1986. I remember the employees assembling in the conference room to watch the newscast, and the sense of deep sorrow and shock I felt, especially about Christa McAuliffe’s death. Another story….]

MB held a large meeting for former students around that time (late 1985- early 1986?) He spoke to the group about his reasons for leaving, but I can’t recall what he said. Maybe what he said was, “I’m not going to talk about my reasons for leaving.”

He announced that he intended to start a series of small groups if anyone was interested, to continue discussing the Fourth Way ideas that he felt had value, whatever could be salvaged from the wreckage, I guess. He seemed to want to continue teaching. I signed up for the groups and went to several meetings at MB’s apartment in San Francisco. This was extremely valuable to me as a way of processing the departure from the cult and maintaining some kind of connection with ideas I still believed were useful, and with people who shared an interest in them. Eventually I moved on.

In the mid-1990s, Stella started an email group for former members on a toadhall.com listserv (some of you Internet old-timers may remember what a listserv is!) There was a lot of material “processed” there as well. One project that grew out of Stella’s list was a chapbook of poetry by list members. It was called Virtual Exposure. I still have a copy of it. In 1995, someone from the toadhall list published a directory, with names, former names, and addresses, an interesting bit of FOF history and memorabilia, which I also still have.

Ames wrote above (#24): “We also admitted that, though we had new friends, they were few and far between, and even fewer with which one could have a conversation like we were having right then and at the level of what we felt we were communicating.”

That’s true for me too. You had to be there to really understand it. The ties run deep. Maybe that’s something many former cult members, and perhaps soldiers, survivors of concentration camps and other shared trauma, have in common.

52. Robert Stolzle - June 29, 2015

Cathie L.

What a nice coincidence…..higher forces at work, I’m sure!
(Ah say, that’s a joke, son!) I was just going through my books, in order to divest myself of the Fourth Way collection—about 80 lbs. worth—and found some old publications of Harold and Stella’s called “The Wirkshop” from early 1986 that had been sent to me by Horace Carter, one of my best FoF friends.

Trying to find some of the folks I knew “way back when” is one of the reasons I follow this blog. In this regard, the effort has been a failure. Is there any chance of you e-mailing or posting a copy of the directory you mentioned in your last posting. Barring that could you see if there are any listings for Horace Carter, Kathryn Gearhart (now Smith), Fran Connolly, Peggy MacLemore, Tim Buckley, Marlane Dassman or Wayne Hunter. There are others, but the names have faded over the last thirty-some years. If there is anyone posting here that I “was in with” that would care to correspond, you know where to find me.

It seems that one common thread in the conversation here is “life after the FoF”. In that regard, I can say that although leaving took a real effort, that life afterward was good. I’ve had a good career as a petroleum geologist and am still working, more for the social contact than financial need. Had children, now grown, two wives–still married, and, as Jimmy Buffet sings in the “Captain and the Kid” (or something like that, I think) “Some of it’s magic, some of it tragic, but I’ve had a good life all the way.” Yes, there is life after the FoF and you can keep all the Fourth Way that you want and discard the rest when you leave. You will again be the captain of your ship.

Bob Stolzle

53. Cathie L. - June 29, 2015

Bob –

I checked my little 1995 directory and none of those names are in it, sorry.

The Greater Fellowship site might provide some leads for you. Best of luck finding your old friends.

“With them the seed of Wisdom did I sow,
And with mine own hand wrought to make it grow;
And this was all the Harvest that I reap’d–
“I came like Water, and like Wind I go.”
– Omar K., 12th century

54. Parson Yorick - June 29, 2015

Cathie L. I liked your story of “getting a life.” Sounds like you had a ring-side-seat for what went on.

55. WhaleRider - June 29, 2015

Oddly enough, I happen to see the SpaceX rocket explode from the condo on the beach we are renting in Florida…

56. Shard of Oblivion - June 29, 2015

47. Ron Brisson, aka Renald – June 28, 2015 says

“Sunday, by the way, was Musk’s 44th birthday. Synchronicity is a wonderful phenomenon.” um, what is it you imply with that statement? Not, I presume, that the accident was caused as part of some intricate signalling system between disembodied beings and Burton.

57. Bares Reposting - June 29, 2015

pinky bob ca 2015 getting pinker all the time:

58. brucelevy - June 29, 2015

57. Bares Reposting

He only proves one cannot buy neither class nor taste. He’s just an officious, laughable flamer. And how about those choppers. The picture makes my flesh crawl.

59. Ill Never Tell - June 30, 2015

OMG! Robert Earl Burton (REB) is showing his teeth. Is there not an exercise to not show your teeth, especially when being photographed? Then, again, that is a photograph, LOL. But, REB is exempt from exercises that are imposed on everyone else in the cult, right? Here is an interesting recent story:

Fellowship Of Friends (FoF) is reported to have a role at dinners and/or meetings called ‘the guardian of presence,’ or something similar. That role has the responsibility of photographing persons who are effusing a lack of presence, for instance, when a person is speaking and simultaneously gesticulating with their hands, like some people from certain cultures are more apt to do. The role is a sort of a ‘Sergeant-at-Arms,’ if you will.

Well, there was a certain Mercurial FoF student selected for this role at an event. While REB was speaking, REB was gesticulating with his hands, and the Mercurial ‘guardian of presence’ photographed REB for such behaviour. The result from that was a leave-of-absence from FoF for the transgression.

That is about all I know about it; none of the details beyond. Perhaps the Mercurial will take it as their graduation ceremony?

60. Robert Stolzle - June 30, 2015

Re: #57

Since we all learned to read people like a book from the body type/ center of gravity confabulation…………I’d say that the old geezer looks demented——unable to maintain the facade and his true colors finally showing through?

Bob Stolzle

Thanks for checking, Cathie.

61. WhaleRider - June 30, 2015

Not only was the unlucky SpaceX rocket carrying supplies to the International Space Station, it was carrying a special International Docking Adapter ring to enable commercial flights to dock there.

SpaceX Founder Elon Musk later Tweeted: “There was an overpressure event in the upper stage liquid oxygen tank. Data suggests counterintuitive cause.”

Counterintuitive? Surely the gods are demonstrating the folly of attempting to make a commercial enterprise out of transporting rich people to heaven…

62. Cathie L. - June 30, 2015


Taking “hideous” to a whole new level.

63. nevasayneva - June 30, 2015

Re 59 : I’ll never tell
Is that true? “guardian of presence”? That was not there 4-5 years ago.

64. Tim Campion - June 30, 2015

re: 57

For years early on, Robert Burton insisted we not take snapshots of him. Eventually he realized the potential revenue stream photos represented.

65. ton2u - June 30, 2015

36 Nigel

“I do not know why it has to be for some… as others have ‘a cruise’ through life.”

After sleeping in homeless shelters in SF and working odd jobs for a while, I managed to scrape together enough money to rent a room in a fleabag hotel in the skid-row neighborhood called ‘The Tenderloin.’ The room I rented was on Ellis Street, the place was right next to Glide Memorial Church, a homeless shelter and a place I used to go to occasionally for a warm meal. The Tenderloin was / is a notoriously seedy / dangerous neighborhood – not a place to be walking around after dark which I found out the hard way. I was mugged one night while walking back to my room from the bus stop after work. It was 1983, I’d recently left the school… and this was getting back on my feet ?!

It was around that time I was surprised one afternoon by a couple of ex-students who showed up at my door, they had somehow managed to track me down, I have no idea how, but they were in league with Sam Sanders, and in the process of rounding up and recruiting participating witnesses for the lawsuit Cathie L mentioned @ 35. These ex-students were ‘dressed to the 9’s’ like real upper-crusters, all suits & ties, cuff-links, gucci shoes and smelling of givenchy…. (tricks they’d no doubt learned from burton). Anyway, these two were indeed an anomalous sight in that skid-row neighborhood.

They bought me lunch in a nice restaurant uptown in order to talk ‘business’ – their motive was to persuade me to take part in the Sam Sanders lawsuit. But I refused, I was trying very hard to forget and move on with my life in the only way I knew how… trying to put a horrible episode behind me, and I thought, now to try to seek some type of retribution and revenge on burton was not the way for me to get over it.

With hindsight, now I think that taking part in the lawsuit would have been a good way to process what had just happened in the FOF and it might have brought a sense of resolution and closure to the episode. I think now that reluctance to participate in the suit was a type of denial on my part, I wanted to go on with life as if the FOF hadn’t entered into it…. but it had.

I wish that I could have ‘cruised’ through the FOF undamaged, unscathed, like Cathie L, Bob S and many others… and I know there are those who even feel they benefitted from their time in the FOF. I wish I could have managed to avoid the consequences some of the less fortunate were forced to endure…. and I know there are those who fared worse, much worse than I… life’s funny that way… and not funny as in ‘ha, ha.’ The choices that are made have a lot to do with it… and it seems sometimes ‘choices’ made for us… some call it ‘fate’ or ‘fortune’ – in any case there are the unforeseen consequences that enter in. Life’s indeed a mystery.

Fortune Presents Gifts Not According To The Book
Fortune presents gifts not according to the book
Fortune presents gifts not according to the book
When you expect whistles it’s flutes
When you expect flutes it’s whistles

What various paths are followed in distributing honours and possessions
She gives awards to some and penitent’s cloaks to others
When you expect whistles it’s flutes
When you expect flutes it’s whistles

Sometimes she robs the chief goatherd of his cottage and goat pen
And to whomever she fancies the lamest goat has born two kids
When you expect whistles it’s flutes
When you expect flutes it’s whistles

Because in a village a poor lad has stolen one egg
He swings in the sun and another gets away with a thousand crimes
When you expect whistles it’s flutes
When you expect flutes it’s whistles

66. ton2u - June 30, 2015


“….the lawsuit Cathie L mentioned @ 51…”

“…it seems sometimes ‘choices are made for us…”


67. nigel harris price - June 30, 2015

I remember something quite clearly, that was in The Vine, not long after I had joined the FOF. It was about recommended employment…

“Students would do well to consider training to be computer programmers and IT engineers. This type of job affords many possibilities for serving The School around the globe.”

At the time, I thought, having been deeply into “Search” – Duuh? I thought the whole idea was to ‘recognize what was “in one’s essence” and develop that.’


68. nigel harris price - June 30, 2015

Beyond teachings is the simple sage – ourselves …..

69. Just the Facts Ma'am - June 30, 2015

ton2u, some 20 years after you, I too was made homeless by, no less than, Robert Earl Burton and the Fellowship of Friends legion of flying monkeys; not as bad as you described you had experienced, but, nevertheless, difficult. (I survived and flourished.) At that point, I had given half my life, in years, to the cult, only to be thoroughly disrespected for my years of efforts.

REB is none other than
The Wicked Witch Of The West:

70. nigel harris price - June 30, 2015

Oh ! By the way, I think Girard Haven, when he ‘went’, became deflated like a tired Helium balloon, and the Latex Leftovers were suitably, ceremoniously disposed of and a Yawning Eulogy said over his grave. Likely, he has preceded Robert Earl Burton into the Great Pontificators and Maneuverers Self-Created Black Hole at the End of the Universe. Hell’s teeth ! They both deserve it.

That stubborn, yet flabby, chin says it all – “Twerp de la Twerp.”

71. ton2u - June 30, 2015

another ‘fellowship’ and yet another garden variety cult:


72. Tim Campion - July 1, 2015

“It is curious, is is not, that our internet provider here in Oregon House is ‘suck seed’.” (succeed.net)

73. brucelevy - July 1, 2015

71. ton2u

It’s always the same shit in one form or another. If someone appears to have “the answer and the way” you can be 95% sure that they are, or will be a sexual and financial predator.

74. brucelevy - July 1, 2015

70. nigel harris price

Gerard was always a pompous asshole. He had “the act” even before he became one of the “chosen”.

75. brucelevy - July 1, 2015


Miles did also, but in a relatively more benign way.

76. nigel harris price - July 1, 2015

Completely different tack – when I return to my star, as I believe – what a voice – Sissel ,,,,,

77. GoldenVeil - July 1, 2015

73. brucelevy – July 1, 2015

“It’s always the same shit in one form or another. If someone appears to have “the answer and the way” you can be 95% sure that they are, or will be a sexual and financial predator.”

Yes, and

57. Bares Reposting – June 29, 2015

REB’s act is continually deteriorating. He belongs in Palm Springs.

78. jomopinata - July 1, 2015


> “I think Girard Haven, when he ‘went,’ . . . ”


79. nigel harris price - July 1, 2015

78 jomopinata

I thought the news was he ‘popped his clogs’ and is now extinct.

80. Cathie L. - July 1, 2015

Consider the source:

“149. Messages From Marconi – May 4, 2015

Does anyone know how Girard Haven died? I assume so because his Facebook page was deleted.”

A shaky assumption, at best.

Fortunately, not having a Facebook page is not evidence of having died.

81. Parson Yorick - July 1, 2015

75. Bruce: “Miles did also, but in a relatively more benign way.”
Okay, but at times he seemed to reject the role. I attended a meeting at Skyline, led by Miles. Miles had a bad cold and sounded like he should’ve been home in bed instead of leading a meeting. Someone asked about the teacher’s having stated that Miles had become a “man number [fill in the blank – I’ve forgotten the number] and was that true?” Miles reply was “I have not verified that.” My thoughts were, “that’s why I respect Miles so much.”

82. ton2u - July 1, 2015

79… re: “…he popped his clogs…”

Speculation did circulate here recently – not sure what it was based on other than wishful thinking and posted images of a deteriorating condition – but I thought it was laid to rest – pun intended – as an unfounded rumor (?)

57…re: “pinky bob ca 2015 getting pinker all the time”

During my FOF tenure (’78-’83), although blow-job-bob was a ‘dapper’ dresser and a bit of a ‘dandy’ he wasn’t the ‘flamer’ it appears he’s become. My memory of him is that he usually dressed in ‘normal’ colors – high end clothing though, usually dark slacks, dark sport coats, often wore a 2pc casual suit with white dress shirt, and a ‘non-flamboyant’ neck-tie for dinners in the “Meissen Room.”

In hindsight, I thought it was just part of his clever disguise, part of the ruse that helped him trap heterosexual boy-toys. Speaking personally, I didn’t know or suspect that he was gay until after I’d entered the trap… by then it was too late. If he’d dressed then like he does now, I like to think I might not have been so fooled… and he claimed publicly back then that he was celibate… another part of the trap, a ruse to appear ‘holier than thou,’ and all the while luring the naive and unsuspecting into his lair.

Dressing in pink (it’s just precious), an insular and lavish lifestyle, surrounded by sycophants… all this doesn’t change the fact that burton is a parasite…. the world will be better off when he returns to whatever circle of hell he belongs to. The problem of course is, unfortunately there are so many parasites here on terra plane who will replace him.

83. nigel harris price - July 1, 2015

Cognitive dissonance, perhaps ……

84. nevasayneva - July 1, 2015

Re 82: ton

In my time FOF- mid 90’s to early 2010’s, REB did move and his main residence Galleria did move from monotone severely classical to a more colorful style. I doubt if this has anything to do with trapping boys- who knows?

Most of the boys in that time were young, from foreign countries with much weaker economies than US. They were usually drawn in to the circle within 6 months of arrival, impressionable, impoverished, mildly to severely disoriented, bereft of any usual support or advice structure. Few would have had the wherewithal to withstand the full force of REB’s seduction protocol when it bore down on them.

Personally I only knew and observed one who did (maybe there were others) He was slightly older (~30), did not speak english, but had seen a bit of the world and done a few things before arriving in what was then Apollo. He was having none of it, he was given fine clothes, gold chains, cool lunches with the teacher on scorching hot workdays, but in the end he would have none of it. Spun his wheels and departed from the galleria in a cloud of dust literally, and forthwith departed from Oregon house.

But he was the exception. If you were young (<30), male, from a foreign country, reasonably good looking, straight (had to be straight), fairly fresh (<6 months on the property) your chances of being propositioned sooner or later were at least 50:50, maybe even 70:30. I did know a few that met these criteria and escaped, but I knew more that had been than had not been. Looking back it does seem odd, but in that place and at that time- maybe it was not talked about, but it was taken as the norm.

85. ton2u - July 1, 2015

81 Parson Yorick

“…My thoughts were, “that’s why I respect Miles so much.”

Whatever, or whomever Miles is today aside, he was: A) duped like the rest of us – his vanity played like a stradivarius by burton…
B) knowingly in on the scam in order to take advantage of an imaginary status ‘assigned’ to him by burton C) some combination of both A & B… i.e. he was fooled at first and later realized the scam and still took advantage the ‘fringe benefits’ and ‘perks’ of his situation as the “chosen one.”

I’m sure there are options D, E, F, etc… but all of that aside, whatever might have been going on in the psyche of Miles, he did in fact and in effect serve as a main cog in burton’s ‘sales’ force – he campaigned and fronted for the FOF for years as a traveling teacher and center director. For years he was in effect actively engaged in recruiting the unsuspecting into “conscious bob’s” rape factory.

Parson, I’ll give you ‘props’ for putting your “respect” into past tense here… those were your thoughts at the time. Once upon a time I too had a high regard for Miles, but now with a perspective somewhat ‘wisened’ by time and distance from the situation, I see that back then he was an active and central part of the scam… he worked in direct collusion with burton and all that implies…. to me his character doesn’t warrant a shred of respect, and I’m not willing to fool myself with some idealized image from the past, from a time before I knew any better… his “role” in this was, is, and always will be despicable.

86. leaf - July 1, 2015

85. ton2u – July 1, 2015

One could apply similar arguments to dozens or even hundreds of other followers who were relatively aware of what was going on, but who never took action, never said anything to provide a warning to others, never objected, and never listened when someone expressed their concerns. Many of these people worked in the “Galleria,” or they traveled with Burton, or they worked in the office, or they went to “symposiums,” and so on. I see many of these people as victims and not perpetrators. It’s a weakness and a darker side of human nature that people sometimes do not acknowledge evil — even when it is right in front of them — because the truth would be inconvenient and cause discomfort. (My hand is raised.)

Miles B. left 30 years ago. He inspired many other departures for years to come. While I also think back on Miles and feel anger that he wasn’t a stronger character in all of this. I’ll take a wild guess and say that Burton dislikes Mile B. a lot more than you and I do. The people to really be concerned about IMO are still there and will never leave, no matter what Burton does.

87. brucelevy - July 1, 2015

81. Parson Yorick

I was there also.

88. brucelevy - July 1, 2015

82. ton2u

He probably “let himself go” when it became futile to portray himself as celibate, and all the “facts” became known. My guess that his “letting it all hang out” to this extreme was partially precipitated by all the lurid stories from this blog beoming public. So I guess he “owes” us for allowing his inner princess to bloom (gag…and I don’t mean gag as joke).

89. brucelevy - July 1, 2015

85. ton2u

Let’s not forget that Miles knew what was going on alot earlier then when he left. He gave out the “Robert is so much higher then us we can’t hold him to the same standard or see his true level of being” and “He would never do anything to hurt his dear students” bull shit. But certainly he wasn’t as bad as the actual “procurers”.

And I’ll repeat my personal observation (I was there from 74-85)…As I saw it, there were two types who succumbed to RB. First there were the “idiots” of which I was one for a couple weeks, who allowed their vanity and the “precious” access to RB to completely distort our sense of what we were and what we wanted. Then there were the whores (and in many cases sociopaths, who would learn new ways to create their own “cults” when they left), which, just from the info gathered here, appears to make up most of the Easter European contingent, though we had plenty of them back then too. They knew what they were getting into but were willing to prostitute themselves for the goodies and the false hierarchy bull shit.

90. leaf - July 1, 2015

I was there at that time, too (mid 80s). From what I recall Bruce, you gained quite a reputation around cult headquarters for being one of those “negative ex-students” up in G.V./N.C. Avoid that guy, whatever you do. Congrats on that reputation.

91. brucelevy - July 1, 2015

90. leaf

Thanks. Actually I had that rep while I was in. RB once told me I was “the thorn in his side”. I also tried to advise people that Linda was a lunatic and one shouldn’t listen to anything she said. Needless to say, when I left nobody tried to convince me to stay. It was great.

92. leaf - July 1, 2015

91. brucelevy
Glad you were spared the “Remember your verifications” phone call, or whatever other load of horseshit was handed out to people.

93. leaf - July 1, 2015

Re: 47. Renald.
“Sunday, by the way, was Musk’s 44th birthday.”
Translated: Influence C is conveying a message to the School, perhaps some sort of omen or shock to remind us that the Fellowship of Friends is a significant player on the world’s stage. The spaceship exploded on Musk’s 44th birthday, which means Influence C is guiding events, including the explosion of that rocket.. It is a confirmation that the School is guided by higher forces, and that everything about the school, even Burton’s predatory behavior, is guided by higher forces and is therefore legitimate.

(although we’re not sure exactly what exactly Musk has to do with the Fellowship, or why someone else’s 44th birthday wasn’t chosen for this shock.)

“Synchronicity is a wonderful phenomenon.”
Translated: Synchronicity is a wonderful phenomenon — for us. We’re part of the School. Others are not part of the School. So if they believe in synchronicity, they’re just delusional. (We’re not delusional.)

“Get used to it. Much much more to come.”
A veiled threat that the shit is about to hit the fan — the same shit that was predicted to hit the fan in 1984, 1998, and 2006, etc. This time, we mean it.


By the way, Burton once predicted that WWIII would “occur” “possibly” when the 44th president of the U.S. was in office. He still has 18 months or so to be right about one of these predictions. Can we all agree that it’s more than a little weird to hope for him to be right?

94. leaf - July 1, 2015

Further up the page: “The anti-FOF blog might end up delivering more recruits to Burton than Asaf Braverman.”

Nice try on the negative spin.

The FOF discourages argument on the premise that it’s “negativity” and will produce the opposite of the intended effect. That could often be true. What’s not addressed by this theory is that a sound argument may actually have the intended effect — that is, it presents a facet of the truth that someone may not have thought of before, and stirs thought, conscience, reflection, etc.

I see a lot of sound arguments here — with an extremely wide range of viewpoints, many of which are different from my own.

The gist of your above statement is that outlining the facts, stating opinions, and presenting arguments are all out of bounds and can be simply dismissed as “negativity” — especially if those arguments challenge someone in authority. It sounds a lot like the same bullshit we heard in the FoF itself.

95. brucelevy - July 2, 2015

Hey, “Ron Brisson, aka Renald” …that should tell you all you need to know right there and then.

He’s got his own litlle mini-cult in his own mind. You should give him as much credence as you would give Greg Goodwin. They’re both lengends in their own mind.

And the thing about negativity in the FOF. I was called negative because I questioned all the bull shit. Even Thomas Easily called me “the most negative student in the Fellwoship”. And this, from one of the people who was most fucked up, and over by this bull shit. He ended up making bringing down the FOF his life quest. And completely gave up his life…yet he judged me for calling RB on his bull shit. It’s pretty interesting.

96. nigel harris price - July 2, 2015

95 brucelevy

Dear Bruce

I do not know about how body types apply here but maybe …..

Negative types should be the discriminating factor, as you say “questioning the bullshit”. Positive attitudes to something that is gross and disgusting, such as Burton’s behaviour, hide and hide any likelihood that a True Seeker may find Reality.

What are the factors that the Fellowship of Friends was/is built on ?

Power (negative), dominance (negative), fear (negative), perverted sex (negative) ….. and so the list goes on.

I think the word is GLAM that the FOF is showing…..REB’s dress sense, haute cuisine dining, cultural world trips ….. all bound to send the close participants into a “Whirl of Numbed Ecstasy”.

Thus, as many of us have proven, Burton – the psychopathic, perverted, self-seeking ogre gets his evil way.

97. nigel harris price - July 2, 2015

I think I have only posted this once – years ago …..

To a Friend Whose Work Has Come to Nothing


Now all the truth is out,
Be secret and take defeat
From any brazen throat,
For how can you compete,
Being honor bred, with one
Who were it proved he lies
Were neither shamed in his own
Nor in his neighbors’ eyes;
Bred to a harder thing
Than Triumph, turn away
And like a laughing string
Whereon mad fingers play
Amid a place of stone,
Be secret and exult,
Because of all things known
That is most difficult.

(For most us, having escaped – and renewed ourselves – the battle is won ….. how can we persuade those still entrapped ?)

98. Robert Stolzle - July 2, 2015

Bruce, ton, leaf et al.-

We should have “crossed” during our FoF days, but I’ll be damned if I can recall a face. My memory is poor, but I seem to recall a fellow named Bruce who was the designated mechanic at the Farm, aka Mt. Carmel Monastery. Where did you call home? I remember Tom Easily as being a very earnest “true believer” who couldn’t get close enough to RB. Didn’t much care for him, either.

It is difficult to imagine anyone reading the postings here and not running away from the FoF. Personally, only the most extreme rantings would get my curiosity going about what could possibly create such a response.

I seem to recall “Renald” saying in a posting last year that he was starting some kind of “group”, so there’s no doubt about his position. Seems quite a few former “student teachers” kind of liked the role and tried to continue on after the FoF; even Stella had little success. I suspect there is a level of crazy that we are inclined to accept as possibly being real and willing to follow. Few people can claim to be completely delusional and still function in society.

The 44 and C influence business is exactly the kind of meaningless BS that can’t possibly be verified and thereby works so well for cults keeping their victims confused. We can see what we want to see and we all “see through a glass darkly”. Aside from math and physics, there is little “objective” reality and this allows for all the “exceptions that prove the rule” to be wielded in defense of the squirrely delusions.

Bob Stolzle

99. nigel harris price - July 2, 2015

For some reason, I was looking for “Ouspenky’s” passage about, that if he were to encounter something that required EVERY OUNCE OF HIS BEING with which to deal, HE WOULD BE UP TO THE TASK. I came across a situation today where I found myself considered an equal by guys who had ‘kicked financial arse’ and been in the Royal Navy – gutsy men, yet had developed a quiet demeanour. I felt like Ouspensky above …..

– Men’s Sheds (Abergavenny) – something new for the town

The following is what I actually came across, while Googling. Sorry if it stirs mixed messages or may seem trite to you ‘worldly guys’. After all, I am in the Land of The Dragon, Mountains and Mists, tales of Magick by Myths (and Maidens, lovely by-ere!)…..

“Suddenly I began to find a strange meaning in old fairy-tales; woods, rivers, mountains, became living beings; mysterious life filled the night; with new interests and new expectations I began to dream again of distant travels; and I remembered many extraordinary things that I had heard about old monasteries. Ideas and feelings which had long since ceased to interest me suddenly began to assume significance and interest. A deep meaning and many subtle allegories appeared in what only yesterday had seemed to be naive popular fantasy or crude superstition. And the greatest mystery and the greatest miracle was that the thought became possible that death may not exist, that those who have gone may not have vanished altogether, but exist somewhere and somehow, and that perhaps I may see them again. I have become so accustomed to think “scientifically” that I am afraid even to imagine that there may be something else beyond the outer covering of life. I feel like a man condemned to death, whose companions have been hanged and who has already become reconciled to the thought that the same fate awaits him; and suddenly he hears that his companions are alive, that they have escaped and that there is hope also for him. And he fears to believe this, because it would be so terrible if it proved to be false, and nothing would remain but prison and the expectation of execution.”

― Pyotr Uspensky, A New Model of the Universe

100. Shard of Oblivion - July 3, 2015

#99 Ouspensky’s fear of death is not uncommon. but I find it an unappealing trait. In a way he was correct when he said ” that those who have gone may not have vanished altogether, but exist somewhere and somehow,” for something of him has survived – those words that we just read, and which provoked me. But as a subject he not longer exists. That is clean, and when you think about it much less terrifying than the prospect of existing for ever and ever and ever.

101. nigel harris price - July 3, 2015

For ton2u, knowing what you went through, and you can Google the story of Susan Boyle, how she could not handle the fame, how her family went after her money and, through help, has come back to make her first album…..

102. nigel harris price - July 3, 2015

I found it for you…..


103. ton2u - July 3, 2015

Nigel, thanks for your kind thoughts and sentiments.

In general I’ll say the intention of posting bits and pieces of personal biography as it relates to the FOF is not to garner sympathy, rather it’s an exercise in self-reflection, ongoing processing of experiences, and (especially) if it serves as a “cautionary tale” and a deterrent for any potential “prospective students” who might happen to read here, that would be about as much as I could hope for.

100. Shard…

As far as this topic goes I consider myself “agnostic” – I don’t subscribe to belief, or disbelief in a “hereafter” – my approach is to wait and see… and we will see.

In terms of “cleanliness” and a “much less terrifying” scenario, it may indeed be comforting to think of the expiration of the physical body as an absolute end…. and of course ‘hard science’ / observable evidence supports this comforting idea… but playing ‘devil’s advocate’ for a moment, considering areas which hard science has not penetrated and may never be able to access… does that imply there is no reality beyond what can be observes and ‘recorded’ by science ? I think you would agree that the unknown is much more vast than the known, and the unknown is probably weirder and more wonderful and maybe even more terrifying (?) than we are able to imagine or speculate – that is, given the limitations of the human “endowment” i.e. our human ‘perceptual apparatus.’

Could it be that faith in physical mortality as an absolute end to existence, is a belief adopted at least partly because it is “clean” and “much less terrifying” and so it gives comfort and reassurance in the face of the unknown, and as compared to other prospects?

104. Shard of Oblivion - July 3, 2015

#103 Ton2U, your words fanned the spark of agnosticism in me into a glowing coal. The universe may of course be far far weirder than I can possibly imagine, and it’s good to be reminded. That said I would still place my bet on the living brain being what our subjective world entirely depends on, and when it dies we go too. But I could be wrong (shudder).

I don’t believe in my case I chose that position because it is comforting, it has taken some thinking to view it without terror. It has gradually become clearer to me as various experiences accumulate. The first serious fact was when I was put under anaesthetic at the dentist when about 10 years old. Because I didn’t want them starting before I went under, I tried as hard as I could to stay awake, but unconsciousness slammed into me like a black unstoppable train. It showed me how easily consciousness can be disrupted by monkeying with the brain. Later on LSD similarly seemed to show how delicately balanced and entangled with the physical brain our awareness is, with fractions of a gram completely replacing the everyday world with another. I consider I would like to go on living a bit longer as much as the next guy, the evidence seems to be against it though.

105. WhaleRider - July 4, 2015

Cult Follower Forgets Self, Finds Compassion

Crazy House, CA (USA)-In a startling about face, while on a cult field trip, terminal cult follower Nick Spauding forgot himself as he helped an elderly woman across the street in an apparent act of selfless compassion, without asking for a donation.

“It was the strangest feeling,” Nick commented to the cult minders accompanying him, “I don’t know what happened. It was as though I didn’t exist for a few moments. I was totally focused on her.”

Cult minder Asaf Braverman was quick to point out Spaulding’s grave error, admonishing him to try harder next time to pay closer attention to himself and not to others.

“This is an obvious verification that your lower self would rather dwell in the darkness of sleep and succumb to feminine dominance while attending to a decaying machine, rather than on attaining immortality”, he said to Spaulding. “Jesus said, God helps those who help themselves, not old ladies,” quoted Braverman, “wasting precious moments on that old sleeping bag of bones isn’t worth losing your soul.”

Spaulding had no choice but to agree or be kicked out of the cult.

106. brucelevy - July 4, 2015

105. WhaleRider


107. WhaleRider - July 4, 2015

Happy Independence Day!

Required viewing for anyone thinking about joining the Fellowship of Friends/Living Presence/Apollo cult:

108. leaf - July 4, 2015

Today, Independence Day, is supposedly the 44th anniversary of Renaissance/Apollo/Isis, or whatever this cult community is currently called. Burton and Crew are probably using this is as a marketing and money-making opportunity, with “44” banners flying everywhere (lined with gold-colored trim, of course) and visitors coming from far and wide, spending more money than most of them can afford.

Maybe they did the same on January 1st, 2014, the supposed 44th anniversary of this cult.

The number “44” is considered significant because Burton wants people to believe (and pretend they have verified) that 44 personalities in history, literature, art, etc., are looking over this little cult from a higher realm and guiding everything.

Nice thought. In other words, what’s happening there is pretty important to the entire world. It will go down in history. It’s a good place to be.

However, something ironic about this is that many of these “44 conscious beings” are actually Trojan horses!.

Many of these people stood up to authority, encouraged free thinking, bristled at closed societies where the free-flow of information was disallowed, and disdained religions and cults. They disliked despots. They preached inclusion rather than separation. They radiated strength and love and kindness.

The “44 conscience beings,” therefore, are not the best spokespeople for the Fellowship of Friends. They were there all the time, right in front of us, encouraging us to leave, to break away from the prison.

Another irony is that this cult community was founded on “Independence” Day. Crazy, isn’t it, when people have anything but independence there. It is a type of psychological prison, where freedom is always in reach but everyone is trained to ignore the open doors that are everywhere.

But most people do leave. They realize it’s possible. They realize they are not too old. They realize they are not too young. They are not too late. It is not too difficult. It is not too risky. They have enough time. They have enough energy. They can afford it. They know they make new friends, and start a productive new life. They are smart enough. They are strong enough. They ignore the same old excuses, the same old fears.

109. leaf - July 4, 2015

Listen! I will be honest with you;
I do not offer the old smooth prizes, but offer rough new prizes;
These are the days that must happen to you:

You shall not heap up what is call’d riches,
You shall scatter with lavish hand all that you earn or achieve,
You but arrive at the city to which you were destin’d—you hardly settle yourself to satisfaction, before you are call’d by an irresistible call to depart,
You shall be treated to the ironical smiles and mockings of those who remain behind you;
What beckonings of love you receive, you shall only answer with passionate kisses of parting,
You shall not allow the hold of those who spread their reach’d hands toward you.

-Walt Whitman

110. WhaleRider - July 4, 2015

Voltaire’s Family Sues Cult to be Delisted

Sacramento, CA (USA)-Relatives of French Enlightenment writer, historian and philosopher, François-Marie Arouet, who went by the pen name, Voltaire, known for his famous wit and his advocacy of freedom of religion, freedom of expression, animal rights, and separation of church and state filed suit in the California Supreme Court on Thursday against the Fellowship of Friends for defamation and fraud.

Plaintiffs, speaking on behalf of their dead relative are asking that his name be stricken from the cult’s list of 44 conscious beings supposedly guiding the cult, stating that “in no way would Voltaire, based upon his life and writings, have officially sanctioned or condoned the words or actions of anyone involved in this fanatical, and conservative cult or its decidedly unenlightened leader, Robert E. Burton, who even goes so far as banning laughter among his followers”.

While Burton promises his followers immortality, the Plaintiffs produced financial records detailing the vast sums of money Burton collects from his financially strapped followers and lavishly spends on his extravagant clothing, jewelry, food and wine, antiques, travel, lawyers, male prostitutes, and gaudy lawn sculpture.

Voltaire clearly wrote that, “It is characteristic of fanatics [like Burton and his followers] who read the holy scriptures to tell themselves: God killed, so I must kill; Abraham lied, Jacob deceived, Rachel stole: so I must steal, deceive, and lie. But, wretch, you are neither Rachel, nor Jacob, nor Abraham, nor God, you are just a mad fool,” which clearly is the case with Burton and his corrupt organization, the suit alleges, based upon several prior lawsuits filed against both.

Voltaire also wrote, “Perhaps there is nothing greater on Earth than the sacrifice of youth and beauty, often of high birth, made by the gentle sex in order to work in hospitals for the relief of human misery,” which is also clearly not the philosophy of this self-serving and hedonistic cult that claims Voltaire and 43 other dearly departed and esteemed persons as its inspiration.

Regarding his “disembodied spirit” providing guidance for the cult, Voltaire wrote, ”My one regret in dying is that I cannot aid you in this noble enterprise, the finest and most respectable which the human mind can point out…of do(ing) the human race an eternal service by extirpating this infamous superstition.” Apparently Voltaire’s relatives are attempting to carry on his work and do just that.

The suit also reveals that Voltaire was an “ardent vegetarian” and claims he most certainly would not have supported the vast quantities of meat the cult members consume which is slaughtered on their premises nor the confinement of the herd of camels the cult keeps on its grounds simply for their leader’s viewing pleasure.

Followers of the Fellowship of Friends are not permitted to comment on this article nor discuss any other spiritual pursuit other than their own, which is further evidence of the cult’s immoral oppression of its member’s freedom, a doctrine Voltaire stood firmly against, his relatives claim.

111. Tim Campion - July 4, 2015


I think Robert Burton had a different interpretation of In Dependence day.

112. leaf - July 4, 2015

111. Tim Campion

To explain why someone wouldn’t or couldn’t leave, one of the prevalent memes was always, “I’ve verified that I need the School.” Or it was some variation on that.

“In dependence day” would be a perfect way to describe it. The oddest thing is that people (and I’m raising my hand again) can be convinced that not only is something not harmful to them, but that they actually need it. Weird.

110. WhaleRider

Fantastic reporting, as usual. And it’s about time Voltaire’s family sued the bastards.

113. ton2u - July 5, 2015

110 Whalerider… I’m no lawyer but I think the case could be made for a class action lawsuit if the other “44 conscious beings” were to get involved…. anyway their good names and reputations are collectively being dragged through the mud due to misappropriated association by burton and his FOF.

114. Parson Yorick - July 5, 2015

Defaming a dead person is not a cause of action. I don’t believe there has ever been a precedent involving defamation of dead-but- still-present-in-their-spiritual-bodies people. 🙂

115. nigel harris price - July 5, 2015

From the ridiculous, to the (ahem?) sublime …..

….. “How many of us remember the overused ‘angle’ – the play is written” ?

Many of us who post, I suspect, are over 50 years old and, from the ‘tales of ex-foffers’, some did not survive the traumas (dying in their cars, actually succeeding in suicide, falling prey to alcoholism in the streets – I am sure there are other ‘themes’). We who did, and I cannot tell who deserves what praise for which – would we have ‘chosen the play’ on which we now look back ….. questions ?????

Should I have made more money?
Should I have had more lovers?
Should I have made my family more proud of me?
Have I found, finally, the right man/woman to love?
What the hell is the thing called a ‘mental illness’? …..
Brain chemicals going haywire?
Reaction to life’s experiences?
After effects of heavy drug misuse?

You could all, perhaps, add to this list. Still, I find myself in South Wales on state benefits, mainly, having worked with my housing association and Y Eddlu (The Police) to quell a neighbourhood set of squabbles, back now regularly to posting on this site, doing little pieces of jewellery (that take my fancy – it is no production line!) and also emailing my friends in Exeter and a few in San Francisco. I take my little West Highland Terrier for short, or longer walks, say hello to dog-lovers on the streets, share humorous remarks with shop keepers…..generally, indulging in all those little things that make life worthwhile. I still see the ‘big house’, ‘swish car’,’ look at my lovely baby’ show offs (if some of these subjects “raise heckles”, think about your aims in life!) and think about the description of the lady, Xenia Berndt, who did my astrological chart in 2013…..

“Nigel – you are a penniless visionary!”.

116. ton2u - July 5, 2015

115 Nigel…re: “the play is written…”

In hindsight it’s clear what these “nuggets” of ‘wisdom’ – generated and perpetuated by FOF – are about : it’s cult conditioning, the invisible tentacles of ‘mind-control’ – bars on the cage designed to keep the sheep in an imaginary enclosure.

“The play is written” is a fatalistic view of life and the world – IMO a symptom of this mind virus is to cause it’s host to adopt a general attitude of resignation, to give-up, give-in, and passively accept whatever ‘conscious bob’ cared to foist upon the flock.

An effect of belief in this particular article of faith, is that it allows blow-job-bob free reign to ‘write the play’ for those under his ‘tutelage.’

In the context of the FOF, what the sheep don’t seem to realize, or care enough about to change, is that belief in this tenet makes it a reality – in which case, unfortunately for them the author of THEIR play is burton, a malignant narcissist who doesn’t give a shit about anyone other than himself… or only inasmuch as the other might be used toward some form of personal sensual gratification.

“Though the word “fatalism” is commonly used to refer to an attitude of resignation in the face of some future event or events which are thought to be inevitable…. The interest in arguments for fatalism lies at least as much in the question of how the conclusion may be avoided as in the question of whether it is true.”


117. nigel harris price - July 6, 2015

116 ton2u

Well? Did you “pop off the FOF” and really start to live life to the full? Inasmuch as you could decide what you wanted to do then “go for it!?”…..aaah ! influences, influences !!!!!

118. ton2u - July 6, 2015

117. Nigel, thanks for asking… lest anyone think I live too much in the past by musing here, I do indeed live a full life – at times even a little too full.

re: 115
Do I have regrets? If I had it to do over, knowing what I know from experience, I would have done things differently. But life is for learning, that’s the lesson from ‘mis-takes.’ I think ‘regret’ and the emotion of remorse can be an excellent teacher – IMO after experiencing a level of true remorse due to one’s actions, it’s unlikely one will make the same mistake again. IMO ‘mistakes’ are part of a process of soul creation… so maybe, there are no mistakes after all.

You may already have this quote in your collection:

“The Moving Finger writes; and, having writ,
Moves on: nor all your Piety nor Wit
Shall lure it back to cancel half a Line,
Nor all your Tears wash out a Word of it”


119. Shard of Oblivion - July 6, 2015

#118 aah, Omar Khayyam!

And if the Wine you drink, the Lip you press,

End in the Nothing all Things end in —Yes—

Then fancy while Thou art, Thou art but what

Thou shalt be—Nothing—Thou shalt not be less.

120. ton2u - July 6, 2015

119. Shard
You know this ‘proves’ nothing, one way or the other…. but it might paradoxically imply the ‘nothing’ we are is no less than ‘something.’

My previous point @103 was: whether one assumes there is no ‘hereafter’ – because there’s no scientific ‘proof’ – or if one believes there is some version of an ‘afterlife,’ either way, given the limitations of human perceptual abilities, both are beliefs…. that’s why I choose a wait and see attitude.

The dominant culture in which we find ourselves embedded, tends to ignore the inevitable… it tends to be a ‘youth oriented culture’ where we don’t like to think much about aging and death, much less to spend any time or energy ‘consciously’ preparing for the inevitable… or maybe only at the ‘bitter end’ when the inevitable can no longer be ignored and denied.

Other cultures in other places, and at other times in history, have taken a very different approach to the ‘end’ – even to the point of devoting significant time and energy to preparing for the inevitable… I’m not suggesting that alternatives to the current cultural conditioning necessarily represent the “right” approach… but a question for me is whether there might be ‘something’ – i.e.’truths’ (albeit not ‘scientifically provable’), represented in different social/cultural perspectives?

121. Shard of Oblivion - July 6, 2015

#120 ton2u, regarding other cultural perspectives, if I had been born into them they might fulfill a role in forming my worldview. For better or worse I was born into a scientifically advanced culture, so it feels inauthentic to me to adopt those myths and live by them. I can’t easily “unlearn” what I think I know, even though my own view is subjective and culturally determined, and I know it.

It feels to me like science shone a light on things, where previously everything was in murky shadows, and many mythical explanations could thrive, including stories about the afterlife. Now we know so much more about the brain than any previous culture, and can see it is where the light of awareness is produced.

I often felt myself in a minority when I was a FoF student, and was bemused by the degree to which people seemed to view immortality as a worthy aim, whereas I had thought the system could transform this earthly life for me. And reading the Ouspensky passage above where he reveals his breathless joy at the hint he might avoid death reminded me of this difference of approach.

I suspect Khayyam believed in an afterlife of some sort, but that quatrain has poetic power for me.

122. ton2u - July 6, 2015

121 Shard
I spent most of the night of my 21st birthday (7/13/1976), perched high in the sheltering limbs of a great oak tree… the tree was out in a bucolic countryside setting, growing by a lake, the whole scene – even the humid air itself, was illuminated by a moon nearly full…. after spending most of the night in the tree, in a rapt state of “cosmic consciousness” (for lack of a better term), with the coming dawn, I resolved then and there to try to find a way to live continuously in that extra-ordinary state of ‘raptured’ awareness – or some approximation thereof.

As the state faded and I began to look for a way, some days and weeks later I thought I’d found “IT” when I came across “The Fourth Way” in a local bookshop. I think I was drawn to what I read in the book because it mostly dealt with human psychology and seemed, based on a psychological approach, to offer some insight, opinion and even techniques and methods to begin to ‘transform this earthly life’ for the better.

As I recall the book, it also contained some cosmological speculation, grand vistas and schemes about earth’s place in “the ray of creation” and etc… this too captured my imagination at the time…. but I don’t recall much, if anything which was written therein speculating as to what happens after one dies… I could be wrong, it’s been decades since I read it, but if there was something written about the ‘afterlife’ I don’t recall concerning myself with it… at that time in my life the subject was not a concern.

I will add, unfortunately the book also contained a FOF bookmark….

I guess my point is that my own interest in “the system” at that time was for me (also) about transforming ‘this earthly life.’ The prospect of a psychological approach to ‘man’s possible evolution’ was the lure at the time.

I was looking for a way to maintain a ‘non-ordinary’ state of consciousness which I’d experienced that night in the tree. In this regard I had no notions about ‘immortality as a worthy aim’ – as you put it…. I don’t think I ever gave it much thought – so I suppose I might have been in the same FOF minority you referred to.

Upon reflection, burton’s distortions as filtered through the FOF did tend to twist things and emphasize parts of “the system” for (ahem) no uncertain purposes…

For example this notion that if you leave the school your soul goes to the moon to be ‘eternally tortured’ along with all the other life-people, who are of course inherently ‘bad’ because they don’t belong to ‘the school’….

It’s absolute bullshit of course, but for those who believe this scare tactic, it’s effective for cultic mind control, just another meme in the toolbox generated to help ‘electrify’ the invisible fence enclosing the flock.

123. Cathie L. - July 6, 2015

Do we come from darkness, and return to darkness? Or do we come from light, and return to light?

Does the brain produce the light of awareness, or does it transmit it? Can both be true?

Who are “you” anyway?

In 1979 I attended my first dinner with “the Teacher.” I was traveling in Europe with a group of students, visiting all the centers there. We met up with Robert’s entourage in Munich and it was my turn, I suppose, to be invited to dine with him.

As we stood around the table waiting to be seated, Robert entered the room and we were each introduced to him. He walked behind me on the way to his chair and murmured, “Why do you not change your name to Cathleen, dear?”

Some of you will probably remember being asked to change your names. Nicknames were frowned upon. In fact, my given name is Cathie on my birth certificate, so it wasn’t a nickname in my case, but I dutifully changed it.

Later on, there was a “suggestion” that last names be changed as well. Any ethnic-sounding name was supposed to be changed to sound more “British.” The story, as I recall hearing it, was that anyone with an ethnic name might be targeted for persecution in the coming breakdown of civilization. So for a while, I went by a different last name too.

Now, of course, it’s clear that this was just another control trip, foisted on us by a megalomaniac leader and his obliging minions.

124. Fee fi fo fum - July 6, 2015

123 Cathie L.

I agree about the changing of our names. It was a way for REB to dislodge our sense of “who I am.” I remember being asked to change my last name. I was given a list, and not given the option to keep my ethnic last name. I was given no time to reflect at any length on the names on the list, and it was changed that same day.

It’s only when we look at the FF as an outside observer, and then we see how insidious that name change “rule” was.

125. Ill Never Tell - July 6, 2015

And that inverted Bowl we call The Sky,
Whereunder crawling coop’t we live and die,
Lift not thy hands to It for help – for It
Rolls impotently on as Thou or I.

Want to know what is afterlife?
Go there and find out.

126. nigel harris price - July 7, 2015

Different aims ….. reduced to the same boiling pot …..

I was not one of those ‘students’, who, like some, had experienced ‘cosmic consciousness’, through the means of drug-induced states or ‘blasts of natural synchronicity’. For some reason, I had a ‘friend’ who seemed to have powers and was somewhat drawn to Aleister Crowley (you can see what has become of him by going on ‘Facebook Lucien Morgan’) – that is not his real name, and he is perhaps a womanizing charlatan, never able to become an ‘actor of consequence’.

I feel there will always be charlatans galore and very few ‘spiritual masters’, willing to exercise humility, empathy and compassion. I do not think there is much in between – a semi-charlatan who holds sway for his/her own ends or an inept semi-master who commands little respect due to his/her lack of knowledge and charisma.

Hopefully, the subject of this post will bring a whole new slant on what we have been talking about ….. Nigel.


127. ton2u - July 7, 2015

126. Nigel

re: charlatans and masters – if we’ve learned nothing else it must be: ‘caveat emptor’


“…for those seekers curious about Buddhism, many other avenues can lead you to a tradition much richer and more grounded than what you’ll find in Nydahl. At least, that’s my opinion.”

128. Shard of Oblivion - July 7, 2015

A comment on Lama Ole Nydahl by someone who attended one of his lectures:

Manfred – July 29, 2012 7:53 am
“His behavior is really naughty. Once i went to his lecture. He came very late, telling he was in traffic jam on german Autobahn. i just came the same way. There was no traffic jam. Then he just sat down taking some food. All people just had to watch him taking food.- He also had (still has?) the habit to have intercourse with the female students in different cities. Naiv girls think: Oh, the master wants s.. with me (little girl).- He is a good exemple that people get worse when only the mind has got some realisation, but not the heart and the will. So realisation will be used for the self.”

But though rare, I believe there are a few genuine people following a spiritual path – I would nominate Milarepa from the Tibetan tradition.

129. ton2u - July 7, 2015

Way, way back when, when I was more into a buddhist phase of mind, I read this… it made a deep impression, and it’s still with me today… if you haven’t read it or are unfamiliar, this ‘quasi’ biographical account is permeated with the ‘fantastical, but if you’re into this sort of thing, I recommend it – check it out:


130. Parson Yorick - July 7, 2015

Milarepa goes back a millenia or two. For someone more recent, how about Robert Baker Aitken, who died a few years ago. Aitken was one of the good ones. This guy, Ole Nydahl — who the heck is he? If you want to read about somebody really bad, search for the name Osel Tendzin. What all this indicates is that you need to be selective and do your homework before joining anything. For that matter, J. Krishnamurti would have said you don’t need to join anything, ever.

131. ton2u - July 7, 2015


There are so many stories about sexual predators targeting “spiritual seekers” – why this constant refrain… this consistent, seemingly ‘systematic’ pattern of behaviors ?

132. Parson Yorick - July 7, 2015

Thanks for the link, ton2u. That article brings in Aitken’s name as someone who knew but kept quiet about it, which I didn’t know until now. I can’t answer your question about the ‘systematic’ (systemic?) pattern of behaviors. I’m not a follower of Aitken, by the way. You can’t be too careful!

133. brucelevy - July 8, 2015

It’s pretty obvious…almost all (and I regret saying “almost”) “teachers” are or will become predators. As soon as ego enters into the equation, you’ve got crime. The teachers who actually have their shit together…they’re invisible. They don’t need sychophants telling them their farts smell like roses, or drones wiping their fevered brows. They’re all fucking corrupt. And that should be a profound “teaching” moment for anyone whose head isn’t up their ass.

134. brucelevy - July 8, 2015

Then again, I’m not denouncing the “truths” that slip by and appear to be everpresent throughout history. It’s just that the “signposts” come to believe they’re “The Way”. When actually they’re just “shit” that has some useful truths hanging around.

135. Robert Stolzle - July 8, 2015

The recent postings reminded me that Krishnamurti’s “Think on These Things” was one of the “gateway books” for me that ended up with me joining the FoF………in spite of him saying one didn’t need a “teacher”. (You know, he was raised by the leaders of the Theosophical Society to be their ascended being and he later rejected them.) As I recall, that book was essentially a dissertation on how fear in its many manifestations controls much of our lives. It was a profound insight for me at that time. I suspect the predator teachers of the world have an innate ability to see these fears in their students and can use that insight to manipulate them for their personal self interest.

The teacher thing sort of begs a variation on the question, “If you’re so smart, how come you’re not rich”. I know I’ve heard RB expound on his sacrifices for his students and know it is just more blather; but really, does anyone, supposedly having “found the keys to the kingdom” also, thereby, take on some cosmic responsibility to spread the word? We may all have a responsibility to try and make the world a little less daunting, but it seems anathema to me that any “real” ascended being would first go out and start a school, church or some institution to better spread the word………or write a book on “how I done it”. There are plenty of other ways to benefit mankind without enriching oneself. Those people are actually the Pharisees that Jesus railed against. I am also reasonably certain that any institutionalized “system of ascension” quickly becomes its own opposite.

Cathie L.’s comments on people coming from or going to light or dark or maybe “both are true” implies a cosmic origin for life, people or perhaps “souls”. It is true that no one has yet figured out how life got started or how a particular conglomeration of atoms (us) became self aware and we truly don’t understand a lot about the universe but, at best, each generation only owes its existence to their parents’ self indulgent pleasures. No one has yet to identify any honestly real meaning to life on our little ball of dirt. It is, at best, what we make of it and no angel or demon will persuade me otherwise.

Bob Stolzle

136. Cathie L. - July 8, 2015

129. ton2u

Thanks for the recommendation on the Milarepa book. I’ve ordered a used copy from Amazon. (Only $4, surely a bargain!) One of the things I appreciate about this blog is people’s reading, film and music suggestions.

135. Bob S.

Talk about coincidences. Just a few hours ago, I was checking our disorderly bookshelf to see if we already had a copy of the Milarepa book before ordering it, and I came across Krishnamurti “On Mind and Thought.” Opened it at random and found a little discourse on the fear of death:

“If one wants to know what death is, the mind must be free of all conclusions for or against. So can your mind be free of conclusions? And if your mind is free of conclusions, is there fear? Surely, it is the conclusions that are making you afraid, and therefore there is the inventing of philosophies….So long as the mind has any form of conclusion, so long as it is caught in a system, a concept, a formula, it can never know what is true. A believing mind is a conditioned mind, and whether it believes in continuity or annihilation, it can never find out what death is. And it is only now, while you are living, not when you are unconscious, dying, that you can find out the truth of that extraordinary thing called death.”

(I think that’s a meaningful coincidence, what Jung would call synchronicity.)

137. ton2u - July 8, 2015

Scumbags like burton, so-called ‘spiritual guides’ of his ilk, who are really nothing more than predators dressed in ‘saffron robes,’ or clerical collars, or gucci shoes, or whatever the disguise, or lack thereof… and whatever has twisted a psyche into this predatory condition – call it narcissism, vanity, sex addiction, avarice, delusion, psychopathy…. whatever the descriptor… and whatever particular twists and turns an individual condition may take — it’s only one end of the stick…. the other end involves the sycophants and enablers who help create, continue to support and inflate these false idols… idealized projection creates false idols.


138. ton2u - July 8, 2015

136. Cathie L

Hope I didn’t give you a ‘bum steer’ and that you’ll enjoy the Evans Wentz translation of the Milarepa story. Like I said, it’s been a while since reading it — almost 40 years!!! In my early 20’s it made a strong impression, I don’t know how I might respond to it now… but I’m gonna order a used copy to find out. Thanks!

139. nigel harris price - July 8, 2015

I feel the blog, at this time, is rich in content. One of the greatest things we discuss is ‘not needing an esoteric teacher’. So, we didn’t get on with our parents, our school teachers and, perhaps our religious leaders (in the common term) …..

But why did we not ‘turn in on ourselves’ to appreciate a little pilot light that could be ignited into a ‘flame of selfhood’, needing no guru, charlatan leader or false prophet …..

140. nigel harris price - July 8, 2015

Somehow, when I went back to gmail, this was in my mail box, concerning a George Solomons Wellcome grant …..

Dear Nigel,

Thanks for your email and apologies for taking a little longer than usual to respond to this – it’s been a busy couple of weeks here for the Arts Team with two funding Committees. Your email has been passed to me, I work here as an Arts Advisor, mainly offering advice and guidance on the Arts Awards funding scheme which we run.

From the sounds of your email I would suggest that you explore the Arts Awards scheme in more detail as this could be appropriate for the project you’re planning. You can find all basic info about the scheme here: http://www.wellcome.ac.uk/Funding/Public-engagement/Funding-schemes/Arts-Awards/index.htm and I’ve also set this out very briefly below;

The Arts Awards is an open application funding scheme supporting projects for up to £40,000 over three years. We support the creation of new artistic work that critically engages artists and audiences with biomedical science. Broadly, the projects explore ideas around human and animal health and what it means to be human so your project proposal exploring bipolar affective disorder and consciousness would certainly fit within this remit. The scheme is a scheme to support the development of new art and as such we expect to see a strong sense of the artistic vision within all applications and how the project will support and develop your artistic practice.

As you’ve suggested in your email, all projects within the scheme must bring an artist (working in any artform) into collaboration with a scientist / clinician / researcher / medical historian in the development of a new artwork. This is partly so that we can feel sure that the ideas being explored have a strong scientific ‘factual’ underpinning and are supported by research but also because we’re particularly interested in the collaborative relationship, what this looks like and how it might inform the creation and development of new work and offer new opportunities and learning to all involved. The advisors you work with should be the right advisors or experts for the subject matter you’re exploring. In addition, many projects do work with patient or other groups to bring these voices or experiences into the work so it’s interesting that your subject matter is informed by your own experience and observations.

Finally, we expect all projects that we support to either be reaching or (in the case of an R&D application) anticipate reaching an audience. We would expect to see a consideration of how the work will find and engage an audience within the application and either confirmed venues or a strong dissemination plan as to how you propose to find these. It’s interesting to hear that you’re discussing the project with Andrew Renton at the Museum of Cardiff. With regard to your question about how the museum could be involved – it would be fine for an application to come either from yourself as the artist or from the museum if they were commissioning the work. Either way we’d still want to see the information within the application as to how/where the work would be shown and the support being offered by all the parties involved (in the case of the museum this would possibly be things like offering a venue, curatorial, marketing etc support).

The scheme has four deadlines a year and is competitive so I would suggest putting your application in to the round when you feel it’s at its strongest – rather than rushing it together for a deadline. The next deadlines will be 7 August and 27 November – and you can find this information on the website along with sample application forms and more details about the scheme and some of the project we’ve previously funded.

I hope that this is useful when thinking about the future of your project – if you have any other queries or would like to discuss putting in an application don’t hesitate to get in touch.

With all best wishes


Lily Rose Davies
Arts Adviser
Engaging Science

141. ton2u - July 8, 2015

140. Nigel

Very interesting… as an artisan myself, I’d be interested in ‘hearing’ (reading) your project proposal.

The recent buddhistic thread here caused me to have a look at my book shelves – the psychological commentary on the difference between eastern and western thinking – the forward to “The Tibetan Book of the Great Liberation” – may be of interest to some.

“The seemingly universal and metaphysical scope of the mind has thus been narrowed down to the small circle of individual consciousness, profoundly aware of its almost limitless subjectivity and of its infantile-archaic tendency to heedless projection and illusion. Many scientifically-minded persons have even sacrificed their religious and philosophical leanings for fear of uncontrolled subjectivism, By way of compensation for the loss of a world that pulsed with our blood and breathed with our breath, we have developed an enthusiasm for facts – mountains of facts, far beyond any single individual’s power to survey. The facts bury us, but whoever dares to speculate must pay for it with a bad conscience – and rightly so, for he will instantly be tripped up by the facts.”


142. Robert Stolzle - July 8, 2015

Ladies and Gentlemen-

I need help deciding what to do with about 60 pounds of Fourth Way and other mystical/metaphysical/esoteric books. I love books and can’t bear trashing them and at the same time feel like Pandora helping spread the FoF problem by putting them back into circulation. Anyone want to add to your collections? They are about half hard backed circa 1950-60. If you can make a buck off them, more power to you. I’ll pay for half the shipping.

#141 ton-
I don’t understand the quote “The facts bury us….etc”. I am personally inclined to the maxim “The truth shall set you free”; and I’d be inclined to see “facts” as one expression of “truth”. Also, I tend to be a “lumper” rather than a “divider” and am inclined to say that “everyone is talking about the same thing, just using different language”. No one has a patent on any sort of salvation and the world’s religions, witches, Fourth Wayers, yogis, sufis, even Deepak Chopra are working on the same mysteries without enough clues. (I’m not addressing the RB style of false prophet, here) Hence part of my interest in this blog—-we’ve all verified an interest in the basic subject matter.

Bob Stolzle

143. nigel harris price - July 8, 2015

….. from the ‘MIND’ publication, “Bullying at work”, although I had also been browsing “Military Psychology”, having just ended my ‘thing’ (for want of a better word), with Major Claire Louise, after 2 years …..

“A bully will usually combine various types of behaviour. Over time,
being on the receiving end of these tactics can amount to torture,
making grown men and women weep, and fracturing careers.
Bullying can sometimes be quite unconscious. The bully may be
unaware of his or her own motives and of the full effects of their
behaviour, and you may not pinpoint why your morale is so low.
But if the bully is aware of causing you offence, he or she may
see it as strong management or positive hands-on supervision.
If they are constantly and vindictively picking on you, and
disguising this from other people, the bullying is deliberate. In the
end, whether or not they consciously intended to be hurtful is
irrelevant. What counts is whether their behaviour is acceptable
by normal standards, and whether it disadvantages you.
Why do people become bullies?

Bullying is a basic human impulse, and can occur whenever people
interact in some way. The behaviour crosses gender, age, colour
and race. There’s no typical bully, and bullying isn’t connected
to a particular personality type or to fixed ways of behaving at
work. Each case of bullying is different, and takes place within
a complex web formed by the personalities, the psychology, the
organisation and the wider context involved.

There is any number of reasons why people might use bullying
at work, but what shows up clearly across a number of studies
is that bullies have a great need to control other people, either
openly or indirectly. Most bullies are in positions of authority, as
managers or supervisors. It may be that they are driven by envy
and insecurity about their own competence, and that this emerges
in their desire to keep any possible rivals down”.

144. brucelevy - July 8, 2015
145. ton2u - July 8, 2015

141. Bob
re: the “facts” quote – it was “torn” from a much longer piece by Jung – it would certainly make more sense if read in context – that’s the reason for pasting a link to most of the rest of the text. For those with certain types of biases, it probably wouldn’t help to go through the effort anyway…. but when I read the whole forward, it echoed some aspects of previous discussions here on the blog… particularly, issues relating to the “materialistic / scientistic” worldview and the pervasive conditioning of thought / perception in this day and age.

The title of the forward gives a good clue as to where it’s heading : “A Psychological Commentary On the Difference Between Eastern and Western Thinking.” Obviously not for everyone.

146. Cathie L. - July 8, 2015

From the Preface to Tibet’s Great Yogi Milarepa (Amazon provided digital sample to read while awaiting arrival of paper copy):

“…the Tibetan tetralogy of W.Y. Evans-Wentz, although a product of our [20th] century, seems to have originated in another age. All four books assume the undifferentiated dichotomy of the materialist West and the mystic East, an East that holds the secret to the West’s redemption. Few of the concerns of scholars–such as language or culture or history–are to be found in the books. Instead, the volumes are presented as repositories of a timeless wisdom preserved by the East, a wisdom that will someday save the West, ultimately overcoming the duality of the hemispheres to culminate in the Unity of Mankind. This apparently beatific vision has since been shown to be the product of a romantic Orientalism that viewed the traditions of Asia as a natural resource to be extracted and refined for the consumption of the West….”

Notably, Gurdjieff was also a product of this era.

It does seem that the Western mode has become the dominant paradigm here in the 21st century, with Western materialism spreading to every corner of the globe via television, the Internet, air travel, and ubiquitous smart phones.

147. Cathie L. - July 8, 2015

144. Massaging my Guru

Only a few paragraphs in, it has already given me the creeps.

“Oh, and don’t tell anyone.”

148. Associated Press - July 8, 2015
149. brucelevy - July 8, 2015

148. Associated Press

I think the cherub should have a latex exam glove on his hand. And maybe a tube of KY.

150. Associated Press - July 8, 2015

151. nigel harris price - July 9, 2015

….. this woman’s voice is healing …..

152. nigel harris price - July 9, 2015


….. tracking back to my prior email, to the Wellcome Trust, this was the ‘sketch’ of my proposal …..

Dear Wellcome Trust

I believe I contacted your organisation last year, before I moved to Abergavenny, which is where I now live. Since that time, without actually writing down a firm proposal, I have realised that, with my craft in the resilient materials of metals, wood and plastics, an array of certificates at O and A level and a Post-Compulsory Teaching qualification in Craft Design, I should be able to approach your trust with the following idea, now in initial stages of conception …..

Since I have ‘suffered’ for several decades from Type 1 (tendency to go ‘high’) rapid-cycling, events-related bipolar affective disorder, I have had a great deal of opportunity to study my own and others’ cerebral responses to situations as their mood swings fluctuate (my number of Section (3)s is extensive!). I believe there are many factors – NOT JUST ONE AS THE PSYCHO-MEDICAL FRATERNITY WOULD HAVE IT – that cause emotional imbalance …..

1. Genetic and hereditary make-up
2. Background of education/schooling
3. Depth of ‘cognitive reverie’
4. Ability to go beyond ‘surface living’
5. Any religious leanings
6. Prior or current use of recreational psychotropic drugs (hallucinogens, mood altering substances)

the list could go on.

I believe there are many realities which people can experience and I would like to ‘bolster this claim’ with a sculpture of ‘altered consciousness’, that is to say, starting with a simple premise (visually) and developing beliefs of subcultures and ethnicities, all supported by examples of ‘transcendental poetry and writings’. As you can guess, this would be a large installation (say 25 feet in diameter) and, although I would be prime artist, other artists are needed along with the consultation of experts in the bio-medical, psychiatric and neurological arenas.

I must make one point clear – I have contacted Mr Andrew Renton of The Museum of Wales, Cardiff, Arts Curator and, obviously, he would want to know what would be involved, should his museum be working with me as an ‘institution’, as you stated in your informative site.

I hope I have given enough information that you are able to offer me a reply on which I can proceed with an application and be able to discuss my position with Mr Renton.

With regards, yours …..

Nigel Harris Price BA Hons Cert Ed MIfL

….. without wanting to be ‘blog greedy’, it would be great to hear responses about the above from other posters … this could stretch across all disciplines.

153. nigel harris price - July 9, 2015


….. my aim is to thrill and be thrilled (nothing ventured, as they say).

Arts Awards support the creation of new artistic work that critically engages artists and audiences with biomedical science. We strive to work with all art forms and the diverse community we support includes artists, scientists, curators, writers, academics, producers, directors and education officers.

We believe that artists have a distinct approach to understanding and communicating ideas that can illuminate and challenge perceptions within society. We are convinced therefore that the arts have an invaluable role to play in engaging the public with biomedical science.

Arts Awards encourage creative collaborations between art and science. The Wellcome Trust believes that this exchange generates powerful, personal and visceral art and inspires interdisciplinary research and practice that brings benefits to artists and scientists alike.

154. ton2u - July 9, 2015

152 Nigel

For what it’s worth, a few ideas:

It sounds like, where the “hard-science” factors in, as in white coats and laboratories, medical interventions, etc., it would be a collaborative effort between yourself and experts in their field…. I think, more generally, any type of research based approach could be ‘loosely’ considered scientific – albeit without the white frocks and ‘hard science’ appellation.

I like the topic – states of consciousness and the many realities experienced… one approach as you’ve indicated – and a rich source – is exploring the variety of beliefs of cultures, subcultures and etc… this could be vast, maybe even too vast but an “archetypal” treatment might help to focus – i.e. finding common cross cultural / cross historical connective threads and themes.

Your proposal says it’s to be sculptural – and quite large 25ft ! I can see a structural form that’s basically ‘human looking’ since you’re talking about human consciousness…. but consciousness does “shift” and change – so how to “shape shift” and shift shape with a static sculptural structure ? One idea – the basic form could be composed of ‘gestures’ representing / reflecting “all and everything” – (included mirrors) – in other words, a composite of forms and shapes found in nature…. mineral, microbe, plant, insect, animal, planets, stars, etc… all congealed into a basic human structure… this represents at least partly what goes into human consciousness.

It shouldn’t be “static” since consciousness tends to be anything but… adding projections / projectors could be an effective device to create a sense of movement and change… images could be projected onto the form itself and/ or images could be projected FROM the structure out into the room / space it occupies. This would give you a great deal of flexibility – in the choice of images, and the story the images convey. Through the use of projectors, the theme of psychological projection as integral to creating perceptual reality – in both individual and collective consciousness – is implied and could be as explicit as you care to make it. Adding sound or some consideration of sound in the installation would be an important element – it would add a dynamic element while acknowledging the importance of sound and vision in perceptual consciousness.

There’s obviously tons of material on the subject re: altered states – I think narrowing the focus would be a challenge with such an expansive subject… for some very basic source material – if that’s warranted – you probably can’t go wrong with researching; Joseph Campbell (and those from his school), Jung, Mircea Eliade, Huxley’s Doors of Perception, William James’ Varieties of Religious Experience… a few that jump to mind… keep us up on how things progress.


155. ton2u - July 9, 2015

life is a story


156. ton2u - July 9, 2015

150 A.P.

Is the cherub smelling its finger? Considering the context – ‘Apollo’ – and what goes on there, I hate to think where that finger might have been.

157. ton2u - July 9, 2015

In art school, it was around 1985, a couple of years after my escape from the FOF – I had managed to scrape myself off the streets of SF, but still in a ‘tenuous’ condition, close to ‘the edge of an abyss’ – living out of a cheap flea-infested room on Ellis St. in the Tenderloin – as previously mentioned here.

I applied for and received a student loan and enrolled in a graduate program in humanities… after one semester I switched my major to art and undertook a practical study in the arts by taking ‘hands-on’ studio courses in each department of the art program there.

Upon reflection, during this phase I was processing the FOF experience through my ‘artistic’ outpourings. One project that comes to mind now, was a sculpture I created… or attempted to create, which had the working title of “Hermaphrodite.”

I think after the shock of my brief stay / experience at the “Blake Cottage” – my sexual orientation, or my idea about who I was ‘sexually’ became ambiguous, nebulous. Prior to the experience with blow-job-bob, I identified as a straight heterosexual without any doubt about it. After the FOF, I had to wonder how what happened, had happened, I had to wonder about myself and my previous ideas about my identity. Looking back, this sculpture I called “Hermaphrodite” was an expression of the confusion and an ambiguity I experienced in relation to sexual identity.

The sculpture was massive, it was a kneeling human figure with both male and female elements – it was over 8 feet high – on its knees. The armature was welded rebar and wire, covered in plaster which I mixed there in the open air sculpture yard and applied tediously one handful at a time. The thing got to be so heavy that it had to be supported and moved by a wench and chain pulley system attached to an external metal frame on wheels… at the time I had notions about the importance of permanence and the fleeting nature of a human life, I was intending to make this thing to last through the ages, or at least to outlast me.

I see how grandiose my thinking was… now I like to think and work in terms of ‘small is beautiful’ and nothing is made to last… all creation is temporal.

A teacher there used to occasionally walk through the sculpture yard and say to me: “don’t you think it’s getting to be too much ? ” I didn’t listen to his suggestions and doggedly kept at it… but it really was in fact too much.

Although the basic human form and gesture was there and obvious to see in the sculpture, I didn’t get to give it the refinements I had intended. I left it hanging in place on chains where it stayed for some time after I had quit working on it… I suppose it went into the dumpster after I left university.

I met some amazing people during that phase, fellow students and teachers who helped me through dark days, helped to reaffirm some faith in humanity after that humiliating kick in the dick by burton.


158. ton2u - July 9, 2015

and another wonderful teacher from that phase:


159. Shard of Oblivion - July 9, 2015

#150 and #147 “Oh, and don’t tell anyone.” could be the title of that sculpture. The cherub is grinning the complicit secret smile that tells us he’s “getting away with it”, and the finger in that gesture says “let’s keep all this forbidden fun we are having a secret”

160. Robert Stolzle - July 9, 2015


I don’t know you beyond the postings, but I’m glad to hear your enthusiasm for the sculpture project. As a geologist I’ve always had a liking for the Japanese rock gardens. One style has the focus being some very large “special rock” of unusual appearance. This might be a starting place. The other “bright idea” that came to mind is probably too trite, but would involve a small camera and screen projecting the observer’s image, perhaps distorted, back at them from some odd angle—–sort of like my lap top computer does.

Back to the “matter at hand”, for me. No one wants a hard cover of “Meetings With Remarkable Men” or Nicole’s “The Mark”, etc. I’ll probably donate to the public library book room where they sell used books to the poor folks for a dollar or two…….going once, going twice.

Re: Western materialism vs. Eastern mysticism—the Chinese are becoming more materialistic every day with the new capitalism they practice there. The most devout practitioners of religions are commonly severely impoverished (for whatever reason) people who need all the hope they can find just to keep going. A happy afterlife seems sufficient for most. We are impatient monkeys and strange new practices are always going to be more appealing than the established dogma. I really wish there were a magic mantra that could get us all through the eye of the needle, but I’m very doubtful.

Bob Stolzle

161. Cathie L. - July 9, 2015


It’s hard to make much on used books anymore, unless they’re very rare or collectible. You might post your offer on your Greater Fellowship page…there could be an esoteric book collector or two over there. Otherwise, donating them to the library is probably the best option.

162. nigel harris price - July 9, 2015


“One idea – the basic form could be composed of ‘gestures’ representing / reflecting “all and everything” – (included mirrors) – in other words, a composite of forms and shapes found in nature…. mineral, microbe, plant, insect, animal, planets, stars, etc… all congealed into a basic human structure… this represents at least partly what goes into human consciousness.”

Cosmology of Cognitive Cooperation, Man !!!!!

You helped me focus on and around my basic idea. Think of the cortex leading from floor to eye level, the symbol of Occupational Therapy – then a Skulltoid made of Clear Perspex – both elements, a variation on a theme by Nigeypooh !!!!! This will keep the copyright mine. Then WOW !!!!! The interspersion inward/outward of your ‘elements’. This could truly ‘explode upon the artistic-bio-medical scene’ !!!!! Thanks ton.

And, just in case anyone is getting ideas, my application draft is already sent and awaiting acceptance. No messy with me-hee !!!!!

Copyright 2015 Nigel Harris Price, Abergavenny, Gwent, Wales

163. ton2u - July 9, 2015

162. Nigel

Happy to help when I can… ideation is the easy part of the creative process as you know… the hard part is execution thereof, perseverance, and in general “engaging / directing the will” – to borrow a catchphrase / ‘mantra’ I often refer to in my line of work as a special education teacher of practical / therapeutically applied arts & crafts.

164. robertschelly - July 9, 2015

Former students keep coming back to it, even here … keep coming back, keep coming back. Why? Because there was something very high about the FoF experiment. There was a purity to the chord which surpassed what they had known before and what they have known since … even many years since.

So what to do? Synthesize it – throw out the bad and retain the good. There was much good there.

165. ton2u - July 9, 2015


To quote part of a post from Cathie L. @ 51:

“Ames wrote above (#24): ‘We also admitted that, though we had new friends, they were few and far between, and even fewer with which one could have a conversation like we were having right then and at the level of what we felt we were communicating.’

That’s true for me too. You had to be there to really understand it. The ties run deep. Maybe that’s something many former cult members, and perhaps soldiers, survivors of concentration camps and other shared trauma, have in common.”

Good, bad, positive, negative, “very high” (as opined @ 164), or very low – an opinion many have expressed re: the FOF… or anything in between the polarities… living life is experience, experience is life, it goes into who and what you are… for better AND for worse. Perception and interpretation of experience goes into forming an OPINION… a point of view… to each their own.

Maybe this ‘coming back’ is a compulsion to scratch at an old wound that doesn’t ever completely heal:


166. Parson Yorick - July 9, 2015

Regarding the sale of 4th way, or metaphysical books, check out the items offered by ebay seller “slalexbay” located in, of all places, Oregon House, CA. I still have some of those Rodney Collin pamphlets and books, myself. I wonder if I could get the prices that guy is asking.

167. Cathie L. - July 9, 2015
168. Parson Yorick - July 9, 2015

Cathie L. —- The most I ever got for a used book was $550. It was for a signed first edition of “Infinite Jest” by David Foster Wallace. It was an early edition, before the publisher corrected a misspelling of Wm. T. Vollman’s name on the back of the dust jacket. Stupid me, I had written somewhat in the margins, which reduced its value.

169. brucelevy - July 9, 2015

167. Cathie L

The most expensive, irritating toilet paper out there. Watch the paper cuts.

170. Cathie L. - July 9, 2015

Parson: pretty good, you beat my best: $300 or thereabouts for a Dracula first ed. Bought for $2.50 at a thrift store.

171. Shard of Oblivion - July 10, 2015

Ton2u, thanks for your description of your monumental hermaphrodite project. It called to mind this St Vincent song and video: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=LEY9GJAm8bA

172. brucelevy - July 10, 2015

170. Cathie L.

I don’t know what kind of 1st it could be, but a “first edition” Dracula goes for around $35,000.00.

173. Cathie L. - July 10, 2015

1927 stage play edition published by Grosset & Dunlap. Fair condition.

174. Robert Stolzle - July 10, 2015

Re: #164

I disagree. There was never “an FoF experiment”. The only thing that made the group “unique”, if you wish to use that term, was the group of students with whom one could have a conversation about all things metaphysical. From what I read here, that seems to have died at some point. Approached properly and with perhaps a little “translation” one can have the same conversations with almost any church group without the silly limitations imposed by the FoF. I am sure these possibilities exist in most spiritual organizations, though I haven’t tried the Mormons or Scientology. There never was a “baby in the bath water” with the FoF, either; just one deluded predator with a group of minions.

Many years after leaving the FoF i came across a CD of de Hartman playing Gurdjieff’s compositions. They were truly off putting in a manner similar to Beelzebub’s Tales and I had an epiphany. I am personally sure that “the end game” of Gurdjieff’s Fourth Way was to see just how much of his B.S. a student would tolerate before they became smart enough to leave. Whatever salvation there may be in this world will be found on an individual basis, not as one member of a flock of sheep.

Cathie, et al,-Thanks for the advice, a had cover copy of the Fourth Way can be had at our public library’s used book room for $2.00.

Bob Stolzle

175. WhaleRider - July 10, 2015

“Former students keep coming back to it, even here … keep coming back, keep coming back. Why? Because there was something very high about the FoF experiment. There was a purity to the chord which surpassed what they had known before and what they have known since … even many years since. So what to do? Synthesize it – throw out the bad and retain the good. There was much good there.”

Why do followers go back?

The same reason a heroin addict relapses. Because of the “high”, as you say.

176. nigel harris price - July 10, 2015

dear ….. ton2u ….. robert scholzle

This sculpture …..

I want to show, THE IMPORTANT THING, that all the Universe Intelligently Connects, that Humanity is Not the Highest Principle, nor is it Ignoble to Be Born Human, and we should never take it for granted.

The movie – “The Golden Compass” – was thrilling for me – divergent and convergent characters, all of complex natures …..

“We all come from stardust.”

Although I admire Richard Dawkin’s forthright, biologically based stand against religion, or Christopher Hitchens having fiercely done the same in the ethics, morality and innate conscience arena, they are ‘slightly easy stances’ …..

I feel I am a ‘creativist’ not a Creationist’, a ‘constructivist’, not a Destruction vehicle’, theoretically or actually …..

That is why I find this blog such a ‘nourishing hotbed’ – to embrace the negative as well as the positive – to create, blend and cook up one’s own recipe.

177. ton2u - July 10, 2015

171 Shard
Thank you for taking the time to read and respond… I hadn’t seen the ‘cheerleader’ – st. vincent video before… thanks for that… here’s one I did see a while back on the t.v. – thought you might appreciate if you’re a fan. I enjoy the group and especially annie clark…

178. ton2u - July 10, 2015

176 Nigel

“… THE IMPORTANT THING, that all the Universe Intelligently Connects, Humanity is Not the Highest Principle, nor is it Ignoble to Be Born Human, and we should never take it for granted.”

This reminded me of “dependent arising” to use a buddhistic phrase… you hit the proverbial nail on its head – we humans tend to think we’re THE center of the universe… AND this myopic arrogance has an opposite pole in self-loathing for the human condition… these polar thought forms are connected and create major problems here on terra plane.

You’re absolutely right to say it’s not “Ignoble to Be Born Human”- not inherently anyway, in spite of what the ‘doctrine’ of ‘original sin’ might say…. (the idea of original sin – an example of self-loathing). I say it’s not INHERENTLY ignoble to be born human, but through our individual and collective human actions we do tend to make this human condition ignoble. AND / or otherwise – through our actions we do have a choice to make the human condition worthy of the word “humanity.”

Just to amend what you wrote: We MUSTN”T take ANY form of life for granted, not just our own.

re: your project on altered consciousness.. a possible resource for research ? (posted on a previous page by paul gregory)


179. ton2u - July 10, 2015

164. robertschelly

“There was a purity to the chord…”

I get the sense that your notion of “purity” comes from cult conditioning – specifically, from notions about “refining impressions” and “alchemy” and etc.

If you care to look a little more closely, take down the window dressing, peel back the facade, there you’ll find lurking in the shadows the real motives underlying the “experiment’ as you call it… it’s all about feeding the vanity, the avarice, the malignant narcissism of burton…

IMO a major reason underlying this “coming back” you refer to, is the dependency that’s created through cult mind control… if you spend any length of time in the cult, following the rules and precepts, soaking in an environment of cult “conditioning” and indoctrination, it creates a situation wherein many find themselves bereft of support outside the confines of the cult.

There are ‘systematic’ strategies which create dependency on the cult for social and emotional support. Cult indoctrination includes the severing of ties and bonds to former friends and family. The cult ‘teaches’ that “life people” are ‘inferior’ and beneath the ‘chosen few’ who have found ‘the school.’ This can and does create attitudes characterized by disdain, disrespect, relating on the basis of assuming a role of ‘superiority’ toward ‘inferiors’ outside of the cult. An example of this attitude toward and treatment of “life people” is the cult program regarding ‘intentional insincerity’ and what that implies about relationships with those outside of the cult.

Is it any surprise that people who leave often find themselves adrift and alienated in the outside world… a very difficult position indeed… for some it is in fact untenable, many feel no other recourse but to return to the cult for any sense of emotional and social support. They can’t be blamed, or praised… they believe they have no choice but to return to the fold.

People who leave are shunned, ignored and treated as if they do not exist; the rationale is by doing this it will help the ‘student’ re-enter the cult. Nobody is in good standing when they leave the cult, and no one ever graduates. The tragedy is that people can actually waste their whole lives in this trap.

“a purity to the chord…” ???!!!

Absolute Bullshit!

180. Robert Stolzle - July 10, 2015

I have always thought that the “Seven Deadly Sins” was one of the more insightful concepts of Christian thought. These sins are considered to be the original source of all human failings. In no particular order they are: Wrath, Greed, Sloth, Pride, Lust, Envy and Gluttony—– A commentary goes on to say, “Each is a form of Idolatry of Self wherein the subjective reigns over the objective.” Not quite sure I get that, but it seems that the “fearless leaders” of the FoF embody a good majority of these failings–properly hidden, of course. Forget burton, think back on the “student teachers” you knew; I’ll bet even the best embodied a sizable chunk of one or several of these failings. I would suggest that Pride is the institutional failing of the FoF and inculcated in all the “students”.

Bob Stolzle

181. nigel harris price - July 10, 2015

179 ton2u

I am not sure if I copy/pasted this “serene iconic rock anthem” before, but it was ‘in the charts’ and being played everyday on the rock station of San Francisco Radio – as my business in Sausalito was going ‘down the pan’, in 1989 – orders faltering and failing, creditors ‘on my back’, the FOF alternatively asking me to ‘come level’ with donations or San Francisco centre directors asking me to dinner, as if it would magically make me catch up, financially and emotionally – but I still had my business friends ‘from life’ ….. steady, positive and to rely upon ….. before my business eventually crashed and I ‘ran out of time’ with payments to the FOF, we went to see the movie – “Tucker, the Man and His Dream” – I can recommend it – the “BIG GUYS MAY DROWN YOU BUT THE DREAM GOES ON” …..

Enjoy the pain and joy of your aspirations ….. Nigel

182. nigel harris price - July 10, 2015

“As long as a population can be induced to believe in a supernatural hereafter, it can be oppressed and controlled. People will put up with all sorts of tyranny, poverty, and painful treatment if they’re convinced that they’ll eventually escape to some resort in the sky where lifeguards are superfluous and the pool never closes. Moreover, the faithful are usually willing to risk their skins in whatever military adventure their government may currently be promoting.”

― Tom Robbins, Skinny Legs and All

183. ton2u - July 11, 2015

181. Nigel,

“Iconic” maybe but “serene” ?! you’re kidding, right ?
Axel Rose’s voice sounds to me like two alley cats fighting… I guess you can tell I’ve never been a fan of ‘Guns and Roses.’

To me this is serene… it’s not exactly rock, but Eno ‘rocks’ too…

“…where I can construct a universe within the skull…”

184. ton2u - July 11, 2015

Nigel, I did see the movie ‘Tucker’ – very moving, I enjoyed it very much and I like the work of Jeff Bridges in general… a completely different performance as “The Dude” in “The Big Lebowski”

185. ton2u - July 11, 2015

and as they say “there’s no accounting for taste” – it’s not for everyone…. my wife calls it “irritating wallpaper music…”

186. Shard of Oblivion - July 11, 2015

#185 early eno (Roxy days):

For your pleasure
In our present state
Part false part true
Like anything

We present ourselves
The words we use tumble
All over your shoulder
Gravel hard and loose
There all night lying
With your dark horse hiding
Abhorring such extremes

You’re rubbing shoulders
With the stars at night
Shining so bright
Getting older

But you’ll wake up soon
And fight
In the morning
Things you worried about
Last night
Will seem lighter
I hope things
Will turn out right
Old man

Through every step a change
You watch me walk away

Tara Tara

Ta r a Ta r a

T a r a T a r a a a

T a a r a a a a T a r a a a a

ad infinitum … well well well

you don’t ask why

tickety tickety tickety tickety tickety tickety

187. ton2u - July 11, 2015

A transcript of a “no-nonsense” interview w / BE from just after the Roxy Music phase… interesting ideas re: the creative process –
for what it’s worth:

“BE: Sometimes disciples are blind. They can be led. I don’t believe it’s any use taking someone’s decisions for them. It’s only useful making decisions yourself… and I must have a pee. This tea goes right through me.”


188. Parson Yorick - July 11, 2015

For Nigel: Richard Thompson, one of my favorites. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=8M799A4Hc4Y

189. nigel harris price - July 11, 2015

188 PY

Thanks for that. My taste in music (whilst a teenager) and my demeanour, on entering the cult was of a REAL STUFFED SHIRT.

Now I am 16 months away from 60 years of age, I find I have GROWN WILDER, MORE ABSTRACT IN TASTE, AND LESS JUDGEMENTAL.

My two immediate aims 1) to learn the Welsh language and 2) to learn to play the alto saxophone, which I bought new for £349 over two years (and I want our band to be called ‘Lamina Flow’.)

I like the old icons, too …..

190. Shard of Oblivion - July 12, 2015

#189 Nigel – Lamina Flow is such a cool name, good luck with the sax, this solo sends shivers up my spine, evoking how it would feel at the moment of nuclear armageddon – nice cheery topic for a saturday night 🙂

191. nigel harris price - July 12, 2015

Dear Shard

I had the REAL PLEASURE of meeting Raphael Ravenscroft – bless his soul! A music buff declared to me that the sound of the saxophone was the nearest to the human voice – “Play on, give me excess of it !” …..Nigel

192. nigel harris price - July 12, 2015

This is the excess bit ! …..

193. ton2u - July 12, 2015

“the old icons…”

….Watch out now, take care
Beware of greedy leaders
They take you where you should not go
While weeping Atlas cedars
They just want to grow, grow and grow
Beware of darkness

194. nevasayneva - July 13, 2015

re 164 Robert Schelly
-people returning
-the high chord

People will return and people will leave again – “plus ça change, plus c’est la même chose”-nothing like showing off your French on a Monday morning! However by and large, most people who join FOF will eventually leave.

It does not matter if “something was v high” or “chord very pure”, of if there was “something very special” there. Many of us felt that. It still does not matter. I too felt – well more in my impressionable youth- that I was contributing and participating in something v special etc etc.

You cannot go around with so much endemic judgement against the rest of the world. it is bad for you. I just looked up the word endemic, since I realized that it was a word that I was using without being 100% sure of the meaning, but turns out that I was right, Endemic: “(of a disease or condition) regularly found among particular people or in a certain area.”
And that is what judgement is in FOF- so much judgement of people not in FOF, of events and activities not approved by REB etc. Not healthy to stay in that state of mind. Also it is not super healthy in my opinion to be writing a check just so that you can keep your friends, well maybe that was my situation towards the end.

195. nigel harris price - July 14, 2015

Here is an interesting talking/blog-busting/post-producing topic …..

Do most of you remember the title of one of P. D. Ouspensky’s little books ….. “The PSYCHOLOGY of Man’s Possible Evolution.” which gave, in outline’ an introduction to “the system” he had “learned” from G. I. Gurdjieff ?

The point I am trying to make here is, to what extent were the aspects of behavior, rule following and general decorum (never mind that REB, down, were getting away with disgusting examples of how not to act morally) – how much was “applied psychology” and how much “IMITATION” ?

We can take it for granted that an inflated percentage (myself counted among them) had their heads “Fucked Up”. “Cognitive Dissonance” jumped from minor to major proportions, when REB’s goings on (or should it be comings down?) became common knowledge. Some were able to make the ‘quantum (being-wrenching) leap’ out from the FOF and, in whatever way, taking their place in ‘Life’.

But was there anything ‘psychologically constructive’ about what we were ‘doing’ in the cult ?

You could garner philosophical knowledge from 44+ beings, but that could just add to the ‘dross of superior knowledge’ that was bandied about at “meetings”(?) or over the ‘heavily decorated’ dinner table – usually breathed in soft, dulcet tones of a ‘know-it-all’ fashion.

As for the so-called “Impressions Octave” (as if anyone had heard a “Magic Flute” Pattern Dinner Plate PLAY MUSIC – there was an example of complete TWAT-LANGUAGE !!!!!). We learned to ‘ooh’ and ‘coo’ at Renaissance sunsets, the musicians who played at the Town Hall and to feel a huge glow at Rembrandts in the Rijksmuseum, whilst all our negative aspects of greed, envy, usury and so forth went unchecked.

Looking at how the forecast for 1) the cult, 2) humanity at large and 3) those who ‘lose the school’, that affected me from the start of my tenure and through into the school and when I ‘left in grizzly fashion’ AND BEYOND (this not being helped and probably accentuated by my bipolar disorder.)

What I have to say now is almost a Buddhist progression …..


“If you find a Real Master, he or she will work quickly with you, then cast you PSYCHOLOGICALLY IF NOT PHYSICALLY away from them, only that you should FIND YOUR OWN, UNIQUE PATH, leading to YOUR HEARTFELT SELF and then ON TO SERVICE, in whatever form that may take.”

The Dalai Llama gave this as one of his 19 precepts for the Millenium

“Share your knowledge with others; it is the way to immortality.”

196. nigel harris price - July 14, 2015

….. dear ton2u and Robert Scholzle …..

I thought you might like to see the ‘interface’ between myself and Jason Pontin from MIT …..

an introduction, a postulation and some questions

nigel price

to Jason

Dear Mr Pontin

Firstly, my name is Nigel and I have suffered from mood swings since my late teens. As you will see from my biography (since I hide nothing and have no need to, approaching a professional as yourself), I came home in 1989 from California and suffered 3 1/2 years of severe depression until attempting a Secondary School Level Teachers Certificate. I was ‘thrown off’ the course due to hypo-mania. Since that time – 6 May 1992 – I have been in and out of the Psychiatric Unit in Exeter, Devon, England until the last bouts of Section 3 Admissions (8 within the time-frame of 18 months), when I was beginning to become tired of the city, its occupants, my drunken neighbours and the tawdry fashion in which the Psychiatric Unit (Cedars Hospital, Delderfield Ward) conducted admissions. The saving grace was my final consultant there – Dr la Donna Nelson-Pitman. We talked about the workability of my ACTUAL DIAGNOSIS ……….

Type 1, rapid-cycling, events-related, bipolar affective disorder.

The thing is to feel it for yourself, go beyond descriptive words, watch the endocrine-brain reactions and certainly talk/work myself down from manic-aggressive episodes ….. walk away from trouble, as the song goes.

Now for the postulation ….. I am a designer craftsman by training and also carry a certificate for adult education in my chosen field. One of my artistic colleagues suggested I contact the George Solomons Wellcome Trust for an art award to produce a body of work or some actual object that will show to the cognoscenti and the public alike an understanding of the impact of Art on Bio-Medicine. I am already amassing literature, images and sketches towards a final rendering of my proposed sculpture, with supporting background work. I was wondering if your institute would help me with material towards what I would hope will …..

Help towards diagnosis ?
Rethink application of medication ?
Rethink the ‘stigma’ of mental illness ?
Enlighten both public and mental health bodies ?

I am not going to call the project, in a delusion of grandeur …..

“If anyone can, Nigel can.”

But the point is, I know I can gather information, scientific and artistic backing and have all the craftsmen in place to produce the sculpture.

I look forward to hearing from you.

Yours kindly

Nigel Harris Price


19 St George’s Crescent
Mardy, Abergavenny
South Wales
United Kingdom
NP7 6HW.

Jason Pontin

to me

Dear Nigel,

I’m very sorry for your biopolar disorder, but MIT cannot help with your project.



to Jason

Dear Ponti(N)fficate

Thank you (or your – well paid – secretary?) for spending at least 1/2 a minute in answering my WELL-CONSTRUCTED AND SELF-HISTORICALLY ACCURATE request to provide me with (it may be only one or two) names of articles that would give me a wider spectrum of knowledge to support my art/literature/sculpture project for The George Solomons Wellcome Trust.

The thing you guys do not understand with your pseudo-scientific language and statistics based on ‘victims of madness’, not on those who have made quantum leaps of personal understanding, not only of themselves, through living and developing psychological mechanisms (medication notwithstanding) and this HUGE, ILLOGICAL WORLD AND THE COSMOS IN WHICH IT RESIDES !!!!!

All I have left to say is that you better stick your head up a/your black hole and do not expect a free admission to the ‘cosmic construction’ that will be on display in its own gallery at the National Museum of Wales in Cardiff, sometime between Summer 2016 and Spring 2018.

Now go back to your Petty Petulant Peering (as Dylan Thomas would have it).

My own ….. not yours …..

Nigel Harris Price BA Hons Cert Ed MIfL


197. WhaleRider - July 14, 2015

198. Shard of Oblivion - July 14, 2015

#196 Thanks for sharing Nigel. I suspect your outraged reply to the polite rebuttal you received will not have helped you to convince MIT you are a serious researcher. For him to have replied at all shows courtesy on his part.

199. nigel harris price - July 14, 2015

198 Shard of Oblivion

Quite the opposite, Shard. He wrote a further reply (probably suspecting that “WE’VE GOT ONE (1) HERE GUYS !!!!!”) to my response on which you made comment (that response being straight from Type 1 bipolar) and is looking at how he can find some articles in the public domain. In my second reply, I commended him on how well he caught the ‘atrocious curve ball’ of my prior sending.

200. nigel harris price - July 14, 2015

and this …..

201. Shard of Oblivion - July 14, 2015

#199 I stand corrected Nigel

He seems like a good guy 🙂

202. nigel harris price - July 15, 2015

201 Shard of Oblivion

Looking back over my postings to the MIT guy, I realized I was in my element – an all or nothing ‘verbal knockdown fight’ conducted in my hypo-manic state. You, and other bloggers, probably noticed the WILD TONE – the inability to use discretionary tact on my part and the DETERMINATION TO WIN AN ARGUMENT, when, for all reason, there was no argument. When I was in Exeter, the police had become very used to my Volatile Knee Jerk Emotional Reactions and would bring an approachable Woman Police Officer to the scene, when they knew the Crisis (so-called Resolution) Team, would ‘wind me up something chronic’. All the police present laughed once, when the Head Doctor of the Crisis Team asked me – “Do you know why we’re here ?”, and I replied – “To write up a report that will help further pay off your mortgage”. I think that made me sink, rather than swim !

And, today, I am not in the mood for – “Misogyny from Macaroni.”

“A good head and good heart are always a formidable combination. But when you add to that a literate tongue or pen, then you have something very special.”

― Nelson Mandela –

203. nigel harris price - July 15, 2015

Dear All

HELP !!!!! I think I have fallen ‘head over heels’ in SERIOUS LUST with Lauren Francis, my Monmouthshire Housing Association Personal Officer. At the first two meetings, when there were other officials present – my Community Psychiatric Nurse and then at the other meeting Community Support Officer PC Moyse, both of whom are extremely intelligent and worldly wise – Lauren maintained a ‘certain sort of distancing’ by posture and the remarks she made – she was Ms Francis at those meetings …..

Today, it was “Please call me Lauren – I am as much a friend as was Paul, your previous CPN” – Ah! A stirring in the whirring, if ever there was !!!!! And, as our conversation went on – how to circumvent the ‘goings on’ of the multi-drug addict in the apartment above – point-to-point sparring of equally-matched duelists ….. my psychology and the help she will get me ….. she thought some Cognitive Behavioral Therapy and Assertiveness Training would help ….. she seems to think I am not so naive as ‘too much of a nice guy’ – another ‘boinger in the groiner’ – on to what she does to relax – HEAVY METAL MUSIC !!!!!

This woman is (I suspect) in her early 30’s, built svelte-junoesque, has straight, shoulder length reddish hair, ‘lumps and bumps’ in the right places, is as tall as I am and …… ARGGHH !!!!! has a boyfriend.
I am not (or am I ?) getting into trouble with what might be a Cardiff Rugby Club player. Major Claire was a major disaster with her ‘swear like a trooper, drink like a trooper’ antics. This one is softer !

204. Cathie L. - July 15, 2015

203. Nice piece, nigel (your writing I mean.)

I’m currently reading a novel called The Bushwhacked Piano by American writer Thomas McGuane. Your description reminds me of his writing. He says he is “drawn to the idea of people drifting into the worst mistakes of their lives.” His characters are always falling helplessly, comically in lust with women.

For contrast, my Evans-Wentz biography of Milarepa arrived from Amazon and I’m scratching the surface of it. Maybe I’ll find a few acorns of wisdom to share here in the coming weeks.

205. nigel harris price - July 15, 2015

Cathie…..to tell you the truth…..I am ‘heartily tired’ of semi-worthwhile , semi-relationships……I want Godamn Luv Ya Babe with all the bodily ‘goings on’ that should go on…..I have passed into Rodney Collin’s Uranus Come Back Alignment and ‘me wedding tackle wants some REAL action’. As the rhyme goes…..

“Don’t deny me, try me – trust me, if it works for me, it will work you.”

206. nigel harris price - July 15, 2015

…..and just add, for the evening, and calm down, a CRACKIN’ SONG

207. nigel harris price - July 15, 2015

Milarepa said – “Let go, you will not fall off.”

208. Shard of Oblivion - July 15, 2015

#203 etc Nigel – Some advice from the jolly brothers (Lee Scratch Perry) on what to do if you fall head over heals

209. paul gregory - July 15, 2015

Found this on ‘Films for Action’.

210. nigel harris price - July 16, 2015


Great videos, guys. Woke up 6 am to them and they two helped me with the ‘one and only fact’ that can work – just get on with your own life, eh ?

211. brucelevy - July 16, 2015
212. brucelevy - July 16, 2015

They’re all the same.

213. Cathie L. - July 17, 2015

Re: # 211 the godman

“What a piece of work is man.
How noble in reason.
How infinite in faculty.
In form and movement how express and admirable.
In action how like an angel.
In apprehension how like a god!
the beauty of the world, the paragon of animals—and yet,
to me, what is this quintessence of dust?

I have of late
Lost all my mirth.”

The melancholy Dane runnin’ round my brain…

214. leaf - July 17, 2015

I recall a conversation with a fellow cult member many years ago. We both acknowledged at the time that the Fellowship must seem like a cult to outsiders, even though we didn’t perceive it that way at the time. My friend’s thinking was this: The “gods” were making us appear to be a cult so that we blended in with society and all of its other cults — i.e., because we seemed like yet another run-of-the-mill cult with yet another abusive/criminal cult leader, we were more invisible this way. Therefore, we could do what we were doing (building an ark, surviving the fall of California, churning out 7 conscious beings, etc.) without people interfering.

Welcome to the brain of a cult follower.

215. Mick - July 17, 2015

RE: Religious Liberty
“The religious resisters say, ‘It doesn’t matter if you can’t have the wedding you want, because you shouldn’t be getting married anyway.’
The gay rights people answer, ‘It doesn’t matter if you violate your conscience, because you’re just talking to your imaginary friend.’
– Douglas Laycock, Law Professor as quoted in the N.Y.Times

216. nigel harris price - July 17, 2015

Somehow, I did not feel like watching one of my (collection) DVD’s, “Captain Phillips”, great acting by both Tom Hanks and, also the guy who plays the leader Somalian pirate – a film about fear – man against man, and very heroic in terms of survival …..

The film I am actually watching now, I have remarked on before on this site is ….. “Pan’s Labyrinth” The musical score has a “huge adult humane sadness” about it. The violence is astonishing – the background of the story is the latter stages of the Spanish Civil War. But Ofelia’s “journey” through “the fable of and to herself” brings together “guts and etherea”, “boldness with childlike wonderment”.

If I am any ‘sort of guy’, it is not dry intellect, bodily passions or ‘fan danning’ – it is in the symbolic stages of our lives, obstacles we either overcame or “Fate Pulled Us Through” – needing years or decades to bring us “balanced understanding”.

With my “mood disorder”, I fluctuate from being very afraid of the idea of death then, on the other hand, being completely oblivious that it is going to happen. But this film brings a rich pace to any efforts we might make between now and the big D. I thoroughly recommend your watching it.

217. Bares Reposting - July 17, 2015

“I joined the fellowship just after my 21st birthday 1975 and stayed in for only a year and a half. Joining the school was going to fix all of my problems except that it did’nt. I wanted to do something with my life that had meaning. I am not sure what I expected it to be like I had read the Fourth Way and In Search of the Miraculous. I lived in several teaching houses in Oakland and San Francisco. I worked hard to try to understand the teaching and I met many people who were very sincere and commited to the FOF. I washed dishes, gathered rocks in what were to become vineyards. I was working in very low paying jobs in restaurants. I can only recall speaking with the teacher on several occasions. I tried to get to the farm when ever I could. Things started to change. At the time within the FOF there was this bizarre sub-culture of 5 cent cigarettes, eating disorders, alcoholism, clandestine marijuana use, sexual liaisons, late night runs to get students who went into town to get totally trashed. The stress and disillusionment and expense drove me to leave. Several things helped to make the transition away from the school which was for me like PTSD. Being damned for eternity and that the world was going end in 2006 were not comforting thoughts. I read everything I could find about cults and several were very helpful. Idres Shah famous Sufi makes several statements about Gurdjieff-Ouspensky groups and student/teacher relationships which helped a lot. To paraphrase he says that the teaching of Gurdjieff was a teaching for people at a certain place and time and place and was not designed to be replicated 30 years later in the hills of California. He also explains that a teacher would evaluate students and accept and reject people based on their capacity to learn not based on whether they could pay. What stands out years later is the inner conflict that I still experience trying to reconcile things which I learned, some great people I met, the energy that was there, and the inner states the I experienced which contradict all of the negative experiences. Another source of helpful information is several lectures on how to distinguish a cult from a real spiritual organization by Arthur Diekman on you-tube.”

218. nigel harris price - July 18, 2015

P D Ouspensky said that “Sentimentality was a negativity emotion.”

Things like sweeping emotions are difficult for me – anger is harsher, sadness is deeper – to be honest I do not get over things well. This certainly applied to my ‘tearing’ from Yon Cult – basically 3 1/2 years of depression – pretty much PTSD symptoms (as in the ‘rule book’).

Then a day of sad-toned songs this Saturday, reminding me of ‘familial difficulties’ and attached events …..

My dad ‘set me up’ behind the local Fire Station – a workshop situation where no-one came by….I had no equity, no responses to flyers through the town doors, no-one taking my business cards; only living in a local rental and existing on my Disability Income. Needless to say, I felt lonely and depressed and turned to my mother, who would lend me her debit card from time to time. Trouble was, big amounts were taken out, spent on just being with ‘hail-fellow-well-met’ guys in a local pub. When the excreta hit the fan, my mother forgave me, by saying a ‘little mouse’ had got her savings. My dad, being a banker all his life, ‘hit the roof’ (he did the same when he realized how much I had given the FOF over the years).

Actually, since leaving college, then working 70 hours a week to save for my fare to California, I have been lousy with money (never give someone with manic symptoms a credit card – it evokes SPEND, SPEND tendencies). Only now, being balanced, dragon-hearted, on the verge of potentially huge possibilities, has shrift and frugality been within my grasp.

The last ‘choker’ is the memory of a picture of my paternal grandfather (also a banker), which I smashed to bits and put in the trash “Commodity, the bias of the world” (Shakespeare said). For the reason of not wanting to remember my past life, I threw away a DVD, which my father had compiled from 8 mm film, of our family past.

Some questions …..

Do we have to metaphorically uproot to mature, to be ourselves ?, or
Do we have to unravel the Gordian Knot of our relationships to arrive at some Human Purity ?

219. Robert Stolzle - July 18, 2015


I don’t think O&G got everything wrong. How much burton perverted those scammers notions is up for grabs. Nevertheless, I have read elsewhere that “self pity” is the most destructive of our emotions and I would throw sentimentality into the self pity pile…….and we all “suffer” from it in varying degrees, though. I suspect humans evolved emotions as an aid to enhance memory…….they certainly have the effect of wearing those ruts deeper.

Someone said that “those who don’t study history are doomed to repeat it”. I would say this is true for our personal histories, too. Another truism is “the sins of the father are visited upon the son”.
In spite of their differences, parents are, in pretty much all ways, closer to their children than anyone else; and vice versa. Half the genes, 18-20 years cohabiting, all the childhood learning, etc. Like it or not, our family history is both a gift and a burden that we will forever have. It seems to me best for everyone if a deep understanding and acceptance of the familial relationships can be accomplished. I ponder on my family and childhood experiences often and every so often a useful insight is had. A final platitude–“one can’t know where they are going if they don’t know where they are coming from”.

Good luck,
Bob Stolzle

220. Cathie L. - July 18, 2015

Nigel asks

“Some questions …..

Do we have to metaphorically uproot to mature, to be ourselves ?, or
Do we have to unravel the Gordian Knot of our relationships to arrive at some Human Purity ?”

I don’t know if we have to do anything.

On one hand:

Sometimes both literal and metaphorical uprootings are helpful (such as leaving a cult!)

I’m always working on letting go of objects and possessions that remind me of the past, an ongoing process of sorting and releasing. But the external reminders are only the tip of the iceberg. Thought patterns and conditioning run deep.

Krishnamurti says to attain freedom from thought and the emotions evoked by it, you have to follow the thought all the way down to its origin in the past, accept that fact, and be done with it.

But here’s the problem I have with that approach. I don’t think we can “be done with it.” Something always seems to come up from the past that we’re not finished with yet. Even something as subtle as the scent of salt ocean and eucalyptus borne on the summer breeze can set off a chain of memory and emotion. Or, as you say, music is often packed with feeling and meaning. When I listen to my favorite old songs, I get taken back, feel nostalgia for that happier time, when I felt the possibilities and powers of my youth most keenly. The sweetness and pleasure, yes, but also just as easily, sad thoughts of failed hopes, lost direction, missed turns, regrets, resentments.

How to be free from this conditioning? Realize you are not your life story. Easier said than done, eh?

So here’s the other hand:

Tony Parsons (Advaita Vedanta tradition) says you “don’t have to experience the dark night of the soul, or surrender, or be purified, or go through any kind of change or process. How can the illusory, separate self practice something in order to reveal that it is illusory?…The invitation to discover that there is no one who needs liberating is constant. There is no need to wait for moments of transformation, to look for the non-doer, permanent bliss, an egoless state, or a still mind. I don’t even have to wait for grace to descend, for I am, you are, it is already the abiding grace.”

I’ve had this realization on occasion, but it’s fleeting. Maybe accepting the fleeting nature of it, is the essence of IT. Take another breath, begin again.

221. nigel harris price - July 18, 2015

219 Robert 220 Cathie

Thanks, you guys ….. something must have happened, astrally ….. between our posts.

Little Ferdy started having 5 second seizures. I have a vet’s and I also have insurance for the dog ….. on calling the vet’s – “We charge £100.00 up-front call-out (however, if it is life-threatening, I will not NOT, see the dog)” ….. Not the sort of money I keep around.

I called my friend, Lynn, who has a smallholding with LOADSA animals. I had looked up White Shaker Syndrome on the internet, which would have been mega-expensive to treat. She said “No – probably just a little hypothermia” – hot and clammy here in Abergavenny.

Anyway, Ferdy is through the ‘trembles’ and looks forward to his nighttime snooze.

Someone said – “The three things in life are something to do, someone to love and something to hope for”

Love and resolution abide.

222. shardofoblivion - July 18, 2015

#218 It seems to me that emotions are the fundamental bed rock of reality. If we didn’t feel them, we would not exist. Some are hard to bear, and the bi-polar condition increases their intensity. But I hope that you will also have harvested some “little moments of glory” from the maelstrom of feelings that make up your life.

In the spirit of sharing clips and links, I can recommend an art film by Hal Hartley called Simple Men. Two brothers, one says he lives for love and adventure, the other replies, “There is no such thing as love and adventure, there’s just trouble and desire”

223. nigel harris price - July 18, 2015

This is great ! How to expose EVEN A PRESIDENT…..

224. fofblogmoderator - July 19, 2015

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