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Fellowship Of Friends/Fourth Way School/Living Presence Discussion – Page 160 September 17, 2017

Posted by fofblogmoderator in Uncategorized.

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

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1. Arthur Brooks - September 17, 2017

Is the brightest light in 2000 years still alive?

2. Associated Press - September 18, 2017

Arthur Brooks, glad to see you are still alive after Harvey. Hope you are OK.

3. Arthur Brooks - September 18, 2017

Went to the hospital in the middle of the storm. Electricity went off so too oxygen generator. Ambulance refused to come, so too private ambulance had to pay neighbor. It was exciting watching ER personal wrestling with wheel chair while rain and wind blowing sideways. Nursing most honorable profession.

4. Mick - September 22, 2017

For some time I was fanatically religious. Then I became a devout atheist. Until the shooting started again. – U.S. soldier, Vietnam 1967

5. Burakcali - September 23, 2017

Dear All,

I am seeking for the origins of the idea of deck of cards, more precisely, the terms so called – nine of hearts, king of hearts etc. I saw that in Fellowship of Friends, they use these terms a lot, but I do not seem to able to find the origins. Ouspensky mentioned in the little book on psychology on parts of centers but not these. Do you have any insights or ideas?

6. Insider - September 24, 2017

1. Arthur Brooks.

Yes, “The brightest light in 2000 years,” “The avatar of this age,” the only “conscious being” on planet Earth, is still alive and keeping the dream going for some 1500 followers, nearly all of whom choose to remain in a hypnotic sleep, because it really is quite a pleasant dream, despite the glaring contradictions between what Robert Burton says about himself, and his actions and behavior. The dream of being chosen, out of 7 billion people, to find a “conscious school;” the dream of 44+ angels guiding one’s “evolution;” the dream of going to “paradise” at the conclusion of one’s “ninth life.”

7. robertschelly - September 24, 2017

Burakcali; as near as I can tell, that was Mr. Burton’s application. The modern deck of cards sure looks to be sprung from the Tarot – which Ouspensky thought was based on Egyptian symbolism and carried up from North Africa by gypsies. Lewis Carroll strikes a kind of tangent chord with his Queen and King of Hearts characters.

8. Burakcali - September 24, 2017

robertschelly – I am aware of Lewis Carroll’s similarities, therefore I doubt it is his application only. As the body types knowledge is not their application only since it was Rodney Collin who brought up the idea by organizing different knowledge, probably that idea is originating from somewhere else.

9. robertschelly - September 25, 2017

You’re right. Body types were described by Cornelius Agrippa 550 years ago. What we used was a good shorthand. Easier to say, “Jack of Spades” than, “moving-instinctive part of the moving center.”

What’s interesting is, we already know all the types instinctively. This just brings it to the intellectual center.

I met people from the Foundation, Bennett’s school, E.J. Gold and elsewhere; none of them knew types.

10. Wouldnt You Like To Know - September 25, 2017

Body type, center-of-gravity, chief feature and alchemy are mere curiosities when compared with self-remembering. That being said, those four ‘work ideas’ are a way of defining the human condition or psychology and, going back to the origins of man, have existed forever and get expressed in various forms throughout history. (Why, for instance, have pyramids come into expression in different peoples and civilizations that have not had contact with each other in place and time?) The inner world gives expression to outward manifestations. One thing I have learned, post-FoF, is that there are any number of ‘esoteric’ systems that can be used to understand the human condition. Some are purer than others. Typically, they are B Influence that can lead to individuals discovering/finding C Influence. There is no monopoly or possession of these ideas. They are tools to an awakening experience.

11. Wouldnt You Like To Know - September 26, 2017

And, BTW, there is a lesser known publication:
‘The Symbolism of the Tarot: Philosophy of Occultism in Pictures and Numbers’
by P. D. Ouspensky, original Russian version published in 1913.

12. Burakcali - September 26, 2017

Thanks for your answers. I know about that book of Ouspensky, however I did not see any correlations with that nine of hearts or detailed card deck information. What do you do after FOF, Wouldnt You Like To Know?

After reading so much about it, I do not consider fof at all, but is there genuine groups or schools. I am only reading and trying to apply Gurdjieff, Ouspensky and Rodney Collin. Do you know any “purer” sources or have any purer esoteric knowledge you would like to suggest?

13. Phutatorius - September 26, 2017

There is the Gurdjieff Foundation, or you could get interested in Zen Buddhism. If you look, the Gurdjieff Foundation isn’t all that hard to find, depending on your location.

14. Phutatorius - September 26, 2017

And by the way, the last time I posted here, it was as “Parson Yorick.” It’s been a while.

15. jomopinata - September 27, 2017

The attempt to identify historical roots indicating the deck of cards is a model of psychic functioning and behavior is an interesting pastime. But the whole enterprise is constrained by the assumption of “esoteric authenticity.” The researcher assumes the model is accurate and legitimate, because s/he’s used it and has a body of observations encoded in the model’s language. The researcher may be unaware, however, that the model has itself shaped or even dictated what she or she has observed. (The huge archive of phrenological writing from the 19th century is full of examples of observations encoded in a language of specious assumptions and used to explain psychic function and behavior.)

The assumption that the deck of cards is “esoterically authentic” is a straitjacket. The researcher cannot question or critically evaluate the assumption that the model is accurate, profound, and anchored in the history of “esoteric” institutions. If the researcher discards the assumption that there’s some deep esoteric meaning in the model, the research becomes an exercise in antiquarianism. Make no mistake, I think it’s fine to ask whether there’s deep meaning, esoteric or otherwise, in the model (as opposed to assuming it’s there). But the researcher also has to be able, after evaluation, to answer the question “no.” There’s a stigma associated with reaching such a conclusion.

So instead the research goes on, with its outcome determined by the assumption of “esoteric authenticity.” When attention is narrowed by the search to identify predetermined conclusions, the searcher will find “clues” to support those conclusions.

16. Mick - September 27, 2017

What would it mean if you could pinpoint the source of the Bhagavad Gita, the Bible, the Koran or a deck of cards? What was before that, and before that, and before that …?
“I don’t make the rules, I just write them down.”

17. timtraveler1 - September 27, 2017

Does anyone know who introduced Robert Burton to the notion of a deck of cards representing the “centers”? By 1974, the Fellowship had already institutionalized this “tool.” Was it something Burton carried over from Alex Horn’s group?

18. Thomas Roy Judd - September 28, 2017

Mick makes a good point yet if one has interest in a subject is good to know as much as possible

19. Nevasayneva - September 29, 2017

I abandoned the bodytype and the “center-of-gravity” deck of card classification after I left FOF. I felt they were or at least can be used as a sort of jargon.Just a labeling. Furthermore it becomes a straitjacket on your mind to think that you or someone else is a certain bodytype or centre of gravity.
It seems relatively easy to disprove the body type theory by observing oneself. Centers of gravity …mmm… a bit harder. it takes a while -a few years- but eventually one does stop thinking of oneself and everyone else through those filters, and also chief feature, another good one to throw out the window.
What a relief not to look and interact with the person in front of you as a person without those sort of mind filters in place.

20. Nevasayneva - September 29, 2017

I heard somewhere (probabaly here) that there is an influx of young people in FOF. Is this true? If true, I find it vaguely depressing. But young people are the most gullible/vunerable to these sort of groups so I suppose not surprsing.

21. Associated Press - September 29, 2017

On the topic of: body type, center-of-gravity, chief feature and alchemy: Post FoF, I still find them useful and good common points of reference, especially in communication with others that know about them – as are other ‘work’ terminologies. However, I have found that giving too much weight to them, in interpersonal interaction with people, has a tendency to separate people into preconceived notions of them (and yourself), and, thereby, separating people from each other, rather than bringing people into closer communion – if you will; separating instead of unifying peoples. (And, in our present times and conditions, we need more joining together rather than dividing people from each other.) I hope that makes sense.

22. Associated Press - September 29, 2017

This can also be said about the FoFism: ‘life people’ which, as far as I can tell, is not a Fourth Way term, but is unique to FoF. People in the work are not chosen, or special, nor superior. Everyone has the equal possibility of being or becoming conscious.

23. Mick - September 29, 2017

The FoF is simply the best ego-enhancement system on the market today.

24. ton2u - September 29, 2017

19 Nevasayneva

Thanks for that cogent assessment… pigeonholing people into classifications based on a notion of “applied mechanics” in itself creates a mechanical way of viewing and interacting… to use your word the idea itself generates “filters” which inhibit or prevents the possibility for more honest and less “calculating” human interactions.

25. brucelevy - September 29, 2017

19 Nevasayneva

Interesting. For me, without going onto very minor details (deck of card) it’s pretty obvious that center of gravity can’t be disputed. Some one predominantly centered in one of the four makes it pretty fucking obvious that it’s accurate. Alchemy…marginal, but there is also obvious clues when someone is inherently and obviously refined or inherently and obviously course. You call it something else, but it’s only a label used to define obvious human proclivities and traits. Chief feature (Gurdjieff’s statements). I don’t know about that except when I’m interrelating with someone it can be fairly obvious that they may view their entire life through a filter of vanity, or fear, or non-existence. But one can label those trait as they wish. I think Gurdjieff wasen’t espousing rules and “facts” as much as temporary maps to help one see themselves.

26. Tim Campion - October 1, 2017


Well, maybe for you kings the center of gravity can’t be disputed, but for us jacks, the system is full of holes! Discrimination, I tell ya!

27. brucelevy - October 1, 2017

26. Tim Campion

Haha, I knew you’d come through.

28. brucelevy - October 2, 2017

But really, forget the subcategories. It’s pretty much obvious the differences between the four center of gravity manifesting in people. I mean how fucking blind can you make yourselves to deny this.

29. Mick - October 5, 2017

Those subcategories (body type, center of gravity, alchemy, chief feature, etcetera) are parts of the Grand 4th Way Concept that “Man is a Machine”. Which, ipso facto, is dehumanizing.

30. brucelevy - October 5, 2017

I don’t find it dehumanizing because, for me, it’s not a de facto rule. It is just a temporary study guide for one to see the world in one schema much like zen, tantra etc. it’s a map to be discarded when you arrive somewhere else.

31. WhaleRider - October 6, 2017

I think it’s worthwhile to note how FOF cult beliefs and FOF cult indoctrination contribute to antisocial behaviors, such as lying, cheating, stealing, and substance abuse.

Firstly, by categorizing humans into groups: i. e. body type, center of gravity, and alchemy, it is extremely difficult if not impossible to resist assigning valuation to one group over another in such an authoritarian hierarchical context like the FOF with one self-proclaimed leader.

Also, the working ego or personality is weakened and compromised in social situations when one attempts to act in a manner outside of one’s character for the sake of demostrating feigned enlightenment. This disempowers and destabilizes the neophyte, setting the stage for exploitation by the cult leader and other entrenched followers.

Secondly, the effort to interrupt the naturally occurring trance state and favoring of a more hyper-vigilant one through use of doomsday predictions and thought blocking techniques like chanting the 30 canine commands is stressful and anxiety provoking.

Since trance states are a necessary component of psychic equilibrium; without them the follower is subject to underlying feelings of dependence, anxiety, and paranoia. In order to compensate for these uncomfortable feelings, the follower must assume the shared delusion (drink the Kool-Aid) that through cult membership they are more ‘conscious’ than others.

Thirdly, and IMO the most damaging and criminal is the separating of humanity into entitled cult members versus dead, undeserving ‘life people’, and placing the follower’s and cult leader’s needs above all others…thereby tacitly justifying the years of burton’s and the FOF’s sociopathic behavior these pages document.

32. Mick - October 6, 2017

There seems to be no shortage of map-sellers who claim that their way will lead to the hidden treasure.

33. brucelevy - October 6, 2017

32. Mick

True dat.

34. Phutatorius - October 7, 2017

brucelevy: Zen has a schema? Please expand on that notion.

35. brucelevy - October 7, 2017

34. Phutatorius

I’m not going to get into a game of jerking off with you. Just google “schema of zen” and do
what ever the fuck you want with the results.

36. John Harmer - October 11, 2017

The map and the territory via an eye in the sky:

37. Insider - October 14, 2017

From Wikipedia:

“George Birimisa (born 21 February 1924 – died 10 May 2012) was an American playwright, actor, and director who contributed to the explosion of gay theater in the mid-1960s during the early years of Off-Off-Broadway. His works feature sexually explicit, emotionally charged depictions of working-class homosexual men, often closeted, in the years before the Stonewall riots (1969) triggered a national and international gay rights movement. Contemporary Authors stated that “Birmisa’s plays feature themes of human isolation, frustrated idealism, and rage against needless suffering, usually centered around homosexual characters.“ According to critic and playwright Michael Smith, Birimisa’s writing “links the pain of human isolation to economic and social roots.” Birimisa remained an active playwright, author, editor, and teacher until the end of his life.”

George Birimisa and other actors from Chicago traveled to Mexico with Alex Horn around 1954/55. This was the core of the group that would soon thereafter become the Compass Players, later Second City.

By all accounts, Horn was anti-homosexual. (Was that a result of spending several months with Birimisa in Mexico?) According to Thomas Farber (who was in Horn’s group about the same time as Robert Burton) in “Tales for the Son of my Unborn Child,” Horn was especially physically violent towards gay men in his group, even forcing 2 lovers to fight seriously with each other. And, of course, it is reported that Burton was expelled from Horn’s group because he (Burton) would not stop hitting on the other (probably young) men.

Just a little history.

38. Linda - October 15, 2017

Concerned about many of you with the fires going on – is it where the vineyards are (FOF) ? ……. worried about some of my friends …..

39. Insider - October 15, 2017

Yes, fire was close, but Oregon House (and FoF) was spared. If you can picture the area, it started above the Ace hardware store near the intersection of Marysville Road and Willow Glen, then spread south and west. OH is to the southeast of Ace. Loma Rica was hard hit. 100% containment is expected Oct 17.

40. Fee fi fo fum - October 16, 2017

“…such a secret society rarely allows those who are being wooed to join to see its shadier sides from the outset…Once they make a commitment to a group, they are less quick to criticize it, especially as still further mysteries are held before them as inducements to joining. And gradually, when novices are deemed ready to absorb more information without criticism and in complete secrecy, they are exposed to tasks and methods they would earlier have questioned.”

From “Secrets: On the Ethics of Concealment and Revelation” by Sissela Bok. From the chapter, “Secret Societies / Groups Sworn to Secrecy,” pp 49-50.

This book followed her earlier book called “Lying,” which I read after leaving the FoF to help me understand the FoF’s unrelenting mind-f-k.

Linda - October 16, 2017

Insider, Thank you for the update.

41. Ames Gilbert - October 16, 2017

Fair warning! This is one of Ames’ long and probably boring essays, so feel free to skip down to the bottom and save yourself some time…
Not only that, almost all of it has been said before in this blog in a number of places, one way or another (as far as my understanding goes). Of course, it is all personal opinion, and at best should be taken with a truckload of salt. And lastly, readers should bear in mind that my direct experience with the Fellowship of Friends ended twenty–two years ago; everything I’ve learned about the organization after that is hearsay, though I’ve tried to substantiate my strongest claims through more than one source.

Same with Asaf Braverman’s BePeriod organization. I’ve never met him, his twenty years (!) with Burton in the Fellowship were all after my time, I’ve never joined his group, it’s all hearsay (second or even third–hand experience). So, I grant that I may be wrong about anything—or everything. Maybe there really are 45 angels helping Burton run things, maybe the Absolute has visited him three times to lend personal support and approval, maybe Braverman really is an enlightened altruist trying to uplift humanity, continuing the noble lineage of ‘schools’ from 150 centuries ago. And maybe anyone who writes a check to Burton really does automatically becomes ‘conscious’. I invite readers to collect lots of data from all sides, and take the time to think things out for themselves, and take responsibility for any decisions they do or do not make!

When I began posting here ten years ago, I decided I would try to avoid touching on ‘spiritual’ subjects per se, and concentrate on the more operational side of the Grand Scam. I simply felt unqualified to interpret what others said they had learned—or not; I have enough trouble trying to sort things out in my internal world, and words so often fail. So I’ve tackled subjects like the huge inequality of power between the Great Fraud and the lowly aspirants seeking answers, that kind of thing. Anyway, now I have entered the last phase of my life, I think I can start summarizing some of the things I believe I have learned in some of these other areas. Again, all just my opinion, of course! And please forgive anything that sounds preachy or ‘teachy’!

As you would expect an organization that uses the Fourth Way as bait to attract followers, The Fellowship of Friends claimed, at least for the first thirty years or so, that Self-remembering is central to its philosophy and the main tool followers should use to achieve ‘living presence’. Likewise, it would seem that Asaf Braverman’s teaching follows in the same vein. This would make sense since Asaf Braverman of Beperiod.com openly states Robert Earl Burton is, or was, his teacher, and he spent twenty years in the Fellowship of Friends at the feet of and in the bed of his master. Not only that, Braverman started Beperiod.com in 2012, five years before his exit in 2017 with the full knowledge and likely active support by some of the leading luminaries of the Fellowship of Friends. If there is any divergence in his philosophy and that of Burton, he has yet to state such in clear, unequivocal terms on the publicly accessible parts of the Beperiod website. It seems a fair assumption that the ‘esoteric’ part of Beperiod.com is pretty much the same as that of the Fellowship of Friends. Hence this is my assessment of what BOTH organizations pass off as ‘self–remembering’.

So I’ll just jump right in, starting with the subject of ‘self–remembering’ as I understood the indoctrination during my stay in the Fellowship of Friends and as I understand it (purely as a remote observer) in Asaf Braverman’s “Ark in Time” and BePeriod series of assertions. Right now, I’m not going to presume to tell readers what self-remembering is, but rather tackle the subject from the other end, start off by exploring what (IMHO) it isn’t.

• What Self–Remembering is ‘Not’
I posit that both Robert Earl Burton and Asaf Braverman have no idea what ‘self–remembering’ is, and no idea that what they teach instead is a truly dangerous travesty.
I know that I will not sway any long–time members (some have been immersed in Burton’s fantasy for over forty years, and have an investment they cannot and will not easily give up), but maybe I can persuade some of those potential recruits who looking into these organizations to think hard about what they want and what they could lose by joining up with these charlatans.
What do the likes of Burton and Braverman in fact actually teach? It is what I have come to call, “Hyper-vigilant awareness”. And, they have gone completely ‘up the creek without a paddle’ with the “Battle with the Lower Self”. Over the decades, their methods have devolved from what I initially understood to be necessary neutral observations of What Is, without filters or expectations, to actively calling for an impossible–to–win internal war.

At the time I joined the FoF in 1978, I was presented with an interesting conundrum. A major principle of the Fourth Way is that man is ‘asleep’, and thus cannot ‘do’, that one has to to awaken somewhat to be able to ‘do’. Yet we ‘asleep students’ were from the beginning required to start ‘doing’, that is, start remembering ourselves. But over the decades, this ‘teaching’ has dramatically changed. From an admittedly entirely theoretical awareness of, though never acceptance of, ‘What Is’, it has morphed to a mental battle, pure mind activity and thus inevitably authoritarian and dualistic. To do that, both Burton and Braverman have constructed an intellectual pretzel, twisting both common sense and logic to support an ideology, not a living, breathing and useful internal and external situational awareness that might be the herald of something greater.

…I’m going to suppose that there are (at least) two general levels of ‘self–remembering’. I have to do this because this is what I have observed in myself. The first level is that gathering the information, provided by one’s senses and internal awareness, at that particular moment. Here I am, the observer, aware of the process, looking at this scene, this is my experience. Coupled with an attempt at detachment, to make impartial observations, without judgement. In summary, I am an active component in the effort to expand my awareness. Perhaps adding external and internal observations like, what is my posture, what am I smelling, where are my hands and feet, what is my facial expression, what am I wasting energy on, etc. This is as far as it ever went within the Fellowship of Friends. When I asked ‘older students’ the question, “What else?”, Or “How does one deepen this?”, I was always referred back to the ‘divided attention’ analogy. Over the years, it became obvious that no–one knew more than I did, or at least anything practical they were willing to share. So, for myself, I tried adding the attitude of gratitude in those moments, for blessing the circumstances—if not a discrete ‘old guy in the sky’ architect—that allowed me to be to some degree here and experiencing my wonderful life. I got this idea from Gurdjieff. Anyone who has been in the Fellowship during the first twenty years of its existence will no doubt remember that Burton proudly and frequently claimed he had had no need to study Gurdjieff and had never even read any of his books. WTF? Why was this not a bright red flag for me?

What of that I call the second kind of self–remembering? There, in my personal experience, I as an observer am completely passive. Passive but receptive. This is way beyond mere detachment. Something else is acting through me; I am being ‘self–remembered’. This, IMHO, is a much higher level, a ‘higher frequency’ in the jargon of my flower–child youth. And it seems to me to be complete in itself. No need to gather my attentions and inputs from the senses, no need to try to expand anything. No need to even make the effort to incorporate gratitude or awe, those come with the territory. And the experience is absolutely out of my hands, there is nothing I can do to bring it on, nothing I can do to extend it, nothing I can do but be aware and grateful when it occurs. The only contribution I can make is to allow it, to not get in the way. The quality, effortlessness and essential simplicity of this second kind is of a completely different order than the first. It is this second kind that I had hoped to experience more of when I joined the Fellowship. I did, from time to time, hear mention of this second kind while I was a member (and in this blog), but the main thrust was to increase efforts to achieve the first kind, by any and all means. In fact, I was taught that the ends justified the means, and the means came to entail more and more extreme and bizarre mental efforts, as well as incurring more and more moral hazard. It is so ironic that these efforts increase fragmentation, that they are in total opposition to re–cognizing, re–membering the whole, bring every part of the self together to the moment so as to experience it fully.

One essential point here. The first type requires efforts, is aided by the company of other seekers (for inspiration, reminders, sharing of problems and successes), and must be modeled by ‘someone who has (purportedly) escaped’. So, it requires structure and organization for consistent results, and a faith that the person claiming he/she has ‘escaped’ has done so. The second type requires no particular efforts, no organization, no intermediary. Thus is obviously of no use to those interested in power or self–aggrandizement, or for those who wish to abdicate their own power, and so it is for all practical purposes, unstudied and unmentioned and unwanted, unwelcome even as a possibility. When I ventured to talk about this second type within the Fellowship of Friends, I was told that I was ‘in imagination’ and making ‘wrong efforts’!
Over time, I came to realize that this is a classic example of groupthink. I would recommend decoupling from any group, let alone ones as risky as the FoF or offshoots like BePeriod.com, because of the danger of groupthink. Every group quickly develops its special forms of thought, based on the commonality that brought a bunch of individuals together in the first place. Those forms inevitably change to accommodate both the needs of the group and the needs of the leaders. To some extent, this is legitimate; times change, and if the thought structures of the group do not change to suit, then they become dogma and ideology. But those healthy and practical changes are all too often subsumed to the weaknesses, not the strengths, of the leaders and followers. One sign of this possibility is the openness of the group to external influences. If the group becomes withdrawn and isolated from the rest of society, then the pathologies within the group can flourish. If healthy and healing energies can be exchanged with the rest of the world, and no-one is afraid of the truth, then the group may thrive. Unfortunately, closed groups are the norm, because most ‘spiritual’ groups are formed to shield the participants from realities, internal and external, not for mutual aid in exploring things as they actually are, with no holds barred.

• Mistaking Mental Activity for Self–Remembering
Lists of ‘things to do’, such as ‘The Sequence’, or even lists of ‘reminders’ (such as Asaf Braverman’s ‘work aphorisms’) are obvious indications that active mental activity is incorporated in the effort to ‘be present’ or ‘self–remember’. If there are indeed at least two levels of ‘self–remembering’ as I have posited, such lists might only be temporarily useful for the first level, the idea of enhancing situational awareness by extending the reach of the senses. Even that has dangers, it is too easy to memorize and use the list by rote, or to start relying on it alone instead of experiencing the reach on its own terms. At best, this leads one to a state of hyper-vigilance, an intense internal and situational awareness that one can learn to reach with a lot of discipline and practice. From what I can gather, Orage’s interests lay in this direction (mine too, for a while), and this misunderstanding (and his teaching of this misunderstanding) is why Gurdjieff ditched him. But this error is fairly benign compared to the dead end of “The Sequence”, as promulgated by the Fellowship of Friends and Asaf Braverman, which leads inevitably and rather quickly, to pure mind activity. Consider the context. Followers are simultaneously being indoctrinated with a steady diet of numerology and symbology based on ‘keys’ and the singular interpretations of mostly visual phenomena. How can all these interpretations be anything but mind activity, and a therefore a veil across the actual experience? How can it be any other way? Add this to the fact that this catalog of interpretations is closely coupled to “The Thirty Work ‘I’s”, and it is almost impossible to avoid the actual experience being drowned in a sea of mental activity. The final straw is that any efforts to decouple are themselves more mental activity, of the “Don’t think of the elephant in the room” type. That is, to try to clear one’s mentation based on lists and concurrent mental activities, one has to include in one’s awareness the lack, acknowledge the existence of one’s faulty thinking and undisciplined mentation and the associated impediments to actually being in the moment! This is an impossible task, and at best leads to the two directions of energy cancelling each other out. At worst, it can lead to a mental breakdown.

• The Dangers of False Ideas about Self–Remembering 
The next important aspect I’d like to address is the shattering of self–confidence, which leads to reliance on external sources of knowledge and authority, in particular the God–Emperor of Oregon House, Robert Earl Burton, or his recently–departed Great Hope, Asaf Braverman, and those followers to whom either of them temporarily lend authority. If one keeps losing the impossible–to–win war, then there is no doubt that one is going to lose any confidence one once had in one’s powers.
What is self–confidence? There are many levels, but in my opinion the bedrock of true self–confidence is based on self–knowledge. And this means exploration and getting to know every aspect of this human experience that you, as a human being are living, pleasant and unpleasant, avoiding nothing. That is mighty hard to do, because it means recognizing and facing and acknowledging the dark side and the so–called ‘negative’ sides, something that both we as a society and we as ‘spiritual’ individuals are conditioned to bypass or ignore. This is doubly, triply so within the Fellowship of Friends and its offshoots like BePeriod, and most authoritarian ‘spiritual’ disciplines. Anytime one hears mention of ‘lower self’ or ‘negative emotions’, it is a signal that we are in that territory and are about to employ mechanisms that encourage division and avoidance. The War against the Lower Self is a central concept in these organizations. So is the Non–expression of Negative Emotions, which quickly transitions to the suppression of negative emotions. Together they mean that huge swaths of human experience, of personal exploration of the very essence of human–ness and the point of this entire adventure are off–limits. And all that is offered to replace this vacuum is a whole bunch of received wisdom from some authority—a poor substitute for actual experiential knowledge. This reliance on others to fill the void is spiritual weakness, not strength. And if it goes on for very long, it is crippling, not empowering. I mean this literally; to the degree you give up the power of self–exploration to others, to the same degree you have disempowered yourself (and this is true of any of your powers). Certainly it is much easier to have others who claim authority and special knowledge to provide the answers. Accepting their explanations and their interpretations is so much easier than to go digging for them yourself, isn’t it? And it doesn’t take long to become accustomed to this helplessness that you voluntarily assumed. Soon it becomes a habit, then an addiction. And this ends with you having given up your main responsibilities and duty to yourself—and others. You continually fail, so who are you to ask questions of those in authority? And you, as a low unworthy worm in the scheme of things, will never need or seek to individuate or graduate.

As in any war, the War against the Lower Self leads to a great deal of stress. Human physiology is equipped to deal with a certain amount of stress, but only intermittently. We are well able to deal with fight or flight decisions over a short time, in an emergency, but are not adapted to deal with continuous stress. The low–grade but endless, continual ‘looking over your shoulder’ stress (C-Influence, fellow followers on the lookout), and the never–ending background guilt that one’s efforts will always fall short (after all, if you are not observing yourself, dividing attention, situationally aware 100% of the time, piling up victor after victory against the ‘lower self’, then you are falling short, aren’t you?)
There is the stress of constant ‘alarm clocks’ going off (whether self–set or via group exercises and expectations, ‘photographs’ by your peers and those in authority). There are reminders ever at hand (numerology—almost every number, multiple or combination has a meaning that you must struggle to interpret and apply ‘right now’); symbology (almost everything that passes in front of your eyes has a hidden pattern and hence esoteric meaning that you also must struggle to interpret and apply ‘right now’). And you may have missed that all–important sign that might have made all the difference and saved you a lifetime or two on the weary treadmill! This all contributes to the burden, not to mention diminution of self–confidence, and this doesn’t turn out too well for some; especially those already brought up on plenty of guilt and original sin, such as Catholics and Southern Baptists (just random examples among many!) And this is supposedly going to continue for many lifetimes, if you fall for the jive.

The financial demands of the Fellowship adds even more stress; one has to dig deeper and deeper into one’s wallet as one becomes more committed to the fantasy, to maintain the insatiable Robert Burton in the lifestyle he has become accustomed to. The result of all this stress inevitably leads to mental and physical illness. Within the body, the immune system becomes seriously weakened and starts to lose vitality. Mentally, life becomes increasingly joyless and even hopeless. I became deeply suspicious of my so–called ‘friends’ when I realized that any confidence could be and was betrayed (all for my own good, of course), there was no privacy, any other follower could enquire into my life and report their findings to higher authority. And even if one were were to satisfy the temporal organization, there were still those all–powerful and all–seeing angels to contend with, if one had been persuaded of their existence. One is told that they are monitoring you night and day, every thought and every effort (and lack of effort) is an open book to them, and that they alter circumstances especially to provide you with ‘friction to separate from’ and lessons to learn.

• Reasons Why Burton’s and Braverman’s Teachings Lead Away from Self–Remembering
It is so easy to slip from, “The many ‘I’s show that we are not unified”, to “We are not unified”, that is, the whole body/spirit entity is not unified, but composed of separate parts. Based on arbitrary labels that are supposed to be temporary signposts to raise awareness, the FoF philosophers (if you can call them that) have managed to use the mind to permanently divide the unified whole into separate factions which they label and then set to war against each other. This is utter nonsense, and dangerous nonsense, as described above. The labels were supposed to be useful tools that one used for a short while to help one ‘get the flavor’ of a suggested line of observations, and certainly to be abandoned well before the mind took them to be more real than the objects of study themselves. Surely anyone who is trying to become more ‘self–aware’ quickly realizes how easy it is to look at an apple and completely miss the experience of that particular apple at that particular time, and instead substitute the label, “apple”, based on previous experiences melded together. We do that, mechanically substituting labels for the present unique phenomenon, all the time. Does the FoF/Braverman philosophy warn against this, guard against this? No. Yet, isn’t that the objective, to experience what is happening now, preferably without the prevailing cultural filters and expectations?
Asaf Braverman, on his Beperiod site, actually encourages labeling thoughts, as a prelude to ‘gaining control’ over them. After twenty years of internalizing these methods at the feet of his teacher, Robert Burton, he literally encourages followers to label them—as the first step to suppressing them. And quickly following the labelling comes the time when the preconception substitutes for the actual experience. I need hardly point out this is just another mental activity that comes between any follower and the actual experience of the here and now in its entirety; just like ‘The Sequence’, which Asaf Braverman co–invented a dozen years ago with his mentor, Robert Earl Burton. And this whole ‘teaching’ is about control (attempting to impose order), which is another illusion and the antithesis of self–remembering as I understand it, of ‘bringing all the parts together’.

Mme Ouspensky said it was just grace…
An analogy: we can make efforts to set up a nice dinner, rather than gorge, but the food itself is a gift.

Well, it has taken quite a long time to get not very far, so I’ll make one last point for anyone who has read thus far: it may be very difficult to ‘get at the truth’ of certain claims, but one sure way (though it might take a fair chunk of time passing) is to look at the results. Thus, I can look at the results of my own exposure over sixteen years to the ‘teachings’ of Robert Earl Burton, the Gargantuan Golem of Greatness. And I can look at four and a half decades of Burton’s ‘teaching’ and judge the results accessible to me and reported by hundreds and acted on by over fifteen thousand others who came, saw and left. I don’t have enough time, let alone any inclination, to subject myself to Asaf Braverman’s ‘teachings’ for a further sixteen years to make a comparison, and I think most sane people would agree, what would be the point? He studied under Burton for 20 years, and the very strong likelihood is that what he is offering is more of the same.
The fact is, the average long–term follower of Burton is not directly persuadable by outside influences. They will tell you that they are perfectly happy with the results of Burton’s teaching, that they are living rich, fulfilled lives, and they are ‘on the path to immortality’. Outside observers may see a harried, insular, closed–minded, often physically and mentally unwell population, but why would Burton’s followers care about those perceptions?

And so I came to see that Burton’s actions and behavior never matched his words, none of his claims panned out, he knew nothing and cared nothing about conscience, did not and could not know anything about the consciousness of others, and is very far from having even risen to the level of an ordinary, decent human being himself, let alone actively enabled anyone else to do so.
So, my results were that I was under constant stress, my mental and physical health suffered, I became more constrained in my thinking and behavior, I became less joyful and more closed off from the rest of humanity. I was dying inside. And I’m warning seekers that the same may happen to you.

42. jomopinata - October 16, 2017

I am more inclined to believe that Horn acquired his prejudices and his cruelty and brutality in childhood, given that he grew up in an orphanage. It has always struck me as weird that in February 1935 he was living with his parents in a flat in Chicago (according to a story which appeared in the Chicago Tribune), and in April 1940 he was an inmate of an orphanage (according to Census records). Can you imagine the trauma he must have experienced with such an upheaval?

43. Ames Gilbert - October 16, 2017

Jomo, I’ll try to find my source (which itself certainly wasn’t direct knowledge, AFAIK), but I distinctly recall reading that Horn’s family house burnt down when he was 11, and then he ended up in the orphanage. One comment was, he may have set the fire himself.

44. Just the Facts Ma'am - October 17, 2017

My decades of association with Fellowship of Friends (FoF), Burton (REB), directly, and Alex Horn, by lineage extension, left me with the distinct impression that these people are abused and are abusers; as it were like an ‘iron fist in a velvet glove.’ You can debate the circumstances, but the Hydrogens, to use that Fourth Way terminology, reveal the truth behind the façade.

One significant thing that can happen to people with this type experience is that they develop a negative oxytocin response mechanism that can lead to sociopathology, or psychopathology, and/or, definitely NO CONSCIENCE. And, this is palpable, if you become aware of the energy (hydrogen) of this manifesting. Like some people can become sensitized to bullshit and have a good internal bullshit meter, so a person can develop a sensitivity for an absence of conscience and negative oxytocin response mechanism. People who are not properly nurtured in their formative years – like orphans and the abused, for example: Romanians, who lived in a radically altered society under Nicolae Ceaușescu (any wonder that Romanian FoF members had such an affinity for REB and the power structure of FoF? Hmmm, Dorian?)

“Human studies likewise confirm the notion that early experiences, possibly mediated by oxytocin, are related to later social behaviors, finds a study reported in the Nov. 22, 2005, Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences (Vol. 102, No. 47, pages 16,907-16,908). There, University of Wisconsin-Madison doctoral student Alison Wismer Fries and colleagues compared urine levels of oxytocin and a related hormone, vasopressin, in two sets of children – one raised from birth with their biological parents and one adopted after living in orphanages in Russia and Romania – following contact with their mothers. The levels of oxytocin rose in the biological children but remained the same in the adopted children, they found. These findings suggest there may be biological underpinnings for the observation that some adopted children, in particular those from deprived circumstances, have difficulty forming secure relationships, despite living in loving homes, the team notes.”

Read more:

Then, again, I could be wrong.

45. jomopinata - October 17, 2017

The Chicago Tribune article portrays the five-year-old Alexander as having sounded the alarm one night when a fire broke out while his mother, “Mrs. Maurice C. Horn,” was in the bathroom, his outcry having saved his family. (You can read the article here: http://www.survivorshandbook.com/wp-content/articles/chicago-tribune-horn-fire.pdf.)

Cook County vital records show that Maurice C. Horn married Laura De Lallo on January 11, 1939. (I consider it likely that Laura De Lallo is a different person than the “Mrs. Maurice C. Horn” mentioned in the article of February 9, 1935. I could obtain Alex’s birth certificate for fifteen dollars, which would indicate the name of his mother, but I don’t feel like spending the money.)

Cook County vital records indicate that Maurice C. Horn died on November 29, 1939.

1940 Census records show Alexander as an inmate of the Marks Nathan Home for Jewish Orphans as of April 1, 1940.

So for the child Alex, there’s the disruption of his parents’ marriage, by death or divorce, either one of them traumatic. Then there is the apparent re-marriage of his father, followed by the death of his father in the same year. Then he’s put in the Marks Nathan orphanage. (All before his tenth birthday.) Can you imagine?!

A book by Daniel Friedman, titled The King of Chicago: Memories of my Father, about his father who grew up in that orphanage, describes it as a “black hole on the West Side of Chicago,” and reports that his father described his upbringing there, some years before Alex was placed there, as “traumatic.”

I think this information goes a long way towards contextualizing this guy. It’s hard to think of him without thinking of the Artful Dodger from Oliver Twist.

46. jomopinata - October 17, 2017

The fact that Alex was placed in an orphanage suggests that his mother died before he was sent there. (If she was still alive when that happened, it’s even more horrible.)

47. jomopinata - October 17, 2017

Actually looks like his father’s death, and his being sent to live in the orphanage, occurred after his tenth birthday.

48. jomopinata - October 18, 2017

Here is Maurice Horn, Laura Horn, and baby Alexander F. Horn in the 1930 census: https://ia800404.us.archive.org/25/items/TheEsotericHistoryArchive_201605/record-image_33S7-9R45-6LY.jpg — looks like the Laura De Lallo Maurice married in 1939 is the same person who bore his child in 1929 (unless there was a typo and the marriage certificate actually dates to 1929).

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