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Re: Byron Katie (the Work) and Eckhart Tolle Legit??
Posted by: corboy ()
Date: September 14, 2008 10:04PM

Dear Solea: here is the link, from Google group alt.fan.landmark
for

"NOTICE OF IMPORTANT INFORMATION AND HEALTH WARNINGS"

[groups.google.com];

Note: despite the contents of this form, one RR.com correspondant told us a very distressing situation that involved her husband, who according to this correspondant, has one of the medical conditions LEC mentions on its form as being good reason NOT to participate.

Her husband's employer was a LEC devotee and pressured her husband to to the seminar. Her husband told the boss he had a medical condition that precluded his participation.

You can read the whole thing here--including a visit by someone named 'Elaine' who provided advice that had a sting in the tail.

"My husband lost his job b/c he would not do the LANDMARK FORUM"

[forum.culteducation.com]

Though this involves an entity different from BK, it does illustrate what The Anticult has described.

IMO a good way to identify a potential LGAT or exploitative-guru set up is to study the disclaimer forms. And if you are not allowed time to examine the forms, that in itself is a large red flag.

This matter of 'being in the moment' means different things to different people. Some persons will be of sterling character, their word is gold.

When persons like this are in the moment, it doenst have a facile or jargony quality to it.

Others use being-in-the-moment as a way to split off from and dissociate themselves from any portion of the past that is painful and that they do not wish to acknowledge.

Psychoanalyst Philip Bromberg has said that the remedy for splitting/dissociation is learning consciously to bear and acknowledge pain and conflict, rather than splitting off from them.

And Barry Magid, another psychoanalyst, has warned that spiritual practices and jargon can be used legitimately to assist us to bear and contain pain, conflict and our and others vulnerablity---or these can be covertly used to do an 'emotional bypass'--used to split off aspects of ourselves or emotions, or the presence of other people if we dont want to face these--and gives a spiritually rationalized way to dissown stuff we dont want to face---while giving ourselves high fives for being 'spiritual'.

A person may do an emotional bypass on their own.

Or...people may be taught to do emotional bypasses by whoever is teaching the method. In the latter case, it does indeed make sense to
give close examination to the teacher's methods.

Magid advised us that ancient and authentic traditions can be used for purposes of emotional bypass.

Though Magid didnt mention it, more modern methods such as LGATs and New Age methods can also be used to bypass painful emotions in the guise of helping us become more conscious or 'in the moment.'

RR.com is here for those of us who want to discuss what happens and goes wrong when religion and human potential material is advertised as offering growth but covertly is used for emotional bypass---and when one is NOT allowed to discuss this.

That is what is noteworthy: there are LEGIONS of venues where people are free, free free to discuss the benefits of BK and whatever else they feel has benefitted them.

But for those who feel they have incurred trauma (and in some cases have needed the services of licensed mental health practitioners to deal with the fall out) RR.com is about the only venue where the worrisome and imperfect aspects of BK and others in the human potential movement can be discussed.

The mere existence of this one unique venue attracts a strangely persistent stream of disruptive visitors.

Why? With so many venues where people can talk happily of thier cures, why should a single venue where people discuss unhappy outcomes seem such a threat?

A threat to cure fantasy? A real cure cannot be denied. But a fantasy cure, or what some psychoanalysts have termed a 'transferance cure' can be disrupted by anything that contradicts the idealized image/public persona of the teacher one is projecting one's own vitality onto.

Again, my being cured of double pneumonia by an antibiotic was not cancelled out because my neighbor had nasty and disabling side effects from that same antibiotic.

Her side effects were as real as my cure.

***And in medicine both her experience and mine are documented so that the side effects of this drug are known and understood, along with its benefits.

(And if this does not happen in a timely manner, it hits the news--eg Vioxx and Avandia)

In real medicine and true mental health--side effects and mishaps are discussed and acknowledged and not considered evidence of 'negativity.'

If a leader or group cannot tolerate discussion of side effects and less than beneficial outcomes, they are more like actors and entertainers who crave applause, than true healers who want to know the full truth about whether a method actually does work or has some potential for side effects.

Another real-life example:

Back in 2000, I met a guy who had diabetes. He said sadly that the best medicine he was ever on was Rezulin. He thrived on it. Felt great, excellent blood sugar levels, lost weight. But, Rezulin was taken off the market because it produced an unacceptably high rate of liver failure.

This man did not dump on people whose deaths and liver transplants had led to his losing access to Rezulin. He didnt blame them at all. He acknowledged their suffering and at the same time regretted Rezulin was no longer available.

This man could hold and acknowlege all sides of this situation.

He didnt split off the suffering and deaths of those who had side effects from Rezulin, by putting blame on them or dissociate himself from the humanity of those who suffered by writing them off as unworthy or as lacking in some way for having cost him access to a drug that he, personally, had found highly beneficial.

-------------------

Note, if one copies a post from another RR.com thread onto this one, live
URLs on the original post will go dead and be inert when copied and pasted
elsewhere. So what one has to do is after copying and pasting a post, go to to URL, click it and visit the site, then copy and paste that sites live URL
onto your post and then the URL should be 'live'.



Edited 1 time(s). Last edit at 09/14/2008 10:13PM by corboy.

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Re: Byron Katie (the Work) and Eckhart Tolle Legit??
Posted by: solea13 ()
Date: September 14, 2008 11:35PM

Thanks corboy. That disclaimer is extremely detailed in comparison to the one we used.

Clearly Landmark must have had incidents over time of harming people with various mental health problems. It is interesting the way that they basically allude to the fact that going through Landmark is a stressful, emotionally charged experience that may bring up feelings of 'irritation' and 'anger' ... I think they even say 'hatred'!!!

So you are basically agreeing to endure those things plus sleep deprivation when you sign this form! It is unbelievable.

I would love to see a Byron Katie disclaimer.

corboy wrote: "And Barry Magid, another psychoanalyst, has warned that spiritual practices and jargon can be used legitimately to assist us to bear and contain pain, conflict and our and others vulnerablity---or these can be covertly used to do an 'emotional bypass'--used to split off aspects of ourselves or emotions, or the presence of other people if we dont want to face these--and gives a spiritually rationalized way to dissown stuff we dont want to face---while giving ourselves high fives for being 'spiritual'."

This is fascinating to me. The more I read on this thread, the more the pices of information start fitting together to understand the cult experience. The 'emotional bypass' seems to be what many cult members go through.

Coming out on the other side, there are so many issues to confront in life that should have been dealt with in the process of maturing to full adulthood. This includes for example, coming to terms with the reality of illness, one's own eventual aging and mortality.

'Re-framing' reality using the techniques of Eckhart (spelled his name wrong before, sorry) Tolle or Byron Katie may seem useful for a while, but people should be aware that it is at the risk of cutting oneself off from genuine, deeply-felt emotion not only of sorrow or loss but also from true compassion for others and joy.

Byron Katie is a woman who laughed as she told her daughter she had cancer and made a close friend weep on her deathbed!

Is that the kind of emotionally disconnected life that people really want to live? For example, not feeling anything for a person who has lost a loved one because 'It's all Good' and because they need to 'Love what Is'.

There are people in some cults who cut themselves off emotionally to the point where they don't visit sick siblings in hospital or refuse to go to a parent's funeral! It is only years later that they wake up to regret this deeply and go through the mourning that they initially denied themselves.

For people who come here recently to defend, I re-post the following link (which I believe was made earlier somewhere on this forum) to this story of what happened to a young woman who believed so strongly in the 'Power of Now' that it cost her life.

The story is about Eckhart Tolle but I think it's still relvant to the general discussion:

Black Sun Journal



Edited 4 time(s). Last edit at 09/15/2008 12:03AM by solea13.

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Byron Katie and Eckhart Tolle are greater Egomaniacs than Trump
Posted by: The Anticult ()
Date: September 15, 2008 02:56AM

I bet that is very common, and that is why Tolle picked that name. We tend to project those types of things on these Guru's, which is why they do it! I find Eckhart Tolle planned things out quite carefully in terms of his marketing.

As far as the ME ME ME factor, I do think that has some relevance, even with people who commit to so-called "selfless service" sometimes. (of course these things are complex and individual).
But, there are some New Agey people who run around bragging about their alleged service, and about how "happy" it makes them. So helping people is about making themselves feel better? Getting food to hungry children is about their own feeling good, like a self-therapy project? I have always found that to be very distasteful.
I've seen that on TV many times...go out and "help people" to make yourself happy, and show everyone how wonderful you are, shout it from the housetops.

Or in the case of Guru's they brag about their alleged "service" to try to show people what wonderful people they are. They talk endlessly about the food baskets they give away on Thankgiving, etc.
(this is what Werner Erhard was satirizing and exploiting with his fake Hunger Project scam, cynically exploiting the public).

Again, that is just what I have often seen, in this context. The people who are often really helping other people we generally don't hear about as much, as they are not just about self-promotion.

Also, sometimes people who are over-focussed on themselves actually make themselves unhappy by over-focussing on themselves too much. That might be the root of their unhappiness, perhaps?
They think about becoming Enlightened all the time, and trying to attain a supreme consciousness. If you boil that down, then that makes them "superior" even though they claim humility.
I don't know, I prefer the ugly Egoism of Donald Trump, rather than the false humility of many New Agers. A wolf is better than a wolf in sheeps clothing.

Like Eckhart Tolle, who says he is beyond the Ego, etc, yet he is an extreme massive Egomaniac and braggart, obsessed with trying to prove he is the Greatest Spiritual Thinker of all time who will redeem the New Earth, and all the rest of it.
I actually think Eckhart Tolle is 1000x more of an Egomaniac than a Donald Trump.


Quote
solea13

PS: Anticult - regarding the link to discussion of Eckhardt Tolle's name ... as a 'spiritual practitioner' back in the day I believed that was his real name and that the extraordinary coincidence pointed to the possibility that Eckhardt Tolle was the re-incarnation of Meister Eckhardt !!!

I only feel free to post this embarrasing piece of personal foolishness due to the anonimity of this forum ... Heh heh.

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Re: Byron Katie and Eckhart Tolle are greater Egomaniacs than Trump
Posted by: The Anticult ()
Date: September 15, 2008 03:16AM

PS: of course there are many good folks who are victimized by these cults and groups, that goes without saying. I generally focus on the weasels like Katie and Tolle, and their senior people who are doing the exploiting, and use "service" as a way to trick kind hearted people into handing over their money and time to them.
As a matter of fact, it appears that is exactly how Byron Katie makes most of her money, by getting people to just turn their assets over to her. She makes them think their money is going into "service" but since everything is kept secret and hidden, it could be mainly going into offshore numbered Swiss bank accounts transfered through Amsterdam.
No one knows, that is why they keep the books hidden and private.

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Re: Byron Katie and Eckhart Tolle are greater Egomaniacs than Trump
Posted by: corboy ()
Date: September 16, 2008 12:13AM

Solea wrote:

Quote

Is that the kind of emotionally disconnected life that people really want to live?

The answer may be yes. Look at the popularity of iPods. (I call 'em 'ear worms'). Great way to split off and dissociate from one's surroudings.

On a more serious note, if you can, try and get a copy of Arthur Koestler's book, The Lotus and the Robot.

Around 1958, Koestler made a trip to India and then to Japan. He had been affected by both the Spanish Civil War (where he narrowly escaped execution as a POW) and by World War II. Koestler had been a dedicated Communist and finally faced how dehumanizing it was and repudiated his connection to the Party. This too had painful consequences.

So Koestler went to India and to Japan to see if the best minds amongt the Hindu and Japanese Zen elite could offer any answers to questions that mattered to thoughtful Westerners who were troubled by the dehumanizing evil that had been unleashed by both Stalin and Hitler.

To his dismay, Koestler found there didnt seem to be any answers.

But I mention this because Koestler was struck by one feature of Indian life in particular--the staggering levels of noise and the utter lack of privacy. Even the temples were noisy. He stated that he found it easier to find contemplative peace and quiet in New York City than in India.

Worse, those in the Indian spiriutal elite, including MK Gandhi had the attitude that if one was a sufficiently spiriutual person, one would not be bothered by this ambient noise.

Though Koestler did not use the term dissociation (the term did not exist in the 1950s), it appeared to him that all too often in India yoga and meditation were used to split oneself off from a problem or from a painful situation, rather than encountering that situation and then examining ways to solve the problematic features of that situation.

(To Solea,, please dont be content with my thumbnail analysis--I have my biases. I recommend you get hold of Koestlers book).

There is another book by Jeffrey Masson, whose family followed Theosophy and who even had a kind of guru on the premises--Paul Brunton. In 1956, young Jeffrey and his father visited India...so you can get a second perspective to supplement Koestler, who travelled there just 2
years later.

I want to quote something Masson wrote about his reactions as an 18 year old to India, and his response. For it seems to illustrate what Magic called 'spiriutal bypass'. First, young Jeffrey arrived in Bombay/Mumbai--the same place Koestler stayed when first in India. Masson, who unlike Koestler, had already been practicing Theosophical Hindu meditation had a coping strategy:

Quote


'This was my first trip outside of Europe and the United States' Jeffrey Masson writes. '..and my first visit to a Third World country. I was not prepared in any way for the reality of India, fo rthe poverty and human suffering that I glimpsed for the first time in my life from the window of the taxicab driving past some of the world's biggest and poorest slums. The only way I knew to deal with this sudden descent into the real world was to immerse myself even more in the shadow world of spirituality. The appalling poverty and disease I saw when I arrived in Bombay did not really exist: it was Maya, an illusion. What you see is not what you get. What you see, the sufering you preceive around you, is unreal, a philosophic illusion ("the external world is a joke and a very poor joke at that", and therefore not be attended to.

'India was particularly well suited to the spiritual insularity I had developed. It too suffered from some of the same debility, so we were well matched. Indian philosophy long ago solved the puzzle of human suffering by depriving it of reality. The philosophers were constantly discoursing on a cosmic double standard. Suffering, misery and unhappiness were defined as such only form the lower(Masson's italics) point of view. From the higher point of view, there was no difference between the wealthy man and the beggar. It was, needless to say, extremely convenient as a balm for any conscience that threatened to erupt when faced with the suffering all around. THis powerful rationalizing phrase---which parallels many other spiritual traditions---was invented by a priviliged Brahmin class to distract (dissociate? C) from the poverty and misery created by this same class.'

page 112

My Father's Guru:A Journey Through Spirituality and Disillusion by Jeffrey Moussaieff Masson

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Re: Byron Katie (the Work) and Eckhart Tolle Legit??
Posted by: corboy ()
Date: September 16, 2008 12:18AM

Note: here is way to tell the difference in India between the wealthy man and the poor man.

Wealthy men are not the ones selling off their kidneys to raise money for their families.

And daughters from wealthy families in India are very much much less likely than daughters from poor families to be sold into prostitution.

There's a difference, folks. I dont know if Melville said it or someone else but there is a saying,

'Thoughts are air. Events are brass.'

People like W. Erhard, ET and BK could be called the New Brahmins.

Doesnt matter if they are, in the legal sense, US citizens. The mindset they teach would have made it impossible to create the legal framework of the US Consitution and the laws that protect commerce---and that make spiritual projects tax deductible, and enable gurus to accumulate wealth at a faster rate than those unevolved folk who do pay taxes (and who are gonna be rescuing Fannie Mae and Frankie Mae).

Solea wrote:

Quote

The 'emotional bypass' seems to be what many cult members go through.

This is where it gets complicated. There are set ups that foster emotional bypass that clearly, clearly meet Liftons criteria for a cult.

And there are legtimate traditions that can be used to increase our capacity to hold and contain conflict and more deeply engage with reality, that these same methods can be covertly used by other people--sometimes without that person knowing it---to foster an emotional bypass.

I was a member of a church that was not itself cultic, whose pastor did all he could to avoid that kind of thing. But there were a few people at that church who used our liturgies to zone out, despite our pastor's best efforts.

The crucial things IMO that distinguish a cultic group or leader (or awful relationship) from something merely eccentric are:

1) routinely fosters dissociation and punishes or even ejects people who insist on engaging with the emotions or facts that the cult refuses to face.

2) a cult or its leader does all it can to elict our loyalty and devotion but is incapable of reciprocating our loyalty--and will even cut us loose if we point this discrepancy out.

3) Witholds information about itself that precludes being able to make an informed decision, in advance about the long term impact of that group on ones emotional and intellectual development, ones health, ones finances,
and ones relationship. All too often there is a bait and switch.

4) cannot permit even the tiniest degree of dissent and can only accept affirmation Any attempt to discuss side effects is resented--as witness many venues for BK adoration being available in cyberspace, RR.com being the only place where people can discuss side effects and yet RR.com constantly getting visits from folks who demand that we justify our illogic.

The First Amendment guarantees our right to communicate, but does not require us to agree with you 100%, and all the time.



Edited 3 time(s). Last edit at 09/16/2008 12:30AM by corboy.

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Re: Byron Katie (the Work) and Eckhart Tolle Legit??
Posted by: corboy ()
Date: September 16, 2008 12:33AM

Add this to the LEC form quoted above.

What were to happen if the person going through this had not been doing the LGAT at home but had been doing it through another group...and in Europe?

The person who reported this horrifying outcome was a social worker. Please read the posts on that thread. Serious stuff.

Landmark and Psychosis...Let us not Forget

[forum.culteducation.com]

Quote


In the winter of 1997 I took the Landmark Forum. I went on to sign up for the advanced course and took it in the spring. By the end of the Advanced course, I was cataonic and non-communicative. Graduation was on Tuesday and by Friday I was in the Psychiatric unit at my local hospital.

I have very limited memories of what happened, but the psychosis was eventually attributed to post traumatic stress syndrome.

Landmark attributes the psychosis to me being weak minded.

I saw the friend who referred me to the course a few years back and he had the nerve to say that I had walked through the fire with Landmark, and came out cleaner on the other side. Like everything positive in my life had sprung from that trauma.

I believe strongly that the positive changes are due to maturity, experience, and years of speaking out against LGAT's....(omitted for brevity)

......A friend that I hadn't seen in years called me a few years back during his advanced course.

I told him what had happened to me, and he answered "I know that must have been scary for you, but can't you see how much good these courses have done for others. Your experience is such a rare exception. Landmark is the best thing that has ever happened to me."

(As The Anticult put it, 'Me, Me, Me'. C)

Mind you this person had been my very best friend in high school. I got off of the phone with him and cried for two days. It was as if somebody had ripped my heart out.

Landmark had coached him well in the art of "Don't give a Damn about anyone else."

On this same thread, in another post, elena wrote:

Quote

One particularly astute young defector from scientology, when asked what was the most egregious fault in the scientology program, answered, "They teach people to lie." L. Ron Hubbard is famously remembered for pointing out that "THE ONLY WAY YOU CAN CONTROL PEOPLE IS TO LIE TO THEM."

The fact is that these "self-help" programs and LGATS in the Landmark mold train their followers to lie to others and to lie to themselves. The nether-world of lies and partial lies, fabrications, imaginary realities, confabulations, and fantasies must mimic a type of insanity at some point and the pain must be commensurate.

Doctors and paramedics and emergency medical personnel assess sanity with a few simple questions. While a scientologist or Landmarker might be able to answer these, they would find it difficult to answer a few specifically constructed to rout them out. I can suggest a couple:

"Are you a victim?"

"Have you been involved in any accidents?"

"What is the meaning of life?"

Ellen

Corboy sez: elena's questions are brilliant. Especially the one about victim.

If you are trained to deny there is such a thing as being victimized, that means powerholders get to disown ethos of care--and get to disown and deny THEIR OWN RESPONSIBILITY TO USE THEIR POWER SKILLFULLY AND BENEVOLENTLY.

Anyone who says in any form, 'There are no victims' is covertly participating in a set up where ethos of care does not exist, there is no accountability for power and its use, and its a moral wilderness in which those with power get to keep their power (the New Brahmins) and put the responsibility for any and all problems onto the peon--meaning YOU.

Only a few get to be Brahmins. But....there is no shortage of space for peons in this set up.

And most of us go to these workshops thinking we are going to be given tools to become Brahmins.

No. We are made to feel powerful, but that is all. The real power still belongs to the New Brahmin who is diddling our nerve endings to make us feel powerful, while keeping ourselves short on money because we keep paying for more courses and pissing off our friends and coworkers at our day jobs.



Edited 3 time(s). Last edit at 09/16/2008 12:47AM by corboy.

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Re: Byron Katie and Daniel Amen and PBS infomercial scam
Posted by: The Anticult ()
Date: September 17, 2008 09:29AM

Daniel Amen, who promotes Byron Katie, has been disclaimed by the PBS Ombudsman.

As pointed out earlier in this thread, Daniel Amen is just a slick salesman, who sells like he is at an Amway convention. He just drops random factoids like "eat salmon", but the real salespitch is that he is trying to lure people into spending thousands at his Amen Clinics for utterly bogus "brain scans", which are a complete rip-off.
One has to wonder what kind of referral contract and deal the Amen Clinic struck with Byron Katie International?
They really want to take every penny a person has.


The Work/Byron Katie Carol Skolnick Amen Clinic, Brain Scam
[forum.culteducation.com]


(Excerpts from PBS Ombudsman )
[www.pbs.org]
Special programs associated with PBS pledge drives have come in for viewer criticism before, especially those dealing with financial and spiritual advice, and have also been the subject of earlier ombudsman columns. But the criticism aimed at Dr. Amen's presentation elevates what usually is controversy over matters of appropriateness in pledge shows into a specific medical and scientific debate about an extremely difficult and emotional subject for thousands of families. ...

PBS had nothing to do with the "Brain" program's content and did not vet the program in any way. Again, local PBS-affiliated stations are independent, locally owned and operated, get material from sources other than PBS and make their own editorial decisions based on their own guidelines about what to air. But, despite all those things that viewers may or may not be aware of, when that pledge special is broadcast on what viewers do know as their local PBS station, it can cause confusion and challenge.

Another Doc Weighs In
Dr. Robert Burton is the former chief of neurology at Mount Zion-UCSF Hospital and, for the past year, has been writing a feature column for Salon called "Mind Reader." Here's some of what he wrote in a May 12 posting:

"It's 10 on a Saturday night and on my local PBS station a diminutive middle-aged doctor with a toothy smile and televangelical delivery is facing a rapt studio audience. 'I will show you how to make your brain great, including how to prevent Alzheimer's disease,' he declares. 'And I'm not kidding.'

"Before the neurologist in me can voice an objection, the doctor, Daniel Amen, is being interviewed by on-air station (KQED) host Greg Sherwood. Sherwood is wildly enthusiastic. After reading Amen's book, 'Change Your Brain, Change Your Life,' Sherwood says, 'The first thing I wanted to do was to get a brain scan.' He turns to Amen. 'You could start taking care 10 years in advance of ever having a symptom and prevent Alzheimer's disease,' he says. 'Yes, prevent Alzheimer's disease,' Amen chimes in.

"Wait a minute. Prevent Alzheimer's disease? Is he kidding? But Sherwood is already holding up Amen's package of DVDs on learning your risk factors for A.D., as well as his book with a section titled 'Preventing Alzheimer's.' Then, as though offering a landmark insight into a tragic disease — and encouraging viewers to pledge money to the station — Sherwood beams and says, 'This is the kind of program that you've come to expect from PBS.'

"If so, that's a shame. One of the messages of Amen's PBS special and his book on Alzheimer's is that early detection of A.D. can lead to methods that both slow the progression of the disease and prevent it. But this opinion isn't shared by the vast majority of the medical community. Despite decades of studies, there are at present no definitive long-term treatments for A.D. or its prevention, as Amen would have viewers and readers believe."
...
...

Some Letters and a Response
Here are some of the letters about the program:

I am a long-time enthusiastic supporter of Seattle's KCTS and PBS programming in general. I want to register a strong protest against shows like Daniel Amen's 'Change Your Brain, Change Your Life.' Religious messages in themselves are fine. Shrouding the religion with pseudo-science and then using it to sell products and services is reprehensible. I urge PBS to get this show off the air as soon as possible. I also hope and expect that PBS will institute a formal vetting process for any show which makes scientific claims. We cannot afford to lose PBS as one of the few clear voices of reason on television today.
Seattle, WA


Dr. Amen's unscientific program regarding the prevention of Alzheimer's disease has no place on PBS. I believe that you are doing a disservice to America in general by allowing such flim-flam to air under the recently respectable auspices of PBS. Additionally, I believe that you are doing a disservice to millions of people who may latch on to the false claims of Amen in the hope of preventing Alzheimer's. If I were you I would be ashamed that your policies permit the dissemination of such unsubstantiated drivel.

Daniel Morris, Ph.D., Dept. of Physics, University of Texas
Austin, TX


Why is PBS airing Dr. Daniel Amen's "commercial" for his claimed prevention of Alzheimer's disease?

Fort Collins, CO


When will PBS stop airing tawdry infomercials by the likes of Orman, Dyer, and now worst of all, Dr. Daniel Amen? My husband and I are dedicated PBS watchers and PBS supporters, but as soon as we see them coming, we abjure PBS for the week. Do you really get more contributions when you air such trash?

Nancy Powell, Bethesda, MD



(Ombudsman's Note: The following letter is from a retired family physician, Dr. Harriet Hall, who has been critical of Dr. Amen's work in the past. Her letter, reprinted here in part, was among the first received and it was answered by Joe Campbell, PBS's Vice President for Fundraising Programming. His response follows Dr. Hall's letter.)


I was distressed to see that you are showing Daniel Amen's program and even using him for your fund drive. Viewers come away with the impression that he is providing state-of-the-art diagnosis and treatment for various disorders, that he can "cure" ADHD, that he can "balance" the brain, and that he knows how to prevent Alzheimer's. None of this is true. His ideas are not backed up by any credible published peer-reviewed controlled studies.

He claims to see things on SPECT scans that have not been validated by other researchers; in essence, he has invented a "new phrenology." These scans are still considered experimental for most of the conditions he treats, and have been discouraged by professional groups and insurance companies. They require injection of a radioactive material and may be dangerous, especially for children . . .

Amen's program is based on his opinions, speculations, and personal experience, not on good science. If he admitted that, I would have no objections; but he misrepresents it as scientific truth.

Harriet A. Hall, MD



One of the more confusing parts of public television is that individual stations get their programs from a variety of sources, not just from PBS. While we provide the bulk of the programs you see on your local station, many of those programs come from places like the BBC, alternative public television distributors, like American Public Television, and independent distributors. An easy way to tell if a program is from PBS is by looking for the "PBS Logo" that appears at the end of every program we distribute.

"Change Your Brain, Change Your Life" was distributed by one of those independent distributors, not by PBS. They offered the program to public television stations across the country, and the individual stations decided whether or not to use it according to their own local standards. I hope you will forward your concerns to the station(s) in your viewing area. They may not be aware of the issues you raise about the program. Thank you again for letting us know about your concerns.

Joe Campbell, Vice President, Fundraising Programming



Edited 1 time(s). Last edit at 09/17/2008 09:39AM by The Anticult.

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Re: Byron Katie (the Work), Luskin and Pelletier Book
Posted by: helpme2times ()
Date: September 19, 2008 08:55AM

I've recently come upon yet another book to recommend, as an alternative to getting help from Byron Katie et al. It's a very short and to the point book called "Stress Free For Good: 10 Scientifically Proven Life Skills for Health and Happiness" by Dr. Fred Luskin and Dr. Kenneth R. Pelletier. I love it!

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Re: Byron Katie (the Work) and Eckhart Tolle Legit??
Posted by: hoax108 ()
Date: September 20, 2008 09:58AM

Quote
corboy
The crucial things IMO that distinguish a cultic group or leader (or awful relationship) from something merely eccentric are:

1) routinely fosters dissociation and punishes or even ejects people who insist on engaging with the emotions or facts that the cult refuses to face.

2) a cult or its leader does all it can to elict our loyalty and devotion but is incapable of reciprocating our loyalty--and will even cut us loose if we point this discrepancy out.

3) Witholds information about itself that precludes being able to make an informed decision, in advance about the long term impact of that group on ones emotional and intellectual development, ones health, ones finances,
and ones relationship. All too often there is a bait and switch.

4) cannot permit even the tiniest degree of dissent and can only accept affirmation Any attempt to discuss side effects is resented--as witness many venues for BK adoration being available in cyberspace, RR.com being the only place where people can discuss side effects and yet RR.com constantly getting visits from folks who demand that we justify our illogic.

The First Amendment guarantees our right to communicate, but does not require us to agree with you 100%, and all the time.

As a former member of a cult, I can easily apply these 4 points to the behaviour of the cult and its leader. Well said Corboy!

I also found your observations of India and dissociation very intriguing and insightful. Perhaps the Eastern meditative and spiritual practices that we find so "mystical" here in the West are more a product of the environment and social system than of the spirit!

I'm not a regular reader of this thread because, thankfully, I've been able to reach the stage of being able to dismiss the likes of BK and ET without giving them a second thought.

But getting to that stage involved many years of training at "The School of Hard Knocks".

I also am very impressed with the intelligence, insight, and knowledge of many of the posters on the RR forum in general. What an erudite bunch!

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