Defining The Cult of James & Isabella SwartzA Former Members Investigation into the Cult Leaders: James & Isabella Swartz
Cults are incredibly destructive. Deliberate and purposeful, the harm that they cause has been extensively documented and studied at the highest levels. This article relies heavily upon the work of Rick Ross
, one of the world's foremost experts on Cults. In writing this article I have focused on only Chapters 4 & 5 of his book; 'Cults Inside out: How People Get In And How They Can Get Out'
. Although there was a focus on only two chapters, the wealth and breadth of information provided me with 21 A4 sized pages of notes. Which presented me with a problem. It was impossible to trim my notes down, for the material in the book is of such high quality that I simply had to use the majority of both chapters. Chapter 4 is concerning the definition of a cult, while Chapter 5 goes into the subject of brainwashing in great detail.
My next challenge was how to format this article since I would be using so much of Rick's book, whilst including direct quotes from James & Isabella Swartz. I have decided that the best way to present this is to only quote the Swartz's. I would like to point out that absolutely all cult subject matter that is generic has been taken from Rick's book. While Shiningworld, James & Isabella Swartz, and Vedanta subject matter are my own words. I am responsible for this article, and the correlations that are drawn within are mine alone. At times I have tried to express the material from Rick's book in my way, but please appreciate that I may have been verbatim at times also. This article is around 7000 words long, and it would be simply too time-consuming and exhausting to quote on end. The article is already a week overdue from my self-imposed deadline. I hope that lee-way can be given to me and that I have excused myself thoroughly from plagiarism.
There are already a few topics on the Cult Ed forum concerning James Swartz, including an extremely successful one. I have been one of the most active researchers and providers of information on it, but it has become clear that I am now a lone voice, whilst also possibly smothering others creative expression. This will be the first time that there has been an open investigation into James & Isabella Swartz being cult leaders. I have started to draw some criticism for my ongoing involvement in investigating the Swartz'. However, this article is too important to be buried in another highly active topic on the Cult Ed forum. And I am committed to seeing this through. Someone has to take a public stand against the Swartz's. They have abused and bullied people with impunity for too long.
Cults are defined by their actions, not their beliefs. Indeed, cults have broken away from established religion. Which is the first point regarding James & Isabella Swartz. The Swartz's claim to teach what is called Vedanta. Vedanta is the end of the Vedas, the Hindu Upanishads. It has been taught traditionally by Swami & Swamini for thousands of years. And while a person does not have to convert to Hinduism to either study or teach, this does not mean Vedanta is not a part of religion. Vedanta is a part of Hinduism. Or rather, Sanatana Dharma. It is a mistake that Vedanta is not religious, for it is. The difference is that Sanatana Dharma is not a conversion path. It is all-encompassing of everything in the world. This is the reason why there are so many Gods & Deities, as it show's the omnipresence of the divine. Like Sanatana Dharma, Vedanta is tolerance and accommodation. Yet this has been distorted by modern versions of Vedanta. And, as outlined in Rick's book, cults have broken away from established religion. Being a part of established religion means there are forms of checks and balances - others to answer to. This does not suit cult leaders, of course. Likewise, it does not suit James & Isabella Swartz. They are not answerable to anyone in Vedanta, nor Hinduism. Recent disclosures reveal that James Swartz thinks he is some kind of superior authority to Swami. As revealed by a Ramakrishna Swami who met him in India. This isn't surprising, for if you are promoting yourself as God itself, who should not be questioned, then why or how could you answer to any other established authority. No, the cult leaders seek to establish their authority, sometimes divine. Something we shall return to later in this article.
Isabella Swartz E-Satang Shiningworld
Most important, it is clear you do not understand nor respect Ramji’s authority as Isvara in protecting the teachings.
Ramji is the Self, a true Mahatma, and he truly can claim that ‘Isvara made me do it. Whatever he does is correct, there is no fine print to it because he is Dharma with a big D.
Ramakrishna Mission Swami
I had a chance to meet a lot of these kind of people. Fake jnanis (Edit - Rob 'enlightened person). One of them is James Swartz, who only talks about Vedanta on all holes (you get the meaning of it I'm sure. literal translation would he plays trumpet on all of his holes.).
I don't get into the background intention of these people nor do i care. Probably because of the egooc needs to be respected and celebrated as a guru and to dominate (other people).
In looking at the publicly available system that the Swartz's use on their members, it is evident that they have removed much of the religious aspects of Vedanta. While only paying lip service to those parts they have to. Even sacred and indispensable Sanskrit such as 'Brahman' has begun to get struck from their records. As is the case of e-satsangs that Isabella Swartz has published for their members.There are three criteria for defining a cult:1. There will be a charismatic leader who increasingly becomes an object of worship.
2. There will be a process of coercive persuasion that experts have termed: 'Thought Control'. Think of brainwashing.
3. There will be economic, social or some other exploitation of leading group members.
Cults operate in a totalistic or thought reform manner. Over time there will be a shift from generic worship to worship of the leader. And notably, those above will use those below for spiritual or economic reward. However, there is a looming question. Why do people stay in cults when it is not in their best interests?
The answer lies in the authoritarian controls that the leader has in place. Most of the time it is a single leader, though a 'ruling elite
' has operated also. This 'ruling elite
' would be a small group of influencers, personality-driven, and enact direction from the supreme leader. Shiningworld has such an organisational structure. At the top is James Swartz, with his wife, Isabella a very close second. The chief lieutenants come under the titles of teachers, yet unquestioning loyalty is expected to the leader - James Swartz - at all times. It is well documented that over the last decade James Swartz has expelled over 60% of his 'ruling elite'. In each case, the former teacher tells the same tale of control, bullying, manipulation, gaslighting, and at times more serious offences against the person.
James Swartz is highly charismatic, which he uses to great effect to demand complete obedience from his followers. Though it would be a mistake to view charisma as only regarding Swartz himself. For it is the relationship between the leader and his followers where authority is justified.
If we look at the hierarchy of Shiningworld, we can see it is very similar to destructive cults. There will be one person, a leader, at the top. Decision making will be made by them, with the leader at the top and everyone else at the bottom. Rick Ross uses an inverted 'T' to illustrate this structure. The members at the bottom will be far removed from all the decision making which will always take place at the very top. Such is the case with the Swartz's. The e-Satsang page of Shiningworld reveals much about the mentality of both James & Isabella Swartz. For it is a seemingly unlimited public showering of adoration regarding the two leaders. What they regard as one of their best tools is one of their biggest weaknesses. For their narcissistic public posting of 'students' praise for themselves reveals a clear pattern of grandiosity and a need for admiration. Not only that, there is a clear lack of empathy that pervades their writings to others. At least, the writings that are genuine for it is widely known that they both doctor and make up entire postings about themselves. All of this behaviour indicates narcissism and narcissistic personality disorder. Which is another common theme among cult leaders.In his book: Cults Inside out, Rick Ross outlines nine indicators of narcissistic personality. Though it is cautioned that diagnosis should only be performed by clinicians. They are:1. Grandiose self-importance. The person expects to be recognised as superior.
2. They will be preoccupied with fantasies of unlimited success & power.
3. The person will think they are special or unique.
4. They require excessive admiration.
5. There will be a sense of entitlement.
6. Such a person will take advantage of others.
7. They will lack empathy.
8. This kind of person will be envious of others or say others are envious of them.
9. They will be arrogant.
It was only last year that James Swartz was telling some of his students that he was a saint in a former life and has now come back for a special purpose.
It is well known that James & Isabella Swartz come across as quite glib, to say the least. Those closest to them have reported that their charm is superficial, over-shadowed by their sense of self-worth. They are exposed by myself and others in detailed investigations as pathological liars, quite cunning and manipulative. They lack any remorse for the effect of their actions on others and consequently harbour no guilt as they never accept any responsibility for the hurt they carry on causing. Interestingly, while readers will know that this describes both of the Swartz's exactly, the above descriptors are used by Rick Ross in his book when he speaks about 'personality aggressive narcissism.'Coercive persuasion
is a major tool that is used to gain influence that the leader would not usually have, and it leads to a breaking down of critical thinking. This weakening of critical thinking causes the person to become increasingly susceptible to the group & leaders thinking. Which materializes with the person affected relying more and more on the group & leadership to make value judgements for them. James Swartz, Isabella Swartz & the 'ruling elite' in Shiningworld operate a system that provides analysis for the members. Members may carry some trauma and are vulnerable in some way, while James Swartz seemingly provides what appears to be a 'safe haven'. Yet in reality the individuals that step into his world have the parameters determined by Swartz himself. And as we have already seen, these are parameters in which he answers to no one, while it is taught that he is God, and not to be questioned.
The sum effect of this is that those affected tend to make decisions not in their individual best interests. Rather, they are consistently in the interests of the group & it's the leader.
It is quite clear that the followers of James & Isabella Swartz have enormous devotion regarding James. This is unwavering even though it has been proven that the Swartz's use unethical & manipulative techniques of persuasion & control. In controlling their members they use various methods. Methods such as; powerful group pressures, information management, suspension of individuality or critical judgement. All of which promotes dependency on the group alongside a fear of leaving. Interestingly, all of the above examples are also to be found in Chapter four of Rick's book.In Rick's book, it outlines a 15 point indicator in defining a cult:1. Members will have excessive commitment & be zealous towards the leader to
such an extreme that the leaders words are regarded as truth and law.
2. To question the leader or dissent is discouraged, and members are to expect punishment if they do so.
3. There will be mind-altering practices.
4. The Leader will teach in detail how members should think, act & feel.
5. Permission for relationships will exist, and there will be control of personal lives.
6. The group will be elitist.
7. The group will have a polarising 'us versus them' agenda.
8. The leader will not be accountable to any authority.
9. The group will say or imply that the end justifies the means.
10. The leadership will induce shame or guilt to influence or control others.
Subservience to the leader is expected, and you are expected to change your life.
11. The group will be preoccupied with bringing in new members.
12. Leadership will be preoccupied with making money.
13. Members will be expected to devote lots of time to the group.
14. Members will be required to socialise with other members.
15.The Inner Circle will fear there is no other way to be. They will fear reprisals of some form if they leave.
As we will discuss later, experts agree that not all defining points of a cult have to exist for a group to be a cult. Yet there will be a core element that is uniform across the board. I invite you to look at these 15 points in more detail, and see if there is any evidence to show if Shiningworld is a cult. I can personally tie in at least 12 out of 15 points.
Cults require their members to conform to its rules or face punishment. Infractions include; not showing allegiance, asking too many questions, disobey rules or even rebel. Cult members can expect to be punished and even ex-communicated and asked to leave the group. These tools are used as thought control to manipulate the members. James Swartz uses these tools to great effect. One public shaming of a member by the Swartz's in their infamous e-satsangs was regarding someone who was abused as a member of Andrew Cohen and is now a member of Swartz's cult. Notice how James Swartz lays the responsibility of Andrew Cohen's abuse (well documented) at the feet of the victim in this e-Satsang. And notice also, that Swartz' refers to 'since you were supposed abused':
James Swartz E-Satsang Shiningworld
If you were abused by Andrew, it’s on you, not Andrew.
How long since you were supposed abused and since you abused others?
You’re testing my patience. If there is another letter with this complaint I will no longer reply and when asked by others I will show them our correspondence.
In a classic 'bait & switch' approach cult members are shown an outer facade of understanding & nicety. Yet the more one gets involved with the cult, the more its true nature is revealed. This is evident in the experiences of many former members of Shiningworld, whom all report that the closer one gets to the Swartz's, the more peril there is.
A major point in defining James & Isabella Swartz as cult leaders are that cults don't have any paid clergy or professional religious functionals. Cult leaders are self-taught & self-proclaimed. Some of you will know that I have spent a considerable amount of time debunking the 'teachings' of the Swartz's when compared to traditional Vedanta. Indeed, cult leaders are not formally sanctioned by an organisation through which they can be held accountable. This enables them to exercise absolute authority without any accountability. I have publicly and privately challenged James & Isabella Swartz to live video debate in which both of us provide independent proof that we have been formally sanctioned by our lineages to teach. James Swartz has refused to engage with me.
Within the last week, I have revealed the majority of the independent evidence regarding my claims to another Cult Ed forum member. In context, this includes multiple permission from clergy to teach Vedanta. I am told that as far as this person is concerned, they are satisfied that everything I have been saying on this forum is true.
James Swartz has a grandiose vision of himself, his achievements & his mission which is shared by many of his members. Members who have excessive devotion to James, who does not question his god authority, and as such are easily controlled. This personal agenda of a cult leader is viewed as a fixer for everyone else's problems. Such a leader is regarded as infallible and holds absolute authority. The glass castle walls of Shiningworld separate those inside and those outside. For those inside, independent proof of the leaders' own words in emails are not looked at. They are ignored, which has created the much-criticized spiritual elitism in Shiningworld.
Members have to subordinate their thoughts and emotions to the Swartz's. Like most cult leaders they will control through conformity, guilt, shame or failure. This 'thought reform' is used by the leaders and group to mould a defined mindset. It is worth noting that their e-Satsang section is rife with threats to publicly shame disobedient members to the rest of the group. While others, such as this author, have had the traumatic experience of having publications made about them that are lies. Yet these are not only tools that Rick Ross shares in his book. Cult groups will actively discourage independence to eradicate personal achievements. While group achievements are celebrated.
Rick Ross, states that after the death of a cult leader, many cults disintegrate. I can reveal that after speaking to many-core and key members of Shiningworld, that is what is expected to happen when James Swartz dies.
~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~Thought Reform - Brainwashing (Cult information taken from Chapter 5: Cults Inside Out: How People Get In And Can Get Out, Rick Ross)
The reason why people stop acting in their interests and begin acting in the interests of influencers is due to a process that wipes the mind of its individualistic thinking. The mind is essentially washed clean of individual thinking and replaced by the group or leaders thinking.Benjamin Zablocki
was an American professor of sociology at Rutgers University, where he taught sociology of religion and social psychology. He is widely published regarding cults and brainwashing. Rick draws on the expert opinion of Zablocki numerous times in his book. Here is Zablocki;
"Brainwashing is an obserable set of transactions between a charasmatically structured collectivity and an isolated agent of that collectivity."
Similarly, Robert Lifton
, an American psychologist and published author, who is well known for his work on 'thought reform' (brainwashing) is also quoted many times in Rick's book. In expanding upon Lifton's research, Margaret Singer
(also quoted in Rick's book), who was an American clinical psychologist, and had expertise regarding brainwashing elaborates;'Brainwashing is a thought reform process which is deceptive.'The book; 'Holy Terror: The Fundamentalist War on America's Freedoms in Religion, Politics, and Our Private Lives' - by Flo Conway & Jim Siegelman
(quoted in Rick's book), explain that many cult's control, manipulate & completely distort communication in such ways that can have lasting impact to cult members minds. They go on to inform that lasting impact may bring about cognitive disorders that they call 'information disease'. As we can see from the public debunking of Shiningworld e-satsangs and former members repeatedly coming out to report such satsangs are lies, it is clear that James & Isabella Swartz deploy such tactics as outlined above. For a personal example, I refer you to email correspondence between myself and Isabella Swartz, incredibly she wrote a 23-page e-satsang about me that was lies. To date, no other member of their cult has had such extreme treatment as this. Notice that Isabella admits to re-arranging timelines and adding material for 'clarification'. Of course, they were pushing the narrative of James & Isabella Swartz' onto a member who was being publicly flogged. It is worth noting, that to this day, there is a core element of Shiningworld that still believe in the character assassination of myself. After all the proof that has been offered and revealed:
Isabella Swartz Email August 17th, 2018
I have attached the final satsang you and I will have, and I have copied (name omitted) on it because it involves him too. It is a compilation of discussions not necessarily in chronological order, between you and me, you and Ramji and me, and between Ramji and you. I have arranged them logically for teaching purposes and added quite a bit for clarification.
Professor Robert Cialdini
Robert Harrison Email
Sundari, I am including a screenshot of the email response I sent to you 16 days ago. No longer permitting my life to be used out of context, or misrepresented in satsangs.
My only issue ever was, that in the email I responded to Sundari, there were untruths. In that respect, I had had enough. However, to include untruths that I could prove, and for my requests for all parties to pony up evidence to be ignored, it is not unreasonable to withdraw my consent for my life to be used as such.
There was never any need to bump up teaching, by including things that were not right. In any event, I reject my teachers saying I am a liar. And it is not dharmic to do this to a student. Instead of interpretations, read the dates on the screenshot I provide. Read the names of whom the email was sent to. I have told the truth.
It isn’t proper to compile a 23-page Satsang out of context, including new teachings in response to my words (that were never taught to me), and also omit positive comments on behalf of SW.
In light of this, and the new email I have got misrepresenting me again, I don’t permit you to use my private exchanges in public, in that Satsang. Unfortunately, I have to draw a line somewhere.
is a Regents Emeritus Professor of psychology at Arizona State University (He is also a visiting professor at Stanford University, and the University of California at Santa Cruz). Cialdini is well known for his work regarding the field of 'influence'. Cialdini states;'Cult leaders refine their process through trial & error. Incessant methods of persuasion create impaired thinking, feeling & decision making. This is recoqnised as mind control.'
(Quoted in Rick's book).
According to Margaret Singer
, thought reform excludes any meaningful exchange of ideas. It is one-sided and expresses no sincere respect for differences. The idea is to change people without their knowledge. This takes on an authoritarian or hierarchal stance with no full awareness on the part of the learner. Cultic thought reform methods are unaccountable and don't care about the individual.
Crucially, and I cannot stress this enough, since it is deceptive, people are recruited into destructive cults without informed consent.
Also quoted in Rick's book is Richard Ofshe
, an American Sociologist, professor emeritus at the University of California, Berkely. Ofshe is also on the advisory board of the False Memory Syndrome Board. He is widely regarded for his expert testimony relating to the coercion of small groups, confessions & interrogations.Regarding 'coercive persuasion, Ofshe informs us of multiple indicators;1. Reliance on intense personal & psychological attacks destabilises an individuals sense of self to promote compliance.
2. Use of an organised peer group.
3. Application of interpersonal pressure.
4. Manipulation of a person's social environment to stabilize behaviour once it has been modified.
Destabilizing a personal sense of self - Keeping the person unaware of what is going on and the changes taking place - Creating a sense of power and covert dependency - Suppressing much of the person's old behaviour or attitudes.
Changing - Getting the person to drastically reinterpret their history.
Put forth a closed system of logic, which does not allow any criticism. The person then becomes dependant on the group.
~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~In Rick's book, Lifton's expertise is used regarding thought reform programs. These programs are ideological totalitarianism. In this explanation Lifton has set out the criteria for any environment to be judged:1. There will be control of communication within the environment by controlling what enters it. This enables destructive cults to control the mind itself. (See example below).
2. There will be mystical manipulation. This will materialise as emotional & behavioural information. Group beliefs & practices in which deception will often be used to control the environment. There will also be manipulation of news or religion to influence the thinking & feelings of the group.
3. There will be a demand for purity. One is to take personal inventory and relentlessly categorise their thoughts, emotions & behaviours. There will be demands for absolute conformity to behaviour per how the leadership dictates. This will reflect the strange aura of half-reality in a totalist environment such as a destructive cult. This pushes people into having to pick what the group labels as good or evil.
4. There will be a cult of confession (think Shiningworld e-satsangs - See below quote). This can be divided between a group or individual basis. However, there will be an underlying premise that there is no individual right to privacy). Whatever is known must be disclosed, and there will be symbolic self-surrender to the absolute authority of the leadership. (Think Shiningworld e-satsangs again: See quote below).
5. There will be a sacred science (Shiningworld label their system as; 'Science of Consciousness'). This is an agreement that the group knowledge is perfect, in which there is a vision for the ordering of all human existence. Whatever the group leaders determine is right, must be right, and whatever is wrong must be wrong (this is clear in the way that Shiningworld inner circle cult members came on Cult Ed, to troll and never once took up the invitation to see the independent proof that their leaders are liars.). People influenced by a sacred science will routinely subject their value judgements to its narrow rules.
6. There will be a loading of language (Shiningworld have their own spiritual language that is not used in Traditional Vedanta). This will include cliches that prevent thought. The language will be brief and highly reductive (I refer readers to a recent Cult Ed post in which I shared an amazon review from a spiritual teacher with 40 years experience - the teacher said that James Swartz's book was "a reductive text".) Groups will use insider verbiage that only they can understand (many current and former members of Shiningworld have been fearful to speak out in case they get the language wrong, and are publicly admonished. Such correction of language is regularly witnessed in Shiningworld e-satsangs. In Traditional Vedanta people simply talk normally.) Such groups insider jargon will be totalitarian and will be used repetitiously in an all-encompassing manner. The language used will be abstract, categorical & relentlessly judging. Instead of being a means of communicating individual ideas and personal opinions. (From e-satsangs, it is clear that James & Isabella Swartz continuously shut down independent thought, and will only agree or not chastise if what they are being told is the language they agree is appropriate.). Lifton sees this as the language of non-thought. You cannot think individually, you must only think and express what the leaders allow.
7. There will be doctrine over the person. Such groups will re-interpret human experience & emotion in terms of doctrine. This will be seen through a group mindset. Everyone & everything must be subjected to and fit into the framework, including those who use it.
8. There will be a dispensing of existence (think the Swartz's teaching: 'other people do not exist, only in ones mind'.) Those that do not share this ideology will be regarded as inferior, or not worthy of respect. Which creates elitism. It is in the acceptance of creed that that validates existence = 'I beleive therefore I am. Or upon submission = 'I obey, therefore I am. There will be a total merger with the ideological movement and cult members may dispense with friends, goals or aspirations.
Cult of confession:
James Swartz: On Hiding From His Members What People Are Saying About Him
I want to keep it off the website if possible as most people who contract it have no idea this is going on and don't need to know
...by writing you agree to have the satsang posted on this website, as it will be beneficial to others.
Lifton tells us that the clearer a group displays these ideological themes, the greater the group's totalism. The more it used such totalist devices to change people, the greater its resemblance to thought control.
Professor Ben Zablocki tells us that it is probably not necessary to have all of Lifton's 8 structured characteristics of ideological totalism in play for thought reform to occur (though I can easily correlate all 8 points with multiple examples of James & Isabella Swartz).
Indeed, these criteria may be expressed in various degrees of intensity from group to group. The more control a group wants over its members, the more it may intensify use, or express the 8 criteria. How many are you able to see regarding Shiningworld?
It's really important to understand that not everyone responds to group controls the same way. People might simply be unhappy and leave because of the way the group is. Others might find that the leadership expells them due to non-compliance. Every person will bring their personality to the group and respond to the leaders in their way so it's natural to appreciate that some will be more vulnerable than others. People respond differently to religion, politics & pseudoscience based on their backgrounds (James & Isabella Swartz are on record using politics & 'science of consciousness' as controlling appeals, with one of their closest allies refusing to allow James Swartz to control his political beliefs. This person is now the subject of ongoing smearing by the Swartz.). This means that destructive cults will present themselves in different ways to different people. In cycling through either three of the above, deference in individuals will be attained based on a wide range of interests. Cult manipulation doesn't have to mean overt manipulation, for it can also be intimidation, implies threats or inducement of fears.
James Swartz E-satsang Shiningworld
You’re testing my patience. If there is another letter with this complaint I will no longer reply and when asked by others I will show them our correspondence.
~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~Information DiseaseFlo Conway & Jim Siegelman
introduce the term: 'information disease'
. This is regarding the long term impact of the control & manipulation of information. It is alteration through the experience of a person's everyday information processing capacities in such a way that their everyday powers of thinking, feelings, memory, imagination & conscious choice are impacted. This will leave a lasting change of awareness at the most fundamental level of personality. Information disease may result solely through information alone and tampers with distinctions such as fantasy/reliving, right/wrong and past/future. It is these intense communication practices that break down the mind.There are 4 distinct varieties of the disease:1. Ongoing altered state of awareness. This is a state of narrowed or reduced state of awareness brought on by environmental control of a group or leaders. This virtually excludes any outside focus or frame of reference.
2. Delusional phase. Irrational & destructive behaviour.
3. Not thinking. Shutting off the mind.
4. Not feeling. Actively suppressing one emotional response. This may numb a person capacity for human feeling.Emotional ControlConway & Siegelman
tell us in their book; 'Holy Terror...', that the reduction of basic response to human emotions such as; love, guilt, fear, anger, hatred, etc is accomplished by suggestion through the use of codes, codewords & myths. Indeed, Marcus Wesson was a cult leader who was involved with the rape & molestation of his underage daughters, among others. According to Wesson's cult, to obey Wesson was to obey God. So, disobedience was defiance of God. Unnervingly as outlined earlier, both James & Isabella Swartz also view James as God, and teach their members that James should not be questioned, as all his actions are sacred:
Isabella Swartz E-satsang Shiningworld
Most important, it is clear you do not understand nor respect Ramji’s authority as Isvara (God) in protecting the teachings.
Ramji is the Self, a true Mahatma, and he truly can claim that ‘Isvara (God) made me do it. Whatever he does is correct...
Isabella Swartz E-satsang Shiningworld
Ramji, in his inimitable way, says practise the FYFY – “fuck your feelings yoga”!
You say you are applying karma yoga and “fuck your feelings yoga.”
Indeed, Ohso is quoted as teaching that a good disciple follows what the master says, a good disciple does not think. Something that James & Isabella Swartz also closely teach. In my research, I have been told by current students of James Swartz, that within the last year he has been telling his students that he was a saint in a previous life. As you can see, there is a clear picture that is beginning to form. This writer does not need to create a narrative. All that needs to be done is to bring in generic expert opinion, and show that alongside the evidence from Swartz's own words and actions. It speaks for itself.
Cult leaders will say that no one directly orders members to do anything, yet direction can be achieved in subtle ways, such as tone of voice. Submission to anything can be achieved in-directly, such as through peer pressure expressed as effective means to get them to fit into the group's behaviour norms. I have experienced this myself in the Shiningworld group when I began to stand up for myself when the Swartz's tried to control whether I was in a romantic relationship. I was chastised, harassed & made a pariah among the people that I loved, by the people that I loved. Simply because the daggers were out. I was an individual, not allowing myself to be bullied and controlled. And that is not acceptable to a cult, or it's cult leaders. I was put under intense peer pressure to set aside my values and common sense, and instead listen to the two leaders. A prime example of the knowledge within chapter 5 of Rick's book.Professor Cialdini has 6 points that go into this in further detail;1. If you've made commitments to the group and break them, you can be made to feel guilty, and by extension - ashamed.
2. Commitment & consistency. People always want to look consistent. Destructive cults use this rule to make a member feel guilty when they somehow fall short, regarding their performance or obligations.
3. Social proof. This is a means to determine what is correct. In a cult group, you imitate what you see and assume the behaviour is proper, good & expected.
4. Liking is the principle people say yes to others that they know and like.
5. Authority. There is strong pressure for compliance when requested by an authority figure. Members will respect the authority of a cult leader who has superior knowledge, power & a special mission. They will see the leader as the ultimate authority and may supersede any other authority, and even the law (James Swartz has recently been exposed fleeing India due to the tax authorities seeking him. In his emails, he states that God is helping him.
6. Scarcity. People have opportunities where less is available. Without the group, you will miss out on something in life. You will miss out on cosmic awareness or bliss. No other group can offer the same or equal path to attainment or fulfilment.
The interesting thing is that when a person feels that they are not qualified to make decisions they will defer to authority. And this is most readily saw during a crisis. Cult members see themselves as agents of authority and are not responsible for their actions. We only have to look at the infallibility that followers of the Swartz's regard their word as sacred, and how some of those followers have come onto the Cult Ed forum. Looking at the behaviour of those people, it is quite clear that not only did they have no interest in seeing evidence - their leaders own words - they also did not care in the slightest about the traumatised victims of their leader's abuse that are on that forum.
As far as totalists are concerned, they are compelled to destroy all forms of false existence. And again, we only have to look at the Swartz teaching of 'people are imaginary, the world is imaginary', to see that yet again, another major cult indicator applies to them. Consequences of such manipulation can include mid-life crisis, major burnout, and serious depression.Cognitive DissonanceLifton
describes how outside information that may create group issues could be the internet or television (Isabella Swartz is on record as calling things like televisions & movies - 'weapons of mass distraction). Cognitive dissonace is used by cults to pursuade & control how cult members cling to beliefs, even if facts contradict them. Members resolve conflicts by using spin or accepting rationalizations. It is this spinning process that reconiles the dissoanace between their cultic beliefs and reality. (I refer you to the mountains of facts & evidence revealed on the Cult Ed forum about the Swartz', yet the hardcore members refuse to acknowledge the obvious).Leon Festinger
was an American social psychologist whose research into cognitive dissonance re-shaped parts of behavioural psychology. He is also known for infiltrating a doomsday cult to study them. Festinger informs us that there are 5 factors for cognitive dissonance to be successfully implemented. Which he labels; 'Unequivocal Disconfirmation';1. There must be deep conviction concerning beliefs.
2. There must be a commitment to this conviction.
3. Belief must be amenable to unequivocal disconfirmation.
4. The above must occur.
5. Social support must be available after confirmation.
Deep commitment is the essence of cult members. This can express itself as years of work, surrender of assets, isolation & renouncing of previous held goals or ambitions in favour of group agenda (Swartz e-satsangs show that they discourage other interests besides their agenda). The effect of this is that members will have invested in the lived & emotional equity of the group's beliefs. And it is this commitment that causes members to accept whatever rationalization or explanation regarding failure in the group. Hence ignoring what is obvious to the rest of the world. Members will cling to this because they refuse to accept that everything they have done is for nothing. Shiningworld is a clear example of this twilight zone perception.Sociologist, Ben Zablocki
tells us that another reason for remaining in cult groups is 'exit cost'. These are disincentives for leaving and can range from cash penalties to relational commitments. Or other cognitive & emotional dependencies. This means that people may remain in cults because it is financially better for them.Psychologist, Margaret Singer
explains that the primary purpose of destructive cults in using thought reform is that they make members into mere pawns. This is to develop a dependence on the organisation. Members will become obedient to whatever they are told by what seems to be charismatically legitimate. And as such, can be relied on to carry out the leaders wishes no matter what. While it is true that cults claim members can leave whenever they want (as in the case of Shininworld), thought reform makes them psychologically & emotionally unable to escape.Ben Zablocki
tells us that just because not all are brainwashed does not mean that some were not. The correct form of the question is not to ask if all people in a group are brainwashed, but have any been? This is important because only a certain amount of members need to be brainwashed for a group to carry on surviving. Information and control are extremely powerful tools that build influence and are enforced by authority.
There are cult leaders that have even studied coercive persuasion and techniques to influence people. Other leaders may have honed their skills through experience. It is quite evident that cult leaders like what they can control and do not like what they cannot. We can see this plainly in the words and actions of James & Isabella Swartz time and time again. Cult leaders may also pose behind pseudo-science to hide their real intentions. And it is again worth noting that the Swartz's call what they teach - 'the science of consciousness'. Even though it has been thoroughly debunked by Swami Dayananda and others, that Vedanta is NOT a science, and not to be regarded as one. After all, science is the current best-guess hypothesis. Which is certainly not what Traditional Vedanta regards itself as.
Like Shiningworld, if you remove the outer veneer of other cults you will see they are all quite similar. They've got the same structure of authority and use identical persuasion systems, and group dynamics to gain influence.
In defining a cult, Rick Ross
shares perhaps the most important point:'It is not what the group believes, it is how it behaves that defines it.'
Destructive cults will use thought reform to prevent independent thinking and create a dependency to gain compliance with little regard for collateral damage. Cult leaders will focus on their own needs & fulfilment. And it is that that is the hidden agenda of all destructive cults.
James Swartz Email To Robert Harrison As He Turned His Back On The Cult Leaders - Thu, September 20th, 2018
It's a lonely world out there without the Lord.
Isabella Swartz E-satsang Shiningworld August 5, 2021"
Most important, it is clear you do not understand nor respect Ramji’s authority as Isvara (God) in protecting the teachings.
...he truly can claim that ‘Isvara (God) made me do it. Whatever he does is correct..
James Swartz To Former Confidante
Fuck Vedanta... It is the money I am after...
James Swartz Email To Someone Speaking About Being Able To Flee India Before The Tax Authorities Get Him"
It seems Isvara (God) was helping...
"During times of universal deceit, telling the truth becomes a revolutionary act."
~ George Orwell