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School of Philosophy
Posted by: cochineal ()
Date: October 24, 2006 09:13AM

The School of Economic Science in London founded by Leon MacLaren was based on Gurdjieffs teachings. The School of Practical Philosophy in New York is an off shoot as well as the Philosophy Foundation in Waltham, MA.
The Philosophy Foundation is heavily based on Gurdjieff although they call themselves a school of Advaita as propagated by Shri Shantananda Saraswati. They have a lovely historic building in Waltham and beautiful grounds. They do introductory lectures once a week. There seems to be a core group that has been around forever. They also seem to be attached to the Waldorf movement.

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School of Philosophy
Date: October 24, 2006 10:04AM

It appears the school markets itself as a general philosophy school, whilst the students are in actual fact being channelled into a very specific stream of Eastern philosophy with ties to esotericism and to controversial figures like Gurdjieff.

You do not study philosophy at the School of Philosophy -- you study [b:e90763783c]a philosophy[/b:e90763783c].

Specific complaints about the School of Philosophy based upon firsthand experience are hard to come by. But this article found at makes it clear that there is a problem in the way the school markets itself compared to what is actually involved.

The School of Philosophy advertises each week in Australia's biggest newspaper. But based upon the article here and ones like it on the web, it seems the school in its various manifestations around the world gets more attention in London and New York.


Course or cult?

Jeremy Stangroom

Picture the scene. It’s the third week of a nationally advertised philosophy course. The tutor has been asked about the relationship between rationality and logic, and the students wait expectantly for his answer.

"Listen," he says, "this is logic. All trains are long. All coaches are long. Therefore, all trains are coaches. That is logic, and it is no good for anything at all. There is absolutely no relationship between rationality and logic."

Couldn’t happen? Well it did. Welcome to Introductory Philosophy, courtesy of The School of Economic Science (SES).

The Philosophers’ Magazine had for some time been intrigued by the high profile advertising campaign of the SES. If you are a frequent user of the London Underground then doubtless you’ll have spotted their posters, promising Practical Philosophy for 12 weeks. And Guardian readers will have seen their adverts offering "…lectures, discussion and practical exercises… [taking] students through an exploration of how daily life can be informed and governed by the love of wisdom." Our interest was further peeked by the knowledge that the SES has been the subject of quite some controversy. In 1981, for example, a student complained to the Advertising Standards Association that the "philosophy" on offer in the introductory course was nothing of the sort. And two years later, the Evening Standard ran a series of articles which claimed that the SES was essentially an Eastern religious cult, one whose influence over its members was far from benign.

Thus it was with a little trepidation that in late April I headed towards the SES headquarters in Queen’s Gate, South Kensington, for the first of the 12 lectures. Initial impressions were mixed. I was struck by the grandeur of the buildings, which were clearly worth millions. It was also obvious that any attempt to disguise a "religious" agenda would not be unsophisticated, for as soon as I entered the building, I was able to pick up a pamphlet advertising "[A] series of Sunday morning lectures and a one-day seminar devoted to the Goddesses of Wisdom". And the atmosphere was strange. Imagine a large accountants' firm in the 1950s, and you’ll get a sense of it. It was partly down to dress codes - the men, on the whole, wearing suits and ties, and the women, in a manner reminiscent of The Stepford Wives, long-flowing dresses.

Registration was easy enough - £60-00 for the twelve lectures – and I soon found myself sitting in a classroom with some twenty other students. Our tutor was David Williams, a barrister in his fifties. He gave us the low-down on the SES. It was founded in the 1930s, with the aim of studying "the natural laws governing the relations between men in society". Its original concern was with economics, but during the 1950s this was widened to include philosophy. It is a worldwide organisation, with offshoots in countries such as the United States, Canada, Australia, South Africa and the Netherlands. In the last fifty years or so, the London branch has had some 130,000 students through its doors. It was also emphasised that the tutors themselves remain students of the school, attending their own study-groups, and that they offer their services on a voluntary basis.

The first lesson began with a discussion of the meaning of the word philosophy, which was defined as "love of wisdom". It was emphasised that philosophy is necessarily practical – and that it involves "searching out the words of the wise, putting them into practice in everyday life, and holding to them if they pass the test of experience." It did not take long before alarm bells began to ring in my head. It seemed to me that the tutor was making a number of rather bizarre claims. For example, within half an hour of the start of the lesson, we had been taught: that Socrates had proved that our souls had existed before our birth (although the tutor conceded that he could not remember precisely where this had been proved); that evidence suggested that even those people in the deepest states of unconsciousness, presumably including the most serious of persistent vegetative states, have awareness; and that it is desirable that one should devote one’s full attention to every action that one undertakes, even the most mundane of these.

This tactic of assertion, deprived of context or demonstration, was characteristic of every lecture that I attended. It very quickly created the impression that the tutor was not in full command of his material. To give but one example: in an early lesson, the class spent over an hour discussing the nature of selective attention. During this time, the tutor made no reference to the wealth of established research on the topic (e.g., Broadbent; Treisman; Deutsch and Deutsch; etc.). The SES position on attention runs contrary to any prevailing orthodoxy. To neglect to mention this fact, indeed to be seemingly unaware of it, demonstrates an alarming ignorance or a willful disinterest in counter-evidence.

So what is the content of the philosophy on offer from the SES? According to their literature, it is embodied in the notion of Advaita, a Sanskrit word meaning "not two, not many". It is in essence a philosophy of unity, and involves the claim that there is an identity between the individual Self (the Atman) and the universal Self (the Brahman). Meditation is central to the philosophy, being seen as the technique whereby individuals, by stilling their minds, come into closer connection with the Absolute. The SES philosophy is based most significantly on the Hindu vedanta (one of the six orthodox systems of Indian philosophy), particularly as espoused by the medieval Indian philosopher Shankara. However, there are other sources, perhaps most significantly the writings of the Renaissance, neo-Platonist philosopher Ficino, and the mystics Gurdjiieff and Ouspensky. Interestingly, though, in SES terms, the distinction between one and many sources is blurred, since they all represent and partake of a single universal Truth.

The fact that the SES is offering a philosophy to its students and not providing a general philosophy course throws up a number of interesting issues. The most significant of these is whether students are being misled by the school. It is true that if one reads the details of their literature then it is clear enough that the lectures are underpinned by an Eastern philosophy. However, unless one has some prior knowledge of the normal content of more traditional philosophy courses, then this will not appear to be at all out of the ordinary. Also, it is quite possible to arrive in the classroom for the first lecture, as I did, having seen only a newspaper advertisement for the school, where it is not made clear that it is a philosophy that is on offer. Indeed, some of the students that I spoke to had not been aware that they were not getting a traditional philosophy course. One told me that he had been so puzzled by the content of the first lesson that he had mentioned the SES to a friend, and had been shocked to discover that the school had the reputation of being "some kind of religious cult."

There is also a more subtle way in which the SES is open to the accusation that it misleads its students. The lectures themselves are presented as exercises in Socratic dialogue. However, it is at least arguable that they are nothing of the sort. Socratic dialogues in their original form are exercises in "refutation" (or elenchus), and involve the imaginary Socrates drawing out the inconsistencies in an interlocutor's position, in order to demonstrate the falsity of a posited thesis. However, in the SES form, dialogue is simply a vehicle to hand down a truth that has already been established. As Hounam and Hogg put it: "…students are not taking part in some philosophical free-for-all. Although no one has yet told them, they are receiving instruction in the Truth [Secret Cult, p. 98]."

I put this point, that it is misleading to call a technique Socratic, when its sole function is to pass down a Truth that is already set in stone, to David Boddy, spokesperson for the SES and one time press advisor to Margaret Thatcher. "Well, there’s more than one way of interpreting Socrates", he said. "Also, early on in the course it is stated, ‘Don’t accept. Don’t reject.’ And that is really a fundamental Socratic principle." However, Boddy conceded that ultimately the SES is committed to a certain view of the truth. "Obviously, a person is always free to keep their opinions, but do people go to these philosophy classes in order to have their opinions confirmed or do they go to these philosophy classes in order to open up the possibility that perhaps what they thought to be right and true, may have some question marks about it? Certainly in the early phases of the school, a lot of people say, ‘Well, I thought this, but I hear what you say, and through my experience there is some validity in it, so I think I’ll carry on with it, and it is a progressive process.'"

This idea that people who pass through the school find something valuable in what is being taught came across in conversations with my fellow students. A number of them were very positive about the school. "It has given me a sense of perspective", said one, "and has enabled me to look at what is going on in my life with a new objectivity." Another was enthusiastic about the relaxation exercise that had been taught. "I have done meditation before," she said, "but it has never really worked. This time it’s different, and…well, it’s great!"

But, of course, the fact that some students find the lessons valuable establishes neither that the teaching techniques employed are honest nor that the philosophy that is taught is benign. Not surprisingly, David Boddy is keen to emphasise the positive value of The School of Economic Science. "We’re not a malicious organisation," he says. "We stand for certain principles. We encourage people who come to the school to live in a certain way. It’s pretty harmless. It’s not subversive. It holds to certain family values. And it values marriage and all that kind of stuff."

So is this a persuasive view? Is it the case that the SES, whilst perhaps slightly eccentric, is essentially a benign organisation, which functions to broaden the outlook of those students who attend its courses? In the end, the answer to this question will depend on where one stands on the other issues discussed in this piece. First, there is the charge that the SES is guilty of misleading its students. Its advertising promises a course in Practical Philosophy. The reality is that the course is a mechanism for the delivery of a particular philosophical system. Is this disingenuous? Second, there is the fact that they present as revealed truths, a number of ideas that in other contexts would be regarded as truly bizarre. For example, the notion that women should dress in long, flowing dresses, in order to remind men of the true nature of femininity. Third, there is the fact that the school has in the past been the subject of a number a serious allegations, the truth of which it is hard to establish. And fourth, there is the fact the SES espouses a conservative social vision, which celebrates traditional gender roles and sexual mores. How one views these issues, will ultimately determine how one views The School of Economic Science.

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School of Philosophy
Posted by: saraj ()
Date: November 05, 2006 02:25AM

i live in arkansas where there is a class taught called the school of philosophy. the classes are free, they teach the same things, yet i have learned a lot about this particular group. the "teacher" has several wives. they have a lot of money. members have left and wanted to rejoin the "family"have had to pay a signifigant fund. everyone in the group goes to one man to ask ANYTHING. i have seen this firsthand and have family members involved in it. they suggest to avoid anyone who is not involved in the "work", because they will take your attention away from the "work" and drain your energy, and to do only what is "necessary" (usually whatever the teacher says is necessary) the classes appear innocent at first, and until i saw more of the inner workings thought it was just a different way of thinking. i wondered if anyone has any other information, these people are more dangerous than they appear.

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School of Philosophy
Posted by: saraj ()
Date: November 05, 2006 03:00AM

where i livethere are free classes that they call the school of philosophy. the teachings are the same as described. my husbands family is involved in this group that studies it. there are many cultlike characteristics. the "teacher" has many wives. many of the people in the group live together and many work for the "teacher" for free, or in exchange for board. they go to him before they do ANYTHING to see if the teacher says they should do it or not. they are advised to avoid much contact with anyone not focused on the "work" and that outsiders drain them of energy. that having friends is unecessary, as it sleeping too much. they are instructed on what music, movies, books, lifestyles are "useful".they claim that they are part of the 1% of the population who is enlightened but if you learn the "work" you can become like them as well. they say the work is the only way to find true live. they get angry when people leave, and put them down, saying they are lost without the work. they practice a certain way of speech. the more of the inner workings i see, the more i realize how powerful and dangerous these people are. the are very wealthy, infuential and controlling. if anyone has any info, please let me know.

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School of Philosophy
Posted by: CultEduMod ()
Date: November 05, 2006 03:02PM

Its correct that this school advertises that it teaches Philosophy, when in fact it is promoting a specific type of religious belief. The marketing seems to be consistent in many cities.

If a person wants a course in actual Philosophy, I would suggest taking a course at an accredited college or university, taught by an expert.
Also, you can buy used textbooks of Philosophy which give an outline of the subject, and books like the Oxford Companion to Philosophy.

Here is the Internet Encyclopedia of Philosophy.

Skepdic is excellent as well for applied philosophy.

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School of Philosophy
Date: November 05, 2006 06:29PM

I mentioned earlier in the thread that I was attending a weekend get-together with a friend who is involved in the School of Philosophy. It was in the Glasshouse Mountains and was the birthday party of a friend of a friend. It was fun.

I think it is armed with the information I have learned from this forum that I was able to relax and enjoy myself despite there having been several occasions during which cult alarm bells rang. I wonder if these occasions tally with other people's experiences of the School of Philosophy:

There was lots of talk about "the now". At one point, I was asked, "What else is there but the now?" I answered that such a philosophy sounded like the perfect rationale for, say, shunning responsibility for one's past. Or like the kind of thought stopping idea that cults used to detach victims from their families and friends. With a laugh. It was all very friendly but my conversational partners insisted, "Seriously. What else is there?" To which I answered gaily that I preferred to live not just with the now but with my past, my experiences, my hopes for the future...

A new acquaintance, when I asked what she did, answered elliptically that she didn't deal with psychological approaches to things, nor social nor economical approaches, but instead employed a socratic method of inquiry. Straight up, I asked was she involved in the School of Philosophy and she conceded with a smile that yes, yes she was. That was the only mention -- my mention -- of the controversial School of Philosophy all weekend.

At one point, several guests debated the worth of public confession.

There was consensus that "Little Miss Sunshine" was a great movie. I haven't seen it and when I asked what it was about, I was told it was about a dysfunctional family. "Boy, that family!" Someone said. "All families are dysfunctional, though, aren't they?"

All in all, it was fun. I got back to Brisbane having had a great time. Had I been open to the idea, or perhaps not so closed, I imagine that I could have come away from the weekend with enthusiasm for the School of Philosophy. As it is, I know enough to stay away.

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School of Philosophy
Posted by: Gimlikun ()
Date: November 18, 2006 05:33AM

I see posters all over the subways for a school of practical philosophy. Is this the same group? And is this group even considered a religious group?

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School of Philosophy
Date: November 19, 2006 03:03PM

Yes, that is the same group. It is also known as the School of Philosophy in Australia, and elsewhere as the School of Economic Science.

It is a religious group. The philosophy referred to in the name of the school is not philosophy general, but a very particular branch of eastern esoteric religion with ties to controversial figures such as Gurdjieff.

That the school steers people into this very particular system of belief is something that remains hidden until long after the subway posters, the membership forms, and the initial lessons.

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School of Practical Philosophy, SES, Gurdjieff, cult alert
Posted by: The Anticult ()
Date: November 24, 2008 02:25AM

Just linking these 2 threads about this group together

School of Philosophy & the SES - Learn the Truth

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Re: School of Philosophy
Posted by: corboy ()
Date: November 25, 2008 11:22PM

Information about the background

Read Secret Cult a book by Peter Hounam and Andrew Hogg (google it)

Joyce Colin-Smith in her memoir Call No Man Master, describes her involvement with Ouspensky's group in London and follows the events after Ouspensky's death, when McLaren and Roles met Maharishi. They hoped MMY's alledged knowledge of Hinduism would lead them to the source of Ouspensky and Gurdjieff's 'system.'

MMY tried to use the resources of the group and Roles eventually kicked him out. But a number of disaffected students left Roles and hooked up with MMY, among them Joyce Colin-Smith.

MMY's teachings were used by Maclaren in creating the SES.



Peter Washington (in his book Madame Blavatskys Baboon)also covers the history of the esoteric School of Economic Science founded by Leon MacLaren and his connection with Transcendental Meditation’s Maharishi Mahesh Yogi.


What is the School of Economic Science (SES)?The School of Economic Science was founded in 1938.
The corecourses offered by the School are in Philosophy and Economics.Some branches of the School are called the School of Philosophy orthe School of Practical Philosophy.

The School does not see itself asa religion, but would consider itself a “new spiritual movement”.The School's teachings are primarily based on Advaita Vedanta,an Indian soteriological philosophy. Advaita Vedanta holds a non-dualist, or monist, metaphysical position, i.e. that the ultimate essenceof each individual self (Ataman in Sanskrit) and the Universal,Transcendent Self (Brahman in Sanskrit) are one and the same.

Theschool also believes that Advaita underlies the prominent Westernphilosophical teachings, and is the essence of Christian teaching.

Where are they found?

Philosophy courses are offered in every region of England andScotland; the head office is in London. Associated Schools are foundin Australia, Belgium, Canada, Cyprus, Greece, Hungary, Ireland,Malta, the Netherlands, New Zealand, Spain, South Africa, SouthAmerica, Trinidad and the United States.

In 1975, a number of parents in the School founded the St JamesIndependent Schools for children. Junior schools for both boys andgirls, and the senior girls' school are located in London; the seniorboys' school is in Twickenham, Middlesex. The School has organiseda national cultural event called “Art in Action” at Waterperry inOxfordshire for several years. This is a four-day public event whichwas attended by about 25,000 visitors in the past few years.

What do they believe?

The School believes in a Supreme Being as the ultimate source ofcreation. Additionally, there is an “infinite consciousness” whichpermeates and sustains the world. There is therefore a belief in anessential unity of all beings by virtue of a common origin and essenceof consciousness. Following from these beliefs is the idea that there isa framework of “Natural Law” which governs all creation. Mankindhas an obligation to learn and practice activities that work with the“Natural Law” for the mutual welfare of all beings.

The School teaches that there is a common thread of ultimateTruth running through all great teachings and philosophies of theworld. The School encourages a moral base in truth, humility andservice to the community. There are no restrictions on attendance atthe School on grounds of religious or cultural background or absenceof any established beliefs.

How are these beliefs introduced?

The early courses in Philosophy introduce students gradually to theideas advocated by the School. In the introductory and early terms thecourses offered are fairly broad and general.

The Eastern connectionis not particularly emphasised and materials are drawn from a varietyof sources. Later, there is a focus on Eastern texts, particularly theBhagavad Gita and the Upanishads.

The study of Sanskrit is thenintroduced so that these texts can be read in their original language.As part of the introductory course, students are given a simpleexercise to strengthen attention and awareness through connectingwith the senses. After about 18 months of attendance, continuingstudents are invited to be initiated into a mantra form of meditation.
After about three years, this becomes a prerequisite to movingforward with their studies. The meditation used by the School is inthe tradition of Shankaracharya, the 8th century exponent of AdvaitaVedanta. For long-term students, two sessions of formal meditation(one in the morning and one in the evening) are reinforced by apractice of "falling still" between actions, and dedicating everyactivity to the Supreme Being and increasing self awareness.Students who continue in the School for about four years areintroduced to the concept of “Measure”. This is based upon the viewthat the “Natural Law” prescribes a framework of regulationsnecessary to achieve a happy and healthy life.

The frameworkgoverns such matters as appropriate food and appropriate periods forphysical work, mental work, spiritual work, and sleep (with regard tothe individual's constitution and other circumstances).

Where do their ideas come from?

The School was originally founded by a small group of peoplewishing to explore questions relating to economic justice against thebackground of the economic depression of the early 1930s. Theywere interested in the ideas of Henry George, an American economistwho advocated the taxation of unearned gains arising from landvalues as a fairer tax than one based on earned income.The group was led by the barrister Mr. Leon MacLaren with thesupport of his father, the then Labour MP Andrew MacLaren. Theideas of Gurdjieff and Ouspensky influenced the School’s earlyteachings. After meeting the Maharishi Mahesh Yogi in Londonduring the early 1960s, Leon MacLaren travelled to India.

Then in theensuing years of his life he received guidance from Shri ShantanandaSaraswati, a spiritual leader in the Advaita Vedanta tradition. Studymaterial includes not only the Vedas, the Bhagavad Gita and theUpanishads of Indian origin, but also the Bible, Plato, the teachingsof the leading Renaissance philosopher Marsilio Ficino, and others.However, Advaita Vedanta has become the guiding philosophy of theSchool and the “lens” through which all texts are read.

How do they live?

Some time after being initiated into meditation, students areencouraged to live according to the concept of “Measure”: risingearly, meditating regularly and finding a balance between worldly,reflective and spiritual work. Residential courses are offered wherestudents practice living by these principles. Students are encouragedto adopt a vegetarian diet, with good posture being emphasized,particularly in meditation. When engaged in any task, students areasked to give their full attention to the task at hand and trainthemselves not to be distracted by irrelevant thoughts or innerdialogues. The roles of men and women are defined separately andseen as complementary to each other. Dedicated women are expectedto wear long skirts or dresses within the School environment, andmany do outside the School environment as well.Members are encouraged to fulfil their roles in society whilst notlosing sight of the divine Absolute.

*Negative thoughts and emotionsare considered particularly unhelpful. *

Students are encouraged todiscriminate between the “fine” and “coarse”. The works of greatcomposers, artists and writers such as Mozart, Vivaldi, Leonardo daVinci and Shakespeare are considered particularly “fine”.Good company also has an important role in living the spirituallife and members are encouraged to spend time in the company ofthose supportive of the School’s philosophy. However, members arenot asked to reject other friends and family. Members are encouragedto lead the spiritual life of a “householder”: work, family and societalobligations are considered important. An individual should seek todevelop spiritually within the constraints of ordinary life.

Less than half of the 600 pupils in the St James IndependentSchools are affiliated with the School of Economic Science, althoughmost of the teachers are members. All children are encouraged to“pause,” with periods of silent contemplation scheduled into theschool day. Pupils in the Senior schools are offered the chance tolearn to meditate, though this is not compulsory. While children inthe school are not expected to be or become members of the Schoolof Economic Science, the choice of subjects and general running ofthe school are consistent with the School's philosophy.

Who joins?

While the School's courses are open to everyone, a large proportionof members are from the middle class; the courses particularlyattracting professionals. Members are of all ages, now including anumber brought-up by their parents within the movement.Membership figures vary, but in recent years, the School hasestimated that there are about 1,200 individuals in London and about1,300 in the rest of Britain who have made a substantial commitment.There are several thousand students in the associated schoolsthroughout the world.

How is the School financed?

Fees for courses are intended to cover administrative and buildingupkeep costs only; as a matter of principle no tutors on thephilosophy courses receive payment. Students are encouraged todonate a week’s income for their meditation instruction. However,the School has a general principle that no one should be preventedfrom taking up the meditation or philosophy courses due to genuinefinancial hardship. Additional endowments and donations areencouraged for special projects and expenses.How is the movement organised?After the death of Leon MacLaren in 1994, the spiritual direction andguidance of the School passed to Donald Lambie. He is supported bythe Fellowship, which is the legally constituted body of the School.This governing body consists of around 230 members from which upto nine are elected as officers and members of the ExecutiveCommittee responsible for the day-to-day business of the School.This group is chaired by Mr. Graham Skelcey who is also thePrincipal of the School.
Page 2
Leaving the Movement

Many people leave the School during or after the introductory course.Some find that the course is not what they expected or wanted, othersare satisfied with the introductory course but feel no need to attendmore courses. Others leave after finding that the commitments ofpersonal practice and School activities take up more time than theywish to give.

Problems, controversies

There are not many independent sources of information on the Schoolof Economic Science. In 1984, two journalists wrote an “exposé” ofthe group entitled Secret Cult. Rather than respond to the criticismspublicly, the School reviewed the attack internally, which reinforcedthe opinion of the critics that the School was a secretive organisation.However, much has changed in the last twenty years, particularlysince the death of the founder Leon MacLaren in 1994. Currentleaders acknowledge some of the criticisms of the past and claim thatthey have sought to make the necessary adjustments. In response toconcern expressed by some outsiders that the content and conduct ofthe more advanced courses are not made available for observation,the School has told Inform that “this information can, whereappropriate, be made available to responsible persons or bodies”.

In particular, complaints focused on Leon MacLaren’s authority,which some described as absolute or totalitarian. It is claimed thatthose who displeased him were dealt with severely and that there wasnot room for any differences of opinion. Supporters counter thatstrong leadership was necessary to hold the school together, anddifferent opinions were consulted (though not necessarily actedupon).Some students have found it difficult to accept the degree towhich “ego” is attacked, the emphasis on not identifying withnegative emotions, and the view that sickness and disability areusually the result of some contravention of natural laws.

To thiscriticism, the School responds that students are urged not to indulgein guilt or self-criticism, but rather to use their energies positively.Some complain the School requires a level of commitment thatleads to a neglect of family and friends. When only one partner in amarriage has joined the School, the related changes in lifestyle andpriorities sometimes are difficult for the other partner to accept.The St James Independent Schools have attracted attention forteaching Sanskrit and silent contemplation. In the past, the head ofthe St James Senior Boy’s school supported of the occasional use ofcorporal punishment. However this was outlawed in all schools inBritain (1998), the school says it has respected the change in law.

Some former students have complained that both staff and otherstudents bullied them during studies at St James.The School has advertised its courses widely, particularly in theLondon Underground. It has attracted criticism that its advertisementsfor the introductory course do not make the nature of the School’sparticular philosophy clear.

In response, the School has modified itsadvertisements somewhat, but also argues that the introductorycourses are general in nature. However, there are still complaints thatit is not clear that a particular philosophy is being promoted ratherthan general philosophical exploration.

Further informationFrom the movement:School of Economic Science,11 Mandeville Place, London W1U 3AJTel: 020 7034 4000Website: []. James Independent SchoolsWebsite: [] produced by the School:MacLaren, Leon Nature of Society and other essays. London:School of Economic Science, n. d.A translation of the teachings of Hermes Trismegistus entitledThe Way of HermesBlake, L. L. Sovereignty: Power Beyond Politics. London:Shepheard-Walwyn, 1988.For a critical approach:The Secret Cult by Peter Hounam and Andrew Hogg, LionPublishing, 1984.Website: [] an objective approach:See entry in The New Believers by David Barrett, London: Cassel& Co, 2001.

An informed journalistic approach:See entry in Spying in Guru Land by William Shaw, London:Forth Estate, 1994.HOW INFORM CAN HELPoBy providing reliable, up-to-date information about newreligious movements.oBy putting you in touch with a nation-wide network ofexperts with specialist knowledge concerning NRMsoBy putting you in touch with people who can givecounselling, legal advice - or just lend a sympathetic ear.oBy putting you in touch with ex-members or families whohave personal experience with a particular group.

New Religious Movements: A Practical Introduction

(London:HMSO, revised 1995) has been written by Professor Eileen Barker toprovide practical suggestions as well as general backgroundinformation.£1I N F O R MI n f o r m a t i o nN e t w o r kF o c u sO nR e l i g i o u sM o v e m e n t sApril 2007InformLSE, Houghton StLondon WC2A 2AETelephone:020 7955 7654Facsimile:020 7955 7679Electronic

ww.cults-sects-nrms.infoEnquirers can write,telephone, or make anappointment to visitInform’s office.Outside office hours(10 am - 4.30 pm,Monday-Friday),messages may be lefton the voice mail,which is checked atregular intervals.Although every care is taken to provide as accurateand balanced an account as possible, we welcomecorrections and comments.

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