At 5/06/2009 10:59 AM, Anonymous said...
Whether the abuse is dressed up as "being for your own good" or "you made made me hit you" it is still a violation of your boundaries.
exactly, but the trap of these gurus is, that tragically they attract people with the least amount of self esteem and then abuse them further.
thats why its so so wrong!
At 5/05/2009 9:30 AM, Anonymous said...
Read the new revelations, read Cohen's boasting of his integrity and disparaging his detractors at: [www.andrewcohen.org]
It blows my mind that he still has (seemingly) intelligent students who trust him. Talk about blind (deaf, and dumb) faith.
At 5/05/2009 2:11 PM, Anonymous said...
someone should go take cohen to an s&m dungeon or something. he obviously likes slapping people, someone should slap him.
At 5/05/2009 6:00 PM, yomamma said...
no one was physically harmed. Nevertheless, I find it abhorrent,
you can't really know this, physical blows with any kind of force are capable of doing damage that isn't always apparent, it's never a good idea to shake up the brain or apply velocity to the neck, and that doesn't even begin to estimate the psychological toll taken on all concerned, why you would want this on your conscience i can't imagine, but it was proven that it's possible to manipulate people to this extent quite easily, as in the famous experiments where they got college kids to administer shocks to other participants .
(I don't think they were real shocks , but the shockers thought they were. So i guess just know that we all can be coerced and manipulated for someone else's agenda.
At 5/06/2009 5:31 AM, ellen said...
I ran into him a long time ago, by accident, and it was clear then that he was already seriously, psychologically 'messed up'
He is a man on a total power trip, and it is quite chilling that he has the charisma and superficial plausibilty to gather a following-- as well as some social acceptance with similar power-trippers like Wilber.
I think there is often value to be found with some gurus/teachers, this life is a learning process for all of us and who else are we to learn from if not each other?
Even gurus and teachers have the good/bad mixed bag of personality traits we all carry but what is so startlingly obvious about Cohen is that no-one else exists in his world except Cohen, he has rigid, 100% self-belief and this is very seductive to some who are seeking validation. He totally believes his own hype and is determined to impose it on anyone foolish enough to allow that.
I don't much like using 'spiritual' terminology but Cohen has had a glimpse of the notion that we are all of us 'god', thinks it applies only to himself not everyone else and has decided to entrench himself there, milking it for the power over others and kudos it brings.
Psychologically that is infantile narcissism that when present in adults is malignant. It helps no-one but the narcissist because others are seen to have no value except to supply the narcissist with power.
He cannot help his students to 'self-realise', although they can learn, through aversion, to stay well away from such a person.
Cohen will implode eventually, I hope he doesn't hurt too many of his students beforehand.
Syncretism is not only, as the dictionary says, "the combination of different forms of belief or practice;" such a combination must tolerate contradictions. Each of the original messages contains a sliver of wisdom, and although they seem to say different or incompatible things, they all are nevertheless alluding, allegorically, to the same primeval truth.
As a consequence, there can be no advancement of learning. Truth already has been spelled out once and for all, and we can only keep interpreting its obscure message.
3. Irrationalism also depends on the cult of action for action's sake.
Action being beautiful in itself, it must be taken before, or without, reflection. Thinking is a form of emasculation. Therefore culture is suspect insofar as it is identified with critical attitudes. Distrust of the intellectual world has always been a symptom of Ur-Fascism, from Hermann Goering's fondness for a phrase from a Hanns Johst play ("When I hear the word 'culture' I reach for my gun") to the frequent use of such expressions as "degenerate intellectuals," "eggheads," "effete snobs," and "universities are nests of reds." The official Fascist intellectuals were mainly engaged in attacking modern culture and the liberal intelligentsia for having betrayed traditional values.
4. The critical spirit makes distinctions, and to distinguish is a sign of modernism.
In modern culture the scientific community praises disagreement as a way to improve knowledge. For Ur-Fascism, disagreement is treason.
5. Besides, disagreement is a sign of diversity.
Ur-Fascism grows up and seeks consensus by exploiting and exacerbating the natural fear of difference. The first appeal of a fascist or prematurely fascist movement is an appeal against the intruders. Thus Ur-Fascism is racist by definition.
. For Ur-Fascism there is no struggle for life but, rather, life is lived for struggle.
Thus pacifism is trafficking with the enemy. It is bad because life is permanent warfare. This, however, brings about an Armageddon complex. Since enemies have to be defeated, there must be a final battle, after which the movement will have control of the world. But such "final solutions" implies a further era of peace, a Golden Age, which contradicts the principle of permanent war. No fascist leader has ever succeeded in solving this predicament.
10. Elitism is a typical aspect of any reactionary ideology, insofar as it is fundamentally aristocratic, and aristocratic and militaristic elitism cruelly implies contempt for the weak.
Ur-Fascism can only advocate a popular elitism. Every citizen belongs to the best people in the world, the members or the party are the best among the citizens, every citizen can (or ought to) become a member of the party. But there cannot be patricians without plebeians. In fact, the Leader, knowing that his power was not delegated to him democratically but was conquered by force, also knows that his force is based upon the weakness of the masses; they are so weak as to need and deserve a ruler.
14. Ur-Fascism speaks Newspeak.
Newspeak was invented by Orwell, in Nineteen Eighty-Four, as the official language of what he called Ingsoc, English Socialism. But elements of Ur-Fascism are common to different forms of dictatorship. All the Nazi or Fascist schoolbooks made use of an impoverished vocabulary, and an elementary syntax, in order to limit the instruments for complex and critical reasoning. But we must be ready to identify other kinds of Newspeak, even if they take the apparently innocent form of a popular talk show.
* * *
Ur-Fascism is still around us, sometimes in plainclothes. It would be so much easier for us if there appeared on the world scene somebody saying, "I want to reopen Auschwitz, I want the Blackshirts to parade again in the Italian squares." Life is not that simple. Ur-Fascism can come back under the most innocent of disguises. Our duty is to uncover it and to point our finger at any of its new instances — every day, in every part of the world. Franklin Roosevelt's words of November 4, 1938, are worth recalling: "If American democracy ceases to move forward as a living force, seeking day and night by peaceful means to better the lot of our citizens, fascism will grow in strength in our land." Freedom and liberation are an unending task.
Wednesday, 10 June, 2009
Blogger George said...
People keep asking why do people stay with Andrew? There’s the cultic aspect – the pressure of the guru, of the community, of the need to justify to yourself that the depth of your commitment isn’t just because you’re a fool.
But there is the undeniable fact that most people who become Andrew’s students do so because around him they have overwhelmingly powerful experiences that they interpret: 1. as spiritual experiences that might lead to enlightenment; and 2. most importantly, as being catalyzed by Andrew. No matter how much lip service everyone gives to being committed to the “teaching”, to the cause of Evolutionary Enlightenment, the truth is they’ve had powerful experiences and always want more. Whether or not Andrew is the catalyst and whether those experiences are genuinely spiritual in nature, I’m not going to touch on here. But the fact is just about everyone around him has those experiences.
One of the curious things about Andrew is that he simultaneously exerts constant pressure on those around him, pressure that seems to precipitate those experiences, and then constantly imposes discipline and control to prevent those experiences (individual and collective) from empowering his students and overpowering him.
In the year or so leading up to “Declaration Day” (Nov 20, 2005) – the student body around the world had a series of powerful collective experiences (again, I’m not going to speculate about the true nature of those experiences) that seemed to those involved (including me) to be overwhelming, ecstatic, truly collective and transformative. They seemed to be precipitated – not by Andrew – but by the collective intention and practice of the student body, particularly through the practice of Enlightened Communication (developed not by Andrew but by Chris Parrish). People craved more and more. Andrew stopped the practice of public enlightened communication and initiated a period of organizational change that kept people so busy and off-balance that the power of the collective experience could be controlled by Andrew and his senior students. Andrew’s drive to “stabilize” those experiences seems more to be a drive to retain control.
The experiences of the student body simultaneously fulfilled Andrew’s stated goals and threatened to undermine his control. If his teaching actually did produce enlightened autonomous human beings, the guru’s days were numbered, he’d be just one enlightened dude amongst many (and a not very pleasant one at that). It’s one of the curiosities that as the possibility of actual enlightenment seemed to open up to his students Andrew shifted the emphasis decisively away from an enlightenment teaching to saving the world through evolutionary enlightenment. His students are ALWAYS busy, what they’re busy with is ALWAYS changing. They’re ALWAYS undermined, ALWAYS off-balance, ALWAYS susceptible to control. But periodically you have these awesome, profound, ecstatic experiences - and they just keep you coming back for more
#3.Keeping You In Line With Shame
I won several formal debates in college using my patented technique of simply repeating my opponent's argument in a high-pitched, mocking tone while wiggling my fingers in the air. There really is no defense.
They call this the appeal to rididcule fallacy. To which I would simply rebut, "Oooooh, appeal to ridicule fallacy! Well I've got a 'phallus' you can 'see' right here, college boy."
Professionals have more sophisticated methods, but it boils down to the same technique. "They" know that if they can paint an idea as ridiculous, the listener usually won't bother examining it any closer to find out if the ridicule is justified.
"So now they're telling us that--get this, folks--global warming is caused by cows farting! Priceless!"
"And then he said we could save gas by inflating our tires! I couldn't make this stuff up, folks!"
Why It Works:
It's no secret you can short-circuit somebody's brain with shame. How many of us were shamed into doing something stupid in high school? Hell, I still have that huge Dokken tattoo on my back.
But why does it work? Well, there are these primitive, lower parts of your brain called amygdalae that controls those base, emotional reactions. That's where things like contempt and shame come from, and stimulating it can completely shut down the analytical part of your brain.
After all, why even consider something that's ridiculous? That's only something a ridiculous person would do! And you're not ridiculous ... are you?
Make Up Some JargonUse jargon
Whether you’re a business guru, life-style consultant or mystic, introducing some jargon can further enhance the illusion of profundity. Here is a common trick. Make up some words that appear to have meanings similar to those of certain well-known terms, but that differ in some never-fully-explained way. For example, don’t talk about people being sad or happy, but about them having “negative or positive attitudinal orientations”.
Next, translate some truisms into your new vocabulary. Take the trite observation that happy people tend to make other people feel happier. That can be recast as “positive attitudinal orientations have high transferability”.
It also helps to adopt the vocabulary of “forces”, “energies” and “balances”. The use of these words will suggest that you have discovered some deep power that can be harnessed and utilized by others. That will make it much easier to persuade them that they may seriously miss out if they don’t sign up to one of your seminars.
So, if you’re a marketing guru, try running seminars on “Harnessing Positive Attitudinal Energies Within the Retail Environment”. If some smart-Alec is brave enough to put up his hand at one of your seminars and ask exactly what a “positive attitudinal energy” is, just define it using other bits of your jargon. That way, you’ll never have to explain what any of your gibberish means. Yet the several truisms around which all your jargon has been wrapped will generate the illusion that you must really be on to something, even if your listeners cannot fully grasp what it is. So you’ll leave them anxious to hear more.
Adding some scientific jargon or references can be particularly useful in lending your ramblings further fake authority and gravitas. Many purveyors of pseudo-profundity have learned the insight expressed by the great 19th Century scientist James Clerk Maxwell that such
is the respect paid to science that the most absurd opinions may become current, provided they are expressed in language, the sound of which recalls some well-known scientific phrase.
References to quantum mechanics are particularly popular among peddlers of pseudo-scientific claptrap. Quantum mechanics is widely supposed to make weird claims, and hardly anyone understands it, so if you start spouting references to it in support of your own bizarre teachings, people will assume you must be very clever and probably won’t realize that you are, in fact, just bullshitting. So perhaps, if you’re feeling ambitious, put on another seminar entitled “Positive Attitudinal Energies And Quantum Mechanics”.
Sadly, some corners of the academia are dominated by intellectuals whose writing amounts to little than pseudo-profundity. Strip away the academic jargon and pseudo-scientific references from their impressive-sounding pronouncements and you’ll find there’s precious little left.
Those thinkers often referred to as “post-modern” include more than their fair share of such jargon-fuelled poseurs. So easy is it, in fact, to produce convincing-looking post-modern gobbledegook that a wag called Andrew Bulhak constructed a computer programme that will write you your own “post-modern” essay, complete with references. For the Postmodern Essay Generator, go to:
I just did and received an essay that begins:
The primary theme of Cameron’s model of neostructural Marxism is the common ground between society and culture. Sontag’s analysis of Debordist situation states that society has objective value. However, Marx promotes the use of Marxist socialism to analyse class. Debordist situation holds that the goal of the observer is deconstruction. Therefore, the subject is interpolated into a neostructural Marxism that includes art as a paradox. Several materialisms concerning semanticist subdialectic theory may be found.
This may be nonsense, but it makes scarcely less sense than the real thing. Possibly more. Consider this example from the French intellectual Félix Guattari:
We can clearly see that there is no bi-univocal correspondence between linear signifying links or archi-writing, depending on the author, and this multireferential, multi-dimensional machinic catalysis. The symmetry of scale, the transversality, the pathic non-discursive character of their expansion: all these dimensions remove us from the logic of the excluded middle and reinforce us in our dismissal of the ontological binarism we criticised previously. A machinic assemblage, through its diverse components, extracts its consistency by crossing ontological thresholds, non-linear thresholds of irreversibility, ontological and phylogenetic thresholds, creative thresholds of heterogenesis and autopoiesis.
In 1997, Alan Sokal, a professor of physics at New York University (eminently qualified to comment on the use of scientific terminology) irritated by the way in which some post-modern writers were borrowing terms and theories from physics and applying them in a nonsensical way, published, along with his colleague Jean Bricmont, the book Intellectual Impostures. Impostures carefully and often hilariously exposes the scientific-jargon fuelled nonsense of various intellectuals writing in this vein. About the longer passage from which the Guattari quotation is taken, Sokal and Bricmont, say that it is the:
most brilliant mélange of scientific, pseudo-scientific and philosophical jargon that we have ever encountered; only a genius could have written it.
Intellectual Impostures followed the “Sokal Hoax” in 1996. Sokal submitted to the fashionable U.S. post-modern journal Social Text an essay packed full of pretentious sounding, pseudo-scientific claptrap. The editors of Social Text, unable to distinguish total claptrap from profundity, published it. After all, Sokal’s “Transgressing the Boundaries: Towards a Transformative Hermeneutics of Quantum Gravity” seemed to make as much sense as other papers they published. The publication of “Transgressing the Boundaries” became an “Emperor’s New Clothes” moment for the style of philosophy published by the journal. Social Text became a laughing stock.
About Jean Baudrillard’s work, which is full of references to chaos theory, quantum mechanics, non-Euclidean geometries, and so on, Sokal and Bricmont write:
In summary, one finds in Baudrillard's works a profusion of scientific terms, used with total disregard for their meaning and, above all, in a context where they are manifestly irrelevant. Whether or not one interprets them as metaphors, it is hard to see what role they could play, except to give an appearance of profundity to trite observations about sociology or history. Moreover, the scientific terminology is mixed up with a non-scientific vocabulary that is employed with equal sloppiness. When all is said and done, one wonders what would be left of Baudrillard's thought if the verbal veneer covering it were stripped away.
I include this quotation from Sokal and Bricmont because it nicely summarize what might be said about pseudo-profundity more generally – pseudo-profundity consists of a thin mixture of the trite, the nonsensical and/or the obviously false, whipped up into an impressive-looking linguistic soufflé. Prick it with a fork, let out the hot air, and you’ll find there’s little left. Certainly nothing worth eating.
Another recipe for generating pseudo-profundity, identified by the philosopher Daniel Dennett , is the deepity. A deepity involves saying something with two meanings – one trivially true, the other profound-sounding but false or nonsensical. Dennett illustrates with:
Love is just a word
On one reading, this sentence is about the word “love” (though notice that, if the sentence is about the word, then it really ought to appear quotation marks). The word “love” is indeed just a word, as are the words “steel” and “concrete”. So, on this reading, the sentence is trivially true. On the other reading, the sentence is about not the word “love”, but love itself – that which the word “love” refers to. Love is often defined as a feeling or emotion. Love may even, arguably, be an illusion. But the one thing it definitely isn’t is a word. So on this second reading, “Love is just a word” is obviously false.
Deepities trade on the ambiguities between such readings. It’s the ambiguity that generates the “Oh wow!” response, that makes people gasp, “Golly, yes, actually love is just a word, isn’t it?!”, as if they have suddenly been struck by something terribly profound.