Regarding your statement about accepting “absolute rules of hierarchy, reward, punishment, success, failure, pride and humiliation, mentors (gurus?) and enemies”, I’d say that is a very low, instinctual, unintelligent, rudimentary forms of functioning unworthy of higher spiritual endeavour. And the rules, etc., are not accepted absolutely in the situations you mention. Everyone fudges, takes breaks, etc., otherwise it would be unbearable.
Another point is that I don’t understand why Andrew’s enlightenment consisted of Papaji whispering sweet nothings into Andrew’s ear for 5 minutes, but your enlightenment required 10+ years of control, obedience, slappings, etc., which still didn’t work!
It just looks obvious that Andrew’s ego reared up and took control of the life process after his ideals were shattered when Papaji said bad things about Andrew behind his back. (By the way, I saw Andrew say bad things about someone in Bodhgaya, then flat out deny it, exactly like Papaji. That’s human nature.)
Guru-Talk Person: “It seems many people have a problem with the idea of a strong and independent individual voluntarily accepting another human being's "absolute rule."”*
By definition, a strong and independent individual would not accept another person’s absolute rule. It’s a straightforward contradiction. Also, a strong and independent person wouldn’t need another person’s absolute rule over them.
There is no such thing as absolute rule, unless one contends there should be total power and zero accountability.Quote
9. 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.
11. In such a perspective everybody is educated to become a hero.
In every mythology the hero is an exceptional being, but in Ur-Fascist ideology heroism is the norm. This cult of heroism is strictly linked with the cult of death. It is not by chance that a motto of the Spanish Falangists was Viva la Muerte ("Long Live Death!"). In nonfascist societies, the lay public is told that death is unpleasant but must be faced with dignity; believers are told that it is the painful way to reach a supernatural happiness. By contrast, the Ur-Fascist hero craves heroic death, advertised as the best reward for a heroic life. The Ur-Fascist hero is impatient to die. In his impatience, he more frequently sends other people to death.
The entire article deserves re-reading
Even now, when I am adamantly certain never to be devoted to my tormentor again, never to be under his or anybodies control like that anew, I still often wonder: What if we could somehow avoid all the bad stuff, all the manipulations, controlling, psychological terror, hurting, attempted erasing of my personality, etc., if we could circumvent all that, would it not be a good thing to be able to talk to him again? To profit from his wisdom? To have that, which originally prompted my initial devotion to him in my life again, without the binding, abusive, and destructive rest? But then I realise that first, this will never happen, not as it is supposed to; second, his wisdom was actually not that great, sure, smart and in many ways learned, but not of any particular devotion demanding greatness, nothing unheard of really; and third, that my devotion hence was never truly based on anything but his manipulation, his self-propaganda, his own deluded image of self, and that was not precisely honest nor was it in any way ever justified, let alone realistic. He was not and will never be ‘The measure of all things’!
And still that nagging desire to be close to him, to profit of his knowledge, to have the (very questionable) safety and ease he seemed to provide in my life again remains. It is an inconsistency of outrageous proportions, for he manipulated, controlled, and ruled my life in a manner filled with abuse both mentally and emotionally, even physically (beatings possible due to our group-structure) that brought me to the brink of mental and emotional annihilation, the utter destruction of anything that made me who I truly am. All I ever was to him was a tool to his ends, a plaything for his self-glory, to caress his ego; my actual devotion hardly interested him in any other way than as a dictated flattery and he would never have responded with the recognition I desired and hoped for; only the effect it had on me, the susceptibility and malleability it created in me was of any worth to him.
For more than twenty years in total, my personality was first suppressed and damaged to suit those ends, then only slowly recovering; even to this day, I still find myself flinching, shying away from unexpected touch, and in many cases at a loss in some apparently normal human interactions. Healing takes a long time, especially when you have to go the distance alone, but my experiences so far show me that it will come in time. Maybe there are some scars left in the end, some irrational and inexplicable bursts of recurring devotion maybe even, but the handling of these, the lessons learnt, and the strengths gained during this process of healing will make one a more complete person, give us a fuller existence than many others will ever have.
A former victim of induced devotion has to learn how to live with these experiences, learn to laugh of sorts at their antics eventually, at least try to do so, especially when you catch yourself at falling a little under their ancient spell at times. Hating this feeling that has become a part of you and only slowly dissipates, will merely result in hating yourself; and that would make us more susceptible to outside influence again. The important thing is that you learn not to allow it to control your life ever again. For that, we need to do what we originally set out to do, to find true self-awareness, and realise that it cannot be found in a large group, but only in ourselves.
Much of what I’ve described may not be apparent to an espian in the middle of it; in many ways, this realisation can take many years after the events to hit you fully; but the processes might well be in place already, unperceived. As with all that is worth living for, it is our own right and duty to be open-minded, tolerant, and perceptive of not only the outside reality, but our own truthful ‘internal human existence’; only thus are we able to find the strength, intensity, excitement, desire, motivation, and meaning that will allow us to live our lives to the fullest potential of our free selves, to follow our dreams and make a true and lasting positive difference in this world of ours.
As before, this is based mostly on my experiences, refers to a male leader (could be a woman just as well), by extension the leader/group’s causes, teachings, etc. are often included, certain experiences may not be apparent at the same time or to every one, and so on…
The individual solitude within a group of devotion
When one joins or is drawn into such a group, in the beginning, the experience is altogether great and exciting. There are all these new interesting individuals that soon become friends and alike to a second family, building fresh connections, sharing common ideas and causes, comparing your experiences, etc. It is in a way one of the things of high interest to many of the new members: Some of us may not have had this kind of a group in our lives; some may be shy and retiring; others maybe a bit too much for normal social interactions. Whatever the reasons were, the communality of the group actually presents itself as a new option, a novel venue to accommodate all types of people in a thriving culture, so to speak.
The group is in fact designed to do exactly that, not in an atmosphere of truthful tolerance, but with vague and all-encompassing allusions to such. There are built-in hooks that apply to every type of person, yet still are interpretable to sound as though they were tailored precisely and only for you! One may indeed be so taken by these constructs, these illusions of open-mindedness, selfless generosity, and caring togetherness, that you actually bring those friends you might already have into the group as well; and such recruitment is not only highly honoured in the spirit of sharing the groups felicity but stipulated, ostensibly to such an end.
The shared goals, universal ideas, and new found community drives the group, ignites each other’s fiery desire to continue in such an enthusiastic way, gives an initial rise to devotion to the group and thus to the common denominator, the leader and his teachings. With the immediate and sustained introduction of the described mechanisms of devotion though comes evermore a single-mindedness, which is less about the contacts within the group, but more about the group being a united entity, an integrated unit in service to those teachings, to the leader, and hence to that devotion itself.
It is difficult at best for any larger group to address individual needs, desires, ideas, dreams, opinions, understanding, etc.; in order to do that, each member of such a collection of people would have to disclose and discuss them with each other member in turn. Usually one has true friends and one’s actual family to do that, people who have long been around one and thus have gained the indispensable truthful respect and rightful trust. However, as soon as any collection of people passes about a dozen, these personal differences start to be a complicating matter; at two dozen they can no longer be permitted and begin to be abraded by so-called group-awareness; eventually, expressed individuality is an impossibility and often considered (occasionally even rightfully so, sad to say) a danger to the continued functionality of the community.
Soon the group has become nought but a collection of superficially congenial separate persons, devoid of truthful individuality, devoted to devotion to benefit essentially the leader alone. The ‘illusion of group’ is maintained; internal friendships cultivated along the lines of the teachings and other mechanisms; outside relations now turned black and white, subjected to the strictest vigilance and blind suspicions, dropped, ended, annihilated on the most rational grounds without further ado or the truthful ethics of humanity. Everything now centres around and about the mission, the teachings, the leader.
While smiling and huddling, in many ways consciously feeling safe and loved within this group, committing full-heartedly and routinely to the group’s success, one subconsciously becomes ever more isolated. First, the group, the various mechanisms, and the leadership’s agenda to maintain control has separated or at least distanced you from (almost) all former contacts. This group is all that is left and there is no (apparent) chance and certainly no desire (yet) for you to leave (ever) again, to re-establish your old networks, to re-connect to the friends you left or dropped outside. Now, the relationships in this new family are disintegrated in subtle ways; all to rule you and in darkness bind you, to have you devote your life ever more, and ideally for evermore, to the leader and his teachings; his personal agenda lying well-hidden behind artfully deceptive outer missions of superficially humanitarian temptation.
What is easier to control? A community of freely interacting individuals with a wide diversity of opinions, dreams, desires, etc.? The unity under official direction of a single mind, prone to stumbling over the fact of their being under total domination every so often? Or a group put under the illusion of still being respected individuals, constantly and often unconsciously on guard of each other, merely bound by a common goal to the better, focused by the leader’s teachings, a happy few, a band of sisters and brothers unified by ‘their’ cause, ‘their’ mission, the goodness of ‘their’ dreams of ‘world ethics’?
This human void, this desolation in and of interaction, this absence of true humanity and real companionship, is the final focus on the leader, seemingly the only person left in the wide world who actually truly cares about you. Sure, there are the other members of the group, but even if the separation is but subconsciously felt (at first at least), their own focus on the mission, their own need for devotion, and their own fears of failure in those keeps them occupied...
But as with devotion, even thereafter, when all the cruelties, lies, group terror (unwittingly committed and unintended by most of the fellow members), and the levels of distrust are recognised, one still longs for the safety and closeness you felt in there; well-knowing it was an illusion most if not all of the time. It is hard to find new connections, to rebuild the old relationships, or to open up in general to others once you have gone through this kind of group binding, this kind of focussed, often simple and straightforward abstract chimera of friendship. To this day, I myself still long occasionally for the security of my small, private group; especially that of the early years, when I was not aware of its nature, of what the leader did to us, of what was happening with me.
The tragedy is that in many cases the original tendency of loneliness, of a shy retiring personality that may have helped the organisation bind you to it for such a long time, that isolation is now compounded even more and will take yet another additional effort to overcome. In essence, membership in the group has not given you the strength, knowledge, capacity, or even simple tools to make friends; on the contrary, it has taken away all those, replaced them with often distorted ideas of how to treat others, how to be ‘ethical’ towards them, or how to respond to them...
To return to the original topic of this thread, that of the deceptive web tactics of Cohen's followers, consider another small but revealing example.
Writing today on Huffington Post,
Tom Huston who is a Cohen devote and editor of EnlightenNext magazine, introduced Cohen thusly: "American guru Andrew Cohen."
Prior to Yenner's book "American Guru" Cohen was never introduced this way.
Seems that now all Cohen apologists must be under orders to describe their guru forever using Yenner's title. Guess that's a form of compliment, no?
March 28, 2010 8:43 AM
Even just at the level directly below kw’s “brilliant” contributions, respected founding members of his Integral Institute include:
Nathaniel Branden—Ayn Rand’s “intellectual heir,” to whom Atlas Shrugged was dedicated. (The book itself was the “greatest human achievement in the history of the world,” according to Rand and Branden.) Together, they encouraged followers of Rand to consider them as being “the two greatest intellects on the planet.” By Branden’s own website testimony, he “has done more, perhaps, than any other theorist to awaken America’s consciousness to the importance of self-esteem to human well-being”
Norman Einstein: The Consciousness of PR
Goddess of the Market: Ayn
Rand and the American Right
by Jennifer Burns
Oxford University Press, 384 pp.
Ayn Rand and the
World She Made
by Anne C. Heller
Nan A. Talese, 592 pp.
"I began counting Ayn Rand’s uses of the word “contempt” on page 43 of The Fountainhead, by which point it had already appeared four times, and twice on that page. The word shows up thirty-nine times more in the book, by my count, which probably missed at least a couple of deployments. Rand’s villains and heroes smile contemptuously, throw back their heads and laugh contemptuously, and deem others too contemptible to be worth addressing.
But as Rand’s fame grew during her years as a famous novelist, pop philosopher, and elephant gun for Republican candidates, she tended to ignore the many selfless people who had helped her succeed. There was her family in Russia who sold their jewelry to send her to America; her relatives in Chicago who helped get her to Hollywood; and her many friends whom she soaked for ideas in late-night debates and then disowned irreversibly when they committed heresies like praising Kant or Plato. (Rand preferred Aristotle.)
Burns has the edge, though, in identifying Rand’s intellectual legacy. She describes Rand as “the ultimate gateway drug to life on the right,” elaborating: “Just as Rand had provided businessmen with a set of ideas that met their need to feel righteous and honorable in their professional lives, she gave young people a philosophical system that met their deep need for order and certainty.”
Who needs difficult questions, gray areas, and doubt when one can have all of life’s questions conclusively answered in 1,000 easy-to-read pages? And who wouldn’t want to have every base, selfish motive validated by an unassailable philosophy proving that kindness and altruism are actually bad?
Ultimately, both books show that Rand’s own life disproved her carefully wrought philosophy of selfishness. She happily accepted help from others while denouncing altruistic kindness. She trumpeted the virtue of reason over emotion, then surrendered to jealousy of a former lover.
'More bizarrely, she proved the preposterousness of absolute self-reliance by setting herself up as psychotherapist to many vulnerable members of her salon, doing untold damage to psyches and relationships.
'Too many young Ayn Rand followers have relied on her novels alone to prove the value of an individualism so extreme that it does not merely ignore others, but actually spits in their faces.
Integral Abuse: Andrew Cohen and the Culture of Evolutionary Enlightenment
Review by William Yenner
In late April, I received an email from Be Scofield telling me about his new article “Integral Abuse: Andrew Cohen and the Culture of Evolutionary Enlightenment”, which he said was posted at Tikkun Daily, a blog at Tikkun Magazine which he writes for.
Upon reading it, I felt his article to be a very comprehensive, insightful and disturbing piece revealing the depth of abuse and corruption within the Integral spiritual scene.
However within a couple of hours the post disappeared from Tikkun, with no explanation. (The article was saved, however, by blogger Goeff Falk on his blog here:
The following day I heard again from Be Scofield, [www.tikkun.org] that Tikkun took it down due to stylistic and tone concerns, and not due to content or subject matter. He said that with the guidance of editor Dave Beldon at Tikkun, he will be preparing a new version which will be posted later on Tikkun Daily.
The article is quite critical of not only Andrew Cohen but also of several other well known spiritual teachers, including Ken Wilber, Craig Hamilton, Marc Gafni, Terry Patten, Sally Kempton and Diane Musho Hamilton.
I have since heard that it is highly unlikely that Tikkun will post any version of “Integral Abuse.”
Given the fact that it was Tikkun who first posted this article, and Tikkun’s normal high journalistic standards, a fuller explanation is due from the magazine.
For any readers wishing to request a fuller explanation from Tikkun about this, here are contact details:
* firstname.lastname@example.org (Rabbi Michael Lerner, founder of the magazine)
* email@example.com (Dave Belden – Managing Editor)
* firstname.lastname@example.org (Web Site Comments and Questions)
* email@example.com (Letters to the Editor)
Mr. Scofield has now reposted his entire article on his own blog: God Bless the Whole World. Additionally the article has been posted on Integral World. [www.integralworld.net]
Since the article has come out there has been an outpouring of interest and a lot of mail. I also have heard from the grapevine that many people and institutional groups are now sharing and discussing it.
Here are some brief excerpts from “Integral Abuse” by Be Scofield -
This quote appears in large font on the sidebar of the article
"The ultimate irony is of course that these spiritual teachers are supposedly on the forefront of instructing us on how to confront the shadow."Quote
As Frank Visser [founder of Integral World] says,
“Integral confirms integral confirms integral.” I have heard people defend Marc Gafni by stating that Andrew Cohen and Ken Wilber support him. But it actually is a silly game they all play because they all defend and support each other. It goes something like this.
Patten, Hamilton, Gafni and Wilber support Cohen.
Cohen, Wilber, Hamilton and Patten support Gafni.
Wilber, Gafni, Hamilton and Patten support Wilber.
Wilber and Cohen support Patten and Hamilton.
Wilber and Patten support Adi Da….etc.
And they all appear on each others integral programs, websites, conferences, book chapters, magazines and platforms.
Among the various offerings is Integral Life Practice, Integral Naked, Integral Institute, Integral Spiritual Center, Integral Enlightenment, EnlightenNext magazine…etc.
And as Yenner notes above, they seem to employ the same tactic: surrounding themselves with other luminaries, celebrities, and public faces who agree with them and provide much needed support. If all of these amazing people support Cohen he must be ok, right? Nowadays it seems all you have to do is add the word integral in front of something to boost its credibility. Add the word integral and you have a sexy and attractive product ready to be sold to eager spiritual seekers who are hungry for idealism and more purpose in life. The whole thing equates to a very large money making machine.
… Is it wrong to call out Cohen’s enablers? Is it wrong to expect them to break the silence on Cohen’s legacy of abuse, manipulation and cultish behaviors? In the face of the sadistic acts of Cohen isn’t it problematic when Wilber says “Cohen is here to tear you into a thousand pieces?”
What about accountability? Responsibility? Ethics?
…In a post-Jonestown and present day Catholic Church scandal era we simply cannot afford their silence. I doubt any accountability will be had because this particular integral community is a family of “evolutionary thinkers,” who has discovered a revolutionary truth and will defend it to the end. They simply employ a form of group think that rationalizes, justifies and spins the truth to meet their agreed upon conclusions about each other. The ultimate irony is of course that these spiritual teachers are supposedly on the forefront of instructing us on how to confront the shadow. However, I won’t take their advice until they confront the very large shadow of Andrew Cohen.