I want to make clear the above incident is not the direct responsibility of Tweedie or Vaughn Lee.
But...its to make a point that some books can pay a quite important role in selecting a certain type of person who fits the profile for an authoritarian group, fits the profile enough for recruiters to 'cultivate' that person.
Its a bit like managers of investments, studying fundamentals of a specific stock, bond or mutual fund to see whether it meets their criteria for inclusion in a portfolio of long term investments.
Cults treat humans as investments. They have mere techniques that cause you to feel good, feel like person and a beloved person.
But...the dirtiest most esoteric secret is...you're an investment.
Back to books.
There are two authors who have played important roles in recruitment into some forms of Sufism
Rene Guenon (especially his Reign of Quantity
And Frithjof Schuon, The Transcendant Unity of Religions
and Understanding Islam
Huston Smith (reveres Shuon)
Hossain Nasr, a disciple of Schuon, a Traditionalist. Sedgwick wrote this in his survey of Traditionalism:
Joseph Campbell had some liking for the Traditionalist notion of perennialism.
Sedgwick notes that authors who create a soft, user friendly variety of Traditionalist presentation often appeal to the larger public.
The hard nosed grim Traditionalists who openly despise the modern world (Guenon) have less appeal. But they may influence those who teach the 'soft traditionalist' approach. Because of the unpleasant elitism of Traditonalism and its anti historical stance, many who do espouse Traditionalism are discreet about it, especially if they are academics and wish to remain respectable and not be written off.
All three authors share a Traditionalist perspective, consider the modern world a reverse, not as a good thing, and both have biases that are a-historical.
A very good tip off on how to evaluate any group is whether history from primary and non ideological sources is respected or written off as 'discursive thought' and considered an obstacle to spirtual development.
You will stay involved in such groups at your own risk.
Other books which have been mightily inIn Against the Modern World
, Professor Mark A Sedgwick describes his own first encounter with Guenon's Reign of Quantity
On this same page, Segwick describes how another faculty member introduced him to the works of Schuon.
(Against the Modern World, page 7)
One man who ran an Islamic bookstore said that reading Guenon and marrying a Muslim were, in his observation the two most frequent causes of converstion to Islam.
(Against the Modern World, page 8)
Then, through a scholar named Rawlinson, author of a survey entitled Western Masters in Eastern Traditions, Segwick received some documentary information and pictures about Schuon that were matters kept quite secret by Schuon's close disciples.
When Sedgwick's friend saw his horrified expression, he brutally ended the friendship on the spot.
Sedgwick was clearly unprepared to rationalize this stuff as an exercise in primordial wisdom or piety. Without knowing it, Sedgwick, by reacting in shock, had in this man;s eyes, demonstrated he was unworthy material for friendship with One Who Knew the Truth -- and to be rejected as such.
This, readers, is one of the collateral costs of these secretive, dysfunctional organizations.
Later, Sedgwick recorded this exchange with a scientist from one of the Scandinavian countries who had converted to Islam and was later dismayed to learn she'd been greatly influenced by material written by Traditionalists, whose viewpoints biased their presentation of what they called Islam.
The problem with Traditionalists is they see Islam merely as a source of what matters most: valid initiation. Used by Traditionalists conversion to Islam is merely acquisition of a tool, a means to a larger goal of accessing a primoridal wisdom seen by Traditionalists as transcending Islam
To Muslims this is shirk
Sociologically, one could consider this a variety of intellectual colonialism--appropriating a belief system to suit the needs of privileged Westerners operating on an ideology created by several urbanized Westerners Guenon and Schuon - and a British uppler class Ceylonese, Ananda Coomaraswamy, whose students were dismayed that he cared little for history or archeological evidence and kept diverting thier tutorials to metaphysics.
And, a lot of people are influenced by the books of Ken Wilber, who has a drive to create a Theory of Everything, an intellectual elitist who delights in rank ordering ideas societies and human beings into color coded heirarchies of development.
Yet Wilber's system and his classification tables have a vast appeal.
Persons trying to make sense of the terrifying quantity of information introduced to them at university level; persons trying to straddle two even three different cultures, these persons feel as in a swamp under triple canopy jungle, bewildered.
And they want a framework which can give them an overview, a wider perpective, which can hold and contain their confusion until they can sort it into a manageable and satisfying pattern allowing them a stance from which they can continue.
Sadly many do not know the search terms needed to learn that Wilber's own evaluative framework is called into question by his persistently endorsing spiritual teachers who are documented as abusing their students.
What I can offer (so far) is