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Re: Fourth Way, Sharon Gans, Robert Klein group in Boston
Posted by: dan003 ()
Date: June 24, 2012 10:17PM

thanks. weird that all these years i'm only now looking them up online. alex, sharon, and bob sure made a LOT of money!
i'm not sure it was a cult, but also not sure it was not a cult. maybe i'm being too generous.
luckily a very good samaritan college student picked me up in the middle of the night and gave me a floor to sleep on.

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Re: Fourth Way, Sharon Gans, Robert Klein group in Boston
Posted by: cochineal ()
Date: June 24, 2012 10:27PM

Dear Dan003,

If it makes you feel any better, you were not the only person dumped on the highway in the middle of nowhere and told to find your own way home. You were not the only person who gave money with the promise of some sort of return with interest. You were not the only person whose life went on hold to work for Bob's company. I could go on and on...

If you want to reconnect with any of your old friends from that time, write to the email address on the www.esotericfreedom.com website (esotericfreedom@safe-mail.net). There are a lot of us out here wanting to connect and help old friends. Connecting with old friends and talking through some of the trauma is a good way to start the healing process and maybe rid you of those dreams. (We all have those dreams...)

As many of you have probably realized, the esotericfreedom blog is down for the moment. [...]

Best wishes.



Edited 1 time(s). Last edit at 07/18/2012 03:24AM by rrmoderator.

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Re: Fourth Way, Sharon Gans, Robert Klein group in Boston
Posted by: cochineal ()
Date: June 24, 2012 10:34PM

Dan003,

It is a cult. And sometimes it takes people twenty or thirty years to realize that and that is not uncommon. You were told never to talk about the group outside the group. Well, now you can! If you look at all the cult literature, you will see that it fits all the descriptions.

It's probably worth repeating this here:

Ten warning signs of a potentially unsafe group/leader.

1. Absolute authoritarianism without meaningful accountability.
2. No tolerance for questions or critical inquiry.
3. No meaningful financial disclosure regarding budget, expenses such as an independently audited financial statement.
4. Unreasonable fear about the outside world, such as impending catastrophe, evil conspiracies and persecutions.
5. There is no legitimate reason to leave, former followers are always wrong in leaving, negative or even evil.
6. Former members often relate the same stories of abuse and reflect a similar pattern of grievances.
7. There are records, books, news articles, or television programs that document the abuses of the group/leader.
8. Followers feel they can never be "good enough".
9. The group/leader is always right.
10. The group/leader is the exclusive means of knowing "truth" or receiving validation, no other process of discovery is really acceptable or credible.

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Re: Fourth Way, Sharon Gans, Robert Klein group in Boston
Posted by: corboy ()
Date: June 25, 2013 07:21AM

Found this elsewhere and thought it worth preserving here.

Before reading..

Quote

(Corboy: Today, heretic means one who is outside standard custom, opinion or orthodox doctrine.

However, the term originally was descriptive and neutral
wordinfo.info/unit/3344/s:a%20taking - 15k - Cached - Similar pages

Etymology of the words heresy and heretic
In ancient Greek, the verb hairein, meaning "to take", gave rise to the adjective hairetos "able to choose" and the noun hairesis "the act of choosing".
In time the noun developed the extended senses of a "a choice", "a course of action", "a school of thought", and "a philosophical or religious sect". Stoicism was considered a hairesis
Within Judaism, a heresy (our Modern English equivalent and derivative of hairesis) was a religious faction, party, or sect; such as, the Pharisees or Sadducees.
Applied to such groups, hairesis was used in a neutral, nonpejorative manner.
In fact, when this Greek noun is used in the New Testament (Bible), it is usually translated as sect.
By the end of the second century, haeresis (the Latin equivalent) was being applied to an organized body holding a false or sacrilegious doctrine.

[webcache.googleusercontent.com]

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The Gentle Souls' Revolution
Cheering on Gentle Souls navigating this planet
April 4, 2013 by The Gentle Souls Revolution
The January 2012 Mass Exodus ¨C Repost

I am re-posting this account of the 2012 Exodus, as requested. As I recall, the Great Escape unfolded in three parts:

1) Upon reading the esoteric freedom website, 007 decides to leave, but not without informing his classmates. He goes to his last class to surreptitiously distribute flyers to some and speak directly to others.

2) Some colleagues return for one more class to spread the word and pass out flyers, put flyers on cars and confronting ¡°teachers¡±.

3) In this class, ¡°school¡± interrogates its students as described below.


I welcome those of you who experienced this event to contribute to the following account:

Twelve of us left the younger class of 21 students early in January. Three others had left in the summer of 2011. The majority had been in school for less than four years. The following is an account of what happened on the night of the mass exodus, and my reasons for leaving school.

The Heretics

Back the discussion:

After the class of January 5, a Thursday, some students were given a folded flier, others were contacted by phone. Over the weekend, a teacher called all students twice, asking first if they had received a piece of paper, then a phone call. The teacher reiterated that the papers had to be destroyed, and that we were not to talk to anyone but teachers or sustainers. I had not been contacted and was beginning to feel left out.

Before class on Tuesday, January 10, X happened to walk into a coffee shop where I was reading a book, sat down at my table, gave me a folded flier and told me to read it later. It is hilarious to me now, given my issues with secrecy, to think that I whispered to X then: ¡°You know we¡¯re not supposed to talk to each other?¡± After a walk and a talk, where I learned of the many who had decided to leave school together (having concurred that OSG was a cult), I realized it wasn¡¯t going to be the same class at all, with all the youngest and brightest gone. I had been planning to leave school for some time ¨C this was my opportunity. X woke me up.

The Inquisition

It was quite apparent that night that a major upheaval was underway. We were greeted at the door of the classroom by teachers telling us class would be in a different format that night. There was no body work. Eleven of us, half the normal class, sat in a semi-circle in silence, with one teacher overseeing the group. Waiting, perfectly still, not knowing what was happening next. One by one, we were asked to go into the big room, where other teachers in pairs made us sit with them to have a talk.

The questions were about the pieces of paper and the phone calls ¨C were we contacted? (read contaminated). I don¡¯t know how the other conversations went, but I admitted that yes I had been contacted, just before class. I told the teachers that up until then I thought a disgruntled former student was at it again, as had happened in the past, someone who ¡°had gone off the deep end¡± as we were told, leaving leaflets on windshields and disparaging school with ¡°slander¡±. But no, I found out that this was a large group of the best, most dedicated recent students, who had done such a great job at the Christmas party that for the first time in years, teachers didn¡¯t have to take notes. While I wasn¡¯t part of that group, I always had issues with the secrecy rules, as they well knew, and brought up again my old questions.

One of them was about the black book. Early on I found and brought to school the books by Ouspensky and Gurdjieff (The Fourth Way, In Search of the Miraculous, The Psychology of Man¡¯s Possible Evolution) from which the black book is retyped with the names deleted.

Teacher:
¡°How did you better understand the ideas once you knew what book they came from?¡±
Me:
¡°I was no longer distracted by wondering where this text came from, which had a context in place (Russia) and time (1920s). It seemed more legitimate to know the source. How are the ideas better understood by not knowing their source?¡±

No direct answer to that. Only that it didn¡¯t matter.

Me:
¡°If they are concealed because they are but one strand among many other teachings, and that this school is not strictly about Gurdjieff and his student Ouspensky, then why not say that?¡±

We kept exchanging questions past each other. There were no explanations, just restatements of how things were supposed to be. I repeated that I never understood why we couldn¡¯t talk about the ideas of the work with others outside of school. It seemed to me that something so deep and important deserved to be shared, and that if we couldn¡¯t talk because we would leak energy or distort the ideas, then we couldn¡¯t talk about religion either.

¡°This is not a religion.¡±
¡°I know, I¡¯m making the analogy to something sacred.¡±
¡°Why didn¡¯t you bring this up in class for discussion?¡±
¡°Because I didn¡¯t want to break the good mood that often permeated class, be the one to sow doubt. Besides, the few times that that ¡®I was given help¡¯ about secrecy, I was told to follow the rules, that it was good for me to obey without explanation since I had too much self-will. Ergo, no explanation.¡±
¡°Class is the format to bring up questions.¡±
¡°I like this one-on-one discussion format. It¡¯s too bad that it is caused by such dire circumstances, but it would have been good to have these asides regularly.¡±

More conversation, mostly on my part, prompting sighs on their part and comments that I wasn¡¯t being very clear.

¡±Well, you can appreciate how that leaves us. The rules aren¡¯t going to change. We can¡¯t afford to have a loose cannon like you. How do you want us to respond?¡±

¡°If I were you, I would say: ¡®These are the rules. Can you abide by them? If not, you should leave.¡¯¡±

So they did that, and I told them I would think about it and give them my answer soon, on the school number. It was decided that there was no point for me to stay longer ¨C there was vague talk of having a half hour class after each student had been questioned ¨C and that I could therefore go get my coat in the classroom and leave. But that before that, I should give them the piece of paper X handed me, as they insisted on collecting them all. I told them that paper was in my car. (I had the paper with me all along, but wanted to be able to peal off the yellow sticky note with X¡¯s phone number on it, without them seeing it. Creative insincerity.)

The Excommunication

In the classroom, I handed out a hand-written note to Y that said I was leaving school, wanted to stay in touch, and here was my contact information. Without touching it, Y blushed and looked petrified. Another student also saw the note with horror. ¡°Oh, oh. This is not going to go down well.¡± I thought to myself. The tension in the air was palpable ¨C you could cut it with a knife. I was smiling and feeling happy. With a flourish I put my coat on and walked out of the classroom. I felt like saying goodbye to everyone, thanking all for the good times and great discussions, but the faces were so gloomy, the silence so loud, the vibrations so far below zero, that I just walked out.

I learned later that while I was in the big room, one of the younger students had waited for most students to be in the classroom, courageously announced that he was leaving school, distributed papers (quickly collected by the teacher) and said goodbye.

A teacher escorted me to my car. (All students¡¯ movements were escorted that night.) The parking lot was abuzz with frantic activity. Someone had written on car windows, and a team of older students was hard at work removing the offensive writings (which one couldn¡¯t see in the dark of night). My car was one of those being cleaned, so I couldn¡¯t leave right away. I opened the passenger door, rummaged through bags pretending to look for the paper, took it out of my pocket book, removed the sticky note with the phone number, plunged the paper in a bag, retrieved it, and straightened up outside the car. ¡°There, here is the paper.¡±

Escorted back to the building, I am left in the little room, waiting to be told that my car is ready and that I can leave. After a few minutes, Robert enters, thundering, holding my note to Y in his hand.

¡°Did you write this?¡±
¡°Yes, I wanted to stay in touch with Y.¡±
He tears it in front of me, red with anger.
¡°You have violated Y¡¯s privacy! You are not to contact students, you know that. So you are leaving school? You have read all this slander and¡­¡±
I interrupt him, my own anger rising at this theatrical display:
¡°I did not read any slander.¡±
Robert¡¯s thunder calms down to a breeze.
¡°You are leaving independently, on your own?¡±
¡°Yes.¡±
¡°This event is a terrible denying force ¨C it always happens when good ¡­ ¡°
¡°You know I have always had issues with the school¡¯s secrecy. I had a talk with the teachers just now that clarified where I stand. I can¡¯t abide by the rules, including this one. Thank you for the truly good classes I have enjoyed over these past years.¡±
¡°You received a lot of help over that time (a standard line, not really true for me). I wish you luck in your life.¡±
With a very conciliatory tone now:
¡°If at any time you want to come back, you can ask that it be with a different framework, questioning the rules.¡±

These were not his exact words, but that was their meaning. I didn¡¯t absorb this on the spot, my mind already out of there, but in retrospect, how could this even be possible? The other teacher¡¯s words were more realistic: ¡°The rules are not going to change.¡±

Exit Robert. More waiting. Enter another teacher, downcast, restrained. ¡°Let¡¯s go.¡± As I leave with him, he says with disgust: ¡°What you did is despicable!¡± ¡°What? My note to Y? I just wanted to stay in touch!¡± Down the stairs. No response. I¡¯m truly hurt by his reaction. I liked this particular teacher. Will these be the last words I hear from school? (Yes)

In the parking lot, many cars standing still with their lights on, people running around. You¡¯d thing there was a police raid. I couldn¡¯t drive away fast enough. I stopped several blocks away, left a message on the school number confirming that I had decided to leave school. Once home, another message to Robert, and a final one to my sustainer. Done!

***

From the beginning, I was always on the fence about school: attracted to the ideas, to making aims, to the accountability of the group, but turned off by the secrecy rules, group therapy and recruiting methods.

TherapyThe group therapy I hadn¡¯t counted on: it wasn¡¯t part of what my recruiter had mentioned in the beginning. Sometimes the discussions were useful, meaningful, and general enough to apply to all of us. But often I felt that a student was being put on the spot and raked over coals, unnecessarily analyzed or berated about very personal issues. By teachers who are not trained in therapy, psychology (despite their claims of knowing ancient psychology), or psychiatry. Students¡¯ advice to each other was more helpful and more affectionate. An underlying theme was that we were supposed to have difficult relationships with our parents, the key to unlocking our potential. Another theme was that professional work didn¡¯t matter: there was no respect for work schedules or commitments. Personal relationships, marriage, even the birth of a child, were ¡°events¡±, to be discounted and subordinated to the higher life of school. The moral tone that was used to talk about class attendance, being on time, and work on the Christmas party I found particularly annoying. Of course, this was only because I had too much self-will.

Secrecy
I broke the secrecy rules often, sometimes without realizing it, and was always amazed at the overblown reaction of the teachers. When I brought the Ouspensky and Gurdjieff books to school, I thought the teacher I talked to was going to have a heart attack: ¡°Oh my God, what have you done? Stay here in the little room while I go get Robert!¡± I was instructed to cover the books with paper, if I must have them with me, and I did.

I talked about school with my mother, with whom I was very close, and who had taught philosophy. For reasons of her advanced age, where she lived (outside the US) and her language (not English), I didn¡¯t think much ¡°leakage¡± would come out of that. But no, that was forbidden too. Robert made me promise to not talk about school or the ideas of the work, to anyone, at anytime. And I obeyed, for a long while.

I met Y at Al Gore¡®s presentation of his book Our Choice. We were in line together, waiting for him to sign our copies of his book, talking about how great it would be to bring these ideas of sustainability to school discussions. We were both grilled in class for this taboo encounter.

My questions about secrecy kept accumulating: these books are published, what is the point of concealing them? If we highly value the school¡¯s work, as we are asked to do, why not share our positive experiences with those who are close to us? It may very well be that ancient schools had to remain secret because members¡¯ lives were at stake as heretics, but this is definitely not the case today. These ideas are not threatening any social order or political power. If the issue is that we would distort the ideas by talking about them, then how is any knowledge gained? We discuss ideas to learn more about them, to explore and verify their applications, and gain others¡¯ perspective. We would never talk about religion, science, philosophy, love relationships or intellectual pursuits, if we lived under the risk-of-distortion rule.

Recruiting

I thought the third line of work was extremely devious: recruiting unsuspecting people with half-truths, off-topic conversations about this and that, gaining their trust only to hand them over to the older recruiters, a vast bait and switch operation. We were never allowed to say up front: ¡°I¡¯m part of a school of thought. This is what it¡¯s about. Would you like to join?¡± I brought several people to the presentation on Eleanor d¡¯Aquitaine and Hildegard von Bingen. The follow-up calls they received came close to harassment. One of them asked me: ¡°Who are these people? Why is this woman calling me all the time? Can¡¯t she see I don¡¯t want to respond?¡±

I told her that it was a school. She told the caller she didn¡¯t want to join a school. When this came back to the teachers, they asked me to not do third line of work, as I was almost ¡°sabotaging¡± the work. I was overjoyed and relieved at not having to lie. It¡¯s a wonder they didn¡¯t ask me to leave then.


13 Comments

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13 thoughts on ¡°The January 2012 Mass Exodus ¨C Repost¡±
Adobe says:
April 4, 2013 at 11:00 pm
Love the ¡°Get Out of Jail Free!¡± card!!!!
Yes, cult or jail, what is the difference?

Reply
The Gentle Souls Revolution says:
April 5, 2013 at 8:11 am
The only difference I can come up with is whether the prisons are concrete and steel or insidious and intangible. At least when you are in jail there¡¯s no pretense of freedom-always-around-the-corner.

Reply
Haven't Decided Today says:
April 5, 2013 at 8:38 am
It is interesting to read this account, understanding that it was just one person¡¯s version, and see just how cowed everyone was. Hand over the paper? You can¡¯t drive your car until we say you can? Forget what I remember hearing about experimentation. It has clearly become an organization of nothing but obedience and unquestioning belief.

Reply
The Gentle Souls Revolution says:
April 5, 2013 at 9:05 am
A question in re. to this comment: ¡± It has clearly become an organization of nothing but obedience and unquestioning belief.¡±

Was this organization anything other than one of obedience and unquestioning belief? Was there a time when participants freely and without fear questioned Alex and Sharon, et al? I don¡¯t get that impression from the accounts I¡¯ve read.

Reply
Haven't Decided Toay says:
April 5, 2013 at 10:58 am
I think that there was a time when more questioning was possible and happened. As Moishe3rd has said, things were significantly different many years ago, although I¡¯ve noticed that people more recently associated with the group often dispute that possibility. But I actually overlapped him and my experience was different as well.

Haven't Decided Today says:
April 5, 2013 at 8:41 am
And while I¡¯m thinking of it, the reason you must ask why is that you can¡¯t understand motivations or principles otherwise. All you do is become a self-congratulatory robot. Here¡¯s an interesting take on the idea of cults from the late movie reviewer Roger Ebert as he discussed what he found to be a particularly wretched film:

¡°The purpose of a cult is exclusion. If you¡¯re not in the cult, you are by definition lacking some essential quality shared by its members. Those inside the cult can feel privileged, even gifted, by their ability to Get It.¡±

Reply
The Gentle Souls Revolution says:
April 5, 2013 at 8:42 am
Yep. Obviously, I wasn¡¯t present for the interrogation, but when I look back on a typical classroom, I can¡¯t believe the b.s. I came to accept as normal. I was just discussing this with two fellow ¡°ex-students¡± last night. It was ridiculous.

Reply
The Gentle Souls Revolution says:
April 5, 2013 at 11:47 am
HDT, I would be interested in hearing more about what your experiences were like.

Reply
Haven't Decided Today says:
April 5, 2013 at 5:44 pm
Not sure it would be useful. I¡¯ve seen Moishe3rd have to deal with people reacting badly because he gave his honest opinion of what it had been like. And if it were better/less deranged many years ago, that doesn¡¯t speak to what it has been like over the last decade. Though I find it discouraging to see how many people I once knew are still involved. At what point do you officially take responsibility for your own life and independent thought?

Reply
The Gentle Souls Revolution says:
April 7, 2013 at 8:59 pm
Well, maybe you are right. Maybe it wouldn¡¯t be useful. Or maybe it could be helpful. Maybe I¡¯m looking for something redeemable in this whole thing ¡­ I¡¯m not sure. Of course, I respect that you don¡¯t want to take the risk.

Reply
Haven't Decided Today says:
April 9, 2013 at 6:54 pm
It isn¡¯t a matter of taking a risk. It¡¯s just not something I see as being particularly useful and it would take time away from other things that are to me. The thing is, if you can¡¯t see anything redeemable in your experience, then I suspect you¡¯re not going to find it through someone else¡¯s, particularly when the circumstances have changed so much over the decades.

Reply
Brad says:
April 14, 2013 at 3:11 pm
From Mass Exodus, The Excommunication
¡°You know I have always had issues with the school¡¯s secrecy. I had a talk with the teachers just now that clarified where I stand. I can¡¯t abide by the rules, including this one. Thank you for the truly good classes I have enjoyed over these past years.¡±


¡°You received a lot of help over that time (a standard line, not really true for me). I wish you luck in your life.¡±
With a very conciliatory tone now:
¡°If at any time you want to come back, you can ask that it be with a different framework, questioning the rules.¡±

From Prophetic Charisma: The Psychology of Revolutionary Religious Personalities by Len Oakes

Quote

After having settled oneself into the group and made all the initial adjustments to membership (this takes at most a year), a period of disillusionment occurs. No longer can times of unhappiness be dismissed as part of the fitting-in process¡­ The organization itself has grave flaws; members are expected to be honest with each other but dishonest to the outside world (and in time the follower learns that there is not complete honesty within the group either)¡­ This is a time when second thoughts dominate. The follower may also engage in a power struggle with the leader. Eventually, if the new member is to remain, it is on the understanding that he is playing a part in someone else¡¯s game but can bend the play to his own advantage.
¨CChapter Seven, The Followers and Their Quest, P. 137

Reply
The Gentle Souls Revolution says:
April 14, 2013 at 8:04 pm
Here¡¯s a write-up and link to the above-referenced book: [www.goodreads.com]

Prophetic Charisma: The Psychology of Revolutionary Religious Personalities
by Len Oakes

Len Oakes explores the phenomenon of cult leaders. He examines the psychology of charisma and proposes his own theory of the five-stage life cycle of the two types of prophets: the messianic and charismatic. Often characterized by isolation, autonomy, grandiosity, and manipulativeness, Oakes maintains that the cult leader has a narcissistic personality. This individual possesses a heightened empathy, confidence, and memory, as well as autonomy and detachment ¨C while appearing disquietingly normal most of the time. The author has interviewed several leaders whom, he feels, exemplify the charismatic personality. He also provides insight into the behavior and personality of many well-known cult leaders such as Jim Jones, Bhagwan Shree Rajneesh, L. Ron Hubbard, Werner Erhard, Kathryn Kuhlman, and J. H. Noyes. For eleven years, Oakes was a member of a charismatic communal group, during which time he simultaneously undertook his research into the psychology of charisma. His results ¨C informed by both insider and academic viewpoints ¨C contradicts many current accepted beliefs about cult leaders and their followers.
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John Allen Gurjieffian Cultist Biosphere Theater of All Possibilites
Posted by: corboy ()
Date: July 14, 2020 09:02PM

Eight go mad in Arizona: how a lockdown experiment went horribly wrong

[www.theguardian.com]

This lengthy article is fascinating and well worth a peek.

There's a suprising connection between John Allen, the driving force behind the BIosphere Spaceship Earth project and The Theater of All Possiblities.

John Allen's techniques are said to have been similar to those of Sharon Gans. See note below. It woudl be worth researching whether Allen had direct ties to Gans and Alex Horn's Theater of All Possibilities. See note at bottom of this article. -- Corboy

Quote

Biosphere 2’s origins lie in late-1960s San Francisco, and a man named John P Allen. Already in his 40s by then, Allen was something of a renaissance man: a Harvard graduate, a metallurgist, a union organiser, a beat poet, and a traveller studying indigenous cultures. He founded an idealistic performance group called the Theatre of All Possibilities. As the name suggests, they wanted to change theange the world but weren’t sure where to start. Art? Business? Ecology? Technology? In classic counterculture fashion, they decided: “Let’s do all of it!”


They didn’t actually know how to do any of it, save for staging somewhat freeform performances, but “learn by doing” was Allen’s philosophy – and it took them surprisingly far. In 1969, Allen’s troupe relocated to New Mexico and founded Synergia Ranch, named after the great architect Richard Buckminster Fuller’s concept of synergy, where the whole is greater than the sum of its parts.

Some info about John Allen here in a book review by Joe Szimhart, a cult researcher, counselor, and expert on cultic new age and esotheric groups.

It appears that John Dolphin Allen was indeed a Gurjieffian Fourth Way teacher, whether faux or genuine, and his teachings were cruel and coercive. Szimhart reviewd a memoir written by a man who was born into a family of Allen's disciples who lived in Allen's Synergia commune -- from which the Biospere project originated

[jszimhart.com]

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The People & the Idiots: Surviving a Cult Childhood

Daniel Hawes

Just Write Books: Topsham, ME, 2018

Softcover: 978-1-944368-22-1

ebook: 978-1-944386-23-8

200 pages

(Book to be released in October of 2018)

Reviewed by Joe Szimhart Aug 2018

Nothing is more telling about an intentional community than how it treats and teaches children. Daniel Hawes describes in visceral detail his horrifying experience growing up among the Synergists led by Johnny Dolphin Allen. I first started tracking Allen’s cult in 1975. The People & the Idiots gave me deeper insight into how pathologically elitist and inhumane Allen’s teachings were.

We learn from this memoir that verbal and physical beatings of children or people by adults or the idiots devoted to the intentional communities called Synergias were so common as to be expected daily. The model for these beatings was the leader, John Polk “Johnny Dolphin” Allen (born 1929), who used verbal assault and punching as a useful teaching tool to bring students into a higher state of awareness. And that was the goal of Allen’s cult: To create a “universal human being” (Hawes, 150) by repressing the lesser ego or “idiot” in the body-machine created by society and evolution.

Quote

Gurdjieff believed that tricking the wealthy to contribute to his cause was ethical because of the importance of his “Work.” This end-justifies-the-means tactic tends to run through Fourth Way cults that use “the Way of the Sly Man,” and that includes Allen’s Synergias.

John Allen was adept at manipulating his wealthier students, most notably Ed Bass (born 1945) who became a Synergist in his twenties. Bass was largely responsible for supplying tens of millions of dollars to fund the Biosphere 2 project in Arizona, for example. Hawes mentions his encounters with Bass while at a Synergia in Australia where he saw how Bass cowed around Allen. From around age 8 through 16, Hawes labored for meager room and board for the Institute of Ecotechnics (a ranch) paid for by Ed Bass but controlled by Allen. Allen was careful not to overplay his thumb on Bass who retained most of the profits from Synergia enterprises. Bass always dressed and ate well among Synergists who struggled to live on extremely low wages ($4 a day in the early 1970s, for example). The impoverishment was by design to help cult members to better advance themselves and not be attached to material wealth. Bass was an exception, no doubt because Allen needed the Bass money to augment his grandiose schemes.

As for education, Hawes was never taught to read or do math, but he was forced to learn to tend to livestock, cook and clean for idiots, maintain and drive tractors and ranch equipment. He also smoked cigarettes from age 9 and learned to use foul language imitating the idiots. By age 19, despite not being able to read, Hawes with a friend developed a tidy business reconditioning dysfunctional Land Rovers for a time in Australia. Hawes was driven to earn money by a survival instinct and not by cult encouragement.

Allen mimicked Gurdjieff’s style with a mixture of social engineering using hypnosis or influence communication techniques, acting and movement classes, theater projects, tedious lectures, esoteric wisdom, and “necessary” abuse.

[jszimhart.com]


Rosie, Sharon, Alex, Robert & The Work
The Gurdjieff Journal, Vol. 8, Issue 1, Number 29/2002

[culteducation.com]

In a footnote to the article, there is this:


Quote

Theater of All Possibilities. In the spring of 1972, Bennett persuaded a troupe by this name to come to his school at Sherbome. Whether this theater group had any relationship with Horn's group is not known, but its practices appear to be the same. Bennett wanted the group to "shake us up, unmask our negativity, and act with it in a variety of creative situations. John Allen's technique [he was the leader] turned out to be helpful for some and revolting to others. Elizabeth Bennett distanced herself from the proceedings entirely." See Allen Roth, Sherborne: An Experiment in Transformation (Santa Fe, N. Mex.: Bennet Books, 1998), pp. 67-90.

John Allen "Theater of all Possiblities" -- Google search

[www.google.com]

There are suggestions that John Allen either co founded Theater of All Possiblities with Alex Horn, or that the TAP was taken over by Alex Horn. That
John Allen's teaching methods are alleged to have been similar to those used by Gans and Horn is rather intersting - and suggests a topic for further research.

Google search here:

[www.google.com]



Edited 1 time(s). Last edit at 07/14/2020 09:33PM by corboy.

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