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Re: NXIVM and the Dalai Lama
Posted by: Macumazahn ()
Date: April 01, 2010 05:52AM

   Over the last couple of posts, I pointed out several inconsistencies. Some of them relate to how espians are taught two different standards, one for them and another for non-espians. Others are a little less obvious and concern different paradigms even within the organisation; variations that apply to the leadership only, who should and ostensibly does lead by example (accountability, responsibility, honesty, etc.); discrepancies as to how an espian has to view the teachings and whether the ‘ethics’ are applicable within NXIVM as well (volunteering bad outside but in NXIVM ok, etc.); and so on.

   How can such inconsistencies exist in a theory based on consistency and rational thinking; a philosophy centring on a system of an ‘integrated consistent matrix’ representing the one and only true ‘consistent reality’; an ‘ethic’ that should one day be at the core of a worldwide movement to better humanity? What ‘internal human existence’ allows espians to ignore, suppress, excuse, or simply fail to notice those inconsistencies against any rationale, individual doubts and NXIVM’s own ‘ethics’? What prompts such unbridled and unseeing commitment in them? How can such blinding devotion exist in an organisation based on teachings that essentially glorify rational thinking even to the point of being inhumane? Wherein lies the objective logic, let alone the natural humanity with its intrinsic curiosity, in never questioning, never doubting and never opposing what is being said from above? What mechanisms are at work to generate such an inconsistent behaviour, such a ‘disintegrated internal human existence’?

   When naturally occurring, devotion (allegiance, loyalty, faithfulness, enthusiasm, passion, love and affection, attachment, dedication, etc.) in moderation is a good, noble and human emotion. Yet in that case, it is always based on some real foundation of truthful trust, fair partnership, shared true honesty, mutual respect, appreciated human dignity, ensured freedom, and at least a general equality. Many of the paradoxes or ‘inconsistencies’ described in NXIVM, rule out several if not all of these values though. Thus, one has to search for potential other factors in order to discover if maybe nature is helped along a bit, if devotion is additionally induced into the espians by the teachings, customs, and social structures of NXIVM. So, let’s look at some examples of these mechanisms.

   It is not by accident that ‘Rules and Rituals’ is the first module in the ESP Training Materials (as contained in the patent application for Rational Inquiry™ (1999) on public record at WIPO). Right from the beginning, various mechanisms of devotion are being set in motion; frankly, the whole module is nothing but a giant, pre-emptive devotional device creating the right atmosphere and eventually the required susceptibility. The idea that every school has its rules, while technically true, is not applicable as an excuse in light of the lengths and depths this is done at ESP/NXIVM; and the examples given for the more questionable practices are at best painfully tortured and factually inadequate. I’ve grouped the examples in three categories. First, those that are designed to create the right atmosphere among the students.

- Taking off our shoes is something we usually reserve for our home or maybe our best friends’; that is why the action creates ‘a feeling of intimacy and comfort’. There, this feeling is indeed justified by the circumstances, grows organically and over time. Here however, the action is forced upon the student with the clearly stated intent of creating such a feeling artificially. Intimacy and comfort facilitate the generation of trust, relax one’s critical attention, and thus make the student more susceptible to whatever is put before them. On the other hand, some may have odious reasons not to feel comfortable, but in their case, shame of those reasons and guilt about the discomfort they might spread among their fellow students will have a similar effect. (page 60, ‘4. Shoes: …’)

- Requiring ‘standard business attire’ from all students, whether they actually work in such an environment or not, is creating a level of uniformity that already diminishes the individuality of the students and aligns them with the group, generating the beginning of the famed group-awareness that will eventually lead to a ‘them and us’ attitude. Not everybody is wearing business attire all the time; one can also be respectful of oneself when dressed decently casual. How being dressed in business attire ever made anyone respect anybody else, for that matter, is still out there. In fact, being dressed in a certain level of uniformity by default lessens the respect towards those that are not attired in the same standardised way! An additional factor, precursor to artificial respect and later devotion, lies in the second layer of attire, the insignias differentiating the milling masses from the higher ranks; more on that later. (pages 61/ 62, ‘11. Attire: …’)

- Another ‘interaction’ causing further group-awareness and dynamics is the ‘Huddle and Commitment to Success’ ritual at the beginning of each session. Again, portrayed as creating intimacy within the ‘team’, it is designed not to allow a group of individuals to come together as a team, but to bind them closer by enforced intermingling of privacy, to expose their imperfection to each other in a closeness one would rarely ever share with classmates or colleagues at work but rather with family members and your closest friends. And that is exactly the purpose of the exercise, to create that kind of relationship among the students and participating upper ranks as well as by extension NXIVM and its leadership. That way, the group slowly will take the place of family and friends, replace the existing relationships in intensity, and finally be able to exclude these prior, old, and ‘disintegrated’ connections, assimilating the espian into NXIVM. The higher ranks, probably choaches and maybe proctors (it’s doubtful that Raniere will be huddling with mere students, certainly not beginners), even in this supposedly ‘“warm fuzzy” human interaction’ will still garner an enforced respect by their visible difference even if they partake in a common ritual. (page 62, ‘Huddle and …’)

   Slightly cynical to say, as in the last example, that this is meant to prevent them from seeing each other as objects rather than as people, when it is clearly intended to uniform and abrade individuality, to standardise and bring together under a ‘common’ goal. All that these practices do is to raise group-awareness and have its content slowly replace that of any actual self-awareness; eventually this leads to a loss of individuality, of (outside) perspective, of critical thinking, etc… A group dynamic is artificially constructed that enables the leadership to exert control even in an indirect way through peer pressure, espians controlling each other, and in the end a constant vigilance and state of unwitting suspicion among one another. If either or both of these, group feeling and dynamics, occurred naturally among truthfully equal and like-minded people maintaining their individuality and personal opinions, like a close-nit group of real friends, it would probably be a pleasant and good thing. Yet even if that could have been the case here, by introducing such practices, the basis for that evolution was altered and it cannot be proven anymore; any such natural process has been pre-emptively abstracted and made into a tool to benefit the organisation before it could ever organically unfold and fully develop.

   The next category addresses drilled automated behaviours that often seem almost paramilitary in nature.

- A short inclination of the head in lieu of wildly waving across the street to greet a friend may be considered a bit old-fashioned or of a particular style, but it sure makes you look less like an eloping chimpanzee out to catch a banana. One might even choose to do so in recognition or submission to somebody’s argument or higher position, to give one’s assent, or to express thanks. However, these are all free choices in our western society! Some cultures and groups may have an ancient tradition of such gestures, passed down from long gone eras of warfare and feudal system’s governance: not the most rational example there to give in a western school though! If bowing is demanded, by definition it constitutes a command to submission, a reverence by dictate, so to speak. (page 61, ‘6. Bowing: …’)

- Having to bow to the session space with all its trappings is about as logical as crossing yourself when entering a church and serves exactly the same purpose: To induce respect not to the space itself, but to whatever may come while in it. While stipulated bowing to people as an automated trigger of respect will make the student refrain from objecting too much, submitting oneself to the session space erases even the last vestiges of resistance; hardly an espian will hence express such a disrespectful thing as doubts, question the teachings, or even dare to laugh at some of the subsequent absurdities. Adding the part about confidentiality just solidifies the inhibition. (ditto and page 62, ‘15. The Session Space: …’) By the way, an interesting and very indicative detail for the observant reader: notice how the ESP confidentiality concerns come before the student’s?

- Reciting the mission statement over and over again will soon result in a will-less, habitual, and eventually ingrained respect towards that mission, the group it stands for, and hence its ultimate promulgator. Whether that respect is deserved or not is irrelevant. The details and deeper meanings of these 12 points probably won’t be disclosed and discussed until this respect is indeed second nature to the espian and any doubts, objections, or critical questioning of these matters are no longer part of their ‘rational’ thinking or even their character. In many ways, it is at first a mechanical recitation not unlike a standard prayer in a liturgy, later a trigger for instant intense devotion and zeal. (page 61, ‘8. Recitation of Mission: …’)

- Promotions, ranks (i.e. coaches, proctors), insignias, standing up for higher rank, handshakes that favour rank, end-of-session line-up, these are all elements of hierarchy that can be found in many organisations but in this combination mainly in the military. In a sense, the scarves are the epaulettes, stars and stripes of ESP; standing up is the same as standing to attention; the ESP handshake is a rather impractical way of saluting; and at the end of each manoeuvre, all fall in line to salute their officers. All these elements serve but one purpose: To maintain a clear chain of command; to uphold order, control, and respect; and to ensure unquestioned obedience to any command given from the top downwards. In the military and the old feudal orders, from which similar forms of hierarchy come in martial arts, such blind and immediate obedience meant the difference between being routed or annihilated and actually surviving or even winning the day; as far as I know though, there aren’t too many life and death battles going on in the espians’ lives. Some form of order and hierarchy may be necessary in many schools, businesses, etc., but any good manager will tell you that blind obedience and demand of such is pretty much the best way to destroy your business in the long run; it creates an atmosphere were new ideas are very hard to come by, generates a stagnant and eventually poisonous and hostile environment in which few want to work if given a free choice. (page 60, ‘2. Promotion: …’; pages 59/ 60, ‘1. Just like in martial arts …’; page 61, ‘7. Stand when high rank enters …’; pages 58/ 59, ‘HANDSHAKING: …’ and again on pages 62/ 63, ‘Handshakes: …’ and ‘ESP handshake: …’; page 63, ‘End of session handshake line-up: …’)

   These are but four examples of automated behaviour that soon becomes second nature, unconsidered and performed mechanically, and eventually it seems as though the deference and enthusiastic obedience were the espian’s choice in the first place. Routine is a dangerous thing; sometimes it makes sense (as in taking a shower, where you don’t want to be reinventing the process every early morning); otherwise though, it takes away a lot of life’s intensity, pleasure, excitement, motivation, and meaning among other things, making it less worth living; but most often it makes us complacent, prone to make mistakes, and blind to any alterations, suggestions, stipulations, and eventually outrageous directives. While each of the above examples by themselves are maybe not too nefarious (at first sight anyhow) and but rather ill-advised, together in combination though, they create the metaphysical groundwork, so to speak, for the subsequent subservient devotion.

   The NXIVM leadership is raised specifically above normal, almost to a higher plane of existence; the third category from the ‘Rules and Rituals’ module (and some later examples) show how that feat is achieved.

- First, an argument of generosity is used; Raniere only wants to give and help the students be more successful while ensuring the betterment of humanity at the same time; he gives all of this freely and from the goodness of his heart. But at the same time, that generosity is safeguarded and limited by confidentiality agreements and the fact that only if you join will you actually be considered part of that to be elevated humanity (page 61, ‘10. Confidentiality and Materials: …’), as well as somewhat tarnished by the whopping fees the students have to pay to get that ‘freely given’ enlightenment. Next, an additional tribute, intellectual this time, is demanded for the so generously offered teachings in form of a thank you to their author (page 62, ‘13. Thank You: …’). Such a pretence of generosity in conjunction with constant ritualistic tribute and in fact insisted-upon gratitude creates an imbalance between ordinary espians (students, coaches, proctors, and maybe even ‘Prefect’ herself) and Raniere, lifting the author and leader of all this up, while in contrast pressing down the members by generating a feeling of inferiority as compared to the leader. This last feeling now needs to be alleviated by group exclusivity leading to a degree of involuntary arrogance and haughtiness towards those people out there, the non-espians who have not yet found the right forward path to ‘world ethics’, the ‘building of value’, and the advance of the ‘human team’; or never will, if they don’t agree, comply, join, and hence become ‘suppressives’.

- The hierarchy is enhanced for the leadership with the titles of ‘Prefect’ for Nancy Salzman (‘1: any of various high officials or magistrates of differing functions and ranks in ancient Rome 2: a chief officer or chief magistrate 3: a student monitor in a private school’) and in paramilitary fashion with ‘Vanguard’ for Raniere (‘1: the troops moving at the head of an army 2: the forefront of an action or movement’; both definitions from Merriam-Webster’s). These titles, specifically the one for Raniere (seems she has pulled the short straw here as well), elevate their bearers beyond reach and reproach in the world of NXIVM. Since the organisation is ‘the turning point …’ and ‘… represents the change humanity needs …’, being the ‘forefront of this movement’ actually makes Raniere the most important human being in the entire world in the eyes of the well-trained espians!
   This results essentially in a ‘DIVVS’ (divus) effect to his benefit; or on his own insistence rather, just as some others did about 2000 years ago in Rome; he’s even dabbles in music as well! Anyway, titles are earned; they are a privilege, not a right (‘Work and Value’ module, page 120, ‘Working Definitions: …’). In order to be entitled to such an honour, one must first do something; usually study at an accredited university, publish dissertations and other works, do some peer-reviewed scientific research, etc.; one has to go through a cursus honorum (the way of honour) of sorts, so to speak remaining with the Roman allegory for a moment longer, and have some sort of authority title you. Where are these diplomas, where are the scientific articles proving Raniere a scientist as is claimed on his various websites? Those would be far more impressive than the ‘other claims’ there. Anybody can give themselves a title (self-styled or not). I could call myself Master of the Horse, have half a dozen lictors precede me and consider myself second in command, much higher than any ‘Prefect’ with no fasces could ever be. (page 60, ‘5. Titles: …’)

- I once read a story about how a show of respect to an object in lieu of the real person led to rebellion and eventual independence of a whole country (Gessler’s Hat). Frankly, having to show respect and tribute to a picture is a bit over the top and demeaning. Hang them up, if you have to remind the espians what you look like; many companies and countries do that; but that should be it. Anything beyond is just another mechanism to keep up a constant level of respect and tribute coming from the espians, so that they may never start questioning their leadership. This of course leads to the question, where is Raniere? According to various sources all most espians ever get to see of their leaders are videos. But then there is that old saying (loosely paraphrased), if you want to make an impact, if you want to count, make yourself rare! (page 60, ‘3. Pictures of founders: …’)

   All these examples are designed to instil respect and awe of the leadership, especially Raniere as the source of all the teachings. They create a gratitude (in addition to the demanded tribute) for his generous gift; the valuable time and effort this grandiose being imparts on their lowly selves, thus lifting them out of the doldrums of normal existence; and unbridled affection at being given this chance to better themselves and through NXIVM others, nay even the world. Simultaneously and unnoticed by the espians, these mechanisms distance them from the leadership even while they feel as though their close to this great visionary.

   These are but the mechanisms of devotion that are contained within the ‘Rules and Rituals’ module; admittedly the initial bulk so that any later teachings meet willing minds. Throughout the ESP Training Materials and I’m sure the videos as well as any personal contacts, ‘special information’ for the coaches, social interactions, and of course the earlier mentioned group dynamics, there are many other examples of these techniques and methods to create an aura of respectability around the NXIVM leadership and its mission. Here are but a few in short:

- Phrases like ‘Vanguard brings us this concept from …’ (‘Work and Value’ module, page 121, ‘Virtual Work …’) further elevate Raniere by sheer authority. Nowhere is it mentioned though that he merely borrowed the concept and that others had come up with it in the first place; he’s not paying any tribute himself (‘Tribute’ module); in this particular example from the ‘Work and Value’ module, the first paragraph is commonly referred to as running a simulation and has a high and measurable relevance in science, business, and many other human situations. For the same reason, a lot of the language in the document is frankly convoluted and rather vague; which paradoxically makes it sound oh-so brilliant and scientific: Only a true genius could come up with something so difficult to comprehend, right?

- Chains of arguments and formulations such as in the ‘Persistence’ module, declaring that our track records on commitments are bad, that it is time to wipe the slate clean, and that ESP now will show us how it is done properly, imply that only the NXIVM way is the true path, creating a respect in the teachings that is not founded on any rationale or thorough research and information. On a side note, although not mentioned in the module, this is where the ‘Commitment to our success’ from ‘Rules and Rituals’ finally gets some substance; so, by now persistence is not really to one’s own goals anymore, but to ‘our success’ in the mission of NXIVM. Again a source of devotional commitment to the organisation rather than oneself

- Coaches notes are formulated as that discussions should be conducted with ‘questioning techniques’ (probably EM; I’ll post about that as soon as I know the final details) but ‘without giving the conclusion’. That way the coaches and through them up the ranks the leadership and Raniere will have an air of superiority about them, which is awe-inspiring and demands respect, whether what they say is of any value, factual consistency, or rationally sound. (e.g. page 73, ‘2. Help them to move through …’) Another example of this kind of elevation of the kindly guide in action can be found in the ‘Tribute’ module on page 193, where students are requested to pay tribute to a ‘Negative Habit’. (This passage also is a light example how espians behaviours and ideas are replaced with NXIVM conform versions, for to evaluate which is a bad habit and which a good one to replace it with, surely the coach will use the ‘questioning techniques’ to help the student ‘choose’.)

- At the top of that pyramid sits Raniere and since he is the source of all teachings, ‘ethics’, and ideology, he becomes the supposed example, the advance force of change, and thus the person to aspire to, again regardless of critical thinking or his actual actions; after all most of those actions or their true meaning are hidden from the espians both by his reclusiveness as well as a good amount of deception, manipulations, and propaganda.

   All the examples given in this post are designed to do two things – well three actually with a lot of shading in-between: First, they create an atmosphere of comfort and togetherness; then the leadership by its teachings and the methods with which these are imparted are elevated to superior authority; and finally the espians are made to feel inferior by contrast. The challenge for the leadership of course lies in that feeling of inferiority within the student; the member should only feel like perhaps a learning child within the organisation, and not too much like an idiot outside of it. And that presents the main question:

   How superior are the leaders truly, when they have to use such methods as described above to establish that superiority and the demanded respect? If their teachings truly were so advanced, unheard of and ultimately good, they would have no rational need to resort to such mechanisms! It therefore follows logically that their ideas are not quite as unique as they like to make the student think, their ‘ethics’ not ultimately good, and their teachings no farther advance than many others, to put it politely. So, the only way to maintain their major superiority in front of their students, to create this awe-inspiring distance, is to lower the espians’ true self-esteem (by actual definition of the word) and thus provoke a further sense of inferiority in the espian, which will generate the demanded respect. It is a vicious cycle of induced devotion; for only such devotion will blind them to the low ethical standards they proclaim, the strenuous relationships they maintain, and the often-questionable teachings they live by in the eyes of the outside world, let alone the inconsistencies within NXIVM and most of all the conflicts this all creates in themselves.

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Re: NXIVM and the Dalai Lama
Posted by: Macumazahn ()
Date: April 05, 2010 07:05AM

   What effect do the above-described mechanisms of devotion have on the espian? How do they affect their ‘internal human existence’, so that they can ignore, suppress, excuse, or simply fail to notice all those paradoxes within NXIVM? In what way does that process play out within the espian? Are there any internal and/or external signs, contradictions, or conflicts that accompany this process of provoked commitment?

   As with the post on ‘The effect of shame and guilt techniques’, I will try to base my observations mostly on my own experiences under my tormentor and re-formulate where necessary (mission, terminology, etc.); refer to a ‘leader’, as both Raniere and mine were men, but it could just as easy be a woman; and in many cases by extension include their cause, their mission, their teachings, and hence the group dedicated to these as well. Again, much of it may be personal but, with variations in application, degree, and scope, probably quite representative after all.

   The internal inconsistencies of induced devotion

   In many ways, devotional mechanisms are the counterbalance, one of the companion classes to the shame and guilt techniques. Since shame and guilt make one feel weak and mediocre by comparison to the one inciting them (whether unwitting, unperceived, or not), devotion to said person, group, and hence the teachings in many ways seems like the only viable alternative. Isn’t it logical to be filled with devotion to those who have proven themselves so much stronger and ‘wiser’, so much more superior, while at the same time being so generous in allowing you to learn from their knowledge and supposed ‘wisdom’? Such devotion creates a semblance of union to that strength, to that understanding and way of life; in a sense by mere committed association one can partake in that glory, be a part of such magnificence, and maybe one day even join the ranks of those progressive people who are but trying to better the world.

   Such a process of induced devotion may start slowly and then accelerate over time, depending on the amount of induction; in NXIVM’s case it is given a kick-start with the ‘Rules and Rituals’ module, but afterwards the same patient accumulation is in effect. A little demand of respect here, a small show of excellence there, the occasional flash of brilliance, and a permanent befuddlement by the teachings and their language causing them to seem oh-so advanced will ensure a sustained increase. At first, the group gets a lot of the credit as well, for to centre all that devotional encouragement on the leader alone right from the start would actually repel most people: It would seem self-centred and manipulative. Hence, you get the ideas of togetherness or group-awareness; a common mission and ‘commitment to our success’; the shared responsibility to and dependence on your fellows and their interests in the movement’s prosperity and triumph; and accountability to ensure this for all of the members’ sake.

   This period of acclimatisation however is variably short-lived. Soon the leader becomes ever more the focus of your life; after all, he stands at the centre, is the source of all the teachings, the heart of the group, the mind that drives the movement, the fore-front of change to the better for both you and humanity; that’s what you have been told in effect. By now, even the other members of the group become but an extension of one’s own aspiration to please, to be like, and to be recognised by the leader. If a fellow fails in these efforts, in their commitment, that failure not only reflects on them but on you as well; therefore, you have to correct the person’s mistake, reprimand them, punish, ostracise, or even expel them to fix the obvious short-comings in your personal devotion to the leader. In the end, you are ready to denunciate your ‘friends’, lie to deflect adverse attention, cheat to achieve a higher standing in the eyes of the leader, in the extreme even torture or kill (mentally, emotionally, and/or physically), if that’s what is needed to get the recognition you so desperately desire; for that need, this urge, the entire purpose of your life is what your devotion has finally condensed down to.

   Whatever the leader asks or commands is law, has to be done unquestioned or he won’t be pleased; one would fail in one’s duty to aspire to be his likeness and he would surely cease to notice you. And after all, he himself is doing it all for us, for you, isn’t he? I mean, he never uses the word ‘I’ but always ‘We’; hence, it must be for all our sakes. His commands, stipulations, suggestions, even unspoken desires read from within his gentle eyes, all benefit but the mission, the cause, the group at the fore-front of the movement towards a better future for all of mankind. Why should one question the one, who so generously gives us children the chance to partake in his unique, unheard of, and oh-so desperately needed vision; who thus finally allows us to grow to our true potential and be a part of ‘the turning point’ in civilisation’s history? Whatever the leader asks must be good, right-action, forward/toward moving, and paramount to the success of our commitment, the advance of the human team.

   And it doesn’t end with the big mission related issues, directives, and suggestions. Personal choices such as life-style, professional decisions, use of language, general associations and intimate relationships, behavioural patterns, maybe even sexuality (if one considers Ayn Rand’s influence), etc. are emulated, assimilated, and brought in line with the teachings, the group, and often the assumed or professed personal ideas, intentions, desires, or considerations of the leader. For example, NXIVM apparently adheres to a certain doctrine of health, including a range of seemingly defined health care products and the sustained application of regular enemas, disregarding any scientific facts about the potential or even certain dangers of these practices; in fact many of them are but designed to cover-up the symptoms of further such customs or the effects of some other teachings. Many of the practices reported are actually detrimental to the practitioner’s health, both physical and eventually mental; to justify them with the old maxim ‘mens sana in corpore sano’ (‘a sound mind in a sound body’), hence declaring them imperative to success, is frankly just a falsehood distracting from the self-serving purpose of the practices. (For the health related report, see PinkUnicorn’s post and my answer on the other forum.)

   However, by now a soon to be nagging problem is developing, emerging, growing in your deepest core, where true individuality, your rightful personality has been forced to seek refuge; an internal conflict is brewing and on the verge of boiling over, so to speak. It is the war between the incorruptible, human, truthful personal integrity surviving in the subconscious, and the devoted, limiting, alien entity that has taken over the conscious mind. At stake are true self-respect, freedom, sanity, and life itself versus continued devotion, control, focus on mission and leader, and the superficial simplicity of belonging to something clearly defined.

   At first, this conflict will remain unperceived within the subconscious. It may be but an occasional itch, so to speak, mostly emotional, sometimes mental, and sporadically physical. Emotionally it might show in bouts of ill temper, inexplicable melancholy, or seemingly unfounded emotionality and sensitivity at the oddest circumstances. Mentally it will emerge with absent-minded vagueness, irrationality, or blind persistence and bitter insistence on minor points of flawed reasoning. The physical effects can include disruptions of the sleep cycle, additionally incomprehensible fatigue, impotence, or a loss of appetite and general levels of energy. Even while the conflict rages unperceived internally, it does take its toll on the entire human existence.

   The more one is devoted, the more inconsistencies, both internal and external, will emerge. A feeling of wrongness, of inadequacy, often of failure even in the light of professed or group-confirmed success, of a general imbalance and restlessness, etc. starts to permeate your ‘consistent internal human existence’ at all times. Yet your insecurities have been trained away, haven’t they, and now doubts cannot be about the object of your devotion, but only about your insecurities and the failure at mastering them; all these are your issues, not the group’s and certainly not the leader’s. You’ll try to compensate this unease with more devotion, with adhering ever more fervently to the teachings, with trying to adapt your internal and outward life ever closer to the example given by the leader. But that is where the external paradoxes will finally come to light: For example, many of the considerations, motivations, desires, etc. and their applications in actions as lived by the leader do not seem to apply to you! He may very well met out punishment in a certain way, even on you, but if you dare to emulate his actions, venture to punish others in such a manner, he suddenly is outraged at you, criticises, reprimands, or punishes you for doing exactly as he did.

   How can that be? It doesn’t seem to make sense, not any at all! Yet you have to accept it, for to do otherwise would but show your failure in your devotion, your commitment in the group and its cause. All these feelings, these contradictions you start to see between the teachings and their applications, this incongruity within the ‘matrix of consistent reality’ that is supposed to be fixed and of imperative relevance to all our lives, all this will but confuse you. And even now, you do not dare to consider the chance of an internal conflict based on the possibility that something is awry with the teachings or the leader; you still try to put it down to your own weaknesses, to your own failings, to your own ineptitudes, and thus seek to devote yourself even more to the only source of consistency you seem to have left, the only truth you know, the only fountain of learning you can find that would enable you to overcome those disgusting flaws.

   Finally, this ever-increasing zealously vehement devotional commitment, to put it bluntly, spiralling out of control, dragging you with it into emotional and mental oblivion, is becoming nought but destructive; it has lost any cause and reason for existence other than the sustained induction by the leader. This kind of devotion is in a battle for life or death with anything that is not solely focussed on maintaining it; is engaged in final, utter and total war against any individuality within. By now, it has become a question of pure survival, for only if one can remain in the leader’s good graces can one continue in the only remaining existence acknowledged as worth living for. For that purpose you suppress whatever does not serve that function, whatever has been pointed out as weaknesses, whether directly, indirectly, or even in your imagination alone. These perceived foreign elements, these disintegrations must be at cause for your failures, for your conflict; they seem out to destroy your all-encompassing relationship with your leader, his teachings and the only way of life you still recognize; yet it is exactly those elements that constitute your actual personality, your truthful individuality, and your final rescue form this destruction, your past and eventual future life.

   In this all-consuming conflict, one becomes callous, brutally uncompromising in both rationale and behaviour. There is a total loss of limits, often leading you to the assumption (conscious or not) that you are all powerful in your association with the leader and the group. The effort to uphold a conscience seems pointless, since that would just stand in the way of the mission and frankly beneath it and therefore you. Yet at the same time and in many ways, your power of personal will has vanished. Your being, in essence, is filled with nought but the ultimate urge for survival at all costs; pro-survival suddenly takes a new intensity, a meaning that drives your every action. The tragedy is that this drive has no rationality, no reason, no goal: What makes life worth surviving for is the freedom of the individual and those close to you; yet that is exactly what is being fought, targeted in this conflict!

   In order to qualify your commitment, to prove your devotion, to finalise your affection and association, you’re willing to give up everything, you friends, family, all outside relationships, even group-internal ones, your profession, normal environment and habitat, your dreams, desire and personal goals, your mind, heart, soul, body, and even your life if the leader should ask for it. Yet at the same time in order to hide, obscure, and negate that internal conflict, you start lying to, cheating, and manipulating everybody, outsiders, insiders, even the leader himself, just so that none of them finds you weak and a liability that needs to be addressed. You brutalise everyone, mentally, emotionally and maybe even physically – most of all yourself. Anything seems justified to maintain your life, now centred on nought but that devotion to the leader, having no other purpose anymore. The fear of consciously realising what your subconscious already knows, that all the purposed meaning of your life is a sham, keeps you devoted even more fervently for much longer.

   Eventually though, nature will prevail, for no outside induced, human created artificial construct can ever match its vast complexity, beautiful unity, and truthful equilibrium, its inherent capacity to overcome, adapt, and eventually heal. The rightful personality, the real individual, the natural ‘consistent internal human existence’, which had so long been targeted in an effort to disintegrate, starts breaking loose, breaking the alien, so-called ‘integrated’ construct, breaking the bonds that kept it prisoner in its own subconscious all this time. It is in fact the toll this conflict and induced insistence on devotion takes that is both cause and reaction, the reason that this ‘breaking free’ needs to happen and the source of power that makes it possible. Nature though takes the amount of time it needs, makes sure it does a thorough job, so to speak, and as a result, at first this shift in dominance over the mind is for a time accompanied by a debilitating impotence, a loss of action, an internal absence of decision.

   The conflict now stands revealed, but is not over by a long shot. On the one hand remains the desire, the need, the ultimate purpose in life to be committed to the leader and all he stands for. On the other, the subconscious, now driven by the full force of nature, strives more and more to shake the bonds, to free the true individual, so that the personality can return to its rightful place. And this awareness of the conflict together with the fact that by now you know of no alternative anymore, in a sense will push you to even more devotion, to even more fervour towards the needs, goals, and person of the leader. This stage of the battle hollows you out, for the induced devotion has lost its appeal, become a mere mechanism again, empty of meaning and maintained purely since nothing else remains in your range of possibilities; at least it seems that way for now.

   Such an internal void, the desolation of your existence though is fertile ground for a last ditch effort of inducing more devotion, of manipulating you one last time, of a final push towards being even more zealous, fanatic, blind and single-minded. It is done both by the leader and by oneself, out of a shared instinct of survival maybe. For you, the battle is too hard to bear and sustained devotion to the group and its leader, as flawed and imperfect as that feeling now has become, does at least make you feel a little free; no wonder, for it is unburdened by the complexities of your natural individuality with all its masses of supposedly confusing thoughts, emotions, etc. and the uncertainties of a life after your membership in the organisation. For the leader though, your continued commitment and affection is the source of his power, both in the physical world as well as in his internal perception of himself; the loss of it would constitute an unveiling and prove of his own shortcomings. This state of fear-based, listless, irrational, and pointless continuation of something that has lost all meaning can go on for years; as long as it remains the only purpose in one’s life, for only at this utterly exclusive level of attention can it be sustained; and the leader won’t mind your efforts.

   In the end, the truth, the true nature with its solid foundations, diversified and organically developed facets, and full as well as truthfully living soul will become too strong for the artificially constructed, hence by default limited, and by comparison simplistic and meaningless devoted existence, the stipulated ‘matrix of consistent reality’, the alien consciousness that has so long occupied and controlled your mind. This event may take a little help from those that actually care about you; or it might be triggered by an action the leader takes in his desperation to continue his hold over you, a hold his paranoid self sees slipping at all times. At this point several things can and often will happen, sometimes simultaneously, sometimes in succession, sometimes only some of them, and at others all together:

- The leader suddenly looses even the last vestiges of his glamour and actual (real) reality finally catches up full with the devotee. You will see the leader for what that person may not even see himself, the manipulative, egotistical, fear-driven monstrosity he is; the group for the leader’s latifundium it has become to you. In a sense, the rapture in his presence raptures and the bliss within the group becomes blistering to you.

- Now, out of an instilled fear of the outside world, the devotee might try to hang on to the ingrained teachings and long-induced devotion. But all safety within those is gone, and forcing oneself to another continuance will tear you apart, break your inner existence, and might actually lead to a breakdown, a final helpless paralysis, in a sense a shutdown of the mind, both conscious and unconscious. This may last a short period, even moments only, but in the extreme can be an almost or indeed permanent state, in effect a mental, emotional, or even systemic shock.

- The mechanisms and many of the effects of induced devotion might and probably still are in action, but you will start to move away slowly, unconsciously or fully aware trying to gain some distance to the leader, the group, their teachings, and their influence. It is a natural survival instinct to gain some ground between a threat and oneself.

- You might remain in the vicinity of the organisation for a long time; or you might break loose completely, instantaneous and painfully, or as a result of this process, and leave the group – if you can! If the ties are too binding (marriage, family, close relationships, etc.) or maybe even financial, existential, legal (in my case), or other social obligations and bonds, the internal conflict will be prolonged and intensified once again, even if devotion is no longer a factor, or rather not that all-encompassing a motive anymore. Yet in a sense, you will now be consciously aware of your loss of freedom, of your thraldom, where before this mental, emotional and maybe even physical enslavement and imprisonment had been glossed over by the constant rapture of devotion, the sustained bliss of your commitment to the group’s success.

- If you truly are able to break the vicious cycle of devotion, you may very well be dropped instantly, pushed away with vehemence by the one you have so long dedicated your life to, by the group that continues to follow his teachings. Now you find yourself in limbo, bereft of your former relationships, your life almost, and now of that which for a long time had replaced those. Your old associations carefully watch you, wary of your sincerity at having finished with the group; and to the leader you are now an outright danger, uncontrollable and potentially filled with infectious ideas that could destroy his group.

   What happens now, that you have left the organisation, managed to escape the leader’s clutches, or at least are able to maintain a healthy distance to either? Is this it? Are the enthralling devotion, the binding commitment, and the blinding affection gone for good? Will you now be free of these induced, manipulative forces competing for control over your mind, emotions, and actual being? I’m afraid not! This devotion has been a part of one’s life for so long, it is completely ingrained and, even while consciously abhorred now, it will continue to assert itself for much longer, in some limited form maybe even forever.

   As absurd as it sounds and as destructive and self-effacing as any indulgence in the matter would be, sometimes the loss of this focus, this simplicity in life makes one sad. It was so much easier then, at least it seems so. One had only to do as told and look up to that one person, one’s leader; you were surrounded by many ‘friends’ who did likewise; and in this ‘family’, one found a safety that seemed so undemanding. Now there are all these people, these different opinions, desires, motivations, inspirations, all apparently demanding their own sort of devotion and attention. It takes a long time to realise that this is exactly what makes life worth living, what gives it depth, variation, and contrast and through those intensity, excitement, desire, motivation, and most of all meaning. By comparison to the old simplicity and safety though, it is often confusing and intimidating. But life is supposed to be that way, overwhelmingly beautiful, intricately complex, regularly awe-inspiring, often unpredictably surprising, and at times even a little frightening. If it were but a mathematically definable, consistent, singular system or operated by a matrix of such simplistic clarity, we’d all still be amino acids huddling in a primordial soup!

   I occasionally catch myself trying to find more forgiveness for my tormentor in me. This is completely irrational in oh-so many ways, I know! Yet in a sense, it might be necessary for me to move on. For a long time after finally gaining my freedom after ten years of his ruling my life, I was filled with hatred, rage, incomprehension, and so many conflicting emotions that essentially I might as well still have been in my thraldom. I felt deceived, betrayed (not only by him), misused, and thoroughly disillusioned; there seemed nothing left to live for, nothing that could still surprise me, touch me, excite me, motivate me; everything and everybody seemed but another threat to my existence – even love.

   It took me almost ten more years to shake these binding and limiting emotions, to realise that through them, through my own anger he still held sway over my life, still controlled me in some ways; without any ado or knowledge of this on his part. Only when I found it in myself to forgive him (at least a little) could I move on. I know, it is but a gesture towards the unforgivable, but it freed me of the bonds of hatred, of thinking about revenge, of his deeds still filling my life, of living in an all-encompassing counter-devotion, so to speak, without actually having to suppress the experience. For, albeit those ten years under him were probably the worst I’ll ever live through (I certainly hope so!), there was a lot I learnt during and from them; much which I would not miss, even if some of it hurts at times; much of which now can flow into my posts here.

   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.

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Re: NXIVM and the Dalai Lama
Posted by: Macumazahn ()
Date: April 10, 2010 08:07AM

   In the last post I’ve looked almost exclusively at the internal inconsistencies that arise with an individual’s strive for perfect devotion to the leader and his teachings. Parts of these paradoxes are created by the group, are in fact inherent in this triangular relationship; each member needs to devote themselves evermore to the leader; the group soon becomes but an extension of this constant struggle for recognition and affection. Therefore, I think we have to look at what precisely happens in the individual’s association with the group, in this case the fellow espians.

   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.

   Today’s society faces the same sort of problem, how to allow each person to maintain their freedom of personality (mental, emotional, physical, etc.) and still be able to operate as a whole; full exchange of individuality becomes a bit of a conundrum when there are 6.8 Billion members to the group! Ordinarily the mentioned safety net of naturally acquired friends and real family would compensate for that social lack, but in case of a group such as ESP/NXIVM, this counter-balance eventually is removed the one way or the other, inducted, disassociated, or outright abolished; outwardly replaced by the group now supposedly functioning as such.

   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.

   In reality though, this by now enforced closeness, togetherness, group-awareness serves but the one purpose to ensure the perpetuation of devotion and a non-oppositional stance among all the members. Thus, the group dynamic safeguards each member’s only rationale for living this life; for their devotion to the leader; for their adherence to his teachings; for their fixation on a single goal that is merely in parts applicable to their everyday lives, in fact has to become the focus of their daily existence or otherwise the ‘inconsistency’ would reveal their true disintegration of personality.

   Interactions within the group become strenuous at best. You have to control your every emotion, thought, what you say, how you move, perform rituals, etc. Each failure to adhere to protocol would constitute a potential danger to the other members, to their own fragile balance of reality control or suppression, to the entire group’s aspiration to the leader’s perfection; admonitions, reprimands, and punishments are often blindly standardised, integral and immediate. In such a group/leader-centred environment, selfishness is inherent. In NXIVM’s case it is even compounded by the Randian philosophies of so-called ‘ethical egoism’; hardly the most ‘ethical’ mode of fruitful and socially-‘integrated’ interaction, personal dignity and respect, individual trust and reliability, or any other form of healthy ‘interdependence’.

   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; as with you, this is their only way to avoid recognising what is happening in reality; and as with every larger community, truly addressing each individual’s needs is not feasible, in NXIVM even trained away with their definitions of needs, desires, and preferences. All quite to the leadership’s advantage, for in loneliness one is more malleable due to the almost survival-urge to be accepted, the readiness to do anything asked, hinted, even imagined, anything you eventually consider necessary to achieve such recognition.

   Even when the reality of one’s true solitude finally hits one’s conscious mind, and eventually it is bound to do so, what other choice is there left? What can you do but devote yourself even more to the leader and his cause; hoping that this will bring back the lost feeling of togetherness, bring back the trust and love you felt in the beginning; counting on the hope of it having only been a glitch, a short detraction in your own mind. What else could it have been? What else is there to believe? To do?

   Being alone among strangers is bad. Feeling the all-consuming voids of desolate isolation while surrounded by what even you yourself consider your friends, your only family, is probably the most devastating experience life can offer! The world outside now seems far too uncertain and scary, ‘puzzles the will, and makes us rather bear those ills we have than fly to others that we know not of’.

   Utter terror of loosing even this dysfunctional remnant of community binds you longer to the group and its leader, ties you in blinding commitment; vision, thought, and dreams all narrowed to but a single pin-point by the horror of even just possibly perceiving the believed terrors howling and wailing about you. You will not submit to those! And you certainly won’t admit to yourself that they might exist for a reason though; let alone that they are far less terrifying, devastating, or destructive than what you choose to go through in the hope to rediscover that safety of closeness you just ‘know’ must still exist in your group. You choose to ignore all ‘data’ and continue to hope on faith alone; it’s the ultimate ‘fear-based action’, protractedly disguised by long-arm as ‘forward moving’, ‘building value’, ‘right action’, ‘ethical’, ‘overcoming fear’, etc…

   Only when this hope is shattered, this faith betrayed for good by some almost cataclysmic event within the group; or when the outside holds out an honest helping hand, not from afar and with vindicated arrogance (‘I told you so!’), but with love and the honest effort to find a path, to come as close as they dare to you, the person they care about; only then can and hopefully will one see another option. You may not be able to do it immediately; it is hard work to overcome such devotion, such group ties, dreams and hopes of friendship and structured union, and most especially the mechanisms and internal doubts, insecurities, and horrors that they have festered; but eventually you might; and finally you will be able to take that most frightening step into a world that has become alien to you, darkened into shady black and white by long general deception, targeted propaganda, and repressive concepts of presumed enemies.

   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. This ‘second family’ but provided you for a while with a ready set of rarely fitting candidates, styled them perfectly suitable, and then taught you how to believe in this.

   Those true friends that you had outside or those few that you may actually have found within the group, well they’re now gone too, estranged by either your entry into or your exit from the group. Many of these relationships may never heal again or will at least take a long time to overcome the horrors that have been played on them. Trust is a very hard to come by commodity once it has been so thoroughly abused over such a long time. And having had to guard, weigh, and measure every word you said, every thought you had, even every smallest dream, hope, idea, etc. you came up with for such a period of time, against your group of ‘friends’, the leader, and even the abstract of the teachings, does not facilitate an all to forthcoming and trusting nature either; not until a lengthy healing process; and even then you feel a need to stay guarded, in control of yourself at all times.

   This kind of self-control will remain second nature even outside the old group. In every conversation, you’ll weigh your words against real and perceived sensitivities, not to hurt others; guard your ideas and information as not to offend, shock, or confuse; measure everything against a standard that may very well be imaginary, just not to embarrass yourself or give others access to you. You fear such terror and pain as you had spread yourself within the group, just as every other member had, by admonition and punishment; are uncertain about everything you know, doubt the sense of every little piece of data, the veracity of your own truths, the validity of your understanding, are insecure about their origin, whether they are truly yours or society’s, or whether they come from the group, the leader, and his teachings; often feel like an idiot when calmly stating something that makes everybody around you shake their heads in horror, disgust or wonderment, or makes them even bowl over in laughter.

   And then there is the ultimate terror, the possibility of some of the darkness in which you were bound, some shadowy remnant of your former existence, some imprinted, ‘integrated’ monstrosity left behind by the teachings and the leader’s example, the chance that something like this will eventually rear its ugly head, turn you into just such a fiend, prying on others, utilising them but to your own advantage, abusing them in exactly the ways you now know you were misused. What if that evil part of you, those dark sides within take over one day? Even the thought of such an event makes me shudder and withdraw; but maybe that is exactly the hope, the good fortune, to be aware of the darkness that was implanted, the evil I’ve seen; this understanding may in fact be the very thing that stays my hand; that allows me to fight such, not only within but without as well; that makes me a stronger, hopefully just and good person. Hard to imagine what may happen to those that never reach such awareness!

   One is anxious now, insecure for a long time, uncertain of every sign you see or think you perceive. If you contact somebody and they don’t immediately reply, you feel as though you have offended them in some way, have mentioned something that annoyed them, or have simply made a fool out of yourself that does not need further attention. You feel slighted by the smallest things; feel hurt, angry, full of inexplicable hatred; and sense yourself reacting strangely to the most ordinary situations; often observe with horror how something alien, neither yours nor fully the group’s or the leader’s, takes over and makes you do things that don’t make sense, of which you know that they are wrong, but to whose effects you’re almost haplessly exposed; at least in the beginning. It is a long learning process, a long road to recovery; a healing, understanding, and a journey to discovery that takes time but may eventually leave you more complete and balanced – if you make the effort to undertake it.

   Yet, a bit alike to having that magical remote control, the black and white outside world one had created during the days in the group, eventually fills with colour again, with life and surprising diversity. At first, it is frightening and challenging, for it has become unaccustomed. The more you open up to it, remember how to move through it, recall your own personality with its old knowledge of this world, correlate all with your experiences, day by day and ever on, the more pleasant, fulfilling, promising, and full of possibilities it becomes. These things are not always easy to spot, but with time, more understanding and familiarity you’ll notice them faster and due to your own history maybe even better than many others will, see connections and coincidences, amusing, sad, helpful, or of caution. The world, humanity, life, all are supposed to be that way, full, not easy. If you want easy, simple, structured, linear, and always fully measurable, then you would have to become a machine running on nought than strictly programmed code; and even these have chinks in their gears at times!

   The experiences in such a group of devotion do mould, do change you in some form or another; there is simply no going back, no honest and sensible way to forget; probably shouldn’t be either. To this day, I have a bit of an issue with certain types of routines and structures, am on the one hand looking for people to associate with, on the other trying to avoid any form of group functioning by some intrinsic rules or even worse, operating under a clearly defined unchanging organisation. There is an inherent risk in every larger structure or sizeable group to dehumanise, to degrade the importance of the individual, and thus to curtail personal freedom in an undue manner. In some instances that may indeed be necessary – to a degree – to ensure the continued functionality of society at large for example; but we have to make sure that this process is indeed to the benefit of all and at best, limited only in its penetration into our true personality.

   We do need solid, fair, suitable and sensible structures; and will need them ever more since the world is growing together day by day. These structures though have to value the individual’s rights of every one, safeguard them against each other and the structure itself. In no way am I talking about selfishness or an abolition of proper governments. I refer to having a truthful respect for and curiosity about each other, of being tolerant and open-minded towards the beautiful, inspiring, thought-provoking, and so fertile variety of the human race. And no one person, no single organisation on their own can come up with the ultimate systemic structure to achieve that truthfully respectful environment; any such assumption is not only most presumptuous, but simply irrational, self-glorifying, and shows an embarrassing lack of understanding, or chosen ignorance, of how the world, how humans, how cultures, how life itself interlinks and works as a grand, immeasurable, unabstractable, unpredictable, and stunning, living, breathing, ever changing and evolving organism.

   We are a race of individuals and only in this freely flowing diversity lies the human strength. In it, we can discover the capacity and resources to find a solution to every problem, the rationale and the heart to apply them in a just manner. We need only to communicate open, truthfully, and tolerant; need to respect and cherish each other’s dignity, differences, and honour our common rights; and fight for everybody’s freedoms of body, mind, and heart. This is an integral part of true ‘world ethics’ and we must oppose such groups, organisations, countries, or structures in general that inhibit, resist or even challenge this openness for their own purposes; or civilisation under the burden of selfish, greedy, and selectively-exclusive, abstract over-structuring will risk loosing its humanity.

Edited 1 time(s). Last edit at 04/10/2010 08:24AM by Macumazahn.

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Re: NXIVM and the Dalai Lama
Posted by: sulawesi2010 ()
Date: April 23, 2010 06:20PM

I have a friend who is involved in the higher levels of espian life. She makes excuses when I try and meet up with her so I haven't saw her for about 6 years. Using facebook and bebo I can see she has recruited her husband and family members and has 3 kids that she is language obsessed with i.e. they are fluent in spanish, their native tongue is english. I have no idea how to get some time with her, she only responds to e-mails when I hint that I might know someone interested in one of the nxivm spin out businesses, but then goes cold when I suggest meeting up to discuss it.

I am worried for her and her family as they must be spending a fortune on all this. We both live in Europe, it's crazy this group can hold all htis influence from afar. Though she is close to the Bronfmans and I think Sara is over here quite a bit.

Ideas anyone?

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Re: NXIVM and the Dalai Lama
Posted by: Macumazahn ()
Date: April 24, 2010 12:12AM


   This is merely a general concept; others on this forum can probably tell you more specific examples.

   Don’t try to trick your friend; you are just fulfilling a prophecy there and behave like a ‘shifter’ for example; and you wouldn’t like being manipulated like that either, would close up too. Whilst you may not have to disclose all your intentions right from the start, be honest about them nonetheless; it’s a far better basis for trust and openness in anybody. Nor should you try to ‘force’ your friend: Espians are ‘trained’ to counter such automatically, close up and walk away. If you cannot get her into a conversation, try continuing via e-Mail, try later again, etc. Be consistent and ‘persistent’ in considerate measure.

   Any form of communication needs a common agent of exchange, so to speak, a language known and understood on either end. You both speak English, yet your friend’s language in some sense has been enhanced with words, phrases, concepts, etc. with which you may not be familiar. In order to be able to actually converse with her, you first need to acquire this additional vocabulary and the underlying meaning, need to learn of her knowledge, her communication style, her values, etc. To do that, I suggest you read the ESP Training Materials (as contained within the patent application for Rational Inquiry™ (1999) on public record at WIPO). You’ll find that sampling of their teachings under ‘Documents’ as the last entry (‘US 09/654,423 01.09.2000 (Pr. Doc.)’). You need to understand as good as you can what interests them, what moves them, what goals they have, and what from their own perspective therefore is keeping them attached to NXIVM. Based on that new, additional, more comprehensive information about the group, find a dialogue that both can agree upon to start with and work from there.

   Behind any successful communication lies a proper code of ethics. Treat them and their teachings with respect, even although you (may) disagree with many larger aspects and small elements of those. Don’t be confrontational, but base your observations, your statements on factual truths, rationality and the basic ethical principles that in a civilised conversation different opinions may very well and often should exist; yet that they can be addressed and talked about with dignity, honesty, logic, etc.; that any subject can be discussed in such a politely rational manner until a mutual agreement can be found; and that there should be no taboos on thinking about or discussing any topic among free people. Should such taboos be in place or even suddenly be reinstated in any form, one rightly and truthfully has to ask oneself, whom such a taboo, such a lack of freedom benefits in the end, and then demand our rightful freedom from that person or group of people. It is how the continued survival of civilisation can be ensured, for suppression of free communication and thus of diversified knowledge and its underlying values is always the beginning of the fall.

   Remember, in all communication there is always a lot more than merely the words: There is an underlying meaning to everything, so try to assess what somebody actually intended to say, what they truthfully meant, what they may have communicated without intention, etc.; fathom your responses, of both the conscious and subconscious mind as well as emotionally, to that correlated meaning; figure out what feelings they are projecting unto you; etc. Now, connect all these completed components into your continued dialogue.

   And most of all, be open and prepared to concede to points were they actually are right; not everything your friend says is a priori wrong; sometimes it needs merely a sifting through to crystallise the original premise that is often correct and even good out of the teachings. I don’t mean taking their teachings carte blanche, but to at least accept the fact that nothing is ever completely wrong at all times, yet often needs diversification and sound evaluation; stay true to your basic principles, but allow for those of theirs that do not conflict to exist as well; be tolerant where sensible. You can then continue to build on that probably shared understanding and purpose. After all, you are trying to discover some common ground on which to found further communications; to find an agreement about a continuing dialogue.

   As I said, this is only a general concept, an ethics of communications, if you will. With some additional information, the understanding you can glean from the ESP Training Materials, and of course your own acquaintance with your friend, your personal intuition, your care, etc. you will hopefully be better prepared to open communications with her again.

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Re: NXIVM and the Dalai Lama
Posted by: sulawesi2010 ()
Date: April 27, 2010 05:23PM

Thanks Macumazahn for the advice. It's hard to see someone you were close to change so much, but you're right about not trying to trick her into meeting up. I'll just keep in touch by e-mail for the moment and work out how best to support her. She's very involved and at a high level within the organisation so I can only presume she's immune to the criticism this group faces, there is no point in me adding my voice to those she is already ignoring. I read up on the training materials a few months ago and at least her facebook updates make a little more 'integrating the issue'...anyway, thanks again

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Re: NXIVM and the Dalai Lama
Posted by: mroseberg ()
Date: April 28, 2010 03:08PM

What can be done about such groups like this? Why isn’t the government helping to protect people from groups like this? There is a safety warning on strollers - be sure to take the child out before folding. Why the government isn’t doing more to protect people like these girls and others who have been harmed from these types of groups I cannot understand.

Did the girls know what this group was really up to or did they believe this guy Keith and his leadership were working to build a better humanity? Is what they are doing in the court system humanity based or are they using the legal system to harass people and attempt to shut them up? It appears millions have been lost on this guy ideas and it appears they are going to lose millions more paying for all the lawsuits the girls are involved in (is Keith coaching them to keep filing law suits?), let alone the ones they must be paying for this group? It appears not enough people take these classes to pay out the cost of running such a business plus all their legal fees. So it would appear that they are getting the money from some of their wealthy followers.

Too bad these millions are not going to really help humanity, it appears the attorney's are getting the millions now. What would all those millions buy for humanity? If Keith is the compulsive gambler that it is suggested he is, it would also appear he also has an addiction to law suits. If you follow the money it always goes for the big cheese and he's the girl’s big cheese based on their blogs.

What must they be thinking to spend so much on this man and his ideas? Why does this man have so much influence over these girls? They must have had a life before NXIVM, what they were looking for that they would give up their life and money for Keith and his followers. After doing research on the web it appears that this group has not really done anything to move "humanity" forward. It appears it is really about covering up this Keith guy’s true life and paying for the legal system to "shut people up".

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Re: NXIVM and the Dalai Lama
Posted by: pinkunicorn ()
Date: April 30, 2010 11:09AM

What are people who may have knowledge about thought reform techniques as provided by the link as posted on another site, opinion concerning their possible usage by NXIVM?

Edited 1 time(s). Last edit at 04/30/2010 11:09AM by pinkunicorn.

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Re: NXIVM and the Dalai Lama
Posted by: Macumazahn ()
Date: May 05, 2010 08:02AM

   To mroseberg’s post:

   It’s a difficult thing for the government to protect people who themselves are convinced to have joined a good group and of their free will at that. Besides, how would they determine whether a group is legit in a sense, or whether they are harmful in some way? How would a state treat groups and on what measures? How would they avoid becoming a restrictive police state that shuts down organisations left and right, at times on well-founded reasoning, at others maybe not quite? And some of these corporations are classified as religions or are protected by other human rights; a democratic state with a free society cannot prohibit expression, exchange, and free associations without an airtight reason; neither should any social grouping though. It is a rather complex issue to look at.

   As to the Bronfman sisters, they probably still believe! They’re not cold and mal-intended people that would help perpetuate something questionable in full knowledge. Besides, having been subjected to such a thing at first unawares makes it much harder to continue accepting and partaking once you find out. Even if the leadership would actually tell you what is going on in every detail at some point, the feeling of trust will take a major hit and might not be strong enough; unless you completely ignore the implication that everything you now believe in might in fact have been suggested to you in an underhanded fashion. And if you were the same kind of cold-hearted egotistical person interested in nothing but influence and money, actually needing this power to feel good about yourself, you would have a hard time ever to trust those people again; would not have the personality to do so in any case; and would split and probably found your own organisation.

   The sisters probably don’t see it as harassing or shutting up. They might truly believe that this is an attack, a conspiracy to stop them from doing good, from spreading those deeply integrated ideas and thus bettering the world. They’ve been taught from the start that others would oppose them out of fear, that such opposition is the norm for every new valuable idea, and that in time people will accept it nonetheless; it’s merely a question of weathering that initial resistance, of overcoming those that try to suppress the good that NXIVM is ostensibly doing.

   The money, they give ‘freely’ for the cause; it is of course also in the interest of NXIVM to preserve their own money, so that they can keep it among ethical people. Spending those millions toward the cause is probably defined as forward moving, as overcoming difficulties, as battling suppressives. Of course, factually to the leadership it is about covering up and shutting up. But not only towards the outside: Of far more importance to them is the cover-up towards the inside, for if the NXIVM community, the espians truly knew what was going on, knew beyond the influence of the internal propaganda, what damage to tribute and respect, to Raniere’s standing and by extension even his teachings would that do?

   At the moment the espians probably are all being subtly directed into seeing this as some sort of slander campaign, have their minds focussed on that so that they might not actually read or do research about the truth. To keep them occupied until this is over, probably is the strategy and the leadership must hope that it works out in their interest. Eventually though, there will be one case too many, one loss too much, one last theory that doesn’t work and ‘the barrel floweth over’, so to speak. Why do you think he keeps himself such a recluse and hardly ever comes out in public, apparently not even too often in NXIVM itself, at least not for the general membership; some might call this eccentric, others shrewd in light of the facts.

   What were they looking for? Well, they were looking for answers to questions as old as humanity, just as we all do. And he promised to give them these, promised to help them overcome what insecurities and doubts they had, what fears might have held them back in their perspective. He gives them something that sounds like the answers, some of it may even contain good elements, good basic premises upon which humanity could indeed build more understanding and eventually a world ethic. Yet at the same time, the organisational structures, certain other elements interwoven within almost all of the teachings, and thus the need for secrecy and exclusivity actually counter and often neutralise any such development.

   The problem in not being able to move humanity forward lies in non-proliferation: It's literally a non-sequitur; it does not follow to want to establish world ethics but not to talk about them to the world. After all, suppressing the spread of this particular knowledge does indeed constitute the destruction of value: the hindrance of the espians’ valuable goal to better humanity, the obstruction of knowledge’s evolution, the interference with civilisation’s development, and the encumbrance of the human team’s advance. Ethics are not a trade secret and if they’re treated as one, they loose their value. If the ethics and philosophies are good enough to convince people in an open, rational and above all free discussion, those people might be inclined to join the movement outright or at least partake in some other capacity in the action towards establishing such a global ethics. But there is that confidentiality agreement again, binding espians in fear of legal action or with the illusion of protecting a good thing, which after all would need openness and dialogue to evolve or it will never come to anything. Some may even cherish the feeling of belonging to such an exclusive elite faction, again countering their own goals with this notion.

   And then there is the subconscious or even conscious fear of being told or in fact proven that they are wrong; that their path or ethics might not work; might not be as perfect as they are made to believe; might be a good premise but need a lot more input than just from the one person (or group) to whom they have attached themselves. No one person or their group can possess all the knowledge that is needed to establish a code of ethics that is applicable to all 6.8 Billion members of humanity spread over six continents (not counting Antarctica here), thousands of cultures, religions and societies, hundreds of nations, etc… By any rational, statistical considerations it is a mathematical improbability of such humongous proportions that it has to be termed an outright ‘impossibility’.

   As to pinkunicorn’s post:

   An unwholesome dependence

   I think it is a good and well-balanced text; one can see forty-plus years of experience and scientific research there. It is also hopeful to those outside as well as those inside, even although the latter might not yet believe or know it; shows that they can be healed, have what-needs-to-be reversed, and will be able to correlate and learn what can be further used. The included table is a good measure for anybody seeking any form of information from somebody else, especially for those that are enthralled so that they can assess their situation. A school (or seminar or further education institute, etc.) would use the ‘Education’ column if it were serious about actually teaching up-to-date values and diversified knowledge. And of course, the old assumption that people join voluntarily just is wrong; they may go to the initial course more or less voluntarily (there has already been at least some concentrated ‘Advertising’ going on from the recruiter, often a friend or family member whom one trusts); but soon triggers are in place that can stimulate consent if used correctly. As she says, it is not a case of ‘Give me you money or you die!’ After all, such an approach would only provide a one-time payment, not a continued ‘contribution’.

   The human mind is very resilient. It may be ripped, cut, and mangled, but will heal in time and with the proper support, care, love, and if necessary treatment. There will be scars, but these too make one stronger, might even give your live the incentive to do good exactly because of your experiences, and thus provide it with deeper meaning. Oh, you’ll observe yourself reacting in the craziest manners even years later. Yet this observer function, developed out of a need to heal and protect oneself (at times even from oneself), allows us to recognise the ingrained reaction and deal with it in the proper way; it is in a sense an incredible tool for creating true self-awareness, even if at times it may make you appear a little distant and overly in control of yourself. I didn’t say it’s an easy journey, a leisurely voyage of self-discovery, but if one gives an honest effort, its merits lie in the understanding of oneself, the knowledge of varied subjects, and the increased capacity to learn and grasp even some of the most complex circumstances in our world, in a sense maybe even gaining true wisdom.

   One of the integral elements of the only way to maintain long-term control without permanent supervision and seclusion is to make the recipient believe that their subconscious reactions such as fears, insecurities and doubts, etc. are inappropriate and restraining to them, to create an outright aversion to these feelings, and to make them want to overcome these ‘self’-perceived problems. Thus, they will be concentrating on that effort; will ignore and even fear any such responses; will try to break the link between outside (i.e. of the group) as well as inside (of their own personality; never the group though) stimuli and their subconscious reactions to those; and in this all-consuming battle, cannot possibly realise that the very reactions they are fighting could possibly warn them of far greater restrictions in their lives.

   And then there is glamour: the glamour of belonging to something so exclusive and apparently so special; and all the glamour one is under therein. It sounds all so good, scientific, and convincing to start with. Your friends and family members recruiting you are convinced; and why should you not trust them; whom could you if not them? The organisation promotes its efforts to establish a world ethic and does not fall into the pit of sounding too esoterically, but presents ostensibly scientific reasoning to that end. And when one reads about or even meets the leader, one is confronted with a charming, gentle, oh-so generous man, who is smarter than all others, has already achieved so much in his life, and was always the best at it to boot. The list of his achievements is so absurd, it has to be true, hasn’t it? I mean, who would claim such preposterousness as obviously ridiculous if it were otherwise? He’d make the biggest fool of himself if it weren’t true, wouldn’t he? It’s the glamour of the subtly obvious that catches us off-guard; most of us cannot imagine anybody actually coming up with such an outrageous list of achievements and even publicising it without basing it on fact; everybody who’d ever read it would immediately see through that, wouldn’t they? And that’s exactly why they wouldn’t!

   But even such glamour has to have at least a titbit of factual foundation, or the illusion would immediately fall apart. So for example, Raniere is certainly of high intelligence; whether he’s one of the smartest men on earth and the only one who can truly understand humanity’s interactions, issues, solutions, etc. is rather doubtful though. Within the entire population of earth, the chances that at minimum several other people could do this at least as well are almost a mathematical certainty; and in sufficient and appropriate combination, we are always smarter than a single mind. In the same vain, most of NXIVM’s teachings are based on good premises; that’s why people believe in them and are open to learn. The problem though lies in the how, with what alterations, and intermingled with what other concepts these principles are applied in the teachings. And it is that, which is explained or hidden away in subtle forms, so that espians are not deterred in their belief in the still good premises, even if the applications thereof are mostly neutralising or distorting these ethical foundations.

   Objectifying people is indeed a problem in today’s society, for an example; it stems mainly from the tendencies to see everybody as a means to an end, mostly socially measurable success as in money, power, fame. However, handshaking is not the way to better this and as a matter of fact is a sign of guarded distance in western society. How so? Well, most people greet business acquaintances, politicians, distant aunts, or any other person we don’t know too well (yet), don’t really feel too connected to, just work with, or don’t actually like but have to be nice to with a customary handshake. Our close friends, family members, those we care about, and such that we want to have closer in our lives, we greet with a hug, a kiss (or three), a pat on the shoulder, a crazy happy wave from the other side of the street, a big smile, etc. Sure, sometimes we greet friends too with an intimate form of a handshake, often rather intricate and supposed to be cool. But, these are all forms of greetings, which actually are personal to us, not standardised and regulated by expectations, rules, and rituals of general society let alone instructions on angles, crux, etc.: They are our very own way of showing these people that we like them.

   So, on the one hand you have the regulated abstract ritual of shaking hands, on the other the personal greeting tied into our truthful emotions: Which one do you think has a more honest regard for the other person? Which one is objectifying and which one treats the other as a real human being? And that doesn’t even touch the differences in various cultures where handshakes can be compulsory; handshakes could be almost alike to a hand-dance; handshakes are a most intimate gesture; handshakes are considered an invasion of privacy or personal space, period; handshakes are completely unknown; etc… A diversification that is simply lacking in NXIVM’s teachings, which also fail to point out that the most important part of any greeting is the actual personal meaning and emotional content, in our western cultures expressed through eye contact mostly.

   Not to mention that in the ESP handshake, hierarchy plays the key role; it’s in essence a salute. As such, NXIVM’s organisational structure is not to be equated with different positions in state or business, in which people are elected or hired, based on their experiences and merit, and where a respectful greeting lies in the personal manner rather than a ritual of obedience. Hierarchy always has an objectifying purpose: It’s meant to maintain order and discipline, to ensure obedience and authority in such organisations as the military. Any structure like this can serve but a single specific and in many ways straightforward purpose like defence of a nation or any type of pinpoint-targeted, dangerous operation that cannot have long discussions in the midst of it; it is too rigid to do otherwise and will always take an inordinate amount of time to adapt to new circumstances and requirements.

   This level of unquestioning constancy can only be retained with everybody (but the very highest ranks) constituting a clearly defined link in the chain of command, an object of limited, fixed, and strictly targeted use in the larger scheme, matrix, or machine. T.H. White, in his novel ‘The Once and Future King’, gives a uniquely fascinating and objective perspective on such a system (Volume One, ‘The Sword in the Stone’: Chapter XIII). In point of fact, the entire book is rather edifying to anybody who’s interested in (political) philosophies, ethics, and often their underlying metaphysics.

   An additional mental aspect of an association with such a group is merely alluded to in the article and a rather hard subject to touch without having a lot of people think that those joining deserve what they get: The dependence on the group, its teachings, and certainly its leader(s) that is slowly introduced in various ways and eventually takes over much of the person’s life. It starts subtly with our (usually) well-justified trust and dependence on our close ones; then is compounded by the, from a educationally scientific point of view, absurd structure and duration of the ‘intensives’, which facilitate a feeling of success alike to a high; and finally is solidified by the teachings themselves. (By the by, funny how other companies, Miracle of Love Church for example, also use/used the name ‘intensive’ for their courses (probably long before Raniere) as a means of justifying, rationalising, defending, and diminishing the harrowing effects of these seminars and thus gloss over the true purposes of these exercises, in most cases hiding them even from coaches themselves.)

   Your lifestyle changes; your diet is suggested (as a supposedly vital tool to your integrity, no doubt); both together with other factors literally changing your brain chemistry. The teachings continuously train you to attack your own mental self, your own natural subconscious reactions, for these are the source of all your problems; and they would be far more effective and ethical if you were in total conscious control over them, is it not so? Every time you take another course, another high is the result you can take away; but in time it wears off and you feel the loss, feel like you’re missing something, like you haven’t learnt well-enough, haven’t integrated yourself quite as you were supposed to; and the feeling gets worse the longer you stay away. The question is, do you have the strength and integrity to go through this phase, to endure these symptoms and see whether what you’ve learnt actually sticks and holds up for real even outside and away from NXIVM?

   But then again, you just know that you felt better for sure after the last course; and wouldn’t you learn more again, more that would make you a better, more ethical person. Don’t mind whether the knowledge or feeling truly prove themselves in the world; don’t test it, for there is no need; can’t you feel it, believe it to be true, and shouldn’t this be enough? Besides, you surely need to feel better, more integrated before you can endeavour to make such a test of yourself and your understanding; so, why not take another course first, and another, and another, and ever faster, and ever more, and more, and more, and, and, and, and, and… It’s an addiction by definition!

   You’ll have to make a rational and most of all honest assessment eventually to be sure, using your true and complete personality, the one you’ve evolved over your entire lifetime. Observe yourself and look out for addictive behaviour, modes of conduct, patterns of thinking, or sets of opinions that you would never have accepted in yourself or even others in the past, would have in fact despised, considered wrong or weak, etc. Search for needs and urges that make only sense according to the teachings of NXIVM, but not to your personality or normal human behaviour; for situations, where you overreact, where you lose temper, can’t find peace in yourself, feel itchy, suddenly and apparently inexplicably insecure (Not a disintegration per se!), and so on. Discover where you feel the almost unstoppable urge to undergo some EM in order to rid yourself of those unwanted emotions, detractions, limitations, disintegrations.

   Examine where and when you completely loose all perspective if somebody even just seems to tell you that you are doing something detrimental to your health, personality, social capacity, etc. or is critical towards what they perceive as your negative and self-destructive habits. Ask yourself, whether you did change your social environment over the time in the group to an extent that is negating most of your prior associations. Has your character, personality, and your psychological make-up or mental balance changed, maybe drastically so (even if you think that it is in a good way…)? Have you been financially and philosophically reoriented, been focussed on the group? Check if you’re using not just words, but phrases, sentences, even whole statements that you would clearly not have used, considered pretentious, meaningless, and even wrong, prior to your involvement with the group. And so on and so forth; be honest and scrutinise every aspect of your thinking, hoping, behaving, reacting, speaking, believing, etc., every aspect of your being, especially those that are addressed within the teachings; which of course means every last one of them; another brightly blinking warning sign actually.

   However, this sort of behaviour, of repeated returning to take more courses, of seeking your happiness in but one place, etc. isn’t missing your friends, when you’re away from them; not cherishing the closeness and healthy relationships you develop in a group of true friends. Nor is it a natural desire to better yourself, to be more self-aware and respect yourself as well, for then you would try to find ways to integrate what you perceive as weaknesses into your existence rather than try to remove and replace them by force. This sort of behaviour is being almost incapable to function without the others, without the continued teachings, without the mental pain and revulsion of your EMs, without others suggesting what to do – or outright telling you. It is clinging onto something as though for pure survival, which is irrational considering that your life is not in actual danger; but then again you’ve been taught that good is pro-survival, so it does feel like it is supposed to be like this, doesn’t it?

   These are all symptoms of dependence and subsequent withdrawal, when you haven’t attended an intensive for a while; not something, you have in a healthy relationship with a group or person! Yet given the circumstances, they may be rather difficult to spot in oneself. Society and its educational institutions sadly are not oriented (enough) towards independent thinking and learning, for they have a mandate to prepare us for our carriers only rather than life (which actually would contain those carriers). Thus, we learn a lot of factual data on math, languages, etc., but hardly the necessary skills to evaluate, analyse, and hence how to learn for ourselves, nor the creativity that often is necessary to evolve truly new ideas, opinions, thoughts, etc. For those of us, who actually would like to do so, when we finally find a teacher that ostensibly can teach us ‘rational thinking’, we tend to believe in their authority rather than in our own or other untrained selves. To question that mental clout is not one of the skills we’ve learnt at school; neither is it one that certain teachers of independent, rational thinking will impart on their students. In addition, none of us likes to discover those symptoms of addiction in ourselves and thus actually fear and avoid such self-awareness, flee into the safety of ignorance rather than face the reality of our dependence. I’ve quoted this before, but the bard said it best, it ‘puzzles the will, and makes us rather bear those ills we have than fly to others that we know not of.’

   As to some people’s argument that addiction is self-caused by addictive personalities: If somebody starts smoking, knowing full-well that it is addictive, drinks beer, whisky, wine in insensible amounts, knowing full-well that their liver will suffer and that they’re alcoholics, that argument may be usable to some limited degree. In this case though, the analogy would be more like somebody dosing you with minute amounts of a highly-addictive, colourless and odourless substance, mixed in glasses of water unbeknownst to you (and even the one preparing them) and handed to you at kindergarten! There is no defence against this sort of thing and even the least addictive personality will get addicted through such subtle and patiently underhanded means. And how many people who would never do drugs end up in relationships that are little better than an addiction to a dangerous pain?

   In measure, many things can be good, even if otherwise they might be quite dangerous (medicines for example). Yet there is no measure in an organisation such as NXIVM: It’s counterproductive to its purposes, to its desired ‘measurable results’, mainly the maximisation of their profit, the amassment on and control of monetary resources by value-oriented ethical people, namely the leadership. In any group, in good measure would be to present the facts, state your opinion, and then open up a discussion, an exchange as to those ideas. This would result in conclusions far greater than the sum of its constituent parts (in NXIVM’s case so far, it is but 1 part, and 1 alone; not much chance of a sum bigger than 1 there); in knowledge that is diversified by many ways of thinking, many opinions, many inputs, and many more associations with numerous sets of previous knowledge, wisdom, experiences, etc. However, that seems to frighten the leadership of this group, and thus fear-bound they decided on using fear-based applications, methods, interpretations, and other techniques to ‘teach’ their often good premises, as well as other fear-incited and inciting actions to deter outside opposition or questioning within.

   Also, how much easier is it to change somebody’s opinions if the leader actually states his intention to do so in the first place and gets the recipients to consent. Oh, never mind that they meant and believed they were consenting to a certain subset, to address merely those opinions and hindrances that ‘needed changing’ as pertaining to success and so. Why should he, if he can change all others as he goes? They won’t suspect; and by the time they could – well, it’s too late and they already agree with their ‘teacher’, are ready for the next set of changes; and the next; and the next; and so on… That they wanted to change but the little that they agreed to is long forgotten; that it was meant to be a fraction of a percent has been lost in the dozens and more now going to get change, being changed or having been changed already. Patience is one of the keys to success; and especially so, if one wants somebody to stick around, to do as they tell them. Don’t force them, but seduce them into believing and needing something that only their avant-garde ‘teacher’ seems to be able to provide; convince them of this exclusivity, this uniqueness, and his being the sole source of it.

   Even once a recipient realises what’s going on, there is still one of the greatest battles coming: You love it and you hate it at the same time; you need it and know it does you no good; you want to get rid of it, yet simultaneously can’t stand the idea of or even imagine ever living without its stimulation! Having surrounded yourself or rather been surrounded by people, friends, and even relationships under the matching dependence does not help either. It’s the same as staying in an abusive relationship because after all you love the person; even when they beat the crap out of you; even while they torture you mentally, tell you what a looser you are, how you do everything wrong; even if they can never accept you just the way you are and always have something to change about you. You still love them in your hatred and therefore find it extremely hard to break this particular cycle.

   Yet should you get out, should you leave screaming and kicking in your conflicting emotions, should the need for your mental and emotional survival finally get you to take that most difficult and frightening step and you’re finally out and free again, don’t try to ‘overcome it’ or ‘put it behind you’ as many call it: You’ll just end up in the same position in life you were in when first recruited; just a little older now. And you’ll actually run the risk of continuing to use some of the worse teachings, some of the methodologies, at first without intention, but later maybe quite intentionally, for they now seem disconnected from their old source, seem like your own. Some of the things you’ve learnt are quite tempting, intoxicating in their power of manipulation and might corrupt you slowly; it is not by chance that many who have gone through an experience like this (mostly if in their early lives, childhood and youth) end up creating their own little empires.

   Non-reflection is at all times a most dangerous view on life! You need to filter your experiences, find out what was bad and fix that damage with whatever help you might need; but also try to discover the good and useful parts and now integrate them into your larger existence, into the context of your entire life. So far, you’ve tried to integrate yourself into a system that was somebody else’s; now it’s time to integrate the useful parts of that matrix and the many other philosophies, ethics, etc. you can find in the world into your own to create a larger and more complete body of knowledge, ethics, behavioural flexibility, tolerance and open-mindedness, etc. than any of those could ever be to you on their own!

   For those left outside, the initial problem lies in connecting to and maintaining communications with those that are enthralled in such a group; that have their lives oriented toward and only to this set of people unified under a single body of teachings; that are caught up in the situation and cannot see beyond anymore. How can we help them overcome their dependence? What do they need to be able to break loose, to move away from what is considered negative and indeed self-destructive habits and behaviours? With what aid could they find their own path, their own strength to overcome their insecurities, doubts and fears, not only now, but later in their lives as well, not only those about the outside world, but those about leaving NXIVM? We cannot simply say they’re wrong, use what to them must look as much a coined terminology as theirs does to most outsiders, and expect them to do what they are told. Wouldn’t that make us just the same as they already are exposed to in NXIVM?

   And foremost, we should never expect the journey to be over with their leaving the group! That would be letting them fall, not catching them when they most urgently need our help. We need to understand, learn, and evolve our own knowledge about not only the group and those we care about, but many other subjects that are being touched by NXIVM’s wide-ranging alterations. I said they should filter and evaluate everything they’ve learnt in NXIVM; and so should we! It should be our common goal, the (former) espians’ and our own, to team up and try to do the good that they originally signed up for; first in our personal relations and lives; then in the wider world. Time is never wasted, years of our lives never lost, even if the experiences during those are questionable or worse. There is always something to learn, something to cherish, and something to take with us on our continued voyage, something that enables us, something that gives us strength, protects us, and something that allows us to teach and exchange, to change and evolve, not just in ourselves, but with others in whatever degree and scope suits our capabilities, skills and resources.

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Re: NXIVM and the Dalai Lama
Posted by: bigskeptic ()
Date: June 06, 2010 08:43PM

Seagram sisters
Last Updated: 4:05 AM, June 5, 2010

Posted: 11:38 PM, June 4, 2010

Comments: 2 | More Print
Seagram heiresses Clare and Sara Bronfman have hit a roadblock in their quest to silence a former pal who exposed their $100 million support of a controversial upstate group described as a "cult." A California judge has told the sisters he's waiting until July 28 to decide whether they can go ahead with a suit against their former financial adviser, Barbara Bouchey -- or whether he'll grant Bouchey's bid to drop the litigation altogether. The move is a setback for the Bronfmans, who want to keep any more financial documents from being made public. They sued Bouchey in February, after she turned over "sensitive" records that revealed their $100 million donation to NXIVM, an Albany-based "self-awareness" group, from 2005 to 2009. The sisters' dad, Edgar Bronfman Sr., termed the organization a "cult." The records were turned over as part of a different lawsuit involving NXIVM and a failed real-estate deal.

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