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Re: NXIVM and the Dalai Lama
Posted by: Stoic ()
Date: July 04, 2010 06:19PM

I have no connection to or any knowledge of NXIVM outside of what I have read on this forum but I did want to commend Macumazahn on the masterful analysis of cult involvement and its profound influence on many different aspects of an individual mind.

I was born into a cult family so have never had the 'before cult-involvement experience' to return to in order to regain sanity on exiting a cult. Consequently my entire adult life has been an attempt to find a reasonably balanced view of the world without falling victim to yet another pre-packaged belief system which purports to have all the answers to the human condition.

Your postings eloquently describe the process I have struggled with--I particularly recognised the internal struggle with guilt and shame that you examined here:

[forum.culteducation.com]

and see those techniques and the subsequent internalising of them to be the major factor in keeping a person invovled in the cultic mindset despite all rational argument from well-meaning outsiders.
These same thought reform techniques seem to apply across the board and are not the province of any particular high demand group.
The scope and depth of your postings have been very helpful in triggering some further reflection in me.



Edited 1 time(s). Last edit at 07/04/2010 06:21PM by Stoic.

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Re: NXIVM and the Dalai Lama
Posted by: Macumazahn ()
Date: July 05, 2010 08:11AM

   Stoic, your post is deeply humbling and I hardly know what to say other than thank you!

   In many ways, it reaffirms and heartens all of us though; shows that it is indeed important for those with information and/or understanding of such things, especially of internals, methods, mechanisms, etc., to pass it on; encourages them to come forward and report, explain, document, or generally impart their knowledge in as measured, balanced, and rational a way as possible. Only in such an open and respectful environment can we each individually and as a society grow and evolve our stores of information and understanding, learn from past mistakes and difficulties: both within and on the outside; as groups or in our very own minds.

   Yet this does not just apply to the subject at hand: Sharing of learning, comparing of opinions, and correlating of ideas at all times enhances understanding and awareness and moves us forward in our individual or collective endeavours. It is not for nothing that knowledge is considered power: If it’s true and proven, varied and balanced, it does indeed empower all of us.

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Re: NXIVM and the Dalai Lama
Posted by: Monitor NXIVM ()
Date: July 06, 2010 06:43AM

Christa,
This is just another one of Raniere's fanciful claims to fame (My favorite is still that he , while in high school, set the record for the 100 yard dash in New York State - which I think would make him the only short white guy in the last 100 years to hold that title). The point is that he was able to convince the all believing Bronfman sisters that he was even remotely capable of doing such work - which explains why they are $100 million (and counting) poorer than they used to be.
Most of Raniere's claims are total bullshit. The rest are massive exagerations of his real accomplishments.

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Re: NXIVM and the Dalai Lama
Posted by: sulawesi2010 ()
Date: July 07, 2010 04:36PM

This clip is a few years old and i don't know if it's even about NXIVM - just came up when I searched on You Tube. But gives a good insight into how people can be affected by LGATs. [www.youtube.com]

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Re: NXIVM and the Dalai Lama
Posted by: Monitor NXIVM ()
Date: July 13, 2010 02:29AM

For the latest info on VanGuard week -- and a whole lotta other stuff -- check out the blog at: [saratogaindecline.blogspot.com]

Looks like Ms. Sara is about to publicly humiliated, yet again.

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Re: NXIVM and the Dalai Lama
Posted by: Macumazahn ()
Date: July 14, 2010 07:50AM

   A contract by which an apprentice is bound to the master who undertakes to teach him a trade, binding one person to work for another for a given period of time, or by which a person binds themselves to service in the colonies, etc. of old has been called


   Indenture

   ‘An Indenture is a legal contract reflecting a debt or purchase obligation […]’ (Wikipedia). Another word for that part would be Debt Bondage, well presented in NXIVM with payment contracts in order for less affluent persons to keep taking the courses, indebting them for repeated and increasingly lengthy periods of time; as well as tying into paying tribute and labour obligations, the latter of which I shall address in this as pertaining to the NXIVM community contract. There is little meat on this bone, but a lot of marrow within; in other words, the fine-print hidden between the lines runs its length, and this is rather an equally extensive post.

   On the surface at least the first few points look good, honourable and ethical, don’t they; and they are – until one realises that they are applied only to this community and otherwise often negated and limited by the teachings as to non-espians. But to nxians, they look good – and familiar: Thou shall not murder; thou shall not steal; thou shall not covet anything that belongs to your neighbour; and thou shall not bear false witness against your neighbour.

   Other commandments are implied here and otherwise; I guess the introduction (or the first, depending on how you look at it) would have been a bit much to ask directly, ‘I am the Lord your God’. ‘Thou shall have no other gods before me’ and ‘Honour your father and mother’ certainly are demanded though through non-disclosure’s direct and implied prohibitions to actually enhance one’s knowledge of ethics by diversifying and comparing the teachings with other schools of philosophy; and through paying ‘tribute’ to ‘the founders of ESP’ (Vanguard and Prefect), although not in this contract (ESP Training Materials as contained within Rational Inquiry™ (1999), ‘Rules and Rituals’ Module, pg. 61, ‘6. Bowing: …’, and ‘13. Thank You: …’ as well as ‘End of session handshake line-up: …’ on the following pages); granting, these in fact sort of constitute a breach of the second, ‘Thou shall not make for yourself an idol’ (ditto, pg. 60, ‘Pictures of founders: …’).

   But seriously, why enshrine (at least parts of) the Ten Commandments into an ostensibly non-religious organisation? Doesn’t that endanger the possibility of a ‘mutually agreed upon ethics of respect’ among the many religions of humanity (‘Rules and Rituals’ Module, pg. 62, ‘16. Non-religious tribute, Non-sacred, Non-mystical: …’)? On the other hand, these are good and ethical concepts, proven so often enough throughout history, and at the basis of Judeo-Christian ethics, one of the many that need to be correlated to achieve a viable framework of world ethics. Yet there is a snag it seems to that goal: ‘Russian-born American writer who, in commercially successful novels, presented her philosophy of objectivism, essentially reversing the traditional Judeo-Christian ethic.’ ("Rand, Ayn." Encyclopaedia Britannica Ultimate Reference Suite, 2010); somewhat illogical, or rather paradoxical, wouldn’t you agree.

   However, after these few points that spring to eye somewhat more directly, let’s look at the underlying details, those elements that lie hidden underneath the immediate impact of these ethical statements. For the benefit of this forum’s ‘fair use’ policy, I’ve refrained from quoting the according passages of this contract. Instead, I’ve tried to go through them in a chronological fashion and to formulate so as that you may identify them nonetheless even if I don’t address every line specifically; additionally I’ve numbered the paragraphs of the contract for reference, starting at ‘1’ with the non-violent commitment.

- First off, by having to recommit every three months, the commitment is kept alive at all times, ensuring that the ties are driven home as often as possible. It is a psychological tendency in humans habitually used to great advantage by sales specialists and others who regularly and extensively exploit it: An initial agreement and/or investment (of money, time, mind, etc.) leads to continued commitment even if the first decision has proven wrong, the original incentive or motivation is subsequently removed, and/or the details of the agreement are unilaterally changed by the other party (e.g. increases in costs after signing a contract, less benefits than advertised, etc.; in this case an ‘ethical review’ may lead to ‘improvements’ ‘in alliance’ with the mission (§11)). The scientific term is Escalation of Commitment and some of the related idiosyncrasies are Lock-Ins, Progress Trap, or also Commitment and Consistency, etc…

- Interestingly enough, this good concept of interdependence applied onto a community at the same time as declaring membership conditional and confidential does impede the very mission set out to do by this community. That mission depends on the fact of interdependence of humanity as a whole, or at least the achievement thereof, a goal that cannot be achieved by restrictive exclusivity. Additionally, the familiarity and similarity of the subtitle with the ‘Declaration of Independence’ does subconsciously create a link to that valued and ethical document; even if the underlying truths and philosophies are neglected, the implied connection in essence obscures this fact quite effectively.

   It is rather apparent that the concepts of interconnected societies and thus an interdependent (dependent on each other) civilisation of humanity are either not understood by the leadership or then simply thwarted and bent to serve other, more mundane purposes (e.g. ‘Mission’ Module, pg. 207, ‘Our society is currently dependent …’). As we shall see, this last is especially interesting in light of this contract.

- (§3) Being honest and true to yourself is an ethical but often difficult standard to achieve; it’d be nice if the NXIVM leadership held true not only to this but also to the next of their commandments (§4). As it stands, they demand honesty towards themselves, but are not willing to return the favour in the direction of their followers. It is not enough to be true to your own ends and dishonest towards those who, for all intents and purposes, are serving them; eventually they will see the inconsistencies and recoil. True integrity is after all a bit more than just being whole, consistent and integrated into a given, disconnected, solitary matrix (‘Self-esteem’ Module, pg. 128, ‘b. Integrity is …’ and other implications within the materials).

   It does contain besides the mentioned honesty some respect, accountability, responsibility, and the decency to stand truthfully to your flaws and shortcomings, in other words a code of honour that extends beyond oneself. (Oxford Dictionary, ‘integrity’: ‘b. Soundness of moral principle; the character of uncorrupted virtue, esp. in relation to truth and fair dealing; uprightness, honesty, sincerity.) Interestingly enough though, in ESP you can still have integrity even if you are not honest (‘Self-esteem’ Module, pg. 128, ‘c. Can you have integrity…’), in fact being sincere may be meaningless without integration and ‘consistency’ (probably as defined by NXIVM teachings alone) (ditto, ‘d. Can you have honesty …’).

- (§4) You will not disrupt or encroach upon any person’s ‘earned’ power, influence, might, and effectiveness in the world? Raniere and the leadership’s mostly, no doubt! But, when is such strength earned? Who decides whether it is earned? And what panel of betters agrees upon whether that authority, control, or even supremacy is wielded for ethical, just, forward-moving, non-violent, honest, non-destructive, etc. purposes? Seems a bit of a card-blanche (in favour of the leaders) to hand out without any further specifications.

   It is however a wise choice of word, considering the rather remote linguistic relation to ‘potential’, which would indeed be something to safeguard, foster, and enhance in oneself as well as with each other, a value and quality to support and share among humanity. But that would have to include non-nxians as well; while ostensibly stressed, this is hardly applied within the teachings if one looks as all the ‘suppressives’, ‘parasites’, ‘shifters’, etc. who practically define all who are not members of NXIVM: Espians get it; non-espians don’t (‘Parasite Producer III - Practice’ Module, pg. 167, ‘Remember that Espians understand …’).

- (§5) If something goes wrong or does not work as taught, you have just signed away your right to blame or rather, in other words, hold those accountable that may have perpetrated the actual mistake or misleading. In essence, you are always responsible, no matter what. True, for your own actions you are, being ‘at cause’ as we all are (‘Communication and Being at Cause’ Module, pg. 66, ‘At cause: …’); yet are we for others’ actions as well? Are we in fact responsible when others ‘teach’ us something as the ultimate truth, ethics, scientifically measurable reality, etc. – and this turns out to be wrong? Shouldn’t they too be taking responsibility, be accountable for their actions? This paragraph is especially minted to prevent dissension towards the leadership: They’re never to blame! It would be nice though, if they would take their own contract to heart and stop blaming/suing others to cover up their mistakes.

- (§6) To desist from helping somebody destroy their own fact-based and truthful self-esteem, a.k.a. self-respect, is not just ethical, but a dictate of honour and decency. Interestingly enough, it seems to be ok for you or anyone else to actively destroy another’s self-respect and other elements of personality in the name of ‘helping’ them (e.g. through EM), ostensibly to achieve a greater ‘range of possibilities’, a.k.a. self-esteem, depending on the truthfulness and factual foundations referred to as self-conceit in many cases. In addition, what about the self-esteem of those who are not in the community, those that you might be inclined to label as suppressives or the like with a wide and vague brush, those in whom you state to be interested in advancing towards an ethical civilisation?

   And furthermore, what constitutes somebody destroying their self-esteem? When they start questioning NXIVM or even just parts of its teachings? When they are ‘becoming a suppressive’; ‘endangering their integrity’; being ‘defiant’; or ‘failing in their commitment to persistence/success’? It seems to be more of a defence against too much self-awareness or a sudden realisation among the nxians rather than anything concerning the upholding of another’s personality, soundness of mind and soul, or even integrity. Yet isn’t such a ‘safeguard’ in fact prohibiting truthful and fact-based self-awareness, individual knowledge, self-control, personal autonomy, and self-respect? Aren’t these values necessary to be a true causing agent who can make things happen in this world (‘Self-esteem’ Module, pg. 128, ‘Self-esteem is …’)?

- (§7) And there we have it: a commitment to commitment and reliability, also known as ‘Commitment to Persistence’. On first glance, not too bad in itself, honourable and consistent – yet once more there is this little word ‘commit’! Why do that verb and its noun appear so often in this contract and frankly many more documents of NXIVM? Why is it such a favourite of the leadership, so much so that they use it constantly, dare I say consistently? It is a trigger word, a mechanism by which a stimulus, in this case the words ‘commit’ or ‘commitment’ (and many others), evokes a preconceived and well-trained response that may be physiological or mental (In Raniere’s words: Patent Description, pg. 28, ‘A trigger is a …’; and even more tellingly in the ‘Building Desire and Motivation’ Module, pg. 97, ‘Trigger is a …’).

   There are countless such triggers hidden and strewn, trained and applied within the ESP Training Materials alone, not to mention that many more will be in the videos, in the verbal trainings, even in the language and normal communications among the espians themselves, the consent forms and contracts, introduced in EM and other exercises and therapies, etc… For now though, as an example, let’s look at the one at hand more closely. Let’s rudimentarily map out how it is introduced, trained, ingrained and made to second nature, to a response that will not be questioned, a feeling of ‘persistence’ and partaking, fulfilment and belonging that even will be yearned for and sought mostly unwittingly by the nxians without questioning the deeper purposes of the action or path they commit to.

   It begins with a ritual they perform at the start of each session in their intensives (and maybe on other occasions as well). There they all stand together and ritually chant their commitment to their success (‘Rules and Rituals’ Module, pg. 62, ‘Huddle and Commitment …’). By such routine, this is ingraining the message; and the ritualistic, group-centred custom will soon make this a great feeling of togetherness, binding them in unison. The words outgrow their meaning in time; become the music of their involvement; the tune of their lives. After all, for now and all intents and purposes, they are partaking in a seminar on success; want to be more successful. And thus the words commitment and success are soon tied tightly and almost solely to ESP/NXIVM.

   Now let’s lay some shame and guilt on the students by in effect telling them that nobody has a good track record in keeping their promises and commitments, how little they’ve been honest even to themselves, what little integrity they have (‘Persistence’ Module, pg. 91, ‘When we look back …’). Then define persistence as ‘long-term commitment’ (pg. 91 again). And finally tell them that all is forgotten and forgiven, the slate is wiped clean, and ESP will now show them the way to avoid such failure in long-term commitment, in persistence in the future, how to be trustworthy (ditto, ‘What we all need …’). A neat little side-effect is that, by implication and many other elements of the teachings, this wiping also seems to erase all past commitments and attachments resulting thereof… And the stage is set for the next and final act (at least for the purpose of this post).

   Considering that fear is established as probably the basest of emotions and motivators throughout the entire teachings and that ethics-bound people do not fear but are ‘value-based’ (e.g. ‘Crime and Punishment’ Module, pg. 174, ‘1. Review working Concepts: …’; how interesting and ironic in light of recent NXIVM leadership activities…), it is not too surprising that the ‘fear of success’ needs to be avoided at all costs (‘Building Desire and Motivation’ Module, introduction, pg. 97, ‘Desire is a motivational state …’). And if someone should not agree, resist, or refuse to lay open their very own personal affective memory trigger in front of everybody and to the coaches (and thus at NXIVM’s disposal), the coaches are instructed to use exactly that ‘fear of success’ as a trigger (well-built-up over the many negative mentions of fear), calling up or rather creating ‘fear of failure’ to get the student to commit to the exercise (ditto, pg. 99, ‘Note: At this point …’).

   Not partaking, non-compliance, or resistance and considerate hesitation (here and elsewhere as seen in the reports on the ‘defiant’ label for example) becomes de facto a ‘failure’ in the espians ‘commitment to success’ due to ‘fear of success’; and since commitment is synonymous for ‘persistence’, you suddenly have a ‘commitment to persistence’, which is often used among the espians, especially when one of them needs to be admonished for doubting or questioning anything within the organisation. In essence, ‘commitment’ to their ‘success’ by associating success with the group at an early stage (‘our success’ rather than ‘my success’) has turned into ‘commitment to persistence’ (with-)in NXIVM.

   This is but a part of this whole pattern on the ‘commit/-ment’ trigger alone; one could elaborate and dig deeper, expose many more just from the available materials alone, but I guess you get the gist; it appears numerous times in commitments to exercises, to teaming up, to submitting to coaches and daily check-ins, etc… Every time the word is now being used, the espian stands to attention (figuratively speaking) and agrees wholeheartedly and happily to do whatever is necessary, just to be ‘persistent’ and ‘successful’ (plus a couple of other reasons, mechanisms, etc…). That in most cases of course it’s for the benefit of NXIVM only rather than for their own lives is shielded from them by the subconscious fear of ‘fear of success’, or in other words ‘fear of failure’ (again among many other rouses and methods applied).

   It is therefore not all too surprising that most signed the contract. On the contrary, I find it far more telling that there even was a discussion and some resistance that needed to be addressed by several means (and the use of further triggers no doubt) to get this thing through. It seems that there is an awakening or a schism building, some dissension and disillusionment brewing within NXIVM; a situation that explains the sudden reactive introduction of this contract. But there is an added benefit to all this committing, at least from the NXIVM leadership position: Since one can’t honourably commit to more promises than one can actually keep, keeping all the commitments extracted by and towards NXIVM will essentially keep them from committing to anything else, from extending their scope into the rest of the world, and essentially from exerting any of their potency in an environment or for purposes other than NXIVM’s.

- (§8) The main synonym for ‘commitment’ happens to be ‘obligation’ (according to Merriam Webster’s); others include ‘duty’, ‘must’, and ‘need’. Given that such a commitment isn’t quite as voluntary in NXIVM as one would assume, having to commit to stand with the rest of the community in actions such as boycotts, protests and the like against ‘injustices’ (wonder who determines that in this case), constitutes in effect an obligation to militate, to rise in force on the leadership’s behest. Yet while those commanding this non-violent community militia, the ostensible ‘authority’ of decision and thus ‘responsibility’, accountability, and burden of the ‘consequences’ lies on the shoulders of those farmers-of-people obeying the call to arms.

   The somewhat obscure reference to elected ethicists though adds to this a whole new meaning. ‘Ethicist’ according to the Oxford Dictionary translates as ‘a writer on ethics; one versed in ethics [=ethician]. Also, one who supports ethics or morality in opposition to religion.’ Whom do or would they elect? The only ones allowed to formulate ethics in NXIVM seem to be Raniere and maybe, just maybe, some of his disciples in the topmost leadership; and the term election seems rather far-fetched given NXIVM’s structure. But then, in respect to what community or which part of society would such an elected position be? The NXIVM community? That would imply not taking such actions if the outside reputation of said ethicist could be tainted; thus, ethics would be less important than vanity or personal power. Maybe they plan on electing such ethical persons in the outside world; but would they use the normal channels for that? Or would they even stoop to applying such unethical tactics as buying politicians? And when does an ethicist have earned ‘authority’ and in whose independent judgment? The espians’? The leadership’s? When the elected official has become a member of NXIVM? Or if she/he actually practices ethics, even if they don’t fully or not at all comply with NXIVM’s teachings? Do their ethics have to be marked by fundamental purity?

- (§9) No community can exist without contribution, and every society by definition is interconnected and dependent on such support, hence interdependent; a reality that makes such contributions a social-obligation whether we like it or not. Now, since your mission is to create such a community worldwide, to advance the entire human team, what are your contributions to the rest of that community, to humanity outside NXIVM, to civilisation at large? Your teachings hold giving your personal labour to charity in little respect (‘Work and Value’ Module, pg. 120, ‘Contribution: …’), yet at the same time money amassment on ethical people seems to prohibit giving any of that either (Since the Dalai Lama incurred additional costs, he did not deserve any more money). Add to that the notion that ‘shifters’ create and/or use problems and their solutions, namely charities, to make money (‘Shifter’ Module, pg. 184, ‘Charities: …’ and below, ‘Shifters do one …’) and given the black or white attitude prevalent in all the training materials, you have excluded pretty much any charity other than those potentially set up by NXIVM.

   Considering furthermore that your teachings hold most non-espians in contempt (either the aforementioned ‘shifters’, ‘suppressives’, or ‘parasites’ and probably some more definitions), force you to consider them less than yourselves, less ethical and advanced, unless they agree to join NXIVM, the only contribution to humanity that is seemingly left to you is conscription. Yet isn’t recruitment in fact replacing one belief system with another, as clearly demonstrated be the ‘espians get it – non-espians don’t’, special handshakes, rituals, exclusivity, etc. inspiring a ‘them and us’ attitude; and is not exactly such a replacement what NXIVM should not be (‘Mission’ Module, pg. 209, ‘Giving people more accurate information …’)? Shouldn’t NXIVM and spreading world ethics rather be an enhancement and correlation of existing values?

   But then again, maybe I see the term interdependent community a bit too wide; maybe NXIVM is indeed independent form the rest of the world, secluded and standing alone and separated on a social island in its endeavour to create an ethical framework for all of humanity. After all, these contributions mentioned here in the contract, these ‘social-obligations’ that usually are being painted oh-so negative, are directed towards the interdependent NXIVM community exclusively and thus in the leadership’s mind – or at least their justifications – must be ethical in spite of such ‘giving back’ lowering the espians to ‘the lowest state of dependent slavery’ (‘Mission’ Module, pg. 207, ‘Our society is currently …’ and the following point as well, ‘Obligation is the force …’). If social obligations are enslavement, then indenture to such does indeed constitute bondage.

   And now comes the listing of kind in which to pay the tithe. Taking the $100 given in the above-mentioned definition of ‘Contribution’ in the ‘Work and Value’ Module (pg. 120) to calculate a money value for this labour-obligation, we get to yet another $24’000 annually (20h * $100 * 12Months; notwithstanding how much ‘Bell Ringing Activity’ there is…). Furthermore, a professional earning a hundred bucks per hour probably has at least some four weeks of holiday per year and assuming they work an average of ten hours daily, the annual income would be $240’000, which means that this tax to be paid in kind is a full ten per cent. Not to mention the additional ‘obligations’ such as the honour dollar (a bit like the collection basket passed around at mass I guess) and any additional and repetitive courses and constantly added intensives, paying for the leadership’s legal adventures, as well as other community and membership commitments the person needs to fulfil at a cost. Talking about hidden taxes and the redistribution of wealth! By the way, related words to ‘tithe’, which is one of the origins of today’s ‘taxes’, are ‘charity’ and ‘contribution’…

   Tragically, while the prescribed activities certainly create a more tightly knit community, that is also the intent in another direction: Through more time investment, more exposure to the teachings (practices), and more oversight (Guardians), more control can be exerted on the nxians; their alignment and assimilation into the matrix further enhanced; and thus their dependence on NXIVM fortified at the cost of their independence and wider social capacity and capability. It ties them evermore into the group and distances them from the outside reality, making them strangers in and estranged from our world. Considering that their mission is in exactly this world though, it seems to be a rather paradoxical and prohibiting move.

   On a side note, what ‘Bell Ringing Activities’ are eludes me; seems a bit odd for a non-religious group! Maybe they have to underscore particular words of ‘wisdom’ spoken by the leadership, as do the altar boys in some of the more traditional catholic churches during mass or on catechisms. Or maybe they’re hand-rung bells calling to order, to session, to class. It might be ringing doorbells like some missionaries; only in affluent areas I guess. We’ll see…

- (§10) And just to make sure everybody is properly intimidated and compliant, let’s remind them of the NDA’s that surely are ever-present in their minds; I mean they’ve been mentioned enough, signed often enough (course applications, probably an actual NDA form, Training Materials (‘Rules and Rituals’ Module, pg. 61, ‘10. Confidentiality and Materials: …’), etc…), and are probably further cited verbally at every turn, reminding the members of the need to conscript others rather than being able to spread and evolve the ethics taught.

- (§12) Yet not enough, an added intimidation is issued; and it’s especially significant because of the group dynamic and exclusivity, by implication basically threatening them with the denial of further happiness and social acceptance if they do not agree, with being defiant, a suppressive, etc… Should they fail in this ‘voluntary’ commitment, and of course it’d be all their fault, they face a review board, which probably means an intense session with some serious re-administering of teachings and additional EM to discover what ‘limitations’ had prompted their dissident responses; unless their transgressions are too monumental as that they could be saved for the good world to come. I especially like the word ‘effects’, for it constitutes the most grievous of implications resulting from one’s actions: Others might actually start questioning the leadership, the obligations, the bondage, and all the related ‘commitments’ themselves!

   This concludes the paragraph-by-paragraph look at this contract. However, what does it all mean?

   ‘We shall squeeze you empty, and then we shall fill you with ourselves.
         (George Orwell, ‘Nineteen Eighty-Four’)

   Most of the points in this ‘agreement’ are, even after a potential richer definition provided outside of this contract, still vague and wide-open to conditional and situational interpretation as most of the teachings, rules, and other elements of NXIVM are. All this community building may seem like a normal social endeavour, comparable to other socially engaged societies, such as church groups; serves though another purpose as well, binding and bonding in a limited and separated cluster, exclusive of the wider society, humanity, and civilisation, which after all are the target of the mission. Creating an interdependent ethical world demands interconnectedness; to disconnect the very group that sets out to create such a civilisation from the world, which will have to make up the humanity of said civilisation, is frankly devoid of any rational logic, counter-productive, and as to the success of the mission backward-moving and destructive of that stated honourable goal.

   In many ways, with this contract (and other commitments to NXIVM) the nxians are signing away their right to be treated like grown-ups. It’s very indicative of the whole stance from the top down towards those below them: paternalism, patronising control, ‘guardian’, in essence being treated like a child, information being withheld until you’re ‘ready for it’ or rather well prepared, etc… Sadly, being patronised, even ‘benevolently’, always transfers and projects downward and outward: Those being patronised by their ‘betters’ will do the same to anybody else, to everybody they dare and can to; in this case all lesser ranks and everybody outside.

   This dynamic is even enforced by the teachings (e.g. non-espians don’t get it) and the idea that one can only learn and understand the one true ethics by joining the community. It breeds arrogance and contempt for others and their ideas; the former behaviour benevolent maybe, but turning fast into the latter if another incomprehensively and defiantly does not join upon hearing the magnificent news of these ethics. Tragically, this shift in perception towards others is not something that happens consciously, but over time and becomes increasingly difficult to detect and amend by oneself, divisive and segregating one from the bulk of modern society, the very people you want to spread ethics to.

   If one looks closely at this contract, you’ll find that in essence it is but a list of rules and obligations, well clothed in ‘ethical’ and somewhat flowery formulations, but nothing more or less than any other rules or laws set up for good or worse in various societies. Yet, is hiding the rules under ostensible ethics truly leading to an ethics-based society rather than a fear-bound and rule-based? Furthermore, are such ‘moral’ rules truly ethical if they serve hidden agendas and mainly the leadership (and that is a kindly ‘ethical’ formulation here)? And how does the example given by the leadership (mainly) outside of the group tie into all of this?

   Most of us, at first and at best, react to this contract with disbelieve, respond vehemently to the idea of having to sign a contract that obliges us to do community service. Yet have not all of us agreed to similarly strange commitments (maybe verbal) when presented to us by those we trust, when required of us by some group to which we feel connected or on which we are dependent (work, religion, family, etc…). It takes more time and investment to see the finer points discussed here; and most would have failed to see them if we’re honest with ourselves, under pressure from the group and probably some time-restraints, being handed this on the fly so to speak; took me quite some time to filter out, connect and research the above.

   Imagine yourself though in a group dedicated to ethics, being presented with a community contract that is promoted as a ‘declaration of interdependence’, as an ethical manifesto of the community if you wish. Everybody is asked to sign this commitment, probably right there and then, in the group. Such a situation, together with the prevalent group dynamics I have posted about earlier, creates an environment of groupthink and general crowd psychology. Especially in such surroundings the most common mistakes in thinking and decision making will almost certainly take full effect; a factor well planned and worked toward by the leadership after all. Here are ten of the most common flaws in human thought and a far more complete list of cognitive biases that we all fall victim to from time to time and under certain mitigating circumstances.

   What started honourably with some basic, albeit not precisely new principles of ethics, was purposefully loaded with hidden weight and conditions, psychological incentives to a certain ends serving the leadership; and ended being an enforced oath of fealty, complete with rules and regulations, including a tithe to be paid in form of forced labour and militia service towards the implementation of the leadership’s goals. As much as one may try to defend it, as much as it has been swathed in niceties and pretty verbal or ethical adornments, there is an old term for this sort of governance: Feudalism! Even now, advancement through the ranks of NXIVM nobility might already be accelerated and enabled through favouritism, nepotism, blind loyalty, purity, and unquestioning obedience. Will those titles become hereditary eventually? Who knows? It seems though an heir-apparent is already being groomed.

   Monarchies do have their uses and advantages; yet in order for them to work with and for the people, they must have a clear definition of purpose, a covenant of service to the people, and be subject to clear and powerful, democratic checks and balances, countered by persons who do not fear speaking out against and to question them when necessary; need to be constitutional and non-absolute; ‘L’état c’est moi’ is so passé!

   ‘Many forms of Government have been tried and will be tried in this world of sin and woe. No one pretends that democracy is perfect or all-wise. Indeed, it has been said that democracy is the worst form of government except all those other forms that have been tried from time to time.
         (Churchill, November 11th 1947 in the House of Commons)

   To have a debate of five, ten, fifteen minutes – or of hours and even days, it doesn’t matter – and then be presented with predefined ‘working conclusion’, taking into account none but the most conform input and summarily dismissing all else (prevalent throughout, e.g. ‘Self-esteem’ Module, pg.. 127, ‘3. Discuss the following …’ and to the end of the page), is not democracy. It is merely ‘going through the motions’ of such to placate the ethical proprieties of civilisation and thus create the impression or rather illusion that each and everyone in the group had a chance to partake in the decision making – while in reality but the leadership and those thoroughly aligned to it have hoisted a de facto dictate on the community. The reports of initial doubts and dissension as well as the shown mechanisms integrated into the very wording of this ‘contract’ underline and prove this.

   As I’ve repeatedly said, many of the ideas ostensibly taught to espians are often and mostly based on good premises. The sad thing is that these noble origins, the very concepts that appeal to and capture the nxians’ minds, dreams, and hopes are artfully intermingled and tempered throughout with self-serving additions of mechanisms to control and influence as shown; are consciously flawed and thwarted in their applications, for example so as to get the members back for further courses; are often imperfect by the limitations which are logically bound to arise due to their solitary source; and are thus impeding the very concepts originally contained within the good premises. In essence, many of the ethical principles are or will be, either by their original choice or wording, far more often by additions and minute alterations, by juxtaposition and well-clothed, incremental ‘enhancements’ and ‘amendments’ as one goes through the levels, the very source of problems and failures, of unethical patterns and behaviours that they are supposedly designed to avoid and amend.

   Let me add in parts to Raniere’s ‘declaration’ what last time I left out from the Declaration of Independence:

   ‘[…] Such has been the patient sufferance of these Colonies; and such is now the necessity which constrains them to alter their former Systems of Government. The history of the present King of Great Britain is a history of repeated injuries and usurpations, all having in direct object the establishment of an absolute Tyranny over these States. To prove this, let Facts be submitted to a candid world.

   He has refused his Assent to Laws, the most wholesome and necessary for the public good.
   […]
   He has obstructed the Administration of Justice, by refusing his Assent to Laws for establishing Judiciary powers.
   He has made Judges dependent on his Will alone, for the tenure of their offices, and the amount and payment of their salaries.
   He has erected a multitude of New Offices, and sent hither swarms of Officers to harrass our people, and eat out their substance.
   […]
   He has combined with others to subject us to a jurisdiction foreign to our constitution, and unacknowledged by our laws; giving his Assent to their Acts of pretended Legislation:
   […]
   For cutting off our Trade with all parts of the world:
   For imposing Taxes on us without our Consent:
   For depriving us in many cases, of the benefits of Trial by Jury:
   […]
   For taking away our Charters, abolishing our most valuable Laws, and altering fundamentally the Forms of our Governments:
   […]
   He has plundered our seas, ravaged our Coasts, burnt our towns, and destroyed the lives of our people.
   […]
   He has constrained our fellow Citizens taken Captive on the high Seas to bear Arms against their Country, to become the executioners of their friends and Brethren, or to fall themselves by their Hands.
   He has excited domestic insurrections amongst us,
   […]

   In every stage of these Oppressions We have Petitioned for Redress in the most humble terms: Our repeated Petitions have been answered only by repeated injury. A Prince whose character is thus marked by every act which may define a Tyrant, is unfit to be the ruler of a free people. […]


   Now, you may say that I’ve interpreted too much into this contract; that NXIVM is not about bondage in fealty to a feudal system with barons, lords, etc. headed by an overlord. Some could call the presented evidence incidental. Well, I think that one of the smartest guys on earth does not do ‘incidental’, avoids unintended outcomes, implications and their consequences. After all, he is the only one who knows the truth, the vanguard of the turning point in history, the sole beacon of ethics, of hope in light of a falling, failing, terminal civilisation. One of the three top problem-solvers in the world would account for everything, leave nothing to chance, and make sure that the solution was indeed a symbol of his perfection. For if it were not, one would have the right to doubt and question not only the matter at hand, but in consequence all other teachings, technologies, theories, etc. promulgated by this person; would have the rational reason, incentive and even responsibility to take a closer, more critical look at everything propagated by this person.

   Incidental or intentional? Deliberately manipulating in an underhanded, artful fashion (‘Producer Parasite I - Concepts’ Module, pg. 144, ‘Manipulation: …’) – or just as flawed as we all are? Not a nice choice to be presented with.

   I’ll leave you with this quite literal look at NXIVM. The word apparently does not exist directly in Latin, yet by the Roman writing conventions of dropping logical vowels, of writing U as V, and by the use of capitalis monumentalis it is quite clearly derived from that language or at least implied to be so. Therefore, let’s look at the stem ‘nex’ with the ending ‘ium’ to find what the name has been derived from:

   NEX, NECIS f.: death; usually violent death, murder.
   NEXILIS –e: tied together, plaited.
   NEXUS -us m.: a tying together, connecting, restraining; also in the sense of nexum, q.v.
   NEXUM -i n.: an arrangement by which a debtor pledged his liberty as security for debt.


   NXILIS means tying together into a knot (NXVS), NXVM is binding people by having them pledge their liberty for a debt, and, with a little linguistic fiddling and obfuscation on creation, you have NXIVM that could mean something like binding people by having them pledge their liberty to the organisation, indebted in tribute to the knowledge that has been imparted. Not too far a stretch, wouldn’t you agree? On the other hand, the ending –IVM could also be just a declination of the noun; but that would be a declination of violent death and would sound a tad morbid. Unless of course, one combines these two interpretations and arrives at bondage till death in fear of success’s or civilisation’s demise. Gives the term ‘being integrated’ (into NXIVM; assimilated as a synonym/related word) a whole new meaning, doesn’t it?

   Words do have meaning and effect, hence affect on many levels!



Edited 3 time(s). Last edit at 07/14/2010 07:56AM by Macumazahn.

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Re: NXIVM and the Dalai Lama
Posted by: Macumazahn ()
Date: July 19, 2010 05:52AM

   As an addendum to the last post on the NXIVM Indenture, a couple of general points on common sense as pertaining to the signing of any contract, waiver, non-disclosure, consent form, or any other legally or socially binding ‘covenant’.


   Rational Agreements

   Always and every time read the entire contract carefully and with particular attention not only to the precise wording but especially to their underlying and maybe hidden and disguised meanings. Take this time even if you sign a repeat or renewal contract, for they may have changes in them, minute yet agreement-altering additions and enhancements that might not be in your favour at all. Should you be pressed to sign immediately without reading it in its entirety; should the other party say that it is but a standard contract or that it’s the same as last time; should they appear insulted or use any other means of guilt and shame or fear influence on you; be very wary! For the signatory there is never a ‘standard contract’, even in renewal; and any pressure exerted towards a quick signature must be considered an indicator as to some trick, cheat, or other nefarious manoeuvring.

   Once you have read it, take your time to contemplate and deliberate. If it is but the final form of an agreement that has been discussed in detail beforehand, make sure you see all the points agreed upon in the precise wording as approved, and none that were added thereafter. If it is a contract, the details thereof you were not privy to in advance, take even more time. Any serious business honestly wanting you as a customer will allow you a reasonable time to think things over: the higher the stakes and impact, the more time. At minimum, you should have a night’s sleep at your disposal, twenty-four hours to consider. That does not mean you have to take that time if you’re certain about the agreement in question, but it has to be available to you; and I sincerely suggest you take it. If the other party presses you to sign now, using arguments such as that others might snap away the good offer from you, or even that they will give up on you and go offering it directly to your ‘rivals’, then you can be almost certain that they are trying to get the better of you, are hiding something in the contract or about the true quality of the product they’re selling.

   Contracts are commitments and the reason why the ‘commit/-ment’ trigger works so nicely in NXIVM for example, lies in the fact that decent and respectable people tend to try to honour theirs at any rate, even at personal inconveniences and losses. However, by the time we get presented with a contract, we typically have at least already signalled our commitment to a certain degree, thus the contract is but an escalation of commitment, usually benign and the logical consequence, a sequitur to the process, but under pressure and time constraints not necessarily quite so. While I see far more additional reasons why people might commit to something even before they’re being taught the right way in NXIVM (free will, honour, integrity, and the like), I do have to agree with Raniere that commitments made under duress are hardly sustainable and weigh heavy on our minds since we didn’t want to commit to them in the first place (ESP Training Materials as contained within Rational Inquiry™ (1999), ‘Persistence’ Module, pg 91, ‘2. A commitment made under duress …’). It should therefore be a question of caution and principle not to agree to contracts under such coercion; nor should a truly ethical party ever try to force an agreement on the other.

   In general, if in doubt, don’t sign it. Take the time to consider anything you do; and if you should not be given the necessary reasonable period, you probably don’t want to be a contractual partner with that party in the first place; or rather don’t want to be bound by contract to them for any length of time; and should reconsider entering such a ‘partnership’. If even after due deliberation you are still uncertain about the terms of the contract, take it to a lawyer; I’m sure you’ll find somebody who is not too expensive or even a public or charitable office where the less affluent can get affordable legal counsel on contracts. Always remember, nothing can be as important or pressing to you as that it should compel you to sign away your basic rights, liberties, choices and options, ways out, etc. by accident or lack of consideration or knowledge on your part, or by being pummelled and forced into a commitment under some form or other of compulsion. For the problem and danger lies in the fact that by accepting a contract, however legally doubtful, completely unfair, or even outright ripping you off, you are committing yourself to the agreement and it becomes substantially harder to contest the matter before the courts.

   The ideal basic, all-permeating principle of any contractual agreement, especially a social contract as the NXIVM example, is usually the exchange of comparatively equal value, a quid pro quo, even if it may be something rather intangible. Therefore, a contract disproportionately favouring the one or the other side is neither fair nor in most cases legal and most certainly not ethical. To ensure such equality, John Rawls in his book ‘A theory of Justice’ (1971) coined the term ‘veil of ignorance’ (original passage). The veil of ignorance (Wikipedia) is an ethical thought-experiment stipulating that in order for an agreement to be just and equal to every party involved, thus ensuring the basic principle of exchanging fairly equal value, the ones drawing up the contract have to do so under the assumption that they could end up on any side of the agreement. If this consideration is applied consistently, then a resulting deal will be ethical and fair to every party; for hidden behind the veil, who is to tell you whether you will end up on the more powerful or the weaker position of a lopsided arrangement? If a contract, particularly the social type, does not ensure exchange of essentially equal value but favours the more powerful or influential party, then it is frankly in most cases a con, a discrimination, and probably untenable before a court of law.

   The above points, while maybe not encompassing all the legal variations and propensities to allow manoeuvring, represent a basic guideline to ensure that we draw up and enter fair and ethical contracts among each other. Sure, the legal framework is highly complex and permits many loopholes and tricks to make a contract less even or fair, cover less tangible transactions, provide some flexibility to ensure applicability, etc.; yet it is but rational to strive for agreements that serve both sides at as equal a value as possible, whatever that value may be to each of the parties involved. And it is not a weakness, or being ‘silly’ or 'defiant', to feel an urge to hesitate before you commit to any agreement; sometimes it is in fact a simple question of sound rationale and healthy survival instinct to trust your doubts and decide to look a bit closer at what you’re presented with; that too is not a limitation but a strength of character and taking responsibility for your own life.

   Now my question to the espians is, what do you get in return for signing the NXIVM indenture? What exchange of comparatively equal value takes place in this agreement? What do you receive, if anything, in return for your renewed or additional commitment and services? What do you acquire, which you did not already have before?



Edited 3 time(s). Last edit at 07/19/2010 06:17AM by Macumazahn.

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Re: NXIVM and the Dalai Lama
Posted by: sulawesi2010 ()
Date: August 24, 2010 11:23PM

This is the quietest this thread has been for ages - everyone just following the Saratoga in Decline blog?? Anyone going to V Week? :o)

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Re: NXIVM and the Dalai Lama
Posted by: bigskeptic ()
Date: August 24, 2010 11:31PM

I think everyone IS reading saratogaindecline... it is a constant source of information.

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Re: NXIVM and the Dalai Lama
Posted by: sulawesi2010 ()
Date: August 24, 2010 11:59PM

It's the most info I've seen on Nxivm, great source. Also a great forum for ex-nxians to share what they know, the fact that it's anonymous means none of it can be substantiated, but anyone who knows someone involved can easily see similarities in experiences. Plus the humour really helps show people that Raniere is just a human, not some untouchable god...he can be ridiculed like anyone else.

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