In the Guruphiliac blog entry
, in which Byron Katie's 9-day "School" is criticized, an apologist writes in a comment attempting to discredit the criticisms. I'm copying the apologist's comments here in italics
, and adding my questions/reactions in bold
Thanks, helpme2times! I've got some things to say in response to this, too. This gives me another chance to argue some things out, and get my own head back! My responses are also in bold
Perception is everything.What kind of maniacal philosophy is this? Oh... whoops... Byron Katie's!
Yes, according to Byron Katie, perception is everything... it's all there is. Everything is just a projection of the mind. Evidently, this person has swallowed BK's philosophy hook, line, and sinker. What can we expect from him/her now? Let's see... based on my experience... we can expect him/her to defend Byron Katie, distort facts, ignore reality, and to tangle him/herself in her own words by failing to practice The Work in all that defensiveness.
The disgruntled anti-cultist wrote: 1. A forced 36 hour fast.
Nope, not forced. Everything is presented at the school as a suggestion; and you're free, and encouraged, to do what you need to do to stay healthy. Diabetics, for example, and those on medications, needed only to ask for food, and all those with medical and psychological conditions were asked to make their conditions known when they registered, and to be responsible for their own self-care, as in life.First of all, although I may be disgruntled, I'm not an anti-cultist. My participation on this forum has been solely focused on Byron Katie. I know very little about any other cults, and I certainly am not an activist of any kind. I merely spoke from my experience. Labeling me an "anti-cultist" is an interesting (and ineffective) way to try to deconstruct my credibility, considering this comment was left on an anti-guru blog.
It is also interesting that this person abruptly changed the subject from the fast to diabetics and self-care. Very smooth evasion and diversion, although it almost appears to be an answer, doesn't it? This is not an answer about the nature of the fast. The following is an excerpt from Margaret Thaler Singer, PhD on the F.A.C.T. website (italics added by me):
"Thought reform is accomplished through the use of psychological and environmental control processes that do not depend on physical coercion. Today's thought reform programs are sophisticated, subtle, and insidious, creating a psychological bond that in many ways is far more powerful than gun-at-the-head methods of influence
. The effects generally lose their potency when the control processes are lifted or neutralized in some way. That is why most Korean War POWs gave up the content of their prison camp indoctrination programs when they came home and why many cultists leave their groups if they spend a substantial amount of time away from the group or have an opportunity to discuss their doubts with in intimate (11).
Contrary to popular misconceptions (some intentional on the part of naysayers), a thought reform program does not require physical confinement and does not produce robots. Nor does it permanently capture the allegiance of all those exposed to it. In fact, some persons do not respond at all to the programs, while others retain the contents for varied periods of time. In sum, thought reform should be regarded as "situationally adaptive belief change that is not subtle and is environment-dependent". (8,10)"So, yes, it was FORCED. It's amazing to me how BK-apologists go through these strange contortions to try to convince themselves (and others) that there was no Thought Reform going on, even though we were there to do The Work... which is marketed as a benign mode of... THOUGHT REFORM. Hello?
2. A day long "outing" where we were left to beg for food among homeless people in the streets of Los Angeles. We were instructed not to take any ID, or anything with us but the clothes we had on.
That's true; and no one held a gun to my head to do this.Aside from this being a ridiculous evasion of the issue, the fact that no one held a gun to this person's head is actually more evidence of the Thought Reform going on. I'm sure he meant to disprove that, but failed. Again:
"Today's thought reform programs are sophisticated, subtle, and insidious, creating a psychological bond that in many ways is far more powerful than gun-at-the-head methods of influence. " -Margaret Thaler Singer, PhD (author of "Cults in Our Midst")
3. A rich organic diet that sent many people's bodies into shock.
No one forced to eat rich food; there was salad and plain food available at every meal.Is this person just very ignorant? The salads were organic. Everything we were served was organic. What does "plain food" mean, anyway? Whatever it was, it was organic. I'm sure BK would confirm this. Please excuse me for using an adjective like "rich" to describe the organic food. I meant it to illustrate how WONDERFUL the food was, but apparently, that was too hard for this person to comprehend. Since when are salads not "rich"... in vitamins and minerals? Everything we were served at The School was rich--that's my opinion-- and organic-- that is a FACT. This person can argue with that reality all he/she wants, and I'm still not buying it. I notice that he did not address the issue of sending people's bodies into shock.
Vomiting was a regular occurrence,
I saw maybe two people vomit in the two schools I attended as a participant.He/she saw "maybe" two people vomit in the two schools he/she attended as a participant. Well, I saw no one vomit, I only saw three different very large, smoldering piles of puke in the bathroom floor. Prior to witnessing the piles of puke, I had heard BK mention to the entire group that people were puking on 3 separate days. She said that her staff had reported to her about all the vomiting, and congratulated the vomiters on their progress. That's at least 4 different days that I was aware of vomiting going on. She told us that The Work was powerful, and was the cause of the vomiting. So, as a participant, I wouldn't expect this person to have seen anyone vomiting...I never did... but he/she acknowledges that as a participant he did see "maybe" two. Can you imagine what the staff must have seen, then?
and was offered as "evidence" of cleansing, and of how powerful The Work really is.
I never heard anything like that.How convenient. He/she saw "maybe" two people vomit, but never heard any explanation of why it was happening... and he/she didn't think that was a little strange??? Obviously, we were not at the same School, OR this person was not paying very much attention.
4. Long days with brief breaks for meals. (7 am to 11:00 pm most days.)
We never went to 11:00 pm and the meal breaks were of normal length - usually an hour or longer.Well, I wonder how long this person's sessions did go? To 10:45 pm? Was this person even paying attention to the time? May I also point out that in a 17 hour day, 3 one hour breaks for meals makes the breaks awfully BRIEF. Either this person was completely out of it, or his/her School was really "lacking." We did go to 11, or nearly 11 most nights. Because this person had a different experience than I did, is that supposed to disprove anything?
5. Long, intense confessional sessions.
Confessional if you wanted to confess something, sure.Long, intense confessional sessions. If you wanted to confess something... because to have 300 people all get up and confess would be TOO LONG. But those sessions were LONG. I suppose the element of "wanting" to is supposed to have some merit here. BK said, "Who needs to do this?" It wasn't about want, it was about "need". People who got up did it because they felt like they needed to purge. It was all part of the Thought Reform program. So, not everyone did it. What does that prove? Nothing. Absolutely nothing.
6. Deep, excessive probing into one's past traumas. (She used violent Korn music to trigger our worst memories.)
And it was repeated that "no one has to do this exercise" for the more intense stuff. (Korn and the other musicians whose music is used at Katie's schools are compensated, by the way; her son is in the recording business.)Sure, BK told us that no one has to do it, and several people got up and left. BUT, we were not told what the exercise was. We had no idea what we were about to experience. The people who left were afraid. We'd already had so many things sprung on us unexpectedly, I can't say that I blame them. The Korn song was a very explicit account of someone being molested by his mother. We were told to think about the worst thing that's ever happened to us. The song grew angry, violently angry. And then, people got up one by one and had big emotional purges in front of the entire group. Of course, it was just those who "needed" to. And, who really cares about whether or not they are compensated for their music? This music thing is COMMON at LGATs, and I offered it as evidence that BKs School is, in fact, an LGAT brand of Thought Reform. The fact that people were allowed to leave has no bearing on the fact that BK uses music to brainwash the majority who stayed.
7. No contact with family or the outside world. (We turned our cell phones into the staff.)
Voluntarily. As suggested. Plenty of people kept their phones and made calls homeWhat really confuses me about this person is how he/she acts like the "big eye in the sky"... knowing exactly how many people vomited, and how many people kept their phones and made calls home. Perhaps he/she saw people doing this. However, what I saw was very different. Of the people that I talked to during the School, not a single one of them had kept their phones or personal items. NOT ONE. I saw only one woman with food that was not from BK's organic service. So, my experience would tell me that the MAJORITY of people did not keep their cell phones. How many is "plenty" anyway? And, did this person keep his/her cell phone? And if not, WHY?
8. Not allowed to wear make-up, to exercise, or to eat outside of the diet given.
Not "not allowed." Those were the suggestions. The idea is not to revert to addictions to avoid questioning stressful thoughts.It's pretty clear that this person is totally entrenched in the mind control. Those were "suggestions", right? Just suggestions... which are very powerful when the audience is being induced into a hypnotic trance, and left questioning their own thoughts! What does make up and exercise have to do with addictions? No make up... is to leave the person feeling exposed. No exercise... is to heighten the trance. This person knows less than I do about Thought Reform.
9. Eating meals and taking breaks in complete silence.
Except for those of us who are unable to shut up, and I'm one. :)Well, no wonder he/she missed so much that going on at the School! He/she must have had the staff buzzing around him/her like flies! They shushed everyone who talked in the dining room where I dined.
10. Going at least 2 full days as a "silent one", unallowed to talk with others.
Suggested; not enforced. I never did more than one day, and I cheated. I got my graduation certificate anyway. The purpose of this is to notice how you want to talk, be seen, bla bla. It worked for me, I noticed all right.It's baffling... like ralpher, this person is offering their noncompliance to the program as a defense of The School. What would it be like if this person had actually worked the program?? The purpose was to notice things, all right. I spent several days in silence, and I noticed A LOT. I noticed all of the things this person apparently missed. I wonder if this person notices how he/she wants to be seen as independent, and incapable of being involved in a Thought Reform program without her consent? I wonder if he/she notices how his/her noncompliance to the program, and his/her ability to do that, keeps him/her locked in total denial? I wonder if he/she notices how manipulative he/she is?
11. Being invited to criticize Katie and The School, and those who did were silently, subtly shunned by the group and Katie.
Shunned? Not me, and I'm no sychophant. I speak my mind. There was no "penalty" for doing so. In fact, I noticed that peoples' suggestions were implemented, more often than not. He/she speaks his/her mind, and saw no penalties for it. I guess this person really missed the "subtle" and "silent" things... too busy talking, I guess. I also speak my mind. Luckily, it is my own mind that I'm speaking here, and not the cult-personality. I guess this comment is supposed to make me look like a "sycophant" now? And who said or implied that this person was a sycophant? And what do parasites have to do with repercussions of criticizing BK? BK-ists are MASTERs of diversion and evasion, just like their mentor.
12. Having every doubt and concern about what was going on at The School questioned and "turned around", until no one could trust their own perceptions anymore.
Can't trust your perceptions at face value - neither the negative ones nor the positive ones. That's the point - to notice that it's all perception, changeable, and that some perceptions cost us a lot.I would say that "can't trust your perceptions at face value" is more about this person, than it is about people in general. This is a prime example of the very things I've been describing about BK-ologists. Apparently, this person can't trust his/her perceptions at face value. And, that IS the point. Umm... is this person supposed to be proving me wrong... or right?
It seems to me like this person really sees him/herself as above anyone else who doesn't "get it"... who doesn't see things his/her way. And, feels compelled to make us all feel ignorant for believing what we perceive... as if insanity and self-doubt were on the moral high-ground. That's just it... BK trains people not to believe what they perceive.
So, if you perceive that something isn't right at the School... don't trust it. If you perceive that BK is not what she claims to be... dont' trust it. If you perceive that you are subtly being shunned... don't trust it. If you perceive that there's something wrong with people vomiting... don't trust it. No matter what you perceive going on, you're not supposed to trust it, but question it. Distrust yourself. Believe BK. Fall in line. Argue with reality. Don't love what is. Make it all up. Live in fantasy land. Defend BK. Contradict yourself! Be "open" and give it another try... another few thousand dollars for another School!
And when someone like me just boldly trusts my perceptions and speaks my mind... the weirdos come out of the woodwork to try to make me stop perceiving and pointing out the things that they have been trained ignore.
Anyone who doesn't like the school is free to leave, and in fact, a small percentage do. And some of those people, I hear, continue to use The Work on their own. How can a simple practice that you can do by yourself be considered a cult?Well, I suppose a simple practice that you could do by yourself would not be considered a cult. No one made that claim here.
However, a systematic and effective form of Thought Reform that is introduced to people on deceptive terms, which then leads them to Large Group Awareness Trainings where more intense and effective methods of Thought Reform are employed without the participants' awareness, and often leads to forms of dissociation and a breakdown of the sense of self, along the participant's perception of reality...
Well, now that could easily be considered a cult.
Congratulations to those people who had the strength to get out early!
Oh, and by the way... where did this person get her information from? An outside source? Or BK-ists?
The more I hear people defending BK and The School, the more I'm convinced that it is what it is:
An LGAT cult.
-jj"When you argue with reality you lose- but only 100 percent of the time." -Byron Katie
Edited 1 time(s). Last edit at 03/02/2008 04:44AM by jj52.