Experiences with Bennett and Subud group
Date: August 16, 2007 09:58PM
I have had personal experience with both Subud and the J.G. Bennett
I was in for a short time the J.G. Bennett cult, although it was through one of his students, who was also a student of Gurdjieff, Ouspensky and a few others. I met Elizabeth Bennett and had a private session with her, and
her demeanor in that session was unlike anything I have ever witnessed before. The only way to describe it was like you might imagine a female
tyrant -- totally cold and emotionless. It's funny because before the private session she was very warm and friendly, and then she totally changed.
The atmosphere of this Gurdjieff seminar I went to was very strange.
It was supposedly a "teacher's seminar." At one point, while I was
working out in a field, I heard someone scream out, "You bastard!"
I guess perhaps to the person who organized the seminar. The
organizer I remember tried to shame me or isolate me in front
of the entire group. He said, "Who here thinks ____ ____ (my name)
should stay with us?"
I remember the leader being nice to me on the phone and the moment
I got down to this place, which was in a neighboring state to mine,
he started interrogating me. "Why are you here? What do you want""
When I told him something which was very special to me and the truth
and actually fairly advanced along the lines of these teachings, he
shouted, "That's rubbish. You don't know what you're talking about!"
It was like he invited me all the way down there, a young college
guy without a car, and then he was about to kick me out. It was
in a rural area. I rode down there with others.
After this seminar I met with a few
of the students and talked to them on the phone but the contact
petered out. I did call one of the older people, another Bennett
associate, and he scolded at me on the phone. I take it that
there was a lot of verbal abuse in the Gurdjieff circles, and that
they expected the younger students to take it.
I phoned the leader a few years later and he
invited me to come down to live with him for a while but I knew
it would be a bad idea.
I saw one of the students about a year ago and was surprised
at the audience she drew at a public introductory meeting: many hurt and confused people, not the "supermen" that we are led to believe are the stuff of these organizations.
The other students of Bennett or this other leader were very presumptuous and also abusive in their own way, like the leader. One of them said the work as he taught it as my only chance.
I now see J.G. Bennett as a real character. His pseudo-scientific
material he presents has literally no value except to exercise the
mind in abstract ways and I remember as a teenager being able
to make up stuff like that based on the core Gurdjieff books. After
seeing how easy it was to write like that in a certain state of mind,
and getting my college education, I saw that his more abstract
writers are really only valuable for people who have a vested
interest in the cult, or who "take the cult with them" in that they
perpetuate the abuse of the ideas in a type of obsessive mindset
(even if they are not in a Gurdjieff group).
I had an experience also with a Subud group. Two people came
to my apartment when I was in college and explained the ideas.
They seemed like nice enough people, in that they seemed humble,
but I never pursued this direction to give you any more feedback.