Re: Theohumanity, aka Daniel Stacy Barron
Date: August 16, 2021 08:07AM
I asked that my previous posts be removed, which the site does not allow, but in a way I am glad as it gives me an opportunity to write something new.
This is going to be a long one, but I feel strongly it must be said.
As I said before, I worked closely with Daniel for over a decade. I grew in ways I never thought possible, and was hurt deeply as well. I spent about 6 years or so licking my wounds and sorting out what was true and useful and what wasn’t.
Toward the end of 2020, I accidentally discovered a profound secret about my family of origin. Within a day, nearly all of the remaining hurt and anger I had at Daniel (and there was still plenty) disappeared because I saw so clearly my contribution to what played out.
This does not excuse his side of it, of course, but what I didn’t see before that moment was the depth of my side. It wasn’t even really a “seeing” thing. Something shifted deeply in me. I suddenly just knew I’d been playing victim and made up that he was a sociopath. I immediately felt I had to tell him, but it took me about a month to be sure and to work up the courage to reach out.
I doubt just coincidentally, during that month, an old friend who had also worked with Daniel and Brie back in the day reached out to me. He told me D and B did the arduous work to get to the bottom of what went wrong, did the excruciating work of healing it over years, and that things were different now. Of course, I still would judge for myself, but it leant me courage.
I was terrified, but reconnecting with Stace and Brie exceeded my expectations. The fears and wounds of the past gave way to the new experience that the errors in the paradigm, and the wounds in Daniel that caused them, have been rectified.
I share this here for a few reasons:
1) To right my own wrong of throwing the baby out with the bathwater, and vilifying Stace with the arrogant assumption that he couldn’t heal, and not looking at my own wounded contribution that was underneath that assumption.
2) To help repair Stace and Brie’s unduly damaged reputation. The price they paid for their mistakes was profound, and everyone deserves the chance to change and not be held as past versions of themselves. I deeply regret falling prey to “cancel-culture” the way that I did.
3) To invite past EBE’rs like myself to have their own new experience if they are so moved. I was given a gift having my contribution (the family secret) handed to me on a plate. For others, it may not be so simple. But I imagine many people feel incomplete and confused about being exposed to such profound work that was tainted in a way that made its fruition tortuously impossible. Again, it’s my experience that this has now changed.
4) To invite new people interested in Brie and Stace’s work who’ve found this page to have their own experience, unsullied by mistakes of the past. Is it dangerous to put yourself in the hands of someone who hurt people before and might hurt you? Sure it is, but that’s a risk we take every day with everyone in one way or another, and the more powerful the person, the greater the risk. When I’ve let myself get hurt, I have always learned some important lessons that make it worth it. That appears to be how life works.
I imagine some ex-EBE’rs reading this will think that I’ve fallen under the “spell” again, and I’ve certainly wondered that myself many times. But was there ever a spell, or was it only unconscious wounds collaborating in ways to work themselves out? I started out thinking the former, but arrived at the latter.
Those that think Daniel purposefully manipulated them give him far too much power, and themselves not enough. This is a mistake I think many students in the world make. This is where conspiracy theories come from.
I doubt I will ever give away my self-authority like I did to Daniel before. That was my lesson to learn, coming from my wounds, and it wasn’t all his fault that I did it, as I’d held before. Again, he took my power, sure, but I gave it to him.
When anything truly new comes into our world, a mess is almost always made. People get hurt. Curie gave herself and many others cancer in her passionate pursuit of discovering a new element, and millions have died since from the misuse of that discovery. Miracle drugs bring addiction. Food science brought obesity.
The same was true in the founding of every spirituality and religion we have, which justified torture, holy wars, oppression, etc. Anywhere you look at truly new things, you see messes before you see successes, and the more powerful the thing, the bigger the mess.
Daniel brought something truly new and powerful into our world, and yes, it made a serious mess. We all knew it was an experiment. We all knew tough love and demedications were a part of it...in advance. Those and some other features, however misguided, were not hidden in any fine print. I couldn’t forgive that until I saw my part in it.
Tough love seems to me a will-based, win-the-battle, lose-the-war justification for Daniel’s understandable control issues related to trying to bring a paradigm in its pure form. So much trouble is caused by misinterpretations of spiritual paradigms in our world. He didn’t want that to happen and erred to the other side, fueled by his own wound-based frustration about how people weren’t getting it, that was actually about how he himself didn’t get his own teaching yet in some significant ways. He was wrong, but I understand how and why.
What are we to do with a new, powerful thing that makes a mess? Throw it out entirely? I tried, but I couldn’t. Maybe because that isn’t how I live my life when I make messes, and that’s not how it seems the evolution of life, consciousness, and humanity works. What you do is, of course, up to you. It always was, and it always will be. That’s how it is for adults.
This brings me to my last point: victimhood. This entire website implicitly presupposes that adults can be taken advantage of without the “prey” having a contribution and something to learn. I’m not saying Daniel didn’t have plenty of his own responsibility. I thought I was curious, but I’d say that if someone still has anger, they haven’t gone far enough. That was me.
It’s also now clear to me that attacking who is now Stace, a very different person from Daniel and not merely a name change, in this venue or any other is not only an expression of victimhood, (again, which I did), but also doing the very thing that we didn’t like: tough love, verbal/emotional abuse, life-ruining, whatever you want to call it.
What else is the justification? To warn others and steer them away from “predators?” We’re all going to be drawn to whomever we’re going to be drawn to. We befriend, we marry, we hire, etc. we make these choices as a function of our own conscious and unconscious terrain, and then we learn our lessons, sometimes the easy way, and sometimes the hard way.
But to say to someone, “Absolutely stay away from this person because of what they did in their past.” Well, first it defies critical thinking, because people can change. Second, you have to think you can absolutely know what’s good for people, which is arrogant. But most importantly, you have played victim to your experience with that person in the first place as if they “happened” to you and you had nothing to do with choosing them, thus giving them the power to hurt you.
And it’s very tricky, because this very idea was used to justify abuse. It’s not okay for a mugger to mug someone and then say their “victim” is playing victim. And that kind of stuff went on. However, it doesn’t mean that the mugging “victim” didn’t have a contribution to look at.
In today’s era, this is dismissed as “blaming the victim” which is an oversimplification. But yes, that happened in Theohumanity. “Abuse” is a very tricky term because it implies that the receiver is a victim. With children they are, but we don’t really have a word to describe an unjust act done to someone who draws it. Of course, we don’t, for reasons I’ll explain.
I’ll put a fine point on it: apparently I _needed_ to be abused by Daniel because it woke me up to how I attracted (and perpetrated) betrayal elsewhere in my life, because of how I betrayed myself, which went all the way back to the betrayal from my parents I recently discovered.
This requires a big “and” and nearly paradoxical thinking. An unjust thing can be done to someone AND they can not be a victim. Some EBE people did get this, sooner than I did.
So it doesn’t make what he did okay, but I have no grudge because I’ve forgiven myself for needing the lesson, and he’s owned plenty with me of his side of it. That’s what, I’ve learned, is what healthy adults do. I regret it took me this long to get anywhere near that, but that’s the journey I’m on. I’m getting to complete the path I began with Stace and Brie’s help a long time ago. I never thought that would happen, and I’m so glad I did. My work with them ove the last 6 months has never been this positive and powerful.
As Daniel taught, a cult is not a noun, it’s a type of codependent relating where an authority figure’s issues match up with the student’s issues in a specific way leading to a predictable set of outcomes. He didn’t think he was contributing to cultic relationships. He was wrong, paid some serious prices, and learned deeply from the experience. I was wrong in that I didn’t see my side nearly as well as I thought I saw his. What do you know? Each party blamed the other. That’s what we do on the way to self-awareness, right?
The authority figure has slightly more responsibility for this, but not all of it, which is what you have to think to play victim to the choice to become the student. I should say, too, that this was a very difficult thing for me to come to grips with because we were all taught this, and then accused of playing victim when Daniel was not looking at his issues. That’s true. That idea was, in fact, misused. He didn’t embody sufficiently what he taught, yes, but that doesn’t make him a sociopath, as I had thought, it makes him human. And it makes him as imperfect as the greatest spiritual teachers in our history who also made huge messes.
Then in the collapse, all the brilliant and heartful babies were thrown out with the dirty bathwater, as if we all forgot that almost anyone who did even a year of EBE was immeasurably changed for the better.
Like any other codependent relationship, a cultic relationship can heal. The purpose of it is to set the stage for that healing, just like we marry versions of our parents to heal that.
To see any differently is to play victim to one’s own artificial sense of powerlessness, making the “cult leader” bigger than you in a way they never were, because a teacher only has the power a student gives them, which is the very contribution that caused the cultic relationship in the first place.
Another ex-EBE person said to me a couple of years after the collapse, “I wouldn’t trade the experience for the world.” It took me until years later to agree. May we all treasure our self-drawn experiences and learning so much that we can arrive at that place.
I don’t expect agreement on this from most people. It’s an extremely high bar for responsibility that most can’t swallow. The fundamental question is this: can an adult be traumatized, victimized, etc. or is it the case that because an adult is always at choice, they are at least in part responsible for whatever they get themselves into? If they have some responsibility, then they’re not a victim, they’re a co-contributor.
Our entire society, however, is structured around the first assumption rather than the second. The legal system is an easy place to see it. For those who are living inside the paradigm that adults can be victims, I wish you well. We’ll not agree. That’s not how it looks to me, and the second idea was one of the documented 9 premises of EBE that everyone knew before getting involved.
The tragedy of course, is that when we don’t sufficiently learn from our mistakes, we’re destined to repeat them. I directly experienced this by repeated betrayals and betrayings until I finally got to the bottom of it. That lesson was the hardest of my life and a painful process I wouldn’t wish on anyone.
Because our society is organized around and so validates victimhood, it’s absurd to expect this idea to be accepted: that we have a contribution, conscious or not, to everything that “happens” to us as adults. Indeed, even a group of people who subscribed to this idea, including myself, forgot it quickly and perpetrated on Daniel the very emotional violence they protested being recipients of. Again, I did that too.
Because of unhealed victimhood, any group of people attempting to live according to a set of values with a leader capable of making mistakes, which is all of them, is prone to being labeled a cult. The ones that are not are simply the less powerful and/or more widely accepted ones: the big five world religions, for example, which are especially suspect because they target children through families.
These contain cultic dynamics as much as Jehovah’s Witnesses or Koureshians or Theohumanity 1.0, but the in-groups are large enough to disqualify them: that’s the nature of consensus reality. If you get enough people similarly deluded, it becomes relative enough truth.
Said another way, if you accept that all human relationships have unhealthy codependence to some degree, and all paradigms involve human relationships, then they all have cultic dynamics. The question is just how it’s addressed and healed in the process.
A paradigm that says “follow this teaching or else!” (e.g. or you’ll go to hell) offers a sticky helping hand that promotes a cultic codependence. Sometimes Daniel came from this place, it’s true, mostly he didn’t. He doesn’t anymore. Toward the end of Theohumanity 1.0, he saw the authority dynamics that were creating cultic dynamics and tried to address them, but tragically he didn’t see his contribution at that time.
But that sticky helping hand only sticks to people with the opposite side of the Velcro. For me, it was my own lostness and lack of self-authority. So when an adult chooses any worldview, they are not a victim to a cult but rather someone on a journey of self-discovery about their unconscious motives for choosing that model for living life that may or may not create a codependent teacher-student relationship. The closer the relationship, the more inevitable the codependency is, as with all relationships.
The only true victims are children raised into them, who don’t have choice. This leads to the stark conclusion that the only real cult is the family and as such, all accusations of cult-status are victim cries that hearken back to that individual's childhood, when they truly were a victim. This, of course, was part of the teaching of Theohumanity that many of us forgot.
I forgot because I never really got it like I do now. I had to truly experience how I made Theohumanity a cult to match up with how Daniel did. I had to find the wound in me. I probably never would have if the family secret hadn’t leaked, so I really can’t take any credit for it.
My previous posts, along with many others’, returned the same kind of abuse I’d received, but predictably didn’t resolve anything. As Daniel himself said, “you always become the thing you fight against.”
There was a significant compassion gap in Ebe 1.0 and the teaching about no victimhood was misused because of that. Just because people aren’t victims doesn’t mean they don’t deserve compassion. It’s my experience that has changed in ebe 2.0. In fact, the three core emotions of joy, sorrow, and passion have been revised to joy, sorrow, and compassion. There are many differences that I’m still learning. The work now far more meets people where they are. It does what it says it did before, but didn’t yet.
There’s one more thing I want to say related to something I experienced recently with Stace. He gave me a frame for what was happening with me and it didn’t quite fit for me. It wasn’t a big deal, and we kept talking. Then, a few days later, some emotional content emerged in me that made me see the frame was exactly right.
I had the thought, “So was Stace seeing the future, or did he implant that into me?” I considered it for a minute and realized the writing was already on the wall, but I did get a bit scared for a moment. I talked with him about this and he was glad I did. We revisited something that I remembered from EBE 1.0.
The metaphysics of seeing the future isn’t about seeing the future: it’s about accessing the domain of consciousness that doesn’t have a past or a future, but only an eternal now. The more one spiritually develops, the bigger that now becomes.
You’ve probably had this experience a least a little bit before. You see exactly where something is going as if it’s already happening and the other person doesn’t. It’s a difference in context size and quality. Stace’s now is big. Is he always right? No. But he’s right often enough for it to be helpful as hell.
But you can imagine the problems with this. When what happens isn’t desirable to the person, it easily can elicit feelings of victimhood, or evoke fear of manipulation. It’s also very tricky to know what to share about what you see with someone that’s happening in your now, but is in their future, especially if you don’t realize it hasn’t happened yet. The more wisdom you have, the more challenging this is. Parents have to navigate this every day as they see where their children are headed and have to weigh whether it’s best to let them make their own mistakes or not.
So is this a clever justification for messing with people’s realities, or deep spiritual insight? As with everything, decide for yourself! In the past, Stace would agree that Daniel was far to involved in people’s lives and often said too much about what he saw happening, but that wasn’t from a desire to manipulate, it was from a desire to help. Did it have negatives consequences? Of course: as we all know good intentions can lead to negative outcomes when unhealthily motivated.
In the end, I have to admit I don’t know...anything. I can only go with my most recent experience and the next moment. I admit that I often say to myself, “Jeez, am I really doing this again?” It’s still very hard work, just without the undue hardness, but to me it’s worth it.
I have to stop writing or else I’ll never finish this. Thanks for reading and best wishes on your journey, wherever it takes you.