Theater of All Possibilities
Posted by: mjspins ()
Date: February 15, 2003 01:11AM

I'm wondering if there are any former members in the group who were members during 1976 through 1978? I just found this site today and it's been a long time since I've thought about this but reading the information here is bringing it all back.

I'm so amazed that they're still at it.


Options: ReplyQuote
Theater of All Possibilities
Posted by: corboy ()
Date: February 16, 2003 05:24AM

You could consider going to Google, going to 'groups' and signing on to one of the alt groups. In the cluster alt.consciousness there is a 'Fourth Way' group. A number of members appear to have escaped from bogus Fourth Way groups. You could post your inquiry there and see if you get any replies.

Be prepared to demonstrate that you are a safe, kind person and have integrity--you are seeking to elicit responses from a very traumatized population, as you well know. If necessary, be ready to supply references.

Another possibility is to post an inquiry on [] It has bulletin boards in most of the major cities, including New York San Francisco and LA.

Options: ReplyQuote
Theater of All Possibilities
Posted by: mjspins ()
Date: February 16, 2003 09:05PM

Thank you for your words and I will save your pointers. In due time, I'll pursue each of them. I need to go very slowly with this.

I believe that my psyche is finally ready to do this work now. Yes, traumatized is the right word. I left the group 4 months pregnant with another member's child. He refused all contact until one day when I was about 8 1/2 months pregnant I received what appeared to be a legal document from Haiti asking me to sign and be instantly divorced from him (which I knew meant that he was ready to remarry).

I refused to sign and finally a divorce was achieved after my daughter was born. So much of this has been shoved down deep in me, it's just slowly coming up and so it goes. . .

Since I was from the midwest, that is where I returned and have remained. There is not much understanding of such groups here. My child has recently graduated from college and has moved away on her own now. She is such a gift and so maybe you can see the dilemma here for me.

I need to go slowly. Thank you.

Options: ReplyQuote
Theater of All Possibilities
Posted by: corboy ()
Date: February 17, 2003 12:42AM

(Before you read further, make sure you are in a good place and have some Kleenex and/or a good friend you can call. I am offering some ideas that may help clarify what happened to you but you may find some of this very upsetting. If you're feeling fragile you can keep this post for later)

The reason I was a bit cautious when responding to your post is that while I have never (Thank GOD!!!) been involved with any Fourth Way groups (I think G himself was merely a psychic adventurer/adept and a brilliantly successful con artist whose only contribution was to empower other con artists.) But I've read some of the horror stories and done some research.

IMHO the deceit and the game playing that go on in dysfunctional parts of the Fourth Way world are astounding. When you've been taught that anyone outside your group is a robot, that gives a license to manipulate all other human beings any way that the teacher and students desire. want.

No, Midwesterners for the most part will not be able to comprehend the horror of what you've been through. (My mom's side of the family live in Minnesota. I can just picture my uncle gawking and saying, 'You let yourself get pushed around by a someone like that?!') In a way someone has to have gone through the same ordeal or something very similar before they can really understand what you have been through

In his book The Harmonious Circle, James Webb makes a very convincing argument that Gurjieff was a spy for the Imperial Russian government and in that capacity he travelled in Tibet and Central Asia on assignment and appropriated elements from valid traditions like Sufism and Tibetan Buddhism--that that was what enabled him to do all the travelling described in Meetings With Remarkable Men. In those far off days, world travel was difficult and very expensive. But if you were a spy on assignment--that part was taken care of. And the areas where Gurdjieff travelled were espionage hot-spots for the Great Game--the competition between Imperial Russia and Great Britain for dominance of Central and South Asia.

. Problem is the pressures of espionage would subvert spiritual progress--you're anxious all the time, tense all the time, and you're contantly pretending to be someone you are not, while at the same time keeping a low profile or manipulating others. Espionage is not right livelihood--you could learn a lot, intellectually about spiritual practices while living as a spy, but your ego would be so hyper active that you'd make little progress applying those spiritual practices. Whatever progress you'd make dismantling your ego through meditation would be ruined by your next days work as a spy!

So because G was ego driven with a greed for power, he missed the spiritual core of Sufism and Buddhism and the only elements he could appreciate (and steal) were 'power tools'--stuff that empowered his ego and enhanced his charisma. The guy cultivated mystery and mystique and used all kinds of techniques derived from espionage to manipulate and recruit people

The atmosphere inside a bad Fourth Way group is remarkably like that of a spy operation--the spy master, his minions, lying to the outside world, being on a mission, and the ego thrill of knowing stuff that no one else does. Think about John le Carres' Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy.

Gurdjeiff stayed employed by creating a brilliant psychic adventure novel in which a vast, cosmic spy mystery plays out across the eons. The priviliged few who get to be secret agents have all the fun of being 'in on it'. It sure guaranteed that Gurdjieff stayed employed. He still had minions and a purpose in life, even after Tsarist Russia was swept away. He probably half believed his own BS which made it all the more convincing. But the truth was G was not a spiritual teacher at all. His ego, his personality, and his crazy story telling were distractions from the Big Picture and could never lead to the Big Picture.

If you want some help discerning the difference between real spirituality, read a collection of articles by [] -- look for 'Evaluating Spiritual and Utopian Groups.' What I like about Deikman is that he is both a psychiatrist and a Sufi, uses common sense. He spells out which states of mind are compatible with spiritual practice and which distract from or undermine spiritual practice. By his standards, Gurdjieff was NOT a spiritual teacher at all-Deikman does not say so, but thats my conclusion.

When Fourth Way groups go bad, they are among the most damaging of all cults. They zap you in all the important areas:

1)mental health (the meditation techniques sometimes trigger dissociative reactions. Even Ouspensky suffered a severe dissociation amnesia when he did Self Remembering following G's instructions!)

2) isolation from mainstream society

3) estrangement from your friends, family and outside interests

4) teaching that empathy and compassion are signs of weakness

5)financial exploitation and (in your case)

6) sexual exploitation

The plain fact is that you were LIED TO--it is standard practice for these people to recruit you in by counterfeiting friendship. People with decent instincts cannot comprehend that certain characters or groups make it a policy to lie their way through life. You were not roped in by novices, but by expert recruiters .

Two, very likely some form of trance may have been used in group work. The self remembering meditation may lead to trance reactions and dissociations. The burden of secrecy is heavy. You were gradually isolated from healthy outside influence. And it is so intoxicating to believe you are on a mission. If you were originally from the Midwest, you probably felt pretty lonesome in NYC and were an easy mark.

I know this sounds horribly depressing but there was a newspaper article in the SF Examiner last year about teenaged girls who are trapped into prostitution in SF. Turns out that many of these young women are from--Minnesota! They grow up in one of the sweetest friendliest places in the USA. They are targeted in bus stations by pimps who know exactly how to exploit their naivete.

All this was described by a Lutheran minister in the Twin Cities who runs a project designed to educate Minnesota girls about the hazards they face if they go to the big cities. Again, this probably sounds horrible to read but I am telling you this to reassure you that you were not stupid, and were not weak. You had a heart and you were targeted and recruited by crooks who were trained and knew precisely what they were doing.

There's also a glittering mystique to Fourth Way ideas. I have no sympathy for G, but always find myself getting a little obsessed when I think about his ideas--even when demolishing them. I think that the man assembled a lot of ideas and symbols and selected the ones that elicited curiosity and induced subtle confusion. When you can target very intelligent people, pique their curiosity, but simultaneously keep their minds from being able to get a clear focus on what the hell you are doing, this is a kind of 'cognitive aphrodisiac'--it triggers craving for a Solution--which empowers the con artist who has created the confusion and promises to teach the solution!

An old biker I met had a bunch of tattos on his arms. (He had left his gang years before). I asked about one of the tattoos. It looked like a geometric symbol. He rolled down his sleeve and looked rather ashamed. 'It is a conversation starter. It makes girls curious.' A man with that tattoo could increase his chances of getting laid.

I mention this story because James Webb makes a case that G studied all the Western occult literature he could get his hands on. He had been a spy--which is all about manipulating people. He had staggering opportunities to travel and make observations. I suspect that G identified all kinds of ideas and symbols that were 'conversation starters'--that picqued curiosity in specific groups of people. And according to James Webb's book The Harmonious Circle, Gurdjieff set up practice in many Russian towns as a hypnotherapist so that he could test techniques on people--he felt entitled to do this. His aim was not to serve and heal all humanity but merely to empower himself. All he could do was empower a long, long pedigree of crooks.

I dont know if this is of any help, and I am not a therapist. All I can say is that it appears that you were entrapped by experts. The only way to escape is by trusting your gut. Problem is, many of us have trouble trusting our guts to begin with. And once you're in a nasty group, you become further estranged from your gut.

Test the integrity of anyone who responds to your posts and do not reveal personal information too soon.

Options: ReplyQuote
Theater of All Possibilities
Posted by: corboy ()
Date: February 17, 2003 12:43AM

Recovery goes in 3 approximate steps:

1) Owning your boundaries, your anger at being lied to and manipulated and re-connecting with your health sense of entitlement that you are not supposed to be lied to or used as an object in someone's esoteric project.

2) Stop making excuses for the teacher and group. Feel free to get pissed off.

Identify the precise means that were used to lie to you, recruit you and retain you. That takes the mystery out of it. Identify the process and tricks used to manipulate you. You would never have joined this group if you'd had informed consent, if you'd known what their true priorities and agenda was! You may need to do some reading on the background of the group, its ideas and then demolish the ideas. Other people ignore the ideas and concentrate on the process by which they were manipulated.

3) You shift gears. You begin to feel bored with being angry. Now its time to remember where you were, emotionally and socially, when you were recruited. Whats your personal history? What made the group appealing? We all have blind spots, longings for care and comfort. In my case my spiritual director resembled my dead father. A con artist only succeeds by tapping areas of unconscious yearning in his or her victim. If you identify what made you recruitable by the Gans people, you will gain self knowledge and salvage something good. That gives you a sense of agency--that you wont be hurt again.

FInally, you identify what spirituality means and does not mean for you. You can distinguish between your need for human loving care and your need for spiritual growth--the two are different. Most humans confuse the two and that is how cults exploit us. You have to sort this out.

Blessings on your journey.

Options: ReplyQuote
Theater of All Possibilities
Posted by: mjspins ()
Date: February 17, 2003 01:04PM

Thanks for you words. I find your ideas interesting and you obviously have studied these phenomena quite a lot.

I'm really not looking for recovery. I think 25 years of living have helped me with that quite a lot, along with some good spiritual work and therapy. I'm just looking to figure out what I'm carrying around in my body still so that I can let it all go.

I found that reading about Sharon now was intense and to see names of people I knew out in San Francisco was also intense.

It's so unbelievable to me that they are still at it. I can't imagine what that will do to their karma. And, that's really not my business and I try to stop that kind of thinking quickly. It's hard to understand how they can still believe that she's anything sincere.

I don't like thinking of myself as a victim. I was responsible for staying there as long as I did. I learned some interesting things about myself. I was very naive and I obviously had some very dysfunctional qualities to have stayed as long as I did. Believe me, I challenged them a lot and I think they were glad to see me go.

I think it's very wrong that they continue to thrive.

Options: ReplyQuote

Sorry, only registered users may post in this forum.
This forum powered by Phorum.