When I was first invited to School, the bigest question on my mind was "Is this a cult?" I firmly belive that that should remain a question for every student, whether it's their 1st year in School or their 30th year.
And the second question that every new student has needs to be asked, too -- "Where does the money go?"
Right on--and for both questions.
Here is something that has emerged from some new social psychology research. It illustrates that power does corrupt--and the process can set in almost immediately.
And..even when someone has been randomly assigned to a leadership role in a group.
Professor Deborah Gruenfeld's did an experiment. I (Corboy) have termed it The Stanford Cookie Experiment, to echo the title given to the more famous/infamous Stanford Prison Experiment.
Because Professor Gruenfeld's experiment more closely follows social patterns we typically encounter, I think that all concerned citizens should be aware of this experiment--and that it should become as well known as and be bracketed Stanley Milgram's Obedience to Authority Experiment and Philip Zimbardo's Stanford Prison Experiment.
Gruenfeld's set up and findings demonstrates how a leadership role, randomly assigned, has a tendency to trigger swinish bad manners in otherwise normal persons
The way the experiment worked (and it was replicated a number of times)
subjects were assembled into a group to do a shared task.
*At random, one subject in each group was assigned the role of overseeing and evaluating the others' work--randomly assigned to a leadership role.
During the experiment, a plate of cookies/biscuits was brought in.
Time and again, those subjects randomly assigned to the leadership role, tended
to do the following:
Took more cookies (greed)
Chewed with mouths open (lapses of ordinary good manners)
Got crumbs on their faces and left crumbs on the table (messes for others to clean up)
Thus, random assignment to a brief, time limited leadership role had a statistically siginficant effect--it increased, beyond random expections--the likelihood that the leader's manners would deteriorate and that he or she would become greedy for goodies.
Now...these were persons who had not sought the leadership role--they were randomly assigned.
Two, the experiment did not last more than an hour or two.
By contrast, the persons whose careers we discuss on this message board are persons who have
* Eagerly sought leadership
*Persons who have sought ways to recruit followers, who have put a great deal of effort into refining their persuasive skills, and have arranged to be waited on, cated to, use ideology (from Gurdjieff and others) rationalizing nasty behaviour as evidence of higher consciousness and finally assembled enough money to insulate themselves from normal consequences of bad behavior.
* Have remained in leadership roles for years, even for decades.
, insulated from consequences, and have enablers making excuses for them.
This means that a teacher or group might start out well, but after thirty years, even a good teacher might succumb to the temptations of the leadership role, as many of Gruenfelds subjects did.
So you bet--one has to monitor the health of both one's study group and teacher, not only at the beginning but even for rest of the time one has joined.
It is not unusual for leaders to deteriorate into tyranny and boot out old and faithful members who remember the early and decent days of the group and surround themselves with younger and more submissive members--they dont want the older members who remember the days before the leader turned into a Cookie Monster.
Two--asking where the money goes--you betcha.
If a leader's character deteriorates into Cookie Monster mode, he or she is likely to become addicted to luxury goods, shopping binges, expensive real estate and yes, the money trail becomes harder and harder to trace.
Both good questions.
The experiment was done by Professor Deborah Gruenfeld of Stanford University--her
speciality has been researching the effects of putting people in positions of power where they lord it over others.
Google search on the Stanford Cookie Experiment