You want to know how to escape Alex Horn & Sharon Gans?
Posted by: cber7 ()
Date: March 11, 2005 06:03AM

If you are a student stuck in a group led by Alex Horn or Sharon Gans-Horn, then the fact you are reading this is already great news. It means that you are smart enough and intuitive enough and courageous enough to have begun to distinguish between the ideas of Gurdjieff and Ouspensky and the people teaching them. Whether or not what Gurdjieff or Ouspensky taught is valuable and valid does not matter here. If you are someone who has a friend or companion who you know is involved with these groups and you don't know what to do, try to show them this.

You are being preyed upon by phonies-- very clever, manipulative, and charming (when they need to be) frauds. They crave three things-- money, power, and a sense of self-importance-- to excess. Any shred of self-doubt about their motives and behavior disappeared long ago-- they have convinced themselves that they are superior to you and others, further justifying their need for power, money, and self-importance. They manipulate, abuse, and misuse the ideas of Gurdjieff, Ouspensky, Nicoll, and Collin to suit their agenda. I repeat-- they do not serve the ideas, the ideas serve them. They are not conduits for higher influences-- they are self-deluded and power-mad with a long trail of exploitation and destruction of lives and families. They will dangle the carrot of "meaning," "consciousness," and "freedom" before you but at the same time undermine your self-esteem by showing you how mechanical and helpless you are.

Over the course of many years they have surrounded themselves with weak-spirited and wretched lackeys whose real motivation is also the lust for power, money and the need to feel important. The way to get away from them requires both a strong mental effort followed by action. Both will be addressed here.

First of all, you must believe in your suspicions enough to look further into what type of person Alex Horn and Sharon Gans really are. Do some research on your own and study the traits of "malignant narcissism" or "malignant narcissists." This should help to ground your suspicions in what you have observed about your "teachers." Your "teachers" are, according to the traits of "malignant narcissism," fully functioning sociopaths/psychopaths. That's right-- they are insane, but very dangerous so long as you think they have power over you because you continue to believe they are sane. The sad thing about the Work and these wretches is that the "Ideas" you have been studying-- when manipulated by them-- dovetail perfectly with the agenda of maintaining the state of Grandiosity that characterizes them as sociopaths.

How do they succeed? How do they get away with all of this? How do they fool so many people so much of the time? You might as well ask how did Hitler and Stalin get away with their agenda. It is the exact same chilling phenomenon, just a different scale. Hitler and Stalin liquidated people who got in their way or threatened them. Stalin, when he did not make people "disappear" sent them to the Gulags. With Sharon Gans or Alex Horn, when you are sent away you too become a non-person. You are in fact treated as a disease by the diseased!

Look at the following websites: and Ask others in this forum on this website about the substance abuse they have witnessed too: food, tobacco, alcohol, mood-altering medications. Talk about "habit" and slavery!

The way to escape, once you have been convinced enough of what you read here and elsewhere, is simple. But the final obstacle to leaving is being aware of and being able to cope with the loss of all the friends you have made during your stay in the group. This will feel like a big and painful sacrifice. But ultimately they must take responsibility for their beliefs and their lives, too. Those beliefs that you once shared that brought you and your fellows closer to each other will now be the source of a divide. And the ideas that helped create that bond must now at this point not outweigh the evidence that is in front of your eyes-- that Sharon Gans or Alex Horn and their respective inner circles are not really for you. They are parasites and vampires who have successfully exploited you, and you must rid yourself of them even when it means losing many friends, misguided though they may be. Which is worse, remaining in a prison-- in a punitive and demoralizing environment with your companions-- or being out of prison without them? You must make an intentional decision to maintain that they are wrong and you are right. Can you do that? Yes, you can. Have the courage to get out of group-think.

What about "consciousness?" Are you frightened of losing "everything?" Consider this: Is it possible that the phenomenon called "self-remembering" is actually a form of auto-hypnosis? Is it a coincidence that Gurdjieff was a professional hypnotist before "discovering" the Ideas? Is it possible that the power that Sharon Gans or Alex Horn or the other ones has over you and so many others is based on your capacity to reach a semi-hypnotic state that they "teach" you in the first place? By considering these alternative explanations you may strengthen your resolve to get out as fast as you can.

What about the lure of Higher Sex, eroticism, and "sex energy" connected with "self-remembering?" Think about it: if it is possible that self-remembering is simply a way to hypnotize yourself, then it is also possible that the urges you repress that belong to your libido are freed a little bit. Unrepressed libido and "sex energy" are equatable-- yes, it could be that simple. Be courageous enough to think about it.

Again, after you have gotten past this obstacle of leaving your friends behind, the way out is simple: With either Sharon or Alex's group, the only thing that these people understand is force, threats, intimidation, power, and the possibility of exposure. After your last "class" or "meeting," leave pretending that all is normal. Say nothing of your intention and be resolved to never return. Then, when you are contacted by a partner for missing your next meeting...remain vague and inform them that you have decided to leave-- you do not need to give an explanantion no matter how coercive they may be. No, you do not owe them an explanantion! Whatever you do, do not be talked into announcing your departure in class! You do not owe your jailers anything! Tell them that you want no further calls and you are not open to any persuasion. If they persist, remain vague but allude to either an investigative reporter acquaintance at a local newspaper, an acquaintance at the local police department, or a friend at the FBI. Any threat of an authority or potential menace that can expose Alex Horn or Sharon Gans will scare them away for good. Be prepared for a lot of idle threats and violent language though-- that's the last-ditch effort of a so-called Higher Being having a tantrum. In the end, though, it is all bark. Alex Horn and Sharon Gans may be psychopaths but they are also cowards interested only in self-preservation. They will continue to "do" nothing but talk, as they have been "doing" for many many years. If there were such a thing as Sleep, Mechanicality, buffers, and real Conscience in the sense they speak of it, those two and their crowd are much worse off than you-- and incurably so.

You want to know how to escape Alex Horn & Sharon Gans?
Posted by: coronoman ()
Date: March 16, 2005 12:07PM

Thank you for that post. As a still-recovering ex-member, I agree wholeheartedly with your comments.

You want to know how to escape Alex Horn & Sharon Gans?
Posted by: exiled ()
Date: February 08, 2007 02:06PM

Wow. I am just reading cyber7's post now, nearly two years later, as I am just becoming acquainted with this site. First of all, I thought it was awesome, and second of all, I can't believe there was only one reply!

I spent 13 years in one of the New York groups, and though I was losing my conviction about the use of the ideas and the integrity of the "teachers," I don't know if I would have left on my own. Were it not for an "exposure-threatening" event I was involved in, I might have lingered for years.

What kills me now is how big a sucker I was for buying all the imposed rules and restrictions without being able to step back and trust MY better judgement. I had access to the internet and actively used it for work. I even used it for "school" to search for Y2K information. But I could not cross that internal line to ever seek out information about the group. I gave up my own "self reliance" and kept my faith in the people I was following.

Sorry, I didn't mean it to be all about me, but it just comes spilling out. I am only just now beginning to digest the reality of the man behind the curtain.

Anyway, I wanted to second a couple things cyber7 said so excellently - though I have no idea if anyone will be reading this. Yes, what you will really miss are the people - except that you only get along with most of them now because you are sharing a structure and a way of thinking that is imposed on you. Of course, there are people you may be really close to, and that will be hard to tear away from, but think about it in the context of the prison analogy: would you like to stay shut off from the world and make some incredible friends that you can never share openly with anyone on the outside and never even see outside of prison time, at the expense being denied an open existence with possession of your own will and full, multi-leveled relationships with people who have a variety of different ideas? I feel like war may be a better analogy - I feel like the "friendships" I had were similar to what I read about wartime: intense bonding during very punishing conditions (I am not suggesting they are on the same scale). Except that people at war want to come home as soon as they can, though they may miss that intense bond. They know that they are at war and they could be killed, and they see all the horrendous carnage around them. Why would they want to stay? In "school," you are also at war, but you don't know it at the time. You are at war with your own conscience and common sense and rational points of view. You are at war with the world, in a way, by keeping separate and feeling elevated by your efforts. And the carnage is all around you: people who disappear, people with emotional breakdowns, people emotionally ripped apart in front of the group, old friends and family you push away. But it is all done under the guise of coming from something bigger, higher than oneself. Yes, I see the Stalin and Hitler comparison more clearly now - it seemed a stretch when I first read it. The point is that you have to go along or be fingered as a heretic and cast into the wilderness. The twist is that it is supposedly a higher power, a higher intelligence, a higher spirituality behind everything. And one that can't be questioned. That's what I kick myself the most for. How many times I saw bullshit and inconsistencies and outright ridiculousness and didn't have the balls to say "how can this be right? How can this be concsiousness? How can you make such an absurd and totally crackpot statement?" But I sat there and felt that something must have been wrong with me not to see it. The emperor's new clothes.

It seems so attractive to be working in secret in a group that traces its existence back through Shakespeare and DaVinci, the cathedral builders, Plato, etc. - but it is a lie. There is no evidence of a connection. It is wishful thinking and illusion. It is believing what you want to believe. Watch "The Illusionist" until the end.

There are alot of good ideas involved in the "school," but they are used wrongly, to exploit rather than to awaken. You probably know this somewhere, but it is just too uncomfortable to entertain the idea. If everything you have believed for so long is really bogus, where does that leave you? With striving to embrace the truth for yourself or continuing to stay in the comfort of someone else's truth. You don't have to leave, but you CAN leave if you want.

Well, I wasn't expecting to make such a long comment. Don't know that I really added anything to cyber7's incredible exhortation, but had to get it out.

You want to know how to escape Alex Horn & Sharon Gans?
Posted by: elena ()
Date: February 09, 2007 01:25AM

Thanks for writing "exiled."

It is typical that cults tap into these most primal needs and fears, those being the need for belonging and the fear of abandonment. In evolutionary terms, these were matters of life and death. Though most of us need not bother ourselves too much with these survival issues in modern times, we still feel them in an almost child-like way in emotional and subconscious ways. Acceptance and validation are still strong bonds and the pain of rejection still echoes back to this fear of ostracism.

Groups that practice "shunning" give themselves away. It's a typical fingerprint that identifies a cult. They know what they are doing and they know most people stay in cults because of the friends they have made within them. They use and exploit basic needs for their own advantage.


You want to know how to escape Alex Horn & Sharon Gans?
Posted by: mxkitty ()
Date: April 03, 2007 06:43AM

Here's a link to a composite picture of Sharon Gans and Alex Horn with Rosie O'Donnell:


Re: You want to know how to escape Alex Horn & Sharon Gans?
Posted by: mytruevoice ()
Date: January 31, 2011 12:09AM

I came across this thread and thought it was worthwhile bumping it up to the top of the list of topics. The previous posters are so articulate and insightful, and it's worthwhile material for anyone contempating leaving School. If you're in School, you may want to closely consider Ellen's comments above, about how Robert and Sharon and the other teachers exploit our yearnings for belonging and fears of abandonment for their own aims.

You need to question this for yourself to see if the statements are true. Perhaps you can see evidence of the truth of the statement when the teachers talk about a former student in class, or how they talk to current students who don't make their aims, especially for third line of work (aka recruiting).

When I began to question the validity of the group, I found it easier to examine how the group treated other students in my class. At the time, it was too hard to look at myself with any degree of objectivity, but eventually I saw how I was decieved and controlled, too.

The most important thing is to question, to be sceptical, to begin to think for yourself. 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?"

Re: You want to know how to escape Alex Horn & Sharon Gans?
Posted by: corboy ()
Date: January 31, 2011 04:24AM


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


Re: You want to know how to escape Alex Horn & Sharon Gans?
Posted by: cochineal ()
Date: February 04, 2011 09:28AM

Re: You want to know how to escape Alex Horn & Sharon Gans?
Posted by: cochineal ()
Date: March 13, 2012 06:43AM

I am wondering if anyone has any information on Alex Horn's "private" groups? I know that he had at least two groups of students that were separate from the "main school" that Sharon was running. I also believe Sharon had/has some "private" groups of her own that were not part of the main groups. By main groups, I mean the groups that met on Broadway between Franklin and Leonard, Taylor-Hodson (133 West 19th Street), 119 West 25th Street and now on 38th Street.

Re: You want to know how to escape Alex Horn & Sharon Gans?
Posted by: cochineal ()
Date: June 07, 2012 03:54AM

I am currently looking for an attorney to help in a cult related matter concerning Sharon Gans.
Is anybody aware of any attorneys that would help in a lawsuit involving a cult?
Thanks in advance for your help.

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