School of Philosophy Theory

Discussion of the SES, particularly in the UK.
mei_ei@yahoo.ca

School of Philosophy Theory

Postby mei_ei@yahoo.ca » Fri Jul 02, 2004 3:47 pm

Hello,

recently, my friend who has been in the SoP since birth has left the school. This leaving came after a period of insanity and paranoia he went through as you've heard about here, I'm sure. I'll give you a bit of background first.

At first, he realized, quite astounishingly I might add, a flaw in the fundamental taeching about the Self, which I think it's still working and relevant now. Anyway, he told me at first and brought it up in class (we were both in the senior class-- the highest class) and no one really understood it but me. Everyone was very confused and rejected it but even the tutor and leader of the school was stumped.

Anyway, he started to tell me everything he's been thinking and the research he's been doing about the school and told me I should too. I did, and that's how I found these boards. At first he started out with some reasonable explanations, but then he went schizophrenic. He became paranoid, didn't sleep for days and called me at 4 am in the morning connection all of these irrelevant things. He was sure that they'd (the leaders) would let him in on what the school is 'really' about soon and so he stayed for a while, but it just never happened.

First, I will tell you about the 'flaw' that we discovered about the fundamental teacher; ie the Self. You see, the whole theory doesn't really make sense.. that we ARE the Self yet appear not to be at the same time. We are both nothing and everything.. a balance of paradoxes. Of course, my first reaction, and many people's reactions that would be in the school, would be it DOES make sense and we're just not at that stage or point of knowledge to fully understand it yet.. and he said he'd knew I'd say that. See the theory of the Self is based on the Dwighta-Weighdaughty (I'm sure I mispellled that) system that's incredibly complex. From the introduction of the theory, I don't think anyone really understands it and goes through the school NOT understanding it. They finally land at a high level that it'd be embarrassing or even rude to question the most fundamental teaching.. it's like you're already SUPPOSED to know what it's about... like asking a calculus teacher how you multiply or something. So we are mentally deterred from asking about the Self because we have this feeling we're already SUPPOSED to know or when we do ask something, isn't it always the same answer? Listen to the wise and practice? Medidate, the answers will come, etc.

Anyway, what didn't make sense is that the Self is supposed to be all knowing, yet we, whoever we are, are not all knowing. We are not currently the Self in our minds. There is some obstacle to overcome to BECOME the Self supposibly. Perhaps you may say "o, the MIND doesn't think it's the self.. that's what's stopping you," but is it really? WHO buys into this and thinks they are the mind and body? Is it not that SAME 'observer' that's supposed to be all knowing? How can our TRUE SELVES, ie THE SELF, be decieved into thinking it's the mind and body if it's all knowing? The point is, there is something buying into us NOT being the self, and it must be OUR self. If we are truly all knowing and that, then why are we not currently? Can this all knowing self be decieving itself? It seems as though we are a seperate identity in the middle of THE SELF and THE MIND and BODY and that seems to be who we truly are. It's sort of hard to explain though it makes sense to me, but I can try to help you understand it if you don't.

SO, after discovering this, we thought why would the school decieve people? We came up with 3 reasons, in order of most logical:
1. They KNOW it's flawed and are doing it for the good of people.. think about it.. what does the school do? Doesn't it develop your nature and put you more in control of your life, or doesn't it seem to aim that way?
2. They DON'T KNOW it's flawed and are just perpetuating this system in ignorance.
3. They KNOW that it's flawed and are decieving people for some evil/selfish purpose in some grand scheme of things.

We ranked them in this order because it seems that their intentions are good, just observing the school for the time we've been in there and it seems unreasonable that they would want to hurt people. After staying in it longer than my friend, I have switched 2 with 1 because I realized that no one really knows what they're talking about or what they're saying.

ANYWAY, the first theory his told me about was quite brilliant. And the theory is this: The school is based on a platonic system, as outlined in the Republic. This is based on the fundamental flaw about the Self. Think about it.. in the Republic, Plato outlines a system for finding the philosopher kings from childhood, hence the encouragement to bring your children to the school and the multilpying of the philosophy day schools around the world. Though Plato is vague on the actual 'testing' of the potential philosopher kings, but he does talk abou DECIEVING them. You see, it takes a great amount of COURAGE and a great amount of observation and reason to question the Self and find a flaw.. arguably, it could take the most reasonable and courageous person in the School of Philosophy. Something that you've grown accustomed to, heard, and practiced attaining your entire life... to question that is a great feat. Again, the most reasonble and courageous can do this, which are key characteristics to the philosopher kings. Looking back on his childhood in the school, he remembered a bunch of things that could possibly be tests, though he wasn't too sure. His dad left for a period of time and they asked him if he wanted to leave also at a young age.. and his dad just left for no real reason it seemed to him.. perhaps they asked him to. They also got him to tutor at quite a young age, younger than any tutor has been. He was supposed to be the next leader of the school.

There was also some semi-reasonable theories about reproduction and homosexuality within the school, perhaps I will share them later. This was further prompted by my friend going in one day and saying something like "I finally really know" to one of the seniors and they said "welcome to the club" in a sort of cryptic manner.. followed by weird behaviour after they found out he really didn't know.

But just think.. more and more people are turning to philosophy, more and more dayschools are being opened, more and more philosophy schools are being founded. Think about some of the people who join also.. judges, teachers, university students.. people who's allegiance would be useful in the future. Perhaps this is a spinoff of something that started reasonble.. but it seems as though they want to gain power and people SEEMINGLY to make a just society based on a platonic system.

In any case, the initial platonic theory was really quite amazing to me and it made sense. It seemed weird though that no one really told him what's 'really going on' if this system was true though, because exposure to it and spreading of what it's really about would subsequently hurt their entire system. So, I could be helping you right now but showing you what I've found and discussed or hurting their system that's trying to make people just and happy. I really hope it's not the later and I'd be incredibly regretful posting this if the platonic system is true and they have a true intention. If so, I'm very sorry.. but I really couldn't help but share it with you people to see how you react, as these have only been viewed/examined by 2 people from the school and other perspectives/insight would be helpful in building a more whollistic theory.

Right now, I think they don't know what they're talking about but are still ernest in their desire to better the world and help people.. but who knows, maybe I'm wrong.

Thanks, feel free and I'd encourage feedback.

Antises

Postby Antises » Fri Jul 02, 2004 11:33 pm

The SES certainly does not have sinister motives. The SES consists of many middle-class professionals who, instead of living excessively lavish lifestyles, choose to devote much of their time to an essentially non-profit-making organisation and charitable causes. This end result indicates to me that the SES cannot be evil in its intentions, but it can be criticized on other grounds. One thing I believe is that the SES does not offer just a philosophy, it offers a sytem of beliefs. Philosophy and religious beliefs, although often related, are not equivalent. When the SES puts forward the idea of 'the Self', in my view it is not a philosophical statement, but a religious one based on belief rather than logic. There is nothing wrong with this, except the SES should not advertise that it offers a philosophy in the conventional sense. I feel this is the root of the criticism raised by mei_ei: it would be impossible to prove or disprove the existence/realisation of 'the Self' because of the very nature of the notion. I personally do believe in 'the Self', not due to any influence of the SES but rather through religion.

TB

Postby TB » Sat Jul 03, 2004 1:24 am

I suppose we should take a lesson from this - the danger of taking ourselves too seriously. You could have spun this out, but it was a bit 'haevy-handed' - if you know wot 'i_me'en?

Guest

Postby Guest » Sat Jul 03, 2004 3:54 am

Antises wrote:The SES certainly does not have sinister motives. The SES consists of many middle-class professionals who, instead of living excessively lavish lifestyles, choose to devote much of their time to an essentially non-profit-making organisation and charitable causes. This end result indicates to me that the SES cannot be evil in its intentions, but it can be criticized on other grounds. One thing I believe is that the SES does not offer just a philosophy, it offers a sytem of beliefs. Philosophy and religious beliefs, although often related, are not equivalent. When the SES puts forward the idea of 'the Self', in my view it is not a philosophical statement, but a religious one based on belief rather than logic. There is nothing wrong with this, except the SES should not advertise that it offers a philosophy in the conventional sense. I feel this is the root of the criticism raised by mei_ei: it would be impossible to prove or disprove the existence/realisation of 'the Self' because of the very nature of the notion. I personally do believe in 'the Self', not due to any influence of the SES but rather through religion.

oh no, i feel you. I do not necessarily believe in the theory I layed it, it was more something to discuss. After my friend got mental work done and did some psychiatric theory and is fine now, that's his only problem with the school also.. that they decieve people into thinking it's a course in philosophy when it is a system of certain beliefs. I myself have very little problem witht he school at all, sorry if it appeared that way. I'm not completely sure about the Self in any case and that logic does not seem to be sufficient to me. But yeah, this is more of a theory for discussion.

erikdr

School of Philosophy Theory

Postby erikdr » Sat Jul 03, 2004 8:19 am

"First, I will tell you about the 'flaw' that we discovered about the fundamental teacher; ie the Self. You see, the whole theory doesn't really make sense.. that we ARE the Self yet appear not to be at the same time. We are both nothing and everything.. a balance of paradoxes"

I'd like to put aside the topic of whether the SoP people themselves are deceived or not, and whether there is power-hunger. And come back to the basic point that your friend made. As someone with 8 years experience inside SES, and having moved quite some time ago to Buddhism whilst still maintaining friendship with some of my ex-SES pals, I think I have some ground to stand on.

The whole theory which you refer to is 100% basic Advaita Vedanta. Yes, one is the Self, one is his/her own Atman. But no, thus has not yet made full contact with the universal Self, being the Brahman. Moreover, often also the contact inside you with your Atman is obstructed by the Ego.
(I might make slight mistakes in the terms, sorry for that - corrections welcome.)

Pointing out that there is a paradox in all of this, especially as seen from the Platonic way of reasoing, is valid. But the essence of Vedanta is that it can not fully be grasped by reasoning alone - emotions and experience also need to come into the area. It is a bit like the Sattva-Rajas-Tamas trinity inside their theory - only from thinking one won't come there. This too is the deeper function behind meditation, it tries to reach these deeper layers.

So does this bring you to simple belief and surrender to the SoP leaders? No, I wouldn't think it is so easy. Some belief is needed in order to invest the energy and then TRY for ONESELF, and when one feels more development happens then more belief arises...

Hope this helps a bit,

with folded palms,

<Erik> - Amsterdam

Helen

Postby Helen » Sat Jul 03, 2004 9:19 am

Nicely put, Erik.

There are thousands of advaita teachers in the world today, as well as Buddhists and others who speak of the philosophy of unity. A growing number of them and their pupils, especially in the west, have realised and are realising that 'awakening', 'liberation', 'enlightenment' - people use different terms to describe what is essentially indescribable - in which a whole new and radically different dimension of consciousness arises. The SES is just one small part in a huge global shift that is taking place. (And sure, many of its members have a somewhat muddled understanding of what this is about.)

What all these teachers, including the SES/SoP, agree about, is that this fundamental awakening to who (they say) you really are, simply cannot be experienced, understood or grasped by the mind. You have to go deeper, as Erik says. But experiencing it - that is very possible. For many, perhaps most, people this is a matter of glimpses at first. Suddenly it's just 'seen' - and then the mind tries to grasp it, and it's gone - until the next moment of awakening. But these moments can increase in frequency and duration, until eventually the balance tips, and then the person is truly 'awake'.

For anyone who is interested, there is a fascinating book on this phenomenon of the growth in enlightenment called 'The Awakening West', by Lynn Marie Lumiere and John Lumiere-Wins (ISBN 1 - 59233 - 010 - X) The authors have interviewed 20 western spiritual teachers. It is a profoundly inspiring and encouraging book.

Good will to all.

BT

Postby BT » Sat Jul 03, 2004 1:33 pm

I think this discussion about the real motives, as well as the perceptions and deceptions, is starting to take shape in the sense of being able to get to grips with the self, define the self, which in itself is indefinable and ungrippable, but certainly achieveable.

The issues mentioned from other experiences arise from being unable to decide what is right, or wrong, or both or neither. When doing so, we need to be clear and decisive, then again perhaps we should not be, or even come with other ideas to consider. In promulgating procrastination proactively, perhaps people perceive puddlenuts?

Of course, the above requires an admirable ability not to recover from any severe paranoid, depressive, manic and psychotic episodes that might occur during times of logical debate or retail therapy. Some of the previous posts are clearly roses among the thorns of a dilemna.

In the sense of needing a belief (or even a good feeling will do) that can be proven (or just mentioned in passing), in ways that come from other groups as well as from the SES/SoP, as well as from other groups focussed on seeking (or just bumping into by accident) the fractures within the basic unity of that which make up the self, excluding of course, those things that do not make up the self, like the ego thingy, or indeed those that obscure the self - such as a complete absence of brains.

I have achieved the above clarity after reading the last couple of posts that demonstrate wisdom of the sort one rarely sees. I did not come to this occlusion lightly and would equate it to a giraffe wearing laddered tights and platonic shoes while drinking an ego nog with a muffled titter.

P.S. The real reason it became 'Adwaita' was before the written word, and he thought the bright ones said to him "Add whiter". So he put bleach into the washing machine and now both his clothes and mind are clean.

Realisation at last. Signing off now.

Helen

Postby Helen » Sat Jul 03, 2004 4:35 pm

Calm down, BT. You'll understand when you're a little older.

Abel Holzing
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SES / Philosophy of Unity

Postby Abel Holzing » Sat Jul 03, 2004 8:16 pm

Helen wrote:... And sure, many of its [ the SES' ] members have a somewhat muddled understanding of what this is about.


Could you clarify what - in your view - SES members' most common misperceptions are?

Helen wrote:For anyone who is interested, there is a fascinating book on this phenomenon of the growth in enlightenment called 'The Awakening West', by Lynn Marie Lumiere and John Lumiere-Wins (ISBN 1 - 59233 - 010 - X) The authors have interviewed 20 western spiritual teachers. It is a profoundly inspiring and encouraging book.


There are two customer reviews on www.amazon.com, both extremely negative:

Uncritical rapture, March 13, 2004
Reviewer: Franz J. J?rgens (see more about me) from Cologne, Germany
What prevents me to appreciate this book is the servile base flattery which is penetrating all over the pages. Each and every teacher is praised by the authors in a complete uncritical way. This makes the interviews monotonous, and the portrayed persons somewhat unpleseant since everybody seems to accept this keen servility and praise. Furthermore: the authors's questions and remarks, printed in full lenght, which makes readings boring, give a "me too"-impression: "Me too, I've had deep insights, me too, I've already found wisdom, me too"...
I recommend the very honest and captivatingly written book by Paula Marvelly: partly the same teachers but a very different quality. After reading it gets clearer whom of the teachers one would like to listen to and whom not. This makes it far more interesting and helpful than "Awakening in the West": Easily available via the British Amazon site.

Huge Disappointment, July 10, 2003
Reviewer: Jeff Danelek (see more about me) from Lakewood, Colorado United States
As someone who has been on a spiritual quest for a number of years now, I looked forward with great anticipation to this book hoping for new insights and practical wisdom from today's new western spiritual leaders. Unfortunately, I was to come away disappointed.
The Lumiere's book suffers from one major problem: it's boring. Little more than a litany of interviews with various spiritual gurus, it quickly took on a bland sameness that failed to either enlighten or educate; imagine locating twenty people who all share essentially the same outlook on life and then ask each the same dozen or so powder-puff questions and you get an idea of what I'm talking about. Had the Lumiere's been a bit more objective and even skeptical in their approach, it might have made for a more lively discussion. As it was, their obvious adulation for the people they interview ensures that nothing of great interest was ever likely to be said.
Not that the people being interviewed have much to offer by way of practical advice on pursuing one's spiritual quest in any case. They don't seem to live in any world I'm familiar with, and so their responses to the Lumeire's questions are more confusing and mind-numbing than helpful (obviously evidence of my own lack of spiritual maturity no doubt.) They remind me of krishnas at the airport who give out flowers and books to harried passengers: they're obviously happy in a distant sort of way, but incapable of translating that joy to the unwashed masses. In effect, they're too heavenly minded to be of any earthly good.
Additionally, I have no idea who any of these people are. Despite five years of reading on the subject of spirituality, I've never come across a single one of these folks, yet these are the new western spiritual leaders? Why no Deepak Chopra or Neale Donald Walsch or Gary Zukov or somebody someone might have heard of? I'm afraid that despite their best intentions, if these are America's spiritual leaders (who suspiciously seem to conglomerate in the San Francisco area) then spirituality in this country will remain something only for the fringes of society, much as it has for the last forty years.
And this is a shame, for the world is clamoring for spirituality and spiritual leaders to guide them. This book could have given them that, but instead it proved to be little more than another rehash of Buddhism. What a pity.

BT

Postby BT » Sat Jul 03, 2004 11:58 pm

Don't wanna get older. Can't the absolute come out to play now???

TB

Postby TB » Sun Jul 04, 2004 1:44 am

This message board has been hit by an invasion of the body snatchers, only it's brains instead. Can the owner of this forum please use some insect repellent and get rid of them?

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adrasteia
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The flaw

Postby adrasteia » Sun Jul 04, 2004 10:49 am

I'm sorry, I'm still having problems working out the flaw! There seem to have been so many different ways the position of the school has been explained, and I can't quite see the paradox. Is there any way to explain it really simply?!
Cheers
Adrasteia

mgormez
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Postby mgormez » Mon Jul 05, 2004 12:34 am

TB wrote:This message board has been hit by an invasion of the body snatchers, only it's brains instead. Can the owner of this forum please use some insect repellent and get rid of them?


I am catching up on the forum but so far it isn't that bad that I need to take action.

I am watching posting IPs of course so that a single person doesn't assume a dozen anon-IDs and has discussions with his/herself.
Mike Gormez

TB

Postby TB » Mon Jul 05, 2004 6:06 am

Helen, in response to your post about 'The Awakening West' the leading para from the editorial comment states -

'The days when we in the West looked toward the Eastern religious traditions for enlightenment are coming to an end. Western Spirituality has come into its own, drawing on the rich philosophies of Zen, Hinduism, Advaita Vedanta, Kashmiri Shaivism, Judaism, and Christianity.'

This editorial reviewer seems to imagine that Hinduism, Advaita etc are NOT Eastern religious traditions - I hope the book itself is not this confused. In answer to Abel Holzing's post, there are at least two entries on Amazon for this book, with a number of positive reviews in addition to those you posted, some of which appear to have substance.

Helen

The Awakening West

Postby Helen » Sun Jul 11, 2004 3:00 pm

Well I'm sticking to my guns. I loved 'The Awakening West'. And I'm astonished the reviewer hasn't heard, for example, of Gangaji. She is probably the best-known disciple of Poonjaji, who was Ramana Mararshi's disciple. She is an enormously respected figure both in America and Europe, not to mention Australia which she also regularly visits. Funnily enough, apart from Deepak Chopra, I hadn't heard of any of the names he mentioned as being so well known either.

I suppose you could interpret the two interviewers' attitude as sycophantic, but it never occurred to me. Having met a few of these 'enlightened' folk myself, I can easily imagine you would be bowled over by them. Someone who is perceptive, wise, loving, non-judgemental, funny and hugely intelligent (which is what I have found all of them are) tends to leave a fairly good impression.

I think it's quite sad the way the western media have trained us all to be such cynics. If you say something good about someone or something, you have to 'balance' it with a criticism.

What I really liked about the book was the answers given by the various teachers to the identical set of questions posed to them by the authors. I found something illuminating from just about every one of them.

As for suggesting that the authors are confused about the provenance of buddhism, vedanta etc. - it seems to me that is a wilful misreading of what they say.

So, yes, I strongly recommend this book to anyone interested in freedom.


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