Welcome to the discussion! I have to start by asking you to edit your post where you quote me because the quote is not what I wrote. Perhaps you are using an internet translator?
This is what you quoted me to say:
Free Thinker wrote:Moreover, what you are insinuating on the basis of
your own so called experiences is not supported in any way by most of us
here, who were also involved in one of the school's children's schools,
or as a member in one of the adult schools. To many of us spirituality
is not just another word in the dictionary. I am sure that Mr
Goudsbloem would have explained to you the difference. Therefore, what
happened to us in the name of spirituality means something quite
different to us than it would to you. You may know the Van Oyen family
but if you've never been part of the school, then you only know
something by hearsay and haven't seen how they played a role in the
Below is what I actually posted, as you can see from looking at it above in the thread. I would never have written "so called experiences", and if I had, I would have hyphened it as "so-called". I also have never heard of someone named Goudsbloem. So please edit your post and make your quote of me correct. Thank you!
Free Thinker wrote:And lastly, you and your experiences are going to be a bit different from most of us here, who were either involved in one of the school's children's schools, or a member of one of the adult schools, and to many of us spirituality is not just another word in the dictionary. Therefore, what happened to us and how we were used in the name of spirituality means something quite different to us than it would to you. You may know the Van Oyens well but if you've never been part of the school, then you only know one side of them, and haven't seen how they play a role in the school."
Now, on to your post. Thanks for letting us know your background. It does make a big difference to know where people are coming from. You ask several questions and make several assertions. Since you see me as a more neutral member, I will endeavor to answer them. To start with, I think one of the reasons that I am more neutral, at least in my tone, is that I am American and grew up in the School of Practical Philosophy, which has no history of abusive children's schools and has been, in my experience, slightly more relaxed and heterogeneous than the European schools. Since I was not beaten or humiliated on top of having my emotional spirit changed and tampered with, I am coming from a different place, emotionally, than many members of this board, who had far worse experiences with the SES than I did. And as I posted in response to a recent thread, I don't see my experiences in the SoPP as totally negative but that what was negative affected me so much that I've had to work very hard to heal myself.
I believe these are your questions/statements. If I misquote or misunderstand you, please clarify or correct me.
1. In my opinion you do not have the 'right to speak' if you do not know exactly what you're talking about.
Although in some situations/matters I agree with this statement in general, you can't expect people who grew up in an organization as secretive as the SvP/SES to not talk about things we don't know exactly about, especially when it involves people who had control over us. It just isn't going to happen in any organization that is run like the SES/SvP is. If the organization were more clear, more open, more transparent, there would be WAY less rumors or gossip. Is it good to gossip? Probably not, and the school would definitely say not. However, the only way this type of talk will stop is for the school to become less secretive - which I don't see happening anytime in the future. You may disagree because it is your family that is involved in this particular talk but the theory still stands. I can imagine it is unpleasant to hear one's family talked about, no matter how much is true/untrue about what is being said. Please talk to us about what you disagree with and why you think some rumors may have been started. Only truth will solve this dilemma.
2. Therefore I doubt that it has all been bad. On the contrary.
As Erik responded, and as I and other members have responded, I don't know of anyone here who said that it was ALL bad. But the problem with defending an organization with that line of logic, is that almost no organization is all bad. The Aryan Youth Nation here in the US takes in poor teens and young adults as part of a family, like a gang, and makes them feel like they belong and helps their self esteem. However, they are a racist skinhead group that gets that self esteem by putting down (mentally, and physically) those who aren't white. So yes, it's not all bad, but does that make the whole organization good or worth it? No, it doesn't. So you have to look at the whole picture. My 19 years in the SoPP weren't all bad. On the contrary, I had many friends, and many good times and memories, and learned a lot about myself and my relationship to others. But the damage the school did to me was NOT worth any of those things and if I could do it over, I would have not been part of it. Which leads to another one of your points.
3. Every human being makes his own decisions. You're responsible for your own actions. If you're not comfortable in your current situation, you're the only one that can make a difference. You'll have to change it yourself. Therefore I'd like to ask you all: If it was all that bad, why did you stay?
In a free and just world, this might be true. But we don't live in a free and just world. Many human beings are forced to make decisions that are really decisions of others, or are not given a decision or choice at all. If you are not comfortable in your current sitution, you can only make a difference if you are given the power to change it. If you disagree, ask the millions of people in this world who are miserable in their current situation but have no choice about changing it. I assure you that the Nigerian tribes who live near Shell gasoline's pipelines would LOVE to be able to change their situation. But that is their home, they don't have another place to go, or want to leave, or have money to leave, and if they try to change the situation of being occupied by Shell, they are massacred.
Many of us either grew up in the SES or attended its schools. We did not have the power to change that. Our parents either made the decision for us and we grew up knowing no other way of life, or we protested and disagreed and our parents didn't listen to us. Again, no power to change. I myself, attended the SoPP's Ark Kindergarten, went to youth groups for years, and then attended the adult school (it was expected of me, and it was what I knew.) When I turned 19, I realized how unhappy I was there, and that I now had the power to choose to leave, which I did. Sure, I enjoyed many of my tutors and activities in youth group, and had many friends. But when it's been 8 years since I left, and I'm still dealing with the negative impact on my life the school had, the good memories do not make up for that. Furthermore, when I ask myself, "Why didn't I leave sooner when I knew before that I wasn't happy there?" Well, the answer is mostly that I had been trained for years to surpress my "ego", which sometimes meant my real ego, but oftentimes meant my personality, or more importantly, my needs. When you do this, you end up spending a lot of time doing things you don't want to do or in situations you don't want to be in and you've conditioned yourself to think that it's for your own good and will make you "light and happy" to blindly obey others (to quote one 10-year-old female student ofn the school's websites spoken of in another thread here.) Furthermore, I had been taught that it was hard work to discover the "Truth" (as I'm sure it is) and so if I was falling asleep during meetings, or didn't feel like going to class that night, I could be sure that I wasn't trying hard enough, or that my ego was getting the better of me.
4. Luckily Piet, PaGaN and Free Thinker tend to add some nuance to the
conversation and appear to be more balanced. Looking at the whole
discussion it is a shame that it appears nothing more than a "gossip
It seems clear that you haven't read the other threads on this board. I encourage you to do so - you'll find that there are other members whom you would probably label "nuanced"; and furthermore that there are many other issues being discussed here, such as how members are healing from being repeatedly physically abused by their "tutors" at school, or how gender issues were presented where we attended. As I mentioned before, many members of this forum have been severely abused and had NO power over what happened to them (and others were taught to keep silent about it, or any controversial topic like homosexuality or suicide) and obviously this is going to affect their posts. Please keep this in mind when you read (or respond to) others as they have every right to be outraged and enraged.
5. Because let's face it; if you're a real guy/woman, you discuss
something with the people whom it concerns instead of discussing it on
an Internet Messageboard anonymously.
This might be true if, for example, St. James was a public school with a school board and government members and oversight. However, it's not. And those in charge of it have spent years keeping secrets and teaching other children to keep secrets. And furthermore, most people high up in the various SES schools are conditioned to use what we in the US call "philosophy school speak". Even when I was high within the US school, I was subjected to those sorts of "talked" and answers when discussing important topics or when the school took issue with something really mundane (in the scope of things) such as the color of my hair. I wouldn't bother to ask any of the tutors now about things that trouble me, or issues I had, because I could almost write their responses for them, especially the responses that don't actually answer the question at all. Almost nothing more frustrating than being spoken to in that way, as if we were children who weren't old enough to understand the real answer yet. This is one of the aspects of the SES that really highlights it, for me, as a cult. I remember watching a TV show in America when a scientololgist had died, and the show host was asking the Scientologist PR person questions. Almost none of the answers given actually answered the questions at all. The PR person would just focus on an aspect of the question and lead the answer away from there. So you can't blame people here from wanting to talk to each other to try to solve questions or issues when the people directly involved won't answer them.
5. After all he has never given any comment except for the correct
statements on his website.
This is part of the problem.
That's all I have to say now, too. I do want to thank you for taking the time to write this and talk with us. It certainly adds to the discussion and goes towards making the school transparent. I take it you are not in the school anymore, given the way you write. Or if you are still a member, you certainly haven't been brainwashed in the way many others have. However, I believe that you have lead a rather sheltered life (as many of us did) and don't understand the big picture of how the schools operate and why these little matters are so important.
BTW - not all of us are so much older than you. I'm only 4 years older than you.
p.s. Many of us are anonymous because of what happened to us in the past. I can only imagine that some people here still have fears of those who abused them. Although I am using a name that is obviously not my own, anyone who was in the same part of the school that I was during my time, could probably figure out who I am, or at least narrow me down to a handful of people. I am happy to reveal who I am in private message or e-mail form, but given the nature of the schools and the anonymous nature of other posters, I prefer not to have my name right on the board. I am also fairly new to talking about this with those that weren't in school with me. I'm sure that as I talk about it more, I will become more open.