adult school U.K - dont know what to think!

Discussion of the SES, particularly in the UK.
vix
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Postby vix » Tue Nov 15, 2005 5:28 pm

Hi katinka,

So good to hear what you had to say it does seem were in a similar position although i am 2 terms behind yu, i am halfway through 'action'.

My class has initiation next term, part of me wants to stick around to see what happens - sort of in an investigative way... but i dont think ill take part myself... i have thought about donating a pound or something just to say 'f**k u' to the whole idea, but i am also uncomfortable about being 'initiated' into this.


I have read a lot lately about the uncanny links between the SES and Hinduism, and looked up a Hindu info site on Google. I came across the Veda's, Upanishads, the Guna's and other stuff that is all referred to so frequently in our classes! Also something that surprised me last lesson,we had a different tutor and he was talking about creation and the 'theory' (although it was read as though this is definitely the case no questions asked) that the 'Absolute' created us out of his desire to be many, for play..... this is the first time any kind of God-like idea has been mentioned and i was surprised that noone questioned it - is this something that is discussed later in the terms, and a conclusion thathas been arrived at by all the SES? This is also appears to be of Hindu origin - The Absolute called Brahman etc?

What do people think - stick around and get info? Quit now while ahead?

I thought about showing some print outs to my tutor, but friends have said it wouldnt achieve anything and they wouldnt be honest anyway...

Has anyone got as far in to the course as having discussed the male/female roles? ive noticed a lot of long skirts on more advanced women but it cold be a coincidence!

Cheers, Vicky

Daniel Gregory
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Postby Daniel Gregory » Tue Nov 15, 2005 9:33 pm

I wen't to St Vedast school for Boys.

They used to get us pupils to clean the school building at the end of the day- those who chose to that is. The choice was cleaning or meditation. The clever ones did the meditation (sit on your bum for half an hour) and the quietly rebelious ones (me!) cleaned the school. I have never heard of another school in the early '80s or any time that did not have it's own paid caretaker. They must have saved a packet.

We used to have Waterperry weekends too. We didn't just clean the place, they made us work the land! Must have saved a packet.

My problem with religion is that you don't get to think for youreself, you are told what the scriptures say and maybe get the chance to discuss it, but ultimately you will have to come round to and agree unquestioningly to what is really just dictation.

The SES, in my experience has over the years become 's--t hot' at steering your mind around to what they think using many clever and cunning methods.

keep your eyes open Vix and Kat, and make sure you are steering your boat and not some overbearing and very persuasive group of people whether it be the SES or some other cult.

Dan

nomad
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Postby nomad » Tue Nov 15, 2005 11:51 pm

Hi Vix, Well I for one don't think you should bother sticking around just to see what happens. Some of us have already been there and quit while we were ahead. You have to read some of the current posts under general discussions about SES, all the way down to NYC adult school of practical philosophy at least. They will give you a pretty complete picture of what is to follow in your future terms. Save yourself some money and quit! I have had friends who have gone to their tutors with printouts, only to be dismissed with saying that happenned in London 15 years, a long time ago. In the NY adult school where I attended there was even a student who spoke up in class to make the others aware of this forum.
Everyone needs to make their own decisions, most importantly you need to be comfortable and at peace with your decision. The male/female roles come further down the line, not sure when, this was not covered in my class, although this one student brought it up and it was confirmed that once women "start service"serving tea, meal times, working at the retreats, volunteering their time etc, they must wear long skirts and be modestly dressed at all times. Men must always be in jackets and ties. Don't forget there's only vegetarian, raw food available to eat during these times.

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ET
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Postby ET » Wed Nov 16, 2005 9:31 am

Please quit now, Vix. I've seen members of my family have their lives totally taken over by SES just because they never questioned as you do. Please be assured that the terrible things that happened to me and my classmates 15-20 years ago are still happening to kids now - the more I read on here the more convinced I am of this.
Also, you're descriptions of the things you've been "taught" (and what Katinka has said) are EXACTLY the same as what we were taught and my family were taught, so NOTHING has changed, whatever they say to the contrary.

Please get out before they suck you in any further.

Snowman
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Postby Snowman » Wed Nov 16, 2005 2:40 pm

vix wrote:Hi katinka,

I have read a lot lately about the uncanny links between the SES and Hinduism, and looked up a Hindu info site on Google. I came across the Veda's, Upanishads, the Guna's and other stuff that is all referred to so frequently in our classes! Also something that surprised me last lesson,we had a different tutor and he was talking about creation and the 'theory' (although it was read as though this is definitely the case no questions asked) that the 'Absolute' created us out of his desire to be many, for play..... this is the first time any kind of God-like idea has been mentioned and i was surprised that noone questioned it - is this something that is discussed later in the terms, and a conclusion thathas been arrived at by all the SES? This is also appears to be of Hindu origin - The Absolute called Brahman etc?

What do people think - stick around and get info? Quit now while ahead?


Dear Vicki


With regards to your investigations into the vedic philosophy behind the SES, I drew together some choice extracts from the scriptures that you mention above and discussed them in the context of my experiences at St James and the SES. They may be of interest to you and your fellow students:

http://www.whyaretheydead.net/phpBB2/viewtopic.php?p=2365&highlight=#2365

In addition I discussed some of the techniques that the SES employs to exert coercive influence over its students - leading in many cases to unquestioning acceptance of the dogmatic advaita principles.

http://www.whyaretheydead.net/phpBB2/viewtopic.php?p=2652&highlight=#2652

I would be interested to hear your (and other newcomers') opinions on these and wonder if you can recognise any of it through your experiences.

All the best

Snowman

vix
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Postby vix » Wed Nov 16, 2005 5:35 pm

i think you are right, i think i am just going to have to bite the bullet and leave at the end of term. i think i am just sad to go as i have had good experiences (up to now) and there isnt alot else out there in bristol. i am partly worried tho that this is just a part of the hold they may have over me...!

i feel like i should print some stuff off and at least warn my friends here but i have my doubts that anyone else will see it...

ok decision made, ill tell my tutor that i cant carry on with an organisation that supports what happened/s in the schools, and i don't want to be a part of a particular philosophy but just to discuss pshilosophies in general - he cant argue with that surely ha ha!?

ill let you know how i get on and what efforts are made to persuade me to stay...

Vicky

nomad
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Postby nomad » Wed Nov 16, 2005 6:27 pm

You're making the right decision Vicky! What happens is that people pay for the course, they give one weeks salary at initiation, then they somehow find out about this forum. They then feel compelled to stay because of time and money they invested;we'll I say bite the bullet and run far far away. I do believe that you are right, you can reasonably see all this is wrong yet somehow you want to stay, yes they are already influencing you, be careful. When you go speak to your tutor, I'll bet he'll say, that was a long time ago, you can't believe everything you've read on the internet etc etc etc. Let me ask you this: What do all thse people have to gain by posting all the negative comments here? Nothing I would say, they are just trying to warn others from being suckered into it. Good luck with everything. It would be interesting to hear your outcome with the tutor and fellow classmates.

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non-conformist
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good decision

Postby non-conformist » Wed Nov 16, 2005 6:28 pm

Vix, hunny, quit while you're ahead and get on with the rest of your life. My mum has been in SES for nigh on 45 years. She was sucked in, duped, brainwashed and now she can't get out. To illustrate my point further, one of the members of my mum's group left SES, upon which the entire group was told not to have any contact with her whatsoever. They were not to phone her, write to her or respond when she tried to get in touch. They claimed that the idea behind it was that she would eventually realise the "error of her ways" and come crawling back begging to be let back in again. At which point, presumably, she would have to start again from the bottom of the loveless hierarchy...

They will try every trick in the book to make you stay, not least presumably stating (i) they have no link with what happened in the schools, (ii) it was a long time ago, (iii) things are different now and (iv) if you leave there will be a plague on all your camels...

Good luck Vix, we're right behind you. Please let us know how you get on.

bluelight
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Postby bluelight » Wed Nov 16, 2005 8:06 pm

Vix, just to reiterate the above posts I was at St James school and still have not recovered. I know people that are still in the SES and wouldn't swap places with them for the world. Good luck and please let us know how you get on.

katinka1969
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Postby katinka1969 » Wed Nov 16, 2005 8:45 pm

Hi Vix

Congrats on resolving to get out ? let me say that I stand in solidarity with you because I?ll be doing the exact same thing this Saturday at Mandeville Place! I will share my experience and hope you will share yours too.

That said, I really do empathise with your feelings of sadness at leaving, after I found this site I initially felt very unnerved and a bit upset to think that for two years I?ve been attending the SES and the whole time there was a hidden agenda ? however even after my misgivings began at the start of the term, I still found it difficult to accept the truth (which is quite frightening, to think that perhaps a small amount of my brain was already ?washed? by this time). I?ve also had enjoyable and positive experiences in my time at SES, mostly over the first year or so which looking back was before the Hindu slant was evident, which could explain it. However this forum, and particularly this thread, have really helped me to look at things more philosophically (as ironic as it may sound!). I see it this way ? I benefited from the practical teachings they offered during the settling in period, and yet managed to maintain my own mind and questioning skills to a great enough degree that now that the true and devious nature of the SES is rapidly revealing itself, I?m able to see that staying would at best be a waste of time, at worst extremely harmful. After reading the heartbreaking accounts of those who spent their childhoods at the schools (the story of ?Claire? in the Girls School thread mentioned by Snowman brought tears to my eyes), and the people who are powerless to get their brainwashed parents out of the clutches of the cult and hence cannot have any kind of relationship with them, I really feel it would be immoral to stay.

Ultimately Vix we have to follow our instincts ? we were both led here because we felt that something wasn?t right, and we have had those feelings confirmed many times over. Best of luck!

ross nolan
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seeing the light

Postby ross nolan » Fri Nov 18, 2005 11:03 pm

Katinka and others,

Bloody good to see how this forum is working to undo the nasty work of this cult -- I think what you are saying about their methods is also reflected in other cults and probably a lot of group activities of all kinds.

Getting "disfellowshipped" is the Jehovah's witnesses specialty (there are websites for survivors of JWs also -- lots on organized sexual abuse by the "elders" etc ) and excommunication for Catholics etc

Basically humans are herd animals and feel comfortable amongst others who agree with us and indulge in the same activities, follow the same schedule etc -- this is the 'belonging' and nurturing thing that operates to stop us feeling all alone and vulnerable.

I wonder if the SES is so successful because it offers a 'home' to mainly professional people and possibly small business operators and similar occupations that might be feeling a bit of a void in their lives after leaving the intellectually stimulating environment of university/college etc and also might be no longer associating with their intellectual peers .

They trade on the feeling of "is this all there is?" or mid life ennui to some degree and certainly offer the promise of adding real meaning to lives from a deep study of philosophical thinking (think of the sales pitch in their ads -- why am I here? what should I be doing? Is there a meaning to life? etc etc )

I remember them doing an 'ask around' of the attendees at the first session or two as to why you took the class -- no doubt they tune their ads to target the sort of people who are idealistic or dissatisfied or unfulfilled perhaps.

Would anyone like to give an account of what motivated them to sign up for the course , what they hoped to get out of it or what they hoped it might be or lead to ?

For my part I was curious to fill in what was only a general outline of the philosophy of the 'great greeks' like Socrates ,Plato etc and because I was going through a stressful business situation involving having been defrauded of a considerable sum of money and about six months work -- police corruption and other matters just now surfacing in the press here left me 'hung out' pretty much and I had read that philosophy was probably a better way to handle stress and the 'stoic' approach to things had much to reccomend it as compared to pills or psychiatrists.

It was the television series by Allain de Bouton (probably mispelled) and publicity for his 'know thyself - help thyself' alternative that I think made me more interested and certainly I found much to stimulate in various parts of the teaching and interaction with other 'students' (I find attendee a more appropriate word since it is not really a school ) - they seemed to be more than usually interested in matters of the mind and the value of ideas but I found the whole atmosphere of the "school' and it's reason for existence somewhat perplexing right from the kickoff.

The fact of being in the Royal society building gave it the right imprimatur but the presence of "monitors" dressed and behaving exactly like "secret service" agents was a little bizarre as was the "tea ceremony" thing but mainly the orchestration of the class itself with the ,to me, almost immediate overtones of antiwesternism and hints of some Eastern quasi religious tendency .

(The 'parable' of the stupid western professor having his tea cup overfilled to make the point that his mind was also overfilled with worthless knowledge and needed to be emptied before he could find wisdom was the 'lesson' of the second week and indicated the general drift to come.

It was disconcertingly obvious that the "what do you think about that" part of the proceedings was being used to filter out the sceptical,'uncooperative', dis-agreeable types from those that seemed to be more amenable to lapping it up -- no doubt later on the brain washing aspect kicked in and those feelings of dependency become stronger.

Going back to the actual reason you,and I , walked in their door might be instructive and help to 'de progam' their victims or otherwise put them out of business -- "know thy enemy" might be appropriate .

That initial rush of euphoria that gets people in to cults is one aspect to look at and the ostensible 'benefits' that are felt early on (that many have referred to) that 'hooks' people to surrender their critical faculties and plunge right in is another aspect that has to be understood and countered (just about every evil enterprise has to have some seemingly positive outcome to make it look like a good thing -- Adolf Hitler cured unemployment and got the trains to run on time at first after which he then cranked up his real agenda .... the scientologists have mounted a highly 'commendable' but really deceptive anti drugs campaign getting access to schools after which..... )

Any comments and 'testimonials' would be appreciated -- perhaps like minded people could set up their own philosophy discussion groups or book club or some other non toxic sort of intellectual activity group to replace this clearly attractive but ultimately destructive version .

Regards, Ross.
Skeptic

katinka1969
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Postby katinka1969 » Mon Nov 21, 2005 10:35 pm

Hi All

Well it?s now two days since my last SES class, and what a class it was. I did manage to chat with two of my classmates, and found out that I am most definitely not the only one to have had doubts about the classes and the direction they are taking.

Firstly though, I?d like to share what happened in the class, which made me more angry than I?ve been since I can remember. As part of the subject of devotion, we have been discussing the aspect of chitta, which I?m sure everyone knows only too well to be the part of the mind that encompasses the heart. A member of the class mentioned that she?d once heard that people who don?t take care of the emotional side of their heart often end up having heart attacks or suchlike. Whether there?s any truth in that I really don?t know, but our tutor went on to say that people who live useful and moral lives will stave off illnesses, including dementia among other things (note that she didn?t say they could lessen the chance of such illnesses, she actually implied that the illnesses could be prevented). To counteract this claim I raised the point that my grandmother, who was a brilliant, dignified woman, active in the community, physically fit, read every book she could get her hands on etc., tragically developed Alzheimer?s Disease. To my astonishment the tutor went on to say that Alzheimer?s only happens to people who live a life of idleness, or don?t live morally or suchlike. I re-iterated the point that my grandmother did not fit this mould, Alzheimer?s is a very real disease and hence her point was ludicrous - she ignored my input and carried on regardless. Another class member then raised the point that the acclaimed British novelist Iris Murdoch had Alzheimer?s, and therefore the tutor?s assertion could not possibly be correct; what followed next still doesn?t feel real to me ? our tutor said that although she?d never heard of Iris Murdoch, she believed that she would have developed Alzheimer?s because she was a writer and hence lived in a fantasy world! So yes folks, another way to avoid this vicious disease is to ?live in reality?. At this point I was not the only one to interject in disbelief, saying that it was absurd firstly to claim that novelists all live in a fantasy world, and secondly to claim that living in this undefined fantasy world is likely to cause Alzheimer?s. The tutor, along with the class member I mentioned in an earlier post who I believe is some kind of ?mole? (from here known as ?hidden-agenda-man?), swiftly moved things on.

Another member of the class raised the question of why some people who live moral and wholesome lives (such as yogis) sometimes die young. The tutor then raised the subject of karma ? her exact words were ?there?s a word that you haven?t been introduced to yet? and then gave a Sanskrit word that now escapes my memory, and explained that it meant karma. Bearing in mind Vix?s post where she asked whether it was common for beliefs to be taught as fact, I tried to clarify with the tutor that she was now effectively referring to reincarnation ? once again she totally ignored me. I felt she was deliberately trying to stop me from asking anything at this point, though she did allude a few times to the idea of past lives. Even after all I?ve read on here I found it hard to believe that we were now being fed the idea that these Hindu beliefs are factual.

I was fuming, felt as if I was literally about to burst and I honestly was going to walk out ? the only thing that kept me there was the thought that I would have the chance to talk to my classmates afterwards and tell them what I?ve found here.

I?m sure I?ve read on this site and elsewhere that one of the core beliefs of the SES is that people who are disabled or sick have somehow ?asked for it? and hence are to blame for their misfortune. Can anyone expand on this? I still can?t believe this actually happened ? to make such claims about a serious disease that even the best medical minds can only give limited advice about is outrageous and downright irresponsible. Not to mention dangerous - one of the women in the class said to the tutor ?I?m so glad you told me that ? my friend is worried that she?ll get Alzheimer?s because her mother has it, but now I can tell her that she has nothing to worry about!?

Anyway, I had a coffee with my aforementioned classmates afterwards, and for the first 20 minutes or so hidden-agenda-man also joined us. His behaviour is getting more bizarre by the week ? which could be explained by the recent discovery that his wife and son have been with the school for some time, and apparently his motivation for joining was to please them. He seems obsessed with keeping the class together ? case in point: one woman from the class didn?t attend this week, we thought she may have taken offence to something that happened last week, and hidden-agenda-man said to us ?well, we know what we have to do, don?t we?? On receiving blank looks from us all, he said ?one of you must call her, find out what the problem is and persuade her to come back!? Cue bewilderment all round.

After he left, I had a chat with my two remaining classmates. They were both aware of how worked up I?d gotten during the class, and were sympathetic. I told them that I planned to finish up with the SES, and then explained my misgivings and all the stuff I?d found online. They?d had many of the same feelings of unease as me, and at the same time expressed shock at some of the things I told them. I don?t know what they?ll do from here, but I do feel better for having spoken to them ? as I said to one of them, I could not in good conscience have left the class without giving a well intentioned warning to people who I have come to think of as friends.

My time at the SES is definitely finished now - the thought of going back is absolutely abhorrent. I do apologise for the length of this post, however thanks for letting me vent ? it has helped greatly.

Goblinboy
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Postby Goblinboy » Tue Nov 22, 2005 1:36 am

katinka1969 wrote:Can anyone expand on this? I still can?t believe this actually happened ? to make such claims about a serious disease that even the best medical minds can only give limited advice about is outrageous and downright irresponsible. ....

Anyway, I had a coffee with my aforementioned classmates afterwards, and for the first 20 minutes or so hidden-agenda-man also joined us. His behaviour is getting more bizarre by the week ? which could be explained by the recent discovery that his wife and son have been with the school for some time, and apparently his motivation for joining was to please them. He seems obsessed with keeping the class together ? case in point: one woman from the class didn?t attend this week, we thought she may have taken offence to something that happened last week, and hidden-agenda-man said to us ?well, we know what we have to do, don?t we?? On receiving blank looks from us all, he said ?one of you must call her, find out what the problem is and persuade her to come back!? Cue bewilderment all round..


Hi Katinka,

You'll find chapter and verse on the SES's beliefs about the relationship of illness and moral character in "Secret Cult" - it is essentially as you've observed - often absurdly simplistic interpretations of physical illness being manifestations of a person's moral issues. I've heard members condemn others for having sore throats because it evidently meant they hadn't been "speaking truthfully"(!).

And sounds like your "Hidden Agenda Man" (HAM?) is a plant - a little smear of fertiliser to get the group mentality thriving. A key tactic of the SES is to make groups mutually self-reinforcing - they understand the power of peer pressure and mutual obligation, and exploit powerfully. Again, even though it's 20 years on, "Secret Cult" outlines how this worked (and how it still works). Groups in the SES can be as or more tyrannical than the SES itself.

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Postby ET » Tue Nov 22, 2005 10:56 am

I've posted about the SES attitude to my disabilities before, but I can't find my original post, so I will reiterate here.

I suffer from a very mild form of cerebral palsy, which although not outwardly particularly visible, causes a twist in my spine, which means that my left foot sticks out (the only visible sign). It also means that I have bad hand-eye coordination, balance problems and low stamina (I get tired more quickly than most people). When I was at St James' I was often told that the reason I was disabled was because I was wicked and untruthful. I was branded as a liar and a "naughty" child right from the start (at age 4).

I remember being taken for walks by one member of staff, because it was believed that if I forced my foot to turn in enough for it to look "normal" then I could overcome my problems by a sort of "mind over matter" process. I was forced to walk with my foot turned inwards, which twisted my knee and was very painful (the equivalent of someone with their foot in a normal position turning it in towards their other foot and walking with it like that). I spent large parts of those walks in tears.

No allowances were ever made for my problems, either at school or at home. Although this has made me grow up not thinking of myself as disabled, I do believe it has also made me want to do more than I can achieve, resulting in a lot of frustration over the years. I now have quite severe back problems resulting from that twist in my spine, and, wierdly, it never occurred to me to tell my doctor where I live now anything about the cerebral palsy until my partner pointed it out. I wasn't allowed to mention that I was having problems as a child, and it's become a habit.

I agree with you, Katinka, that it's appalling that a tutor should be able to pass on those comments about Alzheimer's Disease as fact to your class. I only hope that what you said to those other classmates has made them decide to leave too.

Well done for getting out yourself, and I hope you manage to find some decent philosophy classes elsewhere.

ross nolan
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Bad Karma

Postby ross nolan » Tue Nov 22, 2005 8:42 pm

Katrinka , your experience is perfectly consistent with the basic SES doctrine (and Hindu "philosophy" /reincarnation/fatalism etc) -- in the Melbourne group my English friend's mother was also doing the course and reported that her class broke up in uproar after the 'tutor' (a woman - in fact the wife of our tutor ) 'explained' that one young woman's miscarriage was due to her wickedness in a former life and she was ,rightfully, being punished under the principle of Karma.

(look at some of my previous posts on other threads and you will find this described )

Another worrying aspect of this belief ,also shared by the Hare Krishnas and followers of the Maharishi (any hindu based cult ) is that sex with very young children is also OK since they are actually already "experienced" from previous lives -- I quoted the Canadian documentary on sexual abuse in the Hare Krishna schools in an earlier post - I think it was "children of god' or something close . This is where the whole sordid indoctrination and brainwashing ultimately leads -- fatalistic superstitious backward and dangerous religiously justified abuse of the vulnerable . Misery loves company so maybe they seek more members to join them in their delusional fantasy world with a few "fringe benefits" for the 'father figure' tutors along the way . I wonder if anyone in the movement truly themselves believes their rubbish .

In a hurry so must wind up -- think about going to your local media or to the appropriate authority with your evidence .

Good luck. Ross
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