The Female experience in the school (child or adult)

Discussion of the SES, particularly in the UK.
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Free Thinker
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The Female experience in the school (child or adult)

Postby Free Thinker » Sun Mar 26, 2006 9:14 pm

There have been many postings over the years about how the school treats women, what it teaches about them, etc. And there has been quite a bit of discussion lately over what it means that the man holds the reason and the women the emotions.

However, I'm prompted by CeliaR's posting to start this thread to discuss the more "practical" side of the philosophy.

We can argue til the cows come home about the philosophical meanings of the Teaching when it comes to women, but what really matters is how this meaning is applied practically - which is, after all, what the Teaching is supposed to be about.

Whether there really is a difference in the "nature" of men and women, and whether this is a good thing or not, my experience growing up in the school taught me that men always came first. Men had the knowledge and the power to make decisions, whereas women did not. Men were to be obeyed and served. And I grew up being very aware of this and intimidated by men. Even as a teenager, when I began to realize how wrong this was, I still had to deal with how I had been raised, and I had many experiences of being unable to speak up for myself to men.

Perhaps this is not how the Teaching should be applied. Perhaps it is just trying to point out that men and women have different strengths and that together they help each other to be happy and do right in the world. But then why is it that this didn't happen for me? (It has now, in that I'm in a marriage where we both work together on everything and support each other and make decisions together.) But how was it that everything I saw in the school in terms of role models, modeled what I explained in the previous paragraph?

ross nolan
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women's treatment in the SES

Postby ross nolan » Mon Mar 27, 2006 2:11 am

The treatment of women in the SES -- a big subject.

By observation, the tutor in the Melbourne class had an 'assistant' (not named as such just sitting next to the tutor and occasionally used as a 'sounding board' during his tutorial ) ,a woman, clad in a long floral pattern dress and sitting without any significant movement throughout the class- she handed out occasional notes etc .

Her function appeared to be as 'moral support' or to confirm his little 'asides' from time to time -- the men in suits dutifully served the tea and biscuits during breaks . She deferred to him in any discussion and seemed a bit superfluous otherwise -- more than half the class were women but none of them seemed to find reason to comment on her presence.

This tutor also referred on several occasions to his daughter being a "problem" and being too "Tamas' (a corrupted SES/Hindu term meaning lethargic or lazy in this context also rebellious ...) -- the undercurrent of disapproval was obvious and at the time I did not know about the SES/SOP history or belief system .

The tutors wife was a tutor herself for the 2nd term group -- a fact only known because one 1st termer had his mother in that group - she was the one who told a young woman that her (the young woman's) miscarriage was due to her wickedness in a past life and was an example of Karma -- ie deserved punishment.

She burst out crying and fled the room which resulted in uproar and the class (like mine later) virtually broke up then .

The belief in reincarnation had not been explicitly revealed to us by this stage but my English friend alerted me to the cult website just before the final 'semester' class -- others were astonished to hear about the rituals and background that my English friend "confronted" the lecturer with (which he denied -- the white hanky, weeks' pay, chant, initiation etc )

This was not a very successfull class for their recruiting although the "orphan girl' still seemed very taken with the tutor at the end ...

Looking at the "Miscarriage = Karma" thing that triggered my getting out and removed all doubts ; It is my understanding that childbirth is a natural function with women (not supernatural) and the presence or not of birth defects is no 'fault' of the woman . (Fetal alcohol syndrome is another matter ) Essentially the genetic make up of a baby is a scientifically determined thing and cannot be influenced by the mother either way .

The SES/SOP view is that each baby is not a "new" person but is the reincarnation of some previously existing "soul" and that bad conduct in a previous life will result in punishment in a future life .

Just why the MOTHER is being punished by having a miscarriage (not being born in Hindu terms) or a deformed or disabled baby is not at all clear to me -- is the disabled baby itself being punished for it's own previous misconduct as well or is it just "collateral damage" in the punishment of the (deserving) 'bad' mother ?

This SES/Hindu doctrine was clearly extremely distressing to the young woman concerned (later at the private group that formed after leaving the SOP ) -- the other women were horrified at the callousness of the female tutor .

As an aside ;- by "boasting" about her fertility or other female attributes a woman inadvertently plays up to this heinous SES belief since , if you take credit for your 'perfect' children then you must logically also attribute blame to the woman who has 'failed' to either produce children or who has had a deformed or disabled baby.

Just why the WOMAN is blamed is also not clear -- MALE infertility or 'cause' for imperfection is just as likely (scientifically) but the SES or Hindu teaching does not seem to take this into account. (anyone know why?) No one is anyway 'perfect' to begin with .

As to the place of females in religion -- St Paul seems to have set the tone for Christianity and probably carried over some of his "Saul" pre christian biases. (how much SES doctrine reflects Christian dogma ?)

Also on the subject of children (or not) -- a few comments about the "Shank" and McLaren being childless and THEREFORE, ignorant about raising children, unworthy of being heard on the subject , being warped,selfish etc (from memory ) were made -- a psychotic disposition was also attributed to having been abused as a child ,raised in a loveless marriage etc -- the danger is that this sort of blanket condemnation is not only likely wrong but applies to the unfortunately infertile, those who have devoted themselves to other pursuits or whatever -- it also tends to imply that the 'fate' of those abused as children is sealed and immutable which is rather unhopeful and unhelpful . (to say the least )

Jesus Christ, the pope, Isaac Newton and millions of others have been childless but seem to be not without some form of worth; -- just a little reminder of some of the philosophical and logical outcomes of being politically correct (the SES doctrine on women and all the pain it has caused are also the outcome of a few philosophical propositions)

Half the problems of the world seem to have stemmed from just a few dictates of a handful of 'gurus' -- JC, Mohammed, McLaren, etc -- it is also an unfortunate fact that the vast majority of the new age cults and charlatans are targetted at women and most often run by women .

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karma and the SES

Postby NYC » Mon Mar 27, 2006 6:23 pm

The tutors wife was a tutor herself for the 2nd term group -- a fact only known because one 1st termer had his mother in that group - she was the one who told a young woman that her (the young woman's) miscarriage was due to her wickedness in a past life and was an example of Karma -- ie deserved punishment.

am I understanding you correctly that sometime last year, in 2005, a Part 2 tutor told a woman that her miscarriage was a punishment for bad behavior in a previous life? did anyone at all sign up for Part 3?

In the yoga tradition, I've been taught that "karma" is the law of cause and effect. I've also heard an interpretation that "karma" is the law of perfect justice, but that justice stretches out over eons and millenia, not an individual's lifetime. So even in the second interpretation, simply becasue something bad happens to you doesn't mean that you, the individual, are being punished.

I have also from time to time encountered this really self-involved misunderstanding of "karma" that because everything happens for a reason (meaning cause), everything that happens must teach, benefit, or punish you, the individual in some way.

The young woman had a miscarriage for precise reasons, which her doctors may or may not know. The first understanding of karma -- everything that happens does so based on the events preceding it, all events have a cause, known or unknown -- is not in conflict with science on the day to day level of experience. It raises interesting questions for theologians about "First Cause" and what that might be.

The second understanding of karma, as perfect or divine justice, does not apply to individuals. Explaining that children who starve to death must have been greedy in a previous life is SUCH a transparent attempt to blame the victim and avoid having to help people in distress. It misunderstands reincarnation as personal event. The entity "Ross Nolan" won't exist again after your death, which is part of why "Ross Nolan's" life is precious. It's idiotic to say that "Ross Nolan" will come back as an animal, or a blade of grass, or a new person with the exact same uh, ingredients, for lack of a better word, as the "Ross Nolan" which exists now.

I feel how I imagine most Muslims must feel, when they see terrorists ascribing their crazy and violent acts to Islam. The SES does a miserable job of teaching advaita.
Attended Parts 1,2, & 3 and a Plato study group in the NY adult school 2004 - 2005. Also explored advaita philosphy in other organizations since 1995, and continue to do so.

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Postby ems » Mon Mar 27, 2006 10:09 pm

Interesting thread, Freethinker. I'm sorry to hear your vision of men and women started out on a bad note as a result of these influences.
I've been reading some very interesting accounts of how women are treated differently to men in the school (like the case of the 50 women in the 70's). I'd forgotten most of this and it really is all flooding back to me.
I had heard that once a woman marries a man she is no longer responsible for her own karma but adopts that of her husband. Can't quite square that one up in my head. I think it just underplays the importance of the woman as an idividual in her own right. We are all born alone and die alone, despite our (speculated) spiritual destinies or origins and I do believe that it's our own individual responsibility to face up to that and what it means to us.
Out here, in the 'secular' world, I find that there are still a lot of inequalities amongst men and women anyway, and although we live in an evolving society where women are provided with more opportunities than ever, I still think we have a way to go (i.e. statistically, women still earn less etc.)
I'd love to ramble on, but I've gotta sign off now.
Hope to catch you all later

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bad karma

Postby ross nolan » Tue Mar 28, 2006 1:15 pm

NYC . thanks for your insight , yes It was in 2005 -- I haven't been in contact with the young English bloke or his mother for nearly a year - perhaps I could get the detail from them if you liked.

The whole concept of reincarnation is intriguing -- let me state my position as being non religious but not neccesarily being 'atomistic' (ie there is nothing but atoms and the void to the universe -- classic Greek ) and., if so, everything can only be the outcome of random events and natural laws of physics chemistry etc .

It just seems inconceivable that the meticulous layers of complexity and functionality to every aspect of the universe and the very existence and creation of creatures like us can have been self organizing when the overrall environment is so inconducive to the emergence of organized interacting 'mechanisms' -chemical,biological,physical etc that add up to such stupendously intricate 'devices' as human beings.

Such scientists as Fred Hoyle and various engineers, etc like Buckminster Fuller etc have appreciated the unlikelyness of such self evidently staggering sophistication of design to have arisen by chance alone or to have been carried out for no other 'reason' than self perpetuation,( of the species)(which,although a neccesity for biological survival , is often referred to derisively as the sole 'objective' of various, usually governmental, bodies that seem to have no discernible useful output or ultimate purpose ) -

Reincarnation amounts to the self perpetuation of the individual or at least the life experience in some fashion because it seems counter intuitive that the end point of a life is just the dissolution back into inanimate matter .(or even return of the soul to a 'pool' of consciousness )

No doubt every religion exists because of this inescapable realization (or for simple exploitaion of the earnest as for example Scientology) and for people to find some greater meaning in their lives .

Reincarnation appears to solve the dilemma of "why do bad things happen to good people" and how 'unfair' it seems that some people are either wiped out at random or dealt a bad hand (disability etc) in the playing of the game of life.

The backtracking to a 'first cause' is indeed a problem of chicken and egg proportions .

The acceptance of reincarnation cannot just be based on some archaic religious doctrine though (like any other "article of faith" ) and the teachings of Hindu,Buddhist or other reincarnating religions -- as in multiple "routine" reincarnation rather than 'miraculous' or one off reincarnation like Christianity ,with a one time 'rapture etc ' later, - should be subject to rational examination .

The fact of child prodigies who can apparently perform unlearned feats of musical or mathematical ability etc or claim memories of former lives is one area that could be scientifically researched (and is) to test the evidence for reincarnation before getting too deeply into the Vedic version.

I have not yet read but are getting a book recently referred to , "Life before life' -- a scientific investigation of children's apparent recall of former lives -- the research was carried out at , I think, North Carolina university by a Professor Stevenson over many years and subjected to double blind screening etc and appears to be worth taking into account .

(If you cannot locate it from this -- it is on the web - let me know and I will post a link (Pub 2005 in paperback )

I do not pretend to have studied the various interpretaions of the concept of Karma -- it certainly has overtones of satisfying the felt need for justice and retribution for bad acts and no doubt was invented to solve the dilemmas that belief in cause and effect throw up .

The whole field of religious claims and the dogmas arising is so muddied and full of charlatans offering instant enlightenment that some form of filtering is a neccesity when dealing with any "answers" -- unfortunately I found the SES to fall at the first hurdle in this respect and to have a number of pretty damning practices as well.
( the codified treatment of women as inherently less capable being one such but it is also clear that their are different but overlapping spheres of expertise in both of the sexes and to automatically refute this is also dogmatic -- only recently a woman conducted the experiment of "becoming a man' for several months by dressing and passing herself off as a man amongst a bunch of "regular joes" in a factory I think and socialized with them etc in order to do an "expose" of how crude and so forth that men really are but actually came away with a different view entirely -- maybe someone can post a link to the (inevitable) website and her("his") book . That sound like a good experiment to do within the SES . (!)

In any event, an intelligence able to design and put into operation any system of physical laws and the implementation of these to give rise to the emergence of thinking animals amongst the myriad of other wondrous and seemingly inexplicable accomplishments of this universe is, in my view, just about totally unlikely to want either, animal sacrifices, blind obediance out of fear, reversion to anachronistic beliefs in a time of true physical comprehension , rote learning of dogma, continual repetition of self deprecating 'grovelling' or prayers for mercy (think of Monty Python, meaning of life ), or the sort of world picture given by the SOP/Hinduism in general or other, probably male originated, 'old time religion' .

Thinking machines should at least think and not just behave like sheep (that requires another design) and I would suspect that the majority of adult "converts" to the SES started out looking for real satisfying answers to their questions about existence -it is deceptive and really unforgiveable for any body purporting to be seeking important truth to in fact have another purpose .

Just a few thoughts,

PS there was a good 'gender roles' related story reprinted in the Weekend Australian Mar 25-26 2006 headed "Bid Daddy's great society" by Philip Longman originally published in Foreign Policy magazine (he is quoted as senior fellow at the new America foundation and author of "The Empty cradle. How falling birthrates threaten world prosperity and what to do about it" Basic Books 2004 )

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