Imperial College Newspaper, Felix, Report about the SES

Discussion of the SES, particularly in the UK.
User avatar
bonsai
Posts: 322
Joined: Sun Feb 12, 2006 12:08 am
Location: London

Imperial College Newspaper, Felix, Report about the SES

Postby bonsai » Sun Jan 09, 2011 10:07 pm

From the archives back in 1983, Felix, the Imperial College student newspaper had the following report about the SES.

FELIX, October 21, 1983 wrote:Two IC Students Tel l of Their Experiences With the Local Cults
THE SCHOOL OF ECONOMIC SCIENCE

The advertisement of a philosophy course interested me immedi­
ately. I felt that purely scientific training left undesirable gaps in my
knowledge of culture and my ability to look at the world from a
'mature' standpoint. I'm normally as apathetic as the next man, but
these lectures were in Queensgate. What a piece of luck, I felt!
I would not have followed up a classified ad, but this double
column looked impressive and respectable. The descriptions: "the
great philosophic teachings which have enabled men and women
throughout the ages to discover direction and purpose in their
lives...etc" are compelling and, even as I re-read them, beautiful.
What now seems strange is that an organisation I had never heard
of, the School of Economic Science, should list nineteen schools all
over England and repeat the lectures every evening of the week
(when other adult eduction classes frequently teeter because the
numbers don't justify one evening). This advertisement even
invites us to vary our day of attendance.
To my surprise, the lecture went slowly. After ten minutes the
lady lecturing hadn't said anything at all. But she was obviously well
prepared and soon coaxed the class into a discussion about
wisdom. Somehow our result was-a general agreement on a
verbose definition which meant nothing. I was disappointed, but at
least I had contributed to the discussion. Since the rest of the class
had all beer, involved in formulating our definition, I assumed that I
was more illiterate than I had supposed. The rest of the time until
the break was more useful. We studied a diagram about conscious­
ness. It wasn't very scientific, but who was I to object to the ideas of
(as I thought) the great philosophers? The teacher was a beginner,
but I could hardly fault her after she told us that she and her
colleagues worked unpaid, for the love of it. It never occured to me
that this was strange.
After tea we heard some soporific passages and then learnt how
to isolate ourselves from our surroundings by deep concentration!
I know that this is supposed to help philosophers, but I had not
known how important it was.
Thankfully, I never went back (despite the letters). This happens -
in many cases, and the falling register causes the daily classes to
merge. In the remaining cases, students may never leave. There is
no problem in persuading them all that one evening is convenient
because they are taught that the School is the most' important
element of their lives. I have seen how full the school is of
helpers—continuing students who run the place.
Whilst the organisation's philosophy may be of a quasi-religious
type and the followers may never go out and do any harm, they are
dangerous because of their method. They believe that recruits
benefit most from the course, by having their personalities re­
arranged and 'improved'. This task is initiated secretly, although at
a later date the student always agrees that what happened was for
the best. He has no choice: they all believe that it is for the best.
The only reason why I did not go to the second lecture is that I
described the course to some friends. They were rather impressed
by my description, but another overheard our discussion and
enquired about the name of the school. He told me about the real
nature of the course which I was so proud to be attending. I did not
want to believe him: the people there were so pleasant. Yes, he
replied, that was why he stayed for a year. His teachers pestered
him to come back when he left, though the 'treatment' had only
failed for his group because he became a trouble-maker after
becoming suspicious. The staff are so pleasant that they never
react strongly, even if you tell them that they are in a Mooney-like
cult. They wiil try to convince you that it isn't so, which is what you
prefer to believe anyway.


http://felixonline.co.uk/archive/IC_198 ... 0654_A.pdf
Articles about cults in the double spread at the bottom of the edition

Bonsai

User avatar
ET
Posts: 194
Joined: Tue May 10, 2005 10:49 am
Location: Gloucestershire
Contact:

Re: Imperial College Newspaper, Felix, Report about the SES

Postby ET » Mon Jan 10, 2011 11:58 am

I know this is a very old article, but could this possibly sound more like a cult?! Who are they trying to kid? Themselves, mostly.
Pupil at St James Girl's School from 1979-1989, from age 4-14. Parents ex-members of SES.

User avatar
bonsai
Posts: 322
Joined: Sun Feb 12, 2006 12:08 am
Location: London

Re: Imperial College Newspaper, Felix, Report about the SES

Postby bonsai » Mon Jan 10, 2011 5:29 pm

ET wrote:I know this is a very old article, but could this possibly sound more like a cult?! Who are they trying to kid? Themselves, mostly.


During the time it has taken for me to come to terms with my upbringing and schooling through St James, the hardest thing has been to accept that the SES is, in fact, a Cult.

One of the things that has been so important for me has been for me to hear the descriptions about organisations that I would definitely consider cults. It has been quite a revelation just how many characteristics can also be found in the SES.

Fly me to the Reverend Moon, was a Radio 4 programme by Jon Waite, who in 1973 went on a conference to the US, which turned out to be an attempt by the Moonies to recruit students to their ranks. Just listening to some of the descriptions of what went on then in that organisation was so very similar to what happens on residentials and in foundation groups and in the SES generally.

Investigating other cults specifically and reading about cult behaviour generally has allowed me to gain a bit of objectivity to be able to see that the controlling side of the SES's approach makes it a cult.

Seeing the SES for what it is can be really difficult for anyone who has been in it for a long time. I certainly wouldn't expect many, if any, current members of the SES to see or say it is a cult for no other reason than the word is so pejorative.

I can see, there are many features of the SES that make it attractive but, whilst it's nothing like as dangerous as some other cults, it is an organisation that gradually moulds you to conform, if you stay in it long enough.

I think the most dangerous thing about the SES is that there is no safety valve. It will never advise someone that it is not for them, because it thinks it can only do good and that everyone should be doing what they promote.

Bonsai


bluemoon
Posts: 125
Joined: Sat Dec 26, 2009 9:52 am

Re: Imperial College Newspaper, Felix, Report about the SES

Postby bluemoon » Tue Jan 18, 2011 7:20 am

Mikew put up this link:

http://www.nytimes.com/2010/01/17/nyregion/17critic.html?_r=1

Super - but not a very penetrating analysis is it?! They never seem to last longer than a term before they feel qualified to write informatively about the organisation!

Happy New Year to you all by the way. Still so grateful to all of you for your support when I left about a year or so ago after 20 years in SES, London. Kept me much saner than I might have been otherwise too. Many thanks.

Bluemoon
SES London, 1990-2009, Female

User avatar
bonsai
Posts: 322
Joined: Sun Feb 12, 2006 12:08 am
Location: London

Re: Imperial College Newspaper, Felix, Report about the SES

Postby bonsai » Tue Jan 18, 2011 10:37 am

NYTimes articles wrote:http://www.nytimes.com/2010/01/17/nyregion/17critic.html?_r=1
Google the School of Practical Philosophy and you’ll find some accusations that it’s a cult. If so, it must be an unsuccessful one: no one tried to sign me up for the next course, let alone get me to donate my earthly possessions.

Clearly the author of this article has not looked at all deeply into this organisation. Her framework by which she judges an organisation to be a cult is somewhat narrow. The SES/SOP/SOPP is a successful cult simply for the fact that is still running. Whatever it is doing is sufficient for now to maintain its membership and revenue streams. Some cults have very small devoted memberships and are not necessarily cash rich

The author comments on the tutor of the group being somewhat embarrassed about the property they were in but it seems that she wasn't minded to follow the money trail to even see where the original money to purchase the property was obtained from nor to look at how asset rich the organisation is.

The sad bit is that she notes that when she asked searching questions, she got vague and slippery answers. The school touts "practical conventional wisdom" as the convincer in a scam but later shows itself to either having no knowledge at all or dubious knowledge at best.

Bonsai

Mikew
Posts: 13
Joined: Tue Jul 27, 2010 8:31 pm

Re: Imperial College Newspaper, Felix, Report about the SES

Postby Mikew » Tue Jan 18, 2011 8:53 pm

Bonsai or anyone for that matter on this site,
Have you attended the SOP in NYC in the last 10 years?

bluemoon
Posts: 125
Joined: Sat Dec 26, 2009 9:52 am

Re: Imperial College Newspaper, Felix, Report about the SES

Postby bluemoon » Tue Jan 18, 2011 9:31 pm

Hi Mikew,

I was in London SES, so no not been to NYC school. But the issue is that the international Leader Donald Lambie has ultimate authority over all the schools.

Best wishes, Bluemoon
Last edited by bluemoon on Thu May 24, 2012 1:48 pm, edited 1 time in total.
SES London, 1990-2009, Female

User avatar
Free Thinker
Posts: 325
Joined: Wed Jan 12, 2005 4:05 am
Location: USA

Re: Imperial College Newspaper, Felix, Report about the SES

Postby Free Thinker » Wed Jan 19, 2011 4:11 am

Mikew - There are some people who attended within the last 10 years but I don't think they actively post right now.

I left 14 years ago and while some things have changed based on what people have posted who have attended since, I'd say that it's mostly the paint that's changed but not the canvas.


Return to “General discussion of SES”

Who is online

Users browsing this forum: No registered users and 2 guests