Nothing Wrong with SES

Discussion of the SES, particularly in the UK.
Gerasene Demon
Posts: 139
Joined: Tue Sep 15, 2009 3:20 am

Re: Nothing Wrong with SES

Postby Gerasene Demon » Mon Jan 28, 2013 9:47 pm

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Last edited by Gerasene Demon on Thu May 30, 2013 8:20 pm, edited 1 time in total.

Dr.Alan
Posts: 70
Joined: Sun Jan 06, 2013 3:15 pm
Location: UK

Re: Nothing Wrong with SES

Postby Dr.Alan » Tue Jan 29, 2013 7:59 am

GD - all you say is true of course. But it all applies to doubters and sceptics as well. Just suppose you are with your last few breaths - then the thought comes - "I wish I had done something to find out what it was all about really. Instead of wasting my life on all those things which did not last very long."

Might be too late then. Good luck.
SES - London 1964-1974 left due to SES interference with private life.

StillatSES
Posts: 11
Joined: Tue Jan 22, 2013 8:11 am

Re: Nothing Wrong with SES

Postby StillatSES » Tue Jan 29, 2013 8:13 am

I am still here and working on refuting the Mistakes subject. Also reading your various comments.

What you have all done really is to break two fundamental school rules. Firstly you do not do or say negative things. Secondly you do not associate with those who have left SES.

There are perfectly good reasons for these rules. Negativeness poisons the mind. People who have left SES are more likely to have negative thoughts about the school.

The fact that you have combined these two errors on this forum is clearly the reason for the nature of the negative attacks on SES and on each other, which the content of this forum speak for itself.

Gerasene Demon
Posts: 139
Joined: Tue Sep 15, 2009 3:20 am

Re: Nothing Wrong with SES

Postby Gerasene Demon » Tue Jan 29, 2013 9:14 am

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Last edited by Gerasene Demon on Thu May 30, 2013 8:20 pm, edited 1 time in total.

ManOnTheStreet
Posts: 137
Joined: Fri Jul 06, 2012 1:32 am

Re: Nothing Wrong with SES

Postby ManOnTheStreet » Tue Jan 29, 2013 10:58 am

Good to see you're still around StillatSES - I'm looking forward to reading your refutations.

MOTS

actuallythere
Posts: 180
Joined: Mon Aug 17, 2009 3:05 pm

Re: Nothing Wrong with SES

Postby actuallythere » Tue Jan 29, 2013 3:11 pm

Stillat SES - would you agree that you could appear to others to be breaking your own rules? Because (i) you're communicating with people who've left SES, and (ii) you are being very negative indeed - about this forum. Is this negativity not the very poison that you allege is held in others?

As to your point: "What would be interesting to know is - if SES is so bad as some of you say - how is it you stayed so long. No one ever said you cannot leave. You were not put in chains or imprisoned. So why did you not leave earlier. I would think most of you would not be able to answer that question in a way that many people would believe."

If you want a thorough answer to this question I recommend you read - with an open mind - any of the many books looking at how spiritual groups can influence one's psychology in an extremely slow, subtle and eventually dominant and sometimes very destructive manner. Some authors have drawn a link with addiction; by that token, one does not get very far telling a long-term addict that they've always had the option of quitting and that it is unfathomable that didn't quit years ago. That parallel is not always apt, and much of the literature does not directly apply. But the principles of group persuasion, conformity and control discussed by scholars such as Hassan, Lalich and others are well worth a look. You don't have to agree with them, but if you have a love of knowledge, there's no harm in keeping your mind open to all scholarship and sources of wisdom.

I will invite you though to consider the possibility that psychological or spiritual imprisonment is as real as physical imprisonment. There is at least one documented case of a person not leaving SES and committing suicide; some say this was the only way out she felt she had. All of us need to ask why she killed herself, and we must not jump to either conclusion that it was (A) nothing to do with SES nor (B) that it was everything to do with SES.

Secondly, I'm also going to ask you to consider how aware you are of your own communication. Because it is already under the heavy influence of SES: you use the word "negativity" in a manner specific to SES that is not generally accepted by the world at large - you are presenting the word as if it is objectively a wrong thing. To what extent does this specific use of language mark you out as separate from wider society? Might this use of language serve as a reminder to you that you are among a special, privileged group?

To illustrate, one can say there has been a lot of negativity about Jimmy Savile of late. I'm sure you don't think there is anything wrong in being negative about the rape of handicapped children. And if so, can you still be certain about the way you were using the word "negativity"? And why, and how, have you been taught to use this word in this way?

SES students tend to be talked into using the word "negativity" in the way that you have above through a subliminal, almost hypnotic process, by the repeated way in which it is used by SES tutors in the classes. Then negativity is bad, they say - asking difficult, challenging questions of SES tutors is described as "negativity". So if one disagrees with them, thereby challenging the authority of the central teaching of SES, one is negative, one is bad, one is wrong.

Is it fair to say that the suppression of disagreement puts people on the path towards wisdom? And if so, how does that accommodate the fact that disagreement is very much a part of Socratic dialogue, among many other aspects of philosophy? And how does that accommodate what we know about disagreement and authoritarianism?

Kind regards,

AT
Last edited by actuallythere on Wed Jan 30, 2013 3:02 am, edited 1 time in total.

Earlgrey
Posts: 27
Joined: Mon Feb 27, 2012 2:47 pm

Re: Nothing Wrong with SES

Postby Earlgrey » Tue Jan 29, 2013 4:28 pm

It just occurred to me that StillatSES might be an Internet troll.
I mean, ho hum to the School rules.
Let's just get on with our discussions.

ManOnTheStreet
Posts: 137
Joined: Fri Jul 06, 2012 1:32 am

Re: Nothing Wrong with SES

Postby ManOnTheStreet » Tue Jan 29, 2013 10:04 pm

Good point Earlgrey - let's see if he comes up with anything, but I agree it's a possibility. The language he uses is, as AT points out, very much in line with "School talk" so I'm willing to give him the benefit of the doubt for now.

Well said AT as always. There is no reason to suggest that negativity towards the SES is wrong. Nor is there any reason to suggest that association (as loose as it might be on an internet forum) with ex-members is wrong either. Those two 'School rules' are simply part of the indoctrination process used to tie people to the School. StillatSES, the reasons you give for the existence of those rules are both vague and question-begging.

Another point: Why are they so fearful about the possibility that you might hear a different point of view than the one they present to you? Surely if they were confident in their own message they wouldn't care if you were presented with other points of view. Isn't the whole idea to develop your own discrimination and not rely on someone else's? As AT said, disagreement and counter-argument are essential parts of dialectic - without these what you have is almost indistinguishable from brain-washing.

MOTS

Middle Way
Posts: 78
Joined: Wed Mar 28, 2012 3:46 am

Re: Nothing Wrong with SES

Postby Middle Way » Wed Jan 30, 2013 12:47 am

actuallythere wrote:SES students tend to be talked into using the word "negativity" in the way that you have above through a subliminal, almost hypnotic process, by the repeated way in which it is used by SES tutors in the classes. Then negativity is bad, they say - asking difficult, challenging questions of SES tutors is described as "negativity". So if one disagrees with then, thereby challenging the authority of the central teaching of SES, one is negative, one is bad, one is wrong.

This major point could not have been better expressed. When I first heard the “rule” in SFSK that “you do not do or say negative things” I was quite concerned, because it clearly meant you weren't allowed to question anything that was said or done. This concern was never resolved by the time I left SFSK, and was a major factor in my leaving.

To StillatSES: If you do ever post a detailed and reasoned refutation then, with respect, you really have to address this major point. In the spirit of truth you have to honestly address whether or not you are free in your class to question or criticise anything in the teachings, or the way things are done in your School. You have to be able to give credible examples where you have disagreed with something you’ve heard or observed, and how that has developed into useful discussion or outcomes. In my 8 years at SFSK I heard and saw plenty of things that I disagreed with, but never once dared mention because of a ridiculous (in hindsight) fear that I would broach that ridiculous "rule".

To MOTS:
ManOnTheStreet wrote:Surely if they were confident in their own message they wouldn't care if you were presented with other points of view.

I would go further and say “surely if they were confident in their own message they would welcome you being presented with other points of view”. Because then they have the opportunity to better instruct you in pointing out why those alternative views are not right.

actuallythere
Posts: 180
Joined: Mon Aug 17, 2009 3:05 pm

Re: Nothing Wrong with SES

Postby actuallythere » Wed Jan 30, 2013 2:53 am

@Earlgrey

I respectfully disagree. StaillatSES's contributions are helpful to us all and I for one will encourage them as much as possible. If you think it through a little more, I've a hunch you might see why - but there's no need to spell it out.

Best regards

AT

actuallythere
Posts: 180
Joined: Mon Aug 17, 2009 3:05 pm

Re: Nothing Wrong with SES

Postby actuallythere » Sun Feb 03, 2013 11:57 am

@StillatSES

You may be busy at the moment, but it has occurred to me that you've had four days to reply to my good faith response to your comments, which I wrote to you with care and respect.

Please respond to my reply as soon as it is convenient for you to do so.

Kind regards,

AT

StillatSES
Posts: 11
Joined: Tue Jan 22, 2013 8:11 am

Re: Nothing Wrong with SES

Postby StillatSES » Sun Feb 03, 2013 1:53 pm

Dear AT,

My apologies for the delay - but I was looking into some of the literature which you kindly pointed me towards. And I have found it very interesting. I must say that many of things you said in your post a few days ago, set me thinking in a new way. I even began to question that nearly 30 years of my life have been given to something which I cannot say with certainty has given me back the sort of realisation which Dr. Alan has mentioned.

You may be interested - but I have even introduced the thought into my own mind of leaving SES, only to find out what effect it had on me. To my shock and surprise I began to get a sense of the addiction which you mentioned in your post. It seemed an almost impossible thing to consider leaving, as so much of the time in my life is given to the school at present. I began to wonder what I would do with my life. Maybe you and some others can describe to me what it actually felt like after you left SES. Especially if anyone had been there for many years.

On realising the fear of what it might be to leave SES , I then began to get a sense of the real person that I was so many years ago, and that I had become very different from that by degrees - as you had said. For me at this stage it would take courage to make the break. But I am sure that there are many on this forum who may be able to help me if I do decide to leave. I guess I will have to change stillatSES to another tag then.

actuallythere
Posts: 180
Joined: Mon Aug 17, 2009 3:05 pm

Re: Nothing Wrong with SES

Postby actuallythere » Sun Feb 03, 2013 4:30 pm

Dear Stillat,

Thank you very much for replying. In my view you are being very honest and therefore strong. I recommend you continue on the simple course of inquiry and analysis, it is no more nor less than that.

As far as I'm concerned the one certainty you can be sure of, and trust, is that there is never any harm in asking questions - whether they be of us on this forum, of SES, or of yourself.

The literature is helpful because it is a resource that you are in control of. It is there for you to accept and reject - and this is a choice I would say you must make, in order to build up your own autonomous analysis of the circumstances you now find yourself in.

I cannot say from first hand experience what it is like to quit SES because I have never been a member. I only ever attended a few classes before declining to continue. But for decades I have been around SES members and their children; and increasingly, ex-members. I have indeed seen very many cases of people leaving.

In some cases people speak of guilt, fear, shame, regret, loss, and other such entirely natural emotions. In other cases people speak of having found the place they were always looking for, liberation, excitement, success, rebirth, or a self-awareness that feels more genuine than ever before. Sometimes it is all of this at the same time, and more. I know counselling with a professional whose expertise is in the area of spiritual groups has sometimes helped - people have sought therapists familiar with the work of Margaret Singer (to be taken with a pinch of salt, like all of them), and organizations such as the Family Survival Trust.

In terms of lifestyle and time, people turn to whatever they find personally fulfilling once they give themselves the choice - it is very often a chance to re-connect with family and friends that they have grown apart from or even neglected for years, precisely because they never had enough time. Then there are other possibilities - learning French, travelling the world, a year abroad, taking up Salsa, doing an A-Level in psychology at night school, volunteering for children with Down's Syndrome, or starting one's own business. One common denominator is that I have never seen anyone's worst fears come true, no matter what hard work it is at the start.

Like I say, I think the steady rhythm of fresh questions always keeps oneself going. Steven Hassan and Janja Lalich went through this process themselves, their stories are quite different to former SES members but certain basic issues are applicable.

Another great resource is this forum - infinite amounts of support and love can be found here. It just might not be recognizable at first.





StillatSES wrote:Dear AT,

My apologies for the delay - but I was looking into some of the literature which you kindly pointed me towards. And I have found it very interesting. I must say that many of things you said in your post a few days ago, set me thinking in a new way. I even began to question that nearly 30 years of my life have been given to something which I cannot say with certainty has given me back the sort of realisation which Dr. Alan has mentioned.

You may be interested - but I have even introduced the thought into my own mind of leaving SES, only to find out what effect it had on me. To my shock and surprise I began to get a sense of the addiction which you mentioned in your post. It seemed an almost impossible thing to consider leaving, as so much of the time in my life is given to the school at present. I began to wonder what I would do with my life. Maybe you and some others can describe to me what it actually felt like after you left SES. Especially if anyone had been there for many years.

On realising the fear of what it might be to leave SES , I then began to get a sense of the real person that I was so many years ago, and that I had become very different from that by degrees - as you had said. For me at this stage it would take courage to make the break. But I am sure that there are many on this forum who may be able to help me if I do decide to leave. I guess I will have to change stillatSES to another tag then.
Last edited by actuallythere on Mon Feb 04, 2013 5:13 am, edited 9 times in total.

Gerasene Demon
Posts: 139
Joined: Tue Sep 15, 2009 3:20 am

Re: Nothing Wrong with SES

Postby Gerasene Demon » Sun Feb 03, 2013 4:45 pm

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Last edited by Gerasene Demon on Thu May 30, 2013 8:20 pm, edited 1 time in total.

StillatSES
Posts: 11
Joined: Tue Jan 22, 2013 8:11 am

Re: Nothing Wrong with SES

Postby StillatSES » Sun Feb 03, 2013 5:08 pm

Thank you AT and GD for your support. I must say also that when I started to consider the mistakes which Dr. Alan has listed, so that I could refute them, I was not able to come up with anything really concrete other than standard SES comments with which I guess you would say I have been programmed with. However, Dr. Alan's mistakes list began to sow the seeds of doubt in my mind, now I am wondering how much of what he says is actually true - I mean with regard to the Shankaracharya tradition.

Thanks again - I will keep you posted if I make any progress.


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