How Cults Rewire the Brain

Discussion of the SES, particularly in the UK.
ManOnTheStreet
Posts: 137
Joined: Fri Jul 06, 2012 1:32 am

Re: How Cults Rewire the Brain

Postby ManOnTheStreet » Mon Oct 28, 2013 1:30 am

Dr. Alan,

1. "Your reticence in this regard is at once perplexing and slightly amusing" - this was merely my impression, it's obviously not "personal abuse"

2. "Does it not occur to you that 'reasoning with the teenager' is exactly what I'm trying to do here?" - this was your analogy not mine:
Dr.Alan wrote:Imagine trying to reason with a teenager who has "fallen" in love with a person of the opposite sex.

I was just demonstrating that the analogy is bad because it's possible for me to use it as well. As someone that is constantly telling us to "look behind the words" I thought that this would be obvious to you. When you used that analogy I didn't take it personally at all. However, you did when it was used back at you. It looks like you have different standards for yourself and for everyone else. If you're happy to dish out analogies like this, you should be prepared to receive them as well.

3. "To demonstrate how silly these kinds of arguments really are -- " - I was clearly commenting on the arguments here - how is this personal abuse? It is by definition not a personal attack. I didn't say you were silly. If you identify so much with your arguments that you take it as a personal attack every time I disagree with them, that is something you might want to have a look at. Arguments can be 'silly' or 'intelligent' regardless of who uses them. Aristotle (undoubtedly a great philosopher) thought the Earth was the centre of the universe. He was wrong. That doesn't mean he was silly, it just means his argument on that issue was. There's obviously a distinction there.

4. "Perhaps you're living in a dream world," - again, this is exactly what you said to me!
Dr.Alan wrote:Of course this post goes to those in the "dream" of human life - hence it will be questioned by dreamers. The real message here has little chance to take root anywhere.
Dr.Alan wrote:what better proof of my last paragraph could I have expected than the one your reply demonstrates.
I only used this example because (i) it was one you used yourself, and (ii) because it is an excellent example of how these arguments don't work (because they can be used equally by both sides). It was clearly a hypothetical scenario, and nowhere near "personal abuse".

If I am to apologise, it is only to the extent that I didn't make the above points even more abundantly clear in my previous post, but I really thought all that was quite obvious in the context of our 'discussion'. Furthermore, if you think I am so confident in my logic and philosophy, then do you really think I'd feel the need to "personally abuse" you to get my point across?

Yet again you avoid the real issues Dr. Alan. Your post is exactly what I was talking about before - if you wish to continue, can you please stop deflecting the conversation and start actually engaging in a meaningful discussion. If you don't have good reasons for believing what you believe, then it's ok to just say "I don't know", and we can leave it at that. No one expects you to have all the answers, but I think some minimum level of engagement is required if you are to get your point across in a convincing manner.

Time and time again I try to get at the reasons behind your beliefs, but every time you deflect with platitudes and faux-logic. If you want to look wise and knowledgeable you have to 'get your hands dirty' so to speak. Otherwise, it's just an information-dump, and anyone can do that (including me). I could easily write up long posts about atheism and the sceptical world-view, but this wouldn't be an engagement with you - it would just be lots of information about atheism and scepticism. If I am to engage with your point of view I have to refer to the issues you raise in your posts - it's as simple as that. I'm only asking that you give that a try instead of deflecting all the time. I'm not asking you to agree with me, or to give up Vedanta, or anything like that. Just try and 'dip your foot in the water' and let's see how we go. Your reticence to engage is very counter-productive because unfortunately it makes you look insincere, but I actually think you're quite a sincere person. You really have nothing to lose by engaging with the issues raised in the discussion. I might be a vigorous interlocutor, but that has everything to do with the arguments and nothing to do with you as a person.

MOTS

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

Re: How Cults Rewire the Brain

Postby Dr.Alan » Mon Oct 28, 2013 6:57 am

ONLY ONE THING IN CREATION IS IMMUTABLE
ALL ELSE IS MUTABLE
(including the original text of this post)
SES - London 1964-1974 left due to SES interference with private life.

Daffy
Moderator
Posts: 333
Joined: Sat Oct 30, 2004 3:32 am

Re: How Cults Rewire the Brain

Postby Daffy » Tue Oct 29, 2013 12:38 pm

Dr.Alan wrote:ONLY ONE THING IN CREATION IS IMMUTABLE
ALL ELSE IS MUTABLE
(including the original text of this post)

Dr.Alan, it appears from a search of your posts that you have a history of deleting them or replacing them with text like the above. It is obviously not appropriate to do this.

I can't stop a selected user from editing their posts but I have changed the global board setting so that users can only edit their posts for 24 hours.

All users, if you think you might have an attack of remorse about something you wish to post, sleep on it first - don't interrupt the flow by trying to change history.

Also a reminder that editing your post won't affect any quoted text in other users' posts. Although forums sometimes discourage wholesale quoting of other users' posts, I am happy for those quoting from Dr.Alan to reproduce his posts in their entirety so that a more permanent record remains.

Daffy
ses-forums.org administrator

Leonie
Posts: 29
Joined: Sat Jun 23, 2012 9:00 pm

Re: How Cults Rewire the Brain

Postby Leonie » Tue Oct 29, 2013 8:22 pm

DELETED
Last edited by Leonie on Wed Oct 30, 2013 2:09 pm, edited 1 time in total.

Daffy
Moderator
Posts: 333
Joined: Sat Oct 30, 2004 3:32 am

Re: How Cults Rewire the Brain

Postby Daffy » Wed Oct 30, 2013 4:40 am

I think what you're forgetting is that these discussions are conversations between members of a community. Once you participate in a discussion it is not fair on other users to change the record of what you said.

This isn't me making up restrictions that are special to this board: it's simply a reflection of real life where you don't get to rewrite history or pretend you never said something. Many boards have the same policy.

If you think you may later regret saying something (or regret someone else quoting you) then obviously you should not post it in the first place. If you prefer to avoid the permanence of being on the record then not posting anything at all may be the appropriate choice.

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

Re: How Cults Rewire the Brain

Postby actuallythere » Wed Oct 30, 2013 7:17 am

Daffy, I support your decision because posters should be responsible for their comments and if they edit later then the other side of the dialogue will become meaningless. However, speaking of general internet convention, I would prefer users to have the option of a redaction (cross-out) tool to clearly indicate they are taking back what they said, although what they said would remain visible for the record. As I'm sure you know, Wikipedia for example uses this convention in its discussion areas. Is it possible for you to create this option for us?

Leonie
Posts: 29
Joined: Sat Jun 23, 2012 9:00 pm

Re: How Cults Rewire the Brain

Postby Leonie » Wed Oct 30, 2013 7:34 am

DELETED
Last edited by Leonie on Wed Oct 30, 2013 2:09 pm, edited 3 times in total.

Leonie
Posts: 29
Joined: Sat Jun 23, 2012 9:00 pm

Re: How Cults Rewire the Brain

Postby Leonie » Wed Oct 30, 2013 8:53 am

DELETED
Last edited by Leonie on Wed Oct 30, 2013 2:10 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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

Re: How Cults Rewire the Brain

Postby ManOnTheStreet » Wed Oct 30, 2013 11:44 am

I think the main point is that you get situations like this, where Dr. Alan and I have a rather involved discussion within a thread, and then at his whim he just effectively deletes all his posts. This breaks the thread (figuratively and literally) and the whole thing is evidence of very bad faith on his part. It's also bad for members/guests who read the conversation without contributing themselves, purely because they might be interested in how the discussion develops. Is it really fair to them that Dr. Alan can just go through and delete half the conversation whenever he wants? The other thing is that the editing function is open to abuse by people who, after they've been quoted, go back and change their words. In any case, you can see the problems. Dr. Alan was reported because he has done this 'writing, waiting for response, then deleting' routine a number of times in the past, and it's just not on. We generally accept responsibility for what we say in all other circumstances - why not here? It's no shame to change one's views on a subject - all of us who were once in Schools know what that feels like, and it's ok.

I'm on board with AT's suggestion that there be a 'cross-out' tool that can be used to indicate redaction of comments. I also think that editing posts for not more than 24 hours after they're written is fine too. As I understand it, the convention on forums where editing is allowed is to put "EDIT: [description of what was edited/added/deleted]" at the end of an edited post.

Leonie is right about the value of non-immediate application of the policy. I think members should be given some time (a month is probably too long, given the rate of posting) to become aware of the policy and make a decision regarding their continued activity on the forum given its effect. I certainly think the policy should be 'stickied' and made clear to everyone, and yes it's obviously unfair for the policy to act retrospectively on posts.

In general, editing doesn't seem to have been too much of a problem on this forum as far as I can see. The edit function has however been repeatedly abused by Dr. Alan in aid of whatever game he's playing here, and it's just unacceptable that he be able to disrupt entire threads just because he can't take responsibility for what he writes only hours/days beforehand. Daffy summed it up: this forum is a community. It's just not fair on anyone for one poster to be able to destroy/change the record of what they said. This thread just looks ridiculous now because of Dr. Alan's 'editing'. It's in bad faith and should be stopped.

MOTS

Daffy
Moderator
Posts: 333
Joined: Sat Oct 30, 2004 3:32 am

Re: How Cults Rewire the Brain

Postby Daffy » Wed Oct 30, 2013 12:08 pm

From memory there have been at least three users who have mass-deleted their posts, dozens at a time. I didn't do anything previously but I think it has become a problem that needs to be dealt with. This is not 'interference' on my part but simply the application of common sense and etiquette. It's simple: don't write anything you don't want to remain on the record.

I don't even see why people feel the need for some transition time before this is made effective: where else do you get the choice to pretend you didn't say something that you posted publicly for the world to see?

This reminds me of when my workplace IT dept introduced a policy of deleting anything in users' 'Deleted Items' mailbox after 60 days. People complained about the deletion of deleted items from their Deleted Items mailbox, seemingly oblivious to the irony.

The redaction/strikethrough idea: I've not seen this available in the software that this board uses (phpBB) but I'm open to this if anyone knows otherwise.

If users who think they should have the unfettered and indefinite right to change their posts feel the need to stop contributing to these forums as a result of this change then so be it - but that's your choice based on an unreasonable expectation of how the Internet works.

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

Re: How Cults Rewire the Brain

Postby Dr.Alan » Wed Oct 30, 2013 4:17 pm

Daffy,

I am quite surprised that the deletions have cause so much upset.

You say "--- how the internet works -- " etc. I happen to be of the opinion that the internet should not have the legal right to hold on to any information which anyone puts there once. e.g. I have tried to close a face-book account which I created - but it seems impossible. Also when I once ran a statutory business - many UK local authorities listed my name and address on their web-sites for ease of their local populations to access. Now I have retired for some years - many of those websites still publish my name and address - which I do not wish to have in the public domain. There are many other instances, which I will not bore you with, where the internet retains out of date information which someone had put there - and would probably wish to have removed. The internet seems to be law unto itself in this respect. I do not agree with this as it can be misleading and damaging.

The posts I put up were aimed at trying to help MOTS see a particular point. I failed in that - because such writing cannot replace face to face speaking - which might have not failed. I removed the posts as I did not think anyone else would be interested in the dialogue between MOTS and myself. It appears you think others may be interested. What for I cannot imagine - idle curiosity maybe. If there is no change in a person's life - outlook - state of mind (i.e. more peaceful) then all this philosophy is of no value.

However, putting to one side my own views of the internet etc. - and if you think it is important for the presumed purpose of this forum - I would happily replace the text of the posts (the ones which I have retained) in their correct place. This, however, would require you to make this possibility available.

Best wishes

Dr. Alan
SES - London 1964-1974 left due to SES interference with private life.

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

Re: How Cults Rewire the Brain

Postby ManOnTheStreet » Wed Oct 30, 2013 10:10 pm

I'd be grateful if Dr. Alan were allowed the opportunity to un-delete his posts. Also, on the "other people are interested in the dialogue" point - whenever the two of us start a dialogue on a thread the number of 'views' goes up very quickly - I think people are interested, and I don't think it would be fair to put that down to mere idle curiosity. In any case, it's not for us to decide whether or not they should be interested and why, or whether reading our discussion will or will not change their life in some way. There's really no way of knowing that. Your posts may have been directed at me (and mine at you) but the discussion itself was of general import. The fact that I disagreed with you doesn't mean that others viewing the thread didn't agree with you wholeheartedly. When you delete your posts you prevent other people from reading them and seeing the very point that you were trying to get me to see. In other words, I think we owe it to the readers (not just ourselves) to keep our posts intact.

On the legal right to publish personal information - I think you might have a case there Dr. Alan. Those sites shouldn't really be able to keep publishing your personal information without your consent, unless there was a clause in your original agreement with them that enables them to do this. I'd have a look at the original contracts you signed/agreed to and see if this is the case.

MOTS

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

Re: How Cults Rewire the Brain

Postby Dr.Alan » Thu Oct 31, 2013 7:19 am

Dear MOTS,

I always expect that you will disagree with me. It is one of the ways I find out information which helps me write the books I am writing. (i.e. the views of the common person.) I hope you don't take offence at that.

You are only able to react to what is put up on this forum - you form your opinions about Advaita Vedanta from such things, and what you may have read in books etc.

I do realise that it is impossible for you to know what Advaita Vedanta is for the individual person. You (and most others) only know the information which is aimed at the common man.

There is a simple rule which is applied by 99% of those who take individual instruction. It is something like --'If you go to your doctor for a cure, and after s/he has given you your personalised prescription you then start sharing it with your family and friends (instead of applying it to your malady), it will not help you with a cure from your malady.' I hope you get the point here. (i.e. this is the sum total of the error in the SES method). It means all the theories and opinions you express are an expected reaction - there are things you could only come to know when the time comes that you realise you are suffering from a malady - then you "go to your doctor" for a remedy. You will never know these things by any other method.

Perhaps now you will realise why I do not always answer your questions - or enter into debate in the way you would like. Also a question answered (of the type you ask) is a question closed. Unanswered the question stays open. In your current condition - this is far better for you. It is not easy for you to realise that a person's approach which you disagree with - may embody care. (some of the most effective medicines taste pretty awful).

Best wishes

Dr. Alan
SES - London 1964-1974 left due to SES interference with private life.

Jo-Anne Morgan
Posts: 64
Joined: Wed Nov 16, 2005 11:23 pm

Re: How Cults Rewire the Brain

Postby Jo-Anne Morgan » Thu Oct 31, 2013 8:23 am

Never to be able to remove anything you post on an internet site isn't how the internet works, it's how it is in many cases but it doesn't have to be. Clearly information can be deleted by someone somewhere. The software of this forum allows deletions.

To justify non-deletions by saying 'it's simply a reflection of real life where you don't get to .......... pretend you never said something' is a misrepresentation as things you say disappear into the ether and get forgotten. Things you write down are always available to access in the future so sometimes you want to remove those words. And in 'real life' you can, by burning them/shredding them or whatever. Also to say 'This isn't me making up restrictions that are special to this board' and 'Many boards have the same policy' aren't adequate justifications in themselves.

If you want to control the information on the Board in this manner, Daffy, then that's your prerogative, but don't use weak justifications for that.

As far as I can see this Board is becoming as rigid and controlling as the SES it purports to deplore.


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