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The Melbourne School
Posted: Mon Feb 20, 2006 12:41 pm
This is my first post- I only found out about this place this year and regret that I didn't know about it earlier. I was 'in school' for about ten years and extricated myself about two and half to three years ago. Being young and eager I was quickly promoted to the more senior part of the school and served on residentials most of the leaders and bigwigs of the school. Because of this and my travel to England for residentials I have seen and heard alot about the workings of the school. I've seen firsthand how damaging psychologically and emotionally the school can be.
Personally I have had a longstanding problem with the leader of the Melbourne school, John Jepsen- Mavro's protege. This man believes he is the only person in the Melbourne school entitled to view themselves as God, the Absolute, etc. Arrogant and egotistical, he has a knack of surrounding himself withjust the type of person who would have been willing and devoted supporters of Hitlers reich. Absolute powere corrupts absolutely and for Jepsen being the representative of the Absolute in melbourne has absolutely corrupted him. Oh the stories I could tell...like telling my now husband and father of my baby boy, that he should not be with me because I needed a older man- the school recommends at least a 1/4 of the girls age older. Oh they're probably petty and triffling tales compared to the god awful abuse of those pupils who have suffered in the dayschools.
Speaking of which, I am glad to see people writing about Erasmus. Prospective parents are warned not to be taken in by the spiritual 'glamour'. I'm not sure exactly what I can say without it being considered slander but if anyone would like to hear more , especially if you are considering enrolling your child feel free to contact me. I was in school when the dayschool was opened and know personally of all the teachers- 'one might say' that one would want none of them teaching your children. Some might say that they're all basically mental cases bar a few and those few still have pretty peculiar personalitys from being in school for so long. Its amazing how people just don't seem to get better in school, what with all the meditation, scripture and 'good company', but worse...stagnant, which is how I got.
Anyway this is my first post and I know it's not much of one, but I am curious to hear from any others in regards to the Melbourne school or anyone who has, like me, done the foundation ceremony and left school.
Posted: Mon Feb 20, 2006 1:17 pm
Greetings Dame Melba, Anything that you can relate about the teachings,procedures and practices of the adult school and/or Erasmus would be very valuable and I am certain read very closely.
Perhaps you could PM 'temporarily duped' in regard to Erasmus . Any comments or information about the whole set up and relation between the 'public' school portals (Croydon,Royal Society etc ) and the 'HQ' I think at Illuora (?) would be appreciated.
If you prefer please PM anything sensitive .
Welcome to the forum.
Posted: Mon Feb 20, 2006 1:45 pm
Yes Welcome Melba,
Please dont think of your experiences as trivial, this is not a pissing contest but a discussion board that encompasses the subtle and less subtle damage that the SES organisation inflicts on those that come into contact with it, as well as a rational discussion of what was right about it, if anything.
The fear of straying into libel territory is understandable - others share that fear - and there are a lot of solicitors and barristers in the upper echelons of the organisations.
It would be usefull if you recounted your experiences, edited to preserve identities if necessary, so that others who have felt that their experience was nothing next to the physical abuse, can feel that they are included too.
Welcome again to the board
Posted: Mon Feb 20, 2006 10:17 pm
Thanks for your post. It seems that little changes in the Melbourne School over the past fifteen years or so. I'm not a member, but have people close to me enmeshed in the place.
Interested in your thumbnail sketch of Jepsen. He seems to polarise people - wins them over or they increase their initial dislike. I knew of the arrogance, but didn't realise he actually viewed himself as God though! I guess he's found an outlet for the ambition that was not realised in his career in middle management at IBM. Hard to believe the way he's installed in his castle at Iloura, supported financially, emotionally and goodness knows how else by the membership of the School of Philosophy. You're not the first person to express your feelings about him with such vehemence.
Would be interested to hear more about him and the workings of the Melbourne SOP from your perspective.
I agree with your observations on the Erasmus teaching staff, from what I know of them. As I wrote recently, the SoES / School of Philosophy make it difficult for themselves by limiting their staff recruitment to members only.
BTW, were you expected to ask permission to wed your youthful partner? He's clearly eminently unsuitable
Interested in your awareness of the "stagnation" that you experienced - I have observed it in most of the long-term SOP people I know. But their desire for afflilation overcomes their desire for a better life. Sad.
Posted: Tue Feb 21, 2006 1:25 pm
Thankyou for your replies. I really feel at a loss as to where to begin. I've only been able to have a very general glance at the posts on the site and i don't feel ready as yet to go into any great depth because I don't now what would be of value and really be a good contribution.
Some things I would like to make clear from the outset so that you don't think I've mislead you later on, is that I went to the school knowing it offerered transcendental mediation and advaita philosophy. My boyfriend of the time was in his third or fourth term of phiolosophy when he told me about it- he warned me that the people where a bit strange, but being young and arrogant we thought they were just good for a laugh.
Secondly, despite the mish mash of philosophies at the school and the warped way in which it is dispensed and understood by the majority, I do not believe that the 'teachings' are themselves flawed. In fact generally I believe them to be beautiful and 'true'! If I hadn't I would not stayed as long as I did for it certainly was not for the people. In fact, despite what the school thinks they do not have a copyright on them.
The material given to us is a jumble of scriptures, Gurdieff, Ouspensky and Sarasvati, and when you've been in school for a while you're lucky if you get that- group night generally consisted of meditation and reflection- a form of meditation but on a passage of sanskrit verse.
Generally, organisations such as philosophy attract alot of misfits and marganilised people who are made to feel special and secure. The bulk of the school in Melbourne are such people. They readily forget the neither accept or reject approach to the material presented to take up the accept or be ridiculed or made to feel as if the 'demons' are wreaking havoc with your discrimination.
Of course the school has taken precautions since the Secret Cult scandal. It is hard, especially for younger students who haven't been in school longer than say five years, or who haven't really involved themselves and been promoted through the ranks, to see any real problems. And it is easy for their tutors to allay any such concerns if they do arise. It is amazing how time and time again, Jepsen or others have put their spin on things to suit their needs. Of course a large amount of the people don;t want to see any problems. It can become a bit of a social outing and a 'thing to do' and generally these sorts of people just trust and take everything at face value. And really, as much as these people at the time used to infuriate me, there is nothing wrong with that- the saying 'ignorance is bliss' really holds true. My tolerance of this attitude runs dry with anyone who has a role of responsibility in the SOP, eg a tutor, who through carelessness, ignorance, or apathy- usually because of a concern for their own problems and standing within SOP, allows 'their' student to suffer- emotionally, with conflicts in their faith or the like. The meddling by your tutor in your personal life is quite overt- you must tell them everything and consult them before making any decisions- the amount of timnes I got into trouble and given punishments for not doing this or not doing what they wanted me to!!In Melbourne this sort of pressure seems to be exerted more on the females than the men.
Anyway, I 've gone on long enough. I'm a bit tired and Im rambling.
Posted: Tue Feb 21, 2006 1:44 pm
Don't worry about whether you feel you have anything to contribute or not. Here your opinion and views count as much as anyone elses and I guess this is what makes it all a bit different from the SES.
I think you are right about organisations such as the SES attracting misfits and others that have been marginalised but there is also another group it attracts: those that want concrete answers.
It amazes me just how accepting people are of answers to these sorts of questions.
Again I agree that there may be a great deal of truth behind the underlying philosophies to which the SES refers but there is no doubt that the Organisation bastardises it.
Posted: Tue Feb 21, 2006 6:25 pm
I also wanted to extend my welcome and thank you for posting about your experiences. I have learned so much about myself and about how I was affected by my membership by reading and posting here, and I'm sure you will too.
I think there are quite a few of us who felt that some of the teachings were very helpful and important, and when you feel like you are improving your life and the world, you are apt to overlook some glaring wrongs. Thank goodness I figured it out before I was even more entrenched in the School. (I grew up in a school family and joined the actually classes as a teenager, leaving when I was 19.) However, those good exercises, etc. are just as real when you are on your own as their are when you are in the school. You are just no longer surrounded by phonies and power-hungry men.
The US school, like Melbourne, and I'm sure like all the schools, much more controlling of women than men. And I think this gives us a different perspective of the school than the men have. I know that I, despite being very open-minded and independent, was really cowed by the school, and let myself be told what to do and how to do it (in the guise of "giving up my ego") Whatever. And although they were never able to take away my personality, they sure tried! And all of that, along with growing up in a house with long-term member parents, resulted in me letting others have control of my life in many ways as a young adult that were harmful to me. I never learned to say "No!" in a variety of situations, and always turned to tears and sadness instead of anger.
Even though you may not have spent as many years there as some of us, your thoughts and experiences are very helpful. It was through reading some other people's experiences that mirrored mine that I realized how much of my life had been affected by the School.
Thank you, and please feel free to post. Most people here are just like us, but there are a few you'll need to ignore lest you get caught up in being offended. Misogyny runs deep.
Posted: Tue Feb 21, 2006 10:28 pm
Thanks for the post.
melba wrote:Generally, organisations such as philosophy attract alot of misfits and marganilised people who are made to feel special and secure. The bulk of the school in Melbourne are such people.
Nothing much changes in the Melbourne SOP, it seems. I've observed it undermine and erode the confidence and emotional well-being of female friends. The idiocy of some of their tutors was breathtaking, particularly when it came to trying to direct every aspect of their students' lives - from their work to their sex life - with no insight, empathy or understanding of the situation or what was required. Often the tutors appered to be nursing significant psychological wounds themselves.
And these are the people who are running Erasmus. Pity, for the children.
Posted: Wed Feb 22, 2006 12:51 am
Welcome Melba - another aussie here. Like GB I am not an ex-member, but do have relo's firmly emeshed. Although adults can make their own choices, my concerns started when their children started at an SOP day school - and then I found this board.
I would be interested to hear more about what you know about the childrens's schools.
Posted: Wed Feb 22, 2006 3:24 am
Hi Melba, welcome to the forum.
Can you say a bit more about how you were punished for not doing what your tutor wanted?
Posted: Wed Feb 22, 2006 12:28 pm
I thankyou all for your welcoming replies. I'll have to find some of your posts, Freethinker. I totally agree with you on the different perspectives men and women have in the school. It is something I have discussed in length with my husband. Of course I believe it boils down to the belief that it is the women and their conduct that bring about the downfall of men. If you can control the women and correct their conduct society will improve. YOu know prakriti(nature) being female...and chapter one of the Geeta....Oh and of course women are an easy scapegoat for the weaknesses and idiocies of men- no offence meant to any of the males out there!! I met quite a few of the American crew on the international youthgroup satsangas- were you there?
Bonsai- yes i agree with you too, and it is a shame about the bastardisation.
GB- yes, we are expected to ask permission/blessings for things such as getting married- that is students who had reached a certain level of committment in the school. The fact that I didn't and that I ignored the objection to be involved with my now husband, caused quite a lot of angst. And of course I was to be disciplined, which leads me to your question Bella.
There were quite a few in the latter years of my stint in the SOP. And I will list a few of them for you, but without context, without the emotion of the situation, the history between the people, they will probably seem quite innocuous. For me they tore me apart, because my devotion to the TEACHING was total while at school, and I could not reconcile within my self why such things were happening to me, who had found school life so easy in the early years.
The very first one I was given was for living at my boyfriend's mothers house, when I had no other accomadation readily available. The fact that my boyfriend at the time was not living there as well didn't seem to matter- of course I must be having wild demonic sex with him there, thinks my tutor and Jepsen. The fact that we were celibate and remained so for the five years of our relationship counted for nothing. Ladies are not to be trusted- their body, their form is the embodiment of desire, lust, sin, blah, blah, blah. For this transgression I was told that "you need to be disciplined for your actions and as a result Mr Jepsen has decided your punishment will be that you are not allowed to attend the upcoming youth residential...- of which all my other peers were attending. Yes, their choice of words, not mine. Pathetic right...not really so big a deal some might say. Maybe, but it wasn't so much the punishment that hurt- it was the injustice, mistrust, the narrowmindedness, the gall...they really believe it is their right to control the lives of their students and they do it in the name of truth and in this instance they were showing me who was boss. Yes I believe it is innocuous and petty too...but that didn't stop them.
There are a few other punishments I would like to relate which are a little more unsettling, but I need some time to reflect on them so that I can set them down right.
As for the Erasmus thing I still feel uneasy about what I can say. I was quite intimate with the headmasters family and I saw and heard things I wish I didn't. Also I feel a bit of a clutz about some of the things I've said already because it wouldn't be very hard for anyone who knew me or of me in school to identify me.
A few things I will say, just as hypotheticals. Parents would you like it if a teacher encouraged her girls to curtsey to her? Would you like your children to be taught by a teacher who was heard observing hysterically and repeatedly in a general meeting on an annual residential meeting that when reading the bible Jesus spoke to her? Hypothetically speaking would you wish for your child to be taught by a teacher who has, let's say hypothetically, no actual teaching degree and who after being told she could not marry the man she loved because he was a few years older than her, and after failing to find a spouse in the school, went through a marraige ceremony to wed the school, effectively becoming the schools first nun- and who even wears a gold wedding band as a symbol of this marriage? How many times have we heard the school is not a religious institution???!!! Just hpotheticals, but I'm sure these are the sort of things you'd want to check up on if you were enrolling your child in any school. Of course any school is liable to have teachers whose personal lives and beliefs may be questionable. But the scrutiny that these poor little children fall prey to is excessive and unhealthy, most especially for the reasons GB pointed out above.
Have to go now
ps if anyone thinks that anything I have said in the latter part of this post isn't really a good idea in regards to libel I would be very grateful to hear, so I can deal with this.
Posted: Thu Feb 23, 2006 12:44 am
Melba, I don't think the instance of "discipline" you mention is petty at all. Petty on the part of those who saw fit to administer it, but not on your part for finding it unacceptable. I'm a current member of the Brisbane school, and I do know what it would be like to be told I couldn't attend an event because of some imagined infraction - especially when those meting out the discipline consider themselves judge, jury and executioner without a trial. I hope you'll feel free to share other instances when you feel comfortable - first-hand accounts of current issues in Australian schools are rarer here than I would like.
I doubt anything in your previous post is libellous, but I'm not a lawyer.
Posted: Thu Feb 23, 2006 1:40 am
Thankyou Bella. The Brisbane school seems okay from what I heard. What I've met of Rex howard and his family, I can't imagine that he would reign with the same iron fist as Jepsen. He was always very lovely from what I saw. That being said. the leaders are under considerably pressure from the top to keep the schools in line. Though as has often been stated Lambie is a different man to what I heard Maclaren was. I think Renshaw in Sydney is also okay- they were both in the original youth group in Sydney and experienced first hand the terrible Mavro. Jepsen is part of the Old school and I don't think you can teach an old dog new tricks. I'll write more soon.
The Melbourne School
Posted: Thu Feb 23, 2006 2:45 am
Posted: Thu Feb 23, 2006 6:15 am
melba wrote: The very first one I was given was for living at my boyfriend's mothers house, when I had no other accomadation readily available. The fact that my boyfriend at the time was not living there as well didn't seem to matter- of course I must be having wild demonic sex with him there, thinks my tutor and Jepsen. The fact that we were celibate and remained so for the five years of our relationship counted for nothing. Ladies are not to be trusted...
Nothing much changes in the School of Philosophy, Melba. I knew of someone a similar age to his SOP girlfriend (not a good look), he did not belong to the School of Philisophy (a worse look) and they co-habited (a much worse look) and while I don't know what constitutes demonic...(let's not go there). In any case, she was regularly put through the mincer during meditation checks by her tutor and on residentials. These "senior" people appeared to have no sense of responsibility for their actions, and were at best simply unconscious of the harm they were doing - they weren't the sharpest tools in the shed. No duty of care. It really damaged her.
They seemed to be intent on crippling the spirits of some people who came to them already very vulnerable.
melba wrote: Parents would you like it if a teacher encouraged her girls to curtsey to her? Would you like your children to be taught by a teacher who was heard observing hysterically and repeatedly in a general meeting on an annual residential meeting that when reading the bible Jesus spoke to her? Hypothetically speaking would you wish for your child to be taught by a teacher who has, let's say hypothetically, no actual teaching degree and who after being told she could not marry the man she loved because he was a few years older than her, and after failing to find a spouse in the school, went through a marraige ceremony to wed the school, effectively becoming the schools first nun- and who even wears a gold wedding band as a symbol of this marriage? How many times have we heard the school is not a religious institution???!!!
Wedded to the School. Amazing. Absolutely amazing.
And every time I raise the matter with School of Philisophy people, I invariably receive the response - "it's not a religeon." Talk about put your child at risk.