New Website

Discussion of the SES' satellite schools in Australia and New Zealand.
Dissenter
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New Website

Postby Dissenter » Wed Mar 01, 2006 6:22 am

Hi there

Well I discovered this forum recently, after falling prey to one of the 'Introductory Philosophy' courses run by the 'School of Philosophy' here in Australia.

I signed up expecting a course in Philosophy. Instead I got a heap of mumbo jumbo spiritual crap, which did not even make sense, and did not come with any sort of academic basis. So I did some research on this "School of Economic Science", and all was revealed.

I have been enraged ever since I found out I had been conned. The SES is CLEARLY a religious/spiritual organisation and the fact they are masquerading behind the academic discipline of philosophy to lure people to their classes is disgusting.

I have since threatened to take them to the Competition and Consumers Commission for miselading and deceptive advertising, and surprise surprise -- they offered to refund my money. Anything so I'll shutup, presumably!

What a bunch of shonky con-artists.

I have set up a website, as one last act of protest, in the hope that more people will not be suckered into handing over $170 and wasting their time because they are not told what they are REALLY signing up for

URL: http://secretcult.tripod.com

Hopefully it'll appear on Google et al soon enough...

cheers

DM

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bella
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Postby bella » Wed Mar 01, 2006 9:26 am

The pamphlet for the Perth school suggests you visit their website, and gives the address on the front. The first three sentences on that website are:

When people think of philosophy, they usually think of something academic and purely intellectual. The courses offered by the School of Philosophy are not an academic exercise. The Introductory Course consists of twelve practical sessions on the question of the philosophy of unity.


The pamphlet also says "the School of Philosophy is directly affiliated with the School of Economic Science, London".

Out of curiosity, how long did it take you to work out that it wasn't an academic course? The school here offers refunds up to the second week of term, as a matter of policy. The introductory lecture (before the "official" start of term) also talks about later meditation, and the history of the school, including its numerous crazy Eastern sources. Did the one you attended not mention that, or did you not manage to attend?

I'm not trying to be facetious, but there are efforts being made to make the intro sessions more specific about what you're signing up for, so I am genuinely curious.
Last edited by bella on Wed Mar 01, 2006 9:34 am, edited 1 time in total.

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a different guest
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Location: Australia

Postby a different guest » Wed Mar 01, 2006 9:27 am

DM

welcome to the forum. Shame you didn't get here a couple of weeks ago before it was taken over by current students of the SES high school in the UK. However, that being said, if you want a good example of what the SES belief system can turn a kid into, then current posts from aforesaid students are a good example.

Don't make your website a "last act of protest" (though I appreciate the effort), but hang around for a bit. Also even contact Consumer Affairs (not just threaten), their advertising IS totaly misleading.

And, as this has been discussed on another thread - can you tell me how how it was to research the SES and find this board? Back when I eventually discovered it, it took MUCH perseverence with google to find any info/

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a different guest
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Postby a different guest » Wed Mar 01, 2006 9:31 am

Bella - unless you are familiar with SES gobblygook, what they say on their websites tends to be meaningless to the average punter. Jeesh, most if it is STILL 'meaningless' to me! LOL

As for being "affiliated" with the "School of Economic Science, London" this is FAR too easily confused with the legit "London School of Economics".

Certainly fooled me for a while there - and google searches don't necessarily help (as discussed in another thread).

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Stanton
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Postby Stanton » Wed Mar 01, 2006 9:34 am

You can easily ask for your money back if you don't like the course. You don't have to threaten. You will be refunded - no problem.

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bella
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Postby bella » Wed Mar 01, 2006 9:38 am

ADG, I was referring mainly to Dissenter's complaint that it wasn't an academic course, when s/he was expecting one. "This is not an academic exercise" doesn't seem like obscured gobbledygook, so I'm wondering if Diss. got to read the pamphlet or website.

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a different guest
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Postby a different guest » Wed Mar 01, 2006 9:54 am

Maybe she was just attacted by the ubiquitous advertising Bella. Certainly the newsper ads down south (Syd/Melb) don't mention anything about it being 'not academic'. My good friend *cough* Ross's experience being a case in point. :)

Goblinboy
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Postby Goblinboy » Wed Mar 01, 2006 10:00 am

Welcome DM,

Share some of your concerns. I weary of some SES/SOP people referring to much of Western philosophy as "academic" in a pejorative sense, and dismiss it as not applicable to day-to-day living Sure, it may not be immediately accessable, but neither are ancient Sanscrit texts, without commentary and context. Moreover, most of the Western philosophical canon is grounded in practical experience. A few dollars on some Alain de Botton titles is a much better investment if it's philosophy you want, not spiritual doctrine.

And this is meant to be a practical philosophy?

Oh please...


long url fixed to preserve page layout -- mike

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a different guest
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Postby a different guest » Wed Mar 01, 2006 10:07 am



Well as it takes space and expansive grounds to be a "philosopher" I can sew why so many modern thinkers aren't studied by the SES.
If only those poor buggers knew they needed to live in an 'estate" to be taken seriously.

Dissenter
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Postby Dissenter » Thu Mar 02, 2006 1:27 am

Stanton wrote:You can easily ask for your money back if you don't like the course. You don't have to threaten. You will be refunded - no problem.


Oh yes. I had to threaten. There was nothing ANYWHERE saying they would refund it.

Normally there are no refunds given for general 'lifestyle' type courses like this. I mean usually the organisations running them are trying to run a business and therefore have a 'no refund' policy -- especially after you've already attended 3 lectures.

Interesting that the SES has no problem refunding money. Could it be they're really kind and like to hand people's cash back if they're not 100% happy?

Or could it be that they're absolutely rolling in cash (due to the sheer number of other people they've conned)?

Or could it be that they'll do anything to try and shut you up so you don't draw attention to them?

What struck me from the beginning is that these people don't act like other organisations running courses. They're WEIRD. They're too 'nice'. They dress in suits.

Bah. Shonky con-artists is what they are in my opinion.

I don't care if other people want to join them, I have no problem. But I most certainly will not be conned by their facade that they are not religious, when they totally are.

Somebody define religion please so we can prove this once and for all, I can't be bothered typing it into dictionary.com

Dissenter
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Postby Dissenter » Thu Mar 02, 2006 1:42 am

bella wrote: The first three sentences on that website are:

When people think of philosophy, they usually think of something academic and purely intellectual. The courses offered by the School of Philosophy are not an academic exercise. The Introductory Course consists of twelve practical sessions on the question of the philosophy of unity.


Hmmmm. See this is interesting, because I was also trying to ascertain for my own purposes whether they ARE misleading and deceptive in their advertising, and it comes down to this.

There are two major definitions for the word 'philosophy' in every dictionary I have come across:

(I am paraphrasing here)
1. Philosophy as in the intellectual discipline - relies on LOGIC to derive meaning. A critical analysis of fundamental beliefs about the world.

2. Philosophy as in a 'way of life' or a 'mode of thought'. For example "my philosophy on life is that the rich only get richer", or "a corporate philosophy of staff safety above production"

This is where the confusion lies.

This is why they get away with not being called a religion.

Like I said on the website, the Philosophy schools teach A PHILOSOPHY. They don't teach 'philosophy' as a discipline.

bella wrote:The pamphlet also says "the School of Philosophy is directly affiliated with the School of Economic Science, London".


Thankyou! Excellent point!

"School of Economic Science" sounds like a university department. In fact, I had to sift through various university websites before I found it.

I mean if they don't want to be confused, why don't they change their name? Or could it be this helps them gain credibility?

bella wrote:
Out of curiosity, how long did it take you to work out that it wasn't an academic course?


When they started teaching me spiritual crap, and not responding to my arguments that this was not logically derivable -- ie. it was A RELIGIOUS BELIEF

bella wrote: The introductory lecture (before the "official" start of term) also talks about later meditation, and the history of the school, including its numerous crazy Eastern sources. Did the one you attended not mention that, or did you not manage to attend?


Oh yeah. I was there. They're good over here -- they don't mention the crazy eastern sources at all.

Shonky, shonky organisation.

Thank god I got out of there.

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bella
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Postby bella » Thu Mar 02, 2006 3:49 pm

So...3 weeks then until you realised it was coming from a spiritual basis and not an academic one? Good to hear you got your refund, Diss - all the best.

NYC
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Postby NYC » Thu Mar 02, 2006 9:07 pm

3 weeks is WAAAAY too late to realize something you should know before you register...and which would be so simple for the School to communicate if it wanted to --, that they are "coming from a spiritual basis and not an academic one."

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bella
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Postby bella » Fri Mar 03, 2006 2:13 am

I agree, NYC. 3 weeks is too long.

Dissenter
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WOOHOO

Postby Dissenter » Tue Mar 07, 2006 7:59 am

Well, my refund cheque finally arrived. And rather than being lulled into cash-induced apathy (which is probably what they are hoping will happen!) I have decided to continue my efforts to expose the SOP for what they really are.

I have been investigating the possible grounds for lodging a complaint through the ACCC. So far it seems fairly positive:

1. The Fair Trading Act (WA) should govern the practices of the SOP, even if they are not registered as an 'incorporated body' (which would make them subject to the Trade Practices Act). Even as a not-for-profit, they are not exempt

2. They are definitely accepting money for 'educational services'

3. The area in which they are 'misleading and deceptive' directly relates to the part of the business in trade or commerce (if they were offering a legitimate service, but I just didn't like the organisation, there would be no case)

So the only remaining issue is, would a "resonable" person be misled to believe it is a legitimate Philosophy course?

I'm working on this one...


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