Coming to terms with stupidity

Discussion of the SES' satellite schools in Australia and New Zealand.
Tootsie
Posts: 151
Joined: Sun Jul 26, 2009 1:37 pm

Re: Coming to terms with stupidity

Postby Tootsie » Sun Oct 11, 2009 3:59 am

When I left school I was given by someone who had also left a collection of tape recordings done by Leon Maclaren during residentials. Some of these residentials I had personally attended. What struck me upon listening to them was how elementary and repetitive they were. I played a few to friends that understood Sanskrit and had been connected with Advaita Vedanta for many years, and they agreed that it was all very elementary.

Always wondered why LM never published any books on Advaita or the teaching and after listening to his tapes I can understand why he didn't. But at the time when he was in front of a group he seemed to be saying something profound. Can only think it was the way he used he voice to hypnotise those listening. It certainly wasn't his looks or his knowledge of the subject.

Any thoughts?

stiltrubld
Posts: 69
Joined: Thu Aug 27, 2009 5:26 pm

Re: Coming to terms with stupidity

Postby stiltrubld » Sun Oct 11, 2009 8:41 am

deleted
Last edited by stiltrubld on Thu May 24, 2012 10:20 am, edited 1 time in total.
SES: 1990 - 2009 London (Female)

User avatar
Cousin It
Posts: 43
Joined: Mon Sep 14, 2009 10:28 am
Location: Australia

Re: Coming to terms with stupidity

Postby Cousin It » Sun Oct 11, 2009 11:07 am

I've altered this post because on re-reading it I realised it was a bit flippant and not really what I meant to say. Sorry for any offence.
Last edited by Cousin It on Sun Oct 11, 2009 8:39 pm, edited 1 time in total.
Cheers,
Cousin

stiltrubld
Posts: 69
Joined: Thu Aug 27, 2009 5:26 pm

Re: Coming to terms with stupidity

Postby stiltrubld » Sun Oct 11, 2009 12:01 pm

Surely it's up to those that were harmed what they do about it, Cousin It?

Anyway, I don't feel this is for me to comment on. But many people feel so upset by what happened to many of you as children, we want you to get what you want and deserve.

stiltrubld
SES: 1990 - 2009 London (Female)

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

Re: Coming to terms with stupidity

Postby ET » Sun Oct 11, 2009 1:29 pm

Cousin It wrote:So, it seems that we are a group of people complaining about injustices but happy to let it go at that. Fair enough. That puts it all in perspective. Let's all go on chatting amongst ourselves.


I couldn't let this comment lie. Personally, I would love to take the whole lot of them to court, if only for the public humiliation this would cause them. Unfortunately, my very bitty and unspecific memories (in terms of times, dates, age I was when something happened, and in some cases even the name of the teacher concerned) are not enough to stand up in a court of law. So the first problem is that there is no evidence. For proof of this as it applies to my experience in the girls' school, please read the sentence or two in the inquiry report that related to the girls.

The second is this: the SES is rich. Very rich. Certainly richer than I will ever be. They can afford a team of legal advisors who would be able to take that lack of evidence and get the case thrown out pretty sharpish I imagine.

Thirdly, the consequences to the mental health of many of the survivors of the SES and its schools would be unquantifiable. We are all damaged emotionally in one way or another, and seeing (and feeling) the effect of simply reading a novel based on our experiences, I hate to think what actually facing up to our tormentors in court would do to many of us.

This forum, for me, is about being able to talk about my experiences, receive support, and support others who went through and are still going through what I did. It's also about being here as a strong presence online for anyone who has thought about joining the SES or sending their kids to the schools and has decided to do some web research, in the hope that we can prevent people going through what we went through.

I understand that you are fired up with enthusiasm to bring down the SES and all it stands for, and I applaud that enthusiasm, but please don't try and make us feel guilty about not doing more. Just being here is about all most of us can cope with for the moment.
Pupil at St James Girl's School from 1979-1989, from age 4-14. Parents ex-members of SES.

bluegreen
Posts: 95
Joined: Fri Aug 21, 2009 4:42 pm

Re: Coming to terms with stupidity

Postby bluegreen » Sun Oct 11, 2009 2:14 pm

I will say the same as ET. I was aged 4 to aged 8 at St James during the worst years, which is around 30 years ago. My memories are not reliable evidence. The only clear ones are the ones my sister and I have talked about from time to time over the years, and the ones jogged by reading Clara's book. They would not hold water in court.They seemed normal for so many years that it is still hard to get my head around what was acceptable and what was not. I don't know how abusive other schools were back in those days either. I have talked to people who went to private schools who were caned, I have talked to people who were seriously damaged by things that happened to them in their schools. No-one from a 'normal' school recognises the humiliating stuff that went on at St james' girls school as anything that went on in other schools. So I know that it probably was an unusually damaging place for children to grow up in, that I was in. But it was still normal for me and so it isn't something I can find the words to talk to non-StJand StV people about very easily. Does that make sense?
ET I sense that you think that there is a pitifully short bit about the girls school in the inquiry, and I agree. My evidence couldn't have put any flesh on those bones but it's a shame more girls who were there a long time and will have crystallised the memories, didn't step forward. Saying that, my mum took me out because I was repeatedly the teacher's chosen victim. There were only 4 or 5 of us that ever got picked on but usually the same 3 every day (or that's how I remember it). The other 22 in my class had a completely different experience of their years there. Many got good results and had happy lives. I would love to know if the other 2 or 3 victims in my class are on this site and if they remember often being punished with me, but I don't want to name names. In the brief mention of the girls school in the inquiry, he said about many girls complaining that they were smacked on the bare bottom, of which he had proof of one incident. Well that I KNOW definitely happened and I could testify that with the support of the other 2 girls, but it would not be proof. Anyway, the smack on the bare bottom was not the worst bit of that punishment. Queuing with your knickers down in front of a class full of children in detention was the bit I remember. The pain of the smack was nothing compared to the sexual humiliation. It is difficult to find proof of the stuff at the girls school. They have Mr Debenham's caning diary for the boys. Did my teachers keep a record of the times my naked (from the waist down) body was seen by a class full of people? I doubt it.
St James Girls School 1977-1981

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

Re: Coming to terms with stupidity

Postby Daffy » Sun Oct 11, 2009 10:50 pm

bluegreen, what you describe is obscene, disgusting behaviour by the teachers concerned. Can you put name(s) to the teacher(s) who behaved in this way? Clara Salaman describes this in her book as well.

I know some people justify the physical abuse at St James and St Vedast according to the corporal punishment 'standards' of some schools in the 1970s and 1980s but "queuing with your knickers down in front of a class full of children in detention" cannot be thought acceptable for any school, any child, anywhere, any time, under any circumstances. The teachers involved deserve to be named and shamed.

stiltrubld
Posts: 69
Joined: Thu Aug 27, 2009 5:26 pm

Re: Coming to terms with stupidity

Postby stiltrubld » Mon Oct 12, 2009 9:51 am

Dear Cousin It

What you said did lead to ET and Bluegreen explaining things some more (thanks to both of you), which for people like me who did not go through it, is very helpful in order to really understand. So, I don't think it matters if things get 'emotional' or 'flippant' or whatever sometimes.

I want to respond to Daffy's points too, but will do that later. Just to say initially that I went to 2 public schools and I never, ever experienced, nor did I witness, anything like the things that I have heard of here, and it was a bit longer ago. But I think it may be useful to say a bit about the differences which I will do some other time.

stiltrubld
SES: 1990 - 2009 London (Female)

User avatar
Cousin It
Posts: 43
Joined: Mon Sep 14, 2009 10:28 am
Location: Australia

Re: Coming to terms with stupidity

Postby Cousin It » Mon Oct 12, 2009 10:18 am

Thanks stiltrubld.
What I meant to say, was I can't imagine how an organisation that was so abusive of children has got away with it scot free. They behaved in a way that seems to me to have been cruel, damaging and sadistic yet have never been called to account or even apologised. Even the catholic church which is vastly larger, wealthier and more powerul has had to pay for many of its abuses.
I didn't mean to offend any of the good people on this forum.
Cheers,
Cousin

bluegreen
Posts: 95
Joined: Fri Aug 21, 2009 4:42 pm

Re: Coming to terms with stupidity

Postby bluegreen » Mon Oct 12, 2009 1:46 pm

I am not a reliable witness. There is no record of the number of times my privates were exposed and it may have been that one time or maybe twice. It could have been more. My over-all memories are of being in the corner of the room, nose to the light switch, or outside the room, or eyes shut hands on head or standing on a chair hands on head, or Miss Caldwell's room. I'm pretty sure that this was loads and loads of times, but it is not abuse and it was probably paralleled in other schools. It doesn't do a little girl's self esteem any good or her education for that matter. And if anyone was repeatedly doing that with my sons when they were supposed to be learning academic and life lessons, I would be livid. But it is not abuse. But the bare bottom stuff has stuck clearly in my memory and it didn't screw me up sexually, but it ain't right. I remember queuing, i remember who else was in the queue and I remember that it was detention. I remember what skirt she was wearing which I had a close up view of, when I bent over her lap and I remember watching the others get theirs. I could name the teacher. I didn't hate her. She was 23, not a trained teacher, not a mother, had a very bad temper which she could not control, but not a bad person and she was doing what she thought was expected of her. Many of the other girls in my class later grew to love her, and I think she mellowed with age. I would be surprised if she is not sorry now when she looks back at those times. I would name her if i wanted to shame her, but I don't think I do. I'm ok now and I wouldn't want to drag it up. I wouldn't want others from my class to hotly deny that she did those things, because they don't remember when they weren't the one going through it. If you look at Clara's posts a few years back, before she wrote the book, you will see that others in her class say they had no idea what she was going through. Well I met someone from my old class a few years ago by shear coincidence and I tried to reminisce with her but she was the teacher's pet and had no idea what i was talking about. To my surprise, teacher's pets don't notice or remember the treatment of teacher's victims. Sorry, just thinking allowed. I'm rambling now - way off subject.
St James Girls School 1977-1981

bluegreen
Posts: 95
Joined: Fri Aug 21, 2009 4:42 pm

Re: Coming to terms with stupidity

Postby bluegreen » Mon Oct 12, 2009 1:57 pm

ps. don't worry Cousin It, you didn't offend me. I can understand why you asked the question, I wondered the same thing about people who will have stronger memories about it than me. People who stayed at the school beyond the age that I was when I left. Those were just my reasons for not wanting to or being able to prosecute. I like this forum because it offers support, opens my eyes, and has people on it who have looked deep within themselves and far beyond themselves, who say interesting things. I do not want revenge or justice as it is not my battle. But i fully support anyone who does. Plus, my parents still have one foot in the SES/Gurdjeff world and I wanted to know a bit about why they look so fondly on their time in London SES. They snort at the suggestion that it is a cult and my dad spouts Mclarenisms daily. People think he's bonkers.
St James Girls School 1977-1981

User avatar
Cousin It
Posts: 43
Joined: Mon Sep 14, 2009 10:28 am
Location: Australia

Re: Coming to terms with stupidity

Postby Cousin It » Mon Oct 12, 2009 8:45 pm

The day school still has problems with how it disciplines children. There must be something wrong in the "teaching" on education from the shankarachaya. I had a child in the day school in Melbourne. She is stubborn and will not do something if she does not think it makes sense. She lost a whole year of her education because she was sent out of class so much. When we took her out of Erasmus and sent her to a school that knew what it was doing she became a good pupil overnight. I'm still pretty annoyed about that.
Cheers,
Cousin

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

Re: Coming to terms with stupidity

Postby Daffy » Tue Oct 13, 2009 1:09 am

bluegreen wrote:I met someone from my old class a few years ago by shear coincidence and I tried to reminisce with her but she was the teacher's pet and had no idea what i was talking about. To my surprise, teacher's pets don't notice or remember the treatment of teacher's victims.

I have had similar experiences, and this kind of amnesia isn't just confined to those who didn't have our negative experiences.

I met up with some classmates earlier this year, and we shared recollections. I think all of us heard the others recount things we didn't remember ourselves. For instance I distinctly remember running a 'civil disobedience' campaign for a couple of years against being forced to meditate: I would absent myself from the room on the ground that meditation was not something in which anyone should be forced to participate. The teacher didn't care about this minor moral issue, and would send one of the others in the class to physically drag me back inside the room. I then kept my eyes open as a silent protest. This continued day after day, month after month, until eventually the teacher stopped trying to maintain the pretence and I was quietly allowed to discontinue.

My classmates didn't recall any of this, but the simple reason is that at the time they were fighting their own battles. They recall these vividly and I didn't.

User avatar
Cousin It
Posts: 43
Joined: Mon Sep 14, 2009 10:28 am
Location: Australia

Re: Coming to terms with stupidity

Postby Cousin It » Tue Oct 13, 2009 1:17 am

Good on you Daffy for your civil disobedience. This ties in with my point about discipline. The day school handles docile children very well. But children who like to think independently or who are strong willed are handled incredibly poorly. That explains why people had such different experiences at the day schools.
Re meditation: I came to the school as an adult and meditated twice daily for more than 10 years. Now I regret every wasted second of it. I ceased meditation several years ago and looking back can find nothing positive about it at all. I'd much rather do something useful like drink wine or watch television.
Cheers,
Cousin

Goblinboy
Moderator
Posts: 227
Joined: Mon Jul 12, 2004 4:07 am

Re: Coming to terms with stupidity

Postby Goblinboy » Tue Oct 13, 2009 2:36 am

Cousin It wrote:The day school still has problems with how it disciplines children. There must be something wrong in the "teaching" on education from the shankarachaya. I had a child in the day school in Melbourne. She is stubborn and will not do something if she does not think it makes sense. She lost a whole year of her education because she was sent out of class so much. When we took her out of Erasmus and sent her to a school that knew what it was doing she became a good pupil overnight. I'm still pretty annoyed about that.


I guess the teaching talent pool is severely restricted if membership of the SOP/SES is a pre-requisite.

This becomes an issue in that most research on pedagogy indicates the quality of teachers is the critical single critical determinant of the quality of the education. The curriculum, ideology, resources, etc are of very secondary value.

Selecting talent from a tiny, insular group who may be well intentioned but are hardly models teaching excellence, isn't a recipe for success.


Return to “The Australian and NZ schools”

Who is online

Users browsing this forum: No registered users and 1 guest