Just for fun...really?

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

Is this a cult?

Poll ended at Wed Jun 01, 2011 10:53 am

Yes
3
60%
No
0
No votes
Unsure
2
40%
 
Total votes: 5

bluemoon
Posts: 125
Joined: Sat Dec 26, 2009 9:52 am

Re: Just for fun...really?

Postby bluemoon » Fri Jun 10, 2011 3:45 pm

Hi JAMR,

Interesting points in your post above.

I can't disagree with you that our parents, cultures, religions, socio-economic and working arrangements, as well as various other groups and organisations all make us what we are, one way or another. If there is really no real difference between a 'culture' and a 'cult', what then is the bottom line? Is the implication therefore that an organisation like the SES should be left to its own devices and that trying to 'warn' people what they may be letting themselves in for is a waste of time? That's where my confusion lies at the moment. Your thoughts and anyone elses welcome.

Best wishes, Bluemoon
SES London, 1990-2009, Female

JAMR
Posts: 51
Joined: Sat May 21, 2011 6:45 am

Re: Just for fun...really?

Postby JAMR » Sat Jun 11, 2011 3:01 am

Hi Bluemoon, you said
I can't disagree with you that our parents, cultures, religions, socio-economic and working arrangements, as well as various other groups and organisations all make us what we are, one way or another. If there is really no real difference between a 'culture' and a 'cult', what then is the bottom line? Is the implication therefore that an organisation like the SES should be left to its own devices and that trying to 'warn' people what they may be letting themselves in for is a waste of time? That's where my confusion lies at the moment. Your thoughts and anyone elses welcome.


You are asking a difficult question, however if you break it down into components and see just what we have control over and what we do not, and be careful to delineate what IS from what OUGHT to be.

The world is a mixture of stuff that we consider to be good, bad or neutral to varying degrees. Without the absolute word of a being greater than ourselves (ie. a god), these moral values arise from society deciding what it wants and needs the behaviour of its citizens to be. The snag is there is no manual on how exactly this works and what these relative moral standards are, so we spend our lives feeling our way around just how we live and still manage to experience some autonomy and control over our lives. Given we are in a society with the needs of thousands, millions and billions of people, society needs to make sure it moulds much of what we feel and think. So you see large groups arising where seemingly coincidentally, people all want and believe the same thing.

This pervasive conformism is something inherent in our natures and explains how we are able to co-exist in such large groups in relative harmony (a stable group of chimps is tiny in comparison, the idea of 10 million chimps living a mega city is ludicrous as they would tear each other to pieces).

This means that just as the people in any group, like SES, Moonies, internet forum are imposing ideas that are largely not their own, there are relatively few thought leaders that drive significant change in large groups. However those that oppose these groups are subject to the same mechanisms of group think.

The bottomline is that if you strongly feel that you should not (and neither should other people) gop near an organisation like SES, then you might express these ideas with little or great effect (depending upon the impact). In vernacular terms its a ‘free’ world and even though our thoughts and opinions are mostly imposed upon us we feel as if we own them and act accordingly. There are extreme organisations like James Jones and the Nazi movement that get faithful adherents for something many consider abhorrent. Today we offer this concept of ‘human rights’, freedom of association, speech, sexual orientation to try and minimise the conflict that arises due to these –isms.

Bottom line you will consider the evidence in the context of who you are at this stage of your life and act accordingly. For me, my view is that for less impressionable individuals the SES is relatively harmless, far more so than Moonies or heroin users, or people who drink alcohol, or who resort to cosmetics and cosmetic surgery, some medical groups, or people who attend church, politics, to feel they have control over their life. It is however more harmful that membership of a golf club, any particular business venture, fishing buddy groups, exercise groups, some medical groups.

Does this explain my position?

bluemoon
Posts: 125
Joined: Sat Dec 26, 2009 9:52 am

Re: Just for fun...really?

Postby bluemoon » Sat Jun 11, 2011 4:28 am

JAMR wrote: all the above post and:

Does this explain my position?


Well, lets just say its about as clear as mud! No, really, yes I think it does.

You seem to be implying each individual needs to make up their own mind about whether to discuss openly issues concerning a particular organisation (or any other influence for that matter).

As for SES in particular, I had a fairly robust sense of humour about it all, right up until I discovered that innocent, vulnerable children had been brutalised and humiliated, punched in the face even.

Thanks for an interesting chat.

With best wishes, Bluemoon
Last edited by bluemoon on Thu May 24, 2012 5:29 pm, edited 1 time in total.
SES London, 1990-2009, Female

bluemoon
Posts: 125
Joined: Sat Dec 26, 2009 9:52 am

Re: Just for fun...really?

Postby bluemoon » Sun Jun 12, 2011 10:48 am

Hi JAMR and Daffy,

The last two posts of mine and JAMR seem to have disappeared? What has happened to them - or did I imagine them?!!!

Bluemoon
SES London, 1990-2009, Female

JAMR
Posts: 51
Joined: Sat May 21, 2011 6:45 am

Re: Just for fun...really?

Postby JAMR » Mon Jun 13, 2011 10:24 pm

its a conspiracy. The SES works in mysterious ways. We did post replies since your last recorded one, I also posted an update yesterday that did not manifest. Its the absolute I tell you. Be afraid, be very afraid.

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

Re: Just for fun...really?

Postby Daffy » Tue Jun 14, 2011 3:03 am

Just confirming that I have not removed any posts. I don't recall deleting any post since this site moved to its current location nearly 3 years ago, but if I did I would certainly give a reason.

bluemoon
Posts: 125
Joined: Sat Dec 26, 2009 9:52 am

Re: Just for fun...really?

Postby bluemoon » Tue Jun 14, 2011 6:19 am

Hi Daffy and JAMR,

I wonder if when the site goes off line for some reason the newest ones sometimes go missing?

Bluemoon
SES London, 1990-2009, Female

woodgreen
Posts: 219
Joined: Wed Feb 03, 2010 7:07 pm

Re: Just for fun...really?

Postby woodgreen » Sat Jun 18, 2011 12:11 am

JAMR wrote:its a conspiracy. The SES works in mysterious ways. We did post replies since your last recorded one, I also posted an update yesterday that did not manifest. Its the absolute I tell you. Be afraid, be very afraid.

Hi JAMR - I do not know what the absolute has to do with posts not appearing here, but as Daffy has explained, he did not delete anything. One of the problems of being an ex-SES person is a touch of paranoia - I have had it myself and it does manifest when we are attempting to discuss something that our minds have struggled with, often for many years. What I want to say is re-post your posts if it is a problem. If not we carry on. And we are getting past the be afraid of the absolute stuff, because that was McLaren in his day. The be afraid stuff is the mark of a cult that carries on through the SES and its leaders. The SES is a Cult in the normal understanding of cults. The internet may fluke out from time to time, but be careful in giving any oxygen to the SES version of the absolute (i.e. God in their terms and energy in a conrolling negative sense. Their version was McLaren and he was God, and if McLaren did not love you then God did not. Ask Frith Oliver about that).Sorry to be a bit direct, but that's how it is.
Hi Bluemoon - are you any closer to posting your thesis on the School? Hope you can, but do not worry if you have decided not to - no need to stress out for the SES. Let them stress in their lack of legal redress. My view is that as cults do they still follow McLaren's shite, but in the modern world they are losing the debate. Morally, spiritually, and economically bankrupt. xxx woodgreen.
Ex-SES Member. (Member for 3 years in late nineties).

JAMR
Posts: 51
Joined: Sat May 21, 2011 6:45 am

Re: Just for fun...really?

Postby JAMR » Sat Jun 18, 2011 1:20 pm

woodgreen wrote:
JAMR wrote:its a conspiracy. The SES works in mysterious ways. We did post replies since your last recorded one, I also posted an update yesterday that did not manifest. Its the absolute I tell you. Be afraid, be very afraid.

Hi JAMR - I do not know what the absolute has to do with posts not appearing here, but as Daffy has explained, he did not delete anything. One of the problems of being an ex-SES person is a touch of paranoia - I have had it myself and it does manifest when we are attempting to discuss something that our minds have struggled with, often for many years. What I want to say is re-post your posts if it is a problem. If not we carry on. And we are getting past the be afraid of the absolute stuff, because that was McLaren in his day. The be afraid stuff is the mark of a cult that carries on through the SES and its leaders. The SES is a Cult in the normal understanding of cults. The internet may fluke out from time to time, but be careful in giving any oxygen to the SES version of the absolute (i.e. God in their terms and energy in a conrolling negative sense. Their version was McLaren and he was God, and if McLaren did not love you then God did not. Ask Frith Oliver about that).Sorry to be a bit direct, but that's how it is.
Hi Bluemoon - are you any closer to posting your thesis on the School? Hope you can, but do not worry if you have decided not to - no need to stress out for the SES. Let them stress in their lack of legal redress. My view is that as cults do they still follow McLaren's shite, but in the modern world they are losing the debate. Morally, spiritually, and economically bankrupt. xxx woodgreen.


I should have mentioned that my comment was made tongue in cheek. Was yours? One of the challenges of this form of communication. As seriously as I take stuff like the SES, I cant help but poke fun at it as well.

bluemoon
Posts: 125
Joined: Sat Dec 26, 2009 9:52 am

Re: Just for fun...really?

Postby bluemoon » Sat Jun 18, 2011 4:40 pm

Woodgreen wrote:

Hi Bluemoon - are you any closer to posting your thesis on the School?


Hi woodgreen,

‘Thesis’ is a bit of a stretch to describe my notes! But the current position is that I am intending to get advice about the ‘libel’ issue, or rather ‘defamation’.

What I have to say is probably not new to those who have attended SES (as I mentioned in my post that disappeared). What I have tried to do is to analyse the organisation and give examples of my experiences to illustrate my points about gender issues and other practices and ideas presented.

Bluemoon
Last edited by bluemoon on Wed Jul 11, 2012 1:55 pm, edited 2 times in total.
SES London, 1990-2009, Female

woodgreen
Posts: 219
Joined: Wed Feb 03, 2010 7:07 pm

Re: Just for fun...really?

Postby woodgreen » Sat Jun 18, 2011 10:09 pm

Hi JAMR and Bluemoon - thanks for your posts. I think I missed your tongue in cheek JAMR so apologies if I seemed to over-react to the absolute reference! You are quite right that poking fun is part of the Forum, and to be honest some of the postings on here that have hit the mark in poking at the SES have kept me going and made me be able to laugh at the awfulness of it. As Bluemoon noted, it would be really funny but for their past abuses and their intent on being over-bearing and petty about people posting their views on this site about their time in the SES. Defamatory? Not sure if that is a legal matter - but is Freedom of Speech still a right ? We live in interesting times in cybersphere!! take care, woodgreen.
Ex-SES Member. (Member for 3 years in late nineties).

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

Re: Just for fun...really?

Postby ManOnTheStreet » Wed Jul 11, 2012 1:30 am

For anyone that's interested, the following is an excellent article about cults and cult behaviour. On page 2 there is a particularly good summary of the various mind-control techniques used by cults to control their members. When I was a student in the Sydney School for Self Knowledge I experienced pretty much all of these.

http://www.hgi.org.uk/archive/cults.htm

By any objective standard, the School for Self Knowledge is a cult. I think any current or prospective students should at least be aware of this before they make a decision as to whether they want to stay in the School or join it.

MOTS.

Tootsie
Posts: 151
Joined: Sun Jul 26, 2009 1:37 pm

Re: Just for fun...really?

Postby Tootsie » Wed Jul 11, 2012 1:20 pm

Thank you Man On The Street for pointing out a very useful article about cult behavior. As you know the School for Self Knowledge was started by the late Micheal Mavro after he had been kicked out of the Sydney School of Philosophy. I was there at Kent Street on the day he was deposed as leader of the School. A meeting had been called by Mavro to quell certain rumors that had been circulating, but it did not go the way he was expecting it to go. A senior pupil (Ron W) stood up and said he was not going to take any more of Mavro's rubbish and one after another pupils stood up and said the same thing. The only defense Mavro gave was that he was father of the Sydney School of Philosophy and his wife was its mother. However he could see the game was up so he left peacefully and started another School in Canberra with the material gained from the School of Philosophy.

What I like about the Deikman article, is he explains why people join cults under the title 'dependency' he states one of the reasons is to feel protected and secure just like when we were children and relied on our father or mother. Mavro made a big thing about this. He was the father and if you wanted to get married or change jobs you would have to see him first. Even at the end he reminded the pupils he was their father, but to no avail.

Deikman's article is full of useful information and I'm considering buying his book to see what further insights he has on cults.

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

Re: Just for fun...really?

Postby ManOnTheStreet » Wed Jul 11, 2012 2:29 pm

Very true Tootsie. One of the most common things you hear when you question School people about their experiences in the place is that they don't think it's a cult. Mr and Mrs Mavro always went to great lengths to assure everyone that the School was not a cult, but never really explained why not. It's almost as if the understanding was that anyone who raised the issue was being facetious or at the very least not attempting to raise a serious question. I think that part of this was due to the other 'principle' that we were somehow special because we were receiving the 'true teaching' and were not living in ignorance like the proverbial 'man on the street'. It was anathema to consider that such superior beings could possibly be part of something as primitive as a 'cult', and yet this is exactly the situation these people are in.

I really think it's tragedy when the genuine desire for inquiry and truth that propels many people into the School is perverted and abused for someone's personal satisfaction. I have seen many people come into School with fresh minds, real spirit and enthusiasm. After a few years all you see (in most cases) are the hollowed-out shells of these formerly robust personalities, and in their place servile automatons that are totally psychologically dependent on Mrs Mavro. It's simply not possible to say that this is natural or beneficial to anybody. It's certainly not evidence of any kind of 'spiritual development'.

iwonder
Posts: 6
Joined: Sat Apr 30, 2011 12:44 pm

Re: Just for fun...really?

Postby iwonder » Sat Oct 06, 2012 10:28 am

Thank you to all for your replies, and sharing your knowledge - it has been a wonderful help indeed.
I decided to start at the Sydney School, as I wanted to see for myself what it was all about, and the person I initially mentioned was still attending and still 'raving on' about how much it would benefit my life. I decided not to look at this forum and have not been on it all year, until getting on tonight to read what had been posted since I last looked at it. I did not want my observations or thoughts to be influenced by others nor did I want to have any bias of knowledge upon starting.
My experience resulted in my observations below;
* Certain students are selected and favoured by the group's tutor, no matter what answer they give, right, wrong or otherwise. This concept was very weird.
* There was an overall discouraging atmosphere created by the tutor (John Cooper was the tutor's name) when anyone wanted to ask a question that needed clarification. Tactics used by the tutor were creating self doubt in the mind of the questioner (who is asking that, you are thinking too much etc). I found this quite disturbing to both experience and witness.
* Ongoing subtle pressure to attend the school workshops and how they could help me become more spiritually focused
* John Cooper the tutor was sarcastic, and had a sharp tongue and if need be would use his perceived sense of power to cut someone down if necessary.
*These so called tutors also seemed to meddle in people's private lives, and walked around like they ran the world.

Alas, I am no longer attending the SFSK.

The ad states the SFSK is a "non profit organisation" yet they charge money to enrol, money for tea, money for workshops, books, hear money for residentials, meditation initiations etc - is this not a business?? If it looks like a duck well you know the rest...


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