Sydney SOP 70's. A Different Perspective.

Discussion of the SES' satellite schools in Australia and New Zealand.
ManOnTheStreet
Posts: 137
Joined: Fri Jul 06, 2012 1:32 am

Re: Sydney SOP 70's. A Different Perspective.

Postby ManOnTheStreet » Mon Sep 03, 2012 6:04 am

2 questions then:

1. When we talk about the 'message' of the School - isn't it inevitable that we get into questions of language, because language is how we define that message? (The philosophical imperative)

2. Also, the task is not just philosophical; as I mentioned above, my whole worldview was determined by that 'language'. In other words, this 'language' has implications that reach far beyond the abstract worlds of philosophy and semantics. We're dealing with people's lives here, not just some abstract philosophy that we may or may not agree with. There's a big difference between discussing Vedanta philosophy on its own (because no one is committed to believing it while they're discussing it), and discussing the 'message' of the School.

Vedanta doesn't indoctrinate people, even though it employs language similar in some respects to the language used in the School. The 'brainwashing-factor' evident in the School is, in my view, very strongly related to the way that language is used.

So my second question is: If the way language is used in the School can change people's lives (for the worse), don't we have an obligation to deal with it properly? (The moral imperative)

actuallythere
Posts: 180
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Re: Sydney SOP 70's. A Different Perspective.

Postby actuallythere » Mon Sep 03, 2012 7:20 am

Middle Way wrote: I'm glad there are people like you who wish to engage with this daunting philosophical task, one for which I am temperamentally unsuited. I'm reminded of someone telling me once what it was like to work for the United Nations. He said that if the idea of arguing over the meaning of one word in a draft declaration for a week turns you on, the UN is the place for you!

MW


MW, let's consider the phrase: "Buy this Mercedes before Christmas, and you'll get the wheels for free."

How would you react to someone you love buying that car, on the grounds that they are getting the wheels for free?

Surely, you wouldn't be temperamentally unsuited to arguing over the meaning of the word "free" ?

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

Re: Sydney SOP 70's. A Different Perspective.

Postby actuallythere » Sun Sep 09, 2012 9:29 am

As this part of the discussion about language appears to have run its course, I'm going to state my personal conclusion. Please disagree.

I know there are many people in SES who would contest a salesman's comment that he is giving something away for 'free' as part of a transaction, but the very same people did not contest SES tutors' comments about what SES is giving them - the 'truth' is one of very many other possible examples.

At root of the matter is not semantic nitpicking. It is the question why the very same people would be cautious with the language of salesmen, but incautious with the language of an apparent spiritual guide.

This question, and the answer to it, is crucial.

In my personal view, which I would invite people to take issue with, is that in the environment of a spiritual group, personal needs are met and therefore the individual is willing to suspend their disbelief of what they are being told. Their emotional reward is more powerful than their questioning mind: "I like what I hear, so I'm not going to doubt it".

But the crucial question is - why did I like what I heard? What were these emotional needs that I had, that made me want to believe what I was told?

People going through anguish as they disengage from SES might benefit from considering this in order to gain some strength:

What is it inside me that made me want to believe what I was told by these people, when I don't believe what I am told by certain other people? Why did I want to live in the present moment, and not think about my past? What about my life caused me to want a powerful guide? What about my life drew me towards not questioning their authority over me? What about my life caused me to want to be part of a special group? What about my life caused me to want to be a powerful guide? What about my life made me want to meditate twice a day, wear distinctive clothes, use distinctive phrases, and pause before meals attended by outsiders who did not understand what I was doing? What about my life made me want to attend residentials that involved sleep deprivation, low-nutrition food and repetitive behaviour, when I know these things are a method of control, used e.g. by the military? Why was I able to neglect my family in favour of the spiritual group? On so on and on...

Most of this is about the effect of life experience on the the choices we make - of course, there may be choices we make that are little to do with life experience. But it is part of the mix, worth looking at.

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

Re: Sydney SOP 70's. A Different Perspective.

Postby ManOnTheStreet » Sun Sep 09, 2012 10:55 am

I'm actually waiting for GettingThere to post again so that we can further discuss what he thinks the "message" of the School is; but in anticipation:

This:
actuallythere wrote:At root of the matter is not semantic nitpicking. It is the question why the very same people would be cautious with the language of salesmen, but incautious with the language of an apparent spiritual guide.


I think this is essentially the basis of the discussion. One thing I did notice with part 1 (as an example) was that it starts off with a few seemingly uncontroversial claims (we all went through the "what are the qualities of a wise person?" session I presume) and by this generates a certain feeling of trust towards the tutor by the student. I.e. "You agreed with uncontroversial statement X, so now I'll tell you slightly more controversial statement Y. You agreed with X didn't you? So it's perfectly ok to believe statement Y - in any case, we'll explain it to you later on."

The problem here is that statement X has nothing necessarily to do with statement Y, and so accepting statement Y on the basis of your acceptance of statement X is unjustified. Statement Y has to be accepted/rejected on its own merits, not on the merits of statement X.

As a concrete example: Let's say you agree that the ability to point out the qualities of a wise person is contingent on you possessing those qualities. There is nothing about this proposition that could help you to accept the notion that you are not the body and that you have a true nature which is consciousness, knowledge and bliss. These propositions simply have nothing whatsoever to do with each other!

This incessant drive to connect totally unrelated concepts is rife in the School. It supports the trust garnered in part 1 because everything is made to relate to concepts you learnt in part 1 (where you first trusted your tutor as someone with knowledge). You remember part 1, you remember your positive feeling of trust etc. and so you trust what you are being told now.

This may not be everyone's situation, but the general principle holds - they take you back to a time when you trusted them and get you to essentially relive the experience.

MOTS

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

Re: Sydney SOP 70's. A Different Perspective.

Postby actuallythere » Sun Sep 09, 2012 12:01 pm

MOTS

"You agreed with uncontroversial statement X, so now I'll tell you slightly more controversial statement Y. You agreed with X didn't you? So it's perfectly ok to believe statement Y - in any case, we'll explain it to you later on."


Janja Lalich describes this as a deception of choice that all such groups tend to deploy, which goes back to the part of our discussion about to what extend people make a choice to be indoctrinated in the first place.

Eventually, slowly, it would be possible to get people to accept the question: so are you going to have salt, or pepper in your tea?

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

Re: Sydney SOP 70's. A Different Perspective.

Postby ManOnTheStreet » Sun Sep 09, 2012 12:42 pm

Yes - and the next thing you know they're talking about whether your ego is "under tamas" or "under rajas" and no one actually knows what any of that actually refers to. It's like talking about how many angels can dance on the head of a pin.

A similar injunction used in the School is: "Neither accept nor reject anything - just reflect on how valuable it has been in your life".

Clearly, the statement should be "reflect on whether it has been valuable or not." Note the lack of negative possibilities in the first injunction - they don't even mention the option that what you've heard could be not valuable. The premise is simply that it was.

MOTS

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

Re: Sydney SOP 70's. A Different Perspective.

Postby woodgreen » Sun Sep 09, 2012 10:13 pm

Bottom line, as far as the SES is concerned, they are are a very hard macho organisation. Within their narrow understanding of life. They cannot understand men and women in life who do not follow the SES's narrow view of their way .
Men and women can love across the great divide - unlike McLaren/Lambie et al. Their view in the SES is the opposite to how men and women love another.
Boddy said on C4. "We do not do not do love - we do the hand of the hard potter".
Well the hard potter has no place in my life.

xx woodgreen.

PS - waiting for the SES view on the paralympics - were they all reincarnated because they failed in another life? I do not think so,SES.
wow, hope the paras are on my side if there is a battle brewing!
Ex-SES Member. (Member for 3 years in late nineties).

sydneykatieking
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Joined: Sun Apr 04, 2010 5:10 pm
Location: Texas USA

Re: Sydney SOP 70's. A Different Perspective.

Postby sydneykatieking » Thu Jan 31, 2013 10:25 pm

Regarding Buddy and Carol Fox from New York: my husband and I socialized with Buddy and Carol in their Elizabeth Bay unit in their early days in the Sydney SOP. There were very few Americans in SOP so there was that extra appeal. I thought we were friends, but then Mickey discovered they had money and a very smart son and Carol looked liked she would be a candidate to form a SOP children's school (later co-founded by Judy Biddidel) they just had a big number done on them. They were funny, witty, articulate, self-confident. Buddy and his SOP gardening crew came over to my house in Sydney before I sold it and dug up all my citrus and fruits trees which I donated to the Merton resident on Spencer Rd. For the School, of course. Buddy used to joke about how rich people thought they were and he was outspoken about how expensive SOP tuition was. I took him to be a man who was nobody's fool. Fooled me...

There was a spot of bother when their daughter, Laura, married Stan L who had been in SOP and dropped out, so she was a bit on the outs with Mom and Dad. You remember the directive: if you are in School and chose to leave, well it's damned Outer Darkness for you. Well, some years later I woke up to all the lies the School was based on and left. The Foxes had already returned home. They grew apples for awhile and then they took over the SOP in Toronto. I, thinking we were still friends (silly me), once wrote Carol a letter, saying I would like to come and visit them the next time I was in their part of the world and she sent me back this cold, rigid, frigid, dogmatic blurb stating that since I had rejected "the Truth" she could have nothing to do with me. Pretty nice, huh? My own country-woman just cut me dead because I no longer believed the way she believed.

The really sad part of the story is that Buddy and Carol are Jewish and you would think that being of a people who have been reviled, hated, persecuted, and denied basic human rights for thousands of years would make you just a tad sensitive to show basic human kindness and friendship to others. But in this case, instead of making them sensitive and receptive to human warmth it made them do unto another as others had done to them. In a class system like SOP/SES that tears whole families apart, what hope do mere friends have?

I respond like this not to disrespect your good memories of the Foxes; I'm happy for you. This is an example of how what you experienced in Sydney SOP depended very much on where you were in the hierarchy. The more senior you were, the more abuse and more bullying you got. And if you weren't rich or really smart or talented, well you were relegated to an inferior lower group and really sidelined in a way that utterly broke my heart. SOP depended upon a high degree of compartmentalization and exclusivity. We were all shamelessly lied to.
Sydney SOP survivor 1969-1980, proud contributor to the expose, Secret Cult.

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

Re: Sydney SOP 70's. A Different Perspective.

Postby Tootsie » Fri Feb 01, 2013 12:54 am

sydneykatieking, has it not always been the case that 'He who pays the piper calls the tune"? Buddy poured money into the Sydney school and for this he did get a few privileges. Its the same with the spiritual organization that I have been in for the last 20 years. Those who contribute more money seem to float to the top. Buddy and this son William are still regarded highly by me although I have not seen or spoken to them for about 25 years now,

sydneykatieking
Posts: 51
Joined: Sun Apr 04, 2010 5:10 pm
Location: Texas USA

Re: Sydney SOP 70's. A Different Perspective.

Postby sydneykatieking » Fri Feb 01, 2013 3:33 am

Yes, Tootsie, but SOP was suppose to be the Way, the Truth, the Light, the Door to the Inner Circle, etc. etc. etc. Cringe! What poppycock! But seriously, I hear where you are coming from, that after all is said and done, we are just weak, fallible human beings slogging through life as best we can and even our most idealistic, high-minded spiritual leaders and organizations are prone to the same addictions, weaknesses, pretenses and delusions as the guys on Wall Street. But Enlightenment can't be bought, just all the worldly trappings that fool the unwary. The fact that the most unsuitable, deceitful bullies rose to positions of power and authority in SOP was very revealing (when I finally had eyes to see) as to the real purpose of Mavro's SOP: a nice, protected, financially comfortable nest for themselves. They took something good and fine and virtuous and corrupted it to suit themselves.
Sydney SOP survivor 1969-1980, proud contributor to the expose, Secret Cult.

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

Re: Sydney SOP 70's. A Different Perspective.

Postby Tootsie » Fri Feb 01, 2013 8:02 am

sydneykatieking wrote: The fact that the most unsuitable, deceitful bullies rose to positions of power and authority in SOP was very revealing (when I finally had eyes to see) as to the real purpose of Mavro's SOP: a nice, protected, financially comfortable nest for themselves.


Caveat emptor. Why did it take you so long to realize the above?


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