Greetings - Ex-SPP member from NYC

Discussion of the SES's satellite organisations in the USA.
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Free Thinker
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Postby Free Thinker » Wed Mar 02, 2005 12:20 am

Wow, NYC. Thanks for taking the time to write that. You certainly put it all well and I agree.

BTW - can you introduce yourself? (I'm curious since I'm from NYC as well - maybe we know each other in real life!)

anti_ses
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Postby anti_ses » Wed Mar 02, 2005 1:54 am

NYC wrote:...but what you mean to say is "if we start with a FALSE premise the conclusion will be incorrect"

Carrying on with this (rather pointless) discussion of logic, this statement is, in fact, incorrect. A false premise does not imply incorrect conclusion. Let me illustrate in a completely unrelated example: if you can cancel numbers in fractions, does cancelling 6's in 16/64 gives an incorrect answer? Having said this, the way people often debate - "this reasoning is false, therefore your conclusion is false" - isn't very effective. For example, I am against the SES primarily for reasons other than those advertised on this site. Many will consider these reasons the "wrong" reasons to dislike the SES. Does that mean my conclusion, that the SES has many faults, is incorrect?

(I don't expect an answer to this question. I just feel people should perhaps pay more attention to what they're saying rather than rhetoric. It appears some see these boards as a PR game.)

NYC
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Postby NYC » Wed Mar 02, 2005 7:04 am

TB wrote
How can I respond without seeming patronising given my past comments? I genuinely enjoyed reading an expose of my thinking and opinions. ?
I will discuss your points if you are interested.

Yeah man, I put an absurd amount of time into making them?please do respond & I?m glad you enjoyed reading it. I?d suggest copying it to the specially created TB thread though, as this one is supposed to address the adult school in NYC. Your fans and detractors will know EXACTLY where to find you!

antiSES wrote
A false premise does not imply incorrect conclusion.

Congratulations! You make a point even more pedantic than my original one. Yes, a false premise does not PROVE the conclusion false. It still renders your argument unconvincing.

Hello to the rest of you. I?m an adult student currently registered in what is apparently called the ?Lower School? (!) in New York. I?ll try to stick to the thread topic today, but I am going to start a new thread to address FreeThinker?s post re ?Atman crap they don?t practice.?

I was exposed to advaita Vedanta philosophy years ago through yoga asana practice. I really enjoyed the physical practice, investigated the philosophy underneath it, and thought I had finally found a spiritual tradition that is tolerant, built on true principles, poetically inspiring and yes, even practical, (if that word doesn?t send you screaming away). I showed up at the SoPP expecting, you know, an introduction to western philosophy class, and spent much of Part 1 amazed at my good luck to have stumbled into a discussion group centered around advaita, even if they weren?t calling it that.

So my involvement with SoPP has been only as an adult, only in NY, and only in the beginning sections. I have personally experienced no abuse, and words fail me about how sorry & sad I am for the pain that this organization has caused in so many lives. On one level it?s very difficult to reconcile what I personally experience at the SoPP with the experiences posted here. But at the same time I see a connection between the petty, silly little sexism & elitism I do see at the New York night school, and the real serious abuses.

Here's a short story -- at the very first class, one woman asked if it was a rule that all the female school volunteers wear skirts. We in the class laughed out loud, it seemed so ridiculous that in Manhattan in the 2000s, that women would not be ?allowed? to wear pants. The teacher did not answer the question directly, but said that the School ?asked? male volunteers to wear a coat and tie and women to wear a skirt below the knee. She emphasized "modesty of dress," and "refinement," and did not say if the skirt thing was a rule or a suggestion.

At the break I went down to register, and asked the woman who was processing my registration if there was a dress code. She reiterated what the teacher had said, that the School wanted volunteers to dress in a respectful manner, and I asked if women couldn?t be respectful in a pantsuit. She responded (and I think this is verbatim,) ?That doesn?t concern you at your level.?

Obviously I think it concerns me or I wouldn?t be asking. The implication is that I?m at a lower level of value or knowledge than skirt-wearing volunteers like the registrar herself, and my ?concern? has no validity if someone of a ?higher? level tells me so. This is a classic setup for abuse.

My impulse was to snatch my credit card back and leave. However, this woman was not actually teaching the course, and sometimes it?s better to stick it out rather than just leave. I really regret though that I was so dumbfounded at the time ? so speechless (and I?m a wordy person, as you may gather) that I was unable to articulate why the rules of an organization I?m participating in are of concern to me even if I?m not subject to them.

This creepiness with the ?women must wear skirts? thing is what motivated me to do a background search on the internet, which lead me to this site. I know this anecdote must seem totally insignificant next to the posts from Clara & T.S, among plenty of others. But I do think they?re related ? and that Emmalu9?s observation that

the total egomania of the SES?allows the belief that people have differing levels of inherent human worth.

has NO defensible basis in advaita Vedanta.

Way, way back in this thread somebody asked about adult student diversity in New York; Part 1 is very diverse in age though not in ethnicity, ranging from people college age or just out to some in their 80s and a lot in between. Ethnically, the School is nowhere near as diverse as the city. Most students are white, northern Europe ancestry, and the environment has a very strong Upper East Side, Eurocentric feel. (As I?m a white Euro-American myself, I can?t speak to how comfortable Afro or Latino-Americans feel in this environment, but it seems that as long as you have $175 you are welcome to participate.) After Part 1, the age range narrows a lot ? late 20s to 40s, 50, maybe the occasional person in her early 60s.

BoeingDriver
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Postby BoeingDriver » Wed Mar 02, 2005 12:08 pm

I found the following comment by Free Thinker very interesting.

Free Thinker wrote: I brought my husband, who had heard all about the school from me but had never met anyone from it. It was agonizing for him. In fact, the only people that make the situation bearable for him had left the school years before. He couldn't believe how some of the current members talked, and it made him feel very uncomfortable and patronized. FT


I am not a member of the SES, however my wife was a pupil at the St. James School for Girls, and escapee from the SES system, many moons ago. I have been introduced to a number of her former classmates who are still in the SES, and to the husbands of some of them. I can sympathise with FT's husband. They tried very hard to ooze of moral and intellectual superiority and I certainly got the impression that I was merely being tolerated.

As for these girls, or women as they are now, all delightful and charming, long hair severely tied back, long skirts, (I guess dowdy is the best way to describe the style of dress) and bright sparkling eyes - until you look right into them, when there seems to be something missing. It seems that bits of their growing up, the things that most of us take for granted, had been missed out. I have talked to my wife about it and she says that she still has difficulty with some everyday things. She can't quite put her finger on what it is exactly, but it's definitely there. There has been comment passed in these forums that SES uses a form of brainwashing. That is probably true with respect to the adult side of the organisation, but it would appear that with the children it is far more insidious, more a case of what they let the children learn and absorb being only that which fits with the SES ideology.

These are just my observations, as for my wife's story - well, that's for her to tell.

Snowman
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Postby Snowman » Wed Mar 02, 2005 2:54 pm

NYC wrote:She reiterated what the teacher had said, that the School wanted volunteers to dress in a respectful manner, and I asked if women couldn?t be respectful in a pantsuit. She responded (and I think this is verbatim,) ?That doesn?t concern you at your level.?

Obviously I think it concerns me or I wouldn?t be asking. The implication is that I?m at a lower level of value or knowledge than skirt-wearing volunteers like the registrar herself, and my ?concern? has no validity if someone of a ?higher? level tells me so. This is a classic setup for abuse.

My impulse was to snatch my credit card back and leave. However, this woman was not actually teaching the course, and sometimes it?s better to stick it out rather than just leave. I really regret though that I was so dumbfounded at the time ? so speechless (and I?m a wordy person, as you may gather) that I was unable to articulate why the rules of an organization I?m participating in are of concern to me even if I?m not subject to them.

This creepiness with the ?women must wear skirts? thing is what motivated me to do a background search on the internet, which lead me to this site. I know this anecdote must seem totally insignificant next to the posts from Clara & T.S, among plenty of others. But I do think they?re related ? and that Emmalu9?s observation that

the total egomania of the SES?allows the belief that people have differing levels of inherent human worth.

has NO defensible basis in advaita Vedanta.


The SES obsession with structured hierarchy is directly derived/justified through advaita vedanta teaching. I attempted in an earlier post to identify these specific characteristics within the teaching and I discussed - amongst other issues - the level of knowledge and your position in the hierarchy. I also discussed the treatment of women within the SES and related it specifically to the teachings of AV.

http://www.whyaretheydead.net/phpBB2/viewtopic.php?p=2365&highlight=#2365

Your anecdote is by no means insignificant. Clara, TS, Vian et al. have all cited instances of abuse justified by the very same principles that you refer to in relation to 'dress-code' etc. The "lower level of value or knowledge" is precisely the justification that the SES and the teachers at St V and St J used to treat children in their care in the way that they did. Again I mention this in my first post.

The AV tradition is not blameless in this respect and especially in the hands of the SES it in fact is the root cause of all the evil committed in the schools for children. As emmalu alluded to in the quote that you use, it is their egomania that guides them and not LOVE, as they would have you believe. This is the key hypocrisy of the SES and its philosophy - deny and/or supress the ego and the subject is easier to manipulate, yet sustaining the egos of the leaders of the SES is crucial to its operation and survival.

Matthew
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Postby Matthew » Wed Mar 02, 2005 3:04 pm

Spot on, Snowy.

anti_ses wrote:I am against the SES primarily for reasons other than those advertised on this site. Many will consider these reasons the "wrong" reasons to dislike the SES.


Would you care to give these reasons?

NYC
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Postby NYC » Thu Mar 03, 2005 2:56 am

...can you introduce yourself? (I'm curious since I'm from NYC as well - maybe we know each other in real life!)


Freethinker - I've sent you a private message w/ my email address - not sure if you get a warning bell or not.

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Free Thinker
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Postby Free Thinker » Thu Mar 03, 2005 3:02 am

Hi NYC,

Got your PM. I'm going to e-mail you.

FT

nomad
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Postby nomad » Thu Oct 20, 2005 1:27 pm

Please, I urge you all to keep reading, it is not a coincidence that you have come this far. Go to the top of the page, hit search and by keywords put in NYC Adult School of Practical Philosophy Oct '05 and see what you think. They taught us to neither accept or reject it, but we certainly need to question it! We deserve answers, not "it doesn't concern you at this level!". No wonder they don't like to tell you whats' coming up next term. If everyone knew from Part One what you were getting yourself into, no one would attend. If it looks like a cult and smells like a cult, it is a cult! I should also add that after if click on search if you look at the bottom right of the page where it says "jump to" It is very interesting reading if you click on "general discussion of the ses" and also "school of economic science"....the NYC's sister school in London has been hit with many child abuse allegations. That is how I started and gathered all my information from there.

pegleg
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SPP - Born & Raised

Postby pegleg » Fri Oct 21, 2005 4:46 pm

I'm so happy I came upon this site.

I am a late 20s/early 30s male who spent the first 15 years of his life in SPP and has spent that last 15 years dealing with its consequences.

My parents (still in the school) joined in their mid to late 20s during the NY schools infancy. I attended the Arc nursery school (which i do have fond memories of), then attended the short lived "Sunday School" which eventually morphed into the Saturday morning "Youth Groups" until about age 14. I started back up with the part 1 classes and attended to adult school for about 2 years before leaving the SSP for good.

As far as my parents go, I'm one of the lucky ones. Don't get me wrong, during my early to mid teens my father & I butted heads constantly over the school. Basically my desire to quit and his desire to keep me going. Although it was tough in my younger years, my parents and I have managed to get past that and now have a great relationship. SES is rarely mentioned

When I graduated college and moved back to NYC my father took me out for a beer and asked me to join up again. This was my moment of truth. I decided to be completely honest with him and tell the real reasons I would never go back. Things like: alternative viewpoints are discouraged; treatment/role of women; view on gays (my brother had recently come out to me), but most importantly their view on marriage.

The view on marriage is what clinched it for me. During my mid-late teens there was a movement of arranged marriages. This happened to several of my old friends in the school. I have no idea how these relationships worked out (lost touch with almost everyone I once knew there). Then it came for my sister. I remember during my Jr year of college I received a call from her stating that she was getting married. I didn't even know she was dating anyone! She had been back in the adult school for about a year at that point. Make a long story short she ended up marrying a SES - London member and moving out to the UK. She changed. She's not the same person I once new. My brother and I were once very close with her and now on the very rare occasion we talk or unbelievable rare occasion we actually say, she seems like a different person.

Wow this is therapeutic. Sorry for the rambling post, but still getting my thoughts together on all of this.

Great job on the site. Bringing back lots of disturbing memories.

FYI Free Thinker, I'm positive we know each other. I have read your posts over. I am glad to see what happened with your mom. You seem happy. Thats the most important thing.

Peg

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Free Thinker
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Postby Free Thinker » Sun Oct 23, 2005 3:16 am

Hi Peg,

Sure, we know each other! I just sent you a Private Message that you can check at the top of the page.

Cheerio!
Free Thinker

nomad
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Postby nomad » Mon Oct 24, 2005 1:24 am

Hi Pegleg,
Great to hear your story, however painful I'm sure.
You say you were in the adult school, how far did you get in your studies, Phil 4? How did you ever have the guts to stop? Did anybody harass you when you did? I imagine you were initated when you were ten years old. Have you been doing this mantra ever since? Do you noticed any of the changes like it dulls the brain and makes you forget reasonsing.
If your parents are still in the school after all these years, they must be tutors by now, right? Someone else mentioned on this web site that their mother left after 20 years, so you never know, it can be possible for your parents. I had no idea about the arranged marriages but I know that they encouraged marriage within the group. Any comments on sexual misconduct like they had in London? Any comments on child abuse at the NYC kids school? Any truth to the we call it charity not a school to get a tax deduction? Is it true that they charge you more money for the following classes the next semester after you get initiated? Are they trying to get more money out of you elsewhere? What is their ultimate goal? Most cults want money, time and service and for you to get new recruits for them, eventually most people die with wills that leave things to the school. It seems to me that this is all a well planned out and deliberately slow process as to not alarm you and to slowly and surely get what they want out of you. Can you please elaborate further with your comments and thoughts? Nomad

pegleg
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Postby pegleg » Tue Oct 25, 2005 4:50 pm

nomad wrote:Hi Pegleg,
Great to hear your story, however painful I'm sure.
You say you were in the adult school, how far did you get in your studies, Phil 4? How did you ever have the guts to stop? Did anybody harass you when you did? I imagine you were initated when you were ten years old. Have you been doing this mantra ever since? Do you noticed any of the changes like it dulls the brain and makes you forget reasonsing.
If your parents are still in the school after all these years, they must be tutors by now, right? Someone else mentioned on this web site that their mother left after 20 years, so you never know, it can be possible for your parents. I had no idea about the arranged marriages but I know that they encouraged marriage within the group. Any comments on sexual misconduct like they had in London? Any comments on child abuse at the NYC kids school? Any truth to the we call it charity not a school to get a tax deduction? Is it true that they charge you more money for the following classes the next semester after you get initiated? Are they trying to get more money out of you elsewhere? What is their ultimate goal? Most cults want money, time and service and for you to get new recruits for them, eventually most people die with wills that leave things to the school. It seems to me that this is all a well planned out and deliberately slow process as to not alarm you and to slowly and surely get what they want out of you. Can you please elaborate further with your comments and thoughts? Nomad


Nomad,

I'll try and answer as many as I can.

I went to the adult school for 2 years. I simply told them 1 day that I was finished. My tutor had asked me to think about it but put up no further resistance.

I was never initiated until completing a year of the adult school. I do not use the mantra any more. I don't think it dulls anything, in fact I think for some people it can be quite useful, just not me.

As far as sexual misconduct I know of NO such experiences or stories. In fact I had no idea that this was such a major problem elsewhere until I found this site.

SES or SPP is not a classic cult in the sense of Jim Jones, Heaven's Gate or the Moonies. Jones' group and Heaven's Gate prescribed to an ideology with eventually included the end of the word. . ie group suicide. SES does not put forth suicidal or apocalyptic views. As far as groups like the Moonies, which makes you give away all your possessions, SES also does not put forth these kind of practices. Its not about money. Its more of a group think mentality. I don't really think there is some insidious goal to control people's thinking ect. . . I think these people actually think they are doing a good thing and feel it is their duty to share this "truth" with others. It just turns out its more BS than anything else.

nomad
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Postby nomad » Tue Oct 25, 2005 7:05 pm

Thanks Pegleg for your response. How do you feel about them teaching you Philosophy for the first few semesters and then pulling a switch on you and have you praying to a Hindu God? The B.S. they preach that you mention, can you elaborate on it? Surely, they get you to drop your other outside interests, could this be what happened with your sister? That to me is a form of manipulation. I know it is not as serious a cult as Jim Jones but my guess is it's still cult mentality. What about all these times you have to go away for weekends without your family to work for them in Wallkill or elsewhere? Did you ever have to do any of that?
Thanking you in advanced for your response.

pegleg
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Postby pegleg » Tue Oct 25, 2005 8:08 pm

nomad wrote:Thanks Pegleg for your response. How do you feel about them teaching you Philosophy for the first few semesters and then pulling a switch on you and have you praying to a Hindu God? The B.S. they preach that you mention, can you elaborate on it? Surely, they get you to drop your other outside interests, could this be what happened with your sister? That to me is a form of manipulation. I know it is not as serious a cult as Jim Jones but my guess is it's still cult mentality. What about all these times you have to go away for weekends without your family to work for them in Wallkill or elsewhere? Did you ever have to do any of that?
Thanking you in advanced for your response.


Well I never felt I got a bait and switch mainly due to the fact that I grew up with this stuff, however I can see where one could feel that way. As far as BS I was basically refering to what they teach there. I am an agnostic. I do not deny the possible existence of a "god", but I also do not believe in ANY of the prevailing religous beliefs in this world. So when I have some crusty old guy who thinks my brother is inferior because he's gay or thinks my sister should be having children instead of working, telling me what the "eternal truth is". . . Well thats BS.

I've been to Walkhill. Its awful plain & simple. I disliked it mainly because I found it borring. Look you won't be doing work for them so to speak. As I remember it its mainly upkeeping the property.

You seem torn, almost like you need a reason to leave. If your scared you really have nothing to worry about. There will be no posse of philosophers in pick-up trucks coming after you with shotguns if you decide to leave.


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