Greetings - Ex-SPP member from NYC

Discussion of the SES's satellite organisations in the USA.
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Greetings - Ex-SPP member from NYC

Postby Free Thinker » Mon Feb 21, 2005 7:09 am

Hello everyone,

I was brought up in the School of Practical Philosophy in NYC and remained there until young adulthood. Leaving the school was one of the best things I've ever done.

I would love to discuss my experiences there (both parents were members for 19 and 30 years respectively) with some of you here, knowing that there are differences between the British and the American schools.

That being said, I've noticed that the postings tend to go WAY off topic and that is what has put me off of posting here intially. I would love to post more but I have to ask that people stick to the topic. For example, I don't care to discuss what gender differences are or aren't real - I care how the SES/SOP/SPP uses "differences" to treat people differently (and...surprise, surprise, unequally!)

My thanks to Mike, again, for setting up his website, which helped me to get my mother out of the school. Hello to everyone else. If you have any questions about the school in NY, feel free to ask! Otherwise, I'll probably just come up with a summary of some of my experiences there.

FT

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Re: Greetings - Ex-SPP member from NYC

Postby Daffy » Mon Feb 21, 2005 11:11 am

Free Thinker wrote:I've noticed that the postings tend to go WAY off topic and that is what has put me off of posting here intially. I would love to post more but I have to ask that people stick to the topic.

Yes, this is annoying and I've complained about it in the past too. My amateur pyschologist explanation: people who've spent years having independent thought stamped out of them are rediscovering the ability to express their own opinions.

So what differences have you observed between your experiences in New York and those you've read here of the London school? What caused your parents to leave?

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Postby a different guest » Mon Feb 21, 2005 10:19 pm

My amateur pyschologist explanation: people who've spent years having independent thought stamped out of them are rediscovering the ability to express their own opinions.


I am yet to see a BB where posts stay PURELY 'on-topic'. It is perfectly normal for conversations to wander off topic as what someone says will then make the next person think of something related, but not exactly the same, so they will post, which will cause the next person... I guess that sort of thinking isn't encouraged in the SES tho.

I'm interested to hear about the american school - do they think americans (like australians) are still some far flung colony that needs saving? (tho apparently McLaren thought aussies were beyond redemption).

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Postby Free Thinker » Thu Feb 24, 2005 6:08 am

Daffy - I rather agree with your amateur psychologist's perspective, and DG - you're right, most BB don't stay on topic. I guess what I mean is that I am not particular interested in participating in many of the discussions I've read here that have gone off-topic. But I can certainly keep my mouth shut and simply participate in the threads I find interesting. All the arguments bothered me but it seems like many were in the past.

Now, on to your questions...

Differences between my experiences in NY and what I've read here - Obviously the Abraham Lincoln School is very new, and therefore doesn't have the history of abuse that the ones in England did. I did attend the Ark nursery school and kindergarten for 4 years, which started a few years before I attended it. I received nothing but caring, compassionate teaching there and still respect those teachers greatly. It was like Waldorf in many ways. In terms of the actual school, there are many similarities, starting from treating Maclaren like a god down to gender separation and discouraging of any actual thinking, questioning, or personal expression. I think some of the differences are due to American culture. I think the school is more relaxed and not quite as strict as the London school. I attended Youth Group for my years as a teenager and we used to have our own retreats where I wore pants and mostly younger people were there, including the tutors, and I actually really enjoyed those. Had the Ark turned into a full-years school, there would have been no corporal punishment being that it's illegal in NY state schools, and even if it wasn't, I personally know almost all of the teachers currently at the ALS and none of them would ever have done that to a child. St. James also strikes me as much more of a traditional prep school like we also have in the US, where that sort of thing happened and where the atmosphere for boys, at least, was to be a man and be tough, etc., whereas ALS is much gentler.

What caused my parents to leave?

My father left when I was about 12. He saw the hipocrasy of those in charge, and saw how people who had started classes at the same time he had were made tutors and leaders and completely changed their personality. He saw how it zombified people and he couldn't take seeing his friends change like that. ALthough he hasn't articulated this to me, he must have seen how it made my mother a zombie and must have made him very sad and angry with the school. My mother left about 1.5 years ago. She hasn't said exactly why she left but about 6 months before she did, I sent her a lot of information from Mike's website, among others, about the school, along with a personal letter explaining all the things I never understoof about her or my childhood and how it hurt me. I also tried to impress on her that my perceptions of the SPP weren't misinterpretations of a child's mind, or a personal grudge, but that I had noticed things many other people had noticed. Since she left, she's been in psychotherapy, and although in some ways it's a replacement of SPP, it's a much healthier one and I feel like I'm finally getting to know my mother for who she really is.

DG - are you asking what the Brit's think of us? I have no idea. I know that people in the American school look up to the British members and especially tutors as if they are lower dieties to Maclaren. One that particularly bugs me is David Boddy, who I noticed posted here. I hope you're reading this! He is supposedly the "expert" on women! Ha! He's a man, how can he be an expert on women's natures and what women are really like? All the women look up to him and treat him like some teen idol. It's sick. I wonder how many of them know that he was essentially a PR man for Margaret Thatcher. If knowing her makes him an expert on women, run for your lives, my fellow ladies! (As they're called in the SPP).

I have to go now but I'll leave you with this little tidbit, which my mother somehow managed to forget. One summer, while my mother was on retreat at the main center in Wallkill, NY, I was staying with another family from the school, and at daycamp, I had an anaphylactic reaction (i.e., deadly) to cheese. While waiting to go to the hospital, I called Wallkill and asked to talk to my mother. The man (who was Trinidadian, and all of the Trinidadian members had very heartily embraced the superiority of men over women) said she was busy, and so I explained that I was extremely sick and on my way to the hospital. He refused to let me talk to her because she was in a meeting with Maclaren. I was crying and he still insisted so I got the counselor from camp (also a woman) to talk to him thinking he'd take an adult seriously. No luck, he gave her the same response. When I talked to my mother about it before she left the school, and she never remembered it happening even though we told her about it, she tried to make excuses saying that it was just that guy's personality. My response was what kind of organization holds it's leaders words more important than talking to one's child who is going to the hospital and possibly dying? It's the atmosphere it creates that is poisonous.

Goodnight to all!
FT

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Memory loss

Postby Witness » Thu Feb 24, 2005 4:52 pm

Free thinker-

Your description of your mother 'forgetting' that you described is something that I have experienced with my SES parents many times. They always seem to 'forget' the events in the past that are the evidence of SES's abuse.

In the UK school thay've used the term "Live in the Present" over and over again for decades. In my experience the phrase is used to say "Forget the Past" especially when facts in the past are challenges for SES.

Doesnt it sound like brainwashing to you? Literally, washing memories away from your brain? Could this effct their psychological state?

One of my parents, too, is seeking therapy because of doubts about the many years invested into SES.

Do other people here on the message board have the same experience with their SES parents? Have our parents been brainwashed by SES, so that they were and are blind to past (continuing?) abuse?

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Postby Free Thinker » Thu Feb 24, 2005 6:13 pm

Witness - I have no doubt that almost all of her "forgetting" was caused by the SPP. I'm sure the London and NY schools are the same in terms of living in the present and ignoring the past. My mother was a master (mistress?) at ignoring any emotions that weren't positive ones, which came directly out of the SPP. Therefore, any events or situations that were painful were ignored, not dealt with, not talked about afterwords, until they were essentially forgotten.

However, I think the thing about the SES/SPP is that for some people, like myself, with strong personalities and a strong sense of self (although I was taught to ignore it for many years growing up), the teachings don't really brainwash us because we know what is truth and what is bullshit. So while I was there, I took the good and ignored the bad until I was old enough to know that the bad wasn't worth the good, and to see how being brought up in that atmosphere was destroying my abilities to have normal relationships with other adults, particularly with the opposite sex. But for others, like my mother, who had had a painful childhood, it provides the perfect opportunity to NOT deal with the past, and to pretend that everything is happy and great. And people with fragile personalities like that are very easily brainwashed. And they like it and don't see it as bad because it protects them. Now that my mother is in therapy, she is forcing herself to talk about all of the issues she ignored for years. She was very emotional at first because finally dealing with all of that after years of ignoring it and realizing that you've been in a cult for years has got to make you very depressed.

Many parents are blind to abuse done to their children because who wants to believe that their children are being hurt? And because it's often by a family friend or relative, it makes it very hard. And in this case, you have an organization responsible for creating an atmosphere where this sort of thing can occur and is not condemned, and in which the parents have spent countless hours, emotional interested, friends, etc. and which has become their whole lives, they certainly don't want to acknowledge that it's all for nothing and is hurting their children. Not that this is an excuse but I believe that it's even easier for parents to "not see it" in an organization like this than in a regular family. Because the organization has changed the parents psychologically, whereas in a family, that hasn't happened.

I'm sure plenty of other children of SES/SPP families are undergoing this as well. Thank God that my father saw it so early (if you can call 12 years early) and got out before his mind was affected at all. Thus I have a wonderful emotional relationship with my father but am just starting to develop one with my mother since she essentially didn't have a real personality for so many years.
Last edited by Free Thinker on Wed Jul 27, 2005 2:56 am, edited 1 time in total.

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Postby Witness » Thu Feb 24, 2005 7:25 pm

Free thinker-

Your experience is almost exactly the same as mine. What you've said about your mother is precisely the situation of one of my parents, too.

I also agree with you about strong personalities and a strong sense of self resisting brainwashing. Also that damaged parents turn to SES and subsequently neglect their children.

All the best to you and your parents during what is an important time. I sincerely hope your mum pulls through, with you and your dad right beside her.

Take care,

Witness.

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Postby a different guest » Thu Feb 24, 2005 10:26 pm

FT - I am with you on the Margaret Thatcher thing - personally I don't think she is a real woman at all! :)

And thanks for sharing some of your experiences. I wish your mum all the best. And don't think of psychotherapy as "another form of SES" as hopefully it is the exact opposite - freeing up her mind from the constraints she has held it under for many years. I don't think you call yourself "free thinker" for nothing :)

Two points/questions

You are talking about your mum "forgetting" incidencts where the SES is shown in a bad light. This makes me think of something TB said on the "are parents to blame" thread which I totally disagree with.

TB said
What I did not say, and obviously should have, is that parents also rationalise their behaviour. This allows them to feel that they have seen and corrected mistakes. If they are not able to do this, it would threaten sanity


Personally I don't think this is "normal" at all. Most often when people realise they have made mistakes and that those mistakes have caused harm, a person will berate themselves, perhaps even feel grief.

So you think this "forgetting" or "rationalising" is an SES thing?

One other query - the schools in Au appear to have a decided english flavour in what they teach. Yes they study australian history - but it seems only enough to satisfy what is set as standard curriculum. The rest of the curriculum bears no resemblance whatsoever to what is taught in Australian primary (elementary) schools. Do you think there was any such leaning in the American school? Or are the curriculum rules for private schools stricter in the US?

cheers

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Postby TB » Fri Feb 25, 2005 2:19 am

Hi ADG,

Your comment

TB said Quote:
What I did not say, and obviously should have, is that parents also rationalise their behaviour. This allows them to feel that they have seen and corrected mistakes. If they are not able to do this, it would threaten sanity


Personally I don't think this is "normal" at all. Most often when people realise they have made mistakes and that those mistakes have caused harm, a person will berate themselves, perhaps even feel grief.


Let me try to clarify my comment by saying that parents certainly do admit and punish themselves for some mistakes. But in some cases they do not, as the admission is too difficult. By definition, it is not possible to see this process within ourselves, but examples of alcoholics and people with terminal illness, show how this occurs. Reality is sometimes too difficult to take, so we shut down the centres that assess reality.

Do SES parents rationalise their decisions? In some cases it is too much to admit 'wrong', lose a possible comfort zone and support of SES, the evening sessions and fear of losing something in their 'stable' lives. People can deny the discomfort of being pressured by a social system like the SES, or are too weak to stand up for internal beliefs, so an easy way out is to delude themselves that they are OK with the system.

This also raises the point about 'going off the topic' mentioned by Daffy and Free Thinker.

For example, I don't care to discuss what gender differences are or aren't real - I care how the SES/SOP/SPP uses "differences" to treat people differently (and...surprise, surprise, unequally!)


Your caring about gender discrimination in the SES indicates an underlying fundamental belief in gender equality and/or differences. I would guess from this comment that you believe that equality of the sexes is a good thing to strive for. If you do believe this then you will take issue with SES teachings. However, can you support your belief in gender equality with logic and evidence or is it a faith/socially based thing?

For this reason discussion of topics gender equality/sameness can be fundamental to some of the judgements made for or against SES. If we are starting with unsupported premises how can we expect the conclusions to be correct?

I agree that my debate with ADG on male/female crying had gone off the track totally and was becoming a topic all by itself, so I apologise for detracting from the main point. However gender issues are key to the discussion of SES.

FT, thanks for your post on the NYC school, it looks like they have maintained a very consistent ethos across continents.

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Postby emmalu9 » Sat Feb 26, 2005 4:49 pm

TB,

The 'rationalisation' of actions and events will only occur if it is necessary for the perpetrator and/or victim to alter their emotional reality in response to an imbalance. In the recent discussions of parental blame to do with child abuse at the St James schools, parents and teachers had to balance the knowledge that their children were unhappy/troubled at shool with the mindless trust in those 'above' them in the SES. They had to be constantly reassured that the school knew the needs of their children better than they.

I was sent there for 10 years, during which time I was entrusted into the care of many different families babysitters and teachers in both term-time and holidays. Some were competent and caring, others were shockingly abusive. Throughout my childhood, my parents had to continually 'rationalise' their actions, which were based in the schools' advice, because I remained a desperately unhappy underachiever. They allowed my problems to be swept under the carpet, for me to be labelled 'ignorant, lazy and unwilling to learn', until even I believed that description of myself.

They were informed that I would be failing all GCSEs' except english, and my Dad thankfully saw that I would be totally screwed if I stayed there. However, even at this point my Mum thought I should remain, which demonstrates the delusion that you spoke of. She would rather have let me stay miserable and hopeless than admit that she was wrong all those years. When I got my GCSE results, the effect was undeniable, but it was not til years later, and had left the SES pit that she was able to apologise for not truly having my best interests (sense of self-worth, self-esteem and achievement) as her priority.

She and my father were seduced by the total egomania of the SES, which allows the belief that people have differing levels of inherent human worth. Your paragraph on gender equality clearly demonstrates that you too are suffering from this very sad delusion. I pity you and hope that you will one day be able to be released from the bondage of pride.

Emmalu9

(I got A*AAAAABBB by the way.)

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Postby TB » Sat Feb 26, 2005 11:08 pm

Hi emmalu9

You say

Your paragraph on gender equality clearly demonstrates that you too are suffering from this very sad delusion. I pity you and hope that you will one day be able to be released from the bondage of pride.



and I assume is based upon me saying



Your caring about gender discrimination in the SES indicates an underlying fundamental belief in gender equality and/or differences. I would guess from this comment that you believe that equality of the sexes is a good thing to strive for. If you do believe this then you will take issue with SES teachings. However, can you support your belief in gender equality with logic and evidence or is it a faith/socially based thing?


If you read my comment carefully and not assume what underlies the questions, it does not indicate at all what I might believe. I am checking to see what YOU believe and how you have formed your ideas. It is a comment about your views, not mine. Not suprisingly most people do interpret this type of questioning and backfill with their assumptions. You might have a coherent argument to support your case on gender equality, then again you might not.

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Postby a different guest » Sun Feb 27, 2005 8:11 am

TB i think you were with the SES too long - an ability to carry on a normal coherent debate just doesn't seem to exist.

for example
but examples of alcoholics and people with terminal illness


well THAT'S the norm isn't it! *read with scarcastic inflection*

and you seem a real control freak with your kids and you also seem to want to infantalise them.

I don't think you've shaken off the shackles of SES-think at all.

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Postby grimep » Sun Feb 27, 2005 8:46 am

I was just thinking that reading some of the arguments on this board is a bit like being party to some strange attempt at reasoning one might overhear at Waterperry House for example.

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Postby a different guest » Sun Feb 27, 2005 9:00 am

I think I owe an apology to Alban - someone posted about his posts being convoluted - and I said something about being confused by his posts and maybe Alban was a "fence sitter" - but I am now forced to admit that perhaps I was not paying close enough attention to who posted what - and that it was TB (or some other SES long term member) that the poster brought me to mind.

So Alban I do most sincerely apologise.

Can no-one from the SES talk normally??? *plaintive cry*

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Postby grimep » Sun Feb 27, 2005 9:39 am

be thankful you're just reading it... have you ever been in a conversation with an SESian? They even have a common mode of speech in terms of tone and inflection, it's extremely creepy, and symptomatic of nullified personality. Long pauses between conversation sides (you can hear the cogs turning while SES-truth is applied to their thoughts...) At its most extreme they actually pronounce English words using Sanskrit-style rues!




looks like a cult... smells like a cult... acts like a cult.... oh no no no, its not a cult!


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