Attending the adult schools

Discussion of the SES's satellite organisations in the USA.
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Free Thinker
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Postby Free Thinker » Mon Jun 20, 2005 12:35 am

I agree with Leon. However, I still request that you attempt to justify your use of the British "civilization" definition and all of the stereotypes, justification, and racism that goes along with Imperialism.

Yuck!

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Postby a different guest » Mon Jun 20, 2005 12:41 am

I think it's a bit counterproductive to get into a pissing contest about which culture/civilisation is has been capabable of being the nastiest over history. And let's face it Ross for all western culture likes to think of itself as "civilised" with much progress over the last 100 years, they are STILL doing some pretty barbaric things. Why for instance were cluster bombs (which target civilians) used in Afghanistan? Bright yellow packages of death. Particularly when the food aid parcels dropped (with writing in english that said something like "food from the nice people of America") which were ALSO in yellow packages.

Which Einstein thought that one up?

But I would agree with Ross about religion - perhaps not religion per-se, but how those in power within those religions dictate their interpretation - particularly when they are dogmatic about THEIR religion being the ONLY right one and everyone else is wrong. For instance Christians beleive that the ONLY way to heaven is thru Jesus - so while they concede that Jews and Muslims are worshipping the same God, they are doing it WRONG and WON'T ascend to the kingdom of heaven. Muslims meanwhile beleive that the Quoran is the DIRECT word of God, and many therefore beleive there is NO interpreting at all and it is to be read literally. Meanwhile the Mormons beleive everyone else is wrong and are busy running geanological websites so they can post-humosly baptise people to make sure ALL humans get to go to heaven. This REALLY pissed off Jewish people when it was discovered they were busy baptising holocaust victims into the LDS church.

Until ALL religions stop heading towards fundamentalism, start toning things down and teach respect for others beleifs I think religion will always be a cause of some friction in the world. How come I as an atheist can respect people's religious beleifs yet strongly religious people cannot respect my secular humanist pov??

And speaking of religion - how on EARTH can the SES be SO adament that they are NOT a religion? Does the SES have a different definition of the word "religion" from the rest of the world?

edit to add: Also Ross I think you are quite uninformed about Aboriginal Australia. You mention TB yet it was measles and smallpox (with much evidence that smallpox was deliberately introduced) that decimated the population in the early years of white settlement. And if you go to such places as the national parks in Jervis Bay or Uluru (Ayer's Rock) which have been returned to their traditional owners you will find them very well run places indeed. You seem to have little empathy for a culture that has suffered dispossesion and attempted genocide. More reading needed I think.

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Postby Free Thinker » Mon Jun 20, 2005 12:53 am

I agree with you, ADG, that the SES is certainly a religion and not just a philosophy.

Although I agree that various forms of religious organization and certain fundamentalist beliefs do much harm, whether physical or emotional, I don't think that religion itself is to blame - as in the faith in some type of higher power, as the Dawkinists think. The hardcore evolutionists believe that anyone who believes in God is stupid, etc. and that nothing good comes of it, which is not true.

Re: Ross' points about the Aboriginals, I think "uninformed" is only part of it.

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to anybody about to throw the first stone (FT, LM,ADG etc

Postby ross nolan » Mon Jun 20, 2005 1:34 pm

Dear Enlightened ones - dare I try to 'defend' myself from your righteous wrath ? Yes, I think I will actually although I doubt you will pay any more attention to what I am about to write than the last time. Oh well....

Ididn't realize what an ignorant racist mongrel I was until you so fulsomely informed me ..... I wish I knew some tiny part of what you MUST know about such things to talk with such unquestioning authority .

How come when I lived in the States over thirty years ago one of my best friends was a black man (Dave) in fact come to think of it he was (and I think even as at 1998 my last visit) the ONLY black man in town . Dave was an aircraft welder and a damn good one and got a job working for the company I worked for designing aircraft -- we used to fish, fly and ride motorbikes together (or rather then I rode pillion on his Harley -- no leathers, no helmets and 80 MPH down dirt roads -- one time we came across a queue of cars outside a chilli dog place , with a gap -- we cruised past and up to the ordering point without realizing that the cars were holding back to avoid the smell of a squashed skunk on the road and nearly sparked a 'racial incident' by jumping the queue -- my 'funny accent' helped smooth things out . Am I racist ? No I don't think so -my argument is with CULTURE not race -- some cultures are simply more advanced than others and Aboriginal culture has in effect 'stalled' for some 40,000 years -- there IS such a thing as civilization and barbaric behaviour (NAZI Germany promoted un civilized behaviour and, AS I have already said, technological perversion of scientific know how does take place especially in war -- read some Buckminster Fuller for a bit of perspective on the beneficient application of technology (yes I do read things other than Richard Dawkins -- he has specifically made the same sort of criticisms of the SES schools as you do yourself and you confirm his concern for the mental damage that is done by earnest religious devotees to their young. (might try reading some of his views -- he has a website put up by someone else )

What is civilization? well it is easier to describe uncivilized behaviour -- your examples of drawing and quartering certainly qualify and many of our ancestors definitely practiced uncivilized behaviour . Cannibalism is definitely uncivilized -- one Maori anthropologist angrily attacked a white "supporter" who tried to 'debunk' the 'myth' of Maori cannibalism by using all sorts of weasel words and cop out arguments like "no conclusive evidence" "dubious written reports" "white fabrication" etc etc -- she simply said (not exact quote -this from memory) "My own grandmother ate human flesh, it was a cultural fact of Maori life. don't patronize me by trying to deny or gloss over the facts of my own historical past , don't write lies to cover up what you find so repugnant ....." - this is like the denial of the Holocaust or Japanese "medical experiments" on Chinese prisoners etc -- face the facts as a first step, Call a spade a spade .

Yes Virginia there IS an uncivilized way of living and no ,I dont "need" to "justify the use of the British 'civilization' definition and all of the stereotype justification and racism that goes along with Imperialism" --
What does this chain of concocted drivel have to do with civilization or my statements ? Why do I "need" to justify your confused gibberish???

Civilization is generally held to have arisen about circa 10 000 years ago amongst the 'tinted' peoples of the Near East and is not as fas as I know a "white" attribution -- Britons were living in wet caves on raw meat at the time. Perhaps you refer somewhat awkwardly to the "white man's burden" sort of Pukkha English in the far flung corners of Empire sort of Saturday afternoon old movie on TV "stereotype" ? No doubt the British did a great deal to take civilization to the far corners of the world and generally tried to live up to their ideals of fair play and justice -- never perfectly but at least in the attempt.

I don't think that the British in Australia enslaved the natives or sought to enact genocide (like the Moriori or Jewish examples) and had a great deal of difficulty in dealing fairly with the natives (for example Cook found they did not want anything they had to trade -- no concept of money or of 'yearly' rental (what's a year?) etc -- either Australia remained a vast resource locked up human 'zoo' for ever or SOME advanced nation had to land and bring the knowledge held by the rest of the (here it comes) CIVILIZED world , (whew)

A noted black author in the US (AfroAmerican) recently said "thank Christ my ancestors got brought to America because look at what they have got in Africa compared to me in the USA " -- it was white children and women exploited in the textile factories and mines etc of the industrial revolution in Britain and not blacks (is this racist or just a step in the journey of civilization and progress still underway and not always,everywhere forward ) Regression in civilization occurrs when the society becomes irrational and turns to the occult,belief in the supernatural, spirits and some forms of religion (eg Voodoo in Haiti , most of Africa ....)

This is the prime danger of SES type teaching and religions in general --the ability of tiny England to colonize vast areas of the world was in part due to it's basically secular government (nominally religious but not dominated by god worship like in the Dark ages or much of Islam even though Islamic scholars preserved much Greek and original learning in particular in maths and geometry -- try duplicating some of the intricate geometric designs on mosques to appreciate this )

You can acheive scientific progress despite religious nominalism not because of it . What did christianity add to physics or mathematics? Apart from how many angels danced on the head of a pin? ...

Another example of uncivilized conduct is today's report of two women being prepared for public stoning in the middle east (probably for something so unpardonable as adultery or even maybe not wearing the Hajib ) -- they will be buried in sand up to their necks and then stoned to death with SMALL stones -- so as to lengthen the suffering .
This is not hundreds of years ago but TODAY and is definitely uncivilized
(Don't really care if you find that politically incorrect or that I am being cuturally biased etc etc -- have some guts to be proud of your own history and progress from this sort of barbarity -- go look at some of the gruesome machette killings in Rwanda or "necklacing" with flaming rubber tyres of fellow blacks in South Africa -- when you instinctively retch as a defenceless black man is stabbed repeatedly by crazed blacks right in front of a BBC camera you can be fairly sure you are seeing real barbarity . Hope that helps with "definitions" -- I will speak up for some of the acheivements of the last 5000 years since the "enlightened' times of the Bhagavad Gita thanks .

I would choose to share a desert island with Richard Dawkins over a "jesus freak" anytime -- at least I could be sure I wouldn't wake up with only my head out of the sand being stoned to death in the name of Allah,
(stupid proposition but I think Richard Dawkin's idea of hell might come close to being marooned with a bigotted religious nutter !)

Much of the response to my last postings are unworthy of being even acknowledged but the hope remains that one of you might even REFLECT on your pious certainty and namecalling mob psychopathy. (good stoneing mentality)

If it is a "racist statement "to decry killing for it's own sake then so be it (in your mind) -- the "trade dispute" involved in the genesis of the first world war could have led to mass starvation (denial of trade outlets) and a similar trigger led to Japan becoming militarist -- is this worse than "blood lust" or random hacking to death of children and "other" tribes ? Animals usually kill to live - a brutal neccesity for carnivores but random killing by wild dogs etc is unjustified -- both are cruel.

Cluster bombs are perverted technology and I would say uncivilized ditto landmines,napalm and torture-- there are rules to even total war that civilzed nations observe (another sign of civilized conduct)

Any exception to the generally deplorable state of living conditions of Aboriginal communities is rare (Uluru is a tourist attraction perhaps not a community - don't know about Jervis Bay - inform me . (used to tow targets for Navy target practice off shore -- got shot at for a living)

Forgive me for being "difficult" but aren't we talking about the School of Economic SCIENCE ? (and offshoots) -- how can you decry science in favour of religion when you purport to be Scientific ?????
Complexity of music is not neccesarily a measure of sophistication or quality -- no doubt Tibetan throat singing and even Jazz are just about unwriteable on sheet music -- no two are ever the same .endless variations etc but very little range,information content or restfull, uplifting, exciting,inspiring,grand or any of dozens of other emotionally stirring properties of "western music" (think Beatles, Elton John, Exodus theme, Oxygene .... thousands of unique and sometimes transcendent tunes, melody.rhapsody etc -- compare to the basically nearly identical primitive chants or at best a very small range of total forms and musical effect . Why did we bother to invent the orchestra if it's all the same ?

Anyway I tire of trying to educate you cloddish,unfeeling,stupid,dull,disrespectful, doltish, oafish, visionless,uninspired,crass and generally undeserving whites and hereby propose to take my leave of your pathetic personages (quote loosely attributed to" Chief Seattle "long after his death - so you can't complain about anything racist in it and of course not to be taken to heart by any sensitive,nice,etc etc red men ( and possibly also black or yellow but I'm still thinking about that .....)

Again the unreconstructed one (hiss, boo )
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follow up

Postby ross nolan » Mon Jun 20, 2005 9:32 pm

Greetings All- just a quick one - Did you catch the story today about a Rumanian Christian priest who crucified (killed) a 23 year old nun who he decided was 'possessed' -- but to be fair to him he did give her a good funeral service and "send off" afterwards . Bit hard to know where to draw the line with religious beliefs once you believe in devil possession (as did Jesus Christ -- check out the "transfer" of evil spirits from a human to a herd of pigs who then suicided -- such gentle compassion etc)

You'll have to try harder to convince me that reversion to 5000 year old superstitions is in anyone's interest -- it is possible to conceive of a possible 'ultra intelligence' or even a general trait of seeking self awareness in the universe ( cf Fred Hoyle) without being unscientific or having only pregidested animorphic myth as the other choice (eg Ganesh-)- is an Elephant's head an improvement on the basic human model? My copy of Bhagavad Gita -- SES's "training manual" -- features such depictions as apparent 'fact' . Something here for "thinking men and women"?

Also I recalled when they asked for any examples of "great men" or those to be admired -- much silence (as usual) then I suggested Nelson Mandela for his lack of vengence after being unjustly jailed for 27 years -- again much silence (wrong answer) ---- silly racist me. Check out Noel Pearson's statements on the effect of trying to be politically correct in addressing Aboriginal inequities (both in inputs and outcomes )

The whole problem with teaching dogma of any kind is that you give up the right to think for yourself and to dare to question hence to learn or even change your views (if they ever were "yours" anyway ) SES is engaged in brainwashing and the 'open mind' they speak of can be filled with crap that anyone with the perspective from outside the movement would at once detect to be false.

Regards Ross
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Postby a different guest » Tue Jun 21, 2005 12:43 am

Just for the benefit of the non-aussie readers here I will explain what may be a peculariaty within aussie culture which is why I did not give Ross the "racist mongrel" *g* label.

I have seen many times with older Australians (society has changed rapidly over the last 20 years or so) that while they may well say disparaging things of an ethnic group or groups (Australians tend to think in terms of ethnicity rather than race), amongst their good and close friends will be people FROM that group.

Not quite outright racisim as:-

Racism is defined as being "the beleif that human races have distinctive characteristics that determine their respective cultures....offensive or aggressive behaviour to others of another race stemming from that beleif"

So while I found some of Ross's comments a tad offensive I was prepared to give him the benefit of the doubt of NOT being an outright racists (which yes, sadly, do exist here too).

and Ross - while Aboriginals weren't inventing the wheel or jaffle irons don't you think there is some degree of sophistication in a culture where for 1000s of years many different "countries" of Aboriginal people were able to live pretty peacably side by side? And consider all the languages - yet a simple language that ALL could understand was developed for communication between the different countries. With a message stick from their elders people could travel peacably thru other's territories. Goat Island in Sydney Harbour was used as a happy retreat for holiday festivals. An aboriginal Club Med! :)

And back to cluster bombs and landmines - you agree they should not be used by "civilised" nations as we have "rules of war" - so how come they are being used (or isn't the US "civilised"?).

But this is all getting OT (off topic).

Can we steer the discussion back to what the SES schools teach?

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Re: follow up

Postby Free Thinker » Tue Jun 21, 2005 12:46 am

See below.
Last edited by Free Thinker on Tue Jun 21, 2005 12:58 am, edited 1 time in total.

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Re: follow up

Postby Free Thinker » Tue Jun 21, 2005 12:57 am

I'm editing my post because although I wrote a long reply in response to Ross's last post because I felt I had to - I've changed my mind.

You're not going to change the way you think about non-Western cultures, or how you speak of them, or how you treat others based on my post. You'll just roll your eyes. So I won't bother.

"I have seen many times with older Australians (society has changed rapidly over the last 20 years or so) that while they may well say disparaging things of an ethnic group or groups (Australians tend to think in terms of ethnicity rather than race), amongst their good and close friends will be people FROM that group. "

Yeah, he brought up the old tried and true, "But my best friend is black!" as if that somehow excuses deeply offensive statements and beliefs the person says about Africans, African-Americans, and Carribeans. My grandfather in Mississippi has friends who aren't white. That doesn't negate the fact that he thinks non-whites are lowers creatures than whites.

Besides, there are so many things wrong with what you've said that it would take days to answer.

You make me want to vomit.

(Hey Mike, there's a great vomiting Smilie..Hint, hint...)

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Postby Free Thinker » Tue Jun 21, 2005 1:03 am

Back to the original topic, I found that although the religious part of much of the SoPP's material related to Adviata/Hinduism, almost all of the writers, musicians, etc. that were held up as examples of perfect writing/music, etc. were all Western. I found there to be a fairly even mix of Eastern and Western ideas being held up as admirable.

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Postby a different guest » Tue Jun 21, 2005 1:09 am

FT - of those they hold up as "examples" of perfection - can you name any women????

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Postby Free Thinker » Tue Jun 21, 2005 1:09 am

NO

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Postby a different guest » Tue Jun 21, 2005 4:52 am

*sigh* it was probably a silly question.

I find it intersting the while the religious (or should I say "philosophy"?) side is eastern yet the SES seems unable to find any examples of "fine" in the literature/art/music of the culture they've ripped off their basic beleif system from.

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Postby Free Thinker » Tue Jun 21, 2005 6:55 am

Yeah, it's pretty interesting, isn't it?

We did do Indian classical dancing in the youth group, and I also took an adult class. But that's as far as it went. No Indian music or art, nothing from other areas of Asia. Everything else was European - I don't think we even listened to or sang American classical music except for stuff written by members of the school...

ETA: The school did offer some Chinese brush painting classes.
Last edited by Free Thinker on Wed Jul 27, 2005 2:39 am, edited 1 time in total.

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Postby bella » Tue Jun 21, 2005 7:51 am

ADG and Free, Indian scripture is held up as being fine - the Upanishads, the Mahabharata, etc. Sanskrit is also held up as being the "perfect" language, and students at the school study it - spoken and written.

I'm sort of at a loss to reply to Ross, especially after the "but my best friend's black" thing. In fairness, maybe it's not such a cliche where he's from. But I did want to say yes, that's the Richard Dawkins I was referring to - I'm surprised you've not heard of the Brights, Ross. Check out http://www.the-brights.net/

Not sure if you were saying I saw Dawkins as an opponent, or just suggesting that I refute his ideas like he does with others'....but I have no desire to refute his ideas. Contrary to the way you seem to view it, I don't experience any problems attending the SOP/SES (and I agree the organisation has a religious basis) and retaining some decidedly "naturalistic" ideas myself. I'm probably one of the "suited operatives" you're talking about as well - odd, I thought I was there to greet people as they came and went, and show them where to go. I'll be sure to request my gun and cyanide pill next time I attend. :)

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Postby a different guest » Tue Jun 21, 2005 8:51 am

Bella - I know you are busy at the moment and appreciate your time on these boards. So not meaning to nag, but just reminding, that you have promised me an "incredibly long winded post" in my "ses then and now - what has changed" thread. :)

And can I address my question to FT to you re women held up as "perfect examples"?


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