FELIX, October 21, 1983 wrote:Two IC Students Tel l of Their Experiences With the Local Cults
THE SCHOOL OF ECONOMIC SCIENCE
The advertisement of a philosophy course interested me immedi
ately. I felt that purely scientific training left undesirable gaps in my
knowledge of culture and my ability to look at the world from a
'mature' standpoint. I'm normally as apathetic as the next man, but
these lectures were in Queensgate. What a piece of luck, I felt!
I would not have followed up a classified ad, but this double
column looked impressive and respectable. The descriptions: "the
great philosophic teachings which have enabled men and women
throughout the ages to discover direction and purpose in their
lives...etc" are compelling and, even as I re-read them, beautiful.
What now seems strange is that an organisation I had never heard
of, the School of Economic Science, should list nineteen schools all
over England and repeat the lectures every evening of the week
(when other adult eduction classes frequently teeter because the
numbers don't justify one evening). This advertisement even
invites us to vary our day of attendance.
To my surprise, the lecture went slowly. After ten minutes the
lady lecturing hadn't said anything at all. But she was obviously well
prepared and soon coaxed the class into a discussion about
wisdom. Somehow our result was-a general agreement on a
verbose definition which meant nothing. I was disappointed, but at
least I had contributed to the discussion. Since the rest of the class
had all beer, involved in formulating our definition, I assumed that I
was more illiterate than I had supposed. The rest of the time until
the break was more useful. We studied a diagram about conscious
ness. It wasn't very scientific, but who was I to object to the ideas of
(as I thought) the great philosophers? The teacher was a beginner,
but I could hardly fault her after she told us that she and her
colleagues worked unpaid, for the love of it. It never occured to me
that this was strange.
After tea we heard some soporific passages and then learnt how
to isolate ourselves from our surroundings by deep concentration!
I know that this is supposed to help philosophers, but I had not
known how important it was.
Thankfully, I never went back (despite the letters). This happens -
in many cases, and the falling register causes the daily classes to
merge. In the remaining cases, students may never leave. There is
no problem in persuading them all that one evening is convenient
because they are taught that the School is the most' important
element of their lives. I have seen how full the school is of
helpers—continuing students who run the place.
Whilst the organisation's philosophy may be of a quasi-religious
type and the followers may never go out and do any harm, they are
dangerous because of their method. They believe that recruits
benefit most from the course, by having their personalities re
arranged and 'improved'. This task is initiated secretly, although at
a later date the student always agrees that what happened was for
the best. He has no choice: they all believe that it is for the best.
The only reason why I did not go to the second lecture is that I
described the course to some friends. They were rather impressed
by my description, but another overheard our discussion and
enquired about the name of the school. He told me about the real
nature of the course which I was so proud to be attending. I did not
want to believe him: the people there were so pleasant. Yes, he
replied, that was why he stayed for a year. His teachers pestered
him to come back when he left, though the 'treatment' had only
failed for his group because he became a trouble-maker after
becoming suspicious. The staff are so pleasant that they never
react strongly, even if you tell them that they are in a Mooney-like
cult. They wiil try to convince you that it isn't so, which is what you
prefer to believe anyway.
http://felixonline.co.uk/archive/IC_198 ... 0654_A.pdf
Articles about cults in the double spread at the bottom of the edition