The substance of SES teachings.

Discussion of the SES, particularly in the UK.
ross nolan
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The substance of SES teachings.

Postby ross nolan » Mon Nov 28, 2005 1:41 pm

The very existence of the SES and SOP presupposes some sort of line of thinking and belief system distinct from any other,( in enough of a degree to distinguish itself from them to go to the effort of setting up a whole new organization), and having something going for it that has allowed it to continue. A merely logical statement, but I would like to explore what basically this knowledge or whatever is and whether it has any intrinsic value .
Although it seems the SES and it's St James affiliate have caused a great deal of distress, mental damage and 'negative outcomes' to put it mildly yet there seem to be some threads of genuine wisdom or at least intriguing possibilities lurking somewhere in the overall Hindu culture . Is there anything that can be extracted from the basic background teachings of the SES that might be termed the "baby" that should perhaps not be tossed out with the bathwater ?

Pre reformation Christianity itself was a pretty sad mess of abuse and corrupted dogma and vestiges of child abuse remain in the mainstream churches let alone the numerous cults -- the close relationship of Judaeism,Christianity and Islam have paradoxically led to some of the most blood thirsty wars and on- going conflict whilst Hinduism has notably different 'world views' and no doubt also attracted intelligent people who used the time and mental training afforded by religious life to pursue non religious or abstract thinking and ,as with not a few christian clerics, made important contributions to the study of science and natural or pure philosophy .

From just glancing contact to a little Hindu originated cosmology and some remarkable artifacts implying a high level of technological sophistication in mathematics it seems that some of the intellectual acheivements of the Hindu related society would be worth study -- Is there anyone from or in the SES that would care to illuminate this aspect of the 'general discussion on the SES' ?

Here is an extremely interesting website that certainly gives a great deal to ponder -- www.atributetohinduism.com -- various subsections and links go into great detail on the mathematical philosophy of Hinduism and touch on the Vedic system, (not in enough detail for useful application though ) etc and the 'science fiction' aspects of flying chariots and nuclear warfare etc in ancient times as part of the Hindu "Genesis" or Exodus accounts apparently meant to be read as fact.

Has anybody a non sanscrit translation of particularly the mathematical philosophy ?

Interestingly the Melbourne "Erasmus" school selected 'Alice in Wonderland' for it's children's play -- interesting because of the fundamentally intellectual basis of the story which is based on logical propositions and their opposites that arise in mathematical analysis -- Lewis Carroll, the author's pseudonym, was an accomplished theoretical mathematician and incorporated a lot of the logical deduction process into "Alice" along with some 'Hinduish' counter logic ......

Unlike Scientology which is based on little more than an understanding of psychological exploitation and mumbo jumbo but may have drawn on some of the background 'science mythology' of Hinduism- perhaps via Gurdjieff- there may be a kernal of true value in some of the source teaching of the SES that might be stripped of the dross and unneccesary mystery that has surrounded it and be worth preserving (like a lot of the classic Greek teaching was riddled with error and theistic overtones, even Newton had his dark side what with Alchemy etc but had a real core of worthwhile and invaluable new insight )

Presumably anyone who has been in the movement for a number of years has inside knowledge of such things and might like to explain or comment explicitly on the 'good' side of the SES's teachings - take this as an opportunity to make the case if you like. I would be personally interested to learn what of substance is behind it

Any takers? Ross.N
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erikdr
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Substance?

Postby erikdr » Mon Nov 28, 2005 5:46 pm

Hi Ross,

Quite a difficult point I am afraid. Because now that we are not talking about something scientific, on what basis would you like to agree with me and many others on what is bath water and what is a valuable baby?

I'd rather try to distinguish inside SES what is cultish and what is 'normal Hindu Advaita Vedanta religion'. And hence, in my feeling, the first group would have to be treated with utmost care (and often thrown down the drain 0X ) whilst for the 2nd group, while I might not agree with all of their teachings, at least I can respect their beliefs.

To go to my own values: after 8 years SES I became a teacher inside Buddhism, and avoid (for myself and compatriots) as much as possible cultish tendencies. SES elements like meditation I generally value positively, while elements like 'force' aren't the best of memories. But we have also seen people in the forum who have doubts about any meditation whatsoever, or who label it 'obscure' (apparently against their current Bible Belt-like religious convictions), or different.

So maybe a more short-lived topic than you'd thought of? Or do you see new material in making this distinction between cultishness and normal Vedanta?
With folded palms,

<Erik>

ross nolan
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baby vs bathwater

Postby ross nolan » Thu Dec 01, 2005 8:04 am

Hello Erik, I don't feel familiar enough with normal Vedanta to hazard an opinion on Hindu teachings -- I know next to nothing about the basic precepts of Hindu 'worldview' and understand that there is as much variance of opinion and different schools of thought as in christianity or other religions (sunni vs shi ite islam etc )

The fundamental 'historical' part of their teachings clearly conforms to the 'lost golden age' model except that they do not hark back to a bucolic garden of eden in a pristine state of nature but to a highly developed age of advanced cities, flying devices called "Vimanas" lobbing what sound like nuclear weapons on warring opponents (Krishna v Vishnu is it ?) with death rays and vast battlescenes that sound exactly like early science fiction . This is stated simply as fact just like the Adam and Eve legend and the line of 'begats' in Genesis,Noah's Ark , various miracles etc --

Any quasi religious 'explanation ' of the existence of the cosmos and the prior history of mankind deserves to be evaluated for evidence at least -- eg there are no known remains of 'prehistoric' flying machines or other of the amazing technological devices referred to in the Hindu texts but on the other hand their are some mightily perplexing hard artifacts like the herculean dressed stone blocks at Ballbeck for example (1000 tons plus )
or the intricate Peruvian stone walls ,both of which are impossible to account for with primitive know how.

There are a number of other "hard" facts and inexplicable things attributed to supposedly stone age societies that alone give cause to wonder about some non European cultures -- when it comes to the claims for spiritual enlightenment and revelations about insights into the soul , the meaning of life and death and it's relation to all the rest it is harder to be objective.

At the SOP classes much was made about the "states of consciousness" revealed by experiences of 'deja vu' or 'lost time' that most people would have experienced at some time and felt a powerful mental reaction to.

The inference is that the 'deja vu' experience is a kind of breaking through to a memory an an earlier life or some other sort of "transcending' the normal bounds of reality and perception which can be cultivated and somehow be of some value -- this phenomenon may be related to left and right brain independence or some sort of triggered daydream state rather then evidence for a vast hidden cosmos of the mind available only to Hindu (or Buddhist etc ) mystics. ( or of past lives,reincarnation,disembodied minds etc etc )

Isn't the normal working of the brain incredible enough already to create a sense of awe ?

Without a doubt many practitioners of meditation can induce a state like deep sleep and affect blood pressure,heart beat etc -- there is definite proof for mind controlling the body in the sense of overiding the normal "autopilot " functions -- but what does this acheive or prove ?

The fact that pure thought somehow converts my 'intentions' or 'ideas' into keystrokes to write this is proof that mind over matter exists -- the unanswered question is still "How do I decide what to think?" and who is this "me" that I am talking to in effect when I think ? By putting unpronouncable Indian terms to these concepts it seems to gain some sort of mysterious wise quality to Westerners that it might not have in it's native language --- all philosophers have wrestled with the problem of thought itself and defining these nebulous mental constructs about the nature of intellect.

No problem there -- this should be the province of philosophy .

The idea that "altered states" of consciousness are essential to a real comprehension of a "higher plane" to thinking and to connection with the cosmic intelligence is open to question . The subconcious is doubtless a real thing that converses to some degree with the conscious mind 'behind the scenes' as it were and generates our sensation of self and independence of thought ,creativity and personality amongst others and we also have the unconscious bodily control function like heatbeat,metabolism etc that go on irrespective of our will but can also be
altered by much practice . I remember a cousin who delved into some Eastern stuff many years ago coming out with the statement that some Guru was a "great man " because he could suck water up his anus .

Yeh, it somewhat baffled me at the time too -- no doubt it would save on the cost of enemas but does seem a strange way to display some higher level of consciousness or 'divine inspiration' .

Remember the "3D magic pictures" that were a craze a few years ago -- you had to stare at an apparently unexceptional picture in some special way until suddenly your mind "switched" and you saw a three dimensional scene different from the simple flat picture in normal vision . You could induce that state of vision through a steel mesh or "bottleglass" window if you did the proper 'cross eyed' through-focus technique .

It was frustrating to not "get it" at first or watch somone who did not know the trick try without success and declare that you were 'pulling their leg' that nothing was there until the instant they 'got it'.

I have heard some descriptions of this inner vision not unlike that sort of experience but wonder if it is any more a sign of deep connection with a greater wisdom or is "transcending' anything in fact. Fire walking is another example of a mind induced' miracle ' that can be reproduced by non believers with ease .

Since you have adopted the Buddhist path (which I understand is an outgrowth of the Hindu system not unlike Christianity from Judeaism ) can you testify to any enlightenment experience that is beyond the normal range of brain function ? I respect the observable calming effect of Buddhist practice (and could probably do with more myself !) but question whether this is not just good bio feedback training -- the lack of a 'God' figure in Buddhism must make it hard to attribute "religious epiphanies"
to a supernatural cause. (How is this sort of feeling interpreted ?

I guess I would like to have such a blinding personal transformation or supranormal revelation for myself so as to have that "now I get it" event to dispel all my logical,rational,and ultimately sterile objections or rationalizations -- it would seem more comforting to live in a theistic universe that ultimately cared rather than the opposite.

Hope this thread is not snapped at the start -- I am interested in what the whole fabric of "Eastern" thought has to offer the 'love of wisdom' but I don't just accept that Eastern and Western brains are wired any differently or that thought itself has to be expressed in any particular language (sonic code ) or is mutually uninteligible .

"Nothing that is human is foreign to me " (can't think of the origin of the statement but agree with the sentiment (

With interest, Ross,
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erikdr
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Bathwater vs. baby

Postby erikdr » Thu Dec 01, 2005 8:26 am

Since you have adopted the Buddhist path (which I understand is an outgrowth of the Hindu system not unlike Christianity from Judeaism ) can you testify to any enlightenment experience that is beyond the normal range of brain function ? I respect the observable calming effect of Buddhist practice (and could probably do with more myself !) but question whether this is not just good bio feedback training -- the lack of a 'God' figure in Buddhism must make it hard to attribute "religious epiphanies"
to a supernatural cause. (How is this sort of feeling interpreted ?


Hi Ross.

Well it's a slippery dialogue, because whatever I say it will always be subjective and not necessarily reproducable quickly by others. That seems to be a normal dimension of anything claiming to be spiritual.

Buddhist meditation, just like Buddhism as a whole, simply leaves open the question of whether its results are purely scientific or have a 'supernatural' dimension. All the positive qualities attributed to meditation I can testify of, and at least a reasonable subset of them I also experienced doing the SES-learned TM instead of the wider range of Buddhist meditations which I now practice and teach.

So yes, some of those qualities are within the range of 'normal brain function': psychological level, reaching more emotional stability and maturity, patience etc. etc. And other qualities are beyond the level that normal language can describe, and could definitely be called 'supernatural' by some buddhists. Don't be fooled about the amount of supernatural things inside Buddhism: all of us indeed don't recognize a creator-God, but there are 'superhuman qualities and beings' in almost all schools. E.g. the Japanese Amida and the Tibetan 'bodhisattvas'. But they are a bit more like the Catholic Saints: a person who started as a human and ended up with God-like knowledge and qualities.

All of this just to explain why SES meditation in my opinion belongs to the 'baby' category, and Buddhism exemplifies that it
can be tought in a non-oppressive and non-cultish way. Of course even some 'Buddhists' (e.g. Buddhist-based cults) do it wrongly and SES usually did it even more wrongly despite its often good intentions...

Wisdom to all,
With folded palms,



<Erik>

ross nolan
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the guts of the matter

Postby ross nolan » Sat Dec 10, 2005 3:55 am

Greetings, My intention in asking for any feedback on what the SES was fundamentally about was to try to define their INTENTIONS before judging their actual outcome (the abuse of children in their schools being the primary focus of the forum but I would guess only a minor part of the overall adult school activity )

Sure the 'road to hell is paved with good intentions' and this probably applies to a lot of religions and presumably even scientologists like John Travolta and Tom Cruise must find that wacko cult somehow beneficial and convincing .

Children in their schools may not have been given that much of the esoteric teachings (like comparing Sunday School to Opus Dei in some degree) but there must be many ex member adults who could summarize the basics of the cult . (?)

The school enquiry would, it is thought, have also had to at least examine the whole 'big picture' of what the school is set up to prepare children for if only to judge whether indivdual psycho pathy was responsible for the teacher conduct or was some sort of "spartan" upbringing part of the intended 'preparation'.

I just heard that one of Australia's most famous scientoligists (Kate Cerebrano) is enrolling her children in a Montessori school -- any connections here ? The same source related that a number of Montessori students had had to be put back three years in transitioning to secondary schooling -- virtually no structured learning or organized classes according to that person. (opposite of the SES schools but,like Steiner as well , also an outgrowth of the Gurdjieff movement )

No one interested in "comparative theology" in relation to the SES ?

Regards, Ross.
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Re: The substance of SES teachings.

Postby ses-surviver » Sat Jan 21, 2006 6:20 am

ross nolan wrote:The very existence of the SES and SOP presupposes some sort of line of thinking and belief system distinct from any other,( in enough of a degree to distinguish itself from them to go to the effort of setting up a whole new organization), and having something going for it that has allowed it to continue. A merely logical statement, but I would like to explore what basically this knowledge or whatever is and whether it has any intrinsic value.

Although it seems the SES and it's St James affiliate have caused a great deal of distress, mental damage and 'negative outcomes' to put it mildly yet there seem to be some threads of genuine wisdom or at least intriguing possibilities lurking somewhere in the overall Hindu culture . Is there anything that can be extracted from the basic background teachings of the SES that might be termed the "baby" that should perhaps not be tossed out with the bathwater ?

Far be it from me to attempt to defend or explain the teachings of the S.E.S/SoP, it being over 15 years since I left, but my essential understanding of the 'difference' as it was 'sold' to me, during my 12 years in the school, was the fact that it was a 'school' that had a direct connection to a 'fully realized' man.

There are many similar organizations that provide their own blends of Eastern/Western thought, most with a powerful/charismatic leader at the head. Many share the same root and have formed as splinters when their leaders die or when senior members fall out (which seems to happen an awful lot). Unlike earlier times, many of the source texts and scriptures are out there in the open and easilly aquired, but the SES, like many other organisations also places great value on its own unique material - that which its own students have researched (sorry should that be 'studied' and 'reflected' upon) and that which has arisen from dialogue between members of the school (usually McLaren in my time) and his Holiness.

ross nolan wrote:The school enquiry would, it is thought, have also had to at least examine the whole 'big picture' of what the school is set up to prepare children for if only to judge whether indivdual psycho pathy was responsible for the teacher conduct or was some sort of "spartan" upbringing part of the intended 'preparation'.


Though I don't recall studying any discource on the subject of education and St James, I feel certain that Mclaren would have asked for guidance on the subject. From knowledge of other discourses, one can presume that Mclaren would have been directed to study certain scriptures and books (Upanishads, Gita, Manu etc), but I feel sure that the fine details would have been left to the S.E.S. to work out. Given the school's earlier tradition for studying the classics, I'm sure that a lot of the principles were taken from Plato etc.

ross nolan
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continuing monologue...(almost)

Postby ross nolan » Sun Feb 05, 2006 4:59 am

Just an update -- I will be posting some further 'research' into the teachings of the SES junior schools under the thread "Origins of the SES schools abuse?" -- this will be open to comment from ex pupils and any adult school ex attendees or members and also bears on the 'gist' of their educational philosophy so might stand a link from here.

I note the "first" publicly maintained Hindu school is to be started in Britain (on BBC this morning) with lots of controversy about creating racial and ethnic ghettos in light of the just reported invasion and burning of the Danish embassy in Pakistan (I think) because of a cartoon depiction of Mohammed and riots elsewhere based on the medieval offences of heresy and blasphemy.

Wonder how the school of (hindu) philosophy got under the radar when discussing social problems created by schools .
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