Coming to terms with stupidity

Discussion of the SES' satellite schools in Australia and New Zealand.
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Cousin It
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Coming to terms with stupidity

Postby Cousin It » Mon Sep 14, 2009 8:48 pm

I'm a former long-term member of the School in Melbourne, Australia.
There are very, very few things in my life I regret utterly but membership of the School is one of them.
When I look back I can't believe how naively stupid I was and how much time I wasted. All the endless hours cleaning already clean things, poncing around in a suit and studying that stupid nonsense the Gita.
Does anyone out there want to chat? It might be therapeutic.
Last edited by Cousin It on Thu Sep 17, 2009 7:56 am, edited 1 time in total.
Cheers,
Cousin

Ahamty2
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Re: Coming to terms with stupidity

Postby Ahamty2 » Tue Sep 15, 2009 3:57 am

As a person who joined the Sydney SOP at its inception long before the Melbourne school was started and spent three years in the London SES I know something of both schools. I don't think any of us are stupid; naive possibly and most likely. We were stupid to stay for so long in it and put up with the crap that was dished up to us without being able to question its validity. As you can see from this forum whether you were an adult joining or a child in it because of parents the results are similar. It never really leaves you but you can come to terms with it; understand it and I believe grow from the experience.

Free
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Postby Free » Tue Sep 15, 2009 3:59 am

<delete>
Last edited by Free on Wed Oct 05, 2011 10:34 pm, edited 2 times in total.

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Cousin It
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Re: Coming to terms with stupidity

Postby Cousin It » Tue Sep 15, 2009 6:04 am

Thanks Free and Ahamty2. This is exactly the sort of discussion I am looking for.
I left at the end of term 3 in 2006. At that stage I was 48 years old and a 15+ year veteran. I was tutoring philosophy and economics and had taken a couple of groups through meditation. I was also on the board of the day school in Melbourne.
The realisation that the SoP was teaching BS came from tutoring. I was simply unable to answer my students' questions with rigour. I tried to get the answers from my tutor but he was clueless as well despite being a 28 year veteran and in the "senior" group.
My experience is that you cease to exist when you leave the school. No "thanks for your work", no "sorry to see you go". Once you decide to leave you are no longer useful to the School and are treated as such.
It's great to vent but I don't want to let it all out at once.
Cheers,
Cousin

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bonsai
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Re: Coming to terms with stupidity

Postby bonsai » Tue Sep 15, 2009 8:12 am

mhassed wrote:The realisation that the SoP was teaching BS came from tutoring. I was simply unable to answer my students' questions with rigour. I tried to get the answers from my tutor but he was clueless as well despite being a 28 year veteran and in the "senior" group.
My experience is that you cease to exist when you leave the school. No "thanks for your work", no "sorry to see you go". Once you decide to leave you are no longer useful to the School and are treated as such.


Welcome mhassed. I agree entirely about tutoring, not that I've been a tutor. It's more that when I joined the foundation group it was obvious that our tutor hadn't a clue and was unable to answer my questions with any degree or sophistication.

It isn't clear to me what criteria the organisation uses to determine readyness to tutor and as far as I can tell they do not give much in the way of preparation for what you may encounter as a tutor. Rather it seems that they just hope you repeat what you have already heard and so their message just gets reinforced.

If anything, when it comes to leaving, they just put the pressure on you to come back for your own good. They try and guilt trip you that you are letting yourself down or otherwise try and pander to your ego that the organisation needs people like you.

Actually thinking about it there is never any thanks for the work you put in or the service you give. You're just expected to do for the organisation.

Regards
Bonsai

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Cousin It
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Re: Coming to terms with stupidity

Postby Cousin It » Tue Sep 15, 2009 10:47 am

For my last couple of years in the School I was constantly asking questions in group: "Why?", "Who says?" "How do you know that?" etc.
If you keep asking questions like that the bottom line is always some reference to authority: "Because the shankaracharya says so." "Because Mr Lambie say so." "Because the Gita says so." etc.
That's the hallmark of a religion, not a School of philosophy.
Cheers,
Cousin

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bonsai
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Re: Coming to terms with stupidity

Postby bonsai » Tue Sep 15, 2009 11:12 am

mhassed wrote:For my last couple of years in the School I was constantly asking questions in group: "Why?", "Who says?" "How do you know that?" etc.
If you keep asking questions like that the bottom line is always some reference to authority: "Because the shankaracharya says so." "Because Mr Lambie say so." "Because the Gita says so." etc.
That's the hallmark of a religion, not a School of philosophy.


You're absolutely right. The entire wisdom of the SES is based on the premise that the Shankaracharya was a fully realised man and that the Veda's to which he referred are authoratitive. In turn MacLaren have direct access to the Shankaracharya was wiser than others in the organisation.

The difficulty is that there is never much acknowledgement of the human condition. The shankaracharya was a man and little rational was applied in determining that he should be regarded as fully realised.
Maclaren was a man with considerable human failings, especially when he shouted at his disciples and humiliated them.

The other thing, which in my experience is lost in the SES approach to things, is the context in which answers from the shankaracharya are given and the chosen scriptures are recorded.

The answers given by the Shankaracharya involve an interpretation of MacLaren's question. Let's not forget also that there is two way translation going on here too.

Likewise the scriptures were also all written down by human beings, translated and reflect the social factors of the societies of the time.

There is little more penetrating than the simple question why!

Bonsai

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Cousin It
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Re: Coming to terms with stupidity

Postby Cousin It » Tue Sep 15, 2009 11:54 am

The bending to authority -- MacLaren, Lambie, "His Holiness" (what an absurd title) really grates and is something which in retrospect is so RETARDED. Yet, unfortunately, at the time it seemed to make sense. Hence the title I put on this blog referring to my own stupidity.
A charismatic leader who demands absolute authority is of course a hallmark of a cult. I well remember how Lambie would slay someone with a mere look in a meeting. Yet, when I drove him to the airport on 2 occasions I found him personally gauche and inept to the point of being bizarre.
Now I realise the 3 "deities" were/are just men and have all the faults of men. They are not even wiser, they just carry airs that make them seem convincing.
Cheers,
Cousin

bluegreen
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Re: Coming to terms with stupidity

Postby bluegreen » Tue Sep 15, 2009 2:35 pm

I well remember how Lambie would slay someone with a mere look in a meeting.


And why did he need to slay someone with a look? You were adults, that is not how the normal adult world needs to behave. If someone has a question or a challenge or even a nasty cough, or whatever in a meeting outside of SES they would not expect anyone to be eyeballing them to silence them. They would expect honesty, answers, sympathy etc. Silencing people with looks or humiliation is only necessary if you don't have something constructive to say or don't know the answer.
St James Girls School 1977-1981

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Cousin It
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Re: Coming to terms with stupidity

Postby Cousin It » Tue Sep 15, 2009 9:02 pm

bluegreen wrote:
And why did he need to slay someone with a look? You were adults, that is not how the normal adult world needs to behave. If someone has a question or a challenge or even a nasty cough, or whatever in a meeting outside of SES they would not expect anyone to be eyeballing them to silence them. They would expect honesty, answers, sympathy etc. Silencing people with looks or humiliation is only necessary if you don't have something constructive to say or don't know the answer.

You are quite right. The way Lambie and the senior tutors behave would not be tolerated by adults in any other context. The fact that we put up with it shows how conditioned we had become by the time we met them. I remember the uproar once when someone refused to stand up when Mr Jepsen (the Melbourne School leader) entered the room. At the time I was aghast too. The justification was that you stood to "show respect for the teaching". Now I think we stood to show how the leader had us under the thumb.
Cheers,
Cousin

Ahamty2
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Re: Coming to terms with stupidity

Postby Ahamty2 » Tue Sep 15, 2009 9:46 pm

Especially when you know from where in the Sydney SOP that John Jepsen and Miss Lowenhertz came to be sent to Melbourne by Mavro to start up the Melbourne SOP. I still don't know if it was a decision by LM or Mavro or both. But it was at the time of one of LM's visits to Sydney. Jepsen certainly did not have a halo then. Such is the power of the ego!

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Cousin It
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Re: Coming to terms with stupidity

Postby Cousin It » Tue Sep 15, 2009 9:48 pm

Ahamty2 wrote:Jepsen certainly did not have a halo then.

In what way? I'm very interested!
Cheers,
Cousin

sweetiepie
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Re: Coming to terms with stupidity

Postby sweetiepie » Wed Sep 16, 2009 11:55 am

I remember Mr Boddy actually making a joke in meetings about how he made it up as he went along - a very clever technique - bringing you (all 60 or so of you) in to his confidence!
The use of human frailties - the desire to belong and be special and important - and then taking these away if your behaviour was at all enquiring or confrontational - not a good way to proceed.
Taking the point (I'm yet to learn how to 'quote' on here!) about us being adults and not treated as so or respected as so I wanted to make the point that in the different stages after leaving (and bear in mind that I had been 'in' since the age of 10) I found myself maturing. I have other issues which had stunted this normal teenage process but School was the biggest of these and I went through a sort of adolesence after I left.
The biggest problem is that you are not as they suggest excersising your 'self-discipline' - they are repressing you and disciplining you - often just through peer pressure or with more outright displays as documented here.
I have made some big changes since I left school which were a long time coming and was only able to do that because I toook control of and responsibility for my life and the outcomes of my behaviour.
Sweetiepie

bluegreen
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Re: Coming to terms with stupidity

Postby bluegreen » Wed Sep 16, 2009 3:51 pm

Copy the passage from the person's thread, Then post reply Then click quote, then paste

The biggest problem is that you are not as they suggest excersising your 'self-discipline' - they are repressing you and disciplining you - often just through peer pressure or with more outright displays as documented here


That's interesting, I hadn't thought of that, but it makes sense. It's just like addicts who get into drugs in their teens or 20's suffer arrested development as they never deal with anything life throws at them with increasing maturity. So when they go into recovery they still have all these lessons to learn but are older than you would expect, to be making the mistakes they do.
St James Girls School 1977-1981

Witness
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Re: Coming to terms with stupidity

Postby Witness » Thu Sep 17, 2009 7:18 pm

Dear Cousin It

Feelings of stupidity are common among people who have just left of are thinking of leaving SES and other cults, especially if they have been there for a long time. Please take a look at my recent postings about Exit Counselling and the feelings you are going through. I've also recommended books (Hassan in particular) that deal with this issue of "stupidity" and/or the trauma of realizing you have been in the wrong for so long.

Firstly, the sense of "stupidity" can cause disenchanted cult members to go through very serious denial - they think they'll lose face if they leave the cult, they are terrified of their pride taking a knock. So they sit it out, lying to themselves and everybody else that they really believe in the teachings. That lying is toxic and seriously messes with their own heads and their relationships. But the more outsiders tell them how stupid they are, or what hypocrites they are, the more they dig in, and the more their tutors reassure them that they are doing the right thing. Put simply, sense of stupidity leads to shame which leads to pride which leads to denial which leads to people finding a way of saving face. Its all about the ego, no matter how many times you hear that one can transcend the ego thanks to the teachings.

Secondly, the sense of "stupidity" can point to a much bigger ego / self-esteem problem and can lead to emotional distress including breakdown. You and everybody else knows very well that members usually join SES for very good reasons and tend not to be stupid people. However, many join because they think something is missing from their lives, they are searching for something and are in some sense lost: I believe this is a form of low self-esteem or inferiority complex that is as damaging as egomania.

The ego trip that people get from being in a spiritual group works especially well on people who have low self-esteem - suddenly they are special, thanks to XYZ initiation rituals and the privileged secrets and promises about enlightenment they are given. If later in their cult career they lose faith in the cult, the low self-esteem that drove them to the cult in the first place will come back. But it will be twice as serious as it was before.

Its important not to not to beat yourself up about being "stupid". The most profound thing you can get out of this is to see that you were never on the path to the absolute, but you were never stupid either. You have all the answers inside yourself, no guru knows better than you do about yourself.

I wish you the very best of luck - and please read those books I've recommended.

Witness


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