Attending the adult schools

Discussion of the SES's satellite organisations in the USA.
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long skirt requirement no more

Postby NYC » Wed May 25, 2005 9:46 pm

Hello all,

Something I forgot to say, that came up when I approached this tutor abut the abuse allegations raised on this site (I don't like calling them tutors, since they are actually teachers or moderators -- a tutor is someone who works with you one-on-one) anyway, he said something interesting about the dress code. I remarked that it was exactly this question about women being required to wear long skirts that had initially prompted me to Google the founder, Leon Maclaren. And the tutor said that it was NOT A RULE that women must wear skirts below the knee, and gestured to me as if to say, "look, you're wearing pants." Which I thought was pretty disingenuous of him, since OBVIOUSLY it?s not a rule for new students ? how could it be, since we had never been told what to wear! It is only after initiation or some other point involving several years commitment to the org that the dress code comes up. It was plain dishonest of him to imply otherwise. However, he was adamant that it was NOT a rule that women must wear skirts, at any point...although he did say that after a number of years participation I might find I WANT to wear skirts.

I could not seem to communicate to him that it is not the skirt I object to (I wear skirts all the time!) ? nor is it the mere fact of a dress code. It is the symbolic enforcement of a traditional definition of gender roles that I mind. A decorous pantsuit would be as acceptable as a below-the-knee skirt if it were only dressiness and modesty the School was after.

But...apparently in NY at least the org is tired of fighting about it, tired of losing students over it, and willing to change. I haven?t actually seen a woman in pants doing service, though?I have seen one woman serving on a cold day in a long skirt OVER pants.

Also note that in the first three parts so far there has not been any sort of doctrine teaching that ?women are instinct & intuition, and men are reason,? or any such gender stereotype. However, there has been discussion of ?natural virtues,? which I expect will be used as the basis for future such divisions into strict gender roles.


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Postby a different guest » Tue Jun 14, 2005 5:12 am

I thought I would bump this thread up for Ross (who I think so far has only posted in the poll thread) - so he might share some of his experiences with doing the intro course in Australia.

I've had a bit of a chat with him on PM (saying hello to a fellow aussie) and he had some interesting things to say about what they taught.

One of them I can't help but share now cos it is so funny.

He told me that one of the "truths" is about the Chief Seattle speech which shows the "noble savage" (or something like that) etc etc.

Thing is the speech is an urban myth - this from

Though undeniably beautiful, the preceeding speech is not even remotely authentic. Rather than issuing from the very real Chief Seattle in 1854, those moving words were written by a screenwriter in 1971.

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Postby NYC » Tue Jun 14, 2005 7:27 pm

the [Chief Seattle] speech is an urban myth - this from

Great site?I particularly enjoyed the (apparently apocryphal) story about Madame De Gaulle, who was, at the time of her husband?s retirement

"...lunching with British Prime Minister Harold Macmillan and his wife Lady Dorothy. Madame de Gaulle was asked what she was looking forward to in the years ahead. "A penis," she replied without hesitation. The embarrassed silence that followed was finally broken by the Prime Minister. Not understanding that Madame de Gaulle meant to say the word "happiness," he responded by murmuring, "Well, yes, not much time for that now."

Also find it funny/weird that a school founded in Britain and held in Australia would be tryin? to quote a Native American?it is a beautiful speech and for me the poetic truth of it is not lessened because it was written by a white guy in the ?70s. But why bother with it in Australia?

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Postby a different guest » Thu Jun 16, 2005 10:13 am

why bother with it here NYC? Stuffed if I know. I've really been hoping that Ross would jump into the thread and answer you - after all he was the one that was there.

Still it IS silly to be quoting someone as an example of some sort of "noble savage" ideal from the 18C when in fact the words were written by a modern day Irish scriptwriter!

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"what is truth?" SOP and Chief Seattle Posting b

Postby ross nolan » Thu Jun 16, 2005 1:09 pm

OK I'm taking the bait -- re the Chief Seattle thing: The SOP makes a really big thing about "truth" and the need for absolute integrity which will assumedly arise from the SOP teaching ("to thineself be true " - just like in "Babe" ) yet peddles the totally spurious concocted "speech" that is "attributed" in their literature to Chief Seattle -- the grammar and general cadence etc are characteristically European and Rouseaesque with just about no chance to be what a native American would say in any event . I did not know for sure( when I said ) that it was fabricated when the 'tutor' read it with eloquent emphasis underlining the ignorant,rapacious and unfeeling outlook of the "uncivilized" white man in contrast to the quiet nobility and deeply thoughtful wisdom of the red man . I said I got the message that it was meant to undermine the belief in our own western culture, and also critical or analytical philosophy, to soften the way for more eastern mystic dogma and the 'wisdom of the ancients' (the older the better) -- it smacks of the same alternative 'flower power' 70's hippiefied sort of thing as the similarly bogus "desiradata" scroll of placid wisdom supposedly found in an 18th century church during renovations but admitted to be a pure hoax later on (you know the one .. "go quietly in the world , no doubt the universe is unfolding as it should... blah blah -- as ADG says Urban myth) Before the next week's class I did a net search and sure enough the tear jerking, western humbling "Chief Seattle" speech was written by an Irishman for a TV production that was aborted =={ Chief Seattle was recorded as having made a servile address of 'capitulation' throwing his people on the mercy of the white 'masters' with none of the glowing nobility of the fabricated version . Seattle was a coastal Indian living on fish who never saw a Prairie let alone an "iron horse" or a Buffalo .}
Providing the proof of the fallaciousness of the whole diatribe had not the least effect on the tutor who simply handed out copies of the speech to class members and later had no answer to the charge of deliberate deception and disregard for truth or the facts . This relatively minor example of the denigration of all things western in favour of the Eastern and 'non industrial - non material - pure thought type culture/philosophy' was typical -- eg in week two of the course the 'lesson' is of a western professor who travels to a Zen master and at their first meeting is offered tea whereupon the Zen master continues to pour tea into his cup long after it was full and ,eventually, the stupid western professor says "my cup is full it is overflowing" to which the wise Zen master replies "Yes it is like your mind, full of itself -- how can I teach you anything until you empty your mind also?" -- how ridiculous and contrived and obviously making the point that "academic" westerners have no knowledge of any worth and the wise Zen monk can dismiss him so contemptuously .
Both typical of even the very start of their indoctrination process so god knows (pun intended) what it gets around to later on . I pointed out that when it came to getting people out of abject poverty and disease the western rational/scientific/industrial model was adopted by all the Eastern countries and it was little consolence to tell a beggar that Karma dictated that he must be compliant and resigned to suffering and being down'caste' for his whole life because this was the cosmic plan of the gods and his next reincarnation would be better if he accepted his lot with no complaint or hope for self improvement . SOP/SES push the Hindu cycle of reincarnation and Karma as basic beliefs -- one apparent outcome of the belief in endless reincarnation (also shown by the child sexual abuse of Hare Krishna children in ISKCON) is that everyone has had prior sexual experience and therefore child abuse is a contradiction in terms . Nice justification eh ? Times of international tension and change in society seem to breed backward looking fundamentalist sects (SES started in the great depression ) and the Eastern religious fad of the 60s/ 70's probably had something to do with Vietnam war, exposure to Buddhism (including self immolations etc) that roughly corresponds to the founding of the SES schools and Mc Laren's infatuation with the Maharishi etc and veering away from the Georgist land tax ideas that his father seemed to have founded it on (tax capital and capiltalists not the labour of the struggling masses) How come nobody has even mentioned the ECONOMICS of the "school of economics"(and urban myth propagation, weird eastern gurus , vedic mysticism etc ) ????
Maybe that clarifies the "noble savage thing" (or maybe not)

Keep those questions coming and let's have more detail exposure of the actual "teachings" -- once exposed "secrets" lose their value and so do "Secret cults" Cheers Ross N.

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Postby NYC » Thu Jun 16, 2005 8:40 pm

let's have more detail exposure of the actual "teachings" -- once exposed "secrets" lose their value
Ross, welcome to the discussion. How did you come to take the course down under? Were you lookingfor an academic, philosophical-method type class? Or did you know about the shady side of SES history in advance?

The SOP makes a really big thing about "truth"

quoting them directly, they make a really big thing over ?the Truth,? & that capital tells me a lot. They think there is one truth, and that they know exactly what it is. And I?ve learned from other groups that if the org believes there is one truth AND they know exactly what it is, LOOK OUT cause the org can never be wrong. Here?s a quote from Matthew?s original post;

One day one of my teachers, Mr Howell, during a morning break, accused me of mixing the brown sugar with the while sugar. He spotted me near the scene of the crime, and must have thought I was looking mischievous. He said "Come here Woolf, and ushered me into a small room off one of the corridors. He interrogated me as to why I had done this. I, of course, denied that I was guilty because I was not. After ten minutes of insistence that I admit my guilt, he tried to beat a confession out of me. He hit me with his open hand, around the face and the head, about 10 or 15 times. I started to cry out with pain, terror and a deepsense of injustice, but I would not admit to something I had not done.

Surely after a few minutes of hitting him, most of us in this teacher?s position would realize that we got the wrong kid (of course, I know the people posting here would not have hit a kid for such a silly thing in the first place). But this teacher can?t stop now and BE WRONG because to admit error in authority would fly in the face of an Absolute God. So he?s got to keep going until he?s beats the child into confessing, or exhausts himself, or is too ashamed to go further.

When anyone wants to tell me the Truth, I?m on guard. More than I am if they just want to talk about what?s true.

I think your point about introducing criticism of European/Western values & culture as a ?softening up? mechanism for later introduction to "foreign" ideas and nondualism is a good one, and not something I was as quick to notice. BUT I don?t think it?s a bad idea to criticize Western values ? do you? The Western tradition is just one way of looking at the world. It might not even be the best way, in every way.

to summarize the "Chief Seattle" speech -- the European view is that people OWN the land. The Native American view is that the people BELONG to the land. When people have ownership of the land, it is a thing, to be used. When you belong to the land, you have a responsibility to take care of it, not just a right to use. It?s a very different sort of relationship. (And it is a more ecologically sound one. We are starting to notice that no matter where you put the garbage, it doesn?t just disappear when you can?t see it any more. )

To me, finding out that the "Chief Seattle" speech was written by a white guy using his imagination, not from the historical record, does not completely invalidate it. It still eloquently states two views of the relationship between land and people, and expresses what is good, what is beneficial, about the view that is not dominant in the author?s own culture. I don?t think that?s a trite thing to do.

There?s a difference between poetic truth and factual truth. And just to summarize the "speech" leaves out the poetry -

How can you buy or sell the sky

the Earth does not belong to us
we belong to the Earth

The white man's dead forget
the country of their birth when
they go to walk among the stars

One portion of land is the same to him
as the next, for he is a stranger
who comes in the night and takes
from the land whatever he needs.

He leaves his father's graves behind.

This shining water that
moves in streams and rivers is
not just water
but the blood of our ancestors.

If we sell you land, you must remember that it is sacred blood of our ancestors.

You must teach your children that the ground beneath their feet is the ashes of our grandfathers.

The sap which courses through the trees
carries the memory and experience of my people?
every clear and humming insect is holy
in the memory and experience of my people.

whatever happens to the beasts
soon happens to man. All things are connected.

What do you think of the content? (I'm not typing any of this because I think the SES is a great org, or doing a particularly good job of spiritual education, but from a sense of keep the baby, lose the bathwater. Absolutely agree that provenance matters, if you are going to quote somebody you should get it right & attribute it correctly- but I don?t want to ignore the content of this speech because it?s a work of fiction.)

When I asked ?why Chief Seattle? I was expecting more of an answer along the lines of ?yeah, here?s an aboriginal Australian myth expressing the same thing.? It is ironic to me that a speech about the value of being rooted in the land you live on would become so disconnected from its location. I?m sure there is a wealth of similar or related poetry to use right there in Australia, in the tribal/aboriginal stories. Why not tell them? (Btw, I?m a native American, since I was born here, although I am not a Native American, descended from the first people to live here.)

Chief Seattle was recorded as having made a servile address of 'capitulation' throwing his people on the mercy of the white 'masters' with none of the glowing nobility of the fabricated version.

Be a little careful here if you want to consider yourself a skeptic ? the snopes site says that the first person to write down anything about the speech was a white English speaker 33 years later, and that historians are pretty sure the bulk of the speech was in Salish. I don? t see any reason to accept that version as much less ?fabricated? than the screenwriter?s one. We don?t really know what Chief Seattle actually said in 1854.

I have heard the story of the learned professor visiting the Zen monk in many different contexts before, so I did not notice that in the SOP the professor is specifically described as a Westerner, (although I did mentally harrumph at the use of the word ?Master? to describe the Zen teacher.) ?Master? certainly does come up a lot in the handouts! [insert gagging noise here]. Most of the times when I?ve heard the story before, it wasn?t specified what country the professor was from, so I just took it the way it was intended, that it is difficult to teach somebody who already knows everything.

it was little consolence to tell a beggar that Karma dictated that he must be compliant and resigned to suffering and being down'caste' for his whole life

I am very curious what answer was made to this, as the lack of compassion & the loss of interest in justice that can seem to be justified by a belief in personal reincarnation is, obviously, a big problem with advaita.

How come nobody has even mentioned the ECONOMICS of the "school of economics"(and urban myth propagation, weird eastern gurus , vedic mysticism etc ) ????
I guess you mean ?where does the money come from? not ?what?s the School theory on economics? since you write that is ?Georgist land tax ideas that his father seemed to have founded it on (tax capital and capiltalists not the labour of the struggling masses).? ADG?s ?Bequests? thread hasn?t engendered a lot of public response, which I guess isn?t too surprising as few SES adherents post here for long?(which I regret. What?s the point of die-hard SESers talking amongst themselves and only equally adamant anti-SESers posting here.)

I would think that what is given to charities might be a matter of public record, since charities need to be responsible to donors for applying their donations appropriately. Wonder if it would be possible for a journalist to request donor history in the various countries.

Btw, the Village People are playing a gig here at Lincoln Center in a week! ? I wonder what Chief Seattle would make of a ?70s disco group & gay icon, having one member play an Indian complete w/ headdress while doing choreographed dance-line moves. Hope he would have a sense of humor about it. Not sure he would though!


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Postby a different guest » Fri Jun 17, 2005 12:31 am

It is ironic to me that a speech about the value of being rooted in the land you live on would become so disconnected from its location. I?m sure there is a wealth of similar or related poetry to use right there in Australia, in the tribal/aboriginal stories.

Australian Aboriginals have very close ties with their land - in fact you could say that in traditional culture they are inseperable. I suspect tho that the SES don't think much of Aboriginal culture. I've noted before that the primary schools here only make mention of studying white Australian history - and they probably only veer away from what they REALLY want to teach (ancient greeks etc.) because they are required by govt to have SOME mainstream school content in their curriculum. According to the Secret Cult the SES didn't think much of Australians anyway (all being descended from convicts as we are *rolls eyes*) and they also probably take the "traditional" *cough* view of "Terra Nullius" which basically means Aboriginal Australians do not exist.

What i DO wonder is how all this noble "belonging to the land" stuff fits in with their initial core beleif about land ownership and taxation - but perhaps it is like Ross suggests and the whole "chief seattle" thing is part of the softening up process and later on he will be "dropped" from mention.

And Ross - glad to see you jumped in :)

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To NYC and ADG

Postby ross nolan » Sat Jun 18, 2005 1:34 am

OK, we are getting philosophical are'nt we ? I cannot simultaneously view your posting and do the reply so I have to work from scribbled notes in doing this -- please forgive if I omit something or mis read my own scrawl.
I do not condemn everything about the SOP/SES teaching if only because they have generated little if anything unique or new themselves -- the technique of placing a 'wise' statement in a box with a byline attributing it to some worthy 'authority' but totally out of context or with any reference to what prompted the utterance in the first place or why anyone else took it down is highly typical of the SOP and potentially opens the way to misquoting, selective quoting and perverting the original speakers intention (for example Socrates wrote nothing that has survived of his own and Plato's version of his - purported- dialogues are all we have -- likewise Jesus Christ wrote one word (unrecorded itself) in the dust with a stick (I think to defuse a public stoning but I am probably misrecollecting ) -- everything else is second hand "attribution" Einstein was not religious in terms of believing in an anthropometric diety despite his "God does not play dice" saying (seems "He" does actually) etc etc

I looked up a bit of Socratic philosophical record and was quite surprised at how contrary to the tone of the SOP version it was and in fact contradictory to their use of the fragments they included and juxtaposed with other selective quotes .

Anyway NYC -- to answer your queries -- I had no prior knowledge of any kind about the SOP -- I had intended to look at doing 'the course' a couple of years before on seeing the posters at the main railway station on the way to work . The advertised intention and content of the course is intriguing (picture of Plato on ads and 'wholesome' self description)-- the archetypal "Aussie" is supposedly a beer swilling, pie eating, football obsessed sort of unthinking oaf and there is definitely an anti intellectual bent to popular culture in Australia with a difficulty in meeting fellow thinking persons or establishing the 'critical mass' of intellectually stimulating friends etc as compared to say Manhattan (or Los Angeles, London etc ) so that was the appeal . I certainly wasn't looking for a cult and feel a bit betrayed or 'used' actually to have run into it.

You are right about "THE Truth" -- exactly the same problem with the Jehovah's Witnesses (of which my mother was a member for over forty years ) and probably most other sects,cults etc Absolutism is a blinding process and leads to the sort of brutality you describe (also the NAZI , Pol Pot, Crusades etc genocidal/kill the other "unbelievers" "inferiors" etc )

The concept of "chastising" those who deviate is inherent in defending the faith and is called 'showing real love' ("tough love" concept) in both JW and other sects that probably attract people who feel the need to belong and have their thoughts provided to them in absolutes. Very reassuring .

"the Western way " -- European/English/American intellectual culture IS a multinational, multicultural melding of hundreds of different threads of philosophical and cultural thought -- it is the Eastern schools of thought that are isolationist, self referential and dogmatic in comparison (both China and Japan had arrogant, self righteous,isolationist cultures that denigrated the rest of the world explicitly -- Indian culture was fatalistic and obsessively concerned with placating hostile dieties with the threat of bad karma pervading everything -- in an individual these sorts of behaviour would be assessed as semi psychotic and delusional and IMO kept all these societies from reaching the "material" well being of the West and even though the West has certainly made mistakes it has generally proven to be the most successful in liberating people from death and poverty and freeing them for higher forms of thought ( Australians tend to look down on American culture by judging it only on the worst as seen on TV news -- it is a different picture to live in the US )

Greek culture was the fusing of Middle Eastern,European, North African and other streams of thought brought about by sea travel (technology) via the meditteranean -- but, what have the Greeks added in the 2000 years since ? Christ was neither European nor white yet is the figurehead of Western religio-philosophical tradition . I do not think Western thought can be labelled narrow minded, crude, inferior , etc etc as implied by the denigration by SOP or underpinning the Chief Seattle sort of "beautiful myth" . Tolstoy wrote a very wise short story entitled "How much land does a man need?" (Answer 6ft x 4ft - just enough to be buried in -- but read the story) which I thought very germain to the on going "Noble Aboriginal" "belongs to the land" etc thing then dominating media and the legal case 'Mabo' that determined Aboriginal land rights -- Is it need or greed to have less than two percent of the population claiming EXCLUSIVE land rights over maybe 90% of the Australian continent ? Is this the wisdom of the "ancients" that we stupid, crass whites need to be "taught" ? Why do such 'tolerant' 'wise' and 'fair' aboriginals need to exclude (ie kick out-- practice apartheid) white men from "their" lands ? Are whites a pollutant? inferior? somehow taint the land? (like the "unclean" Americans in Saudi Arabia ?) Or is this primitive,bigotted, tribal,uncivilized behaviour and conduct by blacks who are not somehow godlike in their inexpressable wisdom but in fact people like you and me who live and die in short spans, make mistakes, have silly ideas and good ones , do good and bad etc BUT have no greater sensitivity than other cultures , have no real conception of the prior passage of 40,000 years (can't count past ten ) or any other basis to claim 'mystical' entitlement to a natural environment that is the common ground of humanity and life in general . This is ancestor worship and recognition of religion by the state . Nomadic people did not "tread lightly on the world" but did the maximum damage they were capable of before moving on from their last mess -- Aboriginals completely devastated the mega fauna of Australia and burnt out much of the ecostructure , the North American Indians slaughtered Buffalo by stampeding them off cliffs (I once spent a night sleeping on the roof of my old Rambler -- with two mates across the front and back seats with feet poking out-- at a place called "Slaughter Bluff" in ,I think North Dakota -- Indians did the stampede over the cliff thing here using the "high tech" introduced horse to maximize their kill. Incidentally in the morning I noticed the big red signs saying "No camping , This area is subject to predation by mountain lions (cougars) ....)

The Aboriginal community at Dareton, near my home town of Mildura, were supplied with houses by the white community and quickly reduced them to firewood and rubbish -- Aboriginals are tragically unable to integrate into western culture and have abandoned their traditional ways leaving them living in shanty town squalor without exception and they make no effort to bury their rubbish or show any concern with the sanctity of the land . Dampier described the Aboriginals he saw in the pre white contact era (17 century onward) as "miserable wretched creatures " and it is entirely possible for people lacking a certain level of technology and writing, developed thought etc to in fact fail to "make a go of it" and live in abject poverty without any deep and meaningful great insight into the beautiful sweetness of undespoiled nature -- check Charles Darwin's comments on the Tierra Del Fuegans for comparison.

The message of decrying the basis of Western culture is interwoven through the SOP teachings and many other bacward looking "lost utopia" type groups .. it is corrosive and destructive to the only real hope for the intellectual improvement of mankind. There is nothing hostile to eco friendliness or respect for nature in Western thinking as such -- the Irishman who wrote "Chief Seattle" is proof of that if nothing else .

The "Zen Master"thing -- the SOP notes are "Nan -in,a JAPANESE master during the Meiji era (1868-1912) received a university professor who came to enquire about Zen...." -- the fact that the Meiji period was the "opening up" to the West (Admiral Peary - gunboat diplomacy etc ) and "University" meant Western and pointedly not also said to be JAPANESE (my emphasis) "professor "I think removes real doubt plus the context within SOP literature and drift of anti intellectual ,anti Western flavour.

The message is, inescapably, to denigrate OUR culture in favour of the ascetic and ancient cultures and give up critical thought to "open" your mind and "clear out" your worthless rationality -- stand by to be brainwashed .

Got to fly Cheers Ross,

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further to NYC/ADG

Postby ross nolan » Sat Jun 18, 2005 10:05 am

Further to my response to NYC and ADG -- I meant "economic" as such not financial affairs although this too would be of interest . The "economic science" being peddled seems to be that enunciated in "Poverty and Progress" by Henry George and, as stated before, is a sort of pre-communism and idealistic concept of society as a whole capturing the increased value of land by imposing large land taxes and no taxes on the labour of individuals . The Sydney branch of SOP/SES advertises a twelve week introductory course in economics but I have seen no references to this aspect in any of the postings or in "Secret Cult " -- the more salacious facets of the child abuse and brainwashing sort of conduct seem to have overshadowed the foundation beliefs of the organization.
I may have misspelled Rousseau in my earlier posting -- the idea of SOP trying to recapture a golden age of philosopher kings or some long lost vedic Camelot by going back to the 'source' teachings and even the noble savage thing was being floated -- the perfectability of mankind by strict self (and outside) discipline, renunciation of worldly things and temptations of the flesh,popular culture and material gain are strongly implied . The day schools inculcation of obediance and Hindu fatalism/ acquiescence seems to fit this pattern -- maybe they are preparing a 'master group' to take over after the penultimate collapse of corrupt society as has been mooted. What else is the objective ? (the cycle of karma is not really endless either ) I suggested (facetiously) that the far older belief systems of the Australian aborigines would, in 'time honoured' logic trump the merely 5000 year old vedic mythic teachings (Bhagavad Gita etc ) and received a non reply but contemptuous look (as ADG said) -I likened the going back to ancient beliefs as being like as returning to our fear of the dark, belief in Santa Claus or the boogeyman under the bed or other primitive and irrational first thoughts from our, or our civilizations, childhood (otherwise ancestor worship) I was talking recently to a friend who told me how a "model settlement" built for Aboriginals in Northern Australia was simply abandoned after one of their group died in one of the houses -- they believe in evil spirit occupation of a 'death place' and so walk away . No doubt white Western society once had such superstitious thought processes and we practiced cannibalism,witchcraft,ritual murder etc and fear of spirit beings not so long ago (even still if you analyze Christianity shorn of it's humanism) but we have gradually applied rational thought,experimental verification and belief in demonstrable ,non miraculous physical laws -- all adding up to civilization and a thing of real value not to be treated with contempt in favour of savagery.

SOP is so tiny as to be no great threat to the general well being of society but it's beliefs are indefensible and incompatible with an enlightened society and , as Richard Dawkins has pointed out in his attacking the activities of the SES schools , we have a duty as members of an advanced society to protect our system of freedom of intellectual practice and defence of the rational and scientific process itself particularly for the more easily influenced younger members.

If anyone has a syllabus of the SES/SOP in either the "advanced" philosophical or economics teachings perhaps this can be posted to reveal the underpinning beliefs (this for scholarly research -- nothing carries copyright or TM claims and, as stated, is practically all lifted from public domain sources )

Do I detect a reverence for the idea of the uncorrupted noble savage in the earlier postings and if so a sympathy for the SOP view (as opposed to the practice which falls short of the ideal in both savage and civilized societies ) ? If anyone has any verifiable 'words of wisdom' from actual native people (US or Australian) or a link I would appreciate it - a lot of African legend/myth is like Aesop's fables in that it contains wisdom but what little I know of Aboriginal myth is just straight "these mountains are the droppings of the great goanna" " this lake is where the great Kangaroo relieved itself " etc really primitive 'just so'explanatory, stories (one long "Genesis" story but no Solomon,Job or Psalms etc )

The" original" Americans may have been shown to be Caucasian if the Kennewick man skeleton had not been whisked away and reburied by the ethnically non related Indians who claimed the remains under tribal law - (Ancient Encounters by James C Chatters covers the whole unedifying exercise of ,literally, "covering up" the truth of American settlement )-- likewise in Australia a pre Aboriginal people who drew the really ancient "Bradshaw figures" are denigrated by the Aboriginals and tried to be ignored by the white apologists for Aboriginal 'rights' -- the fact is ancient societies had many bad habits and stupid beliefs and not a lot of day to day nobility . Check the "unspeakable" history of New Zealand where the Moriori (the people in occupation of New Zealand at the time of arrival of the warlike Maoris ) were enslaved and eaten into extinction by the other "noble savages" -- they had a 'Moa season' not unlike our duck season and did not therefore wipe out their food source as did the Maori and they settled all disputes in one day and without shedding one drop of blood (maybe the best claim to 'noble' savages) the book 'The Moriori - a people forgotten' tells the story up to the extermination of their last vestige on the Chatham islands .
The earliest recorded homicide, even war, is in Aboriginal cave art and their ancient remains show tuberculosis and other 'western' diseases that the ignoble white man is accused of bringing into their Eden . This might seem to be far off topic with the SES/SOP but I believe that a lot of the anti western ideology that they exploit is based on falsehoods and the same reactionary midset that prepares people to lose their individuality and critical facilities hence good recruits.

Let me hear your (considered and researched) response even if critical or opposed -- that is a civilized procedure.
Best regards Ross.

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Postby bella » Sat Jun 18, 2005 6:58 pm

ADG?s ?Bequests? thread hasn?t engendered a lot of public response, which I guess isn?t too surprising as few SES adherents post here for long?(which I regret. What?s the point of die-hard SESers talking amongst themselves and only equally adamant anti-SESers posting here.)

Despite the fact that I'm in exam time, it's also pretty wearying to type the same stuff repeatedly, to be subtly (or not so subtly) sneered at by different people. :) I do understand the undercurrent of mistrust and defiant skepticism on which this board is based, but stop for a second and consider how you might expect an "SES adherent" to come back day after day, when they're often the only one posting an opposing view, and try to explain - to everyone's satisfaction - why the hundreds of negating posts haven't yet made them run screaming from the school. I'm certainly not looking for sympathy, or trying to imply that people who need to express hurt and anger should express more tolerance instead, but I do think you're overlooking what a steamroller this board can be for a reasonably thoughtful SOP/SES student.

I'm not put out by people's views, and I've found some posts here to be extremely well written and genuinely thought-provoking. I just wonder if you think the theme of the board isn't apparent, and if you don't, why you would wonder about the apparent lack of tenacity in "adherents" when posting here. Would you be able to commit to posting faithfully on a board set up by SES to discuss the perceived misconceptions, embellishments, ignorant half-truths, unwarranted attacks and viciousness they'd encountered elsewhere? How about if you were the only poster there who was making accusations against them? I suspect you'd manage for awhile, but I also suspect many others from this board would not.

What?s the point of die-hard SESers talking amongst themselves and only equally adamant anti-SESers posting here.

I dunno, it seems a bit of a naiive rhetorical question, Ross, given the format of the board. That's not to say I won't be participating - I will - but I hope you can see why some others might not.

I'm curious - what did Richard Dawkins have to say about SES? I assume you mean Dawkins of the Brights movement; if so, could you point me in the direction of a link? A quick Google search proved fruitless. Can I also take this opportunity to ask for more paragraph breaks in your posts? It's heavy going for my poor eyes in certain places.

ross nolan
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reply Bella

Postby ross nolan » Sat Jun 18, 2005 11:35 pm

Hullo Bella, I'll try for more paragraph breaks but I do think,hence write, in contiguous thoughts that are related and do not like the short,staccato sort of written delivery where each sentence means little or can be misinterpreted on it's own . Such writing is also hard to misquote.

I did not post the criticism you referred to (?)
If the overall 'grand plan' of the SES/SOP was revealed (as for instance with just about any other training course where a potential student can scan and evaluate the upcoming material ) then the secrecy would not require extensive discussion of 'half truths' etc -- most religions have books that put their doctrine between covers and allow anyone to digest and evaluate it -- if the whole thing made sense and attracted people then they would be free and informed to join and pursue the learning .

The Bible, the Koran, even the Bhagavad Gita , 'Dianetics' etc are out there to make their pitch for adherents and , unlike other secret societies like the freemasons etc , can be quoted and intellectually defended or contested by others . Teaching of plain lies is indefensible especially so for any group claiming to be dedicated to 'the truth' . The errors and flagrant biases apparent from the very outset are not excusable or ignorable especially given the commercial nature of SOP's activity and public trading (selling a course in Philosophy advertised in public newspapers and seeking members plus their money, using public facilities
and otherwise in the public arena . What they do in their own homes or amongst themselves is a different matter ( as are public schools that they also advertise -- there is a very real public and governmental interest here )

The Richard Dawkins I referred to is the well known and prominent zooligist and authour of such books as "River out of Eden" "The Selfish Gene" "A devil's Chaplain" "The Blind Watchmaker" etc etc -- he is a staunch defender of scientific integrity and the defence of scientific rationality as opposed to new age mumbo jumbo and misleading and deceptive false claims that devalue true enquiry and determination of the nature of the universe and our place in it . Everything from reading duck's entrails to primitive religious fairy stories are considered to be in competition to the rational scientific method of examining and understanding things so the SOP would have appeared on Richard's radar screen and especially because of the feeding of this rubbish to defenceless children .

I will see if I can relocate his comments on the SES schools and post some relevant links for you (by the way what is the "Brights movement"?

Also I expect this site is being monitored by the SES/SOP and it would be an ideal place to "demolish" any evidence put up to prove the falsity of their teaching (eg the Chief Seattlle thing ) if they could and would you not think that a truly philosophical ("loving of knowledge and truth") organization would leap at the opportunity to spread truth and light and inform the ignorant ?

Religions usually declare themselves as such and are dogmatic with fixed 'take it or leave it' belief systems that do not claim to be for "thinking men and women" with 'lots of opportunity for discussion of the ideas presented' -- if they admitted to being a Hindu/Gurdieff/ (Guru of the day) based mystical/ religious cult up front I would have no problem with their procedure for recruiting and would not have personally been affected or put in the position of turning a blind eye to wrongdoing or not .

The strangeness of their conduct , dress code and "secret service" like posting of suited 'operatives' within and around the buildings they use here create a querying environment that has to lead to asking of questions -- if they are a threat to themselves,others or their children we may be ignoring a "Jim Jones" sort of situation .

Do respond please -- if you find the things said so easily refutable then defend the organization by doing so -- the internet is not censored or taking money from you so why not discredit with facts what you see as your opponents like Richard Dawkins ?

In the love of true knowledge......... Regards Ross

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Postby leonmich » Sun Jun 19, 2005 9:30 am

It is a bad argument to counter anti western criticisms with comparisons of mass murder, savagery, wars or ideas of "nobility. Are you forgetting our two wars that resulted in the death of 65 million people within 50 years? Butchery on a scale unmatched by any civilisation at any time. Where is your "rationaliity"?.

Science is only one part of western culture,albeit a very significant one. Those who evangelise the scientific viewpoint are often as bigoted and zealous as those who hold fundamentalist beliefs. Claims of impartiality, universality does not change the fact that science cannot replace religion. You only have to look at our last century's history to see this clear fact.

Western music is very advanced, complex and developed. However there are devices found in many non western folk music's that are stilll outside the framework of western analysis.
You do not need to defend the West's achievements by rubbishing other cultures.

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to leonmitch et al

Postby ross nolan » Sun Jun 19, 2005 4:03 pm

To leonmitch ; I find your post confused so I looked up your prior postings and sought some idea of your approach and stance. From this I do not see myself opposing your apparent conclusions about the SES/SOP teachings and I offer my sympathies for your mistreatment at their hands , I am trying to do something to "rescue" children subject to their bad influence here (Australia) and adults since I have personal experience of 'losing' my own mother in a very real sense to the Jehovah's Witnesses and my brother turning to another religious sect which absorbed him leaving me with a deficit of real family connection -- in some ways being part of an oppressed GROUP might be easier to handle than an isolated condition (at least you are taking concerted action between yourselves to share and hopefully expunge your 'demons' from this time and are to be congratulated for this -- I feel you will win the day by bringing it out into the open and wish you the best in it )

Again I commend you for posting some real hard factual examples of the warped teachings of the SES /St James -- as you can see I have called for exactly this (also in private correspondence to ADG that I have said I would like posted here) -- yours is the only specific "gutsy" evidential material posted about the teachings rather than the process of running the school (the brutality, mindless ritual etc) In particular I would like to know what "Vedic mathematics " actually is . (???) 'Fraudulent' is your description but does not illuminate the actual practice which is also quoted as being "better than the other kind -- old is gold so they say " in a sycophantic, contrived-sounding 'testimonial' by a 14 year old posted on the Australian (Melbourne) SOP run "Erasmus" school that also forms the venue for the SOP adult night school weekend activities.

How can some mumbo jumbo in such an important subject as maths be permitted in a government accreditted children's school? I sympathize with your frustration with "DottyDoolittle" on the other threads -- she seems aptly named ;"Dotty" (means a bit "loopy" or 'erratic' in Australian Idiom and probably English )
Some of the "chatty" postings are sarcastic or deliberately ambiguous and not seeming to be treating seriously enough the obviously traumatic and personal nature of your experiences in some of those threads -- I try to be unambiguous and to address the arguments put up so I will apply that principle to your posting in response to my last piece .

As I said I am on your side regards the SES/SOP and I think a re reading of my posts and the comments they were addressing might be a good idea.

"A bad argument to counter anti western criticisms with comparisons of mass murder, savagery, wars or ideas of nobility " (I do not know how to cut and paste from your original -- I'm' internet illiterate' - so I will "quote" and address .)
I was trying to put into perspective the florid "noble savage" fictitious "put down" of all things Western inherent in the Chief Seattle "attribution" that is factually a Western man's writing but stated to be authentic by SES/SOP --- the East and the 'savages' whose mouths these words are put into were not some sort of nation of pacifists and practised horribly cruel and inhuman torture and killing on a very much personal level -- the 'life is cheap in the East' saying is based on a long history of hideous cruelty that seems more common and less civilized than the comparable western behaviour . Technology has been perverted to causes of war by the west and de personalizes mass murder into a detached and unemotional industrial process -- dropping bombs from 30 000 ft or shooting people on infrared screens like a video game IS different from beheading a hog tied captive with a sword or tearing soldiers in half with elephants (Both Japanese methods used on Australian prisoners of war ) or hardening your Samurai sword by plunging it into a living captive to get some nitride hardening -- I do not think many if any bomber pilots would kill children with their bare hands or deliberately maximize the pain or suffering of helpless victims . Ritual stoning, beheading,cutting off of hands etc are still practiced on Eastern cultures -- a lot of the Vedic literature and the old testament is about bloodthirsty wars about religion

A world without religion would be an infinitely better and safer place than one with -- the extermination of Jews in WW 2 was because they were Jews ie based on religious motives -- done in a methodical and industrialized fashion to 'isolate' those responsible but even so somehow different qualitatively from staking someone over an ants nest, 'death by a thousand cuts' and other truly barbaric practices that ARE savagery.

If war becomes unavoidable it may be evil but a lesser evil than killing for it's own sake of for blood lust (look at the way black africans kill each other ) and World Wars 1 and 2 were truly tragic happenings on a vast scale with incalculable suffering -- WW1 started for reasons to do with unstable alliances and miscalculations plus trade disputes (no body even agrees as to why ) and WW2 was the second installment -- do not forget that Adolf Hitler had mystical "Aryan" religious beliefs and influenced by astrology and the usual religious justification "Gott mitt uns" (God with us) in avenging Jesus Christ's death at the hands of the Jews etc and the divine mission to destroy the "Godless" communists.

None of the religious or 'metaphysical' reasons for those wars were remotely rational or can be ascribed to 'rational' or 'scientific' causes.

"Science zealots can be as biggotted as fundamentalist believers" -- sorry but no possible comparison here -- science has no preconceived 'beliefs' to defend or be zealous about even if individual scientists might defend their pet theories despite hard evidence or great unlikelyhood against the truth of them -- science is a process not an individual and has no saints or martyrs or sacred cows -- anything, even a scientific proof of god must be accepted and admitted as real knowledge if it passes the test --no matter the source,nationality or religion (or lack) of the hypothesizer.

"the fact is science cannot replace religion" -- If you mean people need a mental crutch to believe in then you merely echo Karl Marx - the 'opiate of the masses' that relieves the pain of reality but this leads to addiction and decay of the mind,loss of interest in reality and regression of societies . Science ignores religion for the most part as it deals in facts (although psychology certainly studies the effects of religious beliefs) but has of course invalidated just about all of the claims of Genesis and other creation myths so in that sense has replaced religion where religion makes statements of fact that are capable of being tested (the book "telling lies for God " by Geology professor Ian Plimer is worth reading)
"The history of last century"- just about all wars based on religious dogma, eg "Righteous wars" " jihad for Allah" (inc September 11) etc etc

"Western music etc..complex .. non western folk music .. analysis etc"
-- frankly I don't know where this relates to my comments -- I think that Mozart or Beethovan,Grieg etc are indisputably more 'civilized' than say Aboriginal didgeridoo 'droning' or monotone 'singing' (just about anybody can almost instantly do a passable imitation of the Australian aboriginal typical singing or American Indian and some African chant singing but just about nobody can "impersonate" Caruso or Pavarotti -- I don't know if this offends any belief in "all cultures are equal -*(you racist bastard!) " {*thinks} just 'different' -- the west has been able to go from it's primitive state in music and everything else to a much more refined and advanced state because of a few breakthroughs that allowed a higher standard of living and freed people to specialize and so develop much greater standards of cultural and physical/material acheivement .

If the SES teaches the superiority of Mozart over tribal drumming or of other 'fine' artistic things then I simply agree that this is demonstrably true and cannot disagree with a belief also held by SES just to be 'counter' to it -- SES has added nothing to philosophical understanding or art that I am aware of just expropriation these things to bolster it's credentials .
My defence of western acheivements was against the claptrap put into the mouth of the long dead Chief Seattle and putting bastardized Eastern teachings to the test (scientific method) as I would Christian (not really Western either) or other dogmas. SES/SOP actively denigrate the "opposition" (mostly western culture and philosophy ) like the JW's run down Catholic teachings -- I was defending objectivity .

It would be of real help in this discussion if you could post some more of the teachings you described as fraudulent so that those not actually exposed to it could gain some real comprehension of what was being pushed (the 'history' and other teachings seem amazingly devoid of real detail such as must form a multi year curriculum --??)

I must curtail my need to respond in sufficient detail to avoid misapprehension but I feel there are some real problems here to be resolved and the specifics are often lacking or being taken for granted in many postings. Incidentally why don't you form your own 'committee' or such body to collate and present the case, defend people if needed and act to balance the organized structure of the other side in the StJames etc schools enquiry -- some really aggrieved individuals like "Shout" can be put at a disadvantage if feeling like an isolated individual up against a formal body like the school bureacracy all over again . A little bit of 'union' might give them more to deal with and assist in getting around the 'divide and conquer' treatment (also maybe a class action in legal terms - common cause)
Just a thought .

Best regards Ross .
No hard feelings

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Postby Free Thinker » Sun Jun 19, 2005 5:49 pm

Well, Ross, where to start.

I don't have much time now - I'll come back and post more, but boy do I disagree with SO much that you have said, especially in this last post.

So you don't have to "research" me - I was brought up in the School of Practical Philosophy in the US by parents who joined 7 years before I was born. I remained in the school until I was 19 (as an adult member) and my mother remained until about 2 years ago. (My father left when I was 12.) I am very opposed to the school - to the hierarchy of the school itself, to many of the people, the way it's "taught", and to much of the teachings. Although I experienced no physical abuse at the hands of the school, I was certainly mentally affected and had to work through many issues as an adult to get rid of ideas that were soldered onto me by the school. I also had to deal with being brought up by a mother who totally embraced the emotionless (except "happy happy joy joy") aspect of the school because it enabled her to ignore many issues that she should have faced.

So here we agree.

From there, it goes downhill. I totally agree with Leonmich when he says:

[quote=leonmich]It is a bad argument to counter anti western criticisms with comparisons of mass murder, savagery, wars or ideas of "nobility. Are you forgetting our two wars that resulted in the death of 65 million people within 50 years? Butchery on a scale unmatched by any civilisation at any time. Where is your "rationaliity"?.

Science is only one part of western culture,albeit a very significant one. Those who evangelise the scientific viewpoint are often as bigoted and zealous as those who hold fundamentalist beliefs."[/quote]

Although I agree with the criticism of offering up Eastern or non-Western society as this utopian ideal, the human rights crimes of non-Western civilizations (please let's not get into the British habit of calling people uncivilized!) absolutely PALE in comparison to what the Western people have conjured up. "Drawn an quartered?" - yeah, the British did that but with horses instead of Elephants. A list of torture methods and devices used by "civilized" countries would take a LONG time to type out. (Guillotine, anyone?) Yes, many soldiers who were bombers would not have killed people with their bare hands. That's because then they would see how awful it was. But our wonderful technology has brought us to a place where we can be even more unhuman than the "savages" we're supposedly more "civilized" than. We don't even have to get our hands bloody!

As for the religion/science stuff, you need to stop reading nothing but Dawkins and read a little bit more about science and religion. There are hardcore evolutionists who are just as fundamental about it as the Creationists. Many of them believe in things that we have no factual evidence for (Big Bang Theory?!) and therefore they have faith. Just like some have faith in God. I'm not taking a side as to who is right or wrong, but they are often beset with the same amount of zealotry.

As for the world being better off without religion, I think you are out of your mind. Science is the best, huh? Where would science BE without religion? Nowhere. Because many of our best scientists that brought us to where we are now were religious, and deeply so. And their religion inspired them to do what they did. The same goes for music, art, poetry, writing, not to mention caring for fellow humans.

Give me a choice between being stranded on a desert island with:
1) someone who is a firm believer in the "Selfish Gene" or
2) someone who believes in following Jesus' teachings of humility, caring, charity, etc.

And I'll take the "Jesus freak," thank you very much.

And back to the "civilization" stuff, I think you need to start your next post by defining what you believe civilization to be, and what someone needs to do to be civilized. I can't believe how deeply offensive your comments about Western v. non-Western music were. I assure you that Aboriginals would disagree that someone who didn't know their music or culture could do a "passable" imitation. You have Western ears, so of course your imitation sounds right to you. You are aware of the complicated parts of Western music but you are NOT aware of the complicated parts of non-Western music - which are often MORE complicated than our own.

Your degree of bigotry is plain to see, and I'll certainly keep it in mind when reading your other posts.

ETA (edited to add): My user name is just one I thought up in response to the teachings of the SoPP and has nothing to do with the group of people who refer to themselves as "free thinkers".

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Postby leonmich » Mon Jun 20, 2005 12:29 am

(original post edited)
killing for it's own sake of for blood lust (look at the way black africans kill each other ) and World Wars 1 and 2 were truly tragic happenings on a vast scale with incalculable suffering -- WW1 started for reasons to do with unstable alliances and miscalculations plus trade disputes (no body even agrees as to why ) and WW2 was the second installment

So "black africans" kill for blood lust whereas white westerners do it over trade disputes. I find that a racist statement.
Last edited by leonmich on Mon Jun 20, 2005 8:14 am, edited 1 time in total.

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