Sunset Star 7 by Brian Sapere


The Cults



From Journeys With A Sufi Master by Bashir M. Dervish

London 1982


Chapter 6 – THE CULTS


A dervish said to a devil: 'Why are you sitting there
making no mischief?' The demon replied sadly:
'Since the would-be teachers have appeared in such
numbers there is nothing left for me to do.'  ~ Ghulam Haidar


The story of the Sufi who was able to get on with his work because pseudo-teachers drew off sensation-mongers and gave him peace, was, Halim Jan told me, being widely duplicated at the present time.
    He had been involved in observing and assessing the 'occultist explosion' which had been taking place right across Western countries for close on twenty years.


Beginning about 1960, masses of people in the West, suddenly and almost as if of one accord, had 'discovered' Eastern mysticism; or what the West thought was Eastern mysticism.
    Perhaps the decline of religion in the West had left a vacuum. Perhaps the dehumanising effect of modern technology had suddenly become intolerable. Perhaps people genuinely felt that there had to be more to human life than the sterility and hopelessness that many modern conditions implied. Whatever the reason or reasons, millions of people in the West had tried to turn to the East — and to the past. People started to play oriental music, to fill their houses with joss-sticks and saris, to wear fur jackets from Afghanistan, kurtas from India, kaftans from Morocco. They developed a taste for koftas and kebabs, tried to understand the Tibetan Book of the Dead, puzzled over the I-Ching, wore Pharaonic Egyptian ankh charms suspended around their necks.Yoga became a pastime for housewives and a subject offered at municipal evening classes.
    Then, slowly at first and then more rapidly, it all started to look ridiculous. Fakes — and rackets — were unmasked. Meditation was seen to produce no better results than hypnosis; and was widely referred to as 'the rediscovery of the siesta'. The Chinese officially admitted that they had fooled Western doctors with 'demonstrations' of acupuncture anaesthesia. Zen was filleted for its 'martial arts' content and flowed on in various diluted popularisations. The speed with which the balloon burst was proportionate to the West's impatience for results. When these were not forthcoming, the restless experimenters sought elsewhere. And suddenly there was nothing left.
    Or next to nothing. As the occultist tide receded and ordinary people lost interest, a number of societies, groups, or cults became more or less stabilised around the 'developmental' idea. These groups had one concept in common: mankind has a potential for psychological or spiritual growth which is not realised in the conditions of ordinary life.
    Many of these groups or societies had a leader who, his supporters believed, alone possessed the secret of how to activate and guide this inner development.
    Halim Jan said that this was no new phenomenon. Sufis knew the mechanism and the precise stages which every 'occultist revival' went through. They could predict the course of the process or as Halim described it, 'this disease'.  They also knew that until a certain stage had been reached there was nothing to be done. 'What impresses me' he said 'is not what people have found out in twenty years of occultist revival — but how much of what is really there they haven't even suspected.'
    The leaders of these cults were sometimes sincere: but even when they were, they were rarely much more than half educated in the subject they professed. For the most part they were opportunists or charlatans combining the opportunity to indulge their vanity or lust for power over others, with a convenient and easy method of making money. Some of them were millionaires.
    Shah was, and still is, in the forefront of the battle against the cults; for Sufis see themselves as educating, not manipulating. One of the most fascinating results of this was when, in an interview with the editor of Psychology Today Shah stated (without naming them) that some Indian gurus were frauds, he received scores of protests from gurus' disciples. Evidently the cap fits.
    Once Shah was invited to visit a supposedly spiritual group, alleged Sufis, somewhere in the heart of the English countryside. He took me and two other people with him.
    We found that, although the Press had reported favourably on the community, it was sustained by mumbo-jumbo, exercises and ideas borrowed from anywhere, and peopled by a disturbingly excitable and odd-looking range of characters. We examined it in detail; and I remarked that it seemed nonsense from beginning to end.
    Shah stroked his chin and smiled. 'Now you all know just how to organize a cult. It is possible only because, so far, people in general do not realise a very simple fact, namely, that the human being responds emotionally to almost any kind of stimulus. And if he can be excited about a certain point, he may be convinced that he is having a spiritual experience. However, there are certain types who respond best. These are the depressives. The process is likely to work especially well among people whose feelings are repressed by social constraints. Here, read this. The situation is actually known in scientific observation.'  He handed Halim Jan a clipping from the London 'Times'. It said 'By Our Medical Correspondent. — Rioting in Belfast has had a beneficial effect upon some forms of mental illness in the city, a psychiatrist states. He has found that depression is least common in the areas of the city most affected by the riots and he claims his statistics support the psychodynamic theory that depression is the result of the inhibition of aggressive responses to frustration. . .  In contrast, depression has become more common in the rest of the United Kingdom. . .
     '"In the riot area," he says, "even those inhabitants who took no active part in confrontation with the security forces or revival religious groups could not escape involvement. Violence was a main topic of conversation and the high emotional content of such talk could be expected to have a beneficial effect on those prone to depression. The rise in the peaceful areas of Co. Down could possibly be due to the men there feeling frustration at being unable to take part in the violence described by the news media."'
    'You see,' Shah continued, when the item had been read out by Halim, 'when people who have been inhibited from showing emotion are allowed to do so they will feel better. Their depression will be lightened. The people who run these pantomimes, as one of you has called them, do not usually know what they are doing. Indeed, they may themselves imagine, through misunderstanding what is happening, that something divine has entered the situation. Yet this is really a fairly well-known common denominator of many religious cults.'
    'But', I asked, 'if some scientists know this, how is it that the facts are not thoroughly understood by the world at large?  If medical people, and social scientists, know the mechanism, why isn't it common knowledge?'
    'First, it certainly is well known. The shelves of bookshops overflow with paperbacks explaining the mechanism of cult-formation and conditioning. So this material should be common knowledge to the readers of such books, which are published for the general public. More time may be necessary, and more educational effort, before this material percolates to general level.
    'Second, the slowness of the acceptance of these facts may well be because the mechanisms which are used by cults are the same as those which are employed in implanting more generally acceptable ideas into the mind. Since no way of distinguishing between 'good' and 'bad' inputs of this nature is known, people will tend to look the other way. The days are long gone when one could have said, in the formerly acceptable formula, "Yes, this is how it is done, but in the case of the cult it is the devil, and in our case the church".'
    I asked what could stop the cults. 'Only education. But before people can educate, they have to find a way of bringing to people the truth which is higher than, and a replacement for, manipulating them. The Sufis have clean hands in this respect: but how many other current institutions can say, "Such-and-such a thing is indoctrination: it is treating human beings like programmable machines."?'
    'The present position is that, as I have said, most conventional belief-systems have little to offer other than inducing belief. They have to research the alternatives before they can teach.  Further, though there is a good deal of talk about "harm" and "evil" from the cults, this has never been quantified, and many reasonable people are not at all convinced that all cults are harmful or evil.  The cults will, one day, have to be studied side by side, for good and harmful effects, with all other belief-systems. Only such a study can claim to be scientific, and could command general respect.'
    We visited one cult headquarters, as much, I suspect, for my benefit as any other reason: and were met at the door by a morbid-looking individual who asked who we were. Shah said 'just visitors' whereupon the door was slammed in our faces. Shah then telephoned the grandly-named 'Sufi' who was the leader of this group and asked to speak to his secretary. To this the man Shah said 'I want to make an appointment for the Ambassador of Central Arabia'.
    The 'Ambassador' was instantly invited: and when we went to the place the red carpet was well and truly out in our honour. We were treated to an exhibition of holy gymnastics and given a 'sacred reading' as a prelude to meeting the Master. After a few minutes, during which he stressed both the importance and the secrecy of his work, he calmly demanded that the 'Ambassador' give him a donation of a million pounds towards his work!
    On the way home Shah said, 'If these are what ordinary people know as Sufis, no wonder the man in the street expects us to be mountebanks and frauds.'
    In encounters with self-appointed teachers, Shah was taking no active part and was only providing illustrative material for me and the others of our party. Months later I was to see him in a more active confrontation. The inner meaning of this incident was by no means clear to me when I witnessed it but an analysis of the encounter illustrated not only the precision and economy employed, but also the several levels of understanding simultaneously available when a Sufi engages in a demonstration.
    The leader of a certain cult attended a meeting addressed by Shah and after a bit stood up and started shouting: 'I defy you to show that your so-called teaching isn't false. . .'  He ranted on, embracing all the audience in his anger and indignation till he finally ran out of breath. When he did, Shah inquired, 'Does the chewing gum lose its flavour on the bedpost overnight?'
    The protestor became so red in the face I thought he might collapse. He finally declaimed: 'And that shows you are an empty buffoon who cannot even respond to a simple question' and stormed out of the room.
    I asked a Sufi to comment on this incident. He said, 'The ordinary person has no conception of what takes place between Sufis: because real Sufis communicate by direct perception and not by words. When they are dealing with those who do not understand this, they will use a certain form of language which has one meaning for a 'raw' person and a quite different meaning for those who have undergone certain experiences.
    'Sufis do not debate one with another. Only scholars and pseudo-Sufis do.
    'Had this man been a Sufi, he would have addressed Shah mind to mind, silently and would have been given an answer in the same way. By answering him in words, Shah was demonstrating, to those present and able to understand, that this man was not a Sufi.  Second, by giving the reply he did, Shah was showing that a silly question deserves a silly answer. Third, he punctured the fellow's self-esteem and thereby showed that since he could be provoked, he couldn't be a Sufi. And finally, he showed that a dozen words was all that was necessary to get rid of a noisy pest.'
    The Sufis may use jokes to convey an idea so that it 'penetrates', when a laborious exposition of the same idea would become entangled in, or blocked by, the hearer's conditioned responses.
    I have always suspected that there is some awareness of this principle in quite ordinary exchanges; and people often use jokes in a very similar way. A joke somehow touches a nerve on the raw. Some quite instructive ones are found in the West, as well as in the East.
    In one tale, following the Middle East version, a Sufi was to pay a business visit to Europe and was given one or two names which would prove helpful. He was duly passed from contact to contact and had a very successful trip. When he related his experiences to friends at home they noted that his contacts appeared to be university professors, bankers, diplomats, authors and the like, all of them Sufis. One of his friends said, 'This is very gratifying; but did you get any impression of how ordinary people in, say, England and France are responding to the present Sufi work?'
    'That, I'm afraid, I don't know. You see, I was only dealing with the top people.'  The Scots have a closely similar joke.
    During my stay in England I had been impressed by the large number of professional people whom Shah met. Some, it is true, were inquirers; but many were already following the Sufi way. The idea that in the West responding to Sufi ideas there was a disproportionate number of influential people had indeed struck me. When I heard the 'top people' joke in Arabic, I ventured to ask Shah if there was in fact some hidden elitist element in Sufi work.
    He said, 'Absolutely not. Indeed the reverse. But, in a Sufi operation, certain known mechanisms are followed because they have been shown, historically, to work. A human trait of imitativeness can be encouraged deliberately though normally it manifests mechanically. For instance, in the 18th century the great mass of people in France wouldn't eat potatoes. But when it became known that the King was not only eating them but was growing them, people clamoured to have their share of "King's food".
    'Centuries ago when it was necessary to open up communications in one area of the world, six hundred years ago, the Sufi Bahauddin Naqshband of Bukhara actually spent years building roads with his own hands. Afterwards, road-making became an almost compulsive activity because people wanted to follow the holy example of a Saint.
    'Again, you may or may not have noted how major religions spread. To begin with they were trivial and local, then a sudden huge expansion took place. This almost always happened as soon as the top people had been converted.
    'Just as in mundane matters people imitate those whom they respect, so in Sufism, the inner qualities of one person may help to transmute the learner. People who are real and worthy professionals communicate this higher element through a generally unperceived current.
    'You will meet, in the West, large numbers of our people who are not of the elite.'
    And I did.




Chapter 14 – PREDICTIONS, STUDENTS, MONKS (pp. 214-217)


    Those of us who 'travelled' with Shah were for long unable to match his use of humour together with teaching: it was and is one of his hall-marks.
    But we did succeed in staging some practical jokes which were recognised as coming close: for they worked on the level of exposing triviality which masquerades as something deep.
    Of these, the 'Indian Rishis' hoax was our favourite. We did several variations of it, with businessmen, scholars, self-styled holy people, and so on.
    The joke first came into being because Burke, Adil, Firoz and I were getting tired of a number of monks who had taken to visiting the house which had been lent to Shah for one Summer.
    In spite of the many ways which we used to try to discourage them, they came again and again. We gave them lectures to expose their shallowness, which they took with dignity, admitting that they were far from perfect, and revelling in their confessions of inadequacy. When we gave them food, they preached the bounty of God. When we denied it to them, they claimed that they had had it in mind to fast that day, anyway.  In short, they were incorrigible sensation-seekers and dreadful hypocrites. The Press and the pulpit, however, extolled their 'godliness'.
    Everything was interpreted on the most superficial level, association of ideas, and this was then regurgitated to us as a part of the great, cosmic, spiritual plan and teaching which had once been vouchsafed from on high.
    I have never known people anywhere who were so given to platitudes, and repeated them so much. Firoz said they had been sent 'by the Father of all conditioning and brainwashing as his most triumphant samples'.
    They were very keen on 'facts'. They ransacked the writings of the saints of the Middle Ages to provide 'facts' about holiness, about God, about revelation, about everything they could think of.  Shah, for some reason that escaped us all, treated them kindly but was heard to mutter: 'Some people's "facts" are so wrong that one can only hope that their fantasies are of better quality!'
    So we decided to provide some 'facts' of our own.
    Five of the monks, we agreed, were the worst. Shallow intellectuals, with a repressed emotionality which they thought was religion, is the only way I can begin to describe them.
    So, one day, we invited them to meet some very holy men — Indian Rishis — who had arrived on a visit. One of them, we said in a confidential tone, was really a saint.
    Their delight knew no bounds, and each one wanted to know which one would be the 'saint'. Each of the monks was told separately 'in confidentiality', which of the visitors would be the saint, and he was asked not to tell the others. The first monk was told that the 'man in the red turban' would be the great man, the second was tipped off that the saint would be the one in the blue turban, and so on.
    Meanwhile, we had got hold of five rather avaricious and down-market Sikh peddlers, who travelled the country with suitcases selling clothes, mostly women's underwear, from door to door. We told them we had some Western customers for them who should be a pushover for a bit of salesmanship.
    The Sikhs arrived first and we seated them in front of a large rockery, on a plank covered with red silk. Then the monks, eyes gleaming with heaven knows what expectation of holy revelation, were led from the house.
    We coached the Brothers to treat the Sikhs with the utmost respect, and then showed them onto the lawn which abutted the bushes in front of which the itinerants were settled.
    At the sight of the holy ones, the monks broke into a run. Then, remembering our instructions, they fell to their knees and approached the Indians as best they could in that fashion. When a short distance from their goal, each monk gave a small cry in Punjabi (which we had made them memorise and which really meant 'show me your wares please'). Then each took the hand of his appointed 'real saint' and kissed it.
    I will say one thing for some Sikh peddlers: it takes a lot to surprise them.
    Without turning a hair, each of the 'Saints' led his appointed monk by the hand, past the rockery and into the bushes. There he gravely displayed, from his battered suitcase, his full range of largely feminine garments before the glazed eyes of the celibate fact-worshipper.
    Such arguments as were possible, given the extreme limits of communication, were not long in breaking out.
    The monks got the worst of it. They lacked an understanding of the strong sense of injustice which assails the Punjab small businessman when he finds people failing to appreciate the necessity of making a purchase from him after showing interest.
    The monks left in high indignation and never came back. The Sikhs were compensated for the deals that had fallen through.
    Shah was told of our deviation from the straight and narrow. He said: 'One of these monks used to ask me to "describe a Sufi". Describing a saint as a man you can recognize by a coloured turban is just about what they deserved.
    'As practical jokes go, this was a good one. But, having savoured it, let us remember what Saadi says in the Orchard, and exercise our himmat (aspiration) that it should be so in this case: "One places a seed in the earth/So that on the day of need it shall give fruit."'
    Omar Burke, after the manner of the Sufis who use quotations to keep an event in the mind, cited one attributed to the Master Gharib-Nawaz: 'He is indeed in a prison-house who claims to be pious.'
    One of the fruits of this seed, breaking out of the prison of assumptions and hypocrisy, was the delight which so many Indians expressed when they heard this tale.  For them, it seems the burden of false gurus and equally false Western admirers, as well as of certain itinerant and sometimes rascally trading compatriots in the West, was becoming too much to bear.
    Indeed, I am still hearing of versions of this practical joke, which are perpetuated by members of the Indian immigrant community in Britain, 'to keep the ball rolling', to keep the process alive, as one of them recently informed me.
    But after this I spent less and less time in the United Kingdom, for my duties took me to the new and in many ways different field of America.



32. brucelevyJuly 28, 2016 – Fellowship of Friends Discussion blog



67. Mind Out of RhymeSeptember 3, 2016


Watch CNN’s Holy Hell documentary. We are all cult fools wandering around loose and stupid looking to become exploited.



70. Tim CampionSeptember 3, 2016


It’s an excellent film. The Fellowship of Friends and Buddhafield cults, led by all-consuming narcissists, have followed very similar arcs. And both now appear near their end.



84. Bares RepostingSeptember 7, 2016




Barbara Bruno Lancaster, Former Cult Member


In 1972, I joined a study group. In 1984, I woke up to find that I had willingly given away my life for 12 years – under an illusion that I was making myself a better person and the world a better place to live in. This wasn’t a dream, I was in a cult.


That sounds pretty drastic. How could anyone let themselves get hooked into such a situation? I was then 27 (hardly a child). Now I must take responsibility for not having taken responsibility. I was a thinker, an artist, a reader who envied the people in history who were lucky enough to live in times where there were opportunities to become part of a movement that made a contribution to humanity. I wanted to understand “what makes us tick,” but found no answers in modern psychology. Perhaps there was an elusive ancient knowledge that I might discover today. I feared a wasted life, and doubted my ability to live self-directedly.


In 1972, I wished to study a psychology called The 4th Way, which is based on the early 20th century writings of George Gurdjieff and Peter Ouspensky. This philosophy proposes an esoteric system of achieving a permanent higher level of consciousness and stresses the need to find a “real” 4th Way school led by a consciously-developed teacher. After finding a bookmark from a group (I will call it the “SOS”), I attended a series of prospective student meetings and came into contact with people who certainly acted esoteric. They were speaking knowledgeably on a subject of great interest to me. I was asked to try a few of the school exercises in behavior modification, and felt awkward and stupid around the students. I couldn’t believe that they wanted me to join! I made the first in a series of monthly donations, and then was directed to a silent, seemingly ineffectual man in the corner, whom they referred to as “The Teacher”.


Within a few weeks, I had moved from my home in Hawaii and was living with other students in a house in Carmel, California. For six months I had little contact with anyone outside of the group. The Teacher and his inner circle of leaders took over the house to work on a book and hold meetings. My activities centered on a constant exposure to his words and to carrying out the directions of his leaders. There were mental exercises to be followed in all waking hours, i.e., words that we were to eliminate from our speech; not using contractions; not crossing our legs and physically moving in a manner that indicated intentionality (we looked like robots). When one could begin to adjust to an exercise, it would be changed. I now spoke only in the special “work language” of the school. For five years I followed a word exercise that forbade the use of the word “I”. One was to refer to themselves only in the 3rd person. (Try ordering a meal without using “I”.) We were used to hearing each other speak, but our special language added to the discomfort of outside communication.


The aim was a heightened state of awareness in which one could regard oneself objectively as a machine-like being. Man existed in a state of walking sleep and needed constant shocks in order to awaken to his real potential. My words, reactions, physical appearance, and basic character were always open for discussion by the others. My behavior and attitudes were constantly observed and classified as indications of a “good” student or a “bad” student. This was always done as suggestions for my own good. I was not supposed to express negativity.


This environment was not all unpleasant. There was a strong feeling of community, a sense of purpose, of spiritual fulfillment, and a new state of awareness of the world that was exhilarating. There were times when I felt that I was losing control of my mind. This was taken care of by taking me for a walk where another student would softly remind me that this was simply a stage in my development, and that confusion itself was really a high state. There was a kindness and humility among the lower ranks of students that made me feel accepted. I was approaching all of this as a one-year experiment in self-knowledge.


Three months after joining this “study group”, a special meeting was called and it was announced that a woman who had left the school had committed suicide. This was seen as an example of what happens when students do not value the knowledge they have been exposed to. The school had become a lifetime endeavor! (Only for those who were strong enough to succeed.)


We were now told that there were invisible higher level beings, called “C Influence” that were around us constantly and would provide shocks to remind us of their presence. When something pleasant, or unpleasant, occurred it was said to be C Influence, providing shocks to awaken me from my lowly state. C Influence spoke directly through the Teacher, and to question this was considered a manifestation of a low level of being. We had been chosen to become the enlightened people who would found a new civilization after a soon-to-come nuclear holocaust. Please remember, this was said in an insulated environment. I began to think that I was constantly being watched and that even my thoughts were subject to judgement by these “higher forces.” Lifton refers to this as the “psychology of the pawn.”


When my savings ran out, I began working again in ordinary life and found that there was a profound distance between myself and my co-workers who were not part of the school. I was quiet and just did my work. My “real” life was elsewhere, and I was thoroughly committed to it.


Although the school control never succeeded in becoming absolute, my ability to measure reality and to maintain personal autonomy were greatly diminished. In George Orwell’s 1984, he saw this regulating restraint as being accomplished by means of the 2-way telescreen. But a mechanical device is not necessary when one is sufficiently surrounded by “human” apparatus.


The world became divided into black & white. Ideas, feelings, and actions consistent with school policy were praised. Inconsistencies were explained as a waste of my precious time and an incorrect valuation of the opportunities that had been extended to me. Policy was changed over the years, but an unwavering demand was placed upon me to strive permanently for a perfection which did not exist. I became guilty and depressed. I was no longer working for something – I was fighting against myself. Guilt always followed a self-observation, and my repressed negativity could be expressed through complaints about my attitudes. I wanted to “confess” my awareness of a personal failing before someone else could point it out. The more I admitted to weakness, the easier it was to judge others.


I was the enemy! I began to think that I just wasn’t capable of knowing myself. Other people’s opinion of me was “real.” The school became a living being and I was just a cell in it. The group was more important than me.


I became a “master of justification.” Former cult members all say that they had doubts throughout their involvement. My misgivings became a closely guarded secret, unbearable to admit, even to myself. I developed subtle ways of rebelling, but outwardly I towed the party line. This core of doubt looked for an open door, and I lived in fear of finding it. It was Catch-22. [in FoF speak: Catch-44.]


I sided with the liberal-wing of the school, who felt that they could bring about a more humanizing element, and perhaps ensure their own survival. Yet, too often, I took no action against injustice, deceit, and outright bullying by the Teacher’s appointed leaders, whose power he supported. I watched children being given away when the Teacher decided they were unnecessary distractions. Relationships and marriages were broken at his suggestion. The rich were courted and fleeced. The 10% of gross salary for monthly donations rose with an ever-rising list of required special donations. It was almost impossible (both financially, and as proof of commitment) to live outside of a communal situation. Within a “teaching house” there was little or no room for deviation or personal expression. We were an intellectual and cultural group, but the form this took was always at the whim of the Teacher’s taste. He wanted us to become an 18th century culture (imagine a woman’s place in such a society), and a large part of funds went to his antique purchases (the finest works went to his home).


Eventually the group had centers in most major cities in the U.S., Europe, and Mexico. The Teacher got the school a State Charter as a Church. He established a winery on the school property in Northern California as a non-profit corporation. We were expected to spend weekends and vacations working at the headquarters. Those with especially high levels of “valuation for the work” lived and worked there full-time. There was no housing provided. People lived crowded together in houses outside the grounds, or in trailers, or slept under a table and kept their belongings in their car trunk. But on Saturday night, they wore tuxedos and gowns to the concert hall, where prestigious musicians would play to an audience who would overwhelm them with applause at the appropriate moments.


In the “SOS” [FoF] an attitude of them-versus-us prevailed. The outside world was dead. Apparently, people who knew too much about the secret activities of the Teacher had been given direct tasks not to tell the others. You were asked to leave if you broke a task. If you left the school you were ostracized.


I was happily married to another student, whom I trusted with some of my doubts. We had a little mixed-breed dog who was very precious to us. I came close to a nervous breakdown in 1980 when the Teacher declared that we could only have pedigreed animals. I began to realize how much control the Teacher had over anything I cared about. I saw only two choices: become quietly insane (as others had), or commit suicide. I could not imagine having the strength to leave the school. My husband Ronald suffered greatly in his fear that I was losing my commitment. He began defending me to people who were offering him advice about changing my behavior. We became part of a developing underground of discontent where small confidences were shared. In time, an ethical member of the Board of Directors [Samuel Sanders] discovered criminal actions and called for public censure of the Teacher. This information was strong enough to penetrate through to what was left of my self-respect, and I could not offer a single justification. Even then, I thought that things could now change for the better. A meeting was called, by a representative of the Teacher, to discuss the situation. I brought up my concerns: Students were not free to seek help from mental professionals; many were becoming alcoholics, and we were, generally, living in a state of fear. I was told that these problems were my imagination and the fear was only within me. I snapped!


I left the group – after 12 years. l felt helpless. I had no friends and was deeply in debt. I couldn’t explain the lost years. To the outside world a cult experience itself indicates a flawed mentality. I grieved for those left behind, imprisoned by their learned ability to accept the unacceptable. Ronald, myself, and a few others felt marooned on a strange shore, cringing, clinging, and finally, setting out to discover our new world.


Within a few months, we became part of a former cult members group at the Cult Clinic in Los Angeles. The Clinic was a flame burning in my dark night. I will always be grateful for their understanding. What has been most helpful is hearing that ex-members share the same experience even though the form of each group is different. What cults believe is not important (it may be truth or nonsense). The key indication of danger lies in an insulated organization that lacks a system of checks and balances.


l choose to believe that the positive things I retain from my experience are a credit to the sincere relationships I once shared, to my abiding faith in the goodness of God and nature, and to my own intelligence and self-respect.


However, I did not gain this from the “SOS,” [FoF] but rather, in spite of it.


Most ex-cult members do not speak out. Many never realize they were in a cult. They just leave one day, and eventually look for something else to replace it. My activities in cult awareness – reading, writing, lecturing, and creating publications – are looked upon as extreme by some of the people who left the school with me.


The most common reaction to my story is: “Well, that could never happen to me!” I’ve met with a lot of former members and they are not stupid. Most are highly intelligent. The newer groups are especially appealing to the well-educated. Recruitment is directed to the best, the brightest, and the most idealistic of persons. Every cult member is a recruiter whose sincerity is infectious. Please note: Because cult members can only associate with people inside the group, they will see outsiders purely as potential recruits or losers. I did not feel I “recruited” my mother and my life-long friend when they joined the “SOS” [FoF] at my encouragement – I wanted to “help” them down the one true path.


Mind control exists – it produces an inability to act from one‘s own integrity. Brainwashing is spiritual rape. Remember: No one ever thinks they are joining a cult.



THE RAPE OF THE MIND: The Psychology of Thought Control
From Chapter Six – Totalitaria and its Dictatorship:


Future social scientists will be better able to describe the causes of the advent of totalitarian thinking and acting in man. We know that after wars and revolutions this mental deterioration more easily finds an opportunity to develop, helped by special psychopathic personalities who flourish on man's misery and confusion.



How To Identify A Cult – Apr. 29, 2017


Peter Van Sant interviewed Steve Eichel for his "48 Hours" report on the Australian cult, The Family, led by self-appointed mystic Anne Hamilton-Byrne who, with the help of LSD, convinced followers she was female reincarnation of Jesus Christ.



List of people claimed to be Jesus


 ~ Wikipedia



From How do I cult-proof my mind? by Arnaldo Lerma, deprogrammer:


To “cult-proof" a mind would consist of becoming familiar with those methods.


One method is called 'The Reverse Blockade: emphatically insisting upon something which is the opposite of the truth blocks the average person’s mind from perceiving the truth. In accordance with the dictates of healthy common sense, he starts searching for meaning in the “golden mean” between truth and its opposite, winding up with some satisfactory counterfeit. People who think like this do not realize that this effect is precisely the intent of the person who subjects them to this method.' page 104, Political Ponerology by Andrew M. Lobaczewski Link



Maria Bamford



From an unsigned letter posted on the Gurdjieff Club site:


Personally, I was a victim of Alexander Francis Horn who was NOT a spiritual teacher and who had no connection to Gurdjieff and Ouspensky.


Alex Horn was a psychopath, a narcissist, a manipulator, a rapist and a black magician. Yes, he taught Burton and in that way further perpetrated his evil.



Early Lies?

[ed. – On January 1, 1970, Robert Earl Burton began the “teaching” that would become The Fellowship of Friends.]

From "History of the Fellowship of Friends"


    At one of these early meetings, Robert said he had only been with his own teacher for 3 years. He also said that his teacher had increased his payments until he had had to hold down 3 jobs to be able to make the payments to be able to remain with his teacher. Then there had come a time when his teacher had told him it was time for him to leave, and go out on his own. Robert said, that he had traveled across the United States, searching for a student, that he may be able to teach, and was it not strange that he had come home, and found one (a student) in his own back yard.


Alternate History:


"Robert Burton was asked to leave Alex Horn’s school after eighteen months of work on himself. He was given the task of not sleeping with other men, and failed this task from his teacher."


Alternate Alternate History:


    In 1967 Robert Earl Burton attended a meeting led by Alexander Horn, and immediately knew that he had found what he had been seeking. Mr. Horn conducted a group based on the Gurdjieff-Ouspensky ideas that used theater as a form for work on oneself. Burton devoted himself to studying the Fourth Way and to participating in Mr. Horn’s group. After eighteen months, however, Robert Burton found it necessary to part from his teacher, realizing that Mr. Horn’s teaching methods were no longer serving his aim.



Robert Burton founded the Fellowship of Friends on New Year’s Day, 1970. The school grew so rapidly that in 1971 its students collectively purchased the land that became Apollo. Over the decades the external form of the school—Apollo, the Fellowship centers, and the teaching—took shape and flowered from Robert’s conscious vision.


Basing his teaching on Peter Ouspensky’s Fourth Way writings, Robert focused relentlessly on “self-remembering". [etc.]


How to describe a conscious teacher? His only true credentials are his own presence and his effect upon his students. He does what no one else will do or can do—teaching the most unpopular of all truths: that our illusory sense of “I” must die before presence can be born. He is the living reminder that it is possible to awaken, and that presence means humility, acceptance, and conscious love.



160. Thot Plickens May 14, 2010


1. What You Should Know About Robert Burton and the Fellowship of Friends January 18, 2010


• It’s a doomsday cult.

• The predicted doomsday never came.

• Burton predicted major catastrophes for 1984 and 1998, and then nuclear war for 2006. For decades, he predicted the Fellowship of Friends would become the beginning of a new civilization in 2006.  Burton said, “Our task is to establish a new civilization.”

• Through cognitive dissonance, followers try to forget the above predictions, or downplay them.

• Like other cults, followers object to the word “cult.” But there’s no better one-word description for this organization in the English language.

• Burton has coerced and seduced several hundred young followers — and perhaps thousands — into having sex with him, using promises of spiritual salvation, expensive gifts, vacations abroad, as well as playing on their fears of being outcast from their circle of friends. As a result, many former and current followers have suffered lasting psychological scars and emotional trauma, and a few have committed suicide. (Read the numerous personal accounts within this blog.)

• In doing the above, Burton has violated the trust of thousands of his followers who were unaware of the extent of his sexual activities within the cult, and unaware of the extent of his deception.

• Burton is a sociopath and malignant narcissist who shows no concern for the welfare of his followers unless they are useful to him in some way. When they cease to be useful to him, he discards them.

• Burton’s “public” persona is one of a gentle guru who speaks with a soft voice. This personality helps him deceive his followers into believing they have found the one true path to enlightenment, salvation, and heaven.

• Burton tells his followers that 44 angels, or gods, guide the Fellowship of Friends — and that they guide only the Fellowship of Friends. Angels, he says, do not guide anyone else on earth.

• Burton advances a world view that Hell exists, and that there’s only one way to avoid going to Hell when one dies: Join the Fellowship of Friends, and stay in the Fellowship of Friends until your death. All people on earth who do not join the Fellowship of Friends will go to Hell when they die. Likewise, followers are warned that they will go to Hell if they leave the cult.

• Followers are discouraged or forbidden from communicating with former members. Those who leave the cult will lose contact with their closest friends within the cult.

• Followers are forbidden to discuss any of the above. If they do discuss these facts with their friends, or question anyone about these facts, they will be expelled. This in turn fosters secrecy and lack of transparency within the cult.

• Burton charges exorbitant membership fees – anywhere from 20% to 40% of income, depending on a person’s salary. The full amount of these fees is never discussed when representatives try to sell people on joining the cult.

• The fees have helped pay for Burton’s extravagant lifestyle, which includes expensive clothing, frequent expensive vacations, and a lavish home at the cult’s compound in Oregon House, California (between Grass Valley and Yuba City).

• Burton and the Fellowship of Friends have been sued by former members on multiple occasions. Most of these suits have been settled out of court, with insurance companies paying the settlement on behalf of the Fellowship of Friends.

• Burton founded the cult in 1970. For more than three decades, he characterized the cult as a so-called “Fourth Way school.” In recent years, the cult has virtually abandoned any discussions about the Fourth Way.

• Because the Fellowship of Friends (also referred to as Pathway to Presence) has been granted religious status, American taxpayers help pay for this cult.


• In the last four years, several hundred followers have left the Fellowship of Friends, and many followers continue to leave. It’s believed that slightly over 1,000 members remain worldwide, but reliable statistics are not publicly available.



Ton February 19, 2008 at 11:19 am


Ya’ll probably know this already, nevertheless…


“…who joins a cult? The easy and most popular belief is that cult disciples are inadequates of low intelligence. But in her extensive study of cults, sociologist Eileen Barker has found the opposite. The normal cult member is of above average intelligence and comes from a well-balanced, middle-class background. What appears to be happening is that, as modern life becomes more secular and materialistic, an increasing number of intelligent people are finding life unfulfilling and meaningless … and if established religions fail to appeal to this increasing minority, then spiritual values are found in fringe cults – of which there are well over a thousand in Britain alone. And once hooked, the follower’s search for meaning, combined with the guru’s charisma, leads to a psychological process that guarantees obedience … Once a cult has been formed by a guru, individuals who feel a lacking in life are sucked into the madness of cultism through psychological coercion, brainwashing or mind control. People joining cults usually argue such techniques would not work on them, but the favored methods of meditation used by cults, combined with forms of sleep deprivation and bombarding the initiate with information, inevitably lead to, first, sensory overload, and second, obedience to the whims of a guru. Clearly cult membership also leads to a rejection of family ties as the cult becomes the new family….” etc


James, thanks for the Sunrise Ruby, it’s a true gem and a wonderful thing to wake up to this morning.




‘Counterfeit gold exists only because
there is such a thing as real gold.’ ~ Rumi


   In many countries in the contemporary world, especially in the West, there are representatives of virtually every religion, spiritual teaching, cult and metaphysical system in existence. How can the earnest spiritual seeker distinguish between an authentic teaching and a cult, between a real and a false spiritual teacher? What are the salient characteristics of a genuine spiritual group or organization and what are the warning signs for detecting a spurious or misguided one? Psychiatrist Arthur Deikman provides a succinct working definition of a cult:


   The word cult refers to a group led by a charismatic leader who has spiritual, therapeutic or messianic pretensions, and indoctrinates the members with his or her idiosyncratic beliefs. Typically, members are dependent on the group for their emotional and financial needs and have broken off ties with those outside. The more complete the dependency and the more rigid the barriers separating members from non-believers, the more danger the cult will exploit and harm its members. (1)


(1) Deikman, The Wrong Way Home (Boston: Beacon Press, 1994), p. 1.



From CRAZY FOR GOD: The Nightmare of Cult Life by Ex-Moon Disciple, Christopher Edwards, 1979:


How are young minds twisted in the name of God? What is the truth about modern-day religious cults?




This book is about the rapid near-destruction of a human being – myself. It is the story of the deceit, manipulation and terror which thousands of young Americans experience daily at the hands of modern cults. Although a different group was involved, I believe it is also a story which may help to explain the paranoia and absolute obedience which led to the recent horror of the People’s Temple murders and mass suicide.


My story began innocently enough when I was lured into a “fun” weekend in June of 1975 on a farm owned by a front group for Sun Myung Moon’s Unification Church in Berkeley, California. It ended seven and a half months later on a Saturday afternoon in mid-January with a dramatic kidnapping and deprogramming engineered by my father and a team of hired professionals.


In the following pages, I describe the sinister indoctrination process by which I was transformed from an intelligent, independent human being into a completely subservient disciple of my new Messiah — terrified of questioning, dependent on my leaders for my every move, ready and willing to die or even kill to restore the world under the absolute rule of Reverend Moon. I share with you the degradation I experienced as I rose in the ranks of the Moon organization to become an “adopted” son of the two most powerful cult leaders in America. I describe my losing battle to retain my mind and will in a world of structured madness.


This has been a difficult and painful book to write. I have had to relive every nightmare connected with those seven months with the Moonies in order to re-create for you the horrors I experienced. You may be amused at first by the absurdities that Moonies mouth and actually believe, but it will soon become chillingly clear that beneath the smiley faces and baby songs lies a systematic plan for rapid subjugation for the Cause.


Everything in this story is true although it is obviously impossible to reproduce the dialogue and thoughts of characters verbatim. Some personalities and events have been compressed or conjoined for the sake of readability, but everything that I describe happened to me and is typical of a Moonie’s experience, however much the cult leaders may deny this. All the names in this book with the exception of Moon’s have been changed to protect the guilty, among whom are some of the most innocent victims of all.


As a former Moonie, I am aware of Unification Church tactics toward those who dare expose its secrets. But no risk seems too great if CRAZY FOR GOD prevents a few more families from being destroyed and a few more minds from being bent and twisted in the name of love.



Unification Church
Christian or Cult?


The official title of the Unification Church is The Holy Spirit Association for the Unification of World Christianity. It was officially founded in 1954 by Sun Myung Moon (which has led to the referring of his followers as "Moonies") and moved to America in 1959, where he established his international headquarters. Born in Korea in 1920, Moon claims that in 1936, when he was 16, Jesus Christ appeared to him on Easter morning on a mountainside in Northwestern Korea and told him that God had chosen him for the mission of establishing the Kingdom of Heaven on Earth, a mission that Christ had only begun. Christ supposedly told Moon that he would be "the completer of man's salvation by being the Second Coming of Christ" (Sun Myung Moon and The Unification Church, James Bjornstad, p. 9). After World War II, Moon returned to Pyongyang, the capital of communist North Korea, where he set up his first church (1945).


There, according to reports, Moon involved his congregation in an unusual ritual known as "blood separation," during which female members of the church were required to have sex with him to cleanse themselves of Satan's influence. In 1948, North Korean authorities arrested and jailed Moon (he spent two years in a labor camp), accusing him of bigotry and adultery. Moon was finally liberated by United Nations' troops during the Korean War (1950). (Still today, Moon's sermons focus on sex and the idea of female submissiveness. In 1995, on "True Parents Day," he observed, "Woman was born to connect in love with man's sexual organ. Man and woman's sexual organs are the place of the true love palace.") After the Korean War, Moon fled to South Korea and established the Unification Church, which now claims three million members in more than 120 countries (about 40-45 thousand U.S.), but both of these figures are believed by many to be grossly exaggerated. (The largest concentration of Moonies reside in Korea and Japan.) In 1956, Moon published the English version of the Divine Principle as the authoritative work of the Unification Church. (The Korean Version: "Wolli Haesol" or "Explanation of the Principle" was published on August 15th, 1957.)


This "church" has been the subject of much negative U.S. publicity. . .


Summary: According to Moon, it was God's plan for Jesus to find a perfect mate and produce sinless children, bringing about the world's physical and spiritual salvation. But Jesus failed because He couldn't get the Jews to accept Him as Messiah. The Crucifixion was a "mistake" which thwarted God's plans and made it necessary for a new Messiah to come during this present age. This new "messiah," called the "Lord of the Second Advent" by Moon, was born in Korea in 1920 (which, coincidentally, is the place and time of his own birth).


By the year 2000, Moon claimed, the Messiah would be revealed (cf. Duet. 18:22). Therefore, Moon does not want us to think of the Second Coming in terms of a literal interpretation of Scripture, which states that Jesus will come in the clouds with great glory. Moon insists that the second messiah will be a Korean man born of the flesh — and those who do not accept him will face God's wrath.


Accordingly, everyone must be born again by new parents in order to fulfill God's original plan of redemption. Translated into Moon's theology, this means: acceptance of Moon and his wife as spiritual parents is necessary for salvation.


Quotes from Moon Illustrating Essential Theological Points


 *  "He [God] is living in me and I am the incarnation of Himself. … The whole world is in my hand, and I will conquer and subjugate the world."
 *  "God is now throwing Christianity away and is now establishing a new religion, and this new religion is the Unification Church."
 *  "All the Christians in the world are destined to be absorbed by our movement."
 *  "There have been saints, prophets, many religious leaders in past human history. Master here [Moon] is more than any of those people and greater than Jesus himself."
 *  "I [Moon] am the Alpha and Omega, the beginning and the end."
 *  "God and man are one. Man is incarnate God."


Note on Mass Marriages: The term "mass Marriage" is actually a misnomer, but that is what they are popularly known as. In reality, no one is being married in these mass wedding spectacles. Instead, the "Blessing," as Moonies refer to this event, is a religious ceremony and not actual weddings. Though they are dressed as brides and grooms and repeat marriage vows at these events, the ones that intend to be husband and wife will have to obtain marriage licenses from whatever jurisdiction they reside in. In former years, only those couples that Sun Myung Moon had matched (Moon chose usually complete strangers who would then become husband and wife based on Moon's selection) or those who had passed very stringent qualifications (including from 3 to 7 years of celibacy before marriage) would be allowed to be "blessed" by Moon. In recent years, these events are often billed as a "recommitment of marriage" to unsuspecting participants.



From Encyclopedic Handbook of Cults in America (revised & updated edition) by J. Gordon Melton (1992), Chapter 1. – What is a Cult? – p. 6 -7


    Anti-cultists began to speak of "destructive cults," groups which hypnotized or brainwashed recruits, destroyed their ability to make rational judgments and turned them into slaves of the group's leader. While drawing upon Christian counter-cult literature in the beginning, the secular anti-cultists gradually discarded any overtly religious language as a means of designating cults in order to appeal to government authorities and avoid any seeming attack upon religious liberties. Thus, "cults" have come to be seen as groups that share a variety of generally destructive characteristics. While no one group may embody all of them, any "cult" will possess a majority. Marcia Rudin, a popular anti-cult writer, listed fourteen commonly accepted characteristics of a cult:


l.     Members swear total allegiance to an all-powerful leader whom they believe to be the Messiah.
2.    Rational thought is discouraged or forbidden.
3.    The cult's recruitment techniques are often deceptive.
4.    The cult weakens the follower psychologically by making him/her depend upon the group to solve his/her problems.
5.    The cults manipulate guilt to their advantage.
6.    The cult leader makes all the career and life decisions of the members.
7.    Cults exist only for their own material survival and make false promises to work to improve society.
8.    Cult members often work full-time for the group for little or no pay.
9.    Cult members are isolated from the outside world and any reality testing it could provide.
10.  Cults are anti-woman, anti-child, and anti-family.
11.  Cults are apocalyptic and believe themselves to be the remnant who will survive the soon-approaching end of the world.
12.  Many cults follow an "ends justify the means" philosophy.
13.  Cults, particularly in regard to their finances, are shrouded in secrecy.
14.  There is frequently an aura of or potential for violence around cults.


. . .Anti-cult literature reflects a great concern with approximately 15 groups, though as many as 75 to 100 have received passing mention. Only five groups – The Unification Church, the Children of God, the Church of Scientology, the International Society for Krishna Consciousness, and The Way International – have received consistent coverage over the years of the anti-cult movement's existence.


    This handbook includes the most prominent "cults" for analysis and discussion.



"Was this Fourth Way School I was in a cult?"


Derek Lamar



From the Introduction to Prophetic Charisma: The Psychology of Revolutionary Religious Personalities by Len Oakes, NY 1997


    When a superior intellect and a psychopathic temperament coalesce – as in the endless permutations and combinations of human faculty they are bound to coalesce often enough – in the same individual, we have the best possible condition for the kind of effective genius that gets into the biographical dictionaries. Such men do not remain mere critics and understanders with their intellect. Their ideas possess them, they inflict them, for bettor or for worse, upon their companions or their age.


~ William James, Varieties of Religious Experience


All cultures have their heroes, and no hero is more mysterious, or more extraordinary, than God's messenger — the prophet. Whether called messiahs or saviors, gurus or avatars, such figures continue to fascinate us, whether for their truths or their absurdities, for the adulation of their followers or the hatred of their enemies. Hardly a week goes by without some bizarre or sensational item appearing in the media about a wild-eyed preacher or an exotic cult coming into conflict with the authorities; the public appetite for such stories is endless.
    It is strange, therefore, that we know so little about such figures. While there are biographies of individual leaders, there are few studies of revolutionary religious leaders as a group or as a personality type. Prophets appear suddenly, as if from nowhere, and take the world by surprise; we seem unable to pigeonhole them, to ignore them, or even to describe them other than in superficial ways.


. . . They are not beset by the fears, shame, and guilt that limit others. This in turn makes them especially attractive because of the "infectiousness of the unconflicted personality" (Redl 1942). Their energy flows freely and feeds their enormous self-confidence.
    The grandiose self-confidence of charismatic leaders is legendary. It shows in their claims to special powers as God's Son or His chosen messenger, or whatever.


    This grandiosity underlies the optimism and positivity of [false] prophets. Even those preaching the end of the world usually describe it as a time of glorious salvation when sinners will be punished. A fearlessness goes along with this confidence that makes everything they say seem authoritative. Yet this may cause problems; their confidence may become a kind of mania, a defensive certainty that is unable to question. Delusions of omnipotence and refusal to compromise or hear criticisms may appear as a dogmatic need always to be right and an inability to admit error, to apologize, or to recognize the hurtful effects their behaviors have on others. Such leaders are difficult to work with because they must always get their own way. They may not harbor evil motives; it is just that they genuinely cannot see that others have an equal claim in life. For the grandiosity of the prophet is in part a blindness to others, and a fixation on a revolutionary vision.
    The prophet has a message that comes to dominate. . . as one of the leaders of the study said, "I've become the message now." This vision is opposed to convention and is focused on ultimate concerns and the reordering of the world. Hence it often leads the prophet into conflict with the law. David "Moses" Berg, founder of the Children of God, is a "last days" prophet. His revelation contains the message that in this end time the faithful are free from the restraints of the law. In the early years of his mission, his followers lived like gypsies and were forbidden to hold secular jobs. Berg proclaimed, "If the truth kills, let it kill." Sexual inhibitions were loosened, and members offered sex to potential converts. Eventually Berg was accused by his daughter of incest and forced to flee to Europe. He is, it seems, driven by his vision to the extent that all else, perhaps even survival itself, is of secondary importance to him. Because of his vision, his followers have suffered greatly, yet he retains their loyalty through his inspirational rhetoric.
    The rhetorical skill of charismatic prophets can be phenomenal. Benjamin Franklin was once obliged to attend the service of a tent revivalist of whom he was deeply suspicious. Yet such was the inspirational power of the preacher that when the collection plate was passed, Franklin eagerly emptied his pockets into it. Of course rhetoric may be used for good or evil purposes, but when it is used by a prophet, certain themes tend to recur. These include the use of moral absolutes to amplify a sense of crisis in which the sinfulness of the world is described in absolute terms, while relative terms are used to describe the leader's work; as one leader in the study said, "This world is evil. It is of the Devil. Here we try to live God's will. We're not perfect but we do our best. We do okay, really." The prophet also may imply that he has been to the depths of and the heights of the moral universe; has glimpsed heaven and hell — however these are defined — and returned with privileged insight.
    And every prophet's message contains two parts. The first or "negative revelation" is an account of all that is bad in the world and of the road to hell. "Positive revelation" describes the path to salvation and the prophet's special role as guide. Deep human wants for unconditional love and life after death are implied to lie within the grasp of the faithful. Moral guidelines for successful living are embedded along with answers to existential questions such as "Who am I?" Such a heady brew may the rhetoric become that the prophet also may fall under its spell, believing his own propaganda and alienating his friends and family with a compulsive fanaticism. Such leaders appear to be "on stage" the entire time, seeming to derive sustenance from endlessly repeating their own rhetoric, which has become for them a "beautiful lie you can live in" (Rapp 1972). At such moments they may seem quite grotesque, but they are saved from total loss of credibility by their extreme manipulativeness.
    The prophet's manipulative skills are acquired over many years of practice and are highly refined. At a personal level he can be charming and warm, speaking frankly but supportively. Prophets have an unpredictability that is exciting. They use the extremes of their personalities to gently keep others off guard; for instance, in the years I knew one leader, he was only once heard to tell an off-color joke, but it was one of the most offensive I have ever heard, and it was told not for a belly laugh but with a teasing smile. Prophets are natural actors, with the odd corollary that when they publicly try acting, their performance may be uncharacteristically hammy or wooden. The leader appears sensitive and concerned, usually remembering the names of people he has met; others find him nourishing to be around. Yet the leader astutely registers the needs and vulnerabilities of the people he meets, subtly implying that he can fulfill these needs. The cult is set up (at least in part) to satisfy the wants and exploit the vulnerabilities of the followers, who find, once they have joined, that it is hard to challenge the leader. . .
    The prophet communicates very early that there are topics that are taboo for discussion. These include his need to control others and the dependency and hero worship that are encouraged. Yes-men (or, more frequently, yes-women) are installed in key positions in the group; they will be demoted if their affections lapse. The prophet may collectivize guilt by implying, as apostates of Stephen Gaskin of the Farm put it, that unless the followers work and sacrifice for the great vision, the movement — perhaps the whole world — is doomed. Two leaders in this study gave striking examples of this, one by stating that "anyone here who is not all the way happy is actively sabotaging the whole group," and the other by telling his followers that "To the degree that you do not love any person here, you are refusing to love everyone, including me, for we are all one." The leader may also claim to have a unique quality of love that the followers need for their salvation and that they could never find elsewhere; Jim Jones and Charles Manson used this ploy to mesmerize recruits (Lindholm 1990).
    The prophet's organization abounds with mechanisms that disempower the followers, as the books by Stewart Lamont and Kate Strelley show for the Scientology and Rajneesh movements (Lamont 1986; Strelley and San Souci 1987). The leader never acknowledges this manipulativeness and, when it is pointed out, may bluster and deny any ill effects. To the inner circle the prophet may be quite frank about some motives, but to the world beyond and to most of the followers he is aloof.
    . . .sees himself as above his charges in the way a lion tamer is above his beasts; they may turn on him from time to time in misguided rebellion, but he is not like them. There is a subtle difference and a great strength.
    Prophets go to great lengths to prove their strength . . .



ton2uAugust 9, 2015


Though difficult to recognize when you’re in the cult, after you step outside of cult programming, its use of mind-control techniques becomes all too obvious.


For example the “eternal damnation” meme is already deeply embedded in the collective psyche of “western” (judeo-christian and including muslim) cultures. This idea is a control mechanism that’s been used by religions for hundreds of years – along with belief that the only way to avoid damnation is to adhere to the religion and to follow its dictates. burton adopts and uses this idea with the threat of one’s soul “going to the moon” should you “lose” the school – it’s the “4th way” equivalent of “eternal damnation.”


Another mind-control technique has to do with the nature of burton’s numerous false prophecies, there’s always a prediction of some cataclysmic event hanging in the air, threatening all those who are not part of his “school.”


Whether the “prophecies” are true or false isn’t the point, nor the effect…. these “prophecies” are simply designed to scare those who are fooled into believing.


Psychological fear tactics act as part of the invisible fence which keeps the “flock” in their pen.





"Beware of false prophets, which come to you in sheep's clothing, but inwardly they are ravening wolves…"  Matthew 7:15





Peter 2:12-14 The Message (MSG)


These people are nothing but brute beasts, born in the wild, predators on the prowl. In the very act of bringing down others with their ignorant blasphemies, they themselves will be brought down, losers in the end. Their evil will boomerang on them. They’re so despicable and addicted to pleasure that they indulge in wild parties, carousing in broad daylight. They’re obsessed with adultery, compulsive in sin, seducing every vulnerable soul they come upon. Their specialty is greed, and they’re experts at it. Dead souls!


Peter 2:12-14 Amplified Bible (AMP)


12 But these [false teachers], like unreasoning animals, [mere] creatures of instinct, born to be captured and destroyed, reviling things they do not understand, will also perish in their own corruption [in their destroying they will be destroyed], 13 suffering wrong [destined for punishment] as the wages of doing wrong. They count it a delight to revel in the daytime [living luxuriously]. They are stains and blemishes [on mankind], reveling in their deceptions even as they feast with you. 14 They have eyes full of adultery, constantly looking for sin, enticing and luring away unstable souls. Having hearts trained in greed, [they are] children of a curse.


Peter 2:12-14 The Voice (VOICE)


12 These people who speak ill of what they do not understand are no different from animals—without sense, operating only on their instincts, born to be captured and killed—and they will be destroyed just like those animals, 13 receiving the penalty for their evil acts. They waste their days in parties and carousing. As they feast with you, these stains and blemishes on your community are feasting on their deceptions. 14 Their eyes are always looking for their next adulterous conquests; their appetites for sin cannot be satisfied. They seduce the unwary soul, and greed is the only lesson they have learned by heart. God’s curse lies upon them.



From Essential Sufism, edited by James Fadiman and Robert Frager, 1997


Chapter 4: The Lower Self 


The lower self is continually subject to notions and whims, both in word and deed. Its movements are arbitrary and unreliable; it is in a hurry to fulfill its desires, acting precipitously. Certain sages have likened it, in its fickleness, to a ball rolling giddily down a slope.


However much the lower self makes a show of virtue and attempts to conceal vice, the latter will be hidden only from the shortsighted and the naive, never from those with insight. It is like a hideous old hag who bedecks herself in fancy, dazzling clothes.


The lower self is constantly preoccupied with the virtues of its attributes, contemplating its states with contentment and reverence. It considers important the least thing it has done for anyone, remembering it for years afterward, being overwhelmed by its own kindness. Yet however great the favors others do for it, it places no importance on them, forgetting them quickly. If, by any chance, the lower self should succeed in attaining what it wants, it will still not be satisfied.


The lower self always wants people to obey moral precepts only as it expounds them, to love it more than anything else. The lower self wants others to fear it in all situations, clinging to hope in its mercy, in the same way that God demands these things from His devotees.


In most situations, the outward aspect of the lower self differs from the inward. It praises people in their presence, feigning honesty to their face, while in their absence it does the opposite.


The lower self is obsessed with presenting itself in ways that gain the good opinion of others. This results in its increase of possessions and pride in them, as well as arrogance, self-importance, and contempt. It avoids or ignores whatever people disapprove of, even though these things might please God.


~ Kashani


One of the latent vices and secret maladies of the lower self is its love of praise. It continually enjoins a person to put on pretensions, so that people will compliment it. Indeed, there are many self-worshipers and ascetics who are thus controlled by the lower self.


~ Qushayri


I saw my lower self in the form of a rat. I asked, "Who are you?" It replied, "I am the destruction of the heedless, for I incite them to wickedness. I am the salvation of the friends of God, for if it were not for me, they would be proud of their purity and their actions. When they see me in themselves, all their pride disappears."


~ Hujwiri


Whatever possessions and objects of its desires the lower self may obtain, it hangs onto them, refusing to let them go out of greed for more, or out of fear of poverty and need.


The lower self does not want anyone to receive anything from anyone else; and if it is aware of someone receiving a special boon, it seeks to destroy it.


A so-called dragon hunter went to the mountains to trap a dragon. He searched the mountains and finally discovered the frozen body of a great dragon in a cave high up one of the tallest peaks. The man brought the body to Baghdad. He claimed he slew the dragon single-handed and exhibited it on the bank of the river. Hundreds of people came to see the dragon. The warmth of the Baghdad sun gradually warmed the dragon's body, and it began to stir, coming slowly out of its winter sleep. The people screamed and stampeded, and many were killed. The dragon hunter was frozen in fear, and the dragon ate him in a single gulp.
    Your lower self is that dragon, a savage, bloody tyrant.
    It is not dead, merely frozen.
    Keep your dragon in the snow of self-discipline.
    Do not transport it to the sunshine of Baghdad.
    Let that dragon of yours remain dormant.
    Should it be released, it will devour you.


~ Rumi


The lower self is like a thief who sneaks into your house at night to steal whatever is valuable and worthwhile. You cannot fight this thief directly, because it will mirror whatever force you bring against it. If you have a gun, the thief will also have a gun. If you have a knife, the thief will have a knife as well. To struggle with the thief is to invite disaster. So, what can you do?
    The only practical solution is to turn on the light. The thief, who is a coward at heart, will then run out. How do we turn on the light? Through the practice of remembrance, awareness, and heedfulness.


~ Nurbakhsh



Is The Root of Evil the Psychopathic Mind?


By Randall Clifford – May 30, 2012




Lack of Insight into Own Behaviour


The serial bully appears to lack insight into his or her behaviour and seems unaware of how others perceive it. . .


The focus of this section is serial bullying in workplaces, but the character profile fits most types of abusers, including:


        * abusive and violent partners and family members
        * abusers of people in care
        * bullying neighbours, landlords, authorities, etc
        * confidence tricksters and swindlers
        * (religious) cult leaders
        * child bullies who are impervious to corrective action
        * racial and sexual harassers
        * sexual abusers and pedophiles, especially operating from a position of trust or untouchability
        * rapists
        * stalkers
        * arsonists
        * violent offenders, including serial killers


      The common objective of these offenders is power, control, domination and subjugation, the only difference being the way they express their violence. Offenses committed by people in this list are typically regarded as criminal and arrestable.

      One possible explanation for investigators and fellow managers being so easily manipulated by a serial bully appears in the research paper by Clive R Boddy, entitled "Corporate Psychopaths, Bullying and Unfair Supervision in the Workplace" (2011):

      "The cold-heartedness and manipulativeness of the psychopath are reported to be the traits that are the least discernable to others and this allows them to gain other people's confidence and facilitates their entry into positions where they can gain most benefit for themselves and do harm to others (Mahaffey and Marcus, 2006)."



      33. Mick DangerDecember 15, 2008


      “The world has witnessed a legion of false claimants – ordinary people with perhaps occult, charismatic, or hypnotic abilities.


      A false claim to be the Messiah is often grounded in personal gain. One motive is adoration. The ego can find no greater glory than grandiosity.


      Money, power, and sex: Together and individually, these issues compose the most common stumbling blocks for the false sage, guru, yogi, master, prophet, messiah, or hierophant.” 
      – Kenneth Lux 2001


      “In the world there are countless Sadhus, Mahatmas, Mahapurushas, Saints, Yogis and Walis, though the number of genuine ones is very, very limited.” -A.M.B. 



      Sex, Power, Money, and All of the Above


      Who will win in the search for sex, power, and money?
      Susan Krauss Whitbourne Ph.D.
      Psychology Today
      Posted Sept 21, 2013


      Freud may have believed that all humans are motivated by illicit motives, but research on the "Dark Triad" of personality suggests that some of us have stronger cravings than others. The Dark Triad refers to the set of three personality traits or personal dispositions generally recognized as undesirable – hence the term "dark."



      34. WhaleRider – February 9, 2017 




      “Delusions are beliefs that are not open for discussion.” ~ George Atwood, Ph.D

      Folie à deux-
      Shared psychosis is a psychiatric syndrome in which symptoms of a delusional belief are transmitted from one individual to another…


      When the love bombing ends and the devaluation and gaslighting begins, that’s when the “real school” will start to feel like a cult to those with eyes that see and ears that listen.


      A narcissistic cult leader will usually have flying monkeys at his side to do his dirty work for him.



      Gaslighting: Know It and Identify It to Protect Yourself
      Posted Jan 22, 2017
      By Stephanie Sarkis Ph.D.


      Gaslighting is a tactic in which a person or entity, in order to gain more power, makes a victim question their reality. It works much better than you may think. Anyone is susceptible to gaslighting, and it is a common technique of abusers, dictators, narcissists, and cult leaders. It is done slowly, so the victim doesn't realize how much they've been brainwashed. For example, in the movie Gaslight (1944), a man manipulates his wife to the point where she thinks she is losing her mind.

      People who gaslight typically use the following techniques:


      1. They tell blatant lies.


      You know it's an outright lie. Yet they are telling you this lie with a straight face. Why are they so blatant? Because they're setting up a precedent. Once they tell you a huge lie, you're not sure if anything they say is true. Keeping you unsteady and off-kilter is the goal.





      wakeup little suzy wakeup January 20, 2008


      In case somebody just started reading the blog, here’s a little history that bares reposting:

      After Richard Buzbee (school name, Richard Laurel) distributed his letter telling of his sexual encounter with Robert Burton and how he discovered his son Troy had been having a sexual relationship with Robert Burton (beginning when Troy was underage), Robert Burton called quite a few students to ‘try to quell the flames’. Here is one of those conversations, verbatim.


      Phone call from Robert Burton to James Battaglia, October 23, 1994


      Robert Burton.  Hello James, how’s your liver? Are you feeling well?


      J.  I’m fine, Robert, and it was a kidney transplant that I had.


      Robert Burton. Yes, that’s right. Are you disturbed by this Richard Buzbee incident? I understand you left the meeting in protest.


      J.  Let me explain the scenario. I had been standing for an hour and you know my physical condition. It was two minutes to eight o’clock and there were about a hundred cars at the Town Hall. Why do you think I left?


      Robert Burton.  To beat the traffic!


      J.  That’s right. If I was protesting this meeting, I’d do it verbally.


      Robert Burton.  I didn't want the meeting to be an arena to discuss my sexual life and I allowed it to happen. C Influence wants me to be a homosexual and have sex with my students so that I may have humility. It’s a beautiful experience for myself and my students. I’m very loving and careful with them. The morality of the Ark will not be based on Judeo-Christian principles.


      J.  What will it be based on?


      Robert Burton.  I don’t know yet.


      J.  I’d like to ask you some questions concerning this matter about Richard. Are you open to that?


      Robert Burton.  Yes.


      J.  Did Richard consent to having sex with you?


      Robert Burton. I’m over fifty and not a strong man. Richard lifted his buttocks up so that I could remove his pants. After we were through, he said that it was beautiful.


      J.  Had you had sex with him previously?


      Robert Burton. We had laid naked together in the other (Ethan’s) house and I fondled him. My students willingly have sex with me, I don’t force anyone.


      J.  I’ve talked with Richard myself, and I feel that I have a good understanding of his experience.


      Robert Burton.  Just remember, I am a conscious being and Richard is an unconscious being. Richard is lying through his teeth and he set me up. Richard is a wolf in sheep’s clothing and I fell for the setup.


      J.  I’m not conscious, and I can’t verify if you are conscious. The system tells me that the lower cannot see the higher.


      Robert Burton.  I am the brightest light in two thousand years.


      J.  I can’t verify that.


      Robert Burton.  Have you verified C Influence?


      J.  Yes.


      Robert Burton.  Well, the reason you’re able to do that is because I am a conscious being. Do you remember when I sent the car for you?


      J.  What do you mean?


      Robert Burton.  I have to make about five hundred decisions a week. That I was able to send a car for you, to pick you up at the hospital, was an act of a conscious being. It’s the little things that matter.


      J.  Robert, I don’t see how that allows me to verify that you are conscious. Are acts of kindness an indicator of consciousness?


      Robert Burton. You don’t sound like you are coming from the king of hearts, more from your king of clubs.


      J.  I’m glad you brought up the king of clubs. It seems like you have a big identification with things pertaining to the king of clubs. What do you think is the right work of the king of clubs?


      Robert Burton.  Gurdjieff says the king of clubs is the beast of the jungle, it protects the machine from harm. It lives in the jungle.


      J.  Then it seems to me a necessary part to recognize and understand. Yet you have an aversion to the king of clubs and things like holistic healing, hands-on healing, etcetera.


      Robert Burton. (vague response)


      J.  Robert, the only thing important to me is to keep my ears and eyes open and try to be in the moment. This moment. Talking to you is the most important thing happening. It helps me see the truth. That’s why I came to this school; I felt it was a bastion of truth. In time, though, I’ve found that most students don’t want to face the truth. Whenever I make an observation, the general response is that I’m being negative or that I’m losing the school. I see fear and feminine dominance as tools to keep students in control. I don’t have any fear of losing the school. I just need to be in the moment and if C Influence takes me out, so be it. Being in the moment is all that’s important to me.


      Robert Burton.  That’s not enough.


      J.  What do you mean, not enough? That’s what you’ve been preaching all these years, self-remembering. What more is there?


      Robert Burton.  You have to be concerned with your future.


      J.  What?!


      Robert Burton. You have to be concerned with YOUR future.


      J.  I’m concerned with the moment.


      Robert Burton.  Remember when you were thrown out of the raft?


      J.  Yes.


      Robert Burton.  C Influence can shake you out of the school just the same.


      J.  Robert, again let me say, all I can do is keep my eyes and ears open and stay in the moment. That’s all that’s important to me. I don’t fear losing the school if I’m bounced out of it.


      Robert Burton.  You have to be concerned about your future.


      J.  I’m only concerned with my present.


      Robert Burton. You have to be concerned about YOUR future (very strong emotional energy coming from Robert). Well, I’m glad that you’re o.k. about this incident. It’s fine to share this conversation with other students.


      J.  I won’t do that, Robert, because it would influence their thinking on this matter. I would encourage them to speak with Richard and you to form their own opinions. Are you open to them calling you?


      Robert Burton. Yes. Well, there’s a wedding here today and I have things to do.


      J.  Let’s keep the channels of communication open, Robert, and thanks for calling.


      Robert Burton.  Goodbye, dear.



      From The Psychopath Next Door 2014 Documentary, published on Dec 27, 2016


      "Psychopaths don't act or look crazy. They're not mentally ill. In fact, they're masters at appearing normal. Their main defect – what psychologists call 'severe emotional detachment' – is harder to diagnose than schizophrenia or bipolar disorder. They don't feel emotion, but act as if they do. They know right from wrong, but lack remorse and empathy. Psychopaths are pathological liars who love to con and manipulate others." 



      THE POINT OF THINKING WELL is to become more conscious, which in turn, is a prerequisite for solving problems . . . But what is consciousness?

         M. Scott Peck, The Road Less Traveled and Beyond



      Being conscious means to respond to every situation as it IS, not as it appears to be, not as one wishes it to be, not as if it were another, similar situation.


         Fadiman & Frager, Personality and Personal Growth (college textbook)



      When you see a situation you cannot understand, look for the financial interest.

       ~ Kenneth L. Grooms 



      44. Tim CampionDecember 15, 2014


      42. Jomo Piñata


      According to this remembrance from former Fellowship member Kathryn (Hannah) Fitzgerald, her parents Alice and Richard Hannah, among Robert Burton's earlies students, helped create "Messages from Michael."



      45. leafDecember 15, 2014

      No specifics come to mind, but I recall some people in the cult were experimenting with ‘channeling’ about 25 years ago. Through the grapevine, I heard they were sent packing by Burton, or given an ultimatum to give it up or lose Influence C, whatever.

      In retrospect, Burton was concerned about anything that would lead to any type of comparison to his own cult. He feared that people would begin seeing it as something rather ordinary rather than extraordinary (“there are angels with us in this room right now”). And in the process, people would question the need to be there, and the underlying problems with Burton would come to the surface.


      And then there was the Amway movement in the mid to late 80s. Same thing — people were told to give it up, or say goodbye. Again, Amway stirs some comparisons.


      Every cult has its own fictional account of the world. The Bible is one long, grueling, violent story, with one person after another being killed or tortured. Catholics, Mormons, Scientology, Gurdjieff and Ouspenksy books — all of them — have weird ideas about the nature of the universe. It’s almost as though someone wrote a sci-fi/fantasy novel, and thousands or millions of people began seeing it as truth.


      Personally, I find sci-fi and fantasy fascinating because it draws me into a more creative realm, where imagination can be healthy, stimulating to the mind, and inspiring to the heart. Some stories are more plausible than others. Catholicism and the Fourth Way seemed plausible and fascinating to me at one time because I found some of the ideas compelling. I still do. But very strange that so many people would actually “follow” such fiction as a type of truth that required guidance from a guru, or many gurus. It’s not a perfect comparison, but it’s like joining a cult that professes verification of The Force, and joining up to get my light saber.



      Amway – multi-billion dollar scam


      Growing up inside Scientology was a nightmare


      The self-help industry helps itself to billions of dollars



      80. John HarmerJanuary 21, 2017


      Is Burton of higher or lower intelligence than average?

      Answers on a postcard smiley




      "Real-life psychopaths"


      Not so smart


      To investigate, Boutwell and his colleagues analyzed the results of 187 published studies on intelligence and psychopathy. These papers included research on psychopaths in prison as well as those enjoying high-flying careers. They also included a range of measures of intelligence.


      Overall, the team found no evidence that psychopaths were more intelligent than people who don’t have psychopathic traits. In fact, the relationship went the other way. The psychopaths, on average, scored significantly lower on intelligence tests. “I think the results will surprise a lot of people,” says Boutwell.



      189. WhaleRider October 18, 2016


      Studies show psychopaths really do make some people feel queasy. Why? The researchers suspect it might be an evolutionary response to an “intraspecies predator.”


      This is another one [method] all the sources agreed on. Don’t listen to the excuses, rationalizations or outright lies. Don’t listen to what they say they will do. Pay attention to what they do.




      One thing I learned from my father very early: Don't take any notice of what people say, just watch what they do.


      Man has an infinite capacity for self-development. Equally, he has an infinite capacity for self-destruction.  A human being may be clinically alive and yet, despite all appearances, spiritually dead.


      The world of supposedly spiritual people is full of unconsciously hypocritical people.


      Both the Western and the Middle Eastern methods of study come from the common heritage of the Middle Ages, when one was regarded as wise if he had a better memory than someone else.


      Two main forces are used by those who have no insight, to combat those who have. The first force is that of the Men of Power, who kill, punish, and harm. The second is that of the People of Learning, who use deceit, hypocrisy, and heresy.


       ~ Idries Shah



      "but. . .seriously"


      Jeff Lieberman chronicles the unique role of the stand up comic as

      critic/commentator/lampooner of social and political events ranging

      from the early 1960s to the '90s




      When Bad Is Good:
      Adopting the Psychopathic Lifestyle


          The attitudes and behaviors of individuals with many psychopathic features are systemic, a natural and pervasive part of their general lifestyle. In a sense, they are what they are. However, there are others whose nature is less psychopathic than pragmatic; they adopt some of the trappings of a "psychopathic lifestyle" in order to succeed or excel at their work or profession. They are encouraged in this process by all sorts of pop-psych self-help books that promote a philosophy of aggressive greed, self-entitlement, and "looking out for number one."
          In his book What Would Machiavelli Do?, Stanley Bing, perhaps tongue in cheek, tells how to get what you want when you want it whether you deserve it or not. Without fear. Without emotion. Without finger-wagging morality. The following are some of his exhortations:


      * Be cold-hearted: Replace decency and thoughtfulness with insensitivity and hardheartedness.


      * Work hard to become bad: Most people aren't naturally horrendous . . . but with work we can improve.


      * Be narcissistic: View others solely as a function of your needs . . . You have enormous selfishness within you . . . Let it out.


      * Be unpredictable: Very nice. Very mean. Big, big swings. Gigantic pleasure. Towering rage.


      * Be ruthless: For your competitors and those who would bring you down. "Crush them. Hear their bones break, their windpipes snap."


          Of course, the more psychopathic one is, the easier it is to follow Bing's road map to amoral personal and corporate success. For most of us, though, social brutality and predation are somewhat more difficult. Even if Bing's book is viewed as a satire, it reads like a blueprint for a psychopath.


      From Snakes in Suits by Paul Babiak & Robert Hare chapter 3: What You See May Not Be What You See



      From Chapter Four – Psychopathic Pied Pipers – in Malignant Pied Pipers Of Our Time by Peter A. Olsson, M.D. 

      . . .Malignant Pied Pipers illustrate what I have called "the malignant transformation of narcissism" in cult leaders and the passive malevolent surrender of their individuality and personal authority in cult followers. The cult leader/preacher puts down his followers as he simultaneously builds up their special status, which will be attained by carrying out his exciting projects.
          Rather than experiencing the usual altruistic surrender to a worthy and benevolent cause. . .Manson, Koresh, Asahara, Jones, and Jouret surrendered malevolently to the stored-up inner rage at their parents and a society that they felt had keenly disappointed them. They struck back in cowardly fashion at society, like the bitter, "stiffed," vengeful Pied Piper of Hamelin, who took revenge on the village by seducing away the village's children with the music of his cult.


      Chapter Six – The Siren Song of Destructive Cults: Recognizing the Music of the Malignant Pied Piper, p. 106-107


      In my early years of cult study, I assumed that a person lured into a cult must have severe personality weaknesses, problems, or mental illness. I found that this assumption was inaccurate. As we have seen from the biographical accounts. . .cult followers come from the full spectrum of humanity — young to old, poor to rich, educated to illiterate, conservative to liberal, religious to uncommitted. Anyone can be vulnerable to cult recruitment in certain life circumstances.
          If we think of common human needs as a pyramid, the base of the pyramid is built up from the essentials — oxygen, water, food; then clothing, shelter, and protection; and so on in a gradual ascent through community and culture. The fundamental human need to affiliate with small and/or large groups is near the top, just below the domain of spirituality.  Spiritual needs are experienced (or denied) individually, and are intensely private and personal. Yet they are also learned, mediated, amplified, and rewarded within a community. All human beings have deep and normal needs to find spiritual meaning in their lives and to affiliate with a group and a community as part of their quest. These aspirations have both rational and irrational elements. (Abraham Maslow, Maturation and Personality.)
          As we encourage our young people to be spiritually connected with other people, we must remember that there are risks. A wise and mature nurse at our local hospital made the following comment when we were discussing this book: "Dr. Olsson, we raise our kids to be kind, curious, and open to the world and the diversity of people's beliefs. The paradox is that this can leave them a little too naive and trusting, and therefore, vulnerable to clever predators — your MPPs."
          . . .Any small or large group forms collective goals, core values, rules, and norms of behavior. Even as the individual is nurtured and supported by the group, he or she often subordinates or compromises individuality in deference to the identity of the group.
          Groups require leaders for their formation, administration, and day-to-day operation. Natural leaders generally possess charisma and charm in some degree. Members of the group, in return for investing their own individual power and authority in the charismatic leader, vicariously participate in the leader's power and authority. This idea is critical to understanding the lure of the Malignant Pied Piper. Cult members are not just passive victims of a cult leader's charisma. The relationship involves a powerful co-dependency that resembles a dysfunctional marriage.
          Leader-follower relationships in destructive cults are the epitome of co-dependency, dysfunctionality, and abuse. Membership in a destructive cult is devastating to the individual in terms of his or her creativity, intellectual maturation, and individuation. Destructive and exploitive cult leaders victimize their followers because of their own narcissistic personality problems.


      Chapter Eight – Why We Study the Minds of Malignant Pied Pipers & Their Followers – p. 157


      . . .MPPs can be very winsome and appealing at early encounters. It can be valuable to be able to spot subtle patterns of a potential MPP or the recruitment techniques that they or their cult group use.
          All people to varying degrees have a basic need to be a part of a community. It is healthy and essential to maturation and personality development to affiliate with and have meaningful experiences with small and large groups. Groups provide healthy avenues to create meaning in our lives. Patriotism and religious loyalty, for example, are normal. Even atheistic faith can be respectful and dignified. Thankfulness and respect for the wonderfulness of America is not incompatible with vigorous criticism of its policies or leaders. MPPs do not tolerate vigorous criticism or intelligent questioning of their teachings for very long. They may feign tolerance for a while, but down deep, they think they know all the answers. It is their way or the highway. This is a key area to be mindful and watchful about with leaders of groups. MPPs can exploit and manipulate our inherent need to affiliate with groups. . .



      10. Linda JoJune 8, 2016


      Re: SOBs


      After finding this summary last week in Psychology Today, I included the following points in a long cult history summary/expose (still in progress):


      Why “Macho” Leadership Still Thrives
      Authoritarian, narcissistic leaders are on the rise.
      Posted Apr 4, 2016 by Ray Williams


      Global economic uncertainty and the spike in terrorism has created a resurgence of the populist attraction to authoritarianism and male “macho” leaders. This trend is evident both in politics and in business.


      Narcissistic personality disorder, sociopathy, and psychopathy have one thing in common: they are disorders whose primary personality trait is the obsession with control, domination of, and power over others, whether that is people, animals, the environment, systems, or organizations.


      Kevin Dutton, author of The Wisdom of Psychopaths, argues “Traits that are common among psychopathic serial killers—a grandiose sense of self-worth, persuasiveness, superficial charm, ruthlessness, lack of remorse and the manipulation of others—are also shared by politicians and world leaders. Individuals, in other words, running not from the police, but for office.” Such a profile allows those who have these traits to do what they like when they like, completely unfazed by the social, moral or legal consequences of their actions.


      In their book, Snakes in Suits: When Psychopaths Go To Work, Paul Babiak and Robert Hare, argue while psychopaths may not be ideally suited for traditional work environments by virtue of a lack of desire to develop good interpersonal relationships, they have other abilities such as reading people and masterful influence and persuasion skills that can make them difficult to be seen as the psychopaths they are. According to their and others’ studies somewhere between 3-25% of executives could be assessed as psychopaths, a much higher figure than the general population figure of 1%.


      Manifred Kets de Vries, a distinguished Clinical Professor of Leadership Development and Organizational Change at INSEAD has completed some research and published a paper on the subject. He calls the corporate psychopath the “SOB—Seductive Operational Bully”—or psychopath “lite.” SOBs don’t usually end up in jail or psychiatric hospital, but they do thrive in an organizational setting. SOBs can be found wherever power, status, or money is at stake, de Vries says: “They talk about themselves endlessly; they like to be in the limelight. In some ways they are like children, believing that they are the center of the universe, unable to recognize the needs and rights of others. They appear to be charming yet can be covertly hostile and domineering, seeing their “victims” merely as targets and opportunities; like master and slave, they try to dominate and humiliate them. For them, the end always justifies the means.


      Populist authoritarianism can best be explained as a cultural backlash in Western societies against long-term, ongoing social change.


      Over recent decades, the World Values Survey shows that Western societies have been getting gradually more liberal on many social issues, especially among the younger generation and well-educated middle class. That includes egalitarian attitudes toward sex roles, tolerance of fluid gender identities and LGBT rights, support for same-sex marriage, tolerance of diversity, and more secular values, as well as what political scientists call emancipative values, engagement in directly assertive forms of democratic participation, and cosmopolitan support for agencies of global governance. This long-term generational shift threatens many traditionalists’ cultural values. Less educated and older citizens fear becoming marginalized and left behind within their own countries. This fear spawns a desire for someone to take control.


      In the United States, evidence from the World Values Survey perfectly illustrates the education gap in these types of cultural values. Well before Trump, a substantial and striking education gap can be observed in American approval of authoritarian leaders. The WVS asked whether Americans approved of “having a strong leader who doesn’t have to bother with congress or elections.” Most remarkably, by the most recent wave in 2011, almost half — 44 percent — of U.S. non-college graduates approved of having a strong leader unchecked by elections and Congress.


      Many of today’s challenges are too complex to yield to the exercise of leadership alone. Even so, we are inclined to see the problems of the present in terms of crises and leaders. Our growing addiction to the narrative of crisis has gone hand in hand with an increasing veneration of leadership—a veneration that leaves us vulnerable to the false prophets, the smooth operators, the gangsters, and the demagogues who say they can save us.




      “You think you’re in heaven, but you’re really all in hell, and I’m the only man who can tell you how to get out!”


        ~ Alex Horn


      “Just remember, I am a conscious being and the brightest light in 2000 years.”


        ~ Robert Earl Burton



      Doris Lessing

      Useful Idiots


      Yuri Bezmenov
      Deception Was My Job



      9. OscarDecember 12, 2016


      The Cult of Trump


      Can’t understand why a loved one would vote for Donald Trump? Let the experts who spend their lives studying cults help break it down.
      America was watching, the world was watching, and Donald Trump needed everyone to understand just how dire the straits really were.


      “Our convention occurs at a moment of crisis for our nation,” he proclaimed ominously as he officially accepted the Republican nomination for president at the party’s convention in Cleveland last month. It was a grim portrait of America, a once-great nation ravaged by terrorism, “poverty and violence” at home, “war and destruction” overseas.


      The solution? Not God. Or patriotism. Or casting aside party loyalty to come together as a nation. No, politicians had rallied under those virtuous banners before, and where had it gotten us? Instead, the newly crowned nominee offered a more messianic promise: that Trump—and only Trump—can get things back on track.


      That’s the moment, says Rick Alan Ross, America’s leading cult expert, when he realized Trumpism had striking similarities to the fanatical groups he studies.


      Like many moderates in the party, Ross, the executive director of the Cult Education Institute and a lifelong Republican, had watched Trump’s rise with mounting distaste. But Trump’s rhetoric at the RNC—“I alone can fix it”—clicked the pieces into place. “That kind of pronouncement is typical of many cult leaders, who say that ‘my way is the only way, I am the only one,’” Ross says. “That was a very defining moment.”


      When I called Ross, I cut right to the chase, asking, “Is Trump a cult leader?” I didn’t get more than a few words in for the next 20 minutes as he dove into the evidence: the nominee’s deep-rooted narcissism, his lack of transparency, many of his supporters’ blind, full-throttled adoration. A week later, he left me two voicemails outlining the warning signs of narcissistic personality disorder in the candidate, and a week after that, followed up with another batch of e-mails expounding on Trump’s similarities to the cults he studies. There was a lot to dig into.




      Dan P. McAdams investigates how Trump's extraordinary personality might shape his possible presidency: "Imagine Donald Trump in the White House. What kind of decision maker might he be?"


      Matt Taibbi, author of Insane Clown President, chronicles election of "Billionaire Hedonist" Trump


      The New York Times – To the Editor – March 8, 2017
      "Protect Us From This Dangerous President"
      By Judith Herman and Robert Jay Lifton

      The Political Scene
      The Art of the Deal made America see Trump as a charmer with an unfailing knack for business. Tony Schwartz helped create that myth – and regrets it.

      "Trump didn't fit any model of human being I'd ever met."




      10. OscarDecember 12, 2016

      The Trump campaign has turned into something new: a cult.


      The fact hit me a few minutes after I entered the Charlotte Convention Center on Friday night and heard supporters openly blaming the women who’ve recently come forward to accuse Donald Trump of sexually assaulting them. The Trump faithful were more than ready to cut down anyone standing in their leader’s way.


      “They’re gold diggers,” I heard an old woman say.


      “Let’s call them what they are,” said a woman in a “Proud Deplorable” shirt. “They’re whores.”


      Throughout the night there were similar strains of the same conversation. Everyone was in agreement that there was no veracity to the women’s claims, that it was just another dirty trick by “Crooked Hillary” to defeat Trump, a man so good, another woman explained, holding out her quaking hand, “It makes me shake to think they’d hurt a man like that.”


      “Let’s call them what they are. They’re whores.”


      But the questioning of the women’s accounts didn’t stop at skepticism. In a cult, when confronted with conflicting evidence, it’s oftentimes necessary to go to extreme lengths to sustain the shared narrative. Here, in Charlotte, they were more than ready to go to those lengths.



      116. Linda Jo April 4, 2016


      Found this today:




      A Conversation For Former and Future Former Members


      Play “What the Fuck Does That Mean?”


      Welcome to “What the Fuck Does That Mean?” where we pose this question to certain sayings from the Sharon Gans Cult. Today’s word is “FORMATORY”.


      The cult would explain that: “The formatory apparatus is Ouspensky’s term for the mechanical aspect of the lower intellectual center. The natural function of this center is storage of information and its associative retrieval. The term formatory thinking is used when this function replaces the less mechanical aspects of thinking. Formatory thinking is characterized by insensitivity to context, black and white statements or strictly agreeing or disagreeing. Repeating by rote and not taking specific circumstance into account are the main characteristics of formatory thinking.”


      Student: “How do you Remember Yourself?
      Gans: “You are a dummy. And you have a formatory mind. You need everything spelled out.”


      Funny thing is that when you Google the word “formatory” or phrase “formatory thinking” you only get hits on the Ouspensky definition. No Wikipedia or Merriam Webster entry. Even Urban Dictionary don’t have it.


      The winner is the evil genius, Sharon Gans and her diabolical use of a stupid and obscure philosophy to make herself a huge amount of money.






      Monday, August 15, 2015



      and ROBERT KlEIN


      Shit Show


      Two hot topics which Big Red felt she had special expertise: medical health and child rearing. Never shy to give reckless and malevolent advice.


      On health, her theory was basically that disease was brought on by people's own faults: negativity and laziness. She felt negative emotions caused cancer; she once insisted that smoking cigarettes was not a cause. She was suspicious of doctors and told me she hadn't been to one in many years. She enjoyed belittling the medical doctors who were in the cult, claiming she knew more than them. After awaile, they remained silent. She favored suspect and inauthentic ddures. Fred, the chiropractor and official quack, she claimed, was able to ease her chronic back pain telepathically (or I should say telephonically). She sent everyone to Fred for any kind of ailment. He'd sell people expensive, useless vitamins. I wonder if she got a cut.


      Her parenting advice was so tainted by her own mental illness that it was downright sick, immoral and disgusting. She instructed a father to have sex with his teen step-daughter. She advised single women to have children and lie to the children about their father's identity. She wanted me to marry a single mother but someone else did and they told the child he was the father (it wasn't me). Everyone knows about the adoptions between cult  members. Sharon told parents to leave their kids alone at night to come to meetings.



      ganscult – March 29, 2011 [excerpts]



      To all “students”:


      Please understand that you have been lied to and fooled. Your good will and real wish to evolve has been co-opted by a group of Psychotic people. This may seem unbelievable to you but you can read this and VERIFY FOR YOURSELF.




      First Things First:


      NOBODY who is in a cult believes that they are in a cult. Don’t be too horrified…  You are not alone and you are in good company.


      If you are feeling scared, guilty, weak or wrong for reading this you can rest assured your brain if not completely washed…has had a good soaking.


      I was a member of this group for many years. I thought after years of searching for a real teaching that I had finally found a place where students were genuinely interested in evolution and consciousness. For the most part, I had every reason to believe. The students were dedicated and serious about learning and the “teachers”  had some excellent information that was very exciting to hear. I enjoyed the teachings and did my best to apply the work ideas to my life and often times they worked. I was convinced that I would never leave school.


      Yes, the commitment was great and highly time-consuming but the benefits far outweighed the down side and besides, I was an evolving man. Part of a very exclusive club and from what I knew doing the only thing that could really help the world … waking up…  What could be better than that?


      Yes, there were some strange things that I did not understand but once again I didn’t care … I was learning and where else could I find the structure and rigor of this “school”?


      Some of the strange things:
      1)  I was told that I was involved in a real school connected to the schools of Platonic school, the school of Pythagoras, Shakespeare, The Renaissance etc. etc. yet on the 3 different occasions I asked Gans and other “teachers” about our school's connection, I never got ANY answer. With each inquiry I was treated more and more harshly… On my final attempt, an ‘older student’ physically pulled me down in my seat while a lieutenant of Gans’ insulted me and said “how dare you manifest like that.”  I couldn’t believe no one else in the room thought that not getting an answer was odd.


      1A)  As a new “student” I was treated kindly and given much encouragement and individual attention. I remember our class had about 10 to 12 people and we got all the help we needed and our time commitment was only a couple of hours 2 X a week. This was a great deal, although the mystery of the organization was disturbing. Then I was all of a sudden moved up, or as the fake teachers said ”given the privilege” to study in an older group of 50 students. All of a sudden 4 hrs a week with a great amount of help and attention turned into 12 to 14 hrs a week (not including recruiting) with little or no attention. This is when the bullying and enslavement begins. I was manipulated and coerced into doing “service” run by an old witch of a “student".


      2)  The “teachers” all seemed like addicts. Fred Mindel, Greg Koch, Mary Terry, and Sharon herself could not, and still cannot control themselves when it comes to alcohol, food, cigarettes and prescription drugs. They ALL seem to be alcoholics and food addicts. This complete lack of self-control is not indicative of an evolved or evolving person. Before you try to teach others to master themselves, you should have mastery over yourself. NONE of them have the self-control required of a real teacher.


      3)  Violent and often times random outbursts from “teachers” (where the arrow is NOT pointing both ways) that often would leave students shaking and crying, often times with no apparent justification. I am NOT an oversensitive person. I enjoy physical, emotional and mental rigor. I actually seek it out and I do not mind somebody pointing out my flaws. This IS necessary and required for evolution and I accept that. Often times the rants were completely unjustified. All too often the sheer violence and hate spewed out by “teachers” and older “students” was (is) alarming. It is often a struggle with massive destruction. The intent of these degrading and humiliating experiences would soon be revealed.


      4)  MANY of the students had little or no social life. They became slaves to the make believe “school”. Many of them sad and bitter. There was an obvious inner-circle … It felt a lot like high school and who was “in” and who wasn’t … a lot of nastiness and pettiness.


      5)  There were always new rules, and some rules that were followed sometimes and other times not at all. I remember once Gans randomly brought "a neighbor" of hers to an event we were having in class. An absolute breech of the privacy we were all demanded to regard. Yet, that week I witnessed her mercilessly screaming and ridiculing someone for a minor infraction of a rule I never even heard of.


      6)  Why the need for such austere “privacy”?  We are simply a group of people studying ideas. Our government is a bit oppressive but even today nobody could or would even care to stop such a harmless group. Gurdjieff and Ouspensky gave lectures openly and Ouspensky and Gurdjieff advertised their events and wrote newspaper articles and books about the Work. They did not hide … at all!


      Gans is laundering money and lots of it. Roughly around $50,000 per month; that does not include the other fake school she runs in Boston and the one overseas in Copenhagen. She may be totaling well over $100,000.00 a MONTH, and she is constantly at work to take money from “students” and manipulate marriages that will assure her a greater income and increased “devotion”, thus the secrecy.


      7)  She literally took credit for President Obama getting elected. Saying that she and Robert were continuously advising Obama the entire election. Really Delusional. I cringed with embarrassment for her and the others who bought it. I could tell that this even made some of the “teachers” uncomfortable. She then threw herself a “victory party” when he won. We had to pay for it.


      8)  She did and said a lot of stupid things and is EXTREMELY Vain. One time she went on a rant, saying “how come you are not all on your knees begging me to stay?” She was dead serious. She displayed a lot of erratic and wildly inconsitant behavior. She seemed drunk more than a few times. She rarely listened to or asked advice from those around her. She is way too sure of herself for someone who is so often Wrong.


      9)  It was expensive and we were constantly being hit up for more and more money. Why did we have to pay for EVERYTHING? Why wasn’t our tuition used for parties, or Christmas class, or 3rd line of work?  Do the math and you will see that she and her gang are flat out robbing people.


      10)  Recruiting or “3rd line of work” was a never-ending saga. It seems like that became an “older student’s” primary function. Hundreds of hours wasted. I spent the last 7 years doing this work and every time the aim period ended, another one began. This was exhausting. I spent 30 to 40 hours a month FOR YEARS. A real teaching would simply attract new students.


      I could go on with my past reservations, but the point is at the time, I didn’t care. It seemed that the positives outweighed the negatives and I did not believe that anyone was really being harmed. I thought “so what if these people are a little kooky, no one is being hurt." Then I found out that Gans and company were REALLY manipulating people’s lives, in demented and insidious ways. She is responsible for intentionally breaking up marriages, arranging marriages, having babies given up for adoption, again and again, and simply destroying people’s lives. Can you imagine parents in the group being told to give up their child? … and they do it!!!


      If that is not evidence of Brainwashing and Mind Control, what is?


      Of course the “teachers” all get behind her as they themselves are often involved in Gans’ sick, violent and self-serving “fix-ups". This is one of the many reasons there is SO much secrecy in and around the group. Anyone with any conscience would be appalled and horrified if they knew this happened once, let alone realize Gans is CONSTANTLY at work to break up marriages and re-arrange people’s lives to benefit her.


      As I continue to talk with ex-members, I continue to hear these heart-breaking stories. Including members that have given small fortunes to Gans as well as decades of slave labor.


      You are in a group run by LIARS. Robert, Fred, Greg, Cynthia May and Mary all KNOW it is NOT a school, they KNOW Sharon Gans has never had a teacher, but they keep up the pretense that it is all legit. In fact they treat her like some kind of a highly developed spiritual deity. What level of being does such a thing? There are hundreds & hundreds of students being told this is a school when it is not, spending their time money and effort and sacrificing their friends and families to receive “C influence” … and its a complete sham!


      Gans is a Psychopath.


      A person with an antisocial personality disorder, manifested in aggressive, perverted, criminal, or amoral behavior without empathy or remorse.


      She lives in a world where everything revolves around her. She treats people with great disdain (“teachers and ‘students” included) and horrible abusiveness.


      She learned a lot of her bullying techniques and mind control from her psychopathic husband Alex Horn (google his name along with his Theater of All Possibilities). Alex Horn never studied the work either, yet his first wife, Anne Burridge, evidently went to a couple of meetings run by a real teacher. So Alex Horn starts a group out in San Francisco (“Theater of All Possibilities”) in the early '70s, knowing little to nothing about the work but just enough to control people and separate them from their money and seduce and abuse women with his “knowledge". Uncared for and beaten children, physical punishment and sexual deviancy were all par for the course in the original group. (One of Alex’s first fake students was another kook named Robert Burton. Feel free to google him and his own fake school where he claims himself to be an “angel” and sleeps with his male “students”.)


      An investigation ensues after an article is published in a local newspaper, telling of the beatings and brainwashing. Charges are brought against [the] group; and Fred Mindel, at that time a lawyer, defends them. . .


      Eventually they all skip town. They all flee to New York to set up shop. Alex Horn and Sharon Gans start a group. Horn is out of control so Gans takes over. (Horn goes on to run a smaller group.) This was over 30 years ago. Since then she has been “teaching” a subject she has NEVER STUDIED. Completely deceiving hundreds and hundreds of “students” who are looking for a real teaching. Holding out the idea of an authentic Fourth Way School as bait, then you get brainwashed, enslaved and abused. It’s called Bait & Switch. Meanwhile, Robert Klein, Fred Mindel, Greg Koch, Cynthia May, Mary Terry, ‘Leslie O’ say nothing about this deception. They have the nerve to talk to students about “level of being.”






      What a set-up for the Monster Size Egoist Gans! Imagine…  A self-admitted party girl gets 3 or 4 Extravagant “Christmas Classes” (Parties) plus 20 to 30 birthday parties for the “in crowd” or “inner circle” people each year, and she is the center of attention at ALL of the parties. She probably shows up 3 to 4 times a week (except for summer when she heads out to Montana with her lieutenants and band of fake student/slaves) to do the manipulating of the fake students in person with her “love” (false and exaggerated praise, usually reserved for the rich fake students or the ones who can be deeply hypnotized) and “hate” methods of control, including humiliation and severe emotional beat downs, and [she] eats and drinks the whole night! For Free! Fake students/slaves (I was one of them, although not for long) show up an hour or more before fake school begins to cook her meals. Only the MOST HYPNOTIZED of the fake students are allowed to run service, and they are usually so enamored with their little position of favor that they take the opportunity to make everyone else who they are working with miserable and depressed. She has meals prepared for her every night and she obviously takes full advantage of the feasts in the fake teacher's room. I guess controlling, manipulating, abusing and Brainwashing hundreds of people makes you pretty hungry … 'cause the eating don’t stop in the fake teacher's room. There certainly is never any lack of food or alcohol for her and her Gang of Criminals and the orgy of eating and drinking goes on during “class” … except the plates are much smaller.


      The soul thief also has students tripping over themselves to perform for her, whether it is regular class or “christmas class” like trained animals begging for a morsel of approval, and most students are SO desperate to make a “good impression” on her that it is embarrassing. Talk about forgetting yourself! Then she gives her critique, like she is THE diva of the theater. (It seems she skipped acting school like she skipped the other school.) She NEVER contributes ANYTHING, not a dime ever leaves her ostentatious pocketbooks. She has at least 4 different homes. The latest an $8 million apartment at the Plaza Hotel which was refurbished … you guessed it … by students … and no, they were not paid.  She has the nerve to ask “students” to pay into her “retirement fund”.


      She insists that everyone who is in her fake school work, yet she hasn’t had a job herself in over 30 years.


      She did however direct a play written by her husband Alex Horn called “The Legend of Sharon Shashanova”.  Directed by Gans. About Gans. Imagine, she thinks of herself as a “legend” … Serious Delusion. Behavior that goes hand in hand with a true psychopath.


      The review from New York Magazine (October 17th 1988) for this mess of a play starts out: “When it comes to pretentiousness nobody beats The Legend of Sharon Shashanova.”


      The review of the play just goes downhill from there … feel free to google it.


      Of course it’s pretentious. What else could it be? Both of them have been living pretend lives … DEGENERATE miscreants, imagining themselves as some highly developed beings able to teach a system they have never studied. They are two-bit Thugs. CRIMINALS in the biggest sense of the word, preying on the real wishes of innocent people. Using up people’s lives to improve their own lives and level of comfort. Manipulating people to no end, stealing their time, money and families.


      Alex Horn died in 2007, yet his evil continues on through Gans and her sickos. A quote from a former student:


      Yes, he was an evil man. He seduced and slept with MANY of his students – with and without his wife Sharon’s consent. He was a sexual predator. The worst. I know that we should not speak ill of the dead but he was so ill himself. Ill as in a sick psycho. Dust to Dust.



      From A FOURTH WAY STANDUP by Dave Archer:

      Please. Evil is ACTION, not THOUGHT, a truth so blatant the Roto-Rooter guy gets it. Rape is evil. You can say a rapist commits every crime in the "interest of their own good," from their own "understanding," still, their action is evil. If you think the "Night Stalker" was following "his own conception of GOOD," therefore his action was not really evil, you are indeed the idiot G declared you to be. Society has the word "evil" to designate actions beyond the pale. Eight year old kids know this. Ah, six year olds too. It's Common Sense, THE ancient repository of Esoteric Truth flushed during Philosophy 101.


      In Horn's Group, no cameras allowed! Hey, it's time wires are worn into Gurdjieff Groups to expose them on national television. Just kidding. Well, quite easy actually, and bound to happen sooner or later. All one need do is tell the "screener" they are disappointed in life, feel there must be more, that they read "Miraculous" and "Meetings," and have never been in a Group before, and take no psychiatric meds, especially, how many piles of pesos they rake in every year from their cash taco chain. This can be coached by any number of apostates. Hey, even Gurdjieff's Ghost will help. He loves it. He told me he did the last time we channeled together, last night actually. Let's start with that Ferrigamo clicker Horn dropped like Rosemary's afterbirth on Red Mountain in Sonoma. Man, Robert ran with it, gotta hand him that. I was there. Many were. I was at the beginning for a year and three months. Mr. Appalling came along later and we don't remember him, which he, in proper Magus style, offers as his heftiest sly-PLUS, in that he was so hip he SUPER-OBSERVED and became a Number Jive Man just by snapping his three brains together. And to think, Alex picked him up hitchhiking. Cool. My hair is off to his Machiavellian move in twisting Alex's Minotaur horns into a Unicorn spike. He sure missed out on the good part though. I'm telling you, we danced around fires naked and sacrificed a sheep for Passover. A sheep we'd rustled in the middle of the night from some Subjective farmer's field. Ah, those were the days.


      Gurdjieffian Magus: sly, astute, foxy, guileful, slippery, crafty, cunning, artful, insidious, vulpine, subtle, tricky, wily, genuinely disingenuous, calculating, unfrank, grifted, subdolous, designing, scheming, dangerous, cagy, devious, shady, shifty, erotic, slick, decisive, divisive, covert, furtive, secretive, stealthy, humorous, riveting, magnetic, underhanded, ruthless, predatory, dishonest, skilled, devising, contriving, quick-taking, silky, haunting, silver tongued, Classics trained, sensate, animalistic, hypnotic, brutal, quote-cribbing, socio-separatist. The reason why people stay with one is [because] they want to be like them and get all the money too. Well, to be fair, they stay because all their friends are there, and part of it is really cool, and they don't want to be seen as being weak and giving up.


      Added Boner Feature:




      One day some Magus-tripping Gurdjieff "student" sent me an e-mail from Afghanistan. I thought it must be a put-on of some sort. 2004 I think. I don't know. I figured it was the FBI updating my file again. The sender said every word was direct from an official, student eyes only, monthly note-sheet, purporting it to be the actual words of G-penis, Robert Burton. Evidently they had picked up his newsletter while kicking around the weekly goat-testicle-meeting at Saturday Market in Kabul. And, they were actually requesting my comments on it because I'd shot my wad off about Gurdjieff in this stupid article, and they wanted more. I also figured it could be from Burton himself, as a joke. You know, what do you do after you collect all those paintings and sculptures? Collect more? Or goad some ex-guppies for a few laughs between giving conscious blow jobs and kicking people out for waking up. So I e-mailed back, hoping to give the Feds, or R, or both, a bit of sizzle-frival, completely forgetting the impossibility of either of them groking the ravings of the Central Casting "G" Type I am, which is: Lunatic Type, not to mention bum and tramp.


      "Lunatics", said Mr. Ouspensky, "are like politicians, people who think they can do, people who think that they can change life by means of themselves, people who, if they put their theories into practice, create greater disorder because they do not calculate Second Force. (Oooo, Second Force, all bow before the Queen) This means that they think they can change everyone by some new enactment and do not realize that to change a person is a very difficult thing. These are the Lunatics, and again, they do not see the fool in themselves."


      Oh really. I see it alright. The King has me in his court for just that reason. I make him laugh at himself.


      Hubris, always my strong suit.


      You mean Lunatic Type like Gurdjieff himself? I assume Ouspensky included himself in my G category too, since the man went completely mad and died a terrible paranoid death from giving away his life to an amoral man who used him like a box of Kleenex for writing and publishing secrets G was never supposed to reveal. No wonder Gurdjieff and Ouspensky produced so many sociopathic teachers, without a single hint of shame, kindness, caring or concern for the people they stomped into the dirt and left in the road behind them. Oh bs Davy … calm down. Breathe. Your case worker will get upset and take away your shapes-tray again. Remember how you were just in another bipolar swamp that day? not to be sucked with, otherwise you might have dumped the e-mail from Kabul with your other spam? You are not a Lunatic Type Davy, not at all. You are officially mentally ill, remember? After you left Gurdfjieff behind along the trail of lost men, and got diagnosed by Doktor Doomphobia, and he put you on lithium and Prozac? Remember how your kids had to pull you out of the woods that day, talking to a boulder? And the boulder was talking back? In iambic pentameter? How you were hallucinating the little people on the Doktor's face and screamed when his receptionist walked in? How you thought he was Belfegore in drag?


      Fine, the truth will out.


      The e-mail claimed Burton wrote: The mechanical I's represent chaos: the work I's represent harmony.


      I thought, sure, get lost in your I's for me please, so I can continue vacuuming up the rest of your dead mother's money.


      Over the years I had received a lot of godforsaken Burton-dirt from folks that claimed they were there at his infamous Ranch, then left in abject depression, broke, broken, angry and extremely vengeful. They wanted the man's elderly balls staked to the walls of their cave apartments for Christmas decorations. Then too, Robert and I were together in Alex's group so hey, I really got "into it" that day, yep, just went for the neckulars. Just laid back blurting my tonsorials out, and those b-oysters had been yanked by Doktor Torquemada when I was fine. I couldn't help myself though. Never could. Of course, I didn't know Robert during "who's got the biggest swinging-dong competition" on Red Mountain. Nobody did. The Group was huge. Well, and Robert had already mastered the ancient art of magick invisibility, thus giving him the opportunity of self-remembering himself while remembering he was, without any of us however, remembering him. Cool move. Bingo!


      Number Jive man.


      Burton said this? I doubt it. This has to be the FBI: In relation to rearranging one's thinking to bring one closer to consciousness, I noticed that my queens were about to express self-pity, and I said "Stay in the Kings".


      I thought, man, that tops Long Dong Silver. Arrrrrg! We should go out tonight Bobby, full-moon-it so to speak, you know, gig us up some bullfrogs, have a fire, gobble legs, melt up some smoores, then pee our names together on the pond-bank, okay? Five merit badges for one event! Five apiece! 


      Then Burton supposedly said: Give the queen an inch, and it will take a mile.


      I thought, oh shit, that means four and a half inches is too short. I'm screwed. Oh well.


      I love this one, and I believe Bobby did say this one for sure: If one uses the TWELVE mechanical intellectual parts of centers correctly, they produce the conscious world twelve.


      Jesus H. Cripe!


      Because … now the student has TWELVE (count them) mechanical Intellectual parts to drive them crazy, on top of the twelve non-mechanical ones already orphaned in their Gurdjieff gland. Okay, do I have to explain everything? This is a Mighty Morphin Magus move. He's acting as absentee landlord for gullible psyches or my name ain't Yosemite Sam. Buy into this one and you just rented a brown recluse web for your next apartment. A magician opens free space in baby-brains slicker than geeks do with extra server-space. It's lesser-magus-magick, to charm you, then it's the whole Intifada sucker, wallet, carpentry skills, inheritance, talents, loyalty, trust, ranch, home, cow, geese, children, wife, except the lesbian with the wooden leg, your dog, plus every speck of true pride you ever cobbled together in your rooster-tail existence, not to mention dad's Mercedes. Ah yes … the coffers of Kings and Queens.


      Robert Burton said?: We urgently need to dispel imagination and to be present to each other.


      I shit you not. Especially you. Beware of all the warnings about imagination being bad. Perhaps Robert, as played by the FBI, means a different sort of imagination than the painters used to create all the artwork he paid millions for? Gurdjieff had an incredible imagination, which he used to amass a fortune and live for decades as Cock on the Dunghill. Especially that painting Burton has of an Angel with a hard-on. Alex Horn hated imagination in us students, then used it himself every day. After all, Mr. Diabolically Yours wrote truly imaginative stage plays that left every audience pondering, what the fuck was that? Could Alex Horn really be that bad a playwright?


      Then, supposedly, which I seriously doubt: When one is present, one has solved the mystery of the universe: to produce conscious beings.


      I get this one! "Being present," as when getting a blow job from your teacher!


      And this?: I am more grateful for my students' gift than my own, for what is one compared to thousands?


      Mary, Mary, quite contrary, how does your grappa grow? With twinkle bells, and cockel smells, and pretty boys all in a row. Oh please, and gobs of gay-fabulous paintings? I will never believe Robert Burton said that, in writing or otherwise. Naw, he did.


      Or this: "From fairest creatures we desire increase … that we use our physical bodies to produce our astral bodies.


      If Robert Burton said that, G bless him. I weep for his loss, and thank you Rick Ross; now down on your knees, and diddle the boss.


      Robert Burton said?: Because of the relative difference between the second state and the first state, people do not even suspect that they are asleep.


      No kidding Karl G-ung, which is exactly the lesser-magick a Magus employs to make millions off his followers for buying up painted masterpieces he claims belong to "the Work," while forever demanding more cold cash & hot sex. Gurdjieff said, I sheer sheep.This can only be gotten away with so long, before a great chorus of baaaas rises over the vineyards.


      Then?: Through religion, man has created an imaginary picture of his life after death.


      And Gurdjieff offers, let's see, a shimmering ether-bod of aerosolized hydrogen's bug-splattered over some interior imaginary lattice of false hopes and night terrors, all for the God they are becoming? Whew. Make sure you get your left shoe on the right foot when you boogie out the backdoor of that sugar-shack.


      This cannot be Burton: (Upon passing a cemetery:) I looked at the gates of the cemetery, and for a moment, in a flash, I saw that for us they are the gates to Paradise.


      Dungeons and Dragons?


      Stop Robert! Never admit you said this next one. Well, you no doubt never did: Although the opportunities to judge life are endless, why waste one's time judging people who are wasting their time answering your supposed questions, like Dave the Lunatic Tramp?


      Hey, pay no attention to the snuff-snorting dwarf in stripped trousers hiding behind the Royal ass.


      He never said this for sure: Ouspensky survived the death of his physical body. He became the "flame that needs no fuel".


      Okay, gloves off, do we get Hieronymous Bosch & Lomb aviator goggles, or bring our own? Can I earn a pair for doing the best loop-de-loops over Mona Kea in full eruption? Actually, Ouspensky went stark raving mad toward the end, writhing in paranoia, finally imploding into one final frozen heap of psychic-snow-peas when he woke up and realized he'd just spent the bulk of his precious life, money, skill, and trust, glorifying an uncaring Magus who only used him as his Scribe, thus ripping off yet another human life. Poor elderly Ouspensky on crutches and drugs must have zombified-out years before he gave up and traded in his donkey for the Grief of All Griefs. No, this e-mail from the Middle East had to have been another swishing expedition from the tax wasting FEDS.


      Hold up there pilgrim. Robert did have his secretary call you around a year ago, (2008) several times, remember? Asking if you could remember the location of the Victorian house in San Francisco where Alex had us all hopping around the room (his words): hoochi-koochie dancing, molding, floating, flying, and radiating, not to mention braying like boozed bonobos, youling like Sphinx cats, and barking like elephant seals on Ano Nuevo Island. Man oh woman, those were important Gurdjieff exercises for sure.


      The morning I started with Alex Horn on Sterling Benell's ranch on Sonoma Mountain Road, neighboring Gurdjieff teacher, Robert de Ropp, on his way to his Zen garden, took two of us aside and warned: If you sup with the Devil, have a long spoon. The Victorian? I confess to wondering at the time, not for very long however, why the hell Robert Burton wanted to know where that house was? And why he didn't just call me himself? I don't bite, physically. Plus, I am loved by movie and rock stars, writers, poets, painters, standup comedians the world over who call me when they're down and need a good laugh. At least the Federal Bureau of Investigation usually has the good manners to drop by the studio for personal interviews.


      In fact, the last one (before my Kabul communique) had the decency to bald-face lie to me during a jam-packed searchlight opening of my (even if I do say so myself, and, I do) amazing paintings, telling me he was my biggest fan ever, then inviting himself over to my secret-bunker studio so I could teach him how to pain a tact-squad on glass while he checked the place out for revolutionary techniques. Yep, Special Agent, Ed Davis, left that day after a very enjoyable visit, went back to the Federal Office Building in San Francisco and actually painted a tact-squad glass-painting as a gift for me. Cool beans. Then Ed delivered it by hand in a "surprise" drop-by two weeks later. Not only that, the man has evolved into a really good painter now. A famous artiste, producing silhouette cops better than any I have ever seen. I love his new work. But I, international celebrity painter that I am, hold the unique provilege of owning Ed's very first endeavor. Eat your heart out Robert Burton. I especially love it in the corner of the frame where Ed signed: To Dave Archer, with many thanks for the TIPS!


      Now, ya gotta love that. (Come on Ed, I kid, okay?) Still, if I were you I'd check out Robert Burton next time instead of me because that guy has a collection of paintings that museums worldwide would not only give their double-fuzz-nuts for, they'd throw in five Daver Archer's to go with them. And talk about some true super-decor to complement your Ikea collection. Just think of the chicks man. The chicks!



      From A history and analysis of the Sharon Gans group, also known as "The Work"


      March 2002
      By former members of the Gans schools
      Edited by Rick Ross


      Teachers at the Gans schools never discuss the history of the group, and students who ask are often intimidated into never asking again. What is known is that Alex Horn established a group in northern California with his wife. Interestingly, one of Alex Horn's early students was supposedly Robert Burton who later created the "Fellowship of Friends," a group which has often been called a "cult" and has a sordid history of sex scandals, bad press and lawsuits.



      20. OscarJune 23, 2016


      From the 2015 documentary, (Dis)Honesty: The Truth About Lies


      “Once you lie, you’re more likely to lie again, and probably the second lie will be bigger than the first. What we find in the brain is that, at the beginning, if you lie a little bit, there’s a huge response in regions involved with emotion such as the amygdala and the insula. The 10th time you lie, the response is not that high. After a while, the negative feeling is not there as much. You lie more and more and more.”



      23. Golden VeilJuly 5, 2016


      See this link for more perspectives on Asaf Braverman – the long time inner circle companion of Robert Burton online Fourth Way websites, touting himself as a teacher who is qualified to answer Fourth Way questions from seekers.



      Potential members may Google Asaf Braverman and



      25. Linda JoJuly 7, 2016


      Re: “Once you lie, you’re more likely to lie again, and probably the second lie will be bigger than the first.”


      Patricia: I was briefly with Alex Horne [sic] before I met Robert. When I advised him that I was leaving his group to study with a teacher in Berkeley, he asked me who it was. I said that I did not know the teacher’s name, but somehow later I understood what he meant, because he kissed me on the forehead and said, “If ever I produced a conscious being, my role as a teacher is complete.” And that was a message for Robert.


      Robert: Alex brought us the sacred flame. It was he who introduced us to self-remembering.



      Parataxic distortion is a psychiatric term first used by Harry S. Sullivan to describe the inclination to skew perceptions of others based on fantasy. The “distortion” is a faulty perception of others, based not on actual experience with the other individual, but on a projected fantasy personality attributed to the individual.


      As a defense mechanism, parataxic distortion protects one from the emotional consequences of a past event. A person may not remember a certain event, or be acting on it consciously, but will act a certain way to protect themselves from an outcome with the use of parataxic distortion. This behavior is a pathological attempt to cope with reality by using unreality.





      Adolf Hitler said: “Make the lie big, make it simple, keep saying it, and eventually they will believe it.”  Hitler also said, with equal relevance: “What luck for the rulers that men do not think.” And his propaganda chief, Joseph Goebbels, said: “The most brilliant propagandist technique will yield no success unless one fundamental principle is borne in mind constantly – it must confine itself to a few points and repeat them over and over.”


      Natural News/Sociopaths and Cult Influence



      According to Burton:


      “One gains immortality or suffers oblivion, or worse. Every second you remember yourself you pierce eternity.”


      “Immortality is within our reach . . . self-remembering makes us immortal.”


      “Each person who enters the way will become immortal—that is why the way exists . . . Sometimes one remembers with relief that higher forces are monitoring the school. We have the great privilege of understanding that higher forces do exist, and that life after death is a reality. Where does the way lead to? Immortality.”


      “Rainer Maria Rilke said, “All angels bring terror”—terrible shocks to awaken one. To create an astral body they use unsavory methods. Influence C frequently plays the role of villain in our lives. With them, one just absorbs continually; it is the highest path. One tries to endure without self-pity. It is curious, but Influence C crushes us into immortality.”


      “I was only three days off in the prediction of my crystallization, which over a period of ten years is quite good, and I consider that prediction accurate. If a depression occurs in 1984, if California falls in 1998, if Armageddon occurs in 2006, then I was correct. All of which means, I am correct regarding the other information I have been speaking about.”


      “Actually, most of what I speak about is facts.”


      “Human nature generally does not see the obvious, which is why esoteric truths have frequently been presented in the form of fairy tales [which] begin with the statement, “Once upon a time,” indicating that the stories are unfolding in time, and end with a prince and a princess (World 6 and World 12) living “happily ever after,” that is, in eternity –  immortality.”


      “Awakening is an emotional process and friction must be emotional. The suffering we experience must be real because the states we create are real. It isn’t pleasant to verify this, and yet it is a blessing. Friction can seem like a curse until we begin to realize the great idea behind it. What is that great idea? Immortality. Can anything compare with that?”


      “C Influence wants me to be a homosexual and have sex with my students so that I may have humility. It’s a beautiful experience . . . I’m very loving and careful with them.”


      “I am the brightest light in 2000 years.”


      “My students willingly have sex with me, I don’t force anyone."


      “Remember that you seek immortality, and one can hardly pay enough."



      Veronicapoe June 14, 2007


      “In particular, if he [Robert Earl Burton] knows what he is doing and we don’t, we have no basis for judging or doubting him. Instead, we simply have to trust him, as a child trusts his parents, or dog trusts its master. If he asks us to do things which seem to have no connection to awakening – or even to be ‘wrong’ – we have no choice but to do them anyway.”


        Girard Haven, Page 576, Creating A “Soul”


      “Loyalty not only in deed, but in character is demanded of you. Loyalty of character often demands no less heroic virtue than does loyalty in deed. Loyalty in character is unbreakable loyalty, a loyalty that knows no ifs or buts, that knows no weakening. Loyalty in character means absolute obedience that does not question the results of the order nor its reasons, but rather obeys for the sake of obedience itself. Such obedience is an expression of heroic character when following the order leads to personal disadvantage or seems even to contradict one’s personal convictions."


        Rudolf Hess, The Oath to Adolf Hitler – 2/25/34



      Rita PenfoldApril 20, 2007


      Dear All,


      Yesterday I received a message from my close friend Kosta Dmitriev from St.Petersburg, which he sent to the students in Russia.


      I thought that it was quite funny (if it wasn’t sad), and asked Kosta if I could translate it and post it on the blog, to which he agreed. If you have any questions, you’re free to ask Kosta directly, his email address is:


      To those who don’t know Kosta personally, I am pleased to tell that he is one of those handsome young Russian men who rejected Robert’s advances.




      Dear friends,


      Thank you very much for the time we spent together, it was wonderful.


      As many before me, I decided to leave the school when I discovered the details of sexual ‘adventures’ of the teacher.


      Of course, as everybody else in the school, I knew that Robert is a homosexual. So what? So many great people and even our friends were and are homosexuals, bi-sexuals, transvestites – nobody is shocked by this nowadays. Especially among the different kinds of ‘spiritual seekers’, where there are always many, let’s say, exotically oriented people [etc].


      Back to business, here are the results of my observations and investigations.


      The school as organisation and its exercises are intended to:


      1. Attract sponsorship for the very expensive and exquisite erotic games of Robert and Co. Teaching payments are spent on expensive clothes, often made to order for the boys and the entourage; original viagra pills which cost $50 per tablet (completely identical ones in India cost $0.5). Air tickets and 5-star hotels for the harem; fake passports which are bought from Italian mafia, for the especially treasured lovers from Russia, and of course, for the new centres in developing countries, where new ‘members’ (‘member’ in Russian is the same word for penis – Rita) are so cheap. Also, 5-figure sums for the lawyers and parents of some of the ‘woken up’ underage victims of the teacher’s ‘mischievous’ activities.


      2. Cover up the very fact that those orgies are taken place just before and after the meetings and are the main interest of the teacher in his school and the reason for its existence.


      The cover-up is necessary in order to prevent students from thinking about how the teacher was using his mouth just before he kisses their foreheads. Many wouldn’t like to think about it at all. Of course, there will always be those who will work with acceptance and continue to be present to any sort of madness. But most students would leave the school to be present elsewhere.


      Robert is interested only in young men, only straight (otherwise it’s not such fun to ‘get’ them), usually in financial need, preferably spiritually unripe and, what’s called in Russia, ‘without a King in the head’, and with high level of conformity of behaviour. That’s it.


      Yes, my friends, it’s all about ‘members, members and more members’. Preferably big in size and several at the time. But if only that was all…


      The stories of the participants are beyond even the most perverse sexual imagination.


      One student has almost choked on the teacher’s penis while giving him a blowjob. He had to be rescued by his fellow orgy-participants from the unstoppable in his sexual urge teacher.


      The ‘height’ of those stories is the ‘Fountain of Eternal Youth’. What do you think that would mean? Very simple. Students are pissing in the teacher’s mouth. One at the time, or all together. I asked about the next, you know, logical step… They said – yes! That step has been taken. Sometimes all would get smeared. And why? You won’t believe… Gurdjieff ordered from the astral plane!!! In order to be more present!


      It’s understandable that such moments of presence will never be forgotten. You’ll be in the third state without any effort, and maybe even beyond third state, as many afterwards live their lives, wearing ‘horse faces’ forever.


      You will ask me, what makes these people do this? It’s very simple, really: everybody does it, they say. It’s accepted behaviour. You know about ‘norms of group behaviour in the totalitarian sects’.


      Strangely, but many continue to interpret what happened to them in terms of the enlightenment. As a special, mystical experience of presence, which they would not get anywhere else. And, at the same time, they hate Robert for what he’s done to them and cherish plans for revenge (usually blackmail of some kind). It’s understandable, because otherwise you’d have to admit that you’ve been simply ….


      Some invested too much in the school, suffered, paid; some simply have nowhere else to go. Most students simply don’t know many things, despite the fact that all information is published on the Internet. And, except for the ‘special’ details, it’s known to the ‘old’ students. I didn’t know the details myself, so I was hoping that Robert’s ‘antics’ were simply ‘free love’ with a bit of tantra. But, according to the participants, the whole thing is completely rotten and Robert is a typical ‘post-traumatic psychopath’. Of course, you can continue as if it wasn’t true, but then you’ll have to pay him, and that is a question of moral standards which, as any case where one is trading one’s conscience, is deeply personal. For me, it’s simply too much. It’s your business now, think for yourselves.


      I wish you with all my heart to wake up before, and not during, the time when you are asked to piss someone in the mouth, given the reason of working on the 3rd line of work.




      Tempus FugitJune 5, 2012


      From the “Backstage” section of Braverman’s website on Gurdjieff:


      “I encountered the Fourth Way in 1995, joining Burton’s Fellowship of Friends, and am still a member of that organization. I moved to the California headquarters in 2000 and began working closely with Burton on his teaching. In 2007, I was forced to set out on a two year journey, which brought me in contact with the origin of the ancient wisdom that I had been previously studying in theory.”




      Could this have something to do with allegations of bigamy noted by Wondering Who’s Watching in Post 6, Page 121 (current page)?



      36. ton2uAugust 9, 2016




      Unhealthy narcissists need other people around them to sustain them and feed them resources and narcissistic supplies (Ransky:1998). Authors such as Tucker and Ransky have basically defined 3 levels of affected persons which come into the narcissist's world:


      1) A potential. A potential is someone who the narcissist has attracted into their world, and must be assessed for exploitation and utility value. Narcissists view everyone only in terms of what value or use does that person have for them. People with a strong sense of self and boundaries are of limited use to the narcissist, and may be only relegated to a role of a colleague, customer, peer, a delegation point, or some ambivalent relationship in the narcissist's constellation. They may however also be a potential for exploitation for future use and manipulation into one of the next two levels of affected persons. Co-workers in organisations are the primary source of “potentials”.


      2) A follower. A follower is someone who has been groomed, seduced or manipulated into the reality of the narcissist, and will be supportive but not slavish to the narcissist. Narcissists work on these persons as they cannot trust another’s independence and free will in areas of concern to them. This level is in an enmeshed or deceived state but as a person is still a separate functioning identity. This may be a “loyal” co-worker and friend or boss in an organisation, or an industry mentor or contact as cultivation of these persons will aid in the “climb to the top” of the organisation.


      3) “Sidekicks” or blindly loyal pawns. This inner most trusted group are co-dependently engaged with the narcissist, and are overly-loyal, compliant, passive, and unaware they are no longer operating from conscious free-will in areas of concern to the narcissist. They put up with whatever treatment is meted out and will collusively abuse with the narcissist out of acts of demonstrated “loyalty”.


      They are under some form of emotional and/or mind control by the narcissist. They act for the narcissist when he summons them and are often used in organisational politics, rumour and disinformation campaigns, and to carry out acts on behalf of the narcissist that could see them come under legal or ethical sanction. The narcissist will establish a degree of separation from the “sidekick” such that if ever caught, the narcissist will disown them to their own fate.


      Paul Babiak PHD, in his book, Snakes in Suits, notes that narcissists use a 3 phase game plan when engaging with victims. The first phase is selecting their victim or prey based on assessing the potential victim's utility value, and identifying their psychological strengths and weaknesses. The second stage involves manipulation of the potential victim with carefully crafted messages plus using constant feedback from the potential victim to build and maintain rapport and control. Phase 3 occurs when the narcissist has finished “devouring” the victim whose utility value has been exhausted. The drained and bewildered victim is abandoned without remorse as the predatory narcissist looks afield for new victims. . .




      Excerpts from The Gurdjieff Journal, Vol. 8, Issue 1, Number 29/2002 on CEI


                             Sharon Gans & Alex Horn

      . . .Sharon Gans was never a member of an authentic Fourth Way group. A stage actress with one film credit – she played Valencia Merble in the film version of Kurt Vonnegut's Slaughterhouse Five – Gans' only connection with the Fourth Way is through her former husband, Alex Horn, who also was never a member. Horn's first wife, Anne Burridge, as a teenager, is said to have attended one of John Bennett's groups in England for about three years. Three years or not, her training can at best only have been preparatory, as no deep understanding can be assimilated in such a short time. Vanity and self-love are simply too strong. During her time with Bennett, sometime in the 1960s, Anne met Alex Horn who had come to England in the hopes of working with Bennett. Bennett refused and warned Anne against any involvement with the American.


                           The Theater of All Possibilities

      Horn, a charismatic personality with a strong stage presence and an uncanny knack for spotting people's weaknesses, convinced her to marry him. He then apparently took what he learned of the teaching from Anne, combined it with what he understood from books and started his 'school,' The Theatre of All Possibilities (the name derived from Herman Hesse's Steppenwolf), first in New York City and later in San Francisco's Mission District. As a former student recalled:


      He could intimidate people easily and would alternate bullying tactics with warm and friendly demeanor. He knew how to instinctively play on a person's soft spots to get control over people. There was a lot of male 'challenging' and emotional bullying at the meetings and occasionally it would break out physically – usually between students. Although Alex intimidated people physically, he would always step aside and let someone else get physical for him. We seemed to be learning how to be 'Alex,' and he liked that. One of his regular themes was 'feminine influence' and how we had to avoid being dominated by women. He encouraged men to take advantage of women and tried to get the less adventurous of us to 'sleep around' as a way of freeing ourselves psychologically. I think Alex was an imposter who used the Work to con people out of much money and energy.


      Remembered another student of those early years:


      Alex was definitely not a simple man, but a very intelligent Solar type, i.e., incredibly charismatic and smart. He had a vast knowledge of not only many Work books but seemingly much of the philosophical and poetic works of the Western world and plays going back to the Greeks. His teaching used Fourth Way terminology and also quotes from Ibsen, Whitman, Blake, Bal Shem Tov and others.


      On weekends we would go up to a ranch his wife [Anne] had bought up in Sonoma. I remember the camaraderie and laughter but in large part most of what I remember is Horn talking, talking and talking. He often spoke in sexual terms. People would feel 'loose' and often meetings ended with much hugging and effusiveness. Horn said this was due to 'C Influence'. We worked at preparing and planting a vineyard, building a sauna and staging plays. Besides this we also went on a 50-mile hike through the Nevada Desert that was cut short to probably 30 miles and ended with a ride on a Greyhound bus to a brothel. There were a lot of rich experiences but there was no daily practice of any kind taught. . .



      From the second article by Jack Brooks in The S.F. Progress, Jan. 10, 1979 on "The Theatre of All Possibilities":


          Contradictions are routine in the stories about actor – writer – director – guru Alex Horn. Longtime friend Bob Pritikin is of the opinion that "Alex is the gentlest man I've ever known."  Pritikin is not a member of the group.

          Gerald Greer, former head of Horn's Red Mountain Ranch in Sonoma County disagrees. "The things I saw Alex Horn do to people are too incredible and unbelievable … how do you make people believe that such things can be true?" he said. 


                                        SEX AND COMBAT


          Greer continues: "Horn's credo at the ranch was, "We're here to f— and fight and, if someone gets hurt, so be it." The men in the group were forced to fight each other. The results were bloody. But, on Horn's instructions, no medical treatment was allowed, even for the most serious injuries. I saw one guy with his forehead hanging in a flap of skin. All he got was a band aid."

          That's the fighting part of it. Other sources have commented that his philosophy of physical beating continued at The Theatre of All Possibilities.

          The sexual excesses took many forms. Again, in the words of ranch director Greer: "Horn slept with every woman in the group, resulting in rampant venereal disease, which Horn then transmitted to his wife, Anne."

          The event that ended Greer's association with Horn is, perhaps, the most ludicrous thing that this investigation has uncovered. I have withheld the names for obvious reasons.

          "Alex had to prove to the group that his word was law. He had to illustrate that growth, by his concepts, meant a total destruction of 'self'. To that end, he made a member of the group commit [the unspeakable crime of] incest with his own daughter. It utterly destroyed them and their family. I couldn't take anymore and left."

          The victims of that degradation have since left Horn and have put their lives back together, after years of unimaginable torment.





      This story won't be closed until that question is answered. A partial answer to the reluctance of current members of The Theatre of All Possibilities to say anything at all may be contained in the observation of former Red Mountain Ranch director Gerald Greer: "The fear factor generated by Alex Horn among his followers is as strong as anything I've ever heard of being put out in a group outside of the Hell's Angels."



      THE ORDINARY RESPONSE TO ATROCITIES is to banish them from consciousness. Certain violations of the social compact are too terrible to utter aloud: this is the meaning of the word unspeakable.
          Atrocities, however, refuse to be buried. Equally as powerful as the desire to deny atrocities is the conviction that denial does not work.


      ~ Judith Herman, Trauma and Recovery



      From TOXIC PARENTS by Dr. Susan Forward, Chapter 7 – The Sexual Abusers:


      Incest is perhaps the cruelest, most baffling of human experi­ences. It is a betrayal of the most basic trust between child and parent. It is emotionally devastating. The young victims are totally dependent on their aggressors, so they have nowhere to run, no one to run to. Protectors become persecutors, and reality becomes a prison of dirty secrets. Incest betrays the very heart of childhood—its innocence.
          In the last two chapters, we have looked into some of the darker realities of toxic families. We have met parents who have an extraordinary lack of empathy and compassion for their children. They batter their children with every weapon from degrading criticism to leather belts, and they still ratio­nalize their abuses as acts of discipline or education. But now we enter a realm of behavior so perverse that it defies rational­ization. This is where I must leave behind strictly psychological theories: I believe that sexual violation of children is a genu­inely evil act.



      "Come on, ALL girls need a good fuck, ya know – you'll die without it!"


      "…ALL girls wanna be in bed with their fathers — just begging for it every minute! Learn to relax and enjoy it, so you can start to get well and become a better animal – healthy animal – 'good whore in the bedroom'…"


      "If I have to slap you around, girl, it's for your own fuckin' good so you can start to wake up!"


      "I don't really want to rape you, but you leave me with no choice…"


        Alex Horn



      How should rape be viewed?

      Let me first give you an example of the double standard we set only for sexual assault victims. Compare rape with armed robbery. Armed robbery is no less a crime if the victim is unin­jured. As a matter of fact, bank employees are taught to remain calm and are rewarded if only the money is taken. It's a real double standard in rape because if you don't fight back, you're blamed for not protecting something everyone tells you you're supposed to protect, because rape is seen as a sexual crime. None of these men talk about rape as a crime of violence which is inflicted on persons, female or male, of all ages. They do not talk about rape as a form of violence, primarily against females, whether that violence is beating your wife or mother or molesting your own child. They never discuss rape as a violent crime among many other crimes. Most rapes occur along with other crimes— robbery, burglary, assault, kidnap, attempted murder, or even murder. We must realize that rape is always a crime of violence, even if the woman is not beaten. Rape is not seduction and we are never going to understand rape if we view it as sexual behavior— rape is a hostile and cruel act of violence which threatens the life of the victim.


      ~ Andrea Rechtin


      From MEN ON RAPE: What They Have to Say about Sexual Violence by Timothy Beneke



      161. ton2uOctober 15, 2016




      162. WhaleRider October 15, 2016


      Thanks for the excellent link, ton2u.


      For more on the subject, I highly recommend Shaw’s book, “Traumatic Narcissism”, which Jomo recommended to me when it first came out in 2014.



      From The Relational System of the Traumatizing Narcissist:


      Article by Daniel Shaw
      Psychoanalyst, Private Practice
      New York City and Nyack, NY


      The stories of former members of high-demand groups don’t get told as often as they should. Being swindled, deceived, controlled, or betrayed in a cultic group is an experience that many thousands of people have been through. Unfortunately, the vast majority of such people who identify their experience as abusive do not speak out. As is still the case with rape and domestic violence, in spite of many gains in those areas, victims shrink at the possibility of being dismissed, blamed, or rejected—of being retraumatized when no one will bear witness. They try to put it all behind them; they try to avoid thinking and talking about the experience. In this paper, I present some of the ideas I have been developing about the leaders of cultic groups, people I describe as traumatizing narcissists, and the relational system such people create. I draw from my clinical research, from psychoanalytic theories (especially intersubjectivity theory), and from my personal experience as a former member of a high-demand group for more than ten years. . .


      Who Is the Traumatizing Narcissist?


      Sometimes it’s a cult leader, sometimes a parent, a boss, a sibling, a teacher, a therapist. For a long time, psychoanalytic writers have used the term pathological narcissist to cover a wide range of behavior and character traits. A thin-skinned, shame-prone, or deflated pathological narcissist is someone with fragile self-esteem, easily wounded or insulted; in therapy, such individuals feel attacked and humiliated by expressions of the analyst’s separate subjectivity; they may masochistically seek approval and recognition from idealized, grandiose others.


      There is also the overinflated (Bach, 1985), grandiose, overt, or thick-skinned (Rosenfeld) narcissist. Cunning manipulators of others, grandiose, envious, aggressive, exploiting, and controlling, these narcissists are users who can be charismatic, seductive, and intensely attentive. Yet they ultimately prove to be concerned only with their own needs, feelings, and desires. If their significant others (spouses, siblings, children) attempt to assert their needs, this sort of narcissist is skilled at making such efforts out to be shameful, hurtful, and selfish. . .



      From third article by Jack Brooks in The S.F. Progress, Jan. 12, 1979:


                                   RED MOUNTAIN RANCH


          In the hills above Agua Cyente in Sonoma County, there is a ranch and vineyard called Red Mountain Ranch.  Alex Horn no longer owns it.  It was part of the settlement in a messy divorce settlement with his former wife, Anne.

          When Greer was overseeing the ranch it contained 457 acres, and 71 of those acres were planted in grapes. "It was a marvelous experience, beams Greer. "I would not trade the good times for anything in the world.  And I'm glad I witnessed what happened when things went bad.  I wouldn't have believed what people will allow to be done to them unless I'd seen it myself."


          Greer remembers a night on Red Mountain: "Alex assembled the group and informed them that he wanted to buy a trans-Pacific racing boat, the biggest available.  It was berthed in Hawaii.  I watched as people pledged $150,000 in savings and home mortgages.  He raised the money in a matter of minutes.  After he bought the boat, he found that the hull was defective, so he abandoned the project."

          The ranch was a lucrative enterprise, according to Greer. "One year, I believe it was 1970, Horn's income from the year was $397,000."

          I assumed that that included the vineyard income. "Oh, no," corrected Greer. "It takes five years to get a grape harvest. That was just from member contributions."



      More from the 2010 article, Narcissistic Leaders and their Manipulation in Group Dynamics by Richard Boyd; Body Mind Psychotherapist, Energetics Institute, Perth, West Australia:


      Linda Martinez-Lewi (2008) identifies the key warning signs that indicate the narcissistic spiritual/self development leader is manipulating and milking their flock of followers and "sidekicks", making themself more powerful and affluent as the real agenda. She notes (with slight modifications to words to align to those used elsewhere in this article):


      1)     Pay attention to the money barometer. Does the guru charge exorbitant fees for their services? Do they ever genuinely give anything substantial for free?


      2)     Is there pressure for members, followers and the curious attendees to sign up for ongoing expensive programs? (e.g., like retreats, trainings, healings and workshops), creating a pay to pray, pay to be holy, or pay to heal syndrome.


      3)     Devotees often venerate the guru leader, reflexively obeying them; having been deluded by their charismatic and convincing leader, they give away their power and no longer are exercising independent critical thinking, or are co-dependent on their leader.


      4)     The narcissistic spiritual/self development guru often uses their closest followers or "sidekicks" as servants who perform free labour: going on special errands, cleaning their residences, arranging their lives and events. The loyal devotee or "sidekick" considers these requests as a privilege and evidence that they hold an honoured place in the guru's hierarchy, and they are worthy.


      5)     Narcissists play favourites and they pit one member or follower against another to maintain ultimate power and control over the members.


      6)     Followers and "sidekicks" are often mistreated. The slightest mistake can cause ugly scenes of humiliation in front of other group members or being raged at in private.


      7)     Followers or "sidekicks" who question the spiritual/self development leader, or who evolve into independence, are considered dangerous rivals who must be excommunicated from the group. Character assassination and denigration of the rival or denounced person is commonplace.


      8)     The narcissistic guru or leader often behaves very differently in their personal life than amongst devotees. They are often extremely self-indulgent, materialistic, greedy, and in some cases uses drugs, sex or alcohol to excess. They might engage in sexual, emotional, financial or spiritual exploitation with compliant devotees who are co-dependent and emotionally dependent, vulnerable, and psychologically fused with the leader.




      Many of the more severe narcissists effectively seek to not just control their victims, but essentially to possess them (Tucker:1999). This goes beyond just controlling them, and is related to the predatory nature of this personality. Narcissists have both contempt and envy for others where the other person has some resource, power, or skill outside their current reach (Martinez-Lewi:2008). Narcissists want to assume or possess that which they do not yet possess which is attractive or challenging to them. The lust for more power and status from the constant acquiring of power is the fuel that drives many narcissists (Tucker:1999). Their paranoia drives a fear of devour or be devoured . .  . and self loathing drives them into their grandiose false self behaviours, which include the treadmill of compensating for their flawed self by conquering, lying, deceiving, and constantly acquiring power (Meirs:2009). In some spiritual and occult traditions, they actually believe that they gain the life force of the victim, and that is of immense power to them, and like a drug, they become addicted to feeding off their victims (Peck:1983).


      Robert Jay Lifton (1985) notes that the narcissistic process of devouring facilitates the deepening deadening of empathy and compassion, which is always absent in narcissists. Psychologists note that Narcissists become worse over time as they age. Lifton argues this is because they become desensitised to their victims' pain, dismissing and rationalising it, and compartmentalising it, which is a process called "psychic numbing". The person maintains a normal social mask and presentation, but underneath a whole new personality lurks, complete with a dark supportive belief system. Eventually the "skin" of the social mask will be shed once real power is attained and the dark "double" personality will emerge, and some narcissists argue that this veneer of compassion and civility needs to be shed as it constrains their evolution and advancement in the pursuit of power.


      Scott Peck (1983) in his book, People of The Lie, discusses the malignant narcissistic devouring process of their victim, as causing diffuse pain, confusion, revulsion, and unease to the victim whose identity is potentially annihilated in the process. This annihilation of the victim's separate identity is no accident or by-product of the devouring process, it is the attempt at possession of the victim by the narcissist. This deliberate attempt to eradicate or compromise the reputation and then the separate identity of another person is called "soul murder" by Leonard Shengold, whose book Soul Murder illustrates the abuse of power in which a stronger person breaks down and destroys the inner resources, identity and reputation of a weaker person.


      This is typically a slow, drawn out process where the victim has some utility for the narcissist and there is a partial replenishment of life force and resources occurring which can then be drained again and again. Critics and threats to the narcissist will normally not suffer a drawn out devouring as a victim would. They must be crushed and overcome with force due to the rage driving the narcissist, and this example made of such a person then binds other witnessing victims in group settings closer to the narcissist out of fear of being next in line for annihilation (Tucker:1999). Narcissists love to make examples of critics, competitors and victim followers, as it breeds fear, which is a narcissistic supply of their power in the world (Behary:2008).




      33. ton2u February 9, 2017


      Fee, John H, et. al… larger problems in the world today notwithstanding – comparatively the FOF is a “tempest in a teapot” – nevertheless, some of the ideas in the link below may tangentially relate to the modus operandi of the FOF … and upon further examination one might find that it does concern all of us, since as Fee says –  “… unfortunately, (it is) relevant to our times.”


      Political Ponerology: A science on the nature of evil adjusted for political purposes



      35. Ames GilbertFebruary 9, 2017


      33. ton2u, thanks very much for bringing this work to our attention. Folks, even if you think you can’t spare the time to read the whole thing right now, at least read the Editor’s Preface. Then, by all means, find the time to read the rest!



      From the Editor's Preface to Political Ponerology by Andrzej Lobaszenwski – pp. 19-22


      Hervey Cleckly actually comes very close to suggesting that psychopaths are human in every respect – but that they lack a soul. This lack of "soul quality" makes them very efficient "machines". They can write scholarly works, imitate the words of emotion, but over time, it becomes clear that their words do not match their actions. They are the type of person who can claim that they are devastated by grief who then attend a party "to forget". The problem is: they really do forget.
          Being very efficient machines, like a computer, they are able to execute very complex routines designed to elicit from others support for what they want. In this way, many psychopaths are able to reach very high positions in life. It is only over time that their associates become aware of the fact that their climb up the ladder of success is predicated on violating the rights of others. "Even when they are indifferent to the rights of their associates, they are often able to inspire feelings of trust and confidence."

         The psychopath recognizes no flaw in his psyche, no need for change.

          Andrew Lobaczewski addresses the problem of the psychopath and their extremely significant contribution to our macro-social evils, their ability to act as the eminence grise behind the very structure of our society. It is very important to keep in mind that this influence comes from a relatively small segment of humanity. The other 90-some percent of human beings are not psychopaths.
          But that 90-some percent of normal people know that something is wrong! They just can't quite identify it; can't quite put their finger on it; and because they can't, they tend to think that there is nothing they can do about it, or maybe it is just God punishing people.
          What is actually the case is that when that 90-some percent of human beings fall into a certain state, as Lobaczewski will describe, the psychopaths, like a virulent pathogen in a body, strike at the weaknesses, and the entire society is plunged into conditions that always and inevitably lead to horror and tragedy on a very large scale.
          The movie, The Matrix, touched a deep chord in society because it exemplified this mechanistic trap in which so many people find their lives enmeshed, and from which they are unable to extricate themselves because they believe that everyone around them who "looks human" is, in fact, just like them – emotionally, spiritually, and otherwise.
          To give an example of how psychopaths can directly affect society at large: the "legal argument" as explicated by Robert Canup in his work on the Socially Adept Psychopath. The legal argument seems to be at the foundation of our society. We believe that the legal argument is an advanced system of justice. This is a very cunning trick that has been fousted on normal people by psychopaths in order to have an advantage over them. Just think about it for a moment: the legal argument amounts to little more than the one who is the slickest at using the structure for convincing a group of people of something, is the one who is believed. Because this "legal argument" system has been slowly installed as part of our cultre, when it invades our personal lives, we normally do not recognize it immediately. But here's how it works.
          Human beings have been accustomed to assume that other human beings are – at the very least – trying to "do right" and "be good" and fair and honest. And so, very often, we do not take the time to use due diligence in order to determine if a person who has entered our life is, in fact, a "good person". When a conflict ensues, we automatically fall into the legal argument assumption that in any conflict, one side is partly right one way, and the other is partly right the other, and that we can form opinions about which side is mostly right or wrong. Because of our exposure to the "legal argument" norms, when any dispute arises, we automatically think that the truth will lie somewhere between two extremes. In this case, application of a little mathematical logic to the problem of the legal argument might be helpful.
          Let us assume that in a dispute, one side is innocent, honest, and tells the truth. It is obvious that lying does an innocent person no good; what lie can he tell? If he is innocent, the only lie he can tell is to falsely confess "I did it". But lying is nothing but good for the liar. He can declare that "I didn't do it", and accuse another of doing it, all the while the innocent person he has accused is saying "I didn't do it" and is actually telling the truth.
          The truth, when twisted by good liars, can always make an innocent person look bad, especially if the innocent person is honest and admits his mistakes.
          The basic assumption that the truth lies between the testimony of the two sides always shifts the advantage to the lying side and away from the side telling the truth. Under most circumstances, this shift put together with the fact that the truth is going to also be twisted in such a way as to bring detriment to the innocent person, results in the advantage always resting in the hands of liars – psychopaths. Even the simple act of giving testimony under oath is a useless farce. If a person is a liar, swearing an oath means nothing to that person. However, swearing an oath acts strongly on a serious, truthful witness. Again, the advantage is placed on the side of the liar.
          It has often been noted that psychopaths have a distinct advantage over human beings with conscience and feelings because the psychopath does not have conscience and feelings. What seems to be so is that conscience and feelings are related to the abstract concepts of "future" and "others". It is "spatiotemporal". We can feel fear, sympathy, empathy, sadness, and so on because we can imagine in an abstract way, the future based on our own experiences in the past, or even just "concepts of experiences" in myriad variations. We can "see ourselves" in them even though they are "out there" and this evokes feelings in us. We can't do something hurtful because we can imagine it being done to us and how it would feel. In other words, we can not only identify with others spatially – so to say – but also temporally – in time.
          The psychopath does not seem to have this capacity.
          They are unable to "imagine" in the sense of being able to really connect to images in a direct "self connecting to another self" sort of way.
          Oh, indeed, they can imitate feelings, but the only real feelings they seem to have – the thing that drives them and causes them to act out different dramas for the effect – is a sort of "predatorial hunger" for what they want. That is to say, they "feel" need/want as love, and not having their needs/wants met is described by them as "not being loved". What is more, this "need/want" perspective posits that only the "hunger" of the psychopath is valid, and anything, and everything "out there", outside of the psychopath, is not real except insofar as it has the capability of being assimilated by the psychopath as a sort of "food". "Can it be used or can it provide something?" is the only issue about which the psychopath seems to be concerned. All else – all activity – is subsumed to this drive.
          In short, the psychopath is a predator. If we think about the interactions of predators with their prey in the animal kingdom, we can come to some idea of what is behind the "mask of sanity" of the psychopath. Just as an animal predator will adopt all kinds of stealthy functions in order to stalk their prey, cut them out of the herd, get close to them, and reduce their resistance, so does the psychopath construct all kinds of elaborate camouflage composed of words and appearances – lies and manipulations – in order to "assimilate" their prey.
          This leads us to an important question: what does the psychopath really get from their victims? It's easy to see what they are after when they lie and manipulate for money or material goods or power. But in many instances, such as love relationships or faked friendships, it is not so easy to see what the psychopath is after. Without wandering too far afield into spiritual speculations – a problem Cleckley also faced – we can only say that it seems to be that the psychopath enjoys making others suffer. Just as normal humans enjoy seeing other people happy, or doing things that make other people smile, the psychopath enjoys the exact opposite.



      Posted by Max Taylor on the Greater Fellowship site – Oct. 28, 2016:


      Two Childhood Rape Survivors Just Ended a Cult Leader's Terrifying Reign


      Of all the abuse, manipulation, and horrifying crimes that religious cult leader Victor Barnard committed, no one could have predicted his youngest victim would wield the most damning evidence against him. In court documents, her name is C. When she was 13, she started drawing a tiny X on her calendar every day Barnard raped her.


      Wedged into corners of her calendar’s white boxes, alongside notes about music practice or play dates with friends, the ink charted what would become the driving force behind 59 counts of sexual assault that C and her friend B, another victim, ultimately filed against Barnard. Years after he first abused them, the two women will speak directly to Barnard in court today.


      Link to article



      OAKLAND TRIBUNE – Sunday, June 17, 2012


      By Tracey Kaplan




      As an adult: "I've always wanted the opportunity to bring the truth into the light," says Lynch, now 44.





      Mark Miller

      May 25, 1985


      Dear Friends,


      This letter comes to you from someone who no longer associates with The Johannine Daist Communion (JDC), the community of Da Free John (DFJ). Of late, my friends and I have been labelled "dissidents", and worse, by JDC's leadership. While reading this letter it would be helpful if you could simply consider me an old friend.


      I had intended to write to you long before the lawsuits and media circus began. In fact, the prospect of presenting the ideas contained in this letter is what inspired me to speak out in the first place. Please permit yourself the clear space to receive these thoughts and feelings in order to work with them as completely as possible. Given the current situation, I understand that this will not be easy for you. It certainly has been a disturbing process for me as well. However, I have been overwhelmed by the weight of my observations and feel duty bound to share them with you.


      This letter is not intended to serve as the last word on DFJ or the JDC. Nor is it written to prove or establish a particular point of view. Instead, I hope that it will create a balance to the information you have received from JDC, and act as a springboard from which you may begin a long overdue reappraisal of your own feelings and presumptions. Many of you are mired in a way of life which, for myself and many other ex-members, was neither happy nor enlightening, but instead offered little more than tedium, suppression, exclusivity and debilitating dependency.


      Of late, JDC has required all of you to believe that certain ex-members, as "dissidents", are "bad" simply because criticism of DFJ and JDC is not now and never has been permitted. These people have been described as "vindictive", "crazy", or "liars" and some have been termed "extortionists" and "conspirators". Apparently it is unthinkable to JDC that anyone could sincerely believe (or know) that the allegations directed at DFJ are true. But given a history of intense involvement with DFJ, do you really believe that ex-members would turn around and speak this way unless they really felt that something was wrong? From JDC's narrow point of view, one would have to be fallen, dark, and just plain wrong to criticize their "guru". I implore you to remain open to the possibility that your old friends are none of the above.


      The author of this letter has over the past year spoken with approximately 40 ex-members who have uniquely personal and varied perceptions of DFJ and JDC. Among these people are a number of former high-ranking JDC officials and board of directors members, as well as personal and sexual intimates of DFJ. Thus the information related to the media and which appears in this letter is not based on hearsay, but on first-hand accounts, impressions, and observations by those who have had close contact with DFJ and JDC throughout the years 1968-1984. These people are honest and intelligent, have serious and sincere motives, and are each acting and speaking out of deep and personal conviction.


      They are all united in the belief that accurate information, dialogue, real consideration and anything remotely like discrimination have never been offered or encouraged by DFJ or JDC. Therefore, they would like to see a free, full, and honest discussion occur. Such a discussion would benefit everyone, except for those who desire only the maintenance of their status and claim. Everyone, especially the "rank and file" JDC membership, must be set free in order to find their own true way through this controversy.


      It is obvious however that as long as ex-member "dissidents" are seen as negative, dark, angry, unspiritual "others"–and "you" in JDC remain the righteous, holy lovers of god, unjustly criticized, god's army fighting off the heathen masses and demonic media–as long as this contrived dichotomy persists there can be no clarity. If you are seriously interested in discovering the truth, you must not allow the "white knight" or "defender of the faith" within you to be manipulated. Do not permit the JDC leadership to call you to a false, childish, and simplistic understanding of this controversy. It is a complex, personal and deeply emotional matter that cannot be resolved or dismissed through name-calling and character assassination. What does the character defamation that JDC has chosen to involve itself and many of you in have to do with your avowed practice of "blessing all others"? This matter cannot be reduced to a battle between good and evil.


      So, the first assumption that we would all do well to be relieved of is the sense of one side being inherently right and the other side being inherently wrong. In letting go of this basic assumption, please understand that the people you call dissidents did not create your negative media. They did not write those headlines. One woman, feeling badly hurt and mistreated, filed a lawsuit. One curious Marin investigative reporter happened to stumble upon this suit in the County Courthouse and decided to write a story. That is how all this began. Sorry, but there was no backroom conspiracy, no scheme to do anything horrible, none of the fine drama you have been led to believe.


      JDC has claimed that Beverly O'Mahony's lawsuit against them consists of fabrications and exaggerations and "was designed specifically for media consumption." To all but the most deeply biased and misinformed observers, this would more accurately describe the lawsuit which JDC has filed. Beverly's lawsuit was quietly filed in Marin County on March 4th, without press releases or media contact of any kind. If her suit really had been designed for the media, why would she and her lawyer have gone to all the trouble to prepare a 33 page lawsuit, and then leave it to chance that some reporter would dig it up on his own three weeks later?


      Contrast this with the lawsuit filed by JDC, which was delivered along with a highly inflammatory press release directly to every newspaper covering the story. Reporters were already working away on their stories about the JDC lawsuit before anyone being sued ever even heard about it. The lawsuit is replete with sensationalized statements, many of which are pure fiction, and others which result from statements that have been placed in a context which entirely reverses their true meaning. The suit also asks for $20 million dollars. If this number was not designed to attract media attention, then what was it for? Given the fact that the "defendants" are worth closer to $20,000 than $20 million, the answer should be obvious.


      The lawsuit also contains statements about individuals which, even if true, would not constitute anything other than descriptions of people fulfilling their rights and duties as citizens. Ex-members are made to be seen as involved in some kind of dark "conspiracy." But a conspiracy to do what? Libel or slander are not even listed among JDC's claims, perhaps because people have only spoken the truth, and we all know that truth is a defense against defamation. So what's going on here? This suit is nothing more than an attempt to intimidate and silence those speaking out, to scare away others from talking, and to divert the attention of everyone away from the real issues involving DFJ.


      Instead of encouraging an open discussion, JDC has used the same tactics that any political organization would use. They have created a "cause" for you to rally around and feel emotionally committed to and identified with, so that you won't stare the accusations against DFJ straight in the eye. They would rather hook you into a fight to protect "the right to freely practice religion", a right which they claim ex-members have tried to deprive you of. But in what way has anyone actually done this?


      Let's take a little closer look at the constitutional protections afforded to "religions" such as the JDC. The right to believe whatever you want is protected absolutely. However, the right to do whatever you want is not afforded the same absolute protection at all. Many of the things which DFJ has been accused of do not fall into the category of actions which are protected. Additionally, is it not reasonable as a common citizen to ask why people who have been involved in illegal activities should be granted the privilege of tax-exempt religious status, as claimed by JDC? And if, in fact, abuses of people have occurred (through actions which are commonly recognized as abuses in our society) shouldn't the victims have a right to address them in all the forums available? How then does this amount to an attack on religious freedom?


      JDC has also called the recent activities of ex-members "extortion." However, the author of this letter has been advised by attorneys that extortion means a threat that if certain actions are not performed, such as the payment of money, then other activities, usually designed to harm the extorted party, would follow. No such threat was ever made. Offers for settlement prior to the filing of a lawsuit for alleged acts recognized as "causes of action" under the law were made in formal settings between attorneys for both ex-members and JDC. This is not extortion, but a legitimate first step as allowed in every citizen's constitutionally protected right to petition for redress of wrongs through the legal process. It was always made clear that monetary settlement, or lack thereof, had no bearing whatsoever on other constitutionally protected actions which might be taken. The right to freely speak the truth and express legitimate opinions to anyone, including governmental agencies, the media, and other individuals is protected under the First Amendment. Any indication ex-members have made that they might do these things does not represent the violation of any law. This is also true for any other person, speaking either for or against JDC.


      The months which preceded the filing of the lawsuits were filled with unsuccessful attempts by two ex-members to gain the ear of DFJ and JDC in order to sort through a variety of unresolved hurts and contradictions. Seeing that JDC had no real interest in assisting anything like an honest healing, others became stirred as to their own disgust and frustration with JDC's haughty spiritual claims on the one hand, and its long-standing record of contemptuous treatment of its membership on the other (once again in evidence in the treatment of these two ex-members). You should know that as far back as early last November, JDC officials began to make threats against some of those merely suspected of being "dissidents" (and they have continued such behavior even during the current month).


      Thus, when the media came looking for people to speak with, many were ready to express their own true and heartfelt feelings. This is honestly the way things developed. You should know that ex-members were pursued and misquoted by the press just as much as JDC was. At times their statements were not presented in the proper balance so as to form an adequate description of the whole picture of life in JDC. Everyone was just as shocked to read the headlines as you were, and would have preferred that the media undertake a more serious and complete discussion regarding DFJ and JDC, such as this letter attempts. However, many of the issues which have been expressed in the media are real ones, and the events described (other than a few mistakes by reporters) did in fact occur. In its better moments, the media has at least provided the service of creating an awareness in the general public and all of you about events whose occurrence DFJ and JDC had refused to admit. They have also provided a forum in which these events could be described and interpreted in ways that DFJ and JDC have never encouraged or even allowed.


      So let's get real and cut out the sabre-rattling and war cries. Those of you who are mindlessly involved in "advocating" the point of view of DFJ would benefit from pausing long enough to recall that, in truth, there is no fixed position to defend. What is needed is a release from positions, assumptions and battle-ready defenses so that each person can discover for him or herself just how they feel and are related to DFJ and JDC, as well as to the call to reflection and reappraisal which this letter suggests. The difficulty for many of you is that it has been so long since you entered into an examination other than one created for you by DFJ and JDC that to do so on your own and to examine "the authorities themselves" is a very difficult task indeed. And yet it must be done if there is to be any clarity or passage through this controversy.


      All I ask then is that this process of unfettered examination be permitted and actually encouraged by JDC. Ask yourself how it is that you are now "advocates", burdened by belief and fixed presumptions. Why hasn't DFJ and JDC welcomed and seen the necessity for an open airing of issues? Why have you all been programmed and "educated" by the JDC propagandists on their way to whitewashing the so-called "JDC sacred history"? How does spiritual practice properly lead to all this manipulation and defense? Who and what is requiring that you become politicized rather than clear? And how well do you really understand that which you are being called upon to defend?


      I invite you to regain the discrimination and inquisitiveness many of you have unconsciously chosen to relinquish in order to associate with DFJ and the myth he has drawn you into (both as to who he is and the necessity of turning to him for your liberation). If we assume for the moment that DFJ began his "teaching work" by speaking to our desire for liberation, apart from excess dogmatic baggage and entanglements, it is evident that he has now "moved on" and is at work merely cultivating in his students a yearning for salvation in a system where only he can do the saving.


      It is on this basis that his devotees have all too often been reduced to "drones" and "believers". Many have become willing to give up everything, including their self-respect, integrity and honesty in order to climb up the shaky ladder of "stages of practice" (which are constantly being manipulated and redefined) in order to gain "access" to DFJ, the carrot held out in front of their noses. And if we accept that DFJ's writings carry a credible message, they do so only insofar as they release the reader into his or her own inherent sense of "being" and "truth", free of the game of "the search". It appears impossible for this to occur in the midst of all the medieval, dogmatic, exclusive, ritualized form beneath which direct, unmediated truth has been buried by DFJ and JDC. After all these years, where is the real evidence that any type of "spiritual process" is uniquely occurring within your community? People are just growing older. The greatness of god has been subordinated to the glory, of DFJ and his hierarchical empire. Needing to be nurtured and fathered, and being naive as to true spiritual culture and to the game of spiritual authority, most of us never even noticed the light go out.


      This is a large part of what ex-members are trying to address. You are part of a highly ambitious and politicized "machine of seeking" where you no longer own your own perceptions. Ideological dogma coupled with the edited information of the group dominates and molds your life. You are required to adapt to a complex, sophisticated technology of mind and emotion, through which you understand yourself and upon which you view the world; it is a hierarchical scheme with DFJ as the head, reigning above and beyond the world of man, as external savior or father. We have all been too much in need of an external mediator to serve the participation in and awareness of our own true condition. We must grow beyond the childish and incapacitating dependency bonds which are everywhere propagated by DFJ and JDC.


      In many ex-members' experience, the first doubts and questions about their lives as devotees centered around the observations they had regarding the "community" and "institution" of JDC. But they found it much harder to take the obvious next step and look directly at DFJ, the source and creator of every aspect of the "culture", institutional structure, and spiritual life of those in JDC. These ex-members, like many of you, dared not break the great taboo of seriously questioning or doubting DFJ; either their comparative lack of in-depth or prolonged personal experience with him or their incapacity to break through the indoctrination prevented them from seeing him clearly. But finally, in the face of what is now obvious, their relationship to the mythology and imagery which is DFJ has broken down. These people have "discovered" the man Franklin Jones, and now know that "the emperor wears no clothes."


      At this point it would be good to examine the specific activities of DFJ that many people are concerned about. Some of the information recently brought to light will be recounted here for those who are unfamiliar with what has been said, or for those who have been confused and distracted by JDC. In order to avoid sensationalism and out of respect for those involved, I have not included names nor great detail regarding the incidents cited. You might ask DFJ or others involved for such details, or review the various TV and newspaper presentations which have, and will continue to cover the JDC controversy.


      To begin with, DFJ has historically had control over the finances, properties, and other assets of JDC as if he personally and solely "owned" JDC, in stark contrast to the purposes and laws governing non-profit religious organizations. He has personally made all key decisions and has gratified his every whim, caring not for the financial strains he has placed on others. There are serious questions regarding whether DFJ has over the years abused the tax-exempt status of the JDC corporation for his own personal gain. Perhaps this is why JDC officials in the past few years have strategically destroyed documents that tended to reveal that DFJ was actually "running the show."


      DFJ has always demanded that people "go beyond themselves" to give him more money than they could afford, and then has spent the money on whatever he wanted to create or consume in that moment. Like a child, he has demanded the immediate gratification of his material desires, and then has often abandoned what he has been given in search of a new and more expensive "toy". Manner of Flowers, his extravagant but rarely used personal home in Lake County, California is certainly a case in point. In private, DFJ has laughed at those who have shown any concern about his financial exploitation of others. This is purportedly an example of the fact that DFJ is "free of conventional morality."


      While speaking against drugs and alcohol in his literature, DFJ has himself used many drugs during his years with devotees, including marijuana, hashish, peyote, psilocybin, nitrous oxide, LSD, other exotic hallucinogens more powerful than LSD, and most consistently, amyl nitrate. Did this all occur during the period of time erroneously labelled "the teaching demonstration" in 1976? Absolutely not. And DFJ has at times used drugs and alcohol to the extent of creating serious health concerns for himself. His drug and alcohol usage has continued into the 1980's.


      The drug which appears to be DFJ's favorite is amyl nitrate. This fact raises some interesting questions. If, as DFJ claims, he is a "tantric master", who practices the transcendence of orgasm, why does he take amyl nitrate during sexual encounters? Amyl nitrate, for those unaware, is a drug which is used to intensify orgasm.


      Also, DFJ has consistently failed to live the dietary disciplines that he has both espoused in his literature and required of others. There are brief periods when it appears he has lived the diet he recommends, but for the majority of the time he has not. This includes both recent years, and times past. DFJ has been a fan of junk food, meat, cigarettes, champagne, beer, liquor, caviar and fancy foods. Do you really believe him when he says his body looks the way it does because "he conducts the life force through his navel"?


      DFJ has also physically beaten devotees, including his wives, to the point of causing significant physical harm to the victims and/or himself. These beatings have occurred within a timespan which includes the 1980's.


      DFJ has participated in and required others to perform in sexual and related acts of a highly degrading and demeaning nature which have caused psychological and/or physical damage to those participating. JDC has recently admitted to examples of these types of activity, which many people believe are a reflection of the perversion of DFJ, rather than anything like enlightened "spiritual instruction." DFJ also has a particularly destructive habit of having sex with other men's wives when married couples have come to "serve" him at his hermitage. Is this a proper way to treat people who look to you for spiritual guidance? These sexual excesses of DFJ are not a thing of the distant past. In fact, each of the things which have been described in this paragraph has occurred in the 1980's. And it is the firm belief of many people that the inordinate amount of time and attention DFJ spends on sexuality reflects nothing more than his own obsession and desires.


      The vast discrepancy between what DFJ claims and says, versus what he does and intends must be thoroughly examined and understood before one can make an informed response to the man. What should be clear to everyone is that no one in JDC is given the opportunity to "cast the light" directly on DFJ. Why is he so estranged and hidden from you, really? Apart from your child-like fantasies and subtle beliefs about "who he is" and "how he works", how much and how privately have you observed him and then tested your observations? The fact is, apart from what you have read and are told, intermixed with a variety of contacts with DFJ years ago, most of you know very little about your teacher. You have therefore been called to relate to only the most superficial imagery about who DFJ is, and at the same time you have become steeped in an officially prescribed method for relating to him which permits only subservience and fawning devotion. And those of you who have been close to him should ask yourselves to what degree you own hopes, needs, and self-generated projections and expectations, coupled with the mythology about how DFJ's "unconven-tional behavior" has been designed to teach you, has colored your perceptions of him. Ex-members know from their own experience that many of you are paying a heavy price in terms of emotional suppression, confusion, and self-delusion in order to maintain the false conclusion that you have actually been served by this "crazy-wise" madness.


      Another disturbing matter regarding DFJ is the ritual of secrecy and deception surrounding him. Some of the things described about DFJ's life would not in themselves be worthy of any real concern if they did not stand in complete contradiction to an idealized image which has been used to exploit the people who have supported the whole affair. For years, many of you have been told that DFJ's abusive behavior, undertaken in order to "teach" people, ended after a brief period in 1976. He then allegedly became involved in a life of prayer, spiritual discipline, contemplation and renunciation. It was on the basis of this lie that so many accepted the notion that his past behavior was in fact a "teaching demonstration", and went on to give their lives, minds, hearts, and money to this man. However, upon discovering this deception, many were understandably outraged. According to recent statements by JDC to the press, all of you have been lied to because you are not spiritually mature enough to hear the truth. However, you are most certainly spiritually advanced enough to surrender you life, money, and trust in order to provide a life of luxury and delusion for DFJ, his nine wives, and those closest to him. What kind of logic is this? What utter arrogance and contempt! The obnoxious nature of this deception is surpassed only by the fact that when it could no longer be maintained, DFJ had the nerve to blame others in JDC for creating it.


      You may ask yourself why those who know all of these secrets have always withheld them from you. But we already know the answer. How glamorous to be associated with the ultimate matter and the ultimate master! But what a conceit and what a foundation for the pursuit of power. Through the screening mechanisms of the so-called "culture", only the few "mature" or "committed" members are given access to DFJ based upon a paranoid and patriarchal mentality of obedience. The demonstrated signs of your "maturity" (i.e. submission and obedience) gauge the level of your "status" and regulated, controlled access to events, places and people on the political (not spiritual but political) pecking order. Only people who are "trustable" (sufficiently indoctrinated) are allowed to get a glimpse of the "crazy wise man" up close, otherwise the truth might leak out.


      It would also be worthwhile for you to take a critical look at what is really meant by the superficial references to the "Crazy Wisdom Tradition" concocted by the official JDC apologists on behalf of the "mad avadhoot." As if the fact that such a "tradition" really did exist for abusive activities would somehow make them legitimate. We already have "traditions" for war, tyranny, racism, and the subjugation of women. Must we now add "crazy wisdom" to the list? The attempt to lend spiritual legitimacy to DFJ's aberrated, unloving, and destructive behavior is a travesty. His character flaws bear no relationship to Nityananda's nakedness in the public square. Do you really believe that DFJ's particular form of emotional and sexual exploitation has any precedent in the annals of legitimate spirituality? No one I have talked to has been able to find any historical accounts of a genuine spiritual master who has acted this way.


      Many ex-members no longer accept the guilt-ridden pap that it is the immaturity of his devotees which is killing DFJ, when they know that it is much more surely his own chronically abusive and toxifying life-habits which threaten the man. DFJ's behavior is a reflection of his own character and motivations, just like everyone else's, and he should rightfully take responsibility for the problems his shortcomings have created in his own life and the lives of others. He is anything but free of ego. He has his own strengths and weaknesses. Yet through the process of indoctrination and manipulation, coupled with the weaknesses of those around him, he has been successful at keeping himself invulnerable and unquestioned. In so doing, he has become afflicted in all the ways that any man would be corrupted and deluded by excessive power and isolation from critical feedback. He has also thus imprisoned himself within the expectations he created in others and the torment of pretending to be something he is not. Faced with such a creation, it is no accident that DFJ began to create a peculiar ideology in which he described himself as a "crazy-wise avadhoot." In this way he has allowed himself a "safety valve" wherein his aberrations could coincide with his purported divinity. Otherwise, he would have exploded long ago from the psychological pressure of attempting to appear to be a superior spiritual being.


      On top of all of this, DFJ has also chosen to physically separate himself to insure the maintenance of this myth of his superiority. He has simply taken whatever he wanted and gone off to create his own little fantasy kingdom, apart from his "friends and devotees", who have provided him with everything, and apart from a "world" that he has never been able to deal with, and from which he has always tried to escape. People no longer accept that if you give him everything, you will receive everything in return, for it is obvious that in "his plan", only he will have and be "everything." Is this not the epitome of "Narcissus"?


      Nor is it any longer accepted that "the world" is a terrible place full of terrible people, and that spiritual life ends when one leaves JDC. People now know better than to become ensnared in the tentacles of this argument. And where there was only "one" worthy of love and respect, all others became unworthy and worthless. This is what happened in JDC, for as we were all divested of our own self-worth and simultaneously invested in DFJ, we were rendered nothing rather than "no-thing." Can you feel this?


      We have all (current and ex-members), along with DFJ, cooperated in constructing this insane empire. It is a classic and perverted play on what might have been. And it is nothing like what most of us signed up for or thought we were choosing. But so long as you are exposed to the "system" which life in JDC represents, there is no space within which to understand this and be set free.


      We are all now painfully aware of the pitfalls of anyone presuming that he or she is somehow responsible for the life process of "lesser souls." Please do not state that DFJ says this or that about not being able to relieve anyone of their responsibility in and for life. He says everything and in so doing says nothing. One is only left with confusion and disorientation if one seriously contemplates all of the contradictions and "paradoxes" of DFJ represented in the mass of literature and descriptions of "practice" which have been espoused at one time or another by him. And since all "experiences", "relations", and your "independent reactions" are systematically criticized, DFJ becomes your sole and ultimate point of reference and support system. Even those responsible for communicating "the teaching" to the membership over the years admitted they had no idea what the teaching really was or what the practice really was. All that could ultimately be recommended was to somehow "turn to the master and do exactly what he has asked." And it is on that basis that what DFJ has created is essentially a "cult of personality."


      It is also on that basis that those who serve critical functions in your "culture" adapt to a profoundly dependent form of relating to DFJ and a resulting righteous, exclusive, self-glorifying, self-protective and politically charged "life of service." You are all aware of the institutional mentality of those who lead you at JDC. They are part of a machine and priesthood of aberrated spiritual seeking and corruption, an exclusive club, reigning in association with the "enlightened" source or "goodie" who is offered as a reward to those giving over their center, discrimination, and direct unmediated ability to live the truth of their own condition. In this process many of you have lost yourselves, your power and your way. And for DFJ to hide behind a claim of "blamelessness and divinity" while placing all the blame on the immaturity of his devotees, those very people who depend on him for their spiritual guidance, is not only irresponsible and cowardly, but the perfect vision of a perfectly narcissistic megalomaniac. Surely there was a time before you came to JDC where you could have simply recognized this to be so.


      But can you now? It is so hard from where you are. I know, for it has taken many people years, even after leaving JDC, to wake up from the sleep which had settled into every corner of their mind's eye. Although discrimination is spoken about in the teaching, it is nowhere present in the lives of devotees. Many of you have, through non-use, lost your own personal, instinctual feeling for life, having been conditioned to believe that it represents recoil from the divine. You have become good at obeying without reflection. Your blank agreement is applauded as "equanimity" and the transcendence of reactivity.


      Those who are in the JDC hierarchy have the most to lose. And they are among the most corrupt and in need of help. These people are relieved of the ordinary responsibilities of life and live instead a bizarre fantasy life. To do the bidding of their teacher they have become proficient at selectively withholding and releasing edited information, and have made the poor choice of abandoning their native sense of human decency in exchange for power and prestige.


      Many of these same people are the most seriously ambitious in their "search." It is as if they have not yet adapted to the rudiments of the practice as it relates to the "search" and yet are influential simply because they are "submitted." Having made such a heavy investment of time and energy in gaining their status and position, they are now banking on their "personal" relationship with DFJ to save them. In this way there is a tremendous amount of manipulation around the poles of hope and fear. You spin and turn but rarely find a seat from which to observe the play. The ideology and belief that you are blessed with "the ultimate truth and the maha-siddha" fuels the madness. The shocking news that thousands of people see this "master" of yours as a tyrannical and deluded power broker never quite reaches your ears or cannot penetrate your rehearsed belief.


      When finally pressed up against this blunt observation from "the world" outside, you hold up "the teaching" like a crucifix to stave off the heathen hordes. You retreat into the "certainty" that nothing like "the teaching" could ever have been written by a charlatan. But many believe that DFJ's, or anyone else's ability to artfully synthesize, categorize, and recapitulate ideas and insights does not bear any necessary relation to spiritual realization and maturity. Aside from his particular style of presentation and arrangement of things, there is nothing uniquely described in DFJ's literature that does not appear elsewhere. And through his familiarity with literally thousands of volumes of spiritual writings, he has borrowed from or been heavily influenced by numerous others to whom he has given no credit at all. The fact that he has been able to articulate the free and transcendent relationship to life that we all instinctively feel in moments, coupled with the fact that he writes and speaks about many things which are beyond the realm of your personal experience, is offered as "proof" that he is spiritually superior to you.


      Many of you have apparently forgotten the simple truth that actions speak louder than words, and that insights which are not practiced are meaningless, if not dangerous. Your distraction with a complexity of abstractions and a sophisticated, "pre-packaged" context within which to interpret everything has left you "incapable of seeing the forest for the trees." "By their fruits shall ye know them", said one spiritual teacher nearly 2,000 years ago. And it is on this basis that each one of us must draw our own conclusions regarding the spiritual status of Da Free John.


      I am so glad to no longer be where many of you are, and I wanted to take the opportunity to tell you why. In many respects it would have been far easier to write this entire matter off as just another set of experiences. But I have felt too much passion and serious caring to have made that choice.


      Should any of you meander out beyond the fences and psychological barriers of JDC, you will find that there is "unavoidably" only god outside your temple walls. Your spiritual life may change in form, but it will continue. And there are many people who have been through what you have experienced and can thus offer help. Many have needed and received support in order to make the critical transition back to a measure of self-respectability.


      Therefore, many ex-members are happy to offer support to anyone wanting to climb out from beneath the astral fog. They are not however in the recruiting business, and are not any type of organization dedicated to any purpose; merely a number of old friends willing to lend a hand. Please understand that I do not want to debate or confront any of you. The consideration this letter hopefully sparks in you should primarily occur amongst yourselves, including DFJ personally, the so-called "renunciate order", and the entire JDC hierarchy. On the other hand, should you ever wish to communicate about anything discussed here, in confidence or otherwise, I would welcome your letters. I can also direct you to books and to other people who can assist during the initial period of re-orientation to what can be "an ordinary pleasurable life", free of exaggerated dependency, concern for spiritual attainment, and the ensnaring arguments for living in submission to someone who controls your root fiber but does not love you.


      It would have been preferable for all of you to have done the work of provoking this discussion. But I understand why this could not be so and trust that you will soon recognize the benefits which will ultimately come from what has been started. If in the end there is a bit more openness and honesty in JDC, a degree of self-critical inspection, or a drop less arrogance and exclusivity on the part of Da Free John, we will have all been served. I wish you well and look forward to hearing from you.



      Mark D. Miller Sausalito, California USA




      From The Commanding Self by Idries Shah:


      Eight Analogies

      There are several extremely important analogies, which can be put in the form of anecdotes, which enable one to isolate for study and benefit, characteristics, mistakes, which block higher perceptions.
         The first is concerned with assumptions, especially the assumption that people who have a certain repute must have the flexibility to advise one on every necessary emphasis of study.
         It is often used to describe the condition of pedantic and formula-thinking scholars, whose expertise may even stand in the way of enlightenment, however useful it may be in the secondary field known as learning.
         This version concerns a woman whose son had gone away to study medicine. She heard that he had graduated, and was therefore overjoyed when she received a letter from him.
         Unfortunately, however, his handwriting had become the scribble which is often associated with medical men. She decided to take it to a chemist, knowing how experienced they are at reading doctors' writing.
         She took the paper to her local pharmacist. He looked at it, whipped out a bottle, and said: 'There you are. Take two spoonfuls three times a day.'
         Another mistake is to assume that a formula, or a piece of instructional material, is exclusive and unvarying. The tale attached to this tells of an engineer who was one day found staring at a lion in a zoo.
         Someone said:
         'You seem very interested in that animal.'
         The engineer replied:
         'So I should be — it has infringed the patent on my new shock-absorber!'


         The random or partial adoption of techniques or ideas is reflected in the third anecdote, dealing, too, with the tinkering tendency of psychologists and supposed spiritual people alike.
         A man went to visit a friend who was in a mental institution.
         He asked the psychiatrist in charge:
         'Is he any better?'
         'Better?  I should say he is,' said the doctor. 'He used to think he was Louis XIV.  Now he only thinks that he is Louis V.'


      Sometimes the narratives can be put into guru-disciple terms, as in the following one, which deals with the absence of real perception in the general populace as to the spiritual and the imitative:


         A guru once related, so goes the tale, how he became a spiritual mentor.
         'I was sitting by the roadside wondering what to do, when a man came and squatted opposite me. We carried on all sorts of chants and exercises.
         'After some weeks, I said:
         "Tell me, what shall I do next, Master?"
         'The other man replied:
         "But I thought that you were the master!"


      The behaviour of disciples is often noted to be somewhat less infused with common sense than that of the general public; something which has been observed as a fact for centuries. One esoteric teacher tells this story to impress on learners that they have to think clearly as well as to follow blindly:


         'What,' asked a teacher to his pupil 'will people think of you, buying meatballs from a street vendor five times a day?'
         'That's all right,' answered his follower, 'I tell everyone that they are for you!'


      Again in this vein, but referring to 'idolatry' is the tale of the man who went to a far-off land to study metaphysics under one or other of the great teachers who abounded there.

         He visited one after another and, although all seemed willing to accept him, they always ordered a dog to be killed for dinner.
         Finally, he found one who served the meal without any sign of this – to him – distressing tradition.
         He studied under this man for years and finally said:
         'I chose you, you know, Reverend Sir, because you did not have a dog killed for our supper.'
         'Perish the thought!' answered the sage. 'We do not kill dogs here: that is a barbaric habit. For our meals, we wait until they have died of something.'


      The idolatry, of course, is the attachment to literalism.
         Seventh is the story of the man who went to a genuine spiritual teacher and said:


         'I have come to you because after being the disciple of such-and-such a supposed teacher for seven years, I realised that he was not a spiritual man.'
         The true mentor answered: 'You remind me of the man who was asked why he had left his house after living there for seven years. He replied: 'Because I found that it had no bathroom!"


      Finally, illustrating the need to have common sense at all times, is the graffito reportedly chalked on a wall by a desperate would-be disciple, which starkly shows that he was in no condition to learn anything:


         'I shall,' it ran, 'leave all my money to whoever can give me immortality!'



      "I am Gurdjieff. I will not die!"


      "Ouspensky: In Search of the Miraculous"



      From Listening to Idries Shah: How understanding can grow


      A memoir by Ivan Tyrrell, published in Great Britain 2016


      Chapter Five – War, spies and barriers to progress (pp. 121-124)


      Over the years Shah talked a lot about expectation, a theme that runs through many of his books. He pointed out that expectations are almost always not fulfilled and that they stop us seeing things clearly. It is our expectations that frustrate most human endeavours, including so-called spiritual ones.

      'Expectation and disappointment go hand in hand,' he said. 'We are swept along first by expectation – then by disappointment or surprise. And, once in the disappointed or surprised stage, we quickly forget our earlier expectation.

      'We are not masters of ourselves when swept along like this, although, being human, expectation and disappointment will always be with us. They are major handicaps and prevent the mind and heart from perceiving the Truth.'

      One Saturday evening he told what he said was a Zen story to illustrate this, and I wrote it up when I got home.


      One day a young man who was interested in the spiritual life heard of a famous teacher who lived far away. He resolved to seek him out and become his pupil.

      He travelled far to find him – suffering great hardship along the way – until he arrived at a house at the foot of a high mountain where the sage lived. It was late in the day and snow was beginning to fall. He was hungry and cold.

      When he knocked on the door it was opened by the great teacher himself.

      'Master!' he cried. 'With great difficulty I have travelled a thousand miles to find you. Let me in so I may serve you and learn.'

      Instantly the teacher slammed the door in his face shouting, 'Get away from me you wretch!'

      Shocked and getting colder by the minute the young seeker after truth huddled in the doorway. 'This must be a test,' he thought to himself and, bucking up courage, he knocked again at the door to plead his case. This time the teacher was even more forceful, sending him spinning to the ground with a mighty blow before slamming the door once more.

      Even more convinced that this was a test of some kind, he tried again and again. The teacher eventually relented but, before he was allowed to rest or eat, he was cuffed round the ears and ordered to clean the floors, chop wood, light a fire and cook the evening meal. He was then given scraps from the table, for which he professed himself most grateful.

      He was allowed to stay. For ten years he led a miserable life. He was treated like a slave, often beaten, made to work long and hard at the menial tasks around the house, all for no reward. In all that time he could detect no sign of any teaching from his master…no words of wisdom…no comforting hint of spiritual succour. All the while, however, he was convinced that one day his suffering would pay off. That was his expectation.

      He was usually so tired from his labours that he went to bed early each evening to sleep off his exhaustion. But, one warm summer night, he couldn't sleep for puzzling over his circumstances and his teacher's behaviour, so he rose again to walk in the garden, intent on meditating about his fate. And so it was that he made a great discovery. Unobserved he saw his master quietly leave the house and make his way by starlight up the side of the mountain. He resolved to follow him.

      In less than an hour the teacher reached a mysterious cave entrance and disappeared inside. The disciple's heart missed a beat. 'This must be where my master holds his spiritual meetings,' he said to himself and sure enough, with mounting excitement, he saw other shadowy figures entering the cave. For fear of being caught he made his way back down the mountain to his room; deciding from that moment on, he would work harder still for his master so that he too might one day be allowed to participate in the cave's wondrous ceremonies.

      He did work harder, paying even closer attention to his master's wishes and keeping close watch every night to see how often his master took the path up the mountainside. About once or twice a week it turned out. Each time the disciple followed discreetly until, one dark night, he could contain his curiosity no longer. After he was sure that no more people were coming up the mountain, he entered the cave.

      Inside he found a fabulous world of decorated chambers connected by dimly lit tunnels. From deep within he could hear the rhythm of drums and, beside himself with anticipation and keeping to the shadows, he crept towards the sound – anxious to see whatever ceremony was in progress.

      He peeped nervously into the inner sanctum. It was more sumptuously furnished than the outer chambers and glowing with a warm light from artfully placed lanterns. The cavern was decorated with rich carpeting, colourful patterned wall hangings and huge luxurious cushions. In the centre a delightful fountain played into a deep crystal blue pool. It was a magical place. At first the disciple couldn't see his master. There were many people lounging around as if waiting for something to happen. High up in the gallery muscians played a haunting melody. Then suddenly the music changed. The rhythm grew louder and faster – more compulsive and urgent. With a shout everyone turned to look in the direction of a door that was opening and immediately began clapping in time to the music.

      To his surprise the disciple saw, coming through the door, an exotic troupe of ravishingly beautiful, dark-eyed dancing girls. He watched in amazement as they brazenly circled around, erotically singing and swaying in time to the wild music. Surely this was no spiritual assembly!

      It was then that he saw his master. With a cup in one hand and a girl on his knee, surrounded by carousing companions, he was clearly the host of the party. Motionless, mesmerised, the disciple watched an orgy develop. Wine flowed, songs were sung and girls disrobed. He slunk miserably away, totally disillusioned.

      At dawn the dissolute old man came staggering home to be met at the door by his erstwhile disciple.

      'I'm leaving!' shouted the disciple. 'I saw you in the cave! You're a fraud! I've wasted ten years of my life with you.'

      'I know, I know,' said the orgy master, 'but what amazes me is, why it took you so long to find out!'



      Colin Wilson writes about "…Gurdjieff's reputation for seducing his female students. (In Providence, Rhode Island, in 1960, a man was pointed out to me as being one of Gurdjieff's illegitimate children. The professor who told me this also assured me that Gurdjieff had left many children around America)."


      In the early 1930s, Gurdjieff publicly ridiculed one of his pupils, Alfred Richard Orage [who wrote On Love and Consciousness]. In response, his wife Jessie Dwight wrote the following poem about Gurdjieff:


      He calls himself, deluded man,
      The Tiger of The Turkestan.
      And greater he than God or Devil
      Eschewing good and preaching evil.
      His followers whom he does glut on

      Are for him naught but wool and mutton,
      And still they come and sit agape
      With Tiger's rage and Tiger's rape.
      Why not, they say, The man's a god;
      We have it on the sacred word.
      His book will set the world on fire.
      He says so – can God be a liar?
      But what is woman, says Gurdjieff,
      Just nothing but man's handkerchief.
      I need a new one every day,
      Let others for the washing pay.


      ~ Wikipedia/Gurdjieff



      From Episodes with Gurdjieff (published in 1973) by Edwin Wolfe


      In 1939


      I was alone with Mr. Gurdjieff at a table in Child's Restaurant on Fifth Avenue near 57th Street. It was almost dusk of a winter day. The Child's Mr. Gurdjieff called his night office. Another Child's over on Columbus Circle was his day office.

      We sat for awhile in silence. He seemed to be looking out the front window at the people passing by in the waning light. It was beginning to snow.

      "Wolfe," he said, "tell. How your handkerchief?"

      "Mr. Gurdjieff," I said, "I'm going to ask you to not speak about Dorothy like that. We are trying to live a good life together. A decent life. We are even trying to learn how to love one another. So, please, don't call her my handkerchief. Please."

      "I not promise," he said.

      But he never called her that again.



      Sexual Beliefs and Practices


      From Gurdjieff and the Fourth Way: A Critical Appraisal


      Page 1 of 8


      By all reports Gurdjieff was a vigorous, charismatic man with a robust sexual nature, described by biographer James Webb as “a sensual man who enjoyed the pleasures of the bed as much as those of the table.”(1)  Gurdjieff's sexual conduct shocked many people in the 1920s and 1930s, especially in conservative America. There were rumors that he had a highly varied sex life and was involved in unusual sexual practices. Some claimed he was a master of exotic Tantric sexual teachings learned in the East. While many of the stories surrounding Gurdjieff and sex were clearly fictitious or based on hearsay, there is a body of information on this subject gleaned from the written accounts of his pupils and research by biographers, scholars and academics that can be considered reasonably reliable.


      Gurdjieff held many traditional conservative beliefs and attitudes about sexuality, probably based on his upbringing and cultural conditioning. He strongly condemned masturbation, contraception and homosexuality as affronts to the proper order of nature. At the same time he clearly [allegedly] possessed a sophisticated and nuanced understanding of the role of sexuality in the process of spiritual transformation, and enunciated a complex model of the transmutation of sexual energy to a higher developmental level. Sometimes Gurdjieff created teaching situations which revealed to his students and others the hypnotic power of their conditioned attitudes and unconscious expression of sexuality.


      Gurdjieff’s personal sex life appears from all accounts to be complex and sometimes contradictory, with varied expressions throughout his life. At times he was celibate, at other periods highly sexually charged. He fathered numerous children out of wedlock, including many with his own female disciples.


      Critics have roundly condemned Gurdjieff’s sexual behavior as irresponsible and contrary to the actions of an authentic spiritual teacher. But teachers in many other spiritual traditions have engaged in exactly the same kind of sexual behavior.(2)  The notion that spiritual masters must always be celibate and beyond the “base desires of earthly sexuality” is clearly an idealized myth and not congruent with reality.


      However, the issue of a sexual relationship between a [self-appointed, so-called] spiritual teacher and his or her student(s) raises a number of important ethical questions: Is a sexual relationship between a teacher and student harmful or beneficial from a spiritual perspective? Is there an imbalance of power between teacher and student that compromises the authentic expression of a loving relationship between two equal partners? Is it possible to separate an intimate sexual relationship from an objective impersonal transmission of spiritual knowledge?





      The ruler is a shepherd and his flock is the people.
         He has to help them and save them, not exploit and destroy them.
         Is the shepherd there for the flock, or the flock there for the shepherd?


      ~ Hakim Jami



      166. ton2u – August 27, 2015

      Re: 'Having sex with one’s disciples, whether secretly or openly, is a betrayal of trust because the guru is putting his own needs and pleasures first, which is exploitation. “Honoring” a disciple with sex is a form of unabashed dominance—how can a disciple refuse who is committed to serve and obey?


      'Gurus who preach celibacy while secretly engaging in sexuality present the latter as an esoteric initiation ritual or advanced spiritual exercise that must be kept hidden. This makes the disciple feel special while colluding in an enormous lie and manipulation that has severe emotional repercussions…. The lie indicates the guru’s entire persona is a lie, that his image as selfless and being beyond ego is a core deception…. Lying here as elsewhere is done to cover up self-interest.'






      From  Influence and The New American Wing
      By JM




      Robert Cialdini's book, Influence: The Psychology of Persuasion, describes many of the ways in which people influence each other. At first glance, I thought the book was about marketing, and about the techniques used by sales professionals to cause people to buy their products. However, a friend of mine repeatedly praised the book as a great tool for understanding some of the dynamics within cults, and so I finally broke down and read it. I was not disappointed – the book is excellent, and it illuminated many different aspects of my own cult experience.


      From 1991 to 1994, I was an active member of The New American Wing (NAW), a consciousness cult based on the ideas of G.Gurdjieff and P.D.Ouspensky.  After having been a fan of Ouspensky's "Fourth Way" books for a couple years, I was excited when I first discovered this group, and began by attending meetings twice a week. After about a year of increasing involvement, I moved into a house with other "students". After another year, I moved to the NAW's headquarters: a small farm outside Lexington, Kentucky. My responsibilities within the group had steadily increased with time, and by this point I was spending all my available time (outside my day job) with this group. I lived with them, paid them a great deal of money, believed in much of their dogma, and participated in various recruiting activities. My mental and physical life was consumed with their ideas and practices. . .


      In the end…


      Even now, years after leaving the NAW, I still wonder whether the teachers actually understood what they were doing. With so many adoring students, it is very possible that they came to believe in their own facade of authority, and actually acted with a clean (although buried) conscience. Judging from my own experience, I was certainly unconscious of my own role in influencing new recruits until long after I'd left.


      In all likelihood, the teachers (Jim and Carolyn Kuziak) were probably not aware enough to have devised these rules intentionally. Evidence supports the idea that they learned how to run their organization from their teacher (James Randazzo), who, in turn, learned from his teacher (Robert Burton), and so on. This makes good sense from the perspective of the theory of natural selection: the groups that survive are the ones that make the best use of persuasion techniques and produce the most true believers, regardless of whether they are aware of these techniques or not.


      As Cialdini's book demonstrates, these practices pervade society already. We do not need to join a cult to experience them, they are already all around us. But the first step in regaining control over these pressures is to become aware of them, and Influence provides an excellent starting point.


      It is my sincerest wish that the existing and ex-members of the New American Wing begin to look at their experience from the new vantage points made possible by this book. For them, I want to pass on this advice, once given to me by a friend – the true learning in "school" does not begin until you leave!




      James Vincent Randazzo




      These newspaper articles describe the arrest and imprisonment of James Vincent Randazzo, the leader of the "Spiral of Friends" (SOF). Randazzo and the SOF are significant because the leaders of the NAW and many of its longtime members were originally his students. It was there that they learned how to run a "school". 


      Curious cult leader back in Mesa County lockup

      The perpetrator of one of Mesa County's most bizarre crimes and ensuing trial is back, ensconced in the Mesa County jail to serve the final year of his lengthy sentence for sexually abusing teenagers.




      More from The Guru Papers: Masks of Authoritarian Power
      by Joel Kramer and Diana Alstad:


      Traditional gurus teach what they were taught. Most gurus' training in dealing with disciples is through example – watching their own guru. They learn to recognize, reinforce, and reward surrender, and to negate non-surrender. Aside from the more tangible rewards, they reinforce devotion with attention and approval, and punish its lack by withdrawing them. Though some gurus say that doubts are healthy, they subtly punish them. Doubt is not the way to get into the inner circle. Believing surrender is essential for transmitting their teachings, some gurus could be aware they are manipulating people to surrender, but think they are doing so 'for their own good.' (If this were in fact true, it would mean that deep truths are only accessible via an authoritarian mode.)  This can not only justify manipulation, but also justify dissembling in order to eliminate people's doubts – all this being done in the name of fostering spiritual growth.  (p.62)


      Is experiencing intense energy a sign of spirituality, or is the experience in the same vein as young ladies who swoon in the presence of rock stars?  (p.68)


      Gurus, like fathers, are in a context that gives them enormous power because of their disciples’ needs, trust, and dependency.  One reason incest is a betrayal of trust is [because] what a daughter needs from her father is a sense of self-worth not specifically linked to her sexuality. Sex with the guru is similarly incestuous because a guru ostensibly functions as a spiritual father to whom one’s growth is entrusted. Having sex with a parental figure reinforces using sex for power. This is not what young women (or men) need for their development. When the guru drops them, which eventually he does, feelings of shame and betrayal usually result that leave deep scars. (p.94)


      Fostering promiscuity, impersonal sex, and interchangeable sexual partners accomplishes the same agenda as celibacy. It trivializes sexual attraction and undermines coupling. Casual, disconnected, modular sex eventually leaves people satiated, jaded, and often hurt. They become fearful of forming deep relationships, which fits neatly into the guru’s need to have disciples detached from everything but him. (p.99)



      "Kid Shelleen" wrote on the Fellowship of Friends Discussion blog – October 4, 2007:




      Taking with the Left Hand is by William Patrick Patterson, who was a student of John Pentland’s and supposedly was anointed to lead the Gurdjieff Foundation when Pentland died. The observations he makes about the fof in his book are mild compared to the real deal. His point of view is coming from the “Burton has no legitimate connection to this work and is misleading his students” angle.


      Here’s a story:


      A couple of years ago, I was in a local book store and saw a poster for one of Patterson’s talks near my home. Just out of curiosity, I went. He talked the fourth way mumbo-jumbo for awhile, had us do some “sensing” exercises, and opened the floor for questions. For fun, I asked a question about self remembering and creating memory. He asked me about my understanding of self remembering and in my answer I used the phrase divided attention. He told me this was a wrong understanding of the idea and then, seemingly out of nowhere, launched into a diatribe about false teachings and corruption of the ideas. On and on it went. At the end, he turns his best Gurdjy steely gaze on me and says, “And this is the story of Robert Burton and the Fellowship of Friends, is it not,” in an incredibly self-satisfied tone. I almost laughed out loud. Judging from his manner, I believe that he thought that I thought, “Wow, how did this guy read my mind?” I came away from the experience thinking, “Same s#@t, different bag.”


      Oh, and his students were a hoot, too. They seemed about as uptight as any group of folks I’ve run into. The woman who introduced him (one of the inner circle, probably), spoke of him as if he were the second coming. After the event, I asked the two people manning the concession stand how many times a week the group met and how many students were in the local area. They stopped, stared at the ground for a moment, looked at each other with a look I’m sure we are all familiar with, and told me they couldn’t answer my question. So it goes.



      [ed. – Finally, concerning the system of beliefs upon which Burton’s “school” was founded, there are reports that, just before his death, Ouspensky urged his followers to abandon the system. “Innernaut” appears to have found evidence to support these reports.]


      "innernaut" wrote on the Fellowship of Friends Discussion blog – May 28, 2008:


      @132. Another Name


      Thanks for the Alan Clements video. It reminds me of something that happened very early in my FOF time, about 1981.


      I was in the Boston center, and at one point I was dispatched, along with two other students, to visit the Yale library in New Haven, Connecticut. Our assignment was to rifle through the “Ouspensky papers,” which had been donated to the university after O’s death.


      We drove down there, and signed in. We were ushered to a room, where we could select the boxes we were interested in viewing. There were about 50 of them, mostly meeting transcripts covering 25 years or so, right up to his death. We chose a cross-section, with various dates, and got a few boxes brought to us. We were not allowed to make copies. We had to write down whatever we were interested in, using only a pencil and paper the library issued to us.


      The boxes were crammed full of typewritten pages. Mostly just stuff that could have come from “The Fourth Way” — not terribly interesting. But there was one box — the last box, chronologically — that I was really interested in. I had read about O’s last, bizarre meetings, and I was wondering if they were transcribed. They were, so I spent almost my whole allotted time copying down the questions and O’s strange answers.


      The gist of what he said is known: he told his students to “abandon the system,” saying that it was basically BS. Even back then, I felt strangely liberated; not that I had the courage to chuck it all aside then, but that one day I would be free of it. I noticed this feeling then, but pushed it aside, because what did that say about the System I had devoted my life to, that I couldn’t wait to be free of it?


      After copying down many pages of this very interesting stuff, one of the students did a guilt trip on me, saying we shouldn’t be spending so much time on “unhelpful” material. Hmmm… so party-line Ouspensky is “good,” and Ouspensky when he finally sounds like he’s a human being and is telling the truth is “bad.”


      This experience was probably the beginning of the end for me, in terms of the System, though it would take many years before I had the courage to throw it all out — baby, bath water, everything.


      One more thing, which Alan Clements mentioned – getting rid of the notion of enlightenment means being able to live without the certainty that a dogmatic spiritual framework provides. If it helps you live sanely, then more power to you.


      "innernaut" continued:


      One more thing. When I asked the idolized “older students” what they thought Ouspensky meant when he said, “abandon the system,” they had many creative things to say. But in the end, what they essentially said was, “Don’t abandon the system.” That’s right, when O says abandon the system, what he really means is don’t abandon the system.


      People sure act funny when their belief system is being threatened.



      From Gurdjieff & Taking With The Left Hand by William Patrick Patterson, first printing 1998


      Prologue [excerpts]


      Georgi Ivanovitch Gurdjieff, the extraordinary messenger who introduced and established in the West the ancient esoteric teaching of self-development of The Fourth Way, understood that – as with all things in time – gaps, intervals, counter currents would appear that could deflect or distort his teaching from its original direction. There would appear self-appointed teachers who would distort or deflect his message and Mr. Gurdjieff would call them "Candidates for Hasnamuss." They would "take with the left hand," as it is said in the East, where the left hand is used when toilet paper is lacking.


      Robert Earl Burton I have never met. I know of him through newspaper accounts, personal contacts with his former students, and his book Self-Remembering. Burton claims his Fellowship of Friends is a school of the Fourth Way. However, Burton's only teacher was Alexander Horn, a faux-Gurdjieffian, who tried to enter but was not accepted into the teaching.


      Of all Burton's students I've met over the years, the only one of his inner circle was Ed Grieve. He was at the dinner Burton held for Lord Pentland. Pentland had contacted Burton because he was having his students put bookmarks advertising the Fellowship of Friends into Fourth Way books and with the film version of Meetings with Remarkable Men he had students standing outside theaters passing out Fellowship flyers. Grieve told me that Burton believed Pentland was coming to hand over his students to him because he had recognized Burton's "higher development," and even bet on this with several students. In fact, Pentland was coming to ask Burton to make a sizable contribution to the film inasmuch as he was falsely profiting by it.


      On Pentland's arrival, Burton presented him with an expensive sleeping pillow, his idea of an esoteric joke. Several of Burton's close students joined the two for dinner, Grieve was one of the servers. "Watching the two of them together," Grieve said, "there was just no question of who was awake and who asleep, and I left the next day to become a student of Lord Pentland's."


      The number of Burton's students has greatly declined with the continuing sex scandals and lawsuits, but those who believe he is, as he declares, "a goddess in a man's body," stay blindly loyal. Always a great merchandizer, Burton has attempted to solve the student problem by creating an online school, headed by a married Israeli student, Burton's "close friend" Asaf Braverman. So the "esoteric" Fellowship parade continues.



      Just the Facts Ma'amSeptember 17, 2016 


      I, too, had been to Yale Library to see O’s legacy:


      I went several times while living in the neighborhood of the east coast in the 1980s […] with limited time allotted, concentrated on the unpublished manuscripts as first priority and, secondarily, published manuscripts. It was interesting to see and experience the documents that O actually wrote, corrected and handled. You could see the development of ideas, corrections and refinements made, and his handwriting. Also, they would be full of his emanations. Very interesting impressions as I remember – to this day.


      Also, I wanted to see what more there was that I did not already know about. Since then, the more obscure matters have become published.


      One other thing worthy of note about seeing O’s papers at Yale: They wanted to know why you wanted to access them. I said I was doing research for a forthcoming book: The Life and Times of a Conscious Being.



      Linda Jo

      Dec.12, 2013 


      Last week, I finally read Gurdjieff's Herald of Coming Good: "The First Appeal…" and booklet published in Paris and 1933. My old, dark blue paperback (collecting dust for decades en casa here) was published by Samuel Weiser, Inc., NY, 1973.


      According to Mr. G then. . .


      Only now, having prepared, in my opinion, by means of everything already set forth in this booklet, a corresponding, so-to-say, "ground-work'' for depicting before the inner eye of every reader different outlines of the essence of this booklet of mine, called by me "The-First-Appeal-To-Contemporary-Humanity", I consider it right, before other things, to announce in the hearing of all that, although I undertake at last the publication of my writings, I have decided to promote their circulation not by the usual ways, but in accordance with a definite plan worked out by me.


      This plan, newly formed by me, consists in taking all possible measures to prevent my writings, with the exception of the first series, from becoming at once property "accessible-to-everybody".


      This decision of mine, made during the last years in the course of my observations of those who listened to the readings of my current work, is the result of long consideration, and is a conclusion contrary to my original hope of the possibility of making some more, generally available contribution to the healing of man's psyche, which has already become, during the last centuries, almost completely abnormal.



      Next, I examined J. G. Bennett's book, Is There "Life" on Earth? An Introduction to Gurdjieff (first published in NY, 1973).


      From Chapter 2, "Gurdjieff – The Man and His Work":


      Gurdjieff came more and more clearly to see that the ways of helping people which have been used in the past are no longer applicable — because modern man cannot even listen to what is most necessary for him to hear. Notwithstanding so many years of profound study of the human psyche, Gurdjieff reached the conclusion, as late as 1927, that a new and more penetrating approach to the problem must be undertaken. He accordingly imposed on himself a way of life that would, as he says, "cause each person to take off the mask kindly provided by their papa and mama," and disclose the depths of his or her nature. The procedure adopted he describes as "finding the most sensitive corn of each person from whatever class or race he might come and whatever position he might hold, and treading on it rather violently." It can well be imagined that such a procedure made him many new enemies and even scandalized many old friends. Since he carried his procedure into every kind of relationship, it is not surprising that stories of a most damaging nature should have begun to spread at his expense.


      Very few people were able to see the necessity or sense of his actions and there is no question that many obstacles were created to the acceptance of his teaching. Nevertheless, for anyone who has felt the obscurity of the human psyche, it is obvious that what he did was indispensable – partly to establish the facts which it was necessary to know and partly, also, for the further aim – equally important and necessary – namely, to try and recover his own health.  Not only was his bodily strength almost destroyed by the automobile accident, but he carried the results of many serious diseases contracted in the course of his travels in different parts of the world.


      In 1931, he again visited New York and, before the outbreak of the Second World War, paid several further visits to America. The Prieure was finally closed down in 1932, and in 1934 he settled in Paris. . .


      The period from 1939 to 1948 was one of the utmost difficulty and privation for himself and his work. Those who were directly in contact with him were fewer in number than in the past, while those who misunderstood his ideas and mistrusted his methods had increased. Very much misunderstanding existed. Only a few who knew him well and had worked closely with him had some understanding of his aim. . .


      So it came about that in the summer of 1948, many people who had not seen each other for many years, and others who had never met at all, began to arrive in Paris and went round to see him in his little flat, re-establishing contact first with him and then with one another. Everything seemed to be going normally as if work with him would continue as before, when again, there was one of these automobile accidents which, with bullet wounds and disease, make a terrifying pattern in his life.  Once again, by all ordinary standards, he should have been killed.



      From In Search of P. D. Ouspensky: The Genius in the Shadow of Gurdjieff by Gary Lachman (Second Quest Edition 2006)


      The Struggle with A Master of Mystery and Power


      P. D. Ouspensky's brilliant work, In Search of the Miraculous, was the first to interpret the psychology of G. I. Gurdjieff, the early twentieth-century esoteric master who still commands a global following today. Yet Gurdjieff once dismissively described Ouspensky as "nice to drink vodka with, but a weak man," and some consider their meeting the overwhelming catastrophe of Ouspensky's life.

      This book highlights Ouspensky's own passionate mysticism, in stark contrast to Gurdjieff's idea of "man as machine." Ouspensky was an accomplished philosopher in his own right. What attracted him to Gurdjieff in the first place, and why did he later reject him? Had Gurdjieff turned toward black magic? And why did Ouspensky continue teaching the ideas of a man he had repudiated?

      The answers unfold in a mystical adventure story that will enthrall everyone interested in the farthest reaches of being human. This new edition includes an afterword on the author's own work in Gurdjieff's system. 




      "Gary Lachman leaves few stones unturned in his remorseless quest for the real Ouspensky. He creates what I believe to be the most vivid portrait yet of this contradictory man. It is a salutary lesson for all who would put their faith in a guru. In Ouspensky's case, high intelligence proved to be no protection against the guiles of a 'sly man.'"


        Adrian Gilbert, author of Magi and coauthor of The Orion Mystery




      AFTERWORD – p. 293


      Editor's note: Gary Lachman's account of his involvement with Gurdjieff's esoteric system of thought was first published in the November-December 2004 issue of Quest Magazine, under the title "In the Work."



      From Chapter 16 – The Return of Mr. G


      One visitor to the Prieure who was not required to work was the writer Katharine Mansfield. An ex-mistress of Orage, who had more or less discovered her, she was introduced to Ouspensky when it was clear that she was already dying from tuberculosis. When Ouspensky spoke with her, she was, he said, "halfway to death." She was determined to make the best use of her time, and for her this meant going to the Prieure. Ouspensky himself gave her the address. Later, meeting her on another visit to Fontainebleau, he spoke with her about her spiritual longings. She felt that she and everyone else were like the survivors of a shipwreck, cast ashore on an inhospitable island unaware of their predicament – a sentiment that Ouspensky, with his sense of the absurdity of life, no doubt appreciated. Gurdjieff, well aware that Mansfield's last days were upon her, put her up in the Prieure's barn, where, he said, breathing the air of cows would have a salutary effect. Whether it did or not is unknown, but from her letters, Katharine Mansfield's last days seem to have been filled with a peculiar joy. Nevertheless, after her death at the beginning of 1923, Gurdjieff enjoyed the sinister reputation that colored much of his notoriety for the rest of his career. Around the same time, Ouspensky discovered that, in his absence, rumors had spread about Gurdjieff's predilection for seducing his female students. With typical loyalty, Ouspensky squashed these, although he may have had reason to give them second thought.


      . . . and in December 1923, Orage and Dr. Stoerneval crossed the Atlantic, bringing the work to New York. Orage spent the next decade promoting Gurdjieff's ideas in the U.S., only to break with him when he contravened his teacher's wishes and married Jessie Dwight, a young, strong-willed, independent woman who had no interest in Gurdjieff. At that point, when the tug-of-war between teacher and wife was at its height, Gurdjieff glared at the newly wed Jessie and warned, "If you keep my super-idiot from coming back to me, you boil in burning oil." Most of Orage's mission in America consisted of attempts to drum up cash for the Prieure…  It is to Orage's credit that he eventually cashed in his chips, returned to England, and threw himself again into literary and journalistic work. He died in 1934, after giving a speech on economics over the BBC. 


      Notes on p. 313: As in the case of Ouspensky and Sophie, it's unclear whether Gurdjieff and Julia were actually married, although again like the Ouspenskys, she was always considered his wife. [Julia’s] background is equally unclear; she is referred to both as a lady-in-waiting in the court of Nicholas II and a prostitute. Although she was devoted to Gurdjieff, as he was to her, he is known to have had several mistresses. Regarding Ouspensky's relation with the formidable Sophie Grigorievna, Gurdjieff allegedly advised Ouspensky against a union. This was perhaps one time when Ouspensky should have heeded his master's suggestion.




      From Chapter 17 – “He Could Go Mad”


      In January 1924, at the apartment of Ralph Philipson, his main financial supporter, Ouspensky called together his key students and informed them that he was breaking off all contact with Gurdjieff. Although they knew that for several years relations between the two had not been cordial, the announcement was nevertheless a shock. Ouspensky asked for their ideas on how they should continue. After a few remarks he concluded that in the future, his groups would work independently of the Prieure; this meant that they would have to choose between working with him or with Gurdjeff. If they chose him, it meant they could have no contact with Gurdjieff. After several minutes of silence, it took Philipson, a no-nonsense Northumberland businessman, to ask the obvious question: why?

      "Gurdjieff is a very extraordinary man," Ouspensky replied. "His possibilities are much greater than those of people like ourselves. But he can also go the wrong way. I believe that he is now passing through a crisis, the outcome of which no one can foresee. Most people have many 'I's'. . . But with Gurdjieff there are only two 'I's'; one very good and one very bad. I believe that in the end the good 'I' will conquer. But in the meantime it is very dangerous to be near him."(5)

      And if the good "I" didn't win, someone asked?

      "He could go mad. Or else he could attract to himself some disaster in which all those round him would be involved."(6)

      Six months later it seemed that Ouspensky had been right. . .


      On July 8, Gurdjieff and Olga de Hartmann were in Paris, scheduled to return to the Prieure that afternoon. The two had made the trip together several times, and Olga showed great bravery riding with Gurdjieff, who, as Ouspensky remarked, drove a car as if he were riding a horse. On that day, before heading back, Gurdjieff asked Olga to take his Citroen to a mechanic and have the steering checked; he also signed over to her his power of attorney and, in a final odd decision, ordered her to take the train, leaving him to drive alone. Used to her master's strange requests, Olga complied, although it was a hot day and the train would be sweltering. At the intersection of the Paris-Fontainebleau and the N 168 roads from Versailles, traveling at around 70 mph, Gurdjieff’s car swerved off the road and smashed head-on into a stone embankment, then came to a halt at a tree. The Citroen was wrecked. Gurdjeff was found by a passing policeman, his head resting gently on a car cushion. He was unconscious and covered in blood, and had suffered a massive concussion.

      How his head got on the cushion remains a mystery. It’s inconceivable that he and it were thrown out of the wreck in so neat a fashion. Yet how he could crawl out and arrange it himself, given the injuries he sustained, is equally baffling. Brought first to a hospital, and then to the Prieure, he remained unconscious for five days, kept alive by oxygen. It would take him months to recover. As Ouspensky had in Finland, Olga de Hartmann, in Paris waiting for her train, heard Gurdjieff's voice speaking to her. By all accounts this happened around the same time as the accident.

      But was it an accident? Suspicion remains that Gurdjieff somehow arranged it; the precautions he took beforehand suggest as much. Yet he was also an abysmal driver, and the other factors could be coincidence. As one writer suggests, he may have wanted an excuse to close down the Prieure and relieve himself of his students – many of them, at least. In any case, from Ouspensky’s perspective, the signs were all too clear. Gurdjeff had transgressed, lost contact with the Source, and, as Ouspensky had predicted, brought retribution upon his head. Gurdjieff’s accident effectively put an end to the Institute for the Harmonious Development of Man. Visitors came, and he occupied the grounds for another decade, but for all intents and purposes, this phase of the work was over.

      When Ouspensky heard about the accident, he was stunned. Although he had foreseen something like it, the fact that Gurdjieff had fallen victim to an accident was peculiarly upsetting. Gurdjieff was supposed to be outside "the law of accident." Having worked on himself, having achieved the level of Man Number Five – possibly more – he was supposed to be under "the law of fate," and to have rid himself of a few of the forty-eight laws under which man on the Earth is compelled to live. Yet he had now suffered something as mundane and stupid as a car crash.

      Ouspensky confided his fears to his friend Boris Mouravieff.  He, too, had succeeded in escaping Constantinople; unlike Ouspensky, he had found a home in Paris, where, he reports, Ouspensky visited him often. Mouravieff would also come to London, although for some reason Ouspensky never introduced him to his students. Mouravieff had met Gurdjieff in Constantinople and he visited him sometimes in Paris, but, by his own admission, he never came under his spell. He was in fact very critical of Ouspensky’s relationship with his teacher. From his perspective, Ouspensky’s romantic “search” had left him open to abuse, a vulnerability that Gurdjieff took full advantage of; Gurdjieff’s domination of Ouspensky was “calculated and perfectly established from the very beginning.”(8)  Mouravieff in fact found this to be true of most of Gurdjieff’s students. Gurdjieff’s whole system, he believed, was little more than a means of bringing people under his control. Gurdjieff’s method of convincing his students that they were merde left them in a condition in which he could propose “any absurdity to his disciples, perhaps even a monstrosity, and be sure in advance that it would be accepted with . . . enthusiasm.”(9)  When Mouravieff brought this up, Gurdjieff's students would look at him with contempt, yet an anecdote told by Bennett suggests Mouravieff may have been right. Gurdjieff, Bennett said, had "ruthless methods of getting rid of those he did not want. He seemed to invite and yet to detest a kind of stupid adoration . . . One lady was particularly foolish about him, and he played a cruel trick on her that showed me how seriously we should take his warning to trust nothing and no one, and especially not himself."(10)  At a formal tea one afternoon, Gurdjieff informed this particularly adoring follower that the best way to enjoy ice cream was with mustard. When she dutifully returned with the mustard pot, he shouted, “You see what is round idiot! She all the time idiot! Why you here?”  The poor woman burst into tears, packed her bags and left.(11)  She was of course foolish, but it's difficult not to suspect that Gurdjieff felt no qualms about making an example of her. Mouravieff may have only been taking Gurdjieff at his word when he warned he was not to be trusted.

      Mouravieff was involved with editing and translating the manuscript of Fragments of an Unknown Teaching and so was privy to Ouspensky's account of his relationship with Gurdjieff, a subject about which the friends were prone to argue. At one point Mouravieff believed that Ouspensky, for all his criticisms, still remained under some kind of hypnotic spell. This came out particularly when Ouspensky came to Paris and, with Mouravieff, visited the site of Gurdjieff's crash. Inspecting the scene, Ouspensky fell into a deep silence, then turned to Mouravieff. "I am scared," he said. "It is frightful . . . The institute of Georges Ivanovitch was precisely created to escape from the law of accident . . . I am still asking myself if it is really pure accident? Gurdjieff has always sold integrity, as well as the human personality in general, very cheaply. Has he not surpassed the measure? I tell you, I am terribly frightened!"

      The two friends went on to Fontainebleau, where Ouspensky asked Mouravieff to telephone his step-daughter at the Prieure. Mouravieff was told she was not there. At lunch, Ouspensky kept returning to the question of integrity, linking this with Gurdjieff's accident. Then suddenly Ouspensky dropped the subject; Mouravieff prodded him several times, but he refused to speak about it. That evening, back in Paris at a bar in Monmartre, Mouravieff persisted and Ouspensky finally spoke his thoughts. "Suddenly," Mouravieff writes, "his expression changed. I had the impression then that before me existed another man – no longer the one with whom I had spent such an agreeable evening . . . He turned to me abruptly and said 'Imagine that a member of the family had committed a serious crime; nobody would want to talk about it.'"(12)

      At that point, Mouravieff remarks, he felt afraid. Was Ouspensky's reluctance to talk about the affair a sign of Gurdjieff's hypnotic domination? Or was it more simple? Ouspensky believed in Gurdjieff and, through him, in the work. Now he saw that Gurdjieff was not awake, at least not all of the time. More than likely, all his doubts and the illicit rumors he had heard came to mind as well. It was at this point, Mouravieff says, that Ouspensky's heavy drinking began. Their Paris evenings were habitually capped by long sessions in a variety of Montmartre bars. At this point a note of sadness enters the story. Later Ouspensky would say that after the accident Gurdjieff went insane. Others would make similar remarks. Gurdjieff himself provided some of the strongest reasons for their suspicions, mostly in the form of his books Herald of Coming Good and the monumental Beelzebub's Tales to His Grandson, two of the most unclassifiable works ever produced with a pen.(13)




      NOTES – Chapter 17 – "He Could Go Mad":


      1. Pogson, Maurice Nicoll, p. 95


      2. Kenneth Walker, Venture with Ideas (London: Jonathan Cape, 1951), pp. 24-26


      3. Ibid., p. 40


      4. Ibid., pp. 43-44


      5. Bennett, Witness, p. 126. Another possible reason, one that the discreet Ouspensky would not mention, is that he had discovered the truth about the rumors concerning Gurdjieff and his female students.


      6. Ibid.


      7. Margaret Anderson, The Unknowable Gurdjieff (New York: Weiser, 1970), pp. 83-84


      8. Mouravieff, Ouspensky, Gurdjieff, and the Work, pp. 11-12


      9. Ibid, p. 16


      10. Bennett, Witness, p. 111


      11. Thomas de Hartmann tells another story. At one point he asked Gurdjieff if he had to place complete confidence in him and fulfill unquestioningly all he advised him to do. Gurdjieff replied, "Certainly, on the whole it is so. But if I begin to teach you masturbation, will you listen to me?" (Our Life with Mr. Gurdjieff, p. 66). This raises the question of the "double-bind" students find themselves in regarding the dictums of their teacher. By definition the teacher is above the level of the student, and so the student is in no position to judge the teacher's actions. Yet if one is not to be a "round idiot," one is supposed to use common sense and think for oneself, something Gurdjieff warned was a sure road to disaster. If you don't do this, you are an idiot; if you do, you exhibit self-will. It's a no-win situation. And if the answer is that the student is supposed to outgrow the need for the teacher, then why, in several instances, does the teacher urge the student to depend on him?  It seems the best way to obey your teacher is to disobey him – which suggests that those who rejected Gurdjieff were several steps ahead of the game.


      12. Mouravieff, Ouspensky, Gurdjieff, and the Work, pp. 20-21


      13. Aside from Meetings with Remarkable Men, all of Gurdjieff's writings pose severe obstacles for the reader. The outrageous claims, the jaw-breaking neologisms, and boa-constrictor syntax are enough to put off the average person, and even the most dedicated seekers have a difficult time discovering what Gurdjieff is trying to say, let alone understanding it. No work presents these hurdles more relentlessly than Beelezebub's Tales to His Grandson, a 1200-page science-fiction epic made up of the conversation between Beelzebub (one of the names, we remember, of the Devil) and his grandson as they hurtle through the cosmos in the spaceship Karnak. Here Gurdjieff opines freely and at length on everything from the creation of the universe to feminism. Responses to this situation differ widely. Orage remarked that Gurdjieff's writings demand to be read "from the real heart" and that in them he found "a parallel with the Bible." Bennett claimed to have read Beelzebub's Tales dozens of times. Claude Bragdon commented that reading Gurdjieff's prose was like "bumping over cobblestones," and Rom Landau remarked that "it gave you in many instances the impression of the work of a man who was no longer sane."

      Followers argue that the difficulties are intentional, another example of Gurdjieff not making anything easy for his students. Others remark that he was simply an atrocious writer, while still others, like the psychologist Anthony Storr, suggest that Gurdjieff's prose style displays a tendency towards "schizotypy." While not schizophrenic, schizotypic people display certain behaviors and characteristics associated with mental disorder. One of these is a penchant for neologism – inventing new words – something Gurdjieff seems quite fond of. Another is a pompous, bombastic style – again a quality familiar to Gurdjieff's readers. Another is a detached, affectless demeanor and a tendency toward megalomania. Gurdjieff's remark to C. S. Nott about his working to achieve a condition to which "nothing from outside could touch [him] internally" suggests the first, while, to give only one example, Gurdjieff's fantastic claims about future projects found in Herald of Coming Good suggest the second. Gurdjieff, of course, is not alone in displaying these traits . . . but coupled with some of his more outrageous actions, it is difficult for the question of his sanity – for sake of a better word – not to arise. A catalog of Gurdjieff's "crazy" behaviour would require a book, but a few instances do reveal, if nothing more, a clear predilection for the bizarre. After his mother's death in 1925, Gurdjieff erected a gravestone that read "Here lies the mother of one who sees himself forced by her death to write a book Les Opiumistes." She was well over eighty and her death was no shock, while the book was never written. Two telegrams sent to Orage in 1930 were signed "Grandson and Unique phenomenal Grandmother" and "Ambassador from Hell." In Paris in 1944, at the death bed of the novelist Luc Dietrich, Gurdjieff produced two oranges and informed him that this was the most important day of his life. The announcement for Herald of Coming Good read "First Appeal to Contemporary Humanity" and was priced "From 8 to 108 French Francs." The book was ill-received and was quickly withdrawn and repudiated.

      All this, of course, can be understood as part of Gurdjieff's unique method, his "crazy guru" style. But perhaps living in France – for many years in Paris – rubbed off: Gurdjieff was aware of the surrealist climate and so made use of it. Yet, to this writer at least, too many of these explanations are as far-fetched as what they want to explain. I, for one, can make no sense of several of Gurdjieff's remarks, which strike me as in-jokes couched in an exceedingly private language, another schizotypic habit. But then, like Ouspensky, I would no doubt have been exasperated by Gurdjieff's "acting." Added to his often arbitrary behavior, his sudden mood swings from ferocious rage to solicitous concern, and his seeming need to dominate others and unwillingness to accept them on their own terms, his writings suggest, to me at least, a personality radically unlike most people's. This, of course, is what attracted many people to him.




      From Chapter 21 – EPILOGUE:


      And what did Gurdjieff think? According to one report, after their break Gurdjieff "nearly always spoke of Ouspensky in scathing terms as one who exploited his ideas; brought many of his pupils grief . . . even caused their death; and who, if he had not left Gurdjieff to set up on his own, need not have 'perished like a dog.'"(3)  To "perish like a dog" was the reward one earned for not working on oneself, a fate Gurdjieff used as a favorite threat to put the fear of the Lord – or himself – into his students. But had Ouspensky "perished like a dog"? Gurdjieff was not known for sentimentality, and in the Fourth Way there is, at least according to Bennett, a peculiar custom known as the "way of blame," part of which entails speaking less than kindly about the dead. When Alexandre de Salzmann, one of Gurdjieff's closest pupils, was dying of tuberculosis, Gurdjieff refused to visit him. When de Salzmann finally summoned the strength to see Gurdjieff at the Cafe Henri IV, the master was, according to one witness, "not very kind.(4)  De Salzmann died a few days later. Yet when he heard of the death of Orage, Gurdjieff shed tears and whispered, "I loved Orage like a brother." Clearly the master's response to the demise of his students was unpredictable and, like everything else about him, open to many interpretations.

      Then again, perhaps some students of Ouspensky's received final words about their teacher that have not come down to us, since after Ouspensky's death, many of them found their way to Gurdjieff.

      "You are sheep without a shepherd. Come to me." This was the telegram that Gurdjieff sent to Lyne after hearing of his ex-pupil's demise. Until Ouspensky's death, many there knew Gurdjieff only as a name, and one hardly spoken at that. He may have been dead, he may have been mad, he may have been a black magician. Now, with the loss of their own teacher, they had an opportunity to find out. Ouspensky's death, the strange circumstances surrounding it, and his last, startling meetings had thrown his London students into chaos. Some gathered around Rodney Collin; others followed Francis Roles. And others took Madame's advice when she told them there was only one thing to do: go to Gurdjieff. He was neither dead nor mad and was still teaching in Paris. He was, as he said, a shepherd, and was always open to increasing his flock.

      Some went, but not all. Maurice Nicoll declined the invitation and carried on with his groups until his death in 1953. Rodney Collin followed his own star. Francis Roles carried on Ouspensky's teaching "according to the letter of the System" as best he could; eventually he would align himself with Alan McLaren of the School of Economic Science and, in the early 1960s, the Maharishi Mahesh Yogi. Others did go, but not for long. Disgusted with Mendham, in 1948 de Ropp met Whm Nyland, then Gurdjieff's US representative, and through him was led to the master. For de Ropp, Gurdjieff was "the most extraordinary human being" he had ever met. He practiced the movements and got used to being told that he and his companions moved "like worms in shit." But de Ropp, fond of nature and wholesome living, quickly grew to loath the ambience of Gurdjieff's late years: crowded, smoky hotel rooms, the many disciples, the endless lunches, and, most of all, the famous "toasts to the idiots." He had already seen enough alcohol around Ouspensky. Gurdjieff seemed old and sad, and in any case, remembering Gurdjieff's remark about guinea pigs, de Ropp reflected on his own experiments with those animals and concluded that they were stupid creatures. He soon left. Kenneth Walker led a brigade of Ouspensky's followers to Gurdjieff's Paris apartment, where he and his wife, both teetotalers, were also subjected to the toasts. Although he too recognized Gurdjiefff's power and wrote a few books on the work, he seems to have quietly withdrawn from the scene. He died in 1966.

      The one student of Ouspensky's who remained with Gurdjieff was Bennett. Following Madam's advice, in 1948 Bennett went to Gurdjieff's apartment on the Rue de Colonels Renard and, twenty-five years to the month, tried to pick up their conversation where they had left it, back at the Prieure in 1923. For many years after, in the English-speaking world, aside from Gurdjieff and Ouspensky themselves, Bennett's name was the one most associated with the work. Yet he, like Rodney Collin, found himself moving in other directions, becoming a devotee of Subud, Hinduism, and finally, Roman Catholicism . . .


      Gurdjieff survived Ouspensky by two years and twenty-seven days, dying on October 29, 1949, also in strange circumstances. The coroner who performed the autopsy allegedly remarked that Gurdjieff should have been dead years before, as all his internal organs were nearly destroyed. Against her husband's wishes, Madam had sent her master the manuscript of Fragments, asking if he thought it should be published. Legend has it that Gurdjieff said, "Before I hate Ouspensky, now I love him. This very exact, he tell what I say." In Search of the Miraculous, the account of his life with Gurdjieff that Ouspensky had refused to publish, is now the most widely read book on the work.


                                                      * * *


      Throughout this book I've tried to keep my own remarks to a minimum, contenting myself with providing the "evidence" and wanting the story of Gurdjieff and Ouspensky to more or less tell itself. Yet having "lived" with Ouspensky during the months of research and writing – vicariously, it's true, yet nonetheless intensely – I can't come away without asking a question, one, I suspect, most readers will find themselves asking as well: what went wrong? For clearly something had. How did the author of one of the most exhilarating and optimistic books on philosophy and metaphysics, Tertium Organum, end his days in sadness, depression, self-abuse, and a complete rejection of his life's work? For myself, it's clear that Ouspensky's final meetings, when he denied even the existence of the system he had taught for more than twenty-five years, put an end to his life in the work and were not, as some of his followers believed, beginning a new phase of it. Through a supreme effort of will and with blistering honesty, Ouspensky publicly announced that he had made a mistake. The system didn't work – or, at least, it didn't achieve the goal he had believed it would. Had he suspected this earlier? More than likely. The fact that he considered some of his closest students "fools," as well as the fact that he no longer saw himself as an explorer of man's "possible evolution" but felt he was merely going through the motions of a job, suggest that he had had misgivings for some time before his final, liberating confession. He had banked everything on the methods and ideas he had learned from Gurdjieff. And he was wrong.

      But perhaps there were other mistakes as well. For me, it's not an exaggeration to suggest it was a mistake for Ouspensky to abandon his own creativity and ideas to become an exponent of Gurdjieff's teaching. That teaching was new, formidable, intellectually impressive and, with Gurdjieff himself as an example of the possibilities it offered, very attractive, especially for a scrupulously honest man like Ouspensky, who had the courage to admit that his own efforts at securing the miraculous were not successful. And yet, as Colin Wilson points out, there was a streak of pessimism in Ouspensky that prevented him from seeing how successful his efforts really were. Although he felt he had not profited by them, during his nitrous oxide experiments Ouspensky had glimpsed the deeper reality underlying our world of space and time. If nothing else, a reading of Tertium Organum alone confirms this. For my taste, nothing Gurdjieff wrote, nor any other Fourth Way book, approaches Ouspensky's first work in its enthusiasm, insight, brilliance, and ability to convey difficult ideas with seemingly effortless clarity. Yet some lack of confidence, some sense perhaps of his own weakness, led him to reject his early work and instead devote himself to a search for people who were successful at grasping the miraculous and could perhaps show him how it could be done. His romanticism prompted him to believe that somewhere there existed a different life, a world without byt, without the boring necessities of the wooden world he returned to after his nitrous oxide excursions, a world devoted solely to the miraculous. Hence his readiness for Gurdjieff.

      Here, I believe, Ouspensky's own thoroughness and dedication worked against him. For once having accepted the system, he stuck to it with an admirable but ultimately counterproductive tenacity. And here, perhaps, Gurdjieff is to blame. Gurdjieff's insistence on our mechanicalness, our sleep, our utter lack of will, freedom or ability to do, led Ouspensky to believe that without the system there was no hope. His pessimism about his efforts, combined with his insight into human folly, suggested that, unpalatable as it was, Gurdjieff's grim assessment of mankind was correct. Peter may have believed in the transformative power of art, poetry, nature, and love, but Demian was too aware of humankind's perennial predilection for self-deception.

      Demian, it seems, won out, but clearly he was helped by the efforts of his teacher, Gurdjieff. If Ouspensky had doubted himself less, or if his hunger to find the miraculous had been less urgent, he might have shrugged off his master's endless chiding, reprimands, criticisms, and rebukes and much sooner gone his own way, assimilating what he had learned and synthesizing it with his own insights. But as we saw at the outset, Ouspensky was prime material for the struggle between "yes and no." His intellect and drive were powerful enough for him to recognize that he was an exceptional man. Yet his very honesty prevented him from lying to himself about his success in finding the miraculous. And then, to meet a man who knew, a man whose very presence spoke of mastery and power – to the romantic intellectual, aware of his own shortcomings, such a man must have made an extraordinary impression. The fact, too, that Ouspensky had lost both his father and grandfather when very young must be brought into the equation. One part of him, the fiercely independent philosopher, wanted to scale the heights of higher consciousness on his own; another, self-conscious, self-doubting, wanted no doubt to win the magician's approval. "Yes and No" pulled at him from the start, and it was not until his last days that the tug of war ended and Peter emerged once again, sadly, with little time left to do more than regret his mistake.

      It is clear to me that Gurdjieff was wrong to hammer away at Ouspensky, and this suggested that the infallible master had his blind spots. Either Gurdjieff was unable to see Ouspensky's own powers and abilities, or his need to dominate was too great. It is true, Ouspensky could have left whenever he wanted to. Some need, some weakness prevented him from cutting the ties earlier or, indeed, ever: although physically separated from Gurdjieff, it's clear that Ouspensky was never very far from him in his mind or heart. Was it a salutary lesson to continually and without remorse hold Ouspensky's weakness up to him and to others as well? Clearly Ouspensky loved Gurdjieff and wanted his approval. Yet Gurdjieff had learned the virtues of separating his inner life from the world outside, and no doubt he saw Ouspensky's affection as just another manifestation of mechanicalness. And if the object was to get Ouspensky to stand on his own two feet, then why did Gurdjieff undermine all of Ouspensky's efforts to do that, why did he go out of his way to humiliate him? Gurdjieff, too, perhaps had a weakness, a need to dominate and master the people around him. Like some sadly dysfunctional relationships, in many ways the two were made for each other.

      It is no mystery, then, what had happened to turn the poetic author of Ivan Osokin and Tertium Organum into an often humorless, dour, and unapproachable teacher, a position he was not truly suited for. Gurdjieff had happened. In the presence of the great master, poetic, life-loving Peter felt somehow childish and immature, all his philosophy and love of beauty and goodness were made to seem mere adolescent romanticism. So he changed himself, "worked on himself," until that weakness disappeared and he became hard. This is why in later life he dismissed his students' remarks about higher consciousness, mysticism, and the miraculous. His dismissals were, no doubt, directed at himself as much as at them: no one is as rigorous in rejecting a former self than the converted. . .



      Gurdjieff International Review
      Strange Life of Ivan Osokin
      Commentary by John Pentland


      "Although so deeply committed to writing that he often said, not altogether jokingly, that it was actually a part of his nature, P. D. Ouspensky was not a prolific author.


      Only five major works exist and of these Tertium Organum (for many years a best-seller in America) and A New Model of the Universe were written and published in Russia before Ouspensky met Gurdjieff in Moscow in 1915. All the others represented his statements of Gurdjieff’s teaching, and were published posthumously. With the exception of In Search of the Miraculous, which he worked over carefully and which was published under the authority of Gurdjieff himself, these later books were never intended by Ouspensky for public circulation. In spite of the invaluable contribution they make to Gurdjieff’s teaching, they do less than justice to Ouspensky as a writer.


      Strange Life of Ivan Osokin is an early work. Originally a novel but later rechristened “Cinemadrama” in the early days of films, Ouspensky himself set considerable store by it, perhaps because it was the only purely imaginative work by a mind that was rigorously honest in facing up to the usual abuses of human imagination.…"



      Lord Pentland (Henry John Sinclair) was a pupil of Ouspensky for many years during the 1930s and 1940s. He began to study intensely with Gurdjieff in 1948. Gurdjieff then appointed him to lead 'the Work' in North America. He became president of the Gurdjieff Foundation when it was established in New York in 1953 and remained in that position until his death.




      From Among the Dervishes by Omar Michael Burke, London 1973


      An account of travels in Asia and Africa, and four years studying the Dervishes, Sufis and Fakirs, by living among them.


      Chapter Eight – The Followers of Jesus (pp. 109-110)


          Sufi Abdul-Hamid Khan, Master of the Royal Afghan Mint and something of a polymath – military engineer, calligraphist, sage and expert on rhythmic exercises – must have been over ninety years of age.  A follower of the Mir of Gazarga, he could remember in considerable detail the events which had taken place eighty or more years ago.
          A frequent visitor to Kunji Zagh, he had spent many years in Bokhara, and it was there that he had come across the redoubtable Gurdjieff, whose studies of Eastern metaphysical systems were introduced into Europe about the time of the First World War.
          Although the people of Kunji Zagh called Gurdjieff 'The Russian Tatar', Sufi Abdul-Hamid said that he was in reality partly Mongolian, part-Russian, part-Greek.  According to the Sufi, this Jurjizada (Son of George) had once been a Theosophist, had also studied in an Orthodox seminary, and 'was responsive' to the Sufic 'waves' – could, in other words, contact the mental activity which emanated from the 'work' of the dervishes. This, together with a curiosity about the occult, led him to the shrine of Bahauddin, the Naqshbandi teacher in Bokhara.
          Here another Bahauddin, known as Dervish Baha, had taught him certain 'secrets'. Among them were the 'sacred dances' or movements made by the dervishes, the rules of the Order and the 'inner interpretation' of the Sufi texts. Then he sent him on a tour of the centres of the Sufis, some in Egypt, some in Syria, some in India.
          Seeing the strange effects of the Sufi practices, Gurdjieff decided that he would find out how they worked. In order to do this, he and a number of friends collected as much of the material used by the Order as they could, and fled with it 'to the West'.
          Unfortunately, continued Abdul-Hamid, Jurjizada was at too early a stage to do anything final with the material. He had not yet learned, for instance, that the exercises and the music had to be carried out with special people at certain times in a special order of events. As a result he propounded the theory of the Complete Man without being able to take it into practice.
          Further, Gurdjieff tried to make the method work by trying out the exercises on a large number of people. The result?
          'Here in Afghanistan we still receive, like faint radio messages, the influence of the minds of the pupils of Gurdjieff, coming from far away. They must still be carrying on the exercises, but they don't know how, when or with whom to do them.'
          As soon as I got back to Europe, I found that some at least of this information might be true. After the first War, the Russian and a disciple of his, the philosopher Ouspensky, settled in France and England respectively. They set up teaching groups, and – I was told – several of these still existed. But they remained fully secret. Probably, like the custodians of any secret knowledge which had become reduced in quality, they would continue to operate, perhaps for generations.



      "The past is never dead…  It's not even past."


      ~ William Faulkner



      To be continued. . .