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Newcomers May 26, 2013

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It seems a few people are visiting this place. I’ve opened the channels for posting comments and will come back and work here if there’s dialogue, otherwise I thank you for your appreciation of the work here presented but will probably not be adding much in the near future. 

What makes us rich in understanding is working together. 



Money matters October 5, 2011

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“Make no mistake. Lurking here is another giant bailout of the Street. The United States wants Europe to bail out its deeply indebted nations so European banks don’t implode. And they don’t want European banks to implode because they don’t want the Street to crash again like it did three years ago. Full circle. In other words, Greece isn’t the real problem. Nor is Ireland, Italy, Portugal, or Spain. The real problem is the financial system – centered on Wall Street.”

Portrait, Robert Reich, 08/16/09. (photo: Perian Flaherty)
Portrait, Robert Reich, 08/16/09. (photo: Perian Flaherty)

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Another Giant Bailout of Wall Street?

By Robert Reich, Robert Reich’s Blog

04 October 11

RSN Special Coverage: Occupy Wall Street


Follow the Money: Behind Europe’s debt crisis lurks another giant bailout of Wall Street.

oday Ben Bernanke added his voice to those who are worried about Europe’s debt crisis.

But why exactly should America be so concerned? Yes, we export to Europe – but those exports aren’t going to dry up. And in any event, they’re tiny compared to the size of the US economy.

If you want the real reason, follow the money. A Greek (or Irish or Spanish or Italian or Portugese) default would have roughly the same effect on our financial system as the implosion of Lehman Brothers in 2008.

Financial chaos.

Investors are already getting the scent. Stocks slumped to 13-month low on Monday as investors dumped Wall Street bank shares.

The Street has lent only about $7 billion to Greece, as of the end of last year, according to the Bank for International Settlements. That’s no big deal.

But a default by Greece or any other of Europe’s debt-burdened nations could easily pummel German and French banks, which have lent Greece (and the other wobbly European countries) far more.

That’s where Wall Street comes in. Big Wall Street banks have lent German and French banks a bundle.

The Street’s total exposure to the euro zone totals about $2.7 trillion. Its exposure to to France and Germany accounts for nearly half the total.

And it’s not just Wall Street’s loans to German and French banks that are worrisome. Wall Street has also insured or bet on all sorts of derivatives emanating from Europe – on energy, currency, interest rates, and foreign exchange swaps. If a German or French bank goes down, the ripple effects are incalculable.

Get it? Follow the money: If Greece goes down, investors start fleeing Ireland, Spain, Italy, and Portugal as well. All of this sends big French and German banks reeling. If one of these banks collapses, or show signs of major strain, Wall Street is in big trouble. Possibly even bigger trouble than it was in after Lehman Brothers went down.

That’s why shares of the biggest US banks have been falling for the past month. Morgan Stanley closed Monday at its lowest since December 2008 – and the cost of insuring Morgan’s debt has jumped to levels not seen since November 2008.

It’s rumored that Morgan could lose as much as $30 billion if some French and German banks fail. (That’s from Federal Financial Institutions Examination Council, which tracks all cross-border exposure of major banks.)

$30 billion is roughly $2 billion more than the assets Morgan owns (in terms of current market capitalization.)

But Morgan says its exposure to French banks is zero. Why the discrepancy? Morgan has probably taken out insurance against its loans to European banks, as well as collateral from them. So Morgan at least feels safe.

Should it? Does anyone remember something spelled AIG? That was the giant insurance firm that went bust when Wall Street began going under. Wall Street thought it had insured its bets with AIG. Turned out, AIG couldn’t pay up.

Haven’t we been here before?

Republicans and Wall Street executives who continue to yell about Dodd-Frank overkill are dead wrong. The fact no one seems to know Morgan’s exposure to European banks or derivatives – or that of most other giant Wall Street banks – shows Dodd-Frank didn’t go nearly far enough.

Regulators still don’t know what’s happening on the Street. They don’t know whether Morgan is telling the truth. They have no clear picture of the derivatives exposure of giant US financial institutions.

Which is why Washington officials are terrified – and why Treasury Secretary Tim Geithner keeps begging European officials to bail out Greece and the other deeply-indebted European nations.

Several months ago, when the European debt crisis became apparent, Wall Street banks said not to worry. They had little or no exposure to Europe’s problems. The Federal Reserve said the same. In July, Ben Bernanke reassured Congress the exposure of US banks to European nations in trouble was “quite small.”

Now we’re hearing a different tune.

Make no mistake. Lurking here is another giant bailout of the Street. The United States wants Europe to bail out its deeply indebted nations so European banks don’t implode. And they don’t want European banks to implode because they don’t want the Street to crash again like it did three years ago.

One of the many ironies here is some European nations went deeply into debt bailing out their banks from the last crisis.

Full circle.

In other words, Greece isn’t the real problem. Nor is Ireland, Italy, Portugal, or Spain. The real problem is the financial system – centered on Wall Street.

Robert Reich is Chancellor’s Professor of Public Policy at the University of California at Berkeley. He has served in three national administrations, most recently as secretary of labor under President Bill Clinton. He has written thirteen books, including “The Work of Nations,” “Locked in the Cabinet,” “Supercapitalism” and his latest book, “AFTERSHOCK: The Next Economy and America’s Future.” His ‘Marketplace’ commentaries can be found on publicradio.com and iTunes.


+41 #noitall 2011-10-04 20:30

Iceland did the right thing. The people voted 93% to not bail them out but instead, ordered their arrest and began investigations. I believe they said that they’d rather live like Cubans than like Hatians. We apparently have chosen to live like Hatians. Soon as we bail out the banks they’ll come back and bail us out…surely they won’t pull the same crap they did the last time! Hey, wanna buy a good used car? again?

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+23 #DaveM 2011-10-04 20:33

Why should we the taxpayers throw good money after bad? Let some of those firms which cannot seem to balance their books go out of business. Someone who can handle money competently will step in to take their places. Meanwhile, get your money out of the stock market while you still can, and for the foreseeable future, do not expect any “investment” (including a bank account) to pay any significant dividend. Get your money in cash and deposit it in The Bank Of Under The Mattress. It won’t accrue interest (if indeed what is paid on current accounts can be called “interest” at the moment), but you won’t lose it either, and it’ll be yours and private besides (no credit companies tracking your spending). Do your business in cash and you’ll never need to worry about being maxed out on a credit card.

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+2 #Ralph Averill 2011-10-05 00:31

I agree with you, but….
Let “some” firms go down? The reason for the fear everywhere is that it’s all tied together. Pull out one or two cards and the whole house of cards goes down; the good with the bad. That’s one point of Reich’s essay. The other point, implied, is that maybe that is exactly what needs to happen, so we can lay to rest the absurd abstraction known as the “free market.”
A lot of people, myself included, can’t “get our money out of the stock market.” We get a pension and have no control over the pension fund’s investments.
Any way you look at it, it’s a hard rain that’s gonna fall. Maybe that’s what needs to happen.

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+19 #giraffee2012 2011-10-04 20:42

1. The Supremes MUST take back their 2010 “person hood” decision – so “we the people” have some say in “who runs our country” and ‘how we regulate’ those who are stealing while actually “preventing” job creation!2. Carl Rove has entered the GOP to setup the negative (twisted) ads that he did before the 2000 and 2004 elections (yes, he’s already begun – twisting the “job bill” with rhetoric that it’s a ploy to raise taxes)

3. Carl Rove & Koch & etc will spend about a Billion (Rachael Maddows gave exact amount)

4. Several MILLION Americans will not be able to vote because of the laws GOP/TP governors have passed (along with not including democratic registered people getting ballots, etc.)

5. J.P. Morgan gave the N.Y. P.D. several hundred $$$ (gift?) NO — those are the “white shirts” you see at the Brooklyn Bridge etc.

If the USA cannot control our government — the whole world will be bought up by these pigs (Koch Bro, Rove, etc)

VOTE DEM + VOTE OBAMA + get other dems to go with you to poor, minority, etc dem neighborhoods to insure those people get IDs and mail-in ballots. Our elections are free and so are those IDs –
This is the most important election ever! Do NOT NOT vote DEM

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+1 #lightsout 2011-10-05 03:05

giraffee2012, is that a vote FOR Dems….
or DO NOT vote FOR Dems?

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+35 #Susan W 2011-10-04 21:12

Isn’t it time to just let the “too big to fail” go ahead and fail? Enough already.

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+2 #postpen 2011-10-04 22:26

Scariest thing I’ve read yet. If we can pass the Jobs Bill, create a million new jobs (and the new businesses and hiring their spending will lead to), we will right the deficit at the same tax level we pay today and right the Ship of State as well. Which will lead to restoration of services and infrastructure– and more jobs.
Without this turnaround, this “bailout” of the entire American economy, there’s no hope.
And the hedge fund managers at the banks are running with their current license to print money and stash it.
With that investment in our *people*, and the spending that will lead to, worldwide *confidence* will return. And investments in the businesses that still survive, the businesses that employ people.
Is it too late, though?
Put the trillion into jobs, not banks. Then the banks will survive, as a consequential benefit, again, because both bank confidence, and the public’s, will return.
Phone your congressperson now and urge passage of the Jobs Bill immediately. Obama isn’t kidding around. This is the moment; we are about to plunge off an unimaginable cliff, after which money itself will lose its value. . ,
Reich isn’t kidding either.

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+4 #jlohman 2011-10-04 23:17

no more bailouts, only nationalization . If we are going to spend the money I want to own the bank and control the CEO.

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+2 #angelfish 2011-10-04 23:44

Maybe it’s time for the Koch sucking brothers and their buddies to start bailing out their friends instead of having US do it all again. Let THEM put their money where their Mouths are and save THEMSELVES for once in their puny, little lives. We’ve been there, done that, so now it’s THEIR turn to bite the bullet, don’t you think? Let Main Street have a free ride for a change!

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0 #sanrose3 2011-10-05 00:09

Prof. Reich is a man of great sympathy. But I suspect that his exposition confuses Morgan Stanley assets, which approximate one trillion dollars, with its capital, which is about $60 billion.
What’s more, there is nothing inherently wrong with diffusing credit risk by using the credit default swap market, provided that, unlike AIG, which insured but retained its mortgage exposure, one appropriately lays off that exposure with another counterparty.

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+3 #SeriousCitizen 2011-10-05 03:18

I very nice explanation of the pending crisis. And then there are blind-side events to push the mess into the vortex, for example, a California earthquake, or another nuclear reactor melting, or a new war on Iran causing oil to spike. Any business that is said to be “too big to fail” is necessarily a monopoly that the government should have broken up. Oh, and in 2012, vote for any party that is NOT Democrat and is NOT Republican.

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+1 #Martintfre 2011-10-05 04:07

Only a big nanny socialist state does bail outs.

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-2 #sanrose3 2011-10-05 04:09

The problem with AIG is not that it used the market for credit default swaps, but that it did not lay off its exposure, as Morgan Stanley may have done with its European bank exposure. That’s because almost the whole country was “long” on mortgages at the time, a problem that is related to regulatory permissiveness in allowing financial institutions to make so many mortgages to such questionable borrowers. The Federal Reserve could have acted to restrain this practice, as it was duty bound under the HOEPA law. It just didn’t. Thus primary responsibility for the AIG debacle, which is being at least partially re-echoed in the European bank crisis today, resides not with Wall Street, but with the US Government.
Sanford Rose

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0 #Todd Williams 2011-10-05 04:29

I’m telling you people, if this shit happens again, there WILL be a revolution. And it won’t be peaceful. The days for talk and voting are just about over. I’m prepared are you?

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+4 #video4315 2011-10-05 04:32

This was all predictable. We didn’t follow through the last time to setup safeguards and regulations. We let the Republicans slash the Dodd-Frank effort in order to get something passed. President Obama capitulated early on by allowing Larry Summers and Tim Geitner to run his economic policies. These two had direct ties to Goldman Sachs. In fact, Mr. Reich fails to mention Goldman Sachs role in the Greek debt crisis. Maybe we deserve this for letting our elected officials get away with all that they do and don’t do. The Wall Street Occupation is not savvy enough to see all of the inner workings, but they do sense that there is a certain rot or infection in the workings.

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+4 #Carolyn 2011-10-05 04:48

Bailing out a sinking global financial ship is not a solution. We are all going down together. Our government would rather cut the programs our society depends and use the money for bailing out the banks.
the first step is to reinstate FDR’s Glass-Steagall Act with which he saved America in 1933, separating the world’s big bank system from our own local banks. Ask your representatives to pass the Glass-Steagall Act that the Bush Adminstration got rid of.

Colombia October 4, 2011

Posted by Elena in Uncategorized.
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I’d like to include Colombia in the subject of my reasearch
 Published on Tuesday, October 4, 2011 by Associated Press

Rights Group: Little Progress in Stemming Killings of Colombian Trade Unionists

Trade Pacts Move Forward, But Colombia Still UnSafe for Unionists


BOGOTA, Colombia — A new study challenges claims from the administration of President Barack Obama that Colombia is making important strides in bringing to justice killers of labor activists and so deserves U.S. congressional approval of a long-stalled free trade pact.

US President Barack Obama meets with Colombian President Juan Manuel Santos in the Oval Office at the White House in Washington, on April 7, 2011. Yesterday Obama submitted three trade pacts to Congress despite continued concerns about their impact on the US economy and human rights violations in Colombia. (Reuters) The Human Rights Watch study found “virtually no progress” in getting convictions for killings that have occurred in the past 4 1/2 years.

It counted just six convictions obtained by a special prosecutions unit from 195 slayings between January 2007 and May 2011, with nearly nine in 10 of the unit’s cases from that period in preliminary stages with no suspect formally identified.

Democrats in the U.S. Congress have long resisted bringing the Colombia trade pact to a vote, citing what they said is insufficient success in halting such killings.

The White House disagrees, and says Colombia has made significant progress in addressing anti-unionist violence.

US President Barack Obama sent long-stalled free trade deals with Colombia, Panama and South Korea to Congress and pressed lawmakers to approve them “without delay.” Republicans endorse the bill overall and say it will increase U.S. exports by $13 billion a year and support tens of thousands of jobs.

U.S. Trade Representative Ron Kirk recently said the trade agreements are “an integral part of the President’s plan to create jobs here at home.”

But in Colombia, the world’s most lethal country for labor organizing, the killings haven’t stopped. At least 38 trade unionists have been slain since President Juan Manuel Santos took office in August 2010, says Colombia’s National Labor School.

“A major reason for this ongoing violence has been the chronic lack of accountability for cases of anti-union violence,” Human Rights Watch said in a letter sent last Thursday to Colombian Chief Prosecutor Viviane Morales that details the study’s findings.

Convictions have been obtained for less than 10 percent of the 2,886 trade unionists killed since 1986, and the rights group said it found “severe shortcomings” in the work of a special unit of Morales’ office established five years ago to solve the slayings. The letter says the unit has demonstrated “a routine failure to adequately investigate the motive” in labor killings as well as to “bring to justice all responsible parties.”

A chief finding: The 74 convictions achieved over the past year owe largely to plea bargains with members of illegal far-right militias who confessed to killings in exchange for leniency.

They did so under the so-called Justice and Peace law that gave paramilitary fighters reduced prison sentences of up to eight years in exchange for laying down their arms and confessing to crimes. That law expired at the end of 2006, the year the free trade pact was signed.

Only in a handful of cases did prosecutors pursue evidence that the paramilitaries who confessed acted on the orders of politicians, employers or others, Human Rights Watch says.

Prosecutors “made virtually no progress in prosecuting people who order, pay, instigate or collude with paramilitaries in attacking trade unionists,” the letter states. “What is at stake is the justice system’s ability to act as an effective deterrent to anti-union violence.”

Of the more than 275 convictions handed down through May, 80 percent were against former members of the United Self-Defense Forces of Colombia, or AUC. The head of international affairs in the chief prosecutor’s office, Francisco Echeverri, told the AP that it has put 513 people in prison.

In nearly half of 50 recent convictions reviewed by Human Rights Watch, the judges cited “evidence pointing to the involvement of members of the security forces or intelligence services, politicians, landowners, bosses or co-workers.” Yet in only one of those cases was such an individual convicted.

In the case of a gym teacher and union activist killed in the northwestern town of San Rafael in 2002, one of the paramilitaries who confessed to the crime said it was committed at the request of the mayor, according to the judge’s decision.

The man who was mayor at the time and was re-elected in 2008, Edgar Eladio Giraldo, is not being formally investigated and has not been questioned about the killing, said Hernando Castaneda, chief of the special unit.

“I have no knowledge of that and did not know that I was involved in that,” Giraldo told The Associated Press by telephone when asked about the killing of Julio Ernesto Ceballos.

A spokeswoman for Chief Prosecutor Morales said Sunday that her boss had not yet yet seen the Human Rights Watch letter.

Dan Kovalik of the United Steel Workers said the study’s findings and the continued killings “prove what labor is telling the White House: The labor rights situation in Colombia is not improving, and passage of the FTA is not appropriate.”

A memo soon to be released by the AFL-CIO deems Colombia noncompliant with the “Labor Action Plan” Santos and Obama agreed to in April as a condition for White House approval of the free trade pact.

In the memo, shown to the AP, the labor federation finds neither “economic, political, or moral justification for rewarding Colombia with a free trade agreement.”

Deputy Assistant U.S. Trade Representative Nkenge Harmon said Friday when presented with the study’s findings that Colombia’s record prosecuting “perpetrators of violence” against labor activists “has improved significantly,” though she added that Colombian officials acknowledge more needs to be done.

Harmon also stressed that additional Colombian resources are being dedicated to the issue and that the U.S. government “is working intensively with them through training and support.”

Human Rights Watch acknowledged that annual trade unionists killings are only a quarter of what they were a decade ago. And it applauded some measures taken by Chief Prosecutor Morales, including her announcement that an additional 100 police investigators would be assigned to the special investigative unit.

But HRW regional director Jose Miguel Vivanco said “the challenge (Morales) is facing remains huge.”

A U.S. congressman who has met with various Colombian presidents on human rights issues, Jim McGovern, a Democrat from Massachusetts, doesn’t think enough has been done to reverse what he called a “dismal” record.

Said McGovern: “My worry is that if you approve the FTA at this particular point you remove all the pressure off the powers that be in Colombia to actually make a sincere, honest and concerted attempt to improve the situation.”

Associated Press writers Vivian Sequera and Libardo Cardona contributed to this report.

Religión y Estado June 26, 2011

Posted by Elena in Uncategorized.
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Esta página está dedicada a la investigación sobre la religión y el estado

Poema June 24, 2011

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Tengo un abismo más profundo que la luna

una soledad sin fondo

con la piel de la muerte encima de mi piel

Y cuando nado

cuando vuelo

cuando camino sobre la luna

me encuentro en plena libertad

de no ser

Y si todos lo supiéramos?

Que somos lo que no somos?

Y camináramos sin miedo en el no ser

para ser al fin todo lo que somos?

Se asustan los no vivos cuando ven  a los no muertos

caminar sobre el abismo

convencidos de que la tierra es ley

Pero la tierra solo acoge verdaderamente

a los muertos

porque los vivos

bailan sobre ella

la danza de la muerte

la danza de la vida

No te asustes, vida,

si me ves el mutismo

en plena luz del día





desde el  fondo del abismo

The Work June 21, 2011

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I’ve been asked to share my experience of the work with some people and have begun re-reading the Psychology of Man’s Possible Evolution as a guiding tool. I’d like to share that here, probably in Spanish because that is the language in which it has been asked.

The Ethics of Energy. Sarin Marchetti May 14, 2011

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SUNDAY, 8 MAY 2011 The Ethics of Energy. Complete article This article from Foucault Studies seems worth exploring. Little by little as I am able. 126 Sarin Marchetti 2011 ISSN: 1832-5203 Foucault Studies, No. 11, pp. 126-155, February 2011 REVIEW ESSAY James, Nietzsche and Foucault on Ethics and the Self ‡ Sergio Franzese, The Ethics of Energy. William James’s Moral Philosophy in Focus (Frankfurt: Ontos Verlag, 2008), ISBN: 978-3868380118 Sarin Marchetti, Sapienza Università di Roma What ties Dewey and Foucault, James and Nietzsche together [is] the sense that there is nothing deep down inside us except what we have put there ourselves, no criterion that we have not created in the course of creating a practice, no standard or rationality that is not an appeal to such a criterion, no rigorous argumentation that is not obedience to our own conventions. R. Rorty1 1. Varieties of ethical experience I would like to begin my essay review with a short détour into the far present, thus moving to the near past, and finally settling to the proper timing of the book under consideration. This digression should be read as a way to adjust the optical focus at what I think could be an interesting frame through which investigating some of the book’s ideas. The validity of such a path will be critically discussed in the latter paragraph of the essay, once the discussion of— which at times turns out to be a dialogue with—the book will be fully in place. In his 1983 interview On the Genealogy of Ethics Foucault traces a fascinating overview of his work from the late seventies and early eighties, underling the continuities as much as the discontinuities of his interests for what he calls ‘the techniques of the self.’ The point of assessing the place of those techniques in the history of western ethics is both that of conveying their significance in the development of western culture, and showing how much the ‡ I dedicate this essay to the memory of Sergio Franzese, whose recent passing away represents a serious loss, for the philosophical community and beyond. I deeply regret he did not see the essay in print as he wished, since it is shaped by many stimulating discussions with him on our respective views on these themes. 1 Richard Rorty, Consequences of Pragmatism (Minneapolis: University of Minnesota Press, 1982), xlii.Marchetti: review essay of The Ethics of Energy 127 investigation of such techniques can be instructive to illuminate our present ethical situation. Foucault’s late journey into the Greco-Latin world and its concern for how to conduct one’s life in a way that is neither subjected to the laws of society nor to those of religion, represents in fact an interesting instance of that ‘history of the present,’ 2 through which engaging in neglected and unexplored exercises of self-understanding. He writes [I] wonder if our problem nowadays is not, in a way, similar to this one, since most of us no longer believe that ethics is founded on religion, nor do we want a legal system to intervene in our moral, personal, private life. Recent liberation movements suffer from the fact that they cannot find any principle on which to base the elaboration of a new ethics. They need an ethics, but they cannot find any other ethics than an ethics founded on so-called scientific knowledge of what the self is, what desire is, what the unconscious is, and so on. I am struck by this similarity of problems. 3 Foucault is interested in presenting a way of understanding ethical thought as informed by the idea of a ‘care for the self,’ 4 one which runs deep into the history of western culture, as opposed to a conception of morality grounded in a more or less scientific description of what human beings are as seen from a detached and unengaged perspective. According to this alternative conception, which Foucault in a late course calls ‘the pragmatic of the self,’ 5 the proper target of ethical interest is the way human beings conduct themselves: ethics is redefined as the inquiry into the ‘self’s relationship to itself,’ and in particular into the relationship of care it establishes with the action, thoughts and values which articulate its moral conduct. 6 Such a path of reflection about the meaning and nature of ethics can be fruitful to understand, and possibly change our present situation regarding how to conduct ourselves ethically. However, as it is clear from his late interviews, Foucault is not interested in finding a solution for our contemporary problems by pointing to some moral criteria endorsed in the past, as opposed to 2 For the locus classicus in which this expression is employed, see the lecture of 7 January 1976 of Michel Foucault, Society Must be Defended. Lectures at the Collège de France 1975-76, edited by Mauro Bertrani and Alessandro Fontana (New York: Picador, 2003). 3 Michel Foucault, ‚On the Genealogy of Ethics: An Overview of the Work in Progress,‛ in Hubert L. Dreyfus and Paul Rabinow, Michel Foucault. Beyond Structuralism and Hermeneutics (Chicago: The University of Chicago Press, 1983), 231. 4 Foucault dedicates the course of 1982 at the Collège de France to the presentation of his research into the Greco-Latin conception of ethics as a rapport á soi, which he describes at the same time as an attitude toward the self, others, and the world; see, Michel Foucault, The Hermeneutics of the Subject. Lectures at the Collège de France 1981-82, edited by Frédéric Gros (New York: Picador, 2005). Frédéric Gros’ Course Context, which closes the volume, is particularly helpful for the understanding of the place of this seminal course in Foucault’s intellectual journey. 5 Michel Foucault, The Government of Self and Others (New York: Picador, 2010), 5. 6 In the course of 1978 at the Collège de France, Foucault tackles the question of the emerging dispositif gouvernemental in the ethical and political western tradition, dedicating the lessons of March 1 st and March 8 th to the analysis of the concept of conduct that is pivotal for his definition of ethics; see Michel Foucault Security, Territory, Population. Lectures at the Collège de France 1977-78, edited by Michel Senellart (New York: Palgrave Macmillan-Picador, 2009). For the entanglement of the two ‘technical’ notions of conduct and ethics in Foucault, see the ‚Introduction‛ by Arnold Davidson to the Course.Foucault Studies, No. 11, pp. 126-155. 128 the ones currently accepted in our time. An example of such problems could be those concerning sexuality or the liberty over one’s own body. He is rather interested in tracing a ‘genealogy of problems, of problématiques,’ 7 which prompted the discovery or invention of new ways of conceiving one’s conduct as ethically meaningful, so to react to, and escape from, forms of oppressive coercion by either social or religious institutions and powers. Foucault warns us that conceiving such ancient techniques as alternative solutions available for us to address our present moral problems, is unavailing for two orders of reasons, one external and one internal to morality itself: in the first instance, because the socio-historical situation in which such ethical practices have flourished is very distant from ours, and secondly because of variation in the very self-understanding of such practices by the subjects involved. These two aspects are deeply entangled, and in order to spell out this entanglement Foucault makes a distinction within ethics, between different aspects of the moral life experienced by the subjects involved. He discriminates between the ethical substance, the mode of subjection, the self-forming activity and the telos. These aspects are at the same time connected and independent one from the other, so that changes in the contingencies of historical situation prompt, but do not overlap with, changes in the way in which subjects experience their own conduct as ethically meaningful. For example ethical substance (that is the aspect of the self or behavior concerned with moral conduct and relevant for ethical judgment) may remain the same while the telos (that is the kind of being we aspire to be when behave morally), the self-forming activity (i.e. the means by which we shape ourselves in order to become ethical subjects) and the mode of subjection (or the way subjects are prompted to recognize their moral obligations) may change. Foucault’s examples, taken from the history of sexuality, spanning from the appropriation of classical and late antiquity’s concept of epimeleia heauton in regards to the meaning and practice of aphrodisia by the early Christian tradition, to the transformation of the analysis of sexual perversion as we find it spelled out by Augustine and in eighteen century’s treatises on masturbation, show the danger of postulating the existence of some fixed moral concepts that are able to account for such a varieties of ethical experiences, since the very understanding of such concepts changes together with the conditions under which they are experienced. The very same principle or moral concern can be, and has been, experienced in very different ways and aimed at opposite results, so that the nostalgia for the return to a celebrated past, in which our moral life was governed by an unswerving truth exemplified in some definite moral concepts, appears to him historically as well as philosophically unstable. These reasons forbid a plain translation between ancient forms of ethical conduct and our present moral behaviors. According to Foucault, investigating the past—more or less distant from us—is neither aimed at finding modern solutions to old problems nor at finding old solutions to new problems, but rather at spelling out the trajectories of the questions that are still felt as urgent to address in the present. In another revealing interview, Foucault justifies his interest for the genealogy of ancient practices of subjectivation as motivated by saying [t]hese ways of thinking and behaving [are] still with us. I try to show, based on their historical establishment and formation, those systems which are still ours today and within 7 Foucault, On the Genealogy of Ethics: An Overview of the Work in Progress, 231.Marchetti: review essay of The Ethics of Energy 129 which we are trapped. It is a question, basically, of presenting a critique of our own time, based upon retrospective analysis. 8 According to the reading I would like to suggest, passages like these claim that our interest for those ancient techniques lies in their being a model for thinking about moral reflection itself. One of Foucault’s main interests is showing how a certain enlightenment project 9 for the establishment of universal principles of moral evaluation on the base of which judging the moral quality of a certain conduct was doomed to fail, given the clash between its appeal to some immanent anthropological features human beings should realize in order to behave morally and the widespread variety of moral experiences that characterizes the history of human societies. However, this failure does force us to give up saying something interesting about moral reflection. In fact, according to Foucault what is still possible and worth-while exploring through a genealogical analysis of such practices is a model for understanding what morality altogether could look like. In another late interview Foucault writes [F]rom a strictly philosophical point of view, the morality of Greek antiquity and contemporary morality have nothing in common. On the other hand, if you take them for what they prescribe, intimate and advise, they are extraordinary close. It’s the proximity and the difference that we must bring to light and, through their interplay, we must show how the same advice given by the ancient morality can work differently in the style of contemporary morality. 10 Foucault’s incursions into the classical and early-modern worlds aim at showing that even if moral behaviors undergo substantive transformations, what underlies them, i.e. a certain way of thinking moral reflection, can survive its many possible declinations and be fertile to address our present problems concerning how to conduct ourselves morally. In order to achieve this goal, what is needed is not another normative model, but rather an analysis of the forms in which the self’s relation to itself have been problematized. In Nietzsche, Genealogy, History Foucault describes his philosophical method as genealogical after Nietzsche’s, and presents it as follows: [G]enealogy does not pretend to go back in time to restore an unbroken continuity that 8 John K. Simmons, ‚A Conversation with Michel Foucault,‛ The Partisan Review, 38 (2), (1971), 192. 9 Foucault is attentive in distinguishing a Leibniz-Wolff-early Kantian variant of enlightenment from a Hume-Rousseau-late Kantian variant, the former being concentrated in sorting out an all-inclusive principle of rationality capable of assessing human thought and conduct, while the latter interested in showing the developing character of our claims of knowledge and action and how reason and reflective though is nothing but one among the devices that can be used for their assessment. Foucault tackles incidentally this theme in his What is Enlightenment?, in The Foucault Reader, edited by Paul Rabinow (New York: Pantheon Books, 1984), 32-50; for a wider discussion of these authors and their respective lineage, see Jerome B. Schneewind, ‚Toward Enlightenment: Kant and the Sources of Darkness,‛ in The Cambridge Companion to Early Modern Philosophy, edited by Donald Rutherford (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2006), 328- 351. 10 Michel Foucault, The Return of Morality, in Foucault Live (Interviews 1961-1984), edited by Sylvère Lotringer (New York: Semiotext(e), 1996), 468.Foucault Studies, No. 11, pp. 126-155. 130 operates beyond the dispersion of forgotten things; its duty is not to demonstrate that the past actively exists in the present, that it continues secretly to animate the present, having imposed a predetermined form on all its vicissitudes< *O+n the contrary, to follow the complex course of descent is to maintain passing events in their proper dispersion; it is to identify the accidents, the minute deviations-or conversely, the complete reversals-the errors, the false appraisals, and the faulty calculations that gave birth to those things that continue to exist and have value for us; it is to discover that truth or being does not lie at the root of what we know and what we are, but the exteriority of accidents. 11 Foucault’s genealogy of morality is aimed at showing the varieties of ways in which something—as an interest for the ethical self—has surfaced out of some practices and experiences. This way of thinking moral reflection is very unlike a normative model as we find it spelled out in the modern western ethical tradition, in its relative silence about the individuation of the principles according to which moral appraisal or criticism should be pronounced. The contrast that such a genealogy brings to the fore is between a picture of morality as the articulation of the principles human beings ought to follow in order to be moral and a picture of ethics as the analysis of the ways in which human beings have conceived their conduct and interiority as morally relevant. Ethics is for Foucault a methodological and not a substantive notion, and refers precisely to a peculiar way of conceiving one’s relation with oneself, that can be, and has been, articulated in different ways and driven by opposite concerns. In the third chapter of L’Usage des Plaisirs Foucault gives a perspicuous characterization of the contrast between moral codes as the observance of normative or customary codes and ethics as the shaping of one’s self according to some ideals it helps establish through an act of endorsement. This is a contrast emphasized with different tones and even terminology by Nietzsche and James as well, as a contrast between a morality the self merely receives or applies and an ethics it invents by forming its self inspired by some ideals. It is important to understand that Foucault is not suspicious of moral codes per se, but rather he is suspicious of the sublimation of such codes as the only aspect of one’s conduct that is ethically relevant. Foucault thinks that what is important in the characterization of one’s ethical life is the relationship the self establishes with those very moral codes: that is, its capacity of accepting, interpreting or refusing them as revealed in its practices of self-formation. According to Foucault in fact, one’s ethical conduct must be distinguished from one’s moral behavior: both belong to what Foucault labels as morality, but they refer to very different aspects of our subjectivity. While moral behaviors denote the accordance of one’s actions to the rules and values prescribed by certain agencies through the establishment of moral codes, ethical conduct refers to one’s movements of self-constitution according to some practices and activities in which the self develops a relationship with itself. The two aspects are distinct but indissoluble, since one’s ethical conduct expresses the very reaction one can have in respect to moral codes, so that their different understandings will determine one’s formation in accordance with, or critical opposition to them. Foucault gives great emphasis to the moment of dissent, whose importance is even greater than that of endorsement, since by refusing the moral and political cate- 11 Michel Foucault, ‚Nietzsche, Genealogy and History,‛ in The Foucault Reader, edited by Paul Rabinow (New York: Pantheon Books, 1984), 81.Marchetti: review essay of The Ethics of Energy 131 gories and institutions, which are supposed to inform our conduct, we create the possibility for new experiences that can also improve those very categories and institutions we have resisted. The notion of counter-conduct, whose first explicit appearance in the work of Foucault is datable to 1978’s Lectures at the Collège de France (see note 5 for reference), represents the hub that connects the notions of conduct and care of the self. It is in the moment of counter-conduct that the self constitutes itself as an moral self, since conducing in a way that is alternative to—but not in bare opposition with—the field of options that is given to us by a particular power or historical contingence, requires working on ourselves such that we engage in some practices and experiences whose aim is that of shaping our liberty within the boundaries of a certain field of possibilities. 12 Given this distinction, 13 Foucault characterizes ethics as a [p]rocess in which the individual delimits that part of himself that will form the object of his moral practice, defines his position relative to the precept he will follow, and decides on a certain mode of being that will serve as his moral goal. And this requires him to act upon himself, to monitor, test, improve, and transform himself. 14 This picture of ethics is very instructive if seen on the background of Foucault’s engagement with Nietzsche, and in particular with his genealogical method for the assessment of the western ethical tradition. Nietzsche’s analysis of morals, under the form of a genealogy, is aimed at showing the epistemological and psychological underpinnings of contemporary moral thought. Nietzsche is interested in unraveling the philosophical and psychological foundations of contemporary moral thought, in order to show its unsatisfactory grounds and suggest an alternative built into a new philosophical and psychological conception of human beings 15 . His concern is that of ‘re-evaluating values’ by liberating the self from self-imposed habits and moral codes. According to Nietzsche, the first and necessary step for the achievement of a rich 12 An excellent characterization of this intertwinement is given by Foucault in his ‚Friendship as a Way of Life,‛ in Michel Foucault, Essential Works of Foucault 1954-1984, vol. 1: Ethics, Subjectivity and Truth, edited by Paul Rabinow (New York: The New Press, 1997). See also, ‚The Social Triumph of Sexual Will‛ and ‚The Ethics of the Concern for the Self as a Practice of Freedom,‛ both in Foucault, Essential Works of Foucault 1954- 1984, vol. 1: Ethics, Subjectivity and Truth. 13 I would like to thank Alan Rosenberg for some useful advices about Foucault’s terminology, and for his encouragement to make my ideas clearer on this point. For further considerations about the relationship between ethics and morality in Foucault see Arnold I. Davidson, ‚Archeology, Genealogy, Ethics,‛ in Foucault: Critical Reader, edited by David C. Hoy (Oxford: Basic Blackwell, 1986); James W. Bernahuer & Michael Mahon, ‚Michel Foucault’s Ethical Imagination,‛ in The Cambridge Companion to Foucault (2 nd edition), edited by Gary Gutting (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2005); and Michael Mahon, Foucault’s Nietzschean Genealogy (Albany: SUNY, 1992). 14 Michel Foucault, The History of Sexuality vol. 2: The Use of Pleasure (New York: Vintage, 1990), 26. 15 If this amounts to saying that Nietzsche is advancing a philosophical anthropology is a matter I cannot pursue here. Both Nietzsche and Foucault are explicitly refuting any anthropological backup of their discourse, although it should be précised which kind of anthropology they are resisting. For an interesting analysis of this theme, see Béatrice Han, ‚The Analytic Finitude and the History of Subjectivity,‛ in The Cambridge Companion to Foucault (2 nd edition), edited by Gary Gutting (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2005).Foucault Studies, No. 11, pp. 126-155. 132 and authentic ethical life is precisely the refutation of any received morality and the human beings we are when thinking and acting under the unreflective and unengaged sway of such a morality. Instead of being the object of moral concern, the self, for Nietzsche, is its very result: the self is something we have to form, attain and achieve in order to be moral. Nietzsche’s refutation of the moral self as a given, amounts to a refutation of ethics as the inquiry of the condition of possibility of moral appraisal of the self in favor of a conception of ethics as the inquiry of the condition of the moral constitution of the self. His treatment of exemplarity, especially in writing such as The Uses and Abuses of History for Life, Schopenhauer as Educator and Daybreak, represents the cornerstone of his genealogical project of showing the unsatisfactoriness of moral reflection, conceived as the justification of values established independently from any practice of endorsement by the individuals whose life is governed by such values. Nietzsche’s critique of morality begins with the question ‘How can I confer upon my life the greater value?’, and proceeds with the instruction that what is needed—above all—is a vigilant skepticism toward all inherited concepts. It is only by questioning the validity of such moral concepts that we earn the possibility of claiming some values that are really expressive of our moral life. Up to a certain amount, the self that is the target of moral evaluation emerges from this very activity of skepsis in which what is at stake is its very identity as a moral subject. Through questioning its received thoughts and habits, the self discloses the possibility to constitute itself as a moral subject, that is as a subject responsible for the values it endorses and morally healthier than the one it was before such questionings. According to the reading given by James Conant, which stands in fierce opposition to the one given by Thomas Hurka, 16 Nietzsche’s statements, rather than advancing an elitist and aestheticist picture of the moral self, suggest an image of human beings as ‘progressive beings,’ 17 whose task is that of recognizing their capacity for grasping values out of their practices and experiences of subjectivation. Nietzsche’s purpose is critique, 18 and his attacks on received thoughts, prescriptions and codes are provocations aimed at shaking our deep convictions about the sources and groundings of our moral ideas. Nietzsche asks us to acknow- 16 James Conant, ‚Nietzsche’s Perfectionism,‛ in Nietzsche’s Postmoralism, edited by Richard Schacht (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2000); and Thomas Hurka, Perfectionism (New York: Oxford University Press, 1993). A hint of response by Hurka to Conant can be found in ‚Nietzsche: Perfectionist,‛ in Nietzsche and Morality, edited by Brian Leiter and Neil Sinhababu (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2007). For a companion reading of Nietzsche as a perfectionist thinker, see Stanley Cavell, Cities of Words (Cambridge: Harvard University Press, 2004), ch. 11. 17 The characterization of human beings as progressive beings is depicted by John Stuart Mill in the first chapter of On Liberty. For a compelling reading of Mill as a perfectionist thinker and fellow traveler of the authors we are discussing, see Piergiorgio Donatelli, ‚Mill’s Perfectionism,‛ Prolegomena, 5 (2), (2006). 18 For by now classical readings of Nietzsche’s genealogy as critique, see Bernard Williams, ‚Nietzsche’s Minimalist Moral Psychology,‛ in Making Sense of Humanity (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1995); Philippa Foot, ‚Nietzsche’s Immoralism,‛ in Moral Dilemmas (Oxford: Clarendon Press, 2002); David C. Hoy, ‚Nietzsche, Hume and the Genealogical Method,‛ in Nietzsche, Genealogy and Morality, edited by Richard Schacht (Berkeley: University of California Press, 1994); and Alasdair MacIntyre, ‚Genealogies and Subversions,‛ in Nietzsche, Genealogy and Morality. For a fresh analysis and an up-to-date comparison between Nietzsche and Foucault on this aspect, see Hans Sluga, ‚I am Simply Nietzshean,‛ in Foucault and Philosophy, edited by Timothy O’Leary and Christopher Falzon (Oxford: Wiley-Blackwell, 2010).Marchetti: review essay of The Ethics of Energy 133 ledge the perspectiveness 19 of our values and truths, and thus take responsibility for this fact by behaving consequently, both in our intellectual and in our practical life. He writes [w]hatever exists, having somehow come into being, is again and again reinterpreted to new ends, taken over, transformed, and redirected by some power superior to it; all events in the organic world are a subduing, a becoming master, and all subduing and becoming master involves a fresh interpretation, an adaptation through which any previous ‛meaning‛ and ‛purpose‛ are necessarily obscured or even obliterated<*t+he entire history of a ‛thing,‛ an organ, a custom can in this way be a continuous sign-chain of ever new interpretations and adaptations whose causes do not even have to be related to one another but, on the contrary, in some cases succeed and alternate with one another in a purely chance fashion. The ‛evolution‛ of a thing, a custom, an organ is thus by no means its progressus toward a goal, even less a logical progressus by the shortest route and with the smallest expenditure of force, but a succession of more or less profound, more or less mutually independent processes of subduing, plus the resistances they encounter, the attempts at transformation for the purpose of defense and reaction, and the results of successful counteractions. The form is fluid, but the ‛meaning‛ is even more so. 20 Given the perspectiveness of our values and the provisional character of the situations in which they are experienced and exercised, Nietzsche calls for the endorsement of an active stance toward our thoughts and actions, and thus the education of them in order to achieve that Emersonian ‘unattained but attainable self’ through which we could experience and express at full our moral life. 21 Both the ability to experience values and to have experiences that are valuable must be cultivated, and a genealogy of morals would prompt us to recognize the history of the struggles over self-formation by means of this questioning morality from within its very exercise. As Alan Milchman and Alan Rosenberg have suggested, we can give Nietzsche’s alleged nihilism a negative as well as a positive characterization, according to Nietzsche’s remark that ‘it can be a symptom of increasing strength or increasing weakness. 22 Corresponding with the negative characterization, the absence of a transcendental system of values makes human begins incapable to act and causes their will to perish. Following the positive characterization, however, such an absence prompts one’s will and sensibility to create own values by shaping oneself in a certain way. There is no better declaration of this principle than the one stated in §6 of the preface to The Genealogy of Morals, where Nietzsche writes [L]et us articulate this new demand: we need a critique of moral values, the value of these values themselves must first be called into question—and for that there is needed a knowledge of the conditions arid circumstances in which they grew. Under which they evolved and changed 19 For an assessment of this aspect of Nietzsche, and its relevancy for contemporary reflection on ethics, see Raymond Geuss, Outside Ethics (Princeton: Princeton University Press, 2005), exp. introduction and ch. 13. 20 Friedrich Nietzsche, On the Genealogy of Morals (New York: Vintage, 1989), 77-8. 21 For the Emersonian echoes in Nietzsche’s philosophy, see the first chapter of Stanley Cavell, Conditions Handsome and Unhandsome. The Constitution of Emersonian Perfectionism (Chicago: The University of Chicago Press, 1990). 22 Alan Milchman and Alan Rosenberg, ‚The Aesthetic and Ascetic Dimension of an Ethics of Self-Fashioning: Nietzsche and Foucault,‛ Parrhesia, 2, (2007).Foucault Studies, No. 11, pp. 126-155. 134 (morality as consequence, as symptom, as mask; as tartufferie, as illness, as misunderstanding; but also morality as cause, as remedy, as stimulant, as restraint, as poison), a knowledge of a kind that has never yet existed or even been desired. One has taken the value of these ‛values‛ as given; as factual, as beyond all questions. 23 Questioning one’s values means questioning the experiences to which such values are attached, and the activities that constitute the background of meaningfulness and legitimacy of those very experiences. Foucault elaborates Nietzsche’s insight in a fruitful direction, giving moral reflection an interesting characterization: by investigating the ways in which human beings have shaped themselves accordingly to some practices and ideals it is possible to understand the varieties of ethical experiences they have undertaken. Ethical experiences and not moral principles stand at the centre of moral reflection, the aim of which is organizing such experiences according to the role they play in the lives of the subjects involved. This achievement requires work on one’s self that is very unlike the one expected by merely conforming or agreeing to a set of norms that one lives by. Experiencing, and especially moral experiencing, requires work on one’s self, since authors—in order to experience something as valuable the self—must be a in a peculiar state of mind which prompts conduct that is transformative of its own sensibility. In this alternative conception of moral reflection the target of moral interest shifts from mere actions and motives to the whole conception of one’s own conduct. This self-understanding becomes the very object of moral concern for it is only by giving one’s life a certain shape—that is, by conducing oneself in a certain way—that one comes to appreciate a variety of moral experiences which are excluded when it unreflectively lives with the values it merely inherits as given. In what follows I shall argue that some of these insights are echoed in the ethical thought of William James. What James, Nietzsche and Foucault share is a conception of ethics as an activity of self-care. According to these authors, individuals constitute themselves as ethical subjects by being attentive to the experiences and thoughts that are transformative of the way in which they conduct themselves. Notwithstanding the differences in both their style and interests, I will claim that these authors have shaped their ethical investigations departing from the very same question, namely: ‘what does it take to have a moral experience?’, and claimed that the answer should have the form: ‘to take care of one’s own self.’ Nietzsche and Foucault trace this answer back into the history of western culture—with some interesting incursions into eastern thought as well—while James investigates its possibility by assessing the state of art of modern ethical thought, concentrating in particular on its two most representative parties, that is empiricism and rationalism, as well as on their European and American contemporary developments. James sees the achievement of this alternative way of conceiving moral reflection as a consequence of a proper focus on the moral psychology and epistemology on which moral experiencing is grounded, while Foucault sees this as the result of the play (jeux) of the historical contingencies human beings encountered in their practices of subjectivation. Nietzsche would have subscribed to James’ characterization of the entanglement between ethics and psychology, agreeing at the same time with Foucault’s claim about the historicity of its understanding by the subjects involved. Thus, despite the di- 23 Nietzsche, On the Genealogy of Morals, 20.Marchetti: review essay of The Ethics of Energy 135 versities of style and interests, these three philosophers share a common concern in respect to a certain way of picturing moral thought and its relation to the moral life it should address. By investigating the way in which individuals become ethical subjects through engaging in the relevant experiences, these authors suggests a way of thinking moral reflection as an analysis of the practices and conducts that give access to such experiences. While the literature about Nietzsche’s and Foucault’s approaches to this particular theme is wide and growing, the interest for this aspect of James’ moral philosophy has been meager and the connection with his pragmatist philosophy overlooked. In fact, James’ moral philosophy has barely been considered on these lines, while much emphasis has been given to the alleged promethean character of his ethical reflection, which would have committed him to an elaborate version of utilitarianism. 24 Sergio Franzese’s compelling book The Ethics of Energy. William James’s Moral Philosophy in Focus represents a notable exception in Jamesstudies. In fact, in this book the author explores a number of interesting features of James’ moral reflection that have been largely ignored: most notably, the idea that we can understand the nature and point of ethics only through a more imaginative look at our moral life. This path of investigation is aimed at undermining the grounds on which the standard reading of James’ ethical thought rests, since it puts in question the very feasibility of moral theory as it has been usually conceived. Franzese’s book, whose exposition of James’s moral philosophy asserts itself among the most interesting assessments in James scholarship, both for its attentive reconstruction of James’ position and for the innovative character of its interpretative line, advances a reading of James’ moral philosophy as an inquiry into the nature and shape of moral reflection itself. The most interesting aspect of Franzese’s book is its main argumentative line, i.e. the claim that the major interpretations of James’ moral philosophy rest on the mistake that what James was advancing was a normative system of morality. Through the analysis of his moral writings, Franzese shows how James was instead interested in depicting an alternative way of conceiving morality altogether. It is important to notice, however, the book’s intended disinterest for Foucault: the author aims at a critical exposition of James’ moral thought and of its anthropological commitments, while some space is given to its intertwinements with the work of Nietzsche—especially with his though on the ethical importance of ‘the care, development and control of human force.’ Thus, after presenting the arguments advanced in his book, I would like to conclude by explaining why, despite the author’s resistances, another ally of James and Nietzsche on this particular aspect of their work is Foucault. I shall argue that the connection between these three authors should be traced in their shared struggle against what, following Richard. J. Bernstein, I will call a Cartesian conception of the self, and in particular the companion foundational anxiety for what regards its epistemological as well as its moral 24 The most authoritative defender of this reading is Richard M. Gale, The Divided Self of William James (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1999). Even if Gale’s James is far from the one sketched in the book under review, this work presents a powerful interpretation of his philosophy and is plenty of interesting instructions about some fundamental issue about morality and psychology, for example concerning the question raised in the note 25.Foucault Studies, No. 11, pp. 126-155. 136 powers. 25 James, Foucault and Nietzsche developed their respective philosophies as attempts to delineate a picture of the self that is neither captured by the traditional narrative about the place of human beings in the natural world as proposed by the Christian-Cartesian heritage, nor by the scientific revolution and developed along positivistic lines in a significant portion of our western modern and contemporary philosophical culture. The leitmotiv behind their dialectics is the refusal of these traditional images of the self, and the demand for an alternative way of picturing the emergence of the moral subject from its activities of selfconstitution. Following Franzese, I will now present James’ place in such a narrative, concentrating on three intertwined aspects of his moral philosophy that are particularly relevant in regards to the theme of the subject’s ethical formation: the anti-foundational character of moral reflection, its exhortative tone and its underlying pragmatic anthropology. 2. James against moral theory The volume by Franzese opens with a chapter, ‘William James’ Moral Philosophy in Focus,’ which sets the tone for the whole book. The author undertakes a detailed analysis of James’ essay The Moral Philosopher and the Moral Life (MPML), by far the most quoted and yet the most misunderstood of James’ papers. The importance of this essay, lectured by James in 1891 as an address to the Yale Philosophical Club, cannot be underestimated, since it does not only represent James’ clearest exposition of his ethical position, but also because it contains the methodological instructions that are necessary for the understanding of James’ moral ideas as they are explored in his other writings. 26 Therefore, it is not a case that its deep misunderstandings brought a paltry reception of the whole James’ moral philosophy. The misunderstanding consists in a misreading of the tone and aims of the essay altogether: with a few exceptions 27 MPML has been understood as a defense of utilitarianism, 25 Richard J. Bernstein, Beyond Objectivism and Relativism: Science, Hermeneutics and Praxis (Philadelphia: University of Pennsylvania Press, 1983). Bernstein has dedicated a chapter of his most recent book to a reading of James’ moral philosophy as an attempt to rescue from both these foundational anxieties and the thread of relativism they mean to address. See Richard J. Bernstein, ‚The Ethical Consequences of James’s Pragmatic Pluralism,‛ in The Pragmatic Turn (Polity Press: London, 2010). 26 There is an interesting question about the connection between James’ methodological considerations on the nature of morality and the moral instructions pervading his work on psychology and pragmatism, a question not explicitly addressed in these terms by Franzese. An interesting treatment of this aspect is given by Bernard P. Brennan in the last two chapter of his The Ethics of William James (New York: Vintage Books, 1961). 27 Most notably, Hilary and Ruth Anna Putnam, who both in their joint papers and in their individual works on James have developed a compelling reading of such an essay. See in particular, Hilary Putnam and Ruth Anna Putnam, ‚William James’ Ideas,‛ in Hilary Putnam, Realism with a Human Face (Cambridge: Harvard University Press, 1990), where a foundational reading of James’ moral philosophy is dismissed as inappropriate: ‘James (as well as Dewey) takes the same approach to ethics as he does to common sense and science. Here too, he thinks, there are procedures which can be imperfectly characterized and which might be improved in the course of ethical inquiry itself. What is not available is a set of final ethical truths or a method by which they can be discovered. He tries to change our philosophical sensibility, rather than to replace one foundationalist ethical project with another, on the one hand, or to convince us that ethics is “noncognitive,” on the other’ (223, our italics). See also Hilary Putnam, ‚Philosophy as Reconstructive Activity: William James on Moral Philosophy,‛ in The Pragmatic Turn in Philosophy. Contemporary Engagements between Marchetti: review essay of The Ethics of Energy 137 due to the presence of some passages that, if read out of context, could sound as a defense of a nuanced version of the principle of maximization of goods. However, an attentive analysis of the dialectic in which those passages are embedded will reveal the real stakes of this capital essay, in particular its anti-foundational and anti-theoretical inspiration. As Franzese puts it in the very first page of his book the essay of 1891 does not work as an outline of a moral theory because it was certainly not intended to be one. On the contrary, it was intended to show the futility of that traditional philosophical task, which is perhaps why philosophers have intended not to read it too closely<*t+he ‘The Moral Philosopher and the Moral Life’ is a critical analysis of the validity of any moral theory, in the terms of its relation to the moral philosopher, rather than presenting another specific moral theory. 28 The author engages in a patient analysis of the interpretations given to the essay, and in particular he concentrates on Perry’s 1935 monumental work The Thought and Character of William James, in which Perry advances a very biased reading of James’ moral philosophy. Franzese tackles Perry’s interpretation by challenging the textual evidences, taken both from James’ printed works and from his personal notes for the classes on moral philosophy he taught at Harvard during the 1880s and 90s, which Perry quotes to vindicate James’ alleged utilitarianism. In particular, Perry reports a passage taken from the notes for a course on moral philosophy held by James in 1888-9, 29 in which he makes reference to Royce’s claim that in order to choose which goods to promote in a situation in which some have to be sacrificed, we must use moral insight, that is ‘consider every good as a real good, and keep as many as we can.’ 30 The major flaw in Perry’s account consists in reading James’ reference as an endorsement of Royce’s principle for the solution to value conflicts, whereas in those notes James only presents some theoretical options that have been used in the history of philosophy to address some central problems of morality. Even if the themes of these notes trace out the themes discussed in MPML, there are important differences between the two texts, which Perry’s melting pot fails to appreciate when he accounts for them. The most important feature that differentiates MPML from the notes is precisely its intent to criticize the very possibility of a theoretical account of morality by showing the limits of those moral principles that have been advanced to address ethical questions. The difficulty James wants to spell out refers to the ability of moral reflection to address the problems that characterize our moral lives, and what is called for is precisely a new understanding of ethics as a field of discourse and reflection that is able to inform our moral life in addressing its difficulties. According to this more attentive reading, James’ quotation of Royce is supposed to show how the endorsement of his principle of moral insight can help us in our moral lives when facing situations in which what Analytic and Continental Philosophy, edited by William Egginton and Michael Sandbothe (Albany: State University of New York, 2004); and Ruth A. Putnam, ‚The Moral Life of a Pragmatist,‛ in Identity, Character and Morality, edited by Amelie Rorty (Cambridge: The MIT Press, 1990). 28 Sergio Franzese, The Ethics of Energy. William James’s Moral Philosophy in Focus, 3. 29 William James, ‚Notes for Philosophy 4: Ethics – Recent English Contributions to Theistic Ethics (1888-9),‛ in Manuscript Lectures (Cambridge: Harvard University Press, 1988), 182-6. 30 Ibid., 185. Foucault Studies, No. 11, pp. 126-155. 138 is at stake is the decision between incompatible values, but it does not represent the moral criterion for the resolution of them as such. 31 In fact in MPML, James claims that the invocation of moral insight has—at most—a negative function: namely, bewaring those conservative positions which invoke custom as the chief moral principle to settle disputes about values. Franzese claims that Perry’s unimaginative reading misses the roots of James’s discourse and makes MPML as unintelligible as incoherent, since according to it there seem to be too many incompatible claims advanced at once—an error perpetuated by those commentators who took Perry’s words for granted. In order to understand how the claims advanced in MPML are not incompatible, and contest in this way Perry’s reading, Franzese engages in an painstaking examination of the essay. Once read in the light of James’ considerations about habit and action, which the author examines in the second and third chapters—the essay conveys a precise picture regarding the shape morality should take in order to entertain a profitable relationship with the moral life it should address. According to this more attentive reading, the many claims advanced in the essay about the nature of moral values and the origin of our moral ideas, are to be taken not as conflicting moral principles, but rather as the various aspects of our moral life that moral reflection should address, and the purpose of James is precisely that of showing the difficulty for a narrow picture of ethics conceived as the establishment of a hierarchy of moral values and principles to meet this goal. As the author notices on page 16, no attention has been paid to the title of MPML, however, the headline is very instructive for understanding the subject-matter of the essay: namely, the relationship between the moral philosopher (that is moral reflection) and the moral life. James claims that ethics is an inquiry into the nature of moral facts—which are much more variegated than both classical empiricism and idealism are ready to admit—as they are experienced by human beings in the course of their moral lives. This characterization eschews any role for moral reflection conceived ‘in the old-fashioned absolute sense’, that is ‘dogmatically made up in advance.’ Moral reflection, for James, aims at understanding our moral experiences as they are displayed in ordinary practices. A piece of moral philosophy, thus, must be suggestive rather than prescriptive: it must convey the depths and trivialities of our ordinary moral experiences, rather than prescribing which course of action should be appropriate accordingly to some established moral principle. Franzese writes *i+t is James’s insight that an ethics, or a moral theory, is to be suggestive more than imperative, hortatory more than prescriptive. 32 In order to spell out this instruction the author quotes a passage of capital importance made by James in the introductory chapter of a textbook on philosophical psychology originated by 31 The author dedicates a detailed comparison between James and Royce on the nature of moral thought at pages 19-22. For a broader presentation of their disagreement on the conception of pragmatism and its consequences for the characterization of truth that is relevant for ethics, see James Conant, ‚The James/Royce Dispute and the Development of James’s ‚Solution,‛‛ in The Cambridge Companion to William James, edited by Ruth A. Putnam (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1997). 32 Franzese, 10.Marchetti: review essay of The Ethics of Energy 139 some addresses to Cambridge teachers, which dealt with the topic of the art of teaching and its relevance to psychology. James writes [T]he science of logic never made a man reason rightly and the science of ethics (if there be such a thing) never made a man behave rightly. The most such science can do is to help us to catch ourselves up and check ourselves, if we start to reason or to behave wrongly; and to criticize ourselves more articulately after we have made mistakes. 33 Franzese claims that these instructions set us on the right path to see the real purposes of MPML. They in fact points to a central feature of James’ ethics: namely, the claim that it is both impossible and pointless telling in advance which kind of experiences could be assessed as morally relevant. For James, morality is unbounded since the recognition of a certain experience as moral or not will depend each time on its capacity to fulfill or frustrate our sensibility. If that is so, then a certain experience will be morally satisfying or lacking not for its being in accordance with some alleged moral principle, but rather because it places ourselves in a momentous relation with the world and ourselves or not. James writes that [A]bstract rules indeed can help; but they help the less in proportion as our intuitions are more piercing, and our vocation is the stronger for the moral life. For every real dilemma is in literal strictness a unique situation; and the exact combination of ideals realized and ideals disappointed which each decision creates is always a universe without a precedent, and for which no adequate previous rule exist. 34 Thus, the language of moral principles is misplaced due to the very phenomenology of our moral life. This theme is explored at depth in the central sections of MPML, in which James sketches the three main aspects of moral discourse—namely, the psychological, the metaphysical and casuistic question—and discuss the limits and point of a philosophical account of these various aspects as they are experienced in our moral life. Franzese writes that those sections must be read remembering that James’ purpose in MPML [i]s not to define a system or a hierarchy of moral values and principles intended to rule individual or collective behavior, but rather to inquire into the constitutive attitudes and activity of moral philosophers in order to outline a more adequate approach to the nature and meaning of moral experience. 35 This is a point of the outmost importance, since in my opinion it represents the most promising aspect of the author’s interpretation of MPML. However, not all the expectations are met, since while I think that here Franzese does a great job at debunking the foundational readings of the essay, still I claim that the method he uses, however sound with his the overall 33 William James, Talks to Teachers on Psychology and to Students on Some of Life’s Ideals (Cambridge: Harvard University Press, 1983), 15. 34 William James, ‚The Moral Philosopher and the Moral Life,‛ in The Will to Believe (Cambridge: Harvard University Press, 1979), 158. 35 Franzese, 27. Foucault Studies, No. 11, pp. 126-155. 140 project of the book, is not the proper one—that is, it is not completely faithful to James’ instructions. Our disagreement consists in a disagreement about the way in which the essay brings us to see what goes wrong when we do moral philosophy by advancing moral theories. Franzese reads the essay in completely negative terms, as the proof of the complete failure of moral theorizing to account for the facts of our moral life, and claims that the consequences James draws consists in the abandonment of philosophical reflection as the proper stage at which assessing our moral lives. He takes the essay as demanding us to shift the focus of our attention from philosophical accounts of morality to ‘historical and constitutive process of social dynamics at work in the establishment of the moral order.’ 36 In this direction, Franzese claims that, for James [m]oral philosophy is possible only as a critical science which takes each moral ideal as an hypothesis and each moral choice as an experiment. 37 While I wholeheartedly agree with this perceptive statement, I suspect that this suggests an alternative to philosophical reflection. I think that James’ intentions in the essay were precisely those of presenting another conception of moral reflection, one capable of meeting the difficulties of the moral life it should address. I found the invitation to conceive moral choices as experiments very illuminating for the understanding of the relationship moral thought should entertain with the moral life. Inventive experimentations require a work on ourselves that consists, among other things, in the willingness to change one’s perspective, the commitment to the tentative nature of our moral ideas, and the striving for the attainment of one’s own ideals. Franzese claims that this characterization has to be understood in the light of James’ debt to Lotze’s conception of ‘experimental ethics’ as he depicts it in his Ethik, in which what is invoked is precisely an understanding of morality on the model of scientific (although not positivistic) inquiry. However, equating moral reflection to the mere registration of our personal and social achievements seems to downplay the very dialectic of the essay, in which James bewares of picturing accepted values as the criterion for deciding hard cases of moral disagreement. Read in this way, the essay looses its most groundbreaking force, since according to Franzese in it James would be merely substituting an a-priori understanding of moral criteria with an a-posteriori one, while in my opinion in the essay he is interested in showing how ethics deals with the way we understand and live with principles. The experimentations James is talking about are personal experimentation, in which what is at issue is precisely the understating that the subjects involved have of what there are doing as devoid of meaning or not. There is trace in James’ essay of moral relativism and historicism as interesting moral positions, but Franzese is still held captive by the temptation of the foundational rhetoric James is debunking if he thinks that James’ response to it is that of crediting a subjectivist variation of moral relativism. In this direction, I read the point and method of the essay not as that of showing the shortcomings of, in turn, a psychological, a metaphysical, and a casuistic foundation of mora- 36 Ibid., 39. 37 Ibid., 40.Marchetti: review essay of The Ethics of Energy 141 lity—as Franzese does at page 28-40—but rather as the investigation of the peculiar shortcomings internal to these various aspects of our moral lives when addressed through intellectualistic requirements and their dissolution when freed from such a deceiving picture of what morality should be. This shift has interesting consequences on the very understanding of the central sections of MPML, too. According to an alternative reading I am advancing, these sections present the various aspects constituting our moral phenomenology and give an overview of the difficulties peculiar to each aspect. The role of the moral philosopher is a descriptive one, and consists in accounting at a reflective level how we fail to appreciate this variety if we portray the point of our moral life as the establishment of moral principles independently from our activities of endorsement and valuing the relevant moral experiences. According to James, the gist of the moral life is the personal striving each human being employs in the achievement of its own ideals, and thus the adoption of the right attitude that will lead to this achievement. James discusses at length the notion of ideal in such essays as ‚Is Life Worth Living?,‛ ‚On a Certain Blindness in Human Beings‛ and ‚What Does it Make a Life Significant,‛ in which he applies the considerations already sketched in the concluding chapter of the Principles titled ‚Necessary Truths and The Effects of Experience,‛ where he claims that our moral ideals are more the fruit of new ways of thinking than of past experiences. In MPML James insists on the dynamic character of moral ideals in the context of discussing the validity of the empiricist principle of association in explaining the origin of our moral ideas and the nature of value claims. Even if he praises Mill and Bain for their service to ethics in debunking aprioristic accounts of moral relations, still he contends that the mere reference to past experiences and their association with pleasant or useful sensations is not enough to account for the origin and normative force of our moral ideas. He writes in this direction that *e+very now and then thought or action may bear prosperous fruits. He may replace old ‚laws of nature‛ by better ones; he may, by breaking old moral rules in a certain place, bring in a total condition of things more ideal than would have followed had the rules been kept< *t+he highest ethical life—however few may be called to bear its burden—consists at all times in the breaking the rules which have grown too narrow for the actual case. 38 The metaphysical underpinning for this claim is that nothing could count as a moral good except from its capacity to satisfy a demand actually made by someone, and that the role of the moral philosopher is that of ascertaining the validity of these demands as he founds them historically claimed by the moral subjects. James stresses the conceptual connection between the advancement of a claim and the notion of obligation, arguing against those positions that portray the validity of value claims as depending on some extra-empirical moral order. In case of conflicting values, James says that the only option worth pursuing consists in an act of creation. He writes, [i]nvent some manner of realizing your own ideals which will also satisfy the alien demands— that and that only is the path of peace! Following this path, society has shaken itself into one 38 Ibid., 158.Foucault Studies, No. 11, pp. 126-155. 142 sort of relative equilibrium after another by a series of social discoveries quite analogous to those of science. 39 James underlines that this is all that can be said about demands and obligations. He invites us to abandon the pretense to settle disputes about values by invoking the normative significance of some past or even present state of affairs. What is needed then in these cases is to work on ourselves. Here we are asked to invent new and hitherto unimagined conducts expressive of our ideals from which—as with Foucault and Nietzsche—the whole society will benefit. The Jamesian vocabulary is thus that of invention and imagination, and not that of correspondence to some established order of values. What is at issue in our different readings of James’ essay is an opposite understanding of the pragmatic conception of goodness he advances. Franzese, quoting out of context James’ well-renewed and highly discredited slogan, characterizes goodness in terms of ‘satisfaction of desires,’ while I think that there are far better and most perceptive passages in which James characterizes the notion of goodness than the ones Franzese picks out: for example those in which James equates goodness and truth to the peculiar stance we can take toward experiencing itself. It is important to notice, as Franzese tells us, that what underlies this conception of values and obligations is James’ pragmatic conception of truth. Franzese rightly underlines the importance of James’ conception of truth as the underlying ground to James’ conception of morality, especially for understanding passages like the one quoted earlier from MPML. However he considers only one aspect of James’ conception of truth as relevant (truth as what is better for us to believe), while he ignores another fundamental conceptual linkage between truth and ethics that is even more important for James. Truth informs ethics since holding something as true requires us to work on ourselves—on our perceptions, receptivity and sensibility. This is similar to what is required to have moral experiences and entertain moral ideas. By debunking a conception of truth as correspondence to a mind independent reality, that is one independent from our noticing, appreciating and valuing it, and rather favor one as the expression of our active endorsement of the reality of certain aspects of the world we found worth noticing, James opens the way to an alternative understanding of the connection between truth, action and morality. Truth informs one’s conduct by pointing to those values and ideals affecting one’s experiencing of reality. A discussion of James’ conception of truth along these lines would have been congenial to Franzese’s discourse, since some of the most interesting passages used by the author to spell out James’ views about ethics make direct reference to this aspect of truth. Franzese quotes many passages from the Principle, and in particular from the chapter on ‚The Perception of Reality,‛ in which such an intertwinement is explicit. There James clearly states that believing something requires both being in a certain state of mind, and that the truth of the things believed must have some certain effects on the believer. The effects are described in pragmatic terms, while the state of mind is described as the result of an exercise of attention and selection of those aspects of the world that are worth noticing. The truth of a certain belief, thus, is a function of an activity of endorsement determined by its importance for us. In the lectures on Pragmatism James dedicates many pages to the characte- 39 Ibid., 155-6.Marchetti: review essay of The Ethics of Energy 143 rization of truth, deepening his previous ideas about the intertwinement between truth, action and morality. Some passages are particularly interesting since they emphasize this aspect of truth, as I have been suggested here. More specifically, I have in mind James’ claim that [T]ruth is one species of good, and not, as is usually supposed, a category distinct from good, and coordinate with it< *i+n this world, just as certain foods are not only agreeable to our taste, but good for our teeth, our stomach, and our tissues; so certain ideas are not only agreeable to think about, or agreeable as supporting other ideas that we are fond of, but they are also helpful in life’s practical struggles. If there be any life that it is better we should lead, and if there be any idea which, if believed in, would help us to lead that life, then it would be really better for us to believe in that idea, unless, indeed, belief in it incidentally clashed with others greater vital benefits. 40 The language is strikingly similar to the one used in MPML. James argues for an internal, non-instrumental connection between holding something to be true and its leading to the endorsement of a life in which the presence of that truth would render something morally better. The importance of truth for ethics is therefore not confined to the pragmatic characterization of mindedness as the directedness of mental states to satisfy ethical demands, or the identification of thought with action. Truth is relevant for ethics because its attainment involves one’s active involvement for the sake of realizing a life that is morally superior. Ideas are true insofar as they make us conduct ourselves in a way that is morally rewarding and healthier. The connection between truth and ethics is thus not instrumental; it is conceptual and internal to the re-description of both notions as proposed by James. 41 A perceptive example for this conception is James’ claim at the very end of MPML, where he claims that [t]he highest ethical life—however few may be called to bear its burden—consists at all times in the breaking of rules which have grown too narrow for the actual case< *b+ooks on ethics, therefore, so far as they truly touch the moral life, must more and more ally themselves with a literature which is confessedly tentative and suggestive rather than dogmatic—I mean with novels and dramas of the deeper sort, with sermons, with books on statecraft and philanthropy and social and economical reform. Treated in this way ethical treatises may be voluminous and luminous as well; but they never can be final. 42 Here James is neither claiming that good is relative, nor that it is the mere outcome of the most accepted ideas spreading in our society. He is precisely bewaring us not to equate goodness— and truth, for what matters us here—with what is most widely accepted as good—or true. Furthermore, the tentativeness and suggestiveness of ethics should be understood not in relativistic terms, but rather pointing to the kind of activity it conveys, one more allied with literature and social treatises than tables of duties or sociological laws, in which what we are called for is self-examination and inventive experimentation. 40 William James, Pragmatism (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1975), 42. 41 I have tackled these themes at more length in my ‚William James on Truth and Invention in Morality,‛ European Journal of Pragmatism and American Philosophy, vol. 2, no. 2, (2010), 126-159. 42 William James, ‚The Moral Philosopher and the Moral Life,‛ in The Will to Believe, 158-9.Foucault Studies, No. 11, pp. 126-155. 144 Interestingly enough, Franzese embrace this more radical reading of James when in the last part of the first chapter he brilliantly examines some details of this conception of ethics as experimentation, discussing in particular a central element of it: namely, the role of the innovator or genius, whose Emersonian ‘normative autonomy’ 43 deploys that strenuous mood that is so important for morality in its making us responsive to the ethical character of a certain situation, despite the resistances of the community to recognize it as such. Here we found the first occurrence of the theme of ‘the organization of energy,’ which the author will characterize at more depth in the last chapter of the book. I think is important to notice that this characterization of ethics is utterly silent about the peculiar contents of moral evaluation, and concentrate itself only on its form. James is interested in showing how an account of morality should reveal the sources and constraints of our moral life, resisting the temptation to specify those aspects of our moral life that are relevant for moral evaluation. This feature, implicitly laying in the background of Franzese’s reading of James, is a major theme that in my opinion connects the American philosopher with Nietzsche and Foucault. In MPML James makes implicit references to the practical nature of human beings: his philosophy of mind and his conception of the self as a practical being constitute the theoretical background against which such an understanding of ethics makes sense. James depicts this entanglement between ethics and psychology as the requirement for the legitimacy of any discourse about morality, to be grounded in how human beings, qua agents, engage in the relevant experiences which they recognize as making normative demands on them from their engaged point of view. From this wider perspective, ethics appears as an exercise of questioning the principles and assumptions on which we evaluate a certain situations as morally meaningful. This exercise aims at the appreciation of the formative character of moral experiences, whose endorsement requires us to experiment with alternative conducts stemming from them. What is important to notice is that this characterization of ethics is utterly silent about the particular contents of moral evaluation, and concentrates on its form. James is interested in showing how an account of morality should reveal the sources and constraints of our moral life, resisting the temptation to specify which aspects of moral life are relevant for moral evaluation. Following Franzese, let us now make a brief survey into James’ pragmatic anthropology, in order to see which are the elements and devices of our psychological constitution that are relevant for ethics, conceived in this peculiar way. Such a survey into the human mind will tell us which are the aspects of our cognitive and affective life that we must take care of, and right exercise of which represents the goal of one’s work on oneself. 3. Ethics, anthropology and pragmatism Once discarded the possibility to ground ethics on purely metaphysical grounds, Franzese claims that the theoretical frame preferred for the articulation of James’ moral philosophy, is that of philosophical anthropology. In the second and third chapter of the book the author explores James’ philosophy of psychology in order to show how the elementary constituents that structure our moral sensibility have to be traced back in the pragmatic picture of human 43 Franzese, 45.Marchetti: review essay of The Ethics of Energy 145 beings, elaborated by James in his masterpiece The Principles of Psychology. As Franzese argues, James’ treatment of the mind is relevant since it shows the impediments to be overcome in order to become moral. It also highlights the aspects of our cognitive as well as of our affective life to be improved in attaining full awareness of the reality, which makes ethical demands on us. James claims that we must train ourselves to have a moral experience, and that this requires acknowledging the development of habit and purposive thought as the most important marks of our practical nature. 44 In the long discussion of James’ conception of habit, Franzese underlines the importance for ethics of this aspect of his philosophy of mind. He writes that, according to this picture, ‘ethics is the main and ultimate chapter of a philosophical anthropology.’ 45 The author suggests tackling the anthropological question by investigating the relationship between culture and nature, which James developed in critical comparison with Darwin and Lotze. 46 He writes [t]he moral question requires a major preliminary work since it is not clear at all how a moral life is possible in the deterministic landscape drawn by the empirical sciences of nature< *T+he moral question can be posited only after the relationship between human being and nature has been clarified. 47 James grew up in a time when it was impossible to avoid the debate on evolution, 48 and yet his attitude toward Darwin’s theory can hardly be squared with both its defenders and its debunkers. James’ relationship with Darwin and Darwinism is complicated, and Franzese spends a long section analyzing it. James praised Darwin’s principle of chance variation, which was congenial to his ideas of indetermination and spontaneity as our peculiar conditions in the world as practical beings, but suspected the pretence of the principle of natural selection to describe all behaviors, since it seemed to take away responsibility from the hands of human beings, by depriving them of the burden of being makers of their own destiny. James’ reservetions about the evolutionary picture of human beings dealt with its capability to address those aspects of our moral life that he thought non-negotiable: the grounding of values in our sensibility and capacity to respond in the relevant ways to the world, the 44 The connection between habit and ethics has been further explored by the author in his Abitudine ed Etica. Coercizione e Autonomia nella Formazione del Sé, in Darwinismo e Pragmatismo, e altri Studi su William James, (Milano: Mimesis Edizioni, 2009). 45 Franzese, 51. 46 James’ internal critique of Darwinism is seen by Franzese as a leading thread into James’ early and late philosophy. For a longer treatment of this connection, see his Darwinismo e Pragmatismo in Darwinismo e Pragmatismo, e altri Studi su William James. For a discussion of Lotze’s influence on classical pragmatism, see Christopher Hookway, ‚Lotze and the Classical Pragmatists,‛ European Journal of Pragmatism and American Philosophy, vol.1, no. 1, (2009). 47 Franzese, 50. 48 The most fascinating intellectual history of the cultural and social background to this period of scientific and philosophical turmoil in America can be found in Louis Menand, The Metaphysical Club. A Story of Ideas in America (New York: Farrar, Straus and Giroux, 2001); and Bruce Kuklick, The Rise of American Philosophy: Cambridge, Massachusetts, 1860-1930 (New Heaven: Yale University Press, 1977).Foucault Studies, No. 11, pp. 126-155. 146 experimental character of moral choices and the tentative nature of moral ideas. James challenges the way the Darwinian theory accounts for these aspects. What James finds disappointing in Darwin is precisely his reduction of moral life to a struggle for survival. He contends that moral ideas are not those which are most useful for our survival in the world, but rather those which express our interests and concerns for the world. The problem is not one of usefulness, a notion of which James made a great use, but rather with the passivity such a picture conveys. James felt that little space is left for activity and decision, which are the fundamental mark of our practical nature. As the author notes, a criticism advanced by James was that this picture downsizes the activity of the mind to that of mere cognitive judgment by overlooking its emotional and axiological aspects, which are instead central features of our mindedness. 49 While I agree with Franzese’s emphasis of this aspect, I suspect he endorses a dualism James that would have refuted when, by way of sketching James’ criticism of the correspondence conception of the mind, he contrasts cognitive with emotional (or practical) judgments. The problem James is anxious to address is not that by ignoring the practical character of our engagement with the world we miss some non-cognitive access to it that is important for our moral life, but rather that by ignoring it we fail to have a full cognitive access to the aspects of the world in which values are nestled. Our moral ideas are not the projection of our emotions and sentiments on a morally neutral reality, but rather they represent the very (cognitive) grasp we have on those aspects of the world, which through this peculiar gaze are re-enchanted with the values and meaning that are accessible only from within a sensibility fully equipped with the relevant emotional and sentimental apparatus. By leaving out emotions and sentiments we not only elide our preferences and responses from our encounter with the world, we also misrepresent how things are. Franzese comes close to this reading while discussing James’ refutation of hedonism at page 113-119, but still his discussion is held captive by a dualistic language. The criticism James advanced against Darwinism, a friendly fire after all, can be understood in part as motivated by his tormented relationship with Kant’s philosophy. James was a severe critic of both Kant’s rationalism and intellectualism, as they are articulated in his epistemology, metaphysics and moral philosophy. However, James was also an attentive reader of the Anthropology, in which Kant sketched a very interesting analysis of human beings (actually, of their faculties) from a pragmatic point of view. 50 Franzese engages in a very interesting—although brief—sketch of Kant’s pragmatic anthropology, which was moved by the concern for the possibility of reconciling the natural with the moral image of subjects. According to the Kant of the Anthropology, the culture-nature dichotomy is resolved through a redescription of human beings, not as metaphysical subjects, but rather as practical beings, who are capable of shaping their conducts in ways that are not reducible to natural behavior. The capacity to set aims for one’s conduct that are expressive of one’s own character—a capacity 49 See, William James, ‚Some Remarks on Spencer’s Definition of Mind as Correspondence,‛ in Essays in Philosophy, (Cambridge: Harvard University Press, 1978). 50 There is a very interesting question about the connection between the ‘two’ Kant, an issue of big interests also for James’ scholarship that could partially explain his tension with Kant’s writings. This question is addressed in the articles by Werner Starks, Allen B. Wood and Robert B. Louden published in Essays on Kant’s Anthropology, edited by Brian Jacobs (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2003). Marchetti: review essay of The Ethics of Energy 147 that is not prior to such an endorsement—is what characterizes human nature. This is therefore not something we merely find, but that we must create through such an exercise of spontaneity. This Kantian picture is presented in the Anthropology not as a transcendental deduction from a certain conception of normative reason, but rather as the outcome of a work on ourselves (what Kant calls the discipline of reason), a possibility of human nature we fail to meet if we do not cultivate those very faculties (read: aspects of the human mind, broadly conceived) whose proper exercise would bring us into fruitful relations with the world. 51 James was captivated by Kant’s text when he read it back in his thirties, 52 and its influence on his thought goes far beyond the adoption of the name pragmatism to characterize his own philosophical approach. What caught his imagination was precisely Kant’s characterization of the various aspects of the human mind from the part of their use, and the claim that this pragmatic description conveys the emergence of the moral subject from its own activities of self-care. Franzese writes [i]n stressing, consistently with his Kantian (and Emersonian) references, the creative and active autonomy of Man, James more or less assumes the account of human nature as culture, and accepts the view that the human form of life exists in a state of insuperable tension between culture and nature. Man is the being which has ‚culture‛ as Its own nature. Morality, as the point at which the tension between nature and culture becomes most evident, is the core of this tension, but it is also the highest expression of that autonomous creativity that is at the very heart of the human form of life. 53 All these instructions were reworked by James in his writings on ethics, psychology and pragmatism. He struggled to conceive the connection between ethics and psychology as inspired by both (the sound part of) Darwin and the late Kant. This solution accommodates James’ suspects for both the positivistic and the idealistic solution to the anthropological question, and opens the way for his own pragmatic picture of human beings, as it was developed in the Principles. James’ philosophy of action and activity is the result of his encounter with these thinkers, which brought him to realize that the proper stage for addressing ethical issues is that of our psychological scene. Franzese begins a detailed analysis of James’ debt to Lotze, whose philosophical anthropology could be read as the third way between Kantianism and Darwinism that James 51 Foucault, in his critical introduction to the text, stresses the importance of Kant’s negative characterization of faculties. The Anthropology follows the division of the faculties as portrayed in the Critiques; however, the domain that it privileges is not that of where the faculties positively manifest what they are, but rather it is the domain where they manifest their weakness and danger of perishing. With the words of Foucault ‘Ce qui est indiqué, plus que leur nature ou la forme pleine de leur activité, c’est le mouvement par lequel, s’éloignant de leur centre et de leur justification, ils vont s’aliéner dans l’illégitime’ (Michel Foucault, ‚Introduction à l’Anthropologie, ‚ in Immanuel Kant, Anthropologie d’un point de vue pragmatique (Paris: Vrin, 2008), 43. 52 The influence of this text on James can be compared to the one exerted on Foucault. A serious study of the relation between James and Foucault should thus depart from the examination of their shared deep engagement with Kant’s Anthropology. 53 Franzese, 73.Foucault Studies, No. 11, pp. 126-155. 148 had been struggling to find. James in fact found—in Lotze and his experimental school of psychology—the ideal framework which could square his pragmatic picture of human beings as practical beings, one that was free of the unwanted implications in Darwinism. 54 What James learned from Lotze is precisely the idea that the study of psychological phenomena must be sensitive to moral phenomenology, and it cannot pretend to explain away morality by reference to mere facts as a view from nowhere. According to Lotze, our nature is culture, and our access to the world does not result in correspondence, but rather shapes it to welcome our moral and spiritual cravings. This picture integrates morality into our most basic engagements with the world, and makes action the paradigmatic aspect of our subjectivity in such an encounter. Nothing happens, even in the factual world, without some interest from our part, at least in noticing it, and according to Franzese James drew on this picture for characterizing experience. He writes [e]xperience, thus, is not a passive recording of stimuli, but the product of the intentional interaction between original and preexistent mental structures and the overabundant stimuli from the external environment: humans experience what they are interested in experiencing. 55 According to such an insight, which appeared to James as the baldest evidence our ordinary worldliness can possibly provides us, all our mental life must be rethought in accordance with the idea that our contact with the world is in terms of function and purpose—not representation, but action. Franzese thus sketches James’ pragmatic account of emotions, instinct and action, and their connection with the formation of habit, which he portrays as the aspect of our psychology, which has the greatest ethical importance. Habit is for James the cornerstone of our character, which he describes, quoting Mill, as ‘a completely fashioned will.’ 56 James’ conception of habit is indebted to Bain, who was the only exponent of the empiricist school to stress the connection between habit, will and interest. 57 These notions are not purely subjective, since there is an intrinsic reference to the world in all of them (their exercise entails a cognitive grasp on reality), and yet they are expressive of our own attitude toward it. What they exert is the acknowledgement of the entanglement between though and action whose product, once refined, forms our character. Our character is the upshot of our attention to certain aspects of reality above others, our choices to attend some thoughts above others, and 54 Another source of inspiration discussed by Franzese is the philosophy of Charles Reneuvier, whose direct influence on James’ thought is well documented. 55 Franzese, 87. 56 William James, Talks to Teachers on Psychology and to Students on Some of Life’s Ideals, 50. 57 Hume was a notable precedent, although he portrays interest as a non-cognitive access to the world by means of our sentiments and passions. While James applauses Hume’s emphasis for the sentimental and affective dimension of our engagement with the world, he criticizes the logical role Hume gave to it. According to James the role of sentiments and passions is not that of coloring a brute world in order to make it hospitable for moral relations, but rather is that of selecting those aspect of the world that are value-laden. James’ and Hume’s worlds count the very same elements, although what changes is the moral psychology through which they are arranged. For a powerful defense of Hume’s view, see Eugenio Lecaldano, ‚The Passions, Character and the Self in Hume,‛ Hume Studies, 28, (2002).Marchetti: review essay of The Ethics of Energy 149 our decision to manage ourselves in certain ways above others. This feature of our mindedness remains obscured if the mind is described in purely associationistic terms. If habits were mere projections of past experiences on future states of affairs reinforced by feelings of pleasure and pain (or even more sophisticated ones as guilt, shame or reward), we couldn’t explain in which sense a habit can be wrong. James is claiming that the wrongness of a certain habit does not consists in the connection between certain experiences with the wrong feeling, but rather it consists in the attention to the inappropriate aspect of the world. Franzese argues that for James by selectively attending some ideas over others we outline the horizon of values we endorse and thus conduct ourselves in a certain direction, and this is a matter of decision and not of association. James writes in the Principles [t]he hell to be endured hereafter, of which theology tells, is no worse than the hell we make for ourselves in this world by habitually fashioning our characters in the wrong way. Could the young but realize how soon they will become mere bundles of habits, they would give more heed to their conduct while in the plastic state. We are spinning our own fates, good or evil, and never to be undone. Every smallest stroke of virtue or of vice leaves the never so little scar. 58 What is needed is thus an education and care of our attention, through which we can acquire the right ideas. Paraphrasing James, Franzese writes [t]he action sub specie boni is the action that follows from an adequate conception of the state of affairs< *A+ll that a moral act consists of is nothing but thinking; that is, a moral act is one that follows from the acquisition and possession of adequate ideas< *C]lear understanding, adequate knowledge, sound inference, and holding fast to the idea are the way to the good, and the only possible ethical precepts. 59 The attainment of one’s moral self requires the organization and care of our character for the selection of the right ideas. This activity consists in working on oneself to keep the capacity of attending to those aspects of reality deserving consideration alive. In one of the most important chapters of the Principles, titled The Will, James says that if he is asked ‘In what does a moral act consist when reduced to its simplest and most elementary form?’ the only available reply should be that it consists in the effort of attention, by which we hold on to an idea, which otherwise would be driven out of the mind by other psychological tendencies. By ‘idea’ James means everything that is considered important to keep our mind on, and a major source of importance consists in the relationship between how things are in the world and the practical difference they make in our life. Having an accurate idea about how things are in the world is relevant, because it helps our agency respond successfully to the world; that is, responding in a way that is both expressive of our perspective and attentive to the way the world asks us to respond in its own terms. There is for James a triangulation between agency, psychology and morality, and according to Franzese, the notion of energy is the best device—and metaphor— to understand how they stand together. 58 William James, The Principles of Psychology, vol. 1 (New York: Dover, 1950), 127. 59 Franzese, 137-8.Foucault Studies, No. 11, pp. 126-155. 150 4. James and energy: Nietzschean themes For James, energy—as the author spells at length in the long third section of the fourth chapter – has to be intended not in a metaphysical acceptation, but rather in a pragmatic one. This is as the mental and spiritual activity of human beings. Leaving aside James’ characterization of spirituality, which Franzese addresses at pages 161-9, I am interested in showing how the author argues for the importance of of energy in the moral experience of the world. There is a robust entanglement between a conception of human beings as agents, whose purpose is that of organizing their energy, and a conception of experience as the proper stage for the assessment of their moral life. According to a first characterization, Franzese writes that for James [i]n such a perspective, ethics appears as the problem of consistency in the organization of the self, that is, of one’s own power and action, and in the deployment of the experiential field< *t+he ethics of energy turns out to be a philosophy of action, which has moral meaning exactly because the human being is the animal that acts and human moral life is not exhausted just in thinking or contemplating the ideals but requires their enactment. 60 James’ conception of energy is portrayed by Franzese in dynamic terms and accordingly with his pragmatic notion of will. He writes that ‚*e+nergy‛ is not a principle, let alone a metaphysical principle on which a an aesthetics or an ideology of power can be built up; it is rather an expedient way to unify and account for different phenomena, ranging from psychological to nervous, from physiological to spiritual which constitute the emotional and active matter of moral life. 61 The author goes on exploring James’ characterization of energy by showing its entanglement with the notion of effort, which has a strong ethical connotation as the heroic stance taken towards experience, as opposed to an unengaged one. Effort, as the Romantic’s Streben, in fact denotes the practical striving toward the realization of one’s self by shaping one’s character accordingly to some moral ideals. James’ considerations about the significance of human energy are thus congenial for his rejection of morality conceived as the respect of principles and rules, in pain of withdrawing from one’s moral community. The relationship between the subject and its community must be one of exemplarity, 62 and by portraying the self as a center that 60 Ibid., 7-8. 61 Ibid., 47. 62 Akeel Bilgrami, in his illuminating reading of Gandhi’s ethical and political philosophy, portrays a notion of exemplarity as informing the relationship between the self and its community on similar lines. The contrast he draws is one between an ethical stance characterized as the observance of principles or the obedience to imperatives and one conceived as the ‘living one’s life by setting an example to everyone.’ The author inscribes the moral psychology underlying such a stance in the Romantic tradition, and he contrasts it with the understanding of the place of truth and values in morality and politics as proposed by the Liberal tradition. See, Akeel Bilgrami, ‚Gandhi’s Integrity: the Philosophy Behind the Politics,‛ Postcolonial Studies, vol. 5, No. 1, 2002. I owe very much to the reading of this and related papers by Bilgrami, and to him for many enriching conversations on these themes.Marchetti: review essay of The Ethics of Energy 151 generates and organizes energy, morality will thus take ascetic and heroic connotations, 63 since it primarily requires working with vigilant criticism about one’s own character and ideals on the background of those accepted by one’s community. Franzese writes that, according to James *t+here is something heroic in the process of changing one’s own character, as well as in the affirmation of new ideals, which entails a strenuous resistance to the inertial force of old habits or of more genial attitudes. The heroism of individual volition is, for James, something that needs to be prepared and cultivated through a sort of ascetic exercise. Like muscular strength, the disposition to heroic effort needs to be kept alive by daily practice: the energy required in the moral emergency is not a gift of nature but the product of a wise accumulation and management of one’s own energies. 64 James, like Nietzsche, was interested in showing how the shallowness of our moral philosophy is fallout from the shallowness of the human beings inhabiting the world, and that a change in the former should be instigated by a reshaping of the latter. Franzese brings as evidences of this entanglement James’ portrayal of the life in mid-nineteen century rural cities of America, where the tranquil and monotone flowing of everyday activities has weakened the very moral Streben of their inhabitants—or what following Emerson James calls ‘one’s mood’, and thus also their very capacity for engaging in significant moral conducts. Here the idea expressed in the Principles according to which the formation of the wrong habits has the utmost ethical significance finds its proper stage, since what James is claiming is precisely that by loosing the capacity of attention toward one’s own self, we loose consequently the very grounds for ethical assessment. Nietzsche’s critique of Christian morality—the morality of the herd—was moves by similar concerns, and the author engages in a comparison between the two authors to show both their differences and shared concerns. Both James—especially in Varieties of Religious Experience—and Nietzsche discuss the exemplar, the hero and the saint as models from which to get inspiration in our personal moral investigation due to their radical attitude toward their own interiority: such figures organize their life around the ideals of care and enchantment of their own vital force, which represent together the conditions and the goal of moral conduct. According to both authors, claiming that the aim of morality is this empowerment of the self does not amounts to say that its point is that of setting moral standard of good action or good life, but means rather to stress the attention for the importance, in our moral life, of a conduct inspired by ideals that are together inventive and expressive of one’s own attitude toward the world. As Franzese writes, according to these authors [n]o real moral achievement is possible unless individuals and society learn how to organize and manage their own energy, that is, unless they learn how to give form to their life and how to preserve their action from decay and passivity. Thus, even though the ethics of ener- 63 James addresses these aspects of the self’s relationship with itself in reference to religious experience in the chapters on ‚Conversion‛ and ‚Saintliness‛ of The Varieties of Religious Experience. He discusses the differences between ethical and religious experience in the early chapter on ‚Circumscription of the Topic‛ of the same book. 64 Franzese, 142.Foucault Studies, No. 11, pp. 126-155. 152 gy does not set moral aims and values, it is, however, the way in which one becomes the master and author of one’s own energy< *I+n the final instance, the two thinkers meet in the recognition of the instrumental value of asceticism as a source of spiritual energy and as an instrument of self-formation. Thus, asceticism gives us a set of practices useful to face the hardest of battles in conquering oneself, that is, in exercising that control of one’s own indeterminate and manifold nature, which is the very meaning of spirituality. The individual energizes him or herself optimally, arriving at the stage of becoming one’s own master. Such an ascetic activity is the fundamental condition of creative power in arts as well as in all other human deeds. 65 This characterization of ethics as self-formation represents a most interesting achievement in James’ scholarship, both for its novelty and for its capacity of accounting those texts like The Gospel of Relaxation and The Moral Equivalent of War that hardly found any place in the standard reading of James’ moral philosophy. That of energy is for the author the key notion for the understanding those queer writings by James standing at the crossroad between physiology, psychology and philosophy, which but testify James’ conviction that when doing moral philosophy some broader considerations about the very nature of selfhood must be taken in consideration. According to this reading, as Franzese spells out at pages 207-223, even religion ‘becomes ethical,’ in the measure in which it prompts us to confront with aspects of ourselves and our capacity to give sense to the varieties of ways in which we come to experience the world. 5. Ethics as a work on oneself: James and Foucault on ethics In this last section I will collect what has been said so far by addressing the issue of affinity between James and Foucault for what regards their conception of ethics as a work on oneself. There are a number of passages by Foucault that are extremely close to some of James’ ideas. They span from the role of subjectivity in the formation of knowledge (savoir), to reflection on the importance of experimentations for the development of our moral life. There are also passages by James whose striking similarity with Foucault’s conception of ethics make hard to believe Foucault’s rather scattered disinterest for American pragmatism, even more given his increasing interest for American culture and his frequent visits to the United States during the final years of his life. In fact, if Foucault’s relationship with analytic philosophy is idiosyncratic—as he once remarked at a conference in New York, ‘I’m not an analytic philosopher. Nobody is perfect’ 66—it seems fair to say that his relationship with pragmatism is one of consensual disregard. The reasons for this reciprocal suspect are manifold and go back to pragmatism’s own travailed affair with analytic philosophy. However, in later years a fistful of authors—most notably Ian Hacking, Richard Rorty and those who likewise escape any easily 65 Ibid., 199-200. 66 Michel Foucault, ‚Sexuality and Solitude,‛ in Foucault, Essential Works of Foucault 1954-1984, vol. 1: Ethics, Subjectivity and Truth, 176. Foucault makes direct reference to analytic philosophy, and in particular to ordinary language philosophy, in his ‚La philosophie analiytique de la politique,‛ in Foucault, Dits et Écrits 1954-1988 vol. 4 (Paris: Gallimard, 1994). For an analysis of Foucault’s relationship with analytic philosophy, see Arnold I. Davidson, ‚Foucault and the Analysis of Concepts,‛ in The Emergence of Sexuality: Historical Epistemology and the Formation of Concepts (Cambridge: Harvard University Press, 2001).Marchetti: review essay of The Ethics of Energy 153 recognizable philosophical affiliation—have showed how instructive the dialogue between these authors can be. It is not a surprise that the connections between Foucault and pragmatism have been investigated by those authors—philosophers, literary critics and historians— who were irritated by the nagging rhetoric about the analytic-continental dichotomy, in which pragmatism stands very often at the crossroad somewhere between the two. However, as this volume of Foucault Studies testifies, a wind of change, often invoked by both the healthiest parts of the barricades, has come to discard the parochial vulgate about the incommensurability of these different languages. A new season of studies is now blooming, and its seeds are steeping deep down the traditional divides which but for their seeming appeal could not even remember their deeper roots. If thus there is no direct connection between James and Foucault, still a theoretical one can be drawn. I think it is important not to overlook their very radical differences of style, method, interest and even outcomes, and thus what must be acknowledged is a family resemblance between their respective agendas. I think that Franzese’ book, even in its deliberate silence about Foucault, made a major service in this direction by showing some aspects of James’s thought that share a number of themes with him. I would like to motivate my claim that, in his very imaginative reading, the author should have brought in Foucault as James’ and Nietzsche’s major ally. Given Foucault well-documented nietzschean inspiration, here I will concentrate on the James-Foucault relationship. James and Foucault describe the engagement with oneself as the proper object of ethical concern and elaborate this picture in opposition to a conception of moral thought as the specification of the principles and duties prescribed to human beings, given their alleged metaphysical makeup. The negation is threefold: it is a negation of a certain conception of human beings, a negation of a certain understanding of moral thought and a negation of the connection between the two. James and Foucault are suspicious of the characterization of human beings as entities transcending their practices and activities. The only description of human beings worth having is the one portraying their thoughts and conducts as they are practically endorsed and undertaken. There is nothing beyond what human beings create and appreciate that confer them any substantial identity. Thus the understanding of ethics as a set of prescriptions drawn on one’s metaphysical constitution looses its main referent. Both James and Foucault claim that the self is not a given but is rather an achievement, and ethics deals with the forms this achievement. The connection between this picture of human beings and this picture of ethics—what, by following the nomenclature of MPML, we could call the connection between the moral life and moral reflection—results in those practices and exercises that the self applies on itself in order to form itself. The leading idea behind this threefold characterization is that ethics and psychology are formal inquiries into the form of our conducts and ideas, and as such they must be silent about their respective contents. By way of conclusion, I would like to give an example of James’ closeness with Foucault by quoting a passage by James. When I first read it, I was struck—and still am—Foucault Studies, No. 11, pp. 126-155. 154 about the foucauldian character of this passage, which is taken from the Principles. 67 While discussing habit and its importance in the development of our cognitive as well as of our affective faculties, James writes [A]s a final practical maxim, relative to these habits of the will, we may, then, offer something like this: Keep the faculty of effort alive in you by a little gratuitous exercise every day. That is, be systematically ascetic or heroic in little unnecessary points, do every day or two something for no other reason than that you would rather not do it, so that when the hour of dire need draws night, it may find you not unnerved and untrained to stand the test. 68 What James is depicting is precisely a conception of human beings (as practical beings whose gist is represented by the will and whose effort shapes its contours), of ethics (the formation of one’s self as instigated by the contingencies of life it feels worth pursuing) and of the connection between the two (a set of exercises the self must undergone in order to achieve the condition to meet its own ideals). The object of ethics is the formation of the self and its means are the practices by which it constitutes and retains its shape. This feature about the nature and sources of moral thought is presented by Foucault in his analysis of ancient forms of asceticism and control of one’s conduct, understood as a form of training one’s self to the contingencies of life. 69 According to both James and Foucault, what one gains by forming oneself is the very capacity to have experiences, which they describe as the most important feature for the development of our moral life. Having an experience, for both James and Foucault, 70 requires training our sensibility, the recognition of its tentative character, and the acknowledgment of its unavoidable human dimension. Experiences require both experimentation and care for those aspects of our interiority that are at the same time the conditions for experiencing and the outcome of it. The attainment of one’s self is obtained through one’s experiencing and experimentation, and no assessment of its success can be told from the outside of such practices by the subjects involved. As Franzese has shown us, James’ treatment of these aspects must be traced in his philosophy of mind and his writings on pragmatism, while Foucault accounts for them in his resourceful reading of the history of the practices of the self’s care for itself. Both accounts, 67 I would like to thank Piergiorgio Donatelli for his insightful comments raised in a lecture where I first presented my reading of James which set my tentative thoughts into a more solid form, and for his seminars on Foucault and moral philosophy that instigated my very thinking about these issues. 68 William James, The Principles of Psychology, vol. 1, 126. 69 For a compelling reading of this aspect, see Arnold I. Davidson, ‚Ethics as Ascetics: Foucault, the History of Ethics,‛ and ‚Ancient Thought,‛ in The Cambridge Companion to Foucault; and Paul Veyne, ‚The Final Foucault and Ethics,‛ in Foucault and His Interlocutors, edited by Arnold I. Davidson (Chicago & London: The University of Chicago Press, 1997). For a perceptive comparison of Foucault with Nietzsche on ethics and its connection with ascetics, see Alan Milchman and Alan Rosenberg, The Aesthetic and Ascetic Dimension of an Ethics of Self-Fashioning: Nietzsche and Foucault. For a comprehensive assessment of ancient philosophy as an exercise of self-care, see Pierre Hadot, Philosophy as a Way of Life, edited by Arnold I. Davidson, (Oxford: Wiley-Blackwell, 1995). 70 For further investigations into this aspect of Foucault’s work, see Gary Gutting, ‚Foucault’s Philosophy of Experience,‛ Boundary, 29 (2), (2002); Timothy O’Leary, ‚Rethinking Experience with Foucault,‛ in Foucault and Philosophy; and id., Foucault and the Art of Ethics (London-New York: Continuum, 2002).Marchetti: review essay of The Ethics of Energy 155 driven by different concerns and achieved through different strategies, share the common goal of bringing back the ethical discourse to the contingencies of the practices and forms of moral conduct that human beings invent, attend and challenge in an ongoing exercise of self- (trans)formation. Sarin Marchetti Department of Philosophy Sapienza Università di Roma Via Carlo Fea 2 00161 Rome Italy

The FoFblog May 11, 2011

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I was looking at the fofblog today and read that John Graham and John West have died. I “knew” these people, “lived” with them… nothing. But they matter. Rest in Peace.

Your post was very touching Arthur, I am sorry you find yourself in so much suffering but thank you for sharing it without shame. Few people can do that. The likes of you are such a great pleasure to meet. You give the rest of us the strength to continue.

79. arthur – May 11, 2011

Hyper-vigilance almost all the time. Some say you’re weird and paranoid.

On a ventlator and unconscious know about that to for five days.

Recently asked a nurse for a “spiritual councilor” as if I believe and they sent a presbytarian clergy.

I’m tired of suffering I say, so pray to God that it ends. He backed out wouldnt do.

Next a Catholic Priest came in same results.

That evening they sent over two psycho-specialists to do what they do, same results.

A blood infection, failing kidneys and pneumonia makes a person wish for an out.

If you know I mean.

On the 44th anniversary of your death April 7, 2011

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You have been resting for so long

Oh mother

that I would like to come and wake you up

like we use to when we were kids and you stayed in bed ’till late


I remember when you died forty four years ago

I thought that you’d be dead for the whole of eternity

and I could hardly bare that length of time with my bare nine

But you’re as alive as I am in that dimension

you’ve paid your dues.


When we met not so long ago

you told me without words that

We were One in that dimension

but I already knew it before that


It takes a long time to live up to one’s knowledge

and I am still far from accomplishing it as it deserves

but every day there’s a little more light

not only in the Sun

but Us


I’ve never worked as hard as recently

or enjoyed my self as much

I think you are proud somewhere

which means you’ll get strength from the strength



Pride, I know

is not like pride in that dimension

or gratitude

but grace could almost make it

if it were not a word but the state of being

To be…

Words too

but still


How would you like me to honor you on this day?

My brother is not home

I could try my sister

Your sister?

I could try her too

My father?

Your husband?


There’s a magic triangle in two forces that give life to one being

but we hardly ever think about that

as if there were too many people to realize how sacred life is

but it is

for each one of us


We live life as if it repeated itself but it is as new for each generation as for each individual

It is difficult not to look at the suffering and the absurdity that feed that suffering but

it is much more difficult to not see the strength and the beauty with which life keeps flowering


The triangle is pointing upwards and each one of us are at the tip

Our parents sit like roots

at the base of our being

and enact the forces of life

in each and every dimension


Our ignorance lies in the fact that we live in the consciousness of the most superficial dimension but our being stretches out into multiple dimensions both within each and every individual and without each and every individual. We can actualize our Selves in all dimensions by acting from the dimensions within in the dimensions without, from our most inner self, to our most outer self: the life we share in this extremely beautiful and rich natural dimension, in this great and complex social world that holds the fabric of our destinies.


They are no less sacred than any other dimension.


In how we connect to each other we manifest the consciousness or unconsciousness of our Oneness. How we allow our world to be organized, ‘hierarchisized’ instinctively for the benefit of a few is a problem of the overall consciousness of our selves put together. It is no one’s fault but everyone’s responsibility. To not be more conscious is no one’s fault but to become more conscious is everyone’s responsibility. To understand our Oneness and live it out in our social world protecting life with love is consciousness. What are you doing to protect life?


If we look at how we are hurting it today, it is easy to realize how criminal we are. We are all responsible for the crime that is abundant in our world. It is the reflection of our poor consciousness. No one can separate from responsibility, from suffering or from grace.


We are laws within laws

and should know our selves

as much as our lives



Touch life with the life within

and give birth

in each act


On your day

I wish to sit with you for awhile

and in that act

actualize our Oneness























Civil Rights March 31, 2011

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I would like to explore Civil Rights here eventually equating those rights of each and every individual to the same rights Monarchs have had. There is nothing a Monarch has had as a right that every human being should not have. The legitimate characteristics of a Monarch are those of a conscious, dignified being able to DECIDE on what is good for the people. It is my claim that every human being, conscious of his and her integrity with the whole of humanity, has the capacity to decide what is good and not good for the people. The capacity to discriminate is in every mature person with consciousness and many a child. Every single human being can in his and her own capacity state and protest what is harming them and what is good to them. Consciousness is consciousness of the whole or it is not consciousness. The whole of the human being including the multiple nations and the Earth we inhabit. Every human being is capable of discriminating, expressing and stating what needs to be stopped and what needs to be strengthened.

It is my claim that every human being has the right to participate in socio-political life with full capacity, as a Monarch would do, and that that is the essence of true democracy: that every individual is conscious enough to respond for the whole, like legitimate Kings and Queens have done.

It is the hierarchic status quo of our times what keeps people in positions of power or powerlessness. There is no consciousness in the ilegitimate power in which only a few are privileged not only economically but politically or legitimacy in a government by the few for the few.

The right to own cannot be the right to disown

The right to speak cannot be the right to silence

The right to associate cannot be the right to impede association

The right to self-determination cannot be the right to impede the self determination of others

The right to physical integrity cannot be the right to kill

The Politics of Our Selves March 30, 2011

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Foucualt on Discourse Dr. Clayton Whisnant March 30, 2011

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Study of Emotional Intelligence- Elena Through language we rub on each other’s being! March 23, 2011

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For a nicer read please go to:



Culture of Narcissism March 21, 2011

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L’Abri Papers #AF03

L’Abri Papers © 1990-2008 Copyright L’Abri Fellowship, Greatham UK. all rights reserved

material may be downloaded and copied for private use only



Culture of Narcissism


Andrew Fellows





This paper is an attempt to show that the modern person is in the grip of a new

psychological consciousness – one that is extremely pre-occupied with the self.  We have

become a culture of Narcissism. I have given a perspective as I see it from a European point

of view.

An ancient story from Greek mythology provides a door into the world of the narcissist.   It

centres on a very handsome young man called Narcissus.  So attractive was this man that all

the girls fell in love with him.  He was aware of his charms and this made him arrogant and

proud.  Despite the efforts of the ladies to win his affections he ignored their overtures.

One was especially attracted to him and did everything she could to win his attention.  She

too failed in her attempts.  So desperate was she to win him that she prayed to a goddess

that Narcissus would respond favourably.  There was no answer.  Finally with a broken

heart she prayed that he would learn as she had what it was like to experience unrequited

love.  To this prayer there was an answer.  One day as Narcissus was walking through the

forest he stumbled upon a clear pool of water.  As he knelt to drink – for he was very thirsty

– the loveliest sight that had ever appeared captivated his attention.  He immediately fell in

love.  So great was his attraction that he could not leave the pool and his appetite vanished.

Before long his health deteriorated and he began to fade.  In the end he died staring at this

image in the pool – striving the embrace the one object of his desire – himself.

This ancient myth is an apt illustration of the modern narcissistic consciousness.  Today the

term belongs to the world of psychology.  Sigmund Freud first introduced it.  He used it to

describe the earliest stage of childhood where the infant has no sense of a reality beyond

his/her existence.  It lacks the consciousness that uses the subject/object distinction.  So,

when the baby looks at the mother it says I AM YOU (you are an extension of me) – rather

than I/YOU (which acknowledges real distinction between subject and object).

Freud recognized a similar trait in some of his adult patients.  There was an extreme

preoccupation with the self that distorted ones relationship to reality.  This resulted in an

inability to make a clear distinction between themselves as the subject and that which

existed outside them (the other).   They were so focused on themselves that they lost

awareness of the real beyond them.



Narcissism  2

Because the narcissist does not recognize the separate existence of ‘the other’ they tend to

use reality as a mirror to reflect messages back to the self.  The other is there to impress, to

be admired by, and to get pity from.  The Narcissist is so identified with his/her needs that

the other person is simply there to be available for them.

In his book ‘Culture of Narcissism’ Christopher Larsch describes the Narcissistic

personality like this; ‘ the Narcissist can function in the everyday world – and is often very

charming.  However, his devaluation of others, together with a lack of curiosity about them

impoverishes personal life.  With little capacity for detachment the Narcissist must depend

on others for constant infusions of approval and admiration.  At the same time his fear of

emotional dependence, together with manipulative, exploitive approaches to personal

relations makes these relations bland, superficial and deeply unsatisfying….  The Narcissist

tends to be bored, restlessly in search of instantaneous intimacy, looking for emotional

titillation without involvement.’

It is important to see the Narcissistic condition as a response to pain and loss in relationship

to the objective world.  Everyone needs others in order to gain healthy representations of

the self.  Self-knowledge only comes in relationship.  We cannot know ourselves outside of

the context of community.  If we are immersed in an environment in early childhood where

we are valued we develop a healthy self-image.  When this happens we are able to treat ‘the

other’ – not as a mirror reflecting back messages to the self – but as real and separate.  We

can do this because we have a solid sense of self gained in the early period of childhood


However, if we receive constant messages about the self that are negative, our images of

who we are (self-representation systems) are bad. This is experienced as a deficit – or

emptiness.  The way we deal with this deficit is by means of compensation.  This is done by

the ‘inward turn’ where we construct our own self-representation systems. This is why the

Narcissist is extremely self- conscious.  Every interaction with the objective world is an

attempt to create (and recreate) the self.  This however is done at the expense of the other,

which is not treated as real and distinct from the self but merely as a mirror.

As a psychological personality disorder the diagnosis of ‘Narcissist’ is extremely rare.

However, the condition provides a model for understanding our own culture.  There are

factors at work that have produced a new character that is narcissistic. This is the age of self

in a unique way.  Where humans have universally been selfish (since the fall) Narcissism is

something unique.  It is not a metaphor of the human condition; rather, it provides a way of

understanding the psychological impact of recent social and ideological changes in our


It is also important to distinguish Narcissism from modern individualism.  Where

individualism is a description of the ‘economic’ self, Narcissism is a description of the

‘psychological self’.  Individualism describes the pursuit of wealth and material comfort.

Narcissism describes the pursuit of identity and personal well being.  This is why I believe

that the Narcissistic model describes a new state of human consciousness – one that

redefines the nature of the real.  It may literally be the fulfilment of the apostle Paul’s

description of the human in its last phase.  2 Tim 3:1-2 – “in the last days men will be lovers

of self – literally they will fall in love with themselves”.

In order for the church to understand its mission in the world in the 21st century it is

important that we grapple with the challenges of this new consciousness.




Narcissism  3

Here in this paper I want to provide a broad overview of the culture of Narcissism.  We will

look at this under three main headings;

1. The CAUSES of Narcissism

Narcissism did not arise in a vacuum.  It is the direct consequence of ideas.  In the modern

period (from the 16th century onward) Western culture has moved through four phases in

terms of its ‘idea of the universe’.  To understand the culture of Narcissism we need to see

the flow of these ideas.

Phase ONE – The Judeo-Christian Idea of the Universe

This is rooted in the reality of a personal Trinitarian God who is the cause of creation.

Everything that is, finds its source in Him.  This makes for a God-centered universe.  We

exist for Him and are called to live life as a response to His presence, which fills heaven

and earth.

It is because He is at the centre that we stand under His revelation as the basis for truth.

The Bible is the sufficient epistemological basis for understanding the world we live in.

Phase TWO – The Humanist Idea of the Universe

In the 18th Century the ‘Enlightenment’ gave the human self confidence to put himself at

the centre of reality.  This was a radical turn and provided a foundation for civilization

never experimented with before.  ‘Man is the measure of all things’ was the new centre.

This meant that now the human self was self-sufficient. In terms of knowledge claims

human reason alone was the basis of all truth.

This humanist idea of the universe provided huge dividends in terms of science and

technology.  The level of development and progress seemed to justify a self-centered


The point to be noted in the interests of our subject is that humanism is in its essence a self-

centred idea of the universe.  Narcissism is present in the very foundations of humanism.

Phase THREE – the Skeptical idea of the universe

Within philosophy it was not long before the autonomous mind was seen as an insufficient

basis of knowledge.  This gave rise to a scepticism from which philosophy has never

recovered. The self at the centre of reality now began to feel a certain insecurity with

respect to truth.

As this insecurity grew so did our sense that the universe was larger than we ever imagined.

For the modern self this created a sense of insignificance.  We existed as tiny specks in a

vast cosmos.  This produced an inward retreat alongside a growing self-consciousness. The

expanding universe shrunk the modern self giving us a deficit in terms of self-

understanding.  Now we needed to go inwards and build up our own.  This was the retreat

from the real into the self.

Phase FOUR – The Narcissist idea of the Universe

Up until the Enlightenment religion had been the integration point for the self’s sense of

identity.  When this was displaced it fell to Philosophy and Science to provide it.  When

these could not give a positive sense of worth there was nowhere else to turn but to a retreat

into the self.  Now the self had to service the self.  This was the withdrawal from the

objective world into the Narcissistic state.  When that which was outside could not provide

a healthy self-understanding we had to retreat inwards and try to build up our own.



Narcissism  4


Having given the broad overview I now want to analyze the causes in a little more detail.

A. Modern philosophical trends

Rene Descartes is known as the father of modern philosophy. Back in the 16th century he

wanted to defeat scepticism by finding an indubitable starting point for knowledge.  This

starting point is reflected in his famous statement ‘I think, therefore I am’.  What is most

notable about this statement is that the self is the starting point for truth.   We see that

Descartes draws a line between the self as subject and the objective world outside.

This functions as a paradigm shift towards the self and growing subjectivity. The seeds of

Narcissism are right there with Descartes. It all begins with the self.  This is very different

from the old ways of ‘knowing’.  In this sense Descartes is the founder of the modern

philosophical obsession with the self.

Now, although the Cartesian project gave great confidence in the ability of self to discover

the truth with indubitable certainty we can see that the seeds of scepticism were always

there.  This is because he began from the place of doubt.  Descartes said, ‘let us doubt that

anything exists’.  He then went on to conclude that this act of doubt was a thought.  This

thought was then extrapolated as a proof of existence – hence ‘I think therefore I am’.  The

order of Descartes method shows that the foundation of doubt always lurked beneath the

surface of the modern philosophical project.  This is why it surfaced again so quickly. By

the 18th century the philosophical streams within modernism began to succumb to the

pressures of scepticism.  From Hume onwards there were constant challenges to the idea of

self-certainty – the fact that the mind could comprehend truth.

Descartes contemporary, Blaise Pascal, had the foresight to see exactly where it would all

end.  He said that Descartes ‘had done everything, except secure the position of God, and

thereby the meaning of man.  Our knowledge allows us to do so much – and yet it exposes

us as small, accidental and ignorant.  Man alone is but  a feeble foundation for the truth.’

There were different responses to the philosophical scepticism that followed.  One of the

most influential was romanticism (late 18th and 19th century).  Here was a movement that

was very much self-focused – often to the exclusion of the objective world.  Romanticism

provided a way for the self to be set free to interpret reality in its own way.  The new

epistemology centred on intuition, emotion, stream of consciousness and imagination.

Since the Romantic period philosophy has  never escaped from its inward pre-occupation.

This is reflected in an extreme way in post-modern philosophical trends. With no hope of

discovering the truth there is nothing left but the self who constructs reality in order to fulfil

its own agendas and desires.

So, Descartes chickens finally come home to roost in the worldview of self.

B. Trends in Modern science

The success of modern science gave an early sense of confidence.  There was little doubt

that given enough time all the secrets of the universe could be unlocked.  If you asked an

educated person in 19th century Europe, ‘what is truth?’, they would have answered,

‘Science is truth’.  While philosophy may have led to scepticism, science was alive and well.

Everyone believed that we were close to a unified theory of knowledge.

Into the 20th century this confidence was badly dented.  This was due to the ‘new science’

uncovering whole new dimensions of reality.  Relativity and quantum theory revealed parts

of reality that were unpredictable. This highlighted limitations to the old perspectives.



Narcissism  5

Alongside this development was the uncovering of the unconscious in the field of

psychology.  A murky, mysterious side to the subject was brought to light.  This was also

instrumental in the ‘humbling of science’.  For all the progress science had made it could not

explain what was most important to humanity – ourselves.  Although Freud tried hard to

explain the self in a scientific manner psychology had not succeeded in producing theories

and predictions that were anywhere near as effective as those in the physical realm.

Science seemed frail when it came to crossing the inner frontier of the self.

This was another factor that caused a retreat from the objective world into the subjective

world of self.  Science was an inadequate source of giving self-knowledge so again we

retreated inwards in order to create our own.

In his book ‘Understanding the Present’ Bryan Appleyard put it like this; ‘in a world where

scientific knowledge works to colonize the entire universe, the self becomes a safe refuge.

In here we are safe from invasion.  We found an escape from the eternal wanderings offered

by science.  So, the refuge of the self is something we employ as a defense at every passing

moment.  The self deprived of a cohesive religious meaning and lost in a vast and

technological system retreats into self-cultivation as the way of attaining an identity.’


2. The CONSEQUENCES of Narcissism

The narcissistic tendency is reflected across the whole of modernity.  It has become the new

worldview – the worldview of self.  In the following section I am highlighting some key

areas of our cultural life where this is evidenced.

(i) The loss of history

The modern self has little sense of historical connection.  History has no meaning, it is just

there.  We no longer feel a deep affinity with our ancestors.  Our sense of participating in a

vast story has vaporized.  This is a natural outcome of Narcissism.  If we lose touch with

the world outside and judge the real by what impacts the self, only the present can

meaningfully exist.  This leaves history as something ‘unreal’.

There is a vicious cycle at work here.  The more we lose our sense of connection with

history, the more we become locked into a Narcissistic perspective.  This is because history

itself provides a story that gives a sense of the world that is bigger than the self.  When a

living connection with the past disappears we lose the power of history to point us to a

bigger reality.

It should be noted here that this loss of history has big implications for the Christian

community.  If we stand within a Narcissistic consciousness (which we do) we lose the

context of our faith, which is historical.  The death, resurrection and ascension of Christ

have little meaning for the Narcissist.

(ii ) Consumerist society

A Culture of Narcissism is perfectly suited for a consumerist society.  This is because the

consumerist society puts the self in the centre of reality.  It makes our choices, our

preferences and our desires ultimate.  The whole society is constructed to this reality. The

self is firmly in the middle.

Consumerism is linked to the industrial revolution and the power of mass production.  In

the early days of the industrial revolution employers saw the workingman only as a

producer.  They cared little for what they did in their free time.  Few could see ahead, that a

society based on mass production required the organization of mass consumption.  In order



Narcissism  6

for this to happen you needed to create consumer demand. This happened by creating a

relationship between commodities and identity.  Consumer items must be able to confer

status and prestige.  The perfect device for this was advertising.  This did not so much give

information about the virtues of a product as promote consumption as a way of life.

Advertising actually manufactured a product of its own – the consumer.

In the modern period consumerism is a key part of how the modern self constructs an

identity.  This is a move from Descartes ‘I think therefore I am’ to ‘I shop therefore I am.’

(iii) New levels of subjectivity in art

A Culture of Narcissism loses a sense of beauty beyond the self.  This is because of the

withdrawal from the objective world and the slid into subjectivity.  This is reflected in so

much modern art where the focus tends towards the subjectivity of the artist.

This actually makes art the perfect medium for the expression of the Narcissism.  Art no

longer exists for the sake of external meaning – for something beyond the work of art.  As

one art commentator put it; ‘no longer does art throw open a window to a reality beyond

ourselves and our world.  Now the emphasis is on the internal reality of the artist rather

than a reality beyond’.

This does not mean that subjective art has no meaning.  Neither am I inferring that its

subjectivity makes it bad art.  I am simply reflecting that because of the tendency of art to

reflect on the subject to the exclusion of the object the focus of the arts has changed in the

direction of a narcissistic culture.  It has taken this turn because there is a loss of hope that

meaning and truth can be found in any source beyond the self.

Once again a vicious cycle is at work here because modern art communicates and re-

enforces a worldview of self.

(iv) Therapeutic Culture

A Culture of Narcissism has produced the ‘psychological man and women’.  Our whole

consciousness is much more internalized.  The feeling of well-being becomes more

important than dealing with more external factors (paying off debt, getting a job, etc).

The Narcissist hungers for the momentary illusion of personal well being and security.

This is especially true in more affluent societies where basic human needs (food, clothing

and housing) are readily available.  So, finding your identity is more important than

maintaining your marriage.

This need for personal well being creates a huge market for therapy – a profession designed

to help the self feel better.  The therapist is one of the fastest growing professional

categories in the world.  This reflects a new trend.

This is not to decry the contemporary need for therapy. It is a necessary service, which the

Christian community should be at the forefront of.   However, we should also see the

danger as Christianity becomes more therapeutically packaged and the truth becomes


3 The CURE for Narcissism

Because the culture of Narcissism defines a new state of consciousness there is no quick

cure.  It has become part of the fabric of how the modern self deals with reality – a new

ontological state.  However, a theology of redemption does not allow us to be fatalistic.



Narcissism  7

There are measures whereby we can lean against the self ward trend and deal with reality as

God intended.

The greatest weapon against Narcissism is reality.  This is because Narcissism is built on a

giant illusion – one that eclipses the subject/object relationship. So, in order to lean against

Narcissism we must move from illusions to the real. I will now highlight four areas for the

recovery of the real;

(i) The reality of GOD

Only the glory of the Creator is strong enough to lift us out of our extreme self-

consciousness. The God who has revealed Himself in the Bible is first of all ‘other’ in the

essence of His being.  He disturbs all our categories and is utterly unmanageable.  Where

the Narcissist calls all of reality to submit to its agenda, the encounter with the true and

living God reverses this.  God as ‘other’ forces us to see – that He is the one ‘whose centre is

everywhere and whose circumference is nowhere’.  To know this God is to move from self-

centeredness to other-centeredness.

(ii ) The reality of humanness

Because of extreme self- consciousness the modern dilemma is an anthropological one.  We

are confused about ‘what is man? There are two words in the creation account that answers

this question;


This shows where our life is derived from.  To ratify our condition as creatures is to move

from Narcissism.  This is because the Narcissist believes they can create their own life.  To

be a creature is to be delivered from this lie. We are not self-constructed – we are derived

from ‘other’. To be the created one is to acknowledge the reality of the Uncreated one.   It is

the acknowledgement of our source.


The human is a representation of its Creator.  The thing about this is that the image is

nothing in itself.  When we stand in front of the mirror in the morning, what are we looking

at? Nothing more than a representation of ourselves.  That image in the mirror only exists

because of the real that it reflects.  The moment you walk away from the mirror the

representation disappears. It is the same when we turn away from God – we turn from the

one whom we image.  This reminds us that we become real not by constructing our own

identity but by connecting with the ultimately real one whom we image.  The Dutch

theologian Herman Dooyaweerd expresses this so well – ‘humans cannot find themselves

except from the standpoint outside of ourselves – in a relationship to our origin’.

This is the reality of what it means to be human.  It is why self-knowledge comes when we

look away from the self to the One whom we image.  This is how we become more real.

(iii) The reality of Community.

Part of bearing the image of the Trinitarian God is that we were made for community.  As

He exists in community, so too do we.  When we move away from community we become

less than what we were made for.  The value of community is the constant reminder of

other.  It forces us beyond the self.  There can be no community with a self-centered

existence.  Community only functions when each member acknowledges that there is ‘more

than oneness’ – that the other exists.  Modernity has created a sociological context that has

been destructive of community.  We must move towards more intentional forms of

community in order to overcome the Narcissistic trend.



Narcissism  8


(iv) The reality of Beauty

In Dostoevsky’s famous novel, the Idiot keeps telling us ‘that beauty will save the world’.

Encounters with beauty go a long way to saving the narcissist.  This is because true beauty

in all its forms has a transcendent quality that pulls us beyond the self.  It takes us into the

realm beyond the manageable and transfixes our gaze.  It is a profound experience of

‘other’.  Without trying to understand how and why, we need to open ourselves to the beauty

that surrounds us.  The modern has grown weary and cynical about beauty.  However,

beauty has a power to pierce through to the centre of entrapped self and lead us back to the

real.  We must never underestimate its power.  In the modern context beauty must be

central to the apologetic enterprise because Truth without beauty cannot reach the


















Study of The Emotional Life of Governmental Power March 20, 2011

Posted by Elena in Uncategorized.
comments closed

Study of The Emotional Life of Governmental Power

Elaine Campbell 2010
ISSN: 1832-5203
Foucault Studies, No. 9, pp. 35-53, September 2010
The Emotional Life of Governmental Power
Elaine Campbell, Newcastle University
ABSTRACT:  This paper explores the emotional life of governmental power through the affective domains of confidence and respect in criminal justice, in  the context of a climate of insecurities and uncertainties with existing modes of governance.  The paper problematises some of
the key tenets of the governmentality thesis and questions its core assumptions about forms of
rationality, processes of subjectivation and the conditions of possibility for ethical conduct.   It
also prompts us to reconsider the tenets of contemporary neo-liberal governance, its
‚rationalities of rule,‛ technologies and apparatuses, how these work to capture hearts as well as
minds, and how these may promote an ‚emotionalised‛ art of government such that we might
properly speak of ‚emotionalities of rule.‛
Keywords: Governmentality; Foucault; subjectivation; rationalities; emotionalities; Deleuze; the
fold; criminal justice; security; confidence.
Studies in governmentality have opened up our understanding of how neo-liberal strategies of
rule govern through the self-regulated, entrepreneurial, competitive choices of autonomous
individuals who exercise economic, political and social rationality in the choices and decisions
they make.  As Burchell puts it, ‚(g)overnment increasingly impinges upon individuals in their
very individuality, in their practical relationships to themselves in the conduct of their lives; it
concerns them at the very heart of themselves by making its rationality the condition of their active
2 Throughout Foucaultian accounts of neo-liberalism we consistently encounter a
citizenry of responsibilised subjects who self-integrate into a myriad of  ‛calculative regimes,‛
1 Earlier versions of aspects of this paper were presented at the Stockholm Criminology Symposium held at the
University of Stockholm, 4-6 June 2007, paper entitled ‚Public confidence as an emotionality of rule;‛ and at
the Fifth Social Theory Forum, held at the University of Massachusetts, 16-17  April 2008, paper entitled
‚Powers of life and death in the governance of affect.‛  I am grateful to conference delegates for their constructive feedback and comments on the paper.  I am also indebted to the two anonymous reviewers for their
very helpful and fulsome reviews of this article.  These have been invaluable to shaping the final version of the
2  Graham Burchell, ‚Liberal Government and Techniques of the Self‛ in Foucault and Political Reason: Liberalism,
Neo-liberalism and Rationalities of Government, ed. Andrew Barry, Thomas Osborne and Nikolas Rose (Chicago:
University of Chicago Press, 1996), 30, Original emphasis.Campbell: The Emotional Life
subscribe to their own privatised forms of  ‛risk-management‛ and adopt an ethics of
‛utilitarianism‛ such that they maximise their lifestyles and then (mis)take these as a product of
their own personal choice.  According to this description, it would seem that neo-liberal subjects
have a purely instrumental relation to themselves and others; identifications with governmental
technologies and practices, and obligations to align  themselves with them, is represented as a
purely cognitive affair.
Elena: I do love how these very sophisticated writers put things! They make inhumanity sound almost interesting. It’s a little ironic but what I realize as I study these texts is that in effect, groups of people develop particular languages even if we are all talking about the same things. This utilitarianism, maximizing lifestyles and thinking it is their choice is another way of saying that people adapt to the system through their instinctive center in essence and live our whole lives without knowing what or why things happened to us. The instrumental relation that is defined by purely instinctive connections defined by the identifications with governmental technologies and practices and the OBLIGATIONS to align themselves with them, are represented as a cognitive process.
They even use the same words as those we used in the system: identification and explain the whole phenomenon so beautifully and without the pain with which I screamed out loud when I left the Fellowship. Almost as if they themselves were too professional to feel what the are talking about and one never knows if it is that they are too professional or equally related to the subject as a ‘purely cognitive affair’
For me, they are talking about the same cult behavior characteristic of cults but in society, the one all these blogs I’ve been writing in are about. But they don’t call it cult behavior or seem to mind or think up solutions. They just observe like cats. Beautiful and disturbing.__________________________
I have no difficulty in accepting the view that the figure of a self-actualising citizen is ‛the most fundamental, and most generalizable, characteristic of these new
rationalities of government,‛
3 but what is understated, and largely ignored in this perspective, is
the possibility of a neo-liberal subject who is ‛actualised‛ by something other than (or as well as)
governmental reason.   In short, the governmentality thesis appears to make little room for responsibilised individuals who may
‛decipher, recognize, and acknowledge themselves as
subjects of desire,‛
and whose affective selves, therefore, constitute a key site for the exercise of
governmental power.
Elena: I don’t quite understand what she’s saying here, I’m not familiar with this language but if I get the gist, subjects who decipher, recognize and acknowledge themselves as subjects of no matter what would be conscious of themselves and their situation and I think that’s precisely not the case but let’s see where she takes it.________________
This focus follows, and builds on Rose’s influential work on the genealogy of the self in
which he expounds
‛the technologies and techniques that hold personhood – identity, selfhood,
autonomy and individuality – in place.‛
In this work, Rose acknowledges that desire, passions,
sentiments and emotions are integral to such technologies, but he does not explicate this
theoretically and provides no conceptual tools for understanding the governmental relations of
affective life.  Similarly, and inspired by Spinozan philosophy,
a range of scholarship7 has consolidated what Patricia Clough has identified as an ‛affective turn‛ in the humanities and social
However, it is not until the collection of original essays edited by Clough and Halley
that affect is theorized as having political potential within relations of power  – a perspective
which moves beyond Massumi’s supposition of affect as  ‛pre-social.‛
9 As the sub-title of the
collection suggests, here is a series of papers which see the affective turn as necessary, if not
central to ‛theorizing the social,‛ and which explore the affective life of, inter alia, organised sex
3 Nikolas Rose, ‚Governing ‘Advanced’ Liberal Democracies,‛ in Andrew Barry, Thomas Osborne  & Nikolas
Rose  (ed.),  Foucault and Political Reason: Liberalism, Neo-Liberalism and Rationalities of Government (Chicago:
University of Chicago Press, 1996), 60.
4 Michel Foucault,  The Use of Pleasure: The History of Sexuality Volume 2. Trans. by Robert Hurley (Harmondsworth: Penguin, 1984), 5.
5 Nikolas Rose, Inventing Our Selves: Psychology, Power and Personhood (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press,
1996), 2.
6 Baruch Spinoza, Ethics, in Complete Works, ed. Edwin Curley (Princeton, NJ: Princeton University Press, 1985),
Part 3.  Gilles Deleuze, Expressionism in Philosophy: Spinoza. Transl. by Martin Joughin (New York: Zone Books,
7 See, for example, Eve Kosofsky Sedgewick & Adam Frank (eds.), Shame and Its Sisters: A Silvan Tomkins Reader
(Durham, NC: Duke University Press, 1995).  Michael Hardt, ‚Affective Labour,‛ Boundary 2, 26, 2 (1999): 89-
100.  Lauren Berlant, Intimacy (Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 2000).  Brian Massumi, Parables of the Virtual: Movement, Affect, Sensation (Durham, NC: Duke University Press, 2002).  Sara Ahmed, The Cultural Politics
of Emotion (Edinburgh: Edinburgh University Press, 2004).
8 Michael Hardt, ‚Foreword: What Affects Are Good For,‛ in Patricia Ticineto Clough & Jean Halley (eds.), The
Affective Turn: Theorizing the Social (Durham, NC: Duke University Press, 2007), ix.
9 For this argument, see Patricia Ticineto Clough, ‚Introduction,‛ in  Patricia  Ticineto Clough  & Jean Halley
(eds.), The Affective Turn, 2.Foucault Studies, No. 9, pp. 35-53.
work, health care training, Korean diaspora, cinematic technologies and fashion modeling.  It is
in this spirit that this paper uses the domain of criminal justice, security and crime control in an
age of risk and uncertainty as a lens  through which  to investigate the emotional life of
governmental power.
In many respects, a focus on emotional life problematises some of the key tenets of the
governmentality thesis and forces us to question some of its core assumptions about forms of
rationality, processes of subjectivation and the conditions of possibility for ethical conduct.   It
also prompts us to reconsider the tenets of contemporary neo-liberal governance, its
‛rationalities of rule,‛ technologies and apparatuses, how these work to capture hearts as well as
minds, and how these may promote an  ‛emotionalised‛ art of government.  The discussion is
divided into three parts.  The first explores forms of rationality and makes the case for thinking
about the mutually sustaining relationship between cognition and affectivity, between the
instrumental and expressive capacities of the subject of power.   The discussion moves on  to
consider processes of subjectivation, paying particular attention to the problematic of Foucault’s
‛subject-less subject.‛  Using a framework based on the Deleuzian notion of ‛the fold,‛ the third
part of the discussion sets out a case study exploring the affective domains of confidence and
respect to suggest ways in which subjectivities of affect constitute a key site for the exercise of
governmental power.   The case study centres on a period of intensified and highly mediated
governmental concern for freedom, protection (from risk) and the minimisation of harm and
threat from dangerous others.  Though it refers to a particularly eventful year in the United
Kingdom, 2006, the case study explores a range of contemporary modes of government which
are by no means exceptional, but are fairly typical of governmental mechanisms deployed in the
name of security and which seek to reassure the public and restore confidence in, and respect for
systems of governance.
1. Forms of Rationality
Foucault’s interest in rationality should not be confused with the Weberian conception and
analysis of rationality as a global and historical process.   As Smart points out, for Weber, a
process of rationalization had permeated all spheres of social life such that he proposed it as the
principal defining feature of modernity.
10 By contrast, and at times defending himself against
the allegation that his work  ‛boils down to one and the same meta-anthropological or metahistorical process of rationalization,‛
11 Foucault emphasises the contextuality and historical
variability of different forms of rationality, their specific functions and effects.  Of all the forms,
then, which  ‛rationality‛ can take, a globalising, trans-historical and universal form is not
amongst them.  Rather, ‛rationalities of rule‛ are specific ways of thinking about how to govern
at particular times and places.   This is not a question of formulating and implementing some
grand design distilled from political and philosophical analysis, or imposing a schema of
governmental logic on an imperfect reality.   ‛Rationalities‛ are discursive; they propose strategies, suggest reforms, identify problems, recommend solutions and constitute a series of
Barry Smart, Michel Foucault (London: Routledge, 2004), 138.
11 Michel Foucault, ‚Questions of Method,‛ in Graham Burchell, Colin Gordon  & Peter Miller (eds.), The
Foucault Effect: Studies in Governmentality (Hemel Hempstead: Harvester Wheatsheaf, 1991), 78.Campbell: The Emotional Life
suppositions, instructions and assumptions which are encapsulated in discourses and knowledges  that guide, advise and inform our ways of being in the world.   As Rose reminds us,
‛(t)hese rationalities< operate not so much to describe the world as to make it thinkable and
practicable under a particular description.‛
12 Lemke uses the phrase a  ‛pragmatics of guidance‛
and goes on to assert that a political rationality is not some kind of pure, neutral
knowledge, nor is it exterior to knowledge, but is an ‛element of government itself which helps
to create a discursive field in which exercising power is ‚rational.‛‛
If ‘rational’ has anything to do with reasonable, then I have to disagree with the previous assumptions on rationality. I would agree with the discursive field, etc but instead of it being a ‘rational’ well reasoned formulation the deep problem is that it is precisely not rational but irrational, instinctive, emotionally dependent and imposed by the hierarchic order in the unconscious structure._____________________
Lemke’s use of quotation
marks to indicate the ambiguity of  ‛rational‛ is significant here.   He  is drawing attention to
Foucault’s rejection of any notion of an ideal, transcendental reason against which can be
counterposed nonreason or irrationality.   Foucault describes such a comparative exercise as
and he compares corporal and carceral forms of penality to make the point:
The ceremony of public torture isn’t in itself more irrational than imprisonment in a cell; but
it’s irrational in terms of a type of penal practice which involves new ways of calculating its
utility, justifying it, graduating it, etc<16
Foucault’s refusal to evaluate systems of penality by a criterion of scientific rationality is typical
of postmodern accounts  that regard reason and logic  ‛on the same footing‛ as myth and
17 However, Foucault’s typicality is short-lived and he parts company from postmodern
perspectives on  ‛rationality‛ by insisting that we should restrict our  ‛use of this word to an
instrumental and relative meaning.‛
18 Though he repeats here the importance of contextspecificity, he nonetheless substitutes instrumentalism for  ‛reason‛ as the yardstick of  ‛rationality.‛ For those of a postmodernist persuasion,  instrumental or purposive ways of  ‛reasoning‛ are especially objectionable since they emphasise utility, efficiency, reliability, durability,
superiority, at the expense of expressive values and sentient forms of human existence.  Even
modernist commentators complain that Foucault is  ‛unduly instrumental and purposive;‛
19 or
worse, that he subscribes to a ‛dogmatic functionalism.‛
Elena: If I understand correctly, I’d agree with Foucault that it is ‘rational’ in as much as the process that takes place involves a particular mind process but the mind process that it involves is much better understood if we accept the System’s concept of a formatory apparatus. The formatory apparatus is described as the mechanical part of the intellectual center that functions in ‘automatic’ just as Foucault describes above and understanding that, I believe gives us a grounding to state that it is a rational process in as much as it involves a particular mind process but an irrational process in as much as it happens ‘mechanically’, instinctively, irrationally. __________________
However, much of the evidence for these accusations centres on his theoretical work on
disciplinary and bio-power, suggesting that while critique may be analytically persuasive, it is
nonetheless specific to Foucault’s genealogical studies and is primarily relevant to his contemporary focus on disciplinary society, bio-politics, surveillance and panopticism.   Similarly,
Foucault’s self-incriminating assertion of the utilitarian ethos of  ‛rationalities‛ should not be
overstated or taken as his only or last word on the matter.  It is debatable, for example, whether,
12 Nikolas Rose, Governing the Soul: The Shaping of the Private Self (London: Free Association Books, 1999), xxii.
13 Thomas Lemke, ‚Foucault, Governmentality and Critique,‛ Rethinking Marxism, 14, 3 (2002), 55.
Ibid., 55.
15 Michel Foucault, ‚Afterword: the Subject and Power‛ in Herbert L.  Dreyfus & Paul Rabinow (eds.), Michel
Foucault: Beyond Structuralism and Hermeneutics (London: Harvester Wheatsheaf, 1982), 210.
Foucault, ‚Questions of Method,‛ 79.
17 Bruno Latour, The Pasteurization of France (Cambridge, Mass: Harvard University Press, 1988), 146-150.
18 Foucault, ‚Questions of Method,‛ 79.
19 David Garland, ‚Frameworks of Inquiry in the Sociology of Punishment,‛ British Journal of Sociology, 41, 1
(1990), 3
Ibid., 4.Foucault Studies, No. 9, pp. 35-53.
in using the term  ‛instrumental,‛ Foucault is referring to an ambitious schema of calculative,
technocratic utility, or to something more modest, such as the ‛practical‛ or ‛do-able‛ qualities
of governmental techniques, discourses and practices in their experiential immediacy  –
‛rationalities,‛ then, as a sort of everyday  ‛how-to‛ or  ‛know-how.‛    Such an interpretation
does not, therefore, exclude a consideration of what we might usefully term  ‛emotionalities of
rule‛– that is, discursive and material forms which propose and suppose particular ways of
feeling about the world.  We could suggest, then, that  ‛rationalities of rule‛ is a more inclusive
concept than has hitherto been suggested, and refers to all manner of governmental technologies
and apparatuses that render practicable how to think, how to act, and how to feel.
All this is true but what matters about it is missing: HOW does that happen and why? We cannot understand it unless we are aware precisely of the emotional connections between individuals through identification. It is the identifications what determine how people connect to the government as a figure of authority. ________________
On purely nominal grounds, we might refer to processes that sustain the emotional life of
governmental power as  ‛emotionalities of rule.‛    This does not suggest their opposition to
‛rationalities of rule,‛ but encourages an inclusive frame of reference  that recognises the
mutually sustaining relationship between the cognitive and instrumental, on the one hand, and
the affective and the expressive, on the other.  Put another way, in order for neo-liberal subjects
to think differently about the choices and decisions they can make, they may also need to learn to
feel differently about them.
Elena: I wasn’t planning to speak to Elaine, the author of this article but maybe it would be more polite if I actually address you and eventually get to communicate! What is being said here is no other than the idea that if the individual stops being identified with the same things then they’ll think differently about them. That is of course, one possibility but probably that one is equally connected to the idea that the individual needs to not be identified with his own self to be able to feel and think differently. As long as We continue to be identified with our own ‘programming’ or predetermined structures, we will continue to ‘fall’ on the same pebbles, stones and precipices and we’ll just continue to rebuild the same structures with different names and forms but if the individual changes the relationship to his or her own self then there are possibilities of change because we can then construct our own center of gravity.
One of the difficulties with these papers is that they talk about the individual as if all individuals were always the same and they don’t really take into account that a human being is one in essence, another one in false personality and still another one in true personality. The ‘being’ present in each of these phases is completely different.
I’ll work some more tomorrow.
2. Processes of Subjectivation
Many scholars have been swift to point out how governmentality recognises the multidimensionality of power relations, and suggest  that the thesis overcomes much of what was
regarded as Foucault’s one-dimensional focus on disciplinary power and forces of domination.
As Lemke puts it; the notion of governmentality has  ‛innovative potential‛ in so far as it
recognises how power is both an objectivizing and a subjectivizing force, bringing into view the
idea of a constituted-constituting subject permanently positioned within the interstice of  individualising power and individual freedom.
22 McNay suggests that one of the key analytical
advantages to Foucault’s concept of governmental power over that of disciplinary power is that
it introduces the idea of an active subject who has the capacity to resist the ‛individualizing and
totalizing forces of modern power structures.‛
Endowed with a capacity for resistance, a citizenry of (neo-)liberal subjects are capable,
then, of transforming, subverting and challenging governmental relations of all kinds  – from a
refusal to commit to a healthy diet, to a failure to provide evidence as a witness of crime,
through to a rejection of the need to recycle in the name of environmental protection.  Implicitly, then, resistance is configured as a matter of self-reflexive choice or personal motivation to
opt out of, ignore or dissociate from particular technologies and practices.  This sits easily within
a model of generative, autonomous agency, but is difficult to square with Foucault’s idea of
subjectivation which denotes the dialectical nature of constraint and freedom – that ‛the subject
is constituted through practices of subjection, or, in a more autonomous way, through practices
23 Lois McNay, Foucault: A Critical Introduction (Cambridge: Polity Press, 1994).  Paul Patton, ‚Foucault’s Subject of Power,‛ in Jeremy Moss (ed.), The Later Foucault (London: Sage, 1998).
22 Thomas Lemke, ‚’The Birth of Bio-Politics’: Michel Foucault’s Lecture at the Collège de France on NeoLiberal Governmentality,‛ Economy and Society, 30, 2 (2001), 191.
McNay, Foucault: A Critical Introduction, 123.Campbell: The Emotional Life
of liberation, of liberty.‛
24 McNay complains that Foucault fails to offer a satisfactory account of
agency and that he vacillates ‛between moments of determinism and voluntarism.‛
25 Butler is
critical of the term  ‛subjectivation,‛ seeing it as paradoxical in so far as it  ‛denotes both the
becoming of the subject and the process of subjection – one inhabits the figure of autonomy only
by becoming subjected to a power, a subjection which implies a radical dependency.‛
26 Tie
points out that Foucault’s constructed subject stands in a difficult relationship to itself in as far
as the reflexive self is unable to ‛strike a radically resistive, critical distance from the terms of its
Foucault’s failure to provide an account of agency makes it difficult, then, to distinguish
practices of the self that are imposed on individuals through governmental sanctions and
regulatory norms, from those which express relations of resistance.  Equally there is no basis for
understanding the nature of compliance – whether it is the consequence of self-reflexivity, or the
realisation of a (perverse) attachment to subjection.   In a mixed economy of power relations
wherein  ‛individual or collective subjects who are faced with a field of possibilities in which
several ways of behaving, several reactions and diverse comportments may be realized,‛
processes of subjectivation can never be linear or homogenous.  Consequently, Tie argues, the
cumulative effects of this heterogeneity cannot be predicted, and in the absence of a
hermeneutics of selfhood and agency, the  ‛possibilities for resistive action will always emerge
rather than through a reflexive and critical process of self-realisation.
The problematic of Foucault’s  ‛subject-less subject‛ continues to haunt his analytics of
power and has generated a subsidiary scholarship  that, in various ways, attempts to theorise
governmental subjectivities.  Psychoanalytical approaches feature prominently in this work and
the contributions of Žižek, Butler and (the application of) Lacan, Klein and Freud to
understanding the psychic dimensions of the constituted-constituting subject is of particular
relevance.   In an eloquent and perceptive article, Tie discusses the relative merits of these perspectives suggesting that  ‛subjects‛ complicity in their subjectivation cannot be understood as
being purely the effect of their positioning in discourse.  Rather, their complicity has an ‚affective
Of interest here is how that  ‛affective dimension‛ is conceptualised within these
particular psychoanalytical theories, and how it is mobilised as an exercise of power.  Žižek, for
example, talks of an ‛unconscious supplement,‛ and posits a kind of sub-terranean reservoir of
feeling which exists as Other to sovereign power, and which  ‛provides enjoyment which serves
24 Michel Foucault, ‚An Aesthetics of Existence‛ in  Foucault Live.  Transl.  by John Johnston. Ed. Sylvère
Lotringer (New York: Semiotext(e), 1989), 313.
25 Lois McNay, Gender and Agency: Reconfiguring the Subject in Feminist and Social Theory (Oxford: Polity Press,
2000), 9.
Judith Butler, The Psychic Life of Power: Theories in Subjection (Stanford, CA: Stanford University Press, 1997),
Warwick Tie, ‚The Psychic Life of Governmentality,‛ Culture, Theory and Critique, 45, 2 (2004), 164.
Foucault, ‚Afterword: the Subject and Power,‛ 221.
29 Tie, 165.
Ibid., 161, Emphasis added.Foucault Studies, No. 9, pp. 35-53.
as the unacknowledged support of meaning.‛
31 However, it is debatable how far (or whether)
Žižek’s thesis adequately addresses the question of agency, but this is of less concern here than
his formulation of an ‛unconscious supplement.‛   It is not clear, for example, why ‛economies
of pleasure‛ are regarded as  ‛extra-discursive,‛ and therefore positioned in a pre-linguistic
realm of the unconscious.  This would seem to support an essentialist position  that posits the
notion of a pre-social, biological and ‛extra-conscious‛ realm of emotionality.
Meanwhile, for  Butler, the  ‛self-realisation‛ of the constituting subject occurs in a moment of trauma induced by a continual inability to constitute the self as a coherent and complete
entity.  Butler posits the endless need to reiterate  ‛who we are‛ as demonstrative of the incoherence of selfhood, a state of affairs which emerges from an unruly residue of psychic life
‛which exceeds the imprisoning effects of the discursive demand to inhabit a coherent identity,
to become a coherent subject.‛
32 The psychic in Butler circulates in zones of un-intelligibility, is
surplus to the requirements for subject-hood and is disruptive to it.   This is a pretty familiar
psychoanalytic account of resistance.   For example, in Rose,
the disruptive potential of the
psyche is read through the Lacanian lens of an  ‛alienating destiny‛ wherein the subject is
rendered permanently unstable through the constitutive loss of (the possibility of) selfidentification.   In Jefferson,
the ambivalence of Mike Tyson’s selfhood (as convicted rapist, as
superstar boxer, as hypermasculine superstud, as  ‛juvenile delinquent,‛ and as  ‛little fairy
boy‛) is understood through the Kleinian notion of an anxiety-reducing, psychical defencemechanism.  Tie invokes the Freudian motif of ‛the uncanny‛ as a ‛special shade of anxiety‛
which arises from  ‛a return of unresolved psychic dilemmas‛
– such as the realisation that
what had seemed familiar (a sense of self, for example) turns out to be disturbingly and,
perhaps, pleasurably strange.   Similarly, Butler has applied Freud’s concept of melancholia to
understand the trauma of the impossibility of coherent subject formation; as she puts it,  ‛the
melancholia that grounds the subject (and hence always threatens to unsettle and disrupt that
ground) signals an incomplete and irresolvable grief.‛
In each account, subjects’ resistance is located in an affective dimension of psychic life  –
alienation, anxiety, uncanniness and melancholia.   As such, it is not clear how these various
psychic (or emotional) states reformulate or subvert the conditions of subjection, or redirect the
discursive and material effects of power, so much as remain in a state of permanent powerlessness at the margins of subject formation.  And what are we to make of a psychic life  that is
31 Slavoj Žižek, The Mestases of Enjoyment: Six Essays on Woman and Causality (London: Verso, 1994), 56-57, cited
in Tie, 162, Emphasis added.
Butler, 86.
Jacqueline Rose, Sexuality in the Field of Vision (London: Verso, 1987).
34 Tony Jefferson, ‚From ‘Little Fairy Boy’ to the ‘Compleat Destroyer’: Subjectivity and Transformation in the
Biography of Mike Tyson,‛ in Mairtin Mac An Ghaill (ed.),  Understanding Masculinities (Buckingham: Open
University Press, 1996), and Tony Jefferson, ‚The Tyson Rape Trial: The Law, Feminism and Emotional
‘Truth,’‛ Social and Legal Studies, 6, 2 (1997), 281-301.
35 Anneleen Masschelein, ‚The Concept as Ghost: Conceptualization of the Uncanny in Late Twentieth Century
Theory,‛ Mosaic, 35, 1 (2002), 54 cited in Tie, 170.
36 Tie, 170.
37 Butler, 23.Campbell: The Emotional Life
energised by such a limited repertoire of emotions?  ‛Good humours‛ such as delight,
excitement, satisfaction and optimism do not feature in a psychoanalytic register of affects; yet
there are no grounds to suppose that any emotional state – apart from apathy, perhaps – cannot
be experienced as excess.  Citing de Beauvoir,
38 McNay notes, ‛the language of psychoanalysis
suggests that the drama of the individual unfolds only within the self and this obscures the
extent to which the individual’s life and actions involve primarily a ‛relation to the world.‛‛
There is clearly merit in drawing attention to the libidinal, kinetic energy of psychic life as a
destabilising force, but without an account of intersubjective relations, in which power is always
implicated, it induces/incites neither complicity nor resistance within processes of subjectivation.
A significant route out of this impasse is found within the Deleuzian notion of ‛the fold.‛
Deleuze invents this metaphor to denote a ‛zone of subjectivation,‛
adding that ‛subjectivation
is created by folding.‛
‛The fold‛ does not presume a self with any essential interiority; nor is
it the effect of an exterior field of power relations; it is, rather  ‛a threshold, a door, a becoming
between two multiplicities.‛
42 The notion of ‛the fold,‛ then, not only rejects psychoanalytical
suppositions of an interiorised psyche, but also addresses (and overcomes) the paradox of Foucault’s constituted-constituting subject.
43 As far as Deleuze is concerned  ‛self-realisation‛ has
nothing to do with a psychic residue or unconscious excess, neither is it the effect of the limits
and exclusions of individualising practices; he argues:
There never ‚remains‛ anything of the subject, since he (sic) is to be created on each
occasion, like a focal point of resistance, on the basis of the folds which subjectivize
knowledge and bend each power<   The struggle for subjectivity presents itself, therefore,
as the right to difference, variation and metamorphosis.‛
Deleuze’s thesis of enfolding has been taken up by a number of governmentality theorists, most
notably Dean, whose essay stands, perhaps, as the clearest exemplar of Deleuzian-Foucauldian
eclecticism on matters of government.
45 Dean undertakes what he refers to as a  ‛critical
ontology of our selves‛ to explore how modes of ‛governmental authority,‛ and ‛rationalities of
rule‛ are doubled or enfolded into our ways of being, thinking and doing – ‛(i)n this sense,‛ he
Simone de Beauvoir, The Second Sex (Harmondsworth: Penguin, 1972), 80.
39 McNay, Gender and Agency, 129.
40 Gilles Deleuze, ‚Foldings, or the Inside of Thought (Subjectivation),‛ in  Michael Kelly (ed.),  Critique and
Power: Recasting the Foucault/Habermas Debate (Cambridge: MIT, 1995), 337 Diagram.
Ibid., 323.
42 Gilles Deleuze and Felix Guattari, Anti-Oedipus: Capitalism and Schizophrenia. Transl. by Robert Hurley, Mark
Seem & Helen R.  Lane (Minnesota: University of Minnesota Press, 1983), 29.
In ‚Afterword: The Subject and Power‛, Foucault talks of struggles against the ‘government of
individuation’ which ties an individual to ‘his own identity in a constraining way’ (Ibid., 212.)  However, he
leaves us with no analytical tools to think through how, in these ‘moments of struggle,’ we can overcome the
submission of subjectivity.
Deleuze, 325.
45 See, for example, Nikolas Rose, ‚Government, Authority and Expertise in Advanced Liberalism,‛ Economy
and Society, 22, 3 (1993), 283-299, and Nikolas Rose, ‚Authority and the Genealogy of Subjectivity,‛ in Paul
Heelas, Scott Lash & Paul Morris (eds.), De-Traditionalization: Authority and Self in an Age of Cultural Uncertainty
(Oxford: Basil Blackwell, 1995).Foucault Studies, No. 9, pp. 35-53.
writes, ‛one might speak of a folding of exterior relations of authority to sculpt a domain that
can act on and of itself but which, at the same time, is simply the inside marked out by that
46 As valuable as this work is for thinking about processes of subjectivation as the ‛enfolding of authority,‛ it rests on a somewhat selective and partial reading of Deleuze, one which
has the effect of obscuring from view the enfolding of ‛emotionalities of rule.‛   It is a surprising
oversight given that most commentators acknowledge the complementarity of Foucault’s
machinic theory of power, and Deleuze’s and Guattari’s machinic theory of desire.
In Deleuze
and Guattari, desire is regarded as the productive motor force of social relations.   In  AntiOedipus, they assert:
We maintain that the social field is immediately invested by desire, that it is the historically
determined product of desire, and that libido has no need of any mediation or sublimation,
any psychic operation, any transformation, in order to invade and invest the productive
forces and the relations of production.   There is only desire and the social, and nothing
From within this schema, affects are conceptualised as forces of desire, continuously flowing as
‛intensities of movement, rhythm, gesture and energy.‛
49 Affects follow  ‛lines of flight,‛ escaping  ‛planes of consistency,‛ such as centred subjectivity and habitual routines, moving in
unpredictable directions as a deterritorialising and productive wave of libidinal energy.   As
Patton summarises,  ‛the  feeling of power is an affect which is associated with a process of
becoming-other than what one was before.‛
It is this notion of ‛becoming-other‛ as an ‛enfolding‛ of ‛emotionalities of rule‛ that I
want to unpack in the remainder of this paper.
Based on Foucault’s original framework set out
in The Use of Pleasure,
52 Deleuze outlines ‛four folds of subjectivation;‛
this frame of reference
has been applied to great effect by Dean54
to elaborate the  ‛enfolding of authority,‛ and it is
being used here to structure and inform an exploration of the ‛enfolding of emotionality‛ using
the affective domains of confidence and respect as a case study.  The analysis develops four key
aspects for thinking about the  ‛emotional self‛ as a problem of government; this involves, as
46 Mitchell Dean, ‚Foucault, Government and the Enfolding of Authority,‛ in Andrew Barry, Thomas Osborne
& Nikolas Rose (eds.), Foucault and Political Reason: Liberalism, Neo-Liberalism and Rationalities of Government
(Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 1996), 222.
47 See, for example, Ronald Bogue, Deleuze and Guattari (London: Routledge, 1989).  Paul Patton, Deleuze and the
Political (London: Routledge, 2000).  Maria Tamboukou, ‚Interrogating the ‘Emotional Turn:’ Making Connections with Foucault and Deleuze,‛ European Journal of Psychotherapy, Counselling and Health, 6, 3 (2003), 209-223.
Deleuze and Guattari, 29.
49 Brian Massumi, ‚The Autonomy of Affect,‛ in  Paul Patton (ed.), Deleuze: A Critical Reader (Oxford: Basil
Blackwell, 1996).
Patton, Deleuze and the Political, 74-75, Emphasis added.
51 See also, Elaine Campbell, ‚Narcissism as ethical practice? Foucault, askesis and an ethics of  becoming,‛
Cultural Sociology,  4, 1 (2010), 23-44.
52 See, Foucault, The Use of Pleasure, 26-28.  Foucault, The Care of the Self, 238-239.  Foucault, ‚On the Genealogy
of Ethics: An Overview of Work in Progress,‛ 352-357.
53 Deleuze, 323.
54 Dean, ‚Foucault, Government and the Enfolding of Authority.‛Campbell: The Emotional Life
Dean puts it, posing  ‛questions of  asceetics (the governing work)< ones of  ontology (the
governed material), deontology (the governable subject) and teleology (the telos of government).‛
3. Protecting Our Freedom
For me, building a foundation of security, public order and stability is the basis for the trust
and confidence which individuals, families and communities need to fulfil their potential.
We can only drive lasting and sustained change by empowering people to take greater
responsibility for the strength and well-being of their own lives and communities in a way
that establishes a different relationship between Government and the governed.
In this foreword, the then Home Secretary, David Blunkett, neatly articulates the normative
conditions for neo-liberal subjects to fulfil their potential  – security, public order, stability,
empowerment and responsibility for self and community.  What appears to be ‛different‛ about
the governmental relationships iterated here is the emphasis placed on their anchorage in an
affective relationship of trust and confidence.  It is nothing new for liberal democratic societies
to value, if not sanctify such affectivities as necessary conditions of governmental legitimacy,
authority and consent, most especially in terms of the political institutions which embody,
uphold and protect the rule of law.   However, in this document and elsewhere in speeches,
launches, press conferences, media interviews, consultation papers and policy statements, it is
the absence of trust and confidence and the presence of fear, insecurity and uncertainty, which is
routinely foregrounded as a problem of government.
A telos of negative freedom
In a speech to DEMOS in 2006, the Home Secretary (now John Reid) proclaimed that  ‛we now
live in a world where insecurity is a phenomenon that crosses the economic and the social, the
domestic and the foreign, the psychological and physical, the individual and the collective.‛
Such assertions reinforce Giddens’ somewhat overworked notion of ‛ontological insecurity‛
a general  descriptor of our common experience in late modernity.   While there is much to
support this gloomy outlook, the rhetoric of a runaway world and its accompanying narratives
of disembeddedness, suspicion, precariousness, risk, threat and fear, serves as an  ‛organising
disposition,‛ an  ‛affective register‛ or an  ‛emotionality of rule‛ for re-imagining the kind of
government which can be fashioned in the name of freedom.  When the boundaries of the state
of nature and the state of civil society are blurred, a self-interested citizenry will not only be
receptive to emphatic (and oft-repeated) banner headlines, such as ‛Our citizens should not live
Ibid., 226.
56 Home Office, Confident Communities in a Secure Britain: The Home Office Strategic Plan 2004-2008, Cmnd. 6287,
(London: Home Office, 2004), 7-8.
John Reid, Security, Freedom and the Protection of Our Values, Speech given by the Home Secretary to DEMOS,
London, UK (August 9, 2006)  http://press.homeoffice.gov.uk/Speeches/sp-hs-DEMOS-090806?version=1 (accessed
January 9, 2007).
58 Anthony Giddens, Modernity and Self-Identity (Cambridge: Polity, 1991).Foucault Studies, No. 9, pp. 35-53.
in fear;‛
59 but they will also be open to governmental techniques and modalities which promise
to realise the utopian telos of order, safety and stability.  Such an eventuality is made possible by
a negative formula of freedom grounded in an ontology of (self-) protection.  As Blair put it:
this is not a debate between those who value liberty and those who do not.  It is an…
argument about the types of liberties that need to be protected…   and it is an attempt to
protect the most fundamental liberty of all – freedom from harm by others.
This begs a number of questions, not least the matter of who are  ‛the others‛ from whom we
must be protected, and what kinds of harms can ‛these others‛ inflict which inhibit and threaten
our freedom to govern ourselves and be governed as confident and secure individuals.  I want
to suggest that an oppositional relation between self and  ‛harmful others‛ is currently, and
primarily mobilised through the inculcation of certain affective states of being in the world;
these, in turn, encourage a receptivity to alternative governmental realities and forms of (self-)
government – an ontology which Bennett theorises as ‛a mood with ethical potential.‛
More or less government?
In the late spring of 2006, the UK experienced what might best be described as an emotional
rollercoaster of existential angst.
Scandals, crises, fiascos, incompetencies, controversial sentencing, murders, abductions, rapes, ministerial sackings, prison abscondings, clandestine employment and a call from the former Chief Inspector of Prisons, Lord Ramsbotham, for the
Prime Minister to  ‛shut up,‛
created the conditions for a very public, and highly mediated
debate on the scope and ambition of government, and its ability to meet  ‛its core purpose of
protecting the public.‛
59 Tony Blair, ‚Our Citizens Should Not Live In Fear‛,  The Observer (December 11, 2005),
Jane Bennett, The Enchantment of Modern Life: Attachments, Crossings and Ethics (Princeton: Princeton University Press, 2001), 131.
I am not suggesting that the UK experience is, or was unique.   Indeed, the UK government’s responses to the
risks and threats posed by terrorism, crime and disorder, as well as the (assumed) public receptivity to them,
are fairly typical of liberal democratic governance in the name of security.  See, for example, the series of essays
published by the US Social Science Research Council  – Seyla Benhabib, ‚Unholy Politics,‛ After September 11:
Terrorism and Democratic Virtues (SSRC, 2002),  www.ssrc.org/sept11/essays/benhabib.htm (accessed 12 April
2010).  Didier Bigo, ‚To Reassure and Protect After September 11,‛ After September 11: Terrorism and Democratic
Virtues (SSRC, 2002),  www.ssrc.org/sept11/essays/bigo.htm (accessed 12 April 2010).  Kansishka Jayasuriya,
‚9/11 and the New ‚Anti-politics‛ of ‚Security,‛‛ After September 11: Terrorism and Democratic Virtues (SSRC,
2002), http://www.ssrc.org/sept11/essays/jayasuriya.htm (accessed 1 May 2009).  Peter A.  Meyers, ‚Defend Politics
Against Terrorism,‛ After September 11: Terrorism and Democratic Virtues (SSRC, 2002), found at
http://www.ssrc.org/sept11/essays/meyers.htm (accessed 12 April 2010).  See also, Chris Sparks, ‚Liberalism, Terrorism and the Politics of Fear,‛ Politics, 23, 3 (2003): 200-206.
Nigel Morris, ‚Blair Told to ‘Shut Up’ About Prison Sentencing,‛ The Independent (June 16, 2006), 4
64 Home Office, From Improvement to Transformation: An Action Plan to Reform the Home Office So It Meets Public
Expectations and Delivers Its Core Purpose of Protecting the Public (London: Home Office, 2006), 2.Campbell: The Emotional Life
In the United  Kingdom in 2006, over the course of a few months, there was scarcely a
governmental constituency which did not in some way constitute a ‛harmful other.‛   Amongst
these, the usual suspects of terrorists, criminals and the  ‛permanently delinquent‛
65 did not so
much loom large as form a backdrop of prevailing terror, suspicion, fear and intimidation upon
which a range of different emotions came to be refracted.   The passions stirred by the  ‛most
harmful‛ are nothing new and form the kernel of primordial affectivities  that sustain the need
for government of any kind.   What was novel about 2006 was how a series of  ‛unfortunate
events‛ triggered a range of emotional dispositions  that called into question what it means to
govern and be governed; and as the year progressed, different emotional harms not only
exposed the self as vulnerable, unprotected and ontologically precarious, but also came to
invest, inspire and produce an affective formation of uncertainty.   In April 2006, the  ‛foreign
prisoners scandal‛ focused attention on the Home Office; whether it and the Home Secretary
were ‛fit for purpose‛ was a question which persisted long after Charles Clarke’s dismissal in
the following month, and continued under the incoming stewardship of John Reid.  The scandal
centred on the revelation that an estimated 1,023 foreign prisoners had been released from
prison between 1999 and March 2006 and had not subsequently been deported.   It further
emerged that there was an unknown number of serious offenders (murderers and rapists)
among those released, but the actual number was never determined and was variably reported
as anything from 5 to 179.
66 Perhaps the most honest report came from David Roberts at the
Immigration and Nationality Directorate who admitted that he had not got the ‛faintest idea‛ as
to how many illegal immigrants there were in the United  Kingdom.   Later that same week,
attention turned to the revelation that more than  twenty convicted murderers had absconded
from Leyhill Open Prison in the past five years; but this figure was to be quickly revised
upwards following a BBC investigation which found that more than three hundred inmates had
absconded from the prison in the previous three years.
In the meantime, the head of the Prison
Service, Phil Wheatley, was compiling his own statistics, and two days later admitted that
around  seven  hundred prisoners had absconded from the open prison estate in the previous
year alone.
68 Not to be excluded from what was rapidly becoming a spectator sport, the
spotlight belatedly fell on the Criminal Records Bureau when it made public that 2,700
‛innocent people‛ had been wrongly screened as having criminal records, with some being
turned down for jobs as a result.
It was little wonder that as this catalogue of errors began to
unfold, the Prime Minister ‛stumbled over answers when he gave them, and his mood appeared
something between depressed and fed up.   The authoritative, commanding,  dismissive Blair
was nowhere to be seen.‛
3,822 comments were contributed to the online discussion,  Should
65 Mitchell Dean, ‚Liberal Government and Authoritarianism,‛ Economy and Society, 31, 1 (2002), 48.
68 BBC News, ‚At-a-Glance: Home Office Woes,‛ BBC News (May 22, 2006)
67 Chris Kelly, ‚Inmates Walk Out Weekly From Jail,‛ BBC News (May 19, 2006)
68 BBC News, ‚At-a-Glance: Home Office Woes.‛
70 Nick Assinder, ‚Clarke Starting to Look isolated,‛ BBC News (April 26, 2006)
http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/uk_politics/4946460.stm (accessed December 14, 2006).Foucault Studies, No. 9, pp. 35-53.
Charles Clarke Resign?
71 with ‛shocking,‛ scandalous,‛ ‛sickening,‛ ‛dismayed,‛ ‛annoying‛ and
‛stunned‛ featuring prominently as emotional harms caused by the saga of Home Office and
ministerial blunders.
If the ‛foreign prisoners scandal‛ and its aftermath had not already shaken confidence in
the capacity of the state to protect the public, further revelations continued to expose the
fragility of government in uncertain times.  A series of high-profile murders which culminated
in court trials and sentencing in the spring of 2006, raised serious concerns about the
effectiveness of offender management within the community.  For example, on November 2005,
Mary-Ann Leneghan was kidnapped, raped, tortured and murdered by  six youths, four of
whom were under the supervision of the Probation Service at the time.  Quite predictably, and
responding to a wave of public criticism and negative press coverage, the incoming Home
Secretary, John Reid, was swift to pledge a review and overhaul of the Probation Service
admitting that there were ‛shortcomings< to be frank, the probation system is not working as
well as it should.‛
72 By the end of the year, the Home Office had published figures which
confirmed that more than  five hundred serious, violent and sexual offences (including rape),
and ninety-eight murders had been committed by offenders under probation supervision in the
previous two years (The Scotsman, December 6, 2006).  Even though the politicians restated the
issue as one of organisational and operational failures  that could be addressed by reform, a
bystanding public grew ever anxious but in a much more diffuse sense.   In desperation, a
contributor to the online discussion,  Do we need a Probation Service review? pleaded  ‛for God’s
sake protect us!‛
In the same discussion, Ian from Whitwick asked:
How many more innocent people have to be murdered before the public are protected.  I
am really so angry that the Courts, Police and Probation services have failed to achieve their
shouting).  (Uppercase in original).
From this perspective, which was shared by many other discussants, the failures of one
statutory service was taken as symptomatic of a wider malaise of institutional government  that
was rapidly losing its protective appeal.  In an article which was cautious of punitive remedies
and sceptical of the ‛good sense‛ of organisational overhaul, Mary Riddell argued of the MaryAnn Leneghan case, that:
71 BBC News, ‚Should Charles Clarke Resign?‛ Have Your Say, BBC News (Discussion opened April 25, 2006,
and closed May 2, 2006).
(accessed December 19, 2006).
BBC News, ‚Reid proposes Probation Overhaul,‛ BBC News (November 7, 2006).
http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/uk/6123966.stm (accessed December 19, 2006).
73 Lend a Hand, ‚Do We Need a Probation Service Review?‛Have Your Say, BBC News (Discussion opened and
closed March 20, 2006).
(accessed December 19, 2006).
Ibid.Campbell: The Emotional Life
The Probation Service is the wrong target here.  If Michael Johnson and his five co-torturers
were really all ‚psychopaths‛ that would not be so frightening.  Johnson himself sounds a
particularly brutal character.  But some of his gang sound chillingly normal  – young men
who tangled with drugs and relatively minor offences before somehow bonding together to
form a death squad.
Here, Riddell hints at the collapse of the binary which separates ‛Us‛ and ‛Them,‛ the ‛normal‛
and the  ‛pathological,‛ the  ‛fearful‛ and the  ‛feared.‛ Such a collapse evokes a Gothic sensibility, triggering emotional displacements about our being in the world and amplifying deepseated concerns and anxieties associated with a specific socio-political and historical moment.  In
short, things are never quite what they seem.
76 A different kind of expressive logic was articulated in the online discussion.   Nick from Warwickshire, UK wrote:
The most frightening thing about the gang that killed that teenager is that they didn’t care;
care about abducting the girls, care about torturing and raping them, care about killing
them,  care about being caught or care about going to prison.  How are we going to deal
with individuals like this is anyone’s guess.  We have a whole generation coming up that
doesn’t give a second thought about using extreme violence as a daily event.
For Nick, the greatest fear was the apparent loss of an ethics of care and the absence of
mutuality; in prospect was the advent of a Hobbesian state of nature, and a future which was in
the hands of a generation  that, having already normalised violence, were sounding the death
knell for sociality.
Even without a prevailing meta-narrative of insecurity, these several events conspire to
further undermine trust and confidence in the capacity of governmental authorities, techniques
and forms of expertise to police the boundary between order and chaos leaving the self exposed,
vulnerable and seeking its own protection.  Mead suggests that when the conditions for stability
and certainty are not met, people will gravitate to more authoritarian forms of government – he
notes  that  ‛(p)eople are not interested in  ‛freedom‛ if they are<    in any fundamental way
insecure.  They will want more government not less.‛
78 This view may account for the emergence of an ‛authoritarian liberalism‛
and the ‛ratcheting up (of) one of the undisputed core
functions of government  – the maintenance of order and security  – creating more and more
efficient police, and promoting more punishments.‛
It also goes some way to accounting for
75 Mary Riddell, ‚Savage Truth?‛ Comment Is Free, Guardian Unlimited (March 23, 2006).
76 See, for example, Fred Botting, Gothic (London: Routledge, 1996).
77 BBC News, ‚Do We Need a Probation Service Review?‛
78 Lawrence Mead, Beyond Entitlement: The Social Obligations of Citizenship (New York: Press, 1986), 6, cited in
Dean, ‚Liberal Government and Authoritarianism,‛ 38.
79 See, for example, Marianne Valverde, ‚’Despotism’ and Ethical Governance,‛ Economy and Society, 25, 3
(1996), 357-372.  Barry Hindess ‚The Liberal Government of Unfreedom,‛ Alternatives: Social Transformation and
Humane Governance, 26, 1 (2001), 93-111.  Dean, ‚Liberal Government and Authoritarianism.‛ Mitchell Dean,
‚Powers of Life and Death Beyond Governmentality,‛ Cultural Values, 6, 1&2 (2002), 119-138.
80 Malcolm Feely, ‚Crime, Social order and the Rise of neo-Conservative Politics,‛ Theoretical Criminology, 7, 1
(2003), 124.Foucault Studies, No. 9, pp. 35-53.
the advent of the  ‛new punitiveness‛ driven by a virulent  ‛punitive populism‛ and its
concomitant clamour for retributive, incapacitative and deterrent forms of justice.
81 The punitivity/authoritarian thesis has a certain prima facie appeal, but in much the same way as Žižek’s
notion of the  ‛unconscious supplement‛ it rests on some dubious and contradictory assumptions about both the strength  and direction of the relationship between  ‛structures of feeling‛
and authoritarian forms of  rule.
82 Moreover, and again following Žižek, it tends to regard
‛collective sentiments‛ as the expression of a monolithic public in a universally punitive mood.
Put another way, ‛punitive passions‛ do not exhaust the range of sensibilities that an affectivity
of insecurity and uncertainty might involve  – for example, feelings of disappointment,
frustration, bewilderment, sorrow, despair, anger, shock, insult and confusion all feature in the
public discourse detailed above.   Consequently, we would need to ask how an ontology of
confidence and trust in the work of government – especially its sovereign and disciplinary forms
– is conjured out of an aesthetic of these negative dispositions; how is a state of confidence
rendered technical, governmental and political and what kinds of ethical commitments are
inspired by it; what are the techniques of self-government which enfold insecure subjectivities
and reproduce them as confident, assured citizens?
Authoritarian and other selves
Whenever attention is paid to the authoritarian orientations of liberal democratic societies, there
is a tendency within criminology to focus exclusively on statutory institutions and those measures which rely on the exercise of sovereign and disciplinary power – such as harsher, deterrent
sentencing; high visibility and targeted policing; greater use of surveillance technologies;
intensification of juridical powers.  This limited focus results in a void in our understanding of
what it means to govern the  ‛authoritarian self‛ in a context of insecurity and disorder.
Nonetheless, there are important expositions of the form, means, function and content of
‛authoritarian techniques of the self‛ to be found in the wider sociological literature.   I am
thinking here of Hindess’ essay on the notion of ‛(self-)improvement‛ and its centrality to what
he describes as ‛the liberal government of unfreedom;‛
and Valverde’s innovative work on the
notion of ‛habit‛ and its role as a key technique for different forms of self-despotism.
In each
of these accounts, practices of self-government are always-already embedded within the
‛common obligations of citizenship‛
such that by working through a programme of selfimprovement, or resolving to rid oneself of  ‛bad habits‛ expresses a social and political
relationship and an ethical commitment to others.
Dean talks of the formation of citizen-subjects as concerning a ‛‛mode of subjectification‛
or ‚mode of obligation‛< the position we take or are given in relation to rules and norms<
81 See, for example, David Garland, The Culture of Control (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2001).  John Pratt,
David Brown, Mark Brown, Simon Hallsworth  & Wayne Morrison (eds.),  The New Punitiveness: Trends,
Theories, Perspectives (Cullompton: Willan, 2005).  John Pratt, Penal Populism (London: Routledge, 2007).
See, for example, Roger Matthews, ‚The Myth of Punitiveness,‛ Theoretical Criminology, 9, 2 (2005), 175-201.
83 Hindess, ‚The Liberal Government of Unfreedom.‛
84 Valverde, ‚’Despotism’ and Ethical Governance.‛
85 Mead, 12, cited in Dean, ‚Liberal Government and Authoritarianism,‛ 39.Campbell: The Emotional Life
why we govern ourselves or others in a particular manner.‛
86 Though I agree with Dean’s
analysis, deontological questions do not solely involve normative ways of  thinking,  being and
doing; this overlooks the transformative potential of affective modes, and how particular ways of
feeling are implicated in practices of the self, in the production of self-alterity, of becoming-other,
of feeling otherwise in order to be otherwise.
In September 2005, the UK government set up a Respect Task Force, appointing both a
Government Co-ordinator (Louise Casey) and a Minister for Respect (Hazel Blears) to oversee
its progress.  Committing £80 million of new funding to the programme, in January 2006, the
Prime Minister published a Respect Action Plan and by the end of October 2006, the Respect
agenda had established its own Respect Squad and set up its own web-site and action hotline.
With its nifty logo and catchy sound bites, the roll-out of the Respect programme was well
underway before, during and after the spring scandals had left the UK citizenry reeling in
despair for its own protection.   Accompanied by a good deal of trumpet-blowing, the programme promised to deliver an  affective mode of obligation which would enhance ethicality,
mutuality and sociality.  In the launch speech for the Respect Action Plan, Blair announced:
Respect is a way of describing the very possibility of life in a community.  It is about the
consideration that others are due.   It is about the duty I have to respect the rights that you
hold dear.  And vice-versa.  It is about our reciprocal belonging to a society, the covenant
that we have with one another.
To earn respect, feel respect, be respectable, act respectfully is, then, expressive of an affirmative
ethical affiliation, and for Blair, is an affective disposition held by the majority of people.  For
example, in the launch speech, he comments,  ‛(o)f course, the  overwhelming majority of people
understand this intuitively and have no trouble living side by side with their neighbour;‛
in the foreword of the Respect Action Plan, he notes that  ”(m)ost of us learn respect from our
parents and our families.‛
It is this reference to ‛the majority‛ – those who are capable of selfgovernment as respectable citizens  – juxtaposed with ‛the minority‛ – those who have limited
or no capacity for living an ethical life based on respect for others  – which is of particular
interest here.  As Dean reminds us, in liberal democratic societies, those who do not, cannot or
will not form themselves as subjects of government are eligible for authoritarian techniques of
90 Thus, the Respect Action Plan makes it crystal clear that  ‛(e)veryone can change  – if
people who need help will not take it, we will make them.‛
What seems to be proposed here is a cartography of  un/governable subjects.  With the
assurance that those who lack respect are to be subjects of and subjected to authoritarian
technologies of rule, the  ‛rest of us‛ can be (more) confident of living in a stable, ordered and
86 Dean, ‚Foucault, Government and the Enfolding of Authority,‛ 224.
87 Tony Blair, Respect Action Plan Launch Speech, (January 10, 2006, original emphasis)
Ibid., Emphasis added.
89 Respect Task Force, Respect Action Plan (London: COI, 2006), Emphasis added.
90 Dean, ‚Liberal Government and Authoritarianism.‛
91 Respect Task Force, 1.Foucault Studies, No. 9, pp. 35-53.
certain society.  To realise this telos, rather than rely on ‛deep-end‛ authoritarian measures  as
conventionally conceived in articulations of  ‛more government,‛ sovereign and disciplinary
forms of government are to be put to work in, by and for the community.  In other words, in a
process of responsibilisation,
civil society forms the key locus for the deployment of a range of
affective technologies for constituting subjectivities of both confidence and respect, displacing
(though not replacing) the need for overt practices of  ‛crime control‛ in favour of a series of
networks of obligation and alliances of mutuality.
Arts of the emotional self
The Respect programme assumes the existence of a  ‛respectable majority‛ who, despite their
own capacity to self-govern, need to work on themselves and others to achieve an affective state
of confidence and assurance.   Such an ascesis is most clearly spelled out in the strategy document, Confident Communities in a Secure Britain: The Home Office Strategic Plan 2004-2008,
93 which
is further elaborated in the Together We Can Action Plan,
and is articulated repeatedly as  ‛our
(the government’s) commitments to law-abiding citizens.‛ Amongst other things,  ‛the respectable majority‛ is encouraged to make use of an array of ‛new‛ opportunities and arrangements
for getting involved in community concerns by, for example, keeping themselves informed of,
and getting involved in the steps taken by local agencies to address local cultures of disrespect;
by taking a stand against anti-social behaviour by reporting incivilities; by regular updating to
the  ‛relevant authorities‛ of the impact of anti-social behaviour in neighbourhoods; and by
helping to set local policing priorities and making suggestions for specific actions from local
policing teams.  Through  these governmental modalities, the  ‛respectable majority‛ is thereby
transformed into a variegated and fluid network of responsible authorities, and through this
process is enabled to self-actualise (become-other) as a confident citizenry.  But what of ‛the minority,‛ those who lack respect and for whom a more authoritarian approach may be necessary?
As Dean notes, authoritarian liberalism distinguishes between subjects according to their
relative capacities for autonomy.
95 Thus, as well as their difference from  ‛the majority,‛ within
‛the minority‛ are those  ‛who can be profitably assisted in the exercise of their own freedom
and those who must be coerced.‛
In relation to the former, the Respect agenda holds that
‛parenting is one of the most important responsibilities in creating a strong society based on
mutual respect.‛
97 Parenting technologies, therefore, constitute a key component for inculcating
appropriate dispositions and aesthetic comportments.   It may be that individuals within  ‛the
minority‛ are capable of self-governance in some aspects of their lives  – as consumers, as
employees, as tenants, for example  – but if, as parents, they  ‛are unwilling, or unable to meet
their responsibilities we (‛the majority‛) must ensure that they are challenged and supported to
do so.‛
98 Support comes by way of various  ‛new‛ services, interventions and sources of
92 Rose, ‚Government, Authority and Expertise in Advanced Liberalism.‛  Garland, The Culture of Control.
93 Home Office, Confident Communities in a Secure Britain.
94 Civil Renewal Unit, Together We Can (London: Home Office, 2005).
95 Dean, ‚Liberal Government and Authoritarianism.‛
Ibid, 47.
97 Respect Task Force, 17.
Ibid., 17.Campbell: The Emotional Life
financial, social and cultural help for both parents and their children.  Challenge, on the other
hand, renders support compulsory, enforced via a panoply of new and extended (out-of-court)
summary powers of which the ASBO (Anti-Social Behaviour Order) is the most notorious.  At
the level of ascesis, then, the operationalisation of liberal/illiberal modes of governance maps
onto a dichotomised population wherein membership of  ‛the majority‛/‛the minority‛ is
determined by the presence/absence – and within this latter, the educability – of an aesthetics of
respect.  In light of this, I want to suggest that the modalities and techniques of liberal/illiberal
forms of government are mobilised through familiar  ‛taxonomies of affect‛ or what I have
termed,  ‛emotionalities of rule.‛    In this paper, I have examined confidence and respect as
‛emotionalities of rule,‛ as preferred and promoted sensibilities which are  nurtured, engendered and enfolded through specific governmental technologies and practices.   Of course,
confidence and respect do not exhaust the emotionalities  that circulate in governmental
discourses; we can think, for example, of how tolerance, compassion, optimism and (even)
assume a special relevance and importance within liberalism – these are not merely
personal dispositions but are expressive of a specific political and ethical relation.   Quite
properly, then, we can speak of ‛emotionalities of rule‛ as arts of government through which we
seek to govern and be governed in sentient, aesthetic and affective ways.
4. Conclusion
Analyses inspired by Foucauldian governmentality do not purport to apply theory to the
empirical world, and thereby explain it.  Rather, the Foucauldian project suggests a number of
conceptual tools for understanding how different forms of government are made thinkable and
do-able, and  how subjectivities are formed and transformed when autonomous individuals
identify with a complex array of governmental technologies, strategies and expert authorities.
However, and despite a rich and diverse ‛governmentality scholarship,‛ little attention has been
paid to how desire, affect and sensate life is implicated in processes of subjectification; how
passion can prompt (or not) an identification with governmental programmes; and how
‛emotionalities of rule‛ propose and suggest ways of feeling about the world – how we should
feel about ourselves and others, how we participate in, cultivate and enact an aesthetic life, and
how we seek to govern and be governed in sentient, expressive ways.  The case study presented
here demonstrates how questions of government, power and politics, morality and ethics can
never be solely a matter of cognition and reason.   To assume that self-directing individuals
identify with particular technologies and practices of the self on purely instrumental grounds is
to deny the emotional and affective intensities which circulate, permeate and inform cognitive
and discursive ways of being, doing and saying.   It is these intensities which confront and
unsettle our ontological security, and which not only trouble our sense of social order and
stability but also provoke a questioning of the work of government and its capacity to direct our
own and others‛ conduct.  Moreover, such emotional  ‛disturbances‛ are not reducible to a
singular psychic state  – melancholia, as psychoanalysis would have it  – but are highly
differentiated, complex and fluid such that they open up multiple ‛lines of flight‛ and initiate a
plethora of alternative possibilities for the (re-)formation of un/governable subjectivities.
99 Minette Marrin, ‚The dangerous Business of happiness,‛ The Sunday Times (June 18, 2006), 16.Foucault Studies, No. 9, pp. 35-53.
However, such moments of intensity may incite new identities and provoke ethical attachments
that are inimical to particular regimes of rule such that they pose dangers for that regime, and
problematise its modes and rationalities of governance.  In the case study, loss of confidence in
the work of government, along with expressed feelings of distrust, disappointment, shock,
outrage, confusion and fear, create the affective conditions for questioning the exercise of
governmental power in a liberal, democratic society, and prompt the need to realign an
uncertain citizenry as confident, assured subjects  – a process which I have described as the
‛enfolding of emotionalities.‛ There is much to be learned from an account that places affective
agency at the heart of an analytics of government.   First, it alerts us to the way in which modes
of obligation within liberalism involve obligations not only to legal and moral codes, but also to
normative sensibilities, particular ways of feeling which are deemed appropriate to sustain
political and ethical life in a liberal society  – for example, tolerance, confidence, compassion,
trust, optimism.  Secondly, it suggests that participation in and full membership of civil society
relies as much on an affective identity as it does on any other kind of selfhood, as a  ‛rational
actor,‛ for example.  Thirdly, and following this last point, an account which centres on affective
life emphasises how politico-ethical credentials are demonstrated and established not solely by a
capacity to be a self-enterprising or self-sufficient individual, but also relies on expressive
capabilities and the display of certain aesthetic qualities.   Finally, while the co-existence and
intersection of sovereign, disciplinary and governmental power has been widely recognised,
very little attention has been paid to the way in which taxonomies of affect underwrite the
deployment of liberal/illiberal modes of governance across constituencies differentiated by
ontologies of feeling.  Governing through subjectivities of affect is, then, an integral strategy of
governance and is indispensable to the notion of governing through freedom.
Elaine Campbell
Reader in Criminology
School of Geography, Politics and Sociology
Claremont Bridge
Newcastle University
Newcastle Upon Tyne NE1 7RU
United Kingdom


Science and society March 15, 2011

Posted by Elena in Uncategorized.
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I think we could much better understand aspects of society if we can understand laws in science but I have no idea how that happens so I’m going to collect information here that eventually we can put together and make the necessary correlations.

The Individual in History March 14, 2011

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I would like to dedicate this page to the Individual and the exploration of that evolution throughout history. I’ve found this significant paper on it and will hopefully find more.

Politics-Economy March 6, 2011

Posted by Elena in Uncategorized.
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I need to start putting things in their own place so that I can mix them again later. I am simply collecting the information I need.

Ton’s criticisms of Elena March 6, 2011

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This page is dedicated to Ton and his criticism of my individuality. I have opened it here so that it can be used for that sole purpose which is what his participation throughout the blogs has been about and because I am interested in furthering my research on the subjects I am interested in without the consistent interruption about my misgivings. My misgivings are plenty. If Ton considers them such a worthy subject,  here is a whole page for you to expose them.



Giorgio Agamben March 5, 2011

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The more I look at the following work by Bussolini on Agamben, the clearer its complexity becomes and I must take it into pieces and try to understand and point out what matters to me little by little.


Sobre estos temas en Español. March 5, 2011

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Religion March 5, 2011

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I would like to dedicate this page to information on religion. The following posts are connected to post 129 of State and religion page

State and Religion 2 February 27, 2011

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Blog on the rape of the mind February 25, 2011

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By battlesword

Welcome to WordPress.com. This is your first post. Edit or delete it and start blogging!

This entry was posted on February 10, 2009 at 4:03 pm and is filed underUncategorized. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0 feed. You can leave a response, or trackback from your own site.

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16 Responses to “Hello world!”

  1. Mr WordPress Says:
    February 10, 2009 at 4:03 pmHi, this is a comment.
    To delete a comment, just log in, and view the posts’ comments, there you will have the option to edit or delete them.
  2. battlesword Says:
    February 10, 2009 at 4:06 pmEvery word in this chapter applies to the people who participated in the Fellowship of Friends Cult. It is interesting that this was written around 1950, and fifty years later, the main characteristic of the people who joined this cult is that they were already in that stage of existence in which they were too confused to think for themselves. Everyone who stayed long enough, slipped into the Cult life like a hand in a glove. It speaks well for humanity that of the fifteen thousand members that joined, only around two thousand remained in March of 2007 when I left and almost eight hundred left in the two years after that.THE RAPE OF THE MIND: The Psychology of Thought Control, Menticide, and Brainwashing, by Joost A. M. Meerloo, M.D., Instructor in Psychiatry, Columbia University Lecturer in Social Psychology, New School for Social Research, Former Chief, Psychological Department, Netherlands Forces, published in 1956, World Publishing Company. (Out of Print) 


    The purpose of the second part of this book is to show various aspects of political and non-political strategy used to change the feelings and thoughts of the masses, starting with simple advertising and propaganda, then surveying psychological warfare and actual cold war, and going on to examine the means used for internal streamlining of man’s thoughts and behavior. Part Two ends with an intricate exmination of how one of the tools of emotional fascination and attack — the weapon of fear — is used and what reactions it arouses in men.


    Only blind wishful thinking can permit us to believe that our own society is free from the insidious influences mentioned in Part One. The fact is that they exist all around us, both on a political and a nonpolitical level and they become as dangerous to the free way of life as are the aggressive totalitarian governments themselves.

    Every culture institutionalizes certain forms of behavior that communicate and encourage certain forms of thinking and acting, thus molding the character of its citizens. To the degree that the individual is made an object of constant mental manipulation, to the degree that cultural institutions may tend to weaken intellectual and spiritual strength, to the degree that knowledge of the mind is used to tame and condition people instead of educating them, to that degree does the culture itself produce men and women who are predisposed to accept an authoritarian way of life. The man who has no mind of his own can easily become the pawn of a would-be dictator.

    It is often disturbing to see how even intelligent people do not have straightthinking minds of their own. The pattern of the mind, whether toward conformity and compliance or otherwise, is conditioned rather early in life.

    In his important social psychological experiments with students, Asch found out in simple tests that there was a yielding toward an ERRING MAJORITY opinion in more than a third of his test persons, and 75 percent of subjects experimented upon agreed with the majority in varying degrees. In many persons the weight of authority is more important than the quality of the authority.

    If we are to learn to protect our mental integrity on all levels, we must examine not only those aspects of contemporary culture which have to do directly with the struggle for power, but also those developments in our culture which, by dulling the edge of our mental awareness or by taking advantage of our suggestibility, can lead us into the mental death — or boredom — of totalitarianism. Continual suggestion and slow hypnosis in the wake of mechanical mass communication promotes uniformity of the mind and may lure the public into the “happy era” of adjustment, integration, and equalization, in which individual opinion is completely stereotyped.

    When I get up in the morning, I turn on my radio to hear the news and the weather forecast. Then comes the pontifical voice teling me to take aspirin for my headache. I have “headaches” occasionally (so does the world), and my headaches, like everyone else’s, come from the many conflicts that life imposes on me. My radio tells me not to think about either the conflicts or the headaches. It suggests, instead, that I should retreat into that old magic action of swallowing a pill. Although I laugh as I listen to this long-distance prescription by a broadcaster who does not know anything about me or my headaches and though I meditate for a moment on man’s servility to the magic of chemistry, my hand has already begun to reach out for the aspirin botle. After all, I do have a headache.

    It is extremely difficult to escape the mechanically repeated suggestions of everyday life. Even when our critical mind rejects them, they seduce us into doing what our intellect tells us is stupid.

    The mechanization of modern life has already influenced man to become more pssive and to adjust himself to ready-made conformity. No longer does man think in personal values, following more his own conscience and ethical evaluations; he thinks more and more in the values brought to him by mass media. Headlines in the morning paper give him his temporary political outlook, the radio blasts suggestions into his ears, television keeps him in continual awe and passive fixation. Consciously he may protest against these anonymous voices, but nevertheless their suggestions ooze into his system.

    What is perhaps most shocking about these influences is that many of them have developed not out of man’s destructiveness, but out of his hope to improve his world and to make life richer and deeper. The very institutions man has created to help himself, the very tools he has invented to enhance his life, the very progress he has made toward mastery of himself and his environment — all can become weapons of destruction.

    The Public-Opinion Engineers

    The conviction is steadily growing in our country that an elaborate propaganda campaign for either a political idea or a deep-freeze can be sucessful in selling the public any idea or object one wants them to buy, any politial figure one wants them to elect. Recently, some of our election campaigns have been masterminded by the so-called public-opinion engineers, who have used all the techniques of modern mass communication and all the contemporary knowledge of the human mind to persuade Americans to vote for the candidate who is paying the public-relation men’s salaries. The danger of such high-pressure advertising is that the man or the party who can pay the most can become, temporarily at least, the one who can influence the people to buy or to vote for what may not be in their real interest.

    The specialists in the art of persuasion and the molding of public sentiment may try to knead man’s mental dough with all the tools of communication available to them: pamphlets, speeches, posters, billboards, radio programs, and T.V. shows. They may water down the spontaneity and creativity of thoughts and ideas into sterile and streamlined cliches that direct our thoughts even although we still have the illusion of being original and individual.

    What we call the will of the people, or the will of the masses, we only get to know after such collective action is put on the move, after the will of the people has been expressed either at the polls or in fury and rebellion. This indicates again how important it is who directs the tools and machines of public opinion.

    In the wake of such advertising and engineering of consent, the citizen’s trust in his leaders may become shaken and the populace may gradually grow more and more accustomed to official deceit. Finally, when people no longer have confidence in any program, any position, and when they are unable to form intelligent judgments any more, they can be more easily influenced by any demagogue or would-be dictator, whose strength appeals to their confusion and their growing sense of dissatisfaction. Perhaps the worst aspect of this slick mechandising of ideas is that too often even those who buy the experts, and even the opinion experts themselves, are unaware of what they are doing. They too are swayed by the current catchword “management of public opinion,” and they cannot judge any more the tools they have hired.

    The end never justifies the means; enough steps on this raod can lead us gradually to Totalitaria.

    At this very moment in our country, an elaborate research into motivation is going on, whose object is to find out why and what the buyer likes to buy. What makes him tick? The aim is to bypass the resistance barriers of the buying public. It is part of our paradoxical cultural philosophy to stimulate human needs and to stimulate the wants of the people. Commercialized psychological understanding wants to sell to the pbulic, to the potential buyer, many more products than he really wants to buy. In order to do this, rather infantile impulses have to be awakened, such as sibling rivalry and neighbor envy, the need to have more and more sweets, the glamour of colors, and the need for more and more luxuries.

    The commercial psychologist teaches the seller how to avoid unpleasant associations in his advertising, how to stimulate, unobtrusively, sex associations, how to make everything look simple and happy and successful and secure! He teaches the shops how to boost the buyer’s ego, how to flatter the customer.

    The marketing engineers have discovered that our public wants the suggestion of strength and virility in their product. A car must have more horse-power in order to balance feelings of inner weakness in the owner. A car must represent one’s social status and reputation, because without such a flag man feels empty. Advertising agencies dream of “universitas advertensis,” the world of glittering sham ideas, the glorification of “munus vult decipi,” the intensification of snob appeal, the expression of vulgar conspicuousness, and all this in order to push more sales into the greedy mouths of buying babies. In our world of advertising, artificial needs are invented by sedulous sellers and buyers. Here lies the threat of building up a sham world that can have a dangerous influence on our world of ideas.

    This situation emphasizes the neurotic greed of the public, the need to indulge in private fancies at the cost of an awareness of real values. The public becomes conditioned to meretricious values. Of course, a free public gradually finds its defenses against slogans, but dishonesty and mistrust slip through the barriers of our consciousness and leave behind a gnawing feeling of dissatisfaction. After all, advertising symbolizes the art of making people dissatisfied with what they have. In the meantime it is evident man sustains a continual sneak attack on his better judgment.

    In our epoch of too many noises and many frustrations, many “free” minds have given up the struggle for decency and individuality. They surrender to the “Zeitgeist,” often without being aware of it. Public opinion molds our critical thoughts every day. Unknowingly, we may become opinionated robots. The slow coercion of hypocrisy, of traditions in our culture that have a leveling effect — these things change us. We crave excitement, hair-raising stories, sensation. We search for situations that create superficial fear to cover up inner anxieties. We like to escape into the irrational because we dislike the challenge of self-study and self-thinking. Our leisure time is occupied increasingly by automatized activities in which we take no part: listening to piped-in words and viewing television sreens. We hurry along with cars and go to bed with a sleeping pill. This pattern of living in turn may open the way for renewed sneak attacks on our mind. Our boredom may welcome any seductive suggestion.

    Psychological Warfare as a Weapon of Terror

    Every human communication can be either a report of straight facts or an attempt to suggest things and situations as they do not exist. Such distortion and perversion of facts strike at the core of human communication. The verbal battle against man’s concept of truth and against his mind seems to be ceaseless. For example, if I can instill in eventual future enemies fear and terror and the suggestion of impending defeat, even before they are willing to fight, my battle is already half won.

    The strategy of man to use a frightening mask and a loud voice to utter lies in order to manipulate friend and foe is as old as mankind. Primitive people used terror-provoking masks, magic fascination, or self-deceit as much as we use loudly spoken words to convince others or ourselves. They use their magic paints and we our ideologies. Truly, we live in an age of ads, propaganda, and publicity. But only under dictatorial and totalitarian regimes have such human habit formations mushroomed into systematic psychologial assault on mankind.

    The weapons the dictator uses against his own people, he may use against the outside world as well. For example, the false confessions that divert the minds of dictator’s subjects from their own real problems have still another effect: they are meant (and sometimes they succeed in their aim) to terrorize the world’s public. By strengthening the myth of the dictator’s omnipotence, such confessions weaken man’s will to resist him. If a period of peace can be used to soften up a future enemy, the totalitarian armies may be able in time of war to win a cheap and easy victory. Totalitarian psychological warfare is directed largely toward this end. It is an effort to propagandize and hypnotize the world into submission.

    As far back as the early nineteenth century, Napoleon organized his Bureau de l’Opinion Publique in order to influence the thinking of the French people. But it fell to the Germans to develop the manipulation of public opinion into a huge, wellorganized machine. Their psychological warfare became aggressive strategy in peacetime, the so-called war between wars. It was as a result of the Nazi attack on European morale and the Nazi war of nerves against their neighbors that the other nations of the world began to organize their own psychological forces, but it was only in the second half of the war that they were able to achieve some measure of success. Ther Germans had a long head start.

    Hitler’s psychological artillery was composed primarily of the weapion of fear. He had, for example, a network of fifth columnists whose main job was to sow rumors and suspicions among the citizens of the countries against which he eventually planned to fight. The people were upset not only by the spy system itself, but by the very rumor of spies. These fifth columnists spread slogans of defeat and political confusion: “Why should France die for England?” Fear began to direct people’s actions. Instead of facing the real threat of German invasion, instead of preparing for it, all of Europe shuddered at spie stories, discussed irrelevant problems, argued endlessly about scapegoats and minorities. Thus Hitler used the rampant, vague fears to becloud the real issues, and by attacking his enemies’ will to fight, weakened them.

    Not content with this strategic attack on the will to defend oneself, Hitler tried to paralyze Europe with the threat of terror, not only the threat of bombing, destruction, and occupation, but also the psychological threat implicit in his own boast of ruthlessness. The fear of an implacable foe makes man more willing to submit even before he has begun to fight. Hitler’s criminal acts at home — the concentration camps, the gas chambers, the mass murders, the atmosphere of terror throughout Germany — were as useful in the service of his fear-instilling propaganda machinery as they were a part of his delusions.

    There is another important weapon the totalitarians use in their campaign to frighten the world into submission. This is the weapon of psychological shock. Hitler kept his enemies in a state of constant confusion and diplomatic upheaval. They never knew what this unpredictable madman was going to do next. Hitler was never logical, beause he knew that that was what he was expected to be. Logic can be met with logic, while illogic cannot — it confuses those who think straight. The Big Lie and monotonously repeated nonsense have more emotional appeal in a cold war than logic and reason. While the enemy is stil searching for a reasonable counter-argument to the first lie, the totalitarians can assault him with another.

    Strategical mental shocks were the instruments the Nazis used when they entered the Rhineland in 1936 and when they concluded their nonaggression pact with Russia in 1939. Stalin used the same strategy at the time of the Korean invasion in 1950 (which he directed), as did the Chinese and the North Koreans when they accused the United States of bacteriological warfare. By acting in this apparently irrational way, the totalitarians throw their logic-minded enemies into confusion. The enemy feels compelled to deny the propagandistic lies or to explain things as they really are, and these actions immediately put him in the weaker defensive position. For the galloping lie can never be overtaken, it can only be overthrown.

    The technique of psychological shock has still another effect. It may so confuse the mind of the individual citizen that he ceases to make his own evaluations and begins to lean passively on the opinions of others. Hitler’s destruction of Warsaw and Rotterdam — after the armistice in 1940, a complete violation of international law — immobilized France and shook the other democratic nations. Being in a paralysis of moral indignation, they became psychologically ill-equipped to deal with the Nazi horrors.

    Just as the technological advances of the modern world have refined and perfected the weapons of physical warfare, so the advance in man’s understanding of the manipulaton of public opinion have enabled him to refine and perfect the weapons of psychological warfare.

    The Indoctrination Barrage

    The continual intrusion into our minds of the hammering noises of arguments and propaganda can lead to two kinds of reactions. It may lead to apathy and indifference, the I-don’t-care reaction, or to a more intensified desire to study and to understand. Unfortunately, the first reaction is the more popular one. The flight from study and awareness is much too common in a world that throws too many confusing pictures to the individual. For the sake of our democracy, based on freedom and individualism, we have to bring ourselves back to study again and again. Otherwise, we can become easy victims of a well-planned verbal attack on our minds and consciences.

    We cannot be enough aware of the continual coercion of our senses and minds, the continual suggestive attacks which may pass through the intellectual barriers of insight. Repetition and Pavlovian conditioning exhaust the individual and may seduce him ultimately to accept a truth he himself initially defied and scorned.

    The totalitarians are very ingenious in arousing latent guilt in us by repeating over and over again how criminally the Western world has acted toward innocent and peaceful people. The totalitarians may attack our identification with our leaders by ridiculing them, making use of every man’s latent critical attitude toward all leaders. Sometimes they use the strategy of boredom to lull the people to sleep. They would like the entire Western world to fall into a hypnotic sleep under the illusion of peaceful coexistence. In a more refined strategy, they would like to have us cut all our ties of loyalty with the past, away from relatives and parents. The more you have forsaken them and their so-called outmoded concepts, the better you will cooperate with those who want to take mental possession of you. Every political strategy that aims toward arousing fear and suspicion tends to isolate the insecure individual until he surrenders to those forces that seem to him stronger than his former friends.

    And last but not least, let us not forget that in the battle of arguments those with the best and most forceful strategy tend to win. The totalitarians organize intensive dialectical training for their subjects lest their doubts get the better of them. They try to do the same thing to the rest of the world in a less obtrusive way.

    We have to learn to encounter the totalitarians’ exhausting barrage of words with better training and better understanding. If we try to escape from these problems of mental defense or deny their complications, the cold war will gradually be lost to the slow encroachment of words — and more words.

    The Enigma of Coexistence

    Is it possible to coexist with a totalitarian system that never ceases to use its psychological artillery? Can a free democracy be strong enough to tolerate the parasitic intrusion of totalitarianism into its rights and freedoms? History tells us that many opposing and clashing ideologies have been able to coexist under a common law that assured tolerance and justice. The church no longer burns its apostates.

    Before the opposites of totalitarianism and free democracy can coexist under the umbrella of supervising law and mutual good will, a great deal more of mutual understanding and tolerance wil have to be built up. The actual cold war and psychological warfare certainly do not yet help toward this end.

    To the totalitarian, the word “coexistence” has a different meaning than it has to us. The totalitarian may use it merely as a catch-word or an appeaser. The danger is that the concept of peaceful coexistence may become a disguise, dulling the awareness of inevitable interactions and so profiting the psychologically stronger party. Lenin spoke about the strategic breathing spell (peredyshka) that has to weaken the enemy. Too enthusiastic a peace movement may mean a superficial appeasement of problems. Such an appeal has to be studied and restudied, lest it result in a dangerous letdown of defenses which have to remain mobilized to face a ruthless enemy.

    Coexistence may mean a suffocating subordination much like that of prisoners coexisting with their jailers. At its best, it may imitate the intensive symbiotic or ever-parasitic relationship we can see among animals which need each other, or as we see it in the infant in its years of dependency upon its mother.

    ____________This is the kind of coexistence that existed in the Fellowship of Friends Cult.

    In order to coexist and to cooperate, one must have notions and comparable images of interaction, of a sameness of ideas, of a belonging-together, of an interdependence of the whole human race, in spite of the existence of racial and cultural differences. Otherwise the ideology backed by the greater military strength will strangle the weaker one.

    Peaceful coexistence presupposes on BOTH sides a high understanding of the problems and complications of simple coexistence, of mutual agreement and limitations, of the diversity of personalities, and especially of the coexistence of contrasting and irreconcilable thoughts and feelings in every individual of the innate ambivalence of man. It demands an understanding of the rights of both the individual and the collectivity. Using coexistence as a catch-word, we may obscure the problems involved, and we may find that we use the word as a flag that covers gradual surrender to the stronger strategist.

  3. battlesword Says:
    February 10, 2009 at 4:14 pmThe posts on this blog are mostly related to the study of cults. I’m particularly interested in exploring why so many cult members have ended up committing suicide.
  4. battlesword Says:
    February 10, 2009 at 4:34 pmWhat I find interesting about the following article is that the emotional manipulation that a parent does to a child to turn her against the other parent is a faithful parallel of the manipulation cults do to members to separate them from their families and the world at large. The effects are the same!Adult Children of Parental Alienation Syndrome: Breaking the Ties that Bind
    Amy J. L. Baker
    New York: W. W. Norton and Company, Inc., 2007. ISBN-10: 0393705196; ISBN-13: 978-0393705195 (hardcover), $32.00. 304 pages. 

    Reviewed by Lorna Goldberg, M.S.W.

    Those of us who are immersed in the cult field often find that our work has been marginalized by mental health professionals who see us as treating a population that has little to do with the problems they are addressing in their clinical practices. Over the years, I believe we have been able to bridge this gap with those who work with other trauma survivors. Now Dr. Baker has brought some of our cult-related insights into another field—family environments in which children need to maintain total loyalty to one parent at the cost of a relationship with the other parent. This is a family problem that occurs on a continuum of influence, from such behaviors as mild bad-mouthing of the other parent to using an array of strategies that might result in a case of Parental Alienation Syndrome (PAS), which happens in the most extreme cases.
    We acknowledge the power of suggestion and influence on both children and adults. In the past, those of us who work with cult survivors immediately “got” the concept that poorly trained therapists could successfully suggest to their patients that they might “recover” memories of child abuse of which they previously had been unaware. Likewise, in contrast to some therapists who become seduced or manipulated by parents who present them with children who might totally reject and hate one parent without giving them specifics (particularly specifics of abuse or neglect), therapists who have worked in the cult area can be skeptical, request further information, and wonder whether PAS is at work. We also wonder about the possibility of some form of parental alienation when an adult enters therapy with a black-and-white version of his parents.

    14. elena – January 8, 2009
    From ipsa res loquitur with gratitude to Unanimo and writers especially for Daily Cardiac: These are the facts that you are blind to:

    I have personally experienced the greedy, grabbing completely selfish ass ault of the “beyond feminine dominance”Queen of the hive and the blind eye and closed hearts of the procurer drones and their paradoxical judgement/envy.
    While they watched the constant stream of situationaly compromised young and not so young men enter the heavily over loaded to one side arena of the Queen, with what seemed like the complacent attitude of, as long as my security isnt compromised, who cares if there are some casualties, if they leave then surely they were weak and unsuited to evolve thats why “C influence released them.


    on July 29, 2007 at 3:37 amunoanimo
    Sexual Harassment, Emotional Distress, Breach of Trust

    Bruce 216: “Even though many of us lived together in the boy cottage, many of us were walking around in a daze asking ourselves “why was it happening to just me”. We were so shell shocked that none of us could assume it was happening to others. No one would speak of it. ”


    15. elena – January 8, 2009
    Sexual Exploitation, Sexual Predator, Sexual Harassment, Enticement, Breach of Trust, Willful Tort, Negligent Tort

    Worse, and this is important, living these lies dishonored the efforts of his students, made a mockery of their truths. Then on, ever downwards, the web of deceit was woven thread by thread. Countless times, Burton told the lie of celibacy in the morning and that same evening raped one of his students (fucked them against their will), used blackmail and further lies to complete the deed, used the Work language to serve his own base purposes. Used their shame as a weapon to ensure their silence. Bruce has told it, how isolated each of the ‘boys’ in the Blake Cottage were, each thinking they were the only one. This poison contaminated every aspect of the Fellowship. What do the grandiose dreams of good declared by Burton mean in the face of this? In the balance, far less than nothing, a negative amount. The horror outweighs any possibility of good.


    27. elena – January 8, 2009
    Invasion of Privacy, Enticement of a Parent, Intensional Infliction of Emotional Distress, Child Endangerment, ‘Fetus Endangerment’ … See ‘Administration of Children and Families’. Inhumane Treatment of Animals

    I learned that earlier in his reign Robert asked married women not to have kids and if they already did to give them away. Many apparently listened and obeyed. Apparently Linda was persuading pregnant women to have an abortion “to follow the will of the Teacher”. Gently ask older female students in FOF what happened to their kids.

    Purchasing Awakening

    Enticement of Parent, Enticement, Invasion of Privacy,

    When I got pregnant I was leaving at Renaissance and my husband was on salary. We did not have the money to go to a doctor and were worried about future hospital bills.

    My husband called Robert, but not until years later did he tell me what the teacher had said in response to a request for financial help for the birth, namely, that we had missed an opportunity to oppose our catholic upbring by not having an abortion.

    A student on salary with family later suggested we go to County Health Services. Fortunately I had excellent care.

    BTW our child is an absolute delight, a gift beyond measure.


    Invasion of Privacy, Connivance, Enticement of a Parent, Discrimination, Undue Influence, Undue Influence, Child Endangerment, ‘Negligent Eloignment’

    I never understood the few, lovely, women I met who had left their children in the care of others at the behest of the FOF leaders. Please note that the directives may have come from Robert after Center Directors told him of situations that might threaten the student’s devotion and or payments. (Darn those silly outside influences.)

    16/284/A Former female student from long ago

    Recklessness, Prenatal Tort

    I knew of a visit from Fran, an older women, who was sent to escort a happily married women to a hospital for a late term abortion of healthy twins. Why was this married student in a happy relationship guided to go to the hospital to abort two healthy fetuses? Robert loved the beautiful, handsome husband and it was during the mid/late 70s when the School could not afford to have students be distracted by the emotional or expensive aspects of children.

    This potential mother and father were in in pain but followed Robert’s directives – it was not a pretty situation. Years later Robert got his guy back and the wife was left to earn money outside of Renaissance while her husband was on salary.

    16/284/A Former female student from long ago

    Misappropriation of funds, Fraud, Corruption in Office, Wanton Misconduct, False Pretenses, Discrimination

    How can you explain the disappearing of funds and sick people like J e-s-a, who can not afford medical treatment?

    How do you live with the fact that Robert uses money from inheritances for different purposes then the original plan of the deceased student?

    The way he lets students go especially the one who are not rich and do not have a lot of importance in art or the financial world is very cold and painful.

    I encountered many students who were alcohol addicted and the pain they have/had. How do you live with this info?

    16/304/Another name

    Intentional & Negligent Infliction of emotional distress

    Nearly 15 years after I left the Fellowship of Friends, I discovered I was very angry about what had happened to me there. In the intervening years, I had actively tried not to acknowledge it, mostly out of fear of some sort of divine retribution, I guess. After many years of chronic illnesses and chronic pain, things kind of came to a head, as they say. I acknowledged to myself that I was angry. It was quite shocking, actually how angry I was. I surprised myself.

    I recommend: 1) a good therapist and 2) screaming into a pillow (to avoid upsetting the neighbors/family).


    Intentional infliction of Emotional distress, Misappropriation of Funds, Negligent Hiring, Discrimination, Favoritism, Breach of Duty, Fraud

    He uses the donations from the members (most of whom think the money is going to be spent for the common good) to buy outrageously expensive trinkets and clothes for his boy whores. Furthermore, most of those boys only give in to his advances because he says he is their conscious teacher, goddess, etc.

    16/311/David B

    Intentional and Negligent Infliction of Emotional Distress,
    Invasion of Privacy, Undue Influence, Outrageous conduct, Unprofessional Conduct, Wrongful act.

    There are few stories from wives of RB boys for good reason – the shame involved is incredible. But, believe me, we are around in numbers. The shame is two fold, one at being a wife or serious girlfriend who’s beloved man is having regular sex with someone else. But the shame I most want to talk about is living with, witnessing, the man’s shame. My husband was with RB a long time ago and he is NOT homosexual and the sex was coerced (he was an ‘idiot’ type). He was shamed into it by not being a ‘high’ being as RB. After being shamed into the sex, it was incredibly shameful for him to have enjoyable physical sensations. It haunted him for years and impacted his manhood – his perception of his manhood. This is VERY IMPORTANT for a man, it goes to the very CORE OF HIS ESSENCE and has ABSOLUTELY NOTHING to do with feminine dominance or morality. RB shit on these men a festering scum cloud deep into their core. It takes extreme measures to heal from that and clean it out. I feel very sorry for you and very sorry for a woman who loves you – your cloud is still festering.

    16/331/That Girl

    Intentional and Negligent Infliction of Emotional Distress, Invasion of Privacy, Sexual Predator

    I remember a few years ago one Russian woman was crying (she left FOF) because she was raising a baby while her husband was sleeping with Robert and “to smooth things over” RB gave her a gift – a Russian scarf… Plus demanded to wear it every time she was going out where he could see her. That was pure sadism!


    28. elena – January 8, 2009
    (Concerning the story of Brian Sisler)

    I (Ames) went to nursing school, and caught TB from a patient. I couldn’t work as a nurse, we got into financial trouble, and moved to Sacramento. During our time there, we were told that Brian had been stabbed and was in hospital. The official story, given by the center director, was that he had been stabbed 44 times, that this was a signal from C-Influence, and that he had been ‘released’ from the Fellowship, and had returned to his family in the mid-west.

    I found out that the 44 stab wounds were mythological, invented by Burton. There had in fact been five.

    About six months ago, I heard the rumors that he was dead. I checked around, and they appeared to be true.

    This is what I can piece together, but I stress I have no first–hand information. I hear he went to the FoF gatehouse, and asked to see Burton. Burton refused to see him. He made his way down to Marysville, checked into a motel, and hanged himself.

    She describes their deep friendship and his emotional and physical pain as Burton brutalized him, how he lay groaning on the floor of the Blake Cottage for hours after a session with him. This went on for years. She had first–hand knowledge, her job was to clean the Blake Cottage around the comings and goings of Burton, —and to clean the soiled underwear. She recalls the perfuming of Burton and the air around to cover the sordid smells.

    My understanding is that Brian was a schizophrenic. The “higher being” that is Burton took ruthless advantage of his weaknesses and used him as his personal property, to do with as he wished. There was no compassion, no love, no understanding, Brian was just an object for his gratification. And when things became too uncomfortable, he was thrown away, like a soiled tissue, and with as much compunction. Compost. I channel my anger about this and other things that have happened as best as I can, right now mainly through the blog, and hopefully in a constructive way. There are many other stories yet to be told, by many, many people; they are slowly being revealed, and Burton will be shown, once and for all, for the horror that he is. That is my hope.

    37. ton – January 8, 2009
    the fof cult likes to think of itself as a ‘church’ — for tax purposes:

    “1. Authority and Power – abusive churches misuse and distort the concept of spiritual authority. Abuse arises when leaders of a church or group arrogate to themselves power and authority that lacks the dynamics of open accountability and the capacity to question or challenge decisions made by leaders. The shift entails moving from general respect… to one where members loyally submit without any right to dissent.

    2. Manipulation and Control – abusive churches are characterized by social dynamics where fear, guilt, and threats are routinely used to produce unquestioning obedience, group conformity, and stringent tests of loyalty to the leaders are demonstrated before the group… concepts of the leader-disciple relationship tend to develop into a hierarchy where the leader’s decisions control and usurp the disciple’s right or capacity to make choices on spiritual matters or even in daily routines…. what form of employment, form of diet and clothing are permitted.

    3. Elitism and Persecution – abusive churches depict themselves as unique in God’s plans and have a strong organizational tendency to be separate from other church bodies and institutions. The social dynamism of the group involves being independent or separate, with diminishing possibilities for internal correction and reflection. Outside criticism and evaluation is dismissed as the disruptive efforts of evil people seeking to hinder or thwart God’s plans.

    4. Life-style and Experience – abusive churches foster rigidity in behaviour and in belief that requires unswerving conformity to the group’s ideals and social mores.

    5. Dissent and Discipline – abusive churches tend to suppress any kind of internal challenges and dissent concerning decisions made by leaders. Acts of discipline may involve…

    Upon learning that their group is a destructive cult some people are unable to muster the strength to leave. Others leave but soon return. The impact of leaving a high control group is dramatic, regularly leading to Post Traumatic Stress Disorder.
    provides the following outline of the process a person generally goes through when leaving a cult.

    The period of exiting from a cult is usually a traumatic experience and, like any great change in a person’s life, involves passing through stages of accommodation to the change:

    Disbelief/denial: “This can’t be happening. It couldn’t have been that bad.”
    Anger/hostility: “How could they/I be so wrong?” (hate feelings)
    Self-pity/depression: “Why me? I can’t do this.”
    Fear/bargaining: “I don’t know if I can live without my group. Maybe I can still associate with it on a limited basis, if I do what they want.”
    Reassessment: “Maybe I was wrong about the group’s being so wonderful.”
    Accommodation/acceptance: “I can move beyond this experience and choose new directions for my life” or…
    Reinvolvement: “I think I will rejoin the group.”
    For those that do leave Michael Langone, Ph.D., of the American Family Foundation (AFF), lists symptoms suffered by up to 80% of former members of high control groups.11
    Anxiety, fear, and worry
    Feelings of anger toward the group leaders
    Mental confusion
    Vivid flashbacks to the group experience
    Low self-confidence
    Difficulty concentrating
    Compulsive need to talk about the group
    Despair, hopelessness, and helplessness
    Difficulty thinking critically
    Guilt about things done while in the group
    Troubled by thoughts that can’t be gotten rid of
    “Floating” among very different states of mind
    Conflicts with loved ones & family
    A longing to restore certain aspects of group
    Difficulty finding suitable employment
    Fear of physical harm by the group
    Medical ills



    11. elena – January 8, 2009
    From Res Ipsa loquitur
    A list of circumstances and convictions upon the Fellowship of Friends and Robert Burton that are as applicable now as they were 10 years ago.

    Fellowship Of Friends-A Cult In Oregon House, California.
    Another lawsuit filed against F.O.F/Renaissance Vineyard &
    Winery, Robert Burton, Girard Haven, Abraham Goldman, Helga
    Ruth Mueller, and Clair Bowen–directors of Fellowship of
    Friends, Inc. The lawsuit brought by Troy Buzbee and filed
    on April 29, 1996 in the County of Yuba.
    Complaint for Damages is in Case # 060209
    1. Fraud
    2. Intentional infliction of emotional distress
    3. Negligent infliction of emotional distress
    4. Breach of fiduciary duty
    5. Negligent supervision
    6. Sexual misconduct with a minor
    7. Sexual harassment
    8. Wrongful discharge
    9. Negligence
    10. Failure to pay minimum wage
    11. Battery
    Fellowship Of Friends Cult – By Michelle M. Milligan
    “Within the pages of the case are facts and details concerning sexual and perverted acts practiced by Burton, his philosophies and ideologies expected of the members.”
    According to the case, Robert Burton, “The Teacher”, as referred to by members, began the corporation Fellowship of Friends in 1971.

    The “Fourth Way philosophy is taught and practiced by the Fellowship of Friends. The location of The Fellowship of Friends herein referred to as the F.O.F. is in Oregon House, however the F.O.F. refers to their location rather as “The Renaissance”.

    Troy Buzbee’s father became a member of the F.O.F. in 1976. Richard Buzbee’s son Troy was only seven years of age. Richard Buzbee was told that if he paid his teaching payments each month and followed the tasks and suggestions of the teacher, Robert Burton that he would
    enter “the way,” become “conscious” and “immortal.” He was told that Burton was a “conscious being” and that he was “celibate.” He was told that he could trust Burton completely with his body and soul.

    From 1976 through May 1994 Troy’s father was a member of the Fellowship of Friends. As Plaintiff Troy Buzbee grew up he regarded Robert Burton as a God.
    According to the case distinction between Burton and Troy’s father were not clear to him at times. Troy Buzbee became a member on October 10, 1966 when he was 17 years of age, virgin.

    After Defendant Burton and Defendant corporation Fellowship Of Friends, INC’s factual representations and undue influence caused Troy Buzbee to lose his ability to think independently, he became increasingly subject to the domination, control and undue influence practiced, implemented, and used by said Defendants.

    In direct consequence of such deception, coercive persuasion, brainwashing and undue influence, Defendant Burton used Troy Buzbee, among hundreds of
    other young men, for the partial gratification of his satyriasis, an uncontrollable compulsion to engage in sexual conduct with scores, if not hundreds, of men. In addition thereof, Defendant Burton exploited Troy Buzbee for the provision of cheap labor, well under the minimum

    Said exploitation continued off and on until the time when Troy Buzbee terminated his membership with Fellowship of Friends, Inc., in August 1994.

    Commencing in December 1986, Burton, would have “teaching dinners” during which he would ply Troy with alcoholic beverages. After one particular such meal in December 1986, Burton instructed Troy to come to Burton’s room and to shut and lock the door. Burton told Troy that
    Burton was “an angel in a man’s body”, and the gods wished for Troy to be close to Burton. Defendant Burton then held in an embrace.

    Defendant Burton said, “influence C wishes you to be close with me. “He repeatedly assured Troy that his “soul was not (his) body, and that the angels wished for (Troy) to be with (Burton).” Burton explicitly told Troy that the “angels” wanted Troy to disrobe, and the “angels” wanted Troy to submit to Burton’s sexual advances because Burton himself was an “angel”, a goddess in a man’s body.”

    Burton said to Troy, “I promise you I am an angel in a man’s body.” “You have to remember that I did not write the play about Robert Burton.” Burton would kiss Troy on the forehead which he said represented the seat of the soul and then instruct Troy to “separate” from his body and just “let go”. Burton reminded Troy that Troy’s
    body would soon decay while his soul was immortal.

    Burton told Troy that he would talk to him after he died using the same soft voice he used at the time. Burton explained that for him the interaction with Troy went beyond conventional sex and into “supersex”, which was a
    method characterological evolution.

    Defendant Burton stated, “My
    sexuality is on the level of Super-Sex.” From December ‘86–April ‘94, Troy submitted to Burton’s demands, which were: Drop out of college, provide Burton with sexual favors and provide hour long massages after Burton had been sexually serviced.

    Burton used money from the corporation to pay other members for performing specific sexual acts. In denominations of $50 or $100.

    The case mentions one case of “specific sexual acts” performed on Burton by Karl Feldman, Troy Buzbee’s best friend. Burton spoke openly about his sexuality in the form of jokes at the all-male dinners that he would often lavishly host at all-male, all-you-can-drink “symposiums.” He would boast that “one hundred boys would not be enough(for his sexual appetite).”

    Troy worked at the gatehouse on F.O.F. property. Burton directed certain members who are “guards” to arm themselves with firearm-type weapons. Burton then had him become his “personal” guard. During the next four years Troy observed numerous men in Burton’s room in a single night. Troy was asked to massage Burton after his lovers left.

    According to the case, Burton suffers from sexually transmitted diseases. He made no effort to tell Troy. As a consequence, Troy acquired viral herpes. In addition, Troy suffered from stomach ulcers.

    Renaissance Vineyard & Winery, Inc. was built as a bomb-
    shelter in obeisance to Defendant Burton’s prophecies regarding massive and wide-spread disaster and chaos in the near future.

    Defendant Burton uses Renaissance Vineyard & Winery, Inc as his alter ego in the same way he uses Defendant Fellowship Of Friends, Inc.

    According to the case…..
    At all times mentioned herein Defendants Girard Haven, Abraham Goldman (also an attorney), Helga Ruth Mueller, and Clair Bowen were members of the board of directors of the Defendant corporation, Fellowship Of Friends, INC.

    At all times mentioned herein all of the Defendants were acting as the agents and servants of each other and in doing the acts complained of acted within the scope of their agency and employment and at the direction and with the knowledge and ratification of the other Defendants.

    The Defendant Burton at all times mentioned herein, dominated, influenced, and controlled, and does now dominate, influence and control the Defendant corporations and the directors and officers thereof, as well as the business, property and affairs of the Defendant corporations.

    At all times mentioned herein, there existed and does now exist, a unity of interest and ownership between the Defendant Burton and the Defendant corporations; the individuality and separateness of said Defendant and Defendant corporations has ceased; and despite
    knowledge of these facts, Defendant corporations and its officers and directors have had notice of acquiesced in and agreed, consented to, and ratified the conduct of Defendant Burton as herein alleged,

    At all times since its corporation to the present time, the Defendant corporations have been and are now a mere shell and naked framework which the Defendant Burton has used and does now use as a conduit for the conduct of his personal business, property and affairs.

    Defendant corporations are subject to a unity of control, and its corporate structure was created as an attempt to avoid payment of taxes and civil judgments and to confuse courts and those seeking redress for these Defendant’s acts. Due to the unity of personnel, commingling of assets, and commonality of business objectives, these Defendant’s attempts at separation of Defendant corporations and
    Defendant Burton should be disregarded.

    Defendant Robert Burton directs, controls and operates Defendant corporations and uses them to enforce his orders and carry out his attacks on groups, agencies or individuals, including the acts against Troy alleged herein, to the extent there is no separate identity between Burton and said Defendant corporations and any claim of such separate identity should be disregarded.

    The Defendant corporations were created and are being continued and maintained pursuant to a fraudulent plant, scheme and device, created and operated by the Defendant Burton, whereby the benefits and
    product of the income and revenue of the Defendant corporations are diverted to the use and enjoyment of the Defendant Burton through the Defendant corporations to himself while concealing the truth of his financial relationship with Defendant corporations.

    Prior to the formation of F.O.F. and Renaissance Vineyard & Winery, Burton formed a conspiracy in concert between the corporations for the express purpose and intent of developing and implementing a plan and scheme which would permit Burton and co-conspirators to:

    a. use, abuse and exploit the fiduciary relationship between the Defendant Burton and the Defendant corporation Fellowship Of Friends, INC,, on one hand and the members of and contributors to the Defendant corporation Fellowship Of Friends, INC,, on the other hand
    for their own personal unlawful gain; and

    b. to use, abuse and exploit the fiduciary relationship between the Defendant Burton, as ‘founding minister’, and selective members of the Defendant corporation Fellowship Of Friends, INC., for the express purpose and intent of performing unlawful and perverted sexual acts upon the persons of said members, including Troy, and by causing certain of the members, including Troy, to work for Defendant corporation Renaissance Vineyard & Winery, INC.,

    and Defendant corporation Fellowship Of Friends, INC.

    That all times pertinent hereto, the Defendant corporation Fellowship Of Friends, INC., and the Defendant Renaissance Vineyard and Winery, INC, were formed and operated by Burton and said other Defendants for their sole and exclusive aggrandizement and to create an ambiance of neo-religious import which was and is currently being used by Burton and the other Defendants to manipulate, unduly influence, and control the minds, bodies, and the assets of the members of the Defendant
    corporations for the sole and exclusive purpose of 1) satisfying Burton’s satyriasis-his voracious appetite for perverted sexual pleasure and elegant life-style; and

    2) diverting the contributions and donations of the membership to their own use and purposes.

    Members of the Fellowship are required to donate ever-increasing sums of money as they become further and further vested as members of the Fellowship with the caveat that when donations required of them are
    not timely and completely made their membership is either revoked or they become indentured servants of the Defendant corporation in residence at its principal place of business for nominal compensation and required to perform degrading menial tasks of a full-time basis
    at the whim and caprice of the Defendant Burton

    and other authorized representatives of the corporate Defendant Fellowship Of Friends, INC., and Defendant Renaissance Vineyard And Winery, INC.

    All donations made by members of the Fellowship are devoted either to the continuing worldwide recruitment of new and replacement members with fresh money to contribute to “the cause,” or the acquisition of assets, including but not limited to, Defendant Renaissance Vineyard and Winery, INC,

    which are ostensibly being acquired for the use and
    benefit of the membership but which are in reality being acquired for the personal benefit and aggrandizement of Defendant Burton and some or all of the other individual Defendants named herein.

    Meanwhile, Defendant Burton annexes free and unfettered use and enjoyment in and to the assets of the Defendant corporation Fellowship Of Friends, INC., Defendant corporation Renaissance Vineyard And Winery, INC., and the benefits to be derived there from, including, but not limited to, the provision money for bribes to young male members to prostitute themselves in an intensification of
    Defendant Burton’s compulsion and demand for sexual servicing of his long-standing state of satyriasis.

    The entire, purpose, scope and extent of the aforesaid plan and scheme as implemented by said Defendants is to effectively deny the members of the Defendant corporation Fellowship Of Friends, INC., not only the right to participate in its rituals and teachings on an ongoing basis but also, and of equal importance, to deny members of said Defendant corporation, including Plaintiff, of their just right to participate as beneficiaries entitled to use and enjoy
    the property of said Defendant corporation.

    Troy suffered from fright, horror, grief, shame, anger, humiliation, embarrassment, chagrin, disappointment, worry, self-loathing, self-betrayal and self distrust.

    Haven, Goldman Mueller, Bowen knew of all these afore-mentioned practices of Burton.

    They have agreed and abetted Burton in his efforts. They knew of Burton’s diseases and said nothing.

    At all times pertinent hereto, Defendant Burton, and the other Defendants, caused Troy’s mental and emotional centers to become deceptively and coercively inculcated with the following tenets:

    a. Defendant Burton communicated with “C-influence” which was provided by “44 angels” which were each individually named including, but not limited to, Jesus, “Benjamin Franklin,” “Lincoln” and “Bach,”

    and that Burton was the Fellowship’s only connection with
    said “angels.”

    b. Defendant was and is the most important person on the planet since Christ.

    Defendant Burton claims a numerology of consciousness where he has already advanced to a man number 7.3, with Christ being a man number 8.

    Burton is above man-made laws, a moral law unto himself.

    c. “C-influence” brought Troy to the Fellowship and Defendant Burton, and that Troy’s interactions with Defendant Burton would be the most important relationship that Troy could ever have.

    d. Defendant Burton is assisted by “C-influence” to guide the spiritual evolution of the member “students” with “shocks” designed to help them “awaken”.

    e. The members of the Fellowship are special, and set apart by higher forces for survival. Members of Defendant Burton’s “inner circle” must associate only among Fellowship members must disregard non-members, and demonize ex-members who are critical of Burton whom “the =gods” will “destroy.”

    Such ex-members’ opportunities for growth and
    development are terminated failing to submit to Burton.

    f. Defendant Burton possesses gift of prophecy that is infallible.

    g. In 1998 California will “fall” in huge earthquake whereupon people will die in massive numbers.

    h. In 2006 there will be an Armageddon, where all humans everywhere except for members of the Fellowship will be expunged by higher forces.

    i. Members of the Fellowship will inherit the world’s material goods and act as the “Ark” for a new civilization based on that of the Greeks of about 450 B.C., and are thus presently preparing themselves to bear the torch of civilization now and in the future.

    j. By following Defendant Burton’s directives so as to gain “being” (depth of character) through separating from suffering and immersing themselves in culture, mostly Western art, classical music, opera and ballet, Fellowship members, including Troy, are preparing themselves
    for being the “Ark”.

    k. Everything the members of the Fellowship, including Troy, had learned since birth was “false” and caused him to exist in a kind of “waking sleep.”

    The Defendant Burton informed Troy that in order
    to “awaken”, he had to replace what was “false” with what was “true” which was defined as the system of ideas as The Fourth Way, including all the “new” knowledge that Burton had added to that system.

    l. Defendant Burton stated, and states, to the general Fellowship and to Troy, that without “C-influence” Troy could not “awaken”.

    m. Defendant Burton stated, and states, to the general Fellowship and to Troy, that to “awaken” was the only way to avoid having the purpose of his life be to provide “food for the moon.”

    n. Defendant Burton stated, and states, that Troy’s people outside the group as “life-people,” he said were “tragedies.” Burton said Troy’s own mother was such a “life-person” and that the Fellowship was Troy’s “real” family and Burton was his “Father.”

    o. Defendant Burton stated, and states, to the general Fellowship and to Troy, that any challenge to the extent of Burton’s excesses of greed and satyriasis to be a lack of understanding of his practice of “crazy wisdom” which he asserts that he must force himself to perform is forcing himself to live that way for the good of the members as a “lesson.”

  5. battlesword Says:
    February 10, 2009 at 4:36 pm25. elena – January 19, 2009
    Cult suicide
    From Wikipedia, the free encyclopediaA cult suicide is a term used to describe the mass suicide by the members of groups that have been considered as cults. [1] In some cases all, or nearly all members have committed suicide at the same time and place. Groups which have committed such mass suicides and who have been called cults include Heaven’s Gate, Order of the Solar Temple, Peoples Temple (in the Jonestown incident) and the Movement for the Restoration of the Ten Commandments of God. In other cases, such as Filippians and the Taiping, a group has apparently supported mass suicide but without necessarily encouraging all members to participate. 

    Peoples Temple
    Main article: Jonestown
    On November 18, 1978, 918 Americans died in Peoples Temple-related incidents, including 909 members of the Temple, led by Jim Jones, in Jonestown, Guyana.[2] The dead included 274 children. A tape of the Temple’s final meeting in a Jonestown pavilion contains repeated discussions of the group committing “revolutionary suicide,” including reference to people taking the poison and the vats to be used.[3] On that tape, Jones tells Temple members that Russia, with whom the Temple had been negotiating a potential exodus for months, would not take them after the Temple had murdered Congressman Leo Ryan, NBC reporter Don Harris and three others at a nearby airstrip.[3] When members apparently cried, Jones counseled “Stop this hysterics. This is not the way for people who are Socialists or Communists to die. No way for us to die. We must die with some dignity.”[3] At the end of the tape, Jones concludes: “We didn’t commit suicide, we committed an act of revolutionary suicide protesting the conditions of an inhumane world.”[3] The people in Jonestown died of an apparent cyanide poisoning, except for Jones (injury consistent with self-inflicted gunshot wound) and his personal nurse.[4] The Temple had spoken of committing “revolutionary suicide” in prior instances, and members had previously drunk what Jones told them was poison at least once before, but the “Flavor Aid” drink they ingested contained no poison.[5] Concurrently, four other members died in the Temple’s headquarters in Georgetown.
    [edit]Movement for the Restoration of the Ten Commandments of God
    On March 17, 2000, 778 members of the Movement for the Restoration of the Ten Commandments of God died in Uganda.[6] The theory that all of the members died in a mass suicide was changed to mass murder when decomposing bodies were discovered in pits with signs of strangulation while others had stab wounds.[7] The group had diverged from the Roman Catholic Church in order to emphasize apocalypticism and alleged Marian apparitions.[8] The group had been called inward-looking movement that wore matching uniforms and restricted their speech to avoid saying anything dishonest or sinful.[9][10] On the suicide itself locals said they held a party at which 70 crates of soft drinks and three bulls were consumed.[11]
    This version of events has been criticized, most notably Irving Hexham,[12] and a Ugandan source states that even today “no one can really explain the whys, hows, whats, where, when, etc.”[13]
    [edit]Solar Temple
    From 1994 to 1997, the Order of the Solar Temple’s members began a series of mass suicides, which led to roughly 74 deaths. Farewell letters were left by members, stating that they believed their deaths would be an escape from the “hypocrisies and oppression of this world.” Added to this they felt they were “moving on to Sirius.” Records seized by the Quebec police showed that some members had personally donated over $1 million to the cult’s leader, Joseph Di Mambro.
    There was also another attempted mass suicide of the remaining members, which was thwarted in the late 1990s. All the suicide/murders and attempts occurred around the dates of the equinoxes and solstices, which likely held some relation to the beliefs of the group.[14][15][16][17][18]
    [edit]Heaven’s Gate
    On March 26, 1997, 39 followers of Heaven’s Gate died in a mass suicide in Rancho Santa Fe, California, which borders San Diego to the north. These people believed, according to the teachings of their cult, that through their suicides they were “exiting their human vessels” so that their souls could go on a journey aboard a spaceship they believed to be following comet Hale-Bopp.[19] Some male members of the cult underwent voluntary castration in preparation for the genderless life they believed awaited them after the suicide.[20] On March 30, 1997, Robert Leon Nichols, a former roadie for the Grateful Dead, was discovered dead in his California trailer, with a note nearby that read in part “I’m going to the spaceship with Hale-Bopp to be with those who have gone before me.” Using propane gas rather than vodka and phenobarbital to end his life, Nichols, like the members of Heaven’s Gate, had his head covered by a plastic bag and his upper torso covered with a purple shroud. Nichols’ connection with the cult is unknown.
    In May 1997, two Heaven’s Gate members who had not been present for the mass suicide attempted suicide, one succeeding in the attempt, the other going into coma for two days and then recovering.[21] In February 1998 the survivor, Chuck Humphrey, committed suicide.[22]

    Las Cañadas suicide sect scare
    Heidi Fittkau-Garthe, a German psychologist, and a previously high-profile Brahma Kumaris, was charged in the Canary Islands with a plot of murder-suicide in which 31 group members, including five children, were to ingest poison. After the suicides, they were told they would be picked up by a spaceship and taken to an unspecified destination.[29] However a more recent article in Tenerife News casts doubt that there was any intention on the part of the group to commit suicide.[30]

    26. elena – January 19, 2009
    Before going ahead with this article, I wish to remind anyone participating here that this is your space. You can use as much f it as you like. You don’t have to read everything that is presented and I am not including this post thinking that you are under the obligation to read. I think the material is worth looking at in relation to cults but have nothing against you if it doesn’t attract your attention.

    In relation to people’s health in cults, if you’re feeling sick and have been for a long time, consider the possibility that your body is trying to tell you that you better get the hell out of where you are. Asthma, vomiting and even having to carry a cushion to sit down at events so that I could bear the back pain became the common pattern I was in, during the last months in the Fellowship of Friends Cult.

    All of these have seriously improved after leaving. Being totally helpless in relation to one’s body is an aspect of current health thinking in regular society and another tool of indoctrination in Cults. The fear of not being able to help your self. That point of view is wonderfully questioned in The Way of Illness by two German authors who unfortunately I don’t remember the names. C. Davies knows the names I think if you’re still in contact with her.

    November 4, 1977, Extensions of Remarks P. 37401-37403.
    Read into the United States Congressional Record on November 3, 1977.
    Vol. 123 Part 29, No. 181 Proceedings and Debates of 95th Congress (First Session)
    November 3, 1977

    The Effects of Religious Cults on the Health and Welfare of Their Converts



    Thursday, November 3, 1977
    Mr. RYAN: Mr. Speaker, the activities of the Reverend Sun Myung Moon’s Unification Church continue to cause distress for many of us. As you know, the House Subcommittee on International Organizations, chaired by my distinguished colleague, DONALD FRASER, is investigating allegations of close ties between the Reverend Moon and some of his organizations and the South Korean Government, including the KCIA. As a member of the subcommittee, I am, of course, disturbed over such allegations. My greatest concern, however is for those young people who have been converted by these religious cults and for their parents, who have suffered the loss of their children.

    One of these parents, Mrs. Ida Watson Camburn of Sunnyvale, Calif., brought to my attention the testimony of John G. Clark, Jr., M.D., assistant professor of psychiatry at the Harvard Medical School, before a Vermont senate committee, which was investigating religious cults. Dr. Clark’s remarks, based on 2-1/2 years of research, deal with the effects of some religious cults on the mental and physical health and welfare of their converts. I highly recommend his conclusions to my colleagues:

    In this statement to the committee established by the Vermont Legislature, I intend to present substantive conclusions drawn from 2-1/2 years of research on the effects of membership in some religious cults on personal health of their converts. My conclusions are rather grim: The health hazards are extreme! Though I will talk primarily of the absolute dangers to mental health and personal development, I must also as a physician draw attention to equally serious, often life threatening, dangers to physical health.

    I will state that coercive persuasion and thought reform techniques are effectively practiced on naïve, uninformed subjects with disastrous health consequences. I will try to give enough information to indicate my reasons for further inquiries as well as review of applicable legal processes.

    From the specific data gathered during the time of my investigations a rather accurate history of involvement in the cults can be now adequately described. In doing this I believe I can adequately demonstrate why I think there are major health hazards as well as many other social concerns directly caused by activities of the particular cults which we try to define as destructive. The destructive cults are numerous and include the very well known ones such as Hare Krishna, the Unification Church, the Scientologists, and the Divine Light Mission, all of whom are utilizing the same basic techniques. The fact that I use the word techniques indicates that these investigations have delineated a series of technical aspects to these questions which need to be understood and can be explained.

    All of the groups that we are talking about have living leaders who are demonstrably wealthy. The beliefs of all these cults are absolutist and non-tolerant of other systems of beliefs. Their systems of governance are totalitarian. A requirement of membership is to obey absolutely without questioning. Their interest in the individual’s development within the cult towards some kind of satisfactory individual adult personality is by their doctrines, very low or nonexistent. It is clear that almost all of them emphasize money making in one form or another, although a few seem to be very much involved in demeaning or self denigrating activities and rituals. Most of them that I have studied possess a good deal of property and money which is under the discretionary control of the individual leaders.

    Most of the cults of concern consider themselves purely religious; some others appear to be more political. One of the most important of the common properties of such cults is the presence of a leader who, in one way or another, claims special powers or may even allow himself to be thought of as the Messiah. Such leaders do have special personal qualities, including a unique worldview and special willingness to effect drastic changes in the thinking and behavior of followers.

    It appears that the techniques utilized by these cults are very similar overall although each one uses its own peculiar style. It would appear obvious that all of these cults have worked out ways of gaining access to susceptible individuals in order to have served to any degree. Those who succumb to the enlisting efforts seem to be divided into two rather distinct groups. The first is composed of the “seekers” of whom we all know, popularly though incorrectly thought to constitute the entire population of susceptible people. They are schizophrenic, chronically so, or borderline personalities. It is quite clear that the existence of emotional or personality problems is a reason for becoming involved in the cults and that most mental health professionals consider only this reason at present. These inductees involve themselves in order to feel better because they are excessively uncomfortable with the outside world and themselves. Such motivated versions are “restitutive,” in that the “seekers” are trying to restore themselves to some semblance of comfort in a fresh, though false, reality. We also see this attempt at restitution in the development of the so called secondary symptoms of schizophrenia and other forms of mental illness as the attempt at restitution of a troubled or damaged mind to put together a new, simplified mental world and style of reasoning in order to compensate for the terrible awareness (or near awareness) of personal vulnerability. Approximately 58% of inductees were found to be in this first group from my studies.

    The remaining 42% of the examined sample, however, were not ill or damaged in the sense I have mentioned before. That is, they were found to be apparently normal, developing young people who were going through the usual crises of development on the way to becoming adults, who, for any of a number of reasons, had fallen into the trap laid by the cults and had been taken in. On examination they were strong growing students on the average who were facing the normal pains of separation from their families, the normal depressions therefrom, the new, clear slightly feverish view of the complexity of outer reality which is a part of early college life. I think of their joining the cult as being “adaptive;” that is, they are presented with certain problems by the social and physiological processes which are not in themselves as pathological as those involved in the “restitutive” conversions. In some ways it is this more healthy “adaptive” group that is most alarming to the observer.

    From a clinicians point of view the first or restitutive group under the influence of cult indoctrination and practices is very much at risk. In many ways it can be very easily shown from long experience within the mental health field how very much more damaged they may become by being given a thought disorder by a group that conforms to a prior tendency to this sort of thinking disability. Their chances of ever developing a good relationship to outer reality and becoming autonomous individuals must, perforce, diminish with the passage of time. I am reminded of the chronic schizophrenics of some years ago whose psychotic style of thinking became totally institutionalized when placed in the back wards of hospitals for such a long enough time that they ultimately could no longer think at all effectively. The healthier second group, though theoretically less totally vulnerable, is more easy to identify with; their problems may be especially revealing, as I will try to explain.

    These people tend to be from intact, idealistic, believing families with some religious background. Often they had not truly made any of the major shifts toward independence, and so, left home at the appropriate time believing they were ready for freedom. When this belief was seriously challenged in this brave new world by their first real set backs or by any real crisis they became covertly depressed, thus enhancing their susceptibility to the processes of conversion.

    For individuals in this state of vulnerability to be converted a series of circumstances, techniques and events must occur to bring about the complete subjugation of mind and person which I am attempting to describe. The first event is the gaining of access to these potential converts, which is raised to a high art by all of the successful cults. Some even have printed manuals describing where to approach prospects, exactly what types of initial pressure to put on each of them and what the odds are that they will acquire a certain number of converts from a given amount of pressure well applied. The general openness of manners of this group adds to the ease of access. Once such a prospect has agreed to investigate the rather simple propositions expressed by the representatives of the cult he or she is brought into the next and highly sophisticated activities of the conversion process. From the first, intense group pressure, lectures, lies, false use of facilities and other inter-personal pressures unexpected by the individual are brought to bear. Singing, chanting and a constant barrage of the kinds of rhetoric which catch the young idealistic minds are constantly in play. So intense is this that individuals who are under such pressure and are susceptible tend to enter a state of narrowed attention, especially as they are more and more deprived of their ordinary frames of reference and of sleep. This state must be described as a trance. From that time there is a relative or complete loss of control of one’s own mind and actions which is then placed into the hands of the group or of individuals who have been the direct contact with the individual inductee. This induction period has also been described as “coercive persuasion.”

    Once this state of passive, narrowed attention and willingness to be influenced is achieved, the true work of conversion (or of thought reform) begins in earnest. This is always a program of unbelievable intensity! During this, all of the cults step up their ideological reform pressures by increased group pressure, change of diet, and the introduction of elements of guilt and terror. The question of supernatural pressures that one must face in the future are brought out more and more explicitly and concretely. Many promises are made of redemption or safety, in the certainty that the world will soon end at which time there will be enormous rewards or terrible punishments to believers or non-believers. The threats may be implicit but are sometimes increasingly physical and explicit physical threats. Preaching is constant from all sides; supervision is absolute and privacy of body or of mind may not be allowed for days or weeks into the future even to use the bathroom. All relationships to other people are organized and stereotyped and no chance is given for idiosyncratic expression. The victims are induced rapidly to give all familiar and loved past objects – parents, siblings, home, city, etc. – and they are physically and emotionally moved to as foreign an environment as is possible to imagine. Thus, it becomes increasingly hard for them to reconstruct in imagination what one has once experienced some time in the past. Reality becomes the present and includes in its elements of the supernatural, magical; terrifying thought which has been expressed constantly all around. There is no base left for reality testing.

    Perhaps as important a factor as any is that the base of each individual’s language which has been part of the mind and the body function from the very early stages, is slowly and deliberately changed. All words of any emotional importance have had some shifting of their meaning to an oversimplified, special sort of related definition. Each person is given more and more tasks to learn, to study, to grasp, and has less time to believe that the past ever existed. By this time the indoctrination has defined parents as being infected by Satan’s influence and parenthood is reinvested in the leaders of the cults. The urge to go home has been replaced by the need for the absolute authority of the cult and its leaders and at the same time the value of education and the need to go to school has disappeared from the consciousness. This much radical change of attitudes, loyalties and thinking style can occur and regularly does occur within a few days to a few weeks.

    From this time the problem of maintenance of the state of mind is apparently rather simple. Leaving the old familiar life setting and renouncing it for a new communal theology the accepting of a new family with new definitions of love and denouncing of natural parents leads an individual to think all bridges to the past are closed and that a very brave move into a new world has, indeed, been made. In some cults members are taught intensive chanting and meditating procedures which in case of any attack on their beliefs can cover up all possible thoughts and doubts. Others can apparently reenter a trance state with a narrowed consciousness of reality the first moment that somebody questions or challenges their beliefs. They are then promoted to the next steps or stages in their cults usually as proselytizers, money raisers or in some cases garbage collectors.

    In my opinion, the last stage of this process in both adaptive and restitutive groups probably may evolve after four to seven years. This would be “acculturation” and would be irreversible. This stage may be compared to that of the untreated person with a schizophrenic illness who slides without proper help into a kind of personal degradation which, if unchallenged or untreated in time finally becomes acculturated and permanent. Anyone trying to nudge a person from this acquired style of thinking and behavior as we in mental health field know very well is going to feel that he is the natural enemy of his own patient. In my opinion, I repeat, by acculturation this new style of thinking may become irreversible.

    Before this final state cult members seem to experience two forms of personality: the original and the imposed. The original is complex, full of love relationships, expectations and hopes and, especially rich language. This richness of language is that which parents suddenly miss when they first see their thought-reformed children. Their reaction is appropriately panic! They recognize and correctly identify terrifying, sudden, unacceptable changes in the style of language and the style of relating as well as a narrowing and thinning down of the thought processes. Formally bright, fluent and creative individuals are rendered incapable of the use of irony or a metaphor and they speak with a smaller carefully constricted vocabulary with clichés and stereotyped ideas. They also appear to have great difficulty using abstractions in their speech or arguments. They do not love except in clichés and established forms. Almost all of the charged, emotion-laden language symbols are shifted to new meanings. Parents notice this long before professionals because they do not need cumbersome and elaborate tools to analyze language patterns. Their memories and intuition are sufficient.

    The evidence for what I call a shift in personality which may be what we call in psychiatry “depersonalization,” comes from several kinds of observation. The first is that, despite the appearance to very experienced clinicians of flagrant and classical schizophrenia in many converts the induced mental state being discussed does not respond to the most effective antipsychotic drugs or any of the methods of treatment customarily applied by mental health professionals to restore effective thinking. Thus, we are relatively helpless to restore thinking processes because under the current interpretations of the laws we cannot maintain physical control for long enough to bring about the confrontation therapies which might be effective in reestablishing the original personality style in the way it was done with the Korean war prisoners. On the other hand antipsychotic medicines are still effective in treating acute psychosis in these same people though not affecting the state of conversion.

    The second and rather compelling piece of evidence is that the thought-reformed state is dramatically altered by the process of deprogramming about which, thought I cannot legally advise it as a therapy under most circumstances, a great deal is known. The deprogramming process as it is now practiced effects, in a large number of cases, a fairly rapid return to the old organization of the mind, a repersonalization, and brings back with it the old language skills and memories, original personal relationship patterns and of course the old problems. Furthermore it is regularly observed that for some time after the deprogramming the affected individuals are very vulnerable for about a year and, especially during the first few weeks to two months, they feel themselves aware of and close to, two different mental worlds. Their strong impulses to return to the cult are altered by logical reasoning processes and the great fear of some one taking control of their minds from the outside once again. During this time a former convert can quickly be recaptured either by fleeting impulse or by entering a trance state through a key word for piece of music or by chanting or by a team from the cult.

    In general, however after a return to an original state of mind the individual’s problems begin to seem like ordinary health problems. Most of them are depressed, depleted people reminding one very much of that status of patients who have recently recovered from acute psychoses who are able to feel that for the first time in their lives they had lost a clear sense of reality and of control. They feel ashamed of what they have done and the pain they have inflicted, are very scared and for a while unable to manage their lives effectively. To remain within the strict mental and social confines of the cult experience for even a short time is disastrous for some who have become psychotic or have committed suicide. Continuing membership appears to invite a deeper acceptance of the controlled state of mind and, in my opinion, leads to the gradual degradation of ordinary thought processes necessary to cope with highly differentiated and ambiguous external life problems of the future. In this state after some time the intellect appears to lose a great many IQ points: the capacity to form flexible human relationships or real intimacy is impaired and all reality testing functions are difficult to mobilize so that moderate prior psychological disability is likely to be set back considerably and permanently in his or her maturation to adulthood and will certainly be impaired in the ability and capacity to deal with the real world’s opportunities and dangers. The loss of educational and occupational experiences will confirm these losses beyond any doubts.

    This is the rough picture of the phenomenon of thought reform as practiced by present day cults and the natural history of this process and its effects on the involved individuals. Though incomplete it is based on examination of 27 subjects at all stages of involvement in six different cults as well as interviews with many more interested and informed observers. I believe the overall outline is sound though, of course, incomplete. The fact of a personality shift in my opinion is established. The fact that this is a phenomenon basically unfamiliar to the mental health profession I am certain of. The fact that our ordinary methods of treatment don’t work is also clear, as are the frightening hazards to the process of personal growth and mental health.

    In this paper I have tried to describe the phenomenon of involvement of young people in destructive cults. The problems of special vulnerability to conversion were described and two major groups of susceptibles were identified. A natural history of access, induction by coercive persuasion, the process of thought and attitude reform and the maintenance of conversion described. An opinion that a permanent state of acculturation was likely to occur after a number of years was expressed. The rapidity of these catastrophic changes was emphasized as well as many of their qualities and these were related to mental health and maturational concerns.

    Specific and important problems such as suicide, depression, psychotic reactions and psychosomatic disorders are most serious and deserve another discussion and much more study. It is also clear that the multiple, serious and often bizarre problems of physical illness need careful and official attention. Both the mental health and physical health problems presented by the activities of the cults should be investigated in much greater detail by official agencies. I believe that they merit active interest of such constitutive authorities as this legislative body who I trust can see some of the greater implications of all that has been discussed and will be further revealed in these hearings.

    59. elena – January 21, 2009
    Text 9 20th Jan 2009
    Political Conditioning
    Political conditioning should not be confused with training or persuasion or even indoctrination. It is more than that. It is tampering. It is taking possession of both the simplest and the most complicated nervous patterns of man. It is the battle for the possession of the nerve cells. It is coercion and enforced conversion. Instead of conditioning man to an unbiased facing of reality, the seducer conditions him to catchwords, verbal stereotypes, slogans, formulas, symbols. Pavlovian strategy in the totalitarian sense means imprinting prescribed reflexes on a mind that has been broken down. The totalitarian wants first the required response from the nerve cells, then control of the individual, and finally control of the masses. The system starts with verbal conditioning and training by combining the required stereotypes with negative or positive stimuli: pain, or reward. In the P.O.W. camps in Korea where there was individual and mass brainwashing, the negative and positive conditioning stimuli were usually hunger and food. The moment the soldier conformed to the party line his food ration was improved: say yes, and I’ll give you a piece of candy!

    ______Political conditioning as described above is a reality in Cult conditioning with the use of exactly similar techniques.
    In the Fellowship Cult, the more you conform and pay, the more attention you get from Robert Burton. What is interesting about this is that what members become addicted to is attention from Burton because that attention means their “being” and even “higher level of being” is recognized by the “divine being”, living out a constant competition with the rest of the members for that psychological recognition that grants them the “right to be” as if they had lost it somewhere or had never had it. A similar phenomenon occurs with Girard Haven, the man that Burton predicted would become the second conscious being in the “School” and therefore, planet earth since the Fellowship of Friends was the only conscious school

  6. battlesword Says:
    February 10, 2009 at 4:38 pmelena Says:February 9, 2009 at 8:55 pm
    70. elena – January 21, 2009 

    Continued from THE RAPE OF THE MIND: The Psychology of Thought Control, Menticide, and Brainwashing, by Joost A. M. Meerloo, M.D.

    Peaceful exchange of free thoughts in free conversation will disturb the conditioned reflexes and is therefore taboo. No longer are there any brains, only conditioned patterns and educated muscles. In such a taming system neurotic compulsion is looked upon as a positive asset instead of something pathological. The mental automaton becomes the ideal of education.
    Yet the Soviet theoreticians themselves are often unaware of this, and many of them do not realize the dire consequences of subjecting man to a completely mechanistic conditioning. They themselves are often just as frightened as we are by the picture of the perfectly functioning human robot. This is what one of their psychologists says: “The entire reactionary nature of this approach to man is completely clear. Man is an automaton who can be caused to act as one wills! This is the ideal of capitalism! Behold the dream of capitalism the world over a working class without consciousness, which cannot think for itself, whose actions can be trained according to the whim of the exploiter! This is the reason why it is in America, the bulwark of present day capitalism, that the theory of man as a robot has been so vigorously developed and so stubbornly held to.” (Bauer)
    Are cults flourishing so powerfully in America precisely because a significant number of people are already very susceptible to the psychological submission needed to make the cult possible?
    How does the already dismembered family in the developed countries, make the individual prone to adopting a cult family, in which in reality, there is no family at all but total commitment to the guru-dictator and life is reduced to the mechanical economic supply for the cult?
    What fills the difference between regular cults in which people are simply made psychological slaves, to satanic cults in which people become criminals that allow for abuse and murder of children and virgins?
    Does the allowance of the Cult-Guru to invade one’s personal integrity economically as much as psychologically create such a disconnection between the personality that submits to the treatment and one’s self that one is then impeded to perceive the rape of young men or the humiliation of the members in all aspects of their lives as social crime? By accepting the treatment on one’s self, do one’s standards on what is criminal become so vague that the systematic rape of young men and other abuses are perceived as NORMAL?
    How does one’s relation to one’s self determine one’s relation to society? In the experience of the integrity of one’s own being, how does one perceive the integrity of others?
    How do personal aberrations condition one’s perceptions of social reality?
    I would like to clarify that I am not looking for scapegoats. It is my belief that all human beings, ALL, even the worst criminals, are yearning for UNITY. The problem is not in the “yearning”, but in the realization of that yearning.
    The attempt to understand the relationship between the individual and him self or her self and society must necessarily be approached with great compassion. As Jesus said “let he who is free of sin, throw the first stone” (paraphrasing).
    My short life has been long enough to understand that consciously evil people are rare while unconsciously good people are the majority. Unfortunately it is the unconsciously evil people who take advantage of the unconsciously good people and all forms of life of our societies today are tainted with criminality.
    I understand “crime” as any form of abuse of one individual to another: Verbal, physical, psychological or social. We live in a state of crime! Even people who have never met have criminal relationships to each other. The invasion of a nation by another is criminal. The invasion of anyone’s integrity, economically, psychologically or culturally is criminal. “Invasion” is not the same as “relationship”. The mutual flow of communication between people and nations is not an invasion. Invasion always includes some form of abuse.
    I believe that the purpose of our times is to understand the impediments each of us as an individual is suffering and how that affects our relationship with society. The longing for unity is not simply a religious longing for enlightenment, it is a very practical reality that is consistently expressed in our everyday life and our ability to connect with each other.
    Love is not an abstraction. It manifests itself in every step we give or neglects to manifest. “Sharing” is not a metaphor; the way we are willing to practically share this piece of cake on which we happen to live or whatever the “cake” happens to be determines our ability to “connect” and that connection our ability to “unify”. Love, real love, is the only force able to lead us to unity.
    All of life is nothing but a metaphor of our spiritual reality. The cake we share in our birthdays is a microcosmic theater of this big beautiful and round cake called Earth, that we are to learn to share if we are to celebrate our birth as human beings.
    Life today is still far from human. The ideal of humanity pulsates in each individual but from the ideal to reality there is time and eternity. Each individual can actualize the ideal each moment of his or her life or neglect it. Each individual lives in the struggle to be or not to be and what we each need to understand is that each moment of our lives presents us with the opportunity to be more human, to love and to share.
    Life is the harp that every individual is trying to play and music, the mastery with which we are able to connect. Each man is a string: there is no music without connection.
    The main characteristic of life today is the search for scapegoats. Individually and socially, nationally and internationally, people are satisfied with finding a scapegoat that will lighten their own responsibility in the crime! We lynch every person we insult, we insult every person we neglect, we neglect every person we don’t consider. The inability to consider others is an aspect of our unconsciousness or rather, of the limited consciousness in which an individual can perceive only the reality of himself and not a reality in which all are included with objective rights and opportunities.
    The System of Subjective Privileges conditioned by preferences without personal or social objectivity in every institution and social strata is one of the sources of injustice. In the subjectivity of love, of equality, of rights, there can be no objective justice. Love conditioned by personal preferences is not human but beastly. Not animal, but inhuman. In their natural state, there is no cruelty in animals.
    The exploration of our personal and social impediments is not pretty. To see our selves and every aspect of our beauty as much as our misery, is not flattering but to neglect to look at our selves is blindness. Every human being must be able to examine his and her life with enough compassion and detachment to recognize where he/she erred and where she/he was successful. The parameter is very simple: how human can you be?

    23. elena – January 19, 2009
    Thank you all for your posts. I hope you don’t mind if I work on this subject a little each day while you continue the discussion; hopefully you can jump back and forth if you like to leap. Looking at the things the Fellowship stood for I am not surprised that most ex-members would rather nobody knew the level of ridicule and horror that we managed to reduce our lives to but since that level has become common in most cults and average life, I find it necessary to take a good look at it. What is surprising is that many of us lived with those assumptions for decades without ever questioning them in public. Long live the Public Square!

    Text 8. Excerpts taken from THE RAPE OF THE MIND: The Psychology of Thought Control, Menticide, and Brainwashing, by Joost A. M. Meerloo, M.D.

    What the Pavlovian council tries to achieve is the result of an oversimplification of psychology. Their political task is to condition and mold man’s mind so that its comprehension is confined to a narrow totalitarian concept of the world. (cont.)It is the idea that such a limitation of thinking to Lenin Marxist theoretical thinking must be possible for two reasons: =====first, if one repeats often enough its simplification, and second, if one withholds any other form of interpretation of reality.=====

    _____The narrow concepts of the world in The Fellowship of Friends Cult that I can presently remember:
    Man is a machine (misinterpreted from the Fourth Way)
    You can only awaken in your ninth lifetime and 99.99 % of you are between your fifth and eigth lifetime.
    All men are sleep.
    Robert Burton is the only conscious being on planet earth.
    The Fellowship of Friends Cult is the only conscious school on planet earth.
    Robert Burton is second only to Jesus Christ
    Read only conscious beings
    Repeat the sequence and you’ll awaken
    Remember yourself always and everywhere
    Work on yourself and only yourself

    This concept is based on the naive belief that one can permanently suppress any critical function and verification in human thinking. Yet, through taming and conditioning of people, during which period errors and deviations must continually be corrected, unwittingly a critical sense is built up. True, at the same time the danger of using this critical sense is brought home to the students. They know the dangers of any dissent, but even this promotes the development of a secondary and more refined critical sense. In the end, human rebellion and dissent cannot be suppressed; they await only one breath of freedom in order to awake once more. The idea that there exist other ways to truth than those he sees close at hand lives somewhere in everybody. One can narrow his pathways of research and expression, but a man’s belief in adventurous new roads elsewhere is ever present in the back of his mind.

    The inquisitive human mind is never satisfied with a simple recital of facts. As soon as it observes a set of data, it jumps into the area of theory and offers explanations, but the way a man sees a set of facts, and the way he juggles them to build them into a theory is largely determined by his own biases and prejudices.

    Isolation and Other Factors in Conditioning
    Pavlov made another significant discovery: the conditioned reflex could be developed most easily in a quiet laboratory with a minimum of disturbing stimuli. Every trainer of animals knows this from his own experience; isolation and the patient repetition of stimuli are required to tame wild animals. Pavlov formulated his findings into a general rule in which the speed of learning is positively correlated with quiet and isolation. =======The totalitarians have followed this rule. They know that they can condition their political victims most quickly if they are kept in isolation. In the totalitarian technique of thought control, the same isolation applied to the individual is applied also to groups of people. ======This is the reason the civilian populations of the totalitarian countries are not permitted to travel freely and are kept away from mental and political contamination. It is the reason, too, for the solitary confinement cell and the prison camp.
    Mass Conditioning Through Speech
    In the Pavlovian strategy, terrorizing force can finally be replaced by a new organization of the means of communication. Ready made opinions can be distributed day by day through press, radio, and so on, again and again, till they reach the nerve cell and implant a fixed pattern of thought in the brain.

    _______In the Fellowship Cult:
    Daily Cards
    Quotations by the “Conscious Beings”
    Girard Haven’s books, lectures and events.
    Robert Burton’s book, quotations, publications of meeting, videos and events.

    The fact that ONLY Robert Burton and Girard Haven were allowed to speak in the past four years before 2007 are significant. In the years previous to that, ONLY the enablers were allowed to speak. The Dambecks, Taylors and maybe thirty others. The amazing thing about this people is that they don’t just think that they have a right to private property like regular people think they have, they think that speech, self-expression and love, or the right to give people opportunities, has fallen on their hands by the power of the ONLY CONSCIOUS BEING ON PLANET EARTH and they have been CHOSEN AS THE ONLY ONES with a right to PRACITICE them, while the rest of the members, ALL EQUALLY BEGGERS, MUST OBEY. The sad thing about each of these enablers is that they control everybody else’s expression but give absolute freedom to their own very personal dictator. The reign of the Havens, Dambecks, Taylors, etc is coming to as tragic an end as was expected from such a System and now the reign of the Asafs, Dorians and company is being firmly implanted. WHY ARE YOU ALLOWING FOR THIS TO CONTINUE? The inhuman manipulation of power is as sick in the Fellowship of Friends Cult as in totalitarian state. What makes it a thousand times more corrupted is that it is achieved by the spiritual manipulation of the member’s good will.

    The power and success of the indoctrination is so thorough in the Fellowship of Friends Cult that the aim of every male member was to imitate Girard Haven and Robert Burton. Many ex-members still move and talk like them. Dambeck, Kevin B., and the many others who have appeared on the blog are such faithful imitations of Girard Haven, that I who am his wife cannot differentiate between one or the other in their expression. The assumption was that the more a male student looked, acted and expressed himself like Girard Haven or Robert Burton, the more awake he was becoming!

    (Yuk, it’s time to throw up again. Does it surprise anyone that confronted with a Daily Cardiac on the blog, my reaction is immediately triggered towards the connection with Girard Haven? The feeling of love and hate quickly arise.)
    (cont) Such is the Pavlovian device: repeat mechanically your assumptions and suggestions, diminish the opportunity of communicating dissent and opposition. This is the simple formula for political conditioning of the masses. This is also the actual ideal of some of our public relation machines, who thus hope to manipulate the public into buying a special soap or voting for a special party.

    The Pavlovian strategy in public relations has people conditioned more and more to ask themselves, “What do other people think?” As a result, a common delusion is created: people are incited to think what other people think, and thus public opinion may mushroom out into a mass prejudice.

    Expressed in psychoanalytic terms, through daily propagandistic noise backed up by forceful verbal cues, people can more and more be forced to identify with the powerful noisemaker. Big Brother’s voice resounds in all the little brothers.

    59. elena – January 21, 2009
    Text 9 20th Jan 2009
    Political Conditioning
    Political conditioning should not be confused with training or persuasion or even indoctrination. It is more than that. It is tampering. It is taking possession of both the simplest and the most complicated nervous patterns of man. It is the battle for the possession of the nerve cells. It is coercion and enforced conversion. Instead of conditioning man to an unbiased facing of reality, the seducer conditions him to catchwords, verbal stereotypes, slogans, formulas, symbols. Pavlovian strategy in the totalitarian sense means imprinting prescribed reflexes on a mind that has been broken down. The totalitarian wants first the required response from the nerve cells, then control of the individual, and finally control of the masses. The system starts with verbal conditioning and training by combining the required stereotypes with negative or positive stimuli: pain, or reward. In the P.O.W. camps in Korea where there was individual and mass brainwashing, the negative and positive conditioning stimuli were usually hunger and food. The moment the soldier conformed to the party line his food ration was improved: say yes, and I’ll give you a piece of candy!

    ______Political conditioning as described above is a reality in Cult conditioning with the use of exactly similar techniques.
    In the Fellowship Cult, the more you conform and pay, the more attention you get from Robert Burton. What is interesting about this is that what members become addicted to is attention from Burton because that attention means their “being” and even “higher level of being” is recognized by the “divine being”, living out a constant competition with the rest of the members for that psychological recognition that grants them the “right to be” as if they had lost it somewhere or had never had it. A similar phenomenon occurs with Girard Haven, the man that Burton predicted would become the second conscious being in the “School” and therefore, planet earth since the Fellowship of Friends was the only conscious school in the whole planet!
    How easily vanity corrupts!

    It’s worth mentioning that the whole structure is designed to elicit and strengthen a secondary personality that has been tamed to want nothing more than to be valued by the guru and the rest of the members and great personal efforts are made by each individual to reach that goal which is never reached in a cult because the guru cannot grant merit to anyone but himself. The whole structure would crumble if anyone else were able to achieve the gurus qualifications from his own personal effort because he would no longer need the guru or the cult.

    Every normal individual’s natural inclination for social participation is turned against him to induce him into perceiving other members as threats rather than friends. The competition for recognition from the guru, in addition to all the other anti-social practices, isolate him into a psychological prison much more real than if he were put behind bars.

    Many victims of totalitarianism have told me in interviews that the most upsetting experience they faced in the concentration camps was the feeling of loss of logic, the state of confusion into which they had been brought the state in which nothing had any validity. They had arrived at the Pavlovian state of inhibition, which psychiatrists call mental disintegration or depersonalization. It seemed as if they had unlearned all their former responses and had not yet adopted new ones. But in reality they simply did not know what was what.

    ______The loss of moral, ethical, spiritual and even material values increases daily in that state of confusion and anything the Guru does is perceived as a confirmation of his divinity!

    …Pavlovian training can be used successfully only when special mental conditions prevail. In order to tame people into the desired pattern, victims must be brought to a point where they have lost their alert consciousness and mental awareness. Freedom of discussion and free intellectual exchange hinder conditioning. Feelings of terror, feelings of fear and hopelessness, of being alone, of standing with one’s back to the wall, must be instilled.

    _____In cults, the terror is essentially psychological. The terror that the world is going to end and only the few chosen ones in the cult know about it. The fear of not being prepared and the hopelessness of knowing that no one in the cult or outside of it can be increasing the uncertainty and inducing the members into remaining “just in case”. In the individual arena: the terror of not being good enough to be approved by the guru or other members, the hopelessness of all effort.

    How frail is trust.

    Although not addressed in most of these texts, it is worth exploring the emotions that are tampered with and severely weakened by life in the cult. Self-trust or confidence and trust in other human beings are replaced by blind reliance on the guru. Dignity: all the members walk with a dignity sawn to the hem of their clothing, the cult uniform but without a sense of self worth. (Must expand).

    The treatment of American prisoners of war in the Korean P.O.W. camps followed just such a pattern. They were compelled to listen to lectures and other forms of daily word barrage. The very fact that they did not understand the lectures and were bored by the long sessions inhibited their democratic training, and conditioned them to swallow passively the bitter doctrinal diet, for the prisoners were subjected not only to a political training program, but also to an involuntary taming program.

    _____The “TAMING PROGRAM” faithfully describes life in the Fellowship of Friends Cult. The systematic conditioning into a particular behaviour, personally and socially. Physically by how members should move and dress; emotionally by how members should maintain disconnected to each other on one level and how they should connect to each other on a another level; intellectually by what and how they should think, talk about and read: the sequence, quotes by authors chosen by Burton and Burton, quotes and thought processes presented by Girard Haven.

    To some degree the Communist propaganda lectures were directed toward retraining the prisoners’ minds. This training our soldiers could reject, but the endless repetitions and the constant sloganizing, together with the physical hardships and deprivations the prisoners suffered, caused an UNCONSCIOUS TAMING and conditioning, against which only previously built up inner strength and awareness could help.

    _____UNCONSCIOUS TAMING is an even more accurate word. Complete unconscious taming that after a few years of being submitted to it, members can no longer react to.
    …Often those with a rigid, simple belief were better able to withstand the continual barrage against their minds than were the flexible, sophisticated ones, full of doubt and inner conflicts. The simple man with deep rooted, freely absorbed religious faith could exert a much greater inner resistance than could the complex, questioning intellectualist. The refined intellectual is much more handicapped by the internal pros and cons.

    In totalitarian countries, where belief in Pavlovian strategy has assumed grotesque proportions, the self thinking, subjective man has disappeared. There is an utter rejection of any attempt at persuasion or discussion. Individual self expression is taboo. Private affection is taboo.

    Peaceful exchange of free thoughts in free conversation will disturb the conditioned reflexes and is therefore taboo. No longer are there any brains, only conditioned patterns and educated muscles. In such a taming system neurotic compulsion is looked upon as a positive asset instead of something pathological. The mental automaton becomes the ideal of education.

    _______These last two paragraphs could not describe the Fellowship of Friends better: Not only is exchange of free thoughts extinguished from the social life of the cult, even in private dinners amongst members, the conversation is reduced to stereotyped formulas. The neurotic compulsion of the individuals, particularly Burton’s and other enablers is looked at as the difficulties they are struggling against because of the high energy levels of consciousness that they have to deal with. Members invent no matter what rationalization to justify the compulsive behaviour of those in positions of authority and their own which increasingly becomes equally erratic.

    60. elena – January 21, 2009
    Text 9a.
    In totalitarian countries, where belief in Pavlovian strategy has assumed grotesque proportions, the self thinking, subjective man has disappeared. There is an utter rejection of any attempt at persuasion or discussion. Individual self expression is taboo. Private affection is taboo.

    _______This is the most significant aspect of the “TAMING” in cults:
    No discussion, self-expression is taboo and private affection is taboo.

    People are experienced as enemies for whom affection cannot be expressed. The few friends that people make are connected to the hierarchy in relation to the Guru granting them little privileges. “Inner circles” that he manipulates at will.

    Any group of people whose system of values is questioned tends to react similarly to the person questioning them and they will do anything to isolate him or her from them selves.
    The blog phenomenon is a valid verification of this reality.
    The suctioning of emotional communication with the subject has an effect for some time and can be lethal if the subject cannot overcome his or her dependency on the group but it loses its impact if the subject frees him or herself, just as a lover would recover from a love that was not responded to, as soon as he or she stops being identified with the person.

    The result is freedom from his or her own personal submission to the group and freedom from the group’s values, reinforcing his or her personal convictions. This is a necessary process in the public life of any individual.

    Where there is a retrieving of emotional energy from the person doing the questioning, the group wishes to punish the person by ostracizing him or her emotionally, never seriously addressing the questions especially when they cannot rationally be opposed. The group is challenged intellectually but being unable to respond rationally, it retrieves emotional energy or love from the person that threatens their status quo.

    As much as love is a desirable element in all human interactions, a man or a woman must stand beyond love and still be. The Sun can never turn against itself.

    Text 11. The Rape of the Mind.

    Western psychology and psychiatry, although acknowledging its debt to Pavlov as a great pioneer who made important contributions to our understanding of behaviour, takes a much less mechanical view of man than do the Soviet Pavlovians. It is apparent to us that their simple explanation of training ignores and rejects the concept of purposeful adaptation and the question of the goals to which this training is directed. Western experimental psychologists tend to see the conditioned reflex as developing fully only in the service of gratifying basic instinctual needs or of avoiding pain, that is, only when the whole organism is concerned in the activity. In that complicated process of response to the world, conscious, and especially unconscious, drives and motivations play a role.
    All training, of which the conditioned response is only one example, is an automatization of actions which were originally consciously learned and thought over. The ideal of Western democratic psychology is to train men into independence and maturity by enlisting their conscious aid, awareness, and volition in the learning process. The ideal of the totalitarian psychology, on the other hand, is to tame men, to make them willing tools in the hands of their leaders. Like training, taming has the purpose of making actions automatic; unlike training, it does not require the conscious participation of the learner. Both training and taming are energy and timesaving devices, and in both the mystery of the psyche is hidden in the purposefulness of the responses. The automatization of functions in man saves him expenditure of energy but can make him weaker when encountering new unexpected challenges.
    Cultural routinization and habit formation by local rules and myths make of everybody a partial automaton. National and racial prejudices are acted out unwittingly. Group hatred often bursts out almost automatically when triggered by slogans and catchwords. In a totalitarian world, this narrow disciplinarian conditioning is done more “perfectly” and more “ad absurdum.”
    The Urge to Be Conditioned
    One suggestion this chapter is not intended to convey is that Pavlovian conditioning as such is something wrong. This kind of conditioning occurs everywhere where people are together in common interaction. The speaker influences the listener, but the listener also the speaker. Through the process of conditioning people often learn to like and to do what they are allowed to like and do. The more isolated the group, the stricter the conditioning that takes place in those belonging to the group. In some groups one finds people more capable than others of conveying suggestion and bringing about conditioning. Gradually one can discern the stronger ones, the better adjusted ones, the more experienced ones, and those noisier ones, whose ability to condition others is strongest. Every group, every club, every society has its leading Pavlovian Bell. This kind of person imprints his inner bell ringing on others. He can even develop a system of monolithic bell ringing: no other influential bell is allowed to compete with him.
    Another subtler question belongs to these problems. Why is there in us so great an urge to be conditioned, the urge to learn, to imitate, to conform, and to follow the pattern of family and group? This urge to be conditioned, to submit to the communal pattern and the family pattern must be related to man’s dependency on parents and fellow men. Animals are not so dependent on one another. In the whole animal kingdom man is one of the most helpless and naked beings. But among the animals man has, relatively, the longest youth and time for learning.
    Puzzlement and doubt, which inevitably arise in the training process, are the beginnings of mental freedom. Of course, the initial puzzlement and doubt is not enough. Behind that there has to be faith in our democratic freedoms and the will to fight for it. I hope to come back to this central problem of faith in moral freedom as differentiated from conditioned loyalty and servitude in the last chapter. Puzzlement and doubt are, however, already crimes in the totalitarian state. The mind that is open for questions is open for dissent. In the totalitarian regime the doubting, inquisitive, and imaginative mind has to be suppressed. The totalitarian slave is only allowed to memorize, to salivate when the bell rings.
    It is not my task here to elaborate on the subject of the biased use of Pavlovian rules by totalitarians, but without doubt part of the interpretation of any psychology is determined by the ways we think about our fellow human beings and man’s place in nature. If our ideal is to make conditioned zombies out of people, the current misuse of Pavlovianism will serve our purpose. But once we become even vaguely aware that in the totalitarian picture of man the characteristic human note is missing, and when see that in such a scheme man sacrifices his instinctual desires, his pleasures, his aims, his goals, his creativity, his instinct for freedom, his paradoxicality, we immediately turn against this political perversion of science. Such use of Pavlovian technique is aimed only at developing the automaton in man, not his free alert mind that is aware of moral goals and aims in life.
    Even in laboratory animals we have found that affective goal directedness can spoil the Pavlovian experiment. When, during a bell food training session, the dog’s beloved master entered the room, the animal lost all its previous conditioning and began to bark excitedly. Here is a simple example of an age old truth: love and laughter break through all rigid conditioning. The rigid automaton cannot exist without spontaneous self expression.
    ____This must be a mistake, originally it probably said: the rigid automaton cannot coexist with spontaneous self expression.

    Apparently, the fact that the dog’s spontaneous affection for his master could ruin all the mechanical calculations and manipulations never occurred to Pavlov’s totalitarian students.

    _______In relation to the question above on why human beings tend to conform and imitate, one plausible explanation is that we are in fact like psychological copies of our forbearers. The more I look at people the more we seem to be faithful copies of those who brought us up. As people get older the semblance with their parents becomes more obvious, As one observes one’s children, the faithful unconscious copy of one’s acts in a much deeper sense than merely the physiological is shocking. Things that I might have already overcome they are just beginning to deal with. It’s strange. As if we spent the whole of our lives following the path that was inevitably designed for us without ever activating our will. Most people don’t even want to conceive of anything beyond the established parameters.

    Not identifying with one’s self in the long run is about separating from all that programming. It’s a strange ride we’re on. The most amazing, terrible and great adventure film doesn’t come even close.

    I’ve been recovering my family. It feels good. We had little chances of recovering even up to last year. Things change when people are dying. The proximity of death reveals the things that matter. My stepmother with whom we’ve managed to recover a closeness that had been lost since I was twelve began chemotherapy last week but we’re hoping the cancer is not so severe and that she can be helped.

    24. elena – January 19, 2009
    Of course, the truly Pavlovian behavior is obvious in every aspect of The Fellowship of Friend’s life, from lining up to a meeting, to watching videos of Robert while having lunch, dressing up in the morning and changing clothes three or four times for the respective event. It keeps the members busy convinced that they are living out their lives with great effort and care. Unfortunately they are and we all were, the faithful picture of circus little poodles in their colourful bows. “Barbies” who ring their identity from the brand of their tie and the model of the car.

    Who would have thought that “teaching” in our gold alchemy little brothel, run side by side to the most corrupted techniques of totalitarian indoctrination.

  7. battlesword Says:
    February 10, 2009 at 4:39 pmText 1I’ll use ======= double lines when I want to pay special attention to a part of the text and ______ when I am making a comment. 

    _____The parallel between cults and totalitarian environments is probably much studied already by many but I have not seen them here yet. All the information in this text seems relevant to those of us who have endured cult life for any period of time. This is only the beginning for me but my suspicion is that while totalitarian environments apparently tend to explode at some point because the people submitted to it finally oppose it, cults tend to implode because the people who willingly submit to it, finally commit suicide. The aim of the cult to annihilate the “I” of the individual finally reaches its culminating point when the member himself takes his own life independently or with the group.


    The first part of this book is devoted to various techniques used to make man a meek conformist. In addition to actual political occurrences, attention is called to some ideas born in the laboratory and to the drug techniques that facilitate brainwashing. The last chapter deals with the subtle psychological mechanisms of mental submission.
    ______Meek conformism is what allows for the systematic rape of young men and the total surrender of the members integrity economically, emotionally and intellectually.
    A fantastic thing is happening in our world. Today a man is no longer punished only for the crimes he has in fact committed. Now he may be compelled to confess to crimes that have been conjured up by his judges, who use his confession for political purposes. It is not enough for us to damn as evil those who sit in judgment. We must understand what impels the false admission of guilt; we must take another look at the human mind in all its frailty and vulnerability.
    _____Confession in cults is a common practice. I once paid 1200 dollars for having sex out of marriage.

    The Enforced Confession
    During the Korean War, an officer of the United States Marine Corps, Colonel Frank H. Schwable, was taken prisoner by the Chinese Communists. After months of intense psychological pressure and physical degradation, he signed a well documented “confession” that the United States was carrying on bacteriological warfare against the enemy. The confession named names, cited missions, described meetings and strategy conferences. This was a tremendously valuable propaganda tool for the totalitarians. They cabled the news all over the world: “The United States of America is fighting the peace loving people of China by dropping bombs loaded with disease spreading bacteria, in violation of international law.”
    After his repatriation, Colonel Schwable issued a sworn statement repudiating his confession, and describing his long months of imprisonment. Later, he was brought before a military court of inquiry. He testified in his own defense before that court: “I was never convinced in my own mind that we in the First Marine Air Wing had used bug warfare. I knew we hadn’t, but the rest of it was real to me the conferences, the planes, and how they would go about their missions.”
    _______The whole precept of this parallel must understand the difference in the initial situation. In prison camps the people are submitted and physical coercion is the rule while in the Fellowship Cult people submit willingly and mental and emotional coercion is the rule. Both environments are especially conditioned. While in the former, “life” (probably) circles around instinctive necessities in the latter, it is channelled towards superfluous achievements that heighten the guru’s “powers” of accomplishment. (Must research this more). The rigor in either environment is nevertheless similar although in the one it is imposed while in the other it is submissive.
    “The words were mine,” the Colonel continued, “but the thoughts were theirs. That is the hardest thing I have to explain: how a man can sit down and write something he knows is false, and yet, to sense it, to feel it, to make it seem real.”
    _____All of Girard Haven’s work is a masterpiece of this phenomenon.
    This is the way Dr. Charles W. Mayo, a leading American physician and government representative, explained brainwashing in an official statement before the United Nations: “…the tortures used…although they include many brutal physical injuries, are not like the medieval torture of the rack and the thumb screw. They are subtler, more prolonged, and intended to be more terrible in their effect.
    =======They are calculated to disintegrate the mind of an intelligent victim, to distort his sense of values, to a point where he will not simply cry out ‘I did it!’ but will become a seemingly willing accomplice to the complete disintegration of his integrity and the production of an elaborate fiction.”======
    _____The elaborate fiction in the Fellowship couldn’t be more pathetic than in the culmination of the rhino poo; The eternal blah, blah, blah of quotes stolen from unreachable conscious beings and the unending elaborate events in which nothing but the event happens producing the delusion that something “very important” happened where nothing happened. The physical phenomena took place but no one but the guru or enabler representing him, spoke and reinstated the reassuring doctrine that something very important is taking place, that what the members are paying for is of utmost significance and that they are receiving what only the chosen ones can receive.
    The member is trapped by the “event” itself. Because it is taking place in the physical realm he deludes himself with the conviction that something truly significant is happening in his/her life.

  8. battlesword Says:
    February 10, 2009 at 4:42 pmFOF Tactics
    The Sheik in 1/18
    Now I am a very simple man but I do have a paranoid mind. I am aware of how the fellowship meticulously clears up all evidence of its activities and settles with ex-members in such a way as to make certain that no more information leaks the organisation. I have heard of the lawsuits, I can imagine who would want to know whether I have any links to ex-members of the fellowship or any ‘documentation’ belonging to the cult.Indoctrination 1/20 Former Long-Time Student Says:
    December 19th, 2006 at 8:34 pm e
    Anonymous’ post is a most thoughtless and unnecessary twisting of ‘X’s thoughts and is an excellent example of what Gurdjieff called “formatory thinking”. The fact that ‘X’ is aware of the commonplace that “group think” tends to destabilise one’s own individual perceptions to the point even of delusion (and that this is happening in the Fellowship of Friends) does not automatically mean that his own perception of this well-known fact must be deluded. Having spent years in the Fellowship, I cannot but agree with him.
    There is a psychological process that one undergoes in order to adapt to the culture of the Fellowship. One can be either more or less aware of it (the more aware of it one is, the less comfortable one will be, and the more need there will be to suppress it). The human tendency in group situations is towards conformity of thought and behaviour, as in any long-term group dynamic, religious or secular. It is often necessary to buffer the ‘cognitive dissonance’ that arises when one’s own values are different from or even antithetical to those of the group if one wishes to stay or is frightened into believing that one will be thrown out with no where else to go.
    This is certainly the case for many in the Fellowship at one time or another. The problem for students is that they are taught categorically, and reinforced socially, that any doubts, criticisms or problems they have with the Teacher or the School are unsound. These perceptions are not only unsound, they are positively diabolical, and said to emanate from that part of the “machine” which is the enemy to awakening and which seeks to sabotage one’s work. Some students are finally able to regain trust in their own capacity to see the truth (this often takes years of painful soul-searching), and see that what they were believing in or have outgrown is now clearly seen as one’s participation in one’s own self-deception, not to mention that in doing so, one has succumbed to a less than wholesome teaching.
    But until students see this they will also be like the person who is at the stage of full indoctrination: they can only have one response to themselves and to others: if one doubts or perceives that something is “evil,” it is their enemy, their “king of clubs” speaking, and that, as yet unawakened beings, they are incapable of determining truth, as such “negative” perceptions are indicative of a lower dualistic level of consciousness (interesting how even people who discover non-dualistic Advaita or Buddhism still recognise when people are behaving badly and how this is directly connected with real spiritual level). In any case, trying to talk to a person fully in the grip of this fundamentalism is like talking to the person who has heard of the psychological term “denial” and uses that concept in order to nullify everyone who disagrees. E.g., “You want to leave because you’ve fallen prey to your own limited ego, but that’s where you’re deluded.” Response: “No, I’m saying that I have seen that I’ve been deluded and now I’ve woken up.” “No, you are in denial. You’re not qualified to say what’s delusional and what isn’t, since you’re not awake.”
    That, my friends, is a subtle trap. You must trust yourselves. What you have made into your enemy (your own conscience and your own common sense) is your best and finest friend. This common sense is your integrity, that unity that you have been seeking and which needs to grow. In the pursuit of higher consciousness and mystical states, one must not lose sight of one’s full humanity.
    The problem with closed-systems of thought is just that: they are closed. In the Fellowship, as in most, if not all fundamentalist cults or sects, there is never any good reason to leave. This is an assumption underlying the intolerant and ignorant attitude held by some (not all) students, an attitude taught and cultivated by RB. It follows that if there can be no good reason to leave, there can only be bad reasons. The worldview is conceived in black & white. Especially for Fourth Way students, this extreme dualism should be a flag of the chief characteristic of formatory thinking: “either/or”. ‘X’ has clearly ‘verified’ for himself that one is in danger of losing one’s common sense, one’s ability even to perceive truth if one becomes too psychologically, socially, and materially entangled in the Fellowship.
    Many students have found that they have had to make significant adjustments to their ideas of good and evil, to the serious detriment of truth and wisdom and the peace of their own consciences. Students will have to reconcile what they see as cruel, arbitrary and aberrant behaviours with grand, artistic, mystical, and psychologically perceptive words. It would be good for them at some point to understand that there is and must be a harmonious connection between mystical ’states’ and ethical actions. This is what people understand in their heart of hearts when they seek a spiritual teacher; otherwise they will be accepting second best; this pure perception of goodness is what they stand in danger of losing if they put their moral compass in the hands of one who cannot exemplify real ‘higher love’, a higher love which is not disembodied, for that is far too easy, but thoroughly embodied in consistent acts of kindness and humility. 

    Luke Says: Second line
    January 4th, 2007 at 4:22 am e
    I’d like to share a theme which has become prevalent in many recent conversations with members, though not always made explicit. This theme deals with one of the primary difficulties in leaving the group: the fear of isolation.
    To give some background: in the fellowship, we have an ongoing exercise (or task) to cease contact with members that have left the group. The more fundamentlist members of our group have deep-seated negative beliefs about ex-members, and attendant fear and discomfort at even crossing paths with these individuals. At another end of a wide spectrum of beliefs are members that have little regard to the task,
    albeit in most cases, maintaining their friendships with ex-members very privately. Members maintaining contact with ex-members are subject to warnings and are ultimately asked to leave the group if they are openly non compliant.
    Regardless of a member’s position on this or other tasks, one underwrites the view, promoted by those in charge, that ex-members have lost the “most precious gift in the universe – the opportunity to awaken”. In general the outsider or non-member is devalued; in spiritual terms, he or she is considered only a possibility, whose true potential is dependent upon living in the fellowship. Fellowship rhetoric does, after all, frequently imply the group’s spiritual hegemony over all other groups in relation to the divine. The ex-member, then, is considered someone whose possibilities have ended. The ex-member is assigned the very particular status of being cursed. Again, it is important to mention that this is not representative of the deep-seated beliefs of all, but it is the view promoted by the leaders and is publicly accepted by many.
    That said, many of us are at a turning point after 15, 23, or 30 years in the group. For a variety of reasons, the least of which may be the aforementioned dillema, we want to move on. Having arrived at this point, which may involve the undoing of financial or practical ties, we are left with one very large fear – that we will lose most of our friends.
    Traditionally, long-time members leaving the group have moved away to some place where they could start a new life, especially if they have
    hitherto lived in or close to the community. There are however, those ex-members that have remained in the area, and to a greater or lesser
    extent, they exist with the stigma of being outsiders. It seems now that this is changing.
    Now many members associate with the growing number of ex-members living nearby – these are after all, old friends that may have shared a good part of their lives. Beliefs are challenged by simple human facts; that members care for, and are inspired by their friends. In the recent words of one member, toward an ex-member and friend, “love and friendship are beyond all that”.
    Some members have remade friendships after years of – at best – cordial hellos at the post office. Others are unable to revive lost
    relationships. Emotional breakdown sometimes occurs in cases where, having seen through their divisive attitudes, members are unable to repair historic divisions within friendships, marriages or family.
    Five years ago, my good friend left the group, and in his case, I have privately maintained contact. For five years I have watched him
    flourish spiritually and emotionally, and this has subtly challenged my beliefs every step of the way. The belief that by following the task I protect my self and my ‘work’ from lower influences and deviations is melting down. An alternate view of the task is that of a device, that helps solidify the fellowship beliefs that are promulgated by the leaders. Moreover, the
    fear that is a product of such beliefs might mitigate the unthinkable – that I may someday find it not only acceptable, but even desirable, to leave the group.
    If we reach out, we find that the concepts of inside and outside are dualistic in nature, limit understanding, and in many of us, engender
    fear. This serves the instinctive needs of the group while compromising the individual. To put a different spin on a oft-quoted fellowship
    jingle: the King of Clubs is keeping us in the school.
    For many years I privately held the view that only formatory mind was capable of alienating ex-students. While underwriting the central
    beliefs of the group, I espoused a value system of my own. Now I am forced to consider a whole framework of school beliefs, which encompasses those aspects I still value, as well as those which I find reprehensible. I no longer enjoy the luxury of compartmentalizing concepts to make them fit inside my head. It is my good fortune that the remorse is not causing emotional breakdown, as I have seen in some
    cases; After all, I shared a special language and mentors – to whom I would now refer as The Great Explainers – that gave me permission. We spun contradictions variously as ‘work on attitudes’ and ‘feeding the higher self, not the lower’ and when the buffer succeeded, we called it ’separation’. Clearly the Work ideas have practical and useful applications in our group, especially when second line and first line are healthy. What cannot be ignored however, is the growing tendency to use ideas without reference to context in the present moment. Good ideas become degraded by misapplication and by self-serving use. Self-reinforcing logic becomes the only frame of reference for many members, effectively
    disconnecting them from broader and deeper thought..
    The so-called work in this paradigm is in many cases defined not only by superficial, but deeply psychological forms of exclusion and
    exclusivity. When we realize this, we are forced to confront, and perhaps to reconcile the contradiction; well-learned dissociative behavior has become the seedbed for misconception.
    One of the many outcomes of this illusory construct, which develops over many years, is the fear of isolation. The cornerstone of that
    construct, to playfully misquote Gurdjieff, would read something like this: “Life is only real, then, when I am – in the fellowship – “.
    If we are prepared and willing to bring more of what we can plainly see to bear on our psychology, a disquieting storm starts to gather, and what we thought was solid ground begins to fall away from under us.
    In the words of Mark Twain: “It ain’t what you don’t know that gets you into trouble. It’s what you know for sure, that just ain’t so.”
    1/28 ExBrideofChrist Says: Second line
    January 4th, 2007 at 8:22 pm e
    Luke – in my opinion, you give an accurate assessment of the real dynamic that keeps people in the Fellowship of Friends. And you can add to fear of loss of friendship, the many other vested interests and material advantages that serve to imprison people in the FOF – under the guise of spiritual work.
    To talk from the FOF paradigm, the whole phenomena might be explained as a divine experiment (of the gods) to discover the following:
    What degree of behavioral, moral, and emotional corruption, and intellectual degradation will the human organism accept?
    How far and for how long will a deluded and dysfunctional individual, whose conduct exposes himself, specific individuals, and the entire group to risk, liability, and other damaging consequences be followed without question or challenge?
    How easily can individuals be enticed to surrender their extant values and standards and succumb to psychological tyranny, by adopting a narrow and fixed frame of reference that divorces them from the broader realities of life, with all its natural checks and balances.
    How much money can be extracted by teachings, prophecies, and theories of spirituality that by any metrics are proven to be fallible or injurious?
    The long term members of this group have truly lost their spiritual compass, but dare not perceive this to be true: the rationalizations and dissociative thinking are fantastic – for an otherwise intelligent and successful group of people.
    Second Line 1/29 Glad2bGone Says:
    January 5th, 2007 at 11:05 pm e
    From above, “And you can add to fear of loss of friendship, the many other vested interests…” Such interests include maintenance of authority, position and status, stability & security, material comforts, and avoidance of the inconvenience of changing the comfortable status quo. All these factors – and many more subtler psychological motives – serve to imprison people in the FOF. Such UNextraordinary motives are couched in language that attempts to mystify and ennoble the humble reality.
    Often, members resolve the discomfort that arises when a departure challenges their own basis for remaining, by concluding that “the King of Clubs” took them out of the school”. The implication here is always one of a personal failure of the departing student. (A departure must not be interpreted as a failure of the methods of the school.) This definition of failure stimulates in the remaining students a sense of superior virtue, as – in the contrast – their own work appears to have greater integrity. I have seen this play of attitudes repeatedly. The irony here is that the (instinctively entrenched) members would employ the King of Clubs explanation to denounce departing students even where the departure necessarily includes the loss of all the comforts of the status quo: friends, home, community, spouse – every single aspect of their life that has for many years constituted their entire world. Departing is much rougher than staying.
    The teaching cautions against the “King of Clubs” as the enemy of awakening. The concept of the evil King of Clubs is a simple device (well documented in cult research ) that alienates common sense and all practical and intellectual discrimination: any idea or action inimical to the aims of the teacher is labeled the action of the King of Clubs, and is in this way invalidated. This device neutralizes any threat posed by questioning or doubt. With this device integrated into fellowship thinking, no real verification or informed acceptance of principles is possible. No valid way out of the fellowship exists for a member that internalizes the FOF concept of the King of Clubs: a departure is by definition a failure and can never be rational: a powerful and dangerous device, and one of many, MANY instances of faulty thinking that are endemic to fellowship culture. The many similar trite formulae and all the pseudo-logic (although, more recently, outright nonsense) manufactured by the Teacher and swallowed by the many, support the mechanism of brain washing in the fellowship. That mechanism is all the more effective for the continuous infusion of pageantry, grandiosity, and all the affectation of refinement that so characterizes public life in the FOF.

    The Teacher 1/30
    Former Long-Time Student Says:
    January 12th, 2007 at 10:11 pm e
    I would like to respond to A’s post, which states “that by understanding yourself you will understand Burton”. He has said something very important here, though my interpretation of his statement will likely diverge from what he intended.
    By understanding yourself, you will understand Burton: Quite true. If one understands oneself, one will also have a better understanding of what motivates the “Teacher”. That is, one’s own motives will prove to be the same or similar to the Teacher’s, for the fundamental reason that students and teachers are both human beings, with accordingly similar basic needs and psychologies. This point of view departs, however, from orthodox Fellowship teaching and belief. A good example: While still a member, I invited a student friend and her husband, to dinner. We were discussing the Teacher’s sometimes “mysterious” behaviour. I said that we needed to remember that in addition to his being our Teacher, he was also a human being. “No he is ISN’T!” she shouted from across the dinner table. “He’s a G—O—D!” That is, the Teacher is not a human being, but a different category of being altogether. I was shocked by her vehemence but was glad to hear her point of view, as I liked her, and a more concise declaration of Fellowship dogma I had never heard. A “conscious being” is so very unlike “ordinary” people, who are “sleeping” machines, as to be another creature entirely. This anthropology is at the heart of Gurdjieff’s Fourth Way teaching and at the heart of the FoF’s.
    Being “conscious” means that one has not only learned to access higher states at will, but that one is oneself a higher being. Thus empowered, one is no longer subject to the same laws that govern lower beings, that is, the rest of us. I am reminded of Nietzsche’s “superman” who megalo-maniacally arises out of the weak and ignorant masses to forge his own morality out of his own will-to-power (one can easily see how Nietszche was such an inspiration to the Nazis) and how the authoritarian Gurdjieff may have been influenced by his ideas, whether directly or indirectly (Ouspensky was certainly aware of them); we in the individualised West, have certainly inherited them. Yet, the “superman”, Nietzsche’s bold replacement for the God who had died, was ultimately still a man, although (theoretically at least), much improved by his self-conscious daring and genius.
    Interestingly, at the rarified level of the FoF-type conscious being, some of the rights and privileges of a higher being would appear to be the uncensored enjoyment of sensory gratifications involving, food, drink, sex, and money, as well as the intoxicating gratifications of being worshipped . . . and feared as a god. Because these pleasures are enjoyed and exercised by a conscious being, they somehow assume a different character. They are absorbed into the character of the actor, if you will. Yet one can see also that in wider society, it isn’t only ‘spiritual beings’ who, when they achieve a certain power and influence, are all too willing to exercise unrestricted privileges at the expense of others, but persons of a quite material orientation, including those less privileged, are also equally willing to “act out” more fully these same desires when circumstances finally conspire to allow them greater scope.
    It is easy to acknowledge that greed, lust, vanity, and inordinate desire for power are motives behind all of our overly-indulgent actions. These aspects of our nature are so well known, that all the major religions have recognised them throughout their histories: the sage or the saint has always been distinguished not only by their perceived proximity to the divine, however that is conceived, but according to how s/he handles the very natural ‘temptations’ or ‘desires’ that “flesh is heir to”.
    Interesting then, how FoF teaching would ascribe the extravagant acting out of these desires to “higher” causes, since they are enacted by a “conscious being”. Thus the Teacher’s words and actions are judged, strangely, by a so-called “higher” standard, and vices are made out to be virtues. Attitudes or actions incongruent with the teaching of the majority of sages and teachers, previously understood by means of common sense, which implies the knowledge of one’s own nature and thus of other human beings’, is instead, mystified behind a counterfeit standard.
    In transcending it, one does not leave behind one’s human nature, but rather “perfects” or purifies it. The Buddha taught purifying the mind and body through mindfulness and non-attachment, and compassion through his ethics, which requires at all times, the respecting of persons and their property. Even Christ, “the Son of God”, had no problem humiliating himself by following rules meant for ordinary, humble people. “I have not come to change one jot or tittle of the law, but to fulfil it.” In fulfilling and transcending the law, he not only did not abandon its basic tenets, but made it even more exacting, by extending its sovereignty ever more into our protected inner territory, as in his purifying teaching that one doesn’t have to act out adultery to have committed it; simply to have looked upon a woman with lust was to have committed it in one’s “heart”. Or in the beatitude “Blessed are the pure in heart, for they shall see God”.
    Although the FoF’s teaching has departed from the The Fourth Way, and the Fourth Way was at the outset only a root upon which RB’s teaching was grafted, the cosmological concept known as the Ray of Creation has added its burden to the belief that a conscious teacher is above the law. In the Ray of Creation, the earth is a very long way down, the last to the bottom-most rung, which terminates at the moon, an eater of souls. The further down the Ray of Creation, the more laws one is under. The object of the pupil is to free him/herself from these “unnecessary” laws and to put oneself under the influence of higher laws. Therefore, as has been said, according to FoF teaching, ordinary normative ethics apply only to those living in a lower level of consciousness, and are banished to that derogatory realm under the laws of “feminine dominance” (all the social rules one learned from one’s mother): that uncreative, mechanical region inhabited by dull “Life People”, sleeping machines, “who do not know themselves”, who understand little and who are capable of nothing else but the blind following of someone else’s arbitrary rules. Thus could RB reduce the loving acts of Mother Theresa, for example, to “mechanical goodness”, i.e., she just couldn’t help but help other people. In this dismissive and pseudo-majestical “dispensing of existence”, he thus relegated her and others who might be tempted to emulate her, to fodder for the moon. Would that we could all be like her, or Gandhi, so spontaneously self-sacrificing, generous and loving!
    Under such teaching, one is asked to disbelieve what one’s senses and intuition know even without words, which is that Mother Theresa and Gandhi and others like them are doing good. Instead one is instructed to believe, counter-intuitively, and against one’s common sense, that the good actions of such people are at best useless, and at worst, evil (in the Fourth Way’s sense of evil as mechanicalness). This harsh gavel falls merely on the basis of one’s teacher conclusion that although these good people appear “awake”, they are in fact, asleep; they are definitively “unconscious beings”. The logic is this: When a “conscious being” does good, it really is good, but when a sleeping machine does good, . . .
    One might ask: What could be more predictably, historically, humanly mechanical than the temptation to exploit one’s exalted position to indulge one’s every whim? Thrasymachus, a character in one of Plato’s dialogues, maintains, unsuccessfully, thank goodness, that as far as any real definition of justice is concerned, ‘Might makes right.’ I would be much more convinced, as I think most people would, of any person’s sanctity and claims to godliness (especially when the claim to divinity is exclusive of 6.5 billion other human beings on the planet) if such an exalted personage did NOT indulge their every whim, and did not, deplorably, attempt to twist vices into virtues, especially when those so-called virtues are paid for by the sweat and toil of others, while at the same time, wilfully inducing paralysis in one’s tender devotees and workers by wielding over their heads visions of spiritual extinction and the loss of all their friendships should they decide—at any point ever—to move on and to grow. I myself should be greatly vigilant if told: “The only way to graduate from the School is to die”.
    But it is for each individual to decide amongst the possible motives for such statements and kinds of teaching. It could be useful to ask oneself why anyone, especially oneself, would say or teach such things. Best wishes to all.
    20 years to leave…..
    another former student Says:
    January 20th, 2007 at 6:32 am
    For me much said in the last several posts from former members rings true. I was in the Fellowship twenty-some years. As early as 1984 when Miles left I had the thought: “Well, it may be right for Miles to leave now, but I know that it isn’t right for me.” The seed was planted then and it took nearly 20 more years before it was right for me to leave… (passive type).
    Early on I had developed a worldview differing from Robert’s, but generally kept it to myself, and did the necessary mental gymnastics needed to rationalize some of Robert’s views and actions. It took many years to finally realize the limitations of the intellectual center!! … It is true that the emotional center leaves first and it took years before the other centers got it together to leave also. The leaving process was difficult. I really enjoyed being in the Fellowship. I enjoyed what I was doing, the people and the many good aspects of the Fellowship…but the ship, as beautiful as it was, was going where I knew I could no longer go.
    I think the important thing to remember is that one has to go through all of these stages for oneself and at ones own pace. It is all “grist for the mill.” So it makes no difference if one is reading this post from within or without the Fellowship. We are all… still on a train, going somewhere, though we may have changed seats or moved to another coach. Keep listening to the place within that knows. Best to you all.

    “The FoF Business”
    X Says:
    January 24th, 2007 at 3:32 am
    Many of us have joined this group because we had hopes to “know thyself”. Or – to be liberated, or – to achieve awakening. Some joined out of boredom to meet new friends, spouses, some were in need for a father figure. Some just wanted a visa to America! As time went by, some of us got visas, some got married and met friends. Lots of young insecure males (kind of like our friend Alexis) got their “daddy” feeding them and buying them clothes, and puling their pants down… Did anyone awake? Did someone got to know himself? I mean, honestly. Anyone liberated? No! No one! In almost 12,000 people that went through this school for over 30 years – no one got liberated. And if you think mister Girard got liberated – why don’t you ask him, or even better – go visit him at his house and see how (and what) he is doing … The reality is that lots of people got damaged emotionally and financially, got totally lost, entangled in themselves, broke down. Lots of people are so scared of the world that they are incapable to live their lives outside the Fellowship. Sounds really liberating, on all levels. Does it tell you something?
    FOF is a great business, and the ONLY goal is – to make money. You are promised something you’ll never get, (well, not this lifetime, dear) and you asked to pay through the nose for it. Because you don’t know any better, or just get “hooked” on high states (just like a drug addict) – you get sucked in, brainwashed, and actually don’t mind paying. You start liking your cage after 10plus years! You defend it, and attack anyone who comes near.
    Whatever the teacher does – he charges a lot for it. Breakfast, lunch, dinner, reception, meeing, picture taken with him – each of this will cost you from a 100 to 1000. The guy is simply raking it in. It’s all about the money.
    Do you know for example, what is the main “task” for center directors? Help you to wake up? Assist you on your path? Not really. It is – To attract more members, recruit, catch, trap. Get the money! Get them to join! The “questionnare for directors” says: (I actually copy the original here)
    Did you have activities to advertise the school? Please indicate yes or no in the list below.
    Ads in Newspapers
    Open meeting
    Web site
    Word of mouth
    Please use the list below to indicate how many prospective students found us
    Through Ads in Newspapers
    Through Bookmarking
    Through Brochures
    Through Flyers
    Through Newsletters
    Through Open meeting
    Through Others
    Through Posters
    Through Web site
    Through Word of mouth
    How many prospective students did you have participating in a first meeting?
    How many students joined after the first meeting?
    Did someone bring friends to the second meeting, if yes, how many?
    How many prospective students did you have participating in a second meeting?
    How many students joined after the second meeting?
    You see for yourself – NOT A WORD ABOUT WAKING UP. NOT A WORD ABOUT LIBERATION. I wish I can send you a link so you can read it yourself – but it’s password protected site.
    What does it tell you? Isn’t it just an agressive recruiting campaign? Why there is such a burning desire to attract members, may be to “wake people up”?
    Well, because it brings 5 million a year in teaching payments, plus another 4-5 mil in additional charges for dinners, photos and such. IT’S ALL ABOUT THE MONEY. Again, It’s all about the money.
    And that would be almost fine, if the teacher gives you back. If he actually teaches you to wake up. Or -cares about your progress. Then – who care what it costs! But the truth us – HE DOESN’T CARE! AND HE HAS NO CLUE!!! He really has no idea how to be present, he cannot communicate a thing to his students. The bullshit he is saying lately is so absurd – even the “followers” are starting to loose faith. This is from “Anatomy of the Sequence”: However, Christ is behind Judas, and the nine of hearts is behind Christ, so Judas’ failure is ultimately the failure of the nine of hearts. – Huh?
    Or read this: “His name was Gilgamesh from the very day of his birth”—from short Be—the birth of the steward. “He was two-thirds god, one-third man.” “One-third man” refers to short Be; “two-thirds god” refers to middle Be and long BE. Schools assume that if you successfully pass through middle Be, you will complete your sequence. – Sounds so 4th way! You joined the 4th way school, remember?
    Or – this one: Following Robert’s recent comment that “behind the steward is the nine of hearts, and behind the nine of hearts is divine presence, and behind divine presence are Influence C, and behind Influence C is the Absolute,” we will aim at better
    understanding the responsibility of the nine of hearts in this divine equation and how to ensure its proper work.
    If this is not MADNESS, then – what is?
    Sadly, many students are so conditioned, addicted and stuck, that they have no other way but listen, obey and believe. And, most importantly – PAY!
    Again – if any of you for some crazy reason have a thought about joining this group – please don’t! Do yourself a favour and go elsewhere. This man, RB, has no clue about awakening, he has no clue about the nature of things – all he does is squeezes out money and sperm from people.
    I am so happy to finally be out of it!

    NO Freedom of Speech
    John Says:
    February 1st, 2007 at 10:02 pm
    Please everyone. Let’s have a sense of proportion.
    I am a current member of the Fellowship. While I now question my participation and many of the decisions I have made over the years of my membership, I have to admit that I never gave away a fortune, renounced my parents, or sold my children to the slave-traders.
    I, too, have seen some of the extreme and fanatic behavior discussed above, but by framing the discussion around these extremes, we have driven current members from the board. That’s a shame.
    In the last few years, I have watched as the idea of “angles of thought” has disappeared — that is, the idea that we all have a point of view that, while subjective, contributes to the whole. What has replaced it increasingly is an emphasis on conformity, on the “right” opinion issued from above. Nonconformity in thoughts or behavior can be reported on, sometimes with consequences.
    That has driven many substantive discussions underground, unfortunately. I was hoping this might be a place where we might share our opinions in a safe, anonymous way, rather than a place to vent or issue position statements expressing opinions that were cast in cement long ago.

    The Cult
    X-man Says:
    February 2nd, 2007 at 12:07 am
    Dear John,
    What proportion can be found in madness? Common sense is possible between normal and honest people.
    You probably need to do some serious research about what EXACTLY is happening behind the scenes of the FOF.
    And what is your motive of your arguments? Are you trying to convince us that we are wrong in our views and opinions? Or you are trying to find out the TRUTH about it.
    I’ll tell you one thing for sure.Do you know why the exercise “avoiding all contacts with former students” is so active verses some other exercises which far more heavy but less are punished for?
    The answer is very simple Mr.John,because when one is leaving the school that usually means that he or she gets dehypnotized and they begin to see things as they are which is very dangerous to other members and to the whole system which you call a “school”.
    And in regards to your statement:-”I never gave away a fortune or sold my children to the slave-traders”-I can tell you that you probably did not have any thing to give away because if you would have some thing to give you would not be able to “get away” without “giving it away” first.
    And slavery? What full is thinks of him as full? What “machine” is thinks of it as a “machine”? What slave is thinks of him as slave? Will slave continue to be a slave? Unless he broke or stupid he will not”.And that’s what happening to most of us who left and keep on leaving.
    A destructive cults (and FOF is one of them) has very fine and smarty hidden ways of squeezing you like a lemon and keeping you a slave and “sell” it back to you like is a fortune.They takes from you the “diamonds” and gives you back all plastic.And guess what helps them do that to you? Your fear and your fanaticism which works for them and are preventing you from seeing the Truth!

    Notes from Elena: The following letter is sincere and it is good to observe the “attitude” in it. The writer says, “Getting close to Robert and not getting burned was really the test.”
    It is an amazing reality in the Fellowship that in the Fellowship it is a legitimate idea, to get “burned”, by the teacher.
    “We are free to choose, (to get burned), or ………..”
    another former student Says:
    February 3rd, 2007 at 5:45 pm
    The Fellowship does have a lot to offer. Inside the Fellowship the older students know very well that getting close to the teacher, which is the natural desire for most of the newer students, was equivalent to “getting close to the fire”. And it is common knowledge that if you get too close to the fire you might get burned. This is the logic that operates with most of the seasoned students. Getting close to Robert and not getting burned was really the test. Most of the students who have been there many years and are having success in their lives and aims have negotiated this difficult phase. It is accomplished in different ways and on different levels of understanding. One may argue that it is not really understanding but self-deception. I argue as a former member that no one but one self can know the difference (as psychologically tricky as this may sound). One should know ahead of time that the Fellowship, or the Fourth way for that matter, is a psychological minefield. We are free to choose or pick our own way.

    Baleful Bedouin of Baloney Says:
    February 6th, 2007 at 10:49 pm
    Perhaps it speaks poorly (yet again) of this Fellowship of Fiends, that so many of those touched by it remain self-pitying whiners even years after-the-fact. Embittered victims, the angry dwarfs of contemporary spirituality.
    Look, I can be as disconcerted as anyone by the reported egregious behavior and excesses of their leader. And also by what appears, from the numerous accounts given (or linked to) here, to be a spiritual community rife with manipulation and delusory thinking. But I am also suspicious of such remarks as “these people ruined my life”; and suspicious of an underlying sentiment that I notice in a number of postings-by-the-injured (and by their instantly eager cheer-leaders).
    First of all, was your life really ruined? Frankly, that reeks of exaggeration and narcissistic victim-hood. And, if the claim is even partially true — say, to the extent that you suffered financial or emotional hardship and lost valuable time — was it really this evil organization that ‘did’ those things to innocent, passive, helpless, wholesome you? I suspect the reality is far more complex. And far more interesting, too.
    I am acquainted with Fourth Way literature, and will share a perception I always appreciated (from Ouspensky’s writings): “Blame is a buffer.” Didn’t you FOF-fers (former and current) ever delve into that one? Of course, Ouspensky’s observation would also apply to any tendency to ‘blame the victim,’ a policy I am by no means advocating. But all sides need to be seen.
    Just for instance, what was it in YOU that made for your initial attraction to the organization, and (in some cases) your deep immersion in its worldview and psychology? Of course, the answer to that question will be many-layered, and different for each person. But it must be asked, gone into deeply, with answers fully owned up to.
    Oh, excuse me, that has already been addressed on this blog, and in considerable detail, right? Let me recap (variation No. 4, on a theme for violino piccolo):
    “The F.O.F. held out a promise of good things and got my hopes up, kind of seduced and hypnotized me for a while, ultimately disappointed me, but left me very dependent and fearful of leaving, which I finally did manage to do when I got totally disgusted and couldn’t stand it anymore.”
    Sounds like a love affair. A lot like a love affair, maybe followed by marriage and divorce. In line with that comparison, I feel it is just too damn easy (read: mechanical) to take sides with the party who is doing all the talking, recounting the abuses, in the absence of the other voices and points of view that are surely out there.
    I find it interesting that, now and again in the unfolding of this blog, a rare attempt, or hint thereof, has been made to open things up to a more multi-sided discussion. To wit, the recent posts 37, 39, and 43. These were promptly and aggressively stomped on by a particularly strident contributor, with much contempt and a bizarre kind of pontificating arrogance, in multiple postings.
    So, Burton and Burtonians, where are you?! Why do you not speak? Better yet, you ambivalent ones from the land of F.O.F., weighing truth and falsehood for yourselves on the unusual path you have chosen. I’d like to hear more of what you have to say, preferably in an atmosphere of passionate (and compassionate) neutrality all around.

    william Says:

    October 19, 2008 at 9:39 am
    There were four people I knew who had become conscious. They were all very close to the same age, early to mid twenties. All this occured in the middle to late 70’s. Those four people were the inner circle of the school. The only ones who knew they were in the circle were themselves and the teacher. All the other fellow students assumed that the inner circle was comprised of people who sat at the front of the meetings with Robert. Not so. Ironically, the LAST person to wake up in the four was the only one who ever sat at the front with Robert, on several occasions.

    william Says:

    October 19, 2008 at 12:55 pm
    I’d like to mention something else, now that I have just read through every single missive on this site. Someone remarked that no one ever left the fellowship for good reasons, just bad. That’s not correct. I left for good reasons. I left in 79, after having been in the school for 5 years. This wasn’t a snap decision, it was something I realized was being communicated to me. It was time for me to work on my own. I wasn’t really crazy about leaving my real friends. And I only heard about the alleged change in Robert many years later. And it made absolutely ZERO sense to me. The only way I can reconcile it is to realize that Robert was intentionally disbanding the school because his work was complete. What he put up in it’s place was so transparently a cliche of the eventual demise of all cults that I assumed it was significant. Some kind of fraud was being played out, to make him look like a predator, the purpose of which I probably will never know. But everything I’ve been reading about him for the last 10 years is simply NOT the person I knew. I witnessed magic almost EVERY DAY for five long years. And I intuitively knew that because it started out hidden, it had to remain hidden.

    I knew many of the people mentioned. I haven’t thought of Richard, the hairdresser for years. A rather aloof saturn, in his way. I didn’t know at the time he was gay, but there was an odd thing he said once, in a casual moment, that made me realize that there was something psychologically off with him.

    Robert was a joy to be around in those days. To hear that he is virtually inaccessible…well, for anyone else, I would think that his alleged behavior indicated an advanced stage of syphilus that was slowly destroying his brain. But personally, I think it’s all some act. At the same time, I can’t imagine why any of these people dissing him would lie. There’s no profit in it whatsoever.

    I remember Girard from back then too. He was ALWAYS a self deluded individual. We would often laugh at him, secretly, behind our hands. Nevertheless, he was a nice enough fellow in his own way. Just a clueless true believer, in the Eric Hoffer sense. And one of the four people in the real inner circle was in fact a woman.

    william Says:

    October 19, 2008 at 1:09 pm
    I just remembered something else. Suppose these alleged sexual tryst’s did take place. If I had been asked, I would have simply declined. We once had an exercise to break a glass in a restaurant to work on inner considering. That was each student’s task. But I simply refused to do that. So WHAT that the teacher asked us to do it? It wasn’t HIS property. What, I’m supposed to willfully just destroy someone’s personal possessions because someone tells me to? I don’t care if he was the teacher. That had nothing to do with the teaching. My work on inner considering was about ME going against the masses of the fellowship and doing what I already KNEW was right.

    Robert once asked me to call out to someone who was leaving the house. I suppose he didn’t want to shout himself. But I couldn’t DO IT! Shouting was no longer something I did. Instead, I ran after the person and caught up with him and told him the teacher wanted to speak to him. Nothing “bad” ever happened to me. Why should it?

    Any bad experiences I had in the school always came from student robots, people trying to whip me into line. Which I simply refused to do because I was there for me, not them. Most of these robots had dead eyes. Especially that Linda character. Good Lord. When that place in San Francisco burned to the ground, I took it as an omen for her, since her last name was the same as the store. She was such a fraud. And she had the eyes of a swine.

    william Says:

    October 19, 2008 at 9:36 pm
    For reasons that surpass understanding, my earlier comment on the real inner circle of the school, which existed in the mid to late 70’s only, has been removed. I’m not sure why. But I’ll reiterate. There were four such people, one of whom was a woman. Of the four, only one of them ever sat at the front during large meetings. The other three NEVER did. And NONE of the regulars who sat at the front were ever part of the inner circle. The inner circle is something one gets into because of SOMETHING THEY KNOW that no one else knows. And once you know this something, it’s absolutely transparent to you who else also knows it. Nothing needs to be said at all. One look and it’s quite apparent.

  9. battlesword Says:
    February 10, 2009 at 4:44 pmPage 1 of the Blog Says:May 21, 2007 at 6:27 am
    This is a selection from page 1/1 to 1/40 

    The Sheik’s prospective meeting 1/1

    My visit to the Fellowship of Friends (written a year ago and not changed since)
    I have had a very interesting experience today, I visited an informal presentation of the Fellowship of Friends (http://www.apollo.org/) to listen to their take on the Fourth Way teachings – teachings of Gurdjieff and his disciple Ouspensky. I am full of mixed feelings, I have just finished doing some rather extensive research on the Fellowship and the results were not happy, thus meeting some of my fears and intensifying my distrust of this cult.
    I will structure this entry in the following manner: section 1) will deal with my visit to the Fellowship as it happened, with no added judgements; section 2) will try to put things into context using my additional research; section 3) will include my personal opinions on the visit, on the Fellowship etc.
    1) The Fellowship headquarters in London are suited in a rather nice part of northern London, in an area that is much more beautiful and green than most, one that offers a rather enchanting landscape view of a small part of London which is otherwise hidden from sight.
    The day of my visit to the Fellowship was a nice sunny day and many times was I forced to stop and take in the magnificent view. When I was nearing the house where the presentation was supposed to take place, I was overtaken by an old red car, most of it brightly painted over with psychedelic imagery, esoteric symbolism and pictures of tribal people drumming and dancing. I knew I was going in the right direction. And as I arrived at the end of my journey, there stood the inhabitants of the car – a large bald man with a green sweather and 3 massive crystal necklaces, a lady with hair the colours of the rainbow, and another lady who was slightly less outgoing and whose appearance therefore slipped my mind. I wrongly took them for the presenters at first, for they were just humble visitors, same as me.
    I knocked on the door of a fairly large suburban house and was let in by a man of Eastern looks – a mixture of Russian and Arab features. He was dressed in a very expensive pastel suit, his looks could not have been any more perfect. He was the doorman – so you can imagine what the rest of the troupe who were to entertain us looked like. I went through to the living room and into the meeting chamber. There were smartly dressed people everywhere – most of them in their late 30s or 40s, all of them with easy manners, slight charm but also arrogance. I was seated on a chair and had a second to properly take in my surroundings. The house was beautiful – very tasteful, beautiful paintings, statues and other art, all in perfect position – everything looked very stylish and upper-class.
    There were 3 men – or rather one 30+ years old man and two young men in their twenties, both of them with great expectations and slight naivity easily readable on their faces. I was to find out that the young men were brothers from Poland who came to find out more about the esoteric knowledge that this group had to offer. The older man was a new member of the Fellowship, his acting skills were not yet as highly developed as his colleagues’ therefore he came across as a rather down-to-earth kind of man. We briefly talked and I was happy to see some common interests between us, yet slightly disappointed by the two young men (who seemed intelligent but far too naive and unguarded not to be easily manipulated). We were later joined by a beautiful young woman either from Italy or Spain, also smartly dressed, who kept our company for a minute or two and fueled many sexual fantasies and desires for the two boys just by her presence. I was, of course, untouched. As long as falling in love on the first sight does not count.
    Then came time for the presentation itself. We were seated by the man who was to chair the event – he moved us several times until he was certain that the ‘energy in the room was properly distributed’. This was a pretty funny event – adults were told to sit at other places, move their chairs, swap places and such – all of this I believe was meant to put us at ease. Then came the time for introductions.
    The presenters were numerous and picked so that as many different types were represented – the main presenter was an English man, aristocrat appearance and an old-school beige suit, he had piercing eyes and a deep enchanting voice, he was the most charismatic manipulator I have ever met. His entourage consisted of an intellectual American (not an oxymorom), scruffy yet perfectly dressed Scottsman, the beautiful south-western European woman, 2 pretty older women (one English, one foreign) and about 3 other British men. All of them perfectly dressed, if in a rather eighteenth century kind of way.
    The visitors were as follows: me, the 3 inhabitants of the psychedelic car, an unhealthy fat English lady interested in lucid dreaming, the two Poles, an uneasy scared Brit and possibly one or two others.
    There were also some other Fellowship members who were not presenting and two Russians/Arabs in incredibly expensive summer suits who looked like bodyguards. The member:non-member ratio was roughly 2:1.
    The presentation started and the basic ideas were put forward:
    there are 4 levels of consciousness going from the lowest to the highest: sleep, being awake (still asleep), awareness of oneself, and the final 4th state. The first state is experienced while dreaming, the second state is experienced while we are awake, yet it is like a dream in that we behave like robots – there is no self, no will and we react to outside influences in pre-programmed ways. These first two states are the only states experiencable without some heavy work on one-self. The third state usually happens once in one’s life and can be accessed again through techniques taught by the school. Through being in the third state continuosly one can access the fourth state and awaken. The only truly awakened is Robert Burton, the founder of the Fellowship;
    you can not achieve awakening on your own – you need a teacher who is farther down the road than yourself;
    awakening is the only way to keep on living after death – the only way to an after-life;
    psychology, psychotherapy and psychoanalysis are useless and wrong – they are a false science – the only way to cure oneself is through awakening oneself.
    There were more ideas put through but I forgot what they consisted of. Something about turning negative feelings and emotions into positive energy (and self-awareness) and similar. The main speaker also made us do a short simple exercise on attention – the idea was that through being attentative (through ‘being in the room’) one can experience oneself experiencing his surroundings – what he sees, hears,… Through this split-awareness one can train oneself to fully experience everything and by prolonging this state one can enter the 3rd state of consciousness. – Readers who are aware of the concept of mindfulness or the teachings of Gurdjieff will understand.
    Overall, a very interesting presentation – some things made sense, others were slightly absurd(such as that angels exist and talk with certain special individuals). I don’t know how much of it was taken from Gurdjieff or Ouspensky since I never read them. I suppose that much was added by Burton – probably a fair amount.
    Then came time for questions which were answered in such a way as to create more interest in the subject, a genuine wish to find out more about the teachings. Manipulator galore. The idea that these teachings (and this school) were the only way to salvation were very quietly and with great skill fed to the listeners – mainly the idea that only the awakened will be given after-life. I asked why this school was more relevant than the other esoteric schools and before I even finished the last syllable I was answered that this school wasn’t more relevant – the only thing that was relevant was that at that moment I was in the Fourth Way school. All questions were treated as if they were trivial and did not deserve any time from the presenters.
    Then came time for snacks, tea, coffee and informal conversation. I tried to talk to the guy who chaired the meeting but he quickly threw me in the direction of other members – he wasn’t wishing to talk to any non-members any more. So I found the American presenter and started a conversation with him, this is what I found:
    – my personal mystical experiences were unknown to him, he did not understand them when I tried to explain them to him; that in itself is strange since most people who dabble in this area usually know what I am talking about;
    – psychedelic drugs are not allowed in the Fellowship, they are viewed as a means to attaining higher states of consciousness in the short-term but they have negative effect in the long-term;
    – there are supposedly 2 people in Britain who attained a permanent 3rd state of consciousness (he called it ‘crystallization’ I think), they were not present at the presentation;
    – he said that he joined the Fellowship when he was 22 and that it’s a good time to start studying at a school and that the Fellowship changed his life. To that I replied that I have already had my life-changing experience and that I don’t think that my road is the same as that of the Fellowship, and that I did not agree with the Fellowship policy to take 10% of one’s annual revenue as membership payment each year since attainement of higher states of consciousness should be taught for free. To that he replied that I am not the only one to think that but that there were reasons for that fee (to show people’s willingness to suffer in order to prosper spiritually, and to use the fees to fund the school) and that if I choose not to join I should just keep on following the coincidences that have been happenin to me. Sound advice.
    So I left without saying my goodbyes. It was a strange experience, god knows if it was positive or negative.
    2) You might have gathered on your own that the Fellowship is a bit of a cult. Just how bad it is can be gathered from here:
    The leader is quite definitely insane, a paedophile, brainwasher and manipulator. And he’s good. He likes people to dress up nice and smart, he doesn’t like people to joke, he hates smoking and, just for good measure, he dislikes pre-marital sex and homosexuality. That’s coming from a man who has had several lawsuits filed against him for forced homosexual acts. He also believes that he talks with 44 angels – including Jesus, Franklin and Goethe. Rock on Burton!!! Sadly enough this madman has managed to attract around 2000 followers.
    3) This is the hard part. I hate to say it but some of the people I met in the Fellowship were incredibly inteligent, well-versed in esoteric studies, knowledgable and possibly quite far on the self-exploration path. They seemed to have that ‘it’ that serious students of alternate states of consciousness, the inner and outer realities, acquire after time. Doesn’t bode well with the cultist reality of the Fellowship but that’s what I was getting from them. After reading some more on these things I have to say that most of it was probably an act. The arrogance felt from the members of the Fellowship towards the listeners can be explained by the belief of these people that whoever is not a member is a worthless robot who deserves nothing from the superior members. This is a belief that is taught as a part of the teachings of the Fellowship of Friends, it always results in alienation from one’s family, friends, partner – you name it.
    So be warned – there are better Gurdjieff organisations, other schools and other teachers. Cults should never be trifled with! I believe that an integral part of a personal journey is the (sub-conscious) search for a teacher, it would be a mistake to learn from false prophets. So don’t be attracted by easy gains, it’s better to wait for the real deal than to join a cult that offers the ‘perfect’ self-betterment practices. I have come across most of the techniques that were briefly talked about in the presentation at other places. One of the techniques that the Fellowship uses to attract new members is by putting Fellowship bookmarks into books in esoteric bookstores and libraries. Coincidence? – hardly.
    So what is the lesson of the day? Always be sceptical, don’t trust or believe anything and let things happen as they wish. Your mission is to deal with it afterwards, integrate it and learn from it. Don’t let people manipulate you! And if you ever run out of money start a cult and put your esoteric knowledge to good use (as Burton did).

    On Robert’s Teaching.1/14X Says:
    November 30th, 2006 at 8:14 am e
    I am a member of FOF for over 15 years, and my sincere advise to all seekers : RUN!!! Because if you join, you’ll subject yourself to the influence which will INEVITABLY twist your understanding and ability to think and make decisions, infuse you with fear of life outside the Fellowship, and develop protective mechanisms (or what we call buffers) to justify your new beliefs. Just like the member who posted above, you’ll learn about the lies, corruption and abuse, but you’ll prefer to “not notice”. Yes, that’s what happens. Because if you say something – you’re out!
    Regardless if you were there for 30 years faithfully paying your 10% – you’ll get a boot, and no one will talk to you, all your “friends” wil turn away. Because they are told so, and they are afraid. Cold, cruel policy with no conscience or compassion. Well, I guess, slaves don’t get compassion – and members are slaves!
    Essentially, the school is like a drug – a psycological one – you’ll get dependent and will not be able to quit. You’ll hallucinate too, and will see things twisted and colored the way your teacher wants them to be. Please trust me, I speak from personal (withdrawal) experience.
    As for awakening, we are told in the school that it will take life-times, and endless efforts (read the member above) and as of today NOT A SINGLE PERSON in our school achieved awakening or even got close. Even all those 30-year members – none except for one devoted party-liner whom teacher announced as an enlightened being, I guess to make things look good for others.
    Long-term memers become so affected by this “teaching” that they cannot adapt to regular life anymore. To many the teacher became a father figure. (Often a sex-father-figure).
    By the way, it’s not 4th way school. It’s just on the cover. 4th way is long gone. It’s “Robert’s teaching”, and what it really means is total obedience, trained behaviour, manners and dress code, huge monthly payments, and crazy ideas. They are not even ideas, they are some codes and his “keys” to the Bible and ancient texts, short prayers and symbols – not rational, not meaningful, not even funny. No questions allowed, no verifications, no doubts. Very religious. Does it look like 4th way to you?
    People in the group often act like police – watch, listen and then – report. It is so corrupted, there is so much money squeezed out of students – just to create a very, very high lifestyle for the Teacher. Oh, he is actually Beloved Teacher.
    This School will not bring you to awakening. It will enslave you.
    But to be fare – in first 2 -3 years you’ll get to know some very cool people, learn some basic Ouspensky terminology and will actually be able to observe more of yourself and others. You’ll even have some fun! Probably travel to different places and meet people from other countries. You’ll experience fine dining (very expensive though), high class events in rose gardens with fountains (again -it ain’t free), learn some manners and get some class. You’ll look good in toxedo! Women are not allowed to wear pants or jeans, so buy some nice dresses, ladies.
    But fun will end, the longer you stay the deeper you sink. And just like the animal who was caged his whole life, you’ll lose sence of freedom and will start defending your cage.
    Why i don’t list my name? For the fear of prosecution of course. Why I don’t leave the group? I think the time hasn’t come yet, and there are people in the group in need of support and help. I have dear friends who are stuck and I fell it’s my duty to try helping them. If I get kicked out they may not be able to communicate with me.
    If you really feel “spiritual” – check out some Advaita teachers, like Sailor Bob Adamson, Tony Parsons or Adyashanti – much cooler! Don’t pay Robert, he’s already making 5 mil a year from his students (not kidding).

    1/6 On Schools C.B. Willis Says:
    August 15th, 2006 at 1:56 am e
    I have no connection with FOF, but have been
    a student of the Fourth Way etc for about 30
    years, have done writing etc. in this area.
    A comment on how far a person can 1) become
    enlightened and 2) clear away personal and
    cultural conditioning on his own. One can
    only go so far with either of these entirely
    on one’s own. A true teacher, whether teaching
    in person or via writings or tapes (including
    scriptures from world religions),
    and by giving initation, can be a catalyst
    for enlightenment far beyond what a person
    could have achieved otherwise. The ideal is to
    be a healthy student of a true and virtuous
    teacher. This means open to truth, actively
    seeking truth, not overly passive. It doesn’t
    take long to get the basics, from which all
    else is derived.
    Teacher as catalyst is even more true in the
    area of Work-on-self which includes examining
    and clearing away personal and cultural
    conditioning. Especially in the area of
    personal conditioning, there are blind spots
    and therapeutic ignorance of how
    to effectively transform what is found. The
    person doens’t know That they don’t know,
    they don’t know What they don’t know, and they
    don’t know How to effectively fix it if they
    did know. No amount of thinking or introspection will allow us to find or fix these areas. Most people don’t know these
    areas exist, though they’re constantly at the
    effect of them in self and others. No matter how conscientious and self-reflective the
    person may be, there is nothing
    that compares to effective transformational
    process delivered by a true teacher or effective
    therapist. Some of this can be delivered in
    small groups, which has very many advantages.
    At least some private Work with a teacher/therapist is usually necessary, and
    can be expedient in the absence of a group.
    The forms that this Work can take are varied
    in different traditions and approaches,
    and the effectiveness, depth, elegance, safety,
    and stability of result can vary widely as
    It helps to have a basic religious
    alignment or agreement with a teacher, as a lot
    of Work disasters stem from what derives from
    basic religious beliefs or the absence of those
    beliefs, or assumptions made about basic
    religious beliefs without clarification or conversation, or a teacher’s hidden agendas
    about changing a student’s basic religious
    beliefs, or a student’s hidden agenda to do
    some of the Work but avoid religious
    beliefs that may be at the foundation of a
    teacher’s teaching and Work. Some paths are
    widely inclusive of many religious beliefs,
    some are practically secular, some have
    more narrow sectarian beliefs, others have
    unusual beliefs, but it’s useful to disclose
    underlying religious beliefs upfront so that students can make an informed choice. Check
    for alignment, and eliminate unpleasant
    Despite the minefield in personal
    transformation, Some intrepid souls will take
    the risk to find high quality transformational
    Work, and trust that that they can
    course-correct as needed. Without the
    prerequisites of sound spiritual foundation,
    this trust in the larger life process and
    discernment of truth, and ability to course-correct will be difficult, and therein lies
    much of the problem with people and “cults”,
    that early religious education failed
    to prepare the person with spiritual basics
    so when they seek what is advanced training
    in groups or with a teacher or therapist,
    they’re lacking in spiritual basics that are
    going to hang them up later. The remedial
    Work on these pre-requisites is not done.
    I have several introductory articles on these
    topics. cbwillis@lightlink.com.
    C.B. Willis, M.A.
    Consultant and Educator
    Northern California

    1/15 St. Fillan Says: Freedom of Speech
    December 4th, 2006 at 6:40 am e
    Dear E.S.
    Thank you for providing this medium for us to talk. One of the principle means of control used by groups like Robert’s is how, when, and to whom information is disseminated. There is a megaphone for all that rings positive about the fellowship, and a sophisticated kind of suppression of questioning and doubt.
    This is one more open door for us. I would invite all to take advantage of this site, for ANY commentary that seems pertinent. Personally I have always tried to avoid exaggeration – especially about this theme. The more I learn, however, about the increasingly manipulative, religious, and essentric nature of our organization, the more I understand why members various accounts sound extreme. The facts ARE extreme.
    Although anonymity is a compromise, it allows those of us who are heavily ‘invested’ a way to of trusting what we see, percieve, or hear from others. It is shared by many. We just don’t know it yet.
    Good luck,
    St. Fillan

  10. battlesword Says:
    February 10, 2009 at 4:47 pmFrom blog 8/378On Meetings 

    Ask yourself Says:
    May 9th, 2007 at 8:42 am
    To Siddiq (#361)
    I agree with you, that the new form of the meetings at isis has been more effective than the meetings that were student lead. The latter were filled with anecdotes and quips, but what did you expect- the teacher had stopped teaching (or, stopped leading meetings). I also agree with you that the time and research that goes into preparing the meeting does produce some very fine quotes from a varity of sources and they are inspiring. However, it’s Robert’s comments or interpretations that trouble me.
    The quotes from the various disciplines do seem to penetrate something “higher” in myself, but Roberts comments additions seem to create confusion and doubt.
    Once, at a Christmas dinner, he mentioned how he had been visited by Jesus Christ the night before. What am I supposed to do with that info? Should I be impressed? Can I verify it?
    At another dinner he mentioned how when he cups his hand to his ear, it’s not because he’s hard of hearing, it’s because it slows down his higher centers which operate at an extremely high speed. Again, what do I do with that info, regard him as a superman?
    He stopped attending many of the Apollo Arts events because from the surface, it looked like he’d rather stay home and make a bunch of cash serving 150.00 dinners- where you can’t take a bite of food unless Robert takes a bite of food.
    The “higher state” we all swear we have at dinners and meetings is most likely produced by being with 50-300 people that are making an effort to stay in Kings of centers. When in life are you EVER in a room with 50-300 people trying to stay in the kings? The answer is NEVER. That’s why we love the fellowship. It creates an environment you can’t find anywhere else. But at what price and with what long term result?
    By the way, here’s a quote from the Theory of Conscious Harmony (pg 154). “Someone said to Ouspensky in 1947: ‘I know I am a machine and that I cannot work by myself.’ He answered:’who told you that? Do not believe anyone that tells you that.’”

    Second line of work inside or outside the Fellowship

    WhaleRider Says:
    May 9th, 2007 at 9:49 am
    I am going to squat to your level, exlax. I took responsibility for myself, and I got the bleep out of the FOF as soon as I was financially and emotionally able. The point is a person doesn’t just evaporate when they leave the FOF as RB would like them to. We are all accountable for our past. GOlb engaged in the standard FOF practice of emotional abuse and wrong work of centers by claiming I was an imaginary person, and I took that personally. Silly me! By the way, do YOU have a hammer toe, too? Amazing coincidence! They are so common, you know, mundane even! But it’s the new fashion now that I spilled the beans that RB has one. If I stepped on yours, I am so so sorry. I didn’t mean to cause you any unnecessary suffering. It must have been my lower centers at work.
    “…so STOP WINNING.” Brilliant! This is your conscience shining through your words. (You do have one!) What kind of second line work is that? I believe you meant, “whining”. To whine. Gee, but you wrote, “stop winning”. You want me to stop winning…? Hmmm, interesting, that’s kinda what I was saying about RB undermining anyone who comes close to his level due to his narcissism…maybe it’s rubbing off on you. Have you been near him lately? I’d be careful if I were you, especially if you are young, male, and naive, like I was, I hear he has herp…oops, I am so sorry again! We must refrain from gossip. Guess you are on your own, pal! (See how it works?)
    Just because a person is clever, doesn’t make them a conscious being. I am not claiming to be clever, dear. Now that Karl Rove, he IS a clever dude; he helped a complete and utter idiot get into the White House twice. He fooled even more people that RB did. That’s pretty clever, don’t you think? He must be conscious then!
    Yes, I am lucky. Darn lucky. FUCKING INCREDIABLY LUCKY I DIDN’T GET AIDS you twit, after all, this was back in 1984-5…nobody, not even his holiness knew much about HIV then. Brian S., now he was not so lucky. He died. He killed himself after hanging around RB. And Richard the hair dresser, he died, too. OF AIDS! So, yes, I am lucky. And I did grow up, thanks. I started living my life on my own. Good advice!
    But if you don’t mind, dear, I’d like to continue at winning, thank you very much. I did aim higher. Why take the bus when you can fly?
    On a completely different level:
    Subway, it is what it is, but you weren’t there. I didn’t ask for your sympathy, how about some compassion? Ever learn a lesson the hard way?
    Roommate, thank you for your acknowledgement, I am finding peace in my postings. I cried when I read your post. You saw me working through some pretty tough feelings. What’s your story?
    Dick Moron, thank you for your support. I take great comfort in having my suffering acknowledged. It’s like I’ve discovered a room in my house that has been walled shut, and now that I opened it up and am airing it out, I can start to enjoy having more living/breathing space. Feels lighter…
    Joseph G, thank you for your post, I remember you well. You speak from your being. You listened to your conscience, and took action. I admire that, it takes real courage.

    The Teacher

    Cathie Says:
    May 9th, 2007 at 4:08 pm
    Traveler #374: “…the way Robert expresses himself through his ‘angles’ is closer to jack of diamonds than the fabled king of hearts? Very fragmented, black and white, run-on associations, not constructing a deeper understanding but seeing the same old thing in everything he encounters.”
    Sounds closer to flat-out mental illness to me!There are some conditions that fall outside the center-of-gravity paradigm.
    From what I’ve seen, if you’ve got to pin a center of gravity on him, put Robert squarely in the King of Clubs. AND he’s a Black Magician. In fact, “hasnamuss” might not be too far off either.
    Labels. An easy game to play, supporting the illusion of understanding and predictability.
    As for the exact timing of thought-prayers for healing…I don’t place too much importance on it. The energy is not time-bound or locality-bound. It’s an aspect of the eternal present. If such thought-transmission healing works (and it very well might), it works independently of space and time. What counts is intention and attention.

    The Teacher

    Comrade Says:
    May 9th, 2007 at 4:31 pm
    Dear Howard (363), er, Siddiq (excuse me),
    You realize, don’t you, that you are photographing your beloved Teacher for inner considering in post 363:
    You wrote: “Your further response shows however that no matter what is done, ignoring or responding, there is not a good way for RB to deal with the blog as he will not be believed, even the best actions will have the worst motivations ascribed to them! That is no doubt why he doesn’t.”
    Really? That’s your analysis? Wow, poor RB! Seems like you don’t have a lot of respect for the man to think his actions or inactions are motivated is such a petty way. Very interesting. I thought he was above all of that.
    I was more inclined to believe that he just flat-out doesn’t care what you think, or what anyone thinks on this blog — that is, until the day what we think starts affecting cash flow or causing some of his young subjects to say “no.” Then, he will start to care. He has his objectives, and if you continue helping him attain those objectives, he will keep you around until, well, he’s more interested in something or someone else.
    Anyway, keep up the good work. This page is packed with some of the best reading in the entire blog.

    Rabbi Burns Says:
    May 9th, 2007 at 6:04 pm
    Siddiq (363): “there is not a good way for RB to deal with the blog as he will not be believed, even the best actions will have the worst motivations ascribed to them!”
    This is a nonsensical response to post 332, which I believe was pointing out that if the FOF and Robert in particular could be more open to dialogue and questioning the FOF would be a much more healthy and effective organisation. At Adyashanti’s meetings, for example, anyone can stand up and ask anything. Adyashanti offers clear and effective answers, from a spiritual viewpoint, to pretty much anything that is thrown at him, simultaneously conveying a calm sense of presence and being. I’m not saying that Adyashanti is the teacher to end all teachers, just that he’s a lot better at it than Robert.
    Imagine if we could ask Robert questions like: “I’ve been to see some Advaita teachers who suggest that spiritual awakening is connected to realising that we are already ever present awareness. Do you think this approach is useful or is it better to stick with the sequence?”. Then Robert explains clearly why the sequence is more effective.
    Why doesn’t he do this? Because his teaching is ineffectual and exaggerated and if questioned would be clearly seen to be hollow. He’s afraid of questions so he doesn’t allow them. If what he is saying were true he would have no need to be afraid.

    On Higher States

    No person Says:
    May 9th, 2007 at 6:38 pm
    Dear Cake,
    You so beautifully describe the higher state. I can very much relate to your description of it.
    But then you (IMO) made a very sad and common mistake, which so many of us made too – you connected your unusual experience to a person, RB, and it even made you feel “indebted” to him. I guess, the play did this trick to a lot of us – powerful higher states sometimes coincided with being near RB, so our minds made the connection, and we paid for years to get the state back by following a certain person. The whole FOF is fueled by this mistake. “Follow Him and he will make you feel good – again”. We developed an “addiction” to states -we wanted it back at all costs, ready to pay whatever for it. Again, something most of us have done.
    I have to share with you that the longest and most amazing and profound hi-state (for 6 weeks or so, uninterrupted) happened to me with no connection to RB whatsoever, ( I haven’t seen or heard him for a while). It was in my last month of being in the school, and lasted long after I was asked to leave. I lived my regular life while in it, talked, ate, traveled, did business – it was absolutely amazing. I can assure you that there are other friends (whom I know) who had a similar experience, not connected to RB in any way. That broke the belief for me, totally. You actually can have high states without RB, (if high states is what you’re after) – not based on any efforts or practice, not based on anything! Unfortunately, many of us made this costly mistake, connecting the profound state to some person’s influence, and – you saw it yourself – chasing or forcing this state doesn’t help, whatever you are trying to do to get it… You said it: “Never duplicated after excruciating effort or suffering for that matter.” Let me add: “And it probably never will. Because it has nothing to do with RB or effort, or anything. It comes by itself, when you expect it least.”
    But it is very hard to persuade yourself that RB didn’t “cause” your state, when you have such a powerful “verification.” Well, there you are, thanks to this verification – chasing the state probably for many years, doing your excruciating effort and suffering, paying lots of money and following a man in false hope that he’ll give you something he can never give because it is not the kind of thing you just “give” or “produce”…
    I hope something powerful will occur in your life to show the falseness of this belief, like it did for me. Until then – NO DOUBT for you, as you expressed very strongly. I completely understand, it was no doubt for me too, for long time.
    Also, I came to realize that it is not the state that WE are, so there is actually no need to hunt for states. State is just an experience. Oh yes, it’s a great one. But you can’t have it all the time, just like you cannot have orgasm non-stop, or certain pleasant flavor or smell all the time, or laugh and be excited non-stop. Our body just can’t function like that. It has an experience, and then this experience passes. Isn’t it how it works? State is an experience, it must pass. You are – to whom this state happens, and living your life with this understanding is very liberating and satisfying…
    It’s a misunderstanding, a false hope – to reach a “permanent”, unchanging high state. It’s like fixing a certain reflection in a mirror. Everything that has an expression in this world is bound to change.
    Do you RB is in permanent high state all the time? Not at all. And if he tells you so, well, then he lies. May be just to keep you doing your excruciating costly efforts for more years, and then, may be next lifetime…
    I hope you don’t have to wait this long, dear Cake!

    On Students

    Rabbi Burns Says:
    May 9th, 2007 at 5:43 pm
    Siddiq (362): “it is possible to be somewhat more aware, somewhat more awake than we are now, a little less in imagination, identified, negative, etc.–this is what I am after”
    Good! This is exactly what the FOF is currently offering, very succinctly put. About two years ago I came to more or less the same place as Siddiq. I realised that awakening in the sense that I understood it when I joined the FOF was not available in the FOF. One available choice was to accept that fact, just as Siddiq has done, and enjoy spending time with my friends at Apollo D’Oro with occasional moments of presence. Like Siddiq, I had no relationship to the eccentricities of Robert’s current teachings. Like many current FOFers I rarely attended Robert’s meetings and instead hung out with the FOFers I liked and respected.
    If I stayed I would give up my quest for spiritual awakening and accept that Siddiq’s “being somewhat more aware” is all that I could aspire to.
    But first I had a look at what is available outside the FOF. I was amazed! I found very pure, uncomplicated teaching that points straight towartds real spiritual awakening. These days it’s freely and widely available as soon as you step outside the stifling confines of the FOF. I left about six months ago and the world has flowered anew.
    But, Siddiq, I respect your decision to set your sights low and remain comfortable if you’re sure that’s what you want. At least you’re honest about it (?).
    cheers, RB

    On high states

    dick moron Says:
    May 9th, 2007 at 8:11 pm
    Cake #380
    My mystical experience.
    While I, in no way, can truly know what you experienced that night with RB, I want to suggest another way of understanding the state you were in at the time.
    Early in my involvement with FOF, I would experience what I felt were higher energies and mystical experiences during meetings when RB taught, or even Donald M, Helga or Joel were the leaders. I attributed these energies to those beings to whom I was focusing my (supposed) divided attention. It seemed that they were releasing these energies in me, through some higher presence they had obtained.
    Early dinners with RB had the same effect. It seemed very special. I now believe these states were the product of chemical releases in my body, due to great expectations, and a kind of star-struck adrenaline rush. Concentrating one’s emotional and mental attention on someone who is thought to be godlike, can play tricks on the mind and body. I will never forget, once attending a 7th day adventists meeting in the southeast US when I was a teenager. As a disinterested observer, not a participant, it was remarkable to see the states of ecstasy and rapture produced in the faithful, who were rolling around on the floor as the service climaxed. To them, I am sure it was a very real experience.
    Those of us who used psychotropic drugs such as LSD in the past, certainly know how chemicals can produce mystical states.
    Several years ago I was introduced to the actress Nicole Kidman. Immediately afterwards, I was reminded of the hightened states I used to experience at FOF meetings and early contact with RB. Was Kidman producing this state in me through her higher centers? No, clearly it was a chemical reaction I was having due to being in awe of a beautiful celebrity.
    Was it a 3rd state experience? Maybe, but it had nothing to do with her level of being.
    In no way am I denegrating the experience you had. From your lovely description I can see it is a dear memory to you.
    That indescribable observing presence in you, that witnessed and recorded this mystical experience in your physical self, is what we are all trying to be. Not the experience itself. There are many roads that can lead you there. RB was like the guy at the gas station who sells you a map. He used to sell maps, charted by others, that might get you there. Now, from what I hear, he’s drawing his own crazy maps.

    Second line
    dick moron Says:
    May 9th, 2007 at 8:50 pm
    Thanks for your last post. We knew each other for many years, though I was never as close friends with you as my wife SM. It would be great to see you somewhere, sometime.
    I always respected you and felt somehow you had NOT totally bought into your leadership role in FOF. I did see the innocent, child-like part of you behind the center director.
    While that trusting innocence allowed many of us to be used and abused, I think it is what ultimately redeems us. When experience finally made us realize what RB is all about, we found a way out.
    Time has sent most of my FOF experiences down the river, but one can never forget. Writing down my thoughts and experiences here, are no doubt part a selfish exercise to further cleanse myself. Hopefully others who read them can get something out it.
    Also, like my buddy Bruce, I find it a great forum for constructive sarcasm and naughty sharp-pointed humor.

    Ames Gilbert Says:
    May 9th, 2007 at 9:13 pm
    Thank you, 2b (#8-346) and no person (#8-354) for updating us on the meetings situation. It sounds truly stifling to me, too, but Siddiq (#8-361) says that it suits him, and I must grant him that. It seems, however, even Siddiq would agree that there is an awful lot of control going on, and I’d like to address that.
    So here goes: in a healthy organism, on any scale (individual, corporation, cell, planet), there are two flows of energy that I want to remind readers about, the ones that together are called Reciprocal Maintenance. Here is an analogy (which is another way of presenting information so it can slip past formatory resistance). Think about two corporations that most of us have heard of, Toyota and General Motors. GM has traditionally been organized as a hierarchical, top-down management structure. The vision, and orders, flow from the top down. The president has his ideas about how things should be run, he tells the vice-presidents who tell the division chiefs who tell the factory managers who tell the foremen who tell the workers on the floor what to do. The message, of course, changes to suit each level, and the managers add their interpretations, some valid, some not, so each level gets a version of the vision altered to suit that level. It is traditional American style management, and gets a certain amount of results. Note that the guys at the bottom have their job; it is to obey orders and get on with production.
    Contrast that to Toyota. They too have a top-down management system, but they have a parallel system in place, where feedback and suggestions come from below. The president has his vision, but it is able to be modified by input from the front lines, the folks doing the actual work. Think about this. Toyota gets about 35,000 suggestions from the shop floor each year. These people know first-hand what the problems are, as of course do the workers at GM. The difference is that 95% of the suggestions are implemented at Toyota. What does this mean? It means that in the most real and meaningful way, the management has empowered the workers; it trusts them with the life and future of the company. Most people have heard that any worker at Toyota can stop the entire production line if he/she feels that it is going too fast to maintain quality. What a responsibility! The workers are rewarded with a share of the savings from their ideas and innovations, personal satisfaction, the approval of their peers, a real feeling of meaningful participation. They are participants, partners and stakeholders, not wage slaves.
    GM has over the years tried to copy Toyota in a half-hearted way. But because the management, especially top management, does not actually believe in this system (loosely called TQM—Total Quality Management), it has mostly failed. Only 5% of suggestions made from the factory floor are implemented, the workers are discouraged, and the company is failing. This analogy of course extends to the FOF, and of course the FOF is GM. Toyota knows about Reciprocal Maintenance. The workers toil in the border between the conditioned world and the unconditioned world; they are on the edge, where there is most to lose and most to gain, where there is risk and hazard. They are organizing things out of chaos, according to the vision of the founder/president. They are not being micromanaged, they are partners with the founder, working together to realize the vision.
    At the start of an organization, the founder can do all the work, or try to. But, there comes a point when the founder’s vision has been realized enough in the material world that he/she needs help if the organization is to grow. Now a new layer must be created because the founder can no longer do all the work in the trenches—the first layer of management. As the organization becomes bigger, more layers are needed, and the founder gets further away from the front lines and the raw data that used to inform him directly. This data from the front lines is now interpreted by the layers of management in between. The founder molds the management to suit his style, and the management molds the founder (sometimes he realizes this, but usually not). For those into Gurdjieff and want to look it up, he called the ‘downward’ flow of energy (vision and instructions) Autoegocrat, “I keep everything under my control”. He called the upward flow of energy (information from the front lines) Trogoautoegocrat, “I hold myself together by feeding”. Together, they are called Reciprocal Maintenance. (In nature, these webs are studied as “ecology”).
    The amount of energy a founder has is limited. If he does not accept information, energy, and help from below, then he must make more and more decisions (micromanaging), extending to every corner of the “empire”. At some point the energy runs out, and the fabric of the empire starts to crack. If nothing is done, the founder “will not listen”, the organization collapses, goes bankrupt, and everyone concerned is unhappy. On the other hand, if the founder delegates his responsibilities, trains the managers below on how to do his work if he is absent (and lets them practice!), seeks input via the suggestion box on the shop floor so he can get raw data that has not been interpreted by intervening management, then there is the requisite flow of energy from below, and there is balance and harmony, and everyone is happy.
    The first kind of organization feels constipated, lifeless, with no movement possible. The second kind feels alive, full of energy, and filled with possibilities. The FOF is definitely the of first kind, as an organization. This may not be true of every individual at a particular moment (some of the managers may be having a fine time, by their lights, for example, or a newbie may be lit up with the enthusiasm and energy they brought with them), but the organization itself is dead in the water.
    By the way, extending this anology to another area… It has been said many times that Burton has a higher being lesser folk cannot comprehend. Let us assume that this is true—for a moment. Here is the solution to the quandary of what happens if the founder is remote or inaccessible in any way. All we have to do is to look at his work, the results of his being. In this analogy, when a founder takes in managers and workers, he will mold the management to suit his purposes. That is, they will manifest his management style, they will be in fact lesser or miniature versions of him—any new recruit that does not fit in with his style is shown the door, of course. So, if the founder is inaccessible, study the lower layers of management that are accessible. Study Girard, study Linda, study the center directors, study the older students. They are in Burton’s mold. “By their fruits ye shall know them”. Watch a student in line for promotion/glory, watch how they mold themselves to suit, watch their manifestations. You will get a very accurate picture of those “above” of them.
    Hey, I had fun writing this; I hope you had fun reading it!
    With love,

    alice in wonderlust Says:
    May 9th, 2007 at 10:35 pm
    #378 ask yourself
    “The “higher state” we all swear we have at dinners and meetings is most likely produced by being with 50-300 people that are making an effort to stay in Kings of centers. When in life are you EVER in a room with 50-300 people trying to stay in the kings? The answer is NEVER. That’s why we love the fellowship. It creates an environment you can’t find anywhere else. But at what price and with what long term result?”
    The more I think about this the sadder it seems. My experience post-fof has been quite contrary to this. Meetings in the beautiful waste lands of Oregon House are sadly impoverished – you don’t seem to know that. Fof leaches onto ‘higher states’ ‘hydrogens’ (call it what you will) of OTHERS and with a few pretentious aphorisms tries to pump itself up like this. You should know that with a bit of effort the rewards of being out in ‘life’ are far greater that you realize. You might even be able to contribute something to humanity. If you keep up the mantra of ‘it’s only possible in the fof’ long enough you will get yourself to BELIEVE it. It is such a loss to you and the greater community of humans. Reciting pre-digested ‘angles’ is a very low state actually. Life is so much richer than that!

    High States

    Cathie Says:
    May 10th, 2007 at 1:22 am
    Dear Cake #380,
    I liked reading about your mystical experience. I think many of us experienced those magical moments during our time in the FOF. I remember one time washing dishes and hearing a “work I” formulate itself in my head, looking up, and seeing Robert standing there. I had the distinct impression that he had transmitted that thought to me. It created a moment of presence and memory.
    I think he has the ability to do that. A magician. Power in the K Clubs. Something.
    After leaving the FOF I had mystical experiences very similar to what you described when I took MDMA –that feeling of total all-rightness, wholeness and bliss. Having tasted that, one naturally wants to know how to have it at will.
    If that is possible, I think it arises out of a deep sense of gratitude, a surrender to what is, not resisting or trying to change anything. I believe (there’s that word again) this is the state in which Grace finds and touches us most deeply.

    Robert’s Theories
    Ryan O’Poo Says:
    May 10th, 2007 at 2:23 am
    You wrote regarding the new meeting format #361;
    “Then also because of this new format we do not need to listen to someone’s subjective interpretation of what is being said.
    Siidiq, here is a fairly typical comment from a meeting;
    “Horus took a harpoon thirty feet long with a blade six feet wide at its point of greatest width … and cast it deep into the head of the red hippopotamus.”
    Robert’s Comment:
    ….”Horus took a harpoon thirty feet long” – the steward drew from the thirty great work ‘I’s – “with a blade six feet wide at its point of greatest width” – work ‘I’ number six – “and cast it deep into the head of the red hippopotamus” – and completed the sequence, removing the hippopotamus – the lower self. * A stained-glass window from the cathedral of Bourges depicts Christ – the steward – harpooning a dragon with a “thirty-foot” spear. He is freeing the three Be’s from the hold of the lower self, implying a complete sequence.
    Do you honestly believe this is an objective interpretation of what’s being said?

    Personal testimony

    Cristina Says:
    May 10th, 2007 at 8:50 am
    Dear friends,
    I want to start this letter saying how happy and proud I am to find you all here, in this blog, alive and kicking, inside and out side the FOF.
    I joined the FOF in 1999 and left in 2003.
    The reason I join was that I felt interested in:
    1- becoming a conscious being
    2- the possibility of working on myself
    3- the verification of the work
    4- the transformation of energy ( ei: negative emotion into positive)
    5- the non religious structure of the school ( verification not believe)
    6- The fact that the 4th way is not like the way of the monk: YOU HAVE TO DO IN THE LIFE (not inside a secluded community…)
    In these 4 year I worked in my center, and visited Apollo twice (I was a bit scared by the all situation there that I found a bit extreme).
    What I tried to do was to get what I needed without falling down.
    They were a lot disturbing fact and situation that for many months I tried to brush aside in the name of the WORK. And because of this I never forsake my outside life, my outside family and friends, I was actually talking to them about the school. And this made it easy to leave when I realize that what was asked from me, more and more, was to BELIVE instead to VERIFY.
    What it enrages me the most was that in the name of the WORK everything was allowed. Even the most unethical, cruel, absurd, violent acts.
    My brother was sick and I was told that I needed to forget him because he was just someone from life, going to the moon. Thing like that were so heartless that scared me. So I thoughts: I prefer the moon forever with the people I love and respect than eternity with such cruel creature that are faking goodness. And so I left knowing that they were other ways to find the light outside of this school.
    I believe that real conscious beings are about compassion and real giving.
    After I left I stayed in touch with some former and current members. Real love goes beyond everything. Thank God!
    Anyway thank you for reading.

    Interesting Parallels.

    About OSHO [Rashneesh] Says:
    May 9th, 2007 at 6:54 am
    Rajneesh, and the famous Greek-Armenian mystic George Gurdjieff, often used the power of the Atman for clearly personal gain. Both men used their cosmic consciousness to overwhelm and seduce women. Gurdjieff was ashamed of his behavior and vowed many times during his life to end this practice, which was a combination of ordinary male lust backed up by the potent advantage of oceanic supermental power. Rajneesh went even further and used his channeled cosmic energy to manipulate masses of people to gain a kind of quasi-political status, and to aggrandize himself far beyond what was honest or helpful to his disciples. In Oregon, Rajneesh declared to the media that “My religion is the only religion!” Diplomacy and modesty were not his strong points.

    To my knowledge, George Gurdjieff never reached the extremes of self-indulgence of Rajneesh, and he even warned his disciples not to have blind faith in him. Gurdjieff wanted his students to be free and independent, with the combined abilities of clear mental reasoning and cosmic consciousness. Rajneesh, by contrast, seemed to believe that only his thoughts and ideas were of value because only he was “enlightened.” This was a grand error in judgment and revealed a basic flaw in his character. Unfortunately, when Rajneesh achieved the ability to fully channel the power of the Atman, he failed to apply the needed wisdom of self-restraint. His human mind so rebelled against Asian asceticism that he failed to ensure that his borrowed power was only used for the good of others. Rajneesh was driven by strong personal ambitions, not just compassion.

    “Power is the ultimate aphrodisiac.” – Henry Kissinger

  11. battlesword Says:
    February 10, 2009 at 4:50 pmMay 5, 2007 at 6:22 pm
    Reflections on The Fellowship of Friends No. 1
    I wish to spend sometime simply trying to write out a list of titles that seem relevant to reflect on. I would appreciate it if others suggest titles or areas that I have not looked at that also seem relevant. Participation is appreciated. I will slowly fill in under each title things that seem relevant that have been posted in other blogs or are part of Fellowship published material.During this first month I will probably renew the presentation of titles every week, then, as we settle into a structure that seems comprehensible enough, maybe it will get corrected once a month. 

    If you wish to participate in this reflection on the Fellowship of friends, it would be appreciated if you could choose one of the following subjects as title of your input so that the rest of us can be more clear about the area you are trying to address. You may also suggest the addition of other areas not presented here that you find relevant.

    It is assumed that everything presented here is the subjective view of the people writing in it. Each one takes responsibility for what he/she says. It would be appreciated if people would use at least half their name.

    1. The Fellowship of Friends
    The Arc
    Other aims
    Relevant information by other authors

    1a. Money in the Fellowship of Friends
    Relevant information by other authors

    2. The Teacher
    “Known” biography
    The Man, the King, the Priest.
    Relevant information by other authors

    2a. The Ministers
    Relevant information by other authors

    3. The Inner Circle
    a. At Isis
    b. In Centers
    Relevant information by other authors

    4. The Students
    a. At Isis
    b. In Centers
    Relevant information by other authors
    c. Ex-students

    5. Theory and Practice
    Three lines of work
    “Biological” families
    Consciousness without functions
    The lower Self, the king of Clubs, False personality
    Feminine Dominance
    The King of Hearts
    The exercises
    Living in Renaissance, Apollo, Isis.
    Living in Centers
    Self Remembering, Presence.
    Good householder
    Relevant information by other authors

    6. History of legal conflicts

    7. The Human or Inhuman aspects of the Fellowship of Friends (Different cases)
    Coercion of speech.
    Control and omission of information
    Mental and emotional “programming”
    Exploitation of human resources.
    Use and abuse of individuals
    Control of participation
    Privileges of a few.
    Relevant information by other authors

    8. Personal testimonies.

    9. Rough Statistics
    Total number of students
    Students in the Fellowship as of may, 2007
    Ex-students as of May, 2007
    People that had to look for “Professional” help to overcome the traumatic experience of being a student of the Fellowship of Friends.
    Relevant information by other authors

    On The Teacher Says:

    May 7, 2007 at 10:59 pm
    This deeply moving letter appeared in the Fellowship of Friends Discussion of Animam Recro.

    WhaleRider Says:
    May 5th, 2007 at 9:52 pm
    Reading this blog has been a very visceral and emotional experience for me, which I am grateful to transform into presence, for I live the work every day of my existence. When reading it I perspire heavily. In the past week since I was informed of it and dived in, I have had many instances of energy shooting down my sides, and I am moved to tears several times a day when I reflect upon what I experienced in the FOF. Yet the sheer energy contained in this blog, both raw and refined is quite impressive as I am sure the venerable sheik and knight will agree, and I cannot stop reading it. I find myself hoping of recognize my story, only to realize that it is not there because I have not told it.

    I want to be clear that I do not wish to be part of any lawsuit against RB or the FOF. I am not motivated by any hope of financial gain, nor am I willing to join a crusade to end the FOF. It will undoubtedly collapse under its own excesses, or not, I could care less. Each person, in or out, must choose for themselves, which I believe is one of the reasons this blog is so valuable. I have built a comfortable, happy life and successful business post-FOF for myself and my family which I wish to protect. I ask anyone whom may recognize my identity to please respect my privacy and keep my name anonymous. Although current FOF members may wish to argue that in divulging my story I have violated the personal privacy of RB, that his public life is distinctly separate from his private life. My response is this: when a teacher brings his student into his private life and uses “work” language in his seduction, that distinction is gone. For each of us, no matter how long we have contact with the FOF; it is and will be a deeply moving and personal experience, not because of the man, but of the possibilites of growth within each of us.

    To Golb:
    Now that your tail is out of your mouth, you glibly strike at this blog-my air, at the children, and at me? You have no idea who I am and what I have been through, Golb, whatever the heck that name is supposed to mean. I am WhaleRider. I have ridden the BIG FISH into the deepest, darkest, coldest depths until my lungs have screamed for air, my soul choking in my throat, and I have survived. I let myself be swallowed whole, have kept myself intact, had my semen drained nightly by a sex maniac who gave the most wondrous, intentional, conscious blowjobs, had my essence gouged open as I lay resting on the Goethe Academy floor as a human shield for the precious artwork, the lights left on the LeBrun all night to keep my exhausted body in first-state deprivation, my king of clubs bound and gagged, unable to protect me from this terrible angel who would rouse me and lead me secretly, stealthily into the dark of his gilded bed-chamber to service his need for the good of us all, in this school of “shut up and be present”, this silk-lined labyrinth of luxury complete with the matching salt and pepper shakers, where I puke out his semen in the imported porcelain toilet along with the fine wine and pepper steak from the teaching dinner earlier that night and wipe my face on the Egyptian cotton towel just before I’d retire until dawn cracks open another day and he slumbers peacefully until lunch dreaming of sugar plums because they remind him of testicles…while the rest of us toiled in the searing hot sun the next day still weary from our lunatic efforts the day and night before…not once was I told that I was loved in this school of love, but he loved when I returned the favor-only to have to excrete myself one year later, quietly leaving in a gentleman-like fashion, not making a splash, barely a ripple, so as not to disturb anyone else who might be sleeping…to remain alive, and carry out my prophesized soul death sentence as a life-person-oh yeah, that’s right, there was no gun to my head…but thankfully his predictions don’t come true either, do they?

    And Howard, Girard, Golden Fleecer, the brave-new-man and miscellaneous moon angels…with your eloquent tongues and trite, text-book explanations for our suffering…I have seen 50 like you dis-“membered” by the insatiable Minotaur at the center of this perpetual labyrinth you call haven, home, Isis… do you have the balls to hear the truth?…the graphic truth?… the painful truth? The truth I paid for with my own hydrogen 12? Do know why he calls himself a goddess? You think an angel told him. Did you know the prostrate gland is the male G-spot? He would orgasm from anal sex without any penal stimulus, and think he had awakened his female side, just as a woman does during anal sex without ever touching the clitoris… He taught me that, he’s such an elevated and exalted teacher! Look it up on the internet, or better yet, try it for yourself sometime…
    And can you even FATHOM the nauseating, soul imploding disgust I felt the night he did “rimming” on me, without my consent, and then brought his fecal coated lips to mine and kissed me? Try separating from that. The Darvons he used to hand out were not enough to quench the pain, for this pain is exquisite and it leaves no visible marks! Think of me the next time he kisses your forehead…once those lips had been planted firmly on my asshole and probably countless others from all corners of the planet. And that’s the ultimate of all ironies; he kisses your third eye with those lips, coating the seat of your very soul with fecal matter from the seat of his inner circle.

    Please, by all means, stay in the Fellowship as long as you like! Stand by him! Support him! Bring him fresh new, exotic meat, he’s HUNGRY! Or if you like, have a look down the escape hatch he had installed in his closet just in case C-influence happened to be on vacation and he read the tea leaves wrong. Then you will know the darkness that resides under that silk suit. You might want to have your own plan B just in case the Earl has run out of man number five party hats that you have been so patiently waiting for him to bestow upon you…

    Aspects of Indoctrination Says:

    May 7, 2007 at 11:03 pm
    WhaleRider Says:
    May 7th, 2007 at 7:36 am
    Whew, more tears, more sweat…I tossed and turned all last night…In the spirit of sharing and completely divesting myself of the FOF brand of personal improvement, cuz’ I’m feeing a distinct Hawaiian vibe here, thanks Arthur, Charles R (I remember you well), Jeannette, Vena, and everyone else for your kind thoughts…what made up my mind to take Morpheus’s little truth pill and flush myself from the Matrix 22 years ago was this: (for which I paid dearly) being close to RB afforded me the chance to see and understand first hand that his relationship and use of the concept “C-influence” was actually in fact ‘magical thinking’ (angels are hovering over the table right now) and ‘ideas of reference’ (the number 44 appearing somewhere just for you), which are two neuroses that function as defense mechanisms for individuals with ego deficits. I am deeply thankful to Miles Barth, who introduced these to me when he followed his conscience out of the school; it awakened mine. I left the FOF five months later.

    An easy way to understand how ‘ideas of reference’ works is to assign strong personal meaning to a number other than 44, which I did, and voila, there are just as many shocks out there for those willing shed their FOF blinders and look for them. Don’t take my word for it, do it yourself.

    When I began the work, I understood that Gurdjieff’s original definition of C-influence was this: it originates from the lips of a living, breathing, conscious teacher to the student, directed specifically to them, for furthering the student’s evolution. B-Influence was whatever the conscious being produced and left behind when they pass over. (After all that effort, who’d want to hang around on this plane, anyway?) Everything else was A-Influence. Ergo, you do whatever you can to be close to a conscious being to get what you need to evolve. But that was not RB’s brand of “C-Influence”, and it irked me.

    My direct experience was that RB was not intellectually sophisticated enough for the task of focusing that much attention (and love) on any one student, he likes to play the field so to speak. So he merely projected his own defense mechanisms into the group to mask his inadequacies. (If shit happens, it is God’s will, not mine.) He diverted our ingrained religious beliefs to the 44, and we bought it. He’s a master of spin.

    After posing the question at a meeting in Renaissance, “how does one prolong a higher state?” after much silence and one helpful angle, I received a photograph for vanity feature from Belinda and the subject was changed. Undaunted, I asked Robert the same question during a discrete lunch, with only two others attending so as not to put him too much pressure on him. His answer was to place a wine cork under his French sleeve cuff and to show me how a person in his position could create a memorable state in others who look up to him, but that would not be enough for awakening, the rest is left up to the individual. In other words, he didn’t have the answer. (The thought of doing the sequence 24/7 doesn’t seem to be the answer either.) It then became clear to me that Robert’s self-assigned role as teacher was how he kept himself dialed in and relatively present, but not fully awake in his higher intellect. He wasn’t one for “long thoughts”. All the emphasis on being present seem to inhibit critical thinking, lofty or not. We students were his reminders to pay attention, and he was feeding on us because he had a role to play.

    A good example of “ideas of reference” is RB claiming the detention at the airport being a grand play designed by higher forces specifically for him and his entourage to transform into a higher state. (Jeeze, I get that friction every day just riding the bus!) The detention at the airport was a indirect result of his actions, in that he created and maintains the FOF, and it’s always been an odd bunch, to say the least. They raised the suspicions of the airline workers. That’s pretty understandable post-911. “C-Influence” providing friction just for him…I don’t believe so, that’s the snake biting his own tail, he doesn’t know himself. Robert caused this friction on himself and the others by virtue of surrounding himself with a “school” of entitled odd ducks that behave strangely. The idea of not losing your temper and going off at some underpaid, over-zealous republican homeland security dude with an attitude because you have ballet tickets… well, that’s common sense, unless you are looking for a full body cavity search or something.

    True C-influence is designed for you (customization- 5/318-innernaut) based on direct observation and means you actually get to evolve, eventually becoming equal or surpassing your teacher (which I don’t claim to be)…but wait…evolving students? That presents a dilemma for the teacher who happens to have developed narcissistic personality disorder (not a disorder that would meet the legal definition of insanity, by the way). Here’s the rub, the nature of that disorder would instinctively compel that teacher to undermine anyone’s evolution if they were to get anywhere close to his level because that teacher always has to be top of the heap, maintaining an unreachable status. (First people RB clears from the playing field, women, no WOMAN will awaken in HIS school, by God. He personally prefers men.)

    In groupthink the commonly held myths (i.e. beliefs that cannot be verified) function as an adhesive, binding the group together. Most of us have the need to belong, to feel part of a bigger identity than our small subjective one (a school is for those who know they need one) and the fear of abandonment (shunning) is so strong it keeps the members in line, censoring themselves and putting up with more and more cognitive dissonance. Fear manipulates the members into making excuses for any shortcomings or glossing over the glaring contradictions in order to maintain the status quo and retain membership. And by fear, what could be more frightening than losing your most prized possession, your soul? (In other less materialistic times, it was the fear of everlasting pain.)

    So how can you debate the belief that “C-influence” had its hand in creating this school and will determine its fate? (Howard espouses Robert’s beliefs the best.) Or angels guard the gates? Or that God made the world in a matter of days? Or that Allah is the ONE and ONLY prophet. You cannot. Religion is not subject to debate, it is based on faith. You either buy into because you need the eggs, or you don’t.
    Discussing these realities to others within a groupthink structure though, would be the equivalent of attempting to describe water to a fish. Besides, I was in my mid-twenties when this was happening, who would listen to me? I’d just get the boot on the spot. Given all I had experienced with RB and that at the very core I disagreed with his definition of “C-Influence” but could buffer that no longer, there was no choice but for me to walk. I did it on my terms, without fanfare. I went out, made a life for myself, and created a family with someone who had no relationship with the FOF. I love them deeply. I am eternally grateful to have accomplished this and worked hard not implode.

    I still do believe in synchronicity IN MODERATION. Would I stake my children’s life on it? Hell, no! I use for personal validation purposes only, not to divine the future for others. Remember, the house always wins, as long as you choose to play.
    Now I can have some peace.

    The Minister’s indoctrination Says:

    May 8, 2007 at 6:45 pm
    The following appeared in the FoF discussion in AnimamRecro, page 8.

    Ames Gilbert Says:
    May 8th, 2007 at 4:48 pm
    On the subject of ‘awakening’ in the FOF

    I agree with John (#331) and Rabbi Burns, that many practices in the FOF lead to deeper sleep, not awakening. A German woman student shared an exercise to help ‘self-remember’ that could be used for long periods, far longer than the ‘twenty minutes’ that O. claimed would lead to breakthrough. The exercise consists of deepening presence while clenching first one buttock, then the other, very slowly. For some reason, one can do this and not go into imagination for quite long periods; I was able to do it for as long as half an hour. Imagine my disappointment when I didn’t break through!

    Another practice that leads to greater, not lesser, sleep are meetings. They are especially dangerous, because this is where the group comes to get inoculated with the latest groupthink. I gather the format of meetings has changed since I left, so some of the details of this letter I sent to Girard Haven on this very subject have changed. But, not the gist. I’m sure these observations contributed to my downfall!

    For those interested, here goes:

    Either I’m nuts or nearly everyone else is!
    Sunday, November 7, 1994

    Dear Girard,
    Thank you for leading the meeting on Saturday night. I’m sharing some observations and opinions about what went on then for two reasons; I hope they will be useful for you, and I want also to clarify my own thoughts.

    There are several areas I wish to write about.
    To start with, I assume that to some degree you were intentional when you chose the people who supported you on the podium. It was certainly an imposing array of the ‘old guard’, and had its intended effect. When you and those who you associate with are up on the podium, have you considered what is happening? You are transmitting borrowed power (which comes from Robert, who get all of this particular kind from us). It may make you feel good, but it is not real. And all those in the meeting receive the radiations and also feel good, aligned with you, aligned with the organization, facing the sun—Robert. And we mistake this energy for spiritual energy, and say “If it feels good, I must be more awake!” But, not so! I say this because it relates to what follows.

    It is only at a few special periods, such as the one presently unfolding, that an amazing process becomes clear to me, and on Saturday night there was crystal clarity. What I saw was the phenomenon of using the work angles to send ourselves to sleep. A strong statement indeed! Yet, consider this. What were we after when we joined the Fellowship? For me it was an environment that would allow me to wake up as soon as possible. And what does that mean? It means waking up my conscience and learning to distinguish its voice from the surrounding rubbish. Why wake up conscience? So I can listen to it and act on it, making it my internal master, the only valid and real master. If this happens, and it is the only reason to me for living, there becomes no need for an external master. There is only one valid objective for temporarily hiring an external master and borrowing his will, and that is to speed the waking and learn to serve one’s own Ideal the quicker. If I dedicate the perceptions and fruits of my Self to an external master and to an external ideal, no matter how noble, then all I am is a noble slave. This is for me one of the few absolutes.

    So, what I saw was that whenever our consciences stir against slavery to Robert’s ideals (which may be noble, but are outside ourselves, and so are just enticing mazes where we lose our individuality), we use the work angles to squash the discomfort. During this extraordinary period of possibilities, the consciences of many students are stirring. But you, I hope unwittingly, used the dead, misused, abused, now lifeless work tools to squeeze the messy struggle of life, and encouraged us to do the same. When you demanded that the angles be objective, you enlarged intellectual center was mistaking dryness and impersonality for objectivity. You set the rhythm for the hypnotic, sleep-inducing delivery of the angles. And so again we simply stopped daring to ask personal questions, or give personal answers, the kind that are bursting with blood, and anguish and caring. If only you had looked, you would have seen from the sappy looks on the faces of those supposed to be your friends the familiar hypnosis of students at meetings, the weird mixture of mild comfort and mild guilt. The same look was on your face, and on the faces of your companions. I only heard two angles that dealt with transformation on a level accessible to us—the ones that used the word ‘love’. That is how difficult the subject is, how mysterious, how out of control and far from our intellectual understanding. The first beautiful angle of the evening, from Ivy, could and should have set the tone for the rest of the conversation. But instead we decided to use the work against ourselves. Any decent emotion has to be “transformed”, not lived. Any questionable attitude has to be euthanized. Any genuine feeling has to be stifled. Any sense of wonder has to be squeezed to death. All this is “transformation”. And this is good because Robert seems to want it. We can support this with dozens of angles that he has passed on, or hundreds of suitable quotations from the work books, or any number of testimonials to Robert’s consciousness.

    The second time the word love was used was in your quotation at the end, and I thank you for that. You seemed to come to life, and we responded by coming to life a bit. And we even changed the energy in the room to something higher than comfortable self-congratulation. How can things be wrong when the meetings feel so good? Did you mean it when you called for us to put off childish things, become men? None of us so far seems to be able to. We are satisfied by being told that we are all men number four, that everything is fine, that the gods are on our side. And you are told you are a man number five, or whatever! I hope you don’t believe it. Girard, when we begin to listen to our consciences, and swear loyalty to our internal Ideal over all other ideals, then we will become men number four. When we make our verifications more important than anyone else’s, then we may become men number four. Only then will the shackles that we voluntarily put on ourselves fall away, and the words you quoted start to come true.

    Girard, you seem driven by your intellectual center. I’m dominated by my moving center. We can’t solve the real problems by using our centers of gravity alone. If we try, then when we can’t find the answer through them, we just go back to sleep. You told us you are attracting something new when you start skipping. So, why don’t we try ‘skipping’ at meetings? We could try to move in the opposite direction—no poppycock, no unverifiable angles (for example, talking for five minutes about Robert’s consciousness). We can intentionally make them more personal. If we can’t, let us abandon large meetings and try smaller and smaller ones until we reach a size where we can give and receive personal energy among ourselves. The form of our meetings hasn’t changed for twenty-five years! Not very successful results when our watchword is supposed to be to change patterns! My conscience is stirring and making me uncomfortable. It needs room to stretch. Our consciences need exercise. Our job in the school is to exercise our consciences and learn to trust what they tell us. We cannot make any real mistakes if we do this.

    To end, I’d like to share some words by Kabir Helminski that another student sent me recently.
    “In this time when spiritual fellowships are confused with cults, leadership with tyranny, and submission with the abandonment of conscience, I want to speak for the unpopular and easily misunderstood values of spiritual leadership and the group process… A saying has it that one log will not burn by itself, but with a little kindling a number of logs leaning against each other will make a good fire. A group, any group, generates energy, but the quality of energy and the use to which it is put will determine whether that group becomes a mob, a cult, or a circle of lovers… The power of love is waiting to do its work, and if we independent and isolated people would allow ourselves to overcome our separateness, our suspicion, and our pride, the miracle of unity and affection is still possible. According to a Sufi saying, “Grapes ripen in the sun smiling at one another.”

    Ames Gilbert

    P.S. I enclose a copy of a letter I sent to Steven Dambeck after he led the last meeting. I think there is a strong correspondence between the contents of that letter and this.

    My illusions fall with the leaves.
    The wind—it doesn’t care!

    Phew! Just finished keying all that in because the original file is lost. As I mentioned above, this letter, and other letters and activities, surely led to the Big Boot a short while later. Although the format of the meetings may have ‘changed’ superficially, I’d guess that the combined effect of the Big Kahuna pontificating and the distribution word-wide of the subsequent video (a known hypnotic medium in itself) would make the sleep even deeper. I did not receive a reply to this letter, or any others. To be fair, Girard did try to corral me outside the Lodge soon after this one, but I was too angry to stick around to hear what he had to say. I had just been watching him and a couple of flunkies go through the letter boxes, removing what he judged to be subversive material from all the slots. The fact that he took this task upon himself showed me something important about the FOF, and I hadn’t had time to digest it.
    The haiku is my own.

    With love to you all, ‘in’ or ‘out’,

    Elena Says:

    May 8, 2007 at 7:09 pm
    To the Sheik,

    Thank you for the “sketchbook” change and thank you again for having us in your site.

    I am wondering to what extent it is possible to keep this “sketchbook” site free of discussion. Basically the aim here is that students or non students write their story and it is fine if in their story they wish to support the Fellowship or question it but posts like Plains, No. 4 are simply detracting from other posts without supporting their statement with their own experience.

    I can understand that this may not be possible if it gives you a greater amount of work than you are willing to put in and have no judgement against you for that but if you can think of a way I or others might help and see the reasoning behind my wish, you might consider it.

    Basically, many students or others are not willing to read the blog because they are not interested in our personal small or big struggles with each other on the blog and I can very well relate to that. While that has a purpose of its own that I find very useful to keep one’s self in constant questioning, my aim in the sketchbook is to inform, not to discuss. From one angle, anyone wishing to inform about their experience is welcome but posts simply detracting others are not and if I could, I would not post them on the sketchbook, so that it can collect a material that goes very much to the point. Positive or negative but to the point.

    The sketchbook as I see it is not about freedom of speech in any of its forms, it is about freedom of expression with an aim. The aim to tell your story, your experience in the Fellowship wether it was very positive or very questionnable of the Fellowship itself.

    On the other hand it is not that this insubstantial angles like Plains, do not show the level of mindlessness of the Fellowship responses and that will show itself for what it is and it actually allows for a certain dynamic that is not all uninteresting.

    I guess I just wish to share this thoughts with you and am willing to abide by your conditions but would also enjoy hearing your position.

    Thank you again

    Elena Says:

    May 8, 2007 at 7:26 pm
    To Plain No. 4.

    Dear Person behind Plain,

    While I appreciate your participation in this site, the aim here is not to have a discussion, to reject or question each other’s statements but to allow for each one of us to tell his story as he/she has experienced it.

    The discussion is a much better place for posts like the one you’ve submitted where we measure each other’s oil without compassion. The aim of this site is different. Here we accept each other’s experience and thoughts on the many different aspects suggested to reflect on about the Fellowship, and will not argue or detract from your statement even if it is different to how I or others experienced it. It does not matter wether other’s think it is right, wrong, subjective or objective, it is what each one of us thinks it is and that is enough to be accepted here.

    If you wish to support the Fellowship, the best way you can do it is by telling us your own story, what about your life in it has made you love it, grow, live. Surely we have all been in that place and will understand you.

    Perhaps you can try to understand where others are, having experienced what they experienced, without undermining them, labelling them or judging them.

    Thank you.

    Personal testimony Says:

    May 9, 2007 at 6:58 am
    Appeared in FOF discusion of Animam Recro. Page 8/38

    Lady B Says:

    April 29th, 2007 at 10:57 pm
    I am still in the school but I am not a student anymore.

    I joined the school 20 years ago with all my heart.

    I survived several of the school’s big intervals, when Influence C was “shaking the tree.”

    When other students left, I never wanted to know the reason. Each time, some “good student” or center director would act as a filter, saying that the student left because their instinctive center didn’t want to pay any more or because their American puritanical morality made Robert’s sex life into an excuse for leaving.

    After a year in the school, a friend of mine left, and before she did she told me that her friend had a relationship with Robert. It was a bad experience, and he left in shock. I was actually relieved to hear that Robert was gay. I’d already been in a group where the teacher was gay. In a second group, where the teacher was straight, and very interested in women, his “wife” had me kicked out because she imagined I was having an affair with him.

    In the FOF, I lost a husband, a house, and a lot of money that I didn’t have and don’t have, but none of that bothered me enough to make me leave. Robert has never spoken to me directly — I don’t have money, I’m not rich, I’m a woman. I’m not an artist or actor. I don’t have blue blood or a name of noble origin. So, my role in the school — according to other students — is to pay. That’s my role and for many years I’ve been paying my teaching payment.

    I began reading this blog and the letters sent to me by ex-students. I told myself that I’ve been in the school so long that I wouldn’t hear anything bad enough to change my mind, my desire, or my love for Robert.

    It didn’t take long to realize that I hadn’t been aware of the level of suffering that many students endured. When Elena wrote, it was as if she read my heart. Now I understand why friends who became Robert’s lovers are so depressed and unable to have a full emotional life. I’ve seen mothers who are happy that their sons were chosen to be Robert’s lovers, and encouraged them not to lose the opportunity to experience higher levels with an angel.

    At Isis, children are the last concern. In fact, a friend who doesn’t have children told me, “I think that Isis needs an orphanage.” I was shocked and offended.

    I believed that I was helping to build a new civilization, not supporting and paying for all this suffering. I can’t be an accomplice any more. This isn’t the school I was looking for. I’ve learned a lot, but at a very high price. I have a conscience — someone might call it feminine dominance, but I don’t care. All those years I’ve pushed down that inner screaming voice, and had — as many others have — health consequences.

    I want to leave the school without a fuss, the way I came, but I want to give a warning to potential students so they have an idea of what they’re getting into. If this blog was available to me 20 years ago, I probably would have made a different decision.

    Someone said — I wish I could remember who — that you can see the level of civilization in a country by looking at the way they treat children and old people. Elena, you’re right: I don’t recognize the same Ark that I boarded 20 years old.

    During these 20 years, I’ve met some wonderful people, and leaving those friends is going to be a much bigger payment than I’ve ever made. I’m sorry, and I love you.

    Renaissance, Apollo, Isis Says:

    May 9, 2007 at 7:03 am
    Appeared in Page 8/70 of FoF discussion of Animam Recro.

    butterfly Says:
    April 30th, 2007 at 10:43 am
    I am a student as I mentioned in a previous post, but I enjoy the ability to make observations and to make criticisms constructive or otherwise that this blog gives the freedom to do.
    Two things I have observed from living at Apollo/Isis is that if you want a job done properly do not hire a student ( with a few exceptions). ‘Life’ people are more reliable.
    The second is that, has anyone else ever thought that the Galleria, from the outside, just looks like a Mc Donalds?

    Legal Conflicts Says:

    May 9, 2007 at 7:30 am
    From FoF discussion at AR Page 8/134

    To: Clara Helena Haven (#124)
    Please get a lawyer to give you general advice before you make any threats to the FOF, however subtle or unsubtle. You need to protect yourself in the visible world as well as the invisible world. Do not make the mistake of thinking Abraham Goldman is the mild, gentle man he projects himself as to so many. When it comes to protecting the Fellowship, he is to Burton as Karl Rove is to Bush—utterly and completely ruthless, and completely without conscience. For him, ANY means justifies the end. He has huge resources behind him, and can easily tie you up in expensive litigation; you might ‘win’ in the end, but you may also be bankrupt. Remember, this country may have quite a different legal system to the one you are used to. For example, in most cases, parties to litigation usually pay their own fees. That means, even if you ‘win’, you are unlikely to get back the costs of defending yourself, at $200 or more an hour, court costs, deposition fees, and innumerable more expenses, not to mention your own time.

    I’m not trying to frighten you. I’m not a lawyer, I’m advising you to talk to one before you go too far on your own. I personally know how Goldman works. For example, he sent an employee of the Church of Scientology, an ‘investigator’ called Ingram, to threaten me and my family with harm if I did not help the FOF by withdrawing my help for Troy Buzbee. The sleazy Ingram at that time was wanted in two states for his abusive investigations. Ingram also went to Troy Buzbee’s mother (who knew nothing of the case) and revealed what was going on—not to obtain information (she had none), but to use her horror and dismay as a weapon against Troy. That is the kind of person Abraham Goldman is, behind the soft smile and the ‘harmless’ act.

    Another piece of ‘non-lawyerly’ advice: document everything, from now on. Make copies of everything you have that is pertinent to your aims, and put them in the hands of people you trust (and at least one copy abroad, beyond the jurisdiction of a United States court). Do not let Goldman defeat you with a ‘gag order’.

    I wish you well.
    Ames Gilbert

    Personal testimony Says:

    May 9, 2007 at 7:32 am
    From FoF discussion in AR P.8

    alice in wonderlust Says:
    May 2nd, 2007 at 1:45 am

    I was in ‘the group’ late 70’s and early 80’s, lived at a center and then at Renaissance. I left for several reasons: there was a pervading sense of superiority, separateness, fear and desperation. There was just so much that was about escape and I began to get tired of the desperate desire to escape (the machine, the ‘I’s, ‘life’, and life….etc.) For all the talk of RB being conscious he was not very observant, was way into himself and lacked compassion. I did not want to become dependent on the emotional group thing and it just seemed so small and rather petty wrapped up in big talk.

    I wasn’t aware of RB’s predatory behavior – just thought he was gay. Being a predator is different.

    What I have found post-fof has been very wonderful. I am very involved in community (more fluid than a small rigid group) and have been able to continue my spiritual interests. My life has not been easy, but the struggle has been alive. I didn’t feel isolated till I moved to another state, but with effort, that has completely changed.

    I’m a very private person and I’ve just not mentioned the fof much since then. I guess I’ve felt somewhat embarrassed because of the creepy, sleazy, deluded dark side of this school is very apparent to most everyone except current students. As great and godlike RB and his followers think the fof is – it has that great a shadow which, it seems, they are still unconscious of. For me the process of leaving the group was one of facing shadow material – mine and fof’s of which I partook. Facing shadow is painful – accepting responsibility is worse. I knew that if I stayed longer and bought in any deeper I would not be able to face it – disavowing and running from shadow is deeply ingrained fof behavior. Its interesting…such a tiny group with such delusions of grandeur and light and no recognition of shadow– but the perception of the group my most people (and some former students) is that it is all shadow. (a parallel is the rigid Mormon communities in Utah and their ‘lost boys’.)

    The released thoughts of Mr. O (#7-352 ) have been my findings too. My heart and mind are much cleaner and richer cleared of the superiority, rigid rules, desire to escape. Being present is for no reason other than it is its own reward. It is not a bargaining chip, or points accrued for a more ’saved’ status.

    I had a lot of good, simple fun in the group and loved California (I was rather young at the time too). I didn’t keep the rules very well and mostly flew beneath the radar – never wanting to become a power position parrot student. Met some very cool, odd, fascinating people some of whom have remained friends and I’ve watched them mature. I don’t miss my ‘in the group’ fof friends since they became extremely negative and dogmatic. Besides, my involvement was very long ago and I’ve made and rekindled some wonderful friendships. Generally, the experience honed my BS-o-meter which has been very useful. Fof is life in tiny miniature- fundamentalists, power plays, control, secrets, politics…politics. Nevertheless, I think we are connected somehow and I have really enjoyed hearing the voices here!

    On Children Says:

    May 9, 2007 at 7:36 am
    From FoF discussion of AR. P.8/67

    Cake please Says:
    April 30th, 2007 at 9:09 am
    Dear Siddiq

    The school – we all seem to have created our own reality of this. In this instance yours, mine, Lady B’s.

    In regard to Lady B, you say “ I am very sorry for you..” What about compassion, do you not feel the suffering?

    “ children appear to me healthy and well adjusted, not mistreated, not in any danger.”

    Did you read the posts 7/254 of Ms. Reality Check and 7/255 of Heather a daughter of students. Maybe will learn more of what our children actually experience as more of them are now accessing the blog.

    Again to Lady B “…parents (of which I am one and I assume you are too, which makes me wonder why we have never connected…”

    Not sure if Lady B is a parent but I am. And I guess I could pose the same question to you. But real no matter, there are worlds within worlds here.

    And being a parent is not the only criteria for caring about children. Some have given up that opportunity to follow the will of the Teacher. Some far more than that.

    As the terra firma now shakes beneath my feet, more and more of my thoughts turn to my children. Fellowship born and bred. Wonderful and magical, constant source of joy.

    But also, my thoughts turn to the payment they have made for me to follow my path. Uprooted from centre to centre, city to city, country to country in my pursuit of the good student.

    My solace was the students that formed a major part of their life.

    Then we moved to Mecca.
    Hey mama, your emperor wears no clothes.

    This is a real school, real school. Wonderful students, wonderful students. I chanted.

    Still love you ma, but really no clothes, no clothes.

    Best to you Siqqid, may your children have the love and care of fellow students as mine have had, but have no illusions that this is a school with a heart for children… or women for that matter.


    The Teacher Says:

    May 9, 2007 at 7:42 am
    From FoF Discussion in AR. P8/144

    NoName Says:
    May 2nd, 2007 at 7:14 am
    I guess it is easy for me to think about lawsuits or class actions lawsuits around someone like Robert Burton.
    The man has been so greedy and ruthless, he definitively exploited almost all the members who gave money and time and energy in many forms.
    Many ex members here mentioned legal action is a futile route…. Majority will win!

    I personally do not have money, or knowledge, or leadership abilities to even initiate such thing.

    I would have to know in advance if such effort could be rewarded after all. Someone was joking sarcastically about paying me back with Chinese pottery or some other valuable objects from RB’s collection I suppose…. but realistically I do not think about getting my money back. It would be nice perhaps, but it would not happen.

    It is also true that not everyone gets on their feet after leaving the Fof, it has been a few years now and I am still paying personally the consequences for having invested in the fof…
    This is hard to forgive.
    I am sure someone here could come out and tell me that I should not blame any external circumstances, that it was my choice, etc., I was fully adult and was not “forced” into anything with coercion.

    Ok, Ok, I can take responsibility for my foolish choices and can even thank the fate that overall brought me here and also past the fof, after all I have learned a lesson , a huge one and am still learning!

    But what I would really like is to make RB’s great lie widely PUBLIC, it has already harmed and continues to harm many people.
    There are many nice fellows in the fof among the less so, but even these decent human beings how can they not know of the horrible stories behind the great façade of the teacher? This is what bugs me the most: people continue to fall and to follow a very sick man.

    The price in the end is really too big, is a loss of soul for sure, not a gain, unless one eventually realizes the illusion and wakes up, claiming back what is personal and real.

    Being Thrown out Says:

    May 9, 2007 at 7:47 am
    Excerpts from post 8/149 of FoF discussion in AR

    Yesri Baba Says:
    May 2nd, 2007 at 10:46 am

    I was expelled from the fof in 1980 and it was one of the most painful experiences of my life (that it was much my own responsibilty and fault for giving myself too much to it does not change the pain it caused me).

    Most of my evolution has occurred in the 27 years since through my own studies, meditation and just living. Most of my work has been in construction related fields and i can relate to your conversation with the biker.

    The Galleria Says:

    May 9, 2007 at 7:50 am
    From FoF discussion in AR 8/153

    butterfly Says:
    May 2nd, 2007 at 3:53 pm
    #8/70, Butterfly

    “The second is that, has anyone else ever thought that the Galleria, from the outside, just looks like a Mc Donalds?”

    Anonymous Says:
    “I had not quite noticed the similarity. The amusement park for kids is missing. You are right to only point to the outside though, because most people would find the interior decor more attractive and the food more interesting.”

    Thank you Anonymous and I would like to use this as an example of a deeper malaise within the fof. You are allowed to have your opinion on what you think attractive or not as does everyone but there are many areas in the fof which as Kiran mentions above are “unquestionable”.

    The architecture of the Galleria is of the same style as a Mc Donalds and thats fine, if thats all we could do at the time in terms of budget, but don’t fool ourselves that its beautiful just because someone says so.
    I personally find the interior fussy, ornate and camp, and as i often feel after a concert, when everyone is saying how beautiful it was, I wonder what is happening. Yes, we do have some gifted musicians, the lady flutist was one example but she just left the fof. We also have a lot of amateurs and those concerts are not always good.
    There is a lot of peer pressure to toe the line though and for everyone to forget to mention all the bum notes.
    The Russian students who, incidentally, have a higher understanding of music and other arts from their education, do recognise the workings of the old communist party in the style of our own ‘benevolent’ dictatorship.

    A piece of plastic is of a low ‘alchemy’, no matter how much gold paint you add on top.

    The Galleria is a meeting place for the fof, you do not, however, have to check your critical faculties at the door.

    yours, butterfly

    The Teacher and alpha men and women Says:

    May 9, 2007 at 7:57 am
    From FoF discussion in AR. 8/158

    Whale Rider Says:
    May 2nd, 2007 at 7:05 pm
    The newer branch of Science called behavioral evolutionism offers this explanation for promiscuity in humans: it is likely a character trait buried deep in our reptilian (instinctive) brains that all men and women, gay, straight or bisexual share with the animal kingdom for survival. The majorities of creatures, big and small are naturally promiscuous, seeking to spread their genes among as many others as possible within their species. This insures the survival of their particular genetic lineage. The alpha male establishes and vigorously defends a hierarchical social structure (pyramid) through intimidation and brute force when necessary, fending off other usurping males, sometimes even seriously injuring himself in the process. This sends the would-be suitors to the margins of the herd as the alpha male engages in unrestricted sex with as many females (partners) as possible within his harem. Thus the sex drive among earth dwellers is, at its core insatiable. Sound familiar?

    This would characterize RB as having transformed (evolved?) into more of a “man-beast” (satyr, Minotaur) than an angel or goddess. (Yes, he personally said to me, “Don’t worry, you are with an angel right now”.) Could a satyr give you a higher state if you met one? You bet. Is that why RB was so inspired by the cave paintings of the couple engaged in “doggie-style” sex (probably an early sex manual)? Did he recognize something in himself and buffer it with school language? And the sexual preoccupation with peepee and poohpooh, sounds fairly regressed to me!

    Spiritual celebrations of the Fellowship of Friends Says:

    May 9, 2007 at 8:01 am
    “On saturday May 12th we shall celebrate our teachers 68th birthday on this auspicious year of our first anniversary of the sequence- six – and the – eight – wordless breaths.
    if you want to wish our teacher a happy birthday, you may send him a card with a personal note. if you wish to give robert a birthday gift, you may enclose a cheque, made out to Robert Burton
    if you are mailing a card and gift send to : Robert Burton, Galleria, Post Office Box 100, Oregon House. CA 95962″

    Threats Says:

    May 9, 2007 at 8:09 am
    From FoF discussion in AR. 8/164

    A word to the wise… Says:
    May 2nd, 2007 at 9:13 pm
    Good Advice to Elena from Ames G.

    Elena, you may well be risking everything you own. You may not care today, but this can change rapidly when you get sued.

    The potential for lawsuits for defamation for both invasion of privacy and the careless and libelous comments you have made about Robert, Girard, and many others now, could undoubtedly lead to successful lawsuits against you by any of a number of people.

    To top it off, you are getting ready to launch another project dedicated to repeating your “facts”–with your uncontrolled outbursts of emotion, it is simply a recipe for your personal disaster.

    A word to the wise!

    Personal Testimony Says:

    May 9, 2007 at 8:13 am
    From FoF discussion in AR. P 8/168

    Ludger Kreilos Says:
    May 3rd, 2007 at 12:56 am
    Dear Ladies & Gentleman,

    it´s now two days ago that a very good friend of mine and also a former student of the FOF, found this blog and we are still amazed about the amount of articles written in the last month. So first of all a very big “Thank You”! for the founder & moderator of the blog. We all think that You must be the one who must be shaken to the bone of the huge tidal wave that You started without knowing it!
    In Robert Burtons words “A joke of the gods” and we think if this blog is still going on, it might be the end of the FOF.
    If I would be Robert Burton or the board I couldn’t sleep anymore, ´cause this blog extremely diminishes the amount of new students! Good work!

    So first of all a brief summary of my FOF career: My name is Ludger Kreilos, I have been a member of the FOF for seven years, You see I completed my octave. I joined in Sept.1986 and left in Sept.1993,
    maybe some remember me, I was part of the so called “Bochum Bunch”. At our peak we were 22 students all coming from Bochum, Germany.
    I started in the Cologne Centre, my center directors were “Rolf Disselhoff & Cheryl Disselhoff !
    The first two years in the FOF were the most outrageous years I´ve ever experienced, ´cause they gave me a lesson that I´ll never forget my whole life.
    The ideas and thoughts of Gurdijeff & Ouspensky were part of my whole being as we mentioned in school language, and being born and raised as a cold war kid. I wouldn´t ever dreamt of becoming a “Hitlerjunge”.
    My whole education and socialisation was totally directed to the opposite,
    not to become a follower of a cult, strictly guided by very obscure rules!
    But the ideas and stories of Gurdijeff & Ouspensky that I heard, read and experienced were so strong, that the FOF seemed to be the one and only “Emergency Exit” out of my unstructured life, even of the weird rules, I was ready and desperately seeking for the guy to come and take me by the hand!
    Robert Burton!
    A very good lesson to learn. To find my self totally under control of a weird, self mixed theory by ignoring my needs, believes and moral structures. What I learned of it?! That no one as clever or intellectually structured is free from getting trapped. Every party, group, cult or movement works with the same emotional idea:
    ”You can decide, whether You are one of us or one of them! The sleeping machines with no souls!” And I wanted to be part of the saviour side!

    I was the ideal German follower, I would have sold everything or do anything for the school, but fortunately the teacher never asked me to, otherwise I would have gone to “Stalingrad” and fight for the FOF.
    I’m still gratefully for experiencing me, myself & the many I´s that everything is possible. For everyone here there is the right cult there outside!

    So nearly everyone of my friends joined in the recent years, and we became a more or less stabile group in the FOF, in the end we were the whole Berlin Centre around 20 members the rest located in Renaissance.
    Only one was left on our mission to awakening: Andreas Jewers he seems to be still in the FOF! Hey, guy we often think of You !
    Strangely enough I must admit that the seven years in the FOF were great, they made me to the man I am!
    The FOF was a great opportunity to learn , it was a cultural mind blowing experience. It is still the foundation of my thinking and cultural expression and profession! Thanks for that!

    But also I must admit , I had luck, fortunately I never lived in Renaissance except harvest holidays, I wasn´t alone in the FOF , I had my friends with me and we had our doubts and a lot of discussion too, believe it or not the FOF is still a topic of interest for us. Nearly everyone of my friends from Bochum who joined in the mid 80´s and left in the mid 90´s is now living here in Berlin again. Even me, recently moved again in the apartment that was once called the Berlin Centre, funny isn´t it!? Everyone survived the FOF with his or her personal scars, but to be honest if we would have the chance of informing us about the FOF on the internet in the 80´s, we wouldn’t join it! So this forum is a big help for esoterically seekers!
    Don´t sell Your soul, to the FOF, ´cause You have One;
    The FOF is a degenerated 4th- Way School.
    And don´t be naïve, most of all the ex-students didn´t have such luck and stabile social contacts as we all have! Most of them struggle with severe psychic problems after leaving it! Have that in mind!!

    So playing with fire is the right picture, some have and will be Burtoned!

    I was never abused or raped by Robert Burton, and as far as I know, only one of my friends had to go this way. Sadly enough, but that seemed to be the price of being in the inner circle! Getting a high status in Renaissance, Apollo or now Isis, you have to pay that certain price. And than You will be used and thrown away if You aren´t of any interest of the “Teacher” anymore, as many others experienced before.
    Of course we all know Troy Buzzbee and the hundreds before and his followers. This is and was sick, unfair and extremely cruel!
    But excuse me Mister Burton, this is Your price; You have to pay; the long ever lasting minute in the moment of Your death when Your little soul is chopped into pieces and every second comes back to Your mind;
    where You abused all the people who put their trust in You!
    You sold Your soul!
    Not the little sheep’s, who gave life time, spirit, money and nearly the best of what they had to serve You!
    In the end You´ll recognise it and You even know it !
    You can fool some people some time, but You cannot fool all the people all the time!
    So You got the best men & women, it was all in Your hands.
    You have chosen! You are on the dark side of the moon!

    P.S.: Feel free to contact me ,if You wish.

    Fleeing Says:

    May 9, 2007 at 8:18 am
    From FoF Discussion 8/180 of AR.

    Fellow Traveller Says:
    May 3rd, 2007 at 1:46 pm
    The criteria for a genuine spiritual teaching according to Selim Aissel:
    (taken from the website http://www.epag.org)

    flee those who demand unconditional obedience to themselves or to their representatives or assistants.

    flee those who require you to cut yourself off from your family or social relationships.

    flee those who prohibit you from seeing the people you want.

    flee organisations that demand large sums of money.

    flee organisations that display their luxury and wealth.

    flee those who deprecate other ways.

    flee those who acknowledge their own teaching alone as valid.

    flee those who teach you to neglect your family, professional, or social life in order to benefit their organisation.

    flee those who make a rule out of limiting sleep and restricting your diet, and teach you all kinds of methods that make you physically weaker.

    flee those who judge and condemn.

    flee those who require you to believe instead of to understand and verify.

    flee those who require you to confess.

    flee those who make you believe you are guilty.

    flee those who lack a sense of humor.

    flee those who employ threats or fear.

    flee those who only talk about spirituality without really practicing it.

    flee those who promise Heaven after death (especially if you pay them!).

    flee those who promise Hell if you don’t convert.

    flee those who divide principles and people into good and bad.

    flee those who adopt stereotyped attitudes, ways of talking, sitting, dressing, and moving.

    flee those who take themselves to be prophets or messiahs.

    flee those who often change teachings and teachers.

    flee those who envy each other.

    flee those who compete with each other or with other organisations.

    flee those who only practice within their organisation and not outside of it.

    flee those who claim that they understand everything and have nothing left to learn.

    Meetings Says:

    May 9, 2007 at 5:50 pm
    Ask yourself Says:
    May 9th, 2007 at 8:42 am
    To Siddiq (#361)

    I agree with you, that the new form of the meetings at isis has been more effective than the meetings that were student lead. The latter were filled with anecdotes and quips, but what did you expect- the teacher had stopped teaching (or, stopped leading meetings). I also agree with you that the time and research that goes into preparing the meeting does produce some very fine quotes from a varity of sources and they are inspiring. However, it’s Robert’s comments or interpretations that trouble me.

    The quotes from the various disciplines do seem to penetrate something “higher” in myself, but Roberts comments additions seem to create confusion and doubt.

    Once, at a Christmas dinner, he mentioned how he had been visited by Jesus Christ the night before. What am I supposed to do with that info? Should I be impressed? Can I verify it?

    At another dinner he mentioned how when he cups his hand to his ear, it’s not because he’s hard of hearing, it’s because it slows down his higher centers which operate at an extremely high speed. Again, what do I do with that info, regard him as a superman?

    He stopped attending many of the Apollo Arts events because from the surface, it looked like he’d rather stay home and make a bunch of cash serving 150.00 dinners- where you can’t take a bite of food unless Robert takes a bite of food.

    The “higher state” we all swear we have at dinners and meetings is most likely produced by being with 50-300 people that are making an effort to stay in Kings of centers. When in life are you EVER in a room with 50-300 people trying to stay in the kings? The answer is NEVER. That’s why we love the fellowship. It creates an environment you can’t find anywhere else. But at what price and with what long term result?

    By the way, here’s a quote from the Theory of Conscious Harmony (pg 154). “Someone said to Ouspensky in 1947: ‘I know I am a machine and that I cannot work by myself.’ He answered:’who told you that? Do not believe anyone that tells you that.’”

    Personal Testimony Says:

    May 9, 2007 at 6:15 pm
    From FoF Discussion in AR. 8/360

    Joseph G Says:
    May 9th, 2007 at 2:21 am
    WhaleRider, I can vouch for your story, as it mirrors my own in many details. And of course we knew each other well. I was 23 in 1978 when Robert came on to me. Not as many times nor as intensely as you describe, but otherwise the same story. Some historic context: in those days many people slept on floors in sleeping bags. For some of us the Blake Cottage was simply an upgrade from sleeping at the Lodge under a dining table. When I moved in there I had no idea that Robert would do what he did. I think it happened less than ten times to me altogether. This covert sex life was emotionally stressful for me, but not unbearable. During my time in Robert’s entourage I received only three gifts that I can remember: a rosewood pen & pencil set, a special-press edition of the Rubaiyat, and an Hermes cashmere jacket. The jacket had actually been purchased for another student but didn’t fit him, so someone had the idea it might fit me. I was married in that jacket less than a year later. Not difficult to do the math in hindsight. There were no orgies back then, at least that I am aware of. There were no Russian students hoping to get green cards, or sex for vouchers either. I worked with a chain saw clearing land in advance of the vineyard landscaping and planting. Lots of poison oak. I remember distinctly that I did not want undue gifts for what I did. The pervasive sense of service, shared conviction and shared affection was very satisfying, probably addictive. We would work hard during the day and take turns serving each other at night. My evening job was providing wine, which strangely has remained my profession to this day. It’s hard to say exactly when I realized that I was not the one and only lover Robert had, but at whatever point I did realize this fact, I also assumed there were probably no more than a few others. I also had no awareness of people getting hurt at the time. I never talked about it, nor did my housemates. In hindsight this seems incredibly naive, even at 20-something. What needs to be understood is that the men close to Robert were envied by many in the community, and continue to be today. Not because of the sex or the gifts, but because they were allowed to be close to the teacher. This is important to understand because when you envy someone it is extremely difficult to think of that person as a victim. And when you are envied by others it is also difficult to think of yourself as a victim. This dynamic has become even more acute lately, as Robert has substantially withdrawn himself from personal contact with most of this run of the mill students.

    The big difference in my story from WhaleRider’s is that I stayed in. It has only been one month since I left the FOF, and 31 years since I joined. Consequently I have many friends in the FOF today. Some are probably reading this. If I had known what Ames or Charles or Miles knew, I may have left earlier. But I did not know everything they knew. Even now I think many FOF members do not know, and some absolutely do not want to know. Although no longer an FOF student, some of the revelations of this Blog have been shameful and horrifying to me, and I agree with the many comments regarding conscience as a glaring weak spot, both within myself and in the FOF. In my own case it was not the sex or the abuse of power that provoked me to leave the FOF. I left because I lost all respect for the teaching. It has no integrity for me now. The “real school” I thought I joined in 1976, the practical school that urged me to verify everything and remember myself always and everywhere, that valued being over knowledge, has been turned into a weird circus of revisionism, numerology and inane ritual. With four children at home I simply could not justify paying $15K to $20K per year merely to attend concerts, community markets and potager lunches. Going to a meeting or dinner with Robert had become a dreaded experience for me; and yet I tended to blame myself for no longer being able to connect with my teacher or with his obtuse and increasingly delusional teaching. Being free is an unexpected relief. I am happy and grateful to find myself in the role of a beginner once again.

    With love,

    Joseph G.

    As a postscript: A few months ago I received a letter from my high school regarding a Jesuit priest who had been institutionalized for having sex with students. His name was Father Bradley. He had been a disciplinarian at my school when I was a junior and senior. It was a strange shock. I realized that in hindsight several of my Jesuit teachers had clearly been homosexuals, and that the scandal in the Catholic Church had come uncomfortably close to touching my own play. What would I have done if that man had forced himself on me as a 17-year-old? Could I have avoided it? Would he have thought it was consensual? How different was it that Robert took advantage of my youth and inexperience a few years later? In point of fact th

  12. battlesword Says:
    February 10, 2009 at 4:51 pmText 17This is the first time I try to understand this phenomenon so this is for sure a tentative approach to it. I am interested in doing this exercise as a first step to a deeper work. 

    I’ll mark my comments with a line _________ and In Cults…

    The Mysterious Masochistic Pact

    In Arthur Koestler’s masterpiece, DARKNESS AT NOON, he describes all the subtle intricacies, reasonings, and dialectics between the inquisitor and his victim. The old Bolshevik, Rubashov, preconditioned by his former party adherence, confesses to plotting against the party and the party line. He is partly motivated by the wish to render a last service: his confession is a final sacrifice to the party. I would explain the confession rather as part of that mysterious masochistic pact between the inquisitor and his victim, which we encounter, too, in other processes of brainwashing.

    [NOTE: The term “masochism” originally referred to sexual gratification received from pain and punishment, and later became every gratification acquired through pain and abjection.]

    It is the last gift and trick the tortured gives to his torturer. It is as if he were to call out: “Be good to me. I confess. I submit. Be good to me and love me.” After having suffered all manner of brutality, hypnotism, despair, and panic, there is a final quest for human companionship, but it is ambivalent, mixed with deep despising, hatred, and bitterness.
    _____In Cults, “Be good to me. I confess. I submit. Be good to me and love me” is the attitude every member carries towards the guru. Although they have not suffered physical brutality, members have been isolated from their psychological roots and the “final quest for human companionship” is as alive in them as in the mind control environment described here but it seems to manifest in the pathology of idolatry in which “contact with the guru” is overrated and divinized. The despising, hatred and bitterness is paradoxically, expressed in the lack of healthy contact between members who compete for even the tiniest privilege from the guru.

    Tortured and torturer gradually form a peculiar community in which the one influences the other. Just as in therapeutic sessions where the patient identifies with the psychiatrist, the daily sessions of interrogation and conversation create an unconscious transfer of feelings in which the prisoner identifies with his inquisitors, and his inquisitors with him.
    _____This is certainly the case also in cults. The mass of unidentifiable members and the “inner circle” of the Cult create an unconscious transfer of feelings in which they identify with each other.
    “Identify with each other” is precisely the word and I would use it here in the same sense in which it is used in the Fourth Way System in which the subjects lose contact with their own self and transfer their sense of worth or sense of I to each other, developing a mutual trust and dependency on each other in which to continue justifying their relationship to the cult.

    The prisoner, encaptured in a strange, harsh, and unfamiliar world, identifies much more with the enemy than does the enemy with him. Unwittingly he may take over all the enemy’s norms, evaluations, and attitudes toward life. Such passive surrender to the enemy’s ideology is determined by unconscious processes. The danger of communion of this kind is that at the end all moral evaluations disappear.
    _____In Cults, if we replace just a few words here, everything else stands equally valid:
    The member, encaptured in a strange, harsh, and unfamiliar world, identifies much more with the inner circle representative than does the latter to him. Unwittingly he may take over all the enemy’s norm, evaluations, and attitudes toward life. Such passive surrender to the enemy’s ideology is determined by unconscious processes. The danger of communion of this kind is that at the end all moral evaluations disappear.
    THE DANGER OF COMMUNION OF THIS KIND IS THAT AT THE END ALL MORAL EVALUATION DISAPPEARS. This is crucial because it is this phenomenon what then allows for the rape of members by the guru, his intervention in marriages and families, his indiscriminate use of money and all other forms of abuse known in cults.
    We saw it happen in Germany. The very victims of Nazism came to accept the idea of concentration camps.
    ________We are seeing it happen in the World today in which cults are an unchallenged reality.

    In menticide we are faced with a ritual like that found in witch hunting during the Middle Ages, except that today the ritual has taken a more refined form. Accuser and accused — each affords the other assistance, and both belong together as collaborating members of a ritual of confession and self-denigration. Through their cooperation, they attack the minds of bystanders who identify with them and who consequently feel guilty, weak, and submissive.

    The Moscow purge trials made many Russians feel guilty; listening to the confessions, they must have said to themselves, “I could have done the same thing. I could have been in that man’s place.” When their heroes become traitors, their own hidden treasonable wishes made them feel weak and frightened.

    This explanation may seem overly complicated and involved and perhaps even self-contradictory, but, in fact, it helps us to understand what happens in cases of menticide. Both torturer and tortured are the victims of their own unconscious guilt. The torturer projects his guilt onto some outside scapegoat and tries to expiate it by attacking his victim. The victim, too, has a sense of guilt, which arises from deeply repressed hostilities. Under normal circumstances, this sense is kept under control, but in the menticidal atmosphere of relentless interrogation and inquisition, his repressed hostilities are aroused and loom up as frightening phantasmagorias from a forgotten past, which the victim senses but cannot grasp or understand. It is easier to confess to the accusation of treason and sabotage than to accept the frightening sense of criminality with which his long-forgotten aggressive impulses now burden him. The victim’s overt self-accusation serves as a trick to annihilate the inner accuser and the persecuting inquisitor. The more I accuse myself, the less reason there is for the inquisitor’s existence. The victim’s going to the gallows kills, as it were, the inquisitor too, because there existed a mutual identification: the accuser is made impotent the moment the victim begins to accuse himself and tomorrow the accuser himself may be accused and brought to the gallows.

    _______In Cults, this process culminates in the act of suicide as the final act of surrender and sacrifice.

    Out of our understanding of this strange masochistic pact between accuser and accused comes a rather simple answer to the questions, WHY DO PEOPLE WANT TO CONTROL THE MINDS OF OTHERS, AND WHY DO THE OTHERS CONFESS AND YIELD? It is because there is no essential difference between the victim and the inquisitor. They are alike. Neither, under these circumstances, has any control over his deeply hidden criminal and hostile thoughts and feelings.

    It is obviously easier to be the inquisitor than the victim, not only because the inquisitor may be temporarily safe from mental and physical destruction, but also because it is simpler to punish others for what we feel as criminal in ourselves than it is to face up to our own hidden sense of guilt. Committing menticide is the lesser crime of aggression, which covers up the deeper crime of unresolved hidden hatred and destruction.
    _______This paragraph relates to various aspects in cults and human beings. The situation described here is no different to the one in which a person makes fun of another in a subtly malignant way. This is very common in regular society today. It is a mechanism in which the ego formed as a defence against life’s assault, (the false ego) tends to undermine others to keep itself afloat. Life’s assault or the threat of mental and physical destruction facilitates the act to punish others for what we feel as criminal in our selves, rather than face up to our own sense of guilt. What is interesting is that in cults the humour is silenced and the process takes place in a covert act in which the “superiority” of the people in the inner circle is accepted as a “fact” of life. The “punishment” is interiorized and made fact at the same time making the difference in status a solidified reality. The “humiliation” from one human being to the other is made a permanent reality in which the member is circumscribed to the inferior position until he or she completely surrenders and incarnates the doctrine until he him self becomes a member of the inner circle and submits others to the same treatment.

    A Survey of Psychological Processes Involved in Brainwashing and Menticide

    At the end of this chapter describing the various influences that lead to yielding and surrender to the enemy’s strategy, it is useful to give a short survey of the psychological processes involved.


    The inquisitor tries to weaken the ego of his prisoner. Though originally physical torture was used — hunger and cold are still very effective — physical torture may often increase a person’s stubbornness. Torture is intended to a much greater extent to act as a threat to the bystanders’ (the people’s) imagination. Their wild anticipation of torture leads more easily to THEIR breakdown when the enemy has need of their weakness. (Of course, occasionally a sadistic enemy may find individual pleasure in torture.)
    ____In this paragraph we must change some words again. The inquisitor for the inner circle representative and the prisoner for the member. Physical torture by psychological torture- hunger and cold for emotional isolation – Visible humiliations such as banning members or giving them leaves of absence must be replaced by torture as used here which is equally meant to intimidate other cult members.

    The many devices the enemy makes use of include: intimidating suggestion, dramatic persuasion, mass suggestion, humiliation, embarrassment, loneliness and isolation, continued interrogation, over-burdening the unsteady mind, arousing more and more self-pity. Patience and time help the inquisitor to soften a stubborn soul.
    _______In Cults such as the Fellowship of Friends, we don’t find overt physical intimidation but massive ideology of fear. The member is intimidated by the overall catastrophe of mankind. Armageddon. Suggestion is an aspect of it as much as dramatic persuasion. These are given on a massive scale while humiliation and embarrassment, loneliness and isolation are applied individually by the guru and his assistant’s attention or lack of attention to the member arousing more and more self pity. Patience and time help them to soften a stubborn soul.

    Just as in many old religions the victims were humbled and humiliated in order to prepare for the new religion, so, in this case, they are prepared to accept the totalitarian ideology. In this phase, out of mere intellectual opportunism, the victim may consciously give in.
    _______Intellectual or instinctive opportunism allows the members to consciously give in.
    Opportunism is an interesting word here because we could explore the fact that all cult members are looking for the opportunity to participate in a small community in which they are taken into account much frustrated by the indifference and insignificance of city life. Most members surrender to the cult with the hidden desire for that opportunity to regain a place in a human community.


    As has already been mentioned, the moment of surrender may often arrive suddenly. It is as if the stubborn negative suggestibility changed critically into a surrender and affirmation. What the inquisitor calls the sudden inner illumination and conversion is a total reversal of inner strategy in the victim. From this time on, in psychoanalytic terms, a parasitic superego lives in man’s conscience, and he will speak his new master’s voice. In my experience such sudden surrender often occurred together with hysterical outbursts into crying and laughing, like a baby surrendering after obstinate temper tantrums. The inquisitor can attain this phase more easily by assuming a paternal attitude. As a matter of fact, many a P.O.W. was courted by a form of paternal kindness — gifts, sweets at birthdays, and the promise of more cheerful things to come.
    _______In Cults, A PARASITIC SUPEREGO develops on top of the former ego of the member. A division into two definite personalities begins to take place. In Fourth Way System terms, false personality is assaulted by an alter personality that develops over it. The unresolved and stagnant aspects of false personality are used as the root on which the new personality can grow giving way to the development of varied forms of pathological behaviour. The moral, ethical and psychological immaturity of the personality rooted in essence is transferred to the new personality, which adapts these immaturities to the new form of life giving expression to decadent behaviour.
    Maloney compares this sudden yielding with the theophany or kenosis (internal conversion) as described by some theological rites. For our understanding, it is important to stress that yielding is an unconscious and purely emotional process, no longer under the conscious intellectual control of the brainwashee. We may also call this phase the phase of autohypnosis.


    Through both continual training and taming, the new phonograph record has to be grooved. We may compare this process with an active hypnosis into conversion. Incidental relapses to the old form of thinking have to be corrected as in Phase I. The victim is daily helped to rationalize and justify his new ideology. The inquisitor delivers to him the new arguments and reasonings.

    This systematic indoctrination of those who long avoided intensive indoctrination constitutes the actual political aspect of brainwashing and symbolizes the ideological cold war going on at this very moment.


    As soon as the brainwashee returns to a free atmosphere, the hypnotic spell is broken. Temporary nervous repercussions take place, like crying spells, feelings of guilt and depression. The expectation of a hostile homeland, in view of his having yielded to enemy indoctrination, may fortify this reaction. The period of brainwashing becomes a nightmare. Only those who were staunch members of the resistance before may stick to it. But here, too, I have seen the enemy impose its mental pressure too well and convert their former prisoners into eternal haters of freedom.

    ______Would this help us explain why cult ex-members seldom try to stop the cult to which they belonged?

  13. battlesword Says:
    February 10, 2009 at 4:52 pmText 18Every word in this chapter applies to the people who participated in the Fellowship of Friends Cult. It is interesting that this was written around 1950, and fifty years later, the main characteristic of the people who joined this cult is that they were already in that stage of existence in which they were too confused to think for themselves. Everyone who stayed long enough, slipped into the Cult life like a hand in a glove. It speaks well for humanity that of the fifteen thousand members that joined, only around two thousand remained in March of 2007 when I left and almost eight hundred left in the two years after that. 

    THE RAPE OF THE MIND: The Psychology of Thought Control, Menticide, and Brainwashing, by Joost A. M. Meerloo, M.D., Instructor in Psychiatry, Columbia University Lecturer in Social Psychology, New School for Social Research, Former Chief, Psychological Department, Netherlands Forces, published in 1956, World Publishing Company. (Out of Print)


    The purpose of the second part of this book is to show various aspects of political and non-political strategy used to change the feelings and thoughts of the masses, starting with simple advertising and propaganda, then surveying psychological warfare and actual cold war, and going on to examine the means used for internal streamlining of man’s thoughts and behavior. Part Two ends with an intricate exmination of how one of the tools of emotional fascination and attack — the weapon of fear — is used and what reactions it arouses in men.


    Only blind wishful thinking can permit us to believe that our own society is free from the insidious influences mentioned in Part One. The fact is that they exist all around us, both on a political and a nonpolitical level and they become as dangerous to the free way of life as are the aggressive totalitarian governments themselves.

    Every culture institutionalizes certain forms of behavior that communicate and encourage certain forms of thinking and acting, thus molding the character of its citizens. To the degree that the individual is made an object of constant mental manipulation, to the degree that cultural institutions may tend to weaken intellectual and spiritual strength, to the degree that knowledge of the mind is used to tame and condition people instead of educating them, to that degree does the culture itself produce men and women who are predisposed to accept an authoritarian way of life. The man who has no mind of his own can easily become the pawn of a would-be dictator.

    It is often disturbing to see how even intelligent people do not have straightthinking minds of their own. The pattern of the mind, whether toward conformity and compliance or otherwise, is conditioned rather early in life.

    In his important social psychological experiments with students, Asch found out in simple tests that there was a yielding toward an ERRING MAJORITY opinion in more than a third of his test persons, and 75 percent of subjects experimented upon agreed with the majority in varying degrees. In many persons the weight of authority is more important than the quality of the authority.

    If we are to learn to protect our mental integrity on all levels, we must examine not only those aspects of contemporary culture which have to do directly with the struggle for power, but also those developments in our culture which, by dulling the edge of our mental awareness or by taking advantage of our suggestibility, can lead us into the mental death — or boredom — of totalitarianism. Continual suggestion and slow hypnosis in the wake of mechanical mass communication promotes uniformity of the mind and may lure the public into the “happy era” of adjustment, integration, and equalization, in which individual opinion is completely stereotyped.

    When I get up in the morning, I turn on my radio to hear the news and the weather forecast. Then comes the pontifical voice teling me to take aspirin for my headache. I have “headaches” occasionally (so does the world), and my headaches, like everyone else’s, come from the many conflicts that life imposes on me. My radio tells me not to think about either the conflicts or the headaches. It suggests, instead, that I should retreat into that old magic action of swallowing a pill. Although I laugh as I listen to this long-distance prescription by a broadcaster who does not know anything about me or my headaches and though I meditate for a moment on man’s servility to the magic of chemistry, my hand has already begun to reach out for the aspirin botle. After all, I do have a headache.

    It is extremely difficult to escape the mechanically repeated suggestions of everyday life. Even when our critical mind rejects them, they seduce us into doing what our intellect tells us is stupid.

    The mechanization of modern life has already influenced man to become more pssive and to adjust himself to ready-made conformity. No longer does man think in personal values, following more his own conscience and ethical evaluations; he thinks more and more in the values brought to him by mass media. Headlines in the morning paper give him his temporary political outlook, the radio blasts suggestions into his ears, television keeps him in continual awe and passive fixation. Consciously he may protest against these anonymous voices, but nevertheless their suggestions ooze into his system.

    What is perhaps most shocking about these influences is that many of them have developed not out of man’s destructiveness, but out of his hope to improve his world and to make life richer and deeper. The very institutions man has created to help himself, the very tools he has invented to enhance his life, the very progress he has made toward mastery of himself and his environment — all can become weapons of destruction.

    The Public-Opinion Engineers

    The conviction is steadily growing in our country that an elaborate propaganda campaign for either a political idea or a deep-freeze can be sucessful in selling the public any idea or object one wants them to buy, any politial figure one wants them to elect. Recently, some of our election campaigns have been masterminded by the so-called public-opinion engineers, who have used all the techniques of modern mass communication and all the contemporary knowledge of the human mind to persuade Americans to vote for the candidate who is paying the public-relation men’s salaries. The danger of such high-pressure advertising is that the man or the party who can pay the most can become, temporarily at least, the one who can influence the people to buy or to vote for what may not be in their real interest.

    The specialists in the art of persuasion and the molding of public sentiment may try to knead man’s mental dough with all the tools of communication available to them: pamphlets, speeches, posters, billboards, radio programs, and T.V. shows. They may water down the spontaneity and creativity of thoughts and ideas into sterile and streamlined cliches that direct our thoughts even although we still have the illusion of being original and individual.

    What we call the will of the people, or the will of the masses, we only get to know after such collective action is put on the move, after the will of the people has been expressed either at the polls or in fury and rebellion. This indicates again how important it is who directs the tools and machines of public opinion.

    In the wake of such advertising and engineering of consent, the citizen’s trust in his leaders may become shaken and the populace may gradually grow more and more accustomed to official deceit. Finally, when people no longer have confidence in any program, any position, and when they are unable to form intelligent judgments any more, they can be more easily influenced by any demagogue or would-be dictator, whose strength appeals to their confusion and their growing sense of dissatisfaction. Perhaps the worst aspect of this slick mechandising of ideas is that too often even those who buy the experts, and even the opinion experts themselves, are unaware of what they are doing. They too are swayed by the current catchword “management of public opinion,” and they cannot judge any more the tools they have hired.

    The end never justifies the means; enough steps on this raod can lead us gradually to Totalitaria.

    At this very moment in our country, an elaborate research into motivation is going on, whose object is to find out why and what the buyer likes to buy. What makes him tick? The aim is to bypass the resistance barriers of the buying public. It is part of our paradoxical cultural philosophy to stimulate human needs and to stimulate the wants of the people. Commercialized psychological understanding wants to sell to the pbulic, to the potential buyer, many more products than he really wants to buy. In order to do this, rather infantile impulses have to be awakened, such as sibling rivalry and neighbor envy, the need to have more and more sweets, the glamour of colors, and the need for more and more luxuries.

    The commercial psychologist teaches the seller how to avoid unpleasant associations in his advertising, how to stimulate, unobtrusively, sex associations, how to make everything look simple and happy and successful and secure! He teaches the shops how to boost the buyer’s ego, how to flatter the customer.

    The marketing engineers have discovered that our public wants the suggestion of strength and virility in their product. A car must have more horse-power in order to balance feelings of inner weakness in the owner. A car must represent one’s social status and reputation, because without such a flag man feels empty. Advertising agencies dream of “universitas advertensis,” the world of glittering sham ideas, the glorification of “munus vult decipi,” the intensification of snob appeal, the expression of vulgar conspicuousness, and all this in order to push more sales into the greedy mouths of buying babies. In our world of advertising, artificial needs are invented by sedulous sellers and buyers. Here lies the threat of building up a sham world that can have a dangerous influence on our world of ideas.

    This situation emphasizes the neurotic greed of the public, the need to indulge in private fancies at the cost of an awareness of real values. The public becomes conditioned to meretricious values. Of course, a free public gradually finds its defenses against slogans, but dishonesty and mistrust slip through the barriers of our consciousness and leave behind a gnawing feeling of dissatisfaction. After all, advertising symbolizes the art of making people dissatisfied with what they have. In the meantime it is evident man sustains a continual sneak attack on his better judgment.

    In our epoch of too many noises and many frustrations, many “free” minds have given up the struggle for decency and individuality. They surrender to the “Zeitgeist,” often without being aware of it. Public opinion molds our critical thoughts every day. Unknowingly, we may become opinionated robots. The slow coercion of hypocrisy, of traditions in our culture that have a leveling effect — these things change us. We crave excitement, hair-raising stories, sensation. We search for situations that create superficial fear to cover up inner anxieties. We like to escape into the irrational because we dislike the challenge of self-study and self-thinking. Our leisure time is occupied increasingly by automatized activities in which we take no part: listening to piped-in words and viewing television sreens. We hurry along with cars and go to bed with a sleeping pill. This pattern of living in turn may open the way for renewed sneak attacks on our mind. Our boredom may welcome any seductive suggestion.

    Psychological Warfare as a Weapon of Terror

    Every human communication can be either a report of straight facts or an attempt to suggest things and situations as they do not exist. Such distortion and perversion of facts strike at the core of human communication. The verbal battle against man’s concept of truth and against his mind seems to be ceaseless. For example, if I can instill in eventual future enemies fear and terror and the suggestion of impending defeat, even before they are willing to fight, my battle is already half won.

    The strategy of man to use a frightening mask and a loud voice to utter lies in order to manipulate friend and foe is as old as mankind. Primitive people used terror-provoking masks, magic fascination, or self-deceit as much as we use loudly spoken words to convince others or ourselves. They use their magic paints and we our ideologies. Truly, we live in an age of ads, propaganda, and publicity. But only under dictatorial and totalitarian regimes have such human habit formations mushroomed into systematic psychologial assault on mankind.

    The weapons the dictator uses against his own people, he may use against the outside world as well. For example, the false confessions that divert the minds of dictator’s subjects from their own real problems have still another effect: they are meant (and sometimes they succeed in their aim) to terrorize the world’s public. By strengthening the myth of the dictator’s omnipotence, such confessions weaken man’s will to resist him. If a period of peace can be used to soften up a future enemy, the totalitarian armies may be able in time of war to win a cheap and easy victory. Totalitarian psychological warfare is directed largely toward this end. It is an effort to propagandize and hypnotize the world into submission.

    As far back as the early nineteenth century, Napoleon organized his Bureau de l’Opinion Publique in order to influence the thinking of the French people. But it fell to the Germans to develop the manipulation of public opinion into a huge, wellorganized machine. Their psychological warfare became aggressive strategy in peacetime, the so-called war between wars. It was as a result of the Nazi attack on European morale and the Nazi war of nerves against their neighbors that the other nations of the world began to organize their own psychological forces, but it was only in the second half of the war that they were able to achieve some measure of success. Ther Germans had a long head start.

    Hitler’s psychological artillery was composed primarily of the weapion of fear. He had, for example, a network of fifth columnists whose main job was to sow rumors and suspicions among the citizens of the countries against which he eventually planned to fight. The people were upset not only by the spy system itself, but by the very rumor of spies. These fifth columnists spread slogans of defeat and political confusion: “Why should France die for England?” Fear began to direct people’s actions. Instead of facing the real threat of German invasion, instead of preparing for it, all of Europe shuddered at spie stories, discussed irrelevant problems, argued endlessly about scapegoats and minorities. Thus Hitler used the rampant, vague fears to becloud the real issues, and by attacking his enemies’ will to fight, weakened them.

    Not content with this strategic attack on the will to defend oneself, Hitler tried to paralyze Europe with the threat of terror, not only the threat of bombing, destruction, and occupation, but also the psychological threat implicit in his own boast of ruthlessness. The fear of an implacable foe makes man more willing to submit even before he has begun to fight. Hitler’s criminal acts at home — the concentration camps, the gas chambers, the mass murders, the atmosphere of terror throughout Germany — were as useful in the service of his fear-instilling propaganda machinery as they were a part of his delusions.

    There is another important weapon the totalitarians use in their campaign to frighten the world into submission. This is the weapon of psychological shock. Hitler kept his enemies in a state of constant confusion and diplomatic upheaval. They never knew what this unpredictable madman was going to do next. Hitler was never logical, beause he knew that that was what he was expected to be. Logic can be met with logic, while illogic cannot — it confuses those who think straight. The Big Lie and monotonously repeated nonsense have more emotional appeal in a cold war than logic and reason. While the enemy is stil searching for a reasonable counter-argument to the first lie, the totalitarians can assault him with another.

    Strategical mental shocks were the instruments the Nazis used when they entered the Rhineland in 1936 and when they concluded their nonaggression pact with Russia in 1939. Stalin used the same strategy at the time of the Korean invasion in 1950 (which he directed), as did the Chinese and the North Koreans when they accused the United States of bacteriological warfare. By acting in this apparently irrational way, the totalitarians throw their logic-minded enemies into confusion. The enemy feels compelled to deny the propagandistic lies or to explain things as they really are, and these actions immediately put him in the weaker defensive position. For the galloping lie can never be overtaken, it can only be overthrown.

    The technique of psychological shock has still another effect. It may so confuse the mind of the individual citizen that he ceases to make his own evaluations and begins to lean passively on the opinions of others. Hitler’s destruction of Warsaw and Rotterdam — after the armistice in 1940, a complete violation of international law — immobilized France and shook the other democratic nations. Being in a paralysis of moral indignation, they became psychologically ill-equipped to deal with the Nazi horrors.

    Just as the technological advances of the modern world have refined and perfected the weapons of physical warfare, so the advance in man’s understanding of the manipulaton of public opinion have enabled him to refine and perfect the weapons of psychological warfare.

    The Indoctrination Barrage

    The continual intrusion into our minds of the hammering noises of arguments and propaganda can lead to two kinds of reactions. It may lead to apathy and indifference, the I-don’t-care reaction, or to a more intensified desire to study and to understand. Unfortunately, the first reaction is the more popular one. The flight from study and awareness is much too common in a world that throws too many confusing pictures to the individual. For the sake of our democracy, based on freedom and individualism, we have to bring ourselves back to study again and again. Otherwise, we can become easy victims of a well-planned verbal attack on our minds and consciences.

    We cannot be enough aware of the continual coercion of our senses and minds, the continual suggestive attacks which may pass through the intellectual barriers of insight. Repetition and Pavlovian conditioning exhaust the individual and may seduce him ultimately to accept a truth he himself initially defied and scorned.

    The totalitarians are very ingenious in arousing latent guilt in us by repeating over and over again how criminally the Western world has acted toward innocent and peaceful people. The totalitarians may attack our identification with our leaders by ridiculing them, making use of every man’s latent critical attitude toward all leaders. Sometimes they use the strategy of boredom to lull the people to sleep. They would like the entire Western world to fall into a hypnotic sleep under the illusion of peaceful coexistence. In a more refined strategy, they would like to have us cut all our ties of loyalty with the past, away from relatives and parents. The more you have forsaken them and their so-called outmoded concepts, the better you will cooperate with those who want to take mental possession of you. Every political strategy that aims toward arousing fear and suspicion tends to isolate the insecure individual until he surrenders to those forces that seem to him stronger than his former friends.

    And last but not least, let us not forget that in the battle of arguments those with the best and most forceful strategy tend to win. The totalitarians organize intensive dialectical training for their subjects lest their doubts get the better of them. They try to do the same thing to the rest of the world in a less obtrusive way.

    We have to learn to encounter the totalitarians’ exhausting barrage of words with better training and better understanding. If we try to escape from these problems of mental defense or deny their complications, the cold war will gradually be lost to the slow encroachment of words — and more words.

    The Enigma of Coexistence

    Is it possible to coexist with a totalitarian system that never ceases to use its psychological artillery? Can a free democracy be strong enough to tolerate the parasitic intrusion of totalitarianism into its rights and freedoms? History tells us that many opposing and clashing ideologies have been able to coexist under a common law that assured tolerance and justice. The church no longer burns its apostates.

    Before the opposites of totalitarianism and free democracy can coexist under the umbrella of supervising law and mutual good will, a great deal more of mutual understanding and tolerance wil have to be built up. The actual cold war and psychological warfare certainly do not yet help toward this end.

    To the totalitarian, the word “coexistence” has a different meaning than it has to us. The totalitarian may use it merely as a catch-word or an appeaser. The danger is that the concept of peaceful coexistence may become a disguise, dulling the awareness of inevitable interactions and so profiting the psychologically stronger party. Lenin spoke about the strategic breathing spell (peredyshka) that has to weaken the enemy. Too enthusiastic a peace movement may mean a superficial appeasement of problems. Such an appeal has to be studied and restudied, lest it result in a dangerous letdown of defenses which have to remain mobilized to face a ruthless enemy.

    Coexistence may mean a suffocating subordination much like that of prisoners coexisting with their jailers. At its best, it may imitate the intensive symbiotic or ever-parasitic relationship we can see among animals which need each other, or as we see it in the infant in its years of dependency upon its mother.

    ____________This is the kind of coexistence that existed in the Fellowship of Friends Cult.

    In order to coexist and to cooperate, one must have notions and comparable images of interaction, of a sameness of ideas, of a belonging-together, of an interdependence of the whole human race, in spite of the existence of racial and cultural differences. Otherwise the ideology backed by the greater military strength will strangle the weaker one.

    Peaceful coexistence presupposes on BOTH sides a high understanding of the problems and complications of simple coexistence, of mutual agreement and limitations, of the diversity of personalities, and especially of the coexistence of contrasting and irreconcilable thoughts and feelings in every individual of the innate ambivalence of man. It demands an understanding of the rights of both the individual and the collectivity. Using coexistence as a catch-word, we may obscure the problems involved, and we may find that we use the word as a flag that covers gradual surrender to the stronger strategist.

  14. battlesword Says:
    February 10, 2009 at 5:30 pmThe question related to this article is: If governments are to protect people from those who induce them to commit suicide, why are they not interfering with cults in which suicide is all too often the result? They stop people from a dignified death but don’t stop them from suffering a life of humiliation in cults until they commit suicide.LONDON, England (CNN) — A British multiple sclerosis sufferer is attempting to clarify the law on assisted suicide, an option she has said she wants if her pain becomes unbearable. 

    Multiple sclerosis sufferer Debbie Purdy, pictured with husband Omar Puente in October 2008.

    Debbie Purdy, 45, was at the Court of Appeal in London Tuesday to challenge an October judgment from the High Court, which refused to clarify the law.

    Purdy suffers from primary progressive multiple sclerosis, in which symptoms become progressively worse over time. She has said she wants the option to travel abroad to have an assisted death should her suffering become unbearable.

    Under Britain’s current law, Purdy’s husband, Omar Puente, could face 14 years in prison if he accompanies her to a country, such as Switzerland, where assisted suicide is legal.

    Purdy’s case had asked the High Court judges to tell her at what point her husband would be breaking the law if she committed suicide with his help.

    “If Omar sits with me on the plane to Switzerland he is breaking the law, even if I make the arrangements myself,” Purdy said ahead of Tuesday’s appeal. “What I, and everybody else, don’t know is the criteria on which the authorities judge whether it is in the public interest to prosecute Omar. I think we are entitled to know this information.”

    Her appeal will be heard at the court in London on Tuesday and Wednesday.

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    Purdy says that if her case is not resolved, she may decide to go alone to a clinic while she is still able to on her own. She says she would prefer making that journey much later, only once her condition deteriorates, so she can die with her husband by her side.

    “It has become apparent through the support I have received during my case that this is no longer just about myself and Omar, but it’s about clarification of the law for all UK citizens who may be facing these decisions now, or want reassurance for the future,” Purdy said.

    Dignity in Dying, a British charity that has worked on Purdy’s case, says it is important for the British government to distinguish between people who maliciously encourage suicide and those who accompany a loved one abroad to die.

    “Ultimately we would like to see the law in the UK changed to allow terminally ill, suffering, mentally competent adults the safeguarded choice of an assisted death, so that people like Debbie don’t have to travel abroad for this compassionate assistance,” said Sarah Wootton, executive director of Dignity in Dying.

    “While any change in the law is a matter for Parliament, we hope that the courts will at least clarify our existing law.”

    Dignity in Dying campaigns to give terminally ill patients the option of an assisted death so they “would not be forced to contemplate dying before they are ready,” according to the group’s Web site.

    Under current law, the 1961 Suicide Act, assisting a suicide is a crime punishable by up to 14 years imprisonment. Anyone who aids, abets, counsels or procures the suicide of another, or an attempt by another to commit suicide, is liable.

    A Ministry of Justice spokesman refused to comment specifically on Purdy’s case.

    “The government believes that any change to the law in this area is an issue of individual conscience and a matter for Parliament to decide, rather than government policy,” said the spokesman, who asked not to be named in line with policy.

    To date, no one who has accompanied a loved one to the Swiss clinic Dignitas has been prosecuted, but they have been questioned by police and threatened with prosecution, according to Dignity in Dying.

  15. battlesword Says:
    February 14, 2009 at 2:42 amText 19The following chapter of the Rape of the Mind opens a completely new venue in the understanding of the Fellowship of Friends phenomenon, which is the exploration into schizofrenic characters. As described here, most cult members have a great deal of schizofrenic background, no matter how mild and as a symptom of our time it is well worth taking it into consideration. 

    If I could say these same things better than this author I would attempt to but he is more accurate than I could dream of being in my present knowledge of cults. I simply know when he hits the mark that faithfully describes what I saw in the Fellowship of Friends Cult, my husband, the people around me and my self.

    I find it as amazing as others might that the same things repeat themselves although no one was being forced to do anything physically, which does not mean that we were not conditioned physically as much as emotionally and intellectually.

    THE RAPE OF THE MIND: The Psychology of Thought Control, Menticide, and Brainwashing, by Joost A. M. Meerloo, M.D., Instructor in Psychiatry, Columbia University Lecturer in Social Psychology, New School for Social Research, Former Chief, Psychological Department, Netherlands Forces, published in 1956, World Publishing Company. (Out of Print)


    There actually exists such a thing as a technique of mass brainwashing. This technique can take root in a country if an inquisitor is strong and shrewd enough. He can make most of us his victims, albeit temporarily.

    What in the structure of society has made man so vulnerable to these mass manipulations of the mind? This is a problem with tremendous implications, just as brainwashing is. In recent years we have grown more and more aware of human interdependence with all its difficulties and complications.

    I am aware of the fact that investigation of the subject of mental coercion and thought control becomes less pleasant as time goes on. This is so because it may become more of a threat to us here and now, and our concern for China and Korea must yield to the more immediate needs at our own door. Can totalitarian tendencies take over here, and what social symptoms may lead to such phenomena? Stern reality confronts us with the universal mental battle between thought control (and its corollaries) and our standards of decency, personal strength, personal ideas, and a personal conscience with autonomy and dignity.

    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. It is also true that the next generation spontaneously begins to corect the misdeeds of the previous one because the ruthless system has become too threatening to them.

    My task, however, is to describe some symptoms of the totalitarian process (which implies deterioration of thinking and acting) as I have observed them in our own epoch, keeping in mind that the system is one of the most violent distortions of man’s consistent mental growth. No brainwashing is possible without totalitarian thinking.

    The tragic facts of political experiences in our age make it all too clear that applied psychological technique can brainwash entire nations and reduce their citizens to a kind of mindless robotism which becomes for them a normal way of living. Perhaps we can best understand how this frightening thing comes about by examining a mythical country, which, for the sake of convenience, we shall call Totalitaria.

    The Robotization of Man

    First, let me utter a word of caution. We must not make the mistake of thinking that there is any one particular nation that can be completely identified with this hypothetical land. The characteristics to be discussed can come into existence here. Some of Totalitaria’s characteristics were, of course, present in Nazi Germany, and they can today be found behind the Iron Curtain, but they exist to some extent in other parts of the world as well. Totalitaria is any country in which political ideas degenerate into senseless formulations made only for propaganda purposes. It is any country in which a single group — left or right — acquires absolute power and becomes omniscient and omnipotent, any country in which disagreement and differences of opinion are crimes, in which utter conformity is the price of life.

    Totalitaria — the Leviathan state — is the home of the political system we call, euphemistically, totalitarianism, of which systematized tyranny is a part. This system does not derive from any honest political philosophy, either socialist or capitalist. Totalitaria’s leaders may mouth ideologies, but these are in fact mainly catch-words used to justify the regime. If necessary, totalitarianism can change its slogans and its behavior overnight. For totalitarianism embodies, to me, the quest for total power, the quest of a dictator to rule the world. The words and concepts of “socialism” and “communism” may serve, like “democracy,” as a disguise for the megalomaniac intention of the tyrant.

    Since totalitarianism is essentially the social manifestation of a psychological phenomenon belonging to every personality, it can best be understood in terms of the human forces that create, foster, and perpetuate it. Man has two faces; he wants to grow toward maturity and freedom, and yet the primitive child in his unconscious yearns for more complete protection and irresponsibility. His mature self learns how to cope with the restrictions and frustrations of daily life, but at the same time, the child in him longs to hit out against them, to beat them down, to destroy them — whether they be objects or people.

    Totalitarianism appeals to this confused infant in all of us; it seems to offer a solution to the problems man’s double yearning creates. Our mythical Totalitaria is a monolithic and absolute state in which doubt, confusion, and conflict are not permitted to be shown, for the dictator purports to solve all his subjects’ problems for them. In addition, Totalitaria can provide official sanction for the expression of man’s most antisocial impulses. The uncivilized child hidden in us may welcome this liberation from ethical frustration.

    On the other hand, our free, mature, social selves cannot be happy in Totalitaria; they revolt against the restriction of individual impulses.

    The psychological roots of totalitarianism are usually irrational, destructive, and primitive, though disguised behind some ideology, and for this reason there is something fantastic, unbelievable, even nightmarish about the system itself. There is, of course, a difference in the psychic experience of the elite, who can live out their needs for power, and the masses, who have to submit; yet the two groups influence each other.

    When a dictator’s deep neurotic needs for power also satisfy some profound emotional need in the population of his country, especially in times of misery or after a revolution, he is more easily able to assume the power for which he longs. If a nation has suffered defeat in war, for example, its citizens feel shame and resentment. Loss of face is not simply a political abstraction, it is a very real and personal thing to a conquered people. Every man, consciously or unconsciously, identifies with his native land. If a country suffers from prolonged famine or severe depression, its citizens become bitter, depressed, and resentful, and will more willingly accept the visions and promises of the aspiring dictator.

    If the complexity of a country’s political and economic apparatus makes the individual citizen feel powerless, confused, and useless, if he has no sense of participation in the forces that govern his daily life, or if he feels these forces to be so vast and confusing that he can no longer understnad them, he will grasp at the totalitarian opportunity for belonging, for participation, for a simple formula that explains and rationalizes what is beyond his comprehension. And when the dictator has taken over finally, he transfers his own abnormal fantasies, his rage and anger, easily to his subjects. Their resentments feed his; his pseudo-strength encourages them. A mutual fortification of illusions takes place.

    Totalitarianism as a social manifestation is a disease of inter-human relations, and, like any other disease, man can best resist its corroding effects if, through knowledge and training, he is well immunized against it. If, however, he is unfortunate enough to catch the totalitarian bug, he has to muster all the positive forces in his mind to defeat it. The raging internal struggle between the irresponsible child and the mature adult in him continues until one or the other is finally destroyed completely. As long as a single spark of either remains, the battle goes on. And for as long as man is alive, the quest for maturity keeps on.

    Cultural Predilection for Totalitarianism

    In the battle against this dread disease, social factors as well as personal ones play an important role. We can see this more clearly if we analyze the ways in which the ideals of a culture as a whole affect its citizens’ vulnerability to totalitarianism. The ethics of our own Western civlization are our strongest defenses against the disease, for the ideal of these ehtics is to produce a breed of men and women who are strongly individualistic and who evaluate situations primarily in terms of their own consciences.

    We aim to develop in our citizens a sense of self-responsibility, a willingness to confront the world as it is, and an ability to distinguish between right and wrong through their own feelings and thoughts. Such men and women are impelled to action by their personal moral standards rather than by what some outside group sets up as correct. They are unwilling to accept group evaluations immediately unless these coincide with their own personal convictions, or unless they have been able to discuss them in a democratic way. People like this are responsible to their communities because they are first responsible to themselves. If they disagree, they will form a “loyal minority”, using their rights of convincing other people at appropriate times.

    There are other cultures which emphasize attitudes and values that are different from these. The Eastern ideal of man, as we find it in China and some of the other Oriental countries, is in the first place that one “oneness”, of being one with the family, one with the fatherland, one with the cosmos — nirvana. The Oriental psyche looks for a direct esthetic contact with reality through an indefinable empathy and intuition. Eternal truth is behind reality, behind the veil of Maya. Man is part of the universe; his ideal is passive servility and nonirritability. His ideal of peace lies in rest and relaxation, in meditation, in being without manual and mental travail. The happiness of the Oriental psyche lies in the ecstasy of feeling united with the universal cosmos. Ascesis, self-redemption, and poverty are better realized ideals in Oriental culture than in our Western society.

    The classic Oriental culture pattern can best be described as a pattern of participation. In it the individual is looked upon as an integral part of the group, the family, the caste, the nation. He is not a separate, independent entity. In this culture, greater conformity to and acceptance of the collective rules are the ideals. An Oriental child may be trained from infancy into a pattern of submission to authority and to rules of the group. Many primitive cultures also display this pattern. To a person raised in these cultures, the most acceptable standards, the best conceivable thoughts and actions, are those sanctioned by the group. The totalitarian world of mass actions and mass thoughts is far more comprehensible to the members of a participation-patterned and less individual-minded culture than it is to Western individualists. What is to us unbearable regimentation and authoritarianism may be to them comforting order and regularity.

    An example of an intensified pattern of participation and thought control and mutual spying has been given by the anthropologist E. P. Dozier. [See the “New York Times”, December 11, 1955; and “Science News Letter”, December 3, 1955.] The Pueblo Indians of the Rio Grande area believe that wrongdoing or wrong thinking of one man in the tribe affects all members. He may upset the cosmic balance by ill feeling toward any one of his fellow men. The moral code of the village is group-centered. The individual who transgresses this jeopardizes the well-being of all. Epidemics, crop failures, droughts are interpreted as a result of “deviationism” of one member of the group. Village members are closely watched and spied on in order to discover the culprit or “witch.” Gossip and accusations of witchcraft are rampant, and the Pueblo Indian is constantly searching in his own conscience for harmful thoughts and attitudes. It is as if we watch the ritual of the purge in the totalitarian state.

    Such forms of “creeping collectivism” and participation we may see in every group formation where tolerance for nonconformism ceases to exist. Wherever dogmatic partisanshp dominates, the mind is coerced. We may even detect such encroaching tendencies in some scientific circles where there exists an overemphasis on group research, teamwork, membership cards, and a disdain for individual opinion.

    The culture into which a man is born and his own psychological constitution interact to produce his personality in much the same way as his body and mind interact to produce his behavior. Our culture of individual freedom may offer us a partial immunity to the disease of totalitarianism, but at the same time our personal immaturities and repressed savageries can make us vulnerable to it. The participation type of culture may make men more susceptible in general to totalitarianism, although personal strivings toward maturity and individuality can offer them, too, some measure of protection against it.

    Because of the interaction between these social and personal forces, no culture is completely safe from internal attack by totalitarianism and from the mental destruction it may create. As I said before, our Totalitaria is a mythical country, but the brutal truth is that any country can be turned into Totalitaria.

    The aims of the rulers of our fictitious country are simply formulated: despotism, the total domination of man and mankind, and the unity of the entire world under one dictatorial authority. At first glance, this idea of unity can be most attractive — the idea, oversimplified, of a brotherhood unity of nations under a central powerful agency. When the world is one, it would seem, there will be no more war, the tensions that face us will be eliminated, earth will become a paradise. But the simplified conception of a universal dictatorship is false and reflects the danger inherent in the totalitarian goal: all men are different, and it is the difference between them that creates the greatness, the variety, and the creative inspirations of life, as well as the tensions of social intercourse. The totalitarian conception of equalization can be realized ony in death, when the chemical and physical laws that govern all of us take over completely. Death is indeed the great equalizer.

    In life, all of us are different. Our bodies and minds interact with one another and with the outside world in different ways. Each man’s personality is unique. True, all of us share certain basic human qualities with all the other members of the human race, but the differences in personality are also so many and so varied that no two men anywhere in the world or ever in all of human history can be said to be exactly alike. This uniqueness is as true of the citizen of Totalitaria as it is of anyone else. As a human being, he is not only different from us, he is different from his compatriots. However, to create man in the totalitarian image through leveling and equalization means to suppress what is essentially personal and human in him, the uniqueness and the variety, and to create a society of robots, not men.

    The noted social scientist, J. S. Brunner, in his introduction to Bauer’s book on Soviet psychology has expressed this thought in a different way: “Man’s image of the nature of man is not only a matter for objective inquiry; it is and has always been a prime instrument of social and political control. He who molds that image does so with enormous consequences for the society in which he lives.”

    Totalitaria fosters the illusion that everyone is part of the government, a voter; no one can be a non-voter or anti-voter. His inner pros and cons and doubts are not private problems of the individual himself any more; his thoughts belong to the state, the dictator, the ruling circle, the Party. His inner thoughts have to be controlled. Only those in power know what really lies behind national policy. The ordinary citizen becomes as dependent and obedient as a child. In exchange for giving up his individuality, he obtains some special gratifications: the feeling of belonging and of being protected, the sense of relief over losing his personal boundaries and responsibilities, the ecstasy of being taken up and absorbed in wild, uncontrolled collective feelings, the safety of being anonymous, of being merely a cog in the wheel of the all-powerful state.

    The despotism of modern Totalitaria is very different from the lush, exotic personal tyrannies of ancient times. It is an ascetic, cold, mechanical force, aiming at what Hanna Ahrendt calls the “transformation of human nature itself.” In our theoretical country, man has no individual ego any longer, no personality, no self. A leveling system is at work, and everything above the common level is trampled on and beaten down.

    The Totalitarian Leader

    The leaders of Totalitaria are the strangest men in the state. These men are, like all other men, unique in their mental structure, and consequently we cannot make any blanket psychiatric diagnosis of the mental illness which motivates their behvavior. But we can make some generalizations which will help us toward some understanding of the totalitarian leader. Obviously, for example, he suffers from an overwhelming need to control other human beings and to exert unlimited power, and this in itself is a psychological aberration, often rooted in deep-seated feelings of anxiety, humiliation, and inferiority. The ideologies such men propound are only used as tactical and strategical devices through which they hope to reach their final goal of complete domination over other men. This domination may help them compensate for pathological fears and feelings of unworthiness, as we can conclude from the psychological study of some modern dictators.

    Fortunately, we do not have to rely on a purely hypothetical picture of the psychopathology of the totalitarian dictator. Dr. G. M. Gilbert, who studied some of the leaders of Nazi Germany during the Nuremberg trials, has given us a useful insight into their twisted minds, useful especially because it reveals to us something about the mutual interaction between the totalitarian leader and those who want to be led by him.

    Hitler’s suicide made a clinical investigation of his character structure impossible, but Dr. Gilbert heard many eyewitness reports of Hitler’s behavior from his friends and collaborators, and these present a fantastic picture of Nazism’s prime mover. Hitler was known among his intimates as the carpet-eater, because he often threw himself on the floor in a kicking and screaming fit like an epileptic rage. From such reports, Dr. Gilbert was able to deduce something about the roots of the pathological behavior displayed by this morbid “genius.”

    __________The Carpet-eater , because he often threw himself on the floor in a kicking and screaming fit like an epileptic rage.

    Girard also went into a rage and started hitting things and screaming swear words out at everything.

    Hitler’s paranoid hostility against the Jew was partly related to his unresolved parental conflicts; the Jews probably symbolized for him the hated drunken father who mistreated Hitler and his mother when the future Fuhrer was still a child. Hitler’s obssessive thinking, his furious fanaticism, his insistence on maintaining the purity of “Aryan blood,” and his ultimate mania to destroy himself and the world were obviously the results of a sick psyche.

    ________This is an interesting jump, from his father to the Jews. It’s a big jump, not necessarily mistaken but must be studied carefully.

    As early as 1923, nearly ten years before he seized power, Hitler was convinced that he would one day rule the world, and he spent time designing monuments of victory, eternalizing his glory, to be erected all over the European continent when the day of victory arrived. This delusional preoccupation continued until the end of his life; in the midst of the war he created, which led him to defeat and death, Hitler continued revising and improving his architectural plans.

    Nazi dictator Number Two, Hermann Goering, who committed suicide to escape the hangman, had a different psychological structure. His pathologically aggressive drivers were encouraged by the archaic military tradition of the German Junker class, to which his family belonged. From early childhood he had been compulsively and overtly aggressive. He was an autocratic and a corrupt cynic, grasping the Nazi-created opportunity to achieve purely personal gain. His contempt for the “common people” was unbounded; this was a man who had literally no sense of moral values.

    Quite different again was Rudolf Hess, the man of passive yet fanatical doglike devotion, living, as it were, by proxy through the mind of his Fuhrer. His inner mental weakness made it easier for him to live through means of a proxy than through his own personality, and drove him to become the shadow of a seemingly strong man, from whom he could borrow strength. The Nazi ideology have this frustrated boy the illusion of blood identification with the glorious German race. After his wild flight to England, Hess showed obvious psychotic traits; his delusions of persecution, hysterical attacks, and periods of amnesia are among the well-known clinical symptoms of schizophrenia.

    _________Girard had some of this characteristics

    Still another type was Hans Frank, the devil’s advocate, the prototype of the overambitious latent homosexual, easily seduced into political adventure, even when this was in conflict with the remnants of his conscience. For unlike Goering, Frank was capable of distinguishing between right and wrong.

    Dr. Gilbert also tells us something about General Wilhelm Keitel, Hitler’s Chief of Staff, who became the submissive, automatic mouthpiece of the Fuhrer, mixing military honor and personal ambition in the service of his own unimportance.

    Of a different quality is the S.S. Colonel, Hoess, the murderer of millions in the concentration camp of Auschwitz. A pathological character structure is obvious in this case. All his life, Hoess had been a lonely, withdrawn, schizoid personality, without any conscience, wallowing in his own hostile and destructive fantasies. Alone and bereft of human attachments, he was intuitively sought out by Himmler for this most savage of all the Nazi jobs. He was a useful instrument for the committing of the most bestial deeds.

    Unfortunately, we have no clear psychiatric picture yet of the Russian dictator Stalin. There have been several reports that during the last years of his life he had a tremendous persecution phobia and lived in constant terror that he would become the victim of his own purges.

    Psychological analysis of these men shows clearly that a pathological culture — a mad world — can be built by certain impressive psychoneurotic types. The venal political figures need not even comprehend the social and political consequences of their behavior. They are compelled not by ideological belief, no matter how much they may rationalize to convince themselves they are, but by the distortions of their own personalities. They are not motivated by their advertised urge to serve their country or mankind, but rather by an overwhelming need and compulsion to satisfy the cravings of their own pathological character structures.

    The ideologies they spout are not real goals; they are the cynical devices by which these sick men hope to achieve some personal sense of worth and power. Subtle inner lies seduce them into going from bad to worse. Defensive self-deception, arrested insight, evasion of emotional identification with others, degradation of empathy — the mind has many defense mechanisms with which to blind the conscience.

    A clear example of this can be seen in the way the Nazi leaders defended themselves through continuous self-justification and exculpation when they were brought before the bar at the Nuremberg trials. These murderers were aggrieved and hurt by the accusations brought against them; they were the very picture of injured innocence.

    Any form of leadership, if unchecked by controls, may gradually turn into dictatorship. Being a leader, carrying great power and responsibility for other people’s lives, is a monumental test for the human psyche. The weak leader is the man who cannot meet it, who simply abdicates his responsibility. The dictator is the man who replaces the existing standards of justice and morality by more and more private prestige, by more and more power, and eventually isolates himself more and more from the rest of humanity. His suspicion grows, his isolation grows, and the vicious circle leading to a paranoid attitude begins to develop.

    The dictator is not only a sick man, he is also a cruel opportunist. He sees no value in any other person and feels no gratitude for any help he may have received. He is suspicious and dishonest and believes that his personal ends justify any means he may use to achieve them. Peculiarly enough, every tyrant still searches for some self-justification. Without such a soothing device for his own conscience, he cannot live.

    _________Faithful description of Rober Burton

    His attitude toward other people is manipulative; to him, they are merely tools for the advancement of his own interests. He rejects the conception of doubt, of internal contradictions, of man’s inborn ambivalence. He denies the psychological fact that man grows to maturity through groping, through trial and error, through the interplay of contrasting feelings. Because he will not permit himself to grope, to learn through trial and error, the dictator can never become a mature person. But whether he acknowledges them or not, he has internal conflicts, he suffers somewhere from internal confusion. These inner “weaknesses” he tries to repress sternly; if they were to come to the surface, they might interfere with the achievement of his goals. Yet, in the attacks of rage his weakening strength is evident.

    It is because the dictator is afraid, albeit unconsciously, of his own internal contradictions, that he is afraid of the same internal contradictions of his fellow men. He must purge and purge, terrorize and terrorize in order to still his own raging inner drives. He must kill every doubter, destroy every person who makes a mistake, imprison everyone who cannot be proved to be utterly single-minded. In Totalitaria, the latent aggression and savagery in man are cultivated by the dictator to such a degree that they can explode into mass criminal actions shown by Hitler’s persecution of minorities. Utlimately, the country shows a real pathology, an utter dominance of destructive and self-destructive tendencies.

    _________Robert and the Fellowship are well described in these paragraphs. All of them but particularly the last ones.

    The Final Surrender of the Robot Man

    What happens to the common man in such a culture? How can we describe the citizen of Totalitaria? Perhaps the simplest answer to this question lies in the statement that he is reduced to the mechanical precision of an insectlike state. He cannot develop any warm friendships, loyalties, or allegiances because they may be too dangerous for him. Today’s friend may be, after all, tomorrow’s enemy. Living in an atmosphere of constant suspicion — not only of strangers, but even of his own family — he is afraid to express himself lest concentration camp or prison swallow him up.

    The citizens of Totalitaria do not really converse with one another. When they speak, they whisper, first looking furtively over their shoulders for the inevitable spy. Their inner silence is in sharp contrast to the official verbal bombardment. The citizens of Totalitaria may make noise, and utter polite banalities, or they may repeat slogans to one another, but they say nothing. Existing literature reveals that leading authors, among them H.G. Wells, Huxley, and Orwell, grow more and more concerned about the ghastly future of the robotized man, trained as a machine on a standard of conformity. They translate for us the common fear of a mechanized civilization.

    In Totalitaria, the citizen no longer knows the real core of his mind. He no longer feels himself an “I”, an ego, a person. He is only the object of official barrage and mental coercion. Having no personality of his own, he has no individual conscience, no personal morality, no capacity to think clearly and honestly. He learns by rote, he learns thousands of indoctrinated facts and inhales dogma and slogans with every breath he draws. He becomes an obedient pedant, and pedantry makes people into something resembling pots filled with information instead of individuals with free, growing personalities.

    Becoming wiser and freer implies selective forgetting and changes of mind. This we accept, this we leave behind. Alert adjustment requires a change of patterns, the capacity to be de-conditioned, to undo and unlearn in order to become ripe for new patterns. The citizen of Totalitaria has no chance for such learning through unlearning, for growth through individual experience. Official oversimplifications induce the captive audience into acceptance and indoctrination. Mass ecstasy and mass fanaticism are substituted for quiet individual thought and consideration.

    Hitler taught his people to march and to do battle, and at the end they did not know wherefore they marched and battled. People become herds — indoctrinated and obsessed herds — intoxicated first with enthusiasm and happy expectations, then with terror and panic. the individual personality cannot grow in Totalitaria. The huge mass of citizens is tamed into personal and political somnambulism.

    It may be scientifically questionable to compare experiences gained from individual pathological states with social phenomena and to analyze the partial collapse of the ego under totalitarianism by analogy with actual cases of madness. But there is in fact much that is comparable between the strange reactions of the citizens of Totalitaria and their culture as a whole on the one hand and the reactions of the introverted, sick schizophrenic on the other. Even though the problem of schizophrenic behavior in individuals and groups is extremely complicated and cannot be fully handled within the scope of this book, the comparison can be helpful in our search for an understanding of the nature and effects of totalitarianism.

    ________This too is an excellent description of the Fellowship.

    The Common Retreat from Reality

    This excursion into the world of pathology is not a description of a merely coincidental resemblance between a disease and a political system. It should serve to point up the fact that totalitarian withdrawal behind official justifications and individual fantasy is something that can occur either in social life or inside the individual mind. And many scholars believe in a relationship between cultural deterioration and schizophrenic withdrawal.

    Let us briefly explain the individual schizophrenic’s reaction of complete inner automatization and mental withdrawal as a personal failure to adjust to a world experienced as insecure and dangerous. Often rather simple emotional incidents may lead to such schizophrenic retreat — for instance, the intrusion of schedules and habits forced on the mind during infancy or a sly hypersensitivity to our overactive and oververbose culture. Many a child is forced into schizophrenic withdrawal by an overcompulsive parent. Sometimes lack of external contact may drive a man into a state of utter loneliness and isolation, sometimes his own preference for solitude. A certain tendency to so-called schizophrenic withdrawal has been proved to be inborn. Yet it can be provoked in everybody.

    Whatever the cause, the schizophrenic patient becomes a desocialized being, lost in loneliness. Conscious and unconscious fantasly life begins to become dominant over alert confrontation of reality. In the end his weird fantasies become more real for the schizophrenic than the actual world. He hides more and more behind his own iron curtain, in the imaginary dreamland and retreat he has built for himself. This is his nirvana, in which all his dream wishes are fulfilled. Inertia and fanaticism alternate. The patient regresses to an infantile, vegetative form of behavior and rejects everything that society has taught him. In his fantasy, he lives in a world which always obeys his commands. He is omnipotent. The world turns around according to his divine inclinations.

    Reality, requiring as it does, continual and renewed adjustment and verification, becomes a persecutor, attacking his illusion of divine might. Every disturbing intrusion into his delusional world is encountered by the schizophrenic either with tremendous aggression or with the formation of secondary delusion to protect the first delusion, or with a combination of both. The schizophrenic displays tremendous hostility toward the real world and its representatives; reality robs him both of his delusions of omnipotence and his hallucinatory sense of being utterly protected, as he was in the womb.

    Clinical experience has shown that the disease of schizophrenia often begins with negativism — a defense against the influence of others, a continual fight against mental intrusion, against what is felt as the rape of the oversensitive mind. Gradually, this defensive attitude toward the world becomes a hostile attitude toward everything, not only toward influences from the outside, but also toward thoughts and feelings from the inside. Finally, the victim becomes paralyzed by his own hostility and negativisms. He behaves literally as though he were dead. He sits, unmoving, for hours. He may have to be force-fed, force-dressed. The schizophrenic moves like a puppet on a string, only when someone compels him to. Clinically, we call this catatonia — the death attitude.

    ________This is very important. It relates to many of the inner processes in many individuals in the Fellowship but it is also the pattern I lived in for many years before trying to commit suicide.

    The Retreat to Automatization

    Introverted schizophrenics prefer the automatic routine life of the asylum to life in the outside world, on the condition that they be allowed to indulge their private fantasies. They surrender utterly in self-defeatism. They never congregate in groups, they seldom talk with one another; even when they do, they never have any real mutual contact. Each one lives in his own retreat.

    __________This is amazing and it would actually explain the kind of people that join cults.

    In the totalitarian myth — think, for instance, of “das Dritte Reich” — in the psychological folklore of our mythical state, the vague fantasy of the technically perfected womb, the ideal nirvana, plays a tremendous role. In a world full of insecurities, a world requiring continual alert adjustment and readjustment, Totalitaria creates the delusion of the omnipotent, miraculous ideal state — a state where, in its final form, every material need will be satisfied. Everything will be regulated, just as it was for the fetus in the womb, the land of bliss and equanimity, just as it is for the schizophrenic in the mental hospital.

    There is no social struggle, no mental struggle; the world moves like clockwork. There is no real interplay between people, no clash of opinions or beliefs, there is no emotional relationship between these womb-fellows; each exists as a separate number-bearing entity in the same filing system.

    In Totalitaria, there is no faith in fellow men, no “caritas,” no love, because real relationships between men do not exist, just as they do not exist between schizophrenics. There is only faith in and subjection to the feeding system, and there is in every citizen a tremendous fear of being expelled from that system, a fear of being totally lost, comparable with the schizophrenic’s feeling of rejection and fear of reality. In the midst of spiritual loneliness and isolation, there is the fear of still greater loneliness, of more painful isolation. Without protective regulations from the outside, internal hell may break lose. Strong mechanical external order must be used to cover the internal chaos and approaching breakdown.

    We have had experience in postwar years with several refugees from the totalitarian world who broke down when they had to cope with a world of freedom where personal initiative was required. The fear of freedom brought them to a state of panic. They no longer had strong enough egos to build and maintain their defenses against the competitive demands of free democratic reality.

    As in schizophrenia, a maneuverable and individual ego cannot exist in Totalitaria. In schizophrenia the ego shrinks as a result of withdrawal; in Totalitaria, as a result of constant merging in mass feelings. If such a shrunken ego should grow up, with its own critical attitude, its needs for verification of facts and for understanding, it would then be beaten down as being treacherous and nonconforming.

    Totalitaria requires of its citizens complete subjection to and identification with the leader. It is this leader-dominance that makes people nearly ego-less, as they are in schizophrenia. This again may result in loss of control of hostile and destructive drives. Psychologists have seen this time and time again in what we call the concentration-camp psyche. When the victims first came to the camp — dedicated to their gradual extermination — most of them displayed a complete loss of self, an utter depersonalization, combined with apathy and loss of awareness. The same observations have been made among our POWs in Korea. Some concentration-camp victims got better immediately after their return to a normal society; in others, this schizophrenic reaction of lost ego remained and, as we mentioned above, sometimes developed into a real psychosis.

    _____________All this applies to the Fellowship. It is shockingly close to what is happening there. My husband, or rather, Girard Haven suffers all these things, so do many others and so did I. All in different degrees and with different tones and accents but the main principles delineated here were flourishing there.

    The Womb State

    Totalitarianism is man’s escape from the fearful realities of life into the virtual womb of the leader. The individual’s actions are directed from this womb — from the inner sanctum. The mystic center is in control of everything; man need no longer assume responsibility for his own life. The order and logic of the prenatal world reign. There is peace and silence, the peace of utter submission. The members of the womb state do not really communicate; between them there is silence, the silence of possible betrayal, not the mature silence of reticence and reservedness.

    Totalitaria increases the gap between the things one shows and communicates and the things one secretly dreams and thinks deep within oneself. It develops the artificial split-mindedness of political silence. Whatever little remains of individual feeling and opinion is kept carefully enclosed. In the schizophrenic world of Totalitaria, there is no free mutual exchange, no conversation, no exclamation, no release from emotional tension. It is a world of silent conspirators. Indeed, the atmosphere of suspicion is the big attacker of mental freedom because it makes people cling together, conspiring against mysterious enemies — first from outside, then among themselves.

    In Totalitaria, each citizen is continually watched. The mythical state molds the individual’s conscience. He has hardly any of his own. His neighbors watch him, his postman, his children, and they all represent the punishing state, just as he himself must represent the state and watch others. Not betraying them is a crime.

    The need to find conspiracies, to discover persecutors and criminals is another schizophrenic manifestation. It is psychologically related to an infantile need for a feeling of omnipotence. Megalomaniac feelings grow better in an atmosphere of mysterious secrecy. Secrecy and conspiracy increase the delusion of power. That is why so many people like to pry into other people’s lives and to play the spy.

    This feeling of conspiracy also lies behind the pathological struggle with imaginary persecutors, a struggle we find both in mentally ill individuals and in our mythical Totalitaria. “It is there!” “It is chasing us!” All the inner fears of losing the nirvanic womb-illusion become rampant. Mysterious ghosts and vultures chase people out of nirvana and paradise.

    In these fantasies, the patriarch, the dictator, the idol, becomes both the universal danger and the omnipotent savior at the same time. Not even the citizens of Totalitaria really love this cruel giant. Suspicion against the breast that feeds and the hand that guides and forbids is often found in the fantasy of schizophrenic children, who experience the nourisher as the enemy, the dominating ogre, bribing the growing mind into submission.

    The deep hate the sick individual feels toward the parental figure cannot be expressed directly, and so it is displaced onto the self or onto scapegoats. Scapegoatism is also part of the totalitarian strategy. As we pointed out before, the scapegoat temporarily absorbs all the individual’s inner fury and rage. Kulaks, Negroes, Jews, Communists, capitalists, profiteers, and warmongers — any or all of them can play that role. Perhaps the greatest dangers, to the totalitarian mind, is the use of intellect and awareness and the “egg-head’s” demand for free, verifying thinking. Aberration and perversion are chosen by the citizens of Totalitaria, as they are by the inhabitants of madhouses, over the tiring, intellectual control.

    In the center of the totalitarian fears and fantasies stands the man-eating god and idol. He is unconquerable. He uses man’s great gift of adjustment to bring him to slavery. Every man’s inner core of feelings and thoughts has to belong to the leader.

    Is the citizen of Totalitaria consciously aware of this? Probably not. Modern psychology has taught us how strongly the mental mechanism of denial of reality works. The eye bypasses external occurrences when the mind does not want them to happen. Secondary justifications and fantasies are formed to support and explain these denials. In Totalitaria we find the same despising of reality facts as we do in schizophrenia. How else are we to explain the fact that Hitler was still moving his armies on paper after they were already defeated?

    Totalitarian strategy covers inner chaos and conflict by the strict order of the police state. So does the compulsive schizophrenic patient, by his inner routine and schedules. These routines and schedules are a defense against painful occurrences in external reality. This internal robotization may lead to denial of internal realities and internal needs as well. The citizen of Totalitaria, repressing and rejecting his inner need for freedom, may even experience slavery as liberation. He may go even one step further — yearn for an escape from life itself, a delusion that he could become omnipotent through utter destruction.

    ________This is certainly true of Girard. It describes him very well. He lost contact with his own needs and those of his wives and family. The more sick I got the less he could perceive it. That is interesting. He just wouldn’t acknowledge it. In as much as one’s wife or husband are a faithful reflection of one’s relationship to one’s own self, phenomenon like these are very telling.

    The SS soldiers called this the magic action of the “Blutkitt,” the tie of bloody crime binding them together and preparing them for Valhalla. With this magic unification, they could die with courage and equanimity. Anarchic despair and need for greatness alternated in them as they do in the psychotic patient. In the same way, the citizens of Totalitaria search for a “heroic” place in history even though the price be doom an annihilation.

    ______In the Fellowship, the inner circle play a similar role.

    Many soldiers — tired by the rigidities of normal life — look back at violent moments of their war experiences, despite the hunger and terror, as the monumental culminating experiences of their lives. There, in the “Bruderbund” of fighters, they felt happy for the first and only times in their lives.

    This all sounds like a bitter comedy, but the fantasy of schizophrenics has taught us how the mind can retreat into delusion when there is a fear of daily existence. Under these circumstances, fantasy begins to prevail over reality, and soon assumes a validity which reality never had. The totalitarian mind is like the schizophrenic mind; it has a contempt for reality. Think for a moment of Lysenko’s theory and its denial of the influence of heredity. The totalitarian mind does not observe and verify its impressions of reality; it dictates to reality how it shall behave, it compels reality to conform to its fantasies.

    ___________Nothing could describe Robert Burton better than this last paragraph.

    The comparison between totalitarianism and psychosis is not incidental. Delusional thinking inevitably creeps into every form of tyranny and despotism. Unconscious backward forces come into action. Evil powers from the archaic past return. An automatic compulsion to go on to self-destruction develops, to justify one mistake with a new one; to enlarge and expand the vicious pathological circle becomes the dominating end of life. The frightened man, burdened by a culture he does not understand, retreats into the brute’s fantasy of limitless power in order to cover up the vacuum inside himself. This fantasy starts with the leaders and is later taken over by the masses they oppress.

    ________Again, we can clearly see this in the Fellowship with all the absurdities that Robert invented one after the other.

    What else can man do when he is caught in that tremendous machine called Totalitaria? Thinking — and the brain itself — has become superfluous, that is, only reserved for the elite. Man has to renounce his uniqueness, his individual personality, and must surrender to the equalizing and homogenizing patterns of so-called integration and standardization. This arouses in him that great inner emptiness of the savage child, the emptiness of the robot that unwittingly yearns for the great destruction.

  16. battlesword Says:
    February 20, 2009 at 10:31 pmStudying this chapter I found my own inner dictator! It’s worth getting the whole book but then it’s out of print so if you ever find a copy, I’d be happy to share the cost.
    This would be the last of these texts for now since there aren’t any more on the internet, so until I get a copy I won’t be able to use it again.Text 21 

    THE RAPE OF THE MIND: The Psychology of Thought Control, Menticide, and Brainwashing, by Joost A. M. Meerloo, M.D., Instructor in Psychiatry, Columbia University Lecturer in Social Psychology, New School for Social Research, Former Chief, Psychological Department, Netherlands Forces, published in 1956, World Publishing Company. (Out of Print)


    For the Special Marine Corps Court of Inquiry in Washington that had to judge one of the cases of brainwashing, I was asked, as an expert witness, if I could explain why some of the American officers yielded rather easily to mental pressure exerted by the enemy.

    It was in the days when Congressional investigations in our country were in full swing. In all honesty I had to answer that sometimes coercive suggestions underlying such investigations could exert conforming pressure on susceptible minds. People are conditioned by numerous psychological processes in our daily political atmosphere.

    Though we have been forewarned of what totalitarian techniques may do to the mind, there is reason to be alarmed by the possible disruption of values brought about by some of our own troubles.

    The totalitarian dictator succeeded in transforming his apparatus of “justice” into an instrument of threat and domination. Where once a balanced feeling of justice had been recognized as the noblest ideal of civilized man, this ideal was now scoffed at by cynics — like Hitler and Goebbels — and called a synthetic emotion useful only to impress or appease people. Thus, in the hands of totalitarian inquisitors and judges justice has become a farce, a piece of propaganda to soothe the people’s conscience. Investigative power is misused — to arouse prejudices and animosities in those bystanders who have become too confused to distinguish between right and wrong.

    The totalitarian has taught us that the courts and the judiciary can be used as tools of thought control. That is why we have to study how our own institutions, intentionally or unobtrusively, may be used to distort our concepts of democratic freedom.

    The Downfall of Justice

    To a psychologist, perhaps the most interesting aspect of the Moscow purge trials between 1936 and 1938 was the deep sense of moral shock felt by people all over the world, whose trust in the judicial process was shaken to its foundations by these perversions of justice. Discussions about the trials always concerned themselves less with the question of guilt or innocence of the accused than with the horrifying travesty of justice the trials presented. Somewhere deep in the soul of men lies the conviction that a judge is, by definition, a righteous, impartial man, that an appeal to the courts is the road to truth, that the law stands above corruption, degradation, and perversion. Of course, we recognize that judges are human beings like ourselves, that they can make mistakes, as the rest of us do, and we are even willing to accept temporary injustice because we believe that there will be eventual vindication and that the rule of law and justice will remain triumphant. The moment the judicial process becomes a farce, a show to intimidate the people, something in man’s soul is profoundly affected. When justice is no longer blind, but has her eye on the main chance, we become frightened and alarmed. To whom shall a man turn if he cannot find justice in the courts?

    During the course of psychotherapy, one of my patients was called to jury duty. The experience disturbed him deeply, for apparently the prosecutor in this case was more interested in getting a conviction than in finding out the truth. Although the jury had the last word, and, by its verdict, condemned the prosecutor’s strategy, our juror was greatly upset. “What happens,” he asked me, “in other cases? Suppose the jurors cannot see through the lawyer’s sophisms? Suppose they are taken in by his constant suggestion and insistence?”

    Indeed, any trial can be used as a weapon of intimidation; it can, in a subtle way, intimidate the jurors, the witnesses, the entire public. In Totalitaria, some higher courts exist only to carry out this function of intimidation; their purpose is to prove to their own citizens and to the world at large that there is a punishing and threatening force controlling the government and that this force can use the judiciary for its own purposes.

    An apparent objective official investigation may become a weapon of political control simply through the suggestions that inevitably accompany it. The man who is under investigation is almost automatically stigmatized and blamed because our suspicions are thrust on him. The very fact that he is under scrutiny makes him suspect. Thus, even the so-called “democratic power to investigate” may become the power to destroy. We must beware of this danger! Already the approving or disapproving way of interrogation changes man’s thinking about facts.

    Any judicial action, whether legal or investigative, which receives widespread publicity, exerts some mental pressure on the entire public. It is not only the participants in the action who have a stake in its eventual outcome, the citizens as a whole may well become emotionally involved in the proceedings. Any official investigation can be either a mere show of power or an act of truth. As a show of power, by a totalitarian government or by an unscrupulous demagogue, it can have frightening consequences. The German Reichstag fire case, the Moscow purge trials, and the court actions against our P.O.W.s in China are prime examples of “legal” action which served to consolidate the political power of ruthless men and had for their object confusion of a helpless citizenry. An additional intention was to shock the public opinion of the world.

    If we look at legal inquiry from the point of view of each of its participants, we will see even more clearly the dangers we must guard against.

    The Demagogue as Prosecutor and Hypnotist

    Recent happenings in our own country indicate clearly that the methods used to satisfy a question for power show a universal pattern. The ancient magic masks used to frighten the people may have been replaced by an overconfident show of physical strength by a “hero” artificially shaped as an object of admiration and identification for infantile minds, but the loud noises of propaganda are still with us, magnified a thousandfold by the radio and television, and serving to intimidate and hypnotize our less alert contemporaries. A worldwide audience, watching and listening to the demagogue playing all his different roles — the righteous accuser, the martyred victim, the voice of conscience — is temporarily thrown into a semifrightend, trancelike state of exhausted inattentiveness through the monotonous repetition of threats, accusations, and cliches.

    The demagogue, like the totalitarian dictator, knows well how to lay a mental spell on the people, how to create a kind of mass suggestion and mass hypnosis. There is no intrinsic difference between individual and mass hypnosis. In hypnosis — the most intensified form of suggestion — the individual becomes temporarily automatized, both physically and mentally. Such a clinical state of utter mental submission can be brought about quite easily in children and in primitive people, but it can be created in civilized adults, too. Some of the American P.O.W.s in Korean prison camps were reduced to precisely this condition.

    The more the individual feels himself to be part of the group, the more easily can he become the victim of mass suggestion. This is why primitive communities, which have a high degree of social integration and identification, are so sensitive to suggestions. Sorcerers and magicians can often keep an entire tribe under their spell.

    Most crowds are rather easy to influence and hypnotize because common longings and yearnings increase the suggestibility of each member of the group. Each person has a tendency to identify with the rest of the group and with the leader as well, and this makes it easy for the leader to hold the people in his grip. As Hitler said in “Mein Kampf,” the leader can count on increasing submissiveness from the masses.

    Sudden fright, fear, and terror were the old-fashioned methods used to induce hypnosis, and they are still used by dictators and demagogues. Threats, unexpected accusations, even long speeches and boredom may overwhelm the mind and reduce it to a hypnotic state.

    Another easy technique is to work with specially suggestive words, repeating them monotonously. Arouse self-pity! Tell the people that they have been “betrayed” and that their leaders have deserted them. From time to time, the demagogue has to add a few jokes. People like to laugh. They also like to be horrified, and the macabre, especially, attracts them. Tell them gory tales and let them huddle together in sensational tension. They will probably develop an enormous awe for the man who frightens them and will be willing to give him the chance to lead them out of their emotional terror. In the yearning to be freed from one fear, they may be willing to surrender completely to another.

    The Demagogue as Prosecutor and Hypnotist

    Radio and television have enhanced the hypnotizing power of sounds, images, and words. Most Americans remember very clearly that frightening day in 1938 when Orson Welles’s broadcast of the invasion from Mars sent hundreds of people scurrying for shelter, running from their homes like panicky animals trying to escape a forest fire. The Welles broadcast is one of the clearest examples of the enormous hypnosuggestive power of the various means of mass communication, and the tremendous impact that authoritatively broadcast nonsense can have on intelligent, normal people.

    It is not only the suggestive power of these media that gives them their hypnotizing effect. Our technical means of communication make of the people one huge participating mass. Even when I am alone with my radio, I am technically united with the huge mass of other listeners. I see them in my mind, I unconsciouly identify with them, and while I am listening I am one with them. Yet I have no direct emotional contact with them. It is partly for this reason that radio and television tend to take away active affectionate relationships between men and to destroy the capacity for personal thought, evaluation, and reflection. They catch the mind directly, giving people no time for calm, dialectical conversation with their own minds, with their friends, or with their books. The voices from the ether don’t permit the freedom-arousing mutuality of free conversation and discussion, and thus provoke greater passive acceptance — as in hypnosis.

    Many people are hypnophiles, anxious to daydream and day-sleep throughout their lives; these people easily fall prey to mass suggestion. The lengthy oration or the boring sermon either weakens the listeners and makes them more ripe for the mass spell, or makes them more resentful and rebellious. Long speeches are a staple of totalitarian indoctrination because finally the boredom breaks through our defenses. We give in. Hitler used this technique of mass hypnosis through monotony to enormous advantage. He spoke endlessly and included long, dull recitals of statistics in his speeches.

    The din of constant verbal intimidation of the public is a recognized tool of totalitarian strategy. The demagogue uses this suggestive technique, too, as well as the more tricky maneuver of attacking opponents who are usually considered to be beyond suspicion. This maneuver is often combined with a renewed appeal to self-pity. “Fourteen years of disgrace and shame,” was the slogan Hitler used to slander the very creative period between the Armistice in 1918 and the year he seized the helm. “Twenty years of treason,” a slogan used in our country not too long ago, sounds suspiciously like it, and is all too familiar to anyone who watched Hitler’s rise and fall.

    The stab-in-the-back myth reduces everyone who is taken in by it to the level of suspicious childhood. This inflammatory oratory aims toward arousing chaotic and aggressive responses in others. The demagogue doesn’t mind temporary verbal attacks on himself — even slander can delight him — because these attacks keep him in the headlines and in the public eye and may help increase people’s fear of him. Better to be hated and feared than forgotten! The demagogue grows fat on prolonged and confused discussion of his behavior; it serves to paralyze the people’s minds and to obscure completely the real issues behind his red herrings. If this continues long enough, people become fed up, they give in, they want to sleep, they are willing to let the big “hero” take over. And the sequel can be totalitarianism. As a matter of fact, Nazism and Fascism both gambled on the fear of Communisim as a means of seizing power for themselves. What we have recently experienced in this country is frighteningly similar to the first phase of the deliberate totalitarian attack on the mind by slogans and suspicions. Violent, raucous noise provokes violent emotional reactions and destroys mental control. When the demagogue starts to rant and rave, his outbursts tend to be interpreted by the general public as proof of his sincerity and dedication. But for the most part such declarations are proof of just the opposite and are merely part of the demagogue’s power-seeking energy.

    _________This sounds so much like what I’ve been doing on the blog. At least I was consistently asking the bloggers to concentrate on the subject. There was, nevertheless a similar energy. Only I was always a minority but my ranting and raving was definitely a part of it. Specially until I understood where to place positive emotions objectively but it was so short before I was banned temporarily that I did not have time to live with it.
    It is interesting because what was consistently acknowledged was the dark side of what I was exposing, never the lighter side, although people used the lighter side consistently. People got so confused that by the time I presented my admiration to Ton’s world, it was taken as if it was a blasphemy against it!
    The long texts were there but especially those from the Rape of the Mind seemed much more informed than I could have managed, much more accurate.
    The attacks on my being a professional victim are true. That is the psychology I’ve lived with. Were it not I wouldn’t have committed suicide or had that tendency ever since. On the blog it is very clear that I am constantly threatening to disappear and commit suicide, even if it is somewhat veiled. The funny thing is that when I was supposed to commit suicide I didn’t do so. Then they banned me! Since my mother’s suicide I learnt “that” as THE SOLUTION so my first option when I’m under pressure is that one. Having “survived” it enough, I am now more able to let it pass but that doesn’t mean that I don’t suffer or experience the whole process, which is in fact rather short because the option of suicide simply has a very low tolerance for suffering, for experiencing and for living. This is very interesting because that low tolerance is also what we could understand by going into extremes very quickly. Small things are perceived with great power and over-dramatized. That is one way of looking at the lunatic but the other side of the coin is that what the lunatic can see is what the event can develop into, its potential. Which is what other people don’t seem to perceive until after the tragedy.
    There is in existence a totalitarian “Document of Terror” which discusses in detail the use of well-planned, repeated successive WAVES OF TERROR to bring the people into submission. Each wave of terrorizing cold war creates its effect more easily — after a breathing spell — than the one that preceded it because people are still disturbed by their previous experience. Morale becomes lower and lower, and the psychological effect of each new propaganda campaign becomes stronger; it reaches a public already softened up. Every dissenter becomes more and more frightened that he may be found out. Gradually people are no longer willing to participate in any sort of political discussion or to express their opinions. Inwardly they have already surrendered to the terrorizing dictatorial forces.
    _______We can clearly see this effect in the Fellowship. No one was willing to express dissent. The terror was not physical but one knew that one would be “cast out” “marked as a dissident” if one expressed it.

    We must learn to treat the demagogue and aspirant dictator in our midst just as we should treat our external enemies in a cold war — with the weapon of ridicule.
    _________I wouldn’t agree that ridicule helps but humor does. When I felt Bruce and another were making fun of me I felt accepted and criticized at the same time but in a somewhat loving way.

    The demagogue himself is almost incapable of humor of any sort, and if we treat him with humor, he will begin to collapse. Humor is, after all, related to a sense of perspective. If we can see how things should be, we can see how askew they can get, and we can recognize distortion when we are confronted with it. Put the demagogue’s statements in perspective, and you will see how utterly distorted they are. How can we possibly take them seriously or answer them seriously? We have important business to attend to — matters of life and death both for ourselves as individuals and for our nation as a whole. The demagogue relies for his effectiveness on the fact that people will take seriously the fantastic accusations he makes; will discuss the phony issues he raises as if they had reality, or will be thrown into such a state of panic by his accusations and charges that they will simply abdicate their right to think and verify for themselves.
    _______All this sounds like Robert and his extreme interpretations of texts and life. It also sounds like me in a different slant. What is funny is that what I was ranting and raving about is that people read exactly these texts!

    The fact is that the demagogue is not appealing to what is rational and mature in man; he is appealing to what is most irrational and most immature. To attempt to answer his ravings with logic is to attempt the impossible. First of all, by so doing we accept his battling premises, and we find ourselves trapped in an argument on terms he has chosen. It is always easier to defeat an enemy on your own ground, and by choosing your own terms. In addition, the demagogue either is, or pretends to be, incapable of the kind of logic that makes discussion and clarification possible. He is a master at changing the subject. It is worse than criminal for us to get ourselves involved in endless, pointless, and inevitably vituperative arguments with men who are less concerned with truth, social good, and real problems than they are with gaining unlimited attention and power for themselves.

    _________This is also very much like me on the blog, difficult as it might be to accept it. It is strange because it is also as if the mechanism had turned around and what the demagogue does here were what the public did on the blog which was never address the facts that I was presenting, ignore them completely but attack me personally on other issues. The other issues they attacked me with were accurate in many ways. I certainly was not healthy or considerate particularly towards the end when I was so disappointed by the fact that these people were not going to do anything serious against the Fellowship even knowing its corruption.
    Since I consider myself as worthy of study as anybody else and what I am reading here is also a photograph of my behavior I would like to take a look at it.
    It is obvious that I also carry a dictatorial personality.

    In their defense against psychological attacks on their freedom, the people need humor and good sense first. Consistent approval or silent acceptance of any terror-provoking strategy will result only in the downfall of our democratic system. Confusion undermines confidence. In a country like ours, where it is up to the voting public to discern the truth, a universal knowledge of the methods used by the demagogue to deceive or to lull the public is absolutely necessary.

    The Trial as an Instrument of Intimidation

    Man’s suggestibility can be a severe liability to him and to his democratic freedom in still another important respect. Even when there is no deliberate attempt to manipulate public opinion, the uncontrolled discussion of legal actions, such as political or criminal trials, in newspaper headlines and in partisan columns helps to create a collective emotional atmosphere. This makes it difficult for those directly involved to maintain their much-needed objectivity and to render a verdict according to facts rather than suggestions and subjective experiences.

    In addition, any judicial process which receives widespread publicity exerts mental pressure on the public at large. Thus, not only the participants but the entire citizenry can become emotionally involved in the proceedings. Any trial can be either an act of power or an act of truth. An apparently objective examination may become a weapon of control simply by the action of the suggestions that inevitably accompany it. As an act of power by a totalitarian government, the trial can have frightening consequences. The Moscow purge trials and the German Reichstag fire case are prime examples.

    We do not, of course, have such horrifying travesties on justice in this country, but our tendency to turn legal actions into a field day for the newspapers, the radio, and television weakens our capacity to arrive at justice and truth. It would be better if we postponed discussion of the merits of any legal case until after the verdict was in.

    As we have already seen, any man can be harassed into a confession. The cruel process of menticide is not the only way to arrive at this goal; a man can be held guilty merely by accusation, especially when he is too weak to oppose the impact of collective ire and public opinion.

    In circumstances of abnormal fear and prejudice, men feel the need for a scapegoat more strongly than at other times. Consequently, people can be easily duped by false accusations which satisfy their need to have someone to blame. Victims of lynch mobs in our own country have been thus sacrificed to mass passion and so have some so-called traitors and collaborators. In public opinion, the trial itself becomes the verdict of “guilty.”

    The Congressional Investigation

    Let me first state that I firmly believe that the right of the Congress to investigate and to propose legislation on the basis of such investigation is one of the most important of our democratic safeguards. But like any other human institution, the Congressional right to investigate can be abused and misused. The power to investigate may become the power to destroy — not only the man under attack, but also the mental integrity of those who, in one way or another, are witnesses to the investigation. In a subtle way, the current wave of Congressional investigations may have a coercive effect on our citizenry. Some dictatorial personalities are obsessed with a morbid need to investigate, and Congressional investigations are made to order for them. Everybody who does not agree with them, who does not bow low and submit, is suspect, and is subjected to a flow of vilification and vituperation. The tendency on the part of the public is to disbelieve everything that the demagogue’s opponents say and to swallow uncritically the statements made by those who either surrender to his browbeating or go along with it because they believe in the aims he pretends to stand for.

    PSYCHOLOGICALLY, IT IS IMPORTANT TO UNDERSTAND THAT THE SIMPLE FACT OF BEING INTERVIEWED AND INVESTIGATED HAS A COERCIVE INFLUENCE. As soon as a man is under cross-examination, he may become paralyzed by the procedure and find himself confessing to deeds he never did. In a country where the urge to investigate spreads, suspicion and insecurity grow. Everybody becomes infected with the feelings of the omnipotence of the inquisitor. Wire tapping, for instance, has the same power; it is grasping the secrets of others.

    In psychological circles a good deal of attention is now being given to the impact of interviews and interrogations on people. The psychological interviewer himself must be aware of the various interpersonal processes involved in this kind of communication; if he is not, he will not be able to find out where the truth lies. Instead he will get answers which are implicit in his own questions, answers which may have little relation to the real truth. This does not happen only in cases where both the interviewer and the man he is interviewing show bad faith. It can happen despite their best intentions. For everybody brings to an interview the sum total of all his earlier interpersonal relationships. In the initial verbal “trial and error,” during what we could call the smelling-out period, each party mobilizes himself to find out what the other party expects and where his weaknesses are and, at the same time, tries to hide his own weaknesses and emphasize his own strengths. The man in the street who is suddenly interviewed tends to give the answer he thinks his questioner expects.

    Every conversation, every verbal relationship repeats, at least to some degree, the pattern of the early verbal relationships between the child and its parents. To a man or woman under investigation, the interrogator becomes the parent, good or bad, an object of suspicion or of submission. Since the interrogator himself is often unaware of this unconscious process, the result can be a confusing battle of unconscious or half-conscious tendencies, in which the spoken words are often merely a cover for suspicion-laden conversation between deeper layers of both personalities.
    _________That would also be true of the blog. Hundreds of other issues are going on besides what is laid out on top.

    All people who are systematically interrogated, whether in a court, during a Congressional inquiry, or even when applying for a job or having a medical examination, feel themselves exposed. This very fact in itself provokes peculiar defensive mental attitudes. These attitudes may be useful and protective, but at times they may be harmful to the individual. When a man is looking for a job, for example, he may become overeager, and in his zeal to “make a good impression” to “put his best foot forward,” he may make a bad impression and arouse suspicion. For it is not only what we say but the way we say it that can indicate our honesty and poise. Nervous sounds, gestures, pauses, moments of silence or stuttering may give us away. Aggressive zeal may seduce us into saying too much. Inhibition may prevent us from saying enough.

    The defendant in a court action or in an inquiry is defensive not only about the accusations leveled against him or the questions he has to answer, he is even more defensive about his own unconscious guilt and about his doubts about his own capabilities. Many of my colleagues in medicine and psychiatry who have been called as expert witnesses in legal actions have told me that the very moment they were under cross-examination, they felt themselves on trial and nearly convicted. Cross- examination seemed to them often less a way of getting at the truth than a form of emotional coercion, which did a great disservice to both the facts and the truth. This is the reason that every kind of investigative power can so easily become a coercive power. Making witnesses and defendants suffer from acute stage fright can be a nasty weapon of totalitarianism.

    Because psychologists and psychiatrist appreciate these facts, there is now a strong tendency in these circles to use what we might call a passive technique in interviewing. When the interviewer’s questions are not directed toward any specific answer, the man being questioned will be encouraged to answer on his own initiative, out of his own desire to communicate. The neutral question, “What did you do afterwards?” provokes a freer and more honest response than the question “Did you go home after that?”

    The Witness and His Subjective Testimony

    We have seen in recent years a long parade of recanting Communists, who have testified freely and openly about their pasts. Currently, we have still another kind of parade: the recanting recanters. How are we to know the truth from falsehood in all this morass of conflicting testimony? How are we to prevent ourselves from becoming confused by the contradictory testimony of men and women whose words can influence the course of our nation’s actions? How are we to learn to evaluate what they say? Psychologically, how reliable is their testimony, whether friendly or unfriendly?

    In general, we can say that those who are most vituperative in their statements are usually the least reliable. Many of them are men and women who in the past adopted a totalitarian ideology out of their own deep sense of inner insecurity. Later there came the moment when they felt that their chosen ideology had failed them. Though it had held their minds relentlessly imprisoned for a long time, at that point they were able to throw off the system completely. This they did through a process of inner rearrangement of old observations and convictions. However, what they shed was merely a particular set of rigid ideological rules. Most of them did not shed, along with these rules, their hidden hatreds and early insecurity. They may have given up the political ideology which offered them defenses and justifications, but they retained their resentments.
    _________This is very important for our study of the Fellowship because if I look at my self it is clear that I’ve been living this process. Having left the Fellowship and in this two years since, recovering just a notion of what I am with some integrity has been long and difficult. It’s interesting that when the crisis with Whalerider happened about my mother it was almost as if it had put me back into my personality whatever that was. The attack placed me somewhere where I’d already been. A sense of not being vulnerated in my integrity was very powerful. But it is also interesting to note that ever since leaving the Fellowship throughout this two years it’s been the recovery of the old personality before the Fellowship rather than the meager bit of essence and spirit that I was able to amass during the first two years in London. In the rant and raving of the blog it is clear that I am not just attacking fellowship members but that there is a resentment towards a huge array of attitudes that are as present in regular society as they were in the Fellowship. In fact, I’ve argued before that what made the Fellowship possible was this array of inhuman, anti-social attitudes with which members already arrived in it. This makes sense in many ways because what also seems to happen in the cult is that instead of working with their lives and difficulties, members actually root themselves in these unresolved attitudes and difficulties and the whole spectrum of absurdities and abuses that then takes place in the cult is in perfect synchronicity with their particular process.
    I can say this for my self as much as for Girard who are the two cases I know with some deepness but I can also state it in relation to many of the manifestations of life in the Fellowship. The American tradition behind the Fellowship is clear as much as the dependence on it of many of the people from abroad. We each brought our piece of the pie.

    It is extremely common to find such people seeking immediate sanctuary in some other strictly organized institution. Because they now see things in a different light, old facts and concepts acquire a different significance. Yet, all the while, the ever-present urge toward self-justification and self-exculpation, which operates in all men and which in these cases motivated the former allegiance to Communism, is at work. Now they must prove their guiltlessness and their loyalty to their newly adopted ideas. Their emotions, now in new garb, are still directed toward the goal of self-justification.

    In the eyes of the convert, the fresh outlook — this new arrangement of inner demands and of ways of satisfying them — is just as logical and rational as were his former set of expectations and satisfactions. Now he rediscovers several experiences long since past. His former friends become his enemies; some of them are seen as conspirators, whether they were or not. He himself is unable to distinguish between truth and fantasy, between fact and subjective demand. Consequently, a complete distortion of perceptions and memories may take place. He may misquote his own memories, and this process is for the most part one of which the convert himself is not aware. I remember vividly one example of such behavior during the Second World War. A former Nazi became a courageous member of the anti-Nazi underground. He sought to rectify his past behavior not only by fighting the Nazis, but also by spreading all kinds of anxiety-provoking rumors about his former friends. By making them appear more cruel, he thought he could show himself more loyal.

    Similarly, the denials and misstatements that may be made by the convert before the courts or the Congressional committees are often not so much conscious falsehoods as they are products of the new inner arrangements. Every accusation about the convert’s past may be twisted by him into a new tool for use in the process of self-justification. Only a few such men have the moral courage to admit that they have made real mistakes in the past. The distance between a white lie and selective forgetting and repressing is often very short. I discovered this for myself while carrying on investigations of resistance members who had been in Nazi hands. I found that it was almost impossible to obtain objective information from them about what they had revealed to the enemy after torture. Reporting upon their enforced betrayal, they immediately colored their stories by white lies and secondary distortions. Depending on their guilt feelings, they either accused themselves too much or found no flaw at all in their behavior.

    ________It is easy to identify with this text but I think if I self examine what I’ve written on the blog, I had the courage to admit my mistakes and too much anger to expose those of others. In the long run, I know I’ve over-exceded my self from frustration and loss but if I’ve helped many come to a clearer understanding of their involvement and responsibility in the Fellowship and particularly its tremendous capacity to continue hurting people, I will forgive my self for my excesses. I am no more a prosecutor than a victim and I am willing to embrace and work with both with the aim of recovering a fairly normal condition of being simply human.
    In the study of the dictator within it would be easy to trace it back to the mechanical imitations of my dear father dictator. The tone of the voice, the disdain, the contempt for others while at the same time the anger, the indignant righteousness, the vulnerability dressed in anger, which brings me to another important connection which is that until one gets hold of all of one’s self, one continues to respond automatically to life. I do not blame my father for my behavior or myself for imitating him but I take full responsibility for not having yet processed that behavior enough to respond to society from the being I would like to become. Seeing it helps.
    The blog has helped me enormously to look at my self and others which reaffirms my initial statement that social therapy would help us heal each other. Until we are able to speak freely about our most inner being, we won’t be transparent enough to take care of each other.

    The Right to Be Silent

    Out of the action of Congressional investigating committees has recently come a serious legal attack on the right to be silent when the giving of information clashes with the conscience of the one on the stand. This attack can become a serious invasion of human privacy and reserve. Undermining the value of the personality and of private conscience is as dangerous to the preservation of democracy as is the threat of totalitarian aggression.

    We have to realize that it is often difficult for witnesses to make a choice between contempt of Congess and contempt of human qualitites. Administrators may conceivably discover a few alleged “traitors” by compelling witnesses to betray their former friends, but at the same time they compel people to betray friendships. Friendship is one of our most precious human possessions. Any government or agency that, under the guise of “contempt of Congress,” can force confessions, and information can also force the betrayal of former loyalties. Is this not comparable with what the coercive totalitarians do? And at what cost?

    We obtain a pseudo-purge resulting from weakness of character and anxiety in the victim. In addition we violate one of democracy’s basic tenets — respect for the strength of man’s character. We have always believed that it is better to let ten guilty men go free than to hang one innocent — in direct opposition to the totalitarian concept that it is better to hang ten innocent men than to let one guilty man go free. We may punish the guilty with this strategy of compelling a man to speak when his conscience urges him to be silent, but just as surely we break down the innocent by destroying their conscience. Supreme Court Justices Douglas and Black in their dissenting opinion about the constitutionality of the Immunity Act of 1954 [See “The New York Times,” March 27, 1956] emphasize the right to be silent as a Constitutional right given by the Fifth Amendment — a safeguard of personal conscience and personal dignity and freedom of expression as well. It is beyond the power of Congress to compel anyone to confess his crimes even when immunity is assured.

    The individual’s need NOT to betray his former allegiances — even when he has made a mistake in political judgment at an age of less understanding — is morally just as important as the need to help the state locate subversives. Let us not forget that betrayal of the community is rooted in self-betrayal. By forcing a man to betray his inner feelings and himself, we actually make it easier for him to betray the larger community at some future date. If the law forces people to betray their inner moral feelings of friendship, even if these feelings are based on juvenile loyalties, then that very law undermines the integrity of the person, and coercion and menticide begin. The conscience of the individual plays an enormous role in the choice between loyal opposition and passive conformity. The law has to protect the individual also against the violation of his personal moral standards; otherwise, human conscience will lose in the battle between individual conscience and legal power. Moral evaluation starts with the individual and not with the state.

    Mental Blackmail

    The concept of brainwashing has already led to some legal implications, and these have led to new facets of imagined crime. Because the reports about Communist brainwashing of the prisoners of war in Korea and China were published widely in newspapers, they aroused anxieties among lay people. As mentioned in Chapter Three, several schizophrenics and borderline patients seized upon this rather new concept of brainwashing, using it as an explanation for a peculiar kind of delusion that beset them — the delusion of being influenced. Some of these persons had, as it were, the feeling that their minds had been laid open, as if from the outside, through radio waves or some other mystic communication, thoughts were being directed.

    During recent years, I received several letters from such patients complaining about their feelings of continual brainwashing. The new concept of political mental coercion fitted into their system of delusions. Several lawyers consulted me for information about clients who wanted to sue their imaginary brainwashers.

    The same concept, used above to account for pathological suspicions, could be used maliciously to accuse and sue anybody who professionally gave advice to people or tried to influence them. At this very moment (fall, 1955) several court procedures are going on wherein the defendants are being sued for the crime of brainwashing by a third party. They are accused of having advised, in their professional capacity, somebody to do something against the plaintiff’s interests. The shyster lawyer is now able to attack subtle human relationships and turn them into a corrupt matter. This is the age-old evil of using empathy not for sympathy but for antipathy and attack. In so doing, the accuser may misuse a man’s hesitation to bring these human relationships into the open; the accuser also makes use of the strange situation in the United States that even the innocent winner of a court procedure has to pay the cost of his legal help. Practically, this means that in a difficult judicial question, he has to pay at least thirty thousand dollars before he can reach the Supreme Court — if it is a Supreme Court case — and appeal to the highest form of justice in our country.

    Because of this new angle, which has developed during the past few years, of the brainwashing situation, the psychiatric profession has been made more vulnerable to unreasonable attack. In one case, a third party felt hurt by a psychological treatment that made the patient more independent in an unpleasant commercial situation in which he had formerly been rather submissive. In another case, the doctor was sued because he was able to free his patient from a submissive love affair and an ambiguous promise of marriage. In a third case, the patient during treatment changed from a commercial agency that had treated him badly. In all those cases, the disappointed party could bring suit on the basis of so-called brainwashing, and malicious influence. In several cases of this form of blackmail, an expensive settlement was made out of court because the court procedure would have become far more costly.

    The practicing psychiatrist who is attacked in this way experiences not only financial pressure imposed on him by the dissatisfied party and a malicious lawyer, but in several states the court does not even recognize his professional oath of secrecy. The Hippocratic oath says:

    Whatever, in connection with my professional practice, or not in connection with it, I may see or hear in the lives of men which ought not to be spoken abroad, I will not divulge, as reckoning that all such should be kept secret.

    Some courts hold that the only physical investigation and treatment are valid as medical treatment not to be divulged; personal conversation — the quintessence of psychiatric treatment — is not looked upon as a medical action. Hiding behind professional secrecy is regarded as contempt of court. An additional difficulty is that this accusation of malpractice by a third party — not by the patient himself — is not covered by the usual malpractice insurance.

    The importance of such perfidious attack on psychological relationships — however rare the number of cases may be at this moment — is that it opens the road for many other forms of mental blackmail. It means that subtle personal relationships can be attacked and prosecuted in court, merely because a third party feels excluded or neglected or financially damaged. I cannot sue my broker because he gave me wrong financial advice, but I can sue a psychological counselor for malpractice because he “brainwashed” my client.

    What new possibilities for mental blackmail and sly accusation are open! Gradually we can make punishable wrong intention and anticipation, nonconformist advice and guidance, and, in the end, simple honest human influence and originality — things that are already considered criminal in totalitarian countries.

    The word “blackmail” was originally used in the border warfare between England and Scotland. Blackmail was the agreement made by freebooters not to plunder or molest the farmer — in exchange for money or cattle. The word comes from the Middle English “maille” meaning speech or rent or tax.

    The French equivalent “chantage” brings us even nearer to the concept of mental coercion. It means forcing the other fellow “to sing,” to confess things against his will by means of threatening physical punishment or threatening to reveal a secret. It is, in the last analysis, mental coercion.

    We may call mental blackmail the growing tendency to overstep human reserve and dignity. It is the tendency to misuse the intimate knowledge of what is going on in the crevices of the soul, to injure and embarrass one’s fellow man. MENTAL BLACKMAIL STARTS WHEREVER THE PRESUMPTION OF GUILT TAKES THE PLACE OF PRESUMPTION OF INNOCENCE. The hunting up of dirt and sensation in order to embarrass a victim we see very often carried on by the yellow press. It is not only playing up indecency, but at the same time it undermines human judgment and opinion. And by its sensationalism is precludes and prejudices justice in the courts.

    What a weak baby accomplishes with its tears and pouting can be done by the whining, querulous accuser with his fantasies about malicious influence and brainwashing. The suicidal patient may exert the same kind of pressure.
    ___________This connection is important especially if our aim is to help those with these characteristics heal and not simply judge them.

    I am convinced that in the future the Supreme Court has to make rules which will control these new forms of indictment; yet the core of the problem is the growing suspicion within man in our era of transition. We blackmail men’s minds with too many security measures, with secret files; we blackmail with gossip, with subtle pressures within political pressure groups, with lobbies within lobbies, and even by withholding our friendship.

    The Judge and the Jury

    What about the people who are called upon to sift truth from falsehood, to arrive at just and impartial verdicts? The judge and the jury are themselves influenced and affected by the external facts and inner needs that lie behind the behavior of the other principals in the case. Yet they are supposed to rise above their background, their personal needs and desires and to render a verdict strictly on the evidence, unswayed by any prejudice or subjective desires. And let us bear in mind that it is not only those officially connected with a case who make a decision about it, it is everyone who knows about it. You and I, the public, are judge and jury too.

    Judge and jury face the difficult task of finding and asking on the basis of the facts alone, and yet even in them, under the influence of strong group emotions, an emotional rearrangement of remembered facts may take place.

    Judge and jurors are affected by the collective emotional atmosphere surrounding controversial issues, and it is difficult for them to maintain their much-needed objectivity. The average juror already submits to the popular emotional demand before the trial is started, as several trials about racial persecution proved.

    Lately two authorities on law attacked the system of trial by jury, one because of its delaying action on the process of justice (Peck) and the other because he considered it an outmoded means of administering justice (Newman). Trial by jury is a relic of the thirteenth century intended to replace the magic trial by ordeal — the gods and coincidence decided the guilt — and to replace the trial by battle — physical skill and power decided which of two parties was guilty. The trial by a jury of peers, by all those who knew the accused and the circumstances of the alleged crime, served its puspose in rather simple organized communities for a long time. But in our compliated society, where people know less about each other and where a thousandfold communications intrude the mind, things have changed. “The average juror is swayed by the emotion and prejudice of his heredity and background training.” (Newman) Our juries are not always able to follow the intricacies of pros and cons, of interpretation of facts. In addition, many a trial lawyer knows how to fascinate a jury, how to catch their minds and influence their judgment. Beyond this, the selection of jurors delays more and more the process of justice.

    As a simple example of how individual, personal, and social conditioning can affect a juror’s current reactions, let us look at the inner confusion usually caused by the word “traitor.” Here we have an emotionally loaded trigger-word. If somebody is accused of being a traitor or a subversive, on the basis of undeniable facts, any attempt at a scientific, psychological explanation of this person’s behavior is already considered a treacherous intellectualism. The consensus is that the traitor should be punished; he belongs to the scum of society, better let him die. Even the lawyer who defends him before the court may be accused of collaboration in treason.

    All of us know many other trigger words which immediately provoke confusion in our objective perception and judgment because they touch unsolved, unconscious feelings. Words like “Communist” and “homosexual,” for instance, can become confusing trigger words which bring a reservoir of dark feelings into action. Demagogues like to use such words in order to stir up mass feelings, which they cannot control but which they believe are very suitable for the strategy of the moment. This can become, however, like playing with dynamite. Any one of us may be swayed by allusive cliches such as “Where there’s smoke, there’s fire” or “Once a thief, always a thief.” I once saw this most interestingly in a hot debate where someone had once been scolded for being a “dirty monogamist.” As soon as the accusation was made, public opinion turned against him.

    Even a judge can be swayed by his own emotional difficulties, especially by slanted testimony of witnesses who may be attempting to mislead. In Great Britain the courts are more aware of the effect of a prejudicial attitude on the part of jurors. There the trial process is extensively protected, mostly through prevention of pretrial discussion and deliberation, regardless of the unpopularity of the accused.

    Televised Interrogation

    An open official interrogation affects those who watch it — and the fact that they are affected may influence its outcome. Various crime hearings in this country, for instance, were brought before the people by means of television. Citizens sitting comfortably at home far from the scene could see how defense lawyers maneuvered facts or instructed their clients (among whom were well-known crime bosses) so that they would appear in a favorable light. Even though their actions may have been transparent tricks with the appearance of a fixed wrestling match, the result was that some of the not-so-jovial-looking victims of the criminals were made ridiculous, while the criminals, calm, assured, self-possessed, seemed more admirable. The victims often couldn’t stand being in the limelight; it made them feel ill at east and embarrassed. The criminals, on the other hand, either denied every accusation in tones of righteous indignation or made confessions which degenerated into hysterical quests for pity. The magic effect of all the anonymous onlookers — because the witness or defendant imagined their approval or disapproval — influenced the outcome of the hearings. All of us who watched them brought our own subjective expectations to bear on these hearings.

    Television makes a mass trial of such a hearing, and unwittingly not justice but the variable feelings of the public become part of the courtroom atmosphere. Every piece of evidence in such a hearing is colored by rumor and emotion, and the shocked onlookers are left with feelings of suspicion and deep misgivings that the hearing has not really gotten down to the condemning facts.

    The Quest for Detachment

    Man’s feeling for justice has very subtle implications. As soon as “Justitia” flirts with powerful friends or becomes completely submissive, people feel insecure and their anxiety increases. But man’s feeling for justice needs more than mere security for its satisfaction and gratification. The sense of justice is an inner attitude aiming at the realization of ideal rules of law that can inspire the community and raise it to a higher moral level. It requires not merely that minimum of decent behavior that is enforced by law, but more than that a maximum of personal initiative and mutual fair play. It asks for personal and social justice, for mutual limitation of demands in the service of the mutuality of relations between men, and between men and their government. Any ideal feeling of justice requires sacrifice and implies self-limitation. Emotionalism is its enemy. This ideal of justice is not only valid for individuals but should also rule communities and countries. Only in such an atmosphere of free mutual sacrifice of power on behalf of growing justice can democracy grow.

    Can people learn to see objectively and in a manner detached from their personal feelings? Yes, they can. Preconceived ways of seeing and witnessing can be changed. Many people realize the damage men do to themselves and others when they submit to collective passion and prejudice. These people then learn through astute investigation and observation how to be less prejudiced, how to see events with constant readaptation of mind and eye and with a search for reality.

    Prisoners in concentration camps or P.O.W. camps are so constantly bombarded with rumors and suggestions, their observations are so distorted by their necessary self-defenses, that they are hardly able to give an objective report regarding the actions of their fellows. The mass attitude of the day directs their opinions. The fellow who has become a scapegoat, whose function it is to alleviate for his fellow prisoners their common anger, will never be able to neutralize all later reports about him, simply becasue the number of so-called objective witnesses is against him. It is very difficult to separate the rumors from the facts and to neutralize ingrown mental toenails. There is in man an instinctual need to take sides with the majority, to conform to the opinion of the strong. This need is rooted in a biological urge for safety. That is why a strong feeling of participation grew among soldiers in a P.O.W. camp. The result was complete unconscious falsification of what happened. The individual observation got lost in the strong impact of mass opinion.

    In the future age of psychology, when insight into man’s behavior is more generally understood and applied, we will be more aware of the importance of dependable witnesses. Every report and every piece of testimony pro or con will be examined and weighed in the light of its psychological and historical background. The citizen of the future will laugh as he looks back at the time once lost during trials because obvious facts on one side were not brought out to challegne equally obvious facts on the opposing side. These future citizens will understand that we only revealed our mutual hostilities and feelings of fear and insecurity by our behavior, feelings which moved us compulsively and subtly to make subjective rearrangements of our memories and impressions. He will point out that objective thinking was in its infancy in those days.

    At this time this is all of the text that is available. The original work contains a third part, as well as additional chapters in part two.

State and Religion November 25, 2010

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This blog is about the separation of the State and Religion and its effects on our inner and outer world. Religion to me is about connecting to other dimensions within the human being that have traditionally been called spiritual and politics is about living the consciousness of those dimensions in our social lives. The actualization of consciousness in our practical lives implies the relationship we establish between our inner self and the world at large. The separation of politics, religion, science and the arts is, in my point of view, an schizophrenic expression of our present level of consciousness and it is the aim of this blog to explore and question that separation and find solutions that will help us reconnect the multiple aspects of our life inwardly as much as socially. I am a beginner in all of this and see it as an exploration of the questions and points of view, which are open to change should the reasons be worth the shift.

“Color is the suffering of light” Goethe August 4, 2010

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Celebration July 2, 2010

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To the Joy of Silence

Life! May 31, 2010

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The aim of this page is to continue exploring the separation of state and religion not only in the social but also in the individual sphere.

Comments will be moderated. I am interested in a serious discussion on the issues presented with enough research and experience on the subject that can justify for the comment to be published. If you cannot put enough work into your comments, please find a blog that better suits your interests.

Thank you for your understanding.

To Life! May 23, 2010

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One of the wonders of living is finding a little sandbox in which to develop one’s life. The sandbox of humanity is worth each and every one of our lives!

If you’re exploring interesting things that you’d like to share here, Welcome!

The Logos April 27, 2010

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In this new page I am hoping we can work on life! The understanding in the previous page is setting the framework to start looking at the “life giving life” forces in our lives or logos. This is the aim but all the deviations to that aim are equally welcome. The wonder of any path is in the many turns one has to take to reach the goal!

Noam Chomsky April 14, 2010

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I try to educate myself and hope you profit from the selection

Freedom April 11, 2010

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Religion April 6, 2010

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I would like to begin to post about religion on this blog or at least compliment that research with the youtube material that is not showing up properly on the blogger.blogs.

New Page February 20, 2010

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This blog and this particular page is about exploring the relationship between cults, and specifically the Fellowship of Friends cult aka Pathway to Presence and regular society. It has been my aim for quite a while now to understand WHY members allowed and continue to allow for so much abuse for such a long time with unconditional submission. It is my belief that members were already conditioned to adapt to such abuse by regular society and that without major changes, regular society is heading towards even worse forms of power and domination than we have today. I am at the same time, far from believing that everyone, everywhere will succumb to that kind of domination but the problem is that we are not all together and in the small pockets of society in millions of places all over the world, the structures of domination are the same. The few that protest in every little pocket are banned, like I was isolated from the FOF Cult and banned from the FOFBLOG. It is relieving to know that no matter how obscure the landscape looks, there is in fact more freedom today for more individuals than there was a century ago. This is important! The dialectic process is not unidirectional and what looks dark on the one hand is actually just part of a struggle on the other.

I present this research with the informality of blog life convinced that that doesn’t make it any less serious. It is good that these things be born in the Public Square. Blogs today are the Public Squares of our times and I speak in the Public Square to those who can hear. I am not waiting to be published. I speak. I have a voice that wishes to express itself free of compromises to a publishing world, to payment of any kind or institution not for lack of respect to them but for direct contact with people without the need to get paid for it.  My work is a gift from me to you. If you do not value it because you haven’t paid for it, it is your prerogative. It is a gift to be read in this site but I do not authorize any publication of it without my consent.

This is not a finished work but an exploration. In this page I take the work of many other authors and analyze it, make parallels and ponder on it in relation to what was also lived in the cult. The value for me lies in the fact that cults, in my opinion, are extreme versions of social tendencies. Because of their “closeness” they end up being microcosmoses of the social cosmos and the tendencies lagging outside develop more quickly inside. They are small laboratories. Unfortunately I cannot say that the positive aspects of regular society get developed, I was not in such a cult and no longer believe any closed circle could develop the positive aspects of life, I was in a classic cult as described to you by any internet site trying to protect people from joining them as is this blog, and the horrors lived in there were not physically violent but psychologically so violent that like in any other extreme cult, I will not be surprised the day they start committing suicide en masse. The violence in such cults is introverted until the member self annihilates.

This is the attempt to denounce and explore the mentality that makes these cults possible, the attempt to avoid a tragedy that continues no matter how much others and I have stood against it. Cults today are protected. That protection is against the well being of its members and society as a whole.

I’m still connected to the Fellowship of Friends Blog and sometimes make comments on things posted there:


I am also beginning to post a lot at


because that site allows me to keep a better archive than here. If we start to dialogue again here, it is a better site for a dialogue.

Test December 9, 2009

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Hope this works for a new page!

Welcome! October 1, 2009

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This blog is about life, about you and me, then it is about cults in general and the Fellowship of Friends Cult in particular. It is the continuation of the blog at battlesword.blogspot.com