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TOPIC: Cults, etc.

Cults, etc. 11 Jan 2016 08:42 #102051

It seems to me those rules apply to anyone, spiritual guru or not.

What am I missing?
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Cults, etc. 11 Jan 2016 09:14 #102052

And all genders or sexual orientations. :)
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Cults, etc. 11 Jan 2016 13:44 #102053

True enough, Chris-- the thread could equally well be re-named "Dangers of Confirmation Bias/ Cognitive Dissonance in Social Settings," with special reference to "spiritual" groups.
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Cults, etc. 12 Jan 2016 18:43 #102077

Here's some interesting material: meaningness.com/metablog/guru-papers-monism-control

<Hopefully it hasn't already been mentioned here.>
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Cults, etc. 25 Mar 2016 16:45 #103013

shargrol wrote:
Found this article, it pairs well with the previous ones, like white wine and fish...

markmanson.net/ken-wilber

I accidentally stumbled upon Wilber's Superhuman OS stuff today. At first I thought it was an elaborate prank, a rather professional one, maybe by Grandmaster Tutte Wachmeister himself. But it seems like it’s for real. Which is completely bonkers. I’m flabbergasted that there are people out there who (literally) buy such crap.

Some impressions:

Superhuman OS wrote:
… You are on this page because you are hitting a major tipping point in your psychological and spiritual evolution. …

… The truth is you have been preparing for this moment your whole life.

The time has come for you to answer this inner call, awaken your untapped potentials and step into the greatest, most empowered version of you. …

… You’re ready to leap into a new relationship with your life, one that may look and feel ‘superhuman’ when compared to your life right now.

And this isn’t just some inspirational concept. In fact, developmental researchers from around the globe have confirmed that there is a new type of evolution happening within humanity.

A small percentage of the world (approximately 5%) is breaking through to a new stage of human evolution. When you reach this new “self actualization” stage (and the stages that exist beyond it), you experience a substantial increase in efficiency, effectiveness, and capabilities far beyond that of the average person.

This is why this new level of development is referred to by some as ‘superhuman’, and you are standing at the front door to this new way of living, this new way of being. …

… This is your radioactive spider bite. This is your call to embark on the most heroic journey of your life.

Right now is the moment you begin the process of becoming your “superhuman” self. …

… There is, however, an easy way to change this. All you need is a comprehensive method to illuminate all of your potentials and understand exactly where you are in your current process of development.

You need a complete human diagnostic system, that dynamically reveals potentials in real time, all the time.

Once you know where you truly are in the spectrum of development, you can then use the tools, practices, and technologies to cultivate your dormant abilities, transform your weaknesses, and leverage your strengths in order to become the greatest possible version of yourself.

When you have this very specific, proven method you can shatter the mold you’ve been stuck in, illuminate the full array of potentials that you have, and rewrite life in the ways that are most important to you. …

… The Superhuman Operating System permanently installs in you the ability to diagnose your own growth, and dynamically activate new potentials within you, for the rest of your life.

When you upgrade your operating system, you will illuminate potentials that as of now, you don’t even know you have. And potentials that 95% of the world doesn’t even know they have. …

… There are 5 primary mental software installations to upgrade your human operating system. Once you install these 5 mental frameworks, you will discover new potentials within you. You will have a greater understanding of the world. And you will have the tools, information and practices to become the greatest possible version of yourself.

This is how you can live a “superhuman” life — by installing Superhuman OS, and cultivating the skills, talents, and capacities to be the greatest possible version of yourself. …
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Cults, etc. 25 Mar 2016 17:14 #103015

Love the quotes from Bruce Lee, Mahatma Ghandi, and Abraham Maslow.
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Cults, etc. 25 Mar 2016 21:09 #103016

Grandmaster Tutte Wachmeister himself.

Thanks Timus. This is incredible.

Edit: In the most recent post on that blog, "dorje razzler"=lodro rinzler, methinks... I feel bad cus I like Lodro, but hilarious nonetheless
Last Edit: 25 Mar 2016 21:10 by Noah.
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Cults, etc. 25 Mar 2016 22:52 #103017

Any of us could write like that, with the right professional tool...

sebpearce.com/bullshit/
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Cults, etc. 25 Mar 2016 22:59 #103018

Noah wrote:
Grandmaster Tutte Wachmeister himself.

Thanks Timus. This is incredible.

Edit: In the most recent post on that blog, "dorje razzler"=lodro rinzler, methinks... I feel bad cus I like Lodro, but hilarious nonetheless


No need to feel bad; it IS Lodro, writing biting satire.
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Cults, etc. 08 Jul 2016 18:58 #103771

Found this as part of a discussion on facebook about a series of articles written my Matthew Remski about Jivamukti and Michael Roach
Great idea. Possibly difficult to pull off if the material really resonates with you, or per discussion today with Kenneth Folk, if you've had an A&P experience with that teacher and imprinted "just like a baby duck". :blush: :P

Matthew Remski

Because it seems that the apparent content of spiritual teachings are so difficult to distinguish from their delivery mechanisms, here's a little separating-content-from-form thought experiment. It's inspired by yesterday's dialogues with Roach students, and a conversation with a social psychologist who has given expert testimony in forty cult-related court cases (I hope to publish a feature an interview with her soon):

Let's imagine for a moment that the beliefs of cultic and charismatic groups and leaders didn't matter. This would allow us to test whether the content is obscuring the nature of the relationship.

One way of doing this would be to pretend that Michael Roach was an evangelical preacher, or David Life was an ecstatic Hasidic Jew, and Sharon Gannon was a Course in Miracles life coach. We could pretend John Friend is an aerobics instructor, Pattabhi Jois taught ballet, Kaustub Desikachar invented Zumba, and Bikram Choudhury is a prosperity gospel wealth advisor.

In other words: imagine that the leader no longer purports to deliver content that already resonates with your own values and aspirations. Imagine that what they offer doesn't emotionally and somatically resonate with you -- no endorphin rush, no intimations of infinity through meditation, no bodily gratification through touch and adjustments (whether helpful, intimate, or brutal). Blow out the candles and strip down the altars. Take away the robes, the markings, the rituals, the exoticism, the orientalism, the endless discussions of tradition and authenticity, the doctrinal hairsplitting, the arguments about who knows exactly which nostril to breathe through and how hard for x result.

With all of that to the side, obvious questions can be asked: how does the leader treat other people? Do they lie, dissemble, equivocate? Do they idealize one thing and live another? Do they take advantage of their power for sexual or financial gratification? How do they encourage feedback and respond to criticism? How do they keep their supporters supporting them, emotionally and financially?
_____
Side-note: this experiment might shed light on why so many people took such great offence to Singleton's work in Yoga Body, repeatedly distorting his thesis and questioning his integrity. If the origin and content comes into question -- if Krishnamacharya was inspired by and syncretized into his methods non-Indian and fully secular forms of physical culture -- in other words, if his material does not reflect and reaffirm our values, aspirations, and idealizations, then what remains? Pretty much what everyone wants to avoid: the question of relationship -- of how the teacher actually behaved with others.
Last Edit: 08 Jul 2016 22:32 by Elizabeth. Reason: typo
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Cults, etc. 09 Jul 2016 01:17 #103772

Wow Elizabeth! Great find.
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Cults, etc. 09 Jul 2016 11:05 #103780

Matthew Remski is great. He does a lot of informed analysis of yoga, spirituality, biomechanics etc. There are a lot of crossover issues between the yoga world and meditation world (e.g. dumbing down, capitalism, and positivity, cultural appropriation, teaching quality, the purpose of practice, cults etc etc)
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Cults, etc. 10 Jul 2016 13:04 #103795

Apologies if this has been covered elsewhere, or if this is maybe not the exact thread for this:

Why does Chogyam Trungpa, in general, tend to get a free pass in conversations about this topic?
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Cults, etc. 10 Jul 2016 13:47 #103796

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Cults, etc. 10 Jul 2016 14:00 #103797

Thank you. I should clarify my question more -- when I say "in general", I am referring to the modern-day, mainstream dharma arena. Stripping the gurus has a very specific mission, and I don't consider it to be a part of that mainstream.

I'm thinking more along the lines of Buddhist Geeks (to select just one arena). That platform will go after a certain kind of cult, but in general (that phrase again!) Trungpa is afforded a certain level of reverence.
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Cults, etc. 10 Jul 2016 14:34 #103799

Maybe Trungpa gets a pass for not having established a cult, really.

Did he do some outrageous things? For sure! Did he do a few abhorrent things, like the incident with the poet and his partner? Unquestionably.

But he didn't fleece and disempower his entire sangha. On the contrary, he established several ongoing lineages of scholar-teachers, founded a university and publishing enterprises, and generally accomplished a great deal in bringing Vajrayana to the US and the West. He had numerous consorts, but took "No" for an answer and never pretended to be either monastic or monogamous-- that wasn't his tradition.

And his cavalier disregard of his health and body is sad, puzzling, but also within his tradition.
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Cults, etc. 10 Jul 2016 14:46 #103800

Point taken. A lot of good stuff did come out of that.

At the same time, when you look at it all on paper (I'd throw in the behavior of the regent and the alleged claims around his condition coming from both the regent himself and (allegedly) Trungpa, as well as all of the weird-ass military-style stuff), there are *lots* of cult-y indicators.

I would extend these observations to the more current efforts of his lineage to dress up and mythologize his history (I find Reggie Ray's description of Trungpa's early history in his audio series to be unintentionally hilarious at best and severely misleading at worst, considering the amount of context left out of the narrative).
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Cults, etc. 11 Jul 2016 06:41 #103803

There is a bit of a "cult of personality" around Trungpa and I agree that most people highlight aspects of his life and leave other aspects out.

One curiosity for me is I really was drawn to his books... but when I started seeing videos of him, I was completely turned off. Seemed pretentious. (Heh, the book was better than the movie :) )

I can apologize for him, recognize the shape of his life -- here is someone who literally came from the highest strata in the middle ages and was thrown into the swinging 60s! He made things happen with that background and in that context. But his entitled top-down behavior still rubs me the wrong way, even though I can recognize that attitude as being one of the sources of his accomplishments.

I think if he had lived longer, he may have become "the old dog" or "the rock in the field" guru to his students (described in the last pages of Spiritual Materialism). In other words, they would have fully become their own people and he would have become just another rock in the field, just another person. But he died young, basically at his own hand, and most of his students weren't "done".
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Cults, etc. 11 Jul 2016 12:41 #103810

shargrol wrote:
...the book was better than the movie :)....

Ha. Perfect! His books are great.
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Cults, etc. 13 Apr 2018 20:26 #108775

So I just finished watching the new documentary series "Wild Wild Country" on Netflix. I grew up in central Oregon not far from where this all happened (The establishment of the Rashneesh cult run by the guru later known as Osho) -- I was in upper elementary school when it all went down.

It was an incredible series. So much food for thought. My jaw dropped throughout and slammed into the floor somewhere around the halfway point of the third episode. Recommended.
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