Watching the sentencing of Madoff today, i was mindful of one who won’t get caught, and may even yet get to leave behind a legacy of pure deception: E.J. Gold.
Don’t let it happen!
Debriefing the Gurdjieff work
Watching the sentencing of Madoff today, i was mindful of one who won’t get caught, and may even yet get to leave behind a legacy of pure deception: E.J. Gold.
Don’t let it happen!
With reference to previous post, we should note that this blog, behind its cult critique has been precisely about this type of non-experience that James refers to.
And in the Gurdjiff circle this takes a dangerous form.
22.06.09 at 9:36 am ·
Actually, I doubt it is beyond our perceptual consciousness. I rarely tell anybody about it, but I’ve actually had the experience (it happened over a few months when I was in my mid-twenties and four of my friends who are/were feet on the ground, pragmatic types also experienced it). I won’t go into the details but whatever it was definitely seemed to be sentient and to have a personality. My own speculation is that “consciousness” and “life” has a broader range of manifestation in space-time than is currently believed.
Your point is well taken but it is important to remember that Kant spoke only the internal categories of the understanding, in his terminology, and the way these structure experience. There are ways to detect something that is beyond the constructs of experience, but that doesn’t really change Kant’s point.
Discussion continutes at Darwiniana: MBFM comments at Darwiniana on Does religion have a monopoly on ‘enchantment’?
I came across this link, from a Hinduism yahoo group email.
After a while I begin to get suspicious of these ‘tirades’; they sound convincing, but somehow the ‘obvious’ gets lost. Anyway, for what it’s worth…
Jung reminds me sometimes of J.G.Bennett: an extremely intelligent man whose facility mixed with gullibility proves his undoing.
Bennett, like Jung, absorbed an immense amount of this and that but was betrayed by the concealed ‘fascist’ elements or strains that he picked up in omnivorous searches.
Jung’s theory in the end is flawed, the reason I tend to stay away from him.
Seeing, as MBFM, most usefully points out, that Jung is not discovering so much as recycling gives me a sense of the partial rightness of my judgment.
Jung, of course, is a parallel ‘universe’ next to that other fraud, Sigmund Freud.
We need to see the environment of the time, as MBFM indeed suggests, in his citations, and that includes the occult renaissance, Nietzsche, Wagner, and the branch of the New Age movement arising in Germany at that period.
It all seems a degeneration from the acute insights of Schopenhauer. Freud, Nietzsche and to a lesser to degree Wagner (who was a musician not a philosopher) tend to demonstrate the rapid decline of the Kantian tradition, which holds a key to the real way to resolve these issues of psyche and unconscious.
These people thus fail to arrive at a coherent spiritual psychology, and the result shows.
Comment on Doniger’s Hinduism
11.06.09 at 3:24 pm ·
Overall, I thought it was a great book. Her work can be eccentric, but it still doesn’t deserve the vituperation from the Hindu right. One would think that people would be glad to have someone separate the historical strands of their tradition in order to help them snap out of their confusions, but instead we get reactions like this (right wing Christians respond similarly):
15.06.09 at 9:45 am ·
Dear nemo, I published an article about Richard Noll’s study of CG Jung’s social background.
Just now I found this article, which summarizes Noll very nicely and adds to your collection.
And…by golly, there is a reference here to correspondance between Jung and a student of his. The student was interested in the work of Ouspenksy and…Jung advanced some most peculiar reasons to avoid getting involved with Ouspensky’s material…based on racialist Germanic Volkishismus ideology..that there is something toxic for Aryan Europeans in Russian ideas.
(the entire article is worth reading. But here is an excerpt)
(quote)Jews had allegedly lost their pagan roots so long ago that they no longer had access to the collective unconscious. By contrast, Germanic peoples had lost their paganism at a relatively late date, roughly 500 to 1100 AD. Thus the pagan collective unconscious lay close enough to the psychological surface that it could still be dug up if only one were persistent enough. Since for Jung being in touch with the collective unconscious is a precondition for psychological health, Germanic types like himself are potentially healthier than Jews.
This idea is scientifically unsound, as it confuses what can be learned with what can be biologically inherited. It also links psychological health more to one ethnic group than another and could easily provide a rationale for anti- Semitism. Jung tended to think of the collective unconscious in racial terms until late in his life. About 1936, when he was already 60, he realized that a stress on this aspect of his thought would not go over well in the English speaking world where Jung thought he could find the greatest number of disciples. In fact, his views about an essentially Aryan collective unconscious put him close to the kinds of things that Hitler was saying.
The Letter to Constance Long
I am not making this up. Here is a letter he wrote December 17, 1921 to Constance Long, an important American disciple then living in England. (TAC, 258-59). Long had begun to come under the influence of exiled Russian mystic Ouspensky, and Jung correctly feared that he would lose her allegiance to Ouspensky at a time when she was important to his desire to expand his influence in the English speaking world. Jung wrote:
Gnosis should be an experience of your own life, a plant grown on your own tree. Foreign gods are a sweet poison, but the vegetable gods you have raised in your own garden are nourishing. They are perhaps less beautiful but they have [illegible].
You shall not make totems of foreign trees [ ]. No one shall keep you else you trespass your limits; but blessed be the place where we meet the beginning of our limitations. Beyond one’s frontiers there is not but illusion and misery, because there you arrive in a country of the wrong ancestor spirits and the wrong charms . . .
Why do you look for foreign teachings [i.e., the Russian’s]? They are poisons, they did not come out of your blood. You should be on your own feet, and you have your own rich earth below them. Why should you listen to the word of a man who is off his own soil [Ouspensky was in exile]? Truth is tree with roots. It is not words. Truth only grows in your own garden, nowhere else.
Only feeble men eat the food of a stranger. But your people need a strong man, one who gets his truth in his own roots and out of his own blood. . . . ”
After Hitler, who also spoke incessantly of soil and blood and portrayed himself as a strong man, this document is an embarrassment for the most devout English-speaking Jungians. But there’s no mistaking how Jung is thinking here. When he appeals to Long to be true to her own roots, he means the Aryan (or Indo-Germanic) roots. His point is not that Long should be loyal to her American or English roots, as distinct from Germanic roots. In fact Long was until then among Jung’s most loyal disciples; and he is an ethnic German who happens to be a citizen of Switzerland.
Jung thought that Germans, English, and Anglo-Americans were all part of the Germanic family tree. The Jews, in his view, had been civilized too long–uprooted from the soil. The Russians were polluted by too much Asian/Mongolian blood. Jung thought his kind of analysis will get (Aryan) people in touch with their roots, still latent inside them, and restore their wholeness.
Jung shared these ideas with a number of individuals who became Nazis. This is not to say that Jung was a Nazi. But he made one of the same basic errors that Nazism made: he failed to distinguish acquired cultural characteristics from inherited biological ones. It is understandable that Jung, like many intelligent Germans, could be confused on this question early in the 20th century when the science of genetics was barely getting started. But he continued to believe in it into the 1950’s, according to Noll; and this is strong evidence of the fundamentally problematic nature of his key concepts.
15.06.09 at 9:20 am ·
I am in the midst of reading a book entitled ‘The Jung Cult: The Origins of a Charismatic Movement’ by Francis Noll
I appreciate some of the Jung material, but decided, before getting more deeply involved, to try and learn something about Jung’s social context. I want to be able to appreciate and use ideas and methodologies, but remain adult and autonomous in relation to such methods and such systems.
I want to be appreciative but not to become an inmate of anyone’s system, no matter how useful I happen to find it for my own private use.
Noll’s book is of the utmost value, even if one does not happen to be interested in Jung’s work. Noll shows us a method we can use to become and remain adult in relation to charismatic guru figures.
Noll studied the history, culture and sociology of the place and time and ideas that formed Jung’s own social context, and that of Sigmund Freud. He also utilizes the work of Weber and suggests, very forcefully that Jung did not in the end function as a scientist, but created a society of discipleship around himself.
Now, what is of interest to Darwiniana’s readers is that Noll gives us a terrific list of sources that can applied very much further than even the career of Jung.
1) Noll shows us that the 1890s to 1920s were especially fertile for elitist study circles and reform societies. He focuses on Central and German speaking Europe and desribes many of the Volkish philosophies that were in vogue–various belief systems that people were formed by their countries and terrains of upbringing, that Germans had a special root to their northern geography, versus Jews and others who were rootless, and genetically orginated from desert areas.
Noll has a lot to say about Neitszche. He commented that there was no single movement that derived from N. That people were inspired by him but too their inspirations and invoked his name as part many, many different trends of influence.
Noll also described the impact of Wagner–Wagner was also part of this Teutonic revival moment and wanted to create an opera house that would actually be a site for an initiatory/tranformational experience in which Germans would get ecstatically in touch with their ancestral energies by making pilgrimage to Bayreuth, and then listening to the Wagnerian Ring Cycle of operas, to emerge thrilled, exalted and transformed….
Some of these volkish philosophies remained benign. But others went on to form ideological roots of National Socialism–Nazism.
Noll also utlizes Webers methodology to desribe the process by which Jung and Steiner and Keyserling, became charismatic leaders of their study circles and then, after their deaths, how their charisma became ‘routinized’ and institutionalized as a source of legitimation for successors (eg the various Gurdjieff spin off groups today)
Noll also tells us about the appeal of such elitist study groups, in which members considered themselves outsiders, but with a special destiny, set apart from and in opposition to mainstream society.
Finally, I must mention yet another thing I found a revelation. Noll told how these volkische movements and societies created a seekers scene in Southern Germany and especially Switzerland, a terrain that included Kusensacht, where Jung lived, Bollingen, Ascona, and Burgholzi, the town in which Jung trained and practiced psychiatry at the local asylum.
According to Noll, people pushed themselves too hard, were at risk of suffering breakdowns, and some for whom such breakdowns were severe would have landed at Burgholzi psych ward–where Jung practiced.
So when Jung reported solar symbols and mandalas amongst the halluciantions of his schizophrenic patients–he does not always tell us whether these people had been pre-exposed to elements of Volkish philosophy, with its emphasis on solar symbols, runes, nordic myths and images.
So some of Jungs schizophrenic patients may *not* have been ideologically naive at all–some of them may well have arrived at Burgholzi psych ER with their heads already full of material from Teutonic revivalist fantasies, and were, even if temporariliy, inpatients in a clinic situated in the 19th to early 20th Century Swiss equivalent of Marin County, San Francisco, Sedona, Arizona, Totness in Devon, UK, or Byron Bay, Australia–all nodes on today’s seekers circuit!.
According to Noll, this really was a proto hippie scene of sorts. People hiked, sometimes strenuously, dieted, tried what drugs were available in those days, went on Teutonic vision quests.
This may still be the case today, because some weeks ago, in the news, there was a story about upcoming elections in Appenzell, a conservative canton in the Alps, located in a lovely and famous area which has attracted many hikers from other German speaking countries. The Appenzellers were angry because many visitors from Germany were hiking in the nude, and refused to give respect to the modesty of the local culture.
So the citizens of Appenzell voted to make nude hiking illegal in their area.
This to me shows that the brutish visitors had no respect for the modest people who make their homes in Appenzell’s mountains. The selfish visitors were probably following a vision of private bliss, caring only about their private concepts of place and rootedness, feeling free to disrobe caring only for the beauty of the mountains.
The people who had lived in Appenzell were part of German culture. They’d lived amidst those mountains for centuries. They disapproved of public nudity–but as far as the vistors were concerned, the Appenzellers could be ignored.
Only the landcape mattered to the visitors. The people for whom that landcape was indeed home–mattered nothing. Such is the selfishness of any ideology, even volkishmus, when taken to extremes.
So I say all this to encourage people to appreciate ideas and even systems, but remain adult in relation to them. Find out the social background and ambitions of whoever created a system that fascinates you.
And especially do this before you become too emotionally and financially involved.
Noll tells us that Jungs American students would have lacked the cultural and linguistic background to know about Jungs ideological roots in Volkish revivalist philosophies.
And later in his career, Jung published and taught much more in English, and became to emphasize alchemy, the Grail myth and gnosticism, shifting his earlier Volkische interests into the background.
Nolls can help us take a similar adult and autonomous stance in relation to our own intellectual and spiritual mentors. He make it clear that Jung created a most interesting body of ideas. But he also makes it clear that too much of this was based on Jungs personal charisma and tight control, making it a context in which the material could not be tested scientifically.
And, ironically for a man who spoke of individuation, Jung offered himself as the role model of individuation. To be truly loyal to Jung, one must avoid
being charismatically beguilled by him. In a way, Noll has taken a true individual path–because publishing his book probably brought him real hardship, perhaps even hatred from persons charismatically invested in Jung, and unwilling to become adults in relation to their admired role model.
Hats off and my best bow to Richard Noll. He gives us a method by which to assist us to appreciate someone’s ideas, yet at the same time avoid the trap of discipleship–to learn from someone while keeping control of our projections, our energies–psychologically, emotionally and even financially–and at a time when finances of are of the utmost importance to us all. .
Note: Noll has extensive footnotes and mentions James Webb as a most valuable source of information–most noteably Webb’s book The Occult Establishment.
An essay on religion/secularism debate by Wolin
Much of the action in the Gurdjieff movement is a concealed preview of what we are seeing now: the anti-modernist reaction.
It is worth following the whole argument, and it is also good to be aware that the Gurdjieff version is slyly concealed.
14.06.09 at 8:36 am
There is a Buddhist quotation that seems more reliable:
You cannot find freedom by replacing one illusion with another illusion.
It is a hard lesson for many of these liberal New Agers, and followers of Gurdjieff, to discover the extreme reactionary character of the man, and of his follower Ouspensky, who made the point clear if anyone has the attention to look at his plain statements.
For example, Ouspensky would ‘mutter’ about ‘criminal sudras’ in reference to leftist political figures.
If someone dislikes a leftist that’s one thing. But to call them ‘criminal sudras’ is a bit much, a sign of the state of mind of such nineteenth century reactionaries.
(Sudras were the low caste in the Code of Many caste system). Ouspensky’s Psychology of Evolution with its praise of Manu and Hinduism’s caste system should have blown the whistle, but did not.
It’s not just part of the background scenery.
14.06.09 at 9:11 am ·
It appears that Cagliostro learned some techniques that would be recognizable today as forms of trance induction. In reading sustained descriptions of Cagliostro in Frances Mossiker’s book, The Queens Necklace, one strategy used by Cagliostro was to bombard a person with questions, to which the person repeatedly would answer yes, or agree to.
Today, this technique is known to professional hypnotists as the ‘Yes Set’. It has been found that if someone is led to say ‘yes’ repeatedly, it then becomes harder for the target to make a refusal.
The ‘yes set’ has been appropriated by less than ethical sales persons…and also by persons doing speed-seduction.
Cagliostro also gestured with his hands, a technique used by many stage magicians to this day, used children as mediums, and had a talent for identifying a person’s most profound obsessions and yearnings–what in modern terms is called psychological operations. We also cannot rule out that he may have been adept at doing espionage so as to learn ahead of time about persons and areas where he planned to operate.
There is yet another technique, known in modern times as ‘cold questioning’, very likely used by Cagliostro. It is a way to quiz people so as to elicit personal information from them without seeming to do so. It is utilized quite successfully by tarot card readers, palm readers, and possibly by persons utilizing bogus gadgets such as the much-vaunted enneagram.
One can utilize cold questioning and then make it seem one has psychic ablities has ‘read’ targets mind, when all one has done is adroitly elicit information.
A former New Age healer, reveals that one can do cold reading quite sincerely, not even knowing one is doing it.
Karla McLaren writes ‘I was never taught cold reading and I never intended to defraud anyone – I simply picked up the technique through cultural osmosis. ”
It is very interesting that someone has come over from the other side and reports that one can practice this technique, not even knowing what it is, and make the mistake of believing one has some sort of psychic talent.
Karla McLaren, a former New Age healer who has since repudiated this line of work and has gone on to do academic studies in sociology, wrote:
“I knew many psychics and alternative healers who seemed to be very good at what they did, and I directly experienced healings and psychic readings that I couldn’t logically refute.
In that period, it would have been wonderful to come upon skeptical and critical thinking techniques, but alas, critical thinking wasn’t taught in my high school. I didn’t even know the category existed! When I went to junior college, I took geometry and logic for my critical thinking courses and thus I missed out on the subject once again.
“In my education, I didn’t gain the skills I needed to help me understand what was occurring when New Age and metaphysical ideas and techniques *seemed to work.* My empirical experience “proved” the validity of things like psychic skills, auras, chakras, contact with the dead, astrology, and the like – and I had very little in my intellectual arsenal at that time to help me understand what was truly occurring.
McClaren tells us this:
“For instance, an understanding of cold reading would have helped me a great deal. I never knew what cold reading was, and until I saw professional magician and debunker Mark Edward use cold reading on an ABC News special last year, I didn’t understand that I had long used a form of cold reading in my own work! I was never taught cold reading and I never intended to defraud anyone – I simply picked up the technique through cultural osmosis. ”
Cagliostro made it hard for high ranking people to gain access to him, and once one did, that person would be warned that Cagliostro was moody and apt to go into rages if he felt insulted by someone’s doubts. This forced a visitor to be passive, to be afraid of making a wrong move…putting them at a disadvantage in relation to the man. Even perceptive and skeptical persons found themselves impressed by him.
Detailed descriptions of Cagliostro given by contemporary witnesses are available in Mossiker’s book ‘The Queen’s Necklace’ a 400 plus page tome that quotes at length from 18th century witnesses. If one has the patience to read this vast book, he or she will learn something about the social context of the times, and also the emotional climate–the material, even the legal briefs written by the attorneys, are influenced by the new cult of romantic sensibility which had begun to take hold in Europe, a cult of public displays of emotion, an interest in psychology and in affairs of the heart.
But Iain MaCalman, unlike Mossiker, could focus much more closely on Cagliostro, and supplies detailed descriptions of ritual theatrics designed by Cagliostro, and the book has pictures of a series of drawings for paintings Cagliostro commissioned to adorn his projected Egyptian Freemasonry lodge.
Two more comments from Mr. Hercules Washington.
Mr. Washington, I will give you two more comments, then be on your way. If you don’t like our critiques of gurus, then you will have to live with it.
Your criticisms are off the mark. By your own admission you have no involvement or knowledge of Gurdjieff. And it appears you care not to use a pseudonym, a sign in itself.
So what is the basis of your defense? The usual deceptive garbage that started with ISOM.
This blog is intended for those who can snap out of the dangerous vulnerability that Ouspensky’s (unwitting) propaganda (and that of others) puts them in. It is a dangerous situation where the victims have had no public recourse. They are simply discarded people, silenced further by enforcers like you.
This line of critique began at Darwiniana, with some emails/comments from ‘Sillykitty’, a respondent warned something was awry (re: E.J. Gold, thence Gurdjieff) by my Amazon reviews of Gurdjiff/Ouspensky. He was helped to work through PTSD from the spiritual rape he endured via the Gold strain. This situation of his fiinally made it into Wikipedia.
So this is not about me, about whom you know nothing whatsoever, but the next generation of the vulnerable, and others with pseudonyms who can summon up the courage to defy that ‘great soul of yours’, the vampire Gurdjieff.
We leave that future generation with a caveat emptor with respect to Gurdjieff groups, which are now self-sustaining spiritual profit ops against the steady flow of suckers, and the endless imitators or predatory cooptors like Gold.
It is not your business to come here and disrupt this effort, which in any case is too intangible for your understanding.
You have had your say, now you are done.
This blog has reached a lot of people, and I hope been helpful.
It can help those who are on the fringes of secular society with cult awareness information (as with the good work of MBFM) and with those who like Sillykitty suddenly impinge on the shadow zone and fear for their sanity.
So let us to our business. We are breaking no laws, and owe nothing of respect to degenerates like Gurdjieff and the rest of the gangster sufism circuit.
hercules washington said,
11.06.09 at 9:08 am ·
Now, while there are without doubt plenty of false ‘gurus’ and bogus saints a project such as this intent on demolishing the whole subject in fact is delivering falsehood and lies. It’s the embodiment of the very evil it purports to decry.
It’s also futile, you might as well argue that ‘marriage’ is pointless. These are things of the heart and no amount of warnings will deter people from embarking on them.
The whole blog is a monument to anger, hate, and quixotic folly.
Where has anything done in this spirit contributed anything great to mankind?
You set yourself in judgement over many many groups and ‘teachers’.
Therefore you clearly think you know more. You see yourself as the great guru of all. Yet you have numerous simple facts upside down. This doesn’t seem to matter one iota to you – when corrected you deny with even more outrageous and imagined assertions.
Any project that sets it philosophy as a beacon of truth needs to be impeccable itself where facts are concerned.
The whole thing is childish nonsense.
hercules washington said,
11.06.09 at 1:10 am · In every sphere in life there are cons. Though there are many cons in the religious field it does not follow that it is all a con.
So for those who suggest that, you are hopelessly naive.
I am not a Gurdjieff follower of any shape, but I can tell you that George Gurdjieff was a great soul. His own work here was unusual for reasons particular to him but often real teachers like G. can provoke extreme reactions in people. These reactions are desperate attempts of the false ego to preserve itself. Though of course it doesn’t feel like to to the one experiencing it.
If you have that experience and get stuck there then it means you are not ready to progress at that point.
Broadly speaking, among sincere aspirants, there is universal respect for Gurdjieff.
Finding yourself in a small clique declaring that it is all evil leaves you in that position………….a minority crank. It’s not my intention to offend. I am being direct, this is how the normal person will see it. Like the various other misguided cranks out there – the 9/11 conspiracy, the moon landings were a hoax etc.
There are many such. As there are many mad sects.
I will finish here shortly. I iterate, you have completely failed to understand the matter.