Bennett reference in Cohen review

Posted in Uncategorized at 1:27 pm

My review of Cohen’s book summoned up Bennett’s The Dramatic Universe. I had mixed feelings about citing him here, since he has his own confusions, but Bennett uniquely produced a correct outline of human evolution in the context of greater evolution. And then he introduced a lot of speculations that may have spoiled what he did. But the issue is not a la Cohen the path of ‘spiritual enlightenment’, but the evolution of homo erectus into homo sapiens, and the myseterious spiritual dimension that entered homo sapiens at the start.
We may need to go over Bennett here again, since he does things beautifully for a while, then goes of the deep end with his science fiction streak. Etc…

Being wary of Andrew Cohen/and the need for gentile gurus

Posted in Uncategorized at 1:19 pm

It may be time to go over our Cohen discussion again: this fellow is in the process of doing some real harm, in part because Deepak Chopra gave him a plug. His useless book will spread a lot of confusion to new readers. The case of Cohen has been hashed over for twenty years plus, and he has taken up almost a whole generation of people’s time, to no avail, and zero result. Best to forget him and move on, and demand/wait for new gurus who have grown naturally in real soil, instead of this hothouse fake created by an ambitious hanger on near the Ramana Maharsi ashram. The psychology of that Indian manipulator was analyzed by Cohen’s mother, who figured out very early what was going on, and that Indian shit head deserves rebuke for the immense confusion, and finally suffering/delusion he inflicted on Cohen. He also filled Cohen with an ambition, and an obstinate attachment to the immensely valuable credentials that fell on his head out of the blue, and which he didn’t deserve.
There is another issue that finally came to me, but it is too dangerously tasteless to discuss, almost. But we should anyway: the Jewish preference syndrome. It is totally obvious in Tibetan buddhism, and in many other cases, like EJ Gold, and Lee Lozowick. The fad to elevate jews to gurudom began in the sixties, and it must have hit the guru of Cohen that he should try to zap a jewish New Ager, in clear imitation of the Lozowick case, et al. That is a dangerous and unfair thing to do (and it is made worse by the Hindus chauvinism lurking in the background of some who think Jews and brahmins should band together to create a new spiritual monopoly) and clearly the whole game backfired with Cohen. Everyone sensed at once that something was amiss, starting with his mother.
I can’t finally resolve this sad case, but I think that it is time to simply move on from this mess. Another issue makes the whole thing uglier still: the murder of Rajneesh was on everyone’s mind in the period that Cohen emergede, and I have to suspect another possibility: that the gurus from India would all go home and leave placeholders in America. Looking at a figure like Muktananada and the ease with which he was unconsciously hypnotized into a sex scandal was an eye opener for many: time to hightail it back to India. Zapping a snotnosed kind like Cohen for the home front must have seemed clever at the time.

First, no more Jewish preference syndrome. Jews are often smart, and their talents are needed and welcome, but smarts are not the key to enlightenment (actually Cohen’s guru cleverly chose a ‘dumb jew’ since people who are too intellectual are unwanted, as the smarts sector was taken over by Ken Wilbur, a clever operation really).
My point: if a jewish person reaches true enlightenment there will be no problem, and that person will know at oncee that his jewish identity is a dead thing to be cast aside.
But at this point I think we need some gentile gurus. All we can do is wait. I think that jews should look at Rajneesh ashram and the way it cleverly got jewish smarts into action behind the one-way valve of sannyasin initiation.
Much of the problem here is also true of Christians. We need people who stand on a neutral base to create some real New Age leadership. After the Cohen fiasco, the damage is great, and will persist for a long time. And you can betcha your bottom dollar that a gentile on the verge of enlightenment will get the shock of his life form the occult operators (like EJ Gold) who specialize in destroying spiritual paths.

Meanwhile, the case of Cohen shows the dangers of hanging around gurus: you must move on your own path, like Rajneesh did, even as you somehow become a disciple of all of them.
In any case, Jewish/Christian identity is something you leave behind.

Richard on self

Posted in Uncategorized at 12:48 pm

Richard comment on self.
I think that one can get too confused on the issue: speculating about the self/no-self is a substitute for meditation, which, alone, can take one to the realm beyond neural idiocy squared otherwise called the phenomenal self (not the noumenal).

Richard 2011/09/20 at 9:54 am
“What would it mean for us to truly understand that this thing we call “self” is a fiction, not only from a philosophical perspective but from a scientific one? What kind of impact could that realization have on the way we structure our economy, our health care system, our government, and even our relationships with each other, with those “different” from us, and with the Earth?”

One problem in New Age Buddhist circles is that they confuse and unwittingly mix Freudian conceptions of the ego with Buddhist views on the “self.” Consequently, the “self” is something that is always negative and should be destroyed. The Buddhist concept in isolation is about how the mind continually fabricates karmic formations and states of becoming and how to transcend the process…not about whether the “self” is evil or not.

I’ve met people who’ve don’t have a strong sense of self and think they’re one with all things: all of them are drug addicts and I have no desire to be like any of them.

“What would it mean for us to truly understand that this thing we call “self” is a fiction, not only from a philosophical perspective but from a scientific one? What kind of impact could that realization have on the way we structure our economy, our health care system, our government, and even our relationships with each other, with those “different” from us, and with the Earth?”

One problem in New Age Buddhist circles is that they confuse and unwittingly mix Freudian conceptions of the ego with Buddhist views on the “self.” Consequently, the “self” is something that is always negative and should be destroyed. The Buddhist concept in isolation is about how the mind continually fabricates karmic formations and states of becoming and how to transcend the process…not about whether the “self” is evil or not.

I’ve met people who’ve don’t have a strong sense of self and think they’re one with all things: all of them are drug addicts and I have no desire to be like any of them.


More on Cohen book

Posted in Uncategorized at 12:45 pm


Motre on Cohen review at Darwiniana.


Review of Andrew Cohen book on ‘spiritual enlightenment’

Posted in Uncategorized at 3:20 pm

I just reviewed Andrew Cohen’s new book, at Amazon. I cut and paste the text to park it here, till the review appears (if it does). Will discuss tommorrow

This is how your review will appear:

3.0 out of 5 stars The muddle over evolution, September 28, 2011
John C. Landon “nemonemini” (New York City) – See all my reviews
Amazon Verified Purchase(What’s this?)
This review is from: Evolutionary Enlightenment: A New Path to Spiritual Awakening (Hardcover)
The idea of evolution suffers from a certain incoherence due to the multiple almost predatory efforts to close in and control the idea for a certain agenda. The social Darwinist and economic ideologies claiming Darwinism are apparent from the study of cultural history. Beginning in the nineteenth century with Blavatsky, and a critique of Darwin, a new version of the attempt to control the evolutionary concept took off at the beginnings of the modern New Age movement. The figure Gurdjieff in a rival but parallel equivalent also adopted an unstated and crypto-social-darwinist version of the idea, not entirely distant (though not the same as) Nietzsche’s take on the idea. The occulted aspect of this genocidal and fascist legacy is hard to untangle. Cohen’s interpretation seems to resemble this second tradition in a deliberated innocence of the interpretation, but stating nothing about the complex and dangerous background to the muddle of evolutionary thought.
The usage of Cohen (which resembles various strains of ‘conscious evolution’ in several New Age figures, e.g. Barbara Hubbard) is as false as what it replaces, and leaves the reader somewhat nervous about what is omitted. We need more than New Age platitudes given the dark legacy of ‘evolutionary enlightenment’, e.g. the mass murder envisioned by the Nietschean on the way to the ‘overman’. Nietzsche, as we can see, was hopelessly confused by Darwin, even in his critique of that figure. The idea of evolution has thus become almost schizophrenically muddled from different sides. The idea of ‘spiritual evolution’ is not necessarily a false one, but the attempt to make it into some kind of adjunct to spiritual practice, indeed, as here, the path of enlightenment,confuses the whole idea. The fact of evolution is visible in deep time in the progression of fossil forms. The dynamic behind this remains elusive and still unknown to us. The issue is not ‘spiritual evolution’, but the evolution, as Alfred Wallace sensed it, of the human potential to self-realization, in the complex instrument of consciousness that emerged with homo sapiens. The potential to ‘enlightenment’ so-called clearly became a difficult but marginally realizable possibility for this new ‘chimpanzee’ (the third, pace, Jared Diamond) who arises in the wake of homo erectus. Understanding this moment of organismic transformation (which looks awfully like the ‘spiritual evolution’ Cohen is striving to understand) is simply beyond our science, and beyond our New Age gurus. The dynamics of that potential and the ‘how’ of its evolution remain unknown to us. But to posit some ‘evolutionary impulse’ behind this is simply metaphysical speculation on Cohen’s part. Another line of analysis lies with J. G. Bennett’s depiction in Vol 4 of The Dramatic Universe, where he distinguishes ‘animal consciousness’ and the ‘cosmic’ factor of universal conscious energy. That speculative matrix is entirely up in the air, but it suggests a cogent solution to the riddle: consciousness doesn’t evolve at all, rather, man evolved to the point where he could tune to a cosmic energy. This is admittedly as speculative as the rest of it (I am not as such in agreement with Bennett), but Bennett suggests a number of clues to what is really a HARD problem, in the phrasing of the scientific psychologists studying consciousness. More generally the ‘evolution’ of man is a ‘becoming into material realms’, while the potential to endlightenment is a countermovement against evolution into enlightenment, liberation. The spiritual psychology of Bennett, despite its sufi sources, shows a strong influence from that first of New Agers, Schopenhauer, who was also the last not confused by the idea of evolution, or the coming of Darwin. Despite his metaphysical bent, he correctly laid the (semantic) foundations of neo-buddhism (unwittingly in this strange naif)by suggesting that the path of release from the labyrinth of the ‘Will’ was in transcending by the individual of the ‘will’ in nature. That variant of the First Noble Truth seems more realistic than the bromide slogans of the current New Agers.

This ‘hard’ problem includes the mystery, not just of consciousness, but of the human will (or lack of it) and much else,e.g. language, and its unknown evolution. It seems that the ‘evolution’ of human spirituality was thus accomplished at the earliest stage of man’s emergence, and that human potential has remained constant ever since. The real evolution to a new species of man with a different consciousness is a project so vast and difficult as to transcend human abilities. But man does ALREADY have a remarkable potential to ‘enlightenment’ built into his already evolved psyche. What the future holds is unknown, but we should stand back and declare our agnostic wonder at the real enigma of man’s evolution.
We should note in passing (since this review is getting long, I will continue in the comments, perhaps)that the ‘spiritual evolution’ of man is visible in world history, as in the dramatic evidence of the Axial Age. Clearly a macroevolution process stands behind the emergence of two world religions, and this tells us that it transcends enlightenment. There is something higher and deeper than enlightenment, which is a cosmic groundstate for man. The real evolution here is therefore something that remains science fiction to us, and is totally beyond our current powers as it involves global action over tens of millennia. Let us therefore be wary of ‘gurus’ who want to tell us what ‘evolution’ is. The cosmic nature of evolution is still beyond the ken of the ‘chimpanzees’, first to third, and last. A recent guru (Da Free John) got a lot of this wrong also, but he spoke well when he referred to our spiritual ignorance: we don’t know what anything is, and that includes ‘evolution’. There is a certain justice to that, since the idea of ‘evolution’ has been turned into a dangerous instrument of eugenic genocide in the hands of Darwinian lunatics, with New Age madmen no doubt no far behind in the totally misguided hope they will transform humanity unaided into the ‘overman’. Time for some ‘evolutionary disarmament’ and some fox hole self-defense against freaky monsters trying to evolve us, in Darwinian or other fashion.
You guys are nuts, apes! Sorry, what I meant was, you guys are apes, nuts!


Buddhism and the End of Economic Growth

Posted in Uncategorized at 10:45 am

“We are seeing a perfect storm of converging crises that together represent a watershed moment in the history of our species. We are witnesses to, and participants in, a transition from decades of growth to decades of economic contraction.” –Richard Heinberg

“True development is in harmony with the needs of people and the rhythms of the natural world. Humans are part of the universe, not its masters. This awareness of the interrelatedness of all things, as expressed in Buddhism, is also lived in the traditions of indigenous peoples throughout the world.” –Sulak Sivaraksa

It is increasingly obvious that natural limitations will soon force economic growth to cease. Although this view has been well-studied for at least 40 years, it still remains largely unexamined by the mainstream media. National leaders and corporate CEOs continue to insist that the economy is the true heartbeat of human society, and its growth is the only valid measure of social progress. From this perspective there is very little difference between the top levels of government and the top levels of corporate management. Both are preoccupied with promoting endless growth, because both believe in what Adam Smith called the “invisible hand” of the market, which magically transcends physical and biological limits.

As Dan Hamburg concluded in 1997 from his years as a U.S. Congressman, “The real government of our country is economic, dominated by large corporations that charter the state to their bidding. Fostering a secure environment in which corporations and their investors can flourish is the paramount objective of both [political] parties.” Back in 1932, Huey Long expressed this colorfully: “They’ve got a set of Republican waiters on one side and a set of Democratic waiters on the other side, but no matter which set of waiters brings you the dish, the legislative grub is all prepared in the same Wall Street kitchen.”

However, something more powerful than an invisible hand is turning our economic assumptions upside down. Economic growth remains blocked. The so-called “recovery” of the last two years (recovery for the banks and Wall Street, not for the rest) has stalled. The official explanation blames the vast accumulation of financial debt. But there are other long-term obstacles to growth that are even more difficult to address, especially the shock of resource depletion. Since the 1970s there has been a recession every time the price of oil passes $80 per barrel. An increasing number of environmental disasters are resulting from oil drilling and nuclear power generation. Large-scale global warming impacts have already appeared in Russia, Pakistan, China, Africa and Australia — and Texas. The consequences include major reductions in crop yields that are driving up world food prices.

As Richard Heinberg points out, these are converging crises. They will compel our civilization to re-think the way it understands the relationship between the economy and the rest of the biosphere. Sooner or later, we will have to adopt a sane and well-reasoned “steady state” economy that operates mindfully within the Earth’s resource and energy budget. Although you would not guess it from the mainstream media, our contemporary obsession with economic growth is already a “dead man walking.”

Thai Buddhist elder Sulak Sivaraksa believes the future of the world must include interconnectedness, which for him is a spiritual perspective that dwells in the human heart. Globalization preaches the interdependence of nations, but that type of economic interconnectedness functions in a very different way: in Asia it has brought free-market fundamentalism, environmental degradation, and the destruction of Buddhist culture and values by consumerism. The same inner corrosion has been happening in “overdeveloped” as well as in “underdeveloped” countries. Individuals are induced by advertising to earn more to acquire more, creating an endless cycle of greed and insecurity. Those who die with the most toys “win.”

According to Buddhist teachings, it doesn’t have to be like this. Buddhists should add their voices to other calls for society to go beyond the one-dimensional measurement of gross domestic product (GDP), which is merely a crude total of collective expenditures. The Buddhist kingdom of Bhutan has developed an alternative way to calculate social improvement, the Gross National Happiness index. This measures nine aspects of society: time-use, living standards, good governance, psychological well-being, community vitality, culture, health, education and ecology. The Happy Planet Index (HPI), developed by the New Economics Foundation in the UK, compares life satisfaction, life expectancy and ecological footprints across the world. Countries that exemplify “successful economic development” are some of the worst performers in sustainable well-being. Britain is midway down the table in 74th place. The U.S. is in 114th place. Costa Rica has the best score.

Today it is essential that Buddhists think critically and challenge the fetish of economic growth. Buddhist leaders such as the Dalai Lama, Thich Nhat Hanh and Sulak Sivaraksa have been emphasizing this for years, and now the crunch has arrived. If humanity is to survive and thrive during this century, we must quickly learn to accept — indeed, to embrace — the need for limits. Buddhist teachings emphasize that this does not require a reduction in the quality of life. On the contrary, a creative “downshift” will help us to focus on what is most important in life.

If, in the midst of converging global crises, we wish to enhance our awareness of the interrelatedness of all things, and promote genuine spiritual contentment, we must emphasize and live by another way of life: the steady-state economy. In this fashion we can minimize, for ourselves and others, the social difficulties of transition from decades of economic growth to decades of economic contraction.

John Stanley and David Loy are part of the Ecobuddhism Project.


The emergence of abolition, and a higher power in history

Posted in Uncategorized at 11:25 am


The total disgrace of the Gurdjieff movement in its concealed failure to understand the role of freedom in history shows that it is a bogus formation, with no real spiritual foundation.



Posted in Uncategorized at 11:44 am

We should have a discussion thread of this phrase, and its ironic commentary on the idea of ‘making one’s own religion’. The hidden ‘me religion’ of the work covers its tracks by pretending to deal with the egos of the faithful. But the destruction of the religious will of the aspirant is the demonic game/enterprise of the ‘beelzebub’s’. Be very wary of 1. expressing your will, as ego, and 2. not expressing your real will. But be careful the trogoautoegocratic predators are waiting to apply sin to you will, for a profit.

Make your own religion??

Posted in Uncategorized at 11:41 am


People wandering through Gurdjieff land should consider this idea very carefully, whatever their opinion. Behind the false veneer called ‘esoteric Christianity’ lies the nihilist self-promotion of Gurdjieff and his strange racket.
And, of course, with EJ Gold et al. we have the explicit ‘me religion’ of crowleyanity disguised as gurdjieffianity disguised as sufism, whose list of victims remains untallied, so far.

Exploring The Connection Between Neuroscience And Meditation

Posted in Uncategorized at 11:32 am

Zen Brain: Exploring The Connection Between Neuroscience And Meditation
This past August, more than 50 people gathered in the Circle of the Way temple at Upaya Zen Center in Santa Fe, New Mexico, to explore the connection between neuroscience and meditation. This is the fourth year we have done so.

Why? This is a Zen center that is inspired by the example set by His Holiness the Dalai Lama, who nearly 30 years ago began a dialogue with Dr. Francisco Varela and myself that was to eventually become embodied in the Mind & Life Institute, an organization that supports and sustains dialogue and rigorous scientific inquiry into meditative states.

Over the years His Holiness has enjoyed relationships with many scientists, including Varela, Sir Karl Popper, and David Bohm. His Holiness said:

With the ever growing impact of science on our lives, religion and spirituality have a greater role to play reminding us of our humanity. There is no contradiction between the two. Each gives us valuable insights into the other. Both science and the teachings of the Buddha tell us of the fundamental unity of all things.
Upaya Zen Center continues this deep inquiry into science and Buddhism through the vehicle of the Zen Brain retreats, as well as other programs. Those who are enrolled in Upaya’s Contemplative End-of-Life Care training (for medical professionals) and the Buddhist Chaplaincy Program develop a thorough grounding in the latest findings on neuroscience and meditation as they go about their work in the world.

In the Zen Brain retreats, prominent scientists and Zen practitioners explore Buddhist, neuro-scientific and clinical science perspectives on topics like altruism, compassion and consciousness. Lectures and discussions with participants are embedded within zazen (meditation) practice throughout each day.

The most recent Zen Brain program this August explored trauma, stress, loss and the human potential for resilience and happiness. The faculty, drawn from the most accomplished clinicians and researchers studying this topic, featured Al Kaszniak, Ph.D., George Chrousos, M.D., George A. Bonanno, Ph.D. and Philippe Goldin, Ph.D. I also had the privilege of participating with these scientists as a contemplative and someone who has worked in this field for many years.

The main coordinator of this unusual program at Upaya is Dr. Kaszniak, the director of the Neuropsychology, Emotion and Memory Lab at the University of Arizona, where he studies Alzheimer’s disease and other age-related neurological disorders, as well as emotion response and regulation in long-term Zen and mindfulness meditators. His most recent publication is a chapter on the use of meditation to reduce stress and improve well-being among caregivers of persons with dementia to be included in the book Enhancing Cognitive Fitness in Adults: A Guide to the Use and Development of Community-Based Programs (P.E. Hartman-Stein and A. LaRue, eds.).

Dr. Chrousos is renowned as one of the world’s pre-eminent pediatric physicians and endocrinologists. He also serves as the UNESCO chair in adolescent care. His expertise in stress in large part can be linked to his work in endocrinology. Dr. Chrousos’ presentation during Zen Brain on “Stress: the Good, the Bad, and the Ugly” explored the effects of stress on the individual.

Dr. Bonanno, professor of clinical psychology at Columbia University, has been hailed as a pioneering researcher in bereavement and trauma. In work funded by the National Institutes of Health and the National Science Foundation, Dr. Bonanno has examined how adults and children respond to and cope with extremely aversive events, such as the death of a loved one, war, sexual abuse, and terrorist attack. More recently, he has focused on defining psychological resilience in adults exposed to extreme adversity and on the factors that might inform resilient outcomes.

Dr. Goldin is a postdoctoral researcher in the Department of Psychology at Stanford University. His clinical research focuses on the effect of mindfulness meditation and cognitive behavioral therapy on neural substrates of emotional reactivity, emotion regulation, and attention regulation. He also explores the effect of child-parent mindfulness meditation training on anxiety, compassion, and quality of family interactions.

Buddhism is a path to liberation from suffering, and among the most pervasive universal triggers of suffering are trauma, stress and loss, including bereavement. Fundamental to Buddhist teaching is the recognition that freedom from suffering can be found through realizing that the fundamental nature of our mental experience is ever-changing, interdependent and without any fixed, unchanging self at its core.

In these unusual programs, participants explore constructs like “affective stickiness,” a phrase coined by Dr. Richard Davidson, Research Professor of Psychology and Psychiatry at the University of Wisconsin-Madison. This is the phenomenon by which we interpret an experience as negative and then become so strongly identified with it that it becomes a fixed part of “us.” The particular kind of misinterpreation of self-identification can prevent us from accessing our full range of consciousness and often limits our capacity to make choices regarding a situation.

This phenomenon recalls the astute observation that Albert Einstein made in 1950:

A human being is a part of a whole, called by us ‘universe,’ a part limited in time and space. He experiences himself, his thoughts and feelings as something separated from the rest… a kind of optical delusion of his consciousness. This delusion is a kind of prison for us, restricting us to our personal desires and to affection for a few persons nearest to us. Our task must be to free ourselves from this prison by widening our circle of compassion to embrace all living creatures and the whole of nature in its beauty.
What would it mean for us to truly understand that this thing we call “self” is a fiction, not only from a philosophical perspective but from a scientific one? What kind of impact could that realization have on the way we structure our economy, our health care system, our government, and even our relationships with each other, with those “different” from us, and with the Earth?

What a marvelous possibility for us to explore at this time in our planet’s history.

If you’d like to join us in this exploration, the next Zen Brain program is January 12-15, 2012. More information is available on the Upaya website, www.upaya.org.


Kant as ‘new ager’

Posted in Uncategorized at 11:16 am


Kant should be taken as a ‘new ager’ and studied as a path to future ‘new age’ movements. Same for Schopenhauer.


9/11 commentary

Posted in Uncategorized at 11:55 am

9/11 posts at darwiniana.com
Some recent 9/11 commentary leading up to today’s anniversary.

Relevant here is Gurdjieff’s warning that people are highly suggestible and were easily fooled here.

I should note that Gurdjieff’s insights into suggestibility were used to put people to deeper sleep


9/11 confusions

Posted in Uncategorized at 11:32 am



Tailing the devil

Posted in Uncategorized at 5:10 am

2011/09/07 at 1:24 am

Yes, but some examples please, of the ‘villainous ghost’ of G’s phantom…otherwise the title of this blog….

It’s all a bit vague nemo….? Can you give a specific case of G’s demonic influence today? Give it to me…

I was in a group for a few years in Paris and have yet to see what would ignite your hatred. Stupid yes, too much money, yes…but hey why not pick on Scientology. All this smells of some personal experience that you choose not to disclose…What experience have you of a gurdfieffian group…I know many people hated the NYC centre under “Lord Pentland”
Give us some real demonic stories to chew on – and please not from some tacky bk written x years ago

Good questions here. I have made clear the basis of my hostility, which springs as directly from the world of the sufis and of EJ Gold. But let us say you are right, it is ‘personal’. But even so, the objective indicators of critique are there: the teaching of Gurdjieff is not on the level. Much of it is simply made up, or baloney, like the enneagram.
I have ‘disclosed’ quite lot over the past few years, often in veiled language.
You seem to wish to call my bluff. Do so, it is no bluff. But my basic strategy is beyond the personal: just to warn a new generation not to be so trusting of what is going on here. It is very dangerous to be unconsciously hypnotized and used as a robot by demonic occultists. You ask for specifics. Maybe all you can get is warnings…
More on this soon…


China’s ‘Liberation’ of Tibet: Rules of the Game

Posted in Uncategorized at 11:08 am

http://www.nybooks.com/blogs/nyrblog/2011/aug/22/chinas-liberation-tibet-rules-game/: China’s ‘Liberation’ of Tibet: Rules of the Game
Robert Barnett