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Links 1 through 10 of 81 by Michel Bauwens tagged Spiritual-Authoritarianism

"Werner Erhard's est [Erhard Seminar Training and Latin for "it is"] was one of the more successful entrants in the human potential movement. est is an example of what psychologists call a large group awareness training program. "

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There are three generally recognized means by which a person can achieve a transformation in consciousness: gradually, through a spiritual practice or some routine of intended change; suddenly, through what is often a traumatic experience or the occasional grace of an aha! moment; and one more unique to Eastern traditions, direct transmission from a recognized guru. Caplan, a professor and psychotherapist who has written extensively and passionately on the topic, strongly advocates for the latter—but not for everyone. Her latest book, excerpted below, carefully maps this particular rabbit hole. For those who remain skeptical, Diana Alstad's and Joel Kramer’s The Guru Papers: Masks of Authoritarian Power (Frog Books, 1993) is a provocative exposé of institutional and personal abuse that is still considered a benchmark text about control and exploitation. More recently there is Charles Eisenstein's "Why the Age of the Guru is Over."

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Castaneda, who disappeared from the public view in 1973, began in the last decade of his life to organize a secretive group of devoted followers. His tools were his books and Tensegrity, a movement technique he claimed had been passed down by 25 generations of Toltec shamans. A corporation, Cleargreen, was set up to promote Tensegrity; it held workshops attended by thousands. Novelist and director Bruce Wagner, a member of Castaneda's inner circle, helped produce a series of instructional videos. Cleargreen continues to operate to this day, promoting Tensegrity and Castaneda's teachings through workshops in Southern California, Europe and Latin America.

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By now, most people know that in his so-called "sweat lodge," James Arthur Ray disrespectfully borrowed traditional Native American sacred practices for use in his endurance boot camp, in order to produce "abundance" in the gullible participants. Two of those participants died. Like many, I feel sad for the families of the victims, and agree that it's appropriate for the legal system to hold Ray accountable. But it's a mistake to dismiss Ray as just one "bad apple." Why? because he exemplifies a bona-fide risk for spiritual seekers.

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When Maharishi Mahesh Yogi first came to the U.S. he stayed in Los Angeles in the house of a family. (The name of this family is not of importance. This story was delivered to Babaji by a direct witness of these events.)
The family had a little daughter and "Maharishi" repeatedly abused her sexually. This is the nature of impersonalists. They can not control their senses. They are demons - as mentioned above. Similar examples can be found in the biographies of "Satya Sai Baba" or Rashneesh.

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Michel Bauwens, founder of the P2P Foundation, turned me on to this post from Reality Sandwich - Why the Age of the Guru is Over by Charles Eisenstein. To me, this is less about the guru thing (which never even appealed to many of us in Gen X) and more about a recognition of the interconnected self - a sense of mutual care that is based in a participatory, interpersonal spirituality.

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The Daism Seminar - a large amount of material here - includes DAISM (Adi Da) (message board), The Knee of Daism (~Deconstructing Adi Da~, a collection of posts from the on-line Ken Wilber Forum on the controversial topic of Adi Da) and Daism Research Index (a database of internet documents and links to documents relevant to Daism and/or its founder, Franklin Jones (Adi Da).) See also
FRANK - an inquiry of Adi Da (Franklin Jones) - This weblog collects in one space some of the investigations and critiques Elias has made of Franklin Albert Jones (aka Adi Da, Da Free John, Bubba Free John, etc etc) over the past years. It also includes the personal narrative of Elias' experiences with F.A.J. and his community from 1975 to 1982.

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Ken Wilber's ideas have influenced Bill Clinton, Al Gore, Jeb Bush, Deepak Chopra, Tony Robbins, and a host of other luminaries, spiritual and otherwise. Writer Michael Crichton, leadership guru Warren Bennis, playwright Eve Ensler (The Vagina Monologues), alternative medicine's Larry Dossey, the Wachowski Brothers (directors of The Matrix), and a handful of rock stars have all lent their voices in support of the "integral" community. Yet Ken Wilber, his celebrated theories of consciousness, and the increasingly unquestioning population of "second-tier" spiritual aspirants surrounding him and participating in his Integral Institute (I-I) and Integral University, are not what they appear to be. "Norman Einstein": The Dis-Integration of Ken Wilber will show you why the community around Wilber is being increasingly called a "cult," even by former founding members of I-I who have seen it first-hand.

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Jeff Meyerhoff's critique of Ken Wilber's "integral theory of everything" in Bald Ambition is among the very best critiques of Wilber's model I have read. Were I teaching a course on Wilber's model, I would include readings from Bald Ambition in the course material. (I took a course in philosophy of mind a few years ago, and at one point students were instructed to study and defend positions they disagreed with. The value of such an exercise should be obvious. Certainly even the most ardent Wilber student - and/or fan - can appreciate the value of giving serious consideration to critiques of Wilber's work that are as serious, well-written, and well-researched as Meyerhoff's. I'm confident that even a student of Wilber's work who is disinclined to agree with Meyerhoff's criticisms and who ends up disagreeing with Meyerhoff on many or even all points would benefit by giving serious consideration to Meyerhoff's critique.)

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