Trump Cult – sycophants and parasites …

If you need further confirmation that Trump is trying to become a cult leader, watch & listen as his cabinet kisses his ass. Apparently, the administration invited the press in to this revolting display of groveling and brown-nosing, somehow believing it was an impressive display of Donny’s leadership … it brought back echoes of “school”. Good times!

You see, if you’re in a cult, you lose touch with reality. You believe in a contrived version of the world and as well as a contrived “leadership.” If you’re impressed by Trump and this group of toadies, if you believe all the praise and “great success” Donny’s claiming, you’re either in a Trump coma, or as dumb as a fence post … or both.

The good news is this: you no longer have to worry about “…libtards ruining the country with political correctness”– for the record, I can no longer even try to be polite or kind to anyone supporting the Narcissist-in -Chief.

Recently I read a Facebook post from the one sane Republican left in this country. It said: “There are no longer Republicans, Democrats and Independents; there are Trump supporters and there are Americans. You can’t be both.”

From this point forward, I have only this to say to anti-American, Trump supporters: I know a very white country in Eastern Europe that would be happy to have you. Don’t let the Stars and Stripes whip your sorry ass on your way out.

“school”, “the study”, “class” – circa 2017

Yep, Folks – the cult is still plugging away … even with all the Internet exposure: this blog,  Clever Sincerity, Esoteric Freedom, The Sharon Gans Cult News, etc … for more, see the resources page. 

The BAIT — It’s the same — the most recent trotting out is a recycling of the Eleanor of Aquitaine & Hildegard von Bingen “lecture” or “presentation” — ironically, the one presentation that afforded me a recruit, who is thankfully “school” free now.

Recruiters still orchestrate magical moments out in “only life”, sussing out those with “magnetic center”, striking up “spontaneous” conversations –perhaps asking questions about a book he/she happens to be reading, or inquiring “which historical leader do you admire?”, for a “project”. These inquiries still lead to invitations to special presentations, produced by mysterious groups.

Surprise, surprise, the “lecture/presentation” still makes reference to “secret organizations” and “hidden erotic knowledge”.

The cult still follows up as it used to, inviting targets on coffee dates, introducing them to other “friends” and eventually to Robert, who extends the exclusive invitation!

The Robert meeting still includes a minion who will go get his coffee for him, positioning him nicely as “leader”. He still pontificates about the state of “sleepwalking humanity”, a group with a purpose to awaken intelligent, thoughtful individuals to a higher state of consciousness, and allusions to Plato’s Allegory of the Cave. The initial invitation is still pitched as an experiment! The only difference is that back in the day it was a five-week experiment! Now it’s a one-month experiment!

The “school” rules! remain the same:

  1. No fraternizing with other students outside class.
  2. No discussing the class with outsiders – it’s a secret society, if anyone asks, call it a “Philosophy meetup” …
  3. No Google searches on anything said during class,  “the internet is full of misinformation” … (as you can see! 😉
  4. No hallucinogenic drugs, such as marijuana or LSD.
 ****

The HOOK is essentially the same, somewhat more vague — with so many potential Google search terms that might pull up a “disgruntled ex-student’s evil blog”, a good cult must proceed with caution, it must really shape it’s loaded language.

The “youngest classes” don’t meet in Billerica; the word is that newbies — roughly ten, give or take– have been floating around to various meeting rooms in Boston-area Marriott Hotels on Monday and Thursday, for two and a half hour “classes”.  They are presently floating away from the Marriott – perhaps threatened by recent departures.

Lisa, Robert, Josh and Michael “teach” the “youngest students.

The classmates are still intelligent and thoughtful people, simply looking for kindred spirits,  good conversations and some authenticity in this crazy world.

Tai Chi Michael is still doing his thing, teaching the form, so to speak (cough).

Sustainers are referred to as the-person-you’re-working-with … apparently this title makes for some awkward moments in class “discussions”, and difficult web-search potential, although it’s such an odd title, who knows, maybe it would pull up a blog that’s properly optimized.

“School” still omits mention of The Fourth Way — but includes its ideas — multiplicity, sleep-walking humanity, self sensing, the four centers – intellectual, emotional, moving and instinctive — conveniently not mentioning said source of those ideas, Gurdjieff.

“Self-observations” and “five-week aim“– now referred to as the “five-week commitment”— still prove effective indoctrination tools.

The cult still expects its minions to schedule vacations around it’s illustrious classes and demands. It also warns inferior minions away from outside Tai Chi classes, claiming, “An outside class will interfere with your work, here.”

Students are still bringing teachers their coffee (and whatever else they add to the coffee) like servants.

“Sustainers” or “the person you are working with” still meet with charges once a week.

****

The SINKER — “School/The Study/Class” still omits mention of the following:

History 

  1. The Theater of All Possibilities founded in San Francisco in the 1970s by Sharon Gans and Alex Horn.
  2. Corporate headquarters in New York City, and it’s myriad of names,  “Odyssey Study Group”, “The Work”, and “The School”. Gans heads up corporate.
  3. Robert is her number two – he lords over the inferior Boston satellite branch. Hundreds of students have passed through the hollow halls, coast to coast, over decades.

Abuses:

  1. Sleep deprivation
  2. Arranged marriages
  3. Long “retreats” spent building houses for Sharon
  4. Chronic emotional abuse.
  5. Allegations of physical and sexual abuse in the past.

The Money: 

$350 a month tuition per student, plus large donations from wealthier members, puts Gans’ annual take at $1,000,000.

 

Close encounters of the school kind …

Monday night I had my first close-encounter-of-a-“school”-kind since leaving the hollow halls in 2011. My husband and I went to an old haunt, The Cantab, in Cambridge’s Central Square. In 1991, The Cantab started an open mic. Every Monday, you’ll find local talent, and songwriter legend, Geoff Bartley, hosting a slew of guitar slinging song writers trotting out their newest songs.

Geoff was featuring a friend of mine, so we met up with other friends to listen, including my one “school” recruit (so to speak)   I now refer to him as 007, a name he earned when springing himself and a number of others free from “school” — but that’s another story. OO7 immediately recognized an ex-essence friend in the crowd  his sustainer. Ex-sustainer-man appeared blissfully unaware that two evil disgruntled(s) were on the scene … that is until my featured friend asked me, from the stage, to join him on a song.

I saw the look – shock and sudden recognition!

The featured ended and open mic-r’s continued the night. 007 told me that his set was back to back with ex-sustainer-man’s set and we laughed; I saw ex-sustainer-man starting to prepare, taking guitar out of case, tuning it up, etc. but upon hearing 007’s name, ex-sustainer-man quickly packed his guitar back into the case and high-tailed it out of the bar.

At this point, I will direct this post to him: ex-sustainer man, there are plenty of legitimate things to run away from in life. As we all know, the world threatens with dangers a’ plenty and in some cases you are wise to run away. Just look at our current orange president.

I pose no real danger to you; 007 certainly does not — I’m more cranky than he is, truth be told. You stayed the entire night, only to scuttle out right before you were going to play. Why? You don’t have to live this way — ducking into the shadows every time you encounter an ex-“school” doobie. The irony is that this group you’re hued to “school”, “the study”, “class”, “the work”, inflicts far more damage  on you, than a brief encounter with a “disgruntled ex-student”.

Ex-sustainer man, I didn’t interact with you a lot. But I do remember a few things about you: for example, your help when I was drawing, enlarging really, an illustration I’d found in a book of Hans Christian Anderson fairy tales. It was Christmas Party time. We were making decorations to match the theme — The Snow Queen. You are a gifted artist and under your guidance, I created the first piece of visual art I’d drawn for many years.

It was a magic. The drawing felt like it flowed through me with you guiding the process when I got stuck. When it was finished, I got lots of kudos from fellow essence friends and teachers, a like. I was proud of it. For a brief time, “school” affirmed and let me reconnect to my inner, neglected artist. That experience set deep hooks in to me — I kept waiting for a repeat performance that never came.

I also remember seeing you lurking outside the Belmont Lion’s Club space, back in 2007, when I was a fresh-faced “youngest student”. I noticed it; I wondered why, but never asked. Now I know that you were the sentry, on the lookout for disgruntled ex-students who put flyers on cars and warned businesses and potential targets away from the cult.

I hope that you don’t fritter away your time and talent, till death do you part, following arbitrary rules, and protecting this con job. Really, it’s bullshit. And your talent is real. “School” is sucking the life out of you. Try two weeks away from  “class”. Break the rules. Talk to some disgruntled(s). Tell some un-“schooled” souls about your secret world (if you know any). Watch some bad t.v.

Maybe you’ll start to recognize normal life again. Maybe you’ll be able to go to the Cantab open mic and stay the entire night to play your set, no matter who is in the room! Imagine that. Imagine a life in which “school” no longer holds court over your every thought, decision, emotion, artistic endeavor and interaction.

That, my “essence friend”,  is true freedom.

The “Sense-Based” World

Recently I was talking politics with a friend, who described a conversation she’d had with couple Trump supporters;  evangelical Christians who voted for a narcissistic, pussy-grabbing, child rapist. When she pressed them on the obvious hypocrisy, they defended the indefensible with an esoteric argument — apparently God’s plan includes having a sexual predator and pathological liar lead the free world. Her opposition to fascism was merely “sense-based” — gosh, no wonder Trump trolls are quick to dismiss common sense and human decency.

“School” also used to (and probably still does) scoff at the sense-based world. With enough time a good “school” cog starts to realize that your senses are to be regarded as inferior to an illusive state of enlightenment touted within the hollow halls only attainable through all things cult. Disregard your senses along with your thoughts, perceptions and emotions.

You were striving to attain a state of fineness, a humming of vibrations, that you couldn’t see , or hear, or smell, or touch  … it was beyond your senses and perceptions therefore always beyond reach. If you strived hard enough you … might … just … reach … it … but without “Help!” from those “who’d been doing the work longer” it was impossible.

This, of course, is a belief system that requires full-tilt cult indoctrination and more proof that our current president is just another cheesy cult leader, with millions of sycophants, like Hope Hicks, propping him up. Anyone who justifies the indefensible with this beyond-the-sense-based-world argument has drunk the Kool Aid.

I don’t claim to have access to secret esoteric knowledge, or a direct line to God; hell, while I do believe in God, I’m aware that my need to believe might be based in my need to hope that we’re here for some reason. Does God exist? I can’t say for sure. I do know this: when in my best state, I am keenly aware of and trusting my senses.

The other day, I was out for a run — I’m not a very good runner, but I do it because it quiets my mind and because I need the exercise. I find myself soaking in the beauty of my surroundings – eyes. Smelling spring – nose. Letting the rhythm of the music in headphones vibrate through me and direct my feet — ears. Feeling the sun and wind — skin. When I’m present to my senses in this way, I feel grateful for my time here on this planet and in this body.

If there is a God, and God made us with five senses, it stands to reason that God wants us to honor our sensory human experience. When you do honor your senses, perceptions and experiences, no one else can dictate your experiences …yep, that’s a good thing.

Have a good day!

 

 

Gaslight, USA! Today’s trouncing – Your Healthcare

Yay! The Trump trouncing of our civil rights keeps smashing through — how thrilling. Today the House will vote — again — to repeal Obamacare. Why? Because Daddy Trump made a campaign promise to his trolls “We will repeal and replace Obamacare… ” He is determined to put on the show, no matter what. No matter that it means disastrous fall out for many millions of Americans who will lose healthcare, or find it unaffordable, while insurance company CEOs get super rich.

Will Republicans fall in line like good little Trump-Cult-Cogs?

Cultic studies guru, Robert J Lifton,  wrote this about cults in his seminal book, Thought Reform and the Psychology of Totalism: cults see themselves as “ … agents ‘chosen’ to carry out the ‘mystical imperative’, the pursuit of which must supersede all considerations of decency or immediate human welfare. Similarly, any thought or action which questions the motives of the higher purpose is considered to be stimulated by a lower purpose, to be backward, selfish and petty in the face of the great overriding mission.”

My dear readers, please call your elected officials and tell them that if they care about America, if they care about their constituency, they will vote against the latest Trump “care” bill.

Thank you, I feel a little better now … until the next childish prank pulled by our current infantile president and his merry band of cheats and con artists.

Free speech & interview with Attorney Peter Skolnik

Hello Readers:

Recently, I posted about the International Cultic Studies Association’s study on free speech suppression via frivolous cultic litigation. Here’s a link to the article/interview with Attorney Peter Skolnik, who has been fighting cults for 15 years: ICSA Today Vol. 08 No. 01 2017 – Esther Article

This opposition brief by Counselor Skolnik drives the point home, if you’re interested. Mr. Skolnik’s briefs tend to be more entertaining than most legalese. He hits the mark quickly and accurately.

Thanks for visiting, GSR

About free speech and litigious cults….

In 2014, “school” tried to drag me into some ridiculous legal bullshit. Following Scientology’s Step-by-Step Guide to Frivolous Litigation, a plaintiff I’d never met filed papers in New York. A court server delivered the documents — a chronicle of boring and tedious fiction couched in legalese — to my home in Massachusetts.

You see, this woman wanted to sue someone, but didn’t know who. Another anonymous “evil” blogger had ruffled her feathers. Her problem was not mine to solve, but the-woman-I’d-never-met apparently decided  that was the “sole source” of the offending blogger’s identity ….did  “school’s” special  sauce make her psychic? … apparently not.  

The papers demanded that I attend a court date in New York City to provide the identity of someone I didn’t know to bolster her “meritorious lawsuit” (cough). The big case went nowhere. I did not cross state lines to say, “I don’t know who you should sue.” I did keep the documentation for posterity. I hope “school’s” counselor milked them for as much as he could get.

In hindsight, I can be snarky. But it’s stressful to be sued even by a complete stranger claiming a ridiculous fabrication, even for information that you don’t have, even from a state that holds no jurisdiction over you, even from a city you haven’t seen in almost a decade. Believe me, the New York courts didn’t care about the expense, the inconvenience, the cost to me, my sanity, or  (ironically) my free speech –free speech being a pillar of democracy, a civil right and necessary for sanity and good mental health — or due process. That’s the point. When cults sue, they don’t care if they win, they just want to stress your pocketbook and your sanity enough to get you to shut up. That’s the Scientology way. That’s the cult way, right Geoff C, Josh L? Perhaps you’d like to comment.

Thanks to a friend, who is a lawyer, who worked his network, I have lifelong, pro bono counsel, from well-regarded global firm. But cults know that most whistleblowers don’t get so lucky. They know how to abuse and manipulate the courts to muzzle critics. After my legal odyssey ended, I teamed up with the International Cultic Studies Association (ICSA) to conduct a study on frivolous cultic litigation. ICSA just published the following interview/article, with attorney Peter Skolnik, in its journal, ICSA, Today. The interview is one component of ICSA’s efforts to address cultic court abuse.

To learn more cultic court tactics and how to fight them, read: Free Speech and Cultic Litigation

You can also read the article here: Seeing Into the Heart of Things …. another blog exposing “school”.

 

Okay, that’s all for now, folks. Have “school”-free day! GSR

 

The Orthodox Cult

Fairly recently, a fellow disgruntled forwarded me a link to this New York Times article: The High Price of Leaving Ultra-Orthodox Life

It describes Footsteps, an organization that provides community, counseling, and support for young adults leaving strict Orthodox communities. It describes the struggle of leaving such cloistered sects — operating in comas of 19th century belief systems, think Fiddler on the Roof — without the 21st century survival skills. It reports the uptick in suicides in these communities by those who find they can’t fit into the prescriptions set forth and are thus rejected by friends, family and community because of it, but don’t have the education, skills or guidance to navigate in the world beyond.

Here’s a rhetorical question: what kind of a choice is you’ll be what I tell you to be, or you won’t exist to me? Answer: no choice at all. Cults do this. Cults attempt to flatten human beings into one-dimensional cogs. Cults strip individuals of person-hood & identity. Members exist for the “good of the group” – otherwise known as the top narcissist. It’s an odd phenomenon, but alive and well, as we can see by the orange narcissist occupying the White House, but that’s another post for another day.

It’s also damaging. Even as someone who only flirted with 5 years of cult-i-ness in my adult years (I always had a toe out the door and was never gonna make it into “school’s” elusive inner circle) — I am quite familiar with the feeling described in this quote:

“Even in my lucky circumstances I am left with flickers of superstition and magical thinking, no matter how long it has been since I’ve realized that most of what I was taught as a child is not something I agree with as an adult. And still, every night, I place my hand over my sleeping children’s eyes and I recite the Shema bedtime prayer on their behalf. Every year, I fast on Yom Kippur and apologize for the ways I can’t bring myself to be what I was told God wanted. I do it just in case, or because I’m a coward, or at least because I’m not as courageous as your garden-variety Footsteps member. All of which is to say that I don’t know if it will ever feel normal.”

I can’t imagine trying to grow up under the weight of such oppression.

I don’t know why humans are wired so strangely – control or be controlled. I do know that there are other and better ways to live.

Fishing from the pools of Hallowed halls …

In 2014, a Harvard grad student found this blog and contacted me.  “School” was courting and baiting him. The “making friends” (cough, recruitment) team met with him for many months, almost a year, if my memory serves me correctly.

He told me he enjoyed the people, the conversations, the ideas discussed, etc. But when they extended the super secret, it’s-very-important-that-you-don’t-tell-anyone -about-this-it’s-private … just-for-you invitation, he balked.

The required secrecy prompted a Web search and he found Cult Confessions. We batted a few emails back and forth and I suggested that he contact student affairs … he said, “good idea.”

I have no idea whether he followed up – but those of us trained in “school’s” art of  “making friends” know that Boston’s myriad of colleges and universities make for great cult fishing. A Harvard Graduate student would be quite an asset! Maybe I should contact Harvard’s student affairs office…

Opinions?