Memes from “School” or “The Study”, or …

…whatever “school” calls itself these days.

Recently a small group of my friends helped me think through one of my cult-related projects. It got me thinking about the platitudes that school trotted during my tenure. All cults do this – it’s protocol. Loading language is cult 101

“School” platitudes are mainly drawn from Gurdjieff’s Fourth Way teaching, but not all of them. It might be helpful to share “school”-specific memes — perhaps some “rule” breakers seeking information about a weird group will recognize them. And I’d love it if some “disgruntled(s)” felt inspired to add more to the list!

These are the pat “school” memes that were popular between 2006-2011 …  

  •  private, just-for-you
  • “No unnecessary talking” 
  • ask for help
  • what is your aim?
  • magnetic center
  •  seal yourself off: Do. Not. Leak.
  • protect the invisible world! 
  • No Internet research: it will poison your experience!
  • “… those are only life things.
  • Essence Friends 
  • essence flaw
  • it-doesn’t-matter-what-you-do-as-long-as-you-are-working.
  • internal considering vs. external considering
  • You must not be trying hard enough.
  • clever insincerity – people lie; we can’t help it. So lie cleverly, with intention.
  • do what’s necessary.
  • …. you’ll get it if you Do The Work Long Enough … 
  • intentional suffering
  • you’re identified with [FILL IN BLANK with whatever]
  • “Work begets work…”
  • You need to “build will”
  • Do you have “sufficient valuation”?
  •  Everyone needs “HELP!”
  • work against pictures of yourself
  • “You have all had your own experience of school …”
  • “…maintain a healthy skepticism, while extending a nickel’s worth of trust.” 
  • “… life as experiment.”
  • “worlds within worlds” 
  • “You’re identifying with [FILL in BLANK w/whatever].” 
  • ” …you’ll understand, when you’ve done the work long enough, you will understand.”
  • Five-Week Aim: ‘your aim is your God.’ ‘what is your aim’?
  • ” … if you’re working on yourself, it doesn’t matter who you marry.
  • ” … the non-expression of ‘negative emotions’. “


There but for the Grace of God …

Last Wednesday, Cohen confirmed things that anyone with brain cells already knows – undeniable truths. Day after day, we watch “pres” Donny lie and cheat and degrade. Cohen’s testimony: Trump is a racist, a conman, and a cheat. Yep.

I have mixed feelings about Mr. Cohen. Would he have had this crisis of conscience if he had not been caught? Would he have drawn this conclusion? Probably not. But do I believe his testimony and his stated regret? Absolutely. I have swallowed that bitter pill. I know it’s flavor. I’m intimately acquainted with it.

I’m lucky that the “school” con is — in the grand scheme — insignificant, as opposed to the Trump con, which is endangering democracy. Millions of morons still prop up the huckster-in-chief. They say things like, “God elected President Trump”… To which I think, “There’s no cure for that level of stupid.”

But, of all people, I should be empathetic to Trump cultists. After all, cult stupid lorded over me for five years. I lied to myself, friends and family. I let “school” coerce, badger, bully and strong-arm me into doing things that I didn’t believe in, didn’t want to do, and felt crappy about: scam Christmas Trees, recruit “new friends”, dismiss my husband’s legitimate concerns and complaints, etc.

I was vulnerable to the “school” con. Trump’s toadies are vulnerable to the Trump con. I should get this. The dynamics are the same. If it looks and sounds like a cult, it’s probably a cult. Cults suck people in when vulnerable. I know that.

I’m too angry. The nauseating, obsequious servitude; the groveling; the willingness to humiliate others, and themselves, at the throne of their lord and master—mr. grab-em-by-the-pussy-cuz-when-you’re-a-star… Putin’s puppet, have all hardened me. It’s a weird, new, angry version of me. On the positive side, I’m not afraid of confrontation anymore.

The disastrous, Russia-sponsored, 2016, make America “great”, infomercial and Trump “election”, set in place my unapologetic rage. I do not control it and will not silence it. I hate bullies, cons and greedy, sociopathic, crooks and scumbags. My apologies to Michelle Obama, whom I admire greatly. I realize that my language is not high-minded. But it is honest.

Mr. Cohen’s Mia culpa softened me, a bit, to him (only, Cohen; not the other maga-hat morons). I heard him list off the worst in Trump-i-ness, and then follow each point with the phrase “…and yet, I continued to work for him…” I thought to myself, “yea, I get that.”

I heard him say that he’d given everything to a man whom he had admired, only to realize, that this man saw him as expendable. I remembered that, once upon a time, I believed in Robert. I believed, until I saw Robert’s callous disregard for me, my husband and my family. Then I realized that Robert was lying his ass off, to me, to my fellow “students”. To himself.

I get it. Cohen wakes up. It’s painful. He sees that he traded in his freedom, for greed, a blind loyalty born out of ruthless ambition. He endangered his family. Trump loses nothing. When you are a sociopath, other people don’t matter.

Cohen saw, too late, the unspoken cult leader agreement: you surrender everything to prop up the top dog.  Your family, your wellbeing, your security, your freedom be damned. If you are in service him, you have value. If you aren’t in service to him, you are dismissed. If you speak against him, watch your back and your family members become open season for target practice.

So when Cohen said, ” … I am going to prison and have shattered the safety and security that I have tried so hard to provide for my family… ” I thought to myself, “There but for the grace of God, go I.”

I found the following excerpts especially poignant:

* I regret the day I said, “Yes” to Mr. Trump… I am ashamed of my own failingsmy weakness and my misplaced loyalty — of the things I did for Mr. Trump… to protect and promote him. I am ashamed that I chose to take part in concealing Mr. Trump’s illicit acts rather than listening to my own conscience.

*Mr. Trump knew of and directed the Moscow Tower negotiations throughout the campaign and lied about it… he never expected to win he stood to make hundreds of millions of dollars so I lied about it, too. 

* …being around Mr. Trump was intoxicating … you feel like you were involved in something greater then yourself. You were somehow, changing the world. I wound up touting the Trump narrative … Always stay on message. Always defend. It monopolized my life …

* … in the mix, lying for Mr. Trump was normalized. And no-one around him questioned it. In fairness, no-one around him today questions it, either.

*… motivated by ambitionignored my conscience and acted loyal to a man, when I should not have.unbelievable that I was so mesmerized by Donald Trump … was willing to do things for him that I knew were absolutely wrong. 

*… and I did that … without bothering to consider how it would impact, me, my family, or the public. And I’m going to jail, in part, because of my decision to help Mr Trump hide that payment.

So we come full circle back to “… and I am going to prison and have shattered the safety and security that I have tried so hard to provide for my family.”

Though far less extreme, I recognize Cohen’s story in mine. His language echoes mine. There’s a vocabulary to cult confessing; it’s reflexive. Maybe you, dear reader, reflect back on your personal experiences when you hear Cohen’s confession? This line, in particular, really got to me: “But in the mix, lying for Mr. Trump was normalized and no one around him questioned it. In fairness, no one around him today questions it, either.”

Mr. Cohen, I hope your redemption and emancipation continue. You know the saying, the truth will set you free. You might find that when you’re no longer imprisoned by the Trump fallacy — his self serving web of lies and secrets — you are freer behind steel bars than you were when running around the invisible prison of the Trump Cultdom, touting the party line. As you aptly pointed out to certain GOP toadies during the hearing, propaganda whores like Con-way, Huckabee Sanders and Guiliani, are now caught in the web, defending the fraudster at their own peril. They really should be paying more attention to your plight and Manafort’s and soon to be Stones, etc. etc. etc.

Personally, nothing freed me more than when I declared “NO MORE SECRETS” and stopped lying to “protect the invisible world.”