A Nod to school, and other “4th Way” cults from Cultic Studies hero, Margaret Singer

In the spirit of self-empowerment through education, and to veer briefly away from our globally shared trauma, called coronavirus made worse by incompetence and corruption from the White House, and connected propaganda outlets, Faux News and the Trump cult (RIP Republican Party) , today I wanted to share a little tidbit from Margaret Singer’s book, Cults in Our Midsts.

On page 43, in a chapter on the history of cults, she outlined a brand of cult that developed in the 70s, spiritual cults ” … cults to expand awareness”.

School definitely falls in this category: “Personal spiritual experiences were uprooted, aided by talismans and seers. Potions, oils, crystals …. became the tools of the breed of pied pier that led these groups. As is not the case in other categories, many female leaders flourished here … the California-based Fellowship of Friends and certain other “Fourth-Way” groups whose teachings are based on the works of G.I. Gurdjieff and P.D. Ouspensky. 

Sound familiar, Sharon, Robert?

Ms. Singer was a hero. You can learn more about her in this New York Times tribute: https://www.nytimes.com/2003/12/07/us/margaret-singer-a-leading-brainwashing-expert-dies-at-82.html

Brilliant Article …

Hey all – just needed to share this article: None of This Is Normal

Here’s a quote from it: “It wasn’t normal in 2016 when Trump was elected.
And we are a thousand — a hundred thousand — miles from normal now.

And yet, we’re expected to carry on, like we can respond to this with increased normalcy as a counterbalance. Writers will write more. We can cook more. We can clean and organize more. We have a lot of free time now and so we will use it, like industrious ants, like worker bees. But that’s bullshit. It’s not easy to just “carry on.” It’s like sitting at your desk at work and seeing a co-worker suddenly hike down his pants and shit in his little trash can. You can’t simply shrug that off and be like, “That Gary always finds his own path!” and then keep filling in the fucking spreadsheet on the screen in front you. A man just shat in a trashcan in the next goddamn cubicle. You have to acknowledge that. You have to stop and deal with that.”

It goes on from there. Enjoy!

Tips for Sanity and Safety

“You don’t have to be scared and you can protect your family,”
Dr. David Price.

Hi Everyone, 

I hope that you are home, healthy and safe. I wanted to share some helpful information. First, if you’re tired of hearing bad news, and need a calming voice to help you manage stress right now, try this podcast out: Unlocking Us with Brené BrownConversations that unlock the deeply human part of who we are, so that we can live, love, parent, and lead with more courage and heart.

I really like Brene Brown. She’s smart, grounded and centered. Her work is rooted in social science research. She’s worth a try. 

Secondly, speaking of calming voices, recently I listened to ICU doctor, David Price, from New York City, offer simple, sane and helpful advice about how to keep yourself and your family safe and healthy.  He wants empower us with facts and tamp down the panic. He says that if you understand the basics of this disease, you will also understand why the following steps can keep you healthy and flatten the curve of this pandemic. 

Basically, if you wash your hands and avoid touching your face, you mitigate risk significantly. 

Here’s why. After months of dealing with coronavirus the medical world understands the disease much better. First … 

About the Illness, Itself: 

  1. First, what is Covid19:  it is a virus that comes from the common cold family but is new to humans. Our bodies don’t know how to protect us from it, yet. Common symptoms include fever, cough & sore throat. Some have reported loss of taste. The virus works its way through the body and the lungs are most adversely effected – that’s why people with asthma need to be especially careful. About 80% of people who get the Coronavirus, just don’t feel good for roughly a week, and then recover. 
  2. Duration: typically, it lasts 5 days to 14 days. Most people start feeling better around day 5. People who aren’t recovering typically get short of breath in days 3 to 5 but do start to feel better around the 7-day mark. But shortness of breath does signal – call your doctor.
  3. How it spreads: according to this doctor, the most common spread of Covid19 comes from sustained contact with someone who has been infected, in other words, either people with fever or aches, or people who are about to get sick within one to two days. Sustained contact means 15 to 30 minutes in a contained space. Additionally, the transmission most commonly occurs from hands to face contact. The overwhelming majority of transmission occurs from one person touching someone else who has either has the virus or is about to develop it in the next one to two days and then touches his/her face. 

    It’s unclear whether this disease can be transmitted through the air, but medical professionals currently believe that this aerosol transmission would require 15-30 minutes of contact with the sick person in a closed room, without a mask. 

Practical Protective Measures: Small Acts that make a Big Difference: 

1) Clean hands equal healthy person. Know where your hands are and keep them clean at all times. Just keep washing your hands. Additionally if you need to go out keep sanitizer with you. Purell after you touch doorknobs, elevator buttons, grocery carts, etc. Typically, coronavirus does not get transmitted simply from touching something that an infected person touched before, but, as Dr. Price advises, “out of an abundance of caution we also make sure that everything we touch, we’re cleaning our hands.”  

2) REPEAT, AVOID TOUCHING YOUR FACE: this is much easier said than done. We all need to grow awareness of and change that habit. Some professionals have recommended wearing masks, just to break us of the face-touching habit. You don’t need a medical-grade mask to change your behavior. Please leave those to the medical professionals who are busting their butts to save the rest of us.  

3) Repeat: Since Covid19 definitely spreads from sustained contact with someone who has been infected or is about to get sick, the social distancing is critical – so, stay home as much as possible and limit face to face contact to those in your immediate vicinity. 

When you grocery shop bring Purell with you, keep 3-6 feet of distance between you & other shoppers, use the Clorox wipes provided to clean off carts and Purell your hands like crazy after you open doors, push carts, touch the ATM pad, etc.

4) Shrink your social circle: every person that you come across has two or three other contacts. Find your isolation group, i.e. family, or housemates and set boundaries. Large social circles pose the most risk. If you need to maintain contacts outside of that circle, for your mental health, use the phone, use Facetime, or other online meeting applications. 

What to do if you, or a family member, gets sick: most cases transmit through home & family contact. So, here are three simple guidelines from this video: 

1) If you, or a loved one, develops a fever, but are otherwise fine, isolate the patient in a separate room, away from the rest of the family. Ideally, the affected person should use a separate bathroom and set of dishes. If the person has to be in a room with others Dr. Price suggests that he or she wears a mask. And, again, wash your hands, don’t touch your face. 

2) If you have a cold, and aren’t sure if it’s Covid 19, take the precautions for one to two days. Isolate. If you’re feeling better within that timeframe, you don’t have Covid 19. 

3) Important exceptions: vulnerable populations – people over 60, people recently treated with chemotherapy, people with underlying conditions like asthma or compromised immune systems. 

4) When do I go the hospital? If you have shortness of breath – if you can’t get up and go to the bathroom without getting winded, go to hospital. 

“When you understand this disease and know exactly what to do to prevent getting it, it allows us for the next couple of weeks to months to sustain the system that we have … if you can protect yourself and you know that your family is safe, I think that is incredibly empowering,” Dr. David Price.

Here’s Dr. Price if you want to watch it yourself.