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Re: Soul Snatchers - The Mechanics of Cults
 Posted by: george
 Date: 02/09/2005, 07:51:33
 Original URL: Click here (However, the link may be stale.)

 Some thoughts here on something I'm working on and how it is relevant here (apologies if it's a little opaque).

 

‘Thus in “Lordship and Bondage” recognition is motivated by the desire for recognition, and recognition is itself a cultivated form of desire, no longer the simple consumption or negation of alterity but the uneasy dynamic in which one seeks to find oneself in the Other only to find that this reflection is the sign of one’s expropriation and self-loss’.

- Butler, Judith, Antigone’s Claim, (New York: Columbia UP, 2000), p.14.

 

In our responses to Guru Maharaji’s/Maharaji’s/PremRawat’s promises to reveal the ‘truth’, many of us struggled to obey his imperative to ‘surrender’.  In the wake of the resulting loss of our ‘selfs’, on leaving the cult, our ensuing struggles to superimpose normative patterns on our realities, appear at times to be an almost impossible task.  But for those who have chosen, without the protection of anonymity, to make public their experiences in the cult, and particularly for those who seek to warn the innocents of the dangers of joining such an organization, the consequences of individually opposing a tyrant and his creatures make the ‘Antigone’ of Sophocles poignantly relevant.  It is perhaps telling that Jean Anouilh and Bertholt Brecht produced versions of the play in the throes of the horrors of the 1940’s.

 

If anyone knows the play, think about the metonymic relationship between Antigone’s attempts to bury the body of Polyneices and how people who have left the cult attempt to deal with their loss; also the relationship of Creon’s exposure of the body as a sign to the citizens and the punitive measures taken against those who oppose the cult.

 

Butler hypothesises that at her trial, Antigone redoubles her ‘crime’ in her speech act, in her refusal to recant, thereby sealing her fate as the recipient of the full force of Creon’s wrath. I believe that, in opposition, though it is easy to remain strong and committed ideologically, faced with such a cruel and punishing vengeance, how many of us, if tested as Antigone was, would remain strong.  And is not the wisdom of such self-sacrifice, in itself, questionable? 

 

In opposing tyranny we are by definition ‘the little guys’, but we have a long and very distinguished history that we can trace back to the roots of western civilization.  Encoded in the very word ‘democracy’ is the notion of making public what is private, and 2,500 years after the democratization of Athens we are still only just beginning.  So why should we ‘move on’ – and where did that imperative come from? Perhaps more significantly, why are we still obeying?  In the true spirit of democracy we should defend the absolute right to stick around – to figure out how a significant proportion of our lives came to be consumed by a chimera, and how best to deal with that loss.  In the context of my social death, this forum has offered much needed support in staying faithful to my instinctive feelings of what is right.  Leaving a cult sounds easy but it really is not, and the imperative to ‘just walk’ is about as ignorant and callous as you might expect from someone who has made a career out of dissemblance.

 

 

NB.  Even the practising members of the cult who air their propaganda here remain anonymous.  I think that fact alone speaks volumes.  When I was ‘in’, I was explicitly told that Maharaji did not want premies logging on to the ‘ex-premie website’.  Having, at the time, no knowledge of the information GMJ/MJ/PR was concealing, I assumed that the items on the site were just vain and bitter remonstrances – though from this perspective it’s hard to understand why that was.  I suppose that when, for decades, as I had, you have been surrendering your powers of discrimination to the forces of mind control, a request/order of that type doesn’t seem unreasonable – weird! 




Brilliant Analysis
 Posted by: Joe
 Date: 02/09/2005, 17:35:13
 Original URL: Click here (However, the link may be stale.)

Thanks for that analysis, which was very thoughtful.

It's clear that just because you don't consider yourself a premie that doesn't mean you wouldn't respond to the fears and directives that have become so internalized.  Even now, sometimes when premies come here and give those standard lines, it's almost like I could easily just fall into a kind of trance and nod my head, like I used to do in satsang, whether it made any sense or not. 

The idea was that it was entering my "heart" and that was the organ that was listening, and that's all that mattered.  It's like going to a play and entering into the "suspension of disbelief."  There is vulnerability there, and I think just because you have rejected that, it doesn't mean the vulnerability goes away.

And I don't know if it was just me, but the strongest feeling I get when I feel that way is alway fear -- fear that I got it wrong again and that I blew it.  It's pretty weak, but sometimes it's still there.  But this is what cults do, and I think it's unfortuantely why people stay in them for so long even if they aren't enjoying themselves and have long since stopped being blissed out.

And I agree with Cynthia that the "just-move-on" directive should be questioned.  It's okay to do it, because there isn't any "supposed to," but clearly, the motive behind the cult and many of the premies is not that they care anything about our development, or progression as human beings, they just want us to shut up because 1) they fear it reflects negatively on Maharaji, and more importantely, 2) what ex-premies say is always feared because it comes from people who have had "the experience" who were selected by Maharaji to have the divine gift, and they have come out the other side and said they don't think it amounts to much. 

And it just sounds a lot more PC to suggest that people "just move on," that it is to tell them they have no right to talk about their own involvement with Maharaji, at least anywhere that other people might hear it, or see it.

 




Re: Brilliant Analysis....and
 Posted by: Dermot M
 Date: 02/09/2005, 19:40:22
 Original URL: Click here (However, the link may be stale.)

Yes, Joe, a pleasure to read George's post. As you say, very thoughtful...so well written, too. Cheers George. No, it wasn't that opaque

I know exactly what you mean, too, Joe about the trance like suspension of one's faculties when the so-called listening to ones heart via satsang took place. I think this is one of the reasons why Premies, in the main, aren't capable of discussing Prem and his world rationally.....even if they are capable and intelligent in many other spheres of life. This trance like suspension is the " truth" to a Premie and it's almost an insult to question it with lower forms of activity such as reasoned thought. This position is continually re-inforced by Rawat himself.It doesn't matter if he rambles on disjointedly, it doesn't matter if his life, words and deeds are  a bundle of contradictions. In other spheres of life those things would matter ....even to Premies....but in Rawat world they just aren't applicable Also,no doubt, the Premies were probably in this state of " truth" (read: Rawat Zombie trance, ho hum) and it was this that probably perplexed Johnathan after a programme he went to. Everyone sitting in their own little trance for a short while before rousing from the Divine slumber/trance, hahaha. A lot of the time I'd just nod off, too. Have a Divine snooze while that truth seeped into my " heart". Who needs a mind, after all!

I also agree that the " move on" directive is one of the most insidious aspects of Rawatism and, as you point out, it's issued by him ( and echoed by Premies) for purely selfish reasons. I f, ultimately, you're not prepared to fall in line with the personality cult then, for Gods sake, take a hike but do it quietly! Then come all the jibes about  living in the past, hateful obsessiveness etc etc. Also, they've reconciled themselves into following in the footsteps of such disreputable orgs as Scientology, for instance, and consciously learned tricks from it....that is obvious.Again, it ultimately doesn't matter. " Truth" is more important.

As usual......beneath the surface......a sad, sick, sorry affair.


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5 Brighter than 1000 suns as seen through night vision goggles
4 As bright as the lights on Maharaji's jet
3 As bright as a 60 watt light bulb
2 As bright as a pile of burning ghi on a swinging arti tray
1 As bright as the inner light as seen by the third eye

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