Thursday, November 12, 2009

INTERNET: A Problem for SRCM(California-1997) and Sahaj marg

Excerpt of article on Pitfalls of Spirituality blog, called: Cognitive Dissonance 7: Boundary Control, by Frank, Ex-preceptor of SRCM (California-1997) and Ex-Zonal-in-Charge (ZIC) of SRCM(California-1997) for the Netherlands.

4d-Don's Comments: In this conclusion of a series of articles on a Book by psychiatrist
Marc Gallanter, called: Cults: Faith, Healing and Coercion, Frank cites specific examples from the conditions at the SRCM (California-1997), of which he was "Zonal-In-Charge" (ZIC) for the Netherlands. See also (link below) for a review of Marc Gallanter's book in the American Journal of Psychiatry.

According to Chari in his book: He! The Hookah and I: "The common people (mortals) , they are people who come, judge, and judge again and consider starting blogs on the computer, which is now a curse because everybody has a computer".

So All are encouraged to "SPEAK OUT" on the "curse" that are the blogs that are out there now on the Internet, for Religions and "Cults of Personalities" (according to Chari and SRCM(California-1997)), and/or start a blog of your own ... We are the MEDIA!! We are TIME Magazine's: "PERSON of the YEAR". We are the "Fifth Estate".

From The Blog:
Pitfalls of Spirirtuality

Cognitive Dissonance 7: Boundary Conditions

So let's finish with the three yet-undiscussed elements of boundary control that I perceive to be used often in spiritual movements by their Inner Circle:

2) Limiting contact with `outside' world views
3) Blackening of former followers
6) Limiting free discussion between members, that is discussion which is not in some way controlled or influenced by Inner Circle orthodoxy.

(the other elements being:
1) Intensive recruiting of new followers (see previous post)
4) Partial truth & secrets (already discussed intensively in earlier posts)
5) Stressing the need to forego rationality (likewise already discussed))


ad 2): There are various ways for the Inner Circle of a spiritual movement to limit contact of the followers with the broader societal views. Clearly, physical separation is frequently seen, by creating communes and the like. But Marc Galanter's book gives several examples which are more subtle. From my own experience with Sahaj Marg, I remember that various law suits in which SRCM is involved are being kept largely from the followers. As well as the fact that there are sizable dissenting factions which claim (with more than passing credibility) that the guru-succession in SRCM on the death of its founder has been a vicious power struggle involving decidedly unspiritual manipulation. This is perhaps also a case of 4): Partial truth and secrets.

Anyway, the reason for limiting contact with `outside' world views and conflicting information is obvious, as Marc Galanter points out. For a charismatic group to maintain its group identity and group rationale, cognitive dissonance should not become too big. Certain anomalies and contradictions -between the Theory on the one hand and on the other hand the worldly activities of the Movement plus the possible worldly opposition against the Movement- are most easily managed if the followers are largely unaware of their existence.


The motives behind 3) and 6) are of course completely similar. In Sahaj Marg, followers are repeatedly asked by guru P. Rajagopalachari not to create discussion forums on internet, with the reason given that these forums could be targeted by `malicious' individuals (looking to harm SRCM specifically). This of course holds for any discussion forum on the internet. Generally, the pros of a discussion forum outweigh the cons, especially if one takes some simple measures against `trolling'. Therefore, a more likely reason to prohibit these forums is that they are uncontrollable by the Inner Circle, and thus prone to becoming a source of cognitive dissonance. Discussions on whether it is `spiritual' to ask €250 for a book of which the guru says that it is essential for your spiritual progress, for instance...

The internet therefore poses a real problem for Inner Circles wishing to exercise boundary control.

Because most spiritual movements have their own publisher's media, such as newsletters, quarterly journals, videos, cd's, books etc. These media are in many if not most cases under rigorous guidelines/supervision by the Inner Circle. Typically therefore, one encounters in say a quarterly journal -say Truth at Home or something similar- lots of positive feedback from both Inner Circle and `ordinary' followers. Truth at Home, like the other publications, so likely becomes an active instrument of the Inner Circle to reinforce the Message. Critical letters, `bad' news, accounting figures, property holdings, etc...are simply not published.

But the internet today is easily accessible to all followers. It cannot be controlled by the Inner Circle, yet it also yields results about relatively unimportant and obscure groups - in contrast with the traditional media (books, television, radio, newspapers). So therefore, it can also contain specific criticism against their Movement, small though it may be. Criticism which the Inner Circle cannot edit out or block from reaching followers.

This criticism is often the most threatening -like stated in one of the earlier posts on cognitive dissonance- when it comes from (longtime) former followers. Because they are really in the know, and their arguments are often not so easy to dismiss as the more uninformed criticism coming from general society. Often their arguments point out the fundamental internal inconsistencies in the Movement. (And then, what happens with the child who repeatedly sees different Santas? Who comes across a Santa whose beard accidentally falls off? Who sees Santa drunk, who sees parents sneaking in with presents, ...).

One way for the Inner Circle to deal with this particular `former follower' threat is to blacken their character and motives. (Yes, this occurs in all types of organizations, I know. One just would expect this not to happen in a spiritual organization...). As an example, I have been called an `enemy of spirituality' by my former guru P. Rajagopalachari ;-) And with me, all former followers who blog about their experiences with Sahaj Marg. It's funny enough, but I'm not kidding. Still I can't possibly take it very seriously, for me personally I mean.

It does beg the question what part of the boundary control is conscious and what part un- or subconscious. Personally, I'm inclined to believe in `good' intentions of most people. This would imply that many Inner Circles have a high level of cognitive dissonance and corresponding avoidance. Indeed Marc Galanter describes this to be very often the case, complete with delusional world views and self-aggrandizement / over-importance / self-proclamation of divinity (direct or indirect) etc.

One should not forget that it often takes decades for Inner Circle members to attain their Inner Circle position. Time enough to build up a significant cognitive dissonance avoidance. Also, by the nature of the enormous time & effort investment made, if their position and/or their rationale is threatened one should not be surprised to see them react in what I would deem rather unspiritual ways.

Dear reader, to me it seems none of us are... (For more, see: Cognitive Dissonance 7: Boundary Conditions on Pitfalls of Spirituality Blog, Here)

See also: The Enemies of Spirituality
Chari: The Blogger, Spiritualist, (Bad-mouther of Religions), and "Enemies of Spirituality)
Review of Marc Gallanter's book: Cults: Faith, Healing and Coercion, in American Journal of Psychiatry...


Anonymous said...

look up born again brainwashing. Someone come clean that is actually happening.

4d-Don said...

Hi Anonymous...

You can look that up and if you find something to "expose" there, you can do it here...

That job is being taken on by many "victims" in the "Christian" movements... Are you a "victim" of Born-again brainwashing? Those who post here are "victims" of Sahaj Marg and specially "SRCM(California-1997)" the schism of Chari, which is being "managed" by developers, businessmen, and nationalists ...

SRCM (California-1997) is SPIRITISM and SPIRITUALISM (seances, mediums, messages from the "SPIRITS of the DEAD", egregores, etc.. disguised as SPIRITUALITY...

Thanks for your comments...