Splinter Schools

Discussion of the SES, particularly in the UK.
anti_ses
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Postby anti_ses » Sun Jun 17, 2007 3:56 pm

Tom Grubb wrote:The children are made to recite nonsensical verses such as "This is perfect, That is perfect, Take perfect from perfect and the remainder is perfect". They are made to repeat sounds over and over and to sit perfectly still for unreasonable periods at a time.


I can empathise with everything this angry parent said apart from the above statements. Sure, criticize the SES all you want - in fact, it would be reasonable for the parent to say he does not want his children to partake in these activities.

But you're opening a can of worms when you trivialise or attack the beliefs and practices of a religion followed by a billion people. Especially if you happen to know very little about its origin, development and reasoning.

Tom Grubb
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Postby Tom Grubb » Sun Jun 17, 2007 9:22 pm

If the SES were more open to parents and pupils about the Hindu origins of much of their 'philosophy' I think you'd have more of a point.

This parent is complaining about the deceptive advertising of the Erasmus school "where by the fundamental principle of the school is not made entirely clear". Her letter was sent to an atheist organisation so it is perhaps reasonable to assume that if the advertising had explained that the school's 'philosophy' teaching is actually religious indoctrination, she would not have sent her son there.

By the way, can of worms or not, people have every right to attack religious beliefs and practices however ancient or popular they may be.

anti_ses
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Postby anti_ses » Sun Jun 17, 2007 10:44 pm

I agree that religious beliefs and practices should be debated. Only then do they have any real significance.

But I disagree about your point that context justifies the statement. In any way I read that paragraph, it points to a very narrow minded view. If you are going to make such an overarching criticism about beliefs or practices, I think it is advisable to put forward more of an argument.

ConcernedMum
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Postby ConcernedMum » Sun Jun 17, 2007 10:46 pm

And can you be sure that the SES system is predominantly Hindu? I have some experience of studying with and about different religious systems and from what i've heard here and read about its history it appears to be a hotch potch (or synthesis if I want to be nice) of the different influences on and personal tastes of Leon McLaren. Do hindu's have ideas about whats good and bad music on the basis of the sexuality of the composer? (apparently tchaikovsky isn't cool). I'm not going to accord a status to the SES in terms of world religions that it doesn't appear to have the grounds to claim. Perhaps the McLarenites or the McLarions is a safer description rather than Hindu??? And may they be free to practice and believe whatsoever they wish but according it a place in the traditions of the great religious beliefs or indeed in the pantheon of just plain great ideas seems, at the very least, premature!

anti_ses
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Postby anti_ses » Sun Jun 17, 2007 11:47 pm

ConcernedMum wrote:And can you be sure that the SES system is predominantly Hindu?

I never implied so or otherwise. I only made my point because the practices trivialised and disparaged by the angry parent are endorsed by Hinduism. Whether this is the reason why they are followed by the SES is another matter.

Goblinboy
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Postby Goblinboy » Mon Jun 18, 2007 12:26 am

ConcernedMum wrote:And can you be sure that the SES system is predominantly Hindu?


Basically, yes - confirmed recently by a number of long-term participants.

Tom Grubb
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Postby Tom Grubb » Mon Jun 18, 2007 6:49 am

anti_ses wrote:I agree that religious beliefs and practices should be debated. Only then do they have any real significance.

But I disagree about your point that context justifies the statement. In any way I read that paragraph, it points to a very narrow minded view. If you are going to make such an overarching criticism about beliefs or practices, I think it is advisable to put forward more of an argument.


Here's the paragraph the angry parent wrote:

The Erasmus School policy is governed by an ideology challenging much of our cultural principles based on equality, the rights of children and individuals. Women and girls are perceived as the inferior gender, outdated roles and beliefs are reflected in the curriculum. The science and geography subject is replaced with study solely based on Creationism, the Laws of Nature and ancient Hindu Laws. I T is not taught or encouraged and discipline is harsh grounded in fear and punitive retribution. The children are made to recite nonsensical verses such as "This is perfect, That is perfect, Take perfect from perfect and the remainder is perfect". They are made to repeat sounds over and over and to sit perfectly still for unreasonable periods at a time.


I think she's being very reasonable!

Obviously, I have no experience of the Erasmus school but this description tallies very closely with my experience at St Vedast many years ago. St Vedast pupils were also made to repeat the "This is perfect" verse, the meaning of which was, as far as I can recall, never properly explained to us and was certainly not up for debate. It was just another thing you had to do to avoid being hit. The verse seemed like nonsense to me back then and it still seems like nonsense now. We were also taught Hindu creation myths as fact along with other so-called 'Natural Laws', reincarnation, etc. We also had to do 'sounding' for hours at a time and were made to sit still, again with no proper explanation or debate, and with the ever-present threat of violence.

ConcernedMum
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Postby ConcernedMum » Mon Jun 18, 2007 8:21 am

Hi - thanks for that - what i meant about asking is it Hindu is that while apparently some of the structures of its main beliefs seem to accord with hindu philosophy alright but it seems there's a heap of other stuff thrown in (TM, remnants of Blavatsky etc) add in a large portion of McLaren's personality which clearly veered into arrogance and bullying reasonably regularly and finally include knowledge gained from a series of conversations with a Hindu guru (does not a spiritual transmission make - necessarily). I was brought up Roman Catholic so I would certainly know enough about Catholicism to set up my own religion with sufficient quantities of catholic belief (transubstantiation, resurection etc) , throw in a few other general spiritual beliefs and of course my own personal preferences and voila! I have a religion that looks like Catholicism, but of course, isn't really. I think the SES is about as Hindu as that. Lets not accord it any great status - it clearly hasn't earned it (yet- at least and I suspect hasn't a sniff of a chance of ever doing so). Its a group of people who follow Mclaren, thats all.

And I agree that it is clearly nonsense to teach children stuff that they will not have the capacity to understand in any way.

Matthew
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Postby Matthew » Mon Jun 18, 2007 11:38 am

Once again, more of the same tired and lame arguments by SES defenders. How many times does it need to be repeated: its not a problem with Hinduism, Advaita Vedanta, or any other religion per se. Its the deliberate deception, opaqueness and blatant disingenuousness which hoodwinks prospective parents and unsuspecting potential cult recruits (just one of many techniques cults employ to survive!), that is and always has been the problem. And going by Free's recent post, is probably also illegal.

anti_ses
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Postby anti_ses » Mon Jun 18, 2007 12:50 pm

Matthew wrote:the same tired and lame arguments by SES defenders

Grow up, Matthew. I'm trying to hold a reasonable debate. The angry parent doesn't say the verse is nonsensical to children, he/she says they are nonsensical, full stop. And that sitting still for 10 or 15 minutes is an unreasonable period of time for all children, full stop. These are absolute rather than conditional statements.

In fact, I see "context, context, context" as the tired and lame argument.

anti_ses
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Postby anti_ses » Mon Jun 18, 2007 1:05 pm

Nor am I here to defend the SES. I have never joined or considered joining the SES, nor have any of my relatives. I only feel that when one chooses to openly criticize a religion, race or any denomination - implicitly or explicitly - one should explain their reasoning. Otherwise they risk being considered, at the very least, culturally unaware or, at worst, prejudiced.

Matthew
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Postby Matthew » Mon Jun 18, 2007 3:15 pm

You are creating a straw man argument. The 'angry parent' would have had no cause to complain about any of this if they had not been deceived in the first place. Hence I refer you back to my above post.

You accuse me of being immature and then say that you're "trying to hold a reasonable debate"; but you're failing here, IMO.

ConcernedMum
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Postby ConcernedMum » Mon Jun 18, 2007 3:19 pm

Hi anti-ses - I didn't get from your piece that you were defending the SES at all. However, is it not quite a jump to assume that the teaching of the "This is perfect etc" verse and teaching sitting still for long periods of time to very young children, is a bona fide Hindu practice? Do Hindus teach this to their young children? do Hindu's believe that beating boys is ok?

It also seems to me to be an even bigger jump to assume that the criticism of the teaching practices of a small sect-like organisation is akin to having a prejuidice against the billion or so followers of Hinduism world-wide.

The way I see it is that far from showing a prejudice against Hindus, this woman has criticised the teaching of her child under the ethos of a small sect-like group of people who follow the teachings of Leon McLaren. Given the history of abuse of children taught under this ethos, I think the burden of proof shifts to the SES to prove their teachings aren't damaging to children rather than the other way around.

Frankly a sceptical approach to the followers of the teachings of a man whose behaviour appears to have shown the characteristics of an over-indulged, arrogant bully seems entirely healthy to me. Lets leave the billion or so Hindus out of it - the behaviour of members of the SES has nothing to do with them.

anti_ses
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Postby anti_ses » Mon Jun 18, 2007 4:34 pm

ConcernedMum wrote:However, is it not quite a jump to assume that the teaching of the "This is perfect etc" verse and teaching sitting still for long periods of time to very young children, is a bona fide Hindu practice?

It isn't quite a jump when you are a Hindu and have, along with many other Hindus you know, been brought up in such a way.

ConcernedMum wrote:Do Hindus teach this to their young children? do Hindu's believe that beating boys is ok?

And I am being accused of creating a strawman argument?

Matthew wrote:You accuse me of being immature and then say that you're "trying to hold a reasonable debate"; but you're failing here, IMO.

And, IMHO, calling an argument "tired and lame" is akin to admitting defeat.

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bonsai
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Postby bonsai » Mon Jun 18, 2007 4:38 pm

Guys,

This thread shows all the potential of getting out of hand.

Many views and opinions expressed on this site will be motivated by experience, gut reaction, emotional response and even prejudice (whether witting or not) and some may be motivated and supported by reasonable argument.

Please please please can we avoid making these arguments personal in any way. Yes by all means ask people to support their views with reasons but please be careful in the use of adjectives used to describe the authors of particular views.

Bonsai


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