SES February 2004

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Anonymous Guest visitor

SES February 2004

Postby Anonymous Guest visitor » Thu Feb 05, 2004 1:48 am

Hi Mike

1) Many thanks for your website and information about the SES.

2) Great idea to request permission to web ?Secret Cult?. This would be enormously valuable.

3) A few thoughts, for what they?re worth:

I?m currently attending part 2 of the SES introduction to philosophy course at their world HQ in Mandeville Place, London (in fact, I have just come back from there this evening). Forgive me therefore if I remain anonymous. I?ve actually approached their courses from probably exactly the opposite way to everyone else, as (despite having seen their adverts on the London Underground, but deliberately ignoring them) I was told about the SES in enthusiastic terms by a relative of mine who had taken part in the classes back in the 1950s. He had, though, mentioned the ?cultishness? of the organization, and that he had been made to feel uncomfortable after about 3 years (they got too demanding of him and his time) and he left. He did feel however, that certain aspects of their teaching were indescribably valuable tools for him (particularly in his business environment ? engineering).

Following this, I almost simultaneously attended a first evening class, *and* surfed the web, winding up on your websites (this was sometime last year). Obviously, I took careful note of everything you have published and therefore approached the whole course with a healthy cynicism (and ? tonight especially! ? made sure that I am not the only SES student who is aware of the Mike Gomez pages). The first introductory course was extremely valuable, as I related to much of the subject matter (consciousness, present moment, states of mind), because it connects directly with what I deal with on a day to day basis within my profession (performing arts). Although I had already (and very recently) studied almost everything the SES teaches in part one of their course, (through more mainstream channels e.g. Timothy Galwey?s classic: The Inner Game of Tennis), I still got enough out of the course to sign up again for part 2, ?happiness?(!). This does appear more repetitive than the last part (only week 4 of 10 as I write, though), and so far appears to be extolling the virtues of rational thought, and the recognition of passing emotions (anger, depression etc.) as simply that: temporary feelings, not an overall base state. That seems common sense to me: a baby would be a perfect example of this. There?s plenty of this kind of thought around, but it seems to mostly come from Harvard business books and the like. Essentially, SES in Spring 2004 appears to be one large self-help book wrapped up in a rather expensive building (the ex-trinity school of music building in fact).

Now it?s true that at this point they haven?t mentioned any type of Hinduism or specific religious agenda. But it also has to be said that various tutors (and I have sampled most of them!) have responded with comments like ?the teachings that we are studying <today/this term/at the moment> are based on <specific> strand of <specific> vedic traditions, which originate in Eastern philosophy?. To me, that seems like a perfectly open acknowledgement that SES isn?t claiming to be a general study of philosophy in the accepted sense of the word. I also challenged one of the more notable tutors to explain his use of the word ?divine? and whether it had any religious connotation. Although his explanation was very quick and followed by an immediate change of subject (I think that was circumstance ? he had something boring about scheduling that he wanted to tell me ? it?s all too easy to read too far into things), he did concede that he was simply acknowledging some kind of universal truth, and if I wanted to describe it as any religion-specific God, human nature, intuition, etc.etc. then that was fine by him.

It should be said that most SES tutors (about half men, half women so far, and certainly not all wearing flowery dresses. >>I mean not all the women, obviously not the men! ;-) ) do seem to be masterful sidetrackers, and the ability of some of them to swiftly side-step or misinterpret a question is second to none!

Anyway, it would seem to me at this point ? and this is just a plain, objective and balanced observation from someone who is essentially still an outsider (I don?t think I?ve been brainwashed yet ;-) ) ? that there is not currently any sinister side to what they are doing, certainly at this basic level. Maybe it wouldn?t be too far-fetched to imagine that there has, perhaps, been a big clean-up operation. Is it possible that the organization has quietly taken note of the problems of its past, and adjusted accordingly? I certainly think that that possibility shouldn?t be discounted.

Generally, the attitude amongst the newish students whom I have met and discussed the issue with is ?hey, it may be a cult, but at least it seems to be a fairly civilised and harmless cult, which is what most religions technically are anyway?. Before you shriek in horror at that, I do understand that many people have had traumatic experiences within SES in the past, but if my suggestion in the previous paragraph is correct ? that SES has cleaned up its act ? then the possibility that the school, in its present state, is just that: a harmless sectarian school of thought. Ok, that probably does make it a cult by the dictionary definition, but I don?t think that necessarily makes it ?bad? without further investigation.

Anyway, general comments on any of the above would be welcomed, and whilst I?m here ?on the ground? so to speak, I?d be happy to gently find out anything more that anyone would like to know about SES at the moment ? if I can.

Thanks again to Mike G for the board and site.



Ps Has their own website been mentioned? Find it at:

05 Feb 04

Posts: 501
Joined: Tue Feb 04, 2003 9:33 pm
Location: Amsterdam

Postby mgormez » Sun Feb 22, 2004 5:42 pm

Hi Anon :-)

Thanks for the compliment vis-a-vis the website and this pretty active message board. It is perfectly okay that you stay anon, I understand. I hope you don't mind when I don't answer every point you make. Afterall it is your view/opinion and that's okay.

While looking for something, I found the following page again. Can you agree with the views as expressed here?

I note they too address emotions, like you did

Some members have found it difficult to accept the degree to which ?personality? is attacked, the emphasis on not identifying with negative emotions like anger and grief, and the attitude that sickness and disabilities are the result of wrong-doing.

Yes, I'd say that page seems to agree with you that they are more open then before. These are the pages of their main site that contains the word "Vedic" on it: ... Eorg+Vedic

But I still think the discription by Dialogue Ireland warrents a carefull watch of the movement. Particularly the last part doesn't sit well with me and many more groups say the same thing concering sickness and disabilities. I have documentation of too many people dying who believed that by "doing good" (according to the cult they blonged to) could cure them again.

Other as that I don't have much to add really, I like a open dialog and that's why this forum is open to everyone. By the way, knowing you are dealing with a cultish organization does not make you "recruitment-proof" so to speak. If you have some time read this:

Managing to recruit: religious conversion in the workplace.
Sociology of Religion, Winter, 1998, by Deana Hall,University of Alberta ... 2Bresearch

Anyway, thanks again. I don't want to sound like an old hag pointing my finger, but please watdch out and don't let them take over all your time.
Mike Gormez

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