Dear reader

Why do I write about pitfalls of spirituality?

My purpose with this blog is to crystallize and share my thoughts and experiences, in the hope that you and I may benefit from them. From 1993-2005 I practiced a so-called spiritual method (Sahaj Marg). Ultimately I realized that this method - and especially the organization around it (Shri Ram Chandra Mission or SRCM)- was contrary to some deep spiritual layer in myself. I came to some clear conclusions, and also to some still developing insights.

One still developing insight is that almost everybody is looking for some form of spirituality in their life. Therefore there are many spiritual methods and movements, often with similar pitfalls to the ones I experienced.

Many people follow a well-trodden path which is defined by the group in their immediate vicinity. Others are prompted by their heart and/or head to look for spirituality that makes sense on a personal level. Spirituality gives fulfillment -humanity as one, universal love growing, one with the buddha- as well as direction through life's tough questions.

I write about the pitfalls of spirituality because so many others seem to write mostly about the bliss of their own approach to spirituality. This bliss to me actually seems a pitfall.

Understanding the pitfalls I deem essential to gain more spiritual insight. For me this actually translates into a lighter and more loving heart. I do not believe that understanding is the key issue in spirituality. But I do believe that misunderstanding can block key issues (although to which degree probably varies with each person).

Please bear with my frequent use of I feel, seems to me, in my not so humble opinion and so on. It is to emphasize that I do not consider any of my opinions to be more than that. I cannot bring you universal truth. In my not so humble opinion [imnsho] universal truth is a major pitfall in spirituality.

Dear reader, I hope you find something worthwhile on these pages. Friendly reactions, which may be as critical as you like, are always welcome.

Tips how to read this blog

* Please start with the closing remarks (click on the link), they should provide a balanced perspective on this blog.

* There is a list of 20 pitfalls in the sidebar. Clicking on a pitfall will provide a number of posts in which that pitfall is discussed to some extent.

* If you have time, consider starting with the oldest post, and simply going through to each next post. This probably gives the most faithful ;-) reading...

Tuesday, September 2, 2008

Fulfillment, spiritual progress, ambition, inner circle, power

I've been reading some other websites on pitfalls associated with spiritual movements. If one reads beyond the difference in style and personalities, it is quite amazing how widespread these mechanisms seem to be. Also, I'm not sure that what I write has anything new to offer. But I suppose that another way of saying the same things is still worthwhile, if it helps people find their own path.

Anyway, first let me point out this link: the false guru test. The strength of this test (to me) lies in the fact that the author doesn't have a particular guru or spiritual movement in mind. This gives a certain neutrality and objectivity, which is similar to what science in its best form can offer. People can `fill in' the details from their Movement, and see for themselves if they might be in a certain danger zone. [Yes, I know, this presupposes that the author (Andrew Paterson) of the test knows what he's talking about...I think he does.]

I take out three elements of this test, since they fit in with the topic here. Let's start with no. 21:

21. Allows his followers to set up a hierarchy of access:
A guru must be accessible. If he is not, or if he allows his followers to block your access, then he is playing the role of a king and not a spiritual guide. A guru is only useful to the process of awakening if you can directly interact with him.

Of course this is directly tied to no. 20:

20. Is not interested in you personally:
If a teacher or guru does not have time to interact with you personally, then you may as well read his teaching from a book, because merely being in his presence doesn't help you find realization inside you. You may model some of his spiritual characteristics, but that often only places you deeper in illusion.

#####

Although I'm all for tests like these, I also get the feeling that many people try to lay blame on spiritual movements for mechanisms that one sees everywhere, also outside spiritual movements.

Because, to be honest, I have seen the above two items displayed in any large organization, if one replaces `guru' with `director', `secretary of state', `chief executive officer' etc.

So what happens if I were to examine my own role in being seduced by these power mechanisms? It might shed light on why other people do what they do, it might help me understand how supposedly `very advanced persons' (let's call them VAPs) allow themselves to become `very important persons', VIPs.

#####

So the whole thing for me (and there are others pointing this out, see the excellent analysis in Inner Circle of SRCM ) starts with the combination of fulfillment and progress. (I feel fulfilled if I progress, especially if I feel this progress is in the direction of a Lofty Goal.)

These two in turn fuel my ambition. Because I see others, who as a sign of their progress, have attained membership of the inner circle. The inner circle of trusted associates of the Leader(s), who are up-to-date on all the plans, who are often in close personal interaction with the Most Advanced/Important Person(s), say MAP/MIP. Who by this association receive special training, special attention,...extra progress therefore, and in this way extra fulfillment!

#####

Now it is easy to substitute some spiritual movement in the above. But it gets more interesting if I substitute my workplace surroundings, for instance. Or politics. Or a large sports organization, like the International Olypmic Committee. Or a large charity, like the World Nature Fund.

Because in each of these organizations, I am convinced that many people are looking for personal fulfillment, which they measure by their `progress' in the organization; the combination of which fuels their ambition to attract attention of the inner circle etc.

#####

So, going back to spiritual movements, I am not convinced that all these VAPs become VIPs because they are powerhungry. This would be too obvious a mechanism, as a pitfall it can be easily avoided by intelligent well-meaning people, and many people seriously interested in spirituality are exactly that.

Power mechanisms come into my existence as a spiritual `practitioner' because I allow myself to be seduced by the combination of `fulfillment' and `progress'.

The very idea of `spiritual progress' implies some form of judgment. It implies that some people are more spiritual than others. To be honest, I still make these judgments myself, but I have come to realize that such judgments are of a personal practical nature, and not in any sense Absolute or True. They reflect on me probably more than on those whom I place in the category `more spiritual behaviour' and 'less spiritual behaviour'.

And the obvious question is: what will happen if I stop judging like that?

#####

Accepting people the way they are...looks very spiritual. But for me it works in the practical sense only within certain limits. I cannot accept people ruthlessly exploiting other people, or worse. However, I have come to understand why some people are driven in that direction.

But mostly, within the (for me) most common situations, accepting people the way they are works better for me than judging their behaviour. And to come full circle, this of course is a reflection of self-acceptance and self-judgment.

Really accepting myself (within certain limits?) means, I think, not judging myself. It also means letting go of the idea of spiritual progress. There is no objective progress. There might be some mellowing out of tendencies which for some reason bother me (and/or others ;-) ). Fine, big deal.

#####

The appropriate element of the false guru test mentioned above is no. 4:

4. Focuses on enlightenment itself rather than teaching the path leading to it:
It is amazing how much false gurus have to say about enlightenment. They argue their points in the same way that the scholars in the middle ages argued how many angels could sit on the head of a pin. Any fool can talk about the end goal because what is said is irrefutable to most of your listeners. What is skillful is guiding those listeners to having awakening within themselves. The real teacher focuses on the path and strictly avoids any talk on enlightenment.

(I don't agree completely with this phrasing, but the point is valid, and is the same I believe as saying: don't focus on progress. Spirituality lies in `being'. Not in `becoming'.)

#####

With regard to my former spiritual movement, I have come to understand a lot of behaviour that I found mystifying and which made me angry. The same goes for my former workplace at a large ministry in my country. I find, in hindsight, that I can accept better that many people are driven by the mechanisms of fulfillment <--> progress --> ambition --> inner circle --> power. And I know I'm not free of it myself.

#####

This being said, I cannot accept that people willingly and knowingly abuse their power positions. Nor can I accept that they refuse to take real responsibility when they have been given power.

But what can I do, in a concrete practical sense?

First of all, I try not to give power to people who are enveloped in some inner circle mechanism. Famous pop artist? Secretary of State? Guru with 3 million followers? Director of Greenpeace? `Pleased to meet you, but if you'll excuse me I need to talk to my daughter about her new sweater'. No disrespect meant, but I have seen an incredible amount of fawning over VIPs. And am ashamed to say that I fawned a few times myself when meeting my former spiritual guide. Against my better judgment, it was a subconscious thing which I later managed to correct because I dislike these mechanisms.

Second, the asking of critical, insightful questions has always struck me as a good way to remind people of their responsibilities when in a power position.

Here often lie real eye-openers, with regard to the issue `heart' vs `mind'. Because most people in a position of power expect a fawning-like agreement from their underlings. Many even demand it explicitly! But if a technical proposal fails to meet its technical objective, and the VIP hasn't observed this and is all for the proposal...then what do you think happens if you ask the critical technical questions that reveal that the VIP has made a mistake?

It can be, I assure you from personal experience, an extremely funny situation!

And so thirdly, what I can do in a practical sense? I believe that making fun of ridiculous situations and opinions and positions and behaviour is a very effective way of puncturing the balloon of self-importance and Absolute Truth etc.

No wonder, that the least tolerant of spiritual movements are so serious. No wonder, that false gurus do not allow jokes about their proposals, theories and behaviour, except if they make them themselves to show off their sense of humour and humility (`Oh, look, He is so humble, He even jokes about Himself!').

Let alone, that they welcome real criticism and critical questions.

10 comments:

Anonymous said...

Hi Frank...

Good for you for checking out the "False Guru Test". Like you, I never have looked at these tests before, but this one, that came to my blog from a "hit", was a little more "a propos", and touched my experience with SRCM(tm) of Chari's to a Tee.

The points raised in this "TEST", is what makes me pursue this group as opposed to "Christianity", which I left at the beginning of my adult life after years of "questioning" and never finding satisfactory answers.

BTW, even though there was "physical, emotional, sexual, "intellectual terrorism" (hell, demons, etc...) involved in Catholicism, and I experienced it "first hand", it took the "financial information" to finally cause me to "QUIT"... and to realize that the corruption was DEEP. Still, even though I still write letters to the POPE, and open letters to the editors of newspapers, I don't "crusade" against the Holy Roman Catholic Church (Holy Mother the Church) any more than against other religions such as Islam, Judaism, etc..., the followers of the "GODS OF WAR" of the descendants of ABRAHAM.

But the SRCM of Babuji, purporting to be Spirituality, not Religion, claimed to be "different" and not RELIGION... so I joined, and so did my ex-wife. They (Chari) just plain LIED. I probably would not (and did not for many years) have pursued SRCM if Babuji, or if Varadachari, from what I read about him, had become the MASTER or the LEADER. They simply displayed or exhibited a little more "spirit", more intellect, and less "material" and what I later found the emotionalism of: bigotry, sexism, racism, idolatry, and not much SPIRIT of Charity and COMPASSION as Chari and his Management Team of Brahmins (the upper caste in India). And I speak now of this SPIRIT, towards even its own members, let alone the outsiders, THE Unenlightened un-washed, "enemies of Spirituality", like US...;-))

In the "market place" and in our secular life, we accept that addictive search for POWER as we see it as a "survival mechanism". We all need a "little power" so as to survive, thrive, and not be "a victim" of the more ruthlessly "opportunistic" than us who still want to have some aspect of spirituality in their lives.

"Opportunism", which is a seen a quality in "business" and capitalism in general, is a "flaw" and "illogical" when a "goal-less" ideal such as "SPIRITUALITY" is proposed. Opportunism is also not very lofty intellectually.

If the JOURNEY is the THING, as what I think of SPIRITUALITY, then it is the quality of one's LIFE, rather than the quantity of POWER one has (including money, position, percs, etc...and all the "corruptible" that will rot away with TIME, which are part of the MATERIAL world), is what should take precedence.

You are right to "laugh" or make fun of these "situations", and not the good people involved, who usually have developed fairly large "egos" so as to reach VIP or MIP status, but we now have to "laugh loudly" and not be "shrinking violets" and let that spiritual flaw (virus) that has infiltrated all our systems because of the lack of SPIRITUALITY in all of us, continue un-checked in the FUTURE. We are after all, laughing at "our condition" of having been either fooled or bullied.

We, as a society and as a species, have to address some global problems that we have caused, such as "pollution and climate change, war (religious and political), poverty, inequalty, that will demand "a reduction" in MATERIAL wealth and POWER for some, and an increase hopefully in "intellectual and spiritual" power, and all it entails, for some. Even "increasing our carbon footprint" so as to travel afar, and find GOD or to 'entertain" our senses and our ego, should be seen as "un-enlightened" giving in to an "addiction". We may have to start giving a value to "happiness" and other "intangibles" that up to now have no direct economic value. We already see "meditation and spirituality", and god machines, etc... beginning to be "sold" and "pushed" as commodities.

So as in all of LIFE, it seems the with any new knowledge, ideology or technology, it is first pushed to the negative aspects by our ruthless "go-getter" selves, to eventually find its own and hopefully Natural balance. Example: Women's movement, Civil Liberties, etc...

Our individual mind and our collective mind, seem to act much as a "homing torpedo", it does not know the "goal" or where the target is, but it works through negative feedback loops and eventually hits close to the target, not absolutely again. We, who have experience of the Misuse and the Pitfalls of Spirituality in these "new" religions, have to speak loudly with intellect, and all its properties of wit, humour, etc... and not be afraid to use MEMES, to get our ideas to prominence in the minds of others. Memes are to intellect and Mind, what GENES are to biology. And we have to "expose" misuse and pitfalls before they become "ABUSE".

Thanks for your stimulating insights... I could go on for hours but that is my "addiction"...I'll go meditate with the ONE... ;-))

4d-don

frank waaldijk said...

thank you don for your continuing interest and insightful comments.

i like this, your last comment, both for its content and a certain mildness that it carries.

when all is said and done, i feel mildness is a value that agrees with me, even though my `mind' (;-)) can tell me in some situations that mildness is not strong enough.

i don't know if you've noticed a comment that i placed on your blog `finances of shri ram chandra mission'. i'm thinking about how to tie `power' to `money' in the pitfall-list.

now that i'm writing about these pitfalls, and thinking on sahaj marg as well, i notice that in sahaj marg there is a very effective mix of many pitfalls woven together.

i think i'm a person used to looking at things at least also strongly from a rational point of view. it therefore seems strange in hindsight that i did not see through this web more sharply before. although i remember that there were earlier moments when i decided i could not accept all the contradictions and manipulations.

but somehow, i managed to sweep it all under the carpet of mildness...with thoughts like

`nothing is perfect you know',

`chari probably didn't mean it that way',

`babuji was a bit megalomaniac, but he also said some very nice things, let's focus on those',

`every organization needs money to reach its targets, who am i to know how much srcm needs?'

and i could write a long list of similar thoughts which kept me in check.

so i agree with you that it is worthwhile to share our experiences and thoughts and `memes'(a nice image by the way), so that we can avoid these pitfalls more easily.

to be continued therefore...

Anonymous said...

Hi Frank...

Thanks for your comments and for bringing to my attention the comments on my other blog... I must not have my: "comment alert" on this one... I will rectify that and reply to those comments.

I appreciate your candor and your comments in defense of that blog.

The hard research was not all done by me, so although I understand numbers and financial statements (or lack of in this case), I can't swear to the accuracy of the material presented but I can swear that it was as close as we could come to the TRUTH, and it was presented so as to try and get some honest "rebuttals", along with some concrete "corrections" of anything that may be in error... That has not come and I now don't believe it will ever come. Transparency is not part of their "philosophy" or lack of philosophy...as chari claims for Sahaj Marg... ;-)). It seems that as true capitalists who rely on a "turn-over" in selling products, that the same "turn-over" is practiced with abhyasis...."LOSE one, gain 10". In Pre-internet capitalism, that could work...In the AGE of the INFONAUT, I want to see it EXPOSED and see if the new SPIRITUAL SEEKERS will be as gullible and naive as the previous group, who joined and supported in good FAITH and with open-ness and LOVE their hearts...

TIME WILL TELL if the AGE of the INFONAUT will free us from this type of economic as well as spiritual "manipulation" by the equivalent of our scheming western Religious Televangelists, but from India.... When exposed, they all scream "religious persecution", or "racism"... I care, but for the victims (lambs), not the Predators (lions) ;-))

These are historic times...

When I was much younger, I represented (for 7 years), our city and a neighbouring city on the Board of Governors of a large charity (80+ charities),in Canada, as well as being Vice Chair and "chair of the Management committe" of another consortium of 30 charities, and I was also, "assistant accountant" for a major bank in one of my "previous lives" ;-))

This lack of financial transparency for a "charity" would never fly for secular charities, in Canada. Religious Charities are another thing. The job for the "believers in transparency", is now to expose what our "governments" are insisting is "filed"... Our government will not take them to court, but if made aware, they may refer it to the police, it has to come from the PEOPLE or from US. The "Books" of SRCM Canada and all charities are now "on-line" at:

Simply Google:
Canada Revenue Agency, Charities

enter search as: Shri Ram Chandra Mission,
Location: North York, Ontario

(this site will not remember you id) so you can't "bookmark" and have to re-enter you info every time.

http://www.cra-arc.gc.ca/ebci/haip/srch/sec/SrchLogin-e;jsessionid=L2BpmYCVXqGTGwM30x012
sL9vcpN7TCXP8T2GLJfC75jxTYmQLrQ!20
5909688?searchType=Registered
(you have to put it back together as it is too long for this page)

You will notice, a few years back, that although the Canadian abhyasis claim that all the money raised in one country, stays in that country, when the "LMOS school" was built, $60,000, left Canada and Chari, with his "new loyal" board of directors for SRCM Canada, simply took $60,000.00 off the books. This "change of the Board of Directors" seems to have been part of the "take over" scheme of Chari and his henchman, Santosh, a developper of Hotels and Restaurants in Austin Texas, and in charge of International Affairs for the SRCM (California)...It apparently happened in all countries as Chari took over the organization from the Babuji Family, and SP Srivastava and Umesh (Babuji's son) who were Presidents of SRCM (Shajjahanpur)during this period.

One can go on an on with this religious Mess, but I'm sure that you will see that SRCM(California) is not "transparent" in other countries.... The spiritual and intellectual misuse of power is one thing that one has to "FEEL" intellectually (logically) and emotionally and expose but the "financial" or economic ethics and morality should be "open" in our society. For SRCM (California), it is not...

In SPIRIT...ALL IS ONE...so it does not matter SPIRITUALLY...We can expose misuse and abuse, and still be ONE...

4d-don

Anonymous said...

Frank,

I really appreciate your analysis of the fulfillment cycle!

I think only movements without these fulfillement cycle characteristics can claim to be spiritual movements. All the other are just churches. Better to "burn a church" then anything else...

Theo

Rabbi Lars Shalom said...

see everything

Alexis said...

Hello Frank,

You said on 4d-don's blog :

"i have witnessed a constant remembrance of the need for funds. i have seen auctions by chari, where an abhyasi who had just started, could finally obtain a book signed by chari for €10,000. (…) however, i also know this: smsf was set up along with the specific goal of creating a trust fund large enough that srcm could live off the interest money alone. so that the srcm would never have any financial worry."

These 2 points are really interesting. Could you say a little bit more about that ?

Thanks
Alexis Mielkarski
http://srcmsmproject.blogspot.com

Shashwat said...

According to trading law in india, sahaj marg spirituality foundation is a privately own trust, dealing in audio tapes, it is not located in shahjanpur or any ashram location, but is registered at private home of Uma Shanker Bajpai, who is sec. of Sahaj Marg, claimed to be a spiritual movement, but trading in

ELECTRICAL AND ELECTRONIC INSTRUMENTS, AUDIO & VIDEO TAPES, COMPACT
DISCS, COMPUTER MEMORIES, COMPUTER PROGRAMS, RECORDED COMPUTER
PROGRAMES, COMPUTER UNRECORDED & PRE-RE CORDED SOFTWARE, FLOPPY
DISKETTES, OTHER MAGNETIC AND OPTICAL STORAGE DEVICES, DOCUMENTARIES,
ADVERTISEMENTS, FILMS AND TEACHING APPARATUS INCLUDED IN CLASS 9.


U can find the details here, http://www.patentoffice.nic.in/tmr_new/tm_journal/journal_1350/class9.pdf

note Chari´s son is also the chairman of smsf, and in their petition in court aganist Babuji, they claim, in sahaj marg, family linage has no meaning !!

There seems to be some problem with diaply of the link, so i am breaking it
http://www.patentoffice.nic.in/tmr_new/tm_journal/
journal_1350/class9.pdf

search for sahaj marg in the document, you will find it...

frank waaldijk said...

@theo: i so far have not come across a spiritual movement without a similar fulfillment cycle. but i do think it is possible, it's perhaps also that i'm not looking for any such movement. maybe one will come my way, we'll see.

@alexis: i should have said `i remember reading that smsf was set up... etc.' i think it was in a speech by chari, or perhaps in some european newsletter regarding smsf; my memory isn't that good. but it should be findable in sahaj marg publications somewhere (approximately 2005-2006). this auction, i don't remember either the exact occasion, but there were many other abhyasis present, it should be findable.

@all: i have become very very critical of srcm and very critical of sahaj marg (as the intelligent reader of my blog can appreciate). but my purpose with this blog is not to document evidence of all the specific faults in srcm/sahaj marg that i perceive or have experienced.

on a larger scale, think about the wealth of the vatican. how does this relate to the catholic church asking for donations from its followers? i doubt very much that anyone outside a very select inner circle has real insight in the financial situation of the catholic church.

which is why i think it is better for me personally to do some analysis in a broad fashion. i am not crusading against sahaj marg. as a religion it still seems relatively mild to me.

i think it's good that people are coming out now with critical blogs. so that uninformed others can see that there are serious concerns about sahaj marg. its claim that it is not a religion is really deceptive, i now think. but on a world scale there are far more appalling things.

and many religious people with a spiritual nature find real benefit from their religion, in a way that i do not feel qualified to judge.

like i said earlier, i'm looking for some positive approach. by writing about pitfalls, hoping it will help others clarify their thoughts and feelings on these issues.

thank you all for your interest and kind feedback.

frank waaldijk said...

@alexis once more:

i'm sorry that i cannot point you to a specific text (regarding smsf being set up with the idea of creating a trust fund, where srcm can live off the interest alone).

i cannot find it in the speeches by chari published on the srcm website.

it may have been in one of the unpublished circulars that i used to receive, i don't know. it may even be that my memory is incorrect, i'm as prone to error as the next person.

still, in the 25 february 2005 speech (lalaji memorial omega school) you can find explicit hints that "trust fund/interest" is indeed the case.

i cite:

"Of course we need money to realise all these things. We are already indebted to the Allahabad Bank. Fifty lakhs we have already taken. We have to build the school buildings, prepare the grounds, plant trees-so many things have to be done. It is a continuing process. Like a child starts to grow, you buy baby clothes, Pampers; then you need knickers, then you need half-pants and shirts, then you need trousers and T-shirts. Then somebody like this guy comes, you want fashionable clothes, fashionable everything you see-what they call designer clothes nowadays. So money needs grow.

So, we need generosity of our people. Parents of children should not only give fees, they should also consent to giving a donation. Receipts will be issued; there is no black money transaction-no trustees following the money. I am here to see to that. [chuckles] So you see, to provide adequate resources, I propose to start a scheme of donations, say, a minimum of three lakhs which will go to a corpus fund called the Scholarship Fund. The funds will be invested suitably and the interest will be used to provide scholarship for deserving children, for children from what we call the section of people who cannot really afford education, provide facilities for them: free food, clothes, books, the whole thing. So this scheme will open today in the ashram. Those who are willing to give may bring their cheques-three lakhs, which will be gratefully received. The cheques must be in the name of Baal Vatika Educational Trust. Remember, the Trust receives the money, the Society spends the money.
"

and before that chari says:

"I am not an educationist and I don't think I can even boast of much education myself, but all human beings have the capacity to dream, and some have the capacity and the divine blessings to realise those dreams. So we have been recording a number of dreams, you know-Lalaji's dreams, Babuji's dreams, and so on and so forth. And this school has come up quite, I should say, in time, in tune with the development of the Mission. It is not part of the Mission, but the Mission is very much part of it. The school will be run by the Baal Vatika Educational Society. The funding will be done by the Baal Vatika Educational Trust. The major source of finance, even for the Trust, will be the Sahaj Marg Spirituality Foundation."

with this i would like to leave the matter be for the time being.

but it is a good preparation for writing about the pitfall `money', which to be honest i find rather complex. i hope to find a good way to describe what i believe to be the trouble(s) with money in a spiritual organization.

Anonymous said...

Hi Frank...

For all who read the last comment by Frank, quoting Chari,I would like to share a personal experience.

Having gone to a "religious boarding school", at 12 yrs old, owned and operated by a congregation of "Brothers and Sisters" of the Christian (catholic) Holy "MOTHER" the Church, (thankfully now "removed from the Canadian Education system) on such a "scholarship", I have first hand experience of such a "system" so as to accumulate money for the "Corpus fund".

Beside receiving direct funding from the "congregation", other private "brothers and sisters" could also give us "support", so as to receive tax credits, for "supporting" a child in school. These individuals, as they were "paying the bills" (so they claimed), could visit and take out their "boys" for movies, restaurants, etc... I remember one such "known predator Brother" in our town, was physically thrown out of our house by my dad as he came to our place to offer money for "my education".

Such children of the poor, as I was, who attended these "private religious boarding schools" with the "children of the rich", were already marginalized economically in the broader society, but were not alone as they were in the private schools. In the Public School system, there are other poor kids.

The kids I met at the "boarding school" were not the kids who would play with me outside of the school, nor become my friend. And I could not afford to do all the things the "rich kids" did, and all knew it. So, I was a "poor misfit", away from home, in a gang (600 kids) of rich kids, who were also the "favorites" of the Brothers, as their parents financially supported the "school" and were on the "committees". Many if not most of the "kids" at our "religious school", were not spiritual or kind and charitable, or loving, but were kids who's parents could afford to give them a "good religious" education away from the value-less but intellectual "evolution theory" and other "un-religious" teachings of the "PUBLIC SCHOOL" system. The kids at the school reflected their parents "pre-judices" and values of ruthlessness, greed, power-addicted, etc... In their eyes, we, the catholics, were the GOOD GUYS and going to HEAVEN...THEY (the rest) WERE THE BAD GUYS AND WERE GOING TO HELL...very simple...And the POOR? If they became GOOD, they would also become RICH!! Our job was to SAVE "THEM" (the non-catholics), so that the whole world and the WHOLE UNIVERSE became CHRISTIAN and obey and fear the GOD OF ABRAHAM...or else! THE PUNISHMENT of hell, or the APOCALYPTIC END OF THE WORLD!!

When the "pedophiles", who infiltrate these "candy stores" (what some pedophiles in testimony called "religious boarding schools), and who, in my school, came mostly from Europe, or "far away", searched out their victims, they did what all predators do. They seek out those on the "outside", the misfits, the marginalized...THE POOR! In nature, it is those who "don't keep up" or who have a disease who are targeted by the predators. In my case, it was the "social disease" of being born to poor, working-class, but good and loving parents. And I was a "good" and quiet intellectual kid. My parents were not the opportunistic, ruthless, greedy wealthy, but were the backbone of every healthy and compassionate society, many times protecting other victims from the "Religious, self-righteous, arrogants"

The "token" scholarship that Chari talks about, is exactly the system that will bring a few "children of the poor", in an un-healthy situation of "obedience" and Love even to "love of the Predators" who would, in their narcissistic need, abuse their power over the children in their care. And there is no way to FILTER them out as the PYRAMID of POWER corrupts even the best person who enters the corrupting power of the societal pyramid, because of its geometry. The pyramid corrupts (creates pools of circling (as the lines change direction) energy at the VERTICES. (at the secondary and tertiary positions of power in a pyramid, as the TOP of the PYRAMID is reserved to the ONE (god) or "his" (male) REPRESENTATIVE). To function healthily, the societal pyramid of POWER, should be enclosed by a decision-making body in a "circle" or the more "dynamic spiral". (democratically elected civilian overseer). In Religion, the POWER is usually concentrated in one person (or a cabal) until there is a serious REFORMATION). A spiral has no enclosed or "locked-in" inside and/or outside, so... no THEM/US.

That corrupted pyramidal power includes the physical power which then gets transferred (transmitted) to the young predators in training that attend the "private schools", now called the "Bullies" by our media, who then marginalize the poor misfits even more, in imitation of their "teachers" and their Parents. Those addicted to power seem to dislike the shrinking violet" that the poor dis-empowered child is becoming. Oh! they will use all the tricks and cliches of the "powerful" to justify and hide their abuses: tough love, Christian suffering is good for the soul, Love will conquer all, etc.. etc... but in the end, many such "poor kids" did not become "healthy", and many kids who attended these abusive "religious boarding schools" committed suicide later in life or became "addicts", and misfits, further marginalized, not trusting all "RELIGIONS" and/or Pyramidal systems. Many have even begun successful class-action law suits and won "compensation" (as if that is possible), and it is still going on.

I write this as another example of abuse of "POWER" that one does not readily see as one sets up such: Pyramidal POWER systems with OBEDIENCE (of the school, military, etc..) and Love (of religions, spirituality, etc..) as the foundation of a pyramidal system that is usually reserved and necessary and somewhat functional in the military, or the police, and that some (right-wing) businesses have adopted as their "business model". Our politicians have even taken on this "model" of Divide and Conquer, calling their "strategy room" a "war room". We still don't want our military and police to abuse their power and a civilian "overlord" is what our representative democracy has brought us. I think it is time to take that "democracy" on step further. I think it's time for a "DIRECT Democracy" (voting on issues) so as to prevent the military from being used by our servants (politicians) against the POPULATION... That, in a democratic society, is for the POLICE with a civilian overlord to investigate and prosecute using our "New and Improved" JUSTICE system.

The Pyramidal "religious boarding school" system (with scholarships for a token few...poor kids) is not SPIRITUALITY and does not turn out SPIRITUAL people, but it breeds religious bullies and victims...A scholarship to a few token poor to then place them "in their place" in a gang of rich kids is not a "charitable" act and should not receive "charitable tax exempt" incentives. It is a major societal problem created by the imbalance of power of pyramidal RELIGIOUS institutions, and should be penalized by the justice system as well as by the "Tax Revenue" systems of our secular "direct democratic" societies.

4d-don