The Look

?????????? y’all! That’s “happy new year” for those who can’t read Japanese.

Here’s an email I got recently.

Attached is a picture of Behring Breivik, the guy who shot, bombed and killed about 77 people in Norway this summer. He has been examined by psychiatrists and they have come to the conclusion that he is/was a paranoid schizophrenic, meaning he was insane at the time of his murderous actions.

But look at his picture closely, look at his eyes…he is very balanced according to the Tibetan theory of “eye science.”

I sometimes ask myself if this means that Hitler, Stalin, Osama and all other crazy wackos are also just paranoid schizos then?

So are these people really just sick or are they just simply “evil” ? This guy Behring Breivik planned and planned and worked at this for years and went to such lengths to kill these people that it is very hard for me to consider him sick, as most healthy and very intelligent people would not have managed the task of producing, orchestrating and manifesting such a killing even if they wanted to. Should that not say something about his sanity?

I think this is a really important question. And to me the question is, What is sanity and how does it relate to Enlightenment?

I think it’s clear that there is no real correlation between I.Q. and morality. Some of the most immoral people in history have been extremely intelligent as measured by the accepted standards of measuring such things. Several of the people who followed Shoko Asahara’s orders and placed poison gas on the Tokyo subway system were highly educated. Many of the top leaders of the Nazi party were also very brainy.

This means that the ability to carefully plan out and execute some specific operation does not relate at all with being a moral person. It is quite possible to create a very complex proceedure and to carry it out without having any sense of morality. Whatever you think really happened in Lower Manhattan on the morning of September 11, 2001, it was clear proof that planning and executing complex schemes does not require any sense of morality. Whoever did that stuff was very smart. I’m sure they all knew how to conduct themselves socially and be accepted as sane. If not, they wouldn’t have been able to interact with the many people they needed to deal with in order to accomplish their goal. These were not raving lunatics. They never are…

But one would expect that enlightenment in the Buddhist sense would correlate with morality and just basic human decency. This is where things get tricky. Because it all depends on how one defines enlightenment.

The general consensus seems to be that an enlightened person is one who has undergone what they call an “enlightenment experience.” This experience reveals to the enlightened person the true nature of reality. After having had this experience, the person is transformed into something more than what he or she was before.

But I suspect there is precious little more correlation between true morality and the ability to have one of these so-called “enlightenment experiences” than there is between true morality and the ability to score high on an I.Q. test.

OK. I’ll back off a little there. At some level an “enlightenment experience” shows the person who has it the real meaning of moral action — that anything one does to another person is something one does to oneself. And I don’t mean this in any kind of figurative or metaphorical sense. I mean that when Moe hits Curly on the head with a sledgehammer, Moe is really only hitting Moe on the head with a sledgehammer. It only appears to be Curly getting hit.

But that’s not always what gets labeled as an “enlightenment experience.” Often what passes for an “enlightenment experience” is something quite different. Sometimes it’s much more like a drug-induced hallucination. People on psychedelic drugs often report feeling at one with the universe. But it’s not the same kind of oneness. It’s a oneness in which the experiencer owns that oneness and incorporates it into his/her sense of self, thereby making that sense of self infinitely big and infinitely exclusive.

Even if an “enlightenment experience” is genuine, the ego is very powerful and exceedingly clever. Absolutely anything, even a true experience of oneness with all things, can be transformed into something the ego can use to bolster itself.

As for the ability to achieve the stereotypical “look” that a realized master is supposed to have, this is even less correlated with morality or even with enlightenment. A decent actor can convincingly act out a variety or roles even when the actor has not experienced anything like what the character he’s portraying is supposed to have experienced. It’s easy to look the part of the balanced guru without being the least bit balanced.

Osama bin Laden could do it.

Shoko Asahara can do it.

Kirtanananda Swami Bhaktipada, who allegedly ordered several killings on the New Vrindaban Hare Krishna farm community could do it.

I suspect that Mike Myers can do it but refrained from doing it lest he look too much like his buddy…

…Deepak Chopra who has really got it down!

Which isn’t to say Deepak is anything like Osama bin Laden, Shoko Asahara and Kirtananda. I don’t think he is at all. But that beatific grin he’s mastered doesn’t prove it.

So sanity is something quite difficult to define. Like the famous quote about pornography, “you know it when you see it.” But you don’t know it just because someone looks the way the media tells you they’re supposed to. It’s much more subtle.

And people are uncomfortable with that. They want easy definitions that never change. Unfortunately, in real life easy definitions that never change are hard to come by. They want stereotypes that are reliable. But stereotypes are never reliable.

Sharing is caring! Tweet about this on TwitterShare on TumblrEmail this to someoneShare on FacebookShare on RedditShare on Google+Share on StumbleUponDigg this

224 Responses

Page 5 of 5
  1. gniz
    gniz January 6, 2012 at 6:20 am |

    This comment has been removed by the author.

  2. gniz
    gniz January 6, 2012 at 6:27 am |

    This comment has been removed by the author.

  3. gniz
    gniz January 6, 2012 at 6:50 am |

    This comment has been removed by the author.

  4. Broken Yogi
    Broken Yogi January 6, 2012 at 12:16 pm |

    You know who's verbose?

    Your mother's verbose.

  5. Anonymous
    Anonymous January 6, 2012 at 1:02 pm |

    Broken Yogi

    Yes in reviewing my comments to you I see my utter foolishness and naivete and how I wandered into a situation where I inadvertently brought out another load a muck to be flung on the seemingly endless heap of what I was talking about.

    Did I underestimate your cynical response, for sure, but thanks for the reality lesson (mean that). One of the liabilities of living in a somewhat protected religious circumstance is the development of a religious naivete wherein one gets the notion that a few sentiments will and can make a difference in "harsh" reality terms

    In truth reality generally mocks (and rightly so)the seemingly good intentions of any half baked "adherent".

    I feel like ending with an angry swipe at you but I'm not going to do, wishing you peace and happiness in the future.

  6. Anonymous
    Anonymous January 6, 2012 at 2:35 pm |

    manny furious @8:47am

    difference between hardware and software brainwise:

    you can see physical structural differences, anomalies in the physical brain

    you cannot see the wash of neuropeptides, the cascade second by second through the structure

    'course we 'see' more and more with refined technologies

    but 'having thoughts' isn't the problem
    it is adhering to them, lining them up, building on them, organizing them into an action

    in the end, it is the action, the behavior which impinges upon other's rights (to life, for one)

    prison? for those who 'know' right from wrong and do it anyway

    locked mental wards? for those who 'don't know' right from wrong

  7. Anonymous
    Anonymous January 6, 2012 at 4:11 pm |


  8. Broken Yogi
    Broken Yogi January 6, 2012 at 4:37 pm |


    I sympathize with your plight, I really do, even if I seem harsh. I know the pain and pressures of having reality thrown in one's face over and over again, and having one's naivete exposed and one's ideals mucked over. It sucks. Facing up to the realities of Adidam and leaving was the hardest, most painful thing I ever went through. But I chose reality over ideals in the end.

    Not saying you have to leave, but if you want to go around the web promoting Adidam, you have to face the known realities that can't be erased. The muck you are angry about doesn't come from me, it came from Da and his devotees. Don't blame the messenger. I know you're angry at me and want to take a swipe, and go ahead if it makes you feel better, sticks and stone is my philosophy. But your anger about this muck is really directed towards Adi Da, since he's the one who did this sort of thing over and over again, always undermining these efforts to have a nice, neat socially acceptable Guru and teaching and so on.

    Whether he did it deliberately or compulsively, it's just the facts, mam. And he did it with so many people so often that you just can't cram that genie back into the bottle and put a lid on it. Your desire to disown these aspects of Da by pretending they don't even exist or are the product of other people is not only a very bad way to honor your Guru, it really does make you look foolish, and it renders your whole project ineffective.

    And I wish you the best too, even in this “missionary work” of yours.

  9. Anonymous
    Anonymous January 6, 2012 at 5:22 pm |

    just checking if comments can still be posted on this thread.

  10. nemisisx
    nemisisx January 6, 2012 at 6:56 pm |

    Broken Yogi

    first I'm male, second not on any official missionary activity, just doing my own thing..I only arrived here by pursuing general interests.

    The bottom line to anyone really outside of practitioners is whether Adi Da was benign or not and whether his community is benign or not.

    That is did he set out to do harm to anyone ever? My firm conviction is no, not ever, did people come to grief in the experimental process, yes of course. Life is going to kill you anyway, terrible things occur often. No different here.

    As you pointed out, life is full of harsh breaks and people should make the best of what they are given, rather than the endless victim whine, we all speak from experience on that, not heartlessness or lack of compassion. Which in my own opinion is utterly necessary.

    That's one level and the other, is Adi Da Enlightened? in my case this was clear to me from day one, whatever else was going on that was clear and remains so, can it be proven by conventional means? no, it's at the deepest intuitive level only.

    Even perhaps more sobering than any of that is Adi Da's understanding of egoity, his perception on this level is unparalleled. And yes he would expect his devotees to take the most the fucked aspects of human trickiness and deception into account including the sort of conversation we are having.

    I say it's sobering because the depth of it really comes home at times, why there must be an institution for instance because egoity is so strong it has to be countered by a very tough and resilient structure.

    So really you are the right guy to be talking to..

  11. Anonymous
    Anonymous January 6, 2012 at 7:24 pm |

    Boy, you Adi Da devotees sure have a lot to say!

    Get a room!

  12. Anonymous
    Anonymous January 7, 2012 at 8:45 am |

    I suggest anyone remotely interested in Adi Da start with the Wikipedia page on him, which I had a hand in editing. It's the only place where all the disparate accounts of his life (and I've read them all) are rectified and neutrally presented (he edited his autobio so many times that the first and last versions barely resemble each other – "Knee of Listening" btw, the worst book title ever, but telling in its senselessness.)

    His life story is a classic saga of a drug-addled mediocrity, a failed artist/writer, a psychotic with delusions of grandeur and transparent sociopathic narcissism, who took advantage of the particular psychic weaknesses of a age (sound like anyone else? Hitler maybe?) Watch those videos from the 70's – they're insane, and disgusting!

    He's so clearly just manipulating a pack of gullible boomers, who are hysterically weeping or laughing at his slightest nod or wink. And no its not his pure unadulterated shakti mojo. It's obvious group psychosis, and it led to all the abuses cataloged elsewhere. Plenty of people even then took one look at this cult freak show and fled.

    Everything about the guy was off. You only have to know that for decades he said he was the most enlightened being ever to exist, at anytime or place, and that the only way for anyone, ANYONE else, to become "realized" was to devote oneself to him completely and utterly, forever. This was not some late aberration.

    He started as the student of a two bit self-declared "guru" (Rudi), quickly moved on to Scientology, then went to live with Muktananda in India but didn't feel he was treated as sufficiently special; so he left after a couple weeks, declared himself "fully enlightened" a month later, quickly started his cult, and moved to a compound (classic) – all this within 5 years. He then just went further and further off the rails, supported and ennabled by a bunch of zonked out boomer patsy "bliss ninnies". Zombies, more like it.

    At each stage when reality would come up hard against his fantasy, from age 20 to his last years, he'd have yet another nervous breakdown – but rather than come to grips with his delusions, he'd instead insist that he'd had a "death/resurrection", change his name (again), and declare he was now even greater than before. Over, and over, and over.

    And beyond all this, his writings, talks, and art are simply ridiculous. They absolutely drip with all of his pathologies – the dull ravings of maniac. How anyone can read more than one page his inflated, hyper verbal, pseudo-scientific "spiritual" mumbo jumbo and not just simply move along will forever remain a mystery to me. He capitalizes every other word to emphasize how "meaningful" it is – especially when referring to himself ("My Divine presence is the Bliss Path of the only and Forever Bright knowing for only My True Devotees" – I just threw up a little). He takes entire volumes of drivel to say things can be better said in one line; one poetic image from Dogen or Rumi drowns his entire corpus, his hundreds of unreadable insane rambling tomes.

    He's a joke. But Ken Wilber called continued to call him his "Sat Guru", the ultimate dude, until even a few years ago. And Wilber loves Genpo, and Andrew Cohen. See a pattern here?

  13. nemisisx
    nemisisx January 7, 2012 at 11:58 am |

    In reply to anonymous above :

    It's unlikely anyone is still reading passed this point, but you clearly should not be editing wikipedia or anything else to do with Adi Da

    Way too much anger, prejudice, hostility and fundamental lack of sensitivity and ability to give credit where it's due, even if you don't like the subject.

    The tough guy, smart mouth stance you show here, and tend to get a lot of in a place like this, just masks a suffering asshole.

    If you are not merely that, speak up, generally you guys remain anonymous because it's the safest place to be, cowardly, big mouthed, small hearted, threatened and enraged by what you perceive as just another asshole ego manipulating gullible fools, but what is even more amazing, Adi Da taught dozens of guys like yousel, some became his long time devotees some didn't.

    The fact that he did, always amazed me, he would keep some of the most obnoxious, worldly minded pricks (in common human terms) close to him, ex army, ex service, mostly too dumb to grasp the subtleties of Dharma.

    We are all suffering brother, that's the bottom line, I know I can speak candidly to you because you appear to be in the same mold of "utter prick" the same caliber as those guys, but not straight but bent by years of hiding and lack of healing.

    Before, when I mentioned Adi Da's knowledge of egoity, wherein he would even embrace characters like yourself and keep them close to him, think about it, what love is in that. Breaks my heart.

    But your heart is unlikely to be moved or broken by anything or anyone. The only reason I bother to speak to you in this candid manner is because stupid idealists like myself, somehow believe, somehow, such things are possible! Completely freaking ridiculous!

    Broken Yogi is one kind of critic, far more effective and influential than yourself, you'r more the "bottom feeder" type. But I am happy to converse with you on this level if you are up for it.

    Nothing personal in this comment at all.

  14. Anonymous
    Anonymous January 7, 2012 at 1:41 pm |

    maybe get some therapy.
    The simple fact that you would get sucked into Adi Da's orbit and go on defending him at this late stage simply shows you've drunk the koolaid, for whatever weakness of character, psyche, or intelligence (emotional and otherwise.) You can insult the messenger, but I've done my homework. I first encountered him totally open, without opinion, and interested in the kind of thing he was purported to be selling.

    A committed zen guy, I lived for some years in a Zen monastery with some Da refugees. Didn't mean much to me then. I later tried to get through an edition of "Knee" and thought it was absolutely the most ridiculous thing I'd ever read. I was baffled. How could ANYONE think this guy was anything but crazy, or fraudulent?

    Nonetheless, I later went to a meeting of his devotees by invitation of an acquaintance, where they gathered to watch a video of "Beloved". It was the single creepiest experience in the number of trips I've taken around the spiritual block.

    I've sat satsang with a lot of heavy cats. I've sufi danced, prostrated with Tibetans, taken acid with the Rainbows, peyote with the Huichol, been the right hand man to a Navajo healer, and sat a couple hundred sesshins, with Korean, Chinese, and Japanese tradition teachers. I've worked with the homeless, and chaplained the dying.

    In all of this experience, I find Franklin Jones the most certifiably fraudulent and ridiculous figure in a generation or more of ridiculous gurus. He is the hands down the worst – the silliest, the most pathetic, and one of the most damaging. Sorry if that hurts your feelings. But something has to be desperately out-of-whack for anyone to have anything but open-mouthed disbelief for Jones or his minions. And pardon me if I don't want to use my name here – as if "nemisisx" is wildly revealing and brave…

  15. nemisisx
    nemisisx January 7, 2012 at 3:09 pm |

    Again to anonymous.

    The messenger is the message, what else do you think is ever going on, You think mind, reaction and opinion exists in a vacuum? What you say is what you are, that's basic.

    How can I possibly make sense of your reaction? That's your business not mine. The fact that you make such a big deal out of it, as if your opinion means something other, than one "opinion" and one *not* formed on *direct experience*, but a book you failed to understand and a video you couldn't respond's just and opinion.

    So what? the fact that you practice zen and spent time being a seeker is no big cred to you, thousands have done the same thing and more and show some wisdom for their effort.

    To hold that up as if it is something of value, in your case, since you have no real wisdom to show for it, other than "mouth", is the height of stupidity.

    You did all the blocks and still remain committed to your own "egoic" vision as if you learned nothing of any lasting value.

    From my perspective you would have to be a completely insensitive character on many levels not to see the value in the "Knee of Listening" (you don't mind me being frank do you and feel free to reply thus)It's a remarkably valuable autobiography.

    I remember reading somewhere on a thread that Adi Da makes up words such as "Acausal", anyone can do an internet search to find otherwise.

    Holding up ignorance as if it is a virtue, is one thing, but holding up your ignorance and insensitivity and making a career out it, no excuse. Is it Fred? (looking back over other comments it seems his mark, apologies if not the case)

    However I accept that it was not of use to you, no problem, as with the video no problem.

    Why not just go in peace from there, people are involved in all sorts of stuff you may or may not approve of, let it be, otherwise you get no peace at all.

    This reply may appear a bit rough and direct, but you appear up to it, that is if you dish it out, you can take it, right?

  16. Anonymous
    Anonymous January 7, 2012 at 5:30 pm |

    this is my last contribution, my final word on this. I've dealt with enough of you Daists to know there is no real discussion, only the circular logic of delusion, all thought drawn into the black hole of devotion to Franklin.

    But you seem to imply infinite subjectivity – if it works for you why should I comment, right?

    I don't care what you do or think. Knock yourself out. However, Franklin Jones was simply crazy. Either that, or he was right. "Right" by his estimation was that he occupied the most singular position ever in the entire cosmos, and that happiness for EVERYONE ELSE, FOREVER, depended solely on them accepting this as a fact.

    He stated without equivocation that he was better, higher, greater than anyone else, and he said it in a hundred ways in a thousand places. That led, unsurprisingly, to some really destructive behavior, not to mention subsequent lawsuits, payoffs, confidentiality agreements, and a lot of money in fees to therapists.

    That is the beginning and the end of the discussion. Either you believe he was correct, as you do, or you don't. If you do, then the fact that his behavior, by any standard (spiritual, societal, political, ethical) was utterly reprehensible at its worst, and ridiculous at best, doesn't matter to you. It's all his "lila" or whatever.

    If, however, your common human sense remains intact, and you objectively appraise his claims and his behavior, there is nothing much to discuss, except for maybe the pathology of human group behavior and seemingly endless capacity for subjugation and justification. Franklin Jones was just another Manson, another Rajneesh, another Jim Jones, another minor Hitler. Only the scale and trappings differed.

  17. nemisisx
    nemisisx January 7, 2012 at 8:02 pm |

    Anonymous (last)

    Yes once you start comparing Adi Da Reductio ad Hitlerum to Hitler and Manson, that's the end of any reasonable conversation for me.

    You can hold any opinion you want, but going down that track of sheer old plain spite and nastiness leads nowhere but to unhappiness and bigotry.

    How you can make comments like that and then talk about practicing zen is beyond me.

    I think the Tibetan Buddhists have the drop on you guys, at least they seem to practice kindness in general.

    Anyway you can learn from any conversation and this is no different.

  18. Anonymous
    Anonymous January 8, 2012 at 1:23 pm |

    Funny how you never seem to address the issue about jones actual claims, which is THE issue. "believe in me as the most enlightened being ever, and worship me, or be forever bound to doom and gloom"

    It's spiritual totalitarianism. It is yogic fascism. Such views led him to suffer and cause a lot of suffering. Period. And as for your idealizations and demonizations, yeah Tibetans are super special. Never mind monks ritually killing each other in dharmsala a few years ago, or wars fought between sects. I'm sure greed hatred and ignorance are reserved for select groups.

  19. Broken Yogi
    Broken Yogi January 9, 2012 at 2:25 pm |


    Thought this thread was done, just noticed it's still on. I feel rather strange doing this on Brad's blog. I didn't bring Da up here, that was done by regulars here to discredit me, and somehow it brought you onto the scene, and then it morphs into a discussion about Adidam that's actually in some ways relevant to Brad's observations about “the Look”.

    Did I refer to you as a female? I don't recall, but if I did, consider it complement, in that I consider women generally superior to men in most human and spiritual qualities. As for “missionary work”, that's a broad category and not meant in some official sense. I know all Daists are expected to be missionaries in their personal contacts in one sense or another, and I look at your general motives here in that respect.

    One can't help notice how Adidam behaves in some basic sense like every other pathological cult out there. Anon's observations are quite valid in many respects, but I don't think they grasp the positive aspects of Adidam, without which it wouldn't exist. Every cult has positive elements to it that attract and keep people around. And even their negative elements appear attractive to parts on ourselves we often don't deal with consciously.

    I've jokingly referred to Da's core practice of “searchless beholding” as “searchless Stalinism”, but I do mean that in a joking sense. My decades of experience of Adidam uncovered a ton of unsavory nonsense, some of it genuinely pathological, but it is also balanced to some degree by genuine love and spirituality that keeps the pathologies in check. One can make very loose metaphorical comparisons to “Hitler” or “Manson”, but not literal ones. Most people certainly are not going to be attracted to it or see anything worthwhile in it, but that doesn't mean those who are attracted to it are utterly deluded or out of control. Even Da kept a lid on things to some extent.

    I think one's attraction to Adidam (and other similar teachers and groups) depends to a large degree on one's personal karmic relation to this group, and not really to one's overall spiritual sensitivity as many Daists would like to think. I'm sure Anon has a very strong spiritual sensitivity to many paths, as evidenced by his long experience. That he doesn't find anything attractive about Adidam only means that he has no need for its peculiar strangeness in his spiritual or human life. Few do, to be perfectly honest, which is why I don't think it's going to take off in any serious way. My personal sense is that Adidam is a form of spirituality geared towards people afflicted with various acute forms of narcissism – and I would include myself in that. But let's be clear, even narcissists do need a spiritual path, and at least Adidam has some basic wisdom that helps keep their narcissism in check. Not enough, in my view, to actually get past it, but enough to give these particular narcissists with karmic bonds with Adi Da something to keep from spinning entirely out of control.


  20. Broken Yogi
    Broken Yogi January 9, 2012 at 2:29 pm |

    I'd agree with Nemesisx that there's some really nutty narcissistic people in Adidam who were very close to Adi Da, and that while in some respects he fed their narcissism, in other respects he helped keep it in check. And Adi Da himself was one of those nutty narcissists himself, which made him well-suited to act as their Guru. It's a very strange brew, but not black and white. More of a kaleidoscope. Some people really need to belong to a cult, and some people run in the opposite direction entirely. Both can be served by that, but not always in the ways they think.

    There's no clear objective way to say whether any particular spiritual teacher or group is “benign” or not. One man's meat is another man's poison, and one can even benefit from poison in the right doses. There's enough obvious pathologies in Adidam to say that it's certainly not some purely positive or benign group, but the chemistry there may even be just right for some people. At least until they grow past the need for that particular chemical bondage, so to speak. That's my experience at least.

    I don't think Da set out to harm anyone, but his own particular needs and cravings did seem to make that result inevitable. It certainly wasn't his overriding criteria, but he admittedly employed highly abusive techniques that certainly did harm people, with the rationale that somehow it would help them overall. But this had very mixed results. For example, in his ongoing “sexual theater” with select devotees, even he admitted after about thirty years of this that it hadn't actually done anyone any good, and he seems to have abandoned it. Or perhaps he just couldn't get it up anymore. Whether or not his motives were good, or pathologically deluded, the results seemed to show that he was not very good as a teacher in what is called “skillful means”. Skill produces genuine results, which seem to have been absent in the case of the devotees he did all this with.

    Of course, even the worst sociopaths don't set out to do harm. Hitler thought he was the savior of Germany, eradicating the disease of the Jews and other inferior infestations. Manson thought he was provoking a revolution which would produce a just society. Stalin and Mao engaged in their murderous escapades with similar high ideals of serving humanity and building an ideal world. One can't compare Da literally to these folks, but as archetypes for all of us to think about, they do serve as a warning for those of us who think that the ends justify the means, particularly when those ends don't ever materialize.

    Even so, the rationalization that because we are all going to die and suffer anyway, it's fine for teachers to abuse us and accelerate the process of death and suffering, is rather demented. We don't need special teachers to do that for us, we have the ordinary processes of life that decay and die without any special help to show us the futility of such endeavors. The true teacher is supposed to be showing us a genuine alternative to that, not more of the same in an even worse fashion. But lousy teachers can teach us by showing us how not to do things, and there's important lessons from Da in that also.


  21. Broken Yogi
    Broken Yogi January 9, 2012 at 2:30 pm |

    As for whether Da is enlightened or not, who really knows the answer to that question about anyone, and it doesn't really matter in any case. What matters is whether Da's teaching and path and community is of any genuine benefit to one's spiritual growth, and if not, it really doesn't matter how enlightened he may have been. Likewise, if one feels the need to be with Da, one will also feel the need to believe that he was enlightened and perfect and that everything he said and did was utterly true and Divine. If one doesn't have that need, one is not likely to see him that way.

    As for Da's understanding of the ego, I would not say that it was unique, or unparalleled, or even complete. As a narcissist, enlightened or not, he did have some good insights into narcissism, and for the same reason he lacked the ability to see the obviousness of his own narcissism or the particular ways in which he actually cultivated it in Adidam as a whole. This led to a lot of frustration on his part as he both battled the narcissism of his devotees, and yet fed it at the same time. It's why Adidam could never really get its act together, and why it appears so farcical to so many who observe it from the outside.

    And yes, that is sobering, that “enlightened egos” seem to exist, not just as an archetype, but as a pattern throughout spirituality and religion. And these are the people most inclined to wage war against egoity in the name of enlightenment.

    Okay, enough. My apologies to Brad for opening and feeding this particular can of worms. As you were.

  22. Anonymous
    Anonymous January 10, 2012 at 10:59 am |

    This is way too much verbiage about Franklin. It's very simple. Anyone who can say this (and he did, as transcribed and originally available on a Da-ist website, but taken down once used by an anti-Da website, as is their modus) is not to be trusted on anything, so-called "enlightenment" least of all:

    ""Let us submit to the terrible ordeal that will serve all humanity, all five billion of those slugs who know nothing of me and who must find me out, who must find me out – they must find me. I Am the One Who has been expected. They must find me out. They must. They must. Worship Me by surrendering your separate self to Me. Surrender to Me in order to forget and transcend your separate self in Me. I am the Way up from the pond…I Am the Way up from the pond. I Am the Way out. This is My Message."

    That is indeed his message – I would argue the rest of it, the millions of words, the constant flow of verbiage from the man, the dozens of books, all the talks etc, were simply variations on this theme, or justifications, lures, props, and hooks supporting his central motivation, which was power and control of others. He was a man no less driven by overwhelming pathologies than any other despot or maniac. Some happen to be predisposed toward power over others. Others are loners, or lacking the ability to coerce and demand a following.

    The Dalai Lama has said "charisma is not a spiritual quality." A wiser thing was never uttered. Charisma is NOT dependent on moral clarity. It is an attribute as random and singular as being born conventionally attractive, or athletically capable. It can be used for good or ill. Of course Nemisisx would like to dismiss all critique of his guru outright, but comparisons to Hitler are extremely instructive, and utterly pertinent. I say only the scale and mechanics are fundamentally different. The core pathologies are stunningly similar, as they are for others pictured in this original post.

    I grant Jones that he likely never instructed his minions to murder (although those allegations exist too.) But I doubt that if he'd gone there, he couldn't have found actors. Many were physically beaten in his name, nearly all grossly psychologically manipulated, and worse. Much worse.

    Hitler and Jones were failed artists. Both were intelligent in their ways, and both began with narcissistic, rambling, derivative, vaguely coherent, arguably insane autobiographies. Hitler took to the politics he viewed as a greater medium, and rose due to the very specific conditions of his time. Jones' self-image was MORE inflated than even Hitler's, not less (Hitler's mania was confined to Earth at least, and only 1000 years, vs everywhere and forever) and Jones likewise rose on the specific trends, weaknesses and pathologies of his generation. He wouldn't have done anything today – no one would have cared. He'd be just another annoying crazy blog troll, crying "I am the cosmic ubermensch".

    If one has happened to be sucked into such a vortex of insanity, of course processing in our time and place would seem to grant thousands of justifications, and adi da made a thousand arguments in defense of the glaring pathologies that caused even him to periodically crash and burn in self-loathing and shame (but never for long. He'd bounce back "greater than ever", more "cosmically profound".) Ken Wilber is likewise a master of justification and double talk. Much less little fish like two-bit devotees who can't even believe forty year's of widely available material tracking a legacy of destruction and prima facie madness.

  23. Manny Furious
    Manny Furious January 11, 2012 at 8:27 pm |

    Damn, Broken Yogi, you have, some serious ego problems. I haven't posted because I got sick of debating with you. Some unknown person on the internet can hardly embarrass me. I don't take most things that seriously. And if you prove me wrong, more power to you.

    Anyhow, I can argue some of the science of the website you posted. But, to make a long story short, the website is part of the larger "Internet Mental Health Initiative" which is a well-known advocacy group for espousing the "mental-illness-as-brain-disease" perspective. There is major money to be made from psychiatric treatment of mental illness. And these people do whatever it takes to make people believe mental illnesses are diseases so that they can continue to make money off of it.

    The fact remains, and it cannot be argued, that if these were brain diseases, they would be treated by neurologists, not psychiatrists. There's no other way around it.

    As for the person who brought up the example of tourrette's, tourrette's is the perfect example because it used to be considered a mental illness. I believe it was included in the first two DSMs. However, after neurologists were able to provide objective diagnostic criteria, it became a certified brain disease. Treatment was taken out of the realm of the psychiatrist and into the realm of the neurologist.

    This is the major clue that mental illness as disease is not all it's cracked up to be. To diagnose a disease requires objective criteria upon which to base the decision. Mental illness is still based entirely on behaviors and subjective interpretations of said behaviors.

    Even psychosis doesn't hold water. To murder 100 people at one time would be considered the work of a psychopath. In nazi germany or for Pol Pot's cambodia, that was a slow and very unproductive day.

  24. Manny Furious
    Manny Furious January 11, 2012 at 8:28 pm |

    Here's an interesting article that makes many good arguments against the mental-illness-as-disease idea.

Comments are closed.