Tuesday, January 04, 2005

Don Beck: "You're Bottom Dwellers!"

Recently WHAT enlightenment?! sent an email to our list concerning recent postings on the blog. We indicated in that email that anyone not wishing to receive more messages should send an “unsubscribe” message back to us. To our surprise, we got the following letter from Don Beck. WHAT enlightenment?!’s response follows Beck’s letter.

To WHAT enlightenment?!

I noticed that you have been sending this to both my personal address AND to the spiraldynamics website, without permission. I view this to be nothing but spam and an ethical violation of the use of the Internet. I'm tempted to inform various agencies of what you are doing. Please remove any further message from both of my email addresses. You should be more responsible yourself before you cast stones on others. I know Ken and Andrew both quite well; spend a lot of time in both of their environments; and it is refreshing to see the absence of cynicism in their worlds. They have both been very supportive, gracious, and open to my own thinking and have made major changes in their own worldviews based on my contributions. I've been working with these ideas for over 30 years and can detect fraud, and phonies, and exploitation a mile away. And, I know healthy people and movements when I see them.

Whenever you decide to do something positive for the welfare of this planet then I will welcome contact from you. People like you and your "cause" are a dime and a dozen, and I tend to find both as only bottom dwellers who have nothing to contribute on their own. If you don't know what that means I'll be glad to tell you.

Finally, since you lack the courage to use your own name and identity then I have very strong suspicions about your own motives....and value systems. Only cowards lurk in the shadows.

I suggest you take my cautions seriously.
Don Edward Beck, Ph. D. Spiral Dynamics Group

An Open Letter to Don Beck from WHAT enlightenment?!

Dear Don Beck,

We read your letter with alarm and regret. Alarm at the tone and regret that you are missing something that could be a healing process and begin to open up a discussion that could include yourself in it.

You seem to have gotten yourself sucked in by Cohen, much the same as we here at WHAT enlightenment?! ourselves were for a very big number of years. So for that, of course, we cannot blame you. "Don, we share your pain!"

You seem to have fallen for the whole Cohen party line, charmed apparently to believe that Cohen and outfit is uncynical, and that therefore there are no skeletons in the closet. You appear to have made no effort to investigate the real complaints of the dissidents, but assume that the complaints are not sincere. You get enraged about these complaints and their authors...and thus at the blog.

Cohen of course will allow only the best examples of his "teaching" to be around a distinguished visitor like yourself. But are you aware of how Cohen routinely hides other students who might embarrass him? Do you know that about 85% of Cohen's true believing flock (sangha) in 1988 have now fled, and those are the voices one now hears on the blog? Have you read any of those posts? Have you read the two anti-Andrew books? Do you read Integral Naked and see how much bad stuff is posted about Cohen, much of it personal experiences of people attending Cohen’s seminars?

"Bottom dwellers with nothing to contribute" - ouch! And that you have suspicions about our motives also ouch. And our value systems....that really hurts. But, heck, our blog actually makes our motivation quite clear, if controversial...we're trying to expose what we consider corruption and abuse in Cohen's world. You seem to be saying that any criticism is only bottom dwelling, and the only responsible thing is to be "postive" about Cohen.

There's more than one way to approach a discussion...in our blog without names, there is also no ego involved by being the one who is right, who makes the best points, no "expert analyst." And the reasoning behind the decision to remain anonymous for now - has also been posted on the blog in the very first article "Who or What is WHAT enlightenment?!" and that reason, Don, is that critics get a lot of shit thrown at them, and we wanted to be free to open a discussion without that happening. A lot needs to get shared by many people, and we felt for now at least, this anonymous form is best. Also we note that your letter actually does not find fault with the accuracy of any statements about Cohen on the blog - just the fact that they are said in the first place. We do make every effort to vet out the accuracy of what we post - and have not posted wild and unsubstantiated charges against Cohen, which would be easy, cheap, and not where we want the discussion to go.

The email which we sent to you is not spam, which is by definition mass email, with deception as its basis and money as its motive. We got your two addresses because you have them posted on the web for people interested in contacting you to use. All our list is gotten by carefully looking for email addresses of individuals who might be interested in reading our postings. Of course we will honor your request and delete your email addresses from our list.

Finally, your message contains what to us sounds like a veiled threat, which is totally out of place. Is it because you yourself find our message so threatening that you must threaten us personally?

It's too bad that you won't consider the possibility that you may have misjudged Cohen. Sad that eventually when the truth all comes out - and it will all come out—you will not only feel foolish and betrayed, but you’ll lose some credibility among your peers.

Too bad that so many big name teachers close ranks with each other rather than being interested in hearing what the dissent is all about.

Yours,
WHAT enlightenment?!


A Reader's Response:

There is a wealth of good literature about the Narcissist Personality Disorder, or NPD.

Reading your posts concerning the exchange with Don Beck, it brought to mind one quote from the work of Dr. Sam Vaknin (http://samvak.tripod.com/15.html).

I find it quite interesting to peer into the personalities of leaders like Cohen and Beck, and congratulate your blog on its reporting of this issue.

"The narcissist's personality is so precariously balanced that he cannot tolerate even a hint of criticism and disagreement. Most narcissists are paranoid and suffer from ideas of reference (the delusion that they are being mocked or discussed when they are not). Thus, narcissists often regard themselves as "victims of persecution".

When (the narcissists) flimsy attempts to patch a tattered personal mythology fail - the narcissist is injured. Narcissistic injury inevitably leads to narcissistic rage and to a terrifying display of unbridled aggression.

This primitive defense mechanism is called "splitting". To the narcissist, things and people are either entirely bad (evil) or entirely good. He projects onto others his own shortcomings and negative emotions, thus becoming a totally good object."



11 Comments:

Anonymous Anonymous said...

This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.

Tuesday, 04 January, 2005  
Blogger laffnowl said...

We've heard of the "mean green meme."
What I wanna know is--what color is Beck's mean meme?
What would the spiral taxonomists say?
Is it a systems-oriented mean yellow?
If it was a bird would it be a "yellow-bellied mean meme"?
Or has his meanness broken through to second tier and emerged as a mean conscious turquoise?
Does Beck's letter prove there is a stage of development called "the terrible turquoises"?
Or is his version of turquoise just another shade of dogmatic blue?
Questions, questions, questions.

Friday, 07 January, 2005  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

There is a wealth of good literature about the Narcissist Personality Disorder, or NPD. Reading your posts concerning the exchange with Don Beck, it brought to mind one quote from the work of Dr. Sam Vaknin (http://samvak.tripod.com/15.html). I find it quite interesting to peer into the personalities of leaders like Cohen and Beck, and congratulate your blog on its reporting of this issue.

“The narcissist's personality is so precariously balanced that he cannot tolerate even a hint of criticism and disagreement. Most narcissists are paranoid and suffer from ideas of reference (the delusion that they are being mocked or discussed when they are not). Thus, narcissists often regard themselves as "victims of persecution".

When (the narcissists) flimsy attempts to patch a tattered personal mythology fail - the narcissist is injured. Narcissistic injury inevitably leads to narcissistic rage and to a terrifying display of unbridled aggression.

This primitive defense mechanism is called "splitting". To the narcissist, things and people are either entirely bad (evil) or entirely good. He projects onto others his own shortcomings and negative emotions, thus becoming a totally good object.”

Thursday, 13 January, 2005  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

cohen's a cult leader. thank you for criticizing him. all cohen's followers can do is issue ad hominem attacks. the substance of your criticisms go unchallenged. this is a great blog. thank you!

Thursday, 13 January, 2005  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Dear Sir (since I don't know to whom I am writing.)

These points:

I sounded harsh because I wanted to get your attention. I just don't like my emails to be filled with materials like yours without getting my permission. I don't have any "pain." I don't know anybody who is perfect and I do know that people, indeed, change. You criticized my friend Ken Wilber because he endorsed a person in the past, but no longer does. Pray tell what is wrong with that? No threat from here other than to refrain from sending me your emails. If you are serious about "healing," I can suggest a totally different strategy than the one I'm seeing here. Remember I was involved in the Truth and Reconciliation commission process in South Africa so I have some direct experience in that regard. The future must play a more major role than the past in shaping the present. So, what are you doing that is positive? This, by the way, is not to defend Andrew for whatever happened in the past. Like all of us who wear human skin I'm certain that he, too, made mistakes. We should also hear the still little voice "Thou too are mortal!" 1988 is 17 years ago. By the way, he had no knowledge of my decision to respond to the "narcissism" thing. I just found your editions "ugly," full of personal gripes and complaints. I have absolutely no way to assess their validity because of the wide variations of emotions and perspectives. I just don't have time or energy to do that because the challenges that confront us in the world are overwhelming. In that regard, Ken and Andrew are making substantial contributions to finding new pathways. I would encourage you and your mates consider doing the same. Rather than cursing the night why don't you step into the light.

Further, I've not been "sucked in" by anybody. What I "see" are high levels of professionalism and civility on the part of people who have chosen to live within a "group" context. I've seen that in all of the centers. The "Voices from The Edge" series is remarkable and both the magazine and online programs are spreading the content of the new "enlightenment" far and wide, with a diverse group of well-known faces and voices. This is providing a substantial service to many around the world because of the quality of the writing, the graphics, and the media forms.

I'm not a group person myself; am not involved in many of the "spiritual practices" that others find useful, so tend to make hard, objective assessments of what people are actually doing. I know of a number of people who have attended Andrew Cohen's teachings and they have found them to be very positive and useful. He is more a Fritz Perls than a Carl Rogers and those who find that style to be troublesome need to go elsewhere. I do understand the nature of in-group and out-group dynamics having studied under Muzafer Sherif with his famous "Robbers Cave Experiment." And, I did take note in a previous posting that my name came up in what I considered to be a quite negative expression with statements that were totally false. In my life-time work I have often seen "true believers" on the inside of an organization demonstrate the identical "groupness" and conviction when they leave the organization, but now attack what they formerly embraced. They have not grown as people. In fact, they have regressed. They simply become the very thing they now bitterly oppose. Very sad, indeed.

Finally, I choose my friends, associates, and colleagues very carefully. I have a large tent within my MeshWORKS. I do not agree with everything they say or do but I judge their intent and effect.... (Wilber, of course, has been subjected to the same levels of venom in his long career. We are all imperfect, with feet of clay, and all need forgiveness and tolerance.) The world is full of ankle-biters, of "critics" who can't stand it when others experience great moments...and I learned a long time ago that if I spent my time and energy repeating old grievances, or "bringing down" strong, visible people so I can feel important, I would be an unhappy, quite retired university professor who passes time at Starbucks chewing on the sour/sweet morsels of my memory.

Let me make you a challenge as part of your healing. Those who are critical joined with Andrew's movement for some reason. Something about it or him attracted you. You were all adults and, therefore, responsible for your decisions. Rather than whine, become cynical, drown yourself in "victim-hood," and live on the negative side of life why don't you, in quite simple language -- "move on." I have an idea Andrew made a similar kind of challenge since, I assume, he does not suffer long anybody with the "poor me" perspective. Those who need a caring ear, a nonjudgmental environment, and permission to be whatever you want to be, should find a different spiritual leader and culture. You can find them everywhere and they thrive on keeping people totally dependent.

I suggest you do a Blog where you construct what would be a healthy environment for you, based on a strong, decisive teacher who makes demands on people. Turn your complaints into something positive. Then I can respect what you are doing.

"Those without sin should cast the first stone."

This will be my final posting on the topic. Life is simply too short to exist within a feeding frenzy of anger, resentment, revenge, and hostility. Too often we search for scapegoats to hide our own failures. It is so easy to play the blame game and simply
destroy what others are trying to create.

To whom much is given, much should be required.

Yours for authentic "enlightenment!"

Don Edward Beck, Ph.D.

Tuesday, 08 February, 2005  
Anonymous Truth Lover said...

Hazzah, Don, for your clarity, wisdom, insightfulness, authenticity, and boundless integrity. If we could only clone you, we'd have a much better world!

Sunday, 13 February, 2005  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

There are no PhD's in discrimination... but in time all is revealed!

Thanks to Andrew for his teaching, and thanks to your BLOG for providing a place to talk!


Todd Goninon.

Sunday, 13 February, 2005  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

A typical DB approach - when confronted publicly, Don Beck always has a "noble" purpose for his abusive tactics. Surprise! It usually involves YOUR growth. Ain't he just the most self-sacrificing person looking out for all us poor, sinning, ignorant souls here!? He loves to challenge YOU to take the focus off of him. Never forget that. Remember, he was a nobody until KW and AC bought into his hype and started promoting him widely. The gravy train must keep running.

Tuesday, 14 March, 2006  
Blogger Steven Sashen said...

"Those without sin should cast the first stone" is a smokescreen designed to deflect rational consideration of a point being made.

Perhaps the appropriate retort is "Don't shoot the messenger."

The moral arrogance ("It must be meaningful; it's in the Bible.") which accompanies the use of that quote is comical considering that the story and the quote are a recent addition to the bible (see "Misquoting Jesus" by Bart D. Ehrman).

Wednesday, 11 October, 2006  
Anonymous seer said...

It is hardly surprising and totally predictable that Don Beck would take that position. The man is not the slightest bit interested in being objective, he is known allied with the corrupt Cohen and Wilber, and has a vested interest in his position (from Wikipedia):

"Beck became interested in Ken Wilber's integral theory and developed a branch of spiral dynamics that he calls Spiral Dynamics Integral. This version of the theory uses integral concepts such as the four quadrants. Beck is also associated with the spiritual teacher, Andrew Cohen.

Cowan does not subscribe to these developments and promotes a version of the theory which he describes as remaining more faithful to the original research of Clare Graves and extending from it. He continues to use the term 'Spiral Dynamics' to describe his work since he co-created it. With his partner, Natasha Todorovic, he has undertaken work in integrating Spiral Dynamics with NLP and other models, and in developing corporate strategy and practical applications."

Beck's self-righteous and self-serving rant is simply a diversion strategy, the fact is he is working in lock step with Cohen and Wilber, and has much to gain from that association, not to mention the affinity all three have with NPD thinking patterns. Those who come in at the top of a "spiritual" pyramid scheme who scratch each others backs have neither care for or clue for the truth or what it is like below, among the "bottom dwellers". What you are dealing with is a corrupt kind of post new age syndicate, where the object at that level is to determine how to generate and divide the spoils, not bring the corrupt operation to a halt.

Monday, 22 January, 2007  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Wow, how deliciously primitive. I'd love to see you all have a good punch up. What fun and how beautifully non-integral and non-SD!

Thursday, 12 November, 2009  

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