Tuesday, May 31, 2005

Karma Will (Literally) Cost You And Leaving Isn't Easy

Breaking The Code Of Silence, Part IV
By Hal Blacker


May all beings be happy!

This is the fourth and last part of my "Breaking The Code Of Silence" series of articles about Andrew Cohen for the WHAT Enlightenment ??! blog. For those just arriving, the previous articles in the series are:
Karma Will (Literally) Cost You
Andrew Cohen's extraction of large contributions from community members in trouble has been touched on in this blog before. Stas (Ernest) recounted in his article "Letter From A Senior Student" how Andrew had expressly told students that when a "committed" or "senior" student "blows it," it will cost them $20,000 in karmic retribution. When Stas once offered Andrew a contribution of $3,000 at a time when he was desperate to regain Andrew's good graces, Andrew angrily threw the check on the floor, shouting, "Do you think you can buy me off for a lousy three grand?" As a result, Stas borrowed money so that he could make a $20,000 contribution to Andrew. Later, when he told Andrew the money was given under duress and asked for its return, Andrew coldly refused.

Stas was far from the only student who had large sums extracted from him by Andrew Cohen at a time of emotional confusion and vulnerability. These are only a few other examples.

Another long time close student, named Bill, told me in a private communication, at least one half year before this blog came into existence, about how he, like Stas, gave a large contribution, under pressure, at a time when he was psychologically devastated. Bill had been instrumental in the acquisition of Andrew Cohen's main center, Foxhollow, in Lenox, Massachusetts. In 1996, he found and handled the purchase of that $3 Million, 220 acre former Vanderbilt estate. After years of service to Andrew, Bill, like so may others, incurred his wrath. He endured being slapped, having to attend numerous meetings with fellow students where he was shouted at, being exiled to Australia, then soon after being called back to Foxhollow, where he was told he was not welcome and could not stay. After further similar twists and turns and "demotions," Bill finally received a message from Andrew that he should send in his inheritance of $80,000, an amount he had once offered Andrew at an earlier moment of desperation. Bill complied with the request. Later, after Bill left the community he demanded the money back, and threatened legal action if it was not returned. Andrew did return the money, but only on the condition that Bill sign an agreement drafted by Andrew's lawyer. The agreement contained a release of Cohen's organization (the Impersonal Enlightenment Fellowship, or "IEF," formerly known as Moksha Foundation) from all claims forever, and a "gag order" prohibiting Bill from speaking to the press or making any public statements about Andrew Cohen or his organization, particularly any "disparaging" ones, without prior approval, for a period of five years.

Another former close student of Andrew Cohen told me how she gave her entire Individual Retirement Account, amounting to $60,000, and promised to give her future inheritance to Andrew's organization under psychological duress. She had run away from Foxhollow, but was located and persuaded to come back. This was the second time she had left the community. When she returned she was told how she had utterly betrayed Andrew. Her acts were described as being completely "off the map," in the scale of possible offenses. It was stressed to her repeatedly how she was guilty of a hellish crime, and how upset Andrew was with her. She offered to contribute approximately $10,000 as retribution. She was told this was insufficient, that she'd have to "dig deeper" and had to be willing to "give everything." Three days later she offered her IRA and her inheritance. This presented some problems, as her father had some control of the IRA account, and she would have to transfer the funds to an account from which the "contribution" could be made without her father finding out. During the several weeks it took to accomplish this, IEF's secretary, Cathy Snow, repeatedly called her, asking how long it would take, and making sure she was not backing out. She was in great anguish and turmoil, and recalls being essentially insane at this time. She told Cathy that this was all the money she had in the world. Cathy had given her a message from Andrew that "You have to be willing to give up any idea of having a back door." She ultimately gave IEF the $60,000, but left the community for good when her father died, and before she could give away her inheritance.

Such "contributions" were often given under conditions of great secrecy. One student told me that she had complied with pressure to give $10,000 contributions twice when she was in trouble after having left. The $10,000 figure was expressly specified by close students and IEF administrators Steve Brett and Cathy Snow. She was told that a $10,000 contribution was a condition of coming back into the community, and that she should do whatever she needed to get the money, including obtaining a bank loan. IEF director Jeff Carreira tolder her at least three times regarding contributions "Do not tell anyone about this." When she later left the community again she knew she would have to give even more to return. At one point she told Carreira she would give Andrew the proceeds for the rest of her life from a trust for her. He seemed satisfied with this, but, as she told me, "I came to my senses and backed out."

There is a close English student who was kicked out of the community for about two years, but who continued to live in Lenox, Massachusetts, hoping to regain Andrew's good graces. A witness recounted a conversation with Andrew regarding the student’s request to return to IEF. Andrew said he would get this student to give him all of his money, so that he would be dependent on Andrew and have no "back door." “Then he’d be mine,” Andrew said. The student is now, again, a leader in Andrew's organization.

Andrew became extremely outraged with another student who had taken a celibacy vow and admitted to Andrew he had masturbated. Wracked with guilt and remorse after being called a hypocrite by Andrew, the student wound up obtaining an advance on his inheritance and giving it to IEF.

In addition to direct financial contributions, students frequently purchased Andrew Cohen expensive clothing and other gifts. Most of these students have little of their own money. One student told me how she had purchased him an $800 pair of Armani pants and many $200-$300 sweaters. The giving of flowers to express sorrow or gratitude, common when I was a member of the community, stopped being sufficient years ago.

It is not unusual for nonprofits to ask members for contributions. But it is unusual to obtain such contributions through psychological manipulation and the use of shame and guilt, as occurs in Andrew's community. A glance at the finances of IEF do not appear to show the need for using extraordinary measures to obtain contributions. According to IEF's 2003 Federal Income Tax Form 990 (the latest one viewable at the Guidestar.org web site, obtainable by doing a search for Moksha Foundation), IEF had total revenues of over $4 1/3rd Million Dollars in 2003, with a net over expenses of $2,184,927.00. Its total assets exceeded its liabilities by $7,653,439.00. In the last several years, Andrew Cohen had a large new office built for himself at Foxhollow, despite already having a luxurious office suite in the Foxhollow Manor House. That office suite included a private yoga room, private bath, private secretary's office, fireplace, porch, views and a main room of about 500 square feet. Andrew Cohen's lifestyle, while not as ostentatious as some famous gurus', could be fairly called lavish by most people's standards.

Leaving Isn't Easy
Given the pervasiveness of physical and emotional abuse and financial exploitation in Andrew Cohen's community, it would be reasonable to ask (as some on this blog have) why students don't just leave. In fact, most of Andrew's students do leave. He has far more students who have left him over the years than who have remained with him. Few of his early students remain. I have learned from an inside source that there are currently less than 400 students and "practicing members" combined, worldwide. This is far from the "revolution" that Andrew has always claimed he is spearheading.

For many students, however, leaving Andrew is traumatic. This is due to a combination of factors. Some of these factors are psychological and entrained by Andrew. Students are told repeatedly that leaving Andrew and his community is the greatest betrayal. They are taught that it is tantamount to admitting that they do not "want to be free" and to giving up any chance of spiritual enlightenment. Andrew's close students have witnessed numerous times the way Andrew denigrates and demonizes those who leave him. Andrew frequently complains about a conspiracy of former students who only want to undermine him. Students are repeatedly told that if they leave they should have no contact with other students who left the community. This means that it is likely they will be alone and without emotional support if they leave Andrew and IEF. Close students have generally devoted years of their lives to Andrew, have derived their whole sense of meaning from the community, and have lost touch with other friends, interests and support systems. The prospect of facing a huge void in their lives makes the idea of leaving Andrew very intimidating. But sometimes leaving Andrew is difficult for another reason-Andrew and his community sometimes make it almost impossible to do.

It is generally not possible to openly talk about leaving the IEF community if one has been a close student. If one does leave, one is often hounded by the community. There have been many instances of this. Marvin, a student who left on the pretext of visiting family, was called repeatedly by community members, and asked to come back. He finally agreed to return briefly to discuss the matter. When challenged for leaving without telling anyone, he made the memorable comment, "Leaving is not a formal student topic." Many other students were hounded after they left. Jeff, the student who left after Andrew had Michelle, a physician student, pretend she was going to surgically remove his finger for failing in a writing project (See "Shame, Guilt and The Guru's Blood") was sent a series of e-mails, each with symbolic pictures of the cover of the video "The Picture of Dorian Gray," with the images becoming progressively more distorted and ugly.

Many students have run from the community during the night. A couple of examples of this follow. The female student who made the $60,000 contribution and pledged her future inheritance, whose story was told above, did so after secretly escaping Foxhollow one night. Before she left, Andrew knew she was in a delicate condition and there was a danger she might leave. She had left once before. One night after receiving serious "feed-back", Andrew's wife Alka came to her room, and asked her for her driver's license, passport, and credit cards. She said she could not find her passport, but handed over what she claimed was her only credit card and her driver's license. She had previously hidden, however, another copy of her license and another credit card. She took them, along with her passport, "borrowed" the community car, and drove to a car rental office in Lenox. There she rented a car, left a voicemail message at Foxhollow about the community car's whereabouts, and drove off into the night. She didn't know where she wanted to go, just that she wanted to get far away. Eventually, she drove the thousands of miles from Massachusetts to New Orleans. She figured no one would find her there. A few days after she arrived and got a room, she went to return the rented car. There, to her shock, she found Debbie, an IEF community member, waiting for her. Debbie had waited at the car rental's Lenox office until she overheard a phone conversation from which she learned the student would be returning her rented car in New Orleans. She flew there and waited in the New Orleans rental office until the escaped student showed up. Debbie eventually persuaded her to return.

One Dutch student, who was close to Andrew and who had been a leader in his communities in Europe, fell into disfavor. He was put in a community home in London, where Steve Brett was told to keep an eye on him and prevent him from leaving. Steve slept just outside the Dutch student's room, so that he could not leave in the night without being noticed. But one night Steve failed to do this. The Dutch student packed a bag and threw it out his bedroom window to the ground below. Then he sneaked silently out of the house. He retrieved his bag, and found a pay telephone a block or two away, from which he called a cab. A couple of weeks before this, Rob, a close community member and an old friend of the Dutch student, had warned him against leaving. Rob was highly trained in martial arts, having been a member of a special division of the Dutch military, roughly equivalent to the U.S. Navy Seals or Special Forces. Rob had told his friend that if he ever left, he would find him and break every bone in his body. After the student escaped, he chose to go as far away as he could imagine, settling in Costa Rica. A few weeks after getting there, he got an e-mail from Rob. All it said was, "I'm coming." Andrew himself had instructed Rob to send this e-mail.

Conclusion
As I mentioned at the beginning of this article, this is the last in my "Breaking The Code Of Silence" series. It also marks the end, for now, of my contributions to this blog. The stories I have recounted in these articles are only examples. There are many more to tell in all the categories of weirdness and abuse I have discussed. There are some areas that I barely mentioned. One such area is Andrew's intense involvement with his students' sex lives, his betraying of sexual confidences of students, and his use of such information to humiliate students. These stories will have to wait for another day, or another author.

For now, the ice has been broken, and much of what was previously kept hidden by unwritten rules has been revealed here. People interested in studying with Andrew Cohen and becoming a part of his community now have essential and previously unavailable information about him, so they can make an informed decision. Students who have left him and are hurt or confused can now discuss these matters openly without feeling they are the first to betray some deep dark secret, because the secret has already been told.

It has been my privilege to have the opportunity to contribute to this blog, and I am grateful to all the readers, commenters and other contributors. I hope that the breaking of the code of silence that occurred here will benefit everyone, that we all continue to grow in openness, and that all of us have success on our path.

May all enjoy happiness and the root of happiness, be free from suffering and the root of suffering, and enjoy the great equanimity that is free from passion, aggression and prejudice

Hal Blacker
hdblacker@comcast.net

19 Comments:

Anonymous Anonymous said...

Hal thank you for contributing with your series. I am sure that many more former students and associates will come forward to share their stories as well.

All of you have been so blessed to get away from this fraud and charlatan Andrew Cohen. No holy man extorts money, abuses, enslaves, and controls people, is involved in their sex lives, plays romantic charades with female students, is arrogant and a braggart. He is a disgrace and holds no lineage at all.

He has left a path strewn with devastated students who now must pick up their lives and start anew.

Thank God that all of you now have a choice to choose freedom and never be enslaved ever again.

This blog is a great service and has helped many. Thank you Hal.

Wednesday, 01 June, 2005  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Thanks indeed Hal. I agree wholeheartedly with the disclosure of this information in the spirit of fully informing potential students who may choose to get involved with Andrew's community.

- You will NOT be able to freely leave once you go through that door.

- You will be required to make full disclosure of your financial assets and the information may (will) be used to coerce you into surrendering those assets when you are most vulnerable.

Wednesday, 01 June, 2005  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

hi hal,
kudos on the 'breaking the code of silence' series. brilliant writing and expose which provides a lot of the heretofore missing pieces to the andrew cohen puzzle. Part 4 is just dynamite!

Wednesday, 01 June, 2005  
Anonymous Herve said...

Hal,

Much of what you say does not concern me at all. It only excites me.

But I would like to know how you can prove the following statement which you made:


"A few weeks after getting there, he got an e-mail from Rob. All it said was, "I'm coming." Andrew himself had instructed Rob to send this e-mail."

Herve

Thursday, 02 June, 2005  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Herve, if this stuff "excites" you, then you should join up with Andrew Cohen's fellowship and have yourself a sadomasochistic blast.

Thursday, 02 June, 2005  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Herve, we can assume that the receiver of the email told Hal, so the fact that Rob sent the email is a given. So your question is how Hal can prove that Rob was instructed to send the email by Andrew. Herve, if you knew the community, Rob, and Andrew (like many of us here do) then there isn't a shadow of a doubt that Andrew gave tacit approval to the email and that Rob would never have sent such an email without Andrew's okay.

Thursday, 02 June, 2005  
Anonymous Freebird said...

Hal, your series are excellent. Thank you for your efforts and hard work in presenting truths that we all should know.

Students thinking of joining Andrew Cohen and community, here are important truths to consider and think about before becoming a member.

Students who have the courage to leave, we are here to help in making your transition easier. You are not alone.

Much love to all
Freebird

Thursday, 02 June, 2005  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I want to express much compassion for Luna Tarlo, Andrew Cohen's mother. Her book about their guru-student relationship could not have been an easy task for her to write about. As his mother she knows him best of all and has done a great service in warning everyone of the dangers associated within the guru-student relationship. It took great courage in her doing so and also risk the loss of her son. Luna I commend your bravery.

It is an amazing feat for Andrew to play double roles, one to be the perpetrator of abuse, then followed by the other role of accusing the students of doing the exact same thing, ending in relishing his victim role. This guru-student relationship is so dysfunctional, to say the least, and extremely devastating for all.

Luna, I doubt that the son you remember and love is the same son today. There is a great price to pay for the acquisition of exploitive power over others,...the loss of oneself.

Friday, 03 June, 2005  
Anonymous Alex Hanck said...

Herve,

You wrote:

" Much of what you say does not concern me at all. It only excites me."

...... at least that much that you respond to rob ery.

Friday, 03 June, 2005  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Hal--Thanks so much for the massive work you've done in putting together this blog and keeping it going until most of the sordid details have surfaced. It's so difficult to find any remote semblance of objectivity for those of us who've left Andrew and the community. This blog has been an incredible help to me in beginning to see with at least a semblance of clarity what was really going on in this unbelievable ordeal that many of us have so idealistically devoted a lot of years of our lives to. I'm not sure that this "healing" could ever have been possible without this blog. Thank you!

Friday, 03 June, 2005  
Anonymous Herve said...

You said "Herve, we can assume that the receiver of the email told Hal, so the fact that Rob sent the email is a given."

Do not assume. Hal would have written that he had been told. The fact that he did not is now suspicious.

Herve

Friday, 03 June, 2005  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Hi Hal,

The things you have written here are pretty explosive. I have to be forthright and say that I have spent some time in Andrews community, though not as a formal student.

This blog has raised more then a few questions. I have read both published books criticising Andrew's work and have found them insufficient to some degree in proving their point. This blog however has created much deeper contemplation, as has the petty apparent war that occured betwen this blog and the uncensored blog. I must say that if uncensored's point was to make people question the motives of this blog they achieved their goal.

I have had to contemplate every level of motive along the way. Among the list of questions that have arose are the following:

1. Andrew has really broken through to a new development in consciousness, traditionally know as "enlghtenment", but has fallen pray to the same short comings as many proposed "world teachers", assuming that because their vision of expanded consciousness remains constantly intact then their behavior must be inherently perfect (an idea that Andrew has both renounced, and seems to embrace (recurring theme)).

2. (extension of example1), that his behaviour 'is' inherently perfect in relationship to the natural imbalances of the manifest world.

3. That his vision of the absolute was hijacked by an unconscious ego that recognized freedom and wanted to own it as its self.

4. Students Karma plays as much a major role as teachers, therefore teachers are naturally prone to nasty karmic dealings as part of their role. This can then be demonized by the ego of students.

5. Andrew is doing the right thing and burnt students are demonizing him.

6. Andrews dealings are completely misunderstood (crazy wisdom, but again, he denounces it yet seems to use it as a right hand technique).

7. naturally occuring developmental inertia will hang like rocks from any attempts to make new developmental stages occur.

8. Andrew Cohen has fallen prey to everything he tries to stand against.

These are heavy questions for me, and not easily resolvable. They bother me more because I find the new dimensions of his teaching quite extraordinary and true.

A couple of life long distant students have suggested that the ultimate relationship with Andrew is to be in touch with and explore his advice, but not get too close. At this point knowing what I know I feel that this is good advice. However of course my excitement over the content of his teachings compels me to think closer.

These are very difficult issues to think about (all the time), and perhaps they dont get any easier the closer you get.

I'd be interested to hear comments on these thoughts. I know I will hear "Andrew is a psycho and stay away". I may also hear "approach him at your own risk". I rather hope for the unexpected. I am still waiting for a bomb to drop. While small arms continue to fire I have yet to hear the chain breaker. I have no interest in breaking chains though. If something here is very fundamentally in trouble it really raises more questions about what is possible and why it seems to have a hard time manifesting. This of course begs the more ultimate questions.. If Andrew see's the vision but has trouble manifesting it, what responsibilities are left on our shoulders then? Or are the dogs just barking?

One thing is for sure, these questions must be asked, and if they are met with denial then what does it mean to face everything and avoid nothing? If one is truly doing this then cant ANYTHING be explained or discussed? And if not then isnt that a blatant use of crazy wisdom?


signed:

Seriously confused but used to it and even inspired by it.

Peace be with you, even in turbulent times.

Friday, 03 June, 2005  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

In quick response to this list of questions:

From Andrew's perspective, these are the (only?) absolute truths of the teacher/student relationship:

1. teacher is enlightened and is supreme arbiter
2. freedom/enlightenment of the student at ALL costs

If you DO accept these two truths, you will not fault Andrew's actions. Andrew won't accept the possiblity that there are some absolute truths in permissible behavior of citizens in our society:

1. you don't put someone under the most intense psychological pressure imaginable and force them to relinquish huge sums of money
2. you don't make it impossible for someone to freely walk away

How you view Andrew will depend on whether you accept the first set of absolutes or the second.

Saturday, 04 June, 2005  
Anonymous Hal Blacker said...

To answer Herve's question about the email from Rob:

My anonymous sources included the recipient of the e-mail and an individual who was present when Andrew discussed its content with Rob and told him to send it.

All of the events in the Breaking the Code of Silence pieces are based on the reports of sources who directly perceived them.

In the future, it would be better to e-mail these kinds of questions. I may not always see or respond to them on the blog.

Thank you for your interest in these articles.

Hal

Saturday, 04 June, 2005  
Anonymous Freebird said...

To anonymous poster raising 8 questions:

Let me start by saying that your questions are very good and hopefully one or more of us can give you answers.

I do not have the answers, but will present to you why many of us have peace in knowing that a genuine desire to warn and help others are the true motives expressed on this blog by our contributors and most commentors.

It takes tremendous courage to show your vulnerabilities and express victimhood publicly, also to admit that someone you loved so greatly and believed in, Andrew Cohen, has severely exploited you together with members of the community whom you loved as your friends. Victims are known to suffer in silence for a long time and it takes great conviction and a desire to help others to finally come forward in telling and sharing our stories.

The disbelief and many questions from you and others come because some students appear to not have been abused, and it also could be because of their own denial of same together with pride in protecting Andrew whom they still see as special, being blinded to his true character. Sometimes there just are no answers and you have to truly discern within to find truths. No one can convince you otherwise.

I am satisfied that the experiences of former students are presented in good faith and are true. More commentors have expressed positive feedback and are grateful and thankful in how we all have helped them on this blog.

In ending I know from experience that there are people whose questions may be answered and yet they continue to find new ones in a struggle to defend what they cannot accept as true.

The truth will set you free, and many of us celebrate this good news.

Blessings,
Freebird

Saturday, 04 June, 2005  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Hi Freebird,

Thanks for your post. Honestly my doubts about this blog's sincerity are the least of my concerns, but the concerns are amplified for my love of Andrew's work and my trust in him. In some ways the seemingly 'culty' kind of environement I have experienced around him raises some red flags, as do all of the mostly true stories I have seen here.

One of the bigggest problems that I have is that dealing with the collective human ego is a messy business, and the water becomes murky as hell. Its hard to discern where Andrew's motives lie when not percieved from the ego's perspective. The money issue's seems like a pretty big and obvious deal, but at the same time if one is absorbed totally into the totality of the whole one 'can' question the need for personal finance, as one has indeed given up individual needs to the sake of the whole.

At the same time paint pouring, painted bloody walls, and lake prostrations all raise serious questions. A big concern as well is that many of the abuses such as the lake prostrations, finger cuttings, and other severe instances noted here are, and have been, suggested by the students themselves, and may have been Andrew testing their commitment. The ego could have in fact made these offerings and Andrew's tests could have been challenges to the ego rather than to the authentic part of each person. In that case the ego was being put on the cutting block, not the authentic dimension of each of us. BUT on the surface it all appears as blatant abuse and manipulation.

It is really really tough because there is a part of me that is compelled that Andrew is sorely needed in this world despite the confusing aspects of his community. I am continually involved on a loose level but these conflicts keep 'me' in conflict. Sometimes I feel that it is insane to feel a commitment to that which one is unsure of and which is socially ridiculous. And their is another part of me which feels that of course radical new stage development will require commitment to move into the unknown with no logical social support around (besides the insular 'in question' community).

At the same time that it seems like the community is a crazy middle school name calling situation, you have to wonder if it isn't out own ego's that make it such. That could be a potentially frustrating aspect to an enlightened teacher trying to push people to a new level.

There is a part of me that wants to hear some real down dirty news, even worse than what's been offered here so far (sorry for the run on!), and there is another part of me that wants to find out that this is just a bunch of angry offended people playing foul.

To figure this out on our own without community that is biased on either side is the ultimate challenge. While both dimensions of my life continue to move on I find my fundamental position in relationship to the whole ordeal a monumental and crux challenge. I also know that monumental crux challenge is the nature of human existence. Oh what to do!


signed:

Confused and Crazy, Peaceful and Serene.

Saturday, 04 June, 2005  
Anonymous Freebird said...

Dear confused and crazy, peaceful and serene:

Thank you for your honest response and your thoughts are greatly appreciated by all.

I admire you looking at both sides, and encourage you to continue checking our blog together with sharing your progress with us.

The answers to your questions will come to you since you find same to be an ultimate challenge and to be able to figure it all out on your own. I can respect that.

Good luck with your efforts.
Feebird

Saturday, 04 June, 2005  
Anonymous Maureen and Fred McFarland said...

Dear WE contributors and supporters

Words can hardly express our gratitude for your service in enlightening people about Andrew Cohen.

Our son Dan returned home after leaving to join Andrew Cohen and community. God bless all.

Sincerely,
Maureen and Fred McFarland
Tom's River
New Jersey

Sunday, 05 June, 2005  
Blogger Chuck R said...

To All:

I recently posted the following comment on integralevolutionary.com and decided it might be useful here as well.

Uncertainty is painful.Unsolved or insoluble problems are painful. To those in such pain, anyone who appears to be certain, to have positively true answers to difficult problems, is highly attractive. Gurus who claim to “know” the “Truth” look like a port in a terrible storm.

Unfortunately, uncertainty is our lot in life. Certainty is often a delusion, a con, or simply a mistake. The human neurological system evolved to produce certainty, whether or not the certainty is warranted. Such certainty is of great use in fight-or-flight situations when speed is essential and extended cogitation can be lethal. But in more intellectual pursuits – philosophy, theology, human relationships, math, “evolutionary enlightenment”, etc. – it can be a unexpected hazard. Certainty arrived at through intuitive experiences such as the AHA! experience should always be treated skeptically. If you can find additional evidence to support such certainty, fine. If you can’t, you’d better set aside such certainty.

Certainty is a *feeling* or a *sensation*, not an idea or intellectual conclusion. As such, it is no more reliable than any other feeling such as fear, love, disgust, hatred, etc.

Doubt and uncertainty can be painful, but they are better than the soporifics of false “truth” and phony “knowledge”. Just because a 'guru' is certain he is right, doesn't mean he actually is right. It only means that he has felt "certainty". Big deal.

Check out the book “On Being Certain” by Robert Burton, MD. (2008) You’ll find yourself less addicted to seeking certainty and “knowledge” of “deep truths” than you may now be. (I have no connection to this book other than admiring it.)

Chuck R

Saturday, 17 July, 2010  

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