Saturday, October 02, 2004

About WHAT enlightenment?!

Who or What is WHAT enlightenment?!

We're a group of individuals, both ex-students of Andrew Cohen and never-were-students-of, who want to "free the mind of mental slavery." And why not start here, critiqueing one of the most rigid, self-satisfied and authoritarian cult leaders around? You might not always agree with us, and we don't always agree with each other either, but the bottom line is to try to shed some light where little has so far been shed.

Why is this group anonymous? Thought you'd never ask. The answer lies in the rude treatment received by anyone who openly criticizes any authoritarian leader. Ideas may flow more freely if there is no personal attachments. Just an open and honest exploration. This will invite active involvement by individuals who otherwise would not want to speak out. And of course, this does not preclude anyone communicating for attribution in any fashion they wish. For example, Andre Van der Braak has written and published his memoirs of his 11 years experience as a student of Andrew Cohen, under the title Enlightenment Blues.

To communicate with WHAT enlightenment?!: Use the comments button at the bottom of each article to send comments about that article. Or to send another message or offer an article to print, email us at

We have many forthcoming posts planned, so come back to the site often!


Anonymous Anonymous said...

Great site. I hope it empowers more survivors to find their voices, and rediscover their essential dignity.

A book that many Cohen survivors may find helpful is 'Prophetic Charisma' by Len Oakes (he reviewed Andre van der Braak's book).

If you've ever wondered why so many gurus sound alike and seem to have attended the same training camp, 'Prophetic Charisma' is a must-read. Oakes interviewed twenty charismatic leaders and many of their followers, and was once a member of a group led by such a leader.

What Oakes learned was that none of these charismatics was capable of ordinary, intimate relationships with peers. They all had some form of narcissistic personality disorder, and compensated for lack of intimacy and lack of empathy by becoming avid students of social manipulation and communication arts.

Another feature Oakes observed was that the leaders often learned to have 'canned' responses to any situation, and knew how to ruthlessly exploit the slightest sign of self doubt or hesitation in an adversary...

You can order a copy from

This article by Arthur J Deikman is available at his website and is excellent. His take is the mark of a genuine spiritual teacher is the ability to create conditions that support spiritual development. An authoritarian, anxiety ridden community would undermine such development, not support it.

Tuesday, 16 November, 2004  

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