Tuesday, January 24, 2012

From Rude Boy to Nice Guy?

Dear Readers,

There appears to be a curious online trend occurring with Andrew Cohen and his cohorts at EnlightenNext. Here at WhatEnlightenment??! we have observed with interest the following events:

First, Andrew’s infamous "Declaration of Integrity" (reposted here), his bombastic and scathing blog rant from 2006 against his critical ex-students has quietly disappeared from his own blog. Simultaneously, the gushing student-run Cohen-apologists’ blog, Guru-Talk.com has likewise been taken down in its entirety without so much as a peep*. (See a reposted entry here) And even more, around the same time, someone going by the user name “Kosmocentric” attempted to remove the entire “Criticisms” section from Andrew Cohen’s Wikipedia page. (It has since been restored by someone else).

So what is going on here, folks? Dare we infer that there is a slippery and concerted effort on the part of Cohen and his students to remake the "rude boy" guru’s online image?

Stas Mavrides’ recent article, I Love Him, I Hate Him, I Love Him Again suggested that Andrew did a pubic about-face on his critical, angry stance toward his former teacher, in part per his PR consultant’s advice that he needed to make some specific image changes in order to help his fundraising efforts. (There are indications that Cohen’s group is in difficult financial straits – In 2011 it officially ended publication of its magazine “EnlightenNext”, and listed its Foxhollow property for sale, selling off a portion of the estate to a development company.) We believe that Andrew’s disingenuous re-creation of himself as a "kinder, gentler" guru described in that article is continuing with the above-mentioned "disappearing" of his angry and arrogant "Declaration", the silent takedown of his students’ apologetics website "Guru Talk", as well as the attempted removal of the "Criticism" section of his Wikipedia bio.

We also believe these numerous actions have a common theme, which is to defang his “rude boy” guru image, as well as to hide cultic public displays of student adoration in an attempt to appear more compassionate, less pompous and even humble to potential new students and donors. These days Andrew speaks to large Integral audiences like the “Integral Spiritual Experience” convocation held in California earlier in January. His “abusive-guru” baggage, if discovered, would most likely be a liability in trying to reach these new, discriminating Integral students.

There are many in the Integral world who are disturbed by the endorsements given to Cohen by various Integral teachers, especially Ken Wilber. Given that, it would seem by removing earlier internet testaments from himself and fawning students it might help him forge his new image as a likable ‘Integral-friendly’ leader; an image that belies the character of an abrasive, even abusively autocratic guru, a man to whom his inner circle of students have surrendered control of their lives, yet secretly fear displeasing.

And so we say, “Beware the wolf in sheep’s clothing!”

The WhatEnlightenment??! Editors


*Editor’s Update: Will wonders never cease?

Well, imagine our surprise when after our post noting the recent removal of Andrew Cohen’s “Declaration of Integrity” from his blog, the attempted takedown of the “Criticsms” section on his Wikipedia page, and the concurrent disappearance of the Cohen apologetics blog, “Guru-Talk.com”, we got an email from “Guru-Talk” founder, Pete Bampton, claiming that his site was not intentionally taken down, but had according to him been “hacked into”. So what’s next? Will Cohen’s “Declaration” make a sudden reappearance? Who knows? Nevertheless, we welcome back online our WhatEnlightenment??! ‘counterpart’, “Guru-Talk”, or as we affectionately call it, “Kool-Aid Talk”.

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Blogger Martin Gifford said...

Instead of admitting mistakes and writing an article explaining the lessons he has learned, Andrew Cohen and his friends are just erasing the evidence! I guess he would call that "uncompromising integrity".

Why is AC now ashamed of his "Declaration of Integrity"? At the time, his devotees lauded him on its insightful perfection.

Just goes to show how deluded they are - they saw that article as a magnificent coup de grace, while everyone else saw it as perfect evidence for how screwed up he is. It was like an x-ray of his twisted mind. It was like watching The Office on TV - a cringefest, like an extended blooper!

BTW, I just checked the guru-talk website, and my anti-virus pops up with a trojan virus warning.

Thursday, 26 January, 2012  
Blogger themeanderingmushroomman said...

one more = AC is more like a sheep in wolves clothing ~ or put in the more common vernacular of our times = an empty suit.

Friday, 27 January, 2012  
Blogger themeanderingmushroomman said...

eye kudda sworn that was a typo in the 3rd paragraph: concerted should read as conceited?

also eye thawt the colonoscopy hit the spot as a metaphor more irecisely than the x-ray ~ but hey, who am eye 2 quibble?

good article.

Friday, 27 January, 2012  
Blogger Jason said...

Always interesting to watch this "teacher" squirming away from the truth about himself. I applaud the work this blog does in keeping track of him.

Readers may be interested in my latest blog post which references serious psychological research related to cults. Andrew Cohen hits every single button. I was warned off people like him at the beginning of spiritual training. My post includes the guidelines on how you can tell these "teachers" apart from the ones who will actually do you some good. The guru business can get pretty ugly.

Saturday, 28 January, 2012  
Blogger Martin Gifford said...

That is an excellent post on your blog, Jason.

I was thinking that maybe Andrew Cohen doesn't admit to mistakes because of legal reasons - he doesn't want to be sued. But that doesn't explain why he said his critics are miserable failures. Attacking his critics and puffing himself up in the "Declaration of Integrity", shows that he was taking it very personally. That is opposite to his tenet "The Truth of Impersonality":

"The fourth tenet states that every aspect of the human experience is a completely impersonal affair. It tells us that the illusion of uniqueness, the narcissistic self-sense that is ego, is created moment by moment through the compulsive and mechanical personalization of almost every thought, feeling, and experience we have."

According to that tenet, Andrew should have impersonally responded to the substance of the criticisms rather than attacking the messengers and puffing himself up as being "unique". He clearly took the criticisms personally rather than seeing them as impersonal experiences of life, and he clearly sees himself as unique.

It is obvious that he can dish out intense criticisms and punishments to others but cannot take any criticism of himself.

Monday, 30 January, 2012  
Anonymous Anna Jacobs said...

I think the crucial thing about all this is the fact that it is all happening silently and with no attempt by Andrew himself for genuine reconciliation with his students personally. If he feels it looks bad to have criticised his ex students so strongly or even thinks that it was wrong and has therefore removed the criticism, it strongly indicates that there is something not quite right about the picture. Where is the evidence in his actions for Face Everything and Avoid Nothing? It seems he is trying to slip into a new friendly public persona without facing and addressing the issues which caused the problems in the first place. You can’t just ignore something and hope it goes away. The only conclusion that can be drawn from this is that it is a PR exercise rather than a genuine change of heart or character. The problem for Andrew is that PR exercises without foundation ultimately always fail.

However, the part I find most unsettling is the editing out of criticism on Wikipedia. The whole thing is almost censorship – taking away freedom of speech – the tool of despots who fear being deposed by a revolution.

If there is nothing to hide, nothing to feel bad about and if you feel 100% behind everything you have done and said then there really shouldn’t be any need to censor. I am not naïve to the fact that we live in a world of quick fire PR, but Andrew is teaching in a way that can have enormous impact on people’s lives and he is teaching in an environment of political democracy - for that reason and in that context he should be able to withstand and indeed embrace mature, healthy, public (and private) democratic debate.

P.S. Just for a bit of context: I was a student of Andrew’s between 1994 and 2000 and experienced a lot of the ‘dark period’ with the women, including 600 full immersion prostrations (not ‘dips’!) in the freezing lake three times, the sauna with the extreme cartoons etc etc. For various reasons I won’t go into here I personally don’t feel a victim of my time with Andrew, but I do feel deep anger and upset about the even more extreme things that went on with others.

Tuesday, 31 January, 2012  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

People cannot evolve by being seen and used as objects.

Objects cannot evolve.

To be a victim is to be seen and then lured into a relationship in which one is told one will be a student is used as an object, the way a small child plays with action figures, sometimes loving and then sometimes desising the plaything.

If Andrew could just be truthful and say, "The only possible relationship with me is you permit me to use you as as objects, sometimes caress you and othertimes hate you and throw you out of my playpen' that would be helpful information.

"All means of independent agency, such as money, documents, and even your voice, must become mine."

It would be yet more useful if Andrew could say, "And even if and when I throw you out of my playpen, you remain my property."

But the seed of failure is to believe it possible that people can be made to evolve by being used as objects.

Tuesday, 31 January, 2012  
Blogger Martin Gifford said...

"we welcome back online our WhatEnlightenment??! ‘counterpart’, “Guru-Talk”, or as we affectionately call it, “Kool-Aid Talk”."

I'm glad it's back too. It helps prospective Cohenites understand what they will become if they commit to Cohenism. (Shudder.)

Yes, it is "Kool-Aid Talk". They won't allow comments on their blog posts unless the comments are 100% gushing for Andrew and Cohenism.

Sunday, 05 February, 2012  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

This Guru model died years ago for people who were even half awake. Cohen and his likes need to do some deep therapy work and stop this crap. Teacher of enlightenment baloney. Ray Charles on a moonless night could see through this pathetic stance and the egoic apology for it.

If spirituality is EVER to serve evolution again this Divine Right Monarch teaching model needs to go where it belongs: IN THE TRASH.

Letting it go is an introduction to another level of consciousness. Let it go.

Sunday, 30 June, 2013  

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