Amongst the more important aspects of peer to peer media, is the effect of transparency it has in many social fields. One that is particularly close to my heart, is that the room for spiritual authoritarianism or abuse, can now be easily documented. For sure, spiritual exploitation feeds on the weakness of individuals, and information alone is not sufficient to avoid the bad choices that people will be making, but nevertheless, the numbers of those that, if in doubt, can find information about such abuses, will have a significant effect, either avoiding the initial mistake of joining, or speeding up the process of divorce, by offering easier access to the information, but also of the community of former devotees which had to courage to regain their spiritual autonomy.
If the P2P Foundation had an award to give, and if I were a member of the jury, I would give such an award to the wonderful work of the What Enlightenment blog and website, which has been documenting the sad happeningsÂ of the abuses within the Andrew Cohen community. Unfortunately, the spiritual authorianism of Cohen has gained added legitimacy by the endorsement of the intellectually authoritarian Ken Wilber, and sadly, a number of people will be lured to destroy their lives, at least for a time. But at least, the information is out there, and they can read what has happened to those who preceded them.
What particularly struck me this time, in browsing through the material, was the particularly nightmarish treatment of the women disciples. The individual case studies of the psychic destruction of women disciples are really disturbing reading.
We’re reproducing the blog entry, selecting the best material to have appeared over two years.
“The volume of material posted here is really huge, but some few articles seem to stick out in my mind as particularly poignant and heart rending. Among those, I recall perhaps most of all Not Forgotten â€“ the Story of Caroline Franklyn by Mario Puljiz, recounting the death by discouragement, heartbreak, and browbeating of a frail elderly and yet very wonderful lady in London.
Setting out many of the basic historical details and the context for the story of Andrew Cohen and his community, was the Breaking the Silence series by Hal Blacker â€“ a truly clear exposition of a complex story making it simple, readable and understandable.
Many others shared the excruciating content of many of their experiences with the guru, and here I think of Susan Bridlesâ€™ A Legacy of Scorched Earth, Stas Mavridesâ€™ Letter from a Senior Student, and A Travesty of Enlightenment by Wendyl.
Vimala Thakarâ€™s Concealed Criticism and Andrew Cohen’s Treatment of Women is a heartbreaking account of withheld information which covered the guruâ€™s behind, and left many students in the dark.”