Fwd: Paradigm Conflicts, Repost from EckankarTruth
- One more cross-post regarding Leaf's criticisms of this site,
ESA, from EckankarTruth. Posted for the archives here for
anyone interested in these discussions or for any future
references which might be of value or importance:
--- In firstname.lastname@example.org, "tomleafeater"
I've been thinking about the conflicts occurring in the last few
days in the ex-eckankar groups of ESA and ET. I've been asking
myself just what is at the root of the conflicts. I see many factors
coming together. Some I won't go into, since it would only stir the
pot even more.
But one factor seems to me to be the conflicting paradigms. To
Paradigm: Broadly, a philosophical or theoretical framework of
We all have our paradigms. We believe in them, live by them,
sometimes without even realizing we even have them.
Since I left eckankar, which was officially about ten years ago,
and unofficially about sixteen years ago (which is a lot of time to
reflect about eckankar), I've been examining the paradigms I've
accumulated from having been an eckist. I joined when I was
sixteen, which is an age in which kids are very suggestible and
impressionable. Patti Simson, Paul Twitchell, Millie Moore,
Helen Baird, Jerry Mulvin, Ron Lavaneri, and many others were
around in my area in those days, and I hung on every word they
said. They were my mentors. I went to the lectures, attended the
meetings, listened, and assimilated everything.
Paradigms are created by what we accept as part of our
personal ideologies. When people leave eckankar, they do so for
different reasons. We're not nearly so alike as it may seem to the
Most who leave agree that the plagiarism, lies, concocted
histories and non-existent masters are a major factor in their
For some, this is where it stops. They may still continue to
accept the paradigms they learned in eckankar. They will usually
relate to the often expressed adage, `don't throw the baby out
with the bathwater.' They retain most of the philosophy, the
spiritual principles, the jargon, even some of the clichés'.
Others who leave might go a little further in their review of
eckankar. Since there was so much gullibility that led to
accepting eckankar, they might wonder what else they may have
accepted that isn't true or real. So they examine the eckankar
theology and ideology, the sayings, the cultural attitudes, the
memes. I remember Lurk, a well known `detractor' at A.R.E.
(another volatile internet discussion group) questioning the
existence of karma, reincarnation, and other well accepted
concepts found in eckankar. Some even became atheists, even
if for only a period of time, as they tried to sort out fact from fiction,
and the reasonable from the unreasonable.
So there are a spectrum of beliefs found in the ex-eckankar
community. Some are barely different from the eckists in their
core beliefs, accepting the view that eckankar was borrowed
from other completely worthy belief systems. I must admit that I
would describe some of the moderators at ESA, if not all of the
three, to be in that group.
Many of the phrases, jargon, and well known words are still often
used in many of the posts. That is, of course, a common
approach to those who leave eckankar. I don't mind that so long
as these aren't used to invalidate others' differing paradigms.
At the other end of the spectrum would be people who disavow
just about everything eckankar teaches. Most of these were very
vocal on A.R.E. for awhile, and most have gone on with their
lives, sickened and bored from all of the debating that went on
there several years ago.
And there are the rest, who fall somewhere in various degrees
between these two ends of the spectrum. I am somewhere
between, and am still undergoing a process of change.
Its difficult and even impossible to make too many
generalizations about the ex-eckist community, since each
individual will find his or her own place in the post-eckankar
And the ideologies do include political ideologies. Many think
eckankar is apolitical or above indulging in the world political
scene. This is nonsense. Eckankar leaders have often made
comments about their political and economic views. This has
especially been true of Harold Klemp, who has taken eckankar
far to the right.
Klemp would naturally have attracted more people from this
sector of society than his predecessors.
In my own case, I've enjoyed the process of reflecting upon
everything I ever assimilated from eckankar, and turning it over in
my mind (yes, I do believe in using the intellect) and in my heart
or consciousness (not going to use the over-used word, `soul,'
although that word would suffice --it just has too many
associated meanings connected to my past in eckankar for my
taste, at the moment). I don't accept all that eckankar has to
teach in terms of its borrowed philosophy.
Eckankar was founded upon the false premise that Paul
Twitchell was the real deal, the authentic, virtual `god-man' in a
long line of god-like masters. In my mind, the false premises
don't stop there. Much of PT's and HK's teachings and the
philosophy (yes, that's the right word) are not consistent with my
views. Its taken time for me to sort it all out, a process that will
never really end, but I don't tend to use any eckankar terms,
words, jargon, clichés' or platitudes. Once one term is
employed, too many years of usage has created strings that
connect that one word to all the others, making it too loaded with
erroneous definitions or associations. So, in most cases, I
prefer to start anew and find new ways to phrase things.
So, we all come armed to the teeth with our paradigms. In the
ex-eckankar community, there is no great consensus on any of
these ideologies. We're a very diverse group. That diversity has
not always been apparent, since people who post tend to want to
get along, and they tend to avoid conflicts if possible, so they will
go along to some extent with the prevailing status quo. In other
words, whatever seems to be the predominant, prevailing
paradigm among those who seem to be the majority is what
people will flow along with. That is human nature. People want to
be accepted, and they want to get along.
So who has the most influence in any online discussion?
Whose paradigms prevail? First would be the moderators,
depending on the level of participation and control that is exerted.
One moderator alone will exert considerable influence, and this
is required to some degree to keep any semblance of harmony
and functionality in a group.
At ESA, there are, according to my personal observations, three
moderators. Most of the posts are from those three. Even on the
other two ex-eckankar groups, the three have in the past been
very vocal. Couple this with the great deal of behind the scenes
communication between them, they tend to present a unified
consensus in their online approach. If people don't know of the
private consensus building that occurs, they might be under the
illusion that three individuals happen to coincidentally share the
same or similar views. There is more to the unity than meets the
I've enjoyed many of their posts over the months. I also must
admit that I've been uncomfortable at times with the dominating
influence, since they have set the tone in all three groups to a
large degree. I don't always agree or feel comfortable with that
tone. And as a result, I've been uncomfortable posting here at
After these events, I understand better why I felt the way I did, and
what underlying dynamics were at work behind the scenes.
Sometimes conflicts bring out the truth, and so there is
something good that can come out of it all.
About Zoey: It has been revealed to me from various quarters
that the three ESA moderators seem to think Zoey is an Eckist. I
personally don't see the evidence in terms of what would matter,
which would be in her public posts. I like her posts, and I frankly
could care less if it would turn out that she was an eckist. She
hasn't offended me with anything nearly as "ecky" as have some
of the vocal eckankar critics. What an irony.
I also wonder if the ESA moderators suspected others without
warrant. The treatment of Marla might be understood from this
In the past, I've not been very enthusiastic about there being too
many ex-eckankar groups, since it tends to thin down
participation in any one group. But now, I see the need for
several groups, in order to accommodate the various degrees of
disassociation from eckankar, and the varying paradigms and
I would start a new group, but frankly, I don't want to spend the
time needed to keep it going, to keep interest up, and to
moderate incoming posts. If I were to start a new group, zoey's
brand of posts that I have publicly seen would be welcome. In
fact, most posts would be welcome, even those that would vastly
differ from my own. But I would set a different, tolerant, much
more diverse tone. Now, there is no way for anyone to completely
avoid the creation of a certain ambiance as a moderator of a
group. I have enjoyed Sharon's very open and tolerant style. And
she has a way of bringing humor to these conlicts that is
wonderfully disarming. But Sharon isn't the only influence here
these days, as anyone can see from recent events.
I'm sure if I were a moderator there would be people who would
abhor my style. I know there are some here who would love to
put a proverbial cork in my mouth. Some will like what I have to
say, some won't and some will yawn indifferently. My partner
Lisa manages all three on any given day....(heh, heh)
Perhaps, in the long run, I am "listening to a different drummer,"
and I don't really fit in here enough for the other participants. At
the moment, I'm feeling a bit overwhelmed with the surprising
battle being waged from the bullypulpit. I can't answer slander
when there is a threat of censureship from the ESA moderators.
II think I'm outgrowing all this. Its been so many years since I've
left eckankar, that maybe the changes that have unfolded in my
perspective may no longer jive with some of you. For what are
now obvious reasons, I sometimes can't stand posting here,
even though I sometimes feel compelled to weigh in, after my
many years of membership in eckankar.
More later, maybe....but I am soon to go my own way, me thinks.
I'll probably always drop in from time to time.
My thanks to all those who have made supportive comments
about my posts. You all know who you are, and I've truly, truly
appreciated every kind word of feedback I've received over the
years. The criticisms too, have sometimes helped. I've not
always returned replies to you all, but don't think I didn't take
notice of good things said.
And people who want to continue cutting me to pieces, just give it
a rest, eh? I'm trying to back slowly toward the door to make a
dignified exit, in the next few days. Save your diagnostics and
epithets for someone who really makes a good target. People
jumping into rivers or disrobing at airports might be a good
--- End forwarded message ---
I am attaching this threaded post to the original
one posted by Leaf on ET along with my inserted
comment above it right here.
Mish's inserted comments:
In ET message #6734--Leaf replies to Mish's response
to his Paradigm Conflicts. Contained in Leaf's reply is
his comments about conducting his "little personal
experiment" which shows that for sometime Leaf has
been bothered by the lack of activity on the ET BB. It
seems that he decided that it must be because a small
group of posters from ESA who he believes have
"dominated" and set a "tone" that he himself does not like
and therefore, he has concluded that this must be the
reason for ET going silent for long periods of time. This
seems to be his conclusion, so beyond all these discussions
being "just about Marla" that Leaf has claimed, one can see
that there is more--and it really is more about Leaf and his
opinions and judgments which are based on his questionable
"little personal experiment." His comments about having
conducted his little experiement shows me his real
motivation for jumping in as he did with his critical
analysis of ESA and some of its members.
Also, I don't really see where or how Leaf arrived at these
numbers he posted which he feels shows some sort of
"sin" for posting too much? I looked back once again at
my own posts. When one searches for an author's posts
by keying in the poster's name on these yahoo groups BBs
what comes up is the list of the poster's posts along with
any other posts by other people that have responded or
who have mentioned that poster's name in other posts.
So that would include cross-posting as well by other people.
In other words, the count of messages that are pulled up
under any one posters name is not the accurate count of
posts by that person but also includes other people's posts
as well. I am wondering if this is how Leaf achived this total?
In my own count which only went back to Jan. 2007, I did by
clicking on each month and individually tallying the posts. It
took a little bit of time, and my count might have been slightly
off due to innocent error, but it is fairly accurate. I didn't begin
posting on ET until sometime in 2005, I forget the month.
Some ESA members have been faulted for dominating the BBs.
And setting a tone that some people might not like. This is the
actual wrong it seems for these posters, myself included. I plan
to not post on ET any further, or at least for a time. My main
activities in posting have been on this site, so I will remain here
for the most part.
Leaf's count of posts on ET by the three "bad"people which I
believe is not accurate:
"Total Posts by MISH/PROMETHEUS/LIZ: 453"
Before believing this number, I'd advise interested people to
do their own count. In fact, that is what people need to do in
general--before basing one's own opinion on someone else's
opinion, check the actual facts. This is how one can control one's
own logic and critical thinking--by doing his/her own work!
Obviously, this is true for everyone, but of course, our focus
has been on the deceits and lies that eckankar is based on.
Interesting how we can see that it pertains to every situation of
personal concern, so it reaches beyond the eckankar discussions.
I would truly hope that people will continue to check the actual
facts for themselves--especially when facts are based on
false assumptions and faulty reasoning. ~ Mish : )
Anyway, here's Message #6734 from ET:
Re: Paradigm Conflicts
[This post is a correction and completion of the post I just sent,
which I sent by accident before I'd finished the post. There are only
a few corrections.]
Okay, I see a number of posts about all the nonsense today, and I'll
try answer them in the order posted, time permitting. I haven't
answered each and every critical post thrown in my direction, because
some are just restatements of the same thing, and so I HAVE let the
water roll off my back to a large degree. As it is, I have a lot of
practice doing that, having been slandered on a daily basis over at
A.R.E. when I was posting there.
So this is nothing new. In fact, the debate feels exactly like A.R.E.
Anyway, your post makes some statements that deserve some comment,
especially about comparing actual numbers of posts that are alluded
to. I can't believe we're doing this here...this sort of numbers
comparison occurred over at A.R.E. all the time. My checking with
Yahoo shows far more posts on ET by the three of you than my own
Anyway, see below for the numbers I found.
Also, to remind everyone reading these posts:
This entire debate is not about me, but about the horrible way the
ESA moderators treated an innocent, unsuspecting person who made a
very normal, acceptable, relevant post. Her name is Marla. The
attempts to make all this about me won't work, so far as I'm
concerned. I think people posting here are actually forgetting
already what sparked this entire firestorm.
Frankly, regardless of what is said I will never support anyone being
treated the way you folks treated Marla. If it happens again, you may
find me right back here again bringing it up all over again.
Read my point by point answers below.
>communication between them, they tend to present a unified
> If you truly want to leave in dignity, then I suggest that
> you stop cutting people to pieces! I would ignore this
> post of yours but for this particular part of your message
> which I feel needs to be defended:
> You wrote:
> "At ESA, there are, according to my personal observations, three
> moderators. Most of the posts are from those three. Even on the
> other two ex-eckankar groups, the three have in the past been
> very vocal. Couple this with the great deal of behind the scenes>
> consensus in their online approach. If people don't know of theLEAF REPLIES:
> private consensus building that occurs, they might be under the
> illusion that three individuals happen to coincidentally share the
> same or similar views. There is more to the unity than meets the
> I've enjoyed many of their posts over the months. I also must
> admit that I've been uncomfortable at times with the dominating
> influence, since they have set the tone in all three groups to a
> large degree. I don't always agree or feel comfortable with that
> tone. And as a result, I've been uncomfortable posting here at
> First of all, if you are counting me as a moderator on ESA, you
> are wrong. I am not.
As to my statement that Mish is a moderator at ESA, along with Liz
and Prometheus: Mish may not be "officially" listed as moderator, but
it is abundantly clear Mish holds a very close involvement and
connection to the moderators of the group. So I stand by my
statement. The three work closely together at ESA.
> Secondly, I decided to check the messages on ET to see if indeed(I
> if any or all of us that you are accusing have dominated this BB.
> didn't check the other ex-eckankar site, because I'm not bringingat yourself. Total the number of messages by the 3 ESA members
> it into the discussion even though you reference it, but I can say
> for myself I do not frequently post there.)
> From January until now, here's the message numbers for those
> you are accusing of dominating the ET board and setting the tone,
> plus your totals:
> Prometheus: 18 posts
> Liz: 36
> Mish: 35
> Leaf: 109
> I'm sorry but if you want to point a finger at anyone dominating
> the BBs, especially this site ET, well, Leaf, you need to point it>
> you are "cutting to pieces" and you will see that it doesn't exceedLEAF REPLIES:
> your number of posts on this BB. Am I going to accuse you of
> setting a tone, am I going to accuse you of dominating the BB?
> No! But I am not going to allow you to get away with this cheap
> shot of yours. Put your guns away--haven't you noticed you're
> firing blanks?
Now, this is interesting. I checked the numbers (I can't believe
we're actually comparing numbers on an ex-eckankar group), and here's
what I discovered:
Total Posts by MISH/PROMETHEUS/LIZ: 453
Total Posts by TOMLEAFEATER: 193
Furthermore, the majority of my posts (112 posts) were made during
December 22, 2006 and April 10, 2007. What you aren't aware of is
that during those months I was actually trying out a little personal
experiment. I'd noticed ET was not very active at the time. I hadn't
been posting much, and I began to wonder what would happen to levels
of participation if someone put some energy into ET with a few posts.
So I decided to try this experiment. I started posting, and kept it
up, and I noticed other people began to post more in response. ET
started to come alive. I just wanted to confirm to myself that this
would happen. It did. After April 10, I stopped posting as much.
Things pretty much went back to lower participation by everyone.
Before that, my posting levels were fairly average.
Thus, I stand by my comments that the three of you have a good
percentage of influence on ET. Just look at the last day or two.
> Thirdly, how would you know if there is a "great deal ofLEAF REPLIES:
> communication" going on among the participants on ESA?
> Speculation does not win your argument--it unjustly
> accuses others you seem bent on harming.
I know there is communication behind the scenes by a series of
observations and also by statements made by various people in private
emails. How often do you and Prometheus have communication? How often
does Promethues communicate with his "offical" co-moderator, Liz?
You all had well-developed, identical ideas about Zoey, for example,
that you all shared. How did that consensus come about? It wasn't in
normal posting, that is obvious. Even Sharon, in a private email,
revealed that she was aware of the ESA moderator's private concerns
about Zoey and the unsubstantiated allegations she's an eckist. So
there is back-channel communication occurring. Denying the obvious
just makes it look as if you've something to hide.
> If you truly care about the ex-eckankar/anti-eckankar groups at
> you would not be tearing down any of the sites. I really don'tLEAF REPLIES:
> understand your objective here, other than to create disunity which
> to me would be an eckie thing to do.
If I really cared, I wouldn't be tearing down sites? What sophistry.
Have you already forgotten what this is all about?
Read this carefully:
This firestorm is about the way the ESA moderators treated an
innocent, unsuspecting person who made a very normal, acceptable,
relevant post. Remember Marla? Frankly, I will never support anyone
being treated the way you folks treated Marla. If it happens again,
you may find me right back here again bringing it up all over again.
> Finally, I am not aware of there being conflicts between the ESALEAF REPLIES:
> and ET sites--not as a group! I wouldn't have posted here now,
> but to set the record straight regarding your false allegations
> and exaggerations of ESA and some of its members in this last
> post of yours.
The conflicts have touched both sites, as is obvious.
> I do expect that you will respond with more "cutting to pieces,"
> but that's okay. I don't plan to respond so you are free to do as
> you please with your continuation of destructive criticisms of
> ESA on this BB. It must make you feel good, huh?
Well, since you can't manipulate the posts here, you will have to
contend with my answer. How's it feel to not have control?
Leafeater (former brother of the leaf who ate the leaf and left)