Since my post was completely left out and has some references for you to consider(and maybe others), I guess I'll have to repost it. That I may say "I think..." just means that I don't always feel the need to say "I Know...". Saying "I Know" all the time is kind of arrogant, imho. Also, joining an Authoritarian Cult like eckankar and declaring that you didn't believe in the Authoritarian part is a little like saying that you support a Dictator, but don't believe there should be Dictators. It doesn't make any sense. Without "The Living Eck Master", there is no eckankar. Cults have Authoritarian Leaders, Prophets, Masters, Supreme this or that,etc..
The Scientific Method does not have Authoritarian Leaders, or make Absolute Assertions. If it does, then whatever is going on is diverging from Science. Anything is open to questioning and ongoing discovery and change. Unfortunately, even in the Scientific world, sometimes personality worship can occur, or beliefs become set in stone and so on....even false proofs and claims occur.
And I think you may be ignoring research on brain neuroplasticity, as well as other factors, Social Psychology, Alice Miller's research on the effects of child abuse and neglect, Sociology.....
Anyway here's my post that you left out:
Klemp is most likely a Sociopath etc. and I despise him and the whole eckankar
Cult. "The Living Eck Master" is to me obviously Authoritarian and also, I
recall that along with the books I read initially, that the first discourse was
very much written in a style that was quite grandiose and stated that eckankar
was THE one and only most direct path to the Godhead, along with being able to
control the weather, soul travel, out of body experiences and so on. It was
recommended that you literally memorize the discourses, and to even avoid
reading other books. The Truth was here, why go elsewhere. I don't know how you
could have stayed a member for 12 years, while ignoring this, just to find out
more about OBE's.
Actually, it does seem that in this post you are being insulting, condescending
and strangely displaying an authoritarian form of Science. Science as I
understand it is not based on absolute assertions. Every once and a while, I
have come across David Lane's discussion on the subject of Science and if
anything, it is quite the opposite. It starts with the assumption Of "I don't
know" to quite literally guessing, hypothesizing, coming up with a theory,
testing it and changing it and always being open to more change and peer review
and so on. You state that a Sociopath is always a result of a defect in the
brain and has nothing to do with experiences whatsoever, end of story, and then
you proceed to give others advise and make diagnosis as if you are an expert
based on being a life long studier of Psychology, whatever that means. Calling
me ignorant is an odd use of the word, in this context.
I am coming from a Social Psychology point of view which is very experimental,
Neuroscience and Cultural influences. Here are some quotes and links that imo
add to the richness of the discussion and also show that stress and child
abuse/neglect, aculturation (sometimes war) does/can have a high probability of
causing sociopathic behavior (and neurological impact), and other disorders, not
just in individuals, but also in Society at large:
Two thousand years ago, the people of ancient Rome cheered enthusiastically as
they watched gladiators fight each other to the death, and saw innocent persons
torn to pieces by wild beasts. In that same era, Roman teachers practiced
corporal punishment on a daily basis. The Roman schools were stocked with a
variety of instruments used to beat children, including the ferula (a bundle of
switches made from birch branches), the scutia (a whip made of leather straps),
and the flagellum (a whip made of straps from ox-hide, the hardest available
Although feeding slaves to lions and beating children in schools were acceptable
practices to the mass of Roman citizens, occasionally a voice of protest cried
out. The rhetorician Quintilian (C.E. 35 to C.E. 95) wrote: "I am entirely
against the practice of corporal punishment in education, although it is
widespread ... In the first place it is disgusting and slavish treatment, which
would certainly be regarded as an insult if it were not inflicted on boys.
Further, the pupil whose mind is too coarse to be improved by censure will
become as indifferent to blows as the worst of slaves. Finally, these
chastisements would be entirely unnecessary if the teachers were patient and
Puberty is another sensitive time of development and stress experienced at this
time can also be involved in programming adult mood disorders. Prof Holmes and
her colleagues have found evidence from imaging studies in rats that stress in
early teenage years could affect mood and emotional behaviour via changes in the
brain's neural networks associated with emotional processing.
The researchers used fMRI (Functional Magnetic Resonance Imaging) to see which
pathways in the brain were affected when stressed, peripubertal rats responded
to a specific learned task. .
Prof Holmes will say: "We showed that in stressed 'teenage' rats, the part of
the brain region involved in emotion and fear (known as amygdala) was activated
in an exaggerated fashion when compared to controls. The results from this study
clearly showed that altered emotional processing occurs in the amygdala in
response to stress during this crucial period of development."
Einstein was a Scientist who came up with theories that opened the door to new
research, but much of it was proven after the theorizing. The theory of
Psychopaths is important, but I'm not buying all of it as you describe it. And
believe me I have had too many experiences in real life with individuals who
were pathological liars and manipulators. The ones I knew on a more personal
level, definitely had childhood trauma, either from bad parenting or general
cultural influences. And we haven't even talked about Bowlby's Attachment Theory
--- In EckankarSurvivorsAnonymous@yahoogroups.com
> You say you think there are different levels of sociopath. However, this is
not a fact; it's speculation based on an opinion, but not science. For a start
you can read Martha Stout's book The Sociopath Next Door, then read Robert
Hare's work on the subject. There are also good articles written by
psychologists online. In fact, Hare has a website with a lot of good
> I don't want to be insulting by saying that your opinion is ignorant, but it
is not based on science or research. Please read up on sociopathy because you
will see how well the eck leaders, including twitchell and klemp fit into this
> Sociopathy is a dysfunction of a portion of the amygdala in the brain. You
would have to read about this to fully understand. It is not a psychological
problem in the same way as neuroses, etc. If you study what sociopathy is, then
you'd understand that this is not a matter of degrees but a matter of absence of
a brain function. Certainly there are different manifestations, but you cannot
be partially sociopathic. You either have certain traits or you do not. One of
them is a lack of remorse and sense of guilt.
> Also, I didn't join eckankar for any authoritarian purpose, as you suggest.
Instead, I joined because of a curiosity about out of body experiences. In fact,
when I first went to an eck center I thought Twitchell was still the leader. I
read two of his books and thought I was onto something. I did not join to become
a better person or enlightened being or any of that shit. It was just to further
my interest in out of body experiences. When I discovered that Klemp was in
charge and listened to what he had to say it rubbed me the wrong way. Still I
thought that was my deficiency and I hung in for 12 years but never got involved
in the social aspect or the organization.
--- In EckankarSurvivorsAnonymous@yahoogroups.com, "harrisonferrel" <harrisonferrel@...> wrote:
> First, if I'm being insulting, I apologize. Not my intent. Still, I can't agree that I was ever drawn to authoritarianism, or were several people I know.
> Regarding sociopathy, you'd have to study this to understand my point, I guess, in stating that you can't be "in training" because it's a brain issue. You are either missing a particular function of the brain or you are not. Sociopathy is not a psychological condition, it is physical. I'm not sure what you are reading to draw your conclusions, but because you state "I think," it leads me to believe that you are not well versed in this problem. Also, it is indeed possible to detect a malfunction or non-function regarding the area of the brain in the amygdala that identifies what makes a sociopath. Certainly there are other issues that can make someone a liar, thief or evil person, not only sociopathy. I do understand what you say when you write that people can become more and more like the sociopath they are following, picking up many of their traits. I agree. But this cannot make them true sociopaths.
> People are not born hating, but many are born sociopaths. Certainly, their upbringing and societal constraints, etc. can determine the degree to which their sociopathy affects others.
> I do appreciate your comments.
> --- In EckankarSurvivorsAnonymous@yahoogroups.com, "noneckchains" <eckchains@> wrote:
> > Eckankar is Authoritarian, and anyone who joins, is drawn to Authoritarianism at some level. All of us who joined, did this for a reason that seemed acceptable at the time, even if we only joined for a short period.
> > Oh, I don't know, it seems that there are different levels of "Sociopath". I'm not convinced that it is congenital. That would almost be the same as some religious convictions that claim that there is such a thing as a Satan baby, or evil spirits, or the "bad seed". I do not know of an MRI that can identify a Sociopath/Psychopath and that proves that there is a Psychopathic brain from birth, that predicts "natural born killers", etc..
> > I think it comes from Cultural influences and how children are mistreated. Alice Miller was able to prove this to a certain extent in her research and writings. The plasticity of the brain may be a factor. The Nazis came to power, for example, because beating children was common and accepted, as well as revering Authority as a great virtue. And yes, the longer one stays in a situation that is like a gang of thugs, the more they become like the leader and that group, in this case, klemp, gross, twitchell. Be careful who you choose to hang out with. If they are bad types, it will start to rub off on you. (tea baggers are a good example) Free thinking isn't really encouraged in the USA, in spite of the hype. I'm pretty sure that my involvement in eckankar and other Cults had to do with being raised to admire authority and believe that you were a good person if you followed the leader, like a good soldier, and also along with the fear of not doing so. It takes dedication, compassion, and study to break away from that mind set, imo. Also, it may take Psychotherapy, or at the very least a group like this.
> > Some people do actually change their bad ways. It is possible and can happen, imo. I don't think babies are born hating. At the same time, for some, don't hold your breath. I know of some eckists who sadly will never change, or admit to having done anything wrong, and will continue on 'til the day they die.
> > When I say "sociopath in training", I am just referring to what happens over time. The eckist starts to act more and more like the living eck master, following orders, giving orders, preaching lies, harming others, and so on. Social Psychology is a good source for understanding how this happens. Who knows, with brain plasticity there are probably changes. So I don't see this problem as either/or or black and white thinking. Nurture, imo can have a very profound effect on even the most difficult child, if done in the right way. The same may also be true of adults. Our prison system creates more criminals than it reforms. Unfortunately, we still live in a very not compassionate society, imo. If we did, perhaps there would not be so many gullible followers in the first place. (Why? well I don't want to get into a dissertation right now. Maybe later. :) )
> > Non ;)
> > --- In EckankarSurvivorsAnonymous@yahoogroups.com, "harrisonferrel" <harrisonferrel@> wrote:
> > >
> > > I think you hit the nail on the head with a couple of things you wrote.
> > >
> > > As a lifelong student of psychology, I know that a person identifies with his/her choices. When people choose to follow eck or any other cult or religion, they have made a statement that involves a commitment of ego. This compels them to be ardent missionaries.
> > >
> > > Regarding sociopaths in training, there is no such thing. Sociopaths/psychopaths suffer from a brain malfunction so they cannot be created through experience. It is primarily a physiological problem and not a psychological one. It seems that both Twitchell and Klemp could be sociopaths, as are many cult leaders.
> > >
> > >
> > >
> > > --- In EckankarSurvivorsAnonymous@yahoogroups.com, "noneckchains" <eckchains@> wrote:
> > > >
> > > > Yes, I agree. It is one thing to be a follower engaged in "willful ignorance" and to be the one willfully and knowingly telling lies to deceive others for personal gain. One is a true Sociopath with no conscience, but at the same time, followers who perpetuate those lies for decades are just Sociopaths in training, and depending on their level of involvement, their actions may be just as vile. What their level of delusion is, I don't know. Perhaps it is just as simple as pride, in the sense of not being able to admit that they made a mistake. It can be more difficult for some to walk away and think for themselves and find new friends. But still.....
> > > >
> > > > I know that religion in general is a very slippery slope. I was asked by several people recently if I had a good Easter. Since I had been alerted to where the word Easter actually comes from, the Goddess Ishtar of fertility with rabbits and eggs, etc., I got a lot of worried looks when I just said that I enjoyed a nice day in Nature.
> > > >
> > > > I also had a really cool conversation with a teenager who was joking around about having a tarantula on his back. I saw something, and touched it with my sunglasses thinking it was fake, but a leg moved. He admitted he was just joking, but that the Tarantula was real and his pet. I asked if it bites and he said no, holding it on the palm of his hand. He said I could hold it too. Suddenly, I found myself realizing that this Tarantula, that he got from a Pet Store, was not just some stupid spider. It was intelligent. I held out my hand and the Tarantula walked onto the palm of my hand and stood there for about ten seconds. I was actually thrilled and amazed. Of course, it was a species of Tarantula that was not poisonous and used to human interaction.
> > > >
> > > > Well, to say the least, for most, that didn't fit with an adequate Easter experience. How many billions are actually believing in the goddess Easter (even pronounced the same way) and don't want to know about the true history of religions and anthropology. I ate way too much chocolate to try to ignore the idiocy.
> > > >
> > > > Non ;)
> > > >
> > > > --- In EckankarSurvivorsAnonymous@yahoogroups.com, "harrisonferrel" <harrisonferrel@> wrote:
> > > > >
> > > > > Eckankar has everything to do with taking advantage of gullible people looking to improve themselves (of course there are exceptions). But I find fault with people who are faced with the facts, which are now readily available all across the internet, yet continue to live the lie, believe the lies and promote the lies.
> > > > >
> > > > > When I got into the cult many years ago there was no widely spread information on what a scam it was. David Lane was the only one who exposed eckankar for what it really is. When the internet became a good tool I was able to find out enough to make me buy the original books from which twitchell plagiarized. It took me only a minute of comparing eck writings with those that were stolen to quit the cult and understand that it was all unreliable nonsense. I determined that Klemp was either deluded or a psychopath. Now I think it's the latter. How can you live day in and day out deceiving people if you really have a conscience?
> > > > >
> > > >
> > >