Enlighten Me Free


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Anti-New Age bias is off-topic and belongs on another site

Dear David,

Regarding the email by Randi that you sent me today titled “An Oprah Fiasco” (concerning “how Oprah Winfrey manages to promote woo-woo ideas on her program by careful management of the content…”) did you send this to the entire EMF email list? If so, why are you using the EMF email list to promote Randi’s biased, one-sided beliefs? What, you don’t think Randi is biased? The same email uses the phrases “the skeptical point of view” and “the scientific point of view” as if they are the same. They are not! I am often skeptical when I first hear about get-rich-overnight schemes or products promising eternal life or miracle cures, but being a skeptic isn’t the same thing as being a scientist!

But I digress. Not only are you NOT adhering to the stated purpose of the EMF website, but you are not playing fair, because unlike you, the rest of us posters on this site don’t have access to the EMF email list to promote our OWN beliefs. To me, that is what you and Joe Sz often do when you stray from the subjects of RSE and channeling to criticize anything you characterize as “New Age.”

In fact, why do posts by you and Joe Sz consistently criticize anything “New Age” as being “woo-woo”, but you seem to have blinders on when it comes to the beliefs of organized religions? Why is New Age “woo-woo” but not religion?

Think about it: people like Randi make a career and gain money and fame (things that you often describe as suspect in New Agers) out of orchestrating events that try to duplicate the experiences of “New Age” adherents. Quick: Name me one well-known New Age adherent who publicly ridicules the beliefs of organized religion. Why do members of organized religions publish so many books promoting criticism and even fear of New Age beliefs, but New Age proponents don’t write books pointing their own fingers at organized religion? In general, are people with New Age beliefs more polite, tolerant, more allowing, and less judgmental than the anti-New Age finger-pointers?

One thing “Ramtha” used to teach back in the 1980s: He told us when it comes to people’s spiritual beliefs, “don’t war your truth” with other people. In other words (my interpretation) you have the right to your spiritual beliefs without having to prove them to others; other people have the same right to their spiritual beliefs. So don’t go around attacking the spiritual beliefs of others. You can’t prove your beliefs, you can’t disprove other people’s beliefs, and so “warring your truth” against others only points to your own small-mindedness. After all, both religious people and New Age people believe a lot of things that can’t be proved scientifically. Does that make them wrong? There are many acknowledged scientists who hold religious or spiritual beliefs. Are they wrong?

In his post in the thread “The Real Secret… Death of the New Age” on 3-10, 11:30 p.m., Joe Sz says “One professor friend of mine (Karl Raschke of Denver U) once said that the New Age belief systems reminded him of Saturday morning cartoons that offer an imaginary world where anything is possible and magic is real.”

“AN IMAGINARY WORLD…ANYTHING IS POSSIBLE…MAGIC IS REAL”…THE VERY SAME COULD BE SAID FOR THE BELIEF SYSTEMS OF ORGANIZED RELIGION, WHICH—UNLIKE SO-CALLED NEW AGE GROUPS--AFFECTS THE MAJORITY OF PEOPLE ON THIS PLANET. Organized religion has been the common denominator behind wars since recorded history began…organized religion takes advantage of special tax privileges that most “New Age” groups cannot claim…organized religion influences our American political system...the religions with the most clout push the agenda of prayer in our public schools—but they are only interested in THEIR form of prayer being imposed on children, not the prayers used by minority religions or New Age groups. SO ISN’T IT HYPOCRITICAL TO ATTACK NEW AGE BELIEFS, BUT NOT THOSE OF ORGANIZED RELIGION?

On a more personal note, I have had MANY experiences that you, David, would probably label as “woo-woo.” I can’t summon them up at will, but even if I could, every such experience is unique and different, and can’t be exactly duplicated by any other person. So I can’t “prove” scientifically that my experiences happened or what exactly caused them. In fact, I have learned that trying too hard to demonstrate these abilities is counterproductive—they happen more readily when I let go. I’ll give you just one example:

Many years ago I took a class on intuitive development (not related to RSE). The students were paired off, eyes closed (so we could not pick up subconscious cues from one another), taking turns being the intuitive reader or readee. The readers were instructed to say whatever came into their mind and to keep talking—if they felt they were not getting anything, they were to say, “I am not getting anything…” but keep talking. I had never met my partner before and knew nothing about her. When it was my turn to be the reader, I didn’t “feel” I was doing anything but daydreaming, but I described what I saw: I saw a little house with a sidewalk in front that went up in a little bridge over a small creek, and a swingset in the front yard to the left of the sidewalk. I saw 2 children playing on the swingset. A very dark cloud that felt menacing came near to the house, and a woman ran outside and hustled the kids into the house. The dark cloud seemed threatening, but it moved away without doing any damage to the house.

As I was describing each image as it came into my head, I really felt I was just daydreaming. But when I opened my eyes, my partner was staring white-faced and wide-eyed at me. She said that her house was just as I had described, including the walkway bridging a little creek and the swingset. She said that just a few days earlier, while her children was playing on the swings, a small tornado had touched down briefly near her house. (This happened a long way from where I lived, and I had heard nothing about it on the news.) She had run outside and pulled her kids into the house. The tornado made a lot of noise but it quickly dissipated without damaging her house.

Now, my class wasn’t videotaped or recorded, and I didn’t ask my partner to sign an affidavit. But that doesn’t discount my experience…people the world over have had intuitive experiences just as dramatic (or more so) than mine, no matter whether they are atheists, New Agers, or members of any religious group. So how did I know all that? Isn’t my experience what Randi and you, David, would call “woo-woo?” Can a Randi explain or rationalize it away?

A lot of things we know to be true were once labeled woo-woo, because science couldn’t yet explain how they work. Take a person with multiple personality. One personality exhibits an extreme allergy to eating shellfish, yet another personality in the same body can eat shellfish without any allergic reaction. So what is the personality, and where in the brain does it reside? Does each personality reside in its own section of the brain, walled off completely from the other sections and free to send just its own nerve impulses to the body at any one time? I don’t think so!

So, what is “woo-woo?” Events that science can’t explain yet? Religious beliefs? New Age beliefs? All of the above? Or none of the above?


Re: Anti-New Age bias is off-topic and belongs on another site

what I sent you was a private email?
because I know you personaly.....


Re: Anti-New Age bias is off-topic and belongs on another site

Marvelous post - onehandontheelephant!!!
(I would define as "woo-woo" the last-centery kind of psychoanalyis, where somebody thinks he is able to understand the whole attitude of a "no-age-cult-member" by just interpreting (or searching) some words (giving those words some specific meaning)!!!)

Re: Anti-New Age bias is off-topic and belongs on another site



Your Thread will have a few readers puzzled as to what could have upset you so much.
My private email to you “AN OPRAH FIASCO” was in response to our recent conversation about the Oprah Winfrey show…
I though the article highlighted some of the issues relevant to my criticism of Oprah’s show.
I was not intending to post the article on the EMF forum…
Your post changed my mind.

Here is the article.


From.. http://www.randi.org/jr/2007-03/030207harpo.html#i1

This will be a rather long item, but it deals with an important subject – how Oprah Winfrey manages to promote woo-woo ideas on her program by careful management of the content. Before we begin, you must understand how TV programs are recorded and put together for later broadcast. First and most important is the image of the host; this must be supported, and audience expectations must be met in that regard. Second, the sponsors must be satisfied that nothing unpopular or politically incorrect is used; that won’t sell the product. Third, secondary guests are expendable, and are there only to be used, in any way that serves the intent of the producers.
Back in April of 1995, I’d been contacted by the Oprah show and made an offer to do a second appearance with them. I simply told them, “No thanks”; I’d already been sandbagged by that show. In that appearance, I’d been told, just before I left my hotel for the studio, that the previously-scheduled “psychics” – for whom I was well prepared – would not be showing up. I went all the way out to the location and then found out, moments before the show went on the air – live – that those major "psychics" actually were appearing on the show. Though I’d prepared video and newspaper material to contradict the pompous and false claims of those two scheduled “psychics,” I’d left the data behind at the hotel when told I'd be without opposition, and I had nothing in hand. It was a blatant, calculated lie designed to trap me, and I fell for it. But I’d not do it again. I'm sure Oprah doesn't need me, and I have no need of such unethical behavior. There are rules, even though Oprah doesn't seem to know them.
Recently, Oprah Winfrey aired a lopsided interview with “psychic/mediums” John Edward and Allison DuBois. Things immediately took on a circus air when Oprah began by describing human life as “vibrating energies.” The perfunctory skeptics were present, but of course the producers took great pains to be sure that they were ineffective. One woman from Evansville, Indiana, who had repsonded to a call for skeptics, was handled as we might have expected. Her sister, Cristina Michelassi, wrote to me:
My sister, Laura McMahon, was a guest on the Oprah Winfrey show taped Thursday, 2/8/07, for a segment that was purported to be a discussion between skeptics and “believers” on the subject of psychics. My sister believes in critical thinking and scientific study, and thought that the panel of guests would be open to having an intelligent discussion on the topic, albeit with their differing perspectives. She had responded to the on-air call for show participants via Oprah's website, explaining that she was skeptical in regard to paranormal or supernatural abilities that psychics claimed to possess.
I thought you might be interested in the account I've written about the experience, as it illustrates how the producers of the show very deftly controlled and orchestrated the whole show to ensure an outcome that would be well received by Oprah's audience. Once again, it was made quite clear to me that most people will believe what they want to believe, no matter how much logic and facts are presented to them.
I am very thankful that you and your organization exist!
Cristina wrote this report:
I wish I could be writing to all of you about what a wonderful experience Laura had when she went on the Oprah Winfrey show, but the truth of the matter is that she did not.
We all knew beforehand that her viewpoint would not be the “popular” one, especially in such a venue as this show. We did, however, hold some hope that it would offer an opportunity for a reasonable discussion about the topic, as she had been led to believe that there would be a panel interspersed with individuals who believed in psychic abilities and those who held a more skeptical view. Unfortunately, this was not the case whatsoever, as she was the only guest on the show with a truly skeptical perspective.
Now that I've had some time to reflect a bit on the whole process, it is quite apparent that the show is not ever meant to be a discussion about the topic at hand at all, but is instead a strictly controlled forum to showcase what Oprah's audience wants. Although the planning for this starts well before the topic's blurb on the website looking for show participants, that blurb seems to be the initial “hook” which allows the producers to not only get a good sense of the audience's position on a specific topic, but also to begin their search for individuals who, unbeknownst to them, will be filling the roles in the play that’s already been scripted.
My brother, Roberto, said it best when he observed:
I think it is quite clear that this was all orchestrated to get the outcome they wanted. The show is after all – business. They obviously know their audience quite well – and set up a show that would appeal to them. They needed to set up an environment where on the surface it appears as if they were really trying to be fair and balanced – so that the people on the fence might still get drawn into the show. But they had to make sure that the outcome would be clear, and the one that they knew the majority of their audience would agree with.
The truth of this observation was evidenced by Oprah's own behavior and remarks throughout the tapings of the two shows and the “after show” segment. The producers seated Laura in the first row of the audience, directly across from Oprah. The first guest to join Oprah on the stage was John Edward, a popular self-proclaimed psychic. Each time he either related a “supernatural” experience from his past or a videotaped segment of one of his “readings” was shown, Oprah would immediately look at Laura, and rather than address her by name, would make remarks such as "What do you say to that, science lady?" or "Any response, skeptic woman?" and on one occasion, “Skeptico?” directed at her with a questioning look.
The next step in fostering the show's outcome was to bring into question Laura's scientific background and education. This was done by suddenly identifying a “surprise” guest in the audience who was introduced as a psychologist studying paranormal phenomena. [Randi: this was an electrical engineer, Dean Radin, author of “The Conscious Universe”] This man stated that there have been a lot of experiments and studies done in the last 100 years that have indicated to scientists that there's "definitely something there." This meaningless statement seemed to sufficiently convince the audience that the whole of the scientific community worldwide believes in psychics, so who does "science lady" think she is?
As the second show taping began, it became more obvious that we had been “had.” Oprah related how some people believe that Harpo Studios [where Oprah tapes] is haunted by the spirits of the people who died when the Eastland ferry sank and the building was used as a temporary morgue to house their bodies. Videotape was shown of various staff members claiming to have heard, seen or felt a supernatural presence while working in the studio alone late at night. Then videotape was shown of one of the “psychics” on the show, walking around Harpo Studios late at night with a film crew, claiming to be experiencing precisely the very things the staff members had. When asked about how the dead people looked, the “psychic” said they appear to her as whitish energy blobs. Oprah chose this moment to admit, a bit hesitantly, that she herself had been visited once in the middle of the night by a presence that looked exactly as the psychic had just described! (She does know how to act, after all!)
When Oprah had announced who would be on the show, she had referred to Laura as a mother of two from Indiana who is a skeptic, “Laura McMahon.” That was the only time she actually ever said Laura's name. Although she consistently addressed the other audience guests by their names, she never once addressed Laura by hers. By the time Laura's pre-taped “reading” was shown, the tide had pretty much turned. When Laura told how the psychic was wrong in all her statements about our father save one, the response was that Laura was “blocked,” not open to receiving my father's “energy,” and that she had issues with closeness and emotional ties. In other words, it was her fault that the psychic had failed so miserably. Whether you only met my sister once or have known her since her birth, I am confident in saying that all can attest to the fact that she is an extremely approachable human being. On more than one occasion, total strangers have remarked upon her genuineness and warmth upon meeting her for the first time.
After the two shows were finished, they continued to tape the “after show” segment. All three “psychics” claimed to possess these “abilities” because of their personal and special connection to God. They insisted that their ability to speak with the dead, or predict the future, or get into a criminal's mind, was a God-given gift that they constantly improved and perfected through meditation and prayer. Oprah turned to Laura and asked her point-blank if she believed in God. When Laura replied that she was a humanist, the audience reaction was one of total disapproval and disbelief, though I'm quite sure the majority of them had absolutely no clue what a humanist is. Oprah's last remark to the audience before she left the stage was her admission that she believes in the supernatural.
We find here the tried-and-true ploy of casting aspersions on a victim by establishing that they’re not superstitious or credulous, or might even be an agnostic or atheist; being naïve is regarded as a highly admirable trait.. It’s a cheap shot, but it works. Cristina continues:
If nothing else comes of this, just know that these shows are not interested in people, they don't care to know your stories, they aren't interested in your joys or sorrows, and they certainly don't want to bother with your thoughts… They want good ratings, for continued monetary success. And as Roberto said,
I think that they don't even consider us as real people. We are just members of the "Audience," a thing that is to be manipulated, cajoled and otherwise persuaded into behaving in a manner that delivers to them the rewards they so richly deserve.
Laura’s husband Roberto also gave us his individual account of this event:
My wife Laura accepted an invitation to be a guest on the Oprah show, which was taped today, about mediums who speak to the dead. She was identified by the show based upon a response to a question in which she wrote about her skepticism of this phenomenon. She was flown to Chicago, where she was first asked to do a 1:1 reading with a psychic, who stated upon beginning the session that my wife would have to answer either "yes" or "no" to each of the medium's questions about my wife's deceased father – essentially reducing the exercise to a child's game of “20 questions.” When my wife asked why she would have to do that if the medium could actually speak with the deceased, the medium rose out of her seat and proclaimed, "I can't work with this woman!" Eventually, she sat back down and continued the cold reading, but apparently the look on my wife's face had already made her position clear. Part of it was fairly offensive as the medium chuckled, in apparent response to something funny that my wife's deceased father "said" to her. The session finished, and my wife awaited the taping of the show.
While on the show, that same psychic misrepresented what she’d said to Laura during the reading. For example, she had told Laura that her father didn’t like to show his romantic side to his wife. Laura had denied this, citing the numerous times that he’d bought her jewelry or surprised her with flowers and chocolates. And, on the broadcast – edited – show, the “reader” said that she had correctly gotten that the father liked to show his romantic side to his wife – the exact opposite of what she’d “divined.” Roberto continues:
Laura and I talked about how the taping of the show might go, and we certainly anticipated that she might not be the hero of this story, given the earnestness with which people seek out and buy into this type of activity. We were not, however, prepared for what actually occurred at the taping. As it turned out, my wife was not only the sole guest who did not believe, but was likely the only person in the entire audience or at least the only one courageous enough to voice her opinion. The other guests were other famous mediums and a "professor" of paranormal psychology. [Randi: this was Radin, the electrical engineer.] As you can imagine, my wife was clearly out of her depth, and swimming with the big fish.
I've just spoken with my wife after the taping, and it was a terribly difficult position for her as the audience, and to some degree, Oprah, hammered away at my wife for being "closed," "blocked," and "narrow minded." Oprah even had taken the position of calling my wife the "science lady" in a not-so-positive reference. (I hold a Ph.D. in biochemistry, and my wife worked for quite a few years as a research assistant). My wife actually sat next to John Edward during the taping, and after being reminded yet once again of her "blocked" state, turned to him and said "Are you getting any signals yet?"
Needless to say it was a very challenging and, to be transparent, upsetting experience for my wife, particularly since we figured that while she would probably be in the minority, she would not be alone in her position. Clearly our mistake. I have told my wife that it took a person of enormous courage and character to stand up for her principles in such a highly emotionally charged and one sided environment. I am struck by the thought that my wife was essentially fed to the lions in the taping of the show, which of course will probably make great television, but that under different circumstances she might have been cheered for standing up against this deplorable act of pretending to speak with the dead. My wife and I can only imagine how she will be portrayed in what will be the final product, once the editing of the show is completed...
Roberto, what your wife did was very courageous. She saw the minefield she was walking into, and yet decided that the confrontation was worth risking. Of course, she could not have anticipated the extent to which creative editing, selection, timing, and emphasis would be employed to slant the outcome of the show. As I wrote above, even I was once the victim of this same process, at the hands of the Oprah team. They got what they wanted: Oprah looked good, decisive, powerful; the skeptical point of view was derided and suppressed. An “expert,” Dean Radin, was pulled out of the air like a bunny from a hat, and presented as if he represented the scientific view on these matters. No other really scientific point of view, which could have offered a very different opinion – though easily available to the producers – was presented. Radin said his piece, and the show closed.
Laura, thank you, sincerely. Without good folks like you to stand up against this humbuggery, we’d have no soldiers out there to offer a defense of reason. Oprah is powerful both in influence and image, and she’s opted to join, support, and endorse the forces of woo-woo. Her huge staff, her producers, and her money are brought into the battle against rationality and common sense, and she sees a God on her side, as well. I’ve known this ever since I saw her fall for Geller’s spoon-bending on a co-hosted show out of Baltimore, many years ago, well before she was an icon of American – and international – television.
History will be the final judge…

Re: Anti-New Age bias is off-topic and belongs on another site

Sorry - I meant "last-century".
English is not my first language - even if I am not
one of those beginners, as mentioned in the post
"The REAL Secret ..... DEATH of the New Aage",
who lured in from the "What The Bleep" movie.

Re: Anti-New Age bias is off-topic and belongs on another site


I will say upfront…that you have placed a few words in my mouth that I will address point by point ASAP….
An important clarification is in order.
Neither I…. nor any other EMF moderator operates an EMF e-mailing list…
Perhaps… this is a something to consider?
Your “concerns” could have been resolved by a simple telephone call or email to me?
Why did you not do so?
There is bound to be contention on the EMF forum… but to slam another poster while hiding behind a smokescreen of indignation is a form of passive aggression...

I would like to open the conversation about Laura McMahon who
described her experience as a guest on the Oprah Winfrey show?.


Re: Anti-New Age bias is off-topic and belongs on another site

OneHand reacted to an email from David drawing an unfounded conclusion. As this thread is based on a false premise let's jetison it into cyberspace.

Re: Anti-New Age bias is off-topic and belongs on another site

onehandon----we can hear you, no need to SHOUT!!


Randi used "woo-woo"---are you shouting at him?
Seems to me that you are trashing science oriented thought (not to mention my Catholicism, but I won't take it personally). I get the impression that your "experiential" psychic awareness is superior to organized religion and science. I think that is what bothers critics of 'New Agey' folks.
The problem that skeptics like Randi have are with claims that do not seem to be repeatable under test circumstances. I met him and heard him lecture a few times--he can be a curmudgeon, but he's really not a bad fellow in person. In fact, he once gave up his considerable speaking fee to support a former cult member recovery program at a cult awarness conference.

But swinging this thread back to the purpose of EMF, RSE and other similar channeling cults do violate the old religions in many ways. For example, when JZ channeled "jesus" or when she states that RSE is making "Christs". My old cult leader channeled a "jesus" and a "buddha" too, but essentially butchered the intent of Buddhist philosophy not to mention the Christian. So, why can't someone well-versed in the old religions or a believer defend their own point of view when a New Age leader violates the old teaching?

It is karma---if JZ sets the action on a wrong path, then the action must right itself. One way that is done is through human interaction and debate. EMF has that going for it. You seem to take these remarks too personally--I certainly do not intend to attack you and I doubt David does.

Hope this helps clarify--not meaning to offend.

Re: Anti-New Age bias is off-topic and belongs on another site

Second Joes remarks one hand, yet I can understand your passionate response towards Randi's position.

While he has made quite a bit of valuable contributions to unmasking many of the "spiritual snake oil salesmen/women” He quite often comes across as pompous and condescending.

I felt it was a bit of a cop out that he said he would not appear on the show because he was tricked. Him leaving his material behind was his doing, I am sure no one told him to do that. The next time one would think he would know better.

Of course these shows are slanted and not objective, so what? That is the context that one must view them and realized that they are such. Declining to be on one of them does nothing to help the situation in my opinion. You got to be in it to win it (even if the odds are similar to winning the lotto). You go, you do your thing and let the cards fall where they may, you know what you say may be edited, not included, and even misrepresented, that is the world of Hollywood. If you are not a star you just don't have the clout!

Your references to the use of the term "woo- woo" has some validity and I appreciate your point of view in that regard. This does not make me a New age believer by any means, but I think to give persons places and things a derogatory connotation like that is not much different the JZ labeling things like "social consciousness, Monkey mind, etc."

However, as Joe said, you may have taken it a bit personally and that too makes things difficult to discuss or debate.

Perhaps, the point/ counter point part of the site might be opened up and that could serve as a place for some of the more passionate debates.

Re: Anti-New Age bias is off-topic and belongs on another site

Joe Sz, in your response to my post, you said:

1) “Seems to me that you are trashing science oriented thought (not to mention my Catholicism, but I won't take it personally).” My response: Please tell me what wording I used that gave you that impression? On the contrary, most of my earlier career revolved around interviewing biochemists and other scientists and writing about their research for a medical school. I respect the scientific method. (But I also keep my eyes open to which organization is funding a scientist’s research.) I also said nothing about your religion and I didn’t call for an attack or criticism of organized religion.

2) “I get the impression that your "experiential" psychic awareness is superior to organized religion and science.” My response: I find it useful to think of intuition as another sense like sight and hearing, as does Gail Ferguson, who wrote a book I recommend, Cracking the Intuition Code. I have found my inner conversations with God and my experiences with intuition to be far more valuable and meaningful than most experiences I have had with organized religion. For myself, I prefer to talk to God directly, today, rather than read from religious texts that were written thousands of years ago. As for science, just because I use my sixth sense doesn’t imply that I devalue science. I can embrace both science and intuition. So can many scientists.

My use of capital letters was meant to emphasize a short section of a very long post, not to signify shouting, being in an upset state, taking things personally, feeling attacked, or indignant. I really don’t feel any of those things. I used capital letters because underlining, boldface, etc. isn’t available, and I still find it awkward to use the smilies. But I’ll try to use the smilies more often in the future rather than all caps.


Do you remember last week at your place, you told me you seldom watch TV so you hadn’t seen much of Oprah’s show, and I told you I like Oprah’s positive energy and contributions to the world? I was really taken by surprise to receive your email this morning with Randi’s article. In fact, I was taken aback, because if you were to tell me that you like a particular writer, speaker, etc., my first reaction wouldn’t be to send you an article highly critical of that person. It wouldn’t occur to me to do that, so it didn’t occur to me that you had sent the email specifically to me. In fact, you have often posted articles on the EMF site and you and Joe have often cited Randi, so your email looked like something you would have sent out to EMF posters. Now you have told me that you only sent it to me and a few others and that you don’t send out group emails relating to EMF. I apologize for not calling you to check on that.

My reaction to Randi’s article is simply to say that I don’t think much of his modus operandi in general, and if I had the time, I could send you hundreds of articles supporting Oprah’s impact on the world, written by respected people who have made their own great contributions to humanity, people like Nelson Mandela and Maya Angelou.

Other than my first 2 paragraphs, everything else I said in my post pertains to my own feeling that a lot of what I read on the EMF site—my own perception—involves an anti-New Age, anti-spirituality, anti-intuition, anti-spiritual growth perspective. Is EMF open to respectful debate about these topics? If so, then doesn’t a true debate require that both the pro and con positions be heard? May posters present a pro-intuition, pro-spirituality viewpoint without being perceived as “trashing science oriented thought” as Joe Sz thought I was doing?

You called me about my post today, and what I perceived that you said was that you define RSE as a New Age organization, and therefore, the scope of the EMF website should include debate about the New Age movement in general. I do understand your viewpoint, that you feel discussion of New Age as a movement does belong on the EMF site. However, aren’t there many thousands of very different groups that could be labeled New Age, too many to lump together under one category? To me, to speak in generalities about the “New Age movement” doesn’t allow for a meaningful, thought-provoking debate any more than generalizing about organized religion would. Most so-called New Age groups that I have participated in would be horrified by the RSE practices described on this site, and wouldn’t want anything to do with RSE as it is run today!

Just as there are harmful religious groups and religious groups that enhance people’s lives, there are harmful New Age groups and New Age groups that are beneficial to member’s lives. There are New Age groups that ridicule science, and New Age groups that embrace science.

So (speaking to EMF posters in general), maybe I stand alone here, but from my own personal experiences, I don’t find any merit in slapping everything New Age/spiritual/intuitional/etc. with labels such as hocus-pocus, airy-fairy, woo-woo, New Age BS, fantasy, etc. My experience with so-called New Age groups, and that of several close friends, has encompassed a much broader spectrum. If one of the purposes of EMF is to discuss New Age, there can be no discussion that would promote greater understanding unless all viewpoints—pro, con, and everything in between—were welcomed and discussed with respect for others’ views. Will this be the case?

Also, David, I don’t feel that I deserved your statement: “to slam another poster while hiding behind a smokescreen of indignation is a form of passive aggression...” To me that statement itself is a slam. Moreover, when laypeople toss around terms such as passive aggressive, this smacks of psychobabble as my dictionary defines it: “Writing or talk using jargon from psychiatry or psychotherapy without particular accuracy or relevance.” You are not a psychiatrist, psychotherapist, psychologist, etc.--in other words, not a scientist or clinician in those fields. You may give yourself permission to use such terms, but when you do, aren’t you “hiding behind a smokescreen” of scientific-sounding jargon and bandying those terms about in an imprecise way that a professional would not do?

Lastly, David, you have let me know that you intend to comment on my post, statement by statement, when you have the time. I hope you will do this objectively and without resorting to statements like the one above. I look forward to hearing your views.

Re: Anti-New Age bias is off-topic and belongs on another site

Good points, Joe.

But nevertheless, I would like to emphasize that this is a marvelous post!

It was taken too personally – why not?
This message board should be taken personally, as long as there are personalities posting in.
Why shouting, being upset or emotional? Why not – if necessary?

For me, this post means a great evolution for this forum!
(and never should be thrown into cyberspace)

For many years I was coming to Yelm as a "bad spelling" foreigner,
and I met ex-ramsthers and current-ramsthers, but I did not see any big difference,
for me they were "yelmies" (even if they lived 50 miles outside of Yelm).
They were enduring in small groups of communities, with very similar attitudes,
same thoughts, watching „oprah winfrey show“ and all kind of other shows.

The question would be:
should this forum be ruled by some similar group of consciousness – or should this forum be wide open minded?
(and that means new experience and challenges)

My compliment to onehandontheelephant!!!

Re: Anti-New Age bias is off-topic and belongs on another site

I have rarely seen heard or read a balanced complete honest clean truthful presentation of the essence of what has been called “New Age” or what some on this message board refer to as “organized religion”. Usually the so called Christians who bash “New Age” haven’t a clue of the heart essence of Christianity, nor do they have a clue of the heart essence of what is called New Age. Usually, the so called “New Agers” who bash organized religion, haven’t a clue of the heart essence of New Age, nor do they have a clue as to the heart essence of Christianity and other Sacred Traditions. It’s agonizingly heart wrenchingly frustrating for me to hear either lopsided “side”.
Recently I read a sermon by a woman who is ordained as a minister through the United Church of Christ. She, in many ways represents and embodies the heart essence of both ‘sides’. Her father was Harmon Bro – who as a phd candidate did a study on Edgar Cayce. I believe he was ordained as well as a phd psychologist. Nevertheless, his adult life was involved with Cayce and the information that came through Cayce; and he wrote several books based on the Readings(including “Religion and Psychic Experience”). So Pam Bro grew up in the world of what some would call New Age or woo woo. Except I personally knew Harmon Bro, and his wife June (who became an ordained minister in her 50’s – quite an accomplishment in the ‘70’s when women were not at all at all at all welcome into the patriarchal realm of ministerhood). They were grounded bright sincere kind good loving serving people. Let me quickly state – I’m not promoting the Cayce Readings, or Christianity or organized religions --- nor am I attempting to invalidate them. The above was a perhaps unnecessary intro to my surprised delight to read in one of Pam Bro’s sermons bold statements acknowledging the abuse of the organized church throughout history – without drunken raging histrionics and vile anger – while nevertheless sharing the heart essence message of Christianity – while acknowledging the diversity of our world and the necessity of recognizing our oneness as a humanity – i.e. from her perspective – it is time to be Christian/to live our truth. She also shared this story: Kaitlyn and I went to a performance for Earth Day at the Unitarian-Universalist church in Norfolk last week. “Three Innocents and a Spirit” was put on by the N’a Sonje Foundation. Two black men, both Haitian, and a white woman from the U.S. had put together a mimed play. N’A Sonje is a Creole word meaning “"We will remember.”" Sometimes we have to remember the past in order to heal the present and move to the future. The bulletin read: “It is our mission to contribute to the global healing of our collective wounds left by the traumatic historical encounter between the African, European and Amerindian peoples. I must say, as they acted out— in mime, music and dance—, first the Indians being conquered by the Spanish Christians who planted their crucifix and went on to beat and pillage the Indians there; and then in a couple of hundred years, the French Christians come over, claiming that the Indians are not strong enough to tolerate the abuse, so they capture slaves from Africa. And where the Indians probably have no soul, the churchmen claimed, the Africans might have half a soul. The Christian conquerors built up an empire of slavery and greed. Again, as in the past, I found myself ashamed of such forebears of our faith. And yet this Haitian troupe had come to our country to perform out of a spirit of reconciliation and forgiveness. At the end of the play, the African and Indian joined together to offer the white woman the hand of peace and friendship. Over the loudspeaker, we heard, "“What do we do now?”" This play portrayed the God in whom I believe--the God of forgiveness and reconciliation and justice.
It is so refreshing and hopeful to me that there are people like Pam, and Fr. Thomas Keating, and Thich Nhat Hahn who can see and live a perspective that incorporates all -- --- Who know that beyond "sides" and beyond the multiplicity of our perspectives we are all travelling to the recognition of the One Heart thta is already here now.

Re: Anti-New Age bias is off-topic and belongs on another site

The following is part of a talk I gave to some Christian Church ministers regarding LARSE. Therefore it is in “Christian” language. Had I been talking to Buddhists, I would have used Buddhist language; or Jewish or Native American – because to me, at heart essence, they are the same. The point is, just because there’s McDonalds, doesn’t make all food junk. There’s Christian junk and Buddhist junk and Jewish junk etc and there’s a whole lot of New Age junk. So? Anyway – here’s what I said:
I’d like to address some misconceptions regarding what is “New Age”.
Again, most relevant here is, that to equate JZ Knight’s “Ramtha”, and now a ‘teaching’ in her own name, with “New Age” is no different than equating white supremist fundamental Christian militia groups with the essence of Christianity. Although what JZ Knight teaches as “Ramtha” or herself contains what has been labeled “New Age”, and although white supremist fundamental Christian militia groups teach words out of the Bible, both are rapers of the truly Sacred and are not worthy of their labels – New Age or Christian.
The best definition, description of “New Age” that I’ve ever seen is in a ‘share with everyone on your email address list’ story that came to Emanuel – about a young man walking into a church sanctuary on a Sunday morning and sitting near the front, on the floor – horrifying the congregants already seated because not only was he sitting up front, and sitting on the floor, he had long hair and wore blue jeans, and I think he was dirty. Every one watched as the elderly Elder of the Church slowly walked down the aisle toward the young man, - the righteous congregants knew that this Elder would tell this disrespectful young man to leave, or at the very least to sit in the back row. When the Elder finally reached the young man he slowly lowered himself to the floor and sat next to him. This story is about Living Truth. This is what “New Age” is about.
A “New Ager” is best described in Psalm 42:1-11:
“As the hart panteth after the water brooks, so panteth my soul after thee, O God. My soul thirsteth for God, for the living God: when shall I come and appear before God?”
The “New Age” is simply a hunger for the ancient, the original, the heart, the living truth of the sacred teachings of the Divine. The primary motivation is stated in what is now called the “Jesus Creed” – To love God with all my heart mind and soul, and to love my neighbor as myself. The New Age is about doing more than worshipping Jesus – it’s about being and living as Jesus taught us to be and live – so we can truly be about our Father’s/Mother’s business. You would consider yourself blessed if the members of your congregation had the same intense sincerity and commitment and tenacity to live the truth as most Ramsters past and present have. Just as in Christianity, there are charlatans and money motivated marketers in “New Age” stuff. There is abuse and misuse of sacred tools, and much that is done in the name of New Age is not in the name of God – and it is thus no more New Age than the Klu Klux Klan are God’s servants doing His will.

Re: Anti-New Age bias is off-topic and belongs on another site

"Idon’t find any merit in slapping everything New Age/spiritual/intuitional/etc. with labels such as hocus-pocus, airy-fairy, woo-woo, New Age BS, fantasy, etc. My experience with so-called New Age groups, and that of several close friends, has encompassed a much broader spectrum."
Nor do I. Nor do I find any merit in slapping everything religious or any religion or Sacred Texts. My experience with so-called organized religion, and that of several close friends, has encompassed a much broader spectrum --- to use someone elses words....
To state that religion equals simply reading ancient texts is a clear indication that religion - whether Christian or Buddhist or Hindu or Jewish or whatever - is not understood - scientifically or intuitively.
There isn't a valid "New Age" approach that isn't based on the very same old ancient sacred writings of those who have travelled here before us.

Re: Anti-New Age bias is off-topic and belongs on another site

David sent you a personal email which apparently you did not appreciate. The appropriate response would have been a personal email back to him with your comments.

Then he calls you on the phone and here you are again, responding publicly to a personal phone call.

Please keep your personal business to yourself. That is where it belongs.

Re: Anti-New Age bias is off-topic and belongs on another site

Thank you, wordsarespoken, for your encouragement and for caring enough to feel my words and discern what I was trying to express.

Thank you...thank you...thank you, Graced, ever so much for so simply and eloquently describing the essence of New Age and the essence at the heart of organized religion.

This morning I woke up realizing that what was driving me to speak out on the anti-New Age, anti-spiritual tone I was often perceiving here at EMF is this:

When I first heard about LARSE, I was hopeful that for the first time, there would be a way to connect with other kindred spirits who had moved on from RSE but who were still earnestly involved in their own personal/mental/emotional/spiritual growth, as I and my four closest friends are. (I was also motivated to offer any information I have about RSE/JZ from my direct involvement in the 1980s if it would help give useful perspective to current or ex-students, and I have done that many times on this site.)

It was beginning to feel to me that LARSE, Life After RSE, out of which came this EMF website, was on its way to becoming LAAENA--Life After/Anti Everything New Age. IF a harshly critical, derogatory tone was going to be taken with EVERYTHING New Age, then to me, that isn't an atmosphere in which people can be open, honest, and vulnerable in communicating with one another, as some courageous current and former RSE students have done on this site.

Thank you again,

Re: Anti-New Age bias is off-topic and belongs on another site

Unfortunately the further one travels down the rabbit hole the more one sees that everything is a form of mind control. RSE, the "New Age," religion - they are all about the control and manipulation of humans and the only thing that varies is the degree.

I invite anyone to challenge me on this. Show me a group which has no belief system. Please.

Re: Anti-New Age bias is off-topic and belongs on another site

This discussion is good and I include onehand and graced, et al as part of the goodness. Thanks for your comments.

As to naming one "group" that is perfect, without shadows--well, that's a rhetorical request, I believe. As soon as Eve appeared Adam ran into trouble---now, I am NOT blaming her.

John Lennon was a serious seeker toward the last decade of his life---he tried Primal Scream Therapy (Janov) and seemed to respond with a flatness in his personality.
It was at this stage I think that he wrote "Imagine" which was his ultimate response to finding peace---all in his head like a dreamer. He was inviting us into 'his' dream.

New Age movement to me always meant what it says: the search for 'renovatio' or renewal. (old age bad--new age will be better if we follow??). Mircea Eliade wrote a wonderful essay about this notion in "Occultism, Witchcraft, and Cultural Fashions: Essays in Comparative Religion" (1976). To seek renovatio or a NEw Age also means the urge to "escape" from the terror of history---or an oppressive, cold universe that merely grinds on as we pass through and away. To find meaning we escape or transcend by going into the "worlds beyond the senses", thus New Age often emphasizes psi, sixth sense, , magic, philosophers stones, and everything non-testible by science.

My only contention is that human beings run into an awful lot of trouble trying to navigate in those "transcendent worlds" from personal experience or someone else's certain dogma, like Ramtha's. I am not saying the transcendent is bad or impossible to reach. I believe in it myself. I am less prone to define it, however, as I grow older.


Re: Anti-New Age bias is off-topic and belongs on another site

The very fact that this website and message board exist is because some courageous people had in fact moved on from RSE and have gone beyond moving on into living what they know personally mentally emotionally and spiritually. That is, their hearts have been opened with compassion – and they offer a place to share information and experiences.
Unfortunately the word/concept “New Age” is as tainted as the word “cult” – and I’m beginning to think that no two human beings think the same thing when they hear/read these words. A money making scam is a money making scam and it’s overt cover doesn’t mean the contents are such. Judy is about power glory and money. Period. To me anyway, this message board has clarified that distinction for me. It’s not a religion or a New Age anything –it’s a very old age money making scam.
This message board has also helped me to see the ‘clay feet’ of those I once respected.
This message board has also helped me clarify and “get” on a deeper level what a wise (and I considered at the time old) woman 30 years ago – If you shine your light on someone else you’re left in the dark. Whether it be Ramtha or Carolyn Myss or Sogyal Rinpoche or Oprah or skateboarding or sex or Mafu or whatever/whoever – when we put our value in their hands, allow someone or something else to define us – we’re left in the dark. Human Beings are Human Beings – saints and sinners – all of us. If there’s value, go for it - -- This message board is helping me sift the wheat from the waste. It’s about learning to be more alert and mindful and discriminating and thought-ful about what we put our time and energy into – so we don’t again leave ourselves in the dark.
Interestingly my perspective is different from Joe's, yet ends me in the same place, I think. What has been "New Age" for me in the last 30 years has taught me in fact to not get lost or overinvolved with spririts and magic and hanging out in lala land and psychic phenomena or experiences --- Things such as astrology and dreams are tools, not to be abused or depended on.
A key for me is that if the whatever is about manipulating the environment - around or inside us, it's a misleading path. Manipulation is manipulation of the same mind set as the scientists who manipulate our environment. A perspective of power over and thinking we know enough to fix anything is a hopeless path. Human Beings have the ability to manipulate to the nano level -- and the world is in worse shape in every way than it's ever been. Power over as a concept doesn't work. That's my perspective. Dualism is dualism, no matter what clothes it wears.

Re: Anti-New Age bias is off-topic and belongs on another site

Actually, there is only one true definition of woo-woo.


(Sorry, thought a smidge of humour wouldn't hurt. Link leads to some harmless silliness and some 'eccentric' individuals. Work safe and vulgar free. )

Re: Anti-New Age bias is off-topic and belongs on another site

Joe.....I am less prone to define it.

Astutely stated!

Clearly ones perception,awareness and experience is theirs and theirs only and differs from all others according to common ground.

In successfully defining "it" one would have to work personally with an individual, starting from an equal starting base, and procede together at the same speed.

The common ground found by lovey dovey new agers is their ability to express themselves nicely to each other and thus feel part of something that makes them feel good and never ever make them have a feeling of unhappiness.

The common ground found by scientific people is their ability to agree upon proven factual information that then can be "paroted" around as if it was their own personal experiences, while discounting anybody's personal experience as being unprovable.

The common ground found by groups, any group, is that they must progress as a group, and it is not assured that the group is any better off than being on your own.

In fact, I believe "going solo" is the only way to travel...... if one has the prepared skills..... then one can recover quickly from aspects that would detour groups for aeons and thus allow for greater freedoms.

Going "commando" does have its risk that can be minimized by skill.

Question always has been where does one get trained?

The answer is always within, and thus the secret is always mine and mine alone, and can never be divulged or alluded to, due to the fact that fanatic people will try and ape something that cannot be aped.

Either you are a player or you are a fan and both shall never meet.

Re: Anti-New Age bias is off-topic and belongs on another site

"The common ground found by groups, any group, is that they must progress as a group, and it is not assured that the group is any better off than being on your own."
Ironically this is essentially what Judy's Ramtha of the '80's taught - which was utterly contradicted in the rants of the '89/'90 "Advanced Weekend"s when "groups" were started - where people were bashed for their resistance to 'owning' they were selected for Elohim and Akmanrah....

Re: Anti-New Age bias is off-topic and belongs on another site

Oh what a tangled blue web she weaved,
When first she practiced to deceive.



Re: Anti-New Age bias is off-topic and belongs on another site

thank you Graced for your posting on the 13th - I totally agree with what you had to say - yeahhhhhhhhhhh! it is always nice to hear someone else write what you feel - I really feel you all should write a book - it is due!! and what a book it will be.........