Essay

The Secret Fails Harris, Threatens to Sue McDuffee

By Eric Schiller on December 28th, 2009

Sink Hole

On December 22,  Duff McDuffee received an email message from Bill Harris, the founder of “Holo-sync” and the “CenterPointe Institute” claiming that he had been served with a cease and desist letter regarding the post titled “The Hollow Sink of Push-Button Enlightenment.”  Harris claims that he intends to file suit against Duff for “defamation” in federal court.  Harris finally sent the cease and desist document via email to McDuffee, you can read it at the bottom of this post (updated 12/29). In response to Harris’ email, Duff revised the post to insure no defamatory statements exist within it, and that it is clear that everything contained therein is his opinion.  This effort itself was mainly done to in good-will, as we do not actually believe that anything in the original post was defamatory simply because it was clear that the post itself was an opinion piece on a variety of intangible and unprovable subjects.

First off, I want to make a few things clear about what we do here on Beyond Growth.  We are not a news organization, and as such do not claim to offer any sort of “objective” reporting therefore all of our articles are critical, subjective, and opinion based.  While many of our contributors share similar views, each of the opinions expressed in our articles solely represent their authors and no one else.  Thus far, we have found this to be quite implicit that these are our opinions, nothing more.  We generally use forms of literary and critical analysis, of which do not imply nor suggest we are making statements of objective fact.

With that in mind, I will take this opportunity to express my supreme disappointment with Bill Harris’ behavior on this matter.  Harris is a man who implicitly claims to be enlightened, and as such I would think the frivolous and childish threat of a “federal lawsuit” directed at small time blogger would be quite beneath him.  Unfortunately it appears that this is not the case.  He has made no effort to speak to us about this matter before jumping the gun and threatening a lawsuit.   In his email message, Harris effectively threatens to ruin Duff’s life:

Perhaps you do not realize the severity of the consequences for the defamatory statements you have made and how a Federal lawsuit to enforce those rights would work. The costs of such a suit will be huge, both financially and also in terms of time and stress. Legal fees for such a lawsuit can be, at minimum, over $150,000, the time commitment will be extensive, and the stress will be enormous. It will change your life in a way I suspect you will not like.

What Bill Harris does not realize is that Duff McDuffee (and I for that matter) have zero monetary assets to speak of.  Additionally, if Harris does actually bring suit against Duff, we will do everything in our power to make it as public as possible.  This publicity would negate the whole point of a defamation lawsuit in the first place, the preservation of the “public image” that Harris’ seemingly holds so near and dear.  Finally, Harris will have to prove in the court of law that he does not use manipulative marketing techniques and that his “holosync” program does exactly what he says it does.  We are confident that Harris would not be able to prove either of these things in any manner enough to satisfy a federal judge.

Shouldn’t an arahat be able to handle a little criticism without threatening lawsuits?  Threatening to sue Duff in order to maintain a positive public opinion seems to be nothing more than bullying via the courts, in a manner that is quite reminiscent of the legal behavior of the Church of Scientology:

Critics state that the ultimate aim of Scientology lawsuits is to destroy church opponents by forcing them into bankruptcy or submission, using its resources to pursue frivolous lawsuits at considerable cost to defendants. In doing so, they draw particular attention to certain controversial statements made by the church’s founder, L. Ron Hubbard, in the 1950s and 1960s.

In my mind this is not the way an enlightened being should be behaving. If anything this action by Bill Harris indicates that we are doing something very right on Beyond Growth.  Expect more in the coming days.

Edit 12/29 : I’ve made it clear that Harris’ “enlightenment” is implicit.

Edit 12/29 : Here is the fabled cease and desist letter:

McDuffee Cease and Desist

Edit 12/30: The Salty Droid humorously joins in; Silencing of the Lambs

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