Essay

Andrew Cohen and the Road to Legitimacy

By Joseph Gelfer on December 10th, 2009 1

school of yellow snappers by otolithe (olivier roux)

This week saw the Parliament of the World’s Religions in Melbourne, Australia. The Parliament is a significant interfaith event with the bold mission “to cultivate harmony among the world’s religious and spiritual communities and foster their engagement with the world and its guiding institutions in order to achieve a just, peaceful and sustainable world.” The history of the Parliament dates back to the World’s Congress of Religions of 1893 in Chicago which, bringing together Eastern and Western religious traditions, is seen by many as the birth of inter-religious dialogue. In 1993 a centenary event was held in Chicago, and the Parliament has since been held every five years (Cape Town in 1999 and Barcelona in 2004).

The 2009 Parliament was epic in scale with around 6,000 delegates from more than 80 countries, hosting more than 650 separate programs populated by an even larger number of speakers. The major speakers at the event included some of the world’s most influential inter-religious voices such as His Holiness the Dalai Lama, President Jimmy Carter, His Holiness Sri Sri Ravi Shankar, The Most Venerable Thich Nhat Hanh, President Obama’s religious adviser Jim Wallis, editor of Tikkun magazine Rabbi Michael Lerner, and the heavy-hitting theologian Dr Hans Küng.

Andrew Cohen: Fans and Critics

Listed also among the major speakers was the “visionary thinker” Andrew Cohen. Cohen’s intentions for the Parliament, in which he was granted the unusual privilege of two full sessions to himself, was “sharing the profound spiritual perspective of Evolutionary Enlightenment and holding an Open Space/Question & Answer session on the role, meaning, and purpose of an evolutionary perspective on timeless spiritual wisdom.” Cohen also addressed the 2004 Parliament. Cohen’s popularity has been on the rise in recent years, thanks in part to his magazine EnlightenNext which can be found on newsstands around the world and in which he aligns himself with the great and the good of both orthodox religion and alternative spiritualities. Clearly he is speaking to issues that many people find compelling, and his two sessions at the Parliament suggest that the international interfaith community also finds Cohen’s message to be of high importance.

However, not everyone is so accepting of Cohen’s “evolutionary thinking.” Cohen’s own mother wrote a book called The Mother of God and critiques “the abuse of power, the incessant fear, the psychology of obsession” that went with her time as a devotee of her son. The blog What Enlightenment??! carries numerous other claims about Cohen’s allegedly unsavory methods. And Cohen’s 2009 Parliament appearance coincides with the publication of William Yenner’s American Guru, which catalogues “numerous examples of abuse on Cohen’s part.” The Parliament’s PR representative did not respond to inquiries about whether these allegations were taken into account when placing Cohen on the schedule. It is with the knowledge of both Cohen’s popularity on the one hand, and his detractors on the other, that I offer a brief account of Cohen’s two sessions at the Parliament. This is not intended in any way as an exhaustive critique of Cohen, rather a reading of one particular event that offered Cohen an opportunity to share the same platform as some of the world’s most established spiritual leaders, and in the process gain new levels of legitimacy.

Cohen’s Parliament Sessions

The first of Cohen’s sessions attracted a good number of attendees, with a bias towards middle-aged women. The first two rows of the audience appeared to be populated by people who knew one another, and had some existing knowledge about Cohen. A small handful of people appeared to be connected with Cohen, preparing the podium for him and observing the audience. Cohen came into the room pretty much on time, was introduced by a young female ambassador of the Parliament, and began to settle into his talk.

The body of his talk was no doubt nothing new to anyone familiar with Cohen’s work. Early on he declared “I have no solutions,” but that his teachings were directed towards “leading edge” individuals: the highly educated, the wealthy and the privileged. He spoke of how everything is plotted against an evolutionary process. He asked, “why live an ordinary life if we all have the opportunity to live an extraordinary life?” And that in order to answer this question we had to “think big, feel big” and tap into the “authentic self.” In order to achieve this we must draw upon a source of inspiration that has been in operation since the Big Bang. He claimed that he was “only interested in creating that which is new and hasn’t existed before,” following a godly creative principle that is characterized by “ecstasy and urgency.” Those who did not follow this principle, those who are not “turned on,” are “boring, uninteresting, uninspired, safe, predictable.” This was the core of his message, which was repeated and re-framed in a number of ways for the duration of the 90-minute session. During this first session, Cohen came over as a perfectly charming individual. He spoke well, cracked a few jokes, gave a few strangely geeky chuckles, and told a cute story about his dog. Apart from a brief mention of EnlightenNext, he did not plug any products or workshops, nor direct the audience how to find out more about his teachings. He finished the session bang on schedule, declaring that there was now no time for questions, but that he would dedicate the whole second session to these if the audience wished.

There is nothing specifically problematic about the content of his talk. The only real concern is that Cohen explicitly speaks to “the highly educated, the wealthy and the privileged.” But what of the poor? The poor, Cohen says, “need a different message”: exactly what message remains something of a mystery. Cohen’s message, of course, is that leading edge individuals should “affect the world for the better,” but the nature of this is not addressed. While it may be reasonable to claim that privileged Westerners need to be related to in a different way to the less privileged, the problem arises when we pursue Cohen’s evolutionary model: only the privileged are at the “leading edge” of evolution. Such a suggestion resonates with a long history of elitist thinking that can be found in its worst forms behind the history of colonialism, racism and eugenics, and in its more benign form in upper-middle-class “radicals” who wish to guide those who they perceive as the less intellectually capable proletariat. But apart from this elitist shadow, Cohen’s message was hardly controversial.

During the second session Cohen loosened up. As promised, he dedicated it to questions which largely consisted of positive feedback from the audience: “I want to thank you so much for your work,” “you’re so refreshing to hear” and so forth. The un-challenging nature of the questions meant that the majority of the second session comprised a re-telling of the first. The only shift in focus was that Cohen moved to distinguish himself from other spiritual teachers (of meditation, non-duality and so on), noting how he was one of only “a few” teachers focusing on evolution as a guiding spiritual principle (which is hardly new given the likes of Teilhard de Chardin and Sri Aurobindo). In this session we started to see a few glimpses of Cohen’s infamous “rude boy” style: cutting people’s questions with a short “yes” or “no” answer, being slightly edgier. At one point, about to launch into a comment about being judgmental, Cohen quipped, “I’m at the World Parliament, so I have to be a bit softer than usual” (to which one woman shouted “No, don’t!”). But, again, the session was uneventful.

So, given that Cohen presented himself quite reasonably at the Parliament, we are left with two possible conclusions. First, the accusations leveled against Cohen by some ex-students are gross misinterpretations of his teachings and methods. Second, Cohen was very careful to cultivate a reasonable persona at the Parliament, thus simultaneously enjoying the legitimacy it bestows upon its speakers (disclosure: myself included) and funneling new students into his program where they come to know a somewhat less reasonable Andrew Cohen. The choice is yours.

Joseph Gelfer is an Adjunct Research Associate at the School of Political and Social Inquiry, Monash University, Australia. He is author of Numen, Old Men: Contemporary Masculine Spiritualities and the Problem of Patriarchy and editor of Journal of Men, Masculinities and Spirituality. His edited collection 2012: Reflections on a Mark in Time will be published next year.

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51 responses to “Andrew Cohen and the Road to Legitimacy”

  1. Josh Roman says:

    While we'd be remiss not to contemplate the cruel and capricious behaviors attributed to past leaders and followers of most established world religions, from what I've read this Cohen fellow seems like an exceptional egotist with a PhD in Psychology (Concentration in Self-Deception.)

    I'm sure the legitimacy conferred by his participation in the Parliament will bring him additional acolytes, but I'm also willing to separate the man from the message. I feel for the souls who ache for his type of authoritarian, externally enforced enlightenment, but teachers like Cohen are merely signposts on the path — not tollgates — conveying both truth and warning to those passing by.

    Thank you for this perspective, it is greatly appreciated.

  2. Keith says:

    Isn't there a third much more likely possibility? That the accusations are more-or-less true, but that Cohen himself has evolved as a teacher, learned from his own mistakes (consciously or unconsciously), and become a different kind of teacher than 10 or 15 years ago?

    My other other quibble is that "waking up", will ALWAYS mean focusing on the elite — perhaps not just in money/status, but certainly in perspective and spiritual insight. That's the name of the game. And poking audience's here is one of his favorite gimmicks.

    • Joseph says:

      It's a third possibility, for sure, but I'm not convinced it is a likely one. If Cohen had committed such mistakes and learned from them, there would have been an attempt to apologize to and reconcile with those students who parted company with him; instead, there appears to be simple denial of the accusations.

    • I was about to say what Joseph said. One way people display maturity is by taking responsibility and admitting wrongdoing. Denying that the events ever took place (EnlightenNext's current stance) hardly appears to be older and wiser. I hope he does learn from these mistakes and change his behaviors, up to and including previous harm done.

  3. Aaron says:

    I've been blogging a lot about Cohen and company on my blog, rebloggingbradwarner.
    You're doing great work here and I'll be linking to this site.

    Aaron

  4. Aaron says:

    I definitely will. I've also linked (without realizing it) to your Holosync article. I'm happy to see people actively pointing this stuff out, we need a lot more of this…

  5. Thanks. And yes we do. My views are certainly not always correct, but more dialogue–especially about high-priced spiritual products and cultish teachers–seems appropriate and needed to me.

  6. Well done Joseph, good to see a critique of Cohen's ever active work of creating exposure and the appearance of legitimacy. Yes it is a "road" to legitimacy. Andrew Cohen was at the Parliament "sharing the profound spiritual perspective of Evolutionary Enlightenment…" While he seems to never tire of "sharing" his view and perspective, he has yet to answer to critics who never tire of reminding him that there are some rather "profound" abuses that have taken place under his authority and are never addressed. Quite the opposite, they seem to be continually swept away, denied, or analyzed to death as some creative "crazy wisdom teachings."

    Perhaps equally troubling as Cohen's failure to face his former close students' concerns, is the way in which he has to date succeeded in creating legitimacy through involving others in his work, rubbing elbows as at the Parliament or through enlisting the unsuspecting in posting in his EnlightenNext magazine. As an example, I recently heard from one "expert" who was interviewed for an article in EnlightenNext magazine who admitted, to his chagrin, that he felt that the Dalai Lama's previous interview in the magazine was good enough for him. However, now maybe the ice is cracked a bit with this article, by a former contributor to Cohen's magazine. Wouldn't it be fine if more of these worthy and qualified experts who've contributed to EnlightenNext follow in your lead and at least raise the question of what the heck is going on at EnlightenNext.

    My book, American Guru; A Story of Love, Betrayal and Healing-former students of Andrew Cohen speak out is written with contributions of several other former students, and covers the story from the idealistic beginning through disillusionment and departure. The dangers of any authoritarian system are explored as well as the promises and pitfalls of postmodern discipleship.

    Sincerely, William Yenner
    http://www.americanguru.net

  7. Nathan Rein says:

    Joseph, I'm sorry I missed your session at the Parliament. Sounds interesting. Thanks for your post here. A little intelligent criticism is refreshing.

    • Joseph says:

      Thanks Nathan: I think everyone at the Parliament missed a lot of interesting stuff, due to having to choose such a tiny fraction of the program. Next time I might just stay in one room for the full week and see what comes my way: some of the best stuff I saw I ended up in accidentally. I think, though, the biggest effort of the whole event came from the eco-activist on the front steps of the Exhibition Centre in the nun's habit and gas-mask: he stood there for the full duration of the Parliament opening hours, from Thursday-Wednesday: that's commitment.

    • Joseph says:

      Thanks Nathan: I think we all missed lots of good stuff, given the packed nature of the program: I came across a few gems by accident, which suggests carefully planning session attendance does not always pay off.

  8. […] (former students of Andrew Cohen speak out) • Integral NHNE: Ex-Followers On Andrew Cohen • Andrew Cohen and the Road to Legitimacy (Beyond Growth) • Integral Life: Chapter 6 – The Shadow and the Disowned Self • Integral […]

  9. Paul Woodward says:

    Andrew Cohen has received a huge amount of attention as a teacher, through his publications, his organization and to a lesser extent the stories of abuse told by former students. Beyond being referred to as controversial, challenging, outspoken etc, much less is said about Cohen as a person or about his psychological development.

    At the time he was declared by his Indian teacher to have become enlightened, Andrew was a classic under-achiever. Having been raised in a wealthy, unhappy, New York Jewish family, schooled in Switzerland, been in long-term therapy, been a Berklee School of Music drop out, been deeply disappointed by the failings of his own spiritual teachers, Andrew craved recognition.

    He tells a story about his passion for music that to my mind is most revealing. He says he once imagined what would be the greatest possible accomplishment he could achieve as a musician and realized that even if he could do that he would remain unfulfilled.

    What, in his mind, would that accomplishment have been? To perform at Carnegie Hall!

    One of Andrew's musical heroes is Miles Davis – a man famous for performing with his back to the audience. Granted, Davis was a bit of a misanthrope, but for him there was only one thing worthy of his undivided attention: the music. Andrew however, even though he was not lacking in musical talent, craved adulation.

    Having become "enlightened", that need for praise and recognition never seemed to diminish. In his early teaching career, nothing seemed to generate more excitement for Andrew than that he might have caught the attention of someone famous. His ambition to become a spiritual celebrity was evident from day one.

    It has always been easy for him and his students to rationalize this dimension of Andrew's personality and his teaching work. How could he hope to be of influence, both he and they would argue, if he did not operate on a world stage where he could reach the widest possible audience? But what neither he nor they speak about is Andrew's hunger for affirmation; his immaculately polished stage image; his proclivity for self-aggrandizement.

  10. noodlebowl says:

    “I think the desire for celebrity is strong in a number of alternative spirituality types (and probably some of us who critique them!).”

    A strong desire for celebrity is very, very common.

    What is NOT common (and I hope never becomes common) are the abusive behaviors (physical emotional
    and financial) reported by so many of AC’s former students.

    And what is distressing is that there has been an almost deafening silence from
    the great and good of the celebrities and tastemakers of the spiritual elite.

    The hazard is that celebrated holy figures such as the Dalai Lama and Thomas Keating
    and others just do not seem to understand that they are like rich divorcees.

    They are rich–but not in dollars, but as sources of derivative legitimacy.

    So are academics in media sexy areas such as physics, evolutionary biology,
    neurophysiology, etc.

    People in those areas do not seem to understand that they are valuable acquisitions
    for folks-on-the-make and that today, even a holy old monk or enlightened rinpoche
    or distinguished academic needs to exercise due diligence by researching the backgrounds
    of anyone trying to invite ’em to sit on some conferance.

    A very respected doctor of oriental medicine told me she refused to participate
    in a program in which too many pseudoscience quacks and ideologues were on the
    roster. She was famous in her field, and her presence would have given these
    opportunists derivative legitimacy.

    The conference organizer tried to guilt trip her about the First Amendment and the
    need for a balanced perspective, and she hung up on them. She was not a monk
    or an enlightened rinpoche. She was exercising a professionals duty of due diligence.

    The Dalai Lama slipped by allowing a questionable organization sponsor one of his
    speaking tours.

    http://forum.rickross.com/read.php?4,71652

    Problem is that in this recession, cash is king, and tax exempt entities can accumulate
    wealth faster than tax paying entities. So they can offer very enticing prices and for persons
    who feel responsible for the care of thier communities, it is way too easy to
    rationalize one can serve God and Mammon.

    Marketing and PR are based on massaging the afflictive emotions.
    Dharma practice and and core of the Abrahamic religions are based on recognizing and
    freeing ones heart and mind from afflictive emotions, the better to know what God
    desires or what living by the Sila of the Dharma precepts calls for in each of our
    unique lives.

    It is my laymans opinion that one cannot combine Dharma or prayer with mass marketing
    celebrity and PR without the Dharma or prayer becoming tainted.

    Putting up some fliers, word of mouth, a book without the authors photo on the cover, fine.
    A blog or website that keeps the focus on practice, good.

    Its the old 12 step motto:

    Principles before personalities.

    Attraction not promotion.

    • Joseph says:

      “People in those areas do not seem to understand that they are valuable acquisitions for folks-on-the-make and that today, even a holy old monk or enlightened rinpoche or distinguished academic needs to exercise due diligence by researching the backgrounds of anyone trying to invite 'em to sit on some conferance.”

      True. I think, though, it is the more junior academics and holy folks who need to be more careful: the slightest hint of someone being interested can be profoundly intoxicating, and they have less developed skills in noticing the misdirection and sleight of hand that can accompany such interest.

  11. noodlebowl says:

    Note, I dont want to cause any fracas by upsetting folks who disagree with the utility
    of the 12 steps. Many benefit, many others have gotten free without program.

    But the 12 Traditions, from which the last two items are taken, are a worthwhile
    framework by which to evaluate the current celebrity driven Dharma/Consciousness Elite
    scene.

    In fact, so very many celebrities now babble about being in AA or in rehab that the
    actual point of the program, anonymity, is in great danger of being lost.

    And the old Big Book, stated that part of making amends, was a willingess to take the
    consquences for the harm one had inflicted, even if it meant going to jail.

    Today, they use rehab to avoid jail.

    And an appreciation for consequences (aka karma or causes and conditions) is what
    Dharma is really about.

    We dont get away with anything. Consequences follow us as closely our own buttocks.

    http://www.aa.org/bigbookonline/en_appendicei.cfm

    .A.’s “12 Traditions” are seen in their so-called “short form,” the form in general use today. This is a condensed version of the original “long form” A.A. Traditions as first printed in 1946. Because the “long form” is more explicit and of possible historic value, it is also reproduced.

    The Twelve Traditions

    Some items are interesting: The caution about money property and prestige as potential
    distractions from the basic goal–assisting those who still suffer.

    Two, each group raises only the amount of money needed for its basic expenses–room rent,
    coffee, literature, a prudent reserve, and the rest is sent to the AA local.

    There are regular business meetings and regional meetings and its all democratic.

    The roles of secretary, coffee person, literature person, clean up, finance are rotated
    so that no one person gets embedded and entrenched in a leadership role.

    If you and your sponsor are not getting along, you can change sponsors.

    But the concern for anonymity and the early refusal to utilize celebrity when speaking
    publicly of AA as an option–all that is worth remembering today.

    AA books and literature are cheap and sold at cost. Its not a glossy, glamourous
    organization. Quite the reverse.

    And the yogis and Buddha started out that way, too. Robes stitched from discarded
    fabrics.

    One—Our common welfare should come first; personal recovery depends upon A.A. unity.

    Two—For our group purpose there is but one ultimate authority—a loving God as He may express Himself in our group conscience. Our leaders are but trusted servants; they do not govern.

    Three—The only requirement for A.A. membership is a desire to stop drinking.

    Four—Each group should be autonomous except in matters affecting other groups or A.A. as a whole.

    Five—Each group has but one primary purpose—to carry its message to the alcoholic who still suffers.

    Six—An A.A. group ought never endorse, finance or lend the A.A. name to any related facility or outside enterprise, lest problems of money, property and prestige divert us from our primary purpose.

    Seven—Every A.A. group ought to be fully self-supporting, declining outside contributions.
    Eight—Alcoholics Anonymous should remain forever nonprofessional, but our service centers may employ special workers.

    Nine—A.A., as such, ought never be organized; but we may create service boards or committees directly responsible to those they serve.

    Ten—Alcoholics Anonymous has no opinion on outside issues; hence the A.A. name ought never be drawn into public controversy.

    Eleven—Our public relations policy is based on attraction rather than promotion; we need always maintain personal anonymity at the level of press, radio and films.

    Twelve—Anonymity is the spiritual foundation of all our Traditions, ever reminding us to place principles before personalities.

  12. noodlebowl says:

    From the longer form of the 12 traditons–a good contrast with the
    celebrity/marketing drift of the Enlightenment Industry today.

    One person, a reporter for a large metropolitan newspaper, wrote that in his opinion, it
    is the Traditions of AA that make it the most radical group in America.

    By contrast all too many of the supposedly spiritual and Dharma entities we see
    are just extensions of the business and craving based marketing scene-rather
    than emancipatory alternatives to the whole rat race.

    (Any one here old enough to remember when ‘rat race’ (eg multitasking) was regarded
    as regrettable, rather than inevitable?

    .—Problems of money, property, and authority may easily divert us from our primary spiritual aim. We think, therefore, that any considerable property of genuine use to A.A. should be separately incorporated and managed, thus dividing the material from the spiritual.

    An A.A. group, *as such*, should never go into business. (!!!!)

    Secondary aids to A.A., such as clubs or hospitals *which require much property or administration, ought to be incorporated and so set apart that, if necessary, they can be freely discarded by the groups.*

    Hence such facilities ought not to use the A.A. name. Their management should be the sole responsibility of those people who financially support them. For clubs, A.A. managers are usually preferred. But hospitals, as well as other places of recuperation, ought to be well outside A.A.—and medically supervised. While an A.A. group may cooperate with anyone, such cooperation ought never go so far as affiliation or endorsement, actual or implied. An A.A. group can bind itself to no one.

    7.—The A.A. groups themselves ought to be fully supported by the voluntary contributions of their own mem-bers.

    We think that each group should soon achieve this ideal; that any public solicitation of funds using the name of Alcoholics Anonymous is highly dangerous, whether by groups, clubs, hospitals, or other outside agencies; **that acceptance of large gifts from any source, or of contributions carrying any obligation whatever, is unwise. Then too, we view with much concern those A.A. treasuries which continue, beyond prudent reserves, to accumulate funds for no stated A.A. purpose. Experience has often warned us that nothing can so surely destroy our spiritual heritage as futile disputes over property, money, and authority.

  13. noodlebowl says:

    The celebrity issue for Andrew C is right on the target.

    He even has a band with the name ‘Unfulfilled Desires.’

    http://www.unfulfilleddesires.com

    Would any of his devotees dare do less than clap, enthusiastically?

    And, if living in residence in one of Cohens evolutionary households, would they dare
    not purchase the band’s CDs or DVDs and play UD’s music as reassurance
    they are standing by their man?

  14. Paul Woodward says:

    "Unfulfilled Desires" – a name that I imagine Andrew chose with an intended sense of irony – turns out to be a case of the Emperor not merely having no clothes, but jumping onto a stage to display the fact.

    To include a "review" on their site which describes the band as "Mile Davis brought into the twenty-first century" should make those among Andrew's students who know something about jazz cringe with embarrassment. Andrew and the other members of his band are technically competent musicians, but what they are producing is utterly derivative. This is club music – nothing cutting edge about it.

  15. noodlebowl says:

    And he named his dog (a yorkie) ‘Kensho’ as if making a
    pet of enlightement, or designating enlightement as a small
    enough creature that he can pick it up any time he wants
    and it follows him around the rest of the time.

    No novelist could ever make this up. I think one of the songs
    on the Unfilfilled Desires list is ‘Enlightened Dog.’

    Now, if Andrew were to name a cat ‘Kensho’ and clean the cat’s
    litterbox himself, get clawed now and then by kitty,
    and learn to appreciate and serve the whims of a creature
    whom one can never own or dominate, that, IMO would be evolutionary
    progress for Andrew Cohen.

    Dogs have owners.
    Cats have staff.

  16. Former Contributors to EnlightenNext magazine respond to revelations in American Guru

    As a former member of Andrew Cohen’s EnlightenNext “spiritual community,” I am aware of a dimension of his activities that is not known to many of the public figures whose contributions he solicits for publication in his EnlightenNext print and online forums. Because Cohen strategically uses the names and ideas of respected public figures to camouflage and legitimize behind-the-scenes abuses against his own students, the final chapter of my book, American Guru, includes a call to those who have been publicly associated with Cohen as an editor and publisher to weigh in on the potential dangers of personal involvement with Cohen as a teacher and spiritual authority figure. The statements of several former contributors to EnlightenNext magazine can be found at http://www.americanguru.net.
    William Yenner

  17. noodlebowl says:

    Note this google search page, especially the item for the Lenox Mass, bookstore where
    Bill Yenner excercised his first amendment rights and gave a book reading.

    IMO one sign of a cult is when a guru and the gurus devotees believe that only they
    are entitled to First Amendment rights and that anyone who disagrees or dissents is
    subhuman and cannot claim any sort of First Amendment protection.

    Apparently if you are mean green meme (whatever that means) and anti guru, you are unworthy
    of inclusion in any discussion. Sheesh.

    http://www.google.com/search?q=%22bampton%22+green+meme+anti+guru&hl=en&source=hp&ie=ISO-8859-1&btnG=Search

    If anyone were to follow someone else all over a school yard, that would be called bullying
    and no well run school would tolerate such activity. But in service to evolutionary
    spirituality, apparently anything goes, so long as you believe in a guru.

    (Barf)

    Note this on Google search

    http://www.google.com/search?hl=en&source=hp&ie=ISO-8859-1&q=%22bampton%22+%22bill+yenner%22&btnG=Google+Search

  18. noodlebowl says:

    An early discussion of Ken Wilber and Andrew Cohen and the mean green meme gobbledygook.

    As one discussant put it, has anyone found green meme or mean green meme on a PET scan?

    Or has it been isolated and classified as a virus, or a prion?

    No. Its just a verbal construct, cooked up by Wilber and treated as though real. It the kind of
    error in which one equates the menu with the meal and then starts eating the menu.

    http://74.125.113.132/search?q=cache:OtHd2eIE758J:http://whatenlightenment.blogspot.com/2004/11/more-on-ken-wilber-and-andrew-cohen.html+%22andrew+cohen%22+bullying&hl=en&ie=UTF-8&strip=1

    • Wilber uses the label "green meme" to excommunicate people from his community. The list of intelligent, wise, creative, and talented people he has "greened" is very, very long.

      Notably, Don Beck in an interview I conducted with him labeled Integral Institute's culture as blue/orange meme.

      • Joseph says:

        I wonder, though, if Wilber is finally wising up that having public greening spats is counterproductive to his image? There seems to have been less engagement in this sphere since around the time Frazee left II. Maybe I'm just missing it, or maybe the new crowd is simply too in awe to take a critical stance which can be greened?

  19. noodlebowl says:

    For the past 3 years, as inspiration I have kept a candy item by my computer
    terminal.

    It is a Mean Green Blow Pop.

    http://www.candyfavorites.com/Charms-Mean-Green-Blow-Pops-pr-1899.html

    Its like a Tootsie Roll on a stick. The wrapper is black, with bilious green and black letters spelling out with glorious emphasis, the name.

    So if anyone wants inspiration and wants to wear their mean green memeness with pride,
    order a box or two of these high fructose syrup goodies and mail them around to friends
    who have been Greened by Ken Wilber and his crowd.

    So order one or buy one. Treat it as your diploma of expulsion from Wilberville. Frame
    it an hang it on your wall. Am looking at mine right now.

    We could if possible make an arrangement with the company to put a picture of their candy
    in our avatars to signal where we stand.

  20. There is a new post on americanguru.net discussing the deceptive tactics employed by EnlightenNext in making their case.

    http://americanguru.net/news-and-reviews/andrew-c

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