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  1. #1
    Solus Solus is offline

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    School of Philosophy and Economic Science

    A curious organisation that usually surfaces in Ireland with front page adverts on the Irish Times.

    Discussion about a related (or not depending who you believe) organisation on politics.ie can be found in this thread;
    http://www.politics.ie/youth-politic...eadership.html

    Very interesting article in The Guardian recently that is rather disturbing
    Novelist Clara Salaman recalls her upbringing within an austere spiritual organisation | Life and style | The Guardian

    Further reading on SES at;
    SES Forums • View forum - General discussion on SES


    Solus
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  2. #2
    cactusflower cactusflower is offline

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    Yes, took part in the previous thread. A type of Hindu sect using NLP it seemed. Would you like to summarise the Guardian article?
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  3. #3
    Utopian Hermit Monk Utopian Hermit Monk is online now
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    The School has a very good website:

    Practical Philosophy Courses. School of Philosophy, Dublin, Ireland


    As a 'mainstream' academic, with absolutely no links to the School, several things strike me:

    1. The website is informative and makes no effort to hide the School's underlying philosophical orientation

    2. The School does not appear to be secretive; it even offers a wide range of lectures for purchase on CD to non-attendees

    3. It has been functioning for many years now, all over Ireland, advertising openly in the Irish Times, with thousands of attendees. To the best of my knowledge, there has been no hint of scandal or any indication that the thousands of attendees have been damaged or are 'up to no good'!

    4. The stated aims of both the School and Lucca Leadership (discussed on a separate thread) seem to me to be entirely praiseworthy. Both of them are registered charities, and any misgivings could be investigated by public authorities.

    5. It is very easy to make any similar organization appear sinister. For example, if people were to believe even a fraction of Internet conspiracy theories involving Jesuit links to 'Illuminati', CIA, plans for world domination, etc., I doubt that there would be long waiting lists for excellent colleges like Belvedere, Clongowes or Gonzaga!

    6. The few former attendees whom I have met personally appear to have been greatly helped by some of the courses on offer. I think, especially, of two people who were helped to cope with difficult grieving processes (one having lost a partner, the other a young child).

    So, while I would always maintain a critical attitude (the same would apply to courses on offer at any of our mainstream universities!), I see no reason for alarm.

    The most telling point for me is the fact that these courses have been functioning for so many years, with thousands of attendees. I am unaware of any evidence that they have done harm, while I have seen some evidence that they have done good.



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  4. #4
    Mar Tweedy Mar Tweedy is offline

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    Quote Originally Posted by Utopian Hermit Monk View Post
    The School has a very good website:

    Practical Philosophy Courses. School of Philosophy, Dublin, Ireland


    As a 'mainstream' academic, with absolutely no links to the School, several things strike me:
    You might be interested in reading Jeremy Stangroom's article "Is the School of Economic science a cult?". He is a mainstream philosopher and founder of The Philosophers' Magazine. In response to his article he got a large number of emails from people whose lives had been very damaged by the School of Philosophy. http://www.jeremystangroom.com/is-th...ce-a-cult/118/


    Quote Originally Posted by Utopian Hermit Monk View Post
    1. The website is informative and makes no effort to hide the School's underlying philosophical orientation

    2. The School does not appear to be secretive; it even offers a wide range of lectures for purchase on CD to non-attendees

    3. It has been functioning for many years now, all over Ireland, advertising openly in the Irish Times, with thousands of attendees. To the best of my knowledge, there has been no hint of scandal or any indication that the thousands of attendees have been damaged or are 'up to no good'!
    Its only since the advent of the t'Internet that it has been open about its philosophical roots. Up to then it happily portrayed itself as a "philosophy" school rather than one with roots in Hindu/advaita philosophy. They were deceptive about it for years so I have to say I do find it hard to trust that they have left all that deceptiveness behind, fool me once etc. Also as a 'spiritual' organisation, did they not understand that misleading people is dishonest?

    Also, I don't know how up on your advaita philosophy you are, but how is the lay person in Ireland to know whether it is in keeping with advaita, as they claim, or is it just their group's take on advaita, and really something else entirely i.e. a good excuse to keep people coming along and taking their money, whilst the members provide a free service upkeeping the School's rather large property portfolio?


    I think you'll find the CDs on offer are starter-pack CDs. Nevertheless, its a start. When you find freely available their founder Leon MacLaren's quotes on women (and how they should serve their men and the School), then I'll believe they have embraced transparency!

    Quote Originally Posted by Utopian Hermit Monk View Post
    4. The stated aims of both the School and Lucca Leadership (discussed on a separate thread) seem to me to be entirely praiseworthy. Both of them are registered charities, and any misgivings could be investigated by public authorities.

    5. It is very easy to make any similar organization appear sinister. For example, if people were to believe even a fraction of Internet conspiracy theories involving Jesuit links to 'Illuminati', CIA, plans for world domination, etc., I doubt that there would be long waiting lists for excellent colleges like Belvedere, Clongowes or Gonzaga!

    6. The few former attendees whom I have met personally appear to have been greatly helped by some of the courses on offer. I think, especially, of two people who were helped to cope with difficult grieving processes (one having lost a partner, the other a young child).

    So, while I would always maintain a critical attitude (the same would apply to courses on offer at any of our mainstream universities!), I see no reason for alarm.

    The most telling point for me is the fact that these courses have been functioning for so many years, with thousands of attendees. I am unaware of any evidence that they have done harm, while I have seen some evidence that they have done good.
    Try telling that to the kids who suffered appaulling abuse in the children's school they set up in London, which is now called St. James. Proven by an inquiry set up by the School themselves.

    Scientology has also been running courses attended by thousands of attendees worldwide. Folk will believe anything! There are lots of stories of harm in people's lives caused by the School of Philosophy. I have personal experience of a couple, one from the 1980s, one more recent.

    If it gives people happiness in their short lives, quite honestly it is their business and good luck to them. I couldn't care less if a belief in the holiness of pink elephant delusions makes someone happy.

    What I don't like about this group is that they seem very keen to teach children and young people their beliefs - without making it clear to those children's parents what they are being taught.
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  5. #5
    Solus Solus is offline

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    Quote Originally Posted by cactusflower View Post
    Yes, took part in the previous thread. A type of Hindu sect using NLP it seemed. Would you like to summarise the Guardian article?
    The article is written by the actress Clare Salaman (The Bill) and discusses her novel, 'Shame on You', "inspired" by her childhood experiences growing up in and being educated in an "austere spiritual organisation". Unfortunately she can't mention the organisation for "legal reasons". It takes some weight to gag The Guardian.

    From what I have read of the organisation I can't but help be reminded of the Scientologists.

    Solus
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  6. #6
    Solus Solus is offline

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    More interesting reading;

    "Also on their retreats away at their country retreat house Townley Hall, the women are supposed to offer to hand-wash the senior men's underwear. I am not making that up. It certainly was the case though may not be the case in 2009."
    School of Philosophy on Northumberland Rd - Be Careful! - Learn The Truth - boards.ie

    "Giles remembers one class where a man innocently mentioned just touching a woman student while dancing. MacLaren exploded, ‘You will not do that!’ he shouted. ‘It was the most incredibly sexless environment,’ remembers Giles sadly. ‘People didn’t hug each other. It was driven out of us.’ When discussing sex, MacLaren seemed to lose his dominating froideur. Another ex-member recalls MacLaren lose his temper one day when a woman asked why the school demanded that they behave so obediently. ‘All women do is lie around dreaming of how to seduce a man,’ he yelled. Giles still shakes his head in incredulity at how he and his colleagues found themselves living a monastic lifestyle at a time when the sexual revolution was just gearing up."
    Dialogue Ireland - World religions

    Solus
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  7. #7
    pangur1 pangur1 is offline

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    This is a remarkable thread.

    SES was originally Gurdjieff/Ouspensky, who were respectively an Armenian Renaissance man/conman (as he himself would readily admit, in the service of higher "truth") and a Russian journalist. The latter's account of G's courses - "In Search of the Miraculous" - is IMO a wacky 20th century classic

    In recent years, SES gravitated toward one of G's sources, Advaita Vedanta. Indeed, the Indian embassy here acknowledge them;

    India in Ireland - Indian Embassy Ireland

    Now we come to the interesting part; it does seem to be the case that Irish folklore includes many Indian themes in remarkably pure form. Could be that SES, in its bizarre way, is returning Ireland to its true roots after its disastrous dalliance with Judaeo-Christianity.
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  8. #8
    Marbellabound Marbellabound is offline

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    " Both of them are registered charities, and any misgivings could be investigated by public authorities."

    Where can their financial details be looked up, are their records public as they are a charity, does it list what their management is paid, expenses etc?
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  9. #9
    johnfás johnfás is offline

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    Quote Originally Posted by Marbellabound View Post
    " Both of them are registered charities, and any misgivings could be investigated by public authorities."

    Where can their financial details be looked up, are their records public as they are a charity, does it list what their management is paid, expenses etc?
    You don't have to publicly release your accounts if you are a charity. There is no such thing as a "registered charity" in Ireland. The only registration process is a registration with the revenue commissioners for the taxable status of a charity. This requires you to meet certain tests (such as your charitable purpose fitting under one of the 4 charitable headings) but does not require you to release your financial affairs publicly. If your charity is structured as a company you will of course have certain details released to the CRO.

    This is changing under the new Charities Act which will greatly increase disclosure requirements.
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  10. #10
    Marbellabound Marbellabound is offline

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    That's interesting as I was curious as to what exactly they do to deserve Charitable status. They run a private school in John Scotus and run evening classes in "philosophy" which they charge for. Where exactly does Charity enter into this?

    I mean, is the Institute on Leeson Street a Charity too? I dont think so but am open to correction.
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