Gurus vs licensed professionals
Good comment from MBFM: Gurus in civil society
I second your sentiments with a couple of caveats, and there is a lot to consider here. But stick to your guns, the New Age environment needs a dose of what you are saying.
First, just some quick thoughts on my part on your post.
The idea of being licensed professionals is anathema to most gurus, of course. Many have declared war on civil society, or rather (since they are by definition an aspect of civil society) the general socio-political combination as culture.
Further, if it ever happened they would mutate into another form. Being a ‘crazy wisdom teacher’ is a luxury they can do without. They could be as polite and proper as Krishnamurti, who was virtually licensable, and still wreak havoc on a set of victims. (Rajneesh used to make fun of Krishnamurti on these and other points, but I think K has been vindicated).
Since we have taken on the insidious E.J. Gold, it is worth noting that his behavior, to the public, is, by and large, nothing worse than that of a stand up comedian, in mediocre bad taste, at that. The crunch point is concealed, and known only over time by those who are disconnected from his environment. Those on the premises are generally treated in legal fashion. So it is a question of tracking down those who once upon a time were associated with his ‘milieu’ to see how they are faring, an almost impossible task.
As against that he has frequently (in my limited knowledge) indulged publicly in destructive tactics of a type noone could easily challenge because they are simply expressions of criticism of individuals (designed to cause their psyches to implode long after the incident), e.g. declaring certain people to be totally worthless and without spiritual potential, etc,… Those were not teaching devices, but, evidently, meant literally, to trash certain individuals. The recipients tend to lose any further connection with any spiritual endeavor, and can go crazy years later. So, at least, there is some public damning evidence in that case, if it could be documented.
But tricky operators here (they are rare) don’t need to indulge in such dangerous nonsense.
The best approach is a new teaching that puts self-defense at the beginning, and warns those who embark in guru circles to NEVER give tacit/explicit consent to concealed versions of ‘surrender’. In a legalistic klutz mode what you get is what you agreed to in advance, etc….
The ‘guru’ is, of course, an Indic term. In sufism, the status of the ‘shayk’ is less clear. But in some forms of sufism, they talk of ‘seeking a friend’. The idea has merit (although I am sure that has been abused already also).
Replacing the status of guru with the relationship of friends has real possibilities. What little I know here I got from ‘friends’.
More to say here.