email on Lachman (mbffm)
IMO, Gary Lachman is rather beguiling. He seems to write objectively, but I am getting a feeling that he supports the cultic milieu. Signficantly, he was once in OTO and later has been a student of Ouspensky’s work. For this reason, he wrote
a book about Ouspensky, feeling it was time that the man be studied apart from Gurdjieff.
He’s clearly unsympathetic to James Webb, given the title ‘The Damned’. Webb was ill, he was not damned, anymore
than one is damned for having Type 2 diabetes.
One can read Lachman either as encouragement to stay out of this crap or as encouragement to get involved in this crap.
I remain convinced that James Webb had the tragedy of living at a time
when there was little understanding of bipolar affective disorder as a medical syndrome or how to treat it.
I do not have the condition but know people who do, including the wonderful woman who died and left so many in grief.
One of the worst aggravators for bipolar is our modern life conditions with artificial lighting and so many activities
that disrupt circadian rhythm. One social worker who is a buddy and who has worked with many persons with bipolar,
lived for awhile at a Zen monastery. She told me that persons with bipolar not only need to get ‘at least9 7 to 8 hours of
high quality sleep per night, they also do best when they get up with the sun. She said that even if a person with bipolar
gets the 8 hours of sleep and takes his or her medication, if he or she gets up before dawn, that can still be enough to
destablize the person. She saw this happen to a couple of sincere practitioners who had bipolar and tried to stick with the
monastery schedule, in which first period meditation began before dawn in wintertime.
Later, I met one or two persons with bipolar who told me they’d been told this same thing–avoid trying to get up before
What is a tragedy is that persons with bipolar may have some vivid experiences, and then try to make sense of those
experiences by joining groups and gurus which entail stress, sleep disruption, poor diet–the very worst thing for anyone
with this type of biochemical vulnerability.
Lachman’s conspiracy theorizing about Webb can be read here.