The passing of authoritarian spiritual teacher traditions // How Hitler killed spiritual surrender…
As the New Age movement spreads globally the core institutions inherited from antiquity are beginning to degenerate or shift into malevolent forms.
It should never happen that a ‘spiritual teacher’ uses ‘disciples’ for magical experiments, or as guinea pigs. At that point we must sound the alarm and move to expose the guru phenomenon as antiquated, corrupted and superfluous. And it is all unnecessary. If there is one thing that can stop development it is dependency on someone else’s will. There is another side to this argument. And the meaning of the original institution should be clarified. But it never is, and the whole game is a form of guesswork. The question has many aspects, and many would disagree with this. But in a global context people are combining completely different traditions, from sufism, to Indian guruism, to the more ambiguous issue of authority figures long deceased, like Mohammed or Jesus.
It should be noted that guruism in India is more circumspect and effective. But the recent manifestations in the West have included a lot of dangerous new forms. I have to leave that world aside. I can’t generalize there because I have never seen the real original tradition.
First, surrender is an ancient concept, relevant to clear circumstances. But these have fallen away now. Let the history be told. But the generalized format crossing Indian to sufistic realms is an abuse by generalization, and has produced distortions.
The real of sufism is especially open to abuse, because it has no clear defining texts or traditions. People can declare themselves sufi sheiks with no open source credentials or histories. This is already clear with Gurdjieff, and his imitators. We have no trustworthy account of his life or study. Compare this every almost every Indian teacher. The legacy is almost always open.
The rule now is simple: trust noone. Surrender to noone. Don’t do it. The worst offenders in the sufi tradition have spoiled the whole game. The exceptions know themselves and arise in the context of personal relationships with trusted teachers in publicly documented contexts.
The extreme forms of super authoritarianism, died with fascism and nazism. The similar context in Gurdjieff should be a warning call. The danger is to become dependent over lives to an entity that will exploit in a second life. A terrible danger. The solution is to preserve one’s autonomy, dispense with spiritual surrender and stick to the classic formats of the path, like the Buddhist Eight-fold Way, which has not connection with gurus. With a few defining safeguards the institution could flourish once again, but the confusion now is almost incredible.
A figure like E.J. Gold calls himself a sufi sheik without a single documentation of any kind of who where and when. The suspicion is strong that he simply made it all up.
You should avoid at all costs occultists in disguise who can establish a hypnotic bond, fake a guru game, and then initiate exploitation after you leave his immediate circle. That calamity should be enough to condemn the whole set of traditions.
The exceptions here happen very naturally, as in the assembly of realized buddhas, a transient situation that seems to define itself by its immediate efficacy. But the confusion arises later in the working out of the original moment of transparency. It appears that something malevolent to the distant descendant disciples here, after Gautama finally passed away forever.
Incidentally, the reverse has come to be: now people wish to use figures like Aleister Crowley as the model of autonomous spiritual work. It is complete nonsense. But the impulse is not incorrect: to realize one’s own true will. Don’t imagine the degenerate Rosicrucian nonsense concocted by the occult traditions is effective here.
Stay away from it.
Almost a better study point to see the issue is a study of Schopenhauer. His views of the ‘will’ are complex and open to misunderstanding. But the nature of the ‘will’ is entirely mysterious and complex and is almost never even approximated by the idiocy of the texts left by Crowley.
The idea that the rite of Abramelin the Mage could be used to realize one’s ‘true will’, to me, is nutjob thinking at its worst. We must consider that all these things are junk from an earlier age that may have known the real meaning.
The thinking of Shopenhauer and Kant here suggests that the latent noumenal aspect of the ‘will’ (whose core meaning is not what we think) is protection against the abuse we see in guru games.
In any case the mixtures of gurdjieff, sufism, Crowley, buddhism, yoga, the list goes on, can only produce hopeless confusion.
The abuse of spiritual surrender that produced the fascist automaton and deviated into hidden political fascism was actually the death of the guru phenomenon. The abuse of surrender of the will to stage a revolt against modernity via reactionary hidden gurus with their zombies is over and gone.
It has hardly as yet died in the visible new age movement, but it has no future at this point. The suspicions of occult traditions manipulating nazism has poisoned any possibility of trust here.
So if you proceed alone you must transcend your own ego. Not a promising activity. But if it is going to happen nature will lead you to it, and then it will be obvious that you don’t really destory ego, but simply move beyond it.