Letters, We Get Mail, CCLXVI



[ Link here = http://www.orange-papers.info/orange-letters266.html#Huff ]

Date: Thu, October 6, 2011 4:19 pm
From: "The Huffington Post"
Subject: Dr. Peter Ferentzy published a new article on The Huffington Post

Dr. Peter Ferentzy wrote a new post Ending Drug Prohibition and Emancipating the Addict — the Last Frontier in a Struggle for Enlightenment

The UK is rife with talk of drug legalisation. First, because most illicit drug use is either benign or at least innocuous. Second, because even when addiction is involved, punishment is not the...

To comment on this post, follow the link below:

http://www.huffingtonpost.co.uk/dr-peter-ferentzy/ending-drug-prohibition-a_b_995556.html





[The previous letter from Graham_B is here.]

[ Link here = http://www.orange-papers.info/orange-letters266.html#Graham_B ]

Date: Sat, October 8, 2011 3:18 am     (answered 10 October 2011)
From: "Graham B-H."
Subject: Re: AA

Hello Mr Orange,

Thanks for the reply.

Like I said opinions are like arseholes .....

Hello again, Graham,

Like I said, opinions are not all alike. Some are based on facts, and some are based on prejudices or superstitions or irrational beliefs or misinformation.

You see or not, when I talk about being fucked in the head, it's because I have the ability to laugh at myself.

When someone tells me that he is fucked in the head, what that means to me is that he is fucked in the head, not that he doesn't take himself seriously.

Besides, you actually take yourself very seriously. You insist that your opinions and your beliefs are the truth. "Not taking yourself seriously" is just an act to cover up such monumental arrogance that you think you have a hotline to God and "the Big Answer".

You will have an answer for everything which is great for you, but does not mean that much to me. What you think of me, is not my business and vice-versa.

Which is relevant to what? That is another attempt at an illogical escape. "Fact don't mean much to me. I can't hear you."

You are obviously quite an intellectual and all I'm having with you, is some fun. The Steps are numbered for the intellectual.

Fun? That is another standard A.A. dodge. I'm talking about quackery and medical malpractice that kills people. That isn't fun.

RE: "The Steps are numbered for the intellectual."
That is another A.A. slogan, one that spreads the standard A.A. anti-intellectualism. A.A. sure does have contempt for people with working brains.

How about telling me a bit about yourself.

Are you male or female? gay or straight? married, divorced, children, no children, and so on ? Are you happy ? If so, I'm happy for you. Do you believe in God ?

I've already written out the autobiographical information many times.
Here is a list: Who Are You?.
Here is more: How did you get to be where you are?

I believe in "God, as I understand It", but I do not believe in Santa Claus. I do not believe that you can get a Big Ghost to grant your wishes just by getting down on your knees and begging. The Jews in Auschwitz thoroughly disproved that one.

I expect God to help the Alcoholics Anonymous members just the same way as He helped the Jews in Auschwitz.

I have been married for 22 years have 2 sons 21 & 23 and have never been in a better space than I am in now. My search for God is over, I do not share that with you for you to now play psychiatrist but merely for your information. If I ask for your advice, then you are entitled to give it. Rather tell me about yourself and how you cope with living. Please don't come from any higher ground, then we cannot communicate. You are no better or worse than any other individual on this planet.

That is yet another attempt at an escape via relativism. People are not all equal. Their education and intelligence and opinions are not all equal either. Nor are their grasps on reality.

In AA, I say that I choose my Psychopaths well, which means, I do not mix with everybody there. I have a few friends that are alcoholics and we never sit in judgement or try to fix each other. We laugh at our insanities and communicate with each other about our defects and assets. I firmly believe that our basic characters never change.

You laugh at your insanities? How about the insane belief that an old pro-Nazi cult religion from the nineteen-thirties will make you a good person and solve your problems?

I grant you the right to believe whatever you want to, grant that to others.

You can believe whatever you want to believe. You can even believe that the world is flat, like the Hari Krishnas used to do. But you do not have the right to foist quackery and superstition on sick people and lie to them and other people and say that it works great.

The three pertinent ideas in the Big Book, mean a lot to me. They are not Bill Wilson, they are words that one either accepts or rejects as one sees fit.

  1. Bill also said, that let us never be so vain as to think that AA is a cure-all, even for alcoholism.
  2. When we treat alcoholism as a matter of willpower and morality, people die.
  3. When we treat it as a disease, people get better.

  1. The first statement is just one of Bill Wilson's bait-and-switch tricks. While recruiting, Bill Wilson made some statements that sounded enlightened and open-minded, about how A.A. has no monopoly, and A.A. isn't "the only way by which faith may be acquired", but that was just P.R. fluff to fool the outsiders into joining. After they joined, the story changed. That is Deceptive Recruiting, and it's a bait-and-switch trick.

    Upon therapy for the alcoholic himself, we surely have no monopoly.
    The Big Book, 3rd Edition, William G. Wilson, Foreword, page xxi.

    We have no desire to convince anyone that there is only one way by which faith can be acquired.   ...
    The Big Book, 3rd Edition, William G. Wilson, There Is A Solution, page 28.

    (Changing the goal from "quit drinking" to "acquire faith" is another bait-and-switch trick.)

    But then the story changed to:

    Any willing newcomer feels sure A.A. is the only safe harbor for the foundering vessel he has become.
    Twelve Steps and Twelve Traditions, William G. Wilson, page 35.

    ... you may be suffering from an illness which only a spiritual experience will conquer.     ...
    At first some of us tried to avoid the issue, hoping against hope we were not true alcoholics. But after a while we had to face the fact that we must find a spiritual basis of life — or else.

    The Big Book, 3rd Edition, William G. Wilson, page 44.

    Unless each A.A. member follows to the best of his ability our suggested [Bill Wilson's required] Twelve Steps to recovery, he almost certainly signs his own death warrant. His drunkenness and dissolution are not penalties inflicted by people in authority; they result from his personal disobedience to spiritual principles [Bill Wilson's cult religion practices].
    Twelve Steps and Twelve Traditions, William G. Wilson, page 174.

    Look here for more:

    1. Bait and Switch: First, Bill Wilson declared that Alcoholics Anonymous was only one of many ways to achieve sobriety, then he declared that it was The Only Way.

    2. The Cult Test: Insistence that the cult is THE ONLY WAY

  2. "When we treat alcoholism as a matter of willpower and morality, people die."

    That is bullshit, and another one of Bill Wilson's bare-faced lies. Show me the medical tests that prove that. There are none. What the doctors really say is:

    The NIAAA's 2001-2002 National Epidemiologic Survey on Alcohol and Related Conditions interviewed over 43,000 people. Using the criteria for alcohol dependence found in the DSM-IV, they found: "About 75 percent of persons who recover from alcohol dependence do so without seeking any kind of help, including specialty alcohol (rehab) programs and AA. Only 13 percent of people with alcohol dependence ever receive specialty alcohol treatment."

    And even an A.A. Trustee said:

    "[It] doesn't hurt at the level of GSO for AA to have humility and understand that 60 percent do it without AA."
    — Prof. Dr. George E. Vaillant (AA Board Of Trustees Member, and author "The Natural History of Alcoholism"): AA Grapevine magazine 5/2001

    And Bill Wilson was contradicting his first point above. Bill Wilson switched to claiming that A.A. IS the only way.

    The logic there is also totally twisted and backwards. You say that "When we treat alcoholism as a matter of willpower and morality, people die." But it is A.A. that treats alcohol abuse as an issue of morality. Step Four is a moral inventory. And Steps Five through Seven are about "shortcomings", and "defects of character" and "wrongs". A.A. claims that drinking alcohol is a moral shortcoming.

    Now I know that A.A. also claims that "alcoholism is a disease, not a moral stigma", but that is just another bait-and-switch trick: First, alcoholism is a disease to be cured, and then it is a sin that must be removed by God.

  3. "When we treat it as a disease, people get better."

    Again, this is bullshit. Show me the medical records. Show me the clinical trials where A.A. improved the alcoholics. There are none. In fact, A.A. has failed every properly-conducted test.

    Even Dr. George E. Vaillant, who loved A.A. so much that he was elected to the Board of Trustees of Alcoholics Anonymous, found that A.A. failed to help alcoholics. Dr. Vaillant spent the better part of twenty years treating alcoholics with A.A., and calling alcoholism a "disease". Then, to prove that A.A. works, he tracked his first 100 patients for eight years. After eight years of A.A. treatment, the results were 5 sober, 29 dead, and 66 still drinking. Dr. Vaillant summed up the results of A.A. treatment by writing:

    After initial discharge, only five patients in the Clinic sample never relapsed to alcoholic drinking, and there is compelling evidence that the results of our treatment were no better than the natural history of the disease.
    ...
    Not only had we failed to alter the natural history of alcoholism, but our death rate of three percent a year was appalling.
    ...
    Once again, our results were no better than the natural history of the disorder.
    The Natural History of Alcoholism: Causes, Patterns, and Paths to Recovery, George E. Vaillant, Harvard University Press, Cambridge, MA, 1983, pages 283-286.
    The same text was reprinted in Vaillant's later book, The Natural History of Alcoholism Revisited, George E. Vaillant, Harvard University Press, Cambridge, MA, 1995, pages 349-352.

    "The natural history of alcoholism" means what usually happens to untreated alcoholics. You know, "Jails, Institutions, or Death". But also many spontaneous recoveries where people heal themselves.

    By the way, five out of a hundred is the natural spontaneous remission rate in alcoholism. That's how many alcoholics will quit drinking all on their own, each year, without any treatment or help, to save their own lives. So the real A.A. cure rate — those alcoholics whom A.A. helped to get sober — was zero.

Why all this obsession with the Oxford Group ?

Because the Alcoholics Anonymous religion IS the Oxford Group religion. Bill Wilson just hijacked a branch of Dr. Frank Buchman's cult and made it into his own cult. You and your fellow A.A. members are still parrotting the teachings of Dr. Frank Buchman, and practicing his mind-bending recruiting and indoctrination techniques. The 12 Steps are nothing but the Oxford Group practices. Bill Wilson did not discover or invent anything. He just wrote down the Oxford Group practices. (Cult practices, not "spiritual principles".)

Chill out, the aggression must be killing you. As for the resentment .....

Don't worry about my resentments. I am doing just fine with my resentments, thank you.

Congratulations on making the list of Steppers who have accused me of "having a resentment". There are so many. Look here:
http://www.orange-papers.info/orange-letters128.html#resentment99

This arseholes opinion is that any disease of the emotions can only be removed by God. Accept or reject, it works for me. I have suffered from more than one disease and just recently had another miracle. Accept or reject as you see fit, what you think for me, does not matter, it's what I think that matters for me.

Okay, so you have some screwy Buchmanite religious beliefs. Now you can see why the Oxford Group is relevant.

Most of the doctors and psychiatrists in this world will strongly dispute your belief that "any disease of the emotions can only be removed by God."

By the way, if A.A. is really treating "emotional illnesses" with religion, then A.A. is practicing medicine without a license. You A.A. members are not trained psychiatrists, and you have no business treating mental illness.

And you are attempting to do some screwy faith healing. A.A. has killed a lot of people that way, especially by telling mental patients not to take their medications. "Don't take medications, just trust the 12 Steps and God to heal you."

Here in Portland, Oregon, another pair of parents who are members of the Followers of Christ Church just got convicted of manslaughter for letting their baby die, rather than take the baby to a doctor, because they only believe in faith healing. I wonder when the courts will start convicting A.A. sponsors for such quackery.

"Waiting for God to provide is a good way to become very spiritual and very gone from this worldly scene."

== John Phipps

I do not correspond with you with anything but wishes that you are happy and well. If you will, please just tell me about you. There is nothing you can answer about Bill Wilson or AA that is going to change how I feel.

The autobiographical information is listed above.

And please don't worry about me. I am doing just fine. I have almost 11 years of sobriety now. My 11th anniversary is less than two weeks away. The people to worry about are the sick people who are getting sold Frank Buchman's and Bill Wilson's old cult religion as a quack cure for alcohol abuse. Those poor people are dying.

If you come with all sorts of stories from the history books then I guess that the communication will be over and I believe that you will stop the correspondance because you want to do it first.

That sounds like you will cut off communication if I tell the truth about the history of Alcoholics Anonymous. That is typical cultish behavior. We were just discussing, in a previous letter, how cutting off communication with critics is standard cult practice. Lafayette Ronald Hubbard, the founder of Scientology said, if the criticism cannot be silenced, then the scientologist should cease all communication with the critic, or "disconnect". (Look here.) Just run away and avoid any further communication that might accidentally lodge a fact between the believers' ears.

Take care and be well,
Graham

You have a good day too, Graham.

== Orange

*             [email protected]        *
*         AA and Recovery Cult Debunking      *
*          http://www.Orange-Papers.org/      *
**     The belief which we find thus questionable, both as being
**     a primitive belief and as being a belief belonging to an
**     almost-extinct family, is a belief that is not countenanced
**     by a single fact.
**       ==  Herbert Spencer, "Principles of Biology",
**            Volume 1, page 336, published 1864 to 1867.

[The next letter from Graham_B is here.]





[ Link here = http://www.orange-papers.info/orange-letters266.html#Ray_S ]

Date: Sat, October 8, 2011 8:11 am     (answered 10 October 2011)
From: "Ray S."
Subject: Similar site search fail

Similar site search: Orange Papers

http://www.similarsitesearch.com/alternatives-to/orange-papers.info

A list of 50 sites similar to: orange-papers.info

  • #1) http://www.alcoholics-anonymous.org/
  • #2) http://www.aa.org/?Media=PlayFlash
  • #3) http://www.al-anon.alateen.org/
  • #4) http://www.aagrapevine.org/
  • #5) http://www.serenityfound.org/home.html

Hi Ray,

Thanks for the tip. Those guys are clueless, aren't they? That's what happens when a computer program just stupidly picks out a few key words.

Have a good day now.

== Orange

*             [email protected]        *
*         AA and Recovery Cult Debunking      *
*          http://www.Orange-Papers.org/      *
**
**      "The similarities between me and my father are completely different."
**          == Dale Berra said this when asked if he took after Yogi.





July 20, 2011, Wednesday, a side trip to the Fernhill Wetlands this summer:

Pelican flying
Pelican flying


Fernhill Wetlands
Fernhill Wetlands


Ducklings
Ducklings

[More gosling photos below, here.]





[ Link here = http://www.orange-papers.info/orange-letters266.html#Bob_O ]

Date: Sat, October 8, 2011 9:09 am     (answered 10 October 2011)
From: Bob O.
Subject: Should I try?

Mister T,

Should I persist in telling XA true-believers the truth about recovery even as they resist? I have been in contact with Kris Best who has written
www.examiner.com/addictions-in-lafayette-la/aa-cult-deconstruction-part1,
2 and 3.

I gave her your web address but from her comments it is obvious she did not even read the introduction. I feel it is a waste of time unless she can see the truth and publish her findings.

Thank you for all you do.

Long Island Bob O.

Hello again, Bob,

What I plan to do is, when I finally get around to answering her articles some rainy day, I will send carbon copies of my letters to the newspaper's editor, and also print them here. I don't expect anything like a fair hearing from her, and it is highly unlikely that she would print any sensible rebuttal to her illogical rants. But her editor might find a fair debate interesting. (I say might.)

Have a good day now.

== Orange

*             [email protected]        *
*         AA and Recovery Cult Debunking      *
*          http://www.Orange-Papers.org/      *
**
**     Opposing viewpoints are welcome, just as long as they agree with mine.
**     This diet plan really works, just as long as you don't eat too much.
**     RARELY have we seen a person fail, who has thoroughly followed our path.

UPDATE: 2013.08.09:
That rainy day came. I answered her articles here: A reply to Kris Best's articles in the Lafayette Examiner.





[ Link here = http://www.orange-papers.info/orange-letters266.html#Bill_E ]

Date: Sat, October 8, 2011 2:24 pm     (answered 10 October 2011)
From: "Bill E."
Subject: AA

Greetings,

I do not speak for AA but only of my own perceptions of the program. I have been a sober member of the program for over 18 years and have observed a lot. I believe that there are a number of misconceptions about the AA program they are:

  • 1. AA is a treatment program..It is not . I personally and have known of many others who have suggested that people look into going to Detox centres, Treatment Centres, Marriage Councillors, Medical Doctors, Clergymen and Psychologists whilst citing the inabilty of the AA program to deal with such matters in any fashion.. As a sponsor of indivifuals from time to time I am fully aware that all I can do is carry the message of sobriety and exhibit sobriety in my life. AA provides a road map with common sense principles to live by.In this sense it is only a suggested Maintenance Program. I don't believe that AA has ever gotten anyone sober against their will. AA literature concedes that we only know a little.

  • 2. AA is a religion or a Cult.... This is totally an error in perception.. I attended a meeting recently where a fellow received a 5 year cake. He stated that he was an atheist when he came into the program and that he was still an atheist. Many members of AA share the Atheistic or Agnostic point of view and have maintained their sobriety over an extended period of time. No one is ever pressured into believing anything.specific other than that alcohol will take most of us down if we don't get some sort of help in maintaining our sobriety. That help is always in the form a power greater than ourselves otherwise we would handle it by ourselves. That power can be the people in the program or our extended support network in and out of the program. Admitting our faults is not a religious ritual. I once asked two of my neighbors to help me fall a tree in my yard. I couldn't do it by myself... does that make me a cultist??? I think not!!!! The interesting thing is that many people who come into the program are affiliated with a religious denomination. They are encouraged by virtue of step 11 to seek through prayer and meditation to increase their concious contact with God as they understand him.

  • 3.There is no prerequisite to join AA.. This is totally erroneous there most certainly is!!! The alcoholic must have a desire to stop drinking or at least say they do!!! This is proclaimed in the 3rd Tradition. The program is of no value whatsoever to those who really have no desire to quit entirely. This one point skewes any attempt to quote statistics. Nobody can know the true desire of an individual. Many if not most AA members would not judge the true motives of individuals. There are therfore no statistics in AA.True motives are privy to the individual. A certain group will accept an individual on the basis of their assertion that they have a desire to stop drinking. We do not give polygraph tests nor do we administer truth serum. We merely stay sober and try to carry the message to those who are still suffering.

Thanks for hearing me out.

Hello Bill,

Thank you for the input. Unfortunately, that is a lot of standard A.A. propaganda, and quite untrue.

You began your letter with the standard A.A. doubletalk:

I do not speak for AA but only of my own perceptions of the program. I have been a sober member of the program for over 18 years and have observed a lot.

The A.A. oldtimers declare that they are not speaking for A.A., because nobody can speak for A.A., and then they declare how many years of sobriety and A.A. membership they have, to establish their credentials to speak for A.A., and then they speak for A.A. while saying that they aren't speaking for A.A.

Now, for your points:

  1. RE:

    1. AA is a treatment program..It is not .

    Now this statement is true. A.A. is quackery and superstition, not medical treatment. But A.A. is used as a treatment program by most of the "treatment centers" in this country, and A.A. does nothing to stop that. In fact, A.A. encourages it.

    We were just discussing how Bill Wilson set up a 12-Step treatment center way back in 1940. Look here. For "not being a treatment program", Bill Wilson was sure quick to make it one, and start making money off of it. Bill published the Big Book in 1939, and set up the first 12-Step treatment center in 1940.

    Also see how Dr. George E. Vaillant used A.A. as treatment for almost 20 years. Then Dr. Vaillant was elected to the Board of Trustees of A.A.

    In addition, the flip-flop about whether A.A. is "treatment" is just another standard A.A. bait-and-switch trick: First, A.A. is good treatment for the "disease of alcoholism", and then it isn't treatment at all.

  2. RE:

    2. AA is a religion or a Cult.... This is totally an error in perception..

    Wrong. It is not an error in perception. It is very clear perception. A.A. passes the Cult Test with flying colors. Look here.

    Even an A.A. Trustee said that A.A. was a cult religion:

    "...AA certainly functions as a cult and systematically indoctrinates its members in ways common to cults the world over. ...in the absence of proven scientific efficacy, critics are legitimate in suggesting that mandated AA attendance may be criticized as a failure of proper separation between church and state."
    == A.A. Trustee Prof. Dr. George E. Vaillant, The Natural History Of Alcoholism Revisited, page 266.

    The fact that you have some token atheists only shows that A.A. can have token Negroes just like any other organization.

    RE:

    That help is always in the form a power greater than ourselves otherwise we would handle it by ourselves. That power can be the people in the program or our extended support network in and out of the program.

    Well, the vast majority of people who recover from alcohol abuse and alcohol addiction really do handle it themselves. In fact, they all do. A.A. doesn't work, and A.A. does not sober up "millions" of alcoholics. A.A. cannot sober up anybody. Everybody has to do it for himself or herself. The NIAAA's 2001-2002 National Epidemiologic Survey on Alcohol and Related Conditions interviewed over 43,000 people. Using the criteria for alcohol dependence found in the DSM-IV, they found:

    "About 75 percent of persons who recover from alcohol dependence do so without seeking any kind of help, including specialty alcohol (rehab) programs and AA. Only 13 percent of people with alcohol dependence ever receive specialty alcohol treatment."

    And using a Group Of Drunks as your "GOD" (G.O.D. == Group Of Drunks) is sheer insanity. Do you really believe that you can get down on your knees and pray to a group of drunks and they will give you a Miracle?

    RE:

    No one is ever pressured into believing anything.

    Get real. People are sentenced to A.A. every day. And if the captive recruit doesn't please his sponsor by parrotting the correct religious dogma, the sponsor sends a bad report to the court or parole officer, which can send the victim to prison.

    RE:

    I once asked two of my neighbors to help me fall a tree in my yard. I couldn't do it by myself... does that make me a cultist??? I think not!!!!

    Bad analogy. Did you ask your neighbors to come over every Friday and Saturday night and hold your hand to keep you from drinking? I think not.

    You imply that you got "help" from A.A., but what help?

    • How does declaring that you are powerless over alcohol make you quit drinking?
    • How does declaring that your thinking is fucked and you are insane, but a ghost will restore you to sanity help you to quit drinking?
    • How does going to meetings and confessing all of your "moral shortcomings" and "defects of character" and "wrongs" make you quit drinking?
    • How does begging a ghost or spirit or "God" or "Group Of Drunks" to remove your defects make you quit drinking?
    • How does going around and apologizing to everybody make you quit drinking?
    • How does conducting a séance and listening to the voices in your head make you quit drinking?
    • How does going around recruiting for A.A., and doling out the truth about A.A. by "teaspoons, not buckets", make people quit drinking?

    "Not a cult" indeed.

  3. RE:

    There is no prerequisite to join AA.. This is totally erroneous there most certainly is!!! The alcoholic must have a desire to stop drinking or at least say they do!!!

    I don't know where you got that. I never said that there wasn't a prerequisite. And there is another prerequisite that you didn't mention: gullibility and susceptibility to religious indoctrination.

    Even back in 1960, Dr. Edgar H. Schein saw that Alcoholics Anonymous was a mind-control or thought-reform program, and he saw what the prerequisites were. Dr. Schein explained it so well:

    Certain organizations like Alcoholics Anonymous (AA) do not deliberately unfreeze an individual but refuse to take anyone under their care who is not already unfrozen. Thus a person does not become eligible for care by AA unless he has really become desperate, is dissatisfied with himself, and is prepared to turn his fate over to some greater power.
    Coercive Persuasion: A Socio-psychological Analysis of the "Brainwashing" of American Civilian Prisoners by the Chinese Communists by Edgar H. Schein with Inge Schneier and Curtis H. Barker, W.W. Norton, New York, 1961, page 272.

    Click on that link for the rest of the page and more about A.A.

    RE:

    Many if not most AA members would not judge the true motives of individuals. There are therfore no statistics in AA.

    That is illogical nonsense. You are trying to claim that A.A. does not produce success statistics because the "true motives" of the A.A. members are what matter. That means that A.A. does not work, and cannot make people quit drinking. Only those people with the "correct motives" will quit drinking, and then A.A. will claim the undeserved credit for their sobriety.

    And that's how it is. A.A. doesn't work at all. A few people who come to A.A. just finally quit drinking by using their own will power and intelligence and determination, in order to save their own lives and stop the pain, and then A.A. steals the credit, while disavowing any responsibility for the vast majority of A.A. newcomers who don't quit drinking.

    The fact that some of the successful people get brainwashed into believing that A.A. saved their lives is not evidence that A.A. works, it is evidence that A.A. is a cult.

Have a good day now.

== Orange

*             [email protected]        *
*         AA and Recovery Cult Debunking      *
*          http://www.Orange-Papers.org/      *
**
**     These big confused human brains that we have seem to lead to
**     special troubles.  You don't see preacher chimpanzees or gorillas
**     telling their fellows, "Give me all of your bananas so that
**     you can go to heaven."
**     Nope, that kind of insanity is strictly the province of humans.





July 20, 2011, Wednesday, a side trip to the Fernhill Wetlands this summer:

Mama Duck and Ducklings
Mama Duck and Ducklings

Duckling
Duckling

Duckling
Duckling

[The story of Carmen continues here.]





[ Link here = http://www.orange-papers.info/orange-letters266.html#Bob_O ]

Date: Sun, October 9, 2011 8:18 am     (answered 11 October 2011)
From: Bob O.
Subject: Another article

Mister T,

Another short article if you please

www.huffingtonpost.co.uk/dr-peter-ferentzy/ending-drug-prohibition-a_b_995556.html

Thank you again,
Long Island Bob O.

Hi again, Bob,

Thanks for the link. Yes, Peter Ferentzy is suddenly very busy and productive, isn't he? And the Huffington Post is a good web site to be getting his articles published on.

Have a good day now.

== Orange


Date: Sun, October 9, 2011 10:17 pm     (answered 11 October 2011)
From: Bob O.
Subject: stinkin' — thinkin'

Mister T,

When I first heard the slogan "Your best thinking got you here" I was confused because I was in an AA meeting at the time. I later realized they meant my thinking that I could drink and drug safely was my best thinking which was wrong. I now know my belief that AA would help me was also stinkin'-thinkin' and wrong. This just came to mind from a reference to that phrase in the forum.

Thank you again.
Peace and love.
Long Island Bob O.

Good point. Isn't it funny how there is a double standard there? If an A.A. newcomer thinks that A.A. dogma is bullshit, the A.A. members say that is "stinkin' thinkin'", and "his addiction talking." But if someone thinks that Bill Wilson's copy of Frank Buchman's cult religion is a Gift From God, then that is proper thinking and "sanity". Yeh, right.

Have a good day now.

== Orange

*             [email protected]        *
*         AA and Recovery Cult Debunking      *
*          http://www.Orange-Papers.org/      *
**
**     These big confused human brains that we have seem to lead to
**     special troubles.  You don't see preacher chimpanzees or gorillas
**     telling their fellows, "Give me all of your bananas so that
**     you can go to heaven."
**     Nope, that kind of insanity is strictly the province of humans.





[The previous letter from Steve_S is here.]

[ Link here = http://www.orange-papers.info/orange-letters266.html#Steve_S ]

Date: Sun, October 9, 2011 8:33 am     (answered 11 October 2011)
From: "Steve S."
Subject: A reply

Hi "Orange"

In reply to your response to my previous letter http://www.orange-papers.info/orange-letters265.html#Steve_S

Thank you for your reply. The excommunication is broadly covered on the web. The essence of the split was that the SGI posed a threat to the priesthood's control of the Dai Gohonzon, and the SGI itself (and the funds it raised). I shall not enter into the various ad hominem slanders suffice it to say that to promote the notion that the Dai Gohonzon is somehow more "powerful" [as a mirror to our own Buddha nature] than the Gohonzon in our homes, or the Gohonzon (i.e. Buddha Nature) that exits within each human being's life (whether we recognise it or not), is a delusion of colossal proportions.

Hi again, Steve,

So it was a fight over who got to own and chant to the oldest scroll? Incredible.

Yes, that is delusional magical thinking. I am sure that Buddha would have disapproved.

I can just see a Zen Buddhist master burning the scroll while asking, "What were you idiots thinking?"

Of course, nobody has the right to excommunicate anyone from their Buddha nature. You may as well try to separate your form from your shadow. The Buddha never uttered such nonsense — it certainly wasn't his "thing". How could this enable people to end their suffering?

I can't help but notice the parallels to what happened to Christianity. After existing for several hundred years, Christianity had turned into an organization that excommunicated people, had heresy trials, and burned girls at the stake as witches, and burned astronomers as heretics.

Although I profess no particular expertise or great experience in theological matters, I will attempt to answer your further questions as a layman. An important caveat however. Should your arguments be based upon a belief that the true nature of existence (and non-existence) is limited to that which we have been able to measure and observe under the scientific method, then there is little point in continuing.

1.) Chanting for the happiness of others? How does that work? How can you sitting in a room, chanting to a printed scroll, make other people happy?

By focussing ourselves in meditation we are able to remain mindful [of our mission for happiness] when we engage with the world at large. Chanting activates our Buddha nature. I could liken this to the fact that my appetite is activated when I think of apple pie. Of course, you could ascribe this almost Pavlovian response to apple pie to processes within the brain that we are just beginning to understand through science. Of course chanting to enabling our Buddha nature, cannot so easily be measured, but is nonetheless our way of realising (and actualising) that life condition in our daily lives.

You may be expecting me to cite the "Mystic Law" and "universal energies" or some such as the vehicle by which our chanting then actually makes people happy — This mechanism is misunderstood by many as being something apart from ourselves. The function of making people happy is fulfilled by us, as mere mortals — we are all functions of "the Mystic Law" as it is referred to in the Lotus Sutra. So, to be succinct — chanting and not "acting", or getting off your backside, is pretty pointless. Your question perhaps requires further qualification.

If you lock someone in a room, forever, then it is unlikely (but not impossible — our understanding of the universe is finite) their chanting will have any effect on the outside world. Unless of course, it is known they are locked in there and chanting for the happiness of others... in which case a connection is made to the outside world — and other buddhists and non buddhists alike may act en-mas to improve the world (and hopefully to release the prisoner)!

I can see some sense in the belief that to improve oneself is to improve the world. Still, I find chanting for the happiness of others a stretch, and perhaps a bit of ego: "I'm so good that I chant for the happiness of others."

2.) Do you really believe that chanting to a printed scroll — the "Gohonzon" — will get you things? Do you believe that the Gohonzon is able to grant wishes?

No. What use are wishes without action? Again, it is incorrect to believe the Gohonzon is primarily there to fulfil material desires.

No joke.

To clarify by example. You are financially struggling, your boss won't promote you and yet you really want a shiney BMW on your driveway. The motives behind this desire are arguably base, and driven by the lower words of hunger (desire), anger (desire to elevate oneself above the neighbours perhaps), animality (desire to get "chicks"). Driven purely by these lower worlds you are unlikely to succeed!

Agreed.

In fact, in my experience, the chanting was dangerously close to black magic. Just chant a spell to make the world give you whatever you wish: money, girl friend, better job, car, apartment, furniture, whatever. My group leader thought I was nuts when I talked about getting enlightenment. Why do that when you can get the good stuff?

By chanting and activating your buddha nature, you realise that we are all equally capable of buddhahood... You, me, even your boss who is being shitty to you. Your buddha nature may give you the courage and compassion to actually engage with your boss — perhaps ask him why is is so unhappy... maybe he opens up to you, revealing his reasons. I won't continue with this fiction, but the essence of my argument is that by revealing our Buddha nature, we make sincere connections which we would not have otherwise made. The primary effect here is that you may help your boss in some way (perhaps making him happier or encouraging him to overcome his challenges). The secondary effect is that you may receive benefit from this connection — maybe he trusts you more — maybe he looks upon you in a better light. Who knows what benefit may come — if any. If you don't act, though, then it's a given you will remain hungry, and angry for that BMW!

Ah, but does chanting Nam-myoho-renge-kyo "activate your Buddha nature?" That is a huge assumption.

3.) You talked about not feeling guilty for failing to attend meetings. That implies that somebody else does. Why the heck do you have to go to meetings at all? Does the chanting not work if it is not done in groups?

The fact that I feel no guilt when missing SGI meetings implies nothing — I'm afraid that is your own inference. When I say "Any sense of guilt for not attending any meetings, is truly self generated." I mean exactly that. Any sense of guilt can only be self generated — the conditions to make people feel guilty for abstaining from activities should NEVER exist. How can making a fellow member feel guilty, make them happy?

We encourage people to attend (as I myself am encouraged), but this is in the true sense of the word "give support, confidence, or hope to (someone)" — but no more than you might encourage a friend to try a new food. Most definitely, this must not to be confused with coercion, persuasion, to compel, or pressure, which I think are words more fitting with your suggestion.

Dealing with the latter half of your question, we go to meetings to meet our friends! Some people in the group we will love to be around — some may irritate us intensely — but that's life :) We also use the meetings as a forum to discuss the faith and philosophy and to seek guidance from our peers. There is the danger that by practicing completely alone we will struggle to appreciate some of the more subtle concepts covered in the writings. There is also the human tendency to begin bending things to fit your own mind (e.g. today, I'll chant for a BMW), so the group helps us to see when we might start losing the plot!

Chanting, as far as I have experienced, works equally well alone or in groups. Again, it's natural for humans to do things in groups, and it is certainly a more powerful experience to chant together. The primary focus of chanting is to help people become happy and fulfil their potential, so I'm all for a more powerful experience. The more I can connect with people on the profound level of their Buddha nature, the better!

Alas, I remain skeptical. There was a lot more going on at the meetings that I attended. Like subtle pressure to conform and believe in their superstitions. They were constantly selling the practice: "Just try it. Just chant for 30 days, and if it doesn't work for you, we will all quit." They didn't quit when I did.

4.) Do you believe that chanting the name of a book will make you absorb the wisdom that is in the book?

It's interesting that you use the word "wisdom" and not information or knowledge. If only it were that easy, I could chant Bible! Bible! Bible! over and over but I doubt I would make a very convincing Christian.

Chanting daimoku — Nam Myoho Renge Kyo — is our primary practice. It is a matter of faith that by chanting daimoku that we naturally activate our Buddha nature. You are asking if someone who had never heard the mantra and then chanted it without knowing where it came from or what it meant, would ever become wise... Not in my view. Would it change their life in some way for the better? Yes. That's my belief. Don't ask me about the mechanism — there is no scientific basis, and I refer to my initial caveat before we go down the tooth fairy argument.

Ah yes, that is the key question, isn't it? Does it actually work?

And work to do what, exactly? Phrases like "activate your Buddha-nature" are so vague and high-falutin' that they could mean anything.

The fundamentals of Nichiren Daishonin's Buddhism are Faith, Practice and Study. Without all three one is unlikely to fully actualise their Buddhahood in daily life. Personally I still haven't read all 28 chapters of the Lotus Sutra. I read many treatises and commentaries, though, and by having done so I have deepened my understanding and faith in Nam Myoho Renge Kyo, and I hope thereby in doing so have manifest greater wisdom in my daily life.

5.) Orange (great name by the way) I really have to smile at your final question. What a fantastical proposition. This is the most important question of all. My brief answer? Yes!

[Readers: the last question was whether having one third of the world chanting would produce world peace.]

We are currently lead by people who's primary concern is holding onto power. We have war, starvation, and suffering on a scale never before known. I use the word "lead" and not "ruled by" as we vote these people in, or allow them to continue dictating how we live. The recent uprisings in the arab world are symptomatic of the people's desire for leaders that will lead them to happiness and not further suffering.

I quite agree there.

If we were lead (not ruled) by Buddha's (i.e. people who were genuinely awakened to their Buddha nature, and act for the genuine happiness of all human beings) then the world cannot fail to know peace. While greed, anger and foolishness continue to dominate our world, this goal will never be attained while we remain dazzled by the impermanent shiney things in life. Only when the world truly respects and honours the sanctity of human life, and truly works to eliminate the sufferings of others will a profound happiness occur.

Sounds good. But will that glorious day ever come? Most of Buddha's teachings said "no". Buddha said that suffering would never end, and this world would never become Paradise.

What do we mean by happiness? now that's a question that would take much longer to answer!

Have a great week!

You have a good day too.

== Orange

*             [email protected]        *
*         AA and Recovery Cult Debunking      *
*          http://www.Orange-Papers.org/      *
**     There are only two mistakes one can make along the road to truth;
**      not going all the way, and not starting.
**        ==  Buddha





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Last updated 9 March 2013.
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