Tuesday, November 17, 2009

Outing, Part Deux

We've already discussed the Oliver Sipple principle.

The principle being that I have no intention of disclosing the names of women currently in the Center (or out of the Center for that matter) who have been implicated in Guru's sex ring.

Like most rules, however, the Sipple principle admits an exception.

In the gay rights context, it seems that most people don't have a big problem "outing" a person's private sexual orientation when hypocrisy is involved.

The cleanest example of this would be a right-wing, "family values" politician who actively works against the interests of gays, but in private is a closeted homosexual.

That's hypocritical.

In cases like that, there doesn't appear to be a groundswell of sympathy for keeping the hypocritical politician's private life private. Better to out him.

The exception applies here, too.

It's one thing for our sister disciples to be going about the tough business of trying to lead a life in the Center while privately grappling with the pain of their own abuse.

It's quite another for any of these victims of Guru's sexual abuse to actively work in concert with the Center to tear down the reputations of the courageous women who have thus far spoken out or to actively deceive current disciples about what they themselves know to be true.

Though I hope it never comes to that, such women should be outed.

What I'd really like to see -- and what I've blogged about before -- is someone, anyone, to stand up for the truth, to stand up for what's right, even if it means paying a personal price for doing so. That's what I'd like to see.

It's really the flip side to the much more common phenomena of going along with the crowd, of not rocking the boat, of standing by while others get hurt.

A lot of research has gone into what makes people compliant to authority, even when that authority asks the individual to do something wrong, even when the order requires the individual to hurt someone else. Preeminent among such research is the work done by Professor Philip G. Zimbardo.

Professor Zimbardo is famous for the 1971 Stanford prison experiment. In that study, Prof. Zimbardo demonstrated how ordinary people can be corrupted by the roles they play and the environment in which they work. He's written a relatively new book called The Lucifer Effect on the subject, but it's the flip side of this research that I'm more interested in here.

The antidote for this evil of our general willingness to go along with whatever is dictated to us from the authority figure even at the expense of fellow human beings is what Prof. Zimbardo calls the "heroic imagination."

The idea seems to be that if one's own personal psychological narrative is that "I'm a hero in waiting" -- waiting for an opportunity to stand up to the "man" even at personal cost to oneself -- then the chance that you'll cave under pressure from authority or peer pressure is minimized.

Honestly, I'll be doing you a great disservice to write any more about this.

Take 25 minutes and watch Prof. Zimbardo's talk to the audience at TED. (And if you haven't yet discovered TED, take some time there and explore some of the wonderful talks available there.)

It is particularly relevant to our experiences in the Center and the current situation facing all of us.


Y. said...

"To be a hero you have to learn to be a deviant." Classic.

Justin said...

I'm sorry I'm not clear on this. May I ask, in all sincerity, what is this post about?
I get mixed messages of encouragement to stand up for the truth, and...something else.
If it's not to much trouble, perhaps you can expand on your main points for me.

Y. said...

Sure, Justin.

First, as I posted before, I don't think women who knew about and participated in sex acts with Guru or with other disciples in Guru's presence should be identified without their prior consent.

If, however, I found out that some of these women -- as is rumored to be the case -- are now working to smear the reputations of Suchatula, Sundari, or Bihagee, then I wouldn't lose any sleep if their identities were made public.

In other words, if you know Guru engaged in sex acts (because he did so with you), then you'd best not slander other women as liars for speaking that truth. That's hypocrisy.

The larger point is really to identify the right course of action for all of these women who have been engaged in these acts with Guru -- stand up on their own, in the face of the horribly coercive pressures now being put on them, and speak the truth.

Incredibly hard to do -- heroic really. So, that's the point of the video, which I encourage everyone to watch. It's integral to the post.

Justin said...

Thanks. I appreciate the clarification and I'll check out the video.

Anonymous said...

The lucifer princple hey.......one person starts a rumour about false sexual allegations...then many weak minded disciples fall for it.....Yogaloy....your right on mate

Anonymous said...

Hi Y

I'm glad that you think there are exceptions to the general 'no outing' rule. I completely agree with you. The last thing any of us want to do, I am sure, is to add to the distress of the women who have been sexually exploited. I am sure we all want to offer whatever support we can.
I am particularly concerned about some of the disciples who were close to guru and may have turned a blind eye to the abuses they knew or suspected were happening. I am thinking of people like Ashrita, the leader of the San Fransisco Centre and others who are now on the committee. Some of the questions they need to answer are:

Did they know that this secret sexual exploitation was taking place?

Did they participate in it themselves?

Did they ever suggest to guru that certain disciples could be brought into the circle?

Did they ever invite or recruit any other disciple in the circle?

Were they aware that some of the participants were traumatised by the experience (I would have expected a Centre leader who was also a doctor to have picked up on this)?

Once it became apparent that some of the participants were suffering from mental trauma, what support did they offer?

Did they ever stand up to guru and tell him his behaviour was unacceptable and was adversly affecting some disciples?

Now that they certainly know what was going on, are they trying to cover up the abuses, or are they demanding that a full and open enquiry is carried out into guru's behaviour?

I think that those who have been party any of the activities above should be outed. When the time comes for election to the committee, these scoundrels should be kicked off the board and their disgusting behaviour should be revealed to all the disciples and ex-disciples.

Just a few thoughts from a very angry ex.

Anonymous said...

TED is something which I discovered only a few months ago and I highly recommend it. Thanks so much for putting your readers on to this rich resource.


Anonymous said...

Just to follow up on Anon 2:01 AM - I was speaking with a mental health professional about this situation we're all facing to get an objective opinion and one of the first questions they asked over expressing initial remorse over all the lives that have been hurt was, "Who was orchestrating all these secret meetings, did he have a second in command? " Can we get clarity about how these meetings were arranged - who was calling these women to meet with ckg, ckg himself or an intermediary? This might help us tease out if people close to ckg (aka the inner circle) might have possibly known.

Justin said...

Just for the record I think 'outing' girls is a bad idea. I don't have all the facts. But in principle I think revealing their identities as a form of retailiation for their actions is wrong. I also believe it would not help anyone come to terms with the truth. In fact, I think it would only generate hostility and lead to more suffering not less.

Eamon said...

Yogaloy how about a guest post from the opposite camp.....there is a small army of us X-D,s who dont buy the allegations....would you like, in the interest of fairness, to take a post from our camp.
mail me if ur keen eamon107@hotmail.com

Y. said...

@ Justin: That's the noble path. I hope the noble path is the one that everyone involved will take.

@ Eamon: It's a good idea Eamon in general. But you're not the one to speak for the Center or for Guru. You either left or got kicked out yourself (like the rest of us).

Aside from the reputation you're building here, nobody knows who you are. You have your own soapbox to speak from -- your website -- so speak there.

If someone of consequence inside the Center or someone authorized to speak for the Center wants to write a guest post, I'd love to post it (and have quietly made that known already).

Anonymous said...


Speaking of fairness, have you noticed that the Sri Chinmoy Inspiration site allows only 100% positive messages about Sri Chinmoy? Do you know that even among the positive posters, many are rejected for publication on that site?

Do you also notice that you have been allowed to write comments here and at the Sri Chinmoy Information sites?

Just a reminder of the facts you should consider when speaking of 'fairness'.

Anonymous said...

A good read on how orginizational evil can occur is The People of the Lie by M. Scott Peck. He also wrote The Road Less Travelled, but I found this book excellent.
He discusses My Lai massacre instead of Abu Grab, but parallels abound.
Also, the nature of evil, and how it disguises itself with organized religon and civic virtue while fostering a hidden dark side is also fascinating in his book.
Zambardo takes it the next step by offering up the average person as a waiting hero to conteract evil.

Anonymous said...

Speaking about the allegations, i remember an aphorism by Guru:

When I am gone
The world will blame me
For the things
I have never dreamt of.
-- CKG