EnneagramFourth Way Gurdjieff Ouspensky School Education Concerning the Work Teachings of G. I. Gurdjieff, P. D. Ouspensky, Maurice Nicoll, and their students.
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False Teachers, Fake Schools, and Sham Religions

Red flag

It is important to recognize the characteristics of false schools, mind control cults and other forms of sham religion when you encounter them, so that you can protect yourself from their influence and hopefully minimize their influence on others. The presence of several of these characteristics are symptoms of brainwashing and thought control. Susceptibility to such cults is increased by the presence in a person of any of the characteristic errors on the way.

Leader a Self-Proclaimed Higher Being

Usually characterized by a leader or teacher who claims divinity, to be the Christ, a prophet, a man number 4 or higher (such as man 7.2 or man 8.3), or to have a special mission or task given or delegated by God or higher forces.

Nobody Graduates or Leaves in Good Standing

If they expect you to stay for your whole life, or even for more than several years --- don't --- that's a huge red flag, the Perpetual Student error.

Devotion to Strict Centralized Hierarchy

The leader or founders (usually still alive), or their minions, demand absolute and unquestioning obedience and are the self-defined sole judges of the members' faith, status, and commitment. Criticism and disagreement are not allowed.

Vague about Group Aims to Outsiders

Established members are often guarded, vague, deceptive, or secretive about beliefs, goals, aims, demands, and activities until the recruit, prospective student, or new student is `hooked'.

Cut Off from other Traditions

Often encourages exclusivity and isolation using such excuses or reasons as that all and everything outside the group is totally evil, satanic, or asleep.

Controls Communication and Peer Relationships

Meaningful communication with family and friends outside, or peers within, the group is often discouraged or sharply curtailed and the group becomes the convert's or student's `family'. Usually every attempt is made to blur or eliminate the convert's or student's memories and habits of their former way of life and personal history.

Uses Brainwashing (Thought Control)

Employ systematic brainwashing (thought reform) techniques designed to effect the destruction of the sense of self and ensure dependence on the cult.

Group over Self

Indoctrinated members put goals and aims of the group ahead of individual concerns, interests, family, education plans, career, health, and well-being.

Group Hypnosis

Members may be maintained in a state of heightened suggestibility through lack of sleep, engineered diet, intense spiritual exercises, physical work, constant indoctrination, controlled group experiences, planned spontaneity, and manipulated encounters which seem to be spiritual.

Evokes Guilt and Humiliation

Members may display symptoms of extreme tension and stress, fear, guilt, lack of humour, and diminished communication skills, critical judgement, judgement and logical skills, and reality testing.

Preoccupation with Group

Members are preoccupied with fund-raising to support the group, earning money for `donations' and `special donations', recruiting new members, and group activities.

Requires Large Quantities of Money

Some groups exploit the members' finances.

Requires Large Quantities of Free Labour

Exploits members through unpaid unemployment and poor working conditions.

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