|photo of Andrew Cohen and Ken Wilber is from here|
Whatever men's ages, if men serially prey on other people for their own sexual, political gain, out of a sense of entitlement to do so, this behavior--the rapist's behavior, the child molester's behavior, the incest perpetrator's behavior, will be called "childish" and "immature" (read: not only not adult behavior, but not at all gendered behavior) and many other things that deny a crucial component of how it is men abuse so many times with so little accountability: it's because they are adult, grown men. They aren't boys if they're men, and I wish other men would stop excusing men's oppressive adult actions as if they were happening only because there's some inner child acting out, who only needs therapy, not permanent removal from society. Case in point: David Christopher Lane's pro-patriarchal analysis of serial abuser Andrew Cohen, who posed as a spiritual leader in order to gain intimate access to many victims.What has Andrew's colleague, and very well-followed author and god-figure to many, Ken Wilber, got to say about Andrew's abuses?
Ken? What have you got to say?
For more on Ken's chummy relationship with Andrew, please see *here*. For critical discussion about their work, including their work together, please see *here*, and please check if there is any discussion at all about both men's many forms of privilege, and their many entitlements to abuse because of those privileges.
It should not be too difficult to get this:
Men consuming pornography of raped and incested girls and women, men committing all manner of heinous political/spiritual violations and social degradations of girls and women, and some boys and men too, are not being boys, folks. They're behaving as men, if and when they're men, unless it is the case that they truly do not have the cognition and mental functioning of an adult, in which case they still are not boys, but are impaired men--regardless of their level of functionality, their behavior is generally registered by victims as occurring from a grown man, not a boy-child.
If a boy was doing what they were doing--sexually assaulting many other children and assaulting young or older adults too, they wouldn't get away with it. Men usually get away with it, because they have the status of being both males and adults, and also because they do very adult things to accomplish their decades of crimes, such as plan and execute financially or socially successful careers which place them in close proximity to the people they wish to abuse. (Children don't do that.) Raping people isn't a "childish" activity. It's a male supremacist adult man's activity, far too often.
See below to read one small example of how this patriarchal protection racket works. It's a White Boy's Club, all right, except that the adult members are all men. It's the same damned deal with the adult male preachers who the Catholic Church wants to pretend were not abusing children. The Church--a huge institution of patriarchal men of varying sexual orientations--has recently attempted to avoid the term "pedophile priests", claiming the victims' ages don't place the perps in that category--because the Church, which protects such abuses of children, of minors, says so. Got it.
I'm all for banning the term "pedophile" as I've stated on this blog before. We don't call rapists "woman-lovers" and we ought not call rapers of children "child-lovers". But I'm not for pretending that people who are legally children are called "not children" only when it serves a vastly criminal Catholic Church (led overwhelmingly by white male supremacist men) to do so.
"Bishops ignore and conceal child sex crimes because they can," said David Clohessy of the Survivors Network of Those Abused by Priests (SNAP). "So any 'reform' that doesn't diminish bishops' power and discretion is virtually meaningless." (source: *here*)It's no different with any man who abuses serially. He does it because he can, and society won't do anything to lessen his social-political power to abuse others both interpersonally and institutionally. Men form institutions inside which they can and do abuse people with less power than they support one another having. If an institution is patriarchal--whether religious, legal, political, cultural, medical, or academic--the fact of it being patriarchal means abuse against women and children is happening there, and that exact abuse is being protected by fucked up, if normal, brotherhoods of men.
Everything that follows is from IntegralWorld.net.
David Christopher Lane, Ph.D. Professor of Philosophy, Mt. San Antonio College Lecturer in Religious Studies, California State University, Long Beach Author of Exposing Cults: When the Skeptical Mind Confronts the Mystical (New York and London: Garland Publishers, 1994) and The Radhasoami Tradition: A Critical History of Guru Succession (New York and London: Garland Publishers, 1992). For the reviewed book and its author see: www.americanguru.net
A Review of "American Guru"
David LaneAfter reading William Yenner's edited volume, AMERICAN GURU: A Story of Love, Betrayal and Healing—Former Students of Andrew Cohen Speak Out, I felt a number of emotions, ranging from depression, to anger, to frustration, to disbelief, to finally gratitude.
My first encounter with an Andrew Cohen devotee occurred several years ago when one of the editors of their slick magazine, What is Enlightenment? (now called, EnlightenNext), wrote me a personal letter asking for my appraisement of her guru. She had read a book I had co-authored with Professor Scott Lowe (University of Wisconsin) entitled "DA: The Strange Case of Franklin Jones" (Walnut, MSAC: 1995), which harshly criticized the late American guru. She clearly saw problems with Da Free John and I got the impression that she felt that Andrew Cohen was different and perhaps a genuine spiritual master.
I hesitated in writing back because I had read enough about Andrew Cohen to almost immediately realize that he, like Da Free John, suffered from an acute case of adolescent narcissism. In other words, both of these so-called spiritual teachers had yet to grow-up and act like mature adults. When they don't get their way and cannot control the behavior of their fawning devotees (which happens a bit more frequently than one might at first suspect), they have hissy fits. Da Free John would invariably go into one of his spiritual sulks or lash out in an indignant rage if he felt that his disciples didn't "get" his teachings.
In Yenner's explosively revealing book, American Guru, we learn that Andrew Cohen displays all sorts of loutish behavior when his disciples don't kowtow to his every neurotic whim. Women devotees especially receive harsh treatment from Andrew Cohen, including his own mother who eventually left him and exposed her son in her ironically titled book, The Mother of God.
What an outsider might find both unbelievable and astounding is how so many very bright and men and women can be so hoodwinked by a guru like Andrew Cohen who has never impressed me (unlike Da Free John, for instance) as being particularly intelligent or insightful. He reminds me of someone I knew in high school who got picked on and perhaps roughed up a bit by other students (for maybe not being athletic enough in gym or sharp enough in algebra class), and who vowed early on to someday get his revenge.
Andrew Cohen doesn't at all act like an enlightened guru passing on valuable gems of wisdom. Rather, he acts like a spoiled brat who suffers from a chronic case of high school insecurity and has finally discovered a way to get even.
And who does he get even with? Those spiritual seekers who are naïve enough to transfer over to Andrew Cohen their deep-seated yearnings, their love, and, finally, their wallets and purses. Even Andrew Cohen's obvious infatuation with Ken Wilber is indicative of Cohen's chronic intellectual insecurity. Cohen's and Wilber's tete-a-tete is grounded in their own self-interests, but the fact that Ken Wilber has aligned himself once again with an abusive self-proclaimed guru, such as Andrew Cohen, speaks volumes about Wilber's so-called "integrity".
Ken Wilber has never fully admitted how mistaken he was about Da Free John and his nefarious actions (lamely back-peddling, albeit slightly, only after the New York born guru was exposed in the national media). It is all too clear that Wilber hasn't a clue about the gurus he associates with or endorses. Or, to put it in a darker [read: whiter] light, it seems as if Ken Wilber will chummy up with any guru provided he or she will give him a featured section in their monthly journal.
I have read a large number of books that have exposed modern spiritual leaders and their organizations, including The Bare-Face Messiah (L. Ron Hubbard), Monkey on a Stick (the Hare Krishna movement, Life 102: What To Do When Your Guru Sues You (John-Roger Hinkins), etc. I think that American Guru is a valuable addition to the growing literature devoted to exposing fraudulent gurus.
American Guru is not a mean-spirited book. It is, rather, a refreshingly honest one. I think American Guru should be required reading for all of Andrew Cohen's past and present students. Hopefully, it will be read by every spiritual seeker before they make a choice of becoming a student of this so-called master who cannot even reconcile with his own mother.
I personally think Andrew Cohen is in deep need of long term therapy. The first step in his recovery process should be for him to sit down and read American Guru closely line by line. After doing such, he should apologize first to his mother and then to every student he has ever taken under his wing. Hopefully, he will then refund whatever money he has manipulatively gathered in his name.
I don't think any of this is likely, but I do have confidence that anyone who reads American Guru will be properly forewarned not to buy into any of Andrew Cohen's childish antics.
If you are on the fence about Andrew Cohen and his methods, American Guru will help you get off it and provide you with enough telling detail (and, hopefully, some confidence) to walk away from this spiritual poser. His mother did and so should we all.
William Yenner, American Guru: A Story of Love, Betrayal and Healing-former students of Andrew Cohen speak out, Epigraph Publishing, 2009.