Thanks for writing, getreadyalready.
Originally posted by getreadyalready
Did your Dad and Ben's plan ever have a chance of being entirely good? You said you think their intentions were originally good, do you think the
corruption and power-tripping was inevitable, or was there a time where he zigged instead of zagging, and do you think it could have remained a nice,
open, charitable group that didn't manipulate
I think its impossible for a human to be entirely good, I don't believe in enlightenement or Masters or that some people are more "advanced" than
others. That kind of thinking is part of the problem IMHO. I think something about the setup of the group made the corruption inevitable, yes. This
same story seemed to play out in many groups at the time. Part of it was a bigger trend too, I think, beyond our specific group, something about the
way society was for a certain segment of the population at the time.
It might be possible to have non-exploitative spiritual communities, or relatively non-exploitative, I think, at least in theory but it certainly
isn't easy and the big lesson is that things change over time.
Do you think the walls, and the manipulation are paramount to making this type of group successful, or is there any chance of it being successful
without the manipulation?
That's an intersting question. I think it can't be successful without rules and discipline. You can't have a groovocracy where everyone is welcome and
expect everyone to pull their own weight, so you have to start drawing lines and making rules. Once you have rules in place you will have situations
of exploitation and manipulation, that seems to happen with every group. We can hope that groups can be successful without serious power tripping. I
have a sense there is something different between what we had versus a Zen or Benedictine monastic community, say. But actually I've never spent time
in those places, and for all I know they may be just as corrupt and freaky.
Also, you seem very grounded and intelligent. Do you think your upbringing was superior or inferior to a more typical public school,
Thanks. I think my dad was a pretty meticulous and obsessive guy, and he made sure we had a decent education. Two of the women had teaching experience
and their full-time job was to tutor us. They got treated well and exempted from other work. Our only entertainment besides playing in the woods was
reading and writing, so we got good at it. My dad made me question lots of things philosophically and gave us a grounding in world religious history,
at least as he saw it. When I left the community in my early 20s, though, I had no GED. My father's brother's family, who were not connected to our
group at all, offered to let me live with them for a little on the condition I worked toward my GED. I finished it pretty quickly, and then went
through community college and eventually college in my 20s, on and off intersperced with working.
A lot of this I drove myself to do. When I got out of the community I was very curious about the world and also very frightened of it, I didn't know
what I needed to do, I was terrified of starving to death homeless somewhere so I buckled down and studied hard when I wasn't working, took it very
grimly indeed, like I was planning a war or something, lol. It's really only in the last few years I've allowed myself to lighten up a little and
enjoy life. I realized that whatever his other numerous faults, our dad taught us to be disciplined, to concentrate and study well, and to take things
In my opinion, I've seen some very good kids come from Mormon communities, and home-schooling, and even multi-family households. Do you think
there is any benefit to living an unconventional lifestyle, or did you yearn for just a normal life?
Yes, I think there are benfits, or there can be. There are also lots of ways to screw kids up in these communities, too. When you go off the rails,
maybe you get there faster or maybe you fall in a pit. Did I yearn for a normal life? Not growing up, beacuse we were made to fear the outside world,
and I did. I yearn for a more normal life now, though. I'm getting there.
edit on 3-1-2012 by Never Despise because: (no reason given)