Robert Earl Burton founded The Fellowship of Friends in the San Francisco Bay Area in 1970. Burton modeled his own group after that of Alex Horn, loosely borrowing from the Fourth Way teachings of Gurdjieff and Ouspensky. In recent years, the Fellowship has cast its net more broadly, embracing any spiritual tradition that includes (or can be interpreted to include) the notion of "presence."

The Fellowship of Friends exhibits the hallmarks of a "doomsday religious cult," wherein Burton exercises absolute authority, and demands loyalty and obedience. He warns that his is the only path to consciousness and eternal life. Invoking his gift of prophecy, he has over the years prepared his flock for great calamities (e.g. a depression in 1984, the fall of California in 1998, nuclear holocaust in 2006, and most recently the October 2018 "Fall of California Redux.")

According to Burton, Armageddon still looms in our future and when it finally arrives, non-believers shall perish while, through the direct intervention and guidance from 44 angels (recently expanded to 81 angels, including himself and his divine father, Leonardo da Vinci), Burton and his followers shall be spared, founding a new and more perfect civilization. Read more about the blog.

Presented in a reverse chronology, the Fellowship's history may be navigated via the "Blog Archive" located in the sidebar below.

Monday, May 21, 2007

The Fellowship of Friends: creating a psychological "Catch 22" or "double bind"

"WhaleRider" posted the following on the Fellowship of Friends Discussion blog:

[ed. - The post is a bit confusing. Here, "WhaleRider" is both paraphrasing Wikipedia and parenthetically inserting their own comments, so I've highlighted WhaleRider's comments.]
[Quoting] Howard Carter #379:
“The ones who stay do so because to them there is no point in leaving.”
Prime example of a psychological double bind.

[Quoting] from Wikipedia:


“The (psychological) double bind is often misunderstood to be a simple Catch-22 situation, where the victim is trapped by two conflicting demands. While it is true that at the core of the double bind are two conflicting demands, the difference lies in how they are imposed upon the victim, what the victim’s understanding of the situation is, and who imposes these demands upon the victim.

(You must give up your will to the teacher or school to be free. There is only one real school on earth.)

Unlike the usual no-win situation, the victim is largely unaware of the exact nature of the paradoxical situation he or she is in. (new student or young student vs older student) This is because a demand is imposed upon them by someone they regard with respect, and the demand itself is inherently impossible to fulfill.

(To make a machine conscious and immortal that is the ultimate task. Be a conscious toaster oven!)

(Gregory) Bateson defines the double bind as follows:
"The situation involves two or more persons, (FOF) one of whom is designated, for the purposes of definition, as the “victim” (student). The others are people who are in some way in a higher position to the victim, for example a figure of authority such as a parent whom the victim respects."
(Teacher, man number 7.3, brightest light in 2,000 years, older student, take your pick)

Repeated experience. The double bind is a recurrent theme (fourth way work language) in the experience of the victim and as such cannot be constituted as a single traumatic experience.

A primary injunction is imposed upon the victim by the other person in one of two forms: (a) Do “X”, or I will punish you. (b) Do not do “X”, or I will punish you. The punishment is assumed to be either the withdrawing of love, the expression of hate and anger, or abandonment resulting from the authority figure’s expression of extreme helplessness.

(If you leave the school, I/we will shun you. Do not confront me or question me or you will be asked to leave the school.)

A secondary injunction is imposed upon the victim that conflicts with the first at a higher and more abstract level. For example, “Do what I told you but only do it because you want to.” However, it is not necessary that this injunction be expressed verbally.

(I am a conscious being. No matter what I do, no matter how you feel about it, you must obey me. I am your direct link to influence c. Do not trust yourself, it is your king of clubs wanting you to leave.)

If necessary, a tertiary injunction is imposed upon the victim to prevent them from escaping the dilemma.

(If you leave the school, you lose your soul and wander among the multitudes of sleeping life people. You must stay and pay.)

Finally, Bateson states that the complete list of the previous requirements may be unnecessary in the event that the victim is already viewing their world in double bind patterns.

(Magnetic center angst makes a nice prerequisite.)

Bateson goes on to give the general characteristics of such a relationship: When the victim is involved in an intense relationship; that is, a relationship in which he feels it is vitally important that he discriminate accurately what sort of message is being communicated so that he may respond appropriately.

(If I don’t play along with the number game (ideas of reference) and “verify” influence-c I could lose the school. To be a good student, I must read the signs, too.)

And, the victim is caught in a situation in which the other person in the relationship is expressing two orders of message and one of these denies the other.

(Be more conscious AND put up with my pervison [sic] and greed.)

And, the victim is unable to comment on the messages being expressed to correct his discrimination of what order of message to respond to, i.e., he cannot make a metacommunicative statement.

(The lower cannot see the higher, duh.)

Thus the essence of a double-bind is two conflicting demands, neither of which can be ignored, which leave the victim torn both ways in such a way that whichever demand they try to meet, the other demand cannot be met. “I must do it but I can’t do it” is a typical description of the double-bind experience.

(I must be more present and conscious, but I am unable to sustain it for any length of time. I must stay in the school and ingest my feelings no matter how much new INSANITY Robert spews out.)

For a double bind to be effective, the victim cannot plainly see that the demand placed on them by the primary injunction is in direct conflict with the secondary injunction.

In this sense the double bind differentiates itself from a simple contradictory Catch-22 to a more inexpressible internal conflict where the victim vigorously wants to meet the demands of the primary injunction but fails each time because the victim fails to see that the situation is completely incompatible with the demands of the secondary injunction. Thus victims may express feelings of extreme anxiety in such a situation (or take wine, antidepressants or both)as they attempt to fulfill the demands of the primary injunction, but are met with obvious contradictions in their actions.

For example, a common double bind in western culture are the marriage vows taken by the bride and groom when they make an oath to love each other until death (HC:People come to a school to know themselves and that is a lifetime endeavor).[HC = Howard Carter] In this situation, the primary injunction is the oath itself, and the secondary injunction is that which is imposed onto them by their society, that their love must be true. Thus a conflict arises in their relationship if either party falls out of love with the other(or realizes they have been deluded), but attempts to fulfill their obligation to the oath (I must make more efforts!). The more he or she tries to love the other, the less genuine their love is. (the FOF ultimately undermines your evolution the longer you stay.)

The double bind was originally presented as a situation that could possibly lead to schizophrenia if imposed upon young children, or simply those with unstable and weak personalities (Hmmm, now who could that be?). Creating a situation where the victim could not make any comment or “metacommunicative statement” about their dilemma (the lower cannot see the higher) would, in theory, escalate their state of mental anxiety. (Brian S. perhaps?)[Brian Sisler]

The solution to a double-bind is to place the problem in a larger context….(THE BLOG!!)(otherwise the victim will) create an escape from the conflicting logical demands of the double bind into the world of the delusional system (RB’s FOF, sequence, etc).”

I rest my case.


[ed. - "Just the Facts Ma'am" takes a shot at explaining the Catch 22 - Catch 44 linkage.]

"Just the Facts Ma'am" wrote on the Fellowship of Friends Discussion blog, October 26, 2015:

[Quoting] 71. Cristalclear
‘The more you stay ,the more confused you become and you can’t really express your doubts because,if you do you will be shunned… so you stay longer…

It’s like a mind trap’
What you describe is what some of us, once in Fellowship of Friends (FoF), at one time called ‘Catch 44.’ This is a play on the phrase: ‘Catch 22.’ Here, copied/excerpted from Wikipedia, is explanation of: ‘Catch 22’ [especially good for non-english as primary language readers]:
“Catch-22 is a satirical novel by the American author Joseph Heller. He began writing it in 1953; the novel was first published in 1961. It is frequently cited as one of the greatest literary works of the twentieth century. It uses a distinctive non-chronological third-person omniscient narration, describing events from the points of view of different characters. The separate storylines are out of sequence so that the timeline develops along with the plot.

The novel is set during World War II, from 1942 to 1944. It mainly follows the life of Captain John Yossarian, a U.S. Army Air Forces B-25 bombardier. Most of the events in the book occur while the fictional 256th Squadron is based on the island of Pianosa, in the Mediterranean Sea, west of Italy. The novel looks into the experiences of Yossarian and the other airmen in the camp, who attempt to maintain their sanity while fulfilling their service requirements so that they may return home.

The novel’s title refers to a plot device that is repeatedly invoked in the story. Catch-22 starts as a set of paradoxical requirements whereby airmen mentally unfit to fly did not have to, but could not actually be excused. By the end of the novel it is invoked as the explanation for many unreasonable restrictions. The phrase “Catch-22″ has since entered the English language, referring to a type of unsolvable logic puzzle sometimes called a double bind. According to the novel, people who were crazy were not obliged to fly missions; but anyone who applied to stop flying was showing a rational concern for their safety, and was sane.”
So, in this regard, ‘Catch 44’ means a double bind double bind. (That is not a typo, nor are you seeing double.) ‘Catch 44′ means you are caught coming and going by your circumstances. There is no escape from the mind trap. And, in FoF, you are double bound twice over, hence the 2 x 22 = 44. But, as additional meaning, the ’44’ of the conscious beings are holding you in your place in FoF and on the ladder of evilution as practiced by conscious Bob’s school. Even the term Catch 44 has, at least, a double meaning in it.

Get out while you can, or die trying. Otherwise, you are damned if you do, and, damned if you don’t, stay associated with the Fellowship of Friends, Robert Earl Burton, Asaf Braverman, and company; the evilution rape factory in Oregon House, California, and its associated centers throughout the world.

A bit Kafkaesque, no?

Explanation of: ‘Kafkaesque’ [especially good for non-English as primary language readers] copied/excerpted from Wikipedia:
“Kafka’s writing has inspired the term “Kafkaesque,” used to describe concepts and situations reminiscent of his work, particularly Der Process (The Trial) and “Die Verwandlung.” Examples include instances in which bureaucracies overpower people, often in a surreal, nightmarish milieu which evokes feelings of senselessness, disorientation, and helplessness. Characters in a Kafkaesque setting often lack a clear course of action to escape a labyrinthine situation. Kafkaesque elements often appear in existential works, but the term has transcended the literary realm to apply to real-life occurrences and situations that are incomprehensibly complex, bizarre, or illogical.”

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