Tuesday, March 13, 2012

Fundamentalism, Cults and Lewis Bostwick

Over the past 4 years I have taken many classes in psychology and have ready a good text book and scientific journal article. Many times I came across issues surrounding fundamentalism and its rigidity. Fundamentalism is the main cause of many problems with our society and the world at large. Fundamentalism in the Christian/Catholic faith has led to the oppression of women and ostracizing of LGBT individuals from many cultures. Fundamentalism in the Islamic faith has lead to over zealousness and ultimately is the main cause of the 9/11 disaster.

Fundamentalism is characterized by a drive to return to "fundamental" root and adherence to a strict doctrine (religious or otherwise).

In many cases it takes scripture (Bible, Koran, Talmud, etc)as infallible and free of error and literally.

Often there is a strong degree of belief perseverance in Fundamentalism. I have also come across this in people who do not want to accept scientific facts in favor of their own personal beliefs. The rigidity of the mind is quite profound.

Fundamentalism is also part of a cults beliefs and practices, albeit skewed and quite distant from the doctrines most "normative" faiths expound. However, there are distinctive difference between the fundamentalist church and the cultic church. In the cultic church there is often the "practice" of superstitious belief systems. They may include augury (i.e. clairvoyance), faith healing, spirit guides and or demons and angels. Although one may believe in these things in a fundamental or normative church, they are highly questionable practices and often met with skepticism. This is not the case with a cultic church.

The main characteristic of both the fundamentalist organization and the cultic one is the presence of belief perseverance. Even despite evidence to the contrary, even when it is right in front of their face, people will still hold onto their beliefs over the facts.

It should also be noted the fundamentalism is not necessarily religious in its nature. It can also be social, political and even economic to name just a few. I have met a few fundamental accountants in my day and let me tell you, they are a bitch to work with. They are always right, never wrong, hate ambiguity, rigid thinkers, blame other, always hostile and very authoritarian. In short a petty tyrant.

In regards to cults like the Berkeley Psychic Institute, their beliefs are very rigid and to question them is to face ostracizing. As I have stated prior, Lewis did not like criticisms or any dissension from his doctrines of "psychism". If you questioned, you were first humiliated to try and get you back in line. Oh it was called "lighting up your pictures" which you had to blow. I call it psychological abuse and harassment. Then if you were not humiliated enough, you were told to leave as your "energy" was being a bad influence on the church.

Would I call Lewis a fundamentalist? The answer to this question is an absolute yes! Lewis was very rigid in his thinking and his reasoning. He despised intelectualism and anything which had to do with reality. He even wrote about this from time to time. He was convinced that the "psychic" reality was the truth and the one we live in false. Something which many of his followers like Michael Tamura have come to try and indoctrinate others into believing as well. Lewis also was anti psychiatry and anti psychology despite the fact that parts of the "reading" process are forms of psychoanalysis and Jungian psychoanalytical processes. All in all, Lewis was a complete Fundamentalist who would not budge from his position despite the evidence to the contrary that psychic abilites do not exist whatsoever.


  1. For someone who declaims loudly over your scholastic credentials, you fail to provide a single reference to back up your extremist and imbalanced view of Lewis Bostwick. As an academic who specializes in history of religion and philosophy, I find this oversight inexcusable. Your opinion is founded neither in experience or any written works you've by Mr. Bostwick. As one of his former students, I can aver that his views were, in fact, diametrically opposed to the claims you've made. In essence what he taught is how to free the mind from rigid thinking, how to release binding and blinding social, religious, personal, and political constructs which obfuscate an individual's ability to see what is really right in front of them. This method and path is, in fact, quite old, and did not originate with Lewis Bostwick. It harkens back to elements of pre-Socratic mystical paths where initiates were taught to let go of presumptions and preconceived notions about reality. Once these blinders begin to fall away, one's ability to see and understand is greatly expanded. Religious ideologies can be quite stifling and blinding, and Lewis taught this directly. But it's also true, and history abundantly bears this out, that we embrace folly when we accept the authoritarianism of of scientists unquestioningly. Science may be infallible, but scientists are not. And many horrors have been committed in the name of science just as they have in the name of religion or the social good. The point of everything Lewis Bostwick taught was to learn to think and see for yourself - to see clearly. For someone who claims to be a Doctor, you've posted an irrational, biased and reactionary article which is based neither on recorded fact, nor actual experience. Ironically, you are the one that shows yourself to be an inflexible fundamentalist. Perhaps it's time to do some work with your shadow self?

    1. Oh by the way, I would say that you are projecting. You are an academician? Ok, so why not reveal who you are and what your credentials are? Where in my blog do I say that I am a doctor? No you ASSUMED that! I am in a doctoral program, I have made no illusions about this. I have just completed my Masters and that is a fact which I can corroborate.

      You speak of the reliability of the path? What reliability? What are you talking about? And you say I have no experience to back up what I say? Excuse me I was involved with BPI for many years including working for them for nearly 2.5 years. I went through the teachers training program (which by the way are absolutely worthless and a waste of money!) I was and took classes in the Bishops preceptorial which was an option for those who were on staff. I can tell you that the fundamentalism in the institute was massive. Rigid thinking is quite profound there! The psychic "dogma" was rife!

      By the way, there is no "shadow self" this is Jungian thought and has not been validated empirically.

      so I am the one with the problem? Pretty typical of someone who cannot back up their own points and prefers to go on the attack and hides behind a faceless mask.

      NO and I repeat NO! Lewis did not teach people to think for themselves. He did not teach cricital thinking, which is the fundamental basis of the ability to think for oneself. He taught us to shut down our minds and go into trance.

      A former BPI graduate and acquaintence of mine told me that after they left the insitute, or were rather pushed out, they began to take classes in hypnosis. Legitimate classes. They told me that they became so aware of the abuses and missues of the usage of trancing taught in the institute that they cried tears for months as they "unplugged" from the teachings. I have to corroborate this along with my own studies of hypnosis. I have not taken classes, but I have read many a journal article from reliable sources and I can now say that hypnosis was used and abused in the institue.

      It truly is not a spiritual place!

  2. It appears I have really made you mad. Perhaps it is you who needs to examine your positions. The facts remain that Lewis Bostwick taught forms of Trance hypnosis he learned from his work as a former Scientologist. The point you make is falable and lacking in rataional thought.

    Lewises view points were very skewed and highly irrational in their nature. If you are a former student of his you will see the magical thinking and the delusions in his thought patterns. If you presume that psychic abilities and mysticism are real and factual, I recomend that you find a reliable resources to back up your claims. There is no proof whatsoever to support your claim either in the scientific literature anywhere. And parapsychologists have misserably failed to prove their points.

    Was Lewis fundamentalist in his viewpoints? The answer is clear, he was. The certainty he possessed is evident of this, so are his irrational viewpoints, especially the magical thinking, paranoia and belief or rather "certainty" of our existence as a spirit.

    When mysticism is examined there is evidence of psychosis when compared to the scientific evidence to the contrary. In all due respect you fail to realize that when one is in an altered state of conciousness, there are fundamental changes within the brain that relate to conciousness and perception.

    Lewis was wont for us to turn of our analyzers. Which is prevalent practices in cults and also fundamentalist ideology. Do not think, just feel. This was and has been used by many to control sway and influence the minds of those who follow. To not be able to think or rationalize takes away our ability to see what is in front of us.

    I see someone who is actually just attacking my character. Many dont' like what I have to say, it offends their sensibilities. Especially those who are deeply engrained in the mindset of cultish and fundamentalist thought. Just like the way many of those from fundamentalist faiths get enraged when their presumptions and beliefs are criticized by atheists.

    By the way, you forget, I was there and I was fully involved with the institute for years.

    Was Lewis a fundamentalist? The answer is absolutely yes. His thinking was rigid and so was his doctrine of faith.

  3. I am curious to know more about your experiences and dealings with Lewis himself... It is abundantly clear how much you despise him, and perhaps as an extension anyone who feels his teachings are/were of value to them at any point. Is that accurate, from your vantage point? I am trying to understand why you seem to launch into attack mode in response to some of the comments here, and other times you are able to let them be, to exist as the opinions they are? I have not met him. So, if you would be willing to share some of the actual experiences you had with him, and in relation to him (as opposed to your opinions and judgements about him) I know I would be very interested to read that, as may many other readers.

    1. My appologies, I thought you were another poster who had gone on and attacked my character. I now see the differences in the writing style.

  4. Let me ask you this? Have you read through my blog and read other posts? If you have not, then I suggest you do. YOu can see for yourself my background with the institute and many people such as Michael Tamura.

    Lewis is a former Scientologist, this has been verified by his family and I distinctly remember him talking about it as well. The insitute's teachings and practices are based on Scientology, it is not just a coincidence.

    The institute is "for profit!" and abuses it privileges as a 501c3 religious organization. This is established fact. The classes support this assumption. The "programs" have no value and are not based on establishe religious, educational or secular knowledge bases.

    Trance and hypnosis are the foundation of what is taugth at the institute. This is established fact, not conjecture or opinion.

    The fundamental beleif system of the church is superstitious, not faith based. Look up the term superstitious beleif system.

    Why did I go at you? YOu attacked my character and therefor you are fair game. You did not go at my arguement. You made assumptions rather than ask questions.

    Lewis is also a liar and a con man in my opinion. He asserted that he was a spiritual teacher, but his behaviors suggest otherwise. REad through my blog and you will see why I say this. The fact that he "hid" his association with Scientology from his "students" should bring up serious questions in anones mind. It is also an established fact that BPI is on Scientology's suppresive person/organization list.

    I also suggest that you read the mother Jone's article about Lewis Bostwick. It is very revealing.

    Lewis made claims he could not back up. Not a one! And yet he and others still asserted that they could do miracles and had psychic abilities. When examined carefuly, some of the psychic tools are based on nothing more than suggestion. And that is established fact, which I can get hard core journal articles to back up my point.

    You say I cannot back up my point. So am I to go out there and get a whole ream of journal articles to establish my points? I can and could do that. I have kept a whole host of them. I ocassionally do use one or two in my writings here to make and substantiate a point. Perhaps I should use more. Even with established proof, many still say I am wrong and they do nothing to back up their points

    Observation of Lewises behavior reveals a lot. My recolections of Lewis's behaviors suggest narcissism, paranoia, magical thinking, schizophrenia or at least mania, possibly Bipolar disorder and potentially a character/personality disorder or at least the presence of specific traits.

    Please read through my blog and then come back with some questions. This blog is more of a personal journey out of the horrid world of cults and abusive organizations into the world of normalacy.


  5. Yes, I have gone through your blog and the question I had I asked. I appreciate writing some about it in your blog but there is just so much hyperbole- as in there is so much emphasis on your judgements and opinions and perceptions, honestly it's hard to get through. That approach to writing just doesn't hold my interest, as it is comes off very manipulative and full of agenda.
    I have seen the Mother Jones article before. Yes, it's interesting. Thanks. I am interested from a more journalistic standpoint, not to just on either band wagon for or against Lewis.

    I didn't attack your character (mine is the post from yesterday, March 17 BTW- asking about your relationship with Lewis in case you are assuming I am one of the other posters.) Nor did I say you couldn't back up your points... I asked about your relationship with Lewis, curious to know more about that than all your reactions and judgements about him, which is most of what is in this blog. I do understand you believe these are "fact" but I do not. You seem to prefer to write as if all you intense emotions and opinions are fact. Many people do this in the blogosphere about any given subject, you certainly aren't alone. I understand this is your blog, not a magazine or newspaper article and it is your right to do that...
    So yes, I was just asking what I was curious about, and I trust you did your best to answer. I am writing a piece about Lewis and Hubbard, interested in as many personal experiences as I can find, and trying to stay clear of the hyperbole, as that is what most people know-- that is what is very available and abundant on the interent.
    Thank you.

    1. I am sorry, I made a mistake. I know you are looking for more substantive material, and I only have a small piece of the pie.

      In regards to my intense emotions, that comes from years of being manipulated by people whom I never should have trusted. I will add Lewis to that boat. My writing style is not that of an academician here, it is more personal. As I process through my emotions, sometimes through my writing here, the facts surrounding the situations become very clear.

      Yes, it is hard to sort through the hyperbole, anecdotes and emotions to find the facts. I have heard many a story from many peopl from the church and many things they have said I can and cannot corroborate. That is why I try to only go from my own experiences.

      Once many years ago, after a brief trance meditation, everyone in the room was having a pounding on the top of their head. I remember it clearly. Lewis said when he came up on the stage, "If you are feeling that pounding on your head, that is my energy in your crown chakra." yes, that is almost exactly what he said.

      I wish I had more background on Lewis and his connection to Scientology. He did not speak of it often but when he did, it was brief and elusive. Almost as if he was not willing to speak about it for fear of something. That is only my opinion, but knowing Scientology now, I can guess that his fears were somewhat validated.

      Thank you and I applogize again for my jumping down your throat. You caught me right when I was dealing with another posters comment which was an attack of character.

  6. Thank you again. Best of luck to you with the blogging, and your other endeavors.