Friday, December 24, 2010

Why Andrew Cohen is a dangerous guru.

Despite Andrew Cohen’s dedication to the pursuit of enlightenment, he makes many fatal errors spiritual seekers before him and many after him will make. And it is these fatal errors in thinking that potentially makes him a threat to not only himself, but to all those around him. Before I begin, I think Cohen has some decent material in his body of work, but how much of it has seeped into his consciousness is quite debatable. So allow me to go into the primary criticism of this post – in countless interviews involving Cohen, I have noticed a pattern emerge, a deficiency in his thinking that he is not willing to recognize. In my opinion, as humans, we are basically stuck with our biology, and we are inherently flawed creatures, with no hope of wisdom eradicating all of our shortcomings. However, wisdom can eradicate some shortcomings, such as clarifying ones thought, making ones arguments more sound, and allowing one to observe reality as it is. There is a ‘but’ though. The ‘but’ is that we are hardwired to behave and think like animals to a large degree, and there are just some things that wisdom cannot penetrate. One other major issue I have with Cohen is that he believes its perfectly acceptable for his students to become emotionally attached to him, and never cut off ties. This creates a horrible environment for students where they are often beaten up mentally, develop a submissive relationship to him, and allows Cohen the teacher to stay in a position of power, where he is the constant center of attention.

Imagine large waves hitting a coast line; it is capable of eroding most of the coastline, making a beautiful sandy beach with sea grasses, and an abundance of life. However, there is that one giant chunk of bedrock that just won’t break down, regardless of the number of storms, and regardless of the intensity of the waves. Cohen ignores that giant chunk of bedrock staring him right in the face. He prefers illusions such as “when you are perfectly enlightened, you can do no wrong!” Seriously Cohen, with that sort of talk, you can justify any behavior, and ignore all sorts of wrong action. It is dangerous thinking that quite frankly perturbs me. I think if I saw Cohen while walking alone down a back ally, I might slowly turn around, and scurry the other way. Moreover, some of the worst tyrants and dictators in human history had similar attitudes, as they thought their minds were closely aligned with god, that they could do no wrong, and whatever action and thought came to their mind must be the will of enlightenment. That is what concerns me the most, the thought that Cohen doesn’t filter, challenge or negate his own cognition anymore. The skepticism of his own mind has long vanished, along with cautiousness in behavior and action. Such a blatantly erroneous conclusion also gives rise to a sort of artificial confidence, a stride in one’s step that I find unsettling, it is like Cohen has become possessed by a demon. And the demon is a series of incorrect conclusions that give birth to a sort smug overly confident center that feels invisible, but also better than the world. It is amazing that as spiritual students, seekers continue to buy into Cohen’s erroneous attitude wholeheartedly. Just imagine if you needed lifesaving heart surgery, and before the operation, the heart surgeon entered your bedside, and asked if you had any concerns. And just imagine that you asked him what your chances of surviving were, and he told you not to worry because he could do no wrong on the operation table, and to be a perfect heart surgeon, one needs to be a confident egomaniac, how would you respond? I know how I would respond – I would either request another surgeon, or pull the IV out of my arm in horror, and make a run for the parade.

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