andrew cohen (in stockholm today)

I had to visit the university today, because I needed to look at a book in the library. Leaving the university premises, I noticed a poster for a lecture by spiritual guru Andrew Cohen, leader of the so called EnlightenNext cult. (The picture to the right shows a part of this poster.) It takes place tonight, ie, the evening of April 14. More information here. It’s all about self-esteem, ‘finding yourself’, spiritual awakening and transformation. Or so it seems. The subtitle of the Swedish website, and also the international motto of the movement, reads: ‘Evolution of consciousness and culture’. I assume it’s not a big thing in Sweden, but have to admit I don’t know. It’s the first time I’ve seen their activities advertised; curiously at, of all places, the university. This wasn’t the only poster with questionable content. Apparently the students’ organisation — whose billboard it is (I think) — allows anything, even blatant woo with scant academic relevance.

Although this may not seem like a dangerous religious cult, it’s definitely a controversial spiritual cult; it doesn’t advertise itself as a cult, obviously, but which cult does?

One website pointing to the dangers of Andrew Cohen’s cult is American Guru, which is also the title of a book written by William Yenner, once a member. John Horgan, who was not a member but met Cohen and interviewed him, wrote:

Cohen describes enlightenment as a form of not-knowing. And yet his guruhood, his entire life, revolves around his belief in—his knowledge of–his own unsurpassed perfection. To borrow a phrase, Cohen is a super-egomanic. His casual contempt for us ordinary, egotistical humans is frightening, as is his belief that, as an enlightened being who has transcended good and evil, he can do no harm. Cohen may not be a monster, as his mother claims, but he has the capacity to become one. If Cohen settled for being human instead of perfect, he’d probably be a better teacher, and a better man.

I’m not sure whether there are any connections between Swedish anthroposophists and Cohen’s group, but a relationship has evolved between some circles of German anthroposophists and EnlightenNext. This isn’t uncontroversial either; some anthroposophists object to it (for good reasons). Read these posts, for examples; many deal in one way or another with Cohen and his followers.

Even the leaders in Dornach seem open to collaboration with EnlightenNext; recently, the EnlightenNext movement’s German leader, Tom Steininger, made an internet-radio interview with anthroposophist and executive council member Bodo von Plato (the interview is/was available online, but sound quality was unfortunately utterly bad, and I couldn’t stand listening to it).

Anyway, the Swedish EnlightenNext group calls itself ‘Evolutionärer’ (‘evolutionists’) and this is the presentation they offer on their Facebook group (sorry Swedish):

Inget folk har någonsin varit mer individualiserade/jag-fixerade än vi svenskar idag. Samtidigt verkar fler och fler inse att nästa utvecklingssteg handlar om att med denna fantastiska självständighetsmuskel lyckas komma samman och mötas i ett högre “vi” – från Världcentrism till Kosmocentrism.

So, we’re waiting for the next epoch. And need a guru to lead us to it, apparently.

9 thoughts on “andrew cohen (in stockholm today)

  1. Zounds, Zooey! What a karmic-cosmic coincidence, nay, synchronicity!!! Just as I was reading your blog entry here, my AOL mail bell dinged and it was a notification that Sebastian Gronbach had written on my Facebook wall. He was asking for my English translation of Steiner’s version of the “Serenity Prayer” (Ergebenheitsgebet) very likely because the Japanese Anthros have been using this prayer to get through their catastrophe.

    I don’t know if you realize that Sebastian (called Segro or “Little Green River” in Uribistan) is the foremost proponent of Andrew Cohen in the Steiner world today. And then, in turn, Cohen himself is a big planet orbiting around the gargantuan spiritual sun called Ken Wilber.

    So having Cohen in Stockholm is quite a karma-laden event for you! And you can bet your sweet bippy that Sune will NOT be attending. Now all the guys at Info3, Felix Hau Heisterkamp, et al., are themselves close to being devotees of Cohen and Wilber, although Segro is the most rabid follower. And if you search the archives in Michael Eggert’s Egoisten blog for Cohen, you will see how Michael, once an Info3 guy himself, scorches Segro especially for his identification with Wilber (Keyword “No Gurus!”)

    I call this the “skin-head faction” not in reference to Neo-Nazis, rather quite the opposite — to the bodacious bald-headed Buddha boys, like “Chief Monk” Ken Wilber, and of course Sebastian, but also Art Zajoncs, who is much more of a Buddhist than he is an Anthroposophist. (Cohen has hair, and shepherds normal hairy faction.)

    Also, another devotee of Andrew Cohen is the guy I referenced for you here a few weeks back — John Stirling Walker, the guy whose e-mail name is “Geistesforscher” and who founded “The Institute of Hypostatic Science” in order to fulfill his important Anthroposophical-Rosicrucian mission by integrating Scientology AND Sun Yung Moon’s Korean cult AND American Mormonisn into anthroposophy!
    http://www.enlightennext.org/magazine/bios/John-Walker.asp

    Finally, consider that Tom Steiniger is the German-language “point man” for Ken Wilber in Europe. Here is an article by Tom S. that mentions both Cohen and Wilber, but I’ll give the title and summary because it tells why Steiner seems so compatible with Cohen and Wilber.
    http://www.wie.org/DE/j25/reloaded.asp

    ========================
    Geist reloaded
    Oder … wie die deutschen Idealisten und Romantiker die ersten Versuche einer modernen Spiritualität unternahmen.
    von Tom Steininger
    ———————————-
    Spirit reloaded
    Or . . . how the German Idealists and Romanticists made the first attempt at modern spirituality
    by Tom Steininger
    ==========================

  2. ‘I don’t know if you realize that Sebastian (called Segro or “Little Green River” in Uribistan) is the foremost proponent of Andrew Cohen in the Steiner world today.’

    Yep, I know. That’s what I was thinking of when I mentioned Germany. Info3 as well, but mainly Gronbach.

    ‘And if you search the archives in Michael Eggert’s Egoisten blog for Cohen, you will see how Michael, once an Info3 guy himself, scorches Segro especially for his identification with Wilber (Keyword “No Gurus!”)’

    The link to the No Gurus section is included in the post ;-)

    “The Institute of Hypostatic Science”

    Ha! I’m sure there’s an Institute of Hypocritic Science. Where Sune works.

    And, yep, that Steininger guy — it surprised me that even Bodo v Plato was interviewed by him. Why?

    Did you listen to it?

  3. According to reports I have read of Mr Cohen he is a nasty piece of work, a bully who abuses his followers.

  4. Unfortunately, yes. There seems to be quite a few testimonies to that effect.

    Paradoxically, because there’s this focus on personal development and self-esteem; values which seem quite at odds with the criticism of Cohen. Then again, such paradoxes seem to come easy to spiritual gurus. And the longer they are in the game, the easier… despite the fact that time also brings detractors. (The increase their skills at rejecting criticism too, of course.)

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