A Cappella Innovations

Got something to say?

Postby borski » Mon Apr 14, 2008 8:41 am

AMalkoff wrote:
dpm wrote:Hi Amy, I am posting this on the forum because I think it is important to be completely transparent for the sake of my friends and because I have nothing to hide.

(snip)

Sincerely,
Daniela Padilla


Daniela: You have to admit that the timing is VERY suspect. And why write from a Yahoo address that went TO a Nxivm address if you're just an independent person looking for design?

If this is indeed just an incredible coincidence, then I offer my apologies. But it does seem very strange.

I also thought long and hard about posting the (your) actual address, and I have removed it. But given the secrecy of your organization and their apparent history of scare tactics (and since you chose to be part of it, you'll unfortunately be called to explain these things - you've chosen that), it seemed appropriate to do. This may or may not be part of a bullying campaign. You say it's not. I'll take your word for it and keep my eyes and ears open.

Take care, -Amy


Just FYI, and I know nothing about the situation so I'm not saying anything about whether or not Daniela's motives were this or that...

I send email from michael.borohovski AT gmail DOT com but the reply-to often goes to borski AT mit DOT edu. I do this because my MIT address is likely to be more permanent than my gmail address. If/when I decide to not use GMail, I can simply redirect my mail from MIT elsewhere, and fairly easily at that.

Just giving a reason as to why someone might do that; not legitimizing any actions of any sort.
borski
 
Posts: 241
Joined: Mon Nov 14, 2005 7:43 pm
Location: Cambridge, MA

Postby AMalkoff » Mon Apr 14, 2008 9:11 am

borski wrote:I send email from michael.borohovski AT gmail DOT com but the reply-to often goes to borski AT mit DOT edu. I do this because my MIT address is likely to be more permanent than my gmail address. If/when I decide to not use GMail, I can simply redirect my mail from MIT elsewhere, and fairly easily at that.

Just giving a reason as to why someone might do that; not legitimizing any actions of any sort.


Oh, I understand that that happens, and mail forwarding, and all that. But it worked in this case to tip me off that she was a Nxivm person, and that she didn't just "stumble across" my website, as her email said. If she had come across me via the RARB forums (and just coincidentally decided to contact me now), why not mention that?

Her intentions may be completely innocent (albeit very badly timed), but given Nxivm's history of following/suing people who voice concern about them, this kind of suspicion is the price one pays for being involved in an organization whose positive spin seems to emanate almost completely from the inside.
Amy Malkoff
Now: All About Buford - www.allaboutbuford.com | ICCA Judge | CASA Board of Directors + Director of Web Content | www.amymalkoff.com/harmony
Then: Deadline Poet | Kenyon College's Owl Creek Singers
AMalkoff
 
Posts: 211
Joined: Sun Jul 27, 2003 4:53 am
Location: birthplace of the American Navy

Postby mwhitehouse » Mon Apr 14, 2008 12:39 pm

I apologize—I'm beginning to sound like a broken record—but I'm still failing to understand the enormous discrepancies of scale between the claims NXIVM and Mr. Raniere have made elsewhere on the web and the equivocating they're doing in this forum.

Keith Raniere wrote:I do believe much of our “knowledge” is transmissible to, and fits the criteria of, the "West" as outlined. A case in point: the various statements relating to my intelligence/problem solving ability/IQ score/bad toilet training. There is an article in an independent newspaper stating this; there is relevant data in an edition of the Guinness Book of World Records; at least one attorney general during settlement discussions required me to prove it; I was deposed about it and proved, to the standard of a hostile legal panel, the validity of making such a claim (this does not prove the claim itself); and of course there is at least one test score. I know you do not have this data but some of my detractors, especially in the context of adversarial proceedings, utilize a "Western" standard of measure. As an additional note, the reason why we are successful in what we do is due to one of our basic premises: if it is not measurable in a scientific sense it is only hypothesis. As far as IQ/problem solving goes, one needs to understand these terms and their measurement. I’m really good at “solving” IQ type problems presented in a paper test—that’s it!


But surely, if you understand these terms and their measurement, you recognize the patent absurdity of claiming as a credential a statement like: "He has been noted as one of top three problem-solvers in the world". Regardless of by whom you are so noted, it's an absolutely impossible statement to prove, by any standard.

How is this "measurable in a scientific sense"? You say "there is at least one test score": what test was this, that its measurement of problem-solving ability was statistically significant to within a 1-in-a-billion specificity? How comprehensive was the test—what kind of problems? I'm curious, because to claim such exactitude, a significant proportion of the set {every exceptionally smart person on earth} must have been tested— and such people's abilities tend to vary dramatically with respect to particular kinds of intelligence. How did Andrew Wiles do on the math questions? How'd Stephen Hawking do on the more esoteric logical demonstrations? Or maybe they tested divergent thinking, like chess problems—did Garry Kasparov do well, even after his retirement? Where do these folks end up on the world rankings?

You say you're persistently hounded by ad hominem attacks. Then shouldn't you try to be as exact and forthright as possible about your credentials? For someone who supposedly places such value in scientific facts, your website is littered with utterly unconvincing, unverifiable (except by extraordinary means, e.g. your accounts of your childhood) anecdotes of your exceptional intellect. They just don't meet the verifiability standard of any credentials usually given in any context, personal or professional. But they don't come close to comparing to, say, Deke and the House Jacks' bios on their website. And I could pick any example—they don't even compare to those I've read of people I imagine as yourprofessional peers.

How is one to interpret your "credentials"? Please explain to me the bias in this conclusion, based on your homepage: given your failure to meet any usual standard of factually descriptive credentials, and the hypocrisy evident in failing your own standards of scientific verification, combined with the evident self-indulgence of most of the anecdotes you do provide (only compounded by the later claim of being "down to earth"), it seems altogether rational to fit you to a sort of delusional, narcissistic, cult-leader profile.

Certainly not to a David Koresh degree, but it still baffles me.

Keith Raniere wrote:Now with that said there is another more present reason for some of the lack of disclosure. Within the next month or so, depositions in the Nxivm legal case (which was never lost and survived motions to dismiss) are beginning. Ben, imagine if someone accused you of being a murderer and sited as evidence you were a 6ft tall female with long blonde hair. Further imagine if you believed your accusers were hired to falsely hurt you and would do anything to achieve their goal. Would you correct them before your hearing so they could change their story? We won't either. This is the reason for the carefulness used in refuting untrue information. We have offered to meet in person to discuss and disclose information which would shed light on some of this. We will refute the public stuff online--like the alleged loss of our case, patent stuff, etc. Most of this is pointless if we are not trusted.

Keith Raniere wrote:It is a very important ethical question: under what conditions should people who share in a given activity disclose this to others. If you examine this generalized situation and apply such a study to the current situation (as we have) you may get some surprising results. I would greatly enjoy and extended conversation on this subject and would greatly value your input and thoughtfulness. I suspect you would benefit from a few of the data points left out of the current discussion.


Again, you aren't being very generous, accusing your detractors of a "bias" when you're providing only this to fill in the gaps in your arguments. Please, refer back to Deke's "equation" of your organization that just doesn't add up. Their are just too many gaps! Yet you're really unwilling to give us any of these "data" that will lead us to the opposite conclusion, because you're saving this ammunition for use in court?

If these are the crucial data that someone as evidently smart and kind as Ben Stevens might need to judge you favorably, why on earth don't you make them as public as possible, as soon as possible! How could such a colossal PR mistake be made, that you continued in secrecy even knowing that fantastically well-meaning people are likely to distrust you? How do you stand a chance of winning over your legal opponents in the next month, when your public image has evidently been for a long time too shady even to endear yourselves to the direct recipients of your generosity—us, the a cappella community!

I can't see why you shouldn't make all these data public now. If you'll soon be forced to reveal them in court, you surely must regret not making it public all along—now is your chance to prove your good intentions!

To return to the "cult" idea: to me, this reads so much like the "I'd tell you, but I'd have to kill you" excuses that fill in the gaps of crackpot conspiracy theories. I'm sure that you treasure your self-constructed exclusivity—being so "in-the-know" about all these secret details—but there just can't be a good excuse not to give rational people enough data with which to conclude your organization is well-intended. Not ethically (why make "alleged cult members" out of your seminar attendees?) and certainly not business-wise.

Keith Raniere wrote:What is the goal of Nxivm? Answer: To build humanity in the world by ethically, philosophically and educationally inspiring the leaders of the world.

Keith Raniere wrote:If a program increases a person’s joy—as delineated by a self-reporting measure—civilization may improve without the constraints mentioned. Knowledge can be seen as predictability; independent description or verification does not necessarily improve or validate it. It is stated within Nxivm that undescribed, unverifiable knowledge may exist but is beyond Nxivm's philosophical purview.


Please, let's get some acknowledgment of the philosophical purview assumed by the statements on the NXIVM homepage. Does humanity need NXIVM, and NXIVM uniquely among all other ethical "technologies" thus far produced by man, to save our present civilization from collapse?

And if so, do you understand our confusion at such a dramatically unverifiable statement defining an ideology constructed around rational inquiry?

livingfiction wrote:It's true, my experience doesn't trump any and all other sources of information, for you at least, or for anyone else who isn't me. But your experience of reading negative information and choosing to believe it doesn't affect my experience of reading the same information and choosing to investigate it for myself rather than accepting it as fact. I share my experience, because for people who know me, my opinion may carry more weight than that of a reporter they've never met. Maybe it doesn't, but it's out there, and others are free to read it and form their own conclusions. There is so much out there that is negative, and, in my view, untrue, that I feel it only fair to offer up my thoughts for measure. I'm not a scientist, or any kind of expert, but frankly I don't feel I have to be one for my thoughts and opinions to mean something.


Mr. Eldredge—please understand that we're not just choosing to believe the negative information, we're choosing to disbelieve the absurd information coming directly from the source! Do you believe and trust in the statements I've quoted above? Could you relate the above statements of Mr. Raniere's credentials or NXIVM's intentions directly to your personal experiences of your ESP seminar?

(Without breaking any gag agreements you may have made, of course.)
mwhitehouse
 
Posts: 28
Joined: Mon Apr 30, 2007 6:16 pm
Location: Gettysburg, PA

Postby livingfiction » Mon Apr 14, 2008 7:52 pm

MCWhitehouse wrote:
livingfiction wrote:It's true, my experience doesn't trump any and all other sources of information, for you at least, or for anyone else who isn't me. But your experience of reading negative information and choosing to believe it doesn't affect my experience of reading the same information and choosing to investigate it for myself rather than accepting it as fact. I share my experience, because for people who know me, my opinion may carry more weight than that of a reporter they've never met. Maybe it doesn't, but it's out there, and others are free to read it and form their own conclusions. There is so much out there that is negative, and, in my view, untrue, that I feel it only fair to offer up my thoughts for measure. I'm not a scientist, or any kind of expert, but frankly I don't feel I have to be one for my thoughts and opinions to mean something.


Mr. Eldredge—please understand that we're not just choosing to believe the negative information, we're choosing to disbelieve the absurd information coming directly from the source! Do you believe and trust in the statements I've quoted above? Could you relate the above statements of Mr. Raniere's credentials or NXIVM's intentions directly to your personal experiences of your ESP seminar?

(Without breaking any gag agreements you may have made, of course.)


Hey MC, I appreciate you being respectful in your questions and not slinging mud or attacking, me at least. I'll try to look at some of your questions and see if I can express my feelings about them. Although, as I've mentioned, and I want to be entirely clear, I'm a freelance photographer, and as such, do not work for any of the producers of ACI outside of the event, so I don't represent them or their interests anymore than I represent the interests of a cappella or the community at large. So if or when I misinterpret something, please bear with me.

I haven't quoted everything in it's entirety here, I've tried to pull out the points you made in regard to Keith's posts.

MCWhitehouse wrote:
Keith Raniere wrote:I do believe much of our “knowledge” is transmissible to, and fits the criteria of, the "West" as outlined. A case in point: the various statements relating to my intelligence/problem solving ability/IQ score/bad toilet training. There is an article in an independent newspaper stating this; there is relevant data in an edition of the Guinness Book of World Records; at least one attorney general during settlement discussions required me to prove it; I was deposed about it and proved, to the standard of a hostile legal panel, the validity of making such a claim (this does not prove the claim itself); and of course there is at least one test score. I know you do not have this data but some of my detractors, especially in the context of adversarial proceedings, utilize a "Western" standard of measure. As an additional note, the reason why we are successful in what we do is due to one of our basic premises: if it is not measurable in a scientific sense it is only hypothesis. As far as IQ/problem solving goes, one needs to understand these terms and their measurement. I’m really good at “solving” IQ type problems presented in a paper test—that’s it!


But surely, if you understand these terms and their measurement, you recognize the patent absurdity of claiming as a credential a statement like: "He has been noted as one of top three problem-solvers in the world". Regardless of by whom you are so noted, it's an absolutely impossible statement to prove, by any standard.

How is this "measurable in a scientific sense"? You say "there is at least one test score": what test was this, that its measurement of problem-solving ability was statistically significant to within a 1-in-a-billion specificity? How comprehensive was the test—what kind of problems? I'm curious, because to claim such exactitude, a significant proportion of the set {every exceptionally smart person on earth} must have been tested— and such people's abilities tend to vary dramatically with respect to particular kinds of intelligence. How did Andrew Wiles do on the math questions? How'd Stephen Hawking do on the more esoteric logical demonstrations? Or maybe they tested divergent thinking, like chess problems—did Garry Kasparov do well, even after his retirement? Where do these folks end up on the world rankings?


Well that's a little unfair, at least it seems so to me. I could say that Deke Sharon and Joseph Bates are among the top 5 a cappella arrangers in the world. Is it true? Well, it might be, if you're talking about a comparison to people who arrange for a cappella. But if you want to be REALLY technical, then we have to consider everyone who arranges any music at all, and wonder just how well they'd do arranging a cappella. We could make a case either way, but for the sake of comparison I for one would be willing to accept consideration of only people who are actively engaged in the activity for comparison.

So if we allow for the field of potential problem solvers to be narrowed down to those who are actively solving problems, and I'm not talking about problems like which exemptions should I claim on my taxes, or does yellow margarine really taste any different than white margarine, although those are interesting problems, I'm talking about problems set up by those who have been identified as active problem solvers, then a claim to be a given ranking among them can certainly be valid. There are people who are really into the idea of being "really smart" as evidence by the existence of communities and organizations who cater to them. If that's what one is really into, it stands to reason, at least in my mind, that they may sit around and come up with the hardest possible problems, and tests for one another. Competition, comparison, all commonplace in most communities, including ours.

Is Keith one of the top 3 problem solvers in the world? I don't know, I'm not part of those communities. But being in those communities isn't really what it's about, at least not for me. If I think he's a liar, then why bother to even read his posts? If I think he's being truthful, then I'll take him at his word. In the end it doesn't really matter to me. It's interesting to consider, and if he and I are ever in the same place at the same time I'd love to see some of the problems or puzzles that are created for these kind of assessments.



MCWhitehouse wrote:
Keith Raniere wrote:What is the goal of Nxivm? Answer: To build humanity in the world by ethically, philosophically and educationally inspiring the leaders of the world.

Keith Raniere wrote:If a program increases a person’s joy—as delineated by a self-reporting measure—civilization may improve without the constraints mentioned. Knowledge can be seen as predictability; independent description or verification does not necessarily improve or validate it. It is stated within Nxivm that undescribed, unverifiable knowledge may exist but is beyond Nxivm's philosophical purview.


Please, let's get some acknowledgment of the philosophical purview assumed by the statements on the NXIVM homepage. Does humanity need NXIVM, and NXIVM uniquely among all other ethical "technologies" thus far produced by man, to save our present civilization from collapse?


I don't understand why it has to be one way or the highway. I've been involved with several groups who had intentions of making small differences that would inevitably change the world for the better, but I don't know that any of them felt theirs was the ONLY way. I haven't gotten the impression that NXIVM thinks theirs in the only way either, just a way, their way, not for everyone, as has been specifically mentioned.

I hope I addressed some of your points MC, at least so you can understand the view from where I sit. And now if you'll bear with me, a little rant:

It's not that these questions aren't important, or relevant altogether, I think what brings me back to this thread and what worries me the most is what this says about how we treat people from a particular philosophical background. I've admitted to attending a NXIVM class. Does this mean that I shouldn't be hired? Would any of you now bar me from your concerts were I to try and attend? Can I still be a member of the House Jacks group on Facebook? If I have a barbeque, will any of you come? If I have lunch with Dave Baumgartner, a personal friend of mine, can he still be in Almost Recess, and will Almost Recess still be allowed to perform at festivals and schools? How far does it reach? Okay, I'm getting a little ridiculous here, but hopefully my point is being understood.

If we don't like NXIVM then don't like NXIVM. Don't go to their classes, don't attend their workshops. They've said ACI isn't a NXIVM event. Over the last two events they've made particular effort to not mention or include the word NXIVM in the event paperwork. They're not using NXIVM money to fund the event (I've asked). They're not making money from the event, and using it to go toward NXIVM (I've also asked). I just don't understand turning our backs on something good because we don't share the same philosophical views as some of it's organizers. I had a kick ass time at the last SoJam and it was in a church! One of the organizer's father is a minister at the church! Were there any conversions?

Awareness is understandable. If we want to give attendees a heads up and let them know that at this event they may meet people who are in NXIVM, so if they don't want to sign up for those kind of classes then they shouldn't. Or, we could give people the benefit of assuming they're capable of making their own decisions. It's been mentioned several times how smart and discerning the readers of this board and members of the a cappella community are. I think that certain posts on this very thread are evidence of that, and I'm not just talking about those who share my view.
livingfiction
 
Posts: 89
Joined: Mon Nov 15, 2004 8:13 pm
Location: Behind the Lens

Postby kevin47 » Mon Apr 14, 2008 10:22 pm

Open question: Why do we care?

If NIHM or whatever is a cult, don't join.

If a cult wants to put on a free a cappella festival, take advantage.

If you want to join the cult, feel free.

I mean, college felt like a cult at times to me, right down to the all-veg meals. I broke free, somehow, though I retained my appreciation for soy milk.

I recently stayed at a hotel in San Francisco. It was creepy. Literally everything was for sale, including the wet bar, the coffee (!), the bathrobe, the bed (!!)... Everything. Not only was I staying in a room, I was engaging in a purchasing experience.

Fortunately, my company sprung for the room (and how) so what do I care. Did I buy a $4000 bed? Of course not.

Take the freebies and run, people. And if you are shopping for paradigms, subscribe to a newsletter or two.
Kevin Sawyer
Claremont Shades
('97-'01)
kevin47
RARB
RARB
 
Posts: 134
Joined: Tue Jul 24, 2007 12:40 pm

A Cappella Innovations

Postby LRSalzman » Mon Apr 14, 2008 10:35 pm

Hi Deke,

I read your post to Clare stating “That’s not to say that it’s not possible for new information to be presented,” which I take to mean you are open to new data. If this is truly the case, Keith’s offer is still on the table.

What I understand is the following:

1. There are accusations against Keith
2. These cause you to feel he is not trustworthy
3. Keith wants to gain your trust and wants to know what he needs to do
4. He is willing to place himself up for review against a trust standard you define
5. He is willing to give you (or a representative of your choice) less restricted access to data and his life
6. He is willing to meet you (or your representative) in person and provide such data, given you agree to appropriate non-disclosure.

Based on the above—and most importantly—he is asking you to make an informed evaluation.

If there is no possible way for Keith to earn your trust, then there is no reason for him to clarify any of the data points in question. However, if there is a way for him to earn your trust, tell him what it is you need to see with specificity, and be willing to stand by your request as the determining factor.

It’s your right to withdraw your support from ACI, and take an oppositional stance against ACI, NXIVM or Keith through boycott. In fact (and I think Keith would agree with me), boycott is an extremely effective and humanitarian form of protest. However, if you’re boycotting because you’re not willing to put forth the effort necessary to fully evaluate, then we should be honest about that. If you truly give Keith an opportunity to earn your trust and he fails to meet your standards, that’s a different issue compared to there being no way for him to earn your trust because you’re closed to examining and evaluating data.

I see only three ways for you to address Keith’s offer:

1. Accepting his offer and, after evaluation, being satisfied with the process and findings, which would change everything
2. Accepting his offer and, after evaluation, being dissatisfied—but at least your dissatisfaction would be informed and definitive
3. You decline his offer and choose to not put forth the effort to evaluate, which will cast these proceedings in a very different light

On a personal level, I feel you are a prominent figure in the a cappella community and I have tremendous respect for you and your position. Given this, your decision now is a defining moment, not only for yourself, but for those whose values you represent with your voice.

I feel a clear decision from you is necessary now for us to move forward.
LRSalzman
 
Posts: 3
Joined: Thu Apr 10, 2008 7:51 am

Postby livingfiction » Mon Apr 14, 2008 10:41 pm

kevin47 wrote:Open question: Why do we care?

If NIHM or whatever is a cult, don't join.

If a cult wants to put on a free a cappella festival, take advantage.

If you want to join the cult, feel free.

I mean, college felt like a cult at times to me, right down to the all-veg meals. I broke free, somehow, though I retained my appreciation for soy milk.

I recently stayed at a hotel in San Francisco. It was creepy. Literally everything was for sale, including the wet bar, the coffee (!), the bathrobe, the bed (!!)... Everything. Not only was I staying in a room, I was engaging in a purchasing experience.

Fortunately, my company sprung for the room (and how) so what do I care. Did I buy a $4000 bed? Of course not.

Take the freebies and run, people. And if you are shopping for paradigms, subscribe to a newsletter or two.


There we go.

I loved the secret of Nihm, that was a great flick :D
livingfiction
 
Posts: 89
Joined: Mon Nov 15, 2004 8:13 pm
Location: Behind the Lens

Postby appbigcountry » Tue Apr 15, 2008 12:26 am

This has gotten more absurd than Season 4 of Nip/Tuck. And, like that show, while it was entertaining and morbidly interesting at first, it has since ceased to be in my mind. At least I have learned one thing during all this: Deke Sharon is as cool as everyone says he is.

To close this thread out for me, personally, I'd like to just share a few facts about myself. I'm normally a very humble human being, but I thought some information would be helpful in everyone getting to know me and evaluating me.

*I was once the best chess player in the state of Kentucky for my age group when I was seven.
*I taught myself how to beat box at a professional level before I could talk.
*Samuel L. Jackson attributes my advice of "just shout and curse all the time" to extending his career as an actor.
*I learned to sing three part harmony with myself and am working on a fourth part at the moment.
*Answered every math problem correctly all throughout high school, but intentionally missed a high percentage to seem more human.
*Successfully cross bred the first labradoodle.

Namaste.
Matt King
Appalachian State Higher Ground 2003-2007
www.asuhigherground.com
www.myspace.com/apphigherground
appbigcountry
 
Posts: 49
Joined: Fri May 25, 2007 9:30 am
Location: Boone, NC

Postby RnBMrE » Tue Apr 15, 2008 5:33 am

kevin47 wrote:If NIHM or whatever is a cult, don't join.


Those are rechargeable batteries, not cults.

I do work for the NIMH, though... O.o

Matt Emery CASA Director of Communications Three-time Recipient of RARB "Post of the Year" Title

RnBMrE
 
Posts: 712
Joined: Mon Mar 06, 2006 8:14 pm
Location: Washington, DC

Re: A Cappella Innovations

Postby dekesharon » Tue Apr 15, 2008 7:48 am

LRSalzman wrote:3. You decline his offer and choose to not put forth the effort to evaluate, which will cast these proceedings in a very different light.


Lauren,

Thank you for the offer.

I have chosen throughout this inquiry to keep all conversation here - in this newsgroup - as opposed to over the phone, in person, or via email.

Because this is about more than me & my opinion. And I believe it's essential to have everyone's opinion and insight included in the conversation. That means anyone who has anything to say can say it. Including Keith.

Meeting in person with Keith is not something I'm interested in doing. I don't personally believe this to be a matter of trust, especially in light of the fact that to trust him and his word appears to mean not "trusting" several major news organizations, other experts on these issues, etc. And, at this point, trusting my instincts after reading Nxivm's own documents.

However, I am very interested to have more information presented in this forum, by anyone, from any perspective, at any time. Opinion is welcome as well.

I think that's the safest, fairest, most open, most balanced, most researchable and verifiable mode of communication and dialogue around this issue.

And that is the light in which I want the entirety of this discourse to be cast, and vetted: the bright light of public discourse.

- Deke Sharon • 800.579.9305 • http://www.dekesharon.com

dekesharon
 
Posts: 1585
Joined: Fri Jun 13, 2003 8:01 am
Location: San Francisco

Postby UnifiedVoice » Tue Apr 15, 2008 9:02 am

I guess my comments are to be taken with a grain of salt since I have remained anonymous, but I make no accusations, etc. I am nobody that anyone ever heard of before and I just happened upon this board when doing a google about the event that they were holding at the Egg..which I didn't attend. The conversation here hooked me however and I have read with interest. But be that as it may, I felt I had a couple more things to add.

I think that we would really need to look back at NXIVM from a few generations hence to objectively judge whether some of the more fantastic claims about changing the world, etc. were actually credible. But as I said a few days ago, beware of those espousing a utopian type of message because mankind usually has a way of mucking up even the best ideas.

Also, whether Keith is credible in his own life can not establish whether the broader philosophy of NXIVM is to be accepted. It cannot be proven objectively in the way that we could establish the efficacy of an economic theory etc. In terms of the NXIVM philosophy, it will take the distance of time to objectively judge it's merit. Keith could be the most sincere wonderful guy in the world and it still wouldn't prove whether his philosophical ideas are sound and will hold up from a historical perspective.

I'm much more of an incrementalist in my own view of life (and the broader world) and thus choose to build upon the foundations that already exist rather than trying to bring about a whole new way of thinking etc. But that's just me. :) Pluralism is great though and if others choose the NXIVM way or some other way ....then that's fine also.

What could be objectively judged is the the success of the Executive Success Programs which NXIVM conducts. I think they refer to them as 'intensives' in some of their literature online. All they need do is a simple follow-up survey of past students to ascertain their reactions to the methodology and their personal successes after the ESP experience. I wouldn't be surprised if this has already been done for their own informational and marketing purposes, but such results haven't been made public here. Such results could potentially refute the handful of well publicized very negative reactions to ESP that have appeared in the press.

Finally, you have to admit that a number of the aspects of the NXIVM experience play right into the hands of the cult accusers. I mean this business of calling Keith 'the Vanguard' and the internal hierarchical structure that has been devised as well as the wearing of the sashes etc. Hey maybe it works, but you couldn't have written a better script for people like Ross etc. to use.
UnifiedVoice
 
Posts: 4
Joined: Sat Apr 12, 2008 5:41 am

Postby LRSalzman » Thu Apr 17, 2008 5:29 pm

Hi Deke,

My impression based on your last post to Clare is you are open to data and reevaluating your position against ACI in this thread. Although it’s not my opinion the philosophy of “everything public” is always the best ethical process, it’s important to me to address your concerns. Thus, if you provide a list of the data you would need to see to change your perspective and subsequent boycott of ACI, I will do my best to get it to you pending it does not violate ethical process, other people’s privacy, or our legal case. Please keep the list to the essential data that, when examined, would satisfy your concerns and need not be further questioned.

I’m confident we can come to a positive resolution for all involved. I hope you feel the same.
LRSalzman
 
Posts: 3
Joined: Thu Apr 10, 2008 7:51 am

Postby dekesharon » Thu Apr 17, 2008 6:10 pm

Lauren,

I really appreciate your persistence.

Thanks for understanding my not wanting to fly to Albany and meet with Keith. I'm not Mike Wallace, and I'm not interested in similarly meeting with Rick Ross, the various reporters who wrote the stories, the various people who report breakdowns (and perhaps the family of the girl who committed suicide), anyone who has been sued, etc.

And I'm not interested in signing a non-disclosure agreement, for the obvious reason that I don't want to have any legal agreements with an organization that's embroiled in 3-4 million dollars of lawsuits currently.

Plus, as I've said, it's all about one big open discussion. Here, since this is where it started.

As for information I'd like to see (and again, it's not just about me), there are a number of questions that remain unanswered on this thread. That would be a good start (and maybe end - can't know where information will lead).

And, of course, you're welcome to post anything here that does support Nxivm's position (doesn't just have to be something that was asked for).

And, since you opened the subject, why isn't "everything public" "always the best ethical process," when Nxivm's own materials taut the importance of 100% honestly, 100% disclosure?

This may seem like a silly question, but I'm serious. Ghandi and his followers faced harm, mutilation and death for their ethical stance and nonviolent resistance. Great masses of people maimed and killed. Jesus refused to repent and was killed, and many who have followed his path have followed suit. Socrates refused to recant his teachings and was killed. The ethical life is the courageous life, with truth paramount.

There's no death on the line here (just perhaps tipping your hand in a lawsuit?) why not be completely open with Nxivm's materials? Why not forget the patents and go ahead and post and share everything?

- Deke Sharon • 800.579.9305 • http://www.dekesharon.com

dekesharon
 
Posts: 1585
Joined: Fri Jun 13, 2003 8:01 am
Location: San Francisco

Postby bstevens » Thu Apr 17, 2008 8:30 pm

For most of this week I have refrained from posting out of uncertainty and, I'll admit, a certain fatigue: I've written more than 3000 words on this topic, mainly trying to encourage a public generosity of tone and appropriate questions and trying to decide, personally, what the relevant answers to those questions might be. The first has been easy, given the quality and sincerity of posters, well-praised already by Jonathan, Michael, and others.

The second has been harder. As I've written, I personally did not feel pressure about NXIVM or anything similar at either festival, although I know people who did, and like many of us I enjoyed working with Clare and others. I've also tried to be clear about my feeling that certain sorts of things are not usefully asked about in a public setting: I have not and will not ask for personal beliefs to be described, much less justified, when the context is a professional one.

But in this case it seems that some of the personal beliefs in question are both directed towards particular practices at the festival and, complicatedly, related to membership in NXIVM. For example, workshop leaders and others have described how their membership in NXIVM impacts their participation in and conduct of the festival; and the festival is clearly tied to that organization at inspirational and operational levels. Since NXIVM has not and, at this point, seemingly cannot submit its claims to ordinary public scrutiny, I must balance my preferred agnosticism, including simple disinterest in learning more about the organization, with my active commitments as an educator, intellectual, and public figure.

As things stand, I must withdraw from future A Cappella Innovations until such time as either (1) NXIVM and associated organizations and individuals see their claims to probity and to knowledge vindicated not through private communication, however sincere, but through legitimate public channels including peer-reviewed journals and the independent press; or (2) the festival and its musical goals are clearly separated from NXIVM, associated organizations, and their goals. Until then, it seems that the great musical good accomplished by the festival is unavoidably and, I think, unnecessarily complicated by NXIVM's troubling and troubled public record.

Benjamin Stevens

CASA Director of Education

Educational Officer for Festivals and Events

bstevens
Site Admin
Site Admin
 
Posts: 636
Joined: Wed Oct 30, 2002 3:19 pm
Location: Mid-Hudson Valley, NY

Audience, Joy, A Capella

Postby EricMumford » Thu Apr 17, 2008 10:30 pm

== New ==
I've never posted here. I don't even sing well, and I don't belong to the A Capella social crowd. I do know that I enjoyed meeting everyone I met, NXIVM or not, during the ACI event, so I feel that this post belongs in this thread.

== Crust ==
Some believe Eduard Seuss was the first to use the word "biosphere" to describe the layer of life surrounding the earth. My first experience of the layer of voices surrounding my definition of what musicality "is" was A Capella Innovations... so as far as those who performed and attended A Capella Innovations at The Egg in Albany, NY, I had a wonderful time! I must admit however, I was extremely gifted in ways you all were not. My brother and sister were both helping to film the event, and I got to share a brief hug-and-kiss hello to both of them. My Mother attended Friday, and I got a hug-and-hello out of her, and my Father attended Sunday - he sat up in the higher seats while I sat in the lower, but we caught up afterward. The performances blew me away, but in the end, the highlight was catching up with family and friends. (I apologize for capitalizing Mother and Father, and beg your patience; I was brought up with perhaps an overdeveloped sense of family...)

== Valencia! ==
I first took a NXIVM class in 2001 I guess it was, long ago it seems, before all of this huff-and-puff about cults and what-have-you. It was an easier time, so to speak, it was "just a class", a little different than others, as those who took the coursework quickly and joyfully found. I had taken leadership weekends, corporate trainings, etc before, and I heard about this particular class through my mom, and her review was so colorful and joyful I figured, Why Not? She had a high BS filter and had taught classes her whole adult life, so I figured it must be good.

So honestly? I never thought I'd be a cult member. :) So when RR first came out screaming CULT, I sort of laughed. (It was similar to when I managed to earn my first trophy in programming assembly language on an Apple II... the popular kids screamed out DORK or GEEK and trust me about 5-8 variations on the theme...) I am trying to remember where I was in my life when the "Cult" thing first happened - I think I was working at a fitness club in Saratoga. I remember chuckling sort of half-disbelievingly, like, if this is a cult, what does that make me? Do I -have- to serve jello-shots at parties now, or...?? I was a graduate of RPI in Troy NY, in a happy relationship with a hot girl, had a good job, I had earned a certification in my field, had a good apartment, great family, bla bla bla. I definitely didn't fit the cult cookie-cutter outline and to this day I am confident I'm not in a cult.

But I quickly found that

WHAT I BELIEVED DIDN'T MATTER:

as my friends and family read the articles, they raised a hairy eyebrow toward me. The printed word has amazing powerl, even if its based on made-up shit! There were some difficult times, including tearful confrontations with relatives who believed I was brainwashed. It was hard for me. As time passed, some of them realized one vital thing: I, Eric, was still... me. I was still Eric. And that bucks the entire brainwashing premise of a Cult. Cults are short term power trips; they rely on group-adaptation of memorization of values, and discourage critical evaluation. My personal experience of NXIVM is the opposite of all of these precepts.

So, here we are, 2008, about five years later; Keith Raniere is my friend. I could describe how I graduated RPI with an Electrical Engineering degree and studied Schrodinger and Nikola Tesla, and other geek heroes of mine, who were all socially slaughtered in their day, but it wouldn't matter. I could describe Walt Whitman's work, "Song of Myself: A Poem of Walt Whitman, An American" and challenge all of you to read through it without hot tears welling up in your eyes, and shivers of human justice and truth thumping in your breast, but it wouldn't matter. If you want to think NXIVM is something else, you will. If you want to believe Keith is anything other than what he really is... you just will, and that's okay.

With bald honesty and undressed selflessness I proudly stand behind this personal truth with all 6-foot-6 of my volleyball-ness!: I walk this earth blessed by my experience that if you believe in such a thing as angels, that Ivy Nevares, Clare Bronfman, and Lauren Salzman are such. They are humble, real people, whose words contain none other but honesty, truth, and justice. It is so f--king rare (before meeting the NXIVM community, I would have reacted with equal or greater skepticism than many of you rear the wherewithall to type) that any person in their lifetime meets someone that they can connect to in a truly heartfelt, completely honest, straightforward light; as such, it is completely understandable, if not blithefully accepted, that those of you who have not had this experience would take up arms against such proclaimers..

(...And I would walk five-ah-hundred-miles!) ...sorry.

Personally? Truly? I hope to enjoy Keith Rainere's friendship until the end of my days.

After having patiently read the posts during these past weeks, I am convinced that nothing I will write will convince anyone to change their minds - and that's fine, it couldn't really be any other way anyhow.

I met some great, honest people during ACI and the 10c party. I am so happy to have met both a capella and "non" a capella people during the three-day weekend. I was in fact "the male friend" who asked Ally if she was okay during the 10c party... ooh, I'm a celebrity now by inference! I was also the really tall guy who volunteered to help work the door. I met many of you on the way into the 10c thing.

I have taken coursework in NXIVM on-and-off for about five years. I personally know the executive members of this committee personally. I am friends with all of them and would trust them as I would trust myself - out of experience, not out of published document.

There is nothing I can write that will change anyone's mind; and I'm okay with that, even though I sort of wish I -did- have that power, as there's just so much BS out there. Having been on a computer longer than most of you, I can warn you gently that typing posts on a bulletin board can only give you so much; I would encourage you all that if you love a capella, please continue to invest your heart and soul into everything that you love about it. I have researched NXIVM for over 5 years, and my research has turned up nothing but honestly, compassion, and a curiosity for the human struggle - which, in the end, is to build something greater than ourselves.

Honestly? That's the stuff of poetry. That's the language of heart. It's that thing, that thing that you're looking for that you can't quite place your finger on. There's nobody posting on this board (or anywhere online) that's taken the course who thinks its crazy. I think I've read one or two instances where that was true, and in each case, the circumstances were out of this world... I beg each of you to check your sources, and your sources' sources.

I guess that's my input. Not that it matters, but I know there's a lot of great people reading this board, and I guess I'm posting because I'd like to know more of you, I personally know NXIVM is on the up-and-up, and I also personally suspect that many of you could be great friends.

best,
eric
EricMumford
 
Posts: 1
Joined: Wed Apr 09, 2008 6:33 pm
Location: Waterford, NY

PreviousNext

Return to General Chat

Who is online

Users browsing this forum: No registered users and 1 guest

cron