Author Topic: Cracked Mocks Naropa and the Waldorfs  (Read 9038 times)

Offline educatedindian

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Cracked Mocks Naropa and the Waldorfs
« on: March 26, 2013, 04:43:54 pm »
Two institutes run by or affiliated with frauds got ruthlessly taken down by Cracked. The comments includes some defenders in full denial but even more people joining in the mocking.

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http://www.cracked.com/article_20312_5-insane-private-schools-you-wont-believe-actually-exist.html
#4. Naropa University

Located in woodsy Boulder, Colorado, Naropa University was founded in 1974 by Chogyam Trungpa, Oxford graduate and meditation master of the "crazy wisdom" tradition of Tibetan Buddhism (that's actually what it's called). Perhaps to avoid the religious-school label, Naropa describes itself as a Buddhist-inspired school, and it received regional accreditation in 1988.

The university has a reputation around Boulder, a city that is rarely accused of being straight-laced, as being "expensively flaky." As a vital component of the school's mission to provide a "contemplative education," students may choose to sign up for a tai chi or yoga class for credits, but in some departments a meditation class is a requirement.

The first degrees offered by the university were in such areas as Buddhist studies and visual art, as well as expressive art certificates for dance, theater, and poetry. They've since expanded to include even more of the type of major that normally necessitates that the graduate's parents have plenty of living space in the basement after graduation.

Whether you're a white guy with dreadlocks enrolled in a peace studies program or a hirsute patchouli-soaked bohemian gal burning the midnight oil for your next ecopsychology exam, there's a little something for everyone to disappoint Mom and Dad. There's even a course in wilderness therapy (which actually includes a "vision quest" on the syllabus).

Unsurprisingly, Naropa U isn't exactly regarded as a world-class academic institution. It came in 2,150th among colleges in 2012 and boasts a four-year graduation rate of 19 percent. That probably puts it above some of those colleges that are Mafia fronts for drug running. We're not going to say that their worldview might be a little naive, but while the school's mission statement "recognizes the inherent goodness and wisdom of each human being," an accounts payable clerk in the university's finance department embezzled the shit out of them for nearly $600,000 over two years.


#1. Waldorf Schools

If, like many parents, you're concerned that mainstream education is a cold and unfeeling machine that treats your child like a number, then you might be tempted to send the precious little one to a Waldorf school, where each child is treated as an individual. In the weirdest possible way.

Waldorf education is the largest-growing alternative education movement in the world today, and although some schools will admit it more readily than others, their system is based on a spiritual movement called anthroposophy, which revolves around things like karma, astrology, clairvoyance, reincarnation, and "advancing children's connection to the spirit world."

According to Waldorf advocates, individual children should be labeled with different "temperaments" based on their physical characteristics. These characteristics can include the general build, the size of the head, and the, well, color of the skin. After the children are assigned as "phlegmatic," "sanguine," "choleric," or "melancholic," they are then to be treated differently according to that classification.

If this doesn't already sound like something dreamed up by your racist grandpa, Waldorf schools also adhere to a low-tech, anti-technology mantra. That doesn't just mean they've banned iPads -- anything requiring batteries is taboo, and the toys available are things like pinecones and faceless dolls, and anything else that would make an Amish elder grunt in approval. Ironically, some of the biggest fans of this style of education include many in the Silicon Valley crowd, who balk at the idea that a tablet can teach their kids to read. Not that Waldorf schools will teach them to read -- they commonly delay reading to the point where children cannot do so proficiently until age 9 or 10.

The philosophy behind Waldorf education was dreamed up at the turn of the 20th century by Rudolph Steiner of Austria, a crackpot who we have already mentioned due to his daffy agricultural theories that included filling cow horns with manure and burying them to please the Earth spirits. If classifying children into categories based on skin color makes you uncomfortable, it's probably because the idea came from a guy who believed that the highest state of being could only be found in the form of a Germanic or Nordic white European.

Apparently, the Waldorf system has had some successes, from claims of higher SAT scores to a decent track record for working with troubled youths. And that's fine if you don't mind your kids learning that science is wrong about most things and that you have 12 senses based on the signs of the zodiac.


Comments

brefots03/26/13 02:40 AM
I've worked at a Waldorf School. It was a weird experience. But thankfully the curriculum did not include any outright cult indoctrination. They have these little verses they recite as "prayers" in the beginning an end of class. They teach a strange dance-like subject called "eurythmia" and also have the recital of poems in slow-motion, overpronouncing every letter, wether it's a spelling convention or an actual sound of the word. These practices, strange as they are, still fail to indoctrinate anyone into any kind of spiritual outlook.

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jwhat03/26/13 05:10 AM
The spirituality underlies everything about Waldorf methods. Most students and their families aren't aware of this. The problem is that it's not OUTRIGHT indoctrination--it's VEILED indoctrination. At the very least, being honest and open about the spirituality that underlies Waldorf would help some parents decide not to send their children to these schools. But this openness is often missing. It's deceptive.


jwhat03/25/13 09:26 PM
It's not uncommon for people who attended Waldorf to not understand what underlies their education. Try reading a book or two of Steiner's or any of his lectures, especially the ones he gave to teachers on the subject of education. Pretty far out ideas. Waldorf rarely advertises Steiner's teachings, except in vague terms, to prospective parents. It's unfair and deceptive.

It doesn't surprise me that someone commented here that the article sounded like propaganda pulled straight from a Tabloid. That person has probably never studied Anthroposophy to know that, even though the tone of the article is somewhat humorous, the article contents about Waldorf aren't phony. Bullying is still allowed to continue in some Waldorf schools based on notions of a person needing to work out their past-life karma with the perpetrator in this life. Batshit crazy.

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ZenWolfDances03/25/13 11:42 PM
Has Anthroposophy been "officially" modified at all since Steiner's day?

Scooby03/26/13 03:50 AM
Anthroposophy has become a bit more cultish and dogmatic ( and German and boring) since his day. He was very clear that he didn't want people to become fundimentalist about it.
A good example would be the no TV thing. Steiner died in the early 1920s and , of course said nothing about technology as we know it in his writing. ( Except to stress that we should all learn everything there is to know about the science of our day.) But his followers picked up on the nature/ecology stuff and ran with it in an Amish direction.
RE. what jwash said. I have heard of people sending their kids to Steiner schools without knowing what they are about. ( In the case of my relatives they were made fully aware and given books by the school). The thing is , if you are about t send your kids the Rudolf Steiner School, and assuming the school was remiss enough not to explain Anthroposophy to you, why in the name of God wouldn't you google Rudolf Steiner? There is a massive datatbase of everything he ever wrote. The Rudolf Steiner Database I think it's called. Also his books are everywhere. I'm not saying that the schools shouldn't be absolutely clear with parents but for Christ's sake you'd think people would be a little more curious when it came et their own children.


johnl03/26/13 03:17 AM
One thing not mentioned by the article about Naropa was the AIDS exposure. The successor to the founder had sex with a lot of the male students, it was encouraged, as a spiritual act. He continued doing this for 3 years while knowing he was HIV positive. He claimed that through a meditative purification process he could prevent transmission to the students. Name was Osel Tendzin. Maybe it's not fair to hold it against the school today, but at the time many knew about it and looked the other way.


boocat03/25/13 01:39 PM
We had our child in a Waldorf school for almost a decade. We believed in so much of the pedagogy. We still believe in limiting media and see the positive effects of that daily. We also subscribe to lots of outdoor free play time. Our schools lack in this very basic activity that actually has powerful effects on the ability of our children to learn and to develop fully. Sadly, however, like so many Waldorf schools, the institution was run with secrecy, lies, deception and cruelty. There are NO CHECKS AND BALANCES in most (all?) Waldorf schools! When our family began to question this, we were targeted--our child was targeted. We were made to partake in secretive ritual circles, our child's name was secretly chanted by the faculty without consent of the parents, other parents were approached by the administration to pass rumors about our family, and our child's teacher was asked to lie (this was admitted to us by the teacher when the teacher had a moment of moral clarity). We were thrown out of the community without any chance to speak on our behalf. We were devastated and our child was harmed. Since this happened, we have heard from many other families who have experienced the same treatment! In urban settings, in rural settings, in our country (US) and in other countries. This is a systemic problem in Waldorf schools. When parents investigate this form of education, they are not told the truth. They are not told that the school believes the teachers have karmic relationships with the students. The parents are not told that only the teachers can help to incarnate the children's souls into their bodies. The parents cannot do this and therefor the teachers play a more important role than the parents. They are not told that they believe humans come from Atlantis (first from star dust). This is an Occult group, and the very nature of it is hidden from view. For many, once you are in, it is very difficult to imagine leaving. I say this from experience, and I am a highly educated mom who has done a lot of personal work, and consider myself to be a pretty emotionally healthy person. But even so, it was very hard for me to imagine leaving. They subscribe to the belief of an, "US and THEM," and without knowing it, that became something I believed too. But once I was out, I could see with more clarity the harm such a judgmental and secretive place wages upon its community. There are a million things the parents don't know--and the children don't know it either. The children are being indoctrinated and they have no idea that they are. The verses they memorize, the colors they use, the stories they are told, the festivals they celebrate...Everything is beautifully packaged, and everything looks gentle and kind. But if you dare to scratch the surface, you will find something very different indeed. If Waldorf is proud of their curriculum, then they need to be honest and open about the meaning of it all so parents can make an informed choice about where they want to educate their children. Parents, do your research! Investigate Anthroposophy and see if it feels right to you.

AnthonyPNorse03/25/13 09:51 AM
While researching Waldorf/Steiner education for my book I was surprised (dare I say shocked) to learn of the top-down, occult-driven pedagogy. Far from being what most people think of as "progressive," Waldorf schools are "artsy" yet authoritarian institutions where critical thinking is unwelcome and a strange interpretation of "karma" rules the day. Many people use the label "cultish" in their description of Waldorf. These schools are certainly controversial with many families leaving feeling frustrated and duped. Buyer beware.

Offline SanroK

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Re: Cracked Mocks Naropa and the Waldorfs
« Reply #1 on: July 21, 2014, 10:24:49 pm »
This is a very insulting depiction of an educational institution that not only accomplishes great scholarship in many fields but also trains very respectable public servants and spiritual practitioners. There have been a couple of instances where professors had to be removed due to ethics concerns but this happens in every major university.

In addition to His Holiness the Dalai Lama, the late Rabbi Zalman Schachter-Shalomi, Thich Nhat Hanh, Pema Chodron, scholar-practitioner Reginald Ray, Buddhist ecologist Joanna Macy, and Sulak Sivaraska of Thailand, there are many other renowned psychologists and writers who are instructors at Naropa.

This forum is disappointing and unfortunate. I had sincerely hoped to learn some things here, but I only see gossip (depictions of people without accompanying evidence for others to review is just gossip; otherwise it is heresay).

The original intention of this organization and forum seems respectable but the legitimacy of it is nullified and rendered obsolete in how you conduct yourselves.

The policy stated to New Members says: "You agree, through your use of this forum, that you will not post any material which is false, defamatory, inaccurate, or abusive", yet it seems that many of the posts are false, defamatory, inaccurate and abusive, all without posting any actual proof.

Sanro Kitagawa

[duplicate material removed-Al]
« Last Edit: July 22, 2014, 06:59:54 pm by educatedindian »

Offline educatedindian

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Re: Cracked Mocks Naropa and the Waldorfs
« Reply #2 on: July 22, 2014, 07:28:12 pm »
I truly doubt you came here with the intent of learning or discussion. Otherwise you would not go to a comedy thread and explode for your first post. I think it likely you intended to come here to defend the Naropa exploiters, get angry at all of us, and then leave. So I'll be pleasantly surprised if you stay to learn.

The first thing I noticed is your name doesn't appear online except here. The second is your false claims. The Dalai Lama never taught there that I could find. It's not on their site. Even if he did, so what? Being an exiled leader, he doesn't have the resources to investigate every group that approaches him. He's been in the company of questionable people before.

Of course the most obvious thing to notice is you have no idea what slander or defamation or even gossip mean. You feeling hurt by criticism is not slander. Research is not gossip. First hand accounts by the people hurt by Naropa is evidence, not gossip.

You getting angry at over 2000 members of a forum over what victims of Naropa said at another site? That's not evidence, or even an argument.

Offline Sturmboe

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Re: Cracked Mocks Naropa and the Waldorfs
« Reply #3 on: July 27, 2014, 08:31:15 am »
x
« Last Edit: September 04, 2014, 03:52:13 am by Sturmboe »

Offline ThunderDrake

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Re: Cracked Mocks Naropa and the Waldorfs
« Reply #4 on: January 15, 2019, 04:51:44 pm »
This is a very insulting depiction of an educational institution that not only accomplishes great scholarship in many fields but also trains very respectable public servants and spiritual practitioners. There have been a couple of instances where professors had to be removed due to ethics concerns but this happens in every major university.

In addition to His Holiness the Dalai Lama, the late Rabbi Zalman Schachter-Shalomi, Thich Nhat Hanh, Pema Chodron, scholar-practitioner Reginald Ray, Buddhist ecologist Joanna Macy, and Sulak Sivaraska of Thailand, there are many other renowned psychologists and writers who are instructors at Naropa.

This forum is disappointing and unfortunate. I had sincerely hoped to learn some things here, but I only see gossip (depictions of people without accompanying evidence for others to review is just gossip; otherwise it is heresay).

The original intention of this organization and forum seems respectable but the legitimacy of it is nullified and rendered obsolete in how you conduct yourselves.

The policy stated to New Members says: "You agree, through your use of this forum, that you will not post any material which is false, defamatory, inaccurate, or abusive", yet it seems that many of the posts are false, defamatory, inaccurate and abusive, all without posting any actual proof.

Sanro Kitagawa

[duplicate material removed-Al]

Okay let's play. I actually attended orientation as a prospective student at Naropa. Yes, you must meditate as a student; it is required. That is what they told me. We also got a big lecture on the gloriousness that was Trungpa. Within a short amount of time, although not during orientation, I had also heard rumors that Trungpa sexually abused many of the female staff. During orientation I noticed that there were very few classes in the hard sciences, such as math, physics, engineering, and so on. It's a liberal arts college. That is what I know about the place.

None of what you said actually denies anything in the Cracked article. Methinks you're all bombast.

Offline Sparks

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Re: Cracked Mocks Naropa University [& Chögyam Trungpa]
« Reply #5 on: March 30, 2019, 02:38:06 am »
For the record and for further reading I add some links about Naropa University and Chögyam Trungpa.

While the ordinary Wikipedia article avoids mentioning controversies, this article covers "Questionable classes … Further strangeness … The Boulder Buddhist Scam" (A blog about Naropa University and how it hurts it's students, higher education and Buddhism):

https://rationalwiki.org/wiki/Naropa_University

For those, like SanroK, who do not want to read critical material I throw in this Master's thesis from the University of Colorado:

Tibetan Buddhists, poetry wars and the Naropa Institute in the People's Republic of Boulder, Colorado.

And then this, for the most part painfully glorifying, article:

http://www.breakthroughpsychologyprogram.com/naropa-university-history

Also: https://www.elephantjournal.com/2013/08/top-10-reasons-naropa-university-is-a-joke/

To counter that: https://www.boldts.net/new-age-woo/

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ch%C3%B6gyam_Trungpa#Controversies

Offline Sparks

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Re: Cracked Mocks Naropa University [& Chögyam Trungpa]
« Reply #6 on: March 30, 2019, 03:16:01 am »
More about Chögyam Trungpa in this thread about Shambhala Mountain Center:

http://www.newagefraud.org/smf/index.php?topic=2864.0

There are other mentions in the forum:

Chogyam Trungpa was closer to a fringe cult leader, an alcoholic and seconal and cocaine addict with numerous affairs with students and followers as well as a notorious incident where he kidnapped a young woman to try to rape her.

… Chogyam Trungpa, an incredibly controversial Buddhist teacher who had relations with many female students and was a heavy drinker and cocaine user.

… Trungpa was a womaniser whose alcoholism killed him:
http://www.strippingthegurus.com/stgsamplechapters/trungpa.asp