Robert Priddy (4). Cult Exit Painful. Exposure Slow
Posted by Barry Pittard on September 7, 2007
One of the greatest human tendencies when one’s belief system is challenged is to go into the state called by psychologists psychological denial.
This process is very remote from commonsense, rigorous self-introspection and reappraisal. It distorts, warps, and narrows a person’s field of generosity and compassion.
Like countless who dissent from a belief system that they have so deeply been a part of, Robert Priddy reports that he tried to rationalise away difficult realities. Eventually, he was able to speak with some of those who alleged that Sai Baba had sexually abused them. As others in various countries who have investigated, who in some cases have gone to Sathya Sai Organization leaders seeking for proper hearing of the allegations and been sorely rebuffed, Priddy acted. First he listened to the accounts without trying to over-ride the testimony of the individuals and, second, he considered the accounts along with other accounts from very different and unrelated sources. The besetting fault of believers in a cult is to be blind and deaf to what is being put to them, at which they resort to specious arguments, fanciful explanations, thinking the worst of those who speak up, and so on.
Vis à vis the exposure of Sai Baba and his Sathya Sai Organization, my early contacts with Priddy were relatively few. He wrote that he wanted to continue his investigations. I could see that he was still locked in a struggle. Furthermore, Glen Meloy and I, having already made many investigations were firmly set on a direct action trajectory. For example, we interfaced with and informed various government, institutional and civic groups with which the Sathya Sai Organization was globally attempting to ingratiate itself with. In some cases, major media came to us, and in other instances we went to the media, some sections of which investigated Sai Baba and his cult. This brought the allegations against them to the attention of millions. The advantages here are immense. One of the downsides, though, is that a great deal of what investigators found did not get to pages and screens.
During this time, Robert Priddy was increasingly committing his explorations to his website. His opus is now immense, and is often a questioning of a wide range of assumptions that go into accepting of a faith. This would befit habits long laid in his professional academic life in philosophy and social sciences at the University of Oslo, Norway. Glen Meloy and I were often far too busy to read this burgeoning opus, and the lack of feedback and coordination either way was considerable. Indeed, it has been a difficulty all along that there has been so much to do that those of us who have written extensively have not always had time to read what each other has written.
In any case, Glen Meloy and I were under very great constraint to keep much of our vast databases, given their sensitivity and confidentiality, extremely private. Glen died on January 1, 2005, mourned by many around the world, irrespective of whether they were former devotees, humanists, rationalists, etc. It was not, effectively, until months after this that Robert Priddy and I began in earnest to cooperate on various activities and gain permissions, respectively, from his respondents and mine for us to share certain of our resources.
Wikipedia entry for: Robert Priddy
His My Credo is Here
His strongly maintained blogsite is: http://robertpriddy.wordpress.com
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