It’s funny. If you ask people “Do you think it is a good thing to better oneself?”, I would imagine that most of them would answer positively, that “Yes, it is a good thing to better oneself”. And if that person then goes off and begins to do just that, well, some of his or her friends and family will support that effort and others will not —because it changes things. And change can be unsettling. When one starts to look at oneself with the goal of changing, old ways of acting and thinking are scrutinized. Some are rejected. New ideas and ways of being are tried out, tested, and the process of change continues.
But those who are left behind can get a little ornery. Sometimes. Change is often scary. Habits are uprooted. Comfortable patterns get unraveled. While the changes make sense to the person undergoing them, they can appear to come out of nowhere to those around him, which can be unsettling and disturbing.
If the person who is changing then seeks the company of others who are asking the same questions, looking for answers to the fundamental questions of life, we often find that even the friends or family who were previously supportive can start to get testy. Those “left behind” so to speak may well feel threatened by the changes; their support can be undermined by fear and transformed into anger.
If that anger gets intense enough, the “C” word is whispered and finally shouted out loud. “Oh my god, he’s in a cult!”
Then there are those who use the word not because they feel threatened, but because they have some irrational need to destroy the work of another. In the last few decades, the word “Cult” has taken on an emotional taint it never had before. It is used as an invective against any group that upsets an existing equilibrium, often in a family or among friends, regardless of the actual facts. Because there do exist small groups where a charismatic leader threatens, bullies, and manipulates people through threats of violence or psychological abuse (heck, there are marriages like that), other groups that think outside of the box, to put it in a cliche, are guilty through an erroneous association.
I have seen this play out with the lies spread about Laura and Ark Jadczyk. It is shocking the extent to which people are capable of making up the most outrageous stories about them, circulating these stories via word-of-mouth and the internet. I have known Laura and Ark for almost ten years. In that time I have worked closely with them, lived for extended periods in their home, and been party to the most intimate details of their finances, their family life, and their work.
They are the two most caring, giving, selfless, and loving people I have ever met.
And yet they are subjected to the most hateful attacks based upon lies, distortions, and ruthless twisting of facts.
Why is that? Why would people use so much energy to try and destroy the lives of these two people? Is it normal? Is it rational?
I came across Laura’s website ten years ago by chance. Although some of the content seemed highly unusual to me, like UFOs and hyperdimensional beings, it was accompanied by an intellectual challenge: How much of what you know have you passively taken in, and how much have you really tested for yourself? How much of your knowledge is yours, and how much is simply a hand-me-down from someone else?
I accepted the challenge and began to read up on the topics, especially those with which I most strongly disagreed. The more I read, the more the “received” knowledge I thought was firm started to crumble. I realized how much of what I thought I knew I had accepted without question because it originated with some authority, be it friends, the media, or schooling. I was excited by the complete freedom of thought that this process had begun to unleash within me. I wanted to go more deeply into it, so I wrote to Laura and became a member of the online discussion group she had at the time. It was an intellectually exciting and stimulating environment as members exchanged ideas. In the course of the discussions, people came and people went over the months. There was never any coercion. People stayed as long as they felt it was useful for their own development. Or until they met one of their own sacred cows that they couldn’t bear to put out to pasture.
In other words, it was just a discussion group via email, a group with participants from all over the world, a group like many others.
It was at this time that the accusations of “Cult” started. If we had been discussing movies or food, such accusations would never have stuck. But we were discussing politics, history, the paranormal, UFOs, physics, and pretty much anything under the sun. So it doesn’t matter that the discussions were based upon research, that hypotheses were floated and tested, that ideas not supported by the facts were jettisoned, in short, that the entire enterprise was as rigorous and critical as we could be.
Another thing started to happen. During the discussions, I saw that we all had emotional attachments to certain ideas. We would be discussing something, and I would find myself getting very emotional either in attacking or defending the idea. I had an emotional investment in the outcome. Gone was the need to be impartial to the facts. Others would point out to me that this emotion was affecting my ability to think clearly about the subject. I was “attacking” and “defending”, not reasoning. I learned by experiencing it in myself that there is an emotional content to our thinking and our knowledge. If we truly want to be as objective as possible about the world, we have to learn to cut the emotional ties to our ideas. But to do that, we need to learn more about ourselves. We need to learn to see how it is that our past and upbringing are still a living force within us, one that shapes our perceptions of the world today. We need to uncover the origins of those emotional ‘gotchas’.
In other words, we need to work on ourselves, and, frankly, that scares a lot of people. Because they are scared and because they don’t understand what it really means, they start to fantasize. They become susceptible to the fear-mongers and to believing the “C” word.
Between 2003 and 2008, I worked closely with Laura and Ark in France. I made many trips and spent much time with them and away from my home in Canada. During this period, the attacks on them and those of us at the chateau were intense. They seemed to spring whole out of the imaginations of those doing the attacking. There was never any factual basis for the accusations. A blog written by Laura about a boat trip with friends on the Mediterranean during an academic conference in Marseille would be turned into an “exposé” by one of her attackers of her ritzy spending spree and plush cruise on the Riviera!
Imagine how you would feel if your account of a weekend, written for your friends and perhaps posted on Facebook was turned into a lurid accusation of wildly spending the money of others? Your “minions”?!
It is strange and horrible to see people you care about subjected to such trash and filth. It is utterly mind-boggling when you are pulled through the looking glass yourself. It recently happened to me.
In 2008, I had a chance to open a book store. My mother owned a book store. You might say it is in my blood. Laura and Ark supported me in this undertaking. Without their support, it would never have happened. And yet I have read a report from someone attacking Laura and Ark, who accuses them of running a cult, who claims that I came into conflict with them, left the “Cult”, and have ceased all contact!
Really, what are you going to do when there are people making up stories about you? How do you counter it other than by saying, “Hey, buddy, I was there. You’re totally wrong. Why are you making this stuff up?”
The extent of the divergence of the facts from the slander would be funny if people weren’t being hurt. But people are being hurt, and so I have to wonder about the motivations of a person who is willing to lie to serve his own needs, who cares so little for the truth that he is willing to slander people to get what he wants. Is it an example of the emotional thinking I mentioned above, or it is something worse?
My story is but one example of how the truth gets distorted and twisted by the people attacking Laura and Ark. I have seen many more in the years I have known them. Every time they are defamed, it is based upon lies. Unfortunately, because a small part of their work involves research into topics many people find “unusual”, and because Laura has been willing to look into techniques such as critical channeling for grooving a communications channel with her own subconscious that is more than haphazard and intermittent, the distortion and twists are accepted by those who have no first-hand experience with them and who are disturbed by ideas that go against what we are taught in school or are fed in the media.
While on the one side I have seen and read lies and slander, on the other I have seen the many people who have been helped by Laura and Ark, who have been aided in setting up their own businesses, who have received emotional support when passing through the difficult times life can throw at you, who have been welcomed into their home during trying moments. It ranges from small acts of kindness such as inviting people who would otherwise spend the Christmas holidays by themselves into their home so they aren’t alone, to contributions of money to people in need. Before they moved to France, I was “between jobs”, and they flew me down to their home in Florida and gave me a small research contract to help me out. I never asked for it; it was their gift. Laura and Ark care about people and translate that caring into actions.
Is that what is so frightening to their attackers? That they actually live what they preach?
The divide between who they are and how they are portrayed by these cranks is so vast that I have to wonder what is driving the attacks. What would compel someone to spend ten years soiling another’s name based upon lies told consciously and with intent to harm? Yes, consciously and with intent to harm. There can be no other conclusion.
One might disagree with Laura and Ark’s ideas, but why not then ignore them or respond point by point to the ideas themselves? Why descend to vicious and relentless personal attack? I have never been compelled by Laura or Ark to do anything, but I do feel compelled to wonder about the psychological state of those doing the attacking.
These attackers try to portray Laura and Ark as “Cult Leaders” who have their subjects in a spell, who ruthlessly manipulate their minions for their own gain. The truth is, Laura and Ark are continually putting other people’s needs first, before their own. If someone needs help, regardless of what is happening in their own lives, they make time. They have helped me to better see and understand myself, and, in return, I am very happy to donate money from my business to them so that they can help others as they have helped me. I was helped; through Laura and Ark I have the chance to help others. Others who they have helped do the same.
But in the same way that I was prodded into putting my own understanding into question when I first read Laura’s web site ten years ago, I don’t expect anyone reading this to take me at my word. If you are worried that Laura and Ark are running a cult, you’re going to have to do the research yourself. It is a shame that through the work of a few individuals of questionable morals, it comes down to this, but it can be a healthy exercise for oneself, nonetheless. How much of what you know and believe is your own?
I will finish by saying that Laura, Ark, and their family, are my friends. They are more than that, they are part of my extended family. I feel very lucky.