Here I am, to share my version because, Damanhur, I have lived it.
And not for a short while.
A voice, perhaps a little out of chorus…because the first thing I have to confess is that we were all suckers!
It would be more correct to use a masculine noun that begins with the letter ‘d’ but I will leave that
Ill-mannered kind of language to those who lack an argument.
Suckers, I said and even perhaps a little slow.
There we were.
At the end of the seventies. The end of the youth protest movement and we, a little group of men and women who in those ‘troubled’ years asked what to do. We, who had seen 1968 face to face on the balconies. Some had even done it…but then made themselves scarce. Some realized it had happened because they had read it in the newspapers or had heard the priest talk about it in the oratory.
We who had only seen the ‘anni di piombo’ (years of the bullet – 1970’s) on TV, we, who so wanted to be flower children, we who were fascinated by Castaneda and Milarepa, we, who said “I would like to but I can’t”. It was we in the decades that followed, overgrown boys and girls who arrived with their heads full of ideas – most of them confused – and with very little experience of the world. We, who did not want to end up like our parents, we, who wanted to find our place in the sun and live on bread, love and fantasy. We were still there when the New Age, the spiritual, and even the ecological became fashionable, we couldn’t wait to find someone who would relieve us of the heavy burden of having to make decisions, someone who would tell us what to do.
He, the little thin man who – with two dependent children and a wife hadn’t had much success selling insurance policies. He, who, a little ignorant having left school at sixteen, had to scrape a living to make ends meet! What better idea – nothing new under the sun – than to find a bunch of idiots who would finance the enterprise and work instead of him!
And so, little by little we, who by that time had become three hundred miserable wretches – passed off today for at least one thousand Damanhurians – were raised to the rank of a population ‘elect’ …
Elected to the luxurious maintenance of the enterprise.
Chins up boys and girls! Some self criticism. Suckers and even habitual criminals!
It was always us who allowed the man in question to make us work 18 hours a day and (to do and redo exactly the same things) to build houses for him and his girlfriends.
With our girlfriends however, if he took them to bed (sorry into the motor home to practice ‘alchemy’) we turned our heads and looked the other way.
What can you say about the fact that we never found ourselves a calculator to add up the small amounts of money that systematically and continuously (never large amounts so as not to appear obvious…but multiplied monthly by the number of suckers!!!) that were transferred from our pockets into his bank accounts?
Ready to believe that donkeys flew…Sorry that aliens were among us, and even worse ‘inside’ of us!
And then Italy: trained to hold our noses, shut our mouths and cover our ears when we were ordered who to vote for…
We liked to feel reassured when he told us that the tangled mass of copper would heal us of the cancer, which in the end carried more than a few of us away.
Then it became a habit to swallow our pride and pay the price for a quiet life in exchange for freedom, privacy and respect, when he made us read personal diaries, control people’s rooms that were not allowed to be locked (the key had to be left with the Dept of ‘Security’), ask permission to sleep with our partners – or worse- controlled our sex lives.
YES: THERE WE WERE.
And so the ignorant little man – whose books he always got someone else to write – but expert in the art of knowing how to get by, made the enterprise grow thanks to our choice to ignore and reached his objective of putting together his own personal Triad: money (most of all that) sex and power!
And now we say he was a clever hypnotist…but we chose to let ourselves be blinded, sorry hypnotized.
As far as that was concerned we have to say he was right: we were predestined!
The idea of ‘saving the world’ made us feel important.
Esotericism was very fashionable.
What can you do: the world was passing us by and we also wanted to leave our mark, It’s just that we left a blot, rather than a work of art.
In politics one would say: we chose the wrong camp.
In life…one would say we were taken for a ride.
And we let our doubts fade… Doubts not confessed and secretly contained behind our narcotized consciousness, behind our self imposed cerebral silence and our down trodden ethics that we passed over everyday with a steam roller (excuse the understatement).
And so all of us were accomplices in maintaining the system.
It was also for a glimmer of real love. For fear of breaking down the last bulwark of our integrity…And so we went on to the last, to defend that world of cardboard cut outs, those weird and improbable inventions, to deceive and use anyone that we encountered along the road.
When doubt, in a final fling made us reactivate our thought circuit breaker again, it was enough just to open our eyes: the scene that lay before us was desolating.
We finally chose to no longer be among the 300 suckers (said with loving compassion) who continue to let themselves be blinded.
We have stopped believing that the world (all) is the ‘enemy’ against which we have to fight to our last breath.
Above all we have stopped being afraid. A little sorry for all those who continue to pretend that everything will be alright, and refuse to admit their personal failure but, to use a commonplace saying…I believe no one is as deaf as he who does not want to hear or even better no one is as crippled as he who is already lame and learns to walk with a limp…
Chins up boys and girls…Life outside is really much more beautiful than in that lunatic asylum!
After having confessed to ourselves and the world that we had made a mistake (we have already made amends with all the years of forced labor) …now we can do something serious with our lives, with love and even with God. And let’s enjoy this second chance!
Ah dear Damanhurians. Do not attack us; as the outstanding poet said “I was like you, you will be like us!”
Posted to www.cesap.net 2008/02/23 19:31 under the title ‘Fummo come voi. Sarete come noi’
Ref: I was like you. You will be like us.
Now I would like to contribute another aspect of the experience that I have, that we have lived and that the others are still living. Having been ‘suckers’ once does not mean that this behavior has to be perpetuated. The fact that this being is writing here with a little self irony and serenity means that at a certain point this person realized her error.
I will explain better.
The general idea at Damanhur is that if you are there it is because in someway you are an ‘elect being’.
Elected to save the planet
Elected to fight the ENEMY.
Elected to reach enlightenment and deification (yes one talks about ‘becoming a god’).
These ideas and convictions helped us to content ourselves for years and to justify ANY action carried out in their name. Unfortunately, what happens in Damanhur on a daily basis creates huge contradictions between these ideal intentions and that which is lived. And so one creates (and one is even induced to create) a series of justifications to rectify the contradictions. For example: If one does not understand why things happen in a certain way, one says to oneself for sure someone else must know and for sure there must be a grand design and that anyway, one is in Damanhur to learn.
If the managers of the Community or the Esoteric School behave badly, do not respect people, abuse their power, one accuses oneself of not knowing how to change (and one accepts the accusations of those who say one is presumptuous, disenchanted and egoistical etc).
If the economic costs become unsustainable, if the hours of volunteering multiply, if the working day lasts from 10 to 14 hours (where more than anything one works badly achieving mediocre results because of the excess stress, fatigue and haste), one says ‘it is for the cause’ and so on. For everything one finds an answer that consolidates the ‘system’.
Because to question the system means TO QUESTION ONESELF.
If the doubt that something is not right lasts…then one has to begin to look at everything with a detached and more critical eye. This means to be self-critical. It means to admit to yourself that you have believed in something that was not real. That you have invested money, time, energy and work in a house of cards.
That you have simply made a mistake.
Because at a certain point, you identify so closely with the system that you believe you are the system. That I am the system.
It is NOT so.
The first step is to realize. Accept your mistake. Your own gullibility and take responsibility for it. The kind of responsibility that means re-examining your belief system, accepting the challenge of starting again from the beginning (practically from zero) and more than anything putting yourself in discussion.
Dear Damanhurians if you are here reading, despite the prohibitions (and we know about them because we were there until a few months, years ago) it means that the first doubt has already been sown. And seeing as doubt also teaches us …Please do not cast that doubt aside!
Cultivate it. That which seems absurd may in fact be the answer.
Know that here, in the world, one is happy. Know that the same ideals that we believed in at the beginning, here you can cultivate and develop.
Know that the Enemy is an invention of those who do not have sufficient reason for keeping you together. In the world there are millions of people who stand by one another, just as there are criminals.
In the world as in Damanhur.
Know that it will be hard for you to believe in yourself again but it can be done. Know that it will be complicated to find a job and recover the time you have lost but this can be done too. Know that YOU ARE NOT ALONE.
We all had the courage to say ’I made a mistake’.
And if we were like you, also you – continue to believe it – will be like us.
Posted 2008/03/11 03:08 to www.cesap.net under the title ‘Re: Fummo come voi. Sarete come noi’