Monday, August 09, 2010

Open Thread for Our Readers

Here is your space.

Discuss anything on your mind—or in your heart—in the comments below.

Or, if you have a topic or article you would like us to post on the blog page, just email me at




John M. Knapp, LMSW said...

As a current student at MUM who does not practice TM and whom feels very uncomfortable with the movement.. I was wondering if anybody currently, or having recently lived in fairfield would like to post about their experiences.

I'd also be glad to update everybody on what is going on at the school, if there is interest.

John M. Knapp, LMSW said...

Hey, MUMstudent,

Thanks for posting!

I'm always particularly excited to hear about what's going on for someone under 35 with recent experience in the Movement. (Sometimes it's just us aging Boomers telling ancient war stories to each other here on TMFB.)

I'm pretty sure a lot of us would be really interested in hearing your perspective on MUM. I'm hoping you're enjoying your experience despite your discomfort with the Movement. You probably guess that a lot of us here share that discomfort....

If you were interested, I might be able to put you in touch with a couple of recently graduated MUM students who would be happy to share their experiences and conclusions with you. Just drop me a line at if you're interested.

Or if you'd like to write up a brief—or long!—note about your experiences, good AND bad, it would be a real favor to all of us to hear what's going on at MUM—and with you.

Hey, and if you ever want to just chat, call me at (800) 950-5329. (An open invitation to all Readers!)


John M. Knapp, LMSW said...

I too would LOVE to hear about your experiences! Please, elaborate, paint us a picture. Do the students, even those who meditate and enjoy it, really buy into the more 'out there' stuff like the Yagyas and astrology, you know, the stuff that has ZERO scientific basis? Are there private discussions, dissensions, etc. that one can't publicly express? Is there any open discussion or disension at all? I could see how the idea of improving brain functioning and expanding the container of knowledge would be very appealing but I would think many students would be put off once they get to MUM and see how things really are, but then again it's been a long, long time since I was there and I could be way off. I promise you that whatever you could share with us would be read with great interest.

John M. Knapp, LMSW said...

For starters, if you really want to stay there, I would suggest you not publicly give any info here which could be used to identify you, even indirectly. Specifics as to how many points you lack and exactly what you need to do to make them up so on could be used to do that. Perhaps you or John could edit that part out ASAP?

I have no idea how punitive they might be if they discovered you were speaking out here but it sounds like you ought to play it safe and keep your comments very general. In all honesty, as much as I am sure many of us would love to hear the details, it isn't worth your getting kicked out if staying there is really something you value.

I do have a question: what does 'consciousness based education', minus the TM practice, amount to exactly? What is it about the school that you love? I find it interesting that you could love the school and hate the TMO because as I remember it the two were tightly intertwined, but that was thirty years ago! Has the school branched out into other aims/purposes you agree with, such as the sustainability you mentioned? Is MUM really all that committed to such things or is promulgating TM the real mission still and the other stuff secondary, or there even just to lure young and progressive people into the TMO? I know that sounds cynical and I really do not know but II would love to hear your thoughts about it.

John M. Knapp, LMSW said...

At MUM there seems to be lack of definition for what Consciousness Based Education is. Other than the practice of TM twice a day. They make vague references to For Rest blocks and Unity Charts, but I don't find either of these things all that helpful with my education at MUM. I came to this school hoping to see alternative education in action and to be an education major. After taking a class which explained MMY's views on education I changed my major. I have inquired many times to faculty as to just what is CBE? There isn't much of a coherent answer other than TM. However, the potential that lies in this school could be amazing if they actually did try and institute rigorously tested teaching methods and schedules that promoted learning and consciousness of everyone who wanted it, not just people interested in a semi-religious beliefs. Most of the things that people and myself love about this school is the people it attracts, deeply spiritual thinkers who want to change the world. Most of us that end up at MUM who are not Movement children are people who tried the "normal" schools and we didn't fit in. We wanted to talk about God and the universe and others wanted to talk about Friday night football and beer. So, we came to a spiritual non-religious school, or so we were told. It doesn't mean we don't enjoy our time here when the religious aspects of the Movement are not present. Typically, it isn't even that it is religious, just that it is oppressive. It is displayed as the one and only way and that any practice you have is inferior or only as good as it is compared to how it fits into MVS.

John M. Knapp, LMSW said...

As an "old-timer" who left MIU (as it was first known) in 1974 after only one quarter, I am amazed that some things there just don't change. Many people I met there at MIU were unique and spiritual thinkers, but the official attitude was unbearably oppressive.

My question to you ---- Are you learning anything? I don't mean learning how to game the system there, but getting any actual knowledge from any of the courses you are taking?

When I was there I found that classes were so watered down, and pre-digested in light of Science of Creative Intelligence, as to be worthless. For instance, Chemistry (in the light of Science of Creative Intelligence) was similar to a middle school science class. The actual education at MIU was pretty much worthless.

Maybe things have changed. Maybe the computer science classes are valuable. As far as the liberal arts classes.....well, I doubt that they will every teach anything that truly encourages independent thinking. And they aren't about to change any time soon~

College education is very expensive; make sure you are spending your time and money wisely.

John M. Knapp, LMSW said...

Well, MUM is certainly very, very expensive.. that said, they do have a very nice sustainable living program. That is the big draw these days, students that want a degree in sustainable living so they can start their own personal farms/homesteads. Most colleges offer degrees only in agro-business and don't focus much on personal-farming.

With that said.. another large part of it is that the credits from MUM don't transfer to other schools. So if you have been here for a year or two, and leave before you get your degree you have nothing but debt to show for it. If you stay for a degree, at least you have that and then maybe you can get into a grad program at a real school.

John M. Knapp, LMSW said...

Let me add, I have heard the math program is quite good.

John M. Knapp, LMSW said...

Is the sustainable living degree program something that you are taking? Do you have true hands-on farming experience?

It seems to be that the traditional TMer does not like to get their hands dirty or do manual labor. (Following in the footsteps of their master.) If you are a bona fide farmer, especially a small scale one, there's no extra hours for "program."

Learning ag science, or sustainable-living farming, needs some solid scientific knowledge behind it. Are you getting that? I'd be surprised if MUM is spending money on laboratories to get a true science program going.

In my experience, TM types seem to prefer to live in gold palaces with maid service. I so hope indeed that you, and the other MUM graduates, will truly get some knowledge, and not just a pile of debts and a worthless degree.

John M. Knapp, LMSW said...

MUM and the TMO have apparently come a long way from the days when any sort of political\governmental\social\environmental interest would have been seen as 'off the program' - Maharishi must have changed his thinking along the way for this to happen, back then all that kind of stuff, i.e. changing society at the 'level of the problem' was thought to be unnatural, ineffective - we 'watered the root' and the sap then flowed out to the leaves, you couldn't think about the leaves themselves! - you meditated and changed your and the collective consciousness and all that was supposed to work itself out 'automatically', well, maybe others would have to do the actual work, but that work was supposed to somehow organically manifest without anyone having to direct it, and even if someone somewhere did direct it that would just be a 'reflection of the collective consciousness of the people', but then again if things didn't change naturally we were supposed to go out and change them, sort of, maybe, - this was a self-contradictory, maddening conundrum, that paralyzed many a meditator who would opt to just sit there and 'work' at the root level while their brains and their outer lives rotted away, instead of actually dealing with any real issues. I wonder how much this has really changed. I'd be happy to learn the TMO grew out of that.

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