Author Topic: Seed/CEDU  (Read 2810 times)

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Offline shanlea

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« on: December 29, 2004, 11:51:00 PM »
I've been reading stuff from Seed and Straight since I started over at the CEDU forum. There are many similarities in terms of raps, isolation from the outside world, control, insularity, and group think.

What I want to know is if you guys had anything like propheets.  Propheets are the ultimate in mind fucking experentials that last anywhere from 24 hours to a week. (I think there are 7 total.)You are isolated (and sleep deprived)with your peer group in a setting and subjected to extreme rap sessions that tear you to the core,intense exercises with heightened emotional subtext, and perform rituals that bond you to the group and in a way, makes every other relationship seem shallow. (It's all manipulative.)  Words, music, lighting, and setting are all used to manipulate the ambience. It is all very "top secret" and way to intense for developing minds. At the end of the propheet, you rejoin the rest of the "school" and give a testimonial (that doesn't divulge secrets) so that the entire room full of people who haven't been through it see it as finding their personal holy grail.

Any similarities?
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hanlea

Offline cleveland

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« Reply #1 on: December 30, 2004, 09:57:00 AM »
I think the Seed was relatively low tech in comparison. During the time period that I was there, '78 - '85, the program was in a down sized phase, having shrunk from thousands of kids, many of them court-ordered, to a mere handful - ranging from 1 - 4 newcomers on the 'front row,' with about 25 'oldtimers' hanging around to support the program. We met in an old factory space on SR 84 in Florida, which was a big concrete bunker with row upon row of empty chairs, big garage doors that opened to the rough Florida swamp borders. There was a crude baseball diamond in the back we made ourselves. The only music ever used was what we made ourselves, I don't remember any recorded music of any kind. Raps went from 8 - 8 pm when I first came in the program, with a 20 minute break for hotdogs and koolaid. Soon after, we went to 8 - 6 I think. We had big 'Open Meetings' that had a revival flavor, with singing, yelling, and tearful testimonials from later phase and graduate kids (that read like they were straight out of The Source magazine, from today's programs!)Of course, 'what's heard at the Seed stays at the Seed,' and EVERYTHING was top secret.

Raps were often funny, sometimes brutal, but heartfelt (although limited to recitation of what was 'appropriate' - ie, Seed good, me bad, me good with Seed (maybe), me VERY bad without. Outside world - forget about it, 'they' just don't get it).

There were no Propheets (what a name!) but whatever we did, we did with intensity, especially if Art was around. If he decided we'd play baseball, we might play from 3 - 10 pm. If we were addressing envelopes for a mailing, we might work from 8 am to 10 pm, with a typical 20 minute lunch and maybe a break to sing some Christmas or other Seed songs. It was considered 'ungrateful' to do any less. There was a certain amount of euphoria in any of these experiences, but the manipulation was relatively crude by the standards you cite. Long hours, hard physical and psychological work, love-flooding.

When we went 'home' in the first phase of our program, we were sent to live with a group of (same sex) oldcomers who would stay up late, cajoling the newcomers with jokes, plying them with emotional, teary testimonials, teasing, yelling at them - whatever it took. The emotions never abated, you were never alone.

We had these intense 'talent shows' that were pretty crazy - kids singing and dancing and in outrageious, often sexy costumes they'd made themselves. Seems normal enough, but the intensity came from the fact that we were so stiffled in any other form of expression and sexuality that these talent shows had considerable impact, both on the Seed performers and Seed audience.

Guys and 'chicks' were strictly separated, except for the annual 'talent shows' and weekend ball games. Dating occured only among very senior oldcomers, and only with staff approval from the very top (Art Barker). Sanctioned dating typically led very soon to marriage for those priveleged few.

Failure to follow any of the rules, stated or unstated, or to be 'ungrateful,' led to immediate disapproveal from the group, perhaps yelling, verbal abuse, ostracisism, and banashment. Those who left were never spoken about again, perhaps years later and in hushed tones. Even senior staff members got 'started over' on the front row for some unnamed infraction, or just would disappear one day. You just knew not to ask; maybe you'd be forced to suffer a similar fate.

Of course, it wasn't always so serious, and a lot of our time there was full of serious bonding, and summer-camp like 'fun,' although of a very particular kind.

I'm sure others might have different experiences, depending upon when they came in, who they lived with, etc.

[ This Message was edited by: cleveland on 2004-12-30 07:08 ]
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Offline shanlea

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« Reply #2 on: December 30, 2004, 10:32:00 AM »
It sounds like a hell hole. It is hard to imagine anyone defending the Seed. Even if a kid really had drug difficulties, 12 hour raps would do more damage than good. If people want to help kids, it seems that would include opportunties to follow/ develop interests and learn how to thrive in the "real world."  Not isolating them in a bunker for hours without relief, cut off and insulated from the world they will eventually live in.

What I don't understand is how anyone could defend the Seed formula for "helping" kids. It's not based on any type of healthy, realistic paradigm for living and making good choices. Did someone actually think that putting kids in a bunker, yelling and humiliating them everyday,teaching them to bully and spy on eachother, and cutting them off from normal people and life was going to help them?

It still blows my mind.  

Anyway, at CEDU, I think the beautiful setting, comfortable environment, and good food all combined to legitimate the program in the eyes of the parents.  So we were all physically comfortable while we were emotionally traumatized and somehow, this made it okay. UGH!
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hanlea

Offline GregFL

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« Reply #3 on: December 30, 2004, 08:47:00 PM »
I don't know what is worse, Shanlea..the false "comfortable rehab" sham or what we went thru.

 The Seed stripped the vener off and rejected the "country Club" setting of some of these other programs. This was behavior modification at its most base.  No comfort, the chairs were purposely hard and akward to sit in, no air conditioning except in the staff's office (and this was florida, 100 degree and high humidity), the food wasn't only scarce, it was bad. Ice cold peanut butter sandwiches and one small dixie cup of coolaide a couple times a day. No bathroom priveledges at all, you were watched while peeing and defecating and these actions were logged in a book by a bathroom monitor. You were walked to the bathroom after several initial refusals and then watched while you went. Night sleeping was lock down with no looking in mirrors, no looking at tv, no reading anything. You go home, write about your day, talk about your day, quick shower and in bed for 4 or 5 hours sleep under lock and key. back up again, transported to the seed and not allowed to look out of the car at billboards or anything. While at the seed, massive personal verbal attacks could come at any minute and if you nodded off or didn't look directly at the speaker, your fellow prisoners would be compelled to poke you hard in the back and furiously raise their hand to demonstrate their desire to yell at and humiliate you for the outrageous behavior of being tired, bored, or brazen enough to let your back rest against the back of the chair.

All actions were restricted at all times. Meanwhile, they constantly told you they loved you...sort of like an abusive spouse that smacks you in the face and then says they did it out of love...






However, the underlying behavior modification and humiliation was similar in all these synanon style programs.
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Offline Antigen

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« Reply #4 on: December 30, 2004, 09:18:00 PM »
Greg, the more I hear from some of our recent participants and the more I think about it, I have to wonder what kind and how much influence Clearwater had on the Program.

I remember most of those things as being part of The Seed when my older brothers and sister were in. However, I also remember staying up late to watch Monty Python w/ newcomers and swimming in the pool on weekends. My brother got together w/ a couple of other Seedlings, one of whom he later married, and formed a singing group call the Crusty Nostrils.

It was weird, it was intense, it was definitely cultish, but there was some fun thrown in too.

NOthing like Straight and not a bit like The Seed, St. Pete.

And people who came along in later years, like Walley, describe something far more like a voluntary cult than a lock-down facility.

CEDU seems a lot like that and the effects seem more similar among CEDU ppl and (most) Ft. Laud Seed people than to what we experienced.

I also wonder about the politics of the day. Seems that Art and The Seed had mad love from NIDA. Then the Semblers came along. Coincidentally or not, at about the same time, NIDA fell out of love w/ Art and The Seed went back to more of a hippy love cult while the bad bucks came rolling down for Straight.

Wouldn't it be a hoot if it turned out that I've had it backward all along; the Program hasn't been a negative influence in Repugnacan politics, but Repugnacns have been a negative influence on the Program?

Anyway, I get what you're saying. I think I'd feel dirty if I had had any real love for the Program. I'm almost glad the whole experience was bad or I'd have to sort it out.

To be an atheist requires strength of mind and goodness of heart found in not one of a thousand.
--Samuel Taylor Coleridge, English poet, critic, journalist, philosopher

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Offline Robin Martin

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« Reply #5 on: December 31, 2004, 05:35:00 AM »
Quote
On 2004-12-30 17:47:00, GregFL wrote:


 The Seed stripped the veneer (AND SEVERAL LAYERS) off  and rejected the "country Club" setting of some of these other programs. This was behavior modification at its most base.  No comfort, the chairs were purposely hard and akward to sit in, no air conditioning except in the staff's office (and this was florida, 100 degree and high humidity), the food wasn't only scarce, it was bad. Ice cold peanut butter sandwiches and one small dixie cup of coolaide a couple times a day. No bathroom priveledges at all, (FOR THE REBELS THAT WEREN'T PAYING ATTENTION) you were watched while peeing and defecating (NOT IN MY TIME)and these actions were logged in a book by a bathroom monitor.  You were walked to the bathroom after several initial refusals (NOT)and then watched while you went. Night sleeping was lock down (NOT W/ MY OLDCOMER) with no looking in mirrors, no looking at tv, no reading anything. (THIS WAS A DIFFERENT EXPERIENCE FOR ME...)You go home, write about your day, talk about your day, (YES, THIS DISCUSSION ABOUT MY MORAL INVENTORY WAS VERY HELPFUL IN CLARIFYING WHAT I NEEDED TO WORK ON) quick shower and in bed for 4 or 5 hours sleep under lock and key. (NEVER UNDER LOCK AND KEY FOR ME) back up again, transported to the seed and not allowed to look out of the car at billboards or anything. (WELL, THAT'S KINDA WEIRD ...) While at the seed, massive personal verbal attacks could come at any minute and if you nodded off or didn't look directly at the speaker, your fellow prisoners would be compelled to poke you hard in the back and furiously raise their hand to demonstrate their desire to yell at and humiliate you for the outrageous behavior of being tired, bored, or brazen enough to let your back rest against the back of the chair.

All actions were restricted at all times. Meanwhile, they constantly told you they loved you...sort of like an abusive spouse that smacks you in the face and then says they did it out of love...



Sorry...can't relate to most of the above references but I'm sure it was real for some... I guess it was different for each and every one of us, right??


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bid you peace!

Offline Jimmy Cusick

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« Reply #6 on: December 31, 2004, 08:02:00 AM »
I dont remember anyone watching me when I took a leak  nor do I remember anyone writing it down when I went to the bathroom. To keep the record straight(no pun intended) I was in Ft.Lauderdale from July 1st,74 to August17,1975. There were major changes in the spring of 75 and I believe they were political/financial in nature. The seeds hours were cut from 10a.m.- 10p.m. To 10a.m.-8p.m. Half of the songs were eliminated and we didnt sing them anymore. Staff members lightened up. In retrospect we were being observed and Art had to make some improvements to keep Senator Muskie? satisfied to keep the federal money pouring in.

Yes my oldtimers slept in front of the door so newcomers couldnt escape at night. That was logical as alot of people didnt want to be there initially. Newcomers that were from Florida hated the seed because of its reputation. Out-of-staters like me(from Cleveland) didnt know any better.


If anyone deserves an "attitude" towards the seed its me because Suzy Conners made me "start over" again because an oldcomer had turned me in for talking to my mother with an "attitude". Sleep deprivation had something to do with that,im sure thats one reason they reduced the seed hours in 75.

The second time I was a newcomer I lived with 3 cuban brothers in Miami, they were poor as dirt and we ate this miserable rice with god knows what kind of meat. Yuck. After 3 weeks Suzy Barker approached me and told me I was going home with Larry *** who's sister had a terminal cancer disease and his mother was newly divorced and my job was to help Larry. Imagine that, I went from being a front row newcomer to being given a responsibility to watch and help someone. Larry lived in a big house on the intercoastal (a canal) and we used to drop our pants and "moon" the Jungle Queen as it went by. Those were the days man, Larry and I used to "rock and roll" to Led Zeplin and countless others. I eventually went back to my Mom's rented trailer for a few weeks before she went back to Ohio(not the pretenders song) and I lived with countless other families so I had alot of good and bad experiences. My outlook depends on how I want to look at it.

So that is another one of my many seed experiences, 30 years after the fact, we march forward in the road called life. I hope you all are having a pleasant journey. I have 45 days without alcohol and drugs but hey, who's counting.

Peace and Love to all Seedlings'
Jimmy
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Offline shanlea

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« Reply #7 on: December 31, 2004, 10:39:00 AM »
Robin addressed how some of her experiences were different with comments on Greg's posts.  But the thing is, even with those amendments, it still is therapetically unethical, not to mention destructive. All the verbal abuse, humiliation, isolation, and group think are omnipresent and harmful.  There's no getting around it.

Also, at CEDU, we had something similar to moral inventories, and there was an unspoken awareness that your writing assignment better reflect CEDU "values."  It was all constructed in a way that your experiences were skewed until you believed the constructed version over your own.  

I've read postings on MI's and I've even read some samples, and it sounds like the purpose is NOT to discover yourself but to denigrate every aspect of your life and person and to keep you focused on adhering to program "values." It wasn't a true moral inventory because you knew EXACTLY what you were supposed to write.
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hanlea

Offline GregFL

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« Reply #8 on: December 31, 2004, 12:55:00 PM »
Sorry...can't relate to most of the above references but I'm sure it was real for some... I guess it was different for each and every one of us, right??


Not really Robin. Whether you believe you were helped or not by the seed, the events I listed above were exactly what transpired there. Is there something specific you take exception to? Lets discuss that...
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Offline GregFL

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« Reply #9 on: December 31, 2004, 01:00:00 PM »
For those above, I was often the bathroom monitor in St Pete, and a previous poster was a bathroom monitor in Ft Lauderdale.

In 1973, part of the "therapy" was making you hold your urine and bowel movements until Junior staff thought you couldn't stand it anymore, then you were "walked" to the bathroom, had to give your name, then a check was put in a column for either "shit" or "piss", then you went in the bathroom with your oldcomer.

I spent many a days as bathroom monitor, and I actually coveted the priviledge because even though I raised my hand, I was way away from the group and almost never called on.
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Offline Antigen

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« Reply #10 on: December 31, 2004, 01:01:00 PM »
Quote
On 2004-12-31 07:39:00, shanlea wrote:

I've read postings on MI's and I've even read some samples, and it sounds like the purpose is NOT to discover yourself but to denigrate every aspect of your life and person and to keep you focused on adhering to program "values." It wasn't a true moral inventory because you knew EXACTLY what you were supposed to write.


Oh yeah, MI's where the pits! When you consider the circumstances and context, they are just about as close to a crystalized snap shot of the Program as anyone can ask for.

First, 10 - 10 or 8 - 8 or whatever the hours, Group was just about all we did till 3rd phase (school); that and getting ready and getting to and from group, leaving hopefully 3 - 5 hours per night for sleep.* There was the no talking behind backs rule and the confidentiality rule (what goes on here stays here). So then we were to write about our day? About what happened? Our challenges? Goals? So, despite the "no getting into your head" rule, the only topic left was whatever might have been going on in your head throughout the day. It was crazy! I didn't do anything all day. I had no challenges. I didn't even have a choice about anything, let along any meaningful moral or ethical challenge!

MIs were required, structured writing and, while you were on first phase, an oldcomer was required to read and comment on them. Afterward, your parents or staff might well read them while you were away or in group. So yeah! You'd better damned well believe they had to conform to Program dogma!

*Yes, I know that changed in later years at The Seed. I'm talking about `70 - `72 or so, `74 - `75 roughly and `80 - `82 at Straight.

History gives us a kind of chart, and we dare not surrender even a small rushlight in the darkness. The hasty reformer who does not remember the past will find himself condemned to repeat it.
--John Buchan

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Offline GregFL

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« Reply #11 on: December 31, 2004, 01:11:00 PM »
Also Robin, I was PADLOCKED in my room at night and there was one window and a big doberman was under it. I was told he would kill me if I went out the window.

I also had newcomers and the locks were turned around and locked from the outside at night with a key.  This was the culture of the time.
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Offline Anonymous

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« Reply #12 on: December 31, 2004, 01:13:00 PM »
I stayed in a host home where the windows were nailed shut on the outside and the only door had the locks turned around.

Fire hazard??  WHAT fire hazard. :scared:
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Offline Antigen

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« Reply #13 on: December 31, 2004, 02:04:00 PM »
I don't remember having newcomers a whole lot when my brothers and sister were in The Seed. I don't think we had any locks on inside or outside doors ever. I do remember one time, must have been around `73 or so if I remember right. My sister had a newcomer. I think it was her first day, certainly her first week. When we got up Sunday morning, she was gone. So somebody called staff and we all fanned out into the neighborhood looking for her. We found her; or, rather, she saw and heard us looking for her. She was sitting in a tree a few blocks away reading a book. Said she never realized it was against the rules to go read a book and that she had no intention of staying away. I'm pretty sure she was there voluntarily, she certainly didn't object to going back to the house or in to group. Don't think she came home w/ my sister that night, though.

Straight was an entirely different story! All newcomers were locked in and guarded. Since there were usually so many newcomers that most oldcomers had at least one all the time, that meant that all oldcomers were essentially locked in and forbiden to listen to music, watch tv or anything else newcomers were not allowed to do. By 3rd phase, you could go to school or work, but still couldn't use the phone (except for dime therapy after getting permission from your parents) or step out the door to check the weather or get the mail, etc. You wouldn't even consider anything like saying hi to the mailman or anything!

Theoretically, on fourth phase you could go outside, but not leave the yard or talk to any neighbors or anything. In practice, "no turning your back on your newcomer" precluded even that liberty. Even on days off, most 4th phasers slept (as that was a physiological priority over almost everything else) and on 5th phase you were busy as you could possibly be trying to do whatever you could to earn graduation.

It was different! But it was also the same in some ways. I remember from when my oldest brother was in in like `71 in Ft. Lauderdale they had rules about the kool-aid. "No sharing, no substitutions" and he remembered the bathroom monitors too.

I don't believe in God. My god is patriotism. Teach a man to be a good citizen and you have solved the problem of life.
--Andrew Carnegie, Scottish-born American industrialist and philanthropist

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Offline Anonymous

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« Reply #14 on: December 31, 2004, 02:07:00 PM »
Quote
On 2004-12-31 10:13:00, Anonymous wrote:

"I stayed in a host home where the windows were nailed shut on the outside and the only door had the locks turned around.



Fire hazard??  WHAT fire hazard. :scared: "


Woops, ended up in the wrong forum.  Shoulda been Straight.  Sorry for the mixup. :silly:
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