Author: David Christopher Lane Publisher: The NEURAL SURFER Publication date: February 1997
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Bill Writes: In regards to Path of the Masters, which is the main source of Lane's claims, I would point out that: 1) The word plagiarism is usually associated with "artistic" creations. Path of the Masters is not exactly Shakespeare, to put it mildly. All it is is a glorified generic road atlas of the other worlds. Very important information if you've never been exposed to it, but is a map an "artistic" creation? DAVID LANE REPLIES: Johnson had quite a peculiar style (something for which he and his book have rightly gotten heat). Twitchell is a first-rate plagiarist not becaused he used similar ideas or thoughts, but because he copied--sometimes verbatim--the very FORM (or style?) in which those ideas or thoughts were transmitted, even to the point of following Johnson's own writing and Johnson's own method of quoting (see how Twitchell ties Johnson's own writing with a quote from Vivekananda without skipping a beat, and also without citing either). The issue of "artistic" creation is a funny one, since in either case it could easily be argued that all writing (from email to posts to encyclopedias) has an artistic compostion to it (Mark Alexander has argued this very idea with regards to Twitchell's compilation). Artist or not, Twitchell copied Johnson and he did it without attribution and he did it extensively (see the FAR COUNTRY). Moreover, Paul Twitchell did indeed plagiarize Julian Johnson directly. How do we know it was Johnson? When Julian first visited Beas, India, he wrote a number of letters to his friends back in the USA (including the California Representative for R.S. Beas, Harvey Meyers). Those letters formed the basis of a book entitled WITH A GREAT MASTER IN INDIA (which was published five years before Johnson's untimely death). The "originals" of those letters are still in existence and they have Johnson's signature. Furthermore, if you read Johnson closely (I have read his unpublished manuscript, MORE LIGHT ON THE PATH, which was supposed to be a sequel to PATH of the MASTERS, as well as his other more rare tomes: CALL OF THE EAST and THE UNQUENCHABLE FLAME), you will notice a very distinctive style. As I mentioned in the MAKING, Twitchell is not being called a plagiarist because he used similar ideas. No, Twitchell is a plagiarist because he copied (at times verbatim) the FORM in which those ideas were conveyed. That form is especially obvious in Johnson's writing and it does not take a rocket scientist to see it. I think Eckankar would be much better off by simply admitting it: Yea, Twitchell plagiarized Johnson extensively, along with other writers (including Schure and Hubbard). BILL WRITES: 2) No one has proven that the material in Path of the Masters actually originated with Johnson, and how could you ever do so, given it's all from a completely different culture? The fact that his name is on the cover of the book doesn't prove anything, especially since he conveniently expired before it's publication. DAVID LANE replies: Different culture? The book was printed in France and Johnson wrote in English. It just so happened that Johnson wrote the text in India. Have you read Johnson extensively? Have you read the original 1939 edition? Have you read his private letters? Have you read CALL of the EAST? Have you read the UNQUENCHABLE FLAME? I ask primarily because if you had it would give you a sense--a very clear sense--of his style. It was Johnson's FORM that Twitchell copied, not just some isolated idea. Paragraph upon paragraph, sequences, nuances, emphases, etc. Read the PATH closely, read WITH A GREAT MASTER closely (remember those were Johnson's letters), then compare it to the plagiarized excerpts in THE TIGER'S FANG, the FAR COUNTRY, SHARIYAT, etc. I think Eckankar would be much better served by simply saying: "Yea, he plagiarized and we now freely admit it. We apologize for it and we have taken those books out of circulation and in those books which we have not we are going to properly reference the quotes." Hey, I got Gary Olsen to do it--see my website for his worldwide public apology for plagiarism. The only problem is that Rebazar Tarzs speaks like a Kentuckian.... if you get my drift. BILL writes: " How can somebody who has never attended a seminar and seen a current Living ECK Master in person, be an authority on a teaching that puts primary importance on the Darshan, or seeing and being seen, by the Master. Not to mention the fact that southern California has been the beneficiary of more Eckankar seminars than any other area of the planet, and if it wasn't for Eckankar, Lane and everybody else down there would probably be at the bottom of the Pacific about now." DAVID LANE REPLIES: 1. Sorry to disappoint, but I have actually attended an Eckankar seminar. Indeed, I saw Harold Klemp in San Diego a couple of years ago. 2. I have seen Darwin Gross twice: once when he was the Eck Master in Menlo Park. He came out to see me, as he checked the thermostat to the building. The second time I saw him was with Dodie Bellamy in San Diego (check out Dave Rife's website for her published article recounting it). 3. In the mid to late 1970s I attended a number of lectures and talks at the Eckankar center in Hollywood and elsewhere. I like your line about how "Lane and everybody else down there would probably be at the bottom of the Pacific about now." So Eckankar seminars keep California afloat? As a Surfer, I wouldn't mind seeing the new point breaks that would develop with such a massive land shift. Where do you get such interesting ideas? thanks dave
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