Sinking California and Defending Plagiarism

Author: David Christopher Lane
Publisher: The NEURAL SURFER
Publication date: February 1997

E-mail David Christopher Lane directly at

I want to go back to the home base now.

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?


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

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Furthermore, if you read Johnson closely (I have read his unpublished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
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).


   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

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

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

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."


1. Sorry to disappoint, but I have actually attended an Eckankar
seminar. Indeed, I saw Harold Klemp in San Diego a couple of years

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?



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