Author: Aaron Talsky, J.D. Publisher: The NEURAL SURFER Publication date: October 1997E-mail David Christopher Lane directly at firstname.lastname@example.org
I want to go back to the home base now
OPEN letter to the DERA from Aaron Talsky, J.D.:
Many things in life are inevitable, among them the changes that come with advances in technology. Technological advancement is itself morally neutral. It is neither good nor bad, simply a fact of life. The same cannot always be said, however, for the reactions that such advancement elicit.
As you may be aware, both myself and Dr. Lane have been engaged in the study of Radhasoami history for the past two decades. Much of this time was spent in academia. The motivations underlying this research were certainly varied, but primary was a shared belief that some of the lineages directly or indirectly related to the Radhasoami tradition had been less than forthcoming with regard to their heritage and history. A fundamental premise of this research agenda was that information should be freely available and disseminated, and that deceit and obfuscation were incompatible with such free exchange of information.
Both of us were under the impression that the free flow of information was a beneficial and necessary foundation for any informed study of any religious movement. We believed in the power of reason and public discussion. We thought that public discourse could remedy or avert the perils confronted by the ill-informed. We asserted that more information, not enforced silence, was the proper way to encourage educated thought and informed decision making.
But to report 'cultic' behavior from groups with whom we have no affiliation, while refraining from comment regarding those individuals or movements with whom we had, in fact, a prior association would be the height of hypocrisy. To suggest that our research agendas have been formulated to foster the free exchange of ideas and information and to be silent when an organization attempts in a heavy-handed manner to quash such discussion would be genuinely appalling.
We have been informed that Radhasoami Satsang Beas has issued directive purporting to prohibit any discussion of the group or its ideology on the internet. Initially, this directive appeared to be merely a misguided attempt to graft a 19th century world-view, wherein information could be controlled, onto the sometimes uncomfortable realities of life in the modern era. It certainly might strike an individual as odd that there were actually individuals who would accept the premise that there was something morally objectionable about discussing their religious affiliations or beliefs via e-mail. Nevertheless, one of the fundamental vices of liberty is that every individual has the freedom to make ill-advised decisions. If an individual chooses to belong to a group, or to abide by an edict prohibiting effective discussion and discourse then so be it.
As time has passed, however, it has become increasingly clear that among the targets of this directive was the Neural Surfer Web site. It is interesting to note that the individual that issued the order has not been sufficiently candid or forthcoming to contact the site or its author directly. The Neural Surfer has increasingly been the target of repeated demands to shut down the site. Most recently, we are informed that Gurinder Singh, in response to an inquiry regarding this web site, has asked his followers to initiate contact and request that the site be removed.
Of course, if this is not accurate or your understanding of the matter is different please correct us.
To the extent that Gurinder Singh or any other individual has attempted to control the free flow of information, pro or con, the endeavor is misguided and doomed to fail. Lest there be any doubt, I would like to emphasize that The Neural Surfer will not be shut down. This will not occur in response to the direct or indirect demands of Radhasoami Satsang Beas nor any other group.
E-mail The Neural Surfer directly at email@example.com I want to go back to the home base now.