Author: Aaron Talsky, J.D. Publisher: The NEURAL SURFER Publication date: October 1997
E-mail David Christopher Lane directly at email@example.com
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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 ellicit. As you may be aware, the undersigned 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 disemminated, 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 a 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 have, in fact, had an association would be the height of hypocracy. 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 become aware that Radhasoami Satsang Beas has issued a 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 bizarre 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 stupid decisions. If one 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 actually the Neural Surfer Web site. It is interesting to note that Gurinder Singh himself (who 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 Dhillon, in response to an inquiry regarding this web site, has asked his followers to initiate contact and request that the site be removed. Lest there be any doubt, let us make it clear. The Neural Surfer will not be shut down. This will not occur in response to the demands of Radhasoami Satsang Beas nor any other group. Or, to put it more graphically, Gurinder Singh has made a mistake in attempting to control the flow of information, pro or con. Written by: Aaron Talsky, J.D. In favor of David Lane and the Neural Surfer
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I want to go back to the home base now.