The Numbers Game in The New American Wing
I originally sent the following observations in private mail to a friend of mine, who later asked me to publish them on the web. This exchange took place relatively soon after leaving, and I was still using the Fourth Way lingo to describe events. In hindsight it probably should be translated into normal English, but for now I'll leave it up exactly as it was written back then.
For a much more comprehensive examination of this group, see NAW Aware .
I was in a group called "The New American Wing" (NAW), a spinoff of James Randazzo's "Spiral of Friends" (SOF), which in turn came from "The Fellowship of Friends" (FOF).
The NAW teachers (a married couple, Jim and Carolyn Kuziak, aka "J&C") had the final word on who was "a five", who had awakened. I knew two women who told me they "didn't realize they had awakened" until a couple days later when the teachers told them so. This was an important clue that something was not quite right, because Man #5 is supposed to be objective in relation to himself. Also in my own personal experiences of non ordinary degrees of consciousness, it was obvious to me that my state had changed. These two women had actually believed they had awakened because the teachers told them so.
A few days after a friend of mine supposedly awakened, I asked him about what had happened. He didn't say much except "it changes your life", and "the teachers say I am a five when I am self-remembering."
There was little doubt who the fives were, because during meetings the teachers would occasionally ask to the audience, "who here has awakened?" (As though they forgot, as though they didn't know us each quite well.) Hands would rise into the air, like kids in a classroom. It was a public performance, resulting in a feeling of superiority in those who raised their hands, and a feeling of self-loathing in those who didn't. On one occasion, a student raised her hand and the teachers scolded her, "you haven't awakened, you've had experiences but you haven't awakened."
The NAW has two main "centers" -- one in Ann Arbor and one in Lexington KY, overall about 25-40 students combined. Of these, I can recall eleven who claimed to be Men #5. Generally, these were the older students who had dedicated their lives to the school and had bought-in 100% to the game. People usually awakened during one of the major ceremonies we had during the year (Christmas, Easter, July 4, Thanksgiving). It also usually occurred during "obligatories" -- the ritual movements.
These students had special privileges after their conversion experience. They could attend special private meetings, held only for those who had awakened. They were also given special exercises. At the time I left, I was just starting to be included in these "older student" activities, even though I had not awakened. They were giving me exercises that did not seem to be practical for me -- imagining myself the size of the earth, imagining energy and directing it through my body, etc. There was a thrill in receiving these new exercises, because it gave me the illusion of being an advanced student, of being part of the inner circle, etc.
Fives also had a more prominent role during ceremonies and obligatories. They were also allowed to ask less practical questions at meetings -- they could ask theoretical questions regarding higher energies, the ray of creation, symbols, etc., and the teachers would entertain those questions now. This was not an explicit privilege, but was a sort of unwritten understanding, as though now the students had enough being for these questions to be considered "practical".
Strangely, once someone awakened, they were allowed to take much greater care of their instinctive functions. The teachers would not complain if an older student dropped out of some "work octave" because of physical discomfort. If a non-awakened student tried this, the older students and teachers would come down hard on them. "Do not let the instinctive function eat your work", "learn how to dominate those queen-of-clubs 'I's", "no half efforts", "once you decide to do something, do it whole hog and twice the postage", etc. But awakened students were allowed much more sleep, more breaks, less strenuous work, more desk jobs. The rationale seemed to be, "in a higher state, you are much more sensitive to the needs of the instinctive function." Or, "if you don't take care of your machine, it will become negative and eat you when in a higher state." The teachers exemplified this behavior. They received massages and sexual favors from the innermost core of students, took considerable time each day in a hot tub, and spent hours each night laying in a bed with about 15 pillows watching a $3000 wide-screen TV. One particular student, the teachers' pet, cooked their meals each night with utmost care: only the best organic foods, making handmade ice-cream, all sorts of special dietary requirements, etc. While preparing food for them, we were told that if we were in a negative state while cooking, they could tell from the food itself, as though our negativity had corrupted the food.
But being considered a Man #5 was not all positive... Awakened students were given additional duties and responsibilities, such as being sent out to start centers in new cities. They were also treated more harshly by the teachers, because they had "verified that this was a C influence school" and were now supposed to devote their entire lives to it. The teachers claimed to control the higher states in the fives, "when you awaken you swim in our higher being bodies." They also used this as a threat, "I've got your nickel ... once you've awakened, you belong to me -- do you understand me?"
Outwardly, there were various signs that would indicate one of these students were supposedly in a higher state. Often they would shed tears, sometimes tears of horror and sometimes tears of joy. The state was usually onset by heavy controlled breathing on the part of the student -- such as during obligatories, or during a meeting if a student wanted to be seen making a "super-effort". They often had a far-away look in their eyes, as though they were not interested in the trivial events taking place around them.
They usually would not look directly in your eyes, and others generally didn't "photograph their instinctive functions" (stare at them) either. If I looked them in the eyes, sometimes I felt waves of shame arise within me, fearing they could see into my horrible feature-ridden soul. This kind of self-hatred was glorified in various subtle ways throughout the school. A common expression was, "you cannot look in the face of something higher" (without becoming extremely identified). This grand suggestion actually encouraged us to become more identified in these situations.
Sometimes they would experience brief twitches, as though bolts of energy were shooting through their system. One student kept experiencing these jolts frequently a few days after he had "awakened", until the teachers scolded him during obligatories, "you can't go there every time, now it is time to get serious."
The fives quickly became more self-confident, especially around non-awakened students. I can remember how quickly one particular student changed after going through this experience -- within a couple weeks he changed from being a true wuss into an assertive person able to take what he felt he deserved. (In many ways it was an act and after a few months he gradually returned closer to his original state.) This new self-confidence came from a renewed certainty about their faith, and also seemed to justify their increased outbursts of negativity towards others. In other words, they were now peers with the other awakened students, and, lacking that fear to keep them on-guard, they were more likely to try to control situations with negative emotions. Their new strength, self-confidence, and perceived power gave them a kind of charisma.
The teachers probably liked the idea of having more awakened students too. They validated their credentials, "proof that this school works". Awakened students were fully crystallized in their devotion to the school -- it seemed that these were the students who would do ANYTHING for the teachers (get a divorce, move to a new town, make large payments, sexual favors, hold multiple jobs, etc...) It justified giving these core devotees extra privileges and extra duties. It maintained the hierarchical power system and justified it with a spiritual basis. It gave these students a feeling of increased being.
Older students also took over many of the public responsibilities previously performed by the teachers. By allowing them to hide in their bedroom, with all contact fully controlled and orchestrated, the teachers were able to generate a kind of mystique. In their absence, we had less chance to 'catch them in the act', less opportunity to discover if the teachers were truly higher beings. When we finally did interact with them, it was so formalized and so fear-laden that we were easy prey. And with mere fives running most of the show, any faults could be blamed on them, thus protecting the teachers' facade of perfection. And although fives were supposedly conscious, they were not fully objective to the external world, so their eventual mechanical flubs and failures could still be forgiven without breaking our belief in the actual existence of something higher.