File under: Gurubusting and The Siddhi of PR
Canadian nonduality guru John de Ruiter has been in the crosshairs of a number of anti-cult crusaders over the course of his career. The latest to take a shot is a PhD student of sociology at the University of Alberta, Paul Joosse. His just-published research reveals the three ways de Ruiter makes his stone-faced silence work for him:
Joosse believes de Ruiter's silence allows his followers to project their own "highly personalized" meaning into the answers they receive from him. Joosse noted that de Ruiter's followers often have a history of participation in various alternative religious movements before they settle into the de Ruiter group and are therefore more likely than most to find meaning in the vague messages that de Ruiter is known to express.Give 'em something to project upon, keep 'em under the thumb of your authority and be attractively mysterious. A perfect recipe for the flimflam man looking to work the bliss bunny crowd (while pulling as much tail as possible.)
The Canada-based De Ruiter also uses silence as a punitive tool and a means to discourage dissent, Joosse said, adding that the effect is similar to the way the Amish, at times, shun non-conformists in their group. However, one crucial difference is that the Amish employ the silent treatment collectively, while de Ruiter, the irreplaceable, exclusive authority figure in his group, uses it unilaterally...
The third function of de Ruiter's silence is that it accelerates the formation of intimate bonds between de Ruiter and his followers, especially when he combines it with extended eye contact. Joosse added that many of de Ruiter's followers – a good number of whom are middle-aged females – see de Ruiter as possessing "a mysterious aura".
Whether or not de Ruiter is actually self-realized, his mind games aren't really much more sophisticated than a high-schooler's. But with a gaggle of swooning middle-aged ladies piling on as they desperately seek confirmation from him, not much more is required to make him out to be a mysterious space-daddy who can make it all ok (or not) with a mere glance.
To which we say "well-played, Mr. de Ruiter." You may be little more than a manipulative creep, but your shtick is tight and well-rehearsed. It's time to share that wisdom with the world. May we suggest a speed seduction convention as your next venue?