Tuesday, May 25, 1999
CLAIMS AND CONTRADICTIONS IN THE WORK OF OSCAR ICHAZO
The Arica School makes three major claims. First, that following the Arica method will lead to enlightenment without the need for faith. The second claim is that the Arica method will lead to the enlightenment of society and thereby rescue humanity from its self-destruction. The third claim is that behind the Arica method there is an enormous theory, which explains just about everything. The passage of time has not been kind to these pretensions. Nearly thirty years after the start of Arica, there are no enlightened students. The impact on society is close to zero. For example, the Arica Institute has a (declining) membership of less than 650 members.
A search on the Internet under oscar+ichazo+arica will (depending on the search engine used) reveal between zero and a handful of references. As to the claims made for Arica theory, one can only observe that no work of (for example) philosophy or psychology, which could sustain a critical informed evaluation, has ever been published. My conclusion from this is that the claims of Oscar Ichazo for the Arica method are untenable. Worse than that, so far as I can see, the claims cannot have been made by mistake or out of some sort of misapprehension or misunderstanding, but were fraudulent from the very start. The paragraphs below will detail the Arica's School's obvious failure to deliver on its extravagant claims and expose some of the contradictions in the writings of Oscar Ichazo.
1. "THE DIVINE PRINCIPLE OF "NO TIME" OR PROMISES, PROMISES.
(a) "In 1956, Oscar formulated the principles of Trialectics, the logical laws of the mind in the "process of becoming", and upon this foundation originated the theory of Protoanalysis, the doctrine of the Fixations, and the structure of the human psyche composed of nine spheres of being." The Arican. Autumn 1996. P5.
AH's comment - Over forty years later, the world is still holding its breath for an exposition on Trialectics. One wonders how long it took Darwin to write the Origin of the Species or Einstein to write his theory of relativity or Keynes to complete his General Theory?
(b) "Oscar : Another point is the discovery of unity by way of reason, of logical reasoning. Speaking more precisely, it is not formal logic; it is trialectical logic. Why is this so important? Because proving the unity of God with trialectical logic means it is possible to understand all that is inside the universe. That is why I speak about complete mathematics and not the mathematics of relativity."
Q: "Will that proof be done? Has it been done?" Oscar: Oh Yes. Absolutely. IT IS JUST A MATTER OF PUTTING IT ON PAPER." (Emphasis AH's.) From an Interview of Oscar Ichazo by Tim Wilson in 1975. Published in "Interviews with Oscar Ichazo". Arica Institute Press. New York. 1982. P53-4.
AH's comment - The trialectical proof of the unity of God remains unpublished.
(c) "In the second part of Psychomachia, I will present the practical application of this Work as a clear method for psychological counseling, and how it works for giving true help in an objective manner. This will be presented in current psychological language. It is certain, however that the currently accepted psychological language has to be vastly enlarged. Psychiatrists and psychologists know better than anyone that the theoretical foundation for their work is unclear and unstable. What I am saying is that psychology, at this point, does not contain a true direction." From The Introduction to Arica training manual "The Golden Eye Ritual & Initiation". Oscar Ichazo Company. 1986. P9.
AH's comment - needless to say, when Part 2 of this training was published, there was no mention of any method of psychological counseling.
(d) "…I am preparing the last part of the eighth level. With these exercises will come a deeper vision of the Arica material, that this time can be worked with the general public, or under any type of circumstance, and it will be accompanied by a manual for counseling, supported by a metaphysics, where principles will be exposed, and a theology about spiritual work with a foundation of true religiosity, directed to the Enlightenment and benefit of all sentient beings. It will also contain a review of theoretical psychology, and its practical application. Following this work, The Arica Way will be in the hands of the School. This will offer a history and explanation of the entire Arica material and how to deal with it practically." From a letter to the Arica School, January 1986. Reprinted in "Letters to the School" by Oscar Ichazo. Arica Institute Press. New York. P30-31.
AH's comment - neither the Arica Way or the theoretical or practical material ever appeared and no explanation was ever offered.
(e) "The Daily Routine and Tuning are exerts from Oscar Ichazo's The Arica Way, to be published later this year." The Arican. Spring/Summer 1989. P22.
AH's comment - The Arica Way was never published.
(f) "Success in the Mandala Embodiment meditation and the three subsequent meditations, which are known as the Telegnostic (Gr. Tele- finality, gnosis- divine knowledge) Meditations or how we can objectively evaluate the imprinting in ourselves of the Divine Metatelos, are known as feats of accomplishment and they are:
1. Capacity for alleviating other persons afflictions, whether they be physical, emotional, mental, or spiritual.
2. Improved health.
3. Prolonged life span.
4. Enhanced intelligence.
5. Increase of wealth.
6. Expanded creative abilities.
7. Clarity and understanding of the Arica theory and system.
8. Ability to expose the Arica theory and system from a realized point of view.
9. Direct comprehension of the intuitive state of mind of the Arica Five Supreme Determinants."
Article entitled "Mandala Embodiment", The ARICAN, Autumn 1991, P43.
AH's comment : The manifestation of the benefits of this training has not been obvious in the members of the Arica school.
(g) At the Arica Reunion in Hawaii in 1995, Oscar Ichazo held a thick pile of papers aloft and said, to rapturous applause that his book was now finished and ready for publication.
AH's comment - no book has subsequently appeared.
(h) "In 1997, Oscar will be presenting the new Velocity Training of the Arica Sudden Enlightenment Method during a worldwide tour." The Arican. Autumn 1996. P 7.
AH's comment - no tour happened and no explanation was provided.
(i) "This year I have been writing a book in which I synthesize and concentrate in the short space of some 300 pages the central Arica protoanalytical principles. I've never been in front of such a difficult presentation of material, but with good wind and the decided help of the entire School, we are at the end of this work, and soon we will have the book in our hands." News from the Arica Institute. June 1998.
(j) "By far the most auspicious of these projects is the publication of Oscar's book, now in the final stages of completion". Ethics Council Speaker's Address, Annual General Membership Meeting. December 5, 1998. Published in the Arica Day of Unity Report, December 1998.
(k) "AN ARICAN FOR 1999 "A new Arican is in the process of being published by the Oscar Ichazo Company and distributed by the Institute, which includes an extensive article about the Divine Ideas, based on a chapter of Oscar¹s book, which is in the throes of being completed. The chapter material elaborates upon the two poles of sex and spirit, three Instincts, the nine Fixations, the Traps, and their specific relationships with the Divine Ideas. In this article, there is a complete exposition of the Divine Ideas and their place as transformative powers in the Arica system and practice, especially in the work of transcending the Trifix across the Divine Ideas into higher states of consciousness. Historical references give this material richness and perspective.
Another article in the publication is called Commentary On Tantra, where the methods and practices of tantra are examined, along with their results and outcome. Misunderstandings are clarified and a historical perspective is included. The Arica tantric method is delineated so the practitioner can easily understand what tantric work is practiced in the School and how it differs from other practices." From the January 1999 Arican
The long awaited book does not seem to be promising much new. The poles, instincts, fixations, traps and divine ideas have been known about in Arica for decades. The addition of some bells and whistles about the relationship of the divine ideas to the Trifix does not set my pulse racing. Similarly, Oscar Ichazo has already written extensively on tantra, see for example "What is Tantra" p16 of the Winter 1990 Arican. It looks like we are in for a rehash of the same old stuff. Well I, for one, will not be buying either the new Arican or the book, when it appears.
When the order form for the "Arican" was distributed, it became apparent that this publication was in fact no longer to be an Arican. Rather than be published as an Arican "and distributed by the Institute", the articles are to be published in a new publication called "The Symbol" by the private Oscar Ichazo Company. [For further information on the relationship of the Oscar Ichazo Company and the Arica Institute see below under Section 11.]
Additionally, in order to purchase The Symbol (at $40, payable to the private Oscar Ichazo Company) and the accompanying training (Divine Ideas Meditation at $500, payable to the Oscar Ichazo Company), the purchaser has to sign a confidentiality agreement. That's right, a confidentiality agreement to purchase a magazine. One wonders why a magazine for the benefit of humanity should be kept secret? The confidentiality agreement does of course mean that gullible Aricans will be able to buy the publication undisturbed by any critical or informed comment.
Conclusion on No Time.
Oscar Ichazo has promised the earth to his students and failed to deliver without explanation over many years. The conclusion I draw from this is that while Oscar could no doubt publish a book on the fixations/protoanalysis work (in effect an elaboration on the manual) or reformulate his other material, he is incapable of backing up his wider claims. So I don't believe Oscar could produce a book on theoretical or applied psychology which could withstand critical expert review. I don't believe his theory of logic could sustain critical review by expert logicians. His theology would not withstand the scrutiny of expert theologians. All Oscar is doing is keeping his students hanging on with promises of goodies to come. Continuing to believe that Oscar will come up with a brilliant book after all the unexplained delay has become a desperate act of faith. The good things in Arica are the Nine Hypergnostic Systems and Mentations and the old Domains, Levels, Doors and Protoanalysis trainings. Everything that Oscar Ichazo had of value has been out for a very long time. The new Protoanalytical trainings represent both a dilution and an incomprehensible overcomplication of what went before.
2. NO CONTRADICTION
In Arica theory, The Divine Principle of No Contradiction states: "Since everything is a manifestation of the same spectrum of energy, we can find no trace of contradiction". (The Octagon Manual. 1983. P30.) Nevertheless, if one looks really hard one can find one or two.
Contradiction 1. The Coffee Boy Story. In an interview with Sam Keen in 1973 (republished in "Interviews" p7), Oscar Ichazo says : "When I was nineteen, a remarkable man found me in La Paz. He was sixty years old and when he began to teach me, I knew from the beginning that he was speaking the truth. This man, whose name I have pledged not to reveal, belonged to a small group in Buenos Aires that met to share their knowledge of various consciousness-altering techniques. I became the coffee boy for this group. I would get up at four A.M. to make their coffee and breakfast and would stay around as inconspicuously as possible. Gradually they got used to my presence and they started to use me as a guinea pig to demonstrate techniques to each other."
This story is flatly contradicted by Oscar Ichazo himself in an interview he gave to Michael Goldberg which was published in LA Weekly, October 15-21, 1993. "ICHAZO : When I was 19 years old in La Paz, I was introduced to a European businessman who was living in Buenos Aires. We talked about Kabbala and the alchemical lore rehashed by the German occultists like von Hartman and List. He was interested in what I was saying, and he said to me, " Have you read the these books of P.D. Ouspensky?" And he lent me two recently translated books, Tertium Organum and In Search of the Miraculous. [about Ouspensky's work based on Gurdjieff's teaching]. He said , "We have a small study group in Buenos Aires. If you want to come, you're most welcome."
GOLDBERG : So you went to Buenos Aires?
ICHAZO : I went to Buenos Aires in April 1950. I went to this group - it was done in great style. Many of them were millionaires and terribly well-connected. And I was very well-received. And I told them, "The thing doesn't work." Just like that.
GOLDBERG : What didn't work?
ICHAZO : This thing of Ouspensky's doesn't go anywhere. These people don't know what they're talking about. They think they are discovering, you know, gunpowder. And it is not so.
GOLDBERG : Well this is very different than the legend - that you were the coffee boy for an esoteric group of adepts who experimented on you and initiated you.
ICHAZO : Yeah. I was 19 years old, and I was totally accepted by the group. It was in fact a via-a-vis relationship. Because they were in truth drinking terrible coffee. These intellectuals didn't know how to make coffee! So I bought an expresso machine and started making expresso for everyone. It was cheap and easy to do, you know, and everybody loved it."
AH's Comment - The above statements are incompatible. I have no idea if Oscar Ichazo was telling the truth to Sam Keen or to Michael Goldberg. Personally, I prefer the original coffee boy story myself. Further, when reading the output of Oscar Ichazo how does one distinguish the true from the false?
Contradiction 2. Naranjo.
"…Claudio Naranjo, a shameless mythomaniac…" Oscar Ichazo. Letter to the School, April 1986. Reprinted in "Letters" P46.
"Recently, Claudio Naranjo has published a book titled Enneatype Structures, and to my surprise he openly recognizes the origin of this material, which he first became acquainted with "during a series of lectures dictated [by me] at the Instituto de Psicologia Aplicada (Santiago) in 1969, under the sponsorship of the Chilean Psychological Association". Honestly I had been expecting Claudio to demonstrate more unfair treatment of the Arica material, and to plainly ignore the fact that this material has been published and copyrighted by the Arica Institute and that I am the sole originator." Oscar Ichazo. The Arican. Twentieth Anniversary Issue. 1990. P90.
"As you know, I had the distinct pleasure of having Claudio Naranjo as one of my students in the early seventies, and I consider him to be one of the best theoreticians of our time. Because of Naranjo's intellectual integrity, I knew he would transmit accurately my way of studying the three main questions of metaphysics about the universe, man, and God." Oscar Ichazo, letter to A. Hameed Ali. Published in Arica Day of Unity Report, September 1998.
Contradiction 3. Religion. First we have Oscar Ichazo's view given in an interview in 1973, reprinted in "Interviews" P17.
"Sam Keen : Are you proposing a new religion? And is Arica a new church? Oscar Ichazo : Not at all. The disciplines we teach are very old. Many of them are adapted from traditional Bhuddist, Taoist, Islamic, or Christian sources. But we do not have any creed or dogma. We introduce people to techniques that facilitate experiences but we are experimental in our approach.
Then in 1998, Oscar Ichazo wrote : "This is to say, to approach the distinct human states scientifically in a way that becomes a universal language that we can all understand, and through which we all can comprehend, dilucidate, and establish viable agreements with a true sense of mutual respect, tolerance, and the unity of a universal religion. This religion would not supplant or destroy the traditional ones, which are our cultural treasures, but it will construct a common theological language that does not contradict anyone and which will affirm all of them." Address to the Arica School. Annual General Meeting, December 1997. Published in News from Arica Institute, June 1998.
Contradiction 4. The Origin of the Enneagram. Oscar Ichazo has given various contradictory accounts of the origin of the enneagram (or enneagon, as he service marks it). These differing accounts have been fully described by Sterling Doughty in his article entitled 'GonGram' which can be viewed on the internet at http://www.angelfire.com/ar/metaton/index.html. This website also has Sterling Doughty's 'The Other Newsletter' numbers 1 to 5, plus "My Arica Story", all of which contain interesting material on Oscar Ichazo and Arica. Sterling Doughty is the foremost critic of Arica and has published just about all the worthwhile ideas on the subject. From time to time his work is dismissed on the Aricalist (now Metalist, an email bulletin board for Aricans) as worthless because he has suffered periods of manic-depression. Interestingly, Sterling Doughty had no experience of mental illness before he became involved in Arica - his illness began after his involvement began. Needless to say, inspite of these ad hominem attacks, so far as I am aware, none of the substance of Sterling Doughty's material on Arica has ever been rebutted. The purpose of my document is not to say anything new on the subject but rather to draw as many of the various elements in the Arica story together as time permits. (Regrettably, time has not allowed me to go into such delights as Oscar Ichazo's views on science or his distinguished United Nations Writers Award).
3. DOES IT MATTER IF OSCAR ICHAZO IS TRUTHFUL?
For me the answer to this question is yes. The many broken promises in Arica plus the obvious contradictions outlined above, cast a shadow over the whole enterprise. I would like to remind Oscar Ichazo what he wrote about the plagiarists of his fixations work : "The truth in the mouth of a liar becomes a lie." Letters, P.78. Further, in the Alpha Heat Training (6th level of the Arica School), the student is instructed perform a ceremony called "Obedience to the Guide". The student is indicated to repeat : " I offer obedience to Oscar". The introduction to the training explains that : "The word obedience is used because there must be respect for the Divine Human Prototype, and the guide is the most nearly perfect manifestation of the Divine Human Prototype. We must become like the Divine Human Prototype. If we want Him to manifest in us, we must become totally obedient to Him." Arica Alpha Heat Meditation. 1974. See the introduction (P1, in my copy) plus the ceremony "Obedience to the Guide" P.4. Unfortunately for Oscar Ichazo, a basic sense of truthfulness is an essential element in any conception of the Divine Human Prototype. On a more practical level, how are students going to have the energy to go through the home Arica trainings, not knowing if what Oscar Ichazo has written down is true or false?
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