Thursday, March 27, 2014

The Three Card Monte Enlightenment Scam

One of the most common neo-Advaitic or neo-Buddhist tricks that gets played by the "awakened" set these days is to point to the simple fact that our everyday awareness has no visible ego in it, and with a bit of three-card Monte misdirection and creative shuffling of concepts, viola! - suddenly we can see that every negative emotion or thought we've suffered arises within a radiant, luminous, transcendental awareness or emptiness, and we have either rigpa or the Self at our fingertips, and now we are not just on the road to enlightenment, we are already there.

Did you miss that? Okay, let me slow down the card-palming a moment and point out how the trick is done. The neo-Advaitin or neo-Buddhist teacher begins with the simple trick of claiming that there is only one mind, or one reality, and that of course this is it, right here and now, in this present moment, just as we experience it. Who's going to argue with that? This is the setup, and it's very important that no one question it, because without this setup the whole game falls apart. But we've all heard that reality is non-dual, and that nirvana and samsara is the same, and that we are the Self, so what's to question? Doubting that would be dualistic delusion, right?

Okay, so that part is settled. Next step is to examine our awareness in this moment, and to point out that we are always looking at objects of one kind or another. Thoughts, or perceptions obsess us, and preoccupy our attention. But...what about the awareness that is aware of these objects and thoughts? If we simply invert attention on its own awareness for a moment, we can see that sure enough, this basic awareness we have right now is distinct from the objects or thoughts we perceive. We can see that awareness itself is actually an empty screen of sorts, and that thoughts and perceptions themselves have no real solid substance to them in our minds.

And guess what? There's a kind of relief in seeing that. Even a kind of temporary bliss and happiness we can find in it. Because, for sure, these things that bother us aren't actually real, they're just thoughts! And this ego we've been so troubled by? Well, it's just like these thoughts, it's just a thought itself, and not real. The awareness that is aware of these is the only reality, and it, too, is empty and untroubled. So, just notice that, be that awareness, and we are released from all the trouble we previously thought ourselves to be in. In fact, if we invert just a bit on this awareness, we can experience some sort of amazing pleasure and even inexplicable bliss. Who knew?

Simple, right? No need to do anything more than keep repeating this insight, and keep pointing to our own awareness, inverting upon it, and by that process becoming more and more free, happy, even enlightened. It doesn't get any better than that!

Well, there's a few little problems with this approach to non-dualism.
First, obviously, is that the presumption we began with is a false one. As with any decent three-card Monte scam, the card we are looking for isn't in even in the deck. It's been shuffled up the sleeve of the teacher, who may even believe that's the right way to play the game.

That simple everyday awareness we have been pointed to look at? That's the misdirection that keeps us thinking we are going to find the real deal card, when it's actually been removed from the table. It's not actually the free condition of primal awareness at all. Not even close. It's nothing more than the emergent ego awareness, the stepped down, object-oriented awareness that we began the trick with. Nothing has been done to undermine this ego at all, or change our perspective, our assumption, or our delusions. Instead, we've merely been tricked into thinking that the illusion is itself the reality. Which is a pretty great trick come to think of it.

The primal Reality? The primal non-dual awareness beyond all illusions? Well, that's not even in this deck. It's already been removed, by our own identification with form, which happened long before we ever sat down to play this game. So there's no way we can find it this way. No shuffling of the deck, no pointing to anything in our ego-consciousness, can ever reveal this reality. It's a lost cause, a scam made to resemble the reality we seek, but it's simply incapable of delivering the goods. So, instead, it delivers mock goods, dressed up in flattering dramatic constumes like the Emperor's new clothes, to make us believe we've found the real deal.

So these sorts of "pointing out" exercises are really just a bunch of hokum put out there to fool the tourists in us all, who are easily hoodwinked by a little flash of the hand and some fancy abracadabra flourishes. It's not that it's completely foolish to point out these basic factors of our everyday consciousness - the witnessing awareness, the objects of awareness, the dualism of it all, and the fact that even a little bit of interruption of our routines can bring some happiness or bliss. But none of that is what enlightenment is actually about. It's only what the ego is about. And pointing this out, without pointing out that it's the ego at work, just strengthens the egoic illusion.

What, after all, is this everyday consciousness that we walk around in? Is it the enlightened condition? If you believe that, I have a bridge to nirvana to sell you. Sorry, but it's not the enlightened condition at all. It's the ego. Yes, you heard me, the ego. I know these neo-three-card-Monte teachers have told you there is no ego, but that's another scam, told to set you up for the old enlightenment con. As mentioned in a previous post, the ego is alive and well, not as some "thing" inside us, but as the emergent consciousness that arises when we identify with the complex body-mind. It is this emergent consciousness we walk around as every day that is the ego. This ordinary awareness, filled with thoughts and perceptions and ideas about enlightenment, separated it seems from its own awareness, and easily fooled by spiritual sharpsters and con men - that's the ego. My humblest pardons for bursting the bubble, but it's true.

This ego whose dualistic awareness we are trapped within, is ready to believe just about anything, including the notion that its own basic consciousness is actually the primal intelligence of the universe. What ego wouldn't love to believe that? What ego doesn't want to be told that there is no ego, that what it really is, is transcendental awareness, empty of all thought and content, the same as God or Buddha or Jesus, and that this can be understood by a simple logical argument and a few simple practices and perhaps joining some group and following a teacher and becoming part of a great awakening process?

Well, sorry to break the news, but this is just a scam. A popular one to be sure, but a scam nevertheless. That's painfully disappointing, and a whole lot of people don't want to believe they've been scammed because they don't want that kind of pain and embarrassment in their lives, so they go on believing, since that's preferable to being left broke on the sidewalk while the scamster moves on to the next mark. It's the kind of scam you can believe in and get behind, and learn how to teach to others too, like any other religion.

It's not just the usual dualistic religious and theistic belief systems that pull off scams, it's the neo-Advaitins and the neo-Buddhists and neo-Bonists and so on that can do this trick too. It doesn't take long, it doesn't require much in the way of understanding or practice or sophistication. You don't have to know much about the traditions, but if you do, you can twist them around into fancy pretzels to make it look like that's what they were teaching all along, and that broken down to their bare essence, this is what they really are about, and the rest is just cultural mumbo-jumbo we can safely ignore. So never mind those from the traditions who warn about just this kind of scam. Those are just stuffy, prickly fuddy-duddies who are part of the conspiracy to keep the rest of us from being realizing our natural birthright as enlightened Masters of the Universe.

I'm sure that's what they'd say about me if they read any of this. After all, they have the cutting- edge spiritual technology we in the modern age can now have access to because of our advanced integral consciousness, and they know better. And who the fuck am I, after all?'s still just the ego, playing more spiritual games with itself. That bliss you feel from inverting on your own awareness? Not really any different from the bliss you feel from stroking your own dong or clit. It too is just temporary and fleeting and partial, because that's what the awareness we invert upon is. It's just the same egoic awareness that emerges from our identification with the body-mind, that sees nothing but illusions everywhere it turns. Even when it turns within, it just finds illusions within.

But what about Ramana Maharshi, you ask? Didn't he tell people to look within, to look for this ego, and in not finding it, to know our own awareness as transcendental infinite consciousness? Well, in a larger sense, that's almost true, but not quite, and the ways in which it's not quite true are hugely important.

First, Ramana didn't teach that there was no ego. Instead, he taught that the ego was a thought, the root thought, which he called the 'I'-thought. He recommended finding this 'I'-thought, grabbing hold of it, and finding out where it came from. One thing he made crystal clear is that that this emergent ego-consciousness is not the Reality, but an illusion that hides reality, and that whole point of self-enquiry was to go past the illusion of the ego, and find the reality it obscures.

Don't believe me? (Or don't care? Sorry, can't help you with that one.) Let's examine work that is probably most central to Ramana's teachings, Forty Verses On Reality:
26. If the ego is, everything else also is. If the ego is not, nothing else is. Indeed, the ego is all. Therefore the enquiry as to what this ego is, is the only way of giving up everything. 
27. The State of non-emergence of 'I' is the state of being THAT. Without questing for that State of the non-emergence of 'I' and attaining It, how can one accomplish one's own extinction, from which the 'I' does not revive? Without that attainment how is it possible to abide in one's true State, where one is THAT?
Alert: Ramana is pointing out that the ego is an emergent state of awareness, rooted in the "I"-thought. The only way to know the reality of the Self, is for this ego-awareness to no longer emerge from the Heart of awareness - it can't be found within the 'I'-thought and its world. So, this ego-awareness that emerges with the 'I'-thought is not That. And no amount of inversion upon that awareness will make it otherwise. The only point of such inversion, is to see the whole nature of this emergent ego-awareness, take it to its source, and strangle in in the crib, so to speak, so that it won't continue to arise and dominate our attention.

So, how is that done?

28. Just as a man would dive in order to get something that had fallen into the water, so one should dive into oneself, with a keen one-pointed mind, controlling speech and breath, and find the place whence the 'I' originates.
Notice what Ramana is pointing to here. He's not pointing us to the ordinary ego-awareness that we are confounded by on a daily basis, and saying, that's it! He's saying, dive down deeper, and see where this ego-awareness comes from. Find the source of it. Don't just re-label the ego-awareness with some fancy new concept, find the place from which it arises.
29. The only enquiry leading to Self-realization is seeking the Source of the 'I' with in-turned mind and without uttering the word 'I'. Meditation on 'I am not this; I am That' may be an aid to the enquiry but it cannot be the enquiry. 
30. If one enquires 'Who am I?' within the mind, the individual 'I' falls down abashed as soon as one reaches the Heart and immediately Reality manifests itself spontaneously as 'I-I'. Although it reveals itself as 'I', it is not the ego but the Perfect Being, the Absolute Self.
Again, notice that the ego-illusion is only vanished when one's mind falls into the Heart of Reality. Not merely by pointing out the separated awareness that we all have at the superficial level of our ordinary life. Then, the 'I' that we previously experienced ourselves to be manifests as the Perfect Being, the Absolute Self.

That's what enlightenment is about. And that's what genuine "pointing out" instructions refer to. Not this cheap three-card-monte game of getting you to see that your ordinary awareness is actually blissful to invert upon. It is, the way your sex organs are blissful to invert upon. But that's exactly the problem. We spend our lives inverting on one thing or another in our pursuit of pleasure, satisfaction, and enjoyment. But everything we invert upon is weak sauce, faux-satisfaction, of temporary and limited value, and empty of any real substance.

The same is true, unfortunately, of our own ordinary awareness. It's not any different than anything else we put our attention upon. Objects are not ultimately real, but neither are subjects. The subject of dualistic awareness is a faux-consciousness, a false consciousness, a mind of smoke and mirrors and trickery that keeps us running in circles. Do you know what real insight is? It means seeing that whole show for what it is, and not having any more of it, not being fooled by its next set of answers achieved by reshuffling the same old deck. It says, let's look behind the curtain, let's look up the sleeve, let's unmask these con-men. No more three-card Monte.

And guess who the worst con man of all is? That's right, it's us. We fool ourselves constantly into thinking this ego-awareness of ours can deliver us the answers, and provide for us the happiness we have sought. It even tells us, look within ourselves, pointing to this egoic awareness as if it were our real source. But the answers we need aren't found in this ego-consciousness. Thinking that it must be there, is just one of the ego's most prized tricks to keep us fooled into keeping the ego-game going round and round. The real answer is to look behind the ego-show, examining the source from which it emerges - the Heart.

The Heart doesn't play these games. The Heart is a not a con man. But finding the Heart, locating the Heart, isn't the same as just examining our daily awareness and re-labeling its masturbatory ground of pleasure "the Self". The Heart isn't found by just accepting ego-consciousness as Reality. It requires a process of deepening feeling that asks itself where all of this comes from? What is the source of even this ordinary awareness? What is the source of the bliss we experience? What are we before we begin to identify with form and thought and awareness? What kind of consciousness are we exactly, before all of that? This means beginning to recognize that we are not only living a lie, but that the very awareness we live within is a lie.

That implies a much more difficult and interesting form of enquiry than this superficial "pointing out" process most neo-teachers are recommending. One of the reasons these people don't refer much to genuine teachers like Ramana Maharshi is that they don't want anyone to find this out. Even quoting from Ramana as I have done is often anathema to them. They don't even want to know these teachings themselves. It would be so awfully inconvenient. It would undermine the spiritual scene they have helped create around themselves. It might even make them look like foolish con men.

The same is true of neo-Buddhist teachers selling Big Mind products or discount Dzogchen dharma and so on. If it seems too good to be true, too easy to be real, it probably isn't. But finding that out for oneself can also be a very rewarding lesson as well. Buyer beware, as always.


  1. I think your choice of three card monte as a metaphor for bastardized, commericalised non dualism is most apt because as with three card monte, how many will be fooled but momentarily before they realise this a game they cannot win?

    So, indeed, you disidentify with the objects of your awareness. Or you strengthen the energetic bodies. Or you develop some vey real siddhi. But you know, you know this isn't 'it'. Because after all, if it were why fucking bother? Might as well drink beer and watch rugby.

    But the three card monte at least strips you of some credulity. Like losing your virginity, once you have disidentified with something in your awareness there just is no going back. If you are sincere and honest you know you simply cannot trust the 'actuality of your reality'. And that distrust will then force one to dive ever deeper.

    Love the blog by the way, keep it up!

    1. not enough YES's, Likes, and Exactly's for this post. ~ ThankYou !
      could not see how to post response to post so here it is. YES ~ exactly~

  2. You say that Ramana didn't teach that there was no ego. This is not correct. For example:

    "Mrs. J. I suppose one has to sublimate the ego-self into the true Self.
    Bh. The ego-self does not exist at all.
    Mrs. J. Then why does it give so much trouble? Look at the havoc it has created among nations and people. It is dreadful even to oneself.
    Bh. To whom is the trouble? The trouble also is imagined. Pain and pleasure are to the ego, which is itself imagined. When the ego disappears through constant enquiry into its nature, the illusion of pleasure and pain also disappears, and the Self, their source, alone remains. There is neither ego nor ignorance in Reality.
    Mrs. J. But how did the ego arise?
    Bh. Ego is non-existent, otherwise you would be two instead of one - you the ego and you the Self. You are a single, indivisible whole. Enquire into yourself, and the apparent ego and ignorance will disappear."

    You also say that the simple everyday awareness pointed to by "Three Card Monte teachers" is not actually the free condition of primal awareness, but that it is nothing more than the emergent ego. But the ego, as Ramana points out, is simply imagined. It does not exist. Here is something Ramana said about awareness:

    "You are awareness. Awareness is another name for you. Since you are awareness there is no need to attain or cultivate it All that you have to do is give up being aware of other things, that is of the not-self. If one gives up being aware of them then pure awareness alone remains, and that is the Self."


    "The state of Self-realization, as we call it, is not attaining something new or reaching some goal which is far away, but simply being that which you always are and which you always have been. All that is needed is that you give up your realisation of the not-true as true."

    So was Ramana a "Three Card Monte teacher"? Or is it only Three Card Monte when someone other than Ramana says it?

    I am not saying that one ought to go around saying, "I'm enlightened, I'm enlightened." That would be ridiculous. But to go around saying, "I'm not enlightened, and my everyday awareness is only my ego" is just as ridiculous, maybe even more ridiculous. It's like going around saying, "I'm a poor miserable sinner."

    Why claim to be enlightened or unenlightened? Why not just BE?

    Ramana: "Your duty is to be: and not to be this or that."

    1. Mark, Ramana taught that from the ultimate point of view there was no reality to the ego. But he did not teach that from our ordinary or even spiritual point of view as aspirants that there was no ego. He was very clear about the distinction, and your own quotes demonstrate that he took the relative existence of the ego to be a serious matter for people to address.

      Ramana did not believe in mixing the absolute perspective of non-dualism with ordinary life, or even with spiritual practice. In his teachings on non-dualism, he made it clear that one should locate the 'I'-thought, or ego, and find its source. If it were non-existent, why would he recommend that? Clearly, it's because, though ultimately imaginary,. it's something quite real within the realm of our experience.

      As he once remarked when asked about this distinction, "Identification with the body is dvaita. Non-identification is advaita." So identification with the body produces the dualistic perspective of the ego. Even if that perspective is ultimately imaginary and unreal, it certainly feels real and cannot merely be ignored based on the belief in its unreality. One has to find out what is real, which is only done by locating the source of the ego. The power of the imagination to produce both this emergent ego, and an entire world based upon it, cannot be underestimated.

      I think any serious study of Ramana's instructions on self-enquiry will show that he was not teaching a version of the three card Monte. He did not tell people to simply notice their dualistic awareness and accept that as the Self. Unfortunately, many people believe he did, because they don't actually study his teachings with any depth, but merely cite quotes out of context without understanding the fullness of his teachings.

      And frankly, I think having a realistic understanding that one's everyday awareness is not enlightened, is one of the best goads to enlightenment. As is the realization that one is a sinner - i.e., that we are missing the mark,.and are living in illusion. If one allows oneself to feel that deeply enough, it will provide a powerful motivation to get serious and practice with great intensity and earnestness. Otherwise, one will likely just sit back and comfortably pat oneself on the back, imagining that there's nothing terribly important at stake, since after all, we're really already enlightened. I think that's a far more dangerous attitude to take.

    2. I agree, Broken Yogi. I just watched a couple of videos where somehow, the ego or I was either a) realized to be illusory b) to be nonexistent (no "I") or c) somehow "dropped away". I have been VERY skeptical that such people are "Awakened" or "Enlightened" like those of Ramana Maharshi or even the Buddha.

      What these represent is the first step towards full Enlightenment/Self-Realization or Awakening, as three of the articles that I printed out and read yesterday mentioned. This includes the realization of the "non-dual nature of things (i.e. Jeff Foster). The "I" is not yet gone......the people in all three of these cases, associated with the modern or western non-duality movements, and its media outlets like "Buddha at the Gas Pump", "Consciousness TV", "Sounds True Media", "Non-Duality Press", etc... only have reached the first stage, which they somehow mistake to be the end goal of spirituality and the spiritual path.......Enlightenment/Self-Realization/Full Awakening, and thereby limit their growth towards their full spiritual potential, which Enlightenment represents.

      On a final note, I am glad to see you back in action again, Broken should have a Facebook page also for those who want to follow you there.......if you are interested. Namaste!

    3. Why concern yourself with whether others are as "awakened" or "enlightened" as Ramana or the Buddha? Of what relevance is that to us? If Ramana says "You are the Self," do we say: "Oh, how profound!" whereas if Joe Schmoe says the same thing we say: "What deluded nonsense"? The truth is the truth, no matter who says it.

      Being concerned about the states of others is simply a dodge, a way of avoiding looking at ourselves. The real issue is: am I awake right now?

    4. 3 APPROACHES:
      1. Neo-Advaita: I am so freaking enlightened.
      2. Broken Yogi: I am so freaking unenlightened and full of ego.
      3. Ramana: Enough with all the conclusions! Enquire: "Who am I?"

    5. Mark, those are fair criticisms, if not taken too literally. As Ramana often said, when people got too involved in ashram politics, we have to attend to the business for which we have come. On the other hand, even Ramana was a social creature living amongst others, and these kinds of issues do come up and have some significance to us. One of Ramana's primary teachings was that one must begin to see that one's egoic life, and the world it creates, are illusory. I've shortened that to "seeing that we aren't enlightened" for the sake of brevity and clarity. But it doesn't end there, because this seeing that we are living as enlightened egos, even when we think we are being spiritual, is the key to enlightenment. Really. That's what I've noticed at least. The more clearly we see how unenlightened we are, the more we see the underlying reality of enlightenment. Go figure. So I think it's just as important to point out our un-enlightenment as it is to point out our prior enlightenment. In duality, one can't have it only one way, no matter how much we'd like everything to be consistent.

      Other people are a great way of reflecting back to ourselves what we are up to. It's easier to see delusions in others than ourselves, so that can be turned to our advantage as a way of seeing how the ego works - even the ego that likes to project its delusions on others. Look at your own concern for my delusions! Enquiring "who am I?" doesn't bring our social life to an end, oddly enough. It simply makes us more sensitive to this whole game of ego as it plays itself out in our lives.

    6. there are simple, direct, 'easy' PENETRATING yet little known/used 'ways' to (as above) 'see that this is all illusory' ~ all ~

  3. I had just yesterday read the portions Mark reposted here. I presume from the awesomely helpful "Be As You Are" edited by David Godman. I think if we take a look at page 62 and on, it might sharpen the comprehension:

    Q: How do I get peace? I do not seem to obtain it through vichara [enquiry]?

    A: Peace is your natural state. It is the mind that obstructs the natural state. If you do not experience peace it means that your vichara has been only made in the mind. Investigate what the mind is, and it will disappear. There is no such thing as mind apart from thought. Nevertheless, because of the emergence of thought, you surmise something from which it starts and term that the mind. When you probe to see what it is, you find there is really no such thing as mind. When the mind has thus vanished, you realize eternal peace.

    Q: When I am engaged in enquiry as to the source from which the "I" springs, I arrive at a stage of stillness of mind beyond which I find myself unable to proceed further. I have no thought of any kind and there is an emptiness, a blankness. A mild light pervades and I feel that it is myself bodiless. [NOTE: DON'T FORGET THIS CRUCIAL SENTENCE in this guy's report.] I have neither cognition….Would I be correct in concluding that all that was necessary…was to continue the practice till this experience could be maintained for hours, days…??

    A: This does not mean salvation. [note, that was a term the questioner used at one point, edited out by me.] Such a condition is termed manolaya or temporary stillness of thought. Manolaya means concentration, temporarily arresting the movement of thoughts. As soon as this concentration ceases, thoughts, old and new, rush in as usual; and even if this temporary lulling of mind should last a thousand years, it will never lead to total destruction of thought, which is what is called liberation from birth and death. The practitioner must therefore be ever on the alert and enquire within as to who has this experience, who realizes its pleasantness. Without this enquiry he will go into a long trance or deep sleep [yoga nidra]. Due to the absence of a proper guide at this stage of spiritual practice, many have been deluded and fallen prey to a false sense of liberation and only a few have managed to reach the goal safely…."

  4. The import of that report of that guy experiencing himself "bodiless" in that state brought about by inverted concentration or focus is that it reveals the dynamics of identification with the subtler levels of "body-mind". It seems this guy was using enquiry as a concentrative tool (dharana). One pointed, calmness inducing, concentrative and inverting practices do induce (especially if the focus is on internal light and sound) expansive senses of self. The deep peace of the contentless causal condition is perhaps the final identification veil to penetrate.

    1. It's tempting to quote the entire "Be As You Are" book, but here's just a little excert:

      The ‘I’-thought is like a spirit which, although not palpable, rises up simultaneously with the body, flourishes and disappears with it. The body-consciousness is the wrong ‘I’. Give up this body-consciousness. It is done by seeking the source of the ‘I’. The body does not say ‘I am’. It is you who say, ‘I am the body’. Find out who this ‘I’ is. Seeking its source it will vanish.

      Q: How long can the mind stay or be kept in the Heart?

      A: The period extends by practice.

      Q: What happens at the end of the period?

      A: The mind returns to the present normal state. Unity in the Heart is replaced by a variety of perceived phenomena. This is called the outgoing mind. The Heart-going mind is called the resting mind. When one daily practises more and more in this manner, the mind will become extremely pure due to the removal of its defects and the practice will become so easy that the purified mind will plunge into the Heart as soon as the enquiry is commenced.

      Q: Is it possible for a person who once has had the experience of sat-chit-ananda in meditation to identify himself with the body when out of meditation?

      A: Yes, it is possible, but he gradually loses the identification in the course of his practice. In the floodlight of the Self the darkness of illusion dissipates for ever. Experience gained without rooting out all the vasanas cannot remain steady. Efforts must be made to eradicate the vasanas; knowledge can only remain unshaken after all the vasanas are rooted out.

      We have to contend against age-long mental tendencies. They will all go. Only they go comparatively soon in the case of those who have made sadhana in the past and later in the case of others.

  5. Thanks for writing this much needed article. Hopefully it will serve as antidote to many caught in the spell!

  6. Who do you recommend as a teacher besides Ramana?

  7. Broken Yogi, Your points sound like a re-hash of Adi Da's teaching. A well-constructed re-hash to be sure, but I think he makes these same points with greater force, conviction, and persuasiveness. Still, your contribution is useful. Thank you.

  8. I don't make any recommendations for teachers. A person needs to decide that issue for themselves, based on their own understanding, characteristics, needs, interests, and so forth. In general, one should allow oneself to be attracted to whatever one feels an attraction for, and yet at the same time observe oneself in the midst of that, and gain intelligence from the encounter. In a very real sense, it doesn't matter if the teacher in question is "the real thing" or an outright fraud, or somewhere in between. What matters most is gaining intelligence about ourselves. That can occur with any teacher. I, for example, would not want to have missed the opportunity to learn about myself from being involved with Adi Da. As the last commentator writes, I'm still in agreement with some of his notions, though not with others. I've learned both from him, and from his example, in both the positive and the negative sense. Experiments that fail are often the ones we learn the most from. So I can't tell someone who they should or shouldn't take on as a teacher. One man's meat is another man's poison.


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