Following the defamatory article, written by a journalist of the independent media Rue 89 Strasbourg, and following the comments on their Facebook publication, I decided to share my experience and my analysis of the association La Nouvelle Acropole. To begin with, I find it very unhealthy that the article is not publicly available, since it does not provide access to the full information. Since it is necessary to pay, the reader will only remember the title without really analyzing the global situation.
The association would be accused of sectarian aberrations, proselytism, mental control and authoritarian aberrations. It is also criticized that the organization is highly hierarchical.
An aberration is considered to be sectarian when it leads to behavior that is harmful to individuals (rape, theft, etc.) according to Didier Pachoud, president of the Groupe d’Etude des Mouvements de Pensée en vue de la Prévention des Individus. These facts are not found within the New Acropolis and yet he listed it on a list of sects. Who is he? What are its interests? How can an individual proclaim himself as God of truth, protector of the nation and defame so many people? Is he alone? Are there several of them? Who is it funded by? Feel free to investigate, I unfortunately do not have the time…
Let’s first put things in context: The New Acropolis, founded in 1957, is an international non-profit organization present in 60 countries. It has more than 400 schools, including 13 centers in France with about 500 members, including about 30 in Strasbourg. Thousands of students participate in philosophy classes, cultural activities and/or volunteer programs around the world.
At the same time, a blog lists 4 testimonies from former students denouncing the sectarian aberrations of the association. Many links on the blog do not work … A Facebook page has also been created by Guillaume Rosari to inform about this international spiritual movement.
Analysis of the testimonies defaming the New Acropolis
I have listed the 11 defamatory testimonies I found on the internet, concerning the association La Nouvelle Acropole, at the end of the article. I didn’t want it to take up all the space in my analytical article so here is a numerical summary. It also allows us to have a global vision of the association’s presence in the world. It would be interesting to make an analysis in relation to the number of members per country, information that I do not have at my disposal.
It is a pity that the majority of the testimonies are anonymous. Since only one of the 11 testimonies was given in the open, it is difficult to verify the authenticity of the testimonies. Only Daniela dared to show herself. Either the people are in fear, or they are ill-intentioned and would have as a mission to harm the association… In the same way that the New Acropolis would lack transparency, the great majority of the testimonies do not give precise dates, precise places or precise names. Out of thousands of students, the number of testimonies remains insignificant and not updated, for the most part. I am not in the habit of giving unreliable sources… But let’s consider the worst situation: these testimonies are real…
- the human nuclei that are not self-sufficient and that find themselves in misery and poverty. He advocated their forced sterilization. He found this idea, himself shocking, but tried to propose a solution to prevent families from ending up in dramatic and unfortunate situations to survive, such as slavery or prostitution.
- a sentence of a writing “The political ideal”: “In the New State there will be neither illiterates, nor beggars, nor fanatics, nor members of the organized crime. All of them will be integrated in the new structures and, for the cases in which it would be impossible, these people will be locked up in specialized establishments for the maladjusted”. This was said at a time when the death penalty was legal. However, he does not advise to kill pedophiles, terrorists and other criminals, but to help them to reintegrate socially if it is possible, if not to put them in prison… The will here is to suppress crimes and misery, to propose an education for all, to give a place and a job to each one in the society
- homosexuals at a time when people thought that AIDS was transmitted through them. Times change and mentalities evolve. In, I hope, less than 20 years, it will also be understood that it was inhumane to discriminate against unvaccinated people based on the belief that they were dangerous walking viruses… Should we still hold to the old and marginal words of a deceased person, from whom the new leaders have totally disassociated themselves for 30 years now? The principle of brotherhood in the international charter goes beyond considerations of sexuality and gender, which are private and not part of the philosophical corpus of the association.
Each organization has its own functioning, rites, traditions, symbols, costumes, etc.
–> The rites of passage are in general symbolic tests allowing to mark a change, an event, a commitment within a social group. It is a practice that is part of the history of each community. There are many rites of passage (profession of faith, circumcision, military service, totemization in the scouts, hazing in college, graduation, driver’s license, marriage, etc.). We are not aware of all the rites either because they are completely integrated in our way of life or conversely because they are not practiced within our social group. For the latter, knowing about it can shock us because we are not used to it, it is not natural for us.
In the New Acropolis, the dates of the tests are announced but the content is not disclosed, as for any exam. There are theoretical tests at the end of each cycle to validate the acquisition of philosophical knowledge and practical tests (confrontations, challenges to develop human qualities in respect and dignity). Only the “Forces Vives”, the active members of the association, have rites of passage. The New Acropolis considers that the real trials are the trials of life, which often come as a surprise. Training at the New Acropolis would help to address this.
–> All groups have a logo, a symbol, a sign of recognition to create unity.
In terms of “costumes”, I could see some kind of gardening t-shirts and New Acropolis caps, nothing shocking. The photos of the blog “Nueva Acropolis Secta” show old photos of costumes and symbols that would be Nazi, unverifiable information once again…
Each group has its own history, values, symbols and traditions that are passed down from generation to generation. We are in a world that is constantly fracturing. There is a will here to create fraternity.
–> The structure of the association is hierarchical and authoritarian. Personally, I haven’t seen anything authoritarian so it remains to be proven. Hierarchical systems are present in most organizations. I know of very few structures that operate in a shared governance mode. If hierarchical and pyramidal structures pose problems for us, there is nothing to prevent us from creating more horizontal structures with a mode of
. This is done more and more!
Within the New Acropolis, each association is financially independent and autonomous in proposing its own program of activities, both in terms of culture and volunteering and its partnerships. It is simply required to adhere to the international charter and to sign the internal regulations in order to guarantee the respect of the deontology, the coherence and the image of New Acropolis as well as the use of all its training programs. Only the teaching transmitted in the philosophy courses follows an identical international program.
–> Concerning the voluntary actions, they require, certainly, a little effort… But everyone is free to participate or to leave if it does not suit him. I imagine that the values of the association are not idleness or laziness, but rather that everyone participates in the common tasks. There are no housekeepers, cooks or hostesses who come to make the beds and take care of everyone… It is thelearning a sense of responsibility, autonomy and the development of values such as altruism, generosity and mutual aid. After that, it depends if the person had to do everything while the others were having a good time, for example… The last time I went to the permaculture garden to see the members of the New Acropolis Strasbourg, while the teacher was weeding, I was chatting, so it’s rather me who didn’t “glean” anything… It would be interesting to compare the volunteerism of the New Acropolis with scouting volunteerism or the participative workcamps in eco-places for example?
Perhaps La Nouvelle Acropole should also avoid integrating minors, especially in Latin American countries, and take precautions to ensure the good psychological and emotional state of its members, as the nuns do? But how? And whose responsibility is it really? Aren’t we supposed to be responsible for our own choices? Don’t our choices at a given moment respond to a need to experience a situation at that moment in order to evolve?
Nevertheless, some testimonies describe unethical influences, situations of psychological abuse, or even formatting of minds to control the person. The goal would be to train people to be obedient, submissive and dedicated. If these testimonies prove to be true, it will obviously be necessary to denounce the aggressors/savers one by one. No pressure should be put on an individual to engage in hobbies or volunteer work. It must remain a pleasure. Everyone should be free to do what they can, what they want, when they can, when they want. And there are other ways to change the world. The New Acropolis does not have a monopoly on creating a better world. This type of behavior is counterproductive and in total contradiction with the values promoted. Perhaps we could find a middle ground, denouncing inappropriate facts, acts, words of individuals in particular and not a whole organization and thus make humanity evolve upwards? Because there are good and bad people everywhere and we know that human beings are not infallible and are far from perfect. Do we have the evidence to generalize this kind of behavior and incriminate all 400 New Acropolis schools?
“The only man who never makes mistakes is the man who does nothing.”Theodore Roosevelt
Criticism is good when it is constructive. In these testimonies, there is unfortunately nothing verifiable and no constructive criticism to find solutions for improvement. One can legitimately question the validity of these stories in the face of the thousands of people who have followed the activities and teachings of The New Acropolis for over 60 years and who have benefited personally.
The big ideas of The New Acropolis
“The main objective of the New Acropolis is to promote theelevation of the abilities of each person, toawaken the potential of man, so that he is better in society. The New Acropolis tries to reconnecting mankind to his true being, to his heart, to nature and to connect beings beyond all differences (gender, culture, religion, etc.). She fully assumes to be “against the current of a materialistic and consumerist society, which has lost its humanistic dimension to the benefit of a hedonistic and egoistic individualism, which promises only illusory happiness”.
It is based on 3 fundamental principles: brotherhood, knowledge and human development.
The goal of the association is to build a better world by providing solutions rather than talking about the problems.
It is above all a circle of reflection that draws its inspiration from various currents of philosophical thought. It leads to the development of our thinking, our critical spirit.
The volunteer actions allow individuals to become actors of change, to put themselves at the service of the common good in a concrete way by holding an attitude and a behavior responsible and respectful for our planet and our environment.
The New Acropolis claims to be apolitical. It does not get involved in political affairs, via elections. Nevertheless, every act and every word is political. The international organization The New Acropolis has, for example, positioned itself as a pacifist regarding the war in Ukraine. It promotes and actively participates in the achievement of the 17 Sustainable Development Goals adopted by the United Nations in 2015, which are policy goals. Would the New Acropolis be a controlled opposition? (I don’t think so, sincethey denounce pedophilia).
The New Acropolis offers different activities:
- practical philosophy courses themes : earth day – the importance of bees, the Ubuntu philosophy, The little Prince and the art of loving, the wisdom of the templars, vulnerability, Isis and the different faces of the feminine, the power of joy, philosophy of myths, the builders of cathedrals, the wisdom of the Toltec knights, etc.
- volunteer actions : marauding, permaculture, waste collection, help to Ukraine
- moments of learning and sharing cultural convivial discovery of beehives, initiation to carpentry, initiation to the art of stained glass, outdoor watercolor, initiation to stone cutting, eloquence and improvisation workshop, dance to celebrate the day of the earth by planting a tree
I took practical philosophy for a few months in 2021 because I am a curious person by nature, who loves to learn. And here’s what I can tell you about it:
- Students interested in the association’s philosophy courses are there by choice.
- they pay a membership fee to the non-profit association, which has nothing to do with a sale of services by a private interest company.
- There is no humiliation, but respect and everyone is free to express their opinion at the end of the course.
- we are all adults (I didn’t see any children), so we are old enough to defend ourselves if there is a problem.
- no one forces us to take these courses, we are free to go or not. The teacher encourages students to come to class, to do volunteer work such as marauding to put the lessons into practice. (in the same way that a sports coach would encourage his players to train…) The teachers are volunteers, so they certainly try to motivate students to attend classes so they don’t prepare classes for nothing…
Who can be bothered by those who teach people to think, to express their thoughts, to reconnect to the essential, to their intuition, etc.? We can easily guess that the neo liberal capitalist globalists transhumanists who consider us as cattle for money and want to transform us into robots disconnected from our soul and connected to artificial intelligence are not of the opinion that we raise our consciousness…
Couldn’t the capitalist society in which we live, headed by Blackrock and Vanguard, worshipping the God Money, also be qualified as a cult? Between the capitalist sect of competition, nakedness, and profit, and the collaborative idealist sect at the service of the common good and of humanity, which one does the least harm to the planet, in your opinion?
I contacted the authors of the blog“Nueva Acropolis Secta” and they told me that only the teachers who are part of “La Force Vive” and who volunteer in the association would be in a “cult” (not the students). They also agreed 100% when I told them about the largest capitalist globalist sect.
Personally, I couldn’t be more committed to the New Acropolis than the pleasure of learning and sharing philosophical concepts. I was only there for one year so my testimony is not very relevant. I regret that the New Acropolis has allowed itself to be indoctrinated by the Big Pharma sect and has asked for a pass in order to continue to participate in the courses and thus exclude some of its members who do not submit to these new discriminating rules… In its teachings, the New Acropolis denounces the danger of dictatorships, tyrannies, ideologies that infringe on human rights and all attacks on the dignity and integrity of man. And yet the members have given in to the totalitarian injunctions of the state… certainly out of fear to be called a sectarian once again? But there wasn’t even a need for that… I wish they had the courage of their convictions…
Everything is a cult
A sect is simply a group of individuals following the same doctrine. Thus, there are many “sects” and sometimes some people can adhere, by their ideas to several sects. Certain ideologies, beliefs, currents of thought do not date from yesterday. Others emerged less than a century ago.
- LGBT+ people
Feel free to give me other examples of groups with the same doctrine. Any individual belonging to one or more of these groups will act according to the beliefs of that group. All these beliefs govern a way of behaving in terms of food, family, economy, sex, etc. So who holds the absolute truth? Aren’t beliefs interpretations of truths or of one’s own will? Perhaps we should keep an open mind to accept that everyone has their own beliefs, their own essence, and that we are all in constant evolution? Instead of waging war, shouldn’t we try to dialogue with each other to try to understand and accept each other?
Let’s not forget that no one is perfect. It’s up to all of us to pull each other up and gradually decondition ourselves from dogmas that serve us in order to find our true essence! Instead of defaming, criticizing, let’s bring constructive criticism, concrete solutions to implement to improve everyone’s life. Many individuals need a framework and a group to evolve. Maybe it’s because we feel powerless on our own and we all need to belong to a group? The New Acropolis responds to these needs and allows individuals to become actors of the change they wish to see in the world. If the way of doing things is not appropriate, solutions for improvement must be proposed. And if the association is rigid and does not want to question certain things that would have been expressed democratically by a collective of members, for example, these members could create another structure with their vision or join existing associations to act according to their desires and appetites?
And you, what would you advise to all these people of good will and committed to create a better world? Put yourself in their shoes for a moment and imagine that this is the only place they have found that meets their aspirations. Don’t you think that defamation is harmful and forces these people to choose between: staying with the New Acropolis despite negative criticism or potentially entering into a depression if they don’t find another meaningful activity?
Education, awareness, prevention against the influence of a group or an individual
In order not to be manipulated, the first thing to do is to get informed, either by taking courses or by yourself. It would be really great if we could be encouraged to think for ourselves from a young age in school…
Here are some tools that will help you better understand human psychology: Maslow’s pyramid, Barrett’s pyramids, childhood injuries, etc. This will allow you to understand your individual needs (need to be loved, to belong to a group, to be free, to exercise your passions, etc.). In this way, you will be able to fulfill your personal needs in a conscious manner without being influenced or manipulated.
Once you know how you operate, it is important to be aware of the mechanisms of mass manipulation and the often unconscious social phenomena. You can learn about Milgram’s experiment, Asch’s experiment, Stockholm syndrome, cognitive biases, Karpman’s drama triangle, social engineering, crowd manipulation, the factory of consent, etc.
Then, it would be interesting to study different doctrines as listed above in order to compare them and make your own opinion. Ask yourself what morals and values you hold and what your limits are.
Finally, you can find out about
pyramid-shaped hierarchical structures
whether they are political, religious, philosophical, etc. People who enter a hierarchical organization, and are therefore at the bottom of the pyramid, are often unaware of what is happening at the top. They can be manipulated or used. These organizations lock you into a pyramid and do not let you spread your own wings. You can be suspicious of them when they have a sectarian attitude that prevents open-mindedness:
– you see that they are not transparent (cult of secrecy, withholding of information),
– that they claim to hold the only truth (dogmatism, binary vision)
– and despise other forms of thought (intolerance, narrow-mindedness)
– or when individuals higher up in the pyramid do not act in an exemplary manner.
Even if it is easier to understand certain things when we experience them, the study of all this will normally allow you to keep your critical mind in all circumstances, to realize that knowledge is vast. It will also lead you to be humble and empathetic and not fall into the trap of spiritual ego that would make you feel superior to others. It is up to all of us to make sure that the world evolves towards morehorizontality, benevolence and transparency! Let’s free ourselves from all control and domination! It is up to each person toadopt a posture aiming at being respected… I therefore invite the people who play the role of the victim to getting out of Karpman’s dramatic triangle . Take on the role of observer to become aware of these unconscious relational phenomena. Then, become an actor, for example in awareness and prevention.
You can also ask for help from associations specializing in exiting the right of way.
Concrete examples of positive constructive actions
Guillaume Corpard has observed that human beings are anthropocentric and exploit animals.
He founded the association Terre Heureuse and has been giving conferences “Un cri pour la terre” for over 5 years.
It seeks to make human beings aware of the animal cause, to go towards the vegetable transition and to allow them to leave the pyramid of domination of the animals to go towards a harmony and to finally respect the living.
–> It is by adopting constructive criticism and proposing concrete actions for improvement that we will be able to change the world!
–> We could also create transversalities between the different associations that want to change the world in order to enrich each other?
To conclude this article, I would really like to support the fact that everyone should have the right to be respected, without being labeled as “perverted” or otherwise denigrated, just like LGBT people, students who are prostitutes, anti Monsanto or anti Covid.
What if we learned to communicate non-violently to share our points of view on different subjects? What if we learned to love and tolerate each other despite our differences? What if we learned to respect our different choices for our bodies, for our thoughts, for our lives? The one and only way is the way of love. We must learn to control our hatred, anger or any other negative energy and transform it into positive energy of compassion and tolerance.
“Nazism will use the oldest means of mobilizing crowds, namely hatred and sectarianism, which is the opposite of the message of Love and Brotherhood of any true Church or Tradition.” Jorge Livraga (1986)
The Cesnur (Center for the Study of New Religions) conducted a detailed study in 1999 on the outgoing members of New Acropolis France. Of the 530 members who left between 1986 and 1997, 22.6% answered the questionnaire sent by Cesnur. The objective of the questionnaire was to collect information about life in New Acropolis, the reasons for leaving and the opinion about the most common criticisms made of the association. Nearly 90% of the respondents do not consider New Acropolis to be a dangerous sect and about 68% felt that they had always been free. The study also analyzes former members’ perceptions of New Acropolis after contact with an antisectarian movement.
Testimonies defaming the New Acropolis (type III stories described by Cesnur)
Xandra: would have been part of the association for 14 years. It indicates that techniques of manipulation and coercive persuasion would be used incrementally as one enters the circles and that only those individuals who accepted the restrictions on thought and behavior would gain access to the most intimate circles.
Ana: left New Acropolis 6 years ago (in 2016). She entered at age 19. At 21, she was one of the “living forces”. She explains that not everyone can enter the inner circle so it creates rejection of some people and others who have the privilege to enter may feel superior. Ana has undergone many violent tests that would have the purpose of controlling emotions, she was hit by a man with boxing gloves, had to do exercises in pairs to slap each other, stripped blindfolded to go in a stunt, suffered insults and humiliation from teachers, etc. Men and women performed ceremonies separately. Often, after undergoing hardships there was a reward or comfort, which suggests that these are indeed manipulative techniques. Ana has done some cleaning and feels that this would be moonlighting rather than volunteering. She felt she had become a slave. She sacrificed her studies and grew up with the idea that there are too many of us on the planet and that she couldn’t have a family. She discovered that the leaders of the New Acropolis receive money to travel. After 10 years, she finally left the organization.
Zuhal: would have been part of the New Acropolis for 5 years. She felt purchased with the values of honesty and kindness. She says that she has been through hell little by little: household chores that never end, association dues that increase according to the level of commitment, course and exam revisions, difficult summer volunteer internships, poor quality dormitories with many people resulting in poor sleep, etc.
Françoise: a psychologist in her forties, joined the New Acropolis in 1998. She gradually felt mentally manipulated. She was asked to participate in more and more activities and felt guilty if she did not. She only stayed there for 3 months.
Liliana: would have been part of the French female brigade and would have been in the New Acropolis for 5 years between 2010 and 2020. She was made to feel guilty about her leisure activities by the trainers. She testifies that from the 2nd cycle on, the courses became more serious and rigid. It was difficult to ask questions and mysteries to discover hung in the air. She spent most of her days with them and was increasingly distanced from her relatives who were not taking classes at the New Acropolis. There were also classes on the superiority of the white race, etc.
Noélie and Julien: would have been part of the New Acropolis between 2015 and 2020. They testify to the fact that when you take classes for several years, it can make you want to give it your all. It evokes elements, resembling a rite of passage to groups more committed to the association’s approach (fasting, sleepless night, ice water bath, oath, etc.). Then, the humiliations suffered by the people who cannot invest themselves in the association to the point of having to clean toilets for a whole day are recounted. There were also reportedly attempts to make people feel guilty about getting involved. Finally, she expressed the conviction that she was part of an intellectual elite through the teachings she received.
Julien: I don’t know if it’s the same Julien as above so I’m sharing his experience just in case. He belonged to the “Security Corps” of the “Forces Vives”. He describes in detail the pyramidal operation, the doctrines and the phenomena of the New Acropolis’ holdings and manipulations.
Miguel Martinez: would be the former leader of New Acropolis Italy. He was a member of New Acropolis for 14 years and left in 1990. He has been commissioned to open a center in Egypt. He realized the arrogance, racism, and oppression of the organization to which he had given his entire life. He had reached the top of a very complex hierarchy. He felt manipulated and exploited. He has become an expert in understanding the telling of stories that relate to violence and power and the apologies of cults.
Esteban: was head of security in Mexico. He had paramilitary training, was humiliated and punished his followers with ice water baths. He was willing to give his life to the organization. He had found a purpose in his life to try to make this world a better place. He reportedly received death threats and was dissuaded from denouncing the association by an agent of the Mexican Public Ministry through intimidation and endless bureaucratic procedures.
?: would have entered The New Acropolis in 2012. To be a member of the association you must meet 3 requirements: never miss classes, pay your dues, participate in other school activities. She felt honored to be a part of the “White Program”, etc. She discovered the symbols, the inner hymn, the salute, etc. She began to be observant and would see guilt-ridden looks when she did not attend certain activities. Each year a meeting was held in a country house, supervised by the driving forces, to introduce the new members to the National Director. The accounts of the association were not transparent, money was requested for voluntary actions. There were insinuations made by the director to discourage members from having children. She felt indebted to them because they had been there in difficult times and at the same time if she left the New Acropolis she knew that she would not see anyone again so she felt very lonely, brotherhood not being friendship.
Daniela(videos): joined the association at the age of 14 and stayed for 11 years. She expresses that she has experienced years of mental and emotional exhaustion. Members of the association would tell her how she should behave with newcomers, how she should dress, who she should associate with, etc. She notes many frustrations of not being able to say, think and be what she wanted to be. She also noted homophobic comments. She felt guilty, harassed especially by the director. It denounces dogmatic esoteric teachings.