Exegesis (group)

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In the 1970s Robert D’Aubigny remodelled Werner Erhard's controversial EST program into the more UK friendly Exegesis programme while keeping the essence of it unaltered.

Exegesis, was a group of individuals that delivered the Exegesis Programme through an Exegesis Seminar. The alleged end result of the programme was individual enlightenment, a personal transformation. Founded in 1976 as Infinity Training by Robert D'Aubigny, a former actor, Exegesis ran seminars in the United Kingdom in the later 1970s and early 1980s. Although not in itself a religion or belief, the programme was popularly interpreted as such.[1]

Graduates of the programme could attend workshops where a participant worked on personal development while being supported in confronting worst fears.[2]

In 1978 in London, British musician Mike Oldfield participated in an Exegesis seminar that included a rebirthing process. People[who?] who met Oldfield after the seminar often found that he would stare at them from above, with his face only a few inches from theirs. The part that perhaps left the biggest impression on Oldfield was where he re-created the experience of his own birth. The course-goers were encouraged to do so. Through this, it emerged that Oldfield's problems all stemmed from him having a distressing birth. He then re-created the experience to disappear the feelings. Oldfield's metamorphosis has been described[by whom?] as "astonishing", a transformation from a "painfully diffident recluse" into "a garrulous, over-bearing extrovert". Oldfield, who has since undergone psychotherapy and taken up meditation, described his behaviour after the programme, which included frequent interviews, nude photographs, flying lessons and a short-lived marriage to D'Aubigny's sister, as "a reflex action... I wanted to try everything", but also stated: "But it was right for me, that's all I know. I felt like I'd turned the clock back and had a second chance. It became obvious to me that all the panic I’d felt was the memory of my birth, coming out into the world."[2]

Greater interest in the programme, arguably due to Oldfield's proselytising, led to the group being investigated by the press and becoming the subject of a controversial television play.[2] British Members of Parliament raised questions in the House of Commons, resulting in an investigation by Scotland Yard. Although the police brought no charges, Exegesis ceased to run seminars around 1984,[2][3] but re-emerged as a telesales company called Programmes Ltd.[1]

In 2014 and 2015 two books were published about the programme, a re-enactment, and a literal validation.[citation needed]

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  1. ^ a b George D. Chryssides, Exploring New Religions Contimuum (1999), p. 372.
  2. ^ a b c d Mick Brown, "I know I'm unstable. I accept that". The Daily Telegraph, August 31, 1998.
  3. ^ Terry Kirby, "Caplin 'recruited' for therapy cult investigated by police". The Independent, 12 December 2002.

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