Unfortunately most (if not all) Desteni Criticism does not take the form of constructive criticism, instead individuals fall into emotional reactions as bashing, harassing, hatred, fear, lies, fantasizing and gossip. The most prominent of these abuses are addressed on Scams Abusing the Desteni name page.
Is Desteni a Cult, Fraud or a Dangerous Pyramid Scheme?
Doing a quick google search on Desteni reveals, among others, websites that label Desteni and Destonians as a cult and whereby they come up with various ideas about fraudulent schemes. In fact on a so called Cult Education Forum (visit at your own risk http://forum.rickross.com/read.php?12,62042) a cult on it’s own was formed that is centered around bashing, misinforming and plainly lying about everything that Destonians do.
Therefore this page (or section) was established to answer the most commonly asked questions where people do not take sufficient time to research the point but rather believe a hater, fear-monger, internet flamer or a sensationalist.
A journalist's questions sent in a hurry
An example of a “journalist” that does not do a sufficient research and jumps to conclusions. The following message was send to Bernard Poolman on September 10th, 2011, quoting:
"Dear Bernard Poolman
We are doing a story on the Desteni for this Sunday and would like to give you the opportunity to respond.(Sorry, but not having you number to phone you directly makes communication a bit tricky)."
Unfortunately my deadline is in a couple of hours, so if you could respond ASAP we can still publish your response in this edition of our newspaper.
We’re gonna list each question and provide an answer. Notice how the questions itself already point to conclusions, the journalist itself “does not have time” to check the sources of the information and/or give sufficient time and space to the main subject of the article to respond in a civilized manner. This is called sensationalism and making up of stories based on gossip.
Question: There are numerous videos and blogs on the enternet (the journalist most likely wanted to write “internet”) that describe Desteni as a “dangerous”, “mind control cult”. Would you like to respond to these allegations?
Answer: Desteni is not a cult and it is not dangerous. All such claims are located on and propagated through various online bash-boards, by people with anonymous names, without providing any evidence to these claims. The reason why people express such hatred is simple: Desteni deals with a highly controversial topics like universal equality, new economic system, current enslavement of humans through and to the money system, debunking spirituality and religions. Some people react to these topics and are not able to discuss them on equal terms with other civilized beings. As a result they form cults where they support each other in their beliefs, propagate gossip, allow any abuse towards the subject that they termed as their “enemy” and end up believing their own fabrications as they receive support from likeminded anonymous participants. This is nothing new and the internet is filled with such hate, gossip and fabrication in relation to any subject, movement, corporation or even scientific fact. Therefore basing one’s judgement, without proper and thorough investigation of what Desteni in fact is and does is highly unprofessional, childish, bordering with signs of schizophrenia.
Q: Why would you say people - including former members apparently - see you as "dangerous"?
A: The “former member” label implies that there are some people that have a deeper insight into how Desteni works. That is in fact not so. The core, the most important part and the whole functioning of the participation within Desteni is public as blogging, doing video interviews and publishing one’s own material. Desteni functions as a hub, as an open-source community that is shaped and functions only through the people that actually participate, completely on their own according and from their own self-interest. If someone is removed from the community due to abuse - a collective decision any community that is interested in adhering to laws, regulations and actually getting the work that it claims to be doing done - has to make - such people tend to react with anger, name calling and gossip. Which again is unfortunately part of how the various communities, social networks, movements and hubs on the internet and elsewhere function.
Q: I see you have quite a number of young followers. How young is your youngest member?
A: Participation within the Desteni websites, like the Introduction to Desteni Forum, Desteni I Process or others is allowed for people under 18 years old only with a parental consent form submitted. Again the label “follower” is already implying some sort of religious or cultish behavior being imposed on the people that want to participate within and with Desteni. No such requirements, statements or even implications are made by Desteni. In fact Desteni suggests to everyone to always check, cross-reference and verify for oneself all the points that are involved within making decisions or judgements about any kind of information. Such an approach is strongly suggested before asking questions that already imply a belief where through such a question one is actually becoming a follower of someone or something without even realizing it.
Q: Are you “confusing” these kids?
A: No. As established in the previous answer there are virtually no “kids” participating within Desteni. Strict moderation, cross-referencing, public rules and guidelines are in place for any kind of participation within Desteni so no one can claim he is being confused. Every question asked in relation to Desteni is thoroughly answered and publicized.
Q: Does consumption of Hallucinogenic drugs form part of the Desteni way?
A: No. We strongly suggest anyone to stop every single addiction and walk and function within this world with a clear head. This includes alcohol. Majority of the Desteni members stated and shared publicly through their material as blogs and videos that they have stopped usage of every single substance that can be considered a drug, including alcohol (if they’ve ever used it).
Q: According to a former member. Members of Desteni are not allowed to have “free thoughts”. Is that so?
A: Also refer to the 2nd answer giving perspective on the label “former member”. The content of one’s thoughts is a responsibility of each and every one. To the extent these thoughts influence others in a harmful or damaging way Desteni takes a clear stand, in line and in accordance with the laws of every civilized country or society, that such thoughts manifesting itself as harm towards others can not be allowed and have to be dealt with. Desteni works with identifying how such thoughts develop and how one can deal with such thoughts before they’re allowed to be manifested in the physical reality. Many react to this obvious common sense and defend their mind-set or what they secretly do behind closed doors. For example a person using violent thoughts about raping women to masturbate will attack Desteni as Desteni state such thoughts are unacceptable as they lead to harmful acts done unto others where people through the acceptance and allowance of such thoughts act out on such thoughts. Such a person justifies his actions through the label and idea of “free thoughts” and labels anyone that suggests otherwise as a threat and uses spitefulness to deal with such a “threat”.
Q: I see you have quite a following – and not just South Africans. How many members does Desteni have?
A: We strongly distance ourselves from the words “following” implying that we’re some kind of a cult or religious establishment.
A quick look through websites like Destonians.com, http://desteni.co.za/community or the Introduction to Desteni Forum will reveal all the active participants.
Q: I see you are running some sort of “Exotic Animal Farm and Rehabilitation Center”. What sort of rehabilitation goes on here? Q: Is that rehabilitation of humans or animals?
A: No. Desteni is not currently running such a centre however we are looking into and considering starting an exotic animal rehabilitation centre. This might or might not come into fruition in the future.
The Desteni Farm where some Desteni “members” live is a standard household and is being visited by other participants if there is space, time and interest expressed for such a visit. You know, friends, or people working together, tend to visit each other from time to time. Obviously during such a visit people are interested in doing and working on the things that brought them to Desteni in the first place - exploring, researching and finding solutions for equality, what’s best for all, how to live together effectively and how to take care of animals.
Q: Do these Desteni members work for you on the farm? Are you exploiting them?
A: No. We strongly distance ourselves form any exploitation. In fact we suggest and work on the design and implementation of an Equal Money System where one of the main goals of such a system is to stop the exploitation of people, animals and nature that is currently accepted and allowed within the current system of capitalism.
Q: Could you offer a concise explanation as to why members shave their hair – and is it compulsory?
A: Nothing within Desteni is compulsory nor it can be. This is an open, internet based community where people can come and go as they please.
The head shaving campaign, called Face World Face Off is a simple exercise for anyone that is interested in:
Removing the fear of and the definition of good looks, and “how one should look” in general. Keep the shaved head for quite a while to see and deal with all the reactions from the outside world. Within this one can build a stronger character as one is not dependent on “looking good” or “looking the way others expect me to look”. A peaceful gesture and an expression of standing together for a common goal - equality.
Lots of people that participated within this campaign for a year or more are now growing hair again as they’re satisfied that they’ve worked through all the points connected to one’s look through having a certain hairstyle and benefited from this bold endeavor. Others enjoy their clean shave and find it very practical. It’s up to each individual. Desteni merely provides a fresh, simple and harmless idea as head-shaving as to gain insight into oneself that most consider weird or do not dare to explore.
Q: Is it true that you are able to communicate with reptile gods, demons and aliens?
A: A part of the Desteni research, for the most part no longer published due to abuse and false flagging on YouTube dealt with gods, demons, ancient civilizations, aliens and the universe. The point is through to sufficiently explain such topics as to give common sense perspectives to anyone that is interested in such topics and direct such a person to rather participate in more practical endeavors such as what to do with the crashing money system, how to direct one’s emotions and feelings, how to become effective and responsible human being within this world as it exists, without clinging to beliefs, ideologies, mysteries and things that are not practical.
Q: Does this go hand in hand with drug consumption?
A: No. The perspective on drugs and alcohol has been given in a previous answer.
Q: Is this possession by aliens and demons for real?
A: The word possession in relation to the Desteni research is used on various bash-boards on the internet, by various cults that create beliefs and spread misinformation about Desteni or by people giving into gossip. We’re not practicing or allowing any possession by any entities, feeling or emotional states, beliefs or practices within the material we publish. Nor do we recommend anyone to allow being possessed by anything or anybody.
Q: Apparently you are quite a fan of Hitler? Why? Q: Is Desteni Neo-Nazi?
A: There are people that misunderstood a series of articles published on the Desteni website where a perspective and an attempt for research into how a person such as Adolf Hilter thinks and perceives his world was made. According to this feedback we removed these articles and we might re-publish them later if we’re satisfied that we’re conveying the research in such a way that it is not misunderstood.
We strongly distance ourselves from any form of racial discrimination, anti-semitism, nazi ideologies, neo-nazi movements or any other similar movement or ideology.
Q: Why are you afraid to show your face?
Q: What is with the funny monster avatar you have on Facebook?
A: This is an art piece called “The Beast” by Andrew Gable. It depicts a man that stands for and by all the various forms of life, in the face of abuse, condemnation and laughter through the artists eyes depicted as a “monster” combining various animal and human characteristics.