February 22, 2021

There has been considerable media attention recently on the behaviour of young men toward women in the context of private school privilege, from alcohol-fuelled eastern suburbs partying, to rape in the corridors of power. From its very inception Kenja has been at the forefront of empowering women.

In his work, Ken Dyers accepted and addressed the reality that women were often reared with the viewpoint that they were victims to men and dominated by men.

He constantly confronted the notion that if a man acted merely as genetic (animal) he would simply be a predator towards women. And similarly women who identified with this succumbed to the role of prey. Ken strove to raise consciousness around relations, behaviour and sexuality and place them on a higher more evolved human level.

He constantly demonstrated that we are more than the animal or just a body. We possess humanity and spirituality. He constantly exposed the predatory designs of men, and educated women in how to handle these games. Ken through his work at Kenja constantly showed women how not to be overwhelmed by male energy and games, how to stand up and match this energy, and thereby empower themselves to maintain their own integrity and survive and prosper in a male-dominated environment.

Part of this process for young girls and women is to confront and be separate from the drug and alcohol-fuelled and sexualised mind-set of certain youth culture, which we have seen reported on recently in the media.


The lure of hedonism

Having witnessed the emergence of the eastern suburbs drug culture in the early 1970s, Ken spent many years understanding and working in the rehabilitation of his two sons. It gave him a valuable insight and wisdom into the insidious influence of the hedonistic and narcissistic lifestyle of some privileged layers of youth from private schools which was completely antithetical to the growth of spiritual values.

It begins at a very early age with peer group pressure that is manipulated to steer young people into the degradation of sex, drugs and alcohol.

In the late 1990s and early 2000s we experienced a number of young people with parents who had achieved success and aspirationally sent their children to elite eastern suburbs private schools. The destruction that regrettably followed for these young people and their parents is a tragedy that many parents today will face.

Young people in Kenja experience a non-alcohol and drug free space. They are educated from an early age to stand up to suppression in the environment, to pursue their own viewpoint, and to avoid the sexualisation of young women. Their lives are full of creative activity involving sport, dancing, music, choir and other cultural activities. They are encouraged to study hard and do well at school, grounded in the idea that the key to solving human problems and leading a fulfilling life is greater consciousness and self-awareness.

They are raised with ethics that cultivate the caring of others, and are taught to co-create and respect others, and that money, and power are far from the most important ingredients for a happy and meaningful life.

As they grow into teenagers the privileged and hedonistic environment asserts a tremendous pressure on them. But they have the training and awareness to avoid being trapped by destructive opportunities.

Kenja always works on educating rather than enforcing survival points of view. Young people at Kenja experience an environment of values and cultural attitudes which are the only real antidote to the pressures of privileged “hedonism”.

Kenja has always stressed that no-one can replace the critical role of parents in educating young people in their ability to handle this kind of peer pressure, and that this was one of the most important roles that parents needed to fulfill.


“Hedonism” v “Methodism”

Sometimes Kenja is described as “conservative” and “Methodist” in its views on lifestyle. We are neither of these things. We believe however that a selfish viewpoint, an attitude to life of self-indulgence, privilege and the exercise of dominance out of self-interest are all part of a mode of life which does not hold out the prospect of spiritual and humane evolvement. It actually robs people of their true potential.

Kenja’s culture and ethics has frequently come into conflict with the “ethics” of hedonism and privilege. This clash of culture has occasionally been at the root of attacks on our organisation and Ken Dyers. Our stance on these issues has sometimes been criticised as “authoritarian”, but we deny this labelling. We do believe however, that enlightened self-discipline and awareness, as well as the appreciation and respect of all people, whatever their background, is the key to a meaningful and creative life, and the alternative path is corruption and destruction and anti-social behaviour. We believe we offer a genuine and creative alternative to the self-destructive and corrupting path of the pursuit of privilege and a hedonistic lifestyle.

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