Monday, April 21, 2008

NewAgers: Don't Get High On Your Own Supply

“There seems to be a level of hypnosis or brainwashing or whatever you want to call it, and this training is a way of getting people hypnotized. And there’s a lot of patter that you’re constantly hearing that helps you get in that state,” he says.

But at the time, he was hooked. He remembers thinking, “Let me do this clear thing,” figuring that it might cost as much as $10,000. Instead, he was asked for $50,000 to start his progress on the Bridge. “I probably had $60,000 to my name. But I plunked it down.”

-- Jason Beghe, television actor, model - and former Scientologist - speaking to the Village Voice [underlined emphasis TMR's]

I ran into an old friend yesterday - a former big-time drug dealer - and when I asked him what he's doing these days, he laid this shit on me:

"Oh, you know, a little Yoga, a little Thai Chi. You know, trying to stay healthy - you look good - you ought to come and join me."

I just stared at his ass; thinking of all the people he hooked into drug addiction; all the lives he ruined; all the people he helped kill - and now, how he's trying to keep himself healthy. By doing bullshit. And, of course, asking me to join him - as he's always asked people to join him - even though I look good without it.

I just politely let him go on his way, drawing more idiots into his wake so, years later, they can discover how, once again, he talked them into wasting their lives.

"The 6th Annual Conference on Integrative Medicine for Health Care Organizations is the only conference that focuses on business strategies for the implementation of complementary and alternative medicine (CAM) programs in hospital settings. Attendees will leave with practical, take-away tools and ideas while enjoying invaluable networking with peers and leaders in the field."

-- From Hospital

That reminded me of another friend - another former drug dealer who's now doing Yoga - and how she's also on the health kick. (Years ago, she used to make everyone throw a rune before she'd sell them speed.) I tried to tell her the Yoga craze was a manifestation of cultish thinking, and terrible as an exercise regime - it's only stretching, for Christ's sake: at best a pre-exercise regime - but it did no good: like all cultists, she was as convinced of her current choice as she used to be about combining speed and mysticism.

No, she was right, now, just as she was right back then, and, no matter how many silly decisions she makes in the future, she'll always be right. And the guy she's always known as a skeptic (who avoided getting caught up in the various nightmares my friends did) will always be wrong because 1) I'm divorced - whew, do I hear that a lot these days - and 2) I've always been "mean" about these things and 3) unlike the Yoga people, I must want to take control of her life, though I see her, maybe, once a year (at most) and have never, ever, tried to control her. And (this is the big one:) she knows I love her. Hell, I even threw the damn runes, back-in-the-day, though I told her, even back then, it was bullshit - which, as usual, she couldn't believe.

"One person’s “disloyalty” is, to another set of eyes, well-deserved “comeuppance.” And there is no shortage of powerful Democrats who are quick to accuse the Clintons of defining loyalty as a one-way street, with little regard for the sacrifices they have made for a couple whose own political needs seem to their critics always to come first."

Mark Leibovich, writing about what it means to be "friends" with the Clinton's, for the New York Times

There seems to be something about truly addictive personalities - and lonely people - that New Age bullshit attracts. Especially the health kick shit. I see healthy people in the gym all the time, doing the StairMaster thing, and I wonder: don't they have stairs at home?

A co-worker recently asked me to go to the gym with her, to get on the running machine, and, when I asked her why she'd pay money to run in place, she said she goes to the gym "to get out of the house". I told her it seemed to me, if she wanted to get out of the house, all she has to do is put on some sweats and,...well, She just laughed nervously, and then stared at me with that crazy lop-sided smile New Agers get, like I was trying to be Einstein or some shit. I just wanted to scream, "Bitch, you're lonely and you can't admit it, now let's just go fuck and save the money." but, instead, I just I just politely let her go on her way as well. (I was at work, and don't know her very well, so what else was I going to do?) Her very suggestion let me know I dodged a bullet.

Interviewer: "You look at one ritual in which a young woman is told she must have sex with a man three times in a day, in order to 'cleanse' her.

Madonna: "It’s not my place to judge that tradition."

What can I do with any of these people? They lack common sense, or the guts to qualify right and wrong, or even the ability to determine the value of a dollar, but are always doggedly determined to rope others into whatever nonsense they're doing. And they all, desperately, want me to be part of it. Like getting a guy's guy to co-sign their shit will make it legit, but having a guy's guy call bullshit on it is the obvious sign they're on the road to enlightenment. It's a closed-loop of idiocy.

"History, in Marx's famous dictum, tends to repeat itself: the first time as tragedy and the second time as farce. So what do you call it the third time around? A bad sitcom? A bad marriage? A bad dream? All three of those seem like viable ways of describing the Democratic Party's current predicament, locked in an endless and self-destructive struggle with itself, like a would-be Buddhist penitent unable to atone for eons' worth of bad karma."

-- Mark Leibovich, writing for

The whole point of TMR is to try and bash through - because the softly, softly, approach just won't work. Some people may not like it but, at the very least, they know to give me a wide-berth so, happily, I'm not always at risk of getting infected by what they believe when it collapses on 'em. I just run into them later, as I did my drug dealing friend, and marvel at how far from the mark they were/are, and hope for the best.

"I think the term natural has been so watered down it may never have any meaning again."

-- Scot Case, vice president of TerraChoice Environmental Marketing, on the Seal of Approval given to so-called "green" products. He was talking to the SFGate.

It's all the NewAge will allow.