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 Connect.com

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,...run. 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 Salon.com

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.

19 comments:

  1. hypocrite: so, how do you exercise? if not yoga, or tai chi, which as far as I can tell you do practise, albiet only with your jaw muscles as you chew them up and spit them out all over your blog - what do you do? Do you at least walk your dog? Or what?

    Or is critism enough to get your blood pumping? WWYDT? (what would your doctor think?)

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  2. I have nothing against exercise, Richter, but Yoga isn't exercise.

    What do I do? Well, long ago, in school, there was this thing - called P.E. - where they made us run, and do push-ups, and other difficult shit so we'd be strong - not wimpy. I combine a lot opf that with this other thing - called "work" - where I lift a long of heavy stuff, for the people who do Yoga, because (as they say) it's too heavy for them.

    Funny how that works. They do Yoga but I'm the strong one. Ironic, even.

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  3. Ok. so you run, push and lift. great. (There was no call for any irony.)

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  4. richter has been kicked off of 3 blogs i know of.
    He is a complete tool to be ignored.
    I check your blog often.

    Your blog is interesting to read and I enjoy the variety of subjects.

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  5. Thanks, Propman.

    Richter's alright. Some people, here, have complained but, IMHO, anyone that would kick him off doesn't understand "freedom". (Which doesn't surprise me, when I think of a lot of what I've found in the blogosphere,....) Whether I agree with folks all the time or not, I prefer visitors who comment to those who don't - and Richter will comment. Sometimes coherently, sometimes not, but usually he gets a laugh out of me - and that, alone, can make doing a blog worth it.

    Message to Richter:

    You came close with all that "you fat, black, atheist" shit but (honestly) not too close:

    I got a high pain threshold.

    I'm glad you're here.

    CMC

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  6. Well, Yoga is something its hard to explain in writing. Its best to demonstrate and have someone there to show you specific movements.

    Yes, there are certain movements that are beneficial to fighters. In fact Joseph Pilates, (Inventor of Pilates) was a boxer and a wrestler. I think some of the movements in Pilates are especially helpful to Brazilian ju jitsu fighters.

    Though I can't go as in depth as I would like, there are some basic stretches you SHOULD do every time you work out. Why?

    I find that when I am loose I am faster and I have better snap to my punches. I move more fluidly. Also I learned the importance of being flexible when I tapped a very strong wrestler who I had no business tapping with an Americana (shoulder lock). I barely cranked on it, but since he was so muscular and not flexible at all I tapped him quite easily while rolling with him. It was his Achilles heel, so to speak.

    Still aren't sure you should be spending a lot of time stretching? Watch the Serra vs. Shonne Carter fight or the Pete Whilliams vs. TK fights in UFC. In both of those fights there should have been a submission but there was not. Because of flexibility.

    I suggest you hook up with a qualified yoga instructor and study yoga. It is one of the best things I ever did for myself. Certain forms of yoga can help treat high blood pressure, alcoholism, relieve pressure on the kidneys and liver. Its amazing stuff.

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  7. Fuck that: nobody needs to get involved with Yoga to fucking stretch. I've been stretching since High School - what do I need a Yoga instructor for? The "Eastern" feel? The Hindu racism? The "spiritual" essence? It's all bullshit.

    And how could stretching your fucking tendons cure alcoholism? It's bogus claims, like that one, that say all I need to know about how such foolishness fucks up people's minds. Look, repeat after me:

    Yoga is a thousand year-old practice to make you a silly, nonsense-spouting, follower.

    Put another way:

    Anybody that can make you put your head down, and your butt in the air, wants to put something in both.

    And what is with you cultish zombies always trying to get people into this shit? You're worse than Born-Again Christians who've found Jesus. You like Yoga? Fine - do it. But leave other people alone. Otherwise, more people will go around spreading misinformation, like your alcoholism claim.

    I'ma stick with "stretching" - fuck Yoga.

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  8. Oh, and by the way, "Yoga is something its hard to explain in writing" because those "specific movements" are designed to be done in a certain way, to get a certain response, but the end result is the same:

    You become stupid.

    Stupid enough to believe it'll cure shit.

    Stupid enough to believe it's more than stretching.

    Stupid enough to believe Eastern shit is better than Western shit, when the West far outstrips the East, in everything.

    Stupid enough to believe "believing" stupid shit is good for you.

    Stupid enough not to get that - when the Easterners have a bunch of Westerners doing it's stupid shit - then, in the world of power, they've got you by the balls.

    The world of metaphysical thinking (like political thinking) is a game for keeps - and Yoga is very-much a part of that battle.

    Just more food for thought.

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  9. I use treadmills when it is too cold to run outside and no one is playing pick up bball games. But I hate treadmills very very very much. Even with an ipod it starts to suck quickly. But I hate not exercising more. Since I sit all day, exercise is a key to my sanity, which in the case of treadmills is contradictory, because I am saying that the key to my sanity is to do something insane. Sounds cultish to me. Help!

    WC

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  10. As long as keep getting beating less flexible fighters then I really don't care if some internet sad sack thinks I'm "stupid"!!!!

    Let me guess are you also one of those people who thinks that MMA fighting is "unbiblical"? LOL!!!

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  11. Way to engage me, Lug. And, wow, you're just what the world needs:

    Another stupid fighter.

    What in the world is making you idiots think I'm religious? Oh wait - I've got it:

    You're idiots.

    That has to be it.

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  12. "As long as keep getting beating less flexible fighters then I really don't care,..."

    Right - you're the pure definition of a cultist: someone who goes around trying to get other people involved in his bullshit, without a care for making sense, right or wrong, or their feelings or concerns. You're a user, looking for others to do nothing more than co-sign your shit.

    In other words: a follower and an asshole.

    Good riddance.

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  13. Have you ever even tried yoga?

    For someone with such a "high pain threshold" you seem awfully thin skinned...

    without a care for making sense, right or wrong, or their feelings or concerns

    I've reread what I wrote and it made sense. Yoga has made me a much better athlete, both as a boxer and as a grappler.

    So you tell me - is that "wrong"? Should I solicit your "feelings" about that? Do you have "concerns" about my physical flexibility? Please share.

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  14. Oh, CMC, thank you for a dose of comic relief:

    "I see healthy people in the gym all the time, doing the StairMaster thing, and I wonder: don't they have stairs at home?"

    LMAO!

    And...

    "Bitch, you're lonely and you can't admit it, now let's just go fuck and save the money."

    Well, now! How could any woman resist THAT? ;)

    (Though the approach illustrated here may not be very successful either: http://tinyurl.com/4u4nns)

    :)))

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  15. Gladly - and thanks for the new approach: it helps both of us.

    Let's try the main guy that made Yoga popular in the West, the psychoanalyst Carl Jung, in the introduction to The Tibetan Book of the Dead:

    "One often hears and reads about the dangers of Yoga, particularly of the ill-reputed Kundalini Yoga. The deliberately induced psychotic state, which in certain unstable individuals might easily lead to a real psychosis, is a danger that needs to be taken very seriously indeed. These things really are dangerous and ought not to be meddled with in our typically Western way. It is a meddling with Fate, which strikes at the very roots of human existence and can let loose a flood of sufferings of which no sane person ever dreamed. These sufferings correspond to the hellish torments of the chönyid state..."

    Now, Lug Nut, I ask you: if Yoga is "just stretching" - as just the good ol' stretching I advocate is - why's it in the Tibetan Book of the Dead? Obviously, there's more here than meets the eye, right? That's because Yoga, unlike good ol' stretching, is a spiritual practice - not an exercise regime - and anyone selling it as an exercise regime is lying to you about what's going on. You know something else is going on because you definitely wouldn't find it "hard to explain" if it was just an exercise routine because exercise routine's aren't hard to explain. What's hard to explain is what you're doing to your mind.

    Look at that quote again: "

    The deliberately induced psychotic state".

    "Real psychosis".

    "Danger".

    "Ought not to be meddled with in our typically Western way".

    "It is a meddling with Fate, which strikes at the very roots of human existence and can let loose a flood of sufferings of which no sane person ever dreamed."

    Oh yea - I wanna piece of that action.

    Come on, Lug, nobody talks that way about merely "getting flexible". There's a game being played here; a metaphysical game - cultish assholes playing with your mind - and, luckily enough, the more questions you ask about it (questions that go beyond wanting to advocate for it, but actually getting into what Yoga is) the less influence their/it's hold over you will be. If I was a boxer, I'd be kicking their asses for trying to take advantage of me.

    O.K., moving on,...a big part of spreading this Hindu brainwashing shit is pure racism. I won't go into all that, but just think of it as a way to strike back against the West for the colonization of India, etc., in the past: the West colonized the people of the East, now the East is colonizing minds in the West - those that let them anyway. Like I said, I don't want to dwell on that topic too much, because it would require me finding lots of links and shit, and it's late, and I'm just getting home from work and I'm tired.

    Yoga as a way to get fit? Here's TIME Magazine's take:

    The truth is, yoga, regardless of the form, doesn't offer a comprehensive way to get fit. According to a study by the American Council on Exercise, a national nonprofit organization that certifies fitness instructors and promotes physical fitness, dedicated yoga practitioners show no improvement in cardiovascular health. It's not the best way to lose weight either. A typical 50-min. class of hatha yoga, one of the most popular styles of yoga in the U.S., burns off fewer calories than are in three Oreos--about the same as a slow, 50-min. walk. Even power yoga burns fewer calories than a comparable session of calisthenics. And while yoga has been shown to alleviate stress and osteoarthritis, it doesn't develop the muscle-bearing strength needed to help with osteoporosis.

    See? Bullshit.

    I could go on but, like I said, I'm tired. Hit me back and tell me what you think, though:

    I'm dying to know.

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  16. Elizabeth,

    About the bitch comment:

    I said I thought it, not that I said it. And, despite it's tenor, it was the better option.

    And that cartoon made me think of what my ex probably wanted. Yech.

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  17. "I said I thought it, not that I said it. And, despite it's tenor, it was the better option."

    LOL, CMC, of course, I know! I just thought it was really funny in the context there. That, and your gym observations in general (with which I completely agree, btw :).

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  18. HI CMC

    There are 3 or 4 dozen or more different kinds of yoga that focus on different things but I do agree that people who are not physically/mentally prepared for the kundalini should not practice this style - it can trigger a kind of crisis state if someone is mentally unstable to begin with.

    In a similar way, physical activity is great and can promote a sense of well-being too, but I would never recommend that my 65 year old mother-in-law, take up MMA.

    People are different, what one person can handle, another cannot, if a middle-aged woman suddenly threw herself in the ring and let highly trained combatants drop elbows on her head or try or try to twist her ankle out of its socket, she could get hurt!

    This may be one of those instances where common sense and responsibility for self, knowing your own limits, apply.

    About racism, colonization, etc.. I dunno, this seems a bit much. I have studied jiu jitsu for many years but that doesn't make me a feudal Japanese warlord!

    it is a fighting form, people get out of things what they put into them, if I wante to find something deeper in jiu jitsu than that I could I suppose but I have never encountered even the slightest bit of pressure to do so and wouldn't even know where to look if I did.

    The Time Mag article is interesting but doesn't really apply here, I only look at yoga in terms of its mental/physical/psychological benefits to me in the ring and on the mat.

    A relaxed and limber fighter with well-oxygenated muscles and a calm clear focused mind definitely does better than a nervous, tense and stiff fighter whose mind is darting all over the place, but that is a situation-specific benfit which I think someone would really have to be an MMA fighter to understand.

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  19. I have to get ready for work so, unfortunately once again, I can't talk long:

    Nobody's actively trying to recruit people into jiu jitsu, like they are Yoga. (Haven't you noticed?) And, while I have nothing against physical fitness, or fighting for that matter, the flexibility you refer to can be achieved by merely "stretching". The mental state necessary to win is yours, and yours alone, to achieve and can be done without "spiritual" brainwashing like Yoga. (I know: I've done it.)

    I want to hear more from you - and I wish you all the best (I really do):

    Now go kick somebody's ass.

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