Thursday, October 28, 2010

Healing



You know, when we can watch cult videos like this and all we really want to know more about is, "Where'd a cultist get that outfit?", it's possible we might have followed cultism too long.

Or just given up.

Or the PTSD has passed.

Or we're just becoming "normal" again.

Plus, seriously, we can't win - that's been a theme of this blog from the start:

We can't win.

Not against NewAge.

Remember, the other day, we were talking about how Oprah's exploited Jon Stewart's "Rally For Sanity" event? Well, we've found another story about how some low-level NewAge bullshitters are exploiting (and making fools of) Major League Baseball players, too. Now, if All-American Mom and Apple Pie Major League Baseball is gullible enough (or - being jocks - stupid enough) to fall for this, what hope is there for a really snotty blog to make a dent in anything, but possibly certain individual's lives?

See, when we got into this, we thought it would be simple:

A) Find some pundit, screaming something like, "MALARIA KILLING MORE PEOPLE THAN WE THOUGHT?"

B) Helpfully point out that, over 200 years ago, malaria was the first problem claimed to be "cured" by Samuel Hahnemann's homeopathy.

C) Wait for the whole world to go, "Oh yea, wow, thanks TMR!" (We expected this to take no longer than 3 days.)

D) The entire world-wide homeopathy industry collapses in shame.

We now see that was unrealistic.

Plus skeptics tried it in England (no media outlet covered the story in America) and Britain's NHS got away with saying, essentially, "Fuck you, the NewAgers are paying, so bugger off!" and that was the end of that.

So we can't win.

Instead, we go on, reading one "informative" article saying:
"Homeopathy has no proven clinical benefit for patients. ..."
Followed by another "informative" article entitled:
"13 Benefits of Homeopathy"
And we are unmoved by any of it. Except, if that's how they want to play it, to feeling a little bit more content with the idea of anomie. But - to anyone thinking that's a wrong reaction to have - don't forget, in truth, it's the only "normal" reaction a human being could have. From the blurb on Harry G. Frankfurt's "On Bullshit":

One of the most salient features of our culture is that there is so much bullshit. Everyone knows this. Each of us contributes his share. But we tend to take the situation for granted. Most people are rather confident of their ability to recognize bullshit and to avoid being taken in by it. So the phenomenon has not aroused much deliberate concern. We have no clear understanding of what bullshit is, why there is so much of it, or what functions it serves. And we lack a conscientiously developed appreciation of what it means to us. In other words, as Harry Frankfurt writes, "we have no theory."

Frankfurt, one of the world's most influential moral philosophers, attempts to build such a theory here. With his characteristic combination of philosophical acuity, psychological insight, and wry humor, Frankfurt proceeds by exploring how bullshit and the related concept of humbug are distinct from lying. He argues that bullshitters misrepresent themselves to their audience not as liars do, that is, by deliberately making false claims about what is true. In fact, bullshit need not be untrue at all.

Rather, bullshitters seek to convey a certain impression of themselves without being concerned about whether anything at all is true. They quietly change the rules governing their end of the conversation so that claims about truth and falsity are irrelevant. Frankfurt concludes that although bullshit can take many innocent forms, excessive indulgence in it can eventually undermine the practitioner's capacity to tell the truth in a way that lying does not. Liars at least acknowledge that it matters what is true. By virtue of this, Frankfurt writes, bullshit is a greater enemy of the truth than lies are.
Is it "normal" not to address (or to pretend not to see) "one of the most salient features of our culture", though recognizing it's "a greater enemy of the truth"?

Really?

Wonder where that cultist got that outfit?