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New Age "Asiatic" thought ... is establishing itself as the
hegemonic ideology of global capitalism. (Zizek)

Monday, June 30

the feldenkrais method

I'm so excited I can hardly contain myself. Unpacking that expression could itself generate a small volume, but let's not get sidetracked so early on. Because from July 25 to August 1 the 2008 Feldenkrais Method® Annual Conference, Bridging Worlds, will be happening right here in Boulder, Colorado. Wow.

So what is The Feldenkrais Method? Here's the Wikipedia page. However, this opening sentence from the organization's "PR Kit" PDF titled The Feldenkrais Method® of Somatic Education may be far more instructive...

The Feldenkrais Method is for anyone who wants to reconnect with their natural abilities to move, think, and feel.
OK, then. If you aren't already wearing your Official Mystic Bourgeoisie Decoder Ring, put it on now, then re-read that. You see how the Significant Words now pop out at you?
The Feldenkrais Method is for anyone who wants to reconnect with their natural abilities to MOVE, THINK, and FEEL.
Now set your ring to DECODE and you should see the following...

  • MOVE = BODY
  • THINK = MIND
  • FEEL = SPIRIT

I suspect the Feldenkraisers may have some good ideas about the BODY stuff. However, when such people attempt THINKing, they're in danger of seriously injuring themselves. A herniated frontal lobe is no laughing matter. And when they get into the SPIRIT portion of the program, all bets are off.

Don't believe me? Let's have a little look-see.

I was most interested in the workshop titled A Meeting With Remarkable Ideas: G.I. Gurdjieff's Teaching and the Feldenkrais Method. Here's the description on the site...

Many people are unaware of Gurdjieff’s influence on contemporary philosophy and personal development. From the Ennegram [sic] to the Law of Attraction, much of his teaching has spilled into pop culture without his name attached.  Moshe Feldenkrais often referred to G.I. Gurdjieff’s system of self-study and movement.

Now look, Gurdjieff may have been a world-class mountebank, but he was not a fool. It is beyond ludicrous to associate him with the so-called Law of Attraction, a hollow wish-fulfillment fantasy trumped up by "Abraham" and his side-show charlatan channelers, Esther and Jerry Hicks -- well were they named.

The person presenting this workshop is one Lavinia Plonka. Her bio says "She has written two books," so naturally, I went haring off to find them. Aha, here's one now! What Are You Afraid Of? A Body/Mind Guide to Courageous Living.

I was immediately drawn to Chapter 7, "Fear of Abandonment" -- that being a subject about which I know more than I wish I did. Let's begin with this graf from page 109...

Krishnamurti stated that when one goes against the tribe, one risks being alone. Loneliness for many people is death. And yet the root of the word alone is all + one, originally meaning that to be by oneself was to be complete. Being without others is lonely, yet to be truly complete you must be alone!
That would be the Krishnamurti who was scooped up as a young boy in India by the known pederast C.W. Leadbeater and groomed to be the Theosophical messiah or "World Teacher," and who later cuckolded his best friend for many years.

Well, OK, maybe that's just me. But the etymology bit sent me upstairs to consult my 20-volume Oxford English Dictionary for the first time in recent memory. Here's a bit of what I found there under the lemma (as the OED likes to call headwords) for ALONE...

[orig. a phraseological comb. of ALL adv. 'wholly, quite' + ONE; emphasizing oneness essential or temporary, 'wholly one, one without any companions, one by himself.' ...]
That doesn't quite seem to support the Krishnamurti reading, though one could stretch it, I suppose. But then the OED offers this, from the 1382 Wycliffe Bible, Genesis 2:18...
It is not good man to be alone.
To me, that (very early) usage seems unequivocally not to rationalize some latter day campaign for being Codependent No More -- which is precisely what Nelly Plonka and her Metaphysical Chocolate Factory are on about, despite the fact that I could find no references to "codependent," "co-dependent," or Melody Beattie anywhere in the book. On the other hand, such MIA status is unremarkable, as the concept has long since passed into the Psychological Bullshit Canon of suburban legend.

A page later, I thought the author might have redeemed herself, however, where she writes: "When we go back to the essential principles of love and fear, we can see that fear of abandonment is not simply about survival but about loss of love."

But the redemption was short lived. The next sentence says: "Ask any comedian. She will tell you that the absolute worst feeling in the world is when people start walking out on your act."

Uh huh.

And it gets worse, considering that the same page begins with this thoroughly predictable bit of code-dependent wisdom from a guy who, hey, should know!

In his book Quantum Healing, Deepak Chopra uses the terms self-referrent [sic] and other-referrent [sic]. When you are other-referrent [sic], your value is based on how others perceive you. If you are self-referrent [sic], your value comes from within yourself. As long you are other-referrent [sic], you need to please your father, your boss, your wife before you please yourself. You can't make decisions for your best interests because you might get thrown out of the family, fired, divorced. By becoming self-referrent [sic] you run the risk of feeling abandoned and rejected.
You'd think if she was going to use the word "referent" so fucking often, she'd at least learn how to spell it. Even more curiously, searching Tupak Okra's Quantum Healing: Exploring the Frontiers of Mind/Body Medicine on both Amazon and Google Books yields the following hit counts...
  • self-referent 0
  • self-referrent 0
  • referent 0
  • referrent 0

Caveat emptor, sportsfans. That means, from the ancient Anglo-Saxon: the Emperor has no cavities. Brush often.



Thursday, June 26

Atlas Shvooged

“I tend to really be partial to Ayn Rand, and to
The Fountainhead and
Atlas Shrugged.”

~ Clarence Thomas
Associate Justice
U.S. Supreme Court
(Reason magazine, November 1987)

Welcome to what is perhaps the most questionably titled episode of Mystic Bourgeoisie ever. What can I say? The devil made me do it. Well, that and maybe having so recently re-read James Ellroy's masterpiece, The Cold Six Thousand, which (as you can see on that page) opens: "They sent him to Dallas to kill a nigger pimp named Wendell Durfee." Not to mention -- but I will, thanks to the miracle of SearchInside™ -- the following instances of how various goomba mob guys Italian-American gentlemen talk about what we, in these more politically correct (if no less racist) times, might be more inclined to call African Americans.

1-3 of 3 pages with references to shvoog:

  1. on Page 242:
    "His kid killed three shvoogs and walked on the beef." "Sonny Liston?" "Drunk, hophead, whore chaser. Pal of the aforementioned shvoogkiller Wayne Tedrow Junior. Jesus, ..."
  2. on Page 250:
    "Milt went on. Milt did Lenny Bruce shtick. Lawrence Welk auditions a junkie. Pat Nixon bangs Lester, the priapic shvoog."
  3. on Page 569:
    "Right now, the shvoogs want their civil rights, so they burn a few buildings and make some woop-dee-doo."
These informal obiter dicta do not, of course, follow the principle of stare decisis, which this 2004 article on Law.com tells us Clarence Thomas doesn't believe in anyway. It also tells us...
His favorite movie is "The Fountainhead," based on the Ayn Rand novel about a fiercely independent architect who dynamites his own building rather than see his ideas compromised; each year Thomas hosts a required screening of the movie for his law clerks.
On July 9, 1949, the New York Times ran a review of this movie (subscription required) by one Bosley Crowther. It contains many wonderful passages, such as...
  • A long-winded, complicated preachment on the rights of the individual in society...
  • Wordy, involved and pretentious...
  • ...a more curious lot of high-priced twaddle we haven't seen for a long, long time.
  • ...the architect is simple, direct and literal, and when left alone he apparently does all right by himself — though why we cannot imagine, for his work, from what we see of it, is trash.
  • But that is the sort of reasoning that Miss Rand has written into this film and King Vidor has hotly illustrated in a vast succession of turgid scenes.
  • "The Fountainhead" is a picture which you don't have to see to disbelieve.

I did see it, unfortunately. And btw, I'm changing my name to Bosley Crowther as soon as possible!


disclaimer: It would be a mistake for readers to infer that I mean any disrespect to this lowlife Uncle Tom motherfucker. Or his bitch, Ayn Rand.

for extra credit: from Celebrity "Rand Fans" - Clarence Thomas

Last year, when the Supreme Court was, in effect, called upon to decide the Presidential election, Clarence Thomas cast one of the votes that narrowly tipped the scales to George W. Bush. As we ponder the awesome implications of that election, it is astonishing that the rise of Clarence Thomas to that pivotal position was in no small measure fueled by the ideas and inspiration of Ayn Rand.



Wednesday, June 25

stank - an acausal asshat

I am LMAO over here. Har har. I was going to begin this in a more rationally linear way, marshaling my brief for the prosecution in a sedate and objective manner. As usual. But wtf, let's just jump straight into the Fool Pool. Here's the latest bit of super-effluvia that has me in stitches.
Re: Sick And Tired Of People Saying Sting Sucks

Pam and Linda -

Thanks for the thoughtful answer. A lot of these guys are probably jealous of Sting (and me) because we, unlike them are 1) handsome (people have told me that I look like a young Tom Sizemore, but more ripped) and 2) wealthy. It's a shame when people judge you for what you have or dont have. Why cant we all just treat each other as equals?

Gene

Why indeed, Gene? You're a real man of the people, bro. OMFG! Please, please! Make it stop!

This was evidently in response to lin-ann796, who had opined...

I think many men are jealous of Sting for many reasons... his looks, his sensitivity, the emotions he's not afraid to show thru his songwriting, his intelligence, his appeal to women, the fact that he'd wear a skirt to an awards ceremony(!) and not give a crap what others thought of him, that he adores women and puts them on a pedestal, and the list could go on and on.
Oh, I just bet it could.

The cross-dressing aside, you'll get no argument from me that he's a right sensitive little tosser -- as attested to by the prominent Deutsche Grammophon logo on his Songs from the Labyrinth album, whereon he plays the fucking lute and sings songs by John Dowland ("1563 — buried February 20, 1626" -- but clearly not deep enough).

As an astute one-star Amazon reviewer remarks: "What's next? Joe Cocker sings Schubert?"

Oh, flow my tears!

Speaking of which, have I ever mentioned why I love YouTube? The comments. The comments! Appended to that last link is this:

where can i find Stinks version of robin hoods theme tune?

Surprisingly, no one (that I saw) said, "This is gay, dude."

Ah, but poor Sting. Never may his woes be relieved / Since pittie is fled...

Whatever. I fled. That's for sure. But let me back up a bit. The way I found the post I quoted above was googling sting police narcissi*, via which I found another post titled Sting: Why He Now Sucks that quotes the post I quoted. Confused? Why bother? But here's what the guy replicated ...

"The other day I was cranking 'Sacred Love' - is there any song more stirring than 'The Book of My Life'? - in my car, and I pulled up to red traffic signal. The guys in the car next to me started laughing amongst themselves. I just looked straight ahead, paying them no mind. But then the guy in the passenger side says something like 'nice tunes, dude'. The light turned green before I could respond. Aaaarrgh! I was pissed, and I wished I had a perfect zinger to put them in their place.

Maybe they were jealous - Im cruising in a Jaguar S-TYPE, and these dirtbags were driving around in some kind of filthy piece of garbage, playing their (c)rap music."

To which the "why he now sucks" guy comments: "Cruising in a Jag? Well, bully for you, mate." He also captioned that photo: Narcissus in one of his "thoughtful" poses.

Granted, this sort of "research" is beneath me. I think. But maybe not. Perhaps I am beneath it. As you may have noticed, it is very difficult to gauge one's own level of ... immersion. Which is precisely why -- and here we come to the essence of the rationale for all this; here we grasp the very nettle! -- we need Depth Psychology.

And we're back! Because you see where it says "Foreword by C.G. Jung"? Uh-huh. It's the goddam Eternal Return, sportsfans. Right back to where we started.

And how did we get here? Well, I can tell you how I got here. Via Sting's home page, where he shares with us this precious quote, Quote of the Day, unquote.

"I read a lot of Carl Jung's psychological essays and was very intrigued by him. In fact I used to go and meet with one of his pupils who was called the Baroness Vonderheit and she used to try and analyse my dreams, and of course I couldn't remember my dreams and so I would make them up. She'd look at me quizzically and 'Are you sure you dreamed that?' I was trying to please her I suppose."

Oh Sting, you badboy, you! And and of course you couldn't remember them. You're so hip!

Curiously, aside from that page, I was able to find only one other reference to the Baroness Gesundheit, who, this x-random passage informs us...

...was a disciple of Jung's, [and] wrote, "A creed can act as a protection against the onslaughts of immediate experience for those whose ego position... is too weak to tolerate loss of certainties, or against the despair and confusion generated by feelings of isolation."

Aha. That tells us a lot. It tells us, for one thing, how strong Sting's "ego position" truly is. Strong like bull!

It also explains the whole Synchronicity thing -- another Jung lift, naturally. You see, things are not just random. Oh no. There's a reason why Sting is rich and famous and you're not. And, as an earlier generation was once taught by its spiritual leaders: that's the way God planned it!

Well, this has to end somewhere, I suppose. Sadly, it will have to end before it reaches any conclusion. Life is like that sometimes. And so here to play us out (thanks and a tip-o-the-hat to Bill O'Reilly) is Sting doing just the poetry to Synchronicity I...

with one breath, with one flow
you will know
synchronicity
a sleep trance, a dream dance,
a shared romance
synchronicity

a connecting principle
linked to the invisible
almost imperceptible
something inexpressible
science insusceptible
logic so inflexible
causally connectible
yet nothing is invincible

if we share this nightmare
then we can dream
spiritus mundi
if you act as you think
the missing link
synchronicity

we know you, they know me
extrasensory
synchronicity
a star fall, a phone call
it joins all
synchronicity

its so deep, its so wide
you're inside
synchronicity
effect without a cause
sub-atomic laws, scientific pause
synchronicity...

It's so deep. It's so wide. You're inside.

Wow, huh?



Tuesday, June 24

lunatic fringe

I was heading over to see Don yesterday. Don is my therapist. I've been seeing him for seven or eight years now, and in the middle of that, for some while, it was seven days a week. Back then, I was eating Ativan and thinking a lot about what it would be like to hit a concrete bridge abutment at 100 miles per hour. Seat belt or no seat belt? Which would be better? Thanks to Don (and with a little help from my friends – feel free to take a bow), I never found out.

Don did the full course at the C.G. Jung Institute in Zurich, which is where perfectly normal Americans sometimes go to learn how to be anal-retentive Swiss burghers ("comfortable or complacent members of the middle class") with a strong proclivity for the psycho-spiritual. Sehr gemütlich und etwas ZPOOKY!



Miraculously, Don wasn't infected with that peculiar disease. Lately, we've been talking about my writer's block with respect to what you're reading right here right now. It was supposed to come together into a book long before now. But I despair of that. Is it relevant? Is it too arcane? Too obvious? Too erudite? Too boring? Too goddam complicated to jam into a couple-three hundred pages?

Ah well. Fuck it.

We also often talk about Carl Jung, in the same register in which I've written about him here (see e.g. The Jung-Eliade School). I often send him stuff about Jung, like these two clips just last week. The first is from the pre-WWII TIME magazine issue of November 9, 1936 (may require subscription).
"There are two kinds of dictators – the chieftain type and the medicine man type. Hitler is the latter. He is a medium. German policy is not made; it is revealed through Hitler. He is the mouthpiece of the gods as of old."
The next is also from TIME, a couple years later: May 8, 1939.
Adolf Hitler, said Dr. Jung, "belongs in the category of the truly mystic medicine man..."


So, as the first sentence above says: I was heading over to see Don yesterday. I had on the local Classic Rock station. And this song comes on. If you're reading this on the web, it's the song you're hearing now (unless you chickened out and dumped the volume, in which case, you're doing it wrong).

I'd heard it before, but not often. And now I was really tuning in. Damn! This is a great song! I had no idea what the lyrics were saying. All I could glean and force myself to remember was the phrase "in the twilight's last gleaming." When I woke up this morning, the first thing I did was to Google that. It took a while, but I finally discovered that the song is Lunatic Fringe by a Canadian band that was called Red Rider.
The Wikipedia page on the album says...
"Lunatic Fringe", the band's most famous song, is about what composer Tom Cochrane saw as an alarming rise of anti-Semitism in the 1970s, and was inspired by a book he read about Raoul Wallenberg.
This Wallenberg bio page adds...
During the spring of 1944 the world had awoken and realized what Hitler's "final solution to the Jewish problem" meant. In May 1944 the first authentic eye witness report reached the western world of what happened in the extermination camp Auschwitz. It came from two Jews who managed to escape the German gas chambers.



'cause you gottta blame someone
for your own confusion
but we're on guard this time
against your final solution

Well, that was an optimistic reading in 1981 when the song hit the charts. Since then, the lunatic fringe, far from diminishing, has accumulated huge power, in both the obvious political sense and in the far more subtle cultural dimension. Sadly, the lunatic fringe is not only alive and well, it has cloaked itself with an aura -- so to speak -- of respectability. And as ever: an on-going attempt at spiritual seriousness. Political fascism and this kind of bogus spirituality have been strongly linked for at least the last two hundred years. Look for this linkage to get even more painfully obvious as we "progress."















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