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Blind Boy Apollo
and the All-White Astronauts

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

Tuesday, January 9


So honed is my extrasensory perception that I can tell you something really really important about this book without so much as reading the back-cover blurbs -- though I'm sure they're rich indeed. This is a trick I can teach you, too. Go ahead, try it for yourself. First, stare at the cover intently for 2.1 seconds. Then say the first word that comes into your head. Ready? OK, go!

Was the word you thought of "BULLSHIT" -- just like that in big capital letters? If so, congratulations! You're on your way to being psychic. Unless, of course, you picked up a subliminal hint from the callout in the right sidebar. That's a dead giveaway. If you peeked, you're disqualified.

You're also disqualified if you exceeded the 2.1-second limit to notice that the Foreword is by Neale Donald Walsch -- the guy who consistently makes the New Age bestseller lists by having conversations with God in his spare time. When the President of the United States claims to do shit like that, we understand that he's psychotic. When Neale-Baby does it, it's somehow OK. America -- what can I say? -- the beautiful.

And finally, you're disqualified if you had somehow previously learned that author Debbie Ford is a "workshop facilitator" with the Chopra Center for Well Being. Because that's got bullshit written all over it already.

For something less candy-coated but much saner, try this clip from Splitting Up: Enmeshment and Estrangement in the Process of Divorce. It costs more, and yes the words are bigger, but at least it won't insult your intelligence or turn what little dignity you may have left under such circumstances into a two-bit Course-in-Miracles sideshow.

Despite a characterological clash around separation, perhaps the acrimony of unilaterally imposed breakups could be avoided if relationships were either kept to the casual and transient or if people were prepared to expect and accept that even a committed union will someday end. This brings up the question, "Why can't they be civilized?" Chapter I argues that forgoing a lasting union in exchange for a cordial farewell is not a bargain everyone cares to strike. On the contrary, if ex-mates had a relationship of any depth, there will likely be no "friendly" divorce, for when love is dying, attachment needs persist. In addition, rage over the unmet needs the partner used to fulfill overwhelms both parties. Thus, each of the two protagonists undergoes a transition in feelings toward the other, and the mutual love in perpetuity that the couple once sought -- and thought they found -- now tragically turns to animosity and hate. The change from loving a cherished mate to virtually adversarial status during the crisis of breakup represents a fateful and largely unavoidable shift. But no matter how bitter such acrimony may be, this transition from love to hate cannot conveniently be skipped as a mere whistle-stop on the express track to divorce.
Notice the mention of "attachment" in that passage -- right after where it says: "when love is dying." The reference is to attachment theory, which is about how real people have real relationships -- blood, sweat and tears not unincluded. (For more than you may want to know, check this quite amazing Wikipedia article on Attachment in Adults, which I discovered just today.)

In contrast, note how Debbie Ford uses the term the only two times it appears in Spiritual Divorce:

  • page 45: "'...though I'd like it to be different, I will allow it to be as it is.' We give up our attachment to how we want our lives to be and how we want our partner to be."
  • page 125: "... I relinquished my attachment to my life turning out as I had planned and allowed the possibility of having an extraordinary life guide my choices and daily behaviors."

That sounds real Spiritual, I know. And it is, as "spiritual" has come to be construed -- which, if you read between the lines, is as utter BULLSHIT. As previously noted.

This is the same problem I mentioned a couple weeks ago in See Attached. And it entails far more than break-ups and divorces -- of the usual kind. The spiritual v. developmental uses of "attachment" hint at the boundaries of the phantom train-wreck-in-progress that is our current world. I'll have much more to say about all this -- right after I learn to let go with love and, you know, move on...

Calling on the popular tenets of 12-step programs and A Course in Miracles, Ford advises readers to view divorce as a "spiritual wake-up call" that "propels us to a journey of self-discovery," an opportunity to learn the lessons sent by the Universe or God, to "align with the destiny of our higher selves [and] our soul's purpose."

~from the Publishers Weekly review of Spiritual Divorce

Of course Debbie Ford has a website! Here's a little gift I found there -- from her to you.

Be sure to catch the part where she invokes Carl Jung.

And here are her Seven Spiritual Laws of Divorce.