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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...


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.