Thursday, June 11, 2009

Why people continue to believe this shit is beyond me!

I know Caz would probably blow a gasket, but Catherine Deveny's take on the Mind, Body, Spirit Festival in the Age yesterday is quite worth a read.

Fucking woo merchants.

I'd lock them all in a big box, so I would!


Lewd Bob said...

I fucken hate quackery. Too many people believe in this shit. Iridologists can poke themselves in the eyes, I shit on astrologers, and aura photographers can get fucked.

Cath said...

Personally I am lost at Astrology... so there is no chance for the rest of it!

Mr E Discharge said...

Here's what I don't get. I've been to one of these expos, and it was so packed you could barely move. People lined up around the block to hear what an old hippie dressed in velvet sees in their future, buying miricle water,crystals and whatever, yet none of the major christian churches are represented. I would have thought a large gathering of people willing to part with their hard earned money in exchange for utter bullshit was just what they needed to shore up their dwindlig market.

At least the Muslim Marketing Guys know a key demographic when they see one.

Ramon Insertnamehere said...

Well quite, Mr E.

You would have thought the Micks at least would have been present.

They usually don't lose an opportunity to flog their brand to the desperate and the stupid.

Lewd Bob said...

Apparently there is benefit in seeing one of these flakes. It's due to the time they spend with their patients, plus some empathy and a touch of placebo effect if they give you some sort of sap extract to chew on.

On the other hand, medical doctors actually have access to drugs which can have a positive effect on various disease states.

Imagine if we could find a doctor who was prepared to spend half an hour with their patients and show some empathy. A combination of the 2! We'd have a miracle worker!

Ramon Insertnamehere said...

Siting down with a mate and having a quiet yarn over some drinks would probably have the same effect Bob.

It probably wouldn't cost you $450 either - unless you're drinking with me.

Perseus said...

That's the best thing deveny has written.


"Gluten God"

That's what all new-agers believe in. It's just Christianity in tattered velvet.

Pepsi said...

Nice article.

Speaking as a lapsed Mick Ramon, I reckon half the "healers" there would of been lapsed Micks.

The church turns its nose up at all that touchy feely voodoo hoodoo stuff - the irony in turning water into wine etc is conveniently ignored.

Herbalisty stuff I dont mind, and I'm always up for a massage, but the rest is just another excuse for clever people to take advantage of, and earn some money off, stupid people, transference healing anyone.

squib said...

I find chiropractors very annoying

Ramon Insertnamehere said...

Personally or professionally, Squib?

Louche said...

Ha ha. She can be quite hilarious sometimes.

I just finished reading 'Eat Love Pray'. What a pile of self-indulgent bullshit.

Maybe I would have some more respect for New-Agers if they stopped meditating on their chakras and actually helped the rest of the world in some way. It's so 'me, me, me'.

Mr E Discharge said...

As a former "Altered Boy", I can assure you that they like a bit of "touchy Feely".

Pepsi said...

'conveniently ignored' touchy feely Mr E.

wari lasi said...

Thanks for the tip Ramon, that was a great read.

I love a good smack down, and that was a ripper.

Ramon Insertnamehere said...

I do like the

had my chakras realigned (which is like having your wheels balanced, except it's bullshit)


squib said...


wari lasi said...

I have a pasionate hatred for religion in general, but Scientology takes the cake for being an obvious invention and piss take. So I loved this:

As soon as I clapped eyes on what looked like the famous e-meter, I couldn't be held back. I was soon strapped in for some top-shelf bullshit.


Perseus said...

"I have a pasionate hatred for religion in general"

Watch out Wari. Boogeyman will accuse you of arrogance and stupidity any second now.

I wonder if Boogeyman was at the Mind/Body thing? He, after all, is the champion of the 'so many people believe this that there may be some truth in it' school of thought, and also of the 'let's not dismiss any of it until one zillion years of scientific research has looked into it' school of thought.

Anonymous said...

Oh come, come, Perseus. You can do better than that.

Why would I be at a Melburnian MBS festival?

I support the notion that religion and spirituality can be investigated in a mystical and/or philosophical fashion, while still retaining the ability to critique and compare experiences.

I just don't think science necessarily has the tools to perform that investigation, or that scientific method, with it's paradigm of seeking objective, material-oriented truth, can seek to explain human subjective experience.

However, I believe that most New-Agers have lost the plot, and rather than believing things that are supported by their experiences and maintaining an active mind for inquiry, they, like many modern christians, pick, choose and sub-section belief systems just to support whatever middle class aspirations they have, and ignore any aspects of those belief systems that require any self-insight, change of habit, or personal or material effort, all the while suppressing any critical intelligence to cheer on whatever fraudulent 'guru' is spouting what they want to hear.

I trust this addresses your touching concerns about what schools of thought I champion. I'll be sure to CC a letter to the school of thought you champion, namely the 'I'm a grumpy old nihilistic bugger that refuses to acknowledge anything that I didn't read in a book by my personal guru Richard Dawkins, or some 19th philospher's magnum opus nowadays only read by the first-year uni Art-wankers' school.

Wari, you'll never reach Thetan V with an attitude like that.

Perseus said...

Well, Boogeyman, her are your words:

"I am saying that for tens of thousands of years, people have believed in some sort of spiritual existence, and that amount of belief does have some validity, and unless you can concretely disprove it, it's worthwhile keeping an open mind about those beliefs... that amount of belief suggests some sort of signifigant shared psychological process or phenomena, and as such is worthy of scientific investigation. Refusing to investigate that on the basis that one doesn't believe in it is extremely unscientific.

Bring on the Chakra alignments and e-meters in Boogeyland!

Wari and I will be at the bar in Realsville.

Anonymous said...

Indeed, those are my words. Nice to see you are so diligent with your records. A holdover from your accounting days, perhaps.

New Agers and Scientologists are not so numerous, and their belief systems hardly thousands of years old, or coherently agreed upon by all their members, to be covered by that statement.

But as an ex-Buddhist monk (cough cough ex try-hard Art-wanker living in a European cheap-rent dive gazing upon your own navel convinced you're a true Buddhist with a complete understanding sufficient to comprehensively critique it upon rejecting (erm tiring) of it) you would be fully aware (and I apply that notion loosely ;-) ) that chakras are a centuries-old Vedic concept that has been co-opted, heavily diluted and mixed with wheat grass juice by New Agers, such as to be laughably irrelevant to any serious study if the New Age interpretation were to be taken seriously and investigated.

So where is Realsville, anyway? In a love-Lorne beach-shack on the arse-end of Australia, or deepest jungular equatorial PNG?

Perseus said...

"New Agers and Scientologists are not so numerous, and their belief systems hardly thousands of years old, or coherently agreed upon by all their members, to be covered by that statement."

Ah, so in order for some totally whack concept (like, God) to be taken seriously, it has to have weight of numbers? That's your basis?

I might be a try-hard art wanker, but I'm not going to give a concept respect simply because 'lots of people have believed in it for yonks'.

Perseus said...

And as for trying to insult me for being a try-hard artist living in Athens before briefly becoming a Buddhist monk... regrets? NONE! I loved every second of it. I was having a ball.

Anonymous said...

Ah, so in order for some totally whack concept (like, God) to be taken seriously, it has to have weight of numbers? That's your basis?

Not necessarily.

But for as long as humans have been recording their thoughts and perceptions of their world (ie. back to Neanderthals and Cro-Magnons), they have been recording beliefs in abstract, unprovable concepts, mostly centred around some sort of 'God' (sex and number not implied).

Such belief systems have been around for tens of millenia, and predate science by almost as many.

So for you to refuse to acknowledge the possibility of any of those just because they haven't already been tested to fit with a neat scientific hypothesis and then handed to you in a $10.95 'science-for-idiots' layman's guide written by more intelligent folk willing to put their grey matter to work attempting to understand and come up with those hypotheses, smacks of arrogance, mental laziness, willing narrow-mindedness, and blind illogicity, especially given how little of daily life could be considered 'scientifically proven'.

ps. I wasn't insulting your artistic 'gap years', just your one-time claim to being a 'buddhist monk' (oh so briefly and no doubt a new-agey sort of one anyway) gave you some sort authority to dismiss it all as bunkum.

Perseus said...


Ramon Insertnamehere said...

*Sits back, cracks open a Coopers*

Anonymous said...

I say Perseus old boy, if you don't terribly mind, I'll claim that as a win, what with you shouting and blowing your top like some sort of mad scouser from Slough.

Can I take the time now to book in next week's argument? How about Britney's new Australian tour? Too trivial? How about the Iranian elections? Too volatile? I say, what about the ethics of capital punishment? Tally ho, it could make for a smashing argument, what!

Same time next week then.

Perseus said...

Boogeyman - I was a Theravada monk, which is very anti-new age. None of that Dalai Lama reincarnation crap. All 'superstition' (and that included belief in God) was frowned upon.
Because they rejected 'permanency', there could be no souls or Gods, as they are 'permanent'.

What I said was bunkum about the religion was the religious activity itself, such as the way they ate, the way they prayed, the hierarchy and the shaving off of my eyebrows.

Perseus said...

Maybe for a change we could agree on something next week.

Desci vs Puss jelly wrestling fantasies?

Anonymous said...

Indeed, if you practiced that then you should have insight enough to realise that my position is all about investigating the esoteric core of religion, and not the exoteric practices of religions.

And while I am aware of Theravadan Buddhists' rejection of the notion of a personal God, ultimately the core of their belief is attainment on an infinite timeless supra-conscious state that for all intents and purposes, could be called 'god'.

Just because 'god' isn't some robed and bearded old man sitting on a cloud zapping unbelievers, doesn't mean 'god' isn't something (or not some 'thing' to be more accurate), or that the mystical, esoteric elements upon which most religions were founded, are baseless.

Desci vs Puss jelly wrestling fantasies?

You just know I'd say raspberry and you'd say pineapple, and it would all end in a fight. Possibly a jelly fight, mano-a-mano.

Perseus said...

"... ultimately the core of their belief is attainment on an infinite timeless supra-conscious state that for all intents and purposes, could be called 'god'."

No, it cannot. That statement is completely wrong. It is the very opposite of God because Nirvana is not a sentient entity, or even an entity.

Anonymous said...

And yet it is a supra-conscious state that transcends physical distances and measures of time, which is pretty much the attributes of any other mystic's esoteric 'god' that their individual consciousness becomes part of.

Like I said, imagining 'god' to be a separate, sentient entity is just the sort of limited notion prevalent in exoteric religion.

Scratch a dour, stern Theravadan and you find a cuddly Jnana Yogi, Kabbalist, Sufi or Jesuit inside.

Perseus said...

Yes, a 'state', but not a being.

It doesn't know it exists. It doesn't control anything. It doesn't reason.

Nirvana is a state, loosely defined as 'not suffering'.

God is a being, like 'fairies' and 'The Easter Bunny' are beings.

And anyway, I don't believe in Nirvana, but my point is still valid: It is nothing like God-belief. Nothing at all.

Perseus said...

(and also, Nirvana is not a 'heaven' variant either as it is not a 'place'. You don't 'go to Nirvana'.)

Puss In Boots said...

Boogey, my problem with your statement (and I am paraphrasing here) that heaps of people over the ages have believed in a god, so there must be some validity to it is this: I consider the existence of god concepts as simply a means for humans to feel comfortable with their surroundings and events which happen to them. It's a lot easier to say 'god did it' than to try to think of a logical explanation for something. It's also more comforting to imagine there is a being out there keeping an eye on you, instead of thinking the alternative that there is nothing, and that there really is no point or meaning to life.

If that makes sense.

Oh, and I'm happy with either raspberry or pineapple. Just as long as it's not lime.

Anonymous said...

Perseus - But what I am saying is that if you dig down to the root of conscious subjective experience it is likely that 'beings' and 'states' are not separate concepts anyway.

Again, you insist on refuting an argument that I'm not espousing - that god is a separate being that sits in heaven controlling our lives. Meanwhile I am arguing that 'god' is a conceptual way in our day-to-day lives to conceive of an almost unimaginable supraconscious space-time-transcending state that is likely primordial to all existence, which is pretty much what all mystics claim in their culturally different ways.

So it seems I'm on a train to Melbourne, and you're on a completely different one heading to Perth.

Puss - Something about that doesn't wash. Ancient peoples weren't cynical empty philosophers inventing things to calm bedtime fears. Like us, they looked for answers, and to understand what it meant for them to be aware of their world, and why it was there in the first place. The best of them became philosophers, mystics and scientists. The worst became priests, kings and true believers and used those inklings, or the findings of their betters, to dominate everyone else. Just because religion and belief in god is for a lot of people an excuse to abdicate personal responsibility and/or calm existential anxiety doesn't automatically mean that's all there is to it.

After all, physicists say, "I can see a world in front of me, there must be something there to investigate." My position is that a mystic or philosopher says the same with regards the world of subjective experience.

Desci said...

I'm happy with either, hate lime, but prefer orange.

As long as I get a Boogey V Pers bare-knuckle gritty fightclub style slapup, complete with homo-erotic-slash-phobic undertones. Hatesex optional.

Anonymous said...

Mmmm, hate-lime - just like ordinary lime but angries up the blood.

Also turns jelly-wrestling into a hate-crime.

Perseus said...

Yes Puss - in Boogey's world, if in 2,000 years the Scientologists are still running around with e-meters we'll have to take them seriously because they've 'been around a long time'. Never mind that it's already naff.

Boogey - you wouldn't fit through the train doors with that fence stuck up your arse.

"Oh, I'm not saying God per se, I'm referring to everything that's unknown."

Well I'm talking about 'God'. As He is understood by the general populace. He's the one I'm saying does not exist.

I am also referring to Gluten Gods of the New Age variety, which may come under the guise of 'the cosmos'.

There's one line that binds religion with new-age beliefs and it is this: "It was meant to happen."

Wheteher it was from cosmological design or astrological fate or from God's will, they all believe there is 'something' or 'someone' that 'designs' things to happen, and it is this belief I say is utter rubbish, and requires no intellectual inquiry, other than into why people would believe something so naff. Same goes for the notion that we survive our own death, whether in an an afterlife or in reincarnation.

(PS: Theravada Buddhism is the only religion I know that teaches that nothing is 'meant' to happen)

Anonymous said...

You know Perseus, on a thread about New Age wankerism, you decide to pick a fight with me about religion.

Knowing full well, because we've had this fight umpteen dozen times, that I don't believe in conventional religion or New Age frippery.

So don't baawww and tear up now that I argued for what I always argue for - the validity of mystical experience - and that you just wanted me to argue about the god of average joe's, or your gluten god, or other stuff I don't support.

The same reason I generally accept most religions might have a core of truth is the same reason I would not think the same of Scientology - the latter is not based on mysticism but was created as a cynical money-making/power exercise.

I don't think you understand Theravadan Buddhism very well. That 'nothingness' you refer to is common to most esoteric traditions, god-believing or not, and refers to an experience of a paradoxically full emptiness at the ground of awareness. It's not just a mundane 'nothing is valid here, we're just wasting our time' cynicism. But you seem to have just cherry-picked the bits that support your own personal nihilistic world-view, and misunderstood or rejected the rest - so in that respect I consider your insights into it no better than any other New Age dabbler.

I leave it to you to apply your magnificent powers of deductive reasoning to those paragraphs and come back to me with the wrong interpretation.

That train I'm riding on had its doors widened to accommodate my fence, just like yours was widened to accommodate your swollen head, chip on your shoulder, and collected works of Richard Dawkins under your arm that you're using as a crutch.

My train also, fortunately, bypassed Perseusland and the ironically named 'Realsville', knowing full well that trains and their passengers couldn't possibly exist in Perseusland, because Richard Dawkins hasn't yet written a layman's guide to how trains work.

Lewd Bob said...

Fucken hell, you two shit me.

Sharon's Stone said...

Squib, I'm with you on the whole "chiropractor" thing. In the words of George Costanza..."Doctors, yeah, right".

Anonymous said...

They shit me too, Lewd Bob. And they haven't released anything good since The Joshua Tree.

Anonymous said...

Fucken hell, you two shit me.

Each to their own Bob, but they're about the highlight of the site for me. Isn't Joshua Tree a movie with Dolph Lundgren in it?

eat my shorts said...

Fucken hell, you two shit me.

Each to their own Bob, but they're about the highlight of the site for me.

Damn straight, Alex.

I'd have these two jelly wrassle, and do you know what the flavour would be? Port wine.

Yeah. I went there.

Lewd Bob said...

Oh they shit me in a good way.

Boogey, nice work on the U2 link. Very special.

squib said...

Yep Sharon. I know one who calls himself Dr so and so. If he's a doctor then I am too

wari lasi said...

I had a lovely goof-off afternoon yesterday, but it's good to see that Boogey and Perseus were hard at work.

Nice read though. Pers, can I borrow your Richard Dawkins collection? I've only got The God Delusion and what a cracker of a read it is. His "The God of the old testament ..." diatribe is fantastic. He does get to be a bit much though, he's a fanatic atheist.

Anonymous said...

I read the first half of 'The God Delusion' (will read the second half when I get around to it) and was interested to see that even though he describes himself as an atheist; on his scale of belief or whatever he called it, Dawkins classifies himself as technically being agnostic. The other thing I found interesting was that Dawkins is married to 'Romana' and she does part of the audio book version.

Sharon's Stone said...

Dawkins is an amazing writer but gee, he's a pratt. Has anyone read "God is not great" by Christopher Hitchens? Another worthy read. A brilliant and very intelligent cynic.

Perseus said...

I thought Dawkins' 'God Delusion' was pretty good, but that's all I've ever read of him. I'm not sure why Boogeyman keeps trying to pin Dawkins to me. I'm hardly an acolyte.

I thought Hitchens' 'God Is Not Great' was a better book anyway.

Even better is Shakespeare's Collected Works.

squib said...

Did you see this one?