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Re: Recovering from New Age Mumbo Jumbo
Posted by: corboy ()
Date: February 10, 2010 03:12AM

The cultic milieu in another persons words--part of a longer article


Nicole Bretencourt alleges:


This group which I had infiltrated may be considered as a typical group of all those which propose the ayahuasca in Europe....Many direct victims do not wish to call victims' associations to testify for fear of reprisals by the leaders who have actually managed to make them believe that they can be punished by practises of sorcery.

Then, describing the social networks through which persons are introduced, Bretencourt describes what has previously been termed a cultic milieu.


The consumption of ayahuasca in groups in Europe is only the preliminary step before a visit to Peru which clinches the chemical and cultist influence. The applicants to learn shamanic, psychotherapeutic and humanistic techniques among others go on strange holiday camps where ayahuasca helps them in their spiritual evolution, and nurses their spirit and body thus helping them to overcome the change of paradigm.

All the leaders of pseudo-shamanism have common features and I have drawn up their "Profile".

For these men of influence, the debate does not seem to pivot around the drug or the practises with which it is associated but the ultimate objective which is that of individual and religious freedom.

The pseudo-shamanism leader is either a:

– Medical doctor

– Pharmacist

– Psychotherapist

– Holistic therapist (New Age)

– If he is a doctor or a pharmacist, he knows about new Amazonian shamanic medicine through Doctors without Frontiers, Barefoot doctors, Pharmacists without Frontiers.

– If he is a psychotherapist or holistic therapist, he knows Amazonian shamanism by participating in private psychotherapy training programmes or by visits to Peru where he/she was initiated in Amazonian traditional medicine.

– He calls himself as shaman or apprentice-shaman practising modern shamanism or neo-shamanism.

– His ideology is that of the transpersonal movement, that of New Religious Movements (Esalen and New Age).

– He is the author of scientific counter-culture articles on hallucinatory substances, or of books on popular esoterics.

– He gives conferences in esoteric bookshops, in private training institutes on the training of psychotherapists.

– He mainly recruits his correspondents within the New Religious Movements nebula, holistic medicine, humanistic psychology, which are porous between themselves.

– He proposes a new concept of care by holistic medicine: personal technique of care based on modified states of conscience by Amazonian or African natural plants and humanistic therapies or psychosomatic therapy.

– He proposes to develop a new spiritual way based on shamanism and modified states of conscience, syncretism of psychedelic neo-shamanism

– He is often an ex-addicted of hard drugs

– He does not consider that hallucinatory drugs are similar to drugs traded by narcotic traffickers.

– He was initiated by Peruvian, African or North American Indian Shamans. Or belonging to other traditions close to voodoo.

– He organises initiation conferences in France, in Belgium and residential visits to Peru in therapy communities.

– He has created a therapy community or a residential centre in Peru

– He has close relationships with the cult leaders.

– He may have been charged for incitement to drug consumption

– Or because of the About-Picard Law

– He has been pinpointed by contradictory articles in the media

Psycho-spiritual tourism is organised between Peru and Europe. Over there, Westerners consume hallucinatory drugs and other toxic local plants quite legally in therapeutic communities...

The author alleged the following occurred during two ayahuasca sessions she attended via a physician friend. The sessions took place just outside of Paris.


I took this opportunity to observe the group. I saw sick participants bringing up (vomiting), bent over in anguish and pain. Both gurus were present accompanying the participants, the majority of whom were patients of their medical practice. The pseudo-shamanic ritual was complementary to further individual work in yoga and holistic therapy.

Between the two sessions on the barge, a month passed. In retrospective, I realise that drug had created a craving which I had refused to admit. I feverishly waited for the next session on the barge, attributing my impatience to my research for my book.

But when I took the drug a second time always in the same new age syncretism, I felt a sudden harsh pain in the head. I shouted "Help" and the only thing I remember before falling into a coma for an indeterminate time, is that I was insulted and asked to keep quiet so as not to trouble the others' experience.

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Re: Recovering from New Age Mumbo Jumbo
Posted by: Hope ()
Date: February 10, 2010 05:58AM

That would have been the next phase of "therapy" had my BS detector not come back on full throttle. People in my physician's circle reported to me after I was away from him the trips to South America where a young woman became severely ill. I do recall hearing something about her not being serious about the context in which to receive Ayahuasca. M DMA is also another "therapeutic" consciousness altering drug which is being pushed and was very prevalent in the tantric "healing" scene.

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Re: Recovering from New Age Mumbo Jumbo
Posted by: corboy ()
Date: February 11, 2010 03:56AM

For another description of using ayahuasca, I heartily recommend a chapter from 'Rational Mysticism' by journalist John Horgan.

Horgans description is a good control item for Nicole B's description, because Horgan
was invited to use the drug in the United States, and he did not have to participate in any New Age adjunct activities that broke down boundaries. Just the drug, and a congenial group of people and some responsible trip guides who stayed sober to make sure the evening ended well.

Mr Horgan was given advance notice on how to prepare himself, and was in good health.

Interestingly, according to Mr Horgan a number of the group members reported that they very much liked taking ayahuasca and were there to repeat the experience.

This is worth noting, given Nicole B telling readers that after her first dose of ayahuasca, she felt a craving for more, and not wanting to admit she had a craving for the drug, instead tried to attribute it to her intent on continuing her research--an attempt to conceal craving through use of rationalization. We need to ask whether there could be something pharmacologically dependency inducing in ayahuasca brew and whether this means it is important to control and limit its use through cultural controls that in its tribal context, make its use infrequent and limit its use to specific times and contexts.

One thing troubling is that in its original context, a tribal culture living close to subsistance level, it would seem that one should ensure that the clan take a potent drug in such a way as to minimize risk of addiction and incapacitation--unlike our sophisticated and affluent urban culture, a tribal culture cannot afford to have too many of its members become impaired and addicted. So to Corboy's opinion, it might signal concern that members of an affluent culture report a craving for something so very potent that it is used infrequently and in tightly prescribed and protected ritual contexts in its home culture. In the West, our checks and balances are missing. If we fuck up there is someone to take care of us--or call 911 to haul our heinies to psych emergency. In the jungle, if a clan member goes mad, he or she is burden, a possible danger, to the rest of the tribe.

Mr Horgans report, based on my recollection of the chapter, stated that everyone was carefully advised to abstain for the previous several weeks from any medication that had the property of interacting with monoamine oxidase inhibitors (MAOIs). This would include abstention from most if not all antidepressants, mood modulating drugs, and also abstention from certain antidepressants----which would exclude a very large percentage of the population.

Mr Horgan had taken some LSD trips many years before, and was ready for a wild ride. However, he reported that the vomiting induced by ayahuasca was very nasty--barf buckets were thoughtfully provided by the hosts.

This means any person with a health condition that would be worsened by vomiting should not take this medication. This would include persons with eye conditions such as retinal neuropathy (a complication of poorly regulated diabetes) and those who have had cataract surgery or other kinds of eye surgery.

At the end of the trip, the guide told Horgans group that it had been a quiet evening of its kind--no one had freaked out, and no one had thought he or she was dying.

An uneventful evening, eh?

What follows is some advice from a website on ayahuasca.


Nicole B noted that the second time she took ayahuasca she had a nasty headache and passed out. One wonders whether her hosts had told her or the others anything about what kinds of food to abstain from and which medications to detox from, prior to the trip.

If you read the dietary articles (which contain tyramine and are among those persons on monoamine oxidase inhibitors are advised to avoid)--many of these items are cherished and everyday items in the French diet.

Here is some information on ayahuasca and its properties.



Notes Of Caution When Using Ayahuasca

Before trying ayahuasca or anything else that contains MAOI's, there are some very important things to consider. As far as safety is concerned, diet and medications pose the most serious health risks.

Some compounds should not be used when ingesting ayahuasca. Using these chemicals while you are taking (or within 2 weeks of taking) ayahuasca (or another MAOI) may cause serious side effects such as sudden rise in body temperature, extremely high blood pressure, severe convulsions, and (in rare cases) death.

xxx amoxapine (asendin)
xxx amphetamines (meth-, dex-, amphetamine)
xxx antihypertensives (high blood pressure medicine)
xxx appetite suppressants (diet pills)
xxx clomipramine (anafranil)
xxx cyclobenzaprine (flexeril)
xxx desipramine (pertofrane)
xxx doxepin (sinequan)
xxx fluoxetine (prozac)
xxx imipramine (tofranil)
xxx levodopa (dopar, larodopa)
xxx maprotiline (ludiomil)
xxx medicine for asthma or other breathing problems
xxx medicines for colds, sinus problems, hay fever, or allergies
xxx meperidine (demerol)
xxx methylphenidate (ritalin)
xxx nortriptyline (aventyl)
xxx other MAOI's
xxx paroxetine (paxil)
xxx protriptyline (vivactil)
xxx selegiline (eldepryl)
xxx sertraline (zoloft)
xxx SSRI's (any selective serotonin reuptake inhibitor)
xxx tricyclic antidepressants (amitriptyline, elavil)
xxx trimipramine (surmontil)

When using ayahuasca beware of the following:

xxx Diet: Dangerous reactions such as sudden high blood pressure may result when MAO inhibitors are taken with certain foods or drinks. The following foods should be avoided:

Foods that have a high tyramine content (most common in foods that are aged or fermented to increase their flavor), such as cheeses, fava or broad bean pods, yeast or meat extracts, smoked or pickled meat (and poultry or fish), fermented sausage (bologna, pepperoni, salami, summer sausage) or other fermented meat, sauerkraut, any overripe fruit, alcoholic beverages or alcohol-free or reduced-alcohol beer and wine, large amounts of caffeine-containing food or beverages such as coffee, tea, cola, or chocolate.

xxx Alcohol: Drinking alcohol while you are taking MAOI's may cause serious side effects like angina (chest pain) or headaches (severe or frequent). These conditions may interfere with warning signs of serious side effects of MAOI's.
xxx Allergies: Some people may have an unusual or allergic reaction to any type of MAOI.
xxx Asthma or Bronchitis: Some medicines used to treat these conditions may cause serious side effects when used while you are taking MAOI's.
xxx Bupropion (Wellbutrin): Using bupropion while you are taking or within 2 weeks of taking MAOI's may cause serious side effects such as seizures.
xxx Buspirone (BuSpar): Use with MAOI's may cause high blood pressure.
xxx Carbamazepine (Tegretol): Use with MAOI's may increase seizures.
xxx CNS (central nervous system) depressants: Using CNS depressants with MAOI's may increase the CNS and other depressant effects.
xxx Cocaine: MAOI's and cocaine may cause a severe increase in blood pressure.
xxx Dextromethorphan: Use with MAOI's may cause excitement, high blood pressure, and fever.
xxx Diabetes mellitus (sugar diabetes): MAOI's may change the amount of insulin or oral antidiabetic medication that you need.
xxx Diet: Dangerous reactions such as sudden high blood pressure may result when MAO inhibitors are taken with certain foods or drinks. The following foods should be avoided:

xxx High Blood Pressure: May be affected by MAOI's.
xxx Insulin: MAOI's may change the amount of antidiabetic medicine you need to take.
xxx Kidney Disease: Higher blood levels of MAOI's may occur, which increases the chance of side effects.

xxx Overactive Thyroid or Pheochromocytoma (PCC): Serious side effects may occur.
xxx Pregnancy: A study of pregnant women showed an increased risk of birth defects when MAOI's were taken during the first 3 months of pregnancy. In animal studies, MAOI's caused a reduced rate of growth and increased excitability in babies when large doses of MAOI's were given to a mother during pregnancy.

xxx Recent Heart Attack or Stroke: MAOI's may make the condition worse.
xxx Tolerance: Ayahuasca users may develop a tolerance (needing more to produce the desired results) if ayahuasca is used more often than once a week. Using ayahuasca once a month or less often is recommended.

xxx Trazodone or Tryptophan: Use of these medicines by persons taking MAOI's may cause mental confusion, excitement, shivering, trouble in breathing, or fever.

Nicole B's description:


I felt a sudden harsh pain in the head. I shouted "Help" and the only thing I remember before falling into a coma for an indeterminate time, is that I was insulted and asked to keep quiet so as not to trouble the others' experience.

From a holistic health URL--symptoms of MAOI interaction



The Monoamine Oxidase Inhibitors (MAOI)
Monoamine oxidase is an enzyme that is found in many parts of the body. In the brain, monoamine oxidase destroys neurotransmitters, such as norepinephrine and serotonin. So MAO inhibitors, by limiting the activity of monoamine oxidase, block the breakdown of those neurotransmitters. They work more quickly than the tricyclics, but they have more severe side effects and require a change in diet.

Leading MAOIs are: phenelzine (Nardil), tranylcypromine (Parnate), Seligiline (Eldepryl), and isocarboxazid (Marplan).

MAOIs are generally prescribed :

For people who don't respond to the tricyclics and SSRIs.

For cases of atypical depression.

Because of their stimulating rather than sedating effect, MAOIs may be preferable to TCAs for treating dysthymia, a chronic, low-level depression.

Side Effects of MAOIs
Dizziness, Rapid heartbeat, Loss of sexual interest, Food Interaction

MAOIs react with certain foods and alcoholic beverages, and some medications, to produce a severe reaction. The reaction, which often does not appear for several hours after taking the medication, may include a dangerous rise in blood pressure, as well as headache, nausea, vomiting, rapid heartbeat, possible confusion, psychotic symptoms, seizures, stroke and coma.

The foods that interact with MAOIs include
aged cheeses
smoked, pickled, fermented and otherwise processed meats*,
fish and soy products
Chianti and other red wines
fava beans and ripe figs
foods containing monosodium glutamate (MSG).
These foods all contain large amounts of the amino acid tyramine, which, when it interacts with MAOIs, dramatically raises blood pressure.

*(yogurt and saurkraut are fermented, as is tempeh, miso, and which are fermented soy products much used by health conscious persons. Wonder if these have tyramine. Its a question worth asking.Corboy)

If anyone is evangelistically pushing the use of ayahausca, ask em to tell you what a monoamine oxidase inhibitor is.

Ask them just that.

Then, ask them to tell you what drugs an MAOI interacts with.

THen, ask them what kinds of food an MAOI interacts with.

Then, ask them if ayahuasca is an MAOI.

Stand back and watch their reactions.


Final note:

Buproprion, the generic name for the antidepressant Wellbutrin, is also prescribed for a different purpose--to assist persons trying to quit smoking. For that purpose, boys and girls, Buproprion/Wellbutrin is called Zyban.

Imagine someone trying to quit smoking, is taking Zyban under doctors RX and doenst think about the Zyban as a potential interactant when invited to go on an ayahuasca vision quest.

The list from the holistic website was quite good. But though it mentioned Wellbutrin, it did not mention the other form in which Wellbutrin/Buproprion is prescribed--Zyban.


See how pervasive this all is?

Edited 6 time(s). Last edit at 02/11/2010 04:26AM by corboy.

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Re: Recovering from New Age Mumbo Jumbo
Posted by: corboy ()
Date: July 24, 2010 02:23AM

Friends, here is something to do.

Read this about Null Hypothesis

Null Hypothesis:

"In hypothesis testing, the null hypothesis is the one you are hoping can be disproven by the observed data. Typically, it asserts that chance variation is responsible for an effect seen in observed data (for example, a difference between treatment and placebo, an apparent correlation between one variable and another, a divergence between a sample measure and some benchmark, etc.) "


Fundamental Attribution Error--we assume that something in the person accounts for the behavior rather than the situation. In the case of a gentleman whose publicists claim that he lives without eating: Is he a special, highly evolved human being?

Or is he in a situation set up so that it appears he is living without food but is covertly being given food by others--which means he is has the energy needs of an ordinary human but is in a stage managed *situation*?

Extraordinary Claims Require Extraordinary Evidence


Occam's Razor

"One should not increase, beyond what is necessary, the number of entities
required to explain anything."

Professor Steve Dutch has this:

What evidence would it take to prove your beliefs wrong?

I simply will not reply to challenges that do not address this question.

Refutability is one of the classic determinants of whether a theory can be called scientific.

Moreover, I have found it to be a great general-purpose cut-through-the-crap question to determine whether somebody is interested in serious intellectual inquiry or just playing mind games. Note, by the way, that I am assuming the burden of proof here - all you have to do is commit to a criterion for testing. It's easy to criticize science for being "closed-minded". Are you open-minded enough to consider whether your ideas might be wrong?"


Here is a tiny bit, just a tiny bit, from an article by Professor Dutch on Pseudoscience. It is one of a library of links he provides on his website--well worth a citizen's time.


Logical Structure of Pseudoscience"Galileo Fallacy" "They laughed at Galileo, and he was right, so I could be right too."

(Professor D) They may have laughed at courageous mavericks. They also laughed at clowns.

For everyone labeled a crackpot who turns out to be a persecuted genius, there are a thousand who are merely crackpots.

The Galileo affair is far more complex than the popular stereotype, and far more interesting. It includes Galileo antagonizing fellow scientists and a healthy dose of politics, Italian style.

"Residue Fallacy" After all the bad data is eliminated, there are *still a few observations* that are unexplained.

(Professor D) The real question is this: if 90% of the observations are faulty, why shouldn't we assume the remaining 10% are also faulty?

Explanation by Default. If science can't explain something, but the pseudoscientist can, his explanation is probably right.

(Professor D) Even if something can't be fully explained, it's often possible to show that a lot of proposed explanations are wrong. Often science can explain the alleged anomaly, but the explanation is concealed or dismissed. We do know how the Pyramids were built.

Distortion of the Term "Theory"

(Professor D) A theory is any organized body of ideas used to account for some set of observations. Theories can be true (heliocentric astronomy), false (Ptolemy and epicycles) or debatable. Many theories are not in the least doubtful or hypothetical: number theory in mathematics, stress theory in engineering, music theory in music.

Some scientists have attempted to defuse this issue by redefining "theory" and restricting it to mean a body of ideas that has been confirmed. Apart from being intellectually dishonest, this definition is flatly wrong and contradicts all historical usages of the word.

Attacks on Inference and Deduction.

(Professor D) If you go home and find your room trashed and your stuff stolen, will you let the police dismiss it as merely "inferring" that you were burglarized?

Exaggeration of Uncertainty Extreme Relativism, Solipsism Catch-22 Arguments, Buzzwords Conspiratorial outlook.

(Professor D) The single most reliable indicator of pseudoscience. Almost every pseudoscientist sooner or later (usually sooner) claims to be *the victim of a conspiracy* to suppress his discoveries, or the theory itself revolves around a conspiracy.

Is It Fair to Reject All Conspiratorial Theories?Erroneous Use of Terms.

(Professor D)

*Often the term "conspiracy" is used incorrectly. Failure to use a simple word accurately doesn't inspire confidence in the person using the word.

**If there's no attempt at secrecy there is no conspiracy. Planned Parenthood will give you a bushel of literature if you ask. Some people may oppose them, but they're not a conspiracy.

*Making a common effort or having a common goal is not a conspiracy.

*Criticism is not persecution, and widespread criticism or opposition does not constitute a conspiracy. It more likely is evidence that the individual is wrong. The existence of a conspiracy is irrelevant to the issues.

*The objectives may be morally acceptable. The D-Day invasion and the Manhattan Project were clothed in deep secrecy and engaged in deception. By any reasonable definition, they were conspiracies. Sometimes secrecy is necessary. The Constitutional Convention of 1787 decided at its very first meeting not to take minutes because they wanted delegates to feel free to change their minds without being accused of caving in or selling out.

Immoral conspiracies are immoral *because of their goals and methods, not their secrecy.* The problem with Al-Qaeda isn't its secrecy, it's that it flies airplanes into buildings.

Conspiracy Arguments Are Intellectually Dishonest

*Conspiracy are impossible to disprove so they can't be tested. Conspiracy believers can rationalize away any anomaly. (No null hypothesis can be applied. You cannot prove a negative)

*The less evidence there is, the more powerful and far reaching the conspiracy is because it is so good at concealing itself.

*Conspiracies for which there is no evidence at all must be incredibly powerful.

*Conspiracy arguments are an appeal to emotions instead of facts.

*The conspiracy argument is designed to arouse anger and create sympathy for the purported victim of the conspiracy.

*Conspiracy arguments poison the climate of debate. If you doubt the existence of a conspiracy, you must be either a supporter or a dupe. Who can have a meaningful debate in such a climate?

It's not proper to dismiss an idea solely because it postulates a conspiracy. It is proper to insist on debating solely on the merits of the argument. For most conspiracy believers, that takes all the fun out of it.

(Finally)You'd think people would be relieved to find out the world is not filled with powerful, malevolent conspiracies, but people fight tooth and nail to hang on to conspiracy beliefs.

A Nation of Jailhouse Lawyers/Freedom of Speech

Pseudoscientists often appeal to their right to free speech.

Unless opposition becomes intense enough to constitute harassment (and merely being thin-skinned won't do it), opposition in itself is *not*a violation of free speech.

Nowhere does the Constitution promise immunity to criticism. Nor does the Constitution promise any results for free speech; it doesn't guarantee acceptance of a paper, finding a publisher, or acceptance of ideas.

Okay, end of lecture. Now, here is a fun homework assignment. Read the article given below in the URL. Using what you have read, apply it to the article. Tell us what you found.


"The Man Who Would Not Eat


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Re: Recovering from New Age Mumbo Jumbo
Posted by: corboy ()
Date: August 14, 2010 12:23AM


--note-this is written by a member of the discussion board and is strictly my personal opinion as a private citizen who tries to be well informed.


Oprah, Lupus and Carol Myss


The post I wrote was to emphasize the troubles with certain persons who are invited by Oprah to blab on her show.

I am careful with my sources and give credit to the sources. But what I intended to highlight was the issue with Oprah, Myss and the community of concerned persons who suffer from lupus erythematosus who disagreed with Myss.

And if channelling entails entering a hypnotic trance whilst writing down material that later is published (Blatvatsky, Cayce, as well as ACIM) there may be a possiblity that persons susceptible to trance induction who read this material may go into trance and become as a result, less aware of illogic and less able to tell the difference between what is concrete and what is metaphorical and thus become, without realizing it, susceptible to indoctriantion later on.

Channelled books are the kind of material that is part of what sociologist Colin Campbell termed 'the cultic milieu'. Once in this milieu one may without conscious recognition, become less capable of adult nuanced and critical thought, and more susceptible to indoctrination into groups and belief systems one might consider silly or dangeous prior to induction into the milieu via reading channelled material.

One cannot tell people never to read channelled books. It is our right as citizens to read what we like.

But certain kinds of reading material can affect us in ways that over-ride adult critical thinking, and as citizens it is good to be aware of this before picking up and reading channelled books. Critical thinking is something that is hard to acquire, that was made possible by thousands of years of civilization and can, tragically, be easily lost and once lost is very difficult to rebuild.

I personally do not in any way endorse A Course in Miracles and advise that though the author of the piece used ACIM to provide an innovative way to critique commercial gurus by quoting from ACIM, it is my opinion that ACIM as an allegedly 'channelled' book is part of what could be termed the cultic milieu.

In that particular social setting there is a risk of re-triggering indoctrination from groups one thinks one has fought free from.

More reflections on Colin Campbell's concept of cultic milieu


Campbell's main contention that the cultic milieu is oppositional by nature. It comprises "a zone in which proscribed and/or forbidden knowledge is the coin of the realm, a place in which ideas, theories and speculations are to be found, exchanged, modified and eventually, adopted or rejected by adherents of countless, primarily ephemeral groups whose leaders come and go and whose membership constitute a permanent class of seekers whose adherence to any particular or organization tends to be fleeting at best." (p. 3)

The authors aver that in this oppositional milieu ideas are often interchangeable, "fungible," that there is a cross pollination of ideas in this milieu.


One might be able to substitute 'contrarian' for 'oppositional'.

Fungible is a term that means 'equivalently interchangeable'.

Here, from a different book, an autobiography by Mary Garden, who was trying with great difficulty to free herself from emotional bondage to a cruelly abusive Hindu guru. Garden met a woman 'Deborah' and 'Joe' at a Buddhist insight meditation retreat. THe two, Deborah and Joe, seemed committed Buddhists. They offered to accompany Mary Garden back to the ashram so she could get hold of her passport and leave the guru for good.

Suddenly at the ashram, just as Mary Garden was leaving, she discovered that Deborah the Buddhist, who had been warning her about the guru was under his spell.

Mary Garden was shocked by this sudden change and said,

'How can you reconcile that trip up there with all the Buddhist teachings we have just listened to?'

'There's no conflict' Deborah replied self assuredly. 'Its just different viewpoints. In fact I think they are saying the same thing, the Hindus and the Buddhists. It's all to do with not identifying with the mind and the body' (Mary Garden, Serpant Rising, Page 166)

This bit, quoted from 'Deborah' is an example of treating ideas as equivalently interchangeable, when, in this case, they are not.

Buddhism's core distinction is that there is nothing inherantly separate from anything else, no start point, no first principle, no essence, no god, no Atman no self to merge with Atman.

The start point of the Advaita Vedanta that this particular guru professed is different from Buddhadharma--in Advaita Vedanta there is an inherantly separately existing Atman.

Adi Shankara (8th Century CE)dedicated much of his short life to defining Hinduism in relation to Buddhadharma, and formalized a means of Hindu monasticism in relation to Buddhist monasticism which already existed some centuries earlier. Some accused Shankara of being a crypto Buddhist because he had borrowed some concepts from Buddhist philosophy to do this.


If you take ideas and differences seriously, they cannot be seen or treated as interchangeable and you're not a member of the cultic milieu, precisely for that reason.

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Re: Recovering from New Age Mumbo Jumbo
Posted by: corboy ()
Date: August 17, 2010 03:32AM

A Course in Miracles--a book with a history

Copyright disputes




What I find of the utmost interest is the the person who reportedly 'channelled' the text that was to become known as A Course in Miracles (ACIM), Helen Schuchman, was a psychologist on faculty at Columbia University. The ACIM own website states


Dr. Schucman held various prestigious positions throughout her life in the academic world, among them Associate Research Scientist, Instructor, Chief Psychologist at the Neurological Institute of the Presbyterian Hospital and Associate Professor of Psychology at Columbia University's College of Physicians and Surgeons. Until her retirement in 1976, she taught, did research, supervised clinical work, and collaborated on the writings of articles and chapters for professional journals and books.

This section from ACIM reads to my civilian's eye like the format for trance induction--something a medical psychologist would have known about.


Some of the ideas the workbook presents you will find hard to
believe, and others may seem to be quite startling.

This does not matter.

You are merely asked to apply the ideas as you are directed to do.

You are not asked to judge them at all. You are asked only to use them.

It is their use that will give them meaning to you, and will show you that they are true.

Remember only this; you need not believe the ideas, you need not accept them, and you need not even welcome them.

Some of them you may actively resist.

None of this will matter, or decrease their efficacy.

But do not allow yourself to make exceptions in applying the ideas the workbook contains, and whatever your reaction to the ideas may be, use them.

Nothing more than that is required.


compare with what is here:

this article has a most interesting warning:


Confusion inductions are not recommended for those already deeply confused, such as suicidal, grieving, or paranoid individuals.




Any effective communication is hypnosis. Successful poets, attorneys, salespeople, parents, politicians, religious leaders, etc. all use forms of hypnosis to alter someone's state of consciousness.

For example, one of the most commonly used and simple hypnotic patterns is the "negative command." If I say, "Don't think of a pink elephant with a yellow monkey on it's back", you have to think of it in order for you to not think of it. If a hypnotist says "I don't want you to feel too comfortable, now", the subject often finds her/himself getting comfortable.


Again, I am a civilian, but this reminds me of commands used in trance induction.

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Re: Recovering from New Age Mumbo Jumbo
Posted by: OutofTransition ()
Date: August 22, 2010 10:24PM

How many people have seen "The Music Man"? It's about a con man who travels from town to town selling the concept of boys' bands. He tells parents, "you don't need instruments, you don't need music, you don't need to practice--all you have to do is use the Think Method and you can play." In other words if you just sit around thinking about it, you have already achieved it.

A lot of this New Age stuff sounds a lot like the good professor's sales pitch. And people are flocking to sign up. You don't need to study, you don't need to learn, you don't need to train, you don't even need to DO anything--just think the right thoughts and what you want will come to pass. If it doesn't it means you didn't think the right thoughts or enough of the right thoughts. Sort of like faith. If your prayers aren't answered it is because you are the one lacking.

I too am distressed at the amount of pseudo-science and woo-woo that is infiltrating our culture--not just medicine. And I think that those cultures that succumb to this sort of thing will end up paying dearly for it in the long run. This may not be a politically correct thing to say, but all the visions, "medicine", amulets, charms, or what have you, did not stop stone-age Native cultures from losing their lands in the face of more technologically advanced invaders.

I work in preclinical medical research, and every so often I am approached by a neighbor or someone who has heard that my place is hiring. Almost invariably none of these people have a clue as to what type of work goes on there or what skills and education level is required. Some of these would-be applicants don't even know how to use a computer!!! This isn't McDonald's, folks. You need far more than a high school diploma to get in the door here. One of my neighbors got very angry with me because she learned the position she applied for had been taken by a "foreigner." Hey, that "foreigner" had the qualifications, you didn't. Get angry with the school system that cheated you and lied to you and told you your high school education was worth something and you didn't need to do more than the minimum to pass. I would say a good third of our workforce comes from countries outside the US, and again--they have the background. There are countries that value education, technology and science and there are countries that are increasingly turning to superstition. And history shows that the ones who turn to superstition end up stagnating and/or swallowed up by the ones who don't.

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Re: Recovering from New Age Mumbo Jumbo
Posted by: Stoic ()
Date: August 23, 2010 01:27AM

'In other words if you just sit around thinking about it, you have already achieved it.'

This is a gross simplification of the mental practice and preparation that is used in every successful endeavour.
No endeavour is successful unless the mental practice is tried and tested in the practical field of reality.

One of the problems with what is deemed 'new age thinking' is that there is a grain of truth in most of it--which is why it is so seductive to its audience. If it was so obviously a falsified fraud it would have little staying power.

From where I sit, the problem is with the deceptive and aggressive marketing, which skims over the hard practical work necessary to make anything worthwhile in favour of a quick result which appeals to those with little impulse control.
I find the same problems in the way that religion is proselytised and marketed. There is a basic structure of the truth of the human condition to all the great religions--without that resonance of truth none of those religions would have any shelf-life. The problems arise when groups hijack the basic structures for their own particular benefit and begin making slight amendments and corrections to suit their particular agenda and to increase the bottom line of profit.

The fact that there are problems with the later interpretations of the material does not necessarily negate the original basic premise.
This is the reason that academics are taught to value primary sources over secondary and investigators prefer first hand accounts, not chinese whispers.

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Re: Recovering from New Age Mumbo Jumbo
Posted by: Stoic ()
Date: August 23, 2010 06:26AM

In this interesting piece the author, Tana Dineen, posits an even more widespread milieu than the new age or cultic milieu, one she terms the 'Psychocracy':


which would suggest not that we should be striving to recover from new age mumbo jumbo, but that we are currently mired in an all-pervasive psychological milieu which in turn gives rise to our susceptability to new age and cultic claims of cures for whatever might currently ail us.

Its a thought provoking piece which resonated with me as I have a profound resistance (to use a psychological term--I claim no immunity to the milieu) to the presumption that another person has the expertise or right to define what is 'best' for me.

Edited 1 time(s). Last edit at 08/23/2010 06:31AM by Stoic.

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Re: Recovering from New Age Mumbo Jumbo
Posted by: Stoic ()
Date: August 23, 2010 08:43PM

A further pertinent comment on the limitations of the psychological milieu from the heretical Dr Dineen:


'For almost two decades, I have been cautioning people to be wary of the trendy notion that psychology can provide the answer to the age-old enigmas of life, the solution to civilisation's discontents, and the key to eliminating the destructive side of human nature. Assuming everything psychology offers to be scientifically proven, fearful people cling hopefully to a modern myth, that all of life's mysteries can be opened to human understanding. And too many psychologists have themselves embraced this myth. Rising proudly to a populist call for answers, they speak with a certainty that upholds the myth, but degrades the science.'

and an apt ending to a piece written in honour of Einsteins centenary:

'As Albert Einstein once said, 'whosoever undertakes to set themselves up as judges in the field of truth and knowledge are shipwrecked by the laughter of the gods'.

And so, upon reflection and with an ear open for cosmic laughter, the one thing I wish people understood about science is how science inspires puzzlement and wonder.'

Edited 1 time(s). Last edit at 08/23/2010 08:43PM by Stoic.

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