I't is amazing how big that movie was.
You bet that movie was big. I was shocked when I attended a lecture at our
Zen practice center and a seemingly reputable teacher referred to What the Bleep as
tying in with Zen practice.
Folks, any movie or guru that is a product of mass marketing is something that is part of a process (in this case marketing) that is designed to massage and trigger cravings
and herd mentality.
Genuine Buddhist insight practice (which includes Zen) means investigating the processs of craving so as to become free from it, not foolishly going along with marketing and products of marketing such as What the Bleep.
One cannot use craving to become free from craving. Thats like trying cure poisoning by adding more of the same poison.
In addition to examinging JZ Knight, also consider examining the social context in which she and others like her market her stuff.
Some movies and books are more than movies or books. They become gathering points and even badges of identity in the cultic milieu, a subculture which empowers New Age entreprenuers/euses.
One very good way to identify unhealthy elements in this cultic milieu is to see which items are produced by marketing and PR and inflame craving in the guise of assuaging it.
Two, unhealthy elements of cultic milieu foster fear of anything and anyone outside the subculture, cutting you off from friends, family and, in some cases, medical care.
And a very important element of unhealthy cultic milieu is that it presents as a liberating dignified alternative to oppressive, capitalist mainstream culture, while its gurus, channellers and products (such as what the Bleep) are products of that same capitalistic culture, only in disguise and you are without the consumer protection offered by mainstream society.
You can do more reading here
There is an interesting library of articles here.
I disagree with the author's beliefs about the nature of HIV and why the HIV pandemic has become so severe.
This said, a number of the articles led me to some interesting books and research leads.
Larree, I cannot even remember what pattern of internet searching led me to Mr Shepherds site.
Yeah, its a gold mine. He provides yet more information on how Esalen was a very important venue during which many people touched contact.
It all fits in with that sociologists concept of 'cultic milieu'--a social venue in which people explore alternatives to mainstream ideas and treatment modalities.
The cultic milieu isnt all bad. It is often the first entry point for material that later, when tested scientifically, through double blind studies and peer review, turns out to be of demonstrable worth and is later incorporated into mainstream medicine.
Its when ones participation in cultic milieu leads to devaluing critical thinking and overvaluing charismatic leaders and feel good stuff that trouble develops.
My take is that if we are unwary, hanging out in cultic milieu and forming friendships
can soften us up for later recruitment by cult leaders who are severe enough to fit the Lifton protocols.
BTW here is a great article in the current issue of Wired magazine that deals with why scientists have such difficulty in debate with anti-rational ideologues in the cultic milieu.
The rejection of hard-won knowledge is by no means a new phenomenon. In 1905, French mathematician and scientist Henri Poincaré said that the willingness to embrace pseudo-science flourished because people “know how cruel the truth often is, and we wonder whether illusion is not more consoling.”
Decades later, the astronomer Carl Sagan reached a similar conclusion: Science loses ground to pseudo-science because the latter seems to offer more comfort.
“A great many of these belief systems address real human needs that are not being met by our society,” Sagan wrote of certain Americans’ embrace of reincarnation, channeling, and extraterrestrials.
“There are unsatisfied medical needs, spiritual needs, and needs for communion with the rest of the human community.”
Colin Campbell came up with the term cultic milieu. Remember, people are trying to find dignity, agency, love. These needs cannot be met by anyone whose actual agenda is to run a business and compete with other gurus and do this by advertising. Those are the poisonous elements of mainstream culture from which people are trying to seek healing via alternatives to mainstream culture.
The gurus whose methods are critiqued here speak the vocubulary of spiriutuality but their methods are the same as mainstream capitalism and they dont see each person as a unique preson, just as another face in the crowd, another income generating unit.
Marketing cant heal craving or bring wisdom or compassion.