Books, movies and websites

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ex-l

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Re: Books, movies and websites

Post08 Jul 2010

Book:
Bright-Sided: How The Relentless Promotion of Positive Thinking Has Undermined America by Barbara Ehrenreich

An depressing story about a group of young life coaches sometimes referred to as the “spiritual cowgirls.” These hip young women, who have lots of charisma but no professional qualifications, are setting themselves up as ersatz gurus to their questing peers. They charge hundreds of dollars for sessions that combine New Age atmospherics with the kind of power-of-positive thinking nostrums that made a phenomenon out of The Secret.

“[N]ow there is a new role model for New York’s former Carrie Bradshaws—young women who are vegetarian, well versed in self-help and New Age spirituality, and who are finding a way to make a living preaching to eager audiences, mostly female,” reported the Times. One 31-year-old member of this eager audience is quoted praising her spiritual tutor Gabrielle Bernstein, a 29-year-old former nightclub publicist who lectures on using the “laws of attraction” to “manifest” one’s desires. “A lot of women look up to her,” the student says. “We need this guidance and we are searching for this guidance.” Bernstein’s audacity in marketing herself as a sage appears to be matched by the piteousness of her customers.

A broadside against exactly the sort of pabulum peddled by Bernstein, Bright-Sided reveals the historical roots and conservative uses of the positive thinking movement, showing how it encourages victim-blaming, political complacency, and a culture-wide flight from realism.

Just recently, one of 'The Secret' positive thinking gurus - James Arthur Ray - caused the death of three adherents in a $9,000 a week "Spritual Warrior" seminar gone wrong. After being featured on The Secret and Oprah Winfrey, his earnings increased from $1.9 m to $ 9 m. Why did not their guru's teachings of "positive thinking" help them?
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Re: Books, movies and websites

Post18 Jul 2010

    • Living With Love by Jiddu Krishnamurti.
Do the BKs know who he is/was?
Jiddu Krishnamurti - Guru cannot awaken you

Questioner: In my view, the guru is one who awakens me to the truth, to reality. What is wrong with my taking to such a guru?

Jiddu Krishnamurti : This question arises because I have said that gurus are an impediment to truth. Don't say you are wrong and I am right, or I am wrong and you are right, but let us examine the problem and find out. Let us inquire like mature, thoughtful people, without denying and without justifying.

Which is more important, the guru or you? And why do you go to a guru? You say, ''To be awakened to truth.'' Are you really going to a guru to be awakened to the truth? Let us think this out very clearly. Surely, when you go to a guru you are actually seeking gratification. That is, you have a problem and your life is a mess; it is in confusion, and because you want to escape from it, you go to somebody whom you call a guru to find consolation verbally or to escape an ideation. That is the actual process, and that process you call seeking truth.

That is, you want comfort, you want gratification, you want your confusion cleared away by somebody, and the person who helps you to find escapes you call a guru. Actually, not theoretically, you look to a guru who will assure you of what you want. You go guru-hunting as you go window-shopping: You see what suits you best and then buy it. In India, that is the position: You go around hunting for gurus, and when you find one you hold on to his feet or neck or hand until he gratifies you. To touch a man's feet - that is one of the most extraordinary things. You touch the guru's feet and kick your servants, and thereby you destroy human beings, you lose human significance.

So, you go to a guru to find gratification, not truth. The idea may be that he should awaken you to truth, but the actual fact is that you find comfort. Why? Because you say, ''I cannot solve my problem, somebody must help me.'' Can anybody help you solve the confusion which you have created? What is confusion? Confusion with regard to what? Suffering with regard to what? Confusion and suffering exist in your relationship with things, people, and ideas; and if you cannot understand that confusion which you have created, how can another help you? He can tell you what to do, but you have to do it yourself, it is your own responsibility; and because you are unwilling to take that responsibility, you sneak off to the guru - that is the right expression to use, ''sneak off'' - and you think you have solved the problem.

On the contrary, you have not solved it at all; you have escaped, but the problem is still there. And, strangely, you always choose a guru who will assure you of what you want; therefore, you are not seeking truth, and therefore the guru is not important. You are actually seeking someone who will satisfy you in your desires; that is why you create a leader, religious or political, and give yourself over to him, and that is why you accept his authority. Authority is evil, whether religious or political, because it is the leader and his position that are all-important, and you are unimportant. You are a human being with sorrow, pain, suffering, joy, and when you deny yourself and give yourself over to somebody, you are denying reality because it is only through yourself that you can find reality, not through somebody else.

Now, you say that you accept a guru as one who awakens you to reality. Let us find out if it is possible for another to awaken you to reality. I hope you are following all this because it is your problem, not mine. Let us find out the truth about whether another can awaken you to reality. Can I, who have been talking for an hour and a half, awaken you to reality, to that which is real? The term guru implies, does it not, a man who leads you to truth, to happiness, to bliss eternal. Is truth a static thing that someone can lead you to? Someone can direct you to the station.

Is truth like that - static, something permanent to which you can be led? It is static only when you create it out of your desire for comfort. But truth is not static; nobody can lead you to truth. Beware of the person who says he can lead you to truth because it is not true. Truth is something unknown from moment to moment; it cannot be captured by the mind, it cannot be formulated, it has no resting place.

Therefore, no one can lead you to truth. You may ask me, ''Why are you talking here?'' All that I am doing is pointing out to you what is and how to understand what is as it is, not as it should be. I am not talking about the ideal but about a thing that is actually right in front of you, and it is for you to look and see it. Therefore, you are more important than I, more important than any teacher, any savior, any slogan, any belief, because you can find truth only through yourself, not through another. When you repeat the truth of another, it is a lie.

Truth cannot be repeated. All that you can do is to see the problem as it is and not escape. When you see the thing as it actually is, then you begin to awaken, but not when you are compelled by another. There is no savior but yourself. When you have the intention and the attention to look directly at what is, then your very attention awakens you because in attention everything is implied. To give attention, you must be devoted to what is, and to understand what is, you must have knowledge of it. Therefore, you must look, observe, give it your undivided attention, for all things are contained in that full attention you give to what is.

So, the guru cannot awaken you; all that he can do is to point out what is. Truth is not a thing that can be caught by the mind. The guru can give you words; he can give you an explanation, the symbols of the mind, but the symbol is not the real, and if you are caught in the symbol, you will never find the way. Therefore, that which is important is not the teacher, it is not the symbol, it is not the explanation, but it is you who are seeking truth.

To seek rightly is to give attention, not to God, not to truth, because you don't know it, but attention to the problem of your relationship with your wife, your children, your neighbor. When you establish right relationship then you love truth, for truth is not a thing that can be bought, truth does not come into being through self-immolation or through the repetition of mantras. Truth comes into being only when there is self-knowledge.

Self-knowledge brings understanding, and when there is understanding, there are no problems. When there are no problems, then the mind is quiet, it is no longer caught up in its own creations. When the mind is not creating problems, when it understands each problem immediately as it arises, then it is utterly still, not made still. This total process is awareness, and it brings about a state of undisturbed tranquillity which is not the outcome of any discipline, of any practice or control, but is the natural outcome of understanding every problem as it arises.

Problems arise only in relationship, and when there is understanding of one's relationship with things, with people, and with ideas, then there is no disturbance of any kind in the mind, and the thought process is silent. In that state there is neither the thinker nor the thought, the observer nor the observed.

Therefore, the thinker ceases, and then the mind is no longer caught in time, and when there is no time, the timeless comes into being. But the timeless cannot be thought of. The mind, which is the product of time, cannot think of that which is timeless. Thought cannot conceive or formulate that which is beyond thought. When it does, its formulation is still part of thought.

Therefore, eternity is not a thing of the mind; eternity comes into being only when there is love, for love in itself is eternal. Love is not something abstract to be thought about; love is to be found only in relationship with your wife, your children, your neighbor. When you know that love which is unconditional, which is not the product of the mind, then reality comes into being, and that state is utter bliss.

December 19, 1948 Third Talk in New Delhi

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jann

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Re: Books, movies and websites

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jann

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Re: Books, movies and websites

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Re: Books, movies and websites

Post18 Dec 2010

Movie
    Ticket to heaven.
A dramatization of a young man (David) who is seduced by a religious cult that uses starvation, exhaustion, and brainwashing to mold recruits into money hustling disciples of a messiah-like leader. Turned into a gaunt, mindless shadow of his former self; he is extracted by his family and friends to be deprogrammed.

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Re: Books, movies and websites

Post25 Jul 2012

Two recent End of the World movies of two very different natures for those still hooked on the idea.

One is incredibly dark and realistic, I think ...
    The Road
The world is in ruins after some unknown apocalyptic event. A Father and his son are walking towards the coast in an attempt to head south to escape the increasingly cold, endless winter. The mother, being unable to face life as it is, has committed suicide. Along the way they have to avoid gangs forced into even cannibalism in order to survive.

The whole journey is a struggle to survive in a world no longer capable of sustaining life.

On one level, it kind of works as a metaphor for coming out of and surviving the nihilist and apocalyptic BK mentality ... in which the rest of the world dies and the adherent "dies alive". I think it is also a fairly realistic portray of what the world might look life if our ecosystem collapses for some reason, human-made or natural. I could easily imagine certain elements of humanity in our cities today turning to cannibalism.

The movie is actually a lot darker and bleaker than the trailer with its "heroic" music.



The other is very light, silly and unbelievable but perhaps how you might want the world to go ... the weird, frightening, depressing, enlightening, funny, and downright odd journey of two strangers who just need a companion days before doomsday.
    Seeking a Friend for the End of the World.
The film opens with an announcement that a seventy-mile-wide asteroid is on a collision course with Earth, the world only has three weeks until impact, at which time all of humanity will be wiped out. The lead actor's wife flees without saying a word to him, people react differently from indulging in constant drug taking to guilt-free sex, he goes off seeking his first love.

It's unbelievable for me because although I could believe an asteroid might hit earth ... how could a Steve Carell bed a Keira Knightley in the real world? The message being that romantic love is worth giving everything up for.

There are no BK meditating or "Advance Party" building palaces of gold for BKs Sat Yuga in either. According to the BKWSU, the world should have ended in WWII, 1950, 1976 or the mid-1980s and Heaven on Earth be half-way constructed by now.

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Re: Books, movies and websites

Post30 Nov 2012

Movie
The Man from Earth

A modern allegory to answer, or rather question, many of the Western religious myths and propose an alternative. Nice, gentle touching story and interesting production.

"John Oldman" is a departing university professor who claims to be a cro-magnon caveman who has somehow survived for over 14,000 years, living through generations and generations of humanity watching it evolve, travelling to the Far East to learn from the Buddha and come back via the Middle East at the time of Christ.

Done on a very small budget, it is set in Oldman's house during his farewell party, with the plot advancing through intellectual arguments between Oldman and fellow academic faculty members from various specialities; history, anthropology, psychology, biology etc.

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Re: Books, movies and websites

Post20 Jan 2013

Movie
Sound of My Voice (site and extended clip)

Sound of My Voice is a psychological movie, but not a thriller as it says, about an invented cult led by the mysterious 'Maggie', who claims to be from the future, which a couple in their twenties, embarking on their first undercover journalism project, have personal motivations to expose as a fraud.

Maggie describes the future as riddled with war, famine and struggle, and has come back to select a special band of chosen people to prepare for what lies ahead. Leading the group in a series of intense psychological exercises and telling them about herself and the future, she never proving nor disproving her extraordinary claim.

After several group meetings, Maggie instructs one of the couple to bring her an eccentric eight-year-old student he's teaching. The other is privately approached by a woman from the Justice Department who claims Maggie is a wanted criminal. I won't spoil the plot for you but the end remains highly ambiguous and possibly symbolic.

A baffling and unsettling movie about skepticism and belief, self-invention and authority that raises a number of issues for me. For the most part, it does not reflect the Brahma Kumaris cult. I think it is more rooted in the model of extreme American-style personal growth or Sci-Fi cults, however, there are elements of the leader's language and behaviour and the groups willingness to conform and express itself, that are definitely very uncomfortably similar to BKism in the West.

I think the claustrophobia of a small center and a small group around a charismatic center-in-charge is communicated very well. It's also an outsider's view of a cult without it being the usual shock-horror stereotype. Not a super great movie but one that I appreciated and I look forward to the sequel if it gets made. I would look forward to a similar movie about Lekhraj Kirpalani and Om Mandli ... if it was without all of the BKs ridiculous Bhakti.

The director and co-writer researched current and past cults and visited many such groups in Los Angeles. I would be surprised if the Brahma Kumaris were not on that list but I can see where they took motifs from other groups or gurus.
The Director of the Movie wrote:We were going to this group — I don't want to say its name — and we were really moved by what they were doing, physically. Their exercises and way of being was (I think) state of the art. But the people who were drawn to the groups had this sort of brokenness that was a little overwhelming. And this desire to sort of heal themselves with a quick fix. That was really overwhelming.

If they were broken and could just stay in their brokenness, I think, we would have been more comfortable with the situation. But the idea that this group was going to save them with a snap of a finger fascinated me. And I think that that's really the impetus of Sound Of My Voice.

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