Wednesday, September 1, 2010

what, me di?

I once tried to do a free meditation course at uni but we were supposed to breathe in love and breathe out peace, and that turned out to be beyond me. Who knew?
But here's a meditation programme maybe even moi could concentrate on:

On second thoughts, the only clients they're going to attract are landmark forum egotists.
But I like the word-within-the-word play though, very UK 2006. Nearly reaches the heights (geddit?) of Inverness:Alternatives:
All about Meditation - improve your Italian, Greek and Libyan cooking via meditation.
All about Meditation - for those who still hold the Queen of Hearts dear.
All about Meditation - for those who think of "emotion" as E in motion, where E = energy
All about Meditation - how to produce fancies, devices and conceits from the comfort of your own castle.
All about Meditation - what ever you want "it" to be


  1. Turning back the tide?

  2. I object to the tone used here, not the technique. Sri Chinmoy is nothing like Landmark. I've been to Sri Chinmoy functions and have organised events that they participated in and have never picked up on 'cult' like tendencies. By the way, that "cult watch" page also lists Baha'i and Buddhist religions as "false" because they are "different from Christianity" (FAQ, "false religions"). That "cult" page should list itself as as cult-like for making unilateral discriminations on others beliefs based on their own presuppositional beliefs, which seems a pretty good definition of a cult to me. Anyway, if you like the poster word play (because, like yours, it's actually interesting and call apparent ironies to attention (ie the self absorbed aspect of meditation vs a spiritual focus on others)), why are you disparaging of them? I like their posters. They had an event called "biting the lotus" regarding 'biting the bullet' from their perspective, they are not afraid to laugh at themselves which I think is refreshing. Anyway, picking benign religious orgs for lampooning might be easy and give you content, but Destiny Church promotions are a hell of a lot more sophisticated and insidious (their hip hop promos are AMAZING), but their ideologies are divisive and homo/race/difference phobic. I think analysis of promotions that hide ulterior motives are harder but are much more useful and worthwhile. Like, I know, you usually do so well.

  3. yo yo, this post isn't calling Sri Chinmoy a cult - it's about the advertising of the centre, not what goes on there.
    In my opinion, the advertising with its emphasis on ME is only going to appeal to self-absorbed egomaniacs, naked narcissists if you will - mention of landmark forum was merely to highlight this fact.
    Not knowing the meditation centre (just like most people who see this), the leaflet seems an irony-free zone (perhaps like this blog, it doesn't always come across).
    I link to the cult website page because it gives a quick nutshell on landmark forum I vaguely agree with. I do not claim to agree with the entire content of all websites I link to (in the past I've linked to a Business Roundtable Chair speech); it's just the page I'm linking to that I even claim to have read.
    If I ever come across some Destiny Church literature I will blog it with relish. The stuff on here is just what comes across my path in everyday life. I am not picking on Sri Chimnoy for being religious, but for appealing to egotists.
    From your description, they're obviously misrepresenting themselves and not doing themselves justice.
    Also I really like their blue wall!

  4. And now for something completely different . . . three of my favourite 'Meditate' anagrams:

    Meat Tide: That's poetry.
    Meat Diet: Not followed by Sri Chimnoy
    Meat Tied: 'Being shackled in sausages is no cake walk'

  5. if the sausages are made of tongue, is that.... tongue tied?
    thank you Dr Edit!

  6. I don't think the ad has to be taken at face value. For those people who know what meditation generally is I think it's meant to be humorous. For "egotists" that actually do think it is all about themselves, well perhaps they have the most to gain from a Sri Chinmoy perspective. The irony is I think you'd actually be in agreement with their intended meaning if you knew something about them or didn't assume that they're being naive.

    You too are putting yourself into the public arena by blogging and risk being misunderstood, but you also risk simply getting the wrong end of the stick. But what is your aim? I think if you pick on the promotions of socially harmful organisations, in the adbusters style, or using critical studies techniques, you will invariably be witty and insightful, but you'll also be helping to pierce the pretense that we supposedly detect, and can be struggled against through this kind of analysis.

    On the other hand if it's all just a bit of a laugh, then how is what you're doing different from the media savoy techniques and cynical attitudes embodied in the ads themselves?

  7. "Media savoy", eh? What's that then? A 5-star hotel for journalists? Enough of the undergraduate flannel already -- the ad in question is a classic example of how oblivious most people are to the fact that they have been totalitarianized. An Eastern, supposedly self-transforming meditation centre enlisting the egocentrism of the consumer society to spread its gospel is like Jesus selling the TV rights for his Sermon on the Mount to SKY. For Krishna's sake read some George Orwell -- you won't find him in your Sociology textbooks and your "critical studies techniques" won't help you to understand him, but if you read slowly and carefully enough, the penny might evetually drop.

  8. Gentlemen... I'm pleased to come back after a weekend to find the continuation of such an interesting and well-argued debate - on both sides - on this post! (Finding the great Orwell shedding his pseudonym and posthumously pushing his own work on my humble blog is especially gratifying.)
    Robin - thank you for giving me impetus to clarify my own thoughts and actually probe what I mean and what I'm doing here. Whether or not the meditation ad is meant to be (or could be read as) ironic, I still maintain that most people will read it at face value, as I certainly did. Sri Chinmoy would be naive to think that most people would do otherwise - particularly their target audience of beginner meditators (the workshops listed inside are mostly introductions). As "Eric" indicates, it's disturbing to find a meditation organisation appealing to the basest and most capitalist atomisation of humanity. It seems like it is a religion celebrating the individual - even though, as you clearly witness, it is not. And as it is not, then like much proselytising, there's something a little dishonest about how they get egotists through the doors, and I am "piercing their pretense" on behalf of the self-obsessed everywhere (joke - haha!). (By the way, is SC Buddhist? There is no mention of religion in the leaflet - which is also a little underhand if it is a religious organisation.)
    As to the wider question of what this blog is all about, it's about print ads and other visual street culture that I have a reaction to, whether positive or negative. So far, it seems, my reaction may be provoked by the organisation the ad is about, by the ad's own style and/or substance, or by a wider issue the ad touches upon (in the case of child poverty, for instance). I will not avoid blogging about organisations I agree with - we do ourselves no favours by not looking at *good* things with a critical eye. (And anyway, to get back to this post, I don't know anything about Sri Chinmoy - apart from this leaflet and their blue wall - and so far they obviously haven't made a great impression on me, so I'm not going to avoid blogging about them just because they don't seem to be the blatant work of the devil.)
    Making people think, and see the messages they see every day in a different light, and yes making them laugh and trying not to make *too* much of a dick of myself, given this is a semi-public eye :-) Those are my aims here. I sincerely hope no one else will agree with me all of the time.
    Mr Blair - thanks for your erudition for a similar point of view to mine ... no need for the sarcasm however, ok? ta luv.

  9. Various eastern religions are somehow sacred cows in our society--wisdom from the mystic east is presented as somehow beyond criticism, at any level. Of course, some of these are cults; Hare Krishna, for one, and some strands of Buddhism.

    Throwing the 'c' word at Sri Chinmoy is beyond my ken, but he did characterise himself as an avatar or manifestation of God, and call on his followers to buy and read his books, and to worship his image. Leaving aside the other controversies, and the belief in astrology, this all suggests to me that whatever wisdom stems from his programmes has to be taken with a grain of salt.

  10. FYI, as it was brought to my attention that there was other, truly objectionable material on the cultwatch website, I've changed the landmark link to: a journalist goes to landmark forum. cheers J