Skepchick Quickies 6.18


Amanda works in healthcare, is a loudmouthed feminist, and proud supporter of the Oxford comma.

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  1. Often, those waiting sat in meditation near Amma, or strolled at the back of the conference room, where booths offered everything from free pamphlets on Amma’s teachings to $54 socks worn by the guru to saris she also has worn, some bringing in “at least a few thousand dollars,” according to a saleswoman.

    Chest Hug marketing. Its not a bad scheme – although I admit it would work better with a younger sexier saint. She needs to start franchising to the younger set.

  2. Its a little difficult with these Indian gurus.
    On the one hand I think they do some cool humanitarian work that I agree with… but on the other they are really opening up the door to New Age woo, and postmodernist thinking.

    I mean from what I can see, she doesn’t actively promote woo, apart from prayer perhaps, and I guess I can accept that in small doses anyway, but I am a little wary of the community around her.

    What do people think about the Indian yoga type gurus?
    I am never quite sure how I feel about it tbh.
    I guess I probably wouldn’t actively endorse them but I don’t have any particular problems with their teachings, since they are usually really mild and open. And It all seems very agreeable, fluffy and nice.
    The only problem is that I guess a lot of people get a bit unhelpfully mystical once they get into this.

  3. @Agranulocytosis: If you are selling your socks for $54 dollars, one can infer that she is selling woo. Why pay $54 unless you think there is some special “force” associated with the sock.

    I think the Yoga exercise has been shown to be very beneficial physically. As well as meditation for controlling stress.
    I believe the Kama Sutra is another form of Yoga and is of course quite…entertaining and educational.
    Whether those things promote enlightenment – that is doubtful.

  4. @Agranulocytosis: I have no problems with Yoga in and of itself — it’s good exercise, and promotes relaxation and calm. In our over-worked, under-exercised society, that’s not a bad thing.

    I can’t stand actually participating, though, because the spirituality woo is so very heavy handed a lot of the time. (Well, that and I get bored.) And, it usually branches off into more obnoxious and dangerous woo, like homeopathy and whatnot. That’s when it goes from “slightly obnoxious hippy talk” to “stupid”.

  5. @Non Believer:

    Well, you could see the sock thing as a way of getting donations for her schools or something, since people just have an inherent fascination with touching. So it might be similair to somebody famous signing a DVD. People just want it because it was in contact with somebody they admire.
    I haven’t read anything that suggests that they are supposed to have special powers. Then again I didn’t pay a lot attention.

    As for Yoga. Meh, I don’t know. I am slightly biased here, due to people in my family who are really into it.
    I have met some Indian Swamis when I was a teen in Germany, and the whole thing was rather woo.

    I mean it was also very pleasant and harmless for the most part, but a certain family member just inevitably started talking about “flying” and stopping your own heart with the power of meditation etc.
    So I am quite suspicious.

    I think it’s a bit of a grey area though, since the woo component is not necessarily the focus.

  6. As a doc, when I read the titles, I couldn’t help but immediately picture a dog, perhaps a bulldog, balling up his little paw in an attempt to perform a rectal exam

  7. @marilove: if you want yoga without the preaching, check out anusara. i can’t assure you every teacher stays off the religious stuff, but my experience is that most use it as only window dressing and the yoga is just about the forms and alignment.

    @Amanda if you get that t-shirt made, please share!!

  8. The hunter wanted to give wild cubs to his children as pets? That man deserves neither pets nor children. I hope both Fish & Game and Social Services were notified.

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