Backlash to the YJ pro-vaccination essay revealed the long shadow of #conspirituality among yoga enthusiasts, but it also revealed something else... (thx to the @Medium editors for boosting with a better title) /1…
@Medium In her personal essay, Wolf Terry’s appeal to the pro-social values of “community” when considering vaccination echoes yoga space language dating back over decades. The backlash shows just how manipulated and empty the term “community” has become. /2
@Medium For Terry, the word has had IRL gravitas. By email, she said it began with “a truly tight-knit group of people in my professional, and in some cases, personal life”. As she began to write more critically, she notes, this narrowed to a circle with clearly-shared values. /3
@Medium But the global popularity of yoga branding depends on the illusion of universally shared values. This tracks back to Vivekananda at the World Parliament of Religions in 1893 electrifying audiences with descriptions of Yoga in the neo-Hindu vein of post-sectarian universalism. /4
@Medium It tracks forward through Satchitananda (a sexual abuser) opening Woodstock with an OM in front of a counterculture that viewed itself as unified but would quickly be co-opted as the bacchanalian fuel of the libertarian Californian Ideology. /5…
@Medium On a group level, the promise of “community” bound together by universal values and methods becomes a key deception of yoga cult leaders from Yogi Bhajan to Vishnudevananda, and orgs distorted by cultic dynamics, from Jivamukti to Anusara. /6
@Medium What the discourse of “community” mostly does, IMO, is to provide cover for the shameful fact that what really binds yoga enthusiasts together is consumerism and charismatic influence. While there are communities within it, as a whole we’re talking about a marketplace. /7
@Medium This puts the backlash to Terry’s essay into a different perspective. Her trolls are shamed/outraged by “community” being associated with the actionable: the commons, public health, a social contract. On some level, they know that’s what it should entail. /8
@Medium But this privatized religion depends on the smugness of conflating personal choice and development with community care. TLDR: yoga is the de facto religion of neoliberalism, allowing the privileged to spiritually masturbate about freedom for all through virtuous consumption. /9
@Medium Older forms of yoga conceived of freedom through realizations of interdependence. But globalized yoga centres on developing the enlightened agency of consumers’ bodies, who practice beside each other, but remain radiantly separate and invulnerable. /end

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More from @matthewremski

20 Jul
Listening to @QanonAnonymous's excellent new bonus on Discordianism and its agit-prop art-child Operation Mindfuck, which the founders hoped could dismantle the American addiction to conspiracism through absurdist exposure therapy, leading towards independent thinking. /1
But flooding the market with conspiracy theory satire didn’t cleanse anything, duh. At one point Jake riffs: “There’s so much capitalism that you can’t empty somebody’s brain and not have it immediately filled with more capitalism, and a worse kind.” /2
This thread is to say that that single comment can be scaled up to apply to a core affect in global Buddhism/mindfulness/wellness commodification, which was based on the premise that cathartic mental discipline will clear biases and delusions, and liberate thought and feeling. /3
Read 8 tweets
20 Jul
Very excited for @annieknk to guest host this week on CP. Reading her brill thesis on online anti-feminism and every graf is like a thematic prophecy for the misogynistic and xenophobic paranoias of QAnon and conspirituality. I’ll tweet more tomorrow after I digest this one: /1
@AnnieKNK A key metaphor in redpill dungeons has feminism “infecting” women like a virus, inspiring the sickness of agency. It is not natural but contrived, and will deprive free (male) citizens of status, pleasure, freedom, and legacy. Unless it is recognized for the hoax that it is. /2
@AnnieKNK Sound familiar? COVID denialism makes a lot of sense through this lens. At its heart it is saying: nothing is wrong. I’m still healthy. I can’t see this virus. Feminism, trans rights, public health, and now CRT are seen as authoritarian over-corrections to invisible problems. /3
Read 4 tweets
19 Jul
The wellness industry is the perfect unregulated agora in which people can invent spiritual and lifestyle hacks that perfectly sublimate and monetize childhood baggage. And they can do it without guardrails. If they lean into emotional incontinence, they go viral. /1
There used to be the joke that if you were anal-retentive you could find a happy job in bureaucracy or accounting. Or a spectrum of authority issues would make you welcome in policing or education. /2
But actual jobs demand some kind of surrender of the neurosis to the higher order. With gig-work, the development of the baggage is incentivized, and if the influencer hooks a demographic that shares their same support vacuum, they’ve got it made. /3
Read 4 tweets
30 Jun
I did some speculative math on Bret Weinstein’s Patreon, which has soared with his pivots to anti-vax rhetoric, scientific hipsterism, and now censorship-themed Wagnerian opera. 4 scenarios for his current 3420 patrons:
3000 @ tier 1 ($2) + 420 @ tier 2 ($5) = 8100/mo... /1
3000 @ tier 1 ($2) + 300 @ tier 2 ($5) + 120 @ tier 3 ($25) = 10,500/mo
3000 @ tier 1 ($2) + 300 @ tier 2 ($5) + 90 @ tier 3 ($25) + 30 @ tier 4 ($100) = 12,750/mo
3000 @ tier 1 ($2) + 300 @ tier 2 ($5) + 90 @ tier 3 ($25) + 20 @ tier 4 ($100) + 10 @ tier 5 ($250) = 14,250/mo /2
Whatever the total, this guy is headed for a 6-figure year from an indulgence of fringe science, outside his scope of practice, as he milks the culture war cow he rode in on. It’s not just a lark or grift. If it raises vax hesitancy, it’s arguably a form of deadly malpractice. /3
Read 10 tweets
28 Jun
Lovely @GurusPod episode on @C_Kavanagh growing up in Narn Ireland with a teenage mystic crush on Anthony de Mello. It stirred nostalgia for my own catholic boyhood spent idealizing catholic influencers like Bede Griffiths and de Chardin. It also stirred a flood of opinions. /1
@GurusPod @C_Kavanagh De Mello was only a name to me until this episode, but hearing the clips was instantly familiar. The male charisma of 70s-80s globalizing mysticism has a distinct ring. Krishnamurthi, Alan Watts, Ram Dass: all had a radiant or smug confidence that polished rather banal advice. /2
@GurusPod @C_Kavanagh When you're 14 and can feel the emptiness of religion and capitalism, it’s easy to be lit up by the wise-seeming hermit or picaro who seems to embody and transcend your developmental rebellion. They gaze at you, and utter enigmatic mic-drops, and you feel empowered. /3
Read 13 tweets
15 Apr
Monday's #Conspirituality bonus episode is called "Post Cult Shame". With quotes from Primo Levi's 1986 book, The Drowned and The Saved. Levi was an Auschwitz survivor who wrote on the "gray zone" shared by perpetrators and victims in totalitarian states. /1
I'll be using this text to explore how the shame of post cult life is not only about what survivors had stolen from them — time, money, their bodies — but about what they had to do to gain and retain some quantum of safety within the group. /2
Caveat: I’m not comparing Holocaust experiences with cult experiences in some facile way. I’m following a tradition of researchers who reach back to writers like Levi and Arendt, whose analyses of totalitarianism have been central to cult studies for decades. /3
Read 4 tweets

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