Thursday, February 22, 2007

Physicists vs. Salesmen

by Gina Catena, M.S.

In the TM Movement,and other New Age circles we hear frequent reference to the much touted films "What the Bleep Do We Know?" and The Secret." These films blend pseudo-science, mysticism, faux "experts" and psychics for a sharp presentation on the power of the mind. Those without scientific training often succumb to deemed "truths" of these movies.

Our TM background accostomed us to scientific terms misapplied to pseudo Eastern philosophy.

The following scientific conference abstract comes from a practicing physicist tired of charlatans misapplying his profession:


The Contribution of Quantum Mechanics to the Physics of Consciousness and the Rise of Mind-Body Complementary and Alternative Therapies: Quackeries from New Age Movements or a New Medical Science?


Unfortunately, most practicing physicists lack the time to demonstrate ineptitude of those twisting science to advance their own interests.

I hope the above link provides some awareness of real physics, vs TM's false physics.

As to deemed physiologic benefits of TM, the same benefits can be obtained by low dose morphine, certain antidepressants, regular practice of other forms of meditation (not linked to wealth building advanced courses), or regular exercise.

Pharmacology research is required to address adverse effects of exogenous chemicals introduced to the body. TM researchers are not required to reveal potential negative effects of TM, even if they are aware of such, because their research does not involve pharmaceuticals.

That is why negative effects of TM are not discussed by TM's research scientists. They neither seek nor measure negative effects, thus they are not reported. No need to measure adverse effects, since no foreign substance is introduced into the body, right?
WRONG!

If one scratches the surface, with a little understanding of statistics or physics, it is easy to question the validity and usefulness of TM's deemed-scientific research.

Transcendental Meditation, as taught 20 minutes twice per day, may offer benefits.

There is a down side that new initiates should be aware of, prior to "investing $2500 to learn a scientificly proven method for deep rest and release of stress."

The warning label should read, "TM, the cult, may be hazardous to your health, your emotional, psychological, financial and familial well being. Many teachings are taught by deceived, but sincere, individuals. Others methods offer similar or identical benefits for less cost and no risk of cult persuasion."

With appropriate warning applied to TM's marketing, I would have no objection. Truth in Advertising.

8 comments:

Anonymous said...

A warning label for learning TM?

Are you joking? I've bought sets of kitchen knives, which I've occasionally nicked myself on, and automobiles which I've had fender benders in, and neither came with a warning label.

I've also learned TM, and over the decades of regular use have nary a scratch or odd occurence to show for it. It works exactly as promised.

So, relax your anti-TM agenda for a moment, grow up, and get real.

Thanks, you'll like it.

Sudarsha said...

grow up, and get real. -- many people have not had your good experience and have more than gotten "nicked".

Analogies are always difficult, but TM is somewhat different from a kitchen knife. It's someting totally unfamiliar to the ordinary person and DEFINITELY merits warning labels. It wouldn't hurt Mahesh to grow up and get real rather than treating everyone like gullible children. But, yes, children ought to know better than to take candy from strangers.

Still, it's the rotten strangers who go to jail, or at least should.

If you've had good TM experiences, then that's good. But, for those who have not been so fortunate, we have this Blog.

Hopefully we can help those seeking it.

S

Boaz said...

Anonymous:

There's a difference between a knife or car and a meditation technique. For the knife or car, its clear what its supposed to do, and the risks are relatively well known, because most people are pretty familiar with these things.

On the other hand, a meditation technique, or a drug is not so clear as to what its supposed to do, at least to the consumer. You rely on the advertising to understand what the basic function is.

You are like someone who took a drug and it helped them talking to someone who had a very bad reaction to that drug and saying that they should be quiet because you were helped by the drug. I suggest you grow up and realize that just because you had a good response to TM doesn't mean that others will as well.

This is an important point about truth in advertising. TM does offer benefits to some, but not all. Both from the perspective of the technique itself and the community/philosophy aspects.
Its unfortunate that websites like these are necessary to provide the appropriate warning label, that could be coming from the TM organization itself.

-Boaz

Boaz said...

Looks like sudarsha basically made the same point as me. Sorry for the redundancy.

Anonymous said...

Boaz wrote: "There's a difference between a knife or car and a meditation technique. For the knife or car, its clear what its supposed to do, and the risks are relatively well known, because most people are pretty familiar with these things.

On the other hand, a meditation technique...is not so clear as to what its supposed to do, at least to the consumer. You rely on the advertising to understand what the basic function is."

Such innocent baby seekers in the West. I suppose meditation, self contained within the practitioner, is so foreign to the little westerners that (gasp!) warning labels are necessary. Unfortunately, you have made your point.

Boaz said...

Anonymous:

I think that TM is particularly in need of warning labels because of its strong public relations arm. I don't think the same is true of most other organizations teaching meditation. Further, the promises are not so large and so the expectations lower.

I do apologize for telling you to grow up. This idea that if someone doesn't have experience in a certain area it implies they are an overall baby is a pretty limited view of a person.

It sounds like you have the attitude that if Westerners are hurt by TM or the organization then too bad for them, because they are weaklings. Why are you so filled with ill will towards other people?

-Boaz

Gina said...

Thank you, Boaz,

Yes, the TM movement has a strong PR arm! That is an understatment. They also have a strong legal arm.

I think "anon" above feels WE are filled w/ ill will for others. In reality, we are concerned that folks may not be aware that TM may have an addictive quality for vulnerable individuals. To my knowledge, we cannot determine who is more vulnerable than others.

Maybe we are comparable to the first folks lobbying for warnings on alcholic beverages or tobacco. Remember when LSD was legal? And once-upon-a-time Coca Cola was laced with cocaine "things go better with coke..." Changes were implemented because of outspoken concerned individuals.

"Anon" above has good results w/ TM. That's great! S/he probably feels personally affronted by our conversations.
(I wonder how many had withdrawal symptoms when Coca Cola removed cocaine from their recipe)

Speaking for myself, I have no ill will for TMers, devout and otherwise, of my history. I love many of them (but they probably won't speak with me again).

It took decades to realize that it was NOT normal to have grown up with folks going psychotic and committing suicide around me (as a TM upbringing provided), let alone the sexual insanities and other group-think secrets.

And btw, cars come w/ a warning label of sorts.. that one must have a driving license to drive legally, follow the rules of the road, and maintain the engine to avoid danger. Kitchen knife sets usually have small print ("for food use only"). Graphic movies and TV warn us of potential dangers of cars and misapplied knives.

Public discussion of potential mediatation hazards, from a multi-billiion dollar global group, is a new phenomenon.

Remember, "All you need is love" "The fool on the hill" has all the answers.. and when leaving the group, you walk away "While my guitar gently weeps."

Gina

facedog said...

anon said, Such innocent baby seekers in the West. I suppose meditation, self contained within the practitioner, is so foreign to the little westerners that (gasp!) warning labels are necessary.


One of the differences between Eastern and Western seekers is that we have only had a few generations, starting with Yogananda's tall tales, being lied to by Gurus under our cultural belt. American seekers in general do tend to be innocent and want to take others at face value. In India where people have been bullshitted for thousands of years, they do seem to "get it" that the promises made by Gurus are not meant to be taken literally. Americans know that about used car salesmen, but are just learning that about Gurus. But we learn real fast...

Luckily not all Gurus are false and psychopathic, like MMY and many others....

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