Sunday, August 18, 2019

From the archives: "TM and Cult Mania" on meditators' responses to criticism

I think a lot of people, who are new to the whole field of raising criticism and objections to Transcendental Meditation, may be a bit unprepared for the kinds of reactions that I've long been on the receiving end of. Hostile reactions from meditators, TM teachers and others who are almost reflexively supportive of any effort to spread the practice of meditation far and wide are common, and they usually take the form of avoidance, distraction or personal attacks on the person raising the objection to TM, along with the usual repetition of the "main points" of belief and doctrine that they constantly say are absolutely, positively not a part of learning TM. (You can even see some fifteen to twenty year old e-mail I've received containing much the same, here.)

Now that a few allegations of what the David Lynch Foundation's program of introducing TM into public schools might actually be doing there, have made it into a major newspaper, these sorts of responses are now likely to again be seen in any forum where these issues may be raised.

As evidenced by my experience on Facebook over the past few days, you will even see "haha" laughter reactions when serious issues of US constitutional guarantees of separation of church and state, or students' allegations they are being forced to meditate without their or their parents' fully informed consent, are brought out for discussion and comment. But these are the old habits of people who some might think should be loving, peaceful souls, because they'll sometimes also brag to you that they've been meditating for 40 years or more in the first few moments that you encounter them. They're acting from their insistence that their personal, mental experience is exactly what they say it is, and because they still unquestioningly believe what they were told long ago, the agenda that doesn't exist: that the world will magically transform itself to "Heaven on Earth" if as many people as possible will do exactly what they do.

The second two-thirds of the name of the David Lynch Foundation is, "for consciousness-based education and world peace." Get told enough times that you're working toward "world peace" while sitting with your eyes closed, and obviously strange things eventually begin to happen.

So here's an excerpt from the book, "TM and Cult Mania," which was published way back in 1980. Obviously the authors had some experience in dealing firsthand with meditators and TM promoters, because the descriptions in the book are very similar to what I saw, as far back as the early 1990's when first encountering the TM cheering section in online Usenet newsgroups, and to what I've again seen over the last few days.  This excerpt clearly comes from an academic perspective laced with sarcasm and perhaps the kind of fatigue that comes from having seen the same bad behaviors of meditators over and over again, a fatigue with which I'm quite familiar.

TM and Cult Mania, by Michael A. Persinger, Normand J. Carrey, and Lynn A. Suess. Christopher Publishing House, 1980

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