Some of my fellow cynical, skeptical, atheist types don’t always understand why I have such a negative reaction to veganism, yoga and all sorts of touchy-feely alternative spiritual practices. Many of you say, “Sure, it’s woo, but what’s the harm?” You see, I didn’t grow up in the Bible Belt. I didn’t live in an area with a lot of Evangelical Christians. I did live in a town which was known for its arts community. I don’t remember any Baptist Churches, although I do remember Unitarian and Quaker Churches and a big Victorian House associated with the Transcendental Meditation movement, you know, that movement run by the guy who said he could teach his followers to levitate. I later went to a small liberal arts college which wasn’t Evergreen, but is sometimes spoken of in the same context with about a dozen of other small, liberal arts schools. I do have acquaintances who went to Evergreen. It’s part of the larger milieu in which I frequently find myself.
In the wake of yet another campus temper tantrum, I came across this video:
Did you pick up that the song in the background is “Somewhere Over the Rainbow?” “We come together and we eat food – and that’s one of the most ancient spiritual practices.” You can’t satirize it.
This sort of heterodox spirituality can be just as oppressive, stultifying, small-minded and inimical to rational thought as any Bible thumping. Just as many former evangelicals have a nearly allergic reaction to a faith they feel like they escaped, it’s hard for me to see this sort of stuff without wanting to curl up in a fetal position.
Still, there is a known antidote:
I wish that for just one time you could stand inside my shoes
And just for that one moment I could be you
Yes, I wish that for just one time you could stand inside my shoes
You’d know what a drag it is to see you
Brilliant, harsh stuff. Matter of fact, I think I’m going to go listen to Blonde on Blonde, loud.