Whirled Musings

Across the Universe with Cosmic Connie, aka Connie L. Schmidt...or maybe just through the dung-filled streets and murky swamps of pop culture -- more specifically, the New-Age/New-Wage crowd, pop spirituality & religion, pop psychology, self(ish)-help, business babble, media silliness, & related (or occasionally unrelated) matters of consequence. Hope you're wearing boots. (By the way, the "Cosmic" bit in my moniker is IRONIC.)

Sunday, March 22, 2009

"Hell hath no fury..."

Within hours after publishing my post of 20 March entitled, "All I need is a miracle," I received a long email from a person who apparently took umbrage at my words. Whether he is a Joe Vitale fan or a devotee of the Maharishi, I couldn't say, but I suspect the former. Anyway, after reading his email, I immediately responded to him, thanking him for sharing his insights and asking his permission to publish his letter on my blog, anonymously, if he wished.


I received no response, so I sent another email the next day, asking him again, and adding that I assumed his lack of response meant that it was indeed okay to publish his letter.

I have yet to receive a reply, and so, in the interests of giving "the other side" a fair say, I am publishing his email in full – uncensored and unedited (but, of course, sans name and email address).

Here goes...

I stumbled across your blog! so insightful…

...if one is into snarky people.

Your greatest gift appears to be a driven hunger for tearing down those who have faith in something that you don't believe in.

You offended me with your vengful ignorance, your willful desire to slash at others who I have received great value from, and your complete failure to understand the things you bash. I'll work on whatever it is in me that allows you to pop into my reality and I'm responsible for how I feel about what you spew. Though part of me felt the need to write you a response. I accept the fact I feel the need to tell you what I am about to say. Your pain is so raw and searing as I read your rants and the people you attack so out of your league.

I wonder who hurt you or what happened to you that you are so bitter. No one is so focused on another's flaws unless they themselves don't feel right enough, good enough, or of value enough themselves. I looked at your picture and its clear you hide your hurt behind a forced smile of a woman disappointed by life. You use 'humor', sarcasm, cynicism and all the other typical masks to hide your own vulnerability. Is your pain really the fault of those you slash and flail at? I bet you used to believe in the things you now attack. You can't accept responsibility for your failure so you turn on your former beliefs. Hell hath no fury I guess.

You are of course welcome to your opinions. It seems every critic has opinions galore to share. Opinions are cheap after all. Problem is with critics is they content themselves a bit too much on mocking the creations of others. it is a temporarily filling distraction from the cold hard truth that you have nothing of real original value to offer of your own.

What do you create besides criticism? Bad feelings in others? Does that warm your heart on a cold night? Or is your anger and pride the closet thing you have to self esteem and your only approximation of self acceptance. Are you a 'good girl' when you punish others?

Really I wonder what drives your hate? How can you drone on and on for pages about the failings of someone else's work? Where do you get such energy and why don't you apply it to your own work?

We all have only so much time on this planet and your body of work is simply a statement of dissatisfaction with others. Who are YOU? What are you building, creating, sharing?

Uh, judgement of others?

You must sit pretty high in your thrown with your digital gavel pronouncing guilt in others with such certainty. But who are you to judge others who clearly are more successful and better educated than you in the matters you nit pick to death? Self appointed watch dogs make me wonder what dark skeletons lurk in their closet.

In what way are you a fraud and a scammer? Read Debbie Ford's book 'Dark Side of the Light Chasers' and you'll find out. Read that book and you can heal your real wounds. Heal that and you will be far happier than all this hurt you try to inflict on others with your 'im so smart' act. In the end we are all measured by how much we loved. That is all that matters. What will your tombstone say? Here rests a woman who was nobody's fool? Yay! so proud of you my dear. It would be so much more fulfilling if it read 'here rests a woman beloved by all'.but that seems very unlikely, doesn't it? You have to give love and forgiveness to receive it fully in case you didn't know.

I bet you are so critical of others that you dare not create anything for fear of being the focus of such bile yourself.

Sad. Again, I am confident someone else treated you this way and you are simply dishing it out now as your own. we all simply project what is inside us after all.

Maybe you might want to read what Alexander Pope said about critics. if only I had his economy of words.

While I certainly believe blogs and twitter offer a democratic venue for people to express themselves, the downside is that some people prolifically express hateful garbage. You must be so proud of your doubt. I wonder how many people really read what you spent so much time sowing - and what exactly are you going to reap from your efforts? an award? a medal? You are the hero to the skeptical and critical? You must be so proud and warm inside knowing that. We get what we focus on and you focus on scams, doubt, how everyone is out to get you and dishonesty. I would not want to trade shoes with you my dear. Ugh.

I wonder what exactly you would be without such a public forum for your vitriol. As you take such pride in bashing others I will take some comfort in knowing that at your core you feel hollow, bitter, and without faith or hope in anything that really matters.

I considered a point by point eviceration of your blog posts but thought better of it. It is not my place to do that and I just don't have the time. where do you get all that time to go on and on about the failings of others more successful than you? Are you the Robin Hood of the pen tearing down the evil rich gurus? Is that the hot burning belief driving your bitter mania? Oh how sorry that makes me for you.

There is no need to publically bash someone suffering from such an inner void, it is enough to know that you won't ever reach real happiness attacking others. I would wish for you that you find a place within yourself to look at how all the things you criticise could actually be good and helpful to others.

Are you so sure of your opinions that you don't wonder if you are tearing down genuinely good people? it doesn't take a genius to find flaws in others. Everyone has flaws. It just makes you small minded and a petty form of bully to strike so viciously in a public forum without facing scrutiny for your conjecture and false assumptions. But that of course is your right as a blogger. No one to stop you from saying whatever nonsense you want. It is the perfect forum for the coward who wishes no dissent.

this much is clear. if you were put up against the people you mock on the same stage in an equal debate you would leave with your tail between your legs. best restrict yourself to cheap shots from the peanut gallery love. that way you don't really face having to deal with all the ways in which you have nothing to offer but bile.

if you had any idea how cold, bitter and off base your words are I would hope you would hde your face in shame and apologize with all your heart. but you clearly don't have a clue. in your blindness and ignorance you will surely continue to flail in anger at those who have what you so desperately crave and yet will not ever have: the love and admiration of people all around the world.

My dear, 'you can't get there from here' is the phrase that comes to mind when I think of your efforts compared to what you truly want.

I wish you could find faith in something besides skepcicism and bitterness towards those who teach faith based things. I wish you happiness and hope you can find it. But you can't have happiness or hope about life's biggest questions without some faith which you so clearly lack.

You don't need to find your own 'scam' as you said on your blog. You need to find a way to love and forgive or find someone who loves you.There is no lasting way to build yourself up by tearing others down Connie.

Read Debbie Ford's book. It will change your life. And it's not based on woo woo so you may find you can read it without hurling up a blog post.

Best of luck with that.

[Signed]

Well, I guess that just about says it all. Or maybe not. Later I might publish my responses to my correspondent's insights.

PS ~ The photo above was taken on a particularly memorable night a few years ago, when we were celebrating Ron's birthday. I chose it because of my rather devilish smile, which, I now know, is merely a cover-up for a troubled heart, a bitter rage, and a deep disappointment in life. And speaking of devilish, does it sort of look like a little horn is growing out of my head on the left side of the photo? Hmmm....

Addendum (24 March 2009): As I mentioned yesterday in the comments section, I did finally hear back from my correspondent, who said it was okay for me to publish his first email, though he was surprised I would want to. He did ask that I withhold his name, and I will honor that. I haven't yet had a chance to finish my private reply to him, but I did want to mention that he said he regrets the personal assumptions / attacks he made. Here is a small part of his second email:

Had I wanted to publicly debate the merits of your posts, I would have taken a different point by point approach, but I am clear that I don't want to contribute to your quest to tear people I admire down, nor do I really want to take the time to really get into this properly with you.

I regret the personal remarks and assumptions I made in my letter as that was me taking the low road. By not engaging me at that level you served me a timely reminder that the high road is where I want to focus my attention. For that I thank you.

By assuming your motivations and making judgements about what drives your perennial criticism I made the same error I was accusing you of and the irony of that amuses me.

He did, however, stand by his basic opinions about the people he says I tear down, as well as his suggestion that I read the Debbie Ford book. I'll probably have more about this soon (I'm on the run again today), but I wanted to be fair to him and let y'all know that he did have second thoughts about the ad hominem stuff.

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34 Comments:

Anonymous Skeptico said...

One word summarizes that email – “projection”.

Not one word anything you might have written that was actually, you know, wrong. Standard woo IOW.

Sunday, March 22, 2009 6:39:00 PM  
Blogger Athol said...

LOL I just started scrolling at about the halfway mark...

Sunday, March 22, 2009 6:58:00 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Don't you just hate cod psychology?
The cod psychologists always know, for sure, what you truly want and cannot have.

I'd be proud to turn into wormfood under the epitaph "Here lies a woman who was nobody's fool"---it beats hell out of "Just another sucker who swallowed the faux spiritual marketing nonsense."

Remember Seneca in 1st century AD:

"Religion is regarded by the common people as true, by the wise as false, and by the rulers as useful."

Sunday, March 22, 2009 8:21:00 PM  
Blogger RevRon's Rants said...

Damn, Connie... We've been together for over 15 years, and I find out you've been hiding this seething rage and self-hatred from me all this time?

I always laugh at the "spiritual seekers" who begin spouting venomous amateur diagnoses whenever their particular belief system is challenged. Perhaps they aren't even aware of how transparent their attacks really are... at least, to anyone who values logic and common sense.

I'd encourage the individual to go ahead and offer his "point by point eviceration (sic)" of your post. Perhaps readers' laughter would offset some of your self-hate. :-)

What the poster fails to recognize is that his own "analysis" of your personality is every bit as valid as his analysis of the people he defends. He's never experienced you as a person, beyond what you've written (Which has obviously touched a sensitive spot in his own persona). As one who has long known some of the people you write about - and not from the limited perspective of a highly-scripted workshop, carefully constructed books, or censored online discussions - I can see the truth in what you offer, as well as the empty defensiveness in the vitriol your critic spewed.

I appreciate the need for open-mindedness, but not when it requires the abandonment of objective analysis and common sense, as do so many of the pseudo-spiritual teachings of people like the faux-"Doctor" Vitale. And when those teachings clearly twist and subvert the very principles upon which they claim to be based, the hucksters deserve some snarky exposure, at the very least. The people who are sufficiently gullible (or desperate) to actually believe the hustledorks' swill are to be pitied, at least until they abandon their claimed "path" and start spewing their own brand of hatred, albeit couched in an affectation of superior spiritual evolvement. At that point, a bitch-slap of reality is indicated, and you're just the vicious little minx to deliver it. If anything, though, you're too damned nice to the twits...

Monday, March 23, 2009 9:39:00 AM  
Blogger Cosmic Connie said...

Everyone:
I'm on the run right now but I appreciate your comments. I will be back later with more. But I did want to let everyone know that I finally did hear back from my correspondent. It was a much more thoughtful message than the first one. He admitted his first email was an emotional outpouring and that he may have been wrong in his personal assumptions about me, but he wasn't anticipating a public debate. And in all fairness to him, I'll say that I'm sure we've all written emotional emails that might have benefited from more careful thought before sending.

In any case, he stands by the basic message that I should look at my motives for wanting to tear others down.

Again, I am on the run and don't have time to do his reply or all of your comments justice, but will be back later.

Monday, March 23, 2009 10:43:00 AM  
Anonymous mojo said...

Congratulations, Connie! You have been treated to your very own personal regurgitation of every single self-help text out there! Right down to the detailed psychological profile offered with authority by someone who is quite likely most unqualified to do so, at least for anything above some sort of Cosmo-esque "How Sexy Are You?" quiz. Ah, well, at least you didn't have to pay for the privilege, since many of them charge for such things.

I don't think they missed a cliché, did they? Starting with the implied supposition that your entire sorry life is built around this blog, and you clearly do nothing else whatsoever of value. That along with the delicious irony that they can write "No one is so focused on another's flaws unless they themselves don't feel right enough, good enough of of value enough themselves" and "How can you drone on and on for pages about the failings of someone else's work? Where do you get such energy and why don't you apply it to your own work?" and "we all simply project what is inside us after all" with no apparent conscious grasp of pot-kettle-black.

(As for being a "coward who wishes no dissent" Connie regularly publishes alternate opinions when she receives them, like this one. Unlike many of the self-help gurus who frequently remove anything they deem "negative". But I digress.)

I don't know what is meant by Pope's "economy of words" since I'm not sure which quote Connie's correspondent is referring to. Pope was the author of many pithy couplets and to be honest his Essay on Criticism (which contains many of the more famous ones, including "A little Learning is a dang'rous Thing" and "Fools rush in where Angels fear to tread") actually goes on for ever and ever. (It is very well done, despite its length, but I haven't actually READ it in about twenty years, and I'm sure now, like then, I would require footnotes.)

Perhaps the inclusion of Pope was meant as some sort of clever satire, which would be fully in line with Pope. For in addition to his famous work with Homer and Shakespeare, Pope was also a vicious, vicious satirist (he was known as "The Wicked Wasp of Twickenham") who got folks so angry with him that towards the end he could not leave his house for a walk without bringing along LOADED GUNS for his protection. He was also great friends with Jonathan Swift and other satirists, enough that they formed a little something called the "Scriblerus Club" where a bunch of writer pals got together regularly just to MOCK people they felt like mocking.

Aw, but that's not fair, me going on so about a single throwaway line. I apologize. The internet is a vast place, chock full of many people who for some reason (*gasp!*) fail to agree with me one hundred percent of the time. (Don't tell HER, but I suspect even CONNIE might not always agree with me, damn her!) Luckily for us all the internet allows everyone to carve out little niches and forums and Scriblerus Clubs where folks can discuss or mock or debate or support or scream at one another as they see fit. I am not so much a fan of the screaming sorts, so I come here, where they are relatively rare. And while I don't understand how anyone who probably knows firsthand how difficult it can be to change their own behavior can nontheless think they can somehow influence a total stranger on the internet by writing them, well, at least the tone was fairly civil. Which gives me hope for the future.

I happen to be the sort who enjoys it when people mock things I even LIKE, so there you have it. Mockery has a great history! I happen to be a big fan of Emerson and Thoreau, for example, but that doesn't stop me from also enjoying Gilbert & Sullivan's opera Patience, which is basically a two-hour straight, ultra-vicious mockery of the British aesthetic movement. There's a great song in there that I think applies just as much today as a hundred-plus years ago:

If you're anxious for to shine in the high aesthetic line
as a man of culture rare,
You must get up all the germs of the transcendental terms,
and plant them ev'rywhere.
You must lie upon the daisies and discourse in novel phrases
of your complicated state of mind,
The meaning doesn't matter if it's only idle chatter
of a transcendental kind...


It's very funny. The whole thing is here: http://tinyurl.com/c8hfjv if you're interested. And now that I've totally established myself as an unrepentant geek, I leave everyone to mock me as you see fit!

Monday, March 23, 2009 11:20:00 AM  
Blogger pendens proditor said...

When someone says:
"[person] is wrong about [idea]."
New Agers tend to hear:
"I hate [person]."

It makes critiquing woo a frequently messy undertaking.

Monday, March 23, 2009 11:47:00 AM  
Blogger Steven Sashen said...

Oh my Zeus, that was funny (albeit unintentionally).

Now I know you are fond of writing long emails, but you might want to try this response:

Let's say you're 100% correct in your assessment of my personality... that doesn't mean my criticism isn't accurate.

If Joe V. (or any other newager) said 2+2=5, and you replied with, "Well, actually, 2+2=4," you would be hit with a massive pile of ad hominem mud about your negativity, horrible childhood, repressed rage and various other psychobabblistic theories.

What I want to know is, why would any master of manifestation have an unconscious need to "create" you in their reality? Seems odd.

Monday, March 23, 2009 4:16:00 PM  
Anonymous J Owens said...

What amuses me every time is that if you were to write that back to the author of that letter they would probably delete it and ignore you? Because they are the ones who cannot face the facts on how others feel about their persistent unproven marketing crap. Look at how many marketing courses these people go to to master their game of manipulating people to buy stuff from them? It is always the same stuff regugitated a hundred times in a hundred ways yet they just don't see it. Its like a repositioning boner exercise, mines bigger than yours. That just shows you how little these people are in their own minds. They want to sprout to the world their illgotten selfgiven arrogant titles and beliefs but as soon as someone says something against them they run to mommy and whinge and complain and threaten people. I challenge every one of those people to look deep down inside and see what motivates them to do what thy do, to say what they say and to feel so unsure of themselves that they have to tell the entire world that they think they are the gurus of the universe. Psychologically that is just so sad and lonely.

I think you are a very comfortable with who you are and I also think you don't give a toss or feel threatened in what anyone else says about you because you are so comfortable with yourself. Keep it up, you offer a valuable insight into what makes these fools tick.

Because they insist on turning everything into some religious exercise to justify their actions at the end of life they all have to confront St Peter and answer for their persistent greed and selfishness and no claim to any understanding in this life will make a difference to what happens then. I bet there will be much spluttering and stuttering and "I, I, I, I" then, and they won't get an ounce of support from anyone.

Monday, March 23, 2009 5:24:00 PM  
Blogger Dave said...

Wow. I had no idea you were someone completely different from the funny, witty, open blogger you appear to be. I don't know if I can read your postings anymore now that I know you are really just a bitter, scorned woman with an agenda to destroy your "betters"- validated, of course, by RevRon's rant.

Debate - I'd love to see one of these hucksters in a legitimate debate. Sheesh. It'd be funny if it was not so ridiculous.

Keep up the snarking - you obviously have the right tune.

Monday, March 23, 2009 10:46:00 PM  
Anonymous Mimi said...

Like another commenter, I started scrolling around the halfway point. My favorite part before I stopped reading? "You must sit pretty high in your thrown"! (sic)

Tuesday, March 24, 2009 4:03:00 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Stephen Sashens comments are right on the money. Or was that a conscience that they know they are so damn whacko they fear their own future.

Tuesday, March 24, 2009 6:01:00 PM  
Anonymous HHH said...

You should definitely be throne from your thrown, princess.
See how he retracts a lot of the results of his programming? That's a good sign, surely.

Tuesday, March 24, 2009 6:16:00 PM  
Anonymous Lana said...

My first thought was this email had to be a joke. I'm actually surprised that it wasn't someone just having some fun.

I'm even more surprised that someone would recommend a "life-changing" book when it apparently didn't work for them.

Doc Banana

BTW: Love the cute little blue horn!

Tuesday, March 24, 2009 7:43:00 PM  
Anonymous Julie E said...

It would take a scorned male to say "hell hath no fury" because women totally get it. Those men are most certainly not gentleman. You usually find they are the ones who are deleting text messages and lying to their wives about where they've been and what they've been doing. They get what has been coming for a long time so Connie, whoever made that comment is certainly "projecting" a poor image of themselves.

Wednesday, March 25, 2009 2:02:00 AM  
Anonymous lilith said...

BTW: Love the cute little blue horn!

Hmmm, perhaps if you read that 'life changing book' on the Darkside, Connie, you might evolve your left brain hemisphere to the point of growing a matching 'cute little blue horn' to make a pair. ----or perhaps not. ;)

As a fully paid-up denizen of the darkside, I'd say you were doing OK without subjecting yourself to such puerile piffle. The horns develop(if they are to develop)in their own time anyway.

Wednesday, March 25, 2009 7:41:00 AM  
Blogger RevRon's Rants said...

Dave said he'd "love to see one of these hucksters in a legitimate debate."

Never happen. I've tried to engage Joe Vitale numerous times on his blog and in private e-mails. He summarily refuses to publish my comments, and deletes any others that he can't dismiss by implying some inherent flaw in the responder. What his cheerleaders never see is the outright rage he exhibits when someone calls him on his behavior or even offers a reasoned challenge to his more absurd assertions. They seem to actually believe that the persona he presents in his carefully scripted public presentations is consistent with the man himself.

I can't help but wonder whether these folks are also gullible enough to believe that actors are just like the characters they portray. Enlightened seekers, indeed!

Wednesday, March 25, 2009 9:39:00 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

OMG Rev Ron I know someone exactly like you explained. I am certain that the people choosing to listen to these guys and not question anything that they say or ask for any proof, live in fear of doing the wrong thing. What a sad sad situation but wow, those guys really do have anger issues. Everything they say is carefuly scripted because they have a motive for doing it i.e. make loads of moolah from as many as possible before they get found out. I know one of these people in particular does not have good relationships with anyone really but comes across as a charming person who realy knows their stuff. Yes they have practised the lies and the deceit for years, it just comes natural now but so does losing those closest to them and they never take the time to stop from their greed to wonder why. Quite strange really for people to live such clandestine lives and it surely must be horrible at night.

Wednesday, March 25, 2009 6:49:00 PM  
Anonymous mojo said...

Kudos to your correspondent for taking responsibility for (what I at least think are) some of the sillier aspects of his arguments, Connie. I have always been a fan of shades of gray over black and white; his followup email certainly adds some welcomed gradients to the spectrum. :-)

Thursday, March 26, 2009 8:11:00 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

He/she cites Debbie Ford's "The Dark Side of the Light Chasers", which I read in my new agey days. Imo the book actually made some good points.

Unfortunately Ms. Ford went on to rave about Joe Vitale's "Zero Limits":

"This riveting book can awaken humanity. It reveals the simple power of four phrases to transform your life. It's all based in love by an author spreading love. You should get ten copies of it--one for you and nine to give away. It's that good."

Barf!

Thursday, March 26, 2009 9:28:00 AM  
Blogger RevRon's Rants said...

"Unfortunately Ms. Ford went on to rave about Joe Vitale's "Zero Limits"

How much you want to bet there was some form of reciprocal agreement behind her endorsement? If you dig a little deeper into pretty much anything JV endorses, you'll discover such an arrangement. Kinda makes you hands shake with excitement, doesn't it? :-)

Thursday, March 26, 2009 11:38:00 AM  
Anonymous mojo said...

(Temporarily subduing the shaking in my own hands to type this out)

Hey, Ron, does "JV" stand for "Joe Vitale" or "Joint Venture"? Or is there even a difference?

:-)

(resumes sshhaakkyy jhaanmdss)

Thursday, March 26, 2009 12:17:00 PM  
Blogger Cosmic Connie said...

Well, here I am back again, as promised, a couple of days late and probably more than a few dollars short (which is just a saying, not to be taken literally). I want to thank everyone again for the comments. I probably won't be taking the time at this point to individually reply to each one, since I'm busy with a couple of other things right now. But I do appreciate the support.

And by the way (in case my correspondent is reading this), I have continued to publish every comment that has come in thus far, with the exception of one puzzling comment about Obama's appearance on Jay Leno, which sounded sort of racist and didn't seem to have anything to do with the matter at hand.

To everyone else: I finally wrote a long -- probably over-long -- private reply to my correspondent, and he may or may not reply. I did ask his permission to publish his second email in full (again, anonymously). On the one hand, I understand his wish not to publicly engage in this discussion. On the other hand, I feel it's only fair to him, since I published his first (and impulsively written) email, for me to present a more rational offering from him. Granted, I still don't agree with much of what he said in the second email, but he stated his case clearly and rationally. And in both emails he was, as Mojo mentioned, civil, which is more than I can say about some of the critics who have written to me.

OMT: re the Debbie Ford book, I actually might try to read it (despite her Chopra ties and the fact that she's a long-time Vitale bud). But I was a bit put off by reading the first chapter via Amazon's "search this book" feature. In that chapter, Ford quoted "spiritual teacher Lazaris," who is actually a channeled entity. She said Lazaris teaches that embracing one's shadow can create change on a cellular level and can even alter your DNA. Uh-huh.

Thursday, March 26, 2009 1:58:00 PM  
Blogger Cosmic Connie said...

OMT: Re Debbie Ford's endorsement of Zero Limits...

Yes, I have the book and the endorsement is right there on the cover.

For the benefit of those who haven't seen it, I reviewed ZL on my own blog nearly two years ago (here's the link to Part 1 of 2):

http://cosmicconnie.blogspot.com/2007/07/from-aloha-state-to-zero-state.html

Thursday, March 26, 2009 2:03:00 PM  
Anonymous HHH said...

Excellent, Connie, following your posts put me in touch with something I wanted to read about regaring Benjamin Libet. You beauty!

Thursday, March 26, 2009 4:56:00 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Oh dear God, a hussledork with a conscience, who ever would have thought.

"By assuming your motivations and making judgements about what drives your perennial criticism I made the same error I was accusing you of and the irony of that amuses me"

The ones justifying their rubbish with christianity are the ones to fear the most. That is pure evil.

Thursday, March 26, 2009 5:17:00 PM  
Anonymous Donna Becks said...

Forget the horn, what about the slipping halo?

Why oh why do these people (and they are mostly men) feel the need to put themselves on a pedestal that is so easy to knock. I suggest someone checked what was inside of his knickers and realised it wasnt' so big after all. The guys involved in preaching to people like the guys that Connie writes about all suffer the same problem. They hate themselves and spend their lives finding fault in everyone else. Oh and they also are obsessed with what eludes them.

Friday, March 27, 2009 4:11:00 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I don't think that is Joe Vitale. If so, he is really pissed, and don't really understood the deep secret.

Anon-brazilian-admirir

Friday, March 27, 2009 8:17:00 AM  
Blogger Cosmic Connie said...

I'm going to take a few moments to do a batch reply to the latest commenters (not meaning to give short shrift to earlier commenters :))

HHH 4:56 PM: Benjamin Libet? Interesting. But his work sounds suspiciously like real science.

Anonymous 5:17 PM: I actually don't think my commenter is a hustledork; he's simply an admirer of some folks I call hustledorks, and he was offended by some of the things I said about them. The fact that he noticed he was doing some of the same things he'd accused me of doing is noteworthy. He still apparently admires these people and their teachings, and thinks I am wrong about them, but at least he saw the inconsistency between the teachings and his actions.

He wasn't the only one who learned from this, though. I did too.

But I agree with you that those who justify their words and actions with Christianity are among the worst. You wouldn't be thinking of a certain Aussie hustler, would you? ;-)

Donna Becks: I appreciate your support, but I think that in this case there isn't a sexual inadequacy issue, although the "hell hath no fury" thing did seem to be kind of sexist. I believe that this is mainly an issue of someone being offended by the fact that I was so snarky about people he admired. And in all fairness, this guy did NOT tell me that all I needed was a good roll in the hay. A couple of other critics in the past have either said or implied this.

And finally, 8:17 AM said:
"I don't think that is Joe Vitale. If so, he is really pissed, and don't really understood the deep secret."

Thanks, Anon, but I didn't think that was Joe Vitale writing. I said I thought it might be an admirer of either Joe Vitale or the Maharishi, since his email came in the wake of the publication of my "Attract Miracles" blog post.

OK... I'm ducking out of here for now but I'll be back soon. Keep those comments coming!

Friday, March 27, 2009 11:41:00 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I am all for everyone doing whatever they want with their lives just as long as they can accept that other people think they are complete greedy parasitic fools because that is the level of rudeness that they throw out about others by assuming that they know nothing just because they don't hold the same belief that these people do. What they give they have to be able to get in return and so far it doesn't appear many of them are willing to accept the same level of rudeness thrown back at them.

There is one person I know who is probably the highest profiled of all of them and he never spits venomous rage or threatens people when they rant hate over his doings. Good on him I say, all these other fools might learn something from what he does instead of acting like spoilt brats who never got what they wanted when they were kids and have grown into frustrated egotistical adults. I actually feel sorry for them because they must have such little and restless sleep trying to think up how they can screw the next person over and go to church the next weekend and praise the lord for their luck. I do find that extremely sick.

Friday, March 27, 2009 8:04:00 PM  
Anonymous Nima said...

I can relate to your post in that when I put a photo of past and point out a vulnerable time of my life, I'm actually trying to match and pace with my converser in order to extend communication and hopefully to lead the conversation.
The truth is that everyone has had some bitter time in life but to bring it in this context with a picture and the comment as such……..
I recall we have had a discussion about the motive of your work. Your motive, as I’ m more ascertained of, is well respected for me but the fruit of your labor in this blog may or may not show up. It surly depends on if you do what you do on basis of certain values or on the basis of needs for ……. . well you know what I mean. I just wanted to bring this to your attention, dear blogger.

Sunday, March 29, 2009 12:20:00 AM  
Blogger Cosmic Connie said...

Follow-up: I never heard back from my correspondent. Maybe I just bored him to death with my long and detailed response to him. But I'm just going to go ahead and share that response here. It is, as I mentioned, very long. Incredibly long. Excruciatingly long. Perhaps even a case of "protesting too much." I dunno. And it may cover a bunch of stuff you already know about my blog and me. But here it is anyway, for the record.

== BEGIN MY RESPONSE TO MY CORRESPONDENT ==

I do appreciate your taking the time to write your second email. In this letter, which, I warn you, will probably be rather long, I'll address points you made in both emails. I realize you may have modified some of your views since your initial email, which you described as an emotional outpouring, but I wanted to address some of the points anyway.

First of all, regarding your initial observation about my snarkiness: I've never
pretended to be anything but snarky on my blog - and yes, narcissistic as well (as you
noted in your second email). The (mostly exaggerated) narcissism is actually a part of my "shtick" for the purpose of my blog. In "real life" I do not consider narcissism to be an admirable trait, and my own narcissism is something I constantly struggle with. However, I also believe that we live in a narcissistic culture, and I
think that one reason the New-Age ideas I love to snark about have taken such a hold in our society is that they speak to our narcissism as much as they do to our longing for transcendence.

You wrote in your first email that my greatest gift appears to be a driven hunger for tearing down those who have faith in something that I don't believe in. My first thought was that this was a pretty broad assessment to make, particularly if it was based on your having just "stumbled across" my blog, and having apparently read only one post (or at most, a few posts). In any case, "gifts," like beauty, are often in the
eye of the beholder. I don't think of myself as being particularly gifted, but I do seem to have a knack - and I have a few readers who might agree - for being snarky, critical and at least occasionally humorous *without* completely tearing anyone down. And although I have been known to poke fun at random believers, the real targets of my snarkiness are
not people who have faith, but those who take advantage of people who have faith.

You were offended by what you saw as my "willful desire to slash at others" from whom you have received great value. Value is another one of those things that is in the eye of the beholder, a fact I have acknowledged on my blog, and particularly in my
recent post about the Attract Miracles community (I am assuming that was the main post that prompted you to write). That old marketers' disclaimer, "Your results may vary" seems appropriate here.

You also mentioned my "complete failure" to understand the things I bash. In reality I have, at the very least, a sound working knowledge of, and in some cases direct personal experience with, the things and people I "bash." I also hear regularly from other people who have inside information and firsthand experience with some of these people and things. More on that momentarily.

You wrote, "Your pain is so raw and searing as I read your rants and the people you attack so out of your league." Given my understanding of the various meanings of the word "rant," it seems that to call my blog posts "rants" is exaggerated at best. But perhaps rants, too, are in the eye of the beholder. As for that
pain you were seeing, I wondered if that could be your own pain, coming from reading opinions (and even, I daresay, some facts) that made you uncomfortable and shook your belief system. I will concede, however, that many of the people I write about are indeed
out of my league if you are judging solely on factors such as income, ambition, and marketing ingenuity. As for our relative merits as human beings, however, I do not attempt to make those judgments because I am not qualified, and neither are you.

On numerous occasions I have been "psychoanalyzed" by people who were miffed by something I wrote, so the ideas in your email are not really anything new to me. I can
almost hear you asking, "So have you considered that these people might be hitting upon some truths, and that maybe you should do something to change?" It might
surprise you to know that I have indeed considered these possibilities; I am not nearly
as arrogant as I might sound in some of my writings. I have found, however, that in most cases the assessments are completely off-base and/or irrelevant the points I was trying to make in whatever piece of writing set my "analyst" off. And one important
point that people who are into "positivity" seem to forget is that negativity does not automatically signify self-loathing or bitter rage - despite what many pop psychologists would have us believe.

Yet, judging by your first email, you seem convinced that my blog is a manifestation of repressed rage and pain. You seemed, in fact, to take a bitter delight in imagining my life to be a miserable and lonely one. I now realize that this was part of your initial
emotional response, and that you may have later reconsidered it. The truth is that yes, I do have stresses and disappointments in my life. But my disappointments and stresses do not define me, and my blog is one small part of who I am and what I do.

You also opined that I use "humor, sarcasm, cynicism and all the other typical masks" to hide my vulnerability. I've never made any particular effort hide whatever
"vulnerability" I have, or to disguise any of my many shortcomings. (Actually, in some of my blog posts I get pretty sappy and emotional, especially the ones I wrote about the dogs I've lost in the past couple of years.) In truth I am not really hiding at all. If I were hiding, I most certainly would not blog under my own name; some say I'm
foolish to do that. If you want to talk about hiding behind masks, though, I think the same could be said of many New-Wage gurus who hide their true natures, or at least some of their misdeeds, behind benign smiles and clever marketing.

You asked, rhetorically, if my "pain" is really the fault of those I "slash and flail at." I take responsibility for any pain and stress in my life, and have never blamed the people I snark about for any of it. Is it possible that when you wrote that, you were unfairly blaming *me* for the doubts you were having about the veracity of your heroes' claims - doubts that my post brought to the surface? Or maybe
you have already figured that one out. Of course if I am wrong about this point or any of my other speculations about your motivations, I apologize in advance for my own pop
psychoanalysis.

You also wrote, "I bet you used to believe in the things you now attack." I have always been very forthright about this fact, as you might have seen if you'd had time to look around my blog or my old Cosmic Relief web site. I have always said that I come by my snarkiness honestly; I have many years of firsthand experience with much of what I snark about. If you are truly interested in my background, here's a good starting
point - a very early blog post, with links to other pieces I wrote about my long and winding road to Snarky Town:
http://cosmicconnie.blogspot.com/2006/07/how-i-got-so-cosmic-or-not.html

When you wrote, "You can't accept responsibility for your failure so you turn on your former beliefs," that made me wonder in what way you thought I have "failed." What you seemed to be seeing as "failure," I see as having moved on from a state of more or less unquestioning belief in things I used to embrace, to a more skeptical, and in many cases cynically amused, view of these things. Other people are traveling in the "opposite" direction: from unbelief to belief, and I have no doubt that their journey is just as meaningful to them as mine is to me, and just as worthy of expression. Others simply hop from one belief to another, always in
search of the next great thing. (Some get hooked on the "high" of new discovery, which keeps them hopping from one thing to another - sort of a spiritual promiscuity, you might say.) Still others vacillate between belief and unbelief, in various forms, for their entire lives. And then there are those who are lifelong nonbelievers, pure and simple. As for me, I am an agnostic who, skepticism/cynicism notwithstanding, usually leans on the side of belief. For going on sixteen years I have shared my life with a Buddhist who grew up in a Southern Baptist/Jewish home. Among my friends and allies are people on all of the different "paths" I just mentioned.

Some would say that it's all pretty much the same path, and in many ways it is. We are all always searching, it seems, and perhaps one of the greatest lessons any of us can learn is that no matter how exciting or wondrous or satisfying our latest discovery may be, there is always something more, or something different and perhaps equally exciting or wondrous or satisfying. In any case, my having "turned" on my former beliefs
- and my choice to express my current state of disbelief through my blog - do not make me smarter or dumber than you or anyone else, or any more or less evolved than you or anyone else, and I've never pretended this is the case. Of course I can see why I come across as being smug about my p.o.v.

Despite what you might think when reading one of my more snarky or critical posts, however, I do not view everything in terms of black and white. Here are a couple of older blog posts you may not have found yet (again, assuming you are interested):
http://cosmicconnie.blogspot.com/2006/12/yule-blog.html
http://cosmicconnie.blogspot.com/2007/03/chopra-secret-and-unenchanted-world.html

You wrote, "It seems every critic has opinions galore to share. Opinions are cheap after all." I like to think that mine are informed opinions, but you're right, they're cheap. Actually, they're free (and I'm sure you would say they are worth every
penny). Nevertheless I believe that my blog posts do serve a purpose - at the very least
some are entertaining, and some might actually contain information that some people find
useful. And even as there are critics galore, every one of those New-Wage gurus I snark about has large numbers of fawning fans who praise their every word. Are those fans' opinions any more valid than mine? After all, it's just as easy to be a sycophant as it is to be a critic!

You also wrote, "Problem is with critics is they content themselves a bit too much on mocking the creations of others." It could just as accurately be said that the problem with many self-help gurus is that they make their money ripping off the creations
of others and repackaging those creations as something new and groundbreaking (all as a
way of justifying the generally inflated prices they charge). I'll give them props for
creativity and marketing, if not always for truthfulness or basic integrity.

"What do you create besides criticism?" you ask. I'll go into that in a moment,
but as I said above, my blog is not all I do and does not define who I am. However,
supposing for a moment that you were right about my creating nothing but criticism. Don't
you think that a little criticism, and critical thought, would be of value when one is
dealing with something as important as happiness, fulfillment, and answers to some of
life's great mysteries - which the self-help gurus all claim or at least imply they are
selling in one form or another?

"Your body of work is simply a statement of dissatisfaction with others," you
wrote. "Who are YOU? What are you building, creating, sharing?" What I do when
I am not blogging is write, edit and design books for other people. Beyond that, I freely
and openly acknowledge that there is more I could be doing to help make this ol' planet a
better place. I have always been an underachiever in that area. Thank you for giving me
the opportunity to consider this issue again (and I mean that).

It seems to bother you that I am judgmental, but complete abandonment of judgment is
never a good idea. I realize that being "judgmental" is the first deadly sin in
New-Wage culture, and there's a reason for that: gurus have a big stake in their
followers or customers NOT questioning them or looking at their works or actions too
closely. Now, I know this is an extreme example, but here's an instance of someone who
literally got away with murder for an extended period, and this was at least partly
because the people around him didn't ask questions.
http://cosmicconnie.blogspot.com/2008/07/more-dark-than-snark-today.html

You asked, "Who are you to judge others who clearly are more successful and better
educated than you in the matters you nit pick to death?" Those "others,"
whose names you don't mention, are certainly more successful than I at making money, and
I bow to them in that area. Better educated? No doubt this is true in many cases, whether
we're talking about formal education or self-education. But y'know, I'm no dummy, either.
And I don't know if you're aware of it or if you even care, but some of the New-Wage
gurus have phony degrees. There's nothing wrong with being non-degreed (as I myself am,
and yes, I'm pretty much self-educated). There's not a thing wrong with any of the gurus
not having real degrees either; that is no reflection one way or another on their
intelligence or the merit of their work. Conversely, however, those phony degrees don't
add to their value, and in my opinion it is absurd for them to use false credentials in
an apparent effort to increase their credibility (not to mention that it's actually
illegal in some states - Texas, for example).

You also wrote, "Self-appointed watch dogs make me wonder what dark skeletons lurk
in their closet." In truth I haven't appointed myself to be anything. And yes,
everybody has skeletons and nobody is above reproach. I do not judge anyone for having
made mistakes in life, or for having things in their life that they're not proud of. I
don't hold myself up as being perfect and don't expect others to be perfect either.

However, when people set themselves up as experts in the art of living (or worse, as
spiritual leaders), and then continually make public statements that are either
demonstrably untrue or are blatantly inconsistent with other things they've said - and
yet they are making millions of dollars selling "truth" in various forms - I do
not think it is out of line for me to point these things out.

You asked, "In what way are you a fraud and a scammer? Read Debbie Ford's book 'Dark
Side of the Light Chasers' and you'll find out. Read that book and you can heal your real
wounds. Heal that and you will be far happier than all this hurt you try to inflict on
others with your 'im so smart' act."

Actually, I am more concerned about being defrauded and scammed than I am of *being* a
scammer or fraud. That said, you seem to assume that I am completely unfamiliar with the
idea that the things we criticize in others are the things that bother us about
ourselves. In reality, you are not sharing anything with me that I have not previously
heard, and actually considered, many times. However, I haven't read Debbie Ford's book (I
do find her marginally less objectionable than many of the self-help gurus, despite her
Chopra ties), but I thank you for the recommendation, and I might read the book. I did,
however, read the first chapter using Amazon’s "search this book" feature. In
that chapter, Ford quotes "the spiritual teacher Lazaris," who says that owning
and claiming your shadow can change you on a cellular level and alter your DNA. Um…that
"spiritual teacher" is in fact a channeled entity. I’m sorry, but that sounds
pretty woo to me. I have a tendency to place channeled entities in the "imaginary
friends" category on my blog.
http://cosmicconnie.blogspot.com/2007/04/choose-your-imaginary-friends-wisely.html

Of course this doesn't necessarily invalidate the rest of Ford's book. I'm just sayin'...

In any case, I think you know that my own motives and doubts have little if any bearing
on the validity, or lack thereof, of my criticisms. As for the "I'm so smart
act" that you perceive me as engaging in, it isn't my intention to inflict hurt on
people or to make them feel stupid. Rather, what I strive to do is point out ways that I
think people are being bamboozled - and, truth be told, allowing themselves to be
bamboozled. Yes, it takes two. In the case of the Attract Miracles community (and the
whole Maharishi Effect thing that was the basis of my long post of March 20), I think
folks are being bamboozled in the name of "science."

You speculated that because I am so critical of others, I dare not create anything for
fear of being the focus of such "bile" myself. First off, I have indeed been a
focus of bile for expressing my views. Here is a link to an article of mine that was
published about two years ago, just as "The Secret" was taking off into the
stratosphere, thanks in part to Oprah. This wasn't a blog post, but a piece I wrote for
the Skeptical Inquirer web site. It's long, but it might give some more insight into some
of the stuff I've been dealing with on my blog.
http://www.csicop.org/specialarticles/secretrons.html

Further, as noted above, I make a living creating things (books) for other people, an
enterprise that takes much time and energy and skill, leaving me little left over to
create my own things. My blog is a hobby, not my vocation. I have other personal projects
I am working on as well. However, if by "creating," you are referring to
creating the sort of material that I snark about, I have no desire to do that; I cannot
in good conscience perpetrate something that I do not believe in.

Incidentally, my "I gotta find me a scam" mantra is also part of my shtick and
is facetious. I have no desire to scam anyone.

You wrote, "I wonder what exactly you would be without such a public forum for your
vitriol." Actually, I've only been blogging for a little more than two-and-a-half
years. I've been on Twitter less than a year (though I'm generally much less snarky on
Twitter). My old and poorly designed Cosmic Relief web site, which was centered around a
satirical book that was my former "forum for vitriol," has been up for about
twelve years now. Before all of that, I was a writer and graphic designer and a person
who loves many things but has a tendency to get snarky about a few things. After all of
that, I will be a writer and graphic designer and a person who loves many things but has
a tendency to get snarky about a few things.

You suggested that I am "the Robin Hood of the pen tearing down the evil rich
gurus." I don't think of myself as any sort of hero, nor have I ever called any of
the rich gurus evil, though some undoubtedly do evil things, nor do I think that being
rich makes a person evil.

You also wrote, "I would wish for you that you find a place within yourself to look
at how all the things you criticise could actually be good and helpful to others. Are you
so sure of your opinions that you don't wonder if you are tearing down genuinely good
people?"

Again I had to wonder if, when writing that, you were so attached to your own hero
worship that you didn't want to consider whether your admiration might be somewhat
misplaced. I accept and acknowledge that other people find value in the things and people
I criticize. This doesn't invalidate my own opinions or experiences, nor does it change
any actual facts I may report. However, I am constantly evaluating and re-evaluating my
opinions. I know that everyone has good points as well as bad.

Consider Joe Vitale, for example. Unlike the many fans and admirers of his who may
"know" him only from his books or his talks or from having met him at a
seminar, I personally know him quite well, or did at one time (we have not had any
contact in several years). Although I have written snarky or critical things about him, I
have also said a few good things about him on my blog. Here's another post you may have
overlooked.
http://cosmicconnie.blogspot.com/2007/07/into-volcano-tale-of-two-joes.html

(By the way, I read his book Zero Limits, and reviewed it on my blog. Here's the link to
part one of the two-part write-up:)
http://cosmicconnie.blogspot.com/2007/07/from-aloha-state-to-zero-state.html

And consider Aussie Secret star David Schirmer. I don't know him personally but I have heard from numerous people who appear to have credible inside information and firsthand experience with him. Knowing what I do about him, he is one of those folks about whom
it's hard to find something good to say, but obviously he has his fans and a few people who love him.

You wrote, "Everyone has flaws. It just makes you small minded and a petty form of bully to strike so viciously in a public forum without facing scrutiny for your
conjecture and false assumptions."

Of course everyone has flaws, but many of the things I write about on my blog go beyond being mere "flaws." And it looks to me as if you were the one engaging in
conjecture and false assumptions... about me. I quite honestly don't know how you could call my posts "vicious." You apparently haven't been to the REALLY skeptical
blogs...more on that momentarily.

You wrote, "But that of course is your right as a blogger. No one to stop you from saying whatever nonsense you want. It is the perfect forum for the coward who wishes no dissent."

As I pointed out earlier, I blog under my own name. If I were a coward I would not do that. I also publish dissenting opinions when I get them. I am and always have been very open to dissent on my blog.

You added, "This much is clear. If you were put up against the people you mock on the same stage in an equal debate you would leave with your tail between your legs."
Well, you may be right about that one. I am not and never have been a public speaker, and as of now I have no desire to be one. I'm not even that great a conversationalist, though sometimes I am an excellent listener. So yes, I could easily be made mincemeat of on a public stage. And if the debate you seem to take such embittered delight in imagining were to take place before an audience largely composed of my targets' fans, and/or if the exchange were moderated by someone sympathetic to the gurus, I would be at even more of a disadvantage - even if I were a confident speaker (which I emphatically am not).

I am reminded of how author and SHAMblog owner Steve Salerno was all but cut to ribbons by Chicken Soup for the Soul co-creator Mark Victor Hansen a few years ago on Anderson Cooper's show, even though Steve is a skilled and confident speaker, and was making some good points about the self-help industry. For all of his involvement in such a feel-good
enterprise as Chicken Soup, Mark was amazingly rude. And Cooper just sat there and let it
happen; in fact, he seemed much more sympathetic to Mark than to Steve.
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=kvRvgPGtNUw

At any rate, anyone who disagrees with what I express on my blog is welcome to express that disagreement in writing, and I will publish it. The only posts I have not published have been those that were nothing more than a string of gratuitous profanities, or were extreme personal attacks on someone else.

In your first email you seemed to be implying that my blog puts me at some sort of unfair advantage - i.e., that I am unjustly attacking people who have no way of defending themselves. I find that absurd. If anyone has a clear advantage, fair or unfair, it is
the targets of my criticism. Individually and collectively, they have created for themselves a platform that is many, many times larger and more influential than my one little blog. They have the money, the media, and millions of fans in their corner. I have
one blog and a few people who regularly read it. That's hardly a big threat to the big gurus.

Truth be told, there aren't that many "critical" sites or blogs on the Net, at least not compared to the thousands of pro-guru sites. Rick Ross's site is one of the few
comprehensive resources, and Sarlo's Guru Rating site is also pretty informative, and of
course there are various snarky and skeptical blogs (many of which are far snarkier and more "skeptical" than mine).

For the most part, however, it's not the easiest thing in the world to find criticism of individual gurus simply by Googling. For instance, if you type any given guru's name in Google, and then type in the word "scam" or "criticism," what pops up? Generally you get sponsored links that lead to sites where other guru wannabes are aggressively peddling their own stuff. Some of these sites bill themselves as
"review" sites that pretend to honestly evaluate all self-help gurus' material, but they are really just marketing their own stuff. And most of them are out to pick your pocket.

In any case, as I've noted here and many times on my blog, I am always open to reading and publishing dissenting views, including direct feedback from the gurus themselves (though they aren't inclined to waste their time "in the muck" with the likes
of me, LOL).

You wrote, "If you had any idea how cold, bitter and off base your words are I would hope you would hide your face in shame and apologize with all your heart."

On the other hand, have you considered the possibility that there might be some truth to
my words? And can you claim to personally know the people I write about any better than I know them? Can you honestly claim to know my own experiences (which in many cases have formed my opinions) better than I?

In cases where I am factually wrong and it is pointed out to me, I have made corrections,
retractions, apologies as necessary. And I will continue to do so. Further, if a guru
were to do or say something to really make me change my mind about him or her, I would
gladly acknowledge this - and apologize - on my blog.

In truth, just because I criticize some things about a particular guru, this doesn't mean I think that this person's work is completely lacking in value, though it may seem that
way when you read some of my posts. On the other hand, if a guru or teacher is caught in
one lie or deception, it does call the credibility of their entire body of work into question, and I can see how that would be upsetting to a fan or follower. And here's where things get a bit tricky. While it is possible, to a certain degree, to separate the
teacher from the teachings, this is increasingly difficult with today's New-Wage gurus, as most of them make a concentrated effort to stamp their teachings heavily with their "brand." That's how they make their money, after all. So how does one separate the teacher from the teachings, should one deem that necessary? That's not a comfortable position to be in, I'll grant you, if you have a heavy emotional (or financial)
investment in the works of the person in question.

The point I am trying to make, and have perhaps belabored, is that even as you advise me to examine my need to criticize, maybe you should look more closely at your need to admire some of those people I criticize.

You wrote, "You can't have happiness or hope about life's biggest questions without
some faith which you so clearly lack. You don't need to find your own 'scam' as you said on your blog." First, there's sometimes a fine line between faith and gullibility. Second, as I noted above, the "I gotta find me a scam" bit is facetious.

And that pretty much covers the points I wanted to answer in your first email. Now to the second one (don't worry; this part won't be as long. :-) ).

First off, I realize you may have been blindsided by my hasty publication of your email,
and I apologize if you were. However, notwithstanding the lack of editing, I thought you
did make the points you were intending to make. That's why I published it, although I did
and will continue to preserve your anonymity.

As I noted in my previous email to you, so far I have published all of the responses that have come in to the blog post containing your letter. If some do come in agreeing with you or disagreeing with me, I will publish them as well (again, unless they're laced with gratuitous profanity or personal attacks). As I also noted, most of the comments I get to my blog are favorable because, as you said, I am preaching to the choir. I imagine that most people who disagree with me or dislike my blog choose not to waste their energy writing to me, even though I am sure that at least some of them keep up with the blog.
(As in, "Keep your friends close, but your enemies closer." Not that I'm really anyone's enemy.)

I appreciate your reconsideration of the personal remarks and assumptions you made about
me. As you may have inferred from some of the things I wrote above, most of those assumptions were inaccurate. Another assumption that I think is not quite accurate is your assessment of me as a hard-nosed skeptic. You apparently haven't seen the "Skeptico" blog. (Speaking of which, here's a link on his blog to articles
about some fallacies that are often employed when believers confront skeptics.
http://skeptico.blogs.com/skeptico/fallacies/ )

You might be interested to know that I too have been accused of being a little bit in the
woo-woo camp, or at least of being intellectually dishonest (and of practicing some of those fallacies mentioned above). My partner Ron and I went round and round with Skeptico and some of his allies a couple of years ago.
http://cosmicconnie.blogspot.com/2007/02/confessions-of-not-so-skepchick.html
I still consider Skeptico an ally, but we did have quite a little discussion there a while back.

As for skepticism, hard-nosed or otherwise, being an expression of the ego, I think the same could be said of ardent belief. That said, I am completely aware that my blog is an expression of my ego, and I've never tried to portray it as anything lofty. But in regard
to my worldview, I think that here again you are making assumptions. My view of the world is neither static nor simplistic. It is you who seem to have an oversimplified perception of "worldviews" in this context, based upon the notion that one is a staunch advocate of either (1) stuffy old Newtonian science and a closed-minded Western worldview, or (2) a more open worldview based on quantum physics and mysticism. And ne'er
the twain shall meet, right? It's not that simple, in my opinion.

By the way, I've been dealing with the "worldview wars" for over twenty years, and back in the early 1990s I wrote this humorous piece for Skeptical Inquirer:
http://home.swbell.net/moonshad/quantum.html

You wrote, "there is much truth and value in faith, spirituality, metaphysics, quantum physics and the unprovable. Why others' quest to find answers beyond mainstream
Newtonian science and your wordlview bothers you so much is less clear to me."

Other people's quests do not bother me. But why would you even place quantum physics in
there with faith and spirituality? I know: it's because the New-Wage gurus do. I don't pretend to understand quantum physics at all, but I do know this much: most of the scientists and others who really do understand it have said that the New-Wagers oversimplify or misrepresent it. Weird behavior of subatomic particles on a quantum level does not translate to being able to physically control your whole world with just your mind - no matter what Bob Proctor or Joe Vitale or Bob Doyle or Deepak Chopra or the followers of the Maharishi might say. Truth is, your average guru probably doesn't understand quantum physics any better than I do, but that doesn't keep them from spouting
off about it.

Here are some links to information about some inconvenient truths regarding New-Wage quantum physics:
http://www.abc.net.au/science/features/bleep/
http://www.phys.uu.nl/~thooft/theorist.html

Believe it or not, I am fascinated in my own way with life's ysteries and with "the unprovable" - but you see, "unprovable" is the key word here. Maybe some things really *are* unprovable, and it is absurd to me that so many modern gurus claim their shtick is based on "proven science." They (mis)use science as a marketing tool, and then when they're called on their ignorance or misuse, they either ignore their critics or they shrug and say, "Science doesn't know everything." Look, I understand and even sympathize to some degree with the desire to reconcile science with mysticism or spirituality - but the fact that so many people so deeply desire this reconciliation does not mean it has occurred.

By the way, here's a great blog that's mostly scientific but is also infused with what is
sometimes an almost mystical sense of wonder and beauty:
http://www.sciencemusings.com/blog/

But I digress. Sorry.

You say, "I am positive you are afraid of something and that is what drives you, and I encourage you to search your own heart for what that might be. For as certainly my email was me projecting my biases, your views are equally revealed in the judgemental screeds you publish against those you tear down."

We're all afraid of something; I'm afraid of many things. So what? It doesn't make my opinions nonsense, and it doesn't make any facts I publish untrue. The meaning of some of those facts, as well as some of the facts themselves, may be open to debate, but that is
a separate issue from my personal fears. And in my view, I haven't torn anyone down. They're still out there pushing their products, raking in the money, and I haven't done a thing to hurt them.

You wrote, "In the end, we don't change the mind of others with argument and criticism, we merely puff up our own egos and those who agree with us feel validation." This is true, of course. It is true of me writing on my blog and
snarking about the usual suspects, even as it is true of Joe Vitale writing on his blog, defending himself against the occasional detractor by saying that Buddha would have approved of Joe's grasping materialism.

You added, "Your readers viewed my email as further proof that mushy headed woo woo folks can't make a case worthy of true skeptics."

Actually, I don't consider all people who embrace spirituality to be "woo-woo," and I don't consider myself to be a pure skeptic (if there is such a thing) or even a
particularly critical thinker, though of course I am sympathetic to that camp. (See the link above to the blog post where I got reamed out by the skeptics.) However, the case you made in your emails to me has been made many times before by believers to skeptics, and the skeptics have some pretty good answers, in my opinion.

You gave me pause when you wrote, "And I proved that forgetting what I know and diving into the muck with you was a lesson entirely for myself that I doubt you could
understand." I don't know if you intended that to be condescending or not, but if so, condescension duly noted. Are you insinuating that I am incapable of understanding such lessons? As for that bit about my being "in the muck"...well, I'll let it be. I'll give you the benefit of the doubt and assume that you didn't mean it the way it sounded to me.

You also wrote, "From all this I get to take away a valuable examination of why your blog posts bothered me so much and why I responded by criticising you personally." I'm glad I was able to provide you with lessons, and you have done the same for me.

You wrote, "I have no idea if what I said gave you any pause whatsovever to contemplate your biting and biased criticism of some great people, and I'm ok with
that." Are you saying that your assessment of these people as "great" is unbiased? As I said, you may need to examine your own propensity for hero worship.

You concluded, "I'm going back to my life feeling wiser and humbled by this experience and once again, I thank you for the opportunity to learn that even with all I've learned from spiritual teachers, my ego still can get the better of me when the right buttons get pushed."

I thank you for the lesson too, because it gave me another opportunity to assess my own
thoughts and beliefs. That is always valuable.

Here's the bottom line: My blog is a resource, one of millions available online. It's there for people who want to read it. I don't push it in people's faces, nor do I habitually go on believers' forums and try to impose my views there. Some people love my blog, some hate it, some are bored by it. For some it is a guilty pleasure. For some it's
a refuge and a respite from overexposure to New-Wage people and ideas. To others, of
course, it's an expression of the dark side. Believe it or not, though, I've ended up becoming friendly with some of the very people I've snarked about. Some have even thanked me for "keeping it real" and helping to keep the business a little more honest.
They give me way too much credit there, I'm afraid.

After reading all of this (assuming you did), you may very well still feel that my blog
and I are things you need to "clean on" so we will no longer be part of your reality. Fair enough. But both of us [my blog and I] will still be here, should you ever change your mind
and decide that we are not, after all, expressions of The Dark.

All the best,
Connie

PS ~ I would like to print your second email - anonymously, of course - if it's okay with
you. I know you don't want to publicly engage with me or my readers, but since I started
this, I did want to be fair to you.

== END MY RESPONSE TO MY CORRESPONDENT ==

I subsequently sent him one short addendum:

==BEGIN ADDENDUM==
In the loooooooooong email I just sent to you, I mentioned my willingness to publish dissenting views on my blog, but I failed to give you any links to substantiate that, other than the link to my "Secretrons" article on the Skeptical Inquirer site.

In case you are interested, not only do I publish my detractors' views in the "comments" section, but I also sometimes incorporate them into my posts.

Two fairly recent examples:

http://cosmicconnie.blogspot.com/2008/11/bee-yotch-is-back.html
(first item: Cosmic Connie: full of rage?)

http://cosmicconnie.blogspot.com/2008/04/monday-musings.html
(second item: Mail...I get mail!)
==END ADDENDUM ==

Monday, April 06, 2009 11:15:00 AM  
Anonymous Jerome said...

Oh dear God that is so funny. I reckon the idiot fizzing hot air is none other than David Schirmer. Have you ever seen a hussledork who fizzes and fuzzes like him? And he cant seem to get any comments out without twisting them just a tad. I guess he would be all Disney'd out by now and back down under where he belongs although I doubt they want him there either by the sounds of it.

Wednesday, April 15, 2009 7:28:00 AM  
Blogger Cosmic Connie said...

LOL, Jerome. But I have to say that the person who wrote to me was... how shall I put this kindly... more skilled at spelling and grammar than David Schirmer apparently is.

Wednesday, April 15, 2009 11:19:00 AM  

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