A few little sight bites
We haven't had a Snippet Saturday on this Whirled in a while. I just wanted to share a few random quotations that caught my eye recently.
Life experience qualifies each of us to render judgment on any number of matters. I have no personal knowledge of a shotgun blast to the face, but I think I'm capable of appreciating the damage that such an occurrence is apt to cause on those who do have the experience...To assert otherwise is ridiculous—tantamount to arguing that a physician must actually be sick himself in order to accurately diagnose a patient with that same disorder. It bears noting that Landmark Forum does not have "personal knowledge" of the lives of the customers who attend its coursework, yet Landmark claims to possess a generic formula for helping those people improve their quality-of-life. Go figure.
~Steve Salerno on Part 1 of his SHAMblog Landmark Forum Series, addressing the notoriously litigious Landmark's implication that anyone who doesn't have personal experience with Landmark is unqualified to criticize it. In particular they were questioning the late Dr. Margaret Singer's qualifications to render judgment on damages claimed by a Landmark participant, because she had no "personal knowledge" of what goes on in Landmark Forum sessions.
Come to think of it...not that I am in any way comparing myself to Dr. Singer (or even to a journalist such as Steve), but this twisted judgment about critics' qualifications, or lack thereof, sounds a bit like some of the responses I've fielded from those who took umbrage at my critical remarks.
Here's Part 2 of Steve Salerno's Landmark series.
Here's Part 3, in which Steve clarifies the right to express an OPINION, although Landmark and other New-Wage schemes/gurus have been known to do their level best to suppress that right.
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Whether or not you believe you are your story, don't trade your own story, however dire or crazy, for someone else's second-hand cockroach fable. Your own story has the potential to get very interesting, at least to yourself, if you take a good look.
~ "Stoic" on a fascinating thread on the Rick Ross Forum, in a side discussion on the merits and deceptions of storytelling.
The "cockroach fable" is a reference to the tale that New-Wage guru-ette Bryon Katie tells of her own "enlightenment." It seems to be an integral part of her marketing as well as her mythology. Seems she was startled awake one morning by a cockroach running across her leg, and she awakened into a state of enlightenment, and was never the same afterward. She went on to create a multimillion dollar New-Wage empire. More than one person has pointed out the irony that a major part of her shtick is to encourage people to divorce themselves from their own "stories." ("Who would you be without your story?") I blogged about Katie a while back.
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The wounded in this world are dying and despairing by the thousands while prosperity preachers are offering up home-brewed remedies of Entitlement theology. These charlatans are selling salve to the sick when salvation is what people really need to fix what's ailing them.
~ Karen Spears Zacharias, Will Jesus Buy Me A Double-Wide? ('Cause I Need More Room For My Plasma TV) (Zondervan)
Okay, this is a link to a Christian book, and I don't often "do" mainstream religion (though I have on occasion), but since "Prosperity/Entitlement Gospel" has so much in common with New-Wage Entitlement "gospel," I thought it appropriate.
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And finally... this isn't all that recent, and I didn't find it on the Internet, but it has stuck with me since I first read it. This is from a book called Taran Wanderer, Book 4 in the delightful classic children's/young-adult fantasy series, The Chronicles of Prydain, by the late Lloyd Alexander. It's a typical epic fantasy that takes place in the fictional land of Prydain, based loosely on Wales. Alexander took much of his inspiration from the Welsh myth cycle, The Mabinogion. (In 1985, Disney released an animated flick, The Black Cauldron, which was very loosely based on a couple of Alexander's books.)
One of the recurring characters in The Chronicles of Prydain is a somewhat bumbling but well-meaning bard named Fflewddur Fflam. Fflewddur isn't really a very good bard, though his cat seems to like his music. But he is a faithful friend and a brave fighter in his own way, although he has a marked tendency to exaggerate whenever he opens his mouth. However, he is constantly kept in line by his magical harp, which noisily busts a string whenever he tells a big one. If he even starts to tell a fib, the harp makes threatening noises. One day he and Taran, the main hero of the series, are discussing some of the area noblemen and their quirks, particularly the nobles' self-satisfaction and habit of boasting about their heroic deeds.
[Fflewddur said], "These...nobles are much alike, prickly as porcupines one moment and friendly as puppies the next. They all hoard their possessions, yet they can be generous to a fault. As for valor, they're no cowards.* Death rides in the saddle with them and they count it as nothing, and in battle I've seen them gladly lay down their lives for a comrade. At the same time," he added, "it's also been my experience, in all my wanderings, that the further from the deed, the greater it grows, and the most glorious battle is the one longest past. So it's hardly surprising how many heroes you run into.
"Had they harps like mine," said Fflewddur, warily glancing at his instrument, "what a din you'd hear from every stronghold in Prydain!"
Today instead of magical harps, we have snarky blogs. And I don't know about you, but it sounds to me as if the din is growing louder all the time.
* Hey, no analogy is perfect.