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.)

Friday, September 27, 2013

37 million balloons? SNAG circle med for Kevin Trudeau

Here's a YouTube vid of a SNAG (Sensitive New Age Guy/Gal) circle meditation recently performed for serial scammer Kevin Trudeau, apparently in anticipation of his September 26 court hearing. In this meditation the participants are asked to envision Kevin walking out of that hearing in triumph. They are invited to visualize 37 million balloons (representing those 37 million dollars he owes the FTC) going POOF! and disappearing. They are encouraged to imagine -- and by doing so to create -- a scenario in which he is completely exonerated, all charges are dismissed, all fines are canceled... a scenario that ends with Katie emerging victorious at the GIN Family Reunion in Washington DC. I'm thinking a Return of the King scene, but without Hobbits and Elves.

The video was put on YouTube on September 24, presumably to spread the good vibe and help send out positive energy to Katie. The instructions -- and the meditation -- are simple enough.
Just a reminder...to keep saying this whenever you have a spare moment in your heads...


"I Love the Love of God in my soul...and
I Love the Love of God in Judge Gettleman's soul."

"I Love the Love of God in my soul...and
I Love the Love of God in Robb Evans & Associates souls."

"I Love the Love of God in my soul...and
I Love the Love of God in Kenton Johnson & Brick Kane's soul."

"I Love the Love of God in my soul...and
I Love the Love of God in Thomas L. Kirsch's soul."

"I Love the Love of God in my soul...and
I Love the Love of God in the Federal Trade Commission."
So, did the meditation work?

Well, Katie didn't get thrown in the clink on September 26, as some of his loudest detractors had been hoping. But he's far from off the hook. He got his allowance taken away -- for now, at least, though according to court docs filed on September 27, 2013, he and the FTC are still quibbling over details. According to an ABC News report filed on the evening of September 26, the receiver is leaning towards agreeing with the FTC that coercive incarceration might be just the ticket to shake some more bucks out of Katie. And he's due back in court on Tuesday, October 1, or possibly later, if the government gets shut down (see link to the September 27 court docs in the sentence above). Although I don't think he belongs in jail, jail seems to be looming ever closer. It's pretty certain that he won't be at the Family Reunion, should that event actually take place.

Here's the really sad part. While Kevin currently seems quite desperate and at this point might welcome prayers or meditations or magickal chants or even lucky charms or ePendants, I am pretty sure that when he was riding high he would have scoffed at this kind of stuff. I think that in their heart of hearts, at least some of these folks know this. (The guy in the purple shirt and hat looks a little cynical, if you ask me. I can't say I blame him.)

These people seem like sweet and well-meaning folks who are totally wasting their energy on someone who wouldn't give them the time of day under ordinary circumstances -- and indeed, would call them losers.

And he might be calling them losers even now. I can just hear Katie grumbling to his attorneys, "F--k the meditation. Why don't those losers send me some f-----g money?"

(I confess that I am also having flashbacks from my days of hanging around people like this, which I did for years. It was hanging around people like this that made me who I am today: the ironically Cosmic Connie, creator of this Whirled.)

Yet people such as these represent a significant and growing force in American spiritual life, and it's easy to see how Kevin pandered to them through GIN. (And for the record, I don't think they're losers. I think they've just been bamboozled by an expert bamboozler.)

Here's the direct YouTube link, in case you want to make comments. Be nice, though. These folks may be fragile and brainwashed.

Clicking on the pic above won't lead you to the video,
but WILL provide an enlarged view.

Sadly, these meditators seem to be demonstrating the very type of gullibility that will make them an easy target for the next scammer to come down the pike. This willingness to believe, this deep but misplaced emotional and spiritual hunger -- along with the unwillingness to make "negative" judgments -- will keep Scamworld and the big sick machine fueled for many years to come. Kevin may fade away, GIN may die, but there will always be other scams and other scammers, and hungry, eternally hopeful people to take the bait.

"And so it is."

* * * * *
Some people have expressed puzzlement about whether the above meditation is actually typical GIN practice. Others who have been in GIN say they never saw things like that and it isn't part of the GIN teachings. Judging by what one of the women in the video said towards the beginning, it seems obvious that this is a vid of a private "mastermind" group of GIN folks with new-age beliefs -- and the two ringleaders, particularly the gray-haired woman leading the meditation, seem to have years if not decades of experience with metaphysical practices and belief systems.

Through GIN, Kevin chose to target this demographic as well as numerous others. And he certainly exploited new-agey concepts such as "vibrations," the "law of attraction," and so forth -- and also took full advantage of people's superstitions and their tendency to embrace  magical thinking. In fact he has been practicing this sort of exploitation for many years through his promotion of various frauducts, but he brought it all together into one toxic blend in GIN.

I imagine that a more Christian-oriented GIN "mastermind" group might have a more traditional prayer circle and perhaps would implore Jesus H. Christ to help poor Katie. And maybe they have; we just haven't seen the video yet. The point is that people bring their own belief systems and practices to the table and integrate them into GIN as they see fit. And as indicated above, many people who were drawn to GIN experienced GIN from a new-agey perspective.

Not surprisingly, the GIN circle med has been a source of mirth on the "GIN Destroyer" Facebook page.

It's amusing to see the so-called GIN destroyers and their followers jeering at the new-age meditators for their touchy-feely and ritualistic way of trying to help Kevin. I know they are mostly jeering because they think the meditators are deluded for believing that Katie is a good guy or that their meditation will get their fearless leader out of this big mess. But the "destroyers" and some of the others as well also seem to be slamming the very idea of this ritual, as if it is some crazy thing only performed by people who are mentally disturbed. They seem to be ignoring, or ignorant of, the larger cultural and historical context.

The reality is that lots of people perform these types of rituals for all sorts of reasons both trivial and momentous, whether through meditation, visualization, or prayer. And they have been doing so for centuries. Moreover, the type of meditation that you see in the video above encompasses ideas that have become much more mainstream within the past few years.

I also recall that in 2011 the chief GIN destroyer had joined
a Kansas City Wiccan and Pagan meetup group just so he could recruit them for GIN (the group's member profiles are now apparently closed to non-members, but some of his other profile pages indicate that he is still a member of this group, and that his interests include "meditation" and "energy healers"). And someone screen-capped his Wiccan group profile some time ago.

The point is that anyone who knows any Wiccans/Pagans knows that many of them are very much into rituals and chanting and circles and so forth. Some are solitary practitioners and some prefer groups, but rituals (and for some, spells) are a pretty big thing. In addition, Abe totes Rhonda Byrne's works around like a talisman, and recommends them, and her work is specifically geared to appeal to the very type of people we see in the circle-med video.

So I feel that our GIN destroyer is snarking from, at best, a place of ignorance or at the very least extreme shortsightedness. He's focusing on the fact that the meditators are trying to help Kevin Trudeau, and he is ignoring the fact that perhaps without fully realizing it, he has on several occasions promoted exactly the same kind of mindset these new-agers are demonstrating.

As for Loony Coldwell, he's up to his usual disgusting antics (or rant-ics), calling the meditators mentally retarded cult members, saying that they're broke or are trailer trash, and saying they have no sex lives. (He seems obsessed with sex and with proving to the world that he's a real player. But as many know, the truth is not nearly so glamorous.)

By now, it's easy to see the wheels turning in that nefarious little skull of his. He takes every opportunity to point out examples of what he sees as brainwashing and Jonestown-ish behavior so he can flog his own"anti-brainwashing" fiddle-faddle.

Not that I'm letting the meditators off the hook; it's just that I'm looking at their actions from a broader perspective. I will say that one of the eye-rolling things I saw in the video was that the meditators betray their own type of ignorance -- perhaps a willful ignorance -- of the legal trouble Kevin is in. They stumble over the name of the judge overseeing the civil case, they express confusion about the FTC's involvement, they seem to totally ignore the looming criminal trial with Judge Guzman (although I realize that they were specifically focusing on the outcome for the upcoming civil hearing with Judge Gettleman).

Their ignorance and blind spots are not really all that surprising, and seem characteristic of a cultish mindset that is often seen, and not just in new-age circles. (And any one of us is susceptible to being fooled by an expert con artist, given the right circumstances.) Even so, in light of the fact that they do seem to be new-agers, they seem to be as good an illustration as any of some of the more serious issues with new-age culture in general, which I've written about here before, and mentioned in the section above: the positivity mindset and the general mandate to be "non-judgmental." New-age culture encourages people to willingly suspend negative opinions along with general disbelief, and just "go with the flow." The emperor is fully dressed, by golly!

However -- and here's where I most definitely differ with the jeering group whose screenshots appear above -- some of the ex-GIN don't seem to realize that
the phony "doctor" they are following, and to whom they now look for guidance, is many times worse, in many ways, than Kevin Trudeau.

As noted, I realize that the "non-judgmental" mindset is not limited to new-age culture or cults, but since the early 1980s or even before, new-agers seem to have raised it to new and often ludicrous (and sometimes dangerous) levels. It seems to me that one of the most extreme examples (besides, perhaps, James Arthur Ray and his deadly sweat lodge) was
a certain most-wanted war criminal who was able to disguise himself as a new-age healer for years.

But the SNAG circle med above? It is not "the depths of madness" (as one participant in the above mentioned forum described it), any more than any other ritual practiced by well meaning if misguided people on behalf of a beloved leader or cause. It may be the height of folly, but it is not the depth of madness. On the other hand, following someone like Loony Coldwell... now, THAT'S getting closer to the edge of the insanity abyss.

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Blogger Roger Willco said...

Why would anyone feel a need to ridicule or disparage these unfortunate people? What have they done to anyone? Each one of them is somebody's sister, brother, mother, father, son or daughter. Any of us might know and care for someone who's sitting in a similar circle, hoping or praying that Kevin or another like him escapes their just desserts.

Authoritative logicians say the human brain is hardwired to accept the logical fallacies evil predators of all kinds use to manipulate their victims. I'm thankful I'm not one of them...as far as I know. But I was in a "conventional" Christian cult from birth until well into adulthood with no idea what it was; and I'm pretty sure it wasn't because I was an idiot.

Sunday, September 29, 2013 1:17:00 AM  
Blogger Cosmic Connie said...

Thank you, Roger. Of course I too am poking fun at them, though I have been in some of those same types of circles before myself. I think they are misguided, obviously. But I don't think they are either mentally ill or unbalanced or idiots, as the "GIN Destroyers" (Loony Coldwell, his little buddy Abe, et al.) are saying.

Sunday, September 29, 2013 6:58:00 AM  

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