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*Mike Doughney on Implications for the TM Movement and the Natural Law Party

"The movement told us what to believe, dangled the carrot in front of us, and we started buying into the whole package. Some are still buying. Let's all hope that they don't buy it with their lives."

Back to "TranceNet: Emergency Alert"


SAN FRANCISCO, Calif. -- June 12, 1996

Adapted from minet.org archives. Copyright © 1996 Mike Doughney

In article <31BE58B2.613B@naples.net>,
John A. Stanley  wrote:
>John M. Knapp wrote:
(with a little reordering for clarity...)
>>                          Help Avert Another Jonestown
>Another Jonestown? Oh puhleeeze! Come visit Fairfield, John, and 
>you'll find that there are no cyanide laced vats of Kool-aid at the 
>entrance to the domes. Your toxic little fantasy world bears little 
>resemblance to the real world.

And no doubt, there aren't cyanide laced vats of anything in Fairfield at the moment, neither would it appear that recent events are, in and of themselves, dangerous.

What is disturbing is that for the first time, there is a particular dynamic in the TM movement that hasn't been all that publically visible before - that of apocalyptic pronouncements of disaster on a global scale. Particularly unusual is that this event has been closely correlated with public press releases that, though not quite as strident, indicate that Mahesh's ravings are being taken seriously and with an extreme level of urgency. And these sorts of actions on the part of leaders of other groups have preceded some great tragedies. The world is not going to end tomorrow because of genetic engineering.

Despite the risks and ethical questions associated with this field, humanity stands to gain a great deal from this research, as we all have from scientific research of every kind. And from time to time extremists come along and insist that we are either in great danger and/or are committing unethical atrocities through or as a result of beneficial research. This is not a new approach, it's just another ploy by authoritarians that seek to gain more power and wealth from well-intentioned but manipulated individuals. The sun will still rise tomorrow, and most if not all of us will still be here, despite our fears and doubts about ourselves and our world.

Obviously, as with many groups, there are meditators, and committed meditators in Fairfield for that matter, of every level of movement involvement and with varying opinions of the movement and its leaders. No doubt many, if not most, view Mahesh's ravings for what they are. Their views don't erase the fact that today, some significant number of people are making plans to do exactly as Mahesh said they should do.

Why hasn't every meditator piled on this newsgroup and, in unison, condemned Mahesh as a madman? Why say anything else, John Stanley? Why would anyone go so far as to sell their house, drop their career, and go run off into some third world country because some lunatic billionaire said, without them, "global war" will ensue - for no rational reason whatsoever?

What does this event tell us about everything the TM movement ever said to us about its techniques, about 'natural law,' its outlook on life, its metaphysics, its more religious aspects? If the obvious rantings of a madman are today being taken seriously and as the sane instructions to the rest of the group... why should anything ever said by Mahesh and accepted as divine truth - or even as mundane truth - ever be unquestionably accepted as valid? Why shouldn't every Natural Law Party - the "TM party" - candidate be questioned as to why their true leader is talking like this?

These questions are relevant to each and every meditator, since as anyone can see through inspection of the initiation process, checking procedure, and 3 days' checking notes, what you have been told about your experiences with the TM program is a large part of the self-reinforcement process by which each of us may have decided that TM was personally beneficial. This is why I now believe that the "technique is incredible but the movement is flaky" position, which we've heard often and no doubt we will hear again many times here and elsewhere in the coming months, is difficult if not impossible to support. Our evaluation of TM has always been tainted by what the movement told us about it.

The movement told us what to believe, dangled the carrot in front of us, and we started buying into the whole package. Some are still buying. Let's all hope that they don't buy it with their lives.

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