22/4/2007 Back from Holy Island

Back last night from retreat on Holy Island; these things are never easy (John Crook, during a discussion on making retreats less intense and more accessible, said firmly ‘Zen is not easy – there’s no point pretending it is!’) but the fruit is there when you can catch it, and this place certainly helped. One … Read more

Inspirations: Spiritual rock stars

My top 8 spiritual rock stars Crass, eh? This is just a personal choice, by no means comprehensive, entirely serious or even fair. But it’s a thread that’s run through my music fandom since I was a teenager. I was somehow attracted to those who had been through the sex/drugs/hedonism of the rock world and … Read more


The Arts Festival, now called the Ferry Fringe, is stirring into action in quite a powerful way; it’s now combined with a beer festival and a continental street market, and as a chairman who knows nobody and nothing about the town, I’m receiving an education in local politics. On Saturday night I played a local … Read more


From Robert Fripp’s blog: A deeply-ingrained aspect of Englishness is, regrettably, envy. Resentment of others, notably those we imagine to have something that we do not, seems to permeate the natives. Who do you think  you are? is the question addressed to those who are perceived to be  aspiring to a position a little above  … Read more


Another preview – When I Went to Your House – added to the RF2 page.

I’ve been reading two critiques of alternative medicine, or rather its adherents, recently. One is the Salerno book Sham which I’ve mentioned already. It’s very readable and reasonable until the last chapter which spoils it with some surprising stuff which dives from the negative politically correct effects of the feminisation of schools and workplace culture to some unwarranted indignation that ‘a stern, tough-talking president is labelled as reckless and macho’ and, even sadder, ‘It took 9/11 to reassert the legitimacy of aggression in American society, to move us from notions of ‘feeling your pain’ to notions of inflicting it.’   A shame because he’s spot on in other places such as the spurious psychology that is spreading into the mainstream in all aspects of society.

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Reading SHAM by Steve Salerno, about the Self Help and Actualisation Movement. It’s a scathing attack on the self-help industry, in particular on gurus like Anthony Robbins (Awaken the Giant Within) and John Gray (the Venus and Mars books), and on the way the two core approaches, Victimisation and Empowerment, have corrupted public life, particularly in the US. Victimisation is the view that whatever your current problem, it’s not your fault, it’s caused either by an abusive or misguided upbringing or by a  newly-recognised syndrome (i.e. an illness).

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