Forget the mumbo jumbo sounding stuff. I'm not sure why this part is necessary. But let's talk about the benefits of compassion, etc.
Viktor Frankl noted that those who survived the holocaust (such as himself) with the healthiest outlooks were those who helped others get through it.
Look at it this way - 70,000 years ago we were on the brink of extinction. There were a mere 2,000. That's about one-fifth of the people who regularly saw a Phillies home game this season. Imagine how close we were. Nevertheless, it still took about 18 years for a young human to fully mature. It seems reasonably clear that several things must have occured for us to survive:
Everyone pitched in in whatever way they could. The orphans were taken care of by the group. The resources were shared without war. Self-centered behavior, in general, would not have been the norm. "Every man for himself" would have been a disastrous philosophy at the time. Compassion would have been pragmatic to the degree of being seen as sacrosanct since every set of working hands, feet and eyes would have been needed to support the group as a whole. This would have been true for a very long time. It is not difficult to imagine that we began to be hard-wired for a certain amount of compassion in order to be psychologically healthy.
We seem to be hard-wired for language - children exhibit language abilities through hand gestures THEY themselves invent (if we pay attention) within only a few months of life. Surely, we can be hard-wired for other things more sophisticated than what we consider instinct but in a similar way and for similar reasons.
Clinical studies have demonstrated that laughter can affect health. There are other well studied mind body effects. And indirect paths of mind body exist too. Sleep can be affected by mood and health by sleep. You see?
Look - when the guy is still cranking out books about longevity at 130 - then his words will be difficult to refute. And I get your point. But I do not think it wise to dismiss something simply due to what, for the most part, is 'inferior packaging'.
Why do people pay over $9,000 dollars to go into a plastic tarp covered "sweat lodge"? Why do people go to "faith healers"? Why are Sheeple suckers? Instead of accepting that we (humans) have very little control over anything... People who need this kind of crap have too much money and are always looking for some "greater power" to fix what ever happens to be wrong with there lives instead of just accepting that s#^t happens and no one has control and to just deal... (I apologize in advance, bad day and all this airy-fairy crap is really bad, its like kicking stupid puppies)
I'm with you Steve, for years I've told a friend he should turn his farm into a church PLUS he wouldn't have to pay any taxes!!! (total win) Goad Bless America! Do as many people from other countries fall for this s**t as Amerikans do?
Good thread - thanks Louis. I've enjoyed bashing Deeprock Chopsaw for many a years; he's been selling millions of books for maybe 20 years now; bleh! It's fun to be cynical and make jokes like Sue and Steve, but I really get what Howard said too. In fact I never argue with a new-ager; they have tender hearts and really, they just want to give love and be loved.
I know because my sweet wife is one of them, and oh dear, her friends... let me tell you... when she has a group over the woo is so deep and sticky you can't walk through the room. But I would never want to laugh at these sweet people. I just keep my science and reason to myself and sit there (for a while anyway) and listen to their silliness. I smile, and they think I'm smiling with them not at them. I'm glad to be the waiter and bar tender so I don't have to sit through it all. :)
It is a shame in a way that so many people waste so much time and money on this crap, but then again if it makes them happy who are we to judge. They are not causing any harm.
Of course there are charlatans out there and you hate to see people take advantage of innocent naive people. Some of them, Chopra included I'd guess, are sincere, and just deluded. But then that's the case with most sellers of religion and alt-med too. It's a bit of a dilemma for me; when do you call someone out on their bullshit? My wife also goes to a homeopath and an energy healer fer cryin' out loud! But I can't tell her - or them - that they're full of shit. It would only serve to hurt my wife and her "healers" (hey, it works for her - by placebo effect of course).
At some level we need to promote science and reason, but I don't want to do it on a personal level. What do you all do, or suggest I do?
Your right Steve, and I shouldn't have said "like kicking stupid puppies" in my first post and generally I agree, they can be sweet naive people who are just looking for something beyond and your wife is a lucky lady =)