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A Classic 3 Card Trick
on 8 September 2010
This is an awful, awful book. Sorry, there's no other way of putting it. And I can hear people saying already "but it makes me feel better".
Whatever makes you feel in control, I guess. But sometimes things which make us feel better aren't necessarily true or even good for us. Tolle and others like him are squarely in the camp of woo (as the great Randi would say!). They promote a watered down and ultimately meaningless new-age theology. (And of course Oprah loves him.) I expected more, but he sits right in there with Deepak Chopra as a prime example of self-asserted anti-science hokum. I don't usually torture myself with such media excretions.
Tolle is kind of cultish. Worse, he uses scare tactics stating we're all in some kind of race to obliterate the human ego and the "pain-body" before they destroy the earth. The `ticking clock' once again...horse manure. We are our egos. We hold memories of pain for a good reason-to avoid repeating mistakes. That's how we evolved from our ape ancestors. And all his arguments fall down in exactly the same way as every other new-age guru I've ever read with the classic '3 card trick' as a means of argument:
1. "The Higher Level Card" (i.e. sorry, it's just over your head). Sorry, but you're just not clever enough to realise Eckhart is cleverer than you, because you're on a lower (less divine/lower psychic vibration) level.
2. "The Projection Card" (i.e., I know you are, but what am I?). By criticising Eckhart, you are really just criticising yourself, because any problem you see in Eckhart/the world at large is just a projection of a problem in yourself.
3. "The Skillful Means Card" (i.e., it's all your own fault, idiot!). The most potent card of all. It's not abuse; it's not pathetic or ridiculous or wrong; it's a crazy to wise teaching method. So when Eckhart calls you an idiot, it's not because he's an pompous idiot, it's because you have a idiot-complex that you need to evolve past, and he's here to help you see that!
It's just not healthy to read books like this. This dualistic zen-style thinking just doesn't hold water in the real world. Then there's the Eckhart Tolle "walk of death." Allegedly after listening to Tolle's Power of Now tapes repeatedly, Brianna Wilkins walked miles without warm clothing (thinking only of the present moment, I'm sure) in the middle of winter and..."Now," she's dead.
Humans are not broken, they're mostly just confused. We may not know ourselves so well, but we're operating exactly as nature intended. We're greedy, competitive, with a short attention span, seeking instant gratification. But we're also kind, long-suffering, generous, wise, and empathetic-with the two camps always in conflict within each of us. Solutions to human problems will come from realist introspection, critical thinking, rationality and acknowledging of the darkness, e.g. more rationality and less mysticism. We can start that process right here, right now-with our egos and pain-memories intact-not in some future idealised fantasy world. Change won't come overnight but occurs through an evolutionary process. That's what else ticks me off about the Tolle: he dresses it up in the conceit of spirituality, but actually panders to the very ordinary materialistic drive towards the "quick fix," the effortless "new you." Well, you don't get something for nothing. Or much for £10! :)
Apologies if this is ranty - but this was a terrible, self-absorbed, arrogant, pompous book. Avoid