- Hardcover: 198 pages
- Publisher: Christopher Pub House (May 1980)
- Language: English
- ISBN-10: 0815803923
- ISBN-13: 978-0815803928
- Product Dimensions: 1 x 6.2 x 9.5 inches
- Shipping Weight: 1.5 pounds
- Average Customer Review: 4 customer reviews
- Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #4,169,897 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
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Tm and Cult Mania 0th Edition
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For those who need a little background, the TM movement started in 1958, when the Maharishi arranged a series of tours to spread his philosophy to the West. It gained considerable ground in the 1960s when celebrities, particularly the Beatles, endorsed it. From that time on, TM enjoyed a rapid, widespread increase in popularity, resulting in the acquisition of real estate, universities, and even introducing TM into the US public school system. (This effort failed due to the separation of church and state.) Currently, the reported value of the Maharishi's organization is estimated to be in the billions (US dollars).
The basic claim of TM is that sitting quietly, with eyes closed, and repeating a secret mantra will make the practitioner "one with the Universe." This is the aim of all Eastern meditation, but in the Maharishi's case, additional claims of health benefits (lowered blood pressure, increased productivity and concentration, reduced stress) were supposedly backed up by scientific proofs. Persinger, a neuroscientist to the core, dismantles those proofs with stunning detail, including a fascinating one-page explanation of how statistics in scientific studies can be made to lie. These sorts of shenanigans outrage Persinger.
On page 124 he states: "Words like 'experiments' or 'data analysis' become meaningless when they are intended only to legitimize assumptions already held. Within this context, controls do not have to be instituted, checks for experimental artifacts are not required, and actual faking of the data becomes 'acceptable for the cause'... Science as a sales technique is a sham." Although the subversion of science really gets his goat, it is the blatant manipulation of people through preying on their anxieties that puts Persinger's panties in a twist.
Neurotics, a group that Persinger defines as people who "worry more than work, plan more than participate, and cower more than confront," are paralyzed by anxiety. These are the people who flock to TM in an effort to sort out their lives. The sweet promise of relief from perpetual anxiety blinds them to the manipulation of the TM movement. This, Persinger considers to be the ultimate crime. He points out, and with good cause, that "TM's final legacy will not be found in its promises but in its techniques. These same principles of human persuasion have been used by vast political machines and giant religious conglomeration to conquer peoples. Intoxicated by the wonder words from charismatic leaders, millions have found internal peace and meaning to life, but frequently at the expense of others."
These are words to remember whenever anyone proposes a simple solution to a complex problem. And, in this world, everything is complex. Rather than jumping on the next simplistic bandwagon, we should follow Persinger's example - take a step back and use our heads.
John 8:32. Romans 6:23. 1 Corinthians 7:13,14. Psalm 146:3.
2 Thessalonians 2:10-12. Isaiah 45:22. John 14:6. and 12:35.
Mark 7:7. Joshua 24:15.
And decide for yourself what a cult is in God's eyes!