Tony Robbins: Motivational Speaker. Captured from The Century of the Self
In last Sunday’s Observer, journalist Carole Cadwalladr, discussed the increase in the huge profiting market of selling happiness: the world of self-help. Self help books used to be something my dad talked about in the early 90s that made me think he was a little strange and that it was just a way to fake his real self. Yet in some ways I have become to realise that there is some good in enabling people to self administer happiness much like how self medication has become more and more common with the help of the internet. Whether that actually increases paranoia and hypochondria is another matter.
Creating The FATE Institute, a fictitious personalised futures institute was a comment in some ways on the way we all want to have someone/something/somewhere to believe in and have the answers and know more about us than ourselves. For there to be someway to control and manage the unknown and know how to get what we want out of life using techniques, methods and knowledge from the diverse fields of ancient divination, corporate forecasting and personal genomics & genetic futures.
This Observer article describes how this common feeling we have has created an opportunity for psychologists, counsellors, hypnotherapists and entrepreneurs to use their skills and speak to a wider audience by creating their brand empire with books, weekend courses, DVDs etc and in doing so turn self help into a huge money making genre.
Self help means investing time and money to listen to a 3rd party agency describe our potential risks in the future and then explore ways to control it to essentially make us feel happy in the now. We will join societies, buy memberships, read the horoscope, hire foresight consultancies and futurists, read horizon scanning reports, subscribe to predictive gene testing services, listen to counsellors,
This article also reminded me of Adam Curtis‘s doc, The Century of The Self and the way Edward Bernays applied Sigmund Freud’s understanding of the subconscious to create the practice of public relations. Finding ways to understand and explore the self and introduce techniques to persuade and encourage consumption and self obsession. Unwittingly, his work served as the precursor to a world full of political spin doctors, marketing moguls, and society’s belief that the pursuit of satisfaction and happiness is man’s ultimate goal.
See also The World of Happiness post
The Church of Scientology is set to go on trial in France, accused of organised fraud.The case centres on a complaint by a woman who says she was pressured into paying large sums of money after being offered a free personality test.
The woman at the centre of the case says she was approached by church members in Paris and offered a free personality test, but she ended up spending all her savings on books, medicines and the electronic metre that is part of the paraphernalia of Scientology.
The latest case centres on a complaint made in 1998 by a 33-year-old woman who said she was approached by a group of people outside a Paris metro station who offered her a free personality test and a later meeting to interpret the results. Over the following months, she said she paid 140,000 francs (£17,000) to the Scientologists for courses, books, medication, and “purification packs”.
At the age of nine few children know what they will go on to do with their lives. But for a scientist involved in one of the most revolutionary medical operations of recent times, his destiny appears to have been spelled out in a letter written 35 years ago, to a BBC children’s programme.
“We think of it as our R&D department”, says Archdeacon Jackson. “We want church to be a verb not a noun,” is a favourite phrase from Fresh Expressions enthusiasts, who often talk of “emerging churches” Among the initiatives are “Rezurgence”, a Christian “extreme sport” ministry in Surrey, which describes itself as “a unique first that brings mountain biking, BMX and faith into one”, and a Christian skateboarding park in Essex.
The Leak listeners are the Thames Water squad tackling the wastage crisis who use “leak sticks”-steel rods with a wooden earpiece as one end-which they hold against pipes to pick up vibrations from any water escaping. It is a method that has been used for more than a century and allows any sign of leaking water to be heard!
The 36th International Exhibition of Invention is currently being held in Geneva and is offering some genuine glimpses into the future! well maybe some left field products for the future that indeed create opportunties to laugh and gasp with delight and fear!
This is Paul Fischer and his Cervical Stretcher: an exercise and therapy device for people with cervical problems.
Via The Guardian
Found out about this institute via the Horizon programme about decision making.
The main “scientist”, Dean Randin , has been Senior Scientist at the Institute of Noetic Sciences since 2001. His initial career as a concert violinist diverted into science after earning a Masters degree in electrical engineering and a PhD in psychology from the University of Illinois, Champaign-Urbana. For a decade he worked on advanced telecommunications R&D at AT&T Bell Laboratories and GTE Laboratories; for over two decades he has focused on consciousness research at Princeton University, University of Edinburgh, University of Nevada, and three Silicon Valley think-tanks, including SRI International, where he worked on a classified program investigating psychic phenomena for the US government. At the institute of noetic sciences he was carrying out experiments that were suggesting that we subconsciously predict what will happen next: that we have precognition and therefore allows us to make intuitive decisions. This theory was highlighted via an experiment that used a slideshow that randomly selected positive and negative imagery. By attaching GSR sensors to the respondents, the anticipation that each slide would be an emotionally charged or non emotionally charged created varying results. These results were interpreted as being the key moment of precognition.
More about Paul randin and The Institute of Noetic Sciences
Fantastic exhibition at The Photographers Gallery based on Harry Price’s Library of Magical Literature. It presents seven different photographer’s work that deal with the paranormal, the unknown and ethereal. Including work from Susan Macwilliam ( see earlier post>) and RCA graduate (Floren)Cia Durante. Brilliant brilliant stuff, highly recommend a visit!
Found a recent article on BBCNews describing how a cat called Oscar who lives in a nursing home has the habit of curling up next to a patient hours before they pass away! According to the author of a study in the New England Journal of Medicine, the two-year-old cat has been observed to be correct in 25 cases so far.
Or could it be that Oscar is actually killing the patients with his presence?!