Friday, April 20, 2007

Psychobabble: The Krishnamurtis

Jiddu Krishnamurti is the optimist, the spiritual guidance counselor, the guru, the lecturer who insists he's a speaker instead. He is the one who washes over your philosophical concerns with spiritual psychobabble, pronouncing simplistic epistemological solutions to impossible problems. His constant pronouncement that the "teacher is unimportant" does little to silence the criticism.

Uppaluri Gopola Krishnamurti is the skeptic, the enlightened iconoclast, antagonist to widely held values of society. People would come to U.G. and ask for "metaphysical guidance" and he would tell them there is no such teaching, and that it would be impossible to transmit such teachings between people even if there is one. He is the teacher who taught the "enlightenment", "spirituality", "charity", and "selflessness" were not important concepts anyway.

I would much rather be drinking tea with Uppaluri Gopola. He is the more realistic of the two teachers, and it is reality that we are after, after all. U.G. will tell you that his teaching is a solution to your own fabricated problems. Jiddu on the other hand is concerned with theosophistic solutions to problems constructed out of psychobabble. Much like my New Age ex-girlfriend, he offers an unsophisticated spiritualism to a list of problems and wants he believes you should have. Psychobabble is the use of meaningless buzzwords that have come into widespread use in stress management and popular psychology. It's a complex, esotetic language that the speaker only has access to, and believes that by using words (perhaps words he doesn't know all the connections to) that this will trigger some positive psychological response in you. It's the new language of candor.

U.G. Krishnamurti knew that Jiddu's seminars were nothing but psychobabble. The teachings so lack precision that it has become pseudoscientific, and yet the speakers somehow expect that you'd be open to it, that you'd accept it, and that it's prescriptive quality will affect you in some way. For example, my ex-girlfriend would say something like this to describer herself. I am "a free spirit, magic my intuition my guide, and paint (thick succelent and erotically moist) my muse." She is a free spirit who likes to paint. The disordered syntax is a source of psychobabble here. Words strewn together in a stream-of-consciousness are often psychobabble. Words like "succulent" which have clear meaning elsewhere, have special and particular meanings in a psychobabble context.

Or one could speak in a kind of quasi-Shakespearean mode, using the phrases incorrectly, and implying a certain attitude in your speech. If your audience does not understand you, at least they understand that you are attempting to sound Shakespearean. And that you are trying to impart on them an attitude which you cannot adequately express yourself. For example, my ex-girlfriend believed in the purity of Shakespearean language, yet failed in her attempts to use it properly. This way, it lacked all of the profundity and understanding of the language, yet still wanted to achieve the same kind of effect. U.G. Krishnamurti said of the Jiddu that he repeated the same phrases and yet he was "so concerned with preserving your teaching for posterity in its pristine purity." When asked to explain in another way, or to answer criticism, he either repeated the teaching or refused to answer.

Their relationship ended with U.G. saying, "If I have no way of knowing [your teaching] and you have no way of communicating it, what the hell have we been doing! I have wasted seven years listening to you. You can give your precious time to somebody else. I am leaving for New York tomorrow." That is to say, U.G. believed there wasn't any teaching of Jiddu Krishnamurti's in the first place, and that it was all psychobabble.

1 comment:

Guzmán. said...

Jiddu Krishnamurti ;

“There are three monks, who had been sitting in deep meditation for many years amidst the Himalayan snow peaks, never speaking a word, in utter silence. One morning, one of the three suddenly speaks up and says, ‘What a lovely morning this is.’ And he falls silent again. Five years of silence pass, when all at once the second monk speaks up and says, ‘But we could do with some rain.’ There is silence among them for another five years, when suddenly the third monk says, ‘Why can’t you two stop chattering?”