There are days when I wonder just how some people can function in modern society, when their beliefs are so violently at odds with the very basics of modern knowledge. This ranges from the religious right-wingnuts who refuse global warming, genetics and – well just about anything except money, really (not forgetting ultra-right-wing gaybashers who almost always turn out to be batting for the other team) – to neohippy dropouts who refuse healthcare, modern sanitation, and music you can dance to. The latter try to sell their crappy fruit and veg as “organic” in the local market; the former try to sell their bigoted policies as “right” for society.
Both are a complete menace, although only one side is aware (and proud) of its selfishness. Now, for me, the hippy-happy-hoppy magic energy-healing of Reiki is a particularly dangerous self-delusion. Weirdly, this particular parasitic offspring of neohippyism seems to have spawned a number of schools, all equally batshit crazy. Actually, I shouldn’t use that term in this context: not only is it offensive to bats, but people with genuine mental health problems are more often than not among the victims of this kind of “therapy”. I intend to do a post on mental health and the damage done both by social stigma and by airy-fairy magical mystery cures in the near future, but it’s a difficult one to approach and there are a lot of things I’ve turned up which have upset me considerably, in much the same way as the callous, deadly campaigning by the antivax movement does.
Anyway, once again CAMwatch on Scoop.it has generated a response. In this case, I found a Reiki-touting website with a page entitled What are the Reiki hand positions for? which concluded with this little gem:
Regardless of where the practitioner places his hands, the energy is flowing where the recipient is able to receive the healing that is needed.
If you’re envisioning a scene from one of those heroic fantasy flicks where a character magically saves another by raising a hand and calling on every last ounce of their superpower, then yes, so am I. And unfortunately, that is more or less what the Reiki-quacks mean. They probably don’t think they do, imagining that it’s something quite different (and therefore real), in much the same way as the deeply religious think their beliefs are quite different from anybody that goes to another place of worship.
Look at it this way: I loved X-Men. I always identified with Hank McCoy (the original, drawn by Jack Kirby, before he turned into a seriously badass blue beastie. Which I also like). However my willing suspension of disbelief ends when the credits start to roll, or I put the comic down or – alright, I’ll come clean – when I wake up. Reiki and all the other variants on a theme of faith healing are what happens when someone fails their waking reality-check.
Anyway, this is the start of the exchange:
@anarchic_teapot Wow…thanks for the traffic. You sure have a website with a rather hysterical tone to it. Good luck with that.
— Alice Langholt (@ReikiAwakening) January 1, 2012
Nice little throwaway snark about the “hysterical” tone, although quite what is hysterical about it I’m not sure. I would have hoped for hysterically funny, but somehow I don’t think that’s what she means. You can read the rest here, with added commentary. It may be useful to bear in mind she claims to have seen my website – does she means this one, or my scoop.it topic, which isn’t technically a website? – while watching her try to sell me Reiki. You’ll have to provide your own popcorn.
Incidentally, is it just me, or is all this “Reiki attunement” ritual a kind of spiritual MLM? Expensive “therapy”, buy into the pyramid to resell your own…
- I think you should see The Doctor: Healing The Past With Reiki (anarchic-teapot.net)
- Reiki: I don’t think we mean the same Universe (anarchic-teapot.net)
- Reiki and Bipolar disorder: A happy thought a day keeps the loony away? (anarchic-teapot.net)