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EP Today – When teachers get creepy

eptoday-copyWay back, when Earthpages was a website instead of a blog, the main page had a feature called “EP Today.” Some of my early web pals might remember this.

I’ve decided to go back to that name for commenting on current news and general interest stories.

So here it is. Our first reinstallment of EP Today!

Today I’d like to briefly touch on the (imo) silly idea of the perfected being. The more I get into the spiritual life the more I recognize the importance of humility. Also, to think that someone is more evolved or pure than another may carry potential dangers. Some gurus and charismatic figures can really disrupt family relations.

I remember living in a small town about 100 miles out from Toronto. A group of local devotees would drive every weekend, abandoning their spouses and children, to be with a high profile NYC guru. That’s a pretty long drive to make every weekend!

At a gathering designed to welcome and orient potentially new disciples, some devotees’ family members showed up and openly spoke out. They said the guru was stealing the hearts and minds of their loved ones. I was surprised. The concerned family members seemed almost angry. And I must admit, back then at my young age, I leaned toward the side of the devotees whose manner suggested that their families just didn’t quite get it. They weren’t enlightened enough to understand…

But about 25 years later, I can empathize with the complaining family’s perspective. Imagine if your wife or mom was rushing off every weekend to be with a NYC guru? Wouldn’t you be a bit concerned? I would.

Yertle the Turtle and Other Stories

Yertle the Turtle and Other Stories (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

The difficulty, as I see it, is this:

Most gurus claiming to be perfect often emanate some kind of soupy, numinous power. It’s not clear like the Holy Spirit. But it’s still there. A buzz, if you will. And sensitive but naive followers pick up on that buzz and are impressed. They’ve never encountered numinosity (spiritual power) before. Or perhaps they’ve never experienced anything better. So they believe, mistakenly, I’d say, that the guru’s ‘light’ is ultimate.

To me, true spirituality isn’t hero worship or getting spiritually drunk or stoned. Instead, it involves realizing that we carry each other, and on many levels. Healthy spirituality is not a one-way street with some pampered, contented teacher at the top, supposedly raising up disciplines who are far beneath them. No. The dynamic is multidirectional. And anyone who says otherwise is probably naive or, if they’re squatted at the top of an unhealthy guru-disciple relationship, an egotist and possibly a mind-abuser.

So many sham gurus and questionable spiritual leaders seem like bullfrogs posing as kings and queens. They rule from tiny little mudponds, like that creepy turtle in Dr. Seuss’ Yertle the Turtle. And until an oppressed turtle speaks up, the kingpin or Queen Bee will keep scamming cash and mental energy from the gullible and inexperienced below.

Would anyone in their right mind really want to have anything to do with that?

 People Theorize What It Would Be Like If Dr. Seuss Wrote Erotic Novels and Now Our Childhoods are Ruined (cheezburger.com)

 Health and Technology (forwardthinking.ashford.edu)


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EP Rewind – Free Speech Harming the Speechless

This post originally appeared on 2009/11/03. The related articles at bottom are current.

By Abigail Taggart

Peace for Animals by Lawrence OP via Flickr

Peace for Animals by Lawrence OP via Flickr

Ten years ago Congress put into place a federal law to make illegal video depictions of animal torture and murder that were made to appeal to “crush fetishists” among others. Crushing is a sexual fetish which generally shows women, often clad in high heals or dominatrix style clothing stepping on small animals or bugs. They occasionally also depict other forms of animal abuse.

In the years since its being put on the books, the law has only been called upon only three times, including the case being heard, United States v. Stevens. While the law was written to crack down on the “crush videos”, all three times its use has been applied to prosecute manufacturers of videos of dog fights. In Stevens, the defendant was convicted of selling recordings of a dogfight that he had made in Japan. His lawyers argued that, as dog fighting is legal in Japan, Mr. Stevens has not broken any law.

The first amendment is a complicated thing. It very clearly asserts our freedom of speech, but since its inception, the courts have added multiple clauses limiting this right. The most applicable to this issue are Miller v. California and New York v. Ferber. In Millier, the court ruled that a work could be banded if it was considered obscene and the standard for judging obscenity would be based on the current societal standards of decency and whether or not the work or statement had merit of a literary, political, scientific or artistic ilk. Ferber made an additional exception. Child pornography would be not be allowed to be produced or possessed in any circumstance. The Court ruled that society’s duty to protect children was of greater importance than protecting freedom of expression. Only the most staunch civil liberties advocates could argue that possession of such filth should be allowed and the majority of society would write these individuals off as overly zealous wackos. Why then is a nation, that is so universally committed to protecting children who are unable to protect themselves, not willing to extend this protection to other living things desperate for care?

It is my sincere hope that when the Court rules on Stevens (which won’t happen for several months) that they will choose common sense over party lines or personal opinion. Crush videos and the like are obscene; that anyone would argue otherwise is appalling. Showing the brutalization and victimization of innocent, and often helpless, animals cannot be seen as art and should not be available to satisfy certain individual’s depraved cravings. Videos that exploit animal cruelty for profit are also obscene, and therefore do not have to be afforded the protection of the first amendment. The Supreme Court should behave responsibly and rule against Stevens in this case. Such a decision could prevent the suffering of more animals at the hands of profit hungry monsters.

About the Author

Abigail Taggart is one of the founding members of Kristag Design. Her creative spirit is behind much of the work that ends up as the finished product. Abby did her undergraduate work in English and uses her talent for expression for both commercial and non-profit institutions. She is a strong advocate of animal rights and has used her talents to support the efforts of proactive organizations that help this important cause.

Article Source: ArticlesBase.comFree Speech Harming the Speechless

 Campaigners call six-month jail terms for animal abusers ‘laughable’ when fly-tippers get five years (telegraph.co.uk)

 A San Francisco Law Makes Rescue Dogs And Cats A Priority (newsy.com)

 The 10 Safest States for Your Pet (people.com)

 Florida men attack Navy veteran, beat turtle to death (stripes.com)

 3rd person sentenced in scalding of cat in Mississippi (bostonherald.com)

 ‘A Dog’s Purpose’ filmmakers accused of animal cruelty (rappler.com)

 WTF? Malcolm X’s Daughter And Granddaughter Arrested (globalgrind.com)

 Man charged after video shows him dragging dog behind scooter (wdtn.com)

 Abused pup’s 2nd chance (foxnews.com)

 South Texas man charged for dragging dog with motorized scooter (kxan.com)

Read more about EP Rewind and why the Articlesbase links don’t work.


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Today’s Top Tweet – Armchair psychologists doing more harm than good?

I’m using a really old computer tonight, waiting for more RAM to come in the mail. Rather than carry my newer laptop up and downstairs all the time (which has plenty of RAM), I thought I’d just copy a quote from Today’s Top Tweet instead of using highly.co (which really only works with a half-decent computer). 🙂

People have a tendency to make accusations of mental illness against someone if they’re angry with the person, or if they sense that the person is acting differently from what is normally expected.


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Hindus dismayed over Bank of England’s blatant refusal to withdraw beef-laced banknotes

five-pound-note-1775774_640Special to Earthpages.org

Hindus worldwide are upset over Bank of England’s blunt refusal to withdraw £5 polymer banknotes which reportedly contained traces of tallow, despite the serious concerns raised by the Hindu community.

Bank of England (BOE) detailed statement, issued on February 15, said: Bank has concluded that it will not withdraw the current £5 polymer banknotes from circulation and will proceed with plans to withdraw legal tender status of the £5 paper banknotes on 5 May 2017; continue with the proposed launch of the new £10 polymer banknotes in September 2017, using the existing polymer substrate.

It also stated: …it would be appropriate to keep the £5 polymer note in circulation and to issue the £10 polymer note as planned, in September.

Rajan Zed said that it was shocking for the Hindus world over that BOE refused to respect the hurt feelings of the Hindu community and decided to continue with objectionable polymer banknotes.

Most of the large companies world over did extensive consumer research before launching a new product. BOE should have been wise and literate enough to look into the religious sensitivities of its consumers before investing so much money and effort into the production of polymer banknotes, Zed, who is President of Universal Society of Hinduism, pointed out.

Image - Max Pixel

Image – Max Pixel

It appeared that Hindus did not matter to BOE in its public sector equality duty, otherwise how it could justify the negative impact the Hindu community faced with this decision of BOE. Moreover, what happened to BOE claim—“Equality, diversity and inclusion are important to the Bank, and essential to the delivery of the Bank’s business strategy,” Rajan Zed asked.

BOE was the one who made this unwise decision of launching polymer banknotes without researching their impact on the society and now BOE was trying to justify their misadventure by saying that it would impose significant financial costs on the Bank to take these out of circulation, Zed indicated.

Rajan Zed urged BOE Court of Directors Chair Anthony Habgood and Governor Mark Carney to reconsider the BOE decision and stop the circulation of £5 polymer note and halt the production of £10 and £20 polymer notes.

Zed also urged United Kingdom (UK) Prime Minister Theresa May and Archbishop of Canterbury Justin Welby to intervene.

The £5 polymer banknote, featuring Sir Winston Churchill, was launched on 13 September 2016. The Bank has also announced that the £10 polymer banknote, featuring Jane Austen, is due to be launched in September 2017 and that the £20 polymer banknote, featuring JMW Turner, is due to be launched by 2020.

Products from tallow (rendered form of beef or mutton fat) were reportedly used in the manufacture of the polymer substrate for the £5 and £10 polymer banknotes.

Consumption of beef is highly conflicting to Hindu beliefs and it is certainly banned from entering Hindu religious centers. Cow, the seat of many deities, is sacred and has long been venerated in Hinduism.

London headquartered BOE, founded in 1694, is the UK’s central bank, whose mission is “to deliver monetary and financial stability for the British people.”


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Today’s Top Tweet x3 – Plastic bags, pollution and creepy peeps

garbage-bag-1256041_640There are a lot of problems out there. So I like to rotate among them. Focusing too much on just one issue gets boring after awhile. And creepy or just facile people tend to peg you as a particular kind of sh** disturber, flake or loony if you harp on one topic too much—even if you are right.

I shouldn’t really care about people like that. But part of running a successful blog is reading public perception. So I rotate. And I actually like doing that. It keeps things fresh.

Today’s pressing problem is about plastic bags and pollution. Plastic bags can be used for many good and not so good purposes. In Toronto we recycle some of them so I don’t really understand why other places don’t follow suit… if they haven’t, that is. We also have a special garbage pickup for toxic waste. It’s a bit of a hassle having four different types of garbage pickup (garbage, green, recycle and toxic). But globally, it makes sense.

When I was a kid garbage was just garbage. One thing to put out. But times have changed. And so should we.


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A special message to GRAVATAR users

There are so many interesting people that I want to check out but they don’t take the time to add their blog, website or social media link at their GRAVATAR page. Do you really expect me to search thru Google looking for your moniker when so many others often use the same or a similar one?

Please add the link(s). The web is supposed to be fast and easy, not a hassle!


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Today’s Top Tweet is a no-brainer for me… neurology, psychology, spirituality and society

Today’s Top Tweet leaped off the page because my doctorate is in psychology and religion. I find the interface interesting… especially when we include societal issues in the mix.

Here’s an accessible but not overly simplistic story that makes a great stab at trying to weave together several elements – neurology, psychology, spirituality and society. I highlighted the main points. Follow the links for the full article.