Ah, the irony.
So I just received an email which was rather… interestingly?…. timed after my last post about the commodification of Buddhism. The email was from a marketing firm letting me know about an article in Time magazine regarding some amazing new product. The product? Intentional Chocolate.
To be fair, the article is about a slew of food products imbued with “positive energy.” Water called “H2Om,” for example, that’s bottled while “restorative music” is being pumped into the plant. I was immediately taken back to my very first job, a waiter at a crappy little corporate restaurant in Los Angeles. During the holidays, they’d put on the “Christmas Tape.” It played three songs in a loop, one of them being the Charlie Brown Christmas theme song, another being Little Drummer Boy. Remind me never to work for H2Om. No matter how bad things get.
At any rate, the marketing email I received asked me to post a link to the Time article, the chocolate folks, whatever. The email claimed that in doing so I’d likely see an increase in unique visitors of between 200 and a 1000 people. Interestingly enough, earlier this month I installed Google Analytics on this site. Since March 3rd or so, I’ve only had 720 visitors and of those, only about 500 are unique. (To my loyal audience of 500, by the way, I am placing my palms together, bowing, and sending out some heart-felt gratitude.) So, an increase of 200 to 1000 visitors could double my audience! Sweet! Chocolate all around!
But then I’d be a shill. A sell out. And y’all know how I feel about sell outs.
But, much more to the point, wasn’t I just talking about how the commodification of Buddhism is destroying everything that we hold dear?! If anything, based on my last post, I should be telling all of you right now to never buy anything as hokey as water (my god, bottled water) called H2Om. Never waste your money on protein powder that’s been blessed by its employers. I should warn all of you, right now, to never buy chocolate ever again, regardless of its restorative powers! (But then I’d be a hypocrite, of course. In fact, I have plans to buy some chocolate for my beautiful and talented wife later this afternoon.)
What I really want to point your attention to, though, is that second paragraph in the Time article. Allow me to quote:
David Radin, a senior scientist at the Institute of Noetic Sciences in Petaluma, Calif.,…
Nope. Sorry. Just can’t go on with that one. I’m sorry but did you say a senior scientist? At the Institute of Noetic Sciences? Oh, well, then. Buy all the chocolate you can. Again, chocolate all around!
Now, now, Scott. All sarcasm aside, don’t get me wrong, I’m a big fan of nous and there’s certainly a case, a legitimate scientific case, to be made that human activity influences the world around us, even on a quantum level. And I’m a fan of pushing the boundaries of what we know and what we think we know. And I’m as interested in the intersection between Buddhism and science as the next guy. But this is all too much.
And here’s why it’s too much: I got an email today, from a marketing company, asking me to link to an article about a wonderful new product line. Getting an email, from a marketing company, does not instill in me a great deal of confidence in the chocolatier’s motives or intentionality. Not to mention the journalistic standards over at Time magazine.
I wonder what the Worst Horse would say about this?