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New Age Guru Helping the People of the Ghettos and Inner City: a Meditation on Addiction, Meditation and Otaku (satire)

"That's the goal now," he says, "to spread into the ghettos and inner cities."

Deepak Chopra has ventured to Harlem, N.Y., and Reno, Nev., talking to blacks, Latinos and Asians about people being rivers of energy. He tells them their mind is wired into every cell of their body, that nasal breathing techniques can effect brain activity, that ayurvedic herbs can pack as much punch as any drug.

How does Chopra think it's going so far? What do city folk make of his New Age wisdom?

"They say, 'Deep stuff!'"

This is the challenge for rehabilitation centres for addictions: to convince drug addicts and especially alcoholics that the inner energy of meditation is a high higher than any known drug that they got their hands on.

Yet addicts are well known for their ability to detect BS if and only if they have been totally honest with themselves that their addictions are not due to "bad parenting", but their rebellion against the basic social rules that govern our very lives.

While they may do so because of the unwillingness to live by the rules society imposes on us all, addicts pay a price for their so-called freedom, a freedom that is an illusion behind which a licentious lifestyle crumbles into the abyss of darkness that so many addicts face due to abuse of their freedom to choose.

However, meditation will work for anyone who meditates due to their willingness to cut through their own BS, of which the main one concerns their so-called ability to detect BS in people wiser than they are.

In short, they have to also cut through the white lies that society imposes on us all to create working communities, and accept that they are completely different in their use from lies, both blatant and subtle, that actually destroy communities.

For example, if a friend I just met asked me what I did on last Friday, then if I wanted to remain discreet, I could merely say "I went on an errand", and changing the topic, rather than being candid about paying my bills since my Fridays are my paydays.

In contrast, I am usually candid with my roommates and my best friend because they are in my inner circle of friends, and not someone I met off the street.

Although I admitted to how I spend my Fridays in the course of my argument, I will not reveal details because they are personal facts that are private and are known only to me, my employer, my bank and the government through their tax department.

Regarding bills I pay, I will only be candid about debt collectors due to the fact that they consistently tell white lies in order to obtain a lot of money right now (preferably over $100 a month but far less than what I owe Fido and Rogers Mobility) in a short period of time (usually within 48 hours but that could be negotiated).

I am mentioning this because of my addiction to technology - and it is evidenced by the late hour spent writing this article.

By being this candid, I hope to share the word that meditation works. If I didn't put positive effort into meditating on my debt, then I would still be in denial and the debt would not get paid.

Therefore, in my mind, I am a recovering addict with an addiction that no one else takes seriously except myself.

I think in Japan, they call people like that "otaku", though in the West, otaku are great for information content but lousy on emotional affect.

However, there is some overlap between addiction and the collections of knowledge and experience of otaku, even though otaku are likely to chew me out for "labeling" their intense love for technology or even works of art as "addiction."

Overall though, we otaku could be so gung-ho about anime and manga, why not meditation too? For the most gentle of meditation is combined in many therapeutic settings, and is borrowed from Asian sources more so than Western sources.

Though I will say that even me blogging online is therapy. It is also a form of vipassana meditation when I focus on cutting through the initial negativity toward the positive outcome.

If anything that I have written confuses you, then you are not ready to truly free yourself of your addiction and become a true otaku who is essentially free of whatever he obsesses over.

How dos you tell when that happens? When you can go to a convention, a group therapy session, or even a family reunion to help friends and family get to know you well, that is a start.

Another sign that you are otaku is that you vacillate in your writing between first-person (I and me among similar pronouns), second-person (you and the names of people), and third-person (they, them, and often one or it).

Returning to the quote from an anti-cult website, I can certainly support the use of meditation techniques. However, that quote is not a product endorsement of Chopra since it has been taken out of context for me to promote meditation on my terms, which I am free to do.

I am merely selling the idea that otaku are harmless when they become more socialized with fellow otaku. As well, any obsession that leads to social isolation on the long run really is worth the effort of abstaining.

As for addiction, that is only when your lifestyle is negative affected by your obsessions e.g. you spend more time watching anime than socializing with friends, using excuses to avoid brushing up on your social skills.

Anyway, I am not proud to be otaku, nor am I ashamed to be otaku. Otaku is a neutral word in the West, yet is misused by lazy Japanese journalists who turned it into a badge of shame.

Yet even journalists are closet otakus as pararazzi when they obsess about celebrities such as Morning Musume and stalk them.

Finally, the ultimate freedom is to use less technology in the public sphere, and to occasionally use technology. First, one day dedicated to using your smartphones less and your senses more, including using the mind to ask questions about matters other than technology.

Originally written on May 10, 2005 at 2310H PDT


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