The Conspirituality Report

Yogis are enraged by an article on vaccination as an act of nonviolence

On July 14th, Yoga Journal, the flagship English publication for the $88bn global yoga industry, published “Getting Vaxxed Was My Act of Ahimsa”, an essay by Denver-based columnist Wolf Terry.

“Ahimsa” is a Sanskrit term that goes back millennia in Indian yoga literature. It’s usually understood to mean “non-harming”, or “non-violence”, and has for generations influenced complex debates around diet, the treatment of animals, just war theory vs. pacificism, and attitudes towards conflict resolution. Wolf’s COVID-era contemplation of ahimsa guided her towards viewing vaccination as a public health virtue, and an empathetic duty.

“While the concept of ahimsa’s direct command…

The Conspirituality Report

In the post-COVID, ecocide era, it can change direction

Mark Goff, wiki commons.

This piece, part memoir and part opinion, starts with the fact that the globalized yoga industry, now estimated to be worth $88bn annually, has grown in tandem with the excesses of late capitalism.

My argument is that its main value proposition is its power to absolve and even spiritualize these excesses. It is a form of virtuous consumption that allows its consumers to feel better about a burning world. Worse: that they are transcending it. Worse still: that by transcending it, they are healing it.

In this framework, the universalist and pacifist platitudes expressed by Swami Satchidananda before he consecrated…

The Conspirituality Report

The unbearable anxiety of the aspirational self

Photo by Cherry Laithang on Unsplash

THERE IS NEVER ANYTHING TO PRODUCE. In spite of all its materialist efforts, production remains a utopia. We can wear ourselves out in materializing things, in rendering them visible, but we will never cancel the secret.

— Baudrillard, The Ecstasy of Communication (1987)

Note: This bit of critical theory is inspired by the modern globalized yoga industry, as described in sources like Andrea Jain’s Selling Yoga: From Counterculture to Pop Culture. If you’re a yoga teacher or student who identifies as existing outside of that industry, or feel you belong to a community that plays no part in it, this…

When white progressives use culture war theatre to work out personal grievances

Photo by Erik Mclean on Unsplash

“Virtue signalling” is now universally understood as a form of grandiose moral smugness that says more about how the signaller wants to be seen than what they actually care about.

Usually it’s framed as a type of online hypocrisy. The signaller is performing social correctness and ethical superiority in the low-cost form of posting or commenting. The assumption is that when push comes to shove, the signaller will not care enough to take real action in the world in support of the cause they are sermonizing about. …

The Conspirituality Report

A study in muscular conspirituality

There are two Instagram live videos on the page of Utah-based Crossfitter Josh Rainer Goldstein (31 years old, 24K followers) that really stand out. Both rip off the South Korean “mukbang” food porn genre, in which viewers are vicariously sated by watching influencers eat.

Goldstein’s mukbang is totally based. He dines on raw meat.

In one livestream, he takes three hours to sensuously eat a huge lamb shank, lamb heart, lamb brain, and lamb liver. All raw. He licks his fingers, and pauses to let the sound of his slicing knife shiver the microphone. Note: autonomous Sensory Meridian Response (ASMR)…

The Conspirituality Report

Hot male conspirituality seeks credentials

Photo by Alora Griffiths on Unsplash

Here’s little manifesto I penned for the end of Conspirituality Podcast Episode 29: Bro Science with Dr. Dan Wilson. You can listen to the show and visit our site and socials to see how Derek, Julian and I flesh out the politics and techniques of Bro Science, looking at influencers like BBQAnon, Tim Kennedy and JP Sears, Del Bigtree, Jordan Bowditch, Aubrey Marcus, Sayer Ji and Michael Sandler, and many others.

The basic definition of Bro Science is:

Unevidenced scientific or medical claims made by unqualified but charismatic male-identified influencers in support of marketing their alt-health products and/or pushing health-related…

Dzongsar Khyentse Rinpoche shitposts his way through #metoo

Dzongsar Khyentse Rinpoche, 2016.

To understand how a worldly and sophisticated 60 year-old Bhutan-born Buddhist lama starts shitposting about #metoo, we need some background and nuance. Dzongsar Khyentse Rinpoche isn’t your typical 4chan troll. He’s on a mission to defend a global spiritual industry that’s crumbling under the weight of its abuse revelations. Somehow, he believes that cloaking the presumption of ancient spiritual superiority in victim-blaming jokes and memes is a good strategy.

So here we go:

In July of 2017, eight close students of Sogyal Lakar, famous for his ghostwritten bestseller The Tibetan Book of…

That ideal façade is often built by people trying to survive

Julie Salter (left) attends Kuttan Nair (using wheelchair), early 1990’s. Courtesy Julie Salter.

When I report on institutional abuse in yoga and Buddhism I always discover that survivors were stripped of time, security, money, earning potential, educational opportunities, social status, family bonds, bodily autonomy and inner dignity. I hear stories of endless hours of unpaid labour, undertaken with the promise of salvation. I hear from members who were raped by leaders who told them it was for their spiritual good. They describe being silenced by enablers.

These details constitute the cultic crime scene. An organization has exploited its members, and left human wreckage. Their stories can be told, corroborated, fact-checked, and published. …

The Conspirituality Report

Invites followers to become walking shitposts.

After breaking radio silence to rationalize his presence at the January 6th Capitol Riot, Plandemic director Mikki Willis is jumping on the merch train with a new book and a return to his roots in fashion.

An email sent this morning through the account of Willis’s film company Elevate announces that Willis’s pseudoscience agit-prop “documentary” was awarded a European Independent Film Award and will now be supported by a hardcover book. A pre-order link loads an Amazon page.

The book is slated for an August release through Skyhorse Publishing. Skyhorse publishes anti-vax propagandist-turned-apocalypticist Robert…

“Leaning in” to vulnerability, or coping with abuse?

Pema Chodron in 2007. cello8, Creative Commons.

In the alternative spirituality universe, few figures exude emotional gravitas like Pema Chödrön. Whether from her rugged retreat centre in Cape Breton, or from the solarium of Oprah’s Montecito mansion, Chödrön preaches a message of receptivity, acceptance, and the need to recognize melancholy as a gateway to empathy.

Chödrön’s many faces — tender grandmother and austere nun, feelings counsellor and religious disciplinarian— transcend the airbrushed world of Instagram self help. Her origin story and winding biography embody a message that rebels against a superficial age. She asserts that fulfillment and wisdom, if not happiness, are won through loss, disillusionment, and…

Matthew Remski

Investigative journo: conspirituality & cults. Co-host at Bylines: GEN, The Walrus. More @

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