Saturday, February 09, 2008

Incandescent Meditation Over Class Enforcement

or, Tis’ agin’ nature. by Anthony McCarthy

In an interesting coincidence, the night before his death was announced my brother and I were discussing the weird story about Ron Paul’s concentration of financial support in Fairfield, IA, the U.S. base of the Maharishi Mahesh Yogi. It turns out that the MMY was a big supporter of “Natural Law Parties” here and abroad. How enlightened it is to support any third party in the United States is a moot point, in all but the rarest cases it is a harmless eccentricity. The idea that any political formulation constitutes “natural law” sounds like asking for trouble. Any idea people have is natural only in the sense that people can be said to be a natural occurrence. Our ideas are at best representations of what we take to be nature, subject to all of human folly, never more than when we forget where they really come from and attribute atavistic potency to them . Perhaps keeping this in mind might eventually lead, by some kind of wacky metaphysics, to the Ron Paul connection.

The next morning, in the BBC’s coverage of the death of the MMY, something was said that raised my blood pressure a lot more than my usual six cups of coffee. It was, of course, all about The Beatles short lived discipleship in Transcendental Meditation. Dan Damon and the would-be hard bitten journalist he was talking to started going on about how foolish it was for “working class lads from Liverpool” to be looking past their proper lower class interests to seek enlightenment. Well, why shouldn’t four “working class lads” from anywhere look into whatever form of whatever they want to? Is enlightenment, even of the 60s jet-set Jnana sort, off limits for people from the working class? Even those who, by that time, were some of the richest people in Britain? How much money held for how many generations is required before you can step out of your place to seek after something more elevated than fish and chips and football fanaticism? You got more than a distinct impression that Damon and his guest thought the lads had gone beyond their station in life. The Beatles had violated the rules of their caste.

Fortunately, ridicule is about the only price to be paid for doing that, provided you’ve got enough money. Is it now the BBC's policy to discourage the underclass from getting above themselves?