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12 minutes | Jun 14, 2021
Bonus Sample: Doomsday Prophecy & Spirituality Porn
Julian discussed humanity's apocalyptic fetish.
114 minutes | Jun 11, 2021
55: Games Against Humanity (w/C. Thi Nguyen)
Dr. Christopher Ba Thi Nguyen co-hosts to discuss the gamifcation of existence.
10 minutes | Jun 7, 2021
Bonus Sample: What Will Yoga Do to Our Children?
Matthew reviews recent U.S. yoga-war history: battles between the Hindu American Foundation and Yoga Journal, the rise of Christian non-yoga-yoga "Praise Moves", and Encinitas Union School District got sued for allegedly violating the Establishment Clause by contracting devotees of Pattabhi Jois to teach the kids yoga.
118 minutes | Jun 3, 2021
54: Māori MAGA (w/ Joe Trinder and Anke Richter)
The unfortunate rise of Māori MAGA in New Zealand.
9 minutes | May 31, 2021
Bonus Sample: How Many Monuments Must Fall?
Who gets to decide who gets canceled, and why?
108 minutes | May 27, 2021
53: Learning Cultish (w/Amanda Montell)
Amanda Montell, author of Cultish: The Language of Fanaticism, breaks down how cult leaders use language to manipulate.
10 minutes | May 24, 2021
Bonus Sample: Loaded Language & Productive Discussion
Julian and Matthew sit down to discuss words, world views and how productive disagreement can lead to mutual understanding.
94 minutes | May 20, 2021
52: The Clerical Class of the Right (w/Alex Ebert)
Edward Sharpe frontman Alex Ebert joins to discuss death rituals and right-wing yogis.
9 minutes | May 17, 2021
Bonus Sample: No Moral Outrage Porn, No Punching Down
Matthew had a plan for this week — an 4K word essay on what could be learned from studying the content of an outrageously offensive conspiritualist… but then he shelved it. Why? A last-minute, off-the-cuff discussion on what it means to indulge or not indulge moral outrage porn. What it means to punch up or down, and how we decide. How we might confront an... Read More
137 minutes | May 13, 2021
51: You Can’t Force It (w/Devendra Banhart)
Grifters galore, astrology woes, fat-shaming, and a discussion with Devendra Banhart.
6 minutes | May 10, 2021
Bonus Sample: On the Anxiety of Death
On death and the quest for perpetual youth—now through wrinkle-free skin.
141 minutes | May 6, 2021
50. Sellouts & Zealots (w/ Sheena Sood)
India is on fire. Do Western yogis think it's an Agni psy-op?
11 minutes | May 3, 2021
Bonus Sample: The God-Man & His Enabler: How Ken Wilber Got Adi Da All Wrong
By the 1990s, the sadistic cult leader who claimed to be God on Earth had already fled the United States to avoid a stack of lawsuits and potential criminal charges. Even still, highly influential spiritual intellectual Ken Wilber was calling him the “greatest living realizer,” privately saying he was “happy about how many people had found their way to Adi Da through reading my books.” Wilber later modified his model of stages of spiritual development to try to account for supposedly enlightened beings who were awful people. In this week’s Bonus episode, Julian recounts this story of a sociopathic holy man and his brilliantly naive enabler—which culminates in a wickedly illustrative thought experiment!
135 minutes | Apr 29, 2021
49 Tik Tok Fulfillment Center (w/Abbie Richards)
On the road to the screen, a rich story can flatten into propaganda. On the road to the influencer economy, a complex teaching can degrade into a conspirituality meme. As the Oscar glitter fades, we look at how Amazon could never have signed off on a real nomadland story any more than Gaia TV could have ever done justice to the spiritualities it exploits. In the Ticker, Julian looks at new research into correlations between huffing essential oils and seizures. Matthew looks at Miami’s Centner Academy’s announcement that they’ll fire vaccinated teachers—and wonders whether Kelly Brogan and Christiane Northrup sending kids and grandkids to this elite private school has something to do with it. In the Jab, Julian reviews the state of the nation re: vaccines, and offers three key principles to inject into conversations with the hesitant. Our interview this week is with TikTok anti-disinformation activist Abbie Richards, whose “Conspiracy Pyramid” and tea-time QAnon explainers have gone viral on the next-gen platform. Matthew talks with Abbie about her process, challenges, why she hates golf, and what GenXers (and older cohorts) should keep in mind when they wonder if the kids are alright. 02:58 Ticker 35:16 The Illusion of Nomadland 1:12:16 The Jab 1:22:41 Interview with Abbie Richards 2:12:56 Interview update All music by EarthRise SoundSystem Support Conspirituality on Patreon Show Notes Jim DeFede breaks the Centner Academy story Centner’s Medical Freedom from Mandated Vaccines (disinfo warning) Biscayne Times profile of the Centner’s: The Privileged Class Tour of the Centner’s Miami penthouse Preethaji and Krishnaji, proprietors of O&O Academy Krishnaji’s culty dad, Kalki Bhagavan: Mystic and the moolah ‘It’s Baffling’: Parents Confused After Centner Academy Announces They Won’t Employ People Who Have Been Vaccinated The Case Against Nomadland What Nomadland Gets Wrong About Gig Labor Amazon’s Minimum Wage Hike Comes With Cuts To Other Compensation “Strategic Transparency”: Ann Gleig. “From Sweeping Zen to Open Buddhism: Sex Scandals, Social Media, and Transparency in Western Buddhism” for Buddhism in the West Group. American Academy of Religion, Denver, November 17-20, 2018 (forthcoming) Abbie Richards
10 minutes | Apr 26, 2021
Bonus Sample: Post-Cult Shame
Survivor shame over what has been lost, and how one has been complicit. Apologist shame: turned inside out and externalized as aggression. Popular shaming, which tries to deflect attention from how close to home cultic dynamics really are. In the cult landscape, shame is a common denominator. In this contemplation, Matthew unpacks various aspects, with help from the writing of cult theorists and recovery counsellors Alexandra Stein, Daniel Shaw, and Holocaust survivor Primo Levi. Music: Spiegel im Spiegel and Pari Intervallo: Pärt Links: Primo Levi: The Drowned and the Saved The Relational System of the Traumatizing Narcissist — Shaw Rachel Bernstein’s “One More Thing” at the end of Betrayal and Power w/ Nitai Joseph, former Hare Krishna — S4E5. All of Rachel Bernstein’s IndoctriNation podcast. What’s Behind the Blowback You’ll Get When You Engage Cult Members “Deception, Dependence, Dread of Leaving” — Langone “I Got Mine-ism” Selected Bibliography: Ainsworth, Mary D. Salter. Patterns of Attachment: a Psychological Study of the Strange Situation. Routledge, 2015. Arendt, Hannah. The Origins of Totalitarianism. Penguin Classics, 2017. Freyd, Jennifer J. Betrayal Trauma: the Logic of Forgetting Childhood Abuse. Harvard University Press, 1998. Freyd, Jennifer J., and Pamela Birrell. Blind to Betrayal: Why We Fool Ourselves We Arent Being Fooled. Wiley, 2013. Hassan, Steven. Combating Cult Mind Control: the #1 Best-Selling Guide to Protection, Rescue, and Recovery from Destructive Cults. Freedom of Mind Press, 2016. Kramer, Joel, and Diana Alstad. The Guru Papers: Masks of Authoritarian Power. North Atlantic Books/Frog, 1993. Lalich, Janja, and Madeleine Landau. Tobias. Take Back Your Life: Recovering from Cults and Abusive Relationships. Bay Tree Pub., 2006. Lalich, Janja. Escaping Utopia: Growing up in a Cult, Getting out, and Starting Over. Routledge, 2018. Langone, Michael D. Recovery from Cults: Help for Victims of Psychological and Spiritual Abuse. W.W. Norton, 1995. Lifton, Robert Jay. Thought Reform and the Psychology of Totalism: a Study of “Brainwashing” in China.W.W. Norton, 1961. Miller, Alice, et al. For Your Own Good: Hidden Cruelty in Child-Rearing and the Roots of Violence. Farrar, Straus, Giroux, 2002. Oakes, Len. Prophetic Charisma: the Psychology of Revolutionary Religious Personalities. Syracuse University Press, 1997. Shaw, Daniel. Traumatic Narcissism: Relational Systems of Subjugation. Routledge, Taylor & Francis Group, 2014. Stein, Alexandra. Terror, Love and Brainwashing: Attachment in Cults and Totalitarian Systems. Routledge, Taylor & Francis Group, 2017.
129 minutes | Apr 23, 2021
48: Traumatic Influence (w/Kyra Haglund & Hala Khouri)
Teal Swan’s suicide-teasing trauma pseudo-therapy has cast a spell over millions. Kaia Ra is an up-and-coming contender, selling divine jewelry and a channeled text about how to transcend QAnon-type nightmares. Both claim to be survivors of long-term Satanic Ritual Abuse and alien ambassadors. Both have capitalized on the chaos of 2020. We discuss the trend of trauma exploitation, Satanic Panics throughout the decades, and social media entertainment finding cover through the pretense of therapy. Then we’ll hear from the pros: licensed psychologists Hala Khouri and Kyra Haglund join Julian to discuss the importance of trauma-informed yoga and cases of abuse in wellness spaces. In the Ticker, Derek examines the snake oil of Luke Storey, Julian reviews the “Health and Freedom” conference recently held in a Bible college in Tulsa, and Matthew worries about QAnons in Toronto who have started speaking in tongues. We’ll also discuss a new phenomenon amongst anti-vaxxers: “Reverse Contagion Anxiety”, which leads them to believe that merely being around vaccinated people will make them infertile or re-organize their DNA. (We can only hope.) CW: Audio clips from Lin Wood and Kaia Ra describing sexual / satanic ritual abuse of children in the context of QAnon mythology (Wood), and personal origin story (Ra). 02:24 Ticker 44:58 The Jab 47:14 Traumatic Influencers 1:26:30 Interview with Kyra Haglund & Hala Khouri All music by EarthRise SoundSystem Support Conspirituality on Patreon Show Notes Luke Storey wants to sell you a pyramid scheme Electromagnetic Fields & Parental Panics: A case study in how science can bring comfort Reporter Sean O’Shea gets yelled at in tongues Sgt. Brown gets suspended for hugging anti-maskers When QAnon Came to Canada @selfhealingmama Chloe Angeline with a dire womb-warning Christiane Northrup as Vaccine Lysistrata Gizmodo investigative podcast series on Teal Swan Backstory on Barbara Snow Affidavit: Snow threatens family members, trashes house Snow testifies that she’s a terrible court expert Remembering Michelle Remembers Be Scofield on Teal Swan Teal Swan via the BBC Swan via OZY Swan comments on the pandemic Kaia Ra’s origin story, in her words Be Scofield on Kaia Ra Ra’s bio from 2010 (no SRA) Donald Kalsched’s The Inner World Of Trauma Len Oakes, Prophetic Charisma Foucault on Confession Foucault knew about domination as a dominator
16 minutes | Apr 19, 2021
Bonus Sample: Vanillaroma
We don’t get “well” until everyone has an opportunity to tap into the resources needed to live. This week, Derek reads a 2006 essay from one of his closest friends, Dax-Devlon Ross, about being pulled over twice in the same stretch of NJ highway in a manner of minutes—all due to an air freshener dangling from his rearview mirror.
170 minutes | Apr 15, 2021
47: Is An Ethical Cult Possible? (w/ Jamie Wheal)
How do we tease apart the gold from the dross? What can be salvaged from a subculture marred by charismatic con-artistry, power abuses, and the toxic ingredients that lead to conspirituality? Founder of the Flow Genome Project, Jamie Wheal joins Derek for a wide-ranging interview about his new book, Recapture the Rapture. Following up on his Pulitzer-nominated bestseller, Stealing Fire, Wheal makes an ambitious argument for a dazzling renewal of meaning and mystery through sacralized biohacking. Rapture can be recaptured, Wheal argues, through awe-thumping music, blessed sex, moderate psychedelic use, and conscious community, or as he puts it “ethical cults.” After the interview, we’ll discuss. In the Jab, Julian looks at clotting issues and emerging reports of vaccine impacts on women. In the Ticker, Matthew reviews the NY Times investigation of Alan Hofstetter’s wife and her January 6th adventure. Derek covers conspiritualism in fitness bro culture while Julian reports on Christiane Northrup’s latest junk science infomercial. 02:06 Ticker 31:36 The Jab 36:49 Interview with Jamie Wheal 1:56:32 Interview Discussion All music by EarthRise SoundSystem Support Conspirituality on Patreon Show Notes New Jersey gym owners offer free membership to those who don’t get COVID-19 vaccine What We Know About Ian Smith, the New Jersey Gym Owner Defying Gov. Phil Murphy’s Executive Orders Anti-mask gym fined Fitness centers are struggling to rebound from the pandemic A Teacher Marched to the Capitol. When She Got Home, the Fight Began. White women’s role in white supremacy, explained Recapture the Rapture — Jamie Wheal Cult Dynamics 101: a primer Hypnotic Da Free John — Svengali of the truth-seeking set (San Francisco Examiner, 1985) Guru hit by sex-slave suit (San Francisco Examiner, 1985) Original Oregonian investigation into Osho and Rajneeshpuram
6 minutes | Apr 12, 2021
Bonus Sample: Gaia & The Map to Nowhere
With over a half-million paying subscribers, Gaia is the world’s largest spiritual media streaming service. Have they have played a role in redpilling the Q-Age demographic? With a little help from Ken Wilber, Lewis Carrol, Jorge Luis Borges, and Jean Baudrillard, Julian maps out their landscape of ascension narratives, UFOs, cryptozoology, conspiracy theories, channelers, and yoga classes. He also tells the story of being part of the early LOHAS social media website they gobbled up in 2007.
145 minutes | Apr 8, 2021
46: Back to the Vax (w/Lydia Greene & Heather Simpson)
Our EP10 guest, Center for Countering Digital Hate founder, Imran Ahmed, has been bringing the heat. His “Disinformation Dozen” white paper made a huge splash, prompting a conference call with Nancy Pelosi’s team ahead of their biannual grilling of Zuckerberg and Dorsey. Ahmed’s paper spotlights the fact that 65% of anti-vax content originates from just 12 social media figures. Conspirituality superstars Sayer Ji, Kelly Brogan, and Christiane Northrup hold positions 8, 9, and 10. Ahmed wants them deplatformed—and he’s making it happen. In response, the Dozen are raising money and having themselves caricatured as superheroes. Who have they been deceiving and emotionally abusing? This week Matthew interviews Heather Simpson and Lydia Greene from Back to the Vax, an anti-disinformation think-tank they founded after fleeing the online cult of anti-vax propaganda. In their first interview together, Simpson and Greene recount how mother-centered anti-vax social media spaces drew them in and exposed them to all manner of anxious conspiracism—and what it cost them to leave. They’ve got a very clear message about how public health communications can meet this entrenched challenge. In the Ticker, Julian tracks the Dozen’s emerging strategy, Derek finally addresses the English elephant in the room, Russell Brand, and Matthew takes an early look at the big reveal of Cullen Hoback’s Q: Into the Storm on HBO. 02:43 Ticker 1:12:54 The Jab 1:18:18 Interview with Lydia Greene & Heather Simpson All music by EarthRise SoundSystem Support Conspirituality on Patreon Show Notes What “Causes” Covid? The Virus or The System? Decoding the Gurus: Russell Brand: Spiritual Transcendence and Anarchic Revolution is Praxis Mike Rothschild on Hoback’s Q: Into the Storm Episode 136: Into The Storm feat Cullen Hoback by QAnon Anonymous I’m Cullen Hoback, the guy who made that QAnon series on HBO Max. AMA! : television Rothschild on the HBO reveal: Ron Watkins QAnon: The Truth Has Always Been There Back to the Vax Lydia on NPR: She Resisted Getting Her Kids The Usual Vaccines. Then The Pandemic Hit Heather on CNN: Why this former anti-vaxx influencer is getting the Covid vaccine
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