Sunday, June 01, 2008

Tolle Troll Smackdown

A troll wishes to pick a fight with me.


He writes,

"I'm looking to troll this blogsite, but I'm having trouble determining where the 'hot buttons' are, so to speak. Where are the weak points? Gray areas? Anyone want to assist the 'enemy' in the name of sparking a fun riot?

"Let me put this one forth: How about that Eckart Tolle? If you go by his doctrines, the highly opinionated Bobster is barking up some very wrong trees.

"Namely, Bob seems to have a highly defended ego structure, and has negative things to say about a lot of folks. Is this in itself a comment on Bob's own state on unenlightenment?

"Eckart and Bob can't both be right. So who's the monk, and who's the monkey?"

Eckhart Tolle? What a fount of wisdom! I just looked at one of his books on amazon. In it, he compares the Roman Catholic church to nazism, stating that the Inquisition "ranks together with the Holocaust as one of the darkest chapters in human history."

Right. The Holocaust resulted in the systematic genocide of six million in a few years, while the entire Inquisition resulted in about 6,000 deaths in 500 years.

What a fool. (Don't worry -- he has no ego, so he cannot be offended by my criticism, no matter how sharp. Realize that my criticism of him is actually a reflection of my own unenlightened state.)

He then goes on to suggest that the Inquisition was motivated by an attack on the "sacred feminine," and that while Islam does this as well, it is in a "less violent way" than in Christianity.

What an ass. I am reminded of Rachel Carson's Silent Spring, a book that started the whole "sacred feminine/gaia worship" business. As a result, DDT was banned, causing as many as 50 million deaths due to malaria. Would Tolle then say that radical environmentalism is "one of the darkest chapters in human history?" Doubtful. He wouldn't want to alienate his target audience.

He then suggests that the feminine was "respected and revered" in ancient civilizations such as the Egyptian and Celtic, but that the "male ego" then evolved in order to "take control" of the planet.

Whatever else this man is, he is a considerable boob. No wonder his book is an "Oprah's Book Club" selection, on par with her vacuous "Presidential Club" selection, Obama. Suffice it to say, he has no knowledge of the barbarity of the ancient world, and is merely projecting his gauzy, cotton-candy new-age fantasy land into it. Then again, perhaps when the ancients were murdering all those female infants, they did it in a humane manner.

He next goes on to praise Switzerland for having less of a collective "pain body" because it "separated itself from the surrounding madness." In other words, the people who were neutral toward nazi evil are more evolved than the ones who fought and died to end it. (Let's leave to one side the fact that one might be hesitant to fight evildoers if one is their banker; this can hardly be called "neutrality.") Tolle would no doubt say the same thing about people who want to kill terrorists. If they could just rid themselves of their "pain bodies," they'd leave the terrorists alone.

What can I say? If this man is "enlightened," then enlightenment is not just useless, but harmful. Also, by his own reasoning, he has a "highly defended ego structure," just like everyone else (being that he names enemies, e.g., masculine men and people who fight evil), except that he is an ignoramus with a broken moral compass.

Don't get me wrong. I didn't read the whole book. I'm sure he's a "nice" man. In browsing the pages of his book, there is definitely some truth in it, but it is about as deep as a Hallmark greeting card, aimed at a mediocre level of intellect, and so interspersed with banality and error as to be functionally useless. It is fast food for the soul, if there could actually be such a thing without contradicting itself ("soul" and "depth" being nearly synonymous). It also shows that there are some very hungry and emaciated souls out there, willing to eat anything.

I will admit that he is an awesome businessman, however. In that area, I bow to his superiority. He's up there in the stratosphere with Tony Robbins, Deepak Chopra, and Bennie Hinn.


Joan of Argghh! said...

Dang! A troll-baiting post! Got here just in time.

Out of deference for my betters, I'll let Van have the first round, however.


Robert said...


He is a awesome businessman because is a awesome mediocrity in this world.


hoarhey said...

This "new' tool who goes by anonymous is reminiscent of the Obama camps useful idiot who was posting awhile back about how what Obama says is just a smoke screen for what he'll actually do. All we needed to do was just read between the lines. His brain addled prose has the same dis-jointed, private fantasy world quality about it.

Gagdad Bob said...

By the way, there was a time, not all that long ago (maybe 15 - 20 years ago), that I would have probably more or less agreed with Tolle. It has taken me many years to undo my secular educational brainwashing, and I'm sure that some of the errors that resulted from that crept into my book, much of which was written in the course of transitioning from more of a new age mentality to more of a traditionalist one. There are a lot of things I would express differently today.

walt said...

"Whatever else this man is, he is a considerable boob. Suffice it to say, he . . . is merely projecting his gauzy, cotton-candy new-age fantasy land into it."


julie said...

"There are a lot of things I would express differently today."

That's (part of) why it's such a good thing you blog, Bob.

On a different note, via Insty this morning, an article about the Democratic delegate process, which appears to work somewhat like Calvinball. The only rule is that there are no rules; to prove their worthiness to run this country it appears that the candidates must demonstrate their determination to gouge, claw and cheat their way to the top, with supporters showing their loyalty by literally engaging in these behaviors. There is no room for the True, the Beautiful and the Good in the Democratic Party these days (after all, one person's Truth is another person's Inconvenience).

Sal said...

Long-time readers can see the difference. Of course, we'd all express some things differently ourselves as well.

I can see why Tolle is popular.
It's the never-ending spade work and the everlasting keeping at it-ness that puts people off a serious spiritual quest. And the experiential knowlege that whatever you may know now, you'll look back shortly and realize just how little that was.

"Nobody wants to look dumb" but you will, frequently.

Alan McCann said...

Tolle takes the same road as Obama - unity through abandonment of judgement/discrimination (except, that too is judgement/discrimination). And as always, a little bit of sugar - a not so subtle appeal to the ego - helps the medicine go down.. the fatal flaw in the end as the sugar becomes our raison d'etre.

and why oh why is the user of language like b*s* so prevalent among those who disagree the world that Bob espouses.

Van said...

Hey Joan! Sorry I'm late, Richard III was cancelled due to rain last night, hung out with friends, then sprained my ankle lightsaber fighting with the 20 yr old. Ouch. Besides, from the trolle's opening comment last night,

"So who's the monk, and who's the monkey?"

my reply "The monkey is the one who not only thinks up such a foolish question, but needs others to answer it for him. Your boring, just go away. " seemed to about cover it. Still, this from today,

"What an ass. I am reminded of Rachel Carson's Silent Spring, a book that started the whole "sacred feminine/gaia worship" business. As a result, DDT was banned, causing as many as 50 million deaths due to malaria. Would Tolle then say that radical environmentalism is "one of the darkest chapters in human history?" Doubtful. He wouldn't want to alienate his target audience."

Goes right to the source of the flatter.

lance said...

Why do we have to call each other names? Couldn't we just hug? I like hugs and peanut clusters. I like those as well.

Van said...

"Why do we have to call each other names?"

Yeah... what's in a name, an anonymous by any other name, would be an ass just the same.


Gagdad Bob said...

The latest jackasseery from Deepak:

"It's significant that the right wing used homophobia very effectively to re-elect George Bush in 2004."

Right. It's not leftist judges trying to force their definition of marriage on the rest of us.

"When love and non-love are given equal status, then making war and making peace are equally valid options, along with granting freedom and taking it away, hurting others and leaving them alone. It shouldn't be that way. Love should have absolute priority, and once it does, then war, violence, bigotry, and denial of freedom will be seen for what they are, violations of love and therefore aberrations in human nature."

Like Tolle, if this buffoon is enlightened, then enlightenment is worthless.

Van said...

I suppose it must seem appealing... just declare your admiration for love, be willing to gush about the wonders of luv, and no need to worry about the non-love running about in the world, or more importantly, what love is... the requirements of its roots in what is Good, Beautiful and True... the effort needed to live up to that... to choose up to that, to do up to that.

All effort is banished with easy wise-wiz declarations... so much easier to just gush about luv, and win the admiration of your fellow cluelessites. I suppose it must seem appealing to them... personally, I wouldn't wish it upon my worst enemy.

"if this buffoon is enlightened, then enlightenment is worthless."


rabid said...

Why do we have to call each other names? Couldn't we just hug?"

F*ck that! I fight!

Gagdad Bob said...

Imagine the bottomless lack of irony and self-awareness in someone touting the wonders of LUV on a hate site such as huffpo.

Christopher said...

Tolle is one of a number of possibly sincere (does this actually matter?) people with some charisma who also found a way to magnify the message they carry by creating a cash flow from the followers they gather. All that is quite separate from any truth they may deliver. These people perform a service by providing a platform for the growth of their followers. From one perspective this may be disastrous because they are leaders of error. From another perspective, spiritual growth is as firmly involved in the errors as in the truth.

Cousin Dupree said...

Not sure of your point. You'll either have to dumb it down or brighten it up.

christopher said...

Just for grins and (expletive)s I shall list my faves of these clever ones who build followings of some size - Marianne Williamson (who softsoaps the Course in Miracles), Caroline Myss, Pema Chodron (buddhist), Oriah Mountain Dreamer (just gotta love that name!), and there are others, most of them women (hmmm-is that a weakness of mine?).

I feel a certain gratitude for a world that actually permits people like this some success. I wonder what it would be like to live a life with of such privilege - leaving the shadows of my passage in the gathered souls of others on the path.

Remember always that seekers with a certain level of intensity may easily become convinced to choose some form of display before an audience as a measure of their path. This is personal to them. I have learned that success in this realm of gathering followers (if not money) is no good measure of actual attainment.

hoarhey said...

What happened to the Tolle Troll and his fun riot? I have a bunch of fresh loads dialed in and ready to go.


The pernicious purveyors of spiritual error, the ones who build a career around it, present one of the worst social problems due to the hordes of life-long, easier softer way, cheap grace surface skimmers they attract and enable. The charlatans get rich and the acolytes get stupider. just ask Obama when he's away from a teleprompter.

christopher said...

I had a truly remarkable and convoluted reply to your words but when I refreshed the page I learned that I would delete my comments.

I will just say I didn't want to argue so much as to express two observations... that Tolle, who I have listened to on cd but do not follow has convinced me he is sincere about his stuff... and that he is doing what he does as an integral part of his own walk, that some students learn best when they teach...

I put myself in Tolle's boots and suspect that he has some difficult moments with himself.

As for the rest, I don't know that any of us are REALLY capable of assessing the damage of spiritual error. We need God's eyes for that. Political error, social error, scientific error, well, these are more accessible and arguable. However, I much prefer tilting at spiritual windmills anyway. (because I do know the truth after all...) I am nothing if not arrogant.

Petey said...

"All bad poets are sincere."

Van said...

christopher said "...I didn't want to argue so much as to express two observations..."

Are we to understand that you are the aninnymouse trolle from last night, who asked to "assist the "enemy" in the name of sparking a fun riot?", but are actually looking express observations and not argue? Are you the 'misleading' and 'patently' aninny as well? Or are you just naturally convoluted and windy?

Joan of Argghh! said...

Well, as trolls go, I give him a five, musically. It doesn't really have much of a beat, the lyrics are limp (likely a reflection of the troll's er... ego), and you can't dance to it.

Gastronousmically, it is slghtly less amusing than the old half bottle of champagne left over from the holidays, good for deglazing a sizzling entre of real fare, and innocuously folded into the overall melange of flavor that makes this blog so much fun.

I say we keep him around for a while and see if he improves with age or abuse.

christopher said...

Well, actually, I just came across this site this Sunday afternoon not much earlier than my first post. I liked my first impression very much.

Yes, I am naturally convoluted and can only comment that you should have seen my wordsmithing before the engineering profession got hold of it back in the eighties.

Joan, your assessment reminded me of an old joke. My words are limp because you peek behind the curtain. I am exposed.

I am definitely a cubicle troll, hunched over all day long at an AutoCAD machine...

lance said...


I believe you are the local expert on convolution and longwindedness!! heehee oooooh ya!! Zinger!!! ;)

Joan of Argghh! said...

Christopher, you are mistaken,for my comments were directed at yesterday's troll.

f you are he, I had not noticed you, your comments being harmless and forgettable.

"fun riot" indeed.


Van said...

Lance said "Van, I believe you are the local expert on convolution and longwindedness!! "

Doh! I've been lanced!
I don't think the convoluted sticks, but sadly I can't seem to shake the longwindedness...

Well I'll give it a shot in reply to christopher's last... what Joan said.

Van said...

I mean... it's not my fault that every error filled reply needs to be traced back to its modern origination in Descartes, Hume, Rousseau, Godwin & Kant, I mean, if you want to discover why the leaning tower of Pisa leans, you've got to examine not only it's foundation, but the nature of the 'bedrock' it began in. Architecture of building and thought too, have their expression in structural prose and poetic style which can be seen in...

("local expert on convolution"...)


Ricky Raccoon said...

Deepak said,
“"When love and non-love are given equal status, then making war and making peace are equally valid options, along with granting freedom and taking it away, hurting others and leaving them alone. It shouldn't be that way. Love should have absolute priority…”

RE the Deepaks and other brilliant pro-peace, pro-lovers (gee why didn’t I think of those), I miss when the President used to refer to the “Coalition of the Willing”. It really comes down to that. That label for our group of allies was also meant as a slam to those unwilling. It didn’t matter what you could do. If you were a soldier or a regular citizen, you were on board or you weren’t. Your head was in the sand or it wasn’t. You knew what needed to be done, or you weren’t man enough to accept it. The joke was on the unwilling and they either didn’t get it or they didn’t like it - evidenced by their mind parasite’s creative regurgitations on the label. Either way, I miss how the President could remind us with that one little label.

oy veh said...

I miss how the President used to be a symbol for the Will of the People instead of the Whim of the Priapic.

hoarhey said...


I find it hard to believe that at some point in their career, the charlatans don't wake up and realize the grave error they're perpetuating on their fawning fans and then just ego over it because the money and accolades are just toooo good.
As far as assesment of spiritual damage, just hang out with some of these "spiritual" teachers and find out what type of people they really are behind the facade. You will know them by the fruits of their personal lives.
Some teachers need to realize that they learn better when they listen.

And yes, where exactly IS the fun rioter, Tolle Troll?

hoarhey said...

1. Of, relating to, or resembling a phallus; phallic.


Billy Bob has been out of office for 7 years.

Christopher said...

Joan, I almost wish I was the tolle trolle. I was willing to settle for a beginning five but I took it as out of ten. That limp thing though, gave me pause.

hoarhey, I thought for a while at the end of the seventies that I could reach that charlatan life, but couldn't actually do what it required of me. Earlier I wanted a music gig too.

The world is just tough on fantasies.

Cousin Dupree said...

Damn, no Tolle troll... it's like a funeral with no corpse... Oh well. Maybe Walmart will give Hoarhey a refund on all the ammo...

steely dan said...

Oy Veh Hoarheh,

To what depths hath the iron plumbed when the fleeced can't tell the difference between a Clinton screwing around and a good old western-style Bushf**k?

"Vaseline? Wazzat?!! Gimme high-priced crude any day!"

Joan of Argghh! said...

"The world is just tough on fantasies."

Anon I shall be o'er thrown with kinder thoughts for thee.

I think, Christopher, you've not the heart for it. If this be trolling, you're not charging enough to cross the bridge, nor are your riddles overly hard to discern.

dogriver said...

Gotta hand it to you Joan –
kvetchin' is in your cards. Why walk the talk when offense is so much more... now?
Beware the Camus-toe! I'm wagering that beneath all your skypilot braggadocio there's an existentialist feeling starved yet still deserving.

Poor baby.

Joan of Argghh! said...

Burning arrows, yet lacking aim, like some clap-riddled priapic (wotd!); once again another troll misses the mark.

Trolls start things, not I. If I'm more artful in deflection than they in infliction, well who are you to take up their part?

If you would ruin a man, pity him. Did these others ask for your help, or is your paltry beneficence bestowed upon your fellow trolls because you think they need your help in assaying a woman?

More's the pity.

hoarhey said...


I just add it to the stash.

hoarhey said...


Giving away fetish details from your fantasy boys club eh? Naughty naughty!

hoarhey said...

And can we at least get a hee-haw out of you today?

dogriver said...

I remember, 'twas one of your own own dear brethren
who ejaculated proudly to all the trolls botherin,
"Round here we're known by what we write."

So be it: by your prose then you are here circumscribed:
And your name and words outline a spirit circumcised.
'Twould account for the eagerness of your fight.

In line with divine we're content with our gender.
If not, the chafing produces wounds tender.
Twould account for your spray of words aiming to spite.

It's not mine to know, but mine to conjecture.
It's yours to outline, to describe, to inflect sir;
Round here, we're known by our words sir – quite right.

River Cocytus said...

Man, someone just needs to cut out the dick analogies.

Gets old real quick. It's like you're stuck in your animal brain or something.

And I don't want to hear any 'B-b-but Joan used the word Priapic too!'

I've got double standards.

It's also amazing the sense of courtesy people show these days. They walk into a place not knowing who frequents there, and treat the regulars like vagabonds. If it were my shop, out with the villains, out!

Dogriver was good to start with Ad Hominem: It takes a certain level of learning - er, fifth grade I'd say - to really address points in an intellectual fashion.

Maybe the troll was Tolle himself.

Joan of Argghh! said...

We don't have a word of the day around here, River?


Just cuz I haven't been around lately doesn't mean I don't need to sharpen my claws every now and then.

He could be Tolle Trolle, he just created a blogger profile. It's nice to know that someone in Dallas is thinking of me...

dogriver said...

Careful baby – I mean, sweetie. Mr. Buffet showed me the way to your place too. You don't need the keys to the browser to hunt rattlesnakes, eh what?

Let's not forget what spurred my remark: a markedly Viking-like, nay Deanish zeal for an unremarkably lowbrow pastime. And you're the one who brought up assaying a woman. Don't blame me for what's in my jeans. Et tu, brute?

In this case more's not a pity: it would be a blatant curse.

christopher said...

wow! You guys do go on. Intellectuals all.
Peaking into common space,
A credit to the race of trolls
For whom this clanking bell
Now Tolle's his own way.

Speaking for the unspeaking...

Ray Ingles said...

One of my usual asides...

Quite a bit of the difference between things like the Inquisition and modern mass killings is simply technological. Better tech means both more people (agriculture, sanitation, etc.) and more efficient ways to kill them. (Automatic weapons, poisons, etc.)

Dogmatism - being sure you're right, and anyone who opposes you is ipso facto wrong - is the real source of such atrocities. Would any side of the Crusades have hesitated to use a tactical nuke, if someone had handed them one? (Ask the Albigensians...)

joseph said...

My assessment of Tolle is that he is sincere, unlike a Deepak, and not motivated by money or gathering followers. Certainly, his "power of now" only points to wisdom, but it is, nonetheless, a decent pointer in a world otherwise ruled by porn, playstation, and post-modernism.

Obviously, he has political blindspots, but we would be hardpressed, indeed, to find a spiritual teacher who we agreed with politically. In fact, it cannot be a criterion for the teacher. Would that they would simply remain silent on the subject, but they don't.

That being said, the authentic traditions themselves, if you can get over their own blind spots, offer the best paths to the summit.

joseph said...

Also, while true that the ban on DDT led to many needless deaths, Rachel Carson did not advocate its ban, but its proper use. Anyone associated with the use of DDT prior to its ban knows well the abuses. Obviously, political fanatics became involved, as with the asbestos fanatics, as asbestos, when handled properly is no problem at all. Handled indiscriminately, it is deadly.

christopher said...

Ray Ingles said
"Ask the Albigensians"

I would add, also ask the Bogomils, who all those centuries ago converted from a Christian variant to Islam in order to protect themselves from the Roman Catholic Croats and the Orthodox Serbs, gathering under the then less intolerant umbrella of the Turks, and who paid so dearly for their persistence in error in the unfortunate land of Bosnia.

Anonymous said...

Me-thinks you are jealous because Oprah Winfrey has endorsed (via her book-club) one of Tolle's books rather than yours.

Cousin Dupree said...

Yeah, probably. But Bob just can't write that badly. I've told him to dumb it down and write things aimed at the Oprah crowd, but he just won't listen. Frankly, I don't think he wants to be known, hard as that is to believe.