Anarchy Vs Yoga
Have we just got gently fucked by Yoga, and its evermore affluent soft power?
The biggest and most successful cult these days, next to Capital of course, is Yoga. Yoga isn't only practice, but religion on its own... carrying a set of values, behavioral principles, representations about the Self and the Other, and also a very obvious set of metaphysical beliefs.
No matter how unsubstantial... these are, at least in Yoga as a yuppie cult; as a remnant of the bullshit neo-orientalism of the '70s promoted by now-billionnaire rock stars; as devoid of spirit, desire and sensibility as those suburban proles practicing it. It is, by design, their hidden religion.
I swear that anarchists, especially on the "American" continents, have lost to yoga. It is at least 50x times bigger, trendier, more resourceful, more appealing for so many reasons -personal to impersonal- and above that, it does what anarchist doesn't: being a cultural, physical and spiritual practice which defines identity, referents and builds relations.
It didn't just beat anarchism, but also is as we speak beating christianity, judaism, satanism, scientology, islam may be its next target, as well as it is having a decisive edge against most if not all of the defined countercultures. It eradicates at the trunk (not the roots of course) the manufactured social "need" for a counterculture, in how it entertains social mechanisms of integration, through a regular ritual of liquidation of the stresses caused by social constraints, exploitation and discrimination. It is a fascinating (and not to say fascizing) form of self and communal pacification that does not require drugs.
Sexuality isn't as much repressed in Yoga as in christianity, or violently asserted as in satanism, but it is shunned in its own paradoxical ways. It is on the contrary openly asserted upfront, while muffled and silenced... with females showing all of their gorgeous curves to near-nakedness while the post-hippie macho men will happily expose their muscular, tanned torsos while doing their figures. Yet yoga sessions, at least outside of India, are not known as theatres for sexual orgies, neither the sexual attitudes appear to be openly accepted, at least on the surface. It is a fool's secret that many yoga positions can also double as intricate sexual positions that may appear vulgar (or otherwise tempting!) to the eyes of Victorian liberal Westerners, but this never surfaces upfront during Yoga sessions.
The relation with suffering is given a comparable function than in Christianity. Pain is seen as a necessary path to elevation and well-being; as the path to wisdom. Anarchism has no stance about pain, unless when the source of this pain is identified and validated as originating in State or authoritarian repression or persecution, then the pain becomes a something that is resisted, by any means available. Yoga and Christianity are accepting pain, each in their own special way that is related to their respective metaphysical beliefs. In Christianity it is something to go through towards reaching enlightement, and in Yoga it is something to flee, or transcend away from.
As in christianity as well, selflessness is seen as the ultimate principle. But where christianity promotes expiation, labor, self-sacrifice and self-torture as a remedy against the egoist tendencies, Yoga seeks to make people avoid -hypocritically of course- the very manifestations of this ego. Moreso, it appears to be forbidding the very ego by sweeping it under the communal rug of the totality, or the crowd culture, in better flowing ways than the robotic Left and Christianity does.
It is socialistic in essence and manifestation. In an extremely totalitarian manner that appears to be lacking any violently repressive component (if you avoid the fact that tons of yoga practicionners may be cops, or careless crushers of non-human animals in their daily lives), and
gives the impression of being part of a global community with no ends or limitations, no borders and no inequities.
Just as in socialism, it is pushing the lie of egoist desires as not being created by a greater social cult (Capital) or the conditions it creates, and equally denigrates individualism as some ideological Satan, that is causing imbalace and bad baaad greed and desires in the world, corrupting us from our true collective hive-mind (the "global consciousness") that is yet to be reached, but is also being reached, as a self-fulfilling prophecy.
To that regard, there might be something fascistic in Yoga's homogeneization of behavior and affect, but that's a book I'll spare from witing at the moment. It is also just as fascistic as the sports culture, the equally mind-warped cult of the Car, the hipsters... (well you get the rest, I'm tired of this shit)
Yoga socially serves also as a resource for not only mating and reproducing, building family ethos out of this reproduction of human consumer-slaves; but also it is may provide with countless opportunities for business and commercial networking, knowledge-sharing and building peer networks.
Yoga could be seen as Bakunin's wet dream at first glace, as a half-secret society of flattened mutuality that is deprived of any consistent hierarchy and does not require beliefs about any projecte deities or the Afterlife, at least in the conventional sense. Yet it is also commercial and class-restrictive -for being always expensive, even with occasional free sessions- in such a way that it tends to help social cleansing by asserting one specific sporty/clean liberal suburban culture, smoothly and nicely crushing other cultures on its path.
Yoga sure is global and while it suffers from the typical misgivings and clichés of neo-New Age Western orientalism, is it perhaps the oldest and richest religion known to man. Vedic poems were referring to its origins in the past tense.
Yoga, above this, is anarchistic, as far as structures and political relations go... based on the teachings, fashions and edicts of a myriad of gurus and teachers, has a plethora of schools and traditions, rooted in different religions of ancient India. It has no known central authority, and not even any mainline tradition, aside than doing physical figures.
Yet to me Yoga is repulsive for -beyond the social privilege it celebrates- not be willing to adress real problems in the real world, for attempting to flee from contradictions, violences, oppression and
despotisms just like it does with pain... with a faint smile of calm, dispassionate, careless and mindless self-satisfaction, felt in a void. We are taught, verbally or in the practice, that these oppressions and violences, as well as the sickness and hardships affecting people, actually do not exist... that they are only affecting one low (lumpen? lower caste?) level of our being.
Beyond being cryptically classist, it is also quite obviously ableist... usually appealing to able-bodied and psychologicaly "sane" people. Hell... it even seems like to be able to reach well-being through Yoga, you'll need -beyond a nice career- to be already feeling well! I wouldn't be suggesting some person weighting 500 pounds or suffering from some type of paralysis, or severe neural disorder to be doing Yoga as a therapy, even if you may see some surprising results for those disabled people willing to go through this.
It teaches people to only build themselves better, nicer, more comfortable bubbles (or extra globular layer) than those society already makes for them to enclose themselves into, through the commodity system. All in better atomized comfort, together yet separate, as usual. Prison cells that cannot be escaped, because they are turned as the perfect setting for reaching personal well-being through liquidation of suffering. This is Yoga when it comes to its political purpose in the West, and beyond. As a powerful tool for social control. One that is coveted upon, and participatory just like any other religion.
So next to this... how is anarchism going? Okay I know... we're quite fucking irrelevant at the moment. But are we completely doomed just yet? Got a plan for us to challenge or palliate to Yoga, beyond directly attacking it in some insurgent way... Or perhaps there are practices, structures and forms for anarchy that we could develop more tenuously in real life?