For instance, most of us assume that giving a diamond wedding ring to the bride is an ancient custom passed down through the millenia. Nope, basically it was a slick advertising campaign started in the 1930s, and financed by the diamond cartel DeBeers, to boost a slumping diamond market. The marketing geniuses were able to turn essentially worthless carbon crystals (they are good for certain types of drills) into great symbols of courtship and marriage.
And by creating the illusion that diamonds are gifts that should never be sold or given away, they protected the market for diamonds. Because unless you're holding on to the Hope diamond, the actual chances of you recovering the cost of the average diamond on the open market are pretty much nil.
So, while the diamond may not really be forever, we can rest assured the advertising will be.
Along those lines, a couple of stories, actually, a book and a news article caught my eye this week. One was a Time magazine article about how overrated exercising at the gym is, especially when it comes to weight loss and fitness. As Robert Scheinfeld likes to say, "That's true, and somehow I've always known it."
The book, "Moneyball," by Michael Lewis takes the quest for truth to an entirely other level. It is a thoroughly joyful dismantling of many of the myths behind our great American pastime. For those of a more tender age, that would be Major League Baseball, not surfing for porn.
"Moneyball" tells the story of how the Oakland A's, one of the least financially viable franchises in baseball was able to put together a stunning run of successful seasons, competing against teams that had two or three times the amount of money to spend.
The key to it all, the author explains, was the willingness to throw out more than 100 years of baseball "wisdom" and start from scratch.
The A's management was Inspired by a generation of pioneering researchers, namely Bill James, who in the late 1970s began analyzing hallowed baseball statistics and devising new ways to look at the true value of baseball players and the underlying mechanics of the game. It was then up to A's general manager Billy Beane, to actually implement new strategies based on this knowledge and make them manifest on the field.
The revolution threw everyone off balance in the A's organization. The opinions of scouts, with decades worth of experiencing finding ballplayers fit for the major leagues, were suddenly discarded for computer printouts. The A's drafted many players sight unseen, based on new insights into their statistics.
Many of the players were unknown to the other teams, and a good lot of them didn't even resemble athletes. (one pitcher had two club feet) But they got the job done.
Essentially, Beane and company were able to see through the illusions of how the worth of players was typically judged (body size, foot speed, meaningless statistics) to realize what they actually produced on the field.
The same principles applied to the hoary traditions of baseball strategy and Beane saw that his teams played to the new paradigm. It took vision, nerve and diligence.
One interesting aspect of this was that the rest of major league baseball, with a couple of minor exceptions, either looked the other way, or attacked this attack against tradition, many without having ever read the book.
And teams continue to throw ungodly amounts of appreciation at ball players and continued to struggle, or like the Yankees and Red Sox, just buy everything in sight and sometimes succeeded. It's just easier to put power in the lie than it is to try another way.
As a practitioner of Busting Loose, this somehow all made sense. In baseball, the results don't lie. Either you won or you lost. With your spiritual practice, it either affects you, or it doesn't. It's pretty easy to tell if something is working.
So I don't know that anyone has attacked "Busting Loose," like they attacked "Moneyball," and I certainly hope not to manifest that. But as with the Oakland A's, Robert has gone against almost everything we hold as true in presenting a radically new philosophy of living and playing.
Be thankful you have the tools to challenge the lies and the courage to follow through. Batter up.