Archive for the ‘Beyond Growth Project’ Category

Beyond Critique

Tuesday, September 20th, 2011

Critique is of vital importance to self-development. Our vision at Beyond Growth was to make a space for intelligent critique of the frequently shallow ideas and manipulative marketing in personal development culture to expand the field. In the past two years of writing we have featured articles on many topics, but overwhelmingly the most popular articles were our critiques of self-help gurus.

While I think it is a valuable thing to root out corruption and critique shallow ideology, it has never been my intention to be the self-help police, nor is that the focus of this group blog project. (Other people do it better anyway.) As a philosophically minded person, I am more interested in general principles, in seeing the pattern.

In particular, I see several problems with focusing too much on a critique of individuals: (more…)

Why We Need to Go “Beyond Growth”

Thursday, April 14th, 2011

I remember the first time I got my hands on a copy of The Guinness Book of World Records as a kid. Printed on thin sheets of newsprint with black ink that rubbed off on your fingers, these were simpler times when a 750 page book could contain all the known records of the freakshow that is humanity. From the tallest man to the fattest, the tiniest painting to the biggest Ferris wheel , this little tome outlined the limits of human achievement and weirdness.

Nowadays the glossy, full-color printed Guinness Book is only a small sample of the total number of records. There has been an enormous explosion in record-keeping leading to a kind of freakshow bubble. People have come up with all sorts of stupid things to set records in, from the number of tango spins in one minute, to the number of hula hoops spun at a time (107). One man has even made a pseudo religion out of breaking ridiculous world records under the inspiration of his Indian guru Sri Chinmoy.

Mr. Ashrita Furman has spent many thousands of hours of his adult life devoted to breaking records like how many hopscotch games one can play in a 24 hour period (434), how far one can travel with a milk bottle balanced on his head (80.95 miles), and how fast one can duct tape himself to a wall (5 min, 9 seconds). Furman even holds the record for most current world records held at one time (119). Here is a video documenting his world record for rolling an orange with his nose, a feat which took place in the JFK airport: (more…)

The “Negative Social Mood” and Bill Harris

Monday, January 11th, 2010

The Verdant Bough

If you are at all familiar with social media, you probably had a  good idea what was going to happen after Bill Harris decided to threaten Duff McDuffee.  Twitter lit up in support of Duff, a smattering of notable blogs wrote about the threat, and in the end Beyond Growth received a ton of traffic.  Perhaps the Law of Attraction works after all–Bill threatened Duff in a blast  of negative energy, and the result was a lot of negative publicity.  Mission accomplished Bill. (more…)

The Secret Fails Harris, Threatens to Sue McDuffee

Monday, December 28th, 2009

Sink Hole

On December 22,  Duff McDuffee received an email message from Bill Harris, the founder of “Holo-sync” and the “CenterPointe Institute” claiming that he had been served with a cease and desist letter regarding the post titled “The Hollow Sink of Push-Button Enlightenment.”  Harris claims that he intends to file suit against Duff for “defamation” in federal court.  Harris finally sent the cease and desist document via email to McDuffee, you can read it at the bottom of this post (updated 12/29). In response to Harris’ email, Duff revised the post to insure no defamatory statements exist within it, and that it is clear that everything contained therein is his opinion.  This effort itself was mainly done to in good-will, as we do not actually believe that anything in the original post was defamatory simply because it was clear that the post itself was an opinion piece on a variety of intangible and unprovable subjects. (more…)

Why We Must Talk About Fight Club

Monday, July 13th, 2009

Have you seen the movie Fight Club? The unnamed protagonist lives a modern life of quiet desperation. Working as an auditor for a major automobile corporation, he flies around the country investigating deadly car accidents, to calculate a cold-hearted cost-benefit analysis for whether the company should recall the dangerous cars they manufacture. In response to his meaningless and unethical work, he becomes a hyperconsumer–purchasing his liberation in the form of cute Ikea furniture and a Yin-Yang carpet. He learns to cope with his insomnia (presumably fueled by his inner torment) by consuming cathartic experience; joining self-help groups under false pretense, he finds liberation when he surrenders to his sadness. (more…)