Should We Goat Starers Be Offended?
I can’t decide whether to see the movie “Men Who Stare at Goats”
It purports to be a story about a spooky special program of psychic warriors in the US Army, trained like Jedi warriors for combat in Vietnam and reinstated for Iraq duty.
From the trailer and information from friends in the movie business, the program and its people are portrayed as lunatic. The whole concept is ridiculed, and all is bunched up and passed off as “satire”.
So what is being satirized? The possibility of mind powers actually working to defeat enemies? Army personnel being trained in such? The Army itself? The government itself?
I know from personal work experience that the US government did indeed mount a program of psychic remote viewing and intervention some years ago. We got into it on the heels of USSR and China research back when I was a teen.
I also know that the US government did an awful lot to camouflage and conceal the program, though the Russians and the Chinese did not seem to be as clandestine about their programs. Seems that as Communist and officially atheist, the USSR and China governments did not have to deal with any backlash from religious sensitivities. It was all approached as science, and no superstition or religious biases had any place in the consideration. If it worked, then it was scientific. If it failed to work, then it was discarded. Had nothing to do with gods or prophets.
The USA on the other hand has a large population block that fears so-called “paranormal” human capabilities as somehow demonic or ungodly. I was told that much of our official secrecy stemmed from wanting to avoid having Senators and Congresspersons around the country being required to spend lots of time assuaging the anger of riled up religiously fearful constituents from all over the USA.
When people asked me about religious considerations, I always replied that if they truly believed they were created in the image of God, and God was a pretty awesome creator, why would they turn down any gift that came along with the full package of potential?
I sometimes got an odd counter-logic reply that humans shouldn’t presume to be godly. OK, but then why would a God give them powers that the God would want them to turn down? The people should know better than their God?
Anyway, back to the movie. I can’t decide whether to see it or not. Some things like the fully activated capacities of an actualized human being are still so un-mainstream and so popularly disdained by weak and fearful people that such things are not appropriate to be used as bait for ridicule or so-called satire.
“It’s only a movie, a fiction,” a friend chides me. “Don’t take it so seriously.” Well then, maybe I’d better watch a movie that is more in line with what I have dedicated my entire adult life to seeking and sharing. I take fully actualized human capacity very seriously, especially when it is often in the cross-hair aim of all those who use threat and ridicule to hold our culture enslaved to a very small and helpless experience of life.
Just some thoughts from a man whose ninja training years ago had him “staring at goats”.
Very interesting insight, any thoughts on the “Ninja Assassin” movie coming out later this month?
It’s my understanding that that’s in fact what the movie is about–fully actualizing oneself as a human being, standing up to skeptics. I’ve only seen previews and read a review: it sounds like a positive experience, if you can stand the Star Wars references which supposedly abound. Don’t take my word for it, though, I haven’t seen it.
If you do decide to see it, I’d very much like to hear your opinion about it.
I don’t comment often (actually I think I’ve only commented once before), but I think I should this time. I’ve been trained in psychic disciplines, as well as other disciplines that some people may find offensive (witchcraft, for example). My personal spiritual and religious views aside, these disciplines have taught me very important lessons about myself. I’ve dealt a lot with ridicule, misperception, and straight hostility since before I was a teenager, all stemming from my studies and my way of life. Keeping that in mind, I have this to say on Men Who Stare At Goats:
Good cast, good laughs, and a good time. I take my path seriously. I don’t expect anyone else to, and if I can laugh at myself every now and then, well, what’s the harm? Enjoy the movie, An-shu. George Cloony and Ewan McGregor ought to be great.
So very true. Seems those that simply look at such “abilities” as gifts, not attaching opinion or religion to it more objectively are open-minded about it.
Enjoyed you sharing your mindful point of view and agree, if God created such gifts, and we are also creations ..then shouldn’t we be open to whatever nature or creation has to offer us on our path toward becoming fully actualized beings….For perhaps, that tool is the very key that will aid our journey in getting there.
Just my humble thoughts~
Always enjoy your view An-Shu as it gives the opportunity to learn from someone further along on the path.
I’ve yet to see it myself – within the larger remote viewing community it seems most got a real kick out of the movie itself from an entertainment perspective.
Over the years I’ve just learned to go about my work, relatively quietly and utilize the cover of satire so as to not have to explain things that would likely scare many people.
There are NO secrets. 🙂
Good post again Mr Hayes!
Sounds like an interesting film.
Can I just say however that those who hold to the Christian faith (the ones who think in any case) aren’t ‘afraid’ of paranormal powers. I know it’s picky of me and I don’t mean to be, but I think it is important for me to state that I am not in any way afraid or ‘paranormal skills’ because I in some way feel threatened by them or worried that they will in some minute way detract from my faith. Rather, Christians who know about these things and have experienced them first hand realise that it isn’t the bystander who should be afraid of these things. It’s the participant. And the fear we feel isn’t out of personal safety but instead for the safety of the participant. Paranormal activity is oftens scientific but I have been around too long to know that some of it is unexplainable and a minute amount definitely not of a Godly source.
I think you raise an important point though when you connect such a thing as a gift from a loving Creator. Perhaps it could be seen as a gift that an unwilling participant has received in order to better understand the world he is in and further some higher cause. But I think here we would have to find a precedent (at least for a Christian to accept this premise) and I am straining to find one. In every instance given in the Bible of paranormal activity of the ‘perceptive’ or ‘precognitive’ kind we only find a demonic undertone and source. But I’m not saying that that is the case here mark you- I’m simply saying that sometimes the ‘fear’ Christians have of this kind of thing is due to a deeper worry for the person professing and practising some of these things.
As always you make us think and that in itself is a good thing!
I find the whole idea of killing goats by staring at them reprehensible. Goats do a lot of good in this world- especially in the 3rd world. If you have ever seen a goat, you would know they have impenetrable amber eyes, the stare from which is truly puzzling, if not shocking in it’s appearance. A friend from Namibia, where goats provide for a lot of people told me that a goats tail does not cover it’s anus. Goats do not like wind from behind. They will maneuver so as to keep the wind off of their backsides. If the wind gets to be to much, they will stampede.
There is a corollary here. People will move to avoid mental stress and strain, like goats in a windstorm. And they will stampede.
I guess, “Cover your ass.” takes on new meaning for warriors.
I’ve too been studying some esotric topics, qiqong, quabalah, etc. I don’t talk about esoteric stuff out in the open just keep to myself. Although it is nice when I can find people I can talk to about it.
I’m a Christian Minister and Martial Artist, and have to agree. It is a sad thing, when people demonize things they don’t understand. But, for the record, even the Christian Bible speaks of “miraculous powers”.
1 Corinthians 12v7-11 reads, “Now to each one the manifestation of the Spirit is given for the common good. To one there is given through the Spirit the message of wisdom, to another the message of knowledge by means of the same Spirit, to another faith by the same Spirit, to another gifts of healing by that one Spirit, TO ANOTHER MIRACULOUS POWERS, to another prophecy, to another distinguishing between spirits, to another speaking in different kinds of tongues,[a] and to still another the interpretation of tongues.[b] All these are the work of one and the same Spirit, and he gives them to each one, just as he determines.” (NIV)
Not every thing that is strange is demonic. Years ago cellphones were unimaginable, now they are a reality. etc etc
What’s wrong with Star Wars analogies/metaphors? If the world does not learn to find ways to develop themselves as human beings at the same pace it is finding ways to do things easily (without doing), is it not easy to imagine a much larger cultural divide between those who can and those who can’t. Weak minded and easily lead as opposed to strong actualized human beings. The strong may not actually become magic when compared to today’s standards, but to those so far lost, would it not appear this way. To those in control, would their fear not grow also?
To watch this movie or not? Is it not important to be aware of both sides; as you see it, and as it sees it?
I dont know myself, I am still often stumbling in the dark, learning from occasional stubbing of my toes. I am looking forward to watching it now, I have learnt some of my greatest lessons from those I thought had the least to teach me.
Even in the midst of taking things seriously, one must have a very strong sense of humor. People will always ridicule what they don’t understand, from ‘psychic’ powers to taking time every day to just sit with the breath. To be offended is just more ego clinging. I’m going to see this tomorrow night and I’ll enjoy the mix of truth, falsehood, and fiction, hopefully learning from all of it.
P.S. Someone I talked to at the theater (where I work) described the movie as, “So stupid it is funny.” I don’t know if that will encourage or discourage anyone, but there you go.
The name of the government program was STAR GATE, and since it was declassified a number of books have been written about it. One of the Agency’s most successful remote viewers was Joseph McMoneagle. In his book Mind Trek he observes that:
“There is one additional problem that can develop during the teaching phase. It is one to which some teachers of the metaphysical don’t pay attention, whether they are teaching remote viewing, qigong, Tai chi, Kung fu, or any other concept altering reality. This problem can arise from the teacher to student responsibility that is sometimes totally ignored. This problem directly relates to philosophy, philisophic concepts and belief constructs. If you provide a student an experience which causes the destruction of a belief or concept, no matter how small, then as a teacher you must be prepared to provide a concept or reality to replace it. It must be reasonable, moral, and valid.”
An individual can become psychotic when their belief structure is seriously challenged. Satire may be only way to present this information to a mass audience.
I think ultimately people are terrified of the possibility that what exists for them on the surface level may not be reality in its totality. Whether it’s remote viewing or psychic dreams, astral travel or a scientifically plausible holographic universe–people generally react to each with fear and anger.
One of the most bizarre ironies to me (I live in the Bible belt) are the many Christians who profess to believe in this paternal God and his adversary Satan, winged angels and all the mischievous demons from hell and yet, when one of the congregation members claim to have been visited by an Angel or by God they ridicule that person and write them off as crazy and a liar.
It’s as if to say that it is okay to believe in the paranormal so long as you never have a paranormal experience.
On a personal note, it’s a great coincidence to me that you wrote this post today because this morning I had a dream very much related to this subject (though not the movie). And I agree with you on all points though I think I will see the movie because George Clooney is an advocate for Darfur and I somehow feel like I’m contributing in a small way to his cause by paying to see his movies.
I saw the movie today. While it was mildly entertaining, it made the army’s program and it’s members seem ridiculous and freakish. It turned a real program into a new age love fest (not a harsh judgment), when it really was a serious mind-warrior program. The goat starring bit in the movie is based in fact. A Cleveland-based master was tested at JFK special forces school. He put a goat in a separate room to sleep with his mind. It was recorded/documented.
I have had some limited training with the above instructor, so I was curious to see how the movie portrayed the psychic training. I would not recommend the movie to others based on the movie’s merits. The fact that it (in my opinion) casts these skills in a diminutive light does not help it either.
I am as good natured and open to a laugh as ‘the next guy’, but also being a person that takes self actualization and attunment with nature very seriously, am opposed to something so timelessly ground breaking being used and passed-off by hollywood as just another exuse for a few laughs. There was also another film, suspect zero, related to ‘remote viewing’ and psychic powers that features Project Destiny, a once top secret program for military intelligence (featured on extra features DVD). Im hoping for waves of inspiration to arise from what may be intended to make a joke of potential paranormal ‘jedi powers’. Thank you for yet another mind and eye opening post An-shu.
I think that the most part of problem is not if this power are real or not.I think that the greate problem is that with the joking and the satirizing something, you can control and drive the thinking of people, so that they dont’ more thake that things seriusly and dont think’s about it..
The ability to put an important argument in some silly and funny light can cut away attention of the people from an important teachment.
Satira is offen a power used against the “bad” power, taht don’t like is power…And maybe it can be used against good power as well.
I just saw it last night and would like to put forward another interpretation beyond the “ridiculous and freakish”. The movie is ultimately a vindication of the possibility of such things, even with the laughs associated with it. But what if we understood in relation to the ‘crazy wisdom’ tradition in Tibetan Buddhism (e.g. http://www.shambhala.org/teachings/view.php?id=131): the “Jedi” are “ridiculous and freakish” precisely because they are not bound by culturally habitual ways of relating with things. I’m reminded of the tool that Clooney used in one part of the movie: it’s uses are infinite to one trained to see beyond its mundaneness.
Yes, the movie is not a “serious” advocate of the cultivation of ‘paranormal’ skills, but it does have a few gems set among the humor. I personally enjoyed it and got a number of good laughs from it, though I wouldn’t suggest it as a place to start in developing those skills.
It is a sad fact of life that those people who choose to dwell to the left of center to what most view as normal and standard will always be ridiculed even if it may be concidered good natured by most , But I watched an episode of curb your enthusiasm and Larry had some splash back while going to the bathroom and it hit a picture of Jesus that was hanging beside the toliet(not sure why) So of course there was un up roar about it. Don’t take it so serious some say well i say right back at you.
Mr. Hayes I feel the same as you but i must say i will most likely watch it on DVD and laugh some and maybe take something away from it that is useful who knows. But like with most things if i depended on what the masses are doing or wanting then i would not be who i am or the path i am on with friends like you.
Doesn’t sound like you need to see the movie. I have the same “problem”, taking movies “too seriously”. As a result, I watch fewer and fewer movies.
Anyone who is serious about leaning remote viewing, ESP and the history behind it should look into the work of Russell Targ…
When I was born, I was given a slim chance at survival.
My parent’s were told that if I did survive, I might have
a lot of problems. After having Chicken pox, Measles, and
German Measles all in my first year or so I was put in a play-pen
in front of the T.V. one day while my Mom played cards with her
friends. These were beautiful ladies wearing designer clothes
and smelling of Chanel #5 who would hug and laugh with you.
JFK came rolling up the street and got his head blown off
while I watched intently. Pretty soon, the whole room was full
of beautiful crying ladies, and Walter Cronkite. I had really been too
young to remember, but when the anniversary came up one Saturday morning and it cut out the cartoons, I remembered it.
I remember and mention it because I was working full time and going for my PhD candidacy when out of the blue, I walked past a
luxury car dealership and was reminded of being sexually abused as a kid. It short-circuited everything. I broke my nose 3x in 2 months.
Bad, bad, bad, unfair psychological crap, the kind of shit that no one deserves is what gives a person powers such as remote viewing. It is misty, misty as can be. This was in the back of my mind
since I last wrote, and I saw around a corner. I saw in the future.
If you got it, be greedy with it. ‘Cause people are what they are, and
they will take it.
When I was that kid, I had a dream.
There was a lady in white in a tunnel
She beckoned for me to come her way
she said everything would be fine
if I followed her. She said I could
go the other way if I wanted to.
I had to decide. It seemed like
a big decision. !@#$ I went the
other way, and heard my family
in the kitchen on a Sunday.
By and large, Americans have been carefully trained to be “as stupid as we want to be”. Articles on the subject are available under such titles as “Science is not a Democracy” (decrying the ‘wisdom of crowds’) and similar. It isn’t that the American educational system as a whole is so bad, but rather that the level of quality available in public schools can vary so widely from one school to the next. And, of course, the religious status quo has a strong, vested interest in keeping spiritual knowledge (and therefore power) within their own strict purview. All spiritual experience, growth and healing must, therefore, take place within their own strict guidelines or it must be completely invalidated and mocked.
It all boils down to a dishearteningly common human response to the unknown: “We’ll either cold-hammer it into a form that fits within our pre-existing paradigm, or we’ll ignore it until we can harness it on our terms. Genuinely revising and expanding our paradigm, even in the face of a threat, is simply not an option unless there are no others available. And even then, we will NOT be happy about it.”