“I try to get her out of my mind as much as possible, but the damage she does to unsuspecting people in crisis situations is just atrocious.” — Gary Dufresne, Browne’s former husband
Goodbye Sylvia Browne, an individual who elevated the art in con-artistry to a level of sophistication and grandeur comparable to Picasso or Rembrandt — if such extreme fraud existed in the world of fine art.
Just hearing the news of Browne’s death made me want to light up a pack of cigarettes and throw back a couple of highballs — such was my visceral association between her gravely, grating voice and my old ardor for nicotine and whiskey.
The pain and confusion generated by Browne, in the name of New Age nitwit-ishness, is a dark taint on the entire realm of ‘alternative’ spirituality. From a recent Huffington Post article:
In some cases, she charged a police department $400 for her services.
In 2002, Browne told the parents of missing 11-year-old Shawn Hornbeck on the Montel Williams Show that the child was dead and kidnapped by a dark-skinned man with dreadlocks.
Hornbeck was found alive in 2007 and his accused kidnapper, Michael Devlin, was Caucasian and short-haired. Hornbeck’s stepfather, Craig Akers, told Anderson Cooper that Browne offered to do a more extensive psychic reading off-camera for $700.
Browne’s parade of chicanery is a strict reminder to scrutinize and yes, even doubt, a lot of the foolishness that passes for modern day otherworldly succor: Foggy notions like The Secret and other ploys that appeal to the deluded and addled.
I’ll never forget the first time I watched this clip of Browne, as it originally aired on Montel Williams‘ talk show. My heart broke for the women asking, in earnest, the question regarding her incapacitated mother’s final words.
My compassion morphed into anger when the host and his cipher broke into careless mockery following the woman’s inquiry. The segment displayed the sort of harm and trauma that occurs when con-artistry and gullibility collide.
I’m sorry for the Browne family and their loss, but I am equally relieved for those in the larger human family who will no longer be susceptible to the wiles of fraud.
Finally, I’ll repeat the sentiment shared by the actress Bette Davis upon hearing the news that her longtime nemesis, Joan Crawford, had passed:
“I was taught to speak only good of the dead. Joan Crawford is dead. Good!”
This is the first section of a two part mix. I’d had some requests to put something together that wasn’t so dance and beat-oriented (as this month’s earlier mix).
And so here is what you get:
Atmospheric autumnal tracks that span classical, world, ambient, glitch, David Lynch, chill, zombie (whatever that is) and pop.
This collection is best experienced with wine and natural lighting.
Please no synthetic scents or substances while listening.
When you notice a cat in profound meditation,
The reason, I tell you, is always the same:
His mind is engaged in a rapt contemplation
Of the thought, of the thought, of the thought of his name:
His ineffable effable
Deep and inscrutable singular
Fritz Peters recounts an episode when he was a twelve year old boy at Gurdjieff’s Institute for the Harmonious Development of Man at the Prieuré in Fontainebleau-Avon:
He then asked me to look out of the window and to tell him what I saw. I said that, from that window, all I could see was an oak tree. And what, he asked, was on the oak tree? I told him: acorns.
“How many acorns?”
When I replied, rather uncertainly, that I did not know, he said impatiently: “Not exactly, not ask that. Guess how many!”
I said that I supposed there were several thousand of them.
He agreed and then asked me how many of the acorns would become oak trees. I answered that I supposed only five or six of them would actually develop into trees, if that many.
He nodded. “Perhaps only one, perhaps not even one. Must learn from Nature. Man is also organism. Nature make many acorns, but possibility to become tree exist for only few acorns. Same with man — many men born, but only few grow. People think this waste, think Nature waste. Not so. Rest become fertiliser, go back to earth and create possibility for more acorns, more men, once in a while more tree — more real man.
Nature always give — but only give possibility. To become real oak, or real man, must make effort. You understand this, my work … not for fertilizer. For real man only. But must also understand fertilizer necessary to Nature. Possibility for real tree, real man also depend just this fertilizer.”
From the book Boyhood with Gurdjieff p.43
Ansel Adams, Oak Tree, Sunset City, California 1962. From Ansel Adams at 100.