August 30, 2004

Kurt & Ramtha had nothing left to offer the school...

In my previous post, I said that What the Bleep was a spiritual recruitment film. I didn't mention that one of the talking heads in the movie is JZ Knight. JZ Knight is a spiritual guru who channels a 35,000 year old warrior from Atlantis named Ramtha. She also sells a line of elfin capes and brooches.

I avoided the whole Ramtha thing because the movie was a failure regardless of the wackiness of one of its participants. Also, everytime I read a skeptic debunking of someone like Ramtha, I usually end up not liking the debunker very much. It's hard to be a likeable know-it-all and not end up just being a smarmy ass. I should think.

The thing is tho' ... it turns out that What the Bleep is an actual recruitment film for Ramtha. While there's probably no financial relationship between Ramtha's School of Enlightenment and the filmmakers, the ideological ties help explain why it's such an uncomfortable movie to watch.

The filmmakers address this in their FAQ in which they reveal that they are all students of Ramtha. In answer to the question "Is this a recruitment film?" they say "The short answer is No." Which makes one wonder what the long answer is. I feel the longer version is that they sought to create a movie influenced by - but independent of - the spiritual school they follow. But they failed and created a propaganda film instead.

The influence of Ramtha over Bleep is significant. Mark Vicente, the director of Bleep, has also directed Where Angels Fear to Tread, a self-described rockumentary about Ramtha. Two of the other talking heads in the movie are associated with Ramtha - chiropractor Joseph Dispenza, whose book is for sale on Ramtha's site, and Amit Goswami who collaborated with JZ Knight in 1997.

Additionally, the filmmakers and their production company are headquarted in Yelm, Washington - home of JZ Knight's school. The company's publicist, Pavel Mikoloski, (who also appears in Bleep as a priest) is also the spokeperson for RSE. Even the production company's name, Lord of the Wind, comes from one of Ramtha's teachings in which he recounts his enlightenment.

All of which helps explain the relentless tone of the film ... as well as the soft-focus, ultra close-ups of JZ Knight. The film is not an exploration of spiritual ideas - it's an indoctrination. From someone who charges $1000 per retreat and sues in Austrian court for copyright infringement should anyone else claim to channel the spirit of Ramtha.



Matt said...

How exactly did you come to see this film?

goldman said...

Well, I don't wanna name names. But it was the same person who got me to go camping near Larry Hagman's house in Ojai where the last Avatar of God once sat beneath a very nice tree.

(That time was a lot of fun, incidentally.)

jason said...

I'd join Larry Hagman's dogs cult anytime. That dog had things figured out.

And he's never set a paw in an Austrian court.

goldman said...

(Yeah, there was a dog there, too.)

We did end up watching some kinda Meher Baba music video made by that guy from The Who, but it wasn't too cultish. And I don't think the dog was behind it.

Besides, this is California afterall - you need to do a certain amount of new age-y stuff or they kick you out for not meeting your quota.

Lane Collins said...

I believe someone took it upon himself to show up!

My excuse is that I was suckered by a pretty lady who drives a VW Bug to taquerias all over town. How can you say no to a woman like that?

goldman said...

Listen ... I'm not claiming I was abducted and clockwork oranged into watching the movie. But I did say, repeatedly, that it was going to be a shitbox.

And I don't even know what that means, but I'm pretty sure it wasn't meant to be complimentary.

jason said...

You also said the reduction of ticket machines was a shitbox... my snack choice of cheese fries was a shitbox... the color blue was a shitbox... and folsom street was a shitbox.

Saying the movie was going to be a shitbox has more to do with turrets than anything to do with or without flattery.

diggingdeeper said...

First of all let me say that I think the world is not such a mess as the film would have us believe and the people are not slaves to their emotions or basically unhappy as the filmmakers believe. There is a big world out there and very few of us will ever get to experience 5% of it.

As people mix. it becomes one way of experiencing other people and cultures. We do not HAVE to experience it for our selves as the movie attempts to carry forward.

However, it does appear to have been a propaganda piece for Ramthas school of "enlightenment" [RSE](lightening of the wallet I prefer to say)
Too bad though because the public should be able to have a layman's view of cutting edge science which was certainly lacking in the film.

The film uses myth upon myth to build a scientific foundation for the fact that "we create our own reality" This is a rather authoritarian viewpoint if one takes a close look at it. Especially at RSE. Think about it, one goes to this school to learn how to create ones reality by being taught by an "entity" (even if you believe that) who is a God and come to us to tell us how to be as he/she is. Once one swallows the philosophy (which they claim they will be able to make real for you) Everything afterwards then becomes of ones own making. Going to the school in the first place, not being able to make ones self reverse the aging process or heal themselves. There is no way to hold the author of these "teachings" accountable".

Of course we all can effect what direction our life can go to a certain extent and our possibilities while not being infinite are certainly way more then any of us could experience in our lifetimes. But the film posits that we do this through the use of our minds (some untapped version) and bases this premiss on QM. Simply not so.

A seductive thought but unattainable. The seduction in the film is deliberate on the part of the filmmakers who are indeed members of RSE.

Just because in the world of QM an electron does not act like a marble would does not mean that marbles do not act like marbles. The film would have one believe that marbles are not marbles.

At RSE they ask you to lose a few of your marbles so that you can realize what they are teaching better.

There is much of an RSE hand in this film as the undisputed facts I will lay out below will show.

What is really different about the film is the way this vehicle is being used as a recruitment tool not just for RSE but any others who wish to give their philosophy a cloak of respectability by using science as a vehicle. The way in which the filmmakers have done this is to secretly put in several of RAmthas appointed teachers in the film and cleverly inter-cut them with some very respected people in their field to give the impression that they are of the same stature. Even if some of the others are indeed fringe scientists, they have had to go through some very respected institutions.
Read these facts. If you are interested in more info, I have posted on the films forum an answer to the filmmakers open letter

Feel free to comment.

Dig in peace....

1. In addition to the films three directors, there were actors and others involved in the production who are long time "students" of Ramthas' School of enlightenment.

2. A disproportionate amount of time was given in voice and film to Ramtha, Dr. Joe dispenza, and Miceal Ledwith.

3. Dr Joe Dispenza and Miceal Ledwith are both long time students and "appointed teachers at Ramthas' school of enlightenment (RSE)

4. Dr Joe Dispenza (the one who creates his day) has gone to court and testified that his teacher (ramtha) has told him that terrible times are coming and that he needs to protect his family. He also invested over $10,000.00 in an infamous scam that infected RSE and was touted by Ramtha as a vehicle to gain fabulous wealth and many of the schools membership lost substantial sums of money. Some lost their entire life savings.
This is the person who teaches the brain science in RSE.

5.Miceal Ledwith a clergyman with a rather dubious past (see is the one chosen by the film makers to be the theological spokesman. He is also the theologian in residence of RSE.
He also has been marketing several products within the school and its followers. Guess that could not have been done to easily in the Catholic church.

6. The following persons in the film have all spoken at RSE and sold books there.

Fred Allen Wolf
Dr Candice Pert
Amit Gotswami
John Haglin
Joe Dispenza
Miceal Ledwith
and of course the big guy himself, Ramtha

7. One of the scientists who was in the film and had never appeared at the school is Dr David Albert Professor and Director of Philosophical Physics at Columbia university.
He has stated in several venues that his views were totally misrepresented in the film. He claims that in over 5 hours of interviews he explained to the film makers why their concept of how Quantum Physics works has virtually no support in the scientific community.
He even called in to a radio program the director was on to discuss this and was cut off. The host of the show said this was done because it was "negative"
so much for no good or bad, that is unless it is convenient.

8. To date, there has been no response as to where the information which lead to the story about the indians not being able to see the ships of Columbus originated from. There appears to be no evidence to support this claim. In addition, the film mentioned "clipper ships" which were not even in existence at that time. Perhaps that is why they couldn't see them.

There were many more, but I will leave them for others. If anyone has any information to refute any of the facts laid out here, I will be more then willing to retract them.

They are relevant because of the deliberateness on the part of the film makers to keep certain facts unknown (ironically, it is I making the unknown know) and misrepresent others.

goldman said...

Thanks for taking the time to leave such lengthy defense of your views, QE. It's cool that this post - despite being over 2 years old - is still getting some action.

There were actually two posts I wrote related to the topic of Ramtha. This was the latter, the first one was a review of the What the Bleep film.

I think if you read the first post, you'll see that I'm quite sympathetic to some of the principles that are articulated in the What the Bleep film and even by JZ Knight.

In particular, I believe there are important insights to be gained by looking at western physics and eastern spirituality in parallel. I'd recommend Capra's Tao of Physics as a great treatment of this subject.

The problem I have is two-fold. First, in both Bleep and in your comment, the principles of quantum mechanics are invoked as a type of modern magic. Quantum mechanics, it is argued, is the scientific basis for supernatural events like ESP and clairvoyance.

To me this is a disservice to both the traditions of science and the philosophies that underpin a good chunk of the RSE dogma.

In the first case, it's fairly a critical flaw to say "I had a premonition about an accident - this must be scientifically based in quantum mechanics." It's critical because in order for something to be scientifically-based, it must be testable and falsifiable. Unless others can reliably repeat the examples of reading cards or predicting accidents, it can't be used as evidence for a scientific theory. That doesn't mean it's not a real experience - I believe it happened - it just means that it shouldn't be taken as evidence for a particular scientific model.

But it's not just a problem for science, it's also a problem for philosophy. The thing that infuriated me about Bleep was not the treatment of quantum mechanics, but the treatment of eastern philosophy. Ideas like "be here now" and "visualize peace" were thrown out as slogans as opposed to pointers to transcendent truths. In this way, a real-world religion is reduced and invoked in the same talismanic way as quantum mechanics. So rather that getting a complete, rich picture of either tradition, you're left with a lot of sloppy thinking.

This whole situation is greatly complicated by my second problem with both Bleep and RSE and that is Ramtha/JZ Knight him/herself. By using the Ramtha story as the starting point of its philosophical inquiry, RSE has rooted its observations in the fantastical. The biggest problem with this is that it contributes to the overall approach of using everything from physics to buddhism as scientific proof for magic. The other problem is that it seems pretty clear to me that Ramtha's not really on the up-and-up even putting aside the whole 35,000 year-old Atlantean warrior angle. Suing so that you can maintain intellectual property rights on the ability to channel an ancient warrior and continue to charge for $1000 retreats just isn't cool, man.

So, in short, I'm all for an honest exploration, be it intellectual or spiritual, of a holistic view of western and eastern traditions. But doing so under the short-hand of magic is regressive and a dodge of the real substantive issues. And doing so under the tutelage of someone claiming to be a litigious warrior-god from Atlantis is a pretty bad starting point and much more risible than I've taken advantage of in this reply.

Ari J. Brattkus said...

Hi, nice blog. My mother-in-law was taken in by the Ramtha cult. She ended up becoming estranged from her family and she gave thousands and thousands of dollars to JZ, who lives a very luxurious life. Meanwhile my mother-in-law lived in poverty on the outskirts of the school. During a school "event" where they blind fold students to develop their "inner vision" she fell not once, but several times, from a high distance. She broke several ribs and was told to "use her mind" to over come the pain. After a month of severe pain and being told by fellow Ramtha-ists that she could get better by making it her reality, she finally called her family. She died about two months later. Her bones didn't heal due to metastisized breast cancer. In my mind, Ramtha killed my mother-in-law. Even on her deathbed she downed special "medicine" that she bought from the school. At $1000K a bottle. A total tragedy.