Wednesday, March 18, 2009
Dalai Lama duped? His Holiness hoodwinked?
His Holiness, the Dalai Lama, is coming to Albany?
Apparently so, but I wouldn't go buying tickets to see him just yet.
The whole thing just doesn't add up.
The group that invited him, the so-called World Ethical Foundations Consortium, is little more than a shell organization set up by members of an alleged cult run by a smart but morally challenged man named Keith Raniere.
Apparently he has the highest known IQ score.
Raniere gained moderate local fame in the 1990s when he was alleged to be running a pretty hum-drum pyramid scheme called Consumers Buyline, Inc. or CBI. CBI was forced to close after tsunami of lawsuits swamped it and not even Keith Raniere's amazing brain could hold the flood of lawsuits at bay.
Of course, we were spared the juicy details because all were settled out of court and Mr. Raniere, although he paid hundreds of thousands to litigants, never admitted to any wrongdoing.
They never do, do they?
Fast forward a decade and Keith is at it again with NXIVM.
It's pronounced, 'nexium.'
Not to be confused with the purple pill, this end of the homophone promises to unleash your inner potential by essentially taking your money, denying you food and sleep, and hitting you with a nonstop barrage of pop-psychology dressed up to look original. Everything they do is secret and, by the way, if you try and leave, they come after you with everything they've got.
What does it rhyme with?
Never mind. It's a cult, folks.
Then there are the Bronfman sisters, Sara and Clare, heiresses to the Seagram's fortune. Sara, lost at sea after a divorce, found meaning in the meandering logic of Keith Raniere's words AND a place to park her considerable fortune. Clare, for her part, spent most of her time galloping around Europe (she's quite the equestrienne) but finally had a sip of her sister's Kool Aid and reunited their fortunes in Raniere's bank account.
Enter the Dalai Lama who, no doubt unwittingly, has lent his immense legitimacy to a second-rate, (no offense to Albany) cow-town cult. I have no choice but to doubt that His Holiness was aware of the dubious parentage that gave birth to the World Ethical Foundations Consortium. It sounds nice, doesn't it? How many engagements does the Dalai Lama have in a year? There's no way his personal assistant or publicist can check every Tom, Dick or Jim Jones that extends an invitation to His Holiness to come and talk.
It's interesting to me that the engagement does not appear on His Holiness' agenda for the month of April.
Perhaps he has already sent his (on second thought) regrets to the folks at NXIVM/ESP/World Ethical Foundations Consortium or whatever.
I would be surprised if this thing happens.