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The most disliked Beatle (by society, not Beatlemaniacs)
3 October 2013
10.38pm
Expert Textpert
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Funny Paper said
Thanks Joe, and thanks mja -- I didn't even think of searching for "truthcontest" without a space!

ExpertTexpert, thanks for your detailed response.  I pretty much agree.  There is a "phenomenal" aspect to the Beatles that seems to transcend merely materialist explanations, but what mythological language one uses to denote that is where one has to be careful.  The writer of that "truth contest" seems a bit too glib with his symbolisms I think.

If the Beatles were sort of "conduits" of a cultural revolution; and if that cultural revolution involves a "pagan" revival in more or less conscious rebellion against Judaeo-Christian symbolisms, then I think one cannot fault Christians too much for perceiving a threat.  I mean, why is it fair for one side to rebel and fight (even if that rebellion is dressed up in "love" and "peace" and flowers), but as soon as the other side defends itself, it's suddenly the bad guy?  The answer seems to be a tendentious one:  "Christians are wrong and bad, therefore they have no right to fight back in the war of ideas." But this is being obscured by the disingenuous attempt to frame it as "Christians are wrong and bad because they are not fighting fairly."  That's putting the cart before the horse, imo.  This reversal of order is emotionally based on a historical story that has become part of the narrative of the post-modern West:  "Well, Christians mistreated us freethinkers for centuries; now it's our turn to get back!"  Oh great, so a tribalistic tit-for-tat is supposed to be all high and lofty now?

Etc.

Interesting points, although I'm not sure how they fit in with the truth contest thing--maybe you can elaborate?  The same thing happens with patriarchy and feminism.  Because the patriarchs have dominated women, it is now increasingly okay for women to dominate men.  Because of this, certain feminists do not really celebrate womanhood but coopt the negative traits of masculinity, internalize them, and turn them against men.  They become the thing they hated.  I have seen this called "shadow feminism."  And the same dynamic can be seen in reverse racism among blacks.

Personally, I don't have a problem with whatever cultural wave The Beatles brought in, and I don't see it as a threat to Christianity.  But then I am more gnostic in my beliefs than an average, dogmatic, mainstream Christian.

 

"This Beatles talk bores me to death." --John Lennon

4 October 2013
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acmac
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Funny Paper said
On the supposed hypocrisy of wealthy celebrities who preach New Agey anti-materialism, I think it depends on what exactly you're preaching.  If you're preaching merely the common sense that materialism can be bad and that we all need to try to be less selfish, then the wealthy celebrity's lifestyle is not so cognitively dissonant from the sermon he's preaching.  But if his sermon is more radical, it begins to set up a cognitive dissonance.  I think there is some merit to those who feel George Harrison and, for example, Carlos Santana, are (were) indulging in a bit of hypocrisy in this regard. 

It's not like it's physically impossible or completely unheard-of to give up your wealth and live a simple life -- many individuals do it and have done if to for centuries in India (not to mention also medieval Europe under the inspiration of Christianity).  Sure, it's enormously difficult, and it's understandable for any person to opt out of such a major sacrifice.  But if that's the case, then don't over-inflate your spirituality with your words.  Dial down the sermon to fit more accurately the reality of your lifestyle.  Would that be so difficult?  Apparently it is, for those who want to have their cake and eat it too...

Very well said. I don't think George needed to move into a hovel as a prerequisite for speaking out about spirituality or materialism. But I do take issue with the fact that George seemed to genuinely believe that he was more spiritual, more enlightened, and less materialistic than most other people (particularly us un-famous, un-rich, un-beautiful people, apparently). And yes, that sort of attitude is problematic (not to mention, um, profoundly unenlightened), especially coming from someone who lives in a castle and collects race cars and gets really pissed about paying taxes.

That said, George was also a lovely and admirable man in many ways, and I can't hold a bit of pride and hypocrisy against him too much; that sort of radical fame and wealth from an early age must make it very easy to develop blind spots. But it compounds the problem when fans start buying too heavily into the "anti-materialistic, egoless" mystique.

 

4 October 2013
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Funny Paper
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Well summarized acmac, thanks.

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5 October 2013
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parlance
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acmac said

Very well said. I don't think George needed to move into a hovel as a prerequisite for speaking out about spirituality or materialism. But I do take issue with the fact that George seemed to genuinely believe that he was more spiritual, more enlightened, and less materialistic than most other people (particularly us un-famous, un-rich, un-beautiful people, apparently).

I don't get the impression he saw himself that way. I think he was striving for that kind of enlightenment, but I keep thinking of Olivia's quote that George knew he was a sinner and not a saint, and I think he was well aware of his imperfections.

parlance

Beware of sadness. It can hit you. It can hurt you. Make you sore and what is more, that is not what you are here for. - George

Check out my fan video for Paul's song "Appreciate" at YouTube and Vimeo.

5 October 2013
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parlance said
I don't get the impression he saw himself that way. I think he was striving for that kind of enlightenment, but I keep thinking of Olivia's quote that George knew he was a sinner and not a saint, and I think he was well aware of his imperfections.

Maybe you're right, maybe I'm misinterpreting him. I agree that he was genuine in his seeking and striving, and I admire him for that. But there are just so many examples of George publicly expressing casual contempt for others' (real or perceived) shortcomings, and virtually none (that I'm aware of) of him acknowledging his own. That he apparently admitted privately to his wife that he wasn't perfect doesn't really tell me much -- I mean, who DOES actually consider themselves to be a "saint"? That would just be delusional. I don't know; perhaps the assorted traumas of Beatlemania really distorted his image of the "the average person." In any case, it's clear George was very lovely and lovable to the many people who loved him, even if he had a bit of a "judgy" side. a-hard-days-night-george-10

5 October 2013
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parlance
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acmac said

parlance said
I don't get the impression he saw himself that way. I think he was striving for that kind of enlightenment, but I keep thinking of Olivia's quote that George knew he was a sinner and not a saint, and I think he was well aware of his imperfections.

Maybe you're right, maybe I'm misinterpreting him. I agree that he was genuine in his seeking and striving, and I admire him for that. But there are just so many examples of George publicly expressing casual contempt for others' (real or perceived) shortcomings, and virtually none (that I'm aware of) of him acknowledging his own.

 

That might be key. Maybe you need to read up on him more? I came away reading I, Me, Mine, for instance, with an impression that he was rather humble. He had a preachy side, but was willing to point the finger at himself as much as others. Perhaps you're conflating his spiritual passion with contempt.

 

That he apparently admitted privately to his wife that he wasn't perfect doesn't really tell me much -- I mean, who DOES actually consider themselves to be a "saint"? That would just be delusional. 

I don't think that quote from Olivia was a private quote, it sounded like one that was well-known joke amongst those who knew him.

parlance

Beware of sadness. It can hit you. It can hurt you. Make you sore and what is more, that is not what you are here for. - George

Check out my fan video for Paul's song "Appreciate" at YouTube and Vimeo.

6 October 2013
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bewareofchairs
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Regarding George and his shortcomings, here are some quotes:

“‘There’s a part in [Autobiography of a Yogi] where [Yogananda] sees Christ. It’s beautiful. If I could have one wish come true,’ George hesitated, blushed and then continued, ‘I’d love to see Christ.’ At first, I thought this was pompous, but looking at his childlike grin I realized he did not mean it that way. He really DID want to see Christ.

'Maybe after this life,' I said, thinking of judgment day.

‘I think I’m too impure,’ George said. ‘I started meditating many years ago. Krishna felt one should follow a strict routine to purify yourself, rise and bathe at 4am, meditate until six, shower again. No sex, no booze, no drugs and constant prayer. I’ve tried but I guess I’m too weak.’

‘At least you try,’ I said. George smiled. ‘you’re very kind,’ he said.” - Carol Bedford, Waiting for the Beatles: an Apple Scruff’s story

"I’m a very poor example of a spiritual person. I don’t really want anything in my life except knowledge, but I’m not a very good practitioner of that.” - George Harrison (Rolling Stone, 1979)

Interviewer: So much has been written about your spirituality that at times it would appear you’ve earned the image of a saint. Does this bother you?

George: It does, because I’m in no way saintly. And I don’t think the people in the media who ascribe this image to me are doing it out of good motives. They just want to label me, to give me a readily recognisable tag that will sell them more copies and fit me into whatever slot they wish to peg me into. Around the time of the Concert for Bangladesh, there were lots of congratulations and pats on the back, which were deeply rewarding. But after that, things got out of hand, and now I occasionally hear that some stories about me have me ready to retire into an Oriental monastery and leave everything and everyone behind. Actually, though, it’s not a bad idea. I’ll have to keep it in mind.

- Men Only mag. (1978)

"I think for George, he talked about the inner journey and that was very important to him, although he was yin-yang. He could hang with the best of them. [laughs] He was a scoundrel yogi. That’s what I loved about him, because he was honest. He was right up front about it. ‘I’m bad? O.K., I’m bad.’" - Olivia Harrison

"He never said he was just a good guy and we all knew he wasn’t like that. He was incredibly human, he could be really tough. He had dark clouds over his head too but knew that." - Olivia Harrison (The Sun, 2009)

I think people often misinterpret the message George was trying to send. To my mind all he was trying to say was that there are other options out there than what the mainstream tells you, having a lot of material things isn't necessarily going to make you happier, and taking drugs isn't the only solution when you're dealing with problems, that there's more to life and you shouldn't let your possessions control you. I think it's also important to keep in mind that in the 60's, 70's and 80's this wasn't exactly a common mindset.

6 October 2013
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I agree with Parlance. I don't get the impression he thought he was perfect, but yes that it was him aim to become as ''perfect'' as possible eventually - or as close as anyone can get to that. Even though at times he did things probably knowing they were against the ''rules'' that his spiritualism set.

''We're just knocked out. We heard about the sell out. You gotta get an album out, you owe it to the people. We're so happy we can hardly count.''

6 October 2013
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parlance
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bewareofchairs said
Regarding George and his shortcomings, here are some quotes:

Thanks for all those, bewareofchairs.

parlance

Beware of sadness. It can hit you. It can hurt you. Make you sore and what is more, that is not what you are here for. - George

Check out my fan video for Paul's song "Appreciate" at YouTube and Vimeo.

6 October 2013
8.41pm
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Good marshalling of evidence by "bewareofchairs" -- but still a disquieting je-ne-sais-quoi about it lingers.  It's analogous to a type of posture (or posturing) one sees in a certain type of Christian evangelical who makes a big show of being a "humble sinner" -- which after a while seems paradoxical, like being proudly humble

In addition, it seems that George may have indulged in the having-his-cake aspect of the whole thing:  I mean, what's better than just reveling in one's shameless impurity -- perhaps being a "spiritual seeker" and then regularly lapsing back into the pleasures of impurity, so you can alternately pat yourself on the back for "trying" to be "pure", and regularly enjoy the benefits of "impurity"!  That would seem on the surface to be a step up, or "deeper", than being a mere "Piggy".  So one can enjoy what the Piggies have, and feel like one is "tapping into" something "deeper" or "higher" at the same time!  By Jove, sign me up!

Really, it all seems rather unnecessarily elaborate, and rather self-indulgent, if not downright incoherent (where an apparent coherency is achieved only through self-deception).  This is not to say I think George was worthless in this regard.  His "My Sweet Lord" is quite moving and touching.

Personally, though, I prefer it when a pop artist shows a bit more clarity about the overall situation, whose essential bleakness has to be faced before you put on your Pollyannish rose-colored shades -- e.g., Paul Simon from his song "Some Folks' Lives Roll Easy":

Some folks' lives roll easy as a breeze
Drifting through a summer night
Heading for a sunny day

But most folks' lives, oh they stumble
Lord they fall
Through no fault of their own
Most folks never catch their stars...

And here I am, Lord
I'm knocking at your place of business
I know I ain't got no business here
But you said if I ever got so low
I was busted
You could be trusted...

Some folks' lives roll easy
Some folks' lives
Never roll at all
Oh, they just fall...
They just fall...

Some folks' lives.

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8 October 2013
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Thank you, Bewareofchairs (great name, btw), for putting those quotes together for us; I was not familiar with some of them. I especially liked this one:

"I’m a very poor example of a spiritual person. I don’t really want anything in my life except knowledge, but I’m not a very good practitioner of that.”

Unlike Funny Paper, I don’t find this beliefs/actions discrepancy per se to be "too convenient" or hypocritical. It's an age-old, familiar struggle -- I'm reminded of the famous quote from Augustine: “Lord, grant me chastity, but not yet.”

Overall, however, I must say that, like Funny Paper, I remain pretty underwhelmed by these quotes. IMO it costs nothing to say something vague like "I'm a sinner, not a saint." It's simply the religious version of "I'm not perfect." But in his public criticisms of others, he freely uses words like “bitchy,” “selfish,” “egotistical," etc. It’s this (seeming, to me) discrepancy, along with the casual contempt that so often tinged his comments on “the masses,” that I find distasteful.

Again, none of this is to say that George was a bad guy. He was awesome and fascinating and I love him. I’m just trying to explain why I’ve never felt that humility was one of his major virtues (just as I don’t think honesty was one of John’s, particularly, or sweetness one of Paul’s, despite various common narratives).

9 October 2013
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acmac said

Overall, however, I must say that, like Funny Paper, I remain pretty underwhelmed by these quotes. IMO it costs nothing to say something vague like "I'm a sinner, not a saint." It's simply the religious version of "I'm not perfect." But in his public criticisms of others, he freely uses words like “bitchy,” “selfish,” “egotistical," etc. It’s this (seeming, to me) discrepancy, along with the casual contempt that so often tinged his comments on “the masses,” that I find distasteful.

Can you offer some examples of George commenting on "the masses?" I've never seen anything like that. If you're just talking about comments on the other Beatles' behavior during the breakup or lawsuits afterward, that's a very special and unique situation, and certainly John would be just as guilty of contempt as George, and I don't think it's fair to assume that attitude was typical of George's attitude towards everyone at all times.

parlance

Beware of sadness. It can hit you. It can hurt you. Make you sore and what is more, that is not what you are here for. - George

Check out my fan video for Paul's song "Appreciate" at YouTube and Vimeo.

10 October 2013
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parlance said
Can you offer some examples of George commenting on "the masses?" I've never seen anything like that. If you're just talking about comments on the other Beatles' behavior during the breakup or lawsuits afterward, that's a very special and unique situation, and certainly John would be just as guilty of contempt as George, and I don't think it's fair to assume that attitude was typical of George's attitude towards everyone at all times.

No, I'm not really talking about his comments about John and Paul, though it does bother me somewhat that he frequently rehashed their failings in public without ever acknowledging, to my knowledge, that he had also done some hurtful things during the breakup. Still, that was, as you say, a unique situation -- a family affair, really. 

As for examples, I'll give you the ones off the top of my head that will hopefully illustrate what I'm trying to say here (which, again, is NOT that George was a bad guy, or an irredeemable hypocrite, or any "worse" than any of the other Beatles on some sort of objective scale). And no, I don't think George looked down on "everyone at all times," but it seems to me to have been a consistent enough attitude on his part to fairly warrant some criticism. Bolds mine.

A quote from the "Cool/funny/lovely stories" thread:

 “Yes, that [discovering one's 'destiny'] happens to some people, they can’t do anything else then. Actually, every one of us has a role to fulfill on this planet, but only a few people know that. Most think that we’re only here to get a lot of money very quickly and to walk on the sunny side of the street."

An interview with Srila Prabhupada from '73:

"There is one sort of problem in a way, that I found when chanting all the time, all the time, and that was that I start being able to relate less and less to all the people I know. I mean then it’s, there’s only times when I see people like Çyämasundara or just a few people. Then, that’s okay, but most of the other people… I suddenly found myself on such a different level that it’s hard to relate and then it’s like it feels as though it’s a point where I have a decision of either slowing down and pulling back towards those people in order to try and pull them with me, or maybe if, because I’m not ready to go, or just cutting the thing off and just going completely. You know what I mean? Just in day to day things. The more and more, the buildup… the buildup of the mantra and the effect is so subtle in a way that there’s that point where I just can’t relate any more to anybody. ... to my friends, even to my wife. I mean to anybody. ...You know, like if I’m not into it too deeply then I’ll come down to begin a day and I’ll be quite, say, do this, okay, and off we go to do… But the days, the periods when I’m so deeply into that, chanting all the time, then when I finish chanting, I come down, I’m like Rävaëa. You know, I come down and I’m not smiling and I’m not particularly happy because I’m saying, “Do that! Get that! Why is this!” You know? There’s like there is more urgency involved. The realization that everybody is wasting their time and everybody is doing mundane things which are, and you know, just having a little bit of mundane fun.
... But the problem is this, where to find a balance. Because obviously I know where I benefit by doing that. But I’m benefiting so much that suddenly I find I’m out on a limb, and it’s hard to be able to pull those people with you. You know, there’s a point where suddenly I’m not going to be… I’m not going to know them any more."

To his credit, he recognizes this might be a problem. But the sense of an "it's so hard to be on this higher level" attitude persists. Personally I am just so very, very wary of "spirituality" that makes you think you're on a "higher" level than others, and that in fact diminishes your capacity to relate to other people. To me that is the opposite of spiritual enlightenment.

Going along with that, I remember a quote in the Doggett book (which I don't have with me) from George during his Dark Horse tour, where he describes seeing drug paraphernalia down in the audience area after the show, and says something like "So then I began to think I had nothing in common with those audiences." As this was, according to Pattie, during the height of the drugs-and-sex decadence at Friar Park, I was quite bemused by this attitude -- like, apparently hard partying is only cool when you do it in a castle with all the beautiful people?

The thing which most recently set me back on my heels was just a small bit from the Living in the Material World documentary, where George and Paul are looking at some old photos, and out of nowhere George goes off on this young girl in a picture, who was a prostitute. Like, "God, she was awful, wasn't she", etc. And even though it was so brief, it just boggled my mind, and still does, to be honest -- seriously, WTF, George? I don't know, maybe I'm being too harsh on him here... maybe she loved setting puppies on fire and that's what he was referring to. But, um, I really don't think so. And frankly, when middle-aged millionaire rockstars start gratuitously insulting young anonymous prostitutes they and/or their buddies "knew" forty years ago, I just don't have much "benefit of the doubt" to give. But maybe that's just me.

 

11 October 2013
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acmac, the flaws you're pointing out about George's "high horse" reflect actually a rather common view in cults and religions in general.  I mean, what would be the point of "finding" a religion or "spirituality" you think is "the truth" if you also thought that most people already follow it!  What makes it special is knowing that only a few people have been able to glimpse the rarified truth that most of the Great Unwashed are too "shallow" or too "materialistic" (New Agey versions of "too sinful" which they avoid because it sounds too "judgemental" so they opt for equivalents they think are different) to know or appreciate.

This isn't to say that some people don't indulge in this conceit more often than others.  My sense is that George may have a tad more than others.

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11 October 2013
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parlance
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acmac said

As for examples, I'll give you the ones off the top of my head that will hopefully illustrate what I'm trying to say here (which, again, is NOT that George was a bad guy, or an irredeemable hypocrite, or any "worse" than any of the other Beatles on some sort of objective scale). And no, I don't think George looked down on "everyone at all times," but it seems to me to have been a consistent enough attitude on his part to fairly warrant some criticism. Bolds mine.

I guess it's my turn to be underwhelmed by the quotes presented. First of all, most of them are from the '70s, so there's no indication that how he felt then was how he felt the rest of this life. All The Beatles behaved badly at some point during the '70s, but they all showed signs of maturing beyond that tumultuous decade (including John in the last year of his life). If we're going to concede the growth of the other three, we must allow the same for George.

As for the specifics... the first quote you present is not an uncommon belief - that we are here to serve a higher purpose than the pursuit of material possessions. I think that's a fundamental belief of most religions and philosophical belief systems, and doesn't signal to me that George was extraordinary in this regard, or that he thought himself better than "the masses" (your words - I haven't seen anything that points to George referring to the general population in such a sneering manner).

Your second quote was made during a time when George's marriage to Pattie was disintegrating and he was fighting a drug/alcohol/self-medication addiction, dealing with financial problems and adjusting to post-Beatle life. I interpret his words as illustrating pain, emotional paralysis and dissociation, and an earnest attempt to break through that numbness, not the contemptuous attitude you see.

The Doggett paraphrase and the excerpt from the documentary I'd need to see for myself; the book quote again sounds similar in tone to your second quote, and I've seen the movie twice and I don't remember that scene sticking out in any way (but if he did say those words while Paul was with him looking through the photos, it sounds like he was saying them to a sympathetic audience, making Paul is guilty of the same attitude, right?).

And you've made this point a couple of times, so I should address it:

(which, again, is NOT that George was a bad guy, or an irredeemable hypocrite, or any "worse" than any of the other Beatles on some sort of objective scale)

I don't think you're saying that and I didn't imply it. And I'm not saying George is above reproach. If he was guilty of this contempt you see so clearly, I'd agree it would warranted criticism. But so far with the evidence you've presented, it appears to me his words are being interpreted in an unnecessarily harsh light, particularly in comparison to the others.

parlance

Beware of sadness. It can hit you. It can hurt you. Make you sore and what is more, that is not what you are here for. - George

Check out my fan video for Paul's song "Appreciate" at YouTube and Vimeo.

11 October 2013
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acmac
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I was responding to your questioning my impression that George frequently felt he was more spiritual than most other people, so that's why I posted quotes where the message (IMO) was stuff like "I do drugs, but I have nothing in common with other people who do drugs," "only a few people realize what I realize," "everybody is wasting their time on mundane things," etc. There are many positive and admirable aspects of George's (definitely genuine) commitment to his spirituality. BUT, because I feel that the sort of spiritual pride George also sometimes exhibited is a very easy trap to fall into, as well as an INCREDIBLY destructive force in the world, I feel it is important to point it out and talk about it.

But I'm happy to agree to disagree at this point, Parlance. As I said, the examples provided were ones off the top of my head, ones I've read most recently that were consistent with an impression I already had of George based on everything else I've read. That said, your point about the turmoil/addiction of the '70 is well-taken; the "chilling" effects of cocaine are well-documented, and I'm sure that was playing a part. But the trouble is, again, you see, that he was mistaking that "disconnection" for the effects of enlightenment. My impression is that he continued to mistake feelings of alienation (brought on by the traumas of fame, post-addiction effects, whatever) as a badge of spirituality. And that bothers me, on a personal and philosophical level.

(but if he did say those words while Paul was with him looking through the photos, it sounds like he was saying them to a sympathetic audience, making Paul is guilty of the same attitude, right?).

Actually, Paul sticks up for her. He does so awkwardly and a bit problematically, but I don't even care -- in my book there can never be too much of millionaire rockstars sticking up for anonymous young prostitutes.

it appears to me his words are being interpreted in an unnecessarily harsh light, particularly in comparison to the others.

It could be, it could be. I try to compensate for my biases, but who knows? Especially when I'm personally invested in the issue at hand.

Finally, you've been great to engage with and I really appreciate it! I usually like to include lots of disclaimers in these sorts of discussions just for the record/other readers/just in case; they were not aimed at you. :)

11 October 2013
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parlance
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acmac said

Finally, you've been great to engage with and I really appreciate it!

Just want to quote this first because I agree! It's been a refreshingly civil discussion.

 

BUT, because I feel that the sort of spiritual pride George also sometimes exhibited is a very easy trap to fall into, as well as an INCREDIBLY destructive force in the world, I feel it is important to point it out and talk about it.

 

I very much agree with you on that point, it's in the way we interpret George's comments where we clash.

 

But I'm happy to agree to disagree at this point, Parlance. As I said, the examples provided were ones off the top of my head, ones I've read most recently that were consistent with an impression I already had of George based on everything else I've read. That said, your point about the turmoil/addiction of the '70 is well-taken; the "chilling" effects of cocaine are well-documented, and I'm sure that was playing a part. But the trouble is, again, you see, that he was mistaking that "disconnection" for the effects of enlightenment. My impression is that he continued to mistake feelings of alienation (brought on by the traumas of fame, post-addiction effects, whatever) as a badge of spirituality. And that bothers me, on a personal and philosophical level.

 

And this is where we fundamentally disagree (and I agree to agree to disagree ;-D). I don't see his comments - at least not those presented above - as spiritual pride so much as existential angst. Maybe he should have done less talking out loud, but I see more of a genuine struggle than a "hey, lookit me, I'm so good, why can't you do the same?"

 

(but if he did say those words while Paul was with him looking through the photos, it sounds like he was saying them to a sympathetic audience, making Paul is guilty of the same attitude, right?).

Actually, Paul sticks up for her. He does so awkwardly and a bit problematically, but I don't even care -- in my book there can never be too much of millionaire rockstars sticking up for young anonymous prostitutes.

And I'm with you there. I just don't remember coming away with the same impression of George and Paul's reactions, so I'll need to view it again.

parlance

Beware of sadness. It can hit you. It can hurt you. Make you sore and what is more, that is not what you are here for. - George

Check out my fan video for Paul's song "Appreciate" at YouTube and Vimeo.

13 October 2013
11.38am
bewareofchairs
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acmac said 

But I'm happy to agree to disagree at this point, Parlance. As I said, the examples provided were ones off the top of my head, ones I've read most recently that were consistent with an impression I already had of George based on everything else I've read. That said, your point about the turmoil/addiction of the '70 is well-taken; the "chilling" effects of cocaine are well-documented, and I'm sure that was playing a part. But the trouble is, again, you see, that he was mistaking that "disconnection" for the effects of enlightenment. My impression is that he continued to mistake feelings of alienation (brought on by the traumas of fame, post-addiction effects, whatever) as a badge of spirituality. And that bothers me, on a personal and philosophical level.

For what it's worth, Pattie Boyd and Chris O'Dell (she lived at Friar Park in the early 70's) both described George's intense dedication to spirituality as something which alienated him from Pattie and the others in Friar Park. He would spend hours meditating alone, and Pattie would leave the room whenever he started talking about spirituality. There was so much going on in that period, I think it's safe to say it was a combination of things which caused the disconnection, but spirituality certainly was one of them. 

The part you quoted from his conversation with Srila Prabhupada goes along with another part earlier on, where George talks about the animosity he feels from people whenever he brings it up, and how the animosity becomes stronger the more he commits himself to spirituality. He said that whatever he says might mean something to one person, but ten people get annoyed, and if he doesn't say anything then everyone's happy. So I think in the quote you posted he's not necessarily seeing himself as superior but rather illustrating how he's struggling to make both halves of his heart happy. One half desires to devote his whole life to Krishna and is frustrated with the reality of being surrounded by people who would rather party and do cocaine. The other half wants to join in on the fun, cares deeply about his friends and doesn't want to lose them.

Simon Leng made a curious point in his book, While My Guitar Gently Weeps, where he said that although George appeared to be at his most religious on the Dark Horse tour, the album itself reveals a constant struggle. He had little faith left and just didn't care anymore about Krishna. This was right after he finally lost Pattie, and it continued into Extra Texture. I'm not sure if I'm making sense as I've been up for a very long time, haha, but I hope you can see what I'm getting at.

Plus, it kind of makes sense for him to attribute alienation to spirituality because many of his friends also suffered from the traumas of fame (particularly the other Beatles) and were drug addicts (Eric Clapton was his best friend after all), yet he still felt out of place around them.

13 October 2013
4.23pm
Linde
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Yeah I think he was just really struggling with everything in general at that point, and even got estranged from himself, which is probably why he couldn't see he did the same things, for example drugs, as a lot of people did.

As for the other Beatles: They all had their struggles and all four of them could be as douchebaggy as the other, but I think that at heart, they were all good people.

13 October 2013
5.48pm
Funny Paper
America
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Douchebaggy -- that could be the name of a song.blue-meanie

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