The Electric Commentary

Sunday, March 18, 2007

Books That I Hate: The Celestine Prophecy

This lovely piece of fantacrap by James Redfield was a big hit in the late 90s. It deals with a man who starts to believe in new-age bullshit when he starts noticing a bunch of odd coincidences in his life. Of course, we all have odd coincidences in our lives, this is why we have the word "coincidence," but this guy's coincidences lead him to join a group of freaky weirdos who have noticed that same thing.

Soon he's seeing auras, sharing energy with trees, and learning about a global conspiracy to exploit these new-age powers for evil.

The new-age lessons, called "insights" are being sought by the government. I'm not sure why the government has decided to spend a bunch of your tax dollars to learn to share energy with trees.

Oh wait.

Never mind.

In college I had a class on utopic/dystopic literature. It was a poli-sci class and the prof focused everything on communism because he was an expert on China.

Anyway, We had to write one report on a Utopia book of our choosing (It could not be "Utopia" or anything else on the reading list). This made it difficult because the reading list was very comprehensive (although in retrospect I should have chosen Brave New World which was not on the list.) Anyway, someone asked if the Celestine Prophecy would be OK and he said that it would. I think that about 75% of the class picked it. Many others picked Ishmael, and a few took a book called "Ecotopia" or something like that.

I did Celestine. I gave my report first (oral and written) and my first sentence was "We should not have been allowed to read this book for this project as it is complete drivel." I received and A, and made everyone else's completely shitty reports in which they heaped praise on the book sound completely ridiculous.

Anyway, The Celestine Prophecy and its sequels, should not be read, touched, or looked at. One telling fact is that shortly after Celestine became a hit, new-age pop-culture suddenly became obsessed with "angels." Near the end of The Celestine sequel, The Tenth Insight, the characters are saved by angels who stop bullets. I'm pretty sure that Redfield just glommed on to whatever his readers were interested in at the moment.

He's not even a principled purveyor of new-age tripe.

6 Comments:

  • I'm definitely avoiding that one! I wondered for quite some time why that book was on the shelf. Now it's clear.

    -Jodi

    By Anonymous Anonymous, at 3:32 PM  

  • "I received and A, and made everyone else's completely shitty reports in which they heaped praise on the book sound completely ridiculous."

    Did you have to have lower ribs surgically removed to write that line?

    By Blogger E.S.K., at 7:36 PM  

  • No way man. Stretching does the trick.

    By Blogger PaulNoonan, at 9:05 PM  

  • Danny told me that Ishmael was made into a movie starring Anthony Hopkins. I saw this movie, and it was not as good as another movie that stars Anthony Hopkins and a huge wild Animal (I am refering of course to The Edge, a remarkably sweet movie.)

    Anyway, the movie must be a lot different than the book, because it was ok. In the movie a genius (hopkins) whose hobby is learning about primates goes crazy (or does he?) and embeds himself in the middle of an Ape pack. After embedding himself he develops a new lease and outlook on life, as shown in the movie when instead of trying to escape the rain, he simply is content to sit in the rain. Anyway, poachers kill or capture the apes, he goes crazy and kills poachers, and ends up in an insane asylum, where Cuba Gooding finds him and coaxes him out of his crazy stupor. While in the asylum the viewer is treated to see how humans are treated like animals and kept in cages, (I guess that is what they were going for) Anyway, after he gets coaxed out of his stupor by Gooding, Anthony escapes the institution and we get the impression that he is returning to human society but with his new lease on life. Not great, but no talking Gorillas in the movie.

    By Anonymous Anonymous, at 6:42 PM  

  • I think that movie is named "Instinct".

    By Blogger Scott H, at 11:07 PM  

  • I'm reading Celestine right now. And I love it. The book was given to me after a series of coincidences. I met Robyn 2 years ago when I started working at my current job in Brisbane. She's also originally from Melbourne. When we went back to Melb in Dec 2008 she took me to a gig. I fell in love with one band there and have followed their music for the past 8 months. I met the band again at a gig in Melb in Sept 2009. Got talking to the drummer, we spoke about life and I told him about a series of coincidences that were leading me to a different path in life. He gave me the Celestine Prophecy and I've been on a mission since to actualise all nine insights.

    Paul Noonan, I've only known one other person who's actually said out loud that they think they're smarter than the average person. He was Canadian... just wondering: are you?

    By Anonymous Anonymous, at 12:43 AM  

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