Episode 20

Published on:

26th Jun 2021

Anthony DeMello: The Bob Ross of Spiritual Gurus?

Well, the hosts have had a good long taste of the culture wars and friends, it is a bitter, bitter draught. As a palette cleanser, we return to a simpler time, a better(?) time... The 1980's! When Chris Kavanagh was young and innocent, running about in short pants with a twinkle in his eye and (I assume) lobbing bricks at RUC armoured vehicles for the craic. At nights he would curl up and listen to CASSETTE tapes of a fellow called Anthony De Mello, while the eyes of Pope Ratzinger would stare at him disapprovingly from the poster (I assume) that was on the wall of his room.

Yes, we're returning to the gurus our decoders were fans of during their young and impressionable years. And Chris rather liked Fr. Anthony De Mello. Who is he? A Jesuit priest who sounds more like a Buddhist monk with a message of peace, detachment, and the recipe for happiness. He says that society trains us to act like robots, encouraging us to go through life in a depressed haze. After you apply his recipe, you'll still be depressed, but you'll realise the depression is like the clouds, but you are the sky.

He's got the good vibes of Bob Ross, but does that conceal something darker? Was spiritual self-help better or worse in the 1980s compared today? Listen, and you shall know all!


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About the Podcast

Decoding the Gurus
A psychologist and an anthropologist try to make sense of the world's greatest self-declared Gurus.
An exiled Northern Irish anthropologist and a hitchhiking Australian psychologist take a close look at the contemporary crop of 'secular gurus', iconoclasts, and other exiles from the mainstream, offering their own brands of unique takes and special insights.

Leveraging two of the most diverse accents in modern podcasting, Chris and Matt dig deep into the claims, peek behind the psychological curtains, and try to figure out once and for all... What's it all About?

Join us, as we try to puzzle our way through and talk some smart-sounding smack about the intellectual giants of our age, from Jordan Peterson to Robin DiAngelo. Are they revolutionary thinkers or just grifters with delusions of grandeur?

Join us and let's find out!
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About your hosts

Christopher Kavanagh

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A Northern Irish cognitive anthropologist who occasionally moonlights as a social psychologist. Chris has long standing interests in the psychology of conspiracy theorists and pseudoscience. His academic research focuses on the Cognitive Science of Religion and ritual psychology. He lives happily in Japan with his family.

Matthew Browne

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An Australian psychologist and numbers-guy. He does research on all kinds of stuff, but particularly enjoys looking into why people believe the things they do: religion, conspiracy theories, alternative medicine and stuff. He's into social media in the same way people slow down for car accidents.