Re: The Rajneesh in the Haight

04/04/18 - posted by Karl Young

Funny, I was up in Oregon visiting a friend when Wild Wild Country was released and creating quite a buzz up there. I got to binge watch it before my friend's Netflix free trial expired.
It was pretty well done, though it's funny that it was produced by Osho's (Rajneesh) lawyer, prominently featured in the series, presumably to clear Osho's name. I.e. it was curious that it didn't discuss much of his history, his ideas, and why people were attracted to his teachings in the first place.

While he was irresponsible for building up such a large organization then abdicating power over it, and some of the administrators of the organization definitely became unhinged and seriously abused their power, and the community was arrogant in it's treatment of the neighbors, I thought that they were somewhat unfairly lumped with other groups as just another cult. In fact, even Wild Wild Country notes that they were perceived as akin to the Jonestown community, but makes little effort to explain why that was a rather coarse and unfair comparison.

I have a few friends who were associated with Osho over the years and while they acknowledge that things went off the rails in Oregon, they felt that his teachings provided some value in their lives and they never felt that they were involved in any way that wasn't completely voluntary.

After watching the series I didn't come away feeling like anyone (the Sannyasins, their neighbors, the politicians,...) came off as very model citizens, and it kept occurring to me that a group that favors land acquisition via genocide, might be considered a rather sick and violent cult in it's own right.

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