kate Goes To The Conscious Living Festival

WE CAN TAKE YOU UP TO SEVENTEEN TIMES EARTH’S GRAVITY! More like a terrifying vibrating torture-device, making my eyeballs bubble out of my freaking head, as I hang on grim death and pled the operator to please stop lecturing me on how the NASA astronauts use this all the time and just let me get off the bloody thing…

Want to be told that sunblock is potentially deadly? Or watch people stand in metal bowls being hit by gongs? Maybe be told not to vaccinate your family?  kate loves a New Age festival. Especially one where you get a packet of complimentary SlimPasta (The Low Calorie Solution!) upon entry.

The so-called exercise machine? Not so much. As for the rest? Oh, man…

I should point out that kate makes an effort to enjoy them all, although she’s not entirely certain what ‘conscious’ means (and has been known to screw up the spelling on occasion). kate’s more than willing to get her chakras aligned, her mantras chanted, her Zen thoroughly Pirsig-ed, her aura cleansed… and she’s fairly positive that a chi-square is just the thing that a modern woman needs by the next equinox.

kate’s not entirely certain what a chi-square is either. She heard it being talked about on a bus that was travelling near UWA.

Even though the news today informed kate that:

Commonwealth leaders have added their weight to a push to eradicate polio, pledging millions of dollars in new funds to bring an end to the crippling and potentially fatal disease.

Prime Minister Julia Gillard announced Australia will increase its polio eradication funding by $50 million as part of the global effort to wipe out polio.

…she tucked her copy of the West Australian newspaper under her Nigella Lawson cookbook to read when she got home, because she was determined to attend to the Consiou the Conscios the Concious … New Age festival that was featured in the same newspaper a week before.

This is in spite of the same said newspaper printing a severe-sounding quote about one of the exhibitors of the New Age festival, the anti-vaccination group called the Australian Vaccination Network:

Australian Medical Association WA president Dave Mountain said the group was trying to whip up anti-vaccine hysteria again. ”They are zealots who pick and choose bits of information to make it look like they’re presenting real evidence,” he said. This led to parents refusing to get children and themselves vaccinated, which affected everyone, particularly the most vulnerable who benefited from herd immunity and, in that respect, they were a danger.

kate is breezily satisfied by  going to a festival that has more techno-sounding cures and claims using terms like ‘forensic’ and ‘quantum’. She blithely smiles and acts in her quasi-faux naif fashion, with a genuine sense of curiosity underneath it all. Going with an open mind is what it’s all about, right? There must be something in it, otherwise they wouldn’t be running businesses, right?

This is because being kate is one way to handle going to a New Age festival – without shivering with horror, dismay or occasionally repressed disgust… which in the past has resulted in my fleeing to the Amnesty International booth, begging for shelter. I am such a failure at being me at these kinds of things.

Although kate does get me into situations where I end up on a sodding vibrating machines because she’s politer than I am. :/

While there’s a great many free meditations and detoxification seminars and life development training schools and even ‘Get Your Sexy Back!’ shops (I have no bloody idea what the hell that was about, it appeared to be mostly comparing pictures of people’s arses), the big things are the Psychic Readings and the talks.

There’s also stage shows where they sing about Bunny Rabbits from Outer Space and lecture you on being in touch with your inner femininity. Predominantly middle-aged women wander around these festivals, with less than a handful of children amongst the crowd. Not many men in attendance. This is typical of the kind of demographic that this place attracts. kate is one of the younger generation, so she spends a little time looking over the belly-dance costumes and zills, the bakehouse and the environmental displays, rather than the arthritis cures and skin-care health shops.

By the way, kate’s pretty crap at taking photos with her phone. Everyone she takes a snap of always seems to be turning in the other direction just as she gets the shot. But she certainly gets plenty of the flyers that litter the venue.

Some of the great finds that kate has made:

  • Educate before you vaccinate flyer! All about childhood influenza! Cites a variety of studies that discourage vaccinations and written by Judy Wilyman, who is no longer a PhD candidate at Murdoch university.
  • However – her former supervisor, Peter Dingle is here. He has the booklet for you! How Toxic Is Your Sunscreen? Toxic Sunscreen Ingredients Exposed. In short, they’re meant to be worse than exposure to the sun and may be contributing to long term health problems. kate had to leave quickly after getting a copy because her facade started to crack.
  • Happy Science! I’ll leave it up to your imagination as to what that entails.

Today kate spent a little time writing notes on her phone, seated by the wall next to Han’s Hair Therapy and Massage. They were working vigorously on some rather blank-faced and uncomfortable-looking people. Nearby, a line of people poured over the descriptions of the Psychic readers, which included one person scribbling ROSIE over half their advertisement rather than ‘Rosemary’.

But kate wasn’t just here to be entertained by people standing in a metal bowl as it was hit by gongs. She was there to listen to Meryl Dorey. Because kate is interested in all kinds of things to do with health.

 ’Children and vaccinations:how many is too many? This seminar will inform you about the actual risks of both diseases and the vaccines intended to prevent them.’

‘Flu vaccine: safety, effectiveness and necessity. Join md as she asks and informs “do we need this vaccine and what does the evidence show?”‘

Meryl came across as being very, very close to livid. The recent news article in the West Australian, the Prime Minister’s announcement that there was 50 million dollars being pledged to eliminate polio. Doesn’t anyone care for the children?? These were talks very similar to ones done before: You get better community protection if you don’t vaccinate for a disease – you won’t find evidence that lack of vaccination is harmful if you are not looking and she says the government isn’t looking. Have you considered alternatives? Do you know your rights? What are the risks and do you realise you can be a conscientious objector in these ways?

I think that the recent news reports and international (and now national) efforts to raise awareness of the need to vaccinate where possible have shaken the AVN’s efforts. kate was rather uncomfortable by the dozen or so people who attended, but they were mostly of an older generation.

kate managed to hang on politely throughout the AVN’s talk, but was primarily focused on how the tune really hasn’t changed much since the last time the AVN visited this city. Thankfully, the media has made more of an impact since that time on the general attitude towards vaccinations and at least the West Australian didn’t feature a broadly grinning mother on the front page of the paper, waving her proudly-unvaccinated baby.

The website for information on vaccinations created in response to Dorey’s tour is here.

Print Friendly

About Kylie Sturgess

Kylie Sturgess is a Philosophy teacher, media and psychology student, blogger at Patheos and podcaster at Token Skeptic. She has conducted over a hundred interviews including artists, scientists, politicians and activists, worldwide.
She’s the author of the ‘Curiouser and Curiouser‘ column at the Committee for Skeptical Inquiry website and travels internationally lecturing on feminism, skepticism, and science.

  • Aliasalpha

    Why does kate not get a capital K?

    I’m sure sunblock can be potentially deadly but I suspect you’d have to eat an awful lot of it. Then again I’m not sure I could reliably quiz the person making the claim since I’d be too busy sniggering in a thoroughly immature manner about the name ‘Dr Dingle’

  • Pingback: Perth: CHOGM versus Meryl Dorey | reasonablehank

  • WendyW

    Bless Kate and her wanting to get her chi-square (pmsl). Glad to hear Meryl was a little more strident than before (even if it still was all the same old misinfo). Stress can do that to one. She should have partaken of a few of the cures available…

    Great post, Kylie :D

  • http://thinkingisreal.blogspot.com/ Andy

    Face to face with the good Doctor? Can’t have been easy to remain gullibly “open-minded”. Was his booth/product popular?

    Send my thanks to kate for taking one for the team.

    • Kylie Sturgess

      She was polite and interested, as always. His booth was on the side, lots of colourful posters for his books on the wall. Not as snappy as some of the big commercial booths, of course. Some of these companies must be rolling in money. :/

      • http://thinkingisreal.blogspot.com/ Andy

        I guess you’ve seen this?


CLOSE | X

HIDE | X