In our culture we often value irreverence more than reverence, skepticism more than earnestness, insight more than heartfelt devotion. These are just some reasons I love our horrible, ill culture. Okay, I confess I am able, at certain key moments, to dig earnestness and heartfelt devotion, but only in proper context. Whereas reverence I’m actually a bit unfamiliar with on a personal basis. I was brought up an atheist. I suppose we were supposed to revere Karl Marx, but he never stopped by to get his share. And maybe I do revere certain people but that’s not the term I would use. I revere the universe, certainly. And I revere irreverence; oh how ironic is that?
So you can obviously turn this irreverence onto the yoga world, and it should indeed be used there, but discreetly. I say ‘discreetly’ because ‘discreet’ is (a) a fun homophone, with another discrete meaning, and (b) it has a meaning, which is useful in this context, and that is, you have to use it with care. Sometimes irreverence can be cruel, mocking, bullying, bitter, awful and cruel, and when it’s used in that way, it’s just cruel.
So if I tell you I just got my copy of Yoga Journal and a lot of the stuff in it makes me want to throw up, I think I’m being irreverent and yet not hurtful, at least not very hurtful. If I named names of editors or writers, that would be hurtful. And I dig the fact that the inside cover ad is for Chrysler, because that’s so jarring and irreverent, even if it makes me want to throw up at the same time as I’m admiring it.
Irreverence comes from skepticism. Carl Sagan, normally such a good boy, had this to say about that: “Skeptical scrutiny is the means, in both science and religion, by which deep insights can be winnowed from deep nonsense.”
Here are a couple examples of irreverence turned on the yoga world:
(doesn’t all ring true, but it’s funny)
old article I just recently discovered; not really snide or even irreverent per se, but does make you wonder about what we’re creating in our modern transnational yoga
Also please enjoy the photo of my (bio)grandson Clark being reverential on his first day of school. Wonder where he gets it, eh.