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"A Woman Is To Be Loved, Not Understood." Really?
March 9, 2013 3:59 PM   Subscribe

A guy I've been flirting with linked me this site, saying he does a lot of reading on it, and that I might like it. I understand (from Wikipedia) that Osho was a relatively acclaimed philosopher, but I find the articles that talk about women on that site faintly off-putting. I trust your judgment, MeFites - what are your opinions on Osho's teachings?

A prime example from the article in the title is this:

The lady walked up to the policeman and said
“Officer, that man on the corner is annoying me.”
“I have been watching the whole time,” said the cop,
“and that man wasn’t even looking at you.”
“Well,” said the woman, “isn’t that annoying?”


Like what does that even mean? That all women feel entitled to male attention? I guess I'm confused because I actually find some of the articles on that site quite insightful, and the guy I'm interested in seems like a really good guy in other aspects. But if this is representative of his views on women, I'm wondering if I should just abort. The only reason I haven't already is that my friend says I have a tendency to drop people as soon as they do one thing I don't like, which tends to be true, and I'd like to not do that unnecessarily this time.

Am I reading this completely wrong, or should I stop flirting with this guy? If so, can I (gently) tell him why I don't agree with those views on women, or should I just do the slow fade-off? Clouding factor: he's super attractive and my lizard brain really, really wants me to get in his pants.
posted by cucumber patch to Human Relations (41 answers total) 2 users marked this as a favorite
 
I've never been good at flirting, so maybe "communication" kills the mood or something, but it seems like this is the sort of thing that should be discussed between the two of you. Maybe this guy agrees with you. Maybe he's never thought about it that way before. Maybe he's a raging sexist. I don't think anyone on Mefi can determine that.

If so, can I (gently) tell him why I don't agree with those views on women

Why NOT do this in any case? Do you really want to be with someone who doesn't care about your views on women? I guess if you just want to fuck him casually, you can drop it, but in that case maybe stop taking reading recommendations from him.
posted by muddgirl at 4:09 PM on March 9, 2013 [2 favorites]


"Hey, new dude, thanks for the link. I actually find some of the articles on that site quite insightful, but I found his writings on women kind of weird and off-putting. What do you think about them?"

Maybe new dude feels the same way, since he doesn't seem to have expressed otherwise. Quickest way to find out is to ask.
posted by rtha at 4:15 PM on March 9, 2013 [25 favorites]


I've read some of his stuff and enjoyed it; I've never read his gender thoughts and that they're seemingly antiquated doesn't make me want to read him less on general spiritual issues.

As per this guy - find out how he treats women. Don't rely on this.
posted by MillMan at 4:15 PM on March 9, 2013 [1 favorite]


It's nice that he's into positive things, generally.

Assume he's just a little tone-deaf to the sexism on the site and choose from there if you're gonna make a big deal over the site with him.

My opinion? Keep dating him. Let the website thing go for the moment. If you end up dating him more seriously, you can always start a discussion about this down the road.

I think the website is slightly lame, and mostly a portal to $$ goods and services for Osho, but I wouldn't dump the guy over it just yet!
posted by jbenben at 4:20 PM on March 9, 2013 [1 favorite]


I, too, would be discouraged by something like that. When I look at the article you mention, it says something like, "men are a mystery, women are a mystery." It doesn't just go on and on about women. I didn't find it terribly sexist, but I did find it corny. Anyways, seconding rtha and MillMan. Don't rely on it. Ask or spend time with him (if you haven't?). It'll become clear.
posted by amodelcitizen at 4:20 PM on March 9, 2013 [2 favorites]


I wouldn't say philosopher, I would say New Age celebrity dealer in woo. (But then I'm touchy about such things; if someone finds value in this guy's writings, great.)

Bhagwan Shree Rajneesh was a guru who won the devotion of a lot of westerners in the 1960s and 70s. As I recall he's famous for advocating open sexuality and for establishing a quasi-cult commune in Oregon where his followers lived in bad conditions while he amassed a collection of Rolls Royces. Those quotes reflect an toward women derived from mid-century India and tailored to appeal to western audiences in the 1960s; I would certainly want to know if your friend takes that stuff seriously or if he had just overlooked it in favor of other subjects.
posted by LobsterMitten at 4:26 PM on March 9, 2013 [17 favorites]


This stuff gives me bad vibes. I've had a lot of bad experiences with men who are unusually philosophical about women and the relationship between men and women. Doesn't seem like a good start.
posted by These Birds of a Feather at 4:31 PM on March 9, 2013 [18 favorites]


This would ring all sorts of alarm bells for me. Though I would ask the fellow in question what his take is on the specific passages that bother you. Without making it clear (or even hinting) that those passages bother me.

He'll either respond "It's So Truuuuuuue! Women love being looked at, and if you don't notice them, they get all pissy!" or "Well, his attitudes toward women are outdated and kind of creepy, but the rest of his suggestions ring true in my life. So I try to discard the sexism and appreciate what I like."

Or somewhere on a continuum.

Proceed with caution.
posted by bilabial at 4:57 PM on March 9, 2013 [6 favorites]


Osho is not really an acclaimed philosopher.
posted by dhruva at 5:01 PM on March 9, 2013 [24 favorites]


I've had a lot of bad experiences with men who are unusually philosophical about women and the relationship between men and women.

I'd second this. Any 'Men are x, Women are Y' stuff is generally bullshit. People are individuals, and all possessing of their own unique quirks. Folks who don't realize this, either through youthful naivete, stupidity, or willful stubbornness, tend to cause problems to themselves and those around them.
posted by percor at 5:04 PM on March 9, 2013 [10 favorites]


If the guy cherishes every word from Osho's site, I'd tell the lizard brain to look elsewhere, because here's another quote from Mr. Osho: "The woman is more loving because she does not live by logic, by reason, but by pure emotion and heart." Since I found it in about 10 seconds of browsing, I assume there's a lot more.

However, it's not at all clear that your guy agrees with everything the site says, so I vote with the people who say, "Talk about it." For example, you could ask him what he likes about Osho and, depending on what he says, ask him what he thinks about Osho's statements about women.
posted by ceiba at 5:21 PM on March 9, 2013 [2 favorites]


Bhagwan Shree Rajneesh was a guru who won the devotion of a lot of westerners in the 1960s and 70s. As I recall he's famous for advocating open sexuality and for establishing a quasi-cult commune in Oregon where his followers lived in bad conditions while he amassed a collection of Rolls Royces. Those quotes reflect an toward women derived from mid-century India and tailored to appeal to western audiences in the 1960s; I would certainly want to know if your friend takes that stuff seriously or if he had just overlooked it in favor of other subjects.

Just to be clear, Osho is the Bhagwan. Same guy, different decade. It's totally cool to want to get into this guy's pants, but do so knowing that at the very least he's a bit naive with regard to his chosen sources of wisdom.
posted by foxy_hedgehog at 5:21 PM on March 9, 2013 [11 favorites]


Woo.

And it doesn't surprise me that he's icky on women, either. He's a product of 70's new age snake oil charlatanism. Why would he be any more enlightened than anyone else? (By "he" in this paragraph I mean Osho, not your guy.)

I don't think you need to drop this guy, or anything, but if you have a low tolerance for woo, it could get annoying. I personally don't think Osho is any more dangerous, feminism wise, than Woody Allen or rap music, but if this stuff really gets under your skin it could be a signal that you don't have as much in common with this guy after all.
posted by Sara C. at 5:22 PM on March 9, 2013 [1 favorite]


Osho is not a philosopher. From what I've read he asked toward the safer end of pablum. That would personally turn me off more than his, I think, well meaning but ultimately childish view of women.
posted by cmoj at 5:29 PM on March 9, 2013 [1 favorite]


Holy fucking shit, anyone who told me Osho/Bagwan Shree Rajneesh/Chandra Mohan Jain was "an acclaimed philosopher" would be Off My List for that alone. Dude had his minions give people salmonella so they could win a local election in Oregon! Sexism (reports of which---including sexual harassment and impropriety---are rife at every stage of the man's career) is nothing compared to biological terrorism.
posted by Sidhedevil at 5:29 PM on March 9, 2013 [27 favorites]


before telling him that you find the articles a bit off-putting you could start a conversation and ask him what about the osho articles he likes. then, see what he says and if he mentions anything about the gender stuff. if he doesn't mention it then i'd ask what he thinks about them.

on second thought if this guy osho is some weirdo guru/cult leader as others here just posted then i'd probably stay far away from this guy. always trust your gut.
posted by wildflower at 5:33 PM on March 9, 2013 [2 favorites]


He's somewhat more respected-ish in India, though I think that's just because lots of rich westerners spend a lot of money to travel to his ashram. (And also because religious gurus in general are part of the culture and seen as mostly normal and harmless.) I don't think anybody really takes his "philosophy" seriously, though.

Then again, I know people who grew up in groups like this, the Rajneeshis, Hari Krishnas, etc. who tend to just be not terribly well educated about what philosophy actually is. OP's boyfriend might just be sheltered and ignorant in a particular sort of way common among people whose parents were hippies. Then again, maybe OP wants someone who is a little more curious about life than that.
posted by Sara C. at 5:37 PM on March 9, 2013


Yes, he was quite the wonderful fellow. Besides masterminding murder by poison, his opinions included:

Osho also spoke in favour of euthanasia of children with a broad variety of birth defects such as blindness, deafness, and dumbness.

Osho said that Jews "are guilty people, and their guilt is very great" because they crucified Jesus, and out of their guilt, are "always in search of their Adolf Hitlers, someone who can kill them". He further claimed that only when Jews "reclaim Jesus", "they will be healthy and whole, and then there will be no need for Adolf Hitlers.
posted by drjimmy11 at 5:39 PM on March 9, 2013 [3 favorites]


He had some spectacularly homophobic nonsense to say as well. Life is too short to consort with snake oil salesmen or to seek out their customers, in my opinion.
posted by Sidhedevil at 5:47 PM on March 9, 2013 [1 favorite]


A philosopher is to be considered, not worshipped.
posted by flabdablet at 5:55 PM on March 9, 2013 [2 favorites]


Okay wow, I didn't see that stuff about child euthanasia, anti-semitism, homophobia etc. That is seriously not cool.

I've talked to my guy but couldn't really get a straight opinion out of him other than "men and women are mysteries" - he sounds a little divorced from reality. Might just have to let this one go.
posted by cucumber patch at 6:00 PM on March 9, 2013 [7 favorites]


I have a lot of patience for new agey stuff these days, even when it's silly, I guess because some of it speaks to worries/feelings that don't really make it into real life conversations around me, and I find the ways that different people get at these issues to be interesting. And it might just be that this guy finds something here that speaks to him and it isn't the stupid stuff about women, it's another subject entirely. (Oh, it isn't? Ugh. Sorry..)

as for Osho, feminism >>>>> woo, as far as I'm concerned. The statements quoted here are ignorant and condescending toward women. I have no respect for that.
posted by citron at 6:08 PM on March 9, 2013


If the guy shows any interest in Osho's background, here's a detailed article about the crimes committed in Oregon.
posted by ceiba at 6:08 PM on March 9, 2013 [4 favorites]


can I (gently) tell him why I don't agree with those views on women, or should I just do the slow fade-off?

Of course you can tell him. If you want him to know *you* instead of whatever image you're trying to preserve by not saying "dude wtf, do you really see women that way? because that's warped" then tell him what you think. He's told you what he thinks, it's just as ok for you to tell him what you think. Not much to lose from what you've written.
posted by headnsouth at 6:14 PM on March 9, 2013 [2 favorites]


The most charitable read I would be able to make on receiving the same thing is that I was dealing with a simpleton. Perhaps he isn't noticing the horrible stuff? The non-horrible looks like thoroughly meaningless treacle. +1 "might just be sheltered and ignorant in a particular sort of way." But that's the nicest I can come up with.
posted by kmennie at 6:26 PM on March 9, 2013


On the one hand, this Osho is ridiculous or worse, and I think that respect for this sort of thing would be hard to take in a boyfriend.

On the other hand, that's no reason not to casually-encounter the guy. Might even be kinda hot.

Personally? I'd casually encounter him, THEN (with clothes on because things might get awkward) ask if he's aware of Osho's criminal history and ask how much he believes of what he reads on the site.
posted by fingersandtoes at 6:27 PM on March 9, 2013 [1 favorite]


Aaaaaack, run a million miles away for so many reasons. This would be exactly like finding the collected works of Ayn Rand on someone's bookshelf for me. Also, the first thing I would think about this guy you are interested in is that he is easily duped. The second thing is that the easiest thing to dupe people into is what they want to believe, which makes this even worse. I would also like to direct you to this (and this, where greta simone gives one of the reasons why).
posted by cairdeas at 6:36 PM on March 9, 2013 [6 favorites]


Sounds like you got your answer. I'd walk away, if I were you.
posted by rtha at 6:46 PM on March 9, 2013


personally, i'd forward both the wiki page and that series of articles that ceiba linked to at the oregon live to your guy friend. i am hoping your guy is just unaware of osho's background. if your guy friend is aware of it then scar-y.
posted by wildflower at 7:11 PM on March 9, 2013 [2 favorites]


95% of Osho's stuff was just riffing on basic Eastern philosophies. The other 5% was ghastly shite. It's quite possible to be exposed to the guy without having any knowledge of his latter-years, nitrous-addled bullshit.

A few years ago I downloaded and listened to maybe 20 hours of his talks -various humourous parables, comparisons of major religions, day-to-day instances in which meditative practices came in useful, etc.- whilst remaining totally ignorant of the whole crazy poisoning episode, his purported drug addictions, the factionalism within the cult and the rest of the madness that surrounded him. Just because I was interested for a time in some useful stuff the guy said doesn't mean I supported, or was even familiar with, everything the man said throughout his life.

So IMO it's a pretty shitty thing to do to ditch someone cold based on objections to something they've linked you to. Simple ignorance is a strong possibility here. If you're willing to dispose of a potential relationship based on nothing more than a Politburo-esque failure of ideological purity, the guy might be dodging a bullet.
posted by Kandarp Von Bontee at 8:03 PM on March 9, 2013 [10 favorites]


Osho is the Bhagwan?!!!

Ugh. Just yuck. Run run run.
posted by Salamander at 8:04 PM on March 9, 2013 [1 favorite]


I know some people who took this route to enlightenment. They are still being harassed.

Go back to the beginning of the talk archives on Osho's wiki page.

It's ok to drop people who do things you don't like.
posted by Mr. Yuck at 8:07 PM on March 9, 2013 [1 favorite]


I wouldn't be interested in dating someone who was incurious, naive, or sheltered enough not to do a little research into the people they choose as spiritual or philosophical models. That wouldn't work for me in a partner.
posted by Sidhedevil at 9:02 PM on March 9, 2013 [5 favorites]


Woah. I'd only been exposed to Osho's nonsense about creativity and love and shit. Yeah. Fuck this guy because he's at the very least myopic, incurious, and dim and at worst actually buying in to this evil shit. The base fact that you're asking about this indicates you deserve better.
posted by cmoj at 11:21 PM on March 9, 2013


Tell your lizard brain his pants are icky and walk. Tell the guy why so he doesn't think you're being mysterious, and consider it a kindness to women he may encounter in the future.
posted by Specklet at 3:53 AM on March 10, 2013 [1 favorite]


I remember seeing him on some public access channel late at night. It was a late 80s/early 90s q&a interview format. The interviewer was asking questions from his followers, students, disciples? I remember two things from it.....he had this great line..."there is no magician, only the magic." which I thought was kinda appropriate in an ironic sort of way. The other thing I remember is "holy crap is that Donald Sutherland in holyman drag?????"
posted by ian1977 at 7:41 AM on March 10, 2013 [1 favorite]


It may be difficult to accurately judge a person by one particular thing s/he reads, so don't be too rash or too hasty. I certainly am glad people don't judge me by any one thing I read, but rather take me as a composite). But, yeah as others have said Osho is not really something for most grownups who spend anytime thinking about it. It has always struck me as a very... young person's thing, a step towards realizing who you are, not the actual place you stop and invest your live to.
posted by edgeways at 10:41 AM on March 10, 2013 [1 favorite]


It may be difficult to accurately judge a person by one particular thing s/he reads, so don't be too rash or too hasty.

Exactly. I wouldn't read too much into this yet. He may just have found a few articles interesting without thinking too much about them. Lots of people find some of Osho's ideas interesting without endorsing him as a person, or agreeing with all his writings -- or even forming opinions on them.
posted by shivohum at 5:27 PM on March 10, 2013


I've known quite a few people who lived on the ranch, sannyas as they were called. They were all genuinely interesting, likeable people I appreciated having in my life, more rounded perhaps for having stepped outside the normal boundaries of society and into something way off the charts. Many there had no real idea of what was going on behind the scenes. I think almost every ex-sannyas I have known was pretty much done with gurus and had moved on but still maintained their relationships and networks.
So, don't let this guy's Osho fixation get you down. People get fixated on all sorts of stuff, vitamins, asteroids, the Harlem Shake.
posted by diode at 7:29 PM on March 10, 2013 [1 favorite]


I think it's hilarious that people are saying it's shallow to stop considering a guy you get a bad feeling from on an online dating site. Maybe if he's otherwise a super amazing guy, the top of the pack, but as a woman on online dating, it's likely you have other choices that don't give you second thoughts.
posted by melissam at 7:34 PM on March 10, 2013 [1 favorite]


Hokum.
posted by ead at 11:37 PM on March 10, 2013


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