Monday, July 09, 2007

Eastern religion is often sterilized for Western consumption

---and marketed as health methodology, science, self help or, as in the case of this recent Medscape article, stress management. The article, innocuously titled “Stress and the Mind”, reminds us that stress results from a mismatch between what we expect and what the environment delivers; that we can help reduce this stress by adjusting our own attitudes and expectations; that we should count our blessings and cultivate altruism.

Well, there are no overtly religious themes there. At first glance it sounds like nothing more than sage advice. But, on closer inspection, the article appears to be a promotional piece for Vedanta, an ancient branch of Hinduism. One of the problems with the piece is a lack of full disclosure. Although the article has a link to the vedantausa page (which itself appears to be almost stripped of religious references---one has to go deep into the website to find them) and, for purposes of attribution, an acknowledgement of Swami A. Parthasarathy there is no author information and there are no references (this may be a site error---the links don’t work!).

In Medscape of all places.

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