Big Problems that Yoga can’t fix. ~ Remy Chevalier

Via elephant journal
on Jul 19, 2010
get elephant's newsletter

An Awesome, needed Rant via our friend and troublemaker of the first order, Remy Chevalier. ~ ed.

Everyone’s been talking about the movement.

A few years ago the environmental movement was declared dead, given its eulogy. Now the word movement is a buzz word again, it keeps popping up everywhere.

But it’s used loosely, by everyone…to mean anything and nothing. Nobody knows what it stands for, or who is leading it. Just means whatever you’re into. It’s vague, idealistic, demeaning of other people’s vision or priorities.

There’s a Tea Party movement, which is still nebulous to me. It seems flared up by folks who really don’t seem to have a firm grasp on the inner workings of government or the power structure. It’s just a pretext to go outside, relive the peace protest of the 60’s, for those either too young, or too right wing, not hippy enough to have enjoyed the chaos back then.

There’s a lot of movements. Most of them are bowel movements.

I thought I was leading a movement. I was under the grave delusion that people woke up to the dangers of nuclear power, understood the critical role it plays in the energy monopoly that suppresses alternatives. I spent four years networking every anti-nuclear group in the country, every solar company, LED company, electric vehicle company, green architect, sustainable fashion designer, eco-model and organic makeup artist.

I was encouraged to keep going, to keep working, to stay the course, to fight the good fight. So I invested in a big expensive room in Manhattan, invited as many people as I could, and…guess what, nobody came, making me look like a fool, leaving me flat broke and broken-hearted: the nuclear power plant we’re trying to close, still operating is still leaking, still ignored by New Yorkers.

So what is this movement everybody is talking about, if nobody shows up for events that are designed to integrate what the movement is supposed to represent? Are people so shallow that they’ll only spend their money on bands and bourbon? Quietly waiting for 2012, spending their time lying to themselves about how things are going to get worse before they get better. I’ll tell you, humans, Americans in particular, are cowards. They hide behind killer drones and spy satellites to do their dirty work for them. We are despicable creatures to the rest of the world.

The world outside our own little inner circle of yoga navel contemplation, doesn’t see our efforts to develop a high tech agrarian society, our eagerness to manage our businesses in the greenest way possible. All they see are the gas guzzlers, the jet planes, the billionaire’s yachts and our tabloids kicking one more celebrity when they’re down. We’re the laughing stock of this planet because we are too lazy to create media which will reach out to the billions and isn’t controlled by multinational corporations. We’re bullies, self-righteous, religiously fanatic and cruel.

The movement is a lot of things, but until we make up our minds what our movement is, who is leading it, who gets to be its face, who will stand up to scrutiny, who will be accepted, and I don’t mean loved, I mean respected, well we’re whistling Dixie. We elected a president who over and over has been caught in a lie with such ease, telling us what we want to hear. You want specifics? Ask me. Same is true of just about every government, they’re all bought and paid for by the Federal families, who formed their new world global order long ago, just didn’t bother to let us know.

There’s a passion play happening on the banks of the Hudson river, but reporters and journalists don’t exist anymore. All they do is tweak the press release and move on to the next. They don’t care about The People. They only quote from the official spokespeople, and some random passerby who happened to be there. The press ignores, by default, the leaders of grassroots efforts, God forbid they give them any credence so they might gain some traction. Last thing we want are new Abbie Hoffmans and Jerry Rubins running around loose, creating havoc on our institutions, who both died under mysterious circumstances.

We have some big problems, which can’t and won’t be solved by yoga class, or lounging at the eco spa, but require political intervention, activism, supporting direct action organizations who have the courage to go out there and protest. But bluebloods and socialites are not made of the same stuff as the aristocrats of the 60’s who were ready to ditch everything to join the merry pranksters.

Today, they just blow smoke up your ass because it’s easier than getting their hands dirty. The result is this movement everybody is talking about, it’s in their imagination, it doesn’t exist. This movement is made up of a handful of people, on many fronts, who can’t get their constituency to mix, because they know nothing about each other, even if they’ve been introduced on Facebook.

You see the movement is this: we’re being controlled, by wealthy individuals who think they have the solution to everything, but are simply waiting for humanity to implode before they implement their plan. They built the largest airport in the world in the Rocky Mountains, designed to land hundreds of planes at once, with an underground triage complex to make sure only the elected ones remain. It’s the plot of When World’s Collide, and nobody is playing attention. Not even Jesse Ventura, who counts the governor of California amongst his friends, could make a dent in the complacency of the American public.

We’ve stockpiled so much exotic weaponry on hundreds of secret military bases all over the world, even the founder of Skunkworks spilled the beans to a room full of UCLA students about the real state of our secret aircraft programs, astronauts keep telling us everyday  and nobody is listening, the media still makes fun and bankers don’t care, because they know we’re so dumbed down, we won’t rise up, we’re being amused to death by movies, TV and video games.

We’re zombies.

Heavy Metal and Punk used to be the voice of anger and dissent, but all such bands are doing now is making noise. They forgot what they were singing about. It’s all become pastiche, loud, but devoid of any real angst. It makes me mad, because these were my heroes, and they all let me down. Now I have to sit back and watch monsters destroy what’s left of my Mother Earth, because those I entrusted to be my heroes turned out to be puffs.

I want a revolution, a real revolution. I don’t care what John Lennon said, he was a junkie and a Manchurian candidate gunned him down in the streets. I tried to start one, a revolution. I thought I had people behind me. I was gravely deluded, lied to, made fun of, robbed, tricked, ridiculed and the loss is yours, people, because we had them in the palm of our hands, and you let it all slip away because you were too lazy to do your homework, too lazy to read a book, or ask the right questions of all the people I have spent years networking so the whole picture would come into focus.

So go back to your daily grind, your boring jobs,  you can’t even remember the plot of the Matrix, you can’t even see above the wall of all your contradictions. LA, New York, London, Paris, all these green benefits, billions to charity, Alexander McQueen satirized you, and he killed himself because he couldn’t stand the irony of being loved by the people he hated most. I would have opened the door so he could have walked out of the box of his own making. But he couldn’t see me. He was trapped in his own grandiosity.

Everything keeps getting worse, because you’re not getting at the root of the problem: energy. Where it comes from, how it’s made, by whom and to benefit who! We gave you a magical mystery car for Pete sake, the Tesla, the bastion of revolution, a Trojan horse which penetrates inside the homes of all the Internet billionaires. And yet, you still don’t get it. You don’t bother to find out who Tesla was…what he did, and how his inventions were all stolen and classified, turned into this horrible HAARP super weapon.

You can call yourselves green, and yet you won’t sit down and speak with the hundreds of inventors who have had their work stolen, sabotaged, destroyed, because it challenged the status quo. Look at the Universe around you, it’s alive, it’s teaming with intelligent life, and what does our Air Force do? It shoots missiles at them. When a craft parked itself 15 feet from the reactor 3 dome at Indian Point in 1984, a security guard pulled out his revolver and shot at it. Are we that moronic? No wonder they are just standing idly by watching us self destruct, good riddance I’d say, we’re reverting back to where we came from, monkeys with toys we don’t deserve.

I’m 56, been fighting all my life, I hate the rich because they stop growing. Their bliss becomes their raison d’etre. They make me sick. The only thing they care about is the diesel for their boat and the kerosene for their jets. Their kids want me to be sweetness and light, love everybody, be non-threatening, have fun at their charity balls. Well I can’t. I can’t love my neighbors in Fairfield County who all live in million dollar homes, with a trained police force to make sure the barbarians, that’s me, don’t invade their privacy. It’s changing, sure, victory gardens are back in style, their kids are starting to feel the pangs of guilt and shame that actually shift priorities in society. But they’ll go to their Ivy league schools, graduate after leaning the cutthroat rule: everybody for himself.

CNN reported we’re starting to lose our atmosphere. The last comfortable place left for the have-nots to spend a hot summer afternoon is browsing the aisles at Wal-Mart where it’s nice and cool. They’re even starting to carry green cosmetics. I saw Organic Wear and Eco Tools there, even an eco blow dryer. You see, it’s not too late, the poor will be able to afford LEDs pretty soon, and we might be able to reduce electrical consumption long enough so all the billionaires can move to Boulder, Denver and Aspen to look down on the dying, roasting masses, like the Gods of Olympus.

In the meantime, I’m sitting here, without AC, watching Cocteau’s The Beauty and the Beast, despairing no fairytale princess turned me into a prince.

Remy Chevalier founded Rock The Reactors in 2006 to shut down the Indian Point nuclear power plant with LEDs. He grew up in the editorial offices of ELLE magazine where his father, Jean Chevalier, was the founding photographer. In 1989 he created the Eco-Saloon at Wetlands Preserve, the environmental nightclub in Manhattan. He edits the website for Electrifying Times magazine and writes for many blogs. But he prefers pure investigative research and shares his discoveries with other journalists. He runs a think tank in Norwalk, Connecticut, called The Aquarium named after the book Inside The Aquarium, a classic cold war KGB title.


About elephant journal

elephant journal is dedicated to "bringing together those working (and playing) to create enlightened society." We're about anything that helps us to live a good life that's also good for others, and our planet. >>> Founded as a print magazine in 2002, we went national in 2005 and then (because mainstream magazine distribution is wildly inefficient from an eco-responsible point of view) transitioned online in 2009. >>> elephant's been named to 30 top new media lists, and was voted #1 in the US on twitter's Shorty Awards for #green content...two years running. >>> Get involved: > Subscribe to our free Best of the Week e-newsletter. > Follow us on Twitter Fan us on Facebook. > Write: send article or query. > Advertise. > Pay for what you read, help indie journalism survive and thrive.


29 Responses to “Big Problems that Yoga can’t fix. ~ Remy Chevalier”

  1. RemyC. says:

    Touched a nerve, did I, Ms. Sexy Witch?

  2. Ben Ralston says:

    Stop ranting please.
    The wisest words any man ever said, on the subject of change / revolution / evolution / movement:
    “You must BE the change you wish to see in the world”.
    So Remy, stop fighting and hating. Unless that’s what you want to see in the world.
    Want to see peace, love, and courage in the world. Have the courage to become peaceful and loving.
    with love,

    ps – it’s much easier to rant, to fight, to struggle, to oppose. It’s difficult to look within and truly take responsibility for OUR part in the mess that is called humanity. But if anything positive is to be achieved, THAT’S the work that needs doing.
    It sure ain’t ‘navel gazing’.

  3. RemyC. says:

    Been there, done that, sorry dude… everything goes around, comes around… wait till they come knocking at your door. Beware of the Ides of March. You are not blind to the reality of the political situation. But you're willing to ignore it in exchange for a few moments of bliss. The laws of physics don't work that way. Your own article expresses the duality of emotions. You have to embrace the polarity. Everything you repress will eat you up alive. I sing my frustrations… you can't sweep them under the rug. The storm troopers are coming, they're already here. They've successfully squashed all hopes of rebellion. You've built a beautiful yoga oasis to blend with Universe. It's wonderful. Kundalini Rising. But now what? What do you do for an encore? Tibetan monks didn't stop the Chinese army from destroying their culture. They lived in the now, and look what happened! I will never stop fighting, and "hate" is just a word. It's not in my heart, I don't hate, I lost that capacity long ago… But I will not allow the lethargy and complacency of a movement based on stillness to undermine and wipe out half a century of environmental activism.

  4. Abe says:

    The difference between a winner and a loser is that a winner knows how to stand up after failure and change their mindset. Remy, you sound like a loser. You failed at a valiant cause, which I know from personal experience is agonizing and infuriating. We've all failed. Now it's time to stand up again. Change your mindset so that you can achieve the results you care about in the world. Whining about how people aren't how you wish they were is not revolution and turns people like me deaf to the truth in your thinking.

  5. RemyC. says:

    Hey Abe, who are you really, to tell me what to do? If I sound like a loser to you, look around you. I certainly have not failed at a valiant cause. In fact, most of the objectives were reached. It's at mobilizing everyone in one place, that's where we failed. I am certainly not going to change my mindset. I haven't come this far to sell out to the state, to peacefully join the green consumer revolution, told to hurry and wait, just so you can sleep better at night. If my way turns you deaf to the truth, then you're just not ready to hear it. I don't know who you are, I don't know what you do. But if you think kicking a little sand around to create order out of chaos is a losing strategy, think again. You have to break eggs to make omelets. People need to wake up to what's going on… and a summer long of mini-Woodstocks, without the political support of a powerful Green Party, or some other form of real influence inside the halls of Washington, and everything we're doing is ephemera. So what if I'm paranoid with delusions of grandeur. At least I don't lack self esteem! Seems anyone who has ever pushed an agenda into the public arena has always been a little bit that way. I bet you think Alex Jones is a nut, don't you? Think again. He's just like all of us who know too much and can't process the information. We're on overload. But at least we got curious, and went looking. As for the cause of Indian Point, we are going to shut that sucker down, once groups like IPSEC and Riverkeeper stop compromising for the sake of peace and quiet in their country club community!

  6. Ben Ralston says:

    The question is not: “You’ve built a beautiful yoga oasis to blend with Universe. It’s wonderful. Kundalini Rising. But now what? What do you do for an encore?”
    I dont need an encore. I’m happy, and I’m not contributing to the problem. You are, with all your talk about fighting and hating (you can say it’s just a word, but it’s YOUR word dude, own it).
    The real question is: what do YOU do for an encore, Remy? What will you do when you successfully shut down Indian Point for example?
    I’ll tell you what you’ll do: you’ll look for another symptom to fight against. Like a dog chasing his tail…
    Why not invest your obviously abundant energy into something worthwhile – changing the CAUSE of the problem? As long as people like you, with talent, integrity, and energy waste their time pissing into the wind, the world stays the same.
    It’s not about “ignoring the reality of the political situation in exchange for a few moments of bliss.” It’s about being REAL, and ex-changing this corrupt and redundant society for a new one – creating a whole new paradigm. Do you have the courage to do THAT? Your generation failed because they simply fueled the old. What’s needed is a great deal more courage than it takes to just rail against the ‘problems’.
    With love,

  7. abc123 says:

    May I ask, Remy, do you practice yoga?

  8. LasaraAllen says:

    I was an "activist" for years, was a punk rocker, was a was a was a…

    No need to post my resume.

    Your attitude doesn't incite motivation to revolution – it creates apathy by way of pathos.

  9. dusty says:
    coalition of the willing. take 15 minutes out of your interesting life and take a look at a solution

  10. Abe says:

    The funny thing is, we would probably agree on 99% of contraversial topics we could discuss. I don't want a country club community either. I think your causes are valiant, and I applaud you for fighting for what you believe in. The only reason I said "failed" is because you sound deeply angry with the world around you and that's how I feel when I've failed in my own eyes (which is the only real failure, I think). I fail multiple times daily. I consider that a good thing, as long as I can use the failure to help me grow. To grow, I have to adjust my mindset. Otherwise, I will turn out jaded and bitter. I'm a middle school teacher, so if I don't learn to take my failures as part of the path to success, I will wither and give up. Please keep fighting for what you believe in. What I am asking is that you not blame the world around you for not being with you. That's part the human condition and if we never stop fighting it, we will wither.

  11. Abe says:

    Also, I apologize for coming across too strongly at first. My tone did not help create discussion.

  12. Jessica Irvin says:

    @Harriet…I really wish we could not resort to name calling. It's Way's magazine publication, basically his life so not a rant, just expression and absolute truth. In love and peace…

    @Remy, I understood some of what you were saying here, but have to say that it seems full of anger (perhaps hate?). We do what we can do with the knowledge we have. It's true that many of us have been dumbed down with the various privileges we have in the US and all of the sources of knowledge that are available to us, but how much of this is ignorance and how much of this is experience? I, too, have been disappointed in the reactions from political candidates (candidates being the operative word) over the course of my activist life. I wish you peace and I know John Lennon would, too. 🙂

  13. Jessica, I deleted Harriet's comment about my whining about my mortgage. This is a personal blog, we do our best to express from the heart, even when it's a bit messy. After two years of never deleting a comment, we're going with Treehugger's model: "leave a respectful and thoughtful comment." We're fine with constructive criticism, and love debate.

  14. integralhack says:

    Bravo Remy!

    Even green yogis and Dharma practitioners need to be reminded that "things really are that bad."

    One caveat: I think you need to add the poor to the "people you hate" list. After all, the poor and disenfranchised–because they have less access to education–are the loyal minions of the Teaparty (aka Teabagger) Movement. And when the poor get money they just join the abominable middle class–that complacent mass huddled and sitting on a fence. The mantra "everybody for themselves" works downward as well as up.

    Don't get me wrong–yoga and Dharma practice are great. These are two ways of changing minds as well as bodies, but I think Remy's essential point should not be lost: we're not gaining ground here, folks. Even the Obama election victory was largely a reaction to the failures of the Bush Administration instead of a victory for hope and change. And to parrot the horrible Sarah Palin (hate her!): how's that "hopey changey thing" working for ya?


  15. Jaye Beldo says:

    Kudos Remy. Truth hurts. Changing one's 'mindset' changes nothing. It is obvious that most people have been brainwashed by positive thinking. It is a disease IMO since it is all about talk and no walk. Recently I had someone tell me that the oil spill in the Gulf was "a mere droplet in the cosmic scheme of things." I tried to reason w/ this flake and offered to show her pics of what the mere droplet has done but she would have nothing of it. Please check out my article: New Age COINTELPRO and the Optimism Gestapo and see how activism, environmental and otherwise has been hijacked:

  16. randolphr says:

    Understanding you more ……

  17. RemyC. says:

    Pretty cool, thanks dusty, I flipped it to my fb page. I'll post it to my winafish blog this evening.

  18. Rachael Joy says:

    Remy, I think most of us can understand the frustration that fuels this kind of article. We've all been there. I certainly have. Regardless of whether I agree with your points, I appreciate different views including challenging ones that piss people off. So, thank you for being vulnerable, sharing your perspective and spittin' some fire. Fire is good. It's burns and heals. It gets shit cooking.
    p.s. Sorry I couldn't make it the event. I rarely go to NY but I do hope to see you soon. I enjoy a good kvetching every once in awhile.

  19. RemyC. says:

    abc123, the answer is yes, have since my teens… btw, the title of this rant was not mine. Elephant wrote the sensationalist headline making yoga its focus. It was taunting, it wasn't my intent, but I can understand why they did it. The original title was "Movement, Where Movement?" The point I was trying to make is that yoga, spiritual practice in general, without political involvement, can't achieve social change. "Be" the change isn't enough, that's like saying if you build it they will come. If that were true, corporations, political leaders, wouldn't need to spend all that money on pr and promotion. Instead yoga is being used and abused by consumerism to manipulate us even better. It's really the age old balance between yin and yang. We can't have one without the other. It's passive aggressive in need of integration. We have to resolve anger, we can't lock it up and throw away the key, which is what I see so many people doing, which is why they are so emotionally volatile. On cloud nine one minute, lashing out the next. In the last few years, our culture went from intense aerobic workouts which damaged knees and spines, to low-impact sessions which release tensions but don't speed up the heart. The counterculture has fallen asleep into a state of collective bliss. All smiles and no substance. Afraid of the big questions. In the meantime, look around, the bad guys are gaining ground and they're winning. Yes, it's great we're transforming our suburbs into organic farms. Some of us, still very few, are changing our means of transportation. But we're not making a concerted effort to address the concerns of those who have intensely researched the issue, this government we've allowed to run amok, the triumph of evil is that good men do nothing, is blind to the peaceful loving society we're trying to establish, while keeping energy conversion secrets to preserve their empire of oil, coal and nuclear. Soon, if we don't restructure our local governments, just like Mad Max, they're going to come and rip it all down. Burning Man's existence is only tolerated once a year for a week. Where are all the other intentional communities? How is the message getting out, the Internet isn't enough. We need a new church, at the risk of sounding like I'm suffering from delusions of grandeur, I think of myself more as a new paradigm PT Barnum, Big Igloo provides a solution. Look it up.

  20. RemyC. says:

    Thanks Rachael, I hope we'll see each other at the Next Gen Expo.

  21. LasaraAllen says:

    BTW, not sure what Sexy Witch has to do with any of this – SW is a very political book – rebellious (and I hope revolutionary) in tone… tons of historical and current political info about what's wrong, and how to change it. Much more "oppositional" in tone than I would write now.

  22. RemyC says:

    Oh Julia, you make it sound so simple… How would you have dealt with the money changers? We stopped turning over tables… And look what happened, temples to greed, everywhere… As for what I’m for… Reread what I wrote… It’s there. I have a lot of baggage… Look inside. Anger has to be understood before it can be harnessed. Please make the effort. The tide doesn’t stop if you tell it to. It takes dam builders.

  23. ARCreated says:

    OH good I don't have to leave a comment it's already been mostly said…yeah I can go back to being a terrible person I guess 🙂

  24. LasaraAllen says:

    Was that a compliment? I'll take it as one. 🙂

  25. ARCreated says:

    absolutely darling!! you saved me the trouble of having to respond in a similar fashion…

  26. Kara N says:

    Are you related to Jann Scott?

  27. I don't use NB but I know the Armed Forces provides their recruits with NB shoes for Physical Training during boot camp and it is the main brand sold throughout the military. My husband is in the Marine Corps and he loves his NB shoes (called go-fasters through the marine corps.)

  28. Randall Smith says:

    Remy gets it. Every action has a consequence.

  29. […] Nothing, that is, until I finally stepped back on my yoga mat after an almost one year hiatus. […]