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Beatles reference of the day: 1978

Posted by Conscious Pilot 
Conscious Pilot
Beatles reference of the day: 1978
January 04, 2006 07:08PM
Meditation comes to Hackney

Lindsay Mackie
Wednesday January 4, 1978
The Guardian

Of all the solutions offered to the problems of the inner city, few can have received so little attention as the wheeze of inducing a state of restful alertness in the population. Indeed, it is often alleged by off-duty politicians that too many of the populace are restful - if not alert - enough as it is.
But the Maharishi Mahesh Yogi - of Beatles fame - has now turned his attention to inner city decay, and yesterday the chosen people of the London borough of Hackney learned that they had been selected to become restfully alert guinea pigs. In other words, to prove that inner city problems begin to melt away if only one per cent of the population takes up TM - transcendental meditation - for 20 minutes a day. TM is defined as "deeper than sleep but which, unlike sleep, is characterised by increasing orderliness and synchrony of functioning".

Two of the Maharishi's disciples in Britain announced that they are starting the programme of "bringing invincibility to the people of Hackney". Bill Hite, a 29-year-old computer programmer, and Mr John Windsor, a former Fleet Street journalist, said that Hackney had been chosen because it had the worst social problems in the country. But everyone who thought that poverty was the prime cause of decay in Hackney was wrong, Mr Windsor declared. The prime cause was lack of creativity - and creativity can be tapped by TM. At this point the press conference gently floated into the ether. Borough councillors were to be approached, said Mr Windsor, and asked to learn meditation. There would be courses. The aim was that in a year 2,000 people, or one per cent of Hackney's population, were to be taught meditation at the rate of 40 a week. And the results - in greater employment, falling crime rates, and general bonhomie all round - would be almost instantly apparent.
A local businessman, Mr Fred Bates, said that he employs 24 people in his factories and two years ago took up meditation himself. Since then he had had the best two business years ever. He thought that TM would help workers to concentrate better. If one per cent of Hackney's workforce took it up, employers would be more prepared to move back into the borough.

However, it looks as if the scheme - which might well appeal to the Minister in charge of inner city policy, Mr Peter Shore, on the grounds that restful alertness does not cost anything - will meet formidable obstacles among the cynical citizens of Hackney. "Twenty minutes doing nothing?" asked one man. "I do that for eight hours a day. No, I won't tell you where I work."
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