The Richest Caveman, Chapter 5

The Drinking Game (So Far):

1.I agree with something Doug says

2. Doug tells an outrageous story that sounds incredibly unrealistic

3. When the timeline jumps around in ways that don’t make sense

4. Doug runs away from home

5. Doug gets dragged back or comes back of his own accord

6. Doug (thinks he’s) messing with the occult.

 

Chapter 5

The Secret Cave

This chapter is, mercifully, short. We open the chapter with Doug deciding he wants to live off the land and not have to answer to anybody, so he and one of his friends go out to the wilderness.

If the end times ever happen SDA style, Doug, allegedly, will be well adapted to mountain living and probably survive better than the rest of us.

In any case, Doug and his friend meet up with some people who go out to the canyons to party and smoke and drink. Along comes a man and a woman who tell Doug they live in a cave. Doug thinks that sounds pretty cool, so he asks to see it. They take him on a long ass hike, which Doug whines about. Even though he was in the military academy, he let himself go after he left. He also has just smoked cigarettes and pot, which makes mountain climbing rather difficult.  They hike for a while, and then:

“How much farther?” I asked.

“Oh, just a little farther,” Said Jim.

In New York, “just a little farther,” means, “a block or two.” to Jim, however, it was more like a mile or 2, and uphill at that! Finally we reached the top of a ridge about 4K feet above palm springs. What an incredible sight!….they smoked a little pot while we rested. I had barely caught my breath when they picked up their packs and set out again.

There’s like, 2 pages of this hike, but they finally reach the cave, give Doug a sleeping bag, and tell him he can stay there while they go on up to their “summer cave.” Doug falls asleep, despite the fact that he is alone and a little nervous. When he wakes up, the man, woman, and baby are there, in their birthday suits.

I hardly knew how to act in the presence of naked people. I never did completely get used to it at that time…. I found their way of life much to my liking. For the most part they lived on the land…. they even grew their own pot…. when they wanted meat, Jim would simply go out with his gun and bring home a sheep or a deer.

 

Yup. If Doug was still like this, he’d be excellent at “fleeing to the mountains” when the Sunday Laws come. Alas, he’s probably grown soft with city living and would probably die along with the rest of us.

Doug vows that someday he will be a caveman. For now, though, he and his friend, J, are going to Hitch Hike to Santa Monica. They ask around for places to eat, and are told:

…there’s a mission…where you can get a free meal. all you have t’do(sic) is listen to their preachin’, and they feed you. Just be there at 8am. That’s when they close the doors and lock them. If you’re not there on time, you’ll get left out.

So, not only do they have to put up with being easy targets for Christian missionaries, they have to make sure they’re on time for the privilege.

Doug describes the mission thusly:

the people at the mission gave a nice program and treated us with utmost courtesy and patience, regardless of how we behaved, which was awful. A smiling bald man stood up and gave his testimony, while people were talking and making jokes. One slob burped loudly and everyone laughed. But through it all the bald man continued his testimony, radiating a smile of genuine happiness. Someone in the front row ahead of us thew up all over the floor, and one of the mission staff rushed over and cleaned it up, while another helped the poor soul to the bathroom. The bald man sang us a song. Through it all people were passing out, some dead drunk, others from fatigue or hunger. God’s angels must have beheld us with pity.

 

First off, I want to state that I do believe that there are a lot of sincere people working at such missions. Perhaps Doug is telling the absolute unexaggerated truth when he says that the staff treated them with kindness and human dignity.

But it doesn’t ring true for me with my experience. In my experience, church people are some of the most judgemental people ever. Oh sure you get your sincere person here or there that genuinely wants to help people, but if anyone ever showed up at an SDA church and threw up all over because they were drunk? I expect they would be tossed unceremoniously out on their ass.

Anyway, next a big muscular guy stands up and makes an altar call. No one responds. (It’s not clear if the person who made this call is a worker at the mission, or another homeless person.)

I have been to churches and sat through sermons where nobody responded to the pastor’s altar call. I always used to feel embarrassed for him, but I never felt bad enough to up there myself.

Here, I think, is a good place to talk about homeless shelters that make you sit through preaching for food.

These people are in a vulnerable position, and these shelters and missions are taking advantage of that. You want food? Listen to our preaching. We can’t just help you for free, you know. Oh and we’re going to make a public appeal every time, and then look all crestfallen when nobody takes us up on it. You should really take us up on it. But you don’t have to.

It’s… kind of manipulative and taking advantage of your audience, who is going to put up with a lot of bullshit just to be able to get the aid you’re offering.

Just… just fucking offer aid. If offering aid is your goal, then you don’t need the preaching. No, the goals at these missions are to witness. And they pick vulnerable populations because they’re less likely to walk out.

In any case, Doug is impressed that they are given more than bread and water for a meal. I honestly don’t know of any shelter that gives their local homeless people only bread and water.

I couldn’t understand it at all. Here we were, dirty…and rude, and yet they treated us with respect and human dignity….somehow it didn’t track with what I had been told about Christianity.

Well, there are good Christians, and there are bad Christians… Yanno, just like every other group of people on the planet.

Anyway, Doug then talks about his experience with the Hare Krishna. He went to their service because he heard that they, too, offered free food.

I have heard that the Hare Krishna’s of Doug’s time period, (1960s/1970s) are very different from the Hare Krishna of today. That may be, but they annoy me, so I don’t care. I like peace and quiet in the afternoons, not tambourine music in the middle of a supposedly secular campus. They can keep their religious singing in the Krishna house, as far as I’m concerned.

Doug’s description of the Hare Krishna service is way less charitable than of the Christian Mission:

While the bass guitar and drums play a monotonous beat, the people sway and jump and shake their tambourines, wave their arms, and leap through the air. As they are doing this, everyone chants, a monotonous chant. “Hare Krishna, Hare Krishna, Krishna Krishna… I could see immediately that the people were being hypnotized. I had been around show business enough to recognize that.

 

After all that jumping around, all Doug was given to eat was some yogurt. He tells this story on a regular basis, I’ve heard him mention it in his preaching once or twice. “All that jumping around,” he said. “And they only gave us yogurt. We, uh, heh, we didn’t think too much of that.”

I can see Doug’s point, since the only reason he went there was to get free food. I mean, at least with Christianity you can kinda sit there and zone out during the mandatory pre-meal service.

But back to the actual book version… hypnotized? Really? First off, what kind of hypnosis is popular in show business? Yes I know about the SDA conspiracy theories regarding TV and hypnosis, but what kind of hypnosis would Doug have experienced hanging out on the set of The Three Stooges? Was Elvis a hypnotist?

If I cared to, there is a Krishna house I could go to around the corner from me that I could go to for research purposes. Unfortunately for you, I don’t actually care.

Much as I dislike the Hare Krishna and their singing, I do not find it monotonous.

I wasn’t sure what the Hare Krishna chant meant, so I looked it up. This is what Krishna.com has to say about it*

 

The words “Hare” (pronounced ha-ray), “Krishna” (pronounced krish-na), and “Rama” (rhymes with “drama”), are Sanskrit words. “Hare” is an address to God’s energy, known as Radha, and “Krishna” is name of God meaning “He who is attractive to everyone.” “Rama” means “one who gives pleasure and enjoys life.”

When chanted the maha-mantra is a petition to God: “O Krishna, O energy of Krishna, please engage me in Your service.”

I would hardly, then, call this a “nonsensical phrase.”

 

*http://www.krishna.com/maha-mantra

 

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6 thoughts on “The Richest Caveman, Chapter 5

  1. I agree that the Krishna “maha-mantra” is not a “nonsensical phrase”.

    Both Krishna and Rama are avatars (kinda like incarnations) of the Hindu god, Vishnu. The maha-mantra is only one of the many praise songs (bhajans, or devotional songs) that Hindus devoted to Vishnu use in worship. (For Hare Krishna people, Lord Krishna is the supreme personality of the Godhead.)

    The Hare Krishna people are part of a school of Hinduism that has a long history and with its own sacred texts, some shared by nearly all Hindus (Bhagavad-gita, part of the great epic Mahabharata, also another great epic, the Ramayana (that’s the Rama part of the chant) and the Bhagavata Purana which tells many stories about Lord Krishna, among many more).

    Is Batchelor claiming to be knowledgeable about eastern religions?

    • In this book, at least, Batchelor doesn’t talk about Eastern religions much at all.

      Thank you for telling me that. It was very informative. I myself am not knowledgeable at all, I just have access to google. (Which didn’t exist when this was written but I am cutting no slack because libraries and encyclopedias were a thing.)

      • I do not think that being *pre-Google* lets Batchelor off the hook. I learned most (overwhelmingly) of what I know about Hinduism long before _Richest Caveman_ was published.

        Batchelor makes another implied claim about his knowledge of Eastern religions in Chapter 11.

      • Yeah, like I said, I’m not giving him slack, because libraries encyclopedias actual Hare Krishna followers all existed in 1991/92.

        I’ll have to re read chapter 11. I haven’t posted it but I have written about it. I don’t recall this?

      • Around 1976, an anthropology prof at Atlantic Union College had a troupe of Hare Krishnas visit class. It was an eye-opener, and sparked an interest in Hinduism that continues to this day.

        The chapter 11 implied Eastern religions claim is in the first paragraph. “. . . I spent a lot of time with books on philosophy and Eastern religions”.

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