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Paradise in a Pill?

Heal

Photo Credit: Chris Koentges

On a bleak winter night in the suburbs, eight Tibetan monks wearing sandals and maroon robes shuffled out across the ecru-colored stage of the local recital hall. They paused for a moment, donned oversized centurion style yellow hats, then abruptly filled the room with the deep, guttural grunting for which they are renowned the world over. According to the program, these monks devoted a lifetime to perfecting these sounds, but as the novelty wore off, the audience yawned and fidgeted, applauding politely—perhaps gratefully—when the droning finally finished. As an experience, it was “delightful,” something to check off a list of cultural requirements (“endangered eighth-century music ritual—done!”). To me it felt rather like a trip to the zoo, where visitors trudge dutifully past all kinds of rare and marvelous transplanted species and light up at soft ice cream. Which is something like sipping good Bordeaux at one of those franchises that proprietors stubbornly refer to as a “café.” Which, when you think about it, isn’t all that far from popping ginkgo biloba alongside one’s morning C …

Chris Koentges is an award-winning writer who has been known to forget such skills as walking after one too many bilos of muddy water.


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