Last night I finished watching the Netflix docu-series, “Wild Wild Country.” I have thoughts about it.
I think others do, too, because my little ranty post about Rajneesh has gotten a lot of views lately.
First of all, I thought this documentary was superbly done on all levels. The storytelling was fantastic. The visuals were stunning. It was very balanced and the story was presented from many sides, which I really appreciated.
This post will probably have spoilers, so if you haven’t watched the documentary series and you have no idea who this Rajneesh guy is or what this weird event that happened in Oregon in the Eighties is, then I highly recommend watching it first. After you watch it, I’d be very curious about what you think!
As I have mentioned, I remember when this happened. I grew up in Eastern Washington and I was in my formative young years in the early Eighties when this occurred. My older brother was a teen and was completely fascinated by the whole thing. So this was a topic of conversation in our household while it was happening. I remember being really afraid of many elements of the story, from the whole fact that the group was this weird outside group that had beliefs different from my own, to the fact that they poisoned the town of The Dalles with Salmonella, among many other events and weirdness (in my mind) associated with this group. So watching this documentary stirred up a lot of those of fears and weird feelings I had as a child around this topic. These are very deep rooted feelings that have probably informed who I am today in many ways.
From the outset, I feel very negatively toward Rajneesh and his followers. I have very strong feelings about this. I don’t understand the thinking of these people. I’m curious as to what it is about Rajneesh that draws people to him. At some point I’d like to read one of his books or maybe just listen to one of his talks. I’m seriously fascinated by this. Why? And how? What kind of power does this person have? And how could some of them still defend him? What is it about him?
I have to admit that I am fascinated by what the group did when they came to Oregon. The fact that they created their own working city is really cool, and I can respect that. It was fascinating to watch them use the system to take over Antelope (Rafael brought up the fact that white people did exactly the same thing, but worse, when they came to America and stole the land from the Indians).
And then it just all got really sinister.
It’s been really interesting to talk about the documentary with some of my younger coworkers and friends who hadn’t been born yet. I think many of them are surprised that this is something that happened in their own backyard. It is a story that has been put on the back burner and forgotten. In fact, when I told my mom about the documentary I had to remind her about Rajneesh because she had placed it in a distant place in her memory. My coworker had the same experience with her mom.
I’m glad people are talking about it.
I loved SNL’s spoof on it this past weekend. 🙂
Osho Rajneesh Drive-by in Rajneeshpuram.Osho Rajneesh Drive-by in Rajneeshpuram. © 2003 Samvado Gunnar Kossatz