Feb • 10 • 2014
Karen Andersen: “What did you think of the Four Horsemen?
Anton Drake: “Wow, I mean I always really looked up to those guys [Richard Dawkins, Daniel Dennett, Sam Harris, Christopher Hitchens]. They were very influential on me; up until around 2006 or 2007 I still had what I’d describe as a somewhat mystical outlook on life: I’d been hardcore into yoga for more than twenty years with excellent teachers, and I’d actually lived in an ashram for several years in my early twenties, so, even though I considered myself as having a very scientific mindset and as being a very logical computer programmer guy, I definitely had this level of yogic or meditative mysticism in my psyche that I hadn’t fully considered. Listening to Hitchens and Dawkins led me very quickly to explicit atheism, and from there I gradually began to work on the task of unraveling the many overlooked mystical assumptions of my own inner world; I found I had deeply internalized a lot of eastern or mystical concepts and suppositions about reality, about yoga, about enlightenment and gurus, about my inner self, about meditation, about my body and my experiences… and I had to work hard in order to figure things out for myself and to put everything in good mental order, because I had had a lot of experiences in yoga that were very out of the ordinary and I knew from experience how powerfully effective yoga can be. So while I wanted to uproot every bit of faith and irrationality from within myself, in order to be authentic I also had to do the homework and find a way to make sense of my life experiences without just signing on to ‘atheism’ as if it were a new kind of religion. As it happens, from about 2003 forward I had been very obsessed with studying psychology, via the works of primary sources like Freud and Jung, and so that turned out to be a major key that helped me put things together. Eventually my research and inner work crystallized into the Atheist Yoga book, my second, which hopefully can help people simultaneously strengthen their atheism while at the same time picking up some hard won knowledge about high-level yoga practice.”
Karen Andersen: “So which of the Four Horsemen did you like best?”
Anton Drake: “I mean it’s gotta be Hitchens, just because of the influence he had on my writing and my overall mental development. But Richard Dawkins was also tremendously influential on me, and I really enjoy learning about evolution. I think the concept of evolution is still, even in 2014 amongst the scientifically literate, highly underestimated… and I find an endless array of astonishing implications (more…)