The Enlightenment Card (by Visa)

 Finally, a credit card to pay for your overpriced lululemon shit:

Visa explains it better than I can: “More than just a credit card, the Enlightenment Visa Card is a card for people who want to make a positive difference in their world.” Positive difference, IN A CREDIT CARD? According to the SF Gate:

This being the Enlightenment Reward Card which promises to “change your world with every point you earn.” Instead of frequent flyer miles, a Kitchen Aid mixer or a Hummel figurine, you get to choose from “enlightening” retreats, workshops, merchandise and giving to charity and non-profits. (Is it somehow telling that there are 1018 items under merchandise and 3 under charities?)

I am struggling with this. On one hand, I am unconvinced that anyone who truly understands yoga, and practices it daily would buy into something like this. I mean, even for the truly unreflexive Yoga-as-Fashionists out there recognizes this for its sheer crassness right? That Yoga and consumer credit are (and should be) diametrically opposed?  Please?

This comes just as my latest issue of Adbusters arrives. This month’s theme: “Blueprint for a New Left” It starts off:

A passionate struggle for freedom is deeply embedded in the history of the western world. It still inspires us today, and it still inspires oppressed people everywhere. Freedom is our great meta-meme, the crowning jewel of our civilization.

But lately, in our own back yard, freedom has taken a perverse, hyper-individualistic turn. We now drink more, do more drugs, live more promiscuously, spend more money, use up more resources, create more waste, and deliberately flaunt our wealth, power and sexuality more than any other culture on earth.

When a modest, pious man living in a poor village a world away looks at us, what does he see?


“While 79% of our university entrants in 1970 said their goal in life was to “develop a meaningful philosophy of life,” by 2005, 75% defined their life’s objective as “being well off financially.” What happened?

Things like the Enlightenment Card happened. Honestly. I can’t help but see this as connected.


6 thoughts on “The Enlightenment Card (by Visa)

  1. Perhaps we’ve become over/hyper-Americanised. I don’t mean to beat up on our neighbors down south, but I’m in a US politics class this term, and this idea of individual freedom has pervaded their myth of nationhood. I think that particular incarnation of individual freedom opens the door for this sort of thing. To me, it seems crazy, but I have to wonder whether it’s primarily because I’m Canadian, or if my disquiet is a product of something else.

    But don’t knock the lululemon. It’s truly wicked, made in Canada, and I own a good deal of it. Yes, I know this makes me a hopeless yuppy … *shrug* :)

  2. I like that you pointed out people who ‘understand yoga’, largely because I think that few western people (myself included) are able to reconcile the tenets of the practice with a posh studio, $150 spandex, and $10 juice following it.

    But, for those who think they can, now they’ll have a pretentious credit card to match their pretentious stretching.

  3. Peg (!!), essentially the connection is in the highlighted sentence: hyper-individualism that is MARKETED to people as “enlightenment.”

    And what is enlightenment other than pure freedom?

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