Matter Over Mind

Andrew Sullivan —  Jul 29 2012 @ 5:33pm

Louis Peitzman highlights an epic FAIL from the ubiquitous guru Anthony “Unleash the Power Within” Robbins:

Motivational speaker Tony Robbins had the best of intentions when he encouraged attendees of his “Unleash the Power Within” convention to walk on hot coals. Unfortunately, things didn’t go quite as planned, and at least 21 people suffered burns from the experience.

Kit Dillon offers a first-hand account of coal-walking at a Robbins’ event he attended earlier this year:

In 1983, Tony learned about fire walking from Trolly Burkan, a firewalking pioneer, and has been using it in his seminars ever since. An hour earlier, during a preparatory guided meditation session to Celine Dion’s “My Heart Will Go On,” Tony told us to believe in the transformative power of fire. He called it a metaphor for life. To most of the crowd, the opportunity to fire walk was a major selling point of the [Unleash the Power Within ] experience. My personal Tony rep had reminded me three times before arriving here that I would, at the very least, walk on fire. It was simultaneously the culmination of the first day and the sideshow attraction of the entire event.

Jennifer Ouellette explains the science:

It’s critical that the coals be allowed to burn down sufficiently so that they are at a relatively comfy 538 degrees Celsius or so (1000 degrees Fahrenheit), preferably with a thin layer of ash over them providing a bit of extra insulation.