Riding an adult tricycle, with a neatly trimmed beard, and often sporting a strong blue oxford beret with matching gloves, the senior citizen social media sensation has almost inadvertently become a peaceful guru to a dedicated and growing fanbase.
In the words of William Shakespeare, “Some are born great. Some achieve greatness. And some have greatness thrust upon them. “The same goes for internet fame.
Butler, an early defender of organic farming, is a long-time practitioner of meditation. As part of his spiritual journey, he began writing inspirational messages in hopes of conveying to others the lessons he had learned.
The calm tone, reassuring presence – and the “listener voice like a glass of warm milk” – with which Butler conveys his weaving tips online – has become a reassuring note with the growing stream of viewers struggling to start the day, decompressing today’s fear caused by the COVID-19 pandemic.
To date, his YouTube channel Spiritual Unfoldment with John Butler currently has 182,000 subscribers, whose distant global location is sure to put “world wide” in the World Wide Web.
Butler’s fame began in 2016 with an interview with the BBC that revealed his sober outlook on life.
After the episode aired, he was voted by community members as the Autonomous Sensory Response Meridian (ASMR) as a person who deserves attention not only for what he says but also for the way he says it. (ASMR worshipers enjoy the calming effect and accompanying tingling sensation caused by whispering or other soft spoken forms of expressions.)
Since then, the eighty-year-old’s popularity has grown almost as if in a new era like Bob Ross – but no one was more surprised by his new found fame than Butler himself.
Butler had always considered himself “inappropriate” before his current video projects, saying he had never heard of YouTube and had little knowledge of the Internet.
But no matter how his karma develops, Butler feels blessed to have a steady influence on those who do their best to cope with modern life.
“So many people have trouble with a restless mind, and because one instinctively seeks balance, people seek peace or serenity, right?” Butler told the BBC.
“If there’s something in my voice that conveys that calmness, thank God for that. I don’t know exactly how it happens … but I’m just quietly glad to be able I to share what I love.”