Getting burnt – Literally

Robbins is one of the best-known if not, the richest of motivational speakers out there in the world. He’s been featured on Forbes magazine dozens of times and he’s on a first name basis with folks like Bill Clinton. I’d see his infomercials on late night TV and to me, he reminded me of Jaws’ long-lost baby brother (the villain from James Bond flicks like “Mookraker”). Big teeth, big smiles and big promises. In my mind, that spelled Red Flag Alert.

Jaws

Separated at birth?

Of course you just had to buy his recordings and listen to them and watch yourself magically morph into a millionaire or billionaire overnight.  Robbins uses a lot of neuro-linguistic programming (NLP) in his teachings and to me, there’s almost a subliminal mind programming element about that. I have no problem with people using NPL to break a bad habit like drugs or smoking or help get themselves out of an abusive situation. I do however have major issues with people using NLP for improving sales tactics.
This incident exemplifies one of the biggest issues I have with the New Age movement in general, that somehow if I just think the right way, I will attract all the abundance that the world owes me, that if bad things happen to me it’s because I deserved it because I wasn’t thinking the right way or sending out the right vibes. While trying to get people out of a victimization mentality, all it does is replace it with guilt and self-recrimination. It completely misses the point that there are outside forces at play in this world and that it really isn’t all about you. That bad things happen to good people all the time through no fault of their own.
I recently finished reading Chris Hedges most excellent book “Empire of Illusion”. He rightly pointed out how the New Age community is actually doing more harm than good to millions of people suffering out there. People need to wake up.

From CHRIS HEDGES
Transcribed from BookTV interview

Q: What do you think of Oprah’s role in the cultural and religious pursuit of personal wealth?

CH: Negative. Oprah peddles this fantasy that we can have everything we want if we just focus on happiness and grasp that we are truly exceptional if we dig deep enough in ourselves, and this is just magical thinking. It’s not just peddled by Oprah… I don’t want to pick just on Oprah. The Christian Right does it, Hollywood does it, Corporatism does it. Tony Robbins, self-help gurus do it… and it’s just a myth… a myth used to beat up on the poor.

There are no jobs in Camden, New Jersey. They used to make Campbell’s soup in Camden… even that’s gone… everything is gone. The school’s are dysfunctional with a gigantic drop out rate, the streets are unsafe… and to somehow tell a poor black child who’s not getting an adequate education, not being raised in an environment that provides safety and security and nurturing… and upon that, being tossed out into a city where there is no work, that they have to dig deep enough within themselves is really a way for us to turn our backs on the vulnerable and the poor. And to say, the cultural message is, “you are responsible for  your fate”… that’s just the way the corporate state wants it as it sheds job after job… as larger and larger segments of American society are reduced to a subsistence level without any kind of job security, without any kind of adequate health insurance… that it’s sort of their fault because they haven’t managed to tap into their inner strength… this is not only delusional, but in the end, I think, callous to the weak and the poor and the working class.

There should be heavy state interventions into impoverished areas in our inner cities and rural enclaves where poverty has become tremendous… I’ve spent a lot of time with military units, and the best military units never leave their wounded or dead on the field… even corpses, they still mean something, they’re not commodities although their utility to the unit is gone… and I’ve seen soldiers and marines crawl out and bring these bodies back… and these were always units with the highest morale and most effective fighting capacity. It was the units, who left their dead on the field and walked away, that rapidly disintegrated… and I think that’s what we’re doing as a nation. We need to rebuild that solidarity, that community, that sense that when you stumble and fall, I will reach down and help pick you up… if we are going to make it.

We have allowed corporate values, whether it’s reality television… reality TV is essentially about Corporatism… it’s about the celebration of values that are characteristic of psychopaths: self-aggrandizement, incapacity for remorse or guilt, betrayal… one builds false friendships then betrays them… for what? Fleeting fame or a little money, and it’s writ large throughout the whole culture. We have to begin to question our value system if we’re gonna make it.

One of the most important questions is: what are we going to do about all those people that we’ve allowed to be treated like human refuse?

From his book Empire of Illusion

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Categories: Ascension, False prophits, Pop culture, Raise your EQ | 16 Comments

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16 thoughts on “Getting burnt – Literally

  1. Reminds me of the James Ray sweat lodge “incident.” Please forgive the seeming “link baiting,” but I covered that story in a blog about a year ago and don’t want to repeat myself: http://www.cookbookofconsciousness.com/2011/06/james-ray-sweat-lodge-deaths/

    Don’t people ever learn????

    • I think what’s unique about the American context, is that everything runs on either a gimmick or a “brand”. It’s not like Asian and European societies where the social structure is far more rigid, (i.e you’re born a Catholic and you stay Catholic). While it may seem rigid, and I’m not saying their way is the best way, it also gives people a sense of place and belonging. In the New World, the whole point is that you can start over again and try something new. Church isn’t for you? No problem, try yoga. Yoga isn’t for you? No problem, try Theosophy. etc. etc.
      Tony Robbins, Wayne Dyer, Marianne Williamson, Deepak and the rest of them are simply natural outcomes of such a buffet mindset.

  2. kezalu

    Traditionally, hell is a hot place with lots of fire and hot burning coals, so why anyone could possibly think it is an achievement to make a pile of it and walk through it is beyond me. And even crazier, why would anyone pay for it?

    • The whole point to the fire walk exercise is a metaphor about “confronting your fears” , that if you can do the fire walk, you’ll be able to confront your fears in other areas of your life. I know writers like Sam Keene use the trapeze for the same idea (with a net). That sounds like more fun to me, but I wouldn’t go try it with a new age writer and pay over-inflated prices. I’d rather go to a circus school.

      • kezalu

        I agree there are better ways to challenge yourself, but I think life is challenging enough and we don’t need to add to our traumas by purposely inflicting pain and heightening fear.

      • This is hilarious. On the sidebar of my mail was an ad for “Tony’s firewalking teacher.” If you want to make the big bucks as a “self development guru,” just sign up here and take the course: http://www.firewalking.com/firewalk_instructor_training.jsp?gclid=CKbBjsalu7ECFfFU4god8RMAPg

        Seriously, I have trouble understanding how anyone’s going to learn self-reliance or overcome their fears if they need Tony Robbins or any other “guru” to hold their hand. I used to love surfing (still do, but no longer can) and “overcame my fears” by taking bigger risks. While it gave me a major buzz, it didn’t really translate into overcoming other fears and “obstacles to success” in life. As they say in Australia, “What a wank.”

  3. searchingforfernando

    When James Ray was convicted I had a faint hope that people would finally start waking up. Now a year has passed and it seems to have made no difference at all. People are still eager to pony up big bucks for the chance to blister their feet or suffocate in a sweat lodge. This ‘create your own reality’ stuff seems to appeal to Americans as to no other people on Earth. Probably because Americans are in deeper denial than any other people on Earth; denial that their country is the biggest bully on the playground; denial that their materialistic and programmed lives are killing them inside; denial that there is no magic pill to cure the illnesses brought on by their self-indulgent lives.

    The truth doesn’t have to come sneaking back in a new disguise every decade. In the 1950’s it was Norman Vincent Peale and THE POWER OF POSSITIVE THINKING; in the 60’s it was that 33rd degree freemason in his crystal cathedral; in the 70’s it was EST; in the 80’s it was Wayne Dyer; in the 90’s it was Marianne Williamson and A COURSE IN MIRACLES; in the 2000’s it was THE SECRET. Same old lie, dressed up different every time. Take a closer look at the people standing behind the buffet table who are ladling out this swill. They all have ties to the NWO. They’ve made their bargan: riches and fame in exchange for leading already confused and dumbed-down people futher astray.

    • Hedges pointed out that societies and cultures that are in decline have a tendancy to live more in illusion and denial. I agree with everything you wrote. While guys like Deepak and Dyer are translated into other languages and I have seen their books for sale overseas, they are nowhere near as “revered” as they way they are in the North America and the UK.
      There has to be a relationship between empire, conquest and magical thinking. In fact much of empire and conquest is propped up by these myths and “magical thinking”. Look at justifications like “Chosen People” by Zionists and the occupation of Palestine, “Manifest Destiny” in the US the conquest and extermination of Natives on their lands, “Master Race” in Germany and what the Nazis did, “White Man’s Burden” and the “duty” to civilize the darker races leading to colonial conquest in Africa, Asia, Australia and South America.
      When the false myths start the break down and the “dream”turns into a nightmare, no problem, churn out another myth or another illusion. Just make sure you change who is playing the magician.

  4. I couldn’t resist but here’s a pertinent video from one of my favorite cult TV shows “Home Movies”, which used to be on Adult Swim on the Cartoon Network.

  5. Cesare DiRienzi

    Truly excellent article/blog post here. If you haven’t read them, Barbara Ehrenreich of “Nickel and Dimed” fame did an excellent job of showing the folly of the positive thinking movement with her books “Bright-Sided, How The Relentless Promotion of Positive Thinking Has Undermined America,” and “Bait and Switch: The (Futile) Pursuit of the American Dream.” As you pointed out in your leaving yoga article, achieving enlightenment takes more than a weekend retreat. To be able to control the mind and maintain relative equaniminous state of mind through many of life’s unpleasantries takes years upon years of dedicated meditative practice. One simply can’t decide to think positively and expect this to occur all the time. And generally speaking, achieving enlightenment will not lead to riches and fame.

    • I had read “Nickel and Dimed” years ago but not Ehrenreich’s other titles, will order them up soon from the library, thanks for mentioning them.
      Some yoga followers and New Agers are equally guilty when it comes to magical thinking, I think the more frequently we have these sorts of discussions, the faster people can take their blinders off and work on the real problems in earnest.

      • Cesare DiRienzi

        I truly hope that we all wake up soon. It seems that the American narrative, along with the magical thinking of New Age medicine, posit that all illness and even death could be considered a character flaw.

        As long as Hollywood and corporate America comes up with a few people who achieve riches through hard work, like in the movie “The Pursuit of Happyness,” then everyone will think they’ll have a chance. It’s quite a convenient way of staving off real revolution. Although I despise nearly everything they do, I agree with the Tea Party’s founding philosophy of being pissed off at the Wall St. bailout. And as you pointed out this leaves society as a whole actually worshiping psychopathic behavior, as these are the ones with wealth who run our companies that we all aspire to become. See also: http://www.nytimes.com/2012/05/13/opinion/sunday/fables-of-wealth.html?_r=1&emc=eta1

        As you said, when we don’t achieve these things we feel it’s our fault. This probably explains the large percentage of depressed people in this country, which is further compounded by our society’s lack of respecting or following traditions. I’ve read studies that have shown the lack of depression in very family-oriented cultures like Mexico, Japan, and the countries of the Mediterranean, yet 3rd and even some 2nd generation Mexican-American immigrants show a much higher rate of depression. The more we’re isolated because of thinking that our lack of prosperity is our fault, the less likely we are to find support with our family and neighbors that would enable us to effectively fight corporatism.

  6. Cesare, a large part of that American narrative, actually comes out of Hollywood and the dream machine. If you ever have the time, watch this documentary in full because it touches on all the points you brought up, particularly this strident push towards individualism and the loss of the traditional family structure.
    That American dream is exactly that, a dream, because you have to be asleep to believe it.

  7. Pingback: When Lines get Crossed | The Shift Has Hit The Fan

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