Human Potential Movement Part 3. The New Self-Help Gurus

Wanna make a million? Write a self-Help book.

The New Self-Help Gurus

They’ve given seminars, been on television and made millions with their self-help books flooding the market. It is the Holy Trinity of Eckhart Tolle, Deepak Chopra and Wayne Dyer. Their messages are essentially interchangeable, based as it is on a mash-up of various spiritual and philosophical sources, mixed in with a penchant for giving their followers opinionated homilies passed off as “truth.” All spiritual teachings are essentially one teaching: that if one listens to this transference of “wisdom,” then one will become more healthy, wealthy and wise. But the reality is that nothing practical will ever be given to aid all humanity by these super-salesmen.

Eckhart Tolle (Ulrich Leonard Tolle), experienced an epiphany which eventually led to Tolle writing books and holding seminars discussing enlightenment and other subjects, namely the transformation of human consciousness, which may be the highest form of human potential possible, according to these gurus.

Tolle, like everyone else involved in the consciousness-raising business, often engages in opinion-making that he presents as fact. For example, the well-known experience of Tolle’s “epiphany” – an event which changed a once-suicidal depressive into a spiritual leader and best-selling author, has colored everything the man says. So when Tolle gives an opinion delivered as “fact,” it sounds like this:

“Life will give you whatever experience is most helpful for the evolution of your consciousness.”

The “evolution of consciousness” is a narrative that just about explains anything. Unfortunately, nobody can prove such an evolution is happening. The trite simplicity of Tolle’s quote above, however, causes one to wonder why people choose to believe such things, as the quote  suffers badly when lightly taken apart. So when we go through our day, are we responsible for our experiences, or is “life” (?) dictating what befall us? Am I choosing to experience an event, or is “life” selecting events for me against my will? Why is “life” interested in the evolution of my consciousness, anyway?  Obviously, Tolle’s epiphany has a lot to do with the shape and content of his opinions. He believes that he experienced some form of enlightenment which has “evolved” his consciousness.” But he doesn’t actually know what happened. Besides, if you read any of Tolle’s books, you will not be able to find one single new idea anywhere. Tolle’s works, along with those by Chopra, Neale Donald Walsch, etc., are nothing more than a spiritual stew full of rehashed mash-ups of ancient ideas and philosophies, without the nuance and mystery. Seems more like a devolution of consciousness is happening here, folks.

Fact is, metaphysicians have urged others to evolve the human being metaphysically for at least 30 centuries. Shamen, gurus and spiritualists have forever been proclaiming that raising one’s nature “high enough,” one becomes as “God.” The New Self Help gurus of the 21st Century are merely regurgitating commonly known spiritual language and dressing it up modern parlance. It seems that the metaphysical experiment has reached the end of its life as a living art; a deadening hollowness exists at its core, failing to offer anything truly new in 3000 years; it has endlessly repeated itself to the point of absurdity. It offers nothing but ancient, discredited promises dripping from the voices of a disingenuous, but crack metaphysical sales team.

At the beginning of its reign, the Human Potential Movement was largely a program for profit. When someone discovered, like Dale Carnegie, Norman Vincent Peale or L. Ron Hubbard, that there existed a sizeless, titanic market of selling people their own desire to “improve” themselves, they most likely couldn’t believe their luck. The mass consumption of self-help books has turned out to be insatiable and everlasting (Dale Carnegie materials and courses are still available and profitable after 80 years). The best advice to someone wanting to be published is to write a self-help book.

Listen: self-transformation ingeniously linked to the dollar and spiritual perfection has given the self-help industry enough legs to continue its run well into the 21st Century. Although the movement’s heyday occurred during the 1960’s and 70’s, the program of focusing on intense personal achievement by the individual is still being pushed to this day by an opportunistic and self-aggrandizing sales pitch, and many of them only give broadly vague or distasteful solutions for the intractable problems in this world. For example, Osho’s solution for homosexuality was to segregate gays from the rest of the population. Esther Hicks and Abraham only solution to poverty, suffering or abuse is to not dwell on negative thoughts. Seriously. And as stupid as that sounds, people eat it up.

The irony should not be lost here. The teachers of the Human Potential Movement concentrate on getting the individual sorted out mentally and “spiritually” first before concentrating on getting what they want and make their dreams come true.  While humanity’s world continues to devolve and splinter apart, listen to the Human Potential Movement – it wants you to become a “winner,” although it fails to offer any solution to rampant human suffering, the nature of evil, or  inequality. It promotes an agenda based entirely on imagination. Remember the message of The Secret: get what you want by thinking about it. Physical action not necessary.  That message clicked because of an agenda built upon “spiritual” fabrications, human desire and most of all, the glorification of personal self-interest while everyone one else can go screw.

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5 thoughts on “Human Potential Movement Part 3. The New Self-Help Gurus

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  2. Thanx for this sharp and well documented series. To be honest: through a short trip in a Gurdjieff-inspired “school” I got inspired by the ideas that lay beneath these movements. I’ve turned my back to LGA-type human potential con schemes. Most of the stuff that inspired these movements goes back thousands of years. They turned it into a buck, and that’s a pity. But neo-platonism, Gnosticism and Hermetic thought have much more to offer than these salesmen proclaim, although not in a direct, material sense. I agree with your view on these movements, as I experienced it directly myself. What they do does not differ that much from what orthodox christian faith practices present and presented in this world. They always dig in to petty desires and fears, and use them as a way for “transformation”. But don’t blame that on the writings of generations of inspired philosophers. As for me, I can put together in one frase what they told: You are what you are, everything is what it is. Accept the wealth of that and you will experience life.It can change the way you look upon day-to-day events, and it might mean that you act differently upon them, closer to what you really feel but have always hidden under layers of guilt and shame. You can now place those events in a bigger picture, free of resistance and pity.It won’t bring you a Mercedes Benz though, hahaha.

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