Whirled Musings

Across the Universe with Cosmic Connie, aka Connie L. Schmidt...or maybe just through the dung-filled streets and murky swamps of pop culture -- more specifically, the New-Age/New-Wage crowd, pop spirituality & religion, pop psychology, self(ish)-help, business babble, media silliness, & related (or occasionally unrelated) matters of consequence. Hope you're wearing boots. (By the way, the "Cosmic" bit in my moniker is IRONIC.)

Saturday, October 27, 2007

All fired up, continued

News flash to all of y'all who were offended or angered or in any way put off by Mr. Fire's comments on the San Diego fires: Turns out that you guys are the ones with the problem, okay? You're reading things into Mr. Fire's words that weren't even there. It's kind of like those Rorschach ink blot tests; when you make comments about Mr. Fire you are revealing the unconscious workings of your mind.


After all, as Mr. Fire writes:
I made no direct comments about my fellow Secret co-stars and why they escaped the San Diego fires; I also made no direct comments about those who were harmed by the fires.
But Rev Ron wasn't satisfied with Joe's explanation. In a comment to that post he wrote:

Joe - Your implication was very clear - that those who followed the LOA escaped tragedy, while others didn’t. I wouldn’t expect you to admit to the obvious exploitation in the post, but I am encouraged that many others - far more than contributed comments - saw it.

The negative reactions you got weren’t the result of people not “getting it,” but rather were statements of compassion for those who suffered compounded by the stern rejection of those who would exploit that suffering to promote their own business interests.

You’re an adept marketer, and I can understand how tempting it must be to apply that talent to feed the public’s intense desire for answers to spiritual questions. But when the quest for wealth and acclaim supersede the devotion to clarity and truth, it is inevitable that your efforts will be questioned, even quite harshly.

Amen, Rev.

But that wasn't the end of the story by a long shot. There has been quite a backlash against Mr. Fire on his own blog, not only for his seemingly insensitive remarks about the San Diego fires and the workings of the Law Of Attraction, but also for an unrelated matter: his doctoral degrees from two unaccredited schools. Some of the remarks seemed to be from folks who had once been followers or admirers of Mr. Fire and were blindsided by the latest revelations. They were apparently suffering the pangs of disillusionment and, as sometimes happens in these cases, some lashed out in anger with personal attacks. I realize that it's well-nigh impossible not to get personal when dealing in the area of personal growth, but some of the remarks seemed a bit gratuitous, even to Miss Snarky here.

I have found this s--t storm, and particularly some of the more personal remarks, to be both illuminating and disturbing. To begin with, these exchanges illuminate the process of disillusionment, a process with which I think we can all empathize to a degree. It happens all the time in many areas of life, and the New-Wage movement is certainly no exception. But, in all fairness, I think there are many cases in which those who are disillusioned should take some responsibility for their disillusionment. This is not to excuse the questionable words and actions of the "fallen" hero or heroine, but people who resist the lure of New-Wage magical thinking or selfish-help platitudes in the first place generally are not faced with such profound disappointment when a guru commits some patently outrageous action or utterance.

I find some of the backlash against Mr. Fire disturbing for several reasons, and not just for the reason you might think (i.e., the possibility that it chalks up martyr points for Joe and the other heroes of the mystic bourgeoisie, as author and blogger Chris Locke would call them). I also find it disturbing because at some point it seemed to morph from criticism into a feeding frenzy. The Rev, of all people, chimed in once again on Joe's blog to try to bring some balance:

Folks -
It’s one thing to call somebody on something you disagree with, and I’m the first to admit that I take exception to the post about the fires, and some of the other assertions Joe has made. However, this blog is starting to sound like a pack of dogs on the scent of a wounded animal, and nobody deserves that. Even if you feel that you’ve been deceived, the logical thing to do would be to move on to find your truth, not hang around and beat the guy to death..

If you’re here because you’re looking for some kind of spiritual guidance, you might want to ask yourselves if your actions on this discussion are consistent with any kind of spiritual path, or whether you’ve got some other anger that you’re spewing at Joe. If you take issue with something, fine. But if you’re just here to vent at someone, please take a breath or two first. I won’t tell you to “clean” on it, because that’s not part of my personal belief system. And if you’re angry because it looks like someone who had all the answers for you doesn’t, well, face it… NOBODY has all the answers.

I’ve got my own beef with some of the stuff I’ve seen in the LOA, but I have no desire to see anyone tarred & feathered. If you *do,* you might want to ask yourselves why.

Since the Rev is clearly not a "Joe-bot," I'm thinking his words might carry a bit more weight with some of the disillusioned folks than the arguments of the defense team.

In any case, the story isn't over yet. It remains to be seen if Joe will at least admit that he can see how his words might have been misconstrued, and perhaps even acknowledge that he could have chosen them more carefully. While he is correct in his assertion that our perception of events is always colored by our own "stuff," and that our reaction to the present controversy is, in a sense, a Rorschach test, I say it works both ways. In his words and actions, Joe is revealing things about himself all the time that he may not be completely aware of. And not everyone who criticizes his words is coming from a place of negativity, jealousy, envy, resentment, victimization, lack of understanding, etc. Maybe Joe should come out of Ho'opononono "cleaning" mode for a while and say "I'm sorry" to some real people – such as readers of his blog – not just to The Divine.

PS - In case you haven't read it already, here's a link to a July blog post in which I attempted to take a more "fair and balanced" look at Mr. Fire.

PPS - And on the other side of the "fair and balanced" coin... I received an email from a friend of mine who is finding it a little hard to feel sympathy for Mr. Fire, despite the current "feeding frenzy" I mentioned in this post. My friend gave me permission to share this brief bit from the email:
If we’re just talking about this one “fire” post, that’s one thing. But I think people are acting out of a deep sense of betrayal that – in some cases – has been brewing for years...
...Still, I have no doubt that Joe will come through this smelling like a rose and with his pockets filled with cash. So despite whatever trouble he has to deal with in the short term, it is hard for me to feel sorry for him, especially since he has never apologized for [things he has done in the past that might have led to people's sense of betrayal]. On the contrary, he continues to do them...

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