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.)

Thursday, November 05, 2009

The lies that blind

Today I heard from someone I'll call Pat, who recently discovered my blog. For several years Pat worked for an Internet marketing guru, and at first found the work fun and creative. Then as time went by, to Pat's dismay, the guru became more and more involved in the world of New-Wage/selfish-help stuff. Pat, a self-described skeptic and atheist who believes that "most self-help stuff is crap," found several of the guru's schemes to be morally objectionable. The fact that the guy was bilking people out of lots of money was what really got Pat's goat.

At first the guru's New-Wage leanings didn't pose too much of a problem, however, because there was still enough non-objectionable work for Pat to do. But as Pat's boss became increasingly more woo-ish, and then latched onto The Secret in a huge way, things became much less tolerable. Pat ultimately left the guru's employ with sanity and ethics intact, having learned some eye-opening lessons about the private worlds of selfish-help luminaries.

There were two paragraphs in Pat's email that particularly stuck out for me, and Pat has graciously given me permission to share them:

I think that the majority of the people that buy into these types of people and their products would be absolutely gobsmacked if they realized what these guys are like behind closed doors. Up on the stage, in the books, in the audios, in the videos, these guys are charming, upbeat, positive role model type people that you can look up to. But get them off stage and with the people that work for them, and they are completely different. [My ex-boss] holds the honor of being the absolute WORST boss I have ever had... One of his favorite pastimes appeared to be seeing how many times he could make an employee cry with his raving and name-calling in a week, and for someone that was able to command thousands of dollars for just one weekend of the yippety yap, he paid us all circus peanuts (which is one step down from real peanuts, which at least have some nutritional value).

In my experience, the others are no different than my former boss. As I read your blog, I keep coming across names of people I came into contact with while I was working with this guy, and I am torn between laughing in recognition and wanting to facepalm. Oh, the stories I could tell. Not only are these guys almost always complete doucherockets when they aren't in front of the trusting masses, the vast majority of them will readily admit (and laugh about) the fact that the crap they are pushing is indeed crap. Even these guys don't buy their own sales pitches.

And oh, the stories many of us could tell. I believe I could write a whole book on what I have experienced firsthand, and have heard from others (Pat being far from the only one), regarding the sometimes disturbing difference between many New-Wage hustledorks' public personas and their private raging, passive-aggressive, greedy, arrogant, narcissistic, occasionally borderline-sociopathic, or sometimes predatory selves.

Not everyone in the self-help industry fits these descriptions, of course. I believe there are some genuinely good folks in the business. And it could be argued that even the mostly horrid ones have at least a few good qualities and have produced work that has helped some people in some way. Moreover, I'm only hearing Pat's side of the story. Even given these qualifiers, however, there seems to be a distinct pattern of lamentable personality traits among New-Wage stars and superstars. In other words, Pat's ex-boss doesn't seem at all atypical.

Many people already know this stuff. Others might be aware of it but simply choose not to dwell on it because, perhaps, they find some value in the gurus' works. Separate the message from the messenger, in other words. Still others might ask why it even matters, because after all, most people in the public eye have their private quirks and foibles, and of course, even New-Wage gurus are only human. In other words... Yawn.

Well, stifle that yawn, if you can, while I attempt to answer the question of why it matters. (Come on, humor me.) I know we've discussed this matter on this blog before, but I think it's worth repeating, at the very least for the benefit of new readers, or people who might not have considered these matters previously.

Maybe it's not such a big deal to have a shiny happy public presence and yet be a butthead or a bitch or a cad in private life, if, say, you are a celebutante or a rock star or even, in some cases, a politician (that is, if you're a politician who sticks to serving your constituents and are not on some moralistic high horse yourself). Depending upon the degree of fame, the disparity between public image and private reality might be tabloid-worthy, but that's about the extent of it.

It's different with self-help leaders, particularly those who claim some sort of spiritual authority. In my opinion, they should be held to a higher standard because, unlike most other celebs, they are making their fortunes by instructing others in how to live their lives. Equally if not more important, unlike most celebrities (with the exception of those who cross over into the self-help world themselves, such as Suzanne Somers), selfish-help/New-Wage/McSpirituality gurus aggressively and disingenuously use their own ostensibly perfect lives as marketing tools. They are continually promoting themselves as being happy, healthy, wealthy, self-actualized, self-realized, fully awakened human beings who have everything they could possibly want, including amazing relationships. Occasionally, to make themselves seem likable and accessible, they will mention that they're only human and are still a "work in progress" or some such disclaimer. But the dominant message is that their astounding achievements (and, of course, their enviable possessions) prove that they are a cut above ordinary humans, and that they can sell you the secrets to make you a magnificent human specimen as well.

Most important of all, when other celebs, most notably Hollywood types, show off how successful they are, their main purpose is fairly innocuous: to draw attention to themselves. They aren't trying to manipulate people into forking over thousands of dollars for a weekend workshop in order to try to create a life just like theirs. By contrast, as noted above, all too many hustledorks use their carefully crafted public images as their primary marketing tool, their goal being to convince as many people as possible that anyone can have an exemplary life like theirs, if they are only willing to "invest" a few thousand bucks, or a few hundred thousand, in the right products and workshops and retreats.

And all too many people buy into the message, spending thousands of dollars they don't have, and not really seeing any genuine improvements in their lives. Some of them even end up dead, as we've seen this past month.

And meanwhile, the hustledorks hustle on.

I've written some variation of this message so many times, on this blog and on discussions on other blogs and forums, that I can practically write it in my sleep. In fact, I am pretty sure that I was mostly asleep while writing this. And I'm far from the only one who has snarked, sniped, and griped about the duplicity of New-Wage snake-oil pushers, whose real lives are full of ugly realities that differ radically from the pretty veneers they construct.

The take-away lesson, in case it isn't painfully obvious, is this: Don't believe the lies. Or, if you prefer something less incendiary, don't believe the marketing. Don't believe the gurus when they talk about how consistently glorious their lives are, and how self-realized and "awakened" they themselves are. (Wasn't it James Arthur Ray who, not long ago, wrote, "I don't have bad days"? And how many other successful New-Wage leaders have we heard making some variation of that claim?)

For that matter, even when the hucksters occasionally share their problems in the form of "confessions" about setbacks or disappointments, or tales of friends or associates who have supposedly betrayed them, you should take all of that with a few grains of salt as well. When hearing a sob story, if it sounds kind of one-sided or overly dramatic, always assume that the guru telling it is (1) selectively sharing details in order to preserve his/her image as a bearer of deep wisdom (while perhaps gaining cred as a martyred hero); or (2) so genuinely clueless, despite his/her "advanced" state of personal growth and spiritual development, that s/he honestly cannot see the true cause of the problem in question. More than likely both factors are at play.

Most of all, never, never assume that selfish-help hustlers literally believe in all of the stuff they are peddling. Privately, as my correspondent "Pat" said, "The vast majority of them will readily admit (and laugh about) the fact that the crap they are pushing is indeed crap. Even these guys don't buy their own sales pitches."

And Pat, as well as many other people whose stories I've seen and heard over the years, would know.

PS ~ I linked to this in my James Ray "Sweatgate" post but it's worth linking to again. This is from my friend Duff McDuffee, who says that, contrary to the hustlers' promises, you CAN'T have it all, but that this is actually good news.

PPS ~ As vanity and envy are two major factors that fuel the selfish-help industry, providing the very foundation of most hucksters' marketing plans, I think it's worth your while to read Steve Salerno's four-part series on the topic on SHAMblog. Here's Part 1, here's Part 2, here's Part 3, and here's Part 4.



Blogger SustainableFamilies said...

Life is pain. Anyone who tells you otherwise is trying to sell you something. wesley

Thursday, November 05, 2009 9:35:00 PM  
Anonymous SpacePastry said...

You have no idea how much your blog has meant to me. I've been an avid reader for over two years. This post is a reminder to me of why I keep coming back (other posts have been good too).

As I was reading it, I thought to myself, it isn't just the gurus that lie, but some of the followers do as well. For a while I spent time with people who were involved in self-help and transformation. Their lives were not at all shiny and happy like those of James Arthur Ray (before the incident) or Joe Vitale or the rest. Far from it, but they would speak of love and honesty and authenticity, throw out a few namastes, and claimed to really care about everyone and the Earth. Then I saw back-stabbing, bickering, and betrayal unlike what I have seen with those who have never cracked open a self-help book. That's not to say that the latter folk are exemplary people, it's just that I held a higher standard for those who claimed to want to be better people, who claimed to be "working on themselves." What I saw did not look like work to me.

Unfortunately I was on the receiving end of some of the back-stabbing and lack of accountability. Finally a couple of years ago I had enough and decided to stay away, far away, from that scene.

Never mind the false promises... tried to believe some of them but my cynicism kicks in very quickly. Maybe that's my problem. And I never followed a guru, but then, I've never been one to follow someone without question or with a desire to give them my credit card number.

Thursday, November 05, 2009 10:04:00 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Well Dear Pat... I have worked for one too, been under his spell and done the dirty work just like you. At first I thought I owed it to him and I shouldn't question although I always had very sincere beliefs about what I thought someone in that place should be responsible for. Unfortunately my boss had other ideas. I ended up thinking "hang on a minute HE'S the one that is supposed to be LIVING WHAT HE'S PREACHING". If only the public knew, if only. When someone is even caught out telling someone straight after an event "you don't really believe that stuff do you?" its like "WHAT? I WANT A REFUND NOW!". I didn't know any of that though until I left his employ and ran into that person and many others and had my eyes completely opened (Must be a bit slower than most or maybe more trusting). I have seen the good, the bad and the ugly side of this person and am completely and permanently disgusted. I would never recommend people buy anything from them for fear of putting someone else in a very dangerous position. It does not surprise me to see them being exposed when they take a step too far in any direction. The guy I worked for couldn't keep his hands of the females or anything really and even when his own partner was around. Then you even start questioning the involvement and sanity of peoples partners because nothing makes any sense. I actually feel sorry for their families because whatever they practice on the public, it gets worse on the staff and possibly much be much worse for the family. Not making any excuses for complete stupidity and selective blindness of course but I think some of these people are so blinded by the lies that they actually buy into them just to have some peace. I predicted several years ago that something really bad would happen to expose these guys and we didn't have to wait that long did we. Its amazing just how quick greed overtakes people and to be honest I dont think they even understand anything much that they are attempting to tell people about. I know the person I worked for would buy anything and everything he could get his hands on with regard to marketing or personal development, why not, to hell with everyone else just buy buy buy for myself. Then all of a sudden he would become the world expert or guru in that subject, literally an overnight success (in his own eyes of course) and then the staff are left to flog made up crap off to the public for some ridiculous made up amount of money. Once a lot of people would have bought it but now its almost impossible to sell because we have all had about as much as we can stomach of that stuff. Like many, I hope they will all be held more accountable for the outrageous and deceitful lies that they have told about their own abilities and successes. I discovered (unfortunately the hard way) the real meaning of what its like working with a monster (being a fraud). Just imagine the amount of people out there with the same stories as us! A collaborative tell all would make riveting reading to anyone who knows these people but they will eventually just fade away as nobodies with no respect, no credibility and no recognition except by a few hangers on who simply are so blinded that they can't see the light of day even when their lives are a shocking financial and emotional mess. Thanks Pat, you're a star!

Friday, November 06, 2009 12:41:00 AM  
Anonymous disillusioned said...

The problem, from my POV, is not that the lies are told for there are legions of lies told in every sphere of life, but that most of us are unwillingy to accept that these guru-type salesmen are so venal and vicious as to be doing this with intent to deceive.

I can understand why we so delude ourselves, life would be unbearable without the rose-tinted glasses of looking for the good in others and I have swum blindly and happily in various self-delusions most of my life.
But there is no getting away from the fact that there are some very nasty sociopaths around (estimated at about 4% of the population and growing) and most of them aren't frothing-at-the-mouth serial killers, they are CEO's of corporations, the bully at work, the brilliant salesman, the self-help guru or evangelical pastor or the wife-beater next door.

Life is pain and loss, a good thing to lose is the comforting delusion that there is goodness in everyone. Bitter and twisted maybe, but it at least gives you the option to avoid these types when you spot them. Born without a conscience, there is no changing them.

I'm glad you write what you do, I don't think it will change much but it still needs to be out there.

Friday, November 06, 2009 8:41:00 AM  
Blogger savage71 said...

I too have seen the way some new-agers are different off stage.
I used to attend a church that promoted new age and self-help ideas (they even had "Mastermind Sessions" about the Secret. I have recently come to refer to that DVD and book as "The Secrete").

The reverend at this church was the biggest phony of them all. While on stage he was the nicest guy on the planet, but otherwise, he would not really talk to people, unless they had something he wanted. He would be aloof and distant, even after knowing him for several years.

Now I have always thought that if you have dedicated your life to other's spiritual development (and are getting paid for it) you have a certain obligation not to be a jackass to people.

I could go into numerous stories about him and others.

I'm glad I have started thinking critically again. It may not be the magic elixir I once thought I had, but it feels a lot more natural.

Oh, and Connie, you have joked in the past about creating your own scam, and I had mentioned the "vortex whisperer" idea. I have topped that.
Selling stones that have come from a vortex area, and have great power. They are better than your average crystal. The stones of course are really from your driveway or someplace close.

I was discussing this with a friend of mine recently, and we also thought that animals that live in these vortexes have special energies, and so do their leavings.

Bottom line: I want to become a millionaire by selling people magic rat droppings.


Friday, November 06, 2009 1:20:00 PM  
Anonymous Kalachakra said...

I dont remember if I mentioned that I am a retired newage guru.
I just wanted to mention that I watched my fellow gurus as they developed. The ones I made friends with were the ones who at least started with sincere desires to help. and all of them were corrupted by the people they tried to serve. we offered the real stuff, but people said "that's nice, but how about a magic wand that will do all the work for us?" we all eventually succumbed to the thinking "they will waste their money on new age slop, so it might as well be with me since I have (or had) good intentions."

Dont hate ME - I have sworn off the starry-eyed-guru-followers I collected when I was in the business.

Friday, November 06, 2009 2:26:00 PM  
Blogger Cosmic Connie said...

SustainableFamilies said...

"Life is pain. Anyone who tells you otherwise is trying to sell you something. wesley"

That's pretty much the size of it, Wesley. Not that life is all pain, of course. It's a mix. But lots of people would rather hear feel-good platitudes such as, "Life is meant to be good!" (which happens to be the favorite saying of the aging Ken Doll who is the Senior Minister of a large New-Thought church that's fairly close to where I live).

Friday, November 06, 2009 5:22:00 PM  
Blogger Cosmic Connie said...

SpacePastry said...

"You have no idea how much your blog has meant to me. I've been an avid reader for over two years. This post is a reminder to me of why I keep coming back (other posts have been good too)..."

Thanks, SP. I appreciate it. You make some excellent points in your comment about some of the followers of the New-Wage gurus. Someone else I heard from, who used to be in the inner circle of one of these gurus, thought it was remarkable that there were so many needy, grasping, desperate people in that close circle. Not to mention that several were patently dishonest and made a career out of screwing some of their fellow inner-circle members out of money -- in some cases, thousands of dollars. Yet all of them claimed to be committed in some way to personal/spiritual growth, as well as economic growth, of course. All were dependent to a greater or lesser degree on the largess of their fearless leader.

According to my correspondent, whom I'll call Lee, the inner-circle jerks were constantly jockeying for position, continually courting the favor of the guru, and as a result there was a lot of backstabbing in the ranks.

Lee found the whole thing absolutely surreal, and, needless to say, is no longer hanging in that inner circle.

Friday, November 06, 2009 5:35:00 PM  
Blogger Cosmic Connie said...

Anon 12:41 AM: Thank you for contributing your story. It's beginning to sound verrrrrry familiar!

Friday, November 06, 2009 5:36:00 PM  
Blogger Cosmic Connie said...

Thank you for your insight, Disillusioned, and, as always, for your support. I don't know if my writing will change anything, but at least it adds to the conversation.

And it is scary, isn't it, how many apparent sociopaths walk amongst us...

Friday, November 06, 2009 5:38:00 PM  
Blogger Cosmic Connie said...

Savage71, have you been going to *my* New-Thought church (or the one I used to go to)? :-)

I love your idea about magic rat droppings. But you better be quick. Joe Vitale might beat you to the punch there...

Friday, November 06, 2009 5:40:00 PM  
Blogger Cosmic Connie said...

Kalachakra, I think that at least some of the New-Wage gurus start out with good intentions. But somewhere along the way, fame and money turn their heads and they are never the same. And I think we do have to put some of the blame on the market -- that is, the folks who really do want the magic wand or the "Easy Button."

Friday, November 06, 2009 5:45:00 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I too believe that some of the leaders and developers of these programs started them with good intentions. Leaders are often the target of attacks, and can become overly defensive. Anyone who's been in a management position is familiar with that. Group dynamics plays into this.

I think duplicity is a part of human nature. Just sit in on any group and you'll see some people talking out of both sides of their mouth. They'll side with whatever group or person of a group they're talking with. Peer pressure is a huge factor here.

Not only are some people looking for something to make their life better, but they're looking for acceptance and approval in all aspects of their life. The only difference is that most people aren't trying to sell an impossible dream. But, In order to be a successful salesperson or CEO, you have to master the art of bullsh*t.

That said, I have a couple of friends who use to work at Nightingale-Conent and they could tell stories that would make your hair curl. There was the author who was famous for the *power of intention* that was a real a-hole, and the couple that was famous for lecturing on healing relationships who had vicious fights before their recording sessions.

Friday, November 06, 2009 7:13:00 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Anon 12:41,

Sounds like we could be talking about the same guy, but sadly, I'm sure we're not - there are just too many of them out there.

During my time with the "guru," I met many more of these types. One of my "favorites" was the minister that leads a Bible study before trying to get you to buy into his latest money-making extravaganza - one of which, memorably, landed most of the higher-ups in jail. Good times, my friends. Good times, indeed.

This is exactly why I was so pleased to find Whirled Musings, though. The Internet is a breeding ground for these types of people, and there's got to be some kind of push for awareness.

- "Pat"

Friday, November 06, 2009 8:04:00 PM  
Blogger Cosmic Connie said...

Anon 7:13 PM: very good points about group dynamics and peer pressure.

But oh, I am so disappointed to hear that the "power of intentions" author might have been an a--hole. I am shocked, in fact. I am somehow reminded of a post I published in the very, very early days of Whirled Musings, back before I started using real names here...

Friday, November 06, 2009 8:31:00 PM  
Blogger Cosmic Connie said...

Anon 8:04 PM ("Pat"):

You're right, it is kind of sad that there are so many of the hucksters out there. Whether they specialize in an essentially secular form of Internet marketing/hustling, or they bring some New-Wage hooey or old-time religion to it, the end result always seems to be the same: They get rich, and other people get screwed.

Friday, November 06, 2009 10:30:00 PM  
Anonymous mojo said...

The magic rat droppings remind me of an old Bette Midler joke--at least, she used to TELL it, ages ago, and she wrote it up once (and complained about how old and stupid it was) in her first book, A View From a Broad.

As I recall it (too lazy to look up the exact wording), an enterprising young man put rabbit droppings in a bottle and started marketing them at school as "smart pills". So of course the stupidest kid in class immediately buys a bottle and takes one. He says something along the lines of "Geez, these taste like sh*t!" and the young entrepreneur replied, "See? You're smarter already!"

Saturday, November 07, 2009 5:05:00 AM  
Blogger Cosmic Connie said...

Old and stoopid it may be, but packed with wisdom nonetheless.

And in a remarkable bit of synchronicity, a friend and I had a discussion not long ago about rabbit poop, and how rabbits eat some of their poop, or what looks like poop but technically isn't (even though it comes out of their butts), and then when it goes through them the second time it really *is* poop, and they don't eat it. At that point it is truly ready to be marketed as a miracle supplement or some such, for those who are inclined.

And speaking of miracle products, one of the "healers" Joe Vitale goes to actually sells snake oil. Literally. We were Twittering about that just yesterday.



Saturday, November 07, 2009 8:46:00 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Sir Richard Burton writing of the corrupt sufism (Tassawuf) of Sindh.

"To the Pirs (religious superiors) great advantages accrued. Of these individuals there are between fifty and sixty in Sindh, most of whom can trace their geneologies up to the Prophet, and the principal saints that succeeded him. Under our government they have of course lost the right of flogging and beheading their followers so that their power now depends principally upon the ignorance nd superstition of the populace. As they are usually the vile descendants of some ancestor celebrated for virtue of learning, they think it necessary to keep up appearances; yet their garb of goodness is a very flimsy one. The Pir who calls himself a fakir, or beggar, will probably maintain a establishment of a hundred servants, and as many horses; it is sufficient for him occasionally to show a camel hair vest under his garments, and his followers will excuse his ostentation. The vanity of the disciples induces them to believe in, and to vaunt, the supernatual powers of their superior; his being able to work miracles and to visit heaven gives them additional importance. Timidity of disposition on the part of the followers favours the imposture in no small degree....
In a pecuniary point of view, the position of the Pir is an enviable one. He levies a tax of from one-eight to one half upon the income and produce of his followers, who are too timid to defraud the saint, and not unfrequently make him expensive presents when any unexpected stroke of good fortune, attributed to his intercession, enables them to do so. It is not too much to say, that some few of the chief Pirs could, by good management, command an annual income of 30,000l. Besides emolument, these holy men enjoyed and enjoy the power of comitting any villany, upon the principle that from the pure nothing but what is pure can proceed. Their excuses are ingenious. To vindicate luxury and polygamy, they quote the cases of king Solomon and King David among prophets, Abd el Kadir and Baha el Din among saints. Celibacy, continence, penance and religious disciline are dispensed with after they arrive at a certain pitch of hoiness....
The effects of Tassawuf upon the people in general can easily be conceived. The disciples sink capital in a speculation that can never pay in this world; and besides their monetary loss, they throw away all chance of moral improvement. It would be impossible for a government of strangers to check the system by active measures, as their efforts would only increase it's evils. The safest plan is to do away, as much as is possible, with the political importance of the Pirs, and to oppose such superstitions by the diffusion of knowledge."

Just my two pennies worth recognising the time honoured ways :)

Saturday, November 07, 2009 11:14:00 AM  
Blogger savage71 said...

So I have been curious. Do any of the people snarked about ever read this blog?

Saturday, November 07, 2009 1:31:00 PM  
Blogger Cosmic Connie said...

Anon 11:14 AM: Ah, yes. The more things change...

Saturday, November 07, 2009 3:55:00 PM  
Blogger Cosmic Connie said...

savage71 said...

"So I have been curious. Do any of the people snarked about ever read this blog?"

As a matter of fact, Sav71, yes, they do. I can say this with confidence, realizing, of course, that I have no way of knowing how many of them read it, and how often. But some of them do indeed read it, and/or some of their minions do.

Sometimes they even write to me. I've actually had some very friendly correspondence with, and in some cases have befriended, some of my (former) snargets.

I remember one guy whose product I snarked heavily about -- as much for the hustledork-based marketing as for the dubious nature of the product itself. He wrote to me and said that he truly believed in his product and that it was based on brain science research (which indeed it was, in part, anyway), and that he too felt the hype from the hustledorks was a bit over-the-top. He felt the product might have credibility issues as a result, and he seemed to have some regret that his marketing team had chosen that route.

The marketers were riding the huge wave of "The Secret" and the Law Of Attraction, and the hustledorks just couldn't resist basing their endorsements on claims that the product made the Law Of Attraction REALLY work. I think the marketing plan was put in place without the full knowledge or consent of the guy whose product it was. And once the hucksters got hold of it, credibility became a HUGE issue. (There were also technical issues with early releases, and apparent confusion about how to use the product, but the chief challenge was the credibility issue.)

Point is, I had some friendly back and forth with this guy, whose product I had mercilessly snarked, and I still occasionally hear from him. More than once, he thanked me for "helping keep things real." And numerous others whom I've snarked about have said the same.

Sure, I've taken into account that in some cases, these responses could just be calculated efforts to tame the snark-dragon by making it appear that the snarks are either welcomed or have no effect one way or the other. OTOH, some might really mean what they say, recognizing that even snarky blogs can offer useful criticism. And as I noted above, I have formed some genuine and unlikely friendships with folks who were once featured on my Whirled.

As for the others...well, as a friend of mine said not long ago, maybe I'm their conscience. :-)

PS ~ You may or may not remember a story I told a couple of years ago when reviewing Joe Vitale's book, "Zero Limits," but sometimes a little reading is a dangerous thing.

[You don't have to read the whole post -- just the first seven paragraphs will illustrate my point.]

Saturday, November 07, 2009 4:29:00 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

These self help gurus always do ok UNTIL they take one step too far. I think what has happened is that they didn't get they ride they really wanted on the secret because Rhonda Byrnes made sure she kept most the moula. Maybe she didn't entirely trust them after all or maybe she was the queen of the lot, who knows. I think the rest got what they deserved in terms of contributions because it obviously wasnt their idea in the first place they were just given an opportunity to DO THE RIGHT THING and they wasted it by being too greedy. Look at what the car park guy said, it was a joke and so fake and he was the first exposed. Then you hear that Proctor sued him and the others walked away too. There was clearly something very wrong with what he was doing to people but he acted up like a child caught stealing lollies in the lolly shop. Just shows you a persons true character and why things happened like they did. And the exposure will not stop because as soon as a bad word spreads about one the entire thing is tainted. I think its a shame but then it could never have been any other way because their intentions became clear as soon as they were questioned and reacted. As for the blind followers, well I was one once but had my eyes opened. The best lesson in all of it for me was it saved me thousands each year by not attending seminars and buying the same crap repackaged with another persons name on it. I feel incredibly liberated and I put that focus into so many other areas now. For the reformed, its a blessing but for people who are caught in the web right now, they really are in trouble because they believe despite all that has been exposed. I feel for them but I don't feel sorry for them.

Saturday, November 07, 2009 4:51:00 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Thanks ConnieYes, I can say that Connie's 'review' of my Penguinshit Powered Quantum Wave Brain Defibrilater Phones gave me a much needed reality check.

Thanks Connie!

Barney Barnford, inventor, Penguinshit Powered Quantum Wave Brain Defribrilator phones.

Saturday, November 07, 2009 6:48:00 PM  
Blogger Cosmic Connie said...

Anon 4:51 PM: Mr. Car Park recently came out in support of James Ray, too. Birds of a feather...

Saturday, November 07, 2009 6:56:00 PM  
Blogger Cosmic Connie said...

LOL, "Barney." But everybody knows arctic tern turds are much more effective than penguin poop.

Look, I didn't say I actually BELIEVE that my "reality checks," such as they are, make much of a difference in the big scheme of things. In many cases, my snarking probably just helps the schemers refine their scheming a bit. I'm just sayin' that some of my snargets *have* thanked me. Whether they were sincere or not is another matter altogether. What's important to me is that I have formed what I believe to be some real friendships through this blog. Probably made a few enemies too along the way, but, oh, well.

Saturday, November 07, 2009 7:02:00 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

"As vanity and envy are two major factors that fuel the selfish-help industry,"

You will find that all of these people are extremely jealous of other peoples success and money.

Saturday, November 07, 2009 11:35:00 PM  
Blogger savage71 said...

I had come up with a test for these hustlers a while back (the idea came to me when I first started to question it all).

The next time one of these people who says they have the secrets to attracting all the wealth you want, go to the event (choose one that is free to get into, like the recruiting events they have).

Often, they will have a book signing session after the talk. Go up to the speaker, and just ask them if they will give you $1000, then and there.

Obviously, if they are so great at attracting money, enough to get up on stage and tell you how easy it is, giving you some cashola would not be a problem, because they can just attract more.

See how many of them go for it.

Everyone, everywhere, ask Joe Vitale or Wayne Dyer or any of those people for $1000. After all, they are the "experts".

Sunday, November 08, 2009 2:17:00 PM  
Blogger Cosmic Connie said...

Anonymous 11:35 PM said...

"You will find that all of these people are extremely jealous of other peoples success and money."

That's probably true, although I'm sure that many of the hucksters would say that we (you and I) are just perceiving it that way because we ourselves are envious, and we're projecting, LOL.

All of us are susceptible to envy at times, and I of course am no exception. But it does seem to me that the hustledorks take the envy thing to new levels, not only striving to fuel it in their target market, but also being consumed with it in their own lives. Most of them come across as being quite insecure just beneath that shiny happy veneer.

Sunday, November 08, 2009 2:59:00 PM  
Blogger Cosmic Connie said...

Savage71 (2:17 PM): On the surface the money solicitation seems like a fair test, though I have a feeling that a shrewd and practiced LOA/wealth type would have a ready explanation for his/her refusal to hand over the dough. It would be something along the lines of, "I could give it to you, but once that thousand dollars was gone, it would be gone, and then where would you be? I'd rather teach you to attract it for yourself." (You know, the old "give a man a fish/teach a man to fish" idea.)

Or they'd just laugh, saying they appreciate your sense of humor. But more than likely, you wouldn't get that thousand bucks. And if you insisted, they would have their "people" remove you. Bodily, if necessary.

Alternate scenario: They'd surprise you and the room and give you the money (or write you a check) -- just to prove a point: "Sometimes you have to be bold and ASK for what you want." But then if others came forward to ask the same thing, they would hasten to say that was just an example for illustration, a one-time deal.

And anyone protesting the unfairness would be chastised and ridiculed by the guru or some of his/her people, and then removed from the room. Bodily, if necessary.

Sunday, November 08, 2009 3:09:00 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I just fill in the blank space of my reality checks with any reality I want, and hold the intention, and hey presto new reality.

Sunday, November 08, 2009 3:27:00 PM  
Blogger Cosmic Connie said...

Reality checks are okay, but I like polka-dots or vertical stripes better.

Sunday, November 08, 2009 3:49:00 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Not only will all of these comments and posts not go away like some of these self titled gurus would like them to, they have actually gotten larger. More people are checking in, more media coverage, more hate messages, more exposes, more lies being uncovered and more skeletons coming out of the closet.

If any of these "helpyaself" people thought that by deleting messages off their own controlled sites or threatening other blog owners because they dont like what others are saying about them, was an answer then they should think again. Everyone has had enough of these people who think they have a right to control everyone and everything and charge for it. They are flogging off regurgitated crap to the gullible for ridiculous prices. None of them want to be responsible for what they are doing or saying and they all seem to do whatever it takes to avoid responsibility event to the point of lying and deceiving people.

Is this not the best test of their level of understanding of the law of attraction? I reckon that there is a higher power making sure that these people are held accountable and exposing which ones are fake and which are real.

Its like what next, every week they come out flogging something else off that you take one look at and this what utter crap. They seem to be getting more desparate the longer they survive.

Sunday, November 08, 2009 7:55:00 PM  
Blogger Duff said...

Having worked for a New Wage hustledork myself (who had an extensive philosophy that "proved" he was not in fact part of the New Age movement), I can vouch for the fact that nothing opens your eyes like working for the man behind the curtain.

Keep on rockin' the boat,

Monday, November 09, 2009 4:21:00 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Ah yes, those guru's that rip off every aspect of new age thinking yet are still 'original'.

Monday, November 09, 2009 12:34:00 PM  
Anonymous disillusioned said...

Just as light relief, one of my favourite scams--and one I wish I had managed to dream up first---involved flogging an ounce of dirt, for a premium price, from the 'auld country' (Ireland) to expatriate Irish in the New World who hankered for being buried with some authentic Irish sod.
They did a roaring trade apparently, it was at least genuine Irish dirt, the authentic article--who knows, perhaps someone is still digging and bagging the ounces of soil as I type.

Monday, November 09, 2009 2:30:00 PM  
Blogger The Lazy Vegan said...

>I'm glad I have started thinking critically again.

I think that's the crux of *all* of this -- whatever your belief system (if you have one), make sure your own critical thinking stays put. The other thing is, people just want things "easy" (or they think they do), so they want someone else to figure things out for them and just hand them the answers.

But, you know, no valuable path, IMO, is ever going to be "easy." It's in the struggle to comprehend and learn what's best for us that we get to where things are easier, but it IS easier at some point precisely because WE did the work. You can learn from folks who've BTDT, but the thing is, they've "BTDT" in THEIR experiences, not yours. So their lessons will never quite be yours, will never quite fit you, and no one else can do it for you.

>For a while I spent time with people who were involved in self-help and transformation. Their lives were not at all shiny and happy like those of James Arthur Ray (before the incident) or Joe Vitale or the rest. Far from it, but they would speak of love and honesty and authenticity

Those are a *few* folks who are doing this publicly, aka the proselytizers, similar to Christianity's proselytizers, and there are many, many more who are simply doing their thing quietly, and trying to figure it all out – with lumps and warts clearly visible, no apologies. (And if those followers dropped the facade and began to be real, they'd have to admit that "the emperor has no clothes," oh my. That takes chutzpah, which they may not have, since they wanted someone else to tell them what to do in the first place.)

Those few public "sham"-ans don't make the entire industry a sham or "New Wage," as I've said previously. There are lots of us out here who do make judicious use of that info -- with critical thinking firmly in place (and wallet just as firmly tucked in hip pocket and not goin' anywhere). :-)

Monday, November 09, 2009 5:16:00 PM  
Anonymous Aussie said...

"Having worked for a New Wage hustledork myself (who had an extensive philosophy that "proved" he was not in fact part of the New Age movement), I can vouch for the fact that nothing opens your eyes like working for the man behind the curtain."


Tuesday, November 10, 2009 4:26:00 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

The ones who really are living what they are preaching are happy with what they are given or what comes into their lives they do not deliberately go out and set up companies to take from other people what is not their and then never return it and then calls themselves christian. That whole concept is so mixed up and riddled with evil its transparent. Some of these people need to get a grip of reality and wake up to just how they look.

Tuesday, November 10, 2009 4:31:00 PM  
Anonymous JA said...

"Some of these people need to get a grip of reality and wake up to just how they look."

They have been, its called their day in court - i.e. JUSTICE and I believe its only just beginning.

Cheers for big ears!

Thursday, November 12, 2009 6:37:00 PM  
Anonymous ObserverTruth said...

"vanity and envy are two major factors that fuel the selfish-help industry, providing the very foundation of most hucksters' marketing plans"

Is there anything else more accurate?

Wednesday, November 18, 2009 4:37:00 AM  
Blogger littleplanet said...

I love the terms: hustledorks and selfish help.
How often a spot of levity seems to nip their heels like a misbehaving dawglet...

Not a one would ever sell divine poverty as an improved lifestyle.
The worship, after all - is for the wealth, is it not? (goddam - they give money a bad name!!)

But really - from Elmer Gantry on down, we've seen the waltz through the Danubed icecubed blootubed rubed and rotten scambag noxious scum.
They spin a powerful suction, obviously....but do they ever sell a damned thing other than the howl that what improves yer life is just a whole lot more cash?
(does it ever really go beyond that?)
I dunno.......I'm a fuzzy-puff skeptic of the first order, and I know I had my first serious doubts as a cub scout.

What I find most hateful - is the way they know how to hone in like a Mirved megatonned doomsday missile - on vulnerability.
They're not just slimy-souled bullies. They're non-edible byproducts of the social slag left over from Manifestive Destiny, I'd say. hoo!

Tuesday, December 22, 2009 9:47:00 AM  

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