Beautiful daze in the Aber-hood
Jerry is gone, but the show must go on.
Actually, Jerry Hicks, the George half of the George and Gracie of the imaginary-friends industry, isn't really gone, despite his having croaked* on November 18, 2011. As I predicted (but really, it was a totally no-brainer prognostication, and I was far from the only one predicting this), Jerry is still very much with Esther and her pretend pals Abraham. After joining Abe in The Vortex, Jerry is now apparently playing pranks on Esther and her audiences at the Abe-Hicks events she has bravely chosen to continue, despite her grieving.
The ever-vigilant Kyra provided a capsule summary of Esther's recent (December 10) LIVE workshop. Dave Stone, another Abe-Hicks critic, also weighed in with lots of good information and commentary, as well as additional links.
But there's trouble in Paradise, and there has been for some time now. What's going on is not a war of good versus evil per se; it's more like a war of The Vortex versus The Torrent. (Google Abraham-Hicks torrents and you'll see what I mean.) It seems that some Abers are using AbeEsther's own words against her/them, employing Abe-Hicks' pronouncements about sharing information to support their own sharing of Abe-Hicks content.
To some degree this is a money issue. It seems that despite repeated attempts to use Abe-Hicks' teachings about the Law of Attraction to attract wealth into their lives, large numbers of Abe fans apparently can't afford to attend the workshops in person or even on the Web, to say nothing of being able to afford those lavish sea cruises. To the rescue: a few Abers who are working to help people acquire as much Abe-Hicks content as possible gratis.
Not surprisingly, the folks at Abe-Hicks don't like it.
Again we turn to Kyra's blog, as she discusses the Abe-Hicks' organization's attempts to crack down on copyright violations. She notes that the efforts to fight copyright violators seem to have been stepped up after Jerry stepped into The Vortex last month.
On one level, of course, the torrents present just another example of people wanting something for nothing, and that's a very human trait, which the Internet has in many ways nurtured. But it's something more as well, as at least some of the torrent troops seem to fervently believe they are working for that New-Wage/McSpirituality conceit known as the Greater Good, which in this case means spreading Abe's loving message to a world that is starving for it. For them as well as for other Abe-Hicks watchers, it's also morally complicated because some of the things the Hicks have said over the years could have been interpreted as carte blanche for the content sharers.
There's this recent bit from Esther/Abe, for instance, uploaded in September of 2011, before Jerry got sucked into The Vortex. And as a reminder for those who aren't familiar with the Abe-Hicks shtick, that's Esther's voice, but you'll hear "Jerry and Esther" referred to in the third person because, you see, that's Abe talking through Esther.
I listened very carefully to this rambling, but it was kind of hard to tell exactly what Esther/Abe is/are saying about copyrights. New-Wagers are so indirect. If they're not couching things in enlightened-sounding euphemisms, they're just plain babbling. However, in this recording Esther-as-Abe seems to be saying that protecting copyrights is kind of a negative thing and isn't really necessary if you're going with the flow. She/they also seems to be saying that "this thing you call the Internet" is wonderful, because it provides an earthly demonstration of how LOA really works.
Then again, that was apparently recorded before Jerry croaked. Now the heirs to the throne are redoubling efforts to protect the territory. For the most part the Abe-Hicks organization seems to be couching the copyright fights in the most altruistic terms, claiming that their desire to protect their material is just so people who need their message can easily find them, and that it has nothing to do with money. Uh-huh.
But the torrenters fight on. One dedicated activist attempts to address both the legal and the moral issues surrounding the sharing of Abe-Hicks material (I won't name him, nor will I provide a link to his sites, but I imagine you can find them by Googling). He writes that in 2006 he came across the Abe-Hicks teachings, which changed his life for the better. He downloaded some MPFree files offered by Abe-Hicks and he got hooked. The more he studied their teaching, the more he wanted it. Alas, he was unemployed and could not spend the money they were asking for their recordings. (In my many years of observing, I've noticed that New-Wage gurus seem to attract more than the average bear's share of freeloaders.)
But our activist asked and searched, and, as he 'splains it, the Law of Attraction led him to Abraham-Hicks torrents. I would have put my money on Google rather than the LOA that led him torrentward, but whatevs, as the hipsters used to say until that phrase got worn out (yeah, I know I've used it here too, and I'm not even a hipster). In any event the torrents were his lifesaver, he noted, and he felt so blessed that he decided he wanted to share the goodies with everyone. It felt really good to spread the word and help others find what he'd found. At this point in his narrative he quoted Abe-Hicks:
You are uplifters to the core of your being. Part of your selfish nature is to share the good stuff. Part of your selfish nature is to revel in what feels good, and spread it so others may find it too. - Abraham-Hicks
He wrote that he was concerned about the legality of torrents but was reassured by no lesser beings than Abraham themselves. Here are the quotations that apparently assuaged his moral anguish:
Everything is valid and everything is truthful, because Law of Attraction lets everything be. The question is not whether it's right or wrong, whether their approach is right or wrong, or whether my approach is right or wrong. The question is: Does their approach feel good to me? And if it doesn't, then I choose a different approach. --- Abraham (Excerpted from the workshop in Los Angeles, CA on Sunday, August 2nd, 1998)
The Universe is not discriminating about the rightness or the wrongness of your request. It is here to accommodate all requests. All you have to do is be a Vibrational Match to your request, and the Universe will yield it to you. --- Abraham Excerpted from the workshop in Sacramento, CA on Saturday, May 13th, 2000
When you manage to stay connected to your Energy stream, you always win. And you know what, somebody else doesn't have to lose for you to win. There is always enough. --- Abraham
In other words, if taking and sharing other people's stuff makes you feel good, it's all right. Sorry, dude, but that probably ain't gonna hold up in court, if it comes to that. And all that stuff that Abe supposedly said about copyright being not all that important? I don't think that's going to fly either. I'm no lawyer so I really couldn't say how these things work, but I have watched a lot of law shows on TV, and I don't think there's any sort of precedent for calling imaginary buddies to the stand. I guess there's always a first time, though.
Hypocritical as the Hicks team seem to be on so many levels -- not the least of which is the ongoing masquerade that they're not in it for the money -- intellectual property rights law trumps what someone's imaginary friends supposedly said about sharing, feeling good, or what have you.
My biases here are twofold, and at first glance they seem to be somewhat in conflict with each other. First off, I look at the Hicks enterprise, and always have, from the perspective of one who firmly believes that Esther and Jerry made the whole Abe thing up, originally inspired in large part by the success of the late Jane Roberts and her made-up mate Seth. (I know I've linked to this 2007 Independent (UK) article about the Hicks before, but I'm linking again because it really does paint a revealing portrait of Esther and Jerry.) They have been pulling this brilliant scheme off for more than twenty-five years, and I suppose you kind of have to hand it to them for that. At some point one or both Hickses may have started to believe some of their own b.s. ("Be careful what you pretend to be," warned Vonnegut in what I think was his finest novel, Mother Night), but that doesn't make it any less b.s.-y. At any rate, the result is that Hicks and their bogus buds have provided much snark chum for this Whirled and a few others -- most notably, Kyra and Dave.
But I'm also looking at the torrent issue from the viewpoint of an author. Part of my role as a book editor and ghostwriter for going on twenty years has been that of author advocate, and I know something about the creative process and the work that goes into producing and marketing content -- even if you have someone else create all or part of it for you. The law is on the Hicks' side, of course, but, legal issues aside, I don't think anyone has a moral right to consistently take and share huge chunks of commercial content unless it is freely offered by the creators of that content. (Yes, even if those creators are hammy scammers who have made millions from selling their imaginary-pals shtick to spiritually, emotionally, and financially needy people, and even if they have kind of made it sound as if it's okay to freely share their creations.) Quoting segments -- even extended segments -- for the purpose of criticism or commentary or just plain poking fun is one thing. Consistently taking entire copyrighted works and distributing them without permission is quite another.
Some might think my whole spiel about protecting content is contradictory to my passionate defense of Internet freedom, as expressed in my anti-SOPA post just the other day. Not so. In my opinion, SOPA reaches much too far in "protecting" the rights of content creators, and unfairly punishing those who share content even in the most indirect and innocent way. On the other hand, I've never been particularly sympathetic to torrenters. I will be happy to hear from those who disagree with me on any of these issues, of course.
From my perspective, however, the larger and more disturbing issues here are not the hypocrisy (or Hicks-ocrisy, as the case may be), nor the greed that fuels the Abe-Hicks empire and apparently has for years, long before The Vortex welcomed Jerry into its infinite delights. Hypocrisy and greed are certainly prominent characteristics not only of Abe-Hicks, but also of New-Wage rockstars in general. But what concerns me even more is the fact that so many presumably educated adults are fighting passionately for free and unlimited access to what is basically a package of derivative crap. Branded derivative crap, yes, but derivative crap nonetheless. Aside from the ludicrous premise of receiving "wisdom" from a group of disembodied entities, even a casual glance at the messages that those all-knowing, all-wise entities are supposedly sharing should give pause.
Consider, for example, this snippet about one of Esther's recent solo workshops, as reported and commented on by Dave Stone (I've mentioned it on my Facebook page and at the end of my November 28 Abrascam post, but it's worth sharing again):
Asked by a mother in the hot seat about dealing with her young child who refused to share toys, the brilliant, all-knowing Abraham responded the the child was in alignment, enjoying his toy "like Jesus not freaking out about the toylessness of his friends."
Which coldhearted Jesus was that, Abe?
Farther along in the conversation, Esther told her she should not be concerned or interfere with her son's kicking their cat. It was between the animal abuser and the cat, Esther said, and the cat would teach him. That's right, Abe, bring us one more Ted Bundy.
Kind of creepy, no? (Or perhaps the kid was just demonstrating Jerry and Esther's folksy observation that life is "a kick in the pants.") And consider "Abraham's" teachings about evolution, as noted by Kyra a few months ago. In her December 11 blog post I linked to above, Kyra also noted that at the December 10, 2011 LIVE event, Esther-as-Abe informed her audience that the human species was on Earth at the same time as the dinosaurs. Move over, Creationists!
Some Abers will probably say that I'm cherry-picking, that it's unfair to judge an entire body of work by a couple of arbitrarily chosen examples. But just go to Kyra or Dave's sites and poke around through the archives, and you'll see tons of other examples to support the basic premise that the Abe-Hicks material is
a steaming pile of sh.. perhaps not the wisest choice of a guidebook for living.
Meanwhile, it seems clear to me even from my vantage point as an outsider that in the wake of Jerry's death, many people are struggling desperately to cling to their beliefs in Abe and Esther, finding ways to justify (or simply ignore) the increasingly glaring hypocrisies and inconsistencies. At this point there is a whole herd of elephants in the room -- or dinosaurs, if you prefer -- and many of the Abe defenders are still finding ways not to talk about them, at least not honestly. They choose to remain in their beautiful daze, which I'm sure is just fine with Esther and her minions.
The only bright spot in all of this is that more of the natives really are getting restless, and perhaps for the first time are questioning not only the motives of the Abe-Hicks principals, but the validity of the stuff that spews out of Esther's mouth. And while the guardians of the Abe-Hicks empire may not find that very comforting, I think it's a very, very good thing.
PS ~ In other copyrights-and-wrongs news, the Hicks apparently also tried to trademark the phrase, "Law of Attraction" but had no luck. They have, however, cornered the market on Vortex of Attraction TM. Take that, all of you Secret stars and thousands of other other two-bit New-Wage hucksters and wannabes who are trying to capitalize on LOA. LOA ain't got nothin' on VOA.
PPS added on 28 December ~ Someone on Kyra's blog pointed out this blog post from an apparently recently disillusioned ex-Aber, who gives a very good account of her own experience in the Aber-hood. She describes the euphoria that comes from thinking one has finally found the true path, as well as the uncomfortable process of disillusionment. And I think she also nails the Hicks' true motives. Read the post here while you can: http://luvyourplanet.wordpress.com/2011/10/07/hello-world/
PPPS ~ In this recent article, Dave Stone documents that Esther-as-Abe has declared for many years that yes, it IS all about the money. Even religion is all about money, according to Abe, who apparently has also said that Esther herself is on a par with Jesus and Buddha. Good to know.
PPPPS added 3 January 2012 ~ Good Goddess, the post-script section on this thing is going to be longer than the actual post if this keeps up. But I just recently became aware of another new blog by a former Aber: Mariah's fine Post-Abe blog, which documents the lies one learns in the Aber-hood (and, in Mariah's case, eventually un-learns). Of particular interest: This post, dated December 29 (which also happened to be the birthday of long-time "friend" of the Hicks, Joe "Mr. Fire" Vitale). The Abe-on-parenting theme fits in with that kick-the-kitty thang. Good job, Mariah. And beyond that, read the comments to this post. In particular, a commenter named Tina brings up what appears to be another sad tale of collateral damage -- easily worthy of separate subsequent posts. Stay tuned...
* By using the word "croaked" I am not being disrespectful; that's apparently a term freely used by the Abe-Hicks gang and their followers.