Sunday, 31 August 2008

New and Improved

I'm struck by the amount of literature available from the Self Help and Actualisation Movement (yes, that's how many folks in and out of the movement refer to it, even though the acronym is SHAM). It's everywhere and covers just about everything. And it constantly spreads the messages that you are valuable just the way you are, and that you can do anything you want to do, and that you can get all this by buying all my publications. It infests corporate life, personal life and religious life and has the ostensible goal to remind you how much you need it and to separate you from your money while you fail to achieve anything else.

However, in the mode of consumption that it endorses, it is actually giving you the structure that requires you only to buy another book and attend another seminar. You need not actually apply anything as long as you feel empowered. In fact, if these kinds of authors were really that good, you wouldn't need to buy more books because the first one or two would be enough to solve most of your problems.

But that is the trivial side of the problem. The real problem is that the product of the SHAM is only a better you, not a reborn you. A better you is the one with the same goals and aspirations, thinking about how to satisfy the basic mammalian desires. A better you is you with straight teeth, perfect hair and a pay raise – but you never transcend that instinctive lifestyle. If you really did transcend it, you would lose the desire to be a better you. Genuine transcendence of the self is the New and not just the Improved.
Post a Comment