Each day in the most advanced culture since the begining of recorded history millions of otherwise intelligent human beings succumb to ancient superstitions. A certain number or a certain color scheme, the daily reading of a horoscope or even the belief that simply focusing on something in the future will somehow magically get you to that something. I have a close friend who promotes such quackery and yet they are in constant fear and complaint about this circumstance or that circumstance. There is hardly a time that I speak to this individual that they are not complaining about how this or that is too complicated or this person or that person has pissed them off in some way. Life becomes a complex, emotional event that is lived out fear. The fears are ever present and never ending. The constant pondering over the “what if’s” in life. Yet the materials and programs presented by this person in writings and presentations would lead one to believe that life can be just all wonderful and fulfilling IF they simply BELIEVE what they are being told, if they simply focus on the future. Or if one were to simply set up some kind of alter in a certain corner of a certain room in their house where the things placed there represent the desired result it will in some magicall way bring the desired result to them.
I actually entertained these ideas throughout my journey to maturity and growth in life. Be simply closing down one’s mind, the presenter would say simply “opening up” one’s mind, and doing as instructed, the magic would happen. That mindset took me back to my younger days of church. Religion taught me pretty much the same thing. Just let go and follow what you are told and you will please god and find eternal happiness. I grew out of that superstition as well, once I thought, I dared to think. Attending meetings every week, reading certain publications and abstaining from contradictory thoughts and publications was the path to be followed. One dare not allow a negative thought to enter- at least nothing negative about what was being taught to you. One dared not question what was being said. And so it seemed with this other approach. The universe is god and you are god and god is you and it is all one. Just connect. Simply allow. Same dogma, different labels. The meetings are now on- line, the publications promoting such quackery are never ending. And the one who benefits the most from all this is the one publishing the material. And IF you didn’t get the desired result it was because you really didn’t believe, or you had doubts or you were not sincere. It was never the fault of the presenter or that the material was in any way faulty. And as the “I am sure this works” program is pushed off on you it might be noticed that over time the material changes, what was presented 5 years ago has morphed into another approach today. Yet when it was presented 5 years ago it was the law!! You devoted your time, your effort, even sold your soul to follow the path as it was written back then. In reality we find the presenter is growing just like the rest of us, and what the presenter presents today is simply a reflection of where THEY are in THEIR lives at this moment. That does not mean that is where YOU are at this moment.
So the quackery is published, marketed in slick packages and sold to the non-suspecting naïve public who longs for answers to the problems and challenges they face daily in a world that seems at the least confusing at times. And little thought is given that this presenter of this material is simply another human being facing and questioing similar things as you and I. And the material they will sell you today will morph into another product in the months and years to come. Religious institutions, motivational speakers and writers have made fortunes selling such quackery. We use to call it “pie in the sky”. And I learned a long time ago in the businesses I started and ran that IF more time was spent on the packaging than the product then most likely the product was not worth the packaging. Yes, there is always that class of people who will buy for the packaging. And yes the product fades from its 5 minutes of glory as even those people catch on at some point. So the new and improved packaging has to keep rolling out. As truth from science emerges through investigation the propositions persented by the quacks must evolve to stay up to date with what investigation has taught us.
I remember in my religious days how each year my family and I journeyed to that next convention filled with excitement, knowing that yet another NEW publication with NEW LIGHT was going to be presented. And each year we were closer, and closer and closer to the fulfillment of the dream we were sold- utopia!!! Happiness!!! A life with no problems!!!!! IT is just right around the corner. Simply read this next book and take this next material. Don’t grow weary! Keep your eyes on the prize!!!! And many millions hang on tight until their dying breath. So convinced they are that they gave up the very lives and each moment of reality for that dream. Each and every moment of each and every day was sold out to the dream.
So what does the future hold? What dreams are worth pursuing and how can I reach those dreams? I would suggest first of all that one should approach all things with balance and critical thought. The earlier mentioned personal friend of mine is nearing retirement age. And they are in a constant state of broke or near broke. Their dream seems to be fit around having to work less and keep an income. Some sort of retirement always in store, so they can do the things they think they want to do. Things presented and packaged via our media and culture that identifies for them (and most all) what true happiness is. We simply miss out on true happiness because we buy into the quackery that happiness can be bought by living in a certain place or driving a certain car or being seen at a certian whereever. A new TV, the latest smart phone. Just one more thing will get me to HAPPY!!! And there is never an end to that ONE MORE THING. Those ONE MORE THINGS just keep coming faster than we can pay for teh last ONE MORE THING. And the false dream of some unseen force that defies knowledge, investigation and truth keeps us in ignorant bliss as we enslave ourselves in the moments that are real with debt and stuff.
In reality there are always going to be things we need to do and should do that we really do not want to do. So the first thing about our dreams is accepting that we should focus on results. “I hate doing the dishes” one might say- but the failure to do the dishes has its consequences. Smelly kitchen, bugs and then the dishes pile up and still have to be done at some point. So focus on the result of knowing what you can prevent by doing the dishes. If you clean them as you use them they never pile up, the odors never pollute you house and you are not feeding bugs and rodents.
The second thing is – you cannot – no way in hell prepare yourself for every feasible events that happens in your life. Trying to do that will prevent you from getting anywhere, taking all your time away and keeping you in a constant state of panic over the next “what if”. So that leads us to the word “practical” After 9-11 our nation went crazy. We allowed our fear over the “what if’s” to take away our practical thinking ability. Terrorists were going to bomb wal marts in small town USA. We sold out our freedoms for so called security. Now we have neither. Learn to live with the dangers and embrace the challenges in life. They are ever present. The most dangerous of all things that most all Americans engage in daily is driving. Over 40,000 people are killed each year due to driving. And that does not account for all those who are seriously injured and the loss of property. Clearly driving is that one act we most all engage in that brings with it the most constant danger in our lives. Yet, with little thought given, we plop our butts down, crank up that motorized coffin and travel in close proxcimity of thousands of other killing machines being driven by people whom we have no clue as to who they are, what mood they are in and what they may be capable of. And as we do this one act we allow for distractions while in control of this heavy machine. Cell phones, singing to the music on the radio, eating, putting on make-up, shaving, reading something and on and on and on. And as we engage in this most dangerous activity we fail to realize that this is the one act that brings with it the highest probability of getting injured or killed- we listen to Rick and Bubba as they sell their quackery of how Muslim Terrorists are our number one concern.
So, go out and buy that book that tells you to just think positive, re-arrange your furniture, set your mind in the future and let the future lead you to where you set your mind. Go ahead. Join a Tony Robbins seminar- walk on the coals of fire, and when you get 3rd degree burns, remember it wasn’t Tony’s fault. It was YOUR fault, because you simply were not sincere, you did not give it your all. Stay hooked on the need to find the “god factor” in every unexplainable event that takes place in life. As you seek these things you will miss truth. For truth leaves no room for such quackery. Truth, founded on investigation, destroys such quackery every time. It took the Cathilic church 350 years to admit that the earth revolves around the sun, not the sun around the earth. Thunder is not the voice of god.
As I developed my businesses throughout life I found that IF my service or product was really good enough and there was a legitimate market, a need for what I offered, the packaging made little difference. As I look back at some of the material I used to promote my businesses, whether printed or a web site, I shake my head and wonder why the hell anyone would be attracted to that material and actually pay me for what I was doing. Then the reality sets in and I know the answer to that. It was because I was genuine. I was real. There was no quackery. I sold a viable, needed service and gave myself 100% to what I was doing. In the last three years it worked again. No future pull needed. No gods to answer too or seek help and guidance from. I was made aware of a service that was much needed and made myself available. I let people know that I was available. And in three short years it is now a full time business that grew to the point that I hired and trained three associates to work with me. No!!! I am not getting rich in $$$$. But I am wealthy in life. I live simply and have an abundance- not of stuff- but of relationships and happiness. I give little concern over allowing the future to pull me anywhere nor do I allow my past to get in the way of NOW and my future. Because, really now, we all know what the future hold for us all. And I am in no hurry to die. So I proclaim!!!! Slow down!!! Enjoy this moment. You will never see this moment again. And change the color scheme of your room, not based on what you think it will bring to you, but rather on how much you enjoy that color. Arrange that room- not to the east or west thinking that the arrangement of the couch and chairs will somehow improve your income, but brings ou pleasure. Stop buying the quackery!! Stop freaking and start doing. Start thinking about each breath you take and savoring the air as it enters into your lungs, for soon enough your body will stop drawing in that air and your mind will stop conscious thought. One wise old man once told me that if he found himself without pain one day he would know that he was dead. Embrace your pain and the challenges of life, for if you can still feel the pain and face the chellenges you are still amongst the living. And at that moment of death, when the pain stops and the challenges cease, no matter where you live, what you drive, where you work or how much money and so called security you have in your life- it all ends…… It is the NOW moments that count.
Selling dreams. There are dreams for sell. Few really give consideration to the fact that they are simply buying dreams. The words sound nice, convincing. The cover of the book really grabs your attention. Just believe this or do that and your dreams will come true. I, yes me, I have the way for you to reach your dreams! For the past hundred years at least, what at one time would have been called snake oil salesmen have morphed into the selling of words, ideas. The quackery remains the same. But now the cure of your ills comes without the bottle. The roadmap to reaching your dreams. IT is quite fascinating to watch these snake oil sales people in action. Of course if you do not know one up close and personal the pictures they paint with their words are quite distinctly different than the black and white picture of reality.
From Norman Vincent Peale to Tony Robbins men and women have marketed success in packages of books, seminars and online programs. Sign up! Read this! Listen to this! Come to hear me talk!!! And who really reaches success from all this? Well Norman Vincent Peale and Tony Robbins of course. So with the advent of the internet and on line publishing, power point and so on the Robbins Faithful who have spent countless dollars buying CDs and books and traveling here and there to listen to the ever powerful words of the snake oil salesman at some point or the other develop the sense that “I can do this” after all it made this snake oil salesman rich and I can do it better, or my idea is better or ………
The modern snake oil salesman does not consider himself quackery at all. Of course not, first of all I am not selling a tangible product at all. It is just my ideas, my plan, my book of how to directions to get you that whatever in life you want.
The most successful snake oil salesmen of all time has been religion. That selling of that dream, that hope of eternal bliss, a better day, the suffering will end, there is a reason for everything!!! Yes they have built great wealthy institutions from the dollars donated, willingly and freely to them by those wanting hope, wanting to be part of that dream. And greatest of all religion has invented the dream itself. It wasn’t even ever YOUR dream. It was a dream presented and sold to you. Eternal life in heavenly bliss. And just like Dorothy in the Wizard of Oz all you have to do is click your heals together and believe- and then the fine print of course: You must support your local church by attending and tithing. The Lord needs SEED money. Plant your seed money and watch it grow. Yeah, people actually make a good living with that seed money and the selling of that dream. A dream that in thousands of years no one has yet proved exist much less that anyone has reached that dream. Yet it sells!!!!It sells because of the What ifs???? What if it is real and I don’t buy it and then I end up on the other end of the eternal stick? What if?
Yes, the quackery of snake oil salesmen still goes strong. A man in east Tennessee dies from a snake bite- not out in the woods, but in a well made building because he picked the snake up willingly. He tempted the snake to bite him because he believed in the quackery he was selling. Last year several people got very ill and some died from the snake oil they bought from a quack, and then this year, none other than the ever famous, well known Tony Robbins received 3rd degree burns from buying his snake oil. In the 70’s almost a thousand died in Jonestown from the quackery sold by another snake oil salesman.
And now there are many more snake oil salesmen lined up to take your money so they can realize their dreams. Getting rich from words, words printed in books promising to lead you to the promised land where all dreams come true. From eternal bliss to wealth, fame, health, cars, homes and even that perfect love partner. Step right up! Listen to my words, for my words will lead you to wherever it is you want to be. And if you do not have a dream of your own let me sell you a dream! Heavenly bliss anyone? OR that perfect job? Or that handsome, loving husband? Let me use my words to tell you what you want then take this bottle of powerful words and let reach that dream. It just cost a few dollars. You don’t have to write one big check. In fact the first visit is free. Come in to my church. Sit right down and let me make you feel warm, loved and important. We will not talk about your seed money now, let me get the hook in first. Then my words will control your life and you will need to seed me for a long time to come because you are now convinced it is all real, and if there is doubt there is always that “What if?” “What if they are right? What if ???
I remember back when I realized that religion at it’s core was total superstition. One must “believe” and take part in certain rituals to gain an unprovable spot in a glorious eternity with an unseen god. You have to act right, drink a sip of wine and eat a piece of bread that represents the blood and flesh of the savior. Be dunked in a body of water. And so it goes. Now I do appreciate that positive thinking can provide a means of training one’s brain to think of solutions to the challenges of life. The old cliche of the glass being half empty or half full has it’s merits in some very practical ways, but not in any supernatural way.
In some parts of this country snake handling is the ritual to prove one’s faith. Or walking on fire. To some maybe it is tithing. Giving that 10%. Could it investing in a church somehow bring success to one’s life? Or is it the good feeling that one maybe gets from their generosity that lifts their spirit so that they have a more positive outlook that really brings better things to them? Maybe praying is the ritual that one practices. Did the prayers make the headache go away or was it the Tylenol from the drug store that did the trick?
Back in my church going days I told myself that it made me feel good- even pure in some sense, to get dressed up and sing the songs, read the holy book, look to the heavens and feel close to this invisible being we called god, communing with that being. It was really a narcissistic. The symptoms of Narcissistic personality disorder can be similar to the traits of individuals with strong self-esteem and confidence; differentiation occurs when the underlying psychological structures of these traits are considered pathological. Narcissists have such an elevated sense of self-worth that they value themselves as inherently better than others. Yet, they have a fragileself-esteem and cannot handle criticism, and will often try to compensate for this inner fragility by belittling or disparaging others in an attempt to validate their own self-worth. It is this sadistic tendency that is characteristic of narcissism as opposed to other psychological conditions affecting level of self-worth. That to me defined a good majority of the churched believers I had contact with. And in the mirror I could see that in myself, and simply did not like it. Maybe the feeling of being better was not inherent but it was derived from a belief, and that belief was based on superstition. Superstition that one had to believe in something, based solely on one book (from which come over 30,000 denominations) and emotion. “I know god is real because I FELT his presence” is often a phrase used. Oh yes you can have that feeling too!!! I have something that you dont and I feel sorry for you! Or the oft stated “I will pray for you!” As if their connection to this invisible source was so great that they could sway the thoughts of others through petitions to this source. Now that is hocus pocus. That comes out no different than the wiccan lighting incense or candles to somehow affect the outcome of something. And when the desired outcome is not achieved it is said that “it simply was not god’s will, or god’s time”. We just cannot know the will of god, or better yet the mystery of god.
Jim Jones led almost a hundred followers to their graves based on superstition. Psychologically damaged people are further injured and sometimes even killed based on superstition of a devil or demons. Advancements in medical science has been hindered for hundreds of years due to such superstitions. Yet the superstitions still hold sway over the lives of billions in the 21st century.
to be continued……….