The Hypocrite Olympics -- A New Age Trilogy

Aaron Morris

Boulder: The Hegemony of Hypocrisy

Boulder has many good points, but partly because of this, it has developed a rather severe collective ego problem, particularly as it regards the wholistic-healing/metaphysical/psychological sphere of culture. Many people involved in these areas seem to feel that evolution can be measured in concentric rings radiating from the Pearl Street Mall (or The Naropa Institute---the exact center of the universe is still under dispute in this emergent cosmology).

It is an attractive town, with a very pleasant climate, widely available healthy food, a cosmopolitan cultural scene, and a progressive attitude, but the "liberalism" found here often seems to be restricted to that which is "politically correct," and in itself, seem to be quite "fascist," in its own way. Spiritual Materialism is rampant and Animal Farm Syndrome is epidemic. Enlightenment is generally thought to be measurable in bits of metaphysical esoterica, the number of buzzwords and cliches one can pack into a paragraph, or longevity-in-service to a given clique.

The pressure to seem perfect, on the part of individuals, tends to manifest as a lot of hyper-competitive, hypocritical, one-upsmanship, as well as the selfish exploitation of often, but not always, very good ideas and spiritual processes, consequentially lost in the lust for financial and egotistical gratification. While being a self-righteous, proselytizing, Christian hypocrite is extremely gauche here, being a self-righteous, proselytizing, New Age hypocrite is entirely chic. Everybody seems to get so busy trying to become everyone else's counselor that they kind of fail to get around to working on themselves. Overall, there seems to be far more preaching than practicing.

I am not at all against anyone's religion, but the age-old pitfall of all religion is becoming so certain that one "knows" the unknowable Absolute Truth, that one becomes overly aggressive in promoting that particular semantic model or ritual, thus infringing on the rights and free thought of others. This seems to be due to basic human nature, which apparently feels very insecure with the simple admission that there is much we do not know.

The New Age movement, I might describe as a contemporary synthesis of all traditional religious perspectives, and is quite prevalent in Boulder. This, in itself, is not disturbing---I might describe myself as kind of a practitioner of "fusion theology." What I'm decrying are the delusions of grandeur that this seems to generate. Rather than quietly putting into practice one's new insights, the tendency is to want to set oneself up as everone else's guru (or minister), under the erroneous assumptions that: a.) no one else could possibly know as much as you, and that b.) whatever works for you will work for everyone. While the Christian fundamentalist insists that one must accept Jesus as one's personal Savior, the New Age fundamentalist seems to suggest that we must accept Them as our personal Saviors. Anyone with a big enough ego problem declares oneself the Messiah, and the rest of us are expected to genuflect.

My point, as it regards Boulder and the New Age movement, is that it is falling into the same familiar pitfalls, and the only known antidote for this is a heightened consciousness of the trap, and an eternally vigilant sense of humility about one's own viewpoint.

Points of Contention in Egotopia:

A Frank Rebuttal of the Fallacious Presumptions of The Massage Cartel, The Masters of Projection, and Other Sufferers of Acute Psychomania

Questions for Further Study