The Hypocrite Olympics -- A New Age Trilogy
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
- I assert the right to govern my home, my property, and my person.
- I reject the premise that it is alright to attempt to impose one's value system, rules-of-order, or ritual over another's home, property, or person, simply because one deems oneself or one's ways superior, or because one is in greater conformance with contemporary fads.
- I reject the premise that attempting to control someone's attempts to control you is, in itself, controlling.
- I reject the premise that it is egotistical to resist submission to the authority of one who believes he or she has all the answers.
- I reject the premise that feminine communication is intrinsically superior to masculine communication.
- I reject the premise that female chauvinism is the appropriate solution to male chauvinism.
- I assert that it is incumbent upon all members of both sexes to use both sides of their brains to the fullest extent possible.
- I reject the premise that certification in massage therapy renders one a fully-qualified physician, psychiatrist, and priest.
- I reject the premise that because one is in, or has been in psychotherapy, that one is therefore more in touch with one's feelings, or necessarily more liberated from the adverse effects of one's past.
- I reject the premise that because a situation restimulates old issues or anger that the grievance is, therefore, invalid.
- I reject the premise that it is alright to engage in unsolicited therapy on an unwilling subject if one has a sufficiently high estimation of one's ability as a therapist.
- I assert that compulsive over-functioning, that is, the need to constantly gratify one's ego by acting in an authoritative capacity, is more a symptom of insecurity, than it is evidence of a desire to help the other person.
- I reject the premise that because one is a practitioner of "alternative" forms of health therapy, one has studied psychology or metaphysics, or one lives in, or is from, California or Boulder County, that one is necessarily more conscious, evolved, enlightened, infallible, or more significant than anyone else.
Questions for Further Study
- How much psychology must one have studied in order to:
1. render one an indisputable authority on all matters of interpersonal relations?
2. impose involuntary psychoanalysis on an unwilling subject?
3. determine for another what their feelings should be in a given circumstance?
4. be granted an exemption to all ordinary rules of common interpersonal courtesy?
- Would it be possible, under any circumstances, for one partner in a romantic relationship to have sufficient objectivity, regardless of the amount of psychology they had studied, to competently act as the other partner's psychoanalyst?
- Does someone's perception of oneself as a leader obligate those in association with that person to be followers?
- Does someone's perception of oneself as a teacher obligate those in association with that person to be pupils?
- Does someone's perception of oneself as a counselor obligate those in association with that person to be counselees?
- Does having had an abusive parent as a child, forfeit one's rights to any valid feelings or grievances as an adult?
- It is my contention that it is repressed rage against their own parents for insufficient validation of them as worthy human beings, that explains the psychomaniacs' fanatical and relentless obsession with imposing their authority on others. Respect is not sufficient for these people; only abject submission and blind obeisance will satisfy this deep-set need. They simply do not feel important enough unless they're acting in the capacity of priest, mentor, and guru. Thus, their constant direction of attention onto your unresolved childhood issues, is nothing more than a blatant and flagrant act of projection.