by Tim Jones 9/3/15
Wayne Dyer, who died not too long ago, is the epitome of the high priests of the secular age. Including Tony Robbins, Deepak Chopra and Marianne Williamson, they surreptitiously blend the language of Christianity into their pitch with seductive messages rooted entirely in emotion and feelings that appeal to the “worried well” generation where all of their creatures comforts have been met in terms of easy access to food, transportation, housing, recreation, etc.
What remains is the search for the small and trivial short-comings in oneself and what is really a selfish need to shape one’s personality to the dictates of feeling good about yourself in our age of narcissism (which is an offspring off secularism) where it’s practically become a right that one feels good about oneself not to mention financial freedom. Dyer, Robbins, Williamson and even America’s new age pastor, Joel Olsteen, preach the prosperity gospel that one’s final destination resides in the material world where success and good health, both mental and physical, will reign.
But the problem is that we’ve arrived at a point of time where the self is reflecting the larger society as a whole, that it’s in a state of perpetual discontent in which therapeutic platitudes are just perishable band-aids hiding much deeper spiritual and moral failures. What secular humanism attempts to do is con people with the hoax of creating heaven on earth where people seek eternal happiness in the ‘here & now’ through magical silver bullets perpetrated by the modernism’s easy solutions and instant gratification.
The self-help gurus of our times co-opt use their language of pseudo-spirituality with its false and deceptive promises of self-realization, self-actualization, or whatever you want to call it. But man cannot perfect himself. There is the saying “Man is one dog-bite away from fallibility” that accurately describes what is wrong with these techniques. Can the indigent, mentally and physically disabled, sociopaths and psychopaths self-liberate by a false promise of perfectibility? What happens when a natural catastrophe, an accident or the onset of a debilitating health condition destroys one’s sense of security and all that’s left is misery?
It is the neurosis of the ‘worried well’ that obsess with personal shortcomings in a society obsessed with success. It’s Americans following the high priests of self-help towards the mirage of moral and while the world burns while ignoring the inherent evil and corruptness in man. It is highly doubtful a “self-actualized” person is going to solve the problems of radical Islamic terrorism, drug addiction, poverty, crime, cancer, hunger – and the list goes on ad infinitum. Nature is unforgiving as is evil. Self-directed feelings and positive thoughts are not going to change that at all.
Dyer could have been an outstanding spokesmen for conservatism. according to the CNN’s report on his death, Dyer was a self-made man who was an orphan and bucked the liberal ideology of victimization without envy for the rich and successful in society. My guess is that with the success of his first best-selling self-help book, Your Erroneous Zones and the large amount of money it made for him, he embarked on a career to reach the widest possible audience in the least offensive manner. By touting a conservative message he knew he would be alienating and cutting off a huge segment of the population who would buy his books.
In later years he began talking more about God, a ‘higher power’, a Creator, possibly because he could see his own mortality more vividly as he got older but more likely to try to gain more of the religious demographics, a cynical attempt at straddling both markets of the secular and the spiritual in order to maximize book sales. From Yahoo News’ story on his death:
“His focus on self-help shifted later toward issues of spirituality, quoted on his website as once saying: “My purpose is to help people look at themselves and begin to shift their concepts. Remember, we are not our country, our race, or religion. We are eternal spirits.”
Like all of the self-help and new age gurus, Dyer’s emphasis on feelings and emotions and how to make one feel good about oneself was like candy for the soul. It provided a temporary ‘sugar high’ but it was a buzz that would wear off shortly after reading one of his books or listening to one of his seminars, leaving you right back where you started, living with one’s personal insecurities and inadequacies and the reality of a world filled with tragedy and evil.