Friday, February 16, 2007

Victimization's real victims?

I typically begin planning a new SHAMblog post by rereading the most recent prior ones, as well as the comments they've generated. I'll do this several times; you might call it my "pre-game."* When I performed that exercise this morning, I kept stopping at a single line, parenthetical at that, from yesterday's Tony Robbins item—the one about how "in self-help programs, other people's interests, and the ways in which your newfound behavior might affect them, seldom come into play."

That's an aspect of all this that I haven't given sufficient emphasis, and to which, in truth, I should've devoted more space in SHAM: the collateral damage done to people who get caught in the crosshairs of this massive cultural campaign to "self-actualize." Think about it: If you're basing your quest for fulfillment on flawed premises, including unfounded or downright bad advice from self-styled gurus who are totally unqualified to give it, and you end up taking actions that have no real point or validity, and that, in the end, are not going to give you the enrichment or validation you sought in any case (and may actually make your life worse)...and meantime, in the process of all this, you're hurting many innocents, like the spouses who get walked-out on, or the children put in daycare while you go out into the world to "find yourself" or simply pursue a career you never really thought you wanted until self-help came along, or the family whose focus and financial security are shattered when you decide to leave your job of 15 years in order to become a stand-up comedian or take correspondence courses from that art school that's always running those silly ads at 2 a.m.... Talk about a ripple effect.

P.S. On the other hand, if you want to hear what "real motivation" sounds like... Click here, scroll down to the media player content, and listen. Oh, and stay with it, because it starts off slowly. But the payoff, when it comes, will provide you with a nice (perverse) laugh. Some of you will be reminded of the maniacally brilliant Sam Kinison, who left us way too soon....

* Or maybe you might call it OCD.


Matt Dick said...

Here, here!

I think I'd like to write an addendum to SHAM exploring this, where I give self-help advice. I have a wife of almost 14 years, two children, I go to work every day, we make financial and personal sacrifices for the kids' well-being. And I'm happy pretty much all day, every day, except those days when I kind of hate my job. But I go to work every day anyway.

Until the day we all die, my wife will never have to worry about my committment to our marriage, I'll never cheat on her, I'll continue to provide for the family as best I can (whether than means I go to work to earn money, or stay home with the kids while she does doesn't matter in the least), my kids will never have to worry about their parents' love and committment to the family. If that isn't what everyone is searching for with all this crap, than what is?

Do I sometimes miss the fun of a first date? Of course, my wife and I have both talked about it. Do I wish I could sometimes go back to a life of mountain climbing? Of course, I want to go to the Himalaya and fulfill my dream of climbing Everest and K2. But I won't, I'll not put my kids and wife in the position of me putting myself and their happiness in that much peril.

In other words, I got married, had kids and thus made committments. Fulfilling those committments, life-long as they are, is the best self-help there is. I have no apologies to make, and those three people are better off because of my fidelity to those promises.

Well fire up MS Word, my book is done. Ah well. I don't suppose Dr. Phil Robbins has anything to worry about from me.

Steve Salerno said...

I applaud you, Matt, and I'll simply say that I wish I'd always had the sort of level-headed focus you describe here. (You think a bigger commitment to beer might've helped me...?)

Cosmic Connie said...

Moi, I have been exactly where you were with your ex-b.f. For me it was many years ago, but the memories are still fresh. The main difference between you and me in this regard is that you are obviously a faster learner than I, and you got out more quickly than I did. Also, instead of just one insufferably enlightened soul, I experienced a series of spiritual and/or self-help Henry Higginses who tried in vain to teach me proper enlightened, or at least motivated, ways. Just call me Eliza Doolittle, LOL.

In fact, I'm still getting the Professor Higgins types on my blog. Of course, the comparison breaks down when one considers that, unlike Eliza, I apparently am unteachable. :-)

Good for you, though, for getting out with both your sanity and sense of humor intact.

moi said...

Connie, I took my last post off this thread, in case you didn't notice, cause I was feeling a little silly for talking about past boyfriends in detail here. But, thanks for your response. And I don't think I was such a fast learner in this case. It dragged on for quite awhile. Then there was another brief experience with a conspicuously enlightened type. When I confronted him about his sexual behavior, which he calls 4th density relationships (i.e. free love, no attachments), he got hostile and started name calling in an email exchange. Of course, I sometimes provoke people, but this guy was supposed to be all and only about "love". The end result of these experiences was vast disillusionmnent, which I suppose is what led me to your blog and then Steve's.

Matt Dick said...

Steve, a committment to beer is a committment well-made. Beer never asks for a sacrifice, and it always acts like its on a first date.

Citizen Deux said...

Steve I have been married a little longer than Matt. Have two superb children and a very intelligent spouse. My own thoughts on commitment echo Matt's. Here's the rub, my spouse embarked on her own path of self-discovery. She is still on it. During this period she plunged into a realm of unreality that even now threatens to destroy our marriage.

We're getting help, but things like The Secret and other equally unhelpful programs are working insidious, unhealthy tendrils into our relationship.

I would never shirk from the responsibility I bear in our marriage, however, the origins of her "journey" stem from deeper issues than can be remedied with a set of DVDs or pablum spewing books.

Collateral damage is huge. Take a stroll through Rick Ross's Cultwatch forum and you will see the human wreckage left behind by the likes of Landmark Education, Scientology and even the Secret.