Thursday, December 11, 2008

If they give you what you want, is it a bad thing?

It's a question I asked but didn't really give an opinion on in this thread - many people who promise a better outlook or say they can give you happiness or success are just trying to take your money. Money-based cults (or religions if you want to call them that for tax purposes) are a more extreme end but it could be true for people giving seminars or writing books, audio cds or whatever.

If they give you the results you want, does it matter?

Does it matter if they're just getting rich out of it if you walk away happy and successful? Actually I've probably partly answered something there because that question presumes you can walk away. That you're not then paying more and more until you're broke or dead. One of these groups that, to me, seem like a money-hungry cult I wouldn't be so sure about when it comes to walking away. Okay, so someone could throw out the bullshit overused mantra of people who live to shaft other people and say they aren't holding a gun to your head. I don't know that they aren't but, even without that, mental reprogramming, threats of lawsuits and whatever don't amount to free choice.

Does it speak volumes that I'm actually not mentioning them by name? They scare me. And they scare me because I've spoken to them. For hours. And they can be very straight up about the lawsuit tactics, telling me that the idea isn't actually to win a lawsuit. It's to keep it going long enough that they bleed their subject dry and destroy them. For me, that would be about six minutes (I know what lawyers charge).

But, hey, even that particular group seems to deliver on its promises. It does seem to make its people happy. And we know many are hugely successful so it's not just turning them into lifeless sheep. So, in a way, you could say people are getting exactly what they're paying for. Is that wrong?

I knew someone that was in a different group, one that seems to be more of a self-development group (yet calls their top people 'wizards' for some reason and I think is possibly still classes as a cult in Germany - I'd look it up if I could remember their name). I asked about the amount of cash they were taking, because it was pretty damn expensive. I was told that unless people pay for the help, they won't put any value on it and it will mean little to them.

Well that's convenient.

I'd also call it bullshit, personally. If you've got real gems that can help people, give it away. Help even more people.

And then there's the self-help gurus. The Anthony Robbinses and even the nice Dr.Phils. There are varying degrees of these people and some promise to make you a millionaire which sometimes reeks of bullshit too but I have far more respect for these people because they seem far more honest about what they're doing. They aren't classing themselves as religions. They aren't trying to 'convert' people. They're gathering clients. Is that just a difference in terminology? Possibly but I think it's a bloody big difference.

They're running a business. They're making a living and when you go to one of those guys (or girls) or buy one of their books, you do so in the full knowledge of what transaction is occurring. They aren't making up some stupid-ass excuses as to why they aren't giving away their tips, they aren't making out like they have all the secrets to the Universe (well, most of them aren't) and they aren't based on the machinations of a science fiction writer with a documented interest in mind control hiding their dumb-ass alien shit until you're conditioned enough not to laugh your ass off when it's brought up.

What I find kind of weird about the aforementioned group/cult/whatever is that when they take you in and try to suck you in, much of what they show you in the videos or whatever are a bunch of people running a business, using all-business terms in business departments. I can't help feeling if they just came out and said, "okay guys, it's not a religion, it's a business and we're making a fucking fortune but we can actually deliver this, that and whatever", they wouldn't come across as scary bastards.

Or not as much.

For me, I have spent a large amount of money on animation books, a grand on a Cintiq, who knows what on computers, Flash and stuff like that, and stupid amounts on cartoon DVDs.

Paying money to make more of my life. I'm not sure that it is really any different.

But even I'm not going to allow myself to get sucked into the depths of paying a million pounds (or whatever it is) for that 16-DVD Richard Williams set. That's one step too far. That's for the people who have demounced their family and have pledged their allegiance to the Almighty Roger Rabbit or the Great Gazoo or some other crazy deity.


Toole said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Red Pill Junkie said...

I think that, concerning that particular group you're *probably* referring to, the successful people they use as posterboys to promote themselves were already successful BEFORE they were related to them. They were specifically recruited for that purpose.

Yes, I'm wary of gurus that ask you for money in order to initiate you in the secrets of Life, the Universe & Everything else.

Now, what about the other group of self-help gurus? Well, it's difficult to discern whether they are truly sincere in their claims—even if they are outlandish or just plain crazy— I suppose someone like Shirley McClaine is sincere, but I would never buy any of her books— I do enjoy her movies, though ;-)
Having said that, I do agree that a resolution to change your life should require a real effort to accomplish. But I would prefer to follow St Therese advise: "Instead of dying by the sword, let us die of needle pinches".

A daily routine in which you endure life's little hardships would make you a better person than giving all your money to some charity group or New Age cult—and BTW, they always seem to choose people for whom giving away money is not so difficult to begin with.

What would be more difficult, Bitter: To give away 20 pounds to some charity after watching some Xmas special on TV, or to greet with a smile to all your co-workers & strangers you meet for a whole week?

PS: That would be US$2.99 for that little paragraph, please ;-)

dermot said...

Hmm. Yes - the group to which you refer is obvious. I had the privilege of being neighbours with them at the San Diego Comicon in 2000. It was quite the experience.

They frightened small children.

Friends had worked with a number of them in the past. Their nickname for the cultists was "Pod People". It's as good a name as any.

Another friend had volunteered to be audi... eh, scanned by them when in Australia. He wanted the free cup of coffee they offered - as he was broke. He sat through an hour of their bunkum. Then came the request for money.

"Oh, jaysus, I could't afford $500."

"Well, we offer this package for $100."

"I'm sorry..."

"We have this book by our enlightened leader for $10."

"I don't even have that..."

"You can have this pamphlet for $1."

"I'm really sorry - I don't even have a dollar."

They folded up their briefcase, and escorted him from the building.

But he got a free cup of coffee!

Imagine how thick you'd feel when, after years of their nonsense, and hundreds of thousands of dollars, you're shown the secrets of the Faith: the souls of space aliens are inside us, having been stored in volcanoes, and transported to earth in rocket ships shaped like 1950s style aircraft.

No chance of a refund, matey?

No. Caveat Emptor.

No stranger than Christianity though, when you think about it.

Bitter Animator said...

A free coffee is as good a reason as any to open yourself up to their wily ways. For me, I had a bad day and was in the mood for an argument. I passed their 'personality test' guy on a regular basis and decided to go have a chat.

I didn't really get my argument. In fact, to this day, it has scared me just how bloody convincing they were. Had I been having an off-day, this blog could have been about how great space aliens are.

Sure, it's no stranger than Christianity but at least the Christians give us access to their manual, which can make for a great discussion and not quite as much conditioning.

Red Pill Junkie, there's a cheque in the mail for you. Now, once you cash it, I expect to achieve inner peace or we'll be exchanging some harsh words.