How To Be A New Age Guru And Get Rich
Have you ever wondered how so many people could be interested in or believe anything that comes from the mind of Deepak Chopra? How is it possible that someone who sells such obvious complete rubbish can swindle people out of their senses and money?
And it’s not just Chopra. Everywhere these days there seems to be “Self-Help Gurus” or “Life-Coaches” who will show you the infinite possibilities of you and the Power within to manifest your destiny. If that doesn’t get you excited enough then they will try to throw in some scientific jargon to obfuscate the matter (he said Quantum Physics, it must be true!).
But how does such obvious BS compel people to fork over their logic and money? Well, of course, there is a sucker born every minute. But what makes a sucker a sucker? I think it’s a two part process. First, many persons who are involved in New Age philosophy and use it as an interpreter of natural phenomena will reject dogmatic authority (all paths lead to God!), but at the same time will blindly follow the authority of a guru (Deepak said it, it must be true!). This is dangerous enough in itself. However, the second aspect, I believe is suggested in a study from last year in which areas of people’s brains actually shut off in response to a faith healer’s prayer.
Parts of the prefrontal and anterior cingulate cortices, which play key roles in vigilance and skepticism when judging the truth and importance of what people say, were deactivated when the subjects listened to a supposed healer. In this case however, it would be when the subject listened to their guru, thus the blind allegiance. So Deepak can tell people that they can stop aging through the power of their mind, mixed in with some Quantum mumbo jumbo, and his followers are not skeptical in the least. What you have then is a lethal mixture of blind faith and blind allegiance.
But there’s more.
To be a real good snake oil salesman requires another element: you have to convince your followers of some kind of determinism, that everything happens for a reason. Fortunately, for the current New Age scam artists, the hyper-individualization of our culture makes this easy.
Now here’s the important part: once your followers believe that everything happens for a reason, you have to sell them some sort of formula that gives them the illusion of control. If everything happens for a reason, and you can control the chaos of life with a certain cause and effect process then you can rip people off for massive amounts of money. People who are afraid, adults with control issues, and adults who are so narcissistic that the entire Universe is about them will literally throw handfuls of money at you if you can give them the illusion of the illusion of control.
So there you have it. If you are struggling for money and decide that tricking stupid people into giving you money is a good way to go: I just gave you the formula.
1) Find a large group of gullible and ignorant* people. (Don’t worry, there’s lots out there)
2) Convince them of some sort of deterministic philosophy.
3) Sell them the snake-oil of the illusion of control. (Don’t worry if it’s ridiculous, Confirmation Bias will really help you here)
You will be amazed how much money adults will give you if you can give them comforting fairy-tales that tickle their itching ears, and ‘convinces’ them that everything will be all right because they can control what is happening in the Universe through the Power that is within them, or whatever ‘source’ you ultimately assign value and power to.
* ‘ignorance‘ in this sense does not mean stupid. Every person on the planet is ignorant about a great many things, and persons who are generally quite smart and likable can be staggering dilettantes when it comes to metaphysical speculation. The above is the type of ignorance that is demonstrated by someone who believes in the predictive power of astrology and star charts that is built on a completely false understanding of the Universe. If they merely did some educating of themselves they would have the cognitive categories to see the fallibility of astrology. However, in their ignorance (and of course another large dose of confirmation bias) astrology and horoscopes make ‘sense’. Where this does get frustrating is if someone is willfully ignorant: I believe what I believe and don’t confuse me with any facts or knowledge!