As our upcoming installments in the strange story of how narcissism has
evolved into a Major Lifestyle Option will involve Abraham Maslow and
the development of "humanistic psychology," this item serves as a sort
of overture to that larger [fill-in-the-blank] movement. I received
this wondrous news via snail-mail last week: Greg Braden, it seems, is
coming to Denver! Now, I have to say I'd never so much as heard of this
manly looking Jesus clone until I signed up on the mailing list of The Association for Humanistic
Psychology, which was founded by, and around the work of,
Honest Abe Maslow (more on whom to come).
Here's a clip from the description of
one of Braden's
current seminars, The GOD CODE: Healing Our Future Through the
Message from Our Past. And of course, there's
also a book.
"A coded message has been found within the molecules of life, deep
within the DNA in each cell of our bodies. Through a remarkable
discovery linking Biblical alphabets to our genetic code, the 'language
of life' may now be read as the ancient letters of a timeless message.
The code in our cells, including the 'signature' of God’s ancient name,
offers concrete evidence that all life is related and the result of an
And how does the GOD CODER know all
this? Try this on for hypercred:
"A former senior computer
systems designer (Martin Marietta Aerospace), computer geologist
(Phillips Petroleum), and technical operations supervisor (Cisco
Systems), Braden is now considered a leading authority on bridging the
wisdom of our past with the science, technology, and peace of our
Top that, eh? Martin Marietta. Phillips.
Cisco. Wisdom. World Peace.
Having seen it all now, I can die
The flyer I received promises that
Gregg's (may I call you Gregg, Gregg?) "interactive program" ($235 for
the Denver show) will reveal, among other wonders, "The most recent
Dead Sea Scroll fragment containing a portion of the same mystical text
discovered in your cells."
Whoa, huh? Holy shit! Right in our
fuckin DNA! Who woulda guessed? And our rough-hewn perfectly befuzzed
hunka-hunka burnin' Faith Healer has the sheer balls to illustrate the
same flyer with a photo of a Dead Sea Scrollette (or it could be a
Lebanese take-out menu) accompanied by a quote by Carl Sagan from The
Demon-Haunted World: Science as a Candle in the Dark. Now I'm
just hazarding a wild guess here, but I kinda doubt that Mr. Science
Himself would be all that thrilled at seeing the ideas he stood for
being so distorted by one of the very type of demon mongers he was
inveighing against. Me, I don't think, you know, like, Science Is The
Answer. But neither do I think that Spiritual Snake Oil Is The Answer.
Both are epistemologically bankrupt stabs in the dark at a body of
knowledge we all know was done in long ago, not by Nietzsche as some
suppose, but -- get a clue! -- by the butler in the library with the
lead pipe. My personal beliefs have not wavered from the credo that
supported so many of us through the ominous onomatopoetry of the
ontologically omnivorous '60s:
Acid Is The Answer! ...uh... What Was The
On another note, as Jackson Browne
once sang: "I'm having trouble getting into her genes..." And I finally
understand why. Because God got there first! If you ask me, this DNA
message isn't proof of anything except that life isn't fucking fair. No
way some pill or "patch" is gonna help me get it up to those
proportions. I've suspected something like this was going on for some
time now when these soft-spoken sexy-to-die-for Pretty-Girls tell me
they'd rather spend time with their Inner Light than roll around in the
dirt with a sex-crazed pussypig like myself. Inner Light my ass! What
it is is: they're gettin it from God! So hey, maybe that whole
Immaculate Conception thing wasn't so far off after all. When that old
black blues dude was singin 'bout another mule be kickin in his stall?
He did'n know
the half of it. That there was THE BIG MULE, muffo! You don' wanna be
messin' with The Big Mule. No way. Stay 'way from that shit or you
gonna fine yoself kilt dead one day, bro. Jes a little word of advice
for you boys, you take my meanin...
"Ah, but who will take my
meaning," said Chicken Little as the sky fell down on her Twin
Henhouses. "Not me," said The
Association for Humanistic Psychology, which mailed me Gregg's amazing
brochure. "Not me," said The
Association for Transpersonal Psychology, listed on the flyer
as "in cooperation with" -- where for cooperation read cahoots. "Not
me," said The Saybrook Graduate
School & Research Center (formerly The Humanistic
Psychology Institute, a.k.a. Esalen II), which also endorses Braden's
barbarous brand of barely intelligible bio-spiritual bullshit. A free
sample, you say? Sure, why not. Here's a clip from a page titled Thoughts From Gregg.
That in itself is almost too good to be true. For someone like myself
just sort of stumbling across it, I mean. But it gets way better...
"The logic of our brain
works in polarity -- left brain/right brain, light/dark, good/bad,
right/wrong, etc. Praying 'for' something creates a strong feeling -- a
charge -- of what 'should' or 'should not' be. The physics of our
world require that when something is created with a charge in one
polarity, the opposite must be created as well, to balance the charge.
What it means:
When we pray 'for' something, we are using a mental process of logic!
While thought-based prayers 'for' peace in Iraq, for example, may be
well-intentioned and appear to create a temporary peace or healing in
one place at one point in time, they may inadvertently create precisely
the opposite of the peace that is intended, in another place, at
Our hearts, on the other hand, have no polarity. In the Native
traditions, there is even a word that describes the non-polar
objectiveness of the heart, the heart that sees what 'is' rather than
judges what should be. The word is Shante Ishta (the
single eye of the heart). When we choose peace or healing
from our heart, there is no polarity created to balance our choice, as
there is no 'left' and 'right' heart." [emphasis added]
Mmm-hmmm. I see.
Now, listen. You know me. You know I
love to dis this kind of stuff. Chip on my shoulder or something. Has
to be. Maybe I was dropt on my head as a kid. Maybe I took too many
drugs, drank too much Johnny Walker Black, fucked too many low-life
wimmins, shot too many rapids in the dharmakaya
-- in my dhamakayak, natch. (The link is so you might have half
a chance of getting a pretty good joke you'd otherwise pass right over,
like most of the good parts I manage to write for you ungrateful barely
conscious nethead motherfucker androids.)
So, is it just
me then? Just another berserker rant into the idiot wind von das
Amerikan Weltanschauung? Just another petulant petard to hoist up the
skirts ov ze Zpirichewal
Zagat Zeitgeist? Or is there something really truly
unbelievably FUCKED UP going on here? And dig it: something so
OBVIOUSLY fucked up that no one's paying it any serious attention while
it seeps and creeps into what's left of our culture validating and
valorizing, underscoring and oversubscribing to the implicit but always
carefully tacit advertisement: YOU ARE GOD! (small print: if you buy this book, this video tape, this
audio cassette, this weekend retreat, this vision quest, this rap, this
highly peculiar yet oh so seductive point of view.) Look at it
Yes, you yourself. Your self. Your
Self. Your SELF!
As Roy Orbison said: only the
lonely... know how it feels when Gott ist tot und die Welt is alles was
kaput ist. But now: Achtung, Baby! Only gotta Look Within. Only gotta
believe, believe it. Believe these things which are proof of The Truth
without which there is no other evidence. Or as Dylan said: you stare
into the vacuum of his eyes / and ask him / do you want to / make a d...e...a...l?
does it FEEL? To be stranded
without meaning in the badass treacherous unreliable precarious
volatile shadowy transient vague dim disappearing postmodern maelstrom
of endlessly equivocal interpretations and you're lost in
the rain in Juarez and it's Easter time too?
So yeah there's all that. But there's also this. From an
unliklier source than you're likely to find anywhere (unless you've
learned through trial and error, sturm and fucking drang, like I have,
where to look): The
Handbook of Humanistic Psychology (Sage Publications, 2002)
The quote is from Chapter 2 -- "Humanistic Psychology at the Crossroads" -- by Eugene I. Taylor and Frederick Martin. By the way, Taylor (pictured here posing as a bespectacled Jehovah) also wrote Shadow Culture: Psychology and Spirituality in America, which I found in a used book store by chance, and which marvelously shows how this rampant blatherskite extends back at least into the 19th century. (Emerson, you Trance-&-Dental fuck, your ass is mine! But later.) Meanwhile, here's the clip from The Handbook of HP...
"Mainstream psychologists, if they have any recognition at all when asked about the movement, think of humanistic psychology as unscientific, guilty of promoting the cult of narcissism, and a thing of the past."
I wrote this Sunday night, or maybe it was Monday. It was going to be just a sort of aside, because there are a ton of other things I'm itching to blog about. But at this point, I was reduced to incoherent sputtering. I wanted to add more about why this stuff makes me crazy -- yes, I am a victim, and so are you -- and why it's tantamount to a crime that all this New Age flotsam is being largely ignored by "serious discourse" about our current cultural situation (think of the battle scene at the opening of the first Terminator movie). There's more to say, much more. But if I don't post this now, it's never gonna see the light of day, and I'll never get to tell you about the other axis (the first being Nathaniel Branden/Ayn Rand) that has largely produced this river of shit (see The Fugs, 1966). And that other axis begins with the strange career of Abraham Maslow and his early monkey studies. If you are even marginally fascinated by the theme emerging here -- which is: the ascendance of a sterilized, even sacralized, narcissism -- then I think you'll be enlightened and amused by some of my -- as the Über-Hosers like to say today -- "learnings." Stay tuned.