[this file is about to change. a lot.]

No Love Lost

New Age "Spirituality,"

Transpersonal "Therapies"

and Pathological Narcissism



so you think you can tell

heaven from hell,

blue skies from pain...

do you think you can tell?


pink floyd / wish you were here


Preface & Acknowledgements

1. What's Love Got To Do With It?

Ambiguities: voice, love, heart, self, soul and spirit

Trauma: too much to dream and the mourning after

Heart: breakage and repair

Only human: but I like it

Only rock & roll: can you do more than dance?

Projection and bestowal

Valued readers

2. Boulder, Colorado Down the Rabbit Hole

Your author: through the looking glass and then some

Naropa "University": the white knight is talking backwards

JonBenet Ramsey: the red queen lost her head

Rocky Flats: atomics vs. organics

Celestial Seasonings makes a mint

Free Tibet through aromatherapy!

Trance & Dental Medication

May the Wilberforce Be With You

Having it all: revenge of the bourgeoisie

"Why don't you  move to Russia?"

Romeo and Juliet: the swans of Tantra Lake

2. Reading Bookstores

Reading between the aisles

Joan was quizzical: "metaphysics" takes a dive

Indigo children and "highly sensitive persons"

Sam Keen: "philosopher"

Isis! Isis! Ra, Ra, Ra!: from cheerleaders to goddesses

Psychology: from white rats to computer models

Psychiatry: from talking cure to pharmacology

The magic of therapy: "getting your needs met"

Proliferation: relationships, self-help, "philosophy"

You've come a long way, baby: from repression to depression

3. Vision Quest Hijacking the Sacred

The spiritualists

Swedenborg, Madame Blavatsky, P.D. Ouspensky, Mary Baker Eddy, Rudolph Steiner, Tielhard de Chardin...

The mythographers

James Frazier, Carl Jung, Mircea Eliade, Robert Graves, Aldous Huxley...

The popularizers

Joseph Campbell, Thomas Moore, Robert Bly, M. Scott Peck...

The psychologists

Abraham Maslow, Carl Rogers, Fritz Perls, James Hillman, Heinz Kohut, Alice Miller, Stanislav Grof, Ken Wilber

The psychos (includes several of the above)

Timothy Leary, Ram Das, L. Ron Hubbard, Werner Erhard, Marilyn Ferguson,  Lynn Andrews, Shakti Gawain, Eckhart Tolle, Don Miguel Ruiz, Dr. Phil, and a cast of thousands!

We, the market

Reaction to Big Science, Big Religion, Big Government

Back to the Middle Ages: flight from the postmodern

Paradigm shaft

How did we get here?

4. The Strange Case of the "Self-Esteem" Meme

Ayn Rand on The Virtue of Selfishness

Nathaniel Brandon: from cold Objectivism to hot esteem baths

Branden as "leading psychologist" and self-help guru

Branden and Libertarianism

Call it Reason: Virginia Postrel on "stasists" v. "dynamists"

Paulina Borsook's Cyberselfish

5. Sex, Drugs and Rock & Roll

Over-the-counter culture

Pornography and other forms of advertising

The colonization of "Tantrism"

America goes to pot

Help!: The Beatles meet the Maharishi

Their Satanic Majesties Request... more dope

The return of Puritanism: (did it ever leave?)

Parental advisory: Eminem says fuck off!

6. Second Nature

Back to Eden

Deep ecology: the lure of the inhuman

Gaia: hearing voices

Carnivores are from Ursa Minor, Vegans are from Vega

Civilization and its discontents

Dissociation and its comforts

Healing what?

7. Romancing the Stoned 12-Step Staircase to Heaven

Strung out: addicted to everything

God, grant me the normalcy...

The recovery movement sweeps the nation

Codependency: addicted to everyone

Bona Fide Barnes & Noble shelf title: "Meditation, Affirmations/Abuse"

Take it easy. But take it.

8. Spiritual Machines Technology Gets Religion

The Rapture v. The Singularity

Artificial intelligence: code dependent no more

Irrational science: The Enlightenment brownout

New Age reaction #1: anything Eastern, anything weird

New Age reaction #2: "spiritual technologies"

9. New Age Nosferatu Love Bites

My Dearest Mina: the myth of the vampire

Narcissism ≠ egotism

"Shame dumping"

No relation: self without other

No relief: self without self

"Healthy narcissism": it's like that dry heat

From empathy to pathos to pathology

Circle jerk: mutual adoration / spiritual autism

Seduction: being all that

Betrayal: not being anyone

10. She's Not There Black Bricolage


"Her voice was soft and cool, her eyes were clear and bright.

But she's not there..."


Sphinx without a secret

Plastic fantastic lover: narcissism as lifestyle choice

Consuming passions: the beloved as byproduct

The cosmetic psyche: "finding" your "own" story

Numinous authenticity: archetypes as costume jewelry

Forbidden fruit: transgression for the hell of it

Once upon a time: is it live or is it Memorex?

Hall of mirrors: reflections on narrative psychology

Solipsism: alone at last

11. Relational Bankruptcy Metaphors We Love By

Emotional capital: the bonds of love

An enriching experience

A wealth of opportunities

Taking stock of the risks

The price of intimacy

The costs of failure

Forming a partnership

Investing in "the relationship"

Banking on each other

Paying attention

Losing interest

Taxing behaviors


Bottom line: it's over

No deposit, no return

Moving on to new prospects

12. The Productive Narcissist / The Insane Society

Michael Maccoby invents a cooler, hipper narcissism

Freud rolls over in his grave

Erich Fromm rolls over in his grave

Christopher Lasch rolls over in his grave

Shoshana Zuboff rolls out The Support Economy

Business as usual rolls on

Beethoven rolls over and gives Tchaikovsky the news

13. Sacred Profanity Voice in Love and Rage

Voice and audience: reciprocal resonance

Hyperself and the missing other: collateral damage

Eternal vigilance is the cost of... dating?

Victoria's secret: something revealing

Art for art's sake: numinous esoteric archetypes abound

No love lost: "What's in it for me?"

...and the horse you rode in on

Heaven from hell: the doors of deception

Blue skies from pain: the empty heart amazed

No love lost II: reversing the entropy gradient

Wish you were here...

 Sources: books & websites