Sunday, June 21, 2009

i am god

Reality Sandwich | While you might expect the marriage of progressive sociopolitical goals and the culture of spirituality to ground activism in ethics, it turns out that just the opposite is true. That’s because what we think of as “spirituality” today is not at all a departure from the narcissistic culture of consumption, but its truest expression. Consumer materialism and spirituality coevolved as ongoing reactions against the seemingly repressive institutions of both state and church.

The Wizard in the Emerald City can provide anything to anyone, and especially to pure- hearted Dorothy as long as she believes. It is mind cure at its best: carpe diem. And it quickly became a foundation myth for the new spirituality of self.

Despite its antiauthoritarian and self-affirming style, the mind-cure movement didn’t offer a genuine alternative to American Protestantism, or a break from its manufactured individualism. Both movements focused on the salvation of the self -- one through grace, the other through positive thinking. Throughout the twentieth century, personal freedom would become the rallying cry of one counterculture or another, only serving to reinforce the very same individualism being promoted by central authorities and their propagandists. We were either individuals in thrall of the masquerade, or individuals in defiance of it. Corporatism was the end result in either case.