How does one go from sincere seeker to psychopathic guru?
There is a line of argument that I’ve seen again and again in many forms and from many individuals—in personal development, NLP, communication, spirituality, and philosophy. A seeker begins by questioning the nature of Reality, of behavior and emotion, and learns many techniques for changing their own and others’ state/behavior/beliefs…only to end up going down a very dark path of manipulation and control. It often happens so slowly that many others often get wrapped up with this individual until one day they realize they’ve been had (at least for the lucky ones that wake up).
How does this happen? This dark view has it’s own internal logic which sounds good at first yet leads to psychopathic conclusions. My hope is that by clarifying this logic, showing it’s inevitable destination, and pointing out it’s errors, unaware readers can wake up early and choose a different path (or guru) before it’s too late. In fact, I believe this evil logic can be a very real danger to anyone involved in personal development, philosophy, or spirituality of any kind if left unexamined. The good news is that “psychopathology leaves clues” (to invert Tony Robbins’ motto “success leaves clues”) and therefore red flags can be easily discovered by the critical observer.
The following is a kind of summary account of this evil logic, spoken as if from the first person. Please note that I do NOT believe the following argument—this is written as a mix of multiple gurus, all of whom I find to be manipulative in various ways. (If you think I might be making a strawman argument, I will be happy to provide more primary sources.) Also note that this post might be a trigger for anyone who has been psychologically or sexually abused. If that’s you, you might want to pass on this article. (more…)