Wednesday, May 29, 2013

self Promotion


Here’s how my talk went last night: I spoke about something for about an hour, and then invited questions and comments. Based on the questions and comments I cannot tell you what I spoke about. I think I said something about why the Law of Attraction and The Secret make no sense to me, but then someone asked me what I thought about the Law of Attraction and The Secret. I think I spoke about how I didn’t believe in a separate soul, and that when we die we “become” what we already are (the wave returns to the sea that waves it), but then someone asked me what I thought about the soul and the afterlife. Maybe nobody was listening.
What I like most about lecturing isn’t the lecturing itself but the Q&A afterward. Last night’s Qs were weird. The level of New Age babble took me by surprise. I listened to people who claimed to visited by long dead rabbis, spirit beings, light beings, all of whom urged them to get their particular work out to the world.
I don’t blame people for coming to a lecture and trying to lecture. Hey, that’s what I was doing. And I give them credit for doing so uninvited, without a microphone and for free. Honestly, I wouldn’t have flown from Nashville to LA and then driven two hours to Santa Barbara to talk without remuneration. I talk for cash. These folks who lectured for free last night believe in their mission far more than I believe in mine. So kudos to them all.
What saddened me about these folks (and there were other people of a very different caliber as well) is that they needed me to validate them. Maybe that’s what happens when you don’t get paid to talk. The paycheck is my validation.
I can’t say I validated anyone last night, but I did my best not to disrespect anyone either. Who am I to say that God didn’t send an angel to instruct the fellow in the audience to spread the word he received?
And yet I did suggest that if the prophecy one receives is all about oneself and how you are a prophet with a vital message for the world, it probably isn’t prophecy you are experiencing, but acute narcissism.
It takes a big ego to want to get up and talk in front of an audience. But if the talk is all about your ego then the whole thing is merely self rather than Self promotion. 

5 comments:

Erick Reynolds said...

I have read that narcissism is the most difficult illness to cure because healing only occurs when the individual wants to be cured. But the narcissist is, by the nature of the illness, the last to recognize he/she is the one that is ill. In a situation where self-realization is a key to health, the narcissist can’t see the forest for the trees. What appears to be self-love is really self-loathing and a desperate cry for external love, attention, and validation to fill the void.
I have long appreciated a message told to me by my father, that what you see in others is a mirror. Mirrors can be harsh messengers, even angels.

Rabbi Rami said...

I get what you dad is saying, Erick, but it is ironic given that we are talking about narcissism: what could be more narcissistic than thinking that everything and everyone is a mirror of you!

Dennis Attarian said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Erick Reynolds said...

On the contrary, the narcissist is the one who does not recognize the mirror. They only see the illness in others, and believe they are superior because of the apparent inferiority of others.
A common mirror is suspicion, as we are most likely to suspect someone doing what we would do if we were in their shoes.
The mirror analogy is a dilemma, since we all tend to judge others as a standard of own worth; mostly at high school reunions.

Chris said...

I was thinking about tikun olam and two clicks later looking for an illustration, I'm here enjoying your writing. what a nice surprise.