Self help scamming

27 05 2006

Writing about web page http://www.sciam.com/article.cfm?chanID=sa006&colID=13&articleID=000602B6-9280-1447-8ADE83414B7F0101

A nice wee piece this on one of my bugbears:

SHAM Scam: The Self–Help and Actualization Movement has become an $8.5–billion–a–year business. Does it work?

The key paradox in all of this is: if you need to pay for someone’s help, why is it called “self–help”?

Surrounding SHAM is a bulletproof shield: if your life does not get better, it is your fault—your thoughts were not positive enough. The solution? More of the same self–help—or at least the same message repackaged into new products. Consider the multiple permutations of John Gray’s Men Are from Mars, Women Are from Venus—Mars and Venus Together Forever, Mars and Venus in the Bedroom, The Mars and Venus Diet and Exercise Solution—not to mention the Mars and Venus board game, Broadway play and Club Med getaway.

SHAM takes advantage by cleverly marketing the dualism of victimization and empowerment. Like a religion that defines people as inherently sinful so that they require forgiveness (provided exclusively by that religion), SHAM gurus insist that we are all victims of our demonic “inner children” who are produced by traumatic pasts that create negative “tapes” that replay over and over in our minds. Redemption comes through empowering yourself with new “life scripts,” supplied by the masters themselves, for prices that range from $500 one–day workshops to Robbins’s $5,995 “Date with Destiny” seminar.

Chin up!

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