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A very poignant passage.

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MonteLukast Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri Oct-30-09 11:18 AM
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A very poignant passage.
To me, JRE was not just a politician with a platform I believed in. He was also an example for how to live life.

For a very important starters, he got rich doing something he loved, and at something worth doing in our society:

If someone wants to teach you how to be rich (for whatever price), first find out how he got rich himself. Look at the frequent fliers of this particular line of work, and youll find out that most of them got rich by sticking their hands into pockets of people just like you (and me). And theyre getting richer.
Did he ever grow a company, other than the staff of eager minions he has working for him now? Did he turn around a major corporation? Did he emerge from his own family of alcoholics and desperados to blaze his own trail by making something or contributing something useful to society (that is other than an ultra-expensive retreat)? Is he an unimpeachable researcher who has the gift of translating esoteric, hard-to-understand information into immediately useful ideas that anyone can have for the price of a book? That might be someone worth paying some attention to.

-- "Really Crappy Advice and How To Keep it From Killing You", Martha Finney,

People who hate trial lawyers WOULD see that line of work as "sticking their hands into others' pockets", but the fact remains that the profession of law, to stick up for the ordinary person, against abuses of corporations, is one of the noblest ways our society provides for a person to earn a living.

Our free-trade policies and the attendant race to the bottom have effectively narrowed the range of professions people can get rich in. Thereby requiring more of us to act like hustlers a la James Arthur Ray-- or soulless corporate drones who don't care about people, like health insurance CEOs-- in order to become wealthy.
Compassion for those less fortunate and concern for justice have, indeed, become liabilities for your pocketbook. All the billionaires, save Buffett, Soros and Gates, seem cut from the same personality and values cloth.

And that's a tragedy right there. Because in America, it's supposed to take all kinds to make a world.

The JRE saga has now gotten me reading intensively about our culture of personal development. Ever since reading about the sweat lodge and Bright-Sided, I have become convinced that JRE entered into his affair in large part because of a need to stay positive-- both his own need, and society's demands.

We make a positive attitude socially mandatory-- and we never ask ourselves how we're supposed to get positive. So hurtful and insensitive means are not outside the realm of possibility on the way to a positive and happy end.

He said that prior to his son's death, he was sure that he could do anything as long as he worked hard and played by the rules-- exactly what Americans have believed for years. After Wade's death, he said his eyes were open to the fact that sometimes the world was not in your control, and sometimes you couldn't affect its outcome.

That alone showed me how vulnerable JRE really has been to magical thinking.
Sure, his eyes may have been opened a little bit-- but it took a devastating tragedy to do so. And he very likely still believed himself to be largely above the mess of the world. And truly, if you were him, how could you not believe you had some special blessing, some exceptional personality and social aptitude. The evidence was right there-- in his wealth, his loving family, and his relative ease moving through life.

The personal development world, with their using material wealth as a barometer of both your emotional health and your spiritual depth, contributes to an insidious narcissism. I'm special, thinks the personal-development over-devotee. I can create my own reality, God wants me to live the good life, I can attract anything I want just by performing a happiness regimen.

Most working Americans, under time pressure, lack of sleep and stress, simply do not have time or energy to question what about personal development and positivity can be followed without reservation, what needs to be tweaked... and what needs to be scrapped altogether.

I've realized just how much of a personal-development exemplar JRE really was-- whether he engaged in it himself or not, he could still have been its perfect poster child. The ideal personality for American society. The person you can be, the life you can have, if only you cultivate your charisma! The person that, if only John Kerry and Al Gore had made themselves into, would have been president!

The tragedy was, JRE really was an example to follow-- of how to be charismatic without snake-oil salesmanship, of how to make stupendous wealth without becoming a corporatist. He gave me hope that progressive values, love, and speaking truth to power would be the thing giving a person charisma-- not turning yourself into another James Arthur Ray.


Which was always, whether he wanted to admit it or not, a danger that went along with who he was.

It would be the ultimate tragedy to me, if he forsook his formerly noble trial lawyer's life for the seedier variety. If he turned his gifts not to helping the poor, but to defending someone like Landmark Forum or James Ray International. Which is often one of the few avenues open to lawyers disgraced from the nobler aspects of the profession.

(Incidentally, Mr. Ray has now hired former Clinton advisor Mark Fabiani as his new PR man...could that be an omen?)
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