Honestly, do the various grifters, fake gurus, and political pundits believe their own shit? That’s a question I hear a lot in the spheres I run in. Perhaps it says something about the time – or humanity – if we have to ask, “does this libertarian selling crystal shorts that protect your genitals from 5G believe what he’s selling?”
However, I don’t think the issue is one that always has a yes or no answer. The question is what do these grifters believe themselves and what do they want you to believe?
Let’s take a look at some of the bizarre magical/supernatural/New Age practices that set off our bullshit detectors. You know the ones, where someone has “discovered new energy centers via a Lunar download” or provides an insanely complex map of colored rays that connect you to aliens. The stuff that looks wrong in part because it’s described in just the right way to get attention.
Sure it may be a load of holy horse crap, but what happens to people taking these practices seriously? Does it just occupy their minds with crap – so they can be sold more crap? Does it drive dependency on the guru or make your mind mushy? Any of us with some mystical experience know certain practices can really mess you up.
The metaphysical grifters may not believe in their practice. But they do believe it will affect you and it may not be in a way that’s good for you – but it’s good for their bottom line.
The same can be said for political grifters and opportunists who clearly are selling people policies that make believer’s lives worse. People who complain about taxes will vote for politicians who cut taxes on the far more wealthy while raising those of the complainers. Politicians will blame someone of another skin color for drug problems created by giant pharmaceutical companies. It’s very obvious – and it keeps working.
What the grifters sell you works but for them to get power and money. They don’t necessarily believe it but it’s a tool.
And behind all that? Well the grifters and opportunists and gurus may have actual beliefs. I suspect they’re also way more disturbing than many want to admit.
Look at the mystical would-be Space Shamans and Cosmic Love grifters. They’re making bank selling you all sorts of made-up stuff, usually by re-purposing what others do. But how much metaphysical malarkey do they believe? Perhaps they really do think all those controlled souls empower them or that they’re in contact with ancient gods – they just don’t want to spill the goods to their victims.
The political grifters? Well it’s often clear they believe something but they don’t want to admit it. Many a grifter has a barely-disguised philosophy of some kind, though it’s usually “how do I get more power.” They usually have some kind of plan, so something is clearly in their heads..
(For some reason it seems these political types believe more than the New Rage guru types, which is probably worth it’s own exploration.)
Next time you see someone selling Cosmic Witch Ray Charts, Crystal 5G Negating Shoes, or The Solution To Your Money Problems By Electing me don’t ask “do they believe or not.” Ask what they really believe and what they want others to believe.
The two probably don’t line up, but belief is there. Figuring out what is important to understanding them – and dealing with the crap they foisted upon us.
(Shout out to Nonsense Bazaar (https://thenonsensebazaar.com/) for being the core inspiration for this post.)