Building Pyramids With Buddha
Today I went to a job interview from a Craigslist listing that was a little bit misleading. The post was written as if the position was a conventional job, but once I got there I quickly realized it was in the multi-level marketing format. Better known as a pyramid scheme. Basically, a commissions only sales gig with a push to recruit others so that you became a “manager.” It’s the third MLM scheme I’ve been exposed to. I don’t mind MLM companies so much, but I did mind being lied to. I have also been involved with a couple of educational companies that use a similar model. I’ve learned valuable and powerful distinctions from them, but I have never cared for the push to bring others into the fold.
As I left the interview I realized there is a similarity between MLM companies and how spirituality and religion is sometimes propagated. Especially in online social media. I have often gone into a Facebook group for the first time and been assaulted with comments, and direct messages about what I should be reading, who I should be studying, and what practices I should be doing. Often, the first thing that strikes me as funny is that nearly 90% of the time these well-meaning strangers come at me with books I’ve already read, teachers I’ve already investigated, or practices I’ve already done (or am currently doing.) The second thing that becomes apparent is how convinced they are that they’ve found the best book, teacher, or practice, and how all others are inferior. They don’t usually come out and say that no other method actually works, but it’s fairly obvious between the lines that they believe that to be the case. Many of them also want to occupy the role of, if not a teacher, at least senior student. They offer to take you under their wing, and direct you in the correct way towards “enlightenment”, “liberation”, “realization”, or whatever. The idea that something else might work better for someone else often seems like a foreign concept.
Luckily for me, one of my favorite teachers is Robert Anton Wilson. He has schooled me well in the wisdom of model agnosticism. Of not cleaving blindly to one single model (of spirituality, of religion, of finance planning, or of whatever). There have been occasions where I have forgotten the lesson, and been that ass hat who insists there is a “one true way”, but Uncle Bob is always whispering in my ear and I get back on track eventually.
The best any of us can do is what works best for us. Assuming what works for us will necessarily work for someone else is not only foolhardy, it’s kind of insulting.