Jan 3, 2021

Spirituality is all very well but don't let it turn you into a smug monster

The Guardian
Barbara Ellen
January 2, 2021

"It would appear that the mindfulness movement is overrun by preening narcissists. Who could have guessed? A Dutch study by Roos Vonk and Anouk Visser, entitled An Exploration of Spiritual Superiority: The Paradox of Self-Enhancement, is the first to measure how people feel they’re more advanced than others in terms of wisdom, self-knowledge and psychic intuition.

An investigation involving around 3,700 people found that practices that are supposed to minimise the ego tend to enlarge it and that those who put extra effort into enhancing spirituality – mindfulness retreats, aura-reading, past life-regression – are the smuggest, most self-aggrandising and unbearable of all (I may be paraphrasing a tad there). Such people cling to unmeasurable and irrefutable claims about their innate superiority, such as greater insights into the human condition, deeper compassion for others and more advanced psychic abilities (they sense things, dontcha know!). Most of us will have come across people like this. Roughly 99% will wish that we hadn’t.

These people are sashaying in yoga pants, banging on about “inner peace” and the “true self”, smiling with sad, wise eyes at your earthbound concerns and, the biggest “tell” of all, chiding you for making jokes. The self-styled spiritual hate jokes: they can’t do funny, so they desperately want to stop you using funny against them. Thus, humour, one of the most spiritually enriching qualities, one of the greatest human assets, is demoted to a mere “defence mechanism”. Humour threatens and undermines the professionally spiritual - they need to shut it (and you) down."


No comments: