I’ll retrieve my own soul, thanks

So it’s come to this, has it?

We live in an age where we officially have more money than sense.  We’ve gotten to the point where we must purchase life experiences.

Victims Participants paid $10,000 to  James Arthur Ray, “new age guru”, to engage in a 36-hour “vision quest”.  The vision quest required participants to fast alone in the desert.  This was followed up by a two-hour “rebirthing” experience, during which participants were sealed into a makeshift dry-cleaning bag sweat lodge.

Three people died.  A “channeler” (whatever the hell that is) was called in by Mr. Ray after the incident, and told participants (and presumably, their lawyers), that those who had died during the experience “had left their bodies in the sweat lodge and chosen not to come back because “they were having so much fun””.

I’m not making this up – it was in the New York Times.  Mr. Ray has appeared on Oprah.  This is not some backwater operation.

Leaving aside the legal issues of civil liability or whether or not this constitutes criminal negligence causing death, I think this brings up a number of other serious questions.

How spiritually and intellectually bereft is our society that some of us feel a need to purchase services such as “soul retrieval, vortex healing and dolphin energy healing“?

Can we manufacture life-altering change?  Can someone give it to me for $10,000? 

I suppose that in a world where we have turned love into a commodity, anything is possible.  Why bother having the journey, when you can purchase a ticket directly to the destination?

When I read articles like this, I fear that North American society’s spiritual account is officially overdrawn.


8 Responses to “I’ll retrieve my own soul, thanks”

  1. October 23, 2009 at 1:16 pm

    The only “spirit journey” I’d ever go on is one involving Wayne and Garth.

  2. October 23, 2009 at 1:37 pm

    I know someone who went on not one but TWO of these “vision quests.” Didn’t find your soul the first time around?? No worries—come back to visit us again!

    It’s eerie and kind of funny but most of all SAD.

  3. October 23, 2009 at 2:53 pm

    Wow. Just wow. People are so bored with their time and money they need to resort to this?! Sad, very sad.

  4. October 23, 2009 at 3:33 pm

    I’m trying so hard not to see this as a reflection on the way these people, who are willing to part with 10 grand to experience whatever it is exactly a “vision quest” is supposed to provide, matured. Part of becoming a functioning adult is being able to get your shit in order and create a fulfilling life (possibly with the help of a well trained therapist).

    Side note: Isn’t a “vision quest” what they called it on Family Guy when Peter tried to get the car back from the casino and the tribe who ran it sent him on a BULLSHIT test? That should be a sign that this was a poor life choice, methinks.

    • 8 shoeboxdweller
      October 23, 2009 at 3:39 pm

      Welcome, Dani.

      This incident raises many questions for discussion. For example, did these people know what they were buying? And what would their decision making skills have been like after a long fast in the desert?

      It boggles my mind on so many levels.

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