Saturday, July 25, 2009

Love Everyone, Trust a Few!

These days, every day seems to bring with it yet another test of man's ability to withstand the news without indignation or anger. I am not sure what you felt after seeing three rabbis and three mayors from the state of New Jersey led away in handcuffs after an undercover FBI sting operation uncovered bribes and the selling of human organs.

This was not an episode of the Sopranos, it was not a mafia deal gone bad, these were citizens occupying positions of trust. So what to make of this.

Well, I have been saying on media interviews since the financial meltdown that this was just the tip of the iceberg, and that there were more Bernie Madoffs and more of what the world of business of the past decade has been producing. And there is still more to come.

Eliot Spitzer was indeed on to something, unfortunately he had indiscressions, but his credibility as a district attorney must never be underestimated.

And now Canada has our own Bernie Madoff, Earl Jones, who has bilked millions out of their life savings in another Ponzi scheme. So how do celebrities like Oprah Winfrey and alleged self help gurus play a role in these mounting crimes?

The world of business has been operating for many years on auto pilot., And despite what we would like to believe , it still is. Familiar behaviour is hard to break. The addiction to money and power is also difficult to break, because there is nothing else to replace it for many people in their lives. Religion isn’t an answer, because most of the Mafia kingpins are devout Roman Catholics, and as we have seen even ultra orthodox Jews are falling victim to crime. Some of Enron swindlers were devout Christians.

It’s rather comedic, and in some ways tragic when Oprah Winfrey, the self proclaimed Goddess in the U.S., especially in the eyes of American women, and mother of all that is right and holy continues to send double messages to her worshipping fans.

The network last week aired a show in which she had couples challenging them to get rid of “stuff” and to go for a week with not driving their cars and walk their kids to school.. Also, no T.V. for a week. The message was to stop buying things and appreciate what they had.

The same Oprah who got upset at Nordstrom’s for not opening the store early so she could go on a private spending spree. So Oprah closes the show by challenging everyone in the audience to stop buying “more stuff”, and to appreciate what they already have. Nice idea. Except immediately after the shows credit s, the announcer tells everyone about the Oprah Summer Giveaway- Cars, refrigerators, vacations, blackberries, all kinds of STUFF. And then right on cue the audience leaps up and starts screaming, and waving their hands like scenes from a Baptist Bible Revival gathering. And guess who is leading the charge, edging them on, the Queen of all that is good and right, Oprah herself.

And so you wonder why America has lost its way! The images keep repeating themselves. It’s a losing game for people who worship false idols and truly are addicted to money, power and success. And then there is Donald Trump, the self proclaimed guru of the financial world, who was quoted in a book about his life, as being a millionaire, not a billionaire. He sued the author, claiming it ruined his reputation.

How many more lessons, how many more idols must people worship to get the message that it is time to turn away from those who are narcissistic and ego driven to the point where they take everyone who is desperate enough to follow them down the dark road to financial and personal destruction.

I encourage you to read Desiderata again and the eight fold path of the Buddha and you will see how easy it is to change your perspective on things. It just requires breaking the addiction to celebrities and “gurus” of all types disguised as saviors. And yes, even the President of the United States, or for that matter any politician.

As the Dalai Lama says; “Love everyone,trust a few”.

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