posted on May, 17 2010 @ 09:52 AM
I'm currently finishing my third book, which talks specifically about the self, in modernity. In particular I discuss the idea of true authenticity
which means that I have to discuss contemporary ideas about it, this includes the likes of Dr. Phil, Andrew Cohen and Eckhart Tolle (as well as
others, mostly scientists.)
Being a Philosopher and a thorough professional, I had to study the works of these people without prejudice. So, in short, I'm not sure there is a
more resourceful person to answer this question than I. I'm very surprised by some of the responses on this thread, particularly by some of the
people I know on here.
I won't waste any of your time discussing Cohen or Phil, you seem content in contemplating the charlatan level of Mr. Tolle.
The problems I have with Tolle all fall into interpretation and direction. Let us start with Ego. Most of the comments on here obviously come from
people who have no idea what the psychological portion of the minds make up known as ego is.
Many of you seem only able to think of Ego as "the part of you that thinks you're awesome." (Or something like that.) This is easily noted in
comments like "I have no ego." "So and so is all ego." etc. So let's start there.
You ARE your ego. No ego, no you. Period. If you would like to actually know what ego is, verses superego and Id, (the constituents of the mind,) you
would benefit from a first year college psychology textbook.
Secondly, here is an excerpt from my book about Authenticity, and the marketing of it....
"The term “Authentic Self” is valid and there is certainly a very real opportunity to make money by selling pathways to it, but the definition
being touted by its proponents is inaccurate. So you have Dr. Phil talking about Authentic Self as “who you were created to be instead of who you
were taught to be...”1 You may have seen Eckhart Tolle, spiritualist and author on the Oprah Winfrey show teaching that our ego’s are products of
our experiences and possibly should not be trusted, certainly at the least scrutinized. Both basically the same argument, ‘you are a product of your
paradigms and they require evaluation.’ It turns out that we agree with each other, even to the point of creationism. But the problem with many of
these works is that there is still a leap of faith insisted upon us. Not that my issue is that Dr. Phil uses the word “created,” (he could after
all mean ‘biologically created,’) or that Mr. Tolle goes on to re-interpret the New Testament Bible, attempting to apply validity to his theories.
I’d be guilty of wearing the same blinders as they if I were to argue with them and I’m not here to take anything from anyone. (None of us can
prove or disprove the existence of God.) Is a classical psychotherapist’s opinion any more valuable than a spiritualist if the topic is the human
worth of globalization with centralized governance? What if we ask these two to help determine the value of truth versus the value of selling
The individualistic approach of the new age self-help movement, also denies much of the source of our self-defeating behaviour, namely the influence
of society. It’s important to stress that I am not claiming that the tenets of any particular faith are invalid, I’m arguing that the requirement
of faith in order to explain fact is. (Besides, you’re going to find that even the facts are fantastic enough...) Further to this question of
psychological vs. philosophical authenticity, even from the academic crowd, it seems that the determination of the self from the self continues to
dominate the field. In a paper published in 2008 called “The Authentic Personality: A theoretical and Emprircal Conceptualization and the
Development of the Authenticity Scale,” the authors attempt to quantify and qualify “Authenticity.” While it is the most recent and scientific
paper available on this subject it continues to completely miss the philosophical questions of self and determines that only we can decide if we are
being authentic to ourselves. While this paper does address what it calls, “accepting external influence” and is agreeably concerned with
authenticity as integral to well-being, it does not, at any moment, in any way, admit to the value of anti-social engineering. The paper essentially
concludes that if influence is internalized, to deny this influence is to alienate the self in an internal conflict that leads to psychopathology
(mental problems.) While I essentially agree with this determination, this psychological point of view fails to look outwardly at any general
causation. I have to ask, “What if external influences are lying to you?” “What if you don't know what it is you believe?” “What if you are
lying to yourself because of submitting to external forces?” These are the types of questions that psychology cannot address except through trusting
you know what is best for you. I'm not belittling the science of psychology nor denying the value of therapy, I just happen to know that the goals of
treatment are to disclose motivations and then change you so that you can function normally in an abnormal world. (I think we can do better.)"
Sorry that this passage wanders from our discussion on Mr. Tolle, but I thought it relevant to exemplify my thoroughness of subject...
Now, as for Mr. Tolle himself. He is not an expert. He is someone who got lucky and he is guilty of misinterpretation. For instance, he speaks of
"vibrations of consciousness," but has no understanding of quantum mechanics.
He's paradoxical. As I mentioned in the above passage, he teaches in "the power of now" that our "ego's" are products of our experiences and
possibly should not be trusted. Then proceeds to offer interpretations of possibly untrustworthy paradigms in the form of teaching off Buddha and
Jesus. In otherwords, we shouldn't be listening to our innervoices, they could be lying. But we should listen to him, or Buddha or Jesus, because
they are our pathways to our authenticity.
THEN, in the same book says, "Consciousness is formless and unknowable, the question of what it is, is unanswerable."
If you are a reasonably intelligent person, and you actually read his work, take notes on what he's saying and then look at those notes, while there
might be actionable little gems of insight, (that he literally stumbled upon, or stole,) you will find that Eckhart actually makes little sense.
Fortunately, for him, the world is full of sheep.
[edit on 17-5-2010 by briantaylor]