Leviathan 10: You’re not a Sainted Prophet.

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In the years that I spent on the right-hand path, I learned that there’s one thing that bothers fortune-tellers than anything else: Money. Fortune-tellers of the right-hand path do everything within their power to avoid confronting the reality that they are confidence artists who sell nothing but white smoke and empty mirrors. Because knowledge of their true nature is hidden beneath the surface of their waking lives, they must find other ways to alleviate their moral guilt—and the most courteous and faithful scapegoat is always money.

Every so often, the fortune-tellers of the right-hand path figuratively gather in the town square to curse a black goat with their sins and spit their self-contempt upon it before flogging it with switches and chasing it into the wilderness where it will be eaten by the wolves of the outer darkness. The reason for this is so self-evident that it's astonishing none of those beating the gracious beast can see it for themselves: they feel guilty because they fear that they aren't giving anything of value. 

The least intelligent among these fortune-tellers will alleviate guilt by claiming that they are sainted priests or priestesses who are working as servants to preserve the highest good. They may also anoint themselves healers who have been entrusted to convey psychic messages for the continuing evolution of mind, body, and spirit. Because their work is just so damned holy, it's wrong to charge a fee. Everybody needs their services, and if they charge a fee then somebody somewhere isn’t able to pay and that’s just not fair!

The more skilled performers will argue that it's appropriate to collect a fee because they're charging for their time—just like any other professional—but instead of naming themselves priests and prophets, they'll take the more modern appellations of psychotherapist, counselor, and even life-coach. These fortune-tellers want the respectability of accepted professionals, but also the mysticism of the occult.

There’s not much of a middle ground between these two camps. Consider, for example, that in Christianity women can only really be one of two things: a virgin Madonna, or a sinful whore. The narrative force of the Bible pushes women against their will toward either an an impossible ideal or an undesirable reality. A whore resents Madonna for her perfection, and Madonna pities the whore for her corruption. Likewise, holy prophets deride secular analysts for their lack of spiritual compassion, and the secular analysts look down their noses at the superstitious delusions of the god-speakers. In both examples, each extreme demands that anybody standing in the middle pick a side.

So instead of coming right out and either talking about the fact that none of them have yet won the lottery, prevented a terrorist attack, predicted a natural disaster, or claimed Mr. Randi's $1,000,000 challenge, they'll always come back to their favorite fight: money. Well, I say that if you're going to pick a side, you should pick the third side. And what of money? Don't you want money? Aren't you motivated by the material reward that comes from your talents as a lesser magician? 

You don't need to hide from yourself by pretending to be a priest, saint, holy seer, head-shrink, life coach, or psychotherapist. Just be yourself! If it enhances your deception, you can surely call yourself those things in the company of your sitters, but in your own company you can freely declare that you are none of those at all. So what if I'm motivated by fame, money, and power? I think that everybody is motivated by fame, money, or power, and I challenge you to prove otherwise.

Don’t let these things be a source of guilt that causes you to hide behind a scapegoat made of dollar bills. Claim and use your power, because to do otherwise is a shameful exercise in self-denial.