There’s something purely American about our obsession with self-help. A multi-billion dollar industry of modern day alchemists. It seems almost like religion to its adherents and worshipers. But different in one important way. Religions – in an ideal and frankly fantastical sense – try to give meaning and order to everyday life. They create malleable stories that explain the questions reason can’t answer. Self-help is more about seeking justification or permission to ultimately be whatever you want to be. It provides the confidence necessary to find comfort in relative normalcy. It can act like a system wrapped in snake oil and circular psycho babble to rationalize success or failure in everyday situations. It preys on the intended joy we want to experience perpetually in our present days.
I wonder if other countries and cultures invest as much time, money, and effort in this kind of junk. Do they put as much credence into what is nothing more than multi-media tarot card reading paired with middle manager training curriculums?