Maybe I signed up for a free product some time ago. I don’t remember I may not even have read it but one of the newsletters or ads that appears regularly in my email is something from Eric Robison of the Higher Balance Institute. Robison is the business partner of New Age guru Eric Pepin. Together they sell Pepin as an enlightened master with the answers to Life the Universe and Everything and psychic abilities too. The HBI website is a good example of the way spirituality is marketed. I looked up Robson/Pepin and found the following insightful observation from an anti-cult worker:
Steven Hassan, a former high-ranking member of the Moonies who now helps victims get out of cults, says there are literally thousands of self-styled gurus pushing their products online. Boosted by the power of the Internet, and by our own growing dissatisfaction and loneliness as individuals, people like Pepin have found a market niche that increasingly tunnels straight to the heart of mainstream America.
“People have lost faith in a lot of existing institutions, whether it’s the Catholic Church and their pedophilic priests, or the U.S. government, or their own economic security,” Hassan says. “People are extremely vulnerable to someone who comes along and who says in a very confident voice that they know what is going on in reality, and that they can give you the window into that knowledge.”
It’s worth reading the whole article by James Pitkin.
People have a sincere need for self transcendence and this is exploited by those who can bundle old knowledge, spice it up with fantastic promises and sell it as a shiny new product.