Archive for January, 2013

18
Jan

How does Lance Armstrong compare to James Arthur Ray?

   Posted by: Britt    in General

I thought the Lance Armstrong interviews were fascinating. I tend to err on the side of trust, so I tend to believe in Armstrong’s remorse. His was a colossal fall from grace.

A similar fall happened to James Arthur Ray, an entrepreneurial guru featured in The Secret and really rocket-launched to fame through an interview with Oprah (Feb 8, 2007).

On October 8, 2009, three people died in one of his sweat lodges (a five-day, where about 50 people paid $9,000 to $10,000 per ticket). Colleen Conaway committed suicide in an earlier event. Ray was a crook and a shyster who did have some good things to offer. But for the most part, his credentials were almost all fake (like many in the Law-of-Attraction business). When in court, JAR’s tactic was deny-deny-deny. Keep your mouth shut, head down. His defense team even went so far as to get an expert to speak to the possible presence of organophosphates on location as a possible contributor to the deaths of his students.

Putting Lance Armstrong side-by-side with James Arthur Ray, I am impressed that Lance Armstrong admitted doping and is contrite. He too had a lot to offer, especially when it comes to the amount of money he raised for Cancer research. I DON’T think he should be resurrected as a hero. I don’t think he should be given an easy out. He let a lot of people down.

The hole he dug is MASSIVE, and his sense of entitlement was equally massive. And repaying his debts (beyond finances, into the emotional with personal relationships) will take a whole bunch of time.

I also happen to think that most of us have experienced entitlement to some degree. I know I won’t be throwing the first stone here.

I am not saying that he should be instantaneously forgiven. He wreaked havoc of an unimaginable scope. He damaged reputations, legally and personally. He falsely lashed out at others, leveraging his FALSE image to intensify the both the wrath and the damage that was inflicted. I’m fine if his ban is for life. He cannot wipe this slate clean with a single apology.

I am saying that I need to live in a world where we believe people can change. No in a la-la fairy-land, everyone-must-feel-good sort of way. There are people who cannot. Psychopaths for one. Because they (as far as our understanding goes) live in a mental state where the world-view is completely different from the one in which most of us reside (ie, total lack of empathy accompanied by an unfalterable sense of entitlement).Our corporate world is heavily infested with these types. There is, of course, much conversation about whether or not Lance is psychopathic. I am not qualified to go there.

Granted, Lance’s change ONLY came about because the massive fall from grace was scientifically and undeniably presented. And even the time that it took for him to own up was painfully prolonged for the people he affected. A simple, public apology will by itself not put things right. It’s a start, but time will tell if there’s “momentum” behind this swing.

It is impossible for us to see anything beyond the surface of a person. The recent unveilings of the Jimmy Savile’s sexual predatory nature is crystal clear evidence of that. And the bullet-proof facade build around Dominique Strauss-Kahn, a known misogynistic womanizer. Without a personal admission, we’ll never know what’s really real. And then, as in the case with Lance, arises the question, “Is it believable.”

On a much much smaller scale, I can look at my own life. I have lived through my own sense of entitlement. Indeed, every time we buy something knowingly manufactured in China or Taiwan, odds are we are contributing to near slave-labour and the oppression of women and children. But then we in turn think of how hard we worked for our money, and how we need to stretch a dollar in order to survive to the next paycheque. In most cases, this is grossly exaggerated. Regardless, it’s a sense of entitlement that directly and indirectly damages others.

Also, there’s the team of two who are directly responsible for the events in my life that led to bankruptcy. The short version is that they learned a quick way to make money, which was to “teach” people about their entitlement to wealth. It was very standard Law-Of-Attraction stock. I did not know that at the time. But having since delved heavily into the teachings of T. Harv Eker, James Arthur Ray, Jack Canfield and the like, it quickly becomes apparent that it’s one voice with a slightly different drone. And very effective at that. And the handful of success stories continue to uphold the lie that “anyone can do it if you just think positive,” propped up by half truths backed by false stories of successes (fake-it-till-you-make-it is a perfect example touted by Anthony Robbins, effective and necessary on one hand — ie you need to believe in yourself — and a complete and utter lie on the other, esp. when you start to manipulate the lives of others).

This team of two convinced me (and many others) to invest money in these sure-bet investments. They used their own lives as proof of their success (turned out to be a lie, they were faking it till they would some day make it, and I suspect that most of their income came from commissions on investments and teaching their courses), and wickedly effective marketing. Most of their investments were duds. Most people (like me) lost all their equity and fell deeply into insurmountable debt.

The team of two fall heavily on the mantra used by Law-Of-Attraction types, which is to say that if LOA doesn’t work for you, you must be doing something wrong. Thus, an apology will never be forthcoming.

A part of me believes that this team of two was naively and genuinely interested in helping others. They got caught up in their own social sense of doing good for others, and bucking the system that “wants you to stay poor so that they (ie banks) can get rich.” If they themselves became rich along the way, all the better. And when their mini empire crumbled, they resorted to lashing out and blaming others. Kind of like what James Arthur Ray is doing, sitting in prison, convicted of the lesser charge of manslaughter. Whereas an apology to me would have gone a long way. I cannot undo what has happened to me. But boy oh boy would an admission of their responsibility have gone a long way with me toward forgiving this team of two. I’ve let go much of my anger since it does nothing for me, but not all.

Lance Armstrong does not exist for me as an individual human being. I don’t know him as a person and don’t care to. He’s a sports superstar elevated to success by a public’s crazy need for heroes and sports champions. In a week’s time, I won’t even be thinking about him. He will never be short of money as his biography and following Hollywood flick will ensure a steady income. He leveraged his cancer story quite nicely and have no doubt this tragedy will be converted to cash in too. I have no doubt in my mind that he consulted with a lawyer before hand to mitigate the damage. He’s a smart, crafty and manipulative person.

Perhaps naively, I am believing the surface presentation. In part because many of the people who do inflict massive damage spend all their efforts on publicly denying their dark sides in order to preserve the shining light of their (falsely constructed) surface saint. What Lance did by admitting and apologising was very unusual for people of his level of fame and wealth. James Arthur Ray is currently in jail doing time, still professing his saintliness.

I see the apology as unique, and yes, somewhat genuine. At least I hope so, though I can also see how, after years of lies and lashing out and damaging the lives and reputations of others, it is hard to swallow. If it’s genuine, it’s a start (start being the keyword here). If it’s a salvaging tactic to gain sympathy and support without any genuine remorse, then it’s very very sad. Time will tell. Maybe.

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