Writers such as Scott Peck, Ransky and others see the New Age spiritual movement as a form of narcissism, and this is why it attracts so many narcissistic adherents. New Age philosophy is predicated with the idea that there is no personal god, hence you are not answerable or accountable to any other deity or higher power than yourself, or some universal life force. There is no sin, no need for shame, no evil, all of which are constructs of a controlling, scandal ridden church state. We each are elevated to being gods, we just need to realise that and become that. Once we start behaving as gods(which is the narcissistic aim or goal), we are liberated. We do not need to apologise to anyone, nor have conscience beyond the concept of a positive intention.
If you in your pursuit of godhead, run over someone else and damage or offend them, then well, too bad, that’s their stuff, karma or issue, and you are not accountable to them, only yourself. You are better placed to yell at them “stop being a victim!!” as you drive off down the road as that is enlightened awareness they obviously need. We are all one but in that I am number one and if the universe has not proven infinitely abundant to you, well then that’s your stuff, but keep your hand off my stash!! This is all narcissistic in the extreme but it’s now the prevailing myth and replacement for authentic spiritual discipline that most lazy westerners embrace.
There is no need for discipline or restraint in this path, it’s just what you want, when you want it, as the universe is abundant and infinite. This is narcissistic heaven, but now plagues us in society with its extension now being felt everywhere, where everybody has all personal freedoms and rights, but let’s not talk about the equally relevant responsibilities. Personal responsibility has broken down from this place, and the New Age movement is a key driver in this change(Tucker:2008).
Another key form of manipulation is the New Age perversion of the concept of there being no evil and no such thing as a victim. In this contrived reality there is nothing outside you that can be blamed for your circumstance, for that makes you a victim, and victims are powerless. The New Age theme is to take back your power by putting the cause of the problem back inside you in every instance and every case. This logic to me needs a boundary between the truth of unconscious dynamics that we recreate in our lives which may keep us powerless and victims, and the true evil of outside premeditated intent and action against oneself by another. Scott Peck and Elsa Ronningstam both warn of this fallacy of removing a perpetrator or abuser from their accountability, and instead taking on the issue as one’s karma or self generated issue. They note this being a limited truth not applicable to all dynamics or situations.
They note that Narcissists and “people of the lie” are adept at creating justifications and psychologies that allow the leader to abuse the follower, then to doubly abuse them by telling them to stop being victims and see the deeper dynamic which is of their own darkness, lower self or some other origin. The abusive leader will claim that if the problem lies outside of you then you somehow are deluded and have a problem or you are being righteous.
You are a true spiritual warrior, or virtuous or humble if you take it on every time as it only really being about you. How do we tell such a message to a child who was sexually abused, or a person whose partner gets caught in a bushfire and dies in that inferno? New agers tend to retreat into unaccountable explanations from channelled spirits or dubious quantum physics principles which are hard to challenge, and even harder to understand for average folk. There is no consensus about the role of spirit and consciousness in quantum physics, or even that quantum physics principles exist above the sub-atomic level of reality(Wolf:2003). New Agers create facts where there are none, turning faith into objective fact, and narcissists are not far behind(Ransky:1998).
Narcissistic self help leaders and cults often employ this double bind of victim denial on their followers and “sidekicks”. In this reality the abusing leader is unaccountable for their actions or lacks compassion for the plight of the victim, then pins the issue on the victim, and tells them to stop being a victim!! This is a form of denial of reality and mind control. A more subtle form is a shared reality of “what is your 50% in this issue”. Tucker(1999) and Ransky(1998) both note the psychological damage that this particular form of new age psychology causes to victims, and both authors are explicit in their claim that narcissists operate from pre-meditation in their actions, and they do in fact create victims who are both unsuspecting and innocent of involvement. In these dynamics the only co-creation was to put misplaced trust on the abuser. Scott Peck argues that evil exists and manifests in the conscious actions of some people.
Narcissists by definition are never wrong and never apologise for key actions and inactions on their part. Deflecting and rerouting a complaint back to the complainant, then pathologising the person till they retreat confused, defeated and humiliated or shamed, is a trait that narcissistic self help and spiritual leaders use to control their followers(Ransky:1998), and Narcissists employ on domestic partners in relationships.
In summary, it can be seen that unhealthy narcissistic people are deceptive and who can go through life largely undiagnosed, and who can be on appearance sane, rational and charismatic, often achieving success in their field. However on closer inspection one finds under this mask of grandiose perfection and self righteousness, a dark shadow of deceit, manipulation, self serving, lying, and potentially criminal behaviour that acts without remorse or compassion or consideration for others. Indeed they may devour and possess others as a means to get power, status, wealth and other externalised symbols of success. The worst types resist healing and cannot authentically be compromised or bargained with. They are truly “people without feelings”.