Why self help matters in 2021. I talk with self help scholar and teacher Mitch Horowitz on AEWCH 137!

12 Jan

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This podcast is only possible because listeners like you support it. Do contribute to my mission by supporting Against Everyone With Conner Habib on Patreon!  Thank you so, so much.

Want to buy the books mentioned on this ep? For Mitch’s books, and other books mentioned on or related to this episode, please go to my booklist for AEWCH 137 on bookshop.org. It will  help support independent bookstores, and the show gets a small financial kickback, too.

Friends,

As 2021 begins, we’re faced with a simple question which you might not have thought of, and it’s a simple question…what do you want? What do you want the world to look like?

While everyone else is stuck in the crazed call out of news items and resistance to what they’re afraid of, what do we actually want to aim for?

My friend Gordon White has observed that “optimism is a spell,” and I agree. 

And?

I think we need to extend that further — envisioning the world as you want draws optimism into the personal world. It gives you the impetus and even the tools and substances to build with. In that vein, it’s also important to think about how you want your year to go.

It’s an impertinent question, almost, isn’t it? With some pagan-horned douchebag on the Capitol steps and the lockdowns and the conflicts, you might think: How dare you want to improve your life this year!

But how can you be effective if you don’t center your vision and center your desires? And how will you even know what you’re against and what you’re not against if you don’t put your desires first?

To flesh out all of this, I asked my friend Mitch Horowitz, new age/occult/self help scholar & writer, back onto the show. I talked to Mitch waaay back on AEWCH 30, and I was so nervous: he was one of the first guests I had on who I didn’t already know well. We had a great time, even if the episode is mostly just me talking. This conversation goes much deeper – and it’s because both Mitch and I have become more and more involved in the ideas we’re passionate about and the experiences we’ve had since then, and it’s really great.

We end up discussing why self help matters now more than ever; what Mitch’s cosmology is; and (at length) leftist attacks on new age, spirituality, and occultism: bad faith arguments that ultimately reveal a leftist desire to lose the battle.

So proud to share this, the first AEWCH guest episode of 2021, with you to set the tone for the year.

ON THIS EPISODE

  • The need to be right as original sin.
  • “We say we want to be listened to, but actually we want to be obeyed.”
  • How can focus on improving our personal lives in such a crazy polarized time?
  • Developing new habits right the fuck now.
  • The spiritual value of cleaning.
  • Why pleasure and happiness matters in discovering your spiritual and social quest.
  • Is it okay to have personal desires in the face of spiritual necessity?
  • “Lord, make me chaste—but not yet.” – Augustine
  • Was the Buddha wrong?
  • Get away from cruel people. And don’t be one!
  • Deleting facebook (WHY HAVE YOU NOT DONE THIS).
  • That time Steve Bannon called Mitch.
  • Leftist hit jobs on occultism.
  • Asking yourself: I/We/Cosmos.
  • What’s Mitch’s cosmology, anyway?

SHOW NOTES

• For more on Mitch, support his patreon. He gets posts so much stuff for his patrons, including his 10 Day Miracle Challenge. And visit the bookshop.org list; he’s edited and introduced countless books, but I’ve included the ones that he’s authored and the ones in which his voice is most prominent. 

• I was so excited to talk with anti-work feminist Kathi Weeks on AEWCH 123. What an honor!

• Such a shame that Franz Bardon’s major works aren’t as readily available as they used to be. That said, you can learn about this important, lesser-known occultist here.

The New Life Foundation is dedicated to the work of Vernon Howard, and there’s plenty on their site about him.

• Byron Katie’s system, The Work, has been instrumental in making me a better person.

• “There can be no doubt that the follower of anthroposophy is by definition an opponent of National Socialism, or at the very least, must remain an outsider to National Socialism.” – Heinrich Himmler

• Here’s a little article on Annie Besant and Gandhi.

• And here’ s Hitler: The Occult Messiah, by Gerald Suster. Suster’s book has some mistakes, but he at least takes the occult seriously as something other than just religious mind-control and stupidity. That said, it’s a very difficult book to get! 

• ON THE OTHER HAND, here’s Shane Burley’s detailing of the opposite of all this…what happens when a rightwing movement hijacks new age/self help tropes.

Camphill communities are some of the most beautiful and loving organizations for people with disabilities and the elderly. If you don’t know much about them, check them out.

Until next time, friends: Do what you want!
CH

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