The Selfishness of “My Path”

It’s probably no surprise to those that know me, but I have many bugbears with the New Age movement. However, no bug is so big to bear for me as the concept of one’s individual ‘path’.

And I know, I get it. For those that don’t feel they belong sufficiently to a specific religious tradition to adopt the label, the words ‘my path’ are a convenient way of talking about what you do and believe. Your ‘journey’, in other words.

Not that I’m a fan of the term ‘journey’ in this context either, but that’s another conversation for another time.

However, I think when you start thinking in terms of individual paths, it’s not going to be too shocking when you also start to consider those not on your path as being either intersecting forces, or people to help you on your way. In fact, I *know* some people that think like that. Hell, I’ve been on the receiving end of an angry ‘my path-er’ for not playing what they saw as my role as being a helpful means to an end on their spiritual path.

And that right there, in this society of selfishness, is where the problem lies. It’s spirituality meeting the ‘people-as-means-to-an-end’ mentality of corporate retail culture in which instead of seeing others as rational beings that are (to paraphrase Kant)’ ends as themselves’, you treat them as means to your own ends. When you treat others in this way, what then is the difference between how you treat other humans and inanimate objects? Honestly, I fail to see how anyone can ‘develop spiritually’ with such a mentality.

Moreover, if you really care so much about your own path, what of family? What of children? What of community?

After all, if you’re only caring about your own individual path, what time do you have for others? It’s all about *your* enlightenment, *your* development, *your* progression along the path.

Me. Me. Me