Transformational self-help guru who caused the deaths of three clients is arrested
PRESCOTT, Ariz.(Fox News)—Self-help guru James Arthur Ray, organizer of last year’s fatal sweat lodge incident in which three people died, has been arrested on manslaughter charges.Makes sense. The news reports about that “sweat lodge” and what was going on inside it (see this and this) sure sounded criminal to me.
This incident can be understood as an extreme manifestation of the Vitalist stage of Nihilism, as described by Eugene (Fr. Seraphim) Rose, whose simple yet profound account takes us into the heart of so much of modern culture. Rejecting any notion of a transcendent moral truth, the Vitalist type of Nihilist seeks an expansion of “life” and “self-realization” through ever intenser excitement and marginal experiences. In this case, James Ray, the Vitalist prophet/guru/self-help technician, put his clients in plainly life-threatening conditions, based on the idea that the more extreme their experience, the greater their chance of a breakthrough to a new level of self-realization and power. The quest for ever greater “life” in the absence of a recognition of moral truth, and of the self-restraint that comes from that recognition, leads, over and over, to death.