Outsiders of spiritual bullshit, you are no longer alone! Numerous Instagram accounts are emerging to hit hard where it hurts. Neo-tantra and toxic masculinity, kundalini and the law of attraction, detachment mindset and narcissism, spiritual liberation and pyramid marketing, hippies and neocolonialism, well-being and white privilege, chakras and orientalism, quantum physics and conspiracy theories, food and shaming culture, harem pants and cultural appropriation... everything is scrutinized. But before we dive in, what do I mean by "spiritual bullshit"?
When cognitive dissonance becomes too strong.
What I refer to as "spiritual bullshit" is this ready-to-consume (and subtly guilt-inducing) spirituality propagated by these Western "influencers" (of emptiness) who prefer to settle in tropical locations (Ubud, Goa, Koh Phangan, Tulum, San Marco de Atitlan, Ibiza...) "by choice because fuck Babylon" (but still grateful for their passport and bank account). Distant cousins of the 1980s American self-made men, they've traded their three-piece suits for white linen harem pants that supposedly allow energy to flow, the fax machine for Instagram, cigars and cigarettes for palo santo and sage, yacht parties and prostitutes for donation-based Full Moon Tantric Nights, magnum champagne for detox juices, cocaine for cacao ceremonies, the "fast life" for "going with the flow," and private jets for budget flights—all facilitated by globalization and increasing inequalities (which, let's admit it, allow us to live our best expat-hippie lives). From Jordan Belfort (The Wolf of Wall Street ) to neo-colonial spirituality fueled by narcissism and infused with toxic masculinity that perpetuates rape culture, social and racial inequalities, and individualistic neoliberal thinking... Welcome to the wonderful world of "spiritual bullshit," where cognitive dissonance becomes too strong to hope for a glimpse of liberating wisdom or the famous "change we wish to see in the world."
Who are they? What do they eat? (besides prana).
(Warning: The paragraph below is heavily inspired by vaguely reactionary French weekly press and its repetitive headlines about "the left," "hospitals," "Freemasons," "Arabs," "others," etc. So, get ready.)
They spam you incessantly with their photos and Reels shot on the iPhone 14, their coaching programs (nutrition, yoga, personal development, crypto...) whose techniques bear a striking resemblance to pyramid marketing. Their target: your unhappiness. Their motto: to inspire you to be TRULY yourself (but mostly to resemble them). Their mantra: "speak your truth," which sounds like unrefined white privilege. Their product: themselves, their (staged) success fueled by a heavy dose of narcissism disguised as wisdom. Their promises: bliss, abundance, enlightenment (click on this link, follow my channel, subscribe to my 21-day free program, but in fine (in the end), fork over some cash). Because, as everyone knows, why bother working when you can change the paradigm by twiddling your thumbs in tropical paradise? It would be a shame to miss out on yet another groundbreaking program that claims to break the matrix.
Anyyyyywaaay, they annoy us, they make us feel uneasy without us being able to explain why for years. Sometimes we even wanted to imitate them, thinking it was the right thing to do. Sometimes we were even those people ourselves (yes, self-criticism is necessary!). But gradually, we've deconstructed ourselves (though the journey is still long, otherwise we would have already quit Instagram, stopped posting pretty stories, and not scrolled our screens so much—we wouldn't even be talking about it because we would be so detached...). For now, we're just relieved and bursting with laughter to see these parodic, acerbic, almost mean-spirited accounts multiplying (but fuck it, it feels good). Prepare your matcha, take a deep breath, and feel the gratitude rising within you :
Here are a few Instagram accounts that provide some relief (non-exhaustive selection). Critical thinking and self-derision sold separately.
Colin Yogin : Yoga Focus
Healing from healing : The Most Inspired
Ubud On Acid : The Most Trashy
Evolve + Ascend : a few gems along the way
Hayla Wong : la repentie
Team Perchée : The best (french) puns
We'll let you continue to delve at your own pace into the vortex of deconstructing spiritual narcissism. Just be aware that it can also be highly addictive, so consume it in small doses!