Life 102 (book)
|Life 102: What to Do When Your Guru Sues You|
|Publisher||Prelude Press, Los Angeles|
|Dewey Decimal||158/.092/2 B 21|
|LC Classification||BP605.M68 M39 1994|
Life 102: What to Do When Your Guru Sues You is a controversial book by the best-selling self-help author Peter McWilliams. Couched in the tone of the author's Life 101 self-help books, it levels a series of personal allegations against John-Roger (Roger Delano Hinkins), founder of the Movement of Spiritual Inner Awareness (MSIA) and Insight Seminars.
These allegations caused the book, self-published in 1994 under McWilliams' Prelude Press imprint, to itself become the subject of litigation for libel. Remaining copies were withdrawn from sale. The volume discusses in detail McWilliams's own experiences over a 15-year period:
As much as we like to think that we are independent-minded, free-willed, autonomous individuals, the fact remains that some part of us is still susceptible to programming.
Programming can happen to anyone. Intelligence, education, common sense, belief, or convictions offer little protection. All it takes is repetition (the slow route) or vulnerability (the fast route) and, eventually, we're hooked. Master programmers - from cult leaders to cigarette companies to government agencies - do both, as often as possible, whether you like it or not.
Ironically, the more immune to programming you think you are, the more susceptible you become.
McWilliams describes his struggle with depression, and claims that Hinkins promised him "spiritual healing" in exchange for crediting "John-Roger" as co-author of a series of self-improvement manuals which later made the New York Times best-seller lists.
Hinkins sued McWiliams for libel, and in due course obtained full rights to Life 102'. The volume has been out of print ever since. When the book later appeared on another website without permission, McWilliams sent a notarized letter requesting the site owner remove it:
[T]he content of the book is no longer one with which I would like to have my name associated. [...] When I left MSIA, I thought it was John-Roger who deceived me, so my anger poured out, rather lavishly, on him. In fact, the larger deception was that there is a God at all, and for that I have a lot more people and institutions to blame than John-Roger [...] As "religious leaders" go, John-Roger is on the benign side. As I see it, the Pope, for example, is far, far more dangerous.
McWilliams died in June 2000.