For many years, I have been studying idols and fans/followers of many sorts. I have been a fan of k-pop and a spiritual student as well. I have noticed a human tendency in myself as well as others to ‘give away my power’ to certain people with labels such as Guru, Psychic, Author, and even the idol in the k-pop domain.
Years ago, when I considered myself a Shawol (fan of SHINee), I would change bias from one member to another. (A bias is the favorite member of a band.) For a while, Jonghyun was my bias. It was unlikely, at the time, for a k-pop band to visit Detroit and I myself am not much of a traveler, so I went onto eBay to buy what I assumed was a signed CD. I wanted to have something they had put their signature on. I bid on a low priced CD was said to have been signed by all the members. I was sure I would be outbid, but I wasn’t. After researching why I discovered the signatures were likely fake. I now have a CD with questionable signatures by all the members of SHINee.
What was this tendency of mine to idolize the idol? Years before, I had idolized certain psychics who were often authors. While I never completely gave my power away to the title of psychic, I noticed the part of me that wanted to do so. I wanted someone to give me life advice because they had taken on the role of the psychic. I assumed that with this role a psychic had access to powers greater than mine. Most psychics would recommend that I either start healing others or take on the role of psychic myself. They saw the power within me. Yet, I did not believe myself more powerful in intuition or hidden powers than the next person. I did not want to take on the responsibility of having another person give me their power because they idolized the title psychic as I had seen the tendency within myself.
From observing many ‘fandoms’ in and outside of the music realm (in the spiritual community, the key word is ‘follower’) I have seen the drawbacks of stepping into my power as a person and having others who do not believe in their own power, give their power away to me. I have seen the great amount of sacrifice that came when another stepped into their power and followed their dream. The greatest risk was becoming another person’s idol while at the same time drawing another individual who was the crusader/anti trying to convince others you were unworthy of holding that power.
When a person idolizes another, they are deciding the human they idolize is better at some quality than they are. They watch the idol sing and dance while saying, ‘I could never look that cool.’ This is giving away power in a different way than giving away one’s life choices to a psychic. Yet, it is still a way of handing your power away. With the suicide of the idol Kim Jong-hyun, I feel his soul is willing to stand in as the archetype representing the sacrifices that an individual goes through in order to be idolized.
In Korea in order to become a K-pop idol, you usually need to sign a contract with an entertainment company that includes so many life restrictions that the idol G-dragon (Kwon Jiyong) of Big Bang is reported to have said it felt like signing his soul away. K-pop idols often give up the ability to go on dates, lose most control over their lives and sometimes are not allowed to carry cell-phones until they become famous enough. This is just the beginning of the drawbacks. Because the idol has signed up to be idolized. A role that comes with fans, saesangs (crazy fans) and antis (people who decide to hate you/slander your name).
I do not think that the average individual puts much thought into the drawbacks of fame. When ‘stars’ talk about it in interviews I often heard a response like, ‘poor little rich person.’ Yet, the individual coming into their power should pay attention to the words of the famous. With power comes the tendency of others to idolize you while others demonize you (slander your name.)
The internet guru Bentinho Massaro becomes another current example of this tendency. People look up his name and the word ‘cult’ all the time. I know because of this posting where I happened to use the word Bentinho and cult. (I can often see the searches used to find a post of mine, which is interesting feedback on what people are searching for.) Now taking the role of ‘guru’ (an archetype all of its own) has similar and different drawbacks to becoming an idol or star, which is also connected to the human act of ‘idolization.’ Idolization is not healthy for the one idolized or the one idolizing.
The bible is known to talk about worshiping idols as a sin. Most do not know the original definition of the word ‘sin.’ The word sin has to do with archery when a person aims for the bullseye but misses. That is the visual that the original word which we translated into ‘sin’ in the bible made the person think of. A better translation of the word might have been ‘to miss the mark.’ Kind of like having a test in school and getting the wrong answer. There is also some mistranslation around the word ‘hell.’ Yet, this is not a post about the bible. I am just reflecting on the bible stating that worshipping idols is missing the mark.
Yet, what of the guru, letting others idolize them? Having others idolize you is part of the guru archetype. Yet, a good guru makes the individual stop idolizing (sooner or later) by reminding them of their own power.
“World As Self” Alan Watts in this lecture tells a story about how a person reaches enlightenment by believing an insurance salesman is a guru. He also points out the guru as a trickster. (Sidenote on video: The breathing part reminded me of this post.) (New Yorker article: August 8, 1959: Zen and the Art of Tennis.)
I mention that idolization is not healthy for the individual idolized. Here we go back to Jonghyun and his fear that if people knew who he really was, they would not like him. They loved the idol version of him that they held in their minds and did not know the real him. They could not look past the idol to see the human. Similarly, idols, gurus, spiritual teachers, anyone who is idolized can develop what psychiatrists call ‘delusions of grandeur.’ Depending on the level of power given over by the one idolizing this can led to cults and even death. We have not even gotten to the role of the anti yet. Or in other circles more commonly referred to as the archetype of ‘the hater.’
In Bentinho’s case, this manifested as a journalist trying to paint him as a narcissist and psychopath. Granted my fear of giving too much power away to Bentinho had to do when I noticed these tendencies in his teachings. People are drawn to Bentinho’s confidence, but with the combination of idolization, I was unsure if he could take on the role of spiritual leader/guru without abusing the power people were giving to him. This is why I am refusing to commit to defending Bentinho. I am instead attempting to teach people about idolization and demonization. I want to be able to stand in my own power without being idolized/demonized.
I have noticed that standing in your power attracts those who want to give their power away. I do not want this. Standing in your own power also attracts those who want to attack your power. To hold a vendetta against you for looking like an idol. There is one comment I remember about Jonghyun’s death that must from been from an anti. “I would take back all the horrible things I said about you and your albums if it would make you alive.”
Under the idol is the human. A human who might try to fit the role of an idol and develop delusions of grandeur. I have heard spiritual leaders use many words to distinguish themselves in their followers from others. In Access Consciousness the word is humanoid. Bentinho and a number of teachers use the word adapt. In actually these are a group of people who might be understood as the wyrd people. Wyrd is the old english word for weird which originally meant something along the lines of ‘of spirit, fate, and destiny.’ It is not an insult as Access Consciousness so kindly taught me.
Access Consciousness is also labeled sometimes as a ‘cult’ by antis. Just one of those keywords an anti uses to dismiss ideas they do not like. Are Universities ‘cults’ because they give out ideas? How can a University teach me about the word wyrd and not be a ‘cult.’ Maybe because we have decided we will accept the University and dismiss all other avenues of thought as ‘cults?’ I am not saying that there are no cults, but the word is so overused by antis that it loses meaning to someone who has followed spiritual teachings for so long.
Look at that, I learned something from Access Consciousness without giving away power. I learned from Bentinho while knowing not to idolize him. In doing so I respected his power while respecting my own. I am not a sheep and I daresay it is time to stop assuming the world is filled with sheep. Every human is a human and I suggest you realize that this word ‘human’ is powerful. Think of the meaning of the word Namaste. ‘I bow to the divine in you.’ It is again often mistranslated to ‘I bow to you.’ Namaste is recognizing the divinity of another.
A more Christian way of getting this idea across would be ‘We are made in the image of God.’ ‘We are part of the body of God.’ Being made by God (in his image) or a part of God is the Christian way of seeing the divine in those around you. If you idolize, stop it. How to do this is something that will take time to learn to do. You have the divine in you. You have your own power. Do not give it away.
Do not give it to another to make choices. Do not give it to the star thinking they shine brighter than you. Do not give it to the author or spiritual teacher who seems so wise. You are wise and developing more wisdom.
(Image of Jonghyun was Fanart by me from years ago. You did well Jonghyun. I hope this post makes you happy and helps your soul in its quest. Enjoy Heaven!)