Nov 6, 2019
The man standing outside my front door was carrying a clipboard and wearing a golden robe. “Not interested,” I said, preparing to slam the door in his face.
“Please,” said the acolyte. Before I could say no he’d jammed a wad of $100 bills into my hand. “If this will buy a few moments of your time.”
It did, if only because I stood too flabbergasted to move. Surely they didn’t have enough money to do this for everybody.
“There is no everybody,” said the acolyte, when I expressed my bewilderment. “You’re the last one. The last unenlightened person in the world.”
And it sort of made sense. Twenty years ago, a group of San Francisco hippie/yuppie/techie seekers had pared down the ancient techniques to their bare essentials, then optimized hard. A combination of drugs, meditation, and ecstatic dance that could catapult you to enlightenment in the space of a weekend retreat, 100% success rate. Their cult/movement/startup, the Order Of The Golden Lotus, spread like wildfire through California – a state where wildfires spread even faster than usual – and then on to the rest of the world. Soon investment bankers and soccer moms were showing up to book clubs talking about how they had grasped the peace beyond understanding and vanquished their ego-self.