A proposed alternative to traditional religious ideologies, focusing on the inherent godliness of every human being.
Johnson (The Human Ego: Who Do You Think You Are?, 2012) begins his spiritual manifesto with a bang, challenging readers to accept that “the vast majority of our beliefs are based upon lies.” Through a pastiche of Freudian psychology, biblical exegesis, medicine, semiotics, astrophysics, pantheism and popular culture, he goes on to outline his philosophy of human experience: Most are governed by their egos/selves/subconscious minds when they should be in unity with their souls/beings/consciousnesses; religious beliefs are simply dictated by our parents and culture and are rigidly enforced by our controlling subconscious minds; we have erroneously ascribed human attributes to a divine essence that resides innately in all human beings and is derived from the air we breathe and the sun that lights our planet; and we must let go of fear about the past and future and be conscious in the moment in order to save ourselves and our world from a “sub-conscious Hell on Earth.” The book seems aimed at those with existing, entrenched beliefs. It seems equally apparent, however, that this target audience, particularly Christian believers, will be unlikely to make it past the first few pages. It’s a potential misstep, in that regard, to suggest people hold on to such “lying beliefs” merely to satisfy a voracious, selfish ego. A softer sell might have more effectively introduced this philosophy that, while admittedly a bit eclectic, embodies some appealing ideas and imagery that might otherwise engage followers of liberal religious traditions. Johnson’s conversational prose is informed by the rhetorical style of the pulpit. Some readers may find that his colloquial interjections effectively lighten up the heavy material, while others may feel they erode the seriousness of his investigation.
Though theoretically written for and aimed at, well, everyone, this book is more likely to find an appreciative audience among the popular philosophy and self-help crowds.