by Erica M Cornelius

Recently, a great magickal case study cropped up organically on Facebook. It demonstrated why an Outer Adept needs to develop and maintain a bullshit meter. A bullshit meter is a committed practice of rigorously analyzing the evidence for a given statement or belief before integrating it into the fabric of one’s world view. Why is this so important? A person who can’t tell the difference between well-evidenced empirical fact, fiction as allegory, and fiction masquerading as fact also cannot control his or her own ego. That is the thesis of my (Erica M Cornelius’) book ON GETTING A BULLSHIT METER, Or, “If I Remember Lemuria, Will You Pay Me $100 a Year?”

This recent case study involves a complete stranger who believed and blusteringly spread abroad extremely negative “facts” about me without having ever examined the evidence for them. He also failed to ask himself why he might be being fed these poisonous statements, as he so obviously was. He posted these statements about me as if fact on a third party’s Facebook page and doubled down on them when he was challenged.

The question this person should really be asking himself is what is his ego “getting” in exchange for allowing himself to be used as someone else’s pawn?

If you read no further, please take this away: never be satisfied with plausibility when you are confronted with supposed facts. Never simply parrot. Always investigate. Always question. Again, the point isn’t simply to be right, or even well-justified in your beliefs. The real point is to discipline your ego. The myths we swallow whole about our universe are, ultimately, myths about ourselves.

Here’s what happened in this recent case. The complete stranger is a man named Paul Joseph Rovelli. He posted on someone else’s Facebook page a string of false statements about me, many of them strikingly crude and lowly. Among the non-crude was the accusation that I, Erica, am not the author of my own writings, but that Jerry is the real author of my hundreds of articles and several books.

An interesting feature of this accuser is that he has never met me and never exchanged a single word with me. We have never crossed paths in any way before now. The only seemingly evidential statement he made in support of his slander was that “all her supposed writings have your [i.e. Jerry’s] syntax and style.” I would ask Paul either to publish his credentials as a linguistic analyst or else to post the report of whatever expert he consulted. Needless to say, he’s talking out his ass.

Interestingly, none of the things he said about me are based on anything I said in my book. Thus the only possible source of “information” is the person whose honor he claimed to be defending through his posts: Ricardo Flores, AKA Koyote the Blind.

Rovelli says I attacked Flores in print in my book ON GETTING A BULLSHIT METER. Here’s the grain of truth in what Rovelli says: in the course of cathartically unravelling my ego’s attachment to all the silly, pseudo-historical statements on which Flores bases the supposedly spiritual group in which I was involved for well over a decade, I do unmask Flores’ abusive and cult-leader-like behavior.

In the course of misrepresenting himself as an inheritor of an ancient tradition in order to give himself an unearned air of mystery, Flores patched statements together from Carlos Castaneda, Madame Blavatsky, and several other sources, all of which I document in my book. Whereas Castaneda has written some fascinating things that influenced me in my early life, unfortunately he also used bullshit and abuse to manipulate followers and to fool the general public for personal gain. Castaneda’s bullshit and lies have been thoroughly documented by scholars and others whose works I cite in my book. Also documented is the damage Castaneda did to real indigenous communities.

Flores’ bullshit is all documented in my diaries, along with much more damning evidence I held back. If Flores doesn’t like his actions exposed, tough. But the real idiot was me for ever having bought into Flores’ crap. That painful unmasking of my own ego’s investments in his bullshit is the purpose of my having written the book. I wanted to “belong” to a loving family so badly that I sold my soul. Needless to say, my “loving” brothers and sisters of many years for whom I had cut short my other relationships turned their backs on me overnight when I dared to question whether Flores’ shit really might stink, just like anyone else’s. Long story short, they are a cult.

I can understand and even sympathize with Rovelli’s being upset with me for my rough treatment of Flores, since Flores has many good and wonderful qualities, especially while you are useful to him. He is likeable, funny, artistic, smart, and well educated.

But what would explain Rovelli’s allowing himself to be used so uncritically as a vengeance pawn by Flores to get back at me and Jerry, Flores’ ex-teacher who expelled him for extreme misbehavior? That question only Rovelli can really answer. I don’t even know the man. He can only do so by soul searching and undergoing the rigorous process of getting a bullshit meter.

For those interested in the actual Facebook exchange which prompted my comments, along with J. Edward Cornelius’ comments, click HERE.