This is neither a sniveling bleat in support of, nor a swivel-eyed rant against the youth of today. The tag Generation Moi doesn't define any specific age group, but applies across a broad spectrum of society. Those to whom this label attaches share a common belief - in the power of self help.

Self help, self awareness, self fulfillment, self, self, self. It's all about me, or as the pretentious, the French and Miss Piggy would have it, moi.

So what's the problem with self help (or personal development, to use a more contemporary term)? Well, aside from the obvious and unattractive selfish aspects, it's doomed to fail. Yes, you read that right - personal development is more likely to screw you up than make you a more successful/fulfilled/better/thinner/richer [delete or augment as appropriate] person.

Why is this? Well it depends upon which particular swamp of fetid dung your own brand of self help has its roots planted in. There's a choice of two.

If you sway more towards counseling, therapy, group support and general acknowledgement that life/your parents/your spouse/circumstances in general [delete etc...] have dealt you a poor hand then you'll be wanting to get with the "victim" program.

If on the other hand you favor controlling your destiny, manifesting wealth by harnessing the law of attraction and a slew of other idiotic New Age ideas then sign up for "empowerment".

Both options offer a thick sprinkling of pseudo science and bogus logic at no extra cost. And both are guaranteed never to fail. That's right - the program can never fail. But you can.

And that is what makes this stuff so potentially harmful. What if your journey into self help doesn't, well, help? Do you think that would be because the system itself doesn't actually perform as claimed or, instead, because you didn't do it right?

You're up against the Guru's New Garments - the truth that cannot be told. And it's just you versus an entire industry and millions upon millions of devotees who buy the books, subscribe to the websites, attend the inspirational speeches, and generally provide overwhelming "evidence" to validate this toxic cauldron of half-baked theories and deranged advice. Welcome to the "eat more shit, how wrong can all those flies be?" school of thought.

The fact is that whichever form of personal development you opt for, both make promises they cannot possibly deliver. What this means of course is that they can never match reality with expectation, which is always interpreted as *you* failing to make the grade. You were instructed how to apply the so called law of abundance (or similar Nonsense du Jour) to become successful, wealthy and fulfilled; you're still self evidently none of those things, ergo you're a failure. It always ends this way.

But that's alright, because there's always another method, book, guru to set you back on track again. The real tragedy though is that Generation Moi end up, one way or another, so into helping themselves that they miss a crucial point about being human. Which is that we help ourselves far more when we help others.