January 12, 2021

I Know the Dude with the Horns.


I have to admit that I spent quite some time in my life surrounded by shady people.

That being said, I don’t know Jake Chansley in person, but it feels as if I have met him before.

He is just the tip of the iceberg. He is the archetype of a special kind of man. He is the person most of us never took seriously.

I lived in a yoga community in Costa Rica for almost four years and taught yoga for 10 years. During that time, I met some interesting people who remind me of Chansley. None of them stormed government buildings (yet), but they are somehow still part of the movement around the QAnon Shaman.

Many of us are amused about the news that Chansley got arrested—actually, he turned himself in. It seems even funnier that his mom had to step in and demand organic food for her son. I wonder what the family of George Floyd would say about this display of white privilege.

But it doesn’t end there. The dude with the horns apparently lived with his mom since 2019. It turns out that his career as an actor didn’t work out as planned, which led to conspiracies that he was just a paid actor.

The Washington Post reports that he goes by the name Jake Angeli because he rejects his father’s name without giving any reasons for that. Newspapers suggest that he got evicted from his last apartment because he couldn’t pay his rent.

I wonder what his loved ones (besides his mom) would say about recent developments in his life—but maybe that is the crucial point we are missing while making fun of his performance on Capitol Hill and before that.

We are talking about a man processing failure as an actor, a difficult relationship with his father, and the inability to manage his own life without depending on his mother.

That’s where toxic masculinity takes over.

He is referring to himself as a shaman. Neighbors reported seeing him dancing on the roof of his mom’s house. This summer, he was attending multiple Trump rallies, and he hates liberals.

Chansley sees himself as a savior. He compared himself to Gandhi, Jesus, Martin Luther King jr. by saying that these folks also got arrested while doing the right thing. It seems as if he is suffering from a phenomenon called “The Messiah Complex.”

I have heard fellow yoga teachers sharing their support of Donald Trump and the QAnon movement. I have witnessed those individuals fantasizing about taking down the government. And of course, I have heard these folks (some of them also refer to themselves as shamans) bragging about their superiority to the so-called mainstream.

Not only that, I have been down that road myself.

My dad died three days before 9/11. I was lost at that time—and I lost myself in conspiracy theories that are not that different from what we see today. Actually, Alex Jones was already around back then. At that time, the internet became a place to share alternative news that claimed to unveil the secrets of the elites. I was all in.

I read about the Bilderberg conferences, did research on 9/11, and rejected psychology and medicine as a conspiracy against humanity. After years of going down that rabbit hole, I crashed at my mom’s place, seeking her help. I was sent to therapy and somehow climbed out of that rabbit hole.

Years later, I found myself in Costa Rica working as a yoga teacher.

I was living in a place that attracts all sorts of individualists trying to escape the mainstream. Everyone wants to be special there. I met dudes who claim to know how to heal cancer with juices; I heard other yoga teachers referring to aliens; and saw people trying to heal HIV with plant medicine. Usually, they would refer to sources I was into before my therapy.

All of these folks had a few things in common: they believed they knew more than established scientists, they didn’t care about politics, and they decided to unlearn everything society had tried to teach them throughout their life.

Basically, these men created a bubble to make themselves feel better about their life—just like Jake Chansley.

It is toxic masculinity at its worst. These self-proclaimed shaman archetypes are most probably just coping with their childhood wounds and feelings of inferiority.

Once we look behind the masks of these men, we might discover a hurt, little boy who is screaming for attention.

I was always wondering how a dude who can barely manage his own life was self-confident enough to call himself a shaman. I have met shamans who admitted to me that they basically just try to get laid and make some money. I saw exactly those dudes selling their knowledge to naive clients who believed in their eternal wisdom—but I also heard the same guys talking about business like the worst “Wolf of Wallstreet” you could think of.

The dude with the horns is everywhere in the new age community. Of course, not as extreme as Chansley, but it is a similar dynamic.

We see a crisis of masculinity unfold in front of our eyes.

Every lone wolf narcissist could potentially turn into another Jake Chansley. All it takes is a hurt boy who knows how to manipulate others into believing their outrageous claims. Unfortunately, the yoga community with its nonjudgmental approach is the perfect breeding ground for these characters.

I have met that dude who only eats organic food, believes in QAnon, and feels like the savior of humanity—a topless man with horns storming the Capitol is just the tip of the iceberg.


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