Monday, March 11, 2013

The Power of Useful Bullshit

NLP is total bullshit. Its methods are bullshit methods, its science is bullshit science, and its anecdotes are bullshit. Just bullshit bullshit, pure and simple, bullshit.

Take a look at the core principles. Let me google that for you, because while there is a ton of overlap, everyone "teaching" NLP has something different to say about it, because it's basically ... bullshit. Not to overuse the word or anything, but there it is again. Take a look at three or four of the results, and scroll down to the principles parts. Read through a sample of it, and get a real good feel for what they're saying. Then do the following fucking fascinating experiment:

  1. Write down what you can remember about the core principles of NLP. Most of the links have a bulleted list, and you'll remember a couple of them, and have a general sense of what you think the principles are; this is what NLP has come to mean to you based on your reading. Hurry along now, don't write a fucking essay, just summarize the top three things you remember. We've got a mission here, don't get bogged down on step one.
  2. Read this article by Witchdoctor Joe.
  3. Re-read what you've personally written down, each principle individually, and answer the next question about each:
  4. Is it Kangaroo Magic? Is there anything in the principles that you've recalled that is absolutely true, something that can be applied across the board?
  5. Now go back and re-read the principles of NLP, keeping in mind that question: Is it Kangaroo Magic?

I did this, and guess what? It's all bullshit. I couldn't believe it. None of the principles are really true at all, I can think of way too many personal experiences that prove that shit doesn't work that way in the real world. Each is also really appealing. It would be really fucking great if there were a simple set of rules that worked all the time that could be used to your advantage the way NLP tells you there are. Especially these principles, each one telling you that the universe is secretly working for your own personal happiness in every situation, if you only can figure out the secret code to take advantage of it... You too can unlock the fullness of existence in terms of sex, money, and immunity to the will and whim of any other human, because they're really little more than objects designed to fulfill your personal happiness, right? Everyone and everything exists to make you happy, if you just got it, got the secret, got... IT.

Do You Get It?*

And whatever the thing they tell you is "IT" is not IT at all. It's obviously not true. You can remember times that shit they say doesn't work. People are not always in a state of hypnosis. What one person can do, not everyone else can do. Confidence won't make you thin or attractive, it will just make you the ugly fat douchebag that nobody likes.

Bullshit.

But ... useful bullshit, eh?

Frater Acher recently wrote a book review that was more of a persuasive argument. He strongly recommended this book because it tones down your expectations from magic. It teaches you to settle for non-wonderful results, to not pursue the miracles of living magic. He recommends it to noobs and grimoire magicians especially, because he thinks noobs and grimoire magicians are too focused on the flash and power of immediate results. He thinks you get a more valuable return on your investment if you focus on the inner transformation of the magician.

He's continuing a recent theme. I noticed it when he started the reviews of Emil Stejnar's "Hermetic" magic works. His basic premise is that grimoire magi who focus on desires and results are fuckin' it up and robbing themselves of the true power of the Hermetic system. I'm paraphrasing.

As you can tell, I disagree. We discussed it a bit on FaceBook. I am all about ecstatic pursuit of the exciting and awesome manifestations of god, being gods, working with gods, creating and enjoying our worlds like gods, and earning the wisdom and knowledge of the gods through hands-on experience.

But both approaches, the one that glorifies awesome miraculous results-oriented magic vs. the kind that looks a lot like sitting and reading and thinking about magic more than doing it... both approaches are bullshit. I think his approach is more obviously bullshit than mine, because he himself has had the awesome amazing firework-type results that made him appreciate the long term inner changes within himself. And my approach is bullshit because the whole time you're going after the instant gratification, you're putting yourself through the exact same transformative fires that Acher's approach brings about, only with extra beautiful exciting dramatic beauty. And I like that. Other people ... they like quiet lives.

And that's ok.

In both of our pursuits of the Work, we use our beliefs that are, admittedly, bullshit. We take advantage of the usefulness of pretending like we are right for the moment, and it works for us. The universe really does reward ecstatics. It really does reward ascetics. It really does bring wisdom to philosophers. It rewards us with the same kinds of inner attitudes and insights and appreciations of life. It's useful bullshit. And it has the power to change everything.

But it's still bullshit, because it is not the actual way, the truth, or the life that either of us have. It's just a tool, a set of practices and beliefs and insights that happened to work for us. And we like them better because we came up with them ourselves. The same way you will, by reading our bullshit and using that to grow your own way.

I went through some experiences over the last few months that have changed me a lot. I found out some stuff that was really simple, and it's really good, and it makes everything feel wonderful. I'm going to start talking more about how to do this, how to experience it, and how to make your life as fun as mine has been.

It takes a bit of work, it takes some inner transformations, it takes some discipline, and setting aside your selfish safety to risk being honest with yourself about what you really want. It takes doing magic for instant results. It takes going to the highest heavens and returning in power to create and rule your world as a God-Emperor, a Sorceror-King. It takes going to the cracks of the Earth and finding the black secrets of the Universal Solvent. It takes casting your awareness into the Sun to see how everything is connected and working together in a cosmic orgasm of creation and experience and destruction all at the same time.

And it's a ton of fun, even the sore and achy muscles part.

But as useful as it is, please remember, it's bullshit.

Bullshit that can change your life.

* Oh, and just so you know, I am firmly in the "there is something to get, and I totally get it, but the it that I get is that there is no it to get, and you get to make up your own it as you go" circle, which tends to look a lot like very confused in the center of the graphic.