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“Laws of the Universe”, “Objectivism”, and tough talk (or “Why I’m Critical of Secular Self-help”)

January 17, 2015

Spinning off of  where in some of the comments, I went into a tangent about secular self-help teachings; and which also touches upon this.

It’s like a total “objectivism” (Rand’s well known philosophy named for this is the political version) I’ve been seeing a lot, that makes a point to totally disregard people’s feelings and tear into them with the “truth” of what they must be doing wrong if they are in a place where they’re not satisfied in life.
It’s obviously the same philosophy used by conservatives who try to blame the poor and other struggling classes for their own financial problems, and insist the rich are all where they are because they did everything right. They were even “smarter”, or “better than you” at “providing value”. 
It’s also the secular counterpart to the “Christian victory” teaching, and basically, health & wealth as well, where there are “laws” established which if one follows, almost guarantees success, and if one is not successful, it is all their own fault, and not only that, but they need to be curtly motivated with cutting rhetoric, whether (from the Christians) “you’re sinning by holding on to your fear and anger and not ‘trusting God'”, and from the secularists” “you need to get off your a___ and do something”, or “stop whining”, “you did it to yourself”, “you think the world owes you something”, “your disappointment is that you’re mad at yourself for not doing better”, etc. and always the comparison about how miserable they’re making themselves, while the speaker while perhaps once being that way, now has it all together, and is above these people wallowing in their misery.

So to start, here is the world’s counterpart to the “divine laws” regarding our “attitude” that Christians appeal to:

You’re going to get the EXACT energy back from the universe that your put out in it.
Have you ever noticed that the same people who constantly stay mired up in negativity, hate, anger, fear, despair, and doubt a lot of the times tend to be the same EXACT people who spend most of their lives being sick, miserable, depressed, or are always complaining about one thing or another not being right in their lives?
I honestly think most people who make those actions a habit are addicted to those negative feelings and secretly love being the victim, and wouldn’t know what to do with true inner peace if it came up and kissed them on the cheek.
Nowadays, I avoid that kind of energy in people when i see it coming. I used to try to take it on as some kind of ‘ people fixing project’ but not anymore. i have learned to silently pray for folks from a distance, help wherever i possibly can- but son, i gotta keep it movin’ or else that type of energy will attempt to attach itself to the next available empty vessel. if you don’t believe me, just try being in a good mood and have an uplifted spirit and go visit someone who is negative, they will drain every last bit of your energy- and you’ll leave feeling exactly the way they feel.
For years I thought this world owed me something and was going to lay it at my feet because i was deserving of it, boy was i ever wrong.
I’m glad i finally figured that out otherwise I might be sitting around crying victim, making a ton of excuses, and blaming the world for my shortcoming.
Remember, start changing your energy from negative to a positive and watch your life change for the better.
It’s a law of the universe.

(And I had just been given that “universal law” line by someone else in person, a week before seeing this. [original comment last July] The same people who have trashed theism’s “absolute truth” now give this other philosophy that title, and just as dogmatically as the most fiery preacher of old).

Several people in the comments agreed, as they always do with these types of statements posted on social media; which are numerous, and from almost every “friend” at one time or another.
But I can’t help thinking “where is all of this positive energy” in the world, then? Where is all of this “peace”? Only inside of people, but then the only thing that comes outside is all the stuff you see in the world of people? All the backbiting, fighting, robbing and cheating, etc.

I grew up hearing this stuff preached, in the very act of spewing a lot of negativity and not even being able to practice it onesself (which I was told was “no excuse” for my own response to the mixed message; the very failure to “practice what one preaches” the Church is universally decried for by these “secular” adherents).

The whole “I once was that way, now I’ve pulled myself out of it, compared to all these losers out there who still think that way”. The whole argument would be nothing without all these “others” (whether directly even mentioned or not) to compare to. Getting that kind of “counsel” always felt to me like rubbing in how far I fell short, and need to go to get to that person’s position. And they would keep gloating of how “hard” and slow it is; all the “steps”, and trial and error, etc. (And then in cases like my father, he really did not have it all together at all, but ended his life in almost the sad state he kept warning me about!)

I like how the Bible puts it (which even Chrstians who get caught up in these teachings, or political rhetoric ignore): “What do you have that you did not receive? And if you did receive it, why do you boast as though you did not?” (1 Cor. 4:7)

People at work (a heavy STJ environment, and a lot of these sentiments reflect an STJ “SiTeFi” functional perspective: Si memorized “concrete” facts +Te external impersonal decisions based on fact + Fi internal sense of humane worth)* where things often go completely awry, affecting all of us who depend on schedules, often spout this “positive attitude”-“don’t let it sweat you” attitude; and I know good and well they are likely going home and taking it out on their families, because I’ve seen it myself.

*(Ni “internal sense of conceptual meanings” can be substituted for Si, giving us talk of “the universe” not based on more solid fact, which you’re likely to hear from the similar NTJ’s).

It’s all the same shadow projection for the sake of the almighty Persona, that the world has correctly pointed out in religion. They’ve only stripped it of “eternal Hell” (“Hell is what you do to yourself here on earth” is their mantra), and basically ended up taking the same stereotype of a “cruel God” they’ve condemned in religion, but stripped Him of any personal characteristics, calling it “the universe” (whose “laws” seem self-creating). The only difference to them, is that this “universe” doesn’t care who you sleep with, or if you get high, drink and curse.
But it’s the same grace-less “sink or swim” system of self-effort, disguised as a “simple choice”, but it’s really a hard, long daily “struggle” that nobody has really mastered, at least not behind closed doors. Yet they talk like they have mastered it, and most importantly, use this to judge others not seen as having this right “attitude”, or at least not trying hard enough to develop it. (And to coldly shun them. Can’t let them “defile” us. Just like Christians who cite Proverbs 22:24 and Hebrews 12:15).

All of this ties into what’s called “The Law of Attraction“. From this site:

The Law Of Attraction is the belief held by many theorists is that the universe is governed by a set of universal laws; these laws cannot be changed, cannot be broken and apply to every individual, regardless of age or nationality. These laws are the riverbanks which guide the flow of their lives on its journey to its ultimate end.
The law of attraction is one such law. The law of attraction is the belief that anyone can determine their destiny through the power of their minds.

There is no such thing as chance. Law maintains everywhere, and all that happens because of the operation of Law. You cannot name the simplest thing that ever occurred by chance – try it, and then run the thing down to a final analysis, and you will see it as the result of law.

It is as plain as mathematics. Plan and purpose; cause and effect. From the movements of worlds to the growth of the grain of mustard seed – all the result of Law. The fall of the stone down the mountainside is not chance – forces which had been in operation for centuries caused it.

And back of that cause were other causes, and so on until the Causeless Cause is reached.

And Life is not the result of chance – the Law is here, too. The Law is in full operation whether you know it or not – whether you believe in it or not.

You may be the ignorant object upon which the Law operates, and bring yourself all sorts of trouble because of your ignorance of or opposition to the Law. Or you may fall in with the operations to the Law – get into its current, as it were – and Life will seem a far different thing to you.

You cannot get outside of the Law, by refusing to have anything to do with it. You are at liberty to oppose it and produce all the friction you wish to – it doesn’t hurt the Law, and you may keep it up until you learn your lesson.

Fall in with the operations of the law. Make it a part of yourself. Get into its currents. Maintain your poise. Set your mind to the keynote of Courage, Confidence and Success. Get in touch with all the thoughts of that kind that are emanating every hour from hundreds of minds.

This sounds a lot like what you hear in religious preaching from movements of all stripes (sabbatarian “lawkeepers”, regular Sundaykeepers who also focus on “Law”, including fundamentalists and Reformed, and especially the health & wealth teachers). “Law, not chance” is the main point.
It is a total generalization of some observable principles in life. A blog called “Throne of Eden” points out one of the main reasons this is becoming so popular is due to the language that is used to describe it.

Right from the start, you get the word “law”. Thanks to our incredible advancements in the study of science and mathematics, we have been able to determine many forces in the universe which are described as acting within prescribed sets of ‘laws’. For instance, the law of gravitational force, the laws of thermodynamics, Newton’s three laws of motion, Einstein’s Laws of general and special relativity, the law of conservation of mass and so many more.

So these [“The Secret” DVD authors] write a book about energy. What do they do? They try and exploit people’s basic understanding of physics by using the word Law to describe their own personal theories of attraction.
The difference between the law of attraction and the laws of thermodynamics is that the laws of thermodynamics are not theories. In fact, the word “law” which is used to describe them pretty much implies they are physical facts of the universe which can be tested and applied to observable objects. The law of attraction, on the other hand, is not a fact. It’s not even a good theory, because there is no basis for testing it. If you can’t do experiments which can yield results for or against a theory, then you have no right calling it a law. Again, language being used to mislead people into believing that something is more important than it really is.

Of course, what I’ve found from both the secular and religious variants of this, is that they say it IS testable. The problem is, it’s not instantly testable. It’s a lifelong slow “process”. And if you don’t start now, and keep at it everyday, then you’ll never see the results.
It’s not like a car you can try out, and then return with no commitments if you don’t like it. You basically have to presuppose it’s true first, and then commit to it, in order for it to work. This is not how scientific testing works, but it is how scams can work. (Recall, most people who teach stuff like this, both religious and secular, are often selling something in one way or another; or if not, they are trying to convince themselves that what they’ve trusted in and committed to is the right way).

If you try it and find it doesn’t work, then it must be you did something wrong, and in such a long hard “process” with multiple “steps” and “laws” to adhere to, there are so many places where you could have gone wrong, so you can’t argue against that; and by that time, it’s too late to undo whatever waste or other consequences from all the time and commitment you’ve put into it.

This lack of “testability” becomes the strength of such nebulous enterprises. Someone can tell you anything all authoritatively, and proclaim it absolute TRUTH, and you can’t refute him, just DO it, or prove yourself an ignorant skeptic.

East vs West?

While Christianity was co-opted by the West (which makes it suspicious to some), a lot of the secular version of this philosophy is influenced by the East (such as India). The overall “religion” Law of Attraction philosophy is basically apart of is something called “New Thought“, which while seems to be attributed to strictly Western sources, does resemble Eastern religion. (This is taken as evidence it is apart of “universal law”).

Many of the secular-minded people will condemn the Christian concepts as a control tool, in which case, Eastern and Eastern-like philosophy has been generally what became the attractive alternative, but fail to realize both East and West have histories of mind control using philosophy. So I can see where both can use this “positive attitude” concept, and harshly condemn “victims”, to pacify the masses and essentially justify the powerful. (Like over there, you have the Caste system).

(The philosophy says “Abundance will not come to you out of the sky, neither will it drop into your lap”, but conveniently ignores the role of things such as being born into the right circumstances, and being given the right “timing, talent and temperament”, along with downright cheating ⦅abuse of power, “pulling strings”, deceptions, etc.⦆ to aid in their success; and on the flipside, those with legitimate disabilities.
They make it entirely “choice”, including the right “thoughts”, so the “justice” of this “law” has already been enacted in people’s success or failure. When acknowledging this, they’ll then just say “well life isn’t fair; those with disadvantages just have to try harder to succeed”; but sometimes, the disparity is too great. But this can’t be allowed under this “law”, for it makes those on top look less than ‘good’ masters of their own destiny).

And if people keep complaining too loudly (to where the powerful feel threatened), how quickly do the powerful themselves adopt the “victim” complex, in different ways. Just the act of blaming any ‘negative energy’ that affects you on this other person is playing a victim! If you’re so affected, then it’s shown to still really be inside of you, only suppressed into the “shadow”.
(So overall, the message is just like the conservative politics —whose ultimate aim is to justify the colonialism and oppression of the past by casting current “victims” as bad and “detrimental” to society).

This “suppression” masqueraded as some sort of tapped “power” I realized, when hearing it from the secularists and Christians alike, and that’s precisely why I became so skeptical of this teaching; whichever overall belief system it’s extracted from. (The secular variant getting the same intellectual scrutiny religion has been given).
Introverted Thinking (Ti) looks for logical consistency, which is less important to the extraverted Thinking and introverted Feeling perspective these philosophies usually hail from. Like one of the “universal laws” the person mentioned earlier was telling me about is “forgiveness” (self, others, etc.) as the universal key, but then both Christianity and Jung alike, and even mainstream psychology were dismissed as “the white man’s philosophies”, because “the white man dismissed us, so why should we listen to him”.

Yeah, “forgiveness“, all right! An ideal that is far easier said than done. Didn’t think it would extend to an issue like that! (Let alone “universal truth”, which by its very nature can come from any source, and that these New Thought concepts are just such examples of concepts with some amount of observable truth filtered through Western sources! Why is Phineas Quimby, the originator of this school of thought, more trustworthy or less “white” than Jung or some preacher?)

This is the way it always is with effort-based philosophies. Just like the racially corrupted religion that focused a lot on “morality”, but condoned oppression (that people like this are still resenting in the first place). It’s what Jesus was talking about in the Sermon on the Mount, about what sins such as “murder” and “adultery” really entail! A lot more than even the most strictest adherents think!
At this point, people will then appeal to being “imperfect”, but then my whole point is more grace is needed, rather than speaking as if one has it all together.

Matters of different perspectives

Should also mention this site I saw the week before all this: 31 Days of Self-Love – It reminded me a lot of the advice I used to get from my STJ (Sensing-Thinking Judging) immediate family. Now looking at it typologically, it’s clearly a heavy introverted Feeling (Fi) perspective in tandem with extraverted Thinking (Te).

People don’t realize how typological differences will affect the way we see or receive these things.

[Moved (Discussion of type functions involved): ]

What most bothered me, is that such instructions essentially tell you how to feel. Like when they start talking about “attitude”, dealing with frustrations, difficulty is good, “take heart; God is in control”; all these memes you see daily on the social media wall. (Again, both secular and religious). One person talking to me goes as far as to even mimicking the “process” he was telling me to embark on (self-forgiveness), by sighing, breathing in, lightly beating the chest, and saying whatever you’re supposed to say to yourself.
All of this just drives me up the wall. It’s like, damn; you should just put a puppet or robot in my place, and pull the string or program it how to respond to life!

So when things don’t go right, to just tell me, basically, “if you love yourself it won’t matter”, “just forgive”, “don’t hold onto things”, “your reaction is only hurting yourself” (i.e. which feels like a cruel double-bind), etc., I feel like my whole humanity is being totally dismissed, and I’d become a walked-on nothing! (Inasmuch as they almost paradoxically claim this is the way to becoming a powerful “somebody”).
And this is from both secular self-help as well as religion (which often mixes this up with concepts such as “regeneration”, and usually substitute “God/Christ/Spirit” for “self”. But it’s really the same process everyone else is describing, even though they claim it is “supernatural” and exclusive to believers).

And those exercises! Ugh! Looking in a mirror and expressing love and other stuff to yourself, hugging yourself, writing stuff to yourself, and all the other “rules” and “steps”. Seems totally illogical and like almost crazy.

My family insisted this was “universal truth”. The ST perspective insists “this is the way it is” and allows no “excuses” or other reasoning. NTJ’s will focus on a more theoretical angle, such as a “[universal] Law of Attraction”.
They (especially the religious teachers) often present it as so “simple”, and always stress “choice”, but then it’s really a lifelong process.

[5-20-16 edit: Utter irony is that the very person who wrote that particular statement at the top of the article spends a lot of time spewing complaints about (among other things) Chicago “black on black crime” stories, and how they’re always “ignored” by the press and black activism (which isn’t even true). Yet he offers absolutely no solutions.

The rare occasions I or others (beside his agreeing fans) voice another view, he gets defensive and accuses us of talking “intellectual bs” or “making excuses”, [identical to the debate tactic I discussed in the second comment, below] for the black community, “wallowing in problems and just blaming others”, because he never let anyone keep him from “achieving”. But this isn’t about you, fool! The fact that you’re comparing an individual (who can be responsible for his own actions) to a whole group consisting of many individuals, with many different experiences and mental conditions, who no one person can be responsible for, and so cannot all be controlled by anyone), he apparently sees as an “intellectual” “excuse”. But there can only be an “excuse” if you’ve given a clear course of action that we’re refusing.
He just gets frustrated and says he doesn’t want to argue it (but then a week later, making some snide reference to the discussion in the next post about Chicago), if not cutting us off. (I say, good riddance, then! For this is nothing but, dare I say, —“negativity”! Nothing positive at all, like even so much as an idea for a start of solution. (See also,
This, recall, is the same person who earlier spoke of others “mired up in negativity, hate, anger, fear, despair, and doubt…always complaining about one thing or another” and that it was “negative energy” we should avoid. And that’s all I’m seeing here. The opposition he gets is never seen as the “exact same energy” he put into the universe coming back to him, as he said. It’s always the other person being ignorant).

This is obviously a “motivational” minded person, who’s read or studied some form of the Law of Attraction, but it’s gone to his head, especially when [despite his obvious “alpha male to the third power” persona, his ego is so weak that] he cannot deal with being questioned or challenged. Judging by both him and the others cited above, is this what the LOA is teaching people? That you’re so “positive” that you’re always right, and whoever disagrees is always wrong (and thus bringing in the “negative energy”? I guess the question is answered in the first comment below, where we see speakers talk of the “greater power” confronting the “narcissists” who react to being talked to like trash by the speaker).
You can’t allow some belief system to completely cloud your thinking like that where you must shut out everything else. What kind of “wisdom” or “truth” is that? It’s the same sort of indoctrination used by religious cults. It’s exactly what you accuse others “mired” in all these problems of doing.
(I thought he was an NTJ, but now it seems like he’s an ESTP on Se overdrive; hence making observations of “what is”, yet the ego being for whatever reason so immature, as to cling only to the dominant perspective and not give it any “rational” sense with a judgment [T], let alone giving it any real meaning with iNtuition. So any N and/or even [aux] T product is just dismissed as vain “intellectualizing” or “excuse-making”. An even less mature Fe also seeks a following of people who agree, and disengages people who don’t. The immature form of this type preference, particularly in black culture where it’s common, is discussed here:

2018 edit: come to think of it, he’s probably really ENTJ. Seeing other people I realize are ENTJ, this “pure Choleric” type is a real “chameleon” than can look like other types.
With someone critical like this, you have to look at which perspective they are saying “no” through. Thinking is what’s extraverted and dominant, and says “no” to anything but “revealed” truth (totally “objective”, and set by the “universe” itself). Any person’s internal reasoning is despised. He is intuitive after all, to be discussing this stuff like this as it is, but the iNtuition is introverted, which says “no” to concepts based on an inner vision. (i.e. it is not in this case rejecting intuitive products for a purely sensory focus). Then, Se is tertiary, and so it’s this “black and white” thinking that is connected to a very childish ego-state. Their seeking a following and disengaging is demonic Fe. When unhealthy, it manipulates people to protect a fragile ego that feels gravely threatened by mere disagreement. Their disengaging is their way of having the last word. I notice, this type can either fight to the end, or some find ways to “win” by cutting off the battle, usually under a premise that their time and energy is “too important” to waste on some “negative” person, defined as anyone who disagrees with them. (Yet they are usually the ones who aggressively approached others with some negativity). The personal importance of his position is an immature inferior Fi.
This can be seen in a motivational coach named Aleia Mims, who is likely ENTJ, and in one of her videos talks of “toxic people” (including those simply being “victims”), and needing to cut off anyone who doesn’t “produce value” in her life. (She often calls herself an introvert, but the Choleric “responds as” an introvert, basically withdrawing from people when through with them, or rejecting them, so they can feel like they are introverts). This other person is far more critical and serious than even an ESTP, like even Trump.

The point here is, how this is a perfect example of how even under such motivational tough talking about “positivity”, and “avoiding negative energy”, there is a deep shadow of pure NEGATIVITY being projected onto others; i.e. you see it only in others, and talk about the need to “avoid” them, thinking you’ve got it all licked in yourself. But it’s clearly there! Coming out at others! Both in the initial endless complaining without solution, and in the response to others’ input.

This is why, whether secular or religious belief system, it’s best to follow Jesus’ instruction of cleaning the plank out of your eye before seeing to point out the speck in someone else’s, and to have mercy and patience with others, for you are ultimately at the end of the day no different, and no better!]

  1. Cracked, which is supposed to be a comedy magazine like MAD, now offers its own tough talking article:

    It starts out

    Feel free to stop reading this if your career is going great, you’re thrilled with your life, and you’re happy with your relationships. Enjoy the rest of your day, friend, this article is not for you. You’re doing a great job, we’re all proud of you.

    For the rest of you, I want you to try something: Name five impressive things about yourself. Write them down or just shout them out loud to the room. But here’s the catch — you’re not allowed to list anything you are (i.e., I’m a nice guy, I’m honest), but instead can only list things that you do (i.e., I just won a national chess tournament, I make the best chili in Massachusetts). If you found that difficult, well, this is for you, and you are going to f___ing hate hearing it.

    It uses a good analogy, regarding whether an emergency operation of a bullet wound would better be done by a “nice” guy” with a pocket knife, or a true surgeon.

    Its central theme is its citation of Alec Baldwin’character in the movie “Glengarry Glenn Ross”.

    Baldwin’s character — whom you assume is the villain — addresses a room full of dudes and tears them a new a__hole, telling them that they’re all about to be fired unless they “close” the sales they’ve been assigned:

    “Nice guy? I don’t give a s___. Good father? F___ you! Go home and play with your kids. If you want to work here, close.

    It’s brutal, rude, and borderline sociopathic, and also it is an honest and accurate expression of what the world is going to expect from you. The difference is that, in the real world, people consider it so wrong to talk to you that way that they’ve decided it’s better to simply let you keep failing.

    This assumes talking like that is the only way to motivate someone (which is the key fallacy of this whole “tough talk” approach).

    What’s most striking, is (as some commenters have mentioned) how he continuously second guesses people’s answers, including commenters:

    “What, so you’re saying that I can’t get girls like that unless I have a nice job and make lots of money?”

    No, your brain jumps to that conclusion so you have an excuse to write off everyone who rejects you by thinking that they’re just being shallow and selfish.

    Citing another blog:

    “If you were in that room, some of you would understand this as a work, but feed off the energy of the message anyway, welcome the coach’s cursing at you, ‘this guy is awesome!’; while some of you would take it personally, this guy is a jerk, you have no right to talk to me like that, or — the standard maneuver when narcissism is confronted with a greater power — quietly seethe and fantasize about finding information that will out him as a hypocrite. So satisfying.”

    “Greater power”? Is the speaker “divine” or something? Or so in touch with the divine, which to these people is likely some impersonal abstraction like “the life force”?

    The person being cursed at is the “narcissist” only; not the self-appointed thunderer of “truth” bellowing such words as if he’s ascended above the same ‘humanity’ that values its own ‘inertia’ (my term for what he describes, especially in point #1)?

    On one hand, we’re taught not to be rude to people, and so growing up learning that, for some people, including even the ones teaching you that you should be nice, even scolding you for being rude, to suddenly talk like that, and it’s supposedly justified, that sends a mixed message. (And so does a philosophy that only “gives” to others to get for one’s self, and says that a person is only as good as what he “does”. A saying goes “we’re human beings; not human doings”).

    So of course the person will naturally feel “how dare he talk to me like that”. How is that “narcissism” on his part? It sounds more like “narcissism” on the part of the person arrogating the authority to “break the rules” of social interaction. It’s like the people are all blinded, so I have to go against proper etiquette for a ‘higher purpose’. (And then tell the person I’m dressing down how they cause their own problems, by among other things, not using proper etiquette to make himself more likeable, or whatever the case; and thus is not really a “nice guy”.
    Which may or may not be true, but then where do you get off thinking you have the license to be so not nice? Because you don’t want anything from that person like he wants from others [as they might argue]? You seem to want him to hear and receive your message!)

    The worst aspects of old-time “religion”

    So they see themselves as the “humble messengers”. If you go against them, you’re “shooting the messenger”. It’s basically what’s called the “messiah” and “martyr” complex, taking after Christ, the ultimate divine messenger killed because people didn’t like the message. (And it was a little bit more than not liking a message; there was a whole political aspect to that as well).
    But these people put themselves in that position, like they’re the prophet of God, thundering the truth at you, and you either accept it, or you’re a subjective narcissistic fool! (It’s like the secular counterpart to religious “emulation”; ⦅see ⦆, and again, God has been replaced by “the universe”).

    But it’s like you do not even have the right to be offended. That just all the more proves something’s wrong with you. You’re not “enlightened” like these “messengers”. (Again, you wonder how people in the world who respect or follow this could ever resent the old hellfire preachers the way many of them do!)

    Again, just love how they tell you the right way to feel [likely inferior Fi; see link in above comment]. And again, it ignores the influence of personality type, making it seem like there’s only one “right” type to behave like in life (likely something like ENTJ, ESTJ, or ESTP [strong Choleric types], and at one point, he even says “You might even have to change your personality“).
    We all might as well be puppets, programmed how to respond.

    “You don’t have to like it. I don’t like it when it rains on my birthday. It rains anyway. Clouds form and precipitation happens. People have needs and thus assign value to the people who meet them. These are simple mechanisms of the universe and they do not respond to our wishes.”

    It’s like the universe itself is “god”, and there’s apparently, absolutely no concept of “grace”. (But to be fair, as this is secular, you cannot expect them to acknowledge the theological concept of “grace”. But what we end up with is a de-personalized version of the most fearsome aspects of God; of Law without Grace).

    He makes a good observation about Christians who just say “let me pray for you”, which absolves them from actually having to do anything, and this leads into a citation of Jesus:

    “Jesus said something to the effect of ‘a tree is judged by its fruit’ over and over and over. Granted, Jesus never said, ‘If you want to work here, close.’ [note: thank God, quite literally. Though some portions of the church act as if He did say that!] No, he said, ‘Every tree that does not bear good fruit is cut down and thrown into the fire.'”
    True, but this is in a particular context, of doing work for His Kingdom; and for that generation of “firstfruits”. He would also go on to say that the one justified is the one who admits his imperfection and pleads for mercy; not the one who can boast of all his accomplishments. Such philosophers will cite scripture only as far as it appears to support their points.

    Give and take in the world of people

    It should also be pointed out that the whole “nice guy” thing is not just something a bunch of narcissistic knucklehead egos made up just to stroke themselves. It’s based on what we’re taught in society. To put it in the terms I outline here: humans are governed by a sense of “equilibrium”; that when we make the “expense” of moving from a state of “inertia” in such things as making an effort to be “nice” and not just follow animal instincts, then we should be rewarded with some form of gratification. This is precisely what the defenders of those with the most power (the “beneficiaries” of the way of the world) appeal to when they dub them the “makers” who “deserve” all the wealth even while others (expensees) struggle.

    But of course, this article, as well as this one:,* point out that success is not really based on this concept of “equilibrium”, but rather, basically, what would amount to giving others direct “gratification” (being “nice” is more “neutral”, such as merely the lack of bad qualities, as they point out, and not really giving anything); and not through simply the “quality” of the product, but rather the number of people impacted, as the latter site stresses.

    Like being “nice”, and even suffering in itself is just that, only a form of “being”, and thus doesn’t produce “value” for most in the world. Hence, many people suffer many different things endlessly with no compensation. Only “doing” produces value, which it is assumed, is a kind of suffering; but more voluntary and active (thus, “expending”, and giving up “inertia”; more on this below).

    Still, the fact that equilibrium does still play a large part of human affairs (like in laws, sales, and basic “give and take” among your immediate circle), it should be understandable why people would expect being “nice” should be enough. (It does have an element of “doing”, because it involves a measure of restraint from other not-so-nice things you could be doing, and that our natural “inertia” to turning from our instinctual drives would inhibit constraint).

    *This site outlines three “rules” of life, regarding our perception of “fairness”:

    Rule #1: Life is a competition
    Rule #2. You’re judged by what you do, not what you think
    Rule #3. Our idea of fairness is self interest (i.e. another person we fancy is a different person with different experiences, etc. and so hence may not fancy you back; bosses who do things you don’t like may see things you don’t, etc. and so are not judgments on us. It can be summed up as “free will”).

    It concludes

    Our idea of fairness isn’t actually obtainable. It’s really just a cloak for wishful thinking.
    Can you imagine how insane life would be if it actually was ‘fair’ to everyone? No-one could fancy anyone who wasn’t the love of their life, for fear of breaking a heart. Companies would only fail if everyone who worked for them was evil. Relationships would only end when both partners died simultaneously. Raindrops would only fall on bad people.

    Shadow poking; and how everyone gratifies themselves, even in producing value

    But it’s in point #1, where he for all purposes tries to probe into the reader’s very shadow, and throw it in their face; as to how and why they will respond as they do.
    A lot of this may be true, but then you wonder who appoints someone such an authority [which naturally is similar to some of the objections he pre-supposes].

    He speaks of offended people looking to dig up something in the speaker’s life to use to dismiss him; but it’s true, that people who “preach” like this, often have something big in their shadow they’re suppressing. They’re just extra good at suppressing it (though it still comes out in various, subtle ways). Yet by speaking like that at others, they make themselves a big “target”. Just like religious leaders who don’t “practice what they preach” on moral issues they so loudly thunder at others. Think, the common expression “Physician, heal thyself!”
    That’s not the fault of the “offended” readers/listeners. My father used to say a lot of this kind of stuff all toughly, and yet he himself was never able to really rise above an at best mediocre, and at worst, miserable existence. (All the while even going as far as to boast how he “lived his life”. Obviously, one reason I am skeptical of this approach. It wasn’t something I had to lie in wait and eagerly “find” out about him; it was pretty obvious by the end of his life, and sad to all, and even acknowledged by his own admission at times).

    So the question to tough-talkers is what are you bothering to expend so much energy in heated invective (and creating bad feelings on both sides) for, in trying to motivate somebody to something, when you can’t even do it yourself?
    It’s called projection. This is what we do with our shadow (the unconscious stuff we don’t like). We see it in the other person, and then attack it in him. It becomes, in Jesus’ words “loading down others with heavy burdens that you would not lift with one of your fingers”. (Of course, they talk like they do, but if they are honest, they don’t, really. That’s when you get “it’s a daily struggle“).
    Regardless of how graceless “the universe” may be, WE are all imperfect creatures having to deal with other imperfect creatures, and that’s why we must have grace toward others.

    Then, you also have “#3. You Hate Yourself Because You Don’t Do Anything”

    “So, what, you’re saying that I should pick up a book on how to get girls?”

    Only if step one in the book is “Start making yourself into the type of person girls want to be around.”

    Because that’s the step that gets skipped — it’s always “How can I get a job?” and not “How can I become the type of person employers want?” It’s “How can I get pretty girls to like me?” instead of “How can I become the type of person that pretty girls like?” See, because that second one could very well require giving up many of your favorite hobbies and paying more attention to your appearance, and God knows what else. You might even have to change your personality.

    “But why can’t I find someone who just likes me for me?” you ask. The answer is because humans need things. The victim is bleeding, and all you can do is look down and complain that there aren’t more gunshot wounds that just fix themselves?

    The assumption is that the successful all spent their lives forgoing inertia, giving up hobbies, and even their “personalities”, to “give others what they want” (sounds so nice and personable, doesn’t it?), and totally let the outer world dictate their courses of action (and are thus the true “expendees”); while these losers complaining of things going wrong all indulged in the “instant gratification” of their hobbies and whatever else (and are often the true “beneficiaries”, even if the end result is not favorable), so that’s why, not only do they deserve to fail so hard, but they also deserve to be scolded to an inch of their life, or a “fire lit under their a__”, etc.

    But everyone gratifies themselves; only some had the timing, talent and temperament to be able to exploit the situations at hand and find their niche. (More on this below).
    But they again will say you should acquire the talents, which is the one thing under our control, but then they seem to think the other two can be changed as well. But to some, even the process of doing all of that stuff, pulling themselves up the ladder is basically gratifying themselves!

    Most of the people with the most success are really those for whom “being” and “doing” manage to come together. They were inclined [being] to do [doing] what they are doing (thus “being”=”doing”); and so what they do [doing] is what comes naturally [being], and happens to produce value (“doing”=”being”).

    Like I’m typing away on the computer maintaining this blog and sites, in addition to participating in the handful of social media and interest forums in my daily circuit. This gets considered as “hobby” or leisure because I’m not making my living off of it. Someone doing the same things, but finding a way to market it, or even getting exposure that allows people to see the value, and makes a lot of money from it; then it’s no longer considered a “hobby”; he’s now credited with “hard work” and even “delayed gratification” and defended as one of the “makers” the rest of us are judged in comparison to.
    To tell me to stop what I’m doing and do something else (learning some whole new activity from scratch, and apparently, whether I’m even interested in it or not) is not going to help, any more than taking the successful person away from his occupation. He was just more fortunate to be in the right place at the right time, to find a market for it.

    Yes, people can be angry at themselves (consciously or un/subconsciously) for their decisions when they haven’t worked out as well as hoped. Bringing this up is likely suggesting they are only projecting this “anger” or “hatred” out at the successful. For some this may be the case, but then this can be turned back around to suggest the rich, successful and powerful (and their defenders) who get so defensive and lash back at the less successful are angry at themselves for prospering (gratifying themselves according to their instinctual drives of “survival” and in opposition to a neglected conscience) while others struggle.
    In either case, it’s a seesaw between “primary” and “secondary” gains; of inertia and gratification or conscience.

    When someone has better fortune than us, we often ask “what did he do that I didn’t?” Often, there is no answer, but this philosophy is claiming that they always did do something you didn’t.

    And at the same time, these things are spoken in “all or nothing” universals, such as life or death; “close”, or you’re nothing. But there are a lot more grey areas in life. Most people struggling financially are not asking to be millionaires. Most of the “nice guys” who are lonely aren’t expecting an arm full of girls.

    The values of society are part of the problem too

    Let’s face it, the values of society are often warped. Hence, the other site points out how you can “get naked for fifty million people and you might just be Kim Kardashian” [and thus producing more “value” than someone getting naked for one person], and hence, “A cancer researcher is rewarded less than a supermodel. Why? Because those abilities are rarer and impact more people.”
    This would basically amount to the gunshot victim rejecting the guy with the knife because he wants the supermodel instead of a surgeon (even if he’s up in the mountains, and the guy with the knife just might be his best hope after all, even if he’s not totally qualified). Like “don’t bother distracting me with the pain of removing the bullet; I want to see the supermodel”.

    They’re telling us to just give society whatever it wants and not judge its values, but then they’re judging the character of everyone who is not where they want to be.


  2. [cont’d]:

    In the comments, most were the “humble” fans, accepting the talk, and how it “lit a fire” under them, etc. I wonder how well this will go for them. (This article is apparently reprinted at the beginning of every year, when people are making “resolutions”, which of course, often aren’t kept).

    TL:DR “oh noes, you have to work for s**t LIKE I DID! And maybe, just maybe you once may be as awesome as me.”
    This might be harsh truths if you are in your late teens and just starting the adult life, otherwise nothing here should come as a surprise. Sure, not always what one wants to hear, but still no huge shock in anything here. More a bitter whine over all the hard work and sacrifice one has to make marked as a blog and pushed in the neverending series of “zomg, i hate this and if you dont you are stupid” series cracked seems to have fallen in love with the last couple of years.

    I think you just became his “example number 2”. So long as you view yourself as being “above” the lesson then you’ll never be willing to learn it. Go achieve some humility, bro. No one needs an a*****e. That’s why you don’t feel successful and that’s why you spend your time saying, doing and reading things that don’t apply to you. (Though I think this article does.)

    Who thinks they are “above” anything? Who’s now getting quasi-“religious” on us, talking about “humility”, and knows what’s in people’s hearts?
    He didn’t even indicate anywhere that he didn’t feel successful. But this is what they do. It’s all they can do to fill in the holes they missed in their ideology.

    Edit: Perhaps there is some truth to the “thinking we’re above the lesson” part, but this is in the “shadow”, which again this method of teaching pokes at. It’s so damn provocative, so of course the person is offended and wants to be “above” what is being hurled at him. It’s a basic “fight or flight” instinct. But these teachers and their spineless flock of “yes-men” we see here only take this and use it further against you, throwing in more insults. Again, with that whole “greater power” mentality, no one even has the right to push back. It again is like Christian fundamentalis, which holds that man deserves suffering, including the provocation of aggressive offensive preaching, and since he’s the “sinner”, he does not have the right to even be offended.

    It’s important to add one more caveat. Your success depends on sheer dumb luck.

    Oh sure, you can take steps to reduce how much luck you’ll need. The guy who practices basic hygiene like showering and dressing properly is relying on much less luck at finding a girlfriend than the person who refuses to change their shirt ten days in a row. But ultimately, whether or not that cute girl they both asked out responds to them isn’t up to them, it’s up to her. And there’s not a goddamn thing they can do to ensure her agreement to a date. Why? Free will.

    It’s not even restricted to finding a partner. Making a sale, getting a job, ANYTHING that relies on things outside of your own personal body is reliant on things that are beyond your control. Even if you put a f*****g gun to someone’s head and DEMAND they buy that real estate, you better hope that person responds to intimidation because it turns out you can’t force people to do s**t.

    Notice something missing in Alec Baldwin’s speech? Steps on HOW to close. He threw some vague terms at them and then demanded they ALWAYS BE DOING YOUR JOB. Because no matter how awesome you are, how big your balls are, how expensive your watch and car are, how much money you take home, that still isn’t a magic win button to make someone obey you.

    It’s not something people like to think about, because they think it mitigates the hard work they do. They’d rather not think that the line between people that succeed and people that fail is razor thin. It’s the same type of thinking that leads Republicans to believe all poor people are just people who are too lazy or stupid to succeed.

    Hard work and preparation and being smart will mitigate how much luck you need by a lot. But that last step to success still depends on luck being there.

    TL;DR: Sometimes despite your big brass balls, you’ll still fail, because life sucks and you’ll never know why.

    you sound like a person who, instead of actually getting off your ass and doing something, simply has a smart sounding or philosophically grounded argument as to why a person shouldn’t get off their ass and do something. just sayn

    This is just like in a political debate on a “Christian” board, when people told me I need to get off of “assistance” and pull myself up, just because I was arguing against their rhetoric. They know just from what you’re arguing, that you must be the one suffering from not doing enough, even if you nowhere said any such thing, or defended not doing anything.

    Again, these people need to get a backbone and learn to make their own decisions and motivations (which this blind devotion to this teacher is indicating a lack of, despite all the nice sounding “self-motivation” jargon they’re just aping off of him) rather than just “yessing” up to someone just because they’re talking tough.

    Also, the typical answer to the lack of information on “how to close”, is “that’s not my problem; that’s your problem. Just close”. Basically, “I got mine, so there is no reason you can’t get yours”, in total ignorance of the laws of time and chance.

    People deny things beyond their control. This is one part of their “shadow” (the weakness suppressed into the unconscious behind a persona of perfect strength and confidence).
    I used to hear people say “You can do anything you set your mind to. Don’t try to do it, just do it”. OK, like how about lift 10 tons. At that point, if it was me they were talking to, and I answered like that, they would get totally frustrated.
    In a place where we need clarity, we get a lot of overgeneralization that sounds good to the motivational speaker, preacher, etc. selling it, but is really not as practical as they claim. But the way it’s set up is that they just blame those who it doesn’t work for. They have to. Their whole business is riding on it.

    A long time ago, I had figured:
    “Fortune, or ‘luck’; I would define as ‘an unknown principle of a disposition of a situation to a particular outcome especially to benefit or to adversity that is out of control of the person involved’; (rather than any magical or mystical meaning commonly associated with the words). The emphasis is on ‘unknown’ and ‘out of control of the person’. Whatever exactly, or directly causes things, much of the circumstances of life fit this description, from our perspective.”

    The thing about this article is the tone, the approach he takes. Many of the points he makes are valid to one degree or another, but the “Harshness” is entirely a contrivance, and the messages would be better served without it. I know he preemptively refuted all criticism about the tone (Which is kinda chickenshit, to be honest), but hey.

    Many of the points he makes are shocking and unpleasant for the sake of it; #6, who are these “People” who are demanding so much from you? Employers? If so, then absolutely, and only a dangerously naive individual would dispute that. Beyond that…family, friends? In a dire situation, perhaps, maybe one identical to the scenario he describes, but that’s it. If your family and friends won’t give you at least SOME lee-way based on your charming personality, odds are good you’re Franz Kafka.

    #5 is the only one that’s flat-out asinine. That scene in Glengarry Glen Ross, while amazing (I sometimes find it difficult to finish the movie on Netflix, just repeating that scene over and over), was written by David Mamet to be everything wrong with Business Culture in this country, and he knew it. He worked in a Boiler Room like that in his youth, he knew how those mentalities lead to ‘The Wolf of Wall Street’ and the Financial Crisis. Anyone who would praise that scene as insightful is a sociopath, rather than a mature individual.

    (That’s a good point. “This “just close” mentality is precisely what drives the system of capitalism as it is practiced here, where we are plunged into a total “ice-age” of survivalistic instincts as if there was total scarcity, even though we still have the greatest abundance. Where executives have to cut jobs, quality, services, while raising prices, and evading taxes and regulation in one way or another, etc., and drive onesself into the ground, while screwing the rest of the public, all to make the profit, and “close”. There’s no thought of purpose, health, or wellbeing; of others, or even self [beyond getting bigger houses, cars, yachts, etc. and still ending up empty and wanting something else. And this, mind you also a mindset of “instant gratification” regardless of the process taken to get there]).
    The response to that:

    About the speech: he’s not saying it’s good things are like that, or that it’s ideal. He’s saying this is how it is and how it will be, and you had best learn to live with it or your life will suck.

    But he didn’t say anything about it being “good” or “ideal”; he addressed the TONE. It’s hard enough with things being like that, without some nasty coaching through it. (Unless you’re one of those types who likes things like that; but not everyone is like that, and nor should they be).

    Another good answer:

    I’m sorry, but is this really something new? Something you’ve never heard before? There seems to be this trend of twenty-somethings that can’t seem to quite make the transition into adulthood. Although that’s probably a lot more perception than reality.

    In any case, I keep seeing this “advice” that’s supposed to address the problem, and solve everything. It so simple: “Instead of not doing anything, do something”. They seem to be under the impression that the symptom is not having a girlfriend, or a job, or your own place, or whatever, while the sickness, is just not doing anything to better yourself. When in fact, not doing anything is the the symptom, and the sickness is something else entirely. Something that David Wong, internet comedy writer, isn’t qualified to diagnose of treat.

    David Wong is funny and he’s a decent writer. But he’s not a psychologist. And this article is equivalent to a doctor yelling “stop having a broken leg” at their patient.

    I’m sure there’s a ton of people who’ll read this, and determine, that this is it, they’re going to buckle down, and start improving themselves (learn that language, or instrument or whatever). And they’ll fail. Because it probably isn’t the first time they made that determination, only to give up or lose interest, or decide it was bad idea. Then later on they’ll do it all over. And until the address that underlying issues that cause them to keep failing, they’ll continue to.

    I’m not sure if I understand you right but I don’t believe he’s referring to people with legitimate mental issues like depression. I’m pretty sure he’s talking about the lazy douchebags who are too busy doing nothing to do something. He’s addressing a specific demographic who don’t have any goals except to be really successful in the future by some sort of means that they haven’t and aren’t interested in figuring out. I work in a call center and many of the people I work with are between the ages of 18 and 25 and do fuck all but get drunk when they’re not at work and just fuck all at work and they can’t figure out for the life of them why they’re single/poor/unliked or just not going anywhere. When someone has a conversation with them about it and tells them the same basic thing this article is saying they react in one of two ways.
    A) You’re right, I need to get my shit in order.(and they do, at least after the third time)
    B) It’s not my fault. My manager isn’t supporting me enough, no body understands me. I am working(despite reading a book or putting on make up while on a call).

    This didn’t help you? That’s great, stfu and don’t ruin it for the people who it is helping.

    …at least that’s how I interpreted it.

    (We see here, again, the masochistic yes-men who like to be talked to that way; it “helped” them, and so no one should critique it).

    Yeah, see this is what I’m talking about right here. You’re not going to shame anyone into changing. For instance, calling them “lazy douchebags”: not going to help. It’s not that no one has told them these things before, or if they did, they didn’t say it in an angry enough voice.

    There’s some people who are motivated do something and stay motivated until it’s done. These are the people who should have bailed out at Lenny Kravitz. The difference between these people and the people that this article is directed at is where the problem is. Maybe there weren’t adults in there life while growing up, who were pushing and supporting them, maybe it’s something else entirely. In any case changing who are well into adulthood is somewhere between incredibly difficult and damn-near impossible. And 2000 words of finger-waging isn’t going to do jack-shit to accomplish it. It may get them pumped up to do something here and now, but it will wear off because it isn’t addressing what cause them to get into this situation and stay there for so long.

    Worse though, is that there’s people who’ll read this and won’t be motivated at all. They may have tried and failed so many times that they’ve completely given up on themselves. And this article will just push those who aren’t quite at that point closer to it. Or they may actually are depressed. While those people may not have been the intended target of this article this line here is particularly troubling:

    “I know that I was threatening suicide last month, but I’m feeling better now!”

    If he actually believes some of the people he’s addressing are at the point where they’re considering ending their lives, then telling them basically “hey, it’s all your fault for not trying hard enough”, isn’t just bad advice, it’s damn irresponsible.

    But the worst part about this article, for me personally, was that it wasn’t funny. I saw a David Wong article and thought, “alright, laughs!”. I figured out it was bullshit halfway through the first item, but kept reading, because there’s a lot of bullshit articles on this site that are still worth reading because they’re funny. But this wasn’t funny. Not because of the subject matter, but because there were almost no jokes. I come here for dick jokes and funny pictures, not useless Dr. Phil style pop-psychology.

    This one goes directly after the second-guessing:

    Mostly I love you, David, but I got a real problem with the way you sometimes preemptively deflect criticism in your articles. This one and your Superhero one include a “If you disagree, you’re part of the problem” tagline that I find to be very problematic. It’s like you lack the confidence to accept the criticism, and the “If you agree, I’m right, and if you disagree, I’m still right” thing is very reminiscent of Freud. I think you’re better than that, Jason.

    He is basically asking the Internet to punch him in the face with this article (if female writer had written this article some people would have invented an entirely new coding language made entirely out of death threats). So I understand if he wants to disarm some rethorical weapons beforehand.

    On the other hand does he is a person who half-way lucked into running on of the largest humor sites in the world, so easy for him to say…

    So if this is “the way life is”, then that’s enough as it is. It certainly doesn’t need DEFENDING, justification, rationalization, etc. Nobody (or at least most of us [don’t]) needs someone yelling, cursing, rubbing it in, and making character judgments and blaming us for our own dissatisfaction. Life is hard enough (as you’ve been pointing out).
    People should also see that we’re all the same, ultimately, and flaws you see in others are present in yourself, in one way or another. We are all egos with a tendency for narcissism and a desire for inertia and instant gratification (again, in one way or another). To try to rub this in others’ faces is likely a coverup for a shadow of guilt and fear masked behind “factual” tough-talk.

  3. Just saw someone post this:

    This is typical of the attitude I’ve seen a lot, in people pitching “self-help”; both secular and religious; discussed above. It sounds like it makes sense, but its whole vibe is totally negative, and thus betrays the “shadow” element hidden behind the platitude.
    In those sort of “spiritual”-type self-improvement concepts, isn’t “intolerance” itself a big form of “negativity”? Isn’t true strength something that will radiate, and possibly bring others up, instead of itself being so frail and vulnerable to being brought down?

    It sounds like some sort of “nose-in-the-air” narcissism (and recall, the advocates of these teachings love to toss that term out at others, including the “unhappy” or discontent). Clearly, no good will come out of it, except to the immediate feeling of “happiness” of the person.
    (And then “happiness” is the often tossed around yet poorly defined term, which has also become a staple of pop-evangelical teaching).

    So yes; it’s true that other’s negativity can bring us down, but this is precisely because we are still frail and broken, and have not mastered things as much as this makes it seem. So again, what is needed is more gracefulness to those more downtrodden than us.

  4. The Irrationality of Alcoholics Anonymous
    Its faith-based 12-step program dominates treatment in the United States. But researchers have debunked central tenets of AA doctrine and found dozens of other treatments more effective.

    “When the 12 steps don’t work for someone like J.G., Alcoholics Anonymous says that person must be deeply flawed.”

    “We cling to this one-size-fits-all theory even when a person has a small problem.”

    That sums it up. Whenever there’s a “self-help” enterprise like this (whether secular or religious; like all the televangelists; and AA is like inbetween the two), they HAVE to prove it WORKS, and if it doesn’t, it must be the counselee’s fault. They have to do that, in order to be able to keep selling their method or service.

  5. People (both religious and secular) want to believe fate (personalized in God, for theists) is on their side.

    It’s a twisted combination of God’s “grace”, and one’s own will through self-effort (for non-theists, the divine part will be replaced with either nature, or someone with a more abstract belief system will place it on some more nebulous replacement of God, but in any case, it’s something beyond man’s control).
    Grace and merit become tangled up, where people want to believe they were worthy of their success, but can’t bring themselves to deny God and/or other forces beyond their control. So they come up with concepts such as “providence” and the “Serenity prayer” which includes “wisdom to know the difference” between what you can achieve, and what’s beyond your control.
    Among some in “the world”, it’s generally an assumption in one way or another that those who did not succeed didn’t try hard enough (i.e. that the most that is beyond your control is a “setback”, but it can never stop you completely). Synergistic traditions in Christianity resort to this mindset in matters of “faith” (i.e. when someone says it’s too hard to believe, or to live the Christian life, and for health&wealth gospel, to successfully “name it and claim it”)

    Regarding debates like America being rightly founded through conquest, but now wrongly “brought down” through immigration or “foreign” ideology (Marxism, etc), or secular powerful people protesting the government or other forces reining them in because it’s only “natural” for them to succeed; if you insist either God or nature led someone else to fall, and for you to rise, then that same God and/or nature can take from you and give to someone else, and you can’t claim some great anti-God or unnatural wrong is doing it, unless you think you’re God (i.e. the universe/nature serves you), or some special favorite of His.


    “In a more recent study, of over 1,200 of the world’s wealthiest people, self-made millionaire Steve Siebold uncovered similar findings, which he details in his book, How Rich People Think.

    He noticed something surprising throughout his research: Rich people find comfort in uncertainty.

    Meanwhile, the average person finds peace of mind in familiarity, and hesitates to leave their comfort zone.

    This desire for comfort comes at a cost.”

    This is another aspect affected by the “temperament” portion of “talent, timing, temperament”. Se types (The SP’s, and NJ’s), dubbed “Realizing Awareness”, include the most “dominant” types; the pure Choleric (ENTJ, the most “serious”), the pure Sanguine (ESFP, the most “fun-loving” and the Choleric Sanguine (ESTP; basically in between the two). These types can deal with “uncertainty” more. Ne also makes one think of “uncertainty”, and so the ENTP Sanguine Choleric and ENFP Sanguine Phlegmatic might be somewhat like their S counterparts in that regard. (But the intangible perception is what’s aligned with the external world, where for Se, the tangible is what’s taken in an emergent fashion, so Ne is not quite as much about leaping into the unknown). Furthermore, when Ne is auxiliary, and Ji is dominant with Si as tertiary, then there is more of a desire for certainty and familiarity, as is the case naturally for Si as dom. or aux. (SJ’s. Choleric Melancholy ESTJ will be the most dominant of these groups, but will still likely tend to be a middle-manager type as compared to the other Cholerics). Ne and Si need to “inquire” in order to compare data. Se and Ni are more suited for data to be “realized” right away, so that you can take leaps into the unknown.

    This shows why it seems so hard to me, as I’m torn between the need for freedom from the increasing sort of control of this agency I’m in, and the relative “comfort” of the stability of the institution. Just jump out at something, I’m more likely to misjudge what opportunities emerge, and then, when tripped by that, not as good as seeing the opportunities to rescue myself. So I end up staying firmly put. (and as we see, some people see it’s just “laziness” or “weakness”, and of course, these typological explanations are just “rationalizations”, because look; they can do it so easily). The Realizing Awareness perspective (or at least some close guides or support network with people with that perspective) is what’s good for this sort of entrepreneurship.

  7. Seeing increasingly sites requiring you to turn off ad-blockers to access the site, and yet still experiencing certain popups that get through, and often have uncontrollable effects, I kept wondering why they had to use popups so much to begin with. It comes off as what I call the “nuisance quota”. It’s just people deciding to be difficult, for a supposedly survivalistic reason that likely does not work, and thus only serves to confirm how “life is difficult”. (Forcing people to see these ads does not guarantee they will buy what’s being sold. But they have to keep trying, “just in case”).

    So I decided to look it up why they use these things.
    I run across this site, with this guy, in a typical “tough-talk” motivational “this is the RIGHT WAY to think and act, or you’re worthless” sort of way, justifying it. (He even goes after “haters”, and those who say they avoid sites with popups, but nevertheless are on his site anyway).

    With sharks like this, you can see why capitalism is the way it is; the sort of people behind its ruthlessness and victim-shaming justifications, and how its ardent defenders think. Basically, it’s almost like, you need to endure some “punishment” for coming to this site and otherwise getting something fro “free”.

    A simple popup may be one thing, but people have reasons for blocking them (I’m thinking of sites that make you turn off ad-blockers), and are not simply having a “bad attitude” toward finding a solution to a problem. ([As he actually claimed] Which is a generalization, and many of them are for things we can get elsewhere, or are otherwise not of interest, or seem to be bootleg or other questionable sources; or at least, you don’t really know. Most smart people won’t say “oh, great! Just what I need!” and click on it). Many of them seem to be such elaborate scripts that they hog up memory and can even crash the browser. (Especially worse on smaller devices such as mobile where they might prevent the page from loading or completely block it). Some even take over the browser, with numerous fast popup loops, and you have to kill it with the task manager, so you don’t even see the site you were coming to read. I don’t see what kind of people, again, will reward such sites with buying whatever it is they are forcing on you. (I guess, many of these are pretending to have found a virus on your computer, and that certainly makes it look like it, so a less informed person may panic and click to buy it, but this often just keeps looping and doesn’t even bring you to the actual product!)

    I don’t understand what is wrong with a simple inline static ad (or could be an animated gif. Or at least a more simple popup that doesn’t take much memory or do anything else to the system). [He suggests people won’t notice ads unless they are popups, citing an example of people told to watch football passes, who then fail to notice a gorilla walking across the field]. Use flashy colors or something, and it will be noticeable. The example of the gorilla to me is what would be greatly analogous to a popup, and the point was how it still wasn’t noticed. All it’s doing is being an annoyance. Just making them as annoying and difficult as possible, because, hey some other sucker out there will click on it, just comes off as almost trollish. They must be laughing as my whole system freezes down, and have I even bought any of their crap? No! So why are they doing it? (Again; ‘punishment’ for accessing whatever site is hosting or being sponsored by it).

    Here’s an article addressing this. Popups can infect with malware as well!

  8. The problem of the support of “tough talk” is epitomized in the life and death of Joe Jackson, the terribly abusive father of the Jackson family. Not only did he justify his behavior with “well, they’re rich, aren’t they?” but now people are making the same excuse for him in defending him posthumously. You can see this in places such as YouTube’s Boyce Watkins (“Your Black World”), and “Willie D Live”; and not just the videos, but almost all of the comments agreeing.

    And what’s worse is how they’ve racialized it! He was simply a “strong black father” who “did what he had to do” to make his children “succeed”.
    To criticize him, is to oppose the entire black cause and essentially promote a racist agenda! “It’s the white man telling them to criticize him” one saying goes.

    It may be from either a sense of “normalcy”; where a lot of black fathers were like that, so that’s no issue, but that in this instance it “paid off“ for both the children, and the rest of the world that enjoyed their music for generations, so that makes it good; basically “the end justifies the means”, which is the common theme among power abusers, and even many religious people’s portrayals of God (He “tests” us by bringing pain into our lives, for a ‘good purpose’, etc).
    Also figuring; the other common alternative to an abusive father: a completely absent one (which is known in and out of the black community to make life much difficult). So a horribly abusive father who moves you to success is better than an absent one.

    But what no one is thinking of is particularly Michael, and how he ended his life totally out of his mind, damaged from all that abuse. Then, there’s the girls, with possible sexual abuse, and one of them not seeming that well, mentally, either.

    We claim to love these people, but we love only what they DO, but apparently, could care less about their souls. Just as long as they produced something we like.
    The blacks then, show themselves to be of the same mindset as the white conservative “rugged individualists” and ruthless capitalists; the bottom-line “screw your soul; if you want to work here, close!” crowd. (Makes it ever so ironic as I always say, how those holding such philosophies generally regard the whole black “culture” as so shiftless and lazy!) But they should realize this is also the mindset of both the police and statesmen who often try to destroy us. We’re not humans; we’re objects, who either get over our “problems” and get with the program, or be eliminated.

    We should really think, whether we will support “success” at such a cost.

    Here also is a good response to the whole “snowflake” tome:

    Monty Python Legend John Cleese Melts The Right Wing’s Favorite Insult
    “I think sociopaths use it in an attempt to discredit the notion of empathy.”

  9. The Terrible and Catastrophic Price of American Cruelty
    What History Teaches Us About What Cruelty’s (Really) Worth

    (Also, see entry on new blog:

  10. Why Do Americans Revere the Rich?
    Is Getting Rich Worth Devoting Your Life To?


    This is one of the sources of the whole “tough-talk self-help” movement: the Erhard “Landmark Forums”. (My mother once told me about these, suggesting it as a good thing. It explains her and the rest of my family’s philosophy, but I had to tell her, recently (in the aftermath of my job troubles) that it is not for everybody. Though its advocates of course think it is.

    So this is a review, by someone for whom it didn’t work. (A highlight is that fact that they try to not allow bathroom breaks for hours).
    This sort of thing is more suited for Melancholies, Supines and perhaps Phlegmatics (basically, the cognitively similar ISTJ/INFP, “Authenticator” Intentional Style), who want to be motivated by this approach.

  12. In new article “Man “Deserving” Pain, and Where This Notion Comes From” (link in “trackback/pingback”), as well as originally, in I quote a guy named Matt Walsh, who seemed to be this radically strict Christian, emphasizing how we should feel this incredible shame for our sin. A conservative political commentator, I figure he’s probably some kind of “fundamentalist”. Just looking him up, I find he’s actually Catholic! Looking to see if anyone else found him incredibly legalistic, I instead find this site: which generally likes his positions, but criticizes him only for being Catholic, which they see as having a “different Jesus”. So this site is probably [protestant or IFB] fundamentalist (and fitting they would otherwise like his teaching and style!)

    I find that in 2014, he was writing for Huffpost (a usually liberal site), but not on religion or politics, but instead, posts like these:

    So he is very typical of what I discuss above, with the whole “motivational” approach. (Especially the “Cracked” article. I had to double check that he wasn’t the one who wrote that!)
    He doesn’t seem particularly Christian at all, there. While I read he always identified as Catholic (which of course has many “nominals” who aren’t particularly moral), it seems his agenda is simply “motivation”, and he eventually decided to move more into religion. And he brought all the baggage of secular “motivational speaking” with him (and why this is posted here, rather than in the sister “Why I’m Critical of Christian Self-help” article), and it meshed perfectly with Catholic works-righteousness, greatly corrupting his view of salvation.

    On the new article, I point out:

    This guy, and countless other “old time religion” preachers fail to realize that “shame” was the automatic result and reaction to the Fall (the taking on of the “knowledge of good and evil”); not what saved them from it! They felt that shame which then led them to run and hide themselves from God (rather than coming to God), and God then had to move to begin His plan of fixing the problem, by eventually removing the “separation”. It was at that point not about “behavior”. It was about the knowledge and “shame”.

    I didn’t at the time of writing that realize he was Catholic. That explains it better. He obviously doesn’t believe in “Grace Alone through Faith Alone”. “Grace” would really be more “works” (such as the sacraments).

    In the first article linked above, I wonder if the example he gives is even real, as the reaction he describes was quite overboard. But even if real, his criticism was loaded with little barbs aimed to provoke, such as calling the writing “boring”, and “juvenile, childish vibe”. These things may have been true, but there’s just a way to give criticism, but many “alpha”-Cholerics like this (most likely extraverted Thinking dom.) believe that if it’s “true”, you just shoot it at them any old way, and if they react, it just proves your life mission’s message of how narcissistic everyone else is (e.g. how “perfect” they think they are, as he puts it here).

    I realize more and more that all these projections (including his first point in the other article of how “no one owes you anything”), is really them speaking to themselves. They’re the ones who believe they’re “up there” (in a place of “achievement” and “status” where they can speak down to others) and are now “owed”. But because they got there by their “hard work” (supposedly), and “provided value”, they don’t see that as feeling “owed”. They didn’t get it for free; they “earned” it! So “owe” would mean starting out “owed”, without having “done your part” first. But in any transaction, even if you gave first, we then say you are “owed” something back. And that’s exactly how he, and many others, especially political conservatives, talk and act! It’s basically the “rights” vs “entitlements” distinction I’ve mentioned.

    So it’s all about “give and take”, and doing one’s part and earning everything. Sounds right, but should be recognized as the hallmark of the “Knowledge of Good and Evil” that marks the Fall. Greatest evidence is the works-focus, seen right away in Adam’s attempt to hide and cover himself, and then Cain and Nimrod, and eventually, the Israelites, including those who opposed Christ and the Church.
    So it fits right in with “the world” (secularism), as much as people like him might decry that.


    No one is suggesting you like, want, or support whatever it is that you’re accepting (in the case of the formula, the “pain”). But, by struggling against the pain — by resisting and rejecting it — we create undue suffering. It doesn’t mean that you’ve chosen or endorse what you’re accepting. It doesn’t mean you like your anxiety, want your chronic pain, would choose your body, or support an injustice that’s happened to you or someone else.
    Rather, you’re choosing to allow it to be there when you can’t change it in that moment. To make space for it. To give yourself permission to be as you are, feel what you feel, or have experienced what you’ve experienced without creating unproductive shame or anxiety.

    Remember that “accept” is a verb. It’s an active process, one that must be practiced consciously. It’s rare that we one day choose to accept our emotional or physical pain, our bodies, our difficult relationships, or our pasts, and never think about it again.
    It can require effort at times (or most of the time, at least initially). It can be frustrating at times. But, like creating a clearing in a grass field by walking the same path many times, every time you practice acceptance toward something, you create and strengthen neural pathways in your brain, facilitating ease in the future.

    Practice acceptance of the challenges you’re having practicing acceptance! It’s natural to vacillate back and forth between feelings of acceptance and feelings of resistance. Make space for the spectrum of experience, and notice your internal critic quieten.

    You see, the way we live life is a matter of choice.

    We can either be in a constant battle, trying to fight our true selves and focusing on our bad sides, trying to change the people around us, being unhappy with the way things turn out, etc.
    Or, we can appreciate everyone – especially ourselves – for who they are, without judging. We can be alright and believe that things are perfect just the way they are in that exact moment. And – yes – they will be different in the next, but will still be perfect.

    The second approach to life is the healthy, positive, peaceful and successful one.

    When you fail or make a crucial mistake, be okay with it. Accept it for the experience and lesson it is. And go do it better this time.

    That’s the real definition of acceptance.

    It’s the opposite of change and struggle. It means being absolutely okay with things the way they are – still trying to make the best of what you have, but without changing it or putting too much effort, without a feeling of unfairness or dissatisfaction, but by just going with the flow.

    (And then gives the anecdotal examples, such as her father getting angry whenever the light turns red right in front of him when driving).

    Here we see the clear Te/Fi slant of self-help. It’s all about ordering your thoughts and feelings (the way you order your space or time). Hence, this functional tandem called “Ordering” Assessments”.

    It’s saying that it’s not about “liking” or “wanting” (positive Fi judgment) what you “accept”, but it’s saying it’s “okay”, which is also basically a positive Fi judgment, that they’re trying to put forth as “neutral”, but the only neutral judgment, would be no judgment at all (totally unconscious of the situation. And then the same site goes further with the term perfect The most positive, and basically unreal, Fi judgment of all!)

    It sounds like a cruel universe extorting us into controlled thinking and feeling. Do this difficult process, or get worse. Just like organized religion’s “Do this, or go to Hell”. It doesn’t bear the love of God through Jesus Christ. It sounds like Satan’s methods of control (especially, the way teachers of this begin comparing with other people, who are struggling and not getting with the program. It doesn’t seem we needed to be sapient individuals, then; we should have been robots, programmed how to react).

    There doesn’t seem to be any better known solution to these problems (and how it could be balanced, from the neglected Ti/Fe “Aligning” perspective), but then we shouldn’t assume not knowing of a better solution means the already known ones are “proven” by default, and we shouldn’t try to find something better (particularly, something that allows for compassion to the hurting, rather than cold, trite “truth-telling” or “motivation”, and then getting impatient if they don’t look like they’re trying hard enough, or their attitude isn’t perfect).

    I still question what I see as “intellectual dishonesty” of “it’s a choice”, but then it’s “an active process”.
    The first is made to simplify it so it sounds there is “no excuse” for anyone who says they can’t do it. But then once that’s established, the true, grueling, asymptotic nature of it is unfolded before you. (“accept is a verb” reminds me of a recent FB discussion on the Biblical subject of “faith vs works”, and when pointed out that love fulfills the Law, I get “love is always a verb” [ignoring the noun form of “agape”], meaning, again, it’s all about “doing” —which is true in a general sense, but not when salvation is staked on it. They always have to keep our efforts in there, and it shows us, again, the link between Christian and secular “self-help”).

  14. What is Silver Lining? Empathic Failure Can Result.

  15. Now Umair goes after this industry, and shows how it is only “capitalism trying to solve capitalism’s problems by teaching poor, desperate, abused people to just…work…harder.”

    Why Self-Help is (Mostly) Self-Destructive BS

    Edit: An article largely blaming elements of character for people not becoming rich:

    • Par for the course (re: “teaching poor, desperate, abused people to just…work…harder.”, is this article (“You’re Unhappy Because You Haven’t Grown Up. Almost all dissatisfied people share this personality trait [immaturity”), which basically (while nevertheless making true overall points), neatly divides humanity: “Half of the world walks around as though they are still children, as though someone else is responsible for fixing their problems, as though if they cry loudly enough an adult will eventually respond. The rest walk around realizing that they are adults — and with time, space, and maturity, they will have the power and resources to fix the problems they face. Or, at a minimum, they’ll be able to strategize a solution and get to work on changing course.”

      It makes it sound like half are “there”, or at least, “trying”, which as we see in all effort based philosophies, religious and secular, grants you the “grace” of being in this “mature” class. It ignores how there will always be levels at which we revert to the instinctual need to “Cry out to parents”; with the “exceptional Americans” with it’s “alpha” model, who scoff at others’ “victimhood”, “dependency”, “lack of responsibility”, yet complain about losing their power, and the evil of others taking it from them, who also happen to be the cause of all our problems.

  16. How “the Law of Attraction” plays a dangerous role in the COVID era!

    One Book Explains Everything That’s Wrong with America in 2020
    “The Secret” inscribed a toxic ideology we must undo.

    View at

  17. The Spiritual World Must Face Its Shadow
    If we don’t, we won’t create a more harmonious world
    Focuses on Eastern religions, but just as applicable for western.

  18. Your Suffering Is Not a Self-Improvement Exercise
    Let go of the pressure to come out of this ‘a better person’

  19. The Rachel Hollis Drama Is Why I Don’t Trust Influencers
    (Girl, check your privilege)

  20. All this time, I don’t think I’ve ever mentioned the term that has been applied to much of what I’ve been discussing here: “toxic positivity”. The term is used a lot now, including in articles I’ve shared. (Always nice to have a name for these things).

    Here’s an article on the socioeconomic area, where “positivity” (and “individuality” of course) is used to avoid responsibility:

    It’s Time To Ditch The Abundance Mindset — It Paves The Way to Inequality
    We need collective growth, not just personal.

  21. 10 Inconvenient Truths About Life Most Self-Help Gurus Won’t Admit
    But I will

    Self-Improvement Doesn’t Work for Everyone
    A gentle critique.
    View at

    Self-improvement often likes to label people as ‘toxic,’ but there couldn’t be a more toxic thing to tell someone who needs help. It’s nothing more than a flat refusal to acknowledge social responsibility.
    Most self-improvement only works for a small handful of people. Their advice does wonders if you’re a dude, or a woman ensconced in the upper middle-class.”

  22. Here’s a book my mother was getting rid of, IIRC:
    Your Erroneous Zones: Step-by-Step Advice for Escaping the Trap of Negative Thinking and Taking Control of Your Life Dr. Wayne W Dyer, 1976

    What it promotes is called “Rational Emotive Behavior Therapy”, which is actually the first form of “cognitive behavior therapy”, from a guy named Albert Ellis in the 50’s. He actually claimed Dyer took his concepts without giving him proper credit (he cites him only once, on p.156), but did not take legal action because he was happy to have his concepts promoted.
    It ultimately is traced to ancient Stoicism (Epictetus, Marcus Aurelius, etc.), and also bears some Eastern influence, including Confucius and Buddha, and “New Thought” is mentioned in there as well.

    All of this (particularly Stoicism) explains everything! These types of teachings are of course common in modern “alpha”-driven, “motivational” self-help, with its often resulting “toxic positivity”. Even my wife, with her extensive psychological training agreed, this teaching lacks compassion! It is extraverted Thinking on overdrive (with its tandem-mate introverted Feeling only serving the more “self-fulfillig’ aspects of it, rather than bringing any humanity into it).

    I could tell it was related to CBT because it holds our “thinking” as controlling our emotions and then actions (which I heard in ASD counseling).
    It may make some sense, but beyond a certain extent, comes off as this totally mechanical view of ourselves and the solution to emotional problems. Whatever happens, just “choose” to have the right thinking, and if you don’t, you’re just “choosing” the negative emotions, and whatever other problems come with them. It’s al framed like just flipping a switch, but of course, they later admit is is not a singular thing like htat. Anger is said to not even be a natural thing.

    I can go on and on arguing against this stuff, but the summation that came over me this time, was that this denies our survival instinct (which is where anger, fear, etc. come from, as shown by the fact animals have them, and they don’t “choose”).

    It reminds me of a meme I occasionally see, that “What other people think of you is none of your business”. Oh, no? What people think of you can have any degree of consequences up to even death! But I guess, “changing our thinking” would allow us to be able to embrace whatever consequence with a good attitude, and “learn” from it and work to do better for the future (“right”?). That is apparently worth any price.
    (In the stoic thinking, your ‘proper’ thoughts and [re]actions are already scripted out!
    I would say it’s their own business as long as they keep it to themselves, in both words and actions. The minute it affects me, including if through others, then it by definition becomes my business! But in this teaching, it’s like we don’t even have any “business” or “right” to have our survival instinct, to guard against these things!)

    “Responsibility” is a term that appears a lot, just like legalistic religion. In both cases, it ends up as a burden to creatures who have little control over circumstances to partake in a long hard “process” of going against their own nature, with severe judgment (consequences) in one form or another if they don’t. (Christian religion is the one that should have known better, from its claim of the Gospel of Grace).

    Here’s a rather strange statement (p.19, 29): If threatened (Pavlovian style, basically) with “unpleasant treatment” such of being deprived of food, or even torture or at the point of a gun, we would do any unpleasant task such as “made your unhappy feelings go away”. “How long do you think you would continue to hold on to them? Chances are, you would take control rather quickly. So the focus is not whether you can take control of your feelings, but whether you will. [There’s that old “can vs will” gaslight-ish bind, common to motivational teaching!] What must you endure before you’ll make such a choice? Some people choose to go insane rather than take control. [You see the direct relation to the Adamsian “fundamentalist Christian”/BCM claim that “mental illness is a choice”, —and recall how its advocates think they are so different from secular teaching!] Others merely give up and succumb to a life of misery because the dividend of pity is greater than the reward of being happy”.
    (Seems to justify the false “poker face” of coersed submission).
    So you can see where the “Stoic” influence really shows!

    We also see here this is driven by idealistic almost hypothetical views of personal growth, and the abstract concept of “happiness”. (Just like religion, which has turned that word into a catch phrase, and then aimed to outdo it with “joy”). What none of them (religious or secular) ever figure is that if the goal is “happiness”, but it’s such long hard “work”, has to be essentially coerced, out of fear of worse conequences such as insanity (or Hell), and (to the more honest) we never actually get “there” in the ideal state, then this “happiness” becomes a fleeting carrot on a stick as you just suffer through this “growth” for years on end. How “happy“ is that? They of course must then separate “happiness” from circumstances and pleasure or lack of pain, and it becomes just the hypothetical “attitude“ (even if they don’t use this term; and this is where the Christians usually bring in the alternate concept of “joy”, which allows them to criticize their secular “humanist” counterparts and the “world” that follows them, as seeking after the wrong thing, though in practice, the ‘process’ and platitudes are identical).

    The final chapter is on this hypothetical person who has overcome all “erroneous zones”, and he proceeds to list all the fine qualities, but then where is this person? No examples are given, and we didn’t know him enough to see if he’s living up to the ideal. This is so much like Christian fundamentalism, which sets the bar so high, so that we can beat ourselves up in “striving” for what is really an impossible goal, though claimed to be a simple “choice”.

  23. Here’s The Exact Opposite of a Self-Help Article
    An essay about help and privileges.

  24. They Just Don’t Get It, and Maybe They Never Will
    Productivity gurus sell the biggest distractions.

  25. “Thoughts are Not Feelings” is S____y Psychological Advice
    It’s time to stop spreading unscientific, unhelpful mind-body dualism.

    I had also written this statement on “self-absorption” (from thoughts I had sparking back to this (which was like the “last straw” as far as that term was concerned, to me)

    All of man is naturally self-involved. It’s the natural survival instinct. Autistics aren’t “more” self-absorbed than neurotypicals. They just manifest their self-involvement in different ways than neurotypicals, so it stands out (and neurotypicals then see their own “shadow” [i.e. unconscious evil] in them, which they don’t recognize in their own selves. Hence, attribution-shifting; i.e. when we do it, it’s different; we have a legitimate reason; if nothing else, it being ‘normal’; think “everybody’s doing it”). So neurotypicals have the same self-absorption, only collectivized. (This parallels the generational criticism, where older people call younger generations “me”-focused, where “back in their day“ it was more “we” focused. But that “we” still engaged in selfish, antisocial behavior to others, such as all the forms of discrimination, which are being challenged now. Each person in those older periods IDENTIFIED [there’s “the big ‘I’” of self-centeredness]), and usually stood to benefit from the social structures. So they were no less “me” centered, the “me” was only hidden among the “we”.

    Sharing it on an “aspie” forum, I got some positive responses, but then one person, acting as a sort of “apologist” for the NT perspective (his premise; he studies CBT online and “changed his thinking” and it solved all his problems with people, like thinking he was attacked, made him thankful he was criticized so he could grow, etc.) gave me some hassle, keying everything I say into CBT catch phrases such as “black and white thinking”, “cognitive distortions”, “catastrophic thinking” and ’emotional reasoning” (even suggesting I should move to another neighborhood where there’s less mental illness, and when I question that, he shows his political right-wing slant in citing some “study” showing that “liberal” areas have more mental illness! So ironic with all that’s going on these days!)

    One person suggested what I was describing in others was “self-interest”. Still, both terms have been turned into these negative labels people shoot out in anger; binding it with a judgment of not “caring”, while “self-interest” sounds more “natural”, and even “instinctual” , which is basically neutral. Hence, a problem of attribution. Again, like “when we do something self-serving, trample on your wants, feelings, etc., it’s different; its OK, natural, we can’t help it, etc.” (no matter how many people we hurt), and the one I always used to get, “that’s just the way people are” (while browbeating you for every little mistake you make).
    So it’s not really how selfish/self-interested/self-involved, etc. one actually is, or the effects it has on others (even whole nations; look at national and world events). That, again, can just be chalked up to “the way the world is”. So it’s about what the majority of people do making something “right“. “Might makes right”, basically, and in this case, “might” being the sheer number of people who agree with you.

    As for CBT, one person described my recount of my therapist’s reaction to that situation; “An ASD specialist giving someone the wrong for missing clues is also hilarious. ‘You wouldn’t have been late to work if you used the stairs!’ said the boss to his wheelchaired employee. Thanks for the feedback ey?”

    Yes, we have problems others don’t have (and the majority of it is fitting in to a neurotypical world that often has a herd mentality. But like in so many other issues in the world, now standing up for their rights to exist, (LGBT, races, etc), there seems to be too much of a push to change people. (“Neuroconformity” I believe is the term for this). I call it “inertia“, where we all have resistance to non-selfimposed change of trajectory (both moving when you’re at rest, and stopping when you’re in motion, as well as changing course), and there is a definite power dynamic to it. (People who have played the social/political environment well enough, often by appearing to “consider others” —everything the lowly “autist” fails to do; and often perceived as “earning” the “right” to their unmoderated self-interest, even if it involves stepping on others). Whoever falls out of step with this, is expected to accept being bopped and slung around by more powerful people (think comets, planets, etc.), and if he doesn’t like it, it’s all his fault for not applying enough energy in getting with the flow.
    So pointing all this out is not about “thinking others are attacking you” [i.e. specifically]; it’s that the others are following a survival instinct that maintains power and inertia over others, and so often does come off that way!

    Even the whole “here is your toolkit” premise my therapist used, when looking back, came off as “you’re deficient, and here’s how you can become more like the NT’s”. The whole “thoughts > feelings > actions” formula sounds too mechanical, and assumes just “thinking” can solve everything. (Like some sort of “mind over matter” philosophy). Every “right thought” I was fed I already knew; the issue was what to do at the moment when the nasty emotions have already come up in reaction to something. Sometimes, an issue gets to the point that the “thinking” just doesn’t do anything. Like try to mentally control yelling when your hand or foot get hit with a heavy object. The whole therapy experience in the end negated the whole foundation of autism involving hypersensitivity to sensations, of which emotions are apart of. They just reiterated the “rules” of common NT “self-help”, and here’s your “toolkit” to help with your weakness. Why should I have paid all that money when I could have just listened to my father and others who said essentially the same things, if I had been able to just will myself to NT thinking? It’s like there’s a script on the right way to think and feel, and we need to have it programmed into us like a machine.

    So again, my point here is that judgments such as “self-absorbed/involved”, while having grains of truth, have become a bit lopsided, the way they’re being used.

    • I happen to stop by the aspie forum again, and see a thread by a guy asking for a painless way to commit suicide. He got a variety of responses (including a few that seemed to be weighing the feasibility!) but two people I was greatly alarmed by; one of them the one I mentioned in the above post; who continued, sounding like he was possible referring to our debate, with about this is how all these autists often respond, with their thinking they were attacked, and wanting everyone to cater to them, etc.

      The other one lobbed statements like “frustrated that you can’t get it through your thick skull”? And then, you are this, you are that, you are the other etc. “your self imposed loneliness because you lack the courage…”.

      Don’t you know that every autist has probably heard all of this 1000 times, and it doesn’t bring them any closer to just suddenly “getting” it! This is just venting [admittedly] their own frustration, and not actually helping the person. (and so, it often DOES become legitimate “attacking”, because that’s what people do when they get frustrated. Don’t negate this!)
      Basically, the attitude behind tough talk is that the person is just being “illogical”, and needs to have “logic” and “reason” drummed into him until it finally “clicks” When it doesn’t, then NT’s just get frustrated and conclude he “doesn’t want help”, “this is how they always respond”, etc. except that the person themselves will begin contrasting how they used to have some of these problems, but then one day just started to fix themselves. (The looming question; why won’t the other person? Must be a “character” issue; even if this term isn’t used. But the stuff said, and the whole “tough talk” approach itself seems to presume that).

      There is a such thing as “toxic positivity”, and it’s all driven by a “rugged individualist” culture, which frowns on anyone not as “strong” as we are, and who we think is trying to get some kind of “free ride” in contrast to all the “work” we had to do!

      I began having second thoughts about CBT, because I realized it was more of the same; of trying to hit all of our problems with pure reason. But the problem is, they don’t stem from reason. The CBT formula I was given, simplified is “if we change our thinking, then this will change our emotions, and then our behavior”. So there’s an acknowledgment that the problem is centered around the emotions. Thinking is then made the sole determinant of the “good” or “bad” of the situation, which controls everything else. It’s the negative thinking that makes it feel so bad, and positive thinking that will make it feel better.
      Trying to practice it myself, and then seeing others, including those who preach it loudly themselves (and both secular and religious; it all boils down to this in some way or form), it’s never that simple; and then the people begin speaking of this long, endless “process”, and many of them ultimately fail themselves. Yet they have preached to others that it’s just a simple “choice” (making it sound like flipping a switch), and so there’s “no excuse”.
      So, the emotions are the problem, and “thinking” alone doesn’t make them go away; and no, not even with a “process”. That often becomes just an endless loop of
      suppression, and the problems just come out somewhere else, while you’re gritting your teeth and trying to be “positive”.

      What I wanted to get to with this, the person’s biggest complaint, of being alone. I went through this too, until 26. And I got all the same counsel from everyone, and no one even knew about autism; as long as I was basically functioning, I was assumed (including by self, as well as everyone else) to be just another NT, who simply needed to recondition my self through “thinking”; and have all this reason and tough talk pounded into me until I finally got it; or be brushed off as “not wanting to change”.
      I believe we are all driven by instinct. People want to criticize autistic “defenses”; but defense is part of the survival instinct. And I see NT’s reaction to them is just as much defense mechanism. That ties into the topic I started awhile back; where we all have the same defenses, but autists are the ones to get tagged with this in a particular way, as if others didn’t have them too.

      So responses to autists who are “incels” (I mean the original, generic meaning of the term; not the current politicized one that has become framed around a race group) basically boil down to the survival instinct. Women will want men who are likely to be providers and protectors. (There are some feministic types today who will dispute this and claim they don’t want this anymore. But This is still not everyone). I even figure, since they are the ones born with the organs to carry and nurse a child (which right there are physically vulnerable spots on the body; the latter even when not nursing a child), this is why our civilizations developed they way they did. Men had to be stronger and do the hunting and defending. We’re not like lions, where the mother can leave the cubs and do all the hunting. (and even then, the male is still the overall protector). This is where the whole “Alpha” and “Chad” memes come from.

      So someone not “self-confident” enough, and is is “weird”, and doesn’t fit in, and yet complaining as if they are helpless and not “doing” enough, etc. will seem less safe. I grew up watching the animal shows on TV with my father, and when I became a teenager and now faced these problems, and that was the explanation given; it subconsciously “made sense” with what I had learned about nature. [i.e the introverted Thinking perspective]. Yet, there still seemed something “unfair” and even “wrong” about it. [a combination of its shadow, shadow extraverted Thinking obstructing the ego’s goal to live according to my own judgment, and with a greatly threatened extraverted Feeling anima fearing being out of sync with the society around me]. But when I resisted, then the “frustration” just increased (on both sides), and nothing was solved (which was just blamed on my own stubbornness, as it is for this person now).
      For one thing, while biologically, we may technically still be “animals”; we nevertheless do consider ourselves to have developed “above” them. We hold each other up to moral standards animals do not have, for whom it is almost 100% “instinct”. The autistic child is often bitterly scolded for failing in these social things, but then, people as a whole often act just like animals in ways, and then, the autistic child is just taught to “just deal with it”, and “become tougher”, etc. Plus, the same survival instinct also includes what I call “inertia”. The desire to hold our ground and stay as we are (resistance to change). The determinant of who’s granted the “right’ to this is also power; hence the the most narcissistic “alpha” types being looked up to and receiving little or no pressure to change, but instead setting the standards of the social environment.

      But here’s the thing: even if I wasn’t in sync with nature in that regard, my own natural instinct, of “reproduction” was still in full gear. The same autism that made me so “unfit” in the survival area didn’t shut this down. (I often say it should have, and we’d just be asexuals and be able to go about our business!) I could not “think” it away. I couldn’t “sublimate” it away (another set of suggestions I had seen sometimes where you try to disperse the “energy” away by other physical means). And it’s WORSE for the autist, because the whole cause of the condition is the failure of sensory regulation; and emotions and sexual urges are all ultimately “sensory”. And after awhile, they want to be satisfied NOW! People often hurl the term “entitled” or “thinking they are owed” at incels, but this sense of “demanding” is coming from instinctual drives. The same ones the people criticizing the incel or even the successful “Chad” or female pursuee would have similar reactions to, if it was witheld from them somehow.

      Yet everyone is coming to the autistic incel with these long “processes” of “growth” and “self-improvement” that are not only years-long, but are really not even guaranteed to be sucessful; judging by watching others try to apply these principles. “Just forget about women/relationships, etc. and focus on yourself, and then it will come”. Are you kidding?
      Again, this is hitting an uncontrolled emotional instinct with pure reason (and uncertain supposition of a far-off future good, on top of it). Unless the person is already at a place where he is ready for that kind of counsel and can get a grip of things through thinking; you’re just going to get the same defensive and even more frustrated responses people are complaining about.
      If the person is already this desperate, then cold “tough talk” could very well be the very final straw that pushes him over the edge! When I’m feeling at my most hopeless in life, is when it seems all the “tough talking” responses I got in my life might be “THE TRUTH”. It’s like “If this is really the way the universe is; I shouldn’t be here!”. In fact, much of our “denial” of things is the hope that we’re not totally wrong in this regard.

      He had voiced extreme jealosy towards the couples he was encountering in church events (just like I mildly in comparison had, but this seems to be worse for him). So I can understand ths well, and then giving a negative review of a park (which ironically is just a mile from the church I was going to at the very end of my incel days —which seemed to be coming to head, until I suddenly finally found someone) due to his problems approaching or talking to women at a meetup there.
      I understand it sounds “crazy” and all. But I think the mistake is looking at it as purely “bad reasoning”; and then trying to fix it with good reasoning. But this does not stem from “reasoning” of any kind, at all! (Which we may say, in theory at such behavior, but we still then treat it as simply bad reasoning; and from there, hurling out more terms such as “childish”, “manipulation”, pity party”, etc. as another eventually added. Even if it might technically be those things; like come on now; the guy is in serious emotional distress!)

      This is a limbic, visceral emotion-driven instinct that is totally unsatisfied, and with no fulfillment anywhere in sight! This is an awful, awful, awful feeling that is practically beyond description! And so, it listens to no reason. Try throwing that same reason to an angry lion. Or even an out of control pit bull! Someone raped in that park may say some of the same things, and we just realize they have been traumatized, and this is the only way they know how to respond to it right now. Autism may not be the same kind of trauma as rape, but given the emotional oversensitivity, it may have some similar effects). I myself still often struggle with irrational thought, and can actually weigh “this is what it feels like”, and that I don’t seriously believe that it is so; I’m just venting (whether mentally, or even to someone else), but my thinking this doesn’t solve the problem; it just preserves some false calm better for the moment.

      (In response to my stepping up for the guy in what became this post, the second person concludes “He uses autism like a shield to excuse his behavior and I am not buying the crap he is selling.” and that he feels the need to “call out this behavior” whenever he sees it, again appealing to the almighty “choice”, of how to respond to frustrations.
      The three of them act like they’re not only not austistic, but like the typical people in the world who know nothing about autism, and so judge us by their own lives and how they put effort and worked to grow, etc. and getting annoyed and impatient at these people who seem to be trying to get a free ride without doing the work they did. Which is always the name of the game in self-rightous judgmentalism, both religous and secular! It’s also highlights the precisely point I was making before; of how we are tagged as so “self-involved”, but then what are people dealing with us doing, when they essentially make our problems ‘all about them”, by going into comparisons with the work they feel they had to do, with what we are trying to supposedly get over and avoid doing; and then esponding accordingly, in a nasty inpatient way?
      So (nbeing these seem to be respected long term members, even) I have to wonder if what I thought was a safe place for autistic people to share their feelings and problems is just another venue of people giving us cold motivational speech, trying to fix us, and yet at the same time treating us like trolls who are trying to “get over”, because we aren’t in a place to grow yet; which again, is the common assumption in the allistic world. This is all some of us have gotten in the world!

      So the person really needs some serious help; with medication likely being the best shot. But people need to be more patient and not think they can reason or drill this out of him. (And let’s hope he’s getting more help, and is still with us!) [Edit; speaking to someone privately about this, the person allegedly has a whole history of offensive posts (attacking people, etc.) Still, this all the more shows tough talking won’t do any good.]

  26. “She Was Asking for It”

    The walking thing applies to men too (as potential targets of robbing/mugging, or as in street lingo, getting “jumped”). Walking is part of a whole profile called “the way you carry yourself” (which will also included dress/grooming). It’s true that some people are very observant, and can pick up subtle cues as to who might be easier to victimize, and then when you go for help or advice, people see this as “the way the world is”, and will even appeal to “nature”, such “the law of survival/jungle”, etc. and it’s like you can’t fight against nature.

    So they basically give the predators a pass, like they’re just part of the universe, and you’re the one with with “responsibility” (“you can only be responsible for yourself”; etc.), and then you’re supposed to change yourself, like even down to the most subtle things like you whole stride, the way you talk, etc. and be “mindful” of every single detail, just to stay on course. (And if you have conditions such as autism that make those things difficult; too bad! You just have to make whatever extra efforts). If you don’t do it, then that’s where the blame will come in; yyou were supposed to be “responsible” for your wellbeing, and you didn’t do all you could to protect yourself.
    And I found you can’t really argue with that. You can try to teach people coming up not to bully, but you can’t do anything about those already out there you have to deal with every day.

    So I don’t know what people who tend to be victimized are supposed to be told, but it’s certainly true that this toxic “positivity” of the “self-help” movement that fatalistically justfifies it, and benefits (justifies) those on the op of this “food chain”, needs to be at least called out as below what can reasonably be expected of a human race that has supposedly evolved above wild animals!

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