One man’s bullshit is another man’s pâté de foie gras

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One man’s bullshit is another man’s pâté de foie gras

Psychology 0

A friend was recommended, pressured in my view, to do a life altering personal change weekend recently. The promise was that you will never be the same person again…just give us two days… and a few thousand rand!

I am gratified to report that the person is exactly the same person they were prior to the stroll along Damascus road. So did the life altering personal change weekend people fail? Well they got their tom, the dosh…so no.

Money Slang Words

The person asked me my opinion as to whether they should do the life altering personal change weekend, this whilst knowing all too well how I feel about these endeavours. I reminded the person that whatever they chose to subject themselves to or decided to experience that there was one thing that they could hold onto at all times. Each of us has the right, the responsibility and the burden to decide the relative or absolute worth, morally and psychologically of anything that is said to us, done to us or experienced by us. It is this precisely, this awesome fearsome and humbling capacity that gives us the power and the accountability to be an adult exercising the freedom to choose our paths… our lifelines.

The real challenge I suggested was to not get sucked in to the choreographed, purposely generated hype and emotional traction that would be used to convince the participants of the merits of the brand.

So, after the life altering personal change weekend the life altering personal change weekend people organised what they termed a graduation ceremony designed ostensibly to honour and support the newly enlightened ones. Ja really? Bring guests, family, friends, enemies, whoever, bring just bring!

I am a man of tools just like my father before me. I love them. They allow me to create, to build to make reality out of ideas and images in my head. There is one tool I have with me at all times, wherever I go and no matter what I am doing. It fits snugly into the pre-frontal cortex of my frontal lobe…that nifty compartment that helps me make decisions! Here it is.


On Bullshit, Harry G. Frankfurt

On Bullshit by Harry Frankfurt

Book Review: On Bullshit

A family member of the person went to the graduation as requested. There were crowds of people in the foyer; the doors to the hall were locked so everybody was crowded into the foyer seemingly waiting for the festivities to commence. Or perhaps not. There seemed to be an inordinate delay in getting things started. But that was not chance, that was design. The foyer was filled with persons representing the life altering personal change weekend brand. The person supporting the graduand politely explained to the representative that no they were not interested in doing the life altering personal change weekend, but thanks for asking. The representative was unfazed, “don’t you want to allow yourself to be happy?“ they cajoled, going on inexorably. The tiny scar from the surgery was visible if you knew where to look. This person had had her sense of empathy, ethics and human feeling removed, excised; she had been made into the perfect selling machine. Abandoning all niceties the person who went to support the graduand told the representative of the life altering personal change weekend to go forth and multiply. The rep looked back with the fatuous grin and thousand-yard stare, battle devoured, devoid of any feeling. The person supporting the graduand had to walk away… physically remove themselves from the selling fields.

The Killing Fields

In my experience these life altering personal change weekends are usually high intensity, emotionally charged, of short duration, and comprise of large heterogeneous groups. They often utilise command techniques, compulsory shared public declarations and disclosures, and the enforcing of rigid rules that forbid any deviation from pre-determined processes and outcomes. They sometimes rely on the use of public shaming techniques to coerce change. This can mean that the apparent change that a person experiences is just the immediately felt intense seemingly emotionally expressive experience of emotional hope, shared common connection with others and the relentless plugging of a generally common sense idea.

Worthwhile change is really precious, deserves profound respect and is hard to come by. It usually resides in a caring supportive relationship that is based on a real knowledge and respect for people and their lives at a very intimate and private level. This other thing … is not that.

Psychologically, How Much Can A Person Tolerate?