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"Self Help"

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24 Nov 2019 03:39 #346030 by Uzima Moto
Replied by Uzima Moto on topic "Self Help"
The Self help I've been indulging in lately is shadow work.. of course you have Robert Greene and his books.. they all teach mostly about the power of the mind or how to apply it in varying ways..

You can get all this info for free thanks to "the internet of things" lol

Ense petit placidam sub libertate quietem
By the sword we seek peace, but peace only under liberty.

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24 Nov 2019 04:17 - 24 Nov 2019 04:19 #346038 by Skryym
Replied by Skryym on topic "Self Help"

Rex wrote: It's for people who get sucked in by the title and concept without the patience to do their due diligence and try to get a passable understanding of the subject.


With a twinge of humility and guilt, I looked over at the small library of self-help books I've assembled over the years. Most of these were gathered during high school, when I misinterpreted my teenage moodiness as depression. I have to admit that you are right. I was looking for a quick fix, and was captivated by any author who offered the fastest fix with the most flowery prose. While I think many other people fall to this same trap, I feel there is a more fundamental problem behind the self-help industry:

It perpetuates self-help. For some people, merely seeking "self-help" is a form of acknowledging that they are flawed1. Feel free to explore the source more - but keep in mind that the author ends by promoting his own solution to happiness. However, he highlights another interesting point that ties into some of Shinobi's ideas. "It's a market driven, rather than peer-reviewed industry"1. The self-help books that fill bookstores seem to rotate in "generations" where they all have the same market buzzwords. Popular today, forgotten tomorrow. A couple years ago there was a small spike in Stoicism, and there was a whole surge of books that applied snippets of Stoic wisdom to subjects as random as football and corporate life. There probably is a kernel of real wisdom behind all these books, but how can we sift through it? Anyone can write a book, few earn PhDs or survive holocausts (I'm thinking specifically of Viktor Frankl here).



I think questions 1 and 2 are answered, if somewhat haphazardly, in my response.

2a) Is that such a bad thing? - No! My initial response may have shamed the self-help industry, and a quick google search reveals legions of people who feel the same way. However, I think self-help books can introduce people to the source of their problem or questions they never thought to ask. However, there is a chance that people remain stuck in a hopeless loop of checklists and bullet points that perpetuate the problem I talked about earlier.

Should Jediism be reduced to this? It already has. Amazon is full of books that tell people how to sprinkle Yoda or Jedi mind tricks into their day. In the ongoing discussion about the doctrine, some members raised a good point that we shouldn't take the doctrine too seriously. Easily accessible, accommodating information is usually what brings people here in the first place. Nobody can force them to take the intimidating steps into the religion and philosophy beyond it - but that is the way it should be.

At this point I'm not entirely sure what point I was trying to make. I used to be so gung-ho about the self-help genre and felt compelled to weight in, but I don't think I contributed to the positive development of this conversation.

The self-help industry is an easy target, but it is not the problem. Technology has shortened our attention span and mass-media / self-publishing has created a million mini-prophets. We can cherry pick from unlimited schools of religion and philosophy, which decreases are ability to settle down and commit to something.

If I had Herculian faith and commitment in a random click-bait article written by a fraud, that random click-bait article could probably change my life.





(1) Manson, M. (2012). 5 Problems with the Self Help Industry. Mark Manson.
(2) Nemko, M. (2014). Stop with the self-help books already! Psychology today.

There is no bad weather, only bad attitudes and bad attire. - Gandalf the Grey
TM: Loudzoo
Skryym's Novice Journal | Meditation Journal | Apprentice Journal
Last edit: 24 Nov 2019 04:19 by Skryym. Reason: grammar

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24 Nov 2019 07:22 - 24 Nov 2019 07:28 #346046 by JamesSand
Replied by JamesSand on topic "Self Help"

If I had Herculian faith and commitment in a random click-bait article written by a fraud, that random click-bait article could probably change my life.


I'm sure there is at least one motivation speaker, if not an entire self help book dedicated to the idea that patience, persistence and consistency wins out over the latest best idea.

In any case, I'm not sure how to take your response - I see all the points, but overall you seem to be standing where I would want to build a fence...
Last edit: 24 Nov 2019 07:28 by JamesSand.

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24 Nov 2019 12:29 #346055 by Skryym
Replied by Skryym on topic "Self Help"

JamesSand wrote:


In any case, I'm not sure how to take your response - I see all the points, but overall you seem to be standing where I would want to build a fence...


Hmmm.... I do have a bad habit of walking the middle ground even where a side should be taken.


Whatever "need" the self-help industry is trying to capitalize on, I appreciate that it exists. People are interested in being better (or at least more productive people), and I like that. Many self-help books probably aren't fulfilling this need, but I don't want to throw the baby out with the bathwater.


There is no bad weather, only bad attitudes and bad attire. - Gandalf the Grey
TM: Loudzoo
Skryym's Novice Journal | Meditation Journal | Apprentice Journal

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24 Nov 2019 19:34 #346072 by JamesSand
Replied by JamesSand on topic "Self Help"

Whatever "need" the self-help industry is trying to capitalize on, I appreciate that it exists.


I sometimes doubt that.
Some of the books come off a bit like they are identifying problems you never knew you had, but don't worry! they can fix them!

I'm getting distracted with my own loathing of salespeople, and I'm not sure that was the original thrust of my topic...

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24 Nov 2019 20:47 #346085 by Skryym
Replied by Skryym on topic "Self Help"
I understand you there. I meant to say that I appreciate the fact that people want to improve themselves. It seems like a much more popular notion today, and the presence of the self-help industry is a testament to that.

I agree with you in the sense that, while I appreciate the public desire for betterment, the industry itself is only here to profit from that desire, which leads to situations we talked about earlier, where they perpetuate existing problems or create problems they didn’t know they had.

I guess my opinion is that the self-help industry is a necessary evil? It wouldn’t be present if people didn’t want to better themselves, and genuinely helpful literature (for example, Man’s search for meaning but Viktor Frankl) wouldn’t be publicly available in most bookstores and libraries.

There is no bad weather, only bad attitudes and bad attire. - Gandalf the Grey
TM: Loudzoo
Skryym's Novice Journal | Meditation Journal | Apprentice Journal

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04 Dec 2019 09:52 #346713 by Alexthecounsil
Replied by Alexthecounsil on topic "Self Help"
The point is in interesting feature of our mind. We can remember better everything that we bought ourselves or bothered to get. If we have any usefull information for free, we think that there is no need to remember it, because everyone and in any time can use it. But if you buy a book in a store, you appreciate it more then any other free one and try to get all the useful information from it.
It works like that with the major number of people, because it's just a psychological feature.

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19 Dec 2019 20:29 #347441 by JamesSand
Replied by JamesSand on topic "Self Help"
I lacked vision when I was thinking this -

I have recently discovered there is a whole economy of "apps" designed to help you "control" your life - but...they only make money as long as you depend on them - so are they really designed to help, or are they designed to have the appearance of helping?

Money, time, goal management etc - all for 4.99 a month!
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19 Dec 2019 21:53 #347443 by Proteus
Replied by Proteus on topic "Self Help"
What I find amongst many of these books of the genre, is that the authors themselves are using a method of "easy writing", by writing mostly completely vague and/or obvious ideas and trying to sell it as "unique, unheard of, and genius". It's similar to a fortune teller telling the customer "I sense there is someone in your family you love very much, who you feel disconnected from... am I right?". All I tend to have to do is skim the book over once and see how many I can spot even in one chapter over a single moment. The other thing I notice is where the first half of a piece is a collection of questions regarding problems "you might be facing" and they are literally problems that everyone on the face of the earth experiences, before being followed up by pretty much completely irrelevant excuses for "solutions", the cat is out of the bag.

On the other hand, if the author doesn't use any of these tactics and instead talks about the subject from an almost completely academic angle, with just a sparing amount of either personal testimony or second-person storytelling, as well as using a method of reframing ideas in a way as to give a genuinely better understanding of how the world works, I tend to be more likely to accept and even appreciate it. For example Brene Brown is good at taking this approach, and the way she talks about subjects is an example that I try to look for in other author's works as well.

It seems that I know that I know.
What I would like to see is the 'I' that knows me when I know that I know that I know.
- Alan Watts
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20 Dec 2019 00:52 #347450 by Manu
Replied by Manu on topic "Self Help"
Self-help is a whole book genre because there is demand for it.

And just the way you will have a thousand different versions of the same exercise come out with different "themes" to it, different approaches work for different people, so I don't think it's a bad thing to have an overabundance of these.

That said, publishers are in it for profit, not helping anyone particularly, so they are relying on people's tendency to seek out magic bullets and put in little effort into actually using the material to make significant changes to their lives.

The truth is something that burns. It burns off dead wood. And people don't like having the dead wood burnt off, often because they're 95 percent dead wood. - Jordan Peterson
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