Wednesday, January 26, 2011

Humility vs Modesty

Humility is inwardly-directed. Modesty is outwardly-directed.

Modesty is pretentious; the apparent lack of concern is just a facade that betrays tremendous concern for the opinions of others.

"Modesty is the gentle art of enhancing your charm by pretending not to be aware of it." -- Oliver Herford

Modesty consists of deliberately belittling one's own ability and accomplishments for the opportunity of receiving praise from others.

Humility, is acknowledging your intrinsic self-worth while not drawing unnecessary attention to yourself. You're humble; you neither eulogize your virtues, nor do you make yourself out to be worthless. It does not mean refusing to recognize your strengths, talents, and skills. It means that while you declare your strengths, you also acknowledge your weaknesses.

Humility means being authentic, while acting modest implies being inauthentic. It is no accident, then, that we use the verb "act" when we talk about modesty.

"Perfect humility dispenses with modesty." -- C. S. Lewis

Tuesday, January 25, 2011

Power vs Force

1. Power arises from meaning. It has to do with motive, and it has to do with principle. Power is always associated with that which supports the significance of life itself. It appeals to that part of human nature that we call noble -- in contrast to force, which appeals to that which we call crass.

2. Force must always be justified, whereas power requires no justification. Force is associated with the partial, power with the whole.

3. We could say that force is a movement -- it goes from here to there (or tries to) against opposition. Power, on the other hand, is still. It's like a standing field that doesn't move.

4. Force is incomplete and therefore has to be fed energy constantly. Power is total and complete in itself and requires nothing from the outside. It makes no demands; it has no needs.

5. Because force has an insatiable appetite, it constantly consumes. Power, in contrast, energizes, gives forth, supplies, and supports.

6. Force is associated with judgement and makes us feel poorly about ourselves. Power is associated with compassion and makes us feel positively about ourselves.

7. Force always creates counterforce; its effect is to polarize rather than unify. Because force incites polarization, it inevitably produces a win/lose dichotomy; and because somebody always loses, enemies are created.

8. Force is concrete, literal, and arguable. It requires proof and support. The sources of power, however, are inarguable and aren't subject to proof. The self-evident isn't arguable.

9. Force is seductive because it emanates a certain glamour, whether that glamour is manifested in the guise of false patriotism, prestige, or dominance; conversely, true power is often quite unglamorous.

10. One characteristic of force is arrogance; power is characterized by humility. Force is pompous; it has all the answers. Power is unassuming.

11. Force often relies upon rhetoric, propaganda, and specious arguments to garner support and disguise underlying motivations. One characteristic of power, though, is that is needs no defense; it's self-evident.

12. Power attracts, whereas force repels. Because power unifies, it has no true enemies, although its manifestations may be opposed by opportunists whose ends it doesn't serve. Power is service to others, whereas force is self-serving.

13. Through its insistence that the ends justify the means, force sells out freedom for expediency. Force offers quick, easy solutions. In power, the means and the ends are the same, but ends require greater maturity, discipline, and patience to be brought to fruition.

14. Force is the universal substitute for truth. The need to control others stems from a lack of power; just as vanity stems from a lack of self-esteem.

15. Power is what makes you go strong, while force makes you go weak. Love, compassion, and forgiveness, which may be mistakenly though of as submissive by some, are, in fact, profoundly empowering. Revenge, judgemental ism, and condemnation, on the other hand, inevitably make you go weak.

David Hawkins, Power vs Force

Savage postscript:

It should be evident that pick-up is force. Seduction -- the gifting of pleasure, arousal, intimacy and intensity as a service to others -- is power. Seduction -- as I teach it -- comes from a place of high self-regard, empathy, awareness, and appreciation.

Pleasure vs Gratification

Because the ways of enhancing them differ, I divide the positive emotions into three kinds: those directed toward the past (satisfaction, contentment, pride, serenity), the future (optimism, hope, confidence, trust, faith) or the present.

The positive emotions about the present divide into two crucially different categories that I call the pleasures and the gratifications.

The pleasures themselves comprise bodily pleasures and higher pleasures. The bodily pleasures are momentary positive emotions that come through the senses: delicious tastes and smells, sexual feelings, moving your body well, delightful sights and sounds.

The higher pleasures are also momentary, but they are set off by events more complicated
and more learned than sensory ones, and they are defined by the feelings they bring about: ecstasy, rapture, thrill, bliss, gladness, mirth, glee, fun, ebullience, comfort, amusement, relaxation and the like.

The gratifications are the other class of positive emotions about the present, but unlike the pleasures, they are not feelings, but activities we like doing – reading, rockclimbing, dancing, good conversation, volleyball, or playing bridge, for example. The gratifications absorb and engage us fully, they block self-consciousness, they block felt emotion (except in retrospect –
‘Wow, that was fun!’), they create flow, a state in which time stops and one feels completely at home.

The gratifications cannot be obtained or permanently increased without developing the strengths and virtues. Happiness is therefore not just about obtaining pleasant, momentary subjective states. Our strengths and virtues are the natural routes to gratification, and the
gratifications are the routes to what I conceive the good life to be: using your strengths and virtues to obtain abundant gratification in the main realms of life.

A meaningful life adds one more component to the good life: using your strengths and virtues in the service of something much larger than you are.

Finally, a full life consists in experiencing positive emotions about the past and future, savoring positive feelings from the pleasures, deriving abundant gratifications from your signature strengths, and using those strengths and virtues in the service of something larger to obtain meaning.

Martin Seligman, Authentic Happiness

Monday, January 24, 2011

Trust vs Belief

Trust is personal; belief is social. Trust you have to grow in; belief you can remain in, and belief can be imposed on you. Drop beliefs.

Never believe. If you cannot trust it is better to doubt, because through doubt, someday or other the possibility of trust will arise.

Trust is the greatest intelligence. Why don't people trust? Because they don't trust their intelligence. They are afraid....


Saturday, January 22, 2011

Rock Logic vs Water Logic

A rock is solid, permanent and hard. This suggests the absolutes of traditional thinking (solid as a rock). Water is just as real as a rock but it is not solid or hard. The permanence of water is not defined by its shape.

A rock has hard edges and a definite shape. This suggests the defined categories of traditional thinking. We judge whether something fits that category shape or not. Water has a boundary and an edge, which is just as definite as the edge of a rock, but this boundary will vary according to the terrain.

Water will fill a bowl or a lake. It adapts to the terrain or landscape. Water logic is determined by the conditions and circumstances. The shape of the rock remains the same no matter what the terrain might be. If you place a small rock in a bowl, it will retain its shape and make no concession at all towards filling the bowl. The absolutes of traditional thinking deliberately set out to be circumstance-independent.

If you add more water to water, the new water becomes part ot the whole. If you add a rock to a rock, you simply have two rocks. This addition and absorption of water logic corresponds to the process of poetry, in which new images become absorbed in the whose.

We can match rocks by saying this shape 'is' or is not' the same as another shape. A rock has a fixed identity. Water flows according to the gradient. Instead of the word 'is' we use the word 'to.' Water flows 'to' somewhere.

In traditional (rock) logic we have judgements based upon right/wrong. In perception (water) logic we have the concepts of 'fit' and 'flow.'

The concept of 'fit' means: 'Does this fit the circumstances and conditions?' The concept of 'flow' means: 'Is the terrain suitable for flow to take place in this direction?' Fit covers the static situation, flow covers the dynamic situation. Does the water fit the lake or hole? Does the river flow in this direction?

Truth is a particular constellation of circumstances with a particular outcome. In this definition of truth we have both the concepts of fit (constellation of circumstances) and of flow (outcome).

In a conflict situation both sides are arguing that they are right. This they can show logically. Traditional thinking would seek to discover which party was really 'right.' Water logic would acknowledge that both parties were right but that each conclusion was based on a particular aspect of the situation, particular circumstances, and a particular point of view.

We must note that we are so immersed in our rock logic system that water logic will at first seem so pragmatic that 'anything goes' and there is no way of making judgements or getting a decision. This is not so at all. Water will not flow uphill or against the gradient. The behaviour of water is well defined and so is the behaviour of water logic.

Edward de Bono, I Am Right You Are Wrong

Water Logic leads to:

*constructive thinking instead of destructive thinking
*exploration instead of argument
*design instead of analysis
*ideas instead of information
*concern for the future instead of obsession with the past
*operacy (taking action) instead of knowledge
*creative thinking instead of critical thinking
*perception instead of (linear) processing
*wisdom instead of cleverness (perception is the basis of wisdom)

PS. Pick-up is rock logic. Seduction is water logic.

Thursday, January 20, 2011

Pleasure vs Altruism

In the book Sway: The Irresistible Pull of Irrational Behavior by Ori Brafman and Rom Brafman, the authors reveal research that demonstrates that our brain has both a distinct 'pleasure center' and 'altruism center.'

1. "Unlike, say, the parts of our brain that control movement and speech, the pleasure center and the altruism center cannot both function at the same time: either one or the other is in control."

For the record, the 'centers' are named:

pleasure = nucleus accumbens
altruism = posterior superior temporal sulcus

2. "The nucleus accumbens is, evolutionarily speaking, one of the most primitive parts of the brain, one that has traditionally been associated with our 'wild side': it's the area of the brain that experiences the thrill of going out on a hot date, that sparks a sports fan' s exuberance when his team pulls out a last minute victory, and that seeks out the excitement of Las Vegas. Scientists call this region the pleasure center because it is associated with the high that results from drugs, sex, and gambling."

3. "At it's most extreme, the pleasure center drives addiction. A drug like cocaine, for example, triggers the nucleus accumbens to release dopamine, which creates a feeling of contentment and ecstasy. The reason cocaine is so addictive is that the pleasure center goes into overdrive and the threshold for excitement climbs higher and higher."

4. "Now, compare this reaction with our neurological reaction to altruistic behavior.... [where the] posterior superior temporal sulcus lights up. This is the part of the brain responsible for social interactions -- how we perceive others, how we relate, and how we form bonds."

5. "It is as if we have two 'engines' running in our brains that can't operate simultaneously. We can approach a task either altruistically or from a self-interested perspective. The two different engines run on different fuels and also need different amounts of those fuels to fire up. It doesn't take much to fuel the altruism center: all you need is the sense that you're helping someone or making a positive impact."

Yes. Now let me combine this with my own perspective -- how I relate to sex and seduction -- and what I teach.

First of all, I don't feel a compelling need to pursue sex. I love sex, and, I am really good at it. And with minimal attention-getting effort on my part, opportunities come to me. Read my article "Appreciation vs Desire." I appreciate sex immensely, while releasing the need to pursue it. I call the shared-appreciation of pleasure, sensuality and sex "seduction." I call the self-interested pursuit of pleasure, sensuality, and sex "pick-up."

Furthermore, I see the pursuit of anything as inherently needy. While I appreciate pleasure and novelty, I am truly neither a pleasure-seeker nor a novelty-seeker. Perhaps I am just lazy, but I prefer things to come to me. I state this preference, and things do come. Indeed. I do not get off on pursuit. I do not experience a "thrill of the chase." I do not eroticize conquest. I prefer to "order in" rather than "go out and pick-up."

Second, I see sex and seduction as tremendous gifts. With me, sex is the gift of my energy, confidence, esteem, enthusiasm, talent and skill. With me, seduction is the gift of intensifying desire and/or arousal. Absolutely I get a sense that I am "making a positive impact." I have always had the perspective of giving and sharing. I want to show her what's possible. I want to blow her mind. I want to take her higher than she's ever been.

Sex is generally a very neutral act for me. What turns and encounter from good to great is always what I have to give. It is always my own energy, my own intention, my own intensity. This is what I bring to the bedroom. These are my gift and I give selflessly. My intention to give is independent of partner, position, location, technique or tone. For example, I can be quite dominant and in control and still give. I am, in fact, giving the gift of that tone, that intensity. The flavor may be unique -- we all have different tastes -- but the dish always contains generosity. And it is always served hot.

Third, I am fine with being a woman's drug. I attract the pleasure-seekers, and that's fine. Use my body, my brain, and my ability as the tools they are. I will awaken your senses. I will excite your mind and ignite your body. I will create rapture, ecstasy, bliss, and any other dopamine-induced state. My ability to do this has as much to do with my perspective -- that I am altruistically giving a valuable gift -- as it does with erotic intuition or sexual skill.

A huge part of Sexual Excellence is learning the appreciation of sexuality from a place of high self-esteem and apparent abundance. Sexual Excellence is about moving away from the self-centered pursuit of pleasure. This has everything to do with motivation and intention. Your 'pleasure center' will go crazy while in the act; enjoy it. The question is, what is your motivation to get there? And what is the process that you choose?

Jason Savage

Wednesday, January 19, 2011

Pleasure vs Happiness

Philosophers and spiritual leaders have debated the value and nature of pleasure for centuries, often comparing it to its more abiding sibling, happiness. The two are related, of course, but most of us, from saint to sinner, have never doubted which of the pair would make the best honeymoon companion.

Happiness is often said to be a "gift for making the most of life" or "enjoying the simple things."

Pleasure is a hedonic reflex, a burning impulse to abandon rational thought altogether and immerse oneself in the moment.

Happiness is an abstraction, constructed from our social and moral identities -- a carefree stroll on the beach, 2.3 children and a white picket fence, a sense of accomplishment.

The pleasure instinct, like the survival instinct, is pure biological imperative fueled by an ephemeral reward so fevered and beautiful with desire that it can drive us to extraordinary lengths.

Happiness is a Norman Rockwell painting hanging over your fireplace on a cold winter's eve.

Pleasure is the warmth and aesthetic beauty of the flames, the heat beating on your skin.

Gene Wallenstein, The Pleasure Instinct

Tuesday, January 18, 2011

Appreciation vs Desire

Desire could be characterized by focusing on what you want, but don't have. Pornography is a prime example of this type of activity, though rather extreme. Focusing on wanting anything, is defining yourself in a state of lack. Desire becomes its own reward, as there is a chemical release in the body that can be felt and measured. This release of hormones in the body is not dependent on the completion of the desire; in fact, desire seems to identify with not having, but wanting the experience.

Appreciation is a higher form of Second Chakra consciousness. Instead of focusing on what you don't have, you learn to take delight in what is available. Here the consciousness focuses on that which is being experienced and appreciation courses through the entire body.

David Pond, Chakras for Beginners

Further, from GS:

Pick-up = the pursuit of pleasure and sex (assumed state of lack)
Seduction = the appreciation of pleasure and sex (assumed state of abundance)

Thus pick-up becomes an endless quest because the search for pleasure is never satisfied. You're chasing the horizon. Seduction is an awareness of one's pleasure during an experience. This is the skill of recognizing any given moment as pleasurable and entering the sensation with a sense of appreciation.

From a learning standpoint, this becomes:

Pick-up = learning the process of pursuit.
Seduction = learning the process of appreciation.

I am careful to remind students that both are learned activities. You have a choice of which to learn. Using the word process implies that there is action involved and an "end" to be reached. The action of pick-up takes on the tone of manipulation from a sense of lack. The action of seduction takes on a tone of appreciation from a sense of abundance. The "end" of pick-up is endless desire, endless pursuit. Pleasure is never enough. The "end" of seduction is essentially the appreciation of appreciation. Pleasure is its own reward.

Another contrast I make in my workshops is the difference between Esteem and Confidence. This is a Third Chakra distinction. Self-esteem is essentially a belief in one's worthiness. Self-confidence is a belief in one's ability. Both have everything to do with perceived power.

Pick-up is concerned with self-confidence: How to be effective, competent, and powerful. How to gain prestige, status, and value. There is always that central theme of pursuit (because the belief is that one lacks power).

Seduction is concerned with self-esteem: Recognizing deservedness, worthiness, and integrity. Appreciating pleasure, sensation, and creativity. There is no concern with "how to get" such things because they are recognized as already there, automatic, and in the moment (because the belief is that one already possesses power).

The tone of the Second Chakra (pick-up vs seduction) and the tone of Third Chakra (confidence vs esteem) is most readily influenced by the Fourth Chakra (fear vs love). The aim of the heart chakra is to experience love. It's the drive to both give and receive love, both personally and non-personally, both physically and non-physically. The heart chakra manifests as compassion and care, and also anger and frustration. Does your heart desire or appreciate? The effect on one's sexuality is obvious: to pick-up is revealed as an act of scarcity, and to seduce is revealed an act of abundance.

One more distinction that I love to teach is Charm vs Magnetism. These are qualities that I see as the combined energies of two adjacent chakras that form a spiral of energy concentrated in different places in the body. Charm is the interplay between the Fifth and Sixth Chakras and Magnetism is an interplay between the Second and Third Chakras. They are not mutually exclusive, but we generally notice people as being more animated in their upper body or their lower body.

I consider the highest manifestation of the meeting of the Fifth Chakra (the throat -- communication and choice) and the Sixth Chakra (the mind/third eye -- knowledge and perception) to be expressed as a person's charm and charisma. Here we have a person who is delightful, persuasive, and pleasing to be around in a social context.

In the lower body, I consider the highest manifestation of the meeting of the Second Chakra (the genitals -- sexuality and creativity) and the Third Chakra (solar plexus -- emotion and power) to be expressed as a person's magnetism. Here we have a person who is alluring, enchanting, and entrancing in a sexual context.

Notice that both are forms of seduction. They are both seductive. That is, they are both qualities of being, not pursuits.

The difference is that the charming/charismatic person's attraction is primarily social and the magnetic person's attraction is primarily sexual. The charming person is known for his ideas, his perspective, and his way with words. The magnetic person is known for the way he moves, the way he looks at you, and the way his presence draws you closer.

Charm vs Magnetism is also influenced by the Fourth Chakra, though this is a matter of aim, not tone. Both can emanate the compassion, fullness, and joyfulness of the heart chakra. It's just that charm is aimed at the mind and magnetism is aimed at the genitals. Charm comes from and attracts the upper body; Magnetism comes from and attracts the lower body.

The Fourth Chakra influence manifests as such: Social charm combines with compassion to create altruistic love; Sexual magnetism combines with compassion to create romantic love. The charming person is not only social, but often quite altruistic. The magnetic person is not only sexual, but often quite romantic.

Jason Savage

PS. You don't have to believe that chakras are true energetic centers as part of the body's spiritual anatomy. These distinctions still have meaning. Seen only as a metaphor, you can still realize the different shades of awareness and intention that people express constantly through their actions.

PPS. The meta-distinction is that it is quite charming to talk about these distinctions, yet it is extremely magnetic to live them.

Awareness vs Experience

The word experience comes from the Latin experientia, meaning "to try," whereas the word aware comes from the Greek horan, meaning "to see."

Experience implies participation in an event, whereas awareness implies observation of an event. The two words can normally be substituted in an ordinary conversation without much damage, but they are differently inflected. One gives us the sense of being engaged, whereas the other gives us a sense of being cognizant of that engagement. One denotes reflection while the other denotes the thing being reflected. In fact, awareness can be thought of as a kind of experience of our own experience.

Daniel Gilbert, Stumbling on Happiness

Saturday, January 15, 2011

Guilt vs Shame

Shame is different that guilt. Guilt involves beliefs that we're hurting others, while shame involves beliefs that we're exposed and unworthy in the eyes of others. Guilt arises when we reject others; shame when we feel rejected by others. As sexual excitement is incompatible with guilt, so is it incompatible with shame....

In general, if we dislike ourselves or expect others to do the same, it is difficult to feel worthy of feeling either sexual desire or sexually desirable.

Michael J. Bader, Arousal

Thursday, January 13, 2011

Anxiety vs Fear

Fear is what kept our primitive ancestors alive in a hostile world. They had no time to wonder or ponder. They had a minute, maybe two, to make the life-or-death choice: 'Should we fight or should we run?' Adrenaline flooded their bloodstreams, adding speed, energy, strength. Their veins and arteries constricted simultaneously to slow the bleeding if they were wounded. Their pulses quickened, their bodily defenses stiffened. This physical response to a clear and present danger was fear -- the same fear we depend on to save our own lives.

Today, most of what we call 'fear' is something else. It is anxiety, a response not to danger itself but to anticipated danger. The cave dweller was rightly concerned about being some creature's breakfast on the spot. What he felt was real fear. When we worry about something that might happen later -- when we say, 'I just know I'm going to fail!' -- that's anxiety. When the brakes in your car stop working on a hill, what you feel is fear. When you worry over what you will say at a meeting next Tuesday, that's anxiety -- and anxiety is a lot more agonizing that fear.

Fear usually ends with the event: The car stops, the fear is over. Anxiety, on the other hand, can be endless.

Why do I emphasise this distinction?

I do because your body often does not.

Have you ever noticed how your body reacts when you're anxious? Quickened pulse. Sweaty palms. Dry throat, just as if you were face-to-face with a creature who wanted to gobble you up for breakfast! Anxiety is so frustrating: All that energy, and nothing to do with it. You can't run or fight, because there's nothing to run from, nothing to fight. You sit with a knot in your stomach, anticipating danger.

What I did not understand when I was younger is that worry, whether prompted by fear or anxiety, is an expression of nervous energy, and, as such, is potentially helpful, healthy, and good. The greatest heroes, the most successful and triumphant people, worry. The difference is that they do something about it: They worry well.

--Walter Anderson, The Confidence Course

Late Bloomers vs Prodigies

On the road to great achievement, the late bloomer will resemble a failure: while the late bloomer is revising and despairing and changing course and slashing canvases to ribbons after months or years, what he or she produces will look like the kind of thing produced by the artist who will never bloom at all.

Prodigies are easy. They advertise their genius from the get-go. Late bloomers are hard. They require forbearance and blind faith.

Prodigies rarely engage in open-ended exploration. They tend to be 'conceptual'... in the sense that they start with a clear idea of where they want to go, and then they execute it.

But late bloomers tend to work the other way around. Their approach is experimental. Their goals are imprecise, so their procedure is tentative and incremental.

This is the final lesson of the late bloomer: his or her success is highly contingent on the efforts of others.

--Malcolm Gladwell, What the Dog Saw

Tuesday, January 11, 2011

Intelligence vs Intellectuality

To be intellectual is to be phony; it is pretending intelligence. It is not real because it is not yours, it is borrowed.

Intelligence is the growth of inner consciousness. It has nothing to do with knowledge, it has something to do with meditativeness. An intelligent person does not function out of his past experience; he functions in the present. He does not react, he responds. Hence he is always unpredictable; one can never be certain what he is going to do.


Monday, January 10, 2011

Rapture vs Ecstasy

Rapture means, literally being "seized by force," as if one were a prey animal who is carried away. Caught in the talons of a transcendent rapture, one is gripped, elevated, and trapped at a fearsome height. To the ancient Greeks this feeling often foretold malevolence and danger -- other words that drink from the same rapturous sources are rapacious, rabid, ravenous, ravage, rape, usurp, and surreptitious. Birds of prey that plunge from the skies to gore their victims are known as raptors. Seized by a jagged and violent force, the enraptured are carried aloft to their ultimate doom.

Ecstasy also means to be gripped by passion, but from a slightly different perspective: Rapture is vertical, ecstasy horizontal. Rapture is high flying, ecstasy occurs on the ground.

For some reason, the ancient Greeks were obsessed with the symbol of standing and relied on that one image for countless ideas, feelings, and objects. As a result, a great many of our words today simply reflect where or how things stand: stanchion, status, stare, staunch, steadfast, stature, and constant. But there are also some unexpected ones, such as stank (standing water), stallion (standing in a stall), star (standing in the sky), restaurant (standing place for the wanderer), prostate (standing in front of the bladder), and so on. To the Greeks, ecstasy meant to stand outside oneself. How is that possible? Through existential engineering. "Give me a place to stand," Archimedes proclaimed in the 3rd century BC, "and I will move the earth." Levered by ecstasy, one springs out of one's mind. Thrown free of one's normal self, one stands in another place, at the limits of body, society, and reason, watching the known world dwindle in the distance (a spot standing far away).

Diane Ackerman, An Alchemy of Mind