A close friend and I have had similar challenges with money over time, and she has recently been getting into ‘majick’ and has long been interested in occult and manifestation. I have had previous brushes with those forms and understand them to be a backdoor to the psyche, a way to retrain one’s brain.
She told me that she was following a woman who was doing things such as making magic her ‘master,’ rubbing $100 bills on her naked body, and orgasming while covered in cash.
When she told me this I realized that the goal is to create and association between the enjoyment of sex and orgasm, the dopamine rush and excitement of it, and money.
This is relevant because later, when thinking about paying the bills, or going to work, the emotional experience is of sexual excitement, rather than dread or avoidance.
This got me thinking about actualism too, because actualism is doing something similar: rewriting different things, thoughts, ideas, experiences, into ‘enjoying and appreciating’ rather than dread, avoidance, worry, etc. Maybe it doesn’t involve ‘occult sex majick,’ but the fundamental process is not that different at all. I suppose you could even do something similar, though in actualism the vibe-outcome aimed for is always happy+harmless, enjoying & appreciating.
One could probably even do something interesting like bringing home a wad of cash from the bank, sitting it on the table, seeing what emotions came up, and figuring out how to get to enjoying + appreciating.
I did exactly the same thing with copies of Richard’s diary
But seriously … I used to be a chaos magick dabbler once upon a time. Using sex/masturbation to ‘charge’ a ritual or sigil to increase the likelihood of a manifestation is an old sorcerers trick. People also use things like fear, anger or ecstasy. The goal of a ritual like that would go far beyond just associating money with sexy thoughts - which seems more like associative learning or operant conditioning. But maybe that is also a part of use of the ritual?
Actualism always seemed quite different to me from magick. A lot more straightforward and simpler. If anything moving away from the kind of mental and emotional spaces I associate with magick.
I suppose one can try and squeeze actualism into the conceptual framework of high magick i.e. magick used for self awakening, rather than to achieve material goals (low magick or sorcery). But I think some pathways of enlightenment would be a better fit for that.
Actually even if you are just talking about operant conditioning (as opposed to “far beyond” that as Srinath put it), I don’t think even that is similar to actualism.
You’re talking basically about re-conditioning yourself to automatically/instinctually react with enjoyment and appreciation, to “create an association between” money (or whatever) and enjoyment & appreciation, as opposed to dopamine rush and xcitement.
Firstly it seems kind of tricky. By doing this you aren’t really working as if you are one ‘unit’ or self. Rather you’re sort of splitting yourself off into the “here is me who will train this other part of me” , and this other dumb/unthinking part that you’re essentially trying to ‘trick’ – or at least train – into reacting differently, via conditioning.
But actualism is more about being sincere, i.e. being all as ‘one’ person aligned in the same direction (actuality). It is more wholesome in a sense…
Secondly actualism isn’t so much about reacting to things differently, rather it is about going for unconditional enjoyment and appreciation - as much as it can be gotten - as opposed to conditional. So it’s not about learning to enjoy everything, per se… there are unenjoyable things in this life after all (chores, work, sickness and health, wars etc.) It’s not to say to enjoy those (c.f. this guy who reacts to “grave suffering” by “smiling” because such grave suffering is ultimately “full of love”).
But rather it’s about enjoying come-what-may, i.e. despite any such things. So rather than reacting to things with enjoyment, it’s more about not reacting to things with good or bad feelings. So I could tentatively say it’s more de-conditioning rather than re-conditioning.
I just want to qualify that because if you try to just de-condition yourself without enjoying and appreciating in mind then that seems more on the “become a robot” path, so this must all be taken in context… Besides which it’s also not about not reacting at all – rather you are free to react and respond sensibly as the situation may call for it (something bad happens → take action), it’s just about seeing it is silly to have that take away your enjoyment and appreciation.
Thirdly I find actualism is more about intelligently piecing together the facts and recognizing the ramifications of the facts, namely that it’s silly to feel bad, silly to express ‘good feelings’, it is sensible to enjoy and appreciate, etc. So it’s more about engaging intelligence which is a very high-level function – and I don’t mean having a high IQ, but rather using intelligence at full capacity. While operant conditioning seems more about short-circuiting intelligence to try to ‘hack’ at a lower-level part of the system. We are all intelligent creatures, we’re more than capable of working these things out… and that full appreciation of what it is to be alive is what will do the wonders, I think.
Regarding this I find that life brings up enough situations on its own so that I don’t have to go out looking for things . If someone finds that that isn’t the case for them, I’d say they are probably too isolated and not getting out in the marketplace enough.
I think that’s all for now. In short: don’t try to train yourself, just be sincere
Thank you for this reply, I think it explains a lot of weirdness that’s been happening in my practice over the years
I was into majick for a little bit while I was spiritual, and this together with my education in psychology led me to thinking that what I was wanting to do was effectively train myself as you’re saying, and it has had something of a ‘numbing effect’ of looking down on ‘myself’ and trying to train myself as if I was this dog or something. And as you say there’s a splitting, who is doing the training? So then there’s this higher ‘Henry’ trying to disdainfully train the ‘lower Henry…’ obviously falling into the usual power dynamics of ‘me,’ just internal.
I was indeed trying to ‘hack,’ and bull-headedly use this simple ‘hacking’ process in any and all situations I found myself in, just trying to train myself, and then wondering why things weren’t working out all that well…
And recently I think I was coming up on the limits of this approach, starting to wonder why my attempts to train myself to be happy & harmless were coming up short. Well, I think I know now. It’s going to take me a bit of time to re-orient myself with this new approach in mind.
Well its great that you’ve managed to find out via Claudiu where you may have taken a wrong turn, as these can take you far far away from the wide and wondrous path - as I myself discovered on a number of occasions.
Rather than conditioning or magick, I think the difference then might be reprogramming vs sincere affective awareness.
Reprogramming reminds me of Vineeto’s oft used term of ‘clip on actualism’.
One reason I abandoned magick all those years ago (apart from that it wasn’t really doing jack ) is that there was such a surfeit of material and techniques, the need to take on all these additional beliefs If anything you are heaping more and more on top of an already overloaded psyche, adding more bells and whistles to your antidotal pacifiers - making it harder to exit. Actualism cut right through all that.
Anyone else here setting up altars, invoking demons, drinking newts blood or planning to sacrifice virgins in moonlight in order to have more PCE’s please let us know!
Though I always thought such things as majick were silly and ridiculous, (my atheist/scientist/materialist viewpoint scoffing at such madness) I can see now that playing with these concepts are not too different to the realisation that the way you feel about a stimuli is not an absolute. Hence, this idea that we can be reprogrammed or that there is a degree of malleability to our emotional responses to certain stimuli.
For me it always seemed every emotion was necessary and the way it should be. There was no questioning of my emotional reactions at first, as a child especially. When we first start to have very strong emotions in the teenage years, unrequited love, jealousy etc then we have those first tastes of powerful emotions that we don’t like, we may start to think, ‘wait a minute…I really don’t like this.’
I mean we encounter attempts to change and control our behaviour all the time from parents, teachers, siblings, peers, media, self help materials etc. But it still feels like it is all part of a known framework, this sort of positive/negative viewpoints.
Even as an atheist I had developed quite strange soul beliefs about the nature of emotions and seemed to regard them as unknowable nebulous things. You can’t know or measure love etc. Despite learning and knowing a degree of neuroscience these two viewpoints existed together at first as I seemed not willing to reject the concept of a soul. Then for me the evidence started to stack up against it I could see no reason for it, everything could be explained without this concept. The brain was the origin of all of these occurrences. I rejected the concept of the soul a few years before being exposed to AF.
It wasn’t until young adulthood that I began to question and think along such lines as ‘why do I react with any particular emotion to any particular stimuli?’ I guess I came at it more from a neuroscience perspective than a philosophical one. It was this ultimate realisation that all emotions are not absolute, not untouchable, unchangeable. Could I not be rewired to feel no fear from an aggressive person or joy towards somebody miserable and cruel.
In this way, emotions became in the same vein as belief to me. There was nothing that made them absolute or concrete. There was nothing that indicated that any particular belief as more valid than another, they were all arbitrary. To me the ultimate reason somebody picked a belief over another was conditioning (born into that belief system) or it made them feel good or promoted an ideal or goal that made them feel good (enlightenment or some such thing).
Suddenly I found myself no longer in touch with my feelings but I felt manipulated by them, like a puppet on strings. This was the moment my friend then introduced me to AF.