Friedrich Nietzsche once wrote, "He who has a why to live can bear almost any how." And Viktor Frankl agreed, writing, "Life is never made unbearable by circumstances, but by lack of meaning and purpose." These great thinkers knew something that we have forgotten: For it is only through meaning that man finds fulfillment. But no material thing will ever be sufficient to the task: No amount of sex, no amount of glory, no amount of recognition, no amount of power, no amount of money, no amount of luxury, will ever make up for a lack of why. So although we think in binary terms- we love "happiness" and we hate "suffering"-, what we really long for is something greater and more profound than either: fulfillment- that is, a why.Discovering this why, however, can be difficult, especially in a world so fragmented and so distracting.
Fortunately, there is Legion.
The purpose of Legion is to teach practical applications of classical philosophy through a number of projects, the first of which is the ParaBellum personal development system, which consists of three tiers:
ParaBellum is a personal development system for men that applies game theory and war tactics to personal development.
ParaBellum+ is ParaBellum altered slightly for various audiences, such as women, young men, and victims of trauma.
ParaBellum: Tactics is ParaBellum for those interested in higher level strategies, and for developing leadership skills.
ParaBellum [Latin, para bellum, "for war"] is a revolutionary personal development system rooted in classical philosophy. The ParaBellum system is intended for personal coaching in a one-on-one setting, and is available either in person or through Skype with payments accepted via PayPal. This system includes three tiers: ParaBellum, ParaBellum+, and ParaBellum: Tactics, respectively.
Quite simply, the "self help" industry- not to mention the vast majority of the modern psychotherapeutic industry- is a disaster.
Truth be told, self help rarely works. There are many reasons for this, but it largely has to do with the fact that "self help gurus" are generally not well-trained in psychology, if they are trained at all. To make matters worse, psychologists very often suffer from a kind of professional myopia, seeing whatever disorder it is that they specialize in everywhere, and in everything, whether it is really to blame for the problem or not. So what becomes popular may contain some shred of truth, yet it is only a shred. And a bit of truth is a dangerous thing indeed. Their "theories" are little better than self-fulfilling prophecies; they "fake it 'til they make it," and teach others to fake it too- for a price.
Most personal development systems (what some people refer to as "life-coaching") fall into one of three categories, each with its own set of flaws:
Some systems focus too much on the conditions and circumstances in the external environment without ever addressing the internal. This is a popular breed of pop psychology because the blame is always laid at the feet of somebody other than the client, and so it never treads on the ego of the person seeking help. Vanity is a powerful thing. Placing responsibility on the client is a good way to lose the client, and so instead the "coach" places the blame out there somewhere, in the world. This "poor me" system of self help is a very good way to stroke the ego of the client, but it is not a very good way of affecting change because the only thing the client can actually change is himself. Refusing to shine a light on his own responsibility destroys his agency: Power and responsibility go hand in hand, and so by abolishing responsibility we abolish power. Generally speaking, this is a kind of hyper-external approach, and fails because it lacks the internal aspect of human psychology.
Some systems focus too much on thoughts and feelings because they lack an underlying appreciation for the subconscious processes that largely determine our behavior. In other words, they are too cerebral: They fail to create new habits because they only focus on the surface; they suffer from a shallow interpretation of human psychology. They do support personal responsibility, but in a superficial fashion. The "think yourself to prosperity" seminars fall into this class: lots of motivation without a lot of development. This is extremely profitable, but it is neither an effective nor an efficient means of changing behavior in the long term. That is why fans of this kind of therapy have to continually return for more: They are addicts; they need their fix, or they abandon their endeavors. Generally speaking, this is a kind of hyper-internal approach, and fails because it lacks the external aspect of human psychology.
Some systems- "the old school"- do succeed in achieving some sense of balance yet prove most effective only within context of a specific community. This is the "buck up, cupcake" class of counseling. It is effective and efficient within a certain environment (for instance, in the military, in the martial arts, and so forth) specifically because it is being taught within context of a community even though the importance of that community is never stressed. So essentially, those in the community are getting both sides- external and internal- whether they know it or not; they are surrounded by others with the same goals, and so they develop well. This type of personal development, however, is most productive in a homogeneous setting, and can be rendered borderline useless in the day-to-day modern world, which is largely heterogenous in character. Generally speaking, this more balanced approach does work- it is even ideal- but only in very specific settings, and it decreases in usefulness as distance from those settings increases.
ParaBellum, ParaBellum+, and ParaBellum: Tactics have been designed not to fall into any of these three categories. This is a problem-solving system, and overcoming all three of these deficiencies was critical to its creation.
Psycho-analytics refers to the system by which we get to the root cause of the problem. For instance, a person may have a problem regarding their current relationship, but in order to solve the problem, we first have to know whether or not the current problem is rooted in a longer pattern of behavior. In other words, we have to know the degree to which the client is personally responsible for his situation. No internal problem can be solved in purely external terms, and essentially, every problem is at least to some degree an internal problem. We are agents with free will, after all. Somehow or other, we each took steps to lead us to where we are, and it is only after we have addressed our own responsibility in this regard that we can turn our attention to externals.
Conceptual restructuring changes behavior by changing cognition- that is, conscious thought- and specifically changes cognition pertaining to the client's attitude towards the relationship between happiness and suffering, which is in the modern world oftentimes childish and superficial. There is in fact an entire discipline in psychiatry- cognitive psychology- that utilizes this method. For the purposes of ParaBellum, however, cognitive psychology alone is an insufficient model of health and wellbeing; its methods must be used in tandem with methods directed towards other, deeper systems. Because although we think of ourselves as primarily conscious beings, it is very rarely consciousness that determines behavior: There are many underlying sub-systems that are entirely subconscious, and have a marked- even primary- effect on behavioral patterns. These must be addressed as well, and not only in passing.
Domains of Determination
Domains of determination pertain to those aspects of the environment that have an effect on human development. For our purposes, there are three domains of determination:
Because a human being cannot be understood except in context of his environment, controlling his environment is the best and perhaps most critical aspect of his development, especially in youth. This is why it is so important to ensure that children, for instance, grow up with very specific environmental influences, and why recovery can be so difficult for those who refuse to cut ties with past toxic relationships. We become what we are surrounded by; if we wish to become something new, we must surround ourselves with something new. So self-driven environmental engineering is really an indispensable aspect of ParaBellum.
The Four Teachings refer to ParaBellum's virtue ethics. Virtue ethics focus on cultivating specific traits or qualities rather than controlling behavior under particular circumstances; in other words, virtue ethics develop the agent rather than the action. ParaBellum's Four Teachings are:
Developing these traits or qualities changes the individual at a deeper, more fundamental level. More importantly, developing virtue is a more effective means of teaching the client to apply themselves, and to a wider range of possible situations.
The Five Questions refer to ParaBellum's baseline system of "battle-mapping," which is a method of using war tactics and game theory in order to maximize problem-solving efficiency. Oftentimes, we fail to think about our own problems strategically, and this causes us to act and to react unwisely to adversity. The Five Questions address this error, and provide a simple yet subtle method for organizing problems in a more tactical manner, which results in better long-term outcomes; the Five Questions are:
Who am I?
What gives my life meaning?
What are my goals, and why?
What obstacles stand in my path?
What must be done in order to overcome them?
Mastery of the Self
Finally, ParaBellum never loses sight of the goal: mastery of the self. Ultimately, the only problem in life is the problem of conquering the self- conquering our own weakness, pettiness, and resentfulness. For thousands of years, this responsibility was understood to be deeply religious- or in some cases, philosophical, which was oftentimes very nearly the same thing. But in our modern, secular world, new methods must be devised in order to accomplish in adulthood what rightly should have already been accomplished during adolescence: the development of self-respect and self-control, which result in wisdom, and a better, more fulfilling life.
Joshua van Asakinda +1-330-314-4170 Joshua.van.Asakinda@gmail.com
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