I've become a reluctant convert to self-help cod-philosophy over the past few years. It started with The Atkins book. I blame most of it on that. Dr Atkins has an effusive American style of writing where he talks about how wonderful the world according to his diet is. I was initially really turned off by that but -and this is the important bit- his advice really worked. I lost s#itloads of weight. Here's where the snowball began to roll. The fact his advice worked ment I was able to ignore the over the top style which he used. I could buy into it because it worked. That simple.
My next book was Alan Carr's "Easyway to Stop Smoking". This book also has a slightly irritating style of writing. It's more English but it's still a bit annoying. It occasionally makes you want to tell it to "just f#ck off and stop acting so smug". But I pressed on with it. The Atkins diet had worked. Why shouldn't this one? Well, after a false start it did work. I stopped smoking. This self help s#it really seems to help. I still do not smoke. I still suggest you try reading his book. It de-programmes you, so to speak.
After that I flirted with loads of nonsense. "The 7 habits of highly effective people" and Anthony Robbins being two notable examples. This has led me on a path towards a book which was handed to me by one of my Mum's friend's. It's called "The Four Agreements - A Toltec Wisdom Book" by Don Miguel Ruiz. My Mum's friend recommends it highly. I'm in the early stages of reading it and I'm having enormous difficulty with the writing style. It's annoying me so much I'm going to critique it before I've even finished it.
What is annoying me specifically is his use of the word we. I've ranted about this before but here I intend to show you exactly why I hate the devisive use of this word.
Allow me to quote some of his book:
"Children are domesticated the same way we domesticate a dog, a cat or any other animal. In order to teach a dog we punish the dog and we give it rewards. We train our children whom we love so much the same way that we train any domesticated animal: with a system of punishment and reward. We are told, "You're a good boy," or "You're a good girl," when we do what Mom and Dad want us to do. When we don't, we are "a bad girl" or "a bad boy".
When we went against the rules we were punished; when we went along with the rules we got a reward. We were punished many times a day, and we were also rewarded many times a day. Soon we became afraid of being punished and also afraid of not recieving the reward. The reward is the attention that we got from our parents or from other people lin siblings, teachers, and friends. We soon develop a need to hook other people's attention in order to get the reward."
Right. So he's talking there about the way society moulds and trains people. Fair enough. What annoys me is that he's claiming to speak on my behalf. In fact I get the feeling he means "you lot". The un-enlightened cattle. That's perhaps a bit unfair but it's how I felt reading it. Lets apply a little semantic trick. I never gave him permission speak on my behalf, therefore the use of the word "we" is not applicable in this context. However, he's entitled to speak for himself. So "we" becomes "I". If we* apply this logic to the above passages it becomes a more interesting and revealing read. It even makes it more sympathetic. Here's the quote with the syntax addjusted correctly:
"Children are domesticated the same way I domesticate a dog, a cat or any other animal. In order to teach a dog I punish the dog and we give it rewards. I train my children whom I love so much the same way that I train any domesticated animal: with a system of punishment and reward. I am told, "You're a good boy," or "You're a good girl," when I do what Mom and Dad want me to do. When I don't, I am "a bad girl" or "a bad boy".
When I went against the rules I was punished; when I went along with the rules I got a reward. I was punished many times a day, and I was also rewarded many times a day. Soon I became afraid of being punished and also afraid of not recieving the reward. The reward is the attention that I got from my parents or from other people like siblings, teachers, and friends. I soon developed a need to hook other people's attention in order to get the reward."
Fair enough. He's had a difficult childhood. He's an attention seeker. I'd like him more if he'd written that. Applied a little logic.
The other thing about this book that's getting my goat** is that he introduces himself as an Ancient Toltec Nagual from the Eagle Knight lineage. Surely if we translate that into English it makes him a "c#nt"?
*Used correctly here. There's nothing wrong with having a "we" in the correct place. In fact I'm actually saying that. Everyone needs a little "we" here and there. Just don't go "we"ing in the wrong place. Ha ha! Geddit? We. Like pis#ing. You know. Having a p#ss. I'm ace I am. Actually, no I'm not. Ruined.
** Yes, that's right. Getting my goat. What. The. F#ck? I'm getting old. I used to think old people talked funny because they followed the speech fashions which were current and of their time. When I was a kid, no one said 'that really gets my goat'. Only old people. As I kid I never used the expression. Yet now I've used it. Why? Insane.