Pick Up Artists and Pacifists

As part of a real eclectic reading and training schedule, I’ve been reading The Game: Penetrating the Secret Society of Pickup Artists, By Neil Strauss, and auditing a course PACS 164A, Introduction to Non-Violence, taught by Michael Nagler at UC Berkeley. What has interested me about both of these topics is their approach to communication, and also the end results they get, primarily because of the original goals of these communications.

The Pick Up Artists (PUAs) in the Game are interested in using communication technologies and skills, such as Nuero Linguistic Programming and various psychological games, with one end in mind, to have sex with lots of women.  Neil discusses in detail some of the tactics, but he is also objective enough to discuss the blowback. These PUAs often end up being very shallow, single focused people who are unable to have trusting, long term relationships with partners of either sex.

Intro to Non-Violence focuses on the non-violent movement largely through the methods of Ghandi and King.  The course addresses non-violent principles and history, largely avoiding specific tactics.

The nature of the Game is on person to person communications, while PACS164A focuses on methods that change group thinking. The focus on group thinking is largely because of the focus on Ghandi and King.  But many of our day to day communications and negotiations could be improved by incorporating some of the principles of non-violence.

I think that the Non-Violence movement could actually learn from the techniques of the Pick Up Artists. Non-violent principles are also very important in person to person communications, and a lot of the work of Ghandi involved the coordination of smaller non-violent activities to achieve a major goal. By incorporating techniques like NLP into the non-violent toolkit, the movement could have more success in changing minds and understanding the motivations of their adversaries.

Pick Up Artists could also learn from the Non-Violent movement about using their skills for something less shallow than getting sex, and end up being more rounded people.

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