So Curious, So Magical

by Christopher Lovejoy on February 25, 2022

This world is presently in the grips of a monumental clash of visions, showing up as tension between those who would keep the peace without freedom (under the guise of a casedemic masquerading as a pandemic) and those who are calling out the loss of their peace and freedom.

The first vision of life involves passing through a holding pattern to “build back better,” toward bringing almost everyone under a technocratic form of rule on a worldwide scale. The second vision of life is a pattern breaker for those intent on a return to freedom without such rule.

From a bird’s eye view, one can see a dialectic in motion in search of a resolution. From this view, however, it appears these two visions are not only incompatible, but irreconcilable, and so, the birds might be given to wonder: “amidst this clash of visions, who to be? What to do?”

Resist Not, Insist Not?

We presently live in a world where much if not most of its wealth and power are concentrated in the hands of mere thousands (not even ten thousand) compared to a population of billions, which means that most people in positions of power and influence have strings attached.

Thankfully, I’m not one of them, which is not to say I stand among the wealthy, powerful few. I’m just “a nobody” who also happens to be a witness to a world on the brink of either destroying itself or redeeming itself in the eyes of those who can still care about what is to come.

As a witness, I can allow myself, where and when I can, to “resist not, insist not.” Why? For the simple reason that I care, truly and deeply, about truth, which is to say about facts, first and foremost, and then about narratives that attempt to weave these facts into a meaningful story.

In view of this position, I acknowledge that peace without freedom has its place, even as I recognize that peace with freedom has a place. In other words, I have not given up on the notion that I am free to choose a destiny, if not experientially (for now), then at least existentially.

I remain keen to expand my potential for freedom as opportunities present themselves.

As a witness, I see a role for myself as a mediator between what I call “tyrannical certainty” (in a bid to secure peace without freedom) and “magical curiosity” (in a bid to ensure peace with freedom). Most people are familiar with the first, but not so familiar with the second.

Why is this?

Because tyrannical certainty has a godawful tendency to crush magical curiosity.

Not only that, but this crushing action has been widely legitimized and popularized as necessary and desirable in societies the world over for as long as societies have existed and persisted on this planet, if only to keep moving the money, power, wealth, and control to a relative few.

So what is magical curiosity?

Certainly, magical curiosity embodies the very essence of “resist not, insist not,” but what is it, exactly? And what is it in relation to tyrannical certainty? And does it even need (or want) tyrannical certainty as contrast so as to work its magic with mojo? Let’s find out, shall we?

The Watchwords of Magic : “Stay Curious”

Are we curious? Are we eager to know or learn? If not, are we at least intent on knowing or learning? Or have we allied ourselves with what is known as a veritable Ministry of Truth, where dissident voices are time-stamped with stigmas for daring to proffer other points of view?

Are we fact checkers for the Ministry of Truth or are we fact checkers for truth and truth alone?

Do we favor censorship (therefore self-censorship) to “keep the peace” (without freedom) or do we favor freedom of speech with a view towards keeping the peace? Do we favor coercive strategies to impose certain points of view or do we favor strategies that permit all points of view?

Are we or are we not in favor of excluding others for holding points of view that seem dubious?

Tyrannical certainty? Or magical curiosity?

“Resist Not, Insist Not; Stay Curious . . .”

The Grand Simulation presented me with a striking image of a misty full moon early this morning on my daily stroll. It shone like a flashlight through a veil of mist, serving both as reflection and reminder ~ a reflection of my core covered over by mist and a reminder to shine on.

Later that morning, the Sun made a similar appearance through a veil of gray cloud.

Because I inhabit (temporarily, temporally) a physical, chemical, biological body whose atoms, molecules, and tissues dance simultaneously on multiple levels, the core of me, a witness to a world who plays a role, must invariably put up with occurrences of resistance and insistence.

And so, I will never be able to say that “I am wholly without experiences of resistance and insistence,” nor will I ever be able to claim that “I am wholly capable of going and growing with the knowing and flowing without meeting any instances of resistance and insistence whatsoever.”

For as long as I inhabit this body, I will never be able to truthfully make these claims.

Still, for short stretches of time, I can and do find my sweet spots. Come to think of it, if it weren’t for instances of resistance and insistence, how would it even be possible for me to exercise free will in the face of tyrannical certainty and, by contrast, in keeping with magical curiosity?

And so, it would seem to me that this guideline, “resist not, insist not; stay curious . . .,” is little more than a hedge against patterns of tyrannical certainty, which is not to belittle the guideline, but only to keep its guidance in its proper perspective as it applies to tyrannical certainty.

“Resist not, insist not; stay curious . . .” is a potent reminder for all truth tellers to stay the course in the face of tyranny, whether this tyranny be interpersonal, social, or political. If T is for tyrant, given over to tyrannical certainty, then T-T is for truth teller, open to magical curiosity.

for Ts, tyrannical certainty holds the power to suppress magical curiosities

for T-Ts, magical curiosity holds the power to expose tyrannical certainties

Later in this post, I’ll use these designations ~ T and T-T ~ to generate some fruitful dialogue, but first, let’s talk about the necessity of tactical empathy in a world no longer so forgiving of tyrannical certainty.

The Necessity of Tactical Empathy

I find it more than a little ironic that I wrote and published a dozen posts on my blog on the nature, meaning, and practice of negotiation in February and early March of 2020, only days before official announcements were made that a pandemic had begun sweeping the world.

Let’s cut to the chase: is it possible to negotiate with someone possessed by tyrannical certainty? According to my best sources, the answer is mixed: yes, and no; it depends. Essentially, it depends on whether the person possessed is capable of being responsive to tactical empathy.

More precisely, capable of responding reasonably to the exercise of tactical empathy.

What is tactical empathy?

On its own, empathy is the capacity to connect with another’s point of view or frame of reference, so as to understand what another is thinking (cognitive empathy) and/or to feel what another is feeling (affective empathy). Empathy becomes tactical when it seeks to secure a deal.

When I say “deal,” I mean any sort of deal ~ like keeping the peace at a checkout, offering to lend a hand, allowing someone to assist you with a difficult task, or jonesing for a better price ~ where there’s an exchange of value made with the consent of two or more parties to the exchange.

Tactical empathy is a posture of skills employed to influence, with deliberation, in negotiation, a counterpart’s thoughts and feelings with a view toward cultivating benign influence, to foster mutual trust, so as to secure a deal that works well for all interested and/or concerned parties.

In view of this definition, one could say that tactical empathy (all the better if it’s both cognitive and affective) is an evolutionary strategy of adaptation designed to deal effectively and efficiently with the complications of a complex world full of troubles, trials, and tribulations.

The effective use of voice, labels, mirrors, and dynamic silence all contribute to tactical empathy. Those who remain highly skilled in the use of these and many other techniques of tactical empathy are what I call “the masters of magical curiosity in the face of tyrannical certainty.”

The guidance, “resist not, insist not; stay curious . . .,” plays a key role in negotiation, especially when an exchange starts heating up or when a conflict begins brewing. Why? Because masterful negotiators know all too well the importance of summarizing another’s point of view.

And doing so accurately, and . . . agreeably.

Negotiate? The Bare Bone Basics

In the first post of my series on negotiation, I covered the basics.

Here, I only wish to do a brief review, before addressing tyrannical certainty with magical curiosity.

As I see it, when I enter any sort of negotiation, no matter how mundane, I do so by navigating a field of resistance generated by insistence, to get X (with all due respect to X) to do Y (to meet a need of mine, preferably without regrets) in exchange for Z (to meet a vital need of X).

Sounds complicated, but not really: “Let’s agree to clear the static between us so that I can rub your back, and you can rub mine, with flexible terms of agreement and commitment that both of us can trust, and that make it easy for each of us to walk away, as happy as a clam.”

Consider this subtext:

I : thanks for having me

X : what can I do you for?

I : I’d like you to have Z

X : what’s in it for you?

I : I’m looking to secure Y

Here, having a calm, clear perception of need on both sides can work wonders.

In an area of the brain known as the amygdala (a region of the brain shaped like an almond, with a capacity to mediate mostly memory and emotion), it is known that 75% of its real estate is dedicated to (preoccupied with?) processing intense emotion like fear or aggression.

Which speaks volumes to an unflattering evolutionary legacy of the human brain.

And so it stands to reason that people with healthy amygdalas, and with healthy relations with their amygdalas, can be or do three things with relative ease: (1) bypass tyrannical certainty; (2) engage or enjoy the spontaneity of curiosity; and (3) bring curiosity to rigid certainty.

The first can be done with a pause, a calm voice, a label, and/or a mirror. In the face of a tyrannical rant, for example, a negotiator might pause before speaking, and then, in a calm voice, use a label (“sounds like you’re under a lot of pressure”) and/or a mirror (“can’t stand it?”).

The second and third actions combined (engage or enjoy the spontaneity of curiosity to bring curiosity to rigid certainty) can be done with labels (looks like, sounds like, feels like) and/or mirrors (reflecting back words or phrases as comments or questions to foster mutuality of trust).

These tactics rely on reasonable, flexible discourse, but what if such discourse is not forthcoming?

In the estimation of master negotiators, it either means one side lacks the skill and experience to negotiate effectively and successfully, or that someone’s brain is wired differently than what is typical for the general population, like those with accurate diagnoses of schizophrenia.

Which begs the question: what other forms of pathology qualify? Here, I have in mind various neuroses and psychoses, character disorders and personality disorders, mood disorders and mental disorders, as well as strong tendencies toward narcissism, sociopathy, and psychopathy.

All of which continue to be defined and refined in the psychological and psychiatric literature.

Could it be that magical curiosity is a potent posture for sniffing out pathology in negotiation?

If so, what chance does tyrannical certainty have in any given negotiation?

Can We Even Negotiate With You?

I would venture to say that many if not most of us can be analytical, assertive, and accommodating to varying degrees, but the question always remains: when push comes to shove, where do we rise and shine? Are we mostly analytical? Mostly assertive? Or mostly accommodating?

These elemental styles of negotiation dovetail with three types of rhetoric ~ Logos, Ethos, and Pathos. Rhetoric is the art of persuasion, which, along with Logic and Grammar, is one of three ancient arts of discourse; they aim to study techniques that inform, persuade, or motivate.


Logos appeals to reason to inform with logic and proof (“now let’s be reasonable and look at the facts to prove the point”); the way of Logos is to give structure to speech (intro, body, conclusion) through analogy, comparison, and metaphor, while citing credible studies and statistics.

In dispute resolutions, analysts favor the use of Logos.


Ethos appeals to conscience to persuade with authority, through credibility and status (“you can rely on us to do the right thing”); the way of Ethos is to use branding with confident delivery (sometimes with charm and charisma) by citing authoritative, credible, high-profile sources.

In dispute resolutions, assertives favor the use of Ethos.


Pathos appeals to passion to motivate with feeling, by way of artistry, creativity, empathy, sympathy, and a flair for the dramatic (“what goes around comes around”); the way of Pathos is to tell stories, cite inspirational quotes, and use vivid language to make an emotional impact.

In dispute resolutions, accommodators favor the use of Pathos.

The gold standard of effective, successful dispute resolution for negotiators is to utilize elements from all three styles of negotiation (analysis, argumentation, and collaboration) in combination with all three types of rhetoric (Logos, Ethos, and Pathos). The best negotiators assimilate characteristics from all three styles and types, all the better to match their counterparts.

In an ideal world, master negotiators would team up in groups of three to rule the day.

For experienced, ambitious negotiators who like to operate alone, however, there’s a fourth posture of persuasion that transcends and includes Logos, Ethos, and Pathos. It’s called Sophos, which means “wise.” Agathos kai sophos (“good and wise”) was a phrase Plato liked to use.


Sophos appeals to wisdom to inspire with virtuosity, with some mix of Logos, Ethos, and Pathos.

Unfortunately, or fortunately, depending on your point of view, life is not nearly so neat and formal as these classifications would suggest. Why is that? Because disputes tend to erupt without warning and, perhaps more than anyone would like to admit, are too often left unresolved.

The Art of the Fight: Could this Be a Thing?

There’s no two ways about it: conflict is unpleasant and disagreeable, if not stressful, and yet, as Jordan Peterson put it, “conflict delayed is conflict multiplied.” Why put off the fight when you can have at it now, all the better to experience genuine peace later. Why indeed?

Here’s an image we can chew on: we walk into a kitchen and things appear out of order ~ dishes are piling up in the sink; the countertops are cluttered; the cupboards are full of food left there 2+ years ago; the fridge contains food that . . . *ahem* . . . appears to have expired.

What’s going on here?

Could these “tells” not be indicators of one or more conflicts delayed?

If so, who to be? And if so, what to do?

In general terms, these questions have already been answered (see above).

Even so, a vital piece is missing from the bigger picture: a fear factor that occupies a space somewhere between insecurity and immaturity ~ a fear factor that raises all sorts of doubts, worries, anxieties, suspicions, and expectations, one that makes two sorts of “fight” possible.

At the Mercy of Dark Whispers

The presumptions, “we know better than you” and “I know better than you” are chilling reminders of the wound of separation at the heart of humanity, spawning all manner of divisions and exclusions for families, communities, and nations, even when the death stakes are low.

But even with these tacit yet presumptuous proclamations, much can be gleaned. First, they’re laden with accusation, although it’s not always clear why they’re being proclaimed: is it because someone is too naïve, immature, ignorant, inept, irresponsible, dishonest, or cowardly?

Q: how are you?

A: who wants to know?

Second, these proclamations presume arrogance: we know better than you because we are better than you, and vice versa: we are better than you because we know better than you. Note well: such knowing is not reflective; it’s reflexive ~ a fixed product of experience.

Truly, “we are better than you because we know better than you,” is the bane of humanity.

This presumptuous subtext can be rendered explicit by secure, mature characters with a label ~ “sounds like you know all about me,” he said calmly, with a hint of nonchalance, with the smile of someone indulging a petulant child, and a mirror: “you know better than me?”

Secure, mature characters (SMCs) need not step away without speaking a word, even in the presence of significant pathology. With a handle on the argument that drives the accusation with arrogance, SMCs are well placed to dilute its influence with a calm and clear presence.

The Argument from Authority on a Slippery Slope to Tyranny (with Dark Whispers)

We know better than you because (a) you’re ___ , (b) you’re too ___ , or (c) you’re not ___ (the accusation); therefore, we must be better than you because we know better than you (arrogant presumption); therefore, we should, and must, do with you as we please . . . even if this means persecuting and humiliating without favor, without respite (but let’s not talk about that, shall we?)

dark whisper 1 : “these acts of persecution are justified, serving to keep them in their place”
dark whisper 2 : “their feelings of resentment at being persecuted are simply not justified”
dark whisper 3 : “our attempts at humiliation are also justified, to keep them in their place”
dark whisper 4 : “if they rebel, we will cause them grievous injury even if that means death”

No descent into tyranny (personal, social, or political) would be possible without this argument, and yet, baseless accusations and persecutions continue to provoke justified feelings of resentment, even as arrogant presumptions continue to bring about needless feelings of humiliation.

As long as these tacit arguments continue to plague the heart of humanity, no healing of the wound of separation at the heart of humanity will ever be possible, let alone forthcoming any time soon.

Step Up and Step Out : Two Fight Types

When resentful, hateful, spiteful, vengeful minions persecute and humiliate with a political motive, attempting to make their vile attacks more personal than political, we should know enough to step back and call them out on it: “the personal is not political, at least not in my world.”

In view of the argument of authority on a slippery slope to tyranny, two fight types can be identified (with strategies): (1) speak up in the face of persecution (with calm and courage, without giving in to resentment); and (2) stand up in the face of humiliation (with calm defiance, without falling prey to hostility). The first is an opportunity to step up; the second is an opportunity to step out.

The first fight type, “Step Up,” is a twofold process: (1) coming to terms with any resentment felt, without giving in to it (requires maturity), and (2) coming to terms with a tacit accusation (clear or vague) that is made in the attempt to persecute “the other” (requires discernment).

This is nothing personal, unless you choose to make it so; “othering” is always impersonal.

The second fight type, “Step Out,” is also a twofold process: (1) coming to terms with any hostility felt, without giving into it (requires maturity), and (2) coming to terms with the presumptuous arrogance that underlies it in the attempt to humiliate “the other” (requires discernment).

Again, nothing personal, unless you choose to make it so; “othering” is always impersonal.

With enough awareness, maturity, and discernment, any and all attempts to persecute and humiliate the other (“othering”) can be met briefly with this tacit proclamation: “resist not, insist not; stay curious . . .”

This process of learning and growing is ongoing and, at times, can be quite difficult to bear. Unless you’re a puppet, robot, or zombie, expect to slip up now and then (rather than step up or step out).

Tyrannical Certainty or Magical Curiosity?

These days, in the political realms, tyrannical certainty grows more brazen by the day, in ways that are eerily similar to the narcissistic family dynamic that I exposed in my post, A Future Bleak or Bright?, in the section that I entitled Narcissistic Abuse: The Worm at the Core.

When tyrannical public officials come together like family in high places and chuckle at those they oppress in some rather cruel and brutal ways (and here, I speak of both politicians and police officers), we know this isn’t about desperation. Nor is it about “public health and safety.”

It’s about persecution and humiliation under the influence of a mass psychosis.

So let’s get curious, intent on learning and knowing something of value about tyrannical certainty, preferably in a magical way, in a way that speaks truth to power without submitting or succumbing to the corrupting influence of power. What can be said about tyrannical certainty?

But first, need anything at all be said about it?

In reading this question, don’t be too quick to dismiss it as offensive. Of course, the matter of tyranny itself, on all levels ~ personal, social, and political ~ is deeply offensive, at least to those who can still care about freedom and fulfillment, so let’s take a closer look at nonchalance.

Imagine three spheres of nonchalance: not being at all concerned; not feeling any sort of care; and not appearing to care or be concerned. That’s putting it apophatically. And so, if I am concerned, I need not feel any sort of care; but if I do feel any sort of care, I still might not appear to care; but if I do appear to care, I might not be concerned or feel any sort of care.

Cataphatically, nonchalance is feeling or appearing casually calm and relaxed ~ that is, not displaying any anxiety, enthusiasm, or interest. In other words, “resist not, insist not; stay curious . . .” This is a powerful baseline, one that is informed and inspired by both peace and love.

At this baseline, one can still care, yet remain calm and relaxed in the face of callous disregard.

Now let T be anyone given to a thirst for tyrannical certainty as a pervasive and persistent pattern; let T-T be any truth teller given to magical curiosity as a pervasive and persistent pattern, one who cares enough to assume and abide by these watchwords of magic: stay curious.

We know that Ts are thrown for a loop by T-Ts who don’t fit their grooves. Why? Because Ts have a habit of approaching others with unusually strong (primal, reflexive) expectations, expectations not always in line with the reality of care and concern ~ or indeed, with reality itself.

Ts expect us all (not just T-Ts) to supply them with the food and the fuel they need to keep going and to keep doing what they do, namely, “you exist to feed me supply; you also exist to make me look good and feel good, and so, why are you not doing what I’m telling you to do?”

For Ts, it’s very simple: “just do as I tell you.” For the T-Ts among us? Not so simple.

This contrast might explain why Ts are so demonstrative, and why they come across as controlling, even if this seems arrogant, condescending, and harsh. Holding themselves above others is their way of holding onto the illusion of keeping themselves together, if only for themselves.

But what if those around them care about truth, but don’t care to be their flying monkeys?

A Clash of Scripts Drives Them Crazy

Truth tellers (T-Ts) know deep down that those given to tyrannical certainty as a persistent pattern (Ts) follow scripts in life to keep themselves together, but what they might not know is that these scripts are predictable, and not only predictable, but challengeable (yes, that’s a word).

That is to say, challengeable for being so predictable.

A script of raw power need not be impervious to a script of raw truth, especially when love is present with this truth, and so what are some of the ways in which T-Ts can mindfully, skillfully, artfully confront psychotic, psychopathic power plays with a minimum of fret, fight, and fuss?

Is this not the question for magical curiosity in the face of tyrannical certainty?

Unfortunately, Ts learned early in life that “the name of the game is shame;” it’s a game they know well, a game that they can play without much if any shame. The basic rule of this game of shame is simple: “you’re shamed if you get it wrong and you’re not shamed if you get it right.”

With this caveat: “since I don’t wanna be shamed and since I don’t wanna live in a world of shame, I’ll do everything in my power to shame you before you can shame me. Why? Because I will never be able to come to terms with having been blamed and shamed to death as a child.”

The contrary script is quite simple, as follows: “I’m okay if I don’t always get it right.” More broadly, “we’re okay if we don’t always get it right.” As you can well imagine, however, to the ever vigilant T, this simple human truth-telling admission is tantamount to shameless rebellion.

Under no circumstances, for reasons already given, can this truth be tolerated by the almighty T. What T-Ts are doing here is standing their ground and holding the line with truth and love in the face of raw, supercharged, maniacal, demonic power with neither truth nor love.

Strong T-Ts do not, can not, will not cower when Ts make over-the-top attempts to induce shame.

For the T-Ts who have come to terms with shame within themselves, that is to say, who can stand their ground and hold the line without shame, the name of their game is “speak truth to power without blame or shame.” Speaking such truth, however, can literally drive Ts crazy. Why?

For a host of reasons: (a) because it undermines the Ts turbulent grip on reality; (b) because it compels Ts to come to terms with their own compulsions to blame and shame; and (c) because it does not square with the truth of Ts, which feels likes an attack on the authority of Ts.

T-Ts to T : “If we drive you crazy, maybe it’s because you already are”

Unless T-Ts can stand their ground in the face of narcissistic rage, they’re invariably blown back from a very cold, dark impersonal reality, one that is turbulent and fragmented beyond belief ~ the painful reality of a traumatized child in the body of an adult in desperate need of relief.

A fabricated self made up of fragments on turbulent waters simply cannot stand in truth.

Those T-Ts who can stand their ground in truth, love, and power, are well positioned to say “no” to unreasonable demands (and, if safe and appropriate, communicate a response cost if the “no” is not respected: “my word is ‘no’ and if you persist, I will have to ___________.”

Options: (1) leave you for now; (2) leave you for a while; or (3) leave you once and for all.

In the wake of taking a stand, strong T-Ts refuse to justify their decisions to gain or keep the approval of Ts, opting instead to communicate a willingness to have a healthy discussion, one where “I don’t need to plead my case or give you reasons why it’s okay for me to be me.”

In this light, T-Ts stay true to the facts while being okay with who they are, but the T’s signature “it’s my way or the highway” flavor of blaming and shaming will invariably kick into high gear with all manner of invalidation ~ by way of gaslighting, scapegoating, and triangulating.

Strong T-Ts infused with truth, love, and power, however, will call out any attempt to be designated as “the loser,” even as Ts persist in viewing and treating those they perceive as “lesser” as competitors in “the shame game,” in terms of “so, who’s the better blamer and shamer?”

According to Ts, someone has to be stronger, smarter, more effective, more efficient, or more acclaimed, and so, Ts need designated losers, but T-Ts play it straight: “you can be the winner if you wanna be, but I’m not playing” and so, “if you wanna point your finger at me as the designated loser, go right ahead” ~ “best . . . loser . . . ever!” (she said with a winking, knowing smirk).

Seriously, though, at this point, it is generally advised by experienced T-Ts, that it is best, wherever whenever possible, not to go DEEP ~ to not Defend, to not Explain, to not Engage, and to not Personalize any interaction with a ravenous, rancorous, raging T. Easier said than done.

At this point, a graceful exit strategy comes highly recommended (see options above).

Absent such a strategy, the game of shame continues with T-Ts laying claim to their freedom as free persons in the face of highly controlling, deeply entitled, self-absorbed Ts. Just to be clear, it’s not that Ts don’t trust you; it’s that Ts do not, can not, and will not trust. Period.

In other words, it’s never anything personal, even though it feels that way.

The question is begged, however: why is “me being me” such a dire threat for Ts? Because Ts need, need, need fixed images of their subjects ~ 2D snapshots of them, to assuage the T’s anxiety, and woe unto them who dare undermine these fixations in any way, shape, or form.

Ts are easily triggered for a reason; don’t you dare mess with their snapshots of you.

When Ts are triggered, they appear to get off on being antagonistic, confrontational, and argumentative. The more malignant Ts carry around a simmering stew of agitation, annoyance, irritability, and resentment just below the surface ~ just one question or statement away from blowing their fuses and lashing out against any poor, unfortunate soul who happens to get in their way.

Wise T-Ts, however, know enough not to tangle with highly confrontational Ts . . .

T-T : “you know, I’d be willing to talk about our differences intelligently as adults”

T : goes into an agitated, irritable rant worthy of a child having a temper tantrum

T-T : “no, sorry, not sorry; as an adult, that’s not acceptable and appealing to me”

In view of what’s been shared so far, it’s vitally important for strong, wise T-Ts in narcissistic families or workplaces to stay in touch their own caring, enjoyable relationships away from the almighty T, but as T-Ts know all too well, Ts typically insist on being centerpieces in their lives.

Which essentially means “no relationships outside our one and only relationship” . . .

T-T : “but wait, these people I know and love engage well with me, and I with them”

T : “well, you’re just being a phony with them; besides, you’re supposed to be my go-to person”

T-T : “you’re entitled to your opinion, but I enjoy my relationships, thank you very much”

Again, the T’s insistence on being the center of attention in a family or in a workplace is a dire need, and it helps to understand that this need is not so much about security, satisfaction, and significance, as it is about maintaining, at all costs, a mentality of “a survival of the fittest.”

Under acute or chronic stress, Ts are quite literally fighting for their lives, and they need, need, need you, dear T-T, to keep bolstering, if not buffering, their fragmented, turbulent sense of “keeping it together.”

Unfortunately for Ts, T-Ts have minds of their own.

In relation to Ts, T-Ts refuse to filter everything through what Ts tell them to do. That is, T-Ts refuse to enable Ts; they refuse to be their “flying monkeys.” Though Ts crave apologists who can speak and act on their behalf, T-Ts see right through this ruse, disinclined to do as follows:

(a) apologize for a T when the T says or does something in a bad mood;
(b) advocate for the T to prioritize A over B when B is clearly the better option for all concerned, or
(c) apologize for a T when the T cracks under the pressure (which is often)

T-T’s refuse to buy into lame excuses for bad behavior or gross illogic to justify bad decisions.

In sum, the beloved T-Ts of this world claim the right to be at peace and to be at ease. It’s strange to say, but let’s say it anyways in the name of truth: Ts feel deeply threatened by those who are at peace with themselves because it implies that they can live without the approval of the T.

T-Ts : we don’t need your approval like you need ours

Ts : then we’ll have to turn your lives into a living hell

T-Ts : but we’re at peace and at ease with who we are

Ts : surely by now you know that means nothing to us

T-Ts : does the word quarantine mean anything to you?

Unfortunately, Ts are predisposed to being emotionally dysregulated, especially under acute or chronic stress, and when they do become dysregulated, “it’s always your fault” or “it’s always their fault” or “it’s always the fault of ____ or ____. Always, always, always.

And in a strange and twisted way, they’re right. I mean, were they not hung out to dry in childhood?

Remember, for Ts, “the name of the game is shame.”

So what is a truth-teller to do. Let us count the ways:

1) truth tellers rarely cower in the face of shame by way of invalidation
2) truth tellers have the audacity to say “no” to unreasonable demands
3) truth tellers refuse to justify their decisions to gain or keep approval
4) truth tellers refuse to be (or play the role of) “the designated loser”
5) truth tellers claim their freedom as free persons: “I am free to be me”
6) truth tellers refuse to argue with argumentative, confrontational brats
7) truth tellers have their own caring and enjoyable relationships
8) truth tellers refuse to be flying monkeys (i.e., abject enablers)
9) truth tellers refuse to buy into lame excuses for bad behavior
10) truth tellers refuse to buy into gross illogic to justify bad decisions
11) truth tellers claim the right to be at peace and to pursue happiness

Bonus : “if we drive you crazy, maybe it’s because you already are.”

These descriptions do double duty as prescriptions. Unfortunately for truth tellers, many if not most people have already learned to skirt the game of shame altogether, opting to band together in small tribes while hunkering down to freeze out the Ts ~ and (regrettably) the T-Ts.

Curious Magic : Parting Words

Let’s be crystal clear: an emotional reaction, in the moment in which it occurs, is not a choice ~ never, ever a choice. When one reacts, one reacts. There’s simply no two ways about it. But can one choose to be a witness to the reaction before the reaction can spill its guts?

Now we’re talking.

Unfortunately for humanity, too many have lost their way, having neither the luxury nor the wherewithal to remain safe, sound, sane, serene witnesses to the darker impulses of their own animal natures.

Memo to Humanity

To : whom it may concern

From : a concerned citizen

Date : February 25, 2022

Re : Curious Magic


Hey, what’s up? It’s come to my attention that there are those among us who have lost their way, who, truth be told, are causing a lot of trouble for those of us who just wanna live our lives in peace, being who we love to be, doing what we love to do. Is this really too much to ask?

Apparently so.

I mean, just how many raging clown acts can we take before we all go under?

Any ideas?

Here’s mine: peace, love, joy, bliss ~ with the curious magic of discernments.

While adding more than a little L to TC to turn TC into TLC.

Simple, and to the point, but there it is (hint: TC is for “tyrannical certainty”).

Promising groundswells of uncompromising, unrelenting TLC, anyone?

Thanks for reading.

Stay curious.

Peace out.


Certainly, magical curiosity embodies the very essence of “resist not, insist not,” but what is it for you? And what is it in relation to the bane of tyrannical certainty? And does it even need (or want) the bane of tyrannical certainty as contrast so as to work its magic with mojo?

Let’s find out, shall we?

~ yours

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