Joshua Pellicer's Tao Of Badass Reviewed
We've written a lot on this site about relationships, but we haven't said much about how relationships start – how men meet women, for example, or vice versa.
I know one of the reasons men suffer so much anxiety in life is because there is a real inhibition for them in approaching women, striking up a conversation, and of course everyone all the while knowing that this is fundamentally about flirting, seducing, and eventually - to put it bluntly – sex.
Now this puts incredible pressure on men because even today, in our society, men are still expected to make the running on all fronts when it comes to a relationship – if that weren't the case, you would never have seen so much pickup artistry on the Internet over the last few years, culminating in the production of programs like Tao of Badass by Joshua Pellicer.
Fundamentally this is interesting because although it achieved massive publicity on the Internet, where many so-called "pickup artists" set out their stall, either in terms of being interviewed by fascinated bystanders, or by selling programs about how to actually seduce women using these pickup techniques, not many people I know will confess to genuinely having established a relationship or even having met a woman by using pickup techniques.
So the question is, therefore, do these techniques actually work – are they have any use whatsoever to anyone?
Does Tao of Badass Work?
Neil Strauss was one of the first writers about seduction techniques on the Internet, in his book The Game.
As we know, Neil became a sex addict, even though he was a highly successful pickup artist, not by using Tao of Badass, I might say, by using the seduction techniques from the original pickup artist a man known as "Mystery".
But then he recanted – he explains that his problems all stemmed from insecurity and lack of self-esteem, and that these issues probably originated with a narcissistic mother.
And that means of course that his book The Game is really about being in control, not being vulnerable, not exposing feelings of weakness, and essentially establishing power and control over the women he was trying to seduce.
That puts techniques like Badass into a completely different category: because, honestly, techniques like that will never in a million years result any worthwhile level of intimacy between partners.
Strauss also makes the point that when he asked men in his seminars about picking up women for a show of as to who had had a narcissistic mother, about 80% of the audience – all men of course – would raise their hands.
So that's an important realization, because it it means that men who didn't suffer this kind of oppression at the hands of women probably don't need to experience the education (that's the right word) within Tao of Badass and other examples of the genre.
Strauss explains how came to this realization: he was in a relationship, and cheated on his partner, got caught – so then, believing that he was a nice guy, he goes "How on earth could I do such a thing with somebody who loves me?"
And then he checks into sex rehab, and then he writes a book about his experiences called The Truth, which explains how he came to see how his relationships with women were basically recreating his past – a relationship with a woman was a substitute for a relationship with his mother.
This is painful stuff for any man to admit, let alone a man who used techniques like Badass-ery to pick up women! Why? Because it shakes the foundations of who you are, it shakes the foundations of your expectations about relationships, it shakes the foundations of your expectations about life in general.
And it raises an interesting question for me, which is whether or not people who use Tao of Badass are simply skirting around their problems, and would be better off in therapy.
(I actually have a view that every single one of us would be better off in therapy, but that's not the point here!)
The truth is that yes, they would be better off in therapy, and yes they are using techniques like how to be a badass to establish a relationship with a woman based on a differential power dynamic.
Badass Isn't Bad
But, you know, I can't find it in my heart to condemn anyone for this – because using Badass material to meet women is simply about learning techniques which empower you to ask interesting questions and strike up a conversation – and that's one of the most fundamental human exchanges there is.
Having said that, we know that the pickup artists – including those using Tao of Badass - did indeed manipulate everybody in sight, including each other, and tried to engineer and adapt their behavior in ways that really was quite unnatural. (Strauss quotes an example of pick up artists taking photographs of each other to see how they could look more dominant in a photograph!)
I think like everything else, Badass is good if it's used in a healthy productive way, perhaps to get over social anxiety. Strauss, however, says that the problem is about wanting a particular outcome – so in other words, if you take away the expectation of a particular outcome and everything that follows from that (like the manipulation needed to get it) then it's great to have a way to get over social anxiety.
But the problem here is that such behavior can become almost addictive – it's compelling to be able to use these techniques and get a certain outcome. Which is why, of course, Strauss again points out it's necessary to work on these issues from the "inside" (in the mind, the inside of yourself) before you can get to use them in a healthy way.
He also emphasizes the question of status – a thorny question for a lot of men, who often want to feel more dominant than the woman they're with. I have to say Strauss makes an interesting point when he says "If you're out there thinking about your relative status… You can be guaranteed slower than everybody else's".
Strauss has achieved a degree of wisdom over the years since he used Badass techniques for picking up women - techniques such as the ones described in Tao Of Badass, and it's probably true to say that he wouldn't NOW consider himself now to be a BADASS, he most certainly was back in the days when he wrote The Game.
To close his interview, Strauss says he doesn't have any regrets: first of all because he wrote the book as an honest account of his experience, and second because it opened up the doorway to a lot of his self-improvement, work which resulted in him marrying and having a child.
So, again, the question arises: is Badass bad? My answer: No way, José.
Last updated 05.04.16
May 4 2016