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Tony Robbins as a Political Educator

Tony Robbins is the original big man. A good-looking, good-willed, self-made, self-overcoming brand name/public speaker/salesman-entrepreneur, Tony is the very incarnation of American rags-to-riches folklore and a primary exponent of quality homegrown US hermeticism. Sure, there’s hypophysis hypertrophy subsidizing the megaman with excess endogenous HGH production but Tony can’t be reduced to just that. What’s the secret to Tony’s success? We need to listen to Tony’s warm, raspy, and calculatingly empathetic voice:

I had no role models. I did love reading. I started reading Emerson’s essays, [James Allen’s] As a Man Thinketh, Viktor Frankl’s Man’s Search for Meaning—they rocked my world (…) So I took a speed-reading course and read 700 books in seven years—all on psychology, physiology, anything that could make a difference in life

Tony, we learn, is a fatherless child or, more precisely, fathered only by techno-science: a titanic cyborg fused with centuries of Western psychological and physiological knowledge production. But Tony isn’t strictly sci-ence (etymologically as in skei – to cut, split). Instinctively you would have already guessed this from looking at Tony: he’s not the small-small pedantic lab nerd:

I continued to seek out other patterns of thought and action that produced outstanding results in short periods of time. I call these combined patterns Optimum Performance Technologies.®”

(Tony Robbins, Unlimited Power)

This is more like it. Tony is a pattern recognizer, condenser, and mega-multiplier. If science is fission, Tony is fusion. He’s not the science, but the systemics entrepreneur who appropriates tools and recombines whatever works heuristically. He eclectically inhales Frankl’s wisdom from the camps, CIA neuro-linguistic programming, Taylorism-come-One-Minute Managerialism to fuse and produce Optimum Performance Technologies®. He is the emergence of a new type of enframing man enslaving all science in the quest for boundless Will-to-(Unlimited)-Power a cumulative culture eater, logos extractor and god-hunter. In this capacity it doesn’t matter if Tony is staying out of politics because the damage is already done and it was only a matter of time until someone would produce maximum damage by combination-hacking dangerous info fragments and starting to lobe anthropotechnic dirty bombs.

Game and PUA and their subsequent popularization nightmare thousands of social robots harvesting California beaches with escalating negs and stale openers hacking the open society and taking Freudo-Marxist liberation to its cultural conclusion were only the beginning.[1] Mass exoterization of esoteric power-knowledge equals massive cultural-economic disruption. Powered by the internet as the ultimate infrastructure for distribution, a new generation of pattern recognition entrepreneurs – your choice of rogue psychologist/physiologist/news commentator/ historian/dating coach-  evade, disrupt and attack the liberal state’s pillars and 20th century megastructures of big pharmaceuticals/big food/big media/big guilt/consumer society. They may only be a few for now but Metcalfe’s Law sits back in the corner with a grin and a lighter in a room full of metapolitical gas waiting to bring down the flavorless republican peace-time state and its remaining legitimization mechanisms. Observers wondering at the state’s sweaty power-insecurity interventions into the big platforms may not have considered that censorship is an uphill battle when transaction costs are tumbling and every new adherent could become America’s Next Super-Multiplier.

Politically, we have not seen the end of this process. The real scandal of Cambridge Analytica was its asymmetric warfare potential.  “We spent $1m harvesting millions of Facebook profiles” may sound colossal to the easily scandalized middle-class consciousness news consumer. In the technological arms races of modern democratic elections, however, such an amount is nil, negligible, peanuts. The potential of the combination of charisma and a couple of millions to torch and obliterate a long-evolved billion dollar apparatus of mediations is downright eerie. The acromegalopolitical Giant Within besieges the Giant Without and from the perspective of the lowest-common-denominator-universalist state and its hollowing megastructures, seductive intelligence, vitality and charisma transform into arms-control problems. Perhaps then there’s a reason why they keep coming for Tony. Is it because he knows that ultimately the key to the state is state?

There are two main components of state. The first is our internal representations, and the second is the condition and use of our physiology. What and how you picture things, as well as what and how you say things to yourself about the situation at hand, create the state you’re in and thus the kinds of behaviors you produce.

(Unlimited Power)

Is anyone here still wondering, then, why challenges to contemporary power arrive in the form of echo-chamber repetition filter bubbles and body builders? Tony sure wouldn’t be.

Nicolas Hausdorf is a German editor, analyst, and essayist based in Melbourne. His essay “Superstructural Berlin,” an experimental sociology and pulp theory of Germany’s capital has been published by Zero Books. He tweets at @dcntrrr.


[1] And who knows whether it is not here that the origins of a popularisation of vengeful, hyperallergic, trigger-warning-happy third-wave feminism can be found.