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The Power of Positive Fapping:
Napoleon Hill, Salesman & Sex Magickian

[1]3,175 words

Mitch Horowitz
The Power of Sex Transmutation: How to Use the Most Radical Idea from Think and Grow Rich
New York: G & D Media, 2019

“The whole movement of the world tends and leads towards copulation. It is a substance infused through everything; it is the centre—towards which all things turn.”–Montaigne[1] [2]

“Pornographic literature [is] an entirely middle-class phenomenon since we are assured by many investigators (Kinsey, Pomeroy, et al.) that the lower orders seldom rely upon sexual fantasy for extra-stimulus. As soon as possible, the uneducated man goes for the real thing. As a result, he seldom masturbates, but when he does he thinks, we are told, of nothing at all. This may be the last meaningful class distinction in the West.”–Gore Vidal[2] [3]

First, there was MGTOW [4]; now there is NoFap, and in particular, No Nut November [5]. The first is a fringe “alt-right” movement that counsels abandoning the search for traditional monogamous heterosexual relationships, so as to avoid man-hating, alimony-demanding feminists;[3] [6] the second takes the next step and demands even abstinence from sex with someone I love [7].

Spencer Quinn has pinpointed [4] the dubious nature of the former:

They seem more anti-woman than pro-man. And the very idea of being in favor of both men and women is laughed out of the room. Good relations between the sexes is only way to keep the race going, and they don’t seem to care. It’s almost like they’re giving up.[4] [8]

Just as MGTOW seems to give up on women, rather than address the problems with feminism, NoFap seems to concentrate on some kind of he-man abstinence for its own sake, with only some vague, high school coach kind of ideas about it being “good for you.”[5] [9]

If the incel living in his parent’s basement is useless for the revolution, what can we expect from the basement dwellers denied even self-love? Even the Seinfeld crew was trying to win a bet.

Enter, no doubt unintentionally, Mitch Horowitz, with a book that suggests some ways for the boys to keep busy, based on some advice that both old—1937—and really old—the Vedas.

Based on a talk delivered in the spring of 2019, Horowitz “elucidates one of the most powerful and intriguing yet confounding points in Napoleon Hill’s program of success”: the use of sexual energy, which “arrives as tenth step of thirteen steps to riches in Think and Grow Rich. Hill calls it ‘the mystery of sex transmutation.’”

Now just you hold on, I can hear the reader exclaim; Napoleon Hill? That chamber of commerce guy, that Rotarian, that apostle of Babbitry and Boosterism? That guy?

Yeah, that guy. And not only has he been the poster child for grey suits and salesmanship, in recent years Hill has been subjected to some especially brutal muckracking; I do not intend to add to any of that. I come to praise Hill, not bury him.[6] [10]

So, Napoleon Hill; and Horowitz is just as amazed as you or I that Hill was covering this kind of thing in 1937 Middle America. And that amazement is not surprising, since in fact ever since then, publishers have been censoring or bowdlerizing that chapter of Hill’s magnum opus.

You mention the name Napoleon Hill and it seems very domestic. You think of guys sitting around a business roundtable, and it seems very familiar and tame…. And yet, what Hill wrote about sex transmutation is every bit as radical, as daring, and experimental as what Crowley wrote on sex magick. And I personally find Hill’s approach easer for the individual to enter into.

Well then, by all means, let’s do enter in! Horowitz begins by explaining exactly what Napoleon Hill meant:

Hill believed, I think with great reason and with great antecedents in a variety of ancient traditions, that the force of life seeking to express itself within us, the force of creativity seeking to express itself in us, is experienced as the sexual urge.

The sensate experience of sexual satisfaction, of sexual pleasure is how we men and women experience life itself seeking procreation, not only on a biological level, but on all levels.

Indeed, Horowitz seems to be describing what some have called Faustian Man:

We are by nature productive beings. We are generative beings. We build things. We solve problems. We create new ones. We create works of art. We maintain commerce. We foster households. We create and tear down buildings, bridges, highways, and structures of all kinds. We devise technologies and seek, with greater and lesser levels of success, to manage the problems and challenges that accompany them. We eradicate old things and put new things, sometimes but not always improved things, in their place.

All of these impulses within the individual, Hill taught, are the force of life itself seeking expression. [And although] that force experienced on the most sensate level is the sexual urge… it is more than simply physical desire or expression – it is the essence of life seeking propagation on all levels and in all ways.

Well, that’s an interesting bit of metaphysics, but as the grey-suited salesmen might say, so what? What’s the bottom line, the brass tacks, the cash value of all this chin music?

He took this keen observation a step further and said you can actually harness and use this energy in your life in ways that go beyond the familiar physical releases, and in a manner that adds power to the pursuit of your goals.

Now you’re talking, buddy! So how do we work this angle?

You do it this way: When you feel a sexual urge, when you feel the wish to express sexual desire, you as an individual are capable of redirecting that desire towards an expression other than the physical, towards some other form of expression or creation, and you do this through the mental act of consciously redirecting the sexual urge from physical to creative expression. The creative expression takes the form of whatever your worldly wish is at a given period. This is the act of transmutation. It is, in effect, an act of mental alchemy [which is where the term “transmutation” comes from]. You can actually become consciously aware of redirecting or transmuting the urge for sexual expression away from the physical and towards something that you are seeking to create in the world, whether commercial, scholarly, artistic, and so forth.

This is how “sexual transmutation consciously places the force of creation itself at the back of your personal efforts.” The fix is in, boys!

Now here’s a rainy-day project for the NoFappers; instead of just gritting your teeth and marking off days on the calendar, passively collecting merit badges for your increasing levels of “semen reabsorption” or whatever crank theory you espouse,[7] [11] consciously redirect that energy and go out and do something!

Of course, here’s where the rub, as it were, comes in; not just with the need for what Hill would call a “chief definite aim,”[8] [12] but also that bit about “consciously aware.” Just as you need a controlled imagination to employ Neville’s method [13] of “assuming the feeling of the wish fulfilled,” so you need to develop the ability to consciously redirect the sexual impulse.

And make no mistake, it’s happening anyway. If you aren’t controlling your own imagination, or sexual impulse, someone else is. And that brings up another point.

Horowitz is quick to add that he’s not talking about repression or even “sublimation.” Nothing wrong with a good – consensual — shag now and then. Counter-Currents readers, to say nothing of MGTOWers and NoFappers, might even find him too liberal for their taste. But when it comes to pornography, Horowitz is a bit disquieted, in ways such readers may agree with.

Napoleon Hill notes that of all the things that seem to urge the individual in a certain direction, that play upon the individual’s motivations and desires, and that stimulate the psyche, sexuality is the number-one stimulant.

It is also important to be aware of how this facet of your nature is used to manipulate you. Our consumer society repackages and resells everything, including heroism, rebelliousness, religion, and of course, sexuality. Every human urge that has its own noble, primal basis in the life of the individual is ultimately repackaged and sold back to us, or potentially used to manipulate us.

Part of the reason why so much of the traffic that actually goes on within digital culture is sexual in nature, is because Napoleon Hill was correct: the sexual urge is at the back of so much in life.

Pornography has never been more prevalent in our society because of the digital revolution, [as a result of which] this material is being distributed worldwide on demand.

I tend to have permissive attitudes towards all these things, but at the same time I do think that we as a species, at least here in the West, are getting somewhat reconditioned sexually because there’s such a vast consumption of pornography today. It is probable that adolescents, in particular, are getting conditioned along certain lines because of the nature of pornography.[9] [14]

More generally,

Napoleon Hill … talks about the dangers of sexual energy running amok; sexuality, he noted, is so powerful, and it’s so irresistible a force when people aren’t developed in some other way, that this force of ultimate creation becomes a force of ultimate destruction.

Hill warned that if misused, misdirected, or uncontrolled, the creative urge becomes a destructive urge, and I think that helps decipher some of what’s gone on in our culture.

So how can sexual exergy be rerouted, transmuted, if you will, into positive channels? There are no “secret” techniques disclosed here; the only thing “esoteric” is the cloud of euphemism in which society insists on clothing such discussions.[10] [15]

In fact, Hill and Horowitz call our attention to something “more subtle” than edgy Crowleyian rigamarole:

One of the things that Napoleon Hill writes about … is that one of the greatest drives behind the creative process, in his language, is man’s wish to please woman.[11] [16]

The nexus of sex and seduction is simply a fact of human nature. Great people throughout the ages, and in our own time, have often been driven to heights of success because of their desire to please or attract a mate.

Which brings us back to the sad sacks of MGTOW. Although he never mentions them, Horowitz draws an implicit, mocking contrast with the protagonists of The Social Network:

Zuckerberg, who appears as a conflicted, social awkward wizard…and his generally male collaborators and competitors are, in essence, trying to “hook up” by presenting themselves as successful, entrepreneurial, hard-driven models of achievement and money.

Why can’t you boys be more like Zuck?

Since Horowitz does not counsel repression or sublimation, he’s free to also explore some related areas, involving not so much sex transmutation as sex change… no, that’s wrong, um, sex deviation… no, well, let’s just take a look.

What [Hill]’s talking about relates to sex magick. Simply put, …sex magick is setting a personal intention or wish at the point of climax or orgasm.

This practice is also used in a somewhat different way in chaos magick as part of the ceremony called sigil magick. In using sigil magick, you formulate a passionate desire—one that has some worldly means of realization—and, through a variety of methods, many of them very simple, render that desire into a symbol, an abstract symbol of the thing wished for. You then “charge” that symbol, so to speak, by working yourself up into a state of ecstasy or some kind of a meditative state that crosses over into a transcendental, surreal, or extra-rational state. Most often this is done through sexual climax.

And the key operation is then, during sexual climax, whether it’s climax with a partner or whether it’s solitary climax, focusing on your desire over the symbol or sigil and thus charging it. Although there are other methods, people generally use orgasm to charge the sigil with sexual-psychical energy. Once charged, the abstract symbol, so the theory goes, becomes a subconscious router of your desire, and results in its fulfillment or outpicturing in the world.

The language of “fulfillment” and “outpicturing” is straight out of Neville, and in fact, as Horowitz concludes, “a lot of what we call ceremonial magick, chaos magick, or spell work is actually New Thought along other ritual lines or channels.”[12] [17]

The basic premise behind modern magick is that the will can be externalized, and that the mental picture or wish can be concretized and actualized in the world around us, through rites, focus, and ceremony.

So sorry, cool Crowleyites and suburban Wiccans, grandma was already swooning at dreamy Neville’s lectures, and granddad was listening to pep talks from Napoleon Hill, and they knew all about this stuff before you were born. Just as meme magick recapitulates Neville,[13] [18] NoFap recaps sexual transmutation.[14] [19] What was it Marx said about the second time around?

The Power of Sex Transmutation—which also includes the relevant chapter from Think and Grow Rich, unexpurgated for a change—is another in an apparently endless series of books, large and small, original research or condensations of classic works, from Mitch Horowitz; and people ask, Mitch, how do you do it? The answer should be no surprise:

I say, “It’s love for the subject matter. I’m deeply impassioned towards my subjects. I’m very driven to do it.” Napoleon Hill would say, in effect, “Yes, bravo to that—that’s true; but there’s sex energy at the back of all the terms you’re using. You’re using euphemisms.”

Perhaps those MTGOWSers and No Fappers should take a break from admiring their stamina, get a girl, and redirect some sex energy to accomplishing some hard work of their own: like, overcoming the seeminly overwhelmingly difficult task of writing out and mailing a check to support Counter-Currents. Their new gals will be very impressed.

Notes

[1] [20]  Essais III, V – “On some lines of Virgil,” in The Complete Essays, translated by M.A. Screech.

[2] [21] Gore Vidal, “On Pornography” NYRB, March 31, 1966.

[3] [22] An alt-right heresy comparable to the New Testament’s encratism: “Already available in New Testament times (1 Corinthians 7:25-38 NEB; Galatians 3:27-28), the celibacy gospel of Encratism (from encrateia, “self-control”) flourished among various Christian sects (e.g., Gnostics, Marcionites, Manicheans) on into the third century. It was based on a literal reading of the Eden story. The Creator required but a single human to tend the garden oasis which he and his fellow deities frequented and which nourished them. The adam (the original, androgynous human) was allowed to share the bounty, including the Tree of Life prolongation, barred only from the Tree of Knowledge of sexual reproduction.” Robert A. Price, “Trance Gender [23].”

[4] [24] Indeed, encratism and the like is characteristic of apocalyptic movements that expect an imminent End of the World.

[5] [25] Again, comparable to the appealing “wait for it” do-nothing attitude of apocalyptic sects; see my “Stair’s Way to Heaven [26].”

[6] [27] Even Matt Novak, author of “All American Huckster: The Untold Story of Napoleon Hill, the Greatest Self-Help Scammer of All Time” (Paleofuture, 6-Dec-2016) says [28] “if the lessons in Hill’s writings ‘work’ for some people, I say good for them. I’m not here to say that there’s nothing to be learned from some of Hill’s writings—especially those that speak of self-confidence, being kind to others, and going the extra mile for something you believe in.”

[7] [29] Again, we’ve seen it before. Robert A. Price describes the anti-social early Christian Gnostics: “All this must have sounded fine as it was pitched to individuals who had little to lose anyway and were already alienated from socially adjusted maturity or who fancied themselves elite strangers in a strange land…They were the kind of group that anthropologist Mary Douglas characterizes as a community possessing ‘high grid, weak group’ characteristics. This means one had to overcome a high hurdle to get inside [no fap] but once in, the members were essentially one-man cults with little real use for the others. They were like individual cars parked in the same garage.” The Amazing Colossal Apostle: The Search for the Historical Paul (Salt Lake City: Signature Books, 2012).

[8] [30] Need help? See Mitch Horowitz, The Miracle of a Chief Definite Aim (G&D Media, 2019).

[9] [31] A writer here at Counter-Currents, Collin Cleary, is able to say what the “reconditioning” amounts to: “Most of what qualifies as ‘pornography’ constitutes a concerted effort to demystify sex and to deny or destroy its wonder. The pervasive irony and irreverence of pornography and its packaging (which is not in the least ‘sexy’) are an attempt to, in effect, ‘laugh off’ the awesome mystery that is sex, and make it non-threatening to modern men, whose goal is the destruction of mystery, and the achievement of complete control and knowledge of reality. What is perceived by feminists as the ‘misogyny’ of porn also has its roots in this: woman, as the source of the mystery, is brutalized and mocked precisely in order to deny her mystery. Much of what counts as ‘science,’ qualifies as pornography. A scientist who tells young people ‘It’s silly to think there’s anything mysterious about lightning: it’s just atmospheric electrical discharge,’ is no less a pornographer than a Larry Flynt, who tells the same young people ‘It’s silly to think there’s anything mysterious about the vagina: it’s just a cunt.’” Collin Cleary, Summoning the Gods: Essays on Paganism in a God-Forsaken World; edited with an Introduction by Greg Johnson (San Francisco: Counter-Currents, 2011).

[10] [32] “Passion itself is a euphemism. Magnetism is a euphemism. Even enthusiasm [33], that elixir that seems to make everything possible, is a euphemism. [Hill] would say behind all of that is the sexual urge which is the urge of life seeking creation, generativity, and productivity.”

[11] [34] In Episode 313 of Mystery Science Theater, the rather Napoleon Hill-like narrator of the 1950 educational short, “Speech—Using Your Voice [35]“ instructs us the would-be successful public speaker that “You must be pleasing,” prompting the retort “Do I please you? Am I pleasing?” This is apparently [36] “a paraphrased line from “The Cage,” the original pilot of Star Trek (the one with Captain Christopher Pike, that was later partially reused in the two-part episode “The Menagerie”). Pike is captured by aliens and caged with the beautiful Vina (played by Susan Oliver), who tells him she can be anything he wants her to be. Her actual line is “Let me please you.” Later, perhaps more relevant here, Crow says “This man is wearing a pushup bra. Now he is pleasing.”

[12] [37] Aleister Crowley’s personal secretary, Israel Regardie, concluded in 1946 that “Of all the metaphysical systems with which I am acquainted, Neville’s is the most evidently magical.” Israel Regardie, The Romance of Metaphysics: An Introduction to the History, Theory and Psychology of Modern Metaphysics (Chicago: Aries Press, 1947); online here [38].

[13] [39] See “Lord Kek Commands: A Look at The Origins of Meme Magic [40],” reprinted in Magick for Housewives: Essays on Alt-Gurus (Manticore, 2018).

[14] [41] “The important thing, for me, is identifying those areas where earnest seekers reach parallel conclusions, even, or especially, if they are not directly in contact. Correspondences are, to me, a marker of truth.” The Power of Sex Transmutation (Gildan Media, 2019), p. 31.