Lucifer 7: Remove your Goodguy Badge

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Do you know what a Goodguy Badge is? The Goodguy badge is a figurative concept tied to a person's choices, behavior, attitudes, beliefs, and frequently social and political interests. It's a badge that a righteous, noble-minded person may pin upon his or her lapel to proudly, loudly, and forcefully declare to all who see it that he or she is more fucking righteous and humble than anybody else. Perhaps you've met such people who go out of their way to brag about their goodguy badges? Johnny Cash might have been describing these people when he sang, "You're so heavenly-minded you're no earthly good."

One of the things I'm trying to do with this work is to be honest about the nature of fortune-telling, and that includes the nature of fortune-tellers. A frequently misunderstood motivation for people to become fortune-tellers is to help others. Rather like the motivation to become a doctor, fire- or police-officer, politician, or community organizer, the motivation to become a fortune-teller begins with the unexamined attitude that it's all about helping other people.

To be clear, I'm not opposed to helping other people—I think that it's my choice just as much as it's your choice just as much as it's anybody's choice to decide whom you'll help and your reasons for doing so. But so long as we're being clear, I think that fortune-tellers should look at themselves a little closer. For example, if you're a fortune-teller who tells fortunes based on the motivation that you want to help people, when was the last time you actually helped somebody? When was the last time that you gave your own money to a charitable organization or to a friend in need? When was the last time you volunteered to show up for a worthy cause? Do you know your neighbors' names, and can you tell a specific instance in which you cared enough about their problems that you reached out to them?

If you're struggling to name an instance when you donated money, volunteered time, or otherwise made any overt gesture to help somebody, then I think you're a hypocrite and you're not actually a fortune-teller because you want to help people. I think that there must be another motivation, and speaking for myself it's because I enjoy being praised, basking in the appreciation of my sitters, and sitting in a position of power. Do my motivations offend you? If so, they needn't—these are observations of only my behavior. Surely your behavior is different from mine... or is it? There is no requirement that you be honest about your motivations with every person you meet—although there are benefits to honesty—but it's very important that at all times you're at least honest with yourself.

And if you're going to be honest with yourself, I think you should remove your Goodguy badge. You harmfully deceive yourself when you wear it, because the reality is that nobody ever looked at a fortune-teller and said, "Behold, a paragon of honesty!" There's a reason why a majority of people distrust fortune-tellers, and even those people for whom you read know full well that you expect them to cross your palm with silver before the end of the performance. The only person you're fooling about your noble intentions is yourself.

Fortune-telling is an entertaining and potentially productive choreography of smoke and mirrors. The fortune-teller who's removed his or her Goodguy badge is aware that he or she is blowing smoke and moving mirrors, and I honestly believe that the accomplished fortune-teller who has learned how to best play the role demanded of him or her will not only be the most successful, but also the most appreciated by his or her sitters.

If you are a fortune-teller who persists in the attitude that you are a sacred healer performing divine work, then you are chaining yourself to a fantasy with no basis in reality. The truth is that excepting the occasional lucky strike, the vast majority of all fortunes you ever tell are immediately bogus, and if you fancy yourself some kind of lay psychologist and healer of the mind, then you're in store for a rude awakening. Sooner or later it will happen that at least one of your sitters will ask why your predictions never come to pass, and that is the moment of truth: will you deceive yourself into believing the fantasy of your performances, or will you remind the sitter that he or she was warned of this reality from the start? 

Far too many fortune-tellers eagerly deceive themselves because to do otherwise would threaten both their egos and their jealously protected Goodguy badges. If you're ever going to become a fortune-teller worthy of the name, then you must dispose of your Goodguy badge.