Neale Donald Walsch — Conversations With Verbosity

March 7, 2013

Frank Zappa sang:

Do you know who you are?
You are what you is
You is what you am
A cow don’t make ham
You ain’t what you’re not
So see what you got
You are what you is
And that’s all it is

Neale Donald Walsch said:

You are an Individuation of Deity, a singularization of The Singularity, an aspect of Divinity. You are the Localized Expression of the Universal Presence… You are God… You are in the Realm of the Physical — what has also been called the Realm of the Relative…which is where Experiencing occurs.

I don’t think I have to say too much more about this…..(*There are some more posts on the way – this is just a brief start.)

But for those who don’t think they’re getting their money’s worth from this post, I’ll add a bit more….

Zappa had something to say in the above quote and used straight forward language to say it. Mostly, you’ll notice, with good earthy Anglo-Saxon or Old English-derived words. And Walsch says next to nothing, despite using more words, longer words, and much more complicated language — largely derived you’ll notice, from Latin, the language of theology. Zappa is a little confronting, but good humored. Walsch is just bossy and uses the ubiquitous New Age tactic of “assertion-presented-as-fact”….. And also, Zappa is speaking in English; Walsch is not. He’s speaking some weird parallel language that uses English words, but with consistently distorted meanings.

Walsch has gathered terms from widely disparate fields, including, (in order of appearance), Jungian psychology, theology, self invented terminology, artificial intelligence theory, Catholicism, quantum physics, Buddhism/Hinduism, New Age Christianity, needlessly grandiose verbosity (Realm of the Physical), fake authority (“what has also been called” has only ever been so called by him!), more needlessly grandiose verbosity + self invented terminology + physics (Realm of the Relative), and another self invented term (Experiencing).

And what’s with all the capitals, you ask? I have no idea, but for some reason during the 1990s ALL the gurus were doing it. And then the fashionable ones stopped. (I remember one friend proudly insisting in about 2004 that her guru didn’t do that anymore.)

And what does it mean? Well, that you are “individuating” (not in the Jungian sense, but in the capital I sense); that you are God; that you are on planet Earth; and that you are “experiencing” (not in the English language sense, but in the capital E sense). It means absolutely nothing at all. Those are not really words but empty spaces. The consumer fills in the blanks with their own meanings, which they then ascribe to Neale Donald Walsch.

But surely there’s more to it than that?

Yes there is. I just wanted to get this out of the way first. People always say that Walsch has a “nice message”, without realizing that he doesn’t really have any message at all. It’s they who have the nice (if rather pointless) message! What Walsch does have though, is a full blown, highly exploitive scam, modeled on basically the same slick, slippery business model that, by some extraordinary coincidence, all the other New Age teachers seem to be running these days as well. And it’s not nice.

See the other posts in this series on NDW here……

Posted by Yakaru


  1. Yakaru, this is but one short expression of NDW’s, and – I didn’t know who he was, so I googled – he has a message. He presents himself, apparently, as a living prophet, no less, channeling God, who says we’re all Him-Her anyway, God. One consequence is understanding that Hitler liberated six million Jews from earthly suffering and is thus, like them, in the glorious joyful bliss of the next life. No living thing dies without choosing that fate, and it’s not death, but a beginning, a transition like pupation. Nobody should mourn, because if we knew how wonderful the butterfly stage was, we’d not worry about the emerging pupa. Death is liberation. If that’s not a message, and a seriously dangerous one (if wrong), I don’t know what is. This is a problem for newage kerchinkers: they start with the “nice message” that we can realise our divinity and express unconditional love to each other, but they ignore the freedom to do exactly what we please, the authority to destroy, which comes along with godliness. Incidentally, he also says that organised religion is the source of most of our problems, but then he has “Conversations with God” and takes minutes for us in book form, the function of a priest. I’ll bet my bottom dollar he also says we don’t need money, in at least one of his books on sale at all good bookshops.

    It’s useful sometimes to take an argument apart and show that it’s meaningless fluff (especially in debate, when it’s presented as supporting a larger argument). I often enjoy your more humourous lampoonings, but I think there’s a danger here that that’s all you’ve said about him, that he says nothing, when he seems to say a lot, including some deeply controversial political things. We all use lax or metaphorical language to explain a point, and the newage point is overtly and ubiquitously presented as “beyond language”, not something you can say in words, but something towards which you can only point and must experience directly. So you run the risk, in ignoring his apparent underlying meanings, of allowing a seeker of truth to dismiss you as just another literalist, unable to think about something someone is pointing towards with flawed phrases. And actually I don’t understand how you can contrast the meaningfulness of “you is what you am” with “You are God”. 1=1 is “meaningless” in the sense that it’s axiomatic and irrelevant. Each side cancels out, so you’ve made a null statement. 1=infinity is much more challenging. Even if it appears “meaningless” at first, because we instinctively dismiss it as untrue, it is “meaningful” in the sense that our minds can begin trying to grapple with it if we choose to. It might be wrong, but it says something.

  2. I’m rather fond of the neologism, “deepity.” An idea expressed in such a way to sound profound when it’s actually mundane, tautological, nonsensical, or otherwise useless. A lot of newagers and theologists find it easy to inflate anything into a deepity with verbosity.

    Weird capitalization is also popular with far right wingnuts these days. I also remember an annoying few years when a lot of woo trolls put dozens of ellipses in their comments, trying to simulate dramatic pauses or some crap like that.

  3. @lettersquash,
    Yep, I’ll be writing more about this dude, and covering quite different aspects from what this post covers. Each time I started writing it though, this stuff kept getting in the way. I wanted to acknowledge it briefly, but I thought it would be better to just get it out of the way first.

    Next, I’ll be focusing more on his methods for maintaining dominance over his customers. The “product” (to quote someone else) is just the thing that builds the bridge to the consumer’s bank account, and I’ll be looking at the way he does this.

    It’s all too easy, as you say, to just debunk and sneer, and it doesn’t necessarily achieve much. I usually try to only do it to those who are truly dangerous, (or who have just pissed me off for some reason). But it can easily miss the point entirely, too. I appreciate your thoughts, and agree with them!

    I may as well state here again, that nearly all of the ideas that I criticize here are ones that I’ve personally believed in one form or another at some time.

    I think when you string enough deepities together they become a sleepity.

  4. Yakaru, I always so enjoy your posts! I like how you detailed the various sources NDW pulled from. I’ve read one and a half of his books and looked at his website a time or two. I was still a “believer” in those days. At first, I preferred NDW’s message to that of Esther Hicks’ (because I was getting fed up with her) and then reading his “inspired writing” helped me to see through the scam these guys are running. Just a bit of strolling down memory lane, there! But some credit for my finally catching a clue does to go NDW, for being obviously enough a fake that I noticed.

    His messages to his flock (the sheepity) are incredibly disempowering and manipulative. I’ll come back with an example some time.

  5. Thanks, Mariah….. I’m working on some more serious stuff about this guy, but I would really like people to become allergic to that kind of talk.

    I think he, like a lot of them, ride a whole culture, where the entire upper echelon is as corrupt as it is mediocre, and the further down the feeding chain one goes, the more likely one is to meet decent people who are genuinely caring, (but rather too uncritical for their own good).

  6. Yeah, Walsh is just a bad writer. And he is just riding the success of his smash hit book Conversations with God. He just needs a better ghost writer to express his childlike thoughts. He is not the sharpest tool in the shed.

    You all have a right …NOT to read his stuff, as I don’t, I just can’t stand his grammar school style of writing it drives me crazy. and I get a sense that while his original discovery that God is everywhere and in everything. ..this message may have felt it was not enough for him. I think he knows he is not nearly as profound as Eckhart Tolle. And I think he is trying to expand on the message, when he should stay within the message instead of tying to be something he is not. But he does have an audience that speaks the same language and likes his simpleton, uneducated analogies and metaphors.

    I often notice God trying to speak to me in the smallest of notions. And I had never noticed that before I tortured myself reading his book, I just could not finish it I wanted to put a bullet through my head..but the message, I did get.

    Donald does have a message. And it was this…

    That God is always, every freakin day, trying to talk to you and lead you. And that although this is not a new message, it was, in the way he delivered it, many had not heard before or even considered.

    So it many ways it was a ground-breaking message and it reflected in the huge sales of this simple but profound, admittedly written poorly book that many found enlightening.

  7. What an odd comment, DeLeon. It’s as though you’re trying to support NDW while pretending to agree with us that he’s full of it. Sounds like a troll move to me.

    …and I never came back with an example of his manipulative writing. Sorry. I lost interest. He just follows the formula they all do: tell people they have problems they didn’t know they had, then sell the cure.

  8. “tell people they have problems they didn’t know they had, then sell the cure.”

    Mariah, so good !

  9. It’s what they do, isn’t it, Caroline? I can’t take credit for figuring that out, I read it somewhere!

    I also notice that people like Neale Donald Walsch present themselves as experts and will help you with stuff you’re obviously too incompetent to figure out on your own.

  10. […] readers, perhaps, have not heard of the great and unusual Frank Zappa. I have referenced him once already here, to contrast his teachings with some flaccid spiritual pabulum from Neale Donald Walsch. […]

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