WELCOME to a website which explores change. It's an optimistic website, but not one which offers answers. It concerns itself with the need to ask questions - about yourself, your life, lifestyle, and future - and argues for a new understanding of how we all construct meaning.
I'm Budge Burgess. I worked in the profession of change (in the so-called 'talking cures') for a quarter of a century, largely with the rejects of society - people convicted of crime, people abusing drugs and alcohol, homeless people. I managed to help some, I claim no more than that.
I've witnessed some of the worst of the talking cures - complacency, incompetence, negligence, toadying, petty jealousy, bullying. I also worked with people who had the talent, training and skills to encourage real change in others … people who offered selfless compassion and understanding.
The professional talking cures like counselling, social work, or psychoanalysis, have no more scientific credibility than witchdoctors in lab coats, though they have greater status than life coaches, and are less motivated by greed than the gurus of the self-help and motivational industries.
Our current knowledge of psychology, our understanding of why people behave the way they do, our skills in helping them change, are all severely limited. There are no easy steps to change, no guaranteed formula, even if thousands of books and websites try to sell you a different story.
This, first and foremost, is an honest website. I won't delude you that change can be achieved by following a prescribed set of steps - if you're going to change your life, any success you achieve will be built on your own hard work, determination, courage, and sense of purpose.
These Stories You Don't Write explore how you learn, how you create narratives to explain life and experience, how you can use those narratives to pursue positive changes in your life and lifestyle.
WEBSITE STRUCTURE I've kept the structure of the website sparse and basic. It exists purely and simply as a gateway to the real content which is found in the following five Blogs, each with a different theme.
The Stories You Don't Write: I was going to write a book about how to achieve change. I struggled. There are thousands of such books on the market, and at least 95% are total bullshit (I've read hundreds of them). I didn't want to become yet another whore of the publishing industry.
Most of the really popular books claim to have unlocked some secret formula for change. People buy a book because it sells them the lie that there are five or six or seven simple steps to follow to make their dreams come true. When the book doesn't work, they buy another. And another.
I'm not trying to sell you a solution, an answer, a set of easy steps - The Stories You Don't Write encourages you to ask the right questions, find your own motivation, and pursue your own unique solutions. And it's free - I'm not trying to sell anything.
The Stories You Can't Write: An exploration of my own questions - honest, painful … but optimistic. It's not a template for your questions … but I hope it will encourage you to question, honestly and compassionately, what sort of questions you need to explore.
Many self-help and motivational books include potted biographies of their authors. You'll find tales of how they spent a lifetime searching for answers and enlightenment until, suddenly, they had an epiphany, a flash of inspiration, and discovered some ancient secret or new truth about life. And it's generally bullshit - mere marketing hype. You'll not learn much about who the author really is.
Want to know more about me? Here, you'll get an honest biography. Budge Burgess, unplugged. You'll be left with no doubts about my values ... or my ability to fuck up. If you want to change your life, you need to be honest with yourself and about yourself.
Positive Lies: Can you trust the Internet? There are sites which offer sound, professional, scientifically valid, free advice on change and tackling specific challenges, but they're swamped by an avalanche of well marketed lies, bullshit, loony tunes, and fraudulent claims.
Do a web search for Napoleon Hill, who wrote books purporting to teach people how to get rich, and you'll find - literally - millions of pages treating him as if he was one of the great minds of the 20th century. In fact, Hill was a charlatan, a fantasist, a liar, a fraud, a cheap conman. There's not a shred of worthwhile advice in his books ... yet you'll struggle to find a criticism of him.
Until now, and a Positive Lies Blog which explores how to use the Internet to secure effective advice!
Profession of Change: My critical, honest analysis of the 'talking cures' and why they are a failure. Psychotherapy has long been a major industry. 'Addiction' treatment is very profitable. State-run social work has become a desk-bound bureaucracy - short on compassion, sapping practitioners of passion and imagination, reducing life to a routine of casework instead of the pursuit of change.
I'll question our understanding of 'addiction', the role of Alcoholics Anonymous, the cultural impact of the ideas of Freud and psychoanalysis, the role of social work and of life coaching. The talking cures delivered to the poor have failed to save us from social problems. The talking cures delivered to the affluent have proved lucrative, but haven't increased happiness; they have, however, increased dependency on therapy … and the profits of the therapists.
Like Fleas on a Dog's Back: Here, I parallel my factual work with fiction. 'Fleas' is my online apocalyptic novel, set in the south of Scotland. An end of the world scenario is the ultimate fictional laboratory in which to analyse individual and social change. I hope it will pose questions about change and how we face it. I want it to inspire you to ask questions about your own life and future.
A chapter a month, with observations about writing, creativity, tackling writer's block, finding a voice, finding confidence ... and being honest.
TO READ ANY OF THE BLOGS SIMPLY CLICK ON THE TITLE