One Law to bring them all and in the darkness bind them… Yes, it’s time for the final and most crucial Law of Power: Assume Formlessness.
Law 48 is all about how to move beyond mechanical repetition of the individual Laws and become a virtuoso performer who flows effortlessly with the needs of the moment, untroubled by countervailing winds.
As Robert drives home, nothing can be relied on except the inevitability of change – if we are rigid and unprepared for it, then we will simply shatter.
All of life is a battle between order and chaos, but everything interesting happens in the tension between them. Law 48 puts that tension and those moments under the microscope.
This week we explore the deep archetypes of human nature that can be seen everywhere from ancient philosophies to comic superheroes; we explain why empires fall and what truly makes a great leader; and why bureaucrats can be so powerful while seeming to be the antithesis of this Law. We also fantasise about their deaths.
There are tools and techniques to guide you into formlessness, and we explore the ways psychedelics can remind us of and re-invigorate flow-states; the crucial difference between powerful formlessness and passive ‘going with the flow’; and we reveal how to defeat someone else who’s assumed formlessness.
Dre also decides to unleash his Grand Theory of Art on us (Jon disagrees with it); we fuck up trying to understand music theory; and celebrate those who can tell jokes minutes after terrorist attacks.
This episode marks the completion of the first step in a much longer journey of social and self-exploration… Tune in next week as we begin the next, even more powerful stage of our evolution.
This Episode Includes:
- The Jiujitsu of Power
- Why Sparta – despite all the rippling abs – ultimately fell
- Using soft power to quietly get what you want
- How to bring guerrilla warfare into everyday life
- Surprising benefits of a bad memory
- Being formless without losing your inner compass
- Why Art dies
Mentioned in the Episode:
- Robert’s other book, Mastery
- Our very own The 48 Laws in Practice, available from the publisher
- Our awesome Bismarck t-shirt, with him literally surfing the current of events
- The mind-bendingly brilliant Rick and Morty
- Chris Ryan’s podcast, Tangentially Speaking
- The podcast phenomenon, S-Town
- The bitchy classic, Mean Girls
- Controversial comedian, Frankie Boyle
- Music and scales: Bobby McFerrin Demonstrates the Power of the Pentatonic Scale
- James Carse’s Finite and Infinite Games
Be silly. Be kind. Be weird.
Join us as we continue our 48 Laws of Power review, exploring Robert Greene’s provocative and compelling book, in which he lays bare the history, practice, psychology, and philosophies of power that ultimately shape all human relations. Often seen as a handbook for the ‘modern Machiavelli’, we take a closer look, beyond the hyperbole, and discuss how understanding and implementing these Laws can actually enrich your life personally, professionally and spiritually.
Jon and Dre aim to get to the heart of each of the Laws, grapple with their sometimes disturbingly amoral nature, and discuss what the Laws mean in everyday life (often revealing their own experiences – good and bad – when they’ve either observed or transgressed them).