On Pacts with the Fae

(Epistemic status: Endorsed – this blog is brought to you by these pacts, commitment tool + framing device)

I have a confession to make regarding this blog. My writing talent is not my own. A few months ago, I went to the beach and meditated on the water. I noticed patterns in the water, slight disturbances with no obvious cause. I knew, on the level of a Right Thing, that there was power here. Around me was strewn about urban debris – I picked it up and disposed of it, purifying the area. When I came back, the disturbance in the water had calmed; however, where I had been sitting there lay a gorgeous sea shell. I knew a Deal was offered. I accepted. I would be a conduit of words and concepts, but I must write weekly or I would lose my expressiveness. This is my pact with the fae – words to touch minds and souls, so long as I use them.

This is a story, but it is also a tool. When making commitments, it is easy to break them when you are not feeling well, expect a poor outcome, or a myriad of things. Life gets in the way and this is ok. However, brains are assholes. They will use physical markers that may have been true at one point to instill aversions to unpleasant but long run important activities. Fortunately, however, brains are stupid, and love a good story. Thus, the narrative of a pact with the fae – at this level of commitment, my house could be burning down and I will post something, somehow. It is a fanatic level of dedication to Doing The Thing. This category should never be used lightly – if you overburden it, you might as well make regular commitments, they’ll feel less bad. However, this is a category that should at least exist. Having the option of this category increases your agency – the reason I put a weekly commitment to open the box in mind was so that every week, that category would get more powerful and I could expand the sense of “doing things even when I don’t feel like it” to other commitments, even if they’re one time commitments. I’ve been doing this weekly post schedule since May and not every Sunday has been a good day for me – those days when it is hardest, when I feel least like writing or posting are really where the pact gets the strongest forward momentum. It not only drives me to do it anyway, but it makes itself a more powerful tool in the process.

I highly recommend creating a pact with the fae category in your mind for a commitment that is extremely important to you. Even if the cost of breaking the commitment is very vague and unclear, you can accord it a supernatural importance by telling yourself a good story about how it came to be – this likely hijacks some of the religious/meaning making parts of the brain which is generally a solid way to artificially raise the priority of things. The ability to offer this category can become a social currency in terms of reliability – another way it self-reinforces is being able to demonstrate “this is how I conceptualized this thing I have done for weeks/months/years – I offer you that same conceptualization.” That demonstration basically states that you are willing to put breaking a useful frame on the table in order to fulfill an obligation – it’s as strong as the frame is itself.

Overall, having an extremely strong promise/commitment category creates productivity, grit, and social benefits. The more demonstrable/provable your actions are under this category, the more that can be reaped from it. In most circumstances this would be terrible advice, but in this specific context, I think everyone should make pacts with the fae.

Discussion: Do you have a commitment category that pattern matches to “pact with the fae”? How have you used this category in the past? Have you ever had to demonstrate or prove this category to gain a social benefit or build trust? If you lack this category, do you think it contains enough benefit to be worth installing?

3 thoughts on “On Pacts with the Fae

  1. I have a literal anti-suicide pact, made with a friend during a trip to a dangerous and unusual country, where both of us went to get some distance from the mess in our heads.

    It worked well, and is a bright point in the mindscape whenever depression is relapsing. A reminder of “I have, together with a person I immensely respect, precommitted against explicitly this line of thought, deeming it bullshit” is as close as you can get to a tamper-proof mental circuit breaker.

    One hell of an interesting blog, by the way.


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