A New Geek Code...

Among computer geeks, it has become somewhat popular to describe one's interests using the Geek Code, which is a shorthand way of mentioning various subjects popular among computer geeks and noting one's level of involvement or interest in them.  The code was invented by Robert Hayden.  His web site at geekcode.com gives the complete definition of its symbols.  In action, the code looks something like this:

Version: 3.1
GCS/MU w++(--)$ U- E-(+) W+(-) !O !M !V !N-- o+>++ d+(-) s+:++>
a r- y? PS++ PE-() !Y t@ !tv-- !R b++ DI+ e+ h--

This translates into something like "Geek in the subjects of computer science and music, makes a living programming Microsoft Windows but doesn't like Windows much, doesn't use Unix much, or Emacs but have sometimes used it a lot, browses the WWW semi-regularly but doesn't think much of most of the content, does not use Usenet because it's lame, has incarnated at least once as the Usenet Oracle and hopes someday to make the best-of-Oracle list, reads Dilbert but doesn't identify with the situations in it, doesn't own a TV set," etc etc.

The code is very useful for describing common interests of computer geeks, and though nominally it covers geekery in a number of related fields, it isn't much use for several other areas in which forms of geekery tend to flourish.  Although computers are the main center of geekdom in white collar middle class American culture, there are plenty of other subcultures that don't overlap with it very much in which the same kind of spirit can develop.  Among working class Americans, for instance, there is a definite area of geekdom centered around working on cars.  There is another kind of geekdom that concentrates on athleticism and fitness -- though the intellectual activity that characterizes most other forms of geekdom is largely absent, the geek nature of it still somehow shines through.  Many of these other subcultures could certainly use a code of their own, and a few have occasionally developed codes of their own based on the original Geek Code (which was in turn based on a simpler system of codes designed to indicate sexual tastes).  There's one for Lego enthusiasts, one just for Star Wars fans, it's claimed someone has come up with a geek code specialized for owners of Saturn cars.  I've recently seen usenet discussions in progress aimed at developing geek codes for anime fans and for ice skating enthusiasts...

I have such a code here.  This one is for Personal Growth Geeks.

This is version 0.5 of the spec for the Personal Growth Geek Code.  It is preliminary and needs feedback from other Personal Growth Geeks to make it more complete.  To give feedback, email Paul Kienitz (paul@paulkienitz.net).

Symbols such as parentheses and the > and @ signs are used the same way as in Robert Hayden's original Geek Code.  Briefly:

Each piece of the code consists of a letter, or a short sequence of letters, followed by punctuation.  The most common punctuation is a series of plus or minus signs.  Plusses generally indicate "I am into this a lot" whereas minuses indicate "I don't dig this at all."  A neutral stance is indicated by the lack of either.  For many codes, each individual level of plusses or minuses has a specific meaning listed below.  Generally, each letter-and-punctuation group is separated from the others by spaces, for legibility.

Parentheses may optionally follow a string of pluses or minuses and contain a possibly empty second string of pluses or minuses.  This indicates a range of conditions that are true for you, with the first one being the end that is "more true".  For instance, if X++ means you diligently practice X but X- means you don't think much of it, then X++(-) means that you vary between diligently practicing it and not thinking much of it.  The at-sign, used in place of pluses and minuses, is more extreme: X@ would indicate that your practice of or feeling about X varies all over the map at different times.

A greater-than symbol represents wishes or plans for the future.  It is followed by a second string of pluses or minuses or other modifying symbols.  For instance if X with no pluses means only slight experience with practice X, and X+++ indicates doing it a lot and getting a lot out of it, then X>+++ means you hardly do it now but hope someday to be very diligent and successful at it.

Since growth is about changing over time, this code also includes a symbol representing your past, so you can encode the progress you've made or the shifts that have occurred in your point of view.  For symmetry, the less-than symbol (<) is used for this purpose.  If you want to say that practice X used to be very important to you but now think it's a bad idea, you might write something like X--<++.

An added $ after the other symbols, in the absence of other explanation, means this is something you make a living at doing.  Other suffix symbols are sometimes defined, often designated as "with pluses or minuses".  This means that the extra symbol can be piled onto the sequence along with everything else. For instance, R+++% means "I like fast loud music, and I play a musical instrument."

All of these symbols can be combined in one large mess, e.g. R@<-(+)>++%$ to mean "I used to mostly only like quiet folky music, but sometimes I liked something with more of a danceable beat, nowadays my tastes and preferences in music are varying over a wide range, and I have a dream that someday I will regularly be going to loud nightclubs, and will play an instrument and make money at it."

Your code should generally be preceded by a line like this, giving the version number of the code spec that you used when writing it out, so as to unambiguously identify the meaning of the code symbols:


followed immediately by the symbols of your code.  The individual code symbols are defined below.

The first letter is always G for Geek.  It is immediately followed by a second letter G which is followed by suffixes that designate how much time and energy you spend on topics of growth, spirituality, therapy, recovery, and other kinds of personal development in general.

GG--- People into endless self-examination make me vomit.
GG-- I swore off navel-gazing forever.
GG- I think introspection can sometimes hold you back from living.
GG I will work on internal difficulties when forced to, which is not often.
GG+ I will work on them when forced to, which unfortunately happens a lot.
GG++ I put a fair amount of time and energy into growth work, even when I don't have to, and have developed a pretty good set of tools and resources to do it effectively.
GG+++ I had to take a sabbatical from my job to devote myself full-time to inner work, and/or was unable to hold down a job until I worked on growth full-time.
GG++++ I have devoted the rest of my life singlemindedly to growth as an end in itself.

The letter T designates psychotherapy.

!T I have never consulted a therapist. 
T--- Therapists are mental rapists and should be shot.
T-- Therapy is a scam to keep you dependent and paying.
T- The therapy I've had did more harm than good.
T Tried some therapy, it didn't do much of anything.
T+ I'm in therapy and trying to work on it, maybe someday it will do some good.
T++ Therapy has done me a significant amount of good.
T+++ I work very hard at therapy and would be very distressed to have to manage without it.
T++++ I am incapable of operating without near-daily support from my shrink.
T+++++ I am currently in a mental hospital, or just recently out.
T? (with pluses or minuses) I am getting some unusual nonstandard type of therapy instead of conventional talk-oriented therapy.
T& (with pluses or minuses) I would never have known about my past lives and/or being abducted by UFO aliens if it hadn't been for my therapist.
T$ (with pluses or minuses) I am a therapist.
T% (with pluses or minuses) I am a codependent pseudo-therapist to my friends and acquaintences.

The letter A describes your involvement with "________ Anonymous" groups that use the Twelve Steps or a related approach.

!A I have no involvement with Anonymous groups.
A-- Twelve Step groups are a mind control cult.
A- I don't fit in to the Pistachio Nuts Anonymous format, it doesn't work for me, and the people in it are twits.
A I have sometimes gone to meetings but I have never worked any of the steps.
A+ I have attended semi-regularly at at least one point in my life and done at least some step work.
A++ I have attended regularly and have done or am doing a pretty thorough job on the steps.
A+++ The steps saved my sorry butt.  I recommend them to everyone, whether they have any obvious problem or not.
A++++ I'm a raging addict and only rigorous constant devotion to the Steps keeps me from going off the deep end.

The letter M describes your practice of meditation.

!M I never meditate.
M-- Life is to be LIVED, not sat through, dammit!  Let's order a keg.
M- I don't like meditation.
M I try, but it's hard and I fidget, so I don't do it much.
M+ I do it, but not regularly.
M++ It is a regular part of my way of life and I value it.
M+++ I credit meditation with making me a much better person, and there is nobody who would not benefit from it.
M++++ There is no problem that cannot be resolved by sitting still long enough.

The letter pair Ms characterizes your style of meditation; it denotes the amount of silence in the practice.  If you don't meditate, use it to indicate the way you like to be when unwinding and relaxing.  (Generally this is combined with the M rating in a single string, for example M++s--.)

Ms++++ I try to become unaware of everything.
Ms+++ Breath going in, breath going out, nothing else.
Ms++ Mentally repeat something like a TM mantra.
Ms+ Chanting out loud, "Om" or more complex chants or songs.
Ms Incense, colors, gongs, mandalas, and/or other noisemakers.
Ms- Mentally visualizing some scene or situation.
Ms-- Guided meditation where someone tells you what to think or visualize.
Ms--- Meditation involves movement and activity.
Ms---- Vigorous martial arts practice is meditative for me.
Ms----- I meditate by dancing to loud rock&roll or working out with a punching bag.

Do you have a guru, or similar teacher in another tradition?  Use a g.

!g No guru, never had one.
g- Had one, it was a mistake.
g Have had one at least once.
g+ Have one now, pretty glad to have him/her.
g++ My guru is totally awesome.
g+++ I have found a Divine Leader whom I will blindly obey.
g$ I am a guru.

B is for Buddhism.

!B I have no knowledge of Buddhism.
B-- Buddhism is self-destructive fatalism that keeps people trapped in poverty and oppression.
B- I have pretty much no use for Buddhism.
B I sometimes admire pieces of it but don't practice any of the philosophy.
B+ I have found some of the teachings valuable but don't consider myself a Buddhist.
B++ I consider myself a practicing Buddhist.
B+++ I am seriously pursuing enlightenment.
B++++ I am enlightened.
B+++++ I am the Buddha.
B% The Buddha has returned.  Benjamin Creme says so.

C is for Christianity.

!C I have never been involved with Christianity and know little about it except what I see on TV.
C--- Christianity is evil and oppressive and the main tool of The Patriarchy for keeping people miserable.
C-- Christianity is the natural enemy of science and rationality and freedom of thought.
C- I am a Recovering Christian, I don't believe any of that stuff at all any more and find it distasteful.
C I do not believe in Jesus, but it's okay for others.
C+ I am uncertain about whether Jesus was divine.
C++ I am a Christian, but not too tied to any one sect or too "religious" about being in church every week.
C+++ I am Catholic and confess and take communion regularly (or similar in other sects that hold such rituals).
C++++ Jesus is the cornerstone of my life, I am a pillar of my church community, and I try to spread the gospel every chance I get.
C+++++  The world was created 6000 years ago and probably will last less than 60 more.
C++++++ God sent me back to bring the Final Days, and now that all those who can be redeemed by my suffering on the cross have been brought into the fold, the rest of you are toast.

P is for Paganism, e.g. Wicca and related systems.

!P I have nothing to do with Paganism.
P--- Paganism?  Doesn't that mean Satan worship?  Well, you may think not, but we know better!
P-- Paganism is a tinkertoy make-believe religion.
P- Some Of My Best Friends Are Pagan, honest.
P Paganism is kinda neat in some ways, but doesn't really interest me.
P+ I am drawn to Paganism and feel it has a lot to offer.
P++ I am a practicing member of a Pagan church or coven.
P+++ I feel qualified to design new religious rituals.
P++++ I have a deep personal relationship with at least two of the three forms of the Goddess.
P+++++ The Horned God fucked me in the ass at our last celebration, it was deeply spiritual.

The letter a is for the degree of asceticism in your lifestyle.

a---- My masseuse is always waiting in the back seat of my Rolls.
a--- Fine and costly goods and services enhance the beauty of life as nothing else can.
a-- Tantric Yoga?  Now that sounds like my kinda spiritual practice.
a- Comfort and convenience are good things within reason, and having money can enrich some aspects of life.
a I don't pursue wealth or luxury much, but I don't avoid them either.  Living like regular folks is just fine.
a+ I don't really like the simple life, I'm just broke.
a++ I eat simple foods and keep my surroundings kind of spartan, and feel I am happier this way.
a+++ I avoid a great many ordinary conveniences and posessions, and like to go on retreats away from material distractions.
a++++ Permanent resident at a monastery with no electricity or plumbing.
a+++++ A loincloth, a begging bowl, and a road to walk down.
a~ (with pluses or minuses) I alternate between depriving myself and overindulging myself.
a| (with pluses or minuses) I have a habit of trying to diet to lose weight.
a$ (with pluses or minuses) The kind of growth and healing I need is growth of my bank account.

The letter b is for books, comma, self-help.  How much do you use self-help books?

!b I never read them.  Either I never need help or I can't read.
b-- If I see someone has too many self-help books, they're obviously a hopeless loser.
b- Self-help books in the house are one of the seven warning signs of lameness.
b Occasionally read one, don't get much out of them.
b+ Some of them can be quite helpful.
b++ At least one self-help book has totally changed my life and been of immeasurably great value, so I read lots more in order to build on that.
b+++ Books are so meaningful to me that my life has been revolutionized by them over and over.
b$ I have written and published at least one self-help book.
A few specific authors... add a plus or minus for a good or bad opinion:
bdc Deepak Chopra is:    a wise teacher  /  a phony.
bjb John Bradshaw:    tells it like it is  /  is full of shit.
baw Dr. Andrew Weil should be:    read by everyone  /  sued.
bsp M. Scott Peck:    helped me understand what growth is all about  /  is a simplistic reactionary.
bam Alice Miller:    is the first person I've found who really understands  /  sees only one thing, whatever she looks at.
bwd Dr. Wayne Dyer:    has been a very useful guide  /  is the Ronald McDonald of spirituality.
bg Gurdjieff:    has left us immortal teachings  /  was pulling a fast one on us.
btnh Thich Nhat Hanh is:    a Living Buddha  /  an ignorant peasant.
bnvp Who are all those guys?  I thought "bdc" meant Dale Carnegie.  Norman Vincent Peale is the greatest.
Mail me with other authors' names that are important to you, so this list can be expanded.

The letter h stands for healing, as in alternative medicine and therapies.

!h I never use alternative medical or healing practices.
!!h Christian Scientist or other believer in avoiding all healing intervention, alternative or not.
h-- Only AMA-approved standard medical approaches are any good.
h- I am quite skeptical of most alternative healing ideas.
h There's probably some value in some of them, but I don't take many of them very seriously.
h+ Some alternative healing methods have some real value, I think.  Sometimes they seem to help in ways I can't explain, other times they don't.
h++ Alternative healing methods are very important to me and I rely on them often.
h+++ Nothing from regular Western doctors is any damn good at all, only the other ways are worth bothering with.  Between all the different methods out there, there's a cure for just about everything, and the AMA is suppressing them.
h++++ Your bodily health is entirely controlled by your thoughts, so you have only yourself to blame if you're ever sick, or once sick, if you don't immediately cure yourself.
h$ (with pluses or minuses) I am a paid practitioner of at least one alternative healing technique, even if I don't make a living at it.
h$- (after pluses or minuses)  I try to sell health products to all my growth&healing oriented friends and acquaintences.
h$-- (after pluses or minuses)  I also try to sell them a Multi-Level Marketing plan to get them to sell the health products for me.
h$$ I have invented my own revolutionary healing system.
Add a plus or minus for a good or bad opinion of any of these healing methods you may have tried, or a $ for any you have been a practitioner of:
hci chiropractic or osteopathy
hom homeopathy
har aromatherapy
hra radiesthesia or related method (anything involving an invisible field around the body)
hps psychic healing, including psychic readings
hfa faith healing
hyp hypnotherapy and related methods
hcr crystals
hpy pyramid or orgone box
hac acupuncture/accupressure, or any system in which visible spots are somehow attached to distant internal organs (iridology, reflexology, etc)
hdi macrobiotics or other randomly restricted diet
her herbal remedies
hhf consuming lots of weird stuff sold by health food stores
hen regular colonic irrigation
hdm I wear a dust mask whenever I'm outdoors
hal hat lined with foil

E is for your self-esteem.

!E The whole concept is meaningless.
E--- I utterly loathe myself, I should be killed.
E-- I am plagued by guilt and shame.
E- I often feel inadequate, ugly, or foolish.
E I could use more confidence and fewer inhibitions.
E+ I put effort into living in ways I can respect myself for, and feel guardedly positive about the results.
E++  I am developing a very good supportive relationship with myself and coming to appreciate the wonderful things about me.
E+++ I am in love with myself, I am so lucky to have me.
E$ I am Dr. Nathaniel Branden.
E~ (with pluses or minuses... but who's going to believe any pluses?)  This self-esteem fad is undermining children's morals and raising a generation of hoodlums and sissies.  You're SUPPOSED to feel humble, guilty, and ashamed!

N stands for Nude Encounter Groups, or touchy-feely workshops such as those given by the Human Awareness Institute.

!N Never been to such a thing, never plan to.
N-- It's sinful and God will punish these people.
N- It's a waste of time and a diversion from things that matter.
N Interested in maybe trying such a thing, haven't yet.
N+ Went once or twice, kinda fun, might try it again.
N++ They've helped me a lot and I go to many of them.
N+++ Compulsively attend such things over and over.
N$ I facilitate such groups.
N$$ I am Stan Dale.

Lowercase n stands for nudism in general.

n--- I am far too embarrassed or too ashamed of my body to let anyone see me naked.
n-- Dressing sharp is an essential part of my life.
n- I don't like being around nudity.
n I don't mind it.
n+ I like nudism.
n++  I wish I never had to wear clothes, laws against nudity are oppressive.
n% I want to hang out with nudists just so I can ogle everybody. For me, "nonsexual nudity" is an oxymoron.

The letter i stands for incest and other child abuse.  How abusive and dysfunctional were your parents?

!i I disregard the subject of childhood abuse; nothing that happened that long ago means anything.
i-- My parents were wonderful and I was a happy child.
i- My parents were better than most, I was fairly lucky.
i My parents were average, they meant well, sometimes did okay and sometimes fell short.
i+ My parents were tragically inept at some important aspects of parenting.
i++ My parents were assholes.
i+++ My parents were violently abusive.
i++++ My parents (or someone around them) sexually molested me.
i+++++ My parents are members of a Satanic cult that makes rituals out of rape and torture.
i~ My parents were wonderful; I'm forever grateful for how they moulded my character with strict discipline and unflinching punishment whenever I didn't measure up to their high standards.
i& (with plusses or minuses)  I was traumatized in one or more of my past lives.
i? I can't even remember my childhood, or I greatly distrust the accuracy of the memories I have.
i(?) (optionally with more pluses or minuses inside the parens, for stuff you're guessing at)  I think there may be some important apsects that I do not remember.

How dysfunctional are you because of your parents?  For any problem you've had that stems from your upbringing, put a plus if you're still suffering from it or a minus if you've largely overcome it, or neither if it is there but mostly stays out of your way:

id depression
iu drug/alcohol abuse
ie eating disorder
ix sex addiction
is sexual impairment such as frigidity
ii trouble with intimacy or commitment
ig crippling shame and guilt
ic codependency
ia fits of rage or constant anger
ij fits of jealousy
io control freak (formerly "ic", which was already used -- woops!)
if anxiety attacks, constant fears, or paranoia
im multiple personalities
ip physically disabled enough to have trouble supporting myself
in mentally disabled enough to have trouble supporting myself
iy too geeky to get laid
If you suffer from these things but don't believe the cause has anything to do with your upbringing, see the next section on the letter f.

The letter f is for your view of fate.

f-- Suffering is caused by desiring the world to be different from what it is.  The cure is complete acceptance of what is, until you realize that the way the universe is right now is absolutely right and perfect.
f- Surrendering to the will of God or the Universe is a key to serenity when what we want doesn't work.
f Some things you can change, some things you can't.  It's important to learn to tell the difference.
f+ What you get back is determined by what you put out; positive expectations bring positive results.
f++ Like, everybody creates their own reality, you know? Well, figuratively speaking.
f+++ Everybody literally creates their own reality.  Anything is possible if you believe it is and act like it is, including complete violation of the "laws" of physics.
For any of the conditions listed after the letter i, there is an equivalent version for the letter f.  For instance, "id" and "fd" both refer to suffering from depression.  The difference is that you use the letter i if you believe the problem is caused by your upbringing or how people have treated you, but the letter f means that you believe it's your own fault or something that you just happen to have for random reasons.

Are you in contact with an inner child?  Letter c covers it.

!c No such thing in me.
c- Our childish parts are an obstruction and need to learn to grow up.
c I am aware of a child side of my inner self, but I don't treat it like some kind of separate person.
c+ I talk with my inner childhood at certain times in order to resove fears and difficult incidents.
c++ I dialog with my inner child all the time, and have a whole pile of toys and stuffed animals for him/her.
c+++ I have a whole crowd of different inner children.


!S I don't have it in my life.
S---- You're going to BURN IN HELL for even thinking about this stuff.
S--- Sex is sin and spirituality is incompatible with it, except maybe if you do it very carefully by the rules.
S-- Avoidance of getting entangled in sexuality is a key part of being able to develop spiritually.
S- Sex often just brings trouble, and I have a much easier time when I don't have too much to do with it.
S I get along equally well with or without it.  (This can mean I just don't care about it, or that I find living with it and living without it both impossible.)
S+ Sex is good and it helps me be happier and more whole.
S++ Exploring sexuality in various ways has been very growthful for me.
S+++ Few things open more doors for healing or growth than developing one's capacity for great sex to the maximum degree.  Emotional problems are usually caused by sexual inhibitions.
S++++ Spirituality IS sex, and vice versa.
S% (with pluses or minuses) Expressing my unusual tastes or orientation is a key element of my growth. 
Many growth geeks practice open relationships, polyamory, and other forms of getting their rocks off with more than one partner.  These symbols, added to those above, indicate your choice of nonmonogamous lifestyle, if any.
S& I am considering exploring open relationships in the future.
S&& I am in an open relationship.  You'll never get me away from my partner, but I'll still do my best to sweet-talk you into the sack if you so much as smile at me.
S&&& I do not have an open relationship.  The three (or four) of us are completely faithful to each other.
S&&&& I practice "polyfidelity": five or more committed partners and, in theory, no outsiders.
S&&&&&  I have two or more committed partners and am open to outside flings.
S&&&&&& I have sex with everyone in my religious community or commune, especially the charismatic leader.
S= Romantic attachment is overrated.  The secret of sexual happiness is to develop a good circle of friends-with-benefits.
S# (with ampersands or equals sign)  Yes, we do sometimes all end up in a pile together.  (Absence of this symbol indicates that you have sex with only one person at a time, no matter how many you switch between.)
S* I'm not following any esoteric philosophy about multiple partners, I'm just single.  So it's none of your business how many people I'm making whoopie with.  And maybe not any of their business to know about each other, either.!
S~ I'm old-fashioned: I cheat on my partner without telling them.


!D I have avoided recreational drugs and don't much know what they're like.
D-- Taking drugs is completely self-destructive.
D- Most people are much better off avoiding drugs.
D Occasional use to relax or recreate is fine.
D+ Drugs are wrong!!  Decent citizens get drunk. 
Or:  I don't use drugs, but marijuana isn't a drug, it's an herb.
D++ I like getting high and don't see anything wrong with it.
D+++ Hallucinogens can open your perceptions so the real truth comes through.
D++++ If I see pills, I'll swallow them and then ask what they were.
D$ I sell drugs.

Rock&roll.  Or rather, music in general.

!R I never listen to music.  Too unspiritual, or maybe I'm tone-deaf.
R-- I prefer the most soothing and calming kinds of music, or just nature sounds as a background.
R- Nothing more raucous than folk songs.
R A catchy tune is fun, but don't expect me to get out of my chair.
R+ I like a danceable beat.
R++ I like going to clubs with loud dance music or live bands.
R+++ The faster and louder, the better.
R++++ Unless you're a rocknroll veteran, don't come see my band without bringing earplugs.
R% (with pluses or minuses) I play a musical instrument.
R$ (with pluses or minuses) I am a professional musician or singer, or at least semipro.
R= (with pluses or minuses) I write music.
R. (with pluses or minuses) I go to retreats and bang drums.

The following are various individual schools and practices and hobbies.  For each one that has some relevance to your life, substitute the appropriate letters for the # in these ratings of levels of involvement:

!# I don't have any involvement with this practice, despite what you might expect.
#-- This practice is bogus.
#- I wish I could do this but I haven't managed to apply myself enough and/or have not had the opportunity.
# This practice has not been much use for me personally.
#+ I practice this some and get something out of it.
#++ This is a regular part of my life and quite valuable.
#+++ This is it, it is THE path and all I need.
#? I don't know, I'm curious about it and might get into it, or might not.
#$ (with pluses or minuses)  I am either a paid professional, or a teacher or guide to others, in this practice.
#= (with pluses or minuses)  I want to live in some kind of separate community where everyone is dedicated to this.

The letters to plug into this are listed below.  More will be added in future versions.  When sublists with second or third letters are listed, giving the first letter by itself can mean "other" or "unspecified" or "many different subtypes".  When a list is followed by "...", this means that I'm sure there are more subitems that could be added if people point them out as worth adding.

x = self-expression
   xa = I do creative art (the kind that takes itself seriously)
      xaw = writer
      xap = poet or song lyricist
      xac = composer (or at least arranger)
      xaa = painter
      xas = sculptor
      xah = photographer ("yes it's art, dammit!") or filmmaker
   xc = I do handicrafts of a possibly artistic nature
   xp = I do performing art (dance, music, etc) even if not for an audience
       xpp = I am a "performance artist"
   xj = I write my thoughts and feelings in a journal
   xe = letters to the editor and other broad public discourse
   xm = protest marches and demonstrations
   xi = online discussion/chatting via computer
   xw = I feel my work is creative or expresses myself
   x* = I consider myself very self-expressive, though not through any of the means listed above

y = physical activities, using the body
   yy = Yoga
      yyt = Tantra
   yt = Tai Chi
   ya = martial arts
      yak = Karate, yaf = Kung Fu, yaa = Aikido, yaj = Judo/Jiujitsu,
      yan = Ninjitsu, yat = Thai kickboxing, yab = western boxing, ya? = other
   yf = getting into fights in bars
   yd = dancing
      ydb = ballet, ydj = jazz, yda = African, ydf = folk, ydt = tap,  ...
   ye = athletic exercise
      yec = sports competition
         yecf = fandom is more important than getting any exercise myself
           yecff = "There is no personal difficulty that cannot be overcome by a shared love of football."
      yeb = bodybuilding
   ym = massage
      yms = shiatsu, ymr = Rolfing, ymb = Breema bodywork, ymr = Rosen,
      ymw = Swedish, yme = Esalen, yma = accupressure,  ... ym* = multiple techniques
   ys = sex is my sport and my hobby
      ysk = kinky sex such as BDSM

r = religion (if not covered by the codes above for your relation to some particular religions)
   rh = Hinduism
   ri = Islam
   rs = Sufism
   rb = Buddhism
      rbz = Zen
      rbt = Tibetan
   rt = Shinto
   ro = Taoism
   ru = Confucianism
   rp = Neo-Paganism
   rj = Judaism
      rjk = Kaballah
   ra = aboriginal religions
      ran = Native American (including Innuit)
      raa = African
      rau = Australian
      ra* = eclectic shamanism
   rc = Christianity
      rcc = Catholicism
   r" = Satanism
   r* = nonspecific theism
   r~ = "nonpracticing atheist" (spiritual but not religious)

o = occult/paranormal
   os = spiritualism (mediums & sceances) or any other system based
        on a belief that the dead can visit or haunt us
      osc = channeling
   oa = belief in guardian angels
   ow = magick, witchcraft, spell-casting
       owc = Crowleyism, OTO
   of = fortune telling and predictive supersititions
      ofn = numerology
      ofa = astrology
         ofaf = astrological fundamentalism: the stars determine everything
           ofafa = apocalyptic astrological fundamentalism: paradise on Earth
                    will soon arrive when the cataclysmic transition to the Aquarian
                    age wipes out all non-believers in astrology
      oft = tarot
      ofp = palmistry
   op = belief in and possible posession of psychic powers
      opd = dowsing or similar location ability
      oph = healing hands
      opt = telepathy
      ops = clairvoyance or second sight
      opp = precognition (seeing the future)
      opc = psychokinesis (including Gellerian spoon-bending)
      op! = (with optional other letter) I think I have this power

e = study and education and research
   es = active scientific research
      esk = "fringe science" research that contradicts conventional theory,
           e.g. antigravity or free energy (perpetual motion)
   em = trying to solve medical problems
   eg = genealogy
   ep = psychology
   eu = UFO research
   ey = conspiracy research
   ek = just like to always add to my general knowledge

v = vegetarianism
   vv = vegan
      vvv = fruitarian
         vvvv = breatharian (survives entirely on air and sunlight)
   v& = organic & healthy foods only but not really vegetarian
   v? = unusual or unconventional voluntary dietary limitations that don't have
        a commonly recognized name, such as refusing to eat beans because
        they contain the spirits of your ancestors
   !v = I refuse to eat vegetables

p = political activity
   pl = liberalism
   pL = libertarianism
   ps = socialism/communism
   pf = feminism
   pe = environmentalism
      pee = deep ecology: animals first, people last
   pc = patriotic conservatism
   pm = the free market über alles
   pv = upholding traditional family values
   py = dedicated to exposing The Conspiracy
      pyl = stopping the conservative takeover backed by New York financiers
      pyr = stopping the liberal takeover backed by New York financiers
      (If you follow Lyndon LaRouche, pick either one of those.)
      pyc = exposing the tangle of US Intelligence covert crimes
      pya = stopping the takeover by UFO aliens
   pk = inventor of strange theory which is the answer everyone has sought, if they only knew it
   pz = defending race purity against inferior breeds
   pg = the only cause that matters is to fight for my oppressed ethnic group
   pa = animal rights
   pA = abortion rights (use + for pro-choice, - for pro-life)
   p@ = anarchism
   p! = (with optional other letter) hoping to foment a revolution
   p$ = (with optional other letter) active politician seeking power, prestige, or (ahem) an opportunity to serve the people

d = psychoactive perscription drugs
   dd = antidepressants
   dt = tranquilizers
   dp = antipsychotics
   da = ADD medication

...and finally, U is for the Ultimate Goal of what spirituality and growth are for.  Combine any number of these suffixes.

U_ The goal of spirituality is to be more fully grounded in the real life you are living today.
U- The goal of spirituality is to pierce the unreality and meaninglessness of the material universe and transcend it to another level of perception.
U^ The goal of spirituality is to prepare yourself for a greater existence after death.
U! I have a belief or theory that can't be explained in such conventional terms.
U? I don't know, it's all a big mystery and that's really the whole point, isn't it?
U$ The goal of "spirituality" is to separate suckers -- woops, I meant seekers -- from their money.

(I was going to use the letter L to denote how much you believe in practicing love for your fellow man, surely an important criterion for growth geekhood, but unfortunately those who practice it the least often would probably put down the same code as those who practice it a lot, unless they're Ayn Rand fans, or maybe fervent admirers of Bill Gates, so in the end very little information would be conveyed by it.)

This code specification was created by and is maintained by Paul Kienitz.  Input from other personal growth geeks is always welcome; indeed, it is necessary if this code is ever to be widely useful.  Send your suggestions to me at paul@paulkienitz.netmailbox.

The following is an example of a complete personal growth geek code, based on my own:

 GG++ T A++ M+>++s+++ !g B+ !C !P a N+ n b++ bjb+ bam+ h-
 i+(?) id ig iy f(-) E+(-) c !S++(-)& !D R+++= xac->+ ye->++
 !ya>+ !ym>+ r~++ !rbz? o-- ep+ ek++ pl++ pf+ !d U_

 - Yes, there is a "breatharian" movement, or was until its leader Wiley Brooks was caught sneaking out to McDonald's.  And there is now a revived movement calling it pranic nourishment.
 - Yes, there is such a thing as apocalyptic fundamentalist astrology; I've met at least one believer.  Seemed like such a nice person otherwise, too...
 - Yes, the face in the background does mean that I believe wholeheartedly in "Bob".  My motto: Ivan Stang says "Bob" said it, I believe it, that settles it.

Click here to read the log of changes made to this document since the first version.