An Interview With Mitch Horowitz
Photography by Dana Veraldi
How can your sexual energy be “transmuted” to empower you to create a better, more creative, and more fulfilling life? ORTTU recently caught up with the PEN Award-winning author Mitch Horowitz, to explore the subject of sex and self-development. Mitch is a lecturer-in-residence at the University of Philosophical Research in Los Angeles and the author of the recent Power of Sex Transmutation: How to Use the Most Radical Idea from Think and Grow Rich as well as One Simple Idea: How the Lessons of Positive Thinking Can Transform Your Life and The Miracle Club: How Thoughts Become Reality, among other books.
In your book The Power of Sex Transmutation, you explore the idea of the transformative power of sexual desire or sexual energy as described by Napoleon Hill in his book Think And Grow Rich. That’s obviously a very misunderstood subject and a much-misunderstood book. In particular, many people assume that it is all about material success. Yet your focus has long been spirituality, ancient and modern. So, what first attracted you to Napoleon Hill's work?
Yes, I honor and believe in aspirational spirituality. I consider human creativity and attainment a vital part of happiness. My path is not one of non-attachment. I always liked the practical focus of Hill's book, which I casually skimmed for many years. Then in fall 0f 2013, when I was facing a crossroads in life, I returned to Think and Grow Rich and vowed to do every exercise as though my life depended on it. Things started happening. My work and day-to-day life flowered in ways that were absent before. I think that book is a fount of under-appreciated and actionable ideas. I encourage anyone, whether an artist, student, activist, or soldier, to read it. It is about concretizing your ideals.
In his book, Hill suggests that sexual desire can either be a drain on the individual or, equally, that it can be an untapped source of vitality. He believes that, although not recognized by society, the individual can in some way channel his or her sexual desire to make things happen in their life that seems unrelated to sex — to achieve success in business, for example, or to achieve success as an artist, activist, or solider, or for any other aim, presumably. What is he getting at? Is this something akin to Tantra? Or is it more practical than that?
I would say it's more practical, though the two are related. Hill's view is that sexuality is the force of life itself seeking creation--not just in propagation or in physicality but in all areas of existence. Hence, the theory goes that when you experience sexual desire if you can mentally shift your attention away from physical satisfaction and toward whatever project you're working on--whether in art, career, finance, etc.--you place immense creative energy at the back of your efforts.
It's an act of mental alchemy in which you use sexual energies, which are generally channeled toward physical pleasure or propagation, in the direction of any aim that you value. This doesn't require abstinence or a change in one's intimate life. Rather it means that at self-selected moments you can harness this creative energy in a different way. In fact, Hill says that we're using sexual energy all the time but without awareness. I've personally used his method and find it valid.
So is that why famous creative people — such as artists, writers, designers, and musicians — are often highly sexual? And why we find artists painting their lovers or musicians writing songs about their sexual encounters or heartbreaks?
Well, Hill makes the observation that every charismatic salesperson is using sexual energy, knowingly or not. The s