The short version of what Kabalarian Philosophy is: It’s nearly identical to numerology except that letters replace digits.
The long version of what it is can be found in Life’s Purpose, a treatise by the field’s founder, Alfred Parker.
For the medium-length version, continue reading.
According to Kabalarians – if that’s a word – a person’s name is invariably and completely tied to one’s fate. Your strengths, weaknesses, personality, successes, failures, traits, relationships, health, sicknesses, and favorite dessert are all predetermined shortly after birth when your parents name you. Whether you are dubbed Donald, Diane, or Dweezil, your experiences are locked in. So if Donald had a brother Darryl and another brother Darryl, his two siblings would have identical life events and behaviors.
If names had this power, however, persons who have legal name changes would become drastically different persons, and this does not occur. Lew Alcindor took the name Kareem Abdul-Jabbar without any being any different than before, except for his religion, and he adopted the name because of Islam, rather than converting to a new religion because he changed his name.
Similarly, women who take their husband’s name would, without exception, turn into markedly different persons after marriage. This is not the case, despite protestations to the contrary from some frustrated husbands I’ve talked with.
Nevertheless, from kabalarians.com, we are told that the field is “able to reduce any name to a mathematical formula based upon letters in the name.” The philosophy further teaches that each language’s alphabet has a consistent mathematical order through which a name can be quantified. Analyzing the letters in a name will supposedly reveal the owner’s personality, attributes, and future.
While numerology is the most obviously similar pseudoscience to Kabalarian Philosophy, it also resembles astrology and fortune telling. That’s because the Forer Effect, subjective validation, and self-fulfilling prophecies will convince some customers that it works. Also, much like a horoscope, crystal ball gazing, or Tarot reading, the traits revealed by a Kabalarian analysis will be voluminous, general, and sometimes contradictory (i.e., “You often like to be challenged, but sometimes retreat to your comfort zone”). In other words, every reading could apply to most anyone. By using broad terms and avoiding specificity and detailed predictions, a Kabalarian analysis can seem impressive to the uninitiated.
Of course, the idea of everything in our lives being preprogrammed could be depressing, intimidating, and scary. It would also make for a pointless philosophy to follow. After acknowledging that names determine everything, there would be seemingly be nowhere else to take the philosophy. But, like many good scams, Kabalarian Philosophy presents both the problem and the solution, the latter involving money.
For a price, Kabalarian practitioners will come up with a new name for their customers, who will be shed of their limiting moniker. Amazingly, 100 percent of persons who patronize Kabalarians have a name that needs to be fixed. No client seeking Kabalarian services has ever had a parent that, by chance or design, had come up with a name that benefited their child. After a session or three with a practitioner, the client will experience “control of their life, happiness, mental freedom, and personal success. A name change will change the conditions in a person’s life and will allow the expression of one’s true purpose.”
While Kabalarian Philosophy does put a creative spin on a time-dishonored principle, it still manages to commit the appeal to tradition and authority fallacies. The website notes that, “China has had name analysis for centuries. Confucius said that if he were made emperor, he would change the names of all the cities because even cities are influenced by their names.”
While the philosophy has similarities to horoscopes and crystal balls, the key difference is that astrologers and seers largely tell their customers what they want to hear. Kabalarians, meanwhile, impart a foreboding vision of what lies in wait. This enables them to retain customers by promising to find them a new moniker and resultant rosy path ahead.
Once this is accomplished, the Kabalarian website promises that the client “will change your thinking pattern. By changing your name, you are consciously invoking a mental law. This is a fundamental step to creating health, mental harmony, and peace of mind. Speak to a qualified Kabalarian consultant to insure you are making the proper change, as it profoundly affects the rest of your life.”
They misspelled ensure, but, hey, they’re the mathematical language experts, so there must be a reason. Still more advantages: “By changing to a balanced name, you can build greater positivity into your thinking and happiness into your life. As you become mentally free of destructive patterns of thought and habits, you will fulfill the greatest potential of your mind.” I’m surprised they didn’t promise the purchase a winning lottery ticket.
Meanwhile, it’s not just the mental attributes of a person that is affected. With the wrong name, which everyone who has not seen a Kabalarian practitioner seems to have, illnesses will also result. These afflictions are unrelated to genetics, lifestyle, and diet, but are determined by whether you are named Barbara or Stephanie. But never fear. The practitioner, for an additional charge, will “predict health weaknesses based upon the imbalance in the name” and will devise a new handle that will destroy your dyspepsia, vanquish your varicella, and put the kibosh on your kidney stone.
Likewise, successful business owners, athletes, scientists, politicians, and entertainers owe their position not to hard work, talent, and vision, but to “the mathematical value of their names.” After a KP session or two, your new name “will attract better conditions” and “develop the resolve to make the changes necessary to free yourself of destructive habits that hold you back.”
So once you become a Fortune 500 CEO, you can buy the Kabalarian empire and help train others on how to succeed. Or better yet, you intentionally run it into the ground so no one will be a threat to overtake you.