"When you are in less than direct contact, you are abstracting. You have created reality. That is your reality - that function of abstraction having less than direct contact. The execution of abstraction is the execution and development of reality. Therefore, one can have a new reality, because one can abstract new portions of direct experience differently."
As the discussions and public lectures presented in "Meetings and Conversations" continued throughout 1952 and 1953, a few people began to gather around "N." Eventually, many of his remarks during succeeding discussions with members of that group were collected and published privately. This collection achieved only limited distribution at the time. In the present version, given here, subject headings have been inserted and content has been minimally edited for clarity.
Although "N," educated as a physical scientist, spoke largely within the parameters of his professional discipline, he outlined in these discussions a number of empirical, practical techniques which almost anyone in good health, with normal intelligence and sufficient determination, can use to achieve a fully integrated existence, unburdened by the limits of past agreements limiting one's own inherent abilities. His language is that of a working scientist, but his message transcends the boundaries of conventional science even as we now know it.
The ideas presented here, as well as the suggestions for practical application of these concepts in everyday life, are more than a simple cookbook for the human potential movement. Rather, a coherent, holistic world-view is outlined, founded on a novel approach to humankind's persistent questions concerning who we are, what we are doing, and where we are going.
C O N T E N T S
we do what we want
There is a central idea which is profound, and which permeates the entire existence of our race: we do what we want. We are capable of molding ourselves to such a degree as to be absolutely incredible.
There have been some very odd phenomena in the past. There have been many examples of persons who have accomplished "miracles" - unusual phenomena. This can be thought of as most natural when accompanied by a certain state of being. To say that everyone can reach that state, to accomplish it, to arrive at it, would be presumptuous. We do not know yet. Doing it overnight is impossible. It cannot be done. What can be done is to give some orientation toward the problem, to map it out.
Notice that in philosophy the old questions are still with us after five thousand years, and they have yet to be answered satisfactorily for everyone. The great mysteries of philosophy - what am I, where am I, what am I doing, where am I going - are never truly answered with words but are, perhaps, answered in direct experience.
It is in direct experience that we find these answers from time to time. This is a hard road, a very difficult one, and a long one. You practically never find it until you get to a certain point where you find it is the only road. Nothing else is quite as satisfactory. It is, in itself, its own reward, and there is a different kind of feel. It is a different world, a different constellation entirely, from the old way.
It is something entirely new.
there is only appropriateness
There are no such things as bad thoughts. Thoughts are only in error, or mistaken, not improper. Remember that. The concept of evil is strictly and positively a mistake. Would God allow a being such as a Satan to exist unless he had a reason?
Perhaps Satan is an agent of God - a tool, to test those individuals who feel that they have achieved a contact. But, as an agent of God, Satan would have a definite purpose to weed out those who are not so strong. Therefore, it does not follow that there is such a thing as evil. Neither is there such a thing as goodness. There is only appropriateness.
honesty is a narrow road
It is necessary for you and all other people who now exist, who have existed, and who will exist, to find whatever it is that God intended us to find. No one knows what this is. People will come after us and, coming after us, they will take what we find, as we hand it on to them in our institutions, in the thoughts we have had and have written down in books, in our science, and in our societies.
They will take it and use it. We cannot help but give them the heritage. We have no choice. One cannot but partake of this heritage. One makes like oneself the parts one can use. When one does not make like oneself some particular property, one is unable to use it. Partially, yes, because there will be some part of it that will be like you. But you must mold it and make it conform to a basic reality - your basic abstractions, your basic agreements about things - or you cannot use it successfully.
One of the greatest fears of our race is of being destroyed. We'll do all sorts of things to get out of it, including destroying ourselves at a very early age, and lying in our teeth constantly. Silly as it may seem, people will kill themselves in order to avoid the pain of cancer. This is why the refusal to meet pain is the basic aberration, because, after all, it is destructive to life. Where there is pain, there is destruction. You cannot produce pain unless you produce destruction.
There is only one road to being completely clear of aberration, and that is honesty. It is narrow. Whenever you walk on it, it hurts your feet because it is narrow. But the road will stay there. All you have to do is stop avoiding. Tell yourself the truth for the first time in your life, about yourself and to yourself. Why don't you admit to the emotions you have, the things you want do, the schizophrenia and the paranoia, the desire to destroy, the latent fear of insanity?
Your original motivation for lying was to protect yourself from an overwhelming force which you could not control. It took a certain amount of intelligence and understanding of humanity - people, yourself. Lying is a learned procedure, as is hypocrisy. It is not something that springs full-blown. It is learned from other people. It is confluence with them and with yourself.
confluence, resentment, and guilt
Basically, confluence is the agreement to agree. It is the idea that a person, who is willing to accept a situation, agrees that this particular situation is to be accepted henceforth without change. Consider father and mother, or mother and brother, or husband and wife, getting together and discussing Aunt Minnie. They decide that henceforth Aunt Minnie shall only be discussed in terms of absolute reverence: she never did anything wrong. If she went out and murdered the butcher, they would insist that it was the butcher's fault. Another example: the Democrats and the Republicans will insist that no matter what their incumbent may do, he is right.
The idea of guilt is brought out quite clearly with confluence. One feels guilty when one breaks confluence. If there is a true agreement to agree and you break the agreement, you feel guilty. Notice there are two kinds of guilt here. First, when there is a genuine, full-fledged, inherent capacity to say, "Yes, what we have been doing is right, and Aunt Minnie is a fine character," believing it completely, then accidentally you break the confluence, this renders true guilt and remorse. The second type is where you are sort of boondoggled. You are almost forced to agree about the agreement.
Suppose you are introduced to someone, say, Mrs. Smith. In the course of the conversation, Mrs. Smith says, "Don't you just love Mr. Brown?" You say, "Yes, I like him." Then Mrs. Smith, in introducing you to Mr. Jones, says, "He just loves Mr. Brown." So you agree again. You didn't really agree in the first place, but you feel you are forced into it. Then you go home, and your wife says, "Damn that character Brown."
You're stuck. You broke confluence and you feel just the least bit guilty about it. You resent, also, the fact that you were forced to break confluence with yourself. And the feeling of resentment is somewhat like this: "That old so-and-so. Why did she make me do that in the first place? She is the guilty party."
So, resentment is this: you feel that the other person forced the break, and that they are guilty, but won't admit. it. Remorse is when you recall the broken confluence, and you know you can't do anything about it. You can't reestablish it. Blame is when you say, "It's your fault. You broke it. Look at all the harm you have caused." Confluence with oneself is just as strong as interpersonal confluence.
If true confluence exists and is broken, you will always feel a slight guilt. However, if an individual definitely wants to open areas of contact, increase them, he will not feel a guilt which will be destructive. He will feel a guilt that he has not made the break sooner. This, in itself, is a confluence with himself.
If you are to help yourself permanently, you will have to tear yourself apart and put yourself back together from the little pieces. You must be different from what you were. The very things you agreed to when you got into these confluences are the very things that have stood in your way all your life.
That is why you are asked to accuse yourself. If you are to be helped permanently, the true accusations of yourself are accusations out of conflicting situations where you have agreed to have confluence, to be confluent with the conflict. You have agreed not to destroy it because it is of value to you.
What you get out of this, your understanding and orientation toward yourself, towards your environment and your goals - what you get out of these things must not be confluent. It must flow. It must be dynamic and it must be novel. It must be spontaneous.
confluence and the environment
What you have established for yourself is what you want, so that you can execute those things that you felt were necessary as an infant, and still feel are necessary as an adult. Not understanding has its basis in childhood incidents, and confluence. Your mother treated you one way. Your father treated you another way. Then, along came somebody who didn't treat you that way, and you didn't understand. You accepted the situation, and didn't change it.
You couldn't change the environment, but you could change yourself. And, by changing yourself, you also, very effectively, changed the environment. By agreeing to agree with something, you allow yourself to change the environment.
A certain set of data is allowed in society. You can say, "I can't do a darn thing, you know that." And the other person says, "I can't do that either." And you have confluence. For instance, you might say, "I just cough all the time. I can't seem to do a thing for it." And the other guy agrees, "Yes, I get like that too, once in a while." You get the data for this allowance right out of your own traumatic experiences, out of the arguments that your father and mother and a few other people have had, although you may vary them somewhat.
control centers and the creation of reality
Theory is only an analog. In other words, you have abstractions, and then you have theory. Here is a theory which you can use as the basis of thinking about your past experiences: there can be no unconscious recording of an emotionally loaded experience unless there has been modification of the organism. Aberration, whatever it may be, is based on pain, and on nothing else.
Severe emotional trauma cannot, all of itself, produce permanent aberration. If an individual were low in health, low in genetic endowment, low in intelligence, such a heavy emotional incident could produce aberration, but not for an individual in fairly high emotional tone, intelligence, background, drive and dynamism. It takes destruction of tissue. It takes peril, loss, danger, to produce such a thing as an actual aberration.
Now, suppose that pain is impinging upon the organism. It normally produces an effect: see it, attack it, destroy it. It seems that the organism has invested in the thalamus, the hypothalamus, and, indirectly, in the brain and along the spinal cord, a set of functions which we could call control centers. These can be demonstrated physiologically. Suppose an individual is in a situation where pain is impinging upon him. He will investigate, as it were, all of his particular mechanisms for avoiding or attacking pain. And, suppose, none of these particular mechanisms work.
Now, a second approach comes into being. The organism is able to create a novel approach to the situation. Notice the word novel. When one uses a novel approach, one is not using the endowmental control centers. (Endowmental is used as meaning endowed to it.) When the approach is not novel, one is using the endowmental control centers. If the approach is novel, one is not using endowmental control centers. This implies that one can bring about a new kind of control center functioning. If this is true, one would have to say that there is an endowmental control center through which one is able to institute new non-endowmental control centers.
Consider the individual when he is experiencing pain. His perception of pain has now reached the point where he must do something about it. Destruction is taking place. He tries all the endowmental tricks. They do not work. He then initiates a new situation where he attempts to free himself of the pain by a novel approach, either a novel way of fleeing, or a novel way of attacking. How does he do this? He sets up a control function (so far as we are concerned, on a physiological basis) by changing the threshold of stimulation of a group of cells. He lowers it. He allows a group of cells to function as though they could indeed control the actions of the whole organism.
(As a sidelight. there is in all probability a hierarchy of control points in an individual, from the standpoint of energy, threshold stimulation, or response. Those which are the lowest are those which require the least energy. These control respiration, pulse rate, heart beat, and so forth. Those which are the highest are those which control the highest mental faculties.)
In unconsciousness, the blood is pooled in the interior organs. The centers controlling the blood supply to that portion of the brain which produces the highest mental faculties have no energy available to them, but those centers which still control respiration, heartbeat, and the like, have enough energy available so that they still can direct. However, once you the lower the threshold of stimulation, or lower the energy available to that threshold below the critical point, you are dead. And you stay that way. The only thing that will bring you back to life is an impingement of outside energy that will raise your energy back to the threshold point.
For the duration of an incident of pain, you are attempting to control the situation, to control the pain. When one postulates a particular motion, an attitude, an action, or a performance which is novel and which solves the problem, partially or wholly, the description of the execution becomes a physiological function which could be called a non-endowmental control center. The non-endowmental control point is that novel postulate which is born out of the incident.
However, this novelty is not a novelty at all. Potentially, it is possibly a conglomerate or extension, or extrapolation of all the other endowmental control points. But they are aggregated differently, in a new synthesis. The eventual topography of control centers begins to determine future, new, non-endowmental control centers, and we sink deeper and deeper, and have less and less true orientation referring back to the original reality.
Reality can be considered to be like this: at some point since the development of the organism, the individual has direct contact with things as they are. This means that tomorrow is just as soon as today, and that the day after tomorrow is just as soon as tomorrow - where you are is as close to you as Mount Everest.
You are in direct contact with the act. When you are in less than direct contact, you are abstracting. You have created reality. That is your reality - that function of abstraction having less than direct contact.
defining a new reality
The execution of abstraction is the execution and development of reality. Therefore, one can have a new reality, because one can abstract new portions of direct experience differently. Optimally, you would maintain as much direct contact as you wished, and have complete control over your execution of abstraction. How does one put oneself back into contact with himself, with his functioning as a unitary being, so that, with the least effort (and always with pleasure) he may utilize his potential energy?
What you have to do is take all those non-endowmental control centers and raise their thresholds back to the norm. An individual ought to be able to do that, maybe. Perhaps one can rehabilitate one's ability to do that, by working with the one big original control center that did this in the first place. So, there are probably two basic approaches. One is to reduce the threshold accumulation of pain in the original incidents so that those original control centers can now be raised back, energywise, to the original norm. The pain goes down - the threshold comes up.
Or, suppose it were possible, through rehabilitation of homeostasis and those original control points, to raise those non-endowmental thresholds back to the norm, without reduction of the pain. This is self-determinism. If one has health, which we will call the ability to produce the necessary energy required, one can do this. In the recovery of full functionality, most people will go through the first stage and then arrive at the second stage, where the individual can do quite continuously and correctly whatever a therapist does for him.
You must have, of course, certain non-endowmental control centers. Without them you could not talk, you would have a little difficulty in eating, and you probably could not walk. Eating, talking and the like are learned behavior. This is a definition of learning. An organism which had existed without pain of any sort would not have synthesized any new control centers. (Consider pain to be something just a little bit different than just the term itself. It may be neglect, a feeling of vast and bitter loneliness - destruction, not only of the body, but of the self.)
If you could scan through all the times you produced these non-endowmental control centers, know the reasons why, and rehabilitate their thresholds, you would indeed reach the so-called optimum state, in that you would have the ability to institute new non-endowmental control centers whenever required.
contact, joy, and full awareness
Your endowmental circuit would be that which said to you that it was natural, that it was nature, the finest thing in the world for a mother to love her child, and for a father, too. This endowmental circuit of yours says that people are friendly, that they love one another.
The greatest joy in living comes out of the contacts you make that are genuine, where there is not a projection of confluence; contacts that are generated on both sides and accepted on both sides, that permeate relationships which are sturdy and unbreakable. Such a relationship should have existed between you and your mother, between you and your father.
But there is a greater joy, even, than this. It is in the knowledge that, in what you do and when you do it, the doing is right, knowing that a confluence you make, as it were, is a genuine one, not a spurious one. Not one that can be easily destroyed, which is only projected, and not participated in, but one that will bring you happiness.
There is another factor besides the question of reality, or other psychological aberrations. We people are not entirely human. We are hybrids. We are both animal and human. Another point: what you do should work. If it does not, it is wrong. If it works, it is right.
Mankind has not advanced to the point where you can cure people with a snap of the fingers. What you are reading is some information that seems to fit. It helps to think about it. It gives us a verbal mobilization of what we are doing.
Once you establish full awareness, direct contact, and know how you do these things to yourself - how you aberrate yourself to escape pain, to escape danger in the environment - once you do this and gain full orientation towards it, that is all you need. You are on your way, and nobody can stop you.
thought, aberration, and memory
Thought has been called a static phenomenon. That is one way of putting it. Thought is that function which has no referent. Change one cell inside your brain and you change the way in which you think. The most important idea involved here is the function of the postulate versus the function of the cell.
What the cells do is what you think. The postulate is as you describe it in your overt behavior. Learned behavior, locked-in knowledge of performance, is the postulate, and it is the postulate which produces the configuration of the non-endowmental control centers. Destroy the configuration and you will have gotten rid of the postulate. When you have done this, you will automatically put the thresholds of those cells back to the norm. You will have recovered their full use.
Aberration starts when the non-endowmental control centers are successful, either through accident or application. Success is defined by the fact that the pain or the tension which produced the permanent set is withdrawn or destroyed. The postulate had been accepted by the organism and the counter-thought was, it was glad to be.
Thought is usable. It flows on. It is you who performs something with it. It is like a field of energy, in that you do not recognize it unless it performs something that you can recognize. It is like light. If one has a sense that the light is there, or the eyes to see it, it is there; otherwise it is not.
We are a bundle of sensory inputs, all marvelously held together. And from one generation to the next, we tend to be the same. That is the miracle of it all. Memory, for instance: how is memory kept available? How can one say that perceptions are ever deposited on anything? In any configuration of energy in our physical universe there is less and less of the original energy pattern. It tends to dissipate going around. Yet, look at us and our memory. How in the world can we do this? The miracle of life again, an absolute reversal of the "principles of entropy".
Consider the idea of emotion, and the resultant changes in body function during its application. How can anyone ever change an emotion? How can one change a change? As strange as it sounds, how can one ever go through an incident and change the anger to grief or to fear? How is this brought about?
It is the dynamic existence of the individual. It is evidence of life. Without it, he is dead. How can this ever be recorded? Can you take a supposedly static function and say that this becomes that? The echo and feedback mechanism in the neural network is quite interesting. As yet, no one fully understands why it works and how it works.
You can approach it on a purely physiological basis and go so far, then you stop. There simply isn't enough data. Of course, you can give it a little mystery, and say that some other function has all the abilities to do it in a magical way - paraphenomena - you can explain it then, but you have only put in another referent.
thinking and the brain
One does not think solely with one's brain, as such. The entire complicated process of thought, to arrive at a completely successful conclusion, must actually have some tiny, minute muscle movements. In a conclusion reached, for instance, to putt a golf ball to a particular spot, one actually goes through a series of tiny, orientating motions of the muscles.
Now, let's take the brain itself. Oddly enough, the brain burns more energy per gram than any other organ in the body. Its heat output is the greatest. Its requirement in calories is the greatest, and its ability to generate signals is far greater than any other group of cells. The brain is made of a very special type of protein which is not found in any of the muscle cells. The concentration of certain elementary ions in the brain is known to be coincident to the level of fatigue in the brain, and to the level of fatigue in the body.
Complete ESP communication can, from time to time, be turned on, but it is very difficult to do, due to counter-emotion and counter-thought. There seems to be a particular part of the brain that has been set aside for this function, but it is easily fouled up. What fouls it up is emotion.
In almost every case, the individual says, "No, I won't do it!" Occasionally an individual suddenly opens up, but there are no verbal communications, as such -concepts, ideas, feelings, yes - but you wouldn't say, "I'll meet you Sunday afternoon at two o'clock." You don't do things like that. You do not hear voices, nor do you imagine yourself inside the brain of the other individual. It is a field, an energy phenomenon. It is easier to relax and allow it to occur.
There will come a day when, for a short time, you will think with your mind completely. Your body will be quiet - quiescent - while you are using your brain. You will not send a thought through the nerve pathways of your body to test it. Instead, you will learn to use it right inside your head, without having to test your muscles against it. You will be amazed at the rapidity and clarity of your thinking.
growth and the recovery of happiness
People don't emerge from a cocoon, like a butterfly. They grow slowly, but if they grow slowly, they grow more surely. In my opinion, there is a very important cycle: rest, assimilation, and growth. There should be the resting situation and the assimilation situation, the very act of which produces the growth, while growth produces a big part of the acts of assimilation and rest.
As children grow up, they find that saying a certain thing to mother or father, with an associated action, brings forth a certain type of response. They find, for instance, that when they want candy, they can go to the store and present a shiny piece of metal and they will get the candy. This acts as a symbol for a certain amount of power - it becomes a symbol, then, of gratification. A need for such a thing will arise in their own body.
The origin for any action rises from within the body. You then have a habit, which has gone through a complicated series of motions, where a symbolic transference was again gratified. Eventually this concept, this feeling, spreads to everything in the environment. Another need, then action, more symbols, and more gratification.
Children will hallucinate, and say, "You're the Witch of the North and I am the Wizard of Oz", and so forth, and have a lot of fun. All of the acceptance of the magicality of these word/action symbols is directly traceable back to the organic and psychogenic needs of the body, and to their gratification. Unless the gratification takes place, the assumption of the symbology will not be allowed. It will be discarded.
During childhood, it is necessary to have magic. This is a big world we grow up in, full of big people, who know a lot of things children don't know. At some time in a child's life, when he or she is not capable of differentiating too well, the child will create something spontaneously, something that successfully works and gratifies a need or a drive. It will be employed constantly until the child is an adult, or until it has been invalidated. This type of action is normal and healthy.
There is another kind of action, wherein a person will employ a device until a certain age. But suddenly it gets invalidated again and again. But he or she does not give up this type of action. This is aberration. Another thing goes along with this phenomenon. It is the search for proof that the action employed is still compatible with reality. Individuals will wall off the knowledge of what they are doing that has been outmoded, and refuse more useful actions that are a lot easier to perform.
They keep the old patterns, and refuse to give them up. There is nothing wrong with this, so long as it does not conflict with society, and with one's own orientation. But, when anxiety and fear compete with one's growing up, with marriage, and with bringing up children, then it is not healthy. Any thought that you have that makes you angry, any thought that makes you less than what you could be, is a thought which you should eventually be able to discard.
It is one thing to recognize your motivation and concepts, and another thing to tear them down and form a new personality. The most difficult thing that anyone must be able to do is to see themselves, because they have always stood in their own way. You have stood in your own way many times in your life, as others have in theirs.
Habits are hard to break. If you want to meet yourself squarely, face to face with the things that you do that are aberrative, honesty is the way to do it. Confluence is not.
There is, however, healthy confluence. This occurs when one has accepted new data, torn it apart, reconstructed it, and made it like oneself, so that it is understood - so that the knower and his knowledge are one; the doer and his doing are one. There is no line of demarcation; there is no middle man. Then, your emotions are you, your thoughts are you, your self is your own.
There is no way to create happiness without first tearing down unhappiness. And, to tear it down, you must go up to it. There is no easy way to do this. You must go up and drive a pick into it, and that hurts even more. There is only one way to build a building, and that is to tear the old one down. You can construct of yourself a simple house, or something approaching a cathedral. It depends on what you want.
thought and the perception of thought
One may be aware of a sensation, but have no way of expressing it properly. The location may be misplaced. When one has tuberculosis, it will often appear as a pain in the stomach; conversely, when one has a pain in the stomach, it is very often felt in the heart region.
A neurotic individual will hold up a symptom and say, "This is what is wrong with me." He will show it to the psychotherapist again and again. Actually, this is only a blanket to cover the real conflict. The real conflict is submerged.
If something is repressed, it is repressed by something and through something. These are suppressions also, and they are sitting on top. Some people have resistances which are quite subtle. A person may say, "I don't know", or, "I can't understand", feeling that the "I don't know" or the "I can't understand" is acceptable. This is the person's label; it can be used and the person won't get hurt now. A similar situation exists in most people when attempting to locate awareness in the brain. It might be that what you feel, when you feel awareness, is a muscular function. However, true brain function is only similar to muscle function.
Suppose you try this method: withdraw your attention from your environment and explore the interior of your skull. You are able, normally, to feel the scalp with no difficulty at all. You are also able to feel the hair as an active or fuzzy sensation. You can also normally sense the bones of the skull. Now, work from your brow and go in about one inch, and allow yourself to pick up any sensations of "feelings" (by analogy) that you have there.
Sense that thought itself is the result of an activity, a motion or translation of velocity, and this, in itself, can be sensed by the action of thought. Recognize, too, that your ability to sense movement in the brain is, then, a different kind of thought. What you are sensing is the electron current and the consequent waves and fields being produced by changing electronic states. These will influence other waves and fields that are produced in other parts of the brain.
When you make a movement with a muscle, you must transmit the muscle motion via an impulse. The impulse will produce a field, a shift in electronic values. You can sense this. See if you can get the pure concept of electronic motion, as such, which now becomes a sensation of thought.
Next, direct your attention to a position in your brain about three inches down from the top, and an inch in from the rear, more or less centrally located. Allow your attention to increase, so that you can take in more and more area. Increase the awareness to include all physiological phenomena. Notice the sensation of the enormous activity that occurs in the thalamus and the hypothalamus, which are located roughly "underneath" the brain, as though a hand was there, holding up the brain.
You will also have a sensation of great activity there. Messages coming in from your eyes, your nose, and all your other senses are being relayed, distributed, sorted out, interpreted. They then go to the cortex, where the symbological process of thinking takes place - evaluation, comprehension, decisions. You are deciding, if there is no danger in the environment, that it is not necessary to be startled, not necessary to have a higher pulse rate, or higher blood pressure. You can relax, as it were, and do what you are doing. This decision takes place on the basis of the incoming messages you are receiving at this very moment, including this page and its implications.
Begin to allow a sensation of perception to develop. This will be analogous to the sensation of thought, an awareness of non-directional thoughts, which are usually an electron flow. Allow the sensation and perception of awareness to evaluate itself and develop - to contact, as it were, other objects, entities and situations which are also producing wave functions and therefore are producing fields. (The fields have a certain signal strength, a certain amplitude, a certain wattage, very, very small, but, nevertheless, a measurable wattage.)
As you allow your sense of perception to develop, the more you expand its boundaries, the more material you will have to interpret, and the less material you will be able to encounter. Just as there is selectivity in physical sensation and your evaluation of it, there also can be a selection of recognition in your sense of perception.
In knowing what you can avoid, what you can leave alone, what you should investigate, what requires investigation, what does not require investigation, you can begin to evaluate what your sense of perception is encountering, dwell upon those items of interest, and ignore those items that require no interest. Keep in good contact with all the areas in your brain.
Now, allow whatever is going to occur to occur. Allow it to develop naturally. Allow this to work in just the same way as you are able to swallow almost automatically. Permit the functioning of your awareness to function as it should. Use what you have, and do not strain to have any more. Use what you can work with comfortably.
The sense of perception which you may develop is rather like a traffic cop who can't arrest anyone, or pass out tickets. He can stand in the middle of the road and watch what comes by and make a report on it. Then he can take it to the station house, and say that this is what is occurring at such and such streets, and here is what can be done to resolve the problem.
A sense of perception, then, is an ability of one set of thoughts to monitor another set of thoughts, not to alter them, but merely to report on them, sort of like a radar system.
In gestalt theory it is said that muscular tension and its production is an expression of a solution to what would be considered pain. (This "pain" may be loneliness, being hurt emotionally, or actual physical pain.) Once you resolve the muscular tensions, the theory goes on, the conflict produced by the injury will come into awareness, and you can resolve it.
This is all well and good, but notice that tension originates within the brain. The impulses come from the brain. If you can be aware of the impulses prior to being aware of the tension, it is just as good. It is just as effective. When you become aware of the muscular tensions, you will have to become aware of the muscles via another nerve set.
If you can become aware of the impulses producing the tensions, you will be right at home base, and thus will be able to deal with them much more effectively.
On this score, you are on your own. You will have to discover what it is that you do, by yourself.
(After you have made fairly good contact with what you are doing, notice what happens to you when you hear certain words - for instance, the word "father". How does this particular word affect the status quo you were able to contact?)
the creation of habitual responses
Clearly and concisely, you use emotionally traumatic events. They do not use you. The phrases, the ideas, the computations and so forth contained in these events can only act as suggestions. There is no such thing as a compulsive phrase, or a compulsive action. Phrases and actions are used for a definite purpose, even though they may have become a habit. This is explained by the theory of control centers.
The essence of your ability to function as a person, and to have aberration, is that which allows you to switch from control center to control center as the situation warrants. The ease and reliability of control centers is, again, part and parcel of being human. They work, but they do not work efficiently. They suppress creativity, and they suppress spontaneity. And, more than anything else, they suppress pleasure.
You use data out of your emotionally traumatic events, even in conscious awareness. You are endowed with a set of functions such that you can use this data without going way back and digging up a traumatic event each time. You set up barricade thresholds that have the data in there. You keep it there, and you use it habitually, just as you have habits of talking and walking and listening to music.
The phenomena called control centers determine your habitual responses, as well as the emotion you feel at the moment of response. Each control center has muscular and sensory connections, but you cannot feel that tiny group of neural cells. You can, however, feel what they do. You installed these particular groups of cells for a reason.
The reason was that you were obviously threatened. You were going to be harmed. If you didn't have the right to defend yourself, you wouldn't have the right to set up control centers in the first place; therefore, it follows that what you did was correct, and was in order to survive. But, as you grew older, the correctness and the survival attitudes embodied in these control centers eventually turned against you, because they were designed to handle periods in your life which have now gone by. They now stand in your way.
Suppose that you could sweep away all the old control centers. Suppose that it was no longer necessary to control your emotions according to stereotype situations, and that you were now spontaneously creative, with moment-to-moment response without the aid of old, non-endowmental control centers. If you did this you would be optimum, or whatever label you wish to use.
You use your emotionally traumatic events as suggestions because they contain data, and you use phrases because they contain data. In the same way, you use your whole life continuum. What you have done before, actions you have carried out, are the postulates which you adhere to because they are the only data you have.
the essence of maturity
There is no miracle, no mysticism involved in knocking out old control centers and putting in new ones. But, beyond this, there should be achieved a stature, an orientation, towards reality. This reality is composed of our relationships with other people and towards nature. We are not yet completely and adequately equipped to deal with people. With nature, yes; we can kill animals and get our food, we can build ourselves shelters. But we all fall down in our attempt to deal adequately with people all our lives. The difficulty is that we overlook the fact the other person has just as much ability to accept or deny confluence as we have.
There is one trait which might be (politely) labelled as being less than mature: people do not accept the integrity of others, and will not grant to others the respect that they grant to their own confluences. Ideas and attitudes are projected onto others, and when the other person breaks or denies the confluence, it is as if the projector destroyed himself. This he cannot tolerate.
But if he really believed that the other person was just as human as himself, he would have no reason for feeling that way, nor could he say that he did not give enough. He gave enough, but he refused to allow to the other individual the same kind of stature that he gave himself.
As far as aberration is concerned, it is still based on one thing: the desire not to be alone. It is not necessary that the other individual accept you, though you sometimes feel that it is.
The essence of maturity may be the willingness either to give or to accept love, affection, affinity - or to reject it.
self respect and respecting others
Until one respects oneself, one cannot respect others. Until one has one's own integrity, one cannot grant integrity to others. But, having done this, one can either walk away, or towards others. You cannot give love generously and truly until you have disclosed to yourself where in the past you did not give it that way. Then, when somebody comes along and rejects you, it doesn't hurt anymore, because you can recognize in the other individual just that: that they are indeed individuals. Notice what that word means. They are individuals, free in their own right. If they grant you affection and affinity you can, if you wish, turn it down, or you can accept it. It is entirely a matter of free will. It is the essence of being human.
But first you have to admit to yourself what it is that you want, instead of keeping it all down and denying your emotions. Just saying it won't do any good. You have to know yourself in a true, meaningful way, know fully what you want. Then you can destroy your inaccuracies and unacceptable reasons in all their aspects and variances. Having done that you can reconstruct yourself so that the pain and injury you suffer now does not occur in the future. But this does not mean you are aloof.
Christ said a thing. He said, "forsaking all others". You cannot know God until you know yourself. And you cannot know yourself until you know how you affect others, how they affect you, and until you know that you are strong enough to forsake all others. As long as we, as people, need companionship, we can never really walk up to an altar and go down on our knees and offer up a prayer, by ourselves.
how data from emotional trauma is used
In adult life, the emotional, the interpersonal relationship is all important. In order to monitor this, we use data that tells us how to do it. The material contained within an emotionally traumatic event is just that, suggested data, to be used as seen fit. But there is an even more important point than that. One does not have to react literally to phrases which are part of that material. One can use the orientation, the concept of the traumatic event.
Suppose, for instance, that mother was defying father. She is being defiant. One may use the phrases, but this is not what is really happening. One is using the attitude, the action of "being defiant". And, in "being defiant", it says right here how to do it - just use the phrases. So you use them. But they are only tools, they are not compulsions.
An emotionally traumatic event is only an experience, and nothing else. What event are you using to impede your own integration? What counter-effort are you using so that you will not grow?
the loss of spontaneity, and its recovery
An individual will use the strongest aspect of his personality, be it aggressive, sexual, verbal, whatever it is, in order to achieve contact and orientation. As an example, in the verbal personality the individual has contact through verbal material only. He will formulate an idea or relate an incident in words, then accept it and hand it out again. There is no real contact. Let us assume that this personality originated quite early in childhood. At that time it was actually more of a method of fantasy, which finally developed into a method of verbalization.
When dependency on one aspect of the personality, such as the verbal, occurs, the amount of spontaneity and warmth the individual is capable of expressing is small. This would imply that the body, with its ability to contact and express, has atrophied slightly. Therefore, if you assume that one aspect of your personality is stronger, then use it to strengthen your entire personality, as though it were a very strong wedge, or a strong stick holding up a wall. Use it, then, as an entering wedge.
The proof of success in doing this will be in the fact that this aspect of the personality will not deteriorate, but will remain, while the whole individual will increase and prosper. This aspect will now be employed as a natural part of your personality, not the door through which tensions are allowed to discharge.
Since most people have this schism of personality, verbal or otherwise, certain learned patterns of behavior, based on emotional trauma, must be responsible for this. Certain phrases and ideas contained within the traumatic event contain the permission and the drive to express via one particular personality factor.
Merely tearing down this aspect of one's personality will accomplish nothing. However, if you can develop and flow from this type of personality into the whole personality configuration where you are more expressive and spontaneous and yet retain all your old skill, you won't lose anything; in fact, you will gain.
clearing the mind
Almost every school of psychology or psychiatry has accepted one principal idea: the human animal, in order to exist, to survive, to procreate, to keep alive his ideals, has certain basic drives. In psychoanalysis these things are referred to as the libido. In other schools they are called instincts, urges, or dynamics. There seems to be definite evidence of these things. It is as though you had a battery, or something basic physiologically, that generates these drives. Without them, you are not much; but with them, sometimes you get pretty confused.
The old psychoanalytical theories went something like this: one drive trips up, or combats, another drive. The resulting tension or conflict is too difficult for the personality to withstand. So, just as you may limp to favor a swollen foot or a bad toe, you limp mentally, and the limp you evince may be fear, or anger, or confusion, or anxiety, each with the resultant activities.
Use the analogy of an airplane. In an airplane you have fuel tanks. The fuel is the drive. The engine would be your neural, glandular and muscular network. Your ability to accelerate the engine would be your cortex. Your knowledge of how to fly, how to take it to a certain place, would be your experience, your integration, your intelligence, your cortical faculties. The speed at which you fly, and the type of flying, would be your emotions. For instance, you wouldn't fly to Denver looping the loop, but sometimes you use your emotions in just that way.
Put it differently. Consider that every incident, every experience that you have had, is like a package. In that package you have toys, people, directions, the action sequence, and the goals, decisions, and so forth. You pay so much for this package. You give away something. You give away some of your youth and vitality, some of your mentality, some of your determinism.You get enough of these packages together and you have a fine store, but no one wants to buy. You're stuck with the whole inventory.
But pick them up and examine them. What are they good for? They are the best games, the worst games, games that aren't much fun, games that are a lot of fun. Some you can keep, some you can throw away. Some you can show to other people, some you never do. Some secrets you keep to yourself. Some ideas you disseminate as thoroughly and completely as you possibly can.
Your ability to keep these packages together, even to make them packages, to give them value, to manipulate them, use them, is all part of the human mind. Further than that, your ability to give them away, to clear off the shelves, is the best part of being human.
You can start all over again, only this time, instead of having packages all closed up, cluttering the shelves, you can open the packages you get and place them where you wish. You can sell them for the price you want to sell them, to people who want to buy. You know exactly what you are doing when you do it, and why you do it. No mysteries any more, no conflicts, no musculature that's all strained.
There is not any one incident, as such, in your life which can be construed to say, no, you cannot be optimum. But you have something: you have a set of incidents which tend to invalidate your ability, your communication inside your body and outside your body, incidents that tend to invalidate your thoughts, the way you think, the intelligence you have, your beauty. These tend to invalidate you, and you have accepted them. This is what you use to invalidate yourself.
You look at the prices on those packages and say, "Oh, I could never sell that to anyone. I'll keep that for myself. It's too expensive to give away." For some reason these packages are too valuable to you - you can't give them away. You do not want to.
Consider your mind, at this particular point, to be like a small closet all cluttered up with clothes. In your optimum state it will be like walking into a music room where the floor is flat, the walls are far away, the room is well lighted, and the windows are shiny and clean. There is a sweet smell in the air. You can walk across the room any distance you like, any place you want, and sit down to any instrument and play it, and when you play, it is perfection.
personality and spontaneity
People sometimes treat their personalities as though they were little red wagons. They are like children who drag their little red wagons everywhere - to bed, to school, out to the grocer's, and to see mama. Wherever they go, the little red wagon has to go. People sometimes even take their personality into the bathroom with them. Is it necessary to do this?
Some think that personality is formed by taking personality habits, traits, tics, and characteristics from other individuals and molding them together to form one's own personality. This is all right, but the person who does this would be just a composite of everybody else. He would not have too many outstanding abilities or talents. He would be an average person, because he would be taking the stuff from other average people.
Actually, personality isn't a static thing. It is dynamic, and it should flow. Being yourself, and developing a unique personality, is merely being spontaneous, with all that that implies.
It means being able to meet a novel situation with a novel adaptation, with all that that implies. That is a big concept, a concept people tend to gloss over. Spontaneity, novelty, is all that you need.
Mostly, what is attempted is the construction of a formula with which to meet life situations, and this formula will be a locked-in one. You don't need any formula at all. If you don't, whatever you do will be appropriate. If you don't use locked-in data, locked-in formulas, locked-in approaches, you can't help but be appropriate.
All emotion is either recalled or is generated. Either it is being generated in answer to a present time situation, or it is being recalled. You must be able to successfully differentiate between recalled and generated emotion.
A very good method of looking at people, even in ordinary life, is to consider them to be constantly adjusting; in other words, as figure/ground formations. The more successfully they adjust, the happier they are. People are so constructed that, in order to make any progress, they must make a series of decisions - small ones, perhaps, but these are the things we call adjustments. Adjustment calls for a small, constant stream of decisions; little things. After all, you are always aware of the big decisions. It is in the constant small decisions that you can change.
Emotion acts as a mobilizer - a thing, or a mold, in which you can easily cast your personality, in which you can cast your energy and effort. And, as such, it is an instinctual reflex which is automatically activated for you. Thus it has its service.
The fact that an individual shows hostility or animosity is indicative that they have their basic conflicts and defenses out into the open. Hostility isn't a natural phenomenon which should be exhibited constantly. It is a defense phenomenon, as are antagonism and anger. They are designed to defend you in critical situations.
Fear is an odd emotion. It is not like grief, or anger, or boredom. Fear can be turned on and off, just like that, and it usually has no aftereffects. Grief does: you have a stuffy nose. Anger does: you need fresh air. But fear - the sensation of fear - is flipped on and off. You can be startled, feel fear, and then, in an instant, it is gone.
Strictly speaking, if you were to understand the things that you do not now understand, fear would disappear.
communication, feedback, and education
In poetry a single sentence can express more than a thousand words. A line of poetry is a whole experience, and it should be grasped as such. It is just as real as any object. All experience should be this way, but it is not, because of our permanent conditioning in learned language.
The habits of speech are most profound. They begin, of course, in childhood. No one is thoroughly deconditioned about language. There is a method of re-education and growth which you can start right now. You can begin by breaking confluential modes of communication that are locked-in. The first thing to do is to drop those expressions which have no real meaning at all, for they are only signposts. Let's get rid of them.
How many expressions do you know that are like that? Think of some of them. Do you apologize, constantly? Do you defer, constantly? This is absurd. It is as though you were saying, "I have a brain, but be careful of it. You have one, but I don't believe it. I have a brain, but you don't believe it." To use an apologetic phrase is like saying, "I am alive, but watch me carefully. I am liable to drop dead any minute."
Notice in what other ways you communicate. When you move your hand, you are communicating, but in a different way. A child communicates massively, with his whole being. In polite society, we don't. We communicate along the accepted, highly superfluous, highly restricted lines allotted to us by dowagers dead and gone.
Consider laws. Laws were originally derived from a pact between man and God. In our society, we say that we are a democracy, with laws which are manipulated and administered by the people. Our highest court is made up of eight people who sit around a table and put their opinions on paper. These eight people, with their varying backgrounds, define the lines of endeavor to which we are restricted. Suppose one of those councilors, at age fourteen, had been beaten half to death, told that he was no good, and that he never did anything right. Think what this does to the law. This is part of the racial phenomenon. This is feedback. This is what modifies our future constantly. Experiences that occurred a thousand years ago have a direct and profound influence on us at this moment.
Feedback is a field phenomenon. To manipulate something, to make it move, you must do something to it. Consider a field: if you immerse your finger in water, you feel it. If you immerse an object in a field, there is a change, as the field is contacted, as the object is moved through and with the field. If there is no contact, there is no field. If there is no translation of motion, there is no transduction of phenomena, and there is no field.
You were immersed in a field and received material, when you were a child, from people who failed, and you agreed with them. You wanted to be like them. You wanted what they had. You wanted affinity, or whatever it was. (Sometimes affinity can be an odd thing, like a beating or a scowl, but at least it is recognition. It is there.)
Consider education. Consider what science is. It is a high state of agreement, that is all that it is. The intrinsic values of science are in its high states of demonstrable agreement. But what is this? It is nothing. Science occludes phenomena.
True re-education would be a throwing away of all the old, habitual methods of acting, moving, and thinking. You have to give up all those old ways. They contain data, but it is surely fouled up. In this re-education you will begin to use different areas of your brain.
change is the essence of life
The very essence of life is change. The essence of experience is the complication of change.
Draw a straight line from your conception to present time. An experience, placed on that line, will deform it in some way. (A string would, perhaps, be a better illustration. Put a little weight on the string and you deform it.) You will never be the same. You can never again be the same. The very fact that you have deconditioned a traumatic event will render you different from what you would have been, had you not had the trauma. There is a marked, qualitative change in any experience.
You have a certain endowment. Your goal, among other things, should be the complete, positive use of that endowment, with no strings attached, and no holding back.
Some people wish to create a personality where they never question themselves. This is a false approach. You cannot create a personality of this sort. What you can do is to fully enable yourself to perform spontaneously. This, in itself, is personality.
If you create a locked-in personality, no matter what its manifold manifestations might ever be, you will always have a little curvature here, a slight bit of warp, a little something static there. This will tend to trip you up a bit. The hooks, the static elements in your personality, will catch more and more of your endowment. Eventually, you will be in the same position you were before. This you must not do.
What you want to do is perform spontaneously, - to be truly fluid, capable, complete, to the fullest extent of your abilities, a complete figure/ground formation, with no static elements. This is a healthy person with pure health.
For example, when you have a disease you develop antibodies. Suppose, however, that your antibodies can't quite fight off the disease. In that case, you are designed to mutate the antibodies. But you cannot, if your figure/ground formation has become static. You are out of luck. You are either going to die or become diseased in a particular organ and lose its function. But, if you can mutate your antibodies, and reproduce them, you can go on living. Humanity has done this for its entire history.
If it had not done this, humanity would have died out long ago. Change, and more change, spontaneous and controlled mutation exists within you right now. These are your abilities. And, having these abilities, consider what you must know about matter. Or, to put it differently, consider what your inheritance knows about matter. Of course, not consciously - all you do, consciously, is manipulate symbols. You manipulate experience.
Another way of saying this is that a person has reality inside his head. The world that you see is right here in your eyes, in the optic nerves. The world that you hear is not out there - it is here, inside you. If you took out your brain, the world, for you, would not exist.
Thought is not a thing. A person, walking down a street, is not a thing. A person, eating food, is not a thing. Each of these is a description of a series of events in time. So is thought, and thought has no referent. You can change how you think.
This brings up a very powerful point. Most people think one way. Some people can be taught a new way of thinking, a basically different way of thinking. People of high intelligence are as much mutants as anything else.
obstacles to psychological maturation
In the normal physiological process of growing up, psychological maturation takes place. That is, it should take place. For instance, every child likes to believe (and every child does believe) in fantasy. Sooner or later, you give up those kinds of ideas. If you successfully adapt yourself to the changes in your physiological state and your chronological orientation, you will give up your habitual modes of thinking. If you do not, you will fail. However, the average person generally retains his last successful state. He holds onto his last successful package of experience - he retains it and retains it.
In your life, you have probably made a number of moves which could be interpreted as advanced, or beyond, the state of "ordinary" childhood. You failed. It did not work. You did not successfully adapt yourself to change. So, you picked up an old pattern, wherein you had been successful, and kept it. A little later you tried again, perhaps failed again (another setback) and another earlier success pattern was picked up.
You tended to do this because this was good adaptation. This method allowed you to grow, to survive. This method allowed you to be reasonably happy, intact, and acceptable to your environment. This type of adaptation can also be defined as a defensive action.
One of the first things to do is to try to ferret out those times in your life when you were attempting an overt act of maturity, and you failed and then regressed to an earlier stage. There are, probably, a number of these - not just one - and the incidents will vary in severity, quantity, and quality.
feedback and the creation of field phenomena
Life is not what your body is. Life is what your body can do.
Imagine a pot of oil, with a smooth surface. Picture your finger in the still oil pot. Stir it. The direction of rotation of your finger will affect the direction of the rotation of the oil. You started it moving and rotating. Along comes someone else and they put their finger in the pot and start a counter-rotation. What happens? There is a conflict; the oil tends to go both directions at once. The confluence is broken.
Suppose you station people (as it were) on the various molecules of oil, and they go around here, there, and every which way. One says, "That's the wrong way to go," and another answers back, "No, this is the right way." Well, the oil is being stirred, and it doesn't make any difference which direction. Something is happening to the oil. Energy is impinging on it. Work is taking place.
You may choose your stand, if you wish, and feed it back into the situation by saying, "I am right, and you are wrong." But you must contact an opposite vector, or whirl, in order to feed back. You must have contact with something that is not doing what you are doing. Then, you can begin to feed back.
There must be an error in some activity that you can recognize as being less than, or more than, your activity, in an absolute sense. Then you can produce feedback. The feedback will tend to correct the total situation, either by correcting your discrepancies or by correcting the discrepancy you are contacting
Either you make yourself less than what you feel is the error, or you make the error what you feel about yourself. In any case, you reduce the amount you deviate, either by reducing the deviation itself, absolutely, or by reducing yourself, constantly.
Again, picture the oil being stirred in many directions. The individual makes his choice. He steps from this molecule to that molecule and makes his stand, saying, "Here I am. I now make my observation: this is how I must do things, because I have eyes like this, a body like this, and so forth." This, then, is his whole physiological space and time phenomenon - his stand.
Put something in a certain location, and it becomes effect. What people say to one another, one over there, and one over here, produce fields. Person "A" affects person "B", and person "B" affects person "A". When you talk to me, you feed something to me. I feed it back to you for modification. You do the same to me. This is a field phenomenon.
In this case, the field is the most real thing present. The total activity itself is reality. Just because you have a physical body that has hard dependability and location, produces energy, and has energy applied to it, it is only an accidental byproduct, as it were, of the essential function of life.
The more you can do with what you have, the healthier you are. The more contact you have with everything around you, the more you accomplish in a way that gives you pleasure, contact, expression, and contribution, the healthier you are.
The greatest sin of all is the person who sits in the corner and says, "To hell with everybody." This is true sin. The little peccadillos of morals, of sex, they're just peccadillos. They're absurdities. True sin lies in stopping motion. The very crux of God has to do with motion, in the sense of life moving forward. When we stop that, we sin.
When you make a person less than that person can be, less than the fullest possible expansion of our native powers, this is a natural moral sin.
utility differentiates false from true
What is the ego? Strictly speaking, there is no such thing as "ego", but it is a good phenomenon to talk about. For psychologists, talking about ego is a medium of expression. They all agree about it, in order to talk about it, giving them purpose and creating a group mind. (In the same way, this book is a direct contributor to, and direct evidence of, a group mind.)
When you pick up a book and begin to read, you begin to accept some of the "groupness" of the mind that created the book - you become a part of it. You could read all of what has been said so far and sit in a corner, alone, and say, "I want to stay here. I don't want anyone to touch me," and make no contribution.
What's happening in a case like this? Who is to blame? Who should take responsibility for this cessation of motion?
If you can use a concept which gives you knowledge, gives you progress, gives you interpretation, and allows you to predict successfully, then you have true science. This is feedback. If there is anything that you feel, or think, or do, or have, that you can use to predict - and your predictions ring true - then you have a true thing, based upon operation, and based upon action.
When you feed these true operations and actions back into yourself, and they modify what you have previously used to predict with (as well as future predictions), you progress.
This is true science; this is true humanity. This, in a way, is glory, but it is not the kind of "glory" that someone can get on a battlefield, when he is blown to bits. In that case, that person is dead.
Back to the idea of feedback, prediction, and science: suppose we consider what is happening to you, now, as you read this. Look upon this as a phenomenon which, if true, can produce effects that modify you.
To put it differently, it can modify the effect that is in you. Your past experiences, of which this now has become one, have modified you. These experiences, indeed, form your modifications.
If what you are now reading, what you have now thought, is of true value, you can go back and modify your modifications, so that what you now do, and what you can do, becomes more and more useful, produces more pleasure, more expression, more creativity, more reality. You, in turn, can contribute more. But if this does not do that for you, then this is not real, this is not true - this is false.
With this concept, you have an instrument, or a tool, to select the false from the true, as you know it to be from your particular understanding and orientation. Inherent in every individual is the capacity for producing adjustments, and evaluating them. If what you think about yourself turns out to be correct, it will be proven to you by the future, and what you are experiencing from moment to moment.
If these experiences prove to be of value to you, you will have greater creativity, greater contact, greater reality, greater understanding. Most important of all, you can feed back into the race what you are learning and watch it take effect in increased happiness in those about you. This applies to anyone, to any experience. This is a true criterion: it is the only criterion there is.
love as a field phenomenon
No one is evil, and no one is bad, only erroneous. If a person is erroneous, it is just as much your fault as it is his. The mistake lies with both of you. Interesting things happen when conflicting fields are removed between people. In the simile of the oil pot, the fields then rotate in the same direction, with energy vectors all oriented with reference to a common coordinate system.
In order to discuss this a little more easily, let's use the expression of love, which obviously is a phenomenon, since it is in existence and can be demonstrated. Obviously, love is a paramount need in every individual who is decently well put together, both physiologically and psychologically.
For some people, love is equivalent to a gift, a material gift. To others, it is equivalent to going someplace. To still others, it is equal to good food, comfortable rooms, a nice home. Again to still others, it is an embrace, physical contact, affection; someone to say, "I love you."
What, to you, is love? What is it? Can it be demonstrated with, for instance, a hormone that you can take out and inject into a second person, and then find that this second person will manifest love? This is doubtful, is it not? Is it a wave length? Perhaps it is, but let's go a little deeper into the physiological details of perception.
What occurs to you occurs because you have an apparatus with which to perceive it. What occurs to you is an event with duration, location, and mass. We cannot get away from this. It must be so, because we are all in bodies which have duration, location, and mass. What you feel is contact with a situation - a contact with a phenomenon which you call a body.
Consider that, in order to generate a field of love, you require the necessary tools and materials. Hormones could be these things; they could generate such a field, either directly or indirectly. Let us define a field as being that occurrence which can be observed when one moves into a location an object which can be influenced by the location. Thus, you change the position and the duration of the mass of that object, which has been disturbed by that location.
This has been explained by what we know in science and mathematics. A field must be generated by something; it does not come into being spontaneously. It isn't as though, at some point way back in our history, someone created all these fields and, as such, we use them. We generate the field, and we grow. We generate these things out of ourselves. We have the material objects with which we can do this, and we employ them as tools. We manipulate them. We produce effects.
So, we either act as agents for an unknown power, or we are the direct creators of the field. (There is a third possibility: that we act as a combination of these two.) It is probable that both things, as well as the combination, occur. This is a moot point, but, in order to talk about it, we will assume that either one or the other occurs.
If we are agents, then these phenomena are only surface manifestations of a true physical phenomenon existing outside of ourselves. If we are prime generators, then the true physical phenomenon is what we ourselves have manifested. What we feel is the manifestation, the message, the signal.
Which is correct, frankly, no one knows. It isn't too important to know. It is only important to know what to do about the phenomena, how to use them, to mobilize them, how to make them give up the greatest amount of performance. It is only necessary to be able to use it in the most moral sense, from the standpoint of giving happiness and pleasure, lack of tension, decrease of pain, understanding, orientation, and motivation to the individual who needs it.
Love is such a phenomenon.
change and maturity
Think of the most spontaneous things you have ever done. Are you keeping these experiences in present time? These are your confluences. Confluence is a raw, red, brick-hard type of thing that keeps people together without contact. In order to break it, you have to hurt yourself, and you can't hurt yourself unless you try. The very essence of aberration is the avoidance of pain.
The reason you don't hurt yourself, that you don't want to hurt yourself, is the aberration involved. Eventually, once you have hurt yourself enough, you will find that this is unnecessary any more. It will be impossible, for then on, to hurt yourself. The rest is easy.
If, after you have reversed your activities, you find your position is still untenable, pick up a new type, or try an old track. If that is not tenable, pick another way. Keep going until you reach bedrock - the bedrock of contact.
The only reason you do not have contact, the only reason you do not have affinity, lies in your own behavior. You cannot be like a child anymore; you must be like an adult. You have to furnish something to other people in order to have them furnish something to you.
You are not being asked to do something impossible. You are only being asked to change. You can make this just as tough as you want, as rough as it can possibly be made, or you can make it easy. If you like, you can come up with whole series of incidents to justify what you have done. Or, you can decide it isn't worthwhile to justify. You can accept what has happened, and you can say, "So what", and change.
Changing can be tough. You have been this way most of your lifetime, but change takes place in present time, with present time efforts. It takes more than repetitive deconditioning of an experience to produce awareness, sagacity, integrity. It takes companionship, orientation, and understanding - maturity, perhaps.
mankind refuses to recognize itself
Are you familiar with Jung's idea of cosmic consciousness, or race consciousness? Although Jung was not the first person to have this concept, it worked very well for him. He would have his patients, in therapy, make use of the so-called "collective unconscious", and the power contained in it, to modify their ways. And it worked.
It produced cures, dozens of cures, of psychosomatic illness. He could take a neurotic individual who was heavily disoriented, unable to work, unable to be happy, who was physically incapacitated, and he could help that patient with just this idea alone. But it wasn't well accepted, and it has never been widely used.
Mankind, apparently, refuses to recognize itself. Technically, yes - you can construct etiologies and case histories until you are blue in the face, but this does not explain anything.
The philosopher is interested in generalities. The clinician is interested only in how personalities function. He is interested in what made this particular person what he is right now. Does he flow, or is he static? Does he find a certain amount of satisfaction? Is he using his full capacity, and is he able to control his environment and himself in such a way as to produce future situations that will bring him more satisfaction?
All these things, taken together, form the creative personality, an individual contributing to society and society, in turn, contributing to him. As he grows, society grows.
As he progresses, humanity progresses, because he is, in himself, a part of humanity. He contributes to it. Take the individual away and you have taken something from humanity, like a cell in the spinal column. Take the cell away and you lose some of your function, some of your capacity. So it is with humanity.
One might say, very facetiously, that cancer of the race is the refusal to recognize certain obvious phenomena, the insistence upon the reality of a measuring instrument with a dial, or an electromagnetic force which can be carried along a wire. The assertion that nothing but this can be real is a manifestation of control by a lower toned group. To this group, control is a paramount thing, and this is inherent in the problem of not accepting our endowment.
If one builds a building for the purpose of shelter, think of the extra uses the building has. You can catch rainwater on the roof, or house birds, or stand on the roof and look far over the horizon; you can get closer to the stars. You can go to the top of the building to break boards or to build something there. In certain countries, they even raise cows on rooftops. You can think of many uses which one would not ordinarily incorporate into a house, aside from the central use of shelter.
Compare this to the mind, and to the concept of the human personality and the self. What extra phenomena, other than those designed by nature, do we have as a result of mutation, adaptation, and selective functioning? A wise and progressive nature would endow us with extra resources that, under ordinary circumstances, might never be contacted, but under critical, crucial circumstances, would become available to us. This would be the insurance that nature always puts in.
childhood versus fulfilled adulthood
It doesn't hurt a person to be alone, but a child cannot be alone. A child must have direct, physical contact. Take away a child's contact and you aberrate him. The most tragic thing one can do is make children into little adults, and make them alone. But to an adult, no.
An adult, in the full glory of his prowess, is a very magnificent creature. Take away his opportunity to exhibit his prowess, and you will aberrate him, too. Put a person in prison or a concentration camp, behind a desk or in front of a production machine, and you take away his soul. You take away his ability to be alive, to live, to express himself.
This is an adult's right, but not a child's. A child has every right to expect a confluential situation, with contact and togetherness. An adult has every right to express himself in aloneness: to be creative; to be dynamic.
When, in the full glory of their personalities, two adults take each unto the other, become man and wife, knowing how good they are, knowing what they are, knowing the power of being human, and say, "I give unto you a part of myself", they bring forth children. As fully adult, they will have no need withhold contact from their children - they will have no need to aberrate their children.
It is a cycle: if you don't have independence in adulthood, you will have aberrated children, and aberrated children do not have independence in adulthood.
The highest function of the adult intellect is the negative answer: NO. Did Pasteur agree with the theories of his time?
the ability to think is mankind's greatest instinct
The human mind, the human personality, the things a person does, are almost all merely expressions arising out of a social need, and nothing else. The people who lived in the Sumerian culture did not think the way we do. People who lived in the Venetian culture didn't think as the Sumerians did.
Mankind's mind is a need phenomenon. Man is so constituted that he can go into a forest with little or knowledge, and solve problems. He can get his knowledge from the spontaneous chaos of his environment. He can get these things out of the environment with sheer brain power. He has a reversed entropy engine right inside his skull. That is all the brain is, all that thought really is, from the standpoint of energy.
Man does not have to be taught to take a stick and throw it. He can think up how to take a stick and throw it. He does not have to be taught that you can get stuck in quicksand, and that you can take a log and throw it across to two firm beaches. He can think this up.
Man is not just a bundle of instincts, but a computer, far more reliable than instincts. Or, you could say that man has the greatest instinct of them all, the ability to think in any situation. It is the most flexible, the most useful, the most enduring instinct. What if the "human animal" gets into a situation where it is necessary to weigh the need for food against the need for love? Would he forego the food in favor of affinity?
You cannot completely divorce your body from your mind. So long as you are hungry, even to a mild degree, you cut into your ability to experience affinity. You are very liable to say, "Let's quit for now and get something to eat. We can carry on later." Notice the intelligence required in such a situation. You are able to construct the situation so that you can go eat and not destroy your opportunity to have affinity. This requires intelligence.
An animal can't do this. The animal just goes and gets something to eat. He comes back and maybe his partner is still there, and maybe not. But you, as a human being, can so direct a situation that you can walk away, come back, and have the situation the same. Actually, it is just a question of having everything work together.
As absurd as it seems, your little toe should have just as much regard for its particular function and purpose as any other part of you. Its ability to contribute should be recognized in its own capacity for doing so. Negate the capacity and you negate yourself, because it is yourself. It is you.
awareness of awareness: a new kind of thought
It is possible to teach people who are intelligent, open-minded, and willing to learn, a new kind of thought - not a system of thought, nor a philosophy, but a basically different orientation. In terms of thought processes, the delinquent, or the psychopath, or the genius are only distortions of normalcy. The mechanisms which produce normal thought are the same mechanisms which produce delinquency, psychopathology, and genius, except there is a distortion, both positively and negatively, over and under.
There are only three things that can go wrong with people. In the abstract, they are over-correction, under-correction, and distortion. The great geniuses of the past thought differently, with all that that implies, than the normal person. They used the same mechanisms, but used a different formula. In other words, they had a mental environment where they could view people objectively, without emotional content.
Roughly speaking, there are three parts of the brain - the cortex, the thalamic region and, finally, the stem, or midbrain. The cortex controls symbological thought and the thalamus controls emotion (that is, within the region of the thalamus there is emotion). Finally, the midbrain, or stem, controls motor action, perception and motivation. You move via this particular portion of your brain. The cortex can control the thalamus and the thalamic region can control the motor region, so long as the three of them are working together.
With a few drinks, the first thing a person knocks out is control of the thalamic region. You become less inhibited, more jovial, more social, a little more emotional. If you have more drinks, the ability of your cortex to motivate your actions becomes almost nil. Now the thalamic response becomes dominant, with high emotionality, crying, laughing, hysteria, extreme grief, pugnacity; confused emotions, expressed in their raw form. More drinks, and speech disorientation occurs. Finally, paralysis of the cortex takes place, then paralysis of the thalamic region, and, finally stupor. It is a type of poisoning which involves the cortex, the thalamus and, at last, the midbrain, or stem.
Aberrations are like that. They tend to poison the cortex, the thalamic region and, finally, motor behavior. The easiest thing to become poisoned by aberrations is, at it were, your cortical, or reasoning ability about an aberration.
There is a word in German which perfectly describes the situation occurring in a healthy individual: in the gestalt experience the individual fully comprehends each moment of now. This requires integration of the thalamus, the cortex, and the midbrain.
Returning to the idea of a new kind of thought, the basically different orientation mentioned earlier, one of the things this new type of thought orientation develops, absolutely, is insight. It absolutely develops insight.
There is one thing no one wishes to accept. You might want to think about it for a while. It is this: the mind is a social phenomenon. Put it this way: you have a lathe, and with this lathe you can do many things. You can turn steel, brass, aluminum, bronze. You can make bells, cups, stars, cones, cut threads. A lathe, coupled with proper instruction, makes an incredibly complex type of behavior available to the user.
This is not true of the mind in our society. The mind, as we use it, is the sum total of the events which power us, because we are taught a thing in one way. We are taught to accept a kind of mind which is peculiarly adaptable to the present needs of our present-day society. But this is not the only way in which we can think.
In a nutshell, what you can do is develop an absolute sense of perception; the awareness that you are aware. This is the highest faculty you have, and it is practically never used. It has atrophied. This is one of the control structures your mind can set up. It represents, so far as can be known, the highest possible structure. It does something when you have it. The instant you have it, you have insight. And no one likes insight.
Absolutely no one likes insight, and responsibility; and no one likes blame. No one likes to be aware, to understand, to understand that they understand, to know that they know. This, in itself, implies the existence of an absolute checking mechanism that is infallible and, should there be any fallibility, you know where it lies. This makes you infallible.
Awareness of awareness is not a durational phenomenon. It does not have to exist in time; it only has to exist in structure, and that is all - just plain structure. You are both aware, and aware that you are aware, within the same instant, at the same instant. In other words, you are not aware of duration, and then aware that you were aware. It is not a memory of being aware. It is a knowledge, an acknowledgement. It does not contain duration.
As far as your mind is concerned, there is nothing in it that is unsorted or unregulated. Everything is connected together. A new idea is automatically sorted, accepted, or rejected. However, there is no reason why you should reject any idea. A truly healthy individual should comprehend ideas, that is all. Do not forget this: it is a true datum. The problem, in terms of social thinking, is the necessity of beliefs and conclusions. A locked-in attitude is expected of you. Obviously, there is no need for having an attitude, except that we have agreed to do so.
change, psychotherapy, and personality type
There is the individual who wants to change, and there is the individual who wants sympathy. Very definitely you cannot convince a person against his will that he has one.
In the first instance, the type one case is willing to change, is able to change, and wants to change. This individual feels that he is more real than the environment, and he is ready to have his therapist disagree with the environment and attack the present time situation. In the second instance, the type two case is looking for agreement. He wants a confluential situation and sympathy by the bucketful.
Almost all psychotherapy is directed towards the type one case. There is no direct therapy for the type two case; one can only manipulate it into a type one case. With the type one, the therapist can use a challenge. The client is willing to accept the challenge and do something.
Therapy, if it works, is essentially a challenge to the neural and physiological integrity of the individual. There is not much else that it could be. It is a challenge to his reality. Is it correct, or is it incorrect? Does it indicate an automatic progression toward something which is new, novel and different, and which ensures or guarantees greater contact with the environment?
If so, the type one case, having up till now said, "I am more real than my environment," will now say, "I am as real as the environment; no more, no less."
leaving the semantic state
Aberrations are, basically, feedback mechanisms that are not under the control of the individual at the time they are being fed back. When people feel that they have conflicting personality trends, what they are doing, normally, is feeding into their conscious awareness a personality configuration that existed in the past.
You might say that aberrations are an impedance to the growth of the individual into a new status that he previously did not occupy. These impedances can be severe or mild. When the impedance is mild, such as a small habit, it is easily broken. When severe, they remain, and stubbornly resist efforts to dislodge them.
Almost all impedances are behavior things; that is to say, there are certain functions that occur in an individual, and the result of those functions are viewed as behavior. This behavior, in itself, is the impedance.
Generally, we have three spheres of activity: the mental, the effortful, and the emotional. At best, these three spheres are highly artificial, since there can be no mentality without effort, no effort without emotion, and all the way around the cycle again. One of the first things an individual learns as an impedance function is to split these things into a dichotomy or a trichotomy.
In order to evolve from this type of behavior to a more optimum state wherein one does not have this split (whether it be two ways or three ways), a person must learn what one does when one does the splitting. People do not have a mechanism in their bodies for producing a permanent, unattended function of splitting themselves.
To evolve from one state to another he did not previously occupy, an individual must then go beyond the unitary functions of thought, emotion and effort and recognize that all of these are exactly one and the same thing, merely viewed from three different aspects.
As a starting point, there is a single phrase: The mind is a social phenomenon. We are expected to act in certain arbitrarily given or instituted ways in order to receive the approbation of our society. If we do not, we do not receive the approbation. We will be neglected, rejected, harmed, jeered at, or merely ignored.
If you are neurologically sound, taking a word and repeating that word until you lose the meaning for it, automatically places you in the category of having no dichotomy or trichotomy. The duration of the repetition may take as long as two or three hours until you have reached the point where you have lost the meaning of the word. You have then essentially entered into the sphere of thought, where you have lost the semantic content for that particular noise.
You can, in addition to this, perform an action such as an emotional response while looking into a mirror. Do this until you are fatigued. The emotional response, even though it was originally configured physically, now merely becomes an action.
You can further experience an emotion until the emotion, instead of being an emotion, is merely a behavior of your body, nothing more and nothing less. So, there are three phases: the first one is that of thought, the second of effort, and the third of emotion.
Having successfully negotiated contact with these nonspecified phases of experience, employ yourself as a total individual and weld all these things, these nonspecified performances, together until you fully unify them. You are no longer semanticized. You are functioning as a prime entity, creating as you go.
(To say that semantics, as such, can reduce your I.Q. is to say that black is different from white. This is correct. It is, and it does. To investigate the process of being semantic you need only perform an action similar to single-word repetition.)
When you are not in a semantic state, you have, actually, cut out the circuits that produce the semantic state - actually, physiologically, in every sense of the word. You are free from that constructed circuit which directs the heavy functioning of your analytical cortex. You can then learn a new way of using your cortex, of using your body, of manipulating your emotions.
There is a great deal of talk about creative thought - about being original in thinking. Why not be original in behavior, and original in emotionality? If there is creative thought, there can be creative behavior and creative emotionality. You need not be restricted to the old (and highly one-sided) rage, fear, disgust, and so on.
Some have said that there is only one emotional curve possible for a person. This is like saying that there is only one system of thought possible, or one kind of behavior possible. Of course this is not true. This is an error, but it is sufficient for some people. It should not be sufficient for you.
The term "super-summative" means that the individual, as such, is greater than the sum of his parts. When he is dead, he is merely an aggregate. When he is alive he is a force, a dynamic, flowing force. He can maintain the integrity of that force, or he can destroy it. The neurophysiological structure which generates personality may lose its integrity, or may increase it.
The personality is always seen against a background. Without the background, there is no personality. The mind is also seen against a background: without the social phenomenon, there is no mind. It does not exist. The social phenomenon supplies symbols. It supplies modes of actions, and goals.
the value of controlling internal feedback
In order to investigate your inventions versus your creations - what you are versus what you do - you must arrive at a state where you are non-semantic, unfettered, free. The best entry into this state is single-word repetition. You can best use this technique if you have a good vitamin intake and are only slightly fatigued, and particularly if you feel that your necessity for attending to your environment is at a minimum. It is the most powerful tool you have with which to evolve.
Instead of feeling that you are less real or more real than the environment, you discover what the environment actually is. And it is almost infinite. Given enough time (which merely means enough action sequences), there is nothing you can discover that you cannot assimilate - absolutely nothing: no action, no emotion, no thought.
Out of the ten billion cells that comprise the cortex, we have an immensity of action. When each cell can sustain more than a hundred thousand cycles of thought (or a hundred thousand circuits), there is a lot of thought. You can see how aberrated you are when you only use one cell, or two cells, or five cells, or even one million cells, one billion cells. When you think with only one billion cells, all the rest are tied down doing something that is asinine and silly.
In a simple game of chess, after the first ten moves the possibilities for the next move are something like ten to the twenty-seventh power. There are only sixteen pieces on each side in a chess game. You've got ten billion cells, and at least another thirty years to use them in. Then someone complains, "I don't know what to do!" Nuts.
People feed back into themselves their configuration of the past in anticipation of the future. If they stop this, they think. Ordinarily, they think with a small part of the mind. The rest of it is being used to feed back. To the degree you control your feedback, you control your sanity, and you are sane. Uncontrolled, you are not: control the feedback, and you are.
You see, then, that a question such as "why?" or "why does this happen?" or "why does that happen?" is an attempt to embed the past in the present. To ask such a question is to say, "I am not quite sane - not as sane as I could be." The recognition of an action should be instantaneous, because you, yourself, can perform any action. You can entertain any thought, and you can manifest any emotion. But when you say "why?", you are saying you cannot.
If you are in full contact with your environment, you can. But, if you are not in full contact, it is probably important for you to spend some time in manifesting some emotion, or effort, leading to thought and then asking, "why?". You can answer the question for yourself, because you possess ten billion brain cells (plus or minus a half billion). You are only using a tenth of these, anyway.
There are certain common characteristics that are imbued in us as people. We have certain things in common. We can enjoy certain things. The basic mechanisms which produce thought are similar in action, although their performance as prime movers may be attached to a multitude of actions. The manifestations of us, as people, are beyond belief.
affinity, and mankind's tragic secret
Agreement is a fine thing, as long as it is used for contact. Beyond that, it is asininity. Companionship should be a mutual give-and-take relationship, in which there is only growth, in which only growth is permitted, to which there is no end, and which occasionally culminates in the recognition of harmony and love.
Have you guessed yet the tragic secret that is contained in life, something no one ever talks about? Almost everyone - be they neurotic, psychotic, or normal - within their own frame of reference is sufficient unto themselves. Almost everyone is sufficient unto themselves.
When you walk out of a room, you are not in that room anymore. When you walk away from a person, you are not there with him anymore. You no longer continue to influence him beyond that degree to which you have made suggestions which he has accepted. When you are standing in front of a person, you can directly put energy into him. Walk away from him and you cannot.
There are, however, certain things you can do to a person that he cannot resist. You can drive him crazy, for instance. You can make him hot or cold by changing the temperature of the room. You can make him feel a sense of lust, and so on. You can take advantage of his automatic drives, his automatic necessities, and the weaknesses or strengths in his basic structure.
But each person is a person unto themselves. Each of us only has one brain, only one face, only one personality configuration, regardless of the complexity of it. People think within the framework of their own defenses, be they idiot or genius. At best, real contact between two people can only occur momentarily, when compared to the times when it does not occur.
We are constructed such that we solve our problems on our own. We feed ourselves; we sleep ourselves. We eat the food; we digest the food. We drink the water. We do these things inside our own individual bodies. We are each individual personalities, and we do these things. So, man is alone, whether he likes it or not.
That is the tragic secret: man is alone, whether he likes it or not. But no one ever talks about it.
But these are adults we are talking about, not children. Children possess a certain homeopathy due to the fact that they are children. The most tragic thing you can do is to treat children like little adults, and make them alone. This causes aberration. An adult can be alone - it does not hurt him. But a child cannot. A child has to be in contact. Take away his contact and you will aberrate him. No matter what else you do, you will aberrate him.
It takes two things to save a person from aberration; apperception and performance. Then a person can gain a certain attitude toward life. It is a definite rule that good things produce good things. Generosity breeds more generosity; spontaneity breeds more spontaneity, and affection breeds more affection. But think: hate usually breeds more hate, and repression naturally breeds more repression. So does apathy.
There are a lot of things you believe about yourself, and there is a lot of effort that you put into maintaining that belief so that you obtain a certain kind of self-esteem. This is your motivation. You believe it is survival, for you. It is also aberration. It is all a matter of performance. After you have considered, evaluated, and decided, take action (but when a person learns to walk, he should take very small steps) - a certain amount of affinity, and no more - a certain amount of performance, and no more. Begin to exchange your ideas. Just as you get strength in flowers by cross-breeding, so you have to do the same with ideas.
Affinity is a strange phenomenon: the more you express, the more you are able to. Apparently, it is not a physiological property; it is beyond that. You can only lose so much weight; you can only run so far. In a world of ideas, you can only concentrate for so long, or think about a thing for so long. But with the faculty of affinity, the more we express, the more we can express.
Here is another theory: people tend to form identifications. One child can form an identification that is simply enormous. The identification occurs very easily, but the amount of effort that is used to maintain that identification is incredible. Another child is incapable of forming a strong attachment or identification. He cannot. Apparently it has no correlation with life experiences, but is something that is born into the child, something innate, or inherent.
At one end of the spectrum there is weak identification, and at the other end intense identification. At one end, a person would give his life for liberty and will fight for causes. At the other end, a person would not even thumb his nose at them. Both attitudes are genuine - they both mean it. This is a part of their physiological makeup. The person who makes identification easily does it without effort; then, to maintain it, the effort just pours out. This is the roughest case, the hardest to change. But the person who does not form identification easily can change with ease.
Picture it this way. A child fails in his associations with people. He fails to maintain an in-go, out-go balance. He fails to implant the out-go balance in people. He fails to make identification with people. What then happens is that he learns to make identifications with things. He becomes a physicist, a chemist, a person who deals with material things. He has identified his out-go implantation abilities with things.
A second individual is successful with people. He implants his identification in people, in religion, in philosopy, in arguments and ideas. He is an idealist. He is a thinker. He will love to use words. He will deal in the social sciences. He has faith in people.
Apply these categories of low or high identification abilities, along with other categories of behavior, and they will describe all the various kinds of people you will ever come in contact with. Rather than assuming there is a basic way of defining a person, assume there is a basic method of identifying people, using a basic kind of referent.
This is a generalization, but it holds true in all cases. If a person who wants to change has too much identifying ability, he must decrease it. If he has too little, he must increase it. If he identifies strongly with one kind of thing and its effect, he must break that identification, by allowing himself multiple choices.
The person can then allow his identifications in people to be just as strong as they are in things, and vice versa. This will make him bigger, and will give him the ability to take any datum and strip it of its color, its belief, in order to place it on the altar of strict neutrality and examine it for what it is.
A tape recorder can give back to us an infallible record for an indefinite number of times. People cannot. We always color what we take in - we bias it. The tape recorder has bias, of course, but it is a constant bias. Ours is inconstant. Now, here is the point: is just presenting this idea to you enough to change your reality? Here is where you can begin to determine your classification as a type. If you have low identification, you can do it. If you are in the middle, you can, to a certain extent. If you have high identification, it may not be possible.
It is possible to accept these ideas and literally change overnight.
If what you are now reading, what you have now thought,
is of true value,
you can go back and modify your modifications,
so that what you now do, and what you can do,
becomes more and more useful,
produces more pleasure,
Most important of all,
you can feed back into the race what you are learning
and watch it take effect in increased happiness in those about you.
This applies to anyone, to any experience.
This is a true criterion.
It is the only criterion there is.