The Reclaiming of Power

The overall reality of the world situation in which we live and function, if we face it clearly, calls urgently for at least some, and eventually, all human beings to not only recover their intelligence but to reclaim their power also. We need some individuals who are already functioning with intelligence and integrity and broad vision to do this quickly. This is becoming a necessity for the human race to continue, for the survival of human beings at all.

POWER IS INHERENT

There are a number of indications that complete power over as much of the environment as one has understood is a characteristic potential of any human individual’s intelligence. There are many indications of this besides the gains in that direction registered in Co-Counseling.

The mythical or tribal heroines or heroes, the legendary people’s champions, were traditionally possessed not only of wisdom and courage, but also power. Beowulf, Hiawatha, Lancelot, Hercules, Perseus, the Monkey King, the many goddesses and gods humans have created, in what we think has been an effort to display the human characteristics that distress had otherwise occluded, are nearly always entities of great or total power. We see the eagerness of people everywhere to find or create powerful symbolic figures, whether they choose fighter pilots or singers, scientists or spiritual leaders, popes or labor organizers.

For those of us who systematically participate in Re-evaluation Counseling, the most compelling evidence comes from the actual shifts in the behavior of people, who, with discharge and re-evaluation, move steadily in the direction of greater dignity, greater self-respect, and more assumption of power in the environment .

THE SOURCE OF POWERLESSNESS PATTERNS

The occlusion and “abandonment” of our inherent power seems to have occurred to some small extent through individual accidents or defeats. To an overwhelming extent it is the result of the long-time systematic operation of the oppressive socie- ties. These, in their nature, reserve apparent power only for a small number of rulers, slaveowners, nobles, owning-class people, but deny any real power to everyone. The ruling-class person, accepting the role of “pseudo-power” and resulting rewards, is as much a captive of the oppressive society’s structure and conditioning as any one. The society systematically bludgeons any aspiration to power or even to protest, out of the great majority of the population. It resorts to condemnation, persecution, imprisonment, or even death for those individuals whose hurts leave them with patterns of rigid rebellion instead of rigid cooperation.

At the present time, all the rulers of the most powerful states, without exception, act as if they had no power to halt or reverse the drift toward nuclear war, but only the “pseudo-power” to prepare for it or accelerate it.

Currently, the individuals who do speak out against the preparations for nuclear war or the extinction of species or the destruction of the environment or the mass mistreatment of human beings act, almost without exception, as if they have no power to do more than protest, however futilely. They seem totally unable to consider taking charge of the situations and actually eliminating all the conditions and dangers against which they protest.

A concern often expressed these days is that human beings have “fouled their environment” to the point of no return. Certainly our ground waters, soil, seas, and the marvelous matrix of supporting life deserve better care than we, as a species, have given them. From another viewpoint, a deeper pollution of our existence is the tangle of distress patterns in which all present human beings have been caught and immersed and upon which our societies function. We are polluted with patterns; individual ones, which we have individually acquired through accident or contagion, and great complexes of patterns which are systematically installed on each new human being and which regulate and enforce our relations with each other.

PROGRESS AT MANY LEVELS

A substantial number of people, by now, are inspired by and participate in Re-evaluation Counseling. These have been attempting to free themselves from patterns and regain, discover, and understand their own real natures and the potential of those natures. For many of these, their participation in this process has sometimes appeared to be a reluctant one. Many individuals have seemed ready to settle for the skimpiest gains, for the mere scraps of a “more comfortable” existence. The majority of Co-Counselors so far have participated actively and in an organized way only from a few months to a very few years. There has often even seemed a great eagerness to“identify” RC with some other concept or structure with which they were already familiar, whether a religion, psychology, social organization, discussion group, or self-help organization.

A smaller group of consistent Co-Counselors have come to understand that these apparent manifestations of a “downward trend” among Co-Counselors are really just expressions of the remaining patterns themselves which are expressed, not as the will of the individual, but as a kind of pleading invitation for help in contradicting and discharging them.

THE LEADING GROUP

A still smaller, but growing, segment of Co-Counselors have “caught on” to the deeper implications of the possibility of organized re-emergence. They have become better and better Co-Counselors, have established deeper connections with each other, and have pushed the theory forward. They have become increasingly committed to a goal of complete re-emergence for themselves and each other and, eventually, for all humanity.

They see as obvious the necessity for preventing nuclear war by “cutting off at the pass” the accelerating atomic armament race of the “great” powers. They are attaining confidence that the job can be done, that the world can be persuaded to peace, and that all other problems can be solved, as a by-product of humankind’s re-emergence to rationality and the establishment of rational, non-oppressive societies.

They are aware of the difficulties, conscious of the automatic, vicious nature of the opposition which they face, and the entrenched nature of the structures which they must evade or defeat. They have faced the dangers, know how late it is in the timetable of threatening nuclear holocaust and how heavily individual distress patterns and social conditioning have become stacked against their effort, but are nevertheless of good cheer. They are quite able to live with the necessarily uncertain nature of the future and the lack of any guarantee of success for their efforts. They are ready to help each other brush off or peel off any remaining attitudes that “someone else can do it better” or that “I will support but not lead.”

It is among these people that the next steps toward reclaiming of power will probably take place. Their examples and their successes, of course, once evident, will be quickly imitated and followed by much larger numbers of people.

HOW?

How do we practically move to reclaim our complete power as individuals and as a group?

It is a fundamental assumption in Re-evaluation Counseling theory, as developed to date, that all human beings, with very few exceptions, start out with vast potential intelligence (that is, a vast ability to think flexibly, to create fresh, new, accurate, successful responses to new situations). We usually assume that this potential is at least ten times as great as the functioning intelligence of the most successful adult humans who have lived to date.

This is, as yet, an assumption. It has not yet been fully confirmed by the functioning of any re-emerging human being. No one has reached maturity, having acquired a large portion of the knowledge necessary to function well in today’s civilization, with all or even most of her or his conjectured vast intelligence still functioning. None of us who have been persistent in the struggle to re-emerge have any illusions that we have attained such a goal or reached a close approximation.

There are, however, innumerable indications that we are moving well in that direction. Many people are amazed by the positive changes they achieve in their first two weeks of counseling. The veteran of ten or twenty years of Co-Counseling is usually thinking of the next gain rather than those of the past but is estimated by those who knew her or knew him previously to be profoundly different, to be more able, more successful, more competent, more confident, more buoyant, more broadly aware and more in charge of the situations in which he or she lives. Those of us who monitor and lead this movement think there are clear signs that progress has not only been accelerating but is showing an accelerated acceleration that is likely to bring qualitative break-throughs in the functioning of at least a few individuals within a fairly short period of time.

MANY KINDS OF GAINS

Some of the most obvious gains from counseling show up in the cases where the Co-Counselor has chosen not to expand the theater of his or her operation but rather to improve personal effectiveness in the area in which he or she is already operating. Usually there is vastly improved functioning in the limited area. A substantial number of other Co-Counselors have “broadened out,” have included in their goals becoming interested in, to them, new facets of the universe and new areas of human endeavors. These have eagerly expanded their knowledge and participation far beyond what they had previously attempted. Each has become a kind of “renaissance man” or “renaissance woman,” but has also improved his/her relationship with the immediate environment and his/her mastery and benign domination of it. Some have improved their financial resources greatly, some have acquired greater scholarly knowledge or great workman-like competence in fields in which they were engaged or have added to their activities. Some have specialized in the improvement and enjoyment of their relationship with other humans.

All these shifts and many others can be interpreted as moving the individual human in the direction of the conjectured model of a fully re-emerged person, a human being without residual distress patterns, one who is aware of, takes charge of, enjoys, improves, and cherishes the world and universe about him or about her.

The oppressive society, however, continues to dominate a very large portion of the lives of all human beings, and this includes Re-evaluation Co-Counselors. A good bit of the limitations that are observed still operating on the lives of our most successful Co-Counselors are the particular “adjustments” that they still make that leave their lives less than perfectly, consistently rational. These seem to be responses to the overall dominant power of the society in which we live.

(We have termed these societies “pre-human organisms.” They operate below the level of intelligence and change in a Darwinian fashion at best, rather than flexibly altering to the occasion or responding to the intelligence of their members.)

Some individuals still have great power over other individuals. A few individuals and collectives have considerable power over a limited part of the environment. Only society as a whole assumes power over all the environment, over all the members in it. This oppressive society constitutes the barrier which interferes with and limits the upward trend of individual human progress. It also threatens all humanity and even all life with disaster by its unthinking manipulation of atomic weapons.

Against this dead, unable-to-be-reasoned-with inertia and momentum of the less-than-human, less-than-intelligent society stands only the intelligence of humans. How can the power of the individual, which we have presumed exists and conjectured will function in the absence of distress patterns, emerge and make itself felt?

PRESERVE THE POWER OF THE YOUNG

One possible channel for this is the preservation of our young people from invalidations and defeats and assisting them in the prompt discharge of those hurts that do occur. There are already certain young RCers whose confidence and buoyancy is astounding to the rest of us. Someone close to them speaks of the young students from the Palo Alto RC “school” as being “unable to be intimidated.”

COMMITMENTS AGAINST POWERLESSNESS

To take clear aim against the operation of oppression is another channel that is moving people in the direction of power. For example, the center of what has come to be called The Woman’s Commitment—”I solemnly promise that, from this moment on, I will never again settle for anything less than everything”—is in sharp contradiction to the society’s assignment of subsidiary, submissive roles to women. Though the special oppression of sexism is the target, the blows in that direction are certainly going to also weaken the larger obstacles to the total power of human beings which stand behind the sexism. The Young Person’s Commitment—”I solemnly promise that, from this moment on, I will never again treat any young person, including myself, with anything less than complete respect”—takes sharp aim against the lack of respect and the relegation to unimportance which is the heart and core of the oppression of young people, but will certainly also weaken the larger forces arrayed against total human power which stand behind that oppression as well.

ACTIVITY EDUCATES

The participation of RCers in wide-world-changing activities, both within and against the various structures and bureaucracies of the oppressive societies, has certainly enhanced the realization of their power for many RCers. The discovery that “the prominent officials aren’t any smarter than I am and don’t know any more than I do,” has surprised and lifted the hearts of many a Co-Counselor who dared to venture into dealings or conflict with the dominating individuals of society on the political or economic or legislative scene.

HOW TO MOVE DIRECTLY

There are many other channels through which this “seepage toward power” seems to have been taking place in the last few years, but a central question still seems unanswered. How do I, as an individual, move directly to reclaim my power and use it?

I have conjectured previously that if even one of us reclaims her power and moves, that one is enough to guarantee the future of the world. I am confident of this since the example and the offering of a rational program by such a person would call forth people who will follow and support from every level of society. How does one directly reclaim one’s power?

Here I cannot yet speak with the confidence of accomplishment. I have not yet modeled the total reclaiming of my power in any persistent way. I have not seen anyone else do it as yet, either. Yet I am deeply confident that it can be done, that it is just a task which needs only persistent attack, given our present level of knowledge, to be accomplished. How, then, do I propose that I, and others, do it?

I begin with firm confidence that my power is left intact, and only occluded, by the distress patterns which have been laid upon me by past hurts, by lack of information, and by misinformation. Therefore I do not need to find some external source of power, nor do I need to develop huge bulging muscles or a stentorian voice or become adept with a machine gun, nor acquire huge wealth. My main task becomes discharging the patterns of powerlessness which have been placed upon me by the traumas and insults which I have endured.

Here the theory is clear. If a distress is recognized, and a contradiction to it worked out, and it is contradicted, then discharge will occur and the distress will proceed toward being eliminated. How can I contradict the powerlessness distress?

Certainly I can act powerfully. If I am a woman, this may involve at first being unsubmissive and argumentative. It may mean insisting on my views being considered first instead of accepting the traditional last consideration for a woman’s view. If I am a man, it may be that I become very patient and tolerant and undictatorial, acting so confidently that I can eventually persuade others to my own way without ever needing to bluster or threaten or dominate or dictate. My posture will be “kingly.” My tone of voice will not be distorted by fear or embarrassment or despair or grief. My facial expression will be serenely confident all the time. The words I say will inspire and empower the people around me instead of reinforcing their own discouragement and feelings of helplessness. My tone of voice will be confident and serene but also “not to be argued with.”

It will certainly mean that I plan, that I lay out steps to complete my plan, put them in operation, and see that they are carried through. To act powerfully on all occasions is going to contradict and put the pressure on the patterns of powerlessness which are my target. Pursued thoughtfully, this should at least begin their discharge.

Will this be enough? I conjecture that it will be a good start. I estimate, however, that enlisting others in a cooperative endeavor to reclaim our power as a group will inevitably become necessary.

Harvey Jackins


Last modified: 2017-05-06 23:35:41-07