Graduation Day

Talk to the 1985 World Conference, August 2nd, 1985

Harvey Jackins

All these developments, the clarification of the fundamental concepts of Co-Counseling, the advanced breakthroughs, the maturing of our Community, the fact that we have proven in practice that itís possible to transcend any racial, language, geographical, or cultural barrier (however small the progress we have made in the field, we have surmounted every barrier we have challenged), all these factors come together to put us in a completely new place as far as the job which reality has apparently assigned us is concerned.

Most of us began RC in an attempt to feel better. Then we discovered that we could think better and this became our goal. We have advanced to the goals of taking charge of things, of living our lives the way weíve wanted to live them, of examining, facing, and resisting oppression and then of undoing oppression. Now we are planning on taking power, of acting always on the basis of decision. Step by step we have moved towards more independence, towards more self-determinism, towards more initiative. We have reclaimed our lives step by step, often not really noticing how far weíve come, because through a great part of our history, our attention has remained upon our distresses. We have, in a way, backed into the future, scraping away at our pile of distresses as we did so.

THE GRAND VIEW

Now we have reached this point. I donít think itís possible to attend this conference without having and keeping, at least for a while, the grand view of what reality is all about. How extremely fortunate we are to be in this universe, to exist at all, to be alive, to be alive on a lovely, nurturing, nourishing planet such as ours. How sublimely lucky to be intelligent, however much this intelligence has been held back, until now, by the distress pattern phenomenon. How fortunate to be a part of a species that can act despicably in the grip of patterns but when its heads are out of the patterns creates beauty and art and is noble and caring. How satisfying to be part of the proud, wonderful, human species which has used its intelligence to persist into every corner of the globe.

I hope you have seen the movie "The Gods Must Be Crazy" to get a glimpse into the marvelous culture of the Bushmen, to see the tremendous understanding and respectful handling of the environment which brings them such happy lives except where the European cultures have intruded upon them. We can thrill with our kinship to the masterful Inuit hunter who goes out in a little skin boat in icy waters with great confidence to tackle a whale several hundred times his size and the genius of a virtuoso violinist who picks up his hollow piece of spruce and maple and his horse-hair bow and creates sounds that thrill millions of people over and over again, sounds that will be pleasing to the heart of the galaxy if they ever reach there. We are learning to treasure the tremendous opportunity we have to be alive and intelligent, to be sometimes aware, to begin to grasp the reality of our power, of our absolute freedom of decision, to realize that our lives can be just the way we want them. We are learning to take pride in the community which we have created, the fellowship and sisterhood of being together while dealing with the most crucial issues facing humankind.

The struggles for liberation are not always comforting or reassuring to be in. B- of Nicaragua knows first-hand what it is like to try to care for people when the patterns of imperialism drop bombs on peaceful people, and destroy and ruin the food that they have gathered together. Those of us who have attempted to support this liberation from other countries have a little bit of a glimpse. The issues of liberation are very much the issues of re-emergence. Liberation, no matter how brilliantly fought for, how passionately sacrificed for, has always failed or gone backwards where irrationality had been allowed to intrude into the liberation effort itself. So that even though we sit here in relative comfort, in these excellently designed buildings, in this beautiful land of Quebec, we are battling, too, in an important way that will mean something to every freedom fighter alone in the jungle with only a mosquito net and a hammock to support him or support her.

"The seekers of the light are one." A U.S. poet said that a hundred and fifty years ago. What we are doing with our yawns and our tears and our hand-clasps and our laughter is very much a part of the struggle of humanity everywhere. We look forward to a time when the struggle wonít have to be against irrationality but even then in the finest sense our struggle will continue. Our path to the stars (and I am confident that humanity will move out to the stars in coruscating swirls of light and that our descendants will find themselves at home on strange planets under strange suns) is being moved ahead by what weíre doing here today. We have accumulated the resources of knowledge, a cooperative-enough community, an informed and aware enough sisterhood, an advanced and dear enough theory, a body of practice that works well enough. Weíre ready for a great giant step. I propose that we take this giant step.

WE HAVE PERSISTED

Our Community has done well. Sometimes it seems to fall on its face. Many organized Areas have dissolved for a while. Leaders change. People drift out of classes. Co-Counselors join weird movements because they want faster results than theyíve gotten from sloppy Co-Counseling. I have helped dissolve a score of Areas, have helped officially undo the organization. At the end of the year, I sometimes have a vague impression that behind me must be chaos and destruction and that I have participated in bringing it about. But I turn around and look back and the Communityís twice the size it was when I began dissolving and disorganizing. We have usually disorganized wisely. We have thus provided an escape route from certain sticky patterns some Communities get caught in. Then Co-Counseling can revive and go on again.

It is a truism that no person who has had one good session can ever forget that glimpse of the possibilities of re-emergence. In the early years in Seattle, I sometimes made mistakes with my clients. I often didnít know how to handle them. Some of them left cursing me loudly and slandering me. I felt bad. I knew I must have failed in some way. I was very vulnerable to being disliked. But I learned as the years went by to be somewhat confident, because after a few years the person who hated me so loudly, and told awful lies about me, would reappear. A stranger would show up for an interview and ask about the use of counseling and then say, "So-and-So sent me in." I would work with the new person and the new person would have some success. Then one day this new client would say, "So-and-So is going to be in town and wonders if you have time to talk?" and the previous client would come in and say, "I donít suppose you ever thought you would see me again, but Iíve got a problem I canít solve any other way" (laughter) and we would resume counseling. No one who has had one good session has ever been able to forget it. I could tell you many anecdotes about this.

Our organizational forms and knowledge are important. Weíve learned that every gathering together of people should function like a support group, because thatís what people gather together to seek, but without your intervention they wonít know how to achieve it. The support group content is important. The Wygelian leadersí group content is tremendously important. Our classes, our gather-ins, our workshops, all these forms are valuable. All our publications are important.

THE COMMUNITY IS PEOPLE

But what our Community really consists of is the Re-evaluation Co-Counselors who act so well that other people trust them and listen to what they have to say and give them assistance in what theyíre trying to do. These other people who also do this, you and you, constitute the real Community. This is what itís all about. You who have some notion of what youíre doing and sometimes do it, and the people who trust you and follow you (your followership, if you want to call it that), the people whom you inspire and lead in whatever subtle ways, whether they ever come to your class or not, these are the people who constitute the Community.

The last time I was in Israel, Avi took a day or two off from work and drove me around. I am a great admirer of stone-masonsí work and the Arab stone-masons in Palestine are marvelous craftspeople. What they do with that lovely limestone can be admired forever. He took me out to one workshop and I watched how these skilled craftsmen carved the limestone. Then we drove to the West Bank and visited a few places. He said, "I want to show you a village where the Bedouins have settled into stone houses." We went to a Bedouin home where Avi was obviously welcome. I sat and watched. Bedouin Palestinians have a thousand reasons to fear and hate and distrust Israeli Jews. Terrible things have been done by this pocket-sized imperialism at United Statesí imperialismís urging, because the Israeli government has been a puppet of the United States government and its agent in most respects. But these Bedouins obviously liked and trusted and possibly loved Avi. I was welcomed because I was his friend. They turned warmth to me, and I know the difference between being accepted warmly and not. The only possible reason they would have for accepting me warmly was because they trusted Avi.

The people who feel like this about you, all of you Avis and Ullas and Kathys and Jokes and Tims and Marie-Claudes, the people who trust you, they are what constitute our Community.

You do not build a Community by setting up an Area Reference Person and an Area Reference Committee and an organizational structure like a box and then trying to lure people into that box. That is not the way you build the Re-evaluation Counseling Community. You build the Re-evaluation Counseling Community by being, in practice, the type of person that everybody is inspired by, likes to be with, trusts and hopes to learn from.

DO IT YOURSELF 

This is exactly what I propose this morning. The title of the article in Present Time No. 60 is "You Can Start Your Own World Community Now - (Full permission freely given, precise instructions included)." This morning, I want to offer the precise instructions for you, as individuals, to do this. Iím not talking about you, plural, doing it as a group. Group intelligence does not exist. The notion of group intelligence is an excuse for an irresponsibility pattern to hide behind. Relying on "group intelligence" does not work well for the same reason that co-teaching did not, in general, work well. A teacher can use an assistant, yes; but one person has to be ultimately responsible, one person has to be sure to think. We have no indication that thinking is ever anything but an individual matter. Itís true we check with each other. We learn from each other. Thatís a different process. Thinking is an individual matter. So I speak to you as individuals. I give each of you full permission. I will give you encouragement. I will give you whatever help I can give you, counseling or otherwise, to build your own worldwide Community but you will be the center, the inspirer.

How can you do this? It sounds quite challenging, doesn't it? I am quite sure, however, that you can very quickly build such a world-wide Community. You can permeate the population that lives around you now with such a delightful impact, with such influence that they will follow you on everything. If you teach them well what you already have available to teach them, they will teach others and very soon you will be the center of a World Community. This is not any longer just a speculation. It's not like proposing that you can go to heaven when you die. Remember the song "everybody wants to go to heaven but nobody wants to die"? We correctly view the proposal that we're going to be happy after we die, with a little bit of a raised eyebrow; but this proposal is practical, is possible.

Is it possible for one individual to build a world-sized Community of people who follow her and her ideas? Yes! I have no hesitation in saying yes! Of course! Someone did it already. One person did it. This person did it with great awkwardness, with considerable slowness, but you don't have to buy the awkwardness or the slowness. You don't have to be awkward. You don't have to be slow. You don't have to make all that person's mistakes over again. You can do it gracefully, efficiently. It is possible to establish a Community of world-wide influence stemming directly from you. That's not speculation any more. It's been done. Actually there are one hundred or more such Communities already spreading widely from specific individuals, many of whom are in this Conference. Many of you know that you're people of great influence. You haven't always known quite what to do with it or how to use it rapidly. This morning I will tell you exactly. I can tell you exactly how to do it so that your world Community will grow rapidly. In your case it will not take thirty-five years. I don't know exactly how long it will take. Six months? Well, a year perhaps; but do not delay.

We do not know how fast the crisis is approaching. On the great graph of events there is a line coming down the chart, moving from the left plotted against time, like this. This is the line of the downward trend, the danger and threat of nuclear holocaust, moving toward disaster. This trend is real. Read any speech by any United States President. The trend is very real. There is another line, perhaps in brighter colors, moving up from the left of the chart like this. This is the line or graph of human confidence, responsibility, and rationality. Humans are becoming more aware, more informed, more independent. You, as a group of humans and the people with whom you are coming in contact, are moving very fast in this period, for certain accidental reasons and because of your efforts. We can be pleased that we are living and participating in these times when these things are happening. This graph is rising. The whole question is, will this rising graph of human confidence and rationality rise fast enough to intercept this falling graph of the downward trend and threatened disaster before the point of final disaster for our species and other complex forms of life. I think so, but I would not recommend wasting any time. It doesn't seem sensible to fool around and delay under these conditions when we have no guarantees as yet of what turn the future will take.

BE SMART, NOT TIRED

How will you build your Community? Not with great extra effort. I'm not proposing that you go to an eighteen hour day. I don't think so. I often work a sixteen-hour day and that's too much. It's not healthy. I'm going to cut down. I'm not proposing you put in extra hours. I'm not proposing that you run faster, unless you're taking it too easy on your exercise, in which case do that, but for fun. I'm not proposing that you worry more, I'm not proposing that you put any extra burden of any kind on yourself at all. I'm simply proposing that you take the knowledge and resources that you now have and, by decision, live every moment well.

No one of us can do any more. It's impossible for us to do more than live every moment well. You have a certain supply of moments. Each day you have twenty-four hours worth of moments. If you live every one of them well, in an aware sense, you will have done the ultimate. You can do no more. Will that have been enough? Yes. It has to have been.

What do you want to do with your moments? Do you have any desire to live them poorly? To waste them? There's an old Victorian saying, "Count that day lost whose low descending sun sees from thy hand no worthy action done." A little stodgy but they were trying to say something. You would not want to waste one of your precious moments. You would not want to live it poorly. It's all in your own interest to live it well and you need do no more than that.

If we are living well, we are aware of all issues. We are aware not only of the itch that needs to be scratched right now or the next mouthful of food that we hunger for, but we are aware also of B-'s compatriots in Nicaragua fighting for their independence. We are aware also of the machinations of the imperialist puppets' patterns that play their silly games across the checkerboard of power politics. We are conscious of the great untapped resources of the people and we know what we can do and we do what we can.

We will learn to eliminate nuclear armaments while we eat our breakfast and chat with our friends. That's all that we will have to do.

How will we relate to the people around us? (From this morning on, I trust.) We will have attention for the people that we meet, the people that we spend time with. We don't have to rush out and seek a new population. We already spend time with people; with our children, with our families, with our neighbors, with our co-workers, with our fellow bus-riders. Whatever the contact is, we turn toward that person an interested, positive, aware, attention-paying attitude.

Have we always done this? No. People in this group have done it sometimes, I think. Probably everyone here does it part of the time. But we haven't always done it. What have we been in the habit of doing instead? Shall I say the revolting truth? We've been trying to be clients, unawarely, unhappily, trying to be clients with unaware people who aren't going to be our counselors.

I ask, of course, that you give up forever this attempt to get counseling from the untrained, unaware population. It hasn't worked yet. It's never going to work. It has spoiled our precious moments. It has wasted our moments and it has spoiled our relationships with people.

Are people ready to love you and be cooperative and supportive and enjoy you and like you if you are always positive and attentive and helpful? If we treat each person with attention, with assistance in keeping their attention away from past distresses and model for them by keeping our own attention away from our own past distresses, each such person will be pleased with us.

We will be delighted with all persons. We will have high expectations of them. We will be confident for them. We will be supportive to them over a great range, a spectrum of supportiveness.

WIDE RANGE OF INVESTMENT 

In talking to other workshops about this range, I have used two examples as endpoints. Once I got a glimpse of how willing G- was to do whatever was necessary to re-emerge I decided that I would be at her disposal no matter what I had to do, whenever it was at all possible. I've carried that out pretty well. G- and I have had some mammoth sessions. She's the best client I've ever seen. If I can figure out a direction that will take her out of her material she will look at me through heavy discharge and ask the question, "Are you supporting me through this?" and I say, "Yes!" and she lowers her head and butts down the brick walls. She has done marvelous work and I've given her full support and for the rest of my life, if G- ever wants anything from me, she has only to crook her little finger. I've made that full commitment, wisely I think. I will do something similar for as many of the rest of you as I can.

The other end-point is someone with whom I could spend only a few seconds. The first time I did a workshop at Newcastle-Upon-Tyne I walked toward the meeting room one morning, and passed an old gardener, gnarled and bent, taking care of beautiful beds of roses outside the building. I stopped for a moment and told the old man, "You bring great pleasure to all of us with those lovely flowers. Thank you." He looked startled and mumbled something and I went on. I had only that second to spend with him; but every morning of the workshop after that he was out there waiting for a good word. In the two seconds of time available, I was able to express a correct attitude toward a fellow human.

In between the end-points of G- and the gardener there's a vast spectrum of opportunities to be with people in a good way. I propose we take whatever opportunity there is. Whatever time and resource we have to give when we are with that person, we spend it liking them, encouraging them, appreciating them, exhibiting confidence for them, helping direct their attention away from past distress, and modeling for them how a human being can really function.

If you do this for a few days what's going to happen to the people around you? They're going to draft over to you. They're going to want to be with you. They're going to say to each other, "That's an unusual person with an unusual attitude. I thought at first she was going to try to sell me insurance, but apparently she's just nice." People will be rewarded by their contact with you. They will seek the contact with you.

This doesn't mean you have to spend all your time listening to them. You're in charge of your life. You can lock the door. You can excuse yourself and go to the toilet. You can say, "I have something I have to do right now." There are a thousand ways of managing your time in the face of the great urge of people to claim and use your attention.

All around you will be a growing group of people who look to you for modeling and example. It won't be all smooth and easy, of course. Your new constituency will test you. If they are going to believe in you, they have to know that you have some constancy. So, if you come into the office or shop all cheerful and bubbling about three days in a row, the fourth day someone's going to drift over and say, "What are you so blankety-blank happy about?" If you forget your own role, you can wilt and think, "I'm not going to do this anymore." But of course, the person is only testing you. "Have you really got the stamina to back up this positive attitude" is his question.

If you say, "Oh, a whole number of things. Meeting you, Mr. K., is one of them" (laughter), the river will continue to flow.

AN UNINTERRUPTED TURN

When you are with two or more people, you will arrange time (using your counseling skills), so that each of them gets a turn being listened to without interruption. If you're in a car pool on the way to work, when the fourth person in the car pool arrives you say, "Did you have any dreams last night, Ann?" She may say, "That's strange you should ask," and begin to tell. If Tony in the front seat interrupts and says something sarcastic, you say, "Shush, Tony, I want to hear this." You move to see that she gets attention without interruption. As she tells her dream, Tony may come up with three more interruptions, and you may have to say, "Keep quiet, my friend. I want to hear this. You'll get your turn," or whatever is appropriate to say to Tony. When Ann is through, you say, "All right, Tony, what was your dream?" He may not tell a dream, but he'll hand out something that he wants to be listened to about.

After three or four times like this your intervention will not be necessary. They will have experienced the tremendous worth of being listened to without interruption and they will enforce it themselves; but you will have to start.

Whenever you're with a person, you will be fully human, will be interested in the person, act as a model, and give the person attention to the extent that the situation permits.

Whenever you're with two or more people and you're not having to keep an assembly line at Chrysler going or something preoccupying like that, you will be organizing a support-group atmosphere. You will do this at the coffee break, in the car pool, on any social occasion. Why do people go out on a social occasion? In the extreme hope that somebody will organize a situation where they can be paid attention without interruption. That's what it's all about. If you'll manage things so this happens a few times, it will become their own precious procedure.

START TWO-WAYING EARLY

Among all the people you pay attention to, someone will seem a little more bright-eyed than the rest, a little more understanding, a little more appreciative. At an appropriate point, you say to this person, "George, could you listen to me for a couple of minutes? There's something I need to think about out loud, so I can think well. It helps if you listen to me. You don't need to say anything or do anything. Just listen to me. Okay?" If he says yes, or at least if he doesn't say no, you go ahead. For two minutes you talk about an interesting problem, something real but not necessarily hugely important. Do not plunge into heavy discharge or dramatizing because if you do, when you open your eyes, he may have disappeared over the nearest hill. Do not frighten people in an effort to impress them. Let them learn a step at a time.

Talk interestingly for two minutes and when the two minutes is up, no matter how tempted you are to keep going, say, "Thank you. That helped. I can think better when someone listens to me. May I listen to you for two minutes?"

If George says, "Yes" then you listen to him for two minutes. If George says, "No, no, I don't need to be listened to," you listen to him for two minutes. He may explain for two minutes why he doesn't need to be listened to but he will drift into talking about the things that he needs to talk about.

Such a person will one day tell you, "You know, I enjoy this taking turns listening we've been doing. It makes a real difference in the day. I wonder why people don't always do this." Around you will grow a group of people who are learning to Co-Counsel in this simple easy way.

Even at this stage you must be prepared to take credit yourself for the ideas which you are using. If you give in to your embarrassment and academic conditioning and say, "It's something I belong to" or "Heh-heh, it's something that this fellow in Seattle thought up," you will put a block in the way of the person hearing you which will not be there if he can consider these things to be your ideas. Later, when they have become his ideas, it won't matter. He will be eager to learn more from any source.

INTRODUCE THE LITERATURE WISELY 

At some point the requests for information will become so frequent that you can offer one of the eager people a carefully chosen piece of literature. Say, "These people seem to be trying to do some of the things we are doing. Will you take a look at it and see if you think we can learn anything from them?" If the response is, "No. I think we do things much better than these RC people," you have passed your first test of being the superior leader of a new world movement.

Then offer the literature to someone else. Somewhere along the line our excellent literature (and our literature is excellent) will set fire to their imaginations. Somewhere along the line people will want to read more and more and more.

Our literature is the sum of thousands of people's most excellent thinking. Even the part that bears my name as author, I gleaned from your brains, in thousands of sessions, hundreds of classes and hundreds of workshops and topic group reports. This is the best thinking of many people put together in a way that has never occurred before. The great thinkers of the past, Lao Tse, Moses (or J., the author who actually wrote the first four books of Moses), Marx, Mao, Einstein often did much of their work in great isolation. Modern scientists often know enough to communicate with each other. They organize congresses where they can talk to their peers about their research. They are unanimous in their opinion that the money spent in sending them to international congresses is well-spent in that it enhances their thinking.

We have our literature in which we found a way to bring together the elegant thinking of thousands and thousands of us from every walk of life, from every corner of every culture. (How thrilled all of us were to see Chris Peacock's story in print in the current issue of Present Time. I don't know how many of you have told her how pleased you are, but for heaven's sake do tell her, because I want her to write a lot more. We now have our first glimpse into what Aboriginal oppression and liberation are about.) Somewhere along the line your people are going to become excited about the literature.

STILL AN RCER 

As I've talked with some of you about the building of your own communities, you have said, "But I want these people to be connected with RC. RC is very dear to me and I want them to share it." I agree. RC is a good deal. I think it's just excellent. And your people will become RCers, the ones who are ready for it.

Many of you, who have stepped out into the wide world and attempted leadership, have found that people are ready to elect you chairperson of the wide-world organization very quickly because you can do things there that you've taken for granted in RC. Just so, the Community that you build around yourself, your own world community, spreading, spreading, spreading across the world will look to you for leadership, and you will train many additional leaders and the most alert, more aware, most eager of them will come into our present RC Community.

Our present RC Community is going to change its nature. It's already changed its nature several times, but it's going to go on changing its nature as each of you begins leading your own World Community that will number ten members next month and one thousand next year, and a million two years after that. (Whatever your rate of growth is, and you'll each have different rates, of course.) As each of you lead your own world community, your association with each other in this existing community, the one that I started, will become more precious to you.

Hasn't the experience of being with each other at this World Conference been beyond price? You couldn't buy this experience for ten billion dollars, because you had to do your work of becoming a leader to be here in the first place. A lot of effort had to precede our gathering people from all these countries and dozens of races and scores of cultures, and being able to be together and relate in the way we do. This fellowship and sisterhood which we share here will remain very precious to us and many more people will be joining us.

In the future we will not be coming together as one general, a bunch of colonels and captains, and a few privates. We'll be coming together as a conference of generals of armies, Armies of the Smart and Good, Armies of the Light. We'll be coming together, each representing our own world communities. They may not all be world-sized at any particular step but will be heading in that direction.

DISTORTIONS CAN BE UNDONE

One factor might discourage you, if I do not warn you about it beforehand, if you believe everything I say and go try it. This factor is that the important ideas you have to communicate can get distorted in the process of communication. You will have said that two plus two equals four. You will have said it very clearly. Then you may find that some person to whom you said this, is teaching that two plus two equals four point three. Then you may hear that some of that person's disciples are saying that two plus two is an indeterminate, indecipherable entity. There's no occasion for despair. As long as patterns exist (maybe even after they quit existing), communication will become contaminated. I have heard myself quoted, over and over again, to the exact opposite of what I said. People have attacked me, some with fanatic righteousness, charging me with having said the exact opposite of what I did say. Patterns have that effect. Do not be too discouraged.

There is a science called information theory. It's not a very old science. Claude Shannon at the Bell Laboratories. did the first work on it back in about the 1930's, I think, when I was already a young man. But it's a good science and it has a lot to do with our having good long-distance telephone service and good electronics. When this work began, it seemed that information, in being transmitted, would necessarily become degraded, would acquire "noise." Information does become contaminated in communication. It was accepted at first that this was an inevitable, irreversible process, that the more you communicate, the less clear your communication's going to be. An example is the old game of gossip, where people sit in a circle and whisper a message from one person in the circle all around the circle and then the last person who hears it says what he or she heard out loud. It's a funny game because what comes out at the end often has little to do with what went in at the beginning. This was regarded as a model of what had to happen in communication.

As information theorists began working carefully, however, they found there was no necessity for contamination of correct information to proceed unchecked. They found that it was perfectly possible to recover correct information from contaminated information. It's perfectly possible to take the "noise" out. Long-distance telephoning, for example, uses one solution to this, with certain circuits at least. Every message is sent several times at great speed and then all the versions are compared and any elements that are not in common to all the messages are filtered out and you have your original communication back, because the random contamination is gone.

As the information theorists worked on this, they began to realize that in human-to-human communication not only is information recovered, not only is the correct information recovered from the confused information, but sometimes the information is even enhanced. It's even more informative when it comes out than when it went in. Human intelligence has added to, and clarified, the original message.

We can see this in a simple example. Someone is standing beside me for a demonstration and I say, "What's your problem?" and the person says, "I have no confidence." So I say, perhaps, choosing to contradict with my tone of voice, "That's nice. Tell me, happily, that you have no confidence at all." And they say (gloomily), "I have no confidence at all."

I say, "Try it this way, 'I have no confidence at all (gaily),'" offering the filter of my tone of voice, and they say (trying to sound happy), "I have no confidence at all...well, that's not quite true. I know how to make a sponge cake real good." I say, "That's fine, tell me, 'I'm a good sponge cake maker.'" And the person says, "I'm a good sponge cake maker, ha-ha-ha (or whatever the discharge is)." Then he or she says, "But I have no confidence at all, except with sponge cakes." And I say, "Fine, tell me happily, 'I have no confidence at all except with sponge cakes.'" (The client tries to repeat this and discharges.) Then the client says, "That's not true. I keep a clean house. I am a good housekeeper. I really am." We continue, and soon he or she says, "Well, more correctly, I have had the feeling that I didn't have any confidence." (Laughter) If I am on top of my job, I ask her or him to say, "I used to have the feeling that I didn't have any confidence at all," and the person says, "Well, I guess that's true, I do feel I have some confidence now." The reality has been retrieved from the patterns. The "noise" has been eliminated.

Occasionally an Area Reference Person or a teacher in a growing Community has certain patterned behavior that upsets other people. So the Community, instead of growing, becomes absorbed with "What's wrong with the Area Reference Person?" Much talk. Much gossip. Another pattern leads the attack. The Community takes sides. They are handling momentous questions, they tell me. "We're really dealing with things here. We're going to get to the bottom of this." ("This" seems to be the question: Who's the worse clunk - the Area Reference Person or the leader of the opposition?) It seems very absorbing to the participants in the patterned way that much of the wide world spends its time. Sometimes I go to the Area and I try to adjudicate. I give both the combatants sessions. If that doesn't work I dissolve the Area, say, "You're all teachers Outside of Organized Areas. Leave each other alone and we'll see who can teach a good class. Don't you dare talk to each other." I try other different things. It is an important phenomenon to notice - that everybody in the Community can get caught up in factionalism, can get obsessed with what's wrong with whom, who's got the wrongest set of patterns. If, however, in the Region where that Area is floundering, I can find someone to be Regional Reference Person who is rational enough that people can respect her, then people in the floundering Area start looking past the distress about the Area Reference Person and the leader of the opposition and see this person functioning well. They say to me, "I think we kind of lost track of some things. Could we have her come in and do a workshop, because I want to get back to learning RC?" If the new Regional leader comes and does a pretty good workshop, Co-Counseling begins again. They stop thinking in terms of battle and begin asking each other "What can we do to counsel these two people and get them out of this obviously irrational preoccupation with competing?" This has happened. I won't mention names.

If you have one roughly accurate model of how people ought to relate to each other, the correct policy begins to work in all kinds of ways. So, the contamination of our theory and policy as it spreads out from you into your own world community can be continually corrected.

LEARN FROM MISTAKES 

Will you make mistakes? Of course you will. No one does anything meaningful without making mistakes, because the detailed future is unpredictable. Thank God, the future's unpredictable. If we could predict it totally, our lives would be endless boredom. "I know which tunafish sandwich I'm going to take how many bites out of at next Thursday's lunch." You see?

The future is inherently unpredictable in detail and this suits our nature well, because we love new things. We love to find out new things. I remember the farmers and mechanics with whom I spent my youth. Over and over I would hear one of them say, "I learned something new today," with a tone of great satisfaction. "I learned something new today." Maybe the farmer had been to town and he heard some screwball come up with a screwball idea. But at least it was something new. It was better than the same bunch of brush and thistle in front of his doorstep growing the same way every year.

We'll make lots of mistakes. The more we accomplish, the more mistakes we'll make. At this point I proudly confess, before I do self-estimation tonight, that I think I make more mistakes than anybody else in the Community. You will make mistakes and you will learn from them.

STAY INDIVIDUALLY IN CHARGE 

At this point I charge you, individually, to not go home and become an interdependent group of leaders. Meet as chieftains, each with your own clan. Use the Wygelian form inside RC. Don't get together as a supervisor and Area Reference Person meeting with supervised teachers. We use the word "supervising" for counseling training but that is a completely different activity. Do not go home and get back into that. Meet as free chieftains in a Wygelian-type leaders' meeting, each with your own clan behind you. If your own clan consists of only you the first time you meet, well, listening to the others talking about their armies will motivate you to go out and scrape up a recruit or two very soon. If, by the next leaders' meeting, you only have two recruits, there's no basis for being ashamed or backward, as I think you could see in the Wygelian demonstration last night. You simply work well with two. So Diane works with thousands. So what?

You are each in charge of the entire universe. To live every moment well, to live the way you want to, you will need a world community. No one else is equipped to be the leader of that particular world community except you. If you thought I was the leader of your world community, it's time for an update. In a sense, of course, I have been the leader of my world community and you're all very welcome to remain in it, too, or to come back to it for rest and recreation. (Laughter) It's true. (Laughter) I hereby free you from any feeling that you have to help me build my Community instead of building your world community. Behave yourself when you're in my Community for rest and recreation or for a meeting, give me a hand with the housekeeping, and so on, but be sure to build your own. This Community of mine, since it was first, is going to be transformed into a gathering of eagles. Each of you will be coming here as a proud chieftain of your own clan, sharing information, offering mutual nurturance, on this level, but also an independent leader in your own right.

I think this World Conference will have failed if you do not hear and take seriously what I am saying this morning. All the rest of what we've done leads to this. (This includes the accidental beginning of counseling when exactly the correctly balanced desperate client fell into my lap and insisted on doing the right thing no matter how many times I tried to help him do the wrong thing, until I finally caught on a little bit.) All that has happened in Re-evaluation Counseling, all the mistakes and all the breakthroughs and all the brilliant insights and all the warm sisterhood and brotherhood we've had has been preparation for this step.

GRADUATION CUM LAUDE 

You have been good children. You're now grown up. From this moment on, I not only permit you, not only free you, but I charge you and demand of you as intelligent entities that you each build a world class Community around you. If you forget the steps I've outlined for doing it, read the article in Present Time again. If you lost your article in Present Time, call me. If you are trying to build your world community in good faith and sincerity and intelligence, I will even take a phone call from you, from anywhere in the world. I won't take a lot of them if it turns out to be a bad habit and a pattern of yours, but I will take some. I will share with you everything that I know; but you are on your own, now. Welcome back into consultation with the general staff anytime. You always have been my peers, of course, but I now publicly declare you my equals. You are not only my equals in effort and opportunity but you will be my equals in prestige and glory if we ever get any of that. You are, from now on, my equals in responsibility. Let's go do it.



Last modified: 2016-12-20 06:43:20-08