Report To The World-Wide Leaders' Meeting
July 28 -August 2,1995

For RC's most recent perspective on issues related to this article, see: Human Connections, and Sex

We exist in a real universe many billions of years old. We live on a planet several billion years old. The tendency existing within this universe to produce more and more complex relationships had reached the point here on Earth, after a billion or so years, of producing self-replicating compounds which came to have the characteristics of life. All forms of life share built-in goals of surviving, of reproducing, and of expanding their numbers. The universe's tendency toward complexity continued to operate within the field of living things, once they had appeared. With living things, this tendency took the form of evolution.. As a result of evolution, forms of life developed that had considerable independence of the environment even though they remained dependent upon it and closely connected to it. Animal life diverged in form and evolved in many different lines. One branch of animal life became mammals, and one branch of mammals, called primates, evolved toward the development of more and more complex nervous systems. As much as a million years ago, some of these primates began to approximate the form we call human, began to walk upright, create tools, and use fire in the preparation of food.

Somewhat later, several species of humans appeared. About a hundred thousand years ago, our present species appeared. For a time, our species coexisted with at least one other species of human. Particular characteristics of our species include a very large forebrain, physical equipment which makes speech and the development of language possible, and a physical structure that allows considerable development of unborn children before birth and requires persistent care of the children after birth. This extended care was necessary to allow the development of other abilities, such as being able to gather food for themselves, the mastering of speech, the learning of lore available from their elders, and producing new knowledge from their own experiences.

At this point we Re-evaluation Co-Counselors are now sure that the inherent nature of members of our species includes "goodness" (that is, being motivated not only towards survival, towards reproduction, and towards increase in numbers, but also towards the enjoyment of relationships with each other, the enjoyment of other forms of life, and the care and the improvement of the environment). This nature includes the complexity of the central nervous systems of our species. It is now recognized that this complexity is so great as to permit the evaluation by one individual human mind of as many as eleven trillion items of information per second (!)

Probably all human species that have existed in the past, and certainly our own presently existing species, have been enormously gifted with the possibility of being rationally intelligent. This great gift, however, is vulnerable to interruption by any experience of stress or distress, physical or emotional, and is vulnerable to the imprinting of rigid patterns of feeling "bad," of "pseudo-thinking," and of poor behavior, which are markedly different than our inherent functioning. This intelligence of ours is also vulnerable to these acquired rigid patterns persisting as "islands" of irrational functioning, even when our inherent flexible behavior has been re-assumed. This vulnerability has left humans capable of the loftiest, most elegant thinking and functioning but still subject to interruption and intrusions of irrationality. The two kinds of behavior compete for the control of the individual with some portions of rigid behavior dominating the individual intermittently through the phenomenon we call "restimulation," and some portions of the rigidity influencing and limiting the inherent rational behavior "chronically."

As part of the present population of approximately five and three-quarters billion humans, there exists a group of people who share (to varying extents) the knowledge of what we call "Re-evaluation Counseling" and cooperate with each other in various ways in its use. Our numbers are not well known by ourselves. An upper limit would certainly be a million or two individuals who share some of the knowledge and act in some of the ways that have come to be understood. Probably a hundred thousand individuals would be a lower limit for those whose lives have been changed and are being changed by possession of this knowledge.

However numbered or defined, we constitute a sub-group of the sub-species of homo sapiens sapiens. One of the characteristics that distinguishes us from the rest of the sub-species is that we are aware of the difference between the inherent rational behavior and the conditioned rigid behavior arising out of the distress recording phenomenon. Another difference that sets us apart is that to some extent our group of Reevaluation Counselors is deliberately seeking rational solutions to the problems which are threatening the well-being of ourselves, of the environment, and of the habitat. We seek these based on our understanding of the conflict between our inherent nature and the acquired irrational functionings which have been imposed upon us by accident, contagion, and oppression.

THE ROLE OF THIS GROUP

About a hundred and thirty of us are meeting here in the summer of 1995 to jointly examine our existence, our context, our achievements, and the challenges which need to be met for our planet's possible excellent future to come to fruition. Let us first take a look at who we are and where we stand.

Our "Re-evaluation Counseling Communities," which is the title we mostly use for our common body and our joint efforts, are in good shape from some points of view. Forty-five years after some accidental circumstances furnished a glimpse of the possibilities for living rational, cooperative, successful lives on a thriving planet, we have attained at least a hundred thousand individuals who are cooperating to some extent in the attempts to move our species and our planet in a rational direction. One valuable characteristic is that our deliberately loosely-organized Communities are volunteer efforts. No one is having their motives corrupted by the universal pressure of the present societies to make a "profit" out of every activity. People are paid for actual extra effort in teaching a class, or leading a workshop, or working fulltime giving intensive counseling, or for editing, typesetting, and distributing literature, but the vast bulk of our efforts to advance our common goals are volunteer efforts, are labors of love, uncorrupted by the pressures to "make money" out of our activity.

We have several hundred leaders able to take individual responsibility and initiative, to "get things going," to become experts in solving the problems of particular oppressed groups of people, to organize workable structures and contact among substantial numbers of people. Among these present leaders are eighty Regional Reference People, who now share and carry out many of the leadership functions that had be be handled by only one individual a relatively few years ago.

We have thirty-six liberation leaders competent and experienced enough to be looked to and followed by large constituencies in the RC Communities (and often by very large groups in the general population). Our Community is operating to some extent in eighty two countries, and the number of countries involved continues to grow. We have about two hundred and eighty Area organizations functioning, with people who have been chosen thoughtfully to be Area Reference People and Alternate Area Reference People. We have over five hundred teachers outside these Organized Areas who have been credentialed to teach Reevaluation Counseling, to keep the agreements between us which are spelled out in the Guidelines, and to develop new teachers and leaders systematically We have very general agreement among our hundreds of leaders that a crucial part of each leader's responsibility is to replace herself or himself by training an endless supply of fresh new leaders.

We are publishing twenty-seven theoretical journals as the information and the readership constituencies accumulate and develop. The last issue of Present Time, our general journal, was the hundredth issue since the Community was organized. We have published nineteen books, forty-one pamphlets. We have translated important parts of our literature into thirty languages.

We have substantial beginnings of our Communities in the most populous nations in the world, but we also have meaningful functioning groups in some of the smallest countries of the world. We have become effective publishers, have learned the use of computers, are adept at the use of long-distance telephoning, are beginning to use electronic mail skillfully, have put some of our literature on the Internet, and are learning ways to make our literature available and easily used by a wide variety of populations.

We have tackled boldly and intelligently the elimination of the oppression of women, of men, of children, of young people, of young adults, of elders, of disabled people, of indigenous people, of people who have been victimized by racism by classism, by anti-Semitism, by anti-Arabism, and by anti-Asian prejudice. Co-Counseling is functioning on every continent with the exception of Antarctica, and it may be functioning there without our knowledge.

Our Community is always short of money and has hundreds of places to profitably use any money that comes in to us, but the Community is financially stable, is not in debt, and is learning to adapt its activities to the needs and hardships and difficulties of every culture and population that it reaches into. The Community has endured dozens of vicious attacks springing from the most thoughtless and oppressive forces in our society, and, as it has survived, has become less and less vulnerable to disruption by these attacks. We are in very good shape as we meet here in August, 1995.

We have had the advantage of consistent leadership by one person in a key position throughout our history, and the people that have grown ready to assume these responsibilities when he retires are fully competent.

THE DEVELOPMENT OF KNOWLEDGE, SKILLS, AND UNDERSTANDING OF THE COUNSELING PROCESS ITSELF

We have learned that the basic recovery process, which allows a human being to become free from the patterns of sub-human functioning left by experiences of distress, involves the physical processes of crying, trembling, laughing (with a cold skin), raging, laughing (with a warm skin), yawning, talking (in a nonrepetitive manner), and relaxed laughter (following the non-repetitive talking). We have used the word "discharge" as an overall term for all of these processes. (They tend to occur [roughly] in the order of the preceeding sentence except that the yawning will occur at any point in the progression of the emotional discharges.)

Our basic discovery forty-five years ago was that if two people (or more) took turns listening to each other with intelligence and attention for extended periods, discharge would ensue, and the people listened to would regain substantial amounts of the most excellent human characteristics, such as intelligence, kindness, cooperation, and ableness. This continues to be the overall description of our functioning. What we learned to do in those first periods still "works," but we have learned to allow it to work and to enhance its working to a much greater degree. Whenever we take thought, we know once more that any human being, no matter how vicious and destructive his or her apparent behavior, if reached in some way that will always exist and be possible to be discovered, and listened to with respect, will find a way to cry, shake, laugh, storm, talk thoughtfully, yawn, and act and, persistently supported, will, step by step, regain his or her human potential.

I am occasionally contacted by someone who learned Re-evaluation Counseling in the first few months of its existence and then lost future contact for the decades in between but who has, in the interim period, faithfully used the primitive methods that we knew to begin with. Such persons are very excited to describe the continual improvements in their lives that have happened as a result. Our first long-ago insights still work. We have rarely launched a way of counseling that we've had to substantially correct later on. Now, however, the possibility of rapid, complete re-emergence is appearing on the horizon.

Early counseling invited the client to put his or her attention on the distress and tell the listener about it, unawarely depending on the "contradictions" furnished by the listening itself or other accidental portions of the counseling situation to produce the discharge which transforms the patterned-dominated part of one's mind back to the freely-operating "genius" type of functioning. The big shift in the ensuing years has been the realization that putting attention away from the distress is far more effective than the best results of putting attention on the distress, and our most recently discovered series of techniques tend to be brilliant variations of doing just that. Making the complete distinction between our real human natures and our accumulated distresses continues to be the core of our daily efforts toward "reemerging all the time." If you remember the article, "Don't Take It Personally," you undoubtedly remember what a difference that made in your view of your past as you allowed the obvious (once you noticed it) knowledge to sink in.

The last of the long series of developing techniques that seemed to put attention on the distress was the one that gave the appearance of so doing but actually furnished a forceful exit from the preoccupation with the distress by seeming to heap it on the counselor. This technique was a turning point for many of us in that all the distresses whose discharge had been frustrating us seemed to be blasted away at a great rate by the discharge the client gained while "threatening" the counselor in the way that he or she felt that he or she had been mistreated. This has continued to develop new possibilities when applied to the distresses left by being oppressed. You can see this in demonstrations which begin with "I'm not Jewish, Harvey. You are! And I'm going to Holocaust you. I'm going to __," or "I'm not a woman, Harvey. You are, and I'm going to treat you the way society treats all women. I'm going to _."

Next, chronologically, came the "innocent" question, "Why do you love me, Harvey?" An enormous amount of discharge resulted, apparently from using as a contradiction the still-existing knowledge wrapped within the occluded thinking of the client that the client deserves love and that it must be the inherent nature of human beings to love each other. The reassurance apparently "sneaks in" to the client's thinking by having the client ask the counselor to say why he or she loves the client rather than any phrase that allows the intrusion of doubt.

Then came the Reality Agreement, which opened the door to the phenomenon of people discharging as they went about their regular business. They did this as they learned to keep their promise that they would view all phenomena affecting them only from the standpoint of the actual reality. This meant the attempted intrusion of any distress was quickly converted to discharge.

The discussion, still making its way into the minds of many Co-Counselors, of the possibility that the past was completely good needs much more persistent application than it appears to have gotten, but, as far as

I can judge by the letters and other communications about it, it has moved people ahead a great deal.

The phrase, "You and me, Harvey, completely Close, forever," had much the same effect on distresses piled up by isolation as the question, "Why do you love me, Harvey?" had upon the distresses piled up around failures to receive love.

Now I am introducing a technique that I think will give us insights into many other areas of possible work. I invite you to think about and create your own parallel techniques as you see the demonstrations. This is the simple repetition of a very clear statement which is a proclamation of a small zone of reality. ("It sometimes happens that someone likes somebody." Other such statements, obviously true, understated, and expressions of positive reality, can easily be devised.) This leads in a subtle way to non-attention to the distress incidents that we came to counseling so compulsively eager to "talk about."

PROBLEMS STILL REMAINING TO BE TACKLED

There are a number of areas of re-emergence policy which we have not as yet faced or done the necessary thinking about.

One of these is setting high enough standards for ourselves on the questions of integrity and of courage. I can remember when small school children like myself, at least in the relatively old-fashioned communities where I lived, were encouraged, even exhorted, to adopt the goal of completely courageous behavior under all conditions. This apparently was because during the emergence of new societies in the past (capitalism emerging from and replacing feudalism), it has sometimes been in the interest of emerging societies to encourage high standards of courage and honesty.

The current society, now in the last stages of collapsing, no longer encourages high ideals. In order to carry out its current despicable, oppressive, greedy goals, it has no need for "courageous heroes" except during war. It plays down such high ideals. It strives to condition the newer generations to be greed-motivated "consumers." All of us have been deluged with propaganda encouraging us to pursue "slick deals," to "get away with something," to "win the lottery," to humorously brag about "what a coward I am."

We Re-evaluation Counselors have not yet made a clear enough distinction between the goals that this society and its culture push at us and what we know out of our own intelligence once we "take thought.If we think, we will know that human beings deserve to be able to trust one another completely. We will know that seeking individual gain or profit at others' expense (the entire program of this exploitive society) is unworthy of us and will prevent the kind of relationships that will make our lives meaningful and deeply enjoyable.

We have made occasional efforts to remind each other of the lofty ideals that being intelligent, caring about our environment, and moving toward a free-from-oppression society require. In general, we have not kept emphasizing the importance of a high level of integrity, nor the necessity of courage in most of our discussions.

DISCHARGE EMBARRASSMENT, DON'T TOLERATE IT

I think we must act to stop operating on our embarrassment rather than discharging it. I wonder if, when we have cleaned up our lives completely, we will not realize that the beginning vulnerability to all the oppressions we have been subjected to has been the very early embarrassed invalidation left by "being made fun of" by adults and older children. I am afraid we have mostly learned to lie to ourselves rather than face and feel the humiliation which we will feel temporarily while we contradict the embarrassment and allow it to discharge.

I think this has also led to us acting embarrassed about the precious knowledge and perspectives that we share in RC. When we have encouraged people to "naturalize" RC by applying it in wide-world situations, it has often been interpreted as if we feel that we should be "embarrassed" about RC and "give it' another name" in order to help people to accept it. In this way we have often interfered with people, and especially with our young children, learning all the information they need about RC. We have left them instead with small, incomplete scraps of RC knowledge, which would tend in real-life situations to become unworkable without the missing information. I think it's time, for those of us who are functioning as well as almost everyone at this meeting is, to proclaim ourselves as "RCers" regardless of what other roles we are playing. RC is not a "cult." It is not a "belief." But it is something we know and use in our living and in our relationships, and in most conditions everyone around us should also know that we do.

I think it's time to call a halt to letting our embarrassments prevent us from presenting RC as a whole. I think it's time to go proudly public with this knowledge that we have. This knowledge will take some work to understand and take some discharge to be able to use well, and we should inform our friends that this is true, but also inform them that it will be a mistake for them not to make the effort to do just that. Our opinion that they would be very smart to make that effort should become and remain well-known.

THINKING WELL AND CLEARLY ABOUT PEOPLE WHO ARE DISABLED BY PATTERNS

I think we have to tackle formulating a correct and clear policy for and towards people who are "disabled by patterns." The inclusion movement which Micheline is leading has meant a great deal to many of us who have examined it and participated in it. Our practice and the practice of the people whom we influence may be lagging at making the inclusion program function well enough in this collapsing "dominated-by-corrupt-reactionaries" society, but I think most of us in RC are clear on its correctness. As far as physical disabilities or so-called mental disabilities ("retarded," "limited," "learning disabled") are concerned, we are feeling our way toward a correct position arising from the inclusion movement.

There is a whole, huge category of people who are disabled by patterns and then oppressed for their disability that we have sometimes not thought about at all, but certainly have not yet thought well enough about In preparing for this Conference, this thought nagged me a great deal. I have a little worry pattern that says, "You don't know how long you've got left, Buster." It waves my seventy-nine years at me when I argue with it. So I am a little afraid about leaving an RC movement behind me (if and when I go) with all the patterns that we will not yet have discharged, without our having at least thought out a clear policy in this respect.

The disabilities, and the oppressions coming down on the people who are disabled by patterns take many forms. These people fill the so-called "mental" institutions. They fill the prisons and re-fill the prisons. They are breaking rocks on chain gangs. Hundreds of them are awaiting execution on the "death rows" of our penitentiaries. They are called thieves, they are called gang leaders, they are called drug addicts, they are called rapists, they are called "serial killers." They "cannot hold a job." They are called "child neglectors." They are often cruelly violent to their children. They beat their wives. They are known as "shrews" and "henpeckers" and abusers of their husbands. They fill the hospitals with destructive illnesses that could have been avoided. They consume huge quantities of alcohol, smoke billions of cigarettes.

None of these people wanted to be in these conditions, although in the uninformed view they now often "seem" to be compulsively attached to them. They were born, or at least conceived, just as dear and good and brilliantly wonderful and intelligent as the "best" human that we have memory or tradition of in human history. The hurts came from outside, very occasionally by accident, but usually through the receiving of hurts from other patterned humans' misfunctioning. Until we were able to reveal the mechanism of distress patterns it was understandable that people despaired of finding a successful solution to this intense misfunctioning and participated in terrible measures of physical punishment, isolation, drugging, or even execution of these desperate people.

We know very well from our own experience in changing our own functioning through discharge and re-evaluation that such people are completely redeemable if the information that we are gaining and the resources necessary to counsel such people were made available and put into action.

The collapsing society and its "driven" leaders work to "blame" these victims and blame the "bleeding-heart liberals" who object to death penalties and bigger prisons as "solutions," but these leaders of society are themselves terrified at the threat of violence arising even in their secluded estates and among their own children.

We must begin to think about this crucial problem. We must brush off and polish up our courage and our integrity and discharge the patterns which have been imposed upon it. We must take a firm stand that the problem is solvable and that the knowledge of Re-evaluation Counseling can be developed and extended enough to solve it. We must begin to tackle some elements of this widespread oppression and begin to demonstrate in practice the possibility of workable solutions. No person is outside the reach of our caring. No person, no matter how distressed, is beyond being thought about successfully. We must clean up our practices and our policies and extend them to embrace everyone.

AN ENTERING-WEDGE DISCUSSION TOWARD FACING AND DISCUSSING THE WIDER PROBLEM

An entering wedge to the discussion of this wider phenomenon can be a discussion of the attitude of Re-evaluation Counseling toward people who seek sex with people of the same gender as themselves. Some of these people identify themselves as "Gay" or "Lesbian" or "bisexual." These people are oppressed by society in thousands of ways.

As a result of resisting the oppression as best they can and thinking as well as they have been able to do, they have tended to put forward a "policy" that actual sex with a member of the same gender is "rational," that it is just one of the "natural" forms of sexual activity and is "just as rational" as any other participation in sex.

Re-evaluation Counseling under my leadership has never concurred with this. I had worked successfully with too many clients who "identified" themselves as Gay or Lesbian or bisexual before the Communities were founded to be confused about that. I could not compromise my intelligence to accept that position. Every Gay person I worked with had a completely unique expression of their "gayness." The distortion of their sexuality was always a literal expression of the distress experiences that had occurred to them in this area.

Officially and in the writings of Re-evaluation Counseling, it has always been stated that.

  1. Re-evaluation Counseling opposes the oppression of Gay people as completely wrong
  2. We in Re-evaluation Counseling have a responsibility to find ways to help the individuals saddled with the patterns that lead to this activity to discharge and remove such patterns,
  3. We in Re-evaluation Counseling cannot compromise with any "identification" of the person with a pattern which pushes the individual towards participation in sex with people of his or her own gender. We do not concur with any identification of oneself as Gay, Lesbian, or bisexual as ultimately "rational." (Participation in same-gender sex, and identifying oneself as Gay, are two separate activities that sometimes occur together, but not necessarily.)

It is also clear that identifying as Gay, Lesbian, or bisexual can temporarily be a helpful contradiction to the isolation and oppression. Few wide-world constituencies have developed the degree of support and contradiction to most distresses that some parts of the Gay/Lesbian/Bisexual community have done in recent years. In many places and activities in these communities both the goodness of the Gay/Lesbian/Bisexual person and copious discharge are validated and encouraged.

Participation in same-gender sex arises only out of the individual having been hurt and left with a distress pattern by that hurt experience or experiences.

The oppressive forces in society, in making propaganda against people who participate in same-gender sex, loudly and "righteously" portray sex with a member of one's own gender as outstanding in its irrationality, as horrifying, as unholy, and label it with any other negative descriptions they are able to construct and express.

Is same-gender sex carried out between "consenting" adults that "bad"? It is harmful in its effects upon the people involved, as is any rehearsal of a distress pattern, but it is not, in general, more "bad" or "worse than" the ridiculous patterns which have become attached to much heterosexual sex (the many varieties of which range from fetishes to violence and back). It is not "necessarily" more irrational nor perhaps even as irrational as the condemnation patterns rehearsed by the people who perpetuate the oppression of Gay people by condemning them and attacking them. It is not "more irrational" than the great variety of patterns attached to heterosexual sex which are tolerated and practiced in these oppressive societies and cultures under such slogans as "the privacy of the marriage relationship" or "what happens between two consenting adults.". That much is clear.

(The introduction of young people to same-sex sexuality, which is sometimes mistakenly defended by practicing Gay men or Lesbians with the claim that the young person is being "helped to discover his or her own 'true nature"' is, of course, indefensible. It is a cruel betrayal of the young person and is introducing him or her to a completely unnecessary burden in his or her future life, but the damage done is not necessarily any worse than the "seduction" of a young person to heterosexual sex, which is commonly and correctly recognized as a crime in almost all cultures.)

We do understand that there are people for whom "identifying" for some period of time does function as a contradiction to the isolation, the invalidation, and sometimes to the separation from one's own gender.

As oppressive societies more and more increase the isolation of the members of their populations, the possibility of being deeply close to a member of one's own gender is a strong motivation to "partner" with someone of one's own sex. Relationships between people of the same gender have been increasingly labeled by the society as "sexual," and the confusion, misunderstanding, and the sexism rampant between people of different genders adds to the apparent desirability and the comparative safety and ease of a close partnership with someone who "understands" one's own experiences.

One defense of the "rationality" of same-gender sex often put forward by people who identify as "Gay" is that the "homophobia" (fear of being physically and emotionally close to members of your own gender), which is conditioned on almost everyone by our current cultures and by the oppressive society, is more destructive of people's happiness and their ability to get along with each other even than the stresses which tend to accompany lives lived as Gay men or as Lesbians. This position has considerable validity. Homophobia is a completely irrational distress, semideliberately installed by the society and its culture in order to disunite people who might otherwise unite against the many other oppressions enforced by the society.

It is completely rational, beneficial, and joyful for a woman to be close to another woman or a man to be close to another man. This is our inherent, natural way of functioning, and it is a state that people regain with eagerness when helped to discharge the conditioning put upon them by the cruel society. This rational closeness, however, has nothing to do with sexual feelings or activity.

As I said before, I had successfully counseled a large number of people who had called themselves Gay men, Lesbians, or bisexuals in the twenty years before the Communities were organized. (Remember, the Communities are only twenty-five years old at this point.) As the Communities became organized, I proclaimed the position from my experience with the earlier clients that sexual activities with members of the same gender as oneself and identification of oneself with this role were irrational, needed to be discharged, and could be discharged completely. A series of international meetings confirmed my position as policy for Re-evaluation Counseling.

However, as Gay people in the wide world began to organize to try to fight the vicious, unremitting, and cruel oppression directed at them, they tended to adopt the position in their organizations that same gender sex is "just as rational" as heterosexual sex is. In wide-world work against this oppression a kind of a truce was struck between the wide-world Gay liberation forces and Re-evaluation Counseling that we would not argue with each other publicly about this point but concentrate on uniting to resist the oppression. This policy has proven correct.

As large numbers of "Gay" people sought participation in our Communities they tended to bring this mistaken "policy" in with them, and there have been a number of controversial episodes where such people were sometimes supported in their arguments by a few RCers who, out of a "politically liberal" pattern, tended to value "peace-through-compromise" ahead of correctness.

I want to clarify and do the necessary demonstrations to make it plain that "identifying" with any activity which is not inherently rational is a mistake. That isn't the only mistaken policy from the wide world that tends to intrude into our Community, but this one is a factor in the Community, because, for a number of reasons, people who identify as Gay need to join RC. They need to use it, they need to participate in it, and they have played many good roles in the general activities of RC.

(Meeting break Resuming the meeting later.)

Tim suggests we have sessions at 8:45 tonight on how to work on all the odd notions that all people tend to have about how to have sex. I'll try to do a demonstration about it. I've never done a demonstration like this one will be, but I will be glad to try. (Mostly everyone is so drowned in embarrassment about sex and anything related to it that they can't think at all.) I want some of you to search your souls and think if you can be completely courageous and completely honest on this subject in order to be a good (though terribly embarrassed) client in such a situation. Put a silver check on your forehead so I can know you are ready to be called on to work on this tonight I need at least one willing client who is eager to have his or her embarrassments slaughtered (discharged) in public. I do not want to leave this question without our taking a clear position on it, since this will be the opening toward our dealing with all the oppressions which are put upon people because they have been hurt and because they have patterns as a result. At the same time, I do not want this Conference to be taken over by the intense restimulation that even murmuring the word "sex" can bring up for people in this culture and thus take everybody's attention away from all the other important parts of our work. That's my proposed compromise. We'll work on it tonight.

(8:45 that night)

[A man volunteered who has a very "traditional" attitude toward sex, who's perfectly respectable, and, to start with, composed and relaxed. He is as "normal" about his sexuality, his experiences, and his attitudes as one could hope to find if one conducted a rigorous continent-wide search. When asked to examine and describe in detail what happened in a sexual experience which he remembered as a positive one and in which nothing "abnormal" of any kind seemed to have occurred, he found himself inundated with enormous embarrassment and fear, which he bravely challenged and discharged well as long as the time available permitted. He himself seemed to be completely astonished at how much distress was piled on every detail and aspect of trying to relate in the most customary and traditional ways to a sexual partner. Following the demonstration, the people listening to and watching the demonstration expressed similar astonishment at how covered with distress they realized everything in their own attitudes and experiences had been.]

(The report continues.)

I have kept getting reminders that I didn't finish the presentation of our Community's policy on sex with people of the same gender. The policy of the RC Communities on this question was established a long time ago and has been reviewed and re-stated many times. Stating it succinctly, it consists of:

(1) Principled and deep opposition to any oppression of people who practice sex with people of their own gender or of people who identify themselves as Gay men, as Lesbians, or as "bisexuals." Any such oppression is completely wrong, and the Communities win organize and carry out all possible activities to end and to lift that oppression.

(2) A position that participation in sex with a human of your own gender is based on distress. It arises only out of distress experiences in the past. The distress out of which it arises can become unoccluded (if it has been occluded) and can be completely discharged.

(3) The Community assuming a responsibility, which it has so far met only in part, to learn to furnish skillful enough and effective enough counseling for people with these patterns that they can become completely free of them.

It is plain from a lot of experience (and a lot of work done by RCers who in the past had identified themselves as Gay men, as Lesbians, or as "bisexuals"), that the distress situations which have left these patterns on these human victims are extremely varied and that there is no uniformity in the patterns that arise out of these distress experiences.

Because of these distresses' becoming connected to a basic survival drive inherent in human beings, which is to participate in sex for the survival of the species (comparable to the basic survival drive to eat food for the survival of the individual), it can be very difficult for the involved individual to separate the distress from the activity It is easy to understand why people have had difficulty in discharging these distresses completely, just as they have observably had a great deal of difficulty completely discharging distresses connected to eating. The two inherent survival drives apparently get latched into and furnish "strength" to the compulsions that arise out of distress experiences connected to sex (and distress experiences connected to eating).

In discussions like this, I am often asked: "What do we expect of people who still have these feelings? Are they to be forced to stand up and say that they agree with the policy of the Community when they don't yet feel that they do agree with it?" No. We want agreement with the Community's policies to come out of re-evaluation (not out of enforcement). This has turned out for some people to be very difficult. We do expect such individuals to counsel on these distresses and agree to consider in their counseling (when afforded effective counseling from an effective counselor) that it is possible that the Community's policy, to which they may still feel opposed, may be correct. I think this agreement will be sufficient

Difficulties around this question have not, in general, arisen because people who have identified this way have refused to be counseled. The problem has been that the Co-Counselors who are needed to counsel such people well are, in general, not re-emerged enough themselves and tend to still be affected by different kinds of distress in this area. One group is caught in the "homophobia" distress installed and reinforced by the society of viewing closeness between people of the same sex as shameful and disgusting. These people, when trying to be counselors, tend to "shut down" and not think well about their clients.

Another group of interfering distresses is attached to Co-Counselors who themselves have Gay feelings or compulsions and therefore cannot think objectively or clearly about helping such a client contradict his or her distresses and discharge well.

A third group of interfering distresses are those of a kind of "liberalism" which seeks "agreement" at any cost rather than having to work through the discharge of distresses to achieve reality.

For this distress to be discharged completely and for people to relaxedly come to agreement is by no means impossible. It has happened many, many times. There are many people in the present RC Communities who at one time felt it was rational to participate in sexual activity with members of their same gender and who have re-evaluated and come to agree with the Community's policy.

I think it is all right to say to this group of leaders which I am addressing that there are many people in our Communities, most of them excellent leaders, who for tactical reasons still speak of themselves as Gay men, as Lesbians, or as "bisexuals" when speaking to other Gay men, Lesbians, or "bisexuals" but don't have sex with a person of their own gender. Many of them have married and are raising children. Often they still lead in activities for the liberation of Gay people, and people who are still fighting these patterns cherish them and follow them loyally and support them in their leadership.

Any counselor starting out to help a client on these issues should be clear that enforcement or pressure against the client's opinion that the Gayness is his or her own "nature" will not work. "A man convinced against his will is of the same opinion still."

Co-Counselors who have not thought deeply about the issues involved in this discussion are going to be uncomfortable at first in supporting a firm position against someone else's distress pattern that the "someone else" identifies with. I do not want to try to make any such reader "comfortable." This is where your courage will have to come into play. It might help to remind you that if you take any position supporting a Gay person's stand that s/he is "naturally Gay" or "inherently Gay" you are abandoning the person to the compulsion and allowing the person to feel that s/he has no choice about living and defending the kind of life that is exposing him/her to all kinds of ignominy (ignominy rooted in other people's distress, of course) and to a sense of helplessness. I can tell you, by now, many individuals who have worked their way out of such an identification and activity have told me that my position has been a "life saving" factor in their re-emergence in this area.

At the present, substantial numbers of Gay people are occupying positions of leadership in the RC Community. Not all of these people at this point have reached agreement with the policy which I have outlined above. This situation often came about through the need of the Gay people to have the security and safety of the RC Community around them and through the eagerness of some non-Gay leaders, unaware of the issues I have been discussing, to take advantage of the quick availability of the Gay people. In general, Gay people are free enough of family and similar responsibilities to be able to put in a lot of time and a lot of work for the "convenience" of the overworked leader who pushes them towards leadership. This situation is not a very serious problem, but I take this opportunity to call for thoughtfulness about such appointments in the future. Such appointments should not be made simply because of "convenience." (Our official International Gay leadership is not being criticized here. They have in general been very thoughtful about not overloading the Community.)

(Perhaps something similar needs to be said about the continuing numerical domination of our leadership cadre by middle-class and owning-class individuals. These are good people. They are very good people in the main. It's understandable that a few of them have perhaps been very quiet about their class background in order to avoid unjustified resentments from the people economically-not-so-well-situated. As a whole, they are our valued leaders and a most precious resource. I think, however, that they will function better if they are helped to look at any patterned attitudes hanging over from their class backgrounds. They can be helped to shed any useless rigidities and be completely human in everything they do. I think the rest of us must think clearly and find a clear policy and supportive procedures for giving them a hand.)

How shall we begin? Shall we refuse to let Gay men, Lesbians, and "bisexual" people teach RC until they have shed these "identifications?" Shall we tell owning-class people who wish to lead that they must carry out their own program (worked out by them selves at their own workshops) of divesting them selves of unearned income (hopefully in the direction of financing the spread of RC) before they can be trusted with very lofty responsibilities in the Community? I don't think so. But I do think we need to have a clear policy, some rational standards, and some helpful procedures.

I think our own past can show us the way Large numbers of people in the past were smokers, that is, addicted to tobacco, when they came into RC. A decision was made, which subsequent results have certainly justified, that no one should appear as a representative of RC in such ways as teaching a class as long as she or he was still smoking. That was the proposal, that was made the standard. The action taken, however, was to simply require that the snicker commit himself or herself to giving up the addiction and to working on it directly when a client. It was required that the commitment be made publicly, and the individual was told that the Community expected him or her to report when the last cigarette had been smoked.

A few people, of course, have cheated. I know of perhaps six over a long period of time. But these few individuals who concealed their addiction and, in effect, were dishonest with the Community, were the only ones who did so out of thousands and thousands of RC teachers. Overall, not just the teachers and leaders, but the whole Community of RC has become notoriously non-smoking.

The discussion about Gayness is a place to begin thinking in the area of people disabled by patterns. Leading off from this beginning we must find a correct policy for a future society toward all the huge numbers of people oppressed by the society for the patterns that have been placed upon them - drug users, alcoholics, ne'er-do-wells, repeater criminals, "firebugs," child abusers, rapists. All these have to be inherently just as good and dear and valuable as the most innocent saint that we have any knowledge of. They are victims of distress, distress which was placed upon them against their will, by mistreatment, by other patterned victims, or by society. This distress is not their fault! The punishment and the condemnation which are heaped upon them because of their distresses never help them but only sink them deeper into the morass of the distress. I challenge all of you here to start thinking clearly on a thoroughgoing policy towards people "disabled by patterns."

(All of us, of course, have been "disabled by patters." None of us are as yet functioning as well as we would be if we were already functioning on our inherent nature. I am using the phrase in this discussion to indicate the people who have been not only disabled by patterns but also have been oppressed in various cruel ways for compulsively acting out the disabilities which resulted.)

(ed.: see Present Time No. 102 for an extensive discussion of the above policy.)

WOMEN ORGANIZING MEN

The campaign for women, with their relatively excellent state of organization in RC, to take the responsibility for organizing and leading a men's movement of a comparable strength to theirs has begun. I think this must continue. It has made a good start. I also call for the launching of two somewhat parallel campaigns. I call for people of color, who are now assuming considerable strength and numbers in RC, to take on the challenge of organizing and leading the white people in RC, particularly on the issues of racism and classism. I also call for the working-class people in RC to begin to take responsibility for organizing and leading the middle-class and owning-class RCers.

These two situations are similar to the situation between the women's movement and the men's movement. The men have been confused (and still are confused in large measure) about the chronic patterns of sexism that have been installed upon them. They have needed help in having these pointed out and contradictions offered and insisted upon for them. The women, on the other hand, are completely and sharply aware of every male sexist pattern that walks by. They talk them over endlessly among themselves, but for understandable reasons have not stepped forward until recently and said, "These are the things you must do to contradict your sexism, to discharge every remnant of it, and to clean up your membership in the human race." This is starting to happen, and the parallel situation between people of color and white people and the situation between working-class people and owning- and middle-class people can be improved in the same way.

OTHER CHALLENGES

There are a number of other challenges which need to be met in the wide world and which will be greatly expedited by RCers thinking clearly about, and forming policies about how to achieve them. One of these is the organization of "People's Federations" which will bring men, women, people of every heritage, people of every age group, people of every class together in a united front against the tiny handful of "oppressors," that is, the people who have been hurt and conditioned in such a way that their programs, which are dominating the operation of the society, are ruining all our lives. We must achieve unity against the "enemy" and have that unity operate in practice, even though we now clearly understand that the "enemy" will eventually be clearly revealed as patterns rather than the people the patterns are dominating.

The huge majority of people in every country are working-class, even though they have been propagandized successfully in large numbers (in some countries) to think that they are "middle-class" or "classless." The full energies of the oppressive society have been devoted in the years since World War 11 ended to destroying workers' consciousness of their class position and to destroying the organizations which the working class had constructed in previous years for its defense and progress. We need to begin to think well about policies that will restore class consciousness to the working class and which will restore effective organization to working-class people in all of the many activities of their lives including, of course, the labor unions. We need to think our way to the initiatives that will be accepted by our allies in the working class who are not yet in RC.

We need to do some creative thinking to help the working class around us take the initiative to create international working-class organizations to match and confront the highly organized international capitalist monopolies.

We need to find dependable ways to guarantee that in any public evaluation of the human situation, whether it is in newsprint discussions, television, email discussions, radio broadcasts, or in any election campaigns, there will be a complete program presented for meeting people's needs and ending oppression. Such a program needs to be correct, needs to be complete, and must evolve to be fearless enough that every issue that needs to be exposed and challenged is challenged and exposed. We must find ways for individuals with complete and completely correct programs to speak out and be heard in every election and comparable situation.

USE OF MODERN COMMUNICATION POSSIBILITIES

We have a World Wide Web site on the Internet which is offering RC information to anyone who contacts it, and people are working at solving the problems that limit how much information people can download from it. An existing discussion group, the RC LIST, has expanded its membership greatly I think the discussions being carried on it show the way to greatly accelerating the communication between RCers on all the frontier issues that have to be handled. I propose that we institute a number of such discussion groups dedicated to particular topics. One topic that we immediately need would allow RCers to read and discuss the existing information from the past about wide-world-changing movements. There is much to, learn from the experiences of the Paris Commune, the October Revolution, and Chinese Liberation. We also need to evaluate the proposals currently being made by small groups everywhere around the world. I think ongoing discussions about the realities of attempts at wide world changing (in the past) will lead to a rational program very quickly. Political programs can, in the future, be purged of their irrationalities by this type of discussion.

We need, of course, to remember that most of the people that need to be reached with our precious RC information are not connected to the Internet and will not be until our society is changed. They are necessarily preoccupied with food, with water, with finding jobs, with keeping hungry children alive, but if we can use the computer networks to get useful information to key people who can and will post our messages as leaflets in the local village square, then such resources can act for the benefit of all.

MY ROLE IN THE COMMUNITY

Those of you who received my most recent ILRP letter already know that my past practice of being available by phone to anyone at any time of the day or night is coming to an end. I intend to live indefinitely, but it is clear that I must limit parts of my past functioning if I wish to expand other needed parts and handle them well. I will continue to carry on as many of the functions which I have done in the past as I can, at least until I can train other people and help them have some experience in handling these functions. I hope to expand my time spent in writing, and through the use of the Internet, expand my contacts with people.

In this next period in my life, I will need the following support from the Community:

I will need quick access to several groups of activists within RC: certainly the Regional Reference People, probably the International Liberation Reference Persons, possibly the Area Reference People. I will need help in solving the financial problems presented so that eventually all these people are connected in some way to the Internet and so that there is a List Serve type discussion group organized for each of these groups so that I can communicate directly to the entire group in a few minutes. I will need substantial financial contributions from those RCers who have financial slack, to provide the computers, modems, and Internet access to those who do not already have them.

I will need personal, dedicated technical assistance for my writing that does not have to compete too intensively with the needs of the International office, of Personal Counselors, and of Rational Island Publishers.

I will need good counseling from competent, dedicated counselors.

All is well!

Harvey Jackins
Seattle, Washington, USA

Present Time No. 101, pp. 35-46


  1. International Gay, Lesbian, and Bisexual Workshop

Last modified: 2019-05-02 14:41:35+00