Opening of the 1997 World Conference of the Re-evaluation Counseling Communities

There are 142 delegates present at this World Conference. We have here a good sampling of the thinking that has been going on in the ninety-three countries in which there are RC activities. We'll be making some serious proposals to update our goals. We'll be discussing why we are making these proposals. There will be modifications in our Guidelines, and programmatic changes will follow from them.

The five billion humans presently alive on our planet are leading lives largely managed by an accumulation of distress patterns, which oppressive societies have been installing on us over the last six thousand years.

For about one million years, our species has possessed the capacity to be intelligent. However, that intelligence has been and is vulnerable to disruption and distortion. Rigid patterns of behavior replace the functioning of our intelligence when accidental hurts that remain undischarged create distress patterns which parasitize upon and temporarily replace the great capacity of our minds.

Over the last six or seven thousand years, class societies, based on greed patterns, have systematically contained and distorted the intelligent functioning of our species. These class societies have erected great superstructures of unreality and enforced them upon the members of the class societies as a substitute for intelligent thinking and as a tool for exploitation. Only in the last very few years have we come to clearly recognize this phenomenon and label it "pseudo-reality" in our discussions with each other.

There has been interaction between the clearer, fresher intelligences of each new generation of humans and the pseudo-reality of class societies. A brilliant woman writer, known to present researchers as J., wrote some stories that have survived as the Books of Moses. These stories said some striking, refreshing things, which persist as a variety of religions-in part taken over by the oppressive pseudo-reality but in part continuing to inspire questioning of it. In another part of the world, Buddha rebelled against the oppressive role assigned to him by pseudo-reality and said some striking, refreshing things, which persist in questioning the pseudo-reality although partly taken over by it. Jesus of Nazareth left his job as a carpenter and managed to say some striking, refreshing things, which continue to inspire resistance to oppression. Leonardo da Vinci built some bold foundations, with thousands of other Renaissance scientists, and moved the oppressive society into a new form. Albert Einstein (and cohorts), overlapping the lives of many people still alive, began the challenge to a large number of structures of pseudo-reality, and his thinking continues to motivate a slow upheaval against the nonsense of our oppressive cultures.

However, by and large, a great accumulation of patterns has continued to dominate the management of our lives and our planet. Our own intelligence, and that of our fellow humans, has been warped by motivations growing out of an oppressive society that is based on greed. Our forefathers have survived again and again by mismanaging and ruining a particular part of the Earth and then moving from there to a fresh place, using up the resources in the new location to extend (for a while) our survival as a species. This kind of patterned mismanagement of our planet continues to take place and is not being systematically challenged anywhere as yet.

Whether you realize it or not, or whether you have thought of it this way consistently yet or not, your appearance at this meeting is an indication that you, personally, have been attracted to an attempt to replace the distress-patterned management of the world and our lives with the deliberate use of intelligence. This particular attempt, the movement of Re-evaluation Counseling, has deliberately decided to replace the accumulated pseudo-reality with fresh contact with actual reality.

This attempt is about forty-seven-and-one-half years old. It began accidentally. We haven't moved very far yet, but we have made some progress. I am certain that in the relatively near future, humankind is going to come to an awareness, possibly with great shock, that it is necessary for intelligence to replace the distress-patterned management of our lives and our planet very soon, or there isn't going to be any life or any flourishing for us.

As a species, until now, we have been largely dominated by patterns of confusion and a great deal of ignorance. Over five billion people are now existing in our increasingly crowded world. If we had been able to be intelligent earlier, we would probably have limited our numbers to two-thirds of this.

So far, the people who are in the "excess" population are not leading happy lives. They are not communicating much about this, even to each other, because most of them have not had access to real information about it and because they have been conditioned to submit to oppression.

More and more people, however, have become suspicious of the drift of the oppressive society. More and more scientists (who, at least in their limited fields, are quite intelligent and who systematically follow certain rules of their disciplines which are necessary to avoid making stupid mistakes) are becoming alarmed.

In spite of the many great gains that humankind has made in the last two hundred years, we still lack much knowledge about what actually goes on on our planet and in our solar system. We may be in great danger from things that we don't even know are happening. In the name of commerce and greed and the accumulation of wealth, the oppression and the over-exploitation of the least-developed parts of the world may be putting all of us in extreme danger. What is happening to our atmospheres and our oceans, the vicious destruction of our younger generations, and the diminishing but still active production of armaments and the generation of wars make it possible that we are in great danger from things we don't yet even understand are happening.

Calling this Conference and setting the agenda we have set for it were based on the alarming possibility that our species will have to replace the distress-patterned management of human society and of the environment very quickly, or it will be too late! We may be in danger of wiping out not only a great many very precious other species, but our own species as well. We may be in danger of snuffing out the one appearance of intelligence in the known universe. Intelligence may have evolved only on our planet, and if we mess this planet up, we may end up destroying intelligence for the entire universe.

We are assuming that we are in a situation of crisis. The agenda and proposals of this Conference are intended to get us started doing something about it. We propose to begin putting intelligence back in charge of human activities. We propose to take throughout the world the insights we call Re-evaluation Counseling and use them to rid humanity of all distress patterns. It may well be crucial to get started at once.

In this morning's meeting with the discussion group leaders, it was plain that people were being intimidated by the apparent difficulty of making these changes. Fear seemed to be the great factor that was making it seem so difficult. However, there is no objective difficulty threatening to stop us-only the accumulation of fears that have been put upon us from the outside.

I would like to try to demonstrate fear discharge well enough at this Conference to show you how trivial our fears really are. I would like to show in several ways how easy it is to discharge the fears that have been intimidating us, if we just don't buy the stupid lies that the fear itself tries to tell us. As long as we respect the fears we feel as we start this discussion, we are not going to get moving on the real problem, which is to keep our species alive and our world fit to live in. That is the immediate challenge, and it is not something we can avoid thinking about just because the hairs on our arms are standing up and we're feeling like shivering and like we'd like to run and hide.

The fears we have been encountering so far are acting to conceal from us the reality that we have to move. We can't let our fears and embarrassments dominate what we decide and do-not any longer. I say to you that the proposals you are hesitating at are just an attempt to get started on the real problem. They are just an attempt to find a fingerhold that will let us start moving, that will lead us up to the real challenges that we will have to tackle.

Harvey Jackins

(Present Time No. 110, January 1998)


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