The Benign Reality

The Benign Reality is the second in a series of eight books, each of which is composed of all the articles written by Harvey during a particular time period. The Benign Reality covers the years from early 1977 to early 1981.

This was a period of continuing rapid growth, both in numbers of Co-Counselors and in numbers of RC Communities. As always, each new situation creates new problems to solve. What kind of organization is appropriate for RC? What structures are needed? How should leadership function in RC? These are among the issues hammered out in the mid- to late-1970s and discussed in the book. Articles include "Proposals to Co-Counselors, RC Teachers, and Reference Persons," "The Nature of Leadership," "Understand the Functions of Leadership," and "Thoughts About Teachers." In the latter, Harvey writes: "With one-to-one teaching being recognized more and more as a major channel for the communication of RC theory, the role of the accredited RC teacher can now be re-examined as the coach or captain of a large team rather than as a lonely pedagogue lecturing from a platform." (page 353)

Liberation activities were encompassing more groups -- elders, young people, people who were raised poor, men, Arabs, Native Americans, Asians, Irish people, Gay men, and Lesbians. It was a breakthrough at that time to realize that parents are oppressed. Harvey proposed policy for "Jewish-Arab Unity," encouraged RCers to "Work on Oppressions Thoughtfully," and described "The Practical Work of Liberation Leaders."

The first article, "The Totally Benign Reality," has encouraged Co-Counselors throughout the succeeding years. "We've had at least three billion years of the finest tuning and sanding and polishing and adjusting and honing for us to fit this exact Universe exquisitely. The processes of the Universe . . . have been operating on us, evolving us to be exactly the benign, loving, comfortable, delighted, excited caretakers of this Universe. The Universe has been prepared and we have been prepared in it to be the gardeners of this Eden, to be the shepherds of this great flock of life." (page 13)

The RC journals (most of them forums for particular oppressed groups) were proliferating at this time. The editors of these journals came to Seattle, Washington, USA, in March of 1980 to discuss how to edit them. The article, "Editorial Skills," contains excerpts from a transcript of this meeting. Harvey's insights and proposed policies are widely applicable. For example, ". . . as an editor of an RC journal you don't owe anybody anything. Your responsibilty is to the Community and to the theory," (page 438), and "There is a general principle for any thinking that you fire a first shot and then you correct and correct and correct. It applies to writing and editing, too." (page 448)

How do we determine what is good art? Great art? What about God and immortality? What is rational sexuality? What is a useful viewpoint on death and dying? On the unborn? On health care? Harvey gives perspectives on each subject.

There is a "Summary of the Present Situation with Regards to Wide World Change" and an article titled "Working Effectively in the Wide World." Harvey writes, "Today, almost everything about capitalist society is unworkable. In spite of the fact that capitalism unleashed enormous initiative for the improvement of production, it has fallen into deeper and deeper crises, precisely because its dependence on the market and/or the profit motive strangles the improved production, and prevents it from going to the benefit of the working people." (page 616)

In his "First Report to the World Meeting," in July, 1978, Harvey proposes that among all the many groups reaching for humanness worldwide, we are ". . . by far the most aware, most in touch with what we're actually about, most rationally motivated, and most self-correcting." Our theory is always up for revision, and all our policies are draft policies to be continually improved. He says, "This is quite rare in the whole world of good intentioned movements. Almost always in other movements a program is put together first and then people are expected to stuff themselves into it. We get accused of that sometimes . . . but we don't do it." (page 358). And, "The cutting edge of all we do is exactly counseling, helping each other DISCHARGE." (page 359)

Katie Kauffman
Seattle, Washington, USA

 


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