More on the Guidelines

Every four years, we incorporate into the ten Pre-World Conferences a process for making suggestions for changes to the Guidelines.1 (We also take into consideration any suggestions that come to us from people who don’t attend the conferences.) All the suggestions are reviewed by Tim and me and a committee of reference people. This group of leaders then proposes to the whole body of the World Conference some changes to the Guidelines. The conference participants discuss the proposed changes, one by one, and reach agreement on which to incorporate into the Guidelines.

Ever since I became the Alternate International Reference Person in 1999, I have organized this process of revising the Guidelines. I have read a lot of suggestions for Guidelines changes! And I have learned a lot about what people do and don’t understand about the Guidelines.

We always get quite a few suggestions for changes that have already been made. (Please throw away old copies of the Guidelines and just use the most recent version!) And about half the RCers who comment want the Guidelines to be more prescriptive (more detailed and covering more situations), and the other half want them to be less prescriptive (giving more leeway for RCers to act based on their own thinking rather than a Guideline). The Guidelines that we think need to be changed are those that don’t reflect where our practice has become more intelligent. We also need to address areas of RC Community development that haven’t previously been included in the Guidelines.

People’s most common suggestion for changes to the Guidelines is that we make them easier to read. This is true again this year, in spite of the fact that a large international multi-lingual group of us, of various classes, races, and ages, spent many hours doing exactly that in 2009. We made the language of the Guidelines as accessible as possible, to as many people as possible, without diluting their meaning. Now the Guidelines are much better organized (by topic), and the language is much clearer and easier to read.

Of course, we need to change the Guidelines when we can make them more readable while preserving the content, or when the language is contaminated by oppression and thus inaccessible to people. If you have specific suggestions, please send them to us. But the Guidelines can be difficult to read for reasons other than oppression and lack of readability.

One reason they can be hard to read is that they contain complex ideas. Many of the ideas in the Guidelines have been worked out only through years of experience and years of discharge. We are not going to grasp the depth of the meaning of the Guidelines by doing a quick read-through. Many of them have to be read multiple times, applied in specific situations, and taken to sessions before we can understand what they mean.

If something we read is difficult to understand, many of us feel like something is wrong with us, or with the written material. Most of us have been made to feel stupid in school and struggle to feel intelligent. And many documents are purposely written to obscure knowledge and confuse people. Nothing is wrong with our minds, and nothing is inherently wrong with or bad about the Guidelines, even when we find the Guidelines difficult to understand.

There are complex ideas in the world, and we want to be able to use our minds to pull them apart and understand them. Any person can understand whatever he or she desires, if willing to work at it. Some of the Guidelines take effort and discharge to understand, and it is worth doing that work—just as it is worth working to understand many ideas outside of RC.

Another reason some of the Guidelines are difficult to understand is that they restimulate certain distresses. Some of us get restimulated when we read; we need many sessions about reading. Some of us get restimulated when we read about certain topics, like

Diane Shisk
Alternate International Reference Person
Seattle, Washington, USA

1 The Guidelines for the Re-evaluation Counseling Communities—the policies for the RC Communities
2 The no-socializing policy of the RC Communities states that Co-Counselors should not set up any relationships, other than Co-Counseling, with other Co-Counselors or with people whom they first meet in a Co-Counseling context.
3 “Material” means distress.
4 An Area is a local RC Community.

Last modified: 2022-12-25 10:17:04+00