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Contradicting Powerlessness Patterns

Tone of voice is a powerful tool against distress, much better than words. Words are quite ineffective against distress, because every distress pattern has been argued with already, interminably.

You get discharge with tone of voice; it’s a contradiction.1 I’ve been practicing (said in a deep voice) sounding powerful. Sounding confident. Sounding final. The note of finality: “This is the way it is.” In Sweden we suggested that they talk like a drunk Viking. That got them out a little from their well-mannered conditioning. In the United States, what people universally understand is to sound like a cow pie.2 When a cow pie drops, it’s final. It doesn’t bounce.

The military has sought to approximate this. They train officers to have the voice of command: “Now hear this.” Final. I find myself using voices usually associated with oppressors, because they’re the only thing we have. I think the final voice of power might actually sound low and strong.

Another tool: A little while ago we came up with3 a commitment, “From now on, I will see to it4 that everything I am in contact with works well, and I will not limit or draw back on my contacts.” There will be other tools.

We have complete power available to us as we discharge the powerlessness patterns. Apparently, that’s all that’s in the way—an accumulation of powerlessness patterns. Our power is still intact underneath.

Harvey Jackins
From the July 1986 Peace and
Disarmament Activists’ Workshop


1 Contradiction to the distress
2 A “cow pie” is cow excrement.
3 “Came up with” means created.
4 “See to it” means make sure.


Last modified: 2020-07-17 20:50:52+00