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Loneliness and Leading

A demonstration by Harvey Jackins at the July 1986 Peace and Disarmament Activists’ Workshop

Harvey invites a man to be in a demonstration related to being a disarmament leader.

Harvey: What small change in yourself would you give your eyeteeth1 to accomplish?

Man: My first thought is to be able to express my feelings.

Harvey: I’ll give you a phrase, and you can say it over and over. No matter how awkwardly you do it, just keep saying it: “I love every one of you, and I’ll tell you why.” (Man repeats the phrase several times, laughing and mentioning implications.)

Man: I love every one of you, and I’ll tell you why: Because I’m tired of the unnatural separation that keeps us apart. And I’m tired of being isolated.

Harvey: How tired?

Man: How tired of being isolated? Tired enough that I want to stop being a leader.

Harvey: Keep going.

Man: Tired enough to feel like just quitting. Tired of being competent. Tired of feeling like I can do it. Tired of feeling like nobody else can. Tired of feeling like I can’t count on anybody.

Harvey: Try a phrase: (said softly) “Love me.”

Man: Love me.

Harvey: Stay with it. Plead with them. “Don’t leave me out here in the dark alone. Don’t leave me dark and cold and lonely any longer.” (Man sobs.) No duty calls you away from this. You’ve waited all your life. (Man sobs.) No duty calls. “Don’t leave me out here in the dark and cold, alone, any longer—please.”

Man: (shouts) How dare you leave me out here! (sobs) How dare you leave me out here alone!

Harvey: I apologize on behalf of all of us. We won’t, any longer.

Man: It’s not really this group I’m talking to. (Harvey asks him who he is talking to.) I feel like it’s all the people I work with, all the people I’m leading. (sobs) Many of whom are in RC and ought to know better.

Harvey: All of whom are all alone in their own separate “cold and darks.” I’m going to put a notice on the board someday that there will be a topic group meeting of the “lonely, cold, and darks.” (Man laughs.) Can we put a check there?2 Well done.


1 “Give your eyeteeth” means give anything.
2 “Put a check there” means stop there.


Last modified: 2020-07-02 14:27:35+00