Logical Thinking about a Future Society

The following are excerpts from the pamphlet Logical Thinking about a Future Society, by Harvey Jackins.


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. . . .

Because of the deep commitment of all capitalist institutions to profit as the overriding ideological force, and because of the persistence of the profit motivation as the overriding ingredient in the distress patterns of the leaders of this society, no safeguards are left within the structure of the capitalist society to preserve the environment, human life, human culture, and all the rest. Breaking out of capitalist society is necessary, not only for the improvement of human living and thinking, but for human survival.

(pages 12 to 13)


All the objective conditions for the rapid transformation to a rational society are present.

Human values, human survival, the care and preservation of the planet, the enjoyment of life—none of these are enhanced by the continuation of capitalist society. The efficiency of production, of food, machines, consumer goods, and capital goods, has now reached the point where production for the enhancement of living is easily possible. All the preconditions for a cooperative society are present. There’s no shortage of technology, no shortage of resources.

All the pro-human needs call for a transformation of society; all pro-human needs call for the ending of capitalism. The working class is large enough, well organized enough. The broad outlines of theory have been developed, and detailed outlines of theory must be developed in practice in any case. An understanding of the distress pattern phenomenon, and the ways of removing it or circumventing it, has at last been attained. Communication networks reach all over the world. Scientific advancement has made clear the essential unity of the entire human race. Nothing holds up the emergence of humans into a completely pro-survival, cooperative, good-for-all social relationship except subjective factors.

(page 13)


What are the critical elements of an effective strategy in the current situation?

We need to persistently and patiently explain to all sections of the population in every country that the survival of humankind and the effective solving of any problems of any sections of the population are now crucially dependent on the transformation of society from a class society, where one class owns and another class works, to a classless society, where everyone owns in common and everyone works. (The preservation of the environment, the ending of pollution, the prevention of war, the prevention of nuclear holocaust, the curbing of crime, the functioning of the educational systems, the prevention of world starvation, adequate health care, and the ending of racist, sexist, and all other oppressions can no longer, any of them, be achieved to any satisfactory degree without the transformation of society itself.)

Large numbers of people are on the verge of reaching such a conclusion for themselves. If such a conclusion is given voice, it will meet ready agreement. This agreement will be hindered only by people’s fears, such as fears about taking any initiative for their own survival, and by the apathetic “trust” in present capitalist leaders to “take care of them.”

A sizable number of people have become completely disillusioned with the present class society but have found no alternative except bitterness, apathy, despair, resorts to violence, or chanting determined hopelessness to each other. To reach these people will require the sturdiest optimism and the most intransigent firmness on our part—rejecting their painful emotional rigidities but insisting that the people themselves can take a different attitude, can be valuable in the struggle.

(pages 15 to 16)


We need to avoid the use of painful emotion in all language, policies, and tactics—to speak and appeal always on the basis of logic rather than distress (hate, fear, anger, despair, and so on).

This understanding is one of the real contributions of RC to wide-world-changing knowledge. Attempts to motivate people on the basis of painful emotion exacerbate the very difficulties that keep them from moving. To persist on the basis of logic will eventually win through even the heaviest distress patterns, since reality continually offers arguments supportive of your position. Even though people reject your logical position and cling to one of painful emotion out of their addiction to distress, the passing of events will show the bankruptcy of the painful-emotion approach and eventually the people will come back to you if you are persistently offering a logical direction.

(page 40)

We need to communicate at all times in an optimistic, confident mode.

The distresses that are the source of and almost the total reason for why human beings have not moved toward a workable society already, are laid on a foundation of powerlessness and are heavily coated with despair, discouragement, fear, hopelessness, and so on. Since we must reach people through their patterns and around their patterns, and bring them outside of their patterns, it is crucial that in the communicating we do not in any way agree with their patterns.

Some of our own patterns will wish to take over our words, the tones of our voices, our facial expressions and postures, even as we are speaking, but it is essential that we model the positiveness of the reality that the patterns obscure and be prepared to model it in the face of “testing” by the people to whom we speak. They will sometimes pound their despair and hopelessness upon us in an effort to gain enough contradiction from us that they can themselves become free of it, but during the process they will seem to be bent on “converting” us to their negative hopelessness.

(pages 40 to 41)


We need to stress at all times that improvements in organization, consciousness, strength, and unity are the permanent gains from any struggle, even though economic and other gains may be temporarily achieved and then lost through inflation or other setbacks.

People who engage in struggle must have the long-term perspective and realize that they are making permanent gains. If, through timidity, we assume that people can only respond to economic issues, then the robbing of a wage increase by inflation will seem to reinforce the hopelessness of all struggle. The improvement in organization, the improvement of consciousness, the improvement of unity, the improvement in personal relationships is the permanent gain that we make from every struggle (up to the crucial change of economic power, at least). If we keep this clearly in view, then we will have armed our associates to understand the positive character of what they have achieved, even though the economic gains do not persist and the propaganda of the opposition will deride and ridicule our struggles on that basis.

(pages 41 to 42)


I know clearly now from my experiences as a leader in RC that to be effective you must personalize issues to some extent. It would be nice if people could hear the issues clearly, distinct from persons. Some people can, and we get there as we get rid of our distresses. However, I’ve had to face the discomfort that a lot of people cannot pay attention to the ideas of RC unless they can look at me and decide that I’m a “good person.” It’s necessary for people to personalize issues to some extent to get started. They cannot believe in ideas that are too abstract, because their confidence in logic has been taken away from them. If they see someone and believe in that person, it helps them get through all kinds of things. For example, I have to actually act like a Co-Counselor for you to pay much attention to Co-Counseling, no matter how well I talk about it.

(page 49)


How can we communicate a sense of urgency and of relaxed confidence at the same time?

Isn’t that a real question? I don’t think we’ve solved it, and I don’t think I have the answer, but a lead would be, communicate the sense of relaxed confidence and people will provide their own urgency. What seems to be apathetic carelessness is almost always being numb with too much fear. You’ll find that people’s indifference is not what we assume, an uncaringness. They’re so scared they don’t dare pay attention to you. I think if we communicate a sense of relaxed confidence, we’ll have a lot of fear come foaming out to be dealt with and discharged, and there will be plenty of urgency supplied by them. That’s just a speculation, but I think it’s in the right direction. We all care all the time, but we act inattentive or careless when we’re too scared to do anything.

(page 54)

Harvey Jackins

(Present Time 184, July 2016)

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