Building the Real RC Community

Excerpted from a talk given by Harvey Jackins at the 1985 World Conference of the RC Communities (see pages 258 to 264 of The Longer View)

What our Community really consists of is the Re-evaluation Co-Counselors who act so well that other people trust them and listen to what they have to say and give them assistance in what they’re trying to do. . . . This is what it’s all about. You who have some notion of what you’re doing and sometimes do it, and the people who trust you and follow you (your followership, if you want to call it that), the people whom you inspire and lead in whatever subtle ways, whether they ever come to your class or not, these are the people who constitute the Community.

The last time I was in Israel, Avi took a day or two off from work and drove me around. I am a great admirer of stonemasons’ work, and the Arab stonemasons in Palestine are marvelous craftspeople. What they do with that lovely limestone can be admired forever. He took me out to one workshop, and I watched how these skilled craftsmen carved the limestone. Then we drove to the West Bank and visited a few places. He said, “I want to show you a village where the Bedouins have settled into stone houses.” We went to a Bedouin home where Avi was obviously welcome. I sat and watched. Bedouin Palestinians have a thousand reasons to fear and hate and distrust Israeli Jews. Terrible things have been done by this pocket-sized imperialism at United States’ imperialism’s urging, because the Israeli government has been a puppet of the United States government and its agent in most respects. But these Bedouins obviously liked and trusted and possibly loved Avi. I was welcomed because I was his friend. They turned warmth to me, and I know the difference between being accepted warmly and not. The only possible reason they would have for accepting me warmly was because they trusted Avi.

The people who feel like this about you, all of you . . . the people who trust you, they are what constitute our Community.

You do not build a Community by setting up an Area Reference Person and an Area Reference Committee and an organizational structure like a box and then trying to lure people into that box. That is not the way you build the Re-evaluation Counseling Community. You build the Re-evaluation Counseling Community by being, in practice, the type of person that everybody is inspired by, likes to be with, trusts, and hopes to learn from.


. . . Is it possible for one individual to build a world-sized Community of people who follow her and her ideas? Yes! I have no hesitation in saying yes! Of course! Someone did it already. One person did it. This person did it with great awkwardness, with considerable slowness, but . . . you don’t have to be awkward. You don’t have to be slow. You don’t have to make all that person’s mistakes over again. You can do it gracefully, efficiently. It is possible to establish a Community of worldwide influence stemming directly from you. That’s not speculation any more. It’s been done. Actually there are one hundred or more such Communities already spreading widely from specific individuals, many of whom are in this conference. Many of you know that you’re people of great influence. You haven’t always known quite what to do with it or how to use it rapidly. This morning I will tell you exactly. I can tell you exactly how to do it so that your world Community will grow rapidly. In your case it will not take thirty-five years. I don’t know exactly how long it will take. Six months? Well, a year perhaps; but do not delay.

We do not know how fast the crisis is approaching. On the great graph of events there is a line coming down the chart, moving from the left plotted against time, like this. This is the line of the downward trend, the danger and threat of nuclear holocaust, moving toward disaster. This trend is real. Read any speech by any United States President. The trend is very real. There is another line, perhaps in brighter colors, moving up from the left of the chart like this. This is the line or graph of human confidence, responsibility, and rationality. Humans are becoming more aware, more informed, more independent. You, as a group of humans and the people with whom you are coming in contact, are moving very fast in this period, for certain accidental reasons and because of your efforts. We can be pleased that we are living and participating in these times when these things are happening. This graph is rising. The whole question is, will this rising graph of human confidence and rationality rise fast enough to intercept this falling graph of the downward trend and threatened disaster before the point of final disaster for our species and other complex forms of life? I think so, but I would not recommend wasting any time. It doesn’t seem sensible to fool around and delay under these conditions when we have no guarantees as yet of what turn the future will take.


How will you build your Community? Not with great extra effort. I’m not proposing that you go to an eighteen-hour day. I don’t think so. I often work a sixteen-hour day, and that’s too much. It’s not healthy. I’m going to cut down. I’m not proposing you put in extra hours. I’m not proposing that you run faster, unless you’re taking it too easy on your exercise, in which case do that, but for fun. I’m not proposing that you worry more. I’m not proposing that you put any extra burden of any kind on yourself at all. I’m simply proposing that you take the knowledge and resources that you now have and, by decision, live every moment well.

No one of us can do any more. It’s impossible for us to do more than live every moment well. You have a certain supply of moments. Each day you have twenty-four hours worth of moments. If you live every one of them well, in an aware sense, you will have done the ultimate. You can do no more. Will that have been enough? Yes. It has to have been.

What do you want to do with your moments? Do you have any desire to live them poorly? To waste them? There’s an old Victorian saying, “Count that day lost whose low descending sun sees from thy hand no worthy action done.” A little stodgy but they were trying to say something. You would not want to waste one of your precious moments. You would not want to live it poorly. It’s all in your own interest to live it well, and you need do no more than that.

If we are living well, we are aware of all issues. We are aware not only of the itch that needs to be scratched right now or the next mouthful of food that we hunger for, but we are aware also of B—’s compatriots in Nicaragua fighting for their independence. We are aware also of the machinations of the imperialist puppets’ patterns that play their silly games across the checkerboard of power politics. We are conscious of the great untapped resources of the people, and we know what we can do and we do what we can.

We will learn to eliminate nuclear armaments while we eat our breakfast and chat with our friends. That’s all that we will have to do.

How will we relate to the people around us? (From this morning on, I trust.) We will have attention for the people that we meet, the people that we spend time with. We don’t have to rush out and seek a new population. We already spend time with people; with our children, with our families, with our neighbors, with our co-workers, with our fellow bus riders. Whatever the contact is, we turn toward that person an interested, positive, aware, attention-paying attitude.

Have we always done this? No. People in this group have done it sometimes, I think. Probably everyone here does it part of the time. But we haven’t always done it. What have we been in the habit of doing instead? Shall I say the revolting truth? We’ve been trying to be clients—unawarely, unhappily trying to be clients with unaware people who aren’t going to be our counselors.

I ask, of course, that you give up forever this attempt to get counseling from the untrained, unaware population. It hasn’t worked yet. It’s never going to work. It has spoiled our precious moments. It has wasted our moments, and it has spoiled our relationships with people.

Are people ready to love you and be cooperative and supportive and enjoy you and like you if you are always positive and attentive and helpful? If we treat each person with attention, with assistance in keeping their attention away from past distresses and model for them by keeping our own attention away from our own past distresses, each such person will be pleased with us.

We will be delighted with all persons. We will have high expectations of them. We will be confident for them. We will be supportive to them over a great range, a spectrum of supportiveness.

Harvey Jackins

(Present Time 190, January 2018)

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