CHAPTER XIV:  The Extent of the Adult’s Loss

The degree to which this limiting process has gone on is something we have been slow to face. In the first years of our work, we did not suspect either how intelligent humans are to begin with or how severely that intelligence has been interfered with for any adult. We can only estimate now, but we can make an informed estimate. 

We estimate that the successful adult in our present culture, the man or the woman whom everyone would agree is doing “just fine,” is operating on about ten percent of his or her original resources of intelligence, ability to enjoy life and ability to enjoy other people. 

The other ninety percent of her or his vast potential is covered over with rigid patterns of behavior and feeling, the mis-stored information residue of unevaluated experiences of distress.  (Fig. 12)

Most of these patterns are latent, i.e., they behave as if they were recordings waiting in the rack. They inhibit the human’s capacity and lower his/her potential, but they do not dominate his/her behavior nor his/her feeling except and until they are re-stimulated by particular circumstances in his/her environment. These recordings do not play until he/she is “reminded too much of” the distress experience.

It is easy to think of examples from your own experience. For many people, a “stage fright” recording only takes over when the particular conditions of the public appearance re-stimulate it. Most people do not go around “stage frightened” all the time. Many spouses only “go to pieces” a certain way when under the critical scrutiny of a parent-in-law. They do not feel nor act irritably defensive in that particular manner at other times.

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