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Can We Move Now?

By Tim Jackins, International Reference Person for the Re-evaluation Counseling Communities

Human beings have been a very successful species of animal. After early brushes with extinction, we have used our ability to think—and with it we have gathered an ever-increasing store of knowledge that we have passed on to each new generation and that each new generation has added to.

With this resource the old threats to our existence of dangerous animals, lack of food, and so on, have in many ways been handled. They could be a thing of the past for everyone, were it not for the undischarged distress that affects our ability to think.


We are steadily gaining in our ability to use rationally the resources we have created and to free ourselves from the misleading, confusing effects of undischarged distress. There is, however, a danger to our survival that did not exist for our ancestors—a new danger for human individuals, for our species, and for other life forms: Our undischarged distresses and remaining lack of knowledge have led us to produce resources for ourselves without recognizing all the effects of that. This has poisoned the earth and the air and caused an accelerated warming of the planet—a warming that is causing great changes and damage.

For the survival of our species, we must stop the rapid degradation of the environment. This is something we are capable of. Much has already been lost. The sooner we take effective action, the fewer the future losses will be.

Profit-based economies and the large business structures that dominate them have shown themselves incapable of changing their functioning to end the environmental destruction. And the governments of countries dominated by the profit system have not had the power to stand against the business structures and adopt policies that would end it.

Stopping the buildup of carbon dioxide and other “greenhouse“ gases is our most important challenge at this moment, and it requires a rapid, ongoing reduction in the use of fossil fuels. The efforts of individuals to conserve are helpful but are not sufficient. The large structures of our economies need to drastically and rapidly change their operations.


Below are some questions we must answer:

How do people outside the large economic structures make those structures change?

How do we insist that the changes occur rapidly?

How do enough of us, from across the world, unite in demanding change in ways that cannot be ignored?

How do we overcome the distresses that have left us feeling timid, ignorant, and small to the point where we are sometimes unable to move?

What stops us from thinking about the radical societal changes we must insist upon and from making such changes in our own lives?


Here are next steps we can take:

We can talk. We can talk openly about the issues with the people around us. We can ask them about the environment and listen to them.

We can provide the resources they need to begin to think through the issues in spite of the defeat and discouragement installed on them. We can give information in thoughtful amounts, from thoughtful perspectives.

We can ask people what they think might be done, listen to them, and follow up with conversations that allow them to think further and feel less isolated.

We can learn to do this with everyone and do it repeatedly with the same individuals. We can work on the distresses we must challenge to do this.

We can move to openly protest the current situation and insist that the needed changes take place rapidly.

We can become part of groups that are already involved in this.

We can use what we’ve learned in RC to help individuals in these groups think more clearly and act more effectively.

We can use the discharge process to think more clearly about how to take on [face and do something about] the challenges. We may need to find new forms of struggle.

To do all of this, we will need to face and discharge the distresses that have restrained us.

It seems that these distresses are mostly the early ones that have driven nearly every child into isolation. We have found them difficult to work on. Indeed, we have only begun working on them consistently in the last few years. Now large numbers of us must work on them and decide to not be confused by the feelings of defeat and isolation. They are only recordings of past distress. They are not about who we are in the present. They do not have to restrain and confuse us in our efforts to handle present reality.


Even though the distresses have left us mired in isolation and helplessness, it seems that every one of us has held on to a hope that we could move if some situation demanded it.

Can we use that hope and the threats in the present situation to challenge our difficulties in working on the early distresses? Can we decide to face our most damaging and confusing distresses because the world situation needs us to move forward together? Can we not let frozen distresses from the long-dead past disable us and keep us from facing the real dangers and challenges in the present?

Tim Jackins

(Present Time 193, October 2018)

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