Workshop - Scottsdale, AZ - Part 1 of 3
SCOTTSDALE, ARIZONA – 1969
Robert Rhondell Gibson
In creating a companion to the audio files found in the “Links” section, we strive to give as close a verbatim transcript as possible. Marsha Summers does the original transcribing from cassette tapes or CD’s and others do the final proofreading while listening to the audiotape.
Dr. Bob’s laid-back “Kentucky-ese” is retained – not correcting his grammar makes reading it sound like he’s actually talking. In addition, he purposefully used pronunciation and grammar as much as a tool to get your attention as the words themselves
(often switching up usage within the same sentence)
so we’ve made sure not to take it upon ourselves to “clean it up” for him.
Audience (laughter) is noted; he was a master at keeping the mood up!
(Audience participation is parenthesized and separated from his words.)
Dr. Bob’s emphasized words are in italics.
[Anything that offers clarity is added by the proofreader and italicized inside brackets.]
CD 1 of 5
[There’s no sound for the first 38 seconds as they set up recording. Then it begins:]
…how it’s going.
(This one’s for the record.)
Yeah, somebody said they wanted it on the record.
I have a little piece of paper that we wrote several years ago. It was written to be funny, so I don’t know whether you’ll like my sense of humor or not. We’re drivin’ across the Mojave Desert one afternoon – and quite late – and I had just come from having a class in Seattle, Washington, and consequently was wonderin’ what I could do to make something understand better. So we used this one. It’s instruction of “How to be Miserable and Sick Any Time.” So most everybody could probably profit by usin’ these, ‘cause at times, you know, you would like to use it.
[He begins to read:] The following instructions are given that any person by following any one of them, can and will be miserable and sick. This is true – although one may be using the services of a wise and skilled doctor. By following any one of these instructions – one does not need to use a combination of ‘em, just any one – you can also make your doctor miserable by makin’ him doubt his ability to heal the sick. Please remember that just any one of these sets of instructions that appeals to you will do the trick.
1. Read one or more articles about “dis-ease” – usually called “health articles.” Read it frequently. One a week will do; however, one a day is better. Any “dis-ease” will do because at least one of the symptoms can be made to fit you and give reasons for alarm. Alarm or fear produces glandular reactions to prepare the body to fight or run. You neither fight nor run, but you just fret. These glandular products are not used in your metabolism; consequently there must be symptoms of unusual cellular activity to use these products. These unusual cellular activities (or “symptoms”) can give further cause for alarm and fear. This is an excellent method and when used even haphazardly is guaranteed to keep you miserable and chronically ill.
2. Another method used by millions with unfailing results is to: Go over oneself carefully at least every day looking for anything and everything that could be wrong – just to be sure to catch it in time. Look the skin over carefully looking for areas of dryness or slight discolorations. Inspect the tongue minutely. Feel of all your joints. Look between the toes. There will usually be at least one thing that will seem to be in some way “abnormal.” Then keep a close watch on it and feel of it several times a day. Become informed about such conditions – get the lowdown on it. This is guaranteed to keep one’s mind entirely on self, with fear and anxiety producin’ misery and sickness. You will be surprised how easy it is.
3. Another good method that has been used by an army of individuals to keep themselves in bondage is to: Find fault with everything and everybody. Look for the hidden motive in things. One reads where someone has given a million dollars for research for world peace. Be sure to know why he did it – probably to keep from payin’ taxes on it so us poor people have to support the government. Know that prices are too high without reason – just to make an extra profit off people. See people crowding out in front and not waiting their turn in line. See the trucks tearing up the highways. See how big business is ruining the country. See how it is raining too much or the sun is shining too much – the list is endless. One doesn’t have to look for annoyances; they’re everywheres and they’re all aimed directly against you. Don’t ever fail to recognize them for what they are. Think them over and become annoyed with them. One doesn’t have to try at all to get oneself tense. Tension is the best-known method to stop the free flow of Life in the body. This is the start of misery whether it be expressed as “dis-ease,” unhappiness, or lack.
4. A method used which never fails to produce tension and all that goes with it is to: Develop a habit of rushin’. Eat in a rush. Why take time to chew when you can wash it down with coffee or coke? Don’t take time to order a meal; one can eat a sandwich more quickly. Don’t ever be satisfied to be doing the job which is at hand; be thinking of something else that needs to be done. Don’t wait for another person to finish their sentence, finish it for them – you know what she was going to say anyway, why not show them? Drive a car in a hurry. If every other driver doesn’t give the right of way, then tell him a thing or two. This builds up tension very rapidly. Get and keep that drive – this is the quickest way to be miserable.
5. A method which is being used to maintain misery in everyday living by countless thousands is: Not to be interested in anything. An excellent, infallible way to develop this uninterested state of being is to state and believe, “All a person gets out of Life is a little to eat, a place to sleep, pay taxes, and die.” Just take care of the first three of these – the other one’ll take care of itself. If one is invited to take part or do anything, just ask the question, “What’s in it for me?” It works – you’re soon not interested in anything except what’s in it for me. The answer is then obvious: Boredom, sickness, lack, friendlessness and dried-up old age.
6. This method is so old we hesitate to include it, but since we’re giving only tried and proven methods to produce and maintain misery and illness, it must be given its rightful place. This one is just: Good old-fashioned temper or anger. It is easy to develop and hold something on which to pride oneself – “I’m hot tempered.” It gives something with which to keep the mind busy – ways and means to get even. This is a very potent one and will not only wreck health, but also business and social life as well. Like the other methods that have been given, it’s simple and easy to do. Somebody at some time done something you didn’t like. Decide now that you will not stand for it. Decide to stick up for your rights. Just dwell on it and think up some good nasty things to say to him or her or, better still, about them. Just keep it up and look for new opportunities to stick up for your rights. Then watch your health, happiness and possessions take wings and fly away.
7. This method has been used by uncounted millions without one single failure and will work for anyone just as surely. This one is called: Self-pity. Simple – just sit down, slump down, let the corners of the mouth droop down and begin to mull over all the times that you’ve been mistreated…how little everyone thinks of you…how much you’ve done for others and how little has been done for you in return…how hard you have to work and how little you have to show for it…how bad you feel and how little anyone does about it and how much less they care. A little time spent in this can put you in bed sick or on the street – broke and all alone and miserable. You want to try it?
8. Here is a method used…here is a method proven beyond doubt by a great number of volunteers from every walk of life to produce intense tension, consequently to be sick and miserable. This is to: See only bad in the world. Read all sensational news stories and keep repeating, “The world is going to the dogs!” One murder among 160 million peoples in the United States proves it. Three or four hold-ups daily among these 160 million people – rotten, isn’t it? Disc jockeys accept money to play new records – how terrible can it get? Juvenile delinquency, stories about the New York East Side – five kids involved – kids are all rotten these days. Then watch six or seven crime stories on TV. Watch the criminals get killed or caught in the gunplay. Read the stock market reports and see the impending financial crash – this was written several years ago and it fits today just as well, doesn’t it? [he chuckles] See the impending financial crash and the coming depression. Be assured that you will be real good and tense as well as settled in your mind that there is only evil; and that the world is going to Hades with its back broke; and since you’re so bad off, why bother?
9. This method has been used by all mankind and has never failed. Need more be said regarding its effectiveness? It is so simple that no instructions are necessary, just this simple reminder: Just state your age and subtract it from whatever age you have decided is old. How old is old, Jimmy – 24 or 36? 28 from 36; 36 from 44; 45 from 56, etcetera. It’s really a frightening study of the illusion of time. It is easy to visualize yourself as wrinkled, stooped with knotty joints, a trembling wobble, too late to take advantage of opportunity and too old to do anything about it. This frightening thought brings – produces tension and glandular reaction to fright. Hence, you can very soon be enjoyin’ aches and pains and the signs of aging. This makes it even more easy to visualize the whole horrible picture – truly a working illusion of time.
And Number 10. This method is so easy that most people who use it don’t even know that they are. So you can see that it would be no effort on your part to use this method to be miserable and sick. Just sit slumped, stand on one foot at a time with the other one out of the way, lean on something if at all possible; let your chin hang forward and down – watch the floor or the ground; learn to do gymnastics with your eyebrows – up, down, and clamp them together. In other words: Just let yourself fall apart. You will feel weak, worn out, discouraged and miserable.
Several of my friends asked to copy that and put it in little pamphlets and they put it in their reception rooms – against my better advice. They found out why very quickly. The patient come in, read it, found themselves in it and got up and walked out the door before they went in the private office. And that way the doctor missed the fee. [he chuckles] So it’s pretty easy for most of us to find somewheres in that little list of where we have practiced one or more of ‘em. And so all my friends took ‘em out of their offices real quick and I lost a lot of friends. I’ve always been practicin’ how to lose friends and alienate people and that was one of ‘em. So I wouldn’t suggest that any professional man put it in his office. But it is interesting because if that is how to do it, maybe we could leave it undone and avoid a certain amount of it, huh? You think any of those ever got close to you, Miss Jean?
No, not at all, huh?
Several times in private conferences, we have discussed a given subject and so several people have asked me if I would give it in one of the group talks. The subject that we have discussed is “Human Sacrifice.” [long pause] No [unclear].
(That’s what I am.) (laughter)
Maybe you sacrifice a few of ‘em every day, Frank. (laughter) [writing it on the board] I don’t know how to spell the word, but...somewheres close to that...Human Sacrifice. Now, of course, in the old days we learned that the shamans or the early rulers of the people would – whenever they felt something wasn’t goin’ just right in their little tribe – that they would decide that they would sacrifice a human to appease one of their pagan gods and restore well-being to the tribe. So they usually picked a young pretty girl, of course, and they took her up on a high stone place and after the appropriate ceremonies, cut her heart out or whatever was necessary to see that she was not among the living anymore. And this was supposed to appease the gods – of their pagan rites.
And, of course since people become more enlightened, we obviously know that such things go out of existence. However, in studying parallels, sometimes you see an awful big resemblance – you know, not quite so violent, not quite so obvious and therefore, more subtle and less easy to see.
First off, man invents himself many kind of institutions, which he sets up by some form of a piece of paper – like an “Incorporation…” [Writes it on the board.] So he sets up a country, we’ll say Great Britain. Now, Great Britain was set up by an idea and become an institution. It was an incorporated situation. And of course, it being a manmade thing was…had no Life. But, all of a sudden, all the talk and all the suggestion and all the control was to the people was that they should sacrifice to this manmade institution in order to make it immortal. So they sacrificed themselves to the incorporation to prove, try to prove, that it is immortal. They want to make it lasting and permanent and thereby prove that man is mortal. And, of course, what would be “glory,” you know, was to get himself killed off when he was 17, 18 years old on the battlefield. Now we are only using one country – Great Britain – as a for instance ‘cause we could use any other name we wanted to.
(What’s this idea…this one – “man/mortal?”)
Immortal. And then on the other side, that’s to prove that the institution is immortal – the incorporation. The institution is immortal and it proves man is mortal if he sacrifices himself to it fast enough, is that right?
(That says “Man?”)
[Pointing to what he’d written:] That says, “man – mortal.” Man is mortal, huh? So we want to prove, seemingly, that man is mortal by making some institution immortal, hmm? Is that about right? So how many people have been slaughtered to try to prove that Great Britain is immortal? Hmm? It’s been around, lastin’ a long time – they call that “glory,” don’t they? That’s glory – to prove that you are mortal by sacrificing your life to an institution. Now as we said, we could’a used every other name – we could’ve used Germany; we could’ve used Holland; we could’ve used India; we could’ve used United States of America; and we could’a used any other name we wanted to in there. So, is there things like human sacrifice still goin’ on to a bit?
Now, let’s gets down to a little more. Let’s take General Motors. General Motors is an incorporation. And the first thing they want to know if the man is loyal – that he goes to work for ‘em. He’s gonna be loyal, which means will he sacrifice himself to this corporation to keep it immortal while he kills himself, hmm? And so he sacrifices himself and everybody talks about how wonderful he is and if he should happen to live through it, barely, he gets a gold watch and a pat on the back and he can go die in peace. And a few days later he has sacrificed himself to make this institution immortal.
Then we come on down to...let’s take a very simple, pretty one that we all hear every day. A man and a woman get attracted to each other with Eros and they form an alliance called “marriage.” And then do you ever read little things in the newspaper and in the slick magazines that says, “Can this marriage be saved?” Hmm? Now, marriage is invented – as I understand – you go down here to the courthouse and they will issue you a little piece of paper and somebody that has the proper authority can officiate and sign it; and it becomes a binding little piece of paper then, is that right? Now you have an institution formed, huh? And no matter how immature either one of the individuals are, they gotta make this institution last until one of ‘em at least sacrifices their life. Is that the way it goes? “Until death do us part.”
So they begin to fight and they begin to resist each other and they struggle. Nobody thinks about, “Can these humans be saved?” You know…don’t ever say that. Did you ever read in the paper where it says, “Can this marriage be saved?” Did you ever read where it said, “Can this human be saved?” No. So the institution is the one we gotta keep goin’. If it sacrifices the people it’s immaterial, you know, they’re expendable – there’s more of ‘em being born every day. But the institutions that man makes and sets up has to be defended and they have to be saved and they have to be made immortal at all costs.
So we have people savin’ marriages, but not people. I think marriage is a very wonderful thing as long as you don’t feel that it has to be saved, you know? I’d hate to think that I had to “save” it. I like Rosemary being very much alive and I like me being very much alive and so then the marriage takes care of itself. But if you have to go out and start making it important…and I find before people get married even, before they go through that little thing that they begin to talk, “Well I’m going to make our marriage work.” They never say, “Well I’m going to grow up” or “I’m going to work with my husband so that we can both of us try to grow up.” Or the man doesn’t say, “I’m gonna to work with my lady and we’ll both get grown up, get mature, and begin to understand things.” No, they’re gonna “make their marriage work.” “It’s not gonna bust up like all these others out here and so we’re going to make it work.” So they start into it with a desperation of going to sacrifice themselves to this institution.
Now, another word for institution might be “idols,” could it be? We have built ourselves a lot of idols. An idol is something made by man that he gives great value to and importance to, as I understand. Is that a correct definition, Leo? Huh? Great value, great importance to, and is something made by man. Now in the olden days we read that they made little statues and forms and so forth – and they were idols – and they served and sacrificed themselves to that. Today we are more subtle, we are more advanced people, we make invisible things. And we make them idols do we not? We make invisible things and then we put images in our head, hmm? [Writes it on the board.] And in these images we begin to build up something that I have to defend – “I must defend” or “I have to defend this image of myself.”
Now, that image is not me, ‘cause I don’t need any defending – I’m a human being; here I am like all the rest of us. So one human being saying somethin’ about another human being is kind of funny – all you can really say is you’re a human being. But if I have invented me an image or an idol, now I have to defend it, don’t I? I have to defend my idol of myself against all comers. So I shall say that I would make an image of myself as a “Republican,” whatever that may be, hmm? And now then, somebody comes along and says something about Republican. Do I have to defend my image – my little idol? You have “attack-ted” me; you have said something terrible and I have to fight you, control you, or upset you in some way.
Somebody comes along and says that I’m not a good person – you know, I may have something that I do that somebody else don’t. Maybe I eat meat on Friday and somebody comes along and finds great drastic fault with that and says I’m not a very good person. Really, do I have to defend it? Or say, “Boy, but aren’t I havin’ fun,” you know? And maybe I eat pork and somebody else doesn’t even eat pork and they find all manner of fault about that. So I have to defend it? I say, “No.” Why should I have to defend and give ten good reasons as to why I eat pork once in a while, you know, ‘cause my Jewish friends fuss at me a little bit about it? And then I have a lot of friends who are vegetarians and they have really made the idea of being a vegetarian very, very, very important – it is an idol.
One time I cooked dinner for a lady – a bunch of people – and one lady in the crowd who was avowed vegetarian. I had a little piece of meat got in the soup and she found it, the one piece that was in a big pot and she found it. And she come hollerin’, “What is this?” And I said, “That’s a Spanish mushroom.” She said, “It looks like fat to me!” I said, “That’s the way of those Spanish mushrooms – they’re real fat.” (laughter, including Bob) Anyway, she didn’t pass out of the world because she had been near a pot of soup that made about 20 gallons that had one little square of meat. I don’t know how it fell in there, but it got in there somewheres; but it was a good piece of meat, anyway. But she found it – of all the ones in there, she was the one that got ahold of that thing. So, she had made herself an idol of an image of herself as a vegetarian; and she had to defend this at great lengths, at extreme lengths.
Now, she never allowed anyone to forget at any time that she was a vegetarian. Everywheres she went, she told everbody about her being a vegetarian, how she never eat meat; and how people who eat meat were coarse and crude and were rather base because they were eatin’ animal flesh. “Dead animal flesh,” was the way she said it. And she talked about people who had freezer-fulls of old dead animal flesh in their house for their security blanket and a number of nice little things like that, you know? So, she tried to make other people all feel bad because they in turn sometimes eat a piece of meat, you know. And she told them how “base” they were and how low. Now she had an idol and she was trying to defend it. So she had something to defend or something to prove. [Writes these on the board.]
Is most of our time spent trying to prove something about myself or trying to defend something about me? I have an image that I have to defend or I have something that I’ve got to prove to you, huh? Now, let’s ask ourselves a question – a very simple question: What would I be like and what would my everyday living be like if I didn’t have anything to defend about myself? I don’t have to defend me, anyway – I’m not talking about physical violence, I’m talkin’ about ideas about myself. If I didn’t have anything about me to defend. So you say, “You look like a bum.” “Fine, I’m havin’ more fun that way.” Somebody says, “You look horrible, why don’t you shave?” “Well, I save razor blades that way.” You know, whatever the case may be. But at least you can have a little joke. What do you have to defend about yourself? Now, most people would go into a long dissertation as to why they’re doing this or that. Why do you wear your hair short?
(‘Cause I like it that way.)
Why do you like it that way?
(‘Cause it’s easier to take care of.)
See? Now we have to begin... [he’s chuckling] …you see how we’re drawn into defending our position, huh? It’s easier to take care of, okay? So we go through this and we spend most of our day defending some idea about myself.
(Well, you were asking me a question.)
I know I did.
(Well, I was just answering.)
Why didn’t you flop me off? [He laughs.]
(Just mind your own business!)
That would have been the first answer. [he’s laughing] And then it would have been all right. See, I don’t have to...then you didn’t have to defend your position. You have short hair. What difference does it make; it’s yours, isn’t it? If you like it then I can go lump it. It’s you that’s gonna wear it, isn’t it? Okay? So then, you see that we go around though, somebody asks us a question, “Well why do you do this?” “Why do you wear sandals?,” you know? And so pretty soon, “Well they’re cooler – this hot weather…” and we go through all sorts of defendin’. We try to defend that we’re reasonable, isn’t that about right? Or we try to prove that we are a reasonable person.
(Wouldn’t it be easier sometimes to simply be what everybody considers reasonable and not, say, provoke a lot of questions and a lot of problems?)
Oh, well, it’s not near as much fun though. [He laughs] I like to have a little fun as we go along, you know?
(Wouldn’t that be kind of like trying to go out to please everybody, wouldn’t it?)
Well, it could be. Of course it’s certain things that you very well – Bryan’s question is very well put – that you leave most things alone. But even then no matter how careful you are, Bryan, somebody walk up to ask you why you wear a plaid shirt, you know. You know, and you didn’t think anything about it; you just saw it, it’s clean, put it on and go on. Somebody’ll ask you why you do that. Somebody else will walk up and ask you why you go to a certain place of entertainment and why do you go to a certain restaurant? But we always have to defend or prove that we’re reasonable, is that about right?
(No, we don’t think of it as defending.)
You don’t? But isn’t that what we do though? We are conditioned, dear, that’s why we are talking about it. We are conditioned to defend that we are reasonable, is it not? A great value is put on being “reasonable.” And so we’re conditioned from infancy to defend and give the appearance of being reasonable.
Now, I don’t know what “reasonable” means, do you? Do you know what being “reasonable” means? That’s a mealy mouth word the attorneys has. They stick it in all contracts that you will do things in a reasonable time or you will do things like a reasonable person. That, of course, leaves ground for two lawyers to contend what reasonable means. So I don’t know what it means. But we always feel that it is very necessary to appear to be reasonable. Is that right? And so we are constantly trying to defend or prove that we are reasonable by our long, drawn-out explanations. Now, when you go to buy a dress, do you just go buy it and say, “I liked it”? Or do you have to give a reason – that you didn’t have a thing to wear to this certain upcoming event, or that it was a bargain, or that they had it on sale, huh? Or that since you had lost so much weight, your old clothes just didn’t fit anymore. And, of course, sometimes it’s the other way around – “I’ve gained so much, I can’t get in a thing.” But do you ever just say I did something because I flat wanted to or do we have to appear to be reasonable? Do we have to try to prove that we are reasonable? Yes, Jeannie?
(Last night I was asked if was going to go to a party. And this fellow said, “Are you going to the party Thursday night?” I said, “No.” He said, “Well why?” I said, “Because I don’t want to.”)
Just don’t want to. That ended the conversation, didn’t it?
But ordinarily you’re supposed to give a long dissertation as to why you’ve been comin’.
(Well, he looked at me like he thought I was crazy.)
And you know what they said when they went out the door: “She’s been goin’ to Harmony Workshop too long.” (laughter) “She’s gettin’ independent, you know…they’re liable to just say something without givin’ a long reasoning for it,” huh? So we start out with a set of a number things that we all have felt that it is necessary to defend or prove. So let’s kinda look at what some of those might be.
(The word, the phrase “why” – is about one of the whole crux of the English language – why this and why that.)
That’s right, it gets you off on this one, doesn’t it?
(I know, but that just starts the conversation.)
(What can you say… how can you start talking to someone without saying “why?”)
Well, you just started talkin’ to me without using it. You said “how.”
Do you go up and say to somebody, “Why are you?” or do you say, “How are you?”
(Yeah, I said “part” of the whole...) (giggle)
Well, it’s a very common word, isn’t it? We agree to that, honey.
(It also opens up that impossible area that –)
Right and gets it started.
(It can go on and on and on.)
[Long pause while he writes this on the board:] Number one is “reasonable.” Now, Jack, what’s one of the other good things that you either must prove to people or that you must defend? Do you have to prove to people that…what would be another one? I am...
That one we have to work on quite often, don’t we?
(Everyone knows I am that – I don’t have to tell ‘em.)
They do. Huh? But we spend so much time tryin’ to prove it. If they already know it, how come you spend so much time trying to prove it, Frank? [He laughs.] Huh?
(I just gotta keep ‘em on their toes, you know?) (That doesn’t sound much fun to me.)
[Indicating one he’s written on the board:) Do we have to defend this one or prove it quite often?
(I am right?) (I am good?) (Well, it looks like we set out to prove everything that would be categorized as in the area of “good” vs. the other side of the spectrum.)
Oh, we have to go on the other side too; so we can do it that way.
(What I’m not.)
Have to prove I’m not lazy, huh? How many times do you do something that you’re really not interested in doing at all, but you just say, “Well, I ought to do it or I’d be lazy,” huh? So we have to prove that we are not lazy. We have to prove as well that we’re very industrious too, you know?
(If I didn’t, the grass would grow higher than the house.)
Yeah, it would. But what does that prove? Did you ever cut the water off and see what’d happen to it?
(I tried that.)
(I can’t live with my wife.) (laughter)
Okay, so you’re sacrificing – so he’s sacrificing to the institution. So around we go and how much time do we really have to really LIVE, huh? How much time do we really have to live?
(Yeah, I thought I was finding another way out of that: I’m working on enjoying cutting the lawn.)
Are you? Well good. Then you don’t have to prove it, do you? You just go do it. And then there’s no problem. But if somebody says, “How come your lawn is a little up,” what do you start off with? The lawn mower was dull. I took it down and the guy didn’t get it sharpened yet; and so we go on – the water’s been too thick; the weather’s makin’ it grow too fast. It’s 101 things, huh? So, “I am not lazy.” We have to prove that. We also are quite busy provin’ a great many of other things.
And it possibly would be that if we are interested in living without stress, without anxiety, without constant struggle with ourselves that we would begin to discover with our own little piece of paper – we’re just puttin’ a few little inklings of it here – when we take us a pen and a piece of paper and begin to see what you unconsciously each day are trying to prove to people and what you’re trying to defend in yourself. And you’ll also find in your daydreaming, you know, is when we’re planning what we’re gonna say to people and what they’re gonna say to us, that we are already defending ourselves in our imagination.
That’s just our favorite pastime – is spending how we’re going to defend ourself for something that hasn’t even happened and probably never will. Like the old gent that said he had so much trouble and he lived a long time and he’d had an awful lot of trouble, very little of it of which had really ever happened. But we’ve had the trouble anyway and all the figurin’ out, and trying to think – the “what ifs.” And all these “what ifs” are concerned either with things I must prove about self, about me, or things I must defend about me.
If we were to have and discover that some mornin’ we could wake up and face the world without one thing to defend about ourselves – we’re not talkin’ about physical violence, obviously; a guy bites, you kick him. But you know, how they’re gonna insult me and hurt my feelings and attack my ideas and my opinions and all these things. But if we could wake up some day and see that we had absolutely nothing about ourselves to defend and absolutely nothing about myself to prove, what kind of a state of being would you be in? What kind of a state of being would you be in? You don’t have to prove you’re a good wife. You don’t have to prove you’re a good husband, a good father, a good mother. You don’t have to prove you’re reasonable. You don’t have to prove you’re smart. You don’t have to prove you’re not lazy. You don’t have to prove that you are thinkin’ the right things about the right people. You don’t have to prove to anybody that you love them – you know, that’s a good one.
Did you ever have somebody say, “Do you love me?” You say, “Yes.” You say, “Well, I don’t think you do. How do I know you love me?” Did you ever start trying to prove that game? Busy!
(Not yet.) [he laughs]
Don’t get caught before you start, little Jeannie. You’re probably the only one in the room that hasn’t been caught. [He laughs some more.] So you start off tryin’ to prove that little game for a while. And that’ll give you a good chore to run on for a while then – how you gonna prove that, you see? And this guy says, “Well, I don’t know whether you did or not – you didn’t do so and so last month. And the year we were married you did so and so one day.” When my mother was about 75 years old – and she got married when she was 20, so that was 55 years before – she wrote tellin’ me something my Dad did the first year they were married that must prove that he didn’t think an awful lot of her. Now they’d been married for 55 years – he either was a patient man or must have thought an awful lot of her, I don’t know which. Fifty-five years still trying to prove it.
Can you prove anything to anybody? Could you prove anything to anybody?
(The harder they prove it, the more suspicious you get.)
Is that the way you operate?
(Well, that’s the way everyone operates.)
Is that the way they all go? That’s about right, isn’t it? So you try to prove you’re honest and everybody says, “She must be dishonest or she wouldn’t make so many statements about it,” huh? Right? And if you say, “Well, I’m out in the open with everything I do,” why they say, “Well, she wouldn’t be pretendin’ to be out in the open unless she had somethin’ covered up.” So if I don’t want you to prove to me anything, is there any way in the world you could prove it to me? And if I wanna attack you and accuse you of being cold, being hard-hearted, thinkin’ evil thoughts, is there any way in the world you can defend yourself if I want to attack? Hmm? Would there be any way in the world you could defend yourself? You could scream, you could fight, you could prance, you could stand on your ear, but what would happen, huh? So let’s see how we would be if starting right now…let’s see if anybody could feel they could start right this minute...
(Got a cricket –)
Got a cricket. He’s come in to visit. [Referring to cricket chirping in the room.]
… that we didn’t have anything about ourselves that we had to defend, that we didn’t have anything we had to prove. What kind of a state of being would you be in right now? Stan, what would your feeling on that be?
(Boy, if I could answer that one, I could prove to you how clever I am.) (laughter)
But it’s fairly easy to begin to see – would it not – as to what kind of a state of being would you be in if you didn’t have anything to defend and you didn’t have anything to prove.
(It seems to me that I defend things to myself more than I do other people. I don’t care what other people think –)
Right, but you sure do have to defend to poor Florence, don’t you? (laughter) Right. And is that necessary do you think? So that’s that little picture, you know, we draw and this is where the defense probably starts anyway…[pointing to the Picture of Man:] This one begins to accuse and this one tries to think up the defense, doesn’t it? Huh? This one down here begins to accuse you and this one tries to think up the defense – so it’s all inside. So when that little accuser in us says, “Blah, blah,” you say, “Aren’t we havin’ fun though?” And can’t you get along very well without it, huh?
(That’s what’s called being conscientious.)
(No, I said you’re just being very conscientious.)
Oh, is that being conscientious?
(Well, that’s what I use.)
That’s what you’ve been taught to say it.
(I was just trying to help her to get the words. Come on, here.)
So you...would we call that being conscientious or would you call it…
(She tries so hard not to hurt anybody that she gets herself all confused.)
So the only way you can hurt anybody is to try to take over their life or to hit ‘em. And I couldn’t conceive of you hittin’ anybody and so you let the rest of it alone. But you know what? People get their feelings hurt – why that’s their little thing, isn’t it? But we defend that what I said, “I had...” [End CD 1}
CD 2 OF 5
[CD begins with repeating the two previous paragraphs]
(She tries so hard not to hurt anybody that she gets herself all confused.)
So the only way you can hurt anybody is to try to take over their life or to hit ‘em. And I couldn’t conceive of you hittin’ anybody and so you let the rest of it alone. But you know what? People get their feelings hurt – why that’s their little thing, isn’t it? But we defend that what I said, “I had a good intention.”
So we’re also always trying to defend “my intentions.” [Writes it on the board:] Trying to defend my intentions. Now wouldn’t it be just as easy if somebody said, “You meant to hurt me.” You say, “Did I succeed?” (laughter) You know, what’s the difference, they’re gonna laugh about it then. You got a lot better thing start than if you try to go through all your apologies and, “I didn’t mean to’s,” and so forth if you just kind of say, “But did I succeed?” with a little grin. Do you know they’ll immediately tell you? You know, did you ever walk up to someone and say, “I know I hurt your feelings yesterday.” And they say, “Oh no, you didn’t.” Huh? They never agree with you, hmm? They never agree with you.
So you always pretend to have done the worst intention you could have had – you said, “I know I hurt your feelings.” “Oh no, you didn’t my feelings!” All right. But if you went up and you was messin’ around, pretty soon, they’re pouty and then you start apologizin’ and they start complainin’ and the feuds on for months. But if you beat ‘em to it, you think somebody got their feelings hurt, why you run up to ‘em and say, “I know I hurt your feelings yesterday.” And you know what they’ll say. “Oh, no you didn’t.” So then you won’t have to fret over it anymore.
You see, they have to prove that they weren’t offended. So they have to prove that they’re thick-skinned. Always you’re out of the hassle that way. So when you go at it like this, you are going a little reverse to what everybody knows, but you’re totally free, huh? You’re totally free. Somebody says you’re a no-good bum, you say, “Why did it take you so long to find it out?” And you know they’re out, right then and there. They don’t have anything to do about it. And they say, “You’re so lazy, you don’t know what to do.” You say, “But don’t I have more fun than you do, though?” And you know they quit contendin’ right then and there. There’s always a nice little answer for any of these accusations and so forth and people have a quite…
In the last few years, you know – since psychology and psychiatry has been popularized by being in all the shows and all the books and all the newspaper articles – why, everybody has become a diagnostician. So they say, “That’s what’s wrong with you. You are full of fear – that’s what’s wrong with you. You’re resentful – that’s what’s wrong with you.” And so if you agree with all of these, you see some of the most disappointed diagnosticians you’ve ever had occasion to run into. When all the amateur diagnosticians start out and one walks up and says, “Why you are… just have a kind of a complex over your mother.” “Oh yes, I’m real attached to the old lady.” And “plooh,” it’s gone! They can’t do a thing about it when you agree to it. And if somebody says, “Well, what’s wrong with you is that you’re missin’ your mother – that’s why you eat all the time.” “Yep, but I can’t get as much as she used to give me.” You know, you just go on with it as unconcerned as you please and you never seen such frustrated, annoyed diagnosticians in all your life. What, Jack?
(Doesn’t a lot of this go back to the third decision?)
Yeah, “tryin’ to please everybody.” And when they begin to try to criticize you and find all your faults – they gonna diagnose you – then they’re using that number seven: “I am important,” you see. And they’re also implying that you ought to be a lot different. And when you seem to be quite all right with the way you are – “Fine, I’m like I am.”
I was looking through some psychological tests a few minutes ago and I found that I could not answer any of the questions. I don’t know where I would rate on the thing…[he chuckles]…but I couldn’t answer any of ‘em. Because the first off it started out what had I made most important – which was the most important to me – and so I was stymied before I started. So I had to laugh and I’m sure that I would be called prob’ly a complete insanity case, hopelessly over the end, because I couldn’t fill out the psychologist’s little paper. I just don’t know what he would do about that because I would have to leave ‘em all blank, ‘cause I couldn’t commit myself on these and be honest with me.
So I would have to write across it, “I’m hopeless,” and hand it in (laughter)and see what he would go with there because I’m hopeless with that thing. I mean! There is no way that I could answer one of the questions on it. And I’m sure that he would feel that I should defend myself and when I wouldn’t do that and wouldn’t even try to prove that I was sane, I wonder what the poor psychologist would do.
Mental cases all try to prove they’re sane. That’s the way you know they’re insane. The mental hospital, every time you bring somebody in he tries to prove he’s sane. That’s the way you know he’s insane. Or if he’ll play insane, you know he’s puttin’ on and you send him back on out. So, if anybody ever feels that they’re about to get caught in this little trap, which you frequently hear in the scare literature, that somebody’s going to commit you to an institution, you always go in and say, “I know I’m completely off the rocker. Now let’s see, I’m supposed to go ‘Eeeeeehhhh!’” or whatever it is that you would think. And when you would try to do that, they’d say, “She’s puttin’ on, he’s puttin’ on – throw him out!” They won’t even let him in.
But you go in and try to prove you’re sane, they say, “See he proved it!” Just like everybody else in that ward – he says, ‘I’m all right let me out of here.” So you just always play the role of being what it is that you are not having to defend anything and this leaves quite a little difference. So, let’s all spend for a little bit of discussing the things that you would see in everyday affairs that we are all trying to defend ourselves or that we’re trying to prove to ourselves. Let’s use it for a little bit and…tomorrow morning that none of us will have to use...(break in the recording).
[later on at the evening portion of the workshop]
Did everybody have a good day today?
You did? Well, good. Good.
(Real good for a Monday.)
Good for a what?
Monday. Well, that’s about par for the course on it. If it got started good for Monday – now what is today, is it?
Just two days late, that’s about right for most people. [he’s chuckling] That’s a good start. There’s a sharpened pencil, Miss Jeannie. Let’s talk about “pity” tonight for a little bit – and as it’s a real good subject, you know. It’s possibly one of the most used subjects in the world is “pity.” A person equates (writes on the board) “pity = love.” Parents are quite good at establishing this pattern very early in life. The child is runnin’ around bangin’ his other kids and havin’ a good time and pokin’ things. And everybody kind of ignores him pretty well – he’s stayin’ out of your hair, you know?
But let him fall down and scratch his toe or he gets his knee bruised or somebody bumps him and he begins to yell, and mother goes picks him up and comforts him. So he gets to feeling very quickly that to be pitied equals to be loved. And then, of course, to get hurt equals to get pity and to get pity equals to be loved. And so pretty soon, you know, it begins to work as a pattern. I get to feeling a little bit like I’d like to have some attention and some approval and nobody’s payin’ any particular attention, so I will get hurt – you know?
I don’t get hurt very much, you know – by bumpin’ my elbow anymore and cryin’ over that, but I can get my feelings hurt so easy. I’m so disappointed, you know; things aren’t happening just like I want them and so now I’m “hurt.” And, of course, then I will expect to get some pity.
But it seems that after I got above big enough for Mama to pick up when I yelled loud enough, why I don’t get much, but you know who can pity me now? Boy, I can sure get that self-pity! So I start off with a good dose of self-pity and I really am really sympathizin’ with myself.
You know, that’s what self-pity is – I “sympathize” with me. [Writes it on the board.] Nobody else’ll do it, so I will do it for me. And I will tell myself about all the good things I’ve done and I will tell you how, carefully. Then I’ll tell myself that nobody cares anything about me and I literally pick myself up in my arms and hold me and pat me. And, of course, this is called…nobody ever came to me and said they were feeling sorry for themselves – nobody.
(They’ve never come to you?)
No, I’ve been rattlin’ around in this kind of field of work for some 30 years and nobody says, “I really feel sorry for myself – I’m enjoying a good self-pity binge.” But you know what they come in and tell me? “I’m depressed.” (laughter) “I’m very depressed. I feel very depressed. I feel life isn’t worth livin’. I don’t see why I keep on.” And we might say it in several other words, but basically it is depression.
Now in the fancy field of psychiatry and psychoanalysis and all this, depression is a diagnosis, you know. It’s a legitimate diagnosis. And when people have depression, why then they get a diagnosis that they’re “depressive,” which means that they’re quite prone to feel sorry for themselves. And that’s good for usually two to three years of therapy at fifty bucks an hour, at least three days a week. So it’s a very expensive, choice diagnosis to be depressive – which means you’re quite prone to feel sorry for oneself, to try to get attention and approval. And nobody else is givin’ it so I’ll revert back to childhood and sympathize with myself like mama did when she picked me up. Nobody else will do it, so I’ll sympathize with myself and I’ll tell all these sad stories – to me. You know, I do it all by myself and, of course, this is “depressive” because I have to be down or I wouldn’t tell myself the good stories.
So “depressive” or “depressed” is quite often we hear in the workshops and I tell people they can’t have that in the workshops because at the rates we charge, they have to just accept plain old self-pity, you know? And of course, that is not quite as pretty sounding as to say, “I’m depressive,” and get all these fancy words – but in the workshop, why depressive equals self-pity and we call it by its name. Now, of course, when working in a fancy office and you’re getting – making – diagnoses and chargin’ $35 an hour for fees, why you carefully call about depressive as an illness – a “condition.” You study depressive while you was goin’ to school? Did they ever tell you the same old thing – it’s self-pity?
[He chuckles.] They didn’t even let us find that out in school; but it is, Stan, I’ll let you in on that ‘fore you go and practice. So you can either practice the workshop variety of it for whatever we charge or accept for seeing about it, or you can stay orthodox and have depressive cases and charge $35 an hour or $50, whichever one is most appropriate. But really, you know, when a person can get a good diagnosis of being a “depressive,” they tell everybody, “I’m a depressive.”
And then they go into stages on this. Now as you go still further with it, there’s one called a “manic-depressive.” It means they have self-pity fits. They really go into a lather over this. They’ll be goin’ along and everything is pretty well but nobody’s paying attention. Manic depressive is called the “circular” thing – it goes like this. So up here they’re very, very elated; oh, they’re the sweetest people you ever seen – they’re joyful and etcetera. And all of a sudden they’re down here in the depressive state and they call that “manic-depressive.” When they were goin’ along joyful, everybody would accept them as being a joyful individual and nobody payin’ particular attention. They’re a little overly – “vivacious” I suppose is the pretty word for it – very super dynamic, you know. And, of course, nobody pays you much attention – they expect you oughta be that way. Don’t you expect everybody to be happy, you know? And so they’re goin’ along and nobody pays them any particular attention for this and so they get to feeling in need of attention and approval. And overnight, plap! – down here.
And it’s very interesting to observe it. They first sit and don’t talk. They just look, you know…they just look. You walk up and say somethin’ to ‘em, they don’t say anything. You try to ask ‘em, it’s time to come to dinner in an institution where you have ‘em, and you will ask ‘em to get up and “let’s go to the dining room” and they sit. So, somebody generally picks ‘em up usually.
In the institution you have to feed ‘em because somebody comes along and says you’re mistreatin’ ‘em if you don’t. So you get ‘em up and tote ‘em into the dining room and sit ‘em down and they’ll just sit there and stare – they won’t eat. So, somebody picks up every bite of food and puts it in their mouth. So now they’re really gettin’ taken care of. They’re back and mama’s holdin’ ‘em and, of course, the price is to spend time in a mental institution; but they’re getting what they want.
So this will go on for several days – total disinterest. They don’t bother to do anything. They just look woe-be-gone and exhausted and they’re so fatigued, and you barely can get a word out of ‘em. Sometimes you can’t even get one, they just mull up. They won’t talk at all. But if they do, it’s a very, [he mimicks a pathetic voice] “Who cares? What’s the use.” And they really give you the bit, you know? So they go through this for a few days until they have received enough. I don’t know how much it takes for everbody but different people require different amounts of self-pity or different amounts of pity ‘fore they feel loved. How much do you require, little one?
(None at all.)
You don’t want none do you, huh? What, honey?
(When you’re defending yourself, is that a sign that –)
Well, that’s as one good a way as any – tryin’ to get it, as saying, “I’m no good,” and you know everybody will come up...
(No, no, when you’ve done something, you feel like kicking yourself in the pants.)
Well, did you ever do it? That’s usually not exactly self-pity. That is self-recrimination and it’s a form of it. It’s a form of it. ‘Cause you usually go around and tell everbody or you can moan over yourself, “Why did I do that?” And so to feel guilty is almost the same as feelin’ sorry for oneself, is it not? It’s a form of it? Unless you really harm someone; but if it’s, you know, you said somethin’ when you would have wished you’d kept your mouth shut – you thought you stuck your foot in your mouth. Is that what you’re talkin’ about? I can’t imagine of you havin’ robbed a bank or carried a dress out of the store or anything like that, huh?
No, I didn’t think so. So then it was over something you said, or something you didn’t do or somebody mighta had their feelings hurt…that’s a form of self-pity, isn’t it?
Did you ever go around and tell anybody how worthless you were?
You didn’t? You’ve never…?
(Oh, I may have done.)
In moments of wishin’…[he chuckles]...most people have. Did you ever go up and tell somebody how insignificant you felt and how worthless you felt and that you just hadn’t ever done anything worthwhile? And somebody always begins to tell you how good you are, and how worthwhile you are, and what a joy you are to the world. It’s a little stunt we use to get…it’s one of these same things, isn’t it? If nobody’ll give me a compliment any other way, all I gotta do is to go say, “I’m no good. I’ve never done anything worthwhile. I don’t see why I’m even takin’ up space on this Earth.”
(That’s conditioning, isn’t it?)
Why, I don’t know is it’s conditioning, you know; all conditioning, isn’t it? Everything is.
So if I begin to tell you how worthless I am, somebody would get around here and start tellin’ me, “But you’ve done this and you’re worthwhile and you’re very valuable,” and all this kind of stuff, wouldn’t you? You’d begin that right away, would you not? Huh? Almost immediately, somebody would begin to tell you how “worth-full” you are, and how valuable you are. So we use this as a means of – unconsciously, of course, it’s never conscious. You know, anything that’s conscious you can put to use. This is the unconscious motivation. What is the motivation for? Is to be loved. What does to be loved equal? [Writes on the board:] Attention and approval.
(You’re putting “consciously” up there?)
This is consciously. If I want attention and approval, it means to be loved. All of this is unconsciously up here. We go through all this and if anybody – and I shouldn’t say “if,” I should possibly more accurately say, “when” we have indulged in self-pity – you know, it was pretty miserable. And it was an awful expensive way to try to get some attention and some approval, especially when you had to give it to yourself. Is that about right?
So suppose I want some attention and some approval? [He writes it on the board, then points to it:] This is attention. I didn’t write it very good, I will redo it so it can at least be read. [Re-writes it on the board.] “I want some attention. I want some approval. I feel unloved because I don’t have enough of it.” In other words, we get hungry for attention and for approval just like you get hungry for food if you don’t have a good steady supply of it comin’ in. That about right, Stan? You get just as hungry for attention and approval as you do for food, and as thirsty as you do for water on a hot day in Arizona when you haven’t had a drink. If you don’t have a steady supply – which very few people are fortunate enough to have a steady supply of it – what’s wrong with goin’ out and asking for it instead of going through all this turmoil of self-pity? Hmm? What’s wrong with just sayin’, “Look, I’m kinda behind on my attention, give me a little bit, hmm?”
(What if you don’t know anybody to give it to you?)
Oh, anybody will if you’ll...
(You can’t walk out on the street and say, “Hey, there, mister or Hey there –)
You want to try it? (laughter) [Dr. Bob REALLY laughs] I’ll betcha!
(I guess – I want a thing or two, you know? We all do.)
Right, but you don’t have to necessarily go on the streets. You know lots of people. You know Leo. You can walk over and tell Leo that you’d like a little approval and I’ll betcha he’d give you some, huh? Would ya?
(I don’t know…would you?) (Leo: About as little as you’d ask for.) (As little?)
And so you didn’t ask for any and you don’t get any; but if you ask for a whole lot, you get a whole lot. You see? And so we go around tormenting ourselves because we don’t have sufficient love. We don’t feel loved and we go along with all of these when all it would take is to ask a little bit. When you go in a restaurant somewheres, you don’t walk in and stand around and hope somebody will bring you somethin’ to eat, do you? You say, “Give me so-and-so.” And if you’re hungry for somethin’ else, what’s wrong with asking for that, huh?
(I don’t agree with that.)
You wouldn’t do that, would you? But you sure would complain when you don’t have it, don’t you?
(To myself I would.)