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School Talk 14 - What Is and What Ought To Be

Ok... so today we will talk about “what ought to be” and “what is”. What ought to be is what everybody is struggling for; and, of course, that tears away all the time of what we think we should have--what ought to be--how everybody ought to behave, right? What they “ought to do”; and we assume, (whether they ever heard of it or not), they “ought to know what to do”; and if they don’t, we give them hell, right? They should know it—it ought to be; and, of course, there are hundreds and hundreds of ways that we use the “what ought to be”.

I think we’ll tell the little story, maybe, that would enhance a little bit of understanding about “what ought to be”.

A man lived in a village long ago and had one beautiful mare, a beautiful Arabian mare, and he happened to be a person who didn’t know what ought to be; but all of his neighbor’s thought they did.

So one morning when he got up, the mare had broken out of her little corral and was long gone—no sign of her anywhere--nobody could see her, the tracks disappeared into the desert.

So all the neighbors came and said what terrible misfortune you had, you’ve lost the most beautiful mare in all our whole village and anywhere; and he said, “I don’t know whether it’s misfortune or not, all I know is the mare’s gone”.

He knew what is, the mare was gone—that’s where it quit, right there.

So in a few days, one morning he got up and the mare had returned with seven beautiful wild stallions that she had gathered up out on the desert, and now we probably know why she broke out of the corral in the first place.

And, at any rate, the neighbors came over when she returned with the seven beautiful stallions and said, “What great good fortune you have. Now you have eight horses!”

And he said, “I don’t know whether I have good fortune or not, all I know is that there are eight horses in the corral now where there was only one”.

But, of course, the neighbors all knew “what ought to be”, and so they saw it as good fortune, but he left it as he didn’t know.

So in a few days his only son was out breaking these wild stallions to ride so they would be ready to sell someday. One of the stallions threw the boy and broke his leg.

All the neighbors came and said, “What terrible fortune it is--you’re son has a broken leg.

He said, “I don’t know whether it’s bad or not, all I know is the boy’s got a broken leg”. He knew “what is”.

And very shortly, all the king’s men came through the country recruiting all able-bodied young men to go to war. His son, of course, didn’t have to go because he was laid up with a broken leg.

Again, all the neighbors’ sons had to go to the army. So they came over and said, “What good fortune, your son had his leg broke. And he repeated, “I don’t know—all I know is the boy had a broken leg and didn’t have to go to the army. And the story could go on for quite a while, but I’ll quit there, because it can continue indefinitely if you choose to go.

So most of us think we know what “ought to be” every minute, and we can get ourselves into so many lower states of being over this “what ought to be.” Do you know anything you ever get upset about, other than it’s what something ought to be according to your viewpoint? Ron, you ever get upset about something—a “what is” or is it all right just the way it is. Or is the “what is” not “what it ought to be” and you get upset.

So now, let’s look at these for just a little bit. “What is”, of course, is the situation at hand, and you can always do something about it. If nothing else, you can ignore it--but you can always do something about “what is”.

There is nothing you can do about what “ought to be”or “what ought to have been” except get upset, is that right? That’s the only thing you can do is get upset. So basically everybody’s struggling to get from “what is” up to what they think would make them happy which we call “What ought to be.” If they could just get there, everything would be all right, wouldn’t it?

You know that very well, don’t you? So this is called the “stairway to the sky”, and everybody’s trying to get up that stairway in one form or another. But if we look at ‘what is”, “what is” a fact—that’s the one you can deal with and do something about. “What ought to be” is not a fact, but a fantasy, is it not? “What ought to be” is a fantasy. It is some picture you dreamed up in your mind—a fantasy of some sort? So we’re trying to get from fact to fantasy. If it’s a fact, we could say it is real. That’s what is--it’s real. That’s what is going on right now at this minute, is that right? What ought to be is not real—but unreal, is that correct? It’s just a picture in the mind—very unreal. So we’re trying to get from reality to unreality and struggling very mightily to get there—being very miserable at times.

And, of course, if it’s real, it’s the Truth; and, of course, the '”what ought to be” is not truth--but purely false beliefs, is that about right—false beliefs. We wouldn’t know what the outcome of this fantasy we dreamed up would be if it were to be here.

In order to know what ought to be, we’d have to know the outcome of everything two weeks from now, two months from now, two years from now, is that correct? Before you could really say what ought to be, you’d have to know the outcome of it? Like the man with the horse, you’d have to know the outcome of the boy having the broken leg in this particular case we mentioned a minute ago. It turned out much to their advantage for the boy to have a broken leg. A broken leg heals in a little while, and the king’s already gone with the other guys to the army, huh? So we wouldn’t know the outcome of that one. You’d rather be a little disappointed a day or two than be in the army, wouldn’t you Phil?

(Right on!)

Right on. But you don’t know which way it’s going.

So we’re trying to get from Truth to false beliefs. Then we could go on for many long things. We could put a column down here and a column down here and all of them would be that this one is purely a fantasy, unreal, unbelief and what-have-you—not true. Then we’re struggling mightily to get it. (What an exercise.)

Now with “what is” we can always do something about it, is that about right? There’s always something can be done. If nothing else, you can ignore it. You can walk away from it—but usually you can do something that would be worthwhile. If a person doesn’t know how to do something, we can take a few minutes or a few hours to train them to do whatever it is we want them to do, give them some information about it. Or you could send them on their way and get somebody else that didn’t know about it so you could train them your way, is that right? At least it’d be different. It’d be a little different, wouldn’t it Phil? It’d be a different one that didn’t know what to do, and that’d be about right for you too, wouldn’t it Ron? Be somebody different that didn’t know what to do, but they could still be the same thing that they wouldn’t know; but maybe you could find somebody with an aptitude and you could train them to do it.

Saw a sign in a restaurant recently that said if you’re wife can’t cook, don’t divorce her, keep her for a pet and eat here. Well, you know, you can always do something about it, whatever it may be. Maybe you can learn to cook yourself and start doing it yourself, and then it’s cooked the way you like it.

But the point is that we don’t know what ought to be. And if we looked at most of our anxieties, our struggles, our conflicts and our resistance to everything is because we have not looked at the fact. We do not know what ought to be because we do not know the outcome of it two weeks, two hours, two months, and two years from now.

Do you know the outcome of things Polly? If you want to look at something, you think you know “what ought to be today”, but you don’t know how it’s going to come out two or three weeks from now, two months or two years, whatever. Something that looks so utterly wonderful in your imagination, as the way it “ought to be”, has sometimes turned out to be not exactly like you wanted it, is that correct?

So we can only deal with what is. Now if our attention is on what is, there’s always something can be done about it. If I spill grease on my pants, I can always take them to the cleaners, is that right? There’s no use getting all upset and screaming because the grease popped on me, for instance, and I react and blame something.

Now when things are not like they ought to be, what is usually you’re first approach? To find something to blame for it. You can blame luck. You can blame another person. You could blame your own self—you could go on and on and on—but you blame, is that right?

If you can’t find what to blame, you’re trying to get somebody to tell you what’s to blame. Why did this ever happen and so on. But all of this is only struggle, conflict and resistance, so this struggle to climb this stairway is what makes struggle, is what makes conflict, and it’s what makes resistance. Resistance is resisting always what is. It is not having anything to do, and we’re in conflict between “what is” and “what we think ought to be.” We’re struggling to get from “what is” to “what we think ought to be”--what we believe.

Now these are the only disintegrating factors to man. We’re talking about the psychological disintegrating factors. Certainly if somebody comes and shoots you full of holes with bullets, that’s a little disintegrating, but that’s on a physical level. If you tried to live on Kayro syrup and white bread, you probably would not do so well either—but that, again, is on a physical level. But the thing that tears most people up are the ones that are in a constant struggle, conflict and resistance.

I think if we went around the room here, not too many of us have had any great physical violence to put up with in the last few months. Have you? Have you had any Vicki? Have you? Nobody attacked you? Nobody has attacked you? But you’ve had an awful lot of troubles, is that also correct?

(A little now and then.)

A little now and then. Almost daily, there is something that is not like it “ought” to be running around. There’s a whole bunch of things not like it ought to be.

So we stay in a conflict, and a struggle, and a resistance within. What for—because we have an imagination that we use to know what ought to be.

Now imagination is a wonderful thing as long as you know it’s imagination, but when we begin to decide by imagination that we know what ought to be, we have set ourselves up for considerable amount of difficulties, disintegrating factors going on, and things that we are not able to handle in any way?

Vicki, those banking people ought to have known what to do, is that right?

(Some did.)

But the ones you went to over and over just didn’t know how to handle an ordinary simple affair, isn’t that right; and didn’t Vicki do a lot of stewing over that.

(Damn right.)

You felt all torn up and when they said, “Well, wait a minute, here’s what is, they want certain roles and so forth and here, you take this and let’s go. Did it all work out smoothly as could be?


So to deal with what is, is possible, all right? It’s easy enough to handle. It was impossible to get people to do what they ought to do, is that right Vicki? They just weren’t putting up with it, is that correct?

Now if we go around about everything that we are in a conflict or in a struggle or in a mental state or emotional state over, I think you could see it’s because we have falsely believed that we know what ought to be.

So let’s try for an experiment for the next few days—well, let’s say for a week anyway--that would be a good stretch--that “I don’t know what ought to be. I know what is, it’s sitting here and that I would like to do whatever I can about it to make it more comfortable or pleasant for me.” I like to be comfortable, and I like to have things pleasant around. Then I could begin to figure out what I can do to bring that kind of a state about, is that right?

You and I talked on some things this morning to make a lot less conflict around and allow people to be more creative and so forth, is that right? Now what did we say to leave out—is what ought to be, our ideals, what ought to be—we can leave that aside. So can you set it aside for a few days? You can set yours aside. You can set yours aside? You can set yours aside? I can set any idea I have of what ought to be aside.

Now I took a truck to have a piece of work done on it, and was promised that it would be done not later than 11:00 a.m. today. It’d be finished last night and they’d check it out this morning, and I could pick it up at 11:00 am. I go about 1:00 pm—sorry, it’s not done, we gotta make some pieces for it.

Maybe you can get it tomorrow. Maybe, you know, not necessarily for sure, but more than likely you can if everything works out well. Is there any reason to throw a “hissy fit,” and have it, or do you just go back and see about it tomorrow. Eventually if it doesn’t get done, I’ll throw the fit--intentionally on purpose--and the man will get so excited, he’ll either give me a truck or fix that one—one or the other. But I won’t get upset about it. I’ll just convince him I am. Now we all know that if we’re living without conflict, without struggle, we’re talking about mental conflict, mental struggle and mental resistance, you get along pretty good, is that right? Boy, things are purring right along. You’re able to do about anything you set out to do.

Always there’s a little second force--everybody’s going to have a bit of that. But when we can say, well, I’m going to set this ideal aside because that ends all of this. When you set aside what ought to be—out of your whole head and your thinking—all struggle, all conflict, then all resistance within goes out the window. Now when we’re not having conflict, struggle and resistance, we have a lot of creative ability that we can apply in hundreds of directions--it’s altogether creative, and we have accomplishment available. We can get a lot of things done. All sorts of nice things begin to happen inside where all of this is going on. There’s a lot going on inside, but I wouldn’t call it nice, would you Phil?


No, no way. We wouldn’t call that very nice.

Now I’ve talked about it a bit from the standpoint where we can see “what is” which is something you can always deal with, and it’s not bad, it’s not good, it’s just what is.

The horse was gone; the horse came back with eight stallions. The kid got his leg broken; the king didn’t get him for a recruit in his army. So this we can always see what is and “what is” is not so terrible anytime. We can always deal with it. We don’t have to accept it, and we don’t have to reject it. We don’t have to like it and we don’t have to lump it--It’s just there and it’s something you can do something about—if nothing else, walk away from it.

But what ought to be, there isn’t anything you can do about it, only be upset because it isn’t there. Is there anything you can do about what ought to be except be upset, Phil? That’s the whole bit. Now, of course, in my business, it’s nice that people get upset once in a while. I have something to do. If they didn’t get upset, I would be out here having to go to work to make a living. So let’s look at it that maybe we can just live for a few days without any idea of what ought to be.

Whenever we come up with ideals popping through our heads—say check, check, check. I’m not going to do that one today. I’m going to deal with “what is here” because I really don’t know what ought to be. Because I wouldn’t know the outcome of it a week from now or two weeks from now or three weeks from now or months from now.

So now I’ve covered that. I’ll quit talking and let’s all talk now. First off, you can have a question. You can have a comment. You can have a challenge. You can tell me that I don’t know what I’m talking about. Let’s go from there.

Phil, you want to start it off here? You came from the furthest distance today so you get to try it. Phil came all the way from Austin or somewhere off down there which is a pretty good jaunt down the road because things down in Austin way are just not like they ought to be, is that right Phil? Now let’s go from there. What have you got to say Phil? Any comment.


No, no comment. Bonnie, you got one I hear.

(What makes those things that we have; we can do something about what ought to be?)

You think you can do something about it?

(In reality, I can.)

Well, why don’t you stick to reality instead of dreaming? I believe the common statement is we go to sleep every once in a while. When we go to sleep, we start dreamin’. Is that right? And we dream we can make it all over into what ought to be, but all you’ve accomplished so far, is you have a hassle, wasn’t it?

(Sure is, it doesn’t work.)

Last time I worked on that subject, Bonnie, I wrote a little book how to lose friends and alienate people—is to try to convince them “I know what ought to be”. And the book was a marvel, but nobody wanted to buy it because they looked in the front and slammed it down. But it was a pretty book, although it didn’t sell very well. I never guess we will rewrite it or reissue it. It’s one of the books I don’t think we’ll reissue. “How to lose friends and alienate people” is try to convince them I know what ought to be; and if they would just do what I tell them to do, things would be like they ought to be, wouldn’t they Bonnie? I think that’s called being asleep.

Ok, who’s got the next comment here? Come on, let’s all get involved in this here, not just me. This is a group. So this is a school talk.

(Is second force--resistance?)

No, second force is that there is a little resistance to what you want to do, but you’re not resisting it within your head. Second force amounts to the distance between two points that you want to go. If you want to do something, there is always something standing in the way slightly that needs to be taken care of so that you can get on with whatever it is you’re initiating.

So this is internal resistance here, in other words, fight within yourself. Where second force you initiated an action, there is by nature, a resistance that brings about a form and then you get a result. These are the four things that everybody goes through whenever you start to do something, OK?

(Did you say second force is always outside?)

Oh yes, second force is usually outside you. It is that somebody else is involved in it. Internal resistance is the same thing as conflict—you’re resisting things being like they are; and not because you would want to do something about it, but because it just shouldn’t have ever been that way in the first place.

If this world wasn’t populated with “jerks” and “dumb asses” why it never would have ever been in this shape in the first place.

(That’s right!)

That’s right; the world is just full of them aren’t they? They don’t know from nothing. Anybody should be able to see it, and they sit around and do something else all the time, ok?

(So you got to be conscious when thinking?)

You got to be consciously aware. You must pay attention to what is, and you can also stay awake enough to remember that you don’t know what ought to be because you don’t know the future.

Now if you knew the future infinitely out, and there was ten options open to you at the moment, you knew how each one of them would work out for the rest of your lifetime, then you might be somewhat in a position to say that you know a little bit about what ought to be, but do you know that? You don’t know whether if you had made one turn different than what you have done in your life, that you would even be alive today, is that right?

Somebody will go somewhere. Say you came to Phoenix, Mesa area, the valley of the sun from down at Salt Lake. Now maybe you were making more money in Salt Lake than you are here, I don’t know, but let’s assume that you were. You could say, “Well, I sure goofed up by going to Arizona.”, but you don’t know what would have happened had you stayed in Salt Lake City, is that right? You may have been a ‘friggin’ basket case. You may have been dead, you don’t know. You may have been a multimillionaire. I don’t know that either. But the point is, you just don’t know, is that right?

(I don’t.)

And you don’t know what would have happened had the least thing been different in your life than it is--no matter how much you complain about “what is’, you don’t know what it would have been had it been anything else. It could be that you have the best possible for you.

(Could be.)

Maybe the good Lord looked at you when he made you and said, “Well, I’m going to give her a hard way to go--there’s just something about her I can’t stand.” It may have been your name, I don’t know, but whatever it is, you don’t know. So maybe you had the best that was available to you. But you have gritched and bitched about it almost daily for the past fourteen years that I know of. I don’t know what about before then.


Thirteen, thirteen years—seams like twenty, but …

(The squeaky wheel gets greased.)

No, the squeaky wheel I depart from and stay hidden if at all possible. Let the wheel squeak, I don’t care. But the point is that we keep on going with those things like you know what ought to be, and you don’t know what the alternatives are.

(I thought I’d look around for something I’d like to do.)

Well, that’s all right. But that’s not the way you sound off. Now if it’s just something you’d like to be, you wouldn’t be complaining about it, and you will have to admit that on rare occasions—like several times a day—you have been complaining about it, is that right? Ok, good point covered, we’ll quit there.

All right, who else has got a comment here? Jeffrey, you got any? Things going along about like they ought to be today?

(Just wonderful.)

Everything’s all right and you’re beginning to see that what you thought ought to be probably wasn’t such a bright idea in the first place. Aren’t you glad it didn’t materialize?

(I’m very thankful for that.)

Good. Now as long as you’re thankful, you’re getting along pretty good. Ok?

(I got one.)

Fire away.

(What is it about being pissed off that gives you the idea that that is somehow going to help.)

Well, I suppose you think you did something—it’s better than doing nothing. But it will help you lose friends and alienate people. It will help you grow ulcers. It will help you be miserable. Once in a while it will influence somebody to get out of your way. That’s the nearest positive end of it you can get sometimes--they will run and get out of your way. They see you coming and say “Hey, let’s go, the old blankity-blank is coming in here.” Ron told me one time several years ago, when he walked into a room everybody cringed. Then when he left they walked on eggshells (as though they were walking on eggs) and they must not break them.

So I guess it has no value. You know the whole idea of people-- they believe, from the very earliest conception we have…… Do you recall the picture of man? The first one is complain. You know we all want the four dual basic urges—everything to be just like I want it—ideal. And the first decision made by a child was the way to get that was to complain. The second one, one that they made which was probably before they could talk was that “it’s important to stick up for my rights”. Babies cry differently way when complaining or sticking up for rights. They cry hurt, they can cry sad, or they can cry belligerence, you know the difference by the cry. They’re ticked off and at that stage of your existence. I’m sure it worked. Mama couldn’t stand that screaming, that yelp, so she came, picked you up and made you comfortable. And so we all formed from infancy the erroneous belief that if we complain enough, everything will straighten out. Or if we bitch enough, everything will straighten out. And that does work fantastically well for about two and one half years when you were a bambino.

But after that, it doesn’t work, but we still recall how well it worked, and we still have that idea to keep on doing it, is that about right?

Now you’re no longer an infant in swaddling clothes, you’re out here running around with shoes on, and trousers, and a shirt and driving automobiles and flying airplanes and making movies and all these things, and the infantile method no longer works. But we have never observed it and re-evaluated and said—Look, that worked fine for me when I was an infant, but it doesn’t work anymore because people don’t care how much you gritch now, see? Now once in a while it frightens another person who’s very infantile, and they get up and do it. They can’t stand to be rejected or disapproved of, and you’re dishing out a certain amount of disapproval when you’re being ticked off, is that right? Some of them will get with it. Most of them just get mad and call me. You’d be surprised how many call me and say so and so’s all upset, you know, and what do I do about it. How do I handle the situation? Somebody’s mistreating me.

But basically, it doesn’t work very well, but it did work so very well that first two, two and one have years of our life.
We keep on using it a lifetime and it doesn’t work anymore. Can you kinda see that?

(You can get addicted to it.)

Oh yes, you get addicted, it produces some sort of hormones in the body; and, of course, adrenalin and thyroxin pour out in great doses, and it’s like getting a shot of booze or something like that—so we get a little high on it and we want it over and over. It never does work very well except in very rare occasions and that seems a very poor way to go at it. I use that as a last resort. If nothing will work short of rejection, we’ll use it, but I got a lot of other tricks up my sleeve that I’ll try first, ok.

(Don’t you usually get into that and then out of desperation scream?)

Right, I know, but that’s the first thing you do when you go to sleep. You see, that’s the first thing you do is when you go to sleep, you start going back to those infantile conclusions that worked so well the first two years of your life. Why not use it now?

Ok, any other questions, comments? We’ll be here on Friday, a week from this coming Friday. Everybody have a lovely time and a lovely week and weekend, and we’ll see you pretty soon.