A Public Lecture, February 1952

Tonight I can do one of two things. I can impress upon you my reality concerning myself, yourselves, the human condition, the future, etcetera, until either you resist it completely, or you bend over backwards, agree totally, and tomorrow completely forget about it. Or, I can do something else. I can ask all of you to listen with an open mind to what I have to say, to respond to the activities I request of you, and to do this with the best of your will, the best of your effort. I can ask you to join with me in a series of prolonged, controlled experiments which will point out to you what makes up the image of a human being. By "image" I mean that map, or blueprint, each of us is using to define "a human being."

Now, again, I can give you a design of that blueprint as I know it, show it to you in words, by demonstrations, with gesticulations and grimaces. This will go over to you only insofar as you accept it. But if, instead, I manage to bring out in you a full realization, for yourselves, of what this image or blueprint is, within yourselves (as you should know it), I will have done far more.

I would like to select this second approach. I would like to have you work with me, not listening, necessarily, to what I have to say as fact, but going along with certain objective experiments that will elicit subjective data which you will critically evaluate. The results of these experiments, again, will point out to you (I hope) what a "blueprint" for a human being might be. Only you know what a human being is, and only you can interpret your own individual blueprint.

Each of us, of course, is different -- each blueprint will be different. I can give you a very abstract and general one, or a very detailed one which I shall dredge up, I hope, from within yourself. The story of the scarecrow will serve as a prelude to what we shall do:

Once upon a time there was a farmer who had a scarecrow. Every spring he used to stuff the scarecrow with new straw, dress it in some clean old clothes, repaint the face, adjust its hat to the right angle, and stick the scarecrow up on a stake out in the cornfield. Then the scarecrow would be set to do his job keeping crows out of the farmer's cornfield.

Day after day, as the scarecrow stood there, he saw the world go by. He watched cars going past on the road, and he heard the voices of the people. On Sundays and holidays, when many cars were passing, people would sometimes stop and come into the cornfield for a picnic. At such times he'd hear the people talking about the world outside, and about this thing called money. Apparently, with money you could get new cars and all manner of wonderful things.

One night the scarecrow got to thinking about what he had heard that day, and he thought he would like to have some money too, because it might be nice to have a big car and lots of wonderful things. Now, since the only way you can get money is by having a job, he resolved that he would go to the city and find work.

The next day he climbed down from his stick and went out to the road to get a ride to town. The first car that came by stopped, but the man driving it looked out at the scarecrow and said, "What are you doing on the road, scarecrow? You belong in that field over there. You better go back before the farmer catches you." But before the scarecrow could answer, the man drove off.

 Soon, another car came by. It too stopped. And again the driver yelled at the scarecrow, "You shouldn't be here on the road, you belong in your field. Go on back where you came from." And off went the car. After this happened a few more times, the scarecrow decided that he had better walk to town. And off he started. Mile after mile he trudged in the hot sun.

In the afternoon he reached the city. He went up to the first man he saw, and said, "Brother, can you tell me where I can get a job?" The man looked at him in horror, and replied, "You? You don't even belong in the city. Go away and leave decent folks to their business." And he turned around and walked off with his nose in the air.

The scarecrow shrugged his shoulders, and went on toward the next person he saw. This time it was a woman pushing a baby carriage. But as he came up to her, she screamed, "Get away from me, you dirty thing! Don't you come near my baby, with your smelly old clothes and your dirty old straw. Go on back to your cornfield and your crows, and leave happy people alone."

A lot of people heard this lady scream and shout, and they began to talk about how dirty the scarecrow was, and how bad he smelled, and how ugly he was, and how he didn't belong here anyway. The scarecrow became afraid when he heard this, and started to run. They chased him through town, and out on the other side.

 There was a big hole by the side of the road. The scarecrow was tired and frightened, and he stumbled and fell into the hole. The people gathered round the hole, yelling, "Look down there! There's that dirty old scarecrow!" And they went and got stones and sticks and water and even fire and they threw these things down on the poor scarecrow.

Finally, the night came and the people left the poor scarecrow. He lifted his battered body and looked around him. He stuffed his straw back into place, straightened his ragged clothes, picked up his hat, and climbed out of the hole. But he didn't see any people. He wondered where they had all gone. Finally he overcame his fear, and walked back toward the city.

He came to a window, and he could see people sitting at the lunch counter and in the booths, but none of them were moving. They just sat there, very still. He went on a little further, and saw the woman with the baby carriage. The baby was very still, and the woman was lying on the ground beside the carriage.

He walked on towards the tall buildings in the center of town, and everywhere he went, he saw people. But on the street, and in the buildings, and everywhere he went, he saw people. But on the street, and in the buildings, all was still and quiet. Finally, he reached a big domed building, which looked very important.

He went up the big stairs, and through the great doors, and he saw a big room and a lot of people sitting around in it. He thought, "This must be an important place. Maybe here they make their laws and have their justice." But no one in the room was moving. In the front of the room, on a raised platform, sat some more men.

The scarecrow stepped up on the platform and went to the man sitting in the big chair in the middle, who was dressed in a black robe. Screwing up his courage, he reached out and touched the man on the shoulder. The man fell over, off his chair, and lay very still on the floor.

By this time, the scarecrow was very frightened. He turned and ran away, through the great doors. As he reached the top of the stairs, he stopped. Something had caught his eye. He turned and went back inside, over to the man who had fallen to the floor. He looked down, and there, sticking out of the man's chest, was a piece of straw.

Now, think about it for a moment. Think of the hole into which the scarecrow fell. Think of those persons who found the scarecrow in his hole, and who poured onto him a torrent of abuse, of punishment, of guilt and of shame. They rent his clothing, they tore his body, and defiled him -- all because he was a scarecrow. Yet, in the end, the punished one found that everyone else was a similar person, another scarecrow. There were no differences, except agreed differences.

The scarecrow had a post, a duty to fulfil. Yet he discovered through another approach -- his own curiosity, coupled with self-determinism -- that here was a new world. He got very, very mixed up with this new world. It partially destroyed him, until he found the secret: they are all scarecrows; there are no fundamental differences among them. From one person to another, they're all scarecrows. They all have straw underneath their clothes. They all fall asleep from time to time.

One man, wandering among the populace, can discover the various breeds of scarecrows, and identify them. Yet, what is it that puts one scarecrow in a field and another at the head of a mighty government? What is it that determines what a scarecrow shall do?

You might say, "Here is a scarecrow. What happens now? He has all this knowledge. He has identified other persons as being similar to himself. He is not unique, not different. What is he to do now?" I'll leave that up to you.

The purpose of this story is to tell you in a very simplified (and, I hope, receivable) form that you are all alike. You are, even as I, and as every other person. You are as most of the people who have died, and you are as the majority of those who shall come again in the future.

If you want to go ahead, you can begin to change yourself from this very moment, from the simple realization that you are not alone, that there are others in your environment who are exactly like you. The are basically the same. They are not different. They may look different, they may have different jobs, different goals, different so-called abilities, but actually, they all have straw. You can find it if you look for it -- if you look carefully, through the cracks.

Now, just think for a moment. Think back in your life to when you have seen these mighty, important scarecrows, who did these things to you, who pointed out the laws of society, the laws of your unique and individual behavior, the laws of the universe, the laws of religion, the rules, the directives of life, how to breathe, how to think, how to eat, and even how to die.

Think of all these mighty scarecrows, and then, in a figurative sense, reach in and tear out some of their straw. Compare it with your own. You will find that it all comes from the same field. The same Maker made all of us. There is no difference.

This is the beginning, now, of the experiment. Search among yourselves, within your own hearts, within your own memories and experiences, if this can be true for you. Is there anyone here who disagrees with me, who feels that we are not all basically "scarecrows"? Who can point out to me definite data, that everyone else will agree with, that we are not all the same, that we are not all alike?

question: Please clarify what you mean by "basically alike." Would you define the term further to get down to the basic, rather than exterior, differences?
Anyone else have this same difficulty? Hold up your hands if you do, please. All right, anyone else? Either people are timid and won't tell me that they don't understand, or they do. They get the idea.

What is it that makes us all alike? I would say we all wish to survive, to take with us a portion of ourselves, to affect the outside existence with that portion of ourselves, and to continue that affectivity so long as we possibly can. This is our basic credo. We wish to learn, to feel, to act, to motivate, and to leave a society behind us with a pleasant taste in its mouth. Who does not wish to do this?

Those among you who do not wish to do this, hold up your hands. Don't be afraid. Anyone else? I would say that you are not a scarecrow. Now, disagree with me. Tell me you are. Who else disagrees with my idea that you wish to leave a pleasant taste behind?

question: How about people who are born mentally incompetent? Are they scarecrows too?
Well, why not? Not so very much straw! I am not being facetious. I'm identifying a quality of survival. These people are alive. They have a chemical motor that continues to function with a level of survival activity which is low, as viewed from our particular standpoint, but not from theirs. Put all of these persons together, and they will work out a rudimentary system of cooperation and behavior. The may not live quite so long as we do. This is because their straw is damp, of lower quality, and of lesser quantity.

Some of you apparently refuse to admit that those around you normally are scarecrows, because in our particular system, all persons occupy different places. There are some who are so smart, and some who are not so smart. There are some who are stuffed with a certain quality of straw, with a certain amount of straw -- so much intelligence, so much good looks, so much money, so much prestige. And some of you refuse to admit that this straw is all basically the same.

question: Then you're just saying that everybody is people. They are born the same and everybody else resembles them.
Who is "everybody else"?
Well, in your definition, because everybody is people, or that everybody is a human being, or that a human being is a scarecrow, so that there is no different quality there at all, in my mind.
Everybody is people -- everybody is scarecrow. Do you recognize this, or not? Do you recognize that the person sitting next to you is not a scarecrow?
Well, what's the point of having such a basic definition?
I am trying to point out a common referent for all of us to begin. You may sit there and identify yourself as the only scarecrow in the room, while all the rest of us are crows, or makers of scarecrows. If you wish to put it that way, go ahead. I'm merely asking you to agree to a basic feeling that most of the individuals in this room are scarecrows, like yourself. This means, basically, that you will accept the idea that you are a person. If you won't, I'm sorry; you can't agree with me any further. Anyone else? O.K., what is it?
question: It seems that you are allowing as much variation on scarecrows as there is among people, and therefore you're not getting anywhere by saying that people are all scarecrows.
You missed the point. The lady pointed out a very fundamental thing. She couldn't understand what scarecrows were. Neither can you. Some of you insist upon viewing yourselves from a very unscarecrowish viewpoint, insisting that there is no similarity, that each of you is unique, completely different, that there are not identifiable constants that can be passed from person to person and still remain the same. I pointed out there was survival. We all wish to survive.

Now, an animal may wish to survive, but he cannot demonstrate it too well unless we observe it. Neither can another scarecrow, unless you admit that that scarecrow is attempting to do the same things basically that you are, and he can only do these things if he has a similar basic structure, an inherent endowment that is the same as yours.

If he doesn't have this, he does not have the same purpose, the same goals, the same functions, and so forth. Now, you say that I've been too lenient in my definition. Of course I have, because you will not understand exactly the same thing that I do, or that I mean.

In the story I pointed out that there are different societies of scarecrows, different levels of scarecrows. I pointed out that one scarecrow may nearly be destroyed, but he has enough scarecrowness left in him to get up and look around again. That's what I'm asking you to do. I wish that you would all consider at this moment that you have climbed out of your holes. This is an agreement between us: you were formerly in a hole; you are no longer in that hole. From this night, this day, henceforth, the hole ceases to exist.

You have to find out through your own efforts that everyone around you is quite similar to yourself, but exhibits, perhaps, different activities. You recognize these. Again, the straw is not the same quality, not the same abundance, from one to another, but that is the only difference you will recognize.

Above and beyond this is the basic idea that these people are not stuffed with wood, or coal, or hatred, or fear, or evil purpose, but they are stuffed with straw -- friendly straw, the matrix of your personality. Do I make myself clear?

Apparently we have agreed, to a sufficient degree, I hope, that we are all scarecrows. I am one also. Now, let's start at the next point.

question: Is it part of your thinking, then, that we can dry our straw, or add to the straw we have?
This is inherent in the idea, as I'll try to point out later on. Now for another point. I asked you to review in your mind all those huge scarecrows who, in the past, had attempted to destroy you. By now you should have dredged up memories, recalls, of persons, or events directed by persons, which directly destroyed, or attempted to destroy, the fabric of your personality.

This is the first step toward getting out of the hole permanently.

Let's start with children. What are children? What are they? Everyone here was once a child, yet I'll make you a flat bet that no more than ten percent of you can tell me exactly what you ate the third day after you were born. You can guess it, but tell me exactly what it was. Tell me how it tasted, how warm it was, where it came from, how much there was, and so forth. Can somebody do this? If you can't, you weren't a child, you know, because this is a thing that occurs to all children. Apparently, no one at the moment can do this for me. Do you deny that you were children?

Let's go on to school. Most of us, I guess, went to school. Now, you won't deny that you were children, that you were infants, babies? What's wrong? Why do you refuse to remember what occurred then? It did occur, you know; you wouldn't be here if it hadn't. I hope that none of you are extra-terrestrial. [laughter]

So -- no one can tell me what occurred on the third day? How about the third year? Anyone? Who can recall what they ate the third year, the beginning of the third year, the first day? How did it feel? Anyone? You were all born after you were eight or ten years old?

question: Can you recall every meal you have ever eaten, right from the first day?
Um hmm.
Can you quote verbatim the conversation that I had with you just after you got here?
Why not?
It wasn't a meal.
[laughter] Can you remember a meal, and not my conversation?
You want me to do that?
What will it prove?
It will prove that you are trying to test memory in reference to food, and you can't remember a short conversation that took place about ten or fifteen minutes ago.
Now why do you want me to do this?
Because you said that it was odd that we couldn't remember what we ate when we were three days old or three years or six years old, or at any time since.
Now, I ask you to view what she has said, that I'm trying to prove to you that you can do this. What do you mean by "trying to prove"?
I'm just trying to get your thought on that.
What about your thought?
I'm trying to find out what yours is. That's why I'm here. [laughter]
I asked you if you would take the second mode of attack, if you would discover within yourself this blueprint. Now you're asking me to tell you what this blueprint is. I prefer not to do that. Once more, I ask you the question: what is proof for you that you were once three days old? You know you were, don't you? Does everyone agree that they were once three days old? You know you were, don't you? You were all once three days old. Now here is a lady who says, "Prove it to me!" [laughter]
question: The fact that I am here proves to me that I was once three days old. That's proof enough for me on that. But the fact that I can remember what I ate when I was three days old doesn't prove that I was a baby.
Why not?
That's a test of memory, and not a proof of my age.
I would say that it is also a test of your existence.
No, it isn't!
If you didn't eat when you were a child, you wouldn't be here.
Did I say that I didn't eat?
I don't know. Did you?
No, I didn't, but that I can't remember what I ate doesn't prove that I didn't.
Everyone listen to what we are saying. This is very interesting.
I must have eaten, or I wouldn't be here.
I said that you could guess at it. Now, suppose you make a definite effort to try to recall.
All right. I guess that when I was three days old that I had milk, that it was at body temperature, because it came from my mother, and I know I was breast-fed.
You know that you were breast-fed? Did someone tell you this, or did you actually know it?
No, my mother told me, and I believe it. I believe my mother. [laughter]
What is the earliest memory of being fed that you can recall at this point? Everyone else do the same thing now, when I'm asking her questions.
I was about ten years old.
That's the earliest time you can recall eating?
I know I must have eaten before that, but I don't recall a specific incident. I remember a Thanksgiving dinner, though.
What occurred at the Thanksgiving dinner?
Oh, we had a large number of relatives there, and we had the usual things.
Ummhmm. Now, I ask all of you to take a look at this person. You will notice that she has, among other things, a head. Housed within that head, I assume, is a brain, and all the ganglia, the nerves, etcetera, that go with the brain and nervous system. Now observe, if you can, the entire body. If you can't do that, look at someone else in your immediate vicinity, or look at me. Consider the necessary activities and work functions of the body, then consider the activities and work functions of the head. Consider the enormous amount of nervous tissue within the brain as compared to the small amount of nervous tissue within the body.

Put it this way: the controls necessary to monitor and direct the body's activities are very, very small compared to what you actually have inside your skull. I ask you to do this on the basis of your observations of birds, animals, fishes, and so on. You have a huge brain, whose apparent function, among other things, is to direct the activities of the body. Yet, if you look at your heads, look at all of them, you will observe immediately that there is a disproportionate difference in size. The body has a certain activity, the head has a certain activity, but the head does more than direct the body.

You can remove approximately nine-tenths of the brain and the body can still function, still stay alive. What does the rest of the brain do? What happens there? This lady is saying that it doesn't do anything, that this other part of the brain is stagnant, doesn't do anything at all, doesn't work, has no function.

I say that it has. I say that you can utilize this particular portion of the brain with a small amount of effort, and I'll try to prove this to you.

Each of you pick out, if you can, the last time something agreeable happened to you. This is an experiment: the last time something agreeable happened to you -- and I'll give you about ten seconds. Now, all those who thought of something happening on a very personal basis of survival alone, such as eating or drinking or sleeping, hold up your hands. All those who thought of survival in terms of the family, or particularly on a sexual basis, or concerning children, hold up your hands. All those who thought of activities within a group -- enjoying societies, lodges, clubs, going to a movie, hold up your hands. How many of you thought of pleasurable incidents concerned with the activity of the race as a whole? Now, let's lump all the rest of them together and say, how many of you thought of survival with regard to the future, basically, as a whole?

How many of you thought of more than one particular category? I hope you were all noticing the hands -- I want to give you a relative index to use, to judge for yourself. The two major categories were the first and second cases: survival on a particular personal level, and survival on a family or sexual level. I would say that most of us operate primarily on these two levels. Not so many on a group level, nor on mankind as a whole. In fact, for most of us, survival on the level of mankind is practically nil. We don't much care what happens to everybody else. They have little or no survival value for us. We do not wish to survive through them, therefore we have very little pleasure connected with it. But we do have pleasure connected with sex, with family, and with ourselves.

Now, let's recall a time when we felt very unhappy -- unhappy strictly on a personal level. You can close your eyes if it helps a little bit. I am going to ask you, in thinking about this unhappy experience that affected you personally on a personal survival level, not about how you felt, but about those persons in your immediate vicinity at the time. How did they feel? Were they, for instance, angry at you? Were they fearful of you, or of something else and directing their fear toward you? How about extreme embarrassment, or shame, that another person was directing toward you -- "You ought to be ashamed of yourself," "It was so embarrassing to me," "You make me cry," and so forth.

How about a person who simply refused to move, and made you feel very bad? And how about a person who is antagonistic, or hostile -- not necessarily angry, but hostile towards you in this particular situation? Anyone have a person like that? How about a person who was not hostile, but was simply unwilling to cooperate, who didn't want much want to do anything with you or for you? Any person like that?

Now, how about a person who was reasonably cheerful and content, and you wanted to alter their emotional state, but were unsuccessful? A person who directed toward you this feeling of contentment, of being cheerful, while you directed towards them a desire to change their emotional state, and were unsuccessful. How about that? Did anyone here do that?

Let's think about these persons, or this person, in the situation you recalled, who made you unhappy. Try to feel what they directed toward you in an emotional sense. They were angry, they were hostile, they were content, they were embarrassed, they were fearful, they were crying, or they just didn't care. Feel the particular emotion that they had. Think of that person, or persons, as fully as you possibly can. Recall as much about their personality, their mind, their appearance, their efforts, their emotions, as you possibly can. At the same time, experience the type of emotion they were directing toward you. The term for this is "counter-emotion." Try to feel this counter-emotion they directed toward you.

Can you do this fairly successfully? Those who cannot, hold up your hands. I'm asking for persons who cannot feel the emotion of the other individuals -- hold up your hands. Now, this is a fairly small minority, less than ten percent. Most of you can feel this counter-emotion directed toward you in an unhappy circumstance. These people who directed counter-emotion toward you, in an unhappy circumstance, are analogous to those persons who stoned the scarecrow.

Consider yourself to be the scarecrow. People have thrown rocks and barbs of counter-emotion at you. Here's a very important thing: this is a blueprint of human social activity. Constantly, right now, even at this very moment, you have thrown at you from the environment (which is constituted of people) their efforts, in the form of emotion, of thought, and of actual physical action.

I am, at this moment, throwing a thought at you, an idea. I'm asking you to accept a concept. I'm throwing an emotion at you. Try to sense what this emotion is. Can you do this? Can you sense what I am feeling toward you? This is counter-emotion. Can you sense my thought, my physical efforts, the way I'm hunched forward in the chair, my hands clasped, my face, my neck, my mouth, my eyes?

Can you sense the efforts, the thoughts and emotions of those who immediately surround you? The way they sit in their chairs, or hold their heads, or their hands, or their legs, or their bodies, in some manner? Why do they do this, and why, even more importantly, are you sensitive to what they are doing?

There is part of the blueprint. Accept it if you like. A human being is basically sensitive to the emotions, the thoughts, and the physical actions of other people around him. This is Rule Number One. This is a basic of human behavior. Does anybody disagree?

question: Do you mean, am I aware on a conscious level?
Technically, I'll say, not necessarily. This gives you, of course, a wide range of action. I will say this, as a corollary to the rule: you are sensitive both to conscious and so-called unconscious observations of these counter-efforts directed at you. This is part of the blueprint: you are sensitive to counter-thought, counter-effort (physical action) and counter-emotion. Does anyone disagree with me?
question: When you say "sensitive", do you mean it in the sense of being able to detect this counter-thought, or do you mean. . .
Can you see with your eyes, and hear with your ears?
All right, let me finish my sentence.
You don't have to. . . .
or do you mean what the person thinks is counter-thought?
What is the difference?
There is plenty of difference.
Is there, really?
Yes, because very often it does not seem possible to know what the other person is thinking. You may think you know, and then the other person will have a different idea of what he is thinking.
What difference will it make, at the moment?
Well, that's what I want to know. Do you mean that it is possible to detect what the other person is feeling, or do you merely react to what you think he is feeling?
Close your eyes, please. All right, now open your eyes. Now I'll ask you a question: what have I done? What did I do? I did something. I went like this -- but you had your eyes closed and so you couldn't see it.

What I'm trying to point out to you is this: regardless of what the other person thinks, feels, says, does, and so on, it is not important. What is important with this second approach is what you yourself feel. I've asked you to find the blueprint in yourself. What do you think they felt? What do you think I did? It makes no difference what I actually did, just as it makes no difference what others actually do, or think, or say. You can never know, exactly. You can only know what you think they did.

This brings up the second point in the blueprint. You are sensitive to the efforts of other persons, whatever this means for you. Point Number Two is this: what is your agreement with what you think they did?

Think about a time when somebody grabbed a stick, or a whip, or took their hand and beat your backside. Did you agree with it? Did you think it was necessary? Did you like it? Did you fight against it? What did you do? Or, didn't this ever happen to you?

First you have the physical effort. Somebody spanked you; then you have your agreement with it. If you liked it, you produced within your body certain emotional states. If you didn't like it, you produced other emotional states. Now, you may say, "Well, this is all caused by the pain and embarrassment of my bottom being paddled!" All right, you had a signal. This signal went up to your brain, where it was interpreted within the context of the situation, the efforts, the emotions, the thoughts, the punishment, the reason for the situation, the justification of the situation.

You were sensitive to all this. If you were not, the paddling would have no meaning. It couldn't have had. It would mean nothing to you. It would not have existed. Now, did you agree with it, or disagree with it, or did you remain neutral, not caring? Most of us, I think would disagree, but some people might agree, if they thought it was a good thing.

Now I ask another question. You have demonstrated within yourselves, I hope, that you are sensitive to these things. Can you now demonstrate that you can agree with, or disagree with, or remain neutral toward the sensitivity you have? Is there any other possible state? Can you divorce yourselves completely from your sensitivity, so that it does not affect you at all? So that you do not have to agree, or disagree, or remain neutral toward it? Is this possible?

question: Would you say that everyone is sensitive to the efforts of another person?
I don't say this. I merely ask you to agree with it or not to agree with it.
All right. Now, are we not just sensitive to our interpretation of the efforts of these other individuals?
Say "am I not", not "are we not".
Am I not. I personally feel that that is the case. Therefore, if somebody smacks me across the face, and at the time I disagree with them, I have some feeling against that person. Later, maybe, I will understand the reason for that, and my feeling will change.
What is the actual effort of this person?
Maybe the person is trying to . . .
No. What is the actual effort of this person, not "maybe". What is? You're talking of actual efforts.
What I'm getting at is this: are you trying to suggest that we are, or that I am, sensitive to the actual effort of this person?
What is the actual effort of this person? I'll ask you the question again.
The actual effort of this person was to teach me to refrain from doing this thing which was wrong.
Now, in your hypothetical case, when did you know the actual effort of this person?
Maybe a year later.
Compare it with your original interpretation of it. What is the difference?
Basically, the interpretation of their effort.
Again, what are the differences, insofar as our discussion is concerned? I point out to you a basic rule, which is, I think, a portion of the blueprint. I say this is, first of all, sensitivity. Second, it is agreement about sensitivity. Now, have you pointed out to me what is wrong or untrue about this sensitivity? You merely said that you now feel differently, now that you have interpreted the actual reason. What, now, is your emotional and physical agreement with that effort?
I may be in full agreement with it.
Good deal. That's all I want you to say. What is the difference, now, compared to when you disagreed with it?
I don't see your question.
The point is this. I say there is agreement to sensitivity. I say you have only agreement to your sensitivity. Now, you say, do I mean the actual reality? The interpretation? What is the actual reality, the actual effort? You say, "what he is attempting to do." Now you say, "I agree to this." Your question doesn't have very much meaning.

I say you have only agreement to sensitivity. I ask you to say if this is not so. That's what I'm trying to point out to you. You can only have agreement, disagreement, or neutrality. There is nothing else to do, with respect to this sensitivity. If you can point out to me that, in your particular blueprint, you can do something else different from this, that you can neither agree, disagree, or remain neutral, I would like to know about it.

comment: He is saying that he can change at a later date.
I think that is what he is trying to say, yes. But the change of agreement does not affect what I am trying to point out, the ability to agree. Apparently, he did not see that the ability to agree is the point, that there is only agreement, or disagreement, or neutrality, and nothing else.
question: Well, isn't it a matter of the ability to interpret?
Here we go again. What is interpretation?
A change in the individual . . . ?
All right, he has an innate capacity for changing, but this does not alter this second concept. That's all I want to point out to you. Now, if you do not agree, and you want to argue about interpretation, wait until I am finished and I'll attempt to demonstrate to you that, in your blueprint, interpretation and agreement are one and the same thing. No matter what the semantics are, I'm pointing out to you a method of evaluation.

You are evaluating this idea through your own personality, not through mine. Through yours, for yourself, with yourself. I have nothing to do with it. It is your ability, your right, to make up your mind about this blueprint. It will come from within you, not from within me.

Now we come to the next logical point in the blueprint. We have established the first two elements: sensitivity to counter-effort and agreement to sensitivity. Now what happens?

question: Now that I have the sensitivity and the agreement, how do I choose, myself, to respond to the actions and emotions which I employ?
All right. You have the situation, you have the data from the situation, you have this capacity to agree, to disagree, or to remain neutral. Now, how do you choose which to do? This is why I cannot give you my blueprint. You are going to develop your own, because each of you will choose a slightly different course of action.

I ask you all now, to go back to the unhappy situation that you contemplated previously, the situation in which you contacted the counter-efforts of the person, or persons, involved. What did you decide to do about these counter-efforts, in relation to your sensitivity, and to your agreement? What did you do? Will somebody tell me?

comment 1: Well, at that time I accepted the counter-effort.
You accepted it. All right -- you accepted it, you agreed with it. Did anyone disagree?
comment 2: At the time I disagreed, but, later on, when I gained a little more insight, I agreed.
All right, did anyone remain completely neutral? Anyone at all?
question: May I ask if it's possible?
Yes. I did.
comment: So did I!
Tell us about it. What was it? Tell us the ideas behind the neutrality.
I had too much confusion. . . I had a very dangerous thing to do. I attempted to remain neutral.
Now, this is a fairly unusual thing to occur. Normally a person selects an agreement or a disagreement. Normally, the person does not go into neutrality. Normally, the person selects an agreement or a disagreement.

One of you has pointed out an important next step. Why, in this incident, did you do what you did? Why did you make this particular choice? Now I ask all of you, if this is your blueprint, why, in this particular incident, did you do what you did? Why? Think of your reasons. Why did you take the step you took? You don't have to tell me about it, just think of them, review them. As you do, review them. Recall the counter-emotion, the counter effort (that is, physical action), and the counter-thought directed toward you.

As you do this, try to drop the counter-efforts and emotions and thoughts, and begin to think about your own emotion, your own physical action, and your own thoughts, your decisions, and the reasons for those decisions. Review them. Go through them several times.

Now, as you review those decisions, has anyone agreed to change them? Keep reviewing them. Perhaps you can make a change now -- the unhappy situations, the counter-efforts directed toward you, something you did, the reasons for your doing it. Review the entire incident, your action, their action, your thoughts, their thoughts (as you believed them to be); your emotion, their emotion. Review them again. This may get tiresome, but keep on. See if you can change your decision.

Even if someone has changed their decision, we still haven't demonstrated why we make certain choices. We haven't found a rule concerning choice. I am now going to do so.

Rule Number Three: In a situation, the counter-efforts directed toward you, and your agreement with those counter-efforts, modified your self-determinism. This, in the abstract, is why you made a decision. No person who is a scarecrow can tolerate an effort against their self-determinism from the outside. They must always respond from the inside, and they must always so modify themselves so as to have agreement with what they did.

A better abstraction is this: you made a certain decision modifying your state of being through your own self-determinism because the situation called for it. This might sound very complicated, because normally it is not put into words. When it is put into words, you'll find that the symbology employed cannot adequately express what it is intended to express.

It is very difficult to tell another person that most of the things that have modified them were not modified by situations, or by persons, but were directed by themselves. No man, or woman, or situation, within a reasonable sphere of influence, can modify you in any way unless you agree to and bring about that particular modification.

How can this be so? I ask you to examine what I have said. I can say to you that I have two heads. I can't modify your belief, can I? I said it, but you don't believe it. You don't believe it because you don't see the other head. Now I say, the other one is invisible. Now you will try to feel it, but I say, you can't feel it, it has no substance, but it's there. Now, what are you going to do? Put me away?

Normally, you would. The point is this: I, or others, may give you data. This data will usually consist, in society, of these counter-efforts. You will agree to these counter-efforts. Now, by "agreement" I mean affirmative agreement, negative agreement or neutrality. You will agree to this data, and then you will seek to modify your state of being to bring about what you have previously decided concerning the data.

Speaking about it is very cumbersome, very cumbersome. But, by talking about my other head I have pointed out this process very directly. Now, you can do a number of things in response to this: you can say "not proven"; you can say "I don't believe it"; or you can say "Yes, he's got two heads -- he says he has." This may sound ridiculous, but I'm trying to get the point over. You can modify your belief structure. You can modify what you have to do in the future, in communicating with others; you can modify what has happened to you in the past; you can modify the activities of those about you by your degree of agreement, and by the alignment of your total efforts along that agreement.

But only you can do this. I cannot do it to you. Does anyone think that I have made you agree, or disagree, or remain neutral on the subject of my second head?

comment: I think I would say that I disagree in this case, reasoning something like this: I've never heard of anything like it before; therefore, my first impulse would be to disagree. Until somebody can prove to me otherwise, I disagree.
All right, you won't remain neutral. I am trying to point out one of the most difficult concepts of human behavior, which very definitely resides in my blueprint and, I think, resides in yours. But this has to be proven to yourselves, by yourselves. I cannot directly modify you in any way whatsoever, unless you agree to that modification. Whatever you do, you do by yourself, to yourself, for yourself, with yourself, in yourself. You and you alone modify your self-determination to have, let us say, steak for supper, or vegetables for supper, or to vote Republican, or whatever. Anyone can try to sell you a bill of goods, but you make the decisions. You and you alone.

Someone may say, "This can't possibly be true for all human relationships. It can't possibly be so." I ask you to prove that it isn't true. Prove to me that I can reach inside your body and so modify your mind, your state of being, that you will never be quite the same, and as a result in the future you will be forced in contact with other persons to give them different communication, different data, because I got inside you, and I and I alone modified you. I defy you to prove this to me.

If you have ever been hypnotized, you will probably remember the feeling of allowing the hypnotist to take control. Without that willingness, hypnosis doesn't occur. So far as I know, within my sphere of contact, all persons who are hypnotized do so because they want to be hypnotized. What about narcotics, what about coffee, what about cigarettes, what about any stimulant or depressant? Most drugs have to be agreed to. This sounds silly, perhaps, but it is actually true. The person is aware of an effect in his body -- there is a certain effect. But beyond this there is a sphere of influence. How much of this influence will you allow to act upon you? How suggestible are you? What do you want? What is your desire (and your motivation) to agree?

How much have you modified your control, insofar as society and people are concerned, so that you no longer can control your physical function? This is a prime point in your blueprint. Where in your life did you give up the ability to control your body, from a central standpoint, at optimum or, logically, below optimum? Where did you give up the optimum physique, the strength, the physical reality of your body?

I may say to you that you have enough human endowment that you can pick out a number of things, such as a better heart, a better set of lungs, a better stomach, and so forth, if you so choose. But you choose not to do so, because at one time you made what can be called a "prime decision" to so modify your acceptance and thereby modify your own abilities such that henceforth most suggestions given to you could act within your body. But this was a prime decision.

What does this mean? Can you agree with this idea? Is this part of your blueprint? Did you ever in your life that you can remember make a prime decision to be less than you could be if you were optimum? If you did, that's part of your blueprint. I will state, as a matter of fact, that almost everyone has made a prime decision to give up this ability to control their own bodies, and furthermore, to give up the ability to control their nervous system, and the ability to control the complex interplay called "the personality", "the psyche", "the mind", and, even, "the soul".

Now, when did you do this? When did you give up your responsibility for, and your ability to control, your body, your mind and, even, your soul? Can you think of the time when you gave up this ability? This was an agreement with yourself to modify yourself so that from then on, you would be like a ball of putty, a plastic object -- pliable, moldable, retaining the impression of the environment, of others' counter-effort.

Once, somebody punched you in the stomach, or in the head. After that, you were afraid of prize-fights, of persons who have loud voices, who have red hair, or of persons who wear glasses, or a certain type of clothing. You agreed to continue to be afraid, by identifying, in all present times and times to come, these similar objects with your fear. How can this be?

What is prejudice? I can give you an example from my own life. I had new roller skates, and I was skating down the street. A group of negro kids came up the street, knocked me down and took my skates. From that day on, I decided not to like negroes. Later I was punched, rather soundly right on the nose, by a negro who wanted to take some of my papers in school. That affirmed my decision. A number of other things involving negroes also occurred. It got to the point that, whenever I looked at a negro, I actually felt sick inside. I wanted to fight, regardless of who that particular negro was, and even though he had not been in the original group that took my skates, nor was he the one who punched me in the nose. I identified negro1, negro2, negro3 with negroN. I decided to hate all negroes.

That is prejudice: lying in a decision, or in a situation that brings about a decision. In this case, the counter-effort of a situation directed against me -- the pain, the emotion, the impact of the street, the loss of my skates, the fear, the loss of security in school, the fear again, more pain, more decisions to be afraid. I modified myself along a definite dynamic, the dynamic of race survival, because at that time (and following that time), if I had to make a decision about the survival of the race, I would have left out every black in the world.

(Now I have no longer decided to hate all blacks. I decided to understand them, and myself, and the entire situation. There is no hate, no dislike.)

Do you get the point? I made a final decision. I modified my future with that final decision. I modified, in turn, the future of every black I would ever meet, because of the prime decision I had made. How many futures are you modifying, in less than an optimum manner, by the prime decisions you have made to destroy a certain segment of your reality? How many tales do you tell about certain persons, certain groups? How many lies, how many deceits, how many (so-called) twisted truisms? How many stories have you carried? What do you believe without fact without part of your blueprint being there? What will you accept as hateful about other people, or about their desires, or about their needs? Why have you made a prime decision to injure anyone?

I ask you to recall why. I ask you to contact the counter-emotion of a major incident in your life that made you hate any one thing, or any one person. I ask you to recall the counter-efforts of the situation, of the person (or persons) surrounding you who made you hate anything whatsoever. I ask you to recall why, and I ask you to recall what you have done because of that why, that prime decision to modify.

Think of it. You have modified yourself, and you have attempted to modify others -- you have modified the very future in which you will exist, some day. You have taken upon yourself the responsibility for destruction, for extinction. Is this in your blueprint? If it is, do you want it to remain? How can you get rid of it? Do you want to get rid of it?

I point out to you, again, that I cannot modify your decision. This is yours and yours alone to make. You did it in the first place; you'll do it in the second place. I can only ask you to get out of the hole into which you have put yourself. If you give back to the world, and to the future, that which you have extracted from it because of your prime decision to modify yourself, you will be climbing out of the hole. You'll be a better scarecrow.

Now, think about it for a moment, and relax. I'm not going to bite you; neither will anybody else. Some of you feel very uncomfortable now. How dare I point out to you what you have done! Have I the right to do this?

I take upon myself the right to do this. I assume the responsibility for it. You can do the same. Think what it would mean not to be afraid anymore. Think of what it means not to be angry all the time. Think of what it means not to have to cry over every little thing that gets in your way. Think of what it would mean to have no bad emotion associated with the world, with the people around you, or with the future. Think of what it means to be content, to have a sense of well-being, even to be enthusiastic about what you can do, with prime postulates, not to destroy, but rather to help, to aid, to construct.

There are certain things I can point out to you, certain technicalities is your blueprint. Most of you are born with a set of data already built into your person. This data consists of reflexes, instincts, and definite reactions to certain stimuli. These stimuli can be of a very high order of symbolism. Within, I would say, about a day and a half after birth, you identify the symbol of another thing bringing you pleasure. Even now, in your "adult" state, you identify the symbol of green paper with the accumulation of security, satisfaction, and so forth.

I've pointed out the blueprint to you. What about it? You have dug it up, felt it, discussed it within yourself. How deeply will you identify with the blueprint you have discovered for yourself, with things that, in the past, were bad? Are you going to throw mud at it, and decide it isn't so at all? Or, are you going to make a prime decision to modify what you found out today, to destroy the decisions you have made in the past?

Are you going to make a prime decision to amplify your blueprint, to construct it, to make it grow, to sow it, to give it to other persons, to point out to any individual who needs it that they can be self-determined?

Get that: self-determined. Self-determined, not environment determined, not fear-determined, not anger-determined, but self-determined. The self has no emotion. The self is the "I", the awareness of awareness, the being, the "you" within you; the "soul", if you like. The self has no emotion, but it directs emotion. If you want to, you can give back to yourself as much of that self-determinism as you desire. Or, you and continue to modify it and destroy it.

There are other parts of the blueprint what we can discuss. We can talk about cause and effect. What is cause, and what is effect? You are cause, and the things you do can be either cause or effect. If you give any individual a greater ability to use his basic causal forces, you are doing good, regardless of the situation. But, if you take away from any individual his capability, his endowment to effect greater cause, you are not doing good at all.

What about your heritage? What about the things that you were born with? What about your responsibilities as a human being? Think of the untold millions of dead, who, before you, have fought and died to hand on to the future certain ideas, certain riches, certain endowments. Think of the heritage of freedom, of thought, of philosophy, of science, of the future that you have.

Think of what you can do with that future: because they did it, you are doing it now; and those after you shall do it. Every action that you take that directly influences another human being to be less than optimum takes the future and paints it slightly blacker.

I'm being very abstract here, since I can't discuss every individual situation. But I think you know what I mean. If you don't, I'm sorry.

Do you want to be cause? Is this a part of your blueprint? Do you want to grant cause to other persons? Or, do you want to be effect, plastic, pliable, modifying yourself even further?

Take the blueprint. Keep it as it is. Clean it up, make it brighter, stronger. If you do this, I will have done a very good thing today.

Thank you for listening.

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