|THE PRETENSE OF PASSION|
|copyright 1989 -2000 Jan Cox|
|Reminder: The following is a rough transcript of one of Jan's extemporaneous talks, and people do not speak, ad lib, in the same way they write. Thus some sentence fragments, and other linguistic anaomolies can pop up which may have slipped past the transcriber. But the overall tone and intent of his comments still comes through for those wanting to hear something new.|
Welcome again to another evening of whatever-the-hell-This-is. Where, I'd like to remind you, our motto is: "We Ain't GOT No Motto." (It's better to have a motto like that one, so people can wonder, "Why would anyone go to the trouble to say that's their motto, when they don't have a motto?" That's for me to know, and you to figure out.
For the starting point tonight, I am going to take something I heard on TV recently. It was one of those half-hour commercials selling self-help tapes to change "the unconscious mind." And the guy used this line: "Were it not for man's unconscious, no one would be fat, overweight, broke, or a failure; for why would anyone consciously choose to be so?"
That statement literally wraps up all kinds of myths and religious ideas about demons and brings them right up to date. And quite succinctly; Life has just about got you. (Some of you, I guess, it's a good thing you didn't see that show or you might have sent in your $249...) The easier part is this: what it does is offer you an apparent way out of what could otherwise be perceived as a biological, deterministic certainty. Within the statement, it's not in question whether you have or do not have an unconscious mind; it is a given. The statement takes up for any criticism and any crude apologists who might still insist there is no unconscious. It simply asks you the inescapable question, while tacitly making you admit that something other than your conscious mind is causing your shortcomings. Because who would CONSCIOUSLY choose to be a failure, fat, broke, etcetera? And the answer is, of course, "nobody." Please send in your $249 for our tapes.
It's not necessary that people send in their money, because Life's meter never stops even if the cab sits there. You are simply made to feel there is an open-ended possibility of change. But it is so beautiful and so well put together that even I, at times, am staggered by what Life has done. (I'm being melodramatic. I'm not really staggered.) It doesn't say that you CAN change; it doesn't say that you MUST change... it's almost as if you've been hit by a steel glove and simultaneously soothed by the soft hands of a masseuse. The statement doesn't say that Life will change the fact that people are overweight and broke; it is a given that some people are indeed that way. But it points this out: there is a reason for shortcomings and warts, and the reason is not really YOU. Implicit in that statement is the idea that the conscious mind is the real "us." What is happening is not your fault; it's not even your immediate responsibility.
The statement also doesn't say that behavior is biologically predetermined, that your family ruined you or that the gods "have it in for you." It says that people ARE overweight, sad, and frustrated, and then blames all this on the unconscious mind. Because, the punch line says, who would consciously choose such a life? And everybody who is sane has to agree.
Life has slapped you around, kicked you in your private parts, shook you by your heels, spun you till you were dizzy, and then soothed you at the same time. And then put you back in line, waiting to be slaughtered, and made you say, "I feel a lot better now." Life sustains, in a most clever way, the appearance of an actual way out for people from an otherwise apparent biologically predetermined situation. You're given the "open end" -- you don't have to do anything now, but there's always the apparent possibility of change. If not an immediate way out, there's a way to deal with it, right? Because if you have a flaw, you obviously did not consciously choose it... The choices are rather limited, intellectually. If you are ordinary and sane, how could you not agree to such an explanation?
The alternative is what nobody likes to hear. Nobody. That is, "My genes are making me do this and there ain't no way out." But then, part of THAT beauty is: "Wait a minute. There's got to be a way out, or I could not be thinking that there's no way out!" If you tried to tell people that there is no psychology and that genetics determines absolutely everything, they would say that there must be at least one way out, or it wouldn't be possible to think about change. Hmmmm.
The punch line I quoted from TV does not go into that. The commercial contains its own definition, explanation, and apparent solution. It is a thing of beauty. As much as I love Mozart, or Bach, or some of the old Howling Wolf... this is just beauty incarnate.
Beyond that easy and immediate aspect, let me point out something else. The thinking contained in my quoted statement is already inherent in most of you people and your contemporaries. Keep that in mind. The function of such an idea is in the Dialogue being able to discuss to and between itself the state of such an apparent malleable possibility of escape. Each person to himself can continually say, "Whatever the problem is, we'll finally get to the bottom of it." The "bottom" being somewhere other than "my conscious mind." That is, other than "me," as I know me and love me."
One aspect of the Dialogue can say, "Looks like we're putting on weight again." And the other replies, "Yeah, but we'll get to the bottom of this." See? It doesn't have to say anything immediately pertinent such as, "Put DOWN that cheesecake. BAD hand! BAD hand!" It doesn't say that. The Dialogue assumes that IT is the conscious mind, and when it "gets to the bottom" of the weight problem, the problem will go away and you can eat cream puffs and doughnuts all day. That is, once the proper area to lay the blame is discovered, from there on out it will be, as they say in the used car business, "smooth sailing."
You seem to have an open ended opportunity waiting. Whatever is causing you to operate in ways you find to be, if not physically detrimental, at least unenjoyable -- "self-defeating behavior" as psychology says -- is attributed by the Dialogue to unconscious influences. And implicit in that is the expectation that the very act of "getting to the bottom" of the problem would cure it. With most ordinary thinking, such an approach just about puts the lid on the whole question of change. Because you won't DO anything. There's no need to do anything right now. It's enough to think, "I CAN get to the bottom of this."
Something else. I'm going to give you a new weapon. Or, for those of you who are more pacifistically inclined, a new tool. I will have to once again give this to you as a "do not." Twist it around and make it a "do" if you want to. But this is immediately and forever useful: Don't ever again say, "I feel"; say, "I think." And don't ever again THINK, "I feel." Don't even think it. Just stop it.
DON'T SAY, "I FEEL." Except, of course, in specific physical matters. (You may want to go ahead and think, "I feel a tremendous pain in my foot.") If you catch yourself saying, "I feel," stop in the middle of your sentence and change it to, "I think." DON'T listen to any dialogue telling you, "Wait a minute, that's not what I meant." You don't know WHAT you meant. You didn't actually mean, "I feel," and you have never meant that. All I am doing is teaching you to speak correctly.
How much do you suppose men actually feel, compared to how much they SAY they feel? Think about this a second. What do you think the ratio is? Would you buy a zillion to one? The more intellectually centered you are -- and if you were born in the last 50 years in Western civilization, and are not brain-damaged, you fit that definition -- the less you actually "feel." That is, the less you feel in the older area of the circuitry that drove men originally to come up with the idea of "human feelings." Consider someone who is living almost a feral life (there is hardly anyone like that left on the planet): what they mean when they say "I feel" is almost beyond your experience. Almost. Not totally, by any means. But the intensity and reality of the older passions behind an "uncivilized" expression of "I feel" is such that you had better be careful. But when YOU say "I feel." Well, how many times a day do you say that? If you're talking a lot, how many times an hour? And how much do you actually FEEL?
You could tell me "I feel" is just a figure of speech. And that's very likely. But what I want you to see is that somewhere along the line of growth and expansion, Life took people and let them talk about feelings rather than act on them. It was part of the organic growth of the nervous system. Slowly and gradually it came about that one man could turn to another and say: "I feel like you cheated me, and I feel that I might want to kill you for that." Let's say the guy saying that is a lot bigger and has more weapons than the second guy. So the second guy says: "Well, I feel as though you may have a point. I feel that I did take advantage -- without meaning to, of course -- in our last transaction, so let me repay you." Do you see? By being able to talk about passions and to call them something, action can gradually be replaced by talking-of-action.
The more intellectually "transmittable" you are, the less life seemingly even MAKES you passionate. That is not-withstanding the fact that large percentages of you listening to me believe that your great problem is emotional: you are "emotionally crippled," "too shy," "too angry." Your one wish is for me to somehow help you to straighten your feelings out. But the truth is, you are not actually passionate. Many of you would swear that you are far TOO passionate, but think about it a second. "I feel bad, I feel that something untoward is about to happen, I feel that people do not like me." I know. But let me ask you: How passionate is all that? When you tell me about it in person you're like one of those stoic-hero actors overacting. People say, "Yeah, life is terrible, I just feel like committing suicide," but they sound like they couldn't get a job at the local community theater. Actually, how passionate ARE people in our day and time?
Human feelings are simply a variation of the most basic, physical, life-preserving passions. There is a direct connection between sex, sleep, and food, and art and music, for instance. Charity is directly connected to human physical passion. And there is less and less need for people to be passionate. How do most people spend the free time they have? Other than some physical activity like jogging, people devote themselves to being entertained. Sporting events, movies, theater... and what are they paying to see? They are paying to see someone with more passion than they have.
Would you go and see a sporting event if the opponents involved played with no passion? Contraire. Take "professional wrestling," which has recently been reborn on television. It is almost a sport turned inside out, insofar as it is not really an athletic contest. What is its attraction? Is it the talk, the bravado, and the theatrics? The passion is why wrestling is so popular. People pay to be exposed to passion.
It is really the "pretense of passion." That is all you are paying for. Lest any of you are still this dumb, I have to tell you that all the performers are not in a conspiracy. They do not think of what they do as "the pretense of passion." They do know that on some nights they have to work harder to be "up;" sometimes in fact they blame the audience for an "off night."
I am talking about this in order to get you to pursue something quite specifically, and I have not said it. What you have gotten from this so far is still not it. It's something else. Your passion is nothing like your talk of passion. And you pay to see that which contains, relative to you, more passion.
Why do people stop to look at accidents? Because they are bloodthirsty? No. Seeing an accident gets close to real passion. The more sophisticated a person is, the more they will be inclined to want to look at a badly injured person and get a chill of horror. They may talk about it for weeks. Why? Wrecks, soap operas, boxing -- I've explained why all of that is appealing.
Can you connect this with something I've already pointed out: that the passions of a Real Revolutionist would be whatever he PRETENDED his passions to be? I even had Kyroot say that love is the pretense of love. I did not dwell on that because a lot of you, I noticed, looked suddenly like blanched potatoes. "You mean that love and friendship is all just an act?" Well, not to ordinary people, because ordinary people can't act. A real act would really be the pretense of the pretense of passion. But can you see why I would say that love is the pretense of love? The difference between knowing it and not knowing it is all the difference you could stuff in your car and move from one place to another. It's all the NEED to know, because everyone else doesn't know it. All you need to know is that the passions of a person are the pretense of their passions. If you don't know it, you can't call it the pretense of passion. What do most people do? They say things like, "I feel so and so." No, they DON'T. Ah, but maybe their unconscious mind makes them say that.
A person whose passions were what they pretended them to be would not necessarily appear different. What they'd have is an understanding that your passions are what you pretend them to be, whereas everyone else takes it as being themselves, and therefore must have explanations: "Why in the world do you act like that?" "You're right; were it not for my unconscious mind I wouldn't lose my temper." They take it as being their real feeling.
I said I was giving you a weapon;
everything I have said is very practical, if you need a further hint.
People take their feelings as being themselves, and yet do not take responsibility
for the more negative ones. Recall what I began with about the "unconscious
mind." There is no exception at the ordinary level: what people
say they "feel" cannot stand any sort of investigation. How did
you decide to feel this way? Whence cometh the feeling? What
is your "conscious" participation? You can't answer those questions,
and I'm telling you why.
I told you a long time ago, remember,
that you should never, ever laugh at somebody else's hobby. You
should not do that. If you do, you are blinding yourself from seeing
the heart of the flow of Life through humans. I'll repeat:
once a person has accepted their...fate..., Life sort of allows them to
find some little reason to go on living some little hobby. Do you
see any possible use in understanding that you also have such interests
in life? I'm not telling you to abandon them; I never have.
I told you in fact to pursue them if you had the least inclination.
But you need to see the difference between the pretense of passion, and
the faux pretense of passion -- which is what everybody else has and takes
Beyond collecting magazines and books, what about losing a loved one? Having your love life fall apart? Not receiving the recognition you deserve? You can lose things for which apparently you had great passion, and then realize what I've been talking about. If you need one, you can then press on to a new hobby. Or again, you might realize that a particular hobby is just this side of irrelevant.
All of this is connected with what I said earlier. You should absolutely, henceforth and forever, never say "I feel." Say "I think." Or stop saying ANY of it; that's fine with me, I don't care. Just don't say "I feel." Even to yourself. One part of the Dialogue can think that and you're still all right. It's when the other part agrees with it that it becomes "you." You can stop it before it goes that far. You will have no real passion toward something if only one aspect of the Dialogue makes a comment or criticism. At the ordinary level you are not responsible for what you may think. Any old thing is liable to come through. One aspect of your Dialogue will always have a criticism or remark, but it is like the tiger behind the door; you do not have to entertain it.
Those of you pursuing This understand, or will understand, that refraining from giving full internal participation to the comments of the Dialogue will render it all moot. Not participating is the 5-D counteraction that will rectify what seems to be some ill-founded, unprofitable passion you seem to have. "Seem to have," because you don't actually have it. That is, unless you let the energy take its final grounding in you; unless you let both aspects of the Dialogue join the chorus.
You don't "feel" about the things you talk about. Not like everyone believes. As people in the South used to say, "Hey -- let's get drunk and BE somebody." Why do you think people like to ingest nicotine, caffeine, alcohol, and other drugs? Is that really entertaining? I already told you. Drugs bring about an increase in the pretense of passion.
Consider also: Why is being
by oneself not all that popular? Hermit ism is not a widespread
hobby. What is the last thing that most (ha, ha) people think about
when they want to be entertained? "Well, I think I'll go home and
sit by myself." What if it could be otherwise? What if you
could go out in the alley and find that the most entertaining thing in
the world is you? That is not really the right way to put it.
It's more that you have "access." When it actually comes to it,
you know how to plug in.