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What Is vs. What Ought to Be December 3, 2010

Posted by ekarlpierson in 06) What Is vs. What Ought to Be.
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How often have you been successful at changing “what is” into “what ought to be” or the ideal—that image that we frustratingly chase? Eighty percent? Thirty percent? Five percent? I love this one because it’s so conspicuous, yet so obscure. That little sports counter that I was talking about: you might try clicking it every time you have the urge to change “what is” into “what ought to be.” Then keep a very small paper handy and mark it with an x every time you’re successful. You might find a little surprise! That counter keeps on clicking all day long and you’ll never make an x on that little piece of paper. If you really do this experiment, not just say, “Yeah I get it, so I don’t need to experiment,” you will notice that a change takes place in your perception of “what is.”

Do you think you would have a different perspective of moment by moment events if “what is” and “what ought to be” were seen as together instead of in conflict? When the two are in conflict, we have disintegration; when the two are together, we have integration. We’ll look more at disintegrated or fragmented ideas as we go. Why are we spending the bulk of our efforts looking at disintegrative ideas, fragmented ideas? It’s because our design is to be integrating. We don’t have to do something to be integrating; when we are not disintegrating, integration is what remains. Am I making my statements clear? Is it clear that fragmented ideas bring about a fragmented awareness?

PARTICIPANT: I’m still not sure of what it would be like to be integrated. I haven’t heard that idea before.

WW: When I address the subject of integration, I put 99 percent of my effort into disintegrative ideas. It does nothing for us to have an idea of integration, except to set it up as an ideal, then have one more ideal toward which to struggle. I want to work to understand conflict, fragmentation, which is disintegration. We are obsessed with disintegrative ideas. This near constant obsession that we have, to chase a carrot on a stick, is about greed. We waste an inordinate amount of energy on greed.

PARTICIPANT: How is that greed? I don’t see myself as a greedy person!

WW: How do you define greed?

PARTICIPANT: A greedy person is someone that is obsessed with money or material things.

WW: What do you think a person is looking for, inwardly, when they’re obsessed with money?

PARTICIPANT: They can buy pleasure or get financial security, I suppose.

WW: Right. They want money to alleviate disturbance. They’re trying to relieve their sense of insecurity—their fear of being disturbed in the future. Inwardly, they want to get some sort of feeling with the money. That’s the bottom line: they want a feeling. They want to feel gooood. We all want to get certain feelings and avoid other feelings. Some people want to use money as their vehicle, others want to control those around them, others want to overeat or over-drink. There must be hundreds of ways to be greedy, to chase the ideal. Just because some people display an obsession with money doesn’t absolve the rest of us of the responsibility of confessing our own greed. It’s all for the same motive, that is, feelings. Something comes along that’s disturbing and we want to move it away.

PARTICIPANT: I still don’t see myself as a greedy person. I have been around some of those people and I’m not like that. Maybe you are, but I’m not.

WW: Okay, you’re not greedy. This is not the Spanish Inquisition and I won’t try to make you admit to greed. I, however, just like a recovering drug addict, am constantly subject to a 100 percent relapse of greed. The relapse may be set off at any point by a mere word or gesture. My weakness requires that I watch, watch, watch, so that I don’t fall off the wagon. At any given point, I may become fragmented and lose my perspective.

I’d like to talk a little more about fragmentation. This business of a fragmented outlook is a difficult one because the observer must become the observed. Let me state that differently. The part of us that does the looking is the part that needs to be looked at. How is a fragmented awareness to see itself with any degree of clarity? I think that what we must do here, if we are to make this work, is to bring about a new frame of reference, a way of seeing self that we have not had before.

That’s the reason we drew this abstract-looking picture of man. I’m saying “abstract-looking” because from my perspective it really isn’t that abstract. We must be careful in building a frame of reference because, after all, our frame of reference is what got us into trouble in the first place. I want to see the world, the inside world or outside world, with fresh eyes.

Consequently, I don’t want to build another frame of reference that keeps me bound with belief, filled with memorized ideas that have not been tested. I don’t want a picture of man that becomes an icon. Our new frame of reference is just something for us to use as a guide, for a point from which to begin looking. This picture of man, with only a few vague parts, is a guide from which to begin seeing ourselves in a new light—a guide from which to see that there is an intelligence of life that’s not just someone’s far-off ideology, but rather, an intelligence that we are in constant contact with, though we have been completely unaware of our contact. This intelligence, which I have called Delta, may be able to benefit us in our travels down this narrow road. Not narrow in the sense of being narrow-minded, but narrow in the sense that there is no room on this road for more side trips on the ideology train. Frankly, no room for bullshit.