That which a person can confront, he can handle.
The first step of handling anything is gaining an ability to face it.
It could be said that war continues as a threat to Man because Man cannot confront war. The idea of making war so terrible that no one will be able to fight it is the exact reverse of fact — if one wishes to end war. The invention of the longbow, gunpowder, heavy naval cannon, machine guns, liquid fire, and the hydrogen bomb add only more and more certainty that war will continue. As each new element which Man cannot confront is added to elements he has not been able to confront so far, Man engages himself upon a decreasing ability to handle war.
We are looking here at the basic anatomy of all problems. Problems start with an inability to confront anything. Whether we apply this to domestic quarrels or to insects, to garbage dumps or Picasso, one can always trace the beginning of any existing problem to an unwillingness to confront.
Let us take a domestic scene. The husband or the wife cannot confront the other, cannot confront second dynamic consequences, cannot confront the economic burdens, and so we have domestic strife. The less any of these actually are confronted the more problem they will become.
It is a truism that one never solves anything by running away from it. Of course, one might also say that one never solves cannonballs by baring his breast to them. But I assure you that if nobody cared whether cannonballs were fired or not, control of people by threat of cannonballs would cease.
Down on skid row where flotsam and jetsam exist to keep the police busy, we could not find one man whose basic difficulties, whose downfall could not be traced at once to an inability to confront. A criminal once came to me whose entire right side was paralyzed. Yet, this man made his living by walking up to people in alleys, striking them and robbing them. Why he struck people he could not connect with his paralyzed side and arm. From his infancy he had been educated not to confront men. The nearest he could come to confronting men was to strike them, and so his criminal career.
The more the horribleness of crime is deified by television and public press, the less the society will be able to handle crime. The more formidable is made the juvenile delinquent, the less the society will be able to handle the juvenile delinquent.
In education, the more esoteric and difficult a subject is made, the less the student will be able to handle the subject. When a subject is made too formidable by an instructor, the more the student retreats from it. There were, for instance, some early European mental studies which were so complicated and so incomprehensible and which were sown with such lack of understanding of Man that no student could possibly confront them. In Scientology when we have a student who has been educated basically in the idea that the mind is so formidable and so complicated that none could confront it, or perhaps so bestial and degraded that no one would want to, we have a student who cannot learn Scientology. He has confused Scientology with his earlier training, and his difficulty is that he cannot be made to confront the subject of the mind.
Man at large today is in this state with regard to the human spirit. For centuries Man was educated to believe in demons, ghouls, and things that went boomp in the night. There was an organization in southern Europe which capitalized upon this terror and made demons and devils so formidable that at length Man could not even face the fact that any of his fellows had souls. And thus we entered an entirely materialistic age. With the background teaching that no one can confront the “invisible,” vengeful religions sought to move forward into a foremost place of control. Naturally, it failed to achieve its goal and irreligion became the order of the day, thus opening the door for Communism and other idiocies. Although it might seem true that one cannot confront the invisible, who said that a spirit was always invisible? Rather let us say that it is impossible for Man or anything else to confront the nonexistent and thus when nonexistent gods are invented and are given more roles in the society, we discover Man becomes so degraded that he cannot even confront the spirit in his fellows, much less become moral.
Confronting as a subject in itself is intensely interesting. Indeed, there is some evidence that mental image pictures occur only when the individual is unable to confront the circumstances of the picture. When this compounds and Man is unable to confront anything anywhere, he might be considered to have pictures of everything everywhere. This is proven by a rather interesting test made in 1947 by myself when it was discovered that if an individual could be made to “run a lock” of something he had just seen, run another lock on something he had just heard, and run an additional lock on something he had just felt, he would at length be able to handle much more serious pictures in his mind. I discovered, although I did not entirely interpret it at the time, that an individual has no further pictures when he can confront all pictures; thus being able to confront everything he has done, he is no longer troubled with the things he has done. Supporting this, it will be discovered that individuals who progress in an ability to handle pictures eventually have no pictures at all. This we call a Clear.
A Clear in an absolute sense would be someone who could confront anything and everything in the past, present and future.
Unfortunately for the world of action, it will be discovered that one who can confront everything does not have to handle anything. In support of this is offered that Scientology process, Problems of Comparable Magnitude. In this particular process the individual being processed is asked to select a terminal with which he has had difficulty. In that the definition of a terminal is a “live mass” or something that is capable of causing, receiving or relaying communication, it will be seen that terminals are quite ordinarily people in the problem category of anyone’s bank. The person is then asked to invent a problem of comparable magnitude to that person. He is asked to do this many, many times. It will be found midway in the process that he is willing to do something now about the problems he is having with that person. But at the end of the process a new and strange thing is found to occur. The individual no longer feels that he must do something about the problem. Indeed, he can simply confront or regard or view the problem with complete equanimity. Now an almost mystic quality enters this when it is discovered that the problem in the physical universe about which he has been worried often ceases to exist out there. In other words, the handling of a problem seems to be simply the increase of ability to confront the problem and when the problem can be totally confronted it no longer exists. This is strange and miraculous.
It is hard to believe that an individual who has a drunken husband could cure that individual of drink simply by processing out the problem of having a drunken husband, and yet this has occurred. I am not saying here that all the problems of the world could be vanquished simply by running Problems of Comparable Magnitude on a few people, but neither am I saying that all the problems of the world could not be handled by Problems of Comparable Magnitude on a few people, and indeed I am at this time undertaking an experiment in this direction on the subject of the atomic bomb. It is an oddity that the longer this experiment is continued, the less responsive these bombs are to test firing.
Perhaps it could be said, however, that if there existed one person in the entire universe who could confront all of the universe, the problems of the universe for all would deintensify enormously.
Man’s difficulties are a compound of his cowardices. To have difficulties in life, all it is necessary to do is to start running away from the business of livingness. After that, problems of unsolvable magnitude are assured. When individuals are restrained from confronting life they accrue a vast ability to have difficulties with it.
There are many other things about confronting which are intensely interesting but these we will take up in a later issue.
An earlier issue of Ability carried in it a full resume of Training 0, the name of which is Confronting. This drill, done for a great many hours, will be found intensely efficacious in the handling of life. A wife and a husband whose way has not been too smooth would find it extremely interesting in terms of resolution of domestic difficulties to co-audit with this training drill alone, each one running it upon the other for at least 25 hours. This would have to be done, of course, on a turnabout basis of not more than 2 hours on one and then a switch from “coach” to “auditor.”
To run Confronting in this fashion and with considerable gain, it would be necessary to have some understanding of what a “coach” is and, in one of these co- auditing teams, what an “auditor” is. A much fuller understanding of this will be contained in the Student Manual The team sits in straightbacked — preferably uncomfortably upright — chairs. The coach and auditor sit facing each other a short distance apart. It is the task of the coach to keep the auditor “on the ball.” The “auditor’s” feet must be flat on the floor, his hands must be in his lap. His head must be erect and he must not use any system or method but must simply confront. A twitching muscle, a jittering finger alike would be reproached by the coach. The coach has several terms he uses. The first of these is “Start,” at which moment the “session” begins. Every time the auditor falls from grace, does not hold his position, slumps, goes anaten (unconscious), twitches, starts his eyes wandering, or in any way demonstrates an incorrect position, the coach says “Flunk” and corrects the difficulty. He then says “Start” again and the session goes on. When the person in the role of “auditor” has been extremely successful over a period of time the coach can say “Win” and then again “Start.” When the coach wishes to make some comments or give some advice the coach says “That’s it,” straightens up this point and then again says “Start.”
In the coaching itself only these terms are employed: “Start,” “Flunk,” “Win,” “That’s it.” Anything else the coach does or says is disregarded by the “auditor” unless the coach has said “That’s it” and has then advised on a point and then has started again. The coach would be at liberty to do anything he wished, short of physical violence, to make the auditor nervous or upset him. The coach could say anything he wished between a “start” and another command as above, and the auditor would flunk if he paid any attention or did otherwise than simply confronted.
Ordinarily all the coach does is make sure that the auditor goes on confronting. However, it should be understood that the drill can be toughened up considerably. The coach can do anything to throw the auditor off the simple business of confronting. If the auditor so much as twitches a smile, looks embarrassed, clears his throat or in any other way falls off from plain and ordinary confronting, it is, of course, always a “flunk.”
It should be understood that drill sessions are not auditing sessions. In a drill session the entire session is in the hands of the coach, who is only in a vague way the “preclear” of the session. In an auditing session the entire session is in the hands of the auditor.
There is a basic rule here. Anything which the “auditor” or “student,” as he is called in the drills, is holding tense, is the thing with which he is confronting. If the “auditor’s” eyes begin to smart, he is confronting with them. If his stomach begins to protrude and becomes tense he is confronting with his stomach. If his shoulders or even the back of his head become tense, then he is confronting with the shoulders or the back of his head. A coach who becomes very expert in this can spot these things at once and would in this case give a “That’s it,” straighten the auditor out on it and would then start the session anew.
It is interesting that the drill does not consist of confronting with something. The drill consists only of confronting; therefore, confronting with is a “flunk.”
Various nervous traits can be traced at once to trying to confront with something which insists on running away. A nervous hand, for instance, would be a hand with which the individual is trying to confront something. The forward motion of the nervousness would be the effort to make it confront, the backward motion of it would be its refusal to confront. Of course, the basic error is confronting with the hand.
The world is never bright to those who cannot confront it. Everything is a dull gray to a defeated army. The whole trick of somebody telling you “It’s all bad over there,” is contained in the fact that he is trying to keep you from confronting something and thus make you retreat from life. Eyeglasses, nervous twitches, tensions, all of these things stem from an unwillingness to confront. When that willingness is repaired, these disabilities tend to disappear.
Of course, tumultuously married couples may encounter some knock-down and drag-out moments in doing this confronting drill. However, it should be kept in mind that it is the coach in these training drills who is bound by the Instructor’s Code and that the only harm that can result would come about if the “auditor” were permitted to “blow” (leave) the session without the coach, even with manhandling, getting the auditor back into the drill. It will be found that these “blows” occur most frequently when the person being coached, in other words the “auditor,” is being given too few wins and is being discouraged by the coach. Of course, things he does wrong should be flunked, but it will be found that the way is paved to success with wins; therefore, when he does it well for a period of time, the “auditor” should be told so. Go into this drill expecting explosions and upsets and simply refuse to give up if they occur and you will have it whipped in short order. Go into it expecting that all will be sweetness and light and everyone should be a little gentleman and a little lady and disaster will loom.
Neither I nor the management are responsible for cuts, contusions, violent words, or divorces resulting from attempts to run confrontingness drills by husbands and wives on each other.
May you never be the same.