The Home of Steven Barnes
Author, Teacher, Screenwriter

Saturday, February 28, 2009

Watermelon and Core Transformation

There were lotsa comments about my post on the watermelon post card. Some answers:

1) It isn't Liberals who claim that Conservatives are lacking moral fiber. It is partisans on EITHER side who claim that their side has a lock on positive values. Liberals hurl shit in one direction, and Conservatives hurl it in another.

2) I don't claim to be perfectly neutral in all of this, but I'll say something bluntly that damned few people will say: I don't believe there is a monopoly on positive or negative qualities on either side. They strike me as being the same quality of people. I DO think that they have different problems. One of the problems I see more on the Right is racism (excessive hierarchicalism). A problem I see more on the left is Moral Relativism (insufficient hierarchicalism?). What people on both sides try to do is say, no, we've got all the good stuff. That's just crap.

3) Because racism has impacted my life in some very specific emotional, financial, and personal ways, I'm sensitive to it, and tend to talk about it more than other factors which are certainly as important in the world.

4) I'm sensitive to threats against Obama, and racial stereotypes, because they are attacking him as a member of a group, rather than against his individual characteristics. I didn't see much more crap against Bush than I did against Clinton. And yes, I react strongly...but if the Secret Service hadn't been overwhelmed with death threats, I wouldn't take it so seriously when Fox News jokes about assassination. I don't consider this stuff "mere" political talk. There is genuine hatred and fear boiling there, waiting for us to believe they are "just joking". As a result, yes, I'm going to be overly sensitive.

5) It is true that many whites don't understand the racial charges on these comments. Like men don't know stuff that's offensive to women, or straights don't understand what is offensive to gays. There are certainly innocent people who get caught up in this stuff, but...I think we can agree on the 10% asshole factor? The people who actually are bigoted? They will use the exact same excuse: "gee! I didn't know" (chuckle). Gonna put them on a lie detector? Unfortunately, ignorance of widely-known cultural taboos is no excuse. And if you are going to be a politician, supposedly representing the welfare of thousands or millions of people, it behooves you to understand their history a little better than that.

6) Christian: you say that you HAVE to act the way you do, because of the way other people are. With all due respect, this is a child's attitude. You will become an adult when you take responsibility for your actions, regardless of how other people are. You may not have control over what happens to you, but you do have control over how you react to it. Every human being on this planet has a perfect justification for being either a saint or an asshole. We have choices to make.


To revisit a comment, anyone who says that the worst in either end of the political spectrum represents that group is an ass. And people on both sides do it, plenty. And both sides seem to believe themselves immune. Nope. Different diseases, but diseases nonetheless.


The Rihanna-Chris Brown thing gets predictably wierder. They're supposed to be back together. Yes, I look at the family dynamics, and the personal responsibility. I think that people should have enough respect for the future children to postpone having them until they have enough of their shit together to form a relationship with another human being. No one will move me from that position.

But the "Core Transformation" thing, that points toward a desire for union with the divine, casts a fascinating light on negative actions. No matter what the behavior, at the root of it is an urge to salve fear, to move away from pain, to move toward an evolutionary path. I originally read about it in a book by Connirae Andreas, and the transcripts of the sessions was astounding. I got ahold of videos of the process, so that I could watch the micro-cues, and they were all congruent. This seemed real. Tried it on myself. Same result. Tried it on a number of clients. Same result. Wow.

Basically, let's try a broad example. A man beats an old woman to death while taking her purse. The therapist drops the client into a deep trance. The following coached conversation might take place.

Therapist: Why did you kill the woman?

Client: She was screaming. She was going to get me caught. It made me mad.

Therapist: And if you hadn't been afraid of being caught?

Client: Maybe I wouldn't have had to kill her.

Therapist: you wouldn't have been angry?

Client: Maybe.

Therapist: But you would still have taken her money.

Client: Sure.

Therapist: Because you wanted money.

Client: Yeah.

Therapist: And if you had all the money you wanted, what then?

Client: I wouldn't have to worry about my bills. Having a place to live.

Therapist: And if you didn't have to worry about having a place to live, what then?

Client: Maybe my old lady would stop bitching at me.

Therapist: And if there was nothing but love between you and your woman, what then?

(About this time, the client usually takes a deep breath, releases it. The tonal quality of his voice changes)

Client: Then things would be a little better.

Therapist: And what if things were a little better?

Client: I'd be able to take a rest, you know? Relax a little. Take a look around. Make some plans.

Therapist: And if you had this time and space to make plans, what then?

Client: I got dreams. I'd like to try to make some moves. Maybe do something to make things better for my family.

Therapist: And if you were able to take care of your family, what then?

Client: I'd stop hearing my father laughing at me, telling me I'll never be shit.

Therapist: And if you knew your father approved of you as a man, what then?

(Another deep breath. More relaxed tone)

Client: Maybe Mom would love me, too.

Therapist: And if you felt that deep sense of approval and love you desire, what then?

Client: Maybe I'd feel for the first time that I was O.K.

Therapist: And if you fel that deep sense of "being O.K." that you desire so much, what then?

Client: Maybe I'd be able to show people that I'm a good guy. I'd like to be nicer, but people won't let me.

Therapist: And if you were able to show people who you really are, show them your heart, what then.

Client: the world would be a better place. Different place. I could...just be myself.

Therapist: And if you could just be yourself?

Client: I could be like I was when I was happy. I like laughing and singing and being a good guy as much as anyone.

Therapist: and if you could stay in that place. The happiness. The joy. The sense of loving the world...what then.

Client: I'd feel loved. I haven't felt that...really felt that. In so long.

Therapist: and if you felt that sense of love, joy, all the way down to your bones, all the time...what then.

Client: (another deep breath. A shudder) I'd be at peace. (no shit. This exact same comment came out of about six different people of widely differing backgrounds. Truly bizarre)

Therapist: And if you felt nothing but that deep, lasting sense of peace. What then.

(The client often begins to cry, with an almost child-like smile on their face)

Client: I'd just feel...just a part of everything. Everything in the world.

Therapist: And if you felt one with everything in the universe, what then?

Client: there isn't anything else. Just...God.


I kid you not, you can walk people from the most loathesome behavior, right down to an urge to connect with the divine. The trick of Core Transformation is that you can turn this around, take them to their sense of connectedness, and then let them START from there, rather than trying to GET there. From that point, it's possible to help them build behavioral paths that allow them to feel safe, respected, and loved while remaining within social guidelines.

It's the closest thing NLP comes to a spiritual practice, and is a mundane finger pointing at a profound reality. Whether you think this is a spiritual, psychological, or neurological process (re-connecting with prenatal states, perhaps? The "peace of the womb"?) I've seen massive good come out of this.

The trick? The therapist has to represent the space of healing. Intellectual understanding of the process doesn't seem to cut it.

The way such a process could be applied to the Chris Browns of the world is obvious. Under it all, he was just trying to feel loved, and safe. Grasp that, and you have a chance of leading truly warped men and women to something healthy and generative. At has been my experience, and so I deeply believe.


Josh Jasper said...

One of the problems I see more on the Right is racism (excessive hierarchicalism). A problem I see more on the left is Moral Relativism (insufficient hierarchicalism?).

When was the last time someone was denied the right to marry, attend school, vote, get a job, drink at any water fountain of choice, etc, because of "moral relativism"?

I'm not saying it's not sometimes problematic, but even the "diseases" aren't equal in terms of the damage they do.

Marty S said...

Barry Goldwater once said that "Extremism in defense of Liberty is no vice." At the time the left crucified him for this. The problem I see on the left is that they behave exactly this way with respect to social issues. Take affirmative action. The basic tenet of this policy is that it is okay to damage, Whites males today to make up for past discrimination. So White male students are denied the right to attend school, in order for more minorities to attend, and white men are denied jobs or job opportunities.

Shady_Grady said...

"Affirmative action" includes a whole host of private or governmental programs. None of them have the tenet that it is "okay" to damage white males. Not all of these programs are looking toward past discrimination. There is still quite a lot of present discrimination. Many of these programs are not even geared toward minorities so much as they are geared towards women-quite often white women.

Affirmative action programs of any kind tend to be pretty limited and both legally and culturally are on the decline.

When you look at the employment numbers, income or wealth levels for whites or white men in America as compared to those of Blacks (particularly as you go higher up the income/wealth ladder) it would be very difficult in my opinion to make any sort of case that whites have been denied job opportunities by affirmative action. The Black unemployment rate has stubbornly remained close to twice that of whites for quite some time.

There have been study after study after study year after year that shows that all else equal current discrimination has a negative impact on Black people in the areas of housing, education, employment and justice.

Are there better tools out there than some forms of affirmative action? Probably. But the Right has not shown that it really cares too much about discrimination. It's not a priority. Usually the Right either denies it happens, questions the qualifications of those charging discrimination, or claims that a truly free market would solve the problem.

I think this blind spot, more than anything else is why the Right (and Republicans) lost the Black vote in the middle of the last century. That has to change.

rhetorical said...

Marty, would class based affirmative action be just as problematic?

Nancy Lebovitz said...

To revisit a comment, anyone who says that the worst in either end of the political spectrum represents that group is an ass. And people on both sides do it, plenty. And both sides seem to believe themselves immune.

It's not just groups, and it's not just the worst. I believe that if people love something, they'll take the best of it as typical, and if they hate something, they'll take the worst of it as typical. Both the best and the worst that people are seeing will have some imaginary components.

Sturgeon's Law (90% of everything is crud) is a way of defusing that sort of thinking-- it was an answer to people who kept saying science fiction is awful because of there's a lot of bad science fiction. (Footnote: this was when science fiction was much lower status than it is now.)

Affirmative action: I suspect that poor whites do lose out when middle and upper class blacks get preferences. I don't have numbers on this-- the thing that makes me suspicious is the extent to which liberals would mock Southerners and Appalachians (this seems to be fading) without realizing that it was a prejudice.

I don't see so much moral relativism on left, and I'm curious about examples. What I see is that left wingers tend not to see their own hostility and power-seeking. Right wingers tend to be clearer about their desire to be in charge.

Marty S said...

I may be prejudice on the subject of affirmative action, since I was a victim of it. I spent two years in a futureless job. Then was laid off and had to sell my house and relocate my family for the first decent new job I could get. This company setup a totally unneeded group so they would have a group for a Black man to be the head of in order to meet their quota of black executives. Eight people were hired into the group. Four women, one Hispanic male and three white males. Two years later they promoted the Black manager, disbanded the unneeded group found other positions within the company for the four females and Hispanic male and laid the three white males off. Now this was the seventies when such things may have been more prevalent, but this does not negate the validity of it as an example of how liberal backed policies can be harmful to people. As to more of the "Reverse Discrimination" as I would call it being aimed at women, I wouldn't dispute that because that is indeed what I observed through most of the nineties, before I retired.

Marty S said...

Rhetorical: My position on class based affirmative action would depend upon how you defined such a program. My general approach is to begin with the children. If you institute programs that provide those children from disadvantaged families the education they deserve through high school, they should be able to compete equally there after. If they then qualify on the basis of performance for a university, but they can't afford to attend because of their parents financial position then giving help proportional to the parents financial position would be desirable.

Steven Barnes said...

I've never said I was in favor of affirmative action. But here's an interesting fact: every Right-winger I know knows someone who was disadvantaged by Affirmative action, it seems. But EVERY black man I know has a similar story of being disadvantaged by racism. Every single one. On the one side, lots of anecdotal evidence that it's bad. On the other, solid statistical evidence that something hideous has gone on, that impacts life span and infant mortality of an entire group. No comparison, in my mind. Marty S., I'm terribly sorry that you were hurt, but like I said, every black man I know has a story of being similarly screwed over, I kid you not. Hurts, doesn't it?

Marty S said...

Steve: I know about discrimination, been hurt there too. The don't apply here, Jews not wanted existed too, although to a lesser degree then with Blacks. I merely used affirmative action and the fact that it does hurt White males, as an example that liberal policies can also be harmful to people. Most people just want to see their point of view and discount the other. Take the Bush tax cuts as another example. Liberals like to point out that looking at total dollars the richest 1% of the nation got approximately 31% and claim the cuts were biased toward the rich. The conservative will point out that the in total dollars the richest 1% pay 40% of all taxes and so giving them only a 31% share of the tax cuts actually raised the percent of total tax dollars paid by the rich. Neither point actually establishes respect to whether these tax cuts were good for the country or their actual "fairness".

By the way my main objection to affirmative action is that some percent of those hurt and their friends will become resentful of minorities and this slows the day when we can do away with the us/them between races.

Anonymous said...

The "Therapist/Client" section in you post reveals the simplistic thinking of the abuser juxtaposed to the evil this thinking lead to. In many ways this demonstrates the "exercise" of "what is the bad-guy thinking," in term of creating drama in a work.

However, the dialogue you gave is so much like what the mother of an extreme looser white man I know told me as she grappled with her (adopted) son's hate of black people. If the "Therapist/Client" dialogue is turned on racism, it reads like:

Therapist: Why did you beat-up this guy?

Client: He's a n*****. He might take my job. It made me mad.ᅠ

Therapist: And if you hadn't been afraid of him taking your job?

Client: Maybe I wouldn't have had to beat him.ᅠ

Therapist: you wouldn't have been angry?

Client: Maybe. ᅠ

Therapist: But you would still have taken his money.

Client: Sure.ᅠ

Therapist: Because you wanted money.

Client: Yeah.ᅠ

Therapist: And if you had all the money you wanted, what then?

Client: I wouldn't have to worry about my bills. Having a place to live.ᅠ

Therapist: And if you didn't have to worry about having a place to live, what then?

Client: Maybe my old lady would stop bitching at me.ᅠ

And so on.

The man in question considers himself the good-buy. His problems are caused by someone else -- the "c***s" who are the mothers of his children; the cops who arrest him for beating people up; his parents who are imperfect and boring so they are crap; and so on.

By the way, his blunt statements scared his mother because he is usually excessively charming. I have been called on being "frosty" to him, but I find his charm a thin veil over his lies. When he is smiling and being charming he's lying and manipulating.


I think that the institutional racism of the political neo-con right is a simple manipulation to cause trouble. Much of this "new" directed racism has been focused against Hispanics and other immigrants.

I have consider that the motives are not racist motives but a desire to destroy the government "of the People." This movement and some of the people leading it made their first foray as liberals in the 1960s. The were against the Vietnam war, but threw Molotov cocktails in the streets and spelled "America" as "Amerika."

Josh Jasper said...

You want "fair" taxes? Abolish sales taxes on food, they're the most regressive tax in existence.

Steve Perry said...

When the playing field is leveled. then you can abolish all the affirmative action stuff.

Call me when it happens, hey?

Marty S said...

Josh: The reason I put "Fairness" in quotes is because there is no such thing as "Fairness" in the absolute sense. One person's "Fairness" is another person's "Unfairness". Consider two union workers Frank and Joe making widgets. Frank has been with the company ten years. He produces on average eight widgets a day. Joe has been with the company two years and produces ten widgets a day. Because he has been with the company ten years Frank gets eighteen dollars an hour, while Joe gets only thirteen dollars an hour. But wait the economy just went bad and the company has to layoff workers. Frank has seniority so he keeps his job while Joe loses his job. The better work gets paid less and loses his job first. Is this "Fair" to Joe. Is it "Fair" to the widget company. But generally liberals love unions because it protects workers from the big bad company.

Anonymous said...

Both Affirmative Action (AA) and Racial/Gender Discrimination are by definition "unfair" and have harmfully penalized untold numbers. But consider: a single stroke of a Supreme Court justice's pen could forever banish AA. I know of no comparable simple measure to eliminate "traditional" racial and gender-based employment discrimination. Further, AA and it's ink are "artificial", federally imposed devices that usually create a cosmetic semblance of equity, without combating the underlying causes of bias or permanently reforming workplace ethics and practices. By contrast, workplace racism and sexism (and homophobia) are "organic", since they spring spontaneously and reflexivity from firmly rooted attitudes and often constitute the "default" viewpoint for evaluating employees and colleagues. Tenuous and manifestly unfair though AA is, its mandates constitute one of the few firewalls preventing the bigotry endemic to America from thoroughly ravaging the Private Sector.

Josh Jasper said...

Marty - But that wasn't my point, which you skipped totally.

Christian H. said...

6) Christian: you say that you HAVE to act the way you do, because of the way other people are. With all due respect, this is a child's attitude. You will become an adult when you take responsibility for your actions, regardless of how other people are. You may not have control over what happens to you, but you do have control over how you react to it. Every human being on this planet has a perfect justification for being either a saint or an asshole. We have choices to make.

That's right. I'm a big kid. I have control over what happens to me. If I make it clear that race has nothing to do with my abilities or lack thereof, people WILL NOT test the edges.
If I look at people with no emotion they don't try to manipulate them.

I take full responsibility for my actions. The thing is that I don't "do" anything. I'm abstinent now because sex isn't worth it. I've had enough. Besides, because homosexuality is so natural, my extreme cunnilingal desire is unheard of and in many cases unacceptable.

Marty, that was funny. Of course, you should suffer some. You had centuries to do the right thing and your ancestors didn't.

I get jobs because I'm the best candidate usually. At least I try to be. A lot of you just want the job because you're white. As a software developer I can tell you that a lot of you want to spend part of the day saying how the black men aren't there. But at the same time you ostracize and marginalize enough to make a person quit. And please don't deny it. Black workers have been seeing those "cartoons" for a long time before Obama.

And Steve, maybe Rihanna decided to do a sex scene so now Chris doesn't have to beat on her anymore. He's a tattooed clown and this is what your attitude is providing for our young women.

I'm surprised that you haven't mentioned "Madea" as a SEVEN ALARM SAMBO ALERT.

Sure it's all in fun, but what's wrong with having a woman dress up as an older woman? I mean hell, a Serena Williams sized chick would be intimidating enough as an old lady. We don't need Tyler Perry.

But I'm confident that Obama will not respond to any of this in open channels. He IS the Commander In Chief. No jokes will erase that.
And that's why I act the way I do. I am one of the best Web developers on the East Coast. When people do thing like that it's an insult and insults are crossing the line.

Sure if a clown ass "dude" is running around spending his money on tattoos, and complaining about cops harassing him, hey I'll think of some jokes, but when you try to "take a person down" some then you are the one with the problem.

And for all of you who sit back and say nothing about the proliferation of the "illiterate star" you have even more of a problem. You're eroding the environment for your kids also.

Bill Maher said it best when he said Americans need to get off their asses and learn to MAKE things again. We import damn near everything/ We sit around being fat and sloppy or anorexically unhealthy.
We're all so worried about correcting each other that we let ourselves become morally deficient, imagining the worst for others and the best for our own shortcomings and perversions.

At the same time, we are giving gay men all of our women's traits and positives while relegating them to bit roles as pieces of flesh.

That's where we have a problem. I'd rather hang out with college-educated women. I doubt you'll see them sending cartoons like that.

Menduir said...

On Core Transformation:

I'm a little confused.

On Core Transformation, you said, "The trick of Core Transformation is that you can turn this around, take them to their sense of connectedness, and then let them START from there, rather than trying to GET there."

But warning against waking the kundalini up backwards, you said (some years ago), "What this may mean is that attempts to awaken spiritual powers before the lower levels have been mastered is attempting to create the world in the image of your ego."

Could you please clarify how starting with a connection to God is different from starting at the 7th Chakra and working back to control the externals of your life?

~ Jas.

Marty S said...

Christian: My ancestors were fried in ovens and gassed in gas chambers. The ones that fled Europe for a better life here and gave birth to me came here in the twentieth century and really had little to do with what happened to your ancestors.

Josh Jasper said...

In defense of the ability of Republicans to stay racist without any consequence, Rush Limbaugh just made Michael Steel apologize for calling Rush's language “incendiary” and “ugly”.

See, the watermelon joker's problem was that, unlike Rush, he's not able to make the entire Republican Party bend over and grab their ankles.

Michael Steele is Rush's chew toy. If I were Rahm Emanuel, I'd be digging out clips of Rush talking his usual racist trash, and asking Steele to explain how he thinks that isn't ugly or divisive.

Steven Barnes said...

Having put myself through the Core Transformation process, it's ultimate connection seems to be heart space, not Seventh Chakra as I have experienced it. Starting with the feeling you want to end with, it is then possible to line up your actions so that they are in alignment with your highest intents. That racist who killed a black man? Core Transformation would be a powerful tool to help him act from love, not from raving fear. It really is the best tool I've seen from the entire NLP arsenal, and the only one with even a smidgeon of heart.

Steven Barnes said...


You are so filled with anger, and so far from love. When you can make the heart-space connection within yourself, and heal the damage you're carrying around, you're going to be a remarkable man. I think that's worth fighting for, don't you?

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