© Copyright 1993 By Frederick Mann, ALL RIGHTS RESERVED
HELPLESSNESS, CONFUSION, SELF-DECEPTION, AND NON-EXISTENCE
Creativity could be regarded as a tool. This is the first Report on creativity. There will be many more... and within the creativity category there will be a series of Reports on "levels of creation." This is also the first Report of that series.
To the broad questions, "What must I do to be more creative?" and "How can I boost my creativity?", the answer might be, "It depends on your situation, on what you are creating now and how, and why you create it that way." The basic approach of the levels of creation series is to divide the "creative spectrum" into distinctive levels, each describing a characteristic "type of creativity" - and to provide a formula that can be applied to advance to a higher level of creation. ("Helplessness, confusion, self-deception, and non-existence" in the title of this Report refer to some of the levels of creation.)
The levels of creation provide you with a powerful set of tools that make it easier for you to identify what you need to do (the most creative actions) in almost any situation in life or in business in order to raise the quality of an aspect of life, any activity or project, or even a large business in its entirety. Many projects, businesses, and lives fail for a lack of applying the correct creation formulas.
Through self-observation you can diagnose your current level of creation. If your diagnosis is accurate and you apply the appropriate formula properly, you will advance to a higher level of creation. Then, by applying the formula for that level, you will advance to a still higher level of creation... and so on. Each formula could be regarded as a tool or a set of tools.
The levels of creation series also follows another broad approach: replacing "dysfunctional formulas" or "human failure programs" (behavior patterns that don't work) with superior formulas or "human success programs." Most people grow up in homes that can be described as "dysfunctional environments" - environments where important aspects "don't work." These dysfunctional aspects are usually a consequence of dysfunctional formulas (human failure programs) of parents, teachers, etc. Because young people are usually powerless to handle important dysfunctional aspects of their environments, they also tend to "learn" (or acquire) dysfunctional formulas in their often abortive attempts to handle their dysfunctional environments - also called "growing up crooked." Later in life they may continue to create their lives, using unworkable formulas or human failure programs.
It is important to realize that tools are essentially things you keep in a toolbox. When you need them you take them out of the toolbox and you use them. Then you put them back in the toolbox. The creativity formulas are tools in the same sense: you take them out of your "creativity toolbox" when you need them; when you've finished using them you "put them away" and forget about them. All knowledge can be treated in like fashion: the emphasis shifts from the truthfulness of knowledge to its usefulness; you don't ask if your tool is true, you ask if it is useful.
The "creativity scale" below is an attempt to classify distinctive levels of creation, each with its unique formula. [Acknowledgement: This scale and its formulas have been adapted and expanded from the "conditions formulas" formulated by L. Ron Hubbard, founder of Scientology - and creator of some of the most powerful management technology extant.]
Scale of Levels of Creation 7. EXPANSION 6. VISION AND CHOICE 5. POWER 4. AFFLUENCE 3. NORMAL OPERATION 2. EMERGENCY 1. DANGER 0. NON-EXISTENCE __ -1. SELF-DECEPTION | -2. CONFUSION |-- UNREALITY -3. HELPLESSNESS __| -4. LIABILITY | -5. DOUBT |-- ANTI-REALITY -6. ENEMY | -7. TREASON __|
If you find it difficult to get to grips with the material in this report, let me suggest a shortcut: Go directly to the Non-Existence formula. Consider how you have applied it in areas where you've been successful. Now consider how you could apply it in other areas.
Usually when you start an activity or project, you start at the non-existence level. What you are trying to create does not yet exist. So you need to find out what to do. That is the essence of the non-existence formula. If you make false assumptions about what you need to do and do the wrong things, you have then dropped to the level of creation of self-deception. There are symptoms from which you can determine that you've dropped into self-deception. If you then apply the self-deception formula, you will move back up to the non-existence level. However, if you don't apply the self-deception formula you will drop into confusion.
If originally you do apply the non-existence formula, your project or activity will take on an existence, but you will be faced with certain dangers. To handle these dangers you will need to apply the danger formula. If you don't apply the danger formula, you drop back to the level of non-existence. If you apply the danger formula you move up to the level of emergency. And so on...
These levels of creation apply to your personal life, your job, and to a team, group, or organization (and to parts or aspects of these). Each level of creation can be recognized by signs or conditions. For each level there is a formula that can be applied to advance to a higher level. These formulas are extremely powerful. Their application will take you (eventually) to affluence, power, and expansion.
The levels of creation are not mutually exclusive. Some aspects of your life, job, or organization might be in power or expansion, while others are in liability or even treason. And elements of different levels may be relevant to a particular aspect.
This Report deals with the levels of helplessness, confusion, self-deception, and non-existence. Unreality is a special level that spans helplessness, confusion, and self-deception. (The other levels will be covered in future Reports.) The reason for starting with these levels is that you usually start a new activity or job at a level of helplessness, confusion, self-deception, unreality, or non-existence.
See Report #10: How To Achieve and Increase Personal Power for details on recognizing and curing helplessness - from where this report continues on from...
In the Introduction (of this report) reference was made to replacing dysfunctional formulas or human failure programs (behavior patterns that don't work) with superior formulas or human success programs. The causative or cognitive link between action and outcome can also be called a formula - a formula for action. In fact, all the formulas for the different levels of creation could be expressed in the form, "If I do 'A' under conditions 'B,' then the outcome is 'C' - 'D' percent of the time." By consciously formulating formulas, trying them in practice, observing the results, and reformulating them with increasing accuracy, we become more creative.
The signs and conditions that indicate confusion are:
The mini-formula for confusion:
Example: You have so many things to do that you feel confused and don't know where to start. You simply choose one activity (as your stable datum) and do it. Suddenly the other actions start falling into place.
The maxi-formula for confusion:
It is absolutely vital that you discover how others view you and your actions. To the extent that you do this, you'll be able to modify your behavior and become more capable at predicting the outcomes of your actions. Predictability is the opposite of confusion. Predictability depends on an accurate cognitive link between action and outcome.
Mini-formula for self-deception:
If you can crack self-deception (before you crack your skull!), you can achieve whatever is humanly possible.
[Note: The advanced and ultimate self-deception formulas (below) are included here for purposes of completeness. These formulas may not be appropriate for you. If you have any problem with them, this need not prevent you from continuing with the rest of this Report. Remember that these formulas are tools you may use if you find them useful, otherwise ignore them, Simply acknowledge that they are inappropriate for you, skip them, and continue with the rest of the Report, starting from the heading "UNREALITY."]
The advanced formula for self-deception:
You discover that you are free when you realize that you control the energy that animates your body. If you lift your finger it is because of your decision to lift it. If someone points a gun at you and orders you to lift your finger, it is still your decision that makes your finger rise. You further discover that you are free when you realize that you can decide how you respond to any situation. You have freedom of choice, power of choice. You choose your actions. You are free to choose your actions. (Your actions also have consequences. You are not free to choose the consequences of your actions. You are free to stand in front of a speeding bus; if you choose to do so you get flattened.) Two books that may help you discover that you are free: The Discovery of Freedom by Rose Wilder Lane; and How I Found Freedom in an Unfree World by Harry Browne.
You discover that you are responsible when you realize that you create all your emotions and most of your feelings. In fact, you can eliminate all your unwanted negative emotions by saying, whenever you experience a negative emotion, "I am responsible." Whenever you feel angry and you think or say, "She made me angry," you are deceiving yourself, you are lying. You and only you can make you angry. You are free to choose how you respond to any situation. You further discover that you are responsible when you realize that you create most of your consequences. If you are happy, healthy, wealthy, sad, sick, poor, etc., you probably created all or most of these consequences. You are free to choose those actions that produce desirable consequences. You discover that you are responsible when you stop habitually blaming others or outside forces. You extend your responsibility by making agreements that you can keep and keeping them.
You discover that you are sovereign when you recognize the nature of political and religious systems. They were all created by humans to dominate and control other humans. By and large, modern political and religious systems are sophisticated forms of slavery and cannibalism. Instead of the dominators (masters) eating their victims (slaves) they live off ("eat") the values created by their victims. The masters use deception, fraud, and violence to dupe, subjugate, and even kill their victims. The masters brainwash their slaves into swallowing concepts like, "compulsory state education," "tax," and "conscription" ("the draft"). You discover that you are sovereign when you realize that you are only subject to contracts you have voluntarily entered into. The pretended political "constitutions" of the world are fraudulent hoaxes used to deceive the gullible. Two books that may help you discover your sovereignty: The Constitution of no Authority by Lysander Spooner; and The Origin of Consciousness in the Breakdown of the Bicameral Mind by Julian Jaynes.
Once you realize that many of the "cultural values" of the "moral systems" foisted by political, religious, and educational masters upon their unsuspecting victims, result in war, crime, inflation, environmental destruction, degenerative diseases, and other personal and social ills, you recognize the need to consciously choose the values by which you live your life. By blindly accepting the "values" of others, you could deceive yourself into living a life that is not in your own best interest nor in the best interest of your fellow humans. Suggested reading: The Twilight of the Idols by Friedrich Nietzsche and The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People by Stephen R. Covey.
You discover that you control your life, that you create your life, and that you live the life you want to live, when you integrate the first four steps of the advanced formula for self-deception. Suggested reading: The Psychology of Freedom by Dr. Peter Breggin.
You discover that you can associate with others based on trust, voluntary cooperation, and consent, when you have recognized the fraudulent and coercive nature of political systems. Suggested reading: The Evolution of Cooperation by Robert M. Axelrod.
You discover that it is in your interest to want others to enjoy the same freedom, responsibility, sovereignty, control, trust, and power, when you realize that in most cases there is no conflict between your genuine self-interest and the genuine self-interest of others.
The ultimate formula for self-deception:
Consider the word "dog." If the word "dog" has a meaning, then where is the meaning? Is the meaning spread over the Reports, "d," "o," and "g?" Is the meaning in the ink portion of the Reports, or is it in the spaces between? What does the meaning look like? As soon as you consider these questions objectively, you discover that words have no meanings.
When you see or hear the word "dog," you tend to activate in your brain a mental picture of a kind of four-legged animal, as well as associations such as tail-wagging, barking, and licking. The mental pictures and the associations constitute meaning. You created the meaning. As soon as you grasp the fact that words have no meanings and the way you respond to words is your creation under your control, you discover that you are the source of all meaning. One of the implications of this phenomenon is that you realize that you are free to respond to the words of others as you wish - even if they call them "constitutions," "laws," etc! And you are not free to choose the consequences of your choices. Dominators, manipulators, and their ilk primarily use words to ply their trade. The discovery that their words are intrinsically meaningless and that you attach meaning to their words, could increase your freedom of choice by no small measure.
If you stop taking it for granted and you think about it, you might come to the conclusion that this phenomenon of "meaning" is very strange indeed. What in the universe makes meaning possible at all? We observe repetitive patterns in the universe which enable us to predict. "Meaning" is very close to prediction.
But predictions are prone to error. Hence there can be "false meaning" (deception?) How can one person induce another to create false meaning? Considering these issues will lead you to discover that all meaning involves a degree of self-deception. Paradoxically, this discovery will make it more difficult for others to deceive you and render you less susceptible to self-deception.
All knowledge results from metaphors: equating something with something else. You "know" something when you can say, "It's like this or that." The "this" or "that" is always something other than the thing you "know." Physically, knowledge comes from the senses. An image (structure of light) on the retina represents an object - a "physical metaphor." What in the universe makes it possible for one thing to "represent" another? Physical deception? Maybe deception is as integral a building block of the universe as matter, energy, space, and time. Is this what makes the never-ending improvement of knowledge possible? Such questions lead you to discover that knowledge is impossible without a degree of self-deception. And this discovery will help you realize the value of regarding your knowledge as provisional rather than final.
When you communicate you can never be absolutely certain that the meaning you attach to a word or sentence is the same meaning the recipient creates in his or her mind. The best you can do is observe the way the recipient behaves after receiving the communication. Certain behaviors will lead you to conclude that you succeeded in communicating; others that you failed. But you can never be absolutely certain. This is how you discover that communication is impossible without a degree of self-deception. And this discovery will help you realize why communication can be so difficult and exasperating and ridden with pitfalls, and needs to be handled so carefully.
You can empty your mind and discover that you are free from all the above.
Finally, nothing is a space of infinite possibility - the essence of creativity. Discover nothingness. Read The Experience of Nothingness by Michael Novack.
Ironically, there are certain gross unrealities in the area of food, language, and politics that practically all humans suffer from. And if you are not addicted to these unrealities, your fellow humans may consider you "crazy" and "unreal!" In the areas of education, economics, and religion there are also gross unrealities that large numbers of humans suffer from. Most of these gross unrealities are institutionalized. You better believe them - or be punished! They tend to render humans helpless, confused, and deluded. We may call them "social unrealities." They are transmitted culturally. Their consequences include such "social problems" as war, inflation, pollution, unemployment, homelessness, child abuse, poor health, crime, drug addiction, degenerative diseases, etc. Such social unrealities are exposed in other publications. Here we are concerned with individual unrealities, those more or less unique to individuals.
At an early age, we as small children, create a myth about ourselves, others, and the future. This myth contains our beliefs about ourselves, other humans, the purpose of life, the nature of death, what we intend to do with our lives, the nature of the universe, moral principles, attitudes towards authority figures, and so on, that is, our personal metaphysics. The myth may include the notion that humans are bad and stupid and we must save them, or that humans are good and have the power to create a perfect world. The myth may be based on the notion that this life is the only one we have, therefore we have to make the best of it and live life to the fullest. Or it may be based on the notion that we have lived before and will live again, therefore we should live our life so we achieve fulfillment in the next.
Our personal myth may contain both individual and social unrealities. Individual unrealities result from decisions about self, others, and the world stemming largely from traumatic childhood experiences. As we grow up and become adults, essentially one of five things can happen to us and our myths:
A consciously formulated myth can become a vision that constitutes a powerful motivating force. A vision is by definition unreal - it represents a future state of affairs that we seek to bring about. Reality is the current state of affairs. The realist takes practical steps to transform the current state of affairs into the realization of the vision. The unreality addict pretends, deceiving himself or herself, that the vision is reality, or that it will become reality by some kind of "magic." The unreality addict is oblivious to the practical steps that need to be taken to progress form "A" (the current state of affairs) to "Z" (the realization of the vision or dream).
In order to have a realistic chance of achieving our vision, we may have to make major character changes. Stephen R. Covey has written a superb book to this end, The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People. He makes a distinction between "personality" and "character." Personality changes are superficial (what much of the "success literature" of the past 200 years is about); while character changes are profound changes that fundamentally change our lives. I highly recommend Covey's 7 Habits.
There are two formulas for handling unreality: the junior and the senior. The junior formula you apply when you recognize your "unreality problem"; the senior, when you attempt to assist someone else to handle his or her unreality problem. Below is a fairly comprehensive list of unreality symptoms.
2. Inability to focus on physical actions that need to be performed in the present.
3. Lives in a state of waking dreams - dreamer of fantastic dreams. Suffers from grandiose, overzealous visions of the future - uses these to attempt to escape from the present.
4. Manic-depressive tendencies - flips between unreal euphoria and manic depression.
5. Cannot write a constructive physical action plan to proceed from A to Z. Indulges excessively in irrelevant and time-wasting activities. Generates numerous tangential "new ideas" (at a dime a dozen) that will miraculously solve all the problems. Cannot make realistic plans - jumps around from random action to random action. Tends to be impulsive.
6. Inability to set production targets. Cannot analyze what needs to be done to achieve production targets.
7. Has difficulty identifying the level of creation he or she is operating at. Has great difficulty applying the formulas for the levels of creation, particularly the "find out what's needed and wanted" step of the non-existence formula and the "change your operating basis" step of the emergency formula. Finds it almost impossible to apply the self-deception formulas.
8. Acts on feelings and emotions rather than on intellect. Tends to be a shallow, superficial thinker who deludes himself or herself that he or she is a "great thinker."
9. Creates a dreamlike unreal world in own mind almost completely disconnected from reality or the real world, based on how he or she would like the world to be rather than the way it is.
10. Has great difficulty distinguishing between reality and his or her representations or models of reality. Doesn't realize that whatever he or she says about reality is not reality, but a representation or model of reality.
11. Tends to have rigid views of "reality." Thinks that views of reality can be "proven." Doesn't realize that all views of reality are to some extent speculative. Doesn't realize that a thousand (or a million) supporting examples do not prove a view of reality, while it takes just one contrary example to disprove a view of reality.
12. May cling fanatically to notions like, "reality is all in the head," if I think I walk through the wall then I walk through the wall," "everything is relative," and "what is true for me is true." May have difficulty in seeing that some things simply are the way they are independently of what anyone thinks or says and independently of whether there's an observer or not. (Deep down these people "know" that when the bus comes at them, they get out of the way - or get flattened. And, for practical purposes, a woman is either pregnant or she is not pregnant, irrespective of what anyone thinks or says about it.)
13. Tends to see things in black or white. Often cannot distinguish shades of grey. For example, has difficulty distinguishing between an intention, a commitment, an agreement, and a contract. When someone says, "I'll phone you," he assumes this to be a commitment rather than an expression of intention.
14. Tends to have unreal expectations of others. Often expects them to think and behave the way he or she does.
15. Tends to operate on two-valued logic (black/white), as opposed to multi-valued logic (black/many shades of grey/white). For example, may insist that a question be answered by either "yes" or "no." May be unable to entertain, "There is no clear-cut answer; it depends on..."
16. May suffer from prejudices: "all Jews are selfish and crooked," "all niggers are thieves," "all women are bad drivers," etc.
17. Constantly looks for "small signs of success" - blows them up out of all proportion.
18. Suffers from delusions of grandeur such as "the Berlin wall collapsed because I wanted it down and I told people it would come down," or "I'm the greatest salesman in the world; I know everything about selling; I know exactly what to do; the product I sell is the market leader in its class by a long way - but my commissions are so low that I'm experiencing financial difficulties."
19. Tends to have a low level of responsibility. Often misassigns responsibility to factors or people outside self. Puts self as victim at effect like a reed in the wind. Compulsively blames others or outside factors for own emotional state. Very good at rationalizing (finding unreal reasons for lack of results) and self-justification.
20. Writes "great volumes of memoirs" (in an attempt to escape reality?) but never publishes them - seldom reveals their contents because of the deep-rooted fear that they will be exposed as garbage, or - even worse - the incoherent ravings of the mad...
21. Sometimes achieves great success, maybe partially due to chance factors such as being the proverbial millionth monkey with a typewriter who wrote the bible. Finds it difficult or impossible to repeat success. Cannot identify the true reasons for past success.
22. Almost fanatically wants to solve the problems of others and the world, while unable to solve own problems. May project own problems onto others. If he or she formulates a personal life purpose, it is usually unreal, for example, a purpose to "save the world" in some variation, but without anything said about personal development.
23. May be a true believer trapped in a religious or philosophical cult or a cult-like movement or organization. Tends to suffer from blind acceptance and automatic rejection.
24. May use sex, TV, religion, politics, sports, gambling, junk food, or drugs (caffeine, sugar, nicotine, alcohol, marihuana, cocaine, LSD, etc.) to escape reality.
25. May fanatically cling to misleading slogans, such as the following by Calvin Coolidge:
"Press on. Nothing in the world can take the place of persistence. Talent will not; nothing is more common than unsuccessful men with talent. Genius will not; unrewarded genius is almost a proverb. Education will not; the world is full of educated derelicts. Persistence and determination alone are omnipotent."May even post such misleading slogans prominently on the walls of their offices. (While persistence and determination are important, and Coolidge's quotation is not without merit, the problem with unreal persistence and unreal determination is that they can lead to disaster when fanatics persist in their folly - like Adolf Hitler and Saddam Hussein. For determination and persistence to work, you have to pursue quality activities with determination and persistence. To "press on regardless" with stupid, unreal activities is a formula for disaster - in this case, determination and persistence only compound the disaster.)
26. Indulges in "magical thinking" - the notion that certain results will occur as if by magic - for example, "in the end truth will always prevail," or "a miracle will save me." Often prepares poorly for interviews, meetings, speeches, presentations, etc. Tends to get caught in last minute rushes. Often late for appointments. Tends to operate in "cope mode" ("management by crisis"), often having to react to emergencies without proper planning.
27. Tends to exaggerate compulsively - like the proverbial fisherman or the jaded salesperson. Eventually believes his or her own lies.
28. May be superb at starting things, but poor at continuing and completing them. An activity or project can be divided into start - continue - complete. This could be called a "cycle of action." The sufferer from unreality may be a genius at developing ideas for starting things, but may lack the ability to continue and complete them.
29. May suffer from overwhelming automatic negative thoughts.
30. If managing a project or company:
(a) Makes unreal projections;
(b) Establishes vague, vaporous relationships;
(c) Dreams that proper contracts are irrelevant;
(d) Cannot make specific, detailed action plans with deadlines;
(e) Things drag on endlessly with little or no results.
31. When reality becomes so harsh that even the most fantastic dreams cannot provide any escape, the poor victim of unreality descends into a deep state of severe depression and debilitating paralysis from which he or she can see no way out (except suicide).
32. Additional unreality symptoms follow after the senior formula for unreality.
2. Tells others that he or she is "religiously applying" the formula, when he or she is making only a half-hearted attempt. Deceives himself or herself that he or she is applying the formula when he or she isn't.
3. Has great difficulty in applying step 4 of the unreality formula, particularly in asking others to ruthlessly indicate when he or she is attempting to evade reality.
4. Very reluctant to ask others to help him or her devise practical action plans to progress from A to Z, particularly where Z is the solution of personal problems like poor health or financial difficulties.
The formula for non-existence is:
It may require great self-discipline to apply the non-existence formula. Most of us tend to suffer from preconceptions and fixed ideas about what is needed or wanted. This tendency needs to be curbed ruthlessly. Beware of being the "know-it-all" who wants to tell everyone else what to do - particularly in cult-like organizations headed by "know-it-all gurus!"
A Major ObstacleA major obstacle to applying the non-existence formula can be, "I am a ... (for example, accountant); therefore I only do ... (accounting)." The notion that you are an "X" who does only "Y" may be a debilitating self-imposed restriction.
Baking a cake may serve as an example of how to apply the non-existence formula. You decide who you want to bake a cake for. You tell them that you are a cook, chef, or baker and that you want to bake a cake. You ask them what kind of cake they like. You decide what kind of cake you want to bake. You get a recipe. You acquire the necessary ingredients in the right quantities and with the right qualities. You do not obtain unnecessary ingredients. You execute the instructions of the recipe. When the cake has been successfully baked you present or deliver it.
You apply the final step of the non-existence formula by questioning the activity of baking itself, or - if you want to be more thorough - the entire activity of applying heat to food - see Report: #09: How to Achieve Superhealth. If you have any health problems, I recommend that you investigate this area.
The Relentless Search for What WorksThe application of the non-existence formula is a relentless search for what works - and what works better and faster. It's a constant, sometimes painstaking, effort to bring into existence what needs to exist. There is always some area of any business, project, or activity where the non-existence formula needs to be applied.
We often hear that "freedom is making great strides" because "Margaret Thatcher is privatizing state industries" or "Sweden is moving towards a free market" or "socialism is finished." But what if these are only swings of a pendulum?
Let me suggest that through the relentless application of the non-existence formula, we can become vastly more capable at making greater freedom a reality on a grand scale. You as an individual can continuously increase the degree of freedom of your own life. And you can assist and inspire a few or many others to do the same. Maybe a society is only as free as its individuals.
On the other hand, if you start in helplessness and apply the formula, you will move up to confusion. Instead of doing nothing, you will do some right and some wrong things. If you now apply the confusion formula, you will start discovering what works and what doesn't. Your outcomes will improve. Your head will grow as you advance to self-deception. And if you apply that formula you'll move up to non-existence, where you can start finding out what's really needed and wanted.
You may find that the least successful areas of your life, job, or organization are precisely those where these formulas are not being applied.
It may be a good idea to write down how you apply these formulas
and discuss your actions and outcomes with a friend. You'll almost
certainly both gain from doing this.
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