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W
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T
H
E
R
I
L
L
HOW TO SOLVE
PROBLEMS
&
PREVENT
TROUBLE
by
RICHARD W. WETHERILL
Many kinds of problems and
trouble are caused by the illogical
thoughts a person forms when he
is emotional. After the concepts
are formed, they seemingly are
forgotten. But the problems and
trouble persist.
Why?
Because the illogical thoughts
still exist on the unconscious level,
as does a memory, without the
person’s awareness that he is being
infuenced by them.
This book presents techniques
for discovering and releasing those
trouble-causing thoughts so that
problems are solved and further
trouble is prevented.
HSPPT_cover.indd 1 10/1/2008 8:30:27 PM
HOW TO SOLVE
PROBLEMS AND
PREVENT TROUBLE
!y
FIcIo.J T. TcIIc.III
Revised edition
CopyRight © 1962, 1977, 1991
by
humanetiCs Fellowship
RoyeRsFoRd, pa 19468
AII FIgIIs Fcsc.zcJ
the alpha publishing house
po box 255
RoyeRsFoRd, pa 19468
pRinted in the united states oF ameRiCa
Preface
Mouy !uucccsso.y 1.o!Icms
P
RESSURES AND tensions of modern life can be reduced
enormously, and the information presented in this book
tells how. The information has been and is being tested in
daily use by persons from various walks of life.
They all say the information is correct and that it is im-
portant.
They tell startling stories of what it is doing for them.
They say the information is new, and many of them say they
resisted some portions of it at frst. The evidence is that no
great progress is made except by changing from the old to
the new, and the pioneering work of changing is ordinarily
resisted at frst.
The person who resists is behaving naturally.
If he persists through the initial resistance, however, he
makes remarkable discoveries. He becomes aware that prob-
lems he thought were necessary are not necessary at all, and
he learns how various objectionable conditions in his life can
be changed.
Soon he fnds that his original resistance is replaced by
an eagerness to learn more.
When a person really understands the basic message of
this book, he experiences a happiness he had never known.
This book is a kind of behavioral textbook, and while the
information is presented on a nonreligious basis, everybody
is entitled to seek God as best he can. Many persons say that
this book helped them to fnd God. When understood, it will
iii
Iz Hou Io óoIzc 1.o!Icms ouJ 1.czcuI T.ov!Ic
help people to fnd desirable objectives of all kinds. The rea-
son is that it removes mental blinders that have kept people
living in unsuspected darkness.
The purpose of the chapters that follow is to enable a
person to become fully logical, to think more clearly and
successfully in all departments of life, and to recognize and
understand reality. It will enable him to learn how to iden-
tify and drop wrong thinking so that right thinking becomes
instinctive.
That is purpose enough for one book.
At frst, that purpose may seem rather vague and indef-
nite because the results take so many forms that they defy
any hope of simple description.
Actually describing them seems to involve wild exag-
geration.
A selection of results includes the correction of personal-
ity faws and faults earlier not only uncorrectable but some
that were undetectable, destruction of bad habits and com-
pulsive misbehavior, elimination of vague feelings of guilt or
fear, and even ending susceptibility to various sicknesses and
accidents.
If that seems too much to expect, study this book with
honesty and an open mind, and you will get some fascinating
surprises.
v
CouIcuIs
pReFaCe: many unneCessaRy pRoblems ............................. iii
oRigin oF pRoblems and tRouble .............................. 1
teChnique FoR solving pRoblems ............................... 23
FoRmula FoR pReventing tRouble ............................. 47
CaReFully inspeCt youR behavioR ............................. 61
houseClean youR emotional liFe.............................. 76
impRove youR eFFeCts on people ............................... 90
take youR bRains out oF Chains ............................. 113
.
2.
3.
4.
5.
6.
7.

J
OHN IS handsome. His youthful good looks are enhanced
by the appearance of intelligence and an attractive person-
ality. He impresses people favorably—but not for very long.
Why not? Because John has an unfortunate tendency to
lose his temper whenever he fails to get his own way.
Does he blame his outbursts of temper on himself? Of
course not.
He blames it on the people who seem to block him. He
has made up his mind that they are goading him and trying
to defeat him. He becomes totally illogical whenever the sub-
ject is mentioned.
John is mixed up in his mind, and he is not the only one.
It is no secret that human beings are illogical because
the evidence abounds on all sides. But it is a secret from each
person that in many ways he is illogical himself.
What is more important, he doesn’t like to be told so.
You can check that by considering any illogical person
you know. No matter how unfortunate the mistakes his il-
logic compels him to make, you know what would happen if
you tried to tell him he is illogical, so you do not try.
That is one of the great mistakes that people should stop
making: Everybody is illogical in many different ways, and
nobody can easily be told.
There is a strong reason why a person objects to being
told. The reason is that he is usually unable to detect what is
illogical about his behavior because the evidence is somehow
Chapter
O.IgIu o[ 1.o!Icms ouJ T.ov!Ic
2 Hou Io óoIzc 1.o!Icms ouJ 1.czcuI T.ov!Ic
concealed from him.
How that evidence is concealed and what can be done to
expose it makes a fascinating and, at times, a shocking story.
In the light of present-day events, it is important to tell
that story, because unless the story is told, people will not be
able to solve their problems and prevent trouble. Why? Be-
cause the vast majority of people’s problems and trouble are
caused by illogical thinking.
At frst, that may seem like an extreme statement, but if
you think the matter through, you will presently realize that
it is not extreme. You will be given information that will en-
able you to make astonishing improvements in the way you
deal with problems and trouble of every kind.
Readers will be helped by two clarifying defnitions.
Defne illogical thinking as the kind of thinking that leads
to illogical action. Defne illogical action as the kind of action
that leads to problems and trouble. Under those two defni-
tions, illogical thinking is the kind of thinking that leads to
problems and trouble.
It is the kind of thinking a person should learn how to
identify and avoid.
Of course, he seldom thinks illogically on purpose be-
cause nobody really wants problems and trouble. Neverthe-
less everybody has problems and trouble, and that makes it
clear that everybody is inadvertently illogical.
Because people’s thinking is illogical, that does not mean
they are stupid.
It means that because of inadvertent illogic a person often
aims his attention in a direction that leads to problems and
trouble. At such times, the more intelligence he has, the more
problems and trouble are likely to result from his efforts.
Another defnition will also help.
Illogical action may properly be defned as action that gets
some result that is different from the result the person who
took the action intended. Often a result that is undesirable.
O.IgIu o[ 1.o!Icms ouJ T.ov!Ic 3
Consider the following specifc example:
A person attempts to back his car out of the garage. He
puts his foot on the accelerator and drives headlong into the
garage wall, doing extensive damage.
He certainly did not intend to do that.
Because of inadvertent illogic, he put his car into forward
gear instead of reverse. It was the wrong thing to do and got
a result he neither intended nor wanted. It led to problems
and trouble.
That is a fair example of what is meant by illogic.
Everybody is the victim of equivalent illogic on vari-
ous occasions during his life. He gets into trouble with other
people as a result, but most of all, he gets into trouble with
himself.
Usually he cannot understand that he caused the trouble.
When he drives his car into the garage wall, he under-
stands that he caused the trouble, because his method of
causing the trouble is effectively called to his attention.
In a variety of other situations, he lacks that kind of clear
evidence.
Suppose a person is engaged in a running confict with
one of his relatives or associates. Others can see that he is
contributing his share to the confict, but he ignores his con-
tributions and talks only of the contributions made by his
opponent.
He won’t listen when anyone tries to tell him the confict
is partly his fault.
He is unaware of his contributions and cannot believe
that he is partly to blame. The same mental blindness that
prevents him from avoiding his part of the confict also de-
stroys his ability to detect it after it has occurred.
That is what keeps conficts running at home and on the
job.
Each person tries to change his opponent instead of try-
ing to change himself. He could readily change himself if he
4 Hou Io óoIzc 1.o!Icms ouJ 1.czcuI T.ov!Ic
knew he needed changing and knew how to change, but he
cannot really change his opponent. So because he misunder-
stands the cause, he cannot end the confict.
That is a fair example of the problems and trouble that
result from inadvertent illogic hardly detectable by its victim.
The average person gets into much more diffculty of that
sort than he supposes and, at frst, more than he can easily
understand.
When a person does understand how he gets himself into
problems and trouble, he tries hard to avoid repeat perfor-
mances. A person who has paid to have his garage and car re-
paired after inadvertently driving into the garage wall gives
close attention to the proper setting of his gears thereafter.
Unfortunately he cannot similarly guard against other
problems and trouble that he does not know were caused by
his own illogical thinking and behavior.
II
T
HERE IS a specifc reason why illogical action leads to
problems and trouble and gets undesired results. The
reason is that illogical action always tries to contradict na-
ture in some impossible way.
That is what makes the action illogical.
Everybody can see the contradiction of nature in an ef-
fort to drive a car backward while it is in forward gear, but,
in general, no one can see how he is contributing to a confict
that he would like to stop and can’t. If he could, he would
stop the confict.
Because he can’t, he goes on trying to contradict nature.
Enabling him to understand his own illogical contribu-
tions to the confict puts him in possession of the information
he needs. Giving that information to people everywhere will
enable them to stop their conficts as well.
That is what has already happened for persons who have
O.IgIu o[ 1.o!Icms ouJ T.ov!Ic 5
the information.
Not only does the information apply to the problems of
stopping conficts, but it also applies to every kind of problem
caused by inadvertent illogic of any sort.
Consider the following examples:
A person who tries to make himself believe that he can
get along on half as much sleep as he needs is trying to con-
tradict nature. He may succeed fairly well for a time, but pres-
ently his health will suffer.
A person who believes that seven cocktails make him a
better automobile driver is trying to contradict nature. He
may wind up in a jail or possibly in a hospital or morgue.
A person who decides he is going to get his way regard-
less of the feelings of other persons active in a joint endeavor
is also trying to contradict nature. He may get his way in
certain respects, but in the process, he will do violence to
voluntary cooperation.
Ask yourself what might happen if you tried to explain
to any of those three persons just what sort of problems and
trouble he is inviting. You realize at once that any such effort
would be wearing and also probably futile.
That typical reaction brings out an important point.
People suffer from problems and trouble of their own
making that they are incapable of blaming on themselves,
and the task of enabling them to realize just how they cause
their problems and trouble is diffcult to perform.
That is the task attempted by this book.
III
T
HE BASIC obstacle that confronts this book should now
be fairly obvious. It must convince the reader that he
himself is personally often illogical. In the past the average
person has considered that information insulting.
There is nothing personal intended by the information,
0 Hou Io óoIzc 1.o!Icms ouJ 1.czcuI T.ov!Ic
and when the person who feels insulted learns exactly what
process is responsible for his illogic, he stops feeling insulted.
He starts feeling eager to do something to rectify matters.
In one of its simpler manifestations, the process is easy to
explain. Everybody will recognize that he himself has gone
through the process many times without understanding the
serious consequences.
The following paragraphs describe the process:
Each person has motives that drive him. In his efforts to
satisfy those motives, he often encounters resistance. Some-
times the resistance comes from nature, as when he is thwart-
ed by the law of gravity or when he wants tomorrow to come
today. Sometimes the resistance comes from another person,
as when the other person regards him as dangerously com-
petitive, bossy or otherwise disagreeable.
Those situations in which he is resisted lead to misunder-
standings.
The fact that the resistance comes from another person
does not mean that nature is left out. It only means that the
resistance coming from nature is put into expression through
a person.
Obviously every person is a part of nature.
Whether or not the resistance comes through a person,
when it becomes overpowering, the result is frustration. The
person who is blocked is not able to satisfy his motive.
That is a situation everybody has experienced.
Do not think of it as a situation that happens once in a
long time. For the average person, it happens often, and it has
been happening ever since his infancy.
Not being able to carry out a motive has an unsuspected
effect.
When a person is frustrated in his efforts to satisfy his
motives, he tends to rebel and express himself in a burst of
emotion. That emotion results from his feeling of rebellion.
What he does or says is less important than what he thinks.
O.IgIu o[ 1.o!Icms ouJ T.ov!Ic ¯
Everybody has had many experiences with emotional
thinking that results from frustration. He knows that in his
emotional thinking he tends to talk to himself, usually not
aloud, but he puts his thinking into specifc sentences.
Consider the following typical examples:
“No matter what I try to do, it doesn’t work out.” “I’ll force
things to go my way.” “If I can’t get what I want, I’ll raise a
real fuss.” “This is one time I’m not going to let myself get
pushed around.” “Nobody can make a monkey out of me!”
Anyone can easily expand the foregoing list by making
contributions from his own private collection of memories.
The analysis of those sentences is illuminating.
Every sentence is somehow illogical and unrealistic. It
puts into words something that no rational person would re-
ally support. It suggests illogical action.
Usually the person who forms such a sentence has no real
intention of living by it. Even when he has, he soon forgets
his outburst.
He assumes that when he calms down his thinking goes
back to normal.
A central surprise of this book is that his thinking does
not go back to normal. Rather it tends to retain the favor of
the emotional sentences. The diffculty is that the individual
thinks in terms of his conscious mind, and he does not allow
for his unconscious mind.
When he indulges in a burst of emotional thinking, he
drops each rebellious sentence into his unconscious mind. Af-
ter his thinking has supposedly returned to normal because
his emotion has subsided, those sentences remain lodged in
his unconscious mind.
Perhaps he changes his conscious mind. Perhaps he tells
himself, “I didn’t really mean those things.”
But that kind of thinking does not change his unconscious
mind.
Before a person can get rid of the dangerous effects of the
B Hou Io óoIzc 1.o!Icms ouJ 1.czcuI T.ov!Ic
unrealistic and illogical thinking he does in his moments of
emotion, he must know how to change his unconscious mind
where his distortions of logic are stored.
That is really the subject of this book.
IV
B
EFORE CONSIDERING how to change the uncon-
scious mind from wrong to right, consider the effects of
specifc sentences that are lodged in the unconscious mind as
a result of past emotional thinking.
Those sentences have been accumulating since infancy.
They cover an astonishing range of different subjects. In
fact, they cover every subject about which the individual has
ever thought in one or more of his moments of emotion. Re-
garding each of the subjects, those sentences are responsible
for subtle changes in his thinking that are undetectable by
him.
What happens is that in an outburst of emotional think-
ing the individual substitutes unreality for reality on the sub-
ject of the emotion. For him, the unreality thereafter tends to
control.
Consider the next specifc example:
Suppose a man in a ft of anger directed toward his wife
says to himself, “Someday if she makes me mad enough, I’ll
kill her!”
There are husbands who have formed such a thought.
Suppose that shortly afterward the husband’s temper sub-
sides, and he decides that his wife is not really as bad as he
had thought while in his temper.
Therefore, he dismisses the thought.
He decides that he would not dream of murdering his
wife, even if she did make him very angry. What he does
not realize is the seriousness of those words he has dropped
into his unconscious mind. He does not realize that he has
O.IgIu o[ 1.o!Icms ouJ T.ov!Ic 9
changed only his conscious thinking. He does not realize that
his unconscious mind still intends to carry out the threat.
The exact words of the emotional thinking determine
what his reaction will be under the conditions specifed by
those words.
In effect, the words have become a command phrase, tell-
ing him what to do.
If during ensuing years no similar outburst of temper
ever occurs, the husband may live out his life without ever
carrying out the threat. But if he ever were to be made “mad
enough” under the same emotional conditions, he would tend
to execute the command. He would have given himself an
urge that may turn out to be disastrous.
Daily we read and hear newscasts about irresistible urges
that drive people to commit illogical acts, including murder.
Now there is a theory that explains the origin of those urges.
They cause all kinds of trouble: crime, drug addiction,
environmental destruction, wars at home and on the battle-
feld and so on.
The kinds of trouble are determined by the precise words
contained in the command phrases that people have fed into
their unconscious minds during their moments of emotion.
Some of those command phrases are quite obviously
dangerous.
Actually every command phrase is dangerous, because
every command phrase replaces reality on the unconscious
level of a person’s mind. He cannot know that the change has
occurred.
Virtually always, he loses all recollection of the command
phrase.
Of course, his unconscious mind never forgets, but mere
unconscious remembering is not what is dangerous. The dan-
gerous feature of a command phrase is that in the appropriate
situations it dictates behavior without the person’s realization
that anything is amiss.
10 Hou Io óoIzc 1.o!Icms ouJ 1.czcuI T.ov!Ic
The reason for that result is worth considering.
Every command phrase becomes an unconscious premise
that gets used in the person’s routine thinking. It gets mixed
in with the premises that are conscious and, therefore, can
be checked, but because it is itself unconscious, it cannot be
checked.
The command phrase compulsively gets used.
Because every human being is naturally logical in his
thinking, a wrong premise that gets mixed in with right
premises leads to wrong conclusions. Every conclusion that
is drawn from thinking involving even one wrong premise is
sure to be as wrong as the premise and in exactly the same
way.
That is the explanation of the illogical behavior that is
seen on all sides among members of the human race.
From early infancy, everybody has installed many com-
mand phrases in his unconscious mind during his moments
of emotion. They give him wrong premises on many different
subjects, and cause his thinking to produce illogical conclu-
sions that are undetectable as such by him.
A person can easily check those facts by observation.
By remembering the conduct of persons he knows, he can
prove to himself that people are often illogical in what they
say and do. By remembering his failures in getting people to
admit they are illogical, he proves to himself that they are not
aware of their deviations from what is logical.
As a result, he recognizes the importance of getting the
foregoing information into effective general use.
V
A
T THIS point, the basic obstacle to comprehension of
this information arises for further attention. It is the ob-
stacle mentioned earlier: The average person is likely to con-
O.IgIu o[ 1.o!Icms ouJ T.ov!Ic 11
sider the information insulting.
If he does, it is because he misunderstands the informa-
tion.
When he understands correctly, he sees it as the basis of
a release from tensions, from frustrations, from fears, from
affictions of many kinds—even from blame.
The reason should make immediate sense.
A person may be to blame for the rebellious emotion
under which he formed his command phrases, but once he
has installed them in the recesses of his unconscious mind,
he cannot control what they make him do. Why not? Be-
cause he has no control over his unconsciously caused com-
pulsions.
Once that fact is recognized, it changes many earlier the-
ories on the subject of behavior.
In a certain literal sense, what a person’s command phras-
es make him do represents only a part of the penalty paid for
his earlier mistake. When more people understand that, a
vast number of public and private improvements will result.
One improvement will be that our penal systems will teach
offenders how to correct distortions of logic. Another will be
that people will stop blaming one another and start getting
rid of the causes of problems and trouble by identifying and
releasing the command phrases of their own distortions of
logic.
A person who understands the cause-and-effect sequence
of distortions of logic sees the mistake of blaming anybody
for anything.
He does not even blame himself.
He blames the distortions. He knows that it is a person’s
command phrases that get him into trouble even by trying to
be right.
Everybody needs to recognize that important fact and
learn about this new approach to the prevention and solution
of behavioral problems.
12 Hou Io óoIzc 1.o!Icms ouJ 1.czcuI T.ov!Ic
VI
R
EALIZATION OF that importance is clarifed when a
person recognizes the extensive damage resulting from
distortions of logic installed in the form of unconscious com-
mand phrases.
Step-by-step he can consider how that damage develops.
Starting in early infancy, a child is often rebellious and
fearful so that before starting school, he accumulates a vast
network of command phrases on an extremely wide variety
of subjects.
In childhood, he is usually given discipline by others. If
he is intelligent, he adds discipline of his own as he matures.
But he cannot ever quite overcome the damage from the com-
mand phrases of his distortions of logic.
Whenever he tries hard enough, he can thwart the drive
of some unconscious command phrases, but he has to try.
Usually he sees no reason why he should try because he has
no way to check his logic.
At best, he must work against internal resistance.
He must try to resist temptation. He must curb every urge
he knows is likely to lead him into problems and trouble—
which is diffcult.
He does not succeed as often as he supposes. He knows
that he gets into various kinds of trouble, but he usually fnds
some way of blaming the trouble on something outside him-
self. He has to. Because he knows nothing of his command
phrases, he can fnd no sensible reason for blaming his own
thinking.
Only in unusual cases does a person blame himself.
When he is forced to because the facts of life emphati-
cally call a mistake to his attention, he may try to avoid re-
peating the mistake. That is what happens when he inadver-
tently drives into the garage wall, but in other cases, he fnds
it impossible to make the necessary changes.
O.IgIu o[ 1.o!Icms ouJ T.ov!Ic 13
Consider, for example, some prevalent compulsions.
Millions of persons would like to stop smoking or drink-
ing or using drugs but have discovered that despite their deci-
sion to stop, they cannot. Millions more would make the same
discovery if they tried to stop, but their command phrases tell
them not to try.
Therefore, they do not know they are in trouble.
Compulsive smoking, drinking and drug abuse quite ob-
viously are acquired behavior problems. Nobody was born a
smoker, drinker or drug abuser.
Nobody intends to become victimized by those compul-
sive behavior patterns. The compulsions develop subtly as
the result of many decisions, and each of those decisions can
be stated as a command phrase such as:
“Everyone else smokes; I’ll feel out of things if I don’t.”
“I do whatever I feel like doing.” “I want to have something
to keep my fngers busy.” “Smoking makes my work bear-
able.” “When I watch the smoke curl up around my face, I
feel dreamy.” “Sucking makes me feel comforted.”
Such sentences have an illogical and unsuspected control
over the person who thought them.
Here are typical command phrases that make a compul-
sive drinker:
“I have to drown my troubles.” “After a few drinks, I for-
get my problems.” “At the end of a day’s work, I need some
drinks to relax.” “A cocktail picks me up when I’m down.”
“I’m going to do everything I want when I’m old enough.”
Reasons to use drugs are found in these command phrases:
“Everybody does drugs to feel better.” “With my prob-
lems, I need to feel better.” “I want to get on the fast track.” “A
fx helps me handle my job.” “Needles don’t scare me.”
At frst a person may think those phrases seem too logi-
cal to represent illogical thinking that has gained compulsive
control.
Whether a phrase seems logical is not the important point.
14 Hou Io óoIzc 1.o!Icms ouJ 1.czcuI T.ov!Ic
What is important is whether the thought has gained uncon-
scious control of thinking and behavior. When the thought is
established as a compulsive command phrase, it will be used
in an illogical way.
It will cause whatever problems and trouble it suggests.
Often it joins forces with numerous other command
phrases to cause a result that borrows something illogical
from each. Often it can have the effect of causing various
kinds of trouble on different occasions. Often it is originally
installed in some situation that may have little or nothing to
do with its future use.
“I like to drink all the time” is a phrase that could origi-
nally have been formed by a child in relation to lemonade.
In later years after he starts drinking cocktails, it may help to
make his drinking compulsive. Usually compulsive drinking,
smoking and drug use result from a very large accumulation
of command phrases.
That is shown by the obvious sequences of cause and ef-
fect already cited. But it is shown more powerfully by the fact
that when phrases of the sort described are properly detect-
ed, they lose their effect, and the compulsive conduct stops
without effort.
That same principle has been applied to many kinds of
wrong behavior.
At frst a person may have diffculty realizing the enor-
mous number of different kinds of problems and trouble that
are brought under control by the ability to understand and
release the compulsive command phrases accumulated from
past emotional thinking.
When analyzed, the range is extensive, and apparently it
covers just about every kind of problem and trouble to which
any member of society is subject.
There is, however, a limitation.
Identifying and releasing command phrases cannot solve
a problem nor end a trouble if irrevocable damage has al-
O.IgIu o[ 1.o!Icms ouJ T.ov!Ic 15
ready occurred, though it can do much more to repair dam-
age than might ordinarily be expected.
VII
T
HAT DAMAGE arises in so many and varied areas of
life that it seems pointless to list them. Nevertheless, here
is a short list: dangerous driving; criminality; tendency to
argue, quarrel or engage in confict; overeating; inattention,
inability to concentrate; feelings of rejection, depression,
anxiety, fear; memory loss; sluggishness; insomnia; mental
blocks to learning and communication.
All those conditions have been corrected by releasing
the compulsive command value of sentences installed in the
unconscious mind, using techniques and methods to be ex-
plained.
Many of the changes seem miraculous, but only because
they were not previously understood.
Surprising to most persons is the benefcial effect of cor-
recting distortions of logic on mental, emotional and physical
health. Nothing ordinarily regarded as physical is needed to
produce that effect. All that is needed is a certain kind of
change in thinking.
The relationship between thinking and health has long
been recognized in a general way. Now that relationship is
being made specifc in easily understandable detail.
VIII
A
NYBODY SHOULD be able to see how the command
phrases cited earlier, if they gain unconscious control
over thinking, could cause smoking, drinking and drug use
to be compulsive.
The connection can be made just as clear in relation to
health.
10 Hou Io óoIzc 1.o!Icms ouJ 1.czcuI T.ov!Ic
Consider the sort of command phrase that causes sick-
ness because it causes behavior that invites sickness.
It might be excessive smoking, drinking, drug use, or it
might be a tendency to stay up too late every night or some-
thing else already cited. It might also be a command phrase
that seemingly does not directly relate to health.
It might be a habit of long hours of overwork without rea-
sonable health precautions. It might be indulgence in pecu-
liar dietary habits or perhaps simple overeating. It might be
the excessive weight brought on by overeating. It might be a
tendency to worry or indulge in violent outbursts of emotion
that invite high blood pressure, ulcers or conditions leading
to a heart attack.
Any person who invites physical injury or illness by his
illogical thinking easily ends that invitation if he gets rid of
the illogical thinking.
Those problems are not basically physical.
Many of them can be counteracted by physical means, at
least, up to a point. For example, if a person is unable to sleep
because of turbulent thinking, he might get relief by taking
sleeping pills. The sensible remedy is to end the turbulent
thinking that interferes with his sleep.
No person who understands how to correct distortions
needs indefnite dependence on any artifcial means of induc-
ing sleep.
The same is true of every other problem caused by wrong
thinking.
Correct the wrong thinking that is unconsciously prompt-
ed, and the problem ceases to exist. Numerous problems and
trouble are really mental in origin, and there is just no sense
in trying to control them with counteracting measures.
A certain stigma is attached to the idea of mental prob-
lems, but everybody has mental problems. The person who
admits it to himself about himself takes a helpful forward
step.
O.IgIu o[ 1.o!Icms ouJ T.ov!Ic 1¯
Thereafter, he is free to act on the admission, and he
solves problems and prevents future trouble.
A person who takes the position that nothing could be
wrong with his state of mind thereby stands between himself
and solution of his mental problems. Nothing can be done for
him until he stops hiding from reality.
Of course, a person who has mental problems is not nec-
essarily a mental patient, and a person who knows he has
mental problems is less likely to become one.
He learns how to solve those mental problems himself.
Gradually he learns the relationship between his uncon-
scious thinking and his physical health. He makes the appro-
priate changes, and soon he also sees the direct relationship
between his unconscious thinking and his mental health. He
does not have to try very hard to see that command phrases
can have a serious bad effect on mental health.
Consider a few phrases that cause poor mental health:
“I can’t do anything right.” “I don’t dare depend on my-
self.” “No matter what I try to do, it always fails.” “People
have it in for me.” “I have more problems than I can solve.”
“When I get emotional, I just can’t think.” “I know a lot of
things I don’t dare admit even to myself.” “I’m going crazy,
and I can’t help it.” “The people around me are driving me
nuts.”
Everybody has done a great deal of thinking of the kind
indicated. All that thinking tends to be a burden on him, but
a bigger burden is the sort of thinking he can’t remember
having done.
Everybody has done a large amount of that also.
When emotional thinking is exposed by techniques ex-
plained in pages to come, startling things happen. Uncon-
scious burdens are shed and so are conscious burdens-in pro-
fusion.
The same is true of a person’s emotional health.
Command phrases that indirectly affect emotional health
1B Hou Io óoIzc 1.o!Icms ouJ 1.czcuI T.ov!Ic
relate to many different subjects. In fact, every command
phrase has a bad effect on emotional health. It requires the
individual to hide something from his conscious awareness
and to go on hiding it.
Many command phrases directly invite emotional trouble.
“I can’t control my emotions” is a suitable example. That
statement might easily have originated in a situation where it
seemed to apply sensibly, as when a serious emotional blow
had just shattered a person’s composure. If he formed it in an
emotional reaction, the concept assumes command value in
situations where it could not logically apply. In those situa-
tions the person literally cannot control his emotions.
Other phrases that adversely affect emotional health fol-
low:
“I can’t take it.” “Life is just too much for me.” “I’m at the
end of my rope.” “I just can’t help crying.” “Now I’ll never
have another moment’s peace of mind.” “I’ll try hard never
to forget what he did to me.” “I can’t help being frightened.”
“I can’t get a hold of myself.”
Anyone can imagine the sorts of situations in which such
thinking might be done. Anyone can remember having done
similar thinking, and whoever gets it cleaned out of his un-
conscious mind enjoys much better emotional health.
He is only changing his thinking and is no more practic-
ing medicine or psychiatry than a person who improves his
health by reducing the number of occasions when he crosses
the street without looking for oncoming traffc.
IX
T
HE TECHNIQUE for correcting distortions of logic is
not recommended as a substitute for needed medical
or psychiatric treatment. It is presented only as a means of
changing thinking from wrong to right.
As such, using the command phrase technique often gets
O.IgIu o[ 1.o!Icms ouJ T.ov!Ic 19
astonishing results.
One result is that a person notices instant changes in his
conversation and behavior because the unconscious premises
that had made his thinking irrational and unrealistic have
been eliminated. Consequently they no longer get used.
The following example explains how it works:
Suppose a person has a large collection of command
phrases that have the effect of making him insist on convert-
ing every conversation into an argument that he feels he must
win.
You may know such a person.
As is the case with every other deviation from sane and
sensible behavior, that condition is caused by irrational
premises lodged in the unconscious mind, tending to control
behavior.
Here are typical command phrases that might be in-
volved:
“I’ll prove I’m the smartest person alive.” “Nobody can
beat me at anything.” “The winner always gets the prizes.”
“Everybody keeps trying to prove I don’t know what I’m talk-
ing about.” “Unless I really get steamed up, I can’t talk at all.”
“I can’t agree with anybody.”
Perhaps that would be a suffcient number of phrases to
detect and release in order to change an argumentative per-
son. If more must be detected to get the complete change,
then he will beneft by doing the additional amount of neces-
sary work.
After all the relevant command phrases are picked up,
the person who formerly had to turn every conversation into
an argument and then win the argument would be entirely
uninterested in continuing that behavior.
He just wouldn’t have the necessary urges.
The same is true in every area of life, whether a prob-
lem relates to a person’s thinking, conversation, behavior or
health.
20 Hou Io óoIzc 1.o!Icms ouJ 1.czcuI T.ov!Ic
The compulsive smoker is able to stop smoking.
He doesn’t have to try to stop. He just loses interest in
smoking. While he feels no aversion to smoking, he fnds it
unattractive and unnecessary. He makes no high resolves
against it. He just stops and that’s that.
The same is true of a person with any other kind of com-
pulsion.
Gone is his need for resolutions. Gone is his need for pills
or treatments of any kind. Gone is his need for self-restraint.
The individual becomes able to do what he had often er-
roneously assumed he could do. He becomes able to use his
brain to intelligently instruct his body. But in order to get that
result, he must frst correct the distortions of logic that actu-
ate him from unconscious levels.
He cannot successfully contradict those distortions by
telling himself counteracting command phrases.
If he tries, he will generate internal resistance. He may
fnd the resistance appearing in the form of tension or effort.
He may fnd his compulsions showing up in some other form
as when a smoker stops smoking by turning to candy which
increases his weight.
The effort to contradict urges toward wrong behavior is
made unnecessary by making the needed changes in uncon-
scious thinking so that the person can behave as he should.
Results in relation to physical health are often amazing.
Certainly nothing is more physical than overweight. To-
day most persons agree that overweight results from overeat-
ing. Despite that fact, millions of overweight persons are un-
able to reduce, because they cannot drop their compulsions
to overeat.
Many of them are well aware of the fact that what they
need is a change of thinking, but even with that realization,
they cannot change.
When they learn to fnd and drop the distortions of log-
ic they installed during moments of emotional, unrealistic
O.IgIu o[ 1.o!Icms ouJ T.ov!Ic 21
thinking, they get their appetites under control.
They do not need to count calories, depend on exercises,
follow special diets, swallow pills intended to suppress their
appetites. They are able to eat what they want, but they do
notice various differences in the food they want and the quan-
tity they eat.
They also notice that their weight decreases.
If overweight has the adverse effect on longevity that is
widely advertised, the person who brings his weight down to
normal presumably also lengthens his life.
In addition he reduces the likelihood that he will need
medical attention for the various illnesses and problems
brought on by overweight.
That is not the only way he can improve his physical
health.
After he discovers what he can accomplish by changing
his unconscious thinking, he may decide to deal with other
health problems more directly.
Some of his command phrases directly invite sickness.
“I want to be sick, so I can stay home from work.” “I’m
going to have something wrong, so people will take care of
me.” “Unless I get my way, I’ll take to my bed and be sick.”
Some command phrases call for a sickness that is consid-
ered to be incurable.
“I want to go to bed and never get up again.” “My situa-
tion is absolutely hopeless.” “Nothing can be done for me.” “I
can’t go on fghting for my life.”
People’s experience with this information suggests that
no physical illness is hopeless.
Astonishing corrections of supposedly incurable diseases
have sometimes occurred as a result of using the procedures
discussed here. No claim is made that any such corrections
can or will be repeated. However, a person who is sick is cer-
tainly justifed in trying to improve his thinking and to get a
correction if he can.
22 Hou Io óoIzc 1.o!Icms ouJ 1.czcuI T.ov!Ic
If he tries to apply the appropriate procedure, he may be
startled by what happens just as a result of unthinking wrong
thoughts. He is much less startled if he already understands
the thinking by which people have inadvertently been invit-
ing their problems and trouble.
23
W
HAT HAPPENS when a person installs a distortion
of logic in one of his bursts of emotional thinking can
perhaps best be described by saying that he catches himself
in a mental trap from which he cannot escape by any ordi-
nary process of thought.
Consider the nature of that mental trap.
A person’s emotional thinking is physical as well as ab-
stract. Thinking occurs in the physical brain. The electronic
impulses of thinking move along electronic circuits com-
posed of brain cells that establish contact with each other for
that purpose.
Repeated thinking of exactly the same kind may require
no new circuits, because the old circuits remain intact ready
for use in every situation where they apply.
Every sudden reaction involves use of old circuits.
When a person sits on a tack, he says, “Ouch!” and rises
before he has time to decide what has happened. Only after-
ward does he collect the pertinent facts, and then only be-
cause he has received signals telling him on the conscious
level about what has happened.
The same thing occurs when the circuit containing a dis-
tortion is used.
The reaction is sudden and automatic. It is not planned
and intentional. Usually it does not call attention to itself in
any way. It just makes the individual behave irrationally in
accord with his command phrases without his awareness that
Chapter 2
TccIuIqvc [o. óoIzIug 1.o!Icms
24 Hou Io óoIzc 1.o!Icms ouJ 1.czcuI T.ov!Ic
anything is amiss.
The foregoing explanation of the thinking process is
based on common knowledge taught to school children as
long as ffty years ago. It forms the basis of a logical explana-
tion by which a person of ordinary education and intelligence
can understand the process of installing a distortion of logic
in the physical sense.
Start at the beginning of the process.
A person’s emotion is the force behind his thinking. As
the response to an emotional stimulus, he starts formulating
ideas, some of which lead to action. Sometimes the action
succeeds, and in that case it is logical action.
When a person’s action succeeds, it satisfes the emotion
that stimulated the thinking and prompted the action. There-
fore, the emotion subsides. The purpose of that emotion,
among other things, is to close connections between nerve
cells in the brain so that thinking can travel along electronic
paths in the circuits used to effectuate the desired action.
When the emotion subsides, those connections open and are
available to form new connections.
In cases of quick, seemingly instinctive action such as
exclaiming and suddenly rising after sitting on a tack, the
circuits remain closed. Or at least suffciently closed that they
carry the electronic force in the appropriate situations with-
out having to form the connections by means of conscious
thinking at the time of the action.
That is a normal, natural procedure.
In cases of illogical thinking that prompt wrong action,
a somewhat different procedure is used, and it will be de-
scribed next.
Illogical thinking is previously defned as thinking that
does not succeed in getting a result that satisfes the emo-
tional desires of the person who does the thinking. Therefore,
a wrong result does not satisfy the emotional force that stimu-
lated the illogical thinking. Because that emotional force is
TccIuIqvc [o. óoIzIug 1.o!Icms 25
not satisfed, the emotion does not fully subside. Therefore,
the connections between brain cells formed to effectuate the
thinking do not unform. They remain for repeated use on
future occasions when the same emotion is restimulated.
They produce behavior as compulsive as the action of ex-
claiming and rising after a person has sat on a tack.
Consider the earlier example of the man who told himself
about his wife, “Someday if she makes me mad enough, I’ll
kill her!”
Those words represent a burst of illogical, wrong thinking
done in a fash of emotion. They cannot lead to action that
satisfes the emotion behind them unless their command is
executed. Therefore, the words of that command are trapped
in a closed mental circuit that cannot be reopened by any
ordinary process of thought.
The command to act waits for the day of specifc restimu-
lation.
The restimulation may never occur, but if his wife ever
happens to enrage him in the precise way necessary to cause
an upsurge of the same emotion, the husband will murder her
as surely as he will exclaim and suddenly rise after he has sat
on a tack.
II
B
ECAUSE EACH person has done a large amount of
emotional thinking, each person has many closed mental
circuits inviting trouble of various kinds. When the trouble
arises, he faces the problem of dealing with it. Basically there
is only one way to put a stop to recurring trouble.
He must reopen the closed mental circuits that send his
thinking compulsively through the illogical, wrong patterns
set up when the individual frst did the emotional thinking
inviting the trouble.
Anybody can reopen his closed mental switches, but he
20 Hou Io óoIzc 1.o!Icms ouJ 1.czcuI T.ov!Ic
has to know how.
Of course, he cannot reach into his brain with his hand
and physically open or close mental switches so that the re-
sults of his past emotional thinking are eliminated, but he
can throw the necessary switches in a physical sense just by
using a thinking process.
Nobody can think consciously without throwing mental
switches. He forms and unforms them all the time. His dif-
fculty in relation to his past emotional thinking is that he
doesn’t throw the proper switches because he doesn’t know
he should. And also because even if he did know he should,
the process of doing it, at frst, goes against his inclinations.
The reason is that the individual has strong urges to grat-
ify his unconscious thinking. He does not have an impulse to
change it. Until he gets that impulse, he is helpless.
A purpose of this book is to give him that impulse.
When he understands the precise nature of emotional
thinking and what it does to him, he gains an intent to do
something to rectify the situation in which he fnds himself.
That causes him to learn whatever he must learn to extricate
himself from the predicament he has not known he is in. As
he gains understanding, the impulses necessary to lead him
toward correction take form and actuate him.
III
T
HE PURPOSE of those impulses is to locate, identify
and release in succession all the closed mental circuits
that are causing illogical, wrong thinking and behavior to be
compulsively repeated.
Obviously, that is not how problems are ordinarily ap-
proached.
Because the person who has problems has not known
about his distortions of logic, he tends to blame his problems
on factors other than their true cause. Instead of changing
TccIuIqvc [o. óoIzIug 1.o!Icms 2¯
his own thinking, he usually tries to change the people and
conditions around him. Often that may seem to succeed, al-
though actually it never does.
Consider the explanation of why it fails.
Suppose a person has done emotional thinking that
leaves him with an assumption that he cannot get along with
his wife. Thereafter he is miserable in her presence. After
enough additional emotional thinking, he decides to leave
her. Separated from her, he may feel that he has solved his
problem, but actually he has only rearranged his life to let
him ignore the problem.
There are many other illustrations that could be cited.
Suppose a person forms command phrases telling him he
cannot eat certain foods. Seemingly he can solve his problem
by eliminating the foods named in those command phrases.
But actually his problem is not solved until he rids himself
of the command phrases that cause him to be unable to eat
those foods. As has been proved by many experiments, cor-
recting distortions enables a person to solve food problems
and permits use of rational eating habits.
The same corrections occur when this information is ap-
plied in other areas of life.
Suppose a person has command phrases telling him that
he is unable to do a certain kind of work. In that case he
may assume he has no problem if he successfully manages
to avoid such work. Suppose a person has command phrases
telling him he cannot take certain action that is really essen-
tial to his life. If that happens before he knows how to correct
distortions of logic, death could result—unless the problem of
counteracting his command phrases is somehow solved.
The usual problem-solving methods in common use sel-
dom do more than counteract a person’s command phrases.
There are innumerable ways of counteracting command
phrases available. One way is to use the power of contradict-
ing motives. For example, if someone has distortions telling
2B Hou Io óoIzc 1.o!Icms ouJ 1.czcuI T.ov!Ic
him to criticize his boss, he can use the power of motives to
keep his job as a means of holding himself in check. Prob-
ably those motives will work well enough that by restraining
himself he can keep his job, but only if he avoids too frequent
emotion strong enough to override his self-restraint. Whether
or not he succeeds depends on the strength of the motives to
keep his job in contrast with that of the motives to criticize
his boss.
A person’s tendency to use artifcial means of counteract-
ing the drives that result from past emotional thinking is eas-
ily illustrated in the feld of medicine.
Stresses of modern life often seem to be the cause of a
person’s inability to remain alert while at work. Therefore,
millions of persons prop themselves up with pep pills, coffee
and other more drastic stimulants. There is no doubt that the
stimulants do have some of the desired effect, but it is also
true that the stimulants can be eliminated with no sense of
loss if the distortions are corrected that translate the diffcul-
ties of life into unreasonable dullness and fatigue.
Those distortions might have the following command
phrases:
“Everything bothers me.” “I can’t stand this pace.” “No
matter what I do, I can’t wake up until noon.” “I need some-
thing to prop me up.” “I need my bottle to stay alive.” “I can’t
function without a fx.”
At frst glance it may appear that the foregoing phrases
are normal reactions to a life of stress, but that is not the
case. Each of those sentences is formed in a moment of real
or imagined stress, perhaps in childhood, and each then be-
comes an irrational rule of life. Analysis of the command
phrases quickly shows that none of them is logical.
For example, the statement “Everything bothers me”
is not true for the person who formulates it. There are cer-
tain things in his life that do not bother him: Sports, getting
dressed, eating a meal and so on. Putting that phrase into his
TccIuIqvc [o. óoIzIug 1.o!Icms 29
unconscious mental circuits gives him an unconscious obli-
gation to live in accord with it.
Therefore, he must react to everything as though he is
bothered.
He is in a really diffcult situation. He cannot solve his
problem by moving away from a source of irritation, because
everything will bother him wherever he goes. He may feel
inclined to seek pleasures with great determination because
suffciently keen pleasures, at least, tend to dull the edge of
his emotional discomfort.
Many persons avidly seek all sorts of pleasures and balms
for that reason. They do not solve their problems, because
they are always seeking something they never quite succeed
in fnding.
They cannot solve their problems until they learn to cor-
rect the distortions of logic that cause them.
Because people have lacked knowledge of how to do that,
they have done the best they could in a world flled with emo-
tional stress. Increasingly they have tended to rely on balms
and diversions of one sort or another. In recent years people
have used mood-altering drugs. No doubt the drugs do take
the edge off some of the unpleasant emotion, but drugs do not
cure anything caused by illogical conscious or unconscious
thinking. In fact, the drugs allow thinking to go further and
further off the track as more distortions are installed, because
the effects of conscious and unconscious wrong thinking are
made more bearable by a person’s drugged state.
When a problem is caused by wrong thinking, there is
only one way for a person to solve it.
He has to drop the illogical, wrong thinking.
He should not try to counteract it by resisting the urges
it generates or by taking contradictory action. Those proce-
dures cause the problem to become more and more serious
as time passes. Instead, he should take action that has the
effect of reopening the closed mental circuits that constitute
30 Hou Io óoIzc 1.o!Icms ouJ 1.czcuI T.ov!Ic
the physical embodiment of the past emotional, unrealistic,
illogical, wrong thinking.
IV
T
HERE IS no use trying to open those closed circuits di-
rectly, because the appropriate circuits cannot be located
directly.
A person has to take indirect action.
That explains why people are virtually unable to face
disagreeable truth about themselves. The disagreeable truth
tends to be concealed in their distortions of logic. No matter
how the individual tries to face such truth, he cannot suc-
ceed.
Asking him to try causes him additional frustration.
You may be able to see how another person is causing
himself some kind of trouble, but if he were able to see it
himself, he would not stay in the trouble. Asking him to look
at that reality or truth is like asking him to lift himself by his
bootstraps.
He cannot face the appropriate reality or truth until he
has frst destroyed the distortions of logic that conceal it,
because reality and truth are superseded by his command
phrases.
That is the nature of a person’s mental trap.
So long as a person retains a distortion, he is blind to truth
on the subject of that distortion. In effect, he would rather die
than face that truth. After the distortion is released, he need
not be asked, because he faces that truth without even trying.
V
A
PERSON cannot face concealed truth directly because
his distortions stand in the way. Therefore, he must
face that truth indirectly. His logical procedure is to face the
TccIuIqvc [o. óoIzIug 1.o!Icms 31
words of untruth that make up his distortions of logic and
release them.
When he does that, their infuence on his thinking is
gone.
A person is not dominated by a command phrase of which
he is aware and knows is illogical. Therefore, he should raise
the words of his illogical command phrases to the conscious
level where they can be recognized for what they are.
It is important that he fnd the exact concept.
Unless he does, his mind cannot be freed from the distor-
tion, because the words correctly duplicate the original think-
ing. In that situation, he sends the necessary electronic force
through the same mental circuit that had remained closed
ever since the original unrealistic thinking was done.
The words that describe the wrong concept are the key
to his release.
All that is necessary is to give those words brief conscious
attention without emotion of the sort that accompanied the
original illogical thinking.
If he gives attention to his command phrases with that
sort of emotion, he simply perpetuates the distortion.
What a person needs is a willingness to give up the con-
cept expressed in the words of the command phrase. Free-
dom from emotion enables him to accomplish that, and he
can achieve freedom from emotion in various ways.
One way is to remain calm while inspecting the words.
Another way may make more sense to a beginner. He
should inspect the words with a willingness to see how they
are illogical and wrong. Nobody retains a distortion after he
sees that it aims in a wrong direction toward action that will
frustrate him.
Often the beginner assumes that he should feel a sudden
emotional reaction or a sense of great illumination when a
distortion is corrected. At times, he may feel a sudden release
of tension, but usually the change is hardly noticeable.
32 Hou Io óoIzc 1.o!Icms ouJ 1.czcuI T.ov!Ic
He has to make enough corrections that they begin to
show in his daily life before he becomes convinced that some-
thing important is really happening to him.
Some persons get that result quickly. Because every dis-
tortion is installed in an instant, it is also corrected in an
instant if it is corrected at all. It is a person’s conscious recog-
nition of the command phrases of the distortion that works.
When he understands the process, he corrects distortions
as fast as he is able to think of command phrases, and he can
think of them in quick succession in relation to most prob-
lems he tries to solve.
The whole job is done by releasing his wrong thinking.
Until he acquires skill in using the technique, his distor-
tions seem to hide from him. He cannot approach them di-
rectly anymore than he can directly approach the truth they
conceal, so he approaches them indirectly.
That is why people did not learn sooner to straighten out
their illogical thinking accumulated from the past. The nec-
essary process is different from procedures usually taught be-
cause it necessitates thinking about something that tends to
elude their minds.
The needed technique is one that enables a person frst to
bring the elusive ideas into focus, and there are certain ways
to accomplish that.
VI
P
ERHAPS THE easiest form of the technique a person
can use is to collect on paper a selection of strong ideas.
He can select any subject at random on which he has
strong feelings and put those ideas on a sheet of paper as fast
as they come to mind. Each sentence should express the idea
exactly—just as he has often expressed his feelings to himself
or others over the years.
Perhaps he may select the name of some person he dis-
TccIuIqvc [o. óoIzIug 1.o!Icms 33
likes. If so, he should write the name of that person at the top
of his paper, and then list exactly what he has thought about
that person in the past.
He should not edit the list nor make it seem polite.
He should write down exactly all the uncomplimentary,
critical remarks he has made to himself and others about the
person involved.
The following sentences are typical:
“He’s the most dishonest person I’ve ever met.” “I couldn’t
trust him with anything.” “He’s always trying to get me into
trouble.” “If I had my choice, I’d never speak to him again.”
“The sight of him makes me sick at my stomach.” “He gives
me a pain in the neck.”
Those sentences may seem extreme at frst glance, but
they are just typical of the thinking everybody does at vari-
ous times in his life. There are some people who do it virtu-
ally all the time.
It is illogical and wrong for a person to form those judg-
ments, because they stick in his mind and infuence his at-
titudes. If he thinks about those sentences in relation to any
person he knows and happens to dislike and analyzes the
sentences carefully in complete honesty, he will see that they
make little real sense.
Any brain infested with such sentences in relation to oth-
er persons is a brain in chains.
Those judgments impair a person’s effective intelligence
and make him compulsively antisocial toward anybody he
dislikes.
For example, books on getting along with people usually
advise people to see the best in others. But anyone who has
installed the foregoing distortions in relation to other persons
is sure to see them through those distortions, and he certainly
could not see the best in them.
He would be mentally blinded to their virtues, and that
mental blindness would remain until the distortions were
34 Hou Io óoIzc 1.o!Icms ouJ 1.czcuI T.ov!Ic
corrected. No change is needed in the other person to correct
the distortions. The change is needed in the person who has
them.
After he corrects the distortions, he can see virtues.
More important, his mind is no longer trapped by the unre-
alistic thinking that magnifed every fault and manufactured
faults where no faults existed. In short, his thinking becomes
rational and free fowing.
The way a person gets corrections is to inspect his distor-
tions.
After he accumulates perhaps two dozen samples of
strong thinking about the person he dislikes, he should pause
to consider them. He should seek faws in the logic they ex-
press. When he fnds illogic in a sentence, he has released its
power to dominate his thinking thereafter.
He may think some sentences seem logical even under
close inspection.
For example, a person may be willing to admit that it
is illogical to think “He is lower than a worm,” but perhaps
refuse to budge on “He makes me sick.” In that case he just
has to go on getting sick periodically until he is willing to let
go of that thought.
If he has to associate closely with the person about whom
he has that distortion, he may have some chronic illness as a
result of his determination to retain the illogical thought.
That may not become serious if he continues using the
technique for correcting distortions.
After a person goes far enough that he really understands
what a distortion is and how it afficts him, he is glad enough
to release every distortion no matter how warmly he has
cherished it in the past. Therefore, he should continue work-
ing on his list, crossing off the items he sees are illogical.
After the frst inspection of the list, he should extend it and
add more items. At frst, he can draw on his memory, and af-
ter he exhausts his memory, he can draw on his imagination.
TccIuIqvc [o. óoIzIug 1.o!Icms 35
There is solid reason why that is effective.
Many of a person’s most serious distortions were installed
long ago. He cannot consciously remember ever having
thought them or having put them into spoken words. There-
fore, they are beyond his conscious recall.
The phrases he remembers thinking are easy to capture.
But the phrases that have dropped out of conscious recall are
also possible to capture by the process of drawing on imagi-
nation.
If a person considers the matter, he can see why.
A person’s imagination tends to follow paths already es-
tablished. If he has ever thought a command phrase, he can
think of it again. Actually he can think of it more easily than
he could think of a new phrase. Therefore, when he draws
on imagination to extend his list, he tends to include all the
pertinent phrases that would otherwise be out of reach.
Presently he starts recognizing some of those phrases.
By using imagination to extend his memory, he gradually
enables himself to stretch his memory. Whether or not he
consciously recognizes all the command phrases is not im-
portant. What is important is to get all the pertinent phrases
into the list and see how they are illogical and cause compul-
sive behavior.
Some of them will have a strong grip on his emotions.
When he has that diffculty, a variation in the technique
is suggested to help him get started.
Under that variation, in addition to looking at each phrase
to see how it is somehow illogical and unrealistic, he should
notice his emotional reactions. If he still feels strongly about
a sentence, he should keep it in the list; then go over the list
daily to add a few items. In review, he should also look for
former items that no longer arouse his emotions. Those are
the items to cross out.
As long as a command phrase arouses a person’s emo-
tions, it can be assumed that he is not yet released from .its
30 Hou Io óoIzc 1.o!Icms ouJ 1.czcuI T.ov!Ic
power to control him.
If the process of giving daily attention to his list is contin-
ued, he presently discovers that he has no items left to add or
cross off. He also discovers that he no longer harbors those
former ill feelings.
If he applies the same treatment to his thinking in relation
to every person he dislikes, he presently fnds he is unable to
think of anybody he dislikes. He will not have changed anyone
except himself, but the others will all seem different to him.
As a person realizes the signifcance of the changes he
has made in himself, he also begins to realize the signifcant
results that can be accomplished by using the same proce-
dure wherever it applies.
Instead of limiting the procedure to dealing with animos-
ities, he applies it to other problems also. Perhaps a variety of
situations he dislikes. To his surprise, he may discover that in
a short time he can change his thinking about many of those
situations, too.
VII
T
HE USUAL approach to a disagreeable situation is very
different from the procedure just described. In the case
of animosity, for example, the usual approach is either to re-
taliate or else to avoid the person disliked.
A person using either of those approaches never really
solves the problem of his animosity.
When a problem is caused by illogical, wrong thinking
trapped in closed mental circuits, the only way to solve the
problem is to reopen those closed mental circuits.
The procedures that have been described have that effect
as they throw the precise mental switches that need to be
thrown.
There are other variations of the technique that may seem
more direct.
TccIuIqvc [o. óoIzIug 1.o!Icms 3¯
VIII
N
O VARIATION of the technique is really direct. The
reason is that by direct approach to a distortion, the indi-
vidual guarantees that he will merely act on it instead of cor-
recting it. The indirect approach enables him to inspect it.
As soon as he inspects it honestly, he drops it.
No distortion of logic can stand honest inspection by its
victim, and he remains its victim only so long as he fails to
inspect it with the intent to do the right thing.
When a person starts listing his strong ideas on paper,
his direct effort is not so much to inspect those ideas as to
express them. In that situation he is acting in accord with his
distortions in a harmless way, with the result that he puts his
distortions where he can see them.
If he applies the procedure correctly, he has a tendency to
feel that he is not listing distortions but is instead listing ideas
that he feels are justifed. In fact, the more logical he thinks
a strong idea will appear under analysis, the more reason he
should include it. He later will discover that many ideas he
had long considered logical cannot stand the light of rigorous
analysis.
By the procedure of writing strong ideas, the indirect ap-
proach is effectively illustrated.
After a person really understands distortions and the pro-
cess of approaching them indirectly, he clearly sees how they
have led him into problems. He sees why he has diffculty
counteracting those problems and why he could never really
solve them. He sees how to use the indirect approach in vari-
ous ways.
Always the indirect element should be preserved.
No matter how much a person knows about distortions of
logic, he cannot look at a distortion directly until after he has
released it. That information also applies to distortions that
he accumulates in a written list.
3B Hou Io óoIzc 1.o!Icms ouJ 1.czcuI T.ov!Ic
At frst each command phrase seems like a realistic
thought instead of an unrealistic, wrong thought. The indi-
vidual believes that he is writing truth rather than untruth.
But hidden under each distortion is the truth that it conceals,
and that truth does not become visible until the distortion is
released.
When does the release occur?
It occurs at the precise instant when the illogic of the com-
mand phrase is detected. Thereafter, it no longer deludes.
Because every distortion deludes the individual, the pro-
cess of locating distortions can be diffcult. At frst he does
not know where to look, because he has no consciousness of
having distortions. At frst, he may not be able to fnd any.
It is important for him to learn how and where to look.
If he is fortunate enough to know some person who un-
derstands distortions and how they work, he can be given
help provided he is willing to accept it. In the beginning that
sort of help is hard to accept until the individual has so much
competence in correcting distortions that his need for help is
greatly reduced.
Consider how such help works.
Suppose a person sees someone who has distortions on
the subject of overeating. That is easy. There are many such
people and they are identifable by their size.
If he observes their behavior, he can see their distortions
getting used. He can infer the distortions from their behavior
and hear them being expressed in ordinary conversation.
People constantly voice their distortions.
By watching people’s behavior, a person can accumulate
a list of command phrases for persons he knows. By listen-
ing to what they say, he can extend the list, especially by
listening to what they say with strong emotion. When anyone
expresses himself with strong emotion, he is almost always
voicing one or more of his command phrases.
After a person learns enough about somebody else’s dis-
TccIuIqvc [o. óoIzIug 1.o!Icms 39
tortions, he may be able to tell why he suffers from the prob-
lem of overweight.
Here are typical phrases causing overweight:
“I have to be eating all the time.” “When I’m not eating, I
just worry.” “If I can’t eat what I want, life isn’t worth living.”
“I have to eat or I’d starve to death.” “I care more about my
appetite than my weight.” “Nothing can stop me from eat-
ing!” “I’d hate to be skinny.” “The smell of food makes me
hungry.”
The person who has those phrases may try hard to reduce
but fnds he is blocked. If he restrains his appetite by great
effort over a period, as soon as he relaxes the effort, he tends
to regain the weight he lost.
The person who understands about distortions of logic
knows why, but he cannot easily tell someone who does not.
If that person understood distortions, he would know
what to do about his overweight. If he doesn’t understand
distortions, he tends to resist being told.
Although he tries to counteract the promptings of his
various command phrases, he resists having them pointed
out to him. If his attention is called to one of them, he tends
to become indignant or defensive.
He may deny the command phrase. Denying it merely
holds it intact, but that is not the only way of holding it intact.
He can do it with a reaction exactly opposite to denying it.
He may agree with the command phrase.
If he is told, “You have to be eating all the time,” he may
say, “Yes, I do. That’s just my trouble!” In that instance he
destroys his chance to get released from the wrong thought.
Neither of those two reactions is a logical response.
His logical response is to recognize that his thinking is
incorrect, that a command phrase should always be dropped
and that if he denies or agrees with it, he is supporting his
compulsion to overeat.
Obviously he cannot give that response unless he under-
40 Hou Io óoIzc 1.o!Icms ouJ 1.czcuI T.ov!Ic
stands distortions of logic.
People who do understand are able to provide enormous
help to one another as they work their way out of hidden
mental traps. But at the outset, a person may have to work
alone.
Therefore, what has been said about detection of distor-
tions in another person has been said mainly for illustration.
When a person attempts to detect a distortion in someone
else, he benefts by the fact that he can easily be indirect in
his approach. He also benefts by the fact that he can learn
to recognize his own distortions even if he approaches them
directly, provided he does not have identical distortions. In
that case he cannot recognize them in another person.
Why is that? Because every expression of that distortion
seems logical to him. He is blocked from recognizing its il-
logic as effectively as in the case of directly seeking distor-
tions in himself.
His observation of distortions in other people’s conversa-
tion and behavior offers great value in his efforts to release his
own intelligence. By observing others he can learn valuable
lessons about how to detect similar distortions in himself.
For example, he can learn how a person looks and sounds
when he is acting under the promptings of his command
phrases. Those observations enable him to notice the words
of the person’s command phrases by analyzing his actions. He
can decide how a person’s tone of voice is infuenced when he
is putting one of his command phrases into specifc words.
Then he can apply all that sort of information to himself.
Gradually he learns to recognize the emotional symp-
toms that tell him when he is in danger because he is think-
ing through distortions. He can think back at once to what
he was saying or doing and try to remember his thinking at
the time.
From his behavior he can infer the wording of command
phrases. His ordinary conversation is also revealing. Often
TccIuIqvc [o. óoIzIug 1.o!Icms 41
he will be able to isolate command phrases just by remem-
bering what he said, especially with strong feeling. His think-
ing is even more revealing.
When under emotion, a person thinks in terms of com-
mand phrases—those he already has on the unconscious level
and those he newly forms.
Everything he thinks, says and does expresses command
phrases while actuated by emotion. The diffculty is that he
seldom supposes he is so actuated. Therefore, learning to no-
tice it in others is important.
Whatever he learns in relation to them, he can apply to
himself.
IX
S
UPPOSE A person has learned that talking under emo-
tional strain is an indication that he is expressing distort-
ed thinking. Suppose he has identifed emotional strain by
observing it in others. If so, next time he detects such emo-
tional strain in himself he can take time out to analyze what
he was just saying.
Under careful analysis, he will detect faws in it by recog-
nizing command phrases.
Every time he does, he corrects distortions. More impor-
tant, he trains himself to be alert to what he says. Presently
he discovers that sometimes he is able to detect and release a
distortion before he puts his command phrases into words.
That procedure saves him from the consequences of that
particular expression of irrational conversation.
Suppose you have learned from the foregoing informa-
tion that when people around you get into trouble, it is be-
cause they have taken illogical action. If so, you can put that
information to good use in relation to yourself.
When you get into trouble of any kind, you can think
about the distortions that led you into the trouble. Instead of
42 Hou Io óoIzc 1.o!Icms ouJ 1.czcuI T.ov!Ic
blaming factors outside yourself and trying to change them,
you are able to put attention on the real cause of the trouble:
command phrases of distortions of logic.
Suppose you have learned how to translate someone
else’s conversation and behavior into the command phrases
that caused it. If so, you can similarly analyze your own con-
versation and behavior.
You can think back to various situations in which you en-
countered results that were wrong and unwanted. Remember
what you said and did. Look for command phrases you may
have expressed in your conversation and behavior. Use the
same indications that you have learned to detect by studying
the conversation and behavior of others.
In doing so, you apply the indirect approach to yourself.
X
T
HERE IS a way of using the indirect approach that gives
it almost the effect of a direct approach, and many per-
sons are using it. While it requires skill and the confdence of
experience to make it really effective, it is a quick method.
It is known as the command phrase technique.
Every distortion of logic can be described in command
phrases that cause an unending series of problems. Those
problems can be counteracted, but they cannot be solved ex-
cept by correcting the thinking that causes them.
Therefore, a person should begin with the recognition of
a problem.
Any problem will serve, although he is wise to begin with
some problem he has reason to suspect was caused by his
own wrong thinking. If he is honest about it, he can identify
several such problems with little effort.
Perhaps he has diffculty going to sleep when he should.
Selection of the problem provides his lead and gets him
started. He may select the problem at a time when he is suf-
TccIuIqvc [o. óoIzIug 1.o!Icms 43
fering from it. Therefore, if he goes after command phrases
that keep him from falling asleep, probably he is lying in bed
at the time keenly aware of the problem.
In that situation nothing is lost and something is to be
gained by applying the technique. He may as well give his
insomnia proper attention and get rid of it.
Giving the problem proper attention is certainly more in-
teresting than counting sheep.
He should ask inside his mind what command phrases
could have the effect of keeping him awake. He may remem-
ber various statements he has made on the subject of his
sleeplessness. He can use his imagination to get more phras-
es. Presently command phrases come to his mind almost ef-
fortlessly.
Some of them he may mistakenly consider too logical to
be command phrases.
For example, if the command phrase is “I just can’t sleep
no matter how I try,” he can easily delude himself into imagin-
ing that the phrase merely describes a condition that exists.
In the frst place, he has to recognize that his troublesome
sleep pattern is a solvable problem.
The fact is that the foregoing quotation involves a sentence
that was not logical at the time it was originally thought. It
was probably formed in exasperation, and it was incorrect.
Many times afterward, that person did sleep. That fact alone
proves that he was wrong when he said, “I just can’t sleep no
matter how I try.”
The sentence was not logical then, and it is still not logi-
cal. Even if he repeats it to himself many times in the exas-
peration of sleeplessness, it will still not be rational. After he
gets tired enough, he will fall asleep. Therefore, he should not
delude himself by that statement any longer. By detecting its
illogic, he releases its hold on his mind.
That correction lets him cancel one reason for staying
awake.
44 Hou Io óoIzc 1.o!Icms ouJ 1.czcuI T.ov!Ic
He can apply the same procedure to one command phrase
after another so long as he remains awake. The phrases most
likely to come to his mind are the ones that are keeping him
awake. He can give each just enough attention to recognize it
as a command phrase, and presently he will fall asleep.
He may reach a permanent solution for his problem of
sleeplessness in his frst effort, but if not, no matter. When-
ever he fnds himself unable to fall asleep, he can try again,
and by that procedure he will eventually get rid of all the
responsible phrases. He shouldn’t be surprised if there are
dozens of them, because he has spent a lot of hours forming
them while he courted sleep perhaps for many years. All that
mental rubbish must be disposed of before the problem is
completely solved.
His sleep problem can be solved in just a small part of the
time he formerly spent wrestling with it.
So it is with every other kind of problem. If a problem is
serious enough to demand attention, it is serious enough to
solve rather than to go on trying to counteract it. He can just
use the time and attention he already gives the problem to
get rid of it.
Doing that with one problem after another gets startling
results. Perhaps a person won’t see those results in the frst day
or week, but some persons report desired changes at once.
To get started, a person should make a list of problems to
work on.
At frst he may overlook many of his serious problems,
but no matter. In due course they will come to his attention.
A person’s problems should be approached in the order in
which they come to his attention so that they can be dealt
with as a matter of course while he goes about his daily af-
fairs.
In the process he is often astonished by the degree of con-
trol over his life and bodily functions that is attributable to
distortions.
TccIuIqvc [o. óoIzIug 1.o!Icms 45
The following is a list of the problems others have elimi-
nated:
Boredom, restlessness, impatience, quick temper, shy-
ness, self-consciousness, talking without thinking, elimina-
tion of bad habits, inability to concentrate, tendency always
to be in a hurry, emotional tension, inclination to worry, feel-
ings you must make every decision and cannot ever depend
on the decisions of others, sour relationships, physical ills and
accidents.
There is no problem likely to be mentioned that does
not belong in the list in one form or another, but a beginner
should not arouse initial skepticism by selecting problems he
considers impossible to solve. There are several problems in
that list a person could expect to do something about.
As he makes progress, he will get many interesting sur-
prises.
He will detect problems where he thought no problems
existed. He will discover that human beings do an enormous
amount of needless suffering of many different kinds. As a
result of that discovery, he will also change the course of his
life.
The average person advances from one frustration to an-
other and tends to consider it normal. He has to get up when
he would rather stay in bed. He has to go to bed when he
would rather stay up. He tries to get solace from balms that
fail to satisfy. He does all sorts of things because he has to,
and he refrains from all sorts of things because he must. That
makes his life diffcult.
Every frustration he encounters, he should realize, points
to an example of illogic.
He can pause to think and ask himself what sort of il-
logical thinking invited the frustration. He can pick up com-
mand phrases and get as many as he easily can. If the needed
changes elude him, he should repeat the procedure and con-
tinue until the desired change occurs.
40 Hou Io óoIzc 1.o!Icms ouJ 1.czcuI T.ov!Ic
As he progresses, he fnds that his life simplifes.
Gradually he discovers that life is not so complicated as
people are fond of saying. It is the mechanisms of life that are
complicated, and the purpose of those complicated mecha-
nisms is to enable people to simplify their lives. Unfortunately
people devise their own complexities, but with understand-
ing, they can be eliminated.
By using the command phrase technique, a person sees
remarkable improvements in his mental, emotional and
physical health.
Those improvements are happening to the persons who
are engaged in a research project for that purpose.
They know that every phrase of illogical thinking places
an added strain on the person who harbors it and that each
phrase causes illogical behavior and hence frustration. Those
results also increase his tension, because many phrases de-
mand action that interferes with a rational way of life. In
addition, many phrases directly invite poor health by their
wording.
Consider the following command phrases:
“My father died of a heart attack, and so will I.” “When-
ever a bug starts going around, I’m always one of the frst to
catch it.” “I just know I’ll die from some virus.” “It’s normal
for me to be sick every few months.” “I’m sick of my job.”
Maybe you can’t believe that such thinking can actually
cause sickness. If not, just use what you can accept from what
you are reading. Remember that nobody gets into trouble by
trying to correct distortions of logic when some sickness or
other trouble impends.
By applying the technique to sickness, you may become
one of those persons who has already produced a seemingly
spontaneous recovery of what is thought to be an incurable
disease.
47
Chapter 3
1o.mvIo [o. 1.czcuIIug T.ov!Ic
S
ICKNESS IS obviously a sign that something has already
gone wrong, and once sickness has come into being, it
constitutes a problem to be solved. That is the old business
of locking the barn door after the horse has been stolen. This
book explains why people are not intelligent to let themselves
become sick.
With the information already provided, people are intel-
ligent to prevent sickness.
Of course, a person who is sick usually does not think that
he had anything to do with causing the sickness. It could be
expected that if he had known how he was causing the sick-
ness, he would not have caused it. Very few people want to
be sick, and after getting sick, the lack of information keeps
them from knowing how they could have caused it.
All that changes when a person understands about distor-
tions of logic.
By correcting distortions he can make changes in his
thinking that eliminate the causes of many of his sicknesses.
If he is sick as a result of something he did or failed to do,
correcting distortions enables him to change what he does or
doesn’t do.
If he refuses to admit his responsibility, he is in a position
of standing in his own light. So long as he obscures from him-
self the cause of his sickness, he cannot do anything to get rid
of the cause. In that event he must depend on what might be
done medically to counteract the cause.
4B Hou Io óoIzc 1.o!Icms ouJ 1.czcuI T.ov!Ic
The same is true of every other kind of trouble that is
caused by the person who has the trouble. So long as he fails
or refuses to consider the possibility that he caused the trou-
ble himself, he must go on suffering from the trouble unless
he can successfully counteract it in some way.
The feeling that trouble can properly be counteracted
is responsible for a large amount of trouble that could be
prevented, and the feeling that trouble is not preventable in
many areas of life supports the proliferation of present-day
adversity.
A person who knows that his life on the fast track is bad
for his health may try to close his eyes to the connections
between his sicknesses and his way of life. He may keep him-
self fortifed with uppers and downers and antacids. He may
believe that if he is smart, he can ward off the evil effects of
his particular lifestyle.
If he used the same ingenuity correcting distortions, he
would soon become rational about his way of life.
He would not have to deprive himself of it as he may if
he continues and is told by his doctor that he must desist to
survive. By correcting his distortions, he creates a situation
in which his lifestyle strikes him as being illogical and wrong.
Then he changes it.
There is another way in which the feeling that trouble
can be counteracted contributes to continued trouble, and it
is fundamental.
When a person is tempted to take illogical, wrong action,
he always expects to gain something. Instinctively he tends
to balance what he thinks he will gain against what he thinks
he might lose. When he feels he can successfully counteract
the losses, he assumes he is free to proceed.
By acting on that assumption, he makes a serious mis-
take.
One diffculty is that he cannot fully comprehend the
losses. He detects only those that are obvious, and he fails to
1o.mvIo [o. 1.czcuIIug T.ov!Ic 49
allow for the hidden losses that will presently result from that
wrong thinking.
He has his mind on gratifying the urges based on his mo-
tives.
The process is illustrated by applying the foregoing rea-
soning to the way by which a person becomes a compulsive
drinker.
Presumably such a person has heard about the dangers of
excessive drinking, but he assumes he will be able to avoid
them. He has his mind on the feeling of warm comfort that
pervades his system when his blood has absorbed enough
alcohol. He has his mind on his desired relief from tensions
and on the feeling of buoyancy that he expects will repay him
for drinking.
Those reasons seem logical to him.
If he could really get what he wants from drinking alco-
hol without the risk of paying too much for what he gets, com-
pulsive drinking might not be considered too high a price
to pay, but he doesn’t think that out. He has his mind on his
wants and how he can counteract the penalties he must pay
for acting on those wants.
He may count the cost in money and decide he is willing
to pay it. He may refuse to look beyond the cost of the next
drink and thus refuse to consider the cost of a whole evening
of drinks. He is not likely to consider the possibility that his
earnings will be jeopardized if he shows up drunk on the
job.
After he fnishes counting the cost he is willing to pay, he
tends to ignore the remainder.
He could consider the possibility that his drinking may
destroy his employer’s confdence in him, as is the case with
many compulsive drinkers. So he may try to counteract that
danger, not by moderating his drinking but by taking pains
to hide it from his employer.
And so it goes.
50 Hou Io óoIzc 1.o!Icms ouJ 1.czcuI T.ov!Ic
The one thing that ordinarily is not done by a person en-
gaged in the process of becoming a compulsive drinker is to
face the facts of his growing compulsion. He hides those facts
from himself by installing distortions as he goes along. Un-
der that circumstance, he loses his ability to face his wrong
thinking except by the indirect methods that are described
in this book.
That is the real penalty of an assumption that trouble can
be counteracted. It is a hidden penalty that everybody pays
as a result of the emotional thinking by which he installs his
distortions of logic.
From the foregoing it is clear that distortions are not al-
ways installed in a burst of obvious emotion. They may be
installed in a burst of subtle emotion that may or may not
contain anger. It may be a burst of lust or greed or pride or of
any emotion that has the effect of stimulating illogical think-
ing and wrong action while reducing intelligence.
There are many such emotions that are not normally de-
tected.
Everybody has experienced many emotions that have
led him to install distortions. Because of those distortions,
he naturally thinks that whatever kind of trouble he gets into
is not his fault, but everybody needs to discover the error of
that thought.
II
P
ERHAPS FEW persons are able, at this point, to accept
the possibility that they cause all their own trouble. But
every reader can recognize that many persons have trouble
of their own causing that they blame on factors outside them-
selves.
That observation suggests a plan of action.
When some trouble arises, a person should pause and re-
fect. He should remember what has been said in these pages
1o.mvIo [o. 1.czcuIIug T.ov!Ic 51
and consider the possibility that somehow the trouble result-
ed from illogical action on his part.
He should seek command phrases that could cause the
trouble, and continue until he has found enough command
phrases to give him some justifcation for assuming that he
may have made the necessary corrections. Then he can see
what develops.
He may discover that his thinking and behavior change
enough to enable him to see that he did cause the trouble
himself. At the same time, he probably would be in the posi-
tion also of having stopped the trouble. After he has done
that often enough, he may be willing to make revisions in the
amount of trouble he feels he has caused himself.
Nobody has to force himself on that point.
Perhaps you will feel afraid to rely fully on the correction
of distortions to protect you from trouble. If so, don’t rely on
it fully, but use any other measures you consider appropriate.
Consider an example in relation to health.
Suppose you have pernicious anemia. If so, perhaps you
have been taking daily injections of liver extract for years to
keep yourself alive. Continue whatever treatment your doc-
tor recommends, but also correct distortions.
If your physical condition is caused by distortions, cor-
recting them would change it. When that happens, let your
doctor decide what to do about it.
You may at frst suppose that the foregoing illustration
is rather farfetched, but it has been included for a specifc
reason. The reason is not that many seemingly farfetched
changes have resulted from correcting distortions, although
they have, it is that anybody can use the technique of correct-
ing distortions without abandoning any other procedure in
which he has confdence.
His experience presently tells him what he can accom-
plish by use of the command phrase technique. Often a per-
son fails to accomplish something benefcial because he fails
52 Hou Io óoIzc 1.o!Icms ouJ 1.czcuI T.ov!Ic
to try. He should know that if the result is important, so will
be the loss.
III
A
FTER A person has corrected enough distortions so
that he has gained real facility in bringing up command
phrases, he learns that many kinds of trouble are his fault that
he never suspected he caused.
Some of those troubles may not be entirely his fault.
In many situations he may be aware that someone else is
responsible for part of a trouble as is likely to be true in cases
of confict, but he realizes that his part of the trouble is his
fault.
From that observation, he learns about a principle of be-
havior.
The principle is that each person’s part of every trouble is
his own fault. Accepting it is easy for the persons who already
know it, but for various reasons, accepting it is diffcult for
other persons.
The reader is not asked to accept it until he understands
it.
All he is asked to do is to realize the obvious truth that
people often fail to recognize when trouble is their own fault
and to consider the possibility that some specifc trouble is of
his own making, even though at frst it does not seem so.
There is real beneft in taking that attitude.
One beneft is that the foregoing attitude enables a person
to stop trouble he would not be able to stop unless he does
take that attitude. Therefore, failure to take that attitude lim-
its what he can do for himself by correcting distortions.
Whenever distortions are corrected, many changes occur.
Thinking, conversation and conduct on the subjects of the
distortions change at once in accord with the corrections.
Those changes may or may not be evident to the individual.
1o.mvIo [o. 1.czcuIIug T.ov!Ic 53
Since he has no consciousness of being illogical when he
makes a change from illogical to logical thinking, he does not
suddenly become conscious of being logical. He may have
to look closely to detect the difference, but if he has suffered
some serious problem solved by the corrections, he may see
a very dramatic change.
Consider a few examples of such changes.
When a person who has corrected distortions on the ap-
propriate subjects suddenly loses his craving for tobacco or
alcohol or suddenly stops his long-standing habit of overeat-
ing and starts taking off the excess weight he could not previ-
ously lose, he is reasonable to suppose that he has success-
fully made those corrections.
The same is true in relation to many other problems.
Success in making corrections is to be judged by the
changes that result. Not all those changes can be noticed, but
that hardly matters. No harm can be done by exposing illogi-
cal thinking. After the wrong thinking has been exposed, the
changes occur even if they are not sought or noticed.
A person could hardly miss such changes as cessation of
smoking or drinking or overeating, but many changes he will
know nothing about.
A command phrase he happens to locate in relation to
overeating may also have infuence in various other depart-
ments of his life. Suppose that the phrase is “I have to do ev-
erything I want to do.” In that case the command phrase may
contribute to compulsive smoking and drinking and also to
cheating at cards or yelling at the children.
No effort need be made to analyze the results of any par-
ticular correction. Results are not gained by analyses but by
exposing the appropriate command phrases and detecting
their illogic.
Once a command phrase has been detected and its infu-
ence destroyed, a person should give it no more attention than
he would give yesterday’s garbage; he would just throw it out.
54 Hou Io óoIzc 1.o!Icms ouJ 1.czcuI T.ov!Ic
In case you are interested in stopping some particular
kind of trouble, you are sensible to notice whether the trouble
disappears or not. If it does, you have accomplished your
purpose. If it doesn’t, keep on trying. Persist at reasonable
intervals until you succeed.
In some cases you may have to use technique over a pe-
riod of time.
Apparently there is a natural sequence in which distor-
tions are corrected. If a person tries to violate that sequence
too seriously, he may not get the desired result until a later
time.
When he succeeds in correcting a distortion, no mat-
ter what result he gets, two kinds of changes occur. First, he
solves the problem that was caused by the distortion, provid-
ed the problem has not already caused irrevocable damage.
Second, he prevents the problem from recurring.
The process for doing it is extremely simple. It is analo-
gous to what happens when an individual makes some en-
tirely objective change in a situation that has been causing
trouble.
Suppose you have a loose carpet in a hallway outside
your living room. If so, unwary visitors might trip. Suppose
you decide that before you entertain some evening, you will
remove the carpet and not replace it. If so, you solve the prob-
lem of whether any of your guests will trip over that carpet.
You can thus solve it for all time.
IV
T
HE LOGICAL way to solve a problem caused by illogical
thinking is to correct the distortions of logic responsible
for the illogical thinking, and that is also the logical way to
prevent trouble.
Much of everybody’s persistent trouble could thus be pre-
vented.
1o.mvIo [o. 1.czcuIIug T.ov!Ic 55
As long as distortions persist, they continue causing what-
ever trouble their command phrases suggest. A person who
knows nothing about distortions of logic is helpless to take
basic preventive action.
But not a person who has that knowledge.
Ordinarily he does not correct distortions as a means of
preventing trouble. He corrects them as a means of solving
problems, but he has ways of using his knowledge of distor-
tions also to prevent trouble in ways that are surprisingly ef-
fective.
V
T
HERE ARE two general ways a person uses knowledge of
distortions to prevent trouble. The frst way is that he no-
tices when other persons are illogical because they are think-
ing through their distortions. The second way is to become
sensitive enough that he can make the same observation in
himself and thus avoid illogical conversation or behavior.
Those two ways will be dealt with in sequence.
Starting with illogical behavior in other persons serves the
purpose best, because illogical behavior is easier to observe
in others than in the person who is doing the observing.
People are not very skilled at catching their own exam-
ples of illogic. On the other hand, they are likely to be ex-
tremely sensitive to examples in other persons, particularly
when their own interests are somehow involved in a way that
might prove costly.
Initially the ability to detect illogical behavior is some-
what unreliable.
Nearly everybody supposes he can easily see illogical be-
havior in others, but what he does not realize, at frst, is that
he views the behavior of others through his own distortions.
Sometimes the illogic he observes in others is as much his
own illogic as anybody’s. Sometimes it is more.
50 Hou Io óoIzc 1.o!Icms ouJ 1.czcuI T.ov!Ic
The following example makes the point:
Suppose a person hears someone arguing heatedly over
the faults of some special brand of cigarettes and considers
those arguments to be illogical because he personally enjoys
the brand being criticized. Then suppose he later destroys
the distortions that cause him to smoke. In that case he would
consider illogical various of the arguments he once used to
justify his enjoyment of the brand criticized.
To that example can be hitched a basic statement regard-
ing how the knowledge of distortions can be used to prevent
trouble.
When you hear someone arguing heatedly about any-
thing, you can be sure he is thinking through distortions.
Only illogical thinking could explain his loss of emotional
composure. In addition, only illogical, wrong thinking is
done by a person who has lost his emotional composure.
Therefore, there are two reasons for being wary of him.
The advantage of a display of emotion is that it calls atten-
tion to the illogic of the person who is emotional. But people
have acquired the ability to conceal their emotions, and that
is a deceptive state of affairs.
The person who appears outwardly calm may be a seeth-
ing inferno of emotions inside. He may control their outward
display, but only because he has distortions demanding that
he control them.
Then there is the person who is unreasonable.
The person who is unreasonable is not necessarily a per-
son who is stupid and unintelligent. He is a person who has
distortions that in one way or another cause him to be un-
reasonable. So long as he continues thinking through those
distortions, he remains unreasonable.
Here are typical command phrases that may be involved:
“I’ll never give in, no matter who opposes me.” “Nobody
can make me take a back seat in a discussion.” “I’ll get my
way if it’s the last thing I do.” “When I make up my mind, I
1o.mvIo [o. 1.czcuIIug T.ov!Ic 5¯
won’t change it.” “I’ll never admit a mistake.”
When a person is actuated by those distortions, arguing
with him is pointless. Unless you can correct the distortions,
you are wise to await more favorable conditions.
How will you know when they exist?
When he becomes reasonable in ways he was formerly
unreasonable, and that can easily happen because many dis-
tortions get used only part of the time.
Consider the command phrase “I’ll never give in, no
matter who opposes me.” Obviously that phrase will have
greatest effect when someone is opposing him, especially if
the person seems important. On the other hand, consider the
phrase “Nobody can make me take a back seat in a discus-
sion.” That phrase relates only to a discussion. If someone
could get his thinking across in a way other than a discussion,
the distortion would not get restimulated.
The more you know about a person’s distortions, the more
easily you can deal with him.
Most people have already learned by experience that
each person has his own special peculiarities. For example,
many a wife has learned that she is unwise to expect her hus-
band to be happy and conversational at the breakfast table.
So she just moves over and makes room for his peculiarities,
or else she gives him strong enough incentive to go against
his inclinations and act the way he doesn’t feel.
If she understands distortions, she knows exactly what
she is dealing with and can allow for it sensibly. With enough
understanding and cooperation from her husband, she can
get his help in correcting the distortions.
Afterward he can behave rationally at breakfast.
That illustrates what can be done to avoid trouble with
other persons by understanding how distortions control be-
havior, but a great deal more is accomplished by correcting
illogical conversation and behavior in yourself.
Consider the wife of the husband just discussed. She may
5B Hou Io óoIzc 1.o!Icms ouJ 1.czcuI T.ov!Ic
easily blame her husband for his antisocial tendencies at
breakfast because she doesn’t understand them. As a result
she may have contradictory trouble of her own.
Suppose she has distortions installed in early life while
she sat at breakfast and listened to arguments between her
parents over whether breakfast was a place to read the paper
or a place to discuss the coming events of the day.
A child can easily become emotional over parental con-
ficts.
Perhaps in a moment of emotional thinking, she formed
the thought “If I ever have a husband who tries to ignore me
at breakfast, I’ll make his life so miserable he’ll wish he’d
never married anybody—especially me.”
In that case there will be trouble.
Assuming that the husband and wife know nothing about
distortions and the trouble they cause, their whole married
life could be thrown off balance by just a few command
phrases that invite confict in various ways. All such confict
would be minimized and even ended by applying the knowl-
edge of distortions.
Either the husband or wife could make progress alone.
When a person thinks through distortions, he always ex-
periences a certain amount of negative emotion. It may be an
emotion he has diffculty recognizing, or it may be such an
obvious emotion he cannot miss it.
His emotion is a tip-off so that when he is emotional, he
can be sure that whatever he is getting ready to say or do will
be tinged with the irrational infuence of distortions.
If he is wise, he would not say or do anything at that mo-
ment.
If people understood distortions and applied that knowl-
edge as just recommended, it would prevent a large number
of persons from doing a large amount of the talking they have
customarily done in the past. At frst they might feel some-
what restricted, but if they kept quiet, they would learn that
1o.mvIo [o. 1.czcuIIug T.ov!Ic 59
there is no loss.
If you were to add up all the conversations you have heard
that you could wisely get along without, the total would be
impressive.
Much of that conversation is eliminated as the simple re-
sult of understanding how distortions control thinking and
conversation. The logical time to remember that is when
someone’s distortions are getting used, and it makes little dif-
ference in that respect whether the distortions are yours or
his.
If you talk when you feel emotional, you are sure to talk
through your distortions whether or not someone else is talk-
ing through his. When you see that the other person is emo-
tional, you can be sure that he is talking through his distor-
tions. If you want to compound confusion, just try putting all
your emotions into words.
On the other hand by remaining silent, you may restore
order.
Presently you may think of something to say that you
are sure will do no harm. If you feel completely unemotional
about it, you are likely to cause no trouble by trying it out.
After enough experiments of that sort, you fnd yourself able
to deal with situations that had formerly brought frustration.
At frst you may feel that imposing such restrictions on
yourself is a bit unfair. You may feel that other people should
do the changing, not you. But the fact is that virtually never
can you get others to change as you think they should.
Meanwhile you have to get along with them.
By making the recommended change all you lose is trou-
ble. If you feel rebellious over the change, pause to refect
on the implications of rebellion. Remember that rebellion
provides an emotional situation in which distortions are in-
stalled.
A person is well-advised to apply that information to ev-
ery situation he faces. By learning never to react in rebellion
00 Hou Io óoIzc 1.o!Icms ouJ 1.czcuI T.ov!Ic
of any sort, no matter what the provocation, he also is able to
avoid arguments and troublesome relationships.
As a by-product, he gains something important.
A person thinks through his distortions most vigorously
when he is emotional. Therefore, a person who habitually
avoids emotion is less likely to express his distortions in con-
versation and behavior than a person who is often emotional.
The way to reduce emotion is to avoid rebelling against
whatever is happening. The situations most likely to arouse
rebellion need a rational response to handle them.
At frst avoiding emotion is diffcult, but with experience,
it becomes instinctive for the person who understands distor-
tions of logic and the trouble they cause. Why? Because he
is able to trace out the sequences of cause and effect clearly
enough to know what trouble he invites by his rebellion.
After that he has less diffculty controlling himself.
6
Chapter 4
Co.c[vIIy 7us¡ccI Yov. EcIozIo.
W
HILE CONTROLLING recognizable outbursts of re-
bellion lets a person prevent much trouble, that is not
enough. The reason is that many kinds of rebellion at frst are
unrecognizable.
What is rebellion?
In the broad sense, rebellion is unwillingness to accept life
as it is and as it must be accepted if the individual is to avoid
problems and trouble. It is unwillingness to face reality. It
is unwillingness to be guided strictly by what the individual
knows is right.
That defnition establishes why it is that not all rebellion
shows itself in emotional outbursts.
A person who loses his temper because he cannot get
his way is displaying rebellion, but in the broad sense, so
does a person who tries to cheat in a game or in a fnancial
transaction.
He is unwilling to accept life as it unfolds.
Of course, he is free to improve his condition by taking
any kind of action he knows is right. But if he tries to improve
his condition by taking any kind of action he knows is wrong,
he is engaged in an act of rebellion. He is not accepting life
honestly and realistically.
By his rejection he damages his moral code.
All distortions of logic involve damage to a person’s
moral codes on the unconscious level, and that is where the
moral codes exist. Often he may conversationally express
02 Hou Io óoIzc 1.o!Icms ouJ 1.czcuI T.ov!Ic
a moral code that his daily behavior habitually contradicts.
His trouble is that while he consciously expresses one kind of
thinking, his unconscious distortions cause him to express a
different behavior. Therefore, his behavior is a better indica-
tion of his true moral code than his conversation.
His behavior is controlled by his distortions to an extent
that may seem unbelievable by a person who has not care-
fully investigated the facts.
The truth is that the average person spends his life un-
knowingly trying to gratify his distortions. By the time he
is an adult, he has little remaining freedom of action. From
one year’s end to the next, he seldom or never does anything,
directly or indirectly, not called for by the command phrases
of his distortions.
Each distortion is really a fxed deviation from what he
had once regarded as a correct interpretation of morality. He
installed the distortion by departing from what he considered
right. In doing the thinking by which he installed the distor-
tion, he rationalized the behavior he had previously consid-
ered wrong.
By adjusting his thinking, he made it seem right.
He changed his moral code on the unconscious level by
deciding on the conscious level to take some action that would
have the effect of violating his conscious moral code.
That is how people damage their morals.
The process of progressive deviation is extremely subtle.
A person never makes a gigantic deviation in a single step.
He makes a series of minor deviations and mentally blinds
himself to each deviation by installing it in a hidden distor-
tion. Therefore, his next deviation seems just about as trivial
as the previous deviation.
By that sort of thinking, small deviations become large.
A person who prides himself on his refusal to do anything
that seems really wrong to him can install trivial distortions
in a steady but always forgotten stream; thus unwittingly he
Co.c[vIIy 7us¡ccI Yov. EcIozIo. 03
can reduce himself to such levels of depravity that his behav-
ior is shocking.
Until he learns about distortions, he cannot know that he
has done it.
Every person who can dispassionately analyze what has
just been explained is thereby given possession of extremely
important and valuable information. He no longer needs to
wonder why people sometimes do outrageous things.
Suddenly he can understand what causes the acts of as-
tonishing bestiality for which some members of the human
race get publicity. He can understand, for example, how a
person given the advantages of a good early home life could
become a sex maniac by entering frst one and then another
situation in which he made small sex deviations that he acted
on and incorporated into his network of distortions.
More important, he can understand why the persons he
knows all have higher opinions of their behavior than the
facts warrant.
Most important, he can understand that his own predica-
ment urgently needs attention because he himself is much
further from the ideal path of life than he has supposed.
That knowledge lets him do something to improve mat-
ters.
II
I
N ADDITION to correcting distortions and thus ridding
himself of their blighting effects on his life, an informed
person does his best to stop, for all time, the process of in-
stalling more distortions.
He decides he should monitor his behavior.
One of the easiest ways for a person to get started is to
make himself highly sensitive to his moments of rebellion.
The reason is that he never installs distortions except when he
tries to reject the unfolding events of life and substitute some
04 Hou Io óoIzc 1.o!Icms ouJ 1.czcuI T.ov!Ic
new element of his own devising.
Over a period of time, he learns to detect rebellion that
formerly he would not have called rebellion.
Not only does he prevent installation of distortions by
that procedure, but he also tends to give less expression to
the distortions he has already installed. He recognizes that
his emotional thinking refects the fact that distortions are
getting used.
The greater the emotion, the more distortions get restim-
ulated.
Of course that is to be expected. Everybody has made the
observation that a person who is highly emotional, as when
suffering a violent outburst of temper, becomes highly illogi-
cal and behaves irrationally.
When strong emotion develops, something about the
chemistry of the body apparently acts to cause connections
between brain cells constituting the closed mental circuits
of distortions to become better conductors. The distortions
that go into restimulation at such times are the ones installed
under the same general kinds of emotion as are getting ex-
pressed.
A person who feels the emotion characteristic of larceny
tends to think through distortions causing him to commit
thefts. A person who has the emotion of unreasoning fear in
relation to germs tends to think through distortions making
him take extreme precautions to avoid exposure to germs.
Similar examples could be cited in every area of life.
Occasionally a person is caught in such a violent outburst
of many kinds of emotion that his distortions simultaneously
try to drive him in several contradictory directions.
The following example illustrates what happens:
Suppose a person is caught in some embarrassing wrong
act and is publicly shamed in front of a group of persons who
know him well and whose good opinions he values. He would
display many kinds of discomfort.
Co.c[vIIy 7us¡ccI Yov. EcIozIo. 05
He might repeatedly blush and then turn pale because
of the promptings of his command phrases. He might try to
stand and fght and then, in turn, try to run and hide with the
result that he would tremble violently. He might try to speak
up to defend himself and also remain silent with the result
that his lips would move but no words would be spoken.
His violent emotional reaction to his predicament would
cause so many promptings from distortions that he could not
act on more than a small proportion of them. Obviously he
could not behave logically and rationally.
Some persons may remember having been in a predica-
ment similar to the extreme case just cited, but in a lesser
sense, everybody is in somewhat that predicament all the
time.
Because of distortions, he is constantly pushed in a vari-
ety of contradictory directions with the result that his behav-
ior subtly deviates from paths of logic without his realization.
Because his distortions have usurped his volition, he cannot
control his behavior directly. Because he considers himself
logical when he does whatever his distortions prompt him to
do, he is helpless in their grip.
Of course, he changes matters by correcting distortions.
But each person has so many distortions that he needs
much time to bring his behavior under control if he tries to
do it by efforts that are casual and spasmodic.
Therefore, he needs a method that is quick.
III
I
N ADDITION to making scrupulous efforts to avoid re-
bellious reactions, he can also try to avoid making wrong
decisions. At frst that statement seems to have a moral favor,
and it may seem like the statement of a reformer.
Anybody who chooses to do so can leave moral consider-
ations out of his thinking and be guided by practical consid-
00 Hou Io óoIzc 1.o!Icms ouJ 1.czcuI T.ov!Ic
erations only. It so happens that a decision that is wrong in a
practical sense is also morally wrong, although some persons
may dispute that statement.
There is a reason why a person is not reached on a moral
plane. It is that he has desensitized his conscience on exact-
ly those points on which he cannot agree that morality and
practicality are identical. That is one of the results of install-
ing distortions.
Consider the following example:
Suppose a person was brought up to believe that stealing
is wrong. Then he gets a job. He sees other workers taking
home occasional items of company property, but he refrains
because of his early training. Then one day he needs a paper
clip. He considers the item so small that the act of taking it
does not really seem at all like stealing. So he takes the paper
clip.
Presently he advances to postage stamps. Later still he is
taking the items he formerly criticized his fellow workers for
taking. In that manner he lowers his moral code in impercep-
tible stages.
On each point he embodied the alteration in his distor-
tions so that it became undetectable to him. In the process he
has desensitized his conscience on each of those points.
If anyone has the audacity to tell him he is a thief, he
becomes so emotional and illogical he is impossible to deal
with. Yet he is a thief. He made himself a thief over a period
of time by making one deviation after another from what he
once considered right, and he cannot be approached on a
moral plane.
He is touchy on the subject of morality. He cannot under-
stand the morality he has blanked out until he has restored it;
then he does not need to have it explained.
Because of those considerations, it would seem that the
best comprehensive approach is one that leaves out morality
and instead is based on practical considerations.
Co.c[vIIy 7us¡ccI Yov. EcIozIo. 0¯
With that as a preliminary, we should put attention on a
little known law of behavior.
Fundamental to life is the law of absolute right. It states:
Right action gets right results, whereas wrong action gets
wrong results. Therefore, no person can do what he considers
wrong without frst rationalizing what he had formerly con-
sidered wrong so that it seems right.
The conscious part of the process has long been under-
stood, but what has not been understood is the unconscious
part. That is the dangerous part. Nobody has any very strong
reason to fear what he can understand and control, because
he can protect himself from it. By contrast everybody has
strong reason to fear the adverse effect of changes in his own
thinking from right to wrong that are concealed from him
and exert a compulsive infuence in changing his behavior.
A fact that, at frst, surprises people is that the law of ab-
solute right needs no defnitions of absolute right.
If you try to tell someone about absolute right, the chanc-
es are that he will evade your meanings. When you tell him
that two plus two always equals four, he may tell you that Ein-
stein was able to prove that sometimes two plus two doesn’t
equal four. If you tell him a man should have only one wife,
he may tell you about certain countries where more than one
wife is legal.
Those evasions serve only to cloud the real issue.
A person who lives by the law of absolute right is a person
who is guided quite strictly by his own defnitions of right
and wrong, whatever they are. When he adds two and two
and gets four, he does not try to say he got some number
other than four. When he proposes marriage to someone, he
does not tell her he is not already married if he is.
In every situation of life, he does what he considers to be
right.
Whether a person likes it or not, he is bound by what he
considers right. He may have altered what he considers right
0B Hou Io óoIzc 1.o!Icms ouJ 1.czcuI T.ov!Ic
by installing distortions of logic over the period of his life,
but for better or worse, he is bound by the defnitions he has
formed.
Of course, everybody’s defnitions are wrong in many
ways.
When a person stops making compromises with what he
considers right, he stops installing distortions. There is an-
other kind of deviation from right that he can also bring un-
der control quite directly.
One kind of distortion tells a person that the wrong ac-
tion suggested by the command phrase of the distortion is not
wrong but right. Another kind tells a person that even though
the action suggested by the distortion is wrong, the action is
justifed. Both kinds have the effect of causing him to take
any action under a delusion that he is right.
The following are examples of both kinds:
“You are always right to take action that will increase se-
curity for the persons whose welfare is in your hands.” “Even
though lying is not exactly right, there are some occasions
when it is really right to misrepresent a few facts to get an
important result.”
A person with those command phrases will act in accord
with them every time he faces a situation calling for such ac-
tion with strong enough emotional force. While doing so, he
may have no sense of being wrong—unless he understands
the law of absolute right.
In that case he carefully tries as hard as he can to avoid
any action that he has any reason to consider wrong.
That attitude enables him to catch his examples of wrong
behavior that represent action he knows violates some really
valid moral principle. It helps him to correct distortions that
have the effect of justifying behavior he considers wrong, be-
cause he knows that wrong action cannot be justifed.
As fast as those distortions go into restimulation because
of events of life, they tend to call themselves to his attention.
Co.c[vIIy 7us¡ccI Yov. EcIozIo. 09
He releases them simply by refusing to act on them, without
even taking time to bring up and analyze their command
phrases. He experiences no sense of loss.
The only reason a person does what he considers wrong
is that he expects to gain more than he loses. If he under-
stands distortions and the problems and trouble they cause,
he is well aware that no wrong action could possibly bring any
gain large enough to compensate for the loss.
For that reason, he loses his incentive to disregard the
principle of absolute right: Think, say and do what is right.
Refuse to think, say and do what is wrong.
Presently he is able to accomplish more than the rever-
sals of thinking resulting from not taking action he knows is
wrong by his own standards. He becomes aware that in addi-
tion to his own private wavering standards there are absolute
standards in every area of life.
In the beginning there is no use trying to tell him that.
Each person is so accustomed to justifying his own devia-
tions from right action that he feels an unconscious and per-
haps even conscious vested interest in preserving the belief
that there are no absolute and reliable standards by which
to live.
Accepting that belief puts a ceiling on his thinking.
After a person has accepted the concept of distortions
and has decided to apply it in his life to restore his logic and
intelligence, he acquires a strong interest in fnding absolute
standards so that he can speed his progress.
Certain of those standards are not diffcult to fnd, though
he is unwise to start by trying to be comprehensive. Distor-
tions have a suffciently deceptive effect that a person suc-
ceeds best by not trying to make an initial comprehensive
approach.
For example, he may have distortions telling him that he
should constantly seek to prove his intelligence to everybody
as a means of guaranteeing his security. In that case he will be
¯0 Hou Io óoIzc 1.o!Icms ouJ 1.czcuI T.ov!Ic
totally insensitive to any suggestion that a person is wrong to
try to prove his intelligence, although every person who has
advanced to the necessary stage of understanding knows that
it is irrational for anybody to try to prove his intelligence.
Few persons are at frst willing to accept that, and no ef-
fort will be made to get anybody to accept it.
Getting people to accept the concept that trying to prove
intelligence is wrong in this distorted society is usually im-
possible, except for the persons who understand about dis-
tortions and how they infuence thinking. Presumably it will
remain impossible until that number of persons increases.
We live in a world in which people seem to feel called on
to prove their intelligence to the people around them much
of the time.
Even though that effort causes frustration, it continues.
The reason it is frustrating is explained by the fact that
no one can prove his intelligence to a person who at the same
time is intent on proving his own intelligence. And that is
what usually confronts the person who makes any such ef-
fort. He is trying to convince someone who just doesn’t care
and, therefore, refuses to give the matter his serious attention
except to contradict it.
The reason the effort to prove intelligence continues is
that the person who makes the effort is always driven by dis-
tortions he doesn’t suspect affict him. If he would stop to
consider the matter, he would realize that he gains nothing of
value by inducing people to admit his intelligence; therefore,
the effort is a waste of time and it gets wrong results.
Perhaps the foregoing explanation may enable the ear-
nest seeker after truth to understand why trying to prove in-
telligence is wrong, but that is not why the explanation was
included.
A person who accepts the explanation is usually a person
who needs no explanation because he has made the appro-
priate corrections. Or he may be a person who has distor-
Co.c[vIIy 7us¡ccI Yov. EcIozIo. ¯1
tions telling him to be modest and retiring. In any case he
tends to be guided and controlled, without his realization,
by whatever distortions happen to apply, rather than by any
explanation contradicting them.
The explanation was included to show, if possible, the
diffculty of trying to talk in terms of the fne distinctions
between right and wrong. To a person who does not need the
explanation, it is superfuous. To a person who does need the
explanation, it is quite incomprehensible and, therefore, does
not change his thinking.
Despite the fact that the fne distinctions between right
and wrong are diffcult to discuss, there are broad defnitions
that are obvious even to a person who sometimes may stoutly
declare that there are no reliable distinctions.
For example, lying is wrong by defnition.
That is enough for a person who understands distortions
of logic. Such a person realizes that installing every distortion
really involves a process by which the individual successfully
lies to himself and thus gives himself a permanent delusion
that he accepts in lieu of reality. Therefore, he refuses to lie.
In the past many persons, at frst, rejected that.
They were persons who had numerous distortions telling
them in various ways that certain kinds of lying are not really
wrong but right. They talked of little white lies told for noble
purposes. They were, of course, deluded.
There is no such thing as a little white lie.
Perhaps the best defnition is that a little white lie is the
kind of lie that is told by the person who offers the defnition.
Actually every little white lie has a big black heart.
IV
E
VEN THAT explanation does not change the thinking
of a person who insists on justifying lying. He has mo-
tives to contradict the truth and thinks he is not obligated
¯2 Hou Io óoIzc 1.o!Icms ouJ 1.czcuI T.ov!Ic
to accept truth just because it is true. He thinks he is free to
accept or reject truth according to what helps or hinders his
efforts to satisfy his personal motives.
That is a common mistake.
If there were no distortions of logic, perhaps that would
not be a mistake. In that case any person could freely make
whatever compromises with truth happened to suit his mo-
tives. He could carefully analyze the consequences and de-
cide whether, in light of those consequences, he should or
should not act.
That is precisely the pattern of behavior that character-
izes people’s conduct.
When a person knows nothing about distortions, he is
not restricted by any realization that wrong action involves
serious hidden penalties brought on by attempted violations
of the law of absolute right.
Therefore, people have a false sense of freedom.
With knowledge of that law and of distortions of logic, a
person loses that false sense of freedom. He may not be will-
ing to become right just for the sake of being right, but he is
willing to become right when he knows that being wrong is the
process of inviting problems and trouble, regardless of what
he supposes he gains by being wrong.
It must be admitted that he does often seem to gain.
The quickest way to obtain a large sum of money may be
to steal it, and the person who steals it successfully is certain-
ly in a position to spend it. By stealing he gains money he did
not have. Customarily the person who contemplates steal-
ing considers whether he might be caught and punished and
whether the amount of money to be stolen is large enough to
justify the risks.
He does not consider what he will lose by taking wrong
action and installing distortions of logic.
The really serious result of successful stealing is found
in the distortions a person installs by the thinking that justi-
Co.c[vIIy 7us¡ccI Yov. EcIozIo. ¯3
fes the stealing. That result is a loss of intelligence and the
replacement of right faculties with distortions. The victim
never connects the cause with its effect until he understands
distortions and how they are formed.
After he understands those factors, he knows that he pays
for every wrong thought and act by the loss of some of his in-
telligence. If he has enough intelligence left, he knows that no-
body has any intelligence to spare. Therefore, he concentrates
on getting back all his lost intelligence as fast as he can.
That is something he can do by using the command
phrase technique to correct distortions.
In addition to his enthusiasm to correct them, he develops
an equal enthusiasm to prevent new distortions from form-
ing. He wants to learn as much as he can about the distinc-
tions between right and wrong so that he can live in accord
with what is right.
He can always fnd a place to begin.
Even the person who, at frst, cannot accept the idea that
all lying is wrong can fnd some absolute defnition of wrong
action that he is able to accept.
For example, he may agree that someone who deliberate-
ly murders an infant because he likes to watch the spurting of
blood is a person who is taking wrong action. He may admit
that burning down schools and churches is wrong action and
that purposely driving an automobile through a crowd of pe-
destrians is also wrong action.
If he can’t do better, let him start there.
Of course, he may say that such wrongs are so obvious
that nobody could miss them. That is the point. Every wrong
is so obvious nobody could miss it unless he has distortions
that impair his intelligence.
Until a person thinks he has corrected all his distortions,
he should be cautious.
One of the ways he can help himself to be cautious is to
arrive at reliable defnitions of right and wrong and regard
¯4 Hou Io óoIzc 1.o!Icms ouJ 1.czcuI T.ov!Ic
them as absolute. Because society has reached no general
agreement regarding those defnitions, he fnds that he must
arrive at them himself.
Having established a defnition, the person who desires
to regain his intelligence should live by that defnition re-
gardless of the seeming cost.
Actually he discovers there is no cost.
A person really cannot get into trouble by being right. He
gets into trouble by being wrong. He may gain something by
being wrong, but he always pays more for it than it is worth,
and he may lose something by being right, but he gains some-
thing far more precious.
There is a reason why people have not learned that.
They are not trying to be right. Instead, they are trying
to satisfy their motives, and in that effort, they make many
wrong choices.
Actually they do not make choices that are consciously
devoted to considerations of right and wrong. Little of their
thinking is done on that basis. People make their choices on
the basis of what has the most value in helping them to ad-
vance and satisfy their personal motives. Instead of trying to
be right, they try to do, be, have, get, and become whatever
they want and try to avoid what they want to avoid. Seldom
do considerations of right and wrong infuence their thinking
unless they sense a threat to their motives.
All that kind of thinking changes for the person who
gains understanding of distortions and the problems and
trouble they cause.
Additionally he gains the missing ingredient of informa-
tion that tells him why people have been in trouble so long.
He learns that he is intelligent to base his choices on the dis-
tinctions between right and wrong. He also learns that when
he cannot satisfy a motive without choosing wrong, he is wise
to sacrifce the motive.
At frst a person may be afraid to live that way.
Co.c[vIIy 7us¡ccI Yov. EcIozIo. ¯5
His fear is empty, but it seems real nevertheless. If he pro-
ceeds in spite of his fear, he gradually discovers for himself
that the fear is empty, and he is not required to take anyone’s
word for it.
In the process of making his change of motivation, he
need take no chances.
He is required to do what he considers logical even if
he believes it is wrong. But when his logic tells him to do
something he knows is wrong, he can pause and check his
logic. Instead of trying to determine whether he can get away
with the wrong action, he can think about how he can safely
change it to right action.
Usually under that circumstance, he sees what to do at
once.
After a few experiences of that sort, he learns to train
himself carefully to be present minded. Instead of compul-
sively acting in an effort to satisfy his personal motives, he
tries to pursue a present-minded effort always to think, say
and do what is right.
That is the safe, fundamental principle for a successful
life.
76
Chapter 5
HovsccIcou Yov. 7moIIouoI 7I[c
T
RYING TO think, say and do what is right stops many
tendencies that have had the effect of disturbing a per-
son’s emotional life. As a natural result, he gives himself few-
er reasons to feel guilty.
That is an important beneft, because the average person
carries a great burden of guilt.
Modern thinking has tended to excuse him for it, and
that is characteristic of people’s unconscious efforts to pro-
tect their distortions. Telling a person that he should not feel
guilty is only a way of helping him to bury his conscience
more deeply.
He cannot square himself with his conscience by burying
it.
When he feels guilty, he is guilty. When he stops feel-
ing guilty, it is not necessarily because he has stopped being
guilty. The matter is not that simple.
His feeling of guilt may result from having committed
wrongs that he knows he committed and knows are wrong.
It may result from having installed distortions telling him to
feel guilty. Or it may result from having committed wrongs
about which he has no conscious memory.
However, his unconscious mind never forgets because it
retains the data.
If a person feels guilty for any of the three foregoing rea-
sons, distortions are involved. If nothing else, he is guilty of
having done the wrong and illogical thinking by which he
HovsccIcou Yov. 7moIIouoI 7I[c ¯¯
installed the distortions.
If he corrects the distortions, he stops feeling guilty. Un-
less he corrects the distortions, he cannot get rid of the bur-
den of guilt although, as indicated earlier, he may stop notic-
ing it consciously.
What has happened in that case?
A person who stops feeling guilty without correcting the
distortions causing him to feel guilty is a person who has in-
stalled one or more additional distortions that have the effect
of destroying his ability to continue noticing his feelings of
guilt.
He still has them though.
Despite the fact that he may no longer notice his guilty
feelings, he has some other kind of emotional or perhaps
physical trouble that replaces the feelings of guilt. That is not
mere speculation. It is a fact that is evident to every person
who understands distortions.
The following example defnes the sequence of cause and
effect:
A person has a motive to get something he wants for
which he has insuffcient funds. After a time, he falsifes f-
nancial records at his place of employment so that he can
help himself to the needed funds. Then he tries as hard as he
can to forget the whole performance. He installs numerous
command phrases justifying and excusing his theft.
Presently he succeeds in consciously forgetting the inci-
dent.
Now and again he notices an odd feeling of guilt that he
cannot explain. Increasingly it burdens him. Occasionally it
angers him. In one of his angry moments, he does the rebel-
lious thinking necessary to cause installation of more distor-
tions necessary to destroy his ability to notice his feelings of
guilt.
Here are possible command phrases:
“I have no reason to feel guilty.” “I’ve never done any-
¯B Hou Io óoIzc 1.o!Icms ouJ 1.czcuI T.ov!Ic
thing any worse than what everybody else does.” “Instead of
feeling guilty, I should feel proud of my accomplishments.”
Enough phrases of that sort can blanket the guilt com-
pletely.
After that has been done, it may appear as though the
individual has released himself from his feelings of guilt, but
such is not the case. He still has them. He has merely given
himself an obligation to avoid recognizing them as such.
It causes an unconscious battle to go on inside among his
emotions, and that battle never really ceases. He has given
himself a set of unconscious emotions, causing him distress;
then he gives himself another set of unconscious emotions to
hold them in check. All he really accomplishes is to increase
his total unconscious burden, although he has changed its
form. He would have been better off to get rid of the burden
by correcting the original distortions.
That is not a farfetched example.
Of course, it is unusual. A usual example would seem
incomprehensible because of many persons’ distortions. For
that reason, the example must be one that does not affict
many persons because no reader who is afficted by it could
understand it. Merely reading about the example could ring
so many unconscious bells that he might be rendered emo-
tionally unable to continue reading.
Nevertheless the example is realistic.
Everybody knows that people do misappropriate funds
by altering fnancial records. Everybody knows that people
are able to blank out portions of their memories under some
conditions. Everybody knows that people do try to deceive
themselves in their moments of emotion.
Those are the elements of the example cited.
What a person may not realize is that he himself has in-
stalled many thousand distortions that have the effect of set-
ting up all sorts of unconscious conficts, tending to destroy
his peace of mind. He cannot restore that peace of mind un-
HovsccIcou Yov. 7moIIouoI 7I[c ¯9
less he gets rid of those conficts. He cannot get rid of those
conficts unless he corrects the distortions by which they were
created.
His usual efforts to remedy the situation fail.
The reason they usually fail is that often he tries to use
objective means of counteracting something that is really
subjective in nature.
Men of science have had diffculty grappling with that
problem.
The reason for their diffculty is that science is generally
limited to objective techniques, whereas a distortion of logic
is not easily understood except by subjective analysis.
Science has tended to avoid subjective analyses.
Actually subjective thinking is fully as reliable as objec-
tive thinking, provided the person who does the thinking
makes due allowance for distortions. They are what make
subjective thinking unreliable. Resort to objective thinking
enables the thinking person to check his accuracy by objec-
tive means.
It is for that reason that use of the principle of absolute
right is able to restore logical thinking. Measuring behavior
against an objective standard enables the individual to deter-
mine when he is wrong. That tells him his behavior is actu-
ated by distortions, at least to the extent that he reasons from
valid standards of right.
So long as a person lacks scientifc experience in working
with subjective principles, he needs objective principles from
which to reason. After he gains experience with subjective
principles, he can deal with the subjective nature of distor-
tions.
Until he gains such experience, distortions are a closed
book to him. He can read about distortions and fail to un-
derstand any of the information he needs to deal with them
successfully.
Of course, some efforts to restore rationality may succeed
B0 Hou Io óoIzc 1.o!Icms ouJ 1.czcuI T.ov!Ic
despite a lack of familiarity with distortions of logic.
When a person actually succeeds in facing a truth that
has been hidden from him, no matter what his approach, he
gets a correction. The reason he faces the truth may be that
he is compelled to face it by some event of life.
Consider the following examples:
A person may delude himself into believing he can vio-
late the law of gravity, but when he tries to do it, he gets
bumped. Presently he gets his delusion corrected, or else he
fails to survive one of those bumps.
A person may delude himself into believing he does not
engage in a certain kind of wrong behavior considered of-
fensive by others. When he is confronted with a piece of evi-
dence that he cannot deny, even to himself, his delusion is
shattered.
For instance, he may delude himself into believing he
had no connection with the circulation of an ugly rumor, but
when a therapist helps him to recapture blanked-out memo-
ries, he sees the connection if it is there.
Any procedure that has the effect of enabling the indi-
vidual to see a piece of blanked-out truth restores logical
thinking on the subject of that truth. Any problem or trouble
caused by blanked-out truth that is supplanted by untruth
remains a problem or trouble until the truth is exposed.
Exposing the truth restores normalcy.
Because truth is supplanted with untruth only by the pro-
cess of installing distortions of logic, correcting distortions is
the right way to restore the truth that was lost and to elimi-
nate the untruth that replaced it. Any other method of deal-
ing with the situation is beyond the reach of the person who
has the distortions.
At frst some persons suppose that there is a confict be-
tween the process of correcting distortions and the process
of admitting wrongs and transgressions to gain a spiritual
beneft.
HovsccIcou Yov. 7moIIouoI 7I[c B1
It is not the purpose of this book to deal with spiritual
benefts.
The information contained here is intended to restore
logical thinking where it has been lost. Nevertheless it is a
fact that admitting wrongs and transgressions misses the real
objective as far as restoration is concerned, because in the
presence of distortions, their full admission is impossible—for
a solid reason.
The individual cannot admit what he knows nothing
about. He may know about his behavior, although probably
some of that is forgotten. But it is certain that he does not
know about his distortions. It is also certain that he does not
know about the thinking that caused the installation of the
distortions.
It is that thinking that is dangerous.
Until he regards that thinking as something in the nature
of a wrong and a transgression, he has no motive to admit
it. Actually admitting that it is in the nature of a wrong and
a transgression is the precise performance that corrects the
distortions.
Once the distortions are corrected, logic on the subject of
the distortions is restored. Thereafter the individual can go
as fast and as far as he likes in the direction of admitting his
wrongs and transgressions to gain spiritual beneft.
II
E
MOTIONAL BENEFIT he gains at once. Sometimes he
feels a sensation of sudden release, especially when the
distortion has the direct effect of causing emotional tension.
Consider the following command phrases of that sort:
“I feel tense all the time.” “I’m always afraid of what is
going to happen next.” “I’m strung up like a violin.” “I can’t
help being excited.” “No matter what is going to happen, I
B2 Hou Io óoIzc 1.o!Icms ouJ 1.czcuI T.ov!Ic
know it won’t be good.” “I just can’t control my emotions.”
Anybody can remember thinking such things.
Originally they were formulated under conditions that
invited emotion, and because of the emotion, they became
command phrases able to dominate and magnify every invi-
tation to emotion of the same general kind.
A person who spends a few minutes each day running
all such sentences through his mind is soon able to produce
remarkable improvement in his habitual emotional state.
He need only recognize that the sentences are command
phrases.
Getting rid of all of them cannot be accomplished in a
single effort. The average person has great numbers of com-
mand phrases. Even if he disposes of them on one subject, he
will still have emotional tension in other areas.
The reason for that tension is that every distortion is an
unconscious-level pocket of emotional tension that remains
until the distortion is corrected. A person who intends to rid
himself of all emotional tension has a long road to travel.
At frst consideration, traveling that road may seem hope-
less, but it isn’t.
In the beginning emotional tension may seem to re-
sult from various causes other than your own distortions.
Wrong action on the part of other persons is especially sus-
pect. When that happens, correct distortions on the subject
of your reactions to other persons’ actions, and you will fnd
the state of your emotions undergoes a change. Sometimes
emotional tension seems to result from your failure to per-
form various important tasks. If so, correct the distortions
that interfere with your willingness or ability to perform
those tasks.
If you keep up that sort of thinking, you will presently
conclude that distortions are behind just about everything
that goes wrong with a person. Go as far in that direction as
you are able.
HovsccIcou Yov. 7moIIouoI 7I[c B3
III
A
S YOU continue to correct distortions, you will fnd you
are housecleaning your entire emotional life. You won’t
enjoy all of the process, because facing disagreeable truth
about yourself is sometimes necessary.
Nobody enjoys that prospect, but unless you face that dis-
agreeable truth, you will continue to get into various kinds
of trouble because of your distortions. On the other hand if
you are willing to face it, you will bring to a halt one kind of
trouble after another.
Presently you will realize that you have transformed your
life and that many kinds of problems and trouble that you
had long considered unavoidable no longer exist.
You can get that sort of result by searching out command
phrases in an effort to eliminate problems and trouble. As
you get rid of one kind, you will become able to recognize
other kinds. Increasingly you will recognize situations in
which you had been wrong, although you had thought you
were right.
As fast as those situations come to light, deal with them.
Gradually you will increase the reliability of your stan-
dards of right and wrong and acquire defnitions of wrong ac-
tion that you would have vigorously denied before you under-
stood distortions. You will make changes in your defnitions
of honesty that are incomprehensible by the average person.
Consider the following example:
The average person considers he is being intelligent to
misrepresent the state of his health and his feelings. When he
wants sympathy, he tells people how sick he feels. When he
wants to make a good impression on his boss, he tells people
in his boss’s hearing how well he feels. Almost always when
asked how he feels, he uses some stock answer that bears little
relationship to the truth.
At frst the foregoing paragraph may seem extreme and
B4 Hou Io óoIzc 1.o!Icms ouJ 1.czcuI T.ov!Ic
somewhat like hairsplitting. So whether or not you think it is
hairsplitting depends on your defnition of hairsplitting.
In any case, truth is truth so long as it conforms with
reality.
There is nothing indefnite about reality. Despite a lot of
misguided thinking, truth that conforms with reality is right,
and right is absolute.
The fact that a person who misrepresents his health does
so unthinkingly is no excuse as far as distortions are con-
cerned. Every person has an obligation to be cautious about
his thinking. Otherwise he is in the position of a person who
takes a chance by disregarding his behavior.
If he happens to be standing in front of an approaching
automobile because he is not thinking about what he is doing,
the fact that his being there was inadvertent does not save
him from injury or possible death.
Anyone who thinks the foregoing example splits hairs
will be more distressed by the next example.
Not only does the average person habitually misrepresent
the state of his health, but he tries even harder to misrep-
resent the state of his emotions. He does that partly by not
letting the true state of his emotions show in his facial expres-
sion. Millions of persons go about their daily affairs wearing
smiles or frowns that do not belong on their faces but are
worn for the purpose of creating a desired effect.
However that practice is defned, it is not honest.
A person who intends to houseclean his emotional life
ultimately goes the whole way or else he gives up his inten-
tion. If he intends to go the whole way, the sooner he starts,
the better.
With every change of thinking from wrong to right, he
corrects distortions. With every correction of distortions, he
improves his emotional life. Therefore, he has strong incen-
tive to improve his standards of behavior in every possible
way, at every opportunity, as rapidly as he reasonably can.
HovsccIcou Yov. 7moIIouoI 7I[c B5
That is something he can do by facing every kind of truth,
however disagreeable.
If he keeps that up long enough to get really substantial
experience with the results of correcting distortions, he learns
that for him there is no longer any such thing as a disagree-
able truth.
He learns that the only thing really to fear is any refusal
to face truth. He learns that truth directs his attention to real-
ity and that truth confrmed by reality really does make him
free.
IV
I
N ADDITION to facing truth by locating command
phrases and seeing their illogic and by seeking absolute
standards of right thought and behavior, another procedure
gets remarkable results.
At frst, it seemingly goes against natural inclinations.
People are so constructed that they have an inherent
wish to avoid admitting to themselves and others that they
are wrong. That is what has caused people to fail throughout
the centuries to recognize the nature of distortions and start
getting them corrected.
In the beginning, the whole idea seems offensive.
The person who learns what correcting distortions can do
for him knows he has more reason for feeling injured if some-
one tries to prevent him from correcting distortions than if
someone tries to induce him to correct them.
The next procedure should be considered in that light.
The procedure relates to the private collection of dis-
agreeable recollections everybody harbors in his unconscious
mind.
One characteristic of those recollections is that they do
not always remain in the unconscious mind. Instead, they try
repeatedly to make their presence known by impinging on
B0 Hou Io óoIzc 1.o!Icms ouJ 1.czcuI T.ov!Ic
the consciousness of their possessor. Each time one rises into
his consciousness, he winces and tries to push it back where
it came from.
He may assume he is the only person who has such mem-
ories.
The reason for that is that nobody likes to discuss the
collection of mental rubbish that he would like to dispose
of but can’t. So nobody learns just how much trouble of that
kind infests the conscious and unconscious minds of people
everywhere.
The total quantity is staggering.
For any specifc person, it is large. The average person
has no idea how large because he has no way of taking in-
ventory. At any given time, he may be unable to remember
a single example, but let him take attention away from the
effort to remember, and presently one of them bobs up.
After a year of collecting examples, if he were to keep a
record, he would be surprised by the total number.
There is a way to get rid of them.
Before considering that, give attention to an example that
shows how they are dealt with by the average person.
Suppose you fnd a piece of rubbish on your desk. Pre-
sumably you would put it in the wastebasket. If you return to
your desk a few hours later and fnd the same piece of rubbish
on your desk, you would again put it in the wastebasket.
If you fnd that same piece of rubbish returning to your
desk again and again, you will presently be justifed in sup-
posing that something is wrong with your rubbish-disposal
system.
So it is with mental rubbish.
The fact that disagreeable memories return again and
again to plague their possessor proves that he has not dis-
covered how to get rid of them, and that is because the dis-
agreeable memory absorbs all his attention. He is so intent
on pushing the memory out of consciousness and forgetting it
HovsccIcou Yov. 7moIIouoI 7I[c B¯
that he neglects to observe he does not have a suitable system
for disposing of it.
Any effort to think about such a system causes him to
keep on remembering the disagreeable memory that he wants
above all else to forget. He does not even pause to refect on
the reason why his disagreeable memories keep recurring.
Of course, there is a reason. His unconscious mind is try-
ing to get him to give the disagreeable memories proper at-
tention.
Next time some disagreeable memory arises to make you
wince inwardly, try to remember that. At frst it may be dif-
fcult because habit tends to cause the same old reaction, but
presently you can master the procedure that enables you to
dispose of the disagreeable memory.
Next, the procedure is described.
Instead of pushing the disagreeable memory out of mind,
pause and inspect it closely. Look for some special piece of
disagreeable truth in it that you have been refusing to admit
to yourself. Face that piece of truth in absolute honesty.
It will contain something uncomplimentary to you.
What your unconscious mind is trying to do is to get you
to face that particular element of the disagreeable memory.
Once you have faced it, the memory ceases to be disagree-
able. It may even seem laughable.
It is not what a person knows about that causes his reluc-
tance. It is what is hidden.
Bring out what is hidden and the reluctance vanishes.
What must you bring out? Usually something that tells you
how you were at fault in the situation to which the disagree-
able memory relates.
Admit your fault to yourself.
You need not admit it to anyone else nor call the incident
to anybody’s attention. Until you honestly and frankly admit
the fault to yourself, the disagreeable memory will continue
to recur and plague you from time to time. If it recurs after
BB Hou Io óoIzc 1.o!Icms ouJ 1.czcuI T.ov!Ic
you have admitted your wrongness, it will no longer be dis-
tressing.
How can you be sure that the attention you give a dis-
agreeable memory really exposes the hidden truth?
First, you will see something in it you did not see pre-
viously. Perhaps you will discover additional details of the
memory itself. Or perhaps you will see how you were wrong
in ways you had thought you were right.
Second, you will feel a sudden sense of emotional relief as
you realize the memory is no longer disagreeable.
In various instances you will be required to face more
than one disagreeable element in such a memory before you
get full release. If there are two or more pieces of disagree-
able truth, you must face them all before you can dispose of
the incident.
You can help yourself by trying to put the disagreeable
truth into specifc words.
The following sentences may come to mind:
“I was wrong when I said I didn’t know.” “Everybody
present saw that I was dishonest, and that is what I haven’t
been able to admit to myself.” “I certainly did make myself
look stupid.” “It’s been just too much for me to admit to my-
self that I could have made that awful mistake.”
Such conversation with yourself need not be disagree-
able.
You will be telling those things only to yourself. When
properly considered, they get you out of trouble and not into
it. They provide a kind of emotional satisfaction that is dif-
fcult to describe and probably impossible to understand in
advance. More important, they bring freedom.
An occasional disagreeable memory may arouse such
strong fear that, at frst, you are reluctant to use the foregoing
procedure. No matter. Skip that one. Wait for a memory you
think you can approach successfully and without excessive
disturbance.
HovsccIcou Yov. 7moIIouoI 7I[c B9
After you have disposed of a few memories of that sort,
you will have enough experience to know what you are do-
ing. Presently you will be willing to tackle any memory that
arises.
You will be doing what your unconscious mind has been
trying to get you to do all along.
When a person realizes the importance of getting rid of
emotional rubbish, he feels eager to collect all the samples he
can fnd so that he can apply the technique and be released
from them.
Making any effort to fnd them is unnecessary.
Let them come to mind as they will. The unconscious
mind will deliver them in sequence, always when you are in a
position to do something about disposing of them.
Accept the natural sequence.
When one of your disagreeable memories does arise, you
need not give it any more attention than has been your habit
in the past. All that is necessary is that you give it the proper
kind of attention described earlier in this chapter. You can
learn to deal with its hidden message as fast or faster than
you can push the disagreeable memory out of your conscious
mind.
And if you do, you get rid of the disagreeable part.
90
Chapter 6
7m¡.ozc Yov. 7[[ccIs ou 1co¡Ic
E
LIMINATING A disagreeable memory by the proce-
dure described in the preceding chapter is, of course, a
process of correcting one or more distortions.
In effect, that process uses memory of an incident and
ignores command phrases. But if you carefully rummage
around in your mind after using that procedure, you will be
able to fnd the command phrases of the distortions that you
corrected.
Consider the following example:
Suppose a person were once involved in an accident that
had caused serious injury to someone else and afterward
found that he could not shake off the memory. Suppose that
after inspecting the memory closely, he reached a conclusion
that his trouble resulted from the fact that he had been deny-
ing his part of the responsibility.
He might say to himself, “I have refused to admit that,
by failing to look where I was going, I let myself get into a
situation that involved danger to myself and others. Yes, the
other fellow was at fault, but so was I, even though the law
didn’t say so.”
That piece of honest thinking would have the effect of
correcting distortions.
Instead of correcting distortions by bringing up com-
mand phrases, it would release them by stating the truth that
the command phrases have the effect of contradicting.
Either method of approach to the problem works.
7m¡.ozc Yov. 7[[ccIs ou 1co¡Ic 91
The fact that the distortions are released by stating the
truth does not mean that command phrases were absent.
Command phrases are always present when distortions are
involved. In effect, the command phrases really constitute
the wording of the distortions.
In the case cited, perhaps several command phrases
would be involved. The following examples suggest their pos-
sible nature:
“I’ll never admit this was my fault.” “Nobody can trap
me into saying anything that could hurt me.” “I can stay out
of trouble by keeping my mouth shut.” “I’ll never take any
chances.”
Of course, each of those command phrases has the ef-
fect of denying and concealing the truth that it contradicts.
Giving attention to the command phrases and seeing how
they are illogical and compulsive has the effect of destroying
a person’s confdence in them, thus allowing him to see the
truth that the phrases concealed. Taking a good look at that
truth has the effect of forcing those command phrases out of
the mind.
The technique of correcting distortions by fnding com-
mand phrases is easier to use because it has more of an ele-
ment of indirection in its use. When truth can be faced more
directly, the technique of exposing and facing the truth with-
out resort to inspection of the concealing command phrases
is fully as effective.
Either way, a single act can correct more than one dis-
tortion.
For example, when a piece of truth is contradicted by sev-
eral distortions, exposing and facing that piece of truth tends
to eliminate all the contradicting distortions. When a piece of
truth is exposed by giving attention to one command phrase,
correction may be gained for every distortion contradicted
by that piece of truth.
For the foregoing reasons, distortions can be corrected in
92 Hou Io óoIzc 1.o!Icms ouJ 1.czcuI T.ov!Ic
much less time than was required to install them. Whereas
they were installed one at a time, they can be corrected in
groups. Evidence indicates that quite a large group can be
corrected in one operation.
It all depends on the nature of the truth that a person
faces.
In the case of the foregoing example, admitting respon-
sibility for his proper share of responsibility for the accident
may enable the person to admit responsibility for his share
of many other problems and troubles that have nothing to do
with that particular accident.
If it does, that is an important result.
The reason is that until responsibility is properly admit-
ted, no person can make the necessary changes in his habits
of thought and action so that the dangers involved will not be
repeated.
A person who denies responsibility for a mistake thus
destroys his ability to correct the thinking that caused his
mistake.
The ability to recognize and admit responsibility for mis-
takes is important to the individual himself, because without it,
he cannot free his mind from distortions that compel repetition
of mistakes. But it is also important to other people, because it
has a startling effect on his ability to get along with them.
II
O
NE OF the most frustrating aspects of interpersonal re-
lationships is that people cannot get each other to admit
responsibility for the trouble they cause, and usually noth-
ing is gained by trying. Even when the effort succeeds, usu-
ally nothing would be gained, and sometimes more trouble
erupts.
Nonetheless people ordinarily keep on trying.
A person who freely admits responsibility for his mis-
7m¡.ozc Yov. 7[[ccIs ou 1co¡Ic 93
takes is a novelty. He has a disarming effect on others, and
they display no incentive to attack him.
Usually a person is fearful that if he admits a mistake,
something terrible will happen to him. But that fear results
from distortions. Unless he has committed some crime or
otherwise opened himself to disaster because of what he has
done, honest admission is little more than a way of correcting
distortions for the person who understands how they operate.
The person who makes the admission is the benefciary.
He gains advantages that are denied to every person who
refuses to make the admission.
III
T
HE REASON a person refuses to make the admission
is not what it seems. Usually people assume that refusal
proves an unwillingness to admit, but that is seldom the case.
Usually refusal results from his inability to face and admit
mistakes because he has not been able to admit to himself the
fact that he is responsible.
That is why people tend to blame everything that goes
wrong on others.
A person who is victimized by that condition is in trouble.
The trouble that results from his mistakes is minor compared
with another kind of trouble. The other kind of trouble is that
he is quite completely prevented from learning what he needs
to know to manage his life successfully in relation to the vari-
ous topics of his mental blindness.
Nobody can tell him anything on those topics.
No doubt you can think of a person in that situation as
soon as you try. Perhaps you have been trying for years to tell
someone certain things without success. The reason may be
that you are trying to get him to admit certain responsibility
that he cannot admit because he is mentally blocked and un-
able to recognize his responsibility.
94 Hou Io óoIzc 1.o!Icms ouJ 1.czcuI T.ov!Ic
Just a few command phrases could cause his problem.
They might be:
“Nobody is going to get me to admit anything that might
put me in a bad light.” “If you admit a mistake, the next thing
that happens is that you get into trouble.” “Nothing is ever my
fault, because I’m always careful about what I say and do.”
The person who has those distortions and lends his conscious
support to them is beyond help from anyone who tries to tell
him anything that requires his admitting a mistake.
His predicament is much more serious than initially ap-
pears evident, which is the case with many kinds of behav-
ior resulting from distortions. Almost literally, he cannot be
helped to correct his mistakes. Not by his closest friends or
relatives. Not by his employer. Not, in any case, where an
admission of responsibility is needed.
Obviously he is going to be involved in many such situ-
ations. Everybody is. His only hope is to adopt right intent
and get correction for the distortions that destroy his ability
to receive the kind of information he needs.
There are two great lessons in the foregoing paragraphs.
The frst lesson is that every person might wisely inspect
his thinking and his behavior in a search for indications that
he cannot admit his mistakes to himself and to others. Just
a casual search is not enough. People tend to think they are
able to admit their mistakes to themselves; therefore, a deeper
search is needed. The matter cannot be settled in one sitting.
Probably the matter cannot be settled without extensive
analyses spaced over a period of time. Everybody who makes
those analyses gets a series of surprises.
The second lesson is that a person might wisely inspect
the persons he deals with most often to determine for himself
whether some of them are seriously afficted in the manner
described. Some of them are easily identifed.
With others, he may not be able to detect the evidence.
In that case he should wait until the next time a situa-
7m¡.ozc Yov. 7[[ccIs ou 1co¡Ic 95
tion arises in which the evidence becomes obvious. He rarely
has long to wait. When the situation arises, he will be able
to make interesting experiments that may incontrovertibly
disclose the proof, though he is not wise to try to force an
admission.
No effort to force an admission can succeed unless the
person unable to admit his mistakes can be confronted with
evidence that has the effect of correcting the interfering dis-
tortions.
The reason for that should be obvious from what has
been said.
Until the distortions that blind a person to his responsi-
bility are destroyed, his brain is literally incapable of carry-
ing to his conscious awareness any message telling him that
he is responsible. On that subject, his brain is blocked and is
not functional.
It is not sensible to blame him.
Nobody blames a piece of electronic equipment if it fails
to work properly because it is wired up wrong. In effect, that
is what is wrong with a person who has distortions. On the
subjects of the distortions, his brain is wired up wrong. He
caused it to be wired up wrong by doing the thinking that
installed the distortions, but once the distortions have been
installed, he is helplessly sentenced to carry out the orders of
the command phrases.
His only real remedy is to unload his mental circuits, and
he is incapable of doing that under any kind of ordinary per-
suasion or by any other procedure except by the procedure
of correcting distortions.
There is much evidence of the truth of that statement.
If ordinary persuasion induced people to change their be-
havior when controlled by distortions, a spouse would be able
to talk his or her spouse out of alcoholism; a counselor would be
able to talk addicts out of drugs and related crimes and so on.
Everybody knows that many human problems are virtu-
90 Hou Io óoIzc 1.o!Icms ouJ 1.czcuI T.ov!Ic
ally impossible to solve.
Because of the impossibility of using persuasion to get
an obviously desirable change of mind, people have increas-
ingly turned to medication and other physical procedures to
make people tractable. Those procedures are not needed by
the person who learns how to correct distortions.
IV
A
PERSON who knows how to correct distortions can
deal with his ordinary problems just about as fast as
they come to his attention. He just needs a willingness to face
the truth about them. That puts him in touch with reality on
those points.
He cannot get all his changes as fast as he would like.
Whether he realizes it or not, he is forced to deal with
his distortions in sequence, although he may correct many
command phrases while correcting only one area. He must
be patient about his effort to become rational. He spent a long
time putting distortions into his mind, and he may have to
spend a long time getting them out.
Getting them out, however, is no burden.
As he corrects distortions, he decreases the problems of
his life. He corrects them by giving them no more time and
attention than he would have to spend dealing with the same
problems anyhow. When he corrects distortions, he gets re-
sults he could get in no other way.
One result is that by correcting distortions he learns
much about the reasons why people are illogical and engage
in wrong behavior. He can put that knowledge to good use in
his dealings with others.
After he has learned how and why he made a long string
of mistakes that he has brought to a halt, he feels more toler-
ant of other persons who are still making those mistakes. He
tends to stop trying to do what cannot be done in his dealings
7m¡.ozc Yov. 7[[ccIs ou 1co¡Ic 9¯
with people, and he starts using new methods that are likely
to succeed.
Instead of asking a person to contradict the distortions
that cause illogical conversation and behavior, he learns to
use two alternative procedures that soon revolutionize his
ability to deal successfully with people.
First, he learns to recognize when a person is talking and
acting under promptings of his distortions. As a consequence,
he allows for whatever is said or done. Second, he learns how
to make the corrections of distortions in other persons that
are needed to permit successful dealings with them.
He must gain the frst of those two abilities before he can
gain the second.
Until he has those abilities, he is certain to be frustrated
in many of his dealings with people no matter how much he
knows about them. All the conventional information on the
subject of dealing with people leaves out the knowledge of
distortions. Because distortions control a high proportion of
everybody’s thinking and behavior, that omission is serious.
A person who understands distortions can easily under-
stand human behavior in a way that is beyond the under-
standing of any expert who does not understand distortions.
By classifying the command phrases under which his
friends and relatives and associates operate, he can predict
their behavior with remarkable accuracy in various situa-
tions. Some of those situations he learns to avoid, and others
he learns to manage.
V
W
HEN A person sees someone talking and acting under
promptings of distortions, he is wise often to ignore
what is going on or else allow for it so that he does not contra-
dict the command phrases under restimulation. Contradict-
ing them is nonproductive unless the contradicting is done in
9B Hou Io óoIzc 1.o!Icms ouJ 1.czcuI T.ov!Ic
such a way that correction of the distortions results.
For that process, both understanding and skill are needed.
Nobody is obligated to assume the task of correcting all
the distortions for any of the persons he knows. Obviously
that would not be possible so he must be selective. In the be-
ginning he cannot sensibly undertake to correct distortions
unless a result is to be gained that somehow aids him in get-
ting relief from trouble.
Often that is the situation.
For example, if your spouse has distortions telling him
or her that you are not to be trusted out of sight, you will
not have a satisfactory home life until those distortions are
corrected. But if your boss has distortions telling him that
he must prove himself smarter than any person under him,
you will probably do best to let him enjoy the feeling that
is so important to him, provided you can accomplish that
result without experiencing a serious setback for any of your
important objectives.
From the foregoing, it is indicated that the peculiarities
of people result from their distortions, and that is correct. A
person who had no distortions would always be logical. He
would always do the right thing. Presumably no such person
exists; therefore, the concept is only theoretical at present.
Perhaps some day such persons will exist.
Until that day comes, you will have to deal with people
who have distortions. When command phrases are actuating
them, you had better make room for their free expression, or
you may get hurt.
The person who realizes that gains an enormous advan-
tage over persons who do not.
The person who does not is in constant danger of getting
involved in interpersonal relationships and situations he can-
not deal with successfully.
Consider the following examples:
You may have a close relative who has distortions telling
7m¡.ozc Yov. 7[[ccIs ou 1co¡Ic 99
him to start an argument with you at every opportunity. Per-
haps the close relative is your brother. Perhaps he installed
the distortions in early childhood. In that case there is every
likelihood that in childhood you also installed many distor-
tions about your brother. They may tell you that you must rise
to every challenge from your brother and must win every one
of the arguments he starts. You may also have distortions tell-
ing you to lose no opportunity to start arguments with him.
In that situation you and he will often have a bad emo-
tional time whenever you get together.
At frst you may suppose that the situation is hopeless and
that the only sensible thing to do is to stay away from him.
But everybody who has siblings has problems of that sort to a
greater or lesser degree. If a person could gather them all in a
pile, he would be startled by the size of that pile.
Getting away from your brother would, of course, stop
those arguments. But the overwhelming chance is that you
also have distortions that have the effect of refusing to let you
get away from him. Perhaps you have distortions telling you
quite emphatically to get together with your brother at least
once a week.
That sort of trouble exists in various ways in every family.
Where distortions of the sort described tend to control
family relationships, there will be an enormous amount of
useless arguing. If you stop to think of it, you will realize that
such is the situation in virtually every family.
The cause might not be the particular combination of dis-
tortions cited, but it is a certainty that the cause is distortions.
A person who knows that becomes alert to behavior stim-
ulated by distortions. If he sees useless arguments coming,
he manages to evade them. If he sees that one of his close
friends or relatives must always have the last word in any dis-
cussion, he yields it. If he sees that his close relatives all have
to criticize him, he does not try to talk them out of it. If he
sees that one of his friends cannot talk about some particular
100 Hou Io óoIzc 1.o!Icms ouJ 1.czcuI T.ov!Ic
subject without getting excited, he leaves that subject out of
the conversation.
After he has learned to recognize conversation and be-
havior that results from promptings by distortions, he is in
a position to avoid many otherwise diffcult situations. But
sometimes he cannot avoid those situations.
Consider the following examples of that sort:
Suppose a husband is unable to discuss money with his
wife, actually cannot mention the subject, which is the case in
many families. Suppose that every discussion about fnances
causes an immediate emotional outburst that literally pre-
vents the husband from saying what he considers necessary.
That is a problem he cannot easily sidestep.
Suppose the wife cannot get her husband to listen when
she discusses what to do about the children. That kind of dif-
fculty is widespread, and it can result from a single distortion
installed in a moment of anger. Perhaps the command phrase
might be “I’ll never give those rascals another moment of my
attention!” Then suppose the children have serious diffcul-
ties of one kind or another.
Unless she understands distortions and the problems and
trouble they cause, she is in a serious predicament. She can
say words to her husband; he can seem to be listening, but he
cannot put his mind on what she says.
That is a problem she cannot easily sidestep.
Those examples are not farfetched. Millions of husbands
and wives are in that sort of predicament, not just in relation
to money matters and their children but in relation to various
other topics.
It is not diffcult to see the evidence of such trouble.
Even if a reader does not know a married couple in the
predicament described, probably you can think of some per-
son who habitually refuses or fails to listen to you. Perhaps
his refusal or failure relates to certain topics, as when he re-
fuses or fails to hear anything you say about your job, your
7m¡.ozc Yov. 7[[ccIs ou 1co¡Ic 101
concerns or your travel plans. Perhaps the person’s refusal or
failure to listen relates to virtually everything you say.
If that person is important to you, that is a problem you
may not be able to ignore.
In that case you had better learn how to make correc-
tions of distortions in other persons when those corrections
are needed to permit your dealing successfully with them.
VI
B
EFORE YOU start correcting distortions in someone else,
sincerely try to correct your own distortions that might
also contribute to the problems and trouble you are trying to
eliminate.
Where any kind of confict is involved, you can be sure
there are distortions on both sides.
A person who is wholly logical somehow manages to
avoid confict. Of course, that statement, at frst, may seem
to be unjustifed by just about everybody who happens to be
engaged in a confict. When a person really understands dis-
tortions, he discovers that there is always a way out of every
invitation to confict.
Consider the following example:
Suppose a person occasionally feels unhappy about fa-
voritism shown one of his brothers or sisters by their mother.
That is a common situation that causes an enormous amount
of emotional distress in families.
In many cases the mother cannot see virtues in the child
who is not favored and cannot see faults in the child who is.
Of course, the mother has distortions, too.
A person who does not understand distortions may spend
much of his childhood and adult life in a futile effort to win
favor from his mother. If he is broadly rejected, he never suc-
ceeds. Or when he succeeds selectively, the favor is given re-
luctantly. Because the seeming need for a certain amount of
102 Hou Io óoIzc 1.o!Icms ouJ 1.czcuI T.ov!Ic
favor is strong, his effort never really stops.
The person who seeks favor probably does not know that
he is seeking it, because the promptings of distortions are
largely unconscious. If he carefully studies his conversation
and behavior, he can detect his effort, and when he does, he
is in a position to release the distortions responsible for it.
Prior to that, he is merely actuated by those distortions.
All during the years when the distortions actuate him, he
suffers from a longing desire to win favor he cannot get. As a
result of his desire, he wants to change his mother’s thinking,
but if he begins to inspect his thinking properly, he uncovers
many distortions that have controlled him on that subject.
Many of those distortions were installed in his moments
of rebellion over the fact that his mother’s favors went to his
rival. Nevertheless they are distortions. They result not so
much from the fact that he was mistreated, although it is per-
haps true that he was mistreated, as from the fact that his
reaction to the treatment was one of rebellion.
When he discovers that he has such distortions, he should
make the effort to correct them.
He is wise to do that before he attempts to change his
mother’s thinking. Until he does, he cannot clearly see and
understand the problem he is dealing with because his distor-
tions alter his judgment. His command phrases blind him to
certain aspects of the problem, and they cause him to sup-
pose he sees certain other aspects of the problem that may be
merely products of his imagination.
Those command phrases could be the following:
“She never pays any attention to me.” “He never does
anything wrong in her eyes.” “I’ll make her listen to me.” “If
I try hard enough, I can make her agree that I’m a better son
than he is.” “I have to make her love me the most.”
Command phrases of that kind can cause great misery.
If you happen to have those phrases, you will beneft enor-
mously by recognizing them for what they are and getting
7m¡.ozc Yov. 7[[ccIs ou 1co¡Ic 103
rid of them. After that, you will feel very different in your
attitude toward your mother.
If she is available, she will also notice the difference.
The great probability is that you will notice a marked
change in her attitude toward you, just because of the change
in you. If not, hesitate a little longer.
Before you try to correct the distortions in her, ask your-
self whether the result is worth seeking. Perhaps you will real-
ize that you have gained so much stability by destroying your
emotional dependency on your mother’s approval that you
will want to delay taking the next step until you can analyze
the new situation.
VII
I
T IS a little-noted fact that people are so dependent on
one another emotionally that, in many situations, they are
incapable of taking independent action.
That is an unfortunate state of affairs. A person who is
incapable of taking independent action is a person whose
brains are in chains.
Emotional dependency on another person destroys his abil-
ity to be intelligent about that person. In any situation where
the emotional relationship is crucial to any action he might
take, he is incapable of being intelligent about that action.
Therefore, he should get free of emotional dependencies.
They are all a matter of command phrases, and many
of them are diffcult to fnd, because the dependency seems
logical to the person who installed the phrases.
The following sentences are typical examples:
“I can’t decide until I fnd out what Mother thinks.” “If
my mother disapproves of this, I’ll have to give up the whole
idea.” “Nobody can separate me from my mother, even for a
minute.” “Mother’s the only one who understands me.”
Similar command phrases may relate to persons other
104 Hou Io óoIzc 1.o!Icms ouJ 1.czcuI T.ov!Ic
than a mother. They may relate to close relatives or a close
friend. They are likely to relate to one’s boss, and the more
emotional experiences a person has gone through in relation
to his boss, the more likely he or she is to have a large col-
lection of distortions making him emotionally dependent on
the boss.
It is important that every kind of emotional dependency
is noticed and given proper attention. Why? Because it has
its roots in distortions and, therefore, causes thinking on the
subjects of the distortions to be illogical and wrong. The dis-
tortions reduce the chance to satisfy what is presumed to be
the purpose of the relationship.
At frst some persons are afraid to destroy emotional rela-
tionships. They are afraid they may not like the consequenc-
es. The evidence is that those fears are groundless.
It is true that when distortions are corrected people’s
dealings with friends and relatives undergo many profound
changes. The average person can think of many ways he
would like those dealings to change.
He has no sound reason to fear any right change.
Very likely he does not get all the changes he thinks in
advance he would like to get. Some of those changes are not
in everybody’s best interests. If he got them, they would cause
more trouble instead of getting him out of trouble and, there-
fore, would not be desirable. As he progresses, he improves
his thinking.
Consider the following example:
At frst he may wish to produce changes that would en-
able him to prove to someone else that he is a person of very
unusual ability who is being misunderstood and abused.
Presently he may see that a wish of that sort is illogical.
In the process of seeing that, he comes to realize that
what the other person thinks of him makes less difference
than he had earlier supposed. He may even decide that he
doesn’t care. He surely will decide that if the other person
7m¡.ozc Yov. 7[[ccIs ou 1co¡Ic 105
has a wrong impression, it is more the other person’s problem
than his. After all, the person with the wrong impression is
the person whose thinking has gone astray.
What changes a person will actually desire to make after
correcting his own distortions, he cannot successfully decide
in advance. They tend to be changes he wants to make be-
cause he sees their beneft. Until he corrects his own distor-
tions directly affecting a given relationship, he is in danger of
seeking changes that he might later have reason to regret.
After he corrects his distortions regarding his relationship
with another person, the overwhelming likelihood is that he
fnds he no longer has problems in that relationship.
He fnds that he no longer cares about the opinions that
had previously annoyed him. He fnds that the fact of not
caring causes a complete change in those opinions. He fnds
that behavior that formerly annoyed him not only causes no
more annoyance but actually causes him to feel sorry for the
person he formerly had blamed. He fnds that he becomes
able to avoid entanglements of many kinds that he had found
objectionable in the past.
If so, he naturally wants to extend that progress.
He will want to destroy all the emotional dependencies
he still possesses so that he can make all those relationships
impersonal and right.
The value of impersonal relationships, at frst, may be
diffcult for many persons to understand; therefore, the sub-
ject will be given attention. In order to explain what is meant,
certain liberties with defnitions are taken.
A personal relationship is defned as a relationship in
which thinking is colored by friendliness and/or animosity.
A person realizes at once that virtually all relationships are
so colored, but few persons have any idea of the hazardous
consequences.
Those consequences are stated next.
A friendly personal relationship tends to blind a person
100 Hou Io óoIzc 1.o!Icms ouJ 1.czcuI T.ov!Ic
to all the faults in the person toward whom friendliness is felt.
It tends to cause faults to appear as virtues perhaps. On the
other hand, an unfriendly attitude tends to blind a person to
all the virtues of the person toward whom the unfriendliness
is felt. It tends to cause his virtues often to appear as faults.
The mental blindness resulting from a friendly or un-
friendly personal relationship impairs the ability of the per-
son who feels the friendliness or unfriendliness to be intel-
ligent about the way he handles the relationship.
He overlooks faults or virtues, or he sees faults or virtues
where they do not exist. Therefore, he depends on his friends
in ways in which they may not be reliable; consequently they
disappoint him. Also he refuses to depend on persons he dis-
likes in ways that they would prove wholly reliable if he did.
In either case, he gets a wrong result.
There is a certain fallacy in popular thinking that causes
people to make the mistake of depending on people when
they should not. The fallacy is based on the often-repeated
statement that everybody should look for the good in persons
he knows and overlook the bad. That advice can easily lead
to self-delusion.
If a person insists on blinding himself to facts, he may
suffer when those facts unexpectedly cause some trouble.
VIII
A
N IMPERSONAL relationship is not devoid of friendliness.
It is a relationship that is devoid of unnatural and illogi-
cal dependencies on personal judgments. It is a relationship
that is devoid of incorrect interpretations of personal values
of the sort that are most likely to be misunderstood.
It is a relationship based on correct information instead
of unreal fantasies.
A person who seeks impersonal relationships to prevent
troubles from developing soon realizes that everything wrong
7m¡.ozc Yov. 7[[ccIs ou 1co¡Ic 10¯
about the conversation and behavior of persons he knows is
caused by distortions. He also realizes that what is wrong
about his acquaintances is not able to hurt him or his inter-
ests unless he lets it. More important, he learns how he can
prevent himself from suffering as a result of anything said or
done by someone else.
He learns what some people have sensed is true but have
not been able to establish successfully in a workable behav-
ioral code.
He learns that nobody can hurt him except himself.
Therefore, he loses his incentive to try to solve his prob-
lems by trying to change the behavior of other people. He
develops incentives to solve his problems by changing him-
self. He learns that the way to change himself is not to try to
change himself but to correct the distortions that cause him
to behave as he does.
That helps to set him free from other people’s problems.
He becomes able to adopt an impersonal attitude com-
pletely free from emotional dependencies toward every per-
son with whom he deals, but that takes time. Meanwhile he
gets into one situation after another that he dislikes. If he
remembers not to react in emotional rebellion but to correct
the distortions that direct his thinking into areas of unreality,
he successfully avoids many serious problems and prevents
much trouble.
In some situations he must attempt to change the behav-
ior of someone who is behaving badly, even if only because
he has not yet corrected enough of his own distortions to un-
derstand what is going on.
There is another reason why he might need to infuence
someone else toward rational behavior.
Perhaps his spouse or other person close to him is in
trouble and needs help. If so, he is limited in the kind of help
he can give. He helps most easily the person in trouble who
understands distortions. In that case he can talk in terms of
10B Hou Io óoIzc 1.o!Icms ouJ 1.czcuI T.ov!Ic
command phrases and expect that his efforts will meet with
a display of real cooperation.
A husband and wife who both understand distortions can
easily do very wonderful things in helping each other to re-
lease themselves from bondage to wrong thinking.
All the information they really need has already been
stated.
But in various situations, the person who needs help may
be a person who knows nothing about distortions and does
not want to learn. Or perhaps he is someone who has been
given that information and rejected it.
Even for those persons, distortions can be corrected.
IX
A
PERSON corrects a distortion when he faces the truth
that the distortion conceals. Usually he cannot do that
unless he willingly seeks the truth. Even then, he cannot do it
directly, so he must understand how to make an indirect ap-
proach. That is easily accomplished if he infers the command
phrases from the conversation, behavior, his emotional state
or from some other indirect indication.
Success, in that case, depends on voluntary cooperation.
Nobody can be compelled to offer voluntary cooperation.
Therefore, nobody can be compelled to avail himself of the
help offered by use of the procedures described in this book.
But in certain situations, the help can be forced on him.
The reason it can be forced on him is not that the need to
face truth can be obviated. Instead, it is that the act of facing
truth can be made coercive.
That is what is sometimes needed. When it is, no other
procedure can take its place.
Probably everybody, at various times in his life, has want-
ed to know how he could compel a change in someone else’s
behavior. Virtually everybody has been frustrated in various
7m¡.ozc Yov. 7[[ccIs ou 1co¡Ic 109
situations of that sort. On occasion, the average person has
resorted to coercion that is physical in nature, without getting
the desired result.
There is a solid reason why physical coercion fails.
The reason is that it cannot induce voluntary action. You
can compel a person to act by forcing him, but after you turn
your back, he reverts to doing as he pleases. You can ap-
ply painful physical force if you are big enough and strong
enough, but you can’t compel him to change his thinking.
He has to do that himself.
If he ought to change his thinking, the only reason he
fails or refuses is that he doesn’t know why he should.
The reason he should is that he has failed or refused to
face a piece of truth, a situation of reality. Therefore, compel-
ling him to face that piece of truth describing the reality has
the effect of causing him to decide to change his thinking.
The situation can easily be illustrated.
Suppose you want a person to move six feet away from
where he is standing, because unless he moves quickly, he
will be killed by a fast-approaching truck. You may have dif-
fculty getting him to take orders from you, but he will re-
spect the approaching truck. All that is needed is to call it to
his attention in such a way that he cannot resist getting the
information that apprises him of his predicament.
He does the rest.
The moving truck represents a piece of reality. If he had
seen that piece of reality himself, he would have acted in ac-
cord with it. The same is true of any other piece of reality that
is concealed by distortions of logic.
Reveal that piece of reality.
All that is necessary is to state the appropriate truth in
suffciently descriptive terms that the corresponding reality
cannot be ignored. The immediate result is that every distor-
tion that contradicts that particular piece of reality is given
instantaneous and effective contradiction. The urge to persist
110 Hou Io óoIzc 1.o!Icms ouJ 1.czcuI T.ov!Ic
in the irrational behavior is suddenly replaced by an impulse
to scramble into a position of safety.
Accuracy is needed, and, at frst, the degree of accuracy
is diffcult to understand. It is greater than that of a sharp-
shooter who gets credit for a perfect shot if he hits inside the
edge of a bull’s-eye. In this instance no leeway is permissible
because no approximation permits a successful change.
The foregoing procedure does not correct distortions
of logic for the person who is still intent on getting his way.
Rather, it enables him to act in contradiction to distortions in
his search for self-protection.
It is virtually impossible for a person who does not un-
derstand distortions of logic to make real corrections by
accident. It can be done, although the procedure opposes
virtually every seemingly natural inclination. With enough
understanding, corrections can occasionally be forced, even
against opposition from a person who does not understand
and, therefore, resists.
Total precision of approach is required.
Information previously presented will serve as a basis
for correct understanding of the proper approach if carefully
considered. The appropriate information relates to the pro-
cedure for correcting a distortion by recognizing the exact
words of the command phrase that contains the distortion.
Even if the words were formulated forty years earlier in
some foreign language that the victim of the phrase no lon-
ger consciously understands, the command phrase may have
only one possible wording. That is the wording which pre-
cisely captures the thinking that was done at the time when
the distortion was installed.
The slightest variation in those words could cause a fail-
ure to produce the desired correction.
Earlier it was said that in addition to considering the
words of the command phrase, another form of the technique
for correcting a distortion is to disclose the truth concealed
7m¡.ozc Yov. 7[[ccIs ou 1co¡Ic 111
by the command phrase. That is what is done when you state
that truth to a person you are trying to help, but the truth
must be stated just as exactly as the command phrase. It can-
not be merely a statement of some truth that the command
phrase happens to contradict.
It must be the exact statement.
If the exact statement happens to contradict more than
one distortion, many distortions thus contradicted may be
corrected. But that cannot happen unless an exact contradic-
tion of one of the distortions is involved in the statement of
truth.
The reason this topic is given emphasis is that failure to
produce the exact statement of truth may cause the person
you are trying to help to become infuriated.
Anything you tell him that haphazardly contradicts one
of his distortions is totally unacceptable to him. Even though
what you say seems to have meaning so obvious it cannot be
missed, he will miss it. So long as he retains the distortion
concealing the truth, he simply is unable to comprehend that
truth. Trying to tell him what he cannot comprehend and
once determinedly hid from himself arouses strong emotion
that will be aimed at you.
Statement of the exact truth that is contradicted by a dis-
tortion avoids that effect.
At frst glance the reason is startling.
The reason is that no one can simultaneously retain both
untruth and truth on exactly the same topic. Could he be-
lieve that it is noon after he has learned that it is midnight?
Truth forces untruth out because truth uses the same mental
circuits that must be used to retain the untruth.
It is as though a person has both arms loaded with a large
package and is then tossed another package that he must
catch. Necessarily he drops the package he already holds.
A listener cannot hear and comprehend the simple mean-
ing of words of precise truth that he has tried to hide by adop-
112 Hou Io óoIzc 1.o!Icms ouJ 1.czcuI T.ov!Ic
tion of an untruth without dropping the untruth. Since the
distortion of logic is contained in the untruth, he drops the
distortion.
He drops it whether he knows what is happening or not.
X
A
LTHOUGH THE statement of truth must be exact,
there is an easy way to fnd it. There may be millions of
statements of truth that are true and have the effect of contra-
dicting the distortion to be corrected, but there is an easy way
to select exactly the one statement of truth that applies.
The easy way is not found accidentally.
If that were possible, people would have been able to
solve their diffcult human problems long ago.
Certainly people have long been able to detect illogical
behavior in each other. They have often been able to point
out how the behavior is wrong, but everything they say tends
to restimulate the distortions responsible for it without cor-
recting them. Therefore, everything they say is likely to cause
emotional blowups and do more harm than good.
That is because people fail to say what contradicts the
distortions exactly. When they learn how, they can begin to
succeed in solving diffcult interpersonal problems.
The key is found in the command phrase of the distortion
to be corrected. The exact statement of truth is precisely oppo-
site to the wording of the command phrase of the distortion.
Therefore, do not seek the truth directly.
First, get the command phrase. Then ask yourself what is
exactly opposite to it in meaning. That is the precise piece of
truth to tell the person you are trying to help.
3
Chapter 7
ToLc Yov. E.oIus OvI o[ CIoIus
W
HILE GIVING someone the piece of truth that makes
him free of a distortion of logic, you need not shout.
You need not speak with emphasis. You need only state the
words audibly and correctly at a time when the other person
is actually listening.
He cannot help throwing the proper mental switches.
The purpose of shouting might be to intimidate the per-
son you are trying to help. Even if he is subject to intimida-
tion, the shouting is notoriously ineffective. When it seems
effective, it is not that understanding has been achieved. It is
that intimidation has overpowered resistance.
If the correct piece of precise truth is stated in softly spo-
ken words, the information penetrates. Appropriate mental
switches are thrown, and a change of thinking results. The
listener sees the light of reason and acts on it.
It is as though a miracle has occurred.
One result is that he gets his brains out of chains. How-
ever, that is not the only result. An additional result is that
you also get your brains out of chains. You no longer feel tied
down to the hopeless task of trying to change the thinking of
a person who seems bent on refusing to change it, no matter
what you say.
The resulting release from mental and emotional burdens
can be very great. Perhaps you have expended a large part
of your time and energy trying unsuccessfully to deal with
certain problems of persuasion that are important to you. Or
114 Hou Io óoIzc 1.o!Icms ouJ 1.czcuI T.ov!Ic
perhaps you have failed to deal with problems of that sort and
have, therefore, adjusted your life to the failure at consider-
able sacrifce.
If so, you have a technique to set yourself free.
At frst you may have diffculty seeing how to apply the
technique. Until you know how to detect command phrases,
the technique has no value to you. Even after you know how
to detect command phrases, your frst attempts to use the
technique may fail. But ultimate results are such that persis-
tence will be rewarded.
Next, the technique will be illustrated.
Suppose you have to deal with an associate who insists
that he should never get any diffcult piece of work to do and
who contrives to get every piece of diffcult work done by
someone else. As a result, you are likely to have trouble with
that person.
If he understands distortions, he can solve the problem
himself. In that case he does so as soon as he becomes aware
of it. In any case, you may be able to help him.
Assume that you have identifed the command phrase.
For purposes of illustration, the command phrase might
be, “Whenever I try anything diffcult, I fail.”
If he understands and accepts the explanation of distor-
tions, telling him that command phrase would cause an im-
mediate correction. But if he does not understand nor accept
the theory, telling him that command phrase might induce
either of two dishonest reactions.
First, he might deny that he ever harbored such a thought.
If so, his denial prevents a correction. Second, he might agree
with the command phrase.
“Yes,” he may say, “that’s exactly what happens!”
If so, his diffculty is that he believes the command phrase
and, therefore, supports it. He cannot be released from fur-
ther domination by a command phrase until he fnds some
reason for disagreeing with it.
ToLc Yov. E.oIus OvI o[ CIoIus 115
Unless he withdraws his support for the wrong thought,
he tends to go on justifying his behavior and continuing it
until the domination is broken.
Therefore, you must do more than tell him the phrase.
Conceivably you could tell him, “You’re always trying to
get your diffcult work done by others.” That, you can be as-
sured, he will resent. He won’t believe it. The reason he won’t
believe it is that the motive that causes him to get his diffcult
work done by others is an unconscious motive which origi-
nates in his distortion. He just does not recognize what he is
doing clearly enough to understand it, and he cannot know
about his unconscious motive.
If you could successfully tell him the command phrase
and induce him to accept it as such, that would make his
unconscious motive conscious. It would enable him to detect
the fact that his motive is illogical, and he would abandon it
at once without urging from you.
For purposes of this example, that is what you cannot do.
Perhaps you will cast about for other ways of getting your
point across. There is only one way that works, and it cannot
be found unless you are specifcally looking for it.
To fnd that way, start reasoning from the command
phrase.
If the command phrase is “Whenever I try anything dif-
fcult, I fail,” you might get somewhere by using those words
and following them with an explanation. Then add a general
contradiction. For example, “You think that whenever you try
anything diffcult you fail, but really that isn’t true. There have
been times I’ve seen you try diffcult things and succeed.”
If he is reasonably tractable, that remark may cause a cor-
rection of the distortion. But if he is not reasonably tractable,
he may react to the frst part of your sentence by agreeing
with it so very vehemently that he doesn’t even hear the sec-
ond part.
You may fnd success by experimenting with that proce-
110 Hou Io óoIzc 1.o!Icms ouJ 1.czcuI T.ov!Ic
dure, and you will be able to start more easily than with the
procedure of making an exact contradiction of the command
phrase.
In order to make the exact contradiction, you must have
the ability to think from a concept to its exact opposite.
II
T
HE EXACT opposite is not always what it seems. For
example, in this case it is uoI “Whenever I try anything
diffcult, I won’t fail.” That is only another contradiction of
the sort that would be likely to arouse resistance.
That is not what is needed.
A distortion is always exactly opposite to the truth which
it contradicts. It is the contradicted truth that is needed.
If you ask inside yourself for the contradicted truth, as-
suming that you have no distortions on the subject involved,
the words tend to come into your mind. Those words may
startle you. In fact, they may startle you enough that you are
tempted to reject them.
For example, the exact opposite of the phrase under dis-
cussion is “Whenever I try anything diffcult, I succeed.”
To an incautious person those words might seem prepos-
terous.
The correction of those words can be understood by a
person who realizes that logical action always succeeds, that a
person who is really logical, therefore, does not fail, and that
a person who is afficted by the specifed command phrase
would not be trying to do something diffcult but would
actually be trying to fail, for the simple reason that such is his
unconscious prompting.
Additional light can be shed by another realization.
Because of distortions, people seldom actually try to do
just what they assume they are trying to do. For example,
a scientist who assumes that he is trying to fnd a cure for
ToLc Yov. E.oIus OvI o[ CIoIus 11¯
cancer might, in fact, have command phrases causing him to
be trying instead to become rich and famous as the person
who found the cure. That would cause him to be frustrated,
because it would destroy his ability to put his mind directly
on the problem that he imagines he is trying to solve.
If that scientist as a child installed a command phrase
saying “Whenever I try anything diffcult, I fail,” he is certain
to have a tendency to be guided by it. But if he corrects that
distortion or lets it be corrected for him by someone else, he
then becomes more nearly able to do exactly what he sup-
posed he was attempting. He may still fail to gain the desired
success, but not because of that command phrase. It is true
that a person who is really trying to do exactly what he thinks
he is trying to do has a way of succeeding.
The foregoing information can be condensed into a sen-
tence that gets results under the conditions specifed. That
sentence might be “Whenever you try anything diffcult, you
succeed, and, therefore, you ought to start trying.” The frst
part of the sentence corrects the distortion that it contradicts
exactly, and it also corrects every other distortion that it con-
tradicts directly enough. Even before the remainder of the
sentence can be expressed, it accomplishes the correction
of those distortions instantly. It meets with no resistance be-
cause the resistance has already been destroyed.
The desired result appears as if by magic.
Sometimes the appearance of the result can be impeded
by bad handling of the procedure. Suppose, for example, that
you do not use the procedure until after you have already
made a dozen unsuccessful efforts to change the other per-
son’s thinking on the subject of the distortion. In that case he
has already gone on record with denials and refusals. Even
though he is enabled to see the light of truth and become logi-
cal on the subject of the distortion, he naturally feels that he
cannot go back on his earlier statements.
Therefore, you get a delayed reaction.
11B Hou Io óoIzc 1.o!Icms ouJ 1.czcuI T.ov!Ic
You may not be able to get him to accept the particular
piece of diffcult work over which he rebelled, but you should
be able to get him to accept similar work thereafter.
III
N
EXT COMES a delicate subject, and it is quite impor-
tant for you to understand that subject. Unless you do,
you will not be able to use the technique under discussion.
It is the subject of the motives that make you want to use it.
If you are like most persons, you can think of several
friends and relatives you would like to change. Why? If your
motive is to help them get out of trouble, you may succeed.
But if your motive is to adapt them to your personal wishes,
you will fail.
You cannot make any improper use of the technique.
The basic reason is that using truth to get a wrong result
is impossible. That may sound pious, but, in reality, it is prac-
tical common sense. And it is certainly correct.
People get into trouble by trying to abuse truth. They
cannot get out of trouble until they abandon that effort.
How can you be sure of abandoning it?
Ask yourself whether you think your reason for wanting
to change another person is really honest. If it is, you may be
on the right track. Then ask yourself whether you are really
unemotional about the effort you intend to make. Unless you
are, back away.
The presence of emotion shows that there is still some-
thing wrong with your motivation.
Under analysis, you will probably recognize that your
emotion results from some sort of feeling that the other per-
son is somehow causing you trouble you would like him to
stop. That feeling is evidence of a motive that clouds your
judgment and inhibits your proper use of the technique.
Before you can proceed satisfactorily, you must be able
ToLc Yov. E.oIus OvI o[ CIoIus 119
to base your action on right motivation. How can you tell
when you are ready to do that? At frst you may not be able
to tell. However, when you fnd yourself about to approach
the problem without emotion, perhaps you are ready. If you
are ready, you will succeed.
Your freedom from emotion will free enough of your in-
telligence that you can perceive the truth to be stated. It will
allow you to present that truth without inviting confict.
When you can meet those specifcations, you can do
wonders in an effort to help people effectuate changes, even
against their resistance.
IV
T
HE ADVANTAGE of the foregoing technique in dealing
with troublesome situations is diffcult to exaggerate. So
great is that advantage that even if you must fumble with the
technique over a period of months before you learn it, you
will fnd it worth the effort.
By attempting to use it, you make many discoveries.
You discover that a diffcult person is really not a person
who is peculiarly obnoxious. He is simply a person who has
fxed, infexible ideas that he formed in his moments of rebel-
lious, emotional thinking and who is trapped by the resulting
command phrases.
You will learn that a person who is wrong cannot avoid
being wrong. You will learn that blaming a person who is
wrong is futile, that people are often wrong when they do not
know they are wrong, and that they insist on their rightness
most vigorously when it is wholly imaginary.
What you learn will help to set your faculties free.
Perhaps the subtlest kind of slavery is slavery to distor-
tions. A person who does not understand distortions is not
only a slave to his own distortions, but, in a certain sense, he
is a slave to everybody’s.
120 Hou Io óoIzc 1.o!Icms ouJ 1.czcuI T.ov!Ic
He takes seriously what he would disregard if he realized
it was the product of a mind that, in effect, is wired up wrong.
He tries to change people’s thinking when because of distor-
tions it cannot be changed. He reacts to illogical conversation
and wrong behavior by getting himself into many disagree-
able situations that he could avoid.
His slavery to his own distortions is more serious.
Every distortion gives him a false concept by which to
live. What is more important, it deprives him of the correct
concept on the same point.
What he needs is a kind of brainwashing.
Not the brainwashing that puts thinking into his mind,
but a brainwashing that washes out all his wrong thinking.
He can get that brainwashing in only one way: correcting
distortions of logic. It will improve matters more than he or
anyone else could imagine in advance.
Nevertheless at frst a person may resist.
He would rather die than face the pieces of truth and real-
ity he must face to become free. But unless he faces them, he
keeps his problems and stays in trouble.
V
E
VERY DISTORTION involves the risk of death for the
person. There are various ways of stating the risk, but
most of them cannot be understood without a fairly substan-
tial amount of experience in dealing with many different
kinds of distortions.
Therefore, only one statement is presented.
From what has gone before, it is clear that every distor-
tion has an effect of depriving its victim of his ability to be
logical on the subject of the distortion. In other words, it im-
pairs his effective intelligence and deprives him of the use of
some of his brainpower.
How can he be sure that he will not someday need that
ToLc Yov. E.oIus OvI o[ CIoIus 121
particular portion of his logic, his intelligence and his brain-
power in order to save his life?
He can’t.
At frst a person is totally unaware of that fact. Until he
learns about distortions and how they work, he has no way
of knowing that he has suffered any loss of logic and intel-
ligence and brainpower.
He knows others have something wrong with them.
He may tell people that everybody else is crazy, but some-
how it escapes his detection that what applies to other people
just might happen to apply to him, too.
When he understands distortions, he realizes not only
what is wrong with everybody else but also that he suffers
from exactly the same affiction. He does not regard that as
bad news. If he understands it, he regards it as good news. It
puts him on the road toward startling improvements.
Every time he corrects a distortion, he restores lost facul-
ties. Thereafter he can use those faculties productively. He is
able to be in touch with reality which gives him the use of intel-
ligence he was deprived of as long as he had the distortions.
In his daily life he accumulates enormous benefts as he
learns how to deal with situations that formerly had left him
frustrated and impotent.
Increasingly he gets his brains out of chains.
H
O
W

T
O

S
O
L
V
E

P
R
O
B
L
E
M
S

&

P
R
E
V
E
N
T

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U
B
L
E





W
E
T
H
E
R
I
L
L
HOW TO SOLVE
PROBLEMS
&
PREVENT
TROUBLE
by
RICHARD W. WETHERILL
Many kinds of problems and
trouble are caused by the illogical
thoughts a person forms when he
is emotional. After the concepts
are formed, they seemingly are
forgotten. But the problems and
trouble persist.
Why?
Because the illogical thoughts
still exist on the unconscious level,
as does a memory, without the
person’s awareness that he is being
infuenced by them.
This book presents techniques
for discovering and releasing those
trouble-causing thoughts so that
problems are solved and further
trouble is prevented.
HSPPT_cover.indd 1 10/1/2008 8:30:27 PM

HOW TO SOLVE PROBLEMS AND PREVENT TROUBLE
by

Richard W. Wetherill

R evised edition CopyRight © 1962, 1977, 1991
by

humanetiCs Fellowship RoyeRsFoRd, pa 19468

All Rights Reserved

the a lpha p ublishing house po box 255 RoyeRsFoRd, pa 19468 p Rinted in the united states oF a meRiCa

The information has been and is being tested in daily use by persons from various walks of life. They tell startling stories of what it is doing for them. and the information presented in this book tells how. They all say the information is correct and that it is important. When a person really understands the basic message of this book. and he learns how various objectionable conditions in his life can be changed. and many of them say they resisted some portions of it at first. he experiences a happiness he had never known. This book is a kind of behavioral textbook. The evidence is that no great progress is made except by changing from the old to the new. it will iii . he makes remarkable discoveries. Many persons say that this book helped them to find God. however. everybody is entitled to seek God as best he can. Soon he finds that his original resistance is replaced by an eagerness to learn more. and while the information is presented on a nonreligious basis. If he persists through the initial resistance. When understood. and the pioneering work of changing is ordinarily resisted at first. The person who resists is behaving naturally. They say the information is new. He becomes aware that problems he thought were necessary are not necessary at all.Preface Many Unnecessary Problems P RESSURES AND tensions of modern life can be reduced enormously.

study this book with honesty and an open mind. That is purpose enough for one book. and you will get some fascinating surprises. . If that seems too much to expect. Actually describing them seems to involve wild exaggeration. that purpose may seem rather vague and indefinite because the results take so many forms that they defy any hope of simple description. It will enable him to learn how to identify and drop wrong thinking so that right thinking becomes instinctive.iv How to Solve Problems and Prevent Trouble help people to find desirable objectives of all kinds. to think more clearly and successfully in all departments of life. The reason is that it removes mental blinders that have kept people living in unsuspected darkness. and even ending susceptibility to various sicknesses and accidents. A selection of results includes the correction of personality flaws and faults earlier not only uncorrectable but some that were undetectable. and to recognize and understand reality. elimination of vague feelings of guilt or fear. The purpose of the chapters that follow is to enable a person to become fully logical. destruction of bad habits and compulsive misbehavior. At first.

....... teChnique FoR solving p Roblems ........... 47 4....... impRove youR eFFeCts on p eople ..... iii .... take youR bRains out oF Chains .......... FoRmula FoR p Reventing tRouble ............ 113 v ............................................ houseClean youR emotional l iFe......................... 23 3... 90 7............... 61 5.... 76 6................ oRigin oF p Roblems a nd tRouble .............................. CaReFully inspeCt youR behavioR ........ 1 2..................................Contents p ReFaCe : many unneCessaRy p Roblems ...........

John is mixed up in his mind. you know what would happen if you tried to tell him he is illogical.Chapter  Origin of Problems and Trouble good looks are enhanced JOHN IS handsome. Does he blame his outbursts of temper on himself? Of course not. That is one of the great mistakes that people should stop making: Everybody is illogical in many different ways. He impresses people favorably—but not for very long. and nobody can easily be told. The reason is that he is usually unable to detect what is illogical about his behavior because the evidence is somehow  . He has made up his mind that they are goading him and trying to defeat him. and he is not the only one. He becomes totally illogical whenever the subject is mentioned. You can check that by considering any illogical person you know. It is no secret that human beings are illogical because the evidence abounds on all sides. he doesn’t like to be told so. He blames it on the people who seem to block him. What is more important. But it is a secret from each person that in many ways he is illogical himself. There is a strong reason why a person objects to being told.ofHis youthful and an attractive personby the appearance intelligence ality. so you do not try. Why not? Because John has an unfortunate tendency to lose his temper whenever he fails to get his own way. No matter how unfortunate the mistakes his illogic compels him to make.

at times. Another definition will also help. that may seem like an extreme statement. and that makes it clear that everybody is inadvertently illogical. it is important to tell that story. Define illogical thinking as the kind of thinking that leads to illogical action. At such times. Under those two definitions. illogical thinking is the kind of thinking that leads to problems and trouble. you will presently realize that it is not extreme. Readers will be helped by two clarifying definitions. In the light of present-day events. Nevertheless everybody has problems and trouble. Of course. How to Solve Problems and Prevent Trouble concealed from him. but if you think the matter through. Often a result that is undesirable. Define illogical action as the kind of action that leads to problems and trouble. the more problems and trouble are likely to result from his efforts. . a shocking story. the more intelligence he has. he seldom thinks illogically on purpose because nobody really wants problems and trouble. How that evidence is concealed and what can be done to expose it makes a fascinating and. Illogical action may properly be defined as action that gets some result that is different from the result the person who took the action intended. people will not be able to solve their problems and prevent trouble. It is the kind of thinking a person should learn how to identify and avoid. Because people’s thinking is illogical. You will be given information that will enable you to make astonishing improvements in the way you deal with problems and trouble of every kind. Why? Because the vast majority of people’s problems and trouble are caused by illogical thinking. At first. because unless the story is told. It means that because of inadvertent illogic a person often aims his attention in a direction that leads to problems and trouble. that does not mean they are stupid.

He is unaware of his contributions and cannot believe that he is partly to blame. but most of all. Everybody is the victim of equivalent illogic on various occasions during his life. He certainly did not intend to do that. It was the wrong thing to do and got a result he neither intended nor wanted. Each person tries to change his opponent instead of trying to change himself.Origin of Problems and Trouble  Consider the following specific example: A person attempts to back his car out of the garage. In a variety of other situations. It led to problems and trouble. He gets into trouble with other people as a result. Usually he cannot understand that he caused the trouble. That is a fair example of what is meant by illogic. When he drives his car into the garage wall. Because of inadvertent illogic. Others can see that he is contributing his share to the conflict. he lacks that kind of clear evidence. but he ignores his contributions and talks only of the contributions made by his opponent. Suppose a person is engaged in a running conflict with one of his relatives or associates. he put his car into forward gear instead of reverse. because his method of causing the trouble is effectively called to his attention. That is what keeps conflicts running at home and on the job. He won’t listen when anyone tries to tell him the conflict is partly his fault. He puts his foot on the accelerator and drives headlong into the garage wall. he gets into trouble with himself. doing extensive damage. he understands that he caused the trouble. He could readily change himself if he . The same mental blindness that prevents him from avoiding his part of the conflict also destroys his ability to detect it after it has occurred.

at first. he would stop the conflict. but. Giving that information to people everywhere will enable them to stop their conflicts as well. more than he can easily understand. That is what has already happened for persons who have . he cannot end the conflict. How to Solve Problems and Prevent Trouble knew he needed changing and knew how to change. he tries hard to avoid repeat performances. That is what makes the action illogical. The reason is that illogical action always tries to contradict nature in some impossible way. but he cannot really change his opponent. A person who has paid to have his garage and car repaired after inadvertently driving into the garage wall gives close attention to the proper setting of his gears thereafter. in general. no one can see how he is contributing to a conflict that he would like to stop and can’t. If he could. So because he misunderstands the cause. The average person gets into much more difficulty of that sort than he supposes and. That is a fair example of the problems and trouble that result from inadvertent illogic hardly detectable by its victim. Enabling him to understand his own illogical contributions to the conflict puts him in possession of the information he needs. Unfortunately he cannot similarly guard against other problems and trouble that he does not know were caused by his own illogical thinking and behavior. II T HERE IS a specific reason why illogical action leads to problems and trouble and gets undesired results. Because he can’t. he goes on trying to contradict nature. Everybody can see the contradiction of nature in an effort to drive a car backward while it is in forward gear. When a person does understand how he gets himself into problems and trouble.

Origin of Problems and Trouble  the information. Ask yourself what might happen if you tried to explain to any of those three persons just what sort of problems and trouble he is inviting. and the task of enabling them to realize just how they cause their problems and trouble is difficult to perform. He may wind up in a jail or possibly in a hospital or morgue. Not only does the information apply to the problems of stopping conflicts. It must convince the reader that he himself is personally often illogical. A person who believes that seven cocktails make him a better automobile driver is trying to contradict nature. but it also applies to every kind of problem caused by inadvertent illogic of any sort. III T HE BASIC obstacle that confronts this book should now be fairly obvious. In the past the average person has considered that information insulting. You realize at once that any such effort would be wearing and also probably futile. There is nothing personal intended by the information. but presently his health will suffer. People suffer from problems and trouble of their own making that they are incapable of blaming on themselves. but in the process. . That typical reaction brings out an important point. he will do violence to voluntary cooperation. He may get his way in certain respects. Consider the following examples: A person who tries to make himself believe that he can get along on half as much sleep as he needs is trying to contradict nature. He may succeed fairly well for a time. A person who decides he is going to get his way regardless of the feelings of other persons active in a joint endeavor is also trying to contradict nature. That is the task attempted by this book.

The following paragraphs describe the process: Each person has motives that drive him. he often encounters resistance. How to Solve Problems and Prevent Trouble and when the person who feels insulted learns exactly what process is responsible for his illogic. Everybody will recognize that he himself has gone through the process many times without understanding the serious consequences. bossy or otherwise disagreeable. What he does or says is less important than what he thinks. the result is frustration. For the average person. In his efforts to satisfy those motives. The person who is blocked is not able to satisfy his motive. . as when the other person regards him as dangerously competitive. He starts feeling eager to do something to rectify matters. Not being able to carry out a motive has an unsuspected effect. It only means that the resistance coming from nature is put into expression through a person. Whether or not the resistance comes through a person. he stops feeling insulted. When a person is frustrated in his efforts to satisfy his motives. Sometimes the resistance comes from another person. it happens often. Sometimes the resistance comes from nature. In one of its simpler manifestations. Obviously every person is a part of nature. as when he is thwarted by the law of gravity or when he wants tomorrow to come today. The fact that the resistance comes from another person does not mean that nature is left out. when it becomes overpowering. That is a situation everybody has experienced. the process is easy to explain. That emotion results from his feeling of rebellion. and it has been happening ever since his infancy. he tends to rebel and express himself in a burst of emotion. Do not think of it as a situation that happens once in a long time. Those situations in which he is resisted lead to misunderstandings.

” “Nobody can make a monkey out of me!” Anyone can easily expand the foregoing list by making contributions from his own private collection of memories. he drops each rebellious sentence into his unconscious mind. but he puts his thinking into specific sentences. Perhaps he tells himself. He assumes that when he calms down his thinking goes back to normal. After his thinking has supposedly returned to normal because his emotion has subsided.Origin of Problems and Trouble  Everybody has had many experiences with emotional thinking that results from frustration.” But that kind of thinking does not change his unconscious mind. It suggests illogical action. Perhaps he changes his conscious mind. When he indulges in a burst of emotional thinking. he soon forgets his outburst. The difficulty is that the individual thinks in terms of his conscious mind. Rather it tends to retain the flavor of the emotional sentences. The analysis of those sentences is illuminating. and he does not allow for his unconscious mind.” “I’ll force things to go my way. It puts into words something that no rational person would really support. Every sentence is somehow illogical and unrealistic. Even when he has. it doesn’t work out. He knows that in his emotional thinking he tends to talk to himself. usually not aloud. Consider the following typical examples: “No matter what I try to do. Usually the person who forms such a sentence has no real intention of living by it.” “This is one time I’m not going to let myself get pushed around. those sentences remain lodged in his unconscious mind. I’ll raise a real fuss. A central surprise of this book is that his thinking does not go back to normal. Before a person can get rid of the dangerous effects of the .” “If I can’t get what I want. “I didn’t really mean those things.

I’ll kill her!” There are husbands who have formed such a thought. even if she did make him very angry. “Someday if she makes me mad enough. How to Solve Problems and Prevent Trouble unrealistic and illogical thinking he does in his moments of emotion. Regarding each of the subjects. he must know how to change his unconscious mind where his distortions of logic are stored. Therefore. consider the effects of specific sentences that are lodged in the unconscious mind as a result of past emotional thinking. In fact. He decides that he would not dream of murdering his wife. those sentences are responsible for subtle changes in his thinking that are undetectable by him. What he does not realize is the seriousness of those words he has dropped into his unconscious mind. What happens is that in an outburst of emotional thinking the individual substitutes unreality for reality on the subject of the emotion. they cover every subject about which the individual has ever thought in one or more of his moments of emotion. Those sentences have been accumulating since infancy. They cover an astonishing range of different subjects. That is really the subject of this book. Suppose that shortly afterward the husband’s temper subsides. the unreality thereafter tends to control. Consider the next specific example: Suppose a man in a fit of anger directed toward his wife says to himself. and he decides that his wife is not really as bad as he had thought while in his temper. For him. IV B EFORE CONSIDERING how to change the unconscious mind from wrong to right. He does not realize that he has . he dismisses the thought.

he would tend to execute the command. If during ensuing years no similar outburst of temper ever occurs. In effect. because every command phrase replaces reality on the unconscious level of a person’s mind. They cause all kinds of trouble: crime. drug addiction. the words have become a command phrase. He cannot know that the change has occurred. Actually every command phrase is dangerous. including murder. but mere unconscious remembering is not what is dangerous. Virtually always. Now there is a theory that explains the origin of those urges. Some of those command phrases are quite obviously dangerous. Daily we read and hear newscasts about irresistible urges that drive people to commit illogical acts. He would have given himself an urge that may turn out to be disastrous. Of course. He does not realize that his unconscious mind still intends to carry out the threat. he loses all recollection of the command phrase. The exact words of the emotional thinking determine what his reaction will be under the conditions specified by those words.Origin of Problems and Trouble  changed only his conscious thinking. The kinds of trouble are determined by the precise words contained in the command phrases that people have fed into their unconscious minds during their moments of emotion. wars at home and on the battlefield and so on. But if he ever were to be made “mad enough” under the same emotional conditions. environmental destruction. the husband may live out his life without ever carrying out the threat. . his unconscious mind never forgets. The dangerous feature of a command phrase is that in the appropriate situations it dictates behavior without the person’s realization that anything is amiss. telling him what to do.

10 How to Solve Problems and Prevent Trouble The reason for that result is worth considering. That is the explanation of the illogical behavior that is seen on all sides among members of the human race. can be checked. and cause his thinking to produce illogical conclusions that are undetectable as such by him. Every command phrase becomes an unconscious premise that gets used in the person’s routine thinking. he recognizes the importance of getting the foregoing information into effective general use. everybody has installed many command phrases in his unconscious mind during his moments of emotion. he proves to himself that they are not aware of their deviations from what is logical. From early infancy. As a result. A person can easily check those facts by observation. a wrong premise that gets mixed in with right premises leads to wrong conclusions. It is the obstacle mentioned earlier: The average person is likely to con- . therefore. he can prove to himself that people are often illogical in what they say and do. By remembering his failures in getting people to admit they are illogical. it cannot be checked. but because it is itself unconscious. Because every human being is naturally logical in his thinking. The command phrase compulsively gets used. V A T THIS point. the basic obstacle to comprehension of this information arises for further attention. By remembering the conduct of persons he knows. It gets mixed in with the premises that are conscious and. They give him wrong premises on many different subjects. Every conclusion that is drawn from thinking involving even one wrong premise is sure to be as wrong as the premise and in exactly the same way.

what a person’s command phrases make him do represents only a part of the penalty paid for his earlier mistake. If he does. He blames the distortions.Origin of Problems and Trouble 11 sider the information insulting. He does not even blame himself. from afflictions of many kinds—even from blame. When he understands correctly. it changes many earlier theories on the subject of behavior. it is because he misunderstands the information. from fears. Once that fact is recognized. from frustrations. . A person may be to blame for the rebellious emotion under which he formed his command phrases. a vast number of public and private improvements will result. A person who understands the cause-and-effect sequence of distortions of logic sees the mistake of blaming anybody for anything. In a certain literal sense. Another will be that people will stop blaming one another and start getting rid of the causes of problems and trouble by identifying and releasing the command phrases of their own distortions of logic. Everybody needs to recognize that important fact and learn about this new approach to the prevention and solution of behavioral problems. One improvement will be that our penal systems will teach offenders how to correct distortions of logic. he cannot control what they make him do. The reason should make immediate sense. but once he has installed them in the recesses of his unconscious mind. he sees it as the basis of a release from tensions. He knows that it is a person’s command phrases that get him into trouble even by trying to be right. When more people understand that. Why not? Because he has no control over his unconsciously caused compulsions.

Starting in early infancy. he may try to avoid repeating the mistake. But he cannot ever quite overcome the damage from the command phrases of his distortions of logic. He does not succeed as often as he supposes. When he is forced to because the facts of life emphatically call a mistake to his attention. Whenever he tries hard enough. He must curb every urge he knows is likely to lead him into problems and trouble— which is difficult. he finds it impossible to make the necessary changes. If he is intelligent. he is usually given discipline by others. Usually he sees no reason why he should try because he has no way to check his logic. Because he knows nothing of his command phrases. In childhood. he can find no sensible reason for blaming his own thinking. Only in unusual cases does a person blame himself. . he can thwart the drive of some unconscious command phrases. but in other cases. At best. He has to. He must try to resist temptation. but he has to try. Step-by-step he can consider how that damage develops. a child is often rebellious and fearful so that before starting school.1 How to Solve Problems and Prevent Trouble VI R EALIZATION OF that importance is clarified when a person recognizes the extensive damage resulting from distortions of logic installed in the form of unconscious command phrases. He knows that he gets into various kinds of trouble. he adds discipline of his own as he matures. That is what happens when he inadvertently drives into the garage wall. he must work against internal resistance. but he usually finds some way of blaming the trouble on something outside himself. he accumulates a vast network of command phrases on an extremely wide variety of subjects.

they do not know they are in trouble. I’ll feel out of things if I don’t.” “I want to get on the fast track. they cannot.Origin of Problems and Trouble 1 Consider. Therefore. but their command phrases tell them not to try.” Such sentences have an illogical and unsuspected control over the person who thought them.” “With my problems. Nobody was born a smoker.” “I want to have something to keep my fingers busy.” “A fix helps me handle my job.” “Smoking makes my work bearable. Millions of persons would like to stop smoking or drinking or using drugs but have discovered that despite their decision to stop. drinker or drug abuser.” “After a few drinks.” “Needles don’t scare me. for example. The compulsions develop subtly as the result of many decisions. I forget my problems. and each of those decisions can be stated as a command phrase such as: “Everyone else smokes. I need some drinks to relax. I need to feel better. I feel dreamy. Compulsive smoking.” “A cocktail picks me up when I’m down.” “Sucking makes me feel comforted. Nobody intends to become victimized by those compulsive behavior patterns.” At first a person may think those phrases seem too logical to represent illogical thinking that has gained compulsive control.” “At the end of a day’s work.” “I do whatever I feel like doing. Here are typical command phrases that make a compulsive drinker: “I have to drown my troubles.” Reasons to use drugs are found in these command phrases: “Everybody does drugs to feel better.” “I’m going to do everything I want when I’m old enough. . Whether a phrase seems logical is not the important point.” “When I watch the smoke curl up around my face. drinking and drug abuse quite obviously are acquired behavior problems. some prevalent compulsions. Millions more would make the same discovery if they tried to stop.

the range is extensive. There is. It will cause whatever problems and trouble it suggests. smoking and drug use result from a very large accumulation of command phrases. a limitation. But it is shown more powerfully by the fact that when phrases of the sort described are properly detected.1 How to Solve Problems and Prevent Trouble What is important is whether the thought has gained unconscious control of thinking and behavior. it may help to make his drinking compulsive. When the thought is established as a compulsive command phrase. That is shown by the obvious sequences of cause and effect already cited. Identifying and releasing command phrases cannot solve a problem nor end a trouble if irrevocable damage has al- . “I like to drink all the time” is a phrase that could originally have been formed by a child in relation to lemonade. it will be used in an illogical way. they lose their effect. In later years after he starts drinking cocktails. Usually compulsive drinking. When analyzed. and the compulsive conduct stops without effort. however. Often it is originally installed in some situation that may have little or nothing to do with its future use. Often it joins forces with numerous other command phrases to cause a result that borrows something illogical from each. Often it can have the effect of causing various kinds of trouble on different occasions. That same principle has been applied to many kinds of wrong behavior. At first a person may have difficulty realizing the enormous number of different kinds of problems and trouble that are brought under control by the ability to understand and release the compulsive command phrases accumulated from past emotional thinking. and apparently it covers just about every kind of problem and trouble to which any member of society is subject.

insomnia. The connection can be made just as clear in relation to health. if they gain unconscious control over thinking.Origin of Problems and Trouble 1 ready occurred. Many of the changes seem miraculous. All that is needed is a certain kind of change in thinking. overeating. depression. feelings of rejection. Nothing ordinarily regarded as physical is needed to produce that effect. . fear. emotional and physical health. quarrel or engage in conflict. could cause smoking. here is a short list: dangerous driving. criminality. anxiety. VII T HAT DAMAGE arises in so many and varied areas of life that it seems pointless to list them. inability to concentrate. Now that relationship is being made specific in easily understandable detail. sluggishness. using techniques and methods to be explained. though it can do much more to repair damage than might ordinarily be expected. Nevertheless. drinking and drug use to be compulsive. All those conditions have been corrected by releasing the compulsive command value of sentences installed in the unconscious mind. inattention. The relationship between thinking and health has long been recognized in a general way. mental blocks to learning and communication. tendency to argue. Surprising to most persons is the beneficial effect of correcting distortions of logic on mental. VIII A NYBODY SHOULD be able to see how the command phrases cited earlier. but only because they were not previously understood. memory loss.

Many of them can be counteracted by physical means. Any person who invites physical injury or illness by his illogical thinking easily ends that invitation if he gets rid of the illogical thinking. It might be a tendency to worry or indulge in violent outbursts of emotion that invite high blood pressure. if a person is unable to sleep because of turbulent thinking.1 How to Solve Problems and Prevent Trouble Consider the sort of command phrase that causes sickness because it causes behavior that invites sickness. It might be excessive smoking. No person who understands how to correct distortions needs indefinite dependence on any artificial means of inducing sleep. It might be the excessive weight brought on by overeating. Correct the wrong thinking that is unconsciously prompted. Those problems are not basically physical. It might be a habit of long hours of overwork without reasonable health precautions. For example. The person who admits it to himself about himself takes a helpful forward step. at least. he might get relief by taking sleeping pills. and there is just no sense in trying to control them with counteracting measures. The same is true of every other problem caused by wrong thinking. It might also be a command phrase that seemingly does not directly relate to health. Numerous problems and trouble are really mental in origin. It might be indulgence in peculiar dietary habits or perhaps simple overeating. ulcers or conditions leading to a heart attack. up to a point. . or it might be a tendency to stay up too late every night or something else already cited. The sensible remedy is to end the turbulent thinking that interferes with his sleep. but everybody has mental problems. drinking. and the problem ceases to exist. drug use. A certain stigma is attached to the idea of mental problems.

Consider a few phrases that cause poor mental health: “I can’t do anything right. a person who has mental problems is not necessarily a mental patient. When emotional thinking is exposed by techniques explained in pages to come. Everybody has done a large amount of that also. Unconscious burdens are shed and so are conscious burdens-in profusion.” “I have more problems than I can solve. and a person who knows he has mental problems is less likely to become one. He learns how to solve those mental problems himself. and soon he also sees the direct relationship between his unconscious thinking and his mental health.Origin of Problems and Trouble 1 Thereafter.” “The people around me are driving me nuts. Gradually he learns the relationship between his unconscious thinking and his physical health. startling things happen.” “People have it in for me.” Everybody has done a great deal of thinking of the kind indicated. he is free to act on the admission. but a bigger burden is the sort of thinking he can’t remember having done. I just can’t think.” “I know a lot of things I don’t dare admit even to myself. Nothing can be done for him until he stops hiding from reality.” “When I get emotional. Command phrases that indirectly affect emotional health . He makes the appropriate changes. The same is true of a person’s emotional health. He does not have to try very hard to see that command phrases can have a serious bad effect on mental health. All that thinking tends to be a burden on him.” “I’m going crazy.” “No matter what I try to do. Of course.” “I don’t dare depend on myself. A person who takes the position that nothing could be wrong with his state of mind thereby stands between himself and solution of his mental problems. and I can’t help it. and he solves problems and prevents future trouble. it always fails.

” “I can’t help being frightened. every command phrase has a bad effect on emotional health. as when a serious emotional blow had just shattered a person’s composure. It requires the individual to hide something from his conscious awareness and to go on hiding it.” “Life is just too much for me. He is only changing his thinking and is no more practicing medicine or psychiatry than a person who improves his health by reducing the number of occasions when he crosses the street without looking for oncoming traffic. It is presented only as a means of changing thinking from wrong to right. using the command phrase technique often gets . If he formed it in an emotional reaction. In fact.” “I’ll try hard never to forget what he did to me. As such.” “I can’t get a hold of myself.” “I’m at the end of my rope. In those situations the person literally cannot control his emotions. “I can’t control my emotions” is a suitable example. the concept assumes command value in situations where it could not logically apply. Other phrases that adversely affect emotional health follow: “I can’t take it.1 How to Solve Problems and Prevent Trouble relate to many different subjects. That statement might easily have originated in a situation where it seemed to apply sensibly. Anyone can remember having done similar thinking. and whoever gets it cleaned out of his unconscious mind enjoys much better emotional health.” Anyone can imagine the sorts of situations in which such thinking might be done. IX T H E TECHNIQUE for correcting distortions of logic is not recommended as a substitute for needed medical or psychiatric treatment.” “Now I’ll never have another moment’s peace of mind. Many command phrases directly invite emotional trouble.” “I just can’t help crying.

that condition is caused by irrational premises lodged in the unconscious mind. As is the case with every other deviation from sane and sensible behavior.” “Nobody can beat me at anything. You may know such a person. After all the relevant command phrases are picked up. the person who formerly had to turn every conversation into an argument and then win the argument would be entirely uninterested in continuing that behavior.” Perhaps that would be a sufficient number of phrases to detect and release in order to change an argumentative person. behavior or health. One result is that a person notices instant changes in his conversation and behavior because the unconscious premises that had made his thinking irrational and unrealistic have been eliminated. If more must be detected to get the complete change. Here are typical command phrases that might be involved: “I’ll prove I’m the smartest person alive. I can’t talk at all.Origin of Problems and Trouble 1 astonishing results. The same is true in every area of life.” “The winner always gets the prizes.” “Unless I really get steamed up. conversation. then he will benefit by doing the additional amount of necessary work. Consequently they no longer get used. He just wouldn’t have the necessary urges. tending to control behavior.” “Everybody keeps trying to prove I don’t know what I’m talking about.” “I can’t agree with anybody. The following example explains how it works: Suppose a person has a large collection of command phrases that have the effect of making him insist on converting every conversation into an argument that he feels he must win. . whether a problem relates to a person’s thinking.

He just loses interest in smoking. he finds it unattractive and unnecessary. Gone is his need for self-restraint. He makes no high resolves against it. unrealistic . But in order to get that result. Many of them are well aware of the fact that what they need is a change of thinking. Certainly nothing is more physical than overweight. Despite that fact. The individual becomes able to do what he had often erroneously assumed he could do. Results in relation to physical health are often amazing. The effort to contradict urges toward wrong behavior is made unnecessary by making the needed changes in unconscious thinking so that the person can behave as he should. The same is true of a person with any other kind of compulsion. he must first correct the distortions of logic that actuate him from unconscious levels. When they learn to find and drop the distortions of logic they installed during moments of emotional. He cannot successfully contradict those distortions by telling himself counteracting command phrases. He just stops and that’s that. millions of overweight persons are unable to reduce. Today most persons agree that overweight results from overeating. While he feels no aversion to smoking. He doesn’t have to try to stop. If he tries. because they cannot drop their compulsions to overeat.0 How to Solve Problems and Prevent Trouble The compulsive smoker is able to stop smoking. He becomes able to use his brain to intelligently instruct his body. but even with that realization. He may find the resistance appearing in the form of tension or effort. they cannot change. he will generate internal resistance. Gone is his need for resolutions. He may find his compulsions showing up in some other form as when a smoker stops smoking by turning to candy which increases his weight. Gone is his need for pills or treatments of any kind.

” Some command phrases call for a sickness that is considered to be incurable. . They are able to eat what they want. “I want to be sick. swallow pills intended to suppress their appetites. they get their appetites under control. They do not need to count calories. a person who is sick is certainly justified in trying to improve his thinking and to get a correction if he can.” “Nothing can be done for me. In addition he reduces the likelihood that he will need medical attention for the various illnesses and problems brought on by overweight.” “I can’t go on fighting for my life. I’ll take to my bed and be sick.” “I’m going to have something wrong.” People’s experience with this information suggests that no physical illness is hopeless. No claim is made that any such corrections can or will be repeated. They also notice that their weight decreases. but they do notice various differences in the food they want and the quantity they eat. Astonishing corrections of supposedly incurable diseases have sometimes occurred as a result of using the procedures discussed here. the person who brings his weight down to normal presumably also lengthens his life. follow special diets. That is not the only way he can improve his physical health. so people will take care of me.” “My situation is absolutely hopeless. If overweight has the adverse effect on longevity that is widely advertised. depend on exercises. However. After he discovers what he can accomplish by changing his unconscious thinking.Origin of Problems and Trouble 1 thinking.” “Unless I get my way. he may decide to deal with other health problems more directly. so I can stay home from work. “I want to go to bed and never get up again. Some of his command phrases directly invite sickness.

 How to Solve Problems and Prevent Trouble If he tries to apply the appropriate procedure. He is much less startled if he already understands the thinking by which people have inadvertently been inviting their problems and trouble. . he may be startled by what happens just as a result of unthinking wrong thoughts.

Every sudden reaction involves use of old circuits. Usually it does not call attention to itself in any way. When a person sits on a tack. The same thing occurs when the circuit containing a distortion is used. It is not planned and intentional. Thinking occurs in the physical brain. he says. The reaction is sudden and automatic. “Ouch!” and rises before he has time to decide what has happened. because the old circuits remain intact ready for use in every situation where they apply. Only afterward does he collect the pertinent facts. It just makes the individual behave irrationally in accord with his command phrases without his awareness that 23 . A person’s emotional thinking is physical as well as abstract. and then only because he has received signals telling him on the conscious level about what has happened. Consider the nature of that mental trap. Repeated thinking of exactly the same kind may require no new circuits. The electronic impulses of thinking move along electronic circuits composed of brain cells that establish contact with each other for that purpose.Chapter 2 Technique for Solving Problems W HAT HAPPENS when a person installs a distortion of logic in one of his bursts of emotional thinking can perhaps best be described by saying that he catches himself in a mental trap from which he cannot escape by any ordinary process of thought.

The purpose of that emotion. That is a normal. Start at the beginning of the process. the emotion subsides. it satisfies the emotion that stimulated the thinking and prompted the action. some of which lead to action. In cases of illogical thinking that prompt wrong action. Or at least sufficiently closed that they carry the electronic force in the appropriate situations without having to form the connections by means of conscious thinking at the time of the action. Therefore. is to close connections between nerve cells in the brain so that thinking can travel along electronic paths in the circuits used to effectuate the desired action. those connections open and are available to form new connections. among other things. In cases of quick. Because that emotional force is . he starts formulating ideas. The foregoing explanation of the thinking process is based on common knowledge taught to school children as long as fifty years ago. A person’s emotion is the force behind his thinking. the circuits remain closed. a somewhat different procedure is used. a wrong result does not satisfy the emotional force that stimulated the illogical thinking. Therefore. and it will be described next. Sometimes the action succeeds. and in that case it is logical action. As the response to an emotional stimulus. When a person’s action succeeds. How to Solve Problems and Prevent Trouble anything is amiss. Illogical thinking is previously defined as thinking that does not succeed in getting a result that satisfies the emotional desires of the person who does the thinking. seemingly instinctive action such as exclaiming and suddenly rising after sitting on a tack. It forms the basis of a logical explanation by which a person of ordinary education and intelligence can understand the process of installing a distortion of logic in the physical sense. When the emotion subsides. natural procedure.

the emotion does not fully subside. He must reopen the closed mental circuits that send his thinking compulsively through the illogical. each person has many closed mental circuits inviting trouble of various kinds. Therefore. When the trouble arises.Technique for Solving Problems  not satisfied. They remain for repeated use on future occasions when the same emotion is restimulated. The command to act waits for the day of specific restimulation. Therefore. The restimulation may never occur. They produce behavior as compulsive as the action of exclaiming and rising after a person has sat on a tack. I’ll kill her!” Those words represent a burst of illogical. “Someday if she makes me mad enough. Consider the earlier example of the man who told himself about his wife. the connections between brain cells formed to effectuate the thinking do not unform. wrong thinking done in a flash of emotion. the words of that command are trapped in a closed mental circuit that cannot be reopened by any ordinary process of thought. II B ECAUSE EACH person has done a large amount of emotional thinking. he faces the problem of dealing with it. but he . Anybody can reopen his closed mental switches. wrong patterns set up when the individual first did the emotional thinking inviting the trouble. but if his wife ever happens to enrage him in the precise way necessary to cause an upsurge of the same emotion. Basically there is only one way to put a stop to recurring trouble. the husband will murder her as surely as he will exclaim and suddenly rise after he has sat on a tack. They cannot lead to action that satisfies the emotion behind them unless their command is executed.

Nobody can think consciously without throwing mental switches. he gains an intent to do something to rectify the situation in which he finds himself. the process of doing it. The reason is that the individual has strong urges to gratify his unconscious thinking. Because the person who has problems has not known about his distortions of logic. A purpose of this book is to give him that impulse. that is not how problems are ordinarily approached. He does not have an impulse to change it. Until he gets that impulse. he is helpless. identify and release in succession all the closed mental circuits that are causing illogical. His difficulty in relation to his past emotional thinking is that he doesn’t throw the proper switches because he doesn’t know he should. When he understands the precise nature of emotional thinking and what it does to him. he cannot reach into his brain with his hand and physically open or close mental switches so that the results of his past emotional thinking are eliminated. As he gains understanding. Instead of changing . the impulses necessary to lead him toward correction take form and actuate him. he tends to blame his problems on factors other than their true cause. Of course. Obviously. And also because even if he did know he should. That causes him to learn whatever he must learn to extricate himself from the predicament he has not known he is in. goes against his inclinations. wrong thinking and behavior to be compulsively repeated. at first. but he can throw the necessary switches in a physical sense just by using a thinking process. How to Solve Problems and Prevent Trouble has to know how. III T HE PURPOSE of those impulses is to locate. He forms and unforms them all the time.

he usually tries to change the people and conditions around him. but actually he has only rearranged his life to let him ignore the problem. In that case he may assume he has no problem if he successfully manages to avoid such work. Consider the explanation of why it fails. Suppose a person has command phrases telling him that he is unable to do a certain kind of work. If that happens before he knows how to correct distortions of logic. Suppose a person has command phrases telling him he cannot take certain action that is really essential to his life. Thereafter he is miserable in her presence. For example. There are innumerable ways of counteracting command phrases available. There are many other illustrations that could be cited. The usual problem-solving methods in common use seldom do more than counteract a person’s command phrases. Suppose a person has done emotional thinking that leaves him with an assumption that he cannot get along with his wife. he decides to leave her. After enough additional emotional thinking. One way is to use the power of contradicting motives. if someone has distortions telling . correcting distortions enables a person to solve food problems and permits use of rational eating habits. As has been proved by many experiments. although actually it never does. he may feel that he has solved his problem. Separated from her. Suppose a person forms command phrases telling him he cannot eat certain foods. death could result—unless the problem of counteracting his command phrases is somehow solved. Seemingly he can solve his problem by eliminating the foods named in those command phrases.Technique for Solving Problems  his own thinking. But actually his problem is not solved until he rids himself of the command phrases that cause him to be unable to eat those foods. The same corrections occur when this information is applied in other areas of life. Often that may seem to succeed.

getting dressed.” “I need my bottle to stay alive. A person’s tendency to use artificial means of counteracting the drives that result from past emotional thinking is easily illustrated in the field of medicine. perhaps in childhood. Stresses of modern life often seem to be the cause of a person’s inability to remain alert while at work. Putting that phrase into his . Analysis of the command phrases quickly shows that none of them is logical. Whether or not he succeeds depends on the strength of the motives to keep his job in contrast with that of the motives to criticize his boss.” At first glance it may appear that the foregoing phrases are normal reactions to a life of stress.” “I can’t stand this pace. the statement “Everything bothers me” is not true for the person who formulates it. There are certain things in his life that do not bother him: Sports.” “I can’t function without a fix. but it is also true that the stimulants can be eliminated with no sense of loss if the distortions are corrected that translate the difficulties of life into unreasonable dullness and fatigue. but only if he avoids too frequent emotion strong enough to override his self-restraint.” “No matter what I do. but that is not the case. Therefore. Those distortions might have the following command phrases: “Everything bothers me. coffee and other more drastic stimulants. There is no doubt that the stimulants do have some of the desired effect. Probably those motives will work well enough that by restraining himself he can keep his job. he can use the power of motives to keep his job as a means of holding himself in check.” “I need something to prop me up. For example. eating a meal and so on. Each of those sentences is formed in a moment of real or imagined stress. How to Solve Problems and Prevent Trouble him to criticize his boss. and each then becomes an irrational rule of life. millions of persons prop themselves up with pep pills. I can’t wake up until noon.

He should not try to counteract it by resisting the urges it generates or by taking contradictory action. tend to dull the edge of his emotional discomfort. Instead. there is only one way for a person to solve it. Many persons avidly seek all sorts of pleasures and balms for that reason. Because people have lacked knowledge of how to do that. He may feel inclined to seek pleasures with great determination because sufficiently keen pleasures. he should take action that has the effect of reopening the closed mental circuits that constitute . they have done the best they could in a world filled with emotional stress. When a problem is caused by wrong thinking. Increasingly they have tended to rely on balms and diversions of one sort or another. he must react to everything as though he is bothered. because everything will bother him wherever he goes. because the effects of conscious and unconscious wrong thinking are made more bearable by a person’s drugged state. In fact. He cannot solve his problem by moving away from a source of irritation. at least. They cannot solve their problems until they learn to correct the distortions of logic that cause them. In recent years people have used mood-altering drugs. He is in a really difficult situation. because they are always seeking something they never quite succeed in finding. No doubt the drugs do take the edge off some of the unpleasant emotion.Technique for Solving Problems  unconscious mental circuits gives him an unconscious obligation to live in accord with it. the drugs allow thinking to go further and further off the track as more distortions are installed. but drugs do not cure anything caused by illogical conscious or unconscious thinking. Therefore. They do not solve their problems. He has to drop the illogical. Those procedures cause the problem to become more and more serious as time passes. wrong thinking.

because the appropriate circuits cannot be located directly. illogical. because reality and truth are superseded by his command phrases. V A PERSON cannot face concealed truth directly because his distortions stand in the way. Therefore. he cannot succeed. No matter how the individual tries to face such truth. His logical procedure is to face the . After the distortion is released. unrealistic. That explains why people are virtually unable to face disagreeable truth about themselves. wrong thinking. IV T HERE IS no use trying to open those closed circuits directly. because he faces that truth without even trying. You may be able to see how another person is causing himself some kind of trouble.0 How to Solve Problems and Prevent Trouble the physical embodiment of the past emotional. he must face that truth indirectly. he would not stay in the trouble. The disagreeable truth tends to be concealed in their distortions of logic. he would rather die than face that truth. he is blind to truth on the subject of that distortion. That is the nature of a person’s mental trap. he need not be asked. He cannot face the appropriate reality or truth until he has first destroyed the distortions of logic that conceal it. but if he were able to see it himself. Asking him to look at that reality or truth is like asking him to lift himself by his bootstraps. Asking him to try causes him additional frustration. So long as a person retains a distortion. A person has to take indirect action. In effect.

and he can achieve freedom from emotion in various ways. Nobody retains a distortion after he sees that it aims in a wrong direction toward action that will frustrate him. because the words correctly duplicate the original thinking. their influence on his thinking is gone. Another way may make more sense to a beginner. A person is not dominated by a command phrase of which he is aware and knows is illogical. Therefore. What a person needs is a willingness to give up the concept expressed in the words of the command phrase. his mind cannot be freed from the distortion.Technique for Solving Problems 1 words of untruth that make up his distortions of logic and release them. It is important that he find the exact concept. Often the beginner assumes that he should feel a sudden emotional reaction or a sense of great illumination when a distortion is corrected. When he does that. he sends the necessary electronic force through the same mental circuit that had remained closed ever since the original unrealistic thinking was done. Freedom from emotion enables him to accomplish that. but usually the change is hardly noticeable. The words that describe the wrong concept are the key to his release. If he gives attention to his command phrases with that sort of emotion. he simply perpetuates the distortion. he may feel a sudden release of tension. . At times. In that situation. One way is to remain calm while inspecting the words. All that is necessary is to give those words brief conscious attention without emotion of the sort that accompanied the original illogical thinking. Unless he does. he should raise the words of his illogical command phrases to the conscious level where they can be recognized for what they are. He should inspect the words with a willingness to see how they are illogical and wrong.

When he understands the process. The needed technique is one that enables a person first to bring the elusive ideas into focus. He can select any subject at random on which he has strong feelings and put those ideas on a sheet of paper as fast as they come to mind. and he can think of them in quick succession in relation to most problems he tries to solve. He cannot approach them directly anymore than he can directly approach the truth they conceal. Some persons get that result quickly. That is why people did not learn sooner to straighten out their illogical thinking accumulated from the past. The necessary process is different from procedures usually taught because it necessitates thinking about something that tends to elude their minds. Each sentence should express the idea exactly—just as he has often expressed his feelings to himself or others over the years. so he approaches them indirectly. VI P ERHAPS THE easiest form of the technique a person can use is to collect on paper a selection of strong ideas. and there are certain ways to accomplish that. How to Solve Problems and Prevent Trouble He has to make enough corrections that they begin to show in his daily life before he becomes convinced that something important is really happening to him. The whole job is done by releasing his wrong thinking. it is also corrected in an instant if it is corrected at all. his distortions seem to hide from him. It is a person’s conscious recognition of the command phrases of the distortion that works. Because every distortion is installed in an instant. he corrects distortions as fast as he is able to think of command phrases. Until he acquires skill in using the technique. Perhaps he may select the name of some person he dis- .

books on getting along with people usually advise people to see the best in others. Those judgments impair a person’s effective intelligence and make him compulsively antisocial toward anybody he dislikes.” “He’s always trying to get me into trouble. There are some people who do it virtually all the time. He would be mentally blinded to their virtues. He should not edit the list nor make it seem polite.” “He gives me a pain in the neck. Any brain infested with such sentences in relation to other persons is a brain in chains. critical remarks he has made to himself and others about the person involved. and he certainly could not see the best in them.” “I couldn’t trust him with anything.” “If I had my choice. and that mental blindness would remain until the distortions were . If he thinks about those sentences in relation to any person he knows and happens to dislike and analyzes the sentences carefully in complete honesty.” “The sight of him makes me sick at my stomach. he will see that they make little real sense. but they are just typical of the thinking everybody does at various times in his life. For example.Technique for Solving Problems  likes. If so.” Those sentences may seem extreme at first glance. he should write the name of that person at the top of his paper. The following sentences are typical: “He’s the most dishonest person I’ve ever met. It is illogical and wrong for a person to form those judgments. But anyone who has installed the foregoing distortions in relation to other persons is sure to see them through those distortions. He should write down exactly all the uncomplimentary. and then list exactly what he has thought about that person in the past. I’d never speak to him again. because they stick in his mind and influence his attitudes.

he can draw on his memory. The way a person gets corrections is to inspect his distortions. No change is needed in the other person to correct the distortions. his mind is no longer trapped by the unrealistic thinking that magnified every fault and manufactured faults where no faults existed. How to Solve Problems and Prevent Trouble corrected. After he accumulates perhaps two dozen samples of strong thinking about the person he dislikes. his thinking becomes rational and free flowing. More important. He should seek flaws in the logic they express. he may have some chronic illness as a result of his determination to retain the illogical thought. He may think some sentences seem logical even under close inspection. he should extend it and add more items. The change is needed in the person who has them. That may not become serious if he continues using the technique for correcting distortions. he can draw on his imagination. he should continue working on his list. After the first inspection of the list. At first. crossing off the items he sees are illogical. If he has to associate closely with the person about whom he has that distortion. . When he finds illogic in a sentence. and after he exhausts his memory. he is glad enough to release every distortion no matter how warmly he has cherished it in the past. In short. For example. Therefore. he should pause to consider them. he has released its power to dominate his thinking thereafter.” In that case he just has to go on getting sick periodically until he is willing to let go of that thought. he can see virtues. a person may be willing to admit that it is illogical to think “He is lower than a worm.” but perhaps refuse to budge on “He makes me sick. After he corrects the distortions. After a person goes far enough that he really understands what a distortion is and how it afflicts him.

What is important is to get all the pertinent phrases into the list and see how they are illogical and cause compulsive behavior. Under that variation. he should notice his emotional reactions. Presently he starts recognizing some of those phrases. If a person considers the matter. In review. he gradually enables himself to stretch his memory. Therefore. By using imagination to extend his memory. then go over the list daily to add a few items. he can see why. He cannot consciously remember ever having thought them or having put them into spoken words. The phrases he remembers thinking are easy to capture.Technique for Solving Problems  There is solid reason why that is effective. he should also look for former items that no longer arouse his emotions. Actually he can think of it more easily than he could think of a new phrase. when he draws on imagination to extend his list. Therefore. A person’s imagination tends to follow paths already established. As long as a command phrase arouses a person’s emotions. Whether or not he consciously recognizes all the command phrases is not important. it can be assumed that he is not yet released from . Some of them will have a strong grip on his emotions. they are beyond his conscious recall.its . in addition to looking at each phrase to see how it is somehow illogical and unrealistic. he can think of it again. But the phrases that have dropped out of conscious recall are also possible to capture by the process of drawing on imagination. he tends to include all the pertinent phrases that would otherwise be out of reach. If he still feels strongly about a sentence. he should keep it in the list. a variation in the technique is suggested to help him get started. If he has ever thought a command phrase. Many of a person’s most serious distortions were installed long ago. When he has that difficulty. Those are the items to cross out.

too. Perhaps a variety of situations he dislikes. There are other variations of the technique that may seem more direct. To his surprise. wrong thinking trapped in closed mental circuits. he may discover that in a short time he can change his thinking about many of those situations. for example. VII T HE USUAL approach to a disagreeable situation is very different from the procedure just described. he applies it to other problems also. but the others will all seem different to him. He also discovers that he no longer harbors those former ill feelings. he presently discovers that he has no items left to add or cross off. A person using either of those approaches never really solves the problem of his animosity. How to Solve Problems and Prevent Trouble power to control him. Instead of limiting the procedure to dealing with animosities. In the case of animosity. The procedures that have been described have that effect as they throw the precise mental switches that need to be thrown. the only way to solve the problem is to reopen those closed mental circuits. the usual approach is either to retaliate or else to avoid the person disliked. He will not have changed anyone except himself. he also begins to realize the significant results that can be accomplished by using the same procedure wherever it applies. . When a problem is caused by illogical. If the process of giving daily attention to his list is continued. As a person realizes the significance of the changes he has made in himself. If he applies the same treatment to his thinking in relation to every person he dislikes. he presently finds he is unable to think of anybody he dislikes.

That information also applies to distortions that he accumulates in a written list. he cannot look at a distortion directly until after he has released it. No distortion of logic can stand honest inspection by its victim. As soon as he inspects it honestly. If he applies the procedure correctly.Technique for Solving Problems VIII  N O VARIATION of the technique is really direct. He sees how to use the indirect approach in various ways. When a person starts listing his strong ideas on paper. He sees why he has difficulty counteracting those problems and why he could never really solve them. the more reason he should include it. After a person really understands distortions and the process of approaching them indirectly. He later will discover that many ideas he had long considered logical cannot stand the light of rigorous analysis. with the result that he puts his distortions where he can see them. By the procedure of writing strong ideas. and he remains its victim only so long as he fails to inspect it with the intent to do the right thing. In that situation he is acting in accord with his distortions in a harmless way. the individual guarantees that he will merely act on it instead of correcting it. the indirect approach is effectively illustrated. he drops it. The reason is that by direct approach to a distortion. his direct effort is not so much to inspect those ideas as to express them. he has a tendency to feel that he is not listing distortions but is instead listing ideas that he feels are justified. The indirect approach enables him to inspect it. the more logical he thinks a strong idea will appear under analysis. . he clearly sees how they have led him into problems. Always the indirect element should be preserved. No matter how much a person knows about distortions of logic. In fact.

When does the release occur? It occurs at the precise instant when the illogic of the command phrase is detected. Consider how such help works. At first. The individual believes that he is writing truth rather than untruth. and that truth does not become visible until the distortion is released. he can be given help provided he is willing to accept it. If he observes their behavior. By listening to what they say. That is easy. Suppose a person sees someone who has distortions on the subject of overeating. After a person learns enough about somebody else’s dis- . When anyone expresses himself with strong emotion. because he has no consciousness of having distortions. he can see their distortions getting used. If he is fortunate enough to know some person who understands distortions and how they work. especially by listening to what they say with strong emotion. But hidden under each distortion is the truth that it conceals. There are many such people and they are identifiable by their size. How to Solve Problems and Prevent Trouble At first each command phrase seems like a realistic thought instead of an unrealistic. At first he does not know where to look. By watching people’s behavior. It is important for him to learn how and where to look. it no longer deludes. Thereafter. Because every distortion deludes the individual. he can extend the list. the process of locating distortions can be difficult. a person can accumulate a list of command phrases for persons he knows. he may not be able to find any. In the beginning that sort of help is hard to accept until the individual has so much competence in correcting distortions that his need for help is greatly reduced. People constantly voice their distortions. He can infer the distortions from their behavior and hear them being expressed in ordinary conversation. he is almost always voicing one or more of his command phrases. wrong thought.

” “If I can’t eat what I want. as soon as he relaxes the effort.Technique for Solving Problems  tortions. If he doesn’t understand distortions. I just worry. If his attention is called to one of them.” “The smell of food makes me hungry. Although he tries to counteract the promptings of his various command phrases. but that is not the only way of holding it intact. Here are typical phrases causing overweight: “I have to be eating all the time. that a command phrase should always be dropped and that if he denies or agrees with it. He may deny the command phrase. he would know what to do about his overweight. he may be able to tell why he suffers from the problem of overweight. If he restrains his appetite by great effort over a period. The person who understands about distortions of logic knows why. His logical response is to recognize that his thinking is incorrect. life isn’t worth living. he tends to become indignant or defensive.” “I care more about my appetite than my weight. he tends to resist being told. That’s just my trouble!” In that instance he destroys his chance to get released from the wrong thought.” “When I’m not eating. If he is told.” “Nothing can stop me from eating!” “I’d hate to be skinny. Denying it merely holds it intact. I do. Neither of those two reactions is a logical response. he resists having them pointed out to him. If that person understood distortions. “You have to be eating all the time. He can do it with a reaction exactly opposite to denying it.” The person who has those phrases may try hard to reduce but finds he is blocked. he tends to regain the weight he lost. but he cannot easily tell someone who does not.” he may say.” “I have to eat or I’d starve to death. “Yes. He may agree with the command phrase. he is supporting his compulsion to overeat. Obviously he cannot give that response unless he under- .

He can decide how a person’s tone of voice is influenced when he is putting one of his command phrases into specific words. Those observations enable him to notice the words of the person’s command phrases by analyzing his actions. he can learn how a person looks and sounds when he is acting under the promptings of his command phrases. He also benefits by the fact that he can learn to recognize his own distortions even if he approaches them directly. he benefits by the fact that he can easily be indirect in his approach. In that case he cannot recognize them in another person. From his behavior he can infer the wording of command phrases. His ordinary conversation is also revealing. His observation of distortions in other people’s conversation and behavior offers great value in his efforts to release his own intelligence. Then he can apply all that sort of information to himself. provided he does not have identical distortions. Often . People who do understand are able to provide enormous help to one another as they work their way out of hidden mental traps. Gradually he learns to recognize the emotional symptoms that tell him when he is in danger because he is thinking through distortions. When a person attempts to detect a distortion in someone else. But at the outset. He is blocked from recognizing its illogic as effectively as in the case of directly seeking distortions in himself. By observing others he can learn valuable lessons about how to detect similar distortions in himself. For example. Why is that? Because every expression of that distortion seems logical to him. He can think back at once to what he was saying or doing and try to remember his thinking at the time. what has been said about detection of distortions in another person has been said mainly for illustration. a person may have to work alone. Therefore.0 How to Solve Problems and Prevent Trouble stands distortions of logic.

he trains himself to be alert to what he says. he will detect flaws in it by recognizing command phrases. If so. says and does expresses command phrases while actuated by emotion. Suppose you have learned from the foregoing information that when people around you get into trouble. Suppose he has identified emotional strain by observing it in others. That procedure saves him from the consequences of that particular expression of irrational conversation. Presently he discovers that sometimes he is able to detect and release a distortion before he puts his command phrases into words. The difficulty is that he seldom supposes he is so actuated. Instead of . When under emotion. learning to notice it in others is important. His thinking is even more revealing. he can apply to himself. If so. you can think about the distortions that led you into the trouble. Therefore. When you get into trouble of any kind. IX S UPPOSE A person has learned that talking under emotional strain is an indication that he is expressing distorted thinking. it is because they have taken illogical action. More important. especially with strong feeling. Everything he thinks. Under careful analysis. Every time he does. he corrects distortions. you can put that information to good use in relation to yourself.Technique for Solving Problems 1 he will be able to isolate command phrases just by remembering what he said. next time he detects such emotional strain in himself he can take time out to analyze what he was just saying. Whatever he learns in relation to them. a person thinks in terms of command phrases—those he already has on the unconscious level and those he newly forms.

although he is wise to begin with some problem he has reason to suspect was caused by his own wrong thinking. Perhaps he has difficulty going to sleep when he should. Remember what you said and did. Therefore. It is known as the command phrase technique. How to Solve Problems and Prevent Trouble blaming factors outside yourself and trying to change them. He may select the problem at a time when he is suf- . and many persons are using it. While it requires skill and the confidence of experience to make it really effective. Any problem will serve. X T HERE IS a way of using the indirect approach that gives it almost the effect of a direct approach. Every distortion of logic can be described in command phrases that cause an unending series of problems. If he is honest about it. In doing so. you are able to put attention on the real cause of the trouble: command phrases of distortions of logic. but they cannot be solved except by correcting the thinking that causes them. he can identify several such problems with little effort. you apply the indirect approach to yourself. Use the same indications that you have learned to detect by studying the conversation and behavior of others. Those problems can be counteracted. You can think back to various situations in which you encountered results that were wrong and unwanted. Suppose you have learned how to translate someone else’s conversation and behavior into the command phrases that caused it. Selection of the problem provides his lead and gets him started. Look for command phrases you may have expressed in your conversation and behavior. you can similarly analyze your own conversation and behavior. a person should begin with the recognition of a problem. If so. it is a quick method.

He should ask inside his mind what command phrases could have the effect of keeping him awake.” The sentence was not logical then. he should not delude himself by that statement any longer. He can use his imagination to get more phrases. he has to recognize that his troublesome sleep pattern is a solvable problem. it will still not be rational. Even if he repeats it to himself many times in the exasperation of sleeplessness. He may remember various statements he has made on the subject of his sleeplessness. That correction lets him cancel one reason for staying awake. Therefore. and it was incorrect. Some of them he may mistakenly consider too logical to be command phrases. In that situation nothing is lost and something is to be gained by applying the technique. that person did sleep. he will fall asleep. For example. . and it is still not logical. if the command phrase is “I just can’t sleep no matter how I try. The fact is that the foregoing quotation involves a sentence that was not logical at the time it was originally thought. After he gets tired enough.” he can easily delude himself into imagining that the phrase merely describes a condition that exists. probably he is lying in bed at the time keenly aware of the problem. if he goes after command phrases that keep him from falling asleep. Therefore. Many times afterward. Giving the problem proper attention is certainly more interesting than counting sheep. That fact alone proves that he was wrong when he said.Technique for Solving Problems  fering from it. It was probably formed in exasperation. By detecting its illogic. In the first place. Presently command phrases come to his mind almost effortlessly. He may as well give his insomnia proper attention and get rid of it. “I just can’t sleep no matter how I try. he releases its hold on his mind.

. He shouldn’t be surprised if there are dozens of them. At first he may overlook many of his serious problems. How to Solve Problems and Prevent Trouble He can apply the same procedure to one command phrase after another so long as he remains awake. In due course they will come to his attention. In the process he is often astonished by the degree of control over his life and bodily functions that is attributable to distortions. If a problem is serious enough to demand attention. So it is with every other kind of problem. but some persons report desired changes at once. but no matter. To get started. and by that procedure he will eventually get rid of all the responsible phrases. Doing that with one problem after another gets startling results. Whenever he finds himself unable to fall asleep. A person’s problems should be approached in the order in which they come to his attention so that they can be dealt with as a matter of course while he goes about his daily affairs. no matter. Perhaps a person won’t see those results in the first day or week. He may reach a permanent solution for his problem of sleeplessness in his first effort. The phrases most likely to come to his mind are the ones that are keeping him awake. a person should make a list of problems to work on. His sleep problem can be solved in just a small part of the time he formerly spent wrestling with it. because he has spent a lot of hours forming them while he courted sleep perhaps for many years. He can give each just enough attention to recognize it as a command phrase. and presently he will fall asleep. he can try again. but if not. it is serious enough to solve rather than to go on trying to counteract it. He can just use the time and attention he already gives the problem to get rid of it. All that mental rubbish must be disposed of before the problem is completely solved.

he will also change the course of his life. elimination of bad habits. he should repeat the procedure and continue until the desired change occurs. inability to concentrate. He tries to get solace from balms that fail to satisfy. As a result of that discovery. he should realize. There is no problem likely to be mentioned that does not belong in the list in one form or another. That makes his life difficult. Every frustration he encounters. He has to get up when he would rather stay in bed. He can pick up command phrases and get as many as he easily can. restlessness. If the needed changes elude him. physical ills and accidents. inclination to worry. He can pause to think and ask himself what sort of illogical thinking invited the frustration. As he makes progress. and he refrains from all sorts of things because he must. He does all sorts of things because he has to. tendency always to be in a hurry. he will get many interesting surprises. impatience. self-consciousness. He has to go to bed when he would rather stay up. . sour relationships. emotional tension. points to an example of illogic.Technique for Solving Problems  The following is a list of the problems others have eliminated: Boredom. shyness. There are several problems in that list a person could expect to do something about. feelings you must make every decision and cannot ever depend on the decisions of others. He will detect problems where he thought no problems existed. He will discover that human beings do an enormous amount of needless suffering of many different kinds. but a beginner should not arouse initial skepticism by selecting problems he considers impossible to solve. quick temper. The average person advances from one frustration to another and tends to consider it normal. talking without thinking.

he finds that his life simplifies. a person sees remarkable improvements in his mental. Gradually he discovers that life is not so complicated as people are fond of saying.” Maybe you can’t believe that such thinking can actually cause sickness. and so will I. By applying the technique to sickness. and the purpose of those complicated mechanisms is to enable people to simplify their lives. . If not. Remember that nobody gets into trouble by trying to correct distortions of logic when some sickness or other trouble impends. you may become one of those persons who has already produced a seemingly spontaneous recovery of what is thought to be an incurable disease.” “I’m sick of my job. Those results also increase his tension. Unfortunately people devise their own complexities. they can be eliminated. They know that every phrase of illogical thinking places an added strain on the person who harbors it and that each phrase causes illogical behavior and hence frustration.” “It’s normal for me to be sick every few months. I’m always one of the first to catch it. but with understanding.” “I just know I’ll die from some virus. By using the command phrase technique. just use what you can accept from what you are reading. Consider the following command phrases: “My father died of a heart attack. How to Solve Problems and Prevent Trouble As he progresses.” “Whenever a bug starts going around. because many phrases demand action that interferes with a rational way of life. It is the mechanisms of life that are complicated. many phrases directly invite poor health by their wording. Those improvements are happening to the persons who are engaged in a research project for that purpose. emotional and physical health. In addition.

the lack of information keeps them from knowing how they could have caused it. By correcting distortions he can make changes in his thinking that eliminate the causes of many of his sicknesses. it constitutes a problem to be solved. and once sickness has come into being. he would not have caused it. people are intelligent to prevent sickness. This book explains why people are not intelligent to let themselves become sick. he is in a position of standing in his own light. If he refuses to admit his responsibility. correcting distortions enables him to change what he does or doesn’t do. That is the old business of locking the barn door after the horse has been stolen.Chapter 3 Formula for Preventing Trouble S ICKNESS IS obviously a sign that something has already gone wrong. he cannot do anything to get rid of the cause. and after getting sick. Very few people want to be sick. So long as he obscures from himself the cause of his sickness. It could be expected that if he had known how he was causing the sickness. Of course. a person who is sick usually does not think that he had anything to do with causing the sickness. 47 . With the information already provided. All that changes when a person understands about distortions of logic. In that event he must depend on what might be done medically to counteract the cause. If he is sick as a result of something he did or failed to do.

When he feels he can successfully counteract the losses. If he used the same ingenuity correcting distortions. he would soon become rational about his way of life. and the feeling that trouble is not preventable in many areas of life supports the proliferation of present-day adversity. The feeling that trouble can properly be counteracted is responsible for a large amount of trouble that could be prevented. He may keep himself fortified with uppers and downers and antacids. Instinctively he tends to balance what he thinks he will gain against what he thinks he might lose. he must go on suffering from the trouble unless he can successfully counteract it in some way. he makes a serious mistake. wrong action. By correcting his distortions. How to Solve Problems and Prevent Trouble The same is true of every other kind of trouble that is caused by the person who has the trouble. he always expects to gain something. He may believe that if he is smart. He would not have to deprive himself of it as he may if he continues and is told by his doctor that he must desist to survive. he creates a situation in which his lifestyle strikes him as being illogical and wrong. He detects only those that are obvious. he can ward off the evil effects of his particular lifestyle. There is another way in which the feeling that trouble can be counteracted contributes to continued trouble. and he fails to . So long as he fails or refuses to consider the possibility that he caused the trouble himself. he assumes he is free to proceed. and it is fundamental. When a person is tempted to take illogical. One difficulty is that he cannot fully comprehend the losses. Then he changes it. A person who knows that his life on the fast track is bad for his health may try to close his eyes to the connections between his sicknesses and his way of life. By acting on that assumption.

If he could really get what he wants from drinking alcohol without the risk of paying too much for what he gets. Those reasons seem logical to him. he tends to ignore the remainder. but he doesn’t think that out. compulsive drinking might not be considered too high a price to pay. as is the case with many compulsive drinkers. He has his mind on the feeling of warm comfort that pervades his system when his blood has absorbed enough alcohol. Presumably such a person has heard about the dangers of excessive drinking. not by moderating his drinking but by taking pains to hide it from his employer. And so it goes. The process is illustrated by applying the foregoing reasoning to the way by which a person becomes a compulsive drinker. So he may try to counteract that danger. He could consider the possibility that his drinking may destroy his employer’s confidence in him. He has his mind on his desired relief from tensions and on the feeling of buoyancy that he expects will repay him for drinking. but he assumes he will be able to avoid them. . After he finishes counting the cost he is willing to pay. He has his mind on his wants and how he can counteract the penalties he must pay for acting on those wants. He may refuse to look beyond the cost of the next drink and thus refuse to consider the cost of a whole evening of drinks. He is not likely to consider the possibility that his earnings will be jeopardized if he shows up drunk on the job. He may count the cost in money and decide he is willing to pay it. He has his mind on gratifying the urges based on his motives.Formula for Preventing Trouble  allow for the hidden losses that will presently result from that wrong thinking.

It may be a burst of lust or greed or pride or of any emotion that has the effect of stimulating illogical thinking and wrong action while reducing intelligence. From the foregoing it is clear that distortions are not always installed in a burst of obvious emotion. II P ERHAPS FEW persons are able. he naturally thinks that whatever kind of trouble he gets into is not his fault. to accept the possibility that they cause all their own trouble. But every reader can recognize that many persons have trouble of their own causing that they blame on factors outside themselves. That observation suggests a plan of action.0 How to Solve Problems and Prevent Trouble The one thing that ordinarily is not done by a person engaged in the process of becoming a compulsive drinker is to face the facts of his growing compulsion. He should remember what has been said in these pages . at this point. It is a hidden penalty that everybody pays as a result of the emotional thinking by which he installs his distortions of logic. He hides those facts from himself by installing distortions as he goes along. Everybody has experienced many emotions that have led him to install distortions. That is the real penalty of an assumption that trouble can be counteracted. They may be installed in a burst of subtle emotion that may or may not contain anger. he loses his ability to face his wrong thinking except by the indirect methods that are described in this book. but everybody needs to discover the error of that thought. a person should pause and reflect. There are many such emotions that are not normally detected. Under that circumstance. When some trouble arises. Because of those distortions.

Formula for Preventing Trouble 1 and consider the possibility that somehow the trouble resulted from illogical action on his part. Suppose you have pernicious anemia. but it has been included for a specific reason. he probably would be in the position also of having stopped the trouble. You may at first suppose that the foregoing illustration is rather farfetched. His experience presently tells him what he can accomplish by use of the command phrase technique. He may discover that his thinking and behavior change enough to enable him to see that he did cause the trouble himself. Perhaps you will feel afraid to rely fully on the correction of distortions to protect you from trouble. don’t rely on it fully. Often a person fails to accomplish something beneficial because he fails . Then he can see what develops. but also correct distortions. it is that anybody can use the technique of correcting distortions without abandoning any other procedure in which he has confidence. but use any other measures you consider appropriate. If so. At the same time. The reason is not that many seemingly farfetched changes have resulted from correcting distortions. If your physical condition is caused by distortions. Continue whatever treatment your doctor recommends. If so. correcting them would change it. He should seek command phrases that could cause the trouble. and continue until he has found enough command phrases to give him some justification for assuming that he may have made the necessary corrections. although they have. he may be willing to make revisions in the amount of trouble he feels he has caused himself. Consider an example in relation to health. Nobody has to force himself on that point. When that happens. After he has done that often enough. let your doctor decide what to do about it. perhaps you have been taking daily injections of liver extract for years to keep yourself alive.

Therefore. he learns about a principle of behavior. but he realizes that his part of the trouble is his fault. He should know that if the result is important. How to Solve Problems and Prevent Trouble to try. many changes occur. conversation and conduct on the subjects of the distortions change at once in accord with the corrections. so will be the loss. Accepting it is easy for the persons who already know it. accepting it is difficult for other persons. The reader is not asked to accept it until he understands it. The principle is that each person’s part of every trouble is his own fault. . even though at first it does not seem so. Thinking. There is real benefit in taking that attitude. All he is asked to do is to realize the obvious truth that people often fail to recognize when trouble is their own fault and to consider the possibility that some specific trouble is of his own making. he learns that many kinds of trouble are his fault that he never suspected he caused. One benefit is that the foregoing attitude enables a person to stop trouble he would not be able to stop unless he does take that attitude. From that observation. III A FTER A person has corrected enough distortions so that he has gained real facility in bringing up command phrases. Some of those troubles may not be entirely his fault. failure to take that attitude limits what he can do for himself by correcting distortions. but for various reasons. Whenever distortions are corrected. Those changes may or may not be evident to the individual. In many situations he may be aware that someone else is responsible for part of a trouble as is likely to be true in cases of conflict.

Success in making corrections is to be judged by the changes that result. A command phrase he happens to locate in relation to overeating may also have influence in various other departments of his life.” In that case the command phrase may contribute to compulsive smoking and drinking and also to cheating at cards or yelling at the children. he is reasonable to suppose that he has successfully made those corrections. Not all those changes can be noticed. he would just throw it out. Suppose that the phrase is “I have to do everything I want to do. Consider a few examples of such changes. No harm can be done by exposing illogical thinking. Results are not gained by analyses but by exposing the appropriate command phrases and detecting their illogic. but that hardly matters. A person could hardly miss such changes as cessation of smoking or drinking or overeating. After the wrong thinking has been exposed. the changes occur even if they are not sought or noticed. he does not suddenly become conscious of being logical. Once a command phrase has been detected and its influence destroyed. The same is true in relation to many other problems. but if he has suffered some serious problem solved by the corrections. He may have to look closely to detect the difference. . No effort need be made to analyze the results of any particular correction. a person should give it no more attention than he would give yesterday’s garbage. When a person who has corrected distortions on the appropriate subjects suddenly loses his craving for tobacco or alcohol or suddenly stops his long-standing habit of overeating and starts taking off the excess weight he could not previously lose. but many changes he will know nothing about.Formula for Preventing Trouble  Since he has no consciousness of being illogical when he makes a change from illogical to logical thinking. he may see a very dramatic change.

When he succeeds in correcting a distortion. If it does. you are sensible to notice whether the trouble disappears or not. two kinds of changes occur. You can thus solve it for all time. Suppose you decide that before you entertain some evening. unwary visitors might trip. he solves the problem that was caused by the distortion. Suppose you have a loose carpet in a hallway outside your living room. How to Solve Problems and Prevent Trouble In case you are interested in stopping some particular kind of trouble. and that is also the logical way to prevent trouble. If so. Much of everybody’s persistent trouble could thus be prevented. no matter what result he gets. If a person tries to violate that sequence too seriously. he may not get the desired result until a later time. In some cases you may have to use technique over a period of time. keep on trying. If it doesn’t. you will remove the carpet and not replace it. provided the problem has not already caused irrevocable damage. The process for doing it is extremely simple. If so. you solve the problem of whether any of your guests will trip over that carpet. It is analogous to what happens when an individual makes some entirely objective change in a situation that has been causing trouble. IV T H E LOGICAL way to solve a problem caused by illogical thinking is to correct the distortions of logic responsible for the illogical thinking. First. Second. he prevents the problem from recurring. Persist at reasonable intervals until you succeed. you have accomplished your purpose. . Apparently there is a natural sequence in which distortions are corrected.

is that he views the behavior of others through his own distortions. Those two ways will be dealt with in sequence. People are not very skilled at catching their own examples of illogic. Sometimes it is more. The first way is that he notices when other persons are illogical because they are thinking through their distortions. but what he does not realize. but he has ways of using his knowledge of distortions also to prevent trouble in ways that are surprisingly effective. Starting with illogical behavior in other persons serves the purpose best. On the other hand. particularly when their own interests are somehow involved in a way that might prove costly. they continue causing whatever trouble their command phrases suggest. The second way is to become sensitive enough that he can make the same observation in himself and thus avoid illogical conversation or behavior.Formula for Preventing Trouble  As long as distortions persist. because illogical behavior is easier to observe in others than in the person who is doing the observing. they are likely to be extremely sensitive to examples in other persons. Sometimes the illogic he observes in others is as much his own illogic as anybody’s. A person who knows nothing about distortions of logic is helpless to take basic preventive action. Ordinarily he does not correct distortions as a means of preventing trouble. Nearly everybody supposes he can easily see illogical behavior in others. V T HERE ARE two general ways a person uses knowledge of distortions to prevent trouble. He corrects them as a means of solving problems. . But not a person who has that knowledge. Initially the ability to detect illogical behavior is somewhat unreliable. at first.

I . Then suppose he later destroys the distortions that cause him to smoke.” “Nobody can make me take a back seat in a discussion. Only illogical thinking could explain his loss of emotional composure. only illogical. The person who is unreasonable is not necessarily a person who is stupid and unintelligent. In addition. you can be sure he is thinking through distortions. He is a person who has distortions that in one way or another cause him to be unreasonable.” “I’ll get my way if it’s the last thing I do. The advantage of a display of emotion is that it calls attention to the illogic of the person who is emotional. and that is a deceptive state of affairs. Then there is the person who is unreasonable. there are two reasons for being wary of him. no matter who opposes me. When you hear someone arguing heatedly about anything. How to Solve Problems and Prevent Trouble The following example makes the point: Suppose a person hears someone arguing heatedly over the faults of some special brand of cigarettes and considers those arguments to be illogical because he personally enjoys the brand being criticized. but only because he has distortions demanding that he control them. In that case he would consider illogical various of the arguments he once used to justify his enjoyment of the brand criticized. he remains unreasonable. He may control their outward display. Therefore. To that example can be hitched a basic statement regarding how the knowledge of distortions can be used to prevent trouble. wrong thinking is done by a person who has lost his emotional composure. But people have acquired the ability to conceal their emotions. Here are typical command phrases that may be involved: “I’ll never give in. The person who appears outwardly calm may be a seething inferno of emotions inside.” “When I make up my mind. So long as he continues thinking through those distortions.

you are wise to await more favorable conditions. the distortion would not get restimulated. If someone could get his thinking across in a way other than a discussion.” Obviously that phrase will have greatest effect when someone is opposing him. Consider the wife of the husband just discussed. Unless you can correct the distortions. On the other hand.” That phrase relates only to a discussion. For example. She may . no matter who opposes me. So she just moves over and makes room for his peculiarities. With enough understanding and cooperation from her husband. many a wife has learned that she is unwise to expect her husband to be happy and conversational at the breakfast table. she can get his help in correcting the distortions. consider the phrase “Nobody can make me take a back seat in a discussion. she knows exactly what she is dealing with and can allow for it sensibly.Formula for Preventing Trouble  won’t change it. Afterward he can behave rationally at breakfast. That illustrates what can be done to avoid trouble with other persons by understanding how distortions control behavior. Consider the command phrase “I’ll never give in. arguing with him is pointless. especially if the person seems important. Most people have already learned by experience that each person has his own special peculiarities. and that can easily happen because many distortions get used only part of the time. but a great deal more is accomplished by correcting illogical conversation and behavior in yourself. The more you know about a person’s distortions. How will you know when they exist? When he becomes reasonable in ways he was formerly unreasonable. If she understands distortions.” When a person is actuated by those distortions. the more easily you can deal with him.” “I’ll never admit a mistake. or else she gives him strong enough incentive to go against his inclinations and act the way he doesn’t feel.

he can be sure that whatever he is getting ready to say or do will be tinged with the irrational influence of distortions. I’ll make his life so miserable he’ll wish he’d never married anybody—especially me. When a person thinks through distortions. he would not say or do anything at that moment. she formed the thought “If I ever have a husband who tries to ignore me at breakfast. he always experiences a certain amount of negative emotion.” In that case there will be trouble. At first they might feel somewhat restricted. As a result she may have contradictory trouble of her own. If he is wise. If people understood distortions and applied that knowledge as just recommended. their whole married life could be thrown off balance by just a few command phrases that invite conflict in various ways. but if they kept quiet. His emotion is a tip-off so that when he is emotional. How to Solve Problems and Prevent Trouble easily blame her husband for his antisocial tendencies at breakfast because she doesn’t understand them. they would learn that . it would prevent a large number of persons from doing a large amount of the talking they have customarily done in the past. Assuming that the husband and wife know nothing about distortions and the trouble they cause. It may be an emotion he has difficulty recognizing. Either the husband or wife could make progress alone. or it may be such an obvious emotion he cannot miss it. Suppose she has distortions installed in early life while she sat at breakfast and listened to arguments between her parents over whether breakfast was a place to read the paper or a place to discuss the coming events of the day. Perhaps in a moment of emotional thinking. All such conflict would be minimized and even ended by applying the knowledge of distortions. A child can easily become emotional over parental conflicts.

By learning never to react in rebellion . Remember that rebellion provides an emotional situation in which distortions are installed. and it makes little difference in that respect whether the distortions are yours or his. But the fact is that virtually never can you get others to change as you think they should. you are likely to cause no trouble by trying it out. you may restore order. If you feel completely unemotional about it. If you talk when you feel emotional. you are sure to talk through your distortions whether or not someone else is talking through his. pause to reflect on the implications of rebellion. By making the recommended change all you lose is trouble. On the other hand by remaining silent. not you. you find yourself able to deal with situations that had formerly brought frustration. A person is well-advised to apply that information to every situation he faces. If you want to compound confusion. Meanwhile you have to get along with them. The logical time to remember that is when someone’s distortions are getting used. you can be sure that he is talking through his distortions.Formula for Preventing Trouble  there is no loss. When you see that the other person is emotional. After enough experiments of that sort. just try putting all your emotions into words. Much of that conversation is eliminated as the simple result of understanding how distortions control thinking and conversation. Presently you may think of something to say that you are sure will do no harm. If you feel rebellious over the change. You may feel that other people should do the changing. At first you may feel that imposing such restrictions on yourself is a bit unfair. If you were to add up all the conversations you have heard that you could wisely get along without. the total would be impressive.

but with experience. A person thinks through his distortions most vigorously when he is emotional. The situations most likely to arouse rebellion need a rational response to handle them. he gains something important. . no matter what the provocation. a person who habitually avoids emotion is less likely to express his distortions in conversation and behavior than a person who is often emotional. As a by-product. he also is able to avoid arguments and troublesome relationships.0 How to Solve Problems and Prevent Trouble of any sort. After that he has less difficulty controlling himself. Therefore. Why? Because he is able to trace out the sequences of cause and effect clearly enough to know what trouble he invites by his rebellion. it becomes instinctive for the person who understands distortions of logic and the trouble they cause. At first avoiding emotion is difficult. The way to reduce emotion is to avoid rebelling against whatever is happening.

It is unwillingness to face reality. he is free to improve his condition by taking any kind of action he knows is right. he is engaged in an act of rebellion. Of course. All distortions of logic involve damage to a person’s moral codes on the unconscious level. and that is where the moral codes exist. so does a person who tries to cheat in a game or in a financial transaction. but in the broad sense. It is unwillingness to be guided strictly by what the individual knows is right. A person who loses his temper because he cannot get his way is displaying rebellion. that is not enough. The reason is that many kinds of rebellion at first are unrecognizable. He is unwilling to accept life as it unfolds. Often he may conversationally express 6 . rebellion is unwillingness to accept life as it is and as it must be accepted if the individual is to avoid problems and trouble. By his rejection he damages his moral code.Chapter 4 Carefully Inspect Your Behavior W HILE CONTROLLING recognizable outbursts of rebellion lets a person prevent much trouble. He is not accepting life honestly and realistically. But if he tries to improve his condition by taking any kind of action he knows is wrong. That definition establishes why it is that not all rebellion shows itself in emotional outbursts. What is rebellion? In the broad sense.

he rationalized the behavior he had previously considered wrong. A person who prides himself on his refusal to do anything that seems really wrong to him can install trivial distortions in a steady but always forgotten stream. He changed his moral code on the unconscious level by deciding on the conscious level to take some action that would have the effect of violating his conscious moral code. he seldom or never does anything. Each distortion is really a fixed deviation from what he had once regarded as a correct interpretation of morality. By adjusting his thinking. The process of progressive deviation is extremely subtle. From one year’s end to the next. His behavior is controlled by his distortions to an extent that may seem unbelievable by a person who has not carefully investigated the facts. thus unwittingly he . he has little remaining freedom of action. directly or indirectly. his unconscious distortions cause him to express a different behavior. he made it seem right. His trouble is that while he consciously expresses one kind of thinking. That is how people damage their morals. Therefore. his behavior is a better indication of his true moral code than his conversation. By that sort of thinking. small deviations become large. In doing the thinking by which he installed the distortion. By the time he is an adult. A person never makes a gigantic deviation in a single step. not called for by the command phrases of his distortions. How to Solve Problems and Prevent Trouble a moral code that his daily behavior habitually contradicts. The truth is that the average person spends his life unknowingly trying to gratify his distortions. He installed the distortion by departing from what he considered right. Therefore. his next deviation seems just about as trivial as the previous deviation. He makes a series of minor deviations and mentally blinds himself to each deviation by installing it in a hidden distortion.

Suddenly he can understand what causes the acts of astonishing bestiality for which some members of the human race get publicity. More important.Carefully Inspect Your Behavior  can reduce himself to such levels of depravity that his behavior is shocking. That knowledge lets him do something to improve matters. II I N ADDITION to correcting distortions and thus ridding himself of their blighting effects on his life. Every person who can dispassionately analyze what has just been explained is thereby given possession of extremely important and valuable information. for all time. Until he learns about distortions. an informed person does his best to stop. he can understand why the persons he knows all have higher opinions of their behavior than the facts warrant. He no longer needs to wonder why people sometimes do outrageous things. One of the easiest ways for a person to get started is to make himself highly sensitive to his moments of rebellion. for example. Most important. the process of installing more distortions. He decides he should monitor his behavior. The reason is that he never installs distortions except when he tries to reject the unfolding events of life and substitute some . he cannot know that he has done it. he can understand that his own predicament urgently needs attention because he himself is much further from the ideal path of life than he has supposed. how a person given the advantages of a good early home life could become a sex maniac by entering first one and then another situation in which he made small sex deviations that he acted on and incorporated into his network of distortions. He can understand.

Over a period of time. When strong emotion develops. something about the chemistry of the body apparently acts to cause connections between brain cells constituting the closed mental circuits of distortions to become better conductors. Similar examples could be cited in every area of life. . He would display many kinds of discomfort. as when suffering a violent outburst of temper. A person who feels the emotion characteristic of larceny tends to think through distortions causing him to commit thefts. He recognizes that his emotional thinking reflects the fact that distortions are getting used. The distortions that go into restimulation at such times are the ones installed under the same general kinds of emotion as are getting expressed. but he also tends to give less expression to the distortions he has already installed. How to Solve Problems and Prevent Trouble new element of his own devising. becomes highly illogical and behaves irrationally. The following example illustrates what happens: Suppose a person is caught in some embarrassing wrong act and is publicly shamed in front of a group of persons who know him well and whose good opinions he values. Everybody has made the observation that a person who is highly emotional. the more distortions get restimulated. he learns to detect rebellion that formerly he would not have called rebellion. Occasionally a person is caught in such a violent outburst of many kinds of emotion that his distortions simultaneously try to drive him in several contradictory directions. The greater the emotion. Not only does he prevent installation of distortions by that procedure. A person who has the emotion of unreasoning fear in relation to germs tends to think through distortions making him take extreme precautions to avoid exposure to germs. Of course that is to be expected.

Carefully Inspect Your Behavior  He might repeatedly blush and then turn pale because of the promptings of his command phrases. he can also try to avoid making wrong decisions. Because his distortions have usurped his volition. Of course. he changes matters by correcting distortions. try to run and hide with the result that he would tremble violently. Because of distortions. he is constantly pushed in a variety of contradictory directions with the result that his behavior subtly deviates from paths of logic without his realization. he cannot control his behavior directly. and it may seem like the statement of a reformer. Some persons may remember having been in a predicament similar to the extreme case just cited. in turn. he needs a method that is quick. Obviously he could not behave logically and rationally. III I N ADDITION to making scrupulous efforts to avoid rebellious reactions. he is helpless in their grip. but in a lesser sense. At first that statement seems to have a moral flavor. But each person has so many distortions that he needs much time to bring his behavior under control if he tries to do it by efforts that are casual and spasmodic. everybody is in somewhat that predicament all the time. He might try to speak up to defend himself and also remain silent with the result that his lips would move but no words would be spoken. Therefore. Because he considers himself logical when he does whatever his distortions prompt him to do. He might try to stand and fight and then. His violent emotional reaction to his predicament would cause so many promptings from distortions that he could not act on more than a small proportion of them. Anybody who chooses to do so can leave moral considerations out of his thinking and be guided by practical consid- .

In that manner he lowers his moral code in imperceptible stages. If anyone has the audacity to tell him he is a thief. He considers the item so small that the act of taking it does not really seem at all like stealing. How to Solve Problems and Prevent Trouble erations only. In the process he has desensitized his conscience on each of those points. So he takes the paper clip. On each point he embodied the alteration in his distortions so that it became undetectable to him. It so happens that a decision that is wrong in a practical sense is also morally wrong. Then he gets a job. That is one of the results of installing distortions. . Because of those considerations. Later still he is taking the items he formerly criticized his fellow workers for taking. he becomes so emotional and illogical he is impossible to deal with. Yet he is a thief. Consider the following example: Suppose a person was brought up to believe that stealing is wrong. but he refrains because of his early training. Presently he advances to postage stamps. and he cannot be approached on a moral plane. although some persons may dispute that statement. There is a reason why a person is not reached on a moral plane. He is touchy on the subject of morality. Then one day he needs a paper clip. He made himself a thief over a period of time by making one deviation after another from what he once considered right. it would seem that the best comprehensive approach is one that leaves out morality and instead is based on practical considerations. It is that he has desensitized his conscience on exactly those points on which he cannot agree that morality and practicality are identical. He cannot understand the morality he has blanked out until he has restored it. then he does not need to have it explained. He sees other workers taking home occasional items of company property.

In every situation of life. he does not tell her he is not already married if he is.Carefully Inspect Your Behavior  With that as a preliminary. he may tell you that Einstein was able to prove that sometimes two plus two doesn’t equal four. Those evasions serve only to cloud the real issue. If you tell him a man should have only one wife. no person can do what he considers wrong without first rationalizing what he had formerly considered wrong so that it seems right. surprises people is that the law of absolute right needs no definitions of absolute right. When you tell him that two plus two always equals four. He may have altered what he considers right . he is bound by what he considers right. but what has not been understood is the unconscious part. A fact that. When he proposes marriage to someone. If you try to tell someone about absolute right. The conscious part of the process has long been understood. Nobody has any very strong reason to fear what he can understand and control. It states: Right action gets right results. the chances are that he will evade your meanings. That is the dangerous part. Fundamental to life is the law of absolute right. he does what he considers to be right. A person who lives by the law of absolute right is a person who is guided quite strictly by his own definitions of right and wrong. Therefore. because he can protect himself from it. By contrast everybody has strong reason to fear the adverse effect of changes in his own thinking from right to wrong that are concealed from him and exert a compulsive influence in changing his behavior. Whether a person likes it or not. he may tell you about certain countries where more than one wife is legal. whereas wrong action gets wrong results. we should put attention on a little known law of behavior. When he adds two and two and gets four. whatever they are. he does not try to say he got some number other than four. at first.

When a person stops making compromises with what he considers right. Another kind tells a person that even though the action suggested by the distortion is wrong. Of course. he stops installing distortions. One kind of distortion tells a person that the wrong action suggested by the command phrase of the distortion is not wrong but right. It helps him to correct distortions that have the effect of justifying behavior he considers wrong. As fast as those distortions go into restimulation because of events of life. because he knows that wrong action cannot be justified. but for better or worse. everybody’s definitions are wrong in many ways. there are some occasions when it is really right to misrepresent a few facts to get an important result.” “Even though lying is not exactly right. That attitude enables him to catch his examples of wrong behavior that represent action he knows violates some really valid moral principle. How to Solve Problems and Prevent Trouble by installing distortions of logic over the period of his life. they tend to call themselves to his attention. The following are examples of both kinds: “You are always right to take action that will increase security for the persons whose welfare is in your hands. While doing so. the action is justified. he may have no sense of being wrong—unless he understands the law of absolute right. There is another kind of deviation from right that he can also bring under control quite directly. . Both kinds have the effect of causing him to take any action under a delusion that he is right. he is bound by the definitions he has formed. In that case he carefully tries as hard as he can to avoid any action that he has any reason to consider wrong.” A person with those command phrases will act in accord with them every time he faces a situation calling for such action with strong enough emotional force.

though he is unwise to start by trying to be comprehensive. He becomes aware that in addition to his own private wavering standards there are absolute standards in every area of life. Certain of those standards are not difficult to find. he may have distortions telling him that he should constantly seek to prove his intelligence to everybody as a means of guaranteeing his security. In the beginning there is no use trying to tell him that. Presently he is able to accomplish more than the reversals of thinking resulting from not taking action he knows is wrong by his own standards. The only reason a person does what he considers wrong is that he expects to gain more than he loses. If he understands distortions and the problems and trouble they cause. say and do what is wrong. Distortions have a sufficiently deceptive effect that a person succeeds best by not trying to make an initial comprehensive approach. he acquires a strong interest in finding absolute standards so that he can speed his progress. say and do what is right. He experiences no sense of loss. For that reason. Accepting that belief puts a ceiling on his thinking. Each person is so accustomed to justifying his own deviations from right action that he feels an unconscious and perhaps even conscious vested interest in preserving the belief that there are no absolute and reliable standards by which to live. he loses his incentive to disregard the principle of absolute right: Think. without even taking time to bring up and analyze their command phrases. Refuse to think.Carefully Inspect Your Behavior  He releases them simply by refusing to act on them. For example. In that case he will be . After a person has accepted the concept of distortions and has decided to apply it in his life to restore his logic and intelligence. he is well aware that no wrong action could possibly bring any gain large enough to compensate for the loss.

Getting people to accept the concept that trying to prove intelligence is wrong in this distorted society is usually impossible. therefore. Or he may be a person who has distor- . he would realize that he gains nothing of value by inducing people to admit his intelligence. Few persons are at first willing to accept that. He is trying to convince someone who just doesn’t care and. The reason it is frustrating is explained by the fact that no one can prove his intelligence to a person who at the same time is intent on proving his own intelligence. but that is not why the explanation was included. it continues. Even though that effort causes frustration. Presumably it will remain impossible until that number of persons increases. except for the persons who understand about distortions and how they influence thinking. the effort is a waste of time and it gets wrong results. And that is what usually confronts the person who makes any such effort. We live in a world in which people seem to feel called on to prove their intelligence to the people around them much of the time. If he would stop to consider the matter. although every person who has advanced to the necessary stage of understanding knows that it is irrational for anybody to try to prove his intelligence. Perhaps the foregoing explanation may enable the earnest seeker after truth to understand why trying to prove intelligence is wrong. The reason the effort to prove intelligence continues is that the person who makes the effort is always driven by distortions he doesn’t suspect afflict him.0 How to Solve Problems and Prevent Trouble totally insensitive to any suggestion that a person is wrong to try to prove his intelligence. A person who accepts the explanation is usually a person who needs no explanation because he has made the appropriate corrections. and no effort will be made to get anybody to accept it. therefore. refuses to give the matter his serious attention except to contradict it.

rejected that. he refuses to lie. therefore. In the past many persons. deluded. Actually every little white lie has a big black heart. The explanation was included to show. For example. rather than by any explanation contradicting them. There is no such thing as a little white lie. does not change his thinking. of course. He has motives to contradict the truth and thinks he is not obligated . it is superfluous. at first. lying is wrong by definition. To a person who does not need the explanation. Despite the fact that the fine distinctions between right and wrong are difficult to discuss. To a person who does need the explanation. They were. In any case he tends to be guided and controlled. if possible. They talked of little white lies told for noble purposes. Perhaps the best definition is that a little white lie is the kind of lie that is told by the person who offers the definition. it is quite incomprehensible and. without his realization. the difficulty of trying to talk in terms of the fine distinctions between right and wrong. That is enough for a person who understands distortions of logic. there are broad definitions that are obvious even to a person who sometimes may stoutly declare that there are no reliable distinctions. They were persons who had numerous distortions telling them in various ways that certain kinds of lying are not really wrong but right. Such a person realizes that installing every distortion really involves a process by which the individual successfully lies to himself and thus gives himself a permanent delusion that he accepts in lieu of reality. Therefore.Carefully Inspect Your Behavior 1 tions telling him to be modest and retiring. IV E VEN THAT explanation does not change the thinking of a person who insists on justifying lying. by whatever distortions happen to apply.

In that case any person could freely make whatever compromises with truth happened to suit his motives. he is not restricted by any realization that wrong action involves serious hidden penalties brought on by attempted violations of the law of absolute right. He could carefully analyze the consequences and decide whether. regardless of what he supposes he gains by being wrong. and the person who steals it successfully is certainly in a position to spend it. perhaps that would not be a mistake. He thinks he is free to accept or reject truth according to what helps or hinders his efforts to satisfy his personal motives. If there were no distortions of logic. a person loses that false sense of freedom. he should or should not act. It must be admitted that he does often seem to gain. How to Solve Problems and Prevent Trouble to accept truth just because it is true. He does not consider what he will lose by taking wrong action and installing distortions of logic. When a person knows nothing about distortions. Therefore. By stealing he gains money he did not have. people have a false sense of freedom. That is precisely the pattern of behavior that characterizes people’s conduct. in light of those consequences. That is a common mistake. With knowledge of that law and of distortions of logic. He may not be willing to become right just for the sake of being right. The really serious result of successful stealing is found in the distortions a person installs by the thinking that justi- . but he is willing to become right when he knows that being wrong is the process of inviting problems and trouble. The quickest way to obtain a large sum of money may be to steal it. Customarily the person who contemplates stealing considers whether he might be caught and punished and whether the amount of money to be stolen is large enough to justify the risks.

That result is a loss of intelligence and the replacement of right faculties with distortions. After he understands those factors. cannot accept the idea that all lying is wrong can find some absolute definition of wrong action that he is able to accept. he develops an equal enthusiasm to prevent new distortions from forming. He wants to learn as much as he can about the distinctions between right and wrong so that he can live in accord with what is right. For example. Even the person who. he knows that nobody has any intelligence to spare. he should be cautious. he concentrates on getting back all his lost intelligence as fast as he can. Every wrong is so obvious nobody could miss it unless he has distortions that impair his intelligence. he may say that such wrongs are so obvious that nobody could miss them. Of course. at first. Therefore. One of the ways he can help himself to be cautious is to arrive at reliable definitions of right and wrong and regard . That is the point. He may admit that burning down schools and churches is wrong action and that purposely driving an automobile through a crowd of pedestrians is also wrong action.Carefully Inspect Your Behavior  fies the stealing. In addition to his enthusiasm to correct them. That is something he can do by using the command phrase technique to correct distortions. The victim never connects the cause with its effect until he understands distortions and how they are formed. he knows that he pays for every wrong thought and act by the loss of some of his intelligence. If he has enough intelligence left. he may agree that someone who deliberately murders an infant because he likes to watch the spurting of blood is a person who is taking wrong action. If he can’t do better. let him start there. He can always find a place to begin. Until a person thinks he has corrected all his distortions.

Little of their thinking is done on that basis. he finds that he must arrive at them himself. At first a person may be afraid to live that way. They are not trying to be right. All that kind of thinking changes for the person who gains understanding of distortions and the problems and trouble they cause. he is wise to sacrifice the motive. How to Solve Problems and Prevent Trouble them as absolute. Actually they do not make choices that are consciously devoted to considerations of right and wrong. He gets into trouble by being wrong. He also learns that when he cannot satisfy a motive without choosing wrong. Instead of trying to be right. and he may lose something by being right. Actually he discovers there is no cost. Additionally he gains the missing ingredient of information that tells him why people have been in trouble so long. A person really cannot get into trouble by being right. and in that effort. get. He learns that he is intelligent to base his choices on the distinctions between right and wrong. the person who desires to regain his intelligence should live by that definition regardless of the seeming cost. . they are trying to satisfy their motives. He may gain something by being wrong. have. and become whatever they want and try to avoid what they want to avoid. but he always pays more for it than it is worth. they try to do. Instead. There is a reason why people have not learned that. Because society has reached no general agreement regarding those definitions. Having established a definition. they make many wrong choices. be. People make their choices on the basis of what has the most value in helping them to advance and satisfy their personal motives. but he gains something far more precious. Seldom do considerations of right and wrong influence their thinking unless they sense a threat to their motives.

That is the safe. Usually under that circumstance. fundamental principle for a successful life. Instead of compulsively acting in an effort to satisfy his personal motives. he learns to train himself carefully to be present minded. He is required to do what he considers logical even if he believes it is wrong. he gradually discovers for himself that the fear is empty. and he is not required to take anyone’s word for it. In the process of making his change of motivation. After a few experiences of that sort. he can pause and check his logic. But when his logic tells him to do something he knows is wrong. he can think about how he can safely change it to right action. he tries to pursue a present-minded effort always to think. say and do what is right. but it seems real nevertheless.Carefully Inspect Your Behavior  His fear is empty. he need take no chances. Instead of trying to determine whether he can get away with the wrong action. he sees what to do at once. . If he proceeds in spite of his fear.

He cannot square himself with his conscience by burying it. distortions are involved. Or it may result from having committed wrongs about which he has no conscious memory. because the average person carries a great burden of guilt. If a person feels guilty for any of the three foregoing reasons. he is guilty. Modern thinking has tended to excuse him for it. When he feels guilty. and that is characteristic of people’s unconscious efforts to protect their distortions. As a natural result. If nothing else. That is an important benefit. say and do what is right stops many tendencies that have had the effect of disturbing a person’s emotional life. his unconscious mind never forgets because it retains the data.Chapter 5 Houseclean Your Emotional Life T RYING TO think. The matter is not that simple. However. When he stops feeling guilty. It may result from having installed distortions telling him to feel guilty. he is guilty of having done the wrong and illogical thinking by which he 76 . Telling a person that he should not feel guilty is only a way of helping him to bury his conscience more deeply. it is not necessarily because he has stopped being guilty. His feeling of guilt may result from having committed wrongs that he knows he committed and knows are wrong. he gives himself fewer reasons to feel guilty.

Occasionally it angers him. he has some other kind of emotional or perhaps physical trouble that replaces the feelings of guilt. It is a fact that is evident to every person who understands distortions. Then he tries as hard as he can to forget the whole performance. Despite the fact that he may no longer notice his guilty feelings.” “I’ve never done any- . as indicated earlier. Presently he succeeds in consciously forgetting the incident. That is not mere speculation. Here are possible command phrases: “I have no reason to feel guilty. he cannot get rid of the burden of guilt although. In one of his angry moments. he may stop noticing it consciously. he stops feeling guilty. The following example defines the sequence of cause and effect: A person has a motive to get something he wants for which he has insufficient funds. He installs numerous command phrases justifying and excusing his theft. If he corrects the distortions. he falsifies financial records at his place of employment so that he can help himself to the needed funds. Now and again he notices an odd feeling of guilt that he cannot explain. What has happened in that case? A person who stops feeling guilty without correcting the distortions causing him to feel guilty is a person who has installed one or more additional distortions that have the effect of destroying his ability to continue noticing his feelings of guilt. After a time. Unless he corrects the distortions. Increasingly it burdens him. he does the rebellious thinking necessary to cause installation of more distortions necessary to destroy his ability to notice his feelings of guilt.Houseclean Your Emotional Life  installed the distortions. He still has them though.

the example must be one that does not afflict many persons because no reader who is afflicted by it could understand it. That is not a farfetched example. All he really accomplishes is to increase his total unconscious burden. He has given himself a set of unconscious emotions. then he gives himself another set of unconscious emotions to hold them in check. Everybody knows that people do misappropriate funds by altering financial records. it is unusual. It causes an unconscious battle to go on inside among his emotions. A usual example would seem incomprehensible because of many persons’ distortions. He still has them. it may appear as though the individual has released himself from his feelings of guilt. tending to destroy his peace of mind. Those are the elements of the example cited. He cannot restore that peace of mind un- . but such is not the case. causing him distress. What a person may not realize is that he himself has installed many thousand distortions that have the effect of setting up all sorts of unconscious conflicts. Merely reading about the example could ring so many unconscious bells that he might be rendered emotionally unable to continue reading. and that battle never really ceases. Everybody knows that people do try to deceive themselves in their moments of emotion. After that has been done. He would have been better off to get rid of the burden by correcting the original distortions. I should feel proud of my accomplishments.” “Instead of feeling guilty. How to Solve Problems and Prevent Trouble thing any worse than what everybody else does. For that reason. Of course. Everybody knows that people are able to blank out portions of their memories under some conditions.” Enough phrases of that sort can blanket the guilt completely. Nevertheless the example is realistic. He has merely given himself an obligation to avoid recognizing them as such. although he has changed its form.

he needs objective principles from which to reason. His usual efforts to remedy the situation fail. After he gains experience with subjective principles. He can read about distortions and fail to understand any of the information he needs to deal with them successfully. The reason they usually fail is that often he tries to use objective means of counteracting something that is really subjective in nature. Resort to objective thinking enables the thinking person to check his accuracy by objective means. They are what make subjective thinking unreliable. Until he gains such experience. distortions are a closed book to him.Houseclean Your Emotional Life  less he gets rid of those conflicts. Measuring behavior against an objective standard enables the individual to determine when he is wrong. at least to the extent that he reasons from valid standards of right. provided the person who does the thinking makes due allowance for distortions. He cannot get rid of those conflicts unless he corrects the distortions by which they were created. Actually subjective thinking is fully as reliable as objective thinking. Science has tended to avoid subjective analyses. That tells him his behavior is actuated by distortions. Of course. he can deal with the subjective nature of distortions. So long as a person lacks scientific experience in working with subjective principles. Men of science have had difficulty grappling with that problem. whereas a distortion of logic is not easily understood except by subjective analysis. The reason for their difficulty is that science is generally limited to objective techniques. some efforts to restore rationality may succeed . It is for that reason that use of the principle of absolute right is able to restore logical thinking.

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How to Solve Problems and Prevent Trouble

despite a lack of familiarity with distortions of logic. When a person actually succeeds in facing a truth that has been hidden from him, no matter what his approach, he gets a correction. The reason he faces the truth may be that he is compelled to face it by some event of life. Consider the following examples: A person may delude himself into believing he can violate the law of gravity, but when he tries to do it, he gets bumped. Presently he gets his delusion corrected, or else he fails to survive one of those bumps. A person may delude himself into believing he does not engage in a certain kind of wrong behavior considered offensive by others. When he is confronted with a piece of evidence that he cannot deny, even to himself, his delusion is shattered. For instance, he may delude himself into believing he had no connection with the circulation of an ugly rumor, but when a therapist helps him to recapture blanked-out memories, he sees the connection if it is there. Any procedure that has the effect of enabling the individual to see a piece of blanked-out truth restores logical thinking on the subject of that truth. Any problem or trouble caused by blanked-out truth that is supplanted by untruth remains a problem or trouble until the truth is exposed. Exposing the truth restores normalcy. Because truth is supplanted with untruth only by the process of installing distortions of logic, correcting distortions is the right way to restore the truth that was lost and to eliminate the untruth that replaced it. Any other method of dealing with the situation is beyond the reach of the person who has the distortions. At first some persons suppose that there is a conflict between the process of correcting distortions and the process of admitting wrongs and transgressions to gain a spiritual benefit.

Houseclean Your Emotional Life 

1

It is not the purpose of this book to deal with spiritual benefits. The information contained here is intended to restore logical thinking where it has been lost. Nevertheless it is a fact that admitting wrongs and transgressions misses the real objective as far as restoration is concerned, because in the presence of distortions, their full admission is impossible—for a solid reason. The individual cannot admit what he knows nothing about. He may know about his behavior, although probably some of that is forgotten. But it is certain that he does not know about his distortions. It is also certain that he does not know about the thinking that caused the installation of the distortions. It is that thinking that is dangerous. Until he regards that thinking as something in the nature of a wrong and a transgression, he has no motive to admit it. Actually admitting that it is in the nature of a wrong and a transgression is the precise performance that corrects the distortions. Once the distortions are corrected, logic on the subject of the distortions is restored. Thereafter the individual can go as fast and as far as he likes in the direction of admitting his wrongs and transgressions to gain spiritual benefit. II

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MOTIONAL BENEFIT he gains at once. Sometimes he feels a sensation of sudden release, especially when the distortion has the direct effect of causing emotional tension. Consider the following command phrases of that sort: “I feel tense all the time.” “I’m always afraid of what is going to happen next.” “I’m strung up like a violin.” “I can’t help being excited.” “No matter what is going to happen, I



How to Solve Problems and Prevent Trouble

know it won’t be good.” “I just can’t control my emotions.” Anybody can remember thinking such things. Originally they were formulated under conditions that invited emotion, and because of the emotion, they became command phrases able to dominate and magnify every invitation to emotion of the same general kind. A person who spends a few minutes each day running all such sentences through his mind is soon able to produce remarkable improvement in his habitual emotional state. He need only recognize that the sentences are command phrases. Getting rid of all of them cannot be accomplished in a single effort. The average person has great numbers of command phrases. Even if he disposes of them on one subject, he will still have emotional tension in other areas. The reason for that tension is that every distortion is an unconscious-level pocket of emotional tension that remains until the distortion is corrected. A person who intends to rid himself of all emotional tension has a long road to travel. At first consideration, traveling that road may seem hopeless, but it isn’t. In the beginning emotional tension may seem to result from various causes other than your own distortions. Wrong action on the part of other persons is especially suspect. When that happens, correct distortions on the subject of your reactions to other persons’ actions, and you will find the state of your emotions undergoes a change. Sometimes emotional tension seems to result from your failure to perform various important tasks. If so, correct the distortions that interfere with your willingness or ability to perform those tasks. If you keep up that sort of thinking, you will presently conclude that distortions are behind just about everything that goes wrong with a person. Go as far in that direction as you are able.

Houseclean Your Emotional Life III 

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S YOU continue to correct distortions, you will find you are housecleaning your entire emotional life. You won’t enjoy all of the process, because facing disagreeable truth about yourself is sometimes necessary. Nobody enjoys that prospect, but unless you face that disagreeable truth, you will continue to get into various kinds of trouble because of your distortions. On the other hand if you are willing to face it, you will bring to a halt one kind of trouble after another. Presently you will realize that you have transformed your life and that many kinds of problems and trouble that you had long considered unavoidable no longer exist. You can get that sort of result by searching out command phrases in an effort to eliminate problems and trouble. As you get rid of one kind, you will become able to recognize other kinds. Increasingly you will recognize situations in which you had been wrong, although you had thought you were right. As fast as those situations come to light, deal with them. Gradually you will increase the reliability of your standards of right and wrong and acquire definitions of wrong action that you would have vigorously denied before you understood distortions. You will make changes in your definitions of honesty that are incomprehensible by the average person. Consider the following example: The average person considers he is being intelligent to misrepresent the state of his health and his feelings. When he wants sympathy, he tells people how sick he feels. When he wants to make a good impression on his boss, he tells people in his boss’s hearing how well he feels. Almost always when asked how he feels, he uses some stock answer that bears little relationship to the truth. At first the foregoing paragraph may seem extreme and

it is not honest. as rapidly as he reasonably can. but he tries even harder to misrepresent the state of his emotions. truth is truth so long as it conforms with reality. Not only does the average person habitually misrepresent the state of his health. Otherwise he is in the position of a person who takes a chance by disregarding his behavior. The fact that a person who misrepresents his health does so unthinkingly is no excuse as far as distortions are concerned. Millions of persons go about their daily affairs wearing smiles or frowns that do not belong on their faces but are worn for the purpose of creating a desired effect. If he happens to be standing in front of an approaching automobile because he is not thinking about what he is doing. However that practice is defined. He does that partly by not letting the true state of his emotions show in his facial expression. Despite a lot of misguided thinking. Therefore. With every correction of distortions. he improves his emotional life. at every opportunity. he corrects distortions. the sooner he starts. the better. With every change of thinking from wrong to right. How to Solve Problems and Prevent Trouble somewhat like hairsplitting. . In any case. A person who intends to houseclean his emotional life ultimately goes the whole way or else he gives up his intention. So whether or not you think it is hairsplitting depends on your definition of hairsplitting. the fact that his being there was inadvertent does not save him from injury or possible death. truth that conforms with reality is right. he has strong incentive to improve his standards of behavior in every possible way. There is nothing indefinite about reality. Anyone who thinks the foregoing example splits hairs will be more distressed by the next example. Every person has an obligation to be cautious about his thinking. and right is absolute. If he intends to go the whole way.

Houseclean Your Emotional Life  That is something he can do by facing every kind of truth. If he keeps that up long enough to get really substantial experience with the results of correcting distortions. The next procedure should be considered in that light. the whole idea seems offensive. People are so constructed that they have an inherent wish to avoid admitting to themselves and others that they are wrong. He learns that the only thing really to fear is any refusal to face truth. One characteristic of those recollections is that they do not always remain in the unconscious mind. another procedure gets remarkable results. At first. Instead. he learns that for him there is no longer any such thing as a disagreeable truth. however disagreeable. it seemingly goes against natural inclinations. IV I N ADDITION to facing truth by locating command phrases and seeing their illogic and by seeking absolute standards of right thought and behavior. they try repeatedly to make their presence known by impinging on . In the beginning. The person who learns what correcting distortions can do for him knows he has more reason for feeling injured if someone tries to prevent him from correcting distortions than if someone tries to induce him to correct them. That is what has caused people to fail throughout the centuries to recognize the nature of distortions and start getting them corrected. He learns that truth directs his attention to reality and that truth confirmed by reality really does make him free. The procedure relates to the private collection of disagreeable recollections everybody harbors in his unconscious mind.

So it is with mental rubbish. The reason for that is that nobody likes to discuss the collection of mental rubbish that he would like to dispose of but can’t. if he were to keep a record. he winces and tries to push it back where it came from. How to Solve Problems and Prevent Trouble the consciousness of their possessor. He may assume he is the only person who has such memories. and presently one of them bobs up. If you find that same piece of rubbish returning to your desk again and again. If you return to your desk a few hours later and find the same piece of rubbish on your desk. you will presently be justified in supposing that something is wrong with your rubbish-disposal system. The total quantity is staggering. The fact that disagreeable memories return again and again to plague their possessor proves that he has not discovered how to get rid of them. There is a way to get rid of them. For any specific person. he would be surprised by the total number. After a year of collecting examples. but let him take attention away from the effort to remember. it is large. So nobody learns just how much trouble of that kind infests the conscious and unconscious minds of people everywhere. Before considering that. Each time one rises into his consciousness. At any given time. The average person has no idea how large because he has no way of taking inventory. and that is because the disagreeable memory absorbs all his attention. give attention to an example that shows how they are dealt with by the average person. he may be unable to remember a single example. Presumably you would put it in the wastebasket. He is so intent on pushing the memory out of consciousness and forgetting it . Suppose you find a piece of rubbish on your desk. you would again put it in the wastebasket.

the procedure is described. He does not even pause to reflect on the reason why his disagreeable memories keep recurring. the disagreeable memory will continue to recur and plague you from time to time. Instead of pushing the disagreeable memory out of mind. Look for some special piece of disagreeable truth in it that you have been refusing to admit to yourself. Admit your fault to yourself. You need not admit it to anyone else nor call the incident to anybody’s attention. Of course. It is what is hidden. Once you have faced it. Next time some disagreeable memory arises to make you wince inwardly. pause and inspect it closely.Houseclean Your Emotional Life  that he neglects to observe he does not have a suitable system for disposing of it. Face that piece of truth in absolute honesty. Until you honestly and frankly admit the fault to yourself. What your unconscious mind is trying to do is to get you to face that particular element of the disagreeable memory. If it recurs after . there is a reason. It may even seem laughable. Any effort to think about such a system causes him to keep on remembering the disagreeable memory that he wants above all else to forget. try to remember that. His unconscious mind is trying to get him to give the disagreeable memories proper attention. At first it may be difficult because habit tends to cause the same old reaction. It will contain something uncomplimentary to you. Bring out what is hidden and the reluctance vanishes. It is not what a person knows about that causes his reluctance. but presently you can master the procedure that enables you to dispose of the disagreeable memory. Next. What must you bring out? Usually something that tells you how you were at fault in the situation to which the disagreeable memory relates. the memory ceases to be disagreeable.

you must face them all before you can dispose of the incident. You can help yourself by trying to put the disagreeable truth into specific words. When properly considered. If there are two or more pieces of disagreeable truth. You will be telling those things only to yourself. Second.” “I certainly did make myself look stupid. at first. An occasional disagreeable memory may arouse such strong fear that. More important. you are reluctant to use the foregoing procedure. The following sentences may come to mind: “I was wrong when I said I didn’t know. How can you be sure that the attention you give a disagreeable memory really exposes the hidden truth? First. . Wait for a memory you think you can approach successfully and without excessive disturbance. No matter. you will feel a sudden sense of emotional relief as you realize the memory is no longer disagreeable. Perhaps you will discover additional details of the memory itself. they get you out of trouble and not into it. and that is what I haven’t been able to admit to myself. They provide a kind of emotional satisfaction that is difficult to describe and probably impossible to understand in advance. it will no longer be distressing. How to Solve Problems and Prevent Trouble you have admitted your wrongness.” “It’s been just too much for me to admit to myself that I could have made that awful mistake. they bring freedom. Or perhaps you will see how you were wrong in ways you had thought you were right. In various instances you will be required to face more than one disagreeable element in such a memory before you get full release. you will see something in it you did not see previously. Skip that one.” Such conversation with yourself need not be disagreeable.” “Everybody present saw that I was dishonest.

All that is necessary is that you give it the proper kind of attention described earlier in this chapter. you get rid of the disagreeable part. he feels eager to collect all the samples he can find so that he can apply the technique and be released from them. Accept the natural sequence. The unconscious mind will deliver them in sequence. You will be doing what your unconscious mind has been trying to get you to do all along. When one of your disagreeable memories does arise. you need not give it any more attention than has been your habit in the past. Let them come to mind as they will.Houseclean Your Emotional Life  After you have disposed of a few memories of that sort. And if you do. always when you are in a position to do something about disposing of them. You can learn to deal with its hidden message as fast or faster than you can push the disagreeable memory out of your conscious mind. . Making any effort to find them is unnecessary. When a person realizes the importance of getting rid of emotional rubbish. Presently you will be willing to tackle any memory that arises. you will have enough experience to know what you are doing.

Consider the following example: Suppose a person were once involved in an accident that had caused serious injury to someone else and afterward found that he could not shake off the memory. the other fellow was at fault. he reached a conclusion that his trouble resulted from the fact that he had been denying his part of the responsibility. 90 . But if you carefully rummage around in your mind after using that procedure. Suppose that after inspecting the memory closely. In effect. it would release them by stating the truth that the command phrases have the effect of contradicting. even though the law didn’t say so.Chapter 6 Improve Your Effects on People E LIMINATING A disagreeable memory by the procedure described in the preceding chapter is. but so was I. He might say to himself. “I have refused to admit that. by failing to look where I was going. Either method of approach to the problem works. Yes. of course. I let myself get into a situation that involved danger to myself and others. that process uses memory of an incident and ignores command phrases. Instead of correcting distortions by bringing up command phrases. a process of correcting one or more distortions. you will be able to find the command phrases of the distortions that you corrected.” That piece of honest thinking would have the effect of correcting distortions.

Giving attention to the command phrases and seeing how they are illogical and compulsive has the effect of destroying a person’s confidence in them. the technique of exposing and facing the truth without resort to inspection of the concealing command phrases is fully as effective. each of those command phrases has the effect of denying and concealing the truth that it contradicts. distortions can be corrected in .Improve Your Effects on People 1 The fact that the distortions are released by stating the truth does not mean that command phrases were absent.” “I’ll never take any chances. For the foregoing reasons. when a piece of truth is contradicted by several distortions. correction may be gained for every distortion contradicted by that piece of truth. For example.” “I can stay out of trouble by keeping my mouth shut. the command phrases really constitute the wording of the distortions. a single act can correct more than one distortion. The following examples suggest their possible nature: “I’ll never admit this was my fault. Taking a good look at that truth has the effect of forcing those command phrases out of the mind. When a piece of truth is exposed by giving attention to one command phrase. In the case cited. exposing and facing that piece of truth tends to eliminate all the contradicting distortions. The technique of correcting distortions by finding command phrases is easier to use because it has more of an element of indirection in its use.” Of course. When truth can be faced more directly. thus allowing him to see the truth that the phrases concealed. Either way.” “Nobody can trap me into saying anything that could hurt me. In effect. Command phrases are always present when distortions are involved. perhaps several command phrases would be involved.

Nonetheless people ordinarily keep on trying. and usually nothing is gained by trying. and sometimes more trouble erupts. But it is also important to other people. no person can make the necessary changes in his habits of thought and action so that the dangers involved will not be repeated. A person who denies responsibility for a mistake thus destroys his ability to correct the thinking that caused his mistake. because it has a startling effect on his ability to get along with them. If it does. Evidence indicates that quite a large group can be corrected in one operation. A person who freely admits responsibility for his mis- . How to Solve Problems and Prevent Trouble much less time than was required to install them. usually nothing would be gained. admitting responsibility for his proper share of responsibility for the accident may enable the person to admit responsibility for his share of many other problems and troubles that have nothing to do with that particular accident. The reason is that until responsibility is properly admitted. It all depends on the nature of the truth that a person faces. that is an important result. Even when the effort succeeds. In the case of the foregoing example. Whereas they were installed one at a time. he cannot free his mind from distortions that compel repetition of mistakes. because without it. they can be corrected in groups. The ability to recognize and admit responsibility for mistakes is important to the individual himself. II O NE OF the most frustrating aspects of interpersonal relationships is that people cannot get each other to admit responsibility for the trouble they cause.

Usually a person is fearful that if he admits a mistake. No doubt you can think of a person in that situation as soon as you try. He has a disarming effect on others. That is why people tend to blame everything that goes wrong on others. The person who makes the admission is the beneficiary. Usually people assume that refusal proves an unwillingness to admit. but that is seldom the case. The trouble that results from his mistakes is minor compared with another kind of trouble.Improve Your Effects on People  takes is a novelty. III T HE REASON a person refuses to make the admission is not what it seems. But that fear results from distortions. something terrible will happen to him. Perhaps you have been trying for years to tell someone certain things without success. A person who is victimized by that condition is in trouble. The reason may be that you are trying to get him to admit certain responsibility that he cannot admit because he is mentally blocked and unable to recognize his responsibility. honest admission is little more than a way of correcting distortions for the person who understands how they operate. . Nobody can tell him anything on those topics. He gains advantages that are denied to every person who refuses to make the admission. and they display no incentive to attack him. The other kind of trouble is that he is quite completely prevented from learning what he needs to know to manage his life successfully in relation to the various topics of his mental blindness. Usually refusal results from his inability to face and admit mistakes because he has not been able to admit to himself the fact that he is responsible. Unless he has committed some crime or otherwise opened himself to disaster because of what he has done.

in any case. therefore.” The person who has those distortions and lends his conscious support to them is beyond help from anyone who tries to tell him anything that requires his admitting a mistake. where an admission of responsibility is needed. Obviously he is going to be involved in many such situations. With others. The matter cannot be settled in one sitting. There are two great lessons in the foregoing paragraphs. How to Solve Problems and Prevent Trouble Just a few command phrases could cause his problem. Not by his employer. His predicament is much more serious than initially appears evident. The first lesson is that every person might wisely inspect his thinking and his behavior in a search for indications that he cannot admit his mistakes to himself and to others. Everybody who makes those analyses gets a series of surprises. Just a casual search is not enough. the next thing that happens is that you get into trouble.” “If you admit a mistake. His only hope is to adopt right intent and get correction for the distortions that destroy his ability to receive the kind of information he needs. Probably the matter cannot be settled without extensive analyses spaced over a period of time. People tend to think they are able to admit their mistakes to themselves. he cannot be helped to correct his mistakes. because I’m always careful about what I say and do. Almost literally. The second lesson is that a person might wisely inspect the persons he deals with most often to determine for himself whether some of them are seriously afflicted in the manner described. Everybody is. They might be: “Nobody is going to get me to admit anything that might put me in a bad light. In that case he should wait until the next time a situa- . he may not be able to detect the evidence. which is the case with many kinds of behavior resulting from distortions. Some of them are easily identified.” “Nothing is ever my fault. a deeper search is needed. Not by his closest friends or relatives. Not.

and he is incapable of doing that under any kind of ordinary persuasion or by any other procedure except by the procedure of correcting distortions. On that subject. No effort to force an admission can succeed unless the person unable to admit his mistakes can be confronted with evidence that has the effect of correcting the interfering distortions. he is helplessly sentenced to carry out the orders of the command phrases. It is not sensible to blame him. his brain is literally incapable of carrying to his conscious awareness any message telling him that he is responsible. He rarely has long to wait. though he is not wise to try to force an admission. Until the distortions that blind a person to his responsibility are destroyed. that is what is wrong with a person who has distortions. his brain is wired up wrong. On the subjects of the distortions. a counselor would be able to talk addicts out of drugs and related crimes and so on. His only real remedy is to unload his mental circuits. his brain is blocked and is not functional. Everybody knows that many human problems are virtu- . If ordinary persuasion induced people to change their behavior when controlled by distortions. He caused it to be wired up wrong by doing the thinking that installed the distortions. There is much evidence of the truth of that statement. In effect. The reason for that should be obvious from what has been said. but once the distortions have been installed. a spouse would be able to talk his or her spouse out of alcoholism. When the situation arises. Nobody blames a piece of electronic equipment if it fails to work properly because it is wired up wrong. he will be able to make interesting experiments that may incontrovertibly disclose the proof.Improve Your Effects on People  tion arises in which the evidence becomes obvious.

Whether he realizes it or not. IV A PERSON who knows how to correct distortions can deal with his ordinary problems just about as fast as they come to his attention. He just needs a willingness to face the truth about them. is no burden. As he corrects distortions. He corrects them by giving them no more time and attention than he would have to spend dealing with the same problems anyhow. he is forced to deal with his distortions in sequence. One result is that by correcting distortions he learns much about the reasons why people are illogical and engage in wrong behavior. He must be patient about his effort to become rational. He spent a long time putting distortions into his mind. He can put that knowledge to good use in his dealings with others. and he may have to spend a long time getting them out. He cannot get all his changes as fast as he would like. How to Solve Problems and Prevent Trouble ally impossible to solve. he feels more tolerant of other persons who are still making those mistakes. he decreases the problems of his life. He tends to stop trying to do what cannot be done in his dealings . however. Getting them out. When he corrects distortions. although he may correct many command phrases while correcting only one area. Those procedures are not needed by the person who learns how to correct distortions. After he has learned how and why he made a long string of mistakes that he has brought to a halt. Because of the impossibility of using persuasion to get an obviously desirable change of mind. That puts him in touch with reality on those points. people have increasingly turned to medication and other physical procedures to make people tractable. he gets results he could get in no other way.

Contradicting them is nonproductive unless the contradicting is done in . he learns how to make the corrections of distortions in other persons that are needed to permit successful dealings with them. By classifying the command phrases under which his friends and relatives and associates operate.Improve Your Effects on People  with people. All the conventional information on the subject of dealing with people leaves out the knowledge of distortions. and he starts using new methods that are likely to succeed. He must gain the first of those two abilities before he can gain the second. Some of those situations he learns to avoid. First. Second. he is certain to be frustrated in many of his dealings with people no matter how much he knows about them. he allows for whatever is said or done. As a consequence. Because distortions control a high proportion of everybody’s thinking and behavior. that omission is serious. he learns to use two alternative procedures that soon revolutionize his ability to deal successfully with people. and others he learns to manage. Until he has those abilities. he can predict their behavior with remarkable accuracy in various situations. he learns to recognize when a person is talking and acting under promptings of his distortions. Instead of asking a person to contradict the distortions that cause illogical conversation and behavior. V W HEN A person sees someone talking and acting under promptings of distortions. A person who understands distortions can easily understand human behavior in a way that is beyond the understanding of any expert who does not understand distortions. he is wise often to ignore what is going on or else allow for it so that he does not contradict the command phrases under restimulation.

both understanding and skill are needed. When command phrases are actuating them. How to Solve Problems and Prevent Trouble such a way that correction of the distortions results. Consider the following examples: You may have a close relative who has distortions telling . the concept is only theoretical at present. you will have to deal with people who have distortions. He would always do the right thing. The person who does not is in constant danger of getting involved in interpersonal relationships and situations he cannot deal with successfully. The person who realizes that gains an enormous advantage over persons who do not. Until that day comes. In the beginning he cannot sensibly undertake to correct distortions unless a result is to be gained that somehow aids him in getting relief from trouble. Perhaps some day such persons will exist. therefore. it is indicated that the peculiarities of people result from their distortions. For example. Nobody is obligated to assume the task of correcting all the distortions for any of the persons he knows. But if your boss has distortions telling him that he must prove himself smarter than any person under him. A person who had no distortions would always be logical. and that is correct. you will probably do best to let him enjoy the feeling that is so important to him. For that process. you will not have a satisfactory home life until those distortions are corrected. Presumably no such person exists. or you may get hurt. Often that is the situation. From the foregoing. you had better make room for their free expression. provided you can accomplish that result without experiencing a serious setback for any of your important objectives. Obviously that would not be possible so he must be selective. if your spouse has distortions telling him or her that you are not to be trusted out of sight.

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him to start an argument with you at every opportunity. Perhaps the close relative is your brother. Perhaps he installed the distortions in early childhood. In that case there is every likelihood that in childhood you also installed many distortions about your brother. They may tell you that you must rise to every challenge from your brother and must win every one of the arguments he starts. You may also have distortions telling you to lose no opportunity to start arguments with him. In that situation you and he will often have a bad emotional time whenever you get together. At first you may suppose that the situation is hopeless and that the only sensible thing to do is to stay away from him. But everybody who has siblings has problems of that sort to a greater or lesser degree. If a person could gather them all in a pile, he would be startled by the size of that pile. Getting away from your brother would, of course, stop those arguments. But the overwhelming chance is that you also have distortions that have the effect of refusing to let you get away from him. Perhaps you have distortions telling you quite emphatically to get together with your brother at least once a week. That sort of trouble exists in various ways in every family. Where distortions of the sort described tend to control family relationships, there will be an enormous amount of useless arguing. If you stop to think of it, you will realize that such is the situation in virtually every family. The cause might not be the particular combination of distortions cited, but it is a certainty that the cause is distortions. A person who knows that becomes alert to behavior stimulated by distortions. If he sees useless arguments coming, he manages to evade them. If he sees that one of his close friends or relatives must always have the last word in any discussion, he yields it. If he sees that his close relatives all have to criticize him, he does not try to talk them out of it. If he sees that one of his friends cannot talk about some particular

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subject without getting excited, he leaves that subject out of the conversation. After he has learned to recognize conversation and behavior that results from promptings by distortions, he is in a position to avoid many otherwise difficult situations. But sometimes he cannot avoid those situations. Consider the following examples of that sort: Suppose a husband is unable to discuss money with his wife, actually cannot mention the subject, which is the case in many families. Suppose that every discussion about finances causes an immediate emotional outburst that literally prevents the husband from saying what he considers necessary. That is a problem he cannot easily sidestep. Suppose the wife cannot get her husband to listen when she discusses what to do about the children. That kind of difficulty is widespread, and it can result from a single distortion installed in a moment of anger. Perhaps the command phrase might be “I’ll never give those rascals another moment of my attention!” Then suppose the children have serious difficulties of one kind or another. Unless she understands distortions and the problems and trouble they cause, she is in a serious predicament. She can say words to her husband; he can seem to be listening, but he cannot put his mind on what she says. That is a problem she cannot easily sidestep. Those examples are not farfetched. Millions of husbands and wives are in that sort of predicament, not just in relation to money matters and their children but in relation to various other topics. It is not difficult to see the evidence of such trouble. Even if a reader does not know a married couple in the predicament described, probably you can think of some person who habitually refuses or fails to listen to you. Perhaps his refusal or failure relates to certain topics, as when he refuses or fails to hear anything you say about your job, your

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concerns or your travel plans. Perhaps the person’s refusal or failure to listen relates to virtually everything you say. If that person is important to you, that is a problem you may not be able to ignore. In that case you had better learn how to make corrections of distortions in other persons when those corrections are needed to permit your dealing successfully with them. VI

B

EFORE YOU start correcting distortions in someone else, sincerely try to correct your own distortions that might also contribute to the problems and trouble you are trying to eliminate. Where any kind of conflict is involved, you can be sure there are distortions on both sides. A person who is wholly logical somehow manages to avoid conflict. Of course, that statement, at first, may seem to be unjustified by just about everybody who happens to be engaged in a conflict. When a person really understands distortions, he discovers that there is always a way out of every invitation to conflict. Consider the following example: Suppose a person occasionally feels unhappy about favoritism shown one of his brothers or sisters by their mother. That is a common situation that causes an enormous amount of emotional distress in families. In many cases the mother cannot see virtues in the child who is not favored and cannot see faults in the child who is. Of course, the mother has distortions, too. A person who does not understand distortions may spend much of his childhood and adult life in a futile effort to win favor from his mother. If he is broadly rejected, he never succeeds. Or when he succeeds selectively, the favor is given reluctantly. Because the seeming need for a certain amount of

Those command phrases could be the following: “She never pays any attention to me. but if he begins to inspect his thinking properly. and they cause him to suppose he sees certain other aspects of the problem that may be merely products of his imagination. When he discovers that he has such distortions. he is merely actuated by those distortions. he should make the effort to correct them. They result not so much from the fact that he was mistreated. he wants to change his mother’s thinking. because the promptings of distortions are largely unconscious. you will benefit enormously by recognizing them for what they are and getting . Prior to that. He is wise to do that before he attempts to change his mother’s thinking. If you happen to have those phrases. his effort never really stops.” “I’ll make her listen to me. All during the years when the distortions actuate him.” “If I try hard enough. he is in a position to release the distortions responsible for it. The person who seeks favor probably does not know that he is seeking it. although it is perhaps true that he was mistreated.” “He never does anything wrong in her eyes. and when he does. he uncovers many distortions that have controlled him on that subject. As a result of his desire.” Command phrases of that kind can cause great misery. as from the fact that his reaction to the treatment was one of rebellion. His command phrases blind him to certain aspects of the problem. he cannot clearly see and understand the problem he is dealing with because his distortions alter his judgment. he suffers from a longing desire to win favor he cannot get. he can detect his effort. Many of those distortions were installed in his moments of rebellion over the fact that his mother’s favors went to his rival.10 How to Solve Problems and Prevent Trouble favor is strong. Until he does. Nevertheless they are distortions. I can make her agree that I’m a better son than he is. If he carefully studies his conversation and behavior.” “I have to make her love me the most.

” “Mother’s the only one who understands me.Improve Your Effects on People 10 rid of them. hesitate a little longer. If she is available. The following sentences are typical examples: “I can’t decide until I find out what Mother thinks. Therefore. I’ll have to give up the whole idea.” “If my mother disapproves of this. They are all a matter of command phrases. she will also notice the difference.” Similar command phrases may relate to persons other . After that. That is an unfortunate state of affairs. Before you try to correct the distortions in her. Perhaps you will realize that you have gained so much stability by destroying your emotional dependency on your mother’s approval that you will want to delay taking the next step until you can analyze the new situation. If not. Emotional dependency on another person destroys his ability to be intelligent about that person. in many situations. he is incapable of being intelligent about that action. they are incapable of taking independent action. because the dependency seems logical to the person who installed the phrases. he should get free of emotional dependencies. The great probability is that you will notice a marked change in her attitude toward you. VII I T IS a little-noted fact that people are so dependent on one another emotionally that. just because of the change in you. In any situation where the emotional relationship is crucial to any action he might take.” “Nobody can separate me from my mother. ask yourself whether the result is worth seeking. A person who is incapable of taking independent action is a person whose brains are in chains. even for a minute. and many of them are difficult to find. you will feel very different in your attitude toward your mother.

He surely will decide that if the other person . Consider the following example: At first he may wish to produce changes that would enable him to prove to someone else that he is a person of very unusual ability who is being misunderstood and abused. the more likely he or she is to have a large collection of distortions making him emotionally dependent on the boss. He has no sound reason to fear any right change. They are likely to relate to one’s boss. In the process of seeing that. he improves his thinking. The evidence is that those fears are groundless. If he got them. As he progresses. At first some persons are afraid to destroy emotional relationships. Presently he may see that a wish of that sort is illogical. Why? Because it has its roots in distortions and. he comes to realize that what the other person thinks of him makes less difference than he had earlier supposed. they would cause more trouble instead of getting him out of trouble and. causes thinking on the subjects of the distortions to be illogical and wrong. He may even decide that he doesn’t care. They may relate to close relatives or a close friend. The average person can think of many ways he would like those dealings to change. would not be desirable. therefore.10 How to Solve Problems and Prevent Trouble than a mother. It is true that when distortions are corrected people’s dealings with friends and relatives undergo many profound changes. therefore. It is important that every kind of emotional dependency is noticed and given proper attention. Very likely he does not get all the changes he thinks in advance he would like to get. They are afraid they may not like the consequences. The distortions reduce the chance to satisfy what is presumed to be the purpose of the relationship. Some of those changes are not in everybody’s best interests. and the more emotional experiences a person has gone through in relation to his boss.

He finds that the fact of not caring causes a complete change in those opinions. certain liberties with definitions are taken. at first. may be difficult for many persons to understand. therefore. the overwhelming likelihood is that he finds he no longer has problems in that relationship. A personal relationship is defined as a relationship in which thinking is colored by friendliness and/or animosity. In order to explain what is meant. he is in danger of seeking changes that he might later have reason to regret. the subject will be given attention. the person with the wrong impression is the person whose thinking has gone astray. The value of impersonal relationships. Until he corrects his own distortions directly affecting a given relationship. They tend to be changes he wants to make because he sees their benefit. Those consequences are stated next. He finds that he no longer cares about the opinions that had previously annoyed him. He will want to destroy all the emotional dependencies he still possesses so that he can make all those relationships impersonal and right. He finds that he becomes able to avoid entanglements of many kinds that he had found objectionable in the past. After he corrects his distortions regarding his relationship with another person. If so. it is more the other person’s problem than his. A friendly personal relationship tends to blind a person . but few persons have any idea of the hazardous consequences. he cannot successfully decide in advance. What changes a person will actually desire to make after correcting his own distortions. He finds that behavior that formerly annoyed him not only causes no more annoyance but actually causes him to feel sorry for the person he formerly had blamed.Improve Your Effects on People 10 has a wrong impression. After all. he naturally wants to extend that progress. A person realizes at once that virtually all relationships are so colored.

he depends on his friends in ways in which they may not be reliable. That advice can easily lead to self-delusion. A person who seeks impersonal relationships to prevent troubles from developing soon realizes that everything wrong . Also he refuses to depend on persons he dislikes in ways that they would prove wholly reliable if he did. or he sees faults or virtues where they do not exist. It tends to cause his virtues often to appear as faults. The fallacy is based on the often-repeated statement that everybody should look for the good in persons he knows and overlook the bad. an unfriendly attitude tends to blind a person to all the virtues of the person toward whom the unfriendliness is felt. The mental blindness resulting from a friendly or unfriendly personal relationship impairs the ability of the person who feels the friendliness or unfriendliness to be intelligent about the way he handles the relationship.10 How to Solve Problems and Prevent Trouble to all the faults in the person toward whom friendliness is felt. he gets a wrong result. On the other hand. Therefore. he may suffer when those facts unexpectedly cause some trouble. If a person insists on blinding himself to facts. There is a certain fallacy in popular thinking that causes people to make the mistake of depending on people when they should not. It is a relationship that is devoid of incorrect interpretations of personal values of the sort that are most likely to be misunderstood. He overlooks faults or virtues. consequently they disappoint him. It tends to cause faults to appear as virtues perhaps. VIII A N IMPERSONAL relationship is not devoid of friendliness. It is a relationship based on correct information instead of unreal fantasies. It is a relationship that is devoid of unnatural and illogical dependencies on personal judgments. In either case.

but that takes time. He learns what some people have sensed is true but have not been able to establish successfully in a workable behavioral code. He learns that nobody can hurt him except himself. Perhaps his spouse or other person close to him is in trouble and needs help. There is another reason why he might need to influence someone else toward rational behavior. He becomes able to adopt an impersonal attitude completely free from emotional dependencies toward every person with whom he deals. even if only because he has not yet corrected enough of his own distortions to understand what is going on. If he remembers not to react in emotional rebellion but to correct the distortions that direct his thinking into areas of unreality. He also realizes that what is wrong about his acquaintances is not able to hurt him or his interests unless he lets it. More important.Improve Your Effects on People 10 about the conversation and behavior of persons he knows is caused by distortions. He learns that the way to change himself is not to try to change himself but to correct the distortions that cause him to behave as he does. If so. In some situations he must attempt to change the behavior of someone who is behaving badly. He develops incentives to solve his problems by changing himself. Meanwhile he gets into one situation after another that he dislikes. he successfully avoids many serious problems and prevents much trouble. he is limited in the kind of help he can give. In that case he can talk in terms of . he loses his incentive to try to solve his problems by trying to change the behavior of other people. Therefore. That helps to set him free from other people’s problems. he learns how he can prevent himself from suffering as a result of anything said or done by someone else. He helps most easily the person in trouble who understands distortions.

Therefore. he cannot do it directly. All the information they really need has already been stated. Usually he cannot do that unless he willingly seeks the truth. When it is. Even for those persons. That is easily accomplished if he infers the command phrases from the conversation. Nobody can be compelled to offer voluntary cooperation. But in various situations. nobody can be compelled to avail himself of the help offered by use of the procedures described in this book. Even then. But in certain situations. behavior. Virtually everybody has been frustrated in various . A husband and wife who both understand distortions can easily do very wonderful things in helping each other to release themselves from bondage to wrong thinking. at various times in his life. Probably everybody. his emotional state or from some other indirect indication. it is that the act of facing truth can be made coercive.10 How to Solve Problems and Prevent Trouble command phrases and expect that his efforts will meet with a display of real cooperation. Success. has wanted to know how he could compel a change in someone else’s behavior. Instead. in that case. no other procedure can take its place. the person who needs help may be a person who knows nothing about distortions and does not want to learn. depends on voluntary cooperation. distortions can be corrected. Or perhaps he is someone who has been given that information and rejected it. The reason it can be forced on him is not that the need to face truth can be obviated. IX A PERSON corrects a distortion when he faces the truth that the distortion conceals. the help can be forced on him. That is what is sometimes needed. so he must understand how to make an indirect approach.

You may have difficulty getting him to take orders from you. The situation can easily be illustrated. All that is necessary is to state the appropriate truth in sufficiently descriptive terms that the corresponding reality cannot be ignored. he would have acted in accord with it. There is a solid reason why physical coercion fails. the average person has resorted to coercion that is physical in nature. because unless he moves quickly. but he will respect the approaching truck. compelling him to face that piece of truth describing the reality has the effect of causing him to decide to change his thinking. The urge to persist . If he had seen that piece of reality himself. He has to do that himself. You can compel a person to act by forcing him. The reason he should is that he has failed or refused to face a piece of truth. On occasion. Therefore. He does the rest. but you can’t compel him to change his thinking. a situation of reality. You can apply painful physical force if you are big enough and strong enough. without getting the desired result.Improve Your Effects on People 10 situations of that sort. but after you turn your back. he reverts to doing as he pleases. Suppose you want a person to move six feet away from where he is standing. he will be killed by a fast-approaching truck. The moving truck represents a piece of reality. All that is needed is to call it to his attention in such a way that he cannot resist getting the information that apprises him of his predicament. Reveal that piece of reality. If he ought to change his thinking. The same is true of any other piece of reality that is concealed by distortions of logic. The reason is that it cannot induce voluntary action. The immediate result is that every distortion that contradicts that particular piece of reality is given instantaneous and effective contradiction. the only reason he fails or refuses is that he doesn’t know why he should.

Rather. With enough understanding. resists. it enables him to act in contradiction to distortions in his search for self-protection. therefore. Information previously presented will serve as a basis for correct understanding of the proper approach if carefully considered. Total precision of approach is required. That is the wording which precisely captures the thinking that was done at the time when the distortion was installed. The appropriate information relates to the procedure for correcting a distortion by recognizing the exact words of the command phrase that contains the distortion. It is virtually impossible for a person who does not understand distortions of logic to make real corrections by accident. The slightest variation in those words could cause a failure to produce the desired correction. corrections can occasionally be forced.110 How to Solve Problems and Prevent Trouble in the irrational behavior is suddenly replaced by an impulse to scramble into a position of safety. It is greater than that of a sharpshooter who gets credit for a perfect shot if he hits inside the edge of a bull’s-eye. Earlier it was said that in addition to considering the words of the command phrase. the command phrase may have only one possible wording. The foregoing procedure does not correct distortions of logic for the person who is still intent on getting his way. another form of the technique for correcting a distortion is to disclose the truth concealed . the degree of accuracy is difficult to understand. and. at first. even against opposition from a person who does not understand and. Accuracy is needed. It can be done. In this instance no leeway is permissible because no approximation permits a successful change. Even if the words were formulated forty years earlier in some foreign language that the victim of the phrase no longer consciously understands. although the procedure opposes virtually every seemingly natural inclination.

It is as though a person has both arms loaded with a large package and is then tossed another package that he must catch. he simply is unable to comprehend that truth. The reason is that no one can simultaneously retain both untruth and truth on exactly the same topic. he will miss it. Necessarily he drops the package he already holds. Even though what you say seems to have meaning so obvious it cannot be missed. A listener cannot hear and comprehend the simple meaning of words of precise truth that he has tried to hide by adop- . So long as he retains the distortion concealing the truth. It must be the exact statement.Improve Your Effects on People 111 by the command phrase. But that cannot happen unless an exact contradiction of one of the distortions is involved in the statement of truth. Trying to tell him what he cannot comprehend and once determinedly hid from himself arouses strong emotion that will be aimed at you. but the truth must be stated just as exactly as the command phrase. If the exact statement happens to contradict more than one distortion. The reason this topic is given emphasis is that failure to produce the exact statement of truth may cause the person you are trying to help to become infuriated. many distortions thus contradicted may be corrected. It cannot be merely a statement of some truth that the command phrase happens to contradict. Anything you tell him that haphazardly contradicts one of his distortions is totally unacceptable to him. That is what is done when you state that truth to a person you are trying to help. Could he believe that it is noon after he has learned that it is midnight? Truth forces untruth out because truth uses the same mental circuits that must be used to retain the untruth. At first glance the reason is startling. Statement of the exact truth that is contradicted by a distortion avoids that effect.

When they learn how. everything they say is likely to cause emotional blowups and do more harm than good. If that were possible. they can begin to succeed in solving difficult interpersonal problems. .11 How to Solve Problems and Prevent Trouble tion of an untruth without dropping the untruth. get the command phrase. Since the distortion of logic is contained in the untruth. Then ask yourself what is exactly opposite to it in meaning. That is the precise piece of truth to tell the person you are trying to help. The exact statement of truth is precisely opposite to the wording of the command phrase of the distortion. He drops it whether he knows what is happening or not. people would have been able to solve their difficult human problems long ago. Certainly people have long been able to detect illogical behavior in each other. Therefore. there is an easy way to find it. but there is an easy way to select exactly the one statement of truth that applies. They have often been able to point out how the behavior is wrong. That is because people fail to say what contradicts the distortions exactly. First. There may be millions of statements of truth that are true and have the effect of contradicting the distortion to be corrected. do not seek the truth directly. he drops the distortion. X A LTHOUGH THE statement of truth must be exact. The easy way is not found accidentally. but everything they say tends to restimulate the distortions responsible for it without correcting them. The key is found in the command phrase of the distortion to be corrected. Therefore.

that is not the only result. It is that intimidation has overpowered resistance. However. no matter what you say. The listener sees the light of reason and acts on it. Even if he is subject to intimidation. The purpose of shouting might be to intimidate the person you are trying to help. You need only state the words audibly and correctly at a time when the other person is actually listening. Or 3 . and a change of thinking results. An additional result is that you also get your brains out of chains. the shouting is notoriously ineffective.Chapter 7 Take Your Brains Out of Chains W HILE GIVING someone the piece of truth that makes him free of a distortion of logic. You need not speak with emphasis. One result is that he gets his brains out of chains. the information penetrates. The resulting release from mental and emotional burdens can be very great. It is as though a miracle has occurred. it is not that understanding has been achieved. You no longer feel tied down to the hopeless task of trying to change the thinking of a person who seems bent on refusing to change it. When it seems effective. Appropriate mental switches are thrown. If the correct piece of precise truth is stated in softly spoken words. you need not shout. He cannot help throwing the proper mental switches. Perhaps you have expended a large part of your time and energy trying unsuccessfully to deal with certain problems of persuasion that are important to you.

Even after you know how to detect command phrases.” he may say. He cannot be released from further domination by a command phrase until he finds some reason for disagreeing with it. In that case he does so as soon as he becomes aware of it. Until you know how to detect command phrases. your first attempts to use the technique may fail. Suppose you have to deal with an associate who insists that he should never get any difficult piece of work to do and who contrives to get every piece of difficult work done by someone else. the technique will be illustrated.11 How to Solve Problems and Prevent Trouble perhaps you have failed to deal with problems of that sort and have. supports it. But if he does not understand nor accept the theory. Next. . At first you may have difficulty seeing how to apply the technique. you have a technique to set yourself free. adjusted your life to the failure at considerable sacrifice. therefore.” If he understands and accepts the explanation of distortions. his denial prevents a correction. If so. you are likely to have trouble with that person. he can solve the problem himself. Second. his difficulty is that he believes the command phrase and. therefore. he might deny that he ever harbored such a thought. I fail. First. But ultimate results are such that persistence will be rewarded. you may be able to help him. the technique has no value to you. Assume that you have identified the command phrase. If so. “that’s exactly what happens!” If so. If he understands distortions. In any case. he might agree with the command phrase. telling him that command phrase might induce either of two dishonest reactions. the command phrase might be. For purposes of illustration. “Whenever I try anything difficult. As a result. telling him that command phrase would cause an immediate correction. “Yes.

” If he is reasonably tractable. There have been times I’ve seen you try difficult things and succeed. For purposes of this example. You may find success by experimenting with that proce- . “You think that whenever you try anything difficult you fail. but really that isn’t true. Conceivably you could tell him. that is what you cannot do. But if he is not reasonably tractable. start reasoning from the command phrase. Therefore. The reason he won’t believe it is that the motive that causes him to get his difficult work done by others is an unconscious motive which originates in his distortion. and it cannot be found unless you are specifically looking for it.Take Your Brains Out of Chains 11 Unless he withdraws his support for the wrong thought. that remark may cause a correction of the distortion. Perhaps you will cast about for other ways of getting your point across. He won’t believe it. Then add a general contradiction. and he cannot know about his unconscious motive. that would make his unconscious motive conscious. I fail. To find that way. There is only one way that works.” you might get somewhere by using those words and following them with an explanation. he tends to go on justifying his behavior and continuing it until the domination is broken. He just does not recognize what he is doing clearly enough to understand it. he will resent. It would enable him to detect the fact that his motive is illogical. “You’re always trying to get your difficult work done by others. he may react to the first part of your sentence by agreeing with it so very vehemently that he doesn’t even hear the second part.” That. For example. If you could successfully tell him the command phrase and induce him to accept it as such. you must do more than tell him the phrase. you can be assured. and he would abandon it at once without urging from you. If the command phrase is “Whenever I try anything difficult.

and that a person who is afflicted by the specified command phrase would not be trying to do something difficult but would actually be trying to fail. Additional light can be shed by another realization. For example. That is not what is needed. Those words may startle you. and you will be able to start more easily than with the procedure of making an exact contradiction of the command phrase. It is the contradicted truth that is needed. does not fail. For example. in this case it is not “Whenever I try anything difficult.11 How to Solve Problems and Prevent Trouble dure.” That is only another contradiction of the sort that would be likely to arouse resistance. people seldom actually try to do just what they assume they are trying to do. the exact opposite of the phrase under discussion is “Whenever I try anything difficult. therefore. assuming that you have no distortions on the subject involved. Because of distortions. that a person who is really logical. I succeed. I won’t fail. If you ask inside yourself for the contradicted truth. the words tend to come into your mind. In fact. For example. II T HE EXACT opposite is not always what it seems. you must have the ability to think from a concept to its exact opposite. for the simple reason that such is his unconscious prompting. A distortion is always exactly opposite to the truth which it contradicts. a scientist who assumes that he is trying to find a cure for .” To an incautious person those words might seem preposterous. The correction of those words can be understood by a person who realizes that logical action always succeeds. they may startle you enough that you are tempted to reject them. In order to make the exact contradiction.

Therefore. he then becomes more nearly able to do exactly what he supposed he was attempting. Even though he is enabled to see the light of truth and become logical on the subject of the distortion. It meets with no resistance because the resistance has already been destroyed. you ought to start trying. have command phrases causing him to be trying instead to become rich and famous as the person who found the cure. He may still fail to gain the desired success.Take Your Brains Out of Chains 11 cancer might. it accomplishes the correction of those distortions instantly. I fail. Suppose. In that case he has already gone on record with denials and refusals. for example. and it also corrects every other distortion that it contradicts directly enough. If that scientist as a child installed a command phrase saying “Whenever I try anything difficult. that you do not use the procedure until after you have already made a dozen unsuccessful efforts to change the other person’s thinking on the subject of the distortion. and. in fact. The foregoing information can be condensed into a sentence that gets results under the conditions specified. you get a delayed reaction. That sentence might be “Whenever you try anything difficult. It is true that a person who is really trying to do exactly what he thinks he is trying to do has a way of succeeding. But if he corrects that distortion or lets it be corrected for him by someone else. . but not because of that command phrase. That would cause him to be frustrated. therefore.” he is certain to have a tendency to be guided by it. Sometimes the appearance of the result can be impeded by bad handling of the procedure.” The first part of the sentence corrects the distortion that it contradicts exactly. he naturally feels that he cannot go back on his earlier statements. Even before the remainder of the sentence can be expressed. you succeed. because it would destroy his ability to put his mind directly on the problem that he imagines he is trying to solve. The desired result appears as if by magic.

but you should be able to get him to accept similar work thereafter. Unless you are. And it is certainly correct. The presence of emotion shows that there is still something wrong with your motivation. It is the subject of the motives that make you want to use it. But if your motive is to adapt them to your personal wishes. you must be able . Under analysis. Why? If your motive is to help them get out of trouble. How can you be sure of abandoning it? Ask yourself whether you think your reason for wanting to change another person is really honest. If it is. in reality. Before you can proceed satisfactorily. back away. you can think of several friends and relatives you would like to change. Then ask yourself whether you are really unemotional about the effort you intend to make. They cannot get out of trouble until they abandon that effort. If you are like most persons. you will fail. and it is quite important for you to understand that subject. That may sound pious. Unless you do. The basic reason is that using truth to get a wrong result is impossible. you may succeed. it is practical common sense. you may be on the right track. III N EXT COMES a delicate subject. People get into trouble by trying to abuse truth. You cannot make any improper use of the technique. That feeling is evidence of a motive that clouds your judgment and inhibits your proper use of the technique. you will not be able to use the technique under discussion.11 How to Solve Problems and Prevent Trouble You may not be able to get him to accept the particular piece of difficult work over which he rebelled. but. you will probably recognize that your emotion results from some sort of feeling that the other person is somehow causing you trouble you would like him to stop.

in a certain sense. inflexible ideas that he formed in his moments of rebellious. and that they insist on their rightness most vigorously when it is wholly imaginary. but. Your freedom from emotion will free enough of your intelligence that you can perceive the truth to be stated. When you can meet those specifications. that people are often wrong when they do not know they are wrong. You will learn that a person who is wrong cannot avoid being wrong. Perhaps the subtlest kind of slavery is slavery to distortions. you can do wonders in an effort to help people effectuate changes. A person who does not understand distortions is not only a slave to his own distortions. So great is that advantage that even if you must fumble with the technique over a period of months before you learn it. you make many discoveries. It will allow you to present that truth without inviting conflict. However. He is simply a person who has fixed.Take Your Brains Out of Chains 11 to base your action on right motivation. . you will find it worth the effort. By attempting to use it. even against their resistance. he is a slave to everybody’s. you will succeed. You will learn that blaming a person who is wrong is futile. perhaps you are ready. What you learn will help to set your faculties free. You discover that a difficult person is really not a person who is peculiarly obnoxious. If you are ready. when you find yourself about to approach the problem without emotion. How can you tell when you are ready to do that? At first you may not be able to tell. emotional thinking and who is trapped by the resulting command phrases. IV T HE ADVANTAGE of the foregoing technique in dealing with troublesome situations is difficult to exaggerate.

it deprives him of the correct concept on the same point. He would rather die than face the pieces of truth and reality he must face to become free. but most of them cannot be understood without a fairly substantial amount of experience in dealing with many different kinds of distortions. Every distortion gives him a false concept by which to live. in effect. it impairs his effective intelligence and deprives him of the use of some of his brainpower. Nevertheless at first a person may resist. V E VERY DISTORTION involves the risk of death for the person. From what has gone before. He tries to change people’s thinking when because of distortions it cannot be changed. In other words. Not the brainwashing that puts thinking into his mind. only one statement is presented. he keeps his problems and stays in trouble. It will improve matters more than he or anyone else could imagine in advance. it is clear that every distortion has an effect of depriving its victim of his ability to be logical on the subject of the distortion. is wired up wrong. There are various ways of stating the risk. He can get that brainwashing in only one way: correcting distortions of logic. He reacts to illogical conversation and wrong behavior by getting himself into many disagreeable situations that he could avoid. But unless he faces them.10 How to Solve Problems and Prevent Trouble He takes seriously what he would disregard if he realized it was the product of a mind that. What is more important. but a brainwashing that washes out all his wrong thinking. What he needs is a kind of brainwashing. His slavery to his own distortions is more serious. Therefore. How can he be sure that he will not someday need that .

He does not regard that as bad news. he realizes not only what is wrong with everybody else but also that he suffers from exactly the same affliction. Increasingly he gets his brains out of chains.Take Your Brains Out of Chains 11 particular portion of his logic. If he understands it. but somehow it escapes his detection that what applies to other people just might happen to apply to him. he has no way of knowing that he has suffered any loss of logic and intelligence and brainpower. He may tell people that everybody else is crazy. . Until he learns about distortions and how they work. he restores lost faculties. It puts him on the road toward startling improvements. Thereafter he can use those faculties productively. he regards it as good news. At first a person is totally unaware of that fact. When he understands distortions. He knows others have something wrong with them. He is able to be in touch with reality which gives him the use of intelligence he was deprived of as long as he had the distortions. his intelligence and his brainpower in order to save his life? He can’t. In his daily life he accumulates enormous benefits as he learns how to deal with situations that formerly had left him frustrated and impotent. Every time he corrects a distortion. too.

as does a memory. without the person’s awareness that he is being influenced by them.Many kinds of problems and trouble are caused by the illogical thoughts a person forms when he is emotional. Why? Because the illogical thoughts still exist on the unconscious level. But the problems and trouble persist. . After the concepts are formed. This book presents techniques for discovering and releasing those trouble-causing thoughts so that problems are solved and further trouble is prevented. they seemingly are forgotten.