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2) A theory of reality that purports to show that the
being encounters the real and the unreal, and that the
experience is the real, and that all the rest, the
unreal is agreement. In other words, that experience, the
real, is pure cause, being created in the experiencing,
and that the unreal is pure effect, agreement, the out-
come of experiencing.
3} A dynamic theC:u::y __ of the mind that claims it to be a
linear arrangement of multi-sensory total records of
successive moments of now, whose dynamics leads to the
survival of the being or what it takes itself to be.
In this theory ego arises as p. way of mind funct.ioning
when the being takes itself to be its mind and functions
by re-living all the interconnected records (that have
threatened survivial) whenever the circuriistances are
isomorphic to those that gave origin to them.
4) A theory that intends to show that to live as an ego is
to live in suffering and frustrat:iJon because it is to
live at every moment the emotions of past experiences
in a manner that always hides the present, and that the
ego disappears when the being becomes aware of the past
event to which his present emotions belong.
5} Everything takes place in the dynamics of the mind in
a mechanistic way, that is, under full mechanicaI
determinism. The mind is a recording machine con-
stituted by records that through its operations on
its records secures the survival of the being; and
when the mind operates as an ego, the being is a
machine. All this is embedded in a meta-theory
that is also being developed along the training,
but which is fully expressed in its
namely, that the only fundametal for existence
is existence as a result that anything that is is.
The training culminates in a mood of amorality (mutual respect
without value judgement) in which nothing matters outside the
experience in the present, with experiential, actual or potential,
disolutions of the ego through the experience that anything that
is is, as well as in a mood of liberation of a burden through
the disappearance of value judgement as a feature of the experience
in the present.
After this culmination a space is open for creativity and social
harmony through the expression of the theory of reality in a dimension
that includes the reality of others in the reality (experience) of
each individual as the reality of the others, and treats the acceptance
of the present as a starting point moment after moment for the new
- 3 -
1. The training is successful in that it operates:
a} involving the trainee in a mood of amoral self-awareness
as a member of a class of integrity failures,
b) involving the trainee in the operation of self-awareness
of his particular failures of integrity and,
c) involving the trainee in the acceptance of the power of
logic of his common language as a source of compe'lling
theoretical experiences when operating in integrity.
This is not obtained all at once'. It builds up along
the training starting from a basic truthfulness that is brought
forth by the mood of self-awareness. How does this take place?,
Mimy of the trainees at the very beginning accept verbal
characterizations of them by the trainer in the form of ~ r h a t
otherwise would be considered verbal abuse. This takes place
either as a result of their acceptance that the characterization
applies to them, or their unwillingness to lose face in front of
others that seem untouched, or as a result of their unwillingness
to lose their invested money. What follows is that they stay
and accept a course of interactions that leads them to re!flect
upon themselves, either through reason or after seeing others
telling their own experiences in the attempt to self-reflect,
with the outcome that the majority of the trainees eventually
reveal that they have discovered themselves as cheaters,
deceivers, . ,iiars, etc.
It seems that this cannot be avoided by the majority of the
trainees revealing that cheating, deceiving, pretending,
are as much part of our present social experinece as our
continuous exposure to a social demand for truthfulness,
honesty, and respect. That we human beings have all lied, deceived
or cheated other human beings or ourselves in one moment or
another of our lives, and that we have all in one moment or another
of our lives denied to others or ourselves that we have done so,
justifying our denial with some reason, is the first fundamental"
truth on which the outcome of the training depends.
The second one is that our social dynamics operates with a
basic hypocricy, namely, that we teach our children basic ways
of conduct such as truthfulness, honesty, tolerance, respect
to others and ourselves, etc. and We live adult lives that validates
a society that continuously negates the validityof such conducts.
AS a result of this permanent contradiction we live in pain and
are receptive for those accusations which, if they occur in an
amoral domain, trigger in us self-reflection.
Socialization, living in a linguistic human domain, requires
love, that is unqualified acceptance that permi ts recurrent
- 4 -
interactions in the domain of socialization. Thisispur_oiQlogical
condition, and the prerequisite of love for socialzation is-
satisfied through our growth in social conditions.
2. $haring leads to an experience of equality; equality
implies the absence of value judgement. The amorality of
equality is the third basic truth on which the effectiveness
of the traInIfigrests. Amorality IS not ethical blindness of
denial of ethics. Social ethics as the realization of the
social ethos, is in human societies founded on love, and
consists in living in a linguistic dQmain in which one can
operate in language, under conditions of unqualified mutual
respect. Morality operates as a superimposed linguistic
construct that permits human coordinations of activities
under the negations of the ethical conditions in social life.
For this reason morality leads to inauthenticities, and
hence, to suffering.
Amorality is obtained by invitation under of
suffering that demand expression, and is reinforced by applause.
Applause in the training is presented as meaning only acknowledge-
ment, yet, in daily life it means approval. This approval
component of the applause as a conduct of acknowledgement brings
forth the emotion of approval to the amoral conduct.
Without the acceptance of the self-deceipt that carries
wi th it the living in a moral society, and the of
ethics (unqualified acceptance in an amoral situation)
the training cannot work. The first two days are crucial for this.
3. The recurrence of patterns of reactions under what seem
to be-very different-rife conditIOns or circumstances;-constitutes
thefou:rtfl basic truth on which the success of the training rests.
Living systems never participate in particular interactions,
they only participate in classes of interactions. In other
words, it is the configuration of relation given in any
perturbation what triggers a change of state in an organism,
not the observable circumstances in which the perturbation
appears embedded to an observer. This permits of
modes of reaction which impress the trainees leading to further
acceptance of the amoral situation, and the recognition that
the pattern of reactions can be disolved or greatly weakened
The changes of state triggered by any particular perturbation
are determined by the structure of the subject; furthermore,
the structure of the subject determines what structural config-
uration of the medium constitute perturbations. Thus there are
structural changes in the subject that either primarily
change the states that a given perturbation may trigger,
- 5 -
or change its domains of perturbations so that old r e c u r ~ e n t
configurations of the medium do not perturb it any more.
Self-reflection may lead to either of these changes or to
both while it operates as an internal perturbation in the
same domain of states as the recurrent feature of the medium.
As a result of this self-reflection is always a source of
structural, and hence behavioural change. What is remarkable
in self-reflection as a source of change is its universality,
its 'consequences do not depend on the perturbations that elicit
it, and they can be emotional and reactional.
4. We concede power to him or her who appears to block our
escape in a social encounter whose continuance we have accepted.
We concede power by submission, open up and accept a lead in
the domain of submission. This takes place in the training, and
is a condition that puts an absolute ethical demand on the
training for not creating a new morality, allowing the trainees
the freedom that comes with self-reflection.
Self-reflection puts us in a different domain of action
or of selection of our ongoing structural change than the one
to which our history confines us in the absence of it. Freedom
is realized when we change our usual course of action in some
domain. Learning restricts freedom by stabilizing our course of
action, restricting our ability to see the unexpected, self-reflection
frees us without negating learning. The danger for the trainees
is that after conceding power they may find themselves learning
a new morality and not the ability of self-reflection.
5. The theory of knowledge expounded in the training is
complete and self-contained in the metaphorical domain.
As a theory it has oomplete logical consistency, and, hence,
for us it is fully compelling. Every logical or rational
system rests on some set of explicit or implicit non-rational
or logical notions which one accepts as a matter of preference,
desire, choice, just because one accepts them. Once these non-
rational notions are accepted the rational or logical construct
built upon them has full compelling power. When the listener
of a logical argument disagrees it is either the result of a
logical mistake, and the disagreement is trivial and can
be corrected easily, or it is the result of the listener having
different non-explicit non-rational starting notions, and the
disagreement cannot be dissipated until there is agreement
about these non-rational basic notions. All serious disagreements
are of this latter kind, and cannot be dissipated through a
logical argument as a result of the logic. They can only be
dissipated through an emotional experience that triggers an
epistemological change, a change of outlooking, in the listener
- 6 -
or in the speaker, or in both that makes their non-rational starting
emotional experience can be obtained through non-rational
or through_ rational interactions that trigger some change of
mood and hence of outlooking. When the interaction is rational,
the compellingconsequesnces of it trigger a change of mood,
but the change of mood is not the result of the logic of the
During the first two days of the training a mood of amorality
is obtained reinforced continuously through the .
of the sharing. During these first two days a mood of pragmatic
rationality is also obtained, greatly facilitated by the fact
that the trainees live immersed in a society with a prevalent
pragmatic rational mood, however inauthentically. The !ationality
of rationality is the fifth basic truth on which the success
of the training rests.
6. Once amorality and pragmatic rationality have been established
as basic moods in the training, the two fundamental agreements
as starting non-rational basic notions on which the success of
the traiinin rests, can be obtained, namely: the agreement
that the mind is a mechanistic system that may reduce the
.i:>eTng to ego, and-the undeniable nature of exIstence, what is is.
These agreements (plus whatever mechanism operates in the
working of the mind that results in the errasure of the records)
are essential for the success of the training through creating
a mood of acceptance of the consequesnces that will necessarily
follow. If the mechanistic nature of the mind and the undeniability
of existence are not accepted as agreements, that is, as starting
points that fundamental as a matter of course in a non-rational
way the new outlooking, they are only rational or non-rational
To make it in the training is to reach this point; and
to be in this point entails to be an amoral outlooking of acceptance
of what is as is, and to possess a pragmatic rational mechanism
for self-observation in the domain of the mind that may lead to
the dissolution of the ego.
7. Whatever else comes afterWards in relation to choice does
not have the same strength or grounding. The being has lurked
during the training as a background for the mind. Choice is
there in answer to an unformulated question about purpose or
significance. Strictly it does not pertain to the training.
- 7 -
1. The theory of the operatio of the mind is complete. Its power
rests on its being metaphorical with respect to processes that do
not require to be disclosed or described. Yet, there is one point
of flaw which is the assertion that the mind is a total record of
nows that encompas the whole universe. This assertion is not meta-
phorical and demands an explanatory mechanism. Such mechanism is
not provided in the training, cannot be provided, and an attempt
to provide it would push the training in a different direction than
that which makes it a success. The theory that provides the ratio-
nal experiences on which the emotions ride in the training, and
which will constitute the rational machinery for further self re-.
flections, must be a theory of relations, hence; it must remain
metaphorical in the context of the training.
For the training to operate total record is not necessary. To-
tal record seems necessary to provide fundament for unexpected ex-
periences of social or cosmic unity. Yet, unless one wants to talk
about an absolute, a metaphorical rational theory is adequate in
dealing with experiences. If one wants to deal with the absolute,
then one must fall into morality and foul the training. What the
training needs is that the mind should make a complete record of
all the moments of now in all the domains of interactions in which
the being operates " whichever these may be.
2. Whether the mind does in fact operates as a string of records
of the successive moments of now of the being or in some other man-
ner, is irrelevant with respect to what takes place in the training.
What is relevant in this respect is that the dynamics of the pheno-
menon of mind distinguished in the training should involve serial-
ity and recurrence of states.
The training is concerned with experience, and not with the
is of what is.
3. Ihave not talked about the processes practiced during the
training. Some of them are auxiliary and operate in support of dif-
ferent theoretical points. They support them through the experiences
that they generate; they are complementary, not central. Others are
central in the sense that they form part of the set of experiences
that generates the fundamental mood of amorality that is at the core
of the training, or contribute to its maintenance. Dissappearing
through awareness belongs to the former, being in the presence of
the other without adding or substracting anything belong to the
4. The question of choice is not central to the training, yet,
it is necessary for overcoming the bewilderment of the trainees.
Life seems to require purpose, freedom, choice. To live a full life
in the absence of choice seems a contradiction.
- 8 -
Choice requires an independency between he who choses and
the domain of alternatives from which one element is intentionally
taken in the choice. It seems that if the being were-deterministic
and mechanistic this could not take place. Since the being is a
background in the training, nothing is sad in the training about
whether it is or it is not mechanistic and deterministic. Since the
actions spring through or in from the mind, and the mind is mechan-
istic, it is only in the interstices between the actions that choice
can be exerted. This is the answer guiven to the question of choice
after the culmination of the training. This is a weak answer in the
context of the complete internal consistency of the t r a i n i n g ~
The experience is that one cannot predict one's future actions
after the dissolution of the ego: existence takes: .place in the pre''':''
sent and everything is what it is. At the same time, whatever takes
place ~ n the being can be seen by the being a posteriori as related
with its past experiences, not as being determined by them, but
entailing them. So, the being appears as a source that takes into
account at every moment many (or all) of its experiences without
being bound by them. In fact, if the being is a deterministic human
being that operates in language, the situation would appear the
same and no choice in the sense indicated above would have taken
place. If whatever the human being does recursively triggers in it
a structural change, so that it is apparent to an observer that two
different courses of action would lead to two different paths of
structural change in it, the human being will be deterministic yet
unpredictable (language) in self reflection. He would appear to
himself as making choices, as being a source. And, if his ego has
dissolved, he will appear as a source to others that would generally
be unable to predict anything more than his trivial conduct.
5. At the end of the last night of the training there is a cele-
bration: the graduation. Many previous trainees, graduates as they
are called, come and make a big event of brotherhood. In fact, this
celebration defines the brotherhood of the trainees by specifying
the distinction of a boundary: the having accomplished the est train-
This phenomenon has the consequences that every membership in
a brtherhood has: it defines the nonbrothers and triggers a discri-
minatory conduct between brothers and nonbrothers. Much of the mis-
conceptions about est arise from this. Brotherhoods are dangerous
for nonbrothers as a rsult of the behavioural Cleavage that arises
from the membership in an exclusive consensual domain. Furthermore,
brotherhoods define domains of morality and may defeat or greatly
endanger the dissolution of the ego.
6. The training is thoroughly western, it is founded upon reason
as a basic and legitimate source of experience. At the same time
it is western in its adress to the main source of western inauthen-
ticity, that is what in the training is called reasonableness.
- 9 -
Reason without ego is a source of experiential openness, rea-
'son with ego is a source of experiential blindness. No one operates
exclusively in ego, this how every person can enter into a path of
ego dissolution. In this context, the training by being western
provides a western human being with a western instrument for ego
dissolution in action.
7. The notion of integrity is a universal notion that has to do
. with the basic phenomenon of socialization and, therefore, is in-
dependent of culture. Integrity means, and is made to mean in the
training, authentic socialization. Socialization rests on mutual
respect with no value judgement, and mutual respect entails honesty,
truthfulness and confiability, that is integrity. As a result,
authentic socialization lasts only as long as integrity lasts. By
making integrity the central emotional and rational reference, the
training calls upon the basic experience of socialization that every
child that did not suffered mother deprivation must have had, and
succeeds in orienting the trainee to the center of his suffering,
namely, social inauthenticity. In this the training is also essen-
tially western, and provides the trainee with a permanent reference
for self reflection in his dayly life as an on going process. This
and the use of reason as a source of experience, constitute the
greatests assets of the training.
Humberto R. Maturana