A few days after AIDS INC. was published, Jack casually told me a copy of the book was in a diplomatic pouch heading to Moscow. I tried to press him, but he refused to give me details, except to say people in Russia would certainly be interested in my conclusions about the inaccuracy of the viral studies that had been carried out at the US National Institutes of Health.
As I discovered over the next five years of conversations, Jack had been approached by “government contractors,” who were interested in his work on the cutting edge of human potential. Jack consistently turned down their offers.
After his untimely death in the mid-1990s, I went through my notes and tapes of our conversations. What emerged were the astounding findings of a unique mind. Spread out in front of me, in these notes, were wide-ranging and daring explorations of a researcher who was determined to extend the possibilities of human capacity.
Jack and I shared many ideas we had independently arrived out, from different routes. Painting had unlocked many doors for me. Jack had ventured into creative areas that went far beyond the traditional notion of hypnosis as a method for planting suggestions.
I’m happy to present, here, a compilation and re-editing of several of our interviews. I think you’ll find, as you read Jack’s remarks, that there IS something new under the sun. Jack had great disdain for limits, and he wasn’t just pushing the envelope. He was pushing the envelope and the letter and the whole Post Office. He was a rare combination of researcher, artist, and rebel.
I call him the Spy in the House of Infinity.
Q: Why hypnosis?
A: At first, it was a fascination with the idea of changing beliefs. I could put a patient in a trance and make suggestions, and these suggestions would appear to alter the patient’s inhibiting convictions.
Q: Why do you say “appear”?
A: Well, that’s the point. It’s a dead end. The patient keeps kicking out the new beliefs and retreating back to familiar territory.
Q: Give an example of a suggestion.
A: “You’re happy.” “You’re satisfied with your life.” “Your leg feels better.” “You can run faster.” “Your arm is healed.”
Q: Seems pretty simple.
A: The immediate results can be tremendous. But, in most cases, they faded. The patient slips back.
Q: Given that this was what you were doing with patients, you must have become discouraged.
A: I wanted to go farther, understand more. I began looking for a system. I wanted a protocol that would do an end-run around the patient’s tendency to fall back on old habits.
Q: A system.
A: You know, a better mechanism. A smarter approach. I wanted tricks. But that didn’t work, either. It seemed as if something in the patient was much smarter than what I could devise.
Q: Smarter in what sense?
A: In remaining essentially passive.
Q: But if a patient were truly passive, wouldn’t he then accept all your hypnotic suggestions and become different?
A: No. The kind of passivity I’m talking about is “staying the same.” I found deeper levels, shall we say, where people want to stay the same. And when you look at what that is, you see it’s an acceptance of a lowest common denominator of what they already are. It’s like a person who drives his car a few miles to a lake, he’s got his bathing suit on, he gets out of the car, he goes over to the lake, he sits down, and he stays there. He’s in his bathing suit with a towel next to him, but he never goes in the water.
Q: What would happen if he did go in the water?
A: He’d feel something new. He’d have a new experience that would change his whole outlook on his future. It would be revolutionary for him.
Q: But that’s why he went to the lake.
A: We don’t know that. That’s not definite. While he sits at the edge of the lake, he starts thinking about all sorts of things. And that rumination becomes the substitute for actually jumping in the lake. When he finally gets up and goes back to his car and drives home, he decides the rumination was why he really went to the lake. The rumination was enough. He rationalizes the whole trip and turns it into something acceptable. I have no problem with that. We all do it. But after he goes to the lake a few hundred times and never jumps into the water, he develops a kind of crust. He’s shielded against a breakthrough.
But think about this: Why is it that human beings can be hypnotized at all? I mean it’s not inevitable in the scheme of things
Q: So what’s the answer?
A: Most people want to give up their will to another person. They want that experience. They’re waiting for it, so to speak. It’s part of what they think of as life---like going to the movies.
Q: They want to surrender.
A: Not always, but yes.
Q: And this is because?
A: They think something good is going to happen.
Q: They think they’ll find out some secret?
A: It’s a very fundamental idea.
A: You search through the jungle for the lost fountain of youth, and you hack away overgrowth and you endure bugs and snakes and all sorts of unpleasantness---trying your best to exert your own will power toward that fabled goal---and then what? Then, when you finally find the fountain, you surrender to it. You drink and bathe in the water and you let it do its work on you.
Q: And that’s like being hypnotized?
A: You’re looking for something to override your normal will power, your normal processes, your normal drive to go get what you want. People want Ultimate Experiences or Illuminations, and they believe these revelations will come as a result of their surrendering the whole shooting match to something else. Rather than treating this human tendency as perfectly normal and natural, I treated it as a kind of marvel to be examined and rolled around and examined from all sides. Take the example of an amusement park. You see people throwing baseballs at lead bowling pins to win a stuffed bear, but the most popular events are the rides like the giant roller coaster---because they take you over at some point, they make you surrender your “normal” state of mind to a “revelation”---that of being thrown into, forced into, another reality, a so-called special reality where your normal perception is shoved into the background.
In the early days, when I was learning about how to hypnotize people, I found that I was very good at it, because I was utterly convinced that people wanted to be put in a trance. They were lining up to surrender their will power. I knew that in my bones. And so I instinctively found a way to give them exactly what they wanted. I never felt I was breaking some internal rule they were living by. The deeper rule was: Do me; hypnotize me; take away my will.
Q: It was a kind of pleasure for them.
A: To be taken over.
Q: “Let the sound of the ocean roll over me, and let the sun beat down on me.” What’s wrong with that?
A: Well, in my early days, I didn’t think there was anything wrong with it. I was just cooperating with what I considered was the Deeper Law.
Q: How far did you take that?
A: In some cases, all the way. If a person wanted a new outlook on life, an outlook that he thought was better than anything he could manufacture himself, I was there to give it to him. That was my job. To turn things inside out and install a better, more positive theme to his life.
Q: And you were okay with that?
A: For a time. I refused to think there was anything better. For example, I was treating a kleptomaniac, a woman who couldn’t stop stealing. She told me she had tried everything to stop, but nothing worked. So I dove in and tried to give her a new outlook, an outlook that didn’t require her to steal. I tried to give her a better state of mind in wholesale form, by making suggestions over a long period of time while she was under, while she was in a trance.
Q: How did that work out?
A: She loved the short periods when she was under, when she let go of her own will power. It was like a vacation for her. But eventually the whole thing collapsed of its own weight and she was back to square one.
Q: What did you conclude about why your effort collapsed?
A: First, I assumed that I hadn’t done the actual hypnosis well enough. That was silly. I had done it well. Then I decided that I had failed because I hadn’t ATTACHED this new outlook I was “installing” to some key part of her personality. The “imported new personality” had no foundation; it just floated in the sea of her mind like an island, and eventually it was overwhelmed by her stronger impulses. I assumed my attempt at mind control wasn’t reaching deep enough roots in her. That’s when I went back and re-studied all the information on CIA mind control.
Q: From a new perspective.
A: Yes. Because I had to admit I was doing mind control, pure and simple. I had to admit that.
Q: It didn’t make you happy.
A: Not at all.
Q: So what did you see when you reviewed the CIA data again?
A: The obvious, I guess. They were working from duress. They were attaching their suggestions to their “patients” by forcing them to surrender their own personalities, at which point they tried, in a sense, to install new personalities.
Q: Talk more about the whole idea that a person wants to surrender his will in order to find some Ultimate Thing.
A: The sense that a person wants to surrender his will at all---where does that come from? It comes from past experiences where he taught himself---or others taught him---that will power is frustrating and doesn’t get you where you want to go in life. So he looks for another way out and he selects THE SURRENDER OF THE WILL. There are many places in the culture he finds that teaching.
Q: How did you feel when you came to this conclusion?
A: First depressed, then elated.
Q: Why elated?
A: Because it became apparent to me that a person could, on his own, without the mind control factor, INVENT his own outlook on life and thereby reach his goals. And hypnotism, if it were going to do any good at all, would have to somehow participate in that journey.
Q: When you say “invent his own outlook”---
A: I don’t mean blot out the past and become a smiling robot with a Plan. I don’t mean some horribly grotesque smiling mask of “positive thinking.” I mean something much richer and fuller.
Q: How can hypnotism assist a person in this work, if hypnotism is all about getting a person to surrender his will and accept suggestions from the therapist?
A: That was the question. I was elated because it was a very stark question, and it framed my future work. Things may not have been solved for me, but they were suddenly clear, for the first time. My job was to take a “science” that was really all about surrender and use it for the opposite purpose. My job was to make hypnotism into a thing that could make the will more powerful. My job was to help people create at a deeper level for themselves. On the surface, it seemed like this task would be impossible. But that was just fine with me. I’ve always enjoyed paradox. I felt at home with paradox. Give me a saw and tell me I have to find a way to paint pictures with it, and I’m happy.
Speaking of which, you paint, so let’s use that. Let’s say you really want to do a huge painting, a fresco that spans a whole wall. That’s your major idea. So how do you get there? You may, while you’re asleep, dream of some of the images, but you’re going to have to get on the ladder and PAINT. And keep painting until you say, that’s it, and then you stop.
If you keep on creating long enough, creating in the direction of what is most important for you, you’ll also learn about CREATION ITSELF. See? Creating is will power that has found its home. That’s where will power really wants to be. CREATING. The more you create, the more you’re moving into it, you’re immersed in it, and you’re becoming more satisfied.
Q: “Only the gods really create.”
A: Yeah. That’s a major piece of mind control.
Q: And if we go the other way? If we just keep creating?
A: We become what we really are. I worked out ways to use hypnotism to stimulate the creative urge in people. As a kick start.
Imagine a fictional ant colony. On the lowest level, the ants just follow their orders, so to speak. They do exactly what is expected of them and nothing more. No deviation. Now, a few of the ants graduate from there to realizing that following orders has the flavor of, let’s call it, doing the right thing. They’re following orders, but they also realize they’re doing the right thing. Then, out of that small group, a few ants begin to see that they’re creating. They’re creating their own actions---and at that point, they veer off. They don’t follow orders anymore. They think about what they really want to create. And then THAT’S what they create. And they feel they’re on a whole new level. And they are.
Q: At which point, the whole ant colony could begin to disintegrate.
A: Don’t blame me.
Q: But you think this disintegration is a good thing.
A: Disintegration of a perfect system that makes more and more obedient ants? Yes.
Q: On a political level---
A: I’m talking about healthy disintegration, which is really decentralization of power.
Q: Many people would say we all need to act in concert to preserve civilization.
A: Concert is not necessarily the same thing as obedience. But let’s not split hairs. If you want to be an ant, go right ahead. You’ll always have a place. As long as you surrender your own will long enough.
Q: As times get tougher, more people look for a way to become ants.
A: Yes they do. And this is what they call “preservation of civilization.” The whole question is, what do you mean by CIVILIZATION? Do you mean a billion people acting on orders from an elite? Ants always drift toward the absolute Collective.
Q: Are you taking a cruel position here?
A: Not at all. Cruel is getting people to surrender their will to create. Cruel is getting people to think they must create in the mode of the All.
Q: What’s the All?
A: The fiction that we are really constrained to making our little part of the anthill and that’s it. And the fiction that there is a wider purpose and entity behind this, and it’s running the whole show, and we have to surrender to THAT.
Q: And what is the opposite?
A: What each person can find by flying over the anthill.
Q: That’s a whole different picture of what society would become.
Q: In this picture, what is the glue that holds things together?
A: The glue is what we always said it was. You can’t use your freedom to curtail the freedom of another. We always said that, but we didn’t really mean it.
Q: Suppose a person wants to create something shallow and stupid.
A: Then by creating it and getting it he stands a chance of discovering it’s shallow and stupid, whereas if he just hopes for it and wishes for it and whines about it, he has NO chance of finding out it’s shallow and stupid.
Q: Suppose he creates it and finds out it’s stupid. What does he do then?
A: Figures out something else he wants. And then creates whatever he has to create to get that.
Q: And if THAT turns out to be shallow and stupid?
A: Repeat step A and B over and over until he decides he’s creating something that isn’t stupid.
Q: And in this process he finds out something about creation itself.
A: That’s the bonus. And the bonus becomes the main event, eventually.
Q: How so?
A: You take a special horse that is very dumb. And you think, this horse is so dumb I have to lock him in the stall and leave him there, because he doesn’t know what to do with himself. Will that work? Of course not. So instead, you let the horse out of the stall. The dumb horse is now free to create. So the first thing he does is, he eats 12 bales of hay. He vomits it up. Then he eats 12 more bales and pukes again. Then he walks around in a circle for three weeks and falls down. Then he walks in a straight line toward the horizon because he thinks that’s where he wants to go. But he gets tired and lies down and goes to sleep. You see? He keeps creating dumb things. But finally, after three years, he decides to try running. And discovers he loves to run. THIS is really what he wants. He’s not dumb anymore. So he runs and runs, and in the process he realizes that he’s CREATING. And a light bulb goes on in his head. Now he is doing more than running. He is somehow more than he was. And eventually, by this process he learns to fly, and you’ve got Pegasus. (laughs)
Q: Okay. Suppose the first time you let this dumb horse out of the stall you force him to run. Won’t he get where he wants to be faster?
A: He might. But chances are he’s too dumb at that point to realize that running is what he wants. So he keeps stopping. He didn’t go through the process himself.
Q: Do you think there is a limit on what a person can create?
Q: He can create gold bars out of thin air?
Q: You really mean that?
Q: How does a person create gold bars out of thin air?
A: I’ll tell you this. He doesn’t do it the first time he’s let out of the stall. It might take a million incarnations. Depends on who he is.
Q: What about a person who creates crime, murder?
A: The principle of freedom applies. You are free to create anything that doesn’t curtail the freedom of another person. If a person commits murder, you lock him up or you execute him.
Q: If a person knowingly creates 50,000 tons of toxic chemicals as the head of a huge corporation that he has built?
A: You lock him up. And you make him pay for the cleanup. I say lock him up for a long time.
Q: But then you are limiting his ability to create.
A: I sure as hell hope so.
Q: Do you believe a person can create his way out of the space-time continuum? If he wants to?
A: Of course.
Q: What gave you the idea that individual creativity has such great potential power?
A: Many, many clues. For example, in my own practice, I saw patients who were able to do extraordinary things, if only briefly. A patient moved an object on a table without touching it. Another patient blew out a light bulb in my office. By “looking at it.” He did this twice. These are the very little things. There are other events and experiences. But it doesn’t matter what I’ve seen. It only matters what other people believe and do.
When I put someone in a light trance, what I’m dealing with is a person who, for the moment, is free from a whole host of suggestions that otherwise would be guiding his opinions and perceptions. It’s an interesting moment. What should I do? Just give him more suggestions? He already has too many of those in his waking life.
I have that person create reality. I have him invent a dream or construct a scene, any scene. Something. Anything.
Q: But that would seem to be the opposite of discovering what reality is.
A: The situation is very fluid, my friend. Reality is malleable. That is what I learned from my patients. Reality isn’t just one thing, like a present you unwrap.
Q: That’s like saying you have to tell lies to arrive at the truth.
A: You’re a little off base there. But I’ll go along with it. In which case, the whole point is these are YOUR lies. You fumble around and create lies or whatever you want to call them. And in the process you arrive at the truth, somewhere down the line.
I’ll give you a patient summary. Man of about 35 comes into my office and tells me he’s bothered by his marriage. Things are not working out. He wants to find the right formula, but he can’t. No matter what he does, he feels a lack. He feels he’s screwing it up. He tries to do all the right things, but nothing good comes out of it. He just gets himself into more hot water.
Q: He’s confused.
A: And this is good, because otherwise he never would be making the effort to make things come out right. So I put him into a light trance. I then get him to INVENT scenes and dreams. All sorts of scenes.
Q: And this helps him how?
A: He begins to expand his own ideas about what reality can be. And once he does that, he begins to get a kind of feedback from his own inventions. He tends to drop his fixation on fixing his own marriage. You see, “his own marriage” is a more or less a fixed “non-idea” that traps him into thinking that he is tinkering with one thing that needs the right part inserted---like a car that won’t run.
A: His current marriage is a lowest common denominator that he derives from vague images. He is laboring under the delusion that his current marriage is one very real thing, like an object inside a vacuum jar.
Q: But it isn’t.
A: Correct. It’s a congealed derivation. For, example, we look at a table and think it’s one thing that has a set number of uses. But then an artist comes along and takes that table and paints it and cuts it up and re-glues it and it’s something else entirely.
When I had this patient invent all sorts of scenes and dreams, he began to see that his marriage was just one outcome of his own sense of reality. He was living inside a trap. The trap didn’t need tinkering. It needed something else introduced from the outside. And “the outside” is his own imagination.
Q: So, suppose his marriage was suffering because he was insisting that his wife should do x,y,z when she didn’t want to.
A: And suppose I then say, “Look, all you have to do is stop insisting she do x,y,z.”
Q: And he follows your advice.
A: And then something else will crop up. Some other problem. Forever, over and over. Because he is living inside a trap. A trap he made. But he doesn’t see this. And even if he and I completely dismantle that marriage into “parts” and I make him examine each one, that process isn’t going to fix it. It’s like a physicist who is trying to gain a new understanding of life itself. He keeps breaking down particles into smaller and smaller particles. And nothing happens. Because he’s in the wrong pew to begin with.
Well, that’s the way it works with reality itself. Reality is not one thing like a car. Reality, the ordinary boring repetitious version, is WHAT WE ARE LEFT WITH WHEN WE STOP CREATING REALITIES. And how do you fix THAT problem? By tinkering with the sludge you’re left with? No.
Q: How does this connect to the whole subject of the master-slave relationship?
A: A slave has one reality, which is formed by his abandonment of the process of creating realities.
Q: Therefore, anything that will make him stop creating realities functions as a way of making him a slave.
A: Yes, that’s right.
Q: And you came to this in your work?
A: I sure as hell did. You see, one of the basic problems is the drive for perfection.
Nothing is perfect. To want perfection is to want that leftover sludge called reality. You fuss with that sludge and you try to even out the corners and paint it pink and fix the edges and so forth. But you lose. Because you can’t get perfection out of something that is a residue to begin with. I’ve had many patients who wanted to change their lives by fixing a losing proposition---a bad house that was sinking in its foundations, so to speak, and the person wanted to replace shingles on the roof and bring in a new carpet.
Q: Where does that drive for perfection come from in the first place?
A: It comes from the sense that the reality you are dealing with is the only one that exists, and therefore you must make it as obsessively good as you possibly can. That perfectionism is based on a basic insecurity, because, deep down, the person knows that he is working with a lie. One and only one reality is a lie. A reality that is GIVEN is a lie. Realities are created.
Q: Even in terms of the cosmos itself---
A: We are working with a lie. There are an infinite number of possible cosmos-es. Let’s say I have a patient who can respond to the idea of creating a brand new cosmos. He can do that. He does do that.
Q: In his mind.
A: Right. And over the course of a year or two, he creates five thousand more. What’ll happen? He’ll begin to get a whole new sense of what is possible. I did have just such a patient. He had come to me because of a personal crisis in faith. After we finished, he no longer felt he needed to “fix” his current metaphysical belief system. He saw that as a foolish enterprise. He graduated from being a tinkerer to being a full-blooded adventurer. In the process, he became quite a good remote viewer. That was just a byproduct. We weren’t aiming for that.
Q: When you were approached by these “government contractors” to work with them, was this subject brought up in any form?
A: Remote viewing? Yes.
A: For example, being able to see what people were doing in other distant locations.
Q: You had had success with that?
A: Again, as a byproduct. I was never shooting for it. I had patients who, for periods of time, were able to obtain very clear views of what was happening at long distances. I confirmed this, in experiments.
Q: How were these patients able to find this ability?
A: All I was doing was having the patients create all sorts of distant imaginary locations and describe what they had created.
Q: Describe what they had CREATED.
A: Yes. And then, once in awhile, they would say, “Well, I just came across a place, I didn’t really invent this one, it’s a hotel room in Canton, Ohio, and there are two people sitting there talking about a sale they made that day. Here is what they’re talking about. Blah blah.”
Q: They stumbled across that one.
A: Yes. As if it was a piece of fall-out from the process of inventing.
Q: That must have blown you away.
A: It blew me away when I got to the point where I was able to get a patient to do that on purpose, and I was able to confirm what they were reporting was actually happening---I did that in a staged experiment.
A: And after awhile I got bored with it. I was more interested in the whole process of inventing. That was the key. That was the whole deal: inventing realities.
You see, the government and military types are like the person who thinks that higher abilities are basically all about the technique of “extra-special seeing.” Whereas inventing and creating are integral and top-dog aspects of the whole process. They couldn’t have understood that if I had explained it to them. Because they are all about “tinkering.” That’s their obsession. And that’s why they want to control reality and people. Because they see reality as something that must be gone over and over with all that tinkering to make it perfect.
A: Because of a paradox. They tell and invent lies all the time, they keep creating sub-realities all the time, and yet they don’t realize that THIS is how you find out what reality is. They don’t see the higher aspect. They just think that by inventing all these lies and cover stories and enemies, they’ll be able to control the one and only reality. It’s hysterically stupid.
Q: You once had a patient who started looking at the underlying structure of a bottle of water on a table.
A: He got down to a level below or beyond the so-called sub-atomic layer of the water in the bottle, and reported a blue energy that was, as he put it, “the real stuff.” The electrons and the quarks and so on, he said, were a construct invoked by us to explain and predict the motion of matter.
I and a few other researchers subsequently put this patient to work trying to change the arrangement of still water in a jar. Using sensitive instruments, we were able to show that, with his mind alone, he could change the arrangement.
Q: Have you ever hypnotized a person and had him reveal the guts of his own mental programming?
A: It’s happened, but I don’t put much stock in it.
Q: Why not?
A: Because a person under hypnosis is liable to say anything. I know that doesn’t sound very technical or clinical, but it’s the truth. What I mean is, the patient picks up cues from the hypnotist. If the patient senses the hypnotist wants him to do something, he will.
Q: So if a patient thought you wanted him to reveal the nature of his own conditioning, he would give that to you.
A: He’d invent it.
A: Yes. Now, understand, I’m not talking about a patient who was subjected to actual traumatic mind control in the past. I’m talking about your average Joe. Joe would invent something. He might create a whole structure of “programming.” Which says a great deal about the creative ability of an individual.
Most people---and I still find this amazing---believe that they can feel and see only certain things. Everything else doesn’t exist.
Q: You mean people don’t believe in the paranormal?
A: Let’s not use that word. It’s deceptive in this situation. No, what I mean is this. People believe they feel and see within a range. That’s the “human spectrum.” “I can see what I see and feel what I feel.” And that’s where all the trouble starts. You understand?
Q: I’m not sure.
A: People unconsciously establish those limits. They feel comfortable in that defined space. They live their lives and they suffer and they make small victories in that space, where they feel A, B, C, D, and E, and they see within a certain range. This is very important. I encounter it all the time with patients. This is their disease. They don’t know it. They want to find a solution to their problems within that space---they don’t understand that the problem IS that space.
Q: The limited space of seeing and feeling is the problem.
A: All the frustration grows from that. It’s the unconsciously assumed boundary of life. What a person assumes he can feel and see forms a space---a set of boundaries for experience. When you’ve got that operating, you’re going to have many problems and contradictions. You’re going to come up against impossible situations, and you’re going to eventually accept “your fate” and knuckle under and give in. You’re going to construct a myth that rationalizes your very limited life.
Q: Why do people do this to themselves?
A: There are many answers to that question, but let’s use this one: people feel an obligation to copy each other. It’s a bizarre concept, but it’s true. People tend to sink to each other’s lowest common denominator.
It’s how you form a group. You have an unconscious consensus: “I’ll be like you and you’ll be like me.” So everybody keeps sinking down a little to copy each other. And this pattern and impulse gets programmed in. It becomes the guide.
Q: But then you have people who have broken free of that. And still they don’t really want to create something major.
A: Yes, but let’s stick with this for a moment. What does “breaking free” mean? Does it mean widening the boundaries of what you can see and feel, or does it just mean getting fed up with other people’s blindness? There is a difference.
Let’s look at the programming. Suppose a person is self-programmed to see 500 different things and feel in 12 different ways. I’m simplifying, of course. But suppose that’s the case. What’s going to happen? A treadmill effect is going to happen. A person, over 40 years of living or so, is going to see those 500 different things and feel those 12 feelings, over and over. He’s going to repeat and repeat. He’s going to get used to that. He’s going to get bored, whether he admits it or not. And that boredom is going to have a corrosive effect. He’s probably going to call that effect “growing older.” But it isn’t. Not really.
Q: And then?
A: That’s where the creative aspect could come in. If, for example, he really begins to create a new future that is ambitious and big and adventurous, he will feel and see new things. That will happen. But he’s programmed himself not to feel and see new things. He’s programmed himself to believe that he can’t feel and see those new things. So what does he do? He stalls. He stops himself. He doesn’t create. He doesn’t do it.
For years, I was concerned with eliminating all that programming. I wanted patients to see and feel new things. I wanted to dismantle their old pattern. But then I realized it wasn’t about what they could or couldn’t see. It wasn’t really about that. It was about whether they would or wouldn’t create. That was the crux. That was the question.
Q: You can’t just remove the programming.
A: You can’t take it out like an old recording. You can’t do surgery on it. The person will turn around put the same record right back on the turntable. People love to believe they are being deprogrammed. They love that idea. You can sell that idea from here to the moon. They love it. And why? Because it doesn’t require them to do anything. They can “have it done to them.” That’s what they think. But then----they’ll put all the programming back, later on. It’s a joke. It’s a con game. They’re conning me and they’re conning themselves.
Q: You’ve seen that?
A: Every day. It’s the same reason people love spiritual systems. They can do a discipline, but they don’t really have to create. They think they’re getting somewhere, but they still haven’t crossed the line. I’ve worked with people who’ll do ANYTHING to avoid creating. They’ll fast and run and pray and meditate and exercise and change diets and detox and go to retreats and bond and form communities and get into isolation tanks and climb mountains and….the one thing they won’t do is CREATE.
Q: What do they equate creating with?
A: The death of what they are supposed to feel and see. People can only break through by creating new experience. When they create THAT, they know they are breaking free.
Q: And yet the culture does no more than pay lip service to creating.
A: What else would you expect? You’ve been painting for a long time. What did you discover?
Q: That I wanted to keep on doing it. That everything changed when I painted.
A: That’s what I mean. That was your avenue. Painting was your exit.
Q: What are your impressions about what’s happening to human beings at the end of the twentieth century?
A: Well, the centers of cognition in the mind are getting stretched out and thinned out and in many cases they are becoming almost useless. People can’t follow a train of thought. So how are you going to approach them with ideas that require some real consideration?
Q: Why is this happening?
A: Many reasons. But I focus on centers.
Q: What kinds of centers?
A: In the mind, of course. That’s where the drama is being played out. There are pleasure centers and centers of thought, and centers of feeling, and so on.
Q: And these “boxes” are why people are frustrated with the reality they live in every day?
A: There is the brain. Maybe that’s what you mean.
Q: The brain?
A: Are you using your brain right now?
A: How do you know you’re using your brain? Can you feel it? Can you feel it turning out thoughts? For all you know, your brain might be a 1957 Chevy engine. How could you tell?
Q: I believe some researchers have worked it out.
A: Is that right? Well, they haven’t. I prefer to listen to my clients tell me about their brains while they’re under hypnosis. Then you get some really good information.
Q: You hypnotize people and ask them about their brains?
A: Absolutely. I want to know what they think about the brain. Do you know why? Because everybody has a kind of awe about the brain. It’s like some sort of religious symbol. There is a religion of the brain.
Q: Where is their church headquarters?
A: Spread out in brain-research facilities all over the world. And their goal is to make androids. People who react to signals and feel happy.
Q: Brave New World.
A: I’d call it Cowardly New World. Pavlov is their number-one saint. A colleague of mine once told me a joke about that. A dog attacked Pavlov and killed him. The dog got angry. He didn’t like listening to that bell that told him food was coming. The dog wanted to find his own food, and he finally exploded and killed his master. I can tell you this. If they succeed in making a Brave New World, it’ll never last. The population will rebel and destroy every society in the world. They’ll level every government and every army….take, for example, pleasure centers in the brain.
That’s how classical hypnosis works. You reach in and stimulate a pleasure center. That’s the beginning and the end of old-time old-school hypnosis. That’s what’s going on.
You put people in trance by stimulating a pleasure center. When people feel pleasure, they go along with you. They agree with you. They think you’ve got something to offer. They want to be your friend.
I once hypnotized a man and told him to look at his brain and tell me how many pleasure centers he had. He said, “Three.” That was his answer. That’s what he saw. I told him to go to the first one and tell me what was in there. He said, “It’s like a doorway. It’s a symbol of a door to a magic land.”
I took him at his word. So I said, “Walk through the door.” And he did. He said, “I’m in a place where I take good orders.” That was interesting. So I gave him an order. I said, “You feel wealthy. You feel rich.” And you know what happened?
A: He smiled. Big smile. Goofy smile. Like he was on a drug. I had him hooked up to a monitor. And I saw that his blood pressure came right down. He had high blood pressure. And it came right down, in about a minute, into the normal range. Just like that.
Q: And he was happy.
A: Right. So then I had a little problem.
Q: You got his blood pressure down, but to do it you put him in a place where he was compliant---
A: He was an android. Taking orders. He was operating like a biological machine. Under external control. His consciousness was focused on a pleasure center, or what he believed was a pleasure center, in his own brain. Get it?
Q: Yeah. So you didn’t want to leave him there.
A: I brought back out, and within thirty minutes his blood pressure was back up again. Just like that.
Q: How about this? Every week, you keep putting him under for a few minutes. You direct him to that pleasure center, and you give him the same order: “You feel you’re rich.” You condition him to expect that pleasure, and so his blood pressure comes down. Permanently.
A: Doesn’t work. The blood pressure comes down, but it doesn’t stay down. And after several sessions, it doesn’t come down at all, even while he’s in the pleasure center.
Q: Why not?
A: Because something else takes over. He knows I’m tricking him. He knows it’s a game. He wouldn’t respond in the same way. That’s the first reason. The second reason it didn’t work is much more important. He got bored.
A: People get bored with pleasure. Of course, every advertising agency knows that. That’s why they keep shifting their ads. And that’s why companies keep “improving” their products. They’re reaching out beyond the last wave of boredom, and they’re trying to find a new place in a pleasure center.
Q: Seems to be working.
A: I have my doubts. I think we’re reaching the end of the line.
Q: What do you mean?
A: We’re reaching a point where people are going to stop buying things at the same rate they’re buying them now. The curve is disintegrating. Slowly. It’s happening. The consumer is getting wise to the tricks. His boredom is spreading. The boredom is outreaching and outdistancing the attempts to stimulate his pleasure centers.
A: Big thing, my friend. But you see, we have to back up and look at what I’m talking about here. All this stuff concerns what happens when people are being manipulated. That’s the primary factor. All this has to do with a form of hypnotism I don’t practice anymore. In which the person is too much under the control of someone else. In that setting, you can tap into pleasure centers and you can release certain chemicals, and you can give birth to all sorts of effects in the body. You can do that. But it’s within the context of external control.
Q: Even if you took something like levitation---
A: All right. Lets consider that. Extraordinary effects. Let’s say I put someone in a major trance and I have him tap into a place where he feels there is a pleasure center. That’s what the patient believes, and so it works. That’s all you need. And then I tell him to levitate off the floor. And let’s say for a moment my order overrides whatever he might think about levitation, about how it’s impossible and so on. And so he DOES rise up off the floor two feet and he hovers there. See? What do we have? An extraordinary situation. The suspension of the law of gravitation. We see that a person has THAT LAW INSIDE HIMSELF. HE’S THE ONE WHO IS MAKING THE LAW OF GRAVITATION, AND NOW HE’S SUSPENDING IT. HE’S LEVITATING.
Q: But he’s doing it---
A: He’s doing it under my control. That’s the key. We’ve got a hell of a situation then. This guy is suspending the law of gravitation, he’s floating in the air, he’s doing what people thought was impossible, and yet he’s doing it because I’m doing this little trick. I’m working with his own sense of pleasure. That’s why it’s happening. It’s not happening for any other reason.
Q: So what do you do?
A: There’s nothing I really can do.
Q: Why not?
A: Because the law of his own freedom and choice is a higher law than him floating in the middle of the room. I make that distinction. I don’t suddenly say, “The hell with this guy’s freedom of choice, he’s levitating!” I don’t get sucked into extraordinary effects. I don’t abandon everything I think is right.
Q: But levitation is possible.
A: But he has to do it himself. He has to want to do it while he’s in an alert state. He has to make the choice. And then he has to figure out how to do it.
Q: But where does the boredom factor come in?
A: It comes in, in a lot of places. For instance, when he’s tried to levitate on his own a hundred times and he doesn’t do it. Then he says, “I’m bored.” Then he stays right where he is in his life. Then he gives up. Then he yawns and turns on the TV. And THAT BOREDOM AND THAT SURRENDER IS THE REALITY YOU WERE TALKING ABOUT. THAT’S ALL IT IS. THAT’S HOW IT WORKS. HOW IT HAPPENS.
People give up, but they give up in a rather extraordinary way. They try something extraordinary and then they think they’ve failed forever, and then they decide it’s impossible, and then they go back to being consumers and so on.
Q: And then they come to see you as patients.
A: (laughs) Right. That’s exactly how it happens. People try to do extraordinary things in their lives, and then they give up, and then they search around for help. And they come to a person like me, because they think I’ll be able to do it for them. I’ll be able to tap into their pleasure centers. I’ll be able to direct them. And I can. I can get people to do all sorts of things. But what about when I stop?
Q: So you need to teach them how to tap into their own pleasure centers.
A: It’s limited. It only works for a while. A pleasure center shifts. It doesn’t stay the same. It wears out. The boredom takes over. It’s like, to use a gross example, porn. Most people, if they watch porn, get bored with it after awhile. And the people who don’t get bored are really miserable, because they’re desperately trying to eke out one more millimeter of pleasure from it, and it takes monumental effort just to get that one more millimeter. There are diminishing returns.
Q: Pleasure centers shift and wear out.
A: Yeah. These centers are not really in the brain. They’re in the consciousness, which is different. Pleasure centers, the more powerful ones, are in energy fields. Let me tell you about another experiment I once did. This one was really funny and very wild. I hypnotized a man and had him tell me about his pleasure centers. This guy was rich, and he was a shopping addict. He bought stuff every day of his life. He went all over the country buying things and bidding at auctions. Anyway, he found a pleasure center he said had to do with owning things. That was the way he put it, more or less. And when I had him describe that pleasure center, he told me it was like the pitted and blackened hull of an old moon. It had been burned. It was wasted. It had no life on it. It was very grim.
Q: So he was beyond bored with himself.
A: Correct. He was trying to squeeze every drop of pleasure possible out of owning things, and he was dying from it. His mind was like a cinder after a forest fire. That’s all he had left.
These centers shift, as I said. They move around and die out. But why are they there in the first place? Because the person put them there. That’s how it happens. And why does he put them there? Because he’s looking for a way to be an android. See? That’s what’s happening.
A person decides he can do relatively little himself. So he decides that if he creates pleasure centers, then other people will be able to control him through those pleasure centers, and in controlling him, they’ll be able to get him to do things he can’t do himself. I know it sounds crazy, but that’s the way it works. And that’s really the definition of an android.
Q: That’s a mouthful.
A: I had a patient in a trance, and I asked him to locate a pleasure center, and he did, and then I asked him to sketch me a history of that pleasure center. And you know what? He took it all the way back to a previous lifetime on a different planet. I’m just giving you what he told me. He had been a soldier in an army, and he quit and he went to live in some kind of hedonistic settlement, and he began to do various styles of meditation, and he began to invent---INVENT---a part of his mind that hadn’t existed before. It was a pleasure center, and he hoped it would become something that could be tapped into by other people, who would use it to get him to the place we would call Nirvana.
Q: That’s what he said?
A: Yes. I’ll ask patients anything. I’ll ask them for information everyone else says is impossible or non-existent. But I assume a patient can tell me anything. He can go anywhere and give me HIS answers to anything.
Q: So you say this pleasure-center situation leads to being an android.
A: Yes, a person waiting to take orders. And that person hopes the orders will catapult him to a higher state, or a state that “fulfills his best function.” You see? That’s an android. An android wants an operator. An outside operator. And an android wants to fulfill his own best function. An android believes he’s designed to achieve a best function. And he believes that, in order to do that, he needs an outside operator.
Q: A controller.
Q: So all this amounts to serious brainwashing.
A: You saw the Ridley Scott film, Blade Runner?
A: Well, he introduced this little extra factor, that the androids, one or two of whom were pleasure models, knew they had been created with limited functions, and they were rather sad about it.
Q: And that’s one vision of the future.
A: That’s where brain science really wants to take this society.
Let’s say you’ve got two people who are married. They love each other. And they see lots of common ground. They think their future is going to be a piece of cake. But it doesn’t turn out that way. Because they are coming under pressure. The convenient similarities are cracking apart. As the years pass, despite their best efforts, they are drifting apart. What at first seemed like “two peas in a pod”---that’s disintegrating. Why? Because a truth is being exposed. These two people are quite different. The immediate sameness? That was a fiction, in many respects. That was a story they told themselves. It worked for a time, but then it doesn’t work anymore. When they got married, there was a certain android aspect to the whole thing. Two people stimulating each other’s pleasure centers. Two peas in a pod. I’m not saying that was the whole basis for their relationship, because it wasn’t. But it was there. And now it’s not. The pleasure centers have shifted and changed and worn out, the boredom factor has set in, and stimulation from the pleasure centers is harder to get. It isn’t so easy anymore. And when that android formula doesn’t work, what are they going to do? Are they going to fold up under pressure? Are they going to drift further and further apart? If they get out from under their androidal fixations, they’ll see that their differences can be foundations for one of the best things they’ve got. They can build much better connections on those differences.
People, under their own radar---hiding it from themselves---swear allegiance to a pleasure principle---they see that as a valuable goal. And they create these pleasure centers for themselves in their minds---and they wait for someone to come along and zing that pleasure center---and then they define that zing feeling as love or bliss or ecstasy or Nirvana or whatever. You see? This activity is going on below the surface in many people. You don’t see it. But you see the effects of it. And as a result, all these people begin to resemble each other more and more. And they can be controlled en masse, from the outside, by advertising and gossip and TV and sugar and junk food and certain religious and spiritual and political sentiments. All based on that pinging and zinging of the pleasure centers. And believe me, I’m not against pleasure. I’m for it. But not particularly in those pleasure centers, and not to the exclusion of everything else. So as millions and millions of people become more like each other---by this process---you get a strange effect. They are all more or less living inside the same pleasure bubble, and that bubble becomes their space. That’s how they really define their space. That’s where they ARE. And THEN, within that space, they begin to look around and figure out what’s going on.
Q: They’re already inside the bubble.
A: And the real job is to get outside the bubble. Because, outside, there are levels of pleasure that far surpass what’s happening inside. The pleasure outside is far different and far more thrilling and far more rewarding. And it’s not androidal. People outside the bubble are not waiting for the zing to come in from an operator. That’s not how it works.
Q: How does it work?
A: IMAGINATION---CREATION---ACTION. That’s the superior sequence.
Q: And where does love come in?
A: It’s a more robust form of love outside the bubble. It has more dimensions. It has more staying power. It doesn’t depend on shifts of pleasure centers and boredom.
Q: Suppose, in a relationship, you have a person outside the bubble and a person inside the bubble?
A: If it stays that way, you’ve got a formula for misery.
Q: It would seem that when a person creates these pleasure centers, he’s profoundly surrendering. He doesn’t see any other future.
A: But sometimes a person will do it just for a kick. He wants a new experience. He doesn’t call it BEING A SLAVE TO PLEASURE, but he eventually will get into that space, that bubble. He’s moving more toward becoming an android. But there is always a leakage. A leakage of creative energy---his own energy---coming in. And if he can identify that, he can do something.
Q: Suppose you get a society where most of the people have become androids. Suppose that happens.
A: Then they are all in the bubble. They seek pleasure only at that level, and they’re stimulated by pleasure at that level. Then all hell breaks loose.
A: Because the boredom sets in faster. It’s transmitted telepathically from person to person. The pleasure centers wear out faster. At that point, the frustration collectively builds up and explodes.
Q: Which leads to?
A: The operators use more and more drastic measures to keep people in the bubble. More invasive means. But that automatically cuts down the pleasure sensation. Law of diminishing returns.
Q: And the operators? What space are they in?
A: Ultimately? Dead space. That’s what makes them operators. They just sit there in a kind of vacuum. They’re the living dead. They get their only pleasure from operating the androids. And that, too, has diminishing returns. That leads these controllers to exert more force on the androids. The whole thing collapses. Like an exploding star.
I once asked a patient to describe the collapse. I won’t bother to describe how we got to that point in our work. She was a very bright woman and I had worked with her for a year or so. She said the collapse was like an amusement park ride that had gone off the rails, and everyone was thrown out. Centrifugal force. An end point. She also said the androids had been aiming for that, because they couldn’t see any other route of escape. This is pretty much why societies are based on war. War is the thing people think will wake them up and get them out of the bubble.
Q: Does it?
A: Temporarily. But then they sink back.
Q: So you say there is a higher sequence. IMAGINATION---CREATION---ACTION.
A: It’s self-initiated. It’s a whole different space. It’s forceful. Many people are afraid of it, because they associate powerful action with doing harm. That’s a lie. That’s conditioning. That’s a piece of bullshit they learn. That’s why they go for “restful” and “peaceful” spiritual systems. They float up to that ceiling where they’ve been taught they’re “too elevated,” where they might then do harm to others, and they bounce off that ceiling, and they come down into the bubble, and then they get that glazed and “peaceful” look. They sometimes try to go for a pastel Nirvana. It never works.
[At one point in his work, one of Jack's favorite questions, with patients, was: WHAT IS THE UNDERLYING BASIS OF REALITY?]
Q: Why did you, at one time, like that REALITY question so much?
A: Because it cuts through a lot of nonsense. I'm only interested in the patient's version of how reality is formed. I'm not trying to impose my own view.
Q: What kinds of answers do you get?
A: They evolve. They sometimes start with a religious format, and then that changes.
Q: Why does that change?
A: Because I allow the patient to keep searching. I don't cut him short. I let the sessions go on.
Q: Are you hoping to get a final answer from a patient?
A: No. I know, from experience, that as the patient changes his answers, HE changes.
Q: Changes how?
A: He becomes more strong, more confident.
Q: And this is because?
A: He's getting through layers of weaker answers into layers of stronger answers, answers that mean more to him. He's on a voyage, and he becomes more confident in navigating by the seat of his pants.
Q: Why do those weaker answers exist?
A: They're compromises. The person has opted for more and more conventional answers. He became less confident in answering the question to his own satisfaction.
Q: And systems play into this?
A: The more conventional answers are part of some system.
Q: So it would be like a painter who moves further and further into the orbit of copying some style, as opposed to painting what he wants to.
A: Sure. Yes. And the thing about a system is, you have to assert it with more force to give it credence TO YOURSELF. You have to keep pushing it. That looks like confidence, but it isn't. It's a substitute. And the person falling into the trap experiences a slippage, this gap between what he really would think and what he comes to accept as real.
Q: In your work with patients, do you care whether the person is telling you what he thinks the underlying basis of reality is or whether he is imagining it, is making it up?
A: No. I don't care at all. And I don't try to differentiate that. I just plow ahead. It all comes out in the wash. Because I'm working with a basic confusion in the patient. He's lost the thread. He isn't sure when he's accepting something or inferring something or making up something. He doesn't sort that out. But he will, given time. He does. And it's a beautiful thing to see when it happens. It's like the person comes walking out of a swamp with a big grin on his face.
Q: Why does imagination get the short end of the stick?
A: Because we're operating inside a consensus. It's ever-present. Consensus is mostly a sign of fear. It's what you opt for when you think you've got no place else to go. Let me put it this way. The best and the brightest kids supposedly go to the "really good" colleges. Well, visit one of those places on graduation day. Forget all the exuberance and the drunkenness. Just look at the faces and assess how many of those kids are all set to join in the consensus and how many are going to go somewhere else.
Q: Do you know of any college that has a serious place for imagination in its courses?
A: Do you?
A: Almost as bad, how many colleges offer a long course in which the students have to decide what the underlying basis of reality is? I mean each student, on his own. It's such an obvious question---the one about reality---but you see, these colleges don't want to get into that because it's too dangerous. It moves you out of the consensus right away.
Q: You're saying it doesn't matter whether a person recognizes what he actually thinks reality is all about, or whether he imagines what reality is all about?
A: The two are entwined. You can't get to ultimates of any kind if you leave imagination out of the equation. Here we are, talking. If our imaginations were turned down to a much lower flame, we'd be having a much different conversation. We're creating this discussion. We're also getting to the truth. They work together, like brothers.
Q: Go a little further with that.
A: Imagination creates reality. That's the bottom line. Everything else is a stall. A postponement of the inevitable. Get it? What are we really doing as we sit here and talk? We're looking at one thing and one thing only: imagination. We're talking about imagination and its power. And we're using imagination to talk about imagination. Why are we doing that? Are we weird and different? No. It's what everybody does all the time. Whether they know it or not. Imagination is the cutting edge. The leading edge. Reality is what you get when you imagine. Reality is the evidence of the presence of imagination. This may sound confusing, but it isn't. It's very straightforward. Imagination is the great ocean. We create, and we swim in what we create, but all in all, it's all imagination. Some parts of it look and feel more solid than others. But even if we're dedicated scientists who believe in nothing except what we can prove, we're always swimming in imagination. And imagination is a word we use to refer to Basic Us. What we do, what we see. Imagination is everywhere. It's alive. It's the primary Water. The sooner we get used to it, the happier we are.
Q: How many past-life regressions would you say you've done?
A: Hard to say. Maybe hundreds.
Q: How did you do them?
A: I simply presented a starting image.
Q: For example?
A: A tree in a field. Something simple like that. Then the patient would flesh it out.
Q: Flesh it out how?
A: A few details at a time. I'd ask him what color the tree was. Did it have leaves? What type of leaf? What color? Did the roots show? His answers WERE the answers. It was his deal all the way.
Q: Simple stuff.
Q: And eventually?
A: Oh, for example, in the scene the client was building, people would show up. Something would happen. A picnic under the tree with a family. Or a plane would land and people would get out. And then we'd be rolling.
Q: And in the end?
A: We'd have a full-fledged event.
Q: A whole event.
A: Yeah. Sometimes.
Q: Did you try to estimate how long ago it happened?
Q: Why not?
A: Because you see, I wasn't really shooting for a past-life event.
Q: But you just said---
A: I know what I said. But I wasn't trying to verify past lives. I was doing work on event configuration.
Q: On what?
A: I was just getting the client to flesh out an event or a possible event. I just wanted to see what would happen. Because interesting things occur when you get somebody to flesh out an event in this way.
Q: What interesting things?
A: The client experiences energy. He experiences influx of energies. He can feel it in his body. Or he finds he can visualize things much better than he thought he could. Or he begins to hear things. He can feel the breeze blowing in the field near the tree. He can feel the grass on his bare feet.
Q: And sometimes these events turn out to be past lives.
Q: How do you know that?
A: I told you, I don’t. That’s not what I’m shooting for. It might happen a month after the session. He says, "Remember that event we fleshed out, the one with me on an underwater reef catching those weird fish, and then I met a woman in a restaurant afterwards? Well, it happened. It wasn't something I invented. I was there in another life.”
Q: Does it matter whether it really happened?
A: I don't think it matters at all.
Q: Why is imagination so powerful, so therapeutic?
A: It may be therapeutic, but not in the conventional sense of the word. You see, imagination is in chains. People keep it in chains. They work around it, they try to live their lives without overtly referring to it. They are playing this little game. How far can I go without using my imagination? Can I just figure stuff out and make progress and get where I want to go without really relying on my imagination?
Q: And can they?
A: No. But they keep trying. It's a game. It's an Earth-type game. A physical space-time game. See how far you can get without imagination.
Q: Why do they play that game?
A: Because that IS the game here. That's one reason why souls show up here. It's a kick. Imagination would take down the whole stage play in a second if it was really unleashed. THAT'S what people have to understand. Once you really unchain imagination, it's all over. You expand out of this show, and you are doing something more. You're finding a whole new gear in your car, a gear that allows you to fly. See, up to that point---
Q: You couldn't fly.
Q: So the stage play is all about how to shift the first four gears in your car better, how to go faster with those gears.
A: Yes. Get good at that and you're doing well. And that's fun. See if you can get really good at shifting through those gears. That's the challenge. And everybody likes that challenge. It's like chess. Play by the rules and see who is good.
Q: So everybody goes around pretty much pretending that they have no imagination.
A: They see how well they can do without imagination.
Q: Or they admit they have imagination, but they claim it's impotent. It can't really achieve great things.
A: Yeah. That's a variation on the same basic theme.
Q: Tell me a little more about the character of a session, the make-up of one of these “event configuration” sessions.
A: The guy comes in, he sits down, and I don't put him in a light trance.
Q: But you're a hypnotherapist.
A: I don't want him in a light trance for this. I want him just like he is. He closes his eyes and I tell him there is a scene. A busy street in a city. It's the middle of the afternoon, and it's drizzling. That's the image. That's where we start. You see, it doesn't MEAN anything. It's just a scene. And then I ask him what the sidewalk looks like. I ask him how high the curb is. I ask him if anything is in the gutter...
And things just pop up. It's often very easy. If it isn't easy for him, I make it easier by asking more questions or adding a few details myself. But the point is, he's getting into his imagination IN A WAY THAT IS VERY VIVID. This isn't just fiddling around.
Q: And what good is this? Why is this important?
A: Because he is now wholly in the territory of imagination. He's there. He's constructing a parallel and separate world.
And when you do that week after week, something new begins to take hold. Creative power. A trigger goes off. A cascade starts. A waterfall. The whole area of imagination and energy and power say, "We're happening! He pulled the trigger! He opened the door! We can come in now!"
Q: So the sessions are catalysts.
A: That's right. They all lead to the pulling of the trigger and the cascade. The big shift. The person now knows he has...what would the analogy be? He suddenly remembers he has a whole mansion on an island. He forgot all about it. He's been living in an apartment for 20 years and all of a sudden he remembers he has this sprawling mansion on a beautiful island.
Q: Do you ever get people who do everything they can to resist the changes that are happening to them?
A: Of course. I don't worry about that. There is going to be a wrestling match. It's good that the wrestling happens. The wrestling is the person coming to terms with all the changes. He is wrestling with himself, with his old ideas, with his old habits, with his old limitations.
People who live “the Earth game” for many lifetimes can get this weird idea in their heads. They're like spoiled children. They want to move into a higher and wider realm, but they want all the old comforts of the Earth game.
Q: Old comforts?
A: Yeah. They want mommy and daddy to come downstairs at night and give them warm milk and listen to their complaints, the real complaints and the ones they make up. They want people around who will cater to their every whim. And then they want to resent those people, too. They want to be able to blame those friends and family when they don't magically get every little thing they want when they want it. It's basically a bunch of garbage, but it can be very attractive garbage to some people.
But this therapy is a commitment. You can't expect to say, "Well, I've had 30 sessions now and I should be able to move my car with my mind without turning on the ignition." That's crap. "I want what I want when I want it, and you're going to give it to me." I'm not giving people anything. They're achieving it for themselves. I'm providing the sessions, which are catalysts. We're all digging ourselves out of a hole here. We put ourselves into it, and we have to get ourselves out of it. This is the great adventure.
And in the great adventure, you understand things about love you never understood before, and you also become stronger and tougher and more independent.
Q: Talk about the woman and the tower.
A: Yeah. Another client. She comes into a session and I set the scene. It's a kind of desert. She's looking around and I'm asking her questions and she's answering quickly, filling in details about the color of the sand and the plants and the temperature and the rocks, the colored rocks, and boom, there's a tower. It just springs up out of nowhere there in the middle of the desert. She's looking at it, this tall silver tower, and she's in a state of awe. She's mesmerized.
She started laughing and crying. This went on for a few minutes. She was moving around in the chair, she opened her eyes and closed them a few times, and she said, "The tower. I built it. It's there." And I said, "You just built it?" She said, "Lifetimes ago, I lived in that place, and I designed that tower. It was my life's work. It was the thing I waited my whole life to do." It was a revelation for her. Here she was in this life here in LA, working as a nurse, mainly cleaning up bedpans and taking people's temperature, and doing errands for doctors, and she realizes this. It's her tower. She's there looking at it again.
A part of her thought she had lost it forever. But she got it back. She could see it and feel it as clear as day. Inside her soul that afternoon, she grew a thousand feet. She became…she got back a whole territory of intelligence and creativity she had misplaced. That was her twentieth or thirtieth session. She had been gradually building up to this. And then it happened. Bang. And I don't even know whether she did, in fact, design that tower or whether she made the whole thing up. And I don't care. Something else, too. All this fleshing out of “scenery?” It’s just a step in the right direction. It’s not the ultimate at all. It’s just a piece of the whole thing.
Q: Meaning what?
A: Catalytic experiences like these need to spill over into a person’s life. There is still a threshold to cross, where the person says, “Here I am, I’m living in New York, and it’s 2005, and I want to create something tremendous here.”
Q: These scenes you have people flesh out. Let’s talk more about the sessions.
A: Let’s do it this way. I’ll give you a rough history of phases in my work. This isn’t exact, because I revisit earlier phases sometimes, with specific patients. But it’s more or less accurate.
Early on, I was doing trance work. I put people in trances, and I made suggestions to them. Classic hypnosis. The good results were temporary, and then there was a falling back. The next phase was scenes, as I just described to you. No trance at all. The person would close his eyes, and I would describe the kernel of a scene, and he would flesh it out as I asked him questions about details of the scene. Some of these sessions appeared to unearth past-life experiences. Finally, I went to dreams. I would put the person into a light trance and I would describe the kernel of a dream. I’d say, “There is a figure floating over rooftops.” And the person would flesh out the dream, with me asking questions about details. I found that introducing the concept of a dream gave the patient more freedom.
Q: Freedom in what sense?
A: The patient didn’t feel he had to, for example, keep a coherent time flow going. He could skip around. It’s a dream, see? All the rules about space and time and what’s supposed to follow what are suspended. In a dream, you can be in a grocery store, and then the next second you’re driving a car into a huge building that looks like a spaceport.
Q: So you wanted to give the patient’s imagination more room, more possibilities.
Q: How do you put a person into a light trance?
A: This is tricky. There isn’t any system. It’s not just a matter of doing A and then B and then C. I’ve learned how to empathize with the patient. I can feel something about his state of mind and state of energy. It’s feeling, not words. I can tune in there. So when I talk to him about relaxing, it has an effect. He does relax. Pressures ease off. I’m not really putting him under my control, though. Not in a serious way. I’m just getting him to the place where his random thoughts and little anxieties let up. I don’t want him sleepy. I just want him in a space that is lucid because some extraneous things have drifted away. When he’s there, we can begin.
Q: So then you describe a detail of a dream, and you ask him to add another detail.
A: Right. This part also has lots of intuitive action on my part. When to ask for another facet. When to say, “Where is the sun in relation to the forest?” ‘What time of day is it?” Or, “Are the leaves on that little bush dark? What color are they?” I’m just moving him along so he can imagine more of the dream. I’m not leading him to a place I want him to go to. I just want him to expand the dream. I don’t care how.
Q: And what effect does this have?
A: He’s imagining with more freedom and depth than he’s accustomed to. And a feedback is established, in the sense that he comes to realize he is imagining on a wider scale. He’s seeing and feeling his own capacity to do that.
Q: When you have a person invent these dreams, and he’s using his imagination, do you ever get paranormal effects?
A: Sure. A woman has been looking for a set of letters for years. She’s a researcher. She’s writing a book about life in America in the 18th century. In the middle of the session, she starts seeing a small library in a small town. She fleshes that out, and she suddenly realizes that’s where one pack of letters is. She identifies the town where the library is, and after the session she goes to that place, and she finds the letters.
But these are side effects. I mean, they’re more or less spontaneous occurrences that pop up.
Q: But the idea of having people invent dreams is relevant to these spontaneous paranormal happenings.
A: Oh, absolutely, because you give them the freedom to go all over the place and make connections they wouldn’t otherwise make. And in making those so-called “irrational” connections, something pops up out of the hopper. They’ve gone past the normal A causes B and B leads to C. They’ve jumped ship, so to speak. It’s like realizing that the map in your hands has an extra page you’ve never seen before, and that page is supposed to be held at right angles to the first page, and suddenly you see a whole new track of exploration, a different kind of track.
Q: When a patient invents dreams, he has that freedom.
A: That’s why we call them dreams. Nothing is ruled out. You can go from A to M in the blink of an eye, without passing through the intermediate letters. Or you can forget all about A through Z and go somewhere else that has no labels at all. In sober moments, people want to exclude this kind of thing, but it’s there and it’s possible to do.
Q: And you do no interpretation of the dreams afterwards.
A: Interpretation? Are you kidding? Of course not. I had a patient who was inventing a dream about tigers and trains. The tigers were traveling on the train. All sorts of amusing and fascinating things were happening on that train, and then the patient opened his eyes and looked across my office and a cup on a table skidded a foot and fell on to the floor. Do I need to make up some ridiculous interpretation of that?
Q: How do you explain it?
A: I don’t. All I say is, something happened to the creative power of the patient at that moment, and then BOOM. The patient was suddenly creating in a way that was new to him. He had left his old boundaries. That’s what inventing the dream did for him. He was in the Old, and then he jumped into the New. And in the New, these paranormal things can happen.
Q: So you’re saying that paranormal effects are a byproduct of creative power.
A: Yes. Although every person has his own slant on creative power.
Q: What does that mean?
A: If you got ten artists in a room and asked them to explain their creative impulse, you would get ten different descriptions. I wouldn’t care what those descriptions were like. What difference does it make? One artist might say he’s taking dictation from a prince who lives in a crackerjack box, and that’s how he writes. (laughs) Another artist might say a Master is talking to him. So? It all comes out in the wash. The point is, all these artists ARE creating. That’s the important thing. They aren’t just sitting around in a haze of speculation or debilitating devotion. They’re creating, on and on and on. Day after day, year after year. And somewhere along the line, paranormal effects jump up. They occur. Eventually, they occur more often.
I know there are people who can produce paranormal effects in a kind of demonstrative way. That’s their approach. But in my experience, at some point this capacity becomes spotty and it tends to dry up, unless the person is also moving along a creative road with lots of power. The creative part is what’s important.
Q: Before we started [this interview], you had something to say about immortality.
A: Right. I was working with a patient. Let me give you a little preface about this. Otherwise, it may be confusing. Sometimes, patients get into what I call constructs. They report all sorts of interesting things about their “inner landscape.” These reports can get complicated. It’s like exploring alien territory. Well, I just go along for the ride. I don’t have any preconceived ideas about what “really” might be in that inner territory or what’s supposed to be there. I don’t care. A patient can tell me he has thirteen planets circulating inside a bottle inside a spaceship from a life he hasn’t lived yet. I don’t care. It’s all fine with me. Do you see? He’s inventing dreams. And he’s trying to get somewhere. He wants to feel better or stronger or whatever. That’s the basic setting.
Anyway, try to follow this. This patient recalled a number of past lives in sessions. That’s what he said he was doing when he was inventing dreams. So after one session, he said he felt confident he had actually lived those lives, but he wasn't sure about the future. I asked him what he meant. He said he felt there was a block on the future. A block on him knowing he would live more lives. I asked him to describe that block. He said it was a kind of blank in his mind, a space where there should have been knowledge, but there wasn't. He said it felt odd to have that blank. So I told him we'd work on that in sessions to come.
Q: Did you?
Q: What did you do?
A: When he was in a light trance, I told him to imagine a future life. He did.
Q: What kind of life was it?
A: He was an engineer living on an asteroid. His group was mining the asteroid for metals. They were going to use those metals to build some kind of ship. A space vehicle. His descriptions were quite clear.
Q: Did that convince him he would live more lives?
A: He was still stalled and puzzled. I asked him to examine that blank in his mind. He told me it was like an empty box. But it wasn't just empty. There was some kind of force that kept it blank. So I told him to examine that force. He tried. He said it was something like a force fence. It defined the boundaries of the blank space. It kept it blank. I thought that was very interesting. I had him keep checking out that force. He tried to see where the force was coming from. He was looking all over the place to find the beginning [of that force]. It seemed to be concealed.
Q: On purpose?
Q: By someone else?
A: He wasn't sure. So I told him to imagine he did know about this force. For the next few sessions he told me all sorts of stories about the force and who was concealing its origin from him. They were very interesting stories. But they didn't crack the puzzle.
Q: This blank space in his mind and the force...it sounds like some sort of artifact. A whole structure placed there.
A: I was surprised that this process was taking so long. I thought we'd solve the whole business pretty quickly.
Q: So what you did you do?
A: I asked him to apply his own force to the force and try to blow it up.
Q: Mental force?
A: Yeah. When I told him to do that, he became scared. He said he couldn't do it. I asked him why. He said he was afraid that if the blank space dissolved he would lose something important. The blank was precious to him. Now, he didn't know that before. He discovered it. He discovered how he felt about it. So I asked him to tell me what the blank might represent to him. He gave me a whole lot of possible explanations. The one that made the most sense to him was CLARITY.
Q: The blank space represented clarity to him.
A: Yes. An empty space that wasn't cluttered with information. It was like a HOME SPACE.
Q: You mean he "operated from there?"
A: Mentally, in his private world, he was using that blank space as somewhere he could think clearly. I didn't really know what he was talking about, but I went with it.
Well, this guy said he was using that blank space as a center for thinking. At work. At his job. For him, the blank space was a place where he could operate freely.
Q: But he also felt the blank space was a block. It was blocking him from realizing he would live future lives.
A: Yes. It had an upside and a downside.
Q: Because he was using this blank space as a "home port" for rational thinking, he was afraid that if he blew it up, if he got rid of it, he wouldn't be able to think as well.
A: Yeah. He said he would feel naked without it. So I had him try to think from other spaces. I had him invent all sorts of different spaces in his mind where he could think from. He came up with parks, banks of rivers, empty houses, airports, and so on. These were invented mental spaces. He tried to think from those places.
Q: Could he do it?
A: It was slow going. But after a while, he became more easy with it.
Q: And did that help?
A: Yeah. Finally, he got to this: the blank space was the "home" of rational thinking for him. Now, if he tried to assume he would live future lives, the blank space would kick in. It would rationally remind him that this was a preposterous idea.
Q: So he would submit to that.
A: Yeah. He didn't want to go against the "rationality" of the blank space. He needed that space. He didn't want to disturb it or upset it.
Q: He was a kind of slave to that blank space.
Q: But he had no problem getting into PAST lives.
A: Right. For some reason, that didn't ruffle the feathers, so to speak, of the blank space. That [past lives] was considered rational. But future lives? No. That was going too far.
A: I know. But that's the way it played out. So he was getting somewhere now. He could see that the blank space was a very good thing for him, but it also blocked him from accepting the reality of future lives. He could see that situation. For the first time. And HE, for his own reasons, wanted to accept the fact that he could live future lives.
Q: And it was very clear to him that this blank space in his mental landscape was where he did his rational thinking.
A: Yeah. And anything IRRATIONAL was forbidden.
Q: Did he use the word "forbidden?"
A: Yeah. It started coming up frequently.
A: Like forbidden fruit. Like the Garden of Eden. I could see that, but I didn't want to say anything about it. I wanted him to find that out---if it was relevant.
Q: And did he find it out?
A: One day, there it was. The whole garden laid out for him to see.
Q: Where was it laid out?
A: Around the blank space. It was surrounding the blank space. The blank space was his "free port" where he could think clearly. But all around it was the force of the garden. The garden had its rules.
Q: This was his personal version of the Garden of Eden.
A: It wasn't the Biblical story in literal terms. But of course there were similarities.
Q: So had invented and refined the Garden story for himself.
A: Maybe. And right in the middle of the garden was this zone where he was free to operate.
Q: The blank space.
Q: How did he react when he found all this out?
A: (laughs) He was plenty pissed off.
A: Yeah. He felt it was a terrible imposition on him. Even though he had put this whole thing together himself. He was steaming. He wanted to get rid of the garden right away.
Q: He saw the limiting aspect.
Q: So what happened?
A: He tried to blow it up.
Q: The garden.
A: Yeah. But there was still something holding him back. So we worked some more. I had him describe the garden in great detail. The more he filled in the details, the more he began to see that the garden was a kind of deal.
Q: A deal?
A: Yes. A deal he had made. With God.
A: The deal was, he would get the blank space, the free zone in the middle of the garden, and God would get everything else. God would be able to limit his actions and his thoughts, "for his own good."
A: He realized that God, the God he was making a deal with, was something he had cooked up himself. An artifact of his own imagination.
Q: So then---
A: He had been tapping into an archetype.
A: No. Adam.
A: Yeah. Adam was the key archetype. He loved Adam. For him, Adam stood for all sorts of freedom and the newness of experience. Adam was all about the ability to have ecstasy. Adam was always like the dawn of a new day. But along with that, he [Jack's patient] had constructed this whole edifice---the garden, God, the blank space in the middle, the whole situation.
Q: Quite a creation.
A: I thought so.
Q: So what did you do?
A: I had him talk to me about Adam. That went on for several sessions, several hours. All sorts of stuff poured out. He hadn't known before that Adam was even there. It was a great discovery. And the more he talked about Adam, the more the whole edifice began to crumble. He was getting to the primary archetype in this whole situation. He was getting a direct line to Adam. I could see the energies around him [the patient]. Very powerful. He was tapping into all sorts of energies in the sessions. He was changing. He was getting stronger and more confident.
Q: So what about his invented God and the Garden and the blank space?
A: They dissipated like a balloon that was pricked. The air escaped. The structure collapsed of its own accord.
Q: And how did the patient feel?
A: He felt fine. He could still think very clearly. He didn't need that blank space. It was all very natural, this change. Between sessions, he began writing reams about Adam. All sorts of material. Very interesting.
Q: And the future lives?
A: It wasn't a problem anymore. Basically, the patient saw that he was immortal, as a soul, as a spirit. He could look back and he could see past lives, and he could look forward and see the possible shapes of future lives. An integration had occurred. The separated pieces had come together.
Q: What did he do with Adam after that?
A: He kept tapping in and writing reams. He felt he had "a new friend." Some months later, he dropped the whole thing. He wasn’t interested in Adam anymore.
Here is the thing you have to understand. All of this, the blank space and what it meant to him, both the good and the bad, the Garden, his invented God, and Adam, all of it was the way HE approached his problem. He felt he had a problem about not being able to accept future lives. See? All of this was coming from the patient, not from me. He had his own idea of his problem. Who knows what to say about that? I didn’t say anything. He was inventing his way along a path that meant possible progress to him. He was imagining all sorts of things on his own, and when he finally reached the end of the train track, he felt terrifically better. He felt changes in his inner landscape. He was much happier.
I don’t care whether any of this was real, because what is real in a situation like this? It’s his sense of it that’s important.
Along the way, I had had him invent a number of dreams, and during that period, he had some very interesting things happen to him. He reconciled with his wife and his family. He started a new business. He funded a few people who were doing important research on environmental problems. All this was happening fast, and he was enjoying it. One day in my office, he sat up in his chair and said, “My wife just left me something.”
His wife hadn’t been to his apartment for over a year. She had a key, but she hadn’t gone there. When he went home, he found a note from her in the living room. She was asking him to meet her, so they could finally talk things over.
Q: Would you accept the label “human potential” as being a focus of your work?
A: Sure. I don’t care about labels, but that one is okay. The more I work with patients, the more I see that I’m getting them to imagine and create. That’s the core of it. When I stick to that, all sorts of other things happen. Good things. These people are shifting from a straight-line approach to life to a creative approach. Straight-line is fine, but it reaches a limit. After that, you can graduate to a different echelon. You can break through and break out.