134 QUESTION: I would like to understand a little more concretely about this marriage between the forces of love and circumstances of, for example, cruelty. For instance, in the case of children who feel rejected by their mother, does this marriage mean that the person cannot experience pleasure without also experiencing revenge – some kind of sadistic wish toward the mother? This happens perhaps only in fantasy, never in reality, and then the person is usually unaware that the partner represents the mother?
ANSWER: Yes, it might be exactly that. Or it might also be that pleasure can be experienced only in connection with being rejected again, or a little rejected, or being fearful that rejection may occur.
QUESTION: But they didn’t experience pleasure when they were rejected.
ANSWER: Of course not. But the child uses the pleasure principle to make the negative event, the suffering, more bearable. This happens unconsciously, unintentionally, and almost automatically. Inadvertently, as it were, the pleasure principle combines with the negative condition.
The only way this can be determined is by investigation of one’s fantasy life. It is that way that the marriage is established. The automatic reflexes are then geared to a situation that combines the inherent pleasure current with the painful event.
QUESTION: And the child wishes to reproduce this rejection?
ANSWER: Not consciously, of course. No one really wants to be rejected. The trouble is that people consciously wish to be accepted and loved, but unconsciously, they cannot respond to a completely accepting and favorable situation. In such cases the pleasure principle has already been led into the negative channel and can be rechanneled only through awareness and understanding.
The very nature of this conflict is that the pleasure principle functions the way people consciously want least of all. It cannot be said that a person unconsciously desires rejection, but the reflex was already established at a time when this way of functioning made life more bearable for the child. Do you understand that?
QUESTION: I don’t quite understand how pleasure can be experienced at all when someone is rejected, except in the form of revenge. That I can understand.
ANSWER: Perhaps you can imagine also – one sees this over and over again – that when people feel too secure in being accepted and loved, they lose the spark of interest. This too is rationalized by claiming it to be an inevitable law, happening through habit, or other circumstances. But it would not have to be that way if it were not for the factors discussed in this lecture [Lecture #134 The Concept of Evil].
The spark, the interest, the dynamic flow exists only when there is an unsure or an unhappy situation. You see this frequently. Sometimes the negative condition manifests only in fantasies. These fantasies are, when closely examined, in one way or another, attached to suffering, humiliation or hostility. This is then called masochism or sadism. Do you understand now?
ANSWER: Yes, I think I do.
QUESTION: Since all children experience rejection, and since all children are insatiable in their demands, when will there be an end to this situation? It always starts with each incarnation and in each situation again.
ANSWER: You can see that there are differences among human beings: some function in a much healthier way than others, and their pleasure principle responds more strongly to a positive situation. There evolution is taking place.
When a completely positive situation exists in the psyche, reincarnation is no longer necessary. Evolution then proceeds on other levels. To a certain degree, every human being has negativity, and this negativity is somehow activated, enforced and nourished by the life force. But degrees exist, and they are a clear indication of the evolutionary process.
You have human beings, at one extreme, who cannot even have any direct relationship with another person, who live merely in fantasies that are utterly attached to negative experiences. At the other extreme are those who, in the process of maturing, have brought together fantasy and reality in the most positive and favorable sense.
This bringing together of fantasy and reality does not mean repression of fantasy life, but true overcoming of it, because reality is more desirable and more pleasurable, just as positive circumstances are. Between these two poles, many degrees exist. You can see the evolutionary process.
QUESTION: Do mobility and tension, and relaxation and stagnation lessen as you remove the pleasure principle from the negative?
ANSWER: Of course. One interacts with the other. You can see how the interaction between these two facets works: to the extent that a combination, or marriage, takes place between the life or pleasure principle and a negative situation, tension must exist; anxiety must exist.
To the extent that anxiety and tension exist, immobility appears a welcome relief from the effort and fatigue to struggle against the self. When a short-circuit hinders the real experience of the pleasure principle, that in itself is stagnation. It is a non-movement, whereas the whole cosmos is in perpetual, beautiful motion. When you establish the same cosmic movement within your own psyche, you are in harmony with the cosmic forces.
QUESTION: This is the clearest understanding I have ever had of what has happened to me in this marriage of negativity and the pleasure principle: I had to set up a rejection. Seeing it as clearly as I do now, recognizing exactly how it operates, what do I now do about it?
ANSWER: It is extremely important that you become aware of the specific negative condition to which the pleasure principle in you reacts. This awareness must be not only intellectual, but actually felt and experienced. You must remove the restriction, to allow this into your consciousness.
Realize that allowing it into your consciousness is not a devastating judgement; it is not the end of you. It does not stamp you as lost, as you unconsciously believe, but rather the opposite. This is a new beginning and a way out of an erroneously assumed, devastating judgement that you thought applied to you.
When you allow the clear-cut, concise formulation of this particular melding point into your emotional experience, when you experience with courage how the automatic reflexes of the pleasure principle are geared to the negative – knowing that this need not and will not remain as you quietly and calmly desire to grow – then you cannot help but progress.
In this connection I would like to add one more point, not just for you, but generally. It is also useful, my friends, to distinguish between two prevalent reactions to this conflict. Both of them are mostly unconscious. The first is strict denial so that no awareness, even in fantasy, exists. This comes from fear, guilt, and shame, and the belief that one is terrible because of it.
The second applies to those who are perfectly aware of their fantasies but are unable to experience the pleasure principle in any other way, whether or not they actually have relationships with others. It occurs when sex and love are separated, or eros and love, or eros and sex. In these cases, a semi-conscious resistance to giving up this fantasy life exists out of fear that the pleasure will be lost altogether.
It then cannot be conceived that the pure, healthy pleasure principle manifests much more beautifully and satisfyingly when positive melds with positive. It is imagined that this would be dull and boring. This is concluded because the actual, real-life relationship, in such instances, is never as satisfying as the fantasy. Hence, one assumes that giving up the fantasy means giving up the pleasure. So one does not wish to part with one’s pleasure.
It is important to distinguish which of the two resistances applies to you first. Is it the denial of the link between the automatic reflex of pleasure and a negative situation? Or is it the clinging to the entire complex, out of fear of having to do without any pleasure? Both resistances are the result of misconceptions.
These particular resistances, for example, create a confusion of motions: either the strained mobility of striving away from what is now – hence effort, tension, fear – or not wanting to change, out of fear of losing out in the process – hence stagnation.
As I said at the beginning of this lecture, all dichotomy, all duality, can be reduced to the simple common denominator of this basic split movement. When you see this, you will find it quite helpful.
QA179 QUESTION: This has occurred frequently throughout my life, and now it’s occurring again. I wake up frequently during the night and expect that someone is going to be there, someone will have broken in, a man. And I don’t know what he’s going to do to me, but it’s something horrible. And I anticipate this.
ANSWER: Well, this is a very frequent fantasy that all people – especially women – have who have not really faced their sexual fantasies of rape. When these fantasies are pushed out of sight and are not faced, then fears such as this sort manifest. Because as you know, everything that is repressed comes out indirectly and much more disturbingly. I would suggest that this be worked on. Have you had any awareness of such fantasies as yet?
QUESTION: I think so. You’re right, I do push them out.
ANSWER: Exactly. Your fear of accepting these fantasies and understanding them and dealing with them so that you can really grow out of them has made you experience them in this way. You see, wherever a desire – a distorted desire – is pushed out of sight because of fear and guilt in this respect, it must come out as an opposite fear.
The fear you experience in this way is you are really saying you are afraid of these fantasies in yourself. Only when you face this whole issue can you then also get rid of it, grow out of it, and turn lovingly towards men – not with suspicion and fear.
QUESTION: Does it have something also to do with a fear of involvement?
ANSWER: Yes, that has very much to do with it. Since your feelings are trapped in this way, you are very much afraid to become undefended and real with someone. Because then you would have to expose these feelings, which you do not wish to do. So there is a barrier here with you.
This fear is totally unjustified, because you feel you are horrible and you are bad and you are afraid of all of this. That is very, very damaging and unnecessary, and it prevents you from really growing out of it.
So, by really wanting to face it and asking for guidance and help and inspiration and strength, you will grow out of this, and your psyche will be unified. There will be no longer fear and distrust, which then combines with the sexuality so that the sexual part of a person is then combined with the fear aspect and creates a certain condition.
QA180 QUESTION: I have a longish question that has first a private personal part and then a general part. The basic issue is escape, and I would like to ask you how I can cope with, or channel, my fantasy. I find I use fantasy as a way to escape. I know how important it is to be in the moment and fully face what is there. But I have this almost irresistible urge to immerse myself into a fantasy where I picture something that might happen or would happen or could happen, or else something that never will happen, and thus somehow get into a reverse gear and switch off whatever is right in front of me.
ANSWER: The reverse gear can only come through using the very escape as the Now rather than disciplining a forceful action which will never, never succeed. In other words, it is making the compulsive act the tool. Let me be more precise here. Instead of saying, “Now I must not fantasize, because this is escape, and I will not do it; I will not do it; I must not,” you will not succeed. You have seen that this is so.
But if, on the other hand, you say, “Here is my compulsion.” The compulsion can only be removed indirectly as though a lever lifts itself – organically, effortlessly, as it were – then you would make use of the fantasy in order to understand your reality now. Begin to observe your fantasies. Jot down the gist of them and then bring them into your work for analysis like a dream, and you will get a tremendous amount of more information and deeper understanding about yourself than if you would try to suppress the fantasy, even though it is an escape measure. Within the escape measure lies information that you can use. Does that make sense to you?
QUESTION: It makes very good sense, and I have done that but maybe not often enough.
ANSWER: To a degree. But many, many times, you overlook and you become swept away by it rather than by deliberately using it – if you feel the urge coming to fantasize, say, “All right now, I will fantasize and I will make use of it. What is it?” The very fact that you do that may even stop the urge.
It is the same thing like a concentration exercise I gave all of my friends years ago [Lecture #71 Reality and Illusion – Concentration Exercises] and again a few months ago when I suggested to you the ability of nonthinking. This is, at times, a very necessary ability in order for the greater intelligence within you to manifest itself.
This nonthinking cannot be done by concentrating not to think, but it can only be done when you relax and are ready to observe the thoughts that come. As you do this, the thinking process may stop, even though perhaps only for a fraction of a minute. But that in itself is already a valuable experience. By the same token, your readiness to receive your fantasies – not to fight fantasizing but to receive them, to observe them – will lessen the compulsion.