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ASC/ Pre-emptive Defensiveness Rev.1
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All other copy rights reserved.
June 28 1994 July 8 1994
There is no such thing as an SP.
"SP" is a slur aimed at persons who seem to be operating with
destructive intent. It means Suppressive Person; one who
suppresses the admirable efforts of others. This may be the
efforts of others to survive, or it may be their efforts to create
or cause something. Thus the "SP" is considered evil by those who
fancy themselves suppressed.
Whether or not this label may sometimes be misapplied is not
addressed in this memo; the topic is the existence of such people.
If you accept that people are basically good, that they will do the
right thing whenever they can see that option, then you immediately
see two things.
First, there are no truly evil people. There are just destructive
Second, if a person will always do the right thing if given the
opportunity, then maybe that is exactly what the person is *always*
How can this be?
The first one is simple. Good people get confused and do things
that others consider bad.
The second one is also simple. Good people get confused and do
things that others consider bad.
Right. They are the same. Both involve people who have become
confused and are doing things that they think are right under the
circumstances they perceive, but which are actually destructive.
Sometimes even to themselves.
This happens because of the modified perception of the persons in
For example, a man who misunderstands the situation around his
relationship with his ex-wife. He thinks that because they love
each other, they will inevitably get back together. And that
certain territorial prerogatives therefore apply. He thinks love
equals marriage, and that a woman who loves you is both forgiving
and loyal. A=Ax2.
So he drops by to surprise her one evening and finds her in the
arms of another man. He is shocked to the core by this, and feels
deeply betrayed. In his anger he kills both of them.
But in his confused state he sees this as the right thing to do.
After all, he thinks, she is a liar, cheat and worse - a betrayer
who cannot be trusted, who sets people up for crushing
disappointments. And the other man is seen as a calculated
trespasser, a sneak who steals other men's most valuable things:
the foundations of their happiness.
So, he sees, the world is better off without these charlatans, and
he can remove the source of his pain at the same time. So he
And he strikes hard because what he is trying to communicate is so
important to him. If this is how solid his reach has to be to get
their attention, well....
But the message is too solid and it destroys the relatively fragile
bodies of his antagonists.
It's an almost spiritual act in that he is dealing directly with
the beings. He is taking a treasured possession from each of them
in exchange for what he thinks they have taken from him. His life
is ruined by their betrayal, and he ruins theirs in his quest for
But society, believing the body to be the person, can't see it that
way. It sees two dead bodies and believes the people are dead.
And now, acting from its own confusion, society sets out to even
the score - in body counts.
But I've said that there are no SP's. How can this be true when
the victims' physical survival was so obviously suppressed?
It's a matter of motivations. Of intent.
Our friend did not set out to harm these people. He believed he
was trying to get a message across. And he helped them pay their
debt as he saw it.
Okay, you say, but that's not the same as someone embarking on a
planned campaign of destruction against people who aren't hurting
anybody. Like the world's favorite villain, Adolph Hitler. Am I
saying he wasn't a monster, a truly evil person?
Yes, that is exactly what I'm saying. And so must you, if you
agree that all people are basically good.
Yes, I know. You can come back with the argument that maybe he is
basically good, but that tiny bit of goodness is buried so deep it
What difference does it make to his victims if he is rotten to the
core or only almost to the core? After all, the slaughter did
happen. The actions and their consequences are what's important,
you could say.
Not! If you argued this line, you would be so close to the truth
but so misdirected that you would never see it. And this is the
line that is usually argued.
We need to take the victims out of the equation if we are to
examine what is happening with the so-called SP. We need to free
the subject of the intensity of our outrage and take a cold hard
look at the "SP" point of view.
The "SP" is someone who sees himself as the so-horribly-victimized
effect of others that he can no longer discern which of the many
people he now contacts is his potential next nightmare.
From his point of view, he has been hurt so deeply and so many
times that he has finally reached a point of blind rage about it.
How intense is his rage? The answer lies in its source. It
represents the accumulated value of every failure he has ever
suffered at, he believes, the hands of others. The entire volume
of emotional charge generated by his fundamental resistance to each
and every loss, failure of purpose and denial of identity that he
has ever suffered now seethes within this once-magnificent
expression-of-beingness turned vigilante.
The only thing he knows for certain becomes his one singleminded
operating policy: "Don't ever let anyone hurt you again".
But how can he follow through on that policy?
He can't trust anybody. He can't let anybody get close. He can't
have any contact with anybody. Unless.
Unless they do not have the power or ability to hurt him.
And from that comes his first solution: Seek out people who are so
weak they can't hurt you.
But even that one fails now and then. Some people will surprise
So he goes a step further: Make certain that no one has the power
or ability to hurt you.
But he dares not let them see him as he really is, or they'll
certainly turn on him in a violent instant.
So he acts in advance with each person he meets, covertly disabling
them to the point that he will be safe.
He has become what we can call Pre-emptively Defensive (PD).
In defense mode, he acts first to pre-empt the other person's
attack, "just in case".
And now he looks like he's trying to keep other people down,
because he is. But he's not doing it because he wants to harm
them. He's doing it because he believes it's the only way he can
defend his own existence.
And he's not doing it for pleasure, no matter how much he seems to
enjoy it. His pleasure comes not from the pain of others but from
his fleeting sense of being safe as he disables yet another
potential enemy, undermines yet another potential betrayer, or
weakens the underpinnings of yet another inevitably disappointing
But wait, some might still say. Even given all this, it's his
actions that we must deal with. That's got to be our immediate
priority, because if we let him slide and feel sorry for him, he'll
work his way through huge numbers of truly good and well-behaved
people, destroying them as he goes.
After all, this argument goes to its logical conclusion, we can't
just let some crazy run down the street swinging an ax at everyone
he meets. We can't even let his less-disturbed cousin continually
disrupt the peace of our society, if we want life to be worth
Of course we can't. But that's not our immediate concern. Those
arguments come from the other side of the story, our concern for
the victims and ourselves. Our topic at this moment is primarily
the motivations of the PD, the pre-emptively defensive person.
But shouldn't we be concerned about the victims and potential
victims? Yes, by all means. But we must not be concerned
exclusively for them.
And that's where the problem I am really addressing here comes into
If we don't understand the pre-emptively defensive person's
situation, we can't help him. And if we can't help him, we can't
remove the threat he represents from the environment in a
respectful and constructive way.
After all, the cost of believing in "SP's" and other evils is paid
in fear and insecurity. This is a ticket to the so-called
And that leads to putting men in cages for the rest of their lives,
to cutting up their brains with drugs, surgery and electricity to
subdue them, and to execution.
Every one of these solutions suffers the same nasty drawback.
Sooner or later (the later the better if we can't help the guy
right now), the guy gets loose (even if just by dying
unrehabilitated) and comes back with a vengeance, more convinced
than ever that everyone is his tormentor and enemy.
(What, you don't believe in multiple lifetimes? Okay, but can you
Prove they don't happen? What if you're wrong? Remember, over
half of the world's population disagrees with you. How can you be
certain? Thus, I'll take the conservative approach and proceed as
though the guy just might be back.)
In fact, it's worst if he dies, because we have no way of knowing
where he will show up next or how his rage will demonstrate itself
Which gives us two serious problems. It makes the environment
itself seem dangerous because you never know where your next
executioner is. And it guarantees the PD at least one more victim
every time it happens.
I ask you, who is really helped by such a situation?
The solution is to become oriented to an affirmative perspective
that allows for destructive acts and the necessity to be prepared
and willing to take corrective action. Not vengeful action, and
not hateful action, just corrective action.
The guy is running down the street swinging an ax, stop him however
you must, but leave your anger and outrage somewhere else. This is
a tortured soul, and it deserves as much respect as the next guy.
And for your own future good as much as his, try to do it without
This is the true meaning of loving your enemies.
The same is true in social situations. The guy who works
constantly to undermine your authority isn't trying to destroy you,
he's trying to make sure you can't hurt him. Don't take it
It really isn't personal, you know. The pre-emptively defensive
person has everybody so generalized in his mind, so categorized by
threat potential that he never actually sees the real you. Or
So it's not about you. You are not the target. You're just
convenient, and if it isn't you it will be the next guy. We're all
the same to him.
So write the PD off and treat him as an enemy - at your own peril.
Declare him too much trouble to help today, and spend tomorrow
looking over your shoulder.
And consider this: If we don't help people, who will? Who can?
If we don't help people, we should expect them to be upset with us.
In fact, we should expect that every tortured and demented soul in
the universe will eventually arrive on our doorstep. Word gets out
quickly among the desperate.
If we turn them away, we are asking for trouble.
So how do we handle the pre-emptively defensive individual?
First, by educating as many people as possible about this
phenomenon, so they will know it when they see it, and get out of
the guy's way. That will remove most potential victims from the
Next, as practitioners we must address the PD's problem whenever
possible. Our job, after all, is to help people. Why should we
discriminate in a manner that leaves intact the most corrupted and
dangerous individuals around?
Does this make sense?
Of course, this will require us to raise the level of our ability
to confront real spiritual travail and agony. The things you hear
in session with one of these guys can curdle tomorrow's breakfast
if you're not holding your position firmly as a practitioner.
You'd better have your communication skills down cold!
But what do we do with the ones who won't go into session?
We can simply shun the ones who are not a threat to person or
property. We must still allow them the protection of law. We just
don't have to deal with them socially or professionally. If they
want the benefits of society, they'll come around sooner or later.
If they don't, that's their choice. Respect their right to choose
their own hells.
And the violent ones?
We'll have to put them out of harm's way. Isolate them from their
better-behaved brethren and keep them safe until they are ready to
Catch them, preferably alive, and lock them away until they're
ready to be responsible again.
To that end, we should develop new self-defense tools that are
effective but not lethal. Like stun guns. And the willingness to
use an ability in a proactive manner, such as projecting your own
intention into a berserker's body to disrupt his motor control (if
you happen to have some extra psychic ability).
Once we have them contained, however, we certainly can't force our
help on them. That would violate their free-will right of choice.
It may seem that such people should be forfeit of that kind of
liberty, but that is simply not true.
First, our only right in dealing with them is to protect ourselves
from their insane actions.
Second, the only kind of help available to them is what we do, and
it simply doesn't work unless the individual wants it.
And third, most will eventually settle down in a safe environment.
There's a high probability that they will ask for help somewhere
down the line. After all, if they come to see that it is the right
thing to do, they will want to do it.
And if they never get straight?
They never get out.
All this requires several bits of attitude adjustment.
We must stop making of other people's difficulties the "reasons"
for an us-n-them mentality.
We must find it in our hearts to forgive and be firm and helpful at
the same time.
And we must change our society and the way people deal with one
another to something based a little more on a better understanding.
Which means that we need to realize that not everyone who disagrees
with us is a bad guy.
After all, look around you. You're still here, they're still here.
You're all in this mess together.
The only viable resolution to this mess is to create a real
civilization where everyone has rights and true rehabilitation of
self and ability is available to all.
Because together is the only way you're ever getting out of this
Allen, Speaker for Acceptance | Acceptance Services Center
speaker at asc.org -0- Box 390696 Mtn Vw CA 94039
http://www.asc.org | (415) 964-3436
Moderated email list: Accept-L at asc.org Inquiries, faq requests invited.
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