Clearing Archive Roboposter
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Mon Jul 6 00:06:01 EDT 2020
Subject: HOW TO CHOOSE YOUR PEOPLE - Part 1 of 9
This is your new anonymously provided copy of
HOW TO CHOOSE YOUR PEOPLE
Originally Published by
SCIENTOLOGY ANN ARBOR
Ann Arbor, Michigan
This book has been out of print for many years now.
Since it is no longer in print, and since the information in its pages
remain valuable for use as a Clearing Technology, it is being uploaded to
this and other newsgroups with the intention of providing Affinity,
Reality and Communication (ARC) to a deserving public.
It is being uploaded from a temporary account because the Church of
Scientology is renowned for their attitude toward those who attempt to
disseminate information that they believe is "theirs alone."
This attitude is not shared by everyone, particularly those of us who
consider that such information as the Tone Scale is a public necessity, a
necessity for the well being of the society as a whole. And as a
consequence of this societal need, such information must be as freely
disseminated as possible.
There are a total of 9 more parts to this book being sent to this and
The size constraint for remailing makes this division of this book
If you are unable to obtain all of this book for whatever reason, it is my
intention to continue to provide the entire sequence periodically in this
and other newsgroups.
While some of these newsgroups may appear to consider only the negative
attributes of the subject of Scientology, this book may well act as a
reminder that substantial good also can come from it.
HOW TO CHOOSE YOUR PEOPLE
Originally Published by
SCIENTOLOGY ANN ARBOR
Ann Arbor, Michigan
THE EMOTIONAL TONE SCALE
4.0 ENTHUSIASM (Cheerfulness)
3.5 INTEREST (Amusement)
3.0 CONSERVATISM (Contentment)
2.0 ANTAGONISM (Overt Hostility)
1.2 NO SYMPATHY
1.1 COVERT HOSTILITY
0.8 PROPITIATION (Appeasement)
0.375 MAKING AMENDS
Discovered and developed by L. Ron Hubbard
Copyright ¬ 1972, by L. Ron Hubbard
Permission for Publication granted
by Issue Authority, Flag
Originally Published by
Scientology Ann Arbor
P. 0. Box 378,
Ann Arbor, Michigan 48107
To those at the top
Printed in the United States of America
based on the Fourth Printing
In reading this book be very certain you never go past a word you do not
The only reason a person gives up a study or becomes confused or unable to
learn is that he or she has gone past a word or phrase that was not
If the material becomes confusing or you can't seem to grasp it, there
will be a word just earlier that you have not understood. Don't go any
further, but go back to before you got into trouble, find the
misunderstood word and get it defined, using any good dictionary.
INTRODUCTION - OUT IN THE JUNGLE
CHAPTER 1 - THE COMMON DENOMINATOR
CHAPTER 2 - THE EMOTIONAL TONE SCALE
CHAPTER 3 - APATHY (0.05)
CHAPTER 4 - MAKING AMENDS (0.375)
CHAPTER 5 - GRIEF (0.5)
CHAPTER 6 - PROPITIATION (0.8)
CHAPTER 7 - SYMPATHY (0.9)
CHAPTER 8 - FEAR (1.0)
CHAPTER 9 - COVERT HOSTILITY (1.1)
CHAPTER 10 - NO SYMPATHY (1.2)
CHAPTER 11 - ANGER (1.5)
CHAPTER 12 - PAIN (1.8)
CHAPTER 13 - ANTAGONISM (2.0)
CHAPTER 14 - BOREDOM (2.5)
CHAPTER 15 - CONSERVATISM (3.0)
CHAPTER 16 - INTEREST AND ENTHUSIASM (3.5-4.0)
CHAPTER 17 - SOME TIPS ON SPOTTING TONES
CHAPTER 18 - CLICH+'S TO LIVE BY-OR SHOULD WE?
CHAPTER 19 - THE BATTLE OF THE SEXES
CHAPTER 20 - MEANWHILE, BACK AT THE OFFICE
CHAPTER 21 - GROUPS
CHAPTER 22 - THE TONE SCALE AND THE ARTS
CHAPTER 23 - HOW TO HANDLE PEOPLE BY TONE MATCHING
CHAPTER 24 - RAISING TONE
CHAPTER 25 - YOU AND ME
INTRODUCTION - Out in the Jungle
I don't know what occupied your mind when you were in the early teens; but
I was usually engrossed in trying to top insults with my older brothers.
When I bothered to think about it at all, I expected that somewhere in the
process of growing up I'd learn how to choose people-how to tell the good
guys from the bad ones.
In the movies it was easy (those white hats); but I wasn't acquainted with
any cowboys. Trustingly, however, I assumed that if the movie people
recognized the difference, surely my parents and teachers knew all about
people and someday would share the secrets with me.
But they didn't.
I grew up, more or less, and wandered out into the jungle without knowing
the difference between a tiger and teddy bear. Probably, I supposed,
there aren't any tigers in real life anyway.
I fell in love. Ecstatically. Deliriously. This was more exciting than
devouring cotton candy or swinging on top of the ferris wheel.
One week later (through a friend of a friend) I discovered that my
handsome coastguardsman had a girl back home in Chicago. They planned to
marry as soon as he was out of the service.
I wept the tears that only the young know. How could he have been so
deceitful? Why should he do this to me? And worst of all was my own
betrayal of myself: Why didn't / know he was that kind of person?
It was a dangerous jungle-and I wasn't yet prepared for it.
I went to college. I learned four or five big words. I learned to give a
speech while concealing the jellyfish tremoring inside me. I learned
something important (I forget just what it was now) about a thing called
"pi." And I learned how to balance a teacup on my knee while mouthing
But even here, among the most well-meaning and erudite, no one could tell
me how to choose my people-the people to love, hire, fire, follow, avoid,
befriend, leave or trust.
Out into the sophisticated world-business, social life, suburbia-still no
answers, only questions all around me: Is this really love? Which club
should I join? Do I want to work for this company? Should I support this
charity? Is he a true friend? How can I get the customer to buy? Will he
betray me? Is this a worthy cause? Should I take this teacher's advice?
At the same time, my friends were stumbling along too. Mark meets Kathy.
He falls in love. She's cute, smart, sexy. She never wears too much
makeup; she's into his kind of music; she likes the same things on her
pizza. Everything's going for them. Should he marry her and make little
pizzas together? It appeared to me that if any tiny voice inside him
posed these questions, no voice replied: How will she withstand future
family crises? Will she ooze into a puddle or keep her strength? Will
she stage tearful scenes when he must work late? Will she be afraid to
move out of town if he's offered an attractive transfer? Will she become
a nagging harridan if he doesn't make enough money? Will she ruin their
Mark's dad is no help. He's preoccupied with his own troubles at the
office: Should he hire this man? He dresses well, he's not a communist,
his sideburns are no longer than the company president's and he's the
nephew of an old fraternity brother. On paper, he looks good. But how
will he perform on the job? Can he work on his own initiative? Is he an
idea man or a plodder? Will he inspire people or crush them? Can he
follow through? Will he carry out orders correctly or make costly
bungles? Will he pull or drag?
I wasn't the only one wondering: How do you figure people out?
Early in 1951 a close friend gave me a book called Dianetics: The Modem
Science of Mental Health, by an American writer and philosopher, L. Ron
Hubbard (who later founded the international Church of Scientology). This
enlightening book exposed the major cause and remedy of man's miseries.
In addition, however, Ron Hubbard also reported his first research in an
entirely new field of study: the classification and prediction of human
Later in 1951 he published Science of Survival in which he expanded on
this new science. Reading the book, I was amazed to learn that this man
stripped off all social veneer and predicted exactly what to expect from
any individual. He so thoroughly unmasked all the beasts of the jungle
(yes, even the tigers in teddy bear clothing) that I was shaken and
gratified at the same time.
I've been acquainted with this material now for twenty-one years (a
nodding acquaintance for the first seven years and a close one for the
last fourteen). I use it in business and in personal life and find it
consistently accurate and reliable. The only times it "failed" me were
when I failed to use it.
In this book I'd like to share my experiences in using Ron Hubbard's data.
When you finish you will know how to evaluate people correctly, what you
can expect of them, and what to do about it all.
Of course, you are already sizing people up (with greater or lesser
success), so much of the material will be no surprise; you'll recognize
Other ideas, however, depart so radically from accepted social theories
that even if you discovered them yourself, you may have repressed them.
They don't quite conform to what we heard in Sunday school or at Mother's
knee. They puncture some of our most comfortable, but weary, platitudes.
I found out (and so will you) that the sweet, smiling person who never,
never loses his temper is in worse shape than the man who occasionally
flies into a rage, that the compulsive do-gooder is more destructive than
the aggressive scoundrel who only looks out for himself, that the person
who never cries (but accepts every loss as his "cross to bear") is nearer
death than one who sobs.
Don't take my word for all this. Read the material. Observe for yourself.
When you finish, I hope you'll agree that once we possess adequate
equipment to survive, exploring the jungle can be quite fun after all.
Chapter 1 - THE COMMON DENOMINATOR
"The basic nature of Man is not bad. It is good. But between him and that
goodness are fears, rages and repressions."
-L. Ron Hubbard, "The Free Man," Ability 232
A wise person once said that no two people are exactly alike. For this we
can be eternally grateful.
People come in tall sizes, short sizes and assorted colors. There are
varied backgrounds, experiences and people who enjoy molded
plastic flamingos perched in their front yards.
Despite obviously unique personalities, however, Ron Hubbard encountered
one common denominator in everyone: emotions.
He must be talking about that neurotic woman screaming at the mouse, the
child throwing tantrums when he can't have a cookie, the frightened
soldier who won't go back to the battlefield, the wife sobbing
hysterically that her husband doesn't love her.
What's that got to do with you and me and the mild little bookkeeper down
the street? We're not emotional. That's a derogatory word.
As I read Ron Hubbard's work, however, I began observing all the people I
knew (when unavoidable, I even looked at myself). His statements all
appeared to be true. Every person is clinging to some attitude about
life-he finds it grim, frightening, regretful, maddening or wonderful-but
his viewpoint is not governed by reasoning or intellect. It is determined
Ron Hubbard's significant discovery revealed three important facts about
1. There's a package of fixed responses that goes with every emotion.
2. Emotions fall into a certain order-going from grim to great.
3. There are layers of restrained emotions, formerly unrecognized.
THE EMOTIONAL PACKAGE
Accompanying each emotion is a complete, unvarying package of attitudes
and behavior. Therefore, once we recognize that a person is in grief
(whether temporarily or chronically), we can expect him to be lamenting:
"I was betrayed. Nobody loves me. Things used to be better." We also
know how he will behave in most situations.
The rich and beautiful actress who takes a bottle of sleeping pills feels
the same overwhelming hopelessness as the skid row bum sitting in the
gutter hugging his empty bottle. Although using different stage settings
and different costumes, they're both reading the same lines.
The person who's looking at the world through apathy-colored glasses is
close to death, no matter what his background or his present environment.
Every comment, every decision, every action is colored by his apathy.
THE ORDER OF EMOTIONS
It was while researching methods for improving mental health that Ron
Hubbard encountered a consistent pattern of responses as people advanced.
Helping individuals erase the effects of painful past experiences, he
found they often manifested apathy at first and as the work proceeded,
they moved through certain emotional stages that always occurred in the
same unvarying order for every person: grief, fear, covert hostility,
anger (or combativeness), antagonism, boredom, contentment and well-being.
This change from painful emotions to pleasant emotions was such a
reliable indication of success that he began to use it as the basic
yardstick of his progress with each person.
He next found that he could plot these emotional responses on a scale,
with the happier ones on the top and the miserable ones on the bottom.
Soon it was apparent that every person is somewhere on this scale at all
times, although he moves up and down as he experiences fortunes and
It also became evident that the higher a person's position on the scale of
emotions, the better he survives. He's more capable of obtaining the
necessities of living. He's happier, more alive, more confident and
competent. He's winning. Conversely, the lower the person drops on the
scale, the closer he is to death. He's losing, more miserable, ready to
If we are planning a difficult camping trip through wild, uninhabited
country, the emotional scale tells us we should not choose a companion who
mopes around complaining that it all sounds too hazardous. We should take
the fellow who's looking forward to the trip.
People low on the scale don't look forward to things. The less willingly
a person contemplates the future, the lower are his chances of surviving.
For identification, Ron Hubbard gave the various emotions a name and a
number as he arranged them in order. He called his final sequence The
Emotional Tone Scale.
Each emotional position is called a "tone." Just as every musical tone is
a sound of definite pitch and vibration, so each tone on the emotional
scale contains its unique identifying characteristics. It would be hard
to play a piano if the keys were intermixed rather than in succession.
Similarly, it's nearly impossible to understand people and help them
improve without an accurate scale to tell us exactly how high or low a
person is on the emotional keyboard.
The dividing line of the tone scale is 2.0. Above this point, the person
is surviving well. Below this level, his life expectancy is much poorer.
Using this line, we refer to the people above it as "high-tone" or
"upscale. People below 2.0 are "low-tone" or "downscale."
Whereas a high-tone person is rational, the low-tone person operates
irrationally. The lower his tone, the more a person's decisions and
behavior are governed by emotional feeling, regardless of his education or
When we hear of the staid, "respectable" bank president with a devoted
family who unexpectedly embezzles a hundred thousand dollars and absconds
to South America with a young belly dancer, we may ask: "What-ever was he
That's the trouble, of course. He wasn't thinking. He was feeling.
Emotions ruled him as they do almost everyone. Likely such a person would
take us by surprise only because his emotional tone was a restrained one.
Some emotions are obvious because they're expressed. But Ron Hubbard
observed that beneath every expressed emotion there lies a band of
((Enthusiasm) 4.0 ) ENTHUSIASM-expressed
((Interest) 3.5 )
((Conservatism) 3.0 ) ENTHUSIASM-restrained
((Boredom) 2.5 )
((Antagonism) 2.0 )
((Pain) 1.8 ) HOSTILITY-expressed
((Anger) 1.5 )
((No Sympathy) 1.2 ) HOSTILITY-restrained
((Covert Hostility) 1.1 )
((Fear) 1.0 ) FEAR-expressed
((Sympathy) 0.9 ) FEAR-restrained
((Propitiation) 0.8 )
((Grief) 0.5 ) GRIEF -expressed
((Making Amends) 0.375 )
((Apathy) 0.05 ) GRIEF-restrained
With the discovery of these subtle, restrained emotions, fitting like
layers of a club sandwich between the expressed emotions, we now have a
new classification of man's many attitudes about life.
None of this means that a person is locked permanently into any particular
position. People can change. And sometimes a high-tone individual can
fall sharply for a brief period. But if he is high-tone enough, he will
HOW YOU CAN USE THIS MATERIAL
Once we know the basic characteristics of each emotion, we can meet a
person for the first time and, within minutes, we can understand his
present frame of mind. Longer observation will show us his most frequent
(habitual) emotion. We will then know how well he's surviving and whether
he will be an asset or a liability in our relationship. We will know how
well he can execute a job, how truthful he is, how accurately he can relay
a message or follow orders, how he feels about sex and children and
whether or not we would want to be stranded on a desert island with him.
This is better than relying on whims and folksy prejudices handed down
from Grandma. Actually, its the only possible way to choose your people.
Chapter 2 - THE EMOTIONAL TONE SCALE
If you already despise somebody, you don't need the tone scale to tell you
there's something wrong (with him, naturally), but it will give you a good
reason for your feelings and provide an excuse for not inviting him to
your next party.
There are certain people we insist we love despite the fact that they
continually disappoint us. As dinner congeals on the stove and the
soufflT quietly sinks into a gooey mess, we wonder, dejectedly, how we
ever got mixed up with someone who doesn't even think to call when he's
going to be late. It seldom occurs to us that we just might be expecting
too much from those on whom we bestow our priceless affection.
There are people who dwell in the twilight zone of our friendship. They
seem nice enough-they always remember to send a birthday card and to wipe
their feet at the door-but there is no joy in spending an evening with
In the next few chapters we're going to climb up through each level of the
tone scale. With any luck, we should discover the entire cast of
characters in our lives, and (at last!) we'll know just what to expect
from them (For quick reference there's a condensed description of each
tone inside the back cover).
Before we get to the individual tones, let's cover some general
information about the scale.
Since every book must have a last page, and preferably one that is within
comfortable shooting distance from the first page, I won't try to include
everything there is to know about the tone scale and emotions.
The basic data in this book as well as the quotations (except where
otherwise indicated) come from "The Hubbard Chart of Human Evaluation,"
"The Hubbard Chart of Attitudes" and Science of Survival, by L. Ron
Hubbard. I recommend them all for further study (see list in the back of
The examples are from my own forays into the jungle.
UPS AND DOWNS
People experience an emotional curve. That is, everyone fluctuates on the
scale from hour to hour, day to day. He goes up if he wins the office
pool. He slumps when he loses that big sale. He falls in love and soars
to the top. His girl leaves him for another man and he drops to Grief.
Young children often travel up and down with the speed of light. As they
grow older, the high peaks are cropped off, the curve widens and they
often settle into one tone (or narrow band) where they remain a large
share of the time. Once in a while they drop and resettle as life bumps
The person we call high-tone doesn't settle down on the scale. He
maintains a high interest and enthusiasm for living. Although he may
become upset and drop down-tone in a lowscale environment, he is resilient
and recovers quickly once he is free of the influence.
The high-tone person displays the emotion called for by the occasion.
When he suffers a deep loss, he feels Grief. If he's the victim of some
underhanded trickery, he usually gets angry. He experiences the right
emotion at the right time. So, the person who is surviving well
fluctuates all over the scale; he's volatile. The better his condition,
the more mobile he is. When he gets mad, he's really mad, but he gets
over it. When he gets scared, he'll get unscared. He may be
unaccountably depressed once in awhile, but he'll recover quickly.
If you're trying to improve a person, you're not trying to take him off
the scale (the so-called "emotionless" person is definitely on the scale).
We improve someone most when we enable him to gain control, action,
ability and experience with all of the tones.
Whenever we mention a high-tone person having control" over his emotions,
there is always somebody around who insists: "Emotions are only true when
they are spontaneous. Controlling emotions just wouldn't be honest!" On
the contrary, it is the low-tone person who is the real phony; he doesn't
even experience the right emotion for the occasion. This objector is the
same person who will likely weep at a wedding or laugh madly when someone
falls down and breaks a leg. That's honest emotion?
When we call a person low-tone, we're not talking about the boss who got
mad the other day when he found the unfilled customer orders thrown into
the wastebasket. This doesn't make him a 1.5 (Anger tone). The 1.5 is a
person who's mad almost constantly. When we mention Fear, we don't mean
the hunter who runs when his gun jams as the bear charges him. We're
talking about a fixed condition-the inability to change one's attitude and
The able person can act and react; but the low-tone person reads the same
lines for every scene in the play. This is aberration. All that's wrong
with a low-tone person is his inflexibility. When he gets frightened, can
he let go of the fear? If a man gets mad and tells someone off, can he
let go of his grievance?
High-tone people bounce back upscale. Low-tone people stay chronically
settled. Although they may shift a notch up or down, they never move out
of the lower ranges for long.
A NEW LOOK AT THE MEANING OF SANITY
It's easy to say that a man is mad if he insists he's Napoleon or if he
runs amuck in the streets killing people. But there is little doubt in
the minds of intelligent people (particularly those in our young reform
movements) that a more subtle madness permeates our whole culture today.
We see a society that permits the indiscriminate destruction of people and
environments (through wars and pollution), a society that pours millions
into mental health "research" while institutions fill to overflowing and
suicides increase. We see government agencies that confiscate honey off
health store shelves because of "mislabeling" while condoning the label
"enriched bread" on a product containing mostly unpronounceable chemicals,
whipped and baked into a foamy, plastic lump.
Legally a person is considered insane if he doesn't know right from wrong;
but this is hardly a guide we can use in our delicate daily judgments and
Along with its other helpful offerings, the tone scale gives us a reliable
scale for measuring sanity.
The lower a person is fixed on the scale, the less sane he is. There is
no sharp division between sanity and insanity. A person is more or less
sane at any given minute. In fact, he may be rational in one area of
living and nutty as a pecan pie in another.
It's mostly the volume of a tone that provokes society to lock a person
up. That is, when someone is caught in a low tone with the volume turned
on full, he's generally considered insane. This means that one angry
person may beat his wife with a baseball bat while another (at lower
volume) destroys her with words. They're both insane; but society
recognizes only the first one as dangerous.
Most people wear a pleasant social tone layered over their chronic
emotion, and they use this to handle the superficial exchanges in daily
living. The store clerk smiles politely even when he'd prefer to kick our
teeth in. When we meet a casual acquaintance on the street, we generally
say we're fine even though we're miserable.
With a little practice, however, you will be able to identify the chronic
tone quickly despite this protective covering.
Likely you'll think of some emotions not shown on the scale. Most of them
will fall somewhere on the levels either as synonyms or as another depth
of a tone. For instance, anxiety, embarrassment, worry, terror and
shyness all represent different shades and depths of the Fear band.
There are other feelings such as love, hate and jealousy, which come
through a person's tone. A Sympathy person loves much differently than an
angry one. A jealous husband might shoot his rival or he might get
quietly drunk, depending on his tone.
Some of these extra feelings will be discussed more in a later chapter.
OTHER FIELDS OF RESEARCH
Bits and pieces about emotions turn up in any research on human behavior.
Without the use of the tone scale, however, material on the subject seldom
aligns into workable form.
Any person counseling, advising or attempting to assist people (providing
he actually wants to help the individual) will welcome and accept the tone
scale because his own observations will indicate its validity.
There's an interesting example of a professional study which confirms the
arrangement of emotions on the scale. A psychiatrist in a large Midwest
university hospital recently conducted a five-year research program in
which she interviewed over four hundred terminal patients in order to find
ways of helping the dying patients face their predicament. From her
research, she discovered that most people go through "five psychological
stages before death: denial, anger, bargaining, grief and acceptance."
During the first four periods, the doctor said, the patients still have a
glimmer of hope for life. In the final stage, "for the most part, he is
ready to face the end in peace."
After you read the next few chapters, you will recognize that the five
stages the doctor reported are: Antagonism, Anger, Fear (in the form of
Propitiation), Grief and Apathy.
Low-tone people will give you many articulate reasons for their attitudes;
they will use their intelligence to justify their convictions while, in
actual truth, they are trying to explain emotional attitudes over which
they have no control. The Anger person will say, "You gotta be tough with
people." The Fear person will admonish you to "be careful . . ." and the
Apathy individual will tell you (if he bothers at all) that "nothing can
be done, anyway." Each person believes what he is saying. If he's lived
in a tone for a long time, it's home-and he's convinced he has an inherent
right to be there.
We don't need to dislike people because they are low-tone. Nor should we
try to "think the best of them" in the face of contrary evidence. The
kindest action (for them and ourselves) is to evaluate them correctly.
Only then do we have a chance of lifting them upscale.
You can start teaching the tone scale to children when they are four or
five years old. They are usually fascinated as soon as they see the
colored tone scale chart. You could give them no better preparation for
living. Having taught it to my own boys, I know they will not work for,
hire, vote for or fall in love with a low-tone person (and that's quite a
few worries out of the way).
Don't tell another person where you think he is on the scale. You may be
wrong and it could depress him. You may be right and it could worry him.
In either case, it won't help him. (Surely at some time or other you've
met and loathed a guy who smiled at you, smugly, as he said, "I've got you
all figured out." We'll get him all figured out, incidentally, in the 1.1
chapter.) So, don't do it. If he reads this book and finds himself on the
scale, he'll be taking a major step toward his own improvement. Most
people raise themselves on the scale considerably by simply understanding
Use the tone scale to choose your people, to find trouble spots in your
family, your office and your groups. Learn how to spot people quickly and
you won't expect more than they can give. Instead, you can help them
Try not to concern yourself too much with your own position on the scale.
We do bump into ourselves in odd places; turning a corner and seeing a
face in a harsh mirror we exclaim: "Who is that stranger? Oh, no! Is that
It's disconcerting, but as you continue reading you'll find yourself up
near the top too. I promise.
Anyway, this book is about those other people, remember? Not you and me.
Now, let's have a look at these characters ...
Chapter 3 - APATHY (0.05)
Apathy: 1. Lack of emotion or feeling. 2. Lack of interest in things
generally found exciting, interesting, or moving,- indifference.
-The American Heritage Dictionary
"I'm on a different trip now," my young friend said. "Nothing bothers me;
I just take life as it comes. I've matured a lot in the last few months.
I got all those wild dreams out of my system and now I'm ready to settle
down to some serious study. That's where it's really at."
If I didn't know the tone scale, my friend's assertions of maturity might
have convinced me. But I recalled his sparkling ebullience only four
months earlier as he left for New York City. Confident of his talent,
optimistic about the future, he departed with dreams of success.
Somewhere in the intervening months, soundlessly and without fanfare, the
bottom dropped out of his world. Someone or something took away his hope.
The philosophic "realization" was a cop-out. He had given up. Apathy.
When a person suffers a severe loss and cannot express his grief, he
restrains it and goes into Apathy where he may claim that he isn't
affected at all. "I didn't want that part in the play anyway."
Apathy is turned-off. Turned-off to loving, living, hoping, crying,
A person may drop to any low tone after a loss, but in Apathy he has not
only lost, he knows he will never be able to win again.
This is the most serious of all tone levels. A dangerous state of mind
bordering death, it's often suicidal. Life is a herd of elephants which
knocked him down and trampled him beyond hope or help.
THE HIGHS AND LOWS OF APATHY
If every person in this emotion were curled up in a ball on the floor of a
mental institution and labeled catatonic, if you could identify him
easily. But you are just as likely to find him lecturing in a large
university and labeled a "brilliant intellectual."
Apathy breaks down into two levels. Deepest Apathy (sometimes called
pretended death) is only a gnat's breath above death. He may be in bed,
unable to care for himself, completely withdrawn and suffering
hallucinations. People are usually in this state after an operation or
severe accident. He's easy to recognize.
It's the higher level, walking-around-Apathy person we find more
deceiving. He may be barefoot, bearded and freaked out on LSD. He could
be wearing the portly businessman's costume and getting smashed on
martinis every afternoon. He may commit suicide with a gun or wander
listlessly across the street against the light, hoping someone else will
do it for him.
I met a talkative Apathy person at a dinner party recently. His tone was
reflected in nearly every remark. We were talking about cars. He
disposed of the subject with: "The automotive business is dead. It's all
When the conversation turned to problems in the construction business, he
said, "The small contractor is dead. He hasn't a chance."
Later we discussed a political problem: "Try to get something like that
corrected and you're dead."
The clue to his tone was not only his absolute pessimism, but his frequent
use of the word dead.
Although the Apathy person may be going to classes, doing housework,
making movies, or holding a job, he is usually trying to destroy himself
in some manner.
DRUGS AND ALCOHOL
The drug addict and the alcoholic are Apathy persons. Don't be misled by
any surface belligerence, maudlin sweetness, or exuberance manifested when
he's high. How is he when he's down? That's the feeling which drives him
back to the chemical escape. He's committing suicide slowly. He's
waiting to succumb, but he's going to stay stoned so it won't hurt so
much. Meanwhile the people around him will be frustrated, concerned and
desperately trying to do something for him. That's a good tip-off to
Apathy; his associates are frazzled beyond endurance from trying (and
failing) to help him.
BEYOND RIGHT AND WRONG
Now and then we find a person in Apathy who thinks he's in a state of
serenity. Unable to acknowledge his own feeling of helplessness, he
justifies it with scholarly discourse. I call this "Intellectual Apathy."
Bill, a college student, told me about his friend who studied many
philosophies and religions until he evolved one of his own. The friend
lengthily described his achievement of "ultimate awareness."
Deeply impressed, Bill said, "Now that you've reached this state yourself,
I'm surprised you're not trying to help others to get there too."
"Why should I?" the friend replied. "They're all me anyway."
Everything is beyond right and wrong. He walks around in Apathy and
thinks he's a god.
There are certain philosophies (such as Eastern religions) based on the
highest attitudes of the scale; but low-tone people can invert the meaning
so that the end result is Apathy. When any individual or body of thought
advocates less activity, less communication, less contact with people or
less involvement with living, you can disregard the erudite labels. It
leads toward Apathy.
Other studies and doctrines seem to invite an apathetic outlook. The
fatalist clings to the belief that all events are preordained and human
beings are powerless to change anything ("I'm not even responsible for
myself" says Apathy). Their followers look to the stars, numbers, colors
and crystal balls to indicate their destinies.
People in Apathy are perfect dupes for such hokum.
CAUSE AND EFFECT
When someone considers himself to be totally governed by influences
outside himself, he sits in Apathy. He will accept grievous losses and
say with a sigh, "It's God's will; nothing can be done." "if it was meant
to be, it will be." (This is not truly a religious viewpoint,
incidentally, for any religion worthy of the name, offers man a way out -
a salvation.) The Apathy person considers himself less than the stars, the
planets, the baseball scores and the flea on his leg. High on the tone
scale a person feels dangerous to his environment (not full effect of it);
he changes the environment to suit him; he's cause. But the more a person
believes himself to be the effect, the closer he is to Apathy and death.
Low-tone people have peculiar concepts of ownership. At Apathy, however,
a person is close to feeling that he owns nothing. This may be literally
true or he may own many possessions and still run around saying, "There's
just no point in owning anything."
He also thinks others should own nothing. He lets all property decay and
rot. He wastes your time, runs up your utility bills, leaves lights on
and motors running, and casually uses your telephone to call New Zealand.
He's quite bewildered if this bothers you: "You should get rid of all this
A newly rich screen star says: "I should save money for my old age, but I
don't. All the money I've made just slips away as if it didn't belong to
me. I don't feel like doing anything to save myself. I just let
There are people who brag about not being affected by anything; they're
the emotionally unemployed. This is most extreme in Apathy.
Jim, a college student, felt that life was losing its sparkle; nothing
turned him on anymore. He told his friend, George, he planned to try an
LSD trip. Both boys knew that the drug could produce long-term mental
disorders and, up to that point, they had opted to bypass the whole drug
venture. George, however, was also in Apathy at the time, so he said
only, "Well, I don't agree with what you want to do, but I know there is
nothing I can say that will stop you."
In a higher tone, George would not have felt powerless; he would at least
try to do something about the situation.
The sophisticated Apathy person will claim he's bored: "I'm fed up with
life. Nothing is amusing. What can you do to create excitement in this
"THINGS ARE NEVER REAL"
One year after the first moon landing by American astronauts, a large U.S.
newspaper chain sent reporters to conduct seventeen hundred interviews in
communities across the nation, asking for opinions of the event. The
newsmen reported that an extraordinary number of people doubted the
reality of the Apollo feat. This was true particularly among the old and
the poor. An elderly Philadelphia woman thought the moon landing was
"staged" on the Arizona desert. An unemployed construction worker in
Miami said, "I saw that on television, but I don't believe none of it.
Man's never been on the moon." In a Washington, D. C. ghetto more than
half of the people interviewed expressed doubts about the authenticity of
the moon walk. One man, trying to explain away his emotional attitude,
said, "It's all a deliberate effort to mask problems at home. The people
are unhappy, and this takes their minds off their problems."
Things are never real to the Apathy person.
The compulsive gambler is at Apathy. If a person consistently wins he's
higher-tone because he's cause over the game rather than effect. The
compulsive gambler, however, cannot quit any game a winner. When a man
gambles away the rent and grocery money every payday, he's manifesting the
Apathy attitude about ownership: "I'd better not own."
A steamship on a cruise to South America received a report that another
ship nearby was wrecked and on fire. The captain changed course and was
the first to arrive at the flaming ship. Eight hundred passengers and
crew members were in the water, floundering, wet and frightened. They'd
lost everything but the clothes they wore. All of them were saved,
however, and passengers crowded on deck where they watched and
participated in the exciting rescue, some of them providing clothing and
warm quarters for the victims.
Throughout all this activity the gambling casino remained open. A certain
number of hard-core players stayed there, eyes hypnotically fixed on the
tables, apparently unaware and unaffected by the real-life drama occurring
a few yards outside the door.
That's Apathy. No other tone would be indifferent to such a moving
"MAN NEVER CHANGES"
The youngster who understands the tone scale knows whether to accept
advice and ideas from his elders. One day my seventeen-year-old son
described a lecture given by one of his high school teachers, who
declared, "Man never changes. He keeps making the same mistakes over and
over. He never learns. He will never improve."
"Where's that on the tone scale?" I asked.
My son laughed and said, "Apathy, of course."
This is another person using her years of education and experience to
support an emotional attitude over which she has no control.
You can find history and documentation to support every attitude on the
scale. If we fully accepted her proof,' however, no teacher would bother
to teach, no scientist would continue to juggle his test tubes, and I
would have stayed in bed myself today.
No matter how brilliant he is, no Apathy person can be more than an
imitation of the vitality we find in the higher tones.
Let's crawl up a notch . . .
Chapter 4 - MAKING AMENDS (0.375)
Amends: Reparation or payment as satisfaction for insult or injury.
-American Heritage Dictionary
Lucy decides to quit dating Oliver. He's crushed. Sobbing, deep in
self-pity, he vows, "I'll do anything to make you love me again.
He calls, he sends presents and pleading notes. He waits around the
corner for her to come out of her house so he can "accidentally" meet her.
"Please, Lucy. Tell me why you stopped loving me. I'll do anything you
want me to do. Just say you'll give me a chance."
"Oliver, can't you get it through your head that we're through? I don't
want to see you again."
His head slumps down, "Then what's the use of living," he murmurs, "I wish
I was dead. I might as well blow my brains out."
A person Making Amends is living a constant apology-fawning, parasitic,
groveling-trying to atone for some real or imagined wrong. His
bootlicking servility is so tiresome that it's fortunate few people remain
in this tone for long. It's more frequently used by transients, because
when Making Amends gestures fail, the person feels more and more sorry for
himself and hits bottom (as did Oliver here).
The person at .375 is propitiating, but he can't withhold anything. Here
we find blind loyalty, the self sacrificing, the suicidal martyr and "I
can never repay you enough." He will wheedle, flatter, or debase himself
to get sympathy or help.
The puppy is scolded for committing a misdemeanor in the corner. He
lowers his head and slinks away. All is lost. But, wait a minute ...
maybe there's some hope. He comes back, licks your hand, wags his body
and soulfully pleads for your forgiveness. He's Making Amends.
This is where we find the wino who begs on the street and the female
heroin addict who takes up prostitution to earn another fix.
In the corridor between Apathy and Grief, this is a soupy tone; but it's a
good sign if the person is moving up from the basement.
WHEN THE ALCOHOLIC IS READY FOR HELP
The drunkard will go into .375 if he's trying to wheedle another drink;
but the reformed drunk must also go through this emotion in order to
recover. In fact, he may hit Making Amends going both ways. A person in
Grief feels that everything is painful. If he slides down to .375 he
says, "I'll do anything to get rid of this." When there is no constructive
help forthcoming, he turns the pain off with emotional anesthetic-alcohol.
If he's lucky, one day, in a moment of sobriety, he realizes that his
solution is now a greater problem than the one he was originally
attempting to escape. His remorse moves him up to Making Amends.
Incidentally, we find here the reason why many drug and alcohol "cures"
are not lasting. Taking a person off drugs is only a temporary measure.
To be effectively cured a person must rise up out of Apathy and want to do
something about his condition. After that he must continue to move
upscale. If he stays near the bottom emotions, he will slip back into the
habit at the slightest provocation.
Sometimes we see the drunk who makes sporadic resolutions to reform, but
soon relapses. In such a case, a knowledge of the tone scale can help.
He must know that the problem is not alcohol; it's emotion-the miseries he
feels when no longer numbed by martinis. The cure is in raising tone. It
is vital that he be in an environment where he gets high-tone support and
not with someone who enjoys holding him down.
Jack elected the wrong profession in order to please his parents. He
didn't think he minded giving up his own goal (to be a photographer).
Twenty years later he was an alcoholic in the hospital for his sixth cure.
The doctor warned him: "if you go back to the booze again you'll be dead
within a year. Your liver can't take any more."
He moved up tone to .375 and looked for professional help. As soon as he
discovered the cause of his Apathy, he quit his job and became a free
lance photographer. He hasn't taken a drink in five years, and he's
cheerfully successful at his new work.
A gambler bet his home against the house in a poker game.
Expressionlessly he waited. When the final play told him he won, he
merely nodded. A spectator, bewildered by the apparent
indifference-especially the absence of enthusiasm at winning-asked, "How
can you just nod your head when you've won twenty-five thousand dollars?"
The gambler shrugged and said, "You know when I liked it best? When we
were waiting to see what the last card was going to be. That's when I
felt alive. It's the only time I mean anything. Winning, losing and the
money mean nothing, but in that moment I'm really somebody."
The concept "I'm nobody" is an Apathy one. When a person finds something
that lifts him out of it, even temporarily, he becomes addicted. Thus, to
be cured, a person must come up a level. An organization called Gambler's
Anonymous made this discovery. Its program, apparently, saves marriages,
homes and even lives; but it works only when the individual admits he's
powerless over gambling and that with the help of others he may lick the
problem. Furthermore, he must realize that he could be "somebody" even
when he's out of the action. This, of course, requires a rise in tone;
but first he must reach Making Amends before he's willing to do something
ON THE JOB
A person working for a heavy-handed boss may eventually lose all
confidence in himself and become apathetic about his own judgment and
creativeness. If there's a glimmer of hope that he can retain his job,
however, he may turn into the weak "yes" man. In constant apology for his
humble existence, he'll attempt the most debasing job to escape the "pain"
of being fired or chastised. He'll probably bungle it, however. He's an
apple polisher who keeps dropping the apple in the mud in his frenetic
attempts to please.
Any time a person experiences a deep disappointment, is wronged or
betrayed, he may give up his goals and sink to Apathy. While in this
emotion of heavy sadness, he's unwilling to repair the misunderstanding or
wrongs that exist (whether his own or another's). He must move up to
Making Amends. Then he has a chance.
One day a twenty-year-old friend came to me: "I don't know what's the
matter with me lately. I feel as if life is going by me but I'm not even
in it. I don't know what's real anymore. It's terrible. Anything would
be better than this. What do I have to do to get out of it?"
Although his condition seemed grim, it was an improvement. For several
weeks this young man had been dwelling in an "everything's fine" Apathy
-the tone most difficult to reach. Now he was aware of it. Although
only a tiny rise, he was willing to do something about it. We talked
awhile and he told me about the big disappointment that brought on his
Apathy. He cried then, and after the bottled-up tears were all released,
he skipped easily up the scale. He left with eyes sparkling and face
Making Amends is a weak, fawning tone; but it contains some hope. You
just go from here on up through the blues, which is what we're going to do
in the next chapter.
Chapter 5 - GRIEF (0.5)
Grief.- Intense mental anguish; deep remorse, acute sorrow or the like.
-American Heritage Dictionary
Mildred always complained about her married life. "He doesn't love me.
He treats me so badly, and I gave up my whole career for him. Everything
was so much better when I was single."
Just to have something to say (this was back in my more naive days), I
asked her why she stayed with him if it was so bad. When I saw her a year
later she said "Well, I'm taking your advice; I'm getting a divorce."
This was a shock to me, since I didn't advise her to get a divorce. But
Grief is a somewhat hypnotic level; he soaks up everything you say to him
and uses selective parts of it to succumb.
1 didn't see Mildred for another year and she sobbed still. Now divorced,
her son refused to live with her and she quit a coveted job as an actress
in a long-running play because she wasn't "getting anywhere." Now, after
arranging all of this misery, she was saying, "I used to have a husband
and a son and money and a job. Now I don't have anything."
Grief cries for help, pleads for sympathy. He's a potential suicide, a
whiner, a habitual complainer wrapped in self-pity. He failed; he's been
betrayed; he's lost everything.
He's a mess.
Grief and Apathy are overlapping tones with many common characteristics.
In fact, the position of .5 is actually Apathy driven by Grief. It's a
little more alive than .05. He's wringing his hands. He feels he's about
to fail, but he still sustains one last cry of protest.
When any individual suffers a loss (death, departure of a loved one,
failure of a goal), he may drop temporarily to Grief. The person stuck in
this tone, however, is the personification of loss, even though it may not
be justified: "What did I do wrong?" "Why is God punishing me this way?"
A woman in Grief may be on the verge of tears all the time. You can see
it on her face. If you try to question her closely about anything, she'll
cry. A rough word may turn on the faucet. She hears of the poor little
dying orphans in Timbuktu and she sheds enough tears to float the Queen
Not every Grief person cries, however. Some remain in suppressed Grief
just below tears (which moves them closer to Apathy). This is more common
in men since they are usually convinced, as children, that "big boys never
cry." so they must suppress the outward manifestations of misery. You
will see it on their faces though-a petulant mouth and the downcast,
melancholy, bloodhound eyes. You will hear it in the deep, heaving sighs.
Even without the physical manifestations, you should recognize Grief by
Although he's not always crying, he's always whining.
THE PAST IS ALL THERE IS
The chronic 0.5 is aground on a narrow ridge; he can't go up or down and
he won't let go. He can't give help and he won't receive it. He hangs
on. Among other things, he tries to hang on to the past. He collects
tokens of better times-the theater program, the glove she was wearing the
first time he kissed her, the pressed flowers, the old chair that belonged
to great-aunt Belinda (Note: antique collectors are not necessarily in
Grief; they're usually just smart investors).
In addition to articles, he also collects old memories. Much of his
conversation lingers in the past. His stories usually express beautiful
sadness and a longing for the good old days."
Old Lucifer misses his dog, which died of old age. He saves the dog's
leash, and feeding bowls. He' keeps pictures of the dog around the house
and constantly talks about their good times together: "He was the best
friend I ever had. He always stood by me."
He concludes that he has lost everything. If you suggest he get another
dog, he tells you, "I can't ever replace old Jake. Besides, I don't want
to get attached to another dog. He'll just die someday too."
Loneliness and nostalgia are both mild manifestations of Grief. When a
person returns to the old school, home town or office, he finds things
changed; they aren't like they used to be. It's a little sad. (it's often
expensive for a man to feel nostalgic about his old school; the alumni
association catches him moving up to Propitiation, and extracts a generous
Anytime a person feels downhearted about leaving, he's manifesting Grief,
mild or strong, in his reluctance to let go of the past.
Don't rely on information given you by a Grief person. In pleading for
pity, he may tell you the wildest tales to justify his wretchedness.
I heard two teen-age boys talking with a girl in chronic Grief.
Complaining about her mother, she said, "She beats me."
Shocked and sympathetic, the boys started questioning her further. One of
them asked, "No kidding? How many times has she beaten you?"
"Oh. How many times did she actually hit you then?"
"Ah ... once."
"Did she hit you with her fist or her open hand?" "Well, it was her open
hand; but it really hurt!" "In other words, she only slapped you once. Is
"Well, I guess so. But it really did hurt.
This is the honesty level of .5. One slap in the face becomes "beatings."
The chronic Grief person must constantly look for reasons to explain the
emotion. Widow Jones nagged the life out of her husband, moaning and
complaining all the time., Now that he's gone, however, she describes him
as if he were faultless. This makes the loss seem greater and helps to
justify her emotion.
"LIFE HAS AFFECTED ME TERRIBLY"
The high-tone person who marries a Grief type will regret it because he'll
never be able to "solve" the wretchedness. A .5 wife demands
enormous quantities of affection and constant assurance that you
love her; but she never really believes you.
When she experiences the slightest snub or rejection (real or imagined)
she plunges in the direction of death. She'll develop a parasitic
dependency. If you eventually give up and leave her, you'll be a
black-hearted villain; she'll invent all sorts of peculiar incidents of
cruelty which you committed against her in order to win the sympathy of
others around her.
Sometimes people group together on this tone, crying for sympathy and help
while offering nothing in return. No solution, no contribution, no
concession is ever enough. They still continue their collective whining.
Thoroughly introverted, irresponsible, absorbing pity, sympathy and
affection, Grief people are insatiable sponges for the inflow of your
charity; but they never improve (real charity would be directed toward
raising their tone: not just patting them on the heads and giving them
I've known many a griefy bird who was an impeccable nest-keeper because he
(or she) was trained to maintain a pleasant, clean environment. If he
hasn't been so trained, however, his tendency toward death shows up in his
surroundings. He gravitates toward grim living quarters; he drives
ancient, rickety cars; he dresses in drab, ragged clothes. These are all
pleas for pity; he won't permit himself to have something better. We
sometimes see a rebuilt slum district that (when populated with Grief and
Apathy people) soon slumps back to a state of squalor. When you see an
environment that reflects obvious long-term neglect, you can be certain it
is "cared for" by low-tone persons-most likely Grief or Apathy.
It is down in this general tone range (could be a tone or two higher) that
we find the girl who could be pretty "if she would only fix herself up a
bit." She refuses to use makeup to her best advantage, never knows what to
do with her hair and buys the most unattractive clothes possible.
When you see a woman wearing clothes that went out of style twenty years
ago, it's a safe bet that she's a Grief type. These are probably the
clothes that were fashionable before dear Wilbur died. It's another way
to hang on to the past.
I once knew two sisters who looked alike in size, coloring and bone
structure. They were similar enough to be twins, except that one was
high-tone and attractively groomed while the other looked incredibly
plain, mousy and old for her years. When I remarked on the strong
resemblance between them, the low-scale girl replied, "Well, maybe, but
Marcia really inherited all the good looks in the family."
This was an emotional response. She could have been just as stunning as
her sister; but she elected to stay unattractive in an attempt to get
sympathy for the cruel way in which life was treating her. Grief prefers
attention in the form of pity, rather than admiration.
As a friend, he's a drag.
He latches on, expecting advice, guidance and care. Childishly dependent,
he'll lean on you totally (if you let him). Although affecting
"humility," he's actually convinced he's a privileged person who should be
taken care of by others. The world owes him a living.
He loses his job because he never did his work, and he expects you to feed
him. He gets kicked out of his house for not paying his rent; he tells
you the landlady was cruel and expects you to take him in. His friends
desert him and he wants you to spend your time consoling him in his
loneliness. He steals your time, your money, your space, your kindness
and your power.
"THEY WON'T LET ME"
Grief appears to blame himself for everything ("I was wrong") but he is
actually blaming everyone else. If he were able to take responsibility
for his own destructive actions, he would move upscale. If he could say,
"I stole money from the company, no wonder they fired me," he would
recover. Instead, he says, "I tried to do my best, but I don't know where
I went wrong. They just fired me. I never seem to do anything right."
He hangs on to his grievances.
THE ADVICE TRAP
The .5 is easily moved to shame and anxiety. He fusses about conditions,
his conversation dwelling on illness, death and tragedy; but he won't do
anything about them. He merely uses his anxieties to set advice traps for
the unsuspecting. "Oh, what should I do?" he wails. If you try to
suggest a solution or give him a job, he dissolves in a puddle and tells
you it's impossible.
I once received a letter from a New York school teacher who read my book
on raising children (Miracles for Breakfast). She told me of working for
a private school specializing in difficult youngsters. She complained
about the children's open rebellion, sullen hatred, endless arguments and
blank minds at test time. She described the degraded facilities-broken
windows, broken desks, clogged plumbing and damaged equipment that was
never repaired. Classes were set on a chaotic half-hour schedule which
never gave time to get into a subject and teach anything before it was
time for the class to move on. She was missing half of the required
textbooks. "I'm uptight and discouraged. What should I do?"
Someone was working overtime to make this school fail. It would take a
very strong, uptone person to put order into such manufactured confusion.
My correspondent could get up to Sympathy tone (which is why she took the
job) but probably not much higher.
I wrote: "Change jobs. You should get more training before you try to
conquer a situation like this. Meanwhile, get a job where you can win."
If she were mobile on the scale, I knew she'd accept my advice. But she
wasn't and she didn't. Her reply was typical of someone caught in the
circular route between Grief and Sympathy (more about this in the Sympathy
chapter). She replied that she couldn't leave her job because it was hard
to get work, she needed money and, anyway, "I really want to help these
children." As with any Grief person, she didn't expect to rid herself of
the problem; she merely wanted to wallow in the horribleness of it all ...
and she wanted company. This tone always considers that a tremendous
effort is required to accomplish something. My answer, of course, was too
simple. No low-tone person accepts a simple solution. And a Grief person
doesn't accept any solution.
The only real cure for Grief is raising tone. Don't worry too much about
the reason he gives you; it's probably a lie or a contrived situation he's
brought on himself. If you manage to remove the "cause" of his malady,
he'll quickly find another.
Each low tone tries to solve the problems of life through his emotion.
The .5 does it by dribbling through life hanging on to his grievances.
He's an injustice collector.
Rainy Jane. Sniff, sniff.
Chapter 6 - PROPITIATION (0.8)
Propitiation: To appease and make favorable,- conciliate.
-Webster's Collegiate Dictionary
Some years ago an elderly family friend often invited me to her home for
dinner after I finished work. She was thoughtful, generous and a superb
cook. Why, I wondered, did I feel depressed after these visits? One
evening on arriving for dinner I offered to help her in the kitchen. "Oh,
I wouldn't think of it," she said, "You look tired. Why don't you just
lie down on the couch and rest awhile?"
Usually I resisted her solicitous attentions, but this evening I decided
to surrender. I lay down on the couch as she suggested. Soon she
appeared with a blanket. A short time later she brought me a pillow. She
returned several times to flutter over me and inquire about my comfort.
When dinner was ready, she offered to serve me a tray so I wouldn't need
to get up. By this time I realized that if I remained there much longer
I'd probably turn into an invalid, even though a few hours earlier I
walked in the door as a reasonably happy, healthy twenty-three-year-old.
Maybe you can't kill somebody with kindness, but the Propitiation person
is going to try.
He makes friendly overtures to gain someone's favor. He gives-himself,
his services, his talent, his time, his possessions or his creations. He
seems to ask nothing in return.
Well, what's so bad about that? Isn't this the kind of person we've been
looking for-someone to serve us, and to give us desirable baubles? Aren't
generous, unselfish people the good guys after all?
THE HIDDEN INTENTION
This tone position is a paradox because it looks so admirable at first
glance. Of course, there is a place for the generous person-high on the
tone scale. Upscale we find that a person often gives more than he
receives; he needs less. High-tone help and generosity are motivated by a
genuine intention to improve conditions.
Intention makes the difference.
The compulsive Propitiation we find at .8 is motivated by an intention to
This is the friendly neighbor who's always bringing over a pie or cake and
who refuses to accept anything in return. Here is the over-indulgent
parent who does too much for the child, thus firmly tying knots in the
apron strings. Here is the hostess who presses you to eat more. Here is
the self-sacrificing do-gooder.
Propitiation is actually part of the Fear band (which extends from .8
through 1.2 on the scale). The person at this tone, however, is unaware
of his fear. He retains memories of Grief so he tries to buy his way into
good favor to prevent coming to Grief again. His propitiative gestures
are performed to protect himself from bad effects.
He can tolerate little effect on himself. Just try to give him something
in return. I once knew a Propitiation neighbor who frequently baby-sat
for me, but refused to accept return favors or payment. One day she was
complaining about the high cost of barbers, so I offered to give haircuts
to her three boys. This seemed a fine opportunity to repay her many
kindnesses, so I was delighted when she accepted my offer. A few days
afterward, however, she presented me with a gift worth twice the value of
the haircuts. I decided to quit playing barber before she went broke.
TO STOP SOMEONE
To stop someone, give him lots of (unearned) objects that he considers
desirable, wait on him, do things for him. The more we give someone, the
more unhappy he becomes. Why? Because it stunts his ability to earn
these things for himself. Given enough, he either runs away (if he's bent
toward survival) or curls up in Apathy, no longer confident of the ability
to provide for himself.
The .8 wife will try to stop her husband (from leaving, criticizing or
disliking her) by polishing his shoes, cooking his favorite food and
faithfully serving him. Thus, even in his most disgruntled moments, he's
forced to admit that she's a "good wife." The Propitiative husband
operates in a similar manner: just when his wife nearly works up the
courage to walk out on him, he brings home a cozy mink coat for her.
The propitiative parent unconsciously creates a weak child. Junior is
planning to break away from home; he's going on a junket around the world.
Dad says, "I've been thinking of getting you a car, son. What kind do
you think you'd like?"
If son is weak enough for the glitter of chrome to blind his ambitions, he
steps into the trap. Soon Dad will be saying, "Maybe after you think it
over, you'll want to come into the business with me. You could do worse.
You'll never want for anything."
If the boy yields on the basis of what he will get, rather than a genuine
interest in the business, he's stopped. It's a short trip downscale to
I saw this happen to a sparkling, fun-loving young girl. As a high school
graduation gift, her parents gave her a small shop with a going business.
They never let go of the gift, however. They still hover around "helping"
her and reminding her of frequently n neglected chores. Sometimes, when
the kindly admonishments become too heavy, she sullenly responds: "I
didn't ask for this business anyway."
Most of the time she slumps around in Apathy, all of her sparkle gone.
She's nearly forgotten whatever it was that she planned to do with her
If Dad works nineteen hours a day because he enjoys it, that's fine. If
he works so his children "will never want for anything," it's misplaced
kindness. The child of an over-indulgent parent becomes lazy; he lies
around unwilling to work and feeling that the world owes him a living.
His early attempts to contribute were squelched; the acquisitions came too
easy; why work? He develops a comfortable philosophy: "if he wants to
give me money, let him. It makes him feel better." If the child is
higher-tone, he leaves, refusing further help. When this happens, the
parent drops the short distance to Grief and wails: "How can he be so
ungrateful after all we did for him?"
The upscale parent permits his child the dignity of working and learning
to provide for his own needs. This makes the youngster feel wonderful;
he's worth something.
COMING UP FROM GRIEF
The .8 tone is fine if one is just passing through. When a person,
grieving over a recent loss, stops feeling sorry for himself and becomes
interested in you (perhaps inquiring about your health or offering you a
cup of coffee), it's a good sign.
I once read an article which promised to divulge the secret of "being
happy." The writer described several cases of grieving widows who found
happiness by getting interested in other people worse off than themselves.
Some of them went to work in hospitals; others taught retarded children
or joined charity groups. In essence she told the reader to be interested
in others, rather than himself. Good advice for Grief; but if a person
parks in Propitiation chronically he'll never find that promised
GIVE AND TAKE
The main reason Propitiation drives a high-tone person downscale is
because the flow is moving in one direction only. We humans are
healthiest and happiest when we balance up our giving and receiving.
I used to drop in on a friend of mine who always wanted to feed me.
Sometimes, having eaten earlier, I declined. This never deterred her; she
always prepared food anyway and if I didn't eat it she became quite
That's another way to stop a person: stuff him with so much food he can't
At first glance, Propitiation would seem just the right tone to hire.
He'll work for practically nothing and give his all for the cause. Not
Although he flaunts a strong sense of duty, he's ineffective on the job.
He makes mistakes, crumbles in a crisis and he'll try to give away your
Most low tones are wasteful, but Propitiation must be; that's his whole
theme song. He'll design and mail tons of ineffective advertising. He'll
place expensive ads that neglect to give the company address. (I know a
Detroit woman who failed in three business ventures this past year.
Recently she opened still another shop. She ran a large, expensive ad in
the paper which glowingly described her product and the exact business
hours, but neglected to mention the name or the address of the store!)
Propitiation will give away premiums and neglect to follow up. He'll
donate your services for "good will" when you can't afford it. He'll send
out sales notices that arrive two days after the event. He'll propose
elaborate "money making" schemes which can cost you a fortune. He has to
flow things out. He'll give away your profits just as he gives himself.
Whole segments of society are grouped together on this tone, particularly
charities and government agencies that exist to care for the downtrodden.
These are fine if they actually help the unfortunate individual regain his
self-reliance. Charities which donate without rehabilitating, however,
help the losers stay down. Thus we wind up with two large factions: 1)
those who need to give and 2) the Grief/Apathy ones who sob that they
can't find work, never get the breaks and want someone to take care of
them. It would seem that these two groups could nicely satisfy each
other. To some extent they do, but they also spend far too much time
trying to shame higher-tone people into their game-and they're dedicated
to channeling tax money and charitable contributions into low-tone "help"
The more we support give-away programs, the more individual self-reliance
crumbles and we slide downhill as a society. This doesn't mean we should
give the fallen man another kick. We mustn't cover him with a blanket
either. Get him on his feet. A charity which provides for physical needs
while failing to restore the individual's independence and self-respect is
the cruelest of all; it keeps him stuck at the bottom of the scale crying
for more handouts. For this reason most massive welfare programs don't
solve poverty and unemployment. They actually breed these conditions. We
gradually cease to survive as a society when we try to satisfy the
requirements of the body alone. Food, warmth and shelter may satisfy the
needs of an animal; but man requires the dignity of self-worth.
Since .8 is basically a tone of appeasement-a tone used to stop-it is the
most frequently adopted (even by higher-tone people) to mollify Anger and
Grief. "If I'm real nice to him, maybe he won't hurt me." Or, "There,
there, don't cry; I'll give you a cookie."
This is the store clerk who waits on the loud, angry customer first. Here
is the university which yields to a few dissenting students to avoid
trouble. Here is the company leader who gives in under threats of
violence from unions. Here is the government which surrenders to those
who wail the loudest and takes from the person who is quietly doing his
job and contributing the most.
Continually appeasing the noisy, non-producer, Propitiation fixes both the
giver and the receiver low on the scale.
In deep Fear, the .8 offers soft words or expensive presents. He seems to
be asking for a license to survive; but he's always motivated by an effort
to stop. Don't be fooled by the apparent kindness. He's doing favors to
protect himself from bad effects. He bustles through life maintaining a
mild faith that if he does "good unto others" he'll come out all right.
He'll try to keep you from high-tone activities. He wants you down in
Apathy where you can't hurt him. And that's mostly all that's wrong with
Propitiation-he needs to keep someone below him to "do for."
Let's crawl out of this pretty trap.
Chapter 7 - SYMPATHY (0.9)
Sympathy: A relationship or affinity between persons or things in
which whatever affects one correspondingly affects the other. The act of
or capacity for sharing or understanding the feelings of another person.
A feeling or expression of pity or of sorrow for the distress of another.
-The American Heritage Dictionary
Maxwell was a cheerful, optimistic man who plodded off to a regular job
each day and spent every night writing short stories. These he sent off
to the popular magazines. Although he did sell two stories, he acquired a
huge collection of rejection slips. He persisted, however. One day, he
promised himself, I'll quit that dull job and write all the time.
Meanwhile, he married a lovely girl who was kind and understanding. He
knew she would "stand by him" through everything. And she certainly did.
Every time he received a rejection slip, she said, "Poor darling. They
don't appreciate your talent."
One day he came home to find four of his favorite stories returned.
Slumping dejectedly in the chair he moaned, "I guess I just don't have
what it takes."
His tender wife sat on the arm of his chair to comfort him. "Now, dear,
you've just been working too hard. You need a rest. Why don't you take a
So he did take a vacation - from writing. Maxwell now spends his evenings
glumly watching television and drinking beer. His sweet wife understands
why he gave up his ambitions and consoles him: "You tried so hard, and you
are a good writer. I'm sure the only people who get published nowadays
are the ones who know the editors personally."
That's Sympathy. She's a darling. And she's deadly.
The only trouble looming in this chapter is with the definition of the
word Sympathy. So let's clear that up first.
We say "we're in complete sympathy with each other" when we're talking
about the closest possible harmony with someone. We say "he's sympathetic
to our cause" when referring to a person who's smart enough to agree with
our own ideas. And is there any one of us with a character so stoic that
we don't welcome a sympathetic person around to soothe us when someone has
stolen our little red wagon, our lover or our knee warmers (depending on
which stage of this game we're playing)?
Sympathy, as we generally use the word, can mean a high-tone empathy and
accord, the charitableness and understanding of the big-hearted, a shaft
of warm sunlight slicing through the murk. However, we're talking about
something else here.
The .9 is a counterfeit. He doesn't choose to be kind; he's chronically
sympathetic. He can't do anything but commiserate.
The prominent manifestation of this emotion is obsessive agreement. We're
in the Fear band here and it is Fear that dominates the .9. So at this
position of the scale, Sympathy is not valor, but cowardice, stemming from
a basic fear of people. He's excessively afraid of hurting others. He's
compulsively "understanding" and #I reasonable" about all the lowest-tone
unfortunates of the world. He's the person who's "reasonable" about the
axe murderer. He'll be understanding about the toadying leech.
Sympathy means "feeling together," so if one were sympathetic with a
high-tone person, everything would be glorious; he'd feel high-tone. But
the person at .9 seldom achieves more than a superficial tolerance of
upscale people and conditions. He is most comfortable when he can
sympathize with Apathy and Grief. Of course, his "feeling together"
causes this chameleon to wobble drunkenly through the low tones always
somewhere between complacent tenderness and tears.
He looks harmless. And that's just how he wants to look. He's
desperately trying to ward off blame. "See how understanding I am?" "See
how I wouldn't hurt anybody?" His addiction to praise and fear of blame
make him compulsively understanding.
It was a quiet, pleasant party. We were exchanging ideas about the future
of religion when Casper-a new arrival-interrupted contemptuously: "Surely
you've read Schemerhorn's theory on penalties and predicaments?"
No one had, but he rambled on interspersing his complicated monologue with
obscure references. When he ran out of breath, we picked up our
conversation again. Someone said, "I think most people need to believe in
something, whether or not they call it religion. So if ..."
Sneeringly, Casper cut in: "That's just infantile thinking! In my
opinion, there's only one intelligent viewpoint. Vosgarten's treatise on
the majestic obsession covers the whole concept . . . "
After enduring two hours of Casper's rude arrogance and unintelligible
speeches, an aggressive member of the party challenged him: "Why can't you
just say what you want to say, man? We don't understand you. Do you
"Well, it doesn't fit into my model of reference. It's like Wumvoogen
"Don't get started again. I'm trying to tell you that we can't understand
you. You don't make sense. You've monopolized the conversation and you
haven't said anything. Furthermore, you don't listen to anything the rest
of us say. What's the matter with you that you can't communicate?"
To our amazement, Casper's defenses collapsed and his eyes filled with
Although everyone felt some compassion for him (and eased the conversation
back to neutral grounds), only one compulsive Sympathy person emerged. A
pretty young woman named' Judy, silent until now leaned toward him,
"Casper," she said, "I see beautiful qualities in you."
"I can't believe you mean that."
"Of course, I mean it."
"Oh, people say those things, but they don't follow through. It takes
more than words to convince me."
"I want you to believe me. I mean it sincerely."
I could see the beginnings of a complicated and regrettable relationship
here. Judy saw nothing "beautiful" about Casper in his moments of boorish
arrogance. It required his defenseless state of Grief to bring her to
life. The ultimate cohesion between this pair would be about as inspired
as a glutinous mass of day-old spaghetti.
BEHIND EVERY FAILURE
Someone once said that "behind every successful man there's a woman."
What no one said (until Ron Hubbard uncovered this emotion) is that behind
every upscale man who goes downhill and fails, there's probably a
sympathetic woman. No high-tone man ever broke down from mere hard work
or even a few setbacks. He can be crushed, however, by the slow, eroding
benevolence of a Sympathy person who "helps" by supplying infinite
justifications for his failures.
Sympathy is so devastating because he is telling the low-tone person: "The
helplessness you feel about yourself is so justified that I feel it too."
No one needs that kind of assistance; it strengthens the person's problems
instead of his ability to solve problems. It takes responsibility away
from the individual. "Poor you. The world isn't treating you right."
The high-tone person (especially if he understands the tone scale) would
say, "Well, this is most unfortunate; but let's take a look and see what
went wrong. You can go out and try it again." But Sympathy loves company,
so he doesn't help someone recover from a loss and go back to win. He
can't; there wouldn't be anyone to spend his Sympathy on.
The high-tone person sees a drowning man and throws him a life line. The
Sympathy person jumps in and drowns with the victim.
INFLUENCE ON LOW-TONE PEOPLE
We may find ourselves liking Sympathy better than the more aggressive
people between 1.1 and 2.0 on the scale. He's not throwing barbs at us.
He's not demanding that we change. He's not excessively critical. If we
need to lay the head down for a good cry, he's right in there with a
velvet-cushioned shoulder. It feels so comfortable to have someone who
accepts us uncritically in our most unlovely moments (it's probably quite
similar to the sensation of drowning).
But, he's ineffectual. He does nothing to improve conditions. The
upscale person says "You're hurt; we'll patch it up." But .9 moves in on
the same wavelength saying, "Oh, you're so tired. We'll have to take care
of you." There's a deadly timelessness about that. He doesn't say "cure."
He says "take care of."
Sympathy (as well as Propitiation) is most comfortable around sick people.
And if they're not sick already, he'll help them along. If the person on
the receiving end of all this kindness becomes convinced that he needs to
be cared for, he remains at the bottom of the scale.
The .9 is too afraid of hurting others to do anything effective. He just
agrees about how terrible it all is. A high-tone person is not afraid of
hurting others for a just cause; he's able to take any necessary actions
to benefit the greatest number. But Sympathy, instead of curing the
alcoholic, sits down and gets drunk with him.
Don't work yourself into a lather trying to figure out whether a person is
at Sympathy or Propitiation. Although each tone is slightly different in
character, they intertwine like two tangled coat hangers. Sympathy often
leads, automatically, to Propitiation. Mother says, "It's too cold out
for you to walk (Sympathy). I'll drive you to school (Propitiation)." The
student says, "It's too bad you fell asleep during the lectures. Here,
you can copy my notes."
THE CRIME OF SYMPATHY
The crime of Sympathy is the crime of omission - the crime of not handling,
not controlling, not disciplining, not providing strength. His pity and
leniency merely reinforce low tones.
He's quite destructive when coupled with a higher-tone individual because
the emotion results from a hidden goal to knock the higher person down to
the point where Sympathy will be needed. He waits until the upscale
person suffers a setback, at which time he comes alive. He slows down or
stops the other individual by pitying him.
Sympathy finds many ways of castrating the higher-tone person. The boss
gets mad when he hears that the tippling salesman is offending customers,
so he plans a showdown. Along comes Sympathy who soothingly purrs: "Now,
now, boss. Of course it's upsetting, but let me handle it. I have a
little more patience than YOU have."
Patience may be a virtue at the top of the scale, but at .9 it's only
another euphemism for weakness.
THE DEADLY CYCLE
Everyone - even the topscale person-sinks down into the drearies
sometimes. Sympathy, however, is more prone than any other emotion to
revolve in a perpetual circle between happiness and melancholia. His
brand of happiness, of course, is nothing you're going to want to bottle
up and sell on the street corners. It's mostly a consoling
self-righteousness: "Oh, how merciful and compassionate I am. I never
turn my back on anyone who needs me."
He's a magnet for the dregs of society. He puts his attention on the
criminals, the invalids, the skid row bums, addicts, alcoholics, and all
the woeful, poor, stricken, limp, sobbing Grief and Apathy cats he can
find. He's easily taken in by their lies. Grief says he has no money, no
job and nobody loves him. So Sympathy says, "Oh, you poor thing. Life
has treated you terribly. Of course I'll help you." So he goes down to
Propitiation, providing shelter, food, money, sex perhaps his whole life.
Soon he's down there in Grief himself (he's always duplicating tones,
remember) and we hear him sobbing "I've done everything I could, but
nothing seems to help."
When Sympathy isn't slobbering over the needy types at the bottom, he's
recklessly defending the destructive ones in the 1.0 to 2.0 band. He
insists that "Nobody is all bad. Give them the benefit of the doubt."
He's the most gullible victim of the 1.1 con. Also, because of the ease
with which he is influenced, the Sympathy person can be readily corrupted;
the glib 1.1 can lure him into all sorts of criminality, perversion or
promiscuity (all of which are more common to the 1.1 tone). Eventually
these activities get Sympathy into trouble, so we hear him grieving again.
Too weak to actually handle the low tones he attracts and too compulsively
"understanding" to permit himself to retreat, he stays locked in a
permanent elevator ride with Sympathy as the top floor and Apathy in the
You can spot him by his fluctuation. Even when you point out that he's
associating with low-tone people who are dragging him down, he's unable to
handle and unwilling to disconnect. He might hurt somebody.
That's how such a nice person gets betrayed so often. He's noble though.
He soon crawls back up to Sympathy and tries again.
If you run a business and you want to stay solvent, don't put a Sympathy
person in charge of a department. His overwhelming fear of hurting others
is a dangerous attitude. He'll be ineffective on the job, he'll throw
away your profits and he'll attract the losers because he feels sorry for
them. He's the one who insists on hiring the griefy girl because she's
had all the bad breaks. He'll defend the employee who goofs off because
"he has a sick wife and fourteen children, you know."
IN THE FAMILY
It's the Sympathy person who most often marries the bad fellow. Here you
find the beautiful young girl who weds the down-and-outer, because she
just can't bear to hurt his feelings.
The .9 is one of the worst possible parents. His over-permissiveness
breeds an uncontrolled, destructive child.
It's easy for loving parents to get lured into feeling Sympathy. How many
of us could remain untouched if we saw a small child sobbing because his
ice cream cone just fell in the sand? Attitudes of Sympathy and
Propitiation are automatic: "There, there, don't cry. I'll buy you
another one." This is not truly kindness because it neglects the future of
the child; the gesture teaches him that no matter how careless and
negligent he is, if he cries loud enough someone will pity and take care
of him. It would be equally cruel to shrug unsympathetically and say,
"That's tough; you should learn to be more careful." What is the high-tone
response? Give the child a chance to recover from the loss with dignity,
not as a beggar: "How would you like to do a job for me? You can earn the
money for another ice cream if you want it."
When we see a youngster who is chronically hideous-crying, whining,
screaming or throwing tantrums-it's a safe bet his parents are stuck in
the Sympathy/Propitiation tones. They obviously surrendered, repeatedly,
to this behavior; that's why the child continues using it. He's rewarded
for his weaknesses, so he never develops strength.
Sympathy parents wonder "Where did we go wrong?" while the child grows
into a perpetually immature adult who continues whining through life
looking for a permanent baby sitter to hold his hand and agree that it's a
When I was a child, I knew a young boy who was constantly getting beaten
up by a neighborhood bully. One day he ran home crying and his mother
decided not to be sympathetic: "You go back over there and lick that kid
or I'm going to give you a beating myself.
More frightened of his mother's mood than the neighbor, the boy went back
and beat up on the bully for the first time. With new confidence he soon
established neighborhood supremacy as a fighter. As I recall, it was
necessary to take on nearly every belligerent kid in the school first, but
he eventually emerged as a peace-loving individual who knew he could
A mother stuck in Sympathy will be so "understanding" that she creates a
permanent loser. I'm not suggesting that we cultivate bullies; but we
should recognize that fighting is higher-tone than surrender. And the
person who cannot fight cannot move upscale.
Probably the best answer is to teach the child the tone scale so he can
select higher-tone friends.
He's the nice guy who marries the helpless clinging vine because "she
Not everyone who goes to read to the blind children is in permanent
Sympathy. High-tone people care too. In fact, they'll probably be the
first ones to teach the children to read Braille.
The highscale person will be compassionate; but he'll boost you back up.
When you find someone who seems hard to place on the chart, who's never
vicious, who's prone to noble deeds and good intentions, but who collects
physical and emotional cripples faster than a dog picks up parasites in a
flea farm, suspect a Sympathy person.
I started my study of this tone with the assumption that I would find very
few people here-probably only those types who get their kicks out of going
to funerals or placing wreaths on gravestones. I couldn't have been more
I finished with the shocking realization that it was one of the more
populated levels of the tone scale. Those who aren't there already are
frequently forced into Sympathy socially by the many popular
In the harsh light of research I recognized a disconcerting number of my
favorite people at .9-people I tried (sympathetically) to place at a
The act of Sympathy convinces a person he has lost, and once he thoroughly
believes that he can lose, he is unable to win. After a person finds the
comfortable warmth of Sympathy, he begins to desire it. He may become so
addicted that he runs around hoping for an accident or illness so he can
This is a thick, gooey, insidiously destructive emotion.
Everything's so serious.
In fact, it's a downright shame.
Chapter 8 - FEAR (1.0)
Fear: A feeling of alarm or disquiet caused by the expectation of danger,
pain, disaster, or the like; terror, dread; apprehension.
-American Heritage Dictionary
"Now, Fred, slow down. Watch this car up here, Fred. Better get into the
left lane, Fred. We have to turn eight blocks from here. That dog might
run out. Be careful, Fred!"
Driver panics (at scream, not at any outside threat) and hits brakes; he
nearly gets rammed by the car behind. Everyone is a nervous wreck.
This tone wears many disguises. It slips down to influence the Sympathy
person (who is afraid of hurting others) and Propitiation (where we see
the strange manifestation of a person attempting to buy off imagined
danger by propitiating), and it sneaks upward on the tone scale to lurk
behind Covert Hostility and No Sympathy tones.
Most people harbor a few select, temporary fears. We see the tough,
swaggering student who turns to a quivering butterfly in the seat of an
airplane. We see a housewife who has the courage to be a Cub Scout den
mother, but who quails at the sight of a harmless snake. We see the bull
strength of the business tycoon melt into a pool of limp terror when
forced to give a speech. Although irrational, these fears are not
necessarily chronic, so they don't indicate that the person is a 1.0.
There is a time to be afraid, just as there is a time for joy or grief.
It's sensible to have a respect for danger when caught in a burning house
or a New York taxicab. That's survival.
Acute Fear (whether rational or irrational) causes a pounding heart, a
cold sweat or trembling. This may be fear of actual death, injury or
merely some harmless menace. Stark terror is the highest volume of Fear.
In low volume, we see Fear expressed as excessive shyness, extreme
modesty, or unwarranted suspicions. We find the person who gets
tongue-tied easily, who withdraws from people, who jumps at a door slam.
The person in chronic Fear tone lives with one or another of these
manifestations all the time. He's continually frightened; everything is
dangerous. He's afraid to exist. He's afraid to own things (he might
lose them). His solution to life is to be careful-about everything. So,
whether he's in terror, mild anxiety, dread or insecurity, he's at Fear on
the tone scale. He talks about fearful things, real or imaginary.
In Grief we find anxiety taking a limp form ("Oh, dear, how am I going to
handle this? I just don't know what I can do.") but at the higher tone of
Fear the person tries to handle all of the anxieties. Of course, he's
pretty ineffectual, but he does work hard at it.
This person is scattered-like a Kleenex that's been through the washing
machine. He's trying to be somewhere else-anywhere else. He flits
around, physically or mentally. His attention jumps from one thing to
another. His conversation takes grasshopper leaps from subject to
Sometimes (not always) you can see this dispersal in his eyes when he
talks to you-they flit over here, over there, up, down-everywhere but
straight ahead. He can't look at you.
LIFE IS THREATENING
Fear is careful because he knows that nearly everything is threatening. I
once knew a man who insisted that all of the doors and windows of his
house be locked, day and night. He called his wife half a dozen times
daily just to see if everything was all right. If she went on an
unscheduled visit to a neighbor, he phoned every house in the block until
he located her. His speech was peppered with phrases such as "You can't
be too careful," "You never know what might happen," and "It doesn't pay
to take chances."
Where a higher-tone person will plan his attack on the enemy force, Fear
is always planning his defense (if he's on the high side) or his retreat
(if he's on the low side of Fear).
When there's a robbery on the other side of town, Fear puts extra locks on
his doors. If he lives in Minnesota, but learns of a deadly new mosquito
breeding in the tropics, he get anxious about it. His attention flits all
over the universe trying to cover every possible danger.
In case you think there aren't many people at Fear, let me remind you of
the now famous Orson Wells radio broadcast "The War of the Worlds" in
1938-a realistic but fictional report of a Martian "invasion." An
estimated one million listeners missed the three announcements about the
fictional nature of the program and panicked. Telephone lines were
hopelessly jammed and people were running in the streets. A Fear person
is gullible and credulous about fearful things. He selectively hears only
communications on his own level.
A smooth-talking insurance salesman chalks up a bonus day when he meets up
with a Fear person-the poor devil will buy one of everything.
He's afraid of losing things, so he walks around constantly fearing that
he'll get bad news-news of a loss. He's afraid he'll hear that his house
burned down; he's apprehensive about getting fired; he wonders if somebody
is going to die; he worries about his wife leaving him.
I once lived across the street from a Fear couple. His face compressed
with deep worry lines, completely bald at the age of twenty-nine (I don't
know if that's relevant; but I'll mention it anyway), he and his wife
worried constantly about germs, diseases, bad health, burglaries,
accidents and disasters. Name anything dreadful-they dreaded it. Before
letting their children out to play, they bundled them up like Eskimos for
fear of catching colds. Interestingly, their two youngsters suffered more
colds and illnesses than any children on the block.
One quiet Sunday morning I saw this neighbor cautiously emerge from his
house. After carefully testing the door to make certain it was locked, he
walked to the garage and unlocked it. After unlocking his car, he drove
out to the gate, which he also unlocked. He backed the car out, returned
to the garage and locked it, walked down the drive, put the chain padlock
back on the gate and drove off.
Impressed, I thought: he must be leaving for a month. (We weren't living
in the heart of the crime belt, you understand. The most serious
wrongdoing in this bland suburban community during the previous six months
was when a three-year-old youngster down the street toddled off with
another three-year-old's tricycle). Ten minutes later, however, the
neighbor returned with the Sunday papers. He unlocked the gate, the
garage, and went through the whole lockup routine in reverse. This chap
could put the security system at Fort Knox to shame.
While we were living in the same neighborhood, a salesman called one
evening trying to sell a fire alarm system. We turned him down, but as he
left I thought: If he would only stop across the street, they'll surely
Well, he did, and they did.
LOVE AND CHILDREN
At 1.0 love shows up as suspicion of proffered affection. Filbert offers
Belinda his class ring. Instead of happily accepting it, she queries,
"What does this mean?"
He tells her he loves her and she wonders what that really means: "I don't
want to say I love you; it might turn out that I don't."
There won't be much free-wheeling love from a Fear partner. He's too
careful to be spontaneous.
Fear parents strongly influence their children. I once knew a woman who
actually hid in the bedroom closet whenever there was a thunder storm.
Her fearful mother taught her to do this. I knew another woman who was
afraid of cats, "My mother always said they were dangerous. You know,
they're supposed to carry all sorts of diseases-at least that's what
Mother told me."
A contagious emotion, Fear. Unless he takes the trouble to examine all
the boogies himself, the child grows up convinced that nearly everything
The Fear person performs poorly on a job. He constantly worries about
protecting himself. He's afraid to make decisions, worries about taking
on new projects and invents amazingly insurmountable obstacles to any new
plan. "This is a dangerous time to get into that market. We could lose
our shirts." "I'm afraid we'll get sued for patent infringement if we try
this." "It's a nice idea if it weren't so risky."
Convinced that huge effort and energy are necessary to overcome his
imaginary barriers, he'd rather put off than confront them. So he invents
reasons why he can't do a job.
He tries to avoid responsibility at all cost (he thinks he'd be hurt): "Oh
no, you're not going to get me to take on that job. Everybody would be
passing the buck to me. I'd have to take the blame for everything that
While he's better than all the tones below this, you have a poor job risk
THE THREE LEVELS OF FEAR
Fear represents a crossover point on decision making.
At the lower part of Fear, the person is afraid to do things. Retreating,
on the run, he's a master at avoiding. At the high point of Fear the
person is afraid not to. He defends against every possible eventuality.
In the middle of Fear tone, we find the absolute maybe. Here is the
person frozen into indecision; he can't make up his mind.
This is not the apathetic indecision of Grief ("I just don't know what to
do"). At Fear the person actively vacillates between "Should I?" and
When a higher-tone person hits this level of the scale, he finds it
uncomfortable. Here we see the young girl faced with the choice between
two eligible men. She likes them both; she can't decide; she wavers back
and forth. Finally, the indecision becomes so painful that she
impulsively makes a choice (she may even run away with a third man who is
totally unsuitable). Anything to move off that maybe.
Some Fear people, however, live in indecision for years-waiting for some
occurrence to tip the scale. Such an individual is afraid to be right and
he doesn't dare be wrong. He's afraid to and he's afraid not to. He
can't commit himself. He can't plan the future, and he can't face the
present. If you ask him to set up an appointment a few days in advance,
he can't: "Call me later. We'll see what happens." (The more high-tone a
person is, the more willingly he will commit himself to something in the
Here we find the couple who date each other for seventeen years because
they're afraid to get married. He's the man who wants to change jobs, but
can't muster the nerve; he grows old waiting for the right impetus.
Here's the miserable marriage that continues on because neither person
works up the courage to resolve it or end it.
Hope is a marvelous quality when it is quickly transferred into specific
plans, actions and accomplishments.
Every great doer starts with a dream. At Fear, however, we find the
vacuum of blind hope - the deadly initiative killer. He doesn't progress;
he doesn't give up. He simply postpones living today. It's too
frightful, so he waits for something to happen. What is that something?
I don't know. I've seen people who waited for years, but "it" never
arrived. They spend their lives living out of mental suitcases; they
never unpack and settle down to something and they never take off and go
anywhere. They wait. They day-dream. They think wistfully. The next
moment, the next hour, the next day, surely, will bring that magic
something that dissolves all doubts.
That's blind hope. Waiting. Indecision. That's the dead center of Fear.
Fear is the last of the soft emotions. Now we're going to leave the mushy
marshes and pick our way through a stretch of barbed wire ...
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Mon Jul 6 00:06:01 EDT 2020
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Learning implies Learning with Certainty or Learning without Certainty.
Learning across a Distance implies Learning by Being an Effect.
Learning by Being an Effect implies Learning without Certainty.
Therefore, Learning with Certainty implies Learning, but
not by Being an Effect, and not across a Distance.
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