The following first appeared in the private email list IVy-subscribers,
which was available to all those who subscribed to the
printed magazine, International Viewpoints.

Something that everyone knows how to do
by Phil Spickler
4 Apr 01

       Under the heading of "native ability" comes something that all beings,
human and otherwise, seem to be generously endowed with,  a talent that does
not require any instruction to fortify it -- it's just there.  And what is
this amazing talent or ability to which I'm referring?  Well, namely the
ability to cause harm or hurt whilst claiming it really wasn't very bad, and
that the recipient of it either deserved it or wasn't significant enough to
have been really harmed.

       Yes, this is the ability, the talent, that we all natively possess: to
lessen our overt or harmful acts in such a way as to make them seem really
not very bad or perhaps not even harmful at all.  There's a number of ways to
go about doing this lessening process: for example, Adolf Hitler and the
Nazis portrayed the Jews as being non-human forms of vermin -- actually a
disease -- and that there wasn't anything you could do to such a verminous
folk that could be too excessive, because you were really curing the world
and Germany of vermin or a deadly disease.

       So there's one of the fairly recent and striking examples of lessening
the value of a certain people, so that if you were killing them or torturing
them or persecuting them or gassing them to death, or using them for horrible
medical experiments, you weren't really harming something that was truly
human and capable of human feelings.  And so it was really OK, in fact it was
more than OK, it was wonderful if you could get rid of 6 million of these
awful non-human creatures.

        Moving to a much lighter example of lessening, you yourself or you
may have heard someone once say, after denting or breaking or scratching or
injuring some object, "Oh, it doesn't really matter -- it was just that old
worthless vase (or chair, or rug, etc. etc.)."  So here's one of the major
ways of making it seem that we didn't cause harm when we really did.

       When black people of Africa were enslaved by good moral God-fearing
Christians, it was OK to do so because black people were savages, much more
animal than human, and horribly of course they were heathen -- they had never
accepted Jesus into their hearts.  They were not white, therefore they could
not be quite human, and their language didn't sound anything like the sort of
language that human beings would use.  Therefore it was OK to capture them,
buy them, sell them, beat them, rape them, etc. etc., because they had been
lessened from the status of human to something more like animal, and we've
come to believe over the centuries with the Bible fortifying our belief that
what we do to animals is quite all right, because they don't have the same
feelings and are quite different from us human beings.

       So that's another set of cases of lessening -- by lessening the thing
that we harm, lessening the value of the thing that we harm, that makes it OK.

       Then there's the lessening of the actual harmful act itself.  You
might hear someone say, "Heck -- I didn't really hit him that hard; I was
just fooling around."  Or, "I was just attempting to be honest with X -- I
can't imagine why it hurt her feelings."  Or, "We were really attempting to
pacify the village in Vietnam, and we had to kill everyone in order to keep
the peace."

        Well, I shan't further belabor this point, because you could write a
whole book of justifiers, explanations for, efforts to deny the full
implications of things that we cause, often with intention to, sometimes with
the help of our hidden friends, that do indeed cause harm and mischief
through quite a broad spectrum.  I had asked in an earlier posting , "Why do
people find it so uncomfortable to have an overt act unlessened?", which is
to say why did the German people of the town near a concentration camp look
so horribly unhappy when, near the end of World War II, the people of the
village were taken on a tour of the concentration camp and required to
observe the living and the dead and the half-dead, as well as many of the
death-head SS camp people who were cheerfully bringing said conditions about.
 Now when these good burghers were taken through these camps, some of them
fainted, many of them threw up their breakfast sausages, but all of them
looked VBI's, which is shorthand for Very Bad Indicators -- none of them
exhibited any good indicators, as the enormity of their crimes against
humanity was brought to their attention and they could see what they were
doing to fellow human beings and the depths that they themselves had sunk to
in order to spiritually, mentally, emotionally, and physically perpetuate
these overt acts.

       Those of us that are happy enough to have taken the time to become
auditors and work with our fellow human beings and ourselves know that when
an overt act is lessened, including the target of the act, that in doing such
our abilities to perceive and to feel are diminished accordingly -- in other
words, we lessen ourselves -- and when in auditing you are able to help some
soul find something they did that they consider to be just so-so as an overt
act, but upon examination of it, when it gets unlessened and the enormity of
the harm comes to view, the person is transformed, just like poor old Scrooge
in Dickens' Christmas Carol.

        And after going through a deal of shame, blame and regret, and coming
up through things like grief and remorse, the person eventually recovers a
much more brilliant perception and a much greater sense of responsibility as
cause, and the reawakening of pan-determinism, and recognition that they have
been harming some of their own dynamics, and thus themselves.

        Well, so much for that.  Ed Dawson, as would be expected, wrote a
brilliant analysis, from a certain viewpoint, of what it is that makes folks
so reluctant at first to unlessen overt or harmful acts, and I greatly
appreciated what he wrote, because he was kind enough to keep it at a pace
and simplified enough for lesser immortals to understand and to see what he
was getting at.  High praise to you, Ed!  It's not easy to be that brilliant.

        The subject of overts and its sister ships of the withhold, the
missed withhold, the DED, the DEDEX, all seem to have very powerful
application in the local or relative sense, and can be used with great
benefit in that setting.  There also seems to be, in a much broader or
univeral regard, understandings of these matters which transcend the notion
of right and wrong.  However, the degree of enlightenment that may be
required for such understandings is not easily attained, and is not
necessarily desirable for what we're all involved in.

         And so end these few reflections.   Perhaps I'll spend a few minutes
before retiring tonight lessening some of my overts and unlessening some
others, just so I don't get too out of practice.  Bon soir.