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Search for Joyful Wishes and their Realization

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chapter 2


    02-01 Suppression of children’s wishes

    If you are asked to name, without thinking, the main difficulty in raising children, I think that most likely you will say: “disobedience,” “restlessness”, “whims”. Yes. Children are a constant source of problems for their parents due to the fact that they are filled with desires. They always want everything, and most of all – not what their parents would prefer. And that’s a problem. But it is a problem, first of all, for so-called civilized world, where there is a well-established conveyor belt of life for each and every person at any age. In fact, the life of every civilized man is scheduled with extreme detail, and any deviation from the schedule is accompanied with stress, anxiety and other negative emotions (NE). People adapt quickly. Unfortunately, they have adapted to this form of slavery too – partly voluntary and partly involuntary. But children cannot quickly adapt to it and need a lot of time and a lot of violence to turn them step by step into a docile mass of people walking in the direction pointed out by adults. Of course, in different countries the amount and rigor of this violence vary greatly.  Moreover, it seems to me that albeit very slow and gradually, with setbacks and reactions, but nevertheless the humanity is moving towards an understanding that a child is not just a pet belonging to its parents, but above all a personality, the suppression of whom is totally unacceptable no matter which good purpose underlies this suppression.

    I do not deny the necessity of violence in assistance to children’s development – in very rare cases. It is impossible not to use violence when a child reaches for the exposed electrical wiring or mindlessly leans over the ledge of the roof. Afterwards you can explain to him the danger of electricity or a fall from a roof, install special safety sockets and fencing, but at the moment there’s no time – the child must be stopped, you must divert his attention, prevent him from realizing his wish, i.e. use violence.

    Generally speaking, violence differs. We all understand the difference between two types of violence – the violence pursuing self-interests by suppressing the interests of another person (robbery, rape, etc.), and violence to help another person, protect him from something that allegedly threatens him. They differ in motivation, and this difference is so fundamental that I cannot name them both with the same term “violence”. I will name the second type of violence as “care”.

    The problem is, however, that too often the care is so annoying, so paranoid and so extensive that it turns into total suppression of the child’s personality, and the fact that it is done for good purposes does not change anything. And since the child’s wishes are her “motor”, in order to grow an obedient person who voluntarily and even gratefully accepts such a paranoid, destroying care, the first thing you need is to destroy all her wishes. You have to make the child hate her own wishes, be ashamed of her wishes, have fear to her wishes. This process begins in early childhood – from the very first moment when the child’s wishes begin to appear. I, again, don’t state that this implantation of psychopathic, negative attitude to wishes always means violence. Very often it is motivated by paranoid concern, but I emphasize – this does not change the result of such influence on the child. This result is very destructive.

    You were a child once, too. You, too, were an object of this paranoid care and from early childhood you minute by minute, day by day, year by year, were taught to treat your desires as something “indecent”, “bad”, “shameful”, “disturbing”, “wrong.” A lot of words have been invented and implemented to substitute the word “wish”, which have a strong negative connotation: “whim”, “fancy”, “quirk”, “caprice”, “self-will”. Child’s wishes are described with derogatory words: “foolish desire”, “far-fetched need”, “what maggot bites you?”, “where the hell are you going?”.  The term “to fulfill wishes” is replaced by “indulge”, “not care about others”; the term “to want something” – “to have problems”, “to be obsessed with.” A person, who does not want to suppress his wishes and seeks to implement them, is branded as “selfish”, “egotist”, “heartless.” If you are passionate about something, you will be called “stubborn”, “freak”, “weirdo” or even labeled as “maniac” – allegedly as a joke, but under the guise of jokes people often express their real attitude. In this case it is a very negative attitude, as the word “maniac” by an “odd coincidence” is usually referred to exceptionally dangerous criminals, murderers, rapists. In order to consolidate disdainful and even aggressive attitude towards someone’s own wishes, respective beliefs are created and drummed into heads. As a result, a person who has some wishes is interpreted by others and even by herself, as a person who “has problems” or “is not all right”. It is believed that when a person is “all right” he has no bright wishes. This is far from being a complete list of words and expressions abusive to wishes, which are huge in number and variety.

    Depending on the tendencies prevailing in the society, some forms of strong wishes are recognized as “useful”. In this case people, whose wishes currently fall into the trend, enjoy respect, support and approval, but as soon as the fashion changes, or the person shows other wishes, he immediately falls again into the category of eccentrics and “people with problems”. This leads to the fact that the man, whose joyful wishes (JWs) get in a very narrow track allowed by the society, begins to suppress all his other wishes and mechanically spur the “right” one that quickly becomes an obligation, a joyless and mechanical action.

    If you learned to suppress your JWs, experience them secretly, feeling shame, guilt, fear, it often results in latent or explicit aggression, hatred towards your surroundings and often to yourself.


    02-02 Joyful wishes (JWs) and mechanical wishes (MWs)

    There is a misconception which plays, without exaggeration, a tragic, catastrophic role in human life for thousands of years. This misconception is that people do not, for some strange reason, understand that there are two non-overlapping types of desires. They are opposite to each other, they are absolutely incompatible with each other. To call both of these simply “wishes”, means roughly the same as to call “food” both rat poison and delicious cake. This confusion of terms has the same catastrophic consequences (see Chapter “Emotions”).

    1. Joyful wishes (JWs) are those accompanied by anticipation.
    1. Mechanical wishes (MWs) are those not accompanied by anticipation and which are brought about by various beliefs and fears.

    When people realize JWs they feel not only anticipation but often some enlightened perceptions (EPs) resonating with it: enthusiasm, joy, sympathy etc. They experience richness, fullness of their lives at a steady high or growing level. In these moments, they feel happier, livelier. The wishes arise and strengthen to assist people to whom they feel sympathy.

    When people realize MWs, they experience growing boredom, laziness, dullness. Negative emotions are accumulated, negative background (NB) is amplified. Life richness falls down to zero. In these moments they feel more miserable, lifeless, with increased aggression and/or self-pity. Destructive wishes occur and intensify towards other people, and towards themselves.

    A huge, giant difference.

    It is impossible to define “wish”, as the definition will reduce it to something already known, but the wish is not reducible to anything else – neither to emotions, nor thoughts, nor sensations. A minimally attentive person can easily discern that there are wishes and there are accompanying emotions and thoughts, and these are fundamentally different kinds of perceptions.

    How do I know that I want something? I know this by the wish to reinforce an existing perception. For example, if I visualize a picture of the forest, imagine the smell of the forest, the bodily sensations of walking through the forest, if there is also pleasure and the desire to intensify these perceptions, I discern also a desire to go to the forest and I come to the conclusion that I want to go into the forest.

    If I imagine a picture of cheese, feel taste of cheese, experience pleasure and the desire to strengthen it, I do notice a desire to eat cheese and make a conclusion that I want to eat a piece of cheese.

    Interestingly, when we say “I have imagined the taste of cheese,” at this very moment we are already experiencing the taste, though faint and vague. It seems strange but it is true. It is no surprise that I may not see the tree but imagine it, but what is “to imagine”? That means to have a visual perception of the tree – this perception is vague, unstable, but it is nothing but visual perception.

    Thus we can make an amazing conclusion: when I want something I don’t want something absent, but something that I already perceive, though I want it in a more clear, stable and strong form. It turns out that “wish” is always “the wish to reinforce the existing perceptions”.

    Let us consider in more detail the driving factors behind the emergence of MWs:

    a) groundless believes, which include verbal constructions like “must go there”, “should do so”, “would be good to do so”, “unfair not to do that”, “I am expected to do that” and so on. You have no anticipation but only obsessive thought “I must” or “it’s fair”, “it’s right thing to do” and you go and start it still experiencing growing dissatisfaction and fatigue, but you support yourself with dogmatic thoughts like “It’s good I am doing it, it’s the right thing to do”, “it would be bad if I didn’t do it”. However, the reasoning why it is “good” or “bad” boils down to cyclic repetition of dogmatic moral judgments.

    b) negative emotions – anger, fear, boredom, etc.

    c) mechanical habits. For example, coming home from work you usually turn on the TV, and even if you have no interest to the news, you still watch them amid increasing boredom, grayness, fatigue.

    d) other mechanical wishes.

    Quotation from Gurdjieff: “Man is an arena of struggle and competition of the most different desires. They all call themselves I. That is, they consider themselves masters and non wants to recognize another. Each of them is caliph for an hour, does what he likes regardless of everything, and, later on, the others have to pay for it. And there is no order among them whatever. Whoever gets the upper hand is master. He whips everyone on all sides and takes heed of nothing. But the next moment another seizes the whip and beats him. And so it goes on all one’s life. Imagine a country where everyone can be king for five minutes and do during these five minutes just what he likes with the whole kingdom. That is our life.”

    Experiencing and realization of MWs are inevitably accompanied by increasing misery, i.e. unpleasant states, feeling unwell and, eventually, when you experience them for long – diseases, depressions, increased aggressiveness and dullness, disappearance of interests and wishes to assist people that you sympathize. Experiencing and realization of JWs are inevitably accompanied by growing pleasure of life, increasing life richness, the number of interests and their strength, manifestation of a variety of EPs, growing desire to assist people that you sympathize. It is a law of nature.

    Interestingly, the person, who fulfills MWs, enjoys neither the process of their realization nor their outcomes. And vice versa – the person, who realizes JWs, feels pleasure from the process itself of their experiencing and realization even in the case (!) if he eventually fails to implement a JW for one reason or another.

    02-03 Derogatory attitude towards JWs

    The habit to treat your JWs with contempt, the habit to suppress them manifests itself in different ways. Here are a few typical examples:

    *) “follow through”. If someone wants to stop doing something and switch to another activity, they might not do that guided by dogmatic judgments like “I have to bring it to the end”, “to stop halfway is a sign of weakness”. This will result in gradual lessening of pleasure from realization of a JW, down to indifference and, worse, unpleasant weariness and disgust. You should never suppress your wish to stop some activity like that, unless the termination of activity leads to dangerous consequences, which are quite rare cases. Yet, in these cases your awareness of the danger will increase your desire to continue the work, while in usual cases people do not stop their work because of dogmatic motives, from indifference to their wishes.

    The JW which you continue to realize after you wanted to stop is thus replaced by the mechanical wish. In our speech it is reflected when we say “overeat” or “overwalk”.

    What to do when your desires are weak and constantly changing? This way you’ll never follow through anything! First, you never win anything if compel yourself to do something through to the end because doing this poisons you severely, and inevitably weakens your JWs; you feel apathy and unpleasant tiredness that can become chronic. In addition, very many tasks may be completed in steps, when you make breaks in your work. But if it turns out that your wishes really weaken too fast, it would be the height of folly to suppress them further, forcing yourself to continue when you don’t want it. JWs strengthen, multiply and amplify if not suppressed. You need patience to let them emerge, grow and flourish because you suppressed them for so many years – so now you have to be patient and watch carefully to ensure that you do something as much as you want, whenever possible.

    In addition, you need to remember that NEs also contribute to suppression and even destruction of JWs, while EPs help to revive and strengthen them.

    Of course, sometimes we have to do something nesessary, such as earning your living. But first, you can and must look for more interesting job. Second, the anticipation of earning money itself can increase your desire to work. Third, you can optimize your working process so to find an opportunity to enjoy some accompanying activities interesting to you. You should never give in to monotony and boredom. For example, there is almost no such work where you cannot memorize one foreign word in an hour or exercise your muscles with a carpal expander. Such “trifles” in the implementation of JWs can make great changes in your life. Never disregard any JWs, never repress even the slightest of them.

    *) “putting off wishes till later”. When you notice a JW you say to yourself: “right now this is embarrassing, improper, not good, I’ll do it later”. But “later” never comes, because the JW is suppressed and disappears or at least greatly weakens. Perfectionism, the wish to “thoroughly prepare” can also hamper the immediate realisation of a JW, as there is fear of failure or dogmatic beliefs about how it is correct or incorrect to implement the JW. As a result, people never dare to start implementing the JW, they feel disappointed, guilty and boost up their defeatist attitude.


    02-04 What to do if you don't want anything?

    What to do if you don’t feel like doing anything? That’s my advice: just don’t do anything. The worst thing you can do is start doing something out of anxiety that people often feel in a state of apathy. It will just make your condition worse. Do nothing and wait. Try to distinguish – maybe there still is something you want to do right now? Maybe you still have at least a slight anticipation? Maybe you just unwittingly suppress your desires out of dogmatic belief in their “insignificance”, “wrongness”? People often have such attitude to the desires like to just lie and do nothing, or watch an entertaining movie, or read an entertaining, “light” book, etc.

    In the process of doing nothing JWs are more likely to arise than if you occupy yourself with some unpleasant, boring activity. Even if you don’t have any JWs right now, when doing nothing you may start to feel anticipation of JWs to arise, which is already halfway to their manifestation.


    02-05 Selection of wishes

    When I use the term “selection of wishes” I refer to the process consisting of three stages:

    a) the distinction of the wishes manifested in this moment

    b) identifying them as MW or JW

    c) elimination of MW and cultivation of JW

    Of course, you will need some practice to start easily determine whether you are experiencing a joyful wish or a mechanical one.

    Suppose you want to learn a Korean word. Stop yourself and try to discern whether you have anticipation or not? Maybe you just have a perfectionist desire? A stupid desire to “fulfill the plan” even despite the fact that you don’t want to do that?

    Such discernment of MW and JW certainly takes time, especially at first, but the result will give you such a revitalizing effect that any doubts about the necessity to stop as often as possible before realization of a wish and think about its nature, gradually disappear. The very process of wishes selection quickly becomes a pleasant, interesting and even intriguing action.