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Ethical question

Say that virtually all humans are unknowingly suffering from an illness which is more or less spoiling their lives. They cannot see it, it is hidden to those inflicted. You do not have this illness, and hence, you can clearly see how it is spoiling their lives day by day. Without a doubt their lives would improve many times over if they were to be cured.

You hold a medicine that cures it and you have unlimited supply. A person only needs one dose to be cured forever, and the medicine can be taken unknowingly with the same outcome. Administering the medicine covertly is not a problem.

The medicine has a side effect. Once it is administered a process of recovery starts, but the healing from the illness can be very painful for the subject for a significant period of time. During the recovery, things can get way worse than they were back before they took the medicine. But eventually the person will be completely free from the illness which is spoiling their lives.

So, you know for a fact that anyone treated will be cured. You know they are likely to suffer for some time if the medicine is taken. And you know that when the recovery is over they will be more satisfied with life than before taking the medicine.

Would it be ethical to go around and give this medicine to most anyone, like spreading it with the water, without them knowing about any of the above conditions, without knowing about their illness and, without knowing about the suffering of recovery or knowing about the outcome?

This is a well framed query, Roed, and one I've considered many times, especially when I had more doubt about the looking and the process.

Now I would have no problem delivering the medicine overtly or covertly. In my experience, and I'm not suggesting this applies to everyone, the pain of the recovery was no worse than the the lowest point in my life.....actually better than the lowest point. There was also the deep sense that the recovery was temporary and not a true, permanent regression to an earlier constant state. (Now, of course, there is the realization that everything is very temporary and constantly in flux.....what fun!).

So, I think the medicine should be delivered with as much support and information as possible, just like any good doctor would apprise the patient of side effects, answer questions, and offer ongoing support. A thornier question for me is my doubt that the medicine is easily delivered. For as simple as the act is, there seems to be a very strong psychological, almost visceral, barrier to taking the medicine for many people. I guess John would suggest this is the fear blocking the cure. My own act of looking was almost happenstance, a completely "I'll do it just to prove how wrong all this self-help/psuedo-spriritual crap is." The medicine seems best delivered when the individual is at the end of their rope. In psychology it's called crises theory, when someone is completely overwhelmed and thereby open to change in a different way than when everyday defenses are in place. This was true for several friends of mine. One I particular was in a very bad place, dealing with an abusive alcoholic husband. I had real reservations about telling her about the looking as she was in deep psychological crises. But I did, and she began to act in a self-reliant manner, getting help for her husband and ending the relationship when it was apparent she needed to do to protect herself and daughter. I think we have to trust the process.....

Thank you for bringing this up Roed. Thank you for your usual thoughtful and articulate response Jack. I think about this often and have gone back and forth as to whether it's ethical to deliver this medicine to someone without explaining what the looking is and the recovery process that ensues. It's good to hear from others that the pain of the recovery process was better than the psychological misery they were experiencing beforehand. I feel the same way too. Although it's been a painful process I would never wish to go back to the way things were.

I work with people everyday who are experiencing varying levels of misery and psychological discomfort. 4 years in I can so clearly see that this is unnecessary and the solution is so simple. I agree with Jack that psychological resistance is powerful and some people will not be interested. As an acupuncturist I'm in a unique position to develop an intimate trusting relationship with people. Part of my job is giving suggestions and self care tools to empower people to take responsibility for their health. I notice some people take this information and run with it and others don't. People vary in their levels of openness to any suggestion or new information. I'm trying to figure out how to best incorporate the looking into my work. Offering a handout with an explanation or guiding them through it. Both. Then offering ongoing support while people are going through the process. Any suggestions you guys have would be helpful.

I agree that when people are in a really 'bad' place and at the end of their rope they will try anything. It was the case for me and my best friend who I convinced to try it when she was in a particularly bad place. Part of my wanting to get people to look is selfish. I've lost some tolerance for the constant drama and complaining that most people engage in. It's painful to watch people hurt themselves over and over again unknowingly when there's a solution to it. And yes trusting the process seems to be the best way to go about this. After all it worked for us.

It would be interesting so see some conversation here about the ethical considerations of the public health aspects of the looking.

I've considered it, too. I think it's better to deliver the cure no matter what. I didn't get any deeper with the recovery than my lowest point already was anyway. For the last few days I've been overcome with hopelessness and depression and see grim thoughts passing through my mind again. It makes me think what if the person trying the looking is very fragile and suicidal, gets worse and ends up dead because of the healing crisis? That's my only reservation with this. I think it quite unlikely to happen, though. Or it's a risk one should take. Or perhaps it's wiser to wait a while in a case like this. It's tricky.

I've run into very strong resistance, too. You can't do much about it. Likewise with tolerance to misery in others, especially with people I've offered what worked for me but who refuse looking. But there's a lessening of judging them, too.

The looking must be done with intent, so it cannot be spread without people agreeing to try it. At least this is my understanding. So the question of the initial posting seems hypothetical to me.

For example, my mother refuses to try it. She feels I am insinuating that she needs fixing up. She insists that she is happy. My sister does not listen as she feels she knows all about spiritual things and that she is much more advanced than me. A good friend did not try because he just found it plain ridiculous.

Soem people are in a bad place as Nathalie puts it. They will try. Others just have a natural curiosity for life. They also try.

If someone tries, I cannot see how I could be responsible for anything that happens afterwards. The truth just is, I am not responsible for the truth.

A few things drew me to the act of looking at me. Reading that John said just the act of looking at me is sufficient. But, for what? Life without fear is life without the need for understanding. Wisdom(which are just swooney thoughts arising) are just more of the content. But here's the deal, life is here before even the need to think about it. After just one look at me, thoughts like a run a way train stop niggling at you 24/7 at some point. This surprise continues. It's more about being comfortable in your own skin than in your thoughts. Whether the travail subsequent to the looking is ethical makes no sense. Travail is all life is before the looking. So as the disease is gone all the poison is eliminated. So these rampant thoughts are like a fever. So rather than continuing to look at your temperature( all your thoughts)--literally drink a glass of water. Give your head a break and actually do something. This helps me.

I posted this question in another Internet forum too and it was soon obvious that I had to explain in more detail (the fear of life, the looking, the recovery) to produce some thoughtful replies. Half said I shouldn't give the medicine. The arguments all seemed fear based. The other half argued that it would be for the greater good. Someone asked if I was planning to dose my city with LSD, which ironically might not have been so far from the truth had I still not looked! Maybe my way of framing the question is a trace of an old ignorance of mine. Nonetheless I am so thrilled hear what you all have to say. Conversations here are not what they are elsewhere. Thank you for you presence here, it is very helpful to me.

It's interesting to see that this query didn't arise only for me. Mostly I have been concerned with the individuals who never get the medicine, who are left out, who gets to see their partner, parent, child etc mysteriously change the terms of their relationships for example.

I should not leave out that this whole question got more of my attention after I was myself dumped after I made my previous partner look at herself. I imagined how I would have felt had I not looked at myself and had I not known what was going on. Possibly this happens in many relationships after the looking, which in it's own is not problem, only that I feel bad for those who are uninformed and still inflicted by the fear.

After staring at it a little and reading these comments a bunch of times I agree this is all hypothetical and irrelevant. I really appreciate the comment that "Travail is all life is before the looking". And I'm glad to find no-one here has felt worse after looking than before, the thought of someone actually killing themselves has crossed my mind, but I also find it unlikely.

"The looking must be done with intent, so it cannot be spread without people agreeing to try it."

Sure but it can be packaged in so many ways... "Wanna know a secret?" "Hey I found something a little bit cool, maybe you already know it though... wanna try?" "You ever thought about this?" or my favorite straight-outta-nowhere-approach "Have you ever noticed what it feels like to be YOU?" I did this today with two random kids in the metro when I was bored. I have found it incredibly ineffective to tell them why I want them to do it beforehand or what the outcome is. Equally so if I tell them about you John, or the Just One Look project, then they are immediately so skeptical that sometimes I don't even get through albeit persistent attempts. I down play it as much as I can, take all credit myself if it helps (which it often does actually). Everyone will become attentive by different cues and I operate this thing accordingly. I lie, use bait and switch, nag, whatever it takes. It always ends the same way, feeling the feeling of you, until that point it's just about getting someones attention and willingness to perform it. I don't let go until it's done. I have even got mad at someone to get their attention once! So I in a way I am controlling their intent, if that is of any consequence ethically, but I don't think so. And then I leave them. If I start going on about how great it is to look at yourself, that the fear of life is now gone, how much there is to gain from training attention, metaphysically-sounding prattle about being untouchable; "you are not your life" and the like. Well. You see how this really is the hard part. I can see in their face that they are not interested in any of it and just wants to get on with their day. Add to that that people my age have a very limited attention span and really couldn't care less for questions about life, happiness and self-reliance. If they are impressed by the feeling of me I tell them to tell someone else about it and come back and talk in the future. Then I will show them all the work being done here, explain recovery etc. Bless those who did the looking and are going through it all on their own. And bless those who never go through it at all.

"It would be interesting so see some conversation here about the ethical considerations of the public health aspects of the looking."

I don't know what to say John, do you have something on your mind? It seems obvious what this can do for public health and I don't see anything which needs further consideration ethically really. From any angle I look at it, the looking holds up, as Cytex said no-one can be responsible for the truth. It would almost seem unethical after the looking to not consider spreading it with the water. I'm writing a letter to my therapist who I haven't seen in a while, and if I get it right she's going to use the looking in her practice I'm sure of it. How cool would that be? smily

I will expand on the public health matter this weekend.

Thank you all for such intelligent and useful work here. I'll have more to say about that too.

This is a wonderful thread and conversation. Good follow up, Roed. Interestingly I talked to my friend who I mentioned above, who I told about the looking in the midst of a crises. I really hadn't seen her since this time period as she left the school where we worked together. She was very content and happy. She was in a new, healthy relationship and things were going very well for her. We talked a little about the looking.....I don't really have anyone to talk to about the effects and was curious what she thought about it. She is not an introspective person, but she did say that she only occasionally experiences anxiety, and when she does, she remembers that this is how she felt all the time. She also said she sees the fear of life in others and has less tolerance for the constant negativity of those around her. She had put on some extra weight and we laughed about it as she was very neurotic about her weight and exercise, as was I, previous to the looking. It was good to get this report from someone who I was quite concerned about and was deeply in crises when she "looked".

I'm not sure that one has to look with "intent." This is only based on my experience, but I'm pretty sure my first attempt was half hearted at best....and as I said, I forgot about it until Much later in full blown recovery mode. I'm also interested in what I think I might have heard John say one time, that, if someone even hears about the looking, they will do it and it will have an effect on them.

The intent I see to be needed in the looking is the mundane level of intent behind any conscious movement of attention. It is much less than you might assume. All that's required is the level of intent needed to open a door, or turn off the tv. One needs only to hear the simple suggestion to look at the feeling that you would call me, and try it. No deep intent needed at all, just to have an ordinary understanding of the suggestion, and casually try it.

We actually believe that just seeing the suggestion on a billboard could cause people to take a look for no reason other than to see what we are talking about.

The bare act is all of it. No need even to link it with any results.

Roed, I admire your ability to spread the word in various social situations. I only talk about this with very few people, hardly with anyone these days. I don't meet people much, living in a kind of isolating inertia that I seem to be stuck with. I don't know anybody who'd be interested in this work apart from this forum.

What comes to looking as professional therapy, it's very interesting to me as it's possible success in healing people would eventually validate it for mental health professionals in general and spread it with authority. Science is a powerful influence in society. It's slow, though. One avenue for it's acceptance would be theorising, research and philosophising about it by those prone to it and whose job it is, at least in academic minded circles. We shouldn't forget about those. Understanding might not be necessary but we humans tend to try to understand things and formulate theories just for the fun of it. It also has it's uses.

If you discover a fundamental truth or something that consistently draws beneficial effects in people, you're bound to get attention and intellectual interest in the long run. Looking might rearrange our worldview in unexpected ways. It's also going to invalidate many other views that were based on faulty assumptions. Many schools of thought are going to be seen as silly, beside the point or just not interesting. We might even settle age old disputes on various philosophical and scientific questions, for all I know. The implications of the change in human condition brought about by looking can be huge, surprising and interesting to speculate about. But the actual comes first, not theoretical. Theories lose their grip on us as life boats.

This we see in our lives as recovery advances, and I find it interesting to see how my relationship to various outlooks on life changes and realigns. It seems possible that we humans have a common ground that we can agree and act on and this in turn raises a vision or a set visions for our future that unite us if we each don't hang on to our particular forms of escape or attempt at saving ourselves. Although life tends towards diversity, some of it is quite artificial in our society, at least in the West and based on fear-corrupted psyche. Or you could say that it's not natural diversity but a desperate attempt at trying to separate yourself from others. Looking might pull us from our ivory towers or prison cells to common ground where we can shake each others' hands and get to work together.

My looking at myself didn't happen with any particularly focused intention, either. So I agree that it can be "spread with water". It's just that looking doesn't fit neatly into any of the boxes we sort things into in our daily lives, so it might struck one as odd or alien, and thus draw resistance but also curiosity. A billboard that comes to your sight out of nowhere enters your attention unexpectedly and might bypass the resistance. Looking can be framed in countless ways or in no way. Any way imaginable, as long as looking gets done.

I haven't reached the level of conviction that would erase all doubts, and it might be one reason why I seek analysis and theories to dig into looking. They don't prove anything, but if an explanation on something makes sense, and the better it explains a wide variety of things around you, you've gained some. I'm the kind of person who's never completely sure about pretty much anything, but perhaps completeness is not required.

"just seeing the suggestion...could cause people to take a look...the bare act is all of it...[with] no need even to link it with any results" is John Sherman's comment about just one look. It cannot be stated more simply. After looking at me you are left with your life. Ain't it grand even when it is painful or not.

Is it possible that sharing this is so difficult because it involves the mind? Has anyone painted what they feel they look like? It's funny sort of, more and more I notice that people aren't listening to anything or anyone all that much. I was right there with them and never really knew it.

Is it possible that sharing this is so difficult because it involves the mind? Has anyone painted what they feel they look like? It's funny sort of, more and more I notice that people aren't listening to anything or anyone all that much. I was right there with them and never really knew it.

 

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