Put the “past where it belongs”

No, it is worse. It is located in the future.

Featuring — Putting the Past Where It Belongs Tech

Consider the following true story:

I’ve been afraid of others lately and putting them down. For example, the cute Vietnamese girl from Bikram. After class, while getting into my car in the garage, I yelled, “See you next week!”

She responded to my terrified friendliness by making the bad-smell/confusion face. To that I responded by getting angry and making the fake-smile face. The thing I hate most about American female automatons, the fake-smile face—I did. That’s when I knew it was time to sit down.

Revelation: I have been doing weird shit lately. And people see my weird behavior as a sign that I’m uncomfortable with them and that I don’t like myself. And they’re right.

To the extent that I have been aware of my weird behavior—aware that I feel compelled to do and say things that turn other people off and do not produce the desired results—I have blamed it on others. I think,

I act so fucked up because other people are superficial and don’t get me.

And this is based on my assumption that they will not like me.

And this is based on my belief that I do not deserve being liked.

And this is based on some past incident.

This whole way of thinking is SOP in Western therapy and self-help. You take some recent upset, produced by some dysfunctional reaction, and “solve” it by going “up the chain” of the past until you find its earliest instance. Then you relive that first instance in a state of equanimity and, if you do right, the reaction stops repeating—it stays in the past.

This theory is most likely bullshit but it’s intelligible and a fit candidate for being a placebo insight. Let’s run with it:

Putting the Past Where It Belongs Tech

The fears you feel now may be restimulated automaticities from some past incident. Or this could be bullshit—you could be upset because you drank too much coffee. But blaming it on the past is actually a good idea, because the past is absent.

It’s like saying, “I do behavior X because the cause of behavior X is absent.” Putting the past in the past is the same as annihilating it. When possible, do the Sci-Mark practice of finding the earliest incident where the bad feeling and accompanying decision arose.

Incident is a Scientology term that means past traumatic episode. Like any experience, an incident is composed of two layers—the somatic (painful feelings and emotions) and the perceptic (environmental stimuli that you cognize objectively, like colors and odors). Due to biological economy, the organism records both layers together. If a similar perceptive arises in the future, the painful somatic will also arise—that is, you’ll become upset and start acting stupidly automatically, a puppet of reaction. This helps keep the organism away from dangerous environments

To this model Landmark adds the notion of decision. In addition to the somatic and perceptic, you also made a decision. You asserted a statement in the form of, “I am ___.” So future matching perceptics will not only restimulate the somatic, but also the decision, which is a cognitive self-identity statement.

The Sci-Mark Tech to make future restimulation impossible is abreaction. The method is to recall and relive as fully as possible all the perceptic information from the earliest incident (where that particular flavor of pain and accompanying identity statement arose). You do this repeatedly under the premise that increasing archeological knowledge will make you less and less enslaved. Studies show that abreaction is not (or even counter-) effective. Don’t think about this fact. Let the ontology of the model—the placebo insight—do all the work for you. Tell yourself, “The past is gone. I am free now.” Let your compulsions be as gone as the past that sustains them.

UPDATE: They found out seven years ago that abreaction helps, but only if it is concrete. Check is out here:


Concrete abreaction helps

Watkins, Edward R., Baeyens, C. B. & Read, R. (2009). Concreteness training reduces dysphoria: proof-of-principle for repeated cognitive bias modification in depression.