Dear Richard

A few useful ideas for you to think about. The business of living and getting on with people is one we can manage better if we have a good rule to go by. One very good rule is Julius Cesars favourite: Divide and conquer. It is also the favourite of a lot of other world-beaters.

Divide means analyse, that is, loosen one thing from another so that each thing can be seen for what it is. Analysis of any thing, idea, event or situation makes clear what is involved in it.

In the case of a human being analysis shows us that inside him he has three basic activities, Feeling, Willing and Thinking ( Psychology call these Affection, Conation and Cognition, but we do not need to use the psychological terms.)

If we understand these three basic functions, we can simplify our lives very much.
Feeling is simply liking and disliking. When we like anything we tend to move towards it. When we dislike a thing we tend to move away from it. If we like chocolate, and we are not already full of it, we tend to eat it. If we dislike being shouted at or hit, we tend to move away from it. This tendency to move towards the thing we like and away from the thing we dislike is called a taxism. A taxism is a tendency to move towards or away from anything. If the movement is towards the thing it is called a positive taxism. If the movement is away from the thing it is called a negative taxism. There are only two kinds of feelings: positive towards feelings and negative away from feelings.

Willing is simply energizing the body into action, wholly or partially. We can will to go for a walk , or will to paint a picture, or will to sing a song, or will to consider an idea, or will to go to sleep.

Thinking is the making of ideas in the mind and arranging them on lines or patterns. When we arrange ideas on a line we call this linear thinking, if we think of a lot of beads on a string and consider one bead after another as connected on the string we are thinking in a linear way. If we visualise an object like a chess-board we are doing pattern thinking of a simple kind. When we think of a series of events in time or space as if we came to each event after a certain amount of space or time, we are doing serial thinking. To think in series is to think seriously and serially.

Now, all we have to do to solve our problems is to feel sensitively, will strongly, and think clearly. Observe that these three are intimately related. We have to will to feel sensitively and will to think clearly. We have to feel sensitively to know how strongly to will, and to feel sensitively to be able to find exactly which idea to choose for the purpose in mind. We have to think clearly to know what to will, and to separate ideas for our feeling to evaluate.

Really this is not as complicated as it sounds. All we have to do is think clearly, feel sensitively and will strongly. We think to define what we are willing to do. We feel to assess how strongly to will. We will to do what our thinking and feeling indicate to be worth doing.

To think clearly we just look at the form or shape of a thing and define what it is to do, what it is designed for, what it can be used for, where it fits in with other things.

To feel sensitively is simply to examine each thing, event, or relation , in terms of liking and disliking. It is most important for us to refer to liking and disliking whenever we have to decide any course of action. Only when and where we know our likes and dislikes in full can we really gain unity of being and happiness

To will strongly is to energise our mind and body and put them into action. To do this we must first think clearly and feel sensitively about the nature of will and feeling and thinking. The more familiar we are with these processes the more easily we may solve our problems.
In every situation there is something to think about, something to feel about, something to will into action. We must remember that we can will to think, will to feel, or will into action with the body. We can also feel the like and dislike of our ideas and actions.
Just as in ourselves we have these processes, so they occur also in others. Other persons also think, feel, and will. And they don’t always think, feel and will in the same way we do. We can’t make them do so (unless we learn how to persuade), so we just have to accept the differences between them and ourselves.
Once we have accepted the differences between people we can begin to deal better with them. Until we accept the differences we cannot deal better with them. We are surrounded with people, some like us some very different from us. We have to learn how to deal with them all.
Young people have to deal with other young people, with older people, with boys and men, women and girls. Each person has to be dealt with in a slightly different way. Old people have to deal with other old people, and with young people, males and females. All are different in certain ways. All are similar in certain ways.
The way people are similar is their general preference for pleasure over pain, for comfort over discomfort. This is very important. If we find out what a person likes and dislikes we can relate to them intelligently. If we want to make friends with him we say nice things about the things he likes and avoiding discussing the dislikes.
If we find out what a person likes and dislikes we can relate to him intelligently. If we want to make friends with him, we can say nice things about the things he likes and avoid discussing the dislikes. We must remember that most of the likes and dislikes people have are matters of opinion only. We do not insist on people letting go of their opinions and accepting ours. It is far more diplomatic to let them have their own views in every case where doing so will not actually impede what we consider essential to be done.We can afford to give up everything except the essential. This way by little sacrifices, we can make big gains in friendship and cooperation.
Most people are tender about one thing or another. To discover their tender points and not strike at them is very important. If you injure someone by actions or words, you make them to some degree into an enemy. If you please them you make a friend.
Most people don’t think as clearly as they might, don’t feel as sensitively as they might. They can’t help their basic temperament , because they didn’t create themselves from the beginning. They began as babies and had to depend on their educators for their general view of life, and their basic behaviour patterns. Because of this it is better for us to make allowances for them when they do silly things, or apparently cruel or spiteful things – and it is kinder.
The more we can make allowances for the actions of other people the better we will get on with them, and they with us. It’s all a question of getting the right view of things. When we get this we find ourselves beginning to relax, to feel better, to have more concentration and easier understanding of anything we have to tackle.
Write to me when you have a moment,
Eugene Halliday.