WAS TOO MUCH FOR HER:
SHE COULDN'T STAND
BEING WITH THOSE
AND CRABBY PEOPLE.
THAT KEEP US FROM
LAUGHING AND FEELING GOOD
I suggest to you some little experiments... All you need is a few
minutes. I don't expect you to believe what I say. But if you try
these experiments, you will feel a few physiological reactions in
your body and mind right away. This is the big news of this book.
it possible to change by laughing? (a small digression on method
The world is full of people who offer you a better future...
but in return, however, they ask you to adhere to a faith or
ideology, to believe in them, to make sacrifices, to be disciplined
and to suffer. The philosophy of laughter refutes all this.
It's not possible to improve your life by doing something that
you don't love to do.
Saying this, I don't want to deny that life has its difficulties.
But it's one thing to shovel away your horse's shit because you
love him and you want his stable to be clean. It's another thing
to shovel away shit because someone pays you, and you work to buy
a gun so that you can shoot all horses.
have nothing against discipline. I love discipline provided that
it is pleasant and joyful. I spend at least four hours a day writing
and drawing. It's an example of discipline, a discipline that I
can't give up. I like it too much. Yes. It can be done! Our suffering
isn't due to horrible vices that have to be hammered out of us.
No. Mankind suffers as a result of ignorance, misunderstanding and
have given us the wrong information.
If this mistaken information is discovered and corrected, our
entire behaviour will change automatically. No unpleasant discipline
It's a matter of introducing new ideas into the brain. This is an
exciting activity. You discover the pleasure of broadening your
Knowledge. The charge is simple and immediate. Because simple ideas
are easy to understand, and as soon as you understand them, the
whole situation will seem immediately and radically different.
Something like this might already have happened to you. When you
solve a riddle, when you find an imaginative solution to get out
of a jam... It is like adding salt to your vegetables. All the flavours
remain the same, but each is sharper.
You have to position better and feel better the individual elements
that make up a scene. Nothing is really new there, but suddenly
everything is different.
Your point of view has changed. An element that you wouldn't have
considered before has now assumed its true importance and the whole
takes on a different meaning. Some might doubt that to change profoundly
is so easy. Yet, it is really simple.
Life make us change continuously. Not to change is truly impossible.
Everyone changes. The difficulty lies in making change follow new
forms, new fractals 1 that make us get out of the rut of habitual
It's the small steps approach.
To start off by aiming at slight changes, which then set in motion
a process of modification. Like forms, fractals, that gradually
expand, giving life to new forms.
experiments that I suggest in the following pages are like this.
Small changes in seven points of view on seven central questions
in our system of judgement. If you make these experiences your own,
you will have activated a process that will lead you naturally,
without effort and often providing occasions for fun and laughter,
to lazily revolutionize your life.
Incredible? You will judge for yourself. In truth this book won't
really do anything special. If you are reading it, if you understand
its language and its rhythm, it is because all these ideas have
already matured within you. After all, one can never communicate
anything that is really new... This book is only a tool that you
can use, if you want, to reorganize more efficiently concepts and
experiences that you have already acquired.
conclude, I want to make clear that in fact this idea of profound
and rapid change isn't mine. Starting in the 70s, various groups
of brilliant psychologists began to doubt the effectoveness of
psychotherapy that goes on and on for years.
Watzlawick collected his revolutionary ideas in his books The
Situation is Hopeless but not Serious (The Pursuit of Unhappiness)
- very funny - and Change (written with Weakland and Fisch).
Bandler wrote Using Your Brain for a Change.
To better explain this approach, here is how Bandler dealt with
the situation of a little boy who was seriously traumatized because,
while he was playing in a sheaf of hay, he grabbed a handful of
it that had a little snake inside. The little boy's fright was such
that he was unable to sleep and had difficulty eating. Bandler had
the little boy tell him the story, and at once he exclaimed: "So
that's who that little boy was! Do you know that a little snake
was just here, and he told me he was really scared because while
he was playing in a sheaf of hay, a big huge monster grabbed him,
screamed in his face and threw him very far away?"
The little boy's eyes opened wide and he burst out laughing.
C U R E D
Bandler, again in his book Using Your Brain for a Change,
tells how he "deactivated" an authoritarian father who
dragged his rebellious teenage daughter to his office "in order
to cure her". But it was the father who needed a cure. Bandler
sees him enter his office full of fury pulling the girl by the arm,
and he asks him, "Is there something wrong?"
The father answers: "This girl is a little slut!"
"I don't need a slut; why did you bring her?"
is an interruption worthy of the name. This kind of initial remark
is my favourite; with a remark like this, you can really throw someone
for a loop. If immediately afterwards you ask him any type of question
whatsoever, he will no longer be able to pick up again where he
"No, no! That's not what I wanted to say..."
"Who is this girl?"
"You forced your daughter into prostitution!!!"
"No, no! You don't understand..."
"And you brought her here to me! How disgusting!"
"No, no, no! You misunderstood me."
This man, who had entered screaming and growling, is now begging
me to understand him. He has completely changed his perspective:
now he is no longer reviling his daughter, instead he is defending
himself. Meanwhile, his daughter is laughing like crazy inside.
She finds the scene extremely amusing.
"Well, what do you want me to do then? Want do you want?"
"He then begins to explain to me what he wanted. When he is
finished, I say, "You brought her here twisting her arm behind
her back, pushing about. This is exactly the way prostitutes are
treated; this is what you are teaching her to do."
"Well, I want to force her to..."
"Oh, 'force her'... teach her that men control women, slamming
them about here and there, ordering them around with a stick, twisting
their arm behind their back and forcing them to do things they don't
want to do. This is what pimps do. All you have to do now is to
ask her for the money in return."
"No, that's not what I'm doing. It's her, she's sleeping with
"Did she ask for money?"
"Does she love him?"
"She is too young to be able to love."
"Hasn't she loved you, her father, since she was a little girl?"
This is what brings on the image of her as a little girl seated
on her father's knees. With such an image, you can get the upper
hand over any authoritarian father.
"Allow me to ask you a question. Look at your daughter... Don't
you want her to experience the feeling of love, and to experience
sexual behaviour as something pleasant? Today's morals are not what
they once were and you have the right to disagree with them. But
would you perhaps like that the only way in which your daughter
learns how to behave with men be the same way in which you behaved
with her when you brought her into this room a minute ago? And for
her to wait until she is twenty-five years old so that she can marry
someone who beats her, throws her about, mistreats her and forces
her to do what she doesn't want to do?"
this point, the father doesn't know what to think anymore, and so
it is the moment to hit hard. You look at him straight in the eye
and you say to him,
"Isn't it perhaps better that your daughter learns to have
loving relationships... instead of learning to accept the morality
of the first man capable of forcing her to do what he wants? That's
just what pimps do."
Try to find a way out. There isn't one. His brain no longer had
a way of going back to the starting point. And he could no longer
behave like a pimp. It doesn't matter if what you force someone
to do or not do is either "good" or "bad". It
is the very fact that you are forcing them that instills in them
the habit of being controlled in some way.
this point, the authoritarian father no longer knows what to
do. He stopped doing what he was doing at first, but he doesn't
have anything to replace it with. I have to suggest something
for him to do. He could, for example, teach his daughter the
way in which a man should behave toward a woman.
Because then, if his daughter's relationship with her boyfriend
is unsatisfactory, she can break it off. I have got the upper hand.
Do you know what that means? Now he must construct a solid and positive
relationship with his wife, and be kind to other members of his
family, and behave in such a way that his daughter is better off
with them than with that character that is hanging around her. What
do you think of this type of coercion?
It seems like an excellent procedure to me. Good. And now let's
get to the heart of our discussion.