AN EXPLOSIVE NEW INTERVIEW WITH JACK TRUE
FEBRUARY 22, 2011. Over the years, I’ve had many requests to publish further interviews with my late friend, hypnotherapist Jack True. I’ve assembled another interview here, from my notes.
What strikes me about all the interviews I did with Jack…he takes his time. He doesn’t feel pressed to make a few points and stop. He not only has a generosity of spirit, but of language, too. It seems, these days, people want quicker and quicker messages. They have less patience. It’s too bad. But I’m certainly not going to cut down things to fit the present mold. Jack deserves all the space I can give him.
In the late 1980s and early 90s, Jack and I had many conversations. He was, I believe, the most innovative hypnotist who ever walked the face of the Earth. Yet, he eventually gave up traditional hypnotism for other methods which he felt would better serve people.
The following conversation took place in the spring of 1988, just prior to publication of my first book, AIDS INC. Jack was instrumental in that project, along several fronts. And just after the book appeared in print, in his typically mysterious way, he told me the book was on a plane, in a diplomatic pouch, to the USSR, where, he said, people “will be very interested in your findings.”
The following interview (which is not about AIDS INC.) focuses on magic and the means to attain it.
Q (Rappoport): Do you think people are becoming more superficial?
A (Jack True): Not only that, they’re becoming cartoons of themselves. But thankfully, there are still some of us who can think.
Q: What do you mean, cartoons?
A: They assess their supposed strengths, and they carve themselves down to fit a desire for success. This leaves them in a strange place, like a bright penny lying in the street. For a second it looks good, but then you realize it’s only a penny. This is how you get a personality shift. A person fastens on to one idea about themselves or the world, and then he sculpts himself to fit that idea. Then everything goes to hell.
Q: Because he becomes terminally bored.
A: Not at first, but eventually, yes. The key to all movements and groups of any kind…a person joins up, feels a thrill of newness—and then up the road realizes dimly something is missing. (laughs) What’s missing is a significant part of himself! It’s fabulous joke when you think about it. A self-performed lobotomy.
Q: Done to attain success.
A: Broadly speaking, yes. And you’re right, boredom is the outcome. But not ordinary boredom. A deep cloud of nothing. A cloud that wraps a person up in non-creativity. It’s like a hypnotic state, in which the patient is sitting there, hoping for a suggestion that will change his life. But it never comes. It’s quiet. Nothing happens.
Q: People have to decide what they really want.
A: But you see, how can they decide when they’re only half themselves, when they’re cut off from the bulk of what they are? It’s a pickle. It’s like trying to drive a very fast car with your knees, or with your eyes closed. Self cut off from self. People parading around like caricatures of what they are. It’s the Disney dream come true.
Q: In the old Disney version, the fantasy is very narrow. It’s a very narrow road.
A: Or here is my analogy. It’s like a performer with no audience.
Q: Why do you say that?
A: You can look at this in one of two ways. You can say we are all the audience now, or you can say there is no audience. Because audiences have been trained to react like dogs. They hear certain bells, and they drool. Is that a real response? No, the point is to break through all that and come out on the other side.
Q: And that’s done how?
A: That’s a secret.
A: It’s a secret. Every person who wants to has to find out for himself. There is no other way. Do you see?
Q: There is no system.
A: Exactly. Systems are sold to prevent breakthroughs from happening. That’s why they’re so popular.
Q: “Here, buy this system and you’ll fail for sure.”
A: Yeah. But the package looks nice. Isn’t it great? People don’t open the package because they were only buying the package and the idea that they could be a winner.
Q: Tell me what you mean by breakthrough.
A: You find lost parts of yourself. You stop repeating yourself over and over. You stop being so gentle about everything. You know. “Be nice and you’ll get a gold star.” Be nice and you’ll get psychically dead. This gold-star crap is a form of behavior modification. Try this sometime. Tell people they should become spontaneous. Tell a lot of people. Watch what happens. Nothing happens. Because most people don’t even have an inkling about what you mean.
Q: Why don’t they?
A: Because they’ve programmed themselves to ignore that whole area. They’ve built a wall.
Q: They’ve done this consciously?
A: Yes. And then as time passes, they forget what they did.
Q: You’ve seen this with patients?
A: Of course. I’ve had patients remember what they did to themselves, as clearly as they remember walking down the street yesterday. It’s quite illuminating. They see it like a map, all laid out in front of them. But that doesn’t mean they’re suddenly free.
Q: Why not?
A: Because freedom is just opportunity. You actually have to do something to make freedom real. Removing brainwashing doesn’t result in a miracle. You have to eliminate the tendency to brainwash yourself again. And you do that by creating something you really desire.
Q: Desire is a tricky concept.
A: Sure. You get a person who makes a living picking lint off the boss’s suit. Then he un-brainwashes himself, and he says, “Now I’m going to pick the lint off with my left hand rather than my right. That’s my desire.” You see? Some people want that level of superficiality. I mean, that’s the only level they can see. They need wider experience. They need to live. They need all sorts of new experience, so they can find out something closer to their real desires. I’ve worked with patients who, even after a long time, show no evidence that they have deep desires. It’s rather astonishing. It can drive you to believe some humans are actually androids. (laughs)
Q: What do you think is going on there?
A: I have several answers. I’ll give you one. Some people are so thirsty for control coming from outside themselves—they want to conform so badly—they’ll opt for a whole slate of desires that are entirely synthetic. They sound synthetic and they look synthetic. It’s a form of conformity that runs very deep in them. They basically come into this life with that thirst. Nothing will deter them.
Q: Have you learned anything from these people?
A: Yes. Looking for the programming that causes them to function this way is a dead end. They’re inventing their own destiny as they go. They’re building the conformity, brick by brick.
Q: Dead art.
A: Dead on arrival. They’re inventing the whole charade. It made me look at the whole notion of programming from a new angle. You see, people are imagining reality and then responding to it. So I could put them in trance and then give them suggestions, but then they’d just start to imagine reality according to my guideposts. Do you see? I’d start them on a new path, but they’d be doing the same basic thing.
Q: How do you get around that?
A: It took me a long time to see it. You get them to invent all sorts of different realities. This isn’t as easy as it sounds. But the fundamental approach is valid. How do you wake a person up? You get him to do what he does while he’s asleep. You get him to sleep in many different ways. You go on and on with this, and eventually he’ll realize he’s asleep and he’ll start to wake up.
Q: This works with everybody?
A: No one thing works with everybody.
Q: I know you sometimes use a technique where you have people invent many dreams.
A: It’s one way to get a person to widen their scope. Invent a dream. A dream isn’t bound by time constraints or time patterns or location or plot line. You can have a dream where you’re shifting from place to place without apparent reason. It just happens.
Q: In physical reality, this doesn’t happen.
A: And that tells you something about physical reality. It’s only one form out of many possibilities. Just because it happens to be the form we live in, that doesn’t mean it’s the only way consciousness can operate.
Q: So we have art. An artist goes outside the background context.
A: And why should he want to do that? Because he’s frustrated by the constraints. He glimpses or sees other possibilities and he wants to express them. We could do a lot worse than write our own books of dreams.
Q: A lot of people wouldn’t be ready for that.
A: Well, a lot of people wouldn’t be ready for a free society, either. Does that mean the rest of us shouldn’t have one? What makes a person not ready is obsession. For instance, someone is fixated on having something. I mean really fixated. And in life, he can’t get it. He’s chaining himself inside all sorts of limitations, and yet at the same time he wants something that lies outside those self-imposed boundaries. So if he begins to invent or imagine all sorts of new possibilities for himself, he’s always going to do it so he can get that thing he so desperately wants.
Q: He keeps undermining himself, because he always brings it back to that thing he keeps obsessing about.
A: Yeah. It isn’t a pretty picture. He’s in too much of a hurry. He wants a billion dollars tomorrow. That’s his fixation. Or whatever it is. So when he opens up his imagination, he can’t really fall in love with that process—because he always thinks if he has more imagination and creativity, maybe he’ll get that billion dollars tomorrow. So his experience is one failure after another, because he has that desire to become Midas tomorrow. It’s an odd thing, but I’ve seen it. It’s one way people can stay immature for a very long time. They don’t really grow up. They’re in perpetual adolescence.
Q: On a larger scale, that seems to be happening to America.
A: More and more people believe they can be Midas tomorrow. And more and more people believe they can have political utopia tomorrow.
Q: The utopia turns out to be some version of collectivism.
A: I’ve had a people write their own books of dreams.
Q: How does that work?
A: It’s very simple. They just keep inventing dreams and writing them down. Do that for a year every day, and you’ll see some very interesting changes in your conception of reality. But you have to remain grounded at the same time. Because you are living in this world, in this form of reality. That’s the trick, to remain grounded.
Q: Almost sounds like you’re talking about a contradiction.
A: Almost, but not quite. An analogy. Yoga. You’re moving into different areas of consciousness, but you’re also doing strenuous physical work. One isn’t separate from the other. Or take this as an example. A person has an objective—and he can dream about it and see it fulfilled in the dream. The more this happens, over a period of time, the more power he actually has to make that desire come true in life. His psychic power becomes stronger. But he’s also working to make the desire come true. I mean real work. Get-your-hands- dirty work. Every day. The two aren’t completely separate.
Q: But there is magic.
A: Of course there’s magic! Behind every mask is a magic state of affairs. You can see it, you can feel it, but you also have to pursue it. Work and magic aren’t contradictory.
Q: What about this old statement—the world is just a stage.
A: Physical reality is a stage set. Just one. We’re slaves to that one way. And we tend to react like slaves when the door to the jail cell opens. We peek out, we take a few steps, and then we go back in. This is the joke. It’s a very big joke. If only more people could laugh at it. That would be progress. But we take it all so seriously. Even the part about escaping. We’re in a comedy, and we’re playing the part of tragic figures. It’s a bad fit.
Q: It’s like a debate with argument and counter-argument. It goes on and on.
A: Yes, that’s right. You remember Steppenwolf, the Hesse novel. Harry, the main character, is all wrapped up in his loneliness, his sense of exile. And Pablo, his guide, is brimming with good cheer and amusement. And the scene at the end, the cosmic laughter. It’s real, that laughter. It’s the exposure of the grand joke. You were living inside a jewel box, and you thought it was the whole universe. And then the lid comes up and you realize the truth, which you’ve always known, underneath all the tons of bullshit.
Q: What happens in hypnotism?
A: Essentially, you have an unspoken contract. The patient is saying, “I want to get out of the thing I’m in. So get me out. I’ll surrender myself to you. Get me out.” And the therapist is saying, “Follow my lead. Do what I say. And you’ll experience a shift that feels better than you’re feeling now. You’ll get out for a little while. You’ll feel that.” That’s what happens on one level. On another level, the patient is saying, “I want to believe. Make me believe something exciting.” The therapist says, “Okay, I will. I’ll make you believe the rules can be broken. I’ll show you they can.” So he puts the patient in a trance, where the patient is relaxed and receptive, and then he says, “That ankle of yours that’s sprained. It’s healing right now. It’s getting better.” And the patient believes what the therapist is telling him. He believes in the therapist. Strongly. And that belief puts him in a new reality where things can happen spontaneously. That belief surpasses the rules. And when the therapist brings him out of the trance, his ankle is better. The swelling is down. The pain has diminished.
Q: So why can’t that breaking of the rules become the new reality all the time?
A: Well, it can. But not because the patient has such a strong belief in the therapist. That would be unworkable as a permanent and forever fix.
Q: But if the patient, on his own, radically changed his beliefs?
A: Yes. That’s how magic comes about. The question is, does it happen in five seconds?
Q: You don’t think it does.
A: I think the patient—who is not a patient anymore—needs to find a vehicle to carry him forward. Well, the vehicle doesn’t do the work. The person does. But he uses a vehicle to help him.
Q: What kind of vehicle?
A: That question is like asking, “Is there one fingerprint we can all share?” And I would say no. Each person has to find such a vehicle for himself. It has to suit him. He might change vehicles a dozen times, as he goes. For example, for you it might be theater. You act. You write. You direct. I don’t know. I’m picking something out of a hat.
Q: And how long would I do that?
A: Now we’re going to get metaphysical. How long does it take a person to become a slave? How long until his own slavery, as real as it is, becomes entirely invisible to him? How long does it take for him to fully accept the rules of physical reality—this stage play we’re in? This is where we have to depart from the culture we’re living in. We have to talk about many lives, living many lives, reincarnation, and so forth.
Q: You’re saying it takes many lives to sink all the way down into the stage play we call reality, with no consciousness that there is something else—and therefore, it could take many lives to get out of it. To get to magic on a permanent basis.
A: Yeah. I know people don’t like to hear that. They want the glimpse of magic, the moment of magic they had on Tuesday to become permanent right now. They want that dream to take hold now and never leave. They want to levitate tonight and be able to levitate and hover and fly forever after that. So I say, sure, okay, why not? Are you ready to stop believing in the rules of the stage play altogether? Are you ready to move beyond that now? And are you also ready to be able to leave the stage play and come back to it whenever you want to—because, since you’re here in this stage play, it appears you have some attachment to it. It appears on some level that you want it. I’m not imposing limitations on anybody. I’m just reporting on the situation as I see it. What’s magic? Levitation, bi-location, invisibility, instantaneous shifting from one place to another, seeing the future, telepathy, changing shape, time travel, telekinesis…is that what magic is? Spontaneously projecting a thought and turning it into a reality in front of you and everybody else? This is what we all think magic is? Right? Okay, I agree. These are magical things. So how long does it take for a slave to get there, to leave this old reality behind? And then to come back and be here and live inside this stage play? Exit and enter? Anytime he wants to? Isn’t this what we mean by magic? So I’m saying magic is invention of new realities relative to this monolithic one. And you get there by inventing all sorts of new realities, on and on. You keep doing that, regardless of what you may feel. You keep on. And for that, you need a vehicle. And you keep on inventing realities that are close to what you desire. That’s what you do. You need a vehicle to do that. Maybe a better way of saying it is, you need a medium by which to express those new realities. Do you see?
Q: The traditional culture supposes that a person has to remove or de-condition limiting beliefs in order to make progress.
A: Yes, I know that. I know all about it.
A: And I haven’t found that to be true. First of all, many people get all wound up and tied up and encased in the method, whatever it is, of getting rid of limiting beliefs. They get snarled up in that. It becomes a habit. A crutch. And second, how do you really get rid of a limitation? You put a cow in a corral with a fence, and you leave him there for two years. That’s limiting, wouldn’t you say? Now you open the door. Is he supposed to stand there and think about how and why he’s become used to being inside the corral? Or is he supposed to walk out into the open field? He has to walk out. So it’s the same with this reality. But there is one big difference. We don’t see the open field. All we see is this reality. So we don’t just walk out of the corral. We wouldn’t know how or where to go. Instead, we invent different and new realities. Is that a little clearer now? We become inventors of new realities. And in doing that, we gain new power. And somewhere up the line, that power translates into magic. We can do magic.
Q: So, to invent different realities, you need a vehicle, a medium like paint or words. You don’t just sit their and ruminate.
A: Right. I knew a person who made maps of lands and countries that don’t exist. Hundreds of maps. An architect. After working with him for a while, I told him it was time for him to invent new realities by the ton. And he didn’t know how. I said to him, “You’re an architect! Make models. Make cities.” And he went off and thought about it and decided to create maps. From what I hear, he’s still going strong.
Q: By inventing realities, you eventually get to magic.
A: It isn’t hocus-pocus.
Q: People wish it was.
A: Yeah. I know. (laughs) Sorry to disappoint them.
Note: Some of the ideas in this interview came from Jack, and some came from him by way of me. Jack and I talked a great deal in the old days. A large amount of cross-fertilization occurred. I carry on this work today. If you’re interested, you can contact me at firstname.lastname@example.org