Case Studies

John Z. was a very intelligent child who early on learned that a ruling class needs to keep its base in submission by feeding them confusing lies. When he entered analysis at age 30 he was a semi-successful businessman, but his frustration with friends and partners was beginning to put stumbling blocks in the way of further progress toward his goal of total transformation.

Early on in the consultation it became clear that John Z. had great potential for integrating the disparate figures in his preconscious. It was revealed that he had during adolescence learned the value of persuasion, since he had managed to convince his parents to quit their church and instead donate their money to themselves. He reported telling his mother that, “It doesn’t make you feel any better, mom, and it costs you money that you might as well use on yourself.” Apparently the sheer bulk of people who needed convincing had stunned him into a psychic catatonia, and he lost touch with the early learning that promised strategic goals that admitted of implementation.

“I want a world where there aren’t any more Mormons coming to my door and prostrating themselves at the feet of a massive delusion,” John Z. told me. “I want the moonies to go to the airport with bombs instead of flowers, I want Khomeini to quit quoting the Koran, I want the headlines to say that the Pope is dead of Toxic Shock Syndrome. I want the churches to fall into disuse and disrepair, and I want people to quit telling me to render unto Caesar.”

His co-workers, it seemed, were leaving Bibles in his desk and Norman Vincent Peale quotes under the windshield of his car. Resolution of the conflict was aided in that rigorous anti-authoritarians like John Z. tend to establish transferences.

I prescribed several books and tapes, and held meetings with a number of anarchists, inviting John Z. to attend. Through discussion, John Z. had the observation that those who hate god need him as much as those who profess to love or fear gods. “Really, who cares?” he asked. “The whole ontological dispute doesn’t make a bit of difference for our lives.” We discovered a model for a project, seeing that active attack usually strengthens the resolve of religious fanatics, and proceeded to flesh out a theory of indirect ridicule. “Much like a bacteria that recuperates from anti-bodies and turns them to its own use,” I pointed out, “virulent attacks on the flower of the rottenness will make it bloom. We must seek to ‘poison’ the ‘agar agar’ of fanaticism, as it were, to turn the unconverted masses against the liars.”

“Why, yes!” said John Z. “I’ll never get anywhere shooting at something that lives on lead; the best thing I can do is withdraw my support, my habit of legitimizing them by providing them with a counter-foil. Then I can pursue their destruction by urging others to do the same!”

When I last heard from John Z. he was still engaged in his project of worldwide revolution, and reasonably satisfied with his progress. My efforts, linked with his, to bring more people toward individuation, offers us a sustaining objective, and daily we see more evidence that conditions are ripe for destruction of the old order.



Bob B. came to my door one day understandably obsessed with the supercession of the organization of production. From youth onward he had correctly perceived the problem of hierarchy and class society and its relationship to the totalitarian nature of modern industrial commodity economies.

“Death on roller skates!” he cried out, “They purchase atom bombs for Christmas presents! They steal your dreams and try to sell them back to you! And every single force apparently lined up in opposition is guilty of rank complicity! They distract us with circuses, and the only thing left when the image fades is a sour taste in our mouths!”

Further investigation revealed that Bob B. was quite well aware of the exigencies of the spectacle, and informed in the particulars of commodity production. “They have to organize scarcity so that we’ll continue to buy their vile pretties. Productive forces are sufficient to provide us with the bare necessities and allow us room for play, but they hire a million different breeds of cop to police the empire and prevent us from rising up and seizing our lives, from repossessing our mortgaged souls! We’re all billionaires, but they throw us in jail if we want to quit being slaves!”

This case provided special difficulties in that success in any terms depended to some extent on the participation of a number of others; this was further complicated by the realization that any scheme to elicit such participation is imperiled by the tendency for oppositional groupings to assume hierarchical characteristics and to devolve into their presumed enemies; to become, in a word, just another coven of cops.

I reminded him that Fritz Perls let the cat out of the bag when he admitted that individual health was contingent to a great extent on external conditions, and he concurred, offering that Freud’s milquetoast call for the transformation of despair into mere garden variety unhappiness was necessary but insufficient. “How will it be,” he asked, “with kingdoms and with kings, when whirlwinds of rebellion shake all shores? Do they think that we’ll stand for a reduction of our misery? They’re going to get wiped out so thoroughly that quantum leaps will seem like slow motion!”

I prescribed frequent doses of beer and told Bob B. that should he continue with his project he would likely start seeing more favorable results soon. The decay of international capital, we agreed, was bringing on a crisis of astounding proportions, and it was only a matter of time before those previously mentioned others would be joining him on his quest.



Doug S. felt stifled and insulted from the day he was born. An artist and esthete by nature (though certainly no dilettante), he complained that “This culture is dead,” and “the pap they feed us wouldn’t nourish a beriberi baby.” His early works, an attempt to rectify the situation by filling the void, were suppressed and crowded out by the pervasive junk; this later led to his expulsion from an art factory that he had infiltrated. Especially intrigued by the qualities of other cheap and offhand artworks that had been similarly persecuted, he set about weaving the disparate threads into a comprehensive whole, proposing to revolutionize the art world by exposing the Conspiracy.

He and several like minded fellows had spent some time prior to the consultation involved in this project, and were seeing some measure of success. But Doug S. was stymied. “We aren’t having the impact we thought we’d have,” he complained. “Everywhere our attempt to pull the covers off the lie have been taken as more false works. They pretend that my project is yet another cutesy color-coordinated Miro painting to mesh with the decor in your living room.”

His project, a church/ideology faith whose tenets simply cannot be transcribed here, struck a chord with me, and appeared to be effective within the limits placed on such works by the reigning powers. But the violent critique of everyday life that it offered internally was being passed off by stylish adherents who used it to gain laughs at cocktail parties, and worse, few of them were sending money. Doug S. was literally starving with his wife and children, trying to supercede modern culture while trapped inside it.

I contributed my efforts as best I could to his project and encouraged him to continue, with more ferocious and unrecuperable (“hard-core”) being played up if possible. In other words, for a parody to be successful, it must be rigorous, I pointed out. A religion must promote its money lust to the utmost; a work of art must not fail to be the cheapest looking, sloppiest piece of unthought-out junk possible. And all skill must be marshalled to invent more and more specious and spurious bullshit to support such art in terms of theory.

At last contact, Doug S. was continuing bravely, and is expected to. To some extent he has not resolved the conflict between participating in art and attempting to expose it; however, in time we are likely to see that his effort has weakened the stranglehold that the art empire holds on us.


DokTor Gerry ETC, HPU
18 June 1982
Box 1972, Casper, WY 82602

Originally appeared in Inside Joke #13

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