“… Look! (He pauses, and begins to smile)

If it’s just that you don’t know .. But you know that you don’t know .. Then that’s OK! …

Because, at the very worst, this means (as far as situations like these go at least) that you’re only an idiot … And … ‘worse case scenario’? … Well! … Some smart-ass might attempt to embarrass you  … But that’s all really …

And understand, there’s nothing intrinsically wrong with being an idiot … It’s just a Latin word that the Romans used for ‘the common man’; ‘the man in the street’, or ‘your average American’ … (He laughs, and flashes a broad smile – which quickly fades).

So then, what is the real problem … with what it is that you’ve been ‘up to’ during your time here? (Pause)

Well … I can tell you quite definitely that it was those various acts of yours … of deliberately lying to yourself … that separated you from reality in this particular way …. And as you can never be forced to lie to yourself, so then it’s you alone that has to take the full responsibility for any consequences that arose from those falsehoods that you freely chose to introduce into your life here … … (He pauses and then begins to frown)

And further, in this game, if you have deluded yourself into believing that you do actually know, and then you go around ‘putting it out there’, there’s a distinct possibility that some people here in this mad-house will start to believe that you really do know! … And that makes you stupid! …

And being stupid is not at all like being an idiot. …In fact, being stupid is a major problem … Because, in the wrong circumstances, behaving stupidly down here can be very, very, dangerous for all concerned … And, more to the point … especially for you! … …

But… if you have been ‘following me’ here at all in all this my friend, you should have figured out for yourself long before now that ‘the only real question in town’ you should be asking yourself is, “Just what is it … in this moment … right now … that I do need to know?” …(He pauses)

Now! … Surely that’s simple enough? … Even for you! …(He turns away, stares intently into the mirror and re-arranges his hair, before abruptly turning back and smiling broadly once again).

 … Eh?”

From, ‘Field-notes For Armageddon’, by Bob Hardy

Setting The Scene ….

Long before I had ever heard of Eugene Halliday, I was actively interested in many of the subjects that he wrote about in his numerous essays, or spoke of in the various recordings of his talks, and it will be from this perspective that I will be providing information in these postings (where necessary), about my relationship to Eugene Halliday’s archived material.

I consider this material to constitute the most important aspect of his creative output (or ‘body of work’), and I will be referring to it, throughout this blog, as his ‘Work’ …

What is the essential nature of this ‘Work’? … Well that, for the moment at least anyway, is the ‘Million Dollar Question’ …

In this first post, I will not be ‘starting at the beginning’ as it were, but rather at a point where I can write something immediately about my personal experiences vis-a-vis my interactions with this ‘Work’. In this particular instance, it will be my experience of listening, early on during the mid 1970’s, to one of his many recorded ‘talks’.

The first time that I attended one of Eugene Halliday’s talks ‘in person’ was sometime during the late 1970’s. This was at ‘Parklands’, a large, late nineteenth century house located in Bowden, a village that now forms part of the Greater Manchester area of South Cheshire. It is situated some thirty-five or so miles from Wallasey, Merseyside, which was where I was then living with my wife and two small children, having moved there a few years earlier from Liverpool (where I was born, in 1943) and had indeed lived for much of the first 30 or so years of my life.

My initial reaction to Eugene Halliday’s ideas – which I was introduced to in the form of copies of his essays, and recordings of his talks – took place a few years before I heard him actually speak ‘in the flesh’. And it was during this initial period that I quickly formed the distinct impression that here was someone who appeared to be attempting to provide answers to many of those questions that I was really interested in; to a significant number of questions that I had not yet clearly formulated; and also to questions that I’m sure I would never have ever thought of!

I trust you can see then, at least from the point of view of my experiences here, why I quickly came to the conclusion that Eugene Halliday was a truly remarkable human being, and indeed I still do believe this to be the case. But I must make it clear here, that I have never viewed him (or any other human being for that matter) as anything more than this.

So, what was I experiencing when I listened to a recording of one of Eugene Halliday’s talks during this initial period? Well, it wasn’t like I had magically found ‘the answers’ to all  of my questions, and that now all I had to do was, ‘glance over The Master’s shoulder’ while he waffled away, ticking the preferred ‘answer/idea-box’ of my choice at my leisure, as it were.

Rather, my experience when listening to one of these recorded talks was more like this:

“… Wow! … That’s great! … …. …. Oh! .. I didn’t really understand that bit – but never mind! … … Interesting! … … … My! I’d never have even thought of THAT (but it’s obvious now that he’s pointed it out and you look at it from this point of view)… …Mmm! – Now that’s good! … … Oh! I didn’t really understand that bit (so I’ll come back to it later)… Yes! … I like that! … … … Now I must try to remember THAT bit! … … … “

[Repeat some, or all, of these reactions – or something very like them – for the duration of the tape].

It took me a (very) long time to realize that I was passively experiencing a series of transient random emotional affects, ranging from delight to puzzlement, rather than being actively involved in the growth of any developmental concept(s) that resulted from working with some particular pattern of ideas that I had perceived were contained in these recordings. … To put it another way, most of the time during this initial period, I now see that I was being ‘excited’, rather than ‘informed’.

Having (eventually) realized what was going on here, I then had to attempt to distill any practical possibilities that I intuited were contained in these ideas; jettison all the fantasizing that had been going on (by admiting that much of what I intuited, while ‘true,’ as far as I could understand at least, was not for me – at that specific period of my life anyway); and then proceed to the far more difficult stage of actually doing some ‘Work’ here myself.

I should point out that this reaction of mine, even during this relatively early stage of attempting to engage with Eugene Halliday’s spoken material, was not at all like the reaction I experienced when studying his essays. Here, I was much more able to engage with the subject material, and indeed found it relatively easy to follow his ‘train of thought’. However, although it was somewhat easier to grasp ‘the bigger picture’ in this written format, I was, more often than not, simply overwhelmed! … And also, although practical involvement with any concepts that I took from these written ideas were, as a consequence, much easier to formulate per se, being invariably more complex, they were usually far too difficult to implement!

This situation, which was to continue by and large until 1984, was further complicated by the fact that the overwhelming majority of those others I was meeting with who claimed that they were ‘working with Eugene Halliday’s ideas’ (if I can put it that way), and who then went on to describe their various experiences here, did not appear to me to be having anything remotely like the experiences that I was having; and also, that the various accounts of any interpretation offered by them of these ideas during this time – while often fascinating to me (but not, I think, for the reasons they imagined) – were more often than not, essentially incomprehensible – as far as I was concerned at least.

From 1984 to 1995, I worked almost exclusively outside the UK, and as a consequence, my wife and I lived in Germany for the whole of this period. We returned to the UK (and our home in Wallasey) in early 1995.

This ten year period turned out to be something of a hiatus for me, as it provided me with an ideal ‘contemplative space’ to consider at length what the previous ten years or so might have been all about – particularly where it concerned my perception of myself, and what it was that I had been doing; my perception of others, and what it was that they had been doing; and my perception of what the true nature of ‘Work’ might be for me. Indeed, I began to realize during this period that it would only be possible for me to (finally) begin the task of actually ‘Working’ myself, after I had sorted these problems  out  …

To be continued…

Bob Hardy

March, 2012.

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