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Table of Figures. 5

What is Psychology?. 7

Part One: Transactional Analysis. 7

Parent, Adult, Child. 8

Transactional Analysis. 9

Transactions. 14

Part Two: Transactional Synthesis. 21

Ratios. 21

Common Sense. 26

Introduction. 26

Transactional Analysis. 36

Typing the Individual 42

The Taxonomy of Characteristics. 51

Pride Vs. Humility. 52

... And Kindness. 58

Characteristic Assignment 62

Typing the Actor 68

Component Ratios. 74

Typing the Author 81

Transactional Synthesis. 90

Sex And Gender 92

Typing the Role. 93

The Domain of Work. 96

The Domain of Play. 104

The Domain of Adventure. 112

Transactions. 125

Introduction. 125

Overlapping Transactions I: Balanced (Touching) 131

Overlapping Transactions II: Unbalanced (Inapposite) 135

Complementary Transactions: Moving.. 140

Games, Rites And Scripts. 141

Conclusion. 146

Hollywood.. 156

Film Part1: the US. 156

Casting. 160

Conscience. 170

Film Part II: the US. 171

Consciences. 177

Film Part III: the UK.. 178

Appendix One. 184

Seven Deadly Sins. 184


Shallow Transactions. 186


Actor’s Typing. 187


Table of Figures


Figure 1: Transactional Analysis. 36

Figure 2: Mapping from three spatial axes of x, y, z to three abstract axes. 37

Figure 3: Looking inward. Mapping to three abstract  internal axes. 38

Figure 4: Within the mind we see the white light of conscience concentric to the mind of the individual as well as to the mind of Humanity. 39

Figure 5: The mind starts to take on Character. 40

Figure 6: The mature diagram shows the three axes of mind for the individual and all society, extending through the unconscious and into the conscience. 42

Figure 7: One avenue of further investigation:, by subgrouping the characteristics. 45

Figure 8: A second avenue of further investigation: 45

Figure 9: Reactions to the world vary in importance but just as clearly also vary by type. 48

Figure 10: Key events are common to many people’s. 49

Figure 11: Principles of Psychology both raise and address principles of Philosophy. 62

Figure 12: Professor Eysenck mapped four dimensions to the ancient theory of humours. 63

Figure 13: In three stages, we can divide, compare and contrast using the principles of a) three divisions, b) paired opposites and finally c) three gradations. 65

Figure 14: Overlapping three sets gives us the shaded areas each of which is not one of the three given sets. 66

Figure 15: A pleasing result indicates we are at the right place on the path but does not indicate a particular way forward. 67

Figure 16: Two ways of viewing two dimensions seems like four dimensions (and four people-types) when it is really only three. 67

Figure 17: The paradox of the expression of ‘self’: is it the person or the persona?. 73

Figure 18: Two alternatives, shown bottom and middle, to represent different personality types, from top. 75

Figure 19: Three examples, showing the problem of PAC. Some might say the father is greater than the entrepreneur, not lesser. 78

Figure 20: Consideration of the PAC-type will always show us where the quality lies in our diagrams. 80

Figure 21: Two ways of viewing two dimensions seems like four dimensions (and four people-types) when it is really only three. 88

Figure 22: In thought, movement is the norm not the exception. 90

Figure 23: Men and women think differently though they are not different. 92

Figure 24: Men and women are oriented toward each other even moreso than toward God, or themselves. 92

Figure 25: Extending the perimeter cannot be done physically, so should be done meta-physically. 95

But there is still a problem with the 6:4:2 which throws theory into question. I cannot easily draw it. It is that 4 component. You will see what I mean if I draw the ratio (see Figure 26). 96

Figure 27: No single representation of the 6:4:2 configuration seems to be natural. 97

Figure 28: Three dimensions of PAC explored through shape and a different three dimensions of colour (shown in black-and-white). 107

Figure 29: Introducing a diagram earlier in time, before type gets established. 112

Now I can put this together with Figure 29, the new type of diagram, which will give me the first usage of the new diagram, as a starting point, below (see figure 30). 113

Figure 31: Holding a point of view all the time, in all circumstances, is not easy. Sometimes it is easier to see the opposite point of view. 114

Figure 32: A position which is depressing at the time (shown by the dotted circle) reaps its rewards in the future (shown by the smaller circle) 115

Figure 33: The well-adjusted individual contrasts with the individual who maintains a view which may not be in their own interest – for good or ill. 117

Figure 34: The transaction that is too commonplace can become a cliché, as with the womanising politician. 126

Figure 35: Two further types of transactions, so commonplace as to fall into the class of cliché, are those relating to the artist and the scientist. 126

Figure 36: Thinking within the mind produces internal transactions. 127

Figure 37: An overlap may be the best way to represent the subordinate/ superior relationship from both ways of looking at it. 134

Figure 38: The three types of transaction: co-operative, competitive and complementary. (Size differences used only for convenience of illustration). 135

Figure 39: There is fault on both sides only if both have departed from the moral centre. 139

Figure 40: The words of the transaction resist analysis, but they paint a clear picture. 139

Figure 41: The given start point of three ‘mind-sets’ within a containing perimeter. 148

Figure 42: Cognition could lend itself to a Bicycle Chain metaphor – if we can solve the problems. 148

Figure 43: Trying to reconcile our new understanding with traditional TA  offers a compromise on the way to embracing a new understanding – rather than assuming the new understanding to be complete. 151


What is Psychology?

Part One: Transactional Analysis

What is psychology and, more to the point perhaps, what business is it of mine as a computer programmer to be asking?

From the professional point of view I should have no reason to be interested - or at least, no more interested than average; and I could have retrained professionally when I took three years out of my career to do this kind of work, full-time. But I didn’t take the opportunity then, and I am unlikely to get it again.

Of course we are all psychologists. Every time you say something like: “Son, make me a cup of tea, would you?” as opposed to: “YOU! Give me tea NOW!” or “Please make me a cup of tea, sunny-bunny; otherwise I’ll scream and scream, and hold my breath till I turn blue!” then you could be said to be utilising basic psychology. (You will certainly be more likely to get your tea.) But then what is “non-basic" psychology? Indeed, given that the alternatives I’ve suggested would hardly even cross most adult minds, what is “psychology” not?

If you think this is straying into the realms of philosophy, then I think you are quite right. It is the philosophy of psychology which concerns us here and now. (I don’t think it should be vice-versa). I will have to draw from my own experience, but the title here is not “What is my psychology?”, and it is the right one.

So what is my answer? Simply put, it is that psychology is an understanding of the mind, based on a combination of the soul, through our shared conscience, and one’s own free will to choose.

Nothing surprising about that I know (even from a Computer Programmer), but neither is it a fair summary of quite what I want to say; so, at the risk of wearing out my welcome straight away, let me explain just what I mean.

Many years ago, I chanced to read the famous books about Transactional Analysis. You may even have read them yourself - ‘Games People Play’ and ‘I’m OK, You’re OK’. They were worldwide bestsellers. They propose a theory based on the observation of three components to the personality, called the Parent, Adult and Child.

Of course, there are many theories about why people behave as they do: cognitive; behavioural; neurobiological; psycho-analytic. Perhaps the most famous of all is Freud’s idea that there were three components to the mind which he called the id, superego and ego. To my mind however, this is exactly the same observation as that made by Eric Berne, which led him to create Transactional Analysis. The names are different, to reflect a simpler understanding, but the fundamental misapplication which both Freud and Berne have made is to try and see the mind as fundamentally an analytical machine, by putting the Adult at it’s centre, when in fact the seat of the personality is the Parent.

This simple change of viewpoint makes it possible to see that not only is every mind composed of all three components, but also that it is composed purely of these three, so that at one stroke we have found a basis for the mind which is entirely distinct from either the body - or indeed, the brain.

So, is it merely then a matter of saying that everyone else is wrong and I am right? If only it were then our job now would be so much easier! I cannot say that any of the existing theories of psychology - behavioural, neurobiological, cognitive, transactional analysis, etc. - is wrong. Indeed, I understand it is generally recognised that they are all appropriate in their own spheres of expertise. Rather what they are is specialisations of a general theory, but it is the first such general theory that I am proposing to set out. As I see it, my job here is a complete declaration of what I would like to call a discovery, so that you can see as clearly as I the ‘ology’, as it were, of Psychology.

I will start with a discussion of the three components in principle so that we can gain an understanding of how the same characteristics may be manifest in different people. This will allow me to show how people in action together form transactions which can be analysed, again with an understanding of the part played by the different components. From there we can move on to the other half of the theory. By the end, I hope you will agree with me that this is a discovery; that, like Gravity, it is a great and simple one; but also that not everything is psychology, so that after all, there is such a thing as Transactional Analysis - and Synthesis.

Parent, Adult, Child

To start with the most basic introduction and so ease ourselves in; what exactly is meant by those terms, ‘Parent’, ‘Adult’ and ‘Child’?

In traditional Transactional Analysis the distinction is made between child-like, in the sense of spontaneous and intuitive, and child-ish, in the sense of immature or selfish. One’s Child component is the source of the former and not the latter. ‘Please make me a cup of tea, sunny-bunny…’ is not my Child speaking, it is me being childish.

(Or rather, it is me pretending to be childish...)

Play-acting; pretence; creativity; these are the elemental attributes of the Universal Child.

The Adult is the rational, analytical part of you. In some ways it is the easiest for anyone to grasp simply as IQ. However, rather like horsepower for a car-engine, IQ indicates only a potential of brainpower, and not how to best drive the car. One goes to school to be trained in using the ‘engine’ just as one trains for a car-driving test. But experience is also needed. To complete the analogy, one wouldn’t take a Formula One car to the shops.

It is the Parent which is most difficult. In traditional Transactional Analysis, it would be the mental legacy of one’s own parenting but again, I think it is so much more than that. My working definition is experience, gained over time. It is this component which comprises that indefinable absolute, your spirit. In this sense it is connected not to the wisdom of our fathers but to the wisdom of our forefathers.

What is the spirit? It’s a question that is different for everyone. I think the Parent is the area of social facility. I think that it is formed irrevocably by experience and that, finally, it is the area of self-knowledge and knowledge about the world. But what is it, really? Well, maybe that is what we are here to find out.

Transactional Analysis

I’ve used the intersection between components to add depth to the descriptions, with colour filling in the essential character of each component. Based on the three characteristics of experience, intelligence and emotion, it is beautifully clear to see that the passionate and creative Child is warm-bloodedly red in character, whilst the intellectual, analytical Adult may be coloured a cool blue. Meanwhile, as the colour of purity and perfection, we may initially colour the Parent a neutral, perfect white. (This is the colour that is made when all other colours are mixed together, of course.)

The table below gives what I hope is a fair summary both from my own point of view, and from the existing understanding of TA. Thus, if the Child is emotional, one’s subjective judgement of it would be good or bad, whereas the criterion would be strength or weakness for the intellectual Adult, and either short-term or long-term for the effable Parent.

Table One

Let’s start with an example. Characteristics are the fundamental way of describing personality so that, for example, I might say that my father was volatile, but not ill-tempered. My friend is talkative, but not trite. I am combative, but not guileful. In saying this, I am not revealing anything about the personal circumstances or history of either my father, my friend or myself, but I am still telling you something about each of us. You now know how we might behave in a general circumstance; and also something about how we might not behave.

To apply the theory in practice, we could go on to see that, where my father is volatile but not ill-tempered, he has a broad Child because it is self-evident that volatility has an emotional basis. Similarly, I may guess that combativeness is fundamentally an attribute of the Adult, because I think I am right. But what about talkativeness? Would that be primarily an attribute of the emotional Child or of the intellectual Adult?

If we were to view any initial characteristic as solely a function of the Child then all characteristics would soon become available to the Child (depending on how non-judgemental we were prepared to be) and, to take this to its logical conclusion, we would end up with no characteristics for the Parent.

In order to introduce a meaningful separation we must redefine the Adult.

Let us return to the car engine analogy. IQ is like ‘horsepower’ and more horsepower is best; but a Formula One car is artificially constructed and maintained. Most cars are tailored for comfort (taxi or limousine), or safety (Volvo or 4 x 4) or for looks (Cabriolet, Porsche). We know that there are different types of car but is this really only saying that there are different types of people? In that case we would not be saying something that was only about the Adult.

The one thing that every engine needs is fuel. In the same way, your IQ does not function at its best when you are tired or scared, or when you are elated, for example when drinking alcohol. It best functions when it has a good, new idea to think about. The Adult benefits from good, strong ideals in the same way that a car engine benefits from a clean, steady supply of pure fuel. As much as the Adult is intelligent and clever it also benefits from being honest and moral. Whilst it is true that the Parent has the metaphysical quality of the conscience, it is still not better than the Adult, or Child.

Now, if the moral framework is worked out intellectually then it means that a far greater range of characteristics may be assigned to the Adult than simple intelligence. In fact, one’s moral or immoral nature; one’s honesty, dignity, self-restraint or loyalty; would all be a function of the Adult rather than the Parental conscience. So, where we would link the characteristics that are ‘hot’ - spontaneity, passion, creativity, humourousness - to the emotionalism of the Child, we can now link those that are ‘cool’ to the intellectualism of the Adult: those I’ve already touched upon such as honesty, dignity, courage and loyalty.

The realisation that the Adult is as good as the Parent is the beginning of realising that the Parent is the heart of it, but we are not there yet. Let me try a different approach, with the Parent components of actual people, as in the diagram below.

My father is volatile but not ill-tempered. Excessive volatility - but without other ill effects – indicates no lack of conscience but simultaneously an excess of ‘hot’ Child and a lack of ‘cool’ Adult. I am the opposite to my father. I am combative but not guileful. Combativeness combined with guile might make for a treacherous combination but honest combativeness, like ambition and independence, I would see as part of the ‘cool’ Adult.

Obviously, you don’t know the people in question so you can’t instantly tell how fair this assessment is of the three of us, but it is my friend who is most interesting of the three. My friend is talkative, and it would (in my view) be a short step for him to becoming trite, but it is a  strength of his part of the conscience which prevents him taking that small step. In other words, my father, my friend and myself are equals: we have the same size of mind; but of the three of us, my friend is the better: more 'rounded' and 'well-balanced'.

It is a  strength moreover which he needs to have, day by day. In the sense that it is a struggle, I think it is his intellectual honesty which forces him to avoid the easy option. Again, intellect and honesty are aspects of the ‘cool’ Parent. When you don’t steal because of the fear of getting caught your Child is simply acting in your own best interests. There is no conflict. Or if you steal and are punished, whether through being caught or owning up, again there is no conflict. When there is the temptation to steal which is not taken up, which is resisted, then one is acting within a moral framework.

My friend knows that talkative is right for his Child but he has worked out that trite is right for some people but not for him.

Let us fit this fuller definition for the Adult into our understanding of the Parent and Child. Well, the Parent is still clearly separated. (I am fairly clear, as I have said, that one of the defining differences between the Parent and the other two components is experience. There is something utterly immutable about the acquisition of experience; you are born, you live, you die and you can neither exceed that experience, nor avoid it). In fact, there is something mutable in the Parent which makes the system work. The Adult and Child are - somehow - infinitely renewable; every day you are alive is a new day and you can’t ever ‘fill up’ your memory, no matter how much knowledge you acquire. This is not so, in the Parent. Here, time passing does make a difference, and the ultimate renewal for the Parent is death. It may be inconvenient at the time but, on balance, you probably wouldn't want it any other way!

But still, precisely because of this, experience is not quite a characteristic in the sense I would like to use it. Indeed, none of the three fundamental characteristics I have been tempted to use; neither experience, emotion nor intellect; is unique to human life. A dog has a heart and a brain and a sense of itself - obviously. Even an ant has some degree of individuality, since it lives out a life, so what is it that marks out we people from the animal kingdom?

Well, I may still not be right but I am now improving my earlier conclusion in suggesting that there are three characteristics which are endemic to all of us to some degree or another, and which may mark us out from the animal kingdom. They are: kindness, bravery and humility.

You’ll notice that I am prepared to go wrong, as part of my presentation. More than just a dry textbook, I am trying to include the reader in the reasoning. I hope to share some of the thrill of discovery in passing on my teaching. Besides, I am combative and stubborn (A-type trait also) ; so back to kindness, bravery and humility.

For the Adult, the core component I would propose is courage. It is courage, the willingness to fight and suffer for what you believe to be right, which binds together mere intellectual knowledge into a moral framework and which may be seen to form the basis of those characteristics  I've already assessed as Adult: honesty and nobility; or alternatively, deceitfulness and depravity.

For the Child, I would suggest kindness. Some might go so far as to say love, and in some ways it is quite tempting. A person who loves nothing and no-one is inhuman, by any stretch of the imagination, but love is a big word and it encompasses not only the generalised feeling of benevolence that a parent has toward a child but also the special feeling that one (grown-up) adult can have towards another. For this reason, I prefer kindness to describe the Universal Child.

For the Parent, the characteristic I would suggest is humility.

The great advantage of having this single characteristic is that we can observe it alone in both strength and weakness to extend our understanding of each component. For example, when present in strength, kindness may result in great compassion for others or, when weak, in great meanness toward a particular person, so that these may be said to be characteristics of the Child. Equally, when courage is appropriately placed it is admirable and even noble, but when misplaced it may be proud or arrogant, so that these would become characteristics of the Adult.

Now, we know where we stand with courage and kindness, but the case is rather different with humility. It is notoriously difficult to define. It is said that a monk was once asked to go on a mission to all the other orders in the land to find the great strength of each. Upon his return he went to the head Abbot and, after reeling off a list of the orders and the characteristic that each had as it’s strength - charity, piousness, poverty, etc - he ended by saying his own orders name “and we are the humblest of all!” It makes you smile, of course, because humility is the one characteristic that recedes quicker, the more quickly you approach it. How then can we observe strong or weak humility?

I remember when I first began to wonder about what humility actually was, and found that indeed it is one of the oldest theological problems. The argument goes back to Thomas Aquinas that pride is the devil and humility the answer.

Actually, it is like asking what is the difference between a good and a bad person. Any answer I give is going to fall short of being satisfying, but let me do my best. Let us say that to be humble is to act well without hope of eventual reward. There may be eventual reward, but that is not the basis for the behaviour. An example of this is giving money to a good cause. Very few of us gives as much as we can whenever we can, but some do. And some people give nothing, whilst most of us is probably like me, giving less than they can, and less than they should.

But we are not blind and we carry the burden of knowing that. You would expect that the person who gives nothing to have to make up for it eventually, at least to the conscience in their own mind. Similarly, the person who gives fully will find that they are rewarded eventually, if they just persevere. There is no especial reward for the rest of us: those of us who give occasionally and faultily. And no more should there be. We know that.

So, a person who is able to be humble in many areas of their life is a person with strong humility - but this may be contrasted with a person who is very strongly humble in only one area of life. It is quite tempting to consider that there may be two types of humility; what we might call social humility, as opposed to individual humility, Except that, to say there are two types is like saying that there are two types of people; good ones and bad ones, all over again. It may be so, but we are not the people who should make that judgement, There are likely as many types of humility as there are types of people.

We are not attempting - indeed we reject in principle - a perfect Parent. It is instructive to consider the choice of colour we have made for the Parent. We have two primary colours in red and blue (or cyan and magenta), and this implies a third. It would give us the choice of yellow or green, in place of white to capture the essence of the Parent. Notice that we were not wrong in thinking of the Parent as white: this is the colour when all three of the components are mixed. It is just that that may not be the best way of looking at the Parent.

Green is a good choice being both the colour of nature and the colour of inexperience. Yellow is an equally good choice being the colour not of a negative – inexperience – but of a true positive – happiness. Of the two, I think we can agree that perfection is all well and good, but we would lose nothing by putting it to one side in place of pragmatic happiness.

Naturalness as a characteristic is also desirable and may be something that is enhanced by experience, but I think it is also a bit too close to the Child’s spontaneity to be the best choice. Yet notice that courage is an attribute of the Adult, yet yellow (which is the traditional emblem for the opposite of courage) is now not an attribute of the Adult. What an interesting finding. Would we be surprised to find that cowardice is not one of the ‘deadly sins’ of conscience? I think we should not be.

However much the shame (of the Child) wounds us, it is not a crime to fail to live up to the ideal of the hero. As a reminder, the Seven Deadly Sins, were: hate, lust, envy, laziness, gluttony and avarice. I am very happy that the final colour with which I have ended up for the Parent is the colour of happiness itself. These three primary colours may be mixed to make all of the infinite hues under the Sun. All are necessary, and neither one may be said to be better than the others.

This is the ultimate development of our initial discovery: the point at which the diagram reaches maturity, for now the mind is centred on the conscience (the white at it’s heart), which is the only appropriate psychological view.

This mind is indeed linked to those of our forefathers, but it does not contain them, for they are not lesser. Rather, the mind of the individual is connected to the infinite unity within it, whether one calls that the conscience; the subconscious; the unconscious; the spirit; or as some would: religion.

Remember that religion has traditionally seen pride as one of the deadly sins. I cannot agree with that. I left pride (arrogance?) out of the list of deadly sins deliberately, giving six in total. These could all be mapped to the component of the Parent but more interesting is to consider whether they can be mapped equally around the circle which would straightforwardly divide into six. As a fun exercise, you might like to try this for yourself before looking at my answer in the Appendix at the end of the book.

Now I don’t know exactly how many characteristics there are in the English language - probably thousands. Gregarious, greedy, grave, great-hearted, green, grotesque, grouchy, grovelling, grand, grandiose, grandiloquent, and so on; but in my own judgement I have tried to develop the table of opposing characteristics into a continuum to give a better flavour of each component, as I understand it.

Table Two

In fact, you may be interested to know that the assignment of traits to personality types, whether to groups of three, four nine or twelve types, is a long-established aim for those who would grasp the mind. It goes back to the theory of the four humours; melancholy, sanguine, choleric and phlegmatic in 2AD, and it may be found in fields as diverse as Chinese medicine (nine components) and the twelve signs of the Zodiac.

It is time to move on to the area from which Transactional Analysis takes its name. What is a transaction?


A transaction is simply an interaction of any kind between a person and the outside world, or a person and another person, or even between one person and a group of people, where the start (or stimulus) matches the end (or response). For our purposes, a transaction may be broad, or it may be deep, or it may be shallow.

A broad transaction would be one that takes place across the range, so to speak, of the personality, either through a long period of time or in a wide range of circumstances.

A deep transaction, as the name implies, would be one that involved the most profound part of oneself; for instance, a core belief; being either very painful or very pleasurable. All other transactions would then be shallow, although this is not meant to be pejorative, since between two people who don’t know each other very well or who have no particular reason to care about each other, a shallow transaction would be entirely appropriate.

I have three examples for us. One is both pretty and true, and one is simply shallow. The other is not pretty but it is true. These are examples drawn from my own experience.

I’ve mentioned my father already in passing, but there is also a story to tell, about both of us.

My Dad died almost ten years ago. My mother has since remarried, but the Peter Cross I remember was a man of huge industry and seemingly bottomless cheerfulness. County Councillor and Chairman of the Board of School Governors, as well as the man’s man who introduced me to Poker and Squash, I knew him to be utterly fearless, given to sentiment, alongside his volatility. yet rarely gentle. This was a man of whom I could say when I was eighteen ‘forgive, but never, ever forget’.

When I was born he was a pilot for British Airways (BEA as then was) having learnt to fly helicopters in the Navy. He didn’t talk much about it, but he was from a working class background and his parents - my grandparents - had long been divorced. Unprepossessing and unglamorous as they seemed to my youthful eyes, it was astonishing to discover that they used to call my grandfather “the monster”; and that his drunken violence lasted until my father (who always carried a bit of weight) got old enough to physically restrain him by sitting on his chest.

Before they had any of their six children, my father and mother decided that my father would be the sole disciplinarian in the house, and it was a decision that they stuck to throughout their married life. I only found this out later. My parents always presented a united front to their children - or rather I think now, they always hid their united front from us - and we had no way of knowing that only my father’s sense of justice held sway.

I worked this out for myself when I was eighteen. Up to that point, my father was simply unfair, and I might have hated him for it, seeking the combat. However, one day, I was playing with a plastic bucket in the back garden, idly dropping a big stone into it again and again, when the inevitable happened. The stone caught the side of the bucket and went straight through, holing it.

What to tell my father? I could tell him the truth but I knew from long experience that he hated that kind of spiritless vandalism. Or, I could tell a complete lie. If I said I had just plain lost my temper, kicking the bucket and so holing it, then that’s the sort of thing he could have seen himself doing. The trouble was, it was utterly out of character for me. What if he realised my manipulation? I loathed that sort of guile myself as much as he loathed spiritlessness but, after all that had happened, it didn’t seem so bad.

And when I did, it was like a revelation! Not only did he take the lie completely at face value but he even didn’t mind about the bucket! It was almost as if he was relieved that I was human, like him. I remember thinking to myself, how could you ever hate a man whose sense of justice was so simple! From then on, until he died in my late twenties, all of the heat went out of our relationship. But the transaction which was for me so deep and broad was one of painful imbalance, for I am convinced that, for my father, it was no more so than any other transaction that day.

The story, and even more the diagram above, seem to point to a mighty judgement as indeed I promised myself, in my eighteenth year. Yet I find that that is the last thing I would wish for now, as I try to grasp the difference between my father and the man, Peter Cross, not to mention my own question. There is something self-defeating in the idea that what I might be doing now, here where I am most at home is no more than the obverse of what my father would have done, in his own home.

In that case, the point of view from which I would wish to look at this transaction is not that I am better than my father, as his early life will illustrate. I did promise not to introduce my own psychology into the subject but not to do so now would not seem quite honest, so I will try to keep it limited. Notice then that one of the things about this diagram is that I have quite naturally drawn it with my Parent facing that of my father, even though I was the child.

In the world that I aspire to live in, where the punishment of one’s own conscience is always equal to the gravest crime that can possibly be committed, the greatest sin can sometimes seem to be to act inappropriately to the situation - wasteful, as it were, both of the opportunity of circumstances and the potential of the individual. For this reason, it would be complete anathema to me to consider that my own behaviour might be utterly inappropriate to the situation; yet here I seem to be proposing just that, in seeing myself as Parent in relation to my own father.

As I said above, all of the heat went out of our relationship following this one transaction, but why was the heat there in the first place? Well, the smaller circle that I drew above represents the role I was trying to take, just as someone might seek a supporting role in a drama rather than the lead, but our circles are, in reality, the same size and, from the point of view of analysis, this is the understanding which I would like to reach.

When I was expecting my father to be fair, in the sense that I understood it, I thought his sense of justice must be terribly complicated and, in the intermediate diagram above, we can see where this friction was incurred between us for all those years, in the red area, where my Child is too close to him.

All my life the problems which have been most difficult for me; the ones which one would have thought must have the most complex, intransigent and complicated solutions, have often turned out to be the most awesomely simple, should one be prepared to see it that way.

So it was when I quietly understood that my father’s sense of justice, far from being as monolithically complex as I had come to expect, was actually so simple. When I realised that it was not my mother and my father, it was just my father, I felt as much sympathy as blame for him, and I would no more seek his understanding of my inner Child than I would inflict my demanding complexity onto him. We were not as close as I would have liked us to be, but we had been too close before, so to speak, and this was more comfortable, for me at least.

The final diagram above, I think, shows both the immediate effect of the incident I’ve related and my final position with respect to my father. The orientation had changed away from conflict with him because I knew deep down inside that I would never be my father, even if I were to have him for a father, all over again.

In fact, after this I became a bit of a defender of my Dad to my elder brothers. They, of course, had it worse than me, just as my younger brother had it much better, but I felt that, whatever my Dad had done to us, it had not involved his conscience. He learned his sense of fair play from the Navy, and it was a Naval strictness that he tried to apply at home.

Now, let’s move on to an example which I think is pretty as well as true: the point of saying to another person “I love you”.

Whereas one’s family is possibly not a matter of personal choice - on either side - clearly this is a matter of both free will and mutual choice. That is why I should normally expect broad transactions of the former and deep transactions of the latter, however I am not married and I have yet to say this for myself. Instead then, let me tell you about another thing for which I have felt a similar feeling; the writings of John O’Hara.

I think he is one of the great American writers of the Twentieth Century. Whereas for me, Fitzgerald is a little light and Faulkner a little heavy, this is the basis on which I would say that Steinbeck, Hemingway and O’Hara are all of a parity, so that were we to make the leap, Hemingway’s spare, muscular prose would mark him out as the Adult compared to Steinbeck’s Child-like love of people and, of the three, it would be O’Hara who was the most overtly Parental, to my taste.

His metier was the short story, of which he wrote some four hundred; along with fourteen novels. Even though he enjoyed great commercial success until he died in 1971, I think there are only two of his books still in print. I’ve tried to read all of them.

That may say more about me than about O’Hara, of course, but the very first book I read (‘The Collected Stories of John O’Hara’; ISBN 0 330 29605 1) came with an introduction about his way with dialogue. This brings us back to the subject because a conversation is a transaction, and the excerpt that I reproduce represents one that is worthy of examination here.

Have a look, if you will.


In the five or six paragraphs preceding this extract we have learnt that James Francis is a successful Hollywood screenwriter and that he is a patron, as well as a friend, to a struggling, would-be film-star, called Rod Fulton. Francis has just given Fulton a long lecture telling him to watch his weight, and Fulton replies:

"Well fortunately I like to take exercise, and if I never had another drink I wouldn't miss it."

"Fortunately for me, my living doesn't depend on how I look."

"You do all right with the dames."

"Some dames," said James Francis. "If you can't make a score in this town the next stop is Tahiti. Or PortSaid. Or maybe a lamasery in Thibet."

"What do they have there?"

"What they don't have is dames."

"Oh," said Rod. "What did you say that was?"

"A lamasery. The same as a monastery."

"Do you think I ought to read more, Jimmy?"

"Well it wouldn't hurt you to try. But you don't have to. Some directors would rather you didn't. But some of them don't read any more than they have to."

"I wish I could have been a writer."

"I wish I could have been a good one," said  James Francis. "But failing that, I can be a fat one."

"Well, you're getting there, slowly by degrees. You're the one ought to start taking the exercise, Jimmy. I mean it."

"Oh one of these days I'm going to buy a fly swatter."

"A fly swatter? You mean a tennis racket?"

"No I mean a fly swatter."

"You bastard, I never know when you're ribbing me," said Rod Fulton.

What I think O’Hara is concerned to show us in this conversation is that these two men are peers, for the same reason I wanted to explain who are O’Hara’s peers. Clearly there is a potential imbalance of power in the relationship between patron and protégé and O’Hara feels that the best way to establish that this isn’t the case is with a direct conversation, but its a good transaction for us because it has a dramatic climax, a resolution, and a conclusion.

Rod begins with an open comment about himself - this is one of the most appealing things about O'Hara's characters in conversation. It is a form of honesty. They are open and frank, even leaving themselves vulnerable. And indeed, James Francis' reply " living doesn't depend on how I look." does contain a slight rebuke. Rod's next comment, if slightly gauche, is well -intentioned "You do all right with the dames". Now the brash comment is corrected by an extremely sophisticated remark by the writer "Some dames. If you can't make a score  in this town the next stop is Tahiti.  Or Port Said. Or maybe a lamasery in Thibet." He first mentions Tahiti, showing an awareness of its unusual sexual culture; he then mentions Port Said, a notorious Western Gomorrah; and finally - the coup-de-grace - he trumps the previous two with a glib spiritual reference. It's a bit too smart for Francis' own good though, his creator is telling us this is an experienced man; perhaps dissolute.

As Rod makes a straight factual enquiry "what do they have there?" we realise he has not yet grasped the point. James Francis now shows the nature of the friendship because he finds a way to point this out to the actor without offending his dignity "What they don't have is dames." In turning the question around James is gently, and not without humour, pointing out his friend's ignorance.

And now we come to the climax of the conversation, the point of open acknowledgement of James Francis' current superiority to which the conversation has been working up. Rod Fulton not only asks James for a judgement but he specifically acknowledges the relation by the use of his name "Do you think I ought to read more, Jimmy?" It is a crisis of sorts because James Francis can assert that superiority once and for all if he wants; but if he does, then this will cease to be a relationship of equals because he will then have refused the offer of trust that Rod is making.

And James Francis makes exactly the right response. He defuses the situation with a gentle “Well, it wouldn’t hurt you to try. You don’t have to.” Offering a patronly warning of “Some directors would rather you didn’t” then even redirecting the sting of that with the acid “But some of them don't read any more than they have to”.

Following this climax, the tenor of the conversation changes. Firstly, in acknowledgement of his reply Rod makes the flattering(because almost certainly not true)comment that he'd like to have done James' job. James doesn't acknowledge the compliment (probably feeling patronised - he knows he’s bright) but he begins to end the conversation with a light-hearted reference to the early subject of his weight. Again however, Fulton displays his mettle, and although his over-Parenting of James is not as pleasing as the former exchange ('You really should get some exercise. I mean it, Jimmy!') the mere fact that he knows it is appropriate, is enough. The fragile equality that the two men have established is underlined by the rough humour which O’Hara determines should be the end of the exchange.

We must move on from the specific to the general. We are coming to the end of this brief introduction to TA and, in the final section, I want to concentrate on a shallow transaction. I will say that it is always the broad and deep transactions which are most rewarding to the participants, and most tempting to us as observers. In being emotionally moving, they can have the appeal of a psychoactive drug, but sadly, such that are genuine will be few and far between. And as with drugs, the apparent allure of glamour may easily turn out to be hollow, for which reason, it would always be better to be satisfied with a shallow transaction that is genuine than with anything which is not.

The shallow example I have in mind comes from my work, where I was recently asked to program a service. The service is used by a Company for recruitment. It requests graduates to answer a series of questions about themselves by pressing numbers on a telephone keypad, from which the Company hopes to gather together a personality-profile of the applicant.

Supposedly, there are no right or wrong answers, so the applicant is encouraged to answer both honestly and spontaneously, through a time-limit. Here are three examples of the fifty-or-so questions:

“I want my co-employees to be my friends”

“I make it a point to learn the names of all the people I meet”

“I am a highly-disciplined person”

Now, I was not told so but I believe that the basis of these profiles is the empirical observation of Parent, Adult and Child types. So, on a scale of 1-5, if five is strongly like that, three is no more than averagely inclined, and 1 is very much not that way, what would your responses to the above questions be?

Well, I find it very hard to discipline someone if I think they won’t like me for it so I would be a five on the first one. I’m terrible with names so I would be a one on the next, but I am very ambitious when it comes to work so I would rate myself as five on the third one, as with the first.

Perhaps you would like to try a little test. Pretend you had to assess each of these statements as relating to one and only one of the three components, P, A or C, and see if you can decide, in each case, which one it would be. Using this understanding, you could even analyse your own answers, if you gave them. I’ll be giving you a big clue if I say that the second word of each sentence is highly significant, given that the emotional Child relates to desire, the intellectual Adult to belief and the pragmatic Parent to actual practise, so do it now, if you want to.

I will be using my responses of 5, 1 and 5 later. So, in the first case, “I want my co-employees to be my friends”, strong agreement (or disagreement) with this would be more likely through the Child than through either the Parent or Adult.

In the next case, the second statement is also about oneself in relation to other people but, “I make it a point to learn the names of all the people I meet” is an offer rather than a demand, showing both social awareness and commitment. (The word ‘learn’ might momentarily make us tend toward the intellectual Adult, but the practise implied in ‘I make’seems to tip the balance,) Agreement with this statement, rather than disagreement, would indicate the Parent component in operation.

Finally, the third statement is about oneself in general: “I am a highly-disciplined person”. Now, here the trait of discipline has already been identified as strongly indicative of the Adult, and the certain belief of “I am” adds further weight to this.

Did you come to the same conclusion of Child, Parent and Adult for the three statements, respectively? These personality tests are increasingly common and I have come across them a number of times in job interviews myself. They seem to work. For instance, on the basis of my response to the three questions (strong agreement, strong disagreement and strong agreement) my Adult and Child components would be very strong whilst my Parent would be very weak. Whilst that might be a harsh assessment of the person writing it is not, I think, an unfair comment on me in my role at work.

Notice how shallow is this. There is ambiguity about the significance of each of the statements, and uncertainty about the significance of the answers. “there are no right or wrong answers” and the time limit is needed.

But what would be much better would be to have the theory behind the test explained so that both employer and employee can benefit fairly from the results. This leads me on to Part Two where we find out the differences and the parities of the person with the role.

Part Two: Transactional Synthesis

The analytical aspects of Transactional Analaysis can take us so far, but they are only half the answer. For the other half, we need to balance analysis with synthesis, which is why we are still only halfway through the job in hand. It takes us onto entirely new ground.


Clearly, the ideal is to have all three components in perfect balance, perfectly expressed at all times. Let me be absolutely clear about this: there is no excuse. Anything short of the absolute ideal cannot be tolerated.

Meanwhile, let’s acknowledge that computer programmers are not perfect.

I acknowledged that I have a weak Parent in my role as a Computer Programmer, but let us consider the possibility that it is the role of Computer Programmer which constrains my natural Parent.

Perhaps. Or perhaps I am very lucky. I can tell someone everything I know about psychology far more easily than I could teach others about computer programming; and my judgement was that no-one would pay for me to do this writing - at least, not as well as leaving me my freedom.

Computer Programming may not be perfect, but it is enough, and that is true not only of me, but also of anyone who fulfills the same role as I do, at work. We are all adequately described by the left-hand-side of the above diagram; where, relatively, the Adult is a dominant component. Other people, who subject their own imperfection to a differently-imperfect work-role, would best be described by one of the other two diagrams, where the Parent and Child respectively are dominant.

As we now know, the principle of three components applies to everyone, everywhere, so it should be possible to split the whole of society into similar groups. For example, I would think that one can divide between those professionals in Government and Church for the Parental type; against Arts and Entertainments for the Child, secondly; as both against the equal third of Science and Academia, for the Adult.

A person with a large intuitive and creative bent - a person with a big Child - would accordingly be an artistic type. A person with a definite intellectual or analytical mien; that is, a strong Adult; would have a scientific, academic mindset; and an example of a person with an extended Parent might be a figure in authority, such as a doctor or a policeman. Or a politician.

Note that in this synthetic case, we can still not assume that the person with an extended Parent is better than the other two types. They may be better supported - or equivalently constrained; they may carry greater responsibility, or have greater freedom; but only fate will prove whether an actual individual is better, or not; so that in the case of the example, these three are fully and fairly, peers.

In determining the ratio of components, we do not differentiate between the highly talented fine artist, such as Michelangelo, and the jobbing artisan, such as a professional book illustrator. That is because there may be no difference in the ratio. The difference in overall quality of mind can only be reflected in all three components now; in the overall size of the circle, through its radius. We have no way to quantify that except by the subjective recognition that Michelangelo is no better than Einstein say, or Abe Lincoln; but that these really are the very best of men.

That said, we can see the actuality of this in quite a different circumstance. The very fact that the quality of mind is hidden when there is an imbalance of components implies that it is not hidden when there is not an imbalance. In other words we can consider a fourth type of person, different to all three of the above, but still equal, because they manifest in their professional life an equal mix of each of three components. Such a person might be the entrepreneur who sees their own business through from startup to thriving conglomerate. They might simply be the good father, raising a healthy and happy family; or if they are very wise right from birth, they might be recognised as a saint in their own lifetime, like Mother Theresa.

This would be the PAC-type. Plainly, there would be many paths to the eventual realisation of oneself in this way, but the objective of each of us, as well as the comparison of Lincoln, Einstein and Michelangelo at the end of their respective, very different, paths, would be of this type.

Now we can mathematically permutate the first three professional categories we’ve discovered. If the types of artist, scientist and politician may be denoted as ‘Cap’ (dominant Child, secondary-equal Adult & Parent), ‘Apc’ and ‘Pac’, then we can extrapolate the existence of types ‘CPa’ (dominant-equal Child-Parent, secondary Adult), ‘APc’ and ‘ACp’ to give us a further three types; seven in all. By extension, in terms of the professions we might observe that an APc-type would make a good policeman say, being an authoritarion and socially-minded figure. The PCa-type, being a caring, intuitive, responsible person might correspond to the social worker, and the ACp-type, as an individualistic, independent, adventurous type, could correspond to the journalist or, to come back to it again, the computer programmer.

Finally, from a single imbalance between one component and the other two, we could go to an imbalance between all three components, described as ACp (dominant Adult, significant Child, notional Parent), APc, CAp, CPa, PCa and PAc. Again, it is difficult to look at the quantitative differences whilst ignoring the qualitative differences but, with the broadest of brushes, I might try to differentiate between the architect who brings discipline to his craft as an ACp-type, as opposed to the physicist, who brings intellectual judgement to his search for understanding (APc); the fashion designer, who seeks to express a personal and internal understanding (CAp) as against the comedian, who seeks an expedient expression of his eccentric perspective (CPa); in contrast again with the fully-realised world-view, intuitively on the side of the priest (PCa), and intellectually, on the side of the Judge (Pac).

I say ‘finally’ because I think this is as far as we can reasonably go. I have perhaps overstretched my own experience in assigning roles to all of these ratios. I think it is fair to say that those which I have assigned to the dominant P-character: policeman, social worker, judge and priest, are all careers which require a degree of social sophistication, whereas designer, physicist, architect, comedian and journalist, perhaps clearly require a more innate manifestation. From my own experience however, I would find it hard to say for sure whether an architect really is less creative generally than a journalist, or more.

Finally also, this third stage is a logical interpolation rather than a strictly-derived mathematical permutation, derived from equality. I’ve tried to recognise this by splitting the group into three and nine to visually contrast the extreme of the first three with the evident parity of the second nine. I've also had to leave out the PAC-type. It's very hard to see this as just another type.

We saw some of the problems of grouping characteristics in Table Two of the first part. This had led us to consider the existing sets of characteristics, including the Zodiac. Here we were looking for new knowledge and instead we have stumbled across one of the oldest theories of human nature of all. I can't comment on the parallel myself because I’ve no prior knowledge of astrology with which to compare but, as an outsider, it does seem to me that the Zodiac signs are typically described in terms of characteristics, and it would be a very easy experiment to ask someone knowledgeable about how closely or otherwise the theory coincides with the observed.

So when I said that the transaction above was shallow, this is how I meant it: that the Company would do as well to ask it’s applicant what star-sign they are as it would to ask them fifty questions of the sort I was quoting. Not at all a bad idea, in some ways, but it is a disappointingly small conclusion. We set out to find something brand new and instead we have found something very old indeed, and in many people’s view, thoroughly used up. Have I led us down a blind alley? We have analysed the theoretical Parent, and we have “created” the synthetic Parent, so where is there left for us to go? If it really was a trip down a cul-de-sac finishing up at a dead-end, then there is no way to start us off again.

Except backwards.

Common Sense


The purpose of this book is to represent the theory of psychology. Whatever its particular faults or virtues, I believe some form of this book is inevitable. The description of psychology it contains is based on one, single, inevitable idea: a realisation of what the mind is; an idea that is simple, and yet one which turns out to be not so easy.

The question therefore is not whether the theory is right; it is. The real question is, is it explained adequately? What I would like to do is to show how it applies to the huge diversity of human beings that exists - that is, to the diversity of which I am aware. In taking on the subject of human nature, I am naturally limited to my personal experience of it. However, that may be a little wider than one might at first think, since what I can do is to take examples not so much from direct experience or from a psychiatrist's textbook, but from film, TV, books and history. Our shared cultural heritage, from Shakespeare to Hollywood; from Star Trek to Jim Morrison; from St Augustine to Richard Nixon; from John Steinbeck to Herman Wouk; is a vast store of information about human nature; one upon which it is perfectly valid to draw.

To say this is to acknowledge the limits of what is possible as well as to set out the scope of my ambition. There may be readers of this book who have never seen the original Star Trek series, or who have yet to read a nineteenth century novel. It is perfectly possible that a white, middle-aged, middle-class male who had lived all his life in England could never have heard of at least three of the names I mentioned above. But one can see a film after reading the review, as well as before; and you can read and understand this book with nothing more than your own good sense. If, like me at eighteen, you remember the feeling of knowing everything and nothing both at once, then this is the book for that age; for the general reader, on the threshold of personhood.

The claim is that there is one and only one central idea at the heart of this work, from which everything else is devolved. It's an unusually strong claim - things are not usually quite so neat - so let's see exactly what it means. It means that, once the initial premise is described, everything else should follow as a matter of course. It becomes an explanation, not an argument. To follow an argument one might feel the need for a background training in psychology, or at least an academic training. To follow an explanation needs only a basic experience of people; that, and the desire.

 The reason for you to have such a desire with this book is the same as with any book: it is to get to the end so that you know what happens.

It is an exciting trend in modern non-fiction. The publishers Fourth Estate are one of its pioneers. Books like ‘Longitude’, ‘Fermat’s Last Theorem’, ‘The Man Who Loved Only Numbers’ and more, take the liberty of treating the reader as an equal whilst telling a story the plot of which is information-driven, rather than character-driven. It is my aspiration to match their success. Because I think this explanation – if I can do it justice – has the most exciting plot I know. One which has fascinated me for 20 years.

But more than anything else, this book is a fait accompli. Once you have read it, you will know it. I hope you do read it, for that reason, but I am under no illusions: I have set you no easy task.

Everyone is born with a conscience. And it is the same conscience for everybody. The ‘collective unconscious’ is therefore also the conscience.

The conscience cannot tell you what to do for the best, however: it can only tell you when you have done wrong. This means, the individual must find out what is right or wrong for him or herself; which gives a starting point, from whence one never stops acquiring experience, before ultimately and eventually reaching one’s destiny, which has been fought for, and loved.

No matter whom you are, no matter what you do, no matter where in the world you live, all of us have this in common: the point of each of our lives was, or is, to acquire experience, without going against conscience, and so reach our destiny.

It is not much of a theory, you might be forgiven for thinking. I certainly thought that initially. I was afraid I might end up as a symbol for political correctness. But hang on; there are a couple of things to note already. We are coming away from the idea of the collective unconscious as an arbitrary, historical force, and looking to conscience, as a moral force in its own right. Also, we are identifying a non-materialistic element: experience, that is radically different to the material world, which is caught up in time. Unlike every aspect of the physical world which is bounded by time, when you go to sleep you have absolutely no sensation of time passing. Why is that?

And most important of all, if you have a destiny, then others who come after you will, too. And so did others still, who have preceded you.

In the 1890 book, the Principles of Psychology, William James laid the groundwork that led, presumably, to Jung’s creation of the ‘Collective Unconscious’. In his preface he argued that:

…metaphysics falls outside the province of this book. This book, assuming that thoughts and feelings exist and are vehicles of knowledge, thereupon contends that psychology when she has ascertained the empirical correlation of the various sorts of thought or feeling with definite conditions of the brain, can go no farther -- can go no farther, that is, as a, natural science. If she goes farther she becomes metaphysical. All attempts to explain our phenomenally given thoughts as products of deeper-lying entities (whether the latter be named 'Soul,' 'Transcendental Ego,' 'Ideas,' or 'Elementary Units of Consciousness') are metaphysical. This book consequently rejects both the associationist and the spiritualist theories…

The emphasis on the word ‘explain’ is James’. I am sure that James knew as well as you and I do that his mind ‘contains’ (more exactly: is coincident with) the minds of others, just as mine does and just as our children’s will. This is not something that needs any explanation (if any were possible) and it is not something I am explaining. But given that, there is so much more that one can go on to say.

There are rules which govern the mind as a purely metaphysical concept, separate from the body and the brain. These rules are in addition to any creed, religion or faith. Religious faith is stronger than the rules so we cannot call them laws. But we cannot aspire to a logical view of ourselves without wondering what these rules might be. By putting the word in italics, William James did not mean to deprecate our wish to wonder, and I have already gone beyond merely doing that.

I have been struggling to contain myself to a single book. I suspect the new reader will find my writing a confusing combination of wild and daring leaps into the unknown interspersed with obvious and patronising homilies. It is a long book, maybe, but at least it is only one. Everybody has one book in them, it is said. I care enough about it to try and live up to that maxim.

By way of a starting point, what I would like to do is to take actual people and show how this generalisation may be seen to apply to them. At first glance it is far from obvious that it adequately describes a professional footballer, or an IRA terrorist, or an alcoholic labourer. Even if it were, would it then be apparent that it applies to John Maynard Keynes; Glenn Miller; Ho Chi-Minh; or Captain Lawrence Oates of the Scott expedition? My task will be to show so.

The first problem is how to find individuals who are representative for discussion. Who can we select as representative of the range and depth of humanity? Well, it might be easier than it looks if we are prepared to make use of the classical divides between people. For example, everyone - absolutely everyone and anyone - is a mixture of both good and bad. However, we can take the group of all good people and say that Gandhi is a better representative of good than Hitler, whereas Hitler would be the better representative of all bad people. We would have no difficulty with the suggestion that Charles Manson, Ronnie Kray, Ferdinand Marcos or Joe McCarthy all generally had more in common with Hitler than with Gandhi despite the widest of differences or the closest of similarities in other respects. The same could be said for Gandhi and Roy Rogers, Albert Einstein, Winston Churchill or the earlier-mentioned Captain Oates.

There are other divides that we might use: pride (Napoleon, Joan of Arc, Nietzsche, Thomas More, say) versus humility (St Francis, Leonardo DaVinci, Abraham Lincoln, Paul McCartney, and so on); rich versus poor, perhaps; freedom versus justice; or art versus science.

When we talk of a good scientist or a bad artist it generally refers to a scientist whose technique is good, or an artist whose taste does not coincide with our own. It's almost always an aesthetic judgement and not a moral one. Nevertheless, this aesthetic divide can be just as wide as the moralistic one, with all the communities of science and technology being separate from all the creative and artistic communities on the other. From my list I will choose the divide of art versus science because it so obviously does not correlate with the moral divide of good and bad.

Now we can say that Newton is a better representative of not only physicists, but of science and technology in general, than Beethoven, who is in turn, a better representative not only of composers, but of the entire creative and artistic community, in general. Furthermore, we can say that both Newton and Beethoven are morally undistinguished, being neither particularly good nor particularly bad people, possibly in comparison with each other but certainly in comparison with Hitler or Gandhi. In addition to that we can also say that Gandhi and Hitler were neither especially artistic nor especially scientific, both being politicians of a kind, by comparison with Newton and Beethoven. There is no overlap with the aesthetic divide here, either.

Consequently, what we have found is a group of four people who are extremely effective representatives of the scope of human nature. They may not be perfect, and we have yet to see how valid it is to do this in the first place, but as a manageable set of ambassadors from which to examine the scope and variety of the human race, these four are an extremely good starting point.

Let’s expand the theory: No matter who you are, no matter what you do, no matter where in the world you live, all of us has this in common: the point of each of our lives was, or is, to build up a framework in our minds by which we may understand the world.

If the result of living is the inevitable accumulation of experience, then we need to be able to process experience at the same time as we are acquiring it. We need a framework.

If it can be shown that the principle of a framework adequately describes and differentiates between these four camps, as represented by the individuals mentioned, then I think I can claim to have made a real start in demonstrating my initial proposition.

Well, it's no challenge to see Newton as having spent his life trying to improve his framework of the world since that is what he is famous for, but how can we see Hitler, in a life dedicated to the acquisition of power, or Beethoven, in a life dedicated to self-expression through music, as further trying to understand the world? It depends on seeing that the framework of understanding one is trying to build up is not solely intellectual. Of course it may be mainly intellectual, as in the case of Newton, but it is also partially emotional; and sometimes it is mainly emotional.

Intellectually one spends one's life acquiring and discarding beliefs as a result of experience. However, one also spends a lifetime recording feelings and memories. This learned memory of feelings corresponds to knowledge of a sort; only subjective to the individual. It is entirely legitimate to think of it as knowledge because it colours the judgement and choices of the individual every bit as much as intellectual knowledge. Thus, instead of seeing the mind as a ladder of singular, hierarchical beliefs it should be seen as a lattice of interrelated concepts: not a one-dimensional pyramid with top and bottom but a flexible two-dimensional framework.

Let's see by example how an emotional side to the framework may work. Let us say that you are a child of nine or ten years old and a person you trust completely - say, your mother - tells you to put your hand in the fire. "Go on, it won't hurt."

Well, you wouldn't, would you? You probably couldn't. Even if you put out your hand close to the flame, the heat would scare it away in spite of all you could do. An occurrence like this would be more likely to lessen trust in your own mother than to make you question your fear of heat.

So, let's make it a little less simple. Suppose now you are twenty-eight years old. This time your mother tells you it will hurt quite a lot, but that an eccentric billionaire has offered ten million pounds if you will do it. Furthermore, technology is now so advanced that your hand can be surgically repaired to be as good as new no matter how badly it is burned. This is a little far-fetched, of course, and you would do well to be sceptical but let us say you are given whatever evidence will thoroughly convince you, once and for all. Well, now it should be easy. Now you just walk up to the fire and without thinking, just plunge your hand into those flames...

Except even now it wouldn't be that easy would it? Even though intellectually you have nothing to lose and everything to gain, you cannot yet cold-bloodedly watch yourself putting your own hand into a fire. Perhaps you could if the family was starving and desperate enough, but not when it's just for money. Or perhaps in fact, you could, just for the money ... but not immediately. You'd need some time to adjust to the idea; say, a week or so to prepare yourself.

The question is: why do you need time to adjust to the idea? We have hypothesized that you are thoroughly convinced intellectually that you can only gain. There must be some other barrier that is stopping your hand. This is the barrier created by your emotional knowledge, I would say.

It goes against all your survival instincts, carefully ingrained and reinforced year upon year throughout childhood and beyond, to put your hand into the fire. The reason it takes time to adjust to it is that although it is a minor rearrangement of the intellectual side of the framework - you only have to be convinced of the millionaire and the surgery - it is a profound and disturbing rearrangement of the emotional side of the framework. Not impossible; just difficult, and slow.

Not everyone would come to my conclusion based on this example. It could be argued that the mind is operating with just another type of intellectual knowledge on a more basic and thus perhaps more profound level. It’s an argument that is very difficult to refute as yet, except empirically: it does not work. If it worked then there would be no question concerning how the mind works, and no place for this book to fit in.

 An alternative argument against my conclusion is that the example might be seen as the result of 'mere' instinct; and indeed, the hand is drawn away from the fire in an instinctive, probably unconscious, aversion to its heat. The thing to bear in mind however is that if the example had not cited a reaction that was instinctive then it would not have appeared to be a universal example. It does not mean that emotional knowledge is 'no more' than instinct any more than intellectual knowledge is 'no more' than hard fact: 2 + 3 = 5.

 Moreover, we can take that comparison to its logical conclusion and find that it holds true all the way. Just as the ability - and the desire - to do computer programming or engineering or nuclear physics is a specialisation within intellectual knowledge, so the ability and desire to write a symphony or act Hamlet or become a comedian is a specialisation of one's emotional knowledge. Even though the knowledge that, for instance, 2+3 = 5 is so deeply ingrained in the adult mind that we do not even have to consider it, we can all remember that, in fact, we did learn this, often slowly and painfully, in school. Similarly, we gaze in wonder at an oil painting of someone's face thinking that never in a million years could we have that skill, forgetting that every single one of us learnt to draw a stick man, again from school.

The logical conclusion is that emotional knowledge quite simply becomes the basis of all creative art, as intellectual knowledge is the basis of all science. It is a bold leap of reasoning but it is not a leap very far from our initial premise and it proves to be an immensely useful understanding. To see how this might work let's go back to our instinctive reaction of drawing the hand from the flame.

The reaction may be instinctive but it is not genetically hard-wired into us. What it means is that all of us have gone through the painful lessons of infanthood to learn the hard way about not only the danger of heat but the danger of falling from a height, the danger of fast-moving objects and even the danger of parental punishment: all the many natural phenomena with the capacity to injure our vulnerable human bodies.

Once out of infanthood we begin to diversify our interests and that applies as much to emotional knowledge as to intellectual. With intellectual knowledge, this goes without saying. It is easy to see that between 2+3 and nuclear physics there is another level of intellectual knowledge as represented by, say, car maintenance or knowing how mortgages operate. It is not essential knowledge like basic algebra. Nor is it the rarefied knowledge that only the gifted can acquire. It is somewhere in the middle; average knowledge.

And, just as understanding car maintenance utilises a certain level of intellectual knowledge, so choosing who to marry utilises a similar level of emotional knowledge. There may be an intellectual element to the decision but it must primarily be an emotional one: do you feel, in your heart of hearts that you could spend the rest of your life with this one person?

A scientist may specialise in intellectual knowledge but he cannot avoid the responsibilities of emotional knowledge if he ever wants to be married; just as an artist, no matter how brilliant, will probably have to learn in his early struggles, the elementary fiscal ability not to spend more than he earns.

It is clearly necessary for the framework always to contain both emotional and intellectual knowledge regardless of how polarised a particular individual may appear; regardless in fact of how weighted the framework itself might be toward one or the other. We have differentiated between the artist and scientist on the basis that they plainly have different areas of interest. When the areas of interest become fused, it is not in the form of a compromise but in the form of a third area of interest completely. The politician is an example of a person whose framework is not primarily either intellectual or emotional. Whilst at first it might be tempting to see him or her then as lacking in both the intellectual acuteness of the scientist and the creative range of the artist, in fact it could just as well be argued that he or she lacks the wool-gathering pedantry of the scientist as well as the unpredictable instability of the artist. The question is how the politician can be judged by the same criteria as the artist and scientist if his area of interest is different; how can their frameworks be compared?

If the politician's area of interest is people, rather than one of the primary types of knowledge, this gives us a starting point from which to examine the politicians framework because, if all people can be described as having a framework - if, in fact, people are so diverse that the only thing that they can be guaranteed to have in common is the existence of the framework - then the finest understanding of people must come from a perception of the individuals framework.

The first notice I make of the politician is a truism, that power tends to corrupt. We may openly wonder then why it is that so many people through the course of time have been so content to put their faith in fallible leaders. Chairman Mao, the ruinous dictator of China, is famously described by a Chinese in the bestseller ‘Wild Swans’ where we learn he is not just respected by the people, he is loved. From Stalin through Hitler to Saddam Hussein the story is endlessly repeated. In the face of this tragedy, why do people seem to have such a desperate wish to be led?

The second notice I make of the politician in the UK is how little respected they seem to be now. We ought to feel about politicians the way we do feel about film stars. We ought to admire politicians, and pay them as much as we can afford, and listen closely to what they have to say. At the same time, ought we to treat film stars with scepticism, pay them as little as we can get away with, and routinely assume they are acting in self-interest? Well, one or two centuries ago, the situations were reversed. It was politicians who were models of honour, and theatre people were thought of as little better than prostitutes!

Without making any opinion (although I would put myself on the left), we can notice that these two observations are in conflict with each other. Does power corrupt so much it isn’t even worth trying for good leaders? Conversely, is leadership so valuable that bad leaders are better than none? Or are there other factors in action that provide an explanation? It is not a problem that theory can solve but it is a vital one for theory to embrace.

And I think the route to the resolution of this conundrum is to introduce the conscience as a separate, third element to the framework. The conscience provides for an understanding of the difference between the average man and Hitler; and between Gandhi and Hitler. It forms as large a part of the framework as do either intellectual or emotional knowledge.

That sounds a little like having one's cake and eating it, so let me say immediately that this is the same conscience that has been with us for hundreds of years. It is not a new definition of it, merely a new integration of it. The conscience is still no more, and no less, than the method by which each and every one of us determines what is right and what is wrong. What your conscience will not, and cannot, tell you- and this is, I feel, crucial - is which of two choices is the right course for you. Otherwise why would you have any use for destiny?

It is arguable that toward the end of Hitler's life the memory of what he had done was driving him mad, and it is also arguable that the quality of his mind showed a slow degradation throughout his reign. The life of the Mahatma on the other hand shows how his commitment only grew stronger with the passing of the years and in spite of strife and imprisonment. If we acknowledge the conscience as the final judge of the individual then we can simply say that to follow it by doing only that which one believes to be right is its own reward to the individual; and to go against the conscience - to do what one knows to be wrong - is its own punishment. It is still a brave thesis to be prepared to see the individual manifesting conscience as the factor balancing out the injustice of an Idi Amin, or an Adolf Hitler: a brave thesis – and a fact.

The conscience will play as large a role in the life of our artist or scientist as it does for the politician, otherwise the three will not truly be peers. Indeed, we are introducing the conscience as the third element of a framework so it must be an element of every individual's experience. Let's show it by coming back to re-examine the creative life.

At least part of the sensibility that allows a musician or sculptor to originate a work of genius has to have been carried by him right from his earliest existence. That same sensibility which is, at least partially, the source of glory and wealth in later times must, at some earlier point in the individual’s existence, have been an invisible burden, in addition to the usual trials of life. This must be the case for the talent to have the value of rarity. If it were easy to carry then it would never be dropped and we'd all be able to paint like Van Dyke.

Furthermore, if what was once a burden, inciting the revilement of others, is now a feted talent, encouraging admiration and worship, then there is a certain evening of the balance going on. Thus, I would say that when the artist struggles for his self-expression what he is really trying to find is a form of justice for himself from this earliest time; an acceptance for himself going back to when his sensibility was at it's youngest; it's most powerful but also it's most fragile.

In other words, the artist perceives justice (i.e. what is right) through the conscience as much as the politician. Although justice itself is a single concept, the individual has two ways to perceive it. Not only is there the broad justice of how the group is affected by the conscience of the individual, there is also the deep justice of how the individual may be constrained by the group. The perception of one cannot be said to be better, or easier, than that of the other.

And this principle embraces our most extreme examples. The worst of men, Stalin or Hitler and their like will, in fact, turn out to be those who have continually infringed upon both broad and deep justices. The best of men, a Leonardo Da Vinci or an Abraham Lincoln, will turn out to be those who have successfully defended both types, by beating out the least-travelled of all paths. Thus, the concept of justice itself is not compromised.

The concept of justice forms the glue that binds the two different sides of the framework together. An important element of individual life is the flexibility of knowledge, allowing one to adapt to changing circumstances. Whether one chooses broad social justice or fine personal justice to hang one's hook on, it is the vision of an improvement in one of those which allows one to hold onto one's identity in the face of change in every other area. However, at the end of one's life, whether as a politician or an artist, one will have ideally learnt (emotionally and intellectually) as much as one can of both types of justice. The flexibility with which one began has been used up. One has been changed by the experience of living, and thus, the politician and artist, in spite of having had radically different experiences, may actually end up in virtually the same place, ideologically.

For example, the IRA terrorist is extremely likely to be demonstrating a weak grasp of social justice whereas the alcoholic is extremely likely to be demonstrating a weak grasp of personal justice. The professional sportsman on the other hand is demonstrating a strong grasp of personal justice, whereas the instance of a television presenter, say, might be demonstrative of a strong grasp of social justice.

 To come back to the main point then, 'the point of each of our lives was, or is, to build up a framework in our minds by which we may understand the world.' It is a framework that consists of a trinity of three elements: intellectual knowledge, emotional knowledge and (social and spiritual) conscience. Every single one of us has such a framework. It gives us first thoughts, but also gives us cause to pause ‘on second thoughts’.

We use the framework at the same time as building it but often there is a two-stage existence to it; initially the understanding would need to be built up, and then it would need to find some form of expression. This is where a metaphysical element of mind could come into evidence. It might carry across more than just one single life.

Now I am infringing William James' injunction. Let's come down to Earth: What is psychology today? In an examination of the textbooks I've looked at, it is generally agreed that it is something to do with behaviour, and their answer to the question would usually make some acknowledgement of a science of behaviour. In other words it is no more, and no less, than the study of what people do, and why they do it.

Now the distinction between 'what' and 'why' becomes quite significant when we consider the existing field. Those textbooks will tell us that there are currently five major theories of psychological approach, each of which vies against the other for application to different areas of the psyche. For the record they are: Neurobiological, Behavioural, Cognitive, Psychoanalytic, and Phenomenonological or existential.

Thus, if psychology is the study of what people do, and why they do it, each theory offers an explanation that is based on an assumption. The neurobiological approach assumes people behave as they do for biological reasons; the behavioural approach assumes people behave for external reasons (i.e. no free will); the cognitive approach assumes people behave according to a rationale (i.e. logically); the psychoanalytic approach assumes the reasons are subconscious; and the phenomenonological, or existential, approach assumes that people behave expeditiously (i.e. in their own best interests).

Clearly, none of these yet has successfully proved itself as a definitive theory of human behaviour, and that is what I am aiming to establish here. A theory of human behaviour that is so obviously correct, and so obviously works, that it will supersede all these other theories and become accepted as the definitive, overall theory, purely on the basis that it is common sense.

Such a theory does not prove these others wrong, but makes them into specialisations of a general theory. One cannot separate the 'why' from the 'what' of human behaviour. Each person's actions in any situation are determined by his or her objectives in that same situation. The 'why' varies as much as the 'what' does, and psychology is the 'ology of 'ologies, where each person forms a separate 'ology in their own right. But what appears complex can be shown to be simple when the rules are known and when the same rules are shown to work repeatedly in different situations.

The theory I am suggesting here is an amalgam of at least three main theories. It takes the cognitive approach that behaviour is rational, mixes it with the existential approach that behaviour is meant to be in the best interests of the individual and shows how, for reasons which are always the responsibility of the individual, whether consciously or not (i.e. not forgetting the psychoanalytical approach), the result of behaviour is sometimes beneficial, and sometimes not. The end result of this is that we will see that all human behaviour is ultimately the result of choice.

So, we've looked at the position we are currently in with five different but overlapping theories and we've seen how we got here. We've seen that, prior to Freud, the individual was assumed to be just that: indivisible; and a ‘psychological theory’ would have concerned the classification of how people behave. One of the earliest was the theory of four 'humours' which may be familiar to anyone who has read Jane Austen. This theory, put forward in the second century AD, divided people into four groups, by temperament: melancholic, phlegmatic, choleric and sanguine. In fact, the humours were thought of as fluids present in different mixtures in the body so that this would have been equivalent to a neurobiological theory, today.

The theory of Seven Deadly Sins could be said to have been another early theory, and again it is a classification of how people behave. There are even an equivalent Seven Saintly Virtues, although not nearly as well known, making this a humanistic, existential theory.

As we know, both of these theories illustrate the search for a taxonomy; for a way of classifying human behaviour into types or groups. This is a search that has continued right up to modern times with Professor Eysenck proposing a modern version in the 1960s.

 Prior to the age of reason (and unreason - mental illness) people arguably acted or behaved for reasons which were obvious. Either they did what was expedient under the circumstances and in their own best interests, or else they did what was morally right (or wrong). Although mental illness existed it was probably regarded as possession, or as physical illness, or as ‘idiocy’. Without practise there was no need for a psychological theory, and the potential conflict between, for example, the two theories above went unaddressed.

 Then, shortly after the industrial revolution, came the professional psychology of Sigmund Freud. For the first time, it was observed that conflict could arise naturally not only between the individual and the outside world but also within the individual. This was the beginnings of an attempt to classify not just the 'what' of behaviour but the 'why'.

 Unfortunately Freud himself thought that the main motivation for human behaviour was sex and this severely limited his outlook. His pupil, Jung, eventually broke with him on precisely this point, feeling that the motivations for behaviour were unconscious. Again however, this failed to resolve the real, moral issue and Jung introduced mysticism into Freud's empiricism.

 Following Freud, the field has experienced colossal fragmentation whereby it seems that any behaviour not explained by a current theory may give rise to an entirely new theory in conflict with all the others. If you browse through a psychological textbook you may be struck by the fact that it seems to be a list of questions, and proposals for furthering them, rather than actual answers. The field has arguably become clogged, giving rise to a certain scepticism concerning its subject whereby a psychologist is always heard, but only listened to when what he has to say corresponds to common sense. Quite a healthy state of affairs, perhaps.

 Nevertheless, a healthier state still would be for a comprehensive theory of psychology to emerge. It may not be a surprise to learn that this comes from outside the field.

There is a famous experiment in psychology, of which you may already have heard. The Milgram Experiment is described on Wikipedia. There, Prof. Milgram is quoted as saying: “I set up a simple experiment at Yale University to test how much pain an ordinary citizen would inflict on another person simply because he was ordered to by an experimental scientist.” Briefly, the experimenter orders the subject, as “teacher”, to give what he or she believes are painful electric shocks to another, who is an actor, as the “learner”.

The experiment made clear that it required some bravery in the volunteer to stand up to authority and question the orders, but following the Nazi war crimes and the Nuremberg tribunal’s ruling that evil orders from a superior were no excuse for evil actions from a subordinate, this was an important question to try and better understand.

The subject believes that for each wrong answer, the learner is receiving actual shocks but in reality there were no shocks, only an actor’s performance, and accompanying sound effects. The Milgram experiment is specifically a cognitive experiment. It is obviously designed to test how a person behaves according to what they believe, and it does so without holding up any particularly Freudian, Jungian or other model of mind. (For those who already know a little Transactional Analysis (TA) though, it is striking to note that the experiment successfully and neatly isolates the Adult-within-the-Parent of the subject, first by separating three Adult/Parent/Child roles out, and then by very cleverly reinforcing the roles – with a learner/teacher/researcher Parental hierarchy that seems to put the subject’s Parent firmly in the middle, and a ‘real victim’ to engage his empathic inner Child. The Milgram Experiment makes most sense when described with Transactional Analysis).

What this means in practice is that I am going to take one of the cognitive approaches, called Transactional Analysis, and redevelop it from scratch as a comprehensive theory of human nature.


Transactional Analysis

As said earlier, the cognitive theory of Transactional Analysis was established, I understand, by two best-selling books in the 60's; 'Games People Play' and 'I'm OK. You're OK'. They were both best-sellers, written for and appealing to the non-specialist as well as the specialist. The theory that both books described was based on the empirical observation of three ‘ego-states’, as they were termed, the name coming from the analysis of transactions between ego-states.

And we saw the three ego states were called the Adult, Child and Parent. The idea was that each had different characteristics and that by understanding the way they interreact, one can understand the way human beings interact. The Adult was seen as the rational, conscientious seat of the personality, and the Parent was seen as learned behaviour, acquired from mother and father. Diagrammatically it was represented as shown below (See Figure 1).



Figure 1: Transactional Analysis



That, in a nutshell, is the theory. It is certainly right in it's avoidance of labelling people as good or bad but a theory based on observation is fundamentally weak. The diagram above is not exact.There are areas of personality which are contained within the ellipse but not within the ego-states. What are these? How big are they? The advantage of a theory that is based on a single idea, rather than observation is that it can be diagrammatically exact, as we shall see. The circle that implies a mathematical set; the colouring, the placing and sizing; we will find that all of these are logically significant, and worth examining, and testing; along with the text that explicates the new theory. Indeed, we are pulled along with the impetus of the diagrams that form their own, complementary logic. That is the excitement and attraction of the work for the theoretical and logical thinker. Perhaps I should not be as amazed as I am at this. Perhaps it was inevitable when investigating an area that combines intellectual with aesthetic knowledge. But I don’t think I will find that others improve on those here with even better diagrams.

This is very much a cognitive theory, with the mind seen as a processor of information. The three components of Parent, Adult and Child are being seen like different software packages which would be switched in and out by the Operating System of a computer, and even some of the terms are familiar from computer science. (Transaction Processing). There is nothing wrong with this as far as it goes but, as with all cognitive theory, the model only allows for interaction between the mind and the outside world. The mind is ‘flat’ and uniform, and inner conflict, between two different parts of the mind could only result, by such a model, from dysfunction. Unless we argue with William James, and force the recognition of our forefathers, through the conscience, a mental problem becomes no more than a software bug. The ultimate effect risks being to give us as individuals no more free will than has a computer.

I am forty-eight at the time of editing this work. That is twenty years or so after the ‘eureka’ moment which began my writing of a book. There was nothing special about that day in any particular aspect. I was standing in my garden at the time, smoking a cigarette outdoors, musing on a problem of philosophy. Then I had the idea: what if pure goodness and absolute truth are not singularities but are like diametrically opposed axes, as on a graph? It would give three dimensions of infinity, like width, breadth and height. Then, each chosen unit point could be marked off by chance which would form a third axis - a peer - acting as the separator between two things - goodness and truth - that would otherwise be identical.



Figure 2: Mapping from three spatial axes of x, y, z to three abstract axes.



It also answered the philosophical problem, which was this: absolute justice seems to imply absolute punishment, whereas absolute mercy seems to imply complete, unconditional forgiveness. Does it not seem then that justice and mercy are irreconcilable, leading to paradox? The solution I had just thought of would say “yes, of course”. It would accept this paradox and resolve it only moment by moment, in temporary, temporal ‘fairness’.

It was like looking for something very complicated and finding something very simple – right under one’s nose.

Wait a minute! That principle of three axes also maps to the existing theory of TA that I read about years ago (I thought)! The Child, Adult and Parent would map naturally to goodness, truth and chance - so all you have to do is use one to extend the understanding of the other. So why don't the books say this? Because the focus of the personality would be the Parent, not the Adult; which would give both a potential and a limit to the theoretical individual. You couldn't, in practise, see that without allowing for your own Parent.

Those were roughly the thoughts I had as I remember them. Let me show what I meant by the diagram above (see Figure 2). This diagram is the one idea that has underlain all my thinking - in some ways it could be said it has taken twenty years for me to fully think it through.



Figure 3: Looking inward. Mapping to three abstract  internal axes.



Mathematically speaking, the mind is a sphere of transfinite size; that is, it is non-finite but quantifiable, in size. Imagine a sphere with an infinite centre but an infinitesimal edge. The edge goes on forever, and ever, but gets smaller and smaller as it does so: hence, it is bounded. Because the centre is infinite, everything is

falling towards it, but nothing ever reaches it. This is an imploding sphere – physically speaking. But because it is metaphysical, it never stops imploding.

This is just like the Universe, and just like the Universe, it is unimaginable. It is much more helpful to simply visualise a ball, because the best approximation to infinite mind is three dimensions, just as it is to the infinite Universe.

So, when trying to visualise the exact nature of the mind, unencumbered by what we may call the trivia of a physical plane, it is best thought of as a homogenous, coherent sphere (see Figure 3).



Figure 4: Within the mind we see the white light of conscience concentric to the mind of the individual as well as to the mind of Humanity.



One of the most significant things about this discovery is that it is drawing a clear distinction between the mind and the brain, since there is no biological element whatsoever to this mind. It exists independent of the brain and both prior to, and following, the lifespan of the brain.

When considering an actual mind, we may visualise the sphere as having a set of concentric rings or layers, rather like an onion (See Figure 4).

It is not necessary to think of the layers as separate minds. These layers, representing points on all three axes, or nodes on the grid, can be thought of more usefully for us as levels of belief.

Different levels of belief allow us to differentiate between strongly-held, deeply-personal convictions and lightly-held, vaguely-understood ideas. In other words, this is a diagrammatic representation of the framework which was introduced much earlier. It is very uncomfortable to question a core belief, such as by asking you to put your hand in the fire.

At the outside of the sphere we are fairly well aware of our own beliefs so that they feel separate to us even though there are no actual dividing lines between circles. As the centre of the mind is approached the beliefs become less and less clearly delineated to the individual until they are held subconsciously and, ultimately, unconsciously.

 However, as we well know it is not enough to see the mind as a set of intellectual beliefs since otherwise it would be no more than a grey, lifeless computer program. As inspirited beings, our minds consist of both intellectual and emotional beliefs, unified by our experience and the conscience. The grey, monochromatic generality is actually a polychromatic kaleidoscope in the individual, yet the three axes we have borne along give us the three primary colours which unite to make white. (see Figure 5).


Figure 5: The mind starts to take on Character.



The advantage this gives us is that it makes the framework flexible; not too fluid nor too static. We still need to see how the intellectual and emotional areas of the framework arrange and rearrange again, and how the area of conscience moves so very slowly, yet definitely, toward one's own destiny.

When only the intellectual and/or emotional content of a belief becomes questioned (for example when you are young and you learn that there is no Santa Claus), it is a relatively easy matter to adjust to the new knowledge; but when it becomes a crisis of conscience (for example perhaps you are at school and, out of the blue, one of the bullies selects you for his next victim) then there is no obvious and easy solution and, until it happens, you arguably cannot know what you will do - but once done, whatever you have chosen to do cannot be undone.

It is interesting, at fifty, to be able to look back and remember how much more confident and energetic I was at forty, and how concrete and certain everything seemed at twenty. My framework now is the one I have myself built, but at twenty it was the one I had been given by others, like the stabilisers we put on the bike of a child.

The components will vary in character or composition from one actual mind to another actual mind, but conceptually, the three areas of the mind are of equal size and importance and the diagram shows them in balance with each other and with themselves. Nice, clean straight lines divide the overall circle up equally. When dealing with an actual mind however we could be far from confident that this is the case. In fact, we might be tempted to think the opposite: that it is not only the imbalance between components but the imbalance between beliefs within a component that goes some way toward explaining the enormous variety and vast complexity of ordinary human behaviour. We might envisage this diagrammatically as widely-fluctuating sizes of sector and also as non-linear, jagged lines dividing two sectors.

As the sector broadens it also changes its nature, which is another way of saying that as the sector expands away from pure emotion, intellect or conscience, it acquires characteristics. It is possible to build up non-contradictory, interlocking pictures of each component. In effect, each sector, and thus each component, may be thought of as having its own personality; what others term an ‘ego-state’. However since personality is a term we apply to the individual to describe the product of the components we are in danger of becoming somewhat confused. To obviate this, we can name the components so as to make them more recognisable and manipulable.

The component of emotion may be called the Child. It is the source of one's creativity, and of one's compassion. As noted, it is thus childish not in the sense of being immature or inexperienced but in the sense of being unguarded and natural. It is worth noting that emotions are never entirely absent: there is never no emotion. Similarly, emotions are never entirely constant. There is always change to go along with the presence of feeling.

The component of intellectual knowledge is the Adult. It is analytical where the Child is creative. It is not, however, cold in its analysis because the intellectual knowledge by which we reason is also the source of our idealism, and thus our strength and courage. Where the Child is constantly reactive, the Adult is consistently purposive. But the weakness of the Adult is inflexibility. Given the same assumptions, the Adult will inevitably reach the same conclusions. The only way the Adult can change and adapt is if it is made to question its basic assumptions - often painfully.



Figure 6: The mature diagram shows the three axes of mind for the individual and all society, extending through the unconscious and into the conscience.



Finally, we come to what is in many ways the most interesting component, being fundamentally different to either of the above and being also the seat of the personality, called the Parent. Where the Child may be seen to be the component of creativity and the Adult the component of analysis, the Parent is the component of decision-making; choice, and conscience.

I should perhaps repeat that just as such features as immaturity or inexperience are characteristics of the whole personality and not the Child, in spite of its name, so the Parent is not particularly related to one's own parents. The name can be taken to reflect its position of authority over the whole personality. As acknowledged above, all the component names come from an existing psychological theory called Transactional Analysis. Freud was the first to observe three components to personality, and we could be using his terms - ego, id and superid. In the end though, the TA terms seem both simpler and more apt (see Figure 6).

This then is our starting point, at which we have made a profound discovery about the mind. That is to say, every mind always contains ALL three of the components identified AND furthermore every mind is always made up of ONLY these three components. We now have a complete theory, both to fully explore and also to fully test.

Typing the Individual

Let's start with a simple but fictional example to get our bearings, using an old TV show from the ‘60s, 'Star Trek'. Now, it will be immediately obvious to anyone who remembers it (I hope) that the three main protagonists of this serial, Captain Kirk, Doctor McCoy and Mister Spock, could be examples of Parent-, Child- and Ault-dominant personalities, respectively.

Intellectual A-type Spock, although not devoid of emotion, does his best to suppress any manifestation of it. He purports to function on reason alone and will always try to base his decisions upon what is logical rather than upon any 'mere' subjective consideration.

The emotional C-type Doctor McCoy on the other hand is the counterpoint to Spock's rationalism. Irritated by what he sees as the coldness of logic, the doctor reacts, and argues, from passionate feeling. As unswayed by Spock's reason as Spock is by McCoy's conviction, he is forever forced into conflict with the Vulcan - a conflict contained only by the friendship which McCoy cannot help feeling for his compatriot.

To this volatile but evenly-matched pair is added a third element; Captain Kirk, the Parental, P-type authority figure. Capable and fair-minded, it is always Kirk who is the leader. Ambitious but not egotistic, Kirk subsumes his own vanities in his position, arbitrating impartially between the other two so that he, ultimately, can take the decision that is necessary.

The best episodes were probably the early ones which established and explored the conditions within which the team worked: ones where Spock got married or had to take command; where Kirk suffered from a disease affecting his decisiveness, or had to bluff his way out of an impossible dilemma; and where the team had to deal with a seemingly impossible situation.

Despite the strength of its central idea, ‘Star Trek’ was not initially a success. In truth however, ‘Star Trek’ was a demanding show to watch. Classic grand ideas of SF were being shoehorned into the formula necessary for entertainment. The delicate suspension of belief that the premise demanded coincided with sometimes brilliant and sometimes ludicrous characterisations and plot developments. ‘Star Trek’, like a really good feature film, was better the second time around. The proof of that was the groundswell of affection which saw it brought back to the screen long after it was thought finished.

Although flawed, ‘Star Trek’ had the great virtue of simplicity. The essential relationships between the three protagonists are both psychologically true, and pleasing. One is persuaded that the bonds of respect and affection are strong enough to form a ‘first generation’. Kirk for example allows 'Bones' an unmilitary latitude which makes the most of his abilities as friend and confidante, over the strict considerations of rank. He tolerates McCoy's outbursts, and curbs them when necessary. To Spock on the other hand, he outwardly strikes a note of extreme military formality, but it is one which, on both sides, is indicative of deep respect rather than of mutual indifference. Spock is totally reliable and totally loyal to the Captain he sees as infallible. Indeed, Kirk fully lives up to this image since he always knows what decision to make, even when he does not know what decision is right.

These relationships form a very clean, P-A-C triangle. To view Kirk, Spock and McCoy with a fresh eye, if we substitute the names with the ranks - C.O., Second-in-Command and Chief Medical Officer - then it seems sure that the universal appeal of these three relationships explains, at least partly, the enduring appeal of Star Trek. But the other main element contributing to this appeal was of course the character of Spock.

The premise of a half-human, half-Vulcan, alien allowed us to explore the classic SF question 'what is it to be human?'. The great question concerning Spock was: is he more-then-human, or less-than? The Vulcan neck-pinch; the Vulcan mind-meld; two hearts, great strength, alien metabolism, etc., all indicated him to be super-human, but still there was the lingering doubt: would his cold logic overrule conscience?

If, in the case of Spock, what this added up to was, ultimately recognisably human, then the question itself would go on to fascinate a new generation in the extreme of ‘Data’, in the much later follow-up to the original series.

It is interesting to look more closely at the relationships of the original three main protagonists, bearing this in mind. For instance, if we observe Doctor McCoy at work, as we naturally enough frequently do, then the character we see is Pc rather than Cp. He is capable and rational, authoritative as well as compassionate. Likewise, the character of the Captain is Pa rather than Pc. He is driven by duty and ambition rather than by paternal affection.

However the effect of Spock, being such an extreme A is to polarise the other two figures. To work effectively as a team, the Captain must become that much more of a P, so he goes from Pa to pure P; his A redundant because it is overwhelmed by Spock most of the time. Similarly, the Doctor goes from being a Pc normally to becoming a C in the presence of Spock and the Captain. His P is overwhelmed by the Captain's greater authority (on all matters except medical) and his C is exacerbated by the strength of Spock's A.



Figure 7: One avenue of further investigation:, by subgrouping the characteristics.



 This is both psychologically true and dramatically convenient. One could ask whether, in real life, this would really be the best method for people to get on with each other. Is it indicative of strength or, rather, weakness of character? By tending towards a C, if his natural configuration is Pc, is McCoy showing an awareness of the special nature of the situation, and in particular, an awareness of the special capabilities of Kirk and Spock, or not?

At this point we ask to what extent these subtler shadings of character are the conscious creation of the writing team and to what extent they are the accidental - not to say natural - result of the actors own personality? In the case of Star Trek it seems very likely that what Gene Roddenberry had in mind from the start was a tripartite leadership of the Enterprise so that Kirk, say, was intended to be the star. This would have given us the basic P-A-C configurations, but then what about the Pa characteristics of Kirk or the Pc character of McCoy? Were these the conscious creations of the writing team or were they a natural evolution out of what the actors themselves, perhaps subconsciously, felt most comfortable with?

 To answer this we would want to have specific knowledge of the personalities of William Shatner and the cos-stars. I remember that Shatner went on to an indifferent cop series 'T.J.Hooker' and Nimoy was appearing regularly in 'Mission Impossible', but neither role exposes them significantly to my gaze. ‘Star Trek’ is useful as an example of strong typing in the roles portrayed, but it is not so useful as an example for where the actors are strongly typed. We will look for this, further on.

How then can we expand our general theory now?

If we could identify the fundamental nature of each component then we should be able to divide characteristics between the three of them. Then, when observing actual instances of behaviour we could classify the person by classifying the component characteristics of his behaviour. This would effectively be pursuing a taxonomy of characteristics as a development of the psychology that began with the four humours and the seven deadly sins and continues to modern times through the work of Eysenck (see Figure 7).

It is the approach we took in Table Two in our first review, and we would be applying our general theory to the individual, as we promised to do by quoting actual examples, from my friend to Captain Oates.

Just as important as the application to the individual though is the application to the group. And we could continue to identify groups by ratio, extending our work to and through a modern Zodiac (see Figure 8).





Figure 8: A second avenue of further investigation:


by partitioning, as with a pie chart.




 In dealing with the careful it behoves us to care. We could choose our representative for the Parent from the full range of authority; from policeman to doctor; from teacher to priest; from a manager to a referee, even; from a Millionaire to a Saint perhaps. However, a politician has a number of advantages to me for us. You might hardly know your own doctor or your children’s teacher, or you might know them too well to serve as an effective example of authority. Most people will know a few politicians from the media. Also, there are very good examples of famous politicians, to go with our famed artists and scientists, without getting bogged down with modern celebrity statuses.

You may be wondering what type of person you are. If you already have an idea, you may be wondering if it is right. What is just as good a question, and often more fruitful, is to ask what type of situation you are in. In other words, if you yourself were each one of the three types, how would that fit with the situation you currently find yourself in? This often leads to insights because you are naturally then able to bring your common sense to bear on your own self-knowledge.

Some people think that it is anti-individualistic to suggest that people generally fit into groups, or types. I think the opposite. I think that if a person has a natural propensity of some kind then it is helpful to the person to know it. I have lived with the knowledge of types for twenty years, yet I can think of almost no occasions when I thought consciously about the types of the people I knew. Once or twice it has been a help with a specific individuals but it has seldom brought me any advantage, unfair or otherwise. It is the general knowledge which I appreciate.

We can see the mutual benefit in psychometric testing. Quite reasonably, the employer wants to know if you will be a good fit for the job. This is just like the director needing the right actor for a part. The candidate ought to be allowed to know the results of the test as well though, and I have never been offered this. It would give careers advice new depth.

I have rarely thought about what type I am either, and for the same reason. If I think about it now I observe that I am not married and have no children. This makes me fairly free of normal responsibilities which could cause a problem as I am obviously an extreme person(!) I am aware of this and since I am quite responsible (P-type or just old age?) I do look to take on some extra responsibility voluntarily, by being involved with people and groups, locally. Primarily, you might think I am an A-type based on all this analytical non-fiction. You might be right about that, but I feel more of a C-type, and there I think is the mis-fit. I am not naturally comfortable in the A-type roles, ‘software engineer’; ‘theorist’; even ‘man’ sometimes - but they are absolutely necessary for what I am doing. A little discomfort isn’t much to put up with. Besides, I very fondly remember an ex-girlfriend who knew me well enough to realise that I had ‘an ego the size of an elephant’s arse’.

Having that said, let me get down to business. The methods of determining the ratio that have so far been suggested all rely heavily on background information.A potentially quicker method utilises the fact that the ratio probably holds true on the micro level over much shorter time-spans as well as on the macro level; that the characteristics that dominate large-scale transactions such as choice of career, choice of partner, utilisation of leisure, etc; are just as likely to dominate smaller-scale transactions as mundane as going shopping or dealing with a parking fine.

 Let's just illustrate this with a couple of examples. Suppose you have just been to the cinema with a friend. On leaving it after the film you turn to him and make some remark. What are you most likely to say?

This is such a common-place example it may have recently happened to you. If so, perhaps you can remember when you came out of the Cinema, what did you first say? And would that be different if it was a different friend, or an entirely different film? On average, how would such a conversation be likely to go?

An example of a Child-typed remark would be:

 "What a great film? I love the bit when ..."

Or, Parentally:

 "What did you think of it?"

Or alternatively, from the Adult:

 "Not bad. I thought it picked up in the second half ..."

These examples are fairly strongly typed as well. In the first case, the Child has made a strong emotional reaction to the film; so strong that it is trying to stimulate the Child of the companion to relive part of the experience, by appealing to the friend's enthusiasm over a particular part of the film.

In the Parental reaction, by contrast, any emotional or analytical reaction is being deferred, and may even be managed in response to the opinion of the friend. Whatever the individual's feelings are, this remark seems to be saying that the friend is more important than them. It is a considered and somewhat flattering Parental prompt.

And to contrast with the social facility of the Parent we have the Adult response which is primarily impersonal, and analytical. This person is implying not so much an interest in the film as an interest in films generally. He's got a specific point to make and it is presumably one which he has reason to think is of interest.

Let's take another example, imagine you are going shopping, say, to buy some clothes. This is an experience most adults will have had and they will thus have some expectation and/or objective prior to going. Crudely speaking, if I wanted to I could class these as gleeful anticipation; moderate enjoyment or excited determination. If you had to choose one of those, which do you think it would be?




Figure 9: Reactions to the world vary in importance but just as clearly also vary by type.



I think that a strongly Child-typed person would tend to feel a sense of glee at the pleasure of buying; would tend to allow their imagination to take flight in anticipation of what might be available. A strongly Adult-typed person, on the other hand, might be concentrated on getting the best goods for the cheapest price in the shortest time. (That would have been my approach, actually.) It contrasts with the balanced Parental approach of mild pleasure, concentrating on a fair price rather than a low one; viewing shopping as a chore but counterpointing it with some minor reward; coffee or an ice-cream, say.

If your feelings accord with one of the types described then it is a fairly strong indicator that you are that type of person in that situation, but it may well be that what you feel is a combination of the above rather than one distinct response. That might be because you are not strongly typed generally or because you are strongly typed but not in that particular situation. However, it is not a matter of finding the right situation in which your type will come out, it will likely be a matter of trial-and-error, of finding a number of situations, and a number of instances of the same situation, to come up with an approximation to your type rather than a certainty.

 The danger here, of course, now that we have an intellectual understanding, is of wanting more than merely a working model: of wanting to be right (and concomitantly, of being afraid to be wrong). It is an attitude which might be doomed to failure. What we are trying to pick up here is the type of knowledge that the politician is supposed to have: an understanding of people. Transactions can tell us characteristics and type, which will give us understanding, when it becomes married to experience.

These then, give us two possible avenues to explore next. Meanwhile, the final step in the development of the diagram is to annotate the interaction between the mind and the world in the form of transactions.

If we imagine any thought as the result of being triggered by an outside stimulus (even if it's only boredom at the passing of time), then we can draw the trigger as an arrow coming into the mind from outside, generating a response from somewhere within the mind to the outside world (such as getting up to switch on the TV). This sequence of events would then be called a transaction (see Figure 9).

As already noted, any interaction between the mind and the world may be called a transaction purely dependent upon convenience. To be meaningful, a transaction should have a start, a middle and an end. In my case the transaction began with an initial stimulus ("I'm bored!"), continues while the stimulus is being processed ("What can I do? Ought to do the shopping really ... ah, it'll wait. Wonder what's on TV? May as well take a look."), and ends when the response is decided (in this case to switch on the TV as opposed to going to the shops).




Figure 10: Key events are common to many people’s

experience, unfortunately including crisis.



The seat for stimuli is the Parent just as it is the seat for the personality. Most stimuli between people are Parent to Parent – they are what they appear to be. To take a trivial example, an outside stimulus might be a stranger suddenly saying 'What's the time?', or 'Nice weather today!'; comments which will evoke an appropriately superficial response based on fact or on one's feelings at that instant. Some stimuli are obviously not from the Parent, for example a joke. This can create a crossed transaction (not shown) where the joke is taken seriously ,as you may imagine.

But now if a stranger suddenly says, for whatever reason, 'You're a bit tubby, aren't you?' Well, an instant response might be to think 'No I'm not! At least, I don't think I am really. I know I'm about average weight and I'm pretty comfortable with the way I look - even if it should turn out I was thought so.' The beliefs triggered by the stimulus are 'I'm average weight' and 'I like myself' and these are indeed likely to be core beliefs. They are not easily threatened by a stranger (since you are going to be hostile to his rudeness and there is no reason for him to know what your particular core beliefs are), but if they are threatened then it causes the individual to make a more profound and probably painful response to the stimulus.

Thus, beliefs are gradually sorted out through childhood into a framework of robust and important (to the individual) core beliefs and less robust, less-important ancillary beliefs, held in place around the core. Thus, all of us has to establish a viable philosophy for ourselves, being the intellectual hierarchy of the framework; all of us has to find out how to be happy, requiring us to live within an emotional hierarchy; and all of us has to work out a way of doing this that does not establish our happiness at the expense of others, so that we do not step outside our shared conscience.

It is the latter requirement which means that, for good or bad, it is likely that one will face a completely unpredicted and unexpected crisis, to challenge one to the core. For many people, the challenge of the crisis is justified by the experience of love which is a lifelong need, and by the experience of learning which I think should be more widely acknowledged as being a lifelong need. Certainly, marriage and exams are two of the most serious and common decision-points that form and shape one’s experience of life. It is straightforward for me to map to these onto a diagram to give broad areas of types of transactions which I think are universal (see Figure 10).

This diagram may not yet tell us much more than we already know, but it is a good starting point for further development. We can start by looking at it critically. In the diagram all the transactions are the same in width but differ in depth. What would it mean if they differed in width, and would that be logically consistent in all cases? Would it be trustworthy? Similarly, if we develop our ideas of ratios and component characteristics how will this affect our diagramming of transactions? These are the concerns we will be coming on to.

To start more simply, the diagram shows six unidentified transactions. As a way to break up the work, I’ll ask a question without giving the answer. Let me give you three transactions and ask you to place them in Figure 9:

“What is the time?”

“Take my wife – please!”

“How are you?”

I’ve deliberately chosen examples so as to make them simple so I hope you find it easy. The answers are given in the Appendix.

There were two good examples of non-trivial transactions given earlier. The imaginary example of putting the hand into the fire clearly involved a deep transaction on the Child side, but as clearly also involved an element of Adult factual acceptance, albeit not as deep. We may wonder if we have to represent this as a P-type when it contains both, or would there be a type of transaction which crossed a boundary from one component to another?

The other deep transaction I had in mind from earlier was the one regarding whom to marry. On the face of it, that would seem to involve all three components, P, A and C. It is at points like this, when dealing with a new idea, that thinking is less obvious and not so easy. If all three components are implicated, it can seem that the usefulness of a new idea is in question. Are we in danger of having to surrender to the next new idea?

I have not found so in my long time of thinking. And in this case too, I think the answer is apparent after a bit of effort. Transactions through the Parent, that being the seat of personality, are often more sophisticated, and therefore frequently implicate one or both of the other components. These are more usefully thought of as P-type for simplicity, by comparison. And by comparison, the other transaction we are using of the hand in the flames would definitely be primarily of the C-type. And this illustrates by example a principle which we noted when started out, that the components are relative to each other. The axes are a convenience of representation only; there is not a hard absolute.

I would be keen to view the transactions shown in the diagram as being linearly logical however. Most people are trying to say what they mean, and we are justified in taking it at face value. We may be cautious of the relativity of theory without being disappointed in it, for the cautious progress builds up its own momentum. Indeed, I have found myself picking up on the very latest thinking as I have progressed. For instance, the diagram of the mind which is circular implies that thought within the mind, even between components within the same mind, might be linear but it might also follow the curve of the mind. Could this be classed as lateral thinking, to pick up on one term for mind proposed by Edward De Bono alongside TA in the sixties?

There are also other issues to be addressed. We will see these as we go along. In the case of ratios, we already want to make a temporary arrangement, so how will the dimension of time fit in alongside our current internal three dimensions? Also, all of our diagrams are currently the same size. If size is to represent quality as I think it ought, then we have a problem, but also an opportunity.

We identified two possible ways forward, by representing people as ratios, or by representing them as sets taken from an all-embracing super-set (see earlier figures).The idea of representing people as ratios is the hardest to develop and has no analogue (as far as I am aware) to the existing field, therefore it seems sensible to leave that to the second avenue of pursuit.

The first option, the taxonomy of characteristics, is by contrast, very much a natural extension of existing intuition - and it would certainly be a great achievement if we managed it: nothing less than the start of a classification for the 'how' of behaviour. Let's now review this, as if starting again.

The Taxonomy of Characteristics

 In order to describe people, we use words such as 'mean' or 'generous', 'arrogant', 'gentle', 'kind' or 'heartless', 'wise' or 'foolish'. Through the evolution of our language, English, these words are inherently valid simply by dint of having survived. Although each individual word has been in competition with all of the others to describe an aspect of human nature, the ones we know are the ones that have proven flexible enough not to be marginalised out of common usage and robust enough not to be subsumed within another word.

In the excitement of discovery, we were quick to observe the most apparent characteristics of each component empirically, (as shown by Table 2 in the first section) but, by going so far so fast, did we overshoot? Let’s question our quick assumption even though it does not seem to need changing, and then let’s check it by application.

The question we are asking is: can these characteristics be classified into three groups where each group describes one component: either Adult, Child or Parent? So let us proceed by asking if there is a 'core' characteristic by which each component can be recognised. It would have to be a characteristic which was only present in that component, but one that was present in all instances of that component. We therefore need to find one characteristic that every human being shares - that is, one for each component: three, in all.

For instance, my father was generous. In the case of the Parent, could generosity be a core characteristic? For that, we would have to be convinced that it (or its opposite) was a characteristic shared by every single person there is. If the fundamental nature of the Parent was its propensity to be generous, or mean, wherever we observed generous or mean behaviour we would be observing the manifestation of the Parent component.

Generosity though, even embracing its opposite as meanness, is not obviously a characteristic of the entire human race. We cannot say that generosity is at the root of either social facility or justice. We hardly make a point of judging our friends by their generosity. My father was generous, and I aspire to it for that reason, but I don’t expect you to.

I mentioned earlier seven saintly virtues, which are: chastity, temperance, charity, diligence, patience, kindness and humility. What about one of these? Does one stand out to epitomise the Parent? Patience, modesty, loyalty or industriousness are all possible, but not ideal. Well, there is one characteristic here which I think is a possibility for the Parent, and that is humility.

Against that candidate, is my solution to my original philosophical problem to the paradox between justice and mercy: fairness. Is fair-mindedness a better or worse candidate than humility for a core characteristic?

Humility is a word that resists definition. Loosely being the apt perception of one's place in the world, humility could indeed be thought to underlie both ethical and social senses. It may be seen to be a character trait that everyone does (or should) aspire to, being traditionally synonymous with virtue. If we can pin down that impreciseness it has, perhaps we will have found the Parental core.

One down, two to go. We need two other suggestions for core characteristics, So, if generosity is not the core characteristic of the Parent, how about for the Child? But it is no easier to see generosity as the core of the emotions than it was earlier to see it as core to the Parent. Although the spontaneous urge to give may reasonably be assumed to arise from the Child, it looks like the product of kindness rather than the cause of it. And in fact, the suggestion I would make is just that: kindness; a trait that is simply synonymous with compassion. And the opposite of kindness is not cruelty or meanness but simply unkindness: not caring. The opposite is indifference.

Other candidates that occurred to me were beauty; creativity; and passion; and of course love. The first, beauty and by extension ugliness, are an interesting contrast with humility, but it is a cold match. And the last, love, is certainly an element of Child, but not so much that we can take it away from the Parent.

Passion is the closest competitor. We have already coloured the Child red and red is the classic colour of anger. Anger may not be per se a good thing, but neither is it a bad thing. Anger can be energy (as Johnny Rotten sang). Earlier, I wrote about the Adult being more than just IQ – there being an element of ‘engine’ and ‘fuel’. Perhaps it is the same here; if intelligence is the 'motor' could anger be the 'fuel'? No, not all the time. As one is thinking all the time, so one is only occasionally clever; as one is kind all the time, so one is occasionally angry.

Lastly, we come to the Adult, and this I find to be the easiest one of the three. If the characteristics of the Adult are idealism, and strength of purpose then courage, as identified earlier, is an easy choice. But courage is also not all the time, and the alternative choice that suggests itself just as strongly to me, is pride. One’s sense of self-worth and one’s preparedness for self-sacrifice, these are the products of one’s pride.

The three pairs of core characteristics that we are investigating are therefore pride & courage, humility & fairness and kindness & anger. So the question is, can they be seen to be present in every living being, and can they also reasonably be seen to be equal and different to each other such that none is subordinate to the others and yet none is better either?

Not long ago I read a book about the study of religion. It said that Christian theologians have been debating this issue since at least the Fourth Century. This was when St. Augustine's writings suggested that pride was, per se, a bad thing, and humility, per se, good. It is a view which was forcefully re-echoed as recently as the Sixteenth Century, in an essay by Sir Thomas More, and although in recent times it has fallen out of favour, the viewpoint has never been completely repudiated. In answering our own question therefore we would like to integrate the historical context.

Pride Vs. Humility

Going right back to my earliest years, I always seem to have appreciated the significance of pride but humility, by comparison, always seemed to me a thing of self-abasement rather than self-effacement. I can remember resenting the sense of the words to the hymns we had to sing at Sunday School. I knew that pride was not justified when it was shown to be inordinate. Pride is subject to external testing in this way. I know also that to be wrong requires apology, and that pride says, if an apology is given there must be the intention also not to repeat the offence. This seemed to be demanding enough to try to live up to. Why should one need to be humble?

Well, although it may be a self-sufficient philosophy, it may not be one to bring lasting happiness. Perhaps it is that humility is not necessary, it is desirable. One does not have to be humble at all, but it is a good idea to be; not only to have others like you, but as importantly, to keep yourself liking you. I began to become interested intellectually in the nature of humility – in humility, as a word. It did not come as a surprise to me to find out that I did not really know what humility was, but what was a surprise was finding that others did not seem to know, either. Here is the story I used earlier, from one book I read, illustrating the problem:

A novice monk is sent on a mission to find the characteristic that most identifies his Order. When he returns he goes to the friar to make his report. The Franciscans, he says, are the most industrious whilst the Dominicans are clearly the most pious. Ticking off each of the other Orders on the list he identifies the virtue that each most embodies, and each seems better than the last. Finally, coming to his own Order he ends with a flourish "but ours is the most humble of all!"

However, although I might have to agree that humility is always a good thing I could not agree that pride is always bad. It seems to me that personal pride is good, for example, in the cinema when the condemned man is taken to the gallows and remains proudly upright rather than begging a powerless hangman for release. Or it is attractive when the patient in the story is informed he has cancer and thanks the doctor for telling him rather than openly bewailing the unjustness of it all; or it is attractive when the father is interviewed on the news and forgives the murderer of his son not on the basis that the murderer deserves forgiveness, but on the basis that there are murderers, and there are sons.

In fact, in general it might be said that pride is visibly appealing and admirable when it is combined with some sort of difficulty or suffering; an acceptance of duty. One could extend this to say that humility is correspondingly unattractive if it is used to avoid some sort of difficulty or duty. For example, it is invidious for the rich man to console himself for having more than most, with his ineffectiveness in the face of mass, world poverty. So how did pride get such a bad name? Perhaps in earlier times, the effects  of pride – bravery, honour and gentleness – were admired in their own right. Maybe it was good communication to lump a number of faults together as pride.

It is powerful thinking, but would the theologian quite reasonably argue that the rich man is not being truly humble? Is he being, whether deliberately or not, hypocritical in not acknowledging his own self-interest? And if so, then perhaps by extension, true humility is always a good thing and, if hypocrisy is the sin of pride, then all pride (of this type) may be equally bad? This needs proving, or otherwise, by application.

Let us make an examination of pride. Now, what characterisations out of my haphazard remembrance do I think might qualify as paragons of that quality? What examples are so extreme as to offer the chance of telling us more than we already know about pride? It would seem that there ought to be hundreds, if not thousands, of examples of pride in action, but after racking my mind for possibilities, I am left with only four suggestions: for extreme hubris, I think of Cervantes Don Quixote; for abuse of authority I think of Captain Bligh and Captain Queeg; and finally, for male machismo, I think of the Western genre.

Whereas Cervantes creation is entirely fictional, the latter three cases have a founding in truth. Let's begin with Bligh, then. A real-life figure, he is famous as the sadistic Captain of the Bounty against whom the loyal but honourable Fletcher Christian is pushed to lead a mutiny. Christian then casts him adrift in an open boat with those of his crew that are still loyal. With scanty provisions, Bligh seems doomed but he then succeeds in navigating his boat four thousand miles to safety - without charts! He is acquitted at court martial in England and goes on to live to a ripe old age, retiring from the British Navy as an Admiral.

Bligh is a nice example for us because the drama of his story has led to at least three different Hollywood films exploring the ambiguity of his character. The most famous version is probably the Charles Laughton/Clark Gable swashbuckler, where Gable is largely good and Laughton largely evil. In the second version with Trevor Howard and Marlon Brando, the formula remains broadly the same. It is in the third version, with Anthony Hopkins and Mel Gibson, that the focus this time moves away from Christian and onto Bligh.

The difficulty with the original version is how could a man who is merely sadistic have the endurance to perform such a feat of survival? I think the success of the third version is that it addresses this question, and it does so by injecting Bligh with an extreme sense of pride.

In the Hopkins interpretation of the character, Bligh is merely a man who isn't liked; a victim of circumstance as much as his crew. As we see the early events play themselves out, we see that Bligh knows he isn't liked, but is simply unable to change. He and Christian become more and more alienated as the awful trip wears on and Christian seems a metaphor for all humanity as Bligh becomes less and less reasonable toward him.

But instead of sadism, the sense is one of tragedy. Rightly or wrongly, Bligh can't change. His personality is based on his pride; on his assessment of himself: "I am no sort of man unless I am this sort of man". It is an assessment that is wholly admirable, but Bligh makes the cardinal mistake of inflicting it on his crew: "if you are not these sort of men, then you are no men at all". The tragedy is that he perceives he is wrong in some way, if only through his own mental anguish, but he just can't see why, and mutiny becomes inevitable.

At the climax of the film however, when Bligh is cast adrift following the mutiny, the situation becomes so severe that his personal standards are no longer too high for his men. If they are to survive, they must all adopt them. Hopkins Bligh is no more likable at this point than he ever was, but what we are seeing is the integrity of the man. In the crunch it is his strength which pulls them through and it is that strength by which his pride may be justified.

As a result of all this, Bligh is humanised. It is not inconceivable that he goes on to become likable, and liked! He must see that these eighteen men who now meet his standards are the same eighteen who failed to meet them before the mutiny (since Christian was the source of any hope then), and it is two-and-two for him to realise that therefore, perhaps he should relax his standards towards others, if not toward himself, trusting in the situation to demand it from  them, in future.

Perhaps Bligh will not put two and two together, of course, since one can never predict, but I cannot believe that he would be unchanged by his experience and I prefer to believe that he would mellow toward his fellow man as a result of being more confident of himself, not less. Certainly, it is a matter of conjecture whether this version of events actually relates to what happened. Whatever the case though, the important thing is that the story is believable. If it did not happen, we know it could have, and all credit to Anthony Hopkins for having the bravery to make Bligh true, but not likable. It may not be historically true, but the greater triumph is that it is artistically true.

Does this tell us anything new about the nature of pride? We have discovered the nature of Bligh, the man, but it is one that is well within our own ambits. We cannot extrapolate it to explain what we do not already understand. To learn something new, I will move on to an examination of the Western genre.

To start with, we can observe that every man is given a lethal (and thus absolute) ability to judge and punish every other through the gun. Thus, all men have a measure of equality. A universal code of the gun means that although law and order are often absent, some semblance of fairness always remains to offset anarchy. Although cheating does happen the cheat, or outlaw, is largely ostracised. Women have a symbolic importance that usually overrides the significance of their personality. Although it would not be fair to say this is deliberate, the effect is to disempower them and thus the story of the men automatically takes centre stage.

Extra emphasis is placed upon a man's pride in this genre by two things. Firstly, because of the lawlessness peculiar to the wild west, the price of being an outlaw is often nothing more than loss of pride (that and the eventual meeting with the nemesis or hero, of course); and secondly, the code of the gun is handed down from father to son. Part of the measure of a man is his understanding of this code.

We can see why the cliché Western phrase 'A man's gotta do what a man's gotta do' is so appropriate. In one sentence it virtually sums up the internal logic of the genre. It implies a set of rules of conduct that are internal; it tells us that these rules are universal (the line isn't an explanation, it's a reminder!); and it also tells us that women are exempt from the code.

Most important of all, in the context it is used the line tells us that to be a man is, itself, the only reward for any heroism. With some truth, the metaphor of the Western can be seen as an allegory of intelligence. Quickness with a gun, just like quickness of intelligence, is an arbitrary gift of fate, but just as with the fastest gun, no matter how quick and clever you are, there is always someone quicker or cleverer.

 Archetypally, the cliché line comes at the dramatic climax of the film just before the hero goes off to face down the villain in spite of the overwhelming odds against him, and in spite of the many temptations to do the pragmatic thing and merely save himself.

Now, there's a profound truth here which I think explains the existence of the Western. One has to be careful not to think oneself better than others but not because it would not be humble - not because they would not like you - but because it is simply not true. Pure pride only means you're as good as anyone else, not better, and one is perfectly entitled to think oneself as good as anyone else on the planet - provided one is prepared to face up to the truth.

To have reality, pride must be based on truth.

Let’s recall that we were considering courage as the core characteristic for the Adult alongside and possibly in preference to pride, so is courage as much based on truth? Less so, perhaps, if shame is the punishment rather than blame. It is a shame if I fall short of my own aspiration not to be a coward, but is it a matter for blame? And if it is a matter for shame, then surely it is my pride that will drive me to live up to my aspiration? I do think it is pride that survives as the core characteristic of the Adult.

As the final stage of our investigation then, let's have a look at what happens when pride is not based on truth. Which brings me to the consideration of Captain Queeg.

Queeg is the subject of Herman Wouk's novel 'The Caine Mutiny', which was made into a film starring Humphrey Bogart in the role. The story concerns the crew of an American minesweeper on light duties during World War II which receives a change of command. The new Captain appears to be a martinet of questionable seamanship and little courage, but as the story continues it becomes apparent that he is exhibiting strong symptoms of insanity. At a crucial moment, the first mate relieves him of command on the basis that he is medically unfit for duty. During the subsequent court-martial, Queeg reveals his paranoid tendencies.

Although not a true story, in the book the characterisation of Queeg is closely based on medical case-histories. Wouk's purpose was as much an examination of Naval justice as a character study. He is interested in Queeg as an authority figure. Queeg might have made a perfectly capable officer. Not liking people himself, he might never have been popular, but he has a taste for order and detail and relishes the conformity and rigidity upon which the Navy thrives. Queeg and the Navy could well have been happy with each other.

Unfortunately, Queeg is an officer during time of war, and as the importance of the Navy increases, so does that of Queeg. Rather than promote those who would be both younger and less-experienced over him, the Navy makes Queeg a Captain, and the 'Caine' is his first command. Now, granted the peculiarly absolute power of Captaincy at sea, the weakness of Queeg's personality is magnified and he begins his journey down the same road that Bligh had found himself following, the long road that leads away from all humanity.

Towards the end of the book, the crew of the 'Caine' have made just that connection between Queeg and Bligh, but Queeg is never headed for the same fate as Bligh because they are fundamentally different. Bligh faces his crew with a clear choice: either hate him or understand him, because you must respect him. Queeg on the other hand has lost all respect from his crew. He is pathetic. Even the arbitrary cruelty he dispenses does not make you hate him - if anything it would make you disrespect the Navy, and the war.

The climax of Queeg's drama is the search he instigates for the thief of some ice-cream. Queeg believes that he was promoted largely because of one incident, when, as an ensign on another ship, he tracked down a thief by discovering that he had made a duplicate key. Now he convinces himself that the same situation has occurred aboard the 'Caine', and he instigates a ship-wide search for the imagined key.

By the end of the search, it has become apparent that Queeg is not interested in the possibility that there might not be a key. He has finally turned his back on truth itself. In fact, he has perverted the very principle of pride: 'In this situation I am this sort of person', turning it around to become 'I am this sort of person and so this must be the situation'. From this point on, Queeg is as pathetic as he is dangerous, and the officers and crew are more concerned with humouring him than appeasing him. It is as if, by turning his back on truth, Queeg has lost some basic authority; the authority that any human being has, because truth is, after all, a little magical.

In his egotistic denying of the truth, Queeg could be betraying the knowledge that he has acquired through much more basic lives than his current one. It is even possible that the end effect of insanity is, in general, not the extinction of the entity but his or her relegation to a much earlier stage of life. Either way, the reaction of Queeg's crew is to humour him as if he were a spoilt child, which in a way, he is.

 Let's bring this examination of pride to a conclusion. It was important to us to show that pride, being based on truth, can be tied back to our original three axes of truth, goodness and chance, or fate. Notice that problems introduced at this fundamental level directly affect the core of the personality, threatening its function. Strengths of course could be taken as an equivalent invisible benefit, giving us the Western metaphor of the ‘fastest gun'.

Next, I would like to address the issue of humility. We need to show that it, too, is a core characteristic and crucially, we want to establish the relationship between it and the previous subject. I would like to do so by taking the same approach as earlier and looking around for particular characterisations of it, in books and films.

Humility is traditionally associated with the religious life, of course, so that we might expect to see it's best reflection in the lives of the great Saints, but this is not the stuff of good entertainment – and hard for me to deal with, from my own experience. Nor can humility obviously be examined by a genre within mainstream fiction - it would be like having a genre to examine human nature. These are subjects which are examined not only by all genres, but by the whole of entertainment, itself. Maybe it is unhumble of me even to have the aspiration.

Let me pause to acknowledge that I have had to invent a new word here – there is no such word as “unhumble” in reality. Yet I think it is the right one to use, don’t you? It may be that I will be shown to be guilty of true hubris. But right now I am willing to run the risk. On a temporary basis, let me use a temporary word.

We have finished with pride, but not just yet with Queeg. I want to ask whether the deficiency in his personality is in his Adult or in his Child.

Queeg is not a big man. As Captain of the 'Caine' he reveals a cowardly streak, in the shirking of hazardous duty, and vindictiveness, in his conduct towards his men. He turns his back on truth, in initiating a search the outcome of which is predetermined in his mind, but the final element of the puzzle is the paranoia that Queeg’s case-study is based on. I suspect that if the root of the problem is a complete abandonment of truth, then a more likely outcome than paranoia would be megalomaniacal self-delusion. We'll see later (fig 33) that paranoia itself is the intellectual Adult's disorder where megalomania is a disorder of the natural Child.

There is no shortage of real rulers in history who have been despotic and megalomaniac without the countervailing judgement of a courts martial. One of the most famous is the Emperor Nero (68 BC). The popular image of Nero is of a frustrated actor who, unable to rise to the responsibilities of his unique birth (or corrupted by the inequalities of it), becomes a symbol of megalomaniac excess. If so, and there is certainly truth to it, it means that the principles of human nature, and the human mind being described, apply as much two thousand years ago as they do today.

But paranoia seems to me more likely to be a reflection of Queeg's unkindness. It is telling that  Queeg never performs an unselfish act all the time we know him. Neither does he resist vindictiveness. Paranoia does seem to be a reflection of unkindness, from this as an example.

In the end, the answer is given us by the imagination in making Queeg a real person. There is little argument that Humphrey Bogart succeeds in bringing him fully to life,  when he plays the film role. He had succeeded in bringing paranoia to life again earlier in an even more famous film when playing Fred Dobbs, a man suffering from gold fever. Indeed, Bogart is the archetypal Adult-type character actor, although it is getting ahead of myself to say so now. Queeg’s deficiencies must be on the Child-side of the personality. They cannot be of the Adult because he is played by an Adult type.

Next on our list is kindness, to be considerd in detail. What is the core characteristic that Queeg and those like him lack.

... And Kindness

 Kindness – and perhaps anger – is characteristic of everyone, but this is not to say that everyone therefore feels either kind, or cruel, towards everybody else. It is to say that everyone feels some kindness towards someone, even if it is only one person. Those who have been most dangerously evil, and most willing to risk insanity, are the hardest to look at, but do illustrate the point. Hitler’s last act was to marry Eva Braun. Rod Steiger’s terrifyingly unforgettable Al Capone was an exploration of just this theme in the Hollywood film.

As long as we are alive as human beings, we are vulnerable to the unkindness of others. There is nothing that can stop someone from deciding to make you their target for it. I turn my attention from the general to the specific:

 Extracted from ITV News; Saturday, 12/6/93:


"A man was killed last night whilst trying to prevent  vandalism."


"Whilst walking home, a man apparently saw a group of

 youths in the act of vandalising traffic cones. The man

 tried to intervene but was attacked by a group of between

 four and six men in their early twenties. He died later, in

 hospital. Police have not yet named the man."


 Extracted from Guardian Newspaper; Wednesday, 16/6/93:


 'Convicted killers are a 'community resource' in these cash-

 strapped times’


 At first sight they don't have anything in common; the man

 who suffers from autism and the man who is shut away for

 life on a charge of manslaughter. But they meet every Friday

 afternoon when 10 men with severe learning difficulties from

 day centres in Brent come to the gym in Wormwood Scrubs to

 be taught keep fit and sport by a group of lifers.


Rodney [a visitor], an affectionate and strapping young

 man, comes over to John [an inmate] for a cuddle.


 Cynics could argue that the inmates are giving themselves

 a good track record to cut a slice off their sentence.

 "No way" argues [Prison Officer] Richardson. "These lads

 are carefully vetted."


John adds, "The Judge recommended I do a minimum of 15

 years. You could be God's chosen angel but you still can't

 come out before your time. I do this because I want to."

The idea of prisons as a community resource has been

 developing for the past seven years. At Holloway, inmates

 teach swimming. Inmates at Kingston Prison work closely with

 Mencap. Swinfin Hall Prison provides sports tuition for

 people with special needs ...


 ... the Scrubs project provides one of the few occasions

 where people like Alan and Chris [who has Down's syndrome]

 can get one-to-one attention. "I just don't have the

 resources to do it," [the local development officer for

 disabled people] says. "And there is real commitment here

 which is difficult to find."


I must say that when I first heard the news-item above about the killing of a man who was simply trying to prevent some vandalism, it shocked me. It cut through my veneer of toughness, the one we all develop, but through which a particular combination of the mundane and the awful may still reach us.

You very probably feel angry at the injustice of the first story as of course I did. What did you think of the two items together? Were you shocked by one and unmoved by the other, or were you unmoved by one and heartened by the other? Were both equally moving or was neither? The problem with anger is that it can inspire not justice but vengeance. And it can also fizzle out to have no effect at all. We’d be unlikely to conclude it is a core characteristic.

Many people, I think, would be provoked to try and weigh one of these news items up against the other; in fact, to see it as a matter of good versus bad. A little while ago, faced with this situation I would have found myself trying to address the question by identifying the 'higher' problem; the one that could be seen as causative of both cases. That could be as simple as 'why is there evil in the world?', but most of the time I would have been a little more worldly, along the lines of 'why is the prison system so inadequate both as a deterrent in the case of the attacking youths, and as a method of rehabilitation in the case of most 'lifers' - especially when the people running it are very probably no better nor worse than you or I?'.

 For example, an optimistic frame of mind might feel that it is wrong in principle to lock people up and throw away the key. One might feel that to treat people as if they have no worth is to create the situation where they have no worth, such as where the man loses his life simply for trying to prevent what is really a trivial misdemeanour. Maybe it is going too far to say that one is directly linked to the other but it is no more than cold logic to assume there is a knock-on effect from the conditions of life in, say, Wandsworth Jail.

Alternatively, a pessimistic frame of mind might consider that the killing of a man for such a trivial, and community-conscious, act is symptomatic of the growing decay of modern society, whereby the forces of disorder are encroaching ever nearer to one's own home. One might feel that Jail is precisely the solution to the problem, and that the various prison projects provide a possible situation whereby an inmate can be forced to prove his worth before being allowed out.

At this point I should ask you what answer you came up with. Does the bad outweigh the good, or vice versa, or are they equal? There is no, one, 'right' answer. Anyone who is provoked to ask what is the 'higher' problem - whether in the concrete or in the abstract - is indulging in philosophy. If there is no one, right 'answer', each of us must find his or her own personal expression.

Is there one Answer which would explain everything, if only we knew it? Certainly, we all seem to know what is meant by 'the Answer'. We all know no-one has it, yet. As one trivial example, someone then would be able to explain to the widow of the man in the news item above why it was that he was fated to be killed. In a follow-up article, (Independent, 14.6.93) the wife was quoted as saying "He was a very caring man - all he wanted to do was try to protect his family and his community". One's heart goes out to her, it goes without saying, but if someone had the Answer then they would have the practical ability to not merely reduce but actually remove the pain of grieving.

If no one of us has the whole Answer, but all of us have a share of it, then we are being led inexorably to the path of humanism; to a humanist philosophy.

 At first glance, it may appear a rather wishy-washy, even politically-correct credo. Perhaps even, to some extent it is, since it is ungainsayable.Applying it to the news-items above: one can invoke the law to punish the youths but one cannot invoke psychology to stop the event from happening in the first place. As an example, a person who comes to feel that the problem is one of good and evil may well address it as best they can by becoming say, a priest. The one who comes to feel that the problem lies within the prison system might become a probation officer; a third person may become a theatre director, using the medium to express and resolve their anger or helplessness; a fourth person might turn to engineering as a concrete, quantifiable way to change things.

Obviously I know that this is not much of an answer. I know that my philosophical principle would not be of any great comfort to the widow of the man in the news story. The only help I could possibly give to her is outside of these pages. The same sort of help that you or anyone else in the world can offer: words that are not meant to be insensitive; actions that are not purposefully disloyal.

I leave the examination of kindness there. It is no surprise to find that one cannot be kind from a distance. In fact, let’s take the conclusion across, into the realm of the Parent. Let’s say that for humility to have any substance – for us to genuinely apply or remove the adjective - as much as it being a real situation, it must be a situation at which we ourselves are actually present.

To return to the humble/unhumble theme, let's apply our working definition to the joke to see if it fits:


"...well, the Dominicans are the most generous, and the Franciscans are  the most tolerant, and we are the most humble - except for me, of course!"


I like this because it still makes me smile.

Now to complete the examination of the Parent, I would like to find a way to compare fairness as a core choice alongside humility. I said that for our representative of the Parent we might be tempted to choose the example of a Saint perhaps. Whether one thinks of St. Francis of Assisi or a modern-day equivalent such as Mother Theresa what comes to mind is, I think, an enormous compassion; not for the most put-upon of all or the most unfairly treated so much as for the average, fallible, unremarkable man or woman in the street.

But what makes the Saint such a clear example also rules him or her out. More than just kind; having unusual strength of character and wisdom too, the Saint is above our grasp. The strength of the Saint's goodness makes them something of a closed book to us, psychologically.




Figure 11: Principles of Psychology both raise and address principles of Philosophy.



So let us take the next best thing, in the form of a priest.

The priest differs from the western hero in that he aspires to a doctrine of mercy, rather than justice. Where wrongdoing is published in another world, and where virtue is its own reward, the extreme is a policy of pure, limitless forgiveness. (It is the problem I had reached by a different route philosophically when I was 27). No-one would know better than he how impracticable such an approach would appear in our world but it would be part of the challenge to him as a man (or woman) to find a workable compromise for his ideal, in the doctrine of mercy.

If we reverse the problem and compare these two approaches from the point of view of fairness, we can see that the sense of fairness – as much as humility - of the Westerner is based largely on his pride whereas the same sense in the priest is based mostly on his mercy, or kindness. Thus, to resolve the problem in a compromise we would try to base the Parent equally, on both pride and kindness, in a doctrine of fairness separate from either justice or mercy (see Figure 11)

Thus, the best approach is not an eye for an eye in the sense of pure justice, nor forever turning the other cheek in the sense of pure forgiveness; the optimum approach is for a policy of correction which would be, loosely speaking, to return, for example, a beating with a punch, a punch with a slap, a slap with a reproof, and so on, in an ever-decreasing, but never-ending cycle of violence.

Why, loosely speaking? Because the intention is not to dictate a pattern of behaviour - if anything it is the opposite. I think we can now see the doctrine of justice as requiring the imposition of one's own conscious upon another, whereas the doctrine of mercy would require the imposition of another's conscious upon oneself.

As we have already discovered, the best approach is the one that is fairest to all sides; to itself, and to those around it. However, that fairness will change from moment to moment. The fairest perspective at any given moment can never be guaranteed to be the fairest the moment before, or the moment after.

Humility receives a warm welcome by definition but fairness teaches us something about the sociable parent: The big difference between this and the “fastest gun” metaphor of the Adult's intelligence is that one would welcome, with arms wide open, anyone being more fair than oneself.

Characteristic Assignment




Figure 12: Professor Eysenck mapped four dimensions to the ancient theory of humours.



In the excitement of discovery during the first section of this book I produced a table of characteristic assignments. In Figure 7 here, we have seen a way that, by extending and subdividing the circle, we think we could develop our theory rigorously. My table earlier was good enough for a lay understanding, but here, where I have more time, I want to show whether it offers a significant improvement on the professional understanding. Remember that this is a continuation of existing thought in psychology, from the Seven Deadly Sins to Eysenck and Cattel; being a classification of the 'how' of human nature. Eysenck’s theory, for example, is of four dimensions of personality (see Figure 12).

This diagram shows the classification of a variety of characteristics into four types of personality, falling between the extremes of 'stable' and 'unstable' and 'introverted-extraverted'. It also shows that the classes of characteristics may be mapped to the ancient theory of four humours.




But there is no obvious mapping between these categorisations and our own theory. Furthermore, this theory is not quite as ambitious as we would like to be. Eysenck is categorizing what may be seen as the safe, ordinary characteristics and consequently his list appears to us somewhat passionless. What about characteristics such as nobility, courage, depravity or cruelty? If we do not embrace these characteristics as well then our classes will not seem to have wholeness when considered against the full range of human nature.

What makes this question interesting to the layman is this: Eysenck’s four dimensions of people also correspond to four types of people, where our three dimensions of Parent, Child and Adult correspond to three types, don’t they? Who is right?



Table Example One: Gradated Characteristics



Table Example Two: Opposing Characteristics



Let's begin from the simplest possible position, the consideration of single characteristics to see if they fall into obvious groups for us. I’ll go back to the empirical observation of components for help, whereby the Child is the emotional, spontaneous component, the Adult is the rational, analytical element and the Parent is the prudent, responsible overseer. Thus, characteristics such as warm, generous, emotional, enthusiastic, and also trivial, nervous or quick-tempered might automatically be thought of as in the Child.

I’ll consider using a triangle as a way to give a spatial arrangement, so any of the four groups I have got in the table shown could be seen in a diagram of triangular form (see Figure 13).

We had already realised that we wanted to embrace the range of characteristics rather than simplistically using a single word. I can compare in two different ways, but both are an end at the same time as they are a beginning. We’ve already seen the first, and the second is below.

The two tables work together to give an enhanced understanding of each component. And these tables do work to give a feel for the different domains of each component, but again not without problems.

For instance, 'flighty' and 'frivolous' are somewhat similar in sense, yet as excess/lack respectively of Child, the table makes them somehow opposites. Likewise, 'shameless' and 'depraved' are similar in feel, yet the table has them in two different components, of Child and Adult respectively.

The trouble is, these tables just don't jump out at you as being right. Rather; they slide away from the understanding we've got already as if they were, at best, unsatisfactorily inexact.




Figure 13: In three stages, we can divide, compare and contrast using the principles of a) three divisions, b) paired opposites and finally c) three gradations. 



Here is where a table lets us down. It is turning a three dimensional approach back into two dimensions. The triangle is a better approximation to the circle and allows me to extend outward without breaking the paradigm. It also shows an interesting conjecture, though at a price.




Figure 14: Overlapping three sets gives us the shaded areas each of which is not one of the three given sets.



Using the triangle to preserve a spatial arrangement leads me to consider that ‘combative’ reflects poorly on me, as ‘trivial’ would reflect poorly on a lesser friend of mine; but that these failings are not ‘sinful’, and are rather the failings of naïve, unmanaged youth.

I’ll show the conjecture by taking my three examples of types from earlier. My characteristic of ‘combative’ is an ‘A’ type compared with my friend’s C-type ‘talkative’, and my father’s P-type ‘generous’. It is still worthwhile to compare these with their opposites as we see that ‘combative’ is perhaps the negative of the three, unless it is expressed honourably – standing up for what is right, rather than for what suits oneself. Then, taking the ‘gradated’ approach by introducing a third triangle, we can conjecture that ‘perverse’ would be the true fault – the opposite of honour, as ‘obsessive’ say might by the greater fault than trivial for the child.



Figure 15: A pleasing result indicates we are at the right place on the path but does not indicate a particular way forward.




But although the triangle preserves the spatial dimensions I can only really compare three characteristics conveniently, at a time. We cannot scale up with it. The triangle is limited to 3 lots of three. It is of 'localised' interest. My best effort to combine this with a table approach would be to give a coloured version of the main table above, which is what I have already shown in the section beginning this book.

Before settling for this, there is an alternative approach I can try. Pessimistically, it uses the fact that we sometimes know better what a characteristic is not, than what it is. If I have failed to develop the diagram as I had wanted on the left below then let us put colours to one side for the moment and consider our three dimensions mathematically in the form of sets, as shown in the familiar right-hand diagram.

Here I am concentrating on the shaded areas, instead of the individual sets and their convergence. So, each component is given a list of ten traits based around the core characteristic and going from the best to the worst of that component. We then take the permutations of the pairings. This is like taking an outside view from each of the three directions possible. It gives us an equivalent to Eysenck’s categorisations (see Figure 15).

Comparing this against Eysenck produces a rather interesting result.

I have flipped the four traits diagram upside down and I think we see immediately that top of the ‘stable’ characteristics corresponds to what we would call the Parent type. I am then drawn to identify the four person-types in our terms as A, C, PA and PC.

In other words, the circle divides up into four sectors, defining the major personality-types as being A-dominant (melancholic), C-dominant (choleric), PA-dominant (phlegmatic) and PC-dominant (sanguine). So far so good in that there is a degree of coincidence at all with our work. Can we subsume Eysenck comfortably entirely within the current theory? It is a question that I will leave open for us as we continue to explore.




Figure 16: Two ways of viewing two dimensions seems like four dimensions (and four people-types) when it is really only three.



Where Eysenck argues with us is that he suggests there are equal numbers of the four types, where we say there are equal numbers of the three types. This diagram implies that there are twice as many P-types to A- and C-types. Is that what we would expect?


Text Box: Notes on Figure

For example, the so-called choleric characteristics of excitability and impulsiveness are clearly derived from the emotionalism of the Child rather than the cold Adult or wise Parent, whereas so-called melancholic characteristics - rigidity, sobriety, pessimism - are clearly aligned with the cool Adult rather than the Child or Parent.
In the opposite half of the circle, the characteristics labelled as stable are largely positive as opposed to the largely negative characteristics of the top half, and this indicates the tempering presence of the Parent. Thus, the phlegmatic characteristics of thoughtfulness and self-control may be assigned to the Parent in combination with the Adult while the sanguine attributes of liveliness and easy-goingness may be assigned to the Parent in combination with the Child.


Let's turn now from the trivial to the sublime for a more satisfying chance to observe the dominance of components in individuals. I've already made fairly free use of fictional characters from within entertainment as I needed them, and to illustrate various points. Later examples will be drawn once again from the area that I have already shown my affection for, the field of literature; but the first is drawn from what has rarely been any less a source of pleasure, the world of TV and films.

Typing the Actor

We had  reached the limit of what we thought we could learn from it at the time, and we now move away from ‘Star Trek’ to a general consideration of acting. We can consider film actors, for many of whom there is an abundance of roles to choose from. But if I can find some examples here to illustrate the principles at work then I can come back to Messrs William Shatner and Leonard Nimoy at the end, for a final conclusion.

So let's begin by identifying three actors who are reasonable peers. The three I have in mind are Henry Fonda, John Wayne and James Stewart. All three of them have had long movie careers. All of them were genuine movie-stars and they have all appeared in westerns. Based on an understanding of the Western, we can say that all three of these actors are capable of portraying A-types, but we can also widen our observation of each of them to embrace the sum of their roles. What sort of screen persona did each star portray, in hindsight? And what does this tell us?

Wayne, of course, is the archetypal A-type. His screen persona more or less defined the Hollywood western. It's not only the fact that, at six foot four inches and with that open, honest smile, he looks the part. It's more than that. Quite simply, you believe John Wayne can punch. He walks like you know a gunfighter would walk. And with that slow drawl, his voice is the voice of a man who doesn't say much - so you'd better listen.

Henry Fonda by comparison would much rather talk than fight. Unlike Wayne, Fonda will always look for the alternatives, but only because he has come to realise the false glamour of violence. Besides, as he'd be the first to admit, he doesn't look much like a gunfighter, or much like any kind of fighter. He's just got those eyes and that voice. Those eyes warn you off. They bespeak an enormous integrity, so that you know here is a man who could go all the way. And that voice. You feel that if you were facing up to God on Judgement Day and he began the summation of your life prior to sentencing you either to Heaven or Hell, then Fonda's is the voice you could find yourself hearing. Fonda, it is, who is the archetypal P-type.

Jimmy Stewart, on the other hand, cannot fight at all until he loses his temper. If you push John Wayne off the sidewalk then you can expect him to come out fighting. If you push Henry Fonda off the sidewalk then he may decide to go to the Bank instead of the Grocers. (The only thing is, if you're going to do that, make sure it's not on the Bank's half-day.) If you push Jimmy Stewart off the sidewalk, however, then he will simply climb back on, and apologise for getting in your way! You will need to do it again, and the next time you will get a mild protest. It is only the third time that you will get him angry, and then you'd better come out fighting, John Wayne or not!

The C-type is quick to anger; much too quick, usually – it is a problem I still have. But this is the cheap anger of the immature Child. Anger is an energy of the Child as we know, but this self-centred anger, because it is universal, is easy come, easy go. To have the anger, but to have it slowly, that is doubly hard.This is how I imagine the behaviour of a C-type.

Well, I'm exaggerating the point slightly to make the case that these actors are strongly polarised. However there is a serious aspect to it as well. Notice that we are trying to identify the differences between the personae by contrasting the different ways that they deal with conflict. In discussing kindness, conflict was identified as one of the two basic experiences of all life, alongside conjugation. If the difference between these personas can appear so clear at that level, then it shows how these personae are profoundly different, and also, profoundly true in their differences. In the light of this, perhaps it is not surprising that these three names and faces are known worldwide, and have been for a generation.

And we can proceed by pursuing the second of the fundamental experiences of life , alongside fighting. How do our archetypes react, not to conflict, but to romance? I have deliberately chosen my three examples knowing that they were Western heroes, so it is not surprising that they are archetypes in terms of being pushed off the sidewalk, so to speak. That is what the Western is all about. It will be interesting to see if their personas are still archetypal when each is cast in the role of lover, as it would be a fair bet that they are not.

So let's look at John Wayne. He is what would once have been called a man's man. He is uncomfortable and gauche with women. Always courteous, almost to a fault, you mightn't be surprised to catch him calling his own wife 'Ma'am'. As a matter of fact, in this case again Wayne is a pure A-type. It’s easy to imagine him judging by the temperature of his own feelings, and so appearing over-cold to his intended.

Fonda is less the man’s man than he is the people's man; the archetypal politician. Fonda, you feel, would make a desperately earnest suitor. Awfully sincere, but just a little short of fun. If you wanted to be unkind, you might think that he'd approach a wife the way other men approach a business merger: do the long-term gains justify the cost of the initial investment? These may be seen to be the characteristics of the P-type when it lacks the impetuous innocence of a strong Child component.

Which leaves James Stewart as the archetypal lover. Stewart is the one who is fun; who brings a sense of humour to plighting his troth, yet who combines it with heartfelt ardour. Stewart, you believe, could easily make a fool of himself over a woman - except that it would be the woman who turned down Stewart who would be the fool.

Now we can see that there is a subtle difference between the three personae. Wayne is still the archetypal A-type, but Fonda and Stewart are no longer archetypal examples. Fonda appears flawed. He is being criticised for a lack of Child; a lack of C which did not show up in conflict, where his voice reflected such compassion, but shows up in romance, where he doesn't seem to be light-hearted.

 And if Fonda falls short of the archetypal P-type, then Stewart is more than a 'mere' C-type. There is an aura of honesty with Stewart that makes it impossible to imagine him telling a lie. This arguably makes Stewart more flexible than the other two, since he can play from tough cowboy (The Man From Laramie), to charismatic lover (The Philadelphia Story) and various between (The Glenn Miller Story). In fact Stewart is probably more Ca than C. He's almost too good to be true - which may explain why he thrives in fantasy (Harvey, It's a Wonderful Life).

However, my original choice of threesome no longer reflects the archetypal types that we are seeking. As I said, this is not entirely unexpected, since they were originally selected from westerns. In fact, I'd like to address the problem by replacing Fonda and Stewart with two other movie stars: Clark Gable and Cary Grant.

Now I think that this new triad of Wayne, Gable and Grant has some claim to be the archetype of archetypes, at least during the studio era of pictures. Each had a career spanning more than three decades. Each could claim his peak spanned more than two decades; more than any comparable actor. But one was not significantly better than the others. (Gable arguably fell from grace first, but he was also the most lauded of the three in his time: the acknowledged 'King of Hollywood'). Furthermore, none ever appeared with any of the others; presumably because each was so much larger than life that the combination of any two personas would have been less than either one, alone. John Wayne, Clark Gable and Cary Grant; the three greatest legends in an industry of legends.

Gable is pure P-type: Fonda with sex-appeal. Completely at his ease whether with women or men, and as quick with his fists as he is with a kiss; stalwart friend; lovable rogue; virile adventurer. Gable did not make Westerns – but then Gable did not need the Western to give him stature. When they had to cast the 'greatest love story ever told' the search for a female lead was part of the hype. It spanned the Atlantic, rejecting all the major actresses of the day for, at the very last minute, a virtual unknown. The search for a male lead didn't take place however; it was always Gable. Wayne, as the hero, you have to admire, but Gable you like.

It may be less apparent that Cary Grant is an archetypal C-type. But just like John Wayne, Cary Grant only ever really acted one type of role; the debonair, sophisticated but incorruptible suitor. He is Stewart with the integrity but without the innocence. No-one was quite as good as Grant at light romantic comedy, from sophisticated comedy of manners (Topper, et. al.) to zany slapstick (but sophisticated zany slapstick - 'Walk, Don't Run', 'I Was A Male War Bride'). Perhaps the only time a woman ever turned down James Stewart - and was right - it was in favour of Cary Grant, in 'The Philadelphia Story'. You may admire Wayne and like Gable, but Grant you envy.

Which begs the question, are subsequent stars somehow lesser than the Greats of the past? This would be true, I think, if modern personas were less archetypal than their predecessors, but is this the case? Is the persona of, say, Paul Newman or Harrison Ford less pleasing or less profound than that of John Wayne? Well, it is certainly true to say that no subsequent actor will ever be better at playing a John Wayne part than was John Wayne, but the truth of the matter is that that is not the question. The question is, is Paul Newman or Harrison Ford the best choice to pay a Newman or Ford part? Or is someone newer, better at it?

Villains don't push heroes off sidewalks in the way that they used to do in a more naive era. The modern taste has moved on, and if someone were to try to recreate, say, a John Ford western, would they find that it was largely unwelcome; unconvincing to the modern cinema, redundant to the original and a failure to acknowledge the need for change?

Villains don't push heroes off sidewalks now, they attack them with semi-automatic weapons; they send killer-cyborgs after them; they sell them drugs; or they kill people they don't know. Each new scenario creates a new gap for an archetype, and incidentally also helps to loosen the grip of the old stars. Which of them would have made a better 'Cool Hand Luke' or 'Fistful of Dollars' or 'Indiana Jones'? Modern cinema exists side-by-side with early movies. The former are still made despite the ever-increasing number of the latter on TV. In fact, you can still see new movies that could have been made in any decade since talkies began (for example, 'Field of Dreams').

No-one will supersede Wayne or Grant or Gable for me, and I would venture to say not for others of my generation and background. That is because of our shared history. A new generation inhabits a new culture and their criteria of judgement will be different. It will not mean I am wrong in my assessment of my culture, but they will inevitably find their own, different archetypes. Even those who inhabit the same culture may inhabit a different part of it from me, and they too will make their own assessments, even if you grew up in the same town as me and had the same jobs after school. One has to go out and practise typing for oneself.

And in the movies typing is called casting. At the moment casting an actor for a part is more of an art than a science, but the student of typing is also a student of casting. I've established my archetypes for future reference, but I'd like to finish off this section on typing the actor by discussing the principle of casting, and also by setting some problems as a final illustration of the principle of typing.

We have already asserted that everyone may be typed, on the basis that all humanity shares the principle of a framework. Presumably then, a science of casting is possible based on the assignment of a part to be primarily P, A or C, (or some combination). If the actor's persona-type broadly matches the character-type of the part he is playing then he is correctly cast. Some actors - Streep, De Niro, Brando - are chameleons able to play all three types. Others - Cagney, Muni, Mills - have strong personas but can still play all three types. Most actors, however, (as most people) have a clear typing; and then a range within the type.

For example, James Stewart was not primarily a C-type. He played politicians (Mr Smith), bankers, shop assistants, and tough Westerners. He brought a strong dash of Adult-Child to all of them, mixing idealism with naturalism. For example, in 'The Man From Laramie', one of his most credible performances, the plot revolves around the reluctance of Stewart's character to embrace conflict. But it is Stewart’s naturalism that I think stands out. His was the widest range.

This contrasts nicely with say, Kirk Douglas, who is primarily an A-type (numerous virile heroes from Spartacus forward) but who can stretch to CA-types (Van Gogh in 'Lust For Life', obsessive reporter in 'Ace In The Hole'). You wouldn't cast Stewart as Spartacus, and you wouldn't cast Douglas as Glenn Miller! I hope also that you wouldn't cast either Stewart or Douglas as a Bank Manager. For that you could choose Henry Fonda. Fonda, one might say, does not have the range of the two actors mentioned above – but it was Fonda who surprised everyone when he played a killer in 'Once Upon A Time In The West'. He plays leaders ('Young Mr Lincoln', 'Twelve Angry Men', 'My Darling Clementine'). We can contrast this with a similar, but perhaps surprising, actor: Paul Newman.

Newman began as if he wanted to follow the trail of Marlon Brando. Brando, a similarly capable actor, had specialised in bringing charisma to AC (not P-type) characters. He made his name as the inarticulate lead in 'A Streetcar Named Desire' and went on to seemingly ever-increasing success in similar parts: 'The Wild One', 'On The Waterfront' and 'One Eyed Jacks' until his coup as the pure P-type Don Corleone in 'The Godfather'.

Newman started with not dissimilar roles in films like 'The Hustler', 'Cool Hand Luke' and 'The Long Hot Summer', but although his acting was praised he didn't receive quite the same keys to the city as did Brando. His frustration may have showed itself by his quirky choice of parts in films like 'Winning', 'Quintet' and, in the 1990’s, 'Mr. & Mrs. Bridges'. However, he really caught the affection of the public for P-type roles like Butch Cassidy, Lew Harper and a string of unpretentious but extraordinarily well-acted P-types from 'Fort Apache, The Bronx' to 'The Verdict'. Newman had found his metier towards the end of his career playing the sort of leaders that Fonda started his career with. It is true his range is not quite as good as Brando's I would say, but in the end as good as Fonda's - at least from Pa through P to Pc.

Even Wayne is not without a range. He said of himself, "I play John Wayne in every part regardless of the character", but in fact, he was being a little hard on himself. In 'She Wore A Yellow Ribbon' he plays a Cavalry Officer with strongly P-type undertones, and in many other films he brought sensitivity to the stereotype. Clearly he was an A-type, but an all-purpose A-type from gung-ho heroism ('True Grit', etc.) to melancholy ambiguity ('The Man Who Shot Liberty Valance'). As the quote indicates, Wayne was happy to play himself, and earnt respect for the integrity with which he did so.

I have been giving my assessment of types, but now there is an opportunity for the reader to take part. I think the clearest examples of type are given when three peers can be identified. In this example than I've selected some trinities and it is up to the reader to decide which type he thinks each of the members of the trinity is.


   i) Greta Garbo, Olivia De Havilland, Joan Crawford.

  ii) Debbie Reynolds, Julie Andrews, Doris Day.

 iii) Julia Foster, Geena Davis, Michelle Pfeiffer.


 iv) Jack Nicholson, Marlon Brando, Jack Lemmon.

  v) Paul Newman, Danny Kaye, Steve McQueen.

 vi) Lee Marvin, Basil Rathbone, Rod Steiger.


 vii) Michael J Fox, Robert De Niro, Harrison Ford.

viii) Chevy Chase, Steve Martin, John Belushi.

  ix) Robin Williams, Jeff Goldblum, Tom Cruise.


This list is not systematic of course. It is only my subjective assessment based on the films I have seen. I have given my answers in Appendix III, but one need not agree with them. We need only agree that there is an answer. A different answer would be of as much interest as mine.

There is a different way of looking at type that is related. When the actor's type goes against the part that he is to play then he will be miscast, if he is not an 'all-rounder'. Examples of miscasting include (again, in my opinion) C-type Cary Grant as P-type Cole Porter in 'Night And Day'; C-type David Niven as A-type Phineas Fogg in 'Around The world In Eighty Days'; C-type Tom Hanks as P-type stockbroker in 'Bonfire Of The Vanities'; C-type Michael J Fox as P-type author in 'Bright Lights, Big City'; P-type Harrison Ford as AC-type 'mad inventor' in 'The Mosquito Coast'; and, lastly, A-type John Wayne as P-type centurion in 'The Greatest Story Ever Told'. The story goes that Wayne had one key line in this film. On Jesus' execution, Wayne's centurion was to say, "Truly was this man the Son of God". In rehearsals however the director was unhappy, and it's easy to imagine Wayne's phlegmatic drawl delivering the words like a challenge rather than a pronouncement. The director urged him to speak with more awe, so Wayne apparently duly recited: "Awwww, truly was this man the Son of God."

I'd be intrigued to know how casting is actually done The names of agencies are credited in films but I've yet to come across any article or reference book specifically about casting. I have the luxury of looking back, sometimes over as many as ten different films with the same actor. If may be easy for me to say the type and range that has emerged, but the art of casting would be to ‘see’ all of this before the key roles have been played out to the audience; perhaps on the basis of just a screen test.  There has been such spectacularly astute casting in Hollywood history - Kirk Douglas in 'Lonely Are The Brave', Gable and Tracy in 'Boom Town', to mention two that I find so impressive.

When the persona becomes the equal of the person - and that, more than anything, is the business of acting - then it seems we are talking about not a physical presence, but a meta-physical one.

When a person writes a song, one could say that they are hearing the music of Heaven, but when a person acts out a persona, are they acting out the person that they were in a previous, ‘middle’ life? At times, that has seemed the only conclusion that made sense to me. Perhaps the lightly-coloured areas represent that part of the mind which the actor ‘remembers’ from the previous life. If he can no longer fully be that character himself (which might be for reasons of experience rather than moral right or wrong), yet does his conscience still own it so he can 'play' it for the correct writer or director and audience, to the greatest limit of his ability, outside of Heaven?

During the great depression in America, Shirley Temple was the biggest star of her time. The idea of a child acting a child may have crossed the borders of taste for some, but not if you were there to see MacCauley Caulkin, 'Home Alone', and the phenomenon which seems to have become all but accepted on American TV: that of a child acting an adult.

It is a question which I have tried to take seriously in this book but it is not one which we need fear. The



Figure 17: The paradox of the expression of ‘self’: is it the person or the persona?



diagrams I have been drawing which show mind as a continuous gradation of hue  reflect both the subtlety of difference between minds, and the multiplicity of minds which are not so much contained as overlaid. This ‘working model’ can continue to serve until we come on to transactions, and re-address it again, when discussing the ‘cogs’ of cognition.

Before we close this section on the typing of actors, it is worth returning to the subject of ‘Star Trek’. We established that Nimoy and Shatner as A and Pa types neither confirmed nor contradicted their typing, through 'Mission Impossible' and 'T. J. Hooker' respectively. Even though the concept might have been a Trinitarian split form the start, an excessive actor (a ham or a caricature) was not sought by casting. And, the three leads were established actors who, despite perhaps story and lead, found satisfaction and expression in having the chance to play extremes of type. Spock in particular, I think, was well-acted by Nimoy.

The later generations of Star Trek would seek to explore variations on the same Trinitarian theme. However, characterisation alone cannot exceed itself and the whole was not finally greater than the sum of the parts. In some ways, the great success of the original ‘Star Trek’ that does bear repeating is that for all its flaws it did not attain caricature. To the extent that later Generations did, their experiment was a failure.

In this section we have tried to take a step closer to reality by taking actual individuals and trying to discern a typing for them. We have not gone so far as to look at the man or woman behind the actor, partly because we do not have that knowledge and partly because it would be an invasion of privacy. What we have done instead is to probe the C-type art of acting for the type-within-a-type.

 It is not only a knowledge of the practical considerations of typing but an enthusiasm for its possibilities I have tried to convey, using film and TV. In the next section I want to try and do something similar with books, to express my enthusiasm and to show something of the possibilities.

 I have had the chance to express my reasoning and perhaps to pass on a tiny part of the enjoyment I have had over the years. I have merely scratched the surface here, because I know my enthusiasm is no greater than many others; and that those others have just as many preferences, just as strong as mine. My findings will be strengthened and confirmed by an overall consensus view - I feel sure that they won’t ‘slide away’. We are on ‘solid ground’ now, in our interior domain of the mind, not on the shifting sands of early, initial probings.

In this next section I return to our unexplored option of representing people as ratios of combination of the three PAC components, and looking at how the combination may be interpreted diagrammatically.

Component Ratios

Let us go back to our original diagram of the mind (See Figure 6).

The components in this general mind are seen to be exactly equivalent to each other. They have parity. Because this is the general mind, rather than a particular individual, each instance of component has all characteristics that apply to that component, rather than a particular subset of characteristics. However, such a mind is an idealised, perfect impossibility. In containing the potential to do, and to be, everyone, it would be incapable of doing, or being, anything. Remember that this is the situation the conscience finds itself in whereby it knows what is wrong, but not what is the right thing (for you) to do.

An actual, real individual is therefore represented by a select, or partial, version of this diagram. In effect, all real, ordinary, flawed mortals will be represented as co-sets of this one absolutely perfect - but impossible (and therefore not better) - mind. The term 'mindset' takes on a literal and rather useful meaning as being equally appropriate to refer either to any set formed out of a group of like minds, or to the unique set that is any actual, individual mind.

It seems reasonable to suppose that the way forward is to represent more complex configurations. Indeed, I had already rushed into one way of doing it in Figure 8, by using pie charts. Intuitively, this seemed such an obvious way forward that one is tempted to hasten straight to it. But in the light of the problems I had with Figure 7, let’s take a slower, more careful look at what I know I want to do.



Figure 18: Two alternatives, shown bottom and middle, to represent different personality types, from top.



How would we go about expanding our configurations to represent more complex subdivisions and groupings? The obvious starting point would be to draw different diameters of concentric sector to represent the different configurations. However from there we can go in one of two ways. Either we can represent the ratio using sector width in relation to a generalised ideal sector, or we can do what I want to do and interpret the ratio as being the significant element and redraw the circle as a pie chart, where it is the relative ratios that are significant (see Figure 18).

There are some apparent advantages to the first approach. We might find it useful to have sectors that fall short of the general mind's perimeter to illustrate a restricted belief-system. We have already used the domain outside the circle to partition transactions according to type. These sector bounds might then reflect which transactions the person was able to respond to 'normally' and which were beyond him or her, presumably giving an indeterminate reaction, which could then be tested empirically. Ultimately, this would seem to be a promising avenue for a systematic approach to analysing transactions.

But there is one big disadvantage with this approach. It assumes that people can be mapped against an ideal sector; that the impossibly perfect mind exists – almost, that it is your mind that is imperfect. It's not so much that I don't think people can be mapped as that I think the assumption that there is, even in theory, an ideal sector, is wrong. To assume this seems to me to presuppose that everyone's mental activity takes place against a backdrop of correct and incorrect thinking; that the choices people make are predetermined in their result and that problems occur because of incorrect choices and disappear when correct choices are made.

This cannot be the case if people have free will and the future is not pre-cognisable. At the time a particular choice is made no-one in the world is capable of saying whether it will turn out to be the wrong one or the right one, however certain the outcome may seem. This was our starting point, the necessity to build up a framework. The mental activity of the individual has as its purpose the establishment, not of the boundaries of their ‘ideal’ sector, but the boundaries-stroke-core of the prototypical sector. That's why individual choices matter and my prototypes from TV and Hollywood will be supplanted by my children’s, or our children’s children’s.

The philosophy is of free will based on conscience. It means I will rule out this first approach as being of no value. Which brings us on to the other alternative.

Here we redrew the sectors to represent the disparity between components as a ratio, in the familiar form of a pie-chart. This seems intuitively rather cleaner because it maintains the mind as a coherent circle – as a set. (It might also imply all sorts of sophisticated wrapping around and overlapping of sectors which could later explain some of the great extremes of mental behaviour which we know to be possible.) Attractive as it is however, we need to be clear about the significance of what we've done to be certain as to whether it is really valid.

The drawing is a representation of the mathematical ratio 2:1:1. This ratio is maximally different – the most clearly visible comparison to seek. As you know, I had already extended this to consider other ratios, such as 3:2:1, (which could be described as maximally similar, the least visibly distinct). Recall that in the introduction I had gone through all the categories to reach a final 12, in my hurry, 12 being the common denominator, from school maths.

Using 12 as a unity would give 6:3:3 and 6:4:2 simply enough, but it would also give a further peer type: 444.

That is to say, along with the three types which were implied all the way back in Figure 8, there needs to be a fourth type, which should be every bit as common, which would be the PAC-type.

Well, I've been saving this group as final confirmation of the fact that the diagrams and the text are mutually supportive; each contributing to the other. What we will find is that a fourth group exists and that there is a good reason why it's absence was not noticed earlier.

Our trinity of Scientist, Artist & Politician was also representative of the groupings in society. It seems hard  to imagine that there can be a fourth major grouping, different from the above, to correspond to our fourth configuration. This fourth configuration does, however, seem to have a rather different nature to the other three, which clearly form a trinity, and there is some clue in that.

If this were an individual, he or she could not be described as, say, 'kind-hearted' or 'strong-willed' because characteristics like those are indicative of an imbalance in components. Such a person as we seek would probably be better described as 'well-rounded' or 'even-tempered'. He (or she) evinces no particular talent in any one area. In having no obvious talent, no agenda of his own, he is able to fit into whatever part of society he lands up in; yet an ill-defined desire to help does not mean it is less strong; if anything it may be more so.

This person is invisible on two counts therefore. Firstly because he has no huge talent and is thus undistinguished to the public eye; and secondly, for the ancillary reason that, having no predisposition, he will have neither need nor perhaps desire to seek out those who are like-minded, to form a group of their own.

Although this applies to most people of this configuration, we cannot get away with applying it to everyone. Just as, periodically, there is an artist or scientist whose genius overshadows the entire structure of his subject - a Michelangelo, or a Leibniz - so there must be, not genius but its equivalent, for this fourth type. Out of the robustness and integrity of this type of person comes not complacency but a wish to be involved, to be used, and when the person is exceptional perhaps the ability to be used becomes exceptional. I am thinking here not only in this century of, say, Mother Theresa, but in the wider sense, of the principle of the saint. I think that the characteristics of saints in general may well be the same as those that we started off with as the characteristics of the fourth configuration: well-roundedness; no great talent; a general desire to help; adaptation to and acceptance of position in society.

In point of fact, we did come across this type of person earlier in the discussion but I chose to rule the saint out then for being a ‘closed book’. Perhaps this person isn’t quite as invisible as some of us have assumed.

To point out the problem of size I had used a comparison of Saint to entrepreneur and father and it would be easy - even glib - to suggest these are our archetypes. Again, we'd be overlooking the more subtle truth. Consider the original ‘Star Trek’. Although not automatically thought of as one of the stars, though always remembered with affection, there is an equally key member of the crew – the ever-reliable 'Scotty'. Chief Engineer Scott it is who proves every bit as infallible as the Captain. It is Scotty who you feel is so reliable that even you could trust him - ‘Beam me up, Scotty’.

So how does the PAC type solve the problem of quality?




Figure 19: Three examples, showing the problem of PAC. Some might say the father is greater than the entrepreneur, not lesser.



We know that we are dealing with an infinite centre so the radius of our circle is arbitrary. We have to compare peers because we cannot distinguish, diagrammatically, the quality of mind. This does give us an issue with how our diagrams compare quality of mind.

For example, it might be tempting to compare Adolf Hitler and Napoleon Bonaparte. They each had an unquestioned ability to lead and there are some similarities in their political careers. Nevertheless, there is a fundamental difference in quality of mind between them which would have to be represented simply by giving Napoleon a different-size circle, whatever similarities there might be in a particular sector.

If we abandon diameter and give up, we will not be able to distinguish between two people with radical differences in quality but who happen to have correlating characteristics.

The problem is worse with Joseph Stalin and Napoleon. We might (it is unlikely, but we might) decide that although Stalin was less intelligent (A), less sensitive (C) and less politically astute (P) than Bonaparte, he was essentially similarly-styled in each respect. Then we would have found two people with a similar ratio, and if we had no way to distinguish quality otherwise, we would be in danger of confusing Napoleon's egoistic power-seeking ("If I had succeeded I would have been the greatest man the world has known") with Stalin's inhuman contempt for life ("One death is a tragedy; a million just statistics").

But with the PAC-type we can compare quality – when we want to, or need to (see Figure 19).

Here we see the entrepreneur as needing the same sort of well-rounded capability and parental responsibility as the saint has, and similarly even the role of father. Yet, although we would have no problem with seeing these as representing three different levels of quality we ought also to have no problem with seeing them as equally important and valuable, no better or worse than each other, and needing each other – as, in fact, how they would see themselves.

The conclusion is that whatever their characteristics, Hitler, Stalin and Mao would never make it into our list in the first place. They might like to, or might want to think of themselves as politicians, but that is not what these men were. They were something more like gangsters: the product of chance & circumstance alone, unfortunately.

To return to the thread of debate, as I am not entirely off the hook yet on the problem of quality; there is still a question. Although I have been using the rule of thumb that bigger is better, in our starting point all the way back in Figure 7 we had to admit that the largest size possible would not necessarily be good. I do not think there is an advantage in going to the extreme that smaller might be better, but I have drawn the father as smallest above, and that is the reverse of earlier. Then, it was me that was small and he large. Am I being consistent?

I think I am. I would not plot either Stalin, Mao or Hitler on an axis of goodness. Since neither was kind, humble or proud I could not. The axis would have to be one of badness: it would be one where the components were larger based on selfishness, as the opposite of kindness, hubris, as the opposite of pride, and cruelty, as the opposite of humility.

To highlight the issue of quality, one might take say, Gordon Brown, Richard Nixon and Joe Stalin for such an axis.

It is difficult not to give Gordon Brown part-blame for the Iraq war. In both Iraq and in Afghanistan I think, the effect of Tony Blair’s government has been to bring the name of England into disrepute. Even prior to this, the sanctions against Iraq were morally wrong because they hurt the civilian population worst, and in the worst way. Of course Gordon Brown’s actions would pale against Stalin’s in all aspects of cruelty, hubris and selfishness. Stalin’s would be the bigger circle and Brown’s the smaller, with Nixon in the middle. By contrast, it is easy to blame Richard Nixon since he was actually criminally guilty, bringing not even America but the office of the President into disrepute.

In drawing myself against my father it was with the same childish intuition. Like Tony Blair’s government, my father had done what he thought was right. My problem was finding out why he thought that was right.

Larger is not necessarily better and not necessarily worse. In fact, the PAC type serves a dual purpose in establishing a basis for comparison against itself, and a basis for all comparisons. Let us see if we can test this out.

We said when we were starting out that the saint represents a purity of goodness. This raises a question in the back of my mind, against the PAC-type.Suppose we go just on the size of the circle. In the case of the Saint, that would definitely mean the largest circle, not on the basis it is the most common but on the basis it is the most extreme. Can we find types and instances and match them up to fill out our understanding to tell us again, something we didn’t know?

Well, if we were looking for types for the largest circle of all, we might come up with ‘genius’ and ‘hero’ as being matching to the saint in stature. This immediately gives us a C-type for the saint, against the Adult and the Parent respectively. But if we were looking for people who match the same stature then I might suggest Bob Geldof and Bill Gates and possible – but very different – examples alongside Mother Theresa. Let’s see how this works.

Bob Geldof is called St. Bob affectionately but also somewhat ironically (and condescendingly) by the British media. This is the man who got up off his couch in response to the same Television pictures that we all saw, and then went on to make history with a new level of fundraising – twice! A most unlikely hero, being a foul-mouthed, unkempt, moderately successful singer in a band, nevertheless, he is an even more unlikely saint, having never professed any kind of religious belief or inspiration,or affiliation to any church. In fact, in responding to the challenge of a single moment with a single-mindedly fearless devotion, it is a hero that Bob Geldof most certainly proved to be. He is, indeed, affectionately known as St. Bob but it is unfortunate there is no designation we could use like ‘Hero Bob’, so as to be less ironic.



Figure 20: Consideration of the PAC-type will always show us where the quality lies in our diagrams.



Bill Gates is most certainly not a hero and most certainly not a saint either. He is, however, a genius. The period 1997-2007 was a golden age in computing when the entire world, both academically, in Universities, and commercially, in Business, underwent a painless revolution from out of nowhere to follow a single, clear lead. Mistakes were made but not catastrophically and there was a fearless certainty at work which was both forgiving and non-combative. Microsoft was greedy, but it was not macho, and it was inclusive in operation.

Bill Gates is not a saint but he let himself down more than anyone else when he followed the siren-call of money. Instead of retiring, at which point we could have told him how much we loved him, he changed jobs to one that would be beneath anyone, let alone this someone. His new job is to spend money.

 The spotlight arrives upon the Saint. We have already seen that this is the C-type of the three, and now that we are looking for it, I think it is easy to see that Mother Theresa had what to the rest of us would be a crazy kind of love. (I think I read this comment about her). Not just a general desire to help, but a very specific desire to help those worst off and most needy. Not an adaptation to her place in society so much as a wilfulness to take the bottom place; to support the underdog from underneath. It is both a specific and a general understanding.

So, now we can continue our investigation. Let us remind ourselves: the boundaries between components have no independent existence. They are a diagrammatic convenience allowing us to approximately distinguish the components, the mind itself being a fluid, contiguous whole. And like a fluid, the mind will change shape to fill whatever vessel it occupies.

One term for this is a self-organising system and the interested reader is referred to the remarkable book ‘The Mechanism of Mind’ written by Edward De Bono, in 1969. Edward De Bono was a trained medical doctor putting forward a model for how the brain and mind work together. De Bono proposes that what I call the framework, which I have been using as my model till now, is neither solid – rigid and inflexible – nor liquid – free-flowing and flat; but is mid-way between the two.

It is difficult not to picture the mind as a sphere, and indeed I have encouraged this. De Bono however pictured the mind as a surface, as if having topology but not dimension. This perfectly complements my suggestion of seeing the mind as opening outward, to the external Universe, but equally as opening inward to an internal, three-dimensional Universe. In my view, the mind is three-dimensional and the brain is two-dimensional. De Bono, as a medical scientist, is looking at the same thing, from the two-dimensional brain’s point of view.

There is no proof of this except the appealing simplicity of the idea. Yet it allows us to take a step forward from William James’ original agnostic starting position to further deepen our understanding and grasp.

James’ argued that psychology must be free of advocating metaphysical assumptions. Without taking a theological position then, of one Religious view over another, we can observe that there are two very great ideas that people have come up with over the course of time. In Western philosophy there is the idea of Heaven and in Eastern philosophy there is the idea of reincarnation.

 If one merely assumes that the individual is born out of the blue, as it were, then we can apply Occam's razor and just assume the simplest solution, mathematically. If one assumes a background of reincarnation, however, then previous lives may have an effect on how the components are organised. Although this may still result in the simplest organisation, it would not be the norm.

If one assumes a principle of Heaven ahead (and Hell behind), then there is an inspirational purpose to organising the framework – to, in fact, self-organising – which is every bit as grand an idea as the one of having previous lives, and future ones.

Typing the Author

Literature is different from films because films are a team effort. With actor, director, writer and technicians there are at least four creative areas in film, whereas literature is one person’s view.

It takes an author, say, three months to two years to complete the average-length work; a novel that can be read in, say, between four and thirty-six hours. It is the product of one conscious and, if the novelist is serious, it will be that conscious' best representation of itself at that time. It is therefore a more intimate sort of entertainment than film or TV. It probably has the greater capacity to be inspiring.

A novel is usually the result of a particular vision, usually produced out of the spotlight, perhaps under difficult circumstances. Because the novel has been around for much longer than films and TV, there are perhaps more novels, and of a higher quality. With so much to choose from, I have tended to be drawn to classical writing rather than modern fiction. But when I was trying to think of who could qualify as a pure P, it seemed to me that almost no-one would. Few serious writers like Hemingway write mostly about A-types, or like Faulkner try to stretch the medium of writing itself, but many, many writers write about people, and most of them seemed to me to lean towards either the PC camp (Dickens, Austen and Steinbeck, for example) or the PA (George Eliot, Lawrence, Hardy).

I already mentioned writers' and typing. Let me use the new beginning to sidestep this by trying to identify some PAC writers. Remember that this is a legitimate, though less visible, fourth category of configuration alongside the three visibly-unequal components. For this category I would suggest the following two examples.

First is the most clichéd choice of all: William Shakespeare. Unfortunately, so little is known about the man, and the legend is already so well established that to suggest him here merely reinforces the existing stereotype. The legend is of course that Shakespeare was the Bard, the master exponent of all forms of human nature; equally at home in the three realms of tragedy (Adult), history (Parent) and comedy (Child). And whilst I accept the legend unreservedly I have to acknowledge how difficult I have found it to be moved by Shakespeare. Outside of the classroom, I don't find him accessible.

My second candidate only wrote one book. It is 'Gone With The Wind', by Margaret Mitchell. It is an epic book set to the backdrop of the American Civil War, concerning the relationship between Scarlett, the central figure, and her lover Rhett Butler. The rather bleak story relates Scarlett's moral decline and the eventual death of Rhett's love for her. Thus, it is a book that equally combines the major concerns of humanity; love, war, and psychological truth, and has the broadest appeal to all three components; the Child, Adult and Parent respectively. It is also, happily, one of the best-selling books of all time.

I notice that the book is rather changed to the film. If the film is of a great love falling victim to change, under a humanist message of moving on, then the book is a rather bleaker relation, and ending. I valued it for being one of the few books with the message that conscience ignored is consciousness ignored. It is Scarlett’s own good taste and discernment , it turns out, which are the victims of her inability to love.

Supremely entertaining as this work is, it was also recognised early as a work of deep profundity. It was considered for the Nobel Prize. After a mammoth effort - seven years - she got it right first time. I would contrast them with Margaret Mitchell, though Dostoevsky, Mann or Marquez, say, would generally be seen as more profound writing.. Again though, I know almost nothing about her, or what she said about her own book.

 In one case we would have too much content, in the other too little, so, let's do just what we've done before; to identify a group of four writers who are clearly peers but who can, when compared, be seen as polarised representatives of what is possible.

The group I have in mind consists of Ernest Hemingway, William Faulkner, John Steinbeck and John O'Hara.

The first, Hemingway, hardly needs an introduction being arguably the most famous American writer of this century; winner of the Nobel Prize for literature and almost as famous for his exploits as for his writing.

The second, William Faulkner, is also an extremely well-known American writer and winner of the Nobel Prize. In contrast to Hemingway his private life is rather more truly that, and he is probably better known to students and critics than to the public at large, but his reputation is nevertheless established.

The third, John Steinbeck, won the Nobel Prize in 1962, the latest of the three. His novel ‘The Grapes of Wrath’ is probably the most famous of all these author’s books. I read it whilst travelling along the Arizona highway on a family holiday to visit the Grand Canyon so perhaps I am biased, but it seems to me deservedly so.

The fourth choice, John O'Hara, may however need a little more explanation. He never won the Nobel Prize and is very much less a literary figure. Although his books sold huge numbers in his lifetime, they were much more popular with the public than with critics. Some of his books were filmed but none with the magnitude to feature here.

At the time when I first (accidentally) came across this writer in my local library it is true to say that I had not heard of him. What caught my eye was a collection of his short stories, and I was first drawn to him by his dialogue. It was authentic but it had a deeply attractive quality, as others have noticed.

For me to claim that O'Hara is the PAC type of such a titanic group will, I fear, stretch credulity but I do suggest that, again, the PAC type is the least visible. He was astonishingly productive - around four-hundred short-stories and thirteen full-length novels. From the first book he wrote, ‘Appointment in Samarra’, in 1934, his development as a writer was complete. All of his books and novels show essentially the same skills and, dare I say, weaknesses, and all are written from an identical perspective of life. Most astonishingly amongst all four of these writers, the inhabitants, chronology, and locations of his imaginary landscape, Pottsville, PA, all seem to tie up together. More than once I have found characters and events from one novel being referred to in a later short-story. What is impressive is that O'Hara seemed to do this unknowingly - perhaps unconsciously - as if it were a matter of course given the vividness of his imagination.

Otherwise, all these writers were American; they were contemporaries; and they were rivals. O'Hara certainly had belief in his own abilities. It's also an advantage that all are clearly mainstream writers so that we do not have to worry about the typing that might be imposed if we were looking within a sub-genre.

So I would say that these four are peers and furthermore that they represent polarities of the types that are possible: Hemingway an A, Steinbeck the C, Faulkner a P, and O'Hara the PAC-type. However, if these are four of the best writers in the world, then it is going to be difficult to be fair in describing them in the space we have here. Perhaps if I make my point, we will eventually see an extended study thesis.

Of the group probably Hemingway is the most obviously of his type. His themes are those of undiluted pride, having to do with courage, war, fighting and self-sacrifice, but he avoids the usual glorification of the winner because his characters are understated – the opposite of macho. They're poor. They make mistakes. They get killed. In trying to express this simply, without fuss but always honestly, Hemingway's prose achieved a purity which makes it unique, and keeps it universally appealing.

Unlike O'Hara say, Hemingway was trying to find himself, as a man and as a writer. It is sad to realise that a person can produce work that is entirely successful without them having a successful life.

Because Hemingway is so unusual as a serious writer about heroism there is a strong case to be made for seeing him as an Adult in comparison with just about any writer I can think of. For comparison however, I would mention George Orwell and William Conrad, who I think were both good, strong examples of A-dominance. And these also make a strong comparison to the best of the genre A-type writers, Alistair MacLean in adventure, or Len Deighton in spy writing, for instance.

By comparison with Hemingway, the hallmarks of William Faulkner’s prose are a stream-of-consciousness approach that is quite uncompromising. When it is leavened by poetic lyricism, it is less difficult, but Faulkner is admired without being popular. Both Hemingway and O'Hara are, essentially story-tellers, where Faulkner is not. The others are all writing character-driven drama. With Faulkner, it is the location of the characters that is more important than their direction.

Arguably however, the stream-of-consciousness approach is normally an A-derived characteristic since it is an attempt to represent the truth of the character as closely as possible. If one were speaking generally of Faulkner one might therefore be tempted to class him in a different peer group, alongside say, James Joyce and Virginia Woolf.

This literature is impressive stuff, if it works, but if it does not, it is difficult to argue for. Faulkner himself did not have a happy life in spite of having a great deal of success. Steinbeck, Hemingway and O’Hara all had backgrounds as journalists which served their later writing so well. Faulkner was certainly not afraid of hard work, but his hard work is hardly less than our hard work, as readers.

For all these reasons it is difficult to like Faulkner at the same time as it is impossible not to admire him. Nor is he a P-type either. Unusually, Faulkner is a C-type for all these reasons, including that he is difficult. Faulkner’s writing may be awkward and difficult, but he’s sincere and natural. Like ‘Grumpy’ from the film of ‘Snow White and the Seven Dwarves’, he makes one appreciate the others all the more.

We come next to John Steinbeck, someone who certainly was not lacking in the Child domain. He qualifies as one of the great left-wing writers. Initially, because of his great humanitarianism, one suggests he is primarily a C-type writer. But if we were guided by his social awareness to a more political, and thus parental view, then I think we would be right in seeing Steinbeck as the P-type of the group.

The Grapes of Wrath is a great book, and a great and terrible story. Like Mitchell’s book, it is one that transcends even the great film it became. It tends to overshadow Steinbeck’s other writing, which is not of the same type. In fact, Steinbeck can be uncomfortable reading for his humanism can appear amoral. In his last book ‘The Winter Of Our Discontent’ he writes a character study of an otherwise ordinary man who resolves to rob a bank and is foiled/rescued at the very last minute by a chance encounter. The message that we are criminals at heart but for the accidents of chance is not one which squares easily or finds a warm welcome with many. With Steinbeck, I found myself turning to his journalism from his writing for more of the same from ‘The Grapes of Wrath’.

This brings me to the fourth and last member of the set: John O'Hara.

A contemporary of Steinbeck, he was born in Pottsville, Pennsylvania and this town, renamed Gibbsville, was the setting for most of his stories. He wrote about the ordinary people who made up its community: businessmen often rich, sometimes poor, sometimes crooked, usually not, always involved in the community; and the women beside them. He was particularly good on sexual obsession; on whatever weakness it is that makes some people susceptible to sex whatever their situation.

What shines through in his treatment of theme, as apparent as his mastery of the psychology of sexual weakness, is his lack of grasp of the psychology of sexual resistance. In a way, all O'Hara's characters are themselves Parent-types because O'Hara himself didn't really say what made the A-type tick. No wonder O'Hara's characters are all figures of authority and pillars of community. They would be, if they were Parent-types.

This contrasts sharply with Hemingway, for whom the Earth moves and for whom the perfect sexual experience happens not once but thrice. There are no heroes in an O'Hara story. In fact, one might be tempted to ask why O'Hara couldn't find out about A-types by reading Hemingway, but it underestimates the great talent of O'Hara. O'Hara is writing directly about the conscious. 'The Lockwood Concern' is a dynastic epic which turns out to be about the relationship between a man and his son. The climax of the story isn't reached until the very last few pages when it turns on an apparently minor crisis of conscience for the father. ‘A Rage to Live’ replaces Scarlett O’Hara with Grace Cauldwell, and tells the story of a woman with too much passion with great sympathy and depth.

O'Hara almost never worries about his character's feelings. He communicates their actions, their words, and often their intentions but he believes that the reader is as able as he is to infer the actual emotion.

This is not stoicism so much as great skill. O’Hara has a phenomenal range of subject, and an ambition to chronicle a period of history. As well as his subject matter, he has the natural journalist’s ear for dialogue, which makes him so easy to read. He was hugely popular in his day, and even more hugely prolific. He’s a PAC-type in the same way that Shakespeare was a PAC-type: the converse of Faulkner, he makes it look so, so easy.

It is O'Hara I turn to, of course, for examples of transactions, and indeed for a transaction that we've already seen. I want to look even more closely at this example of 'good dialogue'. We have already taken it that the two men in the extract are peers, and that the purpose of the extract concerns the balance of power between Rod Fulton and James Francis, the men in the example. There are two further questions that I think we can usefully ask in general about any transaction: how does the transaction divide up, and can we ourselves get behind it? If we look at this one transaction all over again, I think we will see how asking and answering those further questions is so useful. (See Table below).

 O'Hara's brilliance lies in being able to convey his information not only indirectly but attractively. By the end of the conversation we've picked up that the writer is sharp, perhaps a little dissolute, experienced and overweight, but essentially honest. The actor is naive, vain but sensitive, young and, one assumes good-looking. The dialogue is reproduced by O'Hara because it is not an inherently abstract Adult argument/discussion (e.g. who will win the superbowl this year) and nor is it a Child-based mutual praise/blame session (e.g. weren't the New York Giants great/awful last year?). It is primarily a Parental conversation about both parties and where each party exchanges comments. Obviously they take it in turns to speak but, underlying this, they also take it in turns to be the subject of the speech. It is a form of honesty and also a form of vulnerability.

To enter further in, let me introduce the idea of a token. I will talk about the exchange of this invisible token to denote the exchanging of the subject as opposed to the exchanging of speaker. Thus Rod begins speaking and he begins with the token because he is speaking about himself. James Francis then takes the token because he is speaking, and also about himself. Rod then leaves the token with James Francis because although he is speaking, the subject is still James Francis. And so on. OK, let's see how this works, in our example.

Rod begins "Well fortunately I like to take exercise, and if I never had another drink I wouldn't miss it." He has the token but his remark needs no reply and so James Francis takes the token. “Fortunately for me, my living doesn't depend on how I look." His reassertion of his equality to Rod by being deprecating of himself is pleasing to us as observers and is a slight rebuke to Rod.

In leaving the token with James Francis, Rod is implying acceptance of the slight rebuke (also pleasing to observe), and this is where we are also given the idea that Rod is not as experienced as James Francis, because his next comment, though well-intentioned, is slightly gauche, "You do all right with the dames."

Again the slightly dumb remark by James Francis is corrected by an extremely sharp remark by the writer (it’s an A remark, so the token does not change). “Some dames. If you can't make a score in this town the next stop is Tahiti. Or Port Said. Or maybe a lamasery in Tibet." He first mentions Tahiti, showing an intellectual awareness of it's unusual sexual culture (of course, we know this from ‘Mutiny On The Bounty’); he then mentions Port Said switching to a pragmatic awareness of where currently in the world morals are known to be relaxed (it was a notorious Western Gomorrah); and finally - the coup-de-grace - he trumps the previous two with a cynical spiritual reference – with the key explanatory inclusion of the words “in Tibet”.

.Again the token doesn’t move as Rod makes a straight factual inquiry. "What do they have there?" to which James replies "What they don't have is dames." In turning the question around, James is gently, and not without humour, pointing out his friend's ignorance.

And here Rod shows the sensitivity which balances his naivety by courageously taking back the token. He not only asks James Francis for a judgement but he specifically acknowledges the relationship by the use of his name “Do you think I ought to read more, Jimmy?”. This is the climax of the conversation, a crisis of sorts because James Francis can assert his superiority once and for all if he wants to, but if he does, this will cease to be a relationship of equals and he will have refused the offer of trust that Rod is now making.

James Francis defuses the situation with a gentle “Well, it wouldn’t hurt you to try. You don’t have to.” Offering a patronly warning of “Some directors would rather you didn’t” then even redirecting the sting of that with the acid “But some of them don't read any more than they have to”.

Following this climax, Rod offers the token back with the rather flattering (because almost certainly not true) comment that he'd like to have done James' job. James doesn't acknowledge the compliment (probably feeling patronised - he knows he’s bright) but he begins to draw the conversation to a close with a light-hearted reference to the early subject of his weight.

 The closing stages of the conversation are important because up till now the token has been mostly with James Francis. The result of his wise use of it is no more than to let Rod have the ownership, and although Rod's over-Parenting of James is not as pleasing as the former exchange ('You really should get some exercise. I mean it, Jimmy!'), the mere fact that he knows it is appropriate is enough.

Well I sense that this type of dialogue is the hallmark of O'Hara's writing; the way it is used to establish character rather than merely set the scene; the easy facility with which the token is exchanged; and the ebb and flow of ownership of it. But we already know that I am a fan. What more can we learn?

I may say that the two men are equals because the sophistication of James Francis’ (Adult) intelligence is offset by a certain jadedness in his Child, whereas the sensitivity of Rod Fulton’s Child is offset by a certain gaucheness in his Adult, but these are fictional characters after all and what is interesting about them is only what we see of ourselves in them. Can I  learn more by asking what is happening between the two real people in the scene, the reader and the author?

The characters are inherently peers because they are both the creation of John O’Hara, but that does not necessarily mean that you or I have to care about them or their story. But what makes me care is something that happens halfway through the conversation above, and see if you agree with me about this: James Francis says: "If you can't make a score in this town the next stop is Tahiti. Or Port Said. Or maybe a lamasery in Tibet." The masterstroke, in my opinion, is the inclusion of the words 'in Tibet'. Thanks to that we readers quickly pick up on what a lamasery is - but would you have known that llamas live in the equivalent of monasteries, without this addendum? If I am one to judge by, most readers would not.

When, in the next two lines, Rod has to have it spelled out for him, we are way ahead of him and so we are prepared for Rod's general admission of ignorance, but the thing is, in our half-remembered ignorance, we simply can’t hold it against him! Similarly, James Francis is very proud of how bright he is, but O’Hara refuses to let him show off thoroughly by leaving out the words ‘in Tibet’ because it would get in the way of the story if the character was allowed to leave the reader behind.

What O'Hara has managed to do is to find a way to position the reader midway between James Francis and Rod, and the end result is to include us in the conversation as inactive participants rather than uncaring observers. I have collected the transaction into the table below to show the token more clearly.

Table: Conversation extracted from 'James Francis And The Star', by John O'Hara


"Well fortunately I like to take exercise, and if I never had another drink I wouldn't miss it."


"Fortunately for me, my living doesn't depend on how I look."




"You do all right with the dames."


"Some dames," said James Francis. "If you can't make a score in this town the next stop is Tahiti. Or Port Said. Or maybe a lamasery in Tibet."


"What do they have there?"


"What they don't have is dames."


"Oh," said Rod. "What did you say that was?"


"A lamasery. The same as a monastery."




"Do you think I ought to read more, Jimmy?"


"Well it wouldn't hurt you to try. But you don't have to. Some directors would rather you didn't. But some of them don't read any more than they have to."




"I wish I could have been a writer."


"I wish I could have been a good one," said James Francis. "But failing that, I can be a fat one."


"Well, you're getting there, slowly by degrees. You're the one ought to start taking the exercise, Jimmy. I mean it."




"Oh one of these days I'm going to buy a fly swatter."


"A fly swatter? You mean a tennis racket?"


"No I mean a fly swatter."


"You bastard, I never know when you're ribbing me," said Rod Fulton.


As can be seen, I have ended up with five parts to this transaction. Possibly the first part could be left off without affecting the sense, and it is the middle three that are the core of the interaction. The last and fifth is not central but would be missed if omitted. Given the P and A elements to be absorbed it would be easy to miss the C humour earlier, but this last part highlights this element of the men’s relationship.

In conclusion, we have seen why I think that O'Hara qualifies as a PAC-type along with Margaret Mitchell and Shakespeare, though I understand why he would be overlooked for a stronger P-type, such as Steinbeck. What I really want us to notice is the power of the P/PAC split against the PA/PC split. For it is this which gives me the resolution to the numbers question raised by Eysencks theory of four dimensions.



Figure 21: Two ways of viewing two dimensions seems like four dimensions (and four people-types) when it is really only three.



Recall that where Eysenck argues with us is that he suggests there are equal numbers of the four types, where we say there are equal numbers of the three types. Eysenck's diagram (see Figure 16 above) implies that there are twice as many P-types to A- and C-types. Is that what we would expect?

Certainly, it would be a positive discovery on the basis the P-types are the socially well-adjusted and responsible types. Numerically-speaking, it would mean that every A-type and every C-type has the potential of a mutually beneficial relationship with a P-type, on a one-to-one peer basis. Furthermore, if you go back to the theory overview, you will recall that I was saying that each of us has to find the best fit for a framework that is unique to us but is also within us all. What this diagram implies to me is therefore that the natural and common life of the mind is to spend half of its lives-span seeking/choosing (as either A or C dominant) and the other half consolidating/expressing (as P dominant).

But there is another way to interpret this circle, than Eysenck’s way. Remember that we started with only three types; the P, A and C; and then stumbled across the fourth, the PAC type, almost afterwards.

 If we draw the line not vertically down through the PA/PC semicircle, but horizontally across, defining an approximately P/PAC split, then what we get is equal numbers of four types that we have already observed independently from each other (see Figure 21).

 We get an A-type and a C-type of course, because that hasn't changed, but we then get a ‘lower’ P-type which is a peer of the first two, being no more nor less common numerically, and no more nor less imbalanced. Then what we also get is an ‘upper’ PAC-type where all three components are roughly equally in balance: the so-called Saint-type that we deduced separately earlier.

You remember that in typing the author earlier I naturally left it at the PA/PC split, where I did not have the time or space to cover authors like Jane Austen or George Elliott? Well now, this is really interesting! Developing my theses here is mainly the job for younger folk, but taking the PA/PC split and analysing it for the P/PAC split, using the best books and authors in English Literature? Now that is a job that I could get my teeth into!

The PAC-type is so vital to introduce alongside the P, A and C types because it introduces the necessary element of competition alongside the welcome principle of co-operation. It gives me a fresh question to ask, although there can never be any proof, about whether the PAC-type is better, even though they themself could not say so. I am keen to revisit the typing of actors armed with this new line of investigation, which I will do in due course, and that will take me back onto the ground I left at the end of the introduction, the search for conscience.

And a resolution with Eysenck is very encouraging. We are now approximately halfway through the book. Are we halfway through the job in hand? Well, the Analysis of our new theory is now complete. We have answered all the questions that arose. We are also fitting in alongside existing thought.

The logical analysis has been plain sailing. We are moving into new territory now though, as we begin the process of synthesis, of matching and sorting to look for both new patterns and mis-fittings. Can we continue to make straightforward progress as we enter these new waters? Can we continue to fit in alongside existing thought whilst addressing questions as they arise? Let’s see.


Transactional Synthesis

In Transactional Synthesis, we are intending to induct rather than deduce; to combine and scale up to see the broad picture, where through analysis we were dividing and drilling down to find the small detail.

The diagram below shows my working model for how we think. The 'front' of the mind is the point of perception, where stimuli is received into the mind from the five senses. A thought arises from within the mind and finds expression as a stimulus, or it goes the other way. Perhaps a perception by the mind triggers a belief or memory. With a transaction between minds, the straight line is the more useful representation; for an internal transaction within the mind, it is more illuminating to consider the curved path.



Figure 22: In thought, movement is the norm not the exception.



To see how hard it can be to exert control on the 'front' of the mind: sit down in front of an active Television, on your own, and try to look at the wall to one side of it. Meditation or prayer requires a similar discipline. They enable us to consider a completely different set of lateral transactions, occurring across the A/C divide, as against the longitudinal transactions, which are all we have needed so far.

Indeed, synthesis itself is more lateral than linear. In understanding that, I can do better than I did when I started, 3 paragraphs earlier, I contrasted synthesis as panning out, where analysis is zooming in. That was an easy contrast which no-one would disagree with. Synthesis is indeed panning out to ‘see the picture’ but it is also scanning across; and reflecting; whilst analysis can be both drilling down and scaling up to find the telling detail.

The diagram above can also be understood by considering how fast do we think? The simple answer is at the speed of light: far too fast to measure or even observe. Fast enough to fire a gun, fast enough to drive a car and fast enough to score a goal. Fast enough that it is usually more useful to consider a line of thought or a train of thinking than to consider the curved path.

But the speed of light is also finite, and some kinds of thinking are visibly slow. ‘Drawing on the Artist Within’ is one book I know which describes the author as artist struggling to find the words to describe the process she uses to draw, as if they were coming from a long way away. Richard Feynman had the same problem in the opposite area as a scientist according to the biography ‘Genius’, when his words and concepts – his 'machines' – also came from 'too far away'.

Equally, it has taken twenty years to write this book, in elapsed time, and no amount of quick thinking would have reduced that time. It has needed a steady effort of days weeks and years of clear thinking. And even more than that, it has needed the willingness to walk away; to fail.

Lateral thinking is itself a new term, coined by Edward De Bono. His book on the subject captured a Zeitgeist in the sixties and became a bestseller. He himself has called it thinking about thinking. And clear thinking about thinking is what is needed when it is so easy to lose one’s way.

There are two considerations that help us be clearer about what we mean by thinking. The first comes from Edward De Bono, and the second is from the comic book.

The comic book has fully established the ideogram of the thought bubble, as against the speech balloon. The cloud formed out of expanding circles is an image that naturally and charmingly conveys the ‘materialisation’ of thought as against the linearity of speech, A thought ‘bubbles up’ involuntarily, as one of many in background. By contrast, speech requires both word selection and tone choice.

De Bono’s idea is more difficult, being very new indeed. I’ll describe it by analogy to radar initially, and we’ll look more closely at it in the section on transactions.

Picture the radar screen from an old film, if you will. It will  help if you can visualise how radar screens used to work when they were first invented. A beam sweeps slowly around in a circle. When the turning beam strikes an object, it's presence is revealed, both by an audible ping and by a visible 'blip' on the radar screen, which gradually fades, until the next sweep.

This beam cannot stop and track a moving object. The ‘blip’ gradually fades, until the beam comes around to register it again, if it is still there. Remember the beam is never at rest; it sweeps around the perimeter, in cycles.

 In the same way, we cannot stop thinking, but we can ‘concentrate’ on something; i.e. we can choose the focus of our attention. The spiral I have shown in the diagram above is meant to be average neither very tight, nor very wide. If you think about what happens when you concentrate; how you effortfully exclude distractions, even how you exclude feelings that may be distracting for you at the time, then I think you can imagine how this operates.

Can we embrace new terms like ‘lateral thinking’, and changes in word use, such as ‘focus’ in place of ‘concentrate’ with our new theory in such a way that we extend understanding, rather than merely ‘jumping on the bandwagon’? Well, ‘embrace and extend’, rather than ‘divide and conquer’, is what we seek to do in this section. I'll look to do more of that with De Bono when we come onto transactions, later, but meanwhile, there is a very modern term ‘sexual orientation’ which seems apposite to the current discussion.

Sex And Gender

Let us suppose that the term ‘sexual orientation’ reflects an objective truth. Always above, I had instinctively drawn the diagram with the Parent pointing up. What if I now drew the diagram with the Parent pointing down, for a woman? In the man, the diagram points up because the orientation is toward Fate, through God or chance according to your belief. The arrow pointing down could mean that the orientation is away from work, toward child-rearing; toward the destiny of other(s), not of self.



Figure 23: Men and women think differently though they are not different.



The orientation is not away from Fate though. In fact, the orientation is also, for both men and women (especially in the romance-oriented West) towards each other, equally as much as towards duty. Would it not be better still to point the man and women at each other?

Now an interesting thing happens, for if we are right to be consistent in drawing the Adult on the same side, on the left side, in all my diagrams so far, then we now have to make a decision about where the left side is.



Figure 24: Men and women are oriented toward each other even moreso than toward God, or themselves.



 Is the Adult on the left relative to the woman, or is it on the left, relative to the external world, which would put it on the right for a woman?If the Adult is on the left, then a woman’s train of thought is just like a man’s, with the Child being spontaneous (1st thoughts) and the Adult being logical (2nd thoughts). If now the Adult is on the right, then it would be the Adult who provides first thoughts and reactions, and the Child who puts these to the context, with 2nd thoughts.

It is like looking in the mirror. You know how a mirror reverses left to right but not upside down? Well, here, from a man's viewpoint, the woman looks as if she has the C on the right, the opposite to men. But from her point of view - the women's viewpoint - the woman has the C on her left, just like a man.

And there is weight to add to this conjecture from the diagram I drew above. Notice that the spiral that I have drawn has thoughts arising from the Child and passing through the Adult to the Parent. To describe the general mind this was all that I needed, and in comparison to the linear thought we were unconcerned with the ‘handedness’ of the spiral.

Now that we have put handedness into context with the term ‘orientation’ we can see that of course it makes sense if we consider a spiral that curves to the left, as being separate. There was no need for it when it was not there, but it fits too neatly, and without upsetting anything else, for us to ignore it now that we have been shown, but how to put it to use?

Well, let us give the individual the same choice that we have given ourselves. Let us say that it is the individual’s choice whether to keep the Adult on the left in a culture where the Child is pre-eminent (matriarchy), or whether to ‘flip’ the Adult and Child so as to fit in with the matriarchal culture, by rotating the Parent.

By flipping the Adult and Child – by rotating the Parent’s orientation - the mind has now assumed the orientation of a man, within women’s culture. In other words, they do not want to be a man, but they do want to sleep with a woman, even though they themself are a woman.

Just as we have made it a choice to be homosexual (and I am being anything but flippant here – it is the same ‘choice’ as to be burnt at the stake for being a Christian; or, as in the case of political activist and homosexual Peter Tatchell, being brain damaged from a beating from Robert Mugabe’s bodyguards through attempting a citizen’s arrest at a British Airport); just as we have made it a choice to be homosexual, we can see that it is also a choice, but a different choice, to be transsexual.

When we flip the A and C internally to match the culture of women, then we also flip the Parent and reverse the sexual orientation. When we retain the A and C orientation because we prefer the opposite culture then we become transsexual. That is, as a woman, you now want to be a man - and sexual orientation is almost a moot point. It is gender that is wanted; sex is the by-product.

The same line of reasoning gives rise to transsexuality in men, and even homosexuality. Anyone like me who is over a certain age will remember the iconic film star Rock Hudson. To put it baldly, if Rock Hudson can turn out to be gay, then absolutely anyone can be.

This is not something that can be deduced from the starting principle of three dimensions, as far as I can see. But it is something that is heavily reinforced by the current term ‘sexual orientation’, since it is an orientation of mind by sex. An orientation of mind, which would normally be by sex, also allows the possibility of an orientation of mind against or in spite of sex. It provides strong evidence to confirm the modern, enlightened trend to accept homosexual love as equal alongside heterosexual love.

Typing the Role

Another way to maintain the relevance of this is to pose a real question. If I am a PAC-type - as are you, are you not? I am sure that we both are! So then we may wonder how it is that one chooses to become a scientist, or finds the creativity to be an artist?

You might be familiar with a story often told. It can still be found on the Internet. The story uses the analogy of a receptacle filled to the brim with large rocks, which although full, is then made to hold more, by adding first gravel, then sand, and finally water. The moral of the story is that, if the large rocks are the things that are most important to us, then although the volume cannot fit another large rock into it, it is not full until every part of that volume is used.

A story with a moral can also be called a parable. This story deserves to be called a parable because we are deliberately overlooking a physical limitation because we recognise a metaphysical truth.

Literally, there is an obvious problem with the idea of filling a vessel with large rocks first. Let us suppose we use a thin-necked vessel. In that case, the entrance will be obstructed by the large rocks. The gravel will not reach the bottom but will lodge itself in crevices at the top of the neck. When it comes to adding the sand, it will be blocked by both the edges of the rock and the places where the gravel forms a seal. Perhaps just a small part of sand will be added. And adding water will be much slower as it has to filter through the blocked neck. Some will spill over, as it would if it were full. Unless the vessel is transparent, it will be difficult to know when it is full.

Of course we can literally choose whatever neck size we want and we can add anything in any order. We don't have to add the water last and we can use the widest neck size that we want - we can even lay the rocks side-by-side if it is a better arrangement.

But nothing I can think of will completely preempt the problem that the space will not be filled efficiently. There is always the problem that space will remeain unused efficiently because the gravel will not have fallen everywhere it could , and neither will the sand. There will be an excess of water.

Figuratively, what is the answer to this? Before I give the answer I want to explain why I have repeated the story.

Notice that we accept the validity of this analogy because it confirms something about mind that we seem to intuitively know. The mind is permeable, as if it had no neck- no hard edge or rim. Metaphysically, it has been quite acceptable to add items in the way described, as they will accrete together in the most efficient manner.

But the neck or edge of the mind does exist – and now we have been diagramming it. It is soft, and it can have any shape you choose, but it must have a shape. Throughout this section we will be leaving parable and metaphor behind to discuss the shape - or shapes - of the mind.

Before we do leave this parable behind, what is my answer to the literal problem with the metaphor?

However big the biggest rock I can think of to put in my vessel, I might never be satisfied with my arrangement of rocks, gravel, sand and water. Do I want to conquer the world? So did Hitler. Want to create perfection? Already been done by Michelangelo. Want to be a Celebrity? Everyone else does.

The compromise is easy to say, hard to do. Take a big rock, perhaps the biggest, and put it outside the vessel - chase the truth as hard as some chase girls, maybe. By taking the thing you most want in all the world - or just something that everyone else wants, like money - and deliberately not putting it in the vessel, you make it so it does not matter how the rocks, sand and gravel on the inside are arbitrarily arranged.

A sacrifice makes the arrangement meaningful.



Figure 25: Extending the perimeter cannot be done physically, so should be done meta-physically.



We now move on to typing the role. Here we have a new type of diagram which provides a world which the general mind inhabits. We hope to use the box diagram to differentiate between typing the role and the person. The diagram shows a box split into components and therefore, generating transactions from the external world into the general mind.

For space reasons we will use only one, but I observe we could derive other domains. If I succeed in the domain I have chosen, then others will succeed with different domains. Let us say that the average person experiences childhood, school, adolescence, career, marriage, middle age and retirement. So, any one of these, such as school or retirement say, could be taken to form a domain in its own right.

The big picture I am seeking is of society as a whole. I am taking work as the glue that holds society together. It is so obviously the common experience that it has led to our understanding of type in the first place. The cultural diversity of work across the world is a product of circumstance, by chance, and of history, by fate. It is not immediately pretty nor ugly, neither morally nor intellectually right nor wrong. In that sense, work maps to the Parent.

But we seek to look beyond mere work, in the sense of paid employment. Neither artist nor scientist is simply a paid employee.

The career category of scientist requires the integration of science with the morality and nobility that I have assigned to the Adult. There is an element of exploration to science. The scientist may be an academic but is also a discoverer; an adventurer. And I want to expand this even further. I want it to embrace a similarly limited category of explorer. That might be limited if it were only the Livingstone's and Hannibal's that we are taught about, but we can also acknowledge the émigrés and refugees and pioneers that have played such a significant role in history - from Billy Wilder to Arnold Schwarzenegger. I think we can unify the Adult by mapping it to discovery and adventure; the willingness for worthwhile risk.

Along with work of course comes play, and what could be more appropriate to form a group for stimuli to the Child? Not only art, but the full range of entertainment variety that we like and that we love, being primarily emotional; neither right nor wrong; not fair nor unfair.

The danger, for me if not the reader, in trying to extend the box out to the world, is of coming away from the unifying principle of three dimensions of mind. If these dimensions are not to come into conflict with the real physical dimensions of the world I need to justify the box-type diagram, before we finish here.

The Domain of Work

One can discuss the differences between John Wayne and Cary Grant, knowing that they are fairly matched, but one could not reasonably compare Wayne with an actual old-West person - Davy Crockett, say, - and still maintain the mandate of common sense.

 Part of the discrepancy between Wayne and Crockett is the difference between an actor and an adventurer as types of work. Similarly, the difference between actors and engineers is obvious, but what do they have in common?

Our starting point was four types who are maximally different from each other. Although I have not seen it put this way, I could say that these four are maximally competitive to each other. In suggesting what actors and engineers have in common, we could perhaps proceed by seeking a maximally cooperative arrangement.

From the underlying maths, we started with an arrangement we called 2:1:1. This became 6:3:3 when we realised it had to match to 4:4:4 based on the common denominator of 12.

 That denominator gives us a further grouping of 3:4:5, as well as others: 6:4:2, etc. But it is the 3:4:5 group where the ratio minimises the difference between the three components. The 3:4:5 group gives us six new permutations to consider: 3:4:5, 3:5:4, 4:3:5, 4:5:3, 5:3:4, 5:4:3.

If I take the arrangement 3:4:5 we can immediately agree that this is a peer arrangement, to the four we have looked at. The 6:3:3 (2:1:1) ratio maximises the distinction between components (especially when balanced by the ‘zero’ of the PAC-type, as we have seen).

What about the other permutations? If we take all possible combinations of the denominator 12, as we should, then the other possible configurations are 6:4:2, 7:3:2, 7:4:1, and 8:3:1. Well, I can introduce some rules, which would suggest a starting point for common sense. We do not need to concern ourselves with ratios of 7 and above as they exceed the maximum ratio of 50%. Likewise, we need not be concerned with ratios below two, as this is a minimum. This leaves only the ratio 6:4:2.

But there is still a problem with the 6:4:2 which throws theory into question. I cannot easily draw it. It is that 4 component. You will see what I mean if I draw the ratio (see Figure 26).



Figure 27: No single representation of the 6:4:2 configuration seems to be natural.



I can draw the 4 as stable and centred, but then the 6 is ‘top-heavy’, yet should have the biggest influence. Otherwise I can draw the 6:2 as stable and centred, but now the four is offset, seemingly arbitrarily. Why?

Neither of these possibilities is a reason to exclude the type – quite the reverse. As well as being one or the other, there is also the possibility that the personality may switch between the two.

It is a problem for me, but is it a problem for the person? If the 6 in the 6:3:3 remains a plus, but the 6 in the 6:4:2 is actually flawed by the 2, this could be. When we are talking of a flaw we mean as much from the individual themselves point of view. So for example, Kurt Cobain, John Lennon and Errol Flynn are a selection of many who would have benefited from a little help in stepping forward to embrace the destiny that they were so awfully close to.

This is a different way of looking at personality in general, as if an excess of personality is unwelcome if it is not tied to conscience. Suppose that the 6:4:2 is a less welcome, ‘rougher’ version of the 5:4:3, but no less viable? Although on the face of it this gives us a further six types to identify through job-role, there is another possibility which is worth our considering.

It could actually be that the same types of job-role are not only populated by the six 5:4:3 types but also with these six 6:4:2 types, thus actually permitting twelve additional personality-types; sixteen in all. So, the engineer category say, would be available to both the 5:4:3 and 6:4:2 equally. This is the kind of thing statistics could help to confirm or dispute later, assuming an even distribution, as it does make sense so far.

Meanwhile, putting the 6:4:2 to one side for later, we are left with a ‘first tier’ choice of a split into 4:4:4 (one type), 6:3:3 (three types) and 5:4:3 (six types). That is, not twelve but ten types in all, each having strengths and weaknesses that complement - and conflict with – the others.

(Incidentally, the arrangement 2:3:4 would be derived if the denominator were nine. Nine corresponds to a granularity of 40 degrees rather than 30 degrees for twelve.  If maximal cooperation were more visible to us than maximal competition we might have started with this type and deduced the others within a system of nine types of personality. Interestingly, the Far East has an ancient personality classification system which does depend on nine types of personality.)

In the West, the ancient Jewish Kabbalah is more widely known. The Kabbalah takes ten personality types, but it is not any part of my culture, as it turns out.

In the introduction, in my hurry, I had gone through all the categories to reach a final 12. It was not wrong, but seemed disappointing. Astrology is to most people rather less than a ‘soft science’. I now understand where the difficulty came from, since the 6:4:2 shows there is a practical difficulty inherent in the diagram. We had reached a dead end, which prompted me to start again, but careful work has taken us back to, and through, the barrier. Instead of an equal zodiac of 12, there is a tiering effect; a natural tiering of peers to allow differentiation and cooperation within a more modern conception of society, without unfairness. We can surpass the problem of twelve with a simpler group of ten or a wider group of sixteen as best fits.

So, we can now try our mapping from sub-type to occupation, in each case, to appeal to common sense. Obviously, we could have any occupation here, from psychologist to soldier; from publisher to banker, from chef to sheriff. What I am looking for is to find an assignment which is defensible, and which tells us more than we already know.

With a group of ten I can use the diagrams of ratio. When I do not need to be so exact, I can use the notation of three sizes of letter, as in the table below. Here, the notation CPA is used where the Parent is four, the Child larger, either 5 or 6, and the Adult smaller, either 3 or 2.

The table below shows my attempt at this mapping.

Table Occupations by Ratios










In order to be a bit more rigorous than earlier I have preferred to find two examples of job-role. I have also preferred the most common professions, as far as I knew. I contacted the Office of National Statistics to see if figures were available, but the statistics they have are not classified in this way and are on employed persons. We’ll look at the statistics I do have at the end, though. Asking people in these professions would also be informative, though it would need to be done on a more systematic basis than one person could do it. (Notice that expecting people to be this type in order to give them the job is perhaps less useful than asking people who want or have these jobs about their conscious understanding of the type.)

Coming back to the current thread of discussion concerning the typing of occupations, if the reader is non-male, or non-graduate, then I am sure they will have noticed one weakness of my table: it is heavily weighted toward male, graduate employment.

 The table below is therefore changed to include the main occupations of women, in terms of quantity, alongside the professions and based on my non-expert knowledge.

Table Female Occupations by Ratios







Unfortunately this table seems to consist of deleting the occupations from the first table that women don't do, and adding the non-graduate occupations that soak up the surplus.The conclusion of this is therefore that many women with the potential to become graduate professionals opt for the underrated non-graduate occupations of secretary and hairdresser. (In my youth nurse was also a non-graduate profession).

I want to extend this to our third and last categorisation; that of non-graduate employment. Making use of the fact that it is business that provides much of the employment in this area, business traditionally divides into management, sales and production. Three sectors happening to form a trinity mapping neatly to the Parent, Child and Adult, respectively.

Each can be subdivided into two further categories, as we are now used to doing, to give six in all. The table below shows my attempt at doing this.

Table Non-Professional Occupations by Ratio



I think what we find in considering this table is that although there is still an observable polarity which justifies our subdivision of each category, there is rather greater fluidity within the same component category, and rather less mobility between component categories. Thus, an Acp -type car mechanic will find it quite feasible to get apprenticed to a Plumber (ApC-type)if that is what is wanted because they are both A-types, whereas his only chance of taking on his boss's job (Manager) may well be to open his own garage. By comparison with the professions, an Acp-type accountant finding he wished to become an ApC -type teacher would find it quite a culture-shock, as would the teacher in reverse, although there will be a clearly-delineated path into management for both of them.

To start with, we found that the distinction between A, C and P as artist, scientist and politician was interesting but abstract. Where it really came into its own was when it was made concrete in actual graduate careers. Then, as we move into non-graduate occupations, what we find is the reverse: that the distinction within the three types is less concrete and we are thrown back on the differences between them.

I looked up what statistics I could find on the Internet. As mentioned, the ONS could not supply figures for the UK. The figures I did find are from public sector employment in Scotland, giving me the table below.


Text Box: There is approximately 1 lawyer for every 300 American citizens, whilst there is 1 for every 7,300 in Japan: 5% of the coverage in the US. Meanwhile, figures for France and England showed that France has roughly one third of the lawyers in the UK, for approximately the same population.


In round numbers, there are approximately 20,000 police, 40,000 social workers and 60,000 teachers. I would have expected it to be equal, and the numbers are round enough that it would seem they are telling us something. More teachers than police are needed, but does it also help us to consider why our personality types might be drawn to teaching over policing? For instance, if the policeman’s role (being difficult) is conducive to only the 5:4:3 type, and many more teachers than police are needed, then wouldn’t teaching be the natural home for the competitive-not-cooperative/eccentric-not-conformist 6:4:2 type outside of the police?

There needs to be a reason for us to be so interested in employment outside of our respective careers, and we have it from our starting point: the motivation of the artist.

I note that it is primarily British Society that I am interested to consider, but this is so far applicable to a wider template than only us. Let me go back to the original diagram to re-consider it. I had reached the end of the road then. Looking back now, I can see I had identified the physicist as APc, separately and alongside the scientist configuration of Apc. It looks like either a typing error, or the kind of glaring mistake that would be the one thing that would discredit all the hard work I have done.

In fact, it was neither. From my point of view (writing in 1994), this made sense as an explanation for how physicists could not know the shape of the universe. (I refer to information later put onto the web, at: and It was something that would not make sense to anyone else, and nor would it help explain the theory, but at the time I had to be more concerned with being honest.

I am on a little more solid ground so much later but I have also had to revise some of my ideas. The policeman and journalist have both changed, with the wisdom of hindsight. Notice that change does not mean that the theory as a whole is wrong - or indeed that one has not understood it. Being wrong is an important skill in learning PAC! (Eric Berne made observations that were quite wrong in later life, as he had in early life. It is just that one no longer minded).

The thing I am prompted to wonder is: where is the modern trinity, the updated version of the artist/scientist/politician split? There is a Doctor/Lawyer/Designer trinity which is appropriate for those of ambition and capability, and below there is a second Policeman/Engineer/Journalist grouping. Earlier we saw that we could look at the PAC/P split as introducing an element of competition. Here, I can explore a parallel idea from our groupings above: in today’s more sophisticated society, is there a two-tier system in operation? What if the top tier of four types represents the 6:3:3 split, of archetypes, and the second tier of six types offers a fallback, to where a 6 is achievable but a 5 is adequate, so to speak?

Earlier we asked the question from the point of view of the PAC type. How does one choose to become a scientist or find the creativity to be an artist? The answer that seems to have dropped out from this is that one either finds the combination of patience and ambition (two quite different components) to fully inhabit the role of 6:3:3, which might take a lifetime, or one throws one’s own 6:4:2/5:4:3 into the competition along with the rest, sink or swim, not for a lifetime - but for what feels like one.

My own case may illustrate it. I have benefited from managing my own ‘flawed 6’ as an Adult-type in the engineer category, where had I been the lawyer I told my parents I wanted to be in school, nothing less than complete commitment would have been required. (I ruefully remember that at school I wanted to be a ‘famous lawyer’ before I got the exam results which scotched that idea. Assuming of course I can have myself be both 6:4:2 and 4:4:4 – well, you were warned about my ego by my ex-girlfriend!)

At the very start of the introduction we noted three examples of exceptions: the footballer, the IRA terrorist and the long-term alcoholic. Well, as athlete, we have already placed the footballer in the table given. For the long-term alcoholic, although it affects work, I would consider drug addiction as a problem in the domain of play, not work. It is part of the subject for discussion next, following this section. This brings us now to the terrorist, and an apposite reminder of the significance of the policeman, as against all the other occupations.

For examples of the all-important Parent-type – the ‘seat’ of society’ – I am struck by the slipping away of the categories of both priest and politician. They seem to be losing their basis for authority in very recent times – in fact, since the 1960’s. There is no doubting the authority of the police, however. Following the peace agreement with the IRA, it is gangsterism which the terrorists have turned to, as indeed they were never far from it. And the police are our first and last defence against gangsters.

It is very striking that the policeman is the vehicle for so much television and so many films in both the UK and abroad. In all of these and many other occupations it is only ‘policeman’ which routinely requires bravery and more than that, moral fibre, just to receive the pay packet. We tend, due to films and stories, to think of cowardice as a mortal sin. (It is one reason why I thought initially that the policeman would have to be an A-type). But cowardice, or being ‘yellow’ is less a matter of conscience and more a matter of judgement at the time. We can perhaps all be cowards and, possibly, heroes. The need for both does not go away. But it is one thing to be put on the spot by outrageous chance, or by personal honour; it seems to me another thing entirely to be put on the spot by one’s day-job, drafted in against yobs at a football match, for one example. That the police are willing to do this does let the rest of us off the hook. That they do it for minimal pay and without glory, rather puts the rest of us back on the hook. My understanding is that the army will promote from the ranks, yet a British politician is more likely to have trained as a lawyer than as a policeman.

Moving on from the policeman, we can briefly apply this to the Terrorist. At the very start of the introduction we had a reference diagram of mind in Figure 4 which put the conscience as the white centre of a grey conscious.

When separating the person out from the role, we use a box instead of a circle. So we can say that the conscience is a ‘white box’. It is neither contained in nor contains, but is co-located with, the ‘black box’ that is the individual mind.

My work as a computer programmer frequently refers to ‘white boxes’ and ‘black boxes’. They should be taken to mean the working of a white box is clearly visible whilst the black box is the opposite: opaque and hidden. And so it is here: the conscience is a white box and we know how it works: it will tell us what is the wrong thing to do but it cannot tell us what is the right thing for us to do. The mind of a person doing a job is a black box which often makes communication a big part of the job.

Does this help explain the mind of the IRA Terrorist? Not greatly. But thankfully the terrorist is an extreme and uncommon example. And the mind of the terrorist does help me push my theory.

Let me step back to the source of the theory – the idea of three dimensions, together with the notion that we have reached the edge in our exploration. The shapes we have chosen, the sphere and then the cube, are the simplest possible choices of shapes with edges. But there are other obviously simple shapes such as the cone and the cylinder which basic geometry gives us. And these turn out to be useful.

The cylinder is a shape I would like to take (and the cone in due course).

With a cylinder, I am not going to draw it because it is not a formally derived diagram but I would ask you to envisage it. Can you picture a circle divided into PAC as we have been drawing but extruded out to give a second circle? So now we have a black cylinder, with two faces. This two-faced element works to describe the need the terrorist has to live a double life, and it works even better in another scenario.

We have no interest in terrorist beliefs as, of course, we judge by action. We do not care how the inner and outer lives are balanced because in a real sense we think they are not.

The terms ‘inner life’ and ‘outer life’ are themselves of interest though. And in the context of job-roles we may observe that the writer needs the experience of a non-writing outer life to allow the creative inner life to develop prior to writing. Also, the writer is much less well described by our ‘boxes’. There are arguably more differences than similarities between Tolstoy and J K Rowling.

Now this is interesting! For now, when we consider the writer (whether as cylinder or cone) we become interested in the links between the two faces. I picture a rainbow of hues of the colour blue, for instance, as we diagrammatically extrude the edge of the Adult. The centre is still white, and the edge coloured, as in our earlier diagrams. The contrast is in hues of the colour. The writer, temporally (for a particular time) and creatively expresses their self-hood with their writing. It is not right or wrong - but it is more right than the Terrorist.

This could be fun, and we’ll explore it further, in the next domain where fun resides.

The Domain of Play

Do we all go to Heaven when we die?

Yes. But some of us come back.

Enough of us come back that it is now no longer useful for me to consider the mind only over a single lifetime.

That is what I have been doing with the world of work so far, since when you die your current job-role comes to an end, no matter what it is. In considering the domains of play and of adventure I am going to expand the paradigm over three lifetimes.

Two lifetimes cannot be ruled out as one lifetime can, but two types of life is not appealing, or useful, where three is. To show what I mean, I will shortly take three examples already mentioned to illustrate. Bill Gates and Bob Geldof are striking in this respect, and Mother Theresa is, as well.

As well as the feeling that I ‘knew everything’ when I was eighteen, because it is so different to how I feel now, I also vividly remember feeling that I had no particular personality traits or types. I had no difference, it seemed to me. I should be very sorry if young people, or anyone else reading this was led to conclude that as they are not obviously extreme, they are just ordinary. We will also be shown in the final section on Hollywood, in a comparison of the front rank with a second rank, that people of the same types show up as radically different to each other. That is in the final section of the book.

In fact, I have got a certain amount of sympathy for nerds and geeks who are like racehorses, trying to compete with motor cars. At age 18, as a ‘first timer’, you have had a full-time ‘job’ since five years old, of learning the world’s accumulated knowledge. No wonder you feel like you know everything – and none of it is worth knowing. None of it is yours.

Those who know what they want to do have a special type of knowledge which is about both themselves and about the world: about themselves, in the world. If you do not know the first thing about yourself or the world then they are like cars to your racehorse. At eighteen I am supposed to have some idea what I want to do. I am supposed to save and plan ahead at the same time as I start earning. But I am unable to imagine myself a year in advance and ten years, or twenty five years, have no meaning to me yet. Neither do the ages, thirty, forty. I simply cannot believe in it.

Tom Cruise is a good choice, as is any film star, to show us what Heaven is like. When you are watching a good film, you forget who you are. You identify fully with the person in the film. We all know what this feels like. I think of being dead as somewhere between this and being asleep. One is fully aware, just not fully conscious.

Although Tom Cruise, to take one example, is equal to you and me in the sense that his job will end when he dies, he is emphatically different to us too. We are not in competition with him, nor he with us. When Tom Cruise goes to Heaven there will hardly be any point in his coming back.

In that sense, Bob Geldof is like Tom Cruise. As a pop-star originally, whether of the highest or lowest rank, his is not the first life, of which I discuss; he is definitely no ‘first-timer’.

Along with the first life, there is the middle life, as a parent (small p), and the third life, of which Cruise and Geldof are two of the many examples in this book.

Earlier (in Figure 20), we spontaneously identified Geldof as a peer to Bill Gates and Mother Theresa in their 'largeness of life'; so, are Gates and the Mother similar? Bill Gates is of course the archetype of the nerd. But Bill Gates is also a family man, in a way that neither Geldof nor Cruise is. (But since I talk of people who are still alive then it is both more tactful - and more likely to be right - if I talk of what they are not, than as if I have the God-given knowledge of what they are.)

 Bill Gates is not an example of the last type of life. Indeed, Gates’ story is equal-parts nerd and geek; seeking glory yet never macho; the richest man yet intending to give his money away; unafraid of risk however high the stakes yet seeking the design ideal. And balancing all this with a middle life style. Gates falls through the net; if anything, he is the fourth type; the maverick, if not the jester.

Mother Theresa is not an example of the last type of life either. Her own determination to aid the poor led to her example being followed by others and the setting up of a worldwide order of nuns through her. She left no writings of her own and was not a speaker so it was the conviction she felt inwardly that was her driver and the source of her judgement. I think this was the honesty and simplicity of a first life. No more were needed. Geldof and Cruise I would say are typical examples of the third type of life; as a PAC type and a P type, respectively.

If so, then I may come back to shape. Personality assumes shape in the first five years of life, we are told. Let’s look at this; at the start, and at the end, of life.

 As we have discussed it, the adventurous life is most obvious to us in the configurations 4:4:4 and 6:3:3, whereas the preparatory life is most apparent in configurations 6:4:2 and 5:4:3 as well as the main types. We have two competing equally true maxims at large in the world. It is said that ‘life is a journey’. Equally, it is said with just as much conviction that ‘you only live once’ or that ‘life is not a rehearsal’. In this section on Transactional Synthesis let us seek nothing less than a synthesis of these equal truths.

Observe that we all start off as a 4:4:4 right at the beginning. Is there then a progression through types, which would be recognisable to us, and make sense of a ‘first’ life? Might we go from 4:4:4 to 5:4:3 to either 6:4:2 or 6:3:3? Actually, this is plausible and pleasing. It has a point, but it gives us the choice. Do you want to be brilliant (6) momentarily, or right (4) always? But it is hard to derive an answer entirely from theory. An easier entry point may be allowed if we choose to look at people before they are formed by their work, i.e. at young people.

When I was at school, I was not one of the ‘cool’ kids, as indeed most of us were not. It was much later on that the term ‘nerd’ was coined. But it does not seem to me to be a source of shame to be a ‘nerd’ or ‘geek’, the terms I am borrowing. The reason why these people are socially less slick is not because they do not care; it is because they do not know. They are simply new.

It is the opposite of ‘star’ quality – and yet it is the same thing. Because these people are new, they have a completely clear conscience. They have unrestricted access to the framework; the ability to do or be anything (as they probably get told too often).

Across three types of life we do indeed undertake a journey but it is a round-trip; from Heaven (because we did not recognise it) back to Heaven (because now it recognises us). A life is indeed not a rehearsal, since we have no idea what the next life holds for us, but we inherit the harsh lessons, the habits, and the heartfelt convictions that we used, and did not use up. We cannot say the number of lives, but we can still say that for the vast majority of people there are three types of life; and it is far more meaningful and helpful to all types of us to say this than to say either that ‘life is a journey’ or that ‘life is not a rehearsal’.

Let’s push on to give this the rigour we have applied earlier.

Notice that we can describe the 'radar' (Edward De Bono calls it the thousand lightbulb array) without needing to know what the diameter of the circle is. This is a good thing for the reasons already well established. We can’t ever presume to measure the quality of one mind against another. We have no ‘hard’ science to give us a radius. But that does not mean we are limited to a circle as a perimeter.

Let me briefly introduce the idea of a topology. A topology is the surface of a volume, when the volume is undefined.

The famous example is that a cup and a doughnut have the same topology. The inner ring of the doughnut forms the inner ring of the cup handle and a malleable material can be shaped into either. So, when the volume of a shape cannot be quantified it is meaningful to identify similarity by surface topology. J K Rowling and Tolstoy might be as different to each other, and at first sight as unrelated as a pewter tankard and a china teacup, but they can be unified by finding the simplest possible topology between them. This, loosely speaking, is the difference between topology and shape.

With topology, we can retain logical rigour whilst finding the simplest possible shape for the minds that we are now looking at across lives, and before and after them.

Do you recall that I wrote in terms of a cone and a cylinder? Well, I think the dimension that I talked of as being across time can work across personality, to give Synthesis. So, in the case of the nerd and the geek, i.e. specifically in the case of the first-timer as against the third-timer of director/writer, we can reasonably suggest that one is described by a cone shape which shows a linear ordering of saturation, whilst the other is described by an arbitrary ordering of different hues. The first is hierarchical; the second, sequenced.

I started with the principle of three dimensions as the best approximation to infinite mind, being goodness; truth; and chance, or fate. This was itself an idea of synthesis, rather than analysis. It cannot be proved or disproved, and someone else could suggest a different three dimensions, which we would be happy to embrace to extend our understanding.

I cannot easily think of a good example of three different dimensions by name, in words, but I can illustrate what I mean using three alternative dimensions of colour. Most people are familiar with red/green/blue from Televisions and computers. I already chose red/yellow/blue here but there are other alternatives, and one is the hue/saturation/lightness breakdown that professional photographers will be familiar with (see Figure 28).

There is a lot of information in this diagram, probably too much to cover fully here. I have limited myself to monochrome otherwise it might be overwhelming. Rather than the Red-Yellow-Blue (or RGB) of the main diagrams, it explores the Hue-Saturation-Lightness breakdown of colour, for the different shapes, or topologies, that I have been discussing.



Figure 28: Three dimensions of PAC explored through shape and a different three dimensions of colour (shown in black-and-white).



Notice that the 'natural sphere' looks unchanged at first glance. But look closely at the cube. With a dimension of lightness, the cube looks as if it is lit from outside instead of within. And although the sphere looks unchanged, it is open to the same interpretation.

The square that I introduced in the world of work is also leant some legitimacy here, in what the diagram calls the ‘fixed’ world; the world of roles and paid work. The visibly white square shows how conscientious we are in response to being paid, but the fade to grey over the cube implies a risk this will be short-term, rather than for the medium or long-term good.

Then we have our cone and sphere which I have oriented, one at 90 degrees to the other, to show how they are complementary to each other as well as contrasting.

Looking at the shapes topologically, (in spherical terms, at the perimeter), we can see how this diagram progresses. We can say that the sphere and the cube represent a single face. We can see that the cone and the cylinder are two extremes of a two-faced or dual-faced mind. So extending this to more than two faces, with the simplest being three-faced, we find the star shape and what I will call the cog, or nut, shape.

Now recall the earlier main colour diagram of a star where the perimeter described the gap between persona and personality (see Figure 17)? I remember seeing Clark Gable being interviewed briefly once, in an old clip, and being struck by the difference between the movie actor and the person. Of course I knew him very well from his old films but he was long dead by now. I’d never seen him not acting before and I remember being struck by how different he was from the glamorous film-star, just from this one clip.

In the pointed ‘star’ topology using our HSL colours we can recognise the film-star as the 'exceptional, stand-out worker' in modern life. The thick-line perimeter contrasts with the bright-white interior, not that the star is more conscientious than other workers, but they are more visible, which I can express in putting them to the front of the axis.

The complementary contrast is the ‘cog’ or ‘nut’ who is more ‘rounded’ than the star, though three-faced (multi-faceted) rather than all-round, and spherical.

It is this topology which we will use to develop our cognitive model (literally) in the section on transactions. Still, the ‘cog’ topology is opposite to the star in being the opposite of a standout. The interior looks dark but only because it is ‘further away’ from us on the axis of lightness. Notice that the ‘nut’ or ‘nutcase’ (i.e. with a thick-line perimeter) is the colloquial euphemism for someone whose eccentricities have shaded over into neurosis, and other failures of cognitive function.

Before we come onto Transactions, this will lead me naturally into the next section on Adventure. There, where we might expect to see risk balanced with reward, we will find that the risk is of ill-being, against the well-being we hope for.

The dimension of brightness captures the wannabe/star and is the standout from the six. The star is the one who is so recognisable in the modern world as to be already named so. The corollary is the polygon, which we could understand as many-sided, or many-faced. We can see these faces as roles, and the extension of the word role, in it’s modern meaning, is the other observation that is already in use in the wider world. We'll make much more use of the polygon in the section on transactions.

In summary then, In Transactional Analysis we have used three measures of dimension based on three primary colours, red, blue and yellow. An alternative way to give three dimensions of picture is through hue (or shade), saturation (or vividness), and brightness (or grayness).

I suggest four archetypes for a 'first-lifer' which are just as strong and, I think,  inarguable as the four types, of artist/scientist/politician/saint for the third-lifer. The four terms I suggest are nerd, geek, ‘wannabe’ and hippy. Let’s use these terms because they allow us, I think, to define four characters which we all know of, and which obviously reflect the psychological types that we have come to anticipate.

The nerd wants glory. This contrasts with the fame which is the hope of the wannabe. The geek however, seeks wealth over either, whilst the hippy is the maverick seeking the spiritual over the other’s materialism.

I had fun fleshing these descriptions out in the table below. It is again my subjective judgement and experience which is all I had to drawn upon, but my end point here can perhaps make a starting point elsewhere.











Computer Games, Harry Potter




Comics, Internet




‘Pop Idol’, ‘Tribute’ band, Obsessive ‘Stalker’




Vegetarian food, Skateboarding







Now we can truly say that we all do have a first life, and we also have what is very clearly not the first life; the dream-come-true in the case of the film-star which can be so difficult to reconcile with the job well done of a Michelangelo or a Lincoln.

It is this which stops me from hurrying to call it a last life. The Beatles are a good example. Lennon and McCartney are still the Michelangelo of their field, but being famous is also, paradoxically, often a very small life. What saved Lennon was Yoko Ono and McCartney did the same with Linda McCartney. Neither Michael Jackson nor Elvis Presley succeeded in balancing their tiny and huge lives in this way. Of course, you’d have no problem with me suggesting that Michelangelo’s was a ‘last life’. He is in Heaven, still working, contributing to the work of the conscience.

So let us call it a third life, rather than a last life; and let us contrast it to the middle life – of which there may be more than one! It is the third type of life, not the third, of three, lives. And now we have made sense of it. We have achieved a synthesis between the reincarnation of Eastern Philosophy and the Heaven of the Western World. It is what William James warned us we should not try to do. But only for our sakes, because he believed it was doomed to failure. If it can be done, then it can be done.

From the point of view of the PAC-type, we asked how one might choose to adopt a different type, as scientist or other. Let us give the short answer then: by playing. It can simply be a playful choice.

If fun is subjective then one person's assessment of fun is not going to be the same as another's which will vary again when compared to a third; and so on. One needs to go through a process of discovery to find which activities he or she will find fun.  One then has to discover new ways to have fun as a replacement for those earlier ways, and so the cycle begins again. The process of discovery (and exploration) border on the Domain of the Adult, as we saw at the start. This indicates we are approaching the next section on adventure. But discovery is based on personal preference and is followed by refinement, in the hope of repetition. Indeed, if this were not so then it would be possible to make fun guaranteed; something that not even sex, gambling or alcohol, and not even drugs, can do, for everyone.

The pattern of discovery/refinement/repetition can, I think, be seen to apply to many types of play: from cards to video-games; from slot-machines to horse-racing; from the opposite sex to record buying. It can also be seen to apply to illicit play, I think. For example which of us has not at some time or another drunk too much - I mean, quite literally, too much to be fun?The process of discovery may be seen as intellectual analysis (including risk), subject to the Adult; the process of refinement may be seen as practice (or habit) involving primarily the Parent; and then the process of repetition may be seen as independent of either



consideration or logic, involving merely the spontaneous desires (and greeds) of the Child.


Alcoholism (Gluttony), Gambling (Greed), and Pornography (Lust) can all cross the line from subjective fun




to the cynical attempt to extract excitement mechanically, without effort. Even drugs have this element of ‘wearing off’. There are various autobiographies one can read, from David Crosby to Marianne Faithful, which recount years, and even decades, of addiction to the most powerful drugs slowly coming to an end for no greater reason than that the individual decides it; like giving up smoking. In the absence of higher authority, and if the drugs don’t kill the user, and provided the user can manage the physical and moral disasters, there comes a time when the drug loses its appeal. The appeal of being free from the addiction becomes the greater.

This makes addiction a quite different problem to those issues that require a

 re-Parenting. As we know there are certain problems of anger, leading from childhood and abuse, which can occur from deep hurt and unfairness. But there are people who are caring, generous and sensitive enough to provide the love that was missing, by re-Parenting. I think addiction is a problem not of understanding or management so much as poor choice – the poor exercise of freedom of choice. This should be met by challenge and example; to challenge the assumption and show by example that it is false. How about picking up a paintbrush instead of a glass? How about doing some re-Parenting of someone with a real problem, instead of drowning yours? Both of these would redirect the Child that is going to waste.

The diagrams that I have been drawing up to now have showed concentric rings to represent concentric minds. If you are like me you will have been half-expecting these diagrams to show us how to come inside the mind, so that the science of psychology would reveal a mechanism of mind, which we could fix, like we can fix a car engine.

For instance, one half-idea that I had when looking at the concentric diagrams was that hypnosis might be an example of coming between the ‘layers’ of mind. This turned out to be completely wrong. There is no way to ‘quantify’ minds as layered any more than we could quantify the quality, as size of mind. William James’s injunction against ‘units of consciousness’ all those years ago still stands. I need to come away from a diagram which shows concentric circles completely because it is misleading. Properly, they are co-located. That is why I use a continuum of colour, as in the diagrams of the introduction, not discrete rings. Discrete rings had their use, notably in the director and writer above, but only symbolically.

A person does not get fixed, like a car, otherwise the seat of the personality would be the Adult. Unlike cars, people fix themselves. This book provides a language for us to help each other, and to know ourselves.

The Domain of Adventure

It turns out that I cannot split the layers of mind, but I can do something like that. The next best thing I think is to move the centre of the circle.

Going all the way back to Figure 7 and Figure 8, this was where we first wondered about whether to pursue the idea of ratios, or whether to try and classify characteristics. Another possibility entirely is shown below,



Figure 29: Introducing a diagram earlier in time, before type gets established.



But what might it mean to move the centre? I am very much not suggesting coming away from the idea of conscience as the anchor of mind. Indeed, the hint is that this is rather the mistake. It should not mean to deny the conscience, rather, to take ‘a point of view’ on the conscience.

In the diagram above, I have a new diagram type which is accompanied by the picture of the coloured sphere. With the coloured sphere, we can see what happens if we move the centre along the P/C axis. We see a greater area of blue and a corresponding reduction in Adult and Child. This is a new idea, separate to type, and orientation. What I am trying to do is move the centre - but from the centre, rather than from the outside.

We can see three dimensions converging to a point whenever we simply look at the corner of a room. Imagine the 2D diagram above for a moment as a view of three converging planes, like a round photo of a corner of a room. Then, the ‘roof’ is the Parent dimension, the ‘wall’ the Adult, for example. Eccentricity can be a good thing in the end, even though it feels a bad thing at the time. Thinking back to when I was young, I did sometimes have the feeling of swimming underwater, which I suppose meant too much ‘roof’, or work.

The off-centre circle in the diagram is off-centre along the P/C axis. And it is off-centredness, or eccentricity – the very word that the British use for (an excess of) personality - that is shown by the diagram.

We do need to preserve the relationship between components but for the moment I am doing that on the basis of area, not volume. It is a pragmatic solution to use area (by counting squares), yet this makes it not a view of the whole personality.

The medium of film is again an inspiration for me, for as important as the actor in presenting character to we in the audience is the director, who presents the point of view. The eye is drawn by movement, and the story decides what we need to see, but our relation to the scene and the central character(s) in the scene starts from the point of view the director gives us - overhead shot, profile view, full-face, etc.

Now before using symmetry to develop this diagram-type, as we have before, and seeing that we draw a conclusion to validate it, as we have before, the question I would suggest asking is, what is the anchor for the position that we are proposing, of an eccentric view?

“Core Beliefs” is how we referred to those at or close to the centre. If this is not a core belief, how does the personality arrive at and retain its view? Well, our internal dimensions of Parent, Adult, Child can also be internalised in principles of goodness, truth and chance. It may be that taking a position on these is what gives us our ‘view’ in life. When I drew the off-centre circle first of all I drew it as off-centre along the axis, because over and over we and our children discover and rediscover the inherent paradox that goodness and truth represent.

I said that justice and mercy, and idealism and pragmatism are two examples of the P/C and P/A axes. A person could be a victim or beneficiary of either. “It is an unfair world” or “I am such an unlucky person” are much more likely to spring to one’s thoughts than an appreciation of the paradoxical split between the Arts & the Sciences, A & C, relative to the individual. It would be an unusual person that perceived the abstracts of goodness and truth as paradoxical, let alone applied it to themselves. Precisely because of this, it will be best if I only look at the A/C axis. It is the more interesting assumption to make that the person has integrated their view with both Child and Adult (though not yet as a core belief). It would need the help of professionals to explore more widely, and in practice.

Now I can put this together with Figure 29, the new type of diagram, which will give me the first usage of the new diagram, as a starting point, below (see figure 30).

This diagram shows how natural it is for an eccentric or neurotic point of view to give rise to mood-swings since it is difficult to maintain one view without also being prone to an opposite view. So-called bipolar disorder recognises the polarity of what used to be called manic-depression, and indicates why depression would have been quite the right phrase for the experience of the opposite of mania.

The diagram shows that the point of view is different from a core belief. Whereas a core belief is integrated within the personality, the point of view represents a starting point prior to integration.








Figure 31: Holding a point of view all the time, in all circumstances, is not easy. Sometimes it is easier to see the opposite point of view.



Just as the actor assumes the role which is temporary, the director assumes the point of view, which is temporary. To represent the director’s view, we want to superimpose the ‘point of view’-type diagram on the general PAC-diagram of mind. To ensure we do not misrepresent what is meant by the circles size, it is important to see there is one simplest way to do this. The circles need the same centre (since the point of view is sympathetic to the director) and the perimeters need to be touching (otherwise this would be an entirely imaginary construct – with no contact with the outside world).

This gives me two circles at which point I can apply symmetry to derive a third circle. Again, there is one, simplest way to do this, by enclosing the smallest area from the centre to the edge of the inside circle. Doing so gives a configuration with uneven components which is not PAC (see Figure 32).

Perhaps I can develop the new diagram best by introducing the element of time to our three dimensions of mind-space. In this diagram, the circles are all the same size, conceptually. They could all be the same person but at different points in time. Recall that previously, we have used different sizes of circle to represent an unquantifiable difference in quality of mind. In comparing different minds, that would still be the case, but in comparing the same mind, here, the difference in size could now represent something more concrete: a difference in time. This I think offers much the more promising avenue of investigation paralleling as it does the investigation of the outside world. Our metaphysics once again parallels our physics, to give not so much mind-control, as mind-mapping.

Notice also what I think is the natural justice of this. We cannot ‘magically’ change the configuration of our personalities. To achieve a configuration which is desirable or valuable one needs to expend  effort, over time, and furthermore it is much more likely to be effort that is different from, and in addition to, work, the reward for the effort of which is moneyed payment.

It is quite wrong to view depression as an illness with no value to be treated by chemical anti-depressants. For example, it is well known that exercise is a great treatment for depression. It should be part of one’s stress management. Every morning the first thing I do is 30 minutes exercise – ostensibly because I have a bad knee, the true reason being that, I am a depressive. The exercise changes my natural thought-pattern from melancholy to assertive, I have noticed.

Although free of other drugs, I had drunk alcohol and smoked cigarettes enough to damage myself by my forties. But I was able to push out both the alcohol and the smoking by building a reward system out of food. I will have to save this for elsewhere but suffice to say that the advice to the depressive is similar to the alcoholic: improve your own reward system and invest more effort.



Figure 32: A position which is depressing at the time (shown by the dotted circle) reaps its rewards in the future (shown by the smaller circle)



Notice how vitally important it is that the circles are contingent at the perimeter. If this were not the case – if the circle were arbitrarily inside the circle - then we couldn’t use symmetry. But also, there would be no interaction with the outside world. This would reflect an imaginary position (though it might or might not work out in future, it would be that much harder to bring off). That is not the case here. What we see here is that if the off-centre position is held (i.e. expressed, because if it is on the perimeter it must be visible) even though it is a disadvantage (because it is boring, depressing, or worrying), then over time it may become integrated and consistent with the moral centre.

These configurations could create a ‘holding space’. The phrase “the penny dropping” is a useful one to evoke. For the penny to drop into the hole there has to have been a prior awareness of desirability; of a hole. What we could be seeing now is the mind prior to the making of the link. Only when experience creates the link, is the result ‘owned’ by the recipient, and then they can express it artistically, scientifically or physically.

The final step to take to marry our thinking with the conclusions of the previous Domain of Work, is to visualise our new diagram, through extrusion, as we did with the cylinder. We have the perfect reason to do so through the notion of time. Let us see how this works.

We should start with the first diagram, the off-centre example. If we extrude from the circle to the off-centre point then we end up with a cone. In other words, the point of view diagram really does have a point!

Recall that the writer was visualised as a cylinder but I am suggesting that the director is better visualised as a cone.

Now, to get the use of it: the writer explores along a line, the director explores within a stage. When we visualise the writer, as cylinder, we are as happy to do so horizontally as vertically. We would naturally visualise the cone as oriented vertically, I think. This is because the point of view is always relative to the centre, inside the main circle. We can give this vivid visual expression.

That is, (arbitrarily taking ‘up’ as moral and ‘down’ as pragmatic) the director’s cone would reveal a contrasting range of blues which would all be the same hue (if he is not also writer), where the interest is in how light or how subdued are the variations.

Earlier, in Transactional Analysis, we used red, yellow and blue to identify the three components of Parent, Adult and Child since these primaries can make up any of an infinite array of colours. Where we seem to be going is to do a similar thing with hue, saturation and brightness, the other technical way to describe the infinite array of colour. That’s how we gained the set from the previous section. For now, we return to the subject of the cone shape of this section.

From the first diagram we can form a cone with a point, but when we have the later diagrams with an internal circle, then we can form a section of a cone by extrusion. It is a cone with the top cut off. Our ‘mature’ diagram showing the temporarily off-centre instance is interesting. We could visualise this by joining one sectional cone on the top of another, at the point where the cones are ‘cut off’. It would seem to combine the features of cone and cylinder in a single principle.

To illustrate, here is a question which may entertain you: which of the circles would you be, in Figure 32? Would you see yourself as the inner or outer circle? I am not meaning to draw any conclusion from it – in fact, the reverse. It seems to me that both interpretations are equally complimentary, the smaller circle representing one’s humble opinion and the larger, one’s groundedness of centre.

It is at the point when we can introduce the principle of time that we can see the full mapping of our infinite internal sphere, of mind, to the infinite external sphere, of Universe. We necessarily had to look at the person’s whole life to see type in our earlier examples. We simplified our contrasting comparison by conflating time with a lifetime; by not looking to see the difference. Now we are beginning to see how this works on a shorter timescale than the whole life. Our diagrams of viewpoint taking area rather than volume still apply to the whole personality, but not, now, over the whole lifetime.

From we as individuals we move to the group. Now that we are in the domain of risky adventure, we have the opportunity for a useful consideration, of both mental wellness and mental illness.

As it becomes accepted to move the centre, we would have a different use for the area of the circle than previously. In the diagram below, I have divided this up by the use of the dotted outlines (see Figure 33). The centre extends to the inner circle and this is the area of normalcy, both in its usual sense and possibly also in the sense of statistical distribution. The area from the inner dotted circle to the outer dotted circle represents eccentricity, and the area from the outer dotted circle to the edge of the circle represents the more extreme psychological form, of neurosis.

I admit I am borrowing these words, but I believe that the diagram below shows what may be possible.

We can match this against the boundary transactions that we will see later. For instance, in the artist and scientist we will see harmless absent-mindedness and infatuation. In the less well-adjusted mind at the boundary we will see infatuation turn to fanaticism, perhaps. We may see the forgetfulness that overlays proper scientific obsession become twisted into a neurotic compulsion, maybe. Again, I will borrow these terms now to give them back later.

I have taken the decision to draw the dotted circles on the basis of dividing the radius up by thirds for visual clarity. It may be worth bearing in mind the area is derived arithmetically not geometrically from the radius. The problem is, this would not be mathematically exact.

The maths is important because it can cross-check our logic. Moving the centre introduced us to an entirely new type of diagram, but also created some questions. The first of the new diagrams, Figure 29, moved the centre without preserving ratio (as can be demonstrated by counting squares), thus changing the personality. This was for visual impact as preserving the ratio would then mean moving the angle on the perimeter. The effect of moving the centre by moving the angle on the perimeter is shown on the developed diagram, Figure 31. It preserves axes (from the inside), but looks as if it did the opposite (from the outside).



Figure 33: The well-adjusted individual contrasts with the individual who maintains a view which may not be in their own interest – for good or ill.



The way to ‘read’ this is that it will affect the transactions. The left-hand diagram will look like a 6:3:3 type from outside - notice that, in this example, the perimeter junctions are the same as for the politician type. In the right-hand case, the perimeter junctions do not neatly map onto what we have seen before, but the Adult and Child components are clearly both overlapping the P/C and A/C axes, so we would expect to see artist/scientist responses (if I may put it so) in reply to normal P-type stimuli, in this ‘phase’, or mood.

Contrast this with the intermediate diagram of healthy role-playing in Figure 32. We would have to count squares (and be careful with how our area was derived – geometrically or arithmetically) to determine the configuration we are looking at here. The inner circle seems to be something like a 2:2:1 or a 3:3:2. I talked earlier about a ‘holding space’ and, indeed, these configurations seem to represent just that. We have not seen them before. Perhaps this is why the ‘manic’ configuration of the previous diagram (the left hand side of the two in Figure 31) is a 6:3:3, which is the end result for the mature personality.

The most important conjecture is the dotted circle. What I am suggesting by making it dotted is that most people may be given credit for their native intelligence (I’m including myself). This enables them (and enabled me) to avoid the obvious traps of eccentricity or neurosis and, over time, realise the results of making use of their spare time for entirely different purposes than work time.

Hemingway for example may be one of the greatest archetypal A-types, but as a working writer, we would presumably say he is primarily a C-type. The ability to take different configurations would be very valuable as long as they are not actually in conflict.

One does not have to look far to find examples where the typing of the man does not nearly so neatly fit the typing of the job. For example, Leonardo Da Vinci, famous as an artist (C) but also as an engineer(A), mathematician(AC) & philosopher (P); Winston Churchill? Hero(A), journalist(AC) and amateur painter (C), alongside the glorious Leader(P); Albert Einstein (Archetypal A)? Genuinely humble (P) and liked to play the violin (C). These are three of the most famous examples of artist, scientist and politician in history, yet none of them could be said to be solely Child, Adult or Parent.

At the start of my explication of the principles of PAC we kindly overlooked these limitations. Now we can see why we had to. Like layers of an onion, when we look deeper into the specific we see types within types, but to the benefit of all. Not arbitrary complexity, but richness and depth.

So let us give people credit for more intelligence for once, rather than less. Let us assume that most people would far rather not adopt a position of either eccentricity or neurosis if it can possibly be avoided. In that case, let us assume they use this choice to bypass the intermediate stage and adopt the end stage voluntarily in their ‘play’ life.

This would indeed be shrewd as they would then be able to ‘inherit’ the ‘middle’ stage, perhaps having got themselves now in a position where it is not eccentric, but is actually a strength in the domain at that time. People would need to do this even despite the difficulty of it, even without anyone to tell them about it, and even without a way to explain it to themselves. But they must do something like this, because we can see the results. I do believe it will help to have a way to understand and even verbalise this part of our lives.

So what we have done now is to come away from our comfortable but naïve thinking that a person adopts a type and then expresses it; to a more sophisticated view that a person will lean towards or away from a type; or towards two types, or even towards none; all in different situations. And furthermore, the person inhabiting a job (or domain) may be inherently that type or they may be that type, but only at the moment. This really does make the domain like a ‘box’, overcoming the reluctance we felt to start with. It is a box that is created to fit, not a type of person, but a group of interchangeable people, and the person who inhabits the box while essentially always themselves, can be just as mutable.

Although the box is not perfect, not being tailor-made to fit us; we accept and approve the system. We are self-aware of not being tailored perfectly ourselves to fit the box. In the next section this will lead us on to discuss the elements of stress and adventure that life can create. For now, we can conclude that most of us is a PAC-type making the best of the situation we find ourselves in. There is also an ‘inner life’ which is active both in play and work. It can be ‘bigger’ than the outer life, but it can lead to problems needing professional help.

When we discuss a shape for the mind of the writer or the director we are looking beyond the realm of work that is available to all. Arguably, it takes a lifetime of preparation, for instance through journalism or as a manager, to allow one to qualify oneself for this kind of work. In this situation our theory of mind leads us gently toward the idea that while the brain is with us for life, the mind is with us for lives; and that the PAC principle of three equal differences might allow us to recognise three equal, different types of life. After baldly stating it in the previous section, we’ve explored that – more gently – in this section.

We’re reaching the end of what has been our work in this area of ‘adventure’. I think it has been worth it because we have pushed the theory further out but always through the strict application of logic. Each time we succeed in this the theory grows more complete which is the end goal. If it seems I have been guilty of bringing work and play closer together here, then maybe that is what is needed. If there is not a thick dividing line then acknowledging a thin one must be a good thing.

The infantile mind - specifically, that of a child - is usually asked only to handle one role, which is of course to be a child. The mature mind willingly handles a variety of roles because it has been trained to handle the stress. What can be painful may be the period of learning, when the mind aspires to greater roles but is still learning to handle the stress of those it is currently undertaking. There is a purpose for stress then, and it is the opposite of what happens to the cult leader: it is to build integrity.

It is mainly by seeing through the role to its natural, real completion that an individual may transcend it. No amount of learning or imagination can free one from the hard necessity to actually go out and live. One may merely play a role; one does not have to be it. But being it can provide the defining moment. It is the crises of conscience which are the main method of building integrity.

Now, although it does not hurt to have all this stated, it is really no more than common sense. What would be more impressive to you now is practical help in reducing or limiting stress.

Stress occurs due to the role, and finding a better role would be an approach based on empowering the Parent. The other way is to make the current role more appealing to the individual, and that would be an approach based on empowering the Adult-Child pair. By dividing some well-known existing methods of stress-relief into these two types we can perhaps get a better idea of how stress management could be worked.

 The chart below shows activities which significantly relieve stress in ascending order of their significance; level one being least significant and most common, and level three being most significant, but less common.



Empowered Parent

Empowered Adult/Child
















Self-Denial e.g. Charity

Self-Indulgence, e.g. Comfort Eating





Voluntary Work

Gambling (nfp)






Close Friendship

Social Drinking







Soft Drugs




Level One is worth a reminder that there is more than one reason to cycle to the shops in preference of driving. It promotes fitness, engages moral effort and utilises the sense of balance - as Mach pointed out, a true sixth to the other five senses.


At Level Two, Exercise helped me cope with depression through the explosive release of squash. In later years, the much gentler discipline of swimming has proved similar to meditation in settling the mind.

Voluntary work, whether to enhance one's social life, to enhance one's job prospects, or simply to pass time is less of an adventure than real work and does not carry the reward of money, but it does have ‘higher’ rewards, and the memory of those can be a real strength in later life.

So many people smoke and yet I've never heard anyone advocate it. Most people who smoke tell you they would prefer not to. This contributes to the sense that nicotine is very addictive, whereas I think what really matters is stress. You may know people, as I do, who I think would be better off smoking.

Have you ever played a game with yourself when the petrol tank in your car is in the red? I think it is simply wanting to take a risk purely for the thrill of it: gambling.

The danger is that the stress relief becomes an end in itself, rather than a means to an end. Unfortunately, as a society it seems we are in the habit of regular drinking, so it is difficult to tell people they shouldn’t let it become a habit, or an answer to boredom.

It was Transcendental Meditation which first made me believe I could give up smoking. Oddly enough, the thing you least want to do when stressed out – sit and think – appears to be one of the most effective. There are times when one's course seems to lead everywhere but love, and those are the times when one most needs a spiritual element in one's life. I think meditation provides this equally as well as prayer.


Level Three lists those activities which are the most significant, but are usually beyond one's control.

Everyone should have someone that they trust.

As for sex, that can be the most effective stress relief of all. (You don’t need me to tell you about sex.).

Heavy Drinking, drugs and even violence are the most extreme alternatives for releasing stress. They are the temptation for those who dont see enough to life; not only those who seem to have nothing, the unemployed poor, but also to those who seem to have everything, the rich and famous.



I think it is useful for me to give an overview of stress management strategies for the ‘first-timer’, as a ‘first-timer’ myself.

If I mention masturbation then you will know that I am talking about the single life. I rather reject the phrase “healthy sex life”. Making love should be akin to a religious experience, in my view. It is love one should seek, not sex, and abstinence is good for love. During abstinence, onanism is good:  regular, periodic rather than frequent, masturbation.

To promote masturbation, it is good to cultivate a sense of the erotic. One has been exposed to porn, and one may say that one has enjoyed the exposure, but as a guilty pleasure, because it was accidental or inadvertent. Pornography belongs in the brothel. One can have no real curiosity about either.

The single life will present you with a great deal of time to be put to your own use, should you wish it. You may do as I did when I was young, by drinking far too much, watching too many films and TV, and making yourself almost ill with concern about how to get a girlfriend. I don’t want to advise you against any of that since it seems to have done me no lasting harm.

Beyond a few surface scars, I got past that to find that being single with no children presented me with a much wider range of choice and more free time than my peers. This time got put to good use, as work, and in learning.

The tools of both my work and my learning are the computer, the library and a printer, all of which I have made heavy use of since my twenties. I am a producer in respect of writing and publishing have paid the costs of doing this myself. With the advent of the Internet, including the online library, I am also independent of expensive training. Far from being afraid of what the Academic vested interests might say, I am quietly correcting some of their newer ideas, as no doubt they will correct some of mine in due course.

I am not any cleverer than any other first-timer who is born with a full conscience, and the God given ability to think clearly, if not quickly. My academic record is undistinguished. If I had gone to University I might have achieved a 2:1; an average result for someone of slightly above average intelligence who can work hard. Instead, I took the ‘Samson’ route. The story of Samson and Delilah is an allegory for a man who can reach an exceptional potential provided it is not expended toward a woman. By not having the girlfriend I always thought I wanted, and not therefore having children either, I freed up time which got put to good use, as work.

Work and learning have both been omitted from the table above because they go across levels. For others, the same would be true of different specific hobbies and enthusiasms. One might think that creative self-expression (Maslows self-actualisation) is the ultimate stress manager, but I view that differently. True creativity, as opposed to rewarded work, tends to be from the third life-type, following the learning inner-life of the first type of life. (The average first-timer’s life often shows a concern for courage, since one has no use for great intelligence whilst one is primarily learning. Lee Marvin famously said that he cried when he got shot in the war because he realised he was a coward - such a memorable quote of the concern of the first lifer carried over in the third.) Creativity – the expression of the self – is very different from either ingenuity or inventiveness, but it is often the latter that ‘gurus’ are really talking about when they seek to make us ‘more creative’.

Although I have tried for an overview in the table above, it is difficult not to appear judgemental and that is a big weakness. I have not meant to imply that all the P-type activities are good and all the right-hand column activities are bad. I would much rather suggest that all the right-hand activities are good. Since it is part of human nature I would have dearly liked to include them, but it is not possible to defend hard drugs, hard drinking and violence – or perhaps it is, we just don’t yet know how, because our management of these is still in its infancy.

But the art of the game would be to use the lowest level of stress relief which was still effective. In advocating a ‘management’ approach - the valuation of activities not on their intrinsic benefit but on their contribution to the relief of stress – I am suggesting that the risk, and deferred reward, one embraces in one’s living is in the interest of all of us. I’d still say take a head-on approach to life and live it to the full, but through stress management one has the opportunity to take a sideways view of one's life; to ask, if it is not all it could be from that perspective, can that indicate how it might be more than it is, from a head-on perspective, using one's own subjective sense of right and wrong?

We have looked at work and seen its importance in consolidating one's framework through the living out of a role. We have also looked at playing for fun and at more serious play, as play time can be used to play with working, and to play at working. We have now also looked at the importance of adventure and seen how it fits into the equation. Once again, I borrowed terms to allow me to draw conclusions to check against, but this time from a different country – the US – instead of a different expertise.

Have we fully covered adventure? To check we reasonably encompassed the domain of adventure, we could do worse than to observe the fiction produced by the entertainment industry. A policeman fends off a gang of thugs from his past; a free-wheeling opportunist sends an ex-lover back to her fiancée rather than take advantage of her; a journalist grabs the chance to buy his paper and finds that financial success fails to equate to happiness. In no case are the circumstances or the characters particularly unique and yet in each case the combination manages to be: as in the examples of 'High Noon' (classic heroism), 'Casablanca' (star-crossed lovers) and 'Citizen Kane'(biography of leader-type).

I would like to find three obviously-peer configurations, in this case to exemplify a sort of ideal for each component. Again I think this is fairly easy, the three I have identified being Leader, Lover and Hero. These three archetypes could, I believe, be said to be representative of the principle role-models that the total sum of dramatic fiction has to offer. One is not better than any of the others; each is appropriate to different circumstances; and there are no others that could form part of this group. Thus they are peers of the type that we require.

(It is not quite true to say there are no others: there is the mysterious Saint. The Saint makes the new rules, and in their own freedom can appear devilish, and some have named this PAC character the Jester, or trickster. In modern terms, we would recognise it as, for instance, the 'maverick cop' of cliché).

The Leader is plainly derived from the Parental component's qualities of fair-mindedness and empathy, the Hero from the Adult's qualities of strong-mindedness and nobility and the Lover from the Child's spontaneity and subjective sense of beauty. We could even go so far as to map this trinity to the trinity of history, tragedy and comedy (respectively) in an attempt to show that we encompass the whole of dramatic entertainment.

For there to be a leader there must also be a group which needs to be led. The Leader arguably needs to be empowered by circumstances. His or her story is frequently painted within a historical canvas. The Hero on the other hand needs a situation of conflict within which he can be self-sacrificing. Indeed, we make it easy for the entertainment industry as we regularly suspend our disbelief to suppose the Hero at risk, and allow the 'happy ending'.

Finally, the least likely conjunction is also the most illuminating. It takes a moment to realise that the Lover and comedy are synonymous. Yet, from the movies of Cary Grant to the UK's 'Four Weddings and a Funeral', it is comedy which has been the partner to romance. Although it is easy to think of individual examples, I would not think of a genre called tragedy-romance, or history-romance. It would be interesting to survey, but I think the comedy-romance genre may be as common, because as natural, in films as is the romance category.

For many stories, it is chance (or destiny) which provides the hinge, but for many other  stories, it is people's occupation which provides the hinge for the story. All the films and TV I have seen, do not really help me to understand the day-to-day experience of being a policeman. Naturally, the human mind is greater than the role that it is temporarily embracing. The individual who takes on the role of employee then, may be thought of as a particular sphere choosing to fit itself within a particular box, and all the while it is in the box it is under pressure, or stress. (This time I am not borrowing the term, I am sharing it).

When one leaves work, one exchanges the role of employee for other roles: father, lover, friend, hobbyist, etc. Some of these roles are extremely rewarding so that the pressure is well worth it, but these are also the roles that we have to work towards, and wait for. In the meantime, we have to adopt roles outside work which are rather les than we might aspire to, or even wish to put up with, in which case we are also under pressure outside of work.

This thinking led us into stress management of course and the discussion above, but what about the other extreme,  where the role to be fulfilled is larger than the mind?

One example would be the Child-King; in earlier times a child could suddenly inherit the Crown of their country. If, as a result their every wish is to be granted then the child may indeed be spoiled, or they may yet 'grow into' the job. Elsewhere I have used Nero as an archetype of the unfit ruler, because Nero was the wrong type. There is no amount of fitting where a different role is destined. I could contrast that example against Henry Eighth.

I think the story of this recent child king is a fascinating illustration. It is evident from the well known history surrounding his six wives that Henry's corruption was gradual and occurred well after he had grown up. As a young adult, Henry was a vibrant, charismatic masculine man: a man's man; potentially, a 'great' King. But the soft life of absolute power gradually ate away at him and so corrupted him. He became not great, but a terrible King.

An even more extreme example is the leader of a cult, where the box actually disappears completely. Only the individual cult member can ultimately have the responsibility of their own actions, yet in this case it seems that this is the very thing they are trying to give away. If both members and leader come to realise this, there may be no harm done. The danger seems to be of some kind of disintegration of personality, resulting in the horrifying outcomes of the Charles Manson killings or the massacre in Waco Texas.

Right back at the beginning of this writing, I said I wondered why people are so content to put their faith in fallible leaders: Mao, Stalin, Hitler, Hussein, Mugabe and so on and on? Each of these people is an argument against politics - almost, an argument in favour of a Royal Family.  Is it an argument against my choice of P-type?

The 'trick' which these rulers all play, over and over again, is to tap into familial feeling. You are supposed to view Stalin or Mao as a father figure; you are supposed to love them as you love your own father. And very often, ordinary people did.

When I recently re-read the original books from Berne and Harris about Transactional Analysis I was struck that neither author looked at their own parents. My book started because I was considering rejecting my own parental (small p) authority. Rightly or wrongly, that is never an easy thing to do. What is that strange quote from the Bible about hating your mother, father and family?

Understanding, even at its most elegant and abstract, does not come without responsibility. An unconstrained role, such as that enjoyed by the 'guru', can be yours or mine if we wish, provided we are willing to 'self-constrain', through tools such as exercise, abstinence and work.

Sometimes stress management is about increasing stress, not decreasing it.




As we come onto transactions fully for the first time you might be expecting, given the name (‘Transactional Analysis’), for us to be just about half-way. Having established, through Analysis and Synthesis, an understanding of components, do we not have to do the same amount of work again to establish a similar understanding of transactions? Well, we have not had to distinguish between the act, and the actor, up to now. Furthermore, since the components are not otherwise visible, it was easier to not do so. It was the transactions together with the components that we have been typing, as we went along. We have already done half the work of this section.

In this section I need to show how they would be separated out, now that we do want to. My aim will be to identify the main types of transaction diagram, just as we have been discovering typing diagrams as we have gone along. This will include touching, overlapping and imbalanced diagrams. In these cases we will reference existing TA theory concerning games and contamination. You don’t need to know these already. I will tie them up with the small talk, big talk (broad and deep) and ‘medium-size’ talk, as it were, of familiar conversation. We’ll finish with a conclusion and that will take us into the final section of the book, with my closing look at the glory of Hollywood.



Figure 34: The transaction that is too commonplace can become a cliché, as with the womanising politician.



Let’s start with three ‘cliché’ transactions.

The cliché of the politician is that they are promiscuous (Clinton, Kennedy, Roosevelt) and unable (or unwilling) to give a straight answer to a straight question, though they may still be a good politician. In the all-important area of love (C/P boundary), politicians have a tendency to be over-Parentalised – not honestly C - even against their own best interest. Then, in transactions via the Adult, such as providing key information in a clearly understandable way, the politician is at risk of confusion with parental judgements and conclusions (see Figure 34).

One confirmation is convenient but may be superficial. To convince, we would like to see similar results established just as firmly by the artist and scientist types. And indeed, we do.

The clichés of the artist and scientist are the absent-minded boffin and the muse-seeking artist – John Lennon springs to my mind. The P-type transactions on the other axis relating to love and pairing are being dealt with by the C of the Artist. In their mind, the muse is half lover, half mother figure, perhaps (see Figure 35).

For the scientist, the P-type pragmatic transactions which most of us probably enjoy as part of the business of living are difficult, A-type transactions. The scientist may struggle to get these right precisely because he is trying to get them ‘Right’.

Albert Einstein famously talked of the beauty of a good maths equation, as have many before him. Of course beauty is an aspect of the Child, not the Adult. In an ironic inversion of this, when artists, to take the comparison, talk about their work, it is often the comments that come across as artificial and synthetic – ‘pseudo’ – and ugly. I think this is not so much cliché as the rediscovery of the Art/Science divide which cannot be crossed, even though it seems so thin and fine. Again it is confirmation, for these transactions correspond perfectly well with what we would expect.



Figure 35: Two further types of transactions, so commonplace as to fall into the class of cliché, are those relating to the artist and the scientist.



Notice that the inner circle above is slanted, where earlier, I was drawing the artist and scientist vertically, so to speak, because that was the most natural way. I had been orienting the scientist and artist fully to the art/science axis at the expense of both the other components, and also pushing the Parent off-axis by double the extent. The Parent was no longer centred on its core characteristic, the way I was drawing it: its core had become an axis.

The natural orientation for comparing against the world, instead of against each other, shows all components are centred on the correct core characteristic, one axis is correct, and the other two axes are offset by the minimal amount. This is both a more stable and a more centred version of the diagram. And when we examine the effect on transactions we see that this confirms the correction.

At this point we can make another small change which is actually the great breakthrough to creating a single, new, coherent theory and practice of mind. Refer back to Figure 22 where we first acknowledged internal thinking.

The diagram below integrates Figure 22 with the earlier archetypal diagram, Figure 10. Then we saw sport and dance as transactions from the Adult and Child direct to the outside world. Now we see a whole new set of transactions, those which happen laterally because they are between the Adult and Child - entirely within the mind.



Figure 36: Thinking within the mind produces internal transactions.



The “Shall I? I shall!” transaction between the Adult and Child within the mind is archetypal. For instance, it is ageless. Any parent knows the importance of the baby’s decision “Shall I cry?” - and the wilfulness of it.

Across the whole range of peoples, one of the mysteries of humanity I think is that we all have the innate ability to identify choice (Adult), and then choose (Child). We started with simple observational analysis and progressed on to inferential synthesis. Now we move up a stage into philosophy. This central mystery of choice is the theme that will take us into and through the closing section.

Mysteriously, the identification of choice is not obviously better in those who are more intelligent. Nor is the choosing any better in artists and other creatives. It is not that anybody is particularly good at choosing; it is just something we can all do. So we still organise leaders to, presumably, make the best choice for us and we still partner up as man and woman to share the burden and reward of free choice.

This doesn’t answer all our questions but it clears up a great deal of our initial uncertainty about transactions. To refer back to it, in Figure 10: Common Deep Transactions, Sport & Dance were as significant as crises of conscience, which is odd. From the point of view of the group, we had to give them the weight of their component as we knew the components were equal. Now we can give them their due weight from the point of view of the individual, so sport & dance are much less deep, relatively, than a crisis. (The crisis is personally deep, for the individual, where sport and dance are culturally deep, for the group.)

Notice that the ‘Shall I?/I shall!’ of sporting excellence and dancing talent are just as intriguing and mysterious as the adult perception of choice and the baby’s crying. There is a ‘flow’ across the A/C divide which occurs when mind and body work so well together. As a person who has done some form of physical activity throughout his life, I would say that it is one of the great joys of being human and healthy to know this state of ‘flow’.

Externally, the vast majority of transactions that we can see, and will be interested in, are in the Parent component. But if we wish we can also consider internal thoughts, for instance when dealing with counter-productive behaviours. Shall I exercise even though I don’t want to? I shall if I can think of the right reward for doing so! We can look at this either as a C-to-A transaction, or as a C-through-P transaction, as suits us. In the above, we see the Shall I?/I Shall! internally, but earlier we would have looked at it as, say, a P/C transaction (if I do indeed exercise), and that is perfectly consistent if we remember that my typical lateral thought, shown in Figure 22, goes from C->A->P.

The example that I am using, of “Shall I?”, ”I Shall!” illustrates what could plausibly be an Adult interrogative followed by a Child-arised response. What difference does personality make to this?

It is a good question to ask. If typing makes a difference here I might be justified in developing my theory to apply within the mind, and beyond the scope of this one book. But there is no need. It is our current knowledge that already gives us the archetypal transaction. We already grasp it. Recall that it is when dealing with the person as a whole (in time and space) that we must recognise typing, including our own. And it is always difficult. Thankfully, we don’t need to do that here, which is another indication we are approaching the end of the current work.

Meanwhile, the promise of our work here is that common psychological problems such as inapposite decision-making, unwonted anxiety or manic elation/depression are genuine problems with the mind's responses to stimuli which will be able to be effectively treated through analysis of transactions.

Suppose we imagine a person whom we have assessed in general terms as being a primarily Parent type. Call him John Brown. Now let's suppose that John Brown finds himself in the job of scientist. Well, we have an inherently interesting situation, where the mind leans toward reacting to a stimulus from a certain point of view and where it is apparent (to others) that that is not the most appropriate response.

We might reasonably expect John Brown to enjoy the job of scientist less than one to which he is more suited, but even that is not necessarily our business. The idea is that transaction disparity is not a problem unless the individual says it is, but that when it is it should be apparent in behaviour. The only thing we can say with any certainty is that he is not obviously suited to his role. We cannot presume to say that he will therefore not be able to fulfill it.

Traditionally in TA, a stimulus to the Parent would be expected to receive a response from the Parent, one to the Adult would naturally receive a response from the Adult, etc. These would be normal, uncrossed transactions. When a stimulus from the Parent receives a response from the Adult or Child: When “Would you like a cup of tea?” receives “Maybe.” or “I’d like to fly away to the moon” then we could be somewhat at a loss.

In the imaginary case of John Brown, we are guessing that a stimulus meant for one component would receive a response from a different component. This is a crossed transaction from our point of view, as has been observed in TA from the start of thinking. Our own experience shows that work is stressful but there is an inherently greater tension in John Browns situation which he, poor fellow, can only resolve over time. Our interest is sympathetic rather than prurient.

A particular Crossed Transaction will strike us subjectively as like a wrong musical note in a scale: like a ‘bum note’, as in the old phrase ‘dropping a clanger’.

The ‘wrong note’ can be taken further to be used for humorous or dramatic effect.

“What time is it now?” (A-type)

“It is time for you to get a watch!” (P-type or C-type)

The first transaction observed in Berne’s ‘Games People Play” (on Page 29 of my copy) is this one:

“Maybe we should find out why you’ve been drinking more, lately.” (P-type)

“Maybe we should. I’d certainly like to know!” (C-type or P-type – see later.)

These can be contrasted with the deep transaction of the ‘mot juste’ which resonates with us like a clearly rung bell. We’re most familiar with those apposite phrases from the media - they can easily accrete into cliché: ‘shock and awe’; ‘soaring’ inflation/debt; ‘targeted’ sanctions (the opposite of what they claim). But we use them in everyday speech too: “Do you know what I mean?”

To extend the sonic analogy across our multiple lives, we could even suggest it is likely that the subjective experience of transactions throughout a first life finds its expression in the creation and consumption of music through the third type of life.

It is striking to observe that most music is made not by individual composers for large orchestras, but by small groups for small groups to play: family-sized units, in fact. It was the music created by the unique combination of individuals - The Beatles, Pink Floyd, Led Zeppelin – which resounds lastingly with the audience of my contemporaries.One can only create from out of one's own experience. Surely the experience of these 'third-timer's was built from the same things that ours is: the nuclear family; and the work-based team?

Before we leave Earth completely though, let’s notice the most interesting thing about the Berne example: although it is Child-typed (spontaneity of exclamation mark) from our understanding of components, it is even more interesting as an example of a P-typed response – one which has drama because it is more competitive than it is cooperative.

Crossed transactions are the obvious thing to notice once you have identified the components. But they are a dead-end, I think, and the clue as to why is in here.

Let me take a more challenging example from Douglas Adams, who wrote ‘The Hitchhikers Guide to the Galaxy’. From the fifth volume in the series comes this quote:


Tricia (the character Trillian) receives a brief note via Hotel Reception from someone she doesn’t know, saying only ‘I’m not happy', with the name Gail Andrews and a telephone number.

Tricia/Trillian: I have a problem with this message you just gave me. Someone I don't know has tried to call me and say's she's not happy.

Receptionist: Do you know this person?

T: No.

R: Hmmm. Sounds like she's not happy about something.

T: Yes.

R: Looks like there's a name here. Gail Andrews. Do you know anybody of that name?

T: No.

R: Any idea what she's not happy about?

T: No.

R: Have you called the number? There's a number here?

T: No. You only just gave me the note. I'm just trying to get some more information before I ring back. Perhaps I could talk to the person who took the call?

R: Hmmm. I don't think we have anyone called Gail Andrews here.

T: No, I realize that.

R: Would you like me to try this room number for you now?

T: No, that'll be fine, thanks. That's my own room number. I'm the one the message was for. I think we've sorted this out now.

R: You have a nice day.

Adams is inviting us to share the humour in a conversation which perhaps serves us as an example of a crossed transaction, but if so, it is one which is, now, deliberately crossed.

Although the response to the Doctor’s suggestion – “I’d like to!” – is Child-typed, this is less interesting to us than that the usual cooperative response is being consciously - even riskily - rejected in favour of a competitive response. It is actually more Parental than it is Child-typed. Similarly, the role of the assistant is clearly meant to be co-operative but one wonders if he or she is not expressing a degree of competitiveness which, with sympathy, we can imagine has no other outlet.

We may conclude that a deliberately crossed transaction is not actually crossed at all.

The temptation was to think that knowledge of components is somehow an answer in itself. We experts assign type based on our superior knowledge. But if the ‘bum note’ is played through overreaching oneself in competitive cooperation – always some mix of the two – then it is egotism that is the source not ignorance. This is why, I think, seeing the transaction in terms of cooperation compared with competition is so helpful. It finds our way back from the dead end.

Our interest in John Brown’s situation is therefore also limited by our understanding of the ‘big picture’. The inherent tension of his position may last all his life, and find expression only in the next life. If the tension is escalating rather than steady, it may lead to a crisis of conscience, seemingly out of the blue, even though the archetype of the character would have made the crisis inevitable. Such flashpoints can become the basis of a great book or classic film in which the archetype can be carefully and completely delineated by the story.

This suggests that the role of psychologist is that of a P-type facilitator and leader rather than A-type 'expert', through acuteness of knowledge or advice, or C-Type compassion/invention. Here, I think that if the role of Psychologist is to be well-balanced as a P, the psychologist needs to educate (PAC is a simple idea!) at the same time as encourage the C of the patient to realise their own needs (and to put those in PAC terms).

And now we are ready to begin transactions.

My starting suggestion is that there are three and only three classes of transaction. There are co-operative transactions, competitive transactions, and an overlapping transaction which is more than just cooperative, it is better termed: complementary.

The logical, linear transactions that I referred to earlier from A-type thinking are quite hard work. Our inner thinking is mostly lateral. Much easier, and lateral thinking is not illogical, per se. At worst it is rotational, and circular.

Earlier we drew a comparison with the situation in the less well-balanced mind, where harmless obsession becomes dark compulsion, and mild infatuation turns to wild fanaticism. The turning of these thoughts in on themselves is a natural way to view it, as if circular, and it has probably already occurred to us that we talk of people ‘going round the bend’. We even hold a finger, slowly rotating, to the temple to convey the common-sense view of the same thing.

But at best our inner thinking can lead to insights which pure logic has yet to find. We saw crossed transactions in practice with the artist’s muse and the scientist’s absent-mindedness and we observed that these are not entirely illogical, following as they do a boundary previously identified. And finally we confirm that the three components are really dimensions, just like the three dimensions of outside space, mapping for one example to the principles of goodness, truth and chance, or fate.

The Universe is infinite, we are told, which the mind is as well and the best approximation to an infinite Universe is still three dimensions plus time.

In the same way, the best approximation to infinite mind turns out to be three dimensions plus time.

Overlapping Transactions I: Balanced (Touching)

Circles that are touching (with transactions that are balanced, having equal weight on both sides) would allow us to borrow the term ‘touched’ - as in emotionally ‘touched’ - or ‘moved’, as in ‘moved to tears’. However, we will have to see if we can earn the use of that term, as we have tried to, previously. The previous section was about adventure and risk through work so continuing that theme, let us look at the following controversial transaction:

How a typical conversation with a boss may go:

[Boss takes you into a small room for a chat.]

Boss: Are you ok? You seem a little distracted/upset/angry/suicidal?


It's just you're usually so good/capable/profitable for us. Lately you have been (airy statements of judgment without substantiation).


I know I'm not (further airy statements of self-justification of bosshood...) but (more arbitrary criticisms of 'performance' ...)


Ending with an attempt to extort promises of improvement, commitment to greater productivity, unpaid overtime, etc.


There are dots where the boss is waiting for your reply. He is treating you the way a parent does. You may find you are manipulated into a 'child' role instead of as an equal, and an adult. You may find it difficult to respond without having your emotional privacy invaded, your criteria for pride in your job questioned and your claims to a work/life balance eroded.


I’m being provocative of course. I must note that the Boss treating you as a Parent would do is something which cannot - and must not - inherently be assumed to be a bad thing. If the boss is sincere then a parental concern for your welfare, and willingness to see your point of view, are things to be valued.

However much the soul might cry out to be treated as an adult, by an adult, through the Adult, one must guard against emotionalism and feeling. One must be vigilant and patient to tame the Child, for the Child in any form will surely only trigger the Parent moreso in response.

A political point might be for workers per se to reinforce the responsibilities of the boss and the freedoms of the worker at this juncture.

There is something much more significant than fairness about the boss/worker relationship though. It is that both sides are finding out so much about each other, whether with or without wishing to. One cannot help but find out how the other ‘ticks’. By being part of the relationship in its operating environs, one sees how actions are effective, and when otherwise.

The voluntary subsuming of one’s own freedom to the relationship is best described by being drawn as an overlap. By overlapping the actual mind, we are suggesting this is more than just theoretical learning; it is actual life-experience. The choice of whether to be the boss or the worker may not be one you find easy, and the choice of area in which to work is clearly very relevant. In theory and in faith, the worker is in the queue to be boss, just as the current boss had been, before him.

I observe that people often fall in love through the intimate intensity of working together. A job and a boss can easily give rise to strong feelings at the time which are affected by the situation – either strongly for, or strongly against. These strong feelings, the ones that can ‘touch’ us, are allied to strong beliefs; what I would like to call, ‘core beliefs’.

It is easy to coin the term ‘core belief’ from a diagram which represents the mind as having a finite centre. In fact we must remember that this is not the case. The ‘centre’ of the mind-set is infinite. Our overlapping diagram would use core beliefs at the expense of implying something akin to telepathy. Let’s clarify this.

The radar analogy which I have used does not assume a particular diameter. We cannot even assume there is a set diameter. By consciously concentrating - or by 'focussing in'  - we can choose whether to make a wide or narrow sweep. We can 'target' our perception or use it to build up the whole picture, rather like the way a photocopier beam sweeps the glass bed. Our radar beam could be circular but also square, or a more complicated shape. Two of the shapes for the mind which we have seen were the bright star and the dark nut-shape, from earlier. Taking a point between those extemes, I want to generalise a shape for the mind. It is not the spherical shape - the established 'halo' of Sainthood - rather, it is a cog, as can be the basis for cognition.

The core belief is not a smaller belief, like the smaller cog on a set of bicycle gears – but it is exactly the same idea. The difference is not in size but, topologically, in folds: the core belief has fewer ‘teeth’. In the diagrams we ended with in the last section, the star had three points, or teeth. For minds that are infinite (anyone with a clear conscience), an infinite number of teeth are possible - but not practical.

On a bicycle, and in a car, low gear is quite essential if one is to negotiate a steep hill. In just the same way, a core belief is the one which stands you in good philosophical stead in times of hardship. A bicycle in particular makes this vividly apparent. The gear cable recently broke on my bike. The direct result of not being able to change gear for the hill was that it was easier to get off and walk!

And when the teeth of the gears mesh, in a way that I am not going to diagram but will ask you instead to envisage: then it looks like they overlap. An overlapping transaction is not telepathy, but we can draw the circles as overlapping with complete legitimacy. We know that if we ‘zoomed in’ we would see the meshed teeth of two engaged gears, but we don’t need the diagram to show this.

When the boss and the worker are each seeing how the other ‘ticks’ whether either wants to or not, it is because they are two cogs in the same machine.

In practice, both the car and the bike need only a handful of both high and low gears. Likewise, although fewer teeth are as valuable as many, the last thing you want is first gear when you are trying to join the motorway.

A core belief of ‘love thy neighbour’ will be counter-productive if applied to the London Tube at rush-hour. Even though it may come from the most profound Religious conviction, these people are not your neighbours and they do not need your love on the tube. A core belief of ‘I like football’ cannot be as profound but it would be rather more appropriate. It has more folds, or teeth.

I think this turns out to be the answer to the conundrum posed by my relationship with my father. In the diagram I drew over ten years ago in relation to this, I intuited that I was turning against him, and taking a risk. It was my choice whether to put my weight behind his or not and I chose to not, which put me, or kept me, on the path of this writing. There is no right or wrong about that. But what we can see now is what my choice was. The diagram would have looked like this (see Figure 37).



Figure 37: An overlap may be the best way to represent the subordinate/ superior relationship from both ways of looking at it.



The relationship of son/father is similar enough to the relationship boss/worker that I can straightforwardly analogize them.

In the original books on TA that I read, there was a diagram similar to the above, of overlapping circles, described as ‘contamination’. The situation given then was again that of a father and son, where the contamination term was coined to describe an apparently racist attitude being passed on. That is, the father’s racist attitude was echoed in the son.

As with crossed transactions, the implication is that TA knows better, in this case than the son in the relationship, and I don’t think that is right. It is not that the conscience is so weak in the son that he can’t see the obvious; it is that the son is not going to choose between his conscience and his father unless or until he absolutely has to. He is simply holding a sensible working or social attitude.

Cognition is of course the very literal term for the minds action of thinking.



Figure 38: The three types of transaction: co-operative, competitive and complementary. (Size differences used only for convenience of illustration).



The gears rotate, so it is also a function of the lateral thinking that we last saw between Child and Adult that defines a principle of cognition. That is, the direction of rotation matters, for when you rotate your teeth against the teeth of another gear, they must go in the opposite direction to cooperate. When the teeth would lock if engaged, you have neither cooperation nor competition, but breakdown.

When one gear is inside the other, the direction of rotation is the same for cooperation (see Figure 38).

When one gear is outside the other, the direction of rotation is opposite for cooperation.

You may remember earlier the discussion regarding gender orientation. I think this sheds the greatest possible light on that trickiest of issues.

When women are oriented toward men they can only be so by rotating in the opposite direction. If the boss and the worker are cogs in the same machine then you could say that men and women are separate machines. The men’s machine is primarily competitive, where the women’s machine would be primarily cooperative.

Though neither is exclusively so, it may be that for a particular individual it proves too much one way and not the other. If the woman prefers to compete, then it may be necessary to do so from inside the culture of men. As a man. There is no choice.

Overlapping Transactions II: Unbalanced (Inapposite)

There are two cases: touching, and overlapping. We are familiar with the latter. The former was how I drew my father and myself and in fact, consciously drew back from him in the way I have described. In viewing the diagram now we see that it was moved along the centre-line. That is, there was no element of judgment; I was not purporting to be better. If I had, it would have given rise to an imbalance.

Here we reach the second principle of transactions, and again one which we have been working toward from the start.

I said above that the A/C interaction was not typed. This becomes of great interest to us now because when considering the principle of a cog, we would like to consider also what drives the gear.

The archetypal transaction ‘Shall I? I shall!’ can serve to illustrate any considered, conscious drive, if we look at it as imbalanced. Either the Shall I? uncertainty can be overwhelming, or the opposite: the ‘I shall!’ certainty can be all-consuming. We’ll need to use that later, as we get into specifics of one drive against another. But is there more than one drive?

The drive to gender seems as complex as type, but other drives are much simpler and easier to see, I think. The original 1960’s book ‘Games People Play’ identified a single drive: intimacy. But I think that is only half the story. You recall the first diagram of transactions that I drew, where we had deep transactions and broad transactions as the ones that we most value? The deep transactions correspond clearly I think to intimacy. This would typically come from intimate relationships with loved ones, as Berne meant, but as well as family it can also come from friends. We call them ‘close’ friends, though they need not be close in any spatial sense; they can be ‘deep’ friends for a time or deep and broad, over time. A second source of intimacy can be found in great books, great films and great art. Again, we call the best, most lasting work ‘fine art’. Perhaps we could even re-term this as ‘deep art’.

 A third source of intimacy can be drawn from within oneself. The writing that I have had to do alongside my normal work and which has squeezed out the drinking or smoking and television which used to take up all my spare time has also made me happier than I have ever been before – though not happy to be single. Intimacy remains a driver for me to continue to work hard.

Against these deep transactions we have the broad transactions – those which are a consistent depth, whether shallow or profound, over a broad set of circumstances. As strong a drive as the quest for that special intimate, is the quest to understand; to know; and to see.

The testing of, the fitting together of, and the expression of one’s core beliefs is both the source and the purpose of these broad transactions. So what are the areas that we might recognize as relating to core beliefs and deep transactions? Since the 60s, Maslow had great success in identifying a series of drives that were universal and not obviously typed. As always I don’t want to take the easy way out by leaving it to someone else when I myself can compete. I’d like to do that now with Maslow by suggesting my own hierarchy of drives.

From my own interest I start by comparing two drives: Altruism and Self-interest.

Self-interest is, I think many people would agree, over-rewarded in recent years. Within my memory, and enshrined in literature is a world of moral leadership, with values of stoicism and self-sacrifice. Today’s empty exhortations to ‘be the best that you can be’ because ‘its all up to you’ are I suspect little more than a trap set by one self-interested Child to trap another in self-interest. Again I doubt many people would disagree and that is perhaps not so interesting in its own right. But what is interesting is when you compare it with the idea that altruism is every bit as Child-typed. It is not just that altruism is a path to glory, and glory is the Child’s ‘carrot’; even more than that, the trap of self-interest is a de-motivator in its own right and altruism is the obvious way to avoid this ‘stick’.

If so, then altruism and self-interest are both Child-types. There is not more than one drive here, after all. We need a second for the Adult, so let me compare alongside a new, external, Adult drive that I do want to define, of habituation.

Habituation explains why an order from the boss is difficult to simply disobey. One is habituated not just to receiving orders but to participating in receiving them. Going to work, starting work and continuing to work following distractions, are all learned behaviours which one has to strive to gain. In our subject of psychology, it is the basis of ‘occupational therapy’ and one of the things I have found in my own case is how my work both at work, and here in writing, has improved steadily over the years so as to now be quite transformed from earlier.

Work is interesting because it is at once so unpredictable and so mundane. The accumulation of work over the years and decades is a mysterious and valuable thing. Just as irritating as the advice that life is a journey is the advice, as a first-timer, that you should know what career you are going to have when you are at school. But again, it is the doctrine of self-interest, and one is well to realize this early on.

An habituated drive may be seen to come from the Adult. Since it is external, the reason to work is economic. We do not need to compare this with Maslow. At this point we reach the border of our science of psychology and meet the border of Economics. Earlier, it did not surprise you when I said that self-interest is over-rewarded in our money-based economy. However I also think that there is a talent (or ‘gift’) based economy which rewards altruism that is equal to the money (or exchange) based economy which rewards habituated, learned behaviour. I refer the interested reader to Lewis Hyde’s book ‘The Gift’.

The strength of the internal drive is now shown hierarchically in the table below, for comparison alongside Maslow.






Text Box: In an exchange (money-based) economy, self-interest is the norm. In a conscience (gift-based) economy, altruism is the norm. The respect of one’s peers, appearing as the weakest drive, is common to both. So, in a cooperative society being excluded - ‘sent to Coventry’ - is enough to make most groups cohere. In a black economy, such as the Mafia, ‘respect’ becomes something that is taken rather than given, a driver of equal strength to that groups coherence. The drives of altruism and self-interest which radically divide the geek and the nerd come together in the single drive of respect. This is my hierarchy of drives.



I’d like to have space to discuss other aspects of altruism such as the principle of legitimate suffering (in comparison with ‘mortification of the flesh’, the ancient monk-ish principle) and the difference between selflessness and unselfishness (when one is counter-productive and the other apposite) but I must recognize the restriction of space.

The important thing, and it is also encouraging, is that we have rediscovered but also redefined the classic division in psychology between nature and nurture. And we have done so comfortably, by de-typing nurture as external (habituation) and nature as - well, natural; self-ness.

The dimensions of conscience have space for one’s children – are indeed infinite – so it is possible to be indefinitely apart in mind. (Do we use the term ‘not all there’ - or ‘on another planet’ - colloquially to express this?) This could create a difficulty when illustrating transactions where the imbalance is in weight – where on one side the transaction is important and on the other it is trivial - for we could run into the problem of size of mind again.

We can better analyse these types of transaction with circles where the centres are offset from each other, because when working out from the centre we can use matching core beliefs.

If we consider the following two imaginary transactions:


Transaction A


Transaction B

Father: I have to go into town to pick up the groceries. I have to go the back way. I suppose I may as well give you a lift.



Father: I’m trying to help you, Cheryl. I’m your father.

Daughter: Don’t patronize me!


Daughter: Don’t patronize me!



I am hoping that an extreme will illustrate the point better. The first, A, is an unbalanced transaction, deep on one side and shallow on the other. The second is more balanced, but it makes me smile because it reminds me of the dialogue you get in soap operas – bordering on the surreal, sometimes. However an extreme helps to illustrate that, in both cases, there is a problem because the daughter is not expressing herself clearly.

In real life, both cases indicate a problem that might need more than just a casual conversation to address: a frank “heart-to-heart” talk. Let us take them at face value though. In the second case of B, there appears to be an imbalance of values. So the question is how to express this diagrammatically, but accurately.

Let’s play to the Devil’s Advocate. Let us suppose that the Devil’s Advocate will say “you must use circles that are not touching”. Of course, we don’t want to do that because space between the circles would ‘break’ the derivation of our three dimensions. So we have to show that touching circles are no less accurate.

Well, if we draw the second transaction, we can represent the principle that the Father and Daughter are interacting from strongly held beliefs that are not consistent with our moral centre. If I assume that they are equally in the wrong then the circles would be equidistantly offset from the true centre, and this forms a diagram-type which we can see is reusable in that situation (and where circles are touching).



Figure 39: There is fault on both sides only if both have departed from the moral centre.



Even though it is a father and daughter we have not drawn the circles as overlapping – that’s because it seems to me that this is what has gone wrong with this relationship!

It is not what is wrong with the relationship in the first transaction. There seems to be an underlying stress in this relationship. I would say that is most likely to be because the daughter feels unequal. I would therefore draw these as overlapping – but I would shrink the size of the circle of the daughter.

 If I do that, then from her point of view, her response immediately seems more matched in weight to her father’s stimulus.



Figure 40: The words of the transaction resist analysis, but they paint a clear picture.



To the Devil’s Advocate, we would say that it would be much more difficult to correctly reflect these nuances by drawing transactions between circles that were not touching, given the difficulties of analyzing different circle sizes and/or different core beliefs. At least with these different diagram types as starting points, we can preserve the information that we start out with.

Generally, one is looking at a transaction involving two components rather than all three. For the same reason as with component ratios, it is difficult to see all three at once, and is easier to see by comparison. Although, in the example above the daughter’s response seems to me to be more C-type than A or P, that has not really been a part of the analysis.

My imaginary example will also be useful because, although not real, it is an extreme which can illustrate perhaps the opposite of a ‘touching’ transaction in the usual meaning of that word. And I think we have a word to describe this opposite. It is the word I will explore further below: ‘inapposite’.

‘Unbalanced’ has a specific connotation in mental health, of course, whereas ‘touching’ is very much in general use. The word I will be exploring aims to form a bridge over the gap between these two sides. I think that ‘inappropriate’ is a word which has recently been used to fill the same gap but I will be proposing that ‘inapposite’ is the better usage. Those who use the latter in place of the former will invite recognition from, and identification with, each other.

Complementary Transactions: Moving

In the diagram of Cognitive Relations above, the complementary relation is accompanied by an arrow with a dual arrowhead.

In other words, unlike the cooperative and competitive relations which must move clockwise or counter-clockwise, the complementary relation accommodates itself to either, and can switch. It combines the facility of many teeth with the profundity of few teeth.

If we are lucky enough, our most direct experience of the complementary relation is with the person whom we love. After the joy of discovery comes the serious endeavour of parenting, wherein the complement is forged. I will look to your own experience of romantic love to verify this understanding. I don't have a particular example of film or story in mind, but think of the key moment in just about any film romance. Doesn't one's heart swell when the victorious hero finally gets the chance to address his haughty sweetheart with his gentle words? We are moved by the experience even vicariously, and don't we also go along with that movement willingly, as much as when the hero finally bests the arch-villain? We are equally moved by both types of transaction, one of which is cooperative and one of which is competitive, in which we ourselves are complementary to the hero.

I used the phrase ‘equally wrong’ in discussing the core beliefs of the father and daughter in the example transactions above. This probably is not the best way to approach a transaction. We may say that there is a mismatch between the beliefs and that the beliefs are reconcilable, and knowing the merits of each relative to an imagined (infinite) centre is, even more than type it seems to me, the heart and soul of transactional analysis. As you may know, and as I shall recap shortly, TA concerns itself at the level of ‘games’ or ‘scripts’, but I do not want to let that stop us from 'getting behind' our analysis. We are not meant to declare judgement.

The John O’Hara transaction I mentioned earlier has already been revealed to have a hinge, for me, in the inclusion of the words, 'in Thibet'. That made a hinge in the Adult part of the transaction. I was not so convinced, we may remember, by the Child part of later, which I acknowledged had a ‘rough humour’ at the transactions end. As we recall, O’Hara wanted to emphasise the nature of the relationship between the two ex-friends had been as peers so as to raise our interest in his story. He was doing this with some C-type interaction, I suggested, but it sounded ‘rough’ because he seemed to be having two goes at the joke about a fly-swatter, but it was neither wittily funny nor with that ring of truth as in the rest of the dialogue. Looking at it now, can we see how it would work? With imagination, is there a way I can get behind it?

Well, I have read and enjoyed plays as well as books in the past, and plays are full of the best transactions of course. Let’s imagine a bit of stage direction to see this dialogue in its most Child-typed light:

JF: "Oh one of these days" [feigns backhand volley] "I'm going to buy a fly swatter."

RF: [Fists on hips] "A fly swatter? You mean a tennis racket?"

JF: "No" [slaps leg] "I mean a fly swatter."

RF: [laughing] "You bastard,"

"I never know when you're ribbing me."

Hmmm. It is different. That is, it is changed by my direction. That last line was being lost as a throwaway comment. Now, it is separated out, ripe for investing in. How dark (or light) should it be? What happens to these two men’s friendship, and is it tragedy in the best Greek tradition, presaged from the earliest days – or, is it comedy?

The ‘hinge’ that I talked of, is like an angle or bend in an otherwise straight line; an approximation to a curve. I don't have a diagram to encapsulate this - more is the pity - but we can at least glimpse how the linear transaction can have an inherently lateral character. We have taken a single example but, psychologically, when we can see the same pattern repeating itself then we can close the lateral circle. This was dryly called a ‘game’ in the original book on Transactional Analysis ‘Games People Play’. It has also been called a script in reference to types of life.

Games, Rites And Scripts

The phrase ‘Keeping up with the Joneses’ is used to name a trap that anyone can fall into: namely that in 'enjoying the good life’, one begins what we might term ‘competitive consumption’: purchasing to show off to others, rather than from considered value to oneself.

Naming the trap is an effective way of warning us away from it. It is what Berne does in his book ‘Games People Play’ where he seeks to define a series of ‘games’, or repeating patterns of behaviour, which people can easily fall into, but which Berne seeks to name, as traps.

Berne’s games are usually clear cut: either the A-type goal is obvious (‘Let’s you and him fight’) or the C-type pattern is obvious (the preface ‘Yes, but…’). In the latter example of a game, a woman responds to every exhortation her friend makes to her with a reason why the advice is good – but cannot be applied, in her case. It becomes a sort of game of increasingly deft and inventive evasions. It was something of a shock to me years after I read the book to find my sister reproducing this very scenario with myself as the advisor.

The lesson of the trap is to find a way to step outside the game of words, of course. I should have done this by presenting my sister with action instead. To take one piece of my advice, to commit my time and effort to enabling it, would have shown her both that it was good advice and that I loved her. She would not have fallen in to the trap of this false ‘game’ if she had not been in some doubt as to whether my advice was genuinely loving, or not. Not to my credit, I deemed myself too busy with the work of writing to be able to show her this help.

Games people play are described by Berne as being played for gain. Interestingly though, Berne ascribes primary and secondary gains to game-playing. If I had been a paractitioner, I’d have liked to explore this further since a primary-secondary split strongly suggests a Child-Adult (or vice-versa) split, to me.

Another game, the one called ‘Let’s You & Him Fight’ is one which I have seen explored in literature, films, and even comics. And this time, it is the comics to which I will point.

In the comic book series ‘Sin City’ written and drawn by Frank Miller for Dark Horse comics, the author most famous for a redefinition of ‘Batman’ excelled himself. In ‘Sin City’, Frank Miller takes the Private Eye cliché so well explored by Dashiell Hammett and the films of Humphrey Bogart and breathes welcome new life into what had become a fully established stereotype. Sin City reached a literary and artistic peak only previously achieved in my opinion by the genius of Stan Lee’s Marvel comics in the sixties.

Miller says himself that the creation of Marv took over the storyline of ‘The Hard Goodbye’. It is a story with, I find, the heft of Greek Tragedy set fully in the present day. As remarkable as the story, is Miller’s black and white art on Sin City. He uses a technique I have not seen elsewhere. It is like looking at light itself.

It is worth taking a moment with this art, as if we were artists. Although I have no ability to draw, according to the book ‘Drawing on the Artist Within’, there are four elements which make up the skill: line, shading, proportion and negative space. Miller seems to be using only one of the four. He does away completely with not only colour but shading – it is literally black and white. Line and proportion are used minimally. By drawing almost exclusively with negative space, he seems to be drawing only the shadow, and the light. Normally, the interest of a fictional story is in seeing the imagined events unfold; here, it is the mood in which those events unfold which seems to concern the artist.

I’m unable to say which is better out of ‘The Hard Goodbye’ and ‘A Dame To Kill For’, the story of Eva in Miller’s Sin City series. But, as the poetic title hints, ‘A Dame to Kill For’ creates the story of a woman playing Eric Berne’s game of ‘let’s you and him fight’ for all it is possibly worth. I am prompted to comment on this not with an observation but with a question, which I can ask without spoiling the reading of it for you. Regarding a character in this story: does a bad person think of themself as bad?

In this book so far I have talked more about core beliefs than I have about games. That is because, in my view, the core belief was identified as equally important to the game in the very first diagram we drew. Remember the identification of broad transactions against deep and shallow ones? Games are self-evidently deep transactions which are not broad. A core belief will give rise to transactions which are borad but not deep.

An example can be taken from American comic books again. There is a comic magazine which first came out in the early sixties called 'the Fantastic Four'. In the story is one character who 'scientifically' gains great strength whilst at the same time becoming physically deformed into an 'elephant man' type freak. He becomes a 'thing', and over the first one hundred issues of this magazine an effectively continuing story is told of three super-heroes - and one tragic hero. It was a reinvention of the pre-pubescent fantasy of Superman/Batman for a morally complicated adolescent audience. Although Spiderman is more famous it was the astonishing run of one comic per month for nine years, which defines and book-ends what is now referred to as the Silver Age of comics.

The character of Ben Grimm, the Thing, is revealed us to us through the device of the  thought-bubble. It is true to say that his defining characteristic in these comics is his lack of self-pity. The tension of the 100 issue story is in his restrained anger, but it is the core belief that 'big boys don't cry' ('if I carry on like this I'll need a crying towel') which I want to highlight. Compare it to Peter Parker's thoughts as Spiderman which are equally on show ('there's the old Parker luck'; 'if I didn't have bad luck, I'd have no luck at all').

The core belief which I have referred to many times could equally as well be called a core feeling, in the sense that you either have it, or you do not. Self-pity is a feeling, over a belief, after all. The phrase core belief may be misleading in another sense than that of belief-versus-feeling, since it could also reflect a core unknown; a core question. IF I believe that knowing something is important - and I do not know it - then the stage is set for my quest to find out, over time and through space.

The 'game' which by definition is 'played' contrasts against and beside this. But, as well as the trap of games that Berne wanted to highlight we can also point out the way in which the pattern of a game can be used to good effect. For example, a sales person’s ‘close’ (which often follows a scripted path) is an example where the conversation is directed toward a specific outcome: hopefully ‘yes’, but rather ‘no’ than ‘maybe‘. A sales pitch is an enjoyable thing to both sides when the purpose is shared, but it is also a serious and important game.

In the workplace, the issue of Quality is perhaps analogous. When a serious but creative approach is taken to Quality then, I suggest, it offers the possibility of greater teamwork than can ever be achieved by the management/worker divide. It provides a game for high intelligence as much as maverick creativity. Edward De Bono’s Six Hats is a fascinating example of an attempt to establish such a quality game for general use by others. (I have long wanted to practice ‘6 Hats’ myself but have never yet been given the opportunity by a like-minded workplace.)

I have even wondered if the trinity of competitive, cooperative and complementary could be viewed as if it were a sort of ‘3 Hats’. On an individual level, I have found myself considering when cooperative and competitive may be switched, in my outer life. I have not thought how to apply this on the group level. (Since I can’t utilise De Bono’s ‘6 Hats’ I can hardly hope to use my own idea. That is a task for the future.)

I should mention as well in our discussion of Berne that he correctly identifies something I had completely missed in my analyses above: the importance of rite. The continuing power of the Church organisation, particularly at the local level, is made so much clearer by this insight. Where in my domain of ‘play’ above, I had been slanted to a competitive view, I would have missed the cooperative seriousness of rite, even though I had directly experienced it, through singing in church. Once it is pointed out, one sees immediately the attraction of a game to our competitive nature must be equally matched by the attraction of rite in a cooperative setting.

One sees the power of rite on a large scale with the institutions of State and Government. The City of London, the Monarchy and the Houses of Parliament all have long-established, highly stylised and extremely strong rites. Where a core belief would unify the Adult with the Parent and Child by being tested broadly i.e. over time and under circumstance, I wonder whether these rites, over time and under circumstance, are not hoping to create the same effect externally as a core belief does, internally. From my left-wing bais, many of these institutions are tied together, not by shared ideals, but only by vested interest.

In his book, Berne reveals himself to me to be amusingly dry: an A-type (e.g. when compared with Thomas Harris, who followed him). Berne was not as concerned with types and roles as I have been here in my attempt to build on and develop his theory. Berne, I think, viewed role as a barrier to intimacy. I can understand the frustration of feeling ‘boxed in’ by one’s own role rather than freed by it, but I do also have the opposite view. For me, role is generally a protection. Its absence, or removal, would lead to something less than intimacy: bareness.

I am falling into a historical review of TA pre-empting my discussion of scripts but let us go with it, here. Thomas Harris, who followed Berne, was a C-type when compared with both Berne and myself. Harris it was who wrote ‘I’m OK, You’re OK’. This was his statement about the Adult I think. For Harris, the Adult was a beautifully simple, single Boolean equation. OK/Not OK AND Not Ok/OK between two individuals, where OK – OK was the goal.

Harris had a weakness that Berne did not have however, which is that Harris’ Adult is the property of the individual, not the group. For me, it was necessary to realise philosophically the morality of the Adult, separately from the ethics of the Parent and the pure goodness of the Child. That is why my original writing started not from them, even though I had read and understood Harris and Berne before I began, but from scratch.

Historically, changing the seat of personality from Adult to Parent is similar to the change which followed Freud. ‘Ego’ has become the colloquial word for Child, but for Freud Ego sat between Id and Superego as the seat of personality. For Freud & Jung, Child was the seat of personality. In defining ego states, as if they were actual sub-personalities, TA moved the seat of personality from the Ego to the Id, as Adult. I have been clear from the start that the seat was the Parent. It is proven, in my view by our diagrammatic understanding.

I think that the Parent as seat will continue to be the best way to understand the mind in engineering terms. This will continue to supercede the view of an Adult-based seat in existing TA, which itself superceded Freud’s view of an Ego-based seat.

A Child-based seat of personality does seek self–expression and humanity in the round does crave a sense of its own purpose, as an Adult-based seat would. But although self-expression is the goal of the artist in all of us, it may not be the goal of the group, per se. Is it the goal of humanity? For me, I am clear that the goal of humanity is to reach the centre of the Galaxy. See if you agree with me about this.

As I have said, I am irritated by the cliché that ‘life is a journey’. Our first, real goal of reaching the centre of the Galaxy is also not a journey, but neither is it a tour: it is a one-way journey; a pilgrimage. It is a voyage that is so difficult that it requires the effort of an entire planet. Perhaps you don’t want to go to that much effort? Well, there is a very easy way out. It is the one the Dinosaurs received.

On the larger scale too, than the game, psychology introduces us to the idea of a script. The analogy of the script should prove appropriate to us, familiar as we are with modern films. The ideal film-script will have three ‘acts’: an initial scene-establishing act which introduces the elements of a conflict; the resulting crisis; and a plausible denouement giving or denying resolution - the happy-ending versus the tragic ending.

As soon as one starts to think in terms of a ‘life script’ whether for oneself or for other people, it raises questions about death. By introducing a new framework of three types of life, which we did ‘naively’ as it were earlier, we have laid the crucial cornerstone. Now we can build on it, knowingly.

Our concern is for psychology, not philosophy, however in embracing the Eastern idea of more than one life for the individual we come across Karma and, again, truth. Karma, as you may be familiar with, expresses the problem of cause-and-effect over more than one lifetime.

We can begin by asking a question about memory. What is it? Here, I refer you to another book in recommendation: Edward De Bono’s Mechanism of Mind. It is a very readable book based on a single simple idea: a metaphor of the brain as a single pattern-recording surface.

Instead of asking: is the mind which records memory hard like the blade of a knife, or is it soft, like an air-filled sponge (and arguing that it cannot be both of course), De Bono’s idea brilliantly sidesteps the question. De Bono creates a surface between the two, and argues that it is this surface which is of interest. The true interface between brain and mind, it is a surface which is neither perfect nor imperfect but merely mechanical: a mechanism of convenience, as simple as a wheel, and, as reusable.

As sceptical, no-nonsense theorists we would rightly ask: if the mind physically exists, then where is it? Of what is it made? What is the substance? It raises a central problem with the idea of Karma: that of an external Karmic record – a sort of ‘big book’ where some objective overmind records every smallest detail. But De Bono’s idea neatly sidesteps this objection too. His idea is much closer to that of the old-style radar screen than it is to a ledger.

On an old-fashioned radar screen, the ‘blip’ fades by the time of the next sweep of the beam. This screen ‘forgets’ everything each cycle – or rather, remembers it only long enough to register briefly.

The purpose of the radar in war is to detect things that are moving. Things that are present within the sweep of the beam and stationary will, over repetition become permanently marked on screen. (The principle is the same as my computer screensaver which creates arbitrary movement principally to prevent this ‘burning’.)

De Bono introduces memory by analogy to a hot liquid falling onto cold jelly and melting a trail into the surface. As a qualified medical doctor, he understood this as a biological mechanism, but for us it is the great clue that is needed to understand how something so very simple can appear so complex as to mislead us into worrying about a great ledger. The pattern being made is not a perfect recording, it is simply a good one. And a previous recording will be an 'invisible hand' upon the recording that is made in this life.

We’re nearly done with lateral thinking and Karma, but there is one further point to cover. Let’s finish by planning ahead, in readiness for those who might want to follow on from me.

Some might say that what I had was a very simple, perhaps even unscientific message. Certainly in relation to earlier drafts of this work, one could say that the simple idea was no more than that of dividing everything into threes. I could perhaps do the same thing if I were opinionated enough as twos, or fives, or so on. (You may remember the three-versus-four discussion of Eysenck previously.)

But it is not ‘dividing everything into threes’; it is dividing wholes into threes, which is quite a different proposition.

When dividing into three from a whole it is rare that one can see all three sets that make up the whole clearly. What is far more common is that one sees two clearly and infers the third from what must be left. An example is our scenario for describing the three different types of life as part of a whole.

With number, we could have easily confused ourselves by ascribing them as 1st second and third, in number; or, equally misleadingly, as first, middle and last, in type. The first would mistake type for quantity and the second for quality.

What is needed is a naming which acknowledges correctly the differences between type and number. Something like ‘1st, middle and last’. Indeed, ‘First, middle and third’ is slightly preferable, in my view, than ‘first, middle and last’. Much better to have more than one middle life, which is the life in which one should be a parent (small p deliberate). Better, too, to have ‘third’ which emphasises the achievement, than ‘last’, which seems somehow presumptuous.

Psychology, like economics, is a soft science. Whereas for a hard science, you would be well to gain the grounding before starting the work, in a soft science, it is life experience - the quality of, as well as the quantity of - that can form one’s qualification. It does form at least fifty percent of one’s qualification.

In other words, you are sometimes better off *not* knowing what someone else thinks, until after you make up your own mind. This particularly favours the ‘first lifer’, notice. As such, it presents a fascinating opportunity to do what I have done here: to start with the thesis. The thesis might be in support of all my ideas or it might be in argument against them. But one would start by reasoning through and sorting out one’s own ideas, One is keen to compare as one goes along if there is the chance, but not having access to others’ ideas would not prevent the work, and access to the ideas of others is even more valuable, possibly, when it can take place afterward.

I propose a radically different alternative for those wishing to pursue the practise over the exam: do the PhD first. And put it to the popular test. When you write your book you may know the beginning and the end as I did with this one, but you may not know the middle. If so, this means you will have to write the middle as you go, and then it will be you that has to edit it.


There is no space between minds. Not if we use three dimensions to describe mind.

It might seem an extreme statement on which to conclude, but I am keen to bring theory along to keep up with practice. The statement was both our start point and is our end point. It is not extreme, but it is bald. As I bring this section on transactions to a close, the final diagram in this section will be the last formal diagram of the book. I want to ask whether a diagram can embellish the bald statement. From the history of Transactional Analysis, we naturally finish by looking to the future.

I want to draw our attention to one of the words which is increasingly used in modern times with a particular meaning: ‘appropriate’. That which is acceptable (or better than acceptable), is ‘appropriate’; that which has to be put up with, (because of a lack of police or law or Godly authority even), is ‘inappropriate’. Much more than its sister word, ‘apt’, the word ‘appropriate’ has come to denote a borderline.

I’d like to encourage this trend by taking it a step further, by suggesting that instead of choosing the word appropriate, we use a better word specifically for this purpose: apposition.

In the three dimensional physical Universe of length, breadth and height we recognise the word ‘position’. In a metaphysical place where the three dimensions are different, then we could recognise our apposition, so that orientation - not movement - can lead us to be ‘apposite’ or ‘inapposite’ in this metaphysical spacetime, based on our “apposition”.

And 'not movement' because you have no eyes to see in this spacetime; you have no legs to move your position within it. Perhaps you never move; perhaps you are always moving; perhaps you move by a mechanism yet unimagined - except that is something of a cop-out. Do we need magic then, to save us?

To avoid error we make the minimal assumption possible: a centre, and an edge. Like the radar beam sweeping around the screen there is ‘you’ at the centre, and there is the ‘you’ at the edge, formed by the sweep of a beam that is too quick to see. You cannot ever change your starting position. You can only expand or contract around it.

As De Bono did with ‘lateral thinking’, I genuinely think suggesting a new usage for an existing word, reflecting the element of choice about a change in understanding, is more useful for us than a flashy name like ‘Transactional Genesis’. It gives us a way to understand by something that we are familiar with, in two dimensions. Meanwhile, the idea that I am trying to describe derives from three instances of a single dimension.

Plato famously describes truth by analogy to a cave. It is as though we are in a cave lit from a fire throwing shadows onto the wall of the cave. But we are always facing away from the fire, representing truth. All we can see of it is shown indirectly, like shadows on a wall. The Bible does something similar with the aphorism ‘In my Father’s house are many rooms’. I want to go further than both; I want to say that there are infinite rooms – but at one end only. The other end is not infinite; but infinitesimal.

The conscience – the centre - is truly infinite. The perimeter, or edge, is infinite also, but it is bounded; it is closer to being infinitesimal – but because this is always taken to mean infinitely small, we need to re-educate ourselves about what is meant philosophically by a single dimension. It is not infinitely large – ‘large’ and ‘small’ are relative, finite words – it is infinitely convergent at one ‘end’, and infinitely divergent, at the other. (And how to tell which is which?)

Do I really need to explain all this for you to understand TA? Even, is my explanation really that much better than the existing understanding? Well, let me try and show why I do.

Let’s recall the diagram on the very first page of this book, the one that shows the original diagram of TA versus my 3D diagram. There we see an arbitrarily sized oval containing three circles, with the Adult placed at the centre, instead of the Parent.




Figure 41: The given start point of three ‘mind-sets’ within a containing perimeter.


Now, TA would say that it is enough to view the Child as a complete separate ego-state derived from one’s experience of childhood, just as the Parent is a complete ego-state derived from one’s recollection of and influences on, one’s parents in childhood.

So far so good but we are naturally wary of arbitrary elements. What is this oval that contains three ego states? What is its space made up of? Well, I have rejected this space already, of course. In as much as I have made the Parent into the containing element, and have made it flexible, I have done something more like the diagram below:



Figure 42: Cognition could lend itself to a Bicycle Chain metaphor – if we can solve the problems.



In making the Parent the seat we have expanded the Child beyond the simple product of a single Childhood because we have recognised more than one type of life.

This diagram gives us a bicycle chain metaphor to go with our radar analogy. Notice however that the gear-teeth here overlap and will lock up in the picture shown, as they rotate in opposite directions in the Parent plane.

I used another of Edward De Bono's ideas when I compared IQ to a car-engine right back in the opening pages of this book. How valid is the analogy?

To understand the car as an engineering phenomenon, one would analyse three components. I already mentioned engine and carriage, but the third element is the road, itself. So, a Formula 1 car requires not only a special engine but a special road: a race-track.

To understand the mind to the same degree we can understand the same three elements. In the first part of our structural analysis we have seen the great variety of personalities. To understand to some extent what is carried, we have seen what type of peoples there are. The analogy of mind to engine was made early on and we have been exploring further and further inside the mind ever since. And we will continue to do so, beyond this one book.

The third element, the road, or terrain, was also introduced right at the start. We had our three dimensions which, rather than physical length breadth and width, were metaphysical: truth, goodness and chance or fate.

TA suggests that the three ego states should be viewed as three distinct people – literally as sub-personalities. The original drawing that TA presented as its diagrammatically accurate understanding reflects this and contradicts my supposition of three dimensions:

It shows three equal circles –mind-sets, we might say - contained within an arbitrary minimum perimeter. The Adult is logically placed and the diagram makes the same minimal but compelling assumptions as we have learned to respect with our own diagrams.

To use our own best understanding, we know that the cognitive analogy works. Can we mentally put a chain link around our three drives, so that rather like a tank track, they are suited for any terrain? Do we end up putting three dimensions outside of the mind, so that the ‘ego states’ remain irreducible as they were in the existing theory? Perhaps the phrase ‘stopped in his tracks’ can be applied here.

I have had a recurring nightmare right into adulthood, which is also the first bad dream that I can remember. I am at a station, or on a platform - even sometimes at a coach terminus, and I am either late and have missed the connection or else am on the wrong train. Perhaps Berne's diagram is no more complicated than the principle of a train carriage. Each of the three 'ego-states' can act as driver, and it is the personality as a whole that is carried.

But I think we can go much further than that. When looking around for the best model, I think we find one that is far leaner and more humble: the bicycle. The chain link of the bicycle’s gearing is itself the third cog albeit with a flexible shape. Like this chain, the superego, or Parent of the individual is flexible and the less mutable Adult and Child are like the front and back cogs of the bicycle.

In the bicycle, we have gearing which operates in its truest and simplest sense, with at least two important parallels to draw: the importance of ratio against size; and the importance, or significance, of number.

Does a bicycle with fifteen gears need fifteen cogs? Of course not. We all know that the three cogs on the front combine with the five cogs on the back. One could design a bike with a single cog on the front and fifteen cogs on the back, but in that case we’d need 15 different sizes of cog. Instead of that, each gear is a ‘virtual’ cog, and the number of gears is n x m for n + m cogs. It is the ratio between the sizes of cogs which is important - and not the absolute size of the cogs at all.

Now ratio is what we looked so deeply into at our start. Think back to the diagram we saw: the persona against the personality. Though the persona appears ‘larger than life’ - larger than the personality owning the persona, even – that is only the same as with our ‘virtual’ cogs. Naturally, the persona appears larger – it is a ‘virtual’ personality. In the case of the bicycle, the number of virtual cogs -15 - is almost twice the number of physical cogs, at 8.

The identification of sub-personalities - and even multiple personalities – may then arise from perceiving a particular combination of Adult and Child as a complete personality instead of the face of a single personality. I was struck by this when watching the Channel Four Documentary ‘Pamela’ about a woman with severe multiple personality disorder. She seemed to act as different people. How did she perceive this, I wondered? Had she come to believe these were different personalities herself? If so, I cannot imagine a worse barrier to cognition.

One wonders also whether cognition is different for a woman than a man. Is the bicycle changed when ridden by pedals on the back wheel? Well, high gear and low gear are in the same relative positions whether the gears are placed on the front or back. If we compare this to men and women we might say that a patriarchal Adult-based gearing is completely equal to a matriarchal Child-based gearing – it is not the case that one has the advantage over the other, no matter how they start off. 

And as we discussed before, both small and large gears are equally vital, in this multidimensional terrain.

What I have done throughout this book, even whilst arguing with it perhaps, was to acknowledge Parental authority. That is to say, the diagram I have in mind is more like the one below (see Figure 43). It is Parental Authority which provides the separation which allows the individual’s Parent to cognate with their Child and Adult.



Figure 43: Trying to reconcile our new understanding with traditional TA  offers a compromise on the way to embracing a new understanding – rather than assuming the new understanding to be complete.



The diagram shows a single male parent in the background where the complementary relation between mismatched sizes of father(-figures) and son creates an unknown - but not arbitrary - space between equally matched Adult and Child within the son. (Caveat: There could be two parents shown, with a Parent connecting them, but this becomes unnecessarily complex to diagram.)

The key to the diagram – for me, in realising it as a drawing – was to see that the naturally larger circle of the parent figure draws the child’s Parent into a complementary relationship with it which also naturally sets the Adult and Child apart from each other in the child. The same would be true for mother and daughter, or for both parents and a single child - including for the parent’s parents. The parental authority of the parent(s) may derive from them as people or may derive from any other wider and/or higher authority.

The diagram above (with caveat) becomes a complete definition of TA, in my view; an intermediate definition, it supercedes the simplistic oval diagram of ego states without requiring the complete commitment to three dimensions that I have. Notice also that having used our analogy of gears to the full, we now do not need to keep them. It is enough to refer to cognition.

You might be surprised to find that I have split the conscience into two. At the start of Berne’s ‘practise of TA’ he analogises the whole mind to a physical coin of money and invites us to imagine the parallels before he goes into the detail of analysis. Well, I will lean on that by saying that I think the two sources of conscience, the Adult and Child, in the diagram above are really two sides of the same coin. I certainly do not think they are different consciences, but it is a helpful model when considering that very often the young person can lie, cheat and even steal (as I did as a child) whilst maintaining their inner innocence. The youthful conscience can be astoundingly flexible.

The flexible band which was analogised to a bicycle chain and before that to the simple geometric shapes we saw, and before that to a ‘neck’ for the ‘vessel’ of mind, remains unquantified and mysterious though not unknowable. We still have the mystery of choice. It does give us a birds-eye, or top-down view, to balance the bottom-up view of lateral transactions with which I began. Let’s finish off this top-down review by asking about the practise of TA.

For the cognitive therapist, treating a disorder of the mind rather than of the brain or body, Berne describes a process of structural analysis i.e. simple education in the idea of TA. He follows this with individual transactional analysis, leading to the group analysis of peer therapy. It is often called group therapy but in recognition of the importance of peers to any understanding of TA I think it might better be termed ‘peer therapy’.

We can see immediately the simple logic of this process, I think. It appeals to one’s sense of fairness. Each person has a part to play and there is room for the three types of part also: Adult, Parent and Child.

Berne talks of the ‘Bull’s-Eye’: the comment which is so apposite that it breaks apart the Gordian Knot and brings that which was hidden into the light. I guess I might describe my insights into John O Hara’s transaction as feeling as though I had hit a bull’s-eye. That’s fine provided it does not become a game all of its own, of course. The peer group will not be as strong as a family group would be for withstanding game-playing. Clearly the therapist should identify others’ bulls-eyes as well as those he or she has hit.

How should the therapist approach the brand-new patient? Using the competitive/cooperative split we can identify two ways that people can benefit from the knowledge of PAC in their own situation.

In the example we quoted from Berne, we may imagine a rather intransigent case. An alcoholic for varying reasons approaches the therapist for help. When the therapist makes the seemingly innocuous (cooperative) comment ‘Maybe we should find out why you’ve been drinking so much lately’ he receives the prickly reply ‘maybe we should – I’d certainly like to know!’ At this point the subject can be treated as an equal by stepping outside the transaction to point up the competitive-cooperative distinction. At this point the person can be asked, as a peer, to choose whether he or she will be taking a competitive or cooperative approach to the treatment. For instance if they are there on their own initiative, then cooperative is the natural choice. If they are there on the initiative of a higher authority then competitive is the choice.

If cooperative, then cooperatively, the subject can be asked to volunteer an intuitive drawing relating to one’s situation. An intuitive drawing is described in the book ‘Drawing on the Artist Within’, by Betty Edwards, but unless one is interested as an artist, it would be rather easier to suggest drawing an intuitive PAC drawing, just as I started out in this book with an intuitive drawing related to my father.

For the competitive approach, it will be understood that the subject is unlikely to volunteer help cooperatively, but that they will match effort that produces results. So, the initiative will be with the therapist, using diagrams which are exactly describable like those in this book, to impress the patient enough to engage their moral and optimistic (A and C) natures, competitively.

Is this enough to satisfy such an extreme ambition as I started out with in this book, to define psychology?


The idea of looking for the hinge, or fulcrum, to the transaction; the necessity of getting behind it, thus avoiding the empty judgement that comes from sitting on top of it; and most of all, the splitting of the transaction between speaker-as-initiator-of-subject and speaker-as-subject, using the token. I feel intuitively these are powerful ideas. I have integrated all those ideas together – and synthesized them - in a nice, practical example which also shows why it was necessary that they be missing, until now. That is what we have come to expect, I would like to think.

Previously, we have had the intellectual firepower to identify from first principles the P,A,C trinity with the same trinity, as P-A-C. The comparison of three with a second three-stroke-also a fourth was a real strength of our work. This time, in cooperative/competitive/complementary I seem to have gone straight to a PA,PC,PAC Trinity. That may be right, as time will tell, but it may also be an oversimplification; merely a premature conclusion, falling short of the full picture.

Maybe that is a good thing if it fertilizes the ground for those who come after me, but either way, I admit defeat. It was my judgement to do this work over the last twenty years as a computer programmer, on my own and almost in secret. I chose not to go to University, for example, an unexplored path that was – and is still - open to me. It would have meant that others could be involved in this work at the most exciting time, the period of gestation.

When I wrote the first draft of this book, a condensed version, I sent it to the International Transactional Analysis Association, and to prominent TAers such as the Berne Institute in the UK. These are the bodies which have sprung up following the publishing of Berne and Harris in the sixties to provide centralised, regulated control of TA. They will provide training and certification to those who want to study or practise and they are affiliated with academic institutions to provide them with authority.

Initially I thought they were resistant to my work for reasons to do with the work. I thought that they would resist my premise that the seat of the person was the Parent. I thought they would insist it was the Adult, or that it would be argued either way now as the Adult, now as the Child. Only much later did I come to see that the untyped lateral transactions between Adult and Child, the change with which we started this section, provided the seat of the brain (& body), the polar equivalent to the seat of mind in the Parent.

I came to believe that my work was of no interest for political reasons, rather than psychological ones. I would then sidestep the ITAA and other ‘official’ bodies not because of my psychological beliefs but because of my political beliefs.

I felt this fully answered the question of TA, but it still left the issue of Academia. Could I not have been more honest and open with their authority? Of course it would have benefited my presentation of transactions if I had had the chance to turn theory to use, but was it worse than that? Did my choice to stay programmer and keep the work to myself fatally compromise the non-moneyed work? Well, it turns out that here I had a hidden advantage.

When I started this work of writing through my ideas it was with a single clear intention: I wanted to share the thrill of discovery with the reader. That proved a robust drive because through all the problems I retained the enthusiasm for it. Also, I had something that Karl Marx never dreamed of: I had a computer.

I bought my first computer to use in place of a typewriter. When I wrote the first draft of this book (which I still have) the diagrams were drawn with compass and crayon on graph paper. Fortunately, I was able to become proficient in the necessary graphics software, and often the software delivered its own serendipity to the accurate visualisation of ideas. A computer, and the knowledge of how to use it, I came to realise was not just the means of production for such as myself but the means, crucially, of distribution. Marx had only had half of the equation.

The other advantage was, my family and friends. The computer had given me the power to self-publish, and so that is what I did.

An odd thing to hear, you might think, after my commenting on my father. But when I was growing up it did not seem to me that I was any more interested in truth than either my mother or my father. Whilst my mother had the same philosophical sympathy as me, I can remember heartfelt arguments about truth with my father.

My father had died very young, but self-publishing made the project real in a way it might not otherwise have been. A few key comments guided my direction and illuminated the way. But as well as support I received valuable scepticism and realism. My mother advised me to write science fiction. My oldest friend advised me to work harder.

Then it was my mother who became the stand-in for academia. She had gained a degree, worked as a history teacher and then achieved a PhD and was lecturing in Naval History. I gained the confidence to argue with Plato from the talks that I had with her. She stood up to me, as I think I did to her.

I did not set out to destroy the family but I remained childless and largely partner-less because I sought something which would, for me, be better than it: better than the repetitive and arbitrary cycle of father-son-father-…. This brings me fully back to my difficulty with the ITAA.

I would like to redefine the left-wing. I would like to define ‘left-wing’ as meaning ideologically local, where ‘right-wing’ should be understood to mean centralised. An example of a right-wing ideology by this system would be communism. That is, communism is as centralised and right wing in practise as is fascism. (If it walks like a duck…, as the saying goes).

You’ll have noticed from party politics that left and right are constantly bickering. Like the low-level hostility between cats and dogs, the bickering rarely sheds much light and has the great disadvantage of pushing press and media to the fore at the expense of politicians and voters. If by analogy the right and the left correspond to father and mother, they would be a lot better off presenting a supportive front, respectful even when in disagreement, than either would be, as they are now.

Apparently glib, this comment has hidden depth. No child ever wants to have a single parent. Regardless of how good a mum or dad the lone parent may be, every child wants two parents. The attempt by parties to appeal to the ‘middle ground’ is fundamentally misconceived – they should appeal to the ‘high ground’.

In fact, the analogy of children with voters also sheds light, otherwise you might think that right-wing governments are the result of right-wing voters. They are not, they are the result of no choice. Left to themselves, voters will move naturally to right and left in equal numbers, just as children are born equally male and female in numbers.

This book is about the conscience. The conservative view of a status quo of established authority is one I respect and do not disagree with. What I think is not acknowledged nearly often or loudly enough is that it is the pure, clear conscience that keeps us on the right track, not our parenting and certainly not the past. It is the untainted, pure child who carries the hope of humanity for a better tomorrow, and this should be the left-wing doctrine.

Some people find communism to be a left-wing ideology. I find it the opposite. Communism, as practised in Russia, China, and everywhere else in the world where it has been tried, appears to me to be identical to fascism. Power is centralised, as much so in communism as in fascism. Any ideology must be judged by its effect, from the Bible to Marx, and the centralisation of power has become to me the true defining characteristic of the right wing.

The true left wing would locate power locally, instead of centralising it. Centralised power has the same effect on the individuals in question throughout history, all over the world and regardless of background or ideology: it corrupts.

There are two ideologies which realise this: religion and anarchism. The Religious leaderships have arguably reneged on their left-wing mandate to follow a far-right agenda (but have lost their mandate and most of their authority by foolishly doing so), which leaves anarchism.

If you are surprised that what I think is so different to what most people think, bear in mind that it always comes with an obligation. Anarchists, of which I am one, believe in localising power. There are precious few examples in practise for us to point up, (South America having a few – despite everything). Meanwhile, the onus is on us to act instead of merely talking or waiting for others to solve our problems for us, hence the importance of direct action in Anarchism.

Well, as with any new theory it only shows its true merit when it starts to be put into practise, and that is what others will have to do after me. As an outsider, I have gone as far as I can with one person’s experience in exploring the bare logical principles. If the book is about goodness and truth then it needs both proof and beauty to show. Let us see what I think is beautiful and what proof I think I have. In the final section, I want to take this new understanding of roles and put it under the hottest spotlight of them all. I am going to Hollywood!


Film Part1: the US

For one hundred years, the Cinema has been the main form of entertainment for the five continents of the world. Since the beginning of the 20th century, fan magazines have circulated with gossip over the stars’ private lives, and we have thrilled to stories of their spoiled behaviour at the same time as we accorded them ‘superstar’ - semi-divine - status.

One can plot the development of Cinema into ten-year periods. When movies first began, they had no sound. Some cinemas (Kinescopes) played live music alongside the film, whilst the film itself had insert cards, sometimes with printed dialogue, more often with simple narration to frame the plot. A reversal of the Tower Of Babel, silence removed the barrier of language and silent films became a world-wide communications phenomenon, showing ordinary men and women - the actors - to ordinary men and women - the audience - in every race, creed and gender.

I start my ten-year periods when film has already reached maturity, with the creation of the fully-formed, artistically recognisable feature film. In 1915, D W Griffith made ‘Birth Of A Nation’. At over three hours long, it was one of the very first true feature-films. Although usually dismissed now as being sympathetic to the Ku-Klux-Klan, the film was hugely popular. Estimates vary on the return for it’s outlay of $100,000, but the minimum seems to be five million dollars. Although never shown on Television, the film is still available on video.

Griffith had a head for art, but not for money, and so it would prove to be the money-conscious studios springing up around him that would maintain their longevity. Despite making films throughout the twenties, the great innovator’s direction began to pale against peers like the lighting genius, Von Sternberg, and the actor/director, Erich Von Stroheim. Von Stroheim (reportedly, he had had a bit-part in ‘Birth Of A Nation’) would later act again with Billy Wilder, but throughout the twenties he both directed and starred in, as well as writing and even designing the sets for, a series of commercially and critically successful silent movies. His attention to detail produced films which were four, five and ultimately even, nine hours in length and, in reigning him in, Hollywood began it’s long practise of making an industry out of the, so to speak, ‘flawed masterpiece’.

But in 1915 the name on everyone’s lips was not D. W. Griffith: it was Chaplin. He would dominate the next ten years. In the age of slapstick, the comedy shorts that studios like Mack Sennet and Hal Roach churned out so successfully to formula, like a factory, have in the main not worn well. Fatty Arbuckle was the most commercially successful performer of the day, after Chaplin, but his career was ruined by scandal in 1921. Only occasionally now would he, or Harry Langdon, Buster Keaton, or the Keystone Cops, turn up in a novelty compilation on TV.

The absence of a soundtrack did not prevent we, the audience, from appreciating serious drama, as our selection of arguably the first superstars - Douglas Fairbanks and Mary Pickford - would show, but it must have seemed somehow natural to fill in the silence on screen with laughter and in 1925 these two strands of cinematic development would collide. On the one hand, Chaplin’s masterpiece, ‘The Gold Rush’, still appreciable today, and on the other, Sergei Eisenstein’s ‘Battleship Potemkin’, one of the most famous films ever and the last great director’s film of the silent era.

In both 1915 and 1925 imagination had been the filmmakers’ primary resource. After 1925, we would see a new driving force emerge, as an equal, in technology. Two years later, the talking movie was born.

Meanwhile, the Arbuckle scandal had frightened the studios into implementing a voluntary code of practise, the Hays Code, to preclude the need for external censorship. This cooperation was one of the factors binding the fiercely competitive creatives together but the roots of the legendary ‘Studio System’ had taken hold much earlier. The mightiest forces in Hollywood at this time were independent, and for Pickford and Chaplin this meant enormous financial reward, whilst Griffith, though constantly in the red, at least retained artistic control over his films. These three arguably had the popular and creative clout to resist the oligopoly, had they wished; in fact, they wished the opposite and, in 1919 Pickford, Chaplin, Griffiths and Douglas Fairbanks went into partnership as ‘United Artists’, a distribution company formed solely to become the eighth and final member of a cartel controlling both the production and distribution of American films throughout the world.

 Like the later restrictive practices of Standard Oil, IBM and possibly Microsoft, the monopolistic aspirations of the few would eventually invite the attention of the American Government, whilst proving a paradoxically undeniable catalyst on the growth and efficiency of a brand-new, still-maturing industry. And UA would face an uphill struggle as never more than a satellite to the ‘big five’ studios of Paramount, Fox, Warner’s, RKO and MGM.

Meanwhile, talking pictures swept through Hollywood like a sirocco. An almost instant hit with the public, both studio and star each had something to fear. For the studios, the technology was untried and, of course, expensive and for the star, talking created a new intimacy between viewer and viewed. For some, such as Garbo, the star burned brighter, whilst others, like John Gilbert, would wake up one morning to overnight unemployment. Chaplin was one of many who would not easily make the transition, but the clearout of the old school, including Fairbanks, Valentino, and Pickford, would make way for some of the defining moments in Hollywood history.

The period 1935 – 1945 would see the most fertile, creative and classically entertaining series of feature films arguably yet made.

It is not the first and perhaps not the best of Tinseltown’s early output, but in 1935, Fred Astaire and Ginger Rogers made ‘Top Hat’; their fourth outing together, and the first time the script was written for them, with songs by Irving Berlin. Astaire’s dancing is the magical ingredient. It is quite simply jaw-dropping in it’s virtuosity, but that is not to overshadow the film. It may be as light as a pavlova, but ‘Top Hat’ is still a classic – a five–star film in anyone’s frame of reference.

We can see this integrity in the way the opening number from the film is produced. Astaire starts singing, then dancing, and in his exuberance, kicks tables and slaps furniture. Meanwhile, in the hotel room below him, Ginger is trying to sleep. As the ceiling tiles rain down, she pulls on a gown and goes upstairs to complain. Back upstairs, Fred has kicked a table causing a small statuette to topple. He catches it and goes from enthusiastic ‘hoofing’ into a slow dance, holding the statuette in his arms, so that when Ginger enters, she is presented not with a loud, overconfident showman but a quieter, and now slightly foolish-looking romantic. The scene is set for the first, all-important interchange between girl and boy.

Films like ‘Top Hat’ retain the status of ‘classic’ notwithstanding having been made nearly eighty years ago. Indeed, this is the thing of Hollywood: that in the main, all of these pictures, then as well as now, still stand comparison with each other, as equals.

The financial gamble of sound had consolidated the studio system and, by 1935, the conquest of Hollywood was complete: the production of silent films worldwide had virtually ceased. The late thirties and early forties saw our introduction to all of the great actors, and all of the great directors, of what must now be recognised as a Golden Age - Capra, Hawks, Ford, Hitchcock, Curtiz, Huston, Wilder, Lean and Disney - and Cagney, Tracy, Bogart, Gable, Grant, Stewart, Wayne, Fonda and Colman. This was the time when Hollywood was at it’s most masculine and dynamic; when men in hats walked the concrete canyons of the city, in search of fast-talking, street-wise women who still managed to wear their hearts on their sleeves. Alongside the immortal classics of ‘film noir’ we were also choosing from biopics, historical epics and blockbuster book and stage adaptations, whilst both Disney and MGM had produced features in full technicolour before 1940.

It would be nice for my sequence if there were a major film from 1945 to which I could refer, but in the final year of the Second World War, many stars, such as Gable and Stewart, and directors, such as Huston and Capra, were still enlisted. However in 1946, two of these stars, Capra and Stewart returned to the screen with the film ‘It’s A Wonderful Life’ and recently, (at least here in Britain) this film seems to have inherited the mantle of one of the All-time Greats.

A fantastic fable about a man who gets the chance none of us can ever have; to see what a difference his life has made to those around him; the film was not that successful when first released. Unlike most of the classics, it did not win any major awards in it’s year of release, and only became moderately successful with the public when subsequently re-released. Its current status seems to have grown up gradually and cumulatively, as if we in the audience were only now catching up to its innocence. We can compare this status with another legendary contender for the same crown.

Just to say the name ‘Casablanca’, made in 1943, is to invoke the archetype of the sophisticated and glamorous Hollywood film. From two years before, ‘Citizen Kane’ usually takes the mantle of greatest film of them all - if one had to choose. But once that burden has been placed it is surprisingly common to hear ‘Casablanca’ mentioned in the second breath, as that much more particular choice, one’s own personal favourite. At the time, the Hays Office was to take a very different view of the film’s relative merits.

In the current climate of sexual exhibition and unmoderated language it may seem hard to imagine this film shocking anyone, or is it that the garish extremes of today’s films tend to make one put them in a different class? I can only use my own spontaneous response as a basis - and I hate to pre-empt this for you. If you haven’t yet seen it, skip the next few paragraphs - but when Claude Rains asks Bogart’s Rick what the story is behind his presence in Casablanca; “I like to think you killed a man. It’s the romantic in me”; it isn’t the line that shocks. It could have been any macho action-man’s deadpan wisecrack from today’s stable. But it is the way it is done. As he says it, Rains throws his hand curling up into the air as if to demonstrate precisely how romantic he finds it.

Maybe I am being too sensitive. Certainly, when Rains pockets his bribe from the casino at the same moment that he is closing it in another famous scene… well, it might not be what you or I would do but it is certainly funny… but when Rains again propositions the pretty newlywed because he can, and Bogart lets her know she’s certainly not the first, then I think I think that it is beginning to be not quite so funny.

The Production Code strictly forbade the portrayal of sex, limited violence and strongly advocated the upbeat ending. Had these scenes fallen afoul of it, they would simply have been cut. In fact of course, all three of them are from the original released film. Neither was it the purpose of censorship to restrict the expression of art. Rains characterisation was acceptable as long as it was kept off-screen, to a supporting role. What the Hays Office and the writers famously fought over was the relationship between Ilsa and Rick.

In the original, unpublished play upon which ‘Casablanca’ is based, Ingrid Bergman, who plays the married Ilsa, goes to bed with Rick, Humphrey Bogart’s character, to get the permits to travel which have fallen into his possession. But Ilsa is married and Rick’s is the lead role. The Production Code could not be bent to that degree. This left a problem for the screenwriters with Rick’s motivation in the film. He now appears to help Ilsa for no reason other than his own goodness, which doesn’t quite square with his avowed philosophy of not getting involved. Let’s look at this more closely.

Interested as we have been in the writer's mindset, we can try imagining our choices, as if we were writers, before the film is made. So, in the first version of the story, Ilsa becomes a femme fatale of sorts, using her charms and Rick’s feelings for her to get what she wants, albeit for the ‘higher purpose’ of her husbands fight for the resistance. In this interpretation, both are P-type characters caught up in the moment of history. It can be either tragic (PA) or comic (PC) or, indeed, both,

As imagineers, we can see the potential in the script, so a new version is created where the married Ilsa does not bed the leading man. In this version, Rick helps Ilsa out of the goodness of his heart, in spite of his feelings for her, and across an avowed philosophy of “not getting involved”. Now Rick is no longer a P-type. For this to ring true he either needs to be an A-type or a C-type.

As a C-type he would be effectively hopelessly in love- almost a martyr to it. An A-type, a person who can convincingly carry off the philosophical conviction of “not getting involved” together with the morals of helping Ilsa while she is married, would be better than either P or C. Not too self-righteous, an everyman, but one that Ilsa can convincingly have feelings for, so his nobility requires sacrifice but not martyrdom.

Was the right A-type found to play the part? Of course we know with the hindsight of history that he was, but phrasing the question that way leads to one that is much more interesting, and may lead us to a whole new understanding, if we can see casting as another of the technologies of film.

Meanwhile back to our current film as imagineers, Casablanca, before it is made. We have solved the writing problem by firmly delineating the characters so they may be cast. The next creative problem affects the films direction.

The story now fits into the theme of star-crossed lovers, the P-type Ilsa and the A-type Rick, fated to have met in the wrong situation and thus to be forced apart. So far so good - except that in this story they have already met. If they had met previously, why wasn’t the chemistry resolved fully then? In some ways, it would be better, and psychologically more true, if they had never met. Could the writers have put this change to the studio? To us now such a change may seem unthinkable. They’d have had to change some of the best-known scenes; the ‘Of all the Gin-joints…’ speech; the ‘Play it, Sam!’ scene; and the climax of ‘We’ll always have Paris’ but it was not unthinkable to the Studio at the time. They had already changed one reference to an earlier meeting. The original play was entitled 'Everybody Comes To Rick's'.

It is only when you see the film again, you keep wondering what it was exactly that happened in Paris. Perhaps the director of ‘Casablanca’, seasoned action veteran Michael Curtiz, appreciated all this when he deliberately kept the flashback scene a vague montage. Specialist director that he was, Curtiz could not have been unaware that all the key action occurs in the present, though the director would have had little power to effect script changes. Under the Studio System, they had very little of the artistic freedom of the ‘auteurs’, earlier and later.

No such suspension of belief is needed for ‘It’s a Wonderful Life’, as discussed shortly. The irony is that ‘It’s a Wonderful Life’ achieves, for my money, uniform psychological truth but is itself a fantasy, whilst ‘Casablanca’ demonstrates absolute mastery of the art-form, while compromising the truth of its characterisation. (Even ‘Citizen Kane’ falls afoul of perfection as enshrined by the Code. It does not have a happy ending.)

It was this control of the entire process of movie-making, from inital product-creation to final delivery to the paying public, which gave the Studios such power during the thirties and forties, so that stars were required largely to appear in the vehicles the studio chose and, although a studio might have a specialty - Warner’s gangster movies, horror at Universal; MGM’s musicals - it was also the case that almost any studio could handle almost any property. For a brief moment in history, Hollywood had become an empire, and the studio ‘moguls’ were it’s Caesars.

But even as early as 1945, the American Government was working to break up the oligopoly of the cartel. In a short time, even those at the nucleus of the new Rome would have difficulty in telling the exact moment when ‘rise’ began to turn into ‘fall’.


Consider now three of the most enduring stars from this golden age of the movies: Gable, John Wayne and Cary Grant. It has been my contention that Gable’s likable masculinity, Grant’s humourous grace and Wayne’s heroic loner mark each out as a P-type, C-type and A-type respectively, much as were my initial examples of Lincoln, Einstein and Michelangelo.

The persona of each actor was so well defined, and so luminous, that no one ever appeared in another’s film. I can immediately see Wayne’s swagger as he walks down the street, outnumbered, to fight the good fight. I can see the slow smile spreading over Gable’s big lug as he’s flirting with a pretty girl, or the way his brow knits with dark determination when someone tries to cross him. And as for Grant, I can see the girl endlessly and inevitably melting into his arms. How could one mind when he won her? Usually, he was the more beautiful!

Now, I am not suggesting that you can expect to learn very much about the psychology of Van Gogh’s genius from watching Kirk Douglas play him, any more than you could learn about the real-life politician - or a politician’s real-life - from watching Clark Gable in ‘Parnell’. But what might be possible is that, from watching Clark Gable play this role, amongst many others, we can perhaps learn something about the definition of a type, in its finest expression through the role, that in any study of individual genius would normally be denied us by the forgiveness as well as the judgement of history.

When one considers how many great stars my generation has been witness to, throughout the 20th Century of Cinema, from Harrison Ford and Paul Newman, through Marlon Brando and Jack Lemmon, and then all the way back to Valentino, Ronald Colman and Fredric March; I find it quite remarkable that the three choices I have made remain so compelling. What about Ronald Colman, for example, as the beautiful C-type (Valentino was a bit early for me), Or Fredric March in place of Gable? On the one hand, Colman had the looks and a voice that was like bathing in warm honey. If he had been born a decade earlier, and had the same choice of roles…? But then I think there was something eternally muted about Colman. Grant and he were both English-born of course, but somehow throughout his career, unlike the internationally debonair Grant, Colman remained forever British.

And March? I saw on Television recently someone pointing out the power of that single scene in ‘The Best Years Of Our Lives’ when, after so long away from home, Fredric is reunited with wife Myrna Loy. He won a second Academy Award that year to go with his first ten years earlier. He was older, his career lasted longer, and he was the utter embodiment of integrity as Valjean in ‘Les Miserables’. Yet, he didn’t even come close to Gable.

Is it true then to suggest that these actors were geniuses as much as were Abraham Lincoln and his company of peers? Surprisingly, it is not such an easy question to answer. Certainly, if this theory can truly be applied to everyone, everywhere, it is a fair question to ask. It is by no means apparent that Gable would be a good choice to play Lincoln, but given that they are both P-types, that only reflects on the former if we see it as a limitation of his acting ability. I would propose that Gable was easily good enough for such a part, he just wasn’t the right… fit.

As we saw, Gable was the only possible choice for Rhett Butler, as the archetypal actor; rather as Lincoln here was the only choice for my archetypal politician, over both Churchill and Roosevelt. We are comparing these Parent-types at the end of, and in the full expression of, their third lives. We are finding that the men fit their lives the best of those around them. God and History can make the final judgement.

But it is with Wayne and Einstein that the disparity between the two supposed A-types is at its most violent. Is this disparity such as to bring the whole thesis into question? I don’t think so, yet this is the meat of our subject. Michelangelo, Einstein and Lincoln are just too different for me to be able to compare them comfortably with any actor. Putting to use what we have learned about transactions may help. So, elsewhere, I discussed actors co-operatively. What is now needed is to view them competitively. It will also give me the excuse, not incidentally, to talk on films at some length.

Before going on, let’s remind ourselves that the Synthetic theory of all-inclusiveness predicts a fourth configuration that is also a peer; the PAC-type; and that, I would like to suggest, is represented by Jimmy Stewart.

Perhaps from your own viewing of the same films, you may have formed a similar picture of the cliché James Stewart to mine; drawling, gangly leading-man; both passionate and honest, yet always big-hearted; friend of oversized, invisible rabbits, yet still short of perfect, as in “The Glenn Miller Story”.

Stewart differs slightly from the three of the above in not being an Adonis-like example of physical beauty, but of course he made up for this with his great skill and wide range, as an actor. In John Ford’s classic ‘The Man Who Shot Liberty Valance’, there is a scene where Stewart has to avert a gunfight between Lee Marvin and John Wayne by losing his temper. He is playing a young lawyer (even though it is one of his later roles) and Lee Marvin trips him causing Stewart, who happens to be waiting table, to drop the two plates he is carrying.

He doesn’t immediately become angry, but it transpires that one of those plates was John Wayne’s meal, and Wayne blames Marvin. It is only when Stewart’s character sees what is about to happen that he starts to lose his temper. Well, you may guess that he’d have to lose it pretty badly to stave off a clash of those two titans, yet the pitch of his apparent loss of control is exactly right, without being at all self-conscious. Stewart’s control of this emotional honesty is what I find so awe-inspiring. To give him my highest praise: he could bring psychological truth to a character, and the excerpt I am thinking of in particular is from the film I mentioned before, ‘It’s A Wonderful Life’.

This time Stewart is playing a man ever so slightly on the edge of his own conscience because he seems to want just that little bit more than he can have. Without spoiling the story for you if you haven’t yet seen it, there’s a scene that follows his being financially pushed to the wall. He is at home with his family but he can’t bring himself to tell his wife what has happened. He’s got the youngest child on his lap and, for just a moment, you can see a man about to break as his eyes brim and his mouth twists in agony. It’s just an instant, but it is one of those moments when Stewart becomes once again the exact person he is playing.

Then he pulls himself together and, as I remember, in a moment of frustrated anguish, he breaks a table. He’s standing now and across the room from his family who have gathered in fear at his inexplicable wrath, but his passion passes to leave clarity and from somewhere, he musters the strength to apologise individually to each of them, in a moment of pure dignity.

It might seem at this point that I am about to suggest that Stewart is the better actor, as well as the PAC-type, out of the four film stars that I have so far mentioned. Well, we will have to see if there is also a conclusion to be drawn here. But I don’t think there should be, as Stewart should have been even more popular at the time, or remembered with even more affection afterward, if that were so.

Instead, I will take a second set of four actors, equally strongly classifiable, who may be just as familiar to you and indeed, whom you may even prefer. Again, they are all undeniably peers as men, but these real examples will allow me to do what I could not do safely before, which is to compare like with like, in all fairness.

My second set of four are: Humphrey Bogart, Errol Flynn, Henry Fonda and Spencer Tracy, and I am sure you know by now what I am going to say: that Humphrey Bogart’s tough-minded, quick-witted everyman is a classic A-type; that Errol Flynn’s fun-loving, devil-may-care attitude casts him as the C-type of the group whereas Fonda’s sincere and slow-speaking thoughtfulness mark him out as the P-type. He, of course, did play Mr. Lincoln. Meanwhile, this would leave Spencer Tracy, one of the most universally admired of all actors, as the PAC-type of the four.

And if you were only half-surprised to hear this then see if you agree. Just as I did with my friend, my father and myself and the characteristics of ‘combative’ (A), ‘talkative’ (P) and ‘volatile’ (C), I have tried to identify each of the four-film stars I have mentioned now, not by name but by a single signature characteristic, in the diagram below

I hope that the impression of these stars is strong enough for you to experience a sense of recognition, even without my explicitly stating Fonda, Bogart, Flynn and Tracy respectively, in the diagram above. You are looking at these personalities personas, just for a moment, so that you can experience something that previously, only a casting agent in Hollywood at the height of it’s success in the thirties, might have been able to do.

When I was writing the introductory history of Hollywood above, I would have liked to have been able to introduce the theme of casting since it was to play such an important part later, but there really wasn’t much about it to be said. The legendary name of ‘Central Casting’ was little more than a body shop for extras, whilst casting in practice seems to have relied mainly on the use of the screen-test, and been tied in heavily to agency representation. Apart from a few talented individual star-makers, the heat of creation was such that Hollywood casting is not a story I can find to have been told.

Let us take a look at the second diagram. Here, I would like to suggest that the persona of each of these four actors can be seen as less than that of each of the first four; as lesser than their prototypes, so to speak; without assuming that this necessarily reflects on the actor. To communicate the characteristic more easily, I can use an illustrative font (since I am writing this on my PC), but the conclusion I would like you to draw, as an “employee of the studio”, is that it naturally becomes your duty to choose one of the first row for casting over one of the second, even when both are suitable and even though you might prefer one over another.

Front Rank





Rear Rank

In this way I am trying to suggest that the selection of Gable, et. al. would have been a foregone conclusion. Not that I believe that this was so at the time, but it may help illustrate the true significance of what actually happened. Remember that there are two questions to be answered as a result of the comparison here; the first concerns the ranking of stars according to acting ability, which has to reflect an essential fairness; but the second is even more important to get right for it concerns which is best, out of our four types.

Let’s begin with Wayne and Bogart. Now, at the start of both men’s career, neither is a star. They are both A-type actors; independent loners; but it is Wayne who has the good looks and the soft voice, to begin with. Let me pick these two out for comparison, to show the extraordinary power that our knowledge of types can give us in comparing these two men, as actors.

Well, you probably know already about as much as I can tell you of The Duke. Throughout one of the longest careers in Hollywood, he consistently produced revealing and convincing performances. In partnership with his greatest collaborator, John Ford, in films like ‘Liberty Valance’, ‘Reap The Wild Wind’ and ‘The Searchers’, the layers of the mythical hero were gradually stripped away until finally, in ‘She Wore a Yellow Ribbon’ we see Wayne playing against type. Not a hero this time, but an aging cavalry officer, on the verge of retirement. He once said “Don’t give me any crap about acting, I always play John Wayne”, and in such a large number of films there were also many unremarkable performances, but if this was the bravado of the star, then let’s put it down to the shyness of the man, Marion Morrison.

But now compare this with the reckless bravery that Humphrey Bogart showed in his choice of career. Bogart got his start (believe it or not), playing clean-cut romantic leads, but he found his metier as a gangster and then became a major star, as well as a major actor, as the private-eye in ‘The Maltese Falcon’. Then he could easily have settled for his established persona, cemented in such films as ‘To Have and Have Not’ and our ‘Casablanca’, but instead he chose to make ‘The Treasure of the Sierra Madre’.

The anti-hero of Huston’s terrific fable is an unsavoury low-life, whose only redeeming feature seems to be that he is not yet a desperado. In the opening scenes of the film, we see he and his partner punch a man who has cheated them. Bogart takes the wallet from the prone figure and counts out their due, but although our very first shot of him was as a beggar, and although the wallet still is not empty, Bogart and compadré cast what is left contemptuously back to the beaten man. From this beginning the story drives forward relentlessly to it’s cataclysmic conclusion - the corruption of friendship and honourable men by gold-fever.

Of the three leads, it was Walter Huston’s young-at-heart survivor who took the Oscar, but I would like to suggest that Bogart’s unstintingly spare counterpoint brings an air of classical Greek Tragedy to the whole thing, so that the power of the memory lingers despite the grim subject-matter.

It’s a film you have no right to enjoy and in some ways it ought to have been a career-killer, but following it Bogart brought the same conviction of performance to ‘The Caine Mutiny’ as the pathological Captain, a rough-diamond drunk in ‘The African Queen’ and, to bring it full circle, the clean-cut romantic lead to ingénue Audrey Hepburn (at 55, to her 25) in ‘Sabrina’. Here he is almost old enough to be the grandfather of a captivatingly beautiful Audrey Hepburn, and the choice is between he and Bill Holden! Yet, in the setting of Wilder’s sophisticated brand of film-comedy, Bogart stamps his authority unerringly on the part, perhaps bringing home to roost some of those pigeons from his very first days in acting.

If both stars were A-types, then Wayne’s persona, certainly to start with, appeared the more physically attractive and larger-than-life. Whereas Bogart was hard-boiled, Wayne was kinder; tough but gentle. Where Wayne was inevitably the hero, Bogart was a survivor, and a hero only when that was what it took to survive.

But it was Bogart who grew as an actor and, arguably, he who wanted that more than he wanted to be a star. In coming full circle through ‘Sabrina’, we can almost reverse the positions of Wayne and Bogart, because it is Wayne who has become the survivor, going endlessly; and, even grimly; on as the indestructible cowboy, and it is Bogart who has become himself heroic, showing that unflinching honesty and commitment to truth can be as admirable in the actor as it always is in the scientist.

If this seems a fair comparison to have started with, let me come back to the proposal that I wanted to make at first; that each of the second four can preliminarily be seen as lesser than the first four, purely in terms of a trademark characteristic, without assuming this reflects on their skill as an actor. What makes this clearer is when we move forward to look at off-casting.

I used the phrase above: casting against type. Off-casting is not mis-casting, so that the actor seems entirely out-of-place, as I’m afraid Stewart did as Glenn Miller; and neither is it casting entirely to initial, or proto-, type, so that the acting seems one-dimensional in performance; rather, it is that whole grey area of interpretable acting that sits between.

Certainly, Bogart’s career shows a greater range of role than Wayne’s so that we may judge Bogart the better actor, but Wayne too was prepared to be off-cast, as in the previously mentioned ‘She Wore A Yellow Ribbon’. He, too, earned his stripes, and we can see the opposite example, of someone who didn’t, in a comparison between the next pair of actors from the diagram above: Errol Flynn and Cary Grant.

Both Flynn and Grant had a similar boyish grace that made them instantly likable, I think, and which marks them out as particularly C-types in comparison to the Adult admirability of Gable or Wayne. I think that Flynn alongside Grant could have taken a similar path to Bogart alongside Wayne; that is, whereas Grant offers the charming good guy who turns out always to win the day, Flynn could have been the charming bad boy who always turns out - but only in the end - to be good.

He did play this role once, I remember, as a playboy detective in the comedy thriller 'Footsteps In The Dark'. It would not be what you know him for now. Of course he was notorious for a private life of veritable Gomorrahn debauchery, but that was after the swashbuckling adventure yarns - 'Robin Hood' and 'Captain Blood' - that initially made him famous, and for which he quickly became typecast. These are the historical fantasies where Flynn could be cast for his athleticism and appearance. Once in a while, in films like 'The Dawn Patrol' and 'The Adventures of Don Juan', he showed a glimpse of what he might have done, but his offcasting as boy-hero kept him, simultaneously, typecast. He kept his acting skills to the end, but the end was, sadly, self-hastened and premature.

Compare this with Cary Grant who only seemed to grow more beautiful as he got older. Like Flynn, Grant never won an Academy Award (only a ‘lifetime achievement’ Oscar) and it has been said that his range was strictly limited, but I feel this to be quite unfair. I think he simply knew best about himself. Grant’s talent for a sophisticated script was undeniable, from ‘His Girl Friday’ on, but he also had a gift for physical comedy, so that there was a certain type of film that he could make better than anyone else.

There‘s a scene in 'The Philadelphia Story'; I think it’s the opening one, before any of the characters have been introduced. Grant is leaving the opulent Lord residence where Katherine Hepburn lives - or is being thrown out, we realise, as his golf bag suddenly follows him out of the door! He turns back to confront Hepburn and you can see his frustration at this indignity is such that he almost wants to hit her.(Not the first time a man felt this way towards Miss Hepburn, one might be forgiven for thinking). But of course she's a woman, so Grant aims a mock fist over his own head at her, as if to say 'but I’m still thinking about it!'. Then he reaches up and pushes her face so that she falls straight down backwards, her dignity flying. It’s both amusing and romantic but what is particularly telling is that it is the physical presence of the two stars which makes what might now sound so awkward, so eloquent. There is no dialogue in this scene.

As I said, there were good reasons why miscasting should not have happened in the days of the Studio, but in ‘Night And Day’ directed by Flynn’s old stalwart Michael Curtiz, Grant is grossly miscast (against his will) as Cole Porter. If he was a C-type who could not play an artist, one might suggest that this is an indication of Grant’s limited range but I would strongly reject that, for what is more significant, I feel, is that Grant knew what neither the Studio nor the director knew: that his talents were for the performing arts, and not for the fine arts. Had Cole Porter been a singer, Grant would have been wonderful. (Yes, he could sing as well, the devil!)

He never let it happen again. (I think the closest he came after that was when he was cast as a slightly hysterical lead in ‘Arsenic and Old Lace’.) Grant bowed out gracefully long before his appeal had waned because, as he said, ‘they stopped making the kind of films he would have been in’. Maybe they stopped making them, or maybe it was just we who stopped paying to watch them.

Let me move on to consider Fonda and Gable, the third set of the quaternity, so that we can begin our consideration of the PAC- and P-types, together. I said that Gable was as good as Stewart, and I stand by that; for where I think Gable suffered was in his bad luck with regard to casting.

Like Stewart, but less like Fonda, Gable was a natural. He swept all before him in a string of films in the thirties, becoming the archetype of American masculinity and culminating in his universally-acknowledged right to the part of Rhett Butler in ‘Gone With The Wind’. Even here he brought emotional truth to the film, as in the famous crying scene. Again, like Stewart, he could manage psychological truth as well as emotional depth, as he showed in the film ‘Red Dust’. Here he plays a man on the edge of his own conscience, caught between earthy-but-real Jean Harlow, and Mary Astor, at her vampish best. And he rightly won an Academy Award, not for the soapy ‘Gone With The Wind’ but for the wonderful ‘It Happened One Night’.

Then Gable suffered the misfortune of his own momentum and the phenomenal success of Hollywood. The war made a break in his career and it was following the war that the studio system began to crack up. No-one else would have dreamed of off-casting the King as an out-and-out villain, and Gable himself possibly lacked the confidence, so that by the time he got a decent part as a loser in ‘The Misfits’, it was to be his swansong. ‘The Misfits’ has the vice which ‘The Treasure Of The Sierra Madre’ avoids. It feels sorry for itself. But looking back, it is the phenomenal joie-de-vivre that shines out of even the lesser films which shows the appeal of Gable’s Hollywood; and not just the glamour but the enormous moral centre of even less-seen movies, like ‘Test Pilot’ and ‘Boom Town’. We’ll see this in a moment with Spencer Tracy, who also co-starred but first, compare the prototypical P-type with the archetypal P-type, Henry Fonda.

Although always having matinee-idol looks, Henry Fonda never aspired to the stature of a Gable. He once said that for him to play Lincoln was like another man playing Jesus Christ but, miscast in ‘Alexander Graham Bell’, he was still learning how to act and is sometimes wooden and stiff in his early performances. In ‘The Lady Eve’ there’s a moment when he has to laugh spontaneously - that’s all - but it hits completely the wrong note, hysterical rather than amused; almost girlish. But once his career progressed beyond the straightforwardly sincere men of ‘The Grapes of Wrath’ and ‘Twelve Angry Men’, as well as his Lincoln, he began to find effective off-casting, for instance as the martinet Captain in ‘Fort Apache’, as the ruthless, gun-happy killer in ‘Once Upon a Time in the West’, and as a con-man in the less well known ‘A Big Hand for The Little Lady’.

The latter is particularly interesting; one of the stranger films to be made by Hollywood. In it, Fonda appears to play a man with a fatal weakness for gambling who, passing through town with his wife and child, finds himself drawn to his doom at the hands of a ruthless big-time poker game. ‘Appears’ because, only at the very end is it revealed that it is the players in the game who are the victims; the marks in a meticulously planned and executed con-trick.

Well Fonda is certainly flawless as the ‘doomed’ man. There’s a scene early on when he’s just getting in on the edges of the game and the wolves are baiting him about getting back to his wife. His character is torn because he knows what they are up to but he’s desperate for them to let him play. So, sweating and nervous, he gives a pathetic chuckle back to the barbed comments - a laugh that is as true and informative and central to the acting as his laugh in the earlier ‘The Lady Eve’ was off-key and unmemorable.

In many ways, this is a film that is easier to watch the second time around. You can sit back and enjoy Fonda’s performance as a man teetering on the brink knowing that for once not only is he safe, but those who are so eager to push him over are going to be the real losers. Neither Fonda, nor the film itself, has any intention of letting the first-time-viewer in on the secret, and it is not shy of employing every device to lure us in: the implausibly-colossal dependence on timing; on supposedly unscripted acting; even extending to the little boy, Fonda’s son in the film. In a sense, it is conning us the audience, along with the ‘marks’ of the cast, though it is a pleasure to surrender to this white lie.

I think we can understand why the film was not so popular on release, as a result; but even more interesting, from our point of view here and now, is Fonda’s performance. In a very real sense, he is playing a role which is quite separate from that of the plot. He brings the full power of a major Hollywood star to a part which is supposedly that of a confidence trickster. The person he is acting is (we now know) himself an actor, and furthermore one without a script. Yet the persona Fonda shows us is just as utterly convincing and unique as his performance in say, 'The Grapes of Wrath'. In doing so, he cannot help but force us to ask the question: if the character is not drawn from the story, then from where on Earth does it arise?

That was the question to which we drew the answer of the persona.

So Hollywood is glamour, and acting existed before and will exist long after the great films of the 20th Century have been forgotten. But, remember that I have two more cases to put to you before we close this set of comparisons. The final pair in this series are, then, the PAC-types, Spencer Tracy, as compared with James Stewart. Can we yet reconcile the difference between the PAC-type and the P-type?

Like Stewart, Tracy was not classically good-looking, but unlike Stewart he was primarily a film-actor. He started off in gangster roles and got his first big break in the Raoul Walsh film ‘Twenty Thousand Years in Sing-Sing’. This was a part originally intended for James Cagney, and it has Cagney’s feisty, wrong-side-of-the-tracks persona written all over it. In spite of that however, Tracy still managed to make his own mark in this story of a gangster whose spirit might have been broken by the prison system, but who is redeemed by his relationship of equality with a humanitarian warden.

In one of the key scenes, the warden is waiting in his office for Tracy to make good on his promise to return to prison. Tracy has already let the warden down once, and it means the chair if he returns. Nevertheless, the door opens and the unmistakable figure of a hatted-and-coated Tracy is framed in the doorway. As we absorb the full impact of his decision, Tracy walks deliberately across the office toward the desk, his hand in his pockets and his eyes fixed firmly on the floor in front of him, only looking up once he reaches the desk, and stops. The message is clear: “Sure, I’m only the little guy, but I’ll always return to face the music. You can depend on that!” Somehow, you just know Cagney would not have said quite the same thing.

This first big role captures the full essence of Tracy, the paradox of his nobility and of his dependability - Halliwell’s filmgoers companion calls it reliability. He had this solidity, which made him credible as either priest or judge, as in ‘Boys Town’ and ‘The Nuremberg Trials’, respectively, but he also had a nobility, I think, which communicated itself to the viewing audience through his underplaying of the role. For instance, my favourite films of his are those that he made with Clark Gable, especially ‘Test Pilot’.

This film reverses the premise that ‘Red Dust’ had started with, for this time it is the man who has the best of both worlds - in the perfect job and the perfect woman - and it is the woman - Myrna Loy - who is struggling to survive the heat and stay the distance with her man. Meanwhile, Tracy is playing the doggedly loyal best friend and this is the scene where Clark Gable is revealing his other side to the newly married Loy. Whilst Gable is making the long speech revealing how in love he is with the job, the camera stays fixed on Tracy who betrays no reaction; he is looking down at the floor, until every so often he flicks his eyes momentarily up to the horizon, and us.

The effect is to underline all the importance of the off-screen speaker, as if Tracy were saying (as much to we, the audience, as to Loy), “You realise what it is that he’s saying don’t you? (eyes up) What it means to you? (Eyes down)”. This underplaying of the role, by communicating without speaking, is, I think, noble because it reflects so well on both parties - on both Tracy and Gable, just as earlier, in my example from ‘The Philadelphia Story’, a similar non-verbal exchange reflected well on both Grant and Hepburn, establishing them as equals from the opening shot. It is great filmmaking.

Tracy was indeed solid, if he didn’t always have the joie-de-vivre that Stewart had. In this observation we may again pick up the theme of off-casting which I am broadly following, because very soon after ‘20,000 years in Sing-Sing” Tracy was off-cast to great effect, picking up the first of his two Academy Awards.

Here, in Kipling’s ‘Captains Courageous’, he plays a salt-of-the-earth Mexican ship hand who befriends the small boy at the centre of the story, only to die tragically, at the end. In playing someone far less educated than himself, Tracy finds a joie-de-vivre of performance which I find unique in his films that I have seen, and for which he received the first of his two Oscars.

Yet, for me, Tracy is not as fine an actor as Jimmy Stewart. It would be all too easy to say he didn’t have the same heart, but I am concerned that might be to take the benefit of the doubt rather than to give it. Like Fredric March from the generation before, what Tracy had was integrity; but, as an actor, he never quite seemed to find the role that could merge his intelligence with his honour, in the definitive performance. He should have done, for my money, in the film version of the Hemingway classic, ‘The Old Man and The Sea’, for the character of the story is one of the great creations of simple spiritualism in literature. I think so, but it was not a good film.

For me, the definitive Tracy performance is, oddly enough, not in any of the films that I have mentioned but in ‘Boom Town’, the other great pairing he had with Clark Gable.

‘Boom Town’ and ‘Test Pilot’ are like a sequel with its prequel. I am not even sure which of the two films was made first. (Although I could look it up easily enough, it is more fun to try and guess.) It is the relationships between the stars and the men and women that both films explore. Although either is complete on its own, together they are perhaps greater than the sum of the parts.

In this film there is a scene where Tracy confronts a vampish Hedy Lamarr to protect his best friend from her. In doing so, he makes it clear that he is not above physically threatening her! We know of course that he is. We would never believe it of Tracy any more than we would believe so about Gable. But Lamarr’s character is neither so intelligent, nor so brave. It is this very fact that justifies Tracy’s character, in the film, because in putting his intuition into action he is showing that Lamarr is not fit for Gable’s company, but that he is a fit companion, for what if Lamarr had been made of sterner stuff, and had either resisted the threat or not believed it? Well then Tracy would have had to forfeit his friendship with Gable to Lamarr, for he could never have taken the threat back. That is what is at stake here.

For you can’t help thinking that if the roles were reversed, Gable would hardly have been able to do the same, and that is what makes me like Tracy here, even if it is a supporting role. There are two reasons why Tracy would never, ever hit a woman; partly because he doesn’t have that fiery passion, and partly because he would never need to! Gable does have the passion, as Selznick knew when he tricked Gable into crying onscreen in ‘Gone With The Wind’. Although he too, never would do it, there is still the tension of uncertainty with him. Could he ever become the villain of the piece? The end of ‘Red Dust’ would, I think, have been a starting point from the point of view of off-casting the King. Imagine what he could have made out of Alfred Hitchcock’s “Suspicion”!

Tracy on the other hand is a PAC-type and he knows other people better than he knows himself. I never saw Tracy’s Jekyll-and-Hyde but I know that Stewart, for example, could never play an out-and-out killer as Fonda did in ‘Once Upon a Time...’, yet both Stewart and Tracy frequently took secondary supporting roles in a way that Gable, Grant and Bogart were rarely asked to.

And here, after all, is our conclusion. I started with the observation, at the beginning of the section titled Casting, that Gable as (P), Wayne as (A) and Grant as (C) were each so luminously well-defined that they never appeared together. From observation we have proceeded to prediction: they could not appear together without detracting from each other. Only Stewart, the PAC type was an addition to, rather than a subtraction from, the larger-than-life total. The high point of Hollywood's star saw Stewart partner Grant  in 'The Philadelphia Story' and then Wayne in Ford's 'Liberty Vallance', whilst Tracy with Gable in 'Test Pilot' (1938) was so obviously dynamite that the pairing was immediately reprised in 'Boom Town' (1940). (I looked up the dates.) And Tracy's lasting legacy was to remain, not his solo work but his pairings, first with Gable then with Hepburn.

The fundamental difference between the PAC-type and the P-type is that the PAC-type can take a supporting, background role, where the P-type will take the next step: into the opposing, villainous role.

It is here that we pause, in 1950. Halfway through the last Century, with Hollywood's industry fully matured; our understanding fully realised; and the terrific films of the sixties, a high-point yet to come.


What has fascinated and mystified me, as much as any matter of hard science, is a question which my philosophical mother raised in my mind. She made me ask myself, how does the conscience work?

On the face of it, so simple as to be no question: this is how the conscience works: (you already know this, I am just reminding us.) When you do what you know to be wrong, the still small voice of conscience reminds you. When you do it for the second time; that is, when you do it knowingly; then the conscience reminds you again.

And you now have a choice. The choice is to either make recompense, or to ignore the conscience. But if you ignore the conscience, then that still, small voice goes away, for good.

The result is, you have lost some tiny quality of mind; in my view, of your overall grasp of goodness and truth, combined. To clarify this fully: because chance, fate and choice are a separate, independent third dimension to goodness and truth, the other two dimensions, one can be affected without affecting the other.

You do not lose any of your free will. But notice that this is radically different to how a computer works. A modern computer is clearly and obviously quicker than an older computer. It is better - measurably so. But people are not like that. People who are downright evil appear indistinguishable from the rest of us. They seem to have the full awareness of choice that you and I have; just the same free will. They don’t think obviously more slowly. Nor do they obviously fail to think of things we’d notice.

For instance, how the conscience works is not according to some great, black-and-white rule book which has already been written. Perhaps the ‘still, small voice’ that speaks two times, involves two separate, different judgements: the judgement that says to you “this is not good” together with the judgement that says “this is not right”.

It would not matter which way round the two judgements were rendered: first then second; or second then first. What does matter is the combination of both. But for such a combination, no separate divinity is needed; just the instance of a man, and a woman. This would be ordinary, learned, passionate human judgement. It could be the judgement of your ancestors, who live on in you.

Could there be such a thing as a third judgement which we had so far missed? And, if so, what might we make of it? For instance, if a change in the quality of mind is a change in awareness (of goodness and truth such as we have seen in stories from Adolf Hitler to Scarlett O Hara) but a change in choice and judgement would be a change in conscious thinking; in the brain. Is there any evidence? In particular, does a change in conscience happen at the time, or does it only happen at the end of a life? Does one face an invisible judgement on death, or, given a judgement which happens at the time, might the invisible judgement be made visible through film, in life? Indeed, might I be able to prove what was growing out of conjecture?

I sustained an interest in film for such a long time by observing that some actors appeared to become 'wooden' or 'hammy'. Was this evidence of 'conscience loss' within mind during life rather than at the end of it? Could I show this?

For the longest time, my working example was Dana Andrews, an actor from the forties. It seemed to me that his transition from star in one film to a shocking woodenness (to me) in another must be evidence of the conscience making a personal judgement rather than a professional one. The evidence was never forthcoming though, and finally, I gave up on my own experience. As a last resort (since it would never be as convincing) I took up research to assuage my curiosity, upon which I find no evidence of scandal. Indeed, Andrews was a respected star actor and leading man throughout his career in the forties and fifties. Though 'hamminess' or 'woodenness' may be my personal judgement, both are only the self-consciousness so fatal to the art of the artist.

There is another possibility for the third judgement: not against, but for. Talent is a gift - 'gifted' is the term. So is it the earning from the gift which is the true purpose here? For instance, we cannot fail to notice the physical beauty which often marks out the 'star' actor. Could it be that the honourable disport of talent is what earns the beauty - in the sense of stages of life? Does the third type of life need splitting in two, or some other difficult, clumsy but necessary adjustment to fit the facts?

There is no judgement against, for a gift once given cannot be taken back. And the gift is accompanied by beauty; not just in good looks (those being in the eye of the beholder) but in the voice - Ronald Colman - or the singing voice; in the 'package'. Beauty seems not broadly fair, it is more than that, it is richly fair. It is equally distributed between sexes. It is worthy of our further investigation, as we proceed into the second half of the 20th Century.

Film Part II: the US

It was the films of the thirties and forties which were most appropriate for me from which to learn the principles of TA, and I really would recommend them to anyone as the finest examples of American glamour. However I know it is unlikely that most people reading this will have seen all of the films that I happen to have seen, and also that it may not be all that easy to see these ones in particular in the future.

But what I have done with the peers I have chosen is endlessly repeatable. Of course, it can be done within each era. Moving on from 1945 to the period 1955 – 1965 we find the eclipsing of the old guard by an entirely new quaternity of Newman, McQueen, Hoffman and Brando. Furthermore, moving backward, with the wisdom of hindsight (and the help of TV comedian’s Paul Merton) we find that Chaplin, Keaton, Arbuckle and Langdon clearly form an earlier PAC quaternity. (Merton brings the same appreciation to his analysis that you are finding here without even knowing about the language of PAC.)

What I have done for we men can be done every bit as much for the women (see Appendix). Just this weekend, one of the greatest Hollywood Superstars of all has died. As I was remembering her, it occurred to me that if Gable was the only choice for Rhett Butler then this lady was, with the finality of hindsight, equally as much the only possible choice to play Scarlett O Hara, of them all – if she had not been of the era immediately after Gable.

Films may make us fall in love with beauty but, magically, they can do the same for ugliness. So, from the Gable era we have an entirely unexpected quaternity of four quite different peers – Charles Laughton, Jack Palance, Peter Lorre and Boris Karloff. Now here I cannot speak from my own experience. Lorre’s lack of physical beauty allowed him to make reportedly one of Cinema’s defining studies of psychological ugliness – the film ‘M’ – but this is not a film I have seen. Similarly, Karloff famously portrayed monstrousness as Jekyll and Hyde simply by force of acting, eschewing even the technology of makeup. Again, I was not there to see it, so I rely on hearsay to judge.

But the same quaternity was repeated with even greater power in the subsequent era, arguably. Lee Marvin, Ernest Borgnine and Rod Steiger have made a uniquely ugly contribution to some of the greatest stories I have seen told, and they are balanced by my fourth member; the corrupt good looks of Robert Ryan.

There's a particular glint in Borgnine's eye - the presence of pleasure at another's pain - which while wholly chilling makes 'From Here To Eternity's' Frank Sinatra, utterly unforgettable, and deserving of his Oscar.

Rod Steiger was even more chilling in the relentless story of Al Capone, a film which remains difficult to watch. Compare his overt malevolence against an equally interesting  'heavy', Gert Frobe. As 'Goldfinger', Frobe defines the businessman beyond ruthlessness and makes him a counterweight to equal James Bond. It is when Frobe is explaining how a nuclear bomb in Fort Knox will simply mean that he has no need to steal the gold that is there, and I am thinking 'Actually, there is very little wrong with that idea…' until a moment later when Connery says, brightly, "He's quite mad, you know…"

Frobe's breadth allows him to go on to be off-cast as the under-the-thumb King in Ian Fleming's 'Chitty Chitty Bang Bang', a semi-comic villain, but Steiger's badness is rather less easy-come, easy-go. he never is offcast, as Borgnine was to such effect, in 'Marty', and even 'The Poseidon Adventure'.

Borgnine was simply bad, though, like the earlier Jack Palance, nothing could have been more opposite to the actor's true nature. And talking of opposites brings me to the most interesting member of the four which I have saved for last. Lee Marvin's air of menace had leant weight to countless films for not just John Wayne and James Stewart but against Marlon Brando too, in 'The Wild One'. Then, he not just turned the tables by playing against type - as Jack Palance would so many years later for Billy Crystal - he turned the tables with 'Cat Ballou' and then pushed them clean over in 'The Dirty Dozen'.

Like the earlier Tracy-Gable films, the Dirty Dozen appears now as something of a jewel of Hollywood casting. Borgnine and Ryan both play alongside Marvin. Telly Savalas is also memorable in a part for which Jack Palance was signed. When Palance asked that they make the character less racist, his request was turned down and so he bowed out, for Savalas.

Borgnine works admirably as a street-wise general and the film fully plays Marvin off against Ryan’s good looks overlaying his untrustworthy insincerity. It’s a film that effectively turned Marvin into a full-blown hero, in all his parts from then on.

Marvin is interesting to me as well for his famous comment that he wept after he got shot in the Second World War, because "he realised he was a coward". Though bravery, I think, is not a matter of conscience, this comment is part of my reason for thinking that  it is often a concern in both the first and the third life; and less so in the middle life.

For Marvin's is clearly not a first type of life. However, if my thesis needs to be modified for the fact that he is not physically pretty, could there be a fourth type of life? It is a reason to come back to my thread of ten-year intervals. The Dirty Dozen in 1967 is close enough to make a suitable marker for me in the ten year divide of 1965. In the following decade 65-75 we enter a new period, both for me and for Hollywood.

For me, the start of the 70’s means I am going to see films in the cinema. I was born in 1960 and when I was growing up, British television was still systematically showing films. That is, TV was rotating films taken from the whole range of Hollywood production over the years, instead of preferring recent films. It meant that I could see most films eventually, and follow my own curiosity. Soon, I would be seeing the stars of my own generation, such as Tom Hanks or Tom Cruise in their own films in sequence at the cinema.

Meanwhile, Hollywood too was changing.

The 1970’s saw the release of two revolutionary Hollywood films: ‘Jaws’ in 1977 and ‘Star Wars’ in 1979. As American writer Tom Shone points out in his book ‘BlockBuster’, the triumph of Spielberg and Lucas represented the takeover of old-style ‘auteur’ Hollywood by two very modern types of American: the nerd and the geek. And we had briefly glimpsed the hippy from the notoriously successful 'Easy Rider', in 1969. This revolution over the end of the period '65 - '75 and the start of the period '75 - '85 gives a unique character to Hollywood which happens to coincide loosely with the 1970's decade.

This is not to mean that the films were lesser. Both Spielberg and Lucas were true visionaries, and in different ways. As Shone points out, Lucas’ great artistic statement was to tie the space ship in to the special place that cars have in the hearts of Americans. And as I could appreciate, Spielberg’s vision was for the epic, where many bit players contribute to make a greater whole. Very possibly David Lean could have made ‘Close Encounters of the Third Kind’ , but it remains the only film that I saw when it came out and then went to see again in the Cinema the following week because I was so taken with it.

Neither director was against the existing film industry, or even agnostic about it, but both directors represented a revolution compared with the era before ‘Easy Rider’ in the early seventies.

Harrison Ford was virtually the only professional actor in ‘Star Wars’, and neither this nor the Spielberg film could be called a star vehicle. True, Alec Guinness was optioned to bring gravitas to Obi Wan Kenobe, but Guinness had reached the point where his gravitas was itself bankable. Like Olivier, Gielgud and Ralph Richardson, Guinness had reached a point somewhere beyond being ‘merely’ a star. It was a point which neither Peter O Toole, Richard Harris nor Michael Caine had yet reached. One senses that these prime stars of the time would not have been welcomed in the film Lucas was making, as indeed Harrison Ford found he was not.

If I had to choose four directors who dominated the production of film throughout this post-classical era (with an eye on our four types) then I might choose Jerry Bruckheimer and James Cameron to go with Lucas and Spielberg.

Of the four, I think that only Bruckheimer has turned out to be an old style film director in the mold of, say, Howard Hawks, putting stars like Nicholas Cage and John Cusack to full use. Spielberg is similar to Lean but more variable, he is also his own man; a man who cherishes his Childlikeness.

Of course, all are capable of great film-making. There is a scene in James Cameron’s ‘The Terminator’ where Schwarzenegger is driving his car up to the house where he believes Sarah Connor to be. As a standard picket-fenced property it is the height of domesticity. There is even a child’s toy lost against the kerb. As the car pulls to a stop outside the house, in a shot of pure menace we see the child’s toy crushed by the car. It is neither vindictive nor accidental; it is just the act of an android driver.

Cameron’s other films are striking, in my view, for their curious reliance on female protagonists. It is perhaps most notable in the film ‘Avatar’ where the story hinges more on what the females do than on anything done by the males. (The key heroic act by the male lead - the taming and riding of the large dragon - takes place off-screen!)

But the most interesting director of the second generation of film is Spielberg, and the most interesting star is Tom Hanks.

Tom Hanks, not Tom Cruise. Although right at the centre of the court, Cruise has yet to find the part that fully finds the actor within him – provided you don’t think he has already. After the deservedly star-making 'Top Gun', and more demanding parts, we were keen to see more. Films like ‘Mission Impossible’ were nothing but star vehicles but when he partnered Nicole Kidman in real life, and they went on to make ‘Far And Away’, we had high hopes.

'Far and Away' is a film that it would be easy to dislike, by comparison with the greatness we have been able to choose from so far. Here, Cruise's incandescent good looks and charisma - part Gable, part Elvis - are squeezed into the part of a simple Irish farm-boy, for 2 1/4 hours. In the old days of the Studios, one would conclude Cruise was here as a punishment, the Studio teaching the big star his place. Without such an intent - indeed with the opposite intent - one is left wondering where the characterisation has come from. We can see the story that could have been told: Cruise would play the farmboy as an indomitably cheery, happy-go-lucky Irishman. His indestructible cheeriness would then hide a depth of passion which would win his beautiful but headstrong sweetheart over. We can see the Kidman archetype immediately in the female role. It would have been new for Cruise, and there would have been interest in that. Yet this story is glossed over. We are left watching Cruise’s dedication to the task of acting with a bemused but detached fascination. Unlike the Henry Fonda film discussed earlier, there did not seem any good reason for Cruise stepping so far into character that he is almost outside of the film.

Tom Hanks in contrast is undoubtedly one of the most successful actors of his generation. He is also one of the best- loved actors of any generation. If ‘Citizen Kane’ is everyone’s best film but no-one’s favourite, Hanks is the equivalent amongst actors: he is no-one’s best actor, but he engages the interest of everyone; one is always intrigued to hear about a new Tom Hanks film coming out.

At his best, Hanks carries the moral weight that James Stewart shouldered throughout his career. In place of ‘Harvey’ we have ‘Big’; ‘Saving Private Ryan’ for ‘It’s a Wonderful Life’; ‘Apollo 13’ in place of ‘The Glenn Miller Story’; and ‘Philadelphia’ for Stewart’s great westerns. And like Stewart, Hanks shouldn’t play villains, but is as interesting in support as in the lead. One of my favourite films is ‘Catch Me If You Can’ with quite a challenging performance from Hanks as the workaholic, misanthropic FBI agent. He was miscast in ‘Bonfire of the Vanities’ and I will wait until the Da Vinci Code is on TV before I personally see that. Everyone will have a different favourite but very few – almost none - will have no favourite at all.

 If Hanks is like Stewart in this respect, then notice also that not since John Wayne has a single actor/persona received such a wealth of exposure in so many different vehicles. ‘Sleepless in Seattle’ is the very film that Cary Grant would have made - if they hadn’t stopped making Cary Grant films.

I remember seeing Hanks first of all on TV. In the early eighties he made the sitcom ‘Bosom Buddies’ which I loved immediately. His persona here is that of the later Will Smith in the Fresh Prince of Bel-Air. He was immediately someone to watch for. ‘Volunteers’, with John Candy was an early outing for the same persona, but other early films were disappointing, lacking the intelligence of the TV series, (an inspired homage to ‘Some Like It Hot’).

It was the late eighties and ‘Big’ that first confirmed the initial promise. We weren’t out of the woods yet, though. The later ‘The Burbs’ was little better than the earlier 'The Money Pit' and ‘Joe Versus the Volcano’ was a welcome reminder, but just as lightweight as had been ‘Volunteers’, before. Then came ‘Sleepless in Seattle’ and suddenly Tom Hanks was all grown up. From this point on, his ‘Fresh Prince’ persona was just one side of his personality and what’s more, fully integrated with it. Suddenly (or so it seems now from the outside, looking back – was it really overnight?) what had been a C-type actor with the promise of a young Cary Grant was revealed as a P-type.

When Hanks was interviewed he appeared just as he did on film. There was no disappointment in the flesh. With hindsight, you can see it is there in Hanks’ relationship with his son in the film ‘Sleepless in Seattle’. It is partly this aspect of the film’s story which contributes to ‘Sleepless’ gathering weight. Hanks’ success often raised the game of his fellow actors as was true early on in ‘Bosom Buddies’. Here at last in the son of this film, and Hanks’ co-star, we see the child given the chance to act a child.

Like Stewart, Hanks is not physically prepossessing, but he broadly succeeds in defining a certain type of American masculinity, the thing that put Clark Gable in the lead of his earlier generation. Hanks’ wobbled on the line with his Oscar acceptance speech for ‘Philadelphia’ but his fallibility won us over and he earned the second chance with his second Oscar, for ‘Forrest Gump’. Only once did he let me down, and that was with ‘Road to Perdition’, a film which puts the weight of Tom Hanks behind a cheap gangster. My usual curiosity about what Hanks would do with a part also came with misgivings about the idea of Hanks as a killer, and unfortunately the film lived down to my expectations.

It was one disappointment only though in Hanks’ career to date, and is offset by the excitement of an actor who is willing to take as much of a chance with his roles as even Bogart did, in his day. Bogart’s adventurous legacy defines the domain of an A-type actor but Hanks has arguably gone even further. His trajectory has been out of the domain of the C-type, into and across the domain of a P-type. His artistic expression has been to find himself in the roles of all the other types – most challengingly for me, as I said, as FBI Agent Hanratty, in ‘Catch Me If You Can’ – Hanratty, the A-type!

There is an example in the film ‘Saving Private Ryan’ of Hanks’ moral courage in this respect. If you have seen the film you will probably remember it. This is the scene where the Company is turning on itself in reaction to the war but also to the leadership they have been given. Hanks’ loyal deputy is reduced to physically threatening one of the squad with a gun to stop him from deserting but it’s the wrong strategy for Ben Affleck’s A-type character, the rebel, who certainly won’t be bullied. Hanks’ has to assert his authority, or lose it, disastrously.

The film itself was leading up to this moment – indeed consciously using its star’s interest-factor. The film has us believe that the company is running a sweepstake on what Hanks did prior to the war. As we know very well, what you do for a living is a big clue for what type of personality you have and the squad are wondering what makes their Captain ‘tick’, as indeed we are, the watchers of Tom Hanks’ new film.

It’s a key moment then for script and audience when Hanks quietly reveals to the company what was his occupation before the war. The anticlimax of the revelation is the perfect counterpoint to the growing tension – as Hanks character in the film knows – but it is the way the information is revealed that uses only what Hanks the actor can know.

Hanks does the same thing with the scene that his character does. That is, he underplays the scene to create an anticlimax that diffuses the tension as effectively as the news that he was a schoolteacher diffuses the conflict between his company. Instead of delivering the speech to the company as a speech would need to be, he talks it, as if he were talking to a single individual. It is a trick, but it is the right trick and it works completely.

What makes me give the credit to this to the actor and not the director, Steven Spielberg? The director of ‘Close Encounters’ and ‘Indiana Jones' has won the same number of Oscars as Hanks. However the natural heir to John Ford may have won his second Oscar for directing it, but saving ‘Ryan’ is not Spielberg’s best production. He lets the all-important story-telling get away from him, I think, under the weight of the message. See if you feel the same way.

At the start of the film we see an aging Ryan set in the modern day. We awkwardly have to assume this though, as Ryan is not identified by name. Later on, the young Ryan, who is excellently played by Matt Damon, morphs into the same actor so we find out then, but only at the end of the film and when the drama of the special effect is wasted.

An alternative would have been to morph from the aged Ryan to the young Matt Damon in France at the start. We would then know who Ryan is (because we recognise Matt Damon - which is a trick that film can play that writing cannot). The morph is a striking special effect wherever it appears, so we would also incidentally then be warned of some great effects (the war is breathtakingly real in this film, as everybody knows). And it would actually work much better for the story if we knew who Ryan was before Hanks does. At the moment, the film lets us believe the first Ryan they find is the real one, and we share the groups feeling slightly foolish when it is not. Insulating the audience from over-empathizing here would create greater empathy with the film’s wider – and heavier - theme.

There is another reason why this would be the right way to do it too: in the released film, Hanks makes his big speech “your brothers are dead” to the wrong Ryan and when he gets to the real Ryan there is just the bald statement of the death with the preface “There’s no way to say this”. If we knew this was the real Ryan in advance, the speeches could be reversed. Hanks could make the short speech to the wrong Ryan and the longer more sensitive speech to the real Ryan. This would build impetus in the story and also support the star, Hanks. It would work better all round.

A major film - as ‘Ryan’ was always going to be – must be a major gamble for its lead actor when he is also an established star like Hanks. Of course it takes more than one bad performance to kill an audience’s curiosity about a persona, but with ‘Road To Perdition’ as well, that was beginning to be the risk. Like a major tournament in sport, a major film must be an exam of overall performance. Hanks’ intelligence and awareness were fully up to the mark, and I think there is a selfhood being expressed here, as much as in Hanks’ career as whole, which we recognise with affection and love, as some people do the Beatles.

I was looking for proof of the existence of conscience before I began this long digression, but I am as far away from it as ever. In my search for what I assumed would be a moral judgement, I am shown to either be mistaken or misled. Perhaps both, if you are ahead of me here: for is proof itself not an attribute of the Adult? Perhaps all I am doing is revealing the limitations of my own self – my own C – as an Adult type.

We have looked at actors, because Tom Shone looked at directors for us, and pointed out the importance of the revolution in the Seventies, when the nerd, the geek and the hippy took over. Once again, it is fun to match type to name in the quaternity of Spielberg, Lucas, Cameron and Bruckheimer. If Bruckheimer brings the sure touch and guaranteed fun of the boys films that Howard Hawks made, and if Spielberg is arguably the heir of John Ford in his mastery of what the camera sees then he is no less so, in his taste for the sentimental perhaps!


It takes five consciences to make a film. That is to say, the arts of writing, acting, directing, music and so on is each an art in its own right and usually involves a separate expert. Although the five minds that cooperate to this end are accurately described as five instances of what is a single conscience, from our point of view of three types of life, each of these five arts does offer a separate instance of a third type of life, if wanted. It is therefore correct to describe film as being the product of more than one conscience, unlike the works of Michelangelo and Lincoln, if not Einstein as well,

We can look inside the conscience to see this mechanism in operation. Let’s represent it visually. We can say that there are locations in the conscience that are unfilled as yet. These are new truth – like this book. Then there are locations which are temporarily filled by an individual instead of a pair. Oneself if one died, before one has been in love, would be an example. We can represent these with the colour green to show their untested, untried nature. Then there are minds that are paired up as we have just been discussing. I have used yellow to represent these pairs, since the pairing is to make both people happier.

Let me contrast two opposite arrangements of position to illustrate the point.

The first ordering in the diagram given is self-evidently relative. P1 and P4 represent couples rather than individual minds, though there are also individual minds, and also would be unfilled spaces for future minds. In this case, each couple is subordinate, or super-ordinate, to the adjacent couple. God is Just, we might say of the positioning within this conscience.

The contrast is with the second diagram where ordering is on a different basis. P1 and P4 are still conjoined through love but the placement of them is by chance. God is Love, we might say, to express this positioning.

Both are partly true - thank goodness. How dull a world it would be that was rigidly, self-righteously ordered; but how fragile a world that threatened descent into chaos at any moment. Thankfully, neither is completely true.

The thesis of my psychology has been that the conscience is both source and judge. It was recognised as one of these already, being source of right and wrong, but it has not been widely acknowledged as judge.

For evidence I have sought the judgement behind the gift of talent, beauty and art that can characterise what I have called the third life, where the first life may be characterised by a full conscience, of course; being both gift and responsibility.

However, beauty for example, is arguably just as much of a combination of gift and responsibility as the full conscience of the ‘first-timer’. Beauty draws all toward it and may call to be defended. And the defence may be by might, but it may also be by right. To be happy with the gift of beauty may require that the beauty be deserved.

Film Part III: the UK

Although British film-making - unlike say, our music - is still the ‘weak sister’ of the American industry, in recent years there has been a greater sophistication in the end product. And not just in maverick productions like ‘Life of Brian’. The film ‘Four Weddings and a Funeral’ is unquestionably as entertaining, solid and polished a Hollywood film as any of the very greatest of the thirties and forties.

The film ‘Notting Hill’ is an admirable attempt to do after the first film what ‘Boom Town’ and ‘Test Pilot’ did for each other. Once again it takes the theme of men and women through the relationship between an Englishman and an American woman. The Englishman is again Hugh Grant and the American woman is, this time, a famous actress.

In ‘Four Weddings’ even though Grant’s character was from the privileged English Upper Classes, the film succeeded fully in representing him as ‘one of us’, to Andy MacDowells sexy and glamorous American.

For example, in both films, Grant is ‘one of us’ through his relationships with the ordinary people around him. In ‘Four Weddings’ he has a deaf mute brother who Grant convincingly signs to. At one point, as circumstances have once again conspired against Grant, his deaf brother asks him what has happened, and what the others are saying. In utter misery Grant tells him and then signs ‘They say it is your fault. They’re all blaming you.’ It is as funny as any joke in the film and, made possible by the subtitles, is good film-making. In ‘Notting Hill’ there is a similar unusually strong relationship with a girl in a wheelchair.

Andy McDowell’s was an intriguing role since her relationship with Grant is based on repeated assignations with him – despite her being engaged to be married. We are asked to believe, in the language of PAC, that her Child is so strong that she is balancing her attraction to Grant with her loyalty to her fiancé while, at the same time, taking her sexual pleasure with him. It begs the question of how such a strong Child will manifest itself after they are married - although that is a problem outside this story.

In the partner film, the glamorous and sexy American would be famous, presenting a similar hurdle to be crossed. One can see the appeal of exploring the gulf between the glamorous: 'them’ as represented by Julia Roberts’ famous actress and the ordinary: ‘us’, as represented by Hugh Grant. There is every reason to have faith that the gulf that can be bridged by humour.

So can we apply the same criteria for success as with the two films from fifty years earlier. Are we unable to tell which came first?

Unfortunately, the second film is second in every sense of the word.

The biggest problem of ‘Notting Hill’ is that, whereas there is real chemistry between the lovers in ‘Four Weddings’, it is the one thing that is missing here.

For some of the funnier lines, Julia Roberts character merely seems to be in the same room as Hugh Grant. Then when it is her line she comes alive. It is not Julia Roberts fault but the actress she is playing is not connected to Hugh Grant either by the chemistry or by the collaborative sense of humour that would make the film work. The film misfires on all cylinders and by the time Julia Roberts has to lose her temper and create the split with Grant because of the press at the door, it has become quite difficult to like her.

I would not describe this as wooden I would describe it as underacting. (Come to think of it, woodenness is how I would describe the problem that Dana Andrews had shown following his early breakthrough films. Not so much when the actor loses their talent as when they are shown not to have had so much of it, after all. I would see the same thing in Kevin Costner, much later.) Woodenness is a film-makers problem, but underacting is the film-makers fault, as much as the actresses.

Similarly, at one point Hugh Grant is making a joke out of looking down the top of Julia Roberts. He is very smooth and Julia Roberts is as girlish in response, Here is how it is written:

Anna: What is it about breasts?

William: Actually, I can't think of what it is, really. Let me just have a quick look...

[peeks under blanket]

William: No, no, beats me.

That’s the way the scene is written but it is not the way to act it. One way would be to be awkward and endearing – deliver the last line quickly as if hot and flustered.

Another would be to overplay it, something like this: “here, let me just check:” “OH MY GOD!” (he’s looking at ‘Anna Scott’s’ breasts after all)“No, no. Beats me.” And then he can be romantic, but he needs to pay her the compliment first – that is, the film needs to. What a shame, contrasted to Tom Hanks actor’s choice in ‘Saving Private Ryan’, it is the wrong choice by the film.

We take another British ‘Grant’ next, with the actor Richard E Grant. In the film ‘Jack and Sarah’, Richard E Grant plays a man whose wife dies in childbirth, so that he finds himself a single parent, suddenly. Not just unprepared, he finds himself unwilling to fully accept this cruel blow. Herein lies the story’s drama: how responsible would I be in the situation of a new and suddenly tragically unmarried father? It is a fine British film with an excellent supporting cast, including Judi Dench bringing her full weight to the key role of Grant’s mother. As for Richard E Grant, it is his most rewarding role since the memorably surprising ‘Withnail and I’.

Grant’s scene at the wife’s deathbed is key to the film’s success early on. He is quite honestly destroyed, and one cannot help but be affected. As we shall see later, he is destroyed though not defeated. Judi Dench as the Mum, together with Grant’s father, are crucial characters in explaining the British stiff upper lip in action here. This is not a family used to expressing emotion, but that does not make it a weak family.

A casting question arises which did not arise in ‘Withnail and I’ as to why Richard E Grant is the choice for the central character in this screenplay. His characterization is curious in that what was a sort of desparate back-to-the-wall pride in ‘Withnail’, the perfect counterweight to McGann’s blessed-by-providence good looks, is here, actual arrogance. It is the arrogance of a man who has plenty. In fact it is the casual self-centredness of the naturally handsome man.

But Richard E Grant is not just plain-looking, he is exceptionally plain-looking. It is not ugliness toward an end, as for Charles Laughton or Ernest Borgnine, it is simply plainness. If we are used to seeing beauty in our entertainers then we are perhaps just as used to not seeing it in our politicians. To give you an example if you have not seen him, Grant is unusual in that he would fit in perfectly at Westminster

But then it hits you: Grant is the one who chose himself for the role. Grant is unaware of his mis-fit – the only one - because you never know yourself how pretty or otherwise you are. Grant knew he could bring this script to life because he knew he could bring the central character to life. The casting director was happy that Grant was a big enough name to be allowed to do so, one supposes: it is easy enough to imagine the deal being struck.

The movies are always giving beautiful actresses to plain-but-charismatic leading men: Bogart in ‘Sabrina’, for one example. But Bogart in Hollywood is a million miles from Jack in Kentish Town, and watching the spectacularly ugly Grant behave with the casual arrogance of the good-looking, is one of those amazing sights that make this film much more entertaining second time around, when you have the time to observe it. It is a good film anyway, but it is very like a number of other films, in good script, direction and plot. In respect of ‘this’ Richard E Grant however, it is quite unique.

Grant knows this character well enough to bring him to life. It might be from being handsome (or pretty, from our starting premise on gender) in a different life. The fact that he is not pretty in this one would then be a matter, not of chance, but one of choice.

Having justified at least with one example the assertion that beauty is richly fair, I finally reach the end of the line of my own personal questioning. For completeness, let's pick the story of Hollywood up in the Seventies to see why, for me, events took a fundamentally different turn in that decade.

It was in the seventies, when ‘Star Wars’ and ‘Close Encounters’ signalled the beginning of the end, that a similar revolution took place in UK film-making when the ultimate maverick group, Monty Python, took to the Cinema screen.

Monty Python is a mini industry in its own right, spawning not just TV shows, but music, books, theatre shows and film.

Such classics as ‘The Argument Sketch’ from the TV shows are affectionately quoted from memory by University undergraduates, as was itself spoofed by ‘Not The Nine O Clock News’. The first proper film from the team was a fully-formed vision of anarchy which properlystands up to modern viewing: Monty Python and the Holy Grail.

In the film, there is a scene where King Arthur meets the peasants who dispute his right to the title of King. There was a clear-sighted purposefulness to the Python’s best work and, for me, it is present in this scene where the peasant finds the King’s claim to the throne to be risible, whilst at the same time being forced to explain that their anarchist collective cannot take a decision. It is very funny, but it is also a telling philosophical point. (And that is also the way to understand the Argument Sketch, from TV. It is more than just funny – it is true.)

We said earlier that the new Hollywood, in the form of George Lucas, was agnostic about film stars but not about film; but it is clear from the outset that ‘Holy Grail’ is entirely agnostic about film. This was the view which would seek outlet in their later films, also. The famous use of coconuts in place of horses was a compromise they accepted due to lack of funding, but it perfectly expressed the film’s attitude – not always entirely successful in its effect. When one actor says “It’s Camelot!” to which another replies “It’s only a model, you know”, it is not really clear who the joke is upon – is it upon the film or upon the audience?

Where the film stands up today is for the sheer inventiveness of its highlights. The Black Knights surreal aggression and the guardian of the bridge being dispatched by his own rules bear endlessly repeated viewing. Not so, the story that the film tells. Without the immersiveness that is the fundamental nature of the medium of film, this movie has transformed into a stage-play where it is clearly happier.

The US was proving anything but a ‘weak sister’ in its response to our agnosticism. The Airplane films would be almost as much fun as Python, throughout the next decade. They would also prove a far better fit to the medium – and would embrace a TV series to boot, in ‘Police Squad’. Before that however, the single best joke about film by film ever made was probably in Mel Brooks’s 1974 film ‘Blazing Saddles’, when our hero rides past the cameras playing his theme at its most stirring to reveal - the orchestra playing it…

With Brooks, Zucker & Abrahams and the spillover from ‘Saturday Night Live’, such as Steve Martin’s ‘The Man With Two Brains’ Hollywood films were continuing to push forward and break new ground in the period 75 - 85. In the next decade the newly-broken ground would make possible the careers of such people as Jim Carrey. We had not seen the like since Jack Nicholson, now an established grand old man of the cinema. Carrey was simultaneously more beautiful and more ugly than any pair of actors from my golden age of the thirties and forties.

Although it was Steve Martin’s film ‘the Nerd’ which I saw in the cinema when it came out, his definition - like that of ‘Bill & Ted…’, ‘Wayne’s World’ and to a lesser extent ‘Dumb & Dumber’ - was self-conscious. It was the fatal flaw in these attempts by Hollywood to ‘embrace and extend’ the type. The most memorable definition from the whole milieu would come from the one, true original. Specifically, it was the great films that Woody Allen had already made, ‘Sleeper’, ‘Love and Death’ and, in 1979, his greatest success ‘Annie Hall’, which define the art-form in this period.

In Annie Hall, there is a scene where Woody and Dinae Keaton have an archetypal slightly awkward boy/girl conversation. Under-running the scene are subtitles, in English, which tell us what the two protagonists are thinking behind what is being said. Of course we have all been in that situation. It is extremely funny.

It is also great filmmaking. One of the things that film does not do is tell us what characters are thinking. One of the things that the comic medium can do, and the great extended stories of the sixties American comics did, was to show you the character of a person by showing you the thoughts and motivations behind the actions. We saw this by comparison between the different thoughts of the character Peter Parker (Spiderman) against the character of Ben Grimm (The Thing). The medium gives the ‘thought bubble’ which we commented on elsewhere equal weight to the ‘speech bubble’ and in the greatest comics these are used to good effect.

 This is something that film cannot do. The mechanism of subtitles to reveal thinking simply has no place in film – which is why it stands out so memorably when used successfully in both ‘Four Weddings’ and ‘Annie Hall’. It is a mistake, in my view, to want to film comic books. The technology is certainly available to create the special effects, but like the technology of 3D, it must contribute to the story-telling – or at the very least, not detract from it – otherwise the immersiveness which is the most important aspect of film goes out of it.

But 3D and superheroes would come much later. In the late seventies, the US was still dangerously fascinating, but this time the Python’s would go on to find their true metier in rather a different way, with a film that was agnostic , not about a film, but about a Book.

I have sometimes thought that the ultimate achievement of Hollywood would be to make the Life of Christ. I would be careful not to make it with a ‘pretty’ actor – somebody more like the young Sean Connery would be good.

In my imagination, here’s how the scene with the stoning would have to go: the actor playing Christ picks up the stone and says the famous line “Let he who is without sin cast the first stone!”, slapping his chest on ‘he’. There is a pause. Having taken the lead he then lets the stone fall from his hand. Both those with sin, who cannot cast, and those without sin, for whom casting would be the first sin, have to follow the lead he has already set.

I’d be careful to tell him “it’s not ‘blessed are the poor in spirit’” – that’s the opposite! It is “’blessed are the poor, in spirit”.

But I am too late. They made a much better film than mine. It is called ‘Life of Brian’. (The Pythons were clear from their start: their film was heresy, not blasphemy.) ‘Blessed are the cheesemakers’, is funny as well as, in its way, true. It has great music -‘Always Look On The Bright Side’ and it has a light touch with the very medium of film. The Bassyesque opening number:

And his voice dropped down low,

And hair started to grow,

On young Brian and so,

He was suddenly no,


(A boy named Brian).

Is just as much fun as the Bond theme it spoofs.

If the ‘Life of Brian’ is agnostic about the Life of Christ then it is so in a way which suits the medium of film better than it does any other medium. Because the attitude that is perfectly encapsulated by every aspect of this film from start to finish is that everyone is a hero, and one not necessarily moreso than another.

Consider not just the humour but the sense of Brian’s relationship to his mother:


Brian (on discovering that his absent father was a Roman): You mean you were raped?

Mum: (reluctantly) Well yes, at first.

Brian: I don’t believe it! I’m not a Roman! I’m a Kike, a Yid, a Red-Sea Pedestrian, (etc.)


There’s no self-pity on either side there but a good deal of sentiment.

Famously of course, the Romans are identified as heroes rather than villains in the telling scene ‘what have the Romans ever done for us’? I’d like to invite you to imagine an equally telling scenario entitled ‘what have the rich ever done for us’ but it would be off-topic.

Strong characterisation works to distract from the clarity of the message without muddying it. When the healed leper continues to beg he is asked by an outraged Brian: “what do you mean [asking] ‘money for an ex-leper?’”. In explaining that he is an entrepreneur deprived of his livelihood (a la Muhammad Yunas) he is accused of being ungrateful. “That’s just what He said,” responds the healed leper, making sure to give just as good as he is getting.

As the film draws to its final, inexorable conclusion we fall back into the safely surreal but by this time the Pythons have earned their legitimacy and a musical ending is a fitting use of film to convey emotion. When Eric Idle exhorts us during the instrumental to buy the soundtrack as it is on sale in the foyer we can no longer be offended, and indeed have been fully won over: it has become an entirely appropriate way to say: this was a film and now it is over: the end.

Appendix One

Seven Deadly Sins

When discussing the seven deadly sins today, it may be worth taking a moment to relate them to a modern context.

Traditionally, two of the sins would be ‘wrath’ and ‘sloth’ for example, but those are not the most commonly used words today. ‘Wrath’ is often replaced by the word ‘hate’ yet, and we should give ourselves credit for it, the modern world is far more tolerant than it used to be.  The burning of witches; the Inquisition; the treatment of Eskimos and Indians, and even the Holocaust, were made easier, and perhaps made possible, by the fomenting of hatred. So, the sin of ‘hate’ is no less bad than it was, but it is less relevant as a guide than it was.

Anger is a word that is much closer to ‘wrath’ than is hate, but whereas most people would see anger as a problem, few would see it as a sin. Properly managed, anger is an energy and can form the basis, for instance, of humour.

 The word that springs to mind for me then is ‘violence’. It expresses both undue anger and antisocial hate – the opposite of kindness. It is also a very relevant sin – as in ‘road-rage’. Clearly, as the opposite of kindness, ‘violence’ would be a sin of the Child.

For sloth, laziness will do fine. Is it a sin of the Child?

We might initially think of laziness as self-indulgent, until considering even more indulgent sins, like gluttony and greed. On second thoughts, the diligence which laziness is a lack of – hard work for the sake of doing a good job – is an attribute of the noble Adult, and so would the sin of laziness be, as its opposite. Laziness is also a very relevant modern problem – we all need to actively be recycling, reducing carbon, & so forth. We all need to learn the new habits – and learning should engage our Adults.

On the subject of nobility, would you also agree that lust is clearly the opposite of idealistic love? The modern equivalent of the sin of lust might be Internet pornography which you don’t need me to point out, but the routine term ‘porn star’ seems to me decadent in concept. It is your Adult that should rebel at this phrase if so.

I said that Gluttony is a sin of the Child. Gluttony is also a modern problem although I think people would be surprised if they were told that obesity is a crime against conscience. Yet traditionally, it has been seen as exactly that. I think part of the problem of obesity is caused by the modern diet where we do not cook for ourselves, and so we eat cheap food. Eating more expensive food would be better for us, but in the old days ‘eating finely’ was itself thought of as a variant of gluttony. Confusingly, the word can have a wider meaning than just food, so I will take it in the wider context of over-indulgence. A modern problem even greater than obesity and which is clearly a sin of the conscience is binge-drinking. It has been a problem throughout all ages too, a sin of the Universal Child.

Greed was the other contender for a sin of the Child, and at first seems to be just as over-indulgent, however the traditional word was ‘avarice’ and specifically meant greed for money. I shall gloss over the 'Avarice is Good' moral inversion of the City since, in modern times, this is unlikely to be either your or my personal sin – except that we are of course complicit in the system. It is a system which unfortunately only befits half of the world’s population as yet. Half the world's population has less than a single percentage of the world's wealth to share between well over three billion people. Greedy avariciousness is a sin of the Parent as well as the Child.

This contrasts with the sixth and final sin, envy.

Envy is the least obvious sin in today’s world. It might be recognised in 'conspicuous consumption' or the trap of playing 'keeping up with the Joneses' but these seem merely foolish rather than sins of the conscience. It may seem as if Envy has been left behind by a modern life which has succeeded in incorporating envy comfortably into normal ambition. And indeed, the phrase ‘green with envy’, like yellow for cowardice, indicates not just the Parent as well as the Adult in colour, but the absence of sin, as with bravery’s opposite.

I would replace Envy with theft, on the basis that there is a difference between stealing bread when one is hungry and stealing to avoid paying. To steal bread because one is hungry and too poor to pay for it is an act of heroism according to the conscientious view. There is no envy here as envy would urge one to steal diamonds. And I think the stealing of someone's future by pushing illegal drugs onto them, is clearly a sin of conscience both for the drug pushers and for the businessmen who deal with them.



Shallow Transactions

Figure 9 shows Transactions labelled 1 to 6. There are two transactions shown for each component type, and in each case there is a shallow transaction and a deep transaction.

Three stimuli were given as listed below:


“What is the time?”

“Take my wife – please!”

“How are you?”


I meant for these to be obviously shallow, and obviously one of each of the three types. Is the first typed from the Adult or the Parent? What about the third?

Well, I say the first is a straightforward factual enquiry, requiring no more than a factual answer from the Adult. The second is a straightforwardly humorous one-liner. It is meant to be funny, and the spontaneous response of a smile or laugh comes from the Child. (It is an incoming transaction in the diagram).

Finally, there is a question which, whilst just as commonplace as the others, clearly evinces a social aspect: “how are you?” In its caringly parental (or otherwise) nature, it clearly comes from that component.

All of the three fall into the realm of “small talk”, being deliberately chosen to do so. Less easy would be to think of examples that are profound as well as being general. We do not seem to have a naturally established social outlet for an equivalent “big talk”. Although it is important to have talking that is easy, as well as safe, it is also important for us not to let small-talk become an automatic defence – I have done this myself. The risk is that it will become an unconscious buffer, cutting us off from people. A book like this may be one way to engage in “big” talk in a way that is safe, but it makes sense to realize we benefit from both types of talk on both sides. Maybe we need more ways. I think we do.



Actor’s Typing.

i) Greta Garbo, Olivia De Havilland, Joan Crawford.

ii) Debbie Reynolds, Julie Andrews, Doris Day.

 iii) Julia Foster, Geena Davis, Michelle Pfeiffer.


iv) Jack Nicholson, Marlon Brando, Jack Lemmon.

 v) Paul Newman, Danny Kaye, Steve McQueen.

vi) Lee Marvin, Basil Rathbone, Rod Steiger.


 vii) Michael J Fox, Robert De Niro, Harrison Ford.

 viii) Chevy Chase, Steve Martin, John Belushi.

ix) Robin Williams, Jeff Goldblum, Tom Cruise.


Here I am assigning type without taking the chance to justify it. This allows you to have a first reaction to the assignment without it being 'proven wrong'. In a soft science where right and wrong are relative, noticing that first reaction before it is modified by reason and 2nd thoughts is a useful skill.

i) A, C, P

ii) C, A, P

iii) P, A, C


iv) P, A, C

 v) P, C, A

vi) A, P, C


vii) C, A, P

viii) A, P, C

ix) C, A, P


I have chosen groups of three rather than four, so even though Brando is really a PAC type, he would be listed as P-type in the simpler comparison, shown above.

If we preclude reason as a justification then I may fall back upon a 'softer' measure: the strength of my emotion. That is, I have chosen the combinations of stars because I intuitively felt that each star was typed equally strongly in the group. Not all groups are typed equally strongly - the strongest groups received discussion in the main text - but I hope this is also partly another demonstration of 'hidden truth'. That is, I feel just as strongly that (within the group) Newman is P-Type as I do that Kaye is C-type and McQueen is A-type; and the same for McQueen against the other two; and so on. So, if you were to feel very strongly say, that McQueen is P-type whilst having no opinion either way about Kaye, then you and I could very usefully have a soft debate without it turning into an argument as we each may have something to offer the other.