These two questions and answers come from the lunch exchange of Saturday 8 March 1985. I have already posted Mr Adie’s address for the day, and the first question and answer, under the heading: “Mr Adie on Following the Moving Centre”.
One of many good young people who had been with us for a little, seemed to benefit a great deal in a short time, but then left just as they had started to change (that is often the point at which the resistance becomes too much for some), mentioned, after lunch that he had been assigned a difficult job which he had never attempted before, had performed it quite well, and had been pleased. His question was about the value of the sense of pleasure he had felt.
“There’s something very important about that,” replied Mr Adie. “Surely moving centre is a very marvellous piece of equipment. You have not had to attempt that particular job before, but the head is able to see what is required to bend to the steel in the desired way, and moving centre can implement it.
“Surely there is a certain essence-satisfaction to find that moving centre can take up something new, and achieve it. But when self-congratulation goes beyond that, it is false personality. It alters this legitimate sense of satisfaction, and turns it into something poisonous. There’s no pure appreciation of moving centre, in such a case. From your report, it sounded that it had initially been pure before something else joined it, and so it became mixed.
“This is important, very important. You are right not to dismiss such observations. See them all, from all sides. It’s a very large field of observation, this area of technique: moving technique. I don’t see how a person could be part of something like that, where the difficult job is done very well, without also having some feeling of a lifting up at having succeeded. As long as this feeling remains in moving centre, it is alright. legitimate. But if it invades me, and something in me begins to swagger that “I” have done this, or “I” have done that, it cheapens it. So, it is very important. Essence-satisfaction is allowable.
“You can have talk yourself into a rather gloomy idea of dismissing all self-appreciation, and all the satisfaction in doing certain work. But there is a legitimate satisfaction in seeing moving centre perform. Very often record breakers can have a bit of both. False personality usually comes into this desire to smash the record, But if they did not allow false personality to claim it as their own, what a clean satisfaction they would have.
Even a monkey is pleased if it moves swiftly and well. But imagine if it started to give itself airs and to swagger: “All me! All me!”
(Mr Adie made a joke about body builders whose shoulders were larger than they should be, but it was difficult to catch what he was saying over the laughter.)
The next question came from someone who said that he admired the person he was working with, but false personality had come in, so he realised he had to respect the other person’s work, and not talk too much.
Mr Adie’s reply was concise: “The interesting thing is that in this element of self-control you have a feeling of strength. Inner strength. That is very important. I am a little bit self-responsible, and that requires a force. It requires a force of attention, and it also requires intention. So, by directing my attention in fulfilment of my conscious intention, I have a feeling of strength, reality, in the direction of the ability to do. Clearly, that is doing for being. That too, brings a certain legitimate satisfaction, and the sign of it is that it brings me to a feeling of my own being-reality, and to humility.”
Joseph Azize, 24 November 2016