Working with the Idea of “De-Identifying” (Saturday 15 November 1986, Pt II)

This continues the meeting of Saturday 15 November 1986 with the first lunch questions. The morning address is here:


Kerry:   This morning I found the idea of de-identification was very helpful to me, particularly when I was in the house with the music manuscripts. I found that I continually got taken, particularly when I had the very precise. And when I was trying to fold back the pieces of paper to look square. I Found that my posture was very interesting. There was a lot of tension when I became aware of what I was doing. And then I was able to take a more central position.

Mr Adie:   One thing I find is that in order to escape from sleeping compulsion, I have to pay attention to my posture. I have to relax. That’s one thing here.

Kerry:   Second thing I found was that the actual movements that I was making with my hands themselves and the precision of them was very gross. But when I –

Mr Adie:   How do you explain that? It indicates that you’re not interested. No, you’re not interested. I mean, anybody interested can put one sheet on top of another. But I find it difficult to put one sheet on top of another. I’m not interested. I only need to make this simple movement. So, I’m really not there intelligently enough to shuffle some papers. So this is malfunction, of course. Yes. That could awaken me. Also, my posture could awaken me, could give me the beginning of a completely mysterious effort.

What I’m identified with, as I’m making a mess of the papers, I don’t know. I’m identified with a thought, impatience to finish, or a thousand things. I don’t know what I’m identified with. That’s another matter. This is information I can gather if I do try to de-identify myself. It isn’t my “I,” it’s myself. I want my being as I am, asleep, identify. Now, this is what I want to de-identify. And in the process my I will gradually emerge or a representative of it.


Because my “I,” at the moment, is a sort of seed with a little bit of crystallisation around it, but not a very big one. I have to learn quite a different sort of knowledge of what I am and what my being-self is and what identification is. And obviously this relates to some demand in myself.

This isn’t worthy of attention. Why not? Because something more important has taken me, so what am I identified with? One of my false personalities is there, and I am identified with this. I am identified all the time. Someone says something which one of my false personalities takes great exception to. The remark wasn’t intended. It was quite a trivial remark, but I’m identified with this and as a result I’m complete nonsense. I’m not related to anything real, I’m an automat, I’m wasting my energy, I’m doing harm.

So, I see that this idea of my importance is a very expensive one, and I see that I am identified with that. I realise, theoretically, that I have false personalities. Yes, I remember that in the office I’m this, and in the home, when I’m tired, I’m that. And if I meet someone, I’m that. But I don’t realise that I’m identified with that, that my being state is under that. My “I” just isn’t there, a false “I” now occupies. A false “I” which is based on the idea of its own importance, of its own super capacity and so on.

Tyler:   Mr Adie, this morning the idea of de-identification helped quite a lot. But the second idea that you mentioned of trying to consciously have a role, I couldn’t get to that. I couldn’t find anything inside me, to direct me to how to adopt that.

Mr Adie:   Well, you have a role, what was your role today? You were working on freeing some rock, and supporting the building. Your role was a builder, that was all. A bloke that can chip a bit of concrete, and put in and work with someone, that was your role. You never thought of that as a role. And then what were you identified with this morning? See how much more interesting it is really, than you thought. Extraordinarily interesting and how different and how I’ve got to be free from my attitudes, otherwise I’ll never be able to do the work. I can almost smile. A genuine smile, not one I snatch back again into a customary safe tension. It could even fade gently like the sunset.

Tyler:   I thought of the role of a builder, but because I was so not very good at doing it, I sort of discarded that role.

Mr Adie:   But you could be in the role of a workman, couldn’t you? I mean, you got to take some bricks here and there, you got to move them, that’s a role. If someone prepares a lunch, they have the role of a cook or an assistant cook. It’s their job, whether they play it, and how they play it, and what happens is in the effort.

I don’t want everybody to repeat the word de-identification until it just becomes another habitual word. But the thing is, that what it means, it’s a private word which we have, “de-identification.” To know what it means and to actuate it, that’s the thing.

Our line of work today has been to try and free ourselves from the complete prison and slavery in which we live, and try and understand more what identification is. A new word was suggested there, which suggested doing, which means that we have to do something, and that is to ‘de-identify” ourselves. We have to do something. Everybody in the work, when they start, they want to know what to do. Actually, one can’t do anything in that sense, not externally, but this is something required to do. I have to do. It’s a being doing to de-identify myself. Not my “I,” because that’s totally submerged. But what I am, not let it be identified. That’s what we were talking about.

Tyler was just saying that he found it difficult, and did not totally understand about his role, and how to play that role. And we were saying that it just consisted of the role of a chap with some cement, so he was a workman. And then what is necessary for fulfilling that role? We haven’t quite exhausted that yet, but that’s as far as we’ve got. What is necessary to fulfil that role, which you were trying to do, in a way, or something, was. Did you find any more?

Tyler:   Well, I remember at one stage this morning, I was scooping out dirt so that this afternoon to pour the concrete in. And the job just seemed to be going on and on and on. And I realised I was going far too far in. I’d gone beyond the level of the bricks. And at that stage I did try to think what would.

Mr Adie:   You were working on the wall, and going too far?

Tyler:   Yeah. And all of a sudden it shocked me how far I had drawn in. I got in about 18 inches.

Mr Adie:   Now you got to fiddle that back and waste all the material? You can’t put earth back there. So, you’ve got to use masses of concrete.

Tyler:   Or stones.

Mr Adie:   Yes, but they’ve got to be cemented together.

Tyler There was a point at which I realised that I just kind of focused on getting the dirt out. But there was no thought attached with the work.

Mr Adie:   No. You weren’t even playing that role. You couldn’t even play the role of a dirt scraper properly. No, it’s true, we don’t. You make a cup of tea, it can be cold, it can be hot, it can be too strong. It can be slopped over in the saucer. Just pouring a cup of tea requires a certain amount of fulfilment of a role. So that brings us right down to our work. If I splatter paint all over the place doing this bit, I’m not even fulfilling that humble role. Even to fold a few books of music, I’ve got actually to take the paper up and put it straight. I just go like that, hoping that a stack of music will straighten itself, but it won’t. Even that I have to learn, and I find I haven’t got within me at the moment anything to play the role. I’m just there as a body and it’s not really connected with the work we’re doing. That was your experience, wasn’t it?


I knew he wouldn’t acknowledge that, so I said it for him. (laughter) We share the moment together. It wasn’t to be fussy. If you get half thousand pieces of old manuscript like that and you go like that, some flakes will come off, they won’t straighten themselves and you damage the thing then, you have to take and type it. Then when you’ve done it, they’re alright.

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