I had an interesting experience on this line. I was supposed to have been the first casualty who came home from the South Pacific at the beginning of the war. I woke up in a bed at the hospital and there was a little fellow standing there with thick glasses on, and he held up a finger and he said, “How many fingers have I got?”
I remembered the experience of a girl who was picked up on the street in New York and taken to Bellevue, and somebody said, “How many fingers have I got?”
She said, “Ten, of course.” “What time is it?”
And she said sarcastically, “Well, it’s twenty-six o’clock; what d’ya think? Get out of here. Who are you anyway?” They kept her there for ten days. So I said carefully, “One finger.”
He said, “What time is it?” I looked at the clock and I said, “It’s seven thirty-two and sixteen seconds.” “Hmmmm! “
This was a confused situation. It remained confused for about a week, merely because “everybody knew” that the stress of modern war was such that the human mind and human anatomy could not stand up to it. They “knew”—they had all been stateside ever since the war started, so they “knew.” It was very interesting.
The hospital was full of psychotics! I walked around looking at these characters and noticing they had new bars up on this window and that ward had been made into a psycho ward. I said, “I didn’t think anybody had gotten home here yet. What’s this all about? Are these boys from Pearl Harbor?”
“Oh, no. No, they’re from the navy yard.”
You examine war neurosis and you will find out it happened so far from any field of action that it was the inaction. During the periods of time when London was under her heaviest bombardment, not one individual reported as psychotic. Think of the bad news they were getting—Dunkirk. Think of the bad news they were getting in the RAF. Think of the bad news that must have been thrown at them every day—”Well, Bill Sykes is dead and so on; got killed in the bombing last night. And your wife and baby just kicked the bucket and we’ve not gotten them out of the wreckage yet,” and so forth. This is great stuff. But they didn’t get any psychotics! Isn’t that interesting?
The body, in that case, was too busy effecting being a cause of— rescue, reconstruction, keeping alive, action. In other words, the body was being causative and there was no psychosis. This is in this field of cause and effect.1
- Hubbard, L. R. (1951-12-03). Cause and Effect: Full Responsibility. Professional Course, (5112C03B). Wichita, KS. ↩