Human Destiny

Excerpts from What Do You Say After You Say Hello from Eric Berne:

The destiny of every human being is decided by what goes on inside his skull when he is confronted with what goes on outside his skull... Each person decides in early childhood how he will live and how he will die, and that plan, which he carries in his head wherever he goes, is called his script.Berne, Eric, What Do You Say After You Say Hello p. 31 Although men are not laboratory animals, they often behave as though they are. Sometimes they are put in cages and treated like rats, manipulated and sacrificed at the will of their masters. But many times the cage has an open door, and a man has only to walk out if he wishes. If he does not, it is usually his script which keeps him there. That is familiar and reassuring, and after looking out at the great world of freedom with all its joys and dangers, he turns back to the cage with its buttons and levers, knowing that if he keeps busy pushing them, and pushes the right one at the right time, he will be assured of food, drink, and an occasional thrill. But always, such a caged person hopes or fears that some force greater than himself, the Great Experimenter or the Great Computer, will change or end it all.Berne, Eric, What Do You Say After You Say Hello p. 56 For small children, there is usually some sort of Santa Claus who is watching their behavior and keeping the accounts. But he is for the “little kids,” and “big kids” don't believe in him, at least not in Santa Claus as a man in a masquerade costume who comes on a certain day of the year. In fact, not believing in that kind of Santa Claus is what separates big kids from the little ones, along with the knowledge of where babies come from. But big kids, and grownups too, have their own versions of Santa, each one different... In fact, most people spend their lives waiting for Santa Claus, or for some member of his family. And then there is his opposite number down below. Where Santa himself is a jolly man in a red suit who comes from the North Pole brining gifts, his opposite number is a grim man in a black cloak who comes from the South Pole carrying a scythe, and his name is Death. Thus the human race is split during later childhood into the Life Crowd, who will spend their lives waiting for Santa Claus, and the Death Crowd, who will spend their lives waiting for Death. These are the basic illusions on which all scripts are based: that either Santa Claus will come eventually brining gifts for the winners, or Death will come eventually and solve all the problems for the losers. Thus the first question to ask about illusions is, “Are you waiting for Santa Claus, or Death?” But before the Final Gift (immortality) or the Final Solution (death), there are meanwhile others. Santa can bestow a winning lottery ticket, a life pension, or prolonged youth. Death can bestow a permanent disability, a cessation of sexual desire, or premature old age, each of which relives the person of some of his duties...Berne, Eric, What Do You Say After You Say Hello p. 148

People are either waiting for their problems to be fixed by The Great Experimenter or The Great Computer. The Great Experimenter is similar to God, who like Santa Claus, promises a Final Gift of immortality to cure the woes of life and human nature. The Great Computer is Death, who, when the clock runs out, provides the Final Solution: cessation of life and it's problems. The point is not to wait for “forces greater than yourself” to solve life's problems.

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