There is good control and bad control. The difference between them is certainty and uncertainty. Good control is certain, positive, predictable. Bad control is uncertain, variable and unpredictable. With good control one can be certain, with bad control one is never certain. A foreman who makes a rule effective today but not tomorrow, who makes George obey but not James, is exercising bad control; in that foreman’s wake will come uncertainty and insecurity, no matter what his personal attributes may be.
Because there can be so much uncertain, stupid control, some of us begin to believe that all control is bad. But this is very far from true. Control is necessary if one would bring any order into confusions. One must be able to control things, his body, his thoughts, at least to some degree, to do anything whatever.
A confusion could be called an uncontrolled randomness. Only those who can exert some control over that randomness can handle confusions. Those who cannot exert control actually breed confusions.
The difference between good and bad control then becomes more obvious. The difference between good and bad here is degree. A thorough, positive control can be predicted by others. Therefore it is good control. A nonpositive, sloppy control cannot be predicted; therefore it is a bad control. Intention also has something to do with control. Control can be used for constructive purposes or destructive purposes; but you will discover that when destructive purposes are intended, bad control is used.
Thus there is a great deal to this entire subject of confusion. You may find it rather odd for confusion itself to be used here as a target. But you will find that it is an excellent common denominator to all that we consider evil in life. And if one can become master of confusions, his attention is freed for constructive activity. So long as one is being confused by confusions, all he can think about are destructive things – what he wants to do most is to destroy the confusion.
So let us then learn first how to destroy confusions. And this, we find, is a rather simple thing. When all particles seem to be in motion, halt one and see how the others move according to it and then you will find less confusion present. With one adopted as a stable datum others can be made to fall in line. Thus an emergency, a machine, a job or life itself can be viewed and understood and one can be free.
Let us take a glance at how this works. There are a number of things which might influence obtaining, holding and improving a job. One can handle this entire problem, as people most often do, by entering into the problem the single datum, “I can get and hold a job.” By clutching to this as a single belief, the confusions and insecurities of life become less effective, less confusing.
But suppose one has done this: Suppose that without further investigating the problem, one, when young, gritted his teeth and shut his eyes and said, “I can get and hold a job, come what may. Therefore I am not going to worry about the economics of existence anymore.” Well, that was fine.
Later on, without warning, one got fired. One was out of work for ten weeks. He felt then, even when he did get a new job, less secure, less confident. And let us say that some accident occurred and one was out of a job again. When once more unemployed, he was once more even less confident, less secure. Why?
Let us take a look at the opposite side of this Doctrine of the Stable Datum. If we do, we learn that confusions are held ineffective by stable data and that, when the stable datum is shaken, the confusion comes into being again.
Let us envision a confusion as stopped. It is still scattered but it is stopped. What stopped it? The adoption of a stable datum. Let us say that one was bothered badly in the home by a mother-in-law. One day, after a quarrel, one stalked out and by inspiration said to himself, “All mothers-in-law are evil.” That was a decision. That, rightly or wrongly, was a stable datum adopted in a confusion. At once one felt better. He could deal with or live with the problem now. He knew that “all mothers-in-law” were evil. It wasn’t true, but it was a stable datum. Then one day, when he was in trouble, his mother-in-law stepped forward, unwaveringly loyal, and paid not only the rent but the other debt, too. At once he felt very confused. This act of kindness should not have been a thing to bring in confusion. After all, hadn’t she solved the problem? Then why does one feel upset about it? Because the stable datum has been shaken. The entire confusion of the past problem came into action again by reason of the demonstrated falsity of the stable datum.
To make anyone confused, all you have to do is locate their stable data and invalidate them. By criticism or proof it is only necessary to shake these few stable data to get all a person’s confusions back into action.
You see, stable data do not have to be true. They are simply adopted. When adopted, then one looks at other data in relation to them. Thus the adoption of any stable datum will tend to nullify the confusion addressed. But if that stable datum is shaken, invalidated, disproven, then one is left again with the confusion. Of course, all one has to do is adopt a new stable datum or put the old stable datum back in place, but he’d have to know Scientology in order to accomplish this smoothly.
Let us say one has no fears of national economy because of a heroic political figure who is trying his best. That man is the stable datum to all one’s confusions about national economy. Thus one “isn’t worried.” But one day circumstances or his political enemies shake him as a datum. They “prove” he was really dishonest. One then becomes worried all over again about national economy. Maybe you adopted some philosophy because the speaker seemed such a pleasant chap. Then some person carefully proves to you that the speaker was actually a thief or worse. One adopted the philosophy because one needed some peace from his thoughts. Invalidating the speaker would then at once bring back the confusion one faced originally.
All right. We looked at the confusion of the workaday world when we were young and we held it all back by stating grimly, “I can get and keep a job.” That was the stable datum. We did get a job. But we got fired. The confusion of the workaday world then became very confusing. If we have only the one stable datum, “I can get and keep a job,” then, assuredly, one is going to spend some confusing periods in his working life. A far, far better stable datum would be, “I understand about life and jobs. Therefore I can get, hold and improve them.”
Confusion need not be an unavoidable and persistent part of one’s working life. By employing the Doctrine of the Stable Datum one can gradually bring order and understanding to any situation.