Unlearning LO24222

From: Morty Lefkoe (morty@decisionmaker.com)
Date: 03/21/00

Replying to LO24210 --

Dear Winfried,

Thanks for taking the time to work out the diagram to explain your

The answer your last question first, yes, one would remember that one used
to have a belief, which now is gone. For example, many people in the
automobile industry used to believe ("know") that foreign competition
could never amount to more than 15% of domestic sales. They would have
argued to the death that they were right and would have given you a
hundred reasons why they were right. Now they know that what they thought
was "the truth" was not. (The belief could be about oneself, people, or

Let me explain in a little more detail how the unlearning process works,
then you can tell me if it violates the irreversibility of time.

The process is based on the notion that events have no inherent meaning.
Things happen, for example, parents are always too busy to spend time with
a child. That event has no inherent meaning. Most children, however,
would conclude over a long enough period of time, There's something wrong
with me, or I'm not important. It seems to the child as if this meaning,
this belief, is inherent in his parents' behavior. Every time he notices
that his parents don't have time for him, it seems to him as if he
literally can "see" that I'm not important. He has learned that. For
him, it is a fact. In fact, he would feel strongly that if you were there
observing him and his parents for a week or so, you would also "see" that
he's not important.

The reason therapy works so poorly in most cases is that it attempts to
convince the client that something he thinks he saw with his eyes is not
true. That's why cognitively a client can be talked out of a belief,
understand that it isn't true, and yet still feel it in his gut and still
have his actions be driven by it.

You can, however, go back to the events that are the source of a belief,
and realize that your interpretation, the meaning you ascribed to the
events, was not inherent in the events -- that your interpretation was a
valid one, "a truth," but not the only interpretation. In other words,
you would discover that the meaning was in your mind, not in the events.
As soon as you realize that, the belief is transformed from the truth to a
truth, it is no longer a fact for you, it is gone.

You have changed, not the events of the past, but the meaning of the past.
I would contend that events, as such, have no impact on us after they are
over (other than physical trauma that might remain). What stays with us
indefinitely is the meaning we give to events. Thus, a woman who is raped
is not affected by the rape five years later, she is affected by the
meaning she gave to the rape: It was my fault, there's something wrong
with me, men can't be trusted, etc. When the meaning is unlearning, i.e.,
when she realizes that the events have no inherent meaning, that the
meaning was a truth (one valid interpretation) not the truth, it
disappears totally and forever.

As I've said, I have done this personally a great many times and with over
a 1,000 different clients involving a broad range of dysfunctional
behaviors and emotions. Have we reversed time? I'm not sure. We haven't
changed the events of the past, but we have changed the meaning we gave to
the events in the past -- we have unlearned what we had learned, what we
thought was a fact, about ourselves, people, and life. It is totally

Regards, Morty

> today I have spent considerable time to write a contribution, which
> heavily relies on irreversibility of time. This means that state 1 evolves
> to state 2 which evolves further to state 3. Irreversible time means that
> state 3 cannot be state 1 again. I hope you don't mind if I use symbols to
> depict what I mean:
> state 1 --(activity 1)--> state 2 --(activity 2)--> state 3


"Morty Lefkoe" <morty@decisionmaker.com>

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