Radiant Concord Publications present

the balance method - begin

1.   A Balance

A good start to the day

Please note: lessons to be remembered will appear after roman numerals e.g. (i), (ii) etc; they will also be underlined for emphasis.

{a} On the way to work; the driver of a car is waving at a woman (pedestrian) to signal that he'll wait for her to cross the road in front of him. While crossing the road, the woman indulges in exaggerated running-type gestures / movements, but without the actual 'going faster' bit, as if to fool the driver into thinking that she's running, as it would be rude not to at least pretend in this kind of ironic fashion, but a bit over the top to actually run. The driver thinks it's nice of her to do this, but it isn't at all necessary; he's a patient man, being a minute later isn't going to matter. - A balance has been struck, both parties feel satisfied with the encounter, neither having been made to feel inferior or superior by the exchange, but both socially capable and amiable individuals.

(i)   this is a good start to the day

{b} It could so easily be different. The outcome of that small event could ruin the day for someone. If, for example, the woman tries to cross having not previously been signalled to do so and the driver, for example, toots his horn, revs his engine, perhaps even shouts aggressively; she's a fool and a victim, he a bastard (pretends to himself afterwards that he was perfectly justified although he knows he fucking wasn't).

{c} Or if he thinks about letting her across when approaching, but decides against it for a reason he can't quite get his finger on, and then he can see her in his mirror standing there for ages, waiting; that familiar dark cloud of regret descends over him and stays there for some time. She immediately becomes gripped by the sensation of exasperated panic so common among her kind; this day will be another frustrating obstacle course for her.

{d} Or if the driver waves the woman across, but she fails to respond, merely stands there waiting, until he has to just go (there's such a short cut off period in situations like this). Maybe she even looks agitated as if to indicate that he's taking too long to go, when he already waved her across! He thought she saw him and now he feels a fucking insignificant idiot trying to interact with people who don't even know he's there, don't even care if he's alive. And in all the embarrassment he gets flustered and stalls the fucking car when he tries to move, to just get out of the bloody way the ineffective dick that he is; and the way she looks at him when she pushes past like his whole being alive is nothing but a pathetic offence. He goes to work hating himself, she treating everything that happens that day as a fight and shitting on people all day because she's so uncertain that she's lost the ability to think rationally and to be aware even that other people exist. (She simply can't afford admission of the thought that she may have been less than rational here, socially inadequate, so she makes shouting happen on the inside of her head loud enough that she can't hear the suggestion at all.)

{e} Or he waves her across but then, just as she's about to go, a car he hadn't seen comes the other way and she can't go. He feels like he tried to claim he knew what he was doing when he obviously has no idea; how the fuck can he control the bloody traffic -what an arse. (All the good work done making him deliberate less and less about daily decisions drains away in an instant.) And she simply withdraws and all the promise that this potential encounter held disappears.

{f} Or while she's crossing and they're both beginning to feel good about it, some prick in the car behind toots, and takes the fucking shine off it for both of them; even makes them wish they hadn't bothered. How stupid they are, for thinking that something just nice could happen, for opening themselves to that possibility, when obviously it's not that easy because some bastard will always be waiting to ruin it for you and you're a fool if you don't know that from the outset. And they spend the rest of the day, maybe even their lives, closed (and dead).

{g} Or if, on her way across, she tries to wave thanks to him, but he's not interested and just wants her to hurry up, like she's some sort of child he'd reluctantly thought he'd better take care of but who was essentially a nuisance, so she decides to behave like an immature teenager for the rest of the day (you may as well be guilty of the thing they accuse you of). He goes about his day armed with the assumption that everything that happens is specifically designed to make his life more difficult.

{h} Or he waves her across and she seems to deliberately take ages to cross, as though she had some 'inalienable' right to go at that particular time and his waving her wasn't a nice thing to do at all, but just what was expected by some self obsessed nutcase. Now he knows the other drivers behind him think he was wrong to wave her across, and she's provided them with the proof they require, and left him with nothing to feel that he was right; he's a martyr. She's needy and attention-seeking, and not just today either.

{i} Or if she thinks she saw him wave her across but she's not sure, and he's not sure if she saw him either, and they both dither about for a bit continually edging forward and then changing their minds like totally indecisive tits; and he just feels embarrassed but she kind of likes it, she likes the discomfort of it, the unease, it makes her feel alive (the slightly threatening).

{j} Or he waves her across, and she goes, and then he accelerates and ploughs right into her because he's crazy, and some people just can't be trusted.

{k} Or maybe he knocks her down entirely by accident, some sort of spasm in the leg or a stupid misguided joke gone wrong, and he kills her, and an attempt to do something good (if in a rather small way) turns into a terrible, bizarre and pointless tragedy and he has no choice but to take his own life because there's no way in a million years that he'll ever be able to look at anyone again let alone get his head around this one, or even hear some words that come close to anything vaguely resembling comfort or even reason and he just really needs to sleep and it's the only way he can think of to make that happen.

NOTE: In many of the above cases the reality of this occasion makes them/us see things (in general) in all their stark and accurate hopelessness; the desire to run away is present.

{l} Or if he simply goes and then she goes a couple of seconds later and neither becomes conscious of the other. And this just joins all the rest of the possible experiences that day that didn't happen, making 4,38624 to be precise (okay, figure = a very conservative estimate but you get the idea and a bigger number wouldn't make for as neat-looking a point on the page..)

(ii)   You have to risk a shit thing happening in order to have a chance at a good thing, or you can just take nothing at all, but then what's the point in that?

Diagram 0.01


An alternative way of presenting the same information is provided by Diagram 0.02:



Identify the risks in the following situations:

1.1Attending a party where you will be expected to speak to at least three people.
1.2Starting a new job in a management role.
1.3Ordering a coffee to sit in and then drinking it on your own.
1.4Phoning to complain about the service provided by your electricity supplier.
1.5Asking someone to marry you.

Try to bear in mind such factors as: the fact that people may not have correctly heard what you said and may have thought you either said or meant something different to that which you in fact did; the facts that many people are stupid and that many more are waiting for you to fuck up; the possibility that people may have psychic abilities and can hear what you're thinking; the idea that they're all out to get you / that you're a weirdo and a freak, and not because of anything that happened when you were a child.


1.1In order of ascending doom: 1). slight discomfort; 2). mild embarrassment; 3). utter humiliation; 4). loss of all hope; 5). suicidal yearnings.
1.2As above, plus: 3.1). job loss leading to severe lack of any sense of one's place in the world; 3.2). period(s) of desperation.
1.3As 1.1 minus 5)., except in extreme cases; plus 2.1). appearance of loneliness (particularly for some susceptible individuals i.e. those whose longest relationship to date stretched no further than initial pleasantries).
1.4As 1.1 minus 5). (above qualification applies); plus 3.1)./3.2).; plus 2.2). suspicion of stupidity; 2.2). suspicion of being a whining bastard.
1.5Trick question: there are a potentially infinite number of risks involved in this particular activity, although a few supposed 'experts' in the field claim to have identified them all; numbers vary predictably, given the flagrant impossibility of the task, between 5 (with very vague phrasing) and 3.1 X 1043627 (more specific and under many sub-headings).1

1 See Stevens and Fishbone (1996). Chapter on living with chance in Risk Association and Interpreted Happenings: p376-440. Cambridge, Active Evaluations Press.


I Attempt your regular weekly food shop (same shop, time of day etc) but with a brightly coloured jacket on; notice how differently people treat you, and don't think any of it's just your imagination, it's real, trust me, I've got the graphs to prove it as you'll see later. Alternatively you can try the exercise without the jacket, but with a nasal American accent, or with a limp. Jot the results down in a sturdy, faint-ruled foolscap notepad, and place them in a padlocked metal container where they should remain for at least 3 to 15 years.

II While going about your day, imagine that each person you speak to knows your most secret shame; they know you better than you know yourself. Imagine that they each are overwhelmed with a condescending pity over you, but are hiding it because they wouldn't want to have to deal with your breaking down in front of them. Notice how vulnerable being exposed makes you feel -work harder at keeping the truth of who you are safely hidden (ideally from yourself also).


For now: