to the Sixth Edition, Budite Sebi Psihoterapeut
The University of Ljubljana
offered me a job teaching contemporary American literature (although
I had no academic credentials in that area); my Ph.D. husband, sight
unseen, was offered a position in physics. I was eager for us to
accept. However, when I could not guarantee that we would find a
flat with hot running water, he declined. So it took me fourteen
years before I could return.
In 1972 I was in charge
of the first European Summer Residential Training Program of the
Gestalt Therapy Institute of Los Angeles. Since the choice of venue
was up to me, we went to Yugoslavia. And Dubrovnik at festival time!
I didn't feel it was
right to take advantage of the lower hotel prices of a "developing
country" (a term I dislike) without giving something back.
So I essentially blackmailed my colleagues into accepting my suggestion
that we offer scholarships to Yugoslav psychologists and psychiatrists.
I wrote to the mental health departments of all six republics, but
only two responded. Croatia sent two psychiatrists and Serbia sent
That psychologist had
poor English skills and kept such a low profile that I wondered
what, if anything, he was getting from the ten days. However, he
was the only one of the three who asked to return the next year
to our training program in Austria. He must have spent the year
in intensive English study, as he was able to take a most active
part from then on, returning many more years, and arranging for
us to hold our training workshops at Lake Bled in 1974 and in Portoroz
in 1977 . He became Mr. Gestalt Therapy of Yugoslavia and his name,
of course, is Mladen Kostic.
With this background
you may understand how pleased I am that my book is being re-published.
I hope you will find it useful for you personally, even in these
very difficult times. My greatest hope for the world is that all
of us become more self-aware, more responsible, and more willing
to unite and work together to correct the world's injustices.
How many of you have
heard the story of the Hundredth Monkey? Popularized by the anti-nuclear
movement in the 80s, it is a well-meaning distortion of the observation
of some animal behavior scientists on the Japanese island of Koshima
in the 1950s. In order to identify the rhesus monkeys they were
observing, the scientists would drop sweet potatoes into the sand
and then categorize the monkeys as they swung out of the trees to
get the food. Many of the monkeys disdained the potatoes, not liking
the grit with which they were encrusted, but one enterprising young
female got the bright idea to wash the sand off her potatoes before
eating them. Soon her playmates were imitating her and washing their
potatoes. A few mothers copied their children's behavior, but the
older generation basically resisted the innovation. The children,
however, taught the behavior to their children, so that after
a time it was only monkeys who were born before 1950 that were still
eating gritty potatoes.
This much is true.
The rest of the story
is not and thus gave the skeptics an opportunity to debunk the entire
investigation. Lyall Watson and Ken Keyes, Jr. seized on the Koshima
research and propagated the notion that after a critical mass (the
hypothetical "Hundredth Monkey") had been reached, monkeys
on other islands spontaneously began washing their yams.
They postulated that a sort of"morphic resonance" (Rupert
Sheldrake's term) was in operation.
However the first (and
true) part of the story provides a powerful model of how change
can occur. One monkey's behavior had, in one generation, changed
the behavior of a significant segment of the population. Each of
us has the opportunity by our actions and our words to be a model,
to influence the thinking and behavior of any number of people who
then in turn will influence additional groups.
As Margaret Mead said,
"Never doubt that a small group of thoughtful, committed
citizens can change the world. Indeed, it is the only thing that