A TRANSACTIONAL ANALYSIS OF EARTHIAN HISTORY — PART ONE

By RICHARD JOHN STAPLETON

Most of this essay was recently published in the Effective Learning Report in The Earthian —21. About seventy people read it, which was a relatively high number for ELR articles. Given that the major mission of the ELR is to educate humans around Spaceship Earth, hopefully publishing some of this content again with some new content under a new title will pick up a few more readers.

Here’s to all Georgians: Vote for Ossoff and Warnock tomorrow, January 5, 2021. Enough is Enough!

Unbelievable. I never heard about anything like this before, happening yesterday. I listened about one hour to Trump in a telephone call last night browbeat and threaten the Georgia Secretary of State and the Georgia Governor using churlish demeaning street language, with his mealy mouth lawyers protecting and backing him up, ganging up on the Georgia Secretary of State and his lawyers, squelching them, with one harangue, tirade, psychological threat, and flight of fancy after another, riddled with lies.

Much of what Trump said was scurrilous and unprovable, but in the attack Trump psychologically insulted and demeaned the Georgia Secretary of State and threatened the secretary and his family with bodily harm, not overtly socially saying he would do the secretary or his family bodily harm but psychologically implying the secretary and his family were in danger of harm by angry Trump supporters, “notifying” the secretary he was in danger because of not overturning the election for Trump.

The bottom line is that Trump lost the 2020 USian presidential election fair and square by seven million popular votes nationwide; but he magically thinks if he can overturn just one state by force that will be enough to override the whole election thanks to the insane USian electoral college…when if Biden supporters had done for Biden what Trump supporters did for Trump digging up quasi-plausible evidence of voter fraud in various states they could have found just as much quasi-plausible evidence of voter fraud working against Biden as Trump.

Yet this monster of a president and some of his radical right supporters would have you believe there was zero voter fraud working to Trump’s advantage, and to them the only possibility is that this poor little innocent Lord Fauntleroy of a president was seriously picked on and cheated by bullies. And they magically think if only the Georgia Secretary of State will just “find” poor Donald eleven thousand or so fraud votes he can stay in office.

Just when you think USian culture can’t sink any lower it takes another nosedive.

Here’s the leaked telephone conversation posted yesterday for your listening education furnished by the Washington Post: https://www.washingtonpost.com/politics/trump-raffensperger-call-transcript-georgia-vote/2021/01/03/2768e0cc-4ddd-11eb-83e3-322644d82356_story.html.

Ego states are states of being including thoughts, beliefs, behaviors, feelings, gestures, body language, and other signals determining how people come across with others in communication episodes, whether parent-like, adult-like, or child-like, in all kinds of situations.  People switch ego states depending on who they are communicating with and what sort of circumstances they are in, whether they are parenting, working, socializing, teaching, having fun, playing Games, or whatever.  They transmit messages from three ego states in themselves to three ego states in others in pair vectors, Parent-Parent, Adult-Adult, Child-Child, Parent-Child, Child-Adult, Adult-Parent, or whatever possibility.  These transactions are especially meaningful in situations in which there is some sort of authoritarian system involved, such as parents parenting children in homes, teachers teaching students in schools, or bosses bossing subordinates in a business or political organization, which normally entail primarily Parent-Child transactions. In general however the more Adult-Adult transactions there are the better things go in families, schools, businesses, and political organizations. 

Here is a passage from my book Business Voyages, pp 167-168, presenting an overview of psychological Games:

“When psychological Games are going on, psychological transactions are being conducted simultaneously with the social level, overt transactions. Ulterior, non-verbal hooks exist.The straight spoken messages are transmitted on the solid vectors. The ulterior messages are transmitted in a non-spoken covert way on the dotted-line vectors. Psychological Game players seek various payoffs for their Games. Many attempt to make fools of their mark or target. They may seek a payoff of triumph or one-upmanship. Some seek payoffs of justifiable anger, dejection, humiliation, etc. Some games are self-debasing. Games involve basic dishonesties of various sorts. Game players pretend reality is not as it is. Discounting occurs. A discount is any act that has the effect of reducing the significance of objects, events, people, problems, or possible solutions to problems (Schiff & Schiff, 1971). When people “cut one another down,” they are discounting one another and are playing games. If you “feel in your gut” someone is belittling you or is trying to make a fool out of you in some way, chances are you are being lured into a psychological game.

“The Drama Triangle, invented by Stephen Karpman, MD (1968), is probably the best Game detector available. Psychological Games are designed to create drama strokes. What creates drama, in soap operas, movies, stage plays, etc., as in real life, is the existence of Persecutors, Rescuers, and Victims. What makes movies, soap operas, and other dramatic episodes dramatic is the existence of some poor helpless damsel in distress who must be rescued from some heinous villain by some knight in shining armor. Or a fairy godmother must rescue some poor dwarf from an evil witch living deep in the forest, or some such. Some people still like to act out these sorts of roles on the stage of life. If you find yourself being chased around a Drama Triangle as a Persecutor, Rescuer, or Victim, you are in a psychological Game. It is possible there are real good guys and bad guys and helpless victims in some situations. Where real problem situations exist due to scarce economic resources, etc., people compete out of necessity and may not be involved in psychological games. But when people start unnecessary competitions because they are bored, or need strokes or recognition, or want to be parented properly, or want to be in a superior or inferior position, they start Games and create the Game drama roles. A psychological game is a fake war.”

Script messages are transmitted socially and psychologically as I have shown and explained with diagrams in my books. Unfortunately I have not shown one of these diagrams in this blog, having not taken the time to get jpeg pictures of them made to get them posted to my computer desktop to download into this WordPress program. Ah, the joys of desktop publishing. Yeah, right, I probably am a little lazy. If you want to see what a transactional analysis script diagram looks like right now scroll to the top of this page and click on ELR Editor’s Daily Shares. You can see a picture of a TA script diagram in the assemblage of pictures on the left of the page that will pop up, having been accepted by my Facebook program in a non-jpeg format.

A TA life script diagram shows the three stacked Parent, Adult, and Child ego state circles representing parent, adult, and child ego states for each parent and child. The solid lines in the diagram denote overt spoken social messages and dotted lines denote covert psychological unspoken ulterior messages.  Social messages are verbalized overt auditory messages; psychological messages are covert non-spoken ulterior messages transmitted by body language, emotional states, and after the fact positive or negative stroking as people react to situations and feel and do things.

Scripts in families are created automatically when parents transmit various messages to their children from various ego states socially and psychologically, in and out of awareness.  Scripts are life plans generally decided before the age of eight by offspring based on script messages transmitted to them by their parents and others.  Since parents by and large transmit the same script messages that were transmitted to them before they were eight years old script messages in families can remain intact for many generations.  According to transactional analysts script decisions made before the age of eight have lasting effects determining three general life outcomes:  winner, loser, and non-winner.  These decisions can be redecided and updated later in life but it’s not easy for most people. 

Psychological Child-Child ego state script injunctions are what cause the most trouble for people in their lives.  Script injunctions forbid appropriate behavior in the here and now. Script injunctions are caused by emotional and behavioral requirements created by families through time as they adapted to and coped with problems and environmental forces that may have been appropriate in past environments, but which are inappropriate in here and now more benign and hospitable environments. 

Opposing script messages transmitted by parents can put a child in a Not-OK bind in childhood and throughout adolescence, assuming a divorce has not already occurred, causing considerable trouble within a family, since the child cannot please both parents in the presence of both parents. This Catch-22 can put parents in worse Not-OK positions vis-a-vis each other if the child makes a social or psychological level decision about which parent is right, increasing Not-OKness in the family system as a whole, including the child.  

What many people need is psychological permission to violate and ignore their psychological outdated obsolete family Child ego state script message Injunctions, not only to increase their own OKness but the OKness of all living members of the family system, and the OKness of Earthian humans in general, for that matter.

Two common family script Injunctions in most cultures are Don’t Think about the true nature and causes of states of affairs and Don’t Feel certain feelings, such as glad, mad, sad, or scared, when certain things happen in certain environments.

Joe Biden at least socially comes across projecting an I’m OK—You’re OK life position. Donald Trump unfortunately comes across socially and psychologically projecting an I’m OK, my buddy is OK, nothing else is OK, and we are going to make the world pay life position. Even more unfortunate for all Earthians around Spaceship Earth Trump’s buddies Putin, Kim Jong Un, Bolsonaro and others also operate from this sort of life position.

Here is what Martin Groder, MD, one of my transactional analysis mentors at Chapel Hill, NC in the late 1970s, had to say about this sort of thing in what I called Martin Groder’s People Map, in a passage I wrote and published in 2011 in my book Business Voyages: Mental Maps, Scripts, Schemata and Tools for Discovering and Co-Constructing Your Own Business Worlds, pp. 148-150:

The Human Spectrum

“Humans generally give little thought to what kind of human they are and where they fit in the spectrum of various types of humans. Countless philosophers, writers, social scientists, priests, preachers, ordinary humans and others have categorized Earthian humans in various ways through time. Following is a schema developed by Martin Groder, MD, a psychiatrist, organizational development consultant, and entrepreneur, who also had a degree in physics (Groder, 1977). Groder developed this schema while working with inmates of the federal prison system at Marion, Illinois in the late 1960’s and early 1970’s. He was involved in a process of changing hard-core criminals into law-abiding citizens. Such a process would challenge the abilities of the most skillful and powerful of change agents.

“According to Groder, humans vary on two fundamental spatial dimensions. One dimension is Okness, which is estimated on the horizontal axis of Figure 1 (sorry, I could not get the Figure 1 image to copy and paste here, so you’ll just have to imagine it, or read Business Voyages or Born to Learn); the other dimension is the energy level of the individual estimated on the vertical axis.

“People vary in terms of how OK they see, feel about, and experience, (1) themselves, (2) the other individual, (3) their group, (4) other groups, and (5) the world. In Groder’s terms, they are OK or not-OK with respect to I, You, We, They, and It (the world). Groder estimates how OK they are on each of these five existential dimensions on a scale of -1 to +1, -1 being as not-OK as possible and +1 being as OK as possible. Thus people with extremely high self-esteem would be at the +1 level regarding themselves; someone with extremely low self-esteem would be existing at the -1 level regarding themselves. People could exist at any level in between, at -.5, 0, +.25, etc. on all five of the OKness positions, the positions of specific individuals with respect to themselves, buddies on a one-to-one basis, groups with which one belongs, other groups with which your group cooperates or competes, and the world in general. Summing the 5 existential OKness positions for an individual (I, You, We, They, and It), the highest possible OKness rating would be +5 and the lowest possible would be -5. A +5 person would have the highest possible feelings of Okness regarding his OKness, the OKness of his buddy, the OKness of his group, the OKness of other groups, and the OKness of the world. Such an individual would have very positive feelings and thoughts for self and others. On the other end of the spectrum, a -5 person would have the lowest possible feelings and thoughts for self and others. Very negative people tend to end up in prison. Very positive people tend to end up cultural heroes. Probably the most profitable life position for an entrepreneur in a capitalistic economic system would be I’m OK, my employees are OK, my company is OK, the world is OK, but my competitors aren’t worth a damn, since this position would motivate his or her sales employees to steal business from competitors to increase the profit of the company.

“Entrepreneurs have higher energy levels than middle managers and normal people. It takes less energy to be a normal person than anything else. Entrepreneurs in Groder’s schema have approximately the same energy level on the vertical axis of Figure 1 as Monsters, the -3 OKness level convict leaders of other convicts. Monsters have the life position “I’m OK, my buddy is OK, but everything else is not OK, and I am going to make the world pay.” According to Groder, it’s more difficult to change the energy level of a human than the OKness position. In rehabilitation work, Groder attempted to arc people across the gap of Figure 1, and make +3 OKness level entrepreneurs out of -3 monsters, +2 OKness middle managers out of -2 OKness creeps, slobs, lunch buckets, etc. Sometimes people arc across the gap the other way. Honest entrepreneurs can turn criminal. Entrepreneurs are winner-survivors; Monsters are loser-survivors. Winners achieve goals and objectives; losers do not.”

What is winning in this context?

Feeling good about yourself, your best friends, your groups, other groups, and the world.

Trump has a high energy level. His OKness life position at present unfortunately may be -3 or lower. Whether he’s a winner-survivor or a loser-survivor remains to be seen. Seems to me he has made his plight worse doing what he has done since losing the 2020 USian presidential race fair and square, his latest last straw being his orchestrated and scripted telephone call performance yesterday threatening and demeaning the Georgia Secretary of State and the Georgia Governor, not to mention all the honest hard working public servants who did their jobs well conducting the Georgia election.

How seventy-four million USian voters could have voted in the first place for someone with Trump’s feeling, thinking, behavioral, and personality dysfunctions is astounding.  Donald Trump has had long-standing problems getting his psychological, social, and sexual needs met in OK ways, probably from his birth to now, despite what the billions of dollars he got his hands on could buy, made possible by leveraging the four hundred or so million dollars his parents gave him to play with buying vanity gambling casinos, luxury hotels, golf courses and the like.

It’s even harder to believe seventy-four million voters in the US voting for Trump might see themselves and others as having zero to minus three (0 to -3) loser-survivor Not-OK life positions; but maybe that’s possible, come to think of it.

No kind of economic or political system will work for everyone if bad guys get control of them at the top, and the worst bad guy at the top of the USian government right now, now that Trump is done, is Mitchell McConnell, the Repug thug majority leader in the USian senate, and the only OK way to get rid of him is to vote for Warnock and Ossoff, which will give Dems control of the USian federal government, with the unfortunate exception of the USian nine-member supreme court controlled by six appointed Repug radical right judges.

On the other hand, how much good this will do remains to be seen.

The US has a decent constitution created and written at the end of the 18th Century by lawyers and rich merchants in the north and lawyers and rich slave-owning plantation owners in the south of the territory on the east coast of North America recently conquered and stolen from American Indians by Europeans in the names of their monarchs, linking together several previously quasi-autonomous states subservient to the English monarchy. These merchants and slave-owning planters got tired of putting up with the rules and taxes of the English monarchy, so they rebelled and won their independence, making themselves the new powers that be in the “new world,” creating their own rules and regulations. The new constitution was designed to protect their vested interests couched in noble idealistic language glorifying the natural rights of humans based on the proposition, they said, that all humans were created equal, which according to most definitions of the word equal was a lie. It might have been they were created to be equal, but if African slaves were born equal they did not remain that way for long in the real world, for many decades up to the Civil War. This same sort of unequal state of affairs still exists among USians. Humans now living in the US may have been born to be “equal” but they did not stay that way for long after birth, thanks to the nature of the USian culture, economic system, and political system, an evolving miasma emanating from a nauseating profusion of superstitions, beliefs, customs, rules, regulations, and laws imagined and enacted through time in myriad groups and organizations to increase inequality among participants. Mitchel McConnell did not acquire the power he had in the USian senate because of his good looks or what is written in the US constitution. It came about because of rules senators passed to make it easier for Repugs and Dems in the Senate to gain unfair advantages in the management of states of affairs. The USian congress, senate and house, now has almost no real face to face democratic discussions of any issue among all senators or representatives. Business is done behind closed doors by small committees who decide what will be voted on, legislation initiated and written in many instances by lobbyists for powerful corporations; and the senate majority leader now has the right and power to personally decide what will be voted on by the Senate as a whole, regardless of what committees decide. There is almost no face to face I’m OK—You’re OK democratic discussion of any issue in the Senate as a whole. A similar process has also been co-constructed in the House through time for the same reasons.

Unfortunately this I’m OK—You’re Not OK process is not confined to the USian federal government: It’s pervasive in families, schools, churches, and organizations and groups of all sorts, thanks to a Little Fascist some transactional analysts think is embedded in the archaic Parent ego state in the Child ego states of most humans, harboring a deep-seated desire to reign superior over others.

Postscript. It’s not that all Dem voters are paragons of virtue, intelligence, compassion, fairness, and justice working for the good of all USians and Earthians. In my opinion, most dim Dems did not have enough good sense to vote in their own best interests for Bernie Sanders or Elizabeth Warren for president in the 2020 Dem primaries. On the other hand, they did at least get rid of two major threats and impediments to USian progress, Trump and McConnell.

One USian King of the Senate reigning about one decade has now been deposed. Will the next one be any better? Not much if nobody changes the rules of the senate for how senators do business, that were designed to foster inequality and to pay back powerful special interests, leaving scraps for inferior losers.

I have covered ego states and scripts in my books Business Voyages and Born to Learn: A Transactional Analysis of Human Learninglisting common Parent ego state script messages and Child ego state injunctions.  All parents do not transmit the same script messages creating considerable variety among family scripts and outcomes.  Certain life scripts conveniently fit certain roles, jobs, professions, careers, political parties, and what have you more than others, providing fresh recruits already scripted for job openings, slots, roles, and positions in an economy, which is fine so long as the economy does not change very much.  Unfortunately since 1980 in the United States the offshoring of high wage blue collar jobs to foreign low wage countries and the use of more and more computer technology to increase the profits of USian corporations has rendered many family scripts obsolete. 

Donald John Trump did not invent himself. He was scripted to do what he has d0ne. The feeling, thinking, and behaving patterns that caused Trump to do what he has done have existed in Trump’s family for generations. His parents knew full well what Trump is like. His mother said so, saying she worried about him getting into politics, saying he had “no common sense.” She and her husband had to have known giving him four hundred million dollars was dangerous, like giving a very young child matches or a loaded gun to play with. Yet they knew he had a lot of energy and a physical presence, demeanor, and cachet that appealed to a lot of people; and they knew he might make a big mark in the world in their name, in one of the biggest ego trips of Earthian history.

A bitter pill to swallow found embedded in my books Business Voyages and Born to Learn is that everything that happens is either predetermined or accidental, as the philosopher Ludwig Wittgenstein postulated in his book of propositions, Prototractatus; and therefore no one is to blame or praise. Believing and acting otherwise will simply perpetuate the same sorry I’m OK—You’re Not OK life position that has bedeviled humankind since time immemorial contributing to if not causing repeats of historical abominations such as genocides, wars, slavery, economic depressions, famines, mental illnesses, and social collapses.

For more information regarding my use of Transactional Analysis  https://www.itaaworld.org/  to create better discussion groups and democratic processes read my book Born to Learn:  A Transactional Analysis of Human Learninghttps://www.amazon.com/Born-Learn-Transactional-Analysis-Learning/dp/0692584331

For more information on how to co-construct better organizations and economic systems using transactional analysis read my book   Business Voyages:  Mental Maps, Scripts, Schemata, and Tools for Co-Constructing Your Own Business Worlds. https://www.amazon.com/Business-Voyages-Schemata-Discovering-Co-Constructing/dp/1413480810

See my article “The Evolution of Spaceship Earth, Inc,”  https://blog.effectivelearning.net/the-evolution-of-spaceship-earth-inc/   for some management science ideas on how human Earthians might eventually co-construct an economic system that is viable and satisfying for everyone aboard Spaceship Earth, making it possible for all Earthian humans to develop an I’m OK—You’re OK life position. 

This entails Earthians peacefully reducing through natural attrition the human population aboard Spaceship Earth, never doing work that machines can do better, and delegating the day-to-day management of systems for scheduling, producing, and distributing the necessities of life to artificial intelligence programs and supercomputers, humans having shown time and time again they are not up to the job.

This can be programmed using linear programming based on the general algorithmic matrix algebra form

Max CjXj, s.t. AijXj ≤, =, or ≥ Bi

As I explained in “The Evolution of Spaceship Earth, Inc.”   https://blog.effectivelearning.net/the-evolution-of-spaceship-earth-inc/

Flying aboard an airliner about to land at night moving at four hundred miles an hour at thirty thousand feet with cloudy and rainy weather below, which would you rather have landing the plane, the plane’s radar and computer system or the pilot and co-pilot, seeing nothing out their windows but clouds and lightning?

I am indebted to Buckminster Fuller for teaching me in his book Operating Manual for Spaceship Earth the metaphor in the above paragraph and planting seeds for other ideas in my essay “The Evolution of Spaceship Earth, Inc.,” such as computers being the best hope for mankind and humans not doing work that machines can do better, being paid to think instead with what he called mind grants. To my knowledge Fuller was the inventor of the appellations Earthian and Spaceship Earth.

For details regarding my transactional analysis and management science qualifications read “ELR Editor’s Academic Vita” at https://www.effectivelearning.net/rjs-academic-vita.html or by scrolling to the top of this page and clicking on the post for my vita on the masthead of this blog.

TO RESPOND:

Unfortunately it seems to me one can build a case politicians spend most of their time playing psychological Games (Persecuting, Rescuing, and Victimizing people), wasting high percentages of their time and energy pastiming (bullshitting) and engaging in rituals (shuffling paper, filling out unnecessary forms, attending perfunctory meetings with lawyers and others, making up and passing petty rules to advance their selfish interests, etc.). Almost everything done in so-called foreign policy is a move in a psychological Game it seems to me.

It’s not easy, impossible some say, to separate relevant from irrelevant focal points in order to comprehend global cases, systems, and processes, while being inundated with fake news and true facts of states of affairs generated daily around Spaceship Earth, made public on the Internet, and elsewhere, to see what’s really going on, using primarily inductive and analogical reasoning, based on probability, not deductive logic. Almost never can anyone prove with deductive logic that a general proposition about psychological, social, economic, or political states affairs is absolutely true. About the best humans can hope for is to develop consensual answers that are generally acceptable and true based on probability.

It’s better to be honestly wrong than dishonestly wrong. Telling someone something you know is fake as if it were true is worse than telling someone something that’s fake because of genuine ignorance. A good case in point these days is most USians calling FICA insurance premium payments “payroll” taxes. It’s hard to know if parrots calling FICA payments payroll taxes really do not know any better or if they really do know better but are covertly lying about it to go along with the crowd to get political brownie points for conforming to a big group lie slandering and defaming Social Security.

It seems to me most lying is lying by omission, people not telling people things they know are true that others need to know. Whether lying by omission is more or less harmful than lying by commission, telling people things you know are false and fake, is debatable, as is proving whether it’s getting easier or harder for most people to know what’s fake news and what’s not. Political parties, Earthian governments, and Mainstream media lie by omission with alacrity, information withheld from ordinary humans about the Julian Assange case being a notorious current case in point. Mainstream USian media not mentioning there were no visible black rioters among Trump’s invaders of the US Congress when it was in session to declare national state votes for president valid is another.

If you have ideas on how to democratically discuss in Game-free ways economic and political problems and opportunities in something like the Ogeechee Economic Forum at  https://www.effectivelearning.net/ogeechee-economic-forum.html

go to our RESPONSES page and let us know about them at  https://www.effectivelearning.net/responses.html .

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Richard John Stapleton, PhD, CTA, certified transactional analyst, educator, octogenarian emeritus professor of management, writer, editor and publisher.   

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