Vol.XI No.III Pg.6
May 1974

"I'm Ok - You're Ok"

Robert F. Turner

The book, Im O.K.- Youre O.K. (by Dr. Thomas A. Harris) has been a best seller, and not without some justification. The author offers us a simplified and understandable form of transactional analysis— a means of self-examination, seeking the source of human response to situations in life with a view to improvement.

Parent-Adult-Child are given special meanings in the book. Our Parent (data fed into our computer-type system by external authorities) and our Child (data accumulated as a result of feelings about early experiences) must be reviewed by our Adult (the rational, thinking part of us) and we must learn to let the Adult rule — to measure transactions and reshape our lives according to the Adult. It sounds great, and should have practical value in (1) helping teen-agers find themselves, (2) immature grown-ups accept an adult course, and (3) suggesting techniques for helping self and others.

But the popular appeal and readability of the book makes me feel some warning is in order. (Parent speaking!!) With Dr. Harris, Jehovah God and His word are Parent— to be examined by the Adult and accepted only as subjectively approved by man. Objective faith in revelation of the Divine Will finds absolutely no place in this book. His idea of a moral idea is (not without merit) the importance of persons and even here he says, We have only the faith to believe they are, because of the greater difficulty of believing they are not. (What a pity he does not apply this logic to the acceptance of Gods). But even this moral idea is selfish, having as its rationale: others are important because without them I can not be important. (Page 257) How impossible it is for man to devise a philosophy higher than himself. Analyze, in that light, the following: There are no doctrinal absolutes except the evil of using persons as things. . Sexual intercourse without personal intimacy can only result in a loss of self-esteem.

Dr. Harris can not conceive of the Adult (thinking part of man) coming to believe in God. He says, Central to most religious practices is a Child acceptance of authoritarian dogma as an act of faith, with limited, if not absent, involvement of the Adult. Again, The truth is not something which has been brought to finality at an ecclesiastical summit meeting or bound in a black book. truth is a growing body of data what we observe to be true If Adult is involved in religious experience at all, it is (Dr. Harris thinks) to block out the Parent is order that the Natural Child may re-awaken to its own worth and beauty.

Dr. Harris also says, If Christianity were simply an intellect idea, it probably would not have survived, considering its fragile beginnings. It survived because its advent was an historical event.., we cannot, if we are honest, deny the reports of such experiences by reputable men through the centuries.

Well, thanks for the sop— and for worthwhile observations on what makes us, and Dr. Harris, tick.