What do you say after you say Hello? Erin Berne, MD, Bantam Books 1972

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p. 4   “This book discusses four questions:  How do you say Hello? How do you say Hello back?  What do you say after you say Hello? and, principally, the plaintive query, What is everybody doing instead of saying Hello?  These questions will be answered briefly here.  The explanation of the answers will occupy the rest of this psychiatric textbook, which is addressed first to the therapist, secondly to his patients as they get cured, and thirdly to anyone else who cares to listen.

  1.  In order to say Hello, you first get rid of all the trash, which has accumulated in your head ever since you came home from the maternity ward, and then you recognize that this particular Hello will never happen again.  It may take years to learn how to do this.
  2. In order to say Hello back, you get rid of all the trash in your head and see that there is somebody standing there or walking by, waiting for you to say Hello back.  It may take years to learn how to do that.  
  3. After you say Hello, you get rid of all the trash that is coming back in your head; all the after-burns of all the grievances you have experienced and all the reach-backs of all the troubles you are planning to get into.  Then you will be speechless and will not have anything to say.  After more years of practice, you might think of something worth saying.
  4. Mostly, this book is about the trash:  the things people are doing to each other, instead of saying Hello.

It is written in the hope that those with training and talent for such things can help themselves and others to recognize what I am calling (in a philosophical sense) “trash” since the first problem in answering the other three questions is to see what is trash and what isn’t.  The way people speak who are learning to say Hello is called ‘Martian’ to distinguish it from everyday Earth-talk, which, as history shows from the earliest recorded times in Egypt and Babylonia to the present, has led to wars, famines, pestilence, and death; and, in the survivors, to a certain amount of mental confusion.

It is hoped that in the long run, Martian, properly learned and properly taught will help to eliminate these plagues.  Martian for example, is the language of dreams, which show things the way they really are.”

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