E-Primitive Soup For the Soul


Do you have any stories of how E-Primitive/Prime has made your life better-easier-funnier-whatever?

I actually said “What time does the clock say?” to Urban Scout the other day. Without thinking about it. It felt really normal, like ‘of course!’.

Urb also caught me saying “Star Wars is a good movie”, which he responded with, “IS it Willem? IS it really? IS it a good movie?”. Which made me laugh. Even though he has an irrational hatred of George Lucas, he also had a point.

My opinion about his ‘irrational hatred’ probably clues you and me and everyone in on why I had to ‘IS’ the nature of the movie, because I wanted to ‘defend’ something, to own the rights to defining it, instead of thinking “Well, to each their own.”

I can tell you one thing…years have passed since I’ve had an argument of what something ‘is’. And I never worry about what ‘I’m going to ‘BE’ when I grow up’.


i find myself wavering back and forth between e-prime and b-english. e-prime has definitely gotten easier to write, think and even speak. i often translate my son’s bedtime books into e-prime as i read them to him because the “be” verbs really stand out and get on my nerves. i also find myself translating my common statements with my boy into e-prime. instead of “are you okay?” when he falls down, i ask “did you hurt yourself? do you feel okay?” it feels like the beginning of an ability to speak without “to be”.

but then, sometimes, i just don’t want to stop and translate. i stopped flagging my blogs with an e-prime tag since i started writing almost exclusively in e-prime. but then with my latest one i just got tired of thinking around some things and gave up. usually in a situation like that i’ll leave one or two "to be"s in there and come back to them later, but in that instance, i just wanted to write without having to think about anything but content.

what you said about using “is” to defend things with, rings out to me, willem. i often find myself using “is” to underline a point. funny that some of our “be”-bound phrases really contain more complexity than their clunkier-feeling e-prime equivalents, but the b-english version feels more natural.

to use an example from my own writing:

It was one of those “you’re poor, so the government wants to help you out” kind of jobs.

The “was” adds a kick of emphasis to the statement. The equation aspect of using “to be” also reduces things down for the civilized mind. instead of having to think about the real subject of a passive sentence, we can just make a definitive, reducing statement that boils down the essential facts and focuses our attention on the thing we want to present.

I feel certain that I could have eventually found a way around that “was”, but I gave up, and I remained in a surrendered state for the rest of that blog post. My mind switched gears, and the verb no longer stood out in my mind.

If anyone wants to take a stab at e-priming that sentence, I would appreciate it, because I kind of feel mad at it right now.


Cool! That inspires me. :slight_smile:

It was one of those “you’re poor, so the government wants to help you out” kind of jobs.
If anyone wants to take a stab at e-priming that sentence, I would appreciate it, because I kind of feel mad at it right now.

How about:

File it under the category of "you embarrass us with your compulsive penny-stacking, so the government wants to help you out" kind of job
I call it a "we've pigeonholed you as 'poor', so the government wants to help you out" kind of job.

Whaddya think?


Nice! Thanks, Willem. I like the “file it under…” and “i call it…” options for working around that initial “it was…”

[goes back to compulsively counting pennies in his pigeonhole]



In the beginning I viewed E-prime as a set of lofty hurdles in my all-encompassing quest to comprehend language and rewire my mind, which at the time of ‘primitive inception’ I believe any casual observer would have noted had become little more than a harebrained mixed up funkified mess.

As the excersizes began to produce exactly the results I sought I began to notice that to be causes two malfunctions within the framework of my thinking: it brings about limitation and an unwillingness to look more deeply into a subject. I came to the ironic conclusion that ‘limitation is the antithesis of magic’, a dam in the free flow of conciousness that keeps the mind weak and resistant to change.

The pursuit of E-prime has proven itself an invaluable challenge. Thanks to the precision, attention, and inquiry inherent to the process my mind burps less, I’ve become much more difficult to manipulate, and reality does not cause as much confusion as it once did as I now have contented myself to say “It’s a mystery, and that’s all it’ll ever be”.


warning: a weird tangential rant that I don’t know where else to put.

so i go with my mom to the mattress store. i do not know initially that mattress store = used car lot, as mattresses sell for the same prices as used cars. weird. but i figure this out.

i watch the salesman doing his shtick, and i begin to see the transparency of the sales shtick. i like the salesman, but at the same time i see his manipulation. at one point he shows my mom the cheapest bed “just to see what she thinks”, without tellng her the price (“don’t look at the price yet, just try it”). well of course it feels like shit, right? but doesn’t the salesman look so honest, cuz he gave her the chance to go for the concrete cheapy bed?

Huh. Right.

In my mind the e-primitive questioning just rolls and rolls…what behaviors do i observe in him? what does he feel? what needs do those suggest? his thoughts almost seem irrelevant, just the rawness of his desire for the sale, like on a scent trail to a kill. I just realized that - I don’t really care what people think anymore. I want to know what they feel, so I can follow them to what needs those feelings indicate.

In other areas of my life too, I almost feel covered in a layer of teflon, similar to Richard’s post before me. Anyone can say anything to me, and (barring me feeling way burnt out/tired/sick) it just bounces off of me. I see the harmless opinions come flying out of their mouths, the self-labeling, labeling of others, and it just all sounds like interesting ways of seeing the world.

When someone says “You suck!” I respond with “Tell me more!”, if I have energy, or I walk away.

It excites me to have conversations with people who possess little self-knowledge, as I can watch their eyes roll back into their heads as I turn their guilt trip into a quest for understanding each other.

And I continue to get to know myself…as I ask empathic e-primitive and clarifying questions of them, without concern for “what they think”, I find the questions change me too…suddenly the empathy I only half-felt (or not at all) blooms into real empathy and interest in where they stand. my desire to shit-talk has waned (although i haven’t let ken wilbur off the hook just yet…:stuck_out_tongue: just kidding). This e-primitive stuff seems to change me, the goal constantly receding into the distance revealing new horizons and levels of experience.

I feel like I don’t know anything, and like I just got the coolest christmas toy ever. and i have the rest of my life to play with it and share it with my friends.

i don’t fear my own depression, fear, anger, resentment, frustration anymore. they seem like welcome friends that remind me about addressing unmet needs that i thought i could side step. or simply friends to wait with as i watch the weather pass by and the trees speak their names with the leaf-filtered breeze.

and then off course i don’t get enough sleep or something and i remember what it feels like to fear all the feelings that “i don’t fear anymore”. but what the hell. just getting a taste suffices for now. i have my whole life to learn this stuff!


Almost eight and a half Suncirclings on, I’d love to hear more…
Just having started only a couple of moons ago, I keep seeing new paths to explore. :slight_smile:


You know, a lot of things have happened in the last 8 years. I had two kids. Had several visions that like pheonixes burned bright, then burned out, then gave birth to something new. I’m a very different person than the one that wrote that comment about seeing the verbyness. Or more accurately, you could say I’ve had to completely start over again, seeing with that verbyness rather than isness and nounness.

An example of that is the predator/prey stuff. There are no nouns in any of that - it is all flow systems.

It does feel really good though. I think e-prime helped me in powerful ways, and then I needed something more, e-prime had dulled its edge. Now I can come back to eprime again.

I never stopped blogging in eprime - but that was the only place it really lived, on my blog, these past 8 years.


E-prime and E-primitive caused me a lot of psychological struggles 8 years ago, when I first was exposed to the issue. It paralyzed and crippled me. I felt as if I was being given commandments by people, like the Bible. I interpreted people’s philosophical theories as being told, "Thou shalt not use the verb “to be.” And I found myself unable to speak without the verbs “to be,” and had to withdraw from the Rewilding movement.

I realize now that these were due to limitations of the adolescent mind with autism that I had. To quote a Quinn supporter whom I have been talking with, “You learned these concepts at an age when you were still working out how the world works. And that caused the trauma.”

Peter’s point about using a bow and arrow versus understanding the spirit of Rewilding in another post on the forum–that an action means nothing without the philosophy–struck a chord to me. What I have learned now is that, to me, what matters is not what type of language I use, but if I can apply the Philosophy that E-prime and E-primitive, that I do believe in, in the language that I use.

I am gradually regaining my ability to write. And I come back to this community not as a person feeling compelled to live with impossible Commandments, but as a person exploring the Philosophy.