Take the Best

grain

In reading opinion and even “how to” pieces, I recommend the 30/70 principle. With careful attention and a little bit of luck, it’s possible to extract the thirty-percent value from the 70-percent rubbish in which its embedded.

At Oberlin, where I had the good fortune to attend college, this process was described in agricultural terms: “sifting and winnowing.” Founders probably had a biblical allusion in mind: the end-time sorting of wheat from chaff.

Were it not so over-used, “discrimination” in its original meaning would be another way to put it.

I tell you this because I just now revisited the premise of Rethinking Survival, written in 2014. By mid-2017 it seems like a life-time ago. Then, I wrote:

I’ve come to recognize that it’s ideas — usually unconsciously held in the form of automatic-pilot, programmed assumptions — which drive decisions, actions and ultimately, survival options. Even with the best of intentions, people who operate on incomplete, inaccurate and conflicting beliefs undo themselves and harm others .. .

Like passengers on the ship Titanic, we’re approaching ever closer to disaster, not recognizing that we’re steering in a collision course towards extinction.

Though fundamentally the same person I was then, so much has changed that I find myself applying the 30/70 principle to that distant piece of writing.

Yet, the basic concepts are not only valid. They are urgently timely. We are in a world of hurt for lack of their practical applications. So I humbly ask that you read the following excerpt mindfully, take the best, and forgive me the rest.

Still further, if the value of the concept, however imperfectly expressed, touches your heart-mind, then please – for everyone’s sake – take whatever action you can to share them them those who stand to benefit.

flower

PART ONE

GETTING THERE: WHO I AM TO SAY

PREFACE

“Survival” is a primal word. It means to LIVE, the alternative being extinction. Survival is the bottom line. In a life or death situation, the natural instinct is to survive at the cost of everything else. The basics must be secured first. If you’re dead, thriving isn’t an option.

However, as the title suggests, the focus of Rethinking Survival isn’t on “how to” survive. Here, survival implies that there’s more than martial arts skills, back woods know-how and environmental smarts to staying alive. It requires self-knowledge and a connection to one’s deepest roots of origin, as well as a powerful, clearly defined and positive purpose for living. It also requires an educated sense of timing: an acute awareness of alternating cycles — natural pendulum swings between extremes of expansion and contraction — along with the will and patience to ride them out.

This view of survival is the end result of many rethinkings. When answers at home weren’t enough, I searched abroad. Europe. India. Much had to be unlearned as better information replaced cultural conditioning and the -ism filters that distort common sense experience.

Over my lifetime, in the host of different situations described here, I’ve seen the same, increasingly familiar dynamics play out, predictably, comically, were it not for the tragic consequences for individual lives, businesses and even nations.

I’ve come to recognize that it’s ideas — usually unconsciously held in the form of automatic-pilot, programmed assumptions — which drive decisions, actions and ultimately, survival options. Even with the best of intentions, people who operate on incomplete, inaccurate and conflicting beliefs undo themselves and harm others.

Logically, if corrupted ideas are the root of the problem, then restoring a complete and accurate, consciously-held knowledge base is the necessary starting-point of positive change. Our tragedy is that we continue to look for solutions in the wrong places. We depend on experts who, themselves products of a skewed educational system, are not only unable to help. They’re actually part of the problem. Like passengers on the ship Titanic, we’re approaching ever closer to disaster, not recognizing that we’re steering in a collision course towards extinction.

Rethinking concludes that the way out of this terminal confusion begins with shifting to a complete and correct worldview. We need to start over with fresh deck. All the cards have to be there, and none of them marked.

Answers I found in my personal quest reside in the simple eternal truths which people everywhere share in common. Return to these too often forgotten basics heals confusion and paralysis. They’re the foundation of the Positive Paradigm of Change described in Part Two.

I tell my story with the understanding that all of us face the same basic survival questions. They’re common to all humanity, however different the settings and challenges (opportunities) that drive them home. I was raised with America’s myths and got stuck in their misconceptions. I’ve labored to get free of them. It’s my hope that my story will stimulate others to rethink their options as well.

I tell about my journey to make other people’s lives easier. Ultimately, it’s done to tip the scales in favor of human survival.

 

 

 

 

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