Hello to Stefan Molyneux and Jordan Peterson.
This post, along with the companion blogs linked below, are my heartfelt response to Stefan’s passionate call for creative positive action, specifically in the most excellent discussion, Sorting Yourself Out.
I certainly agree with you that, world-wide, civilization as we know it is reaching the point of critical mass.
Not coincidentally, I have been working in parallel on the subjects of ethics, epistemology, personal freedom, and introspection – as well as their urgent relevance to human survival – for a very long time.
My particular contribution to your effort is a model that expands on your invaluable research, adding urgently needed depth. Practical tools I’ve acquired and developed could well serve to fortify your intellectual arsenals in the ongoing media battle for the hearts and minds of the general public.
Put another way, my work identifies an overlooked but fatal blind-spot in Western thinking. (I elaborate on this at length in a post called “The Gate Keeper.”) Suffice it to say here that unless/until we restore a complete and correct paradigm to common understanding, the downward spiral of history will continue on its course unchecked.
By way of introduction, I should tell you that though this contact may seem sudden and rather late in the game, in fact, I’ve foreseen the state of critical mass a long time coming, patiently waiting for the right time to come forward.
Proof of the timing is written into the concluding chapter of Rethinking Survival’s memoir section called “Who I Am To Say.”
I chose the introductory quote to underscore the fact that I’m not alone in subscribing to the premise of Rethinking Survival:
Curiosity, awareness, attention — those are the tools we need if we hope to avoid our worst mistakes — and indeed if our children are to have a future on this planet. We have come to a pass in our evolution where we all must, to one degree or another, be scientists at heart or be victims of forces we don’t understand. I am certainly concerned about our survival as individuals. But I am also concerned that if we don’t know the rules of our world — both the human and physical rules — we will be in danger collectively as well. — Laurence Gonzales. Everyday Survival: Why Smart People Do Stupid Things
Between 2008 and 2009, I worked over-night third-shift hours at the Wisconsin Relay Center for the Deaf and Hard of Hearing as a Communications Assistant. Quiet times gave me the opportunity to outline a book proposal for Surviving Titanic Times:
It seemed ironic that the general public in some ways is as of hard of hearing as the deaf community. What, I wondered, will it take for the “conveniently” hard of hearing to open their ears, hear warnings of threats to their survival and build lifeboats in time?
I decided that before readiness is there, it’s smartest to keep a low profile. When immediate danger is actually on the front doorstep, it will finally become convenient for people to rethink their assumptions. Only then will the general public have an vested interest in heeding the warnings of boundary-spanners, making it safe for “non-traditional” thinkers to come forward. . . .
This is the upside of dark times. Extreme danger is a 2’x4′ sufficient to get people’s attention, wake them up to their true greatness — “the giant within.”
Most news reporters, along with the politicians and experts they interview, are products of the skewed educational system that has brought us to the brink. However, according to the maxim, “The larger the front, the larger the back,” times of gravest danger are when greatest opportunities for change arise.
Heroes emerge when the time calls. A new readiness to see what before was invisible can open new avenues of Positive Action. As Gonzales details, survivors remember their best qualities and have eye-opening epiphanies.
Quite possibly there’s a whole generation of true leaders, ruined professionally to shut them up, patiently biding their time. They’re hidden in society’s woodwork, waiting quietly with the patience of Chinese sages for the right time and opportunity to come forward, to tell their stories. They’ll educate those with an ear to hear about the fundamental rules of our world, as Gonzales calls them — not just social standards, but more fundamentally, the laws of nature — and help us find the way out of self-destructive madness.
I’ve taken the experience of journalist Dorothy Thompson, “the American Cassandra,” to heart. Reporting from Germany in the 1930’s, she found no one in the U.S. wanted to hear about Hitler’s menace . . . until Americans were galvanized into entering WWII. Then it became convenient to listen to her.
With patient forbearance, I heed the I Ching wisdom of Stillness:
I remain confident that over time, quietness inevitably changes to its opposite. Stillness is fecund. It bears within it the latent seeds of future action. So it’s important to know when to be quiet, to listen to inner guidance that warns against danger. Then, when the time is right, you’ll know to be in the right place and how to take the right action.
Here I will briefly tell you my basic premise, describe the Life Wheel in abstract, and then show how it can be set into motion and applied to specific situations. Out of infinitely possible examples, I refer to the youtube conversation to demonstrate how the Wheel works.
Here is the basic premise as stated in the Introduction to Rethinking Survival:
Programmed assumptions too often drive our decisions, actions and ultimately, survival options. Even with the best of intentions, misinformed people operating on conflicting beliefs destroy themselves and others. Sometimes the process is quick. Suicide. Murder. Usually it’s slower — atrophy and self-sabotage.
The connection between skewed thinking and disastrous results is mirrored in the global disconnect between policy and practice. Knowledge deficits are directly responsible for bankrupt economies, personal and international alike.
In the United States, politicians of both parties use psychological scare tactics to polarize the public. They warn with phony threats, at the same time, putting all of us at risk. Like Nero who fiddled while Rome burned, leaders alienate us with disgraceful partisan bickering. At the same time, they avoid the real dangers which threaten to burst the bubble of illusory progress with excruciating finality.
In sum: Just as the Titanic’s designers failed to recognize the ship’s fatal flaw, today’s religious and political leaders, acting on misinformation, are steering the planet ever closer to the brink of destruction. Presented here for the first time, the Positive Paradigm of Change offers the hopeful opportunity to rethink our collective future, shift away from the current collision course towards disaster and ensure human survival.
Building on this premise in The Positive Paradigm Handbook, I continued:
WHY PARADIGMS MATTER
Ideas drive results. People’s beliefs color their feelings, triggering basic emotions which in turn drive their actions.
Actions that stem from a simple, complete and accurate paradigm result in personal fulfillment, harmonious relationships, and economic prosperity.
Actions based on false, incomplete and inaccurate paradigms, however well intended or passionately defended, are the cause of widespread misery, suffering and deprivation.
As detailed in Rethinking Survival: Getting to the Positive Paradigm of Change, a fatal information deficit explains the worldwide leadership deficit and related budget deficits.
In a dangerous world where psychological and economic warfare compete with religious extremism and terrorism to undo thousands of years of incremental human progress, a healing balance is urgently needed.
Restoring a simple, complete and accurate paradigm of leadership and relationships now could make the difference between human survival on the one hand, and the extinction of the human race (or the end of civilization as we know it), on the other.
Here then is the universal Life Wheel implicit (as detailed at length elsewhere) in the world’s enduring wisdom traditions. It is equally compatible with the discipline of yoga sutras and with modern physics. Formulated as the Positive Paradigm of Change, it meets the Occam’s Razor standard of utmost simplicity with maximum inclusiveness.
If gives us a complete and accurate model with which to sort out – articulate, organize and improve upon –- the levels and directions of our very complex lives. For, in fact, life – both personal and historical – is neither flat nor linear.
Here is a very early picture of how the interdependent but qualitatively different dimensions of life experience are related, prioritized and linked in the abstract.
In Sorting Yourself Out, Jordan Peterson compares the biblical example of Abraham’s “call to adventure” (and promise of exponential reward) to his intentional Self-Authoring process. It’s one example of what legendary comparative religion teacher Joseph Campbell called the “Hero’s Journey.” The cyclical, alpha-omega (but also inward) journey is also detailed by Clift and Clift in The Hero Journey in Dreams.
They tell us that journey starts with a call to adventure, followed by departure and initiation. These lead to sacrifice and suffering which in turn yields wisdom, then transformation and finally return to the world. We are told:
Dreams present one with symbols of transformation – the opportunity to expand one’s horizon. Painful experiences can be a great teacher – if one lets them. The hero is someone who has learned something, gained a new perspective.
Here, the stages of the Hero’s Journey are plugged into the Life Wheel, showing this multi-layered, dynamic process in motion. (N.B. This is not simply myth, but rather psychological necessity. We are each at one time or another in our lives – whether we choose to heed the call or not – invited to follow and complete the universal pattern.)
In essence, the Life Wheel is a Meta-Map. It forms the geometry of all Maps of Meaning, including the stories of not only the New and Old Testaments, but also Greek mythology and, significantly, the Bhagavad Gita.
A few examples of archetypal heroes from scriptural/literary history include Odysseus, Arjuna, Moses and Christ. Here (expanding on the narrow perspectives of secular atheists and religionists alike), is the dynamic Wheel which explains the ongoing presence/influence of the extraordinary teacher who told us, “Ye must be perfect like your Father.”
The Positive Paradigm Handbook: Make Yourself Whole Using the Wheel of Change shows the way to use the Wheel as a multi-purpose tool of self-analysis and positive, personal change. We can apply it as a diagnostic and decision-making tool on any scale of magnitude – personal, organizational, or societal — marking investments of attention, time and effort over time (epochs) in various life sectors.
Disastrously, the levels of the Life Wheel are becoming increasingly fragmented and out of synch in myriad ways. Here is just one example. It pictures what Stefan Molyneux repeatedly refers to as the increasing “hollowness” of communications. It equates with the incomplete paradigm of scientific materialism that recognizes only the reality of what is tangible and measurable.
For the sake of brevity, additional applications must be addressed elsewhere. One post is already complete. Both Stefan and Jordan emphasize the importance of reasoned, critical thinking. This subject includes the highly political field of epistemology.
They also question of how to communicate their ideas to followers with Libertarian leanings. So a post on the interior level where innate Free Will resides as well as interrelated but qualitatively different levels of “freedom” is on the drawing board.
Stefan is a notable champion of ethics as foundational to viable civilizations. I agree heartily, and the post on the little known and gravely underrated Natural Law codified in the Chinese Book of Change (along with the implicit Law of Karma) supplies the insight/ammunition necessary to WIN this argument handily. Essentially, Freedom of Choice does not guarantee a free lunch. Far from it, it bears with it the responsibility to accept the inevitable Consequences of one’s choices. In this context, I’ve briefly introduced the MPI Standard for increasing self-awareness. The basic formula: Increase Awareness of What You are Doing, How and Why. Use the Wheel to articulate, prioritize and align the levels of Motive, Purpose and Intent.
I know this is a lot to take in. How can I be of help? Do you have questions or comments for me? If so, I’ll gladly respond to the thoughtful ones.
And, in balance, how might you help me? Let’s see. Value for value is the stated exchange. I used my 72nd birthday to write this post. As of now, writing is a low-priority hobby and working late hours takes a lot out of me. Lifestyle constraints are frustrating indeed. As food for thought along these lines, please take a peek at the mind-map of what could be materialized with this work if resources were made available.
With thanks for your kind attention and response, All best – Patricia West